I teach. The pay sucks, the benefits (as a teacher at a university, as opposed to, say, a public school) are minimal and my own personal commute is pretty ridiculous.
One bright spot, however, is our faculty spending account. Every year, we get a certain amount to spend on "professional development." While the administration has gone all Ebenezer Scrooge on technology purchases (as though having access to a computer doesn't contribute to the teaching effectiveness of the faculty), they are simply delighted to send us to professional development workshops. Which is how I wound up spending a week last summer at the Omega Institute, taking a Spanish Immersion class.
The class absolutely blew, which was shocking considering the fact that I'd loved every class I'd ever taken at Omega up till that point. The rest of the class agreed with me, and when we went en masse to complain we were each given a free R&R weekend as compensation.
I just came back from mine.
R&R at Omega is lovely. No schedules, nowhere you have to be, no one you have to answer to. I timed it so as to be there the same weekend as a colleague who was taking an actual workshop and who I love to pieces, and it wound up being the perfect combination of alone time and friend time.
I arrived late Friday and enjoyed dinner and some quiet knitting time with my audiobook (Scott Sigler's Nocturnal) in the Ram Das Library. When I started feeling sleepy, I headed back over to my single dorm room for a little spinning out on the front deck, then settled in for a good night's sleep.
I woke at 6:45am, no alarm, no kids jumping all over me demanding breakfast, nothing but soft light coming in around the edges of the windowshades and a desperate need to pee. Breakfast with my friend, then knitting in the organic vegetable and flower garden, followed by a group reiki session and more knitting, this time in a comfy hammock down by the lake. I went to lunch only when the first drops of rain started to fall,rousting me from my spot under the trees.
I spent Saturday afternoon knitting, drinking tea and browsing the shelves in the Omega shop for small gifts for the girls and DH. After dinner -- all vegetarian, organic, locally-sourced and absolutely delicious food, as always -- the evening found me again at the library, knitting, then back at my room, spinning.
Sunday, my last day, was cloudy, but I still woke to the gentle morning light at around 6:45am. I spent the entire morning except for meals down at the lake, swinging in a hammock and putting the finishing touches on the socks I'd been working on all weekend. By the time I left after lunch, just ahead of an approaching storm, I'd been thoroughly rested, relaxed and pampered.
Here's what I have to show for it:
First and foremost, Mom's socks. She picked the yarn out last Christmas -- a colorway so totally unlike her that at first I thought she was joking. But for some strange reason, my plain-vanilla mom wants some funky rainbow socks, so who am I to argue? I just put them up to block tonight, and once the ends are woven in I'll tuck them away for this year's Christmas present. Score one for me for being ahead of the game!
Four ounces of Crown Mountain Farms Targhee singles in the Woodstock colorway, from their 2010 Fiber Club. This was an absolute breeze to spin and felt like it took no time at all. I didn't get crazy about setting up a control card or being super-duper careful to make all the singles exactly the same grist; I just let it flow, and it was so much fun I didn't want to stop. I actually spun up the second bobbin here at home in just the couple of days since I've been back, a true feat since I rarely get much spinning time around the house. I'm planning to spin up another 4 ounce bump of CMF, this one a lovely Polwarth in various purple tones, also from this year's Fiber Club. At the end of it all, I plan to 4-ply the singles to get what I hope will be a nice, lofty worsted-weight yarn.
And finally, this. My latest podiobook, Nocturnal. DH loves Scott Sigler, but I got totally turned off from him when I tried to listen to Infected, which is gory, to say the least. Nocturnal is pretty gory as well, but for some reason I got completely hooked into the story. As a kid, I was always a sci-fi/fantasy/horror junkie, so I think I'm just returning to my roots. I listened to what must have been something like 30+ hours of audio during a single weekend, and I didn't want the story to end. I absolutely love audiobooks and podiobooks. My latest pick is a classic: Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.
And all this productivity has allowed me to get started on yet another shawl: a Blue Curacao in Misti Alpaca Worsted. So far, nearly a dozen rows in, it looks like this:
Not incredibly impressive, I know. But just you wait. This shawl is gonna be a knockout.
Now if only I had another weekend of alone time to work on it.