Monday, April 21, 2014

weekend is over

I did get a longer than normal weekend - got Friday off for Good Friday. (This is the only state university I've ever been at that gave it as a holiday. Other schools would excuse students if they had a 'good' reason (e.g., needed to go to noon Mass). And I would certainly be happy to excuse a Jewish student who needed to go home for the High Holy Days.)

I worked more on the ongoing quilt, but as I said before: it's going to take a long time before it looks like anything much. I'm at the point now of making sort of diamond shapes by sewing squares over the corners of rectangles, cutting the unsewn part off, and opening it up. (This is a common piecing technique to cut down on doing bias-to-bias seams, but it always feels like it's wasting fabric to me.)

I also started the Belvedere cardigan. A picture will come later. I'm not very far on it.

After church on Sunday (and I thought, slightly bitterly, "Maybe we need to have an Easter Egg hunt every week; that way we'd actually get a few more kids and their parents occasionally") I roasted the chicken. I also baked these brownies. I wanted to try them as I had the "white whole wheat" flour on hand and found I didn't care that much for it for focaccia (the original use) and thought brownies might work better. I don't think I'll sub this recipe for the one I usually use. While they were fine, they weren't quite as good as my usual recipe. I think the main difference was cocoa rather than baking chocolate....I prefer the kind made with baking chocolate.

I also shifted over to the current striped socks I'm knitting and thanks to having Father Brown and Call the Midwife to watch Sunday night, I'm almost done with the heel flap of the second sock.

Father Brown: wow, they've really expanded and altered Chesterton's original stories for the series. I knew I had read one called "The Blue Cross" but it was very different from the version of "The Blue Cross" produced for television.

And as for Call the Midwife: well, I won't give away the big giant sad spoiler for this week, but I will say at about 7:40 pm last night, I went "NOOOOOOOO!" Of course, there's always the sweet with the bitter so there was also the nice story of the woman who survived Nazi Germany being able to help her daughter give birth, and then overcoming her own agoraphobia caused by having seen so many friends and relatives die, partly because, it is implied, she was able to take a hand in bringing new life into the world

I also wound up going to one of my poetry anthologies after "Jenny Kissed Me" was quoted at the end; I could remember having read the poem but could not remember the author. Leigh Hunt, which doesn't tell me much, because I'm not familiar with his work. (The Wikipedia page for him has a little info, including an engraving of him that make him look a bit of a handsome rake) However, I doubt I would have liked the man:

"Leigh Hunt was the original of Harold Skimpole in Bleak House. "Dickens wrote in a letter of 25 September 1853, 'I suppose he is the most exact portrait that was ever painted in words! ... It is an absolute reproduction of a real man'; and a contemporary critic commented, 'I recognized Skimpole instantaneously; ... and so did every person whom I talked with about it who had ever had Leigh Hunt's acquaintance."

I think I commented, while reading Bleak House, that I wanted to just grab Skimpole by the shoulders and shake some sense into him. My frustration with the character probably comes from dealing with people in my adult life who claimed to have "no sense of time" and therefore would do things like arrange a meeting with me and then keep me waiting, or who would claim they should be given the "accommodation" of handing in late work. (This is the current discussion with Disability Concerns. They do not consider that an "official" accommodation, but there is one individual in the administration who apparently has been calling professors up and claiming such-and-such student is entitled to it (without DC's blessing). Of course, because it's an administrator, the average professor - especially the ones who haven't earned tenure yet - just do it any way. I did it when it happened to me a couple years ago. I think if it happens again I'm going to say I need a letter from the Disability Concerns coordinator stating that officially. Because that's a door I really don't want opened: unofficial accommodations would mean that other students could claim they wanted the same thing, in the name of "fairness." And of course, it's not fair to the poor professor, who may be coping with finals week, to suddenly find a whole semester's worth of late work on their desk with the instructions to grade it.

I will say that there are few more lonely things for a professor like me than to be told something by an administrator, when it's something you know you shouldn't have to do, that may not be fair to the other students, but the implication is you WILL do it. It's a feeling of helplessness and loneliness. Of course in my case there was also the implied, "You weren't available to help this student" which was either an outright lie on the student's part or was part of the lack-of-time-sense (they would make appointments with me, not keep them, and then try to buttonhole me as I was rushing off to my next class).

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