The talking ape*

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You know, sometimes I think it would be nice to be an ape (Maybe in that wood above…). Nothing to do but eat, play, sleep and interact with my social circle of fellow apes (Zoologists, please don’t hit me). Nothing to do with seminars, students and dissertations at all. Wouldn’t it be nice?

Last week was, well, stressful. I finally have a deadline for my PhD which gives me under two years to finish my research, write AND defend the damn thing. That doesn’t sound too bad and it’s kind of nice to know everything will be over by September 2013 but I will be teaching an average of three classes every semester as well. So, last week was the first taste of what life will be like for the next two years and I’ve never been more grateful for my weekend!

It’s not all bad and feeling like I accomplished something every day is really great.

Also, there were some things waiting for me at home after a long day in the office that cheered me up:

A surprisingly fast parcel from Virtual Yarns – I basically ordered two colour palettes for Fair Isles hats (couldn’t resist). Beautiful yarn!

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Wovember tweed batches made by Felicity – I have two more in a nice green tweed which I am wearing now.

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In knitting news I’ve finished my 28thirty cardigan for some time now and last week I sewed on the buttons. Pardon the gloomy picture! I gave it a good soak yesterday and now it’s drying on my living room carpet. It’s still way too warm to wear it anyway…

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After that I decided I could use a new pullover and there was a fortunate meeting of a beautiful yarn and a gorgeous pattern. I.e., I cast on for Idlewood using New Lanark Donegal Silk Tween Aran in ‘Rust’.  I’m separating body and sleeves soon and so far I really like knitting this. Straightforward stockinette stitch and raglan technique makes for nice mindless knitting. I’ll probably make this shorter than the pattern suggests because I just don’t have the hips for a tunic… Keeping my fingers crossed we will get an actual winter so I can wear it!

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*Now, what about the talking ape? Simply put, I needed a title. I’m crap with blog titles and ‘The talking ape’  is the title of a book that’s sitting on my desk right next to my display. 

A shadow of a blog

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I’ve just realized I managed to ignore not only my own blog but the blogs I usually follow for nearly two months. I’ve lurked around a bit on Ravelry but that’s it.

In my defence I have to say that the semester has been a really hard one so far and I’m equally floored my too much work for the classes I teach and lot’s of guilt and a nagging consciousness because I spend too little time on my PhD. My great plans for the semester involved dedicating Mondays, Thursday and Fridays (plus the weekend if necessary) on my research and the rest of the week to prepare for classes. So far I had to use the entire week to prepare for my classes since I’m teaching Historical Linguistics for the first time and have to build up all material from scratch.

This leads to me feeling like bad academic and I’ve been wondering if I will ever finish this dissertation. I have frighteningly little results to show for the last three years but despite the guilt I’m often unable to motivate myself and simply MAKE time for the research!

Also, I picked up quilting my red monster again and thus my knitting suffered in a major way. This will hopefully balance out once I cast on for Stripe Study…

Another reason for my organizing difficulties is the vegetable patch I rented for this season. Due to the very dry weather we had for the last weeks I have been constantly driving out there to water the plants. I’ll look into building a clever watering system called Olla this weekend to provide a constant water supply for my tomatoes and the cucumber. (I hope I remember to bring my camera 😉

So, I aim to update once a week for now which should be manageable. Thanks to anyone who continued to stop by during my absence! I promise to be better!

Of progress and leeches

Yesterday evening – when it would have been time to write a WIP Wednesday post – my obvious lack of progress got me thinking. Lately I have a hard time with getting things done, my days on campus drag on and on with little progress on my PhD and my guilty conscience grows heavier every day. This is the time when I have the opportunity to get on with it and get a lot of work done I have a lot less time for during the semester. Instead my incredibly awful Monday was followed by only slightly better Tuesday (which improved only because I took the day off and my mind away from the disaster of life as a doctoral student)

All of this got me thinking about leeches. Not the bloody kind, mind you, but rather ‘time leeches’. I seem to lose an incredible amount of time due to these leeches and it really starts to bother me. Two major culprits aka leeches can be located in my everyday life:

  • The Television
    The Internet

When I moved out of my parent’s flat years ago I didn’t own a telly and spent my evenings happily reading on the sofa. I got things done during the day (looking back now an awfully big amount of things!) and went to bed at a reasonable time (well, mostly 😉 ) Later when I still lived in shared flats I also shared a telly and that was fine as well. But today I end up in front of the tv most evenings, mostly because my awful and inefficient days at work seem to suck all most of the drive and motivation out of me and I find myself seldom capable of more than a vegetative state on my sofa. This sucks! Big time!

The irony of identifying the internet as another time leech is the fact that I’m writing this to be posted exactly there and the preparation of my posts and everything attached to my blog takes a lot of time. On the plus side, writing a blog and reading and commenting other bloggers output is less of a mindless task then watching the telly.

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To cut it short (ahem, short-er) after a semi-productive day yesterday (see above!) I stopped halfway through writing this post, saved the draft, switched off the computer and settled down in my favourite armchair with a tea and a book. No tv, only the radio in the background. I spent three hours there, happily reading then went to bed at a reasonable time and – oh wonders – managed to crawl out of bed less tired and a lot earlier! Now I’m at the office, determined to be more productive today and spent the evening without tv or internet. After all, I want to read some of these (sorry for the dark picture!)!

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What about you? What are your time leeches?