Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Price of Admission

Both crafting and not crafting blogging today, folks! Step right up! Two for the price of one!

So, which shall I start with? I think the crafting.

My first admission is that I'm suffering from some serious project polygamy. (Is that polyandry or polygyny, do you think?) I'm currently working on the strapless and retro femme tops from Sensual Crochet, one man's scarf design that I just CANNOT get going, and a woman's knit scarf design which I think is working (take number three is at 45 rows and looks good I think). In my head, I'm also working on three mitten designs in crochet, two of which I've charted (two variations that I'm going to call Scandinavian Sock Monkey Mittens - you'll see why eventually). :) I've also got an eye mask I just remembered that is only waiting to be bound off and seamed; I have no idea why I haven't just done it already.

That man's scarf - specifically a man's scarf because it's intended as a gift for a Guy Friend, as is the woman's scarf meant for a Girl Friend - is really being a pain these last couple weeks. It's yarn I bought two weeks ago; I love working with it, but I'm having a hell of a time designing something I like. The knitted designs I tried were all too open in gauge, and there's no way to get around that except to double the yarn or buy a fine gauge loom, which I'm not willing to do.

I really think Guy Friend will like the colors better than Girl Friend, so I'm sticking with it. I decided to make it in Tunisian crochet, but I know if I just do it in simple stitch it'll curl. Right now, I've been doing six row sections of different stitch patterns (combinations of tss, tks, tps, and staggered tss, as well as what I think might be Tunisian double crochet, but I'm not certain). I'm trying to find one or more I like enough to do the whole scarf out of it, but I'm nearing 30 rows with nothing I love in sight. I'm thinking I'll try a couple rows of seed stitch or a checkerboard pattern. I think one of those will be the winner, but we'll have to see.

The bottom line of all that is the second admission, which is that I have no idea what tomorrow's Weekend Wonder will be. :) I was thinking I might skip it to give myself one weekend off from it every six WWs, but I haven't decided.

I'm also thinking about a bigger admission that I began making public in the last few days, which is the big Opportunity I mentioned a couple posts back. As anyone who has read this blog for a while knows, I'm a college professor getting ready to take a leave of absence because I'm experiencing some serious burn out and career doubt. Part of the reason I became a professor was that I wanted to write, enjoyed teaching, and knew that if I succeeded at it, academia would be a much more secure position than professional writing or a lot of other career options. (Ah, tenure. Here and here, too.) Another part of the reason I became a professor is that I have a very strong tendency to do things because I should. Because I should. Not really for any other reason, just general societal, cultural, sometimes familial, and sometimes personal expectations and shoulds.

There are a lot of things I really enjoy about teaching, but also many things I don't. I won't detail either here because, well, this should be at least a somewhat fun blog, not a diatribe or homily. What I would really like to do is some of the parts of my job, like the writing and the teaching, but perhaps without the service obligations, or perhaps without the heavy course load of my small school, or perhaps at a more interdisciplinary institution, since that's the nature of my work, or perhaps just less.

What I've been planning to do on my leave is focus on my writing and possibly take some graduate classes and begin working toward a PhD.* I say possibly because I wanted Mr. Man to choose the PhD program that was best for him** and then work around that, in no small part because I was being VERY wishy washy during application season. One thing I did last fall was submit applications to MFA programs in writing at the schools where Mr. Man was applying. My first choice in terms of program quality was the University of Arizona, which was Mr. Man's fourth choice out of four.

Surprisingly to both of us (low self esteem much?), not only was he accepted to his two top choices, as you know, but recently I was accepted to Arizona. So, now our tough choice is whether or not to live apart for the two years I'd be in the program. Today, I'm leaning toward it, but yesterday I wasn't. And that was the big admission I made public this week. Many of my colleagues thought I was applying to PhD programs, but to be honest, the only reason I was thinking PhD was so I'd be more competitive in academia. If I'm not going to stay in academia, I don't need to invest the time or energy in a PhD. That said, enrolling in an MFA writing program could be great for my writing, but it would be a really big step away from my current position.

Craft, think, and breathe. Repeat.

Time to go wake my husband from his nap. We're headed out for a busy night - first an a cappella concert, then an awards ceremony for one of his majors, then a gallery opening/art extravaganza/thing for a friend. Should be fun. Should be dinner in there somewhere.

I'll be back tomorrow!

* I have two terminal graduate degrees but no PhD.
** He chose Buffalo! Anyone from Buffalo?

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