Sunday, September 21, 2008


This has been a long week...and I'm just talking personally, not referring to the financial markets! I can only compare it to a feeling I used to have as an undergraduate. I was a double major and many of my courses concluded not with a final exam, but a final paper. My exam week would always consist of writing several papers in a row. Wake up, have breakfast, write paper. Eat again at some point. Finish paper. Sleep on it. Wake up, turn it in, start the next one...and so on. When I turned the papers in, that meant a long trudge across campus. I'd leave the paper in a professor's mailbox, turn around, and go back to my dorm room or apartment. That was it. Other people had study groups, but I was a hermit. I used to love the chance to take an exam--not because I liked them (I liked writing papers, of course!) but because we'd all end a class together. There'd be closure, and it wasn't just an individual, somewhat lonely, experience.

Alas, life (for me) is often more like the paper writing routine. This week I sent off my proofs (early) to my publisher. A day later, I drove the 70 miles to Nashville for an appointment, parked, and just about collapsed in tears and exhaustion. Only later did my editor mention that, yeah, everyone feels exhausted after proofing the galleys for their books! Whew, I'm not crazy. Big relief! Also, it appears there are still changes to be made, we are still emailing madly about photos and things.

Several other things happened this week that struck me as, well, anti-climatic. I've had a quiet weekend to recuperate. This morning, I finally baked my first 100% successful loaves of rye and nine grain bread. The professor is just about fanatic about rye bread and it is impossible to buy a good loaf of it here. Good=hard crust, dark rye taste, nice crumb, and a few very healthy ingredients...and finally, I did it...the loaf on the left. He's very happy, and since the loaf has organic whole wheat, white, and rye flours, yeast, salt, cider vinegar and water in it, I know he's not eating anything bad in there! The secret? A long rising time, a very hot oven, this point,a lot of failures (ahem) experience with baking rye bread. For the first time, the professor actually suggested we have bread school during winter break so he could bake his own. Hallelujah! What could be better than that? A local artisanal bakery, maybe?

Another success? The Rambouillet spinning I mentioned here has turned into one luscious skein that I hope to replicate. I spun right from the slightly greasy lock. The singles were something like 3,024 yards per lb...very fine. The Navajo 3 ply is about 126 yards, total, at around 1,000 yards per lb. I think it's roughly sportweight to DK, although I haven't knit with it yet. I'm just too darn busy fondling it. I've had this Rambouillet since last October. It's about time it became something.

While I pondered the notion of all this anticlimax, I stood in the hall with my camera. The dogs wagged and dithered around me. Then when I asked them to sit, (repeatedly) Sally finally just plopped "down" and stayed still, tail wagging constantly. When we took Sally to obedience class in fall/winter 2005, she would not lay down in public. Not near other dogs, anyway, and that even included Harry, at home. It suddenly occurred to me today that I have been able to consistently say "down" to Sally and get results (with Harry right next to her) for months now. Not near other dogs and not outdoors...she's too nervous for that...but here it is, a perfect "down." No treats necessary. Wonder when that happened?

I know there's a point here somewhere...just like the papers I wrote, (look, I guess it worked--I became a writer.)or all the effort I spent on "Sally, Down!" I didn't see the pattern at the time. I can't help but think that this last week's economic news might end up being a paragraph in history books someday. We might be able to look back and say, "that's the week when deregulation died" Not with a bang but a whimper? (I'm not sorry to see the "self-regulation theory" go, I think...after all, if we were really all capable of self-regulation, would we need cops?)

What do you think about the news this week? About the notion of anticlimax? dog obedience? Deregulation?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gorgeous, gorgeous loaves. Good job!

I'd say deregulation is dying with a crash.

September 21, 2008 at 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lovely bread, lovely yarn, lovely down. Pat that dog, and then give yourself a pat on the back, too.

Congratulations on getting through the proofs. They're a hard job that arrives at an "I thought I was DONE with this, already!" time.6

September 22, 2008 at 9:20 AM  
Blogger Geek Knitter said...

Look at the blur of that tail!

Bread baking is one of the great wonders of life. I learned the basics of it in an afternoon, and I can tell that I will spend the rest of my life learning the art.

September 22, 2008 at 6:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good dog!

The bread looks delicious, I can practically smell it from here. And congratulations on the proofs--it IS exhausting.

As for the deregulation--if only enough people who'd really lived through the Depression as adults, not as the small children of same, at the time it was being considered, had spoken up and been listened to. My very-Republican grandfather, a US Senator himself, would definitely not have approved.

September 22, 2008 at 7:52 PM  
Blogger tp lowe said...

Nice meeting you Friday at the Kentucky Arts Council reception, Joanne. I'm off to order a couple of copies of your book next!

September 23, 2008 at 6:55 AM  

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