Normally, I’d be off…

Normally, I'd be off teaching right now, but my munckins are doing their individual research papers, so they have the day off to go research -- which means the day off for their teacher too. I might go in anyway; I have post-colonialism today. But the argument against is that there's a ton of snow coming down -- the tree in front of my window has branches that will soon be sagging from the weight of snow -- and that it might be better for class anyway if I spent today reading Funny Boy and Cinnamon Gardens, the two books by Shyam Selvadurai that I was thinking of using for my final paper.

I need to also:

  • finish up the Kay article/review
  • do a proposal for a paper on electronic publishing and its influence on the genre of speculative fiction for ICFA, due today
  • revise my essays for the Soros application
  • finish that stupid driving booklet (yes, I'm actually thinking I may try to get the test done before I leave for Christmas break, though that's probably a bit dubious, and maybe not so wise given the snow)
  • do minor revisions on "A Gentle Man" and send it out
  • revise "Sister Mary" for my final class portfolio
  • do final comments for my erotica class
  • grade research papers and quizzes
Of course, I don't have to do all of that today. Some of those can wait a few days, some can wait a week, some can wait 'til the end of November, and the driver's license can wait until May or so (if I don't finish within a year of starting lessons, I have to pay and do them all over again). But I do have all of today (if I skip post-co) and tomorrow free, and much of Saturday. Jed's coming for a brief visit Saturday-Monday; we'll probably get some work done Sunday and Monday but I plan to goof off some too. :-) I think I'm going to stay home and see how far I can get on the work; the fridge is stocked, the heat is on, and since I'm the only one in the house, nobody will know if I play Christmas music a little early...

I love the Christmas season. I'm not religious, but I still think the whole Jesus story is rather sweet, and I adore writing cards and picking presents and wrapping presents and putting brown paper parcels in the mail and stringing up icicle lights in the sunroom and having friends over to drink home-made wassail and eat trifle and plum pudding and open Christmas crackers and help me trim the tree...maybe we'll even play a typical Dickens party game, like Charades or Animal, Vegetable, Mineral. I'm rigorously not letting myself decorate until December 1st, (besides, I'm still enjoying my little pumpkin candleholders), but I started writing Christmas cards yesterday. I try to send those out early, by the first week of December, so that my friends get reminded that Christmas cards are nice, and maybe they should send some before Christmas. :-) Yes, guilt is a powerful tool, and one I'm not ashamed to use in a good cause.

By the way, did I mention my little domestic project? I've been making stained glass candleholders. They are excessively easy. Here's what you do:

  1. Collect jam jars (and other small jars of interesting shapes -- you may want to go a little nuts like I did and empty half-full jars into tupperware containers). Remove labels. Wash and dry them.
  2. At the local crafts store, buy transparent stained glass paints. Maybe $2-3 a jar. And a small paintbrush if you don't have one already. I bought a cobalt-y blue and a deep red; I'm going back for a deep green soon.
  3. Paint the outside of the jars with a thick coat of paint (or two thin coats). Let dry -- at least an hour, and three might be better.
  4. Stick tea lights (or other steady candles) inside them. Light. One alone is kind of pretty, but a cluster of six or so is really...magical. Feels like Christmas. :-) Beautiful and simple table decoration you make yourself, and you can do it while watching Voyager. Although I do have one jam jar with exceptionally stubborn glue. I've tried hot water, alcohol, Fantastic, Chlorox...no luck. Any suggestions? It's one of my prettiest jars -- a six-sided feta cheese jar -- and I'd hate to give it up.

    See, I don't work hard all the time. I have another project for the stained glass paints too, but I need to go buy sheets of glass and a glass cutter first. Will tell you about it if it happens. I'm sure you're on the edge of your seats with excitement.

    Before I go, one more election comment -- I have to agree with Patrick -- I do think some aspects of this whole thing are kinda funny, and kinda cool. Though I'm still hoping for a re-vote in Florida.

    1:45. Several suggestions came in for my glue problem -- you guys are so domestic! :-) One was an SOS pad and soap/water -- no dice there; I tried that for quite a while yesterday. And steel wool just turned the glue grey with little steel fuzz. Another reader said that naptha (lighter fluid) is the universal solvent for sticky stuff; I didn't want to go out today, and I don't have it around the house, so while it's undoubtedly correct, I didn't try it. But what I did try was the suggestion of a third reader, of acetone (found in nail polish remover) -- and it works! I suspect pure acetone would work better, but this definitely made it possible to scrub off the remaining glue. Also made me a bit dizzy (she warned me to work in a well-ventilated area; did I listen? At least I didn't light any fires next to the stuff). So problem solved, and thanks for all the advice!

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