So I did in fact conk out around 6 yesterday. Oh, I stayed awake, but I spent the rest of the evening on the phone with Susan and Jed and Roshani and Susan again -- I didn't get any more work done. But I did turn on my Christmas lights and light one of my vanilla pillar candles and curl up in my papasan in the sunroom drinking mulled apple cider (easiest recipe in the world: simmer cider (or juice if you can't get cider) on the stove with whole cinnamon and cloves until it smells good, then drink) wrapped in a warm blanket. It's funny; I rarely light my candles when it's just me in the apartment. I should light them more often. It was really nice, especially the combined scents of pine and vanilla.
So no avoiding the grading today. I start back on it as soon as I finish this entry, and work through until 9, when I have a teleconference re: AE. That shouldn't take more than an hour, and then I pack up and go downtown to intersperse working at the Borders in the mall with bits of shopping (everything from a formal dress for Christmas Day to dishwashing detergent to tinsel and lights for the tree). If I have time, I'll stop at the craft store -- I've been itching to do so. I'd like to make at least one silly crafty thing for Christmas this year. All around me are people making soap and candles and other fabulous stuff and I am feeling pathetic because I am so craft-inept. My craft attempts still generally look like a fifth grader did them. But when I talked to Kirsten about it a week or so ago she pointed out that it was something you needed to practice, so I'm gonna practice. I think what I'm going to try to make is a Christmas card holder. I don't like just taping them to the wall, and I don't much like those criss-cross ribbon ones either (big corkboard, ribbons crisscrossed and glued down so that you can insert cards into the interstices). I think I may try to find a dowel, paint it, tie cord onto the ends (so it kind of looks like a hangar, but prettier), and then hang long ribbons off it. The idea would then be to pin cards onto the ribbons, which should look at least neat, if not attractive. :-) I may just decide it's all too much effort, but I've been wanting to do it. Of course, if I do a good job and hang it up, then no one will send me cards.
I've also been wanting to crochet something again. I failed miserably at knitting in high school; got from the bottom of a sweater up through the arms, connected it, was about to do the neck and thought perhaps I should try it on and realized that not only would it not fit me, but that I would need to find a pudgy dwarf with really long arms if I wanted someone to actually wear the thing. So I gave up. I switched to crocheting, and start an afghan, which actually worked fairly well once I realized that I needed to loosen the stitches a lot for it to actually feel like an afghan and not a tightly crocheted sweater in the shape of an afghan. It ended up being rectangular at one end and sort of hot-air balloon shaped at the other. But soft and comfy, which is why I'm inspired to make another stab at it. I kept thinking about it in California, but I'm not convinced that you can crochet unless there's snow on the ground.
Tonight Paul and Marcia and Susan are coming over for dinner and tree-trimming (they don't know about that last part :-). Cookies and cider are a must for after dinner, of course, but I'm not sure what to make for dinner. Fancy vegetarian but not too complicated or expensive is what I'm leaning towards. Will think about it.
I'm really avoiding that grading, aren't I? It's amazing. I'm already thinking 'hmm...I'm almost done, maybe I should read that Hanne story beforehand, and shouldn't I go look up recipes first too (looking up recipes can eat up a good half hour, easy), and I really need to wash my hair and if I don't do it soon, I'll be going outside with soaking wet hair instead of moderately damp hair which will just be begging for a cold'. Okay, I know you get colds from viruses. But it *is* true that it's a bad idea to go outside with wet hair, right? I assume that's because it makes your head really cold, which makes you cold, which lowers your body's overall resistance, making you more susceptible to catching whatever viruses are lingering around? Am I making this up? My other theory is that if you eat a lot in winter, you don't catch bad colds, because your body has plenty of stuff to fight the viruses off with. That is so unscientific that it scares me. Next thing you know I'll be doing stretches to make myself taller (my mother's idea) and drinking cabbage soup to lose weight.