It’s conceivable that someone, somewhere, has been asking that question. The short answer is “not much” and the long answer is below.
Ok. “Not much” actually covers it pretty well.
I spent August alternately getting ready for school and pretending school wasn’t about to start. This year I’m teaching 2 sections of introductory composition and one section of basic composition, serving on faculty senate, and “helping” our assessment guru, which means I’ve been given a course reduction so I’ll have time to nag faculty into submitting their assessment data.* Classes started Monday 8/25 and now I’m using the 3-day weekend to catch up, decompress, and clean out my car. What a glamorous life I lead.
Sunday 8/24 was my 45th birthday. Some friends threw me a beer ‘n’ nibbly things party and I got a few small gifts. I also received some Amazon.com cash and FABULOUS chocolate cookies from Jennifer in Reno and some actual cash (45 one-dollar bills) and 8 skeins of red alpaca yarn from big sis Linda. So even though I’m 45 (how did that happen???), I can’t complain.**
In crafting news, I’m crocheting a dense woolen vest, small child sized, to donate to Afghans for Afghans‘ winter clothing drive. Crochet is getting harder and harder on my right wrist, but if I knitted the vest it would never get finished; I crochet SO much faster than I knit. The vest is pretty cute — The front panels are variegated red/yellow/green wool that I hand dyed years ago, alternated with thin dark green stripes. The back is tan (leftover from Robin’s felted bag) and I’ll edge the whole thing in the dark green. My buddy Kathy is contributing vintage buttons from her vast store. I’ll post a pic when it’s done.
On the pet front, Ricky is recovered from a short dog fight 3 weeks ago which left him with a good-sized tear on his left cheek right below his eye. Three stitches and he had to be sedated to get them put in (and nearly to get them cut out — he is SUCH a big, howling baby). My friend Ellen, whose dog Rosie did the damage, split the vet bill with me and gave Ricky a big bag of Beggin’ Strips dog treats. When I spent a day away from home making cheese (see below), Ricky managed to open the pantry door, pull out the bag, savage it open in the living room, devour all the treats, and lick the bag shards clean. I’d say his recovery is complete.
Violet, my little Havanese*** mix, proved true to her (possible) working dog heritage last night. Havanese are from Cuba, where they were owned by the wealthy and kept as housepets, yet they seem to have a pretty strong herding instinct. Some sources say they were trained to keep ducks and chickens and such in or off certain parts of the estates’ lawns and gardens. At any rate, they are very sturdy little dogs and quite smart. Kathy and Mark have 6 ducks on their farm and have recently put in a large pond, which the duck of course adore. Last night, Kathy and I were sitting by the pond debriefing**** from the school week. I always take Violet to the farm because she is completely dependable off leash (unlike a certain beagle/husky we live with) and she loves running around. Anyway, after swimming for a bit the ducks wandered off. About 10 minutes later they came running for the pond, Violet behind them. But she wasn’t chasing them the way she’d chase a cat, she was clearly herding them, trotting back and forth behind them, keeping them together and moving forward. And the ducks clearly weren’t afraid of her; she wasn’t attacking, just herding. And when she arrived at the pond herself, she gave us a huge smile — so proud! We were cracking up.
One summer afternoon, Kathy, Sharon, and I got together to make homemade mozzarella cheese using a Cheese Queen kit. It was SO easy and really took only 1/2 hour. While making the cheese — stirring, heating, cutting curd, kneading and stretching — in Kathy’s old farmhouse kitchen, we chatted about how satisfying it was and how we felt like we were extras in “Little House on the Prairie”.***** Of course, the pioneers probably did not 1) make mozzarella and 2) eat the whole thing immediately afterward with fresh pesto, heirloom tomatoes, and a nice red wine. Poor things.
And that’s all my news, fit to print or not.
*My qualifications? I’m an accomplished nag — ask my ex-husband!
**but I probably will anyway
***if ever you are looking for a small dog that IS NOT yappy and IS very much a “real” dog — playful, loyal, brave, a good watchdog — consider a Havanese or H-mix. I’d get another one in a minute.
*****and the real Little House isn’t too far away — De Smet, South Dakota.