Tuesday, December 18, 2007

things without all remedy should be without regard

Today I entered grades. It's always difficult, both technologically and emotionally.

But this also means that *break officially begins* for me!

Last week was filled with holiday parties (department "winter wonderland," grad student debauchery), last minute meetings (orals, MLA), and tests (giving and taking). My French exam was ridiculous: the last question, which seemed to be a comment on the entire exam, was the following:

The word 'ainsi' at the beginning of paragraph x best translates as which of the following:

A. Therefore
B. Consequently
C. Along the same lines
D. Subsequently

I kid you not. This is for a one quarter French course that assumes no prior knowledge, and that has the goal of getting us to the point of a "basic understanding" of the language in 10 weeks. The language requirement seems to be a holdover from the days when academics knew multiple languages, and before the invention of things like, well, machine translation. Be that as it may, I do like having an overview of the language, and a *very rough* idea of what Becky Sharp is saying in Vanity Fair when she makes fun of someone in French. How is this the second edition of Vanity Fair that I've gone through that neglects to offer footnotes of the French? It's a critical edition and will alert me to any subtle changes between the early versions of the novel, but no translations.

Anyway. Saturday morning Meredith took me to the airport, and I was back in Oregon by lunchtime. Mum, Mer, & I went to Target (rare for them), a shopping complex, & out to coffee to meet up with Mer's gentleman friend.

Sunday I did a ton of grading, baked some cookies (to add to the two prior batches we made that day: Swedish tea cakes, cranberry orange cookies, and lemon sage blackberry jam thumbprints), and tried buffalo. For the past two days, I've been helping Mer take care of the Whitman alpacas (*so many baby alpacas!*). Yesterday was a grading extravaganza (I graded 3 final exams, 8 papers, calculated all the final grades). Today I baked cinnamon rolls (a craving I had had going on for about the last month). In other words, trying to balance hunching over papers with physical work. The impulse toward manual labor.

For now, time to sleep.

Tomorrow, Andrew arrives!

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