Grandparents are on their way back to Virginia. Kids are in school and daycare. Classes have begun, thrusting me back into the realm of individual effort (my classes, my students) rather than the teamwork of the summer (our conference, our policies).
And that means a sudden increase in the amount of time I have to spend on the projects on my plate. A whole evening to watch TV and knit, not just the time after we're done with our Rummikub game. Two hours in the office (with students coming by occasionally) to monkey with the syllabus and assignment info I'm putting up online. Even half an hour to write a long e-mail to Jane about the summer.
Looked at from the right angle, an hour spent in a training lecture is a few good ideas and four inches of the lace pattern on my ELBS. A none-too-exciting thesis presentation is a me-myself-and-I brainstorming session for the mission statement we've been hashing out. I can multitask in most situations -- the only exceptions being in class and in one-on-one meetings with students.
What's often missing is a long enough block of time to play around with something, to follow a train of thought, to work through a problem from issue to solution. I had stretches this summer where that was the norm, because nobody was in the office but me -- but I also didn't have immediate tasks demanding my attention that focused me. Now I have both tasks and time. Strange that I have that feeling on the first day of classes, the moment where one expects the schedule to get unmanageable.
My biggest task for the night is to decide what sock pattern to cast on next. It won't last, but a moment to breathe is as welcome as the flowers in spring.
Next week: Dinner at work two nights out of five! Wait, what was this entry about?