Sometimes I just need to stop. That’s usually when the workload seems impossible and both spirit and body begin to flag.
Reading helps. Acting as if I were sick helps (staying on the couch or in bed, napping, doing all the things that I’d do if I were really sick, although usually for many fewer days than if the bug caught on for real). I’m usually reminded to do this sort of thing by "start of a cold" signals, which I’ve been dealing with. And I need to sing in a concert this Friday, so it’s a bad time to actually succumb (as if there were a good time).
So I rested all weekend (and should be still; I’m attempting to go at half-speed).
And I read: The Fresco, by Sheri S. Tepper, recommended by my daughter, and The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy through the Maze of Computer Espionage, by Clifford Stoll. The first is a science fiction novel, and I enjoyed it. It’s complex, with decent characterization and intriguing plot twists. The second is an older book (1989) about tracking computer hackers ("hackers" in the negative sense) that’s still relevant and interesting. It was even more of a cliffhanger to read than The Fresco.
The parenthetical R? or M? in the title of this post is about the felted catnip mice from Donna Druchunas’ Kitty Knits, which are about to be shipped to their new homes. They’ve been delayed by the need to knit and felt two more (the green ones) and a slight delay to determine (as far as I can tell) whether anyone is likely to get in trouble if I ship catnip across the U.S. border (I don’t think so, but section 138 of the International Mail Manual tells me I can ship live bees or fully desiccated lizards, and explains how to pack eggs for mailing; it’s okay to send live leeches, too . . . oh, and silkworms . . . that might actually be useful). The mice will need to be mailed directly from the post office and I want to get them all in one trip.
The felting, by the way, has taken place through the highly controlled and scientific method of throwing knitted-and-assembled-but-not-stuffed mouse forms in the washer and dryer with a load of towels and jeans. The two green mice were in a different load than the first six and felted a bit smaller and more tightly. When I saw them, I wondered if the first batch were really Rattus spp., but I have known some rats (white) and the profiles are not rat-like. So I think they are just big Mus spp. Fuzzy rodents, regardless. Of a friendly, useful, and nondestructive species, in this case.
I suspect the green mice will be a bit tougher than the less firmly felted versions, so I’ve reserved them for two cat-recipients in particular: my mother’s formerly feral kit (who may or may not be interested . . . he needs to learn to play, instead of attacking her furniture and rugs) and Mr. A., who is notorious for fiber-destructive tendencies. With Mr. A., the sturdier mouse may last a few seconds longer than one of the others.
A friend has just told me that the essay I wrote quite a while ago for the NPR-based "This I Believe" project has just turned up in "The Essay Shuffle" on the "This I Believe" web site. I thought that piece of writing had dropped into the deep, dark crater of oblivion. Apparently not. With luck, the first link (to my essay) will still work when the shuffle moves on to other people’s essays.