Surviving without my computer for three days was surprisingly easy. On Saturday, I went with some friends to a big arts and crafts show that included a booth full of my friend Quilt Artist's work. We all wandered about, supposedly doing our holiday shopping but mostly chatting with everyone there and buying things for ourselves in the name of supporting local artists. I like it when I can talk to the person who made the item I'm buying, whether it's a handmade necklace or an earth-colored mug or a quilted potholder. I don't do a whole lot of holiday shopping because I don't want to support evil corporations, but it's my opinion that everyone in family can always use another locally made mug.
In the afternoon, I ate lunch with Reiki Friend at a new coffee place downtown, a cosy place with funky decor and an incredible vegan menu. We talked about teenage sons while we ate steaming lentil soup, a tofu wrap, and thick carrot cake. I came home that afternoon with the intention of grading papers, a whole big stack of them, but instead somehow ended up building a fire, hanging out with the kids, and then taking a nap on the couch. I just love to sit by the fire when it's cold and snowing outside.
Saturday night, for the first time in about 21 years, Spouse and I had the house to ourselves. The boys went over to visit Quick, the extra who had surgery over Thanksgiving and who is still house-bound. Spouse braved the cold winter night to go get us some take-out food, which we ate in front of the fire. Needless to say, grading papers was not on the agenda.
But Sunday, I was determined. With my husband off doing errands, the boys working on homework, and my computer still broken, I had no excuse. I sat on the couch by the fire and graded paper after paper, stopping only every five minutes or so to get something to eat. By late afternoon, just as blue shadows were creeping across the snow-covered lawn outside the windows, I had finished the whole stack.
As much as I complain about grading student papers, I will admit that I learn all kinds of things from read them. I read about the nutritional facts of the Big Mac, I learned ways that schizophrenia is treated, I read the history of the Endangered Species Act, I learned why willows are an ideal source of biomass. But from all the papers I read, one bit of information sticks out most in my mind. It was a sentence taken from a paper about surviving in the wilderness: "When lost, it is important to be able to distinguish between poisonous and non-poisonous snakes, as the latter is a valuable food source." I am still thinking about the implications of that.
Today, the replacement part for my computer came in, and I raced over icy roads to get the computer fixed. And now I am home by the fire, with the winds wailing outside the window, a cat at my side, and a warm computer in my lap.