While I was supposed to be working for the past two days in Staunton, VA, I have actually enjoyed a short road trip interrupted by work. It has been an interesting time, especially when you consider that we had 51 English professors staying in the same hotel working on a common project. We held a poll and, if our results are reliable, it is true that all English professors....
1) have a cat. It is federal law.
2) alternate between coffee and hot tea during the day.
3) prefer to use an ink colour other than red for grading.
4) wish they taught something that could be quizzed True or False by mid-term.
5) love to eat... and eat... and eat....
We had a grand time, even though we were working most of the time, and enjoyed visiting and meeting new colleagues and renewing old friendships.
We finished early yesterday afternoon, so I scooted to visit Carole at Orchardside Yarn Shop where I spent too much money and had too much inspiration. Ultimately, I ended up with yarn for a shawl (I love 'em!), a book, and one pattern along with some fiber made from recycled blue jeans. Frankly, I could have brought more home, but I plan to visit Jackie at Wild and Wooly in Lexington, MA, in two weeks, so I couldn't bring myself to buy more.
I took the country road route back to the Stonewall Jackson Hotel where I drove past the most wonderful antebellum houses. Tucked neatly off the road by at least a half mile, the houses were surrounded by lovely, swaying oaks and maples. It is haying time, one of my favorite times of year, and the pastures were as neat as golf courses. I could picture horse drawn wagons and carriages conveying lovely ladies in neat and colourful dresses to the house doors. It felt as though I had stepped back in time. Dinner was a caprese salad, which is simply sliced, blood-red tomatoes topped with thin slices of handmade mozzarella and fresh herbs and smothered in olive oil, at a dear little Italian restaurant where we were nearly tossed out for giggling too loud and too much. Dear me, I hate to think how giggly I would get if I drank! We told stories about students, our worse papers, and our favorite authors. I was nearly disgusting when we talked about Emerson, Alcott, and Thoreau.
Last night, we went en masse to see "Taming of the Shrew" at Blackfriar's Theater and it was a wonderful frolic. Yours truly and a friend volunteered to sit in the "Lords and Ladies" section in the upper balcony above the stage. We were surrounded by cushions and had the vantage point of watching our colleagues below as well as being included in the play. Frankly, I am half in love with the Chris Johnston who portrayed Biondello, a jester and servant in the play. He was adorable! Then, it was back to the hotel where I taught the bartender to make my favorite drink, a raspberry lime rickey (1/2 jigger of grenadine, 1 jigger sweetened lime juice, over ice, fill glass with soda and stir -- refreshing) and he kissed my noggin in appreciation. Off to bed, after a long chat with my gal pal from Eastern Shore Community College and up early to work all day today.
It was a fun trip, not nearly as dreadful as I feared. Maybe all work sessions should have a play / yarn/ ricky break. I think I will bring it up at the next English peer group meeting!