As of last Friday, my first year of teaching is done. Students are graduated, grades are in. There are (of course and always) a few loose ends to tie up for this semester, but the most active part is finished.

I am exhausted.

I’ve pushed harder than I really could afford to push all year, and then I’ve been pushed farther by a department hungry for service. I wish I could say that the year ended with triumph at graduation, but really it was more of a falling over the finish line, gasping for breath. By all accounts, it was a successful year, but making it so has taken a lot out of me. (The fact that I’ve been too tired to knit for most of a month says a lot about just how much.)

Next week (as in tomorrow), I have three students starting in my research lab to work over the summer, so this past week was my only chance to recover a bit before diving back in. I ended up having to go in to work for two days of the five (sigh), but other than that I stayed home and did not much of anything.

I spun up a couple more skeins for the embroidered shetland sweater. I knit a few more inches on the body of Branden’s Blue Eyes sweater. There is hope that I will one day reach the end of it. I finished up the weaving on some tea towels to make room on the loom for new projects. And, yesterday, we spent all day finishing the landscaping in the back yard. Just the plants left to add, now.

Mostly, though, I kind of wandered around aimlessly and worked on projects when they happened to fall into my hands. I don’t have the brain power yet to be creative and think of new projects, though by Friday I was starting to see some glimmer of hope that it might return someday. I can’t say that I’m back on my feet quite yet, and I’m really not ready to start all over again tomorrow, but at least the pause let me catch my breath a little bit before the rush begins again.

I knew this year would be hard, and I intentionally cleared everything else from my schedule to make room for it. There were no ambitious projects, no outside activities. Simple stockinette with no deadlines, and no projects that required a lot of thought. There’s a time to buckle down and focus, and this year needed to be it. Next year is the year where I need to find some kind of balance, or (more probably) some kind of off-balance oscillation that allows me to exist outside of work for at least some portion of the year. I hope that means more time for crafting, among other things.

I have to say that I am looking at the ever-increasing list of things added to my workload for next year and wondering how on earth this is really going to happen, but I’m sure that somehow there must be a way. Hopefully the summer will be a place to work on that a bit, since most of the work for the summer months is long-term projects and building foundations for next year. These, at least, are things that depend on me alone, where I can set the pace. The list of things to do is overwhelming any way that I look at it, but at least the schedule will be my own and there will be fewer interruptions and emergencies from external sources (I hope). In the meantime, I fished a lingering UFO out of the closet to become my purse knitting this week, and I might just be able to reclaim my commuting space for knitting over the next few months.

So, yeah. Not much crafting at the moment, but at least a hope that there will be space for more soon. Yay for summer!