I love to make things, but I rarely set aside time to do so. I like to handsew and knit and bake, but I put those things off until some indeterminate point in the future when I'll have more free time - as if that's ever going to happen. This NY Times article that I found a while back ("Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow") really hit home. Like many people, I procrastinate when it comes to fun things as well as pain-in-the-butt tasks.

Luckily, I have some friends who feel similarly, so we've started meeting for a biweekly "crafternoon" during which we eat pizza and work on whatever projects have been languishing around our apartments. Earlier this winter, I finished crocheting an afghan that I'd begun before grad school and then put away for three years. I've repaired and altered a lot of my clothes at crafternoon, and I'm finally nearing the end of a hand-quilting project that I began in 2006. Stephen recently finished knitting a mitten that he'd had on the needles since college! I try not to get too ambitious and stress out over being super-productive, though. Sometimes I just chat and eat pizza if I'm not in a creative mood, or I'll make us a banana cake for dessert and call it a day. 

I'm surprised at the extent to which this phenomenon has improved my quality of life. Instead of feeling overwhelmed when I think of non-essential projects ("When will I have time to re-hem that skirt? Never."), I just add them to the crafternoon to-do list. Now I just need to learn to set aside time for all of the essential tasks that I procrastinate on. I don't suppose filing my tax return counts as a craft, does it?

P.S. We thought we were so creative coming up with the term crafternoon, but it turns out someone has already published a book with that name! Oh well.



I really like school. I hate doing homework and having assignments hanging over my head, but I like learning new things and the sense of progress that school gives you: every lecture, exam, and paper brings you one step closer to finishing the class, and each class completed means you're a step closer to a degree.

Even though I finished my Masters program last May, I decided to take a molecular biology class in the fall, and I’m going to take another in evolutionary biology next semester. I haven’t taken bio since high school, and I really liked learning about the human body and going to lab sessions. The exams were really tough, though. I had to re-adjust my expectations of a “good” grade. But I'm undaunted! In face, I’ve got a whole long list of classes (epidemiology, negotiations, etc) that I’d like to take once I'm done with these. It’s like a hobby now.

I like that school moves in cycles, with high and low points of activity and new people coming in each year. That’s one reason that I like working at a university, too--the cyclical nature of the work--although it’s sad when our favorite interns graduate and leave town.

But I also like the breaks from school, the negative space around the semesters. As difficult as it was cramming for my lab practical and final exam in mid-December, I felt so relieved and light as soon as I left the lecture hall on the last day. And I really treasure the hours I have now, between the fall and spring sessions, to catch up on reading-for-fun and projects around the apartment. And sleep!