Friday, February 10, 2006

A rug pulls my whole day together

Yesterday was a good day. And it was all because of a rug.

The day started when I walked out my door at 8:30 am to find the new rug I'd ordered from Pier 1 had arrived. When had it done so? Was my doorbell not working again? Good thing it was not stolen from my very open-to-view front stoop, as seen here:

The luck I had in it not getting stolen was a good omen. Then I brought the rug to school, as I'd ordered it for my office, which has very ugly, old, stained, mustard-yellow carpet. I've done all sorts of things to work with the mustard color and also distract from it, first having the walls painted two shades of tealish blue, which also helps make my 7'x7' office look bigger. Here's a picture of the wall colors, with the ugly carpet:

In the picture the walls colors look more true-blue than they are. They're really a teal-ish blue. And the carpet looks less mustardy that it is. Trust me -- it looks just like traditional mustard. And you can also see a glimpse of the 'chocolate kiss' door jamb. I couldn't do anything about the black foot guard thingy, unfortunately, though at least it matches the black in the casement windows.

And then I added a wicker chair and a multi-colored pillow that picks up on a lot of the colors I'm throwing together (also Pier 1 budget buys). It's really the pillow that pulls the whole room together, but the post title is a Big Lebowski reference, of course. Anyway, here's a bit of the chair and pillow, along with a throw that I bought on the Isle of Man at the Laxey Woolen Mills (founded by Ruskin and still in operation and, more amazing still, not an overpriced tourist trap!):

And I also added curtains of a bronzey-sagey color, with which the rug coordinates beautifully. Here are the curtains (again the colors aren't quite true to life):
Not pictured anywhere here is the small, white-washed computer desk that I bought to replace the gargantuan oak number that really took up half of my miniscule office. I bought that at Pier 1 as well. I *heart* Pier 1. But it's the rug that really makes the room. It covers the stains, warms the place up, and makes sense of all the other colors. I love it and it made an aesthetically pleasing start to my day. (Now all I have to do is get some pictures on the walls.)

Then everything else fell into place. First, teaching...Finally, at the end of the 5th week of classes, 1/3 through the semester, all three of my classes went well and I felt my old teaching self. There were a couple of technical snafus, but even they couldn't bring me down. For instance, I couldn't figure out how to get the visual part to work with the VCR in the high-tech, multi-media projection system in my first class, so I couldn't show my Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar Rock video, but we did listen to some of it. (Yes, you read that right. I was trying to show Schoolhouse Rock in a college class. It's Old English and in the 5th week some of them still don't understand what the parts of speech are or what "phrases" and "clauses" and "conjunctions" are, and that's essential. I thought a few catchy jingles might make it stick.) And then in the literature class, the department laptop I'd borrowed didn't have the password written on it anywhere (as they usually do) so the chair had to get me another one and I started class a little thrown off and rushed through the presentation of the Bayeux Tapestry, digital edition. But aside from all that, students were in a good mood, they were talkative, I was confident and myself, and I felt like each class had accomplished something.

And so I ended my last class feeling invigorated instead of exhausted, and thus headed to the gym with plenty of energy for a 5-mile run. And that, too, went well. I picked up the pace each mile and did a fast finish. Excellent.

Isn't it amazing how a good teaching day can make other parts of one's life go well? And really, I owe it all to that rug. Never underestimate the power of aesthetic pleasure. :)


Katie said...

How do you find the Bayeux Tapestry digital edition? I was considering purchasing it, but held back because it says it requires Mac OS 7 or later...pretty ancient. Is it worth it, do you think?

Anonymous said...

But where is a picture of the rug????

Anonymous said...

DUH, just found the link. However I would have loved to have seen it in situ.

La Lecturess said...

I LOVE your office (or what I can see of it). The colors are gorgeous and I'm impressed by everything you've done to spruce the place up!

It sounds like your building was designed when mine at Big Urban was, too--we have TINY offices (everyone does, not just the lecturers), which are pretty concrete-industrial. At least we have plain, hard floors, however, made out of whatever they use for high school hallways.

Dr. Virago said...

Katie -- I *love* the digital BT. It's so fabulous to be able to scroll through it continuously and to give students a sense of its dimensions. Plus you can enlarge it enough to see the stitches. It has lots of supporting apparatus, too -- commentary, maps, a glossary of names, places, and events, etc. And though I haven't done it yet, you can make individual digital slides from it for Power Point, etc.

I use a PC, but I happen to know that Martin Foys, the creator, is a Mac man. Don't know if that makes a difference to you, but I thought I'd mention it.

Virgo Sis -- I took the other pictures earlier (note the greenery in front of my home!) so that's why I don't have my own picture of the rug. I will borrow the Boyfriend's digital camera and take more pictures at some point.

Lecturess -- our building is actually a WPA building from the 30s, which is totally cool. But that means it's pretty utilitarian on the inside (though gorgeous collegiate gothic on the outside). And my office is a little weird because they divided up old classrooms in the 70s and made more offices. That's part of why it's so tiny (I swear, it's the smallest in the department) and why the carpet color (and the original, hideous, made-to-match, never-been-cleaned curtains) is so 70s.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm just impressed you've gone to such effort for your office at school! My carpet there is decent, however, so it helps. The walls are cream, but one wall is windows, one wall is lined with bookshelves, one wall is the doorway (not much more than that!), and the last wall has a big huge lateral file cabinet and my desk against it, so now that I have some stuff on the walls you don't see much of the walls anyway. There's only room for my desk (massive, and brand new, and I like it, so that's good), the file cabinet, my chair, and one chair for visitors. Not much to coordinate! But your office looks awesome! The colors are all great (ahhh, to have colors in my office! I have some maps, that's about it0.

Dr. Virago said...

New Kid, I should make clear that I didn't do the painting *myself*. When I moved here and picked the office, the secretary handed me the paint chip book and said, "Pick the colors you want," and then in a few weeks it was done by one of the maintenance guys. And wacky colors seem to be a theme in our department. The Indo-European linguist has hers painted almost fuschia, and the African-Americanist, who also works on Carribean lit, has a Carribean color scheme with a different color on every wall. Victorianist colleague went with soothing Arts and Crafts colors, but I have to say her office is certainly a calm place to be!

Bardiac said...

OMG, I'm so jealous of your office colors!

When I moved in here, I took over what had been a much loathed admin assistant's office. The walls are painted concrete block; at least a non offensive off white. But at the top of the walls, all around, is the MOST hideous flower pattern little wallpaper but not wallpaper edging.

If I'm going to have flowers, I need them to be bold and brassy, and these are country pathetic.

I tried to take that wallpaper down, but it didn't come off well at all.

Happily, it appears I'll be moving into a new office next fall!

Dr. Virago said...

Bardiac -- Country. *Shudder*

Anonymous said...

I show Grammar Rock to my OE students, too! My heart thrills when we get to pronouns. Ah, Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla.

Dr. Virago said...

Oh yeah, GD, now I remember how much you like that one. I'll have to play it on Tuesday in your honor. :)