Saturday, July 28, 2007

Super-Do Saturday

Today, I'm up at a decent time after spending a late night with Similarly Self-Reflective and Fabulous Friend. (We had fabulous appetizers over at a swank restaurant and then stayed up talking. What fun!) I've even managed to get coffee (not that I took a shower or anything).

Now, I'm happily installed at my writing desk, Mr. Tabby on my lap, and I'm going to try to get stuff done. Yes! You guessed it! It's time for to-do lists!
  1. Go through Peppy Advisor's edits.
  2. Finish dastardly Works Cited citations.
  3. Collect all the separate files into one uber-dissertation file. (optional)
  4. Attempt managing the page numbering problem. (optional)
  5. Attempt TOC. (optional)
  6. Go to liquor store.
  7. Go to grocery.
  8. Buy flowers! (Only icky flowers at the store. Why didn't I go to the farmer's market? Why, why, why?)
  9. Clean up the house, especially the crazy table.
  10. Work out in some fashion. (Doh! Cleaning is working out!)
  11. Shower.

You know what a to-do list means: lots of boring updates! Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Do you love taking tests to learn more about yourself?

Obviously! I love the intelligences test, which I've never taken before but which I've heard a lot about since my mother teaches K-12, where I guess they pay more attention to the varying abilities of students (perhaps though, now, with No Child Left Behind, pay it lip service) than in the academy.

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Though getting into Myers-Briggs helps me understand why some freshman comp students (especially) seem to demand step-by-step instructions. Writing isn't a paint-by-numbers kit! If only! Ahh, I can tell I'll be in the classroom in six weeks. I'm totally not packed or ready or have made a syllabus (though Adventure U's program is quite structured, so the unfolding of my classes will be structurally the same as other people's teaching the same class -- this actually makes me more nervous, makes me think I need more prep rather than less). I'm not even done with the Works Cited of my dissertation, nor some typos that Peppy Advisor is going to tell me about today. ACK! Less than a month! I can't think about it. I was once so excited about it; now I don't want to go at all because OPL can't come with me. So we'll be the kind of long distance that means that weekend getaways are totally impossible. I'll be lucky to see him every couple months. And even that's expensive! Gah!

You can see that all of these things are so close together in my head that I can barely think about one without thinking about the other. So today's plan to not go insane includes the following:
  • Therapeutic yoga. (Probably only fifteen minutes.)
  • Therapeutic sushi-eating with Angry Young Colleague and Ex-Writing Partner (yes, one person, though he might bring his not-so-wee bairn).
  • Working on Works Cited and typos.
  • Doing dishes, eventually, so that OPL is fooled into thinking that I can actually keep my own nest clean.
  • Begging Fabulous Friend to go and do something silly with me, which may include coloring in coloring books (go ahead and laugh: you're just jealous I have such fabulous coloring books), painting, roller skating, or some other thing FF's cooked up in her head that I haven't even thought of yet! I wonder if the Children's Museum would paint my face, since I've gone off makeup entirely.

I should look at some of the materials that Adventure U sent me about my classes. I should do a lot of things. I went and bought file boxes yesterday. Doesn't that count for something???

Anyway, to get back to the point of this blogpost before all this anxiety shoved and elbowed its way to the fore, is that it's very odd and interesting to me that Naturalist came up so high. I haven't gone camping in ages and didn't like it when I went last. (In all fairness, though, I went with the most depressed man who had just broken up with his long-time girlfriend. And I hadn't yet figured out my health concerns so that camping could be easy. I'm better now. That was over ten years ago. Camping is probably like yams: I hated them for years, then suddenly tried them, as I am wont to do just to make sure things haven't changed, and then I went crazy, unable to get enough of yams.) But here's a crazy thing: when I was in high school, I had to take those assessment things of your interests. I so wanted those things to say that I should go into writing. I was looking for any little encouragement, especially since I got kicked out of Honor's English (I know, I know -- do you know how hard it is to write a really effective essay on why Hamlet really did love Ophelia when you're in tenth grade?). Guess what my top was? Agriculture! What am I doing in English? (The next two, which were about equal, were clerical and the arts.) I do love plants and cottage gardens and have long dreamt about planting one of those wonderful front gardens that are really fruits and vegetables organized to look pretty? Can I just ask why it is that I'm going to Adventure U, where I'm not going to be able to plant the roots (French Kiss, I know, I know: I don't have an original thought in my head) I so long for? OY! Yogatime!


It's absolutely impossible for me to resist a personality test -- I mean, what if this is the one that will finally explain me to myself?! So, as seen over at Sisyphus's place, here is what the latest personality test said about me:

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Really though, the last full Myers-Briggs I did said I was an extravert, which means that I would be the advocate -- those fabulous nutjobs who feel that they've got some important mission to do in the world. Similar to the INFPs, they want to live according to their values. My peeps!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Woof I'm Tired Song

So I think I've been letting this blog become all about my trials and tribulations with OPL lately. I know y'all need an update, so here it is, but then I think we need to get back to our regularly-scheduled program: academic absurdity! So in the past couple days, I got into a much better headspace. We had had a phone conversation where I felt like I said some really strong things -- and I just got to this place where I felt good about knowing that I'm strong enough to make the leap when I see the unknown beckoning. I can take leaps of faith. Whether OPL can, I thought, has nothing to do with my worthiness, and I should enjoy my own conviction and feeling that I'm in line with the universe. Now it turns out that he's coming out to Grad City and will be here this weekend!! (Am I the only one here who feels kind of weird about talking about their romantic life on their blog? I just feel like OPL should have some say in how's he represented here. I think I'm going to make a line between what's me expressing what's going on with me and what is going on for him.)

Now while this makes me want to clean my entire apartment pronto (except that woof! I'm tired), it really doesn't mean any immediate (I mean today) change in my life. Because yesterday, I was a busy little bee: I worked for five hours on editing a fascinating dissertation, did my laundry and changed the sheets and towels, dealt with some long-overdue money stuff, finally got my mail because I lost my mailbox key again and had to hang my head and ask my management company for a new one, sorted a good deal of mail, and swept the house. Is that all I did? It felt like so much more. Also, I watched the most romantic movie of all time: Possession, which I think reminds all English majors why we got into this profession (not for the glory of the discovery, but for the sheer romance of it all: please discuss) and also combines a smart modern mystery/love story in the much under-movied academy with a torrid period piece romance. What's not to love!

So the big event of the day is that I need to finish editing this fascinating (not mine) dissertation. I am becoming a whiz (slowly) at APA. Then, gulp, I have to figure out all the formatting for the page numbering, which I think means sections and stuff that I have no idea how to do. The good news is that once I figure it out for her dissertation, my own dissertation, I hope, will be a breeze. But can I just say: MLA is ridiculous enough, but to try to get used to another style guide enough so that I can look at a citation and see if it's wrong is very challenging. What about the way they don't capitalize their book titles? I got through the dissertation last night, but then only got to the Es in the "References" (not "Works Cited").

Here's my hopeful and therefore probably totally unrealistic to-do list for the day:
  • Get past the Es all the way down to the last Zed on this dissertation.

  • Conquer Word and figure out how to format dissertations into sections so that all our weird absurdist formatting will all come out okay.
  • Get through my own Chapter 4 editing, which has been languishing because this other dissertation is so fascinating.
  • Read and take notes on Review Book for at least at minimum 1 hour!!!
  • Start brainstorming notes for follow-up interviews so that I can get them through IRB before I leave (ha ha).
  • Oh, and at some point, take shower and stop being such a sloth. Which means store-bought coffee!

You will notice that there is no cleaning in this list. Already the list is so long that I want to go back to sleep (because woof I'm tired), but really I should be going through these stacks of papers and books and notebooks and deciding what's going into storage and what's going with me and what's going to the recycle bin. Oy. I should get my butt into the shower, but let's face it: I have many blogs to catch up on before I shower. (Blogs to read before I wake, blogs to read before I wake.)

***Update 5:15pm***

Okay, I was derailed from really getting some good blogreading done by important phone calls. But now I'm totally tired, haven't really eaten anything, and really should run out to pay a bill and the only thing I've accomplished is that I finished editing that dissertation. I did manage to conquer Word, but I'm so bleary-eyed I probably won't even remember what I did when it comes to working on my own. Thank goodness I put showering and getting coffee on my to-do list so it does end up that I've done exactly half of my to-do list. I think I'm going to dash off that bill, get some food (too lazy to go to the store), and come back and put my feet up, which is not what I should be doing, but -- well, it's naptime, isn't it? Siesta anyone?

***Update 11:30pm***

Okay, I've now managed to get through Chapter 4. And I see why it is that I'm really getting quite grumpy. I've been trying to work on my Works Cited and it wasn't even on my list of things to do today. Surely, I should've read some of the Review Book or worked on the IRB stuff. OY! And now I'm too tired and too grumpy to do anything. But this is way before my usual recent bedtime of 2am. Should I see if I can finally focus on a book? Should I watch another movie? Should I just lay my head down to sleep? You know when I have to blog the indecision, I'm in real trouble. I hope tomorrow will be better. I have to remember to go to campus and the DMV. And get up early in the morning because they're turning off the water during the time I would usually finally drag myself to the shower. Oh I can't stand it. How is it that I'm supposed to hold this all in my head. I'm truly grumpy now. Good night all.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Work as Solace: Discuss

Okay, I realize that this is going to sound totally nuts, given how prone I am to complaining about academic work. (I'd probably complain about any kind of work. If I worked at an ice cream store, I'd probably complain that it makes my hands sticky.) But here's something I've been thinking about since all the OPL drama: work is also a solace. While it does happen that sometimes in writing nothing seems to go right, that one's argument crumbles in one's hands, at least it's in our hands. I've noticed while waiting to see what turn my life is going to take that when I get back to doing some edits on the dissertation (I have to take out all the commas that I usually put in, as in DorkusEnglish, 412 -- gahhh! how did I ever start that???), it's a pain (naturally) but also a kind of relief. Here's a world I understand. I can look up something in MLA and get an answer (usually) and format my citation correctly. I can think my way through an intellectual or pedagogical problem in a way that I can't think my way through in my life. Let's face it: one cannot think one's way through life, one must live it. Aye, there's the rub. But one can think one's way through some intellectual problems. And the engagement and excitement of tangling with an idea or concept that is totally involving belongs only to you (which makes us isolated sometimes, but also makes us independent from well, dependence on others for access to our mojo). Peppy Advisor and I sometimes talk about this -- how at least when we enter the English building we enter a world where we have some small amount of control (which we cling to in contrast to the total lack of control of the rest of our lives) and we know the rules and we have to leave some of the whirlwind heartache of our lives behind.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, relieved that sometimes I can cut through the OPL panic and worry haze and get some work done (yay! something I know how to do! since I don't know how to wait, be patient, trust). All this to say, my work life is a solace while I wait, wait, wait to find out whether the man I'm in love with will take a leap toward crazy magical happiness and choose me. In short, my life sucks. And that's all there is folks. Hence, only intermittent blogging. If you find yourself coming over to Absurdist Paradise and there is nothing new laid out for your consumption, it's probably because the lady of the house has wasted herself on tears and prayer -- and has no lively quips or sarcasm canapes to offer. It's all earnest hope over here folks. Not very entertaining. Wish me luck, blogfriends.

Friday, July 20, 2007

But It's a CAT Quiz

Your Score: Sad Cookie Cat

58% Affectionate, 39% Excitable, 51% Hungry

You are the classic Shakespearian tragedy of the lolcat universe. The sad story of a baking a cookie, succumbing to gluttony, and in turn consuming the very cookie that was to be offered. Bad grammar ensues.

To see all possible results, checka dis.


So I defended yesterday. I'm a doctah! Dr. English!

So the defense went very smoothly and was actually a pretty good and enjoyable conversation about my work. I didn't have answers for all the different things they brought up -- and there was even some amount of cross-discussion between two members of my committee about decisions and ideas -- which was weird because I didn't have an answer for the different options they were discussing. So there'll be a lot to think about as I go forward to Adventure U and my countless other adventures.

How's this for an absurdist life? So I defend, I'm a doctah and all that, and I come home to find my internet shut off by a company that thinks -- jeez -- that I should like pay for their service. Ridiculous! And money is so tight I can't call them to turn it back on. In fact, I can't even pay for my own dinner and a movie and a nightcap when I went out with Similarly Self-Reflective and Fabulous Friend! OY! Only in my life would higher education's accolades bring such instant poverty. But oh well.

So I only need to finish up some details on my dissertation and then jump through all the paperwork hoops to file it. I worked on some of those details this morning. Now I'm in the library (hence my connectedness to the blogosphere) and need to find a book to quickly reference in my intro. Of course, really, I'm going to spend some time catching up on some blogs, which is at least as important.

I have some editing jobs to do this weekend, thank goodness, which might keep from totally stewing about the fact that OPL is going to arrive back at -- oh I can't even write about it. Suffice it to say, I'm having a hard time. I hope he'll be back with me late next week, but I'm not holding my breath. It's very hard for such a determined pessimist to not overdo -- instead of preparing for the worst, I'm liable to expect and even goad the worst into being. Beat him to the punch. Must.stay.positive. My new mantra. In any case, I should be able to get some things done in the near future. Here are some of the things I think need to be done pretty immediately: some in-preparation-for-packing weeding out of papers, books, clothes, junk; some marathon movie-watching sessions; relaxing baths; relaxing yoga; reading of Review Book; editing jobs; more movie-watching with cross-stitch. In fact, movie-watching with cross-stitch sounds the best right now. I figure I'll watch Sense and Sensibility a few hundred times. There, Elinor's waiting was rewarded by her man on one knee. Sigh. Of course, Emma Thompson, that real rascal, married Greg Wise, who played Willoughby, who must not be such a rascal if someone so smart snapped him up. Also, I think a viewing of Stranger than Fiction is in order. Maybe I can figure out whether my own story is a comedy (ending in a wedding) or a tragedy (we all know where that leads). As they say in Grand Canyon, my fave movie ever: all of life's riddles are answered in the movies.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Up for Air Out of My Bloggy Silence

My recent bloggy silence is due both to the trip from Urban Home City to Grad City with OPL and the fact that I am totally lazy and given half a chance to do nothing, I will happily do just that. I've been lazing around and taking naps and staying up till all hours and generally not behaving like a person who needs to prepare for a defense and pack her whole apartment in boxes. I've basically ignored the dissertation and the job and everything for -- oh, the whole of July. I totally suck. How is one to have a balanced life of work and the love stuff? I just don't know.

But now the oncoming train of the defense is bearing down on me. I'm supposed to present some opening remarks about my work. I have no idea what to say that I haven't said to these people a hundred times before. I think they want some kind of statement about what writing the dissertation meant to me or something. Waaaaa. Any of you readers who have done this want to pipe in? Please?! (Poor Peppy Advisor. The first time we went over it, I think I was in the first blush of loveydoveyness.)

There is an admittedly short list of things remaining on my diss: some citations to be unearthed from the deep, filling in the work cited, reformatting. Have I done these? No. I figure that my committee will give me some feedback at defense time, and I'll have to go ahead and revise anyway. But really, it's just that it's been hard to connect back into my work. I love it and reference it, but trying to get my head clear to do the work that would make me feel so much better and less desperate and clingy about OPL has been very difficult. All the same, he is very supportive. But mostly I just want to follow him around like a puppy dog. Why is that??? I'm a strong capable independent feminist! Darn it!

Anyway, he has to go back to Urban Home State to do some family and organizational stuff soon, so I'm sure I'll be trying to work through the fog of missing him. Sigh. Here's something that my great Similarly Self-Reflective and Fabulous Friend said to me early on: being happy is really hard because you're so afraid you're going to lose it. Wise woman. I think I should get back to work. Some small tune-ups to the diss and maybe some freewriting on the diss so I have some kind of something to work from for the defense opening remarks. OY!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Finis, Finished, Finito

I just pounded out a very short conclusion, sent it to my committee, and now I refuse to deal with (ha! notice I just wrote the dreaded and deadly "deal with" that is verboten in academic discourse -- I'm already deprogramming!) the dissertation for a week. So there! So what if my defense is a mere week after that. How much does one need to prepare? Some opening remarks? Preparing for certain questions? I'm guessing I only need a week. Dear blogfriends, please tell me if I'm underpreparing for that moment.

Of course, my need for a break and tendency to space out and think of OPL (and my need for naps) is not at all supported by the fact that Adventure U just sent me my teaching schedule (8am -- wtf???) and a bunch of orientation materials, stuff about the program, blah-ti-blah. I can't deal with it, I tell you! Just no. I'm taking time off for good behavior. And to prevent myself from getting sick.

OPL and I are taking a road trip from Urban City to Grad City. That should be fun -- and provoke many many pictures! Now I'm going to emerge triumphant from my littlest sister's bedroom that I've held hostage for a while now. No doubt everyone else will be doing their own thing and not understand at all that turning in these diss revisions is the kind of thing you toast. TOAST! After all, I've addressed all the big things my readers wanted me to address. There are still some things I have to cite properly that I didn't have access to Urban Home City and some formatting. But I think I can safely say (knock on wood quick!), the diss is nearly done.

Post-Sibling Sushi Slump

So today is the day that I have to get the dissertation revisions to my committee. I have everything but the concluding chapter. So I thought I would get something done this morning, but instead I spent the morning chatting about -- what else? -- OPL. Then I had to go to Sibling Sushi so I sent on all the revised chapters with the promise that I would get them the conclusion later today. But now I am in a post-Sibling Sushi slump. Despite my designer coffee's proximity to my hand, I really just want to lay my head down and nap. Which I might just do in spite of the fact that with the time zone differences, the day is definitely passing quickly.


The concluding chapter is all in notes and vomited-out blech at this point. And I have to get it organized and somewhat academic and formatted. Oh! It just makes me want to sleep. Maybe I'll sleep/digest and then wake up refreshed.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Yes, I Am a Geek

So I'm sitting here on my family's couch happily typing. I've been invited to countless events and decided not to go to any of them, in favor of finishing up my draft revisions for tomorrow. Keep your hotdogs, your parades, your fireworks. Earnest English is working!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Beauty Blogging

I've just had the most magical weekend of my life where everything was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Scary what-the-hell-is-going-on and what-did-we-ever-do-to-deserve-so-much-happiness perfect. One of the things that OPL has reminded me of is how much I used to love to take pictures. It turns out he saved all these pictures from the Dark Ages when we were together the first time -- not only pictures of places we went, but beautiful pictures of him showing him so young and very much in love. Now I have two of them in my purse. And I look so soft and vulnerable and young. So different from the cynical absurdist I put on like armor.

Anyway, we went traveling all around this weekend and went to some beautiful places and took many pictures. I've decided all y'all need more beauty, so here are a few shots of flowers and other beautiful stuff.