Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Five

1. Buster was running around and playing hard with Belle yesterday morning. They wrestle and tussle and run. This is normal.

Last night he was walking funny. He would do his walk-around-to-get-the-bugs-out-of-my-den thing but would not lay down. He didn't jump up on the couch, he old-man creeped up on it.

This morning, he did not jump on the bed to join us as he does every morning at 5:30 a.m. sharp. A. scooped him up to put him on the bed and he yelped and was super anxious. (he is a 55-pound dog, so it was some serious scooping.)

He did jump off the bed quite happily when A. shook his food bowl for breakfast, however.

But he is still walking funny. Once he gets laid down he doesn't get back up. Something is really wrong with either a back leg or his back. I am convinced his back is broken somehow.

We have a vet appointment at 3:40 p.m. I am heartbroken that my baby is in pain. 

2. So, yeah. I defended my non-thesis paper and research (still bitter) and am done! (Almost - I have about an hour's worth of revisions to the paper and then re-submit it to my chair. I also have two more books to read and discuss by Monday for my independent study. But this is a piece of cake.)

I gave a really horrible presentation; I am soooooo bad at presentations. I get ridiculously nervous. I act okay during the presentation, but my brain just stops and I don't remember nearly anything I am supposed to mention. Horrible. I had some pretty interesting stuff to share, but of course shared the obvious and boring shit instead. Even with note card cues. Gah. But everyone liked my slides, so, eh, that is a plus.

But the private defense with my committee went much better. They gave me two hard questions and then it turned into a really fun nerd bull session. (One question was from the committee member outside my department, and DAMN. It was difficult.)

3. My two favorite things about this whole defense bullshit:

a) My committee member from outside my department told me she loved reading my paper and that I opened up the spaces I was discussing to her in a way she had never experienced before. She told me she learned something.

That right there made it worth it.

She is no lightweight, either. She is one of the most genuine people I know, and was very involved with my research all along the way. During the defense, she asked me how to describe my understanding of space via postmodernist perspectives to an essentialist. Ha, ha, ha, ha. That was no cakewalk, at least not for me.

b) My second committee member, who is from my department, saw me the next day as said, "Yeah. I really enjoyed the conversation yesterday. I am still thinking about it."


4. So, apparently I am not as stupid as I have convinced myself. Grad school + Depression really does a number on one's confidence as a scholar. Gah. 

5. THANK YOU for letting me freak out and get angry and scared and excited and everything else. Thanks for reading and supporting me. You all were important to my completing this thing, whether you think so or not.

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I presented my research and defended today. I have been deemed fit to be a Master of American Studies.


I have been so fortunate to have incredible support down this long and convoluted road. You guys have been no small part in the network of caring that helped me do this.

Thank you.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Laptops are kind of awesome.

So. I turned in the last of my three exam essays last night. I might have written that last essay on a laptop sprawled out in front of the TV, watching the Rockies play the Cubs.

Happily, that was probably totally appropriate. American Studies is fantastic that way - as theory-laden as you can make it (if you want), it is still an act of creative exploration.

Throughout this hell, I've come to remember why I entered this program to begin with. American Studies really is a kick ass field.


I am trying to wrap up my final revisions to my paper so I can toss it to my committee and fly to DC on Thursday with only my defense (ONLY!?!) and presentation hanging over me. Sweet jeezuz, this is kicking my ass.


How are you? What else is going on in the world? I cannot wait to rejoin you all.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Would it be tacky to include Lexapro in my Acknowledgements section?

Because holy hell, I would not make it through the next three weeks without it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Five

I turned my paper in to "Advisor" earlier this week. He actually read it and sent me feedback within three days. THREE DAYS. Usually I am pumped if I get and recognition of my work within three weeks! And good news: I have some changes to make but they don't seem unreasonable or impossible. My committee should have my paper next week!


APRIL. Sweet Jesus.

April 8 - 14:
Finish paper, send to committee
Finish all University Bullshit Paperwork to graduate
Finish reading books and articles from my Reading List (about 8 items out of 30 at this point)
Try to finagle two or three days off form work to prepare for...

April 15 -17:
My exam! I will get six questions, two from each member of my committee. The questions are based on my reading list. I have to write three essays in response to three of the questions (my choice) over three days.

April 19 - 20:
Out of town for Spring meeting for work

April 21 - 25:
Washington, DC!!!!!
Also, will have to work on presentation for Master's (bummer)

Sometime April 26 - 29:
Present and defend my paper and essay questions.

April 30
Drink heavily

May 7:

Oh. My. God.

How the fuck this paper is not A Thesis I do not know. It features primary research. It is just re-arranged in "article" format rather than chapter format.

I shall stop wondering why this is not A Thesis. It is making me bitter.

I dreamt the other night that I WAS KATE MIDDLETON.


Yes, I may have purchased the issue of Life about William and Kate. But I really do not think I am obsessing over The Royal Wedding.

How embarrassing.

How does your April look?

Happy Friday to you!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jerked Around

I finally realized just how much I have to accomplish before the first week of May. Actually, the last week of April. Also, I am traveling or in day-long meetings for 13 of the 30 days in April. Needless to say, I am obsessing about finding every possible usable moment in my day. It makes for an anxious time.


The writing is going very well and is nearly finished. I have yet to set up my exam, but that shouldn't be a problem. My main hurdle with the exam is I still have about 12 articles to read. Again, doable but oh my goodness.

Oh, and there is that tiny matter of my Independent Study. I've kept up with the reading quite well, but am not sure if I incorporated enough of it into my paper to constitute not having to write a separate paper. Please let our significant (and brilliant!) chat-age about the reading be enough to satisfy Dr. J's requirements. PLEASE.


Saturday was windy as all hell but we reached 70 degrees ABOVE zero! There was jubilation! Dancing! Delighted prancing in the front yard that is finally clear of snow!

Sunday I woke up to about four inches of heavy, wet snow. It continued to snow throughout the day.

It was 8 degrees (ABOVE ZERO!) when I left the house this morning.

Enough said.


I am so very ready for summer, for baseball, for fly fishing, and nothing else.