Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Some nice things I've done for myself while stuck in Detroit

Took a walk by Lake St Clair
watched all of Brotherhood 2.0
bought a new sweater in the exact shade of red which is my favorite color
talked to my therapist every few days
ate beans and hijiki for breakfast
convinced my friend K. to come visit for the weekend
climbed a tree
rearranged furniture in 'my' room, also hung a record up on the wall

I've been here a week and I can't think of anything else I did in the way of self-care. I've been so busy taking care of my dad. I feel so exhausted and overwhelmed and angry and scared.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The next plane out of town

Non-bloggable emergency. I'm going to Detroit asap.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

3 out of 5 committee members agree

that I can defend on May 30! Hurrah! I have a tentative defense date!

This means that I actually have to finish. Here are my next steps.

I was feeling crummy all last week and I missed my chapter deadline, but it was the combined chapters 1+5, so I feel okay about taking 3 weeks to finish instead of 2. Anyway:

3/23: Chapter 1 to advisor
4/2: Entire draft to advisor, including intro and conclusion and revised chapters
4/15: Drafts to readers
5/11: Drafts to entire committee, including reader comments, biblio, illustrations
5/30: Defense

This is all extremely scary, especially the next three weeks. I'm also supposed to be working two part-time jobs and applying for Real Jobs, and eating and sleeping and taking care of the cat. I'm feeling really anxious, not my usual productive nervous energy, but nail-biting worry that I won't be able to do it. Maybe I should lay off the coffee.

Update: Make that 4 out of 5!


Sunday, March 11, 2007

"Is that your mom?"

Yesterday J. and I went sledding on a hill near the creek. It was us and a gaggle of small boys. When I sled I tend to hit every possible jump or bump and go flying. After a particularly spectacular fall, J. reports that one group of little boys said to the other, with amazement, "Is that your mom?" I've never been so happy to be mistaken for somebody's mom.

Unfortunately, the other effect of my particularly spectacular sled fall (someone built moguls on the hill. Who does that?) is that I've bruised my tailbone, that vestigial troublemaker.* It's not broken, which would be excruciating, but I don't think I can ride a bike for a while. And of course, what am I supposed to be doing right now? Finishing Chapter 1, which requires sitting on my ass for long periods of time.

Speaking of Chapter 1, I've decided to incorporate all of Chapter 5 into it and present it to my advisor as a fait accompli: "Here's my revised Chapter 1, and by the way, it includes most of the material on masculinity from Chapter 5. I've got a 4-chapter diss now, I guess I can defend 2 weeks earlier." 5 has never fit in with the rest of the diss, in terms of geography, chronology, or theme, and the ideas in it really need to be introduced earlier. I talked it through with my diss support group, and they think it's okay, if I present it to my advisor when it's already done. It helps that both were pretty weak and underdeveloped chapters: add together 4000-word chapters and you get one 8000 word chapter! So now I actually have to do it!

*And I thought tonsillitis would be the most vestigial-organ problem I would ever have to deal with. Now I'm just waiting for my appendix to burst.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Dissertation Update, 3/7

Today I got very little done on Chapter 1. I did read through it, but that's all.
Instead, I rode my bike around town, went to the library, worked on my museum's website, worked on the cover letter for the post-doc I'm applying to, read a book, and (gasp) wrote a poem.

You may know (well, I suppose you'd know if I told you, or you'd been monitoring my librarything) that I've been reading a lot of business books and lifehack blogs recently for both inspiration and vision, and general sanity and organization. A lot of them are full of pseudopsychology and are soothing but inane, but I found two books recently that I love and totally recommend. Creating a Life Worth Living is about life and career planning for creative type, and One Person/Multiple Careers is about arranging your life so you're able to make many of your passions into your work. Both have been making me think about my career, and (and this is a bit frightening) even rethink my museum career plans for something less structured. I'm even rethinking about the kind of place I want to live in. We'll see what happens. In any case, right now I have one priority, and I need to conceptualize everything else as happening after it gets done.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Library Tech Woes

Putting on my patron hat: I'm very happy to have the new East Lake library open here in Mpls, but, today, on its first official open day, I've been frustrated with a number of web tech access problems.

First, the wireless doesn't work yet, and there's no exact date of when it will be up.

Second, though there are two dozen or so public internet-enabled computers, you have to sign up through only one login computer. It's a huge bottleneck over there. Even to use a 15-minute computer, you have to wait ten minutes at the bottleneck computer. This also means you have to sign in (with your library card bar code, natch) twice, once on the signin computer, once on the computer you've reserved.

Get the wireless up, pronto.
I dislike the signin computer idea in general, but short of getting rid of it, here's some suggestions about that.
De-link the 15-minute computers from the signin system.
Set up two or three more signin computers.
Allow users to set up a library-only account with a signin and password, so users don't have to type their full name and totally unmemorizable library bar code.
Put up signage telling users where the signin computer is next to every computer.

I love having the new branch finally open, but these are really ridiculous problems to have in a supermodern state-of-the-art library.


Monday, March 05, 2007


I finished* Chapter 4 and sent it to my advisor on Friday. We had a meeting last week and determined that I can defend the last week of May if I keep to my current schedule. I've also decided to walk in commencement this year! Exciting!

As a nice reward for my Ch 4 diligence, I went to two parties last weekend. The first was a big house party (a winter formal!) with a dancey band that sang about zombies and bicycles. I got to wear an amazing long black dress that was once my grandma's, with orange and purple flowers on it and a ruffley neckline, and danced up a storm.

The second party was my friend A's birthday. She had a cake-off! Everyone brought a cake (I made doughnuts, natch), and each cake had a sewn little pocket near it into which you could put a superlative (I got 'holiest' and 'best cake with a center grip'). There was so much cake I slipped into a sugar coma and had to drink lots of coffee to recover, but I had a lovely time and got to talk to my new friend C.

Also this weekend, the East Lake branch library had its grand opening, after being closed for two years! for renovations. The old library was cramped and ugly and had nowhere to sit and didn't even have windows on Lake Street. The new library is bright and modern and filled with light. The only downside of going to the opening celebration was that I got street harassed on my walk home. I thought winter was supposed to provide a respite from all that.

Back to the diss: Chapter 1 is due on the 14th of March. It's in crummy shape, so I really need to put my nose to the grindstone for it. I'm thinking of scrapping Chapter 5 and putting the relevant stuff into Chapter 1, but I haven't asked my advisor and am not quite sure if that would be okay. Would I seem like a slacker, turning in a 4-chapter thesis? It's just that 5 doesn't fit the new organization of the diss, and anyway the ideas in it should probably be introduced earlier. I'm still working through this.

*It doesn't have a conclusion, but is otherwise done.

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