Monday, December 17, 2007


How can one week be both so long and so short?

But about 15 minutes ago, I e-mailed my final paper to my professor, and I am done! Yay! Two weeks to be as lazy as I wanna be: catching up on television, reading trashy chick lit, reading trashier magazines, getting drunk off punch and cookies. And as much as I can't believe I'm saying this, I'd really like to get to the gym and maybe even run or hike outside a bit. Weeks of being trapped indoors and in my desk chair have me feeling like a blob.

Most of that will have to wait a few days, though. Today, I need to do a cleaning spree and run a million errands and pack so that I can get on the road tomorrow for the two-day drive back to my parents' house in Pennsylvania.

In other news, I found out why my professors were congratulating me: I got a travel award from the department to do predissertation research this summer. It's a small award----doesn't even cover my airfare---but every little bit helps. I'm actually more excited just to know that the faculty think my research topic is worthwhile.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Um, Thanks?

So I had two professors congratulate me tonight . . . but neither of them would tell me why they were congratulating me.

I applied for a couple of department travel grants, so I think it must be that I got one. But I haven't been told anything yet, and I don't want to get my hopes up.

Very perplexing.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Snow, Mechanics, and Other Disasters

It's snowing. Again. And my enthusiasm for the snow has officially waned. We've gotten some wintery stuff almost every day for the past week. Fortunately Rowen is still insanely cute about the snow---bounding through the drifts, pushing the snow around to hide her pee, sticking her nose way down deep in the snow and then snorting it---which helps me keep a somewhat positive attitude as I'm chipping ice off my car for the thousandth time.

Now, the coldness? Not even Rowen can make that amusing. I live about four blocks from the mechanic where I took my car this morning, and that four-block walk back home at 8 in the morning was the most painful walk of my life. Three degrees. When I can tell you the temperature using one hand, it's too damn cold.

And speaking of the mechanic: I need to find a new one. I've gone to this one twice: once to get my brakes replaced and today to get ready for my holiday trip to PA (oil change, alignment, new wipers). Both times, the mechanic has called to "recommend" a laundry list of other services that add up to hundreds of dollars (this time, it was nearly $600 in other services; I declined considering that I was already spending $200 on the stuff I knew that I needed done). Both times I've gotten that gut feeling that I'm being ripped off. But then I wonder if I'm just being paranoid and that I really do need the stuff done. Most of the "recommended" services are related to my 60,000 mile maintenance: replacing the coolant; flushing the transmission; replacing the spark plugs; and so on. Any car experts among my four readers who want to weigh in? Are the recommended maintenance services worthwhile, especially considering that I put maybe 10-15 miles on my car each week (with a big trip from Madison to Baltimore twice a year)?

And speaking of spending way too much money: I've been doing exactly that. Mostly at the bookstore. I bought another two books today. Both are fun books to read over break (Gossip Girl and Big Boned). Except that I already have a huge pile of fun books that I want to read over break. And a huge pile of not-so-fun books that I ought to read over break. And my break this year is only two weeks because I have my qualifying exams* in January. I think I may have to make a New Year's resolution not to buy any books next year! I've been very naughty in 2007.

But the biggest disaster of all is the paper I finished yesterday. On the bright side, I'm done with one paper. But, and I am not being falsely modest in this, it is one of the worst papers I've ever written. I'm ashamed that I'm even turning it in. I started out with an interesting thesis, but the whole thing kind of fell apart, largely because I just didn't take enough time with it. And I don't have the time to fix it. It's due on Tuesday, and I still have to write another 20-page paper and a 5-page paper in Swahili. By this time next week. Gulp!

It's gonna be a long week.

* Two 10-page papers based on questions from the anthropology faculty. I have two weeks to write them. Which doesn't sound all that bad except that these two papers determine whether I finish with a master's degree or continue for my doctorate.