Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Five: Productively Unproductive

Things I'm Doing Instead of Working on My Prelims

1. Sending and replying to e-mails on various minutia: student questions, dog sitting, weekend plans, group projects, and so forth. I've gotten about as bad at returning e-mails as I am at returning phone calls, so I have a bit of a back log.

I also really need to clean out and organize my e-mail, considering that, as of this writing, I have 1618 e-mails in my inbox, 248 of which are unread (mostly Google Alerts).

2. Applying for project assistant positions. Once again, my life is in complete limbo. So far, I've been rejected for two research grants, moved onto the second stage for one grant, and am waiting to hear from two more grants. I probably won't know until June whether I've got a research grant. I've been accepted to library school, but I don't know yet whether I'll be able to start in the fall or if I'll be deferring for a year. Or if I'll be starting in the fall and then taking a leave of absence for a year. Or just going straight through.

In meantime, deadlines are coming up for PA and TA position applications, and I don't want to wind up without a research grant OR funding for the fall. So I'm applying for positions and will figure it all out later.

I'm also trying to find some kind of steady income for the summer. I can continue my regular part-time job, but I can barely eek out 10-15 hours of work a week, which doesn't come close to covering my monthly expenses.

My mother remarked last night that I always seem to be applying for something: research grants, grad schools, jobs. I can't wait until I'm done with all this and am in a steady job and don't always have to be applying and worrying and wondering what I'll be doing in six months or even---dare to dream!---a year.

3. Cleaning the kitching, in anticipation of making a big mess in it this afternoon. I'm making Spinach, Gorgonzola, and Pine Nut Lasagna for dinner. It's a new recipe and involves multiple steps with many different pots---cooking the noodles, making a bechamel sauce, mixing the filling---so I'm expecting my kitchen to be a disaster afterward.

On the bright side, someone else has offered to host our weekly Friday Night Dinner, so I don't have to worry about getting the rest of my place cleaned up.

I think I really need a pasta maker. Because exactly what I need is another gadget that I have no time to use.

4. Eating Easter candy. Easter candy is my kryptonite. Cadbury Creme Eggs. Peanut-butter eggs. Marshmallow eggs. Kisses in shiny pastel wrappers.

I had been doing very well at eating better and exercising, and despite the Wii balance board's refusal to register much of a weight loss, I was losing some weight (based on being able to move my belt buckle over two notches). I haven't had a soda since December, and I'd stopped snacking between meals (except for an afternoon snack bar on days when I TA; my office and the classrooms are on opposite sides of a very steep hill and a very large set of stairs, which I traverse at least twice a day).

But darn Easter candy! I've had two Cadbury eggs already today.

5. Catching up on blogs, Facebook, and the news. Between chasing down references for PA positions, reading for my TA classes, getting a journal out to the printer, and trying to keep up with my own course work, I haven't had a lot of time to notice the rest of the world.

Of course, it doesn't help that I've been going to bed at about 8 o'clock every night. I stay up reading, but still . . . Every night this week I've been totally wiped out after dinner.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday Five: Procrastination Pro

I very intentionally set my schedule this term so that I'd have two full days free from classes and TAing and other obligations. The intention was that I'd use those two full days to work on my preliminary exams, which I've been putting off for almost a year now. For those of you who aren't graduate students in the anthropology department of UW, prelim exams are a series of four papers---three extended literature reviews and a project proposal---that need to be submitted and approved in order to attain the status of "doctoral candidate." Also known as, ABD status.

I have one of the lit reviews and most of the proposal done; the other two lit reviews have grown into giant, psychotic, unconquerable octopuses.

In the meantime, my two "free" days wound up being Mondays and Fridays. And instead of using these days to get loads of work done, I've mostly thought of them as extended weekends and use those days to run errands and clean the house and generally do all the things I should have done on the actual weekend.


This weekend, I'm giving cross-country skiing another try. I'm hoping that the fresh snow we got this week---paltry though it was---will be enough to cover the ice and slow down the trails a bit.

Perhaps I'll manage not to face plant this time.


I've become addicted to LibraryThing (madknitta, if you want to look me up). A friend had mentioned it a few times. Then, I found myself checking out books from the library that I already owned but didn't remember that I owned and couldn't find even if I had remembered because I have way too many books on too few shelves with no discernible organization, other than separating fiction from nonfiction. So, I thought I'd try to clean up my shelves a bit and create a database so that I'd at least know whether I owned a book, even if locating it might still require a dowsing rod, a headlamp, and a shovel.

I'm currently at 298 books, with two shelves of fiction and scattered piles left to be cataloged.

On the plus side, my shelves are much neater.


Now if I could just get my desk to be as neat and semi-organized.


Go Saints!