Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Under the Covers with Cookies and Captain Tightpants

So I was going great guns on my final prelim paper. I was plowing through the readings at previously unknown speeds. I even managed to skim some readings. I was plastering my wall with brightly colored Post-Its as evidence of my prodigious productivity. I wrote out a main thesis on the white board and had the beginnings of an outline.

Then, today, I crashed. A combination of stress, rainy weather, and sore muscles from a surprisingly strenuous workout has me longing to crawl back into bed for a Firefly marathon courtesy of Netflix.

I have until Friday to produce as much as possible of a draft of a 20-page paper on popular culture as a site of encounter between Africans and Westerners. I haven't written a single page, and I still have a huge pile of reading that I need to do before I start writing. I did manage to put together an outline. But still . . .

I am so screwed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

If You Want to Make God Laugh . . .

Today has not gone as planned.

I had planned to get up at 7 a.m. and go running. But when the alarm went off, and I started doing my mental math to decide how many times I could hit the snooze button, I decided that I wouldn't have time to go running and still catch the bus that I wanted to take. So I decided that I'd run in the prevening instead.

So then I had planned to go into campus to work at my publications job for a few hours in the morning. But then a friend, who was going out of town for the summer and was going to leave me the keys to her apartment so I could check on it and forgot that she needed to drop off the keys until late last night, called about two minutes before I was supposed to leave for the bus to ask if she could come by with the keys. I'm not going to see J. again before I leave for Malawi, so I wanted to see her to say goodbye, not just have her drop the keys outside my place.

So I thought that I'd catch the next bus, a half hour later. But then I did more mental math and decided that it was silly to go up to campus for just an hour or two before coming back home for lunch. I would just make it an all-day prelim work day instead.

And I did go to the library for a couple of hours and read a couple of chapters from my prelim reading stack.

I came home for lunch---I'm trying to be more frugal by eating at home more often---and planned to spend a few more hours on prelim reading. But then I called my mother with a quick question and got drawn into an extended conversation about her new ceiling fan. And while I was at the library, I picked up some book requests that had arrived, including The Poisoner's Handbook. So I've spent most of the afternoon reading that and napping.

Now it's the time when I had planned to run, and I'm watching the sky darkening and the wind growing. I'd rather not be out running in the middle of a thunderstorm. And it's impossible to tell whether the storm is going to start in five minutes or an hour.

So now I'm going to try to wait it out, hoping the storm passes soon and I can still get in a run before dinner. But this day has not gone as I'd hoped so far, so . . .

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Grumble, Bitch, Moan

So I turned in a complete draft of one of my prelims. I now have 17 days to get as much done as I can on a draft of the last one. (One has been done for about a year and a half.)

I'm really hoping that my committee takes the attitude, "You've got funding. We can fix any problems with the literature reviews when you are writing the dissertation. Go forth and do research!" Because I have little-to-no wiggle room in my schedule for revisions.


I failed the eye exam for my driver's license today. Badly. I was pretty sure that I was going to. Wisconsin uses the viewfinder machines, so I couldn't cheat and use the peripheral vision from my good eye to compensate for the bad one.

I went to the eye doctor more than a year ago and got a prescription for glasses that for various reasons (weather, money, time, desire) I never filled. Now I have to suck it up and get the glasses. I'm not even all that opposed to wearing glasses while I drive---imagine being able to read street signs!---but I'm not looking forward to spending a couple hundred dollars that I don't have on glasses that I won't really need for the next year. Unfortunately, my license expires in August, so I can't wait until I get back to deal with this.


A couple hundred dollars that I was hoping to spend on sailing lessons this summer. With the glasses and moving expenses and my general inability to live within my means and only working part-time for the summer, I think sailing might be out this year.



I met with a leasing agent last week to start the process of renting my condo. I'm so sad to be leaving my home! And not at all pleased to have someone else living here---someone who won't care about leaving scuff marks on the walls or scratching the counters or staining the carpet.

I'm not a great housekeeper. I can never seem to clear the clutter or keep up with the dishes and the dog hair. But I take good care of the place. I fret over every bump and scratch and crack. It's the first place that's all mine. And it's the only place that's really mine.

(On the topic of housekeeping: Anyone know a good way to clean off calcium build-up? I tried CLR, and it barely made a dent.)