Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another Reason...

And here's another reason I should spend less time doing crap that I do and more time crocheting. My niece's Christmas present, a sweater and hat set that turned out remarkably well.


New Year's Eve, Lame-ass version

I'm having a rather nice New Year's Eve. Spouse is working the night shift, the kids are in bed, and I'm all alone to do whatever I want (provided it doesn't involve making too much noise or leaving the house.) I watched the Duke/San Jose State game that I had taped from earlier in the day -- incidentally, where does Fox Sports Net get off calling a 1pm eastern (10am my time) game Sunday Night Hoops?

Anyway, I spent a pleasant hour or so watching the game and crocheting a blanket -- blue and white stripes -- for my college roommate's forthcoming offspring. Relaxing, nice. I may have to take a page from Phantom and make a new year's resolution to blog less and crochet more.

I'm not a big "I love the night life, I like to boogie" kind of girl, so a night like this isn't a disappointment. In fact, I'm rather glad that this will hopefully be the first New Year's in a while that I get to sleep at a decent hour and stay asleep until a decent hour. Two years ago, I spent New Year's Eve nursing and rocking the two week old WB, while watching a marathon of "The History of Sex" on the History Channel. At about 2am, I saw my undergraduate advisor getting interviewed! Yay!

May the new year bring peace in our hearts and in our world. I'm off to watch Eddie Izzard on BBC America.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

On Gerald Ford, Saddam, and so much more...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Slacktivist rocks my world.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

RIP: Gerald Ford

Former president Gerald Ford has passed away. I don't have anything insightful to say about this. In fact, you could argue that I don't have anything insightful to say about the Ford presidency when I teach, either. Both of which make me sad.

He was the only unelected president. He pardoned Nixon. He fathered the man who would play Joe in When Harry Met Sally. What is this man's legacy?

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Monday, December 25, 2006

More Tales of Gender-Positive Parenting

Christmas came with its usual parade of princess gear and pink for the Drama Queen, and the requisite trucks and Diego merchandise for the Wild Boy. I got the Rosie the Riveter action figure, which made me quite happy (as well as a corresponding huge-ass and beautifully mounted poster for my office!!!).

As we approached bedtime, DQ ran in and said to me, "Mommy, I need Rosie for my story tonight." Spouse tells me she played with her all through lunch while I was out doing my workout. Whew! Faith in feminist awareness restored.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Overheard in Cascadia

My homage to Overheard in New York and its ilk:

At the haircutters, as I was getting WB his traditional Christmas bowl cut. We were seated next to a 15 year old boy with one of those long, shaggy styles that seems to be the rage. His dad was instructing the stylist:

Dad: "Shorten it and clean it up. You know, hell, it's Christmas. Make him look presentable."
Stylist: "So, give him a bowl cut?"
Dad: "Yeah!"
Kid: [silently dying of embarrasment]


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Are there books, are there novels by her bed?

I had a moment of seething jealousy today. Went to drop a gift off at a friend's at about 11am this morning. Said friend, who (needless to say) is childless, was in her bathrobe. "Did I wake you?"

"No, I was just laying around watching a movie." ARRGHHH!!!!! Must beat back the green-eyed monster!

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The Drama Queen gets in the spirit

"Then all the reindeer loved him
As they shouted out with Flea!"

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Year in Review

As stolen from APL and others, the meme in which you include the first sentence from each month of the year:
  • Well, the big news is that I'm going on the job market, so I'm going pseudonymous.
  • Th-hers-day, for the ladies... and for the gentlemen who like gentlemen.
  • I've been thinking about this whole South Dakota situation.
  • Dr. Mellow (yes, the pseudonym is ironic) once said that grad school was all stick and no carrot.
  • Since it's been a recent topic on this blog and others, I thought I'd pass on Stephen Colbert's analysis of plagiarism.
  • The Drama Queen has croup.
  • Having been called out by Neel, I will now resume blogging duties.
  • Just call her butter 'Cause Elle is on a roll!
  • I got this from Jo(e) and really like it.
  • Two American Scientists just won the Nobel Prize in medicine for their work on RNA interference.
  • In between numerous small chores, I'm halfheartedly watching VH1's countdown of the 100 Best Songs of the 80s.
  • A friend of mine once told me when I was finishing up my master's thesis that there were two kinds of theses: good ones and finished ones.

I can't tell if this distillation makes me sound more nerdy or more shallow. Or perhaps its a fair representation of my dual self, the shallow nerd.

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I was dreading the possibility of going to my Ph.D. graduation alone, since Spouse would be at home with WB and his vomit. Remarkably, WB turned it around and was amazingly chipper the next moring. I gave him a goodbye kiss as I left for graduation, praying that he wouldn't throw up on my rented regalia. He didn't. Whew!

Spouse said he's try to come by toward the end of the ceremony if possible. So I lined up and hoped for the best.

Cool thing: when you're in doctoral robes, people you don't know will congratulate you. Other graduates will congratulate you. It was strange. In the restroom before the procession, all the women were telling me that I had the coolest hat (yes, I completely did! For the first time in my life, I was the best dressed girl in the room.) That was nice.

I sat through the ceremony with my Advisor, which provided nice closure to the graduate experience. She also has a moderate snarky streak, so we had a pleasant time (sotto voce) catching up on department gossip. I also enjoyed peering at the banners in the rafters in between snarky comments. Graduation was at the basketball stadium, and Graduate University has a storied history on the hardcourt. That was pleasant as well.

When I went up to get hooded, I saw Spouse and WB waving and cheering for me. They made it after all! The ceremony ended, I exited the stadium and reunited with my family. WB excitedly put my had on and we took pictures (I hope they come out!)

All in all, a nice conclusion to eight years of graduate school.

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Monday, December 18, 2006

Travel Karma's going to get you

Sorry for the radio silence. We've been visiting family (and I've been graduating) Down South. The Christmas season with the Spouse's family is always a little overwhelming, and this year has certainly lived up to that.

Where to begin? We arrived on Wednesday after the best plane trip with two kids under four one could ever expect. They were calm and manageable on the flight, WB slept, DQ watched a movie quietly. Both Spouse and I got to watch the in-flight movie, Talledega Nights. A fun time, provided you aren't spending any money on it. The bags were at baggage claim when we got there, the rental car was at the rental car place when we got there. It was fantastic. Spouse noted that we better drive to his dad's house very carefully, as we were sure something disastrous would happen to compensate for the easy trip. Tempting fate further, we arrived safe and sound at the in-laws'.

Thursday morning, WB got "the el vomito," as T would say. I was running copies of my dissertation through the dean's office, which took longer than anticipated due to toner and printer problems (I guess Jesus was too busy prepping for his birthday party to look over our office equipment!) Anyway, by the time I got situated, WB had already puked all over his carseat, and when Spouse removed the cover to clean it, the foam lining broke. Off to the store to get a new carseat!

Needless to say, the trip to the bindery didn't get done, nor did dinner with my study group (who were all recovering from grading hell, so they were probably ready for a night off anyway).

WB is doing better now. More on the continued course of "the el vomito" when time permits.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Sub-plot

Lots to say about this trip the Southland, but first, some of you are expressing a concern regarding Cascadia's recent stormy weather. Well, everyone's ok. Our swingset and fence, maybe not. A tree in a neighboring yard fell over, landing on the swingset, crushing the gutters on one side of the house, and possibly threatening the security of our fencing. We'll see how opportunistic our dogs are.

Anyway, hope you and yours survived. More soon. I promise.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

I refuse to face reality

The Wild Boy cannot possibly be 2. Sure, he's had his 2 year vaccinations. Sure, we had a little birthday party for him complete with cupcakes with sprinkles and presents. Sure, he's been known to throw a fantastic tantrum. But he's can't be two. He's my baby!!!!

WB and DQ opening presents.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Setting it aside

Questions for all you out there who are Phinished:

How long did you allow yourself after the defense before you began reworking the dissertation? Did your advisors give you any advice regarding that? Did you work on journals or a book precis? Was the decision prompted by the tenure clock?

My wicked-smaht friend told me her advisor (who is definitely no slouch!) suggested taking a year off before beginning on the rewrite. My study buddy says that the rep from Oxford Press said that anything sent to her within six months of the defense she sends back asking them to take mre time.

That seems heavenly, but possibly unrealistic if you're on the clock. Which I'm not. But still, jobless, it might be a good idea for me to write my way into a better CV. Thoughts?

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Random Bullets of Post-Defense Recovery

  • WB is doing very well with the big boy bed. Every morning, he greets me with a smile and says, "I did it!"
  • On a related note, he is speaking in sentences. "I have a cookie!"
  • I've been trying to relax my brain a little. A little. It's not working all that well. I'm trying TV, crosswords, crochet (post to follow), sleep (yeah, right.)
  • I'm being offered more encyclopedia articles, probably to replace people who bowed out of their entries a few months ago. I'm tempted. But I'm not deciding this week.
  • Finished the two full-time job applications. Won't think out it for a while (yeah, right.)
  • Christmas shopping is mostly done. We are trying today to get a picture for the Christmas card that shows none of the following: stains on DQ's shirt, hair in DQ's eyes, WB's fat lip from when he decided to climb on (and fall off) the toilet, or one child attempting to choke the other.
  • DQ has added to her repertoire of words. She makes up adjectives to express what she wants to do. ie -- feeling "watchy" means she wants to watch TV, feeling "cookie-y" means she wants a cookie.

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Just Perfect

A friend of mine once told me when I was finishing up my master's thesis that there were two kinds of theses: good ones and finished ones.

My defense taught me many valuable lessons. First and foremost, it taught me how to let go and realize that it is ok to give up the idea of perfection. Many academics talk about the dissertation defense and the PhD as a sort of "plumber's license." It allows you to go forward in your career, to do what you want to do. It doesn't matter how you do on the licensing test, just so long as you pass it. This is both true and untrue. Nobody reads dissertations -- they are much more interested in the book that will come out of it (or, of course, the next book that you can write without the pressures of a committee and the trappings of dissertation-style writing). But the people who do read it are people on job search committees. Crap.

I'm now finished with the dissertation. I was content with it. I wouldn't say I loved it. I found the discussion during the defense about possible changes for publication both exhilerating and distressing. Exhilerating because there were all these fantastic directions I could go in to make this a real, live book! Distressing because after working on this for the better part of six years, there is still so much to do to make it serviceable to any audience beyond those that were in the room during the defense.

I hope to someday have a book to be proud of. Will it be perfect? Of course not. I hope I can remember that when I face that reality again.

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