Friday, September 30, 2005

no distractions, please!

I got all my IRB (human subject approval) papers signed today, so all that's left is for me to actually submit it. Yay! I want them in the intermural mailbox THIS WEEKEND so first thing Monday they'll get picked up. Hell yeah!

My advisor, who is very much like a bossy mother bear (I mean this in the best of ways- she's the best!), emailed me to ask how work was coming along because she had heard nothing from me for a while. Of course, I've practically done nothing. It is starting to stress me out. I am not sure why, exactly, I have done nothing. Nothing is a little strong. I found an exemplar, made an outline, wrote three paragraphs of the introduction (I have since realized that I need to leave that for last), realized I need to read more, got several articles etc. to read, read a couple of them, and that's it.

I summed that up in a truthful way that didn't make it sound as bad as it just did. Basically, I said that I was working on writing X paper, but I got stuck, so I was reading more.

Now to actually FINISH that damn reading and start writing again. I'm convinced you can read forever, if you let yourself.

I also got a few really good tips on authors to look up from another smart, nice professor in another part of the University. My University is really good in that respect- almost all the professors I have run across are smart and nice. I know this isn't true, but it sure seems like the people who work in my field at my university, no matter what department they're in, are all not only incredibly brilliant, but also very generous with that knowledge.

I'm currently at my university now. DH is at his university, b/c he has obligations that will keep him there all semester. I was thinking about maybe going back up tomorrow, but I think I'll stick around for another several days. I think it will be really good for me not to have the distractions of DH around, which, not only include him, but also feeding him. It sounds like such a throwback 1950's kind of thing, but I am more or less the brains behind our meals. Yes, it gets tiring. No, if I leave him to his own devices it doesn't work- he either spends a ton of money on takeout (this is what's happening this week), or he doesn't feed himself properly. Honestly, I get so tired of it. He almost always helps with cooking, but if I'm doing any cooking at all, that's time I'm not spending working, and then there's planning and shopping too. He will sometimes do shopping- I have started asking him more and more to do this. But goodness gracious- the planning!! It's soooo nice to have a break from that for a while. I can eat string cheese and an avocado and be good to go for dinner.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Disaster preparedness

My husband is obsessed with being prepared for a disaster. We have multiple stocked first aid kits now (one for our apartment, one for each car, etc.), and he spent hundreds of dollars on supplies to get our apartment earthquake ready. (Did you know that the midwest is also earthquake country?New Madrid fault, baby!)

I think it's good that he wants to keep us safe. It's a good instinct in a husband, I think. Marrying an Eagle Scout has its privileges!

I know I haven't updated in a while, so more later, but I need to do some work first.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Tag, I'm it!!

CBear tagged me with a meme, so here's a chance for you guys to learn a little more about me.

Ten years ago I was just starting my senior year of high school. Satan had earmarked my house as a corner of hell, which is a special gift he gives to most first-born children heading off to college. This manifests itself in your mother going batsh*t crazy and making your life a living hell. This happened to several of my friends, so I know I'm not the only one. It is supposed to make the transition easier for both of you because you both want you to get the hell out of the house. I was also starting to prepare my early-decision application for my college of choice (which I got into, yay), and probably taking the SAT for the second time somewhere around this time as well.

Five years ago I had JUST moved to the DC area and was about to start my first "big girl" job. This was the beginning of the happiest year of my life!

One year ago Married for 3 months. Similar place to where I am now- doing school, hating it, constantly thinking about quitting. Still in the honeymoon phase with my advisor (i.e. before she discovered how lazy I am...).

Five Snacks
  • chocolate chip cookies (preferably homemade)
  • Tostidos Hint Of Lime Chips
  • Trader Joe's Roasted Tomatillo Salsa (but not with the hint of lime chips, with regular tortilla chips only
  • String cheese
  • Krispy Kreme donuts- chocolate iced glazed. MMMM.

Five Songs I know all the words to
  • Caught a Lite Sneeze- Tori Amos
  • Dancing Queen- ABBA
  • The Boxer-Simon & Garfunkel
  • 867-5309-Tommy Tutone
  • Love Shack- The B-52's

There are more. But it only asked for five. If you asked my husband, he wouldn't be able to list a single one. He doesn't pay attention to the lyrics and is tone deaf. He's all about the beat. Sometimes he claps along with the music. Not necessarily with the beat, though. Poor soul, he isn't musically inclined.

Five Places to Run Away to
  • Washington DC. Haven't managed it yet, though.
  • A bookstore cafe
  • My parent's house, which is also sometimes a place tot run away from
  • Kauai
  • The movies, preferably foreign, preferably alone

Five things I would never wear
    Anything, and I mean ANYTHING yellow.
  • Pleated pants
  • Daisy Dukes
  • Pasties without wearing something over them
  • A muu muu

Five favorite TV shows
  • West Wing, even though it's sucked since Aaron Sorkin got sober and left.
  • The Daily Show. Jon Stewart, American Hero.
  • Barefoot Contessa
  • Clean Sweep
  • The Sopranos

Five biggest joys
  • Getting into college
  • Graduating from college
  • Getting married
  • Driving down the GW Parkway on the way back from Target during my first year in DC, feeling completely happy that I was totally in control of my fabulous life.
  • October 1997. It was a really good month.

Favorite toys
  • iPod
  • Sims2
  • DVD player

Five people to pass this onto
I'm not sure I have five people that I know well enough to pass this onto! Oh well. Hanni and Angela I would pass it on to my other friend Chris, but I'm not sure he would even do it.

Feel free to tag yourself, gentle readers! Leave a comment if you do it so I can read it, please!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Chicken Soup for the Soul

I'm feeling like I need a little academic inspiration. Not for ideas, but I want good stories about academia. Positive, happy stories. Usually, all you hear about in academia is the bad- grad student suicides (this just happened in DH's department about a week or two ago), or worse, grad student homicides, professors who abuse their grad students or take advantage of them, the pressure to publish as an assistant professor, dealing with assholes on committees, crying at rejections from journals, grade grubbing students, burdensome service work, etc.

On a whim, I thought I would see if there was a Chicken Soup for the Academic's Soul. For those of you that aren't familiar with the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, each book has a whole bunch (101?) of short little vignettes, each only a few pages long. The stories are always extremely positive and happy, and sometimes (maybe always? It's been years and years and years since I looked at one) feature something that starts out depressing and ends up positive somehow, either b/c people see the positive in it, or something terrific happens. The Chicken Soup for the Soul book series is pretty schmalzty, with heavy Christian undertones, so I figured that the academic market for it is non-existent.

I was right. Despite the fact that there are Chicken Soup books for almost every other niche market (especially those that go for schmaltz with Christian undertones), such as Christians (duh), NASCAR fans, nurses, Latter-Day-Saints, mothers, sisters, fishermen, golfers, generic sports lovers, dog lovers, cat lovers, dog and cat lovers, teenagers, retirees, grieving people, people in recovery... the list goes on and on and on. Nothing for academics, though. There is a book for teachers, but I assume (almost certainly correctly) that it is geared towards secondary school teachers. Perhaps there are a few stories about teaching college classes, but we all know that teaching is not the difficult, frustrating part about academia (except for the fact that it makes doing your research more difficult and more frustrating).

The hard part is doing the research, coming up with the ideas, forcing yourself to do things, navigating the political landscape, protecting your reputation. I am struggling with all these things right now (except for the ideas, but DH is struggling with that), and it is so frustrating. I would love to hear terrifically positive stories about academia.

Does anyone have one?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricanes, again

I just can't get over the total destruction of New Orleans and the rest of the Gulf Coast. It just makes me so sad. My brother in law's grandfather lives in Ocean Springs (right next to Biloxi), and he refused to evacuate, although the rest of the family did. My sister has been trying to track him down, with no success. She tried calling the Red Cross- they're just swamped and can't tell her anything.

I was thinking about Lisa's parents again today. They live in Metairie. I hope their house isn't destroyed. I can't imagine losing your child, then, four years later, losing your house. Probably Lisa's alma mater, which is on St. Charles Street, is flooded pretty badly, though hopefully not destroyed.

Tulane, my friend's alma mater, is closed indefinitely at this point.

In a way, I'm glad my friend wasn't here to see it. He would just be devestated at all the destruction of his beloved city. He loved New Orleans so much.