Friday, December 09, 2005

Digital coincidence? Or my new oracle?

Okay, so I confess, I'm procrastinating. (the mere existence of another blog post should tell you that, but I'll elaborate.) I'm reading through secondary literature to try to bring my brain up to speed. It's slowly working. I think my brain has turned into a Ford Festiva, circa 1993. Not a lot of power. But I digress.

So, thanks to Badger, I clicked on "What Hit Song of 2005 are you?" I answered the few quiz questions but felt like this quiz (like most) didn't even give answers that remotely reflected the kind of music I listen to. Okay, another confession, I didn't even know most of the artists that were listed. Lucinda, where are you?

But these were my results. And for those of you who know anything about my 2005, this is pretty eery.... Will I truly be "moving on" with my dissertation?? Yes!

Your 2005 Song Is

Since You've Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson

"But since you've been gone

I can breathe for the first time

I'm so moving on"

In 2005, you moved on.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Random thoughts

Just a few tidbits for those who have persevered in reading this blog...

*This week one of my night class students asked me about my defense. I told her I was pretty certain I would pass but that I wasn't looking forward to the process itself. She said, perplexed, "But you talk real good in front of us!" :)

*I poured orange juice on my cereal this week. A brain status predictor?

*Then later that same day, I was sitting in my office. My wedding band has a raised carved design on it. I usually take it off to apply hand lotion so it doesn't get gunky. So: I put the ring on the desk, immediately opened the drawer, took out the lotion, squirted it on my hand, and went into panic: "I lost my wedding ring!" Forgetting that merely five seconds before I had placed it on the desk...

*For the last reading of the semester in my US II class, I have the students read a chapter from Fast Food Nation entitled "The World's Most Dangerous Job." It's about current conditions in slaughterhouses. The savvy students discern that this reading 1) provides a good comparison to our earlier reading in The Jungle and 2) tells us something about the 1980s and Reagan's cuts in OSHA inspectors. Let's just say the title really does say it all. Anyway... this reading is on "electronic reserve" through the library, a process in which students have to enter a class-specific password, click on the class number, click on the title of the reading (which is the same title that is listed on the syllabus) and then download the reading. Pretty easy. Except one student somehow managed to work his way into USI and spent all his time reading something about Thomas Jefferson. (!) He did not think this was in the least bit strange until he looked at the quiz questions on the overhead. He asks, "Did I read the wrong thing?" I said, "I don't know how to answer that."

*A funny selection from my bedtime reading last night, America: The Book. For some reason this really made me laugh. From "The Founding of America" chapter: "In pre-Colonial times, 'Colonial Williamsburg' was seen as a glorious vision of future utopia."

Friday, December 02, 2005


Thanks for your many congratulations for reaching this point. Alas, all is not finished. I'm in quite a stressful limbo at the moment... mostly finished, pretty darn sure I'll pass my defense, yet dreading the defense and not sure how to best prepare for it. I'm worried that years of talking to undergrads about the basics of U.S. History have turned me into a drooling idiot when it comes to Big Ideas and Talking Scholarship. I spent a few hours on Wednesday morning reading some monographs and it gave me quite a headache.

So I'm working on the bibliography and organizational chart (Good Lord, are both tasks tedious) and also trying to fit in some reading and thinking. I've got to print out the whole dissertation again and read it again -- I need to refresh my memory about the minutiae even if I fear the defense will focus on those pesky Big Ideas. And I should add again that I HATE oral defense/argument situations so this is not something I relish in any circumstance.

So I'm in limbo. This limbo is also complicated by the fact that I've recently started a week-long course of the "gold standard" of antibiotics for some minor infection. No big deal. I've taken plenty of antibiotics here and there. But for some reason the warnings on the bottle seem to be coming true! So I am plagued by nausea and headaches. The bottle's suggestion? "Frequent mouth care and sugar-free hard candy." Okay, I can see that. I feel like a mangy rodent has died in my mouth. (yes, that combined with my current "uniform" -- sweatpants that could probably walk to my defense on their own -- makes me quite a pleasant companion these days.)

So I've fallen back on a tried-and-true strategy from one of my many self-help attempts over the years. I'm trying to visualize what my world will be like Afterwards. I'm still having trouble with big picture kind of things (complicated by my natural superstitious nature... if I think about passing I'll jinx myself) so I find myself focusing on little things that are bugging me. When I was studying for my oral doctoral exams (we had no written component, just three hours in the hot seat) I became obsessed with the cup of pens on my desk. I knew it was full of pens that didn't work. But which ones?? I felt I couldn't take the two minutes to sort through the pens until after my orals were over.

This time I've got bigger fish to fry. Like the two crates full of old cooking magazines that are begging to be clipped and organized and recycled. The stack of photos that need to live in albums. The digital photos that need to be emancipated from the camera. And oh yeah, we're hoping to buy a new car in December. That takes a bit of effort. And my 6 year old desktop will not allow me to turn it off anymore... I'm voting to pull the plug and get an upgrade. It will take me days to move everything over and reinstall my wireless network. (she said, confidently, knowing this will likely be impossible.) And my cellphone is also about 6 years old and the battery lasts about 10 minutes. Time to call Sprint and threaten to quit. And I've gotten an inkling that some major holiday might be on the horizon, so that might require some time and effort. So I guess I'll be busy Afterwards. And in the poorhouse...

But for now, I'm in limbo.