Sunday, June 25, 2006

No posts in a long while

Where has the end of June gone? I don't know. lemme think...

First, I'm transitioning into this new job that is supposed to start on July 1, but since four new staff members also start around that time, I have plenty of work to do in both the old and the new posts right now, and I've been this way for a couple of weeks.

Second, I went to this conference in Phoenix. Very cool - have never been to the Southwest before, so it was a bit like going to Mars, in terms of the terrain. Interesting spot, though.

And finally, family stuff. We've been very busy finding Moose good things to do this summer and help him grow. We have him in summer day camp here & there, and he's working extensively with two people (separately) both of whom are getting trained to engage autistic kids in purposive activities. Brilliant! We even have him in these 15-minute long piano lessons. Hell, I don't know if they're doing any good at all, but one of his preschool teachers does music on the side and offered to teach him for free. Why not?

My in-laws come in for a week this Wednesday, and then I turn around and head off to Cape Cod to clean out my grandmother's home along with my sister and cousins. Cousin Dave, all I can say is I'm glad the hotel rooms have fridges, the perfect size for a couple of six-packs...

Busy summer. Dissertation? Oh yeah, THAT. Well, I have been reading a great deal, but actually writing some of this shit down might convince DC that I'm planning on writing this book sometime in the next year. Yeah, better get on that sometime soon.

In addition to not posting here much, I also haven't been reading anyone else's blogs lately. Gotta get back to that too...

Guess what WE did today?

Yep, we rode Thomas the Tank Engine. A good time was had by all. Check out the pictures!

Monday, June 12, 2006

More alone when reading than writing

I've always enjoyed a good read, ever since I was a little kid. But when the reading involves topics that I'm learning about or things for which I need to demonstrate my understanding, I find the process of reading to be extremely lonely. I don't care for that very much. Learning is a social process at times, but I do need to spend the time alone, I suppose.

It's funny though: when writing I feel more "in charge," so to speak, and I don't mind spending the time alone because I'm more productive. I've been reading much of the morning today, and right now I have a bunch of ideas flying through my head that I'd like to bounce off of someone. However it's a day where "no one" is around (kind of funny saying "no one" or even the word "lonely" being that I'm sitting at a booth in the middle of the cafe). I suppose it's part of being in the wilderness when doing the initial review of the literature. Perhaps when I gain a better understanding of how I'll discuss the literature I'm reading, then I'll be better able to enjoy the company of someone else? I dunno. I would love to get through this part and finally get into conducting the study. Oh yeah: I don't quite know how I'm going to construct the actual study just yet...guess I need to spend some more time alone and figure out these "minor" details!

Ho hum. At least they have one of my favorite coffees available today. Gotta go get some more.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Saturday thoughts on the deck

It's Saturday late morning on the deck at Chesterley. And it's 65 degrees in early June? How'd that happen? Very odd. A buddy of mine is getting married today here in town...hope the rain holds off, pal!

I'm nearing the end of reading much of the large literature review I mentioned in my last post. This is good: when I started I was at a loss for how I was actually going to organize my thoughts on the literature, and now things are starting to gel. Slowly.

It's funny: I keep forgetting that I wrote a draft of a dissertation proposal just over a year ago for a proposal-writing course that I was required to take. I honestly haven't read it in months. WHY?? Guess I need to print off a copy sometime soon and take a look. There probably isn't much in there of substance for the lit review portion I'm working on now, but I really should see if my thoughts from a year ago are similar or different to where things are now. I never thought the process would take this long, but I guess when one allows life to happen, the consequence is a longer time to dissertation completion.

I'm getting excited to start my new job, even though the thought of having less dissertation time is a bit stressful. Somehow I think it will all even out, and the office itself is very supportive of seeing me through to the completion of the book. I keep reminding myself how fortunate I am to have a part-time job that pays enough to live on and allows me a little flex time hither & yon.

OK, off to (hopefully) finish another chapter in this book before my friend's wedding festivities start this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A System and a Job

I haven't posted in a while. Busy time around here lately, but good-busy as opposed to sucky-busy. I like good-busy. Sucky-busy...bad.

First, I think I've finally developed a decent system for reading and processing articles for The Dreaded Chapter 2. "Processing" is a means for remembering all the stuff I've read! Basically now I'm reading a large literature review that's famous and wonderful in higher education circles. From this I'm slowly gaining another list of articles/books I should be reading. Fortunately, many of the things on the list are that which I have already read for coursework, which means the entire act of coursework itself was meaningful. This is good. So I read, I compile a literature list in a database which holds notes, quotes, etc., and I produce another list of things I need to retrieve either from the library, a friend's bookshelf, or the bookstore, which, when read, will be included in said database. A system. And I like systems.

Second, I haven't mentioned here that I'm starting a different job on July 1. It's a promotion of sorts, though fortunately it's not a full-time job so I can continue to work on the dissertation. It's in the department where I've attempted to be a Good Little Graduate Assistant, and apparently the work has paid off. I'll have some supervision responsibilities and will be paid just enough to no longer need student loans. Yippee! It's 30 hours per week instead of 20, so I'm pushing this month to get much of The Dreaded Chapter 2 finished before my hours increase July 1. Then, I'll "only" have Chapter 3 hanging over my head, which should be do-able during some evenings and weekends, and on the one day off from work during the week which will be devoted only to writing (at least that's my plan). Most important: the job is in the field where I eventually want to work "when I grow up," so it's relevant career-related experience in addition to being a viable income source. Whew.

The transition into the new job is going well so far, though it's causing me to be scheduled into numerous meetings: a huge change from the last couple of years. I'm working hard to only work my 20 hours per week this month, because the paper MUST get done. Still, it's good to feel like I'm "working" again, and I hope that feeling continues after July 1. I don't think I'd feel good about the job transition if I didn't also feel good about the dissertation reading process. I'm glad a few things are falling together nicely right now.