Thursday, August 31, 2006

Circle of Support

We're forming a Circle of Support for Moose. I just finished up a meeting on this a few minutes ago, and I need to get my thoughts on this out of my head.

The goal of a CoS is to form a group of friends who will "be there" for our son throughout various aspects of his life. But these are more than just friends. Instead, this will consist of others who are willing to actively participate in fostering his growth and integration into mainstream society.

We realized a while ago that while we attempt to provide a great deal of support and innovation to encourage Moose's development, we know there is always "just a bit more" that can be done. That gets extremely overwhelming, as we start to feel that if we don't provide every last thing we can provide, then we're doing Moose a disservice. Now, we try to keep all of this in perspective and not beat ourselves up about the pressure we feel, but it's tough to keep it all in perspective.

The CoS, I think, is going to fill in a couple of gaps for us. First, there will be many other minds involved with creating ideas to help out with the fostering of Moose's development. Perhaps we'll feel like we're not missing opportunities and such. Second, it's an organized approach to helping us help Moose. We know we're not alone in our interest to support him, but this is yet one more thing we can do in an organized fashion to provide a sense of community for him.

(And for us.)

The first meeting is going to be next month sometime, and the group will consist of his teachers, therapists and friends that we see here in town on a regular basis. I'm sure the group will grow with time and will eventually involve his own friends and classmates. It's pretty exciting to think about all of the future possibilities.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Oh well

Today wasn't quite as productive as yesterday. Stayed up too late last night doing stuff around the house. Overslept this morning and didn't get motivated all that much. Perhaps this evening I'll crank out something at home. I need to get this article finished and out of what little is left of my hair by the end of this weekend.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

At long last

I finally found the focus to forgo all other fuzz and was thus able to freely further my research (couldn't find an 'f' word for research) (that is, since today I'm not associating the word with the f-bomb, as I have in posts past) (why the spontaneous alliteration, I'll never know). Anyhow, I read a valuable article for The Study, and I also have finally developed a viable system for organizing my own notes on various readings that I'll be able to print off when writing the dreaded chapter 2. Big burdens are beginning to lift.

Now it feels like I just need to keep pushing to get this stuff done. Whew! On the suggestion of Pink, I developed a daily journal to track my accomplishments. Kind of a reverse to do list. I like it.

Oops late for work bye.

Monday, August 28, 2006

A syllabus, perhaps?

Today is the first day of fall term classes here at LMU. Of course, I'm not taking any! I'm registered for "G901 - Advanced Research," which means that I'm in the vast abyss of working on my dissertation. There's very little structure in my student-life now, which doesn't bother me too much. I do realize, however, that I need to create my own structure in order to be productive.

I think I'm going to create a one-page syllabus for this semester. I'm considering seeing if DC would be willing to sign off on it and help me stick to some self-imposed deadlines. I think if I had the external structure and shared it with others, I'd then be able to hold myself accountable.

Part of me thinks this need for external structure is lame. I'm in 23rd grade, for crying out loud, and one would think I'd be able to structure this stuff out without the watchful eyes of a "teacher" hovering nearby. Well, so be it - at least I'm self-aware enough to consider creating the friggin' syllabus in the first place.

I may post the syllabus here, too. We shall see.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Becoming Accustomed to Growing Older

I don't think I'm all that old, however I'm certainly no longer "young." Well, that probably depends upon the others with whom I'm hanging out here & there, but I digress.

What I mean is that I can remember events, places I've visited, things I've done from 10-15 years ago as if they were yesterday. Sometimes I find that a bit disturbing, but other times I start to feel "wise," I suppose. I mean, I have a ton yet to learn in life, so don't mistake my self-proclaimed wisdom for arrogance. However, I do feel as though my life experiences have gotten me somewhere and have certainly shaped the person I am today. I dunno.

OK, can you tell I'm writing a paper on student development right now? I guess I'm processing my own identity development along the way.

I also have recently read Beloit College's Mindset List for the class of 2010: this year's typical college freshmen. Take a look: it always makes me feel just a bit old.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Cafe morning

After a quick doctor visit (my lungs sound "good!"), I went to a Starbucks here in SCT to do a little reading. Just couldn't face the on-campus office today first thing. I'm really glad I did: I cranked on an article I've been meaning to read for a while. It was a study of people writing dissertations and finding their accademic identity (academic ID is the point of The Study and may trickle into the diss as well). Basically, I feel very much as a member of a community of others struggling to find academic identity in this hazy dissertation world. It was a helpful perspective, and it will also lead to another couple of articles to read. Yes, the never-ending web of reading. At least it was productive for a change.

It was really good to get back to a cafe again for a change. I've been boycotting my regular cafe lately because...oh, have I mentioned this?...THE PLACE IS CLOSING. I'm so mad. They're not closing entirely for low revenue, they just want to open another branch of the food co-op in its place (the food co-op owns the cafe). It's one of the better restaurants in town, so it was a sad day earlier in the summer when it was announced.

K, bye. Off to a meeting.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Back to it

I'm finally feeling better. We went to the local farmer's market yesterday morning, and I was still a little bit loopy. It was my first time out of the house in over a week, except for two trips to the doctor. I enjoyed seeing a variety of people, sights, sounds and smells, but afterward I needed a nap. After the nap, though, I felt much better. We even had a few friends over for dinner (Thai food take-out - yum), and much fun was had by all.

Today was church, again my first time in a couple of weeks, and that was good. Had lunch with a friend, and then just had an easy-going afternoon here at Chesterley. I'm needing to clean up the office/prison again so I can have some sanity, but frankly I'm doing more work at my campus office these days for it to really matter. Perhaps it's time to close up the home office/prison and it turn this room into a guest room or library something.

Tomorrow morning the plan is to hit the campus office by about 8:00 AM and spend three hours on The Study for The Article. I think I'm still on hour 3 or 4 of the 8 that DC is allowing me to spend on it before submitting it for rejection, I mean publication. If I can knock that out early this week, then I'll feel that this last week of summer was spent wisely. I can then focus "only" on the diss when classes start up next week.

Perhaps the energy of others starting up their classes will inspire me to get cranking on my work? Perhaps, but I've gotta tell you my perspective has changed. The motivation isn't something so worthwhile anymore; I'm now doing it for the money. Time to buckle down, finish up student life, and move the hell onward.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Can't Sleep

Whomever heard of a sick person who couldn't sleep? Well, guess I'm not sick anymore.

I keep thinking about the week I've essentially lost with this illness. I mean, it's not the end of the world, I realize, and what's more important is that I'm better without requiring major amounts of time and hospitalization. There's now one more week left of "summer" before the fall classes at LMU officially begin. I was hoping to be finished with the proposal at this point, so I'm a bit bummed/stressed/annoying that I am not.

I am much further along with things, however, than I was at the beginning of the summer. I guess that counts for something. I hope that I can just focus and buckle down with this. ARGH, I feel like I've been saying that for a year, though, so in some ways I admit I'm beginning to lose hope.

I say that as if this is all beyond my control. To lose hope for something over which I have control doesn't seem to make sense to me. I mean, if I want it, I have the time, I have the idea...why the hell not just do it? What else IS there?

I think part of it is that I need to surround myself by people like Pink, that is, people who can be supportive of others during this selfish time of doctoral student-ness. I miss my long-term friends, I guess, and it's unfortunate that very few of them would really understand all this shit if I were to share it with them, which I haven't. There's a part of me that wonders what life would have been like had I found a career path in business and had just settled in one town. Would I be back in Chicago with a group of long-term strong friendships? Should I just screw all this and go back to Chicago?

Big digression, Rob. Live in the present. Focus on getting through the next month and just write a little bit each day.

The department's fall cookout is coming up on Tuesday. It'll be my fifth one. I only expected to be here four years...perhaps that's contributing to keeping me up tonight as well? Ya think?

Hmm...this brain purge must have getting very sleepy...

Friday, August 18, 2006

A new face

Am trying on a new face for a while with a new template. Hey, if I still had hair, I'd try dying it different colors once in a while. Figured this is sorta like that. But, it's not.

Anyhow, this is sorta fun. And, it's nice to not lose any of the personalized stuff I brought over from the old version. That's a nice improvement in the new system.

Someday I'll actually get back to writing about being a doctoral student.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Quick makeover, I guess

Well, I converted things to the new Blogger Beta because I wanted to use the labels. It went pretty smoothly, but one can't yet edit the html code of the page itself, so I'm unable to customize the florid picture at the top. That's OK for now, but when fall comes I'm going to want something else up there. I may change templates, but I've liked these colors and the layout for a while. Not sure about that just yet.

The labels are going to be fun. If the list on the right gets too long (scroll down a little), then I'll just delete it and just keep going with the individual labels in the posts. I've gone backward in time and labeled the posts from this month only. I don't have THAT much time to spend on this blog! :-) I may label a few key posts from the past hither & yon.

If anyone has thoughts/comments on this stuff, lemme know. I'm declaring myself only at the "advanced intermediate" level (a throw-back to Red-Cross swimming skills levels at summer camp), so am certainly open to advice on this sort of thing.

Heath update: the fine motor skills are working fine, e.g. I can type, click & drag. Obviously. Now, gross-motor is another story. I'm in my office now at long will it take me to walk down the 7 steps to the kitchen to get a refill on water? I'll let you know next week when I return to my home-office desk. Haha.

Renovation in progress

What better task to keep the brain active when sick than to tinker with my blog site? Especially when there is no physical effort involved.

You'll notice that the blog is looking rather "basic" at the moment. Bear with me, I've switched to the new Blogger mode for now. I may revert, but I sorta doubt it. I've been waiting for a handy way to have category labels for each post, and Blogger finally came through. I'll bring back in some of the elements I've lost in the transition as soon as I can. Also, there will probably be a few new things showing up here & there as well.

Description of the sickness: I have pneumonia, just like I wrote about last. Nice fucking way to end the summer. It was diagnosed Monday morning, and the fever FINALLY went away yesterday after five nights. It's been a royal pain in my ass. I now have a good word from the doc that I'm improving, and she gave me a handy, and ENORMOUS, inhaler that will help me pull through just fine. Wife has been her angelic self, which is wonderful. I need to find a way to give her a vacation.

Bring on a change of season into autumn - I'm ready to move onto something new.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I am not one to complain about being sick. In fact, there have been times this past year or so when I've been sick, and I didn't feel a need to share it on this blog.

I don't think I've been as sick as I have these past 48 hours since I had pneumonia during my freshman year in college (um yeah, that would be 1989). I've had a fever since Friday afternoon (around 102) and what feels like a chest cold. Perhaps a recurrence of pneumonia? Sort of doubt it. But it's the type of fever with body aches throughout the torso, making me freezing, and then later I, frankly, start so sweat like a pig. None of this feels so out-of-the-ordinary: I'm reminiscing back to the bout with pneumonia and what seems like countless other childhood illnesses. I have found that I'm not very good about staying in bed for long periods of time. It's driving me nuts. However, Wife has been her usual wonderful self, bringing me things as I need them. I'm on a regimen of acetaminophen and ibuprofen alternating, along with my regular allergy decongestant which I'm convinced has been the ticket to keeping this infection from spreading into my sinuses, which is good. And this is probably way too much information.

I'm very current on the news thanks to the Cable News Network, and I've been watching Digital Video Disks on my Dell Inspiron 600M laptop personal computer, upon which I type this post now. My wireless internet access throughout the halls of Chesterley has helped me keep in touch with the rest of the world, so this is good. I'm missing a couple of fun events today, including a potluck lunch at our church and trip to Large City to the North to get Moose's hairs cut. I'll live though this, but wife is trying not to tell me how nice the weather has been this weekend and how much fun she's had hanging out with a couple of friends yesterday afternoon. I know better, though. I'm missing the first "nice" weekend in months, and this sucks! Also, I had a date with a friend to sit in the campus office all day yesterday and crank out dissertation prose. Another weekend shot to hell.

Am feeling a nap coming on. More later...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Mini Me

Mini Me
Originally uploaded by chesterley.

Thought this was a cute picture from yesterday morning. Moose has been making a ton of good connections lately, and he's really beginning to follow directions well. Last night when I brought him upstairs for his bath, I gave him directions of each task to do in turn, and he did them all (e.g. take off your shirt, take off your pants, hand me your pants, walk into the bathroom please). I really couldn't believe it! We've had him in a couple of intensive language programs this summer, and we also enrolled him in a really fun summer camp at our local Young Men's Christian Association (I hate acronyms). He's made a lot of progress this summer, and it's been cool to watch!

I can't believe he starts school again a week from Wednesday. Where has summer gone?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

busted week

This week has been sort of a bust, in terms of dealing with The Study and The Dissertation. It's been a busy week at work, and of course the time that I usually work on The Study and The Diss is in my office before I start my work hours. The work plan was busted this week as I pitched in to make things work. No, I didn't bother trying to get the work done after hours. I'm through with staying up all night.

So, I won't be done with The Study this week as I had planned. However, I do have tomorrow morning and perhaps part of the afternoon to work on it. Gotta make up the time somewhere, right?

The good news is that the busy time at work has passed, and we finished a major project about four hours ahead of time. Hoodathunkit?

In other news, I can't believe it's August. Moose starts school two weeks from today (WHAT?), and he'll go to a new preschool this fall. We're excited about it: it has a Montesorri philosophy which is therefore highly structured and should help toward a transition into kindergarten for the following year. Who knows where in the world we'll be a year from now, though??

That's about it. Back to work with me.