Friday, September 29, 2006

Retreat 2, Day 4: Continuation of Identity stuff

But I'm almost done with identity....really! This is definitely going to be more than just four pages per section, but somehow I don't think this will be frowned upon by DC and others. Wrote a few more pages today, and I obtained a copy of Erikson's Identity and the Life Cycle to help out rounding out my theoretical knowledge. I'm finally feeling like a "scholar" with this stuff. Not trying to sound snooty or anything, but my brain is HUGE this week! haha.

Tomorrow will be one last push, and I'll decide if I'm going to stay here Saturday through the night or head back.

Had a nice dinner with sister & her family this evening - kind of spontaneous. "Rob, c'mon over and bring a salad." Who am I to turn that down. Sis even made brownies with gooey caramel on top (I am NOT losing w8 this week). I could get accustomed to living closer to them. This would require a well-paying job (it's CHICAGO) and a good special ed program for Moose. I'll keep dreaming...

To bed I go, high ho, high ho.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Wife's Blog

I now introduce Wife's very own blog site: . Already she has two posts as of last night, and I'd say she's doing quite well.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Retreat 2, Day 2: Identity Day ... again

True to form, "everything always takes longer!" That quote comes from numerous doc student colleagues who consistently say that any writing assignment takes longer than originally thought. So, ignore the days I assigned to the schedule in the previous post. I continue to work on the identity "paper" today. It's OK, I'm sort of enjoying it.

Sort of.

I realize I cannot write about every single identity theory ever written. I do think I'm going to end up erring on the side of writing, or at least researching, too much and then narrowing down. We shall see.

Saw an old friend last night after dropping by my sister's place. While I do enjoy living in SCT and the friends I've made there these past 4+ years, I miss having friends who have known me since, well, since I had hair! I value these long-term friends a great deal, so it was good to have the opportunity to have made the connection yesterday evening.

OK, back to it, then.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Retreat 2, Day 1: Four short papers

Greetings from Chicago, where it's five degrees colder than SCT, but at least it's sunny.

I've decided that I'm writing four short papers this week. I have four sections of the lit review to write, each on a different, yet related, topic. So, the goal is a rough draft per day for each topic. The topics are:
  1. identity development (today)
  2. creativity (Tuesday)
  3. purpose (e.g. finding your life's purpose) (Wednesday)
  4. engagement (e.g. involvement in the college experience. Not "engagement" as in diamond rings and all that) (Thursday)

They may not stay in this order in the final version of the lit review. I'll need to write an introduction and then later find good ways to connect the concepts together. Shouldn't be too tough once I get these basics written down.

I'm settled here in my mom's place. There are articles strewn about the floor (in neat, orderly, piles), and my box of books is nearby. All signs I'm getting something accomplished.

OK, it's time to profect the identity section now through the rest of the afternoon. Then, I'm hanging out with my sister and her family this evening, which'll be nice.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rain and Preparation

Big-ass rain drops falleth down. But I'm content in my house, as is Lemming today, with Chester in his typical position sitting on my feet and Wife and Moose downstairs playing. I'll join them in a few moments.

I'm getting all geared up for the writing retreat, phase 2, which will start tomorrow assuming tornadoes don't blow away portions of the Interstate between here and Chicago. For a while I hear fear, trepidation, angst, and stress about this week. But hell, if I could write two quals questions in four days each, two weekends in a row, and still manage to pass, then surely I can take 6 or 7 days alone to nail out a good literature review draft. It doesn't even need to be a good draft...just a shitty draft.

Wife and I have a date tonight, just the two of us. We need that before I leave; am looking forward to it. Dinner out, and then we'll see "The Illusionist." Should be a good one. Do I really look like Paul Giamatti? Lots of people I know have said this to me recently.

I'll post again from Chicago in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


I think much of the problem with why I'm not writing (frankly, I'm just not doing it at this moment) is that it's so damn technical. For me, writing is more organic. Just start the fingers typing or get the pen in hand and see what happens. I've never had a problem with the creative process, but writing to someone else's specifications just pisses me off.

I know, NOT a good attitude when writing a dissertation! But in my blog I do what I want. So there.

How much more am I really going to learn between now and when I finish the study? Probably not a great deal. I will have jumped through the hoops and will be eligible to join The Club, though. I realize the benefits associated with this. But when there are days that I'm not entirely certain what I'll DO after joining said Club, the motivation to push onward is slim to none.


This writing retreat next week will really kick my ass (and my ass needs a couple of good kicks), but I'm looking forward to a simple life of having little else to do but this research. Of course, I just realized some of the simplicity went out the window. I'm also going to be a caretaker of the place I'm staying in, and did I mention it's for sale? They scheduled a mid-week open house while I'm there. HELLO?? Little do they know I sit around in my boxers when I write, so boy are they in for a show.

Oh yeah, my minor advisor stopped by my office yesterday, not to see me, but because he was on the wrong floor of my building. Nice. Of course he very loudly said, "Rob! How's your dissertation??" I tried to avoid explaining my procrastination and go more with the "life happens" excuses, but this is a man who has been a professor in three unrelated disciplines during his career. He basically looked at me with the, "What the fuck? Just write the paper!" expression that I knew he would. He's right though. And deep down in his own little way he is supportive. He did give me some good advice in his own little way.


Does anyone else besides me see the relationship between procrastination and masturbation? The process of doing the activity is fun, but in the end you're still right back where you started.

OK, I can't believe I just wrote that.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Prep for Writing Retreat 2006

I am preparing for my second annual (ugh) writing retreat this fall. You may recall I did this last October as well. I'm blessed by a relative who likes to travel this time of year, and her house is just begging me to come live in it and write for a few days.

I'm looking forward to the simple life of waking up, exercising, writing while the sun is up, and then relaxing a bit when the sun sets before starting the routine over the next day (I still have a few friends in the area, and my sister lives only 7 minutes away). The plan is to have a shitty draft of chapter two done by the end of the week. Chapter 2 has been my Golliath ever since I arrived here at LMU, and I'm determined to win the battle during the week I'm on the retreat: September 24-30.

If I can edit out some of the shittiness of Chapter 1 prior to my departure and share it with DC, then hopefully I'll be on solid ground prior to when I depart. Keep your fingers crossed, if you do that sort of thing.


So I had every intention of waking up early today and getting to my campus office by 8AM. I was actually excited to make progress on things, for a change.

At what felt like it was just halfway through the night, I heard Wife say to me, in a sleepy voice, "We need to get up. Natalie's going to be here in a half hour." Natalie is one of Moose's speech therapists.

That's impossible, I think, because she doesn't arrive till 8:30 AM, and surely it can't be...FUCK! It's 8AM! Why am I in bed??

Moose overslept. He's our alarm clock: usually is awake at 6:30 AM each day. I know, I know: I shouldn't rely on him to wake us up on time, I should use an alarm clock. I don't need to hear it, OK? He actually slept in till 8AM, which is unreal.

A comedy of errors ensues while it's raining cats, dogs and squirrels outside. Chester is reluctant to go out for his morning "evacuation." I forget to shave before my shower, so I have to shave in the bathroom mist thus nearly shaving off my goatee. I hadn't yet made a lunch, so I practically knock over the fridge doing that. I must have run up and down the stairs about 87 times this morning because I kept forgetting stuff upstairs. Moose is just chilling out, eating breakfast. Wife is literally moving around in slow motion. Meanwhile, Natalie arrives while Wife's still in her bathrobe and I'm snarfing cereal trying not to get milk all over my cleanly-shaved face (I did save the goatee, by the way). I finally get here to the office at about 9:35. And I've lost my steam to get things done. Nice.

Oh well, life happens. Guess I should quit writing in the blog and get something done today, ya think??

Monday, September 04, 2006

It's September Out

I find it odd that the weather drastically changed here in SCT with the onset of September. It's almost as if Nature changed her calendar to September and decided to get more temperate. Suddenly it's no longer hot & humid out: instead it's September out. *

[* I use the phrase "It's _____ out" with lots of things, referring to hunger, tiredness, etc. "It's hungry out!" is a common expression heard from my mouth around Noon. "It's tired out," comes around Midnight]

I'm glad to be writing a post for September on my blog so I can close out the month of August and make those individual post titles stop showing up on my archive. I had one positive post last month as related to making academic progress. The rest was, well, the rest. To the past with it!

I have a good friend from College (a medium-sized private research university in the northeast) who works as a high school teacher and therefore has her summers off. She refers to the entire month of August as "just one long Sunday." Teachers spend the month of August preparing, physically and mentally, for the upcoming school year. My friend finds it depressing. She loves her job, but who doesn't love a vacation?

I guess August was a long-ass Sunday for me this year. I dunno - for some reason I'm glad it's over. On the other hand, I realize that I feel way behind from where I wanted to be, and that's just a bit scary too. Oh well.

Random post, but at least it's officially September in my blog world. K, bye.