Thursday, February 28, 2008

I misssed my 3rd Blogiversary

My 3-year blogiversary was February 11. Completely forgot. It's strange to think it was THREE years ago now that I started this blog when I was preparing for qualifying exams.


SO glad those things are over & done! And I'm glad to have this little place on the 'net for my diary. Thanks for reading.

Good lunchage today

I had a good lunch today with a colleague who finished up her Ph.D. at LMU last year and now works at LMUU as well. She and I used to spend plenty of time writing together at the cafe in SCT. I'm glad we still find time to get together once in a while in LSC for an occasional lunch.

Anyhow, as I said it was a good lunch. She's confident I'm getting really close to finishing up. That was encouraging. I don't really know if I agree, but she seems to think the rest of the process will go quickly. I think I'm going to start believing her now. After all, she's already completed her dissertation, and she was at the point where I am about a year ago. OK, I'll listen to her.

I'm also going to get the name of a good, local, and affordable transcriptionist. This should be good.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Well, didn't get much more done on the office/prison diss prep last night. However, I did do something I've not done well in a long while.

I slept.

And suddenly, the world has so many more possibilities!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Office/Prison Diss Prep

If one were to ask me how much I accomplished on the dissertation this weekend, I would have to say that it's a thing that makes me go hmm... It's hard to measure. You could scroll back through this blog and see fairly easily that I do not like to clean my home office/prison. And yet, when it's messy, it's tough for me to concentrate.

Well, my office/prison was a mess before we moved from SCT last June. Don't get me wrong: "mess" is a relative term. A reasonable person would enter my office and see several piles of paper neatly organized on the desk, on the floor, on any flat surface really. I typically know where most things are, but living this way tends to drive me NUTS. My office on campus is a total 180-degree shift from that. It's usually pretty darn organized, I must say. But when I'm at home, that's my space, and mine alone, so neat & clean always it is not.

As I was saying, the office/prison was pretty messy before we moved from SCT last June. The night before the move, when I still hadn't organized all those piles, I finally just said, "fuck it." A couple of trusted friends helped me put all of the un-filed piles into a few boxes. I worked pretty hard not to feel guilt for moving piles of stuff to be chucked or filed, but oh well. Later in the fall, I unpacked the un-filed piles into new piles in my new office/prison. Had to get rid of those damn moving boxes! I have a rather large closet in the new space, so the piles have been shoved in there on a bookshelf or near the file cabinet, both of which fit very nicely in the closet.

True to form, I'm creating new piles that are now in nice organized piles all over the floor, AGAIN, and the un-filed ones were still in the closet. Yesterday I decided to take the bull by the horns and start organizing the entire space. Call it a "clean sweep," like the TLC TV show, I dunno. But I'm getting through a TON of old stuff, and it feels pretty good. I'm also finding several neat, printed, stapled, organized piles of articles that My Committee wants me to incorporate into the literature review of the proposal (oh YEAH, my proposal!), so this is a good thing! For the last several months, the prospect of tackling all of these things like literal skeletons in my closet has been pretty daunting. Now that I'm about halfway done with it, it's not so bad. Pretty soon, every piece of paper in my office will either have a place in a file drawer or in the recycle bin.

Yeah, I know...kinda like the data analysis. The thought of it freaks me out more than doing the task itself. I know, I know...

Anyhow, I do chalk this up to having a greater ability to be productive in my office/prison. While it's not work directly related to the dissertation, it's helping the entire process along.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Two weeks ain't no hiatus

Hi Blog,

I've decided to write in you again. I guess I'm in a bit of a better place, just after a two-week break. A couple of things have happened lately to help provide perspective, and this is good.

First, DC invited me to walk in this year's graduation, even though I'm not at all finished. I think this is an expression of her trust in my work. I was really quite surprised by this, and it came at a pretty grumpy moment last week. Wow. However, I declined the offer, since I would feel like an imposter were I to walk before being finished. The fact that she offered in the first place, and then later said, "You are so close...just keep going," helped me get back on track.

Second, I'm helping a colleague here as a peer reviewer on her dissertation study. She has been in the mix much longer than I, and due to working a full-time job, and being quite successful in her field, she's not really needed the dissertation to be completed to get the promotions, brownie points, etc. to keep moving up in her job. However, her seven-year clock expires this spring, so she is really driven to finish up in the next couple of months. I think she'll be fine. Helping her with her data analysis is giving me the energy, and perhaps even the interest, in continuing onward with my own study. So this is all good.

I guess I'd call myself a religious person. However, having a falling-off-the-left-edge of liberal interpretation of faith sometimes has me question whether or not I'm religious. Still, I think I am. I only write this here to explain that I'm using the Lent season as my time to be a bit reclusive and quiet and get the flipping transcriptions and initial data coding accomplished. Lent is sort of a drawn-out version of Yom Kippur (that's my interpretation...I could be wrong, but I suspect it's close), and many people use both of these holidays to reflect on their lives and remember who they are. I guess that's what I'm planning on doing between now and Easter; buckling down on the research, and keeping in mind why the hell I decided to do all this anyhow. And through this I hope to make a lot of the "leave me alone! I'm in a zone!" sort of progress one needs to make during the data analysis process.

Wow, does this mean I may actually finish next fall??

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Blog Hiatus

I'm taking an indefinite break from keeping this blog. I'm still around, and I'm certainly still working on the dissertation. However, I'm not in a place where I want to share my progress with the outside world.

Things are moving along slowly and steadily, but I need to focus on thinking about the content some more before I'm willing to share it with anyone. Also, when blogging I find I spend more time writing around the subject to keep the subject matter private when I really should be spending time writing on the topic itself. The last thing I'd want is for this blog to stall my process instead of help it along.

If you're curious about my progress, I'd appreciate the support so please feel free to just ask. Otherwise, I probably won't be writing here that much at least for the next couple of months.