Friday, February 24, 2006

history and memory

Probably a tribute to my chosen academic field, I can remember where I was when I first heard about several historic (tm) moments. What strikes me about most of them - 9/11, the assasination attempt on Reagan, the Challenger explosion, the death of Princess Diana - is the sheer ordinariness of what I was doing at that moment. 9/11 was a very ordinary morning; in an odd way, I'm grateful, as 9/10 was one of the lovliest ordinary days of my life.

I was doing something unusual (no, I won't tell you what)(no it wasn't naughty) when I learned that the first bombs had fallen in Iraq. I can still, very vividly, see the shadow of the (very tall) man who told the group I was with. I remember the deep shock that struck all of us. There followed a long, very long, moment of silence, as we all struggled to wrap our brains around the actuality of war.

When I started Kindergarten, part of the "welcome to school" drill included telling us the location of the fall-out shelters. I couldn't have found the USSR on a map, but I knew that they might drop bombs on us at any moment. When the Berlin Wall fell, I truly hoped and prayed that this meant a generation would grow up without the underlying issues that so framed my childhood. (Admittedly, I was a rather neurotic child, but still.)

I see no end in sight. Whether we leave Iraq tomorrow or when I am an old woman, there will be a civil war. Indeed, I'm not sure that a civil war hasn't already begun. I grew up with nuclear warheads and Iranian hostages; somehow I wonder if that might have been simpler than growing up under the cloud of an undeclared war.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

another milestone

On this day in 1991, President George H.W. Bush informed Iraq that they must pull out of Kuwait within twenty-four hours, or the United States would invade.

Monday, February 20, 2006

did you know that I'm writing a diss?

Another dissertation post, I'm afraid - I'm rapidly dashing toward the date when I must get everything into the hands of #1 (may he live forever), #2, #3 and #4, so the diss occupies more and more of my thoughts and time.

I did quite a bit of writing this morning, then managed to delete it. Ha ha! I have learned a thing or two along the way, and had a back-up for most of it.

Guess what I managed to do having rewritten the parts not backed-up? Of course.

I've discovered that there are some quite good bits of discarded chapters that I can also cannibalize for present use. Reduce, reuse, recycle!

On a non-academic note, I did have a lovely bubble bath (by myself, thank you!)during which I read a thoroughly trashy romance novel and sipped a glass of good white wine. If getting the diss done and becoming gainfully employed means that I can do this more often, t'will... well, almost be worth it! (laughter)

Words Written: 10 pages forward, eight pages back
Lessons Graded: twelve

Friday, February 17, 2006

anyone and anything at all

There's a plumber fixing my leaky bathtub at the moment. Although this will probably be expensive, the experience is not without its perks.

#1 - He's cute

#2 - he smells good

#3 - he seems to actually enjoy explaining the intricacies of the repair job to me

#4 - when he's done (this is the third hour of his labors, mind you) I will be able to take a bubble bath

Words Written: zero - but that's next
Lessons Graded: twenty-six

Thursday, February 16, 2006

morning and evening, daytime and night time too!

My advisor (may he live forever) is happy with my latest work. I repeat my advisor (may he and his progeny know nothing but bliss) is pleased with my latest work.

(dance of joy)

(massive sangria inspired dance of joy)

To hell with news, current events, Quayle hunts, politics and Jessica Simpson. I DID GOOD!!

(blows kisses to Mr. Spoon)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

hidden in plain sight

For the first several years of graduate school, I was a relatively high profile person. I attended job talks, professional discussions, and social gatherings, held elected office in various departmental organizations, etc. After a few years pretty much all of the faculty could connect my face to my name and even people not in my field would ask me in the elevator what I'd thought of the latest faculty search possibilities. This was all terribly flattering as well sa professionally educational.

Then I cut off most of my hair and sequestered myself with my books and computer, visiting campus only when essential. Today was one of those days. Its very amusing high points:

1) while checking my e-mail in the graduate student lounge whisper to each other "who do you suppose she is? She looks too old to be a graduate student, but she's not dressed like a prof. Is she even in our department?"

2) hearing two other graduate students discuss #3 in the elevator

3) unintentionally eavesdropping on two history faculty members discussing the relative merits of a third

4) again, very unintentionally listening to two other faculty members discuss which graduate students they felt should be expelled from the program. (Fortunately my name was not among them.)

Now, the first two stories were amusing but not surprising. At my stage of the game I have next to no contact with first years and while they might possibly have heard my name, they've no reason to know what I look like.

The latter two instances left me puzzled as to an appropriate reaction, other than walking away, which I couldn't. (Long story) None of these faculty are in my field, and I'm reasonably sure that I've never exchanged more than a "good morning" with one of them. The other three surprised me - not only that they would have such discussions in a public place, but that none of them recognized me as a grad student, even if they'd forgotten my name.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Moses supposes

My BibleDudes Quiz Score: 10 our of 10

I swiped this from Editor B - one of the funniest quizzes I've taken in a very long time.

Monday, February 06, 2006

thought for a diss day

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says, 'I'll try again tomorrow.'"
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Thursday, February 02, 2006

in praise of dogs

Yesterday was a very warm day in the Indianapolis 'burbs, even by the standards of this year's mild winter. Sam and I took our walk unusually late, as the evening was getting on toward twilight. We've covered this ground so often that I confess I'd moved onto auto-pilot. Sam knew that (oh joy!) the local hydrant was up ahead and I knew that I had some extra time before reaching home. Thus my thoughts were on the connections between Green Book, Brown Book and the sudden realization that they connected with a book by the historian I admire beyond all others, even my advisor (may he live forever) and the glory of making that link. Sam's attentions were on the hydrant, a mere yard or so away. The sunset was a lovely shade of rose.

Then: DANGER! EXCEITEMENT! Another dog, quietly resting on the porch with his family, saw Sam, broke his collar and his leash to run into the street and greet my dog.

Now, Sam is a polite fellow. The kennel folks always decribe him as a "model canine citizen." Yet I am his human and it is his duty to protect me. In his eyes I am a defenseless damsel and he slays my dragons. Sam will do the "sniff thing" and whatnot to be polite. At the same time, he's also getting on (sigh) in years and so is not as playful as he once was.He was happy to sniff the puppy in greeting, but the moment that the other dog tried to get my attention, he was not happy. "Grrr..."

It was clear that other dog said, "Well, OK, then I'll play with you..."

Did I mention that Sam is no longer young? He thought that the other dog (all of seven months) was jumping on me and growled again.

By now the other dog's owners had jumped in with a makeshift leash and pulled the puppy away. I was afraid that they would be upset with my (beloved) Sam and yell at me. On the contrary, they were kind, nice & funny, grateful that I knew their dog had only wanted to play with Sam (OK, and maybe he wanted an ear scratch from me) and we had a wonderful chat about dogs, Sam's age making him reluctant to romp, why dogs are awesome and how dull life is without dogs.

I've met the majority of my neighbors through having a dog, a fact that I'm sure pleases Sam. (He is a good dog, but does have an ego...)

During the summer lots of people walk their dogs. It's the folks who walk their dogs in snow and ice and freezing rain who seem to have a kinship.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

three unrelated items

Did you spend the evening watching Court TV instead of the President's State of the Union Address? C'mon, admit it. Well, fear not, because Reid's post will tell you everything you need to know.

Remember Green Book? The one I keep complaining is boring when the subject matter means that it should be exciting? I've just learned that the author has died, far too young. The obituary makes it sound as though said historian was a much beloved and inspirational teacher. I'm sorry for his friends, family and colleagues, and horrified that I would say this, but it's still a dull book.

My advisor (may he live forever) is mortal, but there's nothing mere about him. He is a giant in his field, writes truly interesting books, is a gifted and inspiring teacher and I fear his wrath in part because it is so rare. It's still amazing to me that my advisor (may his good health and happiness endure) can be so busy with his own writing and editing and still find the time to be as thorough with the writing of folks such as me.