Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I have until 3:30 tomorrow.

Now to cram 30 hours' worth of writing into 24. Gosh-a-mighty but I do hate proper footnote format.

Monday, March 27, 2006

omens, portents and signs

My horroscope on Friday was a horrorscrope - it announced that I didn't have the time or resources to complete a major project and I should put in the towel. (This probably contributed to my exasperation this weekend.)

Then on Sunday George Mason (a little school) beat UCONN (which even I know is a big school powerhouse) in overtime. This is good.

This morning #2 (upon whom may the sun shine) sent me the absolutely most kind, supportive, helpful and constructive e-mail I've ever recieved and it was all of two sentences long.

When I nipped out to run a quick errand, I passed two very good looking young men, which always brightens my day. Then I noticed that they were #1 wearing backpacks and #2 had chained their bicycles and helmets to a stop sign at the entrance to my neighborhood. I'm a tenured grad student in history, you can't fool me: Mormon missionaries. Ordinarily I'd be happy to talk with them, but today was just not a good day. By the time I got back, the pair were leaving my neighbor's house and missed my car pulling in.

I estimate that I have about 36 hours worth of work left to do, by the time you (or should I say I) figure in correcting the footnotes and updating the appendix. As ever, thanks for all of your support. I look forward to becoming a human being again when this is over.

Words Written: 6000+
Lessons Graded: zero

P.S. Happy Birthday to Andrew.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

choppy weather in the Channel

This is officially not fun any more. I'm sore, I'm tired and I'm scared. The conflicting voices of my advisor (may he live forever) and #4 are looping through my head and I don't ike what either of them is telling me to do.

On a happier note, #2 (on whom may the sun shine) has been wonderfully supportive and kind. #2 even sent an e-mail out of the blue to say "hang in there, you can do this.'"

I think I can I think I can I think can...
Words Written: a lot
Lessons Graded: zero

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Still plugging away. Progress is being made, but not as much as I'd like. I suspect that I'm tired.

A defense date and time have been selected.

Sinister secret of snail's escape

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

how's the weather in the Channel?

Having consumed my last box (sigh) of tag-a-longs, I've moved on to thin mints.

Once again, I was fast asleep at 6:00 PM and wide awake (and thus working) at 3 AM.

I've come to the conclusion that while the examples are great and the research outstanding, I'm just never going to understand the general premise of a book I've read and reread off and on since 1996. Ah well - at least the book has large print.

I've buried Green Book so well under other books that now I can't find it.

I realize that this is a fascinating post - sorry!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

quick check-in

This is the final push week, ulp.

Words Written: a little over 1000
Lessons Graded: zero
Books on Floor: thirty-one
Books on Desk: four
Open Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies: one
Empty soda cans: three

Thursday, March 16, 2006

cat herding

I've finally heard from #3. The two dates that my advisor (may he live forever) and #2 (upon whom may light shine) have in common also happen to be dates that #3 has mostly free!

Just wait, with my luck those two dates will be when #4 plans to be in Glasgow by way of Bolivia and has no chance of being on campus or near a phone. This may be the time for lighting a virtual candle to St. Jude.

Back to work!

Update: hurrah for St Jude! #4 actually has time available on both of those days. Amazing! Now to actually pick a time and date. Eeeek - must look into the appropriate Saints' Days, Good Karma Days, birthdays of ex-boyfriends, etc.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

a sweet little morsel

I quite literally ran into #2 (upon whom may light shine) this morning. After having a good laugh about it and brushing ourselves off, #2 asked if I had a moment. We chatted a bit about the diss and #2 seems quite enthusiastic about getting to read it and willing to be charitable when I have my defense. (Hurrah!)

#2 then said, "Lemming, Ijust wanted to remind you about something." (ulp! This chat seemed to be going so well!) "I'm a tenured professor. I had to write a diss and I've written books. Right now, however, I am on my way to the library to pick out some books. I will be reading them for fun and without any sense of guilt that I should be reading the latest scholarly journal or work in my field. Someday this will happen to you, too."

Sounds good.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Misery! Narwhal!

Indiana weather is still anything but, well, reliable. It was 72 degrees this morning, and I watched the storm clouds rolling in. According to the radio station folks, we even had a tornado warning or watch or some such. Following the briefest of showers the sun came out for a while and all was beautiful. Now I can see more clouds rolling in and the trees swaying in the wind.

Though the dissertation is still a constant part of my dreams these days, my subconcious is digging up an odd cast. Two nights ago I dreamed that I was in the car, taking my completed (!) diss to campus. The car was drven by a friend from high school, the front seat passenger was a friend from college and I sat in the back, next to Professor McGonnagall. Last night I dreamed that my family planned a picnic to celebrate (!!) my graduation. For some reason John Wayne counted as family and he made the drinks.

Utterly true story: during qualifying exams, aka two weeks of utter living hell, I kept dreaming that Mamie Eisenhower and I were having Manhattans together. I loathe Manhattans.

I'm still trying to nail down dates with the Gang of Four. My advisor (may he live forever) and #2 (upon whom also may light shine) very kindly gave me some possible days, on both of which they're almost entirely free. With my luck, #3 and #4 will be impossibly busy on both of those days. I tried to talk the graduate secretary into letting me schedule an evening defense, to be held at a local bar and grill known for its large drinks. She was not impressed.

Utterly true story: I know four people who had their defense for the MA in this same bar & grill. I guess the PhD process is supposed to be more dignified. Sheesh - what am I going to wear??!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Your Whole Master-Plan Depends Upon a Yorkshire Terrier

Dear Tech "Support" People,

You know why you have a job? Because of people like me. If everyone were as computer savvy as you, the position wouldn't be necessary. Getting mad at the people who ask you for assistance (have you looked at your job description lately?) but do not understand a word of jargon is far from helpful, let alone supportive.


The worst of it is that this happened not once but three times this morning, once to me and twice to a student and cced to me. Sheesh. Obviously someone forgot to pass out the drams this morning.

Words Written: (whimpers)
Lessons Graded: five

Monday, March 06, 2006


Having established, thanks to my very kind readers, that 30 drams = two shots, I confess that I was still a tad baffled. The historian made it clear that the increase in the liquor ration demonstrated terrible judgement on the part of the leader. Perhaps it's the ivory tower sherry drinking academic in me, but two shots a day, while not necessarily healthy, didn't sound like all that much.

Then I reread the passage in question. The men were given 30 drams at every meal. Now all is clear.

Words Written: big writing day today
Lessons Graded: fifteen (one more to go)

Friday, March 03, 2006

units of measurement

All right, word-smiths, how much is a dram? My dictionary, very unhelpfully, has as the first definition "1/8th of an ounce" and as the second "1/16th of an ounce."

I've been reading about a leader who increased the liquor ration from 3 drams to 30 drams. Obviously this is a large increase, but I'm curious to know just how much.

Spent a lot of the morning wrestling with bureaucracy. Most of it redefined the word tedious, but it was pretty cool to mail in my paperwork for graduation. I'm reasonably tickled to think of all of the bored families who will page through their graduation programs and at least skim my name and dissertation title.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

a little help from my friends

Fellow academic sibling Roger just mailed me two incredibly cool and very useful articles. Some academic writing is professional with moments of fascination and moments of dullness. Both of these pieces are professional while still thoroughly entertaining; I'd read either one in the bathtub and feel quite relaxed...

Except that I'm very excited about their usefulness, so much so that I'd probably drop them in the bubbles, which might make the articles difficult to reread for citation purposes.

Words Written: six hundred or so
Lessons Graded: twenty

(What can I say, it's been a good day today.)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

some people believe in yetis

After consulting with my advisor (may he live forever) I have a due date. It's very, very, very soon. Now I must contact #2, #3 and #4 about scheduling my defense date. I'm not sure which of these prospects is the more alarming, really, the completion or trying to get four academics to agree on a date and time.