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Archive for May, 2009


It’s been quite a productive day, eh?  I feel like I’ve been working nonstop.  There’s a trajectory of zone-ness.  Avoidance, then heart-pounding timeloss, an overwhelming sense of largeness, and lastly warm optimism.  I’ve been feeding off warm optimism all night, watching PBS and pottering through some of my essay.  There’s something wonderful about an approaching deadline, like you’ve been cursed with a pox, and you’re about to finally see the doctor.  Maybe you don’t like the doctor, but you know that after you see him, you’ll finally be better.  I’m ready to be cured of my deadlines.  And I’m ready to drain my head of the swelling ideas – encephalitus of the research organ.  The looming possibility of acheivement and satisfactory performance.  10 more days.

The first day felt like two days, the second day felt like a few hours…

Today was a go-go-go-go kind of day.  My buddy and co-TA Ariel emailed me last night to say that she had gotten food poisioning (boo!) and asked if I could take over her sections today.  I have my Friday section at 9, and she teaches the 10 and 11 sections… so that meant three straight hours of teaching this morning.  It actually went really well, and it was the last week of section for our Friday kids, so it was kinda nice to know I wouldn’t see these folks again.  I had to bump my office hours back an hour to accomodate the sections, so by 1 when I was finally free, it had already been quite a long day.  Tried to grade papers over lunch, and then I had my three-hour typology class… by then I was pretty spent but I hadn’t even started on my own work, let alone finished grading for the day.  So I had Lewis come pick me up and take me out to dinner (I had to be driven to school this morning because my bike tire was flat and I didn’t have time to fix it!) and then I came home and got right back to work.  Now it’s 10:30.  And it’s bedtime.  But i got so much done today, even if it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.  Kids taken care of, essays graded, classes attended, and I’m ready for my weekend preparing for the big presentation Monday.  I’ll try not to panic about that too much between now and then… but damn if I’m not a bit nervous.


Another day wasted on an early morning migraine – 7:45 am this time. So on the plus side, I didn’t have to bike to school in the heat. Though I did miss my students turning in their essays, which is a shame since I kinda like to keep an eye on how things are going there. Lewis managed to pick them up for me later, and so at least I’m not behind on my grading. I got sadly little work done today, though I did read a paper and write the first section of my neuroscience essay. Mostly I just wasted my day, waiting for my head and eyes to feel like they were done being pressurized. 10 day to go or so, eh? Maybe that’s what’s stressing me out.  But for the record can I just slip this in: Three migraines in four weeks?  What the fuck?


I think it’s that time again. That’s “final papers and presentations in the next two weeks” time. Where I sit around all day doing god knows what, but seemingly getting work done, and leaving myself with nothing to blog about. Yeeup.

Well, we did take a few hours off today to take Lewis’ parents to high tea at Ciocolat for Francie’s birthday. That counts for something, right? Woot!


I’m all tuckered out from an excellent birthday day!  I’m full of love and happiness.  I saw lots of friends, had a good time in Berkeley, had a lovely walkabout in Davis, played with my new things… happy times, happy times.


Good day, after a bit of a rough start.  Boring section this morning because we had so much material to get through.   Then I found out I had lost a paper draft I should have read a week ago, and didn’t believe that the student had ever turned it in.  Found it, and speed-graded it, thankfully.  My worst problem student came in when I only had 10 minutes left of my office hours, complaining that he had no idea what a research paper was supposed to be.  And not in a feeling-unsure sort of way as if he would write a decent paper and he’s just worried.  More like the very concept of a research paper was foreign to him, and it was a travesty that we would request such a hurculean feat as a four page research paper.  Meh.

So that was the rough start.  After I shooed him out of my office, a bunch of the ling grads took me out for a burger and a beer as a pre-birthday shindig.  I really love these guys, and it was neat to have a little thing with them.  Had our Friday night class after that, then I’ve just been hanging out at home and enjoying this Giants-Mariners game.  Randy Johnson was pitching, and I saw Griffey bat!  Good times… he almost got a grand slam at the bottom of the ninth, but it was just a little short.  It’s been 1-1 since the 6th inning and they’re in the 12th already. I’m not sure I’m going to make it through the end of the game… but it’s been a very nice way to spend the night.  Gotta get on a train in the morning to meander down to Berkeley and have a nice birthday afternoon out with some of the Ask folks and Armand.  Should be good times.  I’m looking forward to it!

I keep on slipping, slipping, slipping…

It seems around now, at the end of each quarter, this void opens up in my head. It’s a place I know I shouldn’t go, because I can’t be there and here at the same time. It’s full of thoughts: unorganized, murky, recursive thoughts. My papers live in here. I can dip my toe in, and pull out paragraphs like seaweed. But I can’t organize a paper, and think it at the same time. Today, I’m slipping in. I’ve organized, organized, organized… I’ve outlined, I’ve re-outlined, neatly stacked my books, prepared my topics, summarized my readings. This is as far as this line goes. From here, you must disembark, grab your paltry outlines, and step into the fog. If you’ve done a good enough job you’ll have stashed food in your pockets, water in your bag, and brought a map of the right city, in the right time. You gather this fog in your arms, package it, label it, store it, and arrange it. Three weeks pass, and you can’t remember why you were here, or why it seems like so much time has passed and there’s nothing to show for it. More weeks of silence, relative freedom, organized thought returns after a restorative period of languid disinterest. At the end of it all, someone gives you a grade: an A. The same grade you would have gotten regardless of the sequence of events that lead you here. Not because your paper earned it, but because your graduate school admission came with this clause: you’ll spend the next several years writing papers no one reads, compelled to do so by a sense of duty and a fear of the unknown, which will earn you in all circumstances the letter signifying your continued acceptability: an A.

Today I found PhDComics.

Life so full of nebulous, ungraspable existance.  I want to condense it, and I can’t.  Life is good.  Slow moving, yet expedient… fulfilling and untenable.  Life is strange when you’re on the way to achieving your highest goal, which will nearly happen by default.  There are a lot of papers to write between here and there, but writing papers is what I do.  I write papers, I teach, and at my best, I sit in all the chairs I’m supposed to occupy at the right times and in the right places.  And after I do this enough times, someone gives me a Doctorate.  A Doctorate in Being Places One Ought.  My letters of rec will say, “writes papers on any topic”.  “Follows directions well”.  “Seems to know what she’s doing”.  I’ve got direction, even if I don’t know what it is.  Convincing enough direction that people give me research grants before I have a project to spend them on.  I simultaneously worry about the day-to-day details way more than I should, but feel very relaxed and at home with the Big Picture.  I guess that’s probably good.


For a Monday, it was a pretty domestic day.  My reading group was cancelled, so I only had my cognitive neuroscience class this morning – yay!  I’d been hoping for a day off, of sort.  Not feeling much like updating though, so I think I’ll list up:

  • went out to lunch!  Mm, Dos.
  • got all the dishes done!
  • made potato salad, and chocolate syrup
  • started laundry
  • got almost all my rough drafts graded
  • read the penultimate paper for my cogneuro essay

Oh yeah, one other good thing today – I got another fellowship thing!  These funding guys are always really mysterious, so I’m not quite sure where it all comes from.  At any rate, I got a nice email telling me I’d been awarded some kind of research grant, and that they’re giving me 1500 bucks to spend on things “vital to the research” I’m doing, and I have to report back about what I’ve been doing to the powers that be next spring.  I’m not quite sure what my research is, yet, or what I’ll need 1500 bucks for, but it’s pretty neat to know I have a personal little expense account at the department next year.   I’m +2 for next year!

Buggered again

Woke up rather late this morning after a long and excellent night last night.  We pulled together an impromptu barbeque and pool party with some of our linguistics friends last night.  Had a really good time – cooked some tasty food, poked around in the pool, played some games, had lots of laughs.  I really enjoy my cohort!   And we had the luck of Lewis’ parents wanting us to look after their dog in the evening anyway, and inviting us to have the party at their place.  Such luck!

This morning as sort of a bust, sadly.  I got a migraine sort of right after I woke up – didn’t even have breakfast or anything.  I’m pretty bummed out.  I was even supposed to be going in for another scanner session today with Lewis, and I had to cancel.   I might have been able to handle it, but I always feel like.. I’ve been up reading in the dark all night and I’m hungover.  That’s the best I can describe it.  Usually I get these migraines in the afternoon and can kind of coast until bedtime and sleep it off, but this 10am business is just not great.  I did take a nap later and wore most of it down, but I’ll be glad to get some real sleep tonight and wake up refreshed in the morning.

Despite it all, I got a lot of work done today.  Skimmed some book chapters, and skimmed over the stuff I might want to go over in sections this week.  I even charted out what I need to do in the next few weeks to get ready for my term papers and final presentations.  I’m going to make it… Just three weeks to go, and then I’ll have so much time, I won’t even know what to do with myself.   That’s going to be so sweet!