Monday, December 21, 2009

Darn those 16th note runs!!

The sock garters I got are not the ones I should have gotten. Should have gotten the suspender clip ones. The ones I got have the standard garter button and it is not particularly easy to secure thick stockings into the button. Lesson learned: suspender clips are the way to go.

Progress over the weekend: Argh! I did read 3 articles. Not all 6. Didn't read a single chapter of anything. Did read Self and Fitness magazines. Did make gingerbread (note: double - hell, triple the spices). Did clean house. Did finish Christmas shopping. Did hang out with M's cat to keep him company. Did practice Messiah in anticipation for the DIY performance tomorrow.

Did not write a single word. Did not do a single revision. Did not read a single dissertation-related chapter.

leave work; library - get books
head home; eat; grab book
head to M's - look in on cat; read chapter or two in book
head downtown, eat dinner with E
... this does not leave very much time for significant dissertation work...

Goal: by this weekend expand section on shift in moral thought and add the conclusion MW suggested. Yes, this will mean giving up some sleep, but since Self told me I sleep too much anyway (apparently over 8 hours/night is linked to early death. Who knew? Then again, my mattress sags so much and I wake up so often that perhaps I'm not really getting that much sleep ... ), it is in my best interests to keep myself up/wake myself up earlier.

For the new year (or sooner): an alarm clock that actually works. Or one whose authority I recognize. That's more accurate. My alarms do technically work - they ding at the appropriate times. I just don't actually get out of bed when they tell me to.

Friday, December 18, 2009

the sweet smell of different flowers

My new stockings arrived! The cotton/acrylic ones are taller than my legs ... The wool ones look more reasonable, however. Now I'm just waiting on the new perfume samples (decadent, I know!) and my Christmas presents to me should be complete.

No dissertation updates today - my social calendar has filled up! Hooray for the holidays. By Monday (when I will write again. The blessing/curse of no internet at home), I will have read more about modern moral philosophy, the articles in my bag, and - and - and something else. To be determined.

Excited for holiday burlesque tonight - nothing says Ho! Ho! Ho! like twirling pasties.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

notes to self

You know what's weird? Feeling your butt hang over the top of your socks. I guess at that point they really are stockings more than they are socks, but when you're wearing trousers, they seem pretty sock-like.

Lunch with the office today. Not particularly looking forward to it - not feeling particularly sparkling or social. But I will be a grown-up.

Read 4 chapters yesterday in 2 books. That was productive. I should start noting how often I read and how much - that might help to keep me honest and working. Even if no one reads this blog, knowing that there is a public record of how little I do may help to motivate me to do much more.

One of the women in my program just sent me a recipe she made the other night in case I wanted to try it. It was wonderfully thoughtful! And it occurred to me that I could probably get myself to try new recipes more frequently if I then sent ones I liked to friends of mine to try.

These may sound like beginnings of resolutions, but they are not. Certainly not. But if I can't be internally disciplined, then I need to seek out external means to discipline myself into healthy, loving productivity. If only there were a way to do this with exercise.

More posting(s) on actual dissertation work later.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gaudete, gaudete!

Read Lorrie Moore's Anagrams yesterday. Oh, how heartbreakingly sad. Very, very good and very, very sad. I wonder what the relationship is between reading the book and telling Boy that I feel like he is something of a stranger to me. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.

Gaudete, gaudete!

500 words today without even really trying. I incorporated my edits and clarified some things. If I read tonight and also tomorrow, I should be able to write more Thursday and Friday. Having a full draft by the end of the month might actually be possible. I might actually be a Ph.D candidate shortly and then graduate and leave.

Gaudete, gaudete!

It is lovely to get together with friends before the holidays! My calendar has been filling up and that does make me smile. Generosity is particularly poignant and beautiful when the air is chilly and the ground is frozen. A warm intoxicating drink and a fire even more sustaining.

Gaudete, gaudete!

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
ex Maria virgine gaudete!

Monday, December 14, 2009

"I'll just add a cake of soap!"

Mother, what do you want for Christmas?

A child.

How does one respond to her mother in such a situation???? Maria had a good idea - I may just give my mother a baby doll. It would be funny to give her a fake ultrasound photo and tell her that I got right on it when she said she wanted a baby, but I fear the joke would be misunderstood...

Almost no dissertation work all weekend. On the train ride up to Milwaukee I took a pencil to my draft and began editing, but I fell asleep a few pages in. I hope it was because the train was so soothing and not because I bore even myself...

To Do for today:

- Deliver coffee to Maria
- Meet J for a drink at 2 and catch up
- Finish editing (in pencil) draft
- Read at least 2 chapters of something
Plan menu for week.

To Do this week sometime:

- Christmas shopping
Becca reminded me of a movie we loved as kids - Santa Claus: The Movie. It's only about $8 on Amazon, so I think I'll get a copy for her and for Ben. Hooray! Very easy and nostalgic. Nostalgia makes for some of the best gifts. [a cake of soap. a cake of soap.]
- While I'm shopping - socks for me
- Take shoes to cobbler

Friday, December 11, 2009

sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we

I love Christmas carols, particularly publicly sung ones. Even when sung by a lonely, generally ignored Salvation Army bell-ringer, having the music in common makes me happy every time. I love the pageantry of holidays and Christmas particularly offers itself up to this. There is something beautiful in ritual, in repetition.

this year, for example:
- there will be lumps of coal in everyone's stocking
- there will be cookies (caramel nut slices and pecan dreams at the very least)
- there will be a strata flecked with sun-dried tomatoes and broccoli for Christmas morning
- this year there will be brandy and eggnog while we clean out my mother's room

For me, however, my special treat is literature like a down comforter:

"We lie together, skin close enough for grafting. When I kiss you, I give you all the words that room in the roof of my mouth. When you kiss me, you give me the shape of silence."

Oh, Jeanette Winterson, how lovely!

I wrote 1642 words yesterday. That makes 2601 words this week. I don't think I'll actually feel pleased with my progress, however, until I have a passed proposal. Until then, I don't know that any of the work I'm doing is any good, or if it is truly progress.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It is a truth universally acknowledged

that a single woman in possession of a good dissertation topic must be in want of a quotation.

Wrote my 1000 words on Tuesday. Hoping for about 1000 more today. The goal is a full draft by the end of the month. There are a few places in my current draft where additions and revisions will be relatively easy, and I plan to work on those first. There are others where revisions and additions will be more like pulling teeth.

There is a quote I am missing and I don't even know how to go about finding it. I'm pretty sure I read it this semester which should narrow down the pool of possible sources, but even with that limitation, I cannot find it. Something about the ethical value of a text - any text - not residing within the text itself but being a product of the interaction with the text.

I spent all yesterday evening looking for this quote and now I've spent all morning doing the same. This is very very frustrating. I am stopping now so that I can write, but will be haunted by these missing words.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

department holiday party

oh. and "bitchriarchy". came up with that one last night.

i think even for myself, i am way, way too much ...

productive night

I dreamt last night about some sort of sea monster/subterranean machine - not sure which it was. Perhaps it kept changing. Perhaps it was both. It seemed that I - and one other person - were trying to sufficiently disable the monster/machine so that it wouldn't do damage to anyone, but we didn't know how to do this. It was clear, however, that if the machine was unleashed, it would have a cataclysmic effect.

At one point you left to go above ground. You had people with you, as did I. It wasn't clear whether you left to try to disable the machine from above, or whether you simply escaped.

I tried to get in contact with you when it became evident that I could not stop the machine myself. I needed help and you were the only one who knew as much about it as I did. You didn't respond to my message - you sent it back: it came back unopened and rejected. I was so stunned by your rejection of my call that I didn't move away from the machine in time and was wounded. I kept trying to disable the machine but it continued to gain strength while I weakened. Finally I lost consciousness and woke up.

I still don't know what happened to the machine.

The dream was so vivid and this is a poor representation of it. It woke me up around 3am and I thought to write down what I remembered.

For someone who finds suspense-filled thriller-type movies very stressful, I do have the strangest dreams. Afterwards, however, I found myself thinking about my dissertation (when reflecting on your dissertation is soothing, you know the dream was stressful). I wrote those notes down as well.

My dissertation will take ethics for its topic, and one of the facets of ethical reflection on which I want to focus is the willingness to frame a situation as dilemmatic. This seems to be a crucial, fundamental ethical attitude which does not receive sufficient or thorough discussion. There isn't a situation for ethics until the situation is seen as dilemmatic and requires ethical response. If this is the case, how is it that some situations are seen as requiring ethical response by some people and not by others? I feared for a few minutes at about 3:30 this morning that I was still going to have to revert to a discussion of ethics as the development of procedures that can enforce for others the framing of a situation as dilemmatic.

I hope - but am not yet sure - and left my notes on this problem and on my dream at home (I am writing from my memory now) - that part of the solution (if solution will be the right word) will be found in a willingness for commitment and relationship. A situation becomes an ethical one for me because I have made it mine, because I have attached myself to it and because I have committed to it - become responsible to and for it. From that initial attachment, I can seek out means for criticism in order to develop an evaluative appreciation for the situation that can avoid narcissistic subjectivism.

Becoming an excellent person, ethically speaking, will involve seeking out more and ever more situations to which to attach oneself, becoming increasingly committed, taking on more responsibilities, seeking out new, more, deeper opportunities for response.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

research is sometimes too much fun

just lovely:

"If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I."

I should get a proper notebook in which to record all of the lovely things I've already found and which I am certain to find.


but sometimes life is charming. no, really.

- the coffee studio makes hot chocolate with nutella. file under "why didn't I think of that??" and "oh, my, this is tasty!"

- breathing. so good. particularly when paired with vocal warm-ups (as in, at the same time). dizzy but a rush.

- oh, and, as much as i hate to admit it: push-ups. kind of a rush.

- i did type up a timeline that has me graduating in December 2011. i think this should change - it doesn't leave any room for teaching. hm. i could teach in spring of 2012 maybe.

- my voice teacher thinks i am "a whole universe" unto myself. of course. who wouldn't say that??

- my brother comes home next month! now ... as i was saying, HI!!!

- neti pot, herbal tea, ear drops, real facial tissues (so long, single-ply toilet paper!) and deliciously scented moisturizer = feeling better. take that cold!

Will try to read/write something so that I have something to say to my dissertation director this afternoon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

busy work

It occurred to me yesterday that I hadn't done a single minute of dissertation work in over a week. Determined to remedy that situation, I rolled up my sleeves, pulled on a pair of comfortable pants and nubby socks and ... did dishes, cooked lunch/dinner for the week and cleaned out my closet. *sigh*
I stuffed 2.5 trash bags full of clothes and shoes I've been saving for lord knows what reason - including all those jeans that *sniff* just don't fit any longer (okay, I kept 3 pair that are still too snug, but that's a lot better than ... er ... 10 ... ok ... 13).
Then I housed my summer shoes in cunning little plastic containers that I can stack on a high shelf in my closet.
Stuffed all my magazines and still-to-be-read issues of TLS in canvas boxes cheaply purchased at Walgreens (this was very important)
Set up a "workstation" underneath my coffee table with the littlest of the canvas boxes - I now have notebooks, writing utensils, my cuticle nippers (I'm obsessed. I admit it), hand cream, emery boards. I just need a giant package of post-its to make my workstation complete.

I am in the process of trying to procure a new bookshelf to make my space even more efficient - and to keep Cat (who may have to be renamed C. K. Dexter Haven. Because, doggone it, either I'm gonna sock him or he's gonna sock me.) from jumping to the top of the current bookshelf every time I open a book.
Then, once I sell my table and get rid of my old loveseat, then, I will be prepared to do dissertation work. Really.

One day I'll look back on all this and think of myself as ridiculously spoiled and wildly self-indulgent. Right now, it feels entirely necessary