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We have to hurry to the east and then we hurry west

November 23, 2010

I seem to be suffering from a temporary lack of blogging inspiration. There is so much going on here right now, that I’m having trouble just getting my head around it all. I feel like there’s a lobe of my brain just dedicated to keeping lists going — adding and subtracting things in an endless hum. So you’ll have to forgive me if this space becomes a little more dedicated to my work than it has been in a while. It’s almost all I think about.

The funny thing about it, though, is that I’m not finding it at all stressful or drudge-like. I’m enjoying it. I’m getting a little crabby this week with the constant interruptions of having a child in the house with not enough to do and a little guilty about feeling crabby. But otherwise, it’s all good. Suddenly this enormous project has become a string of little projects, all very completable. The big shift was my epiphany on the reorganization of the last half. It turns out that this is not only eliminating two chapters, but creating more focus and better emphasizing the strongest parts of my research. Where I thought there were holes you could drive a truck through, there are now highly patchable fissures.

The diss work has slowed down a little this week, though — really, how could it not? The holiday and especially job applications are getting in the way. There is one particularly tasty job opening with a 12/1 deadline that is going to be a challenge to meet, to say the least. It would have been nice if I’d figured out I was ready to do this a little earlier. It’s a total long shot, but it’s a job for which I am particularly well suited for a number of reasons. But there are others too. And they are mostly in locations where I wouldn’t hate to be. The competition this year, though, will be fierce. But more jobs are showing up later. It used to be that most of the job deadlines were in early December. There are still new postings coming in almost daily. And at good schools. I know getting a job will be unlikely for a number of reasons, most importantly that I’m competing with people who are already finished. But It’s still worth trying. I feel more certain about concentrating my efforts on academia than I have in a while. It’s as if someone shook up this mess of a puzzle I’ve been working on and the pieces all slipped magically into place. It may not last, but it’s where I am now. I need to get my advisor a few of my application documents to read before tonight.

Thanksgiving work begins in earnest today. Cooking and writing are rather a nice combination. I made the cranberry sauce and stock on Sunday. Today I prep the onions (which will be baked on Thursday) and make the carrot salad. I’ll also be simmering up a cassoulet for dinner, because we’ve still got two days of eating to go. Tomorrow I pick up the turkey and bake pies and prep the stuffing. The onions are probably the most work, but they are my favorite, so I make them every year.

Through some series of fortuitous events, my neighbor is taking AJ to that place with the animatronic rat to play for a while this afternoon and he has a birthday party this evening, so I may actually get some of these things done. We had AJ’s parent-teacher conference yesterday, which was interesting. His teacher has a good read on him. He gets great grades, but she feels he’s not doing enough (he generally does the bare minimum to stay on top; he’s motivated by competition). I couldn’t agree more. We talked about ways to get him pushing himself more. We’ll see if they work.

One of the things that’s keeping me going is having a treat at the end of the day. This week, we’ve been watching Masterpiece Theater’s Sherlock, the updating of Sherlock Holmes. Mr. Spy and I are both Holmes fans, but he is really a true fan, one who is generally bothered by reinterpretations. But this version is so faithful to the spirit of the books, that we are both enjoying it immensely. The casting is brilliant, the updating of the stories clever. There are only three 90 minute episodes at the moment. I think there are to be more and I, for one, will be looking forward to them.

And now, it’s time to grab another sweater (the temperature is a full 40 degrees colder than it was yesterday) and get back to work.

What are your holiday plans?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 23, 2010 11:57 am

    Maine. We are driving to Maine tomorrow. It will be cold. But it should be fun.

  2. November 23, 2010 12:01 pm

    I haven’t been to Maine since I was 7. I’m hoping to remedy that next summer as my brother now has a house there.

  3. freshhell permalink
    November 23, 2010 12:11 pm

    I love those Sherlock shows! I was all prepared to hate it because it’s hard to beat Jeremy Brett in my book but it’s so completely different and updated and well cast and I LOVE it.

    We will be at my mother’s on Thursday. The less said the better. But, my only cooking duties are pies and a cake. So, no biggie. Then we’ll scarper off to see Megamind. I don’t even care if it’s awful. I’m sure it’ll make Red laugh and her laugh is extraordinary so that’ll be worth the price of admission.

  4. November 23, 2010 12:19 pm

    I’ve loved the Sherlock too, but prepare yourself. There are only the three.

    Cooking a green bean casserole (no soup) and several appetizers. I get off easily. Your onion recipe has always sounded yummy. Have you shared this with me yet?

  5. November 23, 2010 12:52 pm

    We’re huge fans of the Jeremy Brett series too, but we’ve seen them all about a gazillion times. This is quite different and also fabulous. Jill, there will be more, there just aren’t yet. There’s to be another series of 3 out next year. I think we’ll try for Megamind too. Maybe tomorrow, if I’ve got the rest of the work under control. Otherwise maybe Friday. I don’t think I have shared the onion recipe — I never seem to remember exactly what I do until I’m in the middle of it. I’ll try to take better notes this year and post it after the fact. I do know that it’s based on a recipe in one of Sarah Leah Chase’s cookbooks. But of course I can’t remember which one. I’d better sort it out this afternoon. I suspect that’s where my stuffing recipe is lurking. I tend to use it as a bookmark and then it vanishes every year, resulting in an annual hide-and-seek tradition that I could do without.

  6. November 23, 2010 12:58 pm

    We’re staying home, playing some games, and watching some dvds. We have traveled enough already this fall, and are anticipating more travel at Christmastime. One of the main reasons we aren’t going anywhere is that this is the last year Eleanor has to be in town to march with the high school band in a weekend parade.

    Not being a cook, I have planned a dinner that isn’t too kitchen-intensive, except that I have to make traditional cornbread dressing. (We’re having green bean casserole with the soup!)

    I am so glad to hear how all the dissertation pieces are falling into place!

  7. readersguide permalink
    November 23, 2010 1:08 pm

    Cooking. Avoiding homework. Maybe a hike? The weather is lovely and cold, which makes it all better.

  8. Cranky permalink
    November 23, 2010 1:55 pm

    Cassoulet! Oh…[she drools.]

    I’ll be home with baby J and her Nana.

  9. November 23, 2010 1:59 pm

    I use this recipe for my cassoulet, more or less: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/dining/03apperex.html . Very easy and very delicious.

  10. Cranky permalink
    November 24, 2010 11:30 am

    Hmm–that’s an interesting thought. I have to see if I have any of those beans.

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