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Holiday bowl

December 7, 2010

I had yesterday all planned out and then I got an email this morning reminding me that Santa gifts for our neighborhood Christmas party were due today. Santa, you see, needs some helpers. He’s very busy at this time of year. But party? I’d forgotten all about it. So off I ran to the bookstore this morning. So far I’ve done a fair amount of Christmas shopping, but entirely for things that will be given to AJ before Christmas for assorted functions. Nothing for actual Christmas.

I think AJ may have an idea about this whole Santa business. It’s unclear as yet. He was thinking about it last year, but had rationalized a difference between the Santas he sees and the Santas he doesn’t. But I’m not asking too many questions. I had enough trouble walking by the display of shiny new picture books and the train table at the bookstore where he used to love to play. This Christmas is making me a little sad.

After my last minute shopping, and the subsequent wrapping and delivery, I hauled myself and two bags of paper to the library where I had hoped to complete the latest chapter revision. Unfortunately, it proved to have more problems than anticipated and will need to be wrapped into the second half division. It’s not a one day fix. But I did at least finish identifying the problems and fixes and tomorrow I’ll get to the serious work. But a few good things did happen in the work department. Two of my four committee members emailed me to voice their support, agree to read stuff and to write revised letters of recommendation. My adviser has already done this. That just leaves one AWOL committee member. She apparently took an early retirement from her university (not mine) and is working for a different organization now. My email to her didn’t bounce back, but I also haven’t heard from her yet. If she has to bail, I don’t think it’s a huge problem — you only need 3 for a committee and she is the one member who is not from my field. But I do think it may take some extra paperwork to fix is she turns out to be gone.

The really exciting news, though, is that I found the images I need for my article. One of the images I discuss at length in my article came off a microfilm that turned out to be of such poor quality that it was unusable. I tracked down the original, with the help of a librarian who did a boatload of running around, in a research library in Massachusetts. But when she ordered it sent up from storage, it was missing. It turned out to have been tossed. She tried to make another scan from the microfilm, but it wasn’t any better than mine. Then through some fluke, I discovered I had a copy of a different document that used the same images. Unfortunately, it was incorrectly labeled and I didn’t know where it came from. But I managed to trace it to a collection in Iowa. I put in an email request on Friday afternoon and this morning, they had already scanned it and posted it online. It’s as gorgeous, crisp and clear a copy as you could ask for. I’m thrilled, because this image is not, like the rest of the images in the article, mere illustration. It’s an integral part of the article. Plus the speed of turnaround was astounding. I’m still waiting on the Huntington Library to get back to me about a weeks-old request. They were there one I was told would be the speediest, but so far, not even a “we’ve received your three requests” auto-reply.

Today is more of the same. More chapter work. More chasing down wayward archivists. Getting assorted documents to the people who’ve offered to write for me. Making to-do lists for the next battery of job applications. Transposing a piano part and writing out a violin solo for tomorrows lessons. Consuming a few pots of coffee to make sure it all gets done on time.

Tis the season.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    December 7, 2010 3:01 pm

    Most of my Xmas shopping is done. A week ago, this wasn’t the case but a couple quick internet sprees took care of the bulk of it. It always seems impossible and then….somehow it’s done.

    Dusty hasn’t mentioned anything about Santa’s possible non-existence lately. Either she is keeping up the ruse for Red’s sake or just wants to keep the dream alive. I’m not ready for it to end. Too much is changing already.

  2. readersguide permalink
    December 7, 2010 3:18 pm

    I am exhausted just reading about this.

    At some point you can get him to help you think about stocking stuffers for other people, which kind of makes up for the loss of Santa. I guess it means he gets to participate in being Santa, which feels very grown up, and is actually very fun.

  3. December 7, 2010 4:47 pm

    We did what ReadersGuide suggests, as my parents did with me. I still believe in Santa…and believe he needs a little help.

  4. December 9, 2010 10:52 am

    I love your story of tracking down the image. I have fantasies about legions of work study students to track down stuff for me…

  5. December 9, 2010 2:27 pm

    I have those fantasies too, Holly. Although I also enjoy the thrill of the chase.

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