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Random musings on Romance

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A possible golden road in front of me?

So, in the humanities and social sciences, most of 'us' are well-entrenched in the academic hiring process. Letters and dossiers have been sent, and the first round of interviews are about to commence. The usual process is to interview either by phone or at a convention (which tends to occur right after Christmas, or perhaps the first week of January), followed by an on-campus interview which lasts 2ish days; this second interview is usually done in January or February, so that decisions can be done in March.   Thursday 30 November, Bella woke me up at 7:30am...I told her I wanted to sleep until 8am. At exactly 8:03am, my phone rings...it's someone from one of the universities which I applied for^. They want to set up an interview. Uh, sure! No problem! My adrenaline starts pumping immediately, waking me up far more so than normal at 8am. (Have I mentioned that I'm pretty much brainless, especially in connecting thoughts to vocal aparatii, before 9:30am?)   No...they want me to fly out there. After quickly catching my jaw before it hits the floor, I agree. They want me to fly out 2 December for an interview on 3 December...nope, sorry, guys, but I have to give a final exam that day, and activities the following day preclude me from flying out there. But I can do it after that. Ok, they say...please fly out here for the following week (we'll reimburse you, of course). [NB: this is normal for on-campus interviews, that either the school schedules the flight or, in many cases, the interviewee schedules it and is reimbursed once they get to the interview.] I'm calm, poised, ready for action during the phone conversation and in the booking of my flight (hot damn I love American Airlines and the AmEx I have with them...POINTS! POINTS! POINTS!). I call the professor back and ask for an email, so I can forward my confirmation. Sure thing. Done.   I put the phone down...Bella just starts looking at me with that cute kitten face (you know the one: Ooh! Whatcha doing?! Can I come, too?!)...and I'm trying not to squeal like a little girl (don't want to freak Bella out completely), but it's hard to muffle it.   Seriously...I have an on-campus interview as my first interview...I'm just finishing my first article, so I'm going to try it out on them (I don't know if it's the wisest move, but I want to show that I'm moving on from my recently-finished dissertation, and not stuck on it). The only minor problem is that since I had my suit last tailored, I've put on a few pounds...on the other hand, it's tailored to my 4" heels, and since the forecast calls for snow and sleet, perhaps it's best to set the wardrobe around my stacked-heeled loafers (much lower heel, thicker heel...rubber soles). Yes, yes, I know, not the greatest snow gear, but consider this: 1) I don't live in an area where it snows...and don't know if I will be; 2) I still have to dress to impress, and snow boots aren't exactly punching a wow-factor; and, perhaps more importantly, 3) I'm not going to be walking around outside much. Yes, there's a campus tour planned, but I'm guessing that if it's snowing and/or sleeting, there's not going to be much of that. Thankfully my 'good' long coat is wool, warm, and should do ok. I wish I had a weatherproof one, but again, I don't want to buy one and then end up not needing it after the interviews*. So we'll see.   So, tonight I'll finish the PowerPoint presentation and accompaning handouts. Tomorrow off to Kinko's to copy them, a couple of loads of laundry, and last minute stuff. My brother flies back from LA-La-land Sunday afternoon, and will take care of Bella while I'm gone. I come back Tuesday night...and hopefully full of tales.   ^I'm keeping this 'anonymous', so that I don't possibly get this jinxed. Also, for decorum-sake. I'm not even going to give the location, short of the fact that it's east of the Mississippi...you never know....   *Yes, I said interviews. I have to go to our 'convention', which is in FREEZING COLD CHICAGO on THE WEEK AFTER CHRISTMAS...they are going to move it to the first week of January, but that's not until 2010, so I'm freezing until then. Buggery bollocks, as Edina Moon would say.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

And people wonder why

Ok...just to note...it's taken me almost a week to blog this...only because every time I think about it, it infuriates me.   Thesis: People don't know how to raise kids anymore.   Events: I was sitting at a local fast-ish food restaurant (meaning: it's still burgers, fries, etc., just that they cook things to order), minding my own business, when this group sit behind me. 2 women, sisters or -in-law from the sound of things, with 2 kids (boy was about 4, girl about 5) who belong to one of the women. One woman was explaining that they had just literally gotten off the plane from a trip to Florida to visit family, and there was an incident on the plane. The kids were 'fighting'...and to retaliate for some act, the boy spit on the girl. Evidently he was told that he was naughty, but that's it. And in recounting the tale, the other woman asked the little boy why he did it (with that amount of emotion, too). His response, with a grin: I dunnnoooo....she was bothering me. And the mother, non-chalantly, just reacted as if 'kids will be kids'.   Now, here's what pisses me off to no end: As a child, if my brothers or I even hinted that we were going to fight, we were given *the look* (we all know what look that was, too), and we all knew that if we continued, not only would we be hauled out of there toot-sweet, but we'd get our bottoms whacked. Mom meant business...and if we were really bad (which perhaps only happened once...I doubt it), she would tell Dad, who would also dispense justice. In essence, we didn't go out on errands, let alone special trips, very often, and we were to be on our very best behavior when we did. Punto...finale   Furthermore, I can recall only once spitting at my brother (the one I would fight with)...only once, because when it happened my mother slapped me on the face (something she never did), washed my mouth out with soap (which I got to tollerate...me being a potty-mouth and a smart ass), and she wouldn't talk to me for the rest of the day. Then I got the lecture: spitting on people is an evil thing, extremely dirty, and only animals do that...and at that, most animals wouldn't do it. I believe I was grounded (aka no dessert) for a short time, too. I got the hint...as did my brothers, who didn't dare repeat the incident, lest they be subjected to the same treatment. It was swift, and honestly I can't say that it wasn't merited.   So...granted, on a plane you might not want to smack your kid around...at least, not mid-air. But going out to lunch afterwards, which most kids see as a positive thing? And worse yet, acting as if it's no big deal? Where the hell are the manners???   See? It's been almost a week, and it still raises my hackles.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

I felt the earth...move...under my feet...

WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!   So, at 8:04pm PDT, there was about a 5.0 earthquake centered approximately 6 miles from my place. It were funnnn!!!   Ok, it wasn't fun...well, not 'not fun'...kinda thrilling. See, if you're born in 'earthquake country,' you know what to do in an instant: find a place to take cover (under a desk, in a doorway), make sure you have something on your feet, and ride it out...it doesn't last long. But this was the first one in my life that I really, really felt.   In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake shook us all...but I was on a hillside on granite and clay...behind my high school, waiting to be picked up after swim practice. I felt it...but I don't remember a big rock-and-roll before. The funny part was that there was swim practice for little kids going on at the time, and they were flying out of the pool. At the time, I couldn't stop laughing!   This time, I really felt it. I was just starting virtual office hours, sitting in my computer chair, and Bella on the bed. As soon as it hit, I was in the doorway, and she was under the bed. Maybe 5 seconds of shaking, and it was over. It felt like a rolling quake (up and down motion), not so much of an S-quake (side-to-side motion), but I could be wrong there. My jewelry box spit out its drawers, but other than that, nothing major fell. I went out to make sure that the others were ok (there's a band practicing in the studio on the lot), and everyone was. In fact, we were all outside, laughing, making jokes...I'm guessing because we were all somewhat nervous, and were trying to let it all out. I go to the USGS site...and the epicenter was really close.   Bella came out of the bed about 45 minutes later...and I've had to lay on the bed with her a bit. She's not purring like usual...a little too scared yet. But after about 5 treats, she's calmed and almost asleep. But what an exciting night!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Oh the idiocy of it all...

I decided that I'd go out for sushi tonight...and being that I live in Japantown, well, I knew it'd be good. Oh boy...I oopsed big time.   I'm allergic to shellfish. It's an interesting food allergy...comes in a variety of forms. Usually, the afflicted person is more affected by either crustaceans, mollusks or cephalopods; for me, crustaceans are evil. It also afflicts the poor soul in a variety of ways: the worst being apoplectic shock, others are covered in hives, and those like me are incredibly nauseous. And I'm really careful, especially when eating at a 'seafood' restaurant. I love sushi, but I know to be careful of some rolls. Ok, most rolls.   So I go in, and order my 2 favorites--toro/fatty tuna and unagi/freshwater eel--and want something new. I saw this roll called "Peach Bow"...unagi, salmon, and avocado in a beautiful roll, with tobiko (really small roe) on top. Ok...sounded good. Um, I must have missed an element...because there's imitation crab in there, too. And I didn't realize it until my last piece, which fell apart, revealing it's evil insides.   Oh crap...well, here comes the time bomb.   See, here's the thing about imitation crab: it's mostly white fish (often haddock), but can have flecks of real shellfish, especially crab, in it. It's also got 'shellfish juice' (probably shellfish stock) in there, in order to give flavor. So in any given piece of 'fake crab' I could have zero reaction...or a fair amount of one. And it happens with me about 30 minutes after I eat...joyous!!   So, by the time I walk home, it's almost been half an hour...and I'm already having bad indigestion with stomach pangs. This is common if I eat something that had shellfish in it, but no actual shellfish eaten. In the meantime, Bella can't get enough of my breath...she smells fish, perhaps smells crab, and wants to know where hers is. I told her no...but she's about as hardheaded as I am...so she didn't give up. I sat down in my computer chair, she got on my lap...and about that time I knew that I had better get to the bathroom PDQ. Well, false alarm...still, I'm still burping horribly and have a bad feeling in my stomach...oh man, it's gonna be a long night...and it's pretty much my undoing!!! Yeesh!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

New digs!

So I'm finally able to move out on my own again, and am now 'broadcasting' from my new apartment! It's a small studio in downtown/Japantown San Jose, in an old Victorian. No, Don Tomato, it doesn't have A/C...it has a gas heater. That's it.   But this place is almost done. Most all of the boxes are unpacked; the rest will be done once my brother puts up a bookcase for me. Some stuff remains in his garage; other will be given to Goodwill/Salvation Army. But most everything I have fits in here! With room to spare!   But, wow...I've spent close to $800 just on storage, food, kitchen items...So much stuff that I needed to get, that I sold off 2 1/2 years ago when I moved back home. But, hey, it's all good...it's money well spent, and only spent once.   I'm starting to feel like an adult again...on my own! Working! Yay!   (now a date and/or social life would be nice...)

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Fruit of the Silvery-Green Tree

What is it about olives?   Just...what is it about them?   I used to hate them until very recently; the brine or cure in which they are placed often either tasted bad to me or really didn't sit well in my stomach. In general, most things that are pickled set my tummy into the duck-and-cover position, unless the balance is so light on the vinegar that it hardly has bite. Sourkraut is a total no-no, and most gardinera mixes (Italian pickled veggies, which are often part of an antipasto spread) never go past my lips. Essentially, only kosher dill pickles and 2 recipes in my possession for pickled beets were the only pickled items which didn't sour my gastromic organ. (Yet my absolute favorite 'dressing' for salad is rice wine or red wine vinegar, and plenty of it, or lemon juice and a hint of olive oil...who knew?)   Well, things have changed. The Brilliant One (as my mother calls me, rolling her eyes at the same time) has figured out that if I take olives, wash off the brine or cure, that they are tollerable, and more often than not they're damned tasty. I started with oil-cured Provencal olives...and have now tried it with Kalamata and Nicoise olives. This is amazing!   See, I grew up on olive oil (extra virgin, please), and love the taste of it. Hell, there is nothing better than a loaf of crusty bread straight out of the oven, dipped in olive oil/balsamico/cracked pepper...in fact, my heart breaks (hah) when all that's left is olive oil. The taste is devine. And I always knew that it was the brine/cure that was setting me off...just that I didn't put 2 and 2 together to get 10.   Now? Oh, there's always chopped olives in my salad...and the funniest part came tonight. Often when I'm chopping stuff, Bella (my cat) gets curious and wants to smell what I'm doing. So, I figured I'd let her smell an olive that I just cracked open and pitted. She couldn't stop smelling it! She didn't want to lick it--thank God, as I'm pretty sure that olives are bad for cats--but it was such a different smell that she didn't know what to do.   So, I repeat: what is it about olives!?

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Lookie what I got in the mail!

Innit puuuuuuuuuurdy!?   (BTW, to borrow the British expressions...I'm bleeding on Cloud 9, but and completely knackered...but am enjoying some champers to celebrate nonetheless!)   (I can't upload the damned picture, for some stupid reason, but it's in the Gallery: click here)

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Lazy days

What a feeling...I would have slept in, save for the 10 pound roaring lioness sitting on my chest at 7:05am, wanting to know why I hadn't gotten up 5 minutes earlier like usual (I swear, I need to train Bella on the concept of sleeping in...). But I really had nothing to do today. I finished all of the planning for my Tues/Thurs course, and the other set of courses is all planned--now I just need the contract and other paperwork to get into the system, which would allow me to upload everything and finish some loose ends. Nothing left to do with research; well, that's not entirely true, but I have decided to take a quick break, typical for the very beginning of a semester, and I'll pick it up again in a couple of weeks.   More importantly, I was exhausted. I needed a do-nothing day. A lazy day. And by Jove, I got one!   Started off with a hearty breakfast (God, I love oatmeal), and off to the gym. Since it's only a mile away, I tend to walk there unless I have errands to do later. Did a good workout, and then came home to shower. My brother had brought his car in to the shop earlier, and so 11:30ish I dropped him off to the shop to pick it up. On the way home, I farted around in the local small market--stocked up on fruit (the strawberries right now are pure sugar!) and got a deli sammie (or sarnie, or whatever you're gonna call it) for lunch. Came home, ate, and promptly passed out on the living room floor with Bella, both of us with stomachs full of mesquite-roasted turkey (ok, she only had a nibble...I had the rest).   After a couple of cat naps, I logged onto the computer for a short time, and then started watching my favorite afternoon shows. Oh, and steamed up some artichokes for later. My brother decided he was cooking dinner tonight, so I didn't even have to cook. After a plateful of gnocchi in ragu and a salad, I'm here again, content and full. Relaxed. The only thing keeping me away from alcohol today (and this evening) is the next couple of days...I'll need every ounce of energy tomorrow, and Friday's gonna be busy, too.   Man...this must be what it's like to be rich and have nothing to do!!!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Well, folks, it's over. My career as a student has now fully come to an end. My dissertation has been accepted by UMI, the publishing group which tells us if the work is 'up to snuff' for the College of Grad Studies. I have been billed for all graduation fees ($8 for processing, $55 for uploading the dissertation (both are automatic), and $65 for having UMI register my copyright with the Library of Congress (which is a pain in the ass that I am willing to pay for)), and they have been paid. That's it. I'm never to be a tuition-paying student again.   I don't know if I'm supposed to feel different or not. In some ways, I feel like I have this 'glow', this professorly aura, that I have been knighted by the powers that be (or my dissertation committee chair, whichever), and now the world will look at me differently. This much is true; I used to love :rollseyes: going out on a date, and once the guy found out that I was working on a PhD, and that I was essentially writing a book, the "oh, great..." look glazed over the dude's face. Every time. If that didn't happen, then they went into competitive mode: yeah, well, this is what I'm doing, and it's important, too, you know. I can only imagine what dating's going to be like now with this title. "Yeah, I'm a professor...but it's all good. No, really, I'm not going to give you a quiz afterwards."   On the bright side, I get paid more, even for part-time teaching. When I walk into a room as an instructor, a guest speaker, or an analyst, I will be referred to as "Prof. Harmon/Dr. Harmon"--and that's fine. I didn't spend 8 years in Evil School...oops...working on this degree for nothing. I'll still insist that my students call me "Sarah," as I will with most everyone else...and if they still choose to call me "Profa," then I'm fine with it.   But here's the thing...I don't really feel that different. I come from humble roots, in some respects (I've written about that before), and my family, while highly proud of my accomplishments, has a routine, in that we don't let anyone get too big for their breeches. We all do it to each other...kinda like a way for us to remember that we really are no better than anyone else. I've been brought up that way, and therefore truly feel that while this is a huge accomplishment, I still have much to do, so I'll just keep plugging away.   However...there's a levity in my soul right now. I've just jumped a major hurdle. And I've cleared it. But there are still many more hurdles left, so I can't take my track shoes off just yet. So I guess I'll enjoy this   (And by enjoy it, I mean I'm going to the beach tomorrow. )

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

A banner day

Well, folks, the word of this week has been: culmination. I uploaded my finalized dissertation to UMI, which is the publisher that UT (and many, many other universities) uses, and it's currently under review. I mailed my final papers to the Grad School, and they were received today. All that's left is for them to finalize everything, bill me for my processing fee...and that's it.   I woke up this morning, and i felt...calm. In my mind, when I pay that final fee, then I'll be really done, but essentially I'm done. Finished. Graduated.   This fall is the first time since the age of 5 that I won't be a student at a school. For those that are counting, that's 27 years.   In essence, this dissertation is the culmination of 8 years of PhD work at UT. In turn, the questions that I attempted to answer (and which, in reality, have only lead to a whole host of other questions) started in my 6 years of BA and MA work at UC Davis. So, really, the dissertation represents a culmination of 14 years of collegiate/post-secondary work.   I feel...lighter...calmer...but not really any different. Am I supposed to?   By the way...I'm not the only one who finished their PhD

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Ah, the feeling of summer!

There are aspects to summer that everyone can count on. The sweet smell of blooms in the garden. The salty air experienced on a vacation at the coast. Watching lightning bugs flicker in the evening darkness.   For me...I can count on the fact that I'm not just mosquito fodder, but I'm a gormet meal.   Well, I must be...it doesn't matter what I do, I'm bitten. I've yet to find a product, either natural or chemical, which keeps the suckers off of me. I've been offered all sorts of remedies--clothing, balms, sprays, types of food or vitamins--which are all supposed to keep the bothersome bugs at bay. Nothing works. They find ways to eat me alive. There's one sure thing that works: stay indoors at dawn and dusk. This doesn't always work...sometimes, a girl's gotta go!   Case in point: I teach from 3-5 and 6-8pm, and during that break between 5-6pm, I eat dinner and 'use the facilities' on campus. Yep, at dusk...but I don't have a choice! This campus is, well, oddly laid out; many buildings don't have restrooms, but there are glorified outhouses--buildings that are only restrooms--sprinkled all over campus. (No, this is not typical for a college campus.) Around campus there are several redwood trees, which are famous for attracting mosquitos.   So, Monday at break I went to the glorified outhouse...and was the proud recipient of 'love bites' on my forehead and chin. Yes, they do bite people on the face. Tuesday there were two 'tokens of affection' on my left shoudler. Yes, they went through my shirt sleeve and bit me. Yesterday I received another 'token of affection': on my neck, right along my trachea!!!   When I used to live in Texas, all I would have to do is go outside for 20 minutes, and I'd come back inside with 15-30 bites all over me. It's like I'm a 7 course meal complete with fois gras, caviar, filet mignon, lobster, and a few Bordeaux all rolled into one.   As for itch-relief, I can say that Benadryl maximum-strength gel works decently...and doesn't stink to high Heaven. I'm still looking for a better remedy; the spray isn't as good, I'll tell you that.   Now I'm wondering how and where they're gonna get me tonight. Ah, yes, the special feelings *scratch scratch* of summer!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Lunch, even in 15 or so minutes

I've come to a realization in life.   Well, more than one, but this is just the latest.   I can multitask very well--indeed, I have all my life. Working in a kitchen, I can have 3 pots going at once and know what's going on. I can even carry on a coversation while doing it. I sing along to whatever music I have filling my domicile while I work in the kitchen or in the garden. In fact, even if there is no electronic device playing music, the music in my head is playing, and I'm singing along while I'm working.   One thing I don't do well: eat and work at the same time. Oh, I can do it...and then usually end up making a mess.   It never fails...this morning, I was checking email whilst munching on my Honey-Nut Cheerios and strawberries (which, btw, our local stawberries are outstanding this year!) and slurping the milk in the bowl...and proceed to knock over the spoon resting in the bowl...thus tossing little oat Os and milk on the table. No, nothing was ruined, or even mildly damaged, but once again I've proven to myself that eating and working don't mix.   So I've decided to never do it again. I need to just sit back, enjoy whatever meal I have (even if it's just a bit of a sammie or a bowl of ice cream) and not worry about work. Or, I can think, perhaps jot down a memo...but no typing, no major reading/writing/editing.   Besides, they say that eating and working is bad for digestion, that we eat too fast and too much if we're distracted. Enjoying our meal is supposed to be just that--joyful--which means talking is good, laughing is better, but working is not good.   Procrastinator moi, that appeals to me quite nicely!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The coolest ever

I want this on record: I have the coolest students ever.   My Intermediate Spanish class is a unique group. 60% of them are over the age of 50, and are taking this to better their knowledge...no requirements here. The rest are a mix of college-aged and teenaged students, taking the course for credit towards their school or degree. They all knew, like their colleagues in my other classes, that I was gone last week for my dissertation defense. But this class was different.   First, they bombarded me with emails, letting me know that they wished me well, and that they were rooting for me...and that I had better let them know how things turned out. Of course I emailed them with the good news.   Today's class was the first one 'back'...and they had a surprise for me. They all brought out bubbles, and blew bubbles in my honor. They had all signed a card for me. And finally, because I had stated that I was now a PhD, KIA (Know-It-All), they siad that there might be times where I'd be tired of flapping my gums...so they gave me a pair of wind-up chattering teeth!   Honestly, I was absolutely speechless...such a great sense of humor, great level of respect and comraderie. It gives me goosebumps! I'm still speechless!   Earlier this semester I had decided that on the last day I would do a surprise for them...this sealed it. I'm not 100% sure of what I'll do, but guaranteed there will be something in their honor. They have all enriched my lives in a way that no set of students has before...which is saying something, as I have had one great crop of students after another in every institution that I've taught at. But this is even more than what I expected...a true group of friends.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

I got the sleepies...

I want to take a nap...I've been so revved up, I couldn't sleep hardly at all last night, and now I'm finally starting to crash...but I leave Austin today! I gotta find a hole somewhere to sleep for a couple of hours.   Usually when I travel, the 'time difference' (2 hours between California and Texas) affects me for a day, and that's it. But my body won't let me work on 'Texas time' at all...my stomach is still ruled by Pacific Daylight Time, and getting to sleep last night was damn near impossible. After watching the Golden State-Dallas game (which was a helluva game), it was like 12:30a local time. I stayed up to 1a, thinking that I had planned on waking up at 9...7 hours is fine.   Yeah, right. I wasn't even remotely tired. Neither corporally nor mentally. Wide awake, full of energy. But with the weather as crap-tastic as it is (probably the only major negative to Austin...outside of the fact that it's in Texas), I didn't want to go down the street to a couple of pubs. Besides, they were only going to be open for another hour...why get all dolled up for nothing?   So I tried to lay in bed...to no avail. 1:45 I got out of bed, turned a light on, and went on the computer. Talked to an old friend for a while, and then at 2:30 I tried again. I still couldn't go to sleep, but at least this time I was 'calm' enough to be able to lay still.   Any odds on what time I woke up?   If you guessed "7am," you'd be right.   I tossed until 7:45...but still was way way earlier than I wanted. And I had good energy, too...not like I was dragging ass. So I took my time in getting showered and ready for the day...pakced my stuff up...etc. Check out is before 11am, so I decided to go down at 10, check out, leave my bags at the desk, and go down a couple of blocks to an old haunt for breakfast...after all, Katz's never kloses! Then walked a couple of blocks to take the bus to campus in order to print off some material.   Now I'm sitting here...it's 12:20p CDT...I've done everything I needed to do...I need to be back at the hotel by 4 in order to catch my ride to the airport...and I'm bushed. Jeez...will the ups and downs end?   (Answer: yes, after a little bit)

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

D-Day

Dun dun dun dun DUN dundun dundun dundun....   In about 90 minutes, I'll start my dissertation defense. So why am I on a computer, you ask? Because I had to print out stuff, and since I have time to kill, I decided to spend it doing something, rather than waiting around nervously.   Oh, I won't be on here long. But it's weird. I'm jittery...not a lot, but a little. Nerves of steel had better show up quick...   Update at 11...or this afternoon, whatever.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Humility and blessings

I often count my blessings, noting that I've been smiled upon by Whoever Up There for the opportunities that I've had, and hopefully will continue to have. This year, 2007, is a huge year for me and my family, for so many reasons. This year I will finish my dissertation, and get some kind of full-time job;
My parents are about to move, having sold their house of 30 years and have bought a brand-new house in a new development;
My youngest brother, having finished another set of travels, seems to want to settle down here (for now);
My middle brother is attempting to buy a condo in his complex, and looks like he might do it.

But these are not the only reasons: This marks 100 years since the birth of my paternal grandmother (although she passed away in 1975);
This marks 100 years since 3 of my maternal great-grandparents emigrated here from Milan and Genoa (my grandmother's mother came in 1910).
My 4 great-grandparents came here with very little education in Italy--maybe to the 2nd or 3rd grade, enough to scribble their name and do basic math; their children all had a high-school education, and in the case of my grandmother and her sister, went onto a business (e.g. secretaries) college. My grandfather and his brothers were all business owners and professionals. Of their 5 great-grandchildren, 3 have college degrees, and one is about to finish a PhD.   But that's nothing.   My paternal grandparents came from Indian Territory--no doubt they have Indian blood in them, although documentation is negligible at best--and were quite poor. My grandmother had an 8th grade education--unheard of at that time, and it would have allowed her to teach at a school. My grandfather only got through the 2nd grade...was illiterate, and couldn't really do much beyond very rudimentary math. He couldn't even sign his name. Their granddaughter is about to finish a PhD.   I am truly humbled, even emotional, when I reflect upon that. My dad said I should mention it at my defense...I might. It'll definitely be in the forward of the dissertation. My roots are not exactly blue, but we as a people have fought to get the best that we could. Inside of 3 generations, we've gone from illiterate to highly educated. It's not just pride that I feel...it's honor.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

And the countdown begins!

2 May 2007. 12noon CDT. That'll be the judgement day.   No, not the one with the pearly gates, and some Peter-man standing there with his list. Instead I speak of the day when my professors decide if I'm worthy enough to stand with them as a colleague.   The 'final' draft will be sent out Tuesday; one month after that I will be in front of my academic setting, answering questions that I've prepared for, as well as others that I haven't.   This is it! I'm geeked for this...I want this so bad, I can taste it. I've worked so hard, and I really hope that everything goes as planned, and that I'm accepted.   So, wish me luck!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The Lord of the Boxes

Boxes...they're everywhere.   Here...there...everywhere.   Empty boxes, waiting to be filled with all sorts of momentos and knick-knacks.   Partially-filled boxes, waiting to be completed, marked, and taped.   Full boxes, bursting at the seems, ready to be shipped off to their new, albeit temporary home.   Now I can't find a blessed thing, for all of these boxes are surrounding me!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Wanted: 3 more hours in the day

Wanted: 3 more hours in the day   Job description: I need 3 more hours per day in order to finish all of the work that I need to do. In those said 3 hours I need to do a combination of any of the following activities: ** sleep and/or rest ** eat ** grade papers ** finish editing ** play with Bella the Feline ** have a pot of tea ** go out into the garden and play in the dirt ** take a walk ** go for a swim   Compensation: Getting more things done in the day.   Any takers? Anyone? Bueler?

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The blur of the 2nd interview

Today I have been at a 4-year public university, having a second interview for an Assistant Professor position. I'm not tired; I'm not fatigued. I'm...wilted. Why, you ask? Well, let me tell you the schedule for the day. Note that I got **location censured to protect my chances** yesterday afternoon, and rested up well last night.   7:30am--picked up by the department chair 8:00am--meeting with dean--all talk by her, whilst I sat and nodded and listened 9:00am--meeting with selection committee, which is 5 professors 10:00am--walking tour of campus with the department chair 11:00am--coffee with department chair 12:00pm--lunch with 2 members of the department, one of which teaches the class that I'll be guest teaching 2:00pm--guest teach a course 4:00pm--research talk 5:30pm--dinner   I'm not drained...but I'm brain dead. I'm not drained, but I'm showered, in my jammies, and in bed, relaxing. I'm ready to sleep in tomorrow (well, to 8am, anyway), and ready to get going for the next interview next week.   On the other hand, I know how to finish my dissertation, and to get it in on-time. I know what to do now...well, I always knew what to do, but I now am even more focused than before. Let's hope there's at least one job offer from all of this!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The famous Ramos

Lost Warrior's comment about holiday traditions got me thinking about one in my family: Ramos Fizzes. Depending on who you believe, it was created in New Orleans (by some bartender named Ramos) or in San Francisco (prolly not true, but I'm sticking by this version out of sheer regional pride--and, yes, I truly believe that the martini was created in a bar in Martinez, California...screw NYC). Certainly the recipe in our family is a version of the ones more commonly known...the use of Peychaud's bitters along with lime juice is key in ours. Also, a ton of good gin--well, ok, that's my dad and I, since the bartenders in my family tend to not care as long as the bottle says "gin". Either way, it'll definitely put the Merry in your Christmas...and knock you on your a$$ at the same time.   And now, at 9:35am PST on 22 Dec, I give you the Petrucci Ramoz (note the spelling!) Fizz: 1/2 blender cracked ice 3 egg whites 3 tablespoons superfine sugar 1 lime, juiced 3 jiggers half-and-half (the diary kind, mind you) 5 jiggers gin (make it good, please) 3/4 of an eyedropper of bitters (Peychauds, please) and orange flower water   Blend together, then add about 1 jigger of lemon-lime soda or club soda. Blend quick, and *hiccup* enjoy!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

The countdown begins...

4 May 2007. That's the defense date. From now until the end of March, I'll be using any time I have that's not spent in the classroom or on the retail floor probably in the library, working furiously to finish my dissertation in full. The pre-defense went well--many comments, mostly that I need to focus more on my topic (I'm too talkative and vague...go figure lol), but my committee gave me very specific details as to how to hone this. But, overall, they liked what I had written so far...and that's the best news of all. So, from now until 30 March, I'll be busy busy busy, reading, analyzing and writing, and will get this whole thing done. There is a light--it's real, not a mirage--and it's at the end of the tunnel. I'm almost there.   And if you can spare an extra brain cell or two for me, I would be very appreciative; I'll be burning my furiously. You will be rewarded with my eternal grattitude.

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

No Need For A/c...

...cuz I'll be working with the coooooooooool people...IN NORDIES!!!   Yep, you saw that right...I'm the newest member of the sales team at the local Nordstrom's. Women's active wear. Lots of workout gear, lounge suits, and general clothing for women who wish to look posh as they perspire/glow. I see commission checks rolling in!   But first: 3 full days of training...but, hey, that's why they're good...the sales staff are well trained!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Customer Service!

I decided that, due to my relative endpoint in my dissertation process, I could afford time to work a part-time job in the department stores around here during the Holiday Rush...meaning I'd make meager wages, but quite a few hours, and would get the nice employee discount.   Now, just as a background: I'm the daughter of a very successful salesman, and I can schmooze with the best. I know how to work a crowd, juggle stuff, and take care of business. I've done 'hotel front desk' types of jobs before, and I know how to play the customer service game. It's pretty fun, and quite easy. As a result, I've turned my academic life into one full of customer service techniques. Meaning: I have a commodity (knowledge), and customers (students), and my job is to give them as much of the commodity as I can in a manner that they want. Ok, so there are plenty of rules and regulations that go along with this, so it's not like I'm trying to get Madame to shell out $100 for a stupid sweater, but you get the drift.   So in the past 2 weeks, I applied to the 4 main department stores in the local mall, and have gotten interviews with all 4. As soon as I get a 'better' job--'better' would be at a higher-end store--I cancel my positions at the other ones. Fun, no?   Oh, and I get paid for training. So, for example, I have training starting for my #2 pick tomorrow, and I don't have an interview for the #1 pick until Thursday...so I'll get to go through a day of training, perhaps two, and potentially quit if I get a better job at the #1 pick. Hah! I love this!

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

 

Where's My Blankie?

Today I printed off the dissertation. All 150 pages of it. Oh, there's plenty left, since this is the first time that my committee will have the entire work at their disposal. And I've done quite a bit of re-arranging of previous work, to go along with more editing than I care to do. This is all in anticipation of a 'meeting of the minds' for the first week of November, when I must fly back to Austin. I'm mentally exhausted.   But, oh, wait! In the last month, I've put off so many chores, so this month that I have in the interim is going to be full. I'm about to be evaluated at work, so I have to get my portfolio together; that doesn't take long, but it's getting in the way. Gotta prep for the spring courses, as well as find additional part time work to pick up the slack. Gotta earn money on the side, since I'll be moving out in a few months. Oh, and look for full-time employment for the fall! Yeah, just a few things on the to-do list!   So, due to my cranial fatigue, reading Don Tomato's longwinded canticle of ne'erdowell actions, I'm bushed. Can someone give me the Cliff's Notes version?

docoflove1974

docoflove1974

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