Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Speak of the Devil

. . .and he goes out and buys himself a pair of Shiny Dude legs:

I am a bad mother

I've gone too long without posting photos of the little dude.


Do you like our matching acne?

He can almost hold his head up now. 'Bout time, son.

Devourer of Worlds

My husband makes fun of my model horse collection sometimes, but his own superhero menagerie is every bit as dorky, I assure you. His latest kick has been to buy cheap-ass figurines that come with part of a bigger toy. He has to buy six smaller toys in order to assemble the larger one. While at first this seemed like an innocent enough diversion, his hunt for the best deal on, say, Galactus's right leg has taken him over to the dark side of retail.

Exhibit A: Galactus


Maybe I can blame our son, Stinky McFussington, whose moods sometime require the soothing rhythms of freeway fathering, a 10-mile drive up and back the rural highway to the neighboring town. But somehow Pete discovered Wal-Mart, a store he had previously used only for cultural spelunking expeditions on a cross-country trip ("Oh, oh! I must have my photo taken in the rifle section!" he exclaimed, shoving his tongue under his lower lip to look as if he was packing chaw). And now suddenly he's stalking the aisles of America's Most Evil Supermart for body parts.

Sure, he could go to the more pedestrian Target—it's the same distance from home, along the same route—but there's something fitting about seeking the Devourer of Worlds at the Devourer of All that is Fair and Just.

Of course, he can't stop with just one megafigure. Now he's on the hunt for legs for this fine fellow:

Exhibit B: The Shiny Dude


Excuse me while I wax metaphorical, but Pete's search for these figures parallels my own quest to finish The Dissertation, Devourer of My Soul. I find I have to buy into all these little theories in the hopes of assembling something bigger and shinier, borrowing an arm from Foucault, a torso from Sandra Harding, a leg to stand on from Donna Haraway. And in the end, who knows if what I'm building will have any value beyond its constituent parts?

What's most worrisome in this analogy? Pete sometimes buys TWO of each figure and keeps one wrapped in its plastic case, an untouched hope for the future. Me, I'm tearing into all the packaging, pillaging what I can for the here and now, articulating joints haphazardly in the hopes of creating some recognizable, and not too Frankensteinian, creature.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Venturing outside again. . .

Today, for the first time in years, I sent in a job application for a position technically outside academia. It's for a job in a museum, one for which I'm not completely qualified, but that I'd love to have, in a museum I visited frequently as a child. I'm pretty sure I could do the job, as I have acquired the required skill sets over the past several years--just not in a museum setting.

How cool would it be to walk past dinosaur skeletons on my way to the office every day?

I'm torn about applying for jobs outside the academy, for all the usual reasons, but mostly now because I've come to really love the flexibility of academic schedules. Yes, as teachers and scholars we work more than 40 hours a week with some regularity, but dammit, I can nap at 2 p.m. every afternoon, snuggled up to my infant son. And that means a lot to me, as does the fact that I can spend a lot of time with my husband, who works from home.

So when I say I'm afraid that I won't land a teaching job, my fears are not entirely about the not-teaching part of that eventuality. There's far more at stake.

Still, dinosaur skeletons and taxidermied habitat groups . . . Gotta love 'em.

Thoughts on Pregnancy and the Body

I just posted some extensive comments at A Delicate Boy, and I thought I'd share them here as well. They were in response to this note:

To our fellow women,

We are students at the University of Hartford and are completing a project for our women weight and worry class.

Many women consider being pregnant a beautiful thing. "Look at her, she's glowing" is usually heard when commenting on another woman's pregnancy. However, when commenting on our own body, our views tend to differ.

Please assist us with our project by responding to the following questions. If needed, feel free to include any additional comments.

Women who have been pregnant and who desire to be pregnant in the future are welcome to respond.

Name:
Age:
Nationality/Ethnicity

*How do you view pregnancy?
*How did/do you expect your body to change?
*How do you think you would feel/felt during the changes in your body?
*What type of clothing do you think you would/did you wear during your pregnancy? Why? (eg. Would you show your stomach? etc)
*What, if any, information would you want to have made available to make the change of the body easier?


I didn't know how to view my pregnancy during the first trimester. I hadn't yet felt any fluttering or movement from the fetus, and I was sick all the time. I felt my body was betraying me in some way. After all, pregnancy was supposed to be wonderful and glowing, and yet I very clearly remember wondering during one TAship if my students would find it odd if I curled up in a ball on the floor in the corner while the professor lectured. Already, I think, they had suspicions about my increasing consumption of pretzels around the clock.

I expected to put on a lot of weight, and I did: about 40 pounds. But the weight gain was gradual, so aside from my clothes not fitting very well, I didn't feel especially huge until the last couple of months. It didn't help that it was summer, 100+ degrees, and I was trudging all over campus every day. I didn't know a person could sweat so much.

I also was devastated by stretch marks, those big purple tracks that make me look like a lion tried to disembowel me. They're supposedly genetic, and the women on my mom's side of the family didn't get them, so they struck me unawares. I blame my dad's genes.

On clothes: I was glad to be huge during the spring and summer, when I could wear shorts and t-shirts and sneakers (my feet swelled and grew) and not have to worry about looking fashionable or spending lots of money on autumn and winter fashions. I was shocked by how expensive maternity clothes are, so I shopped at discount stores (Motherhood Maternity and Target).

My midsection has never been exposed to the sun, and I wasn't about to start showing it off during my pregnancy.

Honestly, I've been more surprised by the changes in my body post-pregnancy. I lost 30 pounds in a week and a half. That was tough, as was adjusting to breastfeeding. And my body has been gradually deflating over the past three months. Today I wore my favorite pre-pregnancy jeans for the first time in 9 or 10 months. And my wedding ring fits again.

I've come to be more accepting and forgiving of my body. After all, I know now what it's been through. Childbirth was tough for me (almost 40 hours of labor), but I've learned that my body, although not svelte, can do amazing things. I no longer worry about my little pot belly, nor whether a shirt makes my breasts look too big (they all do now).

I don't think I needed much more information on adapting to the changes in my body during pregnancy. (It helped that I received care from midwives, who emphasize the naturalness and beauty of bodily changes during pregnancy.) What was most shocking to me about pregnancy were the truly raging hormones post-partum. The baby blues are the worst, in large part because you're adjusting to living (yet again) in a new, very sore, and still-bleeding body. Only after you've given birth do your friends admit that they thought during their first two weeks as mothers that they had made the worst mistake of their lives. I would have liked to be more prepared for that emotional roller coaster.

I'm white, 30 years old, and a Ph.D. candidate in the interdisciplinary humanities. My son, my first child, is three months old.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Getting worried. . .

. . .about job prospects. Other bloggers, I've noticed, are getting invitations for job talks. I've heard nothing. *sigh*

Could it be that I've graded thousands upon thousands of papers over the past seven years as an "apprentice" for nothing? I'm happy that I've had the experience of grad school and of working with the faculty I've met, but during school I probably could have been working at jobs that paid far more money and that required no grading of papers. And then I'd be better positioned for careers outside the academy.

Of course, compared to some grad students, I am better positioned for careers beyond the ivory tower, since I've had quite a bit of work experience outside the classroom: publishing, arts marketing, journalism, museum education, development.

Time to start applying for administrative jobs, I guess.

(See depression post, below.)

Gah! More plagiarism.

I thought my grading experiences this quarter couldn't get more ironic than the student who plagiarized his "100% plagiarized paper" assignment.

Now I have a student for another class who plagiarized 100% of her paper. The paper topic? Ethics.

I couldn't make this stuff up.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Depression in the Academy

A couple years back I was sitting in on a colloquium talk about mental health, and the researcher used the term "dysthymia." As soon as he did so, many hands went up in the room, with people wanting a definition. He defined the condition as "mild to moderate long-term depression." To which one of the women's studies professors replied, "Oh, it's what we all have." Much dark laughter ensued.

It was a telling moment. I wish academics could collectively be more upfront about the prevalence of depression in our industry. I've lost count of how many grad students and faculty have admitted to being on antidepressants or antianxiety meds. And reading academic blogs, especially those by women who blog anonymously, it's apparent to me that we have a problem that's not being sufficiently addressed.

Universities don't go far enough when they merely provide individual or small-group counseling for depression and related disorders. There needs to be a widespread public-relations campaign about depression in academia, something that reaches every corner of our field--from the Chronicle of Higher Education to a depression awareness month on undergraduate campuses. Regardless of whether or not our students are depressed themselves, it couldn't hurt them to know that so many of us are hurting.

I'm not saying we need to pour our hearts out in front of our students, but rather just acknowledge the fact of depression, that adults have good days and bad days, and sometimes the bad days masquerade as good days, and sometimes we don't have the energy to hide the blues. And we need to be open to addressing depression in the student population, making referrals when necessary and just talking frankly about our personal struggles with depression in a way that isn't necessary painfully self-revelatory. We also need to talk to each other, as grad students and faculty. I'm thinking of discussions along the lines of: "Hey, I understand what you're going through. I've been depressed since age 13. Here's what has worked for me, and here's what has worked for friends of mine. You might look into your options."

Why am I thinking about this right now? Because I have 50 papers to grade and a dissertation chapter due this week, and as a result I'm feeling overwhelmed and I've entered a depressive cycle. I feel depressed about having to do the work, so I put it off by working on other little projects or through garden-variety procrastination: surfing the web, catching up on e-mail, reading the newspaper, etc. Then the deadline pressure builds up to the point where I just break down and sob quietly about all the work I have to do.

Ninety-five percent of the time I manage to make my deadlines despite this depression. But for those 5% of times when I don't, I can't tell you how great it would be to say to the supervising professor, "I'm going to need an extra day/week/month to get this done because I've been dealing lately with depression. I'm being treated for this condition, and I appreciate your understanding." Certainly the professor would understand if we said, "Hey, I've been sick with bronchitis/nausea/migraines/bird flu for the past few days, so I didn't finish grading the papers yet." But there's a stigma attached to depression, so I find I have to be vague or evasive when I ask for an extension. "Yeah. . .I had a, um, family emergency that, um, ate into my paper grading time." And then I have to dodge the follow-up questions.

Fortunately, my advisor, I think, would be understanding. But I know some faculty would not be sympathetic because they have never experienced depression, they have experienced depression but have had more success in dealing with it than I have (i.e. they're high functioning depressives), or they just plain don't think depression ranks seriously enough as an illness or disability to merit special consideration.

Of course, there's the chicken-egg question: does academia cause depression, or are depressives naturally drawn to academic careers? Or is the entire damn country depressed and I just haven't been perceptive enough to notice?

Friday, November 25, 2005

100 things

I've seen this meme elsewhere, and I thought I'd give it a try:

1. My desk gets messy quickly.
2. I used to play French horn. Badly.
3. I hope to play horn again someday, but practicing in an apartment complex is cruel and unusual punishment on the neighbors.
4. Minutes before my son was born, in an attempt to get me to push harder, the midwife asked me, "Do you want this baby? You want this baby, don't you?" At that moment, I wasn't so sure I did.
5. Now I can't imagine life without my son.
6. On paper, my husband and I aren't a good match.
7. In real life, we complement each other quite well. I adore him.
8. I've never experimented with drugs.
9. I've never had a beer because I hate the smell of it and because I've seen too many stupid people drinking it.
10. I tend to leave projects unfinished.
11. As an undergraduate, I transferred schools three times in three semesters, to schools in three different states and three different time zones.
12. I'm extremely happy with the small liberal arts college from which I graduated.
13. I used to have an obsessive-compulsive streak.
14. My dog is an empath and an emotional barometer for my husband.
15. I have the coolest dog in the world.
16. I hated being sixteen.
17. Things got better at age seventeen.
18. My first gray hairs appeared in the last couple of months.
19. I am not patriotic in the conventional sense, and never have been, even when I was a child.
20. Despite my concern for the working class, it is extremely hard for me to "support the troops." This is cause for some embarrassment.
21. I am a pacifist. No, really, I am.
22. After attending several silent meetings last fall, part of me wants to be a Friend (Quaker), but the Christian God thing gets in the way.
23. My favorite lines of poetry come from Yeats's "The Two Trees": "Beloved, gaze in thine own heart / The holy tree is growing there."
24. I love natural history museums and aquaria.
25. I'm not so big on arboreta and botanical gardens.
26. My alma mater recently invited my newborn son to apply for admission to the class of 2028.
27. My son has a very big head, and not just because of that invitation.
28. When I was a little kid, my favorite animals were horses and dinosaurs. They still are.
29. I can doodle pretty damn well.
30. I'm slightly embarrassed to say I would love to have my home decorated by Candice Olson of HGTV's Divine Design.
31. I'm making this list when I should be grading papers.
32. My least favorite part of my job is grading papers.
33. The Washington, DC Capitol Police once threatened to turn me over to the FBI for taking photos of street scenes near the Supreme Court building.
34. I have an M.A. in writing poetry.
35. I'm very close to my mom's highly functional family.
36. On my dad's side of the family, I was lapped generationally not once, but twice. My mom and dad were a great-great-aunt and uncle long before I ever even thought of having a child.
37. I have never distinguished myself athletically.
38. But I try to take horseback riding lessons when I have the resources to do so.
39. I used to ride huntseat, but now I prefer dressage.
40. I was once bitten on the butt by an angry mare while buckling a girth. The bruise was incredibly large. Ends up horses bite hard.
41. I like to write angry letters, but I save them for special occasions. Like being detained by the Capitol Police.
42. My least favorite chore is vacuuming, yet it gives me the most satisfaction when it's done.
43. If I weren't so lazy and weak, I'd rearrange my furniture every month.
44. I've been vegetarian for 15 years, ever since we spent three weeks dissecting fetal pigs in 10th-grade biology.
45. I collect model horses.
46. I'm addicted to reading blogs by academics and parents with young children.
47. I wish my blog entries were wittier. My husband's blog is very funny.
48. I'm a talented procrastinator.
49. I'm not very good at finding new music on my own.
50. One of my favorite things to do is to read a good book until I fall asleep.
51. People who smoke in public make me very, very angry. In a not entirely rational way.
52. I felt this way about smokers long before I had a child.
53. My favorite place to live would be the central California coast because it's so damn beautiful.
54. But part of me likes the slower pace of life I experienced when I was living in central Iowa.
55. When I was growing up, I hated Southern California because I loathed urban life and suburban sprawl.
56. I'm still ambivalent about SoCal, but because my family is there, I imagine I'll return there someday soon.
57. In this age of conservative politics, I've come to like western California's left-leaning ways. I'm a fifth- or sixth-generation Californian, but I've just recently, in my late 20s and early 30s, begun to consider this state my home.
58. My dissertation isn't going to write itself.
59. I'm about halfway finished with that project. It's due to be finished this spring.
60. I'm getting increasingly nervous about my chances on the academic job market.
61. I've had two jobs that required me to handle and talk about insects, including whip scorpions, giant African millipedes, and hissing cockroaches.
62. I never thought I'd enjoy motherhood this much. I can't wait to introduce my son to "scary" insects.
63. A lot of my peers seem impressed by how much I have on my plate right now: seeking jobs, writing my dissertation, TAing for two classes, breastfeeding and raising an infant. "How do you get everything done?" they ask. I think they'd be even more impressed if they knew about the sheer amount of time I spend procrastinating or on leisure activities. But I won't tell them about that. I don't want to out myself as a major procrastinator or make them feel bad for not being as productive.
64. Next to my dissertation advisor, I'm wholly unproductive. It's nice to have a good role model, though.
65. I don't have a favorite color.
66. The messiest room in the house has always been the one where I do my writing.
67. I've read all kinds of books on getting organized. None of their advice stuck.
68. I've never been comfortable around clowns, costumed sports mascots, costumed Disney characters, or the like.
69. I've only been to the circus once.
70. Once was more than enough.
71. I've never broken a bone.
72. I miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
73. I seek consolation for that loss by watching Monk, Lost, My Name is Earl, and House.
74. While writing my dissertation, I haven't read nearly enough academic books. Parts of hundreds of them, yes, but not enough entire books.
75. I worry about being interdisciplinary. It's kind of like being in middle school again, where I didn't really belong to any groups--I just sort of sat embarrassedly on the edges of other people's lives and interests.
76. I only became an extrovert in grad school. College was a long transition from introversion (needing time alone to recharge) to extroversion (needing contact with people to reenergize).
77. My least favorite characteristic in other people is arrogance.
78. I have very vivid dreams.
79. Lately my dreams have been about being taken to a place where I don't know anyone and where things are out of my control. Usually my life or that of my parents, husband, or sister is in jeopardy, but we always come through OK.
80. Last night I had my first anxiety dream about becoming separated from my son. It scared me. A lot.
81. My favorite children's book, when I was a child and now, is Goodnight Moon.
82. My favorite authors include Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich, and Stephen Jay Gould.
83. My dissertation gets harder, not easier, to write as a progress through it.
84. I think about my dissertation a lot. Probably more than I actually work on it, unless thinking (OK, fretting) counts as work.
85. I am ambivalent about breastfeeding.
86. I want to raise my son to be a feminist. That does not mean I want him to be a sissy boy.
87. I don't know any feminists who are sissies.
88. My dad once said he didn't consider himself a feminist until he had daughters.
89. I'm delighted that I was a catalyst for my father's feminism, even though all I had to do was be born.
90. Today my son, aged 11.5 weeks, learned to turn the pages of a book. I'm thrilled.
91. I'm responsible for introducing my son to books. His father is covering his musical education. An esteemed professor of American Studies has promised to introduce him to the Three Stooges canon.
92. I find it difficult to write about myself for 100 lines. It's taken me three days so far.
93. I was in labor 39.5 hours with my son. He was born, fittingly, on Labor Day.
94. I was born in June.
95. I wore braces for eight years. ¡Eight!
96. My mother wore them for ten.
97. I've studied Spanish and French but I'm lousy at both of them.
98. Which is funny because language arts were always easy for me while I was growing up.
99. That said, I need to practice writing more often. I've become less proficient at it.
100. So I'll conclude with the words of Margaret Wise Brown: Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Teething?

Coughing? Check.
Shorter sleep periods during the night? Check.
Inconsolable wailing? Check.
Low-grade fever? Check.
Chewing on bottle nipple instead of sucking? Yep.
Signs of actual teeth? Nada.

So the little guy is 11 weeks old today, which is too young to be teething, really, but he was in a foul mood almost all day. Didn't want to nap, slept less than an hour between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. It could've been gas causing his discomfort, but his fussing was a different kind of crying, a piercing wail that I've only heard once before, when he received his first round of vaccinations.

Whatever it is, my heart goes out to the poor little dude.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Revision

There's something about revision that not only sharpens my writing, but also my mind. I don't do nearly enough of it these days.

But now I will, as I have a difficult chapter due in 12 days. Eeek!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dissertation

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's a faint glimmer of a headlight right now, but the dissertation train will eventually pull into graduation station.

Tonight I managed to write a couple more pages, important ones that frame a difficult chapter. I've decided to risk some reflexivity, to reflect on my methodology in thinking through the chapter's content. It may get cut later, but maybe it'll prove interesting and useful in the context of the chapter.

In an unexpected turn of events, I have a chart. I've been reading all these books on organizational studies and science studies, and so many of them have nifty little charts, half of which I can't begin to understand. But I like the idea of having a visual summary for the phenomenon I'm trying to illustrate, even if it is a bit clunky right now.

Yay for me.

Dear Sweetie

This post by YelloCello, who is expecting, is so lovely, and sums up so much of what I've been thinking about lately (before and after the birth), that I just wanted to share it. Especially apt are her comments on how her partner and her have changed: "How did he get like that? How did I get like this? Better, and so much happier than before? We raised each other to be better people. So we might do just fine with a newborn."

I'd just like to take this opportunity to remind my sweetheart that we are, indeed, doing just fine with our newborn, who is finally beginning to look not-so-newborn. A few things:

1) We need to accept that Lucas is not going to sleep through the night until he's a teenager. Hopefully he'll go, say, 6 or 7 hours in the next few weeks. I agree with you that the current two-hour standard and 2 or 4 a.m. waking-up-for-the-day is not acceptable. But until he figures out how to really slumber, we must be patient.

2) There's no magic trick to getting him to sleep through the night. Sorry.

3) His piercing wails are not a commentary on your parenting. He loves you very much. (He smiles when you enter the room, Silly!)

4) But yes, that cry that goes waaah! (short pause) waaaah! (short pause) waaaah! does indeed mean he's hungry. He's not faking it, as--despite your protestations to the contrary--he can't yet dissemble or manipulate. Give him enough food and the crying will stop. I promise.

5) We're still learning, and we'll be learning for a long time yet. But already I see that you're a fabulous father. I know that sentiment is little comfort during the 4 a.m. wailfest, but please remember that you're doing a terrific job, and that I love you and the little guy soooo much. Thank you thank you thank you.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Another grading lament

Why, why, WHY did I agree to TA for two classes this quarter? (For the money, Stupid.)

This means that between Wednesday and Thursday, I'll collect 150 papers to grade. Eeeeeeek! And my parents are coming into town Thursday through Sunday. . . Their visit will be a terrific excuse to procrastinate on the grading, but that means the following week is really going to hurt.

Maybe I should be focusing my job search on big research universities so that I can have a TA for a change.

Breastfeeding

It hurts. A lot. And yes, I've heard it said that if nursing hurts after the first two or three weeks, it's because the little guy has a bad latch.

So let's get that out of the way: his latch is fine.

Also, I don't have thrush. Been there, done that. It was massively painful, and the pain I feel now is merely muffled-scream-inducing. I no longer break out in a sweat at the mere thought of nursing.

I've bought into the "breast is best" philosophy. And into all the accompanying romanticized imagery: the drowsy, contented baby who's just finished a nighttime feeding, a drop of milk dribbling from the corner of his contented mouth. And yes, I have experienced that. It's nice—especially since it means the most painful part of breastfeeding is over, and that I have a break for two hours or so.

Of course, breast is best for Lucas. And over the long haul, it's best for me, too—I concede that. However, on a day-to-day level, breastfeeding is kind of wretched. As I mentioned before, it hurts. And it's kind of boring; there's not much to do except watch TV, as turning the pages of a book, magazine, or newspaper can be a challenge when Lucas is actively nursing. Breastfed babies wake up more often during the night than do formula-fed babies, which means Pete and I are at least mildly sleep-deprived a good deal of the time. (In fact, Lucas is sleeping shorter stretches than when he was younger. Grrrrrr.)

Plus, Lucas nurses for at least half an hour at a stretch. That's down from his previous marathon sessions of 45 minutes to an hour, thank goodness. But he nurses vigorously—his suck is so strong, in fact, that he frequently bears indentation marks from a pacifier on his face. Yikes!

Despite all these obstacles, I aim to stick it out for a year, mostly because I'd feel unbearably guilty about depriving Lucas of mother's milk, and I imagine I'd miss the closeness engendered by nursing several times a day. He does get 2-3 formula feedings each day (and my milk production doesn't appear to have decreased at all, despite this supplementing), so that provides me with some relief. But for the record, it's still damn hard.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Delight

Is it just me, or is there some inherent delight in catching plagiarists?

. . .Especially when they've cheated on an assignment that called for plagiarism? (See assignment description in "Updates," below.)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Updates

- Pete updated Lucas's page earlier this week. The boy continues to out-cute us all. (Sorry, Woody!)

- I'm getting closer to nailing down some kind of theoretical background for my current dissertation chapter. It's still pretty hazy, but I'm actually sort of enjoying reading Antonio Strati's Theory and Method in Organization Studies. I wish I had a copy to mark up, as the one I have is checked out from the library. I found a cheap copy online, but overseas shipping was more than twice the cost of the book. Bleah. Anyway, so much organizational theory is, IMHO, absolutely unreadable. (In that way it's like much of science studies theory.) So it was nice to come across Strati's book, as well as a few others that are targeted at a not-so-rigidly-academic audience.

- Like many academics at this point in the term, I'm in grading purgatory. This weekend I have nearly 80 papers to grade. Fortunately, they're going quickly, but they never go quickly enough, you know? At least the assignment is a novel one: the professor is having them write a 100% plagiarized paper, cribbed from at least eight different sources. It must be well written, as if the student composed an original paper. It's a fitting assignment, I think, for a class in technoculture studies. Kudos to Professor Bob Ostertag for assigning it. I'm learning a lot from the papers.

- Woody is doing better thanks to some veterinary chiropractic care. We love our vets; they've taken great care of Woody over the past several years. I don't know what we're going to do when we leave Davis.

- Finally, while procrastinating last night, I took one of those fun little quizzes to find out what kind of colossal death robot I might be. You'll all be glad to hear that I'm Gigantor: "Born in 1963, You are possibly the original colossal death robot, being one of the patriarchs of the current crop, and definitely an advocate of old-skool enemy-bashing. Why use a clumsy particle weapon when you can create supernovas just by flexing your arms? Your one minor weakness is that you are entirely dominated by some kid with a remote contol - still, don't let it get you down. You can sink a nuclear submarine with jazz music." Take the quiz yourself here.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Dog is Broken

Woody has once again injured his back and is spending the evening whining softly at a high pitch, his spine arched uncomfortably as he steps gingerly around the apartment. Our hearts go out to him, but we can't get him to the vet for some chiropractic care until midmorning tomorrow. It's going to be a long night. . .

In the meantime, on the vet's recommendation Pete has given him some buffered aspirin and we'll be applying cold packs periodically.

It's sad to see Woody acting his age. He seems to think he's two years old, even though he's well into his 11th year.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Waaah!

Yesterday Lucas had his first vaccinations. Much screaming ensued, and we introduced him to the magic of baby Tylenol. After that, he slept and slept and slept. Maybe he should have shots every week. . .

Today he was fussy. It's as if yesterday he figured out how to scream and now he wants to practice this new skill with some regularity. The usual soothing methods aren't working very well (with the exception of the sling, which puts him to sleep almost immediately, and breastfeeding), so that's been a bit frustrating.

But overall I'm still enjoying the whole motherhood thing. It's easy to say that now because Lucas is still at the point where we can set him down without worrying that he'll roll over or scoot away or start swallowing loose change. Must write as much of my dissertation as possible while he's still a very lively paperweight. . .

Still no theory

So I'm still in search of a theory, The Theory to unify the dissertation, or at least this hellish chapter. The three big stacks of books on my desk testify that I've been looking pretty damn hard.

It's clear to me now why my first advanced degree was in creative writing: I just want to tell little stories, not make pronouncements. . .

The boy is stirring. Must log off.