Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Late At Night

I’m writing this after midnight; everyone has gone to bed but I’m not quite ready for bed, although I’m tired. (And by everyone, I mean Dad, Justin, Patrick, Chris, and Aidan; Anne and Bill have gone back to their hotel.) I can hear Bronwyn and Ciara chattering in the living room, Aidan got stuck bunking with Patrick, but since Chris and I transported his air mattress, Bronwyn has claimed that, while Ciara has laid claim to the couch. I could hear some tidbits of conversations, but the volume of their conversation has been distinctly lowered, so I put in my headphones. I’m a bit sad that I’m not closer in age to them; I’d love to just gab with them they are with each other, but I never get enough time to establish that type of relationship.

Chris and I were originally slated to drive down to Pennsylvania later today, but Mom’s operation has been scheduled for sometime later this morning and I wanted to be around for it. Chris and I drove up to see his family this past Saturday and did all the usual family visiting and feasting, opening presents with his parents, and Valerie and Mike. We managed to partake in the annual grab bag festivities on Christmas Eve, and had dinner on Christmas day with Howie and Susan. Chris had planned for us to visit JB and Amy and their new baby, but I’m glad we came down today instead.

We managed to get to Pennsylvania just in time to see Mom for about 20 minutes or so at the hospital, after which we all came back to the house (Justin was hanging back with Bronwyn, Ciara, and Aidan), had some leftover turkey and stuffing (which Justin had cooked for Christmas dinner), and sat around chatting, knocking back beers or tea and quite a few cookies.

Not quite sure when Mom’s operation is scheduled for – I think the starting time depends on a few outside factors – but Dad is planning on heading over pretty early, and I’ll plan on heading over mid-morning.

Friday, December 21, 2007

'Tis the Season

I spent a couple of days visiting Mom and Dad this week, helping to get the house in order (or at least not infringing and dropping crumbs everywhere). I went on a baking marathon: Double batches each of triple chocolate chip cookies and peanut butter cookies, as well as three large fruitcakes, and three smaller ones (two of which I'll be bringing up to Chris' family). I even made marzipan (and as such am very pleased with myself). It was a very busy couple of days, and I came home yesterday thinking that Chris and I might leave to visit his family for Christmas, but since it was decided that tomorrow might be a better day to travel, today I slept in (which I really needed; I've been exhausted lately), picked up some dry cleaning, and managed to acquire six books from the library. I have no hopes of meandering through all them, but I did find a copy of Joyce's Ulysses, which I need to read for one of my classes next semester. (I'll need to buy one edition in particular at some point because I'll need the book for the entire semester, but if I can read through it once before classes begin, I'll be pleased.)

Still need to wrap a few gifts tonight - and hope I can remember where I put the presents for Chris' family.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Almost Made It!

Last weekend was the Weekend of Being Social. On Friday night I went to see The Constant Couple by George Farquhar, and had an amazingly good time. I ran into some classmates whom I like; the professor who'd arranged the outing is exceptionally nifty; play was linguistically accessible and very funny; there were two actors - Bradford Cover and Eduardo Placer - who were especially good; our little gang went out for Thai food afterwards; and I didn't get home until almost 3 in the morning. It was quite the evening.

Last Saturday morning, being the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I was up early for Mass, and utterly failed to get any work done due to being so tired. Saturday night I had plans to the Young New Yorkers' Chorus holiday concert, which was amazing. (Stella is an alto in the choir.) They sang a lovely selection of holiday songs; I bought a CD and was happy; but decided to go home before meeting up with Stella and her cronies; not only did I not think I had the stamina at that point, but this past week was the week in which nearly every remaining paper was due, and I simply could not afford another night of not enough sleep.

And work I did. I'd already had my literacy autobiography completed. I wrote the remaining number of journals, an introductory letter, and a tutoring analysis, all of which I printed, organized, and put in a binder (as well as a revised tutoring session observation) for one class (I submitted about 60 pages of writing for this one class); for another class I stayed up until 3 in the morning on Thursday to finish a paper on Alice Walker (I got nearly 11 full pages out of it) - I am incapable of determining whether this paper was decent or simple mediocre. On Thursday we had some really wet weather: It rained, snowed, and sleeted all at one; roads were slushy; and Chris drove me to the train station (to which I normally walk) so I could catch a slightly earlier train to campus, since I had to hand in this paper. Naturally, not 10 minutes after I got to campus, school closed, effective at 4 p.m. (I was scheduled to tutor from 4 to 6, and the paper was due at the beginning of class, which was shortly thereafter.) I submitted the paper anyway, and came home. I still have one 4-6 page paper to revise, but it's written, but it's not due until Monday afternoon.

This morning, at least, was busy: I did laundry, went to the grocery store, post office, and library, but neglected to go to the dry cleaners. This evening I found some paperwork that I need to submit to the New York City Department of Education, so I've photocopied various pieces of paper, wrote a letter, and stuck everything in an envelope. Tomorrow I plan on going to the dry cleaners and post office, and get a good piece of this final paper squared away.

And I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping! Almost...

Friday, December 7, 2007

One More Week...

Still catching up on writing.

My literacy autobiography is done. I'm handing in the same paper for both classes. I should probably add more quotations from secondary sources, and revise one of them so they're not exactly the same paper, and if I have time I'll do that, but I have other writing that also needs to be completed.

I'm almost done with my journal entries for ENG 646. No one was quite sure how many to hand in; I was aiming for 12. Writing an entry for either the first week or last week is moot (there's nothing to write for the first week, and the the journal for the last week would be done after I had handed in everything else). The plan had been to write two pages per journal, but in a few cases, I only had one full page. That was all I could muster - I would prefer to have one good page than two pages of incoherence. (And actually, for one week's journal, there was nothing to respond to, and I wrote as much.) The last entry I need to write requires I read some texts that I hadn't realized needed to be read, but I can have this done before I get to bed tonight.

I still have to revise finish the tutoring self-analysis; I need to revise what I have (nine pages), add some secondary sources, and meet the length requirement of approximately 15 pages I'd like to have that finished by Sunday night. And I still have to complete the term paper for ENG 626. Those will be the two longest to finish. I'll do the tutoring self-analysis first (Tuesday); I have about 6-7 more pages to write of the term paper (due Thursday)

Tonight I'm going to see The Constant Couple, a play by George Farquhar, at the Pearl Theatre. At the moment I don't want to go. It's really cold out there, rain and snow showers are expected, and I could probably force myself to do some work, but I'm trying to be sociable so I know I'll wind up going and be glad I went.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

How to Buckle Down

I've been hit with something unexpected that I don't quite care to blog about right now. Writing this blog is something I've maintained as helping me mentally work through whatever it is I need to work through, but this is not something I care to share or talk about, nor do I want people asking me questions. Suffice it to say that it's added an extra level of stress during the academic time of year (the last remaining weeks of the semester) when my mental energy needs not be diverted. As usual, the timing is not great, but I guess these things generally aren't. In any case, what it boils down to is that I've been thrown for a bit of a loop, and cleared my schedule on Monday just in case. I planned on going home until Tuesday morning but stayed home, and will be on call in case I need to get home quickly.

The plan for the rest of the semester:

Sunday & Monday:
Complete my literacy autobiography by the end of the day Monday (manageable if I write at least eight pages a day) - due 12/11.

Work on and complete journals for ENG 646 (I need to write perhaps four or five, about two pages each) - due 12/11.

Wednesday - Friday:
Complete term paper for ENG 626 (another 5-6 pages, and revision) - due 12/13.

Friday - Sunday:
Write final paper for ENG 626 (4-6 pages) - due 12/17.

This will work if I do it. I need to prove to myself that I can get and maintain a really good G.P.A. as a grad student; yes, I feel like I have something to prove. So time to get to it.