So here I am in the middle of finals week. And here is what is on my brain:
1. I think I have messed up the conclusion of my dissertation. It's like my brain has just gone "off." So, of course, as I am googling a phrase like "What do I need to think about in terms of a dissertation conclusion?" almost everything I encountered started with the words, "The conclusion is the most important chapter in your dissertation ..." Just what I need to hear. Thanks, karma. So I did the best I could muster this weekend but I don't think it's all that brilliant. But I guess it is as done as I am going to get right now. At any rate, I will be sending the fabulous Dr M all my chapters by this weekend. The major writing -- I think -- is done. Now I need to proofread and edit a bit -- and then be prepared to do (a lot) more of this editing once the chapters come back to me. At this point, I am feeling like "Tell me what to change and I will change it; no questions asked!"
2. On Monday we got bad news about our two remaining cats. Katie (Jim's cat) apparently has a rather large mass near her kidney area. We won't know if it's cancer without a super expensive test but Dr Lewis (our fabulous vet) seems to think that it doesn't really matter if it's cancer or not at this point -- it is still bad. And it is going to get worse. So we had some blood work taken (ching! ching!) and we will probably have to make the decision to put her to sleep in January. We certainly don't want her to suffer but still. This sort of hurts. And then there is Zora, my cat. The best guess from her strange behavior (and weird eyes, a new symptom) is that she has a brain tumor. Again, an expensive test would tell us for sure. So, we will probably need to make the decision to euthanize her as well, though I think her situation isn't as dire and we can wait a few more months. I have had Zora almost 16 years. Losing her will probably be more difficult for me. In some ways, she is all that I have left from my pre-Jim days.
3. Final research papers are exploding out of my ears! This semester I taught four sections of ENG 102 (big mistake on my part) and now I am busily reading final research papers that have been a bit depressing. What happened to the great purpose/ Research Questions I have been seeing in the preliminary work? Where are the sources that are balanced and insightful? (One student used 6 sources from about.com, something he didn't have in his better written Annotated Bib). Where did I fail these folks?! Though there are some fabulous papers, so far the majority are not very good. I am taking this as proof that I need to rework the way I teach ENG 102 and try to find a better way of engaging these students. I think many of the assignments I designed work well (esp. the survey and interview portions) but I need to see if there is a more effective approach all around. So basically I am saying that this gives me something to "do" during the break.
But here are some good things to look forward to! I will soon get to spend gobs of time with Jim (yeah!) and I get to take a quick trip with my pal Peggy (yeah!) and our little house high in the sky could use some deep cleaning (since I have been distracted with the dissertation).