Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dissertation Break: Wanna See My Stylish Surprise?

OK, before jumping right back into dissertation stuff tomorrow, I do want to share the "Stylish Surprise" box that came from Modcloth on Saturday.  So here is how it works:  Modcloth sales apparel items for $10 (it was $15 last time!), $10 for shoes, and then $5 for accessories or home items.  You have no idea what you are going to get other than just indicating your sizes.  Sometimes -- as most folks know -- sizes are not consistent so you never know if the item will fit you or not (and no returns).  So when the sale first started (and there ended up being a technical glitch that I will explain at the end of this entry!), I purchased five items -- four apparel items and 1 shoe.

Here is the box itself:

I loved this first glance!  I loved the color that I saw!  And print!  I see prints!  (if you don't know, I am a print kinda gal!)  So after taking this picture, I took everything out of the box and tried it on!  (and I googled for images of the items on the Modcloth web site -- a little tricky to do since most of the items in the Stylish Surprise boxes are no longer available for purchase via Modcloth!)

Dress #1 --  "That's Doll Folks":  This was the dress I saw at the top of the box.  Love, love, love!  It has a cute Russian doll print and it fits!  I think the original price for this dress was around $60.  The belt is a little cheap but I am fine with using my own belt!

That’s Doll, Folks Dress, #ModCloth

Dress #2 -- "All That and Demure" dress -- again, major love!  And it fits!  Love the color, too!  The fabric is lovely -- sort of an the heavy side in a good way (definitely high quality!).  I saw this dress listed on another web site for just over $100.  So not so bad for $10!

All That and Demure Dress in Daffodil, #ModCloth  

Dress #3 -- "Cute to the Cordial Dress":  Of all the items in the box, this is the only one that is not going to work for me.  I love the idea but it's too big.  This dress is definitely going to go up for swaps in my swapping group!  (again, this is a dress that was approximately $50-60).

Cute to the Cordial Dress, #ModCloth
(Sorry -- no picture of me modelling it!)

Clothing Item #4 -- Antarctic Social Circle Sweater:  Now when I first saw this in the box, I was like, "Nope.  Hate it."  And then I tried it on.  Super cute!  And soft!  I am going to put this away for next winter.  Or maybe I will wear it tomorrow?

Antarctic Social Circle Sweater, #ModCloth
(I forgot to get a picture of me wearing this!)

The Shoe Item -- "Mix and Match Heel" (Poetic License):  I cannot say how much I adore these shoes that -- luckily -- fit me perfectly.  These shoes run around $125-150 on Modcloth so I think I am super lucky to have gotten these shoes in my box! (for $10!)  Sure, these are not shoes that (1) I would have ever purchased myself mostly because of the price, and (2) are not shoes I would have been attracted to if I were going to spend that much on a pair of shoes.  I have been drooling over some of the shoes from Poetic License on Modcloth but never dreamed a pair would show up in my Stylish Surprise box! Most of the ones I have been coveting have been on the more flat, modest side but the more I "play" with these, the more I love them!  Pretty English teacher-y, don't you think?  However, I probably won't be wearing them to work (I move around too much!) but I can see wearing them out!  :D

Mix and Match Heel in Yellow, #ModCloth

So in a nutshell -- my Stylish Surprise (SS) was a success!  For $50, I would guess I got items that valued about $400+  And four out of the 5 items fit and are my style so now I have some new items to blend into my wardrobe .... There will be a part II to this SS blog entry, however.  See, when the sale first started, the Modcloth web page for the SS went crazy and failed.  Some of the orders got through, however, including this order.  But I didn't know for sure for a couple of hours and at one point when the folks at Modcloth tried to run the sale one more time (before that attempt also failed), I panicked and made another order (four clothing, one shoe, and two accessories make up the second order).  And a day later I discovered that order went through too.  So guess what is coming in a day or two?  Yep, another Stylish Surprise box.  I noticed through the FedEx web site that this box weights about a pound less so I am guessing the shoes are not so heavy and nice quality like these -- and perhaps the clothing items are more light weight?

Anyway -- stay tuned!

Friday, March 21, 2014

And So We Move on to Plan B ...

So I guess the title of this entry says it all:  I am now moving on to Dissertation Plan B.  If you remember, Plan A was the following:  (1) work like crazy to come up with a complete, ready-to-go dissertation, (2) set a defense date based on the fabulousness of the complete PDF draft, and then (3) get all the paperwork in order before the April 11 deadline for graduation.

This isn't going to happen.  I have some issues with Chapter 6 (the conclusion) that need to be worked out (along with some other editing that is more minor) and I want to include an epilogue that just didn't get written when I did the complete draft (I wasn't going to do one at first but now I think I will).  However, Plan B does mean getting the dissertation defense done before the end of the semester (probably April).  I will miss the deadlines for graduating in May and so I won't be "officially" finished until December (the next graduation opportunity).  The end of the semester should bring the main part of this to a close, though -- that darn defense represents the last "hard" thing that I need to complete (and any editing after that should not be too big of a problem).

I am writing this after a long day of sessions at 4C's -- the Conference on College Composition and Communication, the conference that we college writing teachers look forward to every year (this year in Indianapolis).  Not only did I present today (and, geeze, was I nervous!) but I went to several sessions that will help me re-think some of the ideas in my conclusion (and even bigger ideas post-dissertation).  In a nutshell, I just had an exhausting day.  Wrapping my head around the "not graduating yet" thing on the day I was presenting at C's, as well as just being generally annoyed at my body right now, just made for a rough day (and we won't even get into the deep stacks of grading that I am running behind on, a task I take seriously on behalf of my students).

I have had lots of people tell me at different times during my life that I always seem to have so much energy, so how do I get everything done that needs to get done?  I am beginning to wonder myself.  Right now I am feeling tired and but there is still so much that needs to be done (with my dissertation, with my students, with my life, with my triathlon training, etc).  But I do know that I have the support of the best husband ever and the best graduate adviser ever so I just need to take a moment to rest, I suppose, and get right back in the saddle (God, I hate cliches!).

For tonight, I am about to head up to my room way up on the 17th floor (I am using the Internet in the lobby since apparently when you stay in a super expensive hotel, the hotel can't be bothered to let you use the Internet in your room for free).  And what will I do once I get there?  Though I would like to say that I am going to turn on the television and veg (especially since I just came back from the gym), I know that isn't the truth.  Instead, I will get crackin' on some of those student papers and work on an epilogue for a dissertation.  And I will focus on this quotation:

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring Break!

So a week ago, I was in the midst of dissertation-alooza and knew that I would have a tough week catching up on all the student work that I had to ignore for three days (a task in itself for me!).
BUT -- here I am on the other side of all of that!  In one week, I managed to come up with a complete 304 page dissertation now in one glorious PDF file, I graded three sections worth of ENG 101 essays (about 50 or so students), and I gave feedback on 34 or so ENG 102 Annotated Bibliographies!  But -- all done!

Folks have been asking me what the next step in the process of "dissertating" is and here is the answer:  wait!  I need to get feedback from my fabulous adviser/ dissertation head/ mentor to see if she thinks I am ready to defend the sucker.  Believe me, you don't want to schedule a defense and not be ready!  So worse case scenario -- I need to do more revisions and defend in April or May (which would mean a December graduation).  Best case scenario -- my current PDF version is "good enough" and I can defend it ASAP (late March?).  So right now I don't know.  But it was sorta cool to be able to look at my computer and see something like this:

No matter how bad it is (and I hope it's not too bad!), it is an amazing step to see the whole research as one PDF file -- and the fact that it turned out to be just over 300 pages is staggering for me -- I have never had a project quite this big before!  The big conference for us college English types (Conference on College Composition and Communication -- or 4C's for short!) is coming up next week (starting the 19th of March).  I will be presenting many of the findings that I came up (in short, an analysis of using themed writing prompts in first year writing).

First, though, I get to take a little holiday!  Jim and I are flying to Portland, Oregon, tomorrow so I can (1) see my fabulous grad school friends Bonnie and Amy whom I haven't seen in 17 years! and (2) go to Powells, the best (independent) bookstore in the world!  Jim will get to see one of his favorite pals as well (who will be driving down from Seattle).  And fish!  Lots and lots of fresh fish!  I am so excited to get close to home!  Of course, I cannot resist to end this blog entry with a scene from one of my favorite shows, Portlandia (with the genius Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein!):