Archive for the School Category

california dreamin’: days two and three.

Posted in dissertation, etcetera, forward my mail, holy smartness batman, i promise you that you won't care, me, School, teaching, will work for food on January 2, 2009 by drbolte

day two was panel day.

i dressed up, amazing black pants and the new teal shirt i got from the cousin for christmas. i looked good, i think, but you could tell i wasn’t incredibly invested in the conference because rather than suffering for my art in my kickin’ black heels, i opted for flats.

no one to impress, you see.

the best of the panels came at 830 am…the microblogging session about using twitter and new media (i.e. text messaging, blogging, etc.) in the classroom and what it means for our way of approaching literary studies and teaching. i really, really liked it. it was interactive, fun, engaging, and involved a BOO oklahoma icon from a UT prof.

i wanted to yell GO GATORS! but i didn’t.  be impressed by my professionalism.

that was pretty much the highlight of my day. the rest of them were fairly boring, even though i had great hopes for the travel writing ones.  they were good–don’t get me wrong. the scholarship was solid and the papers were certainly intelligent and thought-provoking. but i think my general sense of detachment abou the whole process made paying attention more difficult.

it could also have been the fact that 8500 people were at the conference.  that might have had something to do with it.

day three dawned much better, though.

SIGHTSEEING DAY!

we began by visiting what was perhaps the best concierge desk in the history of the world. he checked in at southwest for us, printed our boarding passes, gave us a map, and told us how to cheaply and efficiently reach all of our desired destinations.

then, we trekked out to see the painted ladies.

lest you think that was something squirrely, these are the painted ladies:

dscf0953

victorian houses.  GORGEOUS.  it was a wonderful day, as you can tell from the photo–full of sunshine and not very cold at all.  unusual for san francisco, but a blessing for us.

we then went to fisherman’s wharf, where we saw these:

dscf0969

those are the famous sealions that hang out at pier 39.  they were pretty cute.  we ate some fish and chips, wandered in some TACKY tourist shops, and headed off to ghiradelli square. we shopped some, ate some ice cream, and then got back in line to ride the cable cars.  the interminable lines.  or at least it felt like it…

there, we were privileged to be entertained by none other than…escapeman.

yeah.  he was in a straitjacket, chained to a pole. he proceeded to gyrate and seize until he had freed himself (admittedly a nice feat) and then asked us all for money.

it was odd.  it was hilarious. it was bizarroworld personified.

then we walked through chinatown, which was awesome because i bought a t-shirt for $1.88. i didn’t do that in nyc’s chinatown and totally kicked myself for it.  no one can say i don’t learn from my mistakes.

know what i DIDN’T buy in chinatown?

food.

(are you seeing a common theme? me and food…we need to be better pals that plan our interactions more frequently.)

oh well.

it was an awesome day, though. we felt like we managed to see much of the city by the bay for relatively cheap, and i felt like our walk through chinatown and back to our hotel felt like real travel and adventure as opposed to travel provided by an all-day cable car pass.

that may or may not make sense to you, but it does to me.

california didn’t disappoint, but by the end of day three, when i was preparing to get up at 330 to go to the airport for a 645 flight, i was ready to go home.

i hope the next time i go to the mla, i actually have a REASON to go.  you know, like real interviews or presenting a paper. i will say that my foray into giant conference world taught me that i am, in fact, smart enough to present at such an occasion, so next time i won’t be so intimidated.

but i was glad to get home, tired as i was.

and that concludes my travel stories.  boring, probably, but there you go.

you’re welcome.

shred day 9 (?) update: yeah, i tried to do level 2 again today and was pretty lame at it.  i am however (i think?) seeing muscle definition where there really wasn’t any before.  so, yay for that.  in related news, i am able to run a lot easier, except for today when my knees were not having it. i just don’t think that early morning is my time for exercise, as much as i wish it was. or at least not lately and not on a day when it’s maximum 40 degrees outside.

i’ve sort of abandoned the whole 30 times in 30 days thing since i took five days off for SF.  but i’m still committed to every day but sunday, and that’s kicking enough of my trash.

where my head is.

Posted in books are bliss, dissertation, faith is action, i am not a gym rat, me, School on September 13, 2008 by drbolte

“i envy your students.”–a man who heard my presentation to the jane austen society.

it went well. i presented a portion of my chapter and, for the most part, it was received quite well.  i was asked questions and i answered them easily.  i got some good ideas. and i looked cute (nice black pants which i got to wear because i fit into them hooray, white shirt, black heels, cute necklace…it was a good look that i will probably use again for my conference in detroit in a month).

“the jane austen chapter is marvelous.”–my director.

i got through all of my job documents and the revisions of my two chapters.  i meet to discuss the job documents with my director on tuesday, and full expect to have to tear them up and rewrite them again based on her suggestions, but they’re at least done. the first draft is always the worst.  creating something from nothing is much more difficult than anyone makes it out to be. i sent her the chapters, and she sent them back with an email that included that line.  it didn’t suck.

“after you’re done with this book, you should think about…”–a member of my committee, talking to me about the potential of extending my dissertation topic post-railway revolution.

it blows my mind to think of potential future projects, since the dissertation has consumed my life for nigh onto three years now.  but there is potential–great potential–for future work related to my topic.  that’s happy.  that’s very happy news.

of course, all of this is tempered by the fact that i didn’t get nearly enough done today, i feel like i have climbed mount everest in hill intervals on the treadmill, i’m behind (again), my director’s revisions to the chapters i thought were basically done involve needing to read…A LOT, and i have no idea how to start writing the next portions of my chapter.

but, y’all, this week has been one of fierce productivity.  and it hasn’t resulted in me losing the will to live, being a total witch to those around me, or scaring my mother to death by being down all of the time.

no, i’ve done it all with a smile on my face.

seriously.

so odd.  i don’t know what happened.  some kind of switch got flipped. i hesitate to say that, for fear i might curse it, but how can you curse something that is your own daily choice?

you can’t.

so here i am.  i’m working hard.  i’m checking things off of my list.  i’m making use of all of my time.  i’m exhausting myself physically and mentally and it’s awesome.

i’m EXCITED about what’s to come.

i just sort of wish that didn’t have to come with big piles of more boring things to read.

oh well.

eleven minutes to save the world.

Posted in blogging, books are bliss, dissertation, drama drama drama, facebook is the new crack, going quietly mad, i am not a gym rat, Life, me, School, the joys of living in Florida, Uncategorized on July 23, 2008 by drbolte

it is 11:11 p.m. on wednesday night.  i am giving myself eleven minutes to blog until i go to bed. project runway is rerunning on bravo right now, and i’m ticked that i’m not currently watching the taped episode of so you think you can dance that i was supposed to have gotten ready but forgot.

sigh.

i really have not much to say of substance. nothing much has changed since monday. i still am ruled by the bright blue planner.  i have stories of my class that you will have to wait for two weeks for so that i cannot be accused of being unprofessional.  by then i may reconsider the appropriateness of posting them.  let’s just say that, sometimes, being a grad student and having your students know that you are a grad student means that you get just a TRIFLE more attitude than i imagine, say, any tenured professor would get.

but i actually wonder if that’s true, since i am guessing that some people just give attitude to whomever they wish.

(and yes, i did just use the word whom. and i used it correctly.  worship me.)

so…not much has changed.  organic guacamole still gets me through my days, pathetic as that may seem, and i have decided that as much as i love the elliptical, i really, really hate sharing the apartment gym with anyone.  yesterday i had grand ambitions to be on there for 90 minutes.  i might have been dead had i succeeded, but that’s all a moot point because…someone came in.  and i assumed they wanted to get on the elliptical.  and i was already a hot mess and not sure that i could make 90 minutes either, and the pressure of having someone else there on the bike next to me, imagining them staring at me and willing me to finish already, made me cave at 47 minutes.  

today’s ambition was to get through this day without falling over because, after me and my roommates had an impromptu congregation in my room last night until 12:30 and i couldn’t really fall asleep until 1 or 1:30–insomnia cause number 47: stupid cardio songs stuck in my head every night.  the other night it was umbrella, last night it was forever.  oy.–i hauled my carcass out of bed at 6:50 to swim and do water jogging (which sounds like something for blue-haired old ladies, but it actually fun and definitely gets your legs a-burning).  so i decided that if i made it through today, being productive and conscious, it would be a miracle.

i’m alive.

i did some stuff. 

but i didn’t do everything that i wanted.  

my facebook status is right now ‘FAIL’ because that’s how i feel when i don’t get to cross everything off my list.  and i have somehow degenerated into writer’s freakout block, which means that even when i do have time to work on my dissertation because i got up at 6:50 and actually had whole chunks of time not carved out for getting my heartbeat down or staving off imminent dehydration or preparing for this class that takes up SO MUCH TIME (whose idea was six quizzes and six journal entries in six weeks? nonsense), i instead went on facebook and basically begged people to pay attention to me.

(cute boys from arizona did. yay me!)

these are not new tactics.  they’re actually as old as i am–and at moments like this, that feels pretty old–but they are interesting to observe in the strangely schizophrenic distance i’m able to achieve as i’m actually acting out all of this dissertation nonsense.

nonsense it all is, as i’m keenly aware.  so tomorrow’s moment-by-moment schedule includes little notes to myself that include “STOP AVOIDING THIS.”  as if it will happen.  

and if it does, it will be a miracle.  

but miracles are all around me, so i don’t doubt that i will be able to do it.  

i just genuinely don’t know how to accomplish everything that needs to be accomplished. 

but i’m pretty sure that it involves me getting up at 6:45 a.m. again.  

sigh.

i have penciled you in.

Posted in blogging, etcetera, going quietly mad, i am not a gym rat, i promise you that you won't care, me, School, the internets, the joys of living in Florida on July 21, 2008 by drbolte

my schedule says, after some tweaking, that between now and 6:30, i have chill time. i deserve it, having spent 80 minutes walking at the stadium with purpose. i am hoping chill time will include a power nap through some law and order.

my schedule rules my world.

it is made in pencil–to allow for unforeseen tweaking based on traffic, talkative investigators at missionary lessons, student concerns, or dishes that must be done–and it is the only thing that may or may not keep me sane through the next few weeks, when balancing all that needs to be done is as exhausting as everything that needs to be done.

but enough about that, except that i am proud of my schedule because it is me taking control.

but in the quick short time i have to update you on life, i only have energy and minutes for bullet points. forgive, please?

  • unexpected knock at the door last night. thank heavens i looked fairly decent. boy at the door. boy who is interested at the door. boy who i thought i was done with at the door. unexpectedly: chemistry present. i don’t know.
  • i go to get the mail today. there’s nothing in the mail. color me frustrated and annoyed. FRUSTRATED. and ANNOYED. but then wait. there IS something in the mail. from malaysia. from the ex. ugh. WHYYYYYY?!?
  • running stadium trio: listen. i know you’re all cute. and you’re all in rhythm. it’s adorable. but you have the entire width of the walkway to move. all i’ve got is this row of SEATS right here. you’re running. i’m walking. if i could move, i would. i can’t. so how about YOU move and stop acting like you own the joint? oh wait. too hard for you? fine. i’ll twist myself into a pretzel for you. super. no problem.
  • class: please gain reading comprehension. please?!?
  • 39 days to Gator football. i’m way excited.
  • about thirty five seconds after i last posted, i discovered the largest bug known to humanity on the bookshelf next to my desk. mortal combat ensued, between me and the bug and between me and paralyzing revulsion. this combat featured one scene with me, slowly turning in the absolute middle of my room with two bottles of cleaner in my hands like weapons, drawn and ready to fire. it was hilarious. horrifying and hilarious. where’s george clooney and a flamethrower when you need them?
  • i may or may not have just lost the will to live since i am typing, sitting on the floor with my laptop on my bed and my head laying on the bed. hard to picture probably, but most assuredly pathetic.

it’s all worth it, right? sometimes i wonder.

OOH. i get to eat guacamole tonight. the little things are going to see me through. mechanical pencils with good erasers and fun designs. organic guacamole. strawberries. being able to do something nice for someone else. people taking an interest in me when they don’t have to. did i mention guacamole?

and that ends the wandering ramble through my world.

…this is your brain on dissertation.

Posted in blogging, dissertation, i am not a gym rat, mirror mirror on the wall, School, teaching, wish i may wish i might on July 6, 2008 by drbolte

so i realized something today.

it’s not a grand revelation. in fact, if you’ve been around for about the last three weeks, you’ve probably realized it before i did today on the phone with my mom.

i have three main topics of conversation/focus right now: school/class, dissertation, and working out/eating stuff that’s not crap.

i think a lot about those things. i do a lot regarding those things. i fret a lot about those things.  i am alternately successful and a total failure at those things (more towards success of late–knock wood–than failure).  i do very little else.

i mean, i watch t.v. i go to church. i talk to my roommates occasionally.  sporadic fun is mixed in there.  but for the most part, that’s it.  for those not interested in those three things (*cough*98% of the human population, since dogs and cats are always interested in what you have to say as long as it happens in their general direction *cough*), i can only imagine that this blog has been a utter snoozefest of late.

i would apologize, but then again–these three things are the things that are most important to me right now. they are the things that will help me achieve my main goals.  they are the things that i SHOULD be focused on.

that’s not to say that the random ode to the blueberry bagel won’t still occur, or updates on my nonexistent love life, or recounts of sad instances of me sticking my foot squarely in my mouth, but i just wanted to acknowledge the fact that, yes, i am singleminded in my focus.  or tripleminded.  something like that.

and, no, i don’t expect all of you to be excited nor to stick around for that.

that makes me rather sad to say.  i had gotten very excited about the prospect of my blog getting more traffic, of diversifying my reader base, and all of those cool things that happen when you have the time, energy, and motivation to write really amazing things.

but see…those really amazing things? need to be about ann radcliffe. and jane austen. and charlotte smith. and helen maria williams. and mary wollstonecraft. and dorothy wordsworth.

and i can’t really publish here what i will write in my dissertation because…well…i’d like it to still be unique and unpublished by someone else when i am done.  you know, closely guarding my own brilliance for future gain.  perhaps not the way that socrates anticipated learning but it is the way of the world now. dissertations are on lockdown.

i’ve been thinking about writing about my class, but i feel hindered doing that because the things i want to say are very specific and this forum is very public.  password protecting the posts seems counterproductive–if i want to write about it in private, i can write about it in private.  but i don’t.  i want to tell you all what’s going on, but i also feel very strongly that i need to keep everything about my classes broad and nonspecific.  focused on me, perhaps, which i have done. but what i want to say is not focused on me.  so i don’t say it.

and while i probably do have lots to say about working out and eating right, since i’m probably getting more excitement and rejuvenation from that area of my life than i am from anything else (although the dissertation is looking up right now), this is not a weight loss/exercise blog.  and i don’t want to make it into that.

when i was reading in my new self-help book about writing a dissertation in 15 minutes a day (which is just fridiculously amazing), it talked about writing a zero draft…just sort of sitting down and letting all of your thoughts come pouring out without editing. i did that the other night focused on the draft i’m working on right now, my mind full of questions that seemed unanswerable, organizational problems that seem insurmountable.  here’s a snippet that doesn’t give anything at all away:

…Heaven help me if I know how to merge them all together.  I think that’s what’s stopping me. I just don’t know how to make the thinking align.  It’s all part of the big grand whole, I know that…but how to make it not feel choppy together in a chapter?

Or do I just give up and make it two chapters?  That feels like a copout. There’s got to be a way. I just don’t know what it is now.

as i was writing this post, i realized that’s where my head is at right now about the blog. and lots of the disparate parts of my life that don’t really fit into that three-fold mission.

i know i love the blog.

i know i want to keep it.

i just don’t know how to do what i once did while i’m funneling all of my energy into other things.  i don’t know how to not turn it into something boring and utterly inaccessible.  i don’t know HOW to keep it being what it is.

my mind is full of questions.  please forgive me if i mull them in silence a while before trying to work them out in words.

dear old golden rule days.

Posted in etcetera, School, teaching on June 30, 2008 by drbolte

i suck at reserving judgment.

pretty much, i’m a gut-level, snap judgment person.  it’s a terrible thing when you say it like that, i suppose.  i don’t necessarily do it with people so much as i do it with groups and situations. i’m good at it. i assess.  i determine.  i am routinely proven wrong by individuals, but i’m rarely wrong about situations.

first class was today.

make your own connections. i ain’t doin’ it for you.

i’m going to punish the elliptical.  and then i’m going to take another shower (i know. so much for living green and/or frugally but it’s frickin hot here and i had to look cute, as futile as that attempt was ultimately) and be terribly productive and hope that tomorrow is better.

i really hate first days. i try too hard and am too hard on myself and inevitably end up thinking that i look like a complete and total idiot when i probably don’t.

suddenly the weird dreams that kept waking me up ALL NIGHT LONG make a lot more sense.

maybe a nap will be in that schedule too.

the starting line and no i don’t mean the band.

Posted in dissertation, etcetera, faith is action, me, School, teaching, the joys of living in Florida on June 25, 2008 by drbolte

i’ve never raced.

i mean raced with my feet.

i mean raced with my feet when i was old enough to actually remember said race. i seem to have vague, fuzzy memories of chasing a boy around and him chasing me around on some bygone elementary school playground.  fashionista that i was seem to also remember being concerned that i was getting sweaty.  ha.  i just remembered that.  funny how nothing changes.

but i can only imagine that, just before a race, you begin to get anxious.  you start thinking about all that’s in front of you, all that you have to accomplish to finish this thing that you’ve been training and practicing and working for for so long.  you, i would think, begin to question whether or not you can do it.  you begin to wonder if those hurdles, perceived or real, before you can actually be overtaken.  can you jump them without losing your stride? can you manage to make it to the finish line before you collapse?  can you enjoy, even a little bit, the journey between here and there?  can you keep your focus on your feet, your form, your breathing instead of on that everelusive finish that really is farther away than you think?

i feel that way about a lot of things right now.

i feel like i’m about to start a race to the finish.

i’m sort of scared.  and i’m sort of excited.  on some days, i am completely sure of myself and where i stand with everything and other days, like today, i feel like i’m milling around a start line just waiting for somebody to pull the trigger. but i’m not entirely ready for that because i don’t think i’m ready for it.  some days, like today, i’m not sure i can do everything that i have committed myself to do.  some days, like today, i ignore the evidence to the contrary and everyone around me who tells me that i can and instead listen to that conniving but utterly insistent voice that tells me that i can’t.

with or without me, though, the race begins on monday.

i suppose i should start warming up, huh?