Summer weather finally rolled in to the East Bay a couple of weeks ago. And just as quickly departed this week as chills of fall and early winter took over. A trip to the produce market confirmed what the crisp air indicated: summer 2013 was officially dead. Get your last few baskets of strawberries and tomatoes while they last, folks. Before the enormous pile of pumpkins floods into the bins that once held juicy summer fruit.
The good news? I’ve been writing up a storm. Even though the husband has been in China for the past week and I’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad time falling asleep (to the point of staring at the ceiling for 3 hours before finally passing out), I’ve been writing. I attribute most of that to my weekly meetings with my friend Nicole to talk about each other’s dissertation work. Just having someone near me who is also working on their dissertation (and writing proposals to beg for money for writing their dissertation), helps tenfold with my own motivation. Observing the cats comfortably sleeping next to me all day has a similar effect…except in this case, I wind up curled up next to them in the middle of the afternoon. The bad news? I write until I can write no more. Like not even an e-mail. And unless I’ve pre-planned and shopped for my weekly meals, I forget to break for dinner until my stomach screams “FEED ME NOW” and directs me to the nearest sushi joint. Clearly, my cravings are preparing me for our upcoming 16-day honeymoon to Taiwan and Japan.
I’ve been in a rut with my dissertation lately. When you’re in a rut, you reflect. Reflect on what’s keeping you from making the progress that you need. Then maybe you can figure out how to get over that and just write your little heart out. And I think I’ve discovered a few things about myself that have been seriously getting in my way ( I’ve also got a feeling I’m not alone on these): 1) I don’t like to start a project unless I can finish it. Or at least make significant noticeable progress. When I leave something unfinished, it makes me anxious. So when I look at this mound of data and the many many pages I need to write about it, my silly brain says, “well, I can’t finish it today, so why even start?” A surefire way to make sure you never ever finish it. Yes, that logic is ridiculous, but guess what? It’s super easy to fall for. Guys, it’s a trap! 2) I’m a perfectionist. Don’t sound the alarms – this isn’t news. The hindrance comes when the data I planned on collecting didn’t turn out the way I’d outlined…because, you know, classroom-based data never does. That’s precisely the thing that makes classrooms interesting sites to study. But then there’s an overwhelming sense of wanting to throw out the year’s worth of data to start over. Which seriously conflicts with my goal of just finishing the dang thing.
There was a time when “suicide” was my fountain soda of choice. Because who doesn’t love Pepsi, Sprite, Fanta, Dr. Pepper and A&W Root Beer swirled into one? Heck, while you’re at it, toss in some over-sweetened pink lemonade and iced tea to really mix things up. At some point, though, your taste buds mature. Either that or it becomes less socially acceptable to walk up to the self-serve and fill your cup with 1/10th of each option. And on that day, you are forced to choose one over all the rest. For me, root beer was the clear leader of the pack. Rich and creamy with a hint of vanilla.
How many potlucks with piles of freshly baked flour-filled goodies must a person like me endure? Pure torture for the gluten-free, I say. The host of the last one boasted a brownie taste-test among the spread of chocolate-y confections. So what does one who can’t eat them do? Force-feed all the homemade treats to your pal Angi…before dinner, that’s what. Who will then loyally report how terrible they all are because that’s what good friends do. And then leave just when the party’s getting started (ie. when Officer McGruff shows up to the block party potluck) to go home and bake gluten-free brownies with you. These are serious cravings. Desperate measures.