Friday, May 30, 2008

Blame it on the Photos

Oh yeah!!! And (continuing last post's subject) I guess that the most important thing to "blame" for the fact that I don't post as often as I'd like is:


Yeah, my obsession with posting photos (which I don't do as often as I'd like -- my frustration with the 365+1 blog can show that well) makes posts that would be otherwise simple to write near impossible Ffor instance, I've wanted to post about HAIR for the longest time, but I do want to include PICTURES! of my hair when I was SIX, YES! And those need to be found, and scanned, and all t hat takes time. I haven't yet told you about my wedding for the same reason. Each anniversary I say to myself -- this is the one, I'll get around and do it this year, but nah... not time.

Anyway... why in the world do I have to justify myself and find reasons for everything?

Well, because, as I told my friend this afternoon, humans are complex creatures, each with his/her own little "craziness." (I said that because of the fact that although I am an extremely messy and disorganized person, I have these weird impulses for systematization. We were getting/collecting [what's the right verb for this? do tell me] the dried clothes from the line and I explained to them how I already classified them all when hanging -- K's, mine, and each of the boy's clothes were hanging together).

So this is who I am. And I'm glad some of you enjoy reading what I write. Thanks. Really.

And one of the last things my dad said to me when I dropped him of at the airport "yesterday" (for me it's still Thursday because I haven't gone to bed yet -- they left on Wednesday) is that I should stop "dealing with those photos." And I guess he's right. I am obsessed with them although I police myself so I spend as little time as possible on them. OK. that's it for now.

Another Reason...

This may sound like a very lame excuse, but it's very true. Another reason why I don't post as often as I'd like is that in the process of reading other people's posts, some even quite short, not elaborate at all, I find out (each time more strongly), that I really don't know how to write well.

(OK, I already know what you're going to say -- many of you do think quite the contrary, that I do write well, etc... I agree that I do know how to write satisfactorily, but I just don't have a "gift" like some other people do to get things just right, to add just the right amount of humor, to have a "punchline" at the end that brings you back to the beginning of the "piece." That, and much more, I feel that I can't do, or can do only VERY rarely. I wish I had the guts to "spill out" my feelings about writing, but that would involve confronting very ugly feelings of envy and inadequacy. I have a whole long post written down in my journey last year, but I don't have the courage to type it up and share it.)

Then, because of the beautiful, smart, funny, thoughtful things I read on other people's blogs, I set up high standards for myself and I simply don't have time to "perfect" my ideas into "postable blog posts." So then all I can do is to come here and write these boring "meta-blog" posts when I wish I could be writing about many many other things.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Now, changing the subject abruptly... we just had a wonderful afternoon and evening with friends which made me think that if I was able to interact with "real-life" friends more often, maybe I wouldn't need blogging so much. However, I just realize that journaling has been a very important part of my life since I was 13 and wrote my first journal entries to get off my chest the feelings about a first teenage "passion." I never stopped journaling from them on and I often wished I could share my journals with my friends (but there was NEVER time), so it's only natural that I do so here in the blog -- both the journaling and the sharing. I guess I should write my bitter-sweet "first falling in love" at 13 story sometime.

You know... I've come across people who are totally embarrassed about the teenage angst expressed in their journals of that time and I guess this is a really universal phenomenon -- one of these days reading about Dooce's get together in NYC I found out about this fascinating event called Cringe that has been taking place at a bar in Brooklyn for a while now and that has even become a book -- I, however, am not embarrassed at all by my old journals and my feelings at that time, for that matter. Really. There's not much to cringe about, not even in my badly written "poetry." I guess I was a very "serious" girl (and still am, up to a certain point) - a very happy, very sociable and friendly girl, but a bit "geeky" I guess (I really don't know if I should be using this label, I don't know enough about the full meaning of this word, but from what little I know about American culture, I probably was/am, a geek). Either that or I just have too much self-esteem or I'm completely deluded. :-)

Well, anyway, it's always good to "meta-blog" because I come at the other side feeling so much better about me and my writing. See? Blogging is both the trouble and the cure!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Look What I Did! :-(

First, the bad news:Yes, I did that.

A week ago, around 7 pm I was leaving the house with my mom and I backed up and hit the Mazda_3 with the Honda_Odyssey. How unfortunate! We usually park the minivan in the garage, to the right side (the garage fits two cars), but my dad had parked it in the center and I just wasn't careful backing up. It was my first accident of real consequence (I did almost hit a truck at an intersection many years ago in our university town, but the only result was a black scratch in our Honda_Civic's front bumper) and I feel so bad about it! Well, it was bound to happen someday and I'm kind of glad that I didn't hit another person's car. Another look: Edited to add:
P.S. The "good news" will be the posts about about the happy things such as birthday parties, commencement, and travels that will follow, that's why I began the post with "the bad news first" (i.e. before I go on to post about the good stuff).

So Much and Nothing

Here I am, with tons of things to say and share, and I'm posting nothing (well, I was, now I am writing this post). I guess my excuse this time is that I forgot the camera cord at so I couldn't post any pictures over the weekend and tonight I was reading other blogs instead of posting.

We're safely back home after the long weekend away.

Commencement was great, we spent time with friends on Saturday, went to Newport R.I on Sunday, and stopped for a few hours in New York City on our way back.

I took tons of pictures and I hope to be able to post some soon. A trip to Brazil looms in the horizon, though, and K will spend all of next week in Boston because of a work trip he had forgotten about when he bought our tickets for Thursday next week (he'll fly back on the day of our trip).

So... I hope I can do it (post more and what I really want to post). And my apologies for this lame post... gotta go to bed. Today was K's birthday, BTW...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Leaving for Commencement

We're leaving for Massachusetts soon. K had to work today (he's already taking tomorrow off from work), so we're only going now. I'll post pictures later, from my in-laws' apartment. They're not there, unfortunately, and tomorrow is my FIL's birthday. They forgot about commencement and scheduled their vacation in Brazil for this week. Well... too bad.

If you want to know where I went to school, I just remembered yesterday (checking out the website for the old PBS show Electric Company) one of our most famous alumni: Bill Cosby, so... there you go. Now you know.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Acknowledging YOU!

I don't know when I'll get around to posting more about the defense and the dissertation-end roller-coaster, but I wanted to let you know that this is what I wrote at the very end of my four pages of acknowledgments (yes, I did have that many people to thank, if you want to read it, just email me for the PDF of the dissertation):
Last, but not least, I want to thank my “virtual” friends and academic bloggers, who supported me unconditionally and from whom I learned that one could finish a dissertation successfully and still be a good mother, to have a family, and a life [added now: and here I bow to you, Tracy (private blog), and Professing Mama, as well as my other fellow blogging academic, graduate student, and ABD mamas in my blogroll]. Special thanks to Alice Lapuerta [unfortunately no longer blogging] and my sister-in-law [Rene - real name was inserted here], who read several dissertation chapters and gave me feedback.
So, my dear friends in "Blogland," consider yourselves acknowledged and thanked!!! You were truly a blessing in my life during this whole journey and worth thanking in the dissertation and beyond. I'm really thrilled that blogging has impacted my life in such positive ways and is still doing it. I want to blog more about this sometime, but professional blogger Heather Armstrong has put it all so well here. Blogging rocks!

And, thanks again!!! YOU rock!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Baby Bonding Book for Dads -- Guest Blogger Blogging Tour

Two years ago I had the pleasure of participating in the blog book tour for Jennifer Margulis' book Why Babies do That and now it's my turn to blog about for The Baby Bonding Books for Dads: Building a Closer Connection with Your Baby . This book was written by Jennifer Margulis and her husband James di Properzio and contains wonderful photographs by Christopher Briscoe (do check out the book's website, it's a great blog, written by the authors).

When Jennifer invited me to participate of the tour I knew I would want to invite my husband to guest blog and here is his take on the book:
Open the baby book for dads and you will feel an irresistible urge to smile. The fabulous faces of the babies portrayed in the book bonding with their respective daddies breaks the ice for the gentle coaching offered by Properzio and Margulis to unsure soon-to-be/recent dads.

As a father of two boys, now no longer babies, I was delighted to see how precisely the experience of bonding was described. The the advice given is rich and sound, and the approach to interacting with these lovely small creatures brings home the great experience of being a dad. It is true that the days fly by very quickly at this young age. Thus every minute counts. And there will never be a better time to connect with one's child. If you are concerned about not missing any minute, The Baby Book For Dads can help you do it in a fun and relaxed way. Before we know it we are left with just pictures and fond memories of these unforgettable moments with our baby.
I really loved the photos and my favorite is this one:
Two more peaks: This is a really a perfect gift for fathers to be (particularly first-time fathers), we wholeheartedly recommend it!

Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman Birthday Party

This post is precisely a month late (the party was on April 20th), but I had to write this before posting about last Sunday's party. In my defense, most pictures were taken with my brother-in-law's camera and he had to send me the CDs with them.

Lots of people came to Kelvin's party -- his friends from school, from church, neighbors and former neighbors. The party was jam-packed with activities, led by my dear, long-suffering husband ;-) (thanks honey, my apologies again for being so busy with the food ). In the picture above, the kids are playing some traditional Brazilian games in our front lawn. Maybe they exist here too, but I'd have to ask someone about it. Oh, how about you? This particular game is called "lenço atrás" [handkerchief behind] and the participants sit in a circle while one one of them walks around and stealthily drops a handkerchief (or any piece of fabric) behind someone, who then has to run after the first person and try to catch him/her before s/he reaches the original seating place. If the person is caught s/he does the catching, if not, the first person has to go again -- do you have that here? Birthday boy had fun, and waited for his turn.

Here you can see my husband landing in his spot before our friend Karla caught him.

After these games outside, the kids moved to "Studio G" in the garage. Poor K, who had never watched a Fetch! episode in his life, printed out several activities from the website for the children to do. If you click on the picture to make it bigger you can see that the "mailbox" on the left was the cat carrier -- I don't even know if they used, it though. All the activities were done in a competition between boys and girls. I must note that only the older kids got involved in this activity.

The younger ones, like my nephews in matching shirts, played at the sand table or rode bikes or scooters on the driveway.

The reason K had to be in charge of all activities with the kids was that I still had to frost the cake and help with the cooking. Here you can see me applying butter cream frosting to the cake (after all these birthday cakes I've become a pro). The cake itself was a big failure, it tasted OK, but it was really hard. I used the same cake that Caroline made for Ben's birthday, but I guess the problem is that I tripled the recipe. :-(

The failed cake. I was too tired to color some of the frosting for his name, so I just used jelly beans (Sunburst).

Obviously, my sister-in-law was in charge of the decoration. She made two Ruff Ruffmans out of poster board. Here's the first one (the second was in the garage, see photo above), with Kelvin's name in Fetch! style (the white dots were made with chalk!! -- you can click to enlarge):
(she also smartly made a Happy Birthday banner to cover the ugliest border in history -- it's GONE! I can't wait to post about it).
Happy Birthday, Kelvin!
Smiling for grandma's camera after blowing the candles:
After the happy birthday, K was so tired of entertaining the kids that he didn't even stop to think that they had not had time to eat. Smart parents either brought them in or brought food to them outside (I did have food at a table in the family room, next to the garage, so kids could get food there), of course those who were hungry and not completely engrossed in play, came in to eat, look at my nephew here: At this party we had the very first Piñata ever at our house (we don't much like to give out candy, I know, mean people, our family), and of course it was a big hit (K bought an empty one and filled it with Mini Snickers, Reese's cups, Kisses and Starburst candy. Note: we don't have piñatas in Brazil at all): Of course they had lots of fun, here's little brother trying to break it:
The breaking of the piñata took so long (and involved replacing the string, since it detached from it, that the younger kids went to play in the swingset:After many people had left, the closest friends remained and kids and adults played on the driveway, making chalk art and riding various toys:
(even my mom and dad tried the razor scooter, I took pictures, but won't post them).

They played until it began to get dark.It was a LOVELY day and party, in spite of the small problems (children not having time to eat, cake that went wrong).

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Rainy Days and Mondays"

Now that we have 3/4 of an acre of grassy lawn I value rainy days so much more. Even having a garden in the past three years didn't make me think much about the need for rain because small flower or vegetable beds can be easily watered, but watering grass is harder, not to mention wasteful.

Yesterday I stepped on every square foot of the lawn while mowing it with our self-propelled push mower. All our neighbors have those small tractor mowers, but besides the fact that we cannot afford one, it's good exercise to mow the lawn using a push mower. I do miss our electric lawnmower because it didn't pollute and was not as loud, but it really wouldn't help much with such a big yard. I love mowing the lawn, it's the type of work which provides instant results and gratification. It also makes me think intensely about our need to tame nature and green growing things because they are so "wild" that they would quickly overcome our efforts to control them, were they let free to grow.

It was raining today, and I was very glad and thankful for the rain and I'm sure the grass and my plants were too.

What brings me down right now are not rainy days nor Mondays, it's the uncertainty of our lives, of K's job. We have ups and downs, there are days when K feels more optimistic and others, like today, when he feels that it's not going to last long, that there's no way it's going to work out.

Since things turned around in such an unexpected way last December, I for the most time forget that our hopes are based on something very uncertain. Using a biblical metaphor, our hopes and lives right now are built upon sand, not rock. It was good to "pretend" that things were going well so I could have the peace of mind I needed in order to work on the dissertation, but now we're back to "real life." I feel devastated by the mere prospect of him losing his job again, but I know I should feel confident that everything will turn out OK in the end.

The biggest problem is this house. I've been repeating the mantra in my head that "this is not our house, it belongs to the bank, we're just 'renting' it from them in a way by paying the mortgage every month," but it's hard not to get attached to it, particularly after we're doing all these renovations and it begins to look much better and feel more ours. I don't want to be attached to things, though (and I am, most of the time, unfortunately), we don't need things to live, only very few of them. Maybe I need to learn this lesson, even if it is the hard way.

I should keep this in mind: we can live in this country, now. We can find new jobs, we can fly... I just wish we could know where we'll land and when.

I am just tired of not knowing.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Updating 365+1 Project (Photo Blog)

I just wanted to let you know that after being stuck on "March 30" for months now, I'm finally going to update my 365+1 Photo Blog. I have decided (FINALLY) to save the photos in lower resolution in order to make the upload time faster and that will help me get through all these days fairly quickly.

I have such a long after dissertation "to-do" list! (sigh) And now the trip to Brazil will delay the fulfillment of many of those things.... I shouldn't be complaining, should I? Sorry about that. I do share a lot of me in the blog and I do rant sometimes, but I'm mostly nice. I'm a whiner though, I have to admit it, and I know I have to improve that sad personality trait.

Do check out my photos, OK? I'll keep posting more and more, a bit every day, until I'm all caught up. And I also have a long backlog of posts to write here... I hope to get to all of them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Accepted! Done!

The dissertation was accepted.

I know it's not "perfect" -- my husband was just telling me last week "there is no such thing as a finished dissertation" and he's absolutely right, there were countless things that could be improved on, but at some point one just had to be done! -- but it's DONE!!

What a relief. I didn't know if the answer would come today or not, but, after uploading it last night, I already woke up with a completely different energy today. I worked around the house, I went looking for pictures to hang on the walls, I put away empty boxes in the "garage attic," I was able to finally "be more present" and "in the moment" when interacting with my sons, my parents.

My mom is saying that it'll be a while until I feel completely done, until the sense of urgency, the feeling that there's an incomplete task that I need to work on leaves me, but I'm already feeling much better, much more alive. I think that the ups and downs, and how long it took to finally end has helped ease the transition between "dissertator" and Ph.D. holder.

Well, four years as an ABD, waiting and waiting to get done, as well as 10 years as a student must make some lasting "damage" to one's psyche. But that's what I'm going to find out in the days, months, and years that will follow. Perhaps the "damage" will be a "good" kind of damage.

I've always thought that relief (especially from nausea and from pain) was one of the best feelings and although I'm not quite sure about that, it does feel good right now. Yeah!

Two Weeks/ Two Years; Brazil Trip, and Other Bullets

Two much going on, as always, so a bullet-post is needed.
  • In two weeks we'll know whether my husband's group will get a two year contract from big pharma or whether he might be laid off now or soon. There are positive prospects, but one never knows. My heart breaks again at the prospect of having to sell the house and live in limboland again for who knows how long. (not that we're not there right now ;-) , but the mere possibility of knowing where we'll be for at least two years is immensely comforting).
  • On Sunday night I uploaded the revised dissertation, but, luckily, yesterday I found out that I had missspelled the first name of a scholar (a person with whom I'll be soon collaborating, i.e. part of my dissertation will be published in a forthcoming collection that s/he's organizing) and I had to correct the dissertation again, generate a new PDF, and resubmit it to the graduate school last night.
  • The dissertation needs to be approved by 5/16, that is, in three days, so I can participate of commencement on the 23rd. I think I'll make it.
  • I'm going to submit at least two articles, and perhaps one English translation of a Brazilian short-story, for publication this summer. Plus another accepted paper (a translation into Portuguese of a previously published paper of mine -- I only have three, OK? All three about children's literature, which is not the main focus of my dissertation, BTW.) which will be published in Brazil. I'm really excited about that!
  • We're going to Brazil on June 5 to stay there for 20 days (K will only stay 10). I guess I've never stayed for such a short period of time (except when I went by myself for a weekend), but I'm OK with that. I don't want to miss too much of the summer in this house, particularly now that we have a share in a CSA (mostly greens and vegetables, only a mile from our home)!!! YAY!!! (It'll be late fall, winter in Brazil, so it'll be cold).
  • We're already planning some summer trips. K has a workshop to attend in Boston at the end of July and we're going with him, and in August we're going to my in-laws to meet our newest nephew (due in July) -- I'm so excited about that, "K3" and "Rene!" We may also go to Florida and we'll certainly visit our brother- & sister-in-law and our nephews in Maryland several times. This summer will go by quickly, I can tell. I'm already missing it before it's even begun!
  • Oh, yeah, and I almost forgot to say that I want to spend at least one weekend in NYC. We haven't been to the MoMA (OK, I went there only once in my life, back in 1998) since it was renovated and I want the boys to experience the Big Apple (they've been there a few times, but I think they don't remember much, probably just several playgrounds in Central Park and these).
I'm sure there's much more to say, but I guess I end this post with an overview of what's to come soon: photos about home renovations, gardening plans, home decorating (hanging photos and art in walls), and, of course -- birthday party decoration photos (another birthday party this Sunday)!!! I'll be back soon.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!!

(this one and the next were taken by my mother)
Today I want to post more flowers for all my dear "mommy blogger" friends (and for everyone else too! :-)
These are from Longwood Gardens from two weeks ago. I took them with my brother-in-law's awesome new C@non R3bel camera.
Happy Mother's Day!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Finishing Revisions - The Roller Coaster of Feelings is Back (Or : My Conflicted Feelings About Academia)

I got the revisions back from the graduate school a few hours ago -- I was glad that they did this quickly because if my dissertation is not accepted by May 16, I won't get to participate of commencement.

I am almost done with the corrections (moving the epigraph page, correcting some errors in the Table of Contents, changing the font size in all chapter epigraphs, correcting the margins in the bibliography, and a few other things), but I wanted to come here and talk about my feelings about this dissertation while they're still fresh.

[I know this is all I talk about, but once this whole thing is over, I'll shut up and NEVER touch this subject again, so bear with me for now]

You know, I kept thinking that all these revisions, that this whole formatting nightmare would make me care less or hate the dissertation and its subject, but nothing of the sort is happening. I am still profoundly interested and invested in this topic and it angers me that it's really not supposed/required/necessary to be that way for one to become part of academia. Perhaps is another reasons why I won't ever get to be part of it, because I'm too much in earnest, I don't really care for the formal aspects of it, the conventions, the "pro forma" stuff that is part and parcel of academic life. Publishing articles, organizing and presenting at conferences, publishing books, even. I'm sure that many people are truly interested and invested in their subjects, but I also think that a whole lot of people just go through the motions, year after year. Otherwise, there would be more genuine enthusiasm at conferences and such.

Yeah, I know, I'm an idealist. I care about things and I want to curiously and passionately pursue them, but that doesn't mean that these qualities will be valued. I don't really have the words to express intelligently and articulately all my feelings on this matter. I obviously don't know enough, I admit that I'm judging a whole lot of people and that I could be wrong. I also don't know if I'm really cut out for academic life. I find teaching extremely stressful, the undergraduates I taught for seven years had almost no interest in what I (or the professor, when I was a T.A.) was teaching. I still feel a fish out of the water in an American University and I have these feelings that part of my problem teaching here is a cultural one (Brazilians are much warmer, enthusiastic people in general, and it's hard for me to deal with the "typical" American students).

Well, anyway, I got carried away, as usual. So let me go back to my revisions and quit expressing these useless frustrations.

More on the "Ridiculously Long" Dissertation

Note: read the previous post first :-)

Yes, Tracy, it is a ridiculously long dissertation, even for my discipline (which at this point I'm still a bit fuzzy about in the blog, let's say all you need is to add a word that begins with "c" to the area I in the "about me" part).

It's like two or three dissertations rolled into one, really. After the theory and methodology part, I review all of Brazilian lit. in order to try and determine the proportion of m#en to wom3n writers (a project that involved typing up 14K author names and many more publication dates). Then I do a review of lit. showing how my own research draws on what has been done before in this area and present the results of my survey. This is the "macro" part. The second, "micro" part is an analysis of seven books by three wom3n authors.

Complementing the stats I presented yesterday:

- The length of the dissertation without the appendices and bibliography is "only" 399 pages. A lot of those pages are taken up by the tables and charts, obviously -- something totally and absolutely unusual in dissertation about lit3rature.

I want to blog about that some other time. How about a month ago I finally found out someone who does something similar (using data, graphs, charts) and now I don't feel so lost anymore. In the past two years I presented my research at various major conferences, as you know, and all I got were blank stares. That's one of the reasons why I think I have no chance whatsoever of getting a tenure track job. My research is just TOO ORIGINAL, perhaps even risqué in that sense. Not fashionable at all.

Moreover, I DO NOT depart from any theory or political positioning as is standard, but I look into real data, concrete evidence which sometimes contradicts theoretical positions. Even worse, huh?

Well, now I have to go teach a piano class and tomorrow we'll have guests here, so we're very busy.

There are TONS of things I want to blog about however, so I hope to be back with much more soon.

Revised, Resubmitted (or, should it be Signed, Sealed, and Delivered?)

This, let me tell you, was anticlimactic.

Everything else about my dissertation and the end of the Ph.D. until now was an exciting roller coaster (more on that in a future post), but this last leg of the process, one which may not even have ended yet, was just so tiresome and boring even. I know it's mostly my fault and I admit it.

- I was really STUPID not to have written every single dissertation chapter using the template provided by the university. That alone would have saved several hours because I'd be using the correct margins from the beginning and not finding out on May 7 that all my chapters had a 1.25 left margin when they were supposed to have 1.5. (changing the margins implied having to check and adjust the formatting of the whole chapters, including tons of tables and charts).

- I could have learned how to use MS W0rd effectively so I could have avoided the insane task of entering page numbers by hand in my Table of Contents and Lists of Tables and Figures... (I entered them in another W0rd doc that was all messed up, just so my poor husband could cut and pasted it into the final version).

- and many other Things I Did Wrong, like not using Endnote (my university library had RefWorks and that didn't work well) for my bibliography and having to type it manually. On the day the dissertation was due to the graduate school (in the end it was comforting, but I'll tell you why later, if I ever get around to writing the dissertation submission post, after I write the defense photos post, you get the idea ;-)

OK, I have to go to bed, but here are the stats:

- 489 pages + 21 pages of title, acknowledgments (4!), abstract, table of contents, etc. = 510 total pages

- Table of Contents: 5 pages long, because I have so many subsections...

- 33 tables, 46 figures (most pie-charts)

It's a 3.91 MB PDF, but the moment the graduate school says the formatting is OK, I can email to whoever wants it. Let me know :-)

I just hope I don't have to make many changes/ corrections.

I can't participate of commencement if the dissertation is not cleared beforehand. I don't know if they have a deadline for that, maybe the day before ;-)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

News & Dreams

After a lovely weekend in Massachusetts (I hope to blog about it soon) I'm still busy with revisions, revisions, revisions of the dissertation. I just can't take it anymore, but hopefully it'll be over soon.

I don't know if you noticed, but the last post not only celebrated my 600th post, but also had recent news at the end, so check it out. I forgot to mention that the greatest reason to celebrate is that now I CAN work. I just have to figure out how/what/when/where. Any suggestions? I'm even thinking of putting ads in the blog (I had some last year [even though technically I couldn't], but they asked me to remove them, oh well). I know some of you do BlogHer -- would you recommend it?

I also want to begin that website I've been dreaming about and which would be a resource (scholarly and general interest) on Brazilian literature. I suppose that ad revenue could also be a source of income if I figure out how to make this site an indispensable resource and market it accordingly. Well, I guess the sky is the limit, I only have to begin planning and putting my plans into action. Well, now, back to those revisions so I can submit the dissertation again soon...

Friday, May 02, 2008

600th Post -- Eleven Years and Eleven Months

That's how long we've lived in this country.

Two sons

Two Ph.D.s

One M.S. & one M.A.

Three houses (one at a time)

Four cars

One cat

Six moves

Six towns or cities

Eight or more Visas

Eight or more Consulate visits

In sum, eleven years and eleven months...


Led to this:

Now we're actually immigrants,
no more legal, but temporary, outer-space creatures.

Permanent Residents. Did you hear me? Permanent?
Still from outer-space, but **resident** aliens.

Should I even celebrate? I don't really know...But I can certainly celebrate 600 posts, that's for sure!

We've known since Monday, when K emailed the lawyers to ask about my visa situation now that I'd be graduating. The lawyer responded by saying that our work permit had been denied (?). Yeah... because the grass-colored card process had been approved. Wow.
We knew it'd be quick, but had never imagined it'd be that quick.

So, yeah, we're already planning the trip to Brazil. And...
K will participate of that concurso (competition for a tenure track position) there -- him and thirteen other people. Isn't that ironic? Trying out for a post in Brazil now that we can stay here for good? Well... with his job situation the way it is, we never know what would be best. More on that later, though.

Aren't our lives just too much sometimes? No wonder you guys get tired of reading this old blog! (really old now, 600 posts old -- I know that's nothing. Dawn has over 1,000 pages in her blog, isn't that so?), and I talk entirely too much. Sorry about that.

The Last Word

I cannot believe that it has been two years since I first read about this idea at my then still ABD virtual friend Yvette's blog (thank you so much for writing a whole post for me, BTW, my friend).

Anyway, Yvette saw this post and decided to take up the challenge and write her dissertation's last word even before it was finished because she loved this question from that post:
What's the last word in your dissertation?*[. . .] *For those of you still--or not yet--writing a dissertation, what word would you like to be the last word? It might be fun to record it here and then write to it. Voila.
At the time, I was not brave enough to try to guess what the word would be, so I waited. Almost two full years (May 16, 2006 was the day Yvette wrote her post).

So, here it is:


I may share the whole last paragraph later, it's pretty short, but I'll leave you with this now.

I have written down the whole odyssey of the dissertation submission and I hope to post it. I haven't forgotten about the photos from the defense, and I need to update my photo blog.

But for now, I want this word to stand:


It has certainly been a great accomplishment to finish this dissertation. We stayed up until 3 am last night again and I worked several hours today to finalize the revisions and I'm going to upload it on Monday morning, when I am at the university (I'm going there for a graduate student conference, I was supposed to be there tonight, but we'll only go tomorrow).

So, tell me, if you've completed a dissertation: what was your last word?
Or, if you're still working on it, what word do you want to be your last word?