Good news, bad news

Let’s start with the bad.

Yes, that’s right. It is Friday and the proposal is not done. But come on, did you really think it would be?

If so, thank you for the vote of confidence.

But let’s move on to the good news. Today was a fruitful, fabulous day. This thing is GOOD, if I do say so myself. The more I work on it, the more I love it. Before I gush any more, let’s recap what the proposal consists of for those of you following along at home.

Essentially, the proposal is the first three chapters of your dissertation. It includes your title, the problem you’re investigating and the research questions you’re trying to answer, a review of the literature (theories and current research pertinent to your topic), and a description of your research design (participants, site, etc.). How detailed you get within these section varies, usually depending on who your advisor is, but for me, this blessed document will be anywhere between 75 and 100+ pages.

So, that’s what I need to pull together, and I do have all of these sections accounted for, just in varying degrees of completeness and in various documents. My topic is one I’ve been studying and writing about since I started at BC, so some of this is a matter of culling the best of it together into one cohesive piece. Right now, the following pieces are COMPLETE: the title (which is a big deal if you know me), the problem and research questions, and the research design. It is 35 pages of goodness. What I need to do next is read through my 50+ page review of the literature and revise it and merge it with my 4 page theoretical framework.

This won’t be a easy task, but it’s doable.

And it will be done before my “vacation” ends.

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I got out of bed this morning (and other miracles)…

I called it a night sometime shortly after 1 am. Therefore, you can imagine my dismay when my alarm went off at 5:34. I contemplated skipping my 6 am exercise class, which has never happened before. I got up. I went. I exercised. I caffeinated.

I considered this step the first miracle of the day.

By 7:15, I was back home. By 7:35, the rest of the family was out the door for school. I finished my coffee, responded to blog posts, and made excellent, mistake-free progress on an Expert Level Sudoku puzzle on my iPad. I consider this my mental warm-up rather than a diversion (file under: “and other lies I tell myself”).

At 8:06, a doctor’s office called wanting me to pay my bill. Oops. When you are focused on writing dissertation proposals, working full time, managing the household, etc., sometimes these small matters slip by.

I dug out the bills. The medical bills, in particular, are ridiculous. I keep hoping for my insurance company to change their mind and pay them, or for my health care reimbursement account to kick in. Unfortunately, for either one to happen, there has to be a full moon, the submitting doctor has to be an Aries, and the amount has to end in a 5.

Or something like that.

It’s complicated.

By 9:45, I submitted documentation to my flex spending account, paid one bill (didn’t end in a 5, and I think the doctor was a Sagittarius), and sent an e-mail to my husband detailing all the money in the different medical pots (copays, prescriptions, deductibles, etc.). Or rather, the money that WAS in all the pots before we had to pay for all those things.

It is now 10:04. I have finished my tea and will start writing. Luckily, I ended last night still having more to say and write, so getting started today should be a breeze.

What I learned and wondered

Today wasn’t all that unproductive. For instance, I learned:

  • a pack of cigarettes now costs over $8 (noticed while in Stop & Shop’s long customer service line)
  • two cups of coffee is my max…or, at least, it should be
  • the dogs basically sleep all day long
  • I eat when I am bored…or don’t want to write.

And I wondered:

  • how bad does 5-hour Energy taste, and just how bad is it for you?
  • where did my husband put my sample of 5-hour Energy?
  • why is my backup hard drive not working?
  • why can’t I access files when minimized to my dock?

See, not entirely unproductive.