Monday Miles : July 23-29, 2018

crossfit, cycling, dissertation, graduate school, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

I’m not burnt out. I don’t work hard enough to be burnt out. But I admit that I ended last week feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It did not matter that I received good news — fourth dissertation approved! one chapter to go! — I ended last week and began this week with the big question: what next? This is the last year of funding. Now what? And then swarmed all the things I had to do to improve already approved dissertation chapters, make myself viable for jobs, the shoddy job market, fears of not being smart enough, not working hard enough, not being a good enough writer, etc. In other words, hello anxiety.

The relationship between regular life stress and working out stress are probably not discussed enough. I see plenty about recovery from hard work out weeks, but not much about hard life weeks. Most of the time working out makes me feel better, but then sometimes it feels like another thing on the never ending list of things to do.

So I took a recovery weekend. It worked out well because I went home to Ohio. My sister had a baby (a girl!!) and my mom watched my two nephews. I helped watch the boys and visited my sister and the new baby in the hospital. We swam in the pond. Bruno and I went out to a new place on a lake for fish tacos and beers, listening to a local cover band play “Fight for Your Right to Party” while we discussed whether the right to party was a natural or civil right. It was a nice weekend, but I’ll admit. I came back to Michigan full of anxiety.

I’m hoping the recovery weekend will help me out in the long run though, that long run being the Legend trail half-marathon this Saturday. I want to feel energized and rejuvenated come this weekend, not frazzled and exhausted.

Anyway — here are last week’s workouts.

7 – 23 : Rest

7 – 24 : CrossFit. WOD: Run 5k for time. Time: 26:29 minutes. Mile 1 = 8 minutes, 2 = 8:30 minutes, 3 = 8:49 seconds, .15 = 7.53. This was hard and about three minutes slower than my 5k PR, but I was glad to know where I am. Onward.

7 – 25: CrossFit. Warm-up: 2 x 10 ring-rows, 10 push-ups, 10 good-mornings, 10 air squats, 30 second plank, 1 minute run. WOD: The Chief. Max rounds – 3 minutes. 3 power cleans, 6 push-ups, 9 air squats. Rest 1 minute. Repeat 5 cycles. My form is improving! This is the first lift aside from dead lifts and squats that I’ve been able to actually use a barbell on. Improvements! I used a naked barbell at 33 pounds and — also very exciting! — none of my push-ups were scaled. I did them all regular. Rounds: 3 + 2, 3 + 2, 3, 3, 3 + 3. Like the 5k, I have plenty of room for improvement, but I was happy for those two wins.

7 – 26: Swim. 200m breast stroke. Descending ladder, 150m, 100, 100, 50 x 8 with 30s rest. 100m breast stroke. 1,050 meters. Bike. 6 miles. 29 minutes.

7 – 27: Rest.

7 – 28: Rest.

7 – 29: Rest.

Totals: Run 3.15 miles. Swim 1050 meters. Bike 6 miles. CrossFit 2 hours.

xo, Ali

 

Brief Thoughts on Turning a Dissertation Chapter In

dissertation, graduate school, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I turned in my fourth chapter after work today. I had just a few citations to fix (as a Catholic, I do not happen to keep the volumes of Institutes of Christian Religion around, har! har!). It took me less time than I thought. It took me longer to just send the email with the chapter attached. Tomorrow I’ll go through my advisor’s recommendations for the third chapter and eventually begin chapter five. It will probably my last chapter.*

It is strange to be so close to finishing. I have been in school since I was five. This will be my sixth year in graduate school. I do not know how to think of my life outside of the school calendar, the four seasons being: fall semester (the real beginning of the year), winter break (four weeks of aspired productivity which turns out to be not so productive), spring semester, and summer (busier than you would ever expect).

That said, by being closed to “finishing,” I mean only with the dissertation. I’m not sure if a topic like this — Rousseau on Christianity and citizenship — anyone is ever finished, or if anyone will ever have the last word. Most of the time, I’m not even sure if Rousseau ever finalized his thoughts on the topic. There are topics in life that I hope I never have a “final” opinion on. I always want to be thinking, learning. Never dogmatic.

I always feel weird after I turn anything in or finish anything that took awhile. I can’t quite jump into the next thing just yet, so I am in a kind of limbo. Between chapters, I feel a mild form of this. After semesters, I would feel this in the extreme. I would leave an exam and think, “Now what?” I suspect after I defend the dissertation, I’ll feel the same way. I get stressed about being “busy,” but at the same time I don’t like not having things to do.

I’ve been trying to avoid the “reward myself” mentality, but tonight I will not do any work. I’ll sit on the couch and read a novel. I’ll go to bed a little earlier and maybe not wake up at four in the morning. Then, after work on Friday afternoon, I will be back to it, dissertation writing as usual.

xo, Ali

*Unless it gets split in two like chapter three, which I originally turned in back in April.

Thoughts on “The Process”

books, crossfit, dissertation, goals, graduate school, reading

At the moment my “guru” is Ben Bergeron. I love Chasing Excellence (I re-read it after finishing). I love his podcast. I love his Instagram account. His advice is commonsensical and yeah, a lot of it I have read or heard before, but I like his presentation. I always come away not feeling just inspired, but I actually try applying his suggestions and recommendations — not something I always follow through on. And while his book is about CrossFit athletes, I think all of it is applicable to graduate school.

I have one quibble though. And it is not just Ben who says it. I see it all over. The process. The process, not the outcome is what should be focused on. We can only focus on today. We can only focus on what we are doing right now, in this moment. The outcome does not matter. Just today. Only today. Ben Bergeron and two-times CrossFit games winner Katrin Davidsdottir never discuss winning the CrossFit games. He writes they never even talk about it. They only focus on the process.

I am very lucky. What I most want in life, I already have. On a good day, I wake up. I write. I work-out. I eat. I write some more. I eat again. I read. I study French. I read some more. I might work out again. I eat for the last time. I read even more. Bed. If you would ask me what I want to be doing twenty years from now, I hope I do what I do right now, but writing something different, reading different books, maybe studying a different language, and hopefully teaching. Sure, I’d like a different location and a different income. But the core of my life is exactly what I want. I wanted a life of learning and I am living that life right now. I just want this life to be able to continue.

In this way, for me, the process is the goal. The process is the positive outcome I want to continue. Yes, I want to write a good dissertation. Yes, I want to get my Ph.D. Yes, I want to publish. Yes, I want an academic job. Doing what I do every day, the process, should ideally lead to those outcomes. But I only want those things so I can continue doing what I do right now. I’ve already “made it,” so to speak.

So, back to not caring about outcomes and focusing solely on the process. How can I not care about writing a good dissertation or getting an academic job, not as the ultimate goal, but because without these outcomes, the ultimate goal the daily life of learning, is threatened? Because without these goals, in a way, my living in the process is threatened. Without achieving certain outcomes, I can probably say good-bye to all that. And as my dissertation comes closer to being finished, as I come closer to going on the academic job market, as Bruno as I talk more about this probably being our last year in Michigan, I know strongly I do not want to say good-bye to all that. Outcomes become more important. It doesn’t mean I do not care about the process, but outcomes also ensure that the process continues.

All that is to say, why not care about outcomes? Why not discuss them, want them, hope for them, long for them? I understand that people become way too focused on hitting a certain goal rather than living a certain life, but I do not think that means that wanting things to go a certain way, having specific goals and outcomes is always a bad thing. I do not think it is a bad thing especially when those outcomes are not merely stopping points, but help you continue with the bigger goal, the process.

 

 

 

 

Monday Miles : July 2 – 8, 2018

crossfit, dissertation, monday miles, running, swimming

I am back in real life. I hate to use this word, but the last few weeks have been busy and not in ways that relate to my dissertation (where productivity really counts!). First we had to pack and move out of our old place. We could not move into our new place until July, so we stayed in Ohio for a couple of weeks. That involved helping my mom and step-dad pack up and move out of their old house into their new house, plus a trip to Nashville, plus a wedding in Columbus, plus trying to see family and friends at home. Then. We drove back to Michigan, moved into our new place. A day after moving, Bruno’s parents came down for three nights. They left yesterday morning. It was great to see them, but I was itching for regular routine, regular life hard last week, counting down the days. Real life can now begin.

I celebrated the end of “life sans routine” by running ten miles, going to mass, and working on editing chapter four all Sunday afternoon. It felt good.

I mostly consistently ran while home and even biked (more on that later!), but in the interest of time and space, here are the work outs from this last week — aka the week where we were back home, but not back to life, back to reality.

7 / 2 : We moved my mom in and at the end of the day drove back to Michigan. Rest.

7 / 3 : Morning. Ah. Found my heart rate monitor and did an hour a 152 bpm. 5.3 miles, 11:11/mile average. Afternoon. Return to CrossFit. Oh. Boy. Warm-up. Different jump-rope movements. Box jump prep. Kettle bell prep. WOD – For time. 4x 20 box jumps at 20″, 20 kettle bell swings at 35 lbs. I had to do the type of swing where it was only up to my nose. That was hard enough in the last few rounds and I could feel myself losing form. I couldn’t imagine getting it above my head at this point. 10 minutes 50 seconds. Romwod.

7 / 4 : CrossFit. Hero WOD. Riley. 1.5 mile run, 150 burpees, 1.5 mile run. I RX’d this. I did every single damn one of those burpees. I came in not knowing if I would be able to. The coach said we could modify to 75 or 100 and after each of those numbers passed I thought, “oh, I could do more. It will be ok.” So yeah. Around 53 minutes later, I finished. I thought it was mentally harder than Murph, because you can’t switch those burpees up with anything. You just have to keep doing them. Also, we are told to think of the person the Hero WOD is named for — I was so exhausted during the final run all I could think of was the Founding Fathers. Thank you, Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and co., you got me through this. I kept telling myself, “Do not dare walk! What would the Founders think?” This is what happens when you study political theory. I didn’t walk…so I guess it worked.

7 / 5 : First ever Brick day. 30 minutes cycle. 20 minutes run. The bike went fine. I did thirty minutes — getting about 7.5 miles. It was the run that hurt. Running after riding a bike at noon in “real feel” 96 degree heat is not fun people and I love running. And it was only for twenty minutes and I felt destroyed. I only ran 1.81 miles — around 10:51/pace. Bruno’s parents came this day — so no CrossFit in the afternoon, just tried to clean and prep.

7 / 6 : My first swim in weeks. Ah, this felt good. Warm-up — 100m drills. 100m breast stroke. Work out — 100m free, approx. 30-40 second break, 75m free, break, 50m free, break, 8 x 25m free with 30-40 sec break. Cool down — 75m breast stroke. 700m total. It really is not much. But I do feel like I am making progress. I want to swim even more.

7 / 7 : 1 hour bike ride. 13 miles. So, even though I know how to ride a bike, I do not know how to ride a bike. This ride was all about figuring out gears — where should I be on an uphill? A downhill? It was a hilly ride and parts were a little scary (hi fast down hills!), but I think I am slowly starting to figure it out.

7 / 8 : 10 mile run. I was up at four, because Bruno’s parents left early for Connecticut. I did not sleep well and considered going back to bed after they left, but instead ate breakfast, began stretching, and just got it done because I knew it would make me feel better. Average pace was around ten minutes.

Totals : Run — 20.1 miles, bike — 20.5 miles, swim — 700 meters, CrossFit — 2 hours.

It was good to be back at it!

xo, Ali

 

Morbid Conversations

daily life, death, dissertation

Our “office” has been the sunroom in my parents’ home today. I worked on editing an article for a professor and did some reading. We walked up to the local pizza place at noon to meet up with some of my mom’s family who were gathering because a relative’s in-laws from Taiwan were in town. It has not been the most productive day, but I think being away from campus has been good for my anxiety.

Anyway, you know the rules in conversation: avoid politics, money, sex. You know you are close with someone when all those taboo topics are discussed. You know you are really close with someone when you discuss the topic that is not even on that list: death.

You know you are comfortable with someone when, as if discussing the purchasing of curtains you can say, “If it happens sooner, I would want to be buried here, but if later and we have a family, a home, an established foundation somewhere, then I would want to be buried there.” And then, the person, in this case, my husband, responds back that he would like a mausoleum because that way none of our kids have to worry about where they’ll be buried (dream big, honey). Then we went back to our work. I went back to editing. Bruno back to writing his dissertation.

Maybe we are unusual, but brief conversations like this happen. I mean not all the time. I can be macabre (once, for a twelve hour drive to Connecticut we only listened to Lore — did not sleep so well that night!), but Bruno not so much. Yet, I think it is normal and probably one of the more healthier tendencies I have: knowing this can’t go on forever.

I think about it when I am wasting time (and I mean wasting time, not just relaxing, not doing something productive). Do I really want to be eighty and have devoted most of my life to Mark Zuckerberg-created methods of socialization? Do I really want to talk about that chick I barely know just because of some picture she posted on facebook? Do I really want to waste the last few years of my twenties spending Saturday mornings catching up on sleep (being hungover) or creating something, being someone, giving to someone?

I do not have a memento mori and while I do think the avoidance of death is unhealthy, being fixated on it is equally so. But I think these occasional morbid conversations, if they are even really all that morbid, help me maintain quality in life, even if quantity (in the grand scheme of history) is short.

xo, Ali

 

 

Thoughts on a Hometown

daily life, dissertation, graduate school

We are back in my hometown for the next two weeks. Even though I think I know this area pretty well, things have changed since I left for college back in 2008. Bruno and I decided to do some exploring and ended up at a new (at least new to me) coffee shop that a reviewer claimed had “the best chai tea latte in all of Ohio.” I have not had every chai tea latte in Ohio, but it is the best chai tea latte I’ve had.

I was voted most likely to never come back when I graduated from high school. I don’t have the yearbook for that year — 18 year old Ali was “too cool” for that — but there’s a picture of me in a yearbook rolling a suitcase with my superlative written underneath. I was really proud of that superlative at the time, but in hindsight I suspect it had more to do with my willingness to hate the “provincialism” of the area. I’m not proud of that.

Hometowns are complicated places. Not everyone really has one. I’m talking about the type of place where everyone knows everyone. Your teachers taught not only your siblings, but also your parents, your aunts and uncles, and all your cousins. When you tell someone your last name, they say “you must be this and that” because your last name means something to people. Its the type of place where a stranger says “you look/act so much like your mom/dad” because, yes, they know them. I do not remember my graduating class number, but I do not think it was over seventy. I knew most of them since kindergarten. That can be stifling. It was stifling.

I spent much of my life wanting to escape. And yet, strangely, it is still a place I refer to as “home.” As in, “I’m going home this weekend” or “I’m back home for the next two weeks.” And while I do not want to move back (hard to imagine any political theory jobs popping up around here!) it is no longer a place I want to escape.

Part of it is because I see how much this place made me. I have a college friend that joked about me that you can take the girl out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the girl. This is probably true. I cannot imagine knowing how to work hard on my dissertation if I had never worked on a dairy farm. The high school experiences — getting busted by the cops for having a football party when I was a sophomore, regularly skipping class, regularly partying (often in barns and cornfields) in some ways led me to run arms wide open into discipline and routine. But they also made me empathetic when other people mess up. I get it. I was there in high school. Time spent working in the local factory (and my father) gave me a blue collar sense of humor and I know that. For every delicious foodie meal I’ll ever have, I’ll never be too stuck up for the local greasy bar pizza.

When I’m here I feel reconnected with the important things — faith and family. While the anxieties of dissertation writing, planning to teach my very first college class, the really shoddy academic job market never really truly leave, they seem like lesser problems. The important thing is to make sure I spend time with my younger, still in elementary, middle, and junior high school sisters. The important thing is to make sure I stop by and see one of my best friends who just had her fourth baby and let her know she is a total bad ass for becoming a mother again. It is watching my nephews for a week because their babysitter is on vacation. I’m not too busy for loving people when I’m home.

While we were driving to this coffee shop, I told Bruno, “I just feel so relaxed.” We were driving along the country roads listening to the John Denver song of the same name. I’ve been working hard and getting back on a routine. The fourth chapter is swinging along. This was not the relaxed state of doing nothing on a beach. It feels like the relaxation of having your priorities straight. Time spent in a  hometown can do that for you.

xo, Ali

 

What I’m Loving Lately

books, daily life, dissertation, graduate school

I’ve been making some changes lately, swapping coffee for tea (most of the time) and my lunch-time sandwich for a lunch-salad. My work outs are different. I’m only running three times a week, with swimming, biking, and CrossFit thrown in. I quit working at home and now try to make it to the library every single day. I bought a new planner that I’ve loving. I’m trying to be consistent at practicing reading/speaking French again. Life is good.

Here are some things I’m loving right now.

Results tea from Tea Forte. Once upon a time, before I got hooked on coffee I was a real tea junkie. I even had a blog called “SocraTeas” because I was not a coffee person…yet. Then I hit that liquid ambition hard. With my stomach problems, I decided to mostly give it up, even though I still think and will forever think coffee is like a warm hug in a mug. I was drinking some rooibos tea from Kroger’s, and that was ok, but I figured if this was going to stick I would need to bring out the big guns. Results is delicious. I do not miss coffee at all when I drink it. It doesn’t seem to ever get boring (like rooibos) and I think it will be my standard morning drink for awhile.

RomWod. You might have noticed this addition to my workouts the last couple of weeks. I want to work on mobility, but sometimes I just need someone to tell me what to do for the day. These videos are usually only 20 minutes (aside for Thursdays) and they are effective. Bruno and I usually do them post-dinner when we are both super sore from our work outs and they usually help get me into the mindset of “ahh, the day is over.”

Working on campus. I am struggling with distraction lately. Being home has made it easier for me to say “ah, well I’ll just take the day off” and then I’ll sit on the couch on read…not Rousseau and not anything to do with an Introduction to the Constitution class. We decided we were going to start going to campus in May and for the most part it has worked out. I’m still struggling with desperately wanting to use the internet (I’ve already broke my goals to avoid social media during the week) and I suspect I still waste a lot of time internet surfing, but I definitely have gotten probably more done in the last two weeks than I normally do. So it is, at the very least, a step in the right direction.

Soup for breakfast. So here is something strange. When I was having all my problems back in March and April I was eating a really restrictive diet and a lot of bone broth. I started having soup for breakfast because I could not eat anything else, usually ground beef, bone broth, green beans, and plenty of olive oil. I’m still doing it, although I’ve been adding more veggies and the ground beef is grass fed, local, and (my favorite) raised stress free. This week is it ground beef, bone broth, carrots, turnips, and green beans. Its good and I feel satiated the rest of the morning.

The Historian by Elizabeth KostovaWhat I consider a relative miracle, Bruno and I managed to buy around 10 brand new, some hard cover books for less than $100 over the weekend. We bought them at some bargain book place and it was heaven. I was not expecting to find much, but I wanted everything. This book has been on my to-do read list for awhile. I’m not a Twilight person, but I love Dracula and I read Anne Rice in high school, so you could say I like the vampire stories. This book is so beautifully written, that I do not think one would even need to be a fan of horror to love this book. Sidenote: it explains academic life pretty well. There are some great lines about dissertation-writing.

Anything you are loving lately?

xo, Ali

 

Tri Not to be a Chicken

dissertation, goals, running, swimming, training, triathlon

Confession I: I used to be a total daredevil when I was younger. I think growing up on a dairy farm skewed my idea of “dangerous.” My sister and I would pile up hay at the bottom of a haymow and jump off. We would climb up the sides of silos to see who would go up the highest. We dared each other to grab hold the electric fence (explains a lot, ha!). I grew riding around fast as I could on four-wheelers (sometimes falling off).

Confession III: I’m a total chicken now. There are so many things I’m afraid of now. I’m scared of flying (Bruno had to practically hold my hand through the whole flight from Madrid to JFK in New York), scared of driving (I almost never drive), scared of large groups of people (hello, feeling suffocated), and scared of riding my bike (I had a bad bike accident several years ago, breaking my left elbow).

The day after my half-marathon I signed up for the Williams Bay Triathlon. It takes place September 22 in Williams Bay, Wisconsin on Lake Geneva. It is a sprint distance: 500m swim, 13 mile bike, and a 5k run.

This place holds a special place in my heart. My grandma grew up in Williams Bay. My great-grandma cooked for the mansions that line the lake. It was (is?) a popular summer vacation spot for Chicagoans. Legend has it my great-grandfather was an excellent athlete and would regularly swim across the lake and was even such a good hockey player that the Chicago Black Hawks wanted him to play for them. His mother wouldn’t let him go. All family legend of course. Lake Geneva is a family vacation spot, a place I grew up swimming in during summers. I look forward to swimming in the lake again and doing something small to honor my family history.

I’ve made a mixture of the Hal Higdon half-marathon running three days a week plan plus the Joe Friel beginner triathlon plan. My goal from here until I finish the Serious Series in early August is to run three times a week, bike twice, and swim twice. After the Legend half, I’ll focus more intently on brick training, etc. I am excited to switch things up and I am excited to finish off the season with something different. I can maybe count on one hand the people I know of who have done triathlons (I think like three people, maybe?).

I only have a mountain bike, the same one from my accident. It is rickety and feels a bit like a death trap (oh hi, fear!). I have plans for replacing it before the triathlon, but it will have to wait until the end of the summer (lest I fail the Dave Ramsey commandments of fiscal responsibility). But for now, I put an odometer on my bike and a helmet on my head and as of last week have been riding around town.

And it is nice. I honestly never thought I would like cycling. Even when I would go to and from work on a bike (see above about being scared to drive), it was kind of a drag. But I think now, because I have an end goal, a plan. I find myself looking at bikes, researching bikes, and talking about bikes. I work in the archives of an academic who was known for his cycling and I became very excited finding a letter on how many miles he cycled a year, advice for the newbie cyclist, and buying your first bike. I never expected this interest to happen, but it did.

But it is also a little scary. I think I’m still afraid from my accident. I get nervous about going downhill, like to the point that I probably can’t really take advantage of it because I get that heart racing “it’s too fast” feeling and start tapping the breaks. It is both exhilarating and terrifying. Every time I go out I become a little braver.

And that is what I most appreciate about this new training plan, it really truly shakes things up. It is not just longer (which I’m not actually sure if my body would hold up to right now, to be honest), but it requires two different sports, one of which I can barely do (bike), and one I haven’t done in over a decade (swim). It forces me to be brave with my biking, brave with cutting down running from four to three days a week (yeah, I know that four is barely any and I barely ran over 20 miles a week anyways, but still, different for me).

Even more, it forces me to be brave in changing my goals. I always wanted to go longer with running. I still do, but I think sometimes I want to do too much too fast (I had a solid seven mile run! Let’s look at 50 mile training plans!). And I’ll say it again and again and again. That dissertation is number one priority. I have to do things that do not get in the way of my being able to think and work well most of the day. Sometimes being brave is just being honest with where you are.

Anyway, I’m feeling pretty excited about training right now and I am definitely not going to be a chicken.

xo, Ali

 

Me vs. the Siren Call of the Internet

daily life, dissertation, goals

I have found my biggest struggle in writing my dissertation has been the siren call of the Internet. I don’t even think about it. I’ll be stuck, thinking of the next word I want to write in a sentence or how I want to phrase a certain argument, and it is like my fingers habitually type in “Facebook” or “Instagram” or “Michigan trail races.” I’ll be on a roll, listening to some tunes, cranking out some words and next thing you know I’m looking at a shirt on Everlane fantasizing about having a daily uniform so I don’t have to think about what to wear everyday. I know I’m not alone on this. Cal Newport addresses the problem of social media and the internet in Deep Work. He recommends quitting.

But productivity is not the only thing that I think social media takes from me. I will just be going about my day la-di-da and I’ll check facebook — I’m about to admit that I’m not the most rational person in the world — and someone will be wrong on the internet (gasp!). I’m not one to facebook philosophize, but I will think about it. I think about what I would say, you know, if I were the type of person who wanted to get in political arguments on facebook. I will ruminate. I will check to see if anyone has said what I think should be said. It takes mental space. Space that could be devoted to Rousseau, planning this class I’m going to teach in the fall, or just feeling peaceful.

The funny thing is is that I try really hard to show up for other people. If we are out to dinner, out for drinks, or out for coffee, you have my attention. I will probably not pull my phone out. But when it comes to my own life, I am easily distracted. Which I guess means, I don’t show up. Stirring the pot while looking at Instagram? Done it. Taken a relaxing bath with phone in hand? Done that too. Sat outside on the porch to read a book and drink some tea, but ended up looking at my phone for most of the time? Guilty.

And so this month I deleted Instagram from my phone. I’ve had facebook off my phone for awhile now. For the past week or so, after dinner, I’ve been turning my phone on airplane mode. This has not always been successful. Last night, I spent a good amount of reading time googling “crossfit and running” (a very contentious issue!). Today, I think I checked Instagram twice on my computer. I’ve typed in facebook out of habit. When I should have been doing the readings for the class I’m going to teach, I spent a lot of time looking at articles on dirtbagging (our rent is up in mid-June, but we cannot move into our new place until July, so technically “homeless” for two weeks. I’m trying to convince Bruno we should dirtbag during them. He is not persuaded). So, I have yet to overcome my need for internet distraction, but I do think I am making improvements.

Ultimately, the objectives are: no Instagram or Facebook during the week, only on weekends. Weekends only. Turn off the phone after dinner. No more googling things when I should be working. More peace. Write and read more pages, less screens. Less getting mad at the internet. Less trying to persuade Bruno we should be dirtbags this summer.

May is the month of me vs. the Internet.*

xo, Ali

*I get that this is a blog on the internet. But I think I’m being productive here! This entire post was done without searching around on the web, a victory in itself.

 

 

Dissertation Update

dissertation, graduate school, Uncategorized

I started chapter four yesterday. Or is it five? I turned in chapter three a couple weeks ago, but with the craziness that comes with the end of the semester by advisor will not be able to get to it. I told him that I thought it might be better as two chapters, but that I needed a break from working on it. I tell you this. I can talk your head off on Rousseau and Christianity right now. And right now, I need a break.

I asked if I could just start the next chapter instead and return to chapter three or chapters three and four, and was given the a-ok. So I’m back to writing and have about a thousand words written (and approximately ten thousand more to go!). I appreciate that it can be a total mess and imperfect, whereas with chapters three/four, I was in the state of “will it ever be good enough?” When I start something new, I can just turn on some tunes, open some Rousseau, and go. It feels good.

So far, the goal, the plan, the ideal, is to have chapters three, four, and five done, turned in, and approved by the end of this summer. That leaves one chapter left with a year of additional funding. I think I can handle that.

xo, Ali