A Scamp and a Quote

“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. At least, that’s what they say. He created the birds of the air and the beasts of the field, and he looked at his creation and he saw that it was good. And then god created man, and it’s been downhill ever since. The story goes on to say that God created man in his own image, but there’s not much proof of that. After all, God made the sun and the moon and the stars, and all man makes is trouble. And when man finds himself in trouble, which is most of the time, he turns to something bigger than himself, to love or fate or religion. To make sense of it all. ” Dr. Miranda Bailey

 

The world is going crazy…and for what?

I’m moving to a deserted island….with a puppy….and a pygmy goat….and a hedgehog….and a chinchilla, and my kitteh.

 

 

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The Scamp Visits the Library

When I got robbed at Christmas, one of the things that was taken from me was the book that I am using for my dissertation. It was written by a well known author and poet, and not hard to find, but because it isn’t in print anymore, the copies of the book are quite expensive. Since I didn’t get any money from insurance (all of that went to the robot) I did not replace my copy.

Thank sweet baby Jesus for public libraries.

The La Habra library had a copy of the book, and a quick search of the database this morning let me know that the copy was available. The mama and I went over to the library this morning to get the book so I can start the analysis of part of my project. I love the La Habra library. I grew up there. I volunteered for a literacy organization that  operated out of the conference room there. I worked there for four years while I was in high school. I have read most of the books on the shelves.

When we went in today, I knew exactly where the book was going to be. I started my library career in charge of maintaining the children’s section, and since the layout of the library hasn’t changed in 20 years, I just about knew what shelf the book would be on. When I got to the shelf though….no book. Since the books are shelved in alphabetical order by author, I knew I was in the right section. I looked through the books on the shelf thinking maybe it was just stuck between other books (after all, not every little kid in this city…or some adults for that matter, understand the alphabet).

Nothing. I knew from my earlier search that there are copies of the book at most of the libraries in Orange County, and getting a copy wouldn’t be a problem, but I was there, and I really didn’t want to have to shelp across town to another library. Since I have so much experience in libraries, I looked on the surrounding shelves and finally found the book, not shelves with the SOT books, but with the SHI books.

Really?

If it was just Chato’s Kitchen that was in mis-shelved, I would have been okay. The problem was though, all of Gary Soto’s books were shelved there, suggesting that the library page re-shelving the books did not properly learn their ABCs. This both annoys me and makes me laugh because I was fired from the library when I was a senior in high school because the head librarian was convinced that I didn’t know how to read the numbers on the books. She thought the disorganization and chaos that plagued the library was due to me, and had nothing to do with the fact that many people in the city are barely literate in their first language let alone English and had no concept of the Dewey decimal system, or that the library is down the street from the local middle school and the kids like to hang out there after school and mess up shelves and basically run amok in the stacks. Nooooooooooooooooooooooo, it was my fault. When I left she suggested I get my eyes checked for a possible deficiency.

I cried in my car when it happened, but it has since because one of the better jokes in my family. I even wrote a short story about it for a creative writing class in college. To this day, I still consider it some of my best work.

I’m happy that I found the book, and that I can move into the next phase of my project, but I am still stressing a bit about the time. I haven’t heard from my supervisor in a week, and since she has yet to look over my literature review, I am a bit worried. I have about two weeks left before I need to be done writing and on to final edits and proofreading. With the final deadline fast approaching I am about to become even more of a hermit than I already am.

I will be very happy when this paper is done.

The Scamp as a Scientist or Spy

In an attempt to cure my academic writer’s block, I have been reading books about how to structure a research project. I thought that if I understood the process better then I would be able free my mind from the self made prison and get some work done. When reading the chapter on design frames, I came across a section called “Scientist or Spy?” The section makes the claim that there are two camps for social scientists: the traditional scientist that runs experiments, quantifies data, and works in a lab (or basically, indoors). The other camp is the spy: the researcher who hides in bushes and observes people in their natural habitat. The spy is the one who blends in with crowd, talking to them, learning from them, and studying them as they are. The spy is out in the field, observing, listening, and learning.

Basically, the spy is the one who gets to have all of the fun.

That made me think, am I the scientist or the spy?

Right now, I am not feeling like very much of either. I am not the mad scientist type (crazy cat lady, that’s a different story), and right now I am no Harriet the Spy, with no cases to crack or mysteries to solve (plus hiding in bushes makes me itchy). Part of what is holding me up in the writing process lately is that I don’t have the answer to that question. My research for this project is keeping me at my desk, but the research I have been doing for the last couple years with the writing class has me in the field watching my students in their somewhat native habitat. There are aspects of both that I like. My desk based research is interesting because it allows me to form my own opinions about what I am reading, and the research that I am doing on the writing class allows me the freedom to try out different techniques and teaching styles to see what works and what doesn’t. I also get a chance to interact with my students and let them have a hand in helping shape curriculum that will ultimately affect them and their writing careers.

I’m staled in my writing about my methods and methodology because I haven’t figured out which one I am and why. I can’t write that I chose the structure of my project because it is easy and because I am in two grad programs at once, and I don’t want to make up some bullshit that isn’t true just to get to my word count. I got to 500 word today, but my goal is another 1000 by Sunday.

I have a feeling it is going to be a long weekend.

In the meantime, I will just look at these pictures over and over. They make me feel better about life.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ariellecalderon/bambi-the-dachshund-is-guaranteed-to-bring-infinite-joy-to-y

The Scamp Has Academic Writer’s Block

For three days not a word has been written for my dissertation. Not one. No chapter headings, no subheadings, no quotes from the abundance of research I have at my fingertips…nothing. I was supposed to spend the week working on my literature review. I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks, and it is holding me back from the rest of my project. I have about three weeks before I need to have it done, and so far, the introduction is the only thing that is complete.

I’m not sure what it is about the literature review that has me stressing out, but I am stressing out big time. After staring at it for the last three days without really being able to see what I wrote, I decided to send it to my supervisor as is and let her rip it apart so I can put it back together. She helped me make my introduction better, so I am hoping that she can work her magic on the literature review.

The next part of the paper to be written is the methods section. Basically all I have to do is justify my project, outline the way I analyzed the two children’s stories, and justify why I chose Chato’s Kitchen and Skippyjon Jones. This should be an easy section to write. I know why I want to do this research, I know exactly how I am going to analyze the visual and written texts of the stories, and I even know why I wanted to look at these two particular books (Well, okay, one was one of my favorite books growing up, and the other one is about a spunky Siamese cat who thinks he is a chihuahua….who wouldn’t enjoy reading and analyzing that?). I’ve done my research on the design I am setting up, and should be able to knock out 3,000 words on this easy.

When I sit down at my computer though…nothing. Not one things. I keep getting distracted. I literally cannot figure out how to get the thoughts in my brain to words on the page. I have tried everything I can think of to fix this. The house is clean, my laundry is done, Kelly’s house is clean…even my car is clean. I’ve done hours of yoga, watched cat videos and even tried to write out my chapter longhand while sitting at the pool. Now, everything around me is clean and I have a good tan, but I still have a blank page.

I guess I have to go back to the research and read how other people wrote about their research designs. Maybe something will jog the academic writing part of my brain and get me back on track. I’m going to start with the article I read by Misty Sailor.

Yep. That’s her name. When I start my stripper career, I am going to borrow that name. What a perfect stripper name. Poor woman is never going to be taken seriously in the field of education. Not as long as people like me are part of the field and see her name and think of this song:

 

A Scamp and Cars

I’ve been doing a lot of driving lately. I used to love being in the car. I spent a lot of time as the DD in college, and always loved the chance to drive my friends’ cars. When I was home visiting my parents, I would drive my mommy around running errands or going to dinner. I spent most of high school driving Kelly everywhere because she refused to get a licence. The craziest thing I did was drive an hour and a half one way to work two days a week. I’d put on a podcast, cruise to work and enjoy my drive along the coast (okay, that had more to do with my want to teach and not my love of driving).

When I moved to Scotland though, I stopped driving. I practically stopped taking any form of public transportation altogether. I fell in love with walking….even in the snow. I still listened to podcasts, but now instead of driving way too fast down the freeway, I was walking  up and down hills and down quite streets. I learned how to walk in wind without getting knocked over, learned how to avoid ice patches, and how to really use my feet as a mode of transportation. I fell in love with walking. I decided that when I came back to the States, I would try and walk wherever and whenever I could.

Of course, that plan went out the window. Brea, and California in general is not really set up for people who like to walk. Sure, San Francisco is a good place for that, but one city not really enough to sway me. I find myself in the car a lot, and besides being expensive, I found that I have lost my defensive driving urge.  Since I have been home I have been cut off more times than I can count, just about rear ended and sideswiped, sat on a closed freeway so cops could finish a car chase and  got hit by a guy on a bike (I also busted one of my mother’s tires, but I would like to think that it was the nail that did it, and not me). A 20 minute drive to the gym is now enough to give me a headache.

I miss walking. I never got hurt walking.

There is another reason that I don’t really like cars right now. I lost a cousin in a car crash yesterday. She was only 23. I had only met her once, but she was really friendly and had a great personality. She was newly married and has a 3 month old son. Her husband has a broken leg and pelvis, and a broken heart thinking he killed his wife. He keeps thinking that if he didn’t take her out for the first time since their son was born, none of this would have happened. I can’t imagine how much pain he is in right now.

This is why I miss walking. While I know that it is just as easy to get hurt walking, people are so careless with their driving around here that driving gets more and more stressful.If you crash into someone while you are walking, chances are, damage will be minimal. If you crash into someone with your car, chances are the damage will be much more severe.

My family is small, and seems to be getting smaller everyday. So I ask, lovely readers, please be careful when you drive and be nice to your family, no matter how crazy they make you.

The Scamp and Some Edits

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I have one week to get my literature review in some sort of order to send to my supervisor. The words are written, they just have to be worked into a coherent set of sentences that tell an awesome story of children’s literature, picture books, critical literacy, critical media studies and the use of all of those in primary school classrooms.

The problem is, every time I sit down to get something written today, I get distracted by something on the internet. I’ve already browsed my favorite fashion site looking for a dress to wear to a wedding (it’s this one in case anyone is curious http://www.modcloth.com/shop/dresses/midnight-sun-dress), stalked people on Facebook, and played two rounds of Sushi Cat.

For the last hour I have been looking into traveling and how many body parts I’d have to sell (or how many sugar daddies I would have to acquire) to make it happen.  I’m sort of attached to most of my body parts though, so I am thinking that finding an old man who would like to invest his money in something (or in this case someone) worthwhile. I’d use the money to pay off all of my loans and pay my tuition for the next couple of years, so technically I wouldn’t be spending the money on something frivolous. I’d use the money I make (assuming I can find a job) to go on adventures.

Right now I am itching for an adventure.

The Scamp Reverts

Before I came home from Scotland I had made up my mind that I was not going to get stressed about my paper, was not going to worry about money, and was not going to stress over finding a job. I was going to tackle one thing at a time and trust in the process that everything was going to work out. I made a crazy schedule of work, yoga, and socializing with the few people that I still know here. I had a good solid plan, and I was determined to stick to it. The only stressful thing about living in Scotland was David, and once I was free of him, not only did I get things done, but I didn’t have a care in the world. I was happy, I had a lot of fun, and I was able to get a lot of research done.

I came home with that attitude, but I apparently left it with customs. I started to stress about work, turned into Oscar the Grouch, and didn’t look at the schedule I made until three days ago. I have managed to do the yoga….that’s about it. Writing is getting done, but it remains to be seen if it is any good. I’m still having communication issues with my supervisor, so I have not gotten any feedback. I should be almost done with the first draft, and I have only about 1/3 of the work done. Today I wrote 0 words related to critical literacy and the evaluation of children’s books.

The only thing I managed to do today was put together an IKEA dresser (Well, me and the help of my sister and brother-in-law) and finally unpack my bedroom. I no longer feel like I am living in boxes….or in this case, under boxes. Almost all of my clothes and shoes are inside, and if I ever manage to find a job, I have a wardrobe all ready to go.

We made some friends at IKEA. My new pal is Brock the broccoli, and Kelly is holding Carrot Top

We made some friends at IKEA. My new pal is Brock the broccoli, and Kelly is holding Carrot Top

Onward ho! Thanks to my awesome navigational skills we found everything we needed

Onward ho! Thanks to my awesome navigational skills we found everything we needed

Who knew this little beauty would make me feel better about my room. It's been several hours and it is still in one piece

Who knew this little beauty would make me feel better about my room. It’s been several hours and it is still in one piece.

I heard back from the college today. They were unable to hire me because I cannot work in the evenings….even though they knew that when they interviewed me and told me that was not a problem. I actually cried after I got off the phone with the dean. The unemployed, really broke, huge loan and massive tuition bill to pay is starting to stress me out a lot. I applied for a couple of other positions today, but I am starting to feel a little depressed about the job thing. I’m really thinking that the next logical step is sugardaddies.com to fund my EdD.

I will now settle in with a quiet house, the 7 minute workout from hell and an evening of bad reality TV.

I can change my attitude tomorrow.