The Scamp and Some Music

I’m trying to draft Chapter One of my dissertation….trying being the operative word. I needed a book from the library and was thwarted by mother nature. The earthquake a few weeks ago has closed the side of the library with all of the useful books in it, thus, I have to wait maybe another 24 hours before I can get my tiny hands on it. Part of it is my fault for not buying the book last semester, and assuming it was easy to get to today, and part of it is the little patch of bad karma that follows me around to keep me humble. I’ve been writing the paper in stages, and while I only need 4 pages before I have met the page limit, I am having some serious trouble with some of the key sections of the paper. The background of my topic and a general introduction to the paper should not be hard to write, but those few pages are giving me fits. While I try to get them sorted, I have been letting my music play in the background.

The first song that caught my attention was Adele’s version of the Sam Cooke’s “That’s It, I Quit! I’m Moving On”. I have been playing this song (both versions) on repeat lately.


The second song is a new addition to my playlist. One of my favorites turned me on to this week. I’d like to think that if I had a theme song, this one could be it.

I’m a sucker for a stand-up bass.

The next song is one of my all time favorites. I am in awe of her voice, and it is on an album that I listened to on repeat my first few days wandering around Scotland.

The last song is an oldie, but goodie. It has a fun beat, crazy lyrics, and sneaks in one of my favorite dirty words of all time (although in this video it has been edited out)

After this song it started to rain….while my kitty was still outside. This meant a long pause on the work and the music to try and track him down before he got soaked……needless to say, we are both wet now. I think that is a sign that it is time for a hot shower and some mindless entertainment in the form of Netflix.

The chapter will keep until tomorrow.


The Scamp Completely Completes Her Dissertation

Exactly 4 months after I sat at my desk in Scotland and wrote a rough outline for a potential research project, my final draft is complete. No more editing, no more counting words or triple checking references, and no more children’s literature for a long long time. As of 11:30 pm Pacific Standard Time, my labor of love is now in the hands of my readers…..or at least in the in-box of my supervisor and the secretary in the front office who is going to print my hard copies.

It is too late in the evening for me to be super excited, but I am very very very happy with the final product. I think it is some of the strongest work I have ever written, and it is much better than my last dissertation (or thesis as it is called here). Tomorrow, I will do the happy dance and try to get everyone I know to read it and tell me how awesome I am.

On the bright side, I now have 8-10 hours in my day that are free….well at least for the next 7 days. I have a stack of novels waiting for me to read them, and the weatherman tells me we are all set for a heat wave. If you listen closely, you can hear the pool calling my name.

In case anyone is dying of curiosity about what my paper is about, here is the abstract:

  ‘¿Como frijole?’ or ‘How you bean?’ Is Not a Greeting:

How the Use of Critical Literacy Can Raise Elementary School Teachers’ Awareness of the Picture Books they are Presenting in the Classroom 

This study was aimed at adding to the field of critical literacy analysis by highlighting the importance of analyzing cultural representations of Mexico in children’s picture books.  Gary Soto’s (1995) Chato’s Kitchen and Judy Schachner’s (2005) Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse were used as two examples of how Mexican culture is represented in children’s picture books. The aim of this research is to highlight the importance of analyzing critically the picture books before they are presented to students in the classroom. Teachers can encourage cultural sensitivity among their students by choosing culturally sensitive picture books to read in the classroom. Two pages from each of the stories were analyzed with special attention given to how the authors and illustrators used color, texture, layout and characters to represent Mexican culture. In addition to the visual text, I analyzed how the use of Spanish words affected the representation of Mexican culture.

This study starts with a review of critical pedagogy, critical literacy analysis, and critical media analysis. Important research and scholars are highlighted, as well as the definition of critical literacy analysis that was utilized for the purpose of this study. Because picture books are analyzed, literature on children’s literature and picture books was also analyzed. The study concludes with a reflexive discussion on the importance of content and analysis and action research, as well as how the example of analysis used in this study can be used to analyze cultural representation in any picture book. I conclude with a reflection on the importance of using critical literacy analysis to encourage cultural sensitivity.

If that isn’t enough, I’ll even show you the pages that I analyzed.

Skippyjon Jones Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse 



Chato’s Kitchen


If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, then use it as a cure for insomnia. I promise that Chapter Two will put you to sleep before you can finish reading about critical literacy analysis.

I would like to thank my family and friends for letting me sit in my office with my headphones on and ignore them, for feeding me and entertaining me on breaks, pretending to understand what I was writing about ,and to my mommy for reading the whole thing to make sure all the commas were in place and all the words were in a proper order.

The Scamp Re-formats

I am just about done with the final edits (cue video)

Along with the editing, I was forced to reformat the paper using a referencing system I know nothing about. Thanks to Google, and a line by line reading of all 16,667 words, the paper now reads like a Harvard referenced dream (If you don’t know what the Harvard system for citations is, don’t you fret…I can now tell you all about it). I spent a good portion of the day working on it, and by tomorrow, the goal is to be completely done.

My paper is not the only thing that is getting reformatted.


For the last couple of weeks I have felt like I have been wearing a “Kick me” sign. Yesterday I hit my breaking point, complete with a hysterical sobbing fit in the middle of the 25 Hour Fitness parking lot in La Mirada (I know I hurt my mom’s feelings when I said that I hate here and all I want to do is go back to Scotland, but I seriously mean it in terms of going back to my happy place).  I have done nothing but work on my paper for months. I haven’t seen or chatted with my friends as often as I would like, and some days I don’t even leave the house. In my cabin fevered state I was starting to resent the people around me. No one was calling to ask me how I was feeling or how my paper was going, or they were calling me to complain about mundane problems or self created drama. I was being lied to by people my friends, or complained about for not being around. My supervisor cancelled a meeting with me half an hour after it was supposed to take place…generally, I was just feeling like my time wasn’t valuable, and my feelings didn’t matter.

It hurt. It hurt a lot, and admitting that it hurt, and that I let someone else hurt my feelings is hard (although, a very wise friend brought it to my attention that the fact that I can admit that, and acknowledge that shows great growth and maturity on my part.).

I wallowed. A lot. Yesterday was a pity party of poor mes and why am I the bad guys. Today though, I made a choice. I could continue to have a friendship with a self-serving person, or I could move on and rid myself of the stress and drama.  I reformatted my criteria for who qualified as a friend, emailed my supervisor all of the questions that I had for the meeting along with times when it was convenient for me to meet, and decided that I am going to have to make a little extra effort to reconnect and foster friendships with people who I know will not bring unnecessary drama into my life.

I know my therapist would be shaking her head at me for falling back into old ways, so I am going to try and take a more active role in keeping myself from any more meltdowns….if for nothing else than the fact that I am an ugly crier. My face gets blotchy, I oooze snot (which is not fun to deal with in regards to a fresh nose piercing) and I usually give myself the hiccups.

It is not a pretty picture….




The Scamp Doesn’t Wanna

Today the sun came out. Not only did the sun come out, but it was 63 degrees! My legs saw the sun today. I wore my toms instead of boots and tights. I walked around without a jacket. I felt great.

Until I didn’t.

I only have ten days left of my adventure here and I have come to the realization that I do not want to go home. I like the safety of my Scotland bubble. There are no painful memories here, no worries about a social circle and friends, and in my little fantasy land, there is no worries about bills, my lack of job and paying for school next semester. I ran out of time to travel, and was unable to see some of the other parts of the UK that I thought I would get to. The end has snuck up on me. I’m not ready. I still have yet to hear from my supervisor about a meeting and have to wait until tomorrow to get the paperwork signed for my leave of absence. I know that I pushed a lot of this to the last minute, but I am a little disheartened at the lack of support from the professors. I hope this isn’t a pattern that will be repeated for the next four months. It will be harder for me to get things done when I am more than 5,000 miles away.

Today I was up at half 6. I read 3/4 of a Stephanie Plum novel before I finally got up and decided to start the day. I’mm not sure what has been disrupting my sleep pattern, but it is on the fritz lately. I have been having nightmares about David which leave me feeling sad and empty, and I am worried about my dissertation and the research that I am doing. I know that these two things are just a product of stress, but I am worried that they will take over and I will go back to being dark and twisty. I don’t want to be dark and twisty.

Last night I packed up parts of my room to ship home. That made the end of the journey seem more real. Today I took the first box to the post office to send on home. While that doesn’t seem like a hard task, I had to carry the box and walk the 10 minutes to the office. The box didn’t seem heavy, but by the time I reached my destination, my arms wanted to fall off. I still have two more boxes that have to be walked and shipped. I’m thinking I am going to wait until Thursday to do the second box and I will take care of the third one on Monday. In the meantime, I am going to do some pushups and work out my little chicken arms.


I need a pint….or maybe three.