I have to make a real dent in writing the first draft of a research paper this weekend. I've done some of the research, but I've yet to pull everything together. Having a draft deadline is probably a good thing, but it's also a stressor. A BIG TIME stressor.
I won't be graded on the draft, but the closer to the final draft I can get the better, since the professor will make extensive comments on the paper to let me know how near the mark it is. Unlike the traditional research paper, this one's as much about the process of writing it as the research work itself. In other words, I have to write about how I wrote the paper, where and how I found the information, what thought processes went into it, etc. So it's like two papers in one, each making up roughly half the project.
At first I thought, "Oh great! It's not a straight research paper!" But then I realized it's not exactly a breeze writing about the process of researching and writing. Especially when you have a mind like a jack rabbit, like I do. Explain my thought processes? Sure.
On the home front, I've been a business trip widow for the past couple of days. Paul's been out East going to some training thing or other, but he's coming home today. Since the kids are older and more independent this isn't as much a pain as it used to be. But when they were little it was tough. Funny how just having someone else in the house helps, if for no other reason than heading them off from doing something insidious. My eyes can only go in so many directions at once, even with those extra eyes in the back of my head. Oh, and peripheral vision. Funny what kids think you can't see when you aren't looking directly at them.
I've taken today and tomorrow as vacation days in order to finish the damned draft of this paper. What I should do is trot off to an undisclosed location, away from the sound of the boys playing video games and my daughter singing Jonas Brothers songs, but the best place to hide would be my own liberry, where study would be that much more difficult due to knowing everyone there, and explaining ten or twelve times that I'm not at work, but on vacation at work. Try getting your head around that one.
In other work-related news, our writers' group had our monthly meeting last night. The administrative team is working on ideas for starting up an e-zine to feature some of the group's work, as well as a print copy of selected pieces to sell at the Friends of the Liberry's fall book sale. Cool stuff, eh? We also have monthly workshops, either field trips to author signings, writing workshop events, or someone from the group will present on a given topic related to writing. Very fun and inspirational, but try fitting that in with school, work, family and everything else we on the admin. team have to deal with.
My youngest had a program on early American history at school yesterday. The kids worked on it for at least a month: researching and writing a paper about the person they chose, making a poster board with pictures and facts, and giving a short speech.
Yesterday morning the school held an assembly, each kid dressed as the figure they chose, and they called it a "wax museum." All of them had buttons taped to their arms reading "Push." When someone pressed a button the child read off a short bio about the figure they were impersonating. A cool idea.
One child from each class, voted on by the class, presented his or her speech to the gymnasium filled with parents. Needless to say, these were not the shy children. It was, to say the least, entertaining to hear their takes on their characters. Learning that John Adams' Jack Russell terrier had eaten his two other pets was enlightening. That, and that Patrick Henry's wife went loopy a couple months before her death. Ah, history!
My son was George Washington, but we had absolutely nothing in the house that looked even vaguely like something the old guy would have worn. We had my son's suit from his first communion, but when he put on the jacket the arms didn't get far past his elbows. We may as well have shoved him in his christening gown.
Every other mother somehow procured a powdered wig and period jacket, making my son one of only three or four who looked as though he'd made no effort at all. The best we could do was a shirt with a collar and dress pants (that's "trousers" for our British friends, lest they fall into a swoon thinking my son was in his underwear!). It was a pretty sad effort, but frankly WHERE DOES ONE FIND THESE THINGS?! Is there some secret place where real mothers find authentic period costumes? I felt as though I should walk around, hoity-toity, loudly stating we're only concerned with the actual academics, not the theatrics.
But if I could have hidden under my chair I would have.
It's time I'm off to work on my paper. Free/play time is done for now. Time to GET SERIOUS and BUCKLE DOWN! Otherwise known as, time to get another cup of coffee.
One thought on “A fine balance – recapping the week”
I think there should be rules that you are only allowed to cobble together something from the back of your cupboards (closets). There are always those who go over the top. Here in the UK it was the term when they did the Tudors that struck terror into my heart. There was always at least one mother who would run up a Henry VIII that the BBC would be proud to have in their wardrobe!!