on reading, writing, and math

I’ve only completed one book this past week, Sarah Swett’s Kids Weaving: Projects for Kids of All Ages. This is a most delightful book which brought back many childhood memories and the wish that it had been published twenty years earlier. The projects range from very simple paper weaving (but with a twist that was never done in my elementary school) to building a pvc pipe loom and making amazing projects with it. It’s taken all my energy not to purchase pvc pipe, I did break down and purchase a 99¢ wooden 4×4 frame to make a weavette from, now I just have to figure out how to do that and there is the whole time commitment thing. I found the projects inspiring and if I close my eyes I can imagine myself at age 7 wandering around my backyard gathering sticks and moss for the fairy garden.

Otherwise I’m reading a ton. Not everything has made it into the sidebar as many journal articles have been read and reread and there is a large scary tower of books I’m rereading as fast as I can so that I can turn in the draft of my proposal and annotated bibliography on Wednesday.

The exciting book that I found to read (in my infinite spare time) is Book Reviewing edited by Sylvia E Kamerman [thankfully I have semester loan!]. I realized recently in attempting to write a proper book review that I had no idea what to do. I read a lot but I rarely read reviews. I’m slowly attempting to correct that wrong (I used to live for the Sunday Times and the reviews inside) and hopefully, in time, bring the writing here to the next level. I’m not going to hold my breath that I’ll get there, but I’ll try.

Math. I’m very happy I did NaNoWriMo last year, and the year before, and the year before that. I’m scared of writing. It isn’t easy for me, and by practising every day, it’s the only way I’ve improved the little bit that I have. I can write under deadline and pace myself (mostly). The quality isn’t quite where I’d like it to be, but I do feel I’ve improved. The big question is if I can gather all of my information together and synthesis it in the time frame allotted. I’m going to believe that I can and we’ll see what happens.

Fast Track

What do you do when you discover that something, a very large something that means a lot to you, that you thought was due in “about a year” will be completed essentially seven weeks from today?

I had a few comments on a twit I wrote this morning that “the sound you heard last night? That was my universe flipping inside out.”

Yup. Sometimes life throws you something that you didn’t expect.

Condensed yet semi-vague background: I am in a brand new Graduate Program (it’s part-time) at a University draped in Ivy. I have strong opinions about said program which I will leave out of this discussion as they are natural but not for this space. I entered in September of 2006 with my classmates as the first cohort. This semester we’re taking two courses, as we have each Fall and Spring: the last core course and a little course titled “Master’s Project”.

I have been known not to reread the program’s main website to learn more details of things and wait for the instructors to send us the syllabus. I’ve had many friends do various masters and PhD programs.. I didn’t think about this course very much and figured in it we would chat about the projects and methodologies of our proposals and then we’d have until we finished the program (we have four courses remaining after this term) to finish the Project.

I was terribly mistaken.

Last night my classmates and I were hit with the syllabus. The Project is due May 9th of this year. I have a pretty good idea what I’m doing and how I plan to go about doing it. The minimum requirements aren’t excruciating, especially since I expect to lift large chunks from my prior projects. It’s the time frame which is scaring the @#($*& out of me. That is good. Because I’m scared there is a huge fire lit under me and it means that I have no choice or time to procrastinate. We basically have to complete the first draft of the project and presentation by Spring Break. As in about seven weeks from yesterday.

So what does all of this mean?

1) I’m happy we began the kitchen when we did.
2) I’m happy I was sick last week.
3) I’m happy I didn’t yet commit to any more large projects and that I actually finished one over the break.
4) I’m sad I didn’t finish the Dragon Wrap.
5) I’m happy I dropped Tuesdays and Wednesday from my posting schedule. That will remain in effect until May. I may be better with twitter, I may not.

How do I plan to try to keep my sanity ?

1) Remember the Milk. I’m doing a combination of FlyLady and Getting things Done and whatever else some guru has found, but in a manner which works for me. I hope/think.
2) I have consolidated all but two email accounts into Gmail for checking for the foreseeable future.
3) I got rid of the crackberry. R has it now. This is good. I will make time for email, but not obsessively. [That was the plan for a while].
4) I bought a new spindle. Actually this may not have a been a good move, but it wasn’t expensive and I think it’s nice.
5) End Note. I’ve been using this for over seven years and love it. The Uni provides a license to current students. No, I will not share. BibTex rocks too.
6) Eating proper meals.** I need lots of help for this one. I need Gluten-free Kosher meals that I can carry without taking up lots of room (i.e. bulky containers) and without waste (i.e. lots of yucky ziplocks) and can survive hours without refrigeration and fill me up. Oh and are inexpensive.
7) Sleeping when I should.
8) Making time for me (and E) EACH DAY and SHABBOS.

What do I need to do?
0) Find a second power adapter for akepa so I can leave one in my campus locker and one here at home.
1) Stay away from random mindless web surfing.
2) Stick to my schedule but not obsess over scheduling to the point that it all I do.
3) Be prepared to tell others that NO I cannot assist them with a large project.
4) Keep my head and believe in myself that and I complete this and be proud with the final result.
5) Remember to backup backup backup my work.
6) Backup my work again. In various formats and outputs.

Next week I’ll have made a decision as to Scrivener. If anyone has any linux or web-based solutions (with off-line ability) of programs which do similar things to Scrivener — I’m all ears! I can find Windows alternatives but not *nix or web without building my own, which I don’t have time to do.