Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's Official

It's official- I am a Master of the Arts. My defense on Friday afternoon went as smoothly as these things possibly can. I was still relatively blase about the whole process and tired of my subject, but I suppose that is somewhat normal after working on the same thing for over 2 years.

My best friend since elementary school showed up to watch. She was the only spectator in the room and I'm grateful that she did decided to come despite some bad weather. It was nice to have someone else there besides the 3 Professor's who were examining me.

I was asked the next day how it felt. To be honest it just feels like another day and nothing much has changed. Perhaps that is because it is so anti-climatic after such a huge push and so much effort. Or maybe I won't really process it and feel the difference until the day I graduate and receive my degree parchment. Another big reason why it is just another day for me is because there is no break between MA work and Ph.D work. I have to spend some significant time in the library in the next few days to finish up a big project for a class, prepare a presentation for the same class this week, complete all the readings for this coming week and finish the edits for my MA so I can hand in the final, clean copy on Monday afternoon to the old university. I also have a 30 page paper to finish researching and write up which was from a course I took last semester. The pressure really isn't letting up and I'm not so sure how that makes me feel about the course I've set myself on.

I received the above pictured flowers from the Jock to congratulate me on finishing my MA. That is a whole other story right there.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

An Incomprehensible Loss

There are times in a person's life when words fail. Now is one of those times. A very good family friend and a man I consider as a brother has experienced a heartbreaking loss this week. He and his wife were expecting their first child this coming May. Late last week she went into early labour, and despite the best efforts of the Doctors they were only able to stop her premature labour for a few days.

On Monday morning she gave birth to a tiny baby girl. Their little angel weighed in at barely a pound and a half at 23.5 weeks. She was born alive, but once the umbilical cord was cut she didn't make it. A private funeral is being held tomorrow followed by interment. This is a loss I just can't make sense of.

I can't even begin to understand what the family is going through, let alone his wife who returned home Monday afternoon, without her baby. They are a young couple, only a year or two older than myself, and were so excited to be starting their family. I sit here in tears for them, but I know my grief is nothing compared to their own. Tomorrow while I'm defending my Master's thesis they will be burying their tiny baby. Life just does not make sense to me right now.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Life Moves Forward

From a Recent Ice Storm

The date for my thesis defense is January 26th from 1:30-3:30. I know I should be nervous but I'm not really. I just want this last step over and done with so I can move on with my life.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Family History

While slogging through one of the readings I have to finish before class tomorrow I came across a line that really struck me.

"Any life story, written or oral, more or less dramatically, is in one sense a personal mythology, a self-justification."

This really brings into fresh focus my paternal Grandfather and his desire for one of my cousin's and I to collaborate in writing his biography. It is a request that I have a hard time acquiescing to for various reasons. I have difficulty putting in to words exactly why this project makes me cringe, but this line really sums it up for me- personal mythology and self-justification.

Ironically I'm more qualified now to write an accurate history of his life because of my academics, but it would be a biography that would most likely displease him. My biography would be quite different from my younger cousin's interpretation of his life which would dwell more on the myth of the figure than the reality. Also, she's just finishg up a degree in Criminology and English which again shapes her perspective. I've made no moves whatsoever to begin this project, however my cousin has bought him a tape recorder to record his personal anecdotes and things he believes are important aspects of his life.

At some time I'd like to write my family history since it is complex and interesting, but my grandfather will be one figure in the story and not the key component. I think I'm more interested in the lives of the women of my family and their personal stories.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

A Surprising Discovery of Emotions

Optimism. For the first time in a very long time I feel optimistic about the future. However, I'm scared to let myself dream.

I'm scared that if I allow myself to hope and anticipate that it will all come crashing down around me. Just when I feel like my dreams are a possibility again, I find myself tempering my new found spark of joy with a healthy dose of pessimistic caution. Too much has happened to me in the past year for me to blithely abandon myself to the possibilities of what may come.

I desperately hope that I have turned a corner and the worst of it is now behind me, but to assume as much would be woefully ignorant of me.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Downward Slope

These Orchids were one of the Christmas presents from my Father to my Mother this year.

Tomorrow I go to pick up my thesis from my advisor. It is the last round of revisions before I send it out to my committee to read before my thesis defense. I know I should be nervous but I just want it done and out of the way already. The copies of my thesis will be in my committee members hands by Monday morning sometime, and I hope to have a defense date set for the following Monday. This truly is the downward slope of an uphill battle and I'm exhausted. I haven't slept or eaten properly in well over a month. I've been averaging 4 hours a night or less to finish this up so I can begin my Ph. d this semester. I can't wait to graduate from my MA.

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Quiet New Year

I spent New Year's Eve at my parents house. The house was virtually empty since it was just my parents and I at home last night. For the most part I spent the evening in my father's office, resignedly working on my thesis in the hopes of completing it before the end of the year, while my parents watched a movie in the next room. I did however, take a break from work to spend a little time in front of the fire reading a book and enjoying something other than hard work. It was kind of a nice way to spend the night and I didn't miss the crowds and feverish celebrations at all.