Sunday, January 16, 2005

Dissertating and Noshing in Nashville

Hello world! I'm blogging to you live from Nashville, Tennessee. Aaron is always visiting me in Memphis, but in celebration of Dr. King, there is a 3-day weekend (Yes, I know it's really supposed to be a day of service, but services... I offer a lot of them in my daily life these days, so it seems OK). I had originally thought I would go to the Civil Rights Museum today, because I'm a member, and it seemed like a good thing to do since I live in Memphis; but my supervisor in the schools assures me that heading down there on MLK Day is a real mistake. It's overcrowded and a bit too much to take. That, and finding out that my dissertation director was going to be here this weekend, too, meant it was a perfect time to come and visit; so I called the petsitter, and left town Friday for the dull drive from there to here.

I met with Sam yesterday at a local Starbuck's for about an hour. The really difficult thing about my dissertation is this: I began with what I felt was a really well-designed project, but I had a LOT of trouble getting good participation from parents and teachers, regardless of how much checking and chasing around I did. See, I was stupid. I picked as my participants, disorganized sixth graders. They are very affected by the homes in which they live, by hormones, my motivational stuff. They are difficult, and the reasons they can't get their homework done are SOOOOO complex. Anyway, I had to simplify and simplify and simplify to get the project design such that it could actually happen. Now I am left writing the sections where I have a rationale for doing what I did (simple: I wanted to finish my dissertation) and I discuss limitation and how it cold have been better. Oh, I know. The people could have actually done the really easy things I asked of them. So, the intervention results aren't what I had hoped. The study's intervention was not a success, but that doesn't mean the dissertation won't be a success. The aim of the dissertation, especially for someone not going into research as a field, is to show that you understand how to do a study and how to analyze results. Doing a study that works isn't the point. So anyway, I have enough feedback now that I think I can finish writing this sucker really quickly. I'm going to try and send Sam a complete first draft in the first third of February.

On Sam's recommendation, Aaron and I went to Bound'ry, which was completely wonderful. We had an hour wait around a bit of a scene, and the bar area was packed, but it was soooo worth the wait. It was a fascinating and ecclectic menu, and we got a table in the corner by the fireplace. Seriously tasty and awfully romantic, too. I took several "food porn" pictures which I'll share when I'm back at the home computer.

Eek! Better get moving... although today is going to be all about working on a job application for next year and some counseling reportst that are a litttle late. When Aaron gets back from working the Jumbotron at the Vandy game, we're going to do a little shopping (work clothes quotient still a little low) and then he's making me dinner! So much to do, so little time.