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Reading Week “Break”

Here it is, the middle of Reading Week already.  Where does the time go?  I had been desperately looking forward to this week “off” almost since the semester started, and here I am half way through and have barely scratched the surface of how much work I have to do.  Apparently I need a reading month!

I continue to work on the data analysis for my dissertation, which is plodding along at glacial speed.  I have to transcribe all the interviews that I did in the fall, which takes roughly 5 hours of transcribing per hour of interview.  Once transcribed, I have to upload the document into analysis software and ‘code’ it (i.e. highlight different points, label them and place them in categories).  From there I can start writing up my results.  So close, yet so far.  This is quite a monumental task!

In addition to my academic work (which is not limited to the above, but I won’t bore you with the long list of other things I need to get done), I am hoping to make progress in my cooking and my unstuffing.  Cooking-wise, I still have quite a few root veggies in my small fridge that need to be dealt with: a couple of cabbages, a few carrots, some beets and quite frankly, I’m not sure what else!  I need to pull it all out and see what’s there, and then do something with it.  For one, I need to make more sauerkraut. I am on my last jar, and seeing as it takes several weeks to make ‘kraut, my timing isn’t exactly spectacular.

Yesterday I made it to Arva Flour Mills and picked up some more of their lovely locally ground flour.  After experimenting with whole wheat and rye flour for my last batch of bread baking, I am delighted to have the white stuff again.  Call it unhealthy if you like, one slice of the Sourdough Rye Biscoti Rocks that I made a few weeks ago will convince you to consider white flour a friend.  And if that doesn’t work, try whole-wheat crepes, which I had for breakfast today.  Blech.  I am looking forward to making some nice white sourdough bread this weekend.  I may try making some rye bread as well (I absolutely love sourdough rye – when made properly!), but first I’ll be doing more research into how to get it to turn out!

While the dissertation is plodding along at glacial speed (things this large rarely move quickly, and probably for good reason) I’ve made visible progress on sorting through the remainder of the crap in my room this week. I brought two lamps in to Exclusive Lampshades in London (on Wellington Street, just south of Horton) to be rewired.  This is a really neat little shop that refurbishes old lamps, and has stunning vintage lamps and beautiful shades for sale.  They overhauled two old lamps for me a few months ago, and I finally got around to bringing in my other two garage sale finds for rewiring.  If you recall, when I moved I got rid of most of my furniture “projects” but I did keep a few items that I decided would be worth fixing up.  These have been sitting in the middle of my bedroom since July as a reminder.  I refuse to put stuff like this in storage.  My idea was that if it bugged me enough, I’d either fix it or get rid of it.  This seems to be working as I slowly work my way through the small pile.

I also have gone through a lot of paperwork.  How on earth can one person collect so much paper?  Quite frankly, it’s amazing that there are any trees left with all the paper we use and waste.  A good friend came to visit last weekend and I gave her the old letters she had sent me years ago to read.  In one, dated 10 years prior, she wrote about how she was trying to sort through her mountain of paperwork.  This battle is on-going to this day!  I am determined to get on top of it all.  While I got rid of my 6 boxes of letters and cards, I still have several boxes of journal articles and class notes.  I brought a 6 inch stack to work yesterday and put it in the recycling.  I have a lot more still to go through, but the pile is dwindling.

I also want to go ruthlessly through my closet and purge it of all items that I don’t wear, or that make me feel frumpy.  Now that I have discovered how to shop well at second hand clothing stores, I know I can find things that will make me feel more attractive than the worn out, dated clothing currently choking my closet without breaking the bank or contributing to further production.  Speaking of which, when visiting Arva I discovered Boutique Topaz, a second hand store absolutely bursting at the seams with women and children’s clothing and various sundry second-hand items.  I didn’t have time to browse, but I look forward to going back and seeing what gems I can dig up there.

The final project I have for this week (see why I’m panicking that it’s already Wednesday?) is to work on a budget.  I am only going to be working until April, and then I will have no income again until September.  As I really need to finish the dissertation by August (or at least have a solid draft) I cannot work this summer.  So I must very carefully work out my finances so that what little I have been able to save will go as far as possible.  Being on such a restricted income for the last few years, and especially last year, has taught me for the first time in my life to be fiscally responsible.  Really, it’s about time, so a very good lesson learned.  I even managed to pay off my credit card this year, which sat at its maximum for longer than I’d like to think about.  What a waste! One of my new year’s resolutions this year is to stop throwing money away on stupid things like credit card interest and over due book fines.  Ironically, as soon as I paid off the card, the bank offered to more than double my limit.  I said no thank you!

On top of all of this, I have been trying to do some training with the dogs.  I haven’t taken them to sheep since the Christmas holidays, but I usually take the winter off training.  This year I could have kept on training as we’ve had so little snow, but the winter semester is always insanely busy and I like giving the dogs – and myself – a break.  Instead we go for daily hikes in the conservation area and train in agility.  Fun, light, happy stuff.  Last weekend I took an agility workshop with Kestrel (the puppy) and this coming weekend I’ll be doing one with Hannah.  I also am trying to do a little training every day at home.  So far I have not been keeping up with that.  I know I’m getting tired when I’m not able to do the three things I set as my daily minimum: train the dogs for 5 minutes each, do my back exercises (10 minutes) and look at my to-do list.

So far this week, I’ve only looked at my to-do list on a daily basis.  But with every passing day, more items are scratched off.  So I am making progress, and eventually I’ll get there.  Where ever ‘there’ is!

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