Thursday, January 31, 2008

viva minus 22

I'm sure you've missed those count-downs quite as much as I did. So we're starting a new set - the viva countdown! oh joy. . . .

Can you believe this? Twenty-two days from today, I'll be in a conference room somewhere, with [a silenced] Magda at my side, the former head of the department acting as "chair", the internal examiner and the external one. We will do something for two hours, whereupon I will emerge either victorious or crestfallen. Or - possibly - devastated. . . . elated? or maybe something in between.

Thinking about it more carefully now, very likely I'll just be numb.

The good news is that my 'local' will be within spitting distance and I'll just bet that an expertly-poured pint will cure whatever ails me. The other good news is that I should be done early enough to get my favorite seat at the bar. Or - if I'm crying - Willie will let me into the snug (which will still be unclaimed that early) to cry into my pint in private. . . .

It's the little things that help cheer me up at this point. Like contemplating the symmetry of 20 and 2 days left. . . . And wondering where the hell I put my copy of the dissertation as - surely - it's time to read the thing for the first time, from beginning to end, and what if it's really terrible?!

I spent a little time this morning re-visiting the crazy days of the last countdown, the one before the dissertation was due. It all seems so unreal now. Almost as if another person did it. Just as I'm sure the viva preps - and the actual viva voce will also feel very unreal when it's all said and done with.

Meanwhile, though, I have a dissertation to read (and a list of errata to prepare), at least 2 new books to skim (if not actually read), and my main author's main book to re-visit in order to try and get the principles back into the working part of my brain, memory and speech pattern.

My vest is done - or the main pieces are, anyway. All that remains are the edgings for the armholes and the front where it buttons. But I don't like the edging the pattern calls for: it puckers, somehow, and looks wierd. Blocking might help, but that feels a little too much like cheating. You know, sort of like adding a whiz-bang production to cover up the fact that the song you started with is rather mediocre at best. So I've started a border of my own 'unvention' - yes, I've finally broken down and gotten one (two, actually) of Elizabeth Zimmerman's books. . . . - and we're trying out a separate band of cable as the edging. I'll let you know how it turns out.

My biggest regret in all of this is that I'm going to have to find the end of the one sewn-on band in order to try and rip it out. It's so hard to undo things, once they've been sewn together. . . .

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