Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back in the "Real" World

Now that I'm in school I'm actually required to get up, get dressed, and leave my house four days a week.  Over the past four years of mostly working from home, I forgot how good I had it.  

I just completed week 4 of classes, and Diva, who is fortunately (knock on wood here) a very healthy kid, came down with a flu bug on Thursday.  We Mom's know how this one starts:
(Weds. Night)  Diva:  Mom, my throat is scratchy
Me (hopefully):  Maybe you yelled too much at school today?

It invariably continues in a sleep-deprived fog around 4AM:
Diva:  Mom, I'm cold and I can't breathe good.  
Me (unintelligibly):  glubglobglib....  I think that means I'll get you a glass of water and some cough syrup.  
Me:  Oh drat, we don't have any kid's medicine in the house because Diva hasn't been sick in so long.

Then comes the 6AM arm-wrestling match:
Kilowatt:  Do you think she's really sick enough to stay home?  She's never sick.
Me:  What do you have going on at work today?  I have Philosophy class at 10 and Fraud class at 5:30.
Kilowatt:  Do you really think she's sick?
Me:  If I were still working from home, I'd keep her home.  Let me go get the thermometer.  (pause.)  Uh-oh, we're in 'no man's temperature land' 99.5.  That means the school won't officially consider her sick.  But I do since she never has a fever.  
Kilowatt:  I guess I can work from home today.
Me:  I'd better go hit the showers so I can come home between classes.  
Kilowatt:  I'm off to the 24 hour pharmacy to pick up drugs.  

Lucky for us, it appears to be a just a 24-48 hour bug.  I had Friday off so Diva stayed home both days, and is now eager to leave the house where she's been stuck for two days.  

So far, Kilowatt and I are okay.  Now I have to go drink my OJ! 

Sunday, September 14, 2008

They're Baaaaacckkkkk!

Just when I thought I could safely drive down the road without fear of getting caught in a motorcade -- we became a purple state.  Or maybe it's a striped state.  At any rate, both Senator's McCain and Obama (in alphabetical order) visited us this weekend to bash each other try to win our votes.  

I try to stay away from political blogging, because it just begs controversy and that's not why I blog.  But honestly, am I the only person who's really not happy with either choice at the moment?  

They both promise to cut taxes and give us all kinds of great stuff.  I wasn't born yesterday - that tax cut promise they are trying to use to buy my vote has to be paid for somehow, and borrowing more money from overseas just doesn't seem like a good idea to me.  I've already resigned myself to working until I drop dead, hopefully somewhere with good medical coverage so my dropping dead can be put off a bit, since my 401k is going nowhere and social security is going to be bankrupt before I'm old enough to draw.  

I'm tired of hearing about the party base - either party base.  I'm about as moderate as can be, and I think the polarization that the two parties 'bases' are insisting upon is destructive overall.  
I'm tired of political ads telling me how bad the opponent is without telling me anything about the person who is running.  I'm tired of ads that anyone with a grain of sense can tell are distortions of the truth - are we really that stupid in this country?  

How many more weeks of hearing candidates talk about how bad their opponents are do I have to look forward to?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random Thoughts...

Why is it that as soon as I hang laundry on the line, rain clouds move in?

Why does the price of gas always go up right when my tank approaches empty, and drops immediately after I fill up?

Why do I have a hard time asking people to do something for me, but so few people seem to feel the same restraint when asking me to do something for them?

It must be that philosophy class that has me pondering all of these questions.  That, and the fact that statistics homework is looming over me like a big, dark cloud.  I used to be really good at stats -- 25  years ago.  That knowledge was pushed out of my brain-RAM by new knowledge, like how to tell if two ten-year-olds playing upstairs are being just too quiet to be trustworthy.  
I often say 'if only I knew then what I know now.'  In some cases I really mean it, but in many others I'm so glad I didn't know, because I might have made choices that would have ultimately changed my life for the worst.  Isn't it funny how you can tie individual decisions into major impacts they made in your life?  

Friday, September 12, 2008

Two Weeks Down, 62 More to Go!

I'm now two weeks into my PhD program.  The way I figure it, I have 62 more weeks of coursework to go.  Then two years of writing dissertation materials.  I'm ignoring summers in my count - those will be filled with writing articles and comprehensive exams - I deny those exist.  

Highlights of what I've learned the last two weeks:
  • I  don't really understand Philosophy.  I'm not sure I ever will.  
  • All research is flawed.  
  • People lie with statistics all the time.
  • Driving three hours roundtrip, 4 days a week, is more exhausting now than it was 10 years ago.
What I'm still struggling to figure out:
  • What am I doing in a room with all these brilliant, intense people?
  • Will there ever be agreement between philosophers?