Monday, September 20, 2010

No news is good news?

But now I have some. First, I'm in Jordan. Not for fieldwork this time - truth to be told I am not yet in any shape for that - but for delving in institute libraries and getting a good kick-start for finishing my dissertation. It seems to be working, too: I have only been here in ACOR for a day, and I've got more work done than I have for several months (not withstanding a congress presentation and an article on which I worked for most of August). 

Second, I have an update on the dissertation: Five chapters are in various stages of "nearly finished". Two chapters need a little more work than that but are basically there. One is missing a half but the structure is clear and it just needs to be written. I still have no clue of what the final chapter will handle, but otherwise things look bright.

Remind me of this optimism in December when my three-month finishing-off-the-dissertation grant is running out and I am fighting every night with the illustrations, missing references and miscellaneous corrections. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Assessment of the situation

I feel like I should wrap up this blog since I never seem to have anything worth writing about. This spring has been mostly about being seriously ill and trying to get some work done despite that. And having scary thoughts about whether I'll be fit enough to do fieldwork ever again. For me archaeology is really about doing fieldwork. I did not choose this subject to end up shuffling papers somewhere. If I can't go to field, I don't want to be an archaeologist anymore.

Last week I was in the congress in Paris. It was a very invigorating trip both academically and otherwise. I met many Names, and they were actually nice people. My paper was very well received, although, being me, I can't help but wonder whether it was really good stuff or everyone was just being nice to the poor sick girl.

I dare dream that it might be possible for me to go to Jordan next autumn with the rest of the team, if not for the whole three-week period, then at least part of it. There are some things to be done still in the field, and I could spend some time in the ACOR and British Institute libraries. But that remains to be seen, really. Although the treatments are now over, there is still a lot of being ill to do.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Feeling optimistic

Things are looking up. If all goes well I will have only one treatment left. And my doctor gave me permission to travel in June! So I registered for the conference in Paris. I have even been slowly working towards producing a paper and have something more than a foggy idea of what to say. Now I am just restlessly waiting whether the university gives me a travel grant or not. Then there is also the matter of a cloud of volcanic ash over Europe, but maybe that will disperse by June?

I handed in one more chapter and according to my supervisor there is not very much work left with it. So now I have three almost-finished chapters for my dissertation. I realized that I might still be able to finish the whole thing by the end of this year! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Idleness is good for your brain

I woke up last night with the first half of a forthcoming article formed in my brain. I had to get up and write the major points down, otherwise it would have been gone in the morning. The funny thing is, I have not actively thought about it much since last November, except for printing out an old, very confused draft a week ago and giving it a cursory glance. For the last week I have been doing absolutely nothing academic. In fact I was even hospitalized for two days due to neutropenia (abnormally low number of white blood cells which fight infections in the body).

I realized to something of my surprise that I have now, on top of the almost-finished dissertation, altogether three articles in various stages. The first one only needs some polishing, and now I have a draft and a good idea of the structure of the second. The third one is the paper for the conference in Paris, later to be edited to an article. I hope it will turn up as easily as this one!

Speaking of the conference, my recent experience with neutropenia confirmed that as long as my current treatments continue, I will not travel abroad. No travel insurance would cover the costs if I knowingly took the risk and the same happened somewhere else.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hindsight into the future

I just finished making a summary of the student feedback from the general archaeology course last autumn. Finally that course is wrapped up. I bet the average student never realizes how much behind-the-scenes work is involved in teaching. The feedback was nice to read, though, we - meaning the other lecturer and myself - got good marks from the students.

I got this link from a friend. Hope you will find these as amusing as I did.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Comment moderation

I have introduced comment moderation because it seems that someone spammed this blog in Chinese(?). So if your comments don't appear immediately, don't worry.

I got positive feedback about the two chapters I handed in before The Diagnosis. Not very much needs to be done about them. It made me determined to continue working, even if I will proceed slowly.

I have also resolved to register to the congress in Paris. If I cannot travel, my supervisor has promised to read my paper.

Now I should just find the time for academic work between various tests and treatments and battling the bureaucracy caused by my getting ill.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bittersweet acceptance

I received a letter of acceptance to a conference in Paris. I am at the same time flattered and a bit bitter. Maybe rejectance would have been easier this time. The conference takes place in June, and it would have been such an excellent opportunity to meet other people working in Jordan. It might be possible to have my paper read in absentia, if I manage to produce one. It is not quite the same, though. Not nearly the same. I thought I had already become calmly accepting but now I can't help feeling that this bloody illness is ruining what might have become my career.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Postponing again

Most of you who read my blog know me IRL and know what I'm currently facing. But I'd swear my dissertation has got a curse on it. At first I picked a subject that just didn't work out, then suffered of loss of motivation and uncertainty about what to do with my thesis, and now when I was motivated and it seemed possible to finish it, I was diagnosed with something that is going to ruin my timetable once again. The doctor emphatically said the treatments are going to leave me exhausted and I should not try too much. Of course he is right and the top priority is now to get me back to shape, but although not normally tending towards fatalism, I cannot help thinking that I am not destined to get that PhD.

Needless to say, I also had to cancel the congress trip to London. It was not strictly forbidden, it would just be potentially very unwise. So far I need not give up teaching though, and I'm still hopeful that I will be able to do even the fieldwork part of the course in archaeological survey in May. 

Oh, well. This is just momentary self-pity, you understand. I'll try to keep working on the dissertation as much as I can, not to lose the touch again. And it will do me good to have something else to think than sickness and treatments. I am not going to turn this blog into a medical journal though, so I won't be writing a lot about that here. Let's just say I am in good hands and hope to be almost as good as new after all this is over.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I did it!

I did it, I managed to leave the chapters in time. Go me!

Now various matters not related to the dissertation have turned up to complicate things, and it has been somehat difficult to continue with the next chapter, but I solemnly promise to finish at least one chapter by mid-February.