Writing things that are not part of my dissertation…

All of my writing efforts (well, except for this post) are geared towards dissertating these days, so my apologies for the lack of blogging here. After the California Closet wardrobe was installed in my bedroom, I got it in my head to finally take care of some other decor/decorating issues… with a trip to IKEA. Yes, it was a poor decision in the context of writing deadlines, sleep, etc., not to mention the requisite Putting Together of the Things purchased at the store. I still haven’t gotten around to assembling one large bookcase, and honestly, I have no idea when I’ll actually get around to that.1  But I have it, and one day, this bookcase will exist in assembled form to hold All the Books in my room. I did, however, assemble shelves to accompany my desk in the dining-room-turned-office.


The Laiva bookcases were $25 each, plus they matched my desk. And they were easy to assemble. Ukulele’s there just hanging out – not its permanent home.

To answer the age-old question, “How’s writing going?” I shall refrain from an overly dramatic response, and say I’m making progress.2  I have chunks of all four of my main (non-intro/conclusion) chapters. Two of them are incomplete and completely incoherent, and two of them are approaching complete and flirting with cogency. I hope to turn in one of the incoherent chapters early this week (hopefully in an improved state), leaving one mess of a chapter to turn in the next week (again, hopefully in an improved state). All the while, I need to revise and re-work the other chapters. The goal has been to have a complete draft by spring break, which is frighteningly soon. I’m certainly not holding my breath at this point, but I haven’t ruled it out just yet either.

1. As a professional procrastinator, I have a decent idea of how much I can actually procrastinate and still (sort of) get stuff done in a timely manner. The assembly of this shelf generally exceeds my procrastination windows of time.

2. E.g., this. Or maybe this.

A Ukulele Update

I’ve had the ukulele for nearly two months now, and I’m still really excited about it. Although it’s been a busy couple of months with lots of travel (Lexington, Nashville, New Orleans, and Puerto Rico), I’m glad that I was able to take the ukulele with me on all of these trips except for New Orleans! With its new proper case, hopefully, it can join me safely on future travels too.

I’ve expanded my repertoire ever so slightly, and now in addition to classic country songs, I’ve learned the chords for “Rainbow Connection” in G (I learned all of the chords for the key change to G#/Ab, but I think it’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth), plus, a song or two by the Old 97’s. But my first song for playing the melody AND chords… is “Jingle Bell Rock” in C. With Christmas coming along, I’ve got a few more songs I’m hoping to learn, including my fave, “The Twelve Days of Christmas!

On the downside, playing the ukulele makes my left thumb sore (particularly bar chords, cf. earlier mention of playing in Ab). I have small hands, and this isn’t an issue when I play the guitar, but I’ve read various blog posts and discussions about it, and it seems like it’s not all that uncommon. Now that I’ve noticed it, I’m adjusting my left-hand technique, but I’m thinking I still might invest in some sort of strap to help with this. Any advice or recommendations?

Happy Friday Music Fun: UKULELE!

I purchased a ukulele last Saturday, and promptly posted a photo of it on Instagram.

It’s possible that I spent many, many hours on Saturday doing nothing but playing the ukulele. And it’s equally possible that at every spare (and not so spare) moment this week, I have been playing the ukulele. It’s also a possibility that I’ve considered taking the ukulele with me everywhere I’ve been this week.

While this is most certainly an intermediate-level procrastinating technique, it’s also SO MUCH FUN I CAN’T STAND IT! I think it has something to do with the fact that in my current life, I am never a music maker. I am a music consumer, and my academic job is mostly thinking about music. I’m obviously involved in the music-making process at church. But I don’t play music anymore. Yes, I teach piano lessons, but I can’t exactly call my interaction with the piano while teaching “Playing the Piano.” Nor do I have the time and wherewithal to Play the Piano like I would like to right now.

So welcome, ukulele! Nothing says old country songs like the ukulele… ok, maybe not, but that’s what I’m using it for. So far my repertoire includes “King of the Road,” “Stand by Your Man,” “There He Goes,” “There Stands the Glass,” and “You’re Still on My Mind.” Let me know if you have any suggestions 🙂

Happy Friday, y’all!