Saturday, March 29, 2008


I am absolutely elated and thoroughly relieved. I passed Capstone, a week-long essay test that I took in February, which is the "final exam" for my master's degree program. I was truly worried that I might not pass one of the three essays, and the exam is an all or nothing situation. Now, I just have to pass the class I'm taking this semester, and I will have a master's degree in library and information sciences. Hopefully, I will then be able to let go of some of my disappointment at never finishing my thesis for a master's in literature.

One minor sadness: I wish my parents were still alive to witness my success. I know that they would be proud, and my mom would tell everyone that she thought might remember me. After she died, I discovered that she had told so many people about even my smallest professional triumphs.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Catching Up: A Thursday Thirteen

I've haven't blogged in almost a month, and I thought a Thursday thirteen would be a fun way to get caught up.
  1. Falling for Hillary - On Feb. 28, I went to see Hillary Clinton. I was very excited, even though I was going alone because Valerie was out of town. At the time, I didn't know of any other friends whom I thought would want to join me. At this venue, unlike the Barack Obama rally that I attended, anyone could stand on the floor in front of the stage. Hillary gave an inspiring speech, and I was so glad that I didn't decide not to go alone. After being crushed by the crowd trying to get her autograph after the speech, I tripped and fell in the parking lot on the way to my car. No, I did not just trip of my own accord; my shoe got tangled in some plastic netting that had been used to block off parts of the parking lot. Yes, the same netting that others were walking over with no problem. Although I knew immediately that I had hurt my left pinkie very badly, I was more embarrassed than hurt.
  2. Secret Service Surprise - After I fell, I needed to figure out if and how I would go to the emergency room. I was in an unfamiliar part of the city, so I didn't know where the closest emergency room was. A man in uniform came over to see if I was okay, and he suggested that I should let some EMTs take a look at my hand before I decided if I could drive myself to the emergency room. He said there was an ambulance on the property already so I agreed. He radioed someone about the ambulance. Soon, two other officers arrived. One of them suggested that I go ahead and drive myself to the nearest ER, because the ambulance had already left the premises. Thinking that police officers could tell me where the closest ER, I asked, and was quite surprised when one of them said they were from DC. It was then that I realized they were Secret Service officers and not local officers.
  3. A Broken Pinkie - Feel free to laugh. The thought of needing surgery on a pinkie seems rather absurd to me. The pain and inconvenience of it has not been funny though. Seeing the hooks from the two pins that were inserted into the bone almost made me pass out this week when the splint and bandage were changed. I still have at least one and a half weeks before the pins are removed. I was lucky that it was my left one. Since I am right-handed, I can still write but typing virtually one-handed is slow and not much fun. And it has put a crimp in my Spring Break fun.
  4. Lucy, Finally - Monday, the first day of Spring Break, Valerie and I finally went to the museum to see the Lucy exhibit. In addition to the bones, the exhibit contains historical and cultural artifacts from various parts of Ethiopia. I enjoyed the exhibit immensely, but I enjoyed seeing Valerie's enjoyment of it even more. She really misses anthropology, and I'm sure that seeing the exhibit made her miss it even more, but it was really great to see how excited it made her.
  5. Recent Reading 1 - I finally found the time to finish reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. I have decided than I do not like having several books going at one time. I read the first half of this one while I was reading some other books, then I put it aside to complete a book club reading, so by the time I finished the book, I had forgotten some things that I planned to say about the book. I was able to read the second half of the book during two post-surgery, sleepless nights thanks to a painkiller that kept me awake. I did mark one passage: "...a single act could reverberate over time and space and leave stains that could never be washed off." I wish that I had two hands to elaborate on the meaning of the passage. This is a civil war story, and it is even more interesting knowing that the war was real but the it is now forgotten and/or ignored. Adiche's prose drew me into the first section of the novel, and she kept me fixated even during the horrifying descriptions of the effects of war. In the final part of the novel, Adiche's characters attempt to put their post-war lives back together. I know I haven't said enough about it, but I highly recommend this novel. Also, if you have a chance to see Adiche read, don't miss her.
  6. Recent Reading 2 - Last month's book club selection was The Girls by Lori Lansens. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel. It is narrated by conjoined twins. Lansens does a good job of distinguishing between the two sisters. This novel has a lot to say about the connections we have with family. Lansens also does a good job of making the girls' as-normal-as-possible life believable in the context of the book. If I wasn't one handed, I would say more.
  7. Recent Reading 3 - The current book club selection is The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This is only the second graphic book that I have read. I really enjoyed it. It was recommended to me over a year ago when I voiced my dissatisfaction with Reading Lolita in Tehran. Persepolis was much more satisfying without being heavy-handed or too light.
  8. Current Reading 1 - I am trying to finish a previous book club selection, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. I wasn't able to finish it because I had that 7 days of writing hell for my degree. After that week, I moved on to the next selection. I'm about half way through it.
  9. Current Reading 2 - I just started Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev. This will be the first of four books for the Russian Reading Challenge that I am supposed to be participating in this year.
  10. Next on my t0-read stack - Garden of Eden, one of Hemingway's posthumous novels. I read the first chapter when I purchased the novel a few weeks ago. It seems like an intriguing plot for a he-man like Hemingway.
  11. Another on my t0-read stack - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. Valerie gave me this book for Christmas (birthday?) and I am ready to find time for it.
  12. Still Waiting - I have two more weeks to wait before I find out if I passed Capstone and will get my masters degree in May. I am still not feeling confident, but I am ready to know one way or the other.
  13. At last - Thirteen things are more difficult to think of and even harder to write one-handed than I thought. Whew!
Now, I'm going to work the crossword with Valerie before she does it without me. Later!