Guess Who

…has two thumbs and just won the 2012 Moroney Postal Award for an outstanding and significant contribution to Postal scholarship?

THIS GAL!!

I submitted my Master’s thesis almost two years ago and got notified yesterday that I won the junior prize for 2012.  What do I win???  $1,000!  Yes, that is a comma.

I’m so excited and proud.  I knew my ideas were good even if I couldn’t find another person who thought they were interesting.  My dad said he might even have to read it now.  Yessss!  On my bucket list is to get published, so maybe one day I’ll expand on my now award winning thesis and have my name permanently in black and white.  Right now I’m enjoying rolling in my $1,000…as soon as they send the check.

If One More Person Tells Me This Is A Beautiful Miracle, I’m Going To Punch Them In Their Huevos

I know I’ve been rather silent since my big announcement.  Work has been crazy busy lately, plus babies make you insanely tired!  My house is a pit.  I have no food in my fridge.  All I really care about it getting a nap.  Unfortunately, writing does not make that list most days.

I’ve been trying to organize my thoughts too.  I do not want to make this space like Babys-R-Us.  I’m always interested when my bloggity friends have kids, and I want to know how it’s going for them, but the rest of the world seems to die away and their blogs become the 24/7 diaper update zone.  I totally understand how that happens now, but I want to try really hard to keep this a fairly neutral space.  I am determined to retain some of my hobbies and interests when Peanut gets here.  We’ll see how much I accomplish of that.  Feel free to remind me if I quit posting about anything but how my feet are swelling and the best price I can find on a onesie.

That being said, I’m doing great health-wise.  I’m tired but have had zero morning sickness.  I feel pretty lucky in the knocked up department.  Most of my problems are coming from just sorting all this out mentally.  I had about a week where I didn’t know if it was weird hormones or the start of prenatal depression or a bad hair day.  I hated this little peanut.  I hated everyone in the world for not cleaning my kitchen for me.  I was sad that the life that I thought I was going to go back to when DH got home is no longer possible.  I was freaked out of my mind thinking about telling my family that I had no self-control when DH got home because really, that’s the only thing “hey, we’re having a deployment baby” sounds like.  Ugh.  It’s been messy.

But I am here and plugging away.  I’m sure I’ll have stories to tell when I come back from the families’ houses next month.  We’re going back for holiday leave and plan on sharing the news with everyone then.  Yikes to the eleventy billionth power.

On a completely unrelated topic, DH and I were planning on going to Spain this coming summer.  Since Peanut has now taken over ALL our 2011 plans, we took the day today and went to see Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo.  I don’t feel like I’m giving anything away by saying it definitely wasn’t Spain, but we had a fantastic time.  Cirque du Soleil always does fantastic shows, and it’s worth every penny to go.  Oh, and I submitted my Master’s thesis for a research award, so I’m pretty excited about that.  Otherwise, life is plugging away.  Hope everyone is doing well.

Done

My thesis is done!  I turned it in yesterday and am soooo happy to officially be done with all coursework for this degree.  I thought that having written that many pages, the actual quantity would be less daunting.  I was wrong.  Editing all those pages was still a monumental task that took longer than I anticipated.  But that makes it that much more awesome that I made it through and am totally finished!  All I have left is to attend residency in June where I’ll graduate.  It stinks that I have to wait so long to officially be able to say that I have an MA, but the hard part it over.

I learned, among other things, that a Masters is no joke.  It’s tough.  It’s a lot of very hard work.  It’s frustrating and exhausting.  It will tie you up in mental knots and spit you back out again.  Don’t get me wrong, I was prepared for starting my Masters.  I was a good writer.  I had excellent study habits.  This degree destroyed what I thought I knew though.  It pushed my writing ability past any limits I had and forced me to juggle more work than I thought possible.  Unlike my Bachelors, I feel like I accomplished a monumental task with my Masters.  I worked my butt off and produced an original body of research that can carry its own weight in the world of history.  That’s so totally kick ass.  Man, I am incredibly proud of myself!

Final Review

I finally got my thesis back from my advisor with all the edits.  I’ve been so anxious to get finished with the whole thing because that would mean I’ve completed my MASTERS people!  The whole hiccup with my crappy advisor put me behind, but a cracked rib and medications that made my new advisor too loopy to read added significant delays too.  All that doesn’t matter though because it’s finally back in my hands.  It’s been over two months, and I haven’t looked at it once.   I had my mother edit it too.  She’s a professional editor, and another set of eyes, non-historian ones at that, could always help.  I’m going to sit down over the next couple days and reread it.  I want to compare the comments and see what needs rewriting.

The good news is that my advisor made minimal corrections.  There were very few issues with content and absolutely nothing wrong with the main points of my paper.  I’m feeling confident that I’ve produced an original body of quality research at the graduate level.  My advisor even suggested that my argument could be expanded to include other events in American history, which I feel means that my argument holds water.  Mission accomplished!

As much as I was sick of this topic, looking at the research, and ready to chuck the whole paper out the window by the time I was finished with my draft, I really like what I chose to write about.  I examined the relationship between the postal service and the military that developed to meet the needs of an expanding Western frontier that were not provided by a fiscally conservative federal government.  It sounds so dry, but that’s only because I have to describe fifty pages in one little sentence.  It really is a cool paper, and the research was fascinating.  I see why people get so invovled with their graduate reseach and end up turning it into a book.  I could easily extend the argument to World War I and the American territories overseas.  If someone wanted to pay me for all the research and writing for a book, I’d be over the moon!  Seriously, I would consider retiring because I’d have accomplished everything I could ever want.  Maybe I should set my sights a tad lower and think about finishing my final draft and actually getting to commencement first.

Close Enough To Taste It

Hear that?  It’s the sound of exuberant relief.  I turned in the first draft of my thesis this afternoon.  Sigh…  I am so close to being finished.

I was so excited to turn it in today that I forgot to attach my bibliography.  Oops…hehe.  I called everyone I knew.  No one was available to talk.  Clearly they do not have the same priorities as I do, geeze.  To be perfectly honest, when I’m getting close to a deadline and really engrossed in a paper, hygiene suffers.  I get the basics.  My teeth are always clean.  My clothes and hair–not so much.  It’s nasty.  I’m not proud.  Think of it as part of the creative process.  I took the longest shower I could today to celebrate.  Double sigh…  No wonder people were avoiding me.

I’m really proud of the paper I turned in today.  It’s certainly not the final.  My footnotes and bibliography are still rough, and I know my advisor will have comments and areas for me to smooth out.  The main effort is done though.  My mom is a profession editor, and I’m so lucky because she wants to poor over every comma and pronoun usage.  I’ll repay her with dazzling facts about the Post Office’s reliance on the military during the building of the West.  See, you’re mouth is watering right now in anticipation of more.

It’s alright.  I won’t be offended if you’re actually looking for an exit.  I know that there only a few people nerdy enough to be intrigued by that statement.  It’s a lonely life.  Hehe.

My brother asked me a few months ago about my topic.  We chatted.  He attempted to convince how dull it was.  I told him I’d give him a copy of the final version for Christmas since he seemed so intrigued.  He told me he would give me a gift equally as valuable if I tried it.  Somehow I don’t think he was envisioning priceless gems or solid gold toothpicks like I was.

I’m going to give it a day or two and then dive back in.  I need to start polishing the footnotes and finalizing my bibliography.  I kind of like that part, so I not quite looking forward to it but I’m not dreading it either.  In a few days, maybe by next Monday, my advisor will have comments.  The first hurdle is past though.

Closer To A First Draft

I finished writing my skeleton draft today.  It’s 39 1/2-40 pages.  I’m too tired and annoyed with working with this material to be happy.  The draft is very rough, mostly just the bare bones of paragraphs minus the topic sentences and thesis related junk.  My footnotes are about in the same shape.  Nothing peeves me more than unfinished footnotes, so I think that’s going to be my next task.  Revising, revising, revising over the next few days.  My advisor told me my outline tended to get off topic…yesterday as I was finishing my last two topics.  Arg.  That just tells me I need to do more revising than I thought, and I’m so not looking forward to it.  First hurdle down though.  I’ve got to keep my head in the game and finish this monster with full strength.  No half-assing now.

Status: T minus 20ish

I’ve been working my bum off this past week.  I’m 4,772 words into my thesis, which is a little over a third of the way there.  I’ve been just throwing words on the paper and will organize the whole thing later.  Because there’s so much information, I need to get all the facts there, so I can revise like crazy and add in all the cosmetic, thesis-related sentences in there.  I usually don’t write this way, so it’s a little wierd.  My advisor wants me to look at a few other sources about public policy and redo my thesis statement, so that’s my weekend plans.  His area of expertise is the Civil War and public policy, so I’m not surprised, but it was a really good idea that will help my paper tons.  Once I’ve got that done, I can relate all the facts that I’m writing now to my revised thesis.  No point to really do it twice.

So things are moving along.  I’m really happy with my progress so far, and I’m getting anxious to get to the revising part.  I’m so close to the end of this degree!  It sucks that I’ve got to research a few more sources…thought I was passed that…but I guess that’s part of the process.  See where there are holes and fill them as you go.  I’m on track to have some sort of a complete draft in two weeks, although with the change in advisors I have more time if I need it.  I’m working so hard, I hope I don’t need it!

 

 

 

 

 

In the zone with my research and rocking to Ladyhawke‘s “My Delirium.”

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