30 March 2009

Frustrations on the Eve of Finishing Up

My dissertation is due in two days. Two days! Yay! And I'm feeling pretty good about it. I realize that I'm doing something that is not very common, so people don't know much about the process. However, the following list details my frustrations with what I've heard over the past year and a half!

1. No, I am not writing a thesis. Sometimes people write a doctorate thesis, so I understand the confusion. However, I already wrote a thesis for my master's. Been there. Done that.

2. If I'm not writing a thesis, then I AM DEFINITELY NOT WRITING A PAPER! People often ask me: "How is your paper going?" I appreciate that they are interested. However, papers are generally anywhere from 1-40 pages. If you write something over 150 pages, it is no longer a paper. If you write something that is organized into chapters, it is no longer a paper. Just wanted to make that clarification. (In case you didn't get the hint, do not ask me about my "paper." Ever.)

3. Yes, I will finish this dissertation. Often people wonder why it's taking me so long. I'll tell you why... In the course of the past year and a half I have: Had a baby. Experienced post-partum depression. Moved from Austin to Denver. Bought a house. Moved from an apartment to a house. Found out that I was pregnant. Found out that I was not pregnant. All the while, I've been caring for a little boy. So, yes, this has been a long process. But, seriously. Seriously. Cut me some slack. And, for the record, most people take an entire year to write their dissertations. I think I'm doing pretty damn well. In fact, I basically kick ass.

4. Yes, I will get a job. No, I do not know what I want to do. In this economy I won't be choosy. That being said, if anyone has any leads on any nonprofit or government or academic job openings, please send them my way.

5. No, you may not read my dissertation. Although I have been working on this project for quite some time, I am not necessarily proud of it. When I dissect it into conference papers, then you may read it. No one wants to read 150 pages of drivel anyway. My committee members probably won't even read the whole thing. And who can blame them?

To recap: I'm not writing a thesis or and I am definitely not writing a paper. I'm writing a dissertation. There is a difference. Yes, I will finish. Yes, I will get a job. And, no, you may not read this masterpiece.

I feel MUCH better. Thank you for your time!

26 March 2009

Thank You!

Thanks to everyone for your kind words over the past few days. We are grateful for our fantastic and supportive family and friends.

The surgery went well yesterday. I'm feeling surprisingly well today and working on finishing this dissertation. It's due to my committee on April 1, so time is ticking away.

We'll keep you posted on any new developments. Again, thanks to everyone for everything.

24 March 2009

'No Baby'

Benny is starting to put two words together more and more. When he is finished with food, he says something like "Manana (banana) all done." When a bus drives by, he says "Bus. No bus." Whenever I ask him if he has a poopy diaper, he says "No poop." The last one is my favorite.

Using Benny speak, I'm sad to report that there is "No Baby." We waited a long time to make our official announcement about the baby because we wanted to make sure everything was OK. It turns out that the pregnancy was never normal, which we found out yesterday during our first ultrasound. Needless to say, we are surprised and shocked by this news.

Nate wrote a nice email to let friends know about this news:

... Interesting new developments in my life... Someone, somewhere seems hellbent on keeping me on my toes with a never ending ride of emotional peaks and valleys, and the journey continues.

As you were made aware, I was on my way to becoming a double daddy sometime this fall. To make a long story short, it turns out Sara is not pregnant. However, her body is going through the motions like she is pregnant. Officially, she has a "Molar Pregancy" and you can read about it here, if you are so inclined... http://www.obgyn.net/women/women.asp?page=/women/articles/molarpreg_dah The odds of this happening are 1 in 1000 or so. Basically, the sperm and egg meet but there isn't enough chromosome info (or maybe its too much), and no fetus is created. However, the body doesn't know this starts pumping out the baby-making hormones, a placenta is formed, and everything from the outside looks and feels like a normal pregnancy. Sara had morning sickness, grew a little pooch belly, all the typical stuff. We waited until she was the nearing of the end of the 1st trimester to let the cat out of the bag, thinking we'd be safe. It turns out we were not.

We're dealing with this latest turn fairly well, but it is a pretty large shock. It's much easier to handle considering there was never a fetus. We were getting very excited for another lil' un. We also cannot start trying for another year so that is a big disappointment as well. Sara goes into the hospital for a minor surgery tomorrow to prevent anything really bad from happening. She should be back on her feet again on Thursday. I'll keep you all up to date. Fortunately, we have Little Ben to make us smile and lift our spirits.

20 March 2009


That's right. My big news. Benny is going to be a "big bro," which means that I'm preggers. We had our first appointment at the Mountain Midwifery Center this afternoon. We weren't able to hear a heartbeat ... yet. Expect the newest addition to the Brown-Struckman family in October!

18 March 2009

Stay Tuned....

Big news will be posted tomorrow. Big news. And a picture. Big news and a picture. Be sure to tune in!


13 March 2009

First Stop: Husker-ville

As of 4 p.m. yesterday, I am on SPRING BREAK! It's my last "official" spring break. When I graduate next year, I won't have an excuse to party for a week at the beginning of spring. OK, OK, I don't necessarily party for a week. But, for the past five years, three friends and I meet up for a weekend of girl time. I look forward to this weekend for nearly an entire year.

This year, we're meeting up in Ames, Iowa (in past years, we've met up in more "glamorous" locations like San Diego and San Francisco). We have a schedule based on our favorite restaurants from college. La Fuente tonight. Cafe Beaudelaire later tonight. Stomping Grounds tomorrow morning.

I feel like I need a break more this year than any other year. Benny is staying with my mom and I'm footloose and fancy free until Sunday! Last night I stayed in Lincoln with my Pretty Girl friend. This afternoon we're off to Ames!

09 March 2009

The Monster Has a Name!

I finally did it. I sat down. Thought hard. And wrote a title for my dissertation. Some could argue that I should have done this long ago. Argue away! Here it is:

"The Toughness Conundrum": Contemporary Mainstream Media Images of Women in the Public Sphere during the "War on Terror"

Is that sexy or what???!!!

04 March 2009

The Bear at 18 Months


I'm done with the writing stage for my dissertation! I have a full draft (minus the final chapter - the conclusion). I printed out an entire copy of the first six chapters the other day. It's massive! And although it's not perfect, it's better than I thought it was a couple of weeks ago. So now I settle down to edit. A "nearly finished" draft is due to my committee on April 1. That's less than a month away! But I'm not too stressed. I forgot that editing is MUCH easier than writing. I've been writing for what seems like years.

Once I turn in that "nearly finished" draft I'll just have to work on my bibliography and formatting the actual document. That's nothing! This process is nearly OVER and none too soon!

On top of all that news, we are finally all healthy and Benny has been a real treat the past few days. He's saying new words all of the time. At the park today someone was talking about a bucket and he just blurted out "bucket." He's also very interested in counting and the alphabet. He can even recognize a few letters now and he counts with us (although he's pretty hard to understand).

All in all, this winter is ending very, very nicely! Bring on spring!