Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas looms.....

The last week before the schools break up for Christmas and, as usual I am torn between relief and alarm. Relief that, from Monday next, we won't have to get up at the crack of dawn for a while (dawn? was still pitch black an hour after that, at 7.30 this morning) to set the family juggernaut in motion: Alarm that, as usual, I have achieved far less than I'd hoped to have done academically by this point in time. It's been particularly hard over the past few weeks, what with the Bright-Eyed Boy's ongoing virus/anxiety problems and the distractions of the German reading skills assignment/assessments. I keep looking at my marked up thesis chapter and putting it down again - I need to spend a good few hours at a stretch to make inroads on my supervisor's comments. Today, for example, I have grudgingly done the usual bare-minimum household stuff (plus some Christmas card writing) and now find myself staring at German verb tables in preparation for tommorrow's in-class grammar test. I am annoyed that I care how I do in it - I really cannot afford the time, but feel compelled to put in a good performance. Tch! What a pain!
I think that I'm going to have to start using my satellite (bedroom) study again over Christmas, as the ground floor will be given over to toys, games, telly watching and (after Christmas Day itself) two electric guitars! It was a real God-send having that bit of personal space in the summer and meant that I felt I was actually maintaining control over the doctoral process, rather than letting everything slip during the holidays. It will probably help if I have some sort of rudimentary plan to stick to as well, so that - even on the most unproductive of Yule-tide days - I manage to feel that I've achieved at least something, which is absolutely essential so that panic doesn't set in come January! Parsing Greek verbs is always a good task: working my way through the Pauline epistles in this way is really quite dull (but absolutely esssential for helping me spot discourse prominence) - but like most dull and mechanical tasks, can be done with less than 100% concentration and can become soothing and even therapeutic. I shall shut my laptop down soon and head of into town. I am acutely aware that I need a bit of a break, and will be doing myself no favours by flogging an unwilling horse.

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