Thursday, December 20, 2007

Almost Christmas...

Well. My essay is handed in, but I have been holed up in the library for a good chunk of most of the previous two weeks anyhow. It hasn't been unpleasant, however, as I get to spend quite a bit of time reading Irish fairy tales and ancient legends. I'm writing my dissertation on Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds, and his own source material (material he stole as much as anything else) is quite extensive. I've also been plodding my way through texts on Irish Orientalism (I shouldn't say plodding. It's actually very interesting and I do enjoy it. It can make for rather dense reading, though). The worst part of all of it is that the library is COLD. It's much more pleasant if you sit by the windows, but it gets warmer when you move away from the windows. Saturday, as one of the total of six or so people in the upper reading rooms, I actually needed my hat, coat, scarf, AND gloves just to work. Ugh.

The rest of Oxford is cold as well. It's beautiful and frosty, but I am fairly sure the temperature is below the BBC's purported 2 degrees Celsius. Even my lined gloves couldn't save my hands today. I've been guzzling tea and soup just to keep myself from hypothermia, and running has been out of the question even though I've been desperate to see Port Meadow all frosted over.

My week has been quite busy even outside the library. The Christmas shopping is all done; Dean wrapped all the presents and stuck them in the fireplace with lights, and it looks very festive. Meagan came to see me on Tuesday, and Kim and I wandered around yesterday. I learned that Magdalen College's deer park has more than twenty deer, not the occasional few I had assumed. Including a white one, calling to mind all manner of literary references. There were also quite a few dead deer at the covered market, as well as a hairy boar bigger than me and more turkeys than I have ever seen in my life. And pigs, and rabbits, and pheasants, and fish, and anything that anyone MIGHT eat for Christmas. Yum. Or not.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's December! It's December! I'm jumping up and down!

And....Dean is laughing his head off. Well. He does whenever I get hyper and excited about December. Autumn is my favorite season, and the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is my favorite time of year. Dean, however, is just a liiiiiittle bit humbug-ish. I think he will be getting Dickens for Christmas.

Our Thanksgiving celebration last week was marvelous, even given our 75 pounds (that's sterling, not weight) turkey. It was huuuuge. And expensive. I found what I now think is the BEST pumpkin pie recipe ever (it had better be, with all the double thick heavy cream it had), and we managed to squeeze about 20 people into Dean's living room in London, a mixture of Americans and British friends. See the American flag we made? No? :)!

I have been working nonstop (read: 6-8 hours many days a week) on my essay for this term. I'm writing about the ways in which Yeats, Synge, and Lady Gregory used anthropological/ethnological techniques in order to a) turn the discourse of the colonial power back onto itself and b) work themselves into the system by making their own role as intermediary between the native and the metropolis an essential one. I am not sure whether I am going over the top on my research; I still feel like I'm in thesis mode from last year and have this idea in my head that I have to read EVERYTHING. Which I suppose can only help, as long as I can fit all of my thoughts into 5000-7000 words. That's not a lot of words...

I have decided on a dissertation/thesis topic and submitted it; I will be writing about Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds and its relationship to postcolonialism. I was assigned as my supervisor the professor whose class I just took - Elleke Boehmer - one of my favorite tutors so far. I'm quite happy with I have to start reading...

Speaking of reading...I am writing this post in order to procrastinate. Well, I've reached my writing goal for today (I have 3000 words done!) but have loads to read. I am also going to the HMV staff party tonight, even though I quit and yesterday was my last day. I just decided I would rather spend allllll day in the library than make money :).