Apr 18, 2011

What I’ve Done on My Blogging Break

A lot of work, mostly. But also:
  • Had family over and took them to York
York in Spring

York in Spring again
  • Had friends over and took them out for delicious Lebanese food
Lebanese Food
  • Dealt with stress by getting high on sugar a little too often
cupcakes
  • Did a whole lot of dissertation research
Dissertation books
  • Took advantage of the spells of lovely spring weather to do some of my dissertation-related reading in the park (and okay, I might have sneaked in some Diana Wynne Jones)
Reading in the park
  • Went for walks and marvelled at the lovely blossoms everywhere
Magnolia tree
  • Hauled the aforementioned dissertation books to the Lake District and read them in the evening, after spending the days rambling among the sheep.
Baaaa

Windermere

Lake District

Lake District

I’ve missed you all more than I can say, but unfortunately this is more of a Hi! I’m still alive post than a proper return one. Things are likely to continue to be very busy indeed until early May, when my dissertation proposal and my remaining final assignments are due (after which I expect I’ll remain busy, but at least I’ll only be working on one thing at once). So I might be unable to resume regular posting until next month – though I’m really hoping to be able to squeeze in a review of Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman before the end of April, and thus join in the Year of Feminist Classics fun.

I have been doing a little bit of fun reading – other than the Diana Wynne Jones you no doubt spotted in one of the picture above, I have thoughts to share on Naomi Novik and on a couple of non-fiction books. But those will likely have to wait for another couple of weeks: I actually have a folder full of half-finished posts, but after an entire day of school-related writing my wrists simply refuse to cooperate if I even consider the idea of doing any further typing for fun.

All these weeks of intensive and solitary school work have left me feeling a little lonely and disconnected from the world at large. I really miss the daily interaction and exchange of ideas that comes with blogging regularly and commenting on other blogs. So I’d love it if you took a minute to tell me what you’ve been up to lately. Read anything good? Gone to any interesting places? Done anything different? Also, feel free to drop me some interesting links – I have no idea when I’d have the time to actually read them, but it would be great to know they’re there for when I have some time to spare.

59 comments:

  1. Such beautiful pictures! You are dearly missed but I hope you are enjoying all the learning! ;)

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  2. Library school is hard and isolating; stick with it. I'm fascinated to know what you're planning for your dissertation.

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  3. Lovely pictures, and it sounds like you had a lovely (if busy and sometimes lonely) time. I do understand that thing of wrists refusing to cooperate!
    And quoting Amy, you are missed, but we'll all be still here when you come back!

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  4. Amy: Aw, thank you! I think I am, but it's probably one of those things I'll appreciate more on retrospect, once all the stress is gone :P

    Verity: As I keep telling myself, almost there now! My dissertation is about gender and the social construction of the act of reading - to be precise, about whether teenagers perceive reading as a gendered hobbie, and if so, whether that's a better explanation for the gender gap in reading than the popular theory that most children's and YA books are just too "girly". So far the literature review has been equally fascinating and infuriating :P

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  5. Hi Ana! I know this is just a passing 'hi' but I wanted to come say hello anyway. I miss you, we all do. Your pictures are beautiful. I hope things calm down for you after the next month, and you stop getting sick all the time!

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  6. Scribacchina: I'm terrified of getting
    carpal tunnel syndrome again, as I had it before during a busy period and it was not pretty! And thank you so much for the kind words :D It's very good to know you won't all forget about me while I'm gone :P

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  7. Amanda: Thank you! I'm really really hoping that once I'm devoting 100% of my attention to my dissertation things will get easier. And then hopefully my immune system will stop reacting so badly to all this stress :P

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  8. We're missing you while you're away but know you're doing what you need to do. It looks like you have gorgeous scenery to enjoy.

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  9. Those photos are gorgeous!

    Sounds like you're making good progress on the dissertation front, though.

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  10. I've been up to the same thing, except minus the beautiful English scenery. I'm jealous!

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  11. Yay Ana! Know exactly what you mean about the disconnection, it's a very strange thing. Looking forward to hearing about your dissertation.
    All good here at Stormfilled central, back from my break and using the Carnegie shortlist as an excuse to reread all of Chaos Walking. Aces.

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  12. I didn't do a library degree, but I did feel isolated during my dissertation - just me, some books, and occasionally the library. Your photos are beautiful at least - I have been enjoying the spring weather over in east Yorkshire as well, at least when I'm not looking at it from my window at work.

    Anyway, hello! Yes, you are missed, and we are all looking forward to your return.

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  13. Ana, you're doing really well, I think and you had a great time away from blogging.

    I wrote a PhD dissertation and I know how lonely it can be. Just keep at it so you finish on time and it won't drag on.

    Meanwhile, my blog had its 1 year anniversary last weekend (there's a giveaway if you're interested!) and otherwise, me and some other brave souls are working our way through 2666 by Roberto Bolano (not enjoying it very much, really).

    Good luck and thanks for sharing those beautiful pictures.

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  14. If the pictures are any indication then you have had some beautiful scenery and wonderful times with friends and family to help break up all that studying!!

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  15. Beautiful photos! I like seeing all those flowers. And sheep!

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  16. Yay! Lovely to see you back, but you have been missed. I am glad to see you are taking advantage of our lovely weather at the moment. We look forward to you coming back soon.

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  17. Hi!

    Love the pix of sheep and the magnolia, especially.

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  18. You don't need to hear from me again obs but just wanted to drop by and say your pictures are so pretty :) I am absolutely going to want to see this disertation when it's handed in (if that's ok with you) btw.

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  19. Hi! I miss you! At least you have some fabulous trips in your pocket and some pretty weather, too :-) I hope the dissertation-ing is going well. I have only read and reviewed one book of note that stands out to me, that I think you've already read. Kindred, by Octavia Butler. LOVE!

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  20. I love the photos, and there's not a chance no one will miss you! In fact, as I was reading Among Others I kept thinking of all the books I read I would never be reading but for you!

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  21. We miss you, Ana! I hope the dissertation and everything goes on smoothly for you. And, I love all the pics you posted; they are beautiful!! :)

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  22. What a beautiful post - the pictures are gorgeous and what fun you seem to be having ;)

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  23. Those pictures are drool-worthy. It looks like you've had some lovely eye candy to oggle in and around the workworkwork side of things!

    I'm prepping for my return to Canada, myself. :( I've been trekking out to all my favourite places, saying goodbye.

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  24. Miss you, lady! Your pictures are beautiful, and I hope you cease to feel lonely and disconnected.

    While you have been away I went to see Arcadia and it was amaaaaaaaaaaaaaazing and I loved it forever and I desperately want to go see it again. And I also discovered NPR's Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, which is totally charming and if you ever DO have some time to spare, I'd recommend listening to it. :)

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  25. Sweetie, we will be here when you get back. No worries! Interesting things I've been up to: read Their Eyes Were Watching God and loved it. Read a ton of graphic novels and have a ton more to read. Now I'm just hanging out waiting for spring break to arrive next week. Take care of yourself.

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  26. nice see you back ana ,I love york beentwice with work in last year ,hoping Amanda and myself can go this summer ,all the best stu

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  27. I think the proposal and lit review are the most tedious & terrifying aspects of writing a dissertation. So much stuff to read, and what if you miss a vital text? Stress! Once you get all that sorted out in your head, it seems to get easier. Also, your topic is something you're really interested in, and that makes the whole exercise worthwhile. I loathed my topic & lost the will to live many, many times.

    Those are lovely pictures. Looks as though you've been able to take a few sanity breaks, which are vital! I have to say that reading about you and Iris and your study "challenges" is putting me right off applying to do further study myself. I don't think I need the heartache!

    Hang in there, Ana. We miss you. X

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  28. OMG those pictures! They make me want to escape my life! Funny the first two remind me of Outlander. And the one of your feet, laying in the grass is my favorite. I've been reading alot (readathon helped) and am desperately trying to get caught up on reviews. I miss you!

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  29. It's good to see you enjoying England while you're there learning!

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  30. Your photos are lovely! Looks like you snuck in some great stuff. Good luck with the dissertation! We look forward to hearing more from you when you have time.

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  31. Beautiful, beautiful photos. Glad to see you had such a fantastic time, and welcome home.

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  32. Looks like you've been having awesome weather for your internet break.

    I hear you about the carpal tunnel. I've been typing almost around the clock and I have to keep giving myself breaks so mine doesn't flare up.

    Found a short story I'm really interested in reading: http://www.40kbooks.com/?page_id=133&category=13&product_id=52

    Enjoy your time off!

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  33. Wow, you have been really busy! Grad school is so intense over here that I'm amazed you managed to fit in all the things you have. I can't remember doing much other than studying! But I quite see that it's hard to post after typing on something else all day. It's lovely to hear from you every once in a while - don't overstretch yourself because then it's hard to enjoy anything that you're doing. Take good care of yourself.

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  34. I heart the Lake District and always think of Elizabeth Bennett's disappointed of not having the chance to go there :)

    I've just returned from a two week holiday in Thailand and Malaysia, so still getting my blog momentum back.

    Now you've make me crave Lebanese!

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  35. Oh Ana, those pictures were just beautiful, and I would love the chance to visit there myself one day. I must say, you are an excellent photographer! I also have been thinking about you, and missing your posts, and am glad to hear that you will be back shortly. I hope that all is going well with preparing for your dissertation, and that you come beck fresh and revived. The book I think is worth mentioning to you is Horns by Joe Hill. I have a feeling that you would really love this one. It's got a lot of supernatural elements and tells a heck of story to boot. If you get the chance to read it, I'd love to hear what you think.

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  36. Ahhh it's so beautiful where you are right now!!! And your dissertation reading looks fascinating. I hope you're having a good time!

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  37. Despite the dissertation work, it sounds like you've had a really really lovely blogging break! I'm a bit jealous of the scenery--I especially love the picture with the blossom trees. How gorgeous.

    Good luck with your studies and research. That bit I don't envy but know you'll do fabulous work.

    Nothing new here. Just waiting for that baby to make her appearance. You saw the tweet about her being here at the lastest on Monday. Can't wait!

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  38. The pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for sharing and good luck with the research.

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  39. Lovely pictures! Good luck with the dissertation!

    This is one of my favorite bookish sites, though you might be familiar with it already: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/specials/133_wbc_archive_new/index.shtml
    Those podcasts are good distraction, if you need something non-dissertation related every once in a while. :)

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  40. Your pictures are amazing! Keep on enjoying life and we'll be here.

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  41. Even if you haven't been blogging, it sounds like you've gotten some quality reading in. I'm impressed that you are able to keep up with everything that you have going. We'll miss you but enjoy your blogging break (if you want to call it that) :)

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  42. The Lake District! Daffodils! I so wish I could be there. I've changed blogs recently, was at A Few of My Favourite Books, am now at Lavender Tisane", so that's the main thing I've been up to lately. I hope you're doing well and I love the photos. Oh also I'm giving away some Harry Potter postcards for my one year blogoversary thing if you're into that. :)

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  43. Even looking at the pictures is relaxing.

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  44. Well, you already know how little I've been up to. Or at least how little of interest. :P But Ana, I really loved this post. I know I've already seen many of these pics on tumblr, but somehow seeing them all here together makes me feel just a wee bit better. I just hate so much how stressful thing have been for you, and it's just nice to see that interspersed there have been moments when you've been surrounded by beauty. I know that doesn't erase the stress, but hopefully it gives you moments of calm. Love you, my dear.

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  45. Beautiful photos! Glad to hear you have had a good break. Take care of yourself! All I can say is, it's a good thing I finished my master's thesis before I started blogging. :)

    I just finished Titus Groan: amazing, want to read the rest of the trilogy now.

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  46. Glad to hear you managed to squeeze in some fun time in between the bouts of research and studying! :) The pictures look so great, I wish we had more blossoms here, though the weather is grand and I shouldn't complain.

    I'm admittedly drooling over your research pile pic, is that even allowed? ;D What is your topic btw? Good luck & lots of fun with your dissertation, Ana! And we'll be here waiting until you've time for blogging again :)

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  47. Sounds and looks as though you have been very busy on your "break". I have been busy with my work and getting ready to travel to Germany for a trade show next week. I hope to get in some sightseeing if at all possible.

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  48. I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about Novik's books, especially since you came to them after Jo Walton, I think?

    If you ever have time, I'd be interested in an international take on the book about adjuncts in higher education I reviewed a while back: http://necromancyneverpays.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-basement-of-ivory-tower.html

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  49. Wow, such a gorgeous place. I find sheep's very cute. Glad to know you are having a good time even after all this stress.

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  50. Thank you so much for sharing all of those lovely pictures! I'm glad you have been able to sneak in some fun things in between working on your dissertation.

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  51. Studying in a greenspace is one of my goals this term, I can't think of anything more inspiring perhaps bar a library. Beautiful photos, and your research books look very interesting!

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  52. lovely pictures, Nymeth. You make me really want to go to the Lake District. And well, England in general. I do hope when you're finished with things you'll share some about your dissertation. Those books about boys and literature sound like they come together quite interestingly....

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  53. You break seems lovely, great photos. I love Lebanese, yum! :-)I'm having trouble finding time to blog myself, but hey, that's life. Need to get more organised, I think!

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  54. Beautiful pictures! Sounds busy but fun - all the best!

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  55. I've been missing your posts Nymeth but totally understandable given all that you have to do for your dissertation!

    It's been a bit quite on my end as well given that my work has been insane busy and now I'm changing jobs (yay). I've missed blogging regularly and visiting with friends too.

    Good luck with finishing up everything for school and hope you get to sneak in a few "fun" books for yourself :)

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  56. So insanely jealous, look at all the gorgeous places you've been!! Hope you get some much needed rest after the beginning of May!

    I haven't been anywhere or done much as my little one is due sometime in May.

    Please post more of anything...reviews, photos, anything!

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  57. YOrk! The city I lived in! The daffodils outside the castle walls are how I first saw the city and fell instantly in love with it. Gorgeous shots, then, Ana. How did your family (and you) like York?

    Then, those lovely blossoms, and then the Lake District photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us - it feels like we went a little way with you,while you are working on your dissertation and other things. I've missed you!! I hope you are having fun, most of all :-)

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  58. The images alone make this look like a very wonderful and relaxing break. Wow!

    Unfortunately most of what I've been up to lately is overwhelming work related projects, what with a new computer system going in and extra long work days trying to get it all built the way we need it. I'm looking forward to our anniversary trip late next week.

    Last weekend we took a friend's daughter to one of the two annual art fairs that grace our city. It was wonderful and inspiring and just a whole lot of good fun.

    Lately I've been reading a collection of the articles of a newspaper writer named C.W. Gusewelle. They are wonderfully written examinations of a life well lived, and sometimes not so. I find myself repeatedly touched by his work and inspired to be a better historian of my own life and thoughts. The book is called "On the Way to Other Country". It is very good.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.