Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's been eons..

I’m the kind of person who ignores aches and pains and sniffles and spasms and twinges and wobbles and chills. If there is any conceivable way I can pretend that I’m not coming down with something, then I do. Which it was why it was damn scary when I woke up one morning in October entirely blind in one eye and almost entirely blind in the other. I really couldn't ignore that (even if I wanted to….bumping into the furniture and pouring myself an early morning glass of tahini would have tipped Moody off pretttttty quickly). Following a pretty serious misdiagnosis by my optometrist, I was admitted to the Flaum Eye Institute, where the doctors told me that the stem cells in my eyes were dying, allowing cells from other parts of my eyes to take root and obscure my vision.

The doctors were hopeful that—because I’m young and healthy—the process might be reversed with surgery, but there was no rush, and (after a few minor procedures) they gave me six weeks on medication to see if they could summon a (scalpel-less) miracle. AND SUMMON THEY DID. Thank goodness, because eye surgery was the very last way I wanted to end my last semester of PhD coursework. And silver linings are really really real, folks. The entire art history department at UofR chipped in to grocery shop for Moody and me while I was out of commission, and my students all sent me chipper “get well soon” cards. There was a lot of love, and it made bumping into the furniture much, much less demoralizing. I can’t ever use contact lenses again and my glasses situation is complicated (I have the unholy misfortune of being allergic to metal, plastic, AND rubber), but I’m not going blind anymore. And that is really, really good news.

Christmas was great (but when is Christmas not great?). Moody and I went down to New York City to visit his parents, and I’m convinced they’re the nicest people in the world. Mama Moody took one look at my raggedy-ass winter coat and decided we were going shopping. Papa Moody briefly considered my vegetarianism and decided it was invalid. I ended up with a cashmere pea coat (waaaaay too nice for the likes of me) and a lot of questions (“But you eating fish won’t hurt you, right?”), and had an entirely wonderful break from dreary old Rochester.

Now that I’m finished with coursework, the real labor has begun. I’m not on campus every day now, and the dissertation process is all the more intense for the lack of structure. The name of the game is self-discipline. I've assembled a fabulous dissertation committee (Rachel Haidu, Douglas Crimp, and Joel Burges) and, for now, I’m reading as much as possible. Because my work centers on the theorization dwelling (and therefore must touch upon the subprime crisis), I want to build up a firm understanding of its economic context since the 1970s. It’s somewhat of a masochistic task (economics is not exactly my cup of tea), but I know that my project won’t be complete without having muddled through it.

That’s all for now, and I’ll try to be better about updates this spring. Expect some artsy and musical goodness soon!

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