The defense drew first blood

Literally, it did.

Right before I started speaking, I brushed up against the edge of the podium, opening up my arm to bleed freely during the presentation.  How’s that for sacrificial symbolism?

The defense itself went fine; I was exactly on time (20 minutes) with no major embarrassments in anything I said or did (except, of course, for the whole blood thing).  My dress was not tucked into my underwear.  Phew.

The questions were not unlike what I had predicted to Paul the night before, when he pleasantly listened to my presentation AND (this is a big, important and) suffered through my thought process about what I’d left out of the presentation (what I’d set UP for questions) and what questions I was expecting.

Yes, these things are really thought out.

So, I answered questions and listened to discussion, and took some notes.  The things you’d expect.  There were no big surprises and parts of the discussion were really fun, in that academic-geeky-love-research sort of way.

I was asked to leave for “deliberation” and spent about 3 minutes in the hallway where everyone asked why the cat had mauled me that morning and left me bleeding openly through my defense (now they know the evils of the podium).  After a few minutes of people saying good job, my committee chair came out to say, “Congratulations, Doctor!” and invite me back in.

“We were having a really great conversation, Holly, and we wanted you to join in.”

Hearing this is much better than, “We’re bringing you back in to talk about the extensive revisions we feel you need to do.”

In short, I have to add a table to my dissertation before turning it into the Dean for binding and copy-writing.  That’s REALLY NOT BAD.  In the scope of things they could have asked me to do, this is sort of the academic equivalent of coloring in the picture before turning it in.

One would think that I’m filled with relief, and it’s true that it feels wonderful to be through this, though I’m really not sure yet.  Maybe it just takes a few days to sink in.

The defense is done.  Done.


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Our house, 6am, September 15th, 2010.

Except I’m the guy and Paul’s the girl.


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Tonight, I hope…

T-minus 11 hours…


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Fashion Sense?

Somehow or another, the Dean’s Office accepted my request for defense.  It’s been a week since the papers were delivered. Without the email equivalent of a Hogwart School Howler appearing in my Inbox, I am left with the assumption that this is actually happening.  I’m defending my dissertation on the 15th*.

All in all, I feel pretty good about it.  I’m ready.  Today, I washed my face with shampoo.  This sort of scatter-brained behavior can only be a positive sign of my fitness for academic life.

Still, I’m nervous because I want to look sharp.  Something that comes across neat and clean, but not too pretentious or flashy for our 9am presentation.  Suits are really out for me (they never fit right) so I’m left looking for some sort of outfit that makes me seem like a suitable Wonder Woman – Mother – International Professional – (hopeful) PhD in a creative, modern manner.

In short, I’m hoping to avoid the mid-presentation discovery that I’ve tucked my skirt into my underwear… but in the event this does happen (because I’m trying to face the truth that this is a very real possibility) I’m hoping that the outfit is sharp enough that I can recover a little bit of dignity.

Thanks to the shopping help of a friend, I brought home this plain shirt dress (which, FYI, is on sale at Macy’s):

What do you think?  Does it work?

Here’s an unflattering picture of me in it, holding up the shoulders because it needs to be taken in a bit (yes: I’m short).

The photo is compliments of Will and my phone:

But here’s the question: how do I dress this up?

Links to suggested looks: accessories, jewelry, shoes, make-up, whatever.  All are appreciated.



*Well.  As long as the storm-formally-known-as-Gaston manages to stay out of the Gulf.


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New Twist on my sneezing.

Here is the original.


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