Friday, May 20, 2016

I've Been Doing A Lot of This Lately

Hi Ara,
I am pretty booked up right now and I'm not taking on any new projects for a while. But I do have two recommendations for people who you can call who I think could fit your daughter's dress in.  Both of them are excellent seamstresses. My first choice would be Nan Xxxxxx. Her phone number is xxx-xxxx or xxx'xxxx. Call her right away because she does get booked up too. She has done a lot of wedding dresses and formals. My second choice would be Aurie Xxxxxxx. She too does great work and I can highly recommend her. Her number is xxx-xxxx

I hope one of them works out for you. Congratulations on the wedding! What an exciting time for your family! Thank you for thinking to ask me, I appreciate your consideration.

I have been learning how to say "No" nicely. At least I think I'm doing it nicely. What do you think?

This has been a very difficult thing for me to do. I enjoy helping people out. I enjoy using my talents. I like sewing and creating new things and making beautiful things and solving problems.

I don't like being stressed out and having too many things to do. I don't like having to tell my kids that I'm too busy to help them with something.  I don't like not having the time to do a job perfectly (or as close to perfect as I am capable).

This has been a year full of things to be done: from housework, to homework; from teaching at the University to teaching in Seminary; from costumes to student development. Not to mention being a supportive wife and mother and friend. There has been a lot on my plate and it has been a learning experience. I have learned how to better manage my time, how to better prioritize my task list, how to let things go, and how to say "no".

How do you say no nicely?

Monday, May 02, 2016

The Best Gets Better

I'm a little obsessed with Kelly Slater. I've only seen him in person once and that was at a restaurant in Haleiwa just shortly after we moved here. I didn't have the guts to take a picture or say hi.

Kelly is an incredible surfer and I am especially amazed at his dedication to his sport. The fact that he was a 9x champion when this video was shot and he said that he thought he could still get better shows dedication and drive. He has gone on to win more World Surf League championships and continues to rock contests everywhere he goes.  He is two years older than me and 10-15 years older than most of his competitors. WOW!

Every once in a while when I am feeling down and old I like to watch this video and remind myself that if Kelly Slater thinks he has room for improvement then I do too. Does this video inspire you? Do you have a favorite video or idol you look up to for motivaton?

Saturday, April 23, 2016

How To Help Your Doctoral Student Complete Their Dissertation

How to Help Your Doctoral Student Complete Their Dissertation

pc:work desk via (license) CC by-nc-sa 2.0.

Ah, the dissertation! The seemingly never-ending last step to degree completion that puts the terminal into terminal degree.  Four years ago when my husband decided to pursue his doctorate I gave him a strict deadline: 2.5 years of classes and 1 year of dissertation work. For some this can go on for years. For us one year has been more than enough. The writing, the late nights, the literature, the research, the writing, the late nights, the statistics, the weekends, the holidays, the writing, the late nights, the procrastination, the mental blocks, the writing, the late nights, the distractions, the edits; all of it has been at times more than we thought we could bear.

PhD Widow comic.JPG
But this week, today actually, the final edit gets turned in and we--I mean he--are/is done! I am breathing a big sigh of relief and feel like after all this hard work I have learned something that I too must share: How to help your doctoral student complete their dissertation. I have adapted my thoughts from this article for academic advisors.

First, Make Them Write
For a while there in November, December, January (heck until 2 weeks ago!) I was thinking it wasn’t going to happen. He was gone all the time and the list of dissertation to-do’s was getting longer instead of shorter. The research kept getting rearranged and new statistical methods being applied. He was talking to a lot of people but he wasn’t writing.

Kerry Ann Rockquemore advises “For a wide range of reasons, the hardest thing for doctoral students to do is the one thing that will actually lead to a completed dissertation: sit their butt down and write!”

My strategy for making him write has evolved over the course of the dissertation. At first it was important for me to give him time to write. He needed the hours to get in the right frame of mind, to get stuff down, and to stay in that flow as long as possible. I was very careful to not give “curfews” on him or schedule events that would press him for time. If he was writing I wanted to make sure he could continue writing. This worked great for the first couple chapters; that is, until the fun of writing a dissertation wore off.

The next strategy I used was asking for a report on his progress: a simple “how’s it going and where you at?” Followed up every week or so with an offer to do proof-reading. It was a gentle friendly offer of help that also supplied proof of progress for me and a feeling of responsibility to produce for him. This really kept the ball rolling, until it didn’t.

A couple weeks ago he hit a wall. A really big wall. The whole thing was written in penultimate draft form but needed to be gone through with a fine tooth comb; all the chapters finally put together in one and made to be a concise and cohesive whole. That is when I pulled out all the stops and sat by his side. Yes, really. It is hard and overwhelming to look at what you’ve been doing for the past year and perfect it right down to the last subheading, space, and percent; so I sat by his side and looked through his reference books and google searched every last detail. At first it made him uncomfortable and a little self conscious but within the hour that had melted away. The other day I overheard him bragging to a co-worker about how much I had helped him straighten out his statistics.

Perhaps you can think of a few strategies that may work better for you? Ultimately if you want to help your partner finish their dissertation, first, make them write.

Then Eliminate Distractions

As I already mentioned writing takes time. To allow your partner to get the most out of their time help them to eliminate distractions. You can do this by not putting extra demands on their time nor allowing others to put extra demands on them. You can also do this by taking things off your partner’s plate, figuratively and literally.

For us we had a lot of distractions come up in the last month. The car broke down. There were extra demands at work. There were some family scheduling issues that needed ironing out. I made phone calls for him and took over a church service project for him. I enlisted the help of friends to get kids to their scheduled activities. I insisted on taking him to work and picking him up so he didn’t have to worry about fixing his car. I packed him lunches and brought him dinner and snacks so he didn’t have to leave for food.

Distractions can also come in the way of a need for exercise or time away from the project. We planned together for family time that was active play. He decided to turn off his messaging and email alerts while he was “dissertating” and he avoided working on the dissertation in places and at times of day where distraction was inevitable, like at home and in the early afternoon.

Eliminating or lessening distractions is essential in helping your significant other finish their dissertation. What distractions can you help your partner overcome?

And Then Get to Work With Them
You can’t formulate their hypothesis, do their research or create their tables and figures but there’s plenty you can do. Familiarize yourself with their field of study so you can be a worthwhile and easily accessible sounding board. Learn to speed read. Freshen up on your APA (or whatever format style they use) and stats. Be available as a resource for them. They aren’t sure if Figure 1 is supposed to be italicized? Find out for them (it is). They need to know the proper abbreviation for mean? Find out for them (M). They need to know when to use % vs percent? Find out for them (2% vs two percent)! They don’t have time to look up that little piddly junk. They’ve got bigger things to think about, yet those little things still must be taken care of. You can do that for them.

Working alongside my husband this past week has actually turned out to be a really fun project. I brought snacks, we’d turn on music, we worked both together and separately proof-reading and finalizing his work. We debated the relevance of some of the findings and played with ideas for future research together. He felt supported and good about his work and I felt like he was grateful I was helping him stay on track.

Helping your partner with the piddly details of their dissertation helps keep them on track and feel supported in their work. What kind of dissertation help would your significant other appreciate from you?

We will be celebrating tonight though we know his work is not actually done yet.  Next up is defending the dissertation and that is still a couple weeks out. I’m sure we will have some more late nights in preparation. I will continue being a support to him encouraging him, clearing distractions and working alongside him where I can. I hope these tips will help you and your doctoral student and if you have other ideas you’d like to share I’d love to hear them!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Favorite Quotes: Learning

"Learning must be a way of being – an ongoing set of attitudes and actions by individuals and groups that they employ to try to keep abreast of the surprising, novel, messy, obtrusive, recurring events…” 
Peter Vaill in Learning as a Way of Being

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Look Closely

“Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming.” 
-Alice Walker

I've been grading final papers for my student development class today. This assignment is completed over the course of the semester and is a personal assessment in seven parts. 

  • Part one students lay out their personal motivations and goals in life. 
  • Two is a reflection on their past and current behaviors, habits and strategies. 
  • Three they analyze the effectiveness of their behaviors, habits and strategies in relation to their goals. 
  • Four they collect honest and forthright  feedback from 5 or 6 trusted individuals on their strengths and weaknesses. Three of these are from equals and 2 are from superiors. 
  • Five they evaluate the outside reflections for similarities. 
  • Six is where they compare the feedback they received from others with their personal reflections in section 3. They look for similarities and surprising differences. 
  • Seven is their conclusion which includes a wrap up of their findings and areas for future action/study/thought.
Each semester I am surprised at just how whole heartedly the students attack this project and how happy they are with the end results. It warms my heart to read about the big goals they have, their strong desire to serve and to love others. They usually share a similar goal along the lines of "be happy" or "get better" at the beginning of the semester. By the end my hope is that that have defined that to something that is measurable and precise and something they are willing to continually strive towards.

I've had a great group this semester and I'm really gonna miss them. I wonder what next semester will bring me?

Friday, February 05, 2016

Dressing Inappropriately

In my AMPD 5023-Cultural Aspects of Dress class we had an interesting assignment this week. I was a little afraid to do it and really could have pushed my limits a little more. After submitting my assignment however I found I was more daring than most of my cohort. We were supposed to dress inappropriately for something.

Here's what I did:
I tried this several times because I never got the reactions I was expecting.

#1 Sunday: We went to Sunset Beach to watch the sunset. My family was all in their usual Sunday afternoon attire: shorts, t-shirts, hoodies. I kept my church clothes on all day and wore my skirt and blouse to the beach. I really would have preferred to have been in my other clothes because it would have been easier to sit in the sand without a skirt on. I felt really overdressed. A few people looked at me a little longer than I felt was normal. The message I was sending was that I was not expecting a trip to the beach or that I am not comfortable at, or don’t know what to wear to a beach? I learned that I needed to do it again in a more interactive environment.

#2 Monday: I went straight from surfing to the grocery store. I had a little beach dress on over my wet suit. My hair was tied up in a top knot and was still dripping wet. My feet were bare and covered in sand. I went to the pharmacy, to the produce section and through the checkout. The pharmacist didn’t hardly even look at me let alone look at me funny. The shoppers in produce were oblivious and the checker just asked me what’s for dinner. All totally normal. I felt really uncomfortable and worried I would run into someone from church or a student. I was blatantly out of dress code and though I wasn’t at work I’m still supposed to look professional in public; it is a small town. I was conveying the message that I’m a beach bum and I don’t care what others think? I learned that I needed to do it again in an even more interactive environment with people I knew.

#3 Thursday: I was a little nervous about wearing the outfit but at this point--after doing the other two experiments--I was just curious to see if ANYONE was going to say ANYTHING to me. I’m always worried about dressing appropriately, especially when I am on-campus. I am young looking and often get mistaken as a student. Though I knew I would look like a student in this outfit I wasn’t going to have any interactions with random people. I knew everyone I met on this day already knew me really well. They were all family, students, and close co-workers. Reactions to dress are detailed below in my blow-by-blow script. Because I never wear aloha shirts I think the message I was sending is that I am involved in a presentation and wearing a uniform for it. I was expecting people to ask me what I was doing today or if I had a new job. I learned that if you are wearing something out of the ordinary probably only those that you are really close to will say anything about it.

The full script/detailed notes from Thursday
6:02am (getting dressed. Husband rolls over in bed and spots me buttoning up my top.)
Husband: What are you doing?
Me: Getting dressed.
Husband: Do you have something going on in class today? a field trip to PCC? (laughs) (PCC is Polynesian Cultural Center)
Me: Yes. In my grad class.
Husband: Really?! What?
Me: I have to wear something out of context.
Husband: You look like a student worker
Me: Yep.

6:04am (walk out of room and down hallway past my 12 yo daughter, Cora)
Cora:That’s Afton’s shirt! (pause) It’s cute on you!
Me: Thanks.
Cora: Are you wearing that to work? (sounding incredulous)
Me: Yep.
Cora: Oh.

6:05am (walk into kitchen where my other daughter,15 yo Afton, and 17 yo son Kirkham are cleaning up from breakfast)
Me: Good morning. Are you ready to go?
Kirkham: (turns to greet me) Morning. Uh. . .
Afton: Nice shirt mom. (questioningly because I didn’t ask permission)
Kirkham: You look like a PCC worker mom. Like a student.
Me: Hmmm. (turning to Afton) Can I wear it?
Afton: I guess. Why?
Kirkham: Is it for something at work today?
Me: Yes. For my class.
Cora: Oh, what are you doing?! (I can tell she is thinking that it is either a performance or field trip. She loves hearing about these).
Me: I have to wear something out of context.
Kirkham: That’s weird.
Cora: I think you look cute.
Afton just nods as she walks out to get her backpack.

7:30am-8:30 am I teach a student development class with 20 students. Discussion is on money management. No one says anything about my clothes. I forget after about 15 minutes that I am wearing something unusual for me.

8:30-11am Office hours
8:30-8:45  Meet with a student in my office. Discussion is about her grades and her life. No mention of my clothes. I’m not really thinking about my clothes at all.
8:45-9:30 Read emails, read news, read updates on classes.
9:30 I look down and remember what I am wearing and decide to take a picture in my office mirror (my office is the campus costume shop)

Unfortunately my office stayed pretty quiet for the next while. Usually my office mate is in by 9 with his homeschooled daughter who does her work in his office. He has quite a few students who come to the office on a normal day. Today it was crickets.

10:50am my student Luis comes in to use the workspace for his final project. He looks at me a little peculiarly but doesn’t say anything about my outfit.

noon Carly arrives for class. She is not very observant and so I am not surprised she doesn’t look at me funny or say anything.

12:05pm Meg arrives for class. She does look at me a little sideways but doesn’t ask any questions about, nor bring up my choice in apparel.

12:10pm Kierrah arrives. She looks at me funny. She looks at me up and down and stares. She looks like she is about to say something to me but Meg asks her a question about the field trip over the weekend--I took them to the World of Wearable Art exhibit at Bishop Museum. Kierrah turns to talk to Meg.

12:10-2:10pm is class time. Each of the students work on their final project independently and I hop between each one to check progress and coach them through. While working on projects students’ discussion floats from the field trip to wearable art. They stay on this subject for a while and try to figure out the difference between artistic nudity (depicted in some of the exhibit’s displays) and pornography. Conversation turns to upcoming movies and the meaning of the characters’ outfits and then they land on the university dress code. The students stay on dress code for a while and debate back and forth whether dress code is to teach them to be professional or if it is a religious symbol of faith and preparation for the temple. They try to come to a conclusion on why some students choose to not honor the dress code and what should be done about it. They can’t come to a consensus on perceived motives.  They are talking about why they choose to wear the clothes they wear when I interrupt. (I love that their conversation has naturally taken this turn!)

2:10pm Class time is over. I interrupt to remind them to clean up their stations before leaving and  add my two cents about their conversation. It goes something like this:

Me: None of you said anything about my out-of-the-ordinary outfit today. I’m wondering if any of you were wondering why I chose to wear this today.

Luis: I thought maybe you just hadn’t done your laundry. You know one of those days when you have to wear whatever is left. (He and Carly start laughing about his outfit last week when the same happened to him)

Kierrah: I kept wanting to ask you but I wanted to do it privately and everyone kept asking for your help. I didn’t want to seem judgmental or whatever. (she looked very relieved that it was brought up).

Luis: So it wasn’t a laundry thing?
Carly smacks him and we all laugh.

Me: No. It was a class assignment, an experiment, to wear something out of context and see what people would say or how they would react.

Luis: That’s weird. We should do that.
Kierrah: You should have borrowed a wig from me.
Meg: I say you look like you're desperate for money and took a second job at PCC.

Friday, January 08, 2016

The End of the Road: Our Last Summer Adventure

Found this in my unpublished posts. This was originally written in July of 2015.

Kids go back to school this week which makes me really sad.  I always miss having them around. Before going back, however, we decided we needed to have an adventure day: a day to explore the one part of the island we have never been. We went south side, past Makaha all the way to Yokohama beach and the Kaena Point south trailhead.

Mom and Cora with Dave to the far right and Kirkham behind.  Not pictured but also in the car: Afton and Beau Kapeliela (friend from Washington who is a student at BYUH)

We loaded up early with picnic supplies and surfboards, snorkel gear and tennis shoes.  We didn't really know what the day would offer so we prepared ourselves for everything. We brought along our handy Oahu Revealed travel guide which is full of little known facts, stories and destinations.

Cora, Afton, Dave, Kirkham, Beau 

Here we are at the end of the road.  That was easy. It took us about 90 minutes to get here from our house. It was a beautiful day and nice and all but we decided not to go explore too far.  We had too much gear to leave in the truck and Dave's back wasn't feeling up to it anyways.

It looked pretty enough but we know that if there aren't any locals playing in it then it is not safe.  We stayed on shore.

This cave was pretty cool.  It was on the island side of the road heading back to Makaha from the end of the road. It went back quite a ways and we had fun exploring it.  Glad we had cellphones for flashlights but wished we had real ones.

Afton must prove that she is at peace

Cora and Dave join Afton, showing off their Karate kid moves.

Along the way we found the famed Electric Beach.  We were really hoping for a little more.  It was a hole in the wall beach, literally. Very small. Very unmarked. Felt a little sketchy. We did it anyways. I'm not a snorkelling fan so I stayed on the beach to read and babysit the gear in the truck.  Dave and the kids snorkeled out into the bay and said they had a great time.  The current gets a little strong here so it is not advised to go out without fins and excellent swimming skills. We heard there are usually dolphins playing here.  We didn't see any.

With Electric  Beach out of the way we decided to grab some grub at McDonalds. It wasn't in the original plan but they were having a 59 cent hamburger sale and we just couldn't resist. Everyone got two burgers and ice cream cone (also on sale for 59 cents). Such big spenders!

After filling our bellies we drove out to White Plains beach to burn off the calories. The beach was CROWDED and the waves were big and crazy.  The beach is huge there and when Kirkham and Afton grabbed their boards and ran out into the water they quickly disappeared. I quickly freaked out! I finally spotted Kirkham way, way out on the outside--thank goodness he had a yellow rash guard on--and made Dave paddle out to him to make sure he was safe.  By this time Afton realized the rashness of her decision and had caught the first inside wave she could catch and came in landing 200 yards down the beach from where she had set in! The currents were strong.

With Afton and Cora accounted for and Dave going out to retrieve Kirkham I quickly caught my obligatory three waves on some inside breaks that were crappy and sloppy and big. Done. We left satisfied that we don't have to go back. It is checked off our list.

Since it was an adventure day we took a different road home.  A back road called Kaukonahua Road that goes from Wahiawa to Haleiwa.  It was beautiful! We will take this road again. A lot less traffic and even more stunning views (hard to believe I know) than Hwy 99 through the pineapple fields.

We had a fabulous day today enjoying the beauty of our island. We are glad to have explored the last corner but now what do we do?

A Year Full of Injuries

We don't get hurt much here in the Dooley household but occasionally we like to go all out.  I was going through pictures today and found these beauties.  Enjoy? Thankfully the list is short this year. I, by far, was injured more than anyone else.  A few items not listed that ailed me was a broken toe, an injured shoulder, sprained wrist, and countless bumps and bruises; most sustained while surfing. Here's to health and happiness in 2016!

From January of 2015 sustained injuries from surfboard. Used crutches for 2 days post injury. Ended up with bruising from mid thigh down to the ankle. Still have a divot in my calf that the doctor says probably won't ever go away. 
Cora took a mean mosquito bite to the eye lid when we were camping.  It took about a week for the swelling to go down.  It happened again 2 months later.
This happened when I took a board to the noggin. I had a slight concussion, this goose egg and a headache for days. Don't remember much else.

Kirkham slipped on a sewer grate and this happened! Took us all by surprise.  Thankfully it healed quickly and it didn't bug him at all on our Kauai hiking adventure 2 weeks later.

Another surf injury this one sustained on December 31st. Spotted some sharks on the outside of the break and took the next wave in.  Was a little too anxious, got into the wave at the wrong spot and took a spin in the washing machine (when the waves grabs you and you get stuck in the middle of it spinning. sucks!).  In the spinning my fins whacked me on the backside of the head and the leash got wrapped around my legs. I was a little freaked.  A week later I still have the goose egg on the back of my head and the bruises on my legs. I'm just grateful I got away from the sharks.
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