So it looks like there may be life after my dissertation after all! In spite of all the time I've spent working toward finishing, it was feeling less and less like a possible reality and more like wishful thinking.
I didn't end up going to Baltimore on the day I said I was going to (in my previous post) because I just had too much to finish up and to do before going to Florida. In fact, I didn't finish writing everything until I got to Florida - I spent the first day and night finishing it up, sent it off at 5 am to a friend in Baltimore who very kindly agreed to print it out for my advisors for me, and then I went to bed with the idea of relaxing for the rest of the trip.
And I definitely relaxed, but the dissertation was always in the back of my mind. As the days went on and I wasn't working, I certainly appreciated the time off and I think it was ultimately the best thing for me to step back from this project. But I still worried that I had taken my dissertation in a direction that my advisors wouldn't like or that I had made some really fundamental errors.
But my main advisor sent me an email on the 2nd, just before she left for a 10-day trip, and this really set my mind at ease. She wrote "Congratulations-- you are nearly there, and I think you've done an outstanding job of pulling together two very different approaches to the problem." and "I am so pleased with this penultimate draft-- congratulations again!" (well, obviously she wrote more than that, but those are the particularly good parts). She also talked about having already contacted the one committee member who is from a different university and said that when she gets back we should start setting up the whole comittee and setting a defense date.
So I am quite relieved. The time off was very necessary in so many ways, and it's a relief that finishing up my dissertation looks like it will be manageable and that I am very, very close!
I haven't actually gotten back to work yet though after getting that email because I still had to make the trip to Baltimore to collect the rest of the boxes of files and books from my office there, and then my friend Chiaroscuro came for a visit and we spent the afternoon yesterday walking around Philly with my newly acquired (on loan) cameras from my husband's father - a Mamyia C330 and a Canon AE-1. I will have more to say about these in the future, and hopefully photos to show! But since they are film cameras, I have no idea yet if any picutres I have taken will actually come out. Also I am resurrecting my old photoblogs, which I haven't posted to since last September. (I'll let you know when they're active again.)
So it's back to work for me today, and I have to confess that I am not particularly excited about it. There is a big part of me that is simply so tired of this project that I just want to leave it as is. But my advisor gave me some comments about very specific things to fix, so I'm going to do that while she's still away so that it will be as ready as possible when she gets back.