Good meeting with Vince, yesterday. Filled him in on where I was, managing to sound reasonably confident that I could accomplish my goals. (Tricky, when I internally feel like I'm so far behind.) His main advice to me: a) enjoy reading these books; have fun with them, b) try to finish reading at least two weeks before my exam, so I can spend a few weeks just thinking about the connections between them, and c) in addition to having theses and such, try to have some thoughts of my own about the books. So that, when they ask me a question, I can first answer it, but then expand on that with something interesting and possibly even new. I suspect that's the difference between a passing exam and an impressive exam -- whether you do that second part or not. Me, I'll be quite content with a passing exam...but it would be lovely to be impressive, wouldn't it? It can't hurt to aim for impressive.
Afterwards, picked up Marcia, went to the grocery store, came back and made quick veggie sushi and curry dip (make a batch of spicy potato curry, mush it up with a potato masher, serve it with pita -- just like hummus but a) spicy and b) all carbohydrates, making it a good base for your drinking. :-) Had a terrific time last night -- it wasn't a big crowd, but it was a very good one. Paul and Marcia and Heidi and Deb and Doug and Peter and Sarah. We had some great discussions, ranging from department stuff to publishing stuff (Paul's editor of a department literary magazine, Western Humanities Review, and if you write exceedingly literary stuff, you should give them a go, because they're very short of good fiction) to teaching stuff to baby stuff (Deb is pregnant, and Jenn, who couldn't make it, is hugely pregnant) to Utah vs. the rest of the world stuff (i.e., Peter and I trying to explain to the rest of them why it's sometimes so uncomfortable just being in Utah (Peter is Italian and a New Yorker and very gay) -- and after all that, we managed to hit math, intuition, and a surprisingly long discussion of internalized racism, sexism, etc. That was mostly me, Paul and Sarah at the end there -- really good talk. Great time all around!
Slept like a baby under an electric blanket (mmm....I need to get me one of those), and then woke up at 6:30 with a hangover, drank some water, went back to bed, woke up at 8-ish feeling fine and dandy. Made tea, and here I am, chatting with y'all while they watch the shows they taped from last night. Soon Marcia will go into work, Paul and I will go into the department. I'm having coffee with Francois (a professor who isn't on my committee and whom I can therefore just enjoy chatting with) and then a 2 p.m. meeting with Katie (my committee chair). Hopefully that'll go as well as the previous two meetings. After that, I'll be done with responsibilities, and able to just relax, read, goof off with Paul, and then head back to Chicago around 4-ish tomorrow afternoon.