Saturday, September 26, 2015

Thesis is Defended!

Last Monday was a very good day. I had hairapy at Salon Rouge, donned my summer khaki-colored business suit with the sapphire top since it was still technically summer, and strolled down to Wiekamp Hall at Indiana University South Bend. Since March 2014 I have been waiting for this day, sometimes patiently, most days anxiously, to meet and defend my thesis. Steve walked with me, encouraging as always. He said he was more nervous than I was.

The experience was like my academic advisor had suggested: it was more of a celebration and a thoughtful discussion on my topic, which is expressive freewriting. I spoke for about 5-7 minutes on the writing process, key concepts, prolific authors, and the takeaways.

After my introduction, it was a question and answer session with the thesis committee (which I hand-picked) and with the Director of the MLS program. I thought fielding the questions would be difficult, but it really was not difficult at all.

When the question and answer session was over, I was asked to leave the room while the committee pondered about my fate. (Just kidding—I had a very good feeling when I left the room.) When I re-entered the room, it was brought to my attention that not only did I pass, but I completed the project with an A-! I was expecting a B or B+, so I was pleasantly surprised.

The thesis was meant to be because I am more excited about the prospects than when I started this process. This thesis and the MLS program (Master of Liberal Studies) was meant to be a community service-oriented degree, and I intend on doing good things with it!

The final steps are to format the thesis so it can be bound and published in the library. I will receive my diploma in December 2015. Thank goodness!

The takeaway from this post is that I followed a dream and completed a goal. Life is short--take a risk, follow your heart, and follow your dream!

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

The end of the unofficial summer is here. I am looking forward to a new season—the summer lake season is still hard to navigate emotionally, but it has gotten easier. Steve and I are also grateful that we have successfully navigated a couple of health issues this year.

We are also looking forward to celebrating the completion and defense of my thesis—I really hope that it will be sooner than later. After the diploma is in my hands, we can take a deep breath. What do I want to do when I grow up? I am still trying to figure it out. But for now, I just want to do library stuff, teach, and write.

For now, Steve and I are spending a lovely weekend snuggling with kittehs, watching movies, dining with friends, and swimming. (Steve stayed in the clubhouse and wrote while I swam.) It was a peaceful swim. Thank you, Sean and Lisa!

Hope your weekend has been enjoyable so far!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The End of a Circle: Last Posting at Forty-Three

It's the eve of turning forty-four. For some reason, it's bothersome this year.
I don't know why. Steve reassures me that it is only a number.

(I married a wise man.)

I am hoping that the next circle around the sun will be more exciting
and less challenging for us.Tomorrow will be a start of a new circle.

Bring it--
I'm ready.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

A Beautiful Mess

Have you ever tried to type on a laptop with a 17 pound cat draped over your hands? The time when I sneak away to post to this neglected blog, Sakura finds me, jumps on the bad, and crawls in my lap. Resume the petting, please. Another one in the herd, Marimba, has taken refuge on the bed. The other three felines are downstairs, probably taking residence on the couch or out on the porch. Meanwhile, Steve is sitting on the floor, grading.

Sakura settles for snuggling on my left arm, her polydactyl paw gently resting on my hand. She lays her head on my shoulder and occasionally bats at the moving fingers on the keyboard. I’m still here. Then Sakura yawns and lays her head down on my arm, purring like the proverbial motor. Soon, she settles down at the end of the bed, her pinkish ears twitching at the sounds of birds or at the barking of Mitzy, the next door neighbor’s black and white dog who guards her property a little too well.

I look outside. There’s a break in the monsoon season. (I’m only half-joking.) We had so much rain—I wish we would ship it off to Alaska and California to put out those wildfires. The rain has made the memory garden grow. It has taken off and taken over. It’s been a joy to watch the roses return after a year of absent blooms. The Asiatic lilies and the daylilies are blooming; welcoming the month of July with a flashing display of colors in the yard. We have all but given up pruning the flowers until the season is over. It is an informal cottage garden anyway; a beautiful mess.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May and Graduation

May is nearly over. It’s been a cold but beautiful spring here in the Midwest. The bushes, flowers, grass, and trees are gorgeous.The lilacs are insanely lovely and fragrant this year. It’s nature’s way of rewarding us for enduring another tough winter. Thankfully, it wasn’t as cold as last winter. That was crazy.

A lot has happened since I posted back in March. The spring classes I taught are over, and I participated in commencement for the MLS (Master in Liberal Studies) degree. The final draft of the thesis and the scheduled defense looms over my head, but August 2015 will be on the diploma. For some reason, the final steps seem to be the longest.

I’m… almost… there…. the… diploma…is… within… reach…

Fortunately, as adjunct faculty, I have the privilege of participating in graduation on the other side, sitting with pride as students cross the stage and receive their diplomas. A colleague told me that graduates have amazing footwear. I looked, and she was right. I am in awe with how some students can cross a slippery wooden stage in six-inch heels and not break their necks on the descent down the exit stairs. Admittedly, the weather was rather chilly for graduation as both a student and a teacher, so I settled for my black boots with the tiny ½ inch heel.

If that’s your sort of thing, do participate in graduation! It is a lot of fun(and Steve was happy he had a slice of cake)) and what an honor to celebrate! It makes the whole process real. Although this graduation is not my first rodeo in academia, participating in this year’s commencement does not make it any less significant. (I do love the doctoral robes—the caps and gowns remind me of Harry Potter.)

Celebrate your accomplishments! Celebrate YOU! 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Updates from 2015

Happy New Year and almost happy spring! The last two and a half months have simultaneously crawled and flown. It's been a busy, exciting 2015 so far, and we are grateful. Steve is working at the library and teaching online courses. He is also pursuing writing prospects. Steve is a terrific writer and I am glad he is putting his work out there. (Check out his blog, Kaijuville, if you have a chance.)

The Cat Zoo is doing well and keeping us busy. They are sweet and adorable and they continue to keep us entertained and warm this winter. It is never lonely chez Sigety! Yes, we have been called crazy cat people, but we are near the age where we really don't care what people think, or at least as not as much.

There are three reasons why I've been quiet on here for almost a season. First, I am teaching four classes in three different subject areas: library science,literature, and speech. It's a lot and it can be exhausting, but I am grateful for the opportunities, grateful to meet so many cool people, and happy to be able to teach and write.

Secondly, we are on the home stretch with this thesis. (I say "we" because Steve has been through this journey with me with his unfaltering love and support.) It's been a great journey. Combining expressive writing (Pennebaker) and freewriting (Elbow) may help a lot of people. This will be a thesis that will help the community--not a project that will be simply shelved away. It's awesome to have a stellar thesis adviser and a terrific thesis committee. It will be a relief to walk across the stage and pick up the diploma! It's been a long time coming! I can't wait to start reading and reviewing books on Goodreads again!

Finally, Karen Harris and I released our book, The Medieval Vagina: A Historical and Hysterical Perspective of all Things Vaginal During the Middle Ages. (Don't judge.) It is available on, and it is the product of a two-year writing collaboration. We call our book MV, and we released it on December 10, 2015. (Yesterday MV turned three months old!) Wow, has this feminist-historical-humorous tome has taken us on a fantastic journey! Five copies of our book is circulating at the St. Joseph Public Library in South Bend, Indiana. We have our books being sold in four bookstores in four different states: Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, and Texas. Karen and I have written guest blogs for blogs in Australia and the U.K. Our books have been sold in the U.S. and in the U.K. Our book is launched in print and in ebook.

Last week,in-between snowstorms, Karen and I had our first bookstore book reading and opening in Boston. (Trident Booksellers is an amazing place! It's a must-see in beautiful Boston.) Most importantly, MV is reaching a lot of people. We are building relationships and inspiring other writers to write and publish. Life is short, so Karen and I are making it happen. It can happen-- it takes a lot of dedication and hard work, and having so much fun in the process that it doesn't feel like work. I highly recommend a writing cohort. It makes all the difference.

For all of you writers out there-- just do it. One word at a time. :)

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to contact us at if you have any questions or just to say hello! :)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Happy Hellidays!

It feels more like early spring here in northern Indiana, but Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Instead of visions of sugarplums dancing over my head, I am imagining roasting Elf on the Shelf alongside chestnuts over an open fire. I admit it, I have seen too many hilarious Elf on the Shelf memes on Facebook. We don't have a fireplace, so an imaginary Elf on the Shelf with the virtual fireplace DVD on the laptop will have to suffice.

Christmas is a tough time for an empathic and highly-sensitive introvert:the sights, the smells, the sounds are enough to simultaneously drain and flood this kooky shiny girl to the point where I want to crawl in next to my feline hoard, sip on a glass of red, and read and sleep and write the hellidays away, leaving the memories of loved ones and Christmas pasts lurking outside my bedroom door.

I have to admit that the past two days have been really good. I embrace the good things, expect nothing, and show gratitude for any amount of light shining our way. I notice the significant details: the bird's nest outside our dining room window, struggling for a place under the covers next to our sixteen-year-old Javacat, the home cooked meals with friends and family and cards and unexpected gifts and laughter. It the moments that make a difference.

Merry Christmas to all! Hell freezes over as Steve and I continue enjoy the mellow Christmas festivities. -XO