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May 17th, 2003

graduation weekend

Kate successfully defended her PhD dissertation Thursday, the culmination of over two years of work and a 400-page treatise describing it all. I wasn't going to sit in, even though people wanted me to, because I knew I'd be a nervous wreck. But at the last minute I decided to. And I was a nervous wreck. She did really well though, and got high praise from her committee when it was done.

Most of what made me nervous is that while I mostly understand her work and have read her disseratation, I don't quite understand some of the finer points of it, and one committee member kept picking at fine points, like her use of the word "incorporate" which he was interpreting in the psychoanalytic sense. And he said that her study subjects were "representative" but were they "typical" and if so, how could she prove that? I understood that question, but I guess Kate didn't quite follow him at first, so my reading of the scene was that he asked her a question, she looked confused and stumbled a bit, and I thought "oh no! He's busted her on something important!" But after she rambled a bit, her committee chair came to her rescue and said "well I think what Julian is really trying to get at is..." and then explained it. And then she was able to answer the question, or at least point out why it wasn't really relevant to her study.

I was still a wreck.

Her mom came down this noon, and we're busy scrubbing the back porch and patio for tomorrow's festivities... Kate and Elissa are having a joint BBQ. There hasn't been any kind of party in this house for a year, at least, so there's a lot of prep to do.

Lots of weird thoughts about this... a sense of a big thing being done always immediately leads to my own apprehension about "what's next." This has been bothering me a lot since Thursday, and when I get some energy and time I want to have some long talks with Kate about it.



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