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When I'm not here, you may find me wandering the pages below. (If I'm a regular visitor to your site and I've left your link off or mislinked to you, please let me know! And likewise, if you've blogrolled me, please check that my link is updated: thisroamanticlife.blogspot.com. The extra (a) makes all the difference!)

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For posts sorted by date or label, see the links below.

For posts on frequently referenced topics, click the buttons to the right.

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Body: in sickness and in health

I won't lie; this body and I have had our issues with each other for many years. Body image -- sure. Physical and mental overextension -- comes with being a Type A kind of girl. I still struggle with these things, so they show up from time to time in my writing.

More recently, illness, pure but not simple, has added itself to the mix in a multi-system sort of way. And the challenges in figuring out exactly what's gone wrong are many. As problems have revealed themselves in the last few years, beginning with reactive hypoglycemia in late 2008, I've documented them here, partly to gain a little clarity on managing complex conditions but mostly to give voice to vulnerabilities I feel but don't normally share with anyone face to face. Better out than in, they say, right? (Oh yes, humor is one way I deal.)

The links below cover the different angles I've examined (and from which I've been examined) within that experience.

Travel: neither here nor there

When the person you're married to lives two time zones away, you log a fair number of frequent flier miles. And if you blog about commuter relationships, you log quite a few posts en route too.

Since we're no longer in separate places, I blog less often from airports. But we do travel -- together now! -- which is much more fun to write about. So in addition to thoughts on our years of commuting, the links below cover the places we've been as a pair and, in some cases, the adventures that have happened on the way.

Writing: the long and short of it

Why do I do it? Good question. Maybe it's not so much that I like to write but that I have to write, even when the words refuse to stick to the page. Believe me, I've tried doing other things like majoring in biochemistry (freshman fall, many semesters ago). Within a year, I'd switched to English with a concentration in creative writing and wasn't looking back.

After graduating, I taught English for a few years and then worked as an editor, which I still do freelance. In 2007, I applied and got into an MFA program at a place I like to call Little U. on the Prairie. I finished my degree in 2011 and have been balancing tutoring and writing on my own ever since.

The following links cover the writing I've done about writing: process, content, obstacles, you name it. It's not always pretty. But some part of me loves it, even when it's hard. And this is the result.

Heart: family and friends

I'd have a hard time explaining who I am without being able to talk about the family I grew up in as well as the people I've met beyond its bounds. But even with such context, it's not easy! In the simplest terms, I'm a first-generation Asian-American who has spent most of this life caught between cultures. That, of course, doesn't even begin to describe what I mean to, but there's my first stab at the heart of it all.

That's what this group of posts is reserved for -- heart. The essential parts of my life whose influences I carry with me, for better or worse. The links below cover what I've written as I've learned how these forces work within me, for me, against me, in spite of me. They anchor me even as they change me, and they keep life interesting.

Recommended reading

What do I do when there's too much on my mind and my words won't stick to the page? I escape into someone else's thoughts. Below is a collection of books and articles that have been sources of information, inspiration, and occasional insight for my own work.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Color me excited

Over the last few days, D and I have been working on the house, primarily getting the kitchen in order as that's where the most activity tends to happen while we're home. (As I'm typing this, I have a roasted red pepper sauce reducing on the stove for the next hour.) We cleared out the last of the kitchen items from our apartment and brought them back last night, so we're ready to fit my things in the remaining space once they arrive in a few weeks. And in probably four more car trips, we'll have the apartment totally empty.

The next project we're contemplating is painting our new place. The walls have seen some better days, and at the moment, every single room is the same color -- beige, as in the exact shade that comes in the Crayola box -- with the exception of the two extra bedrooms, which are Wal-Mart blue and Pepto-Bismol pink. Needless to say, we're eager to change this.

We found some neat websites that allow you to "paint" virtual spaces (generic images of kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms) with different colors so you can try out their effects. Basically, you just click and drag colors from a virtual palette -- nicely organized into reds, greens, yellows, etc., for easy reference -- into the scene provided. It's like a high-tech version of paint by numbers.

One program we tried even gives you the RGB values so you can reproduce the colors in any graphics program on a computer. So, armed with the numbers, I mocked up my own electronic paint chips to test around the house. The colors won't be identical to what comes out of the cans, but at least I can hold up my monitor against the comforter on our bed and say "Maybe?" -- or "Not even close."

What's a little baffling is how deceptive color is in small scale. What looks great painted on a virtual room -- covering the walls in their entirety, mind you, but limited to an image no more than 6" by 6" -- immediately looks overwhelming once you try to envision it in a full-size space. So I keep finding colors I think I love but then as soon as I test them out in human dimensions, I realize they're too intense. I think I've figured out a strategy, though: examine the color that looks good in miniature and then go to the section of the virtual palette categorized as "whites." The shades here are actually tinted (subtly) in hues that are like super-diluted versions of the colors from other parts of the palette. So far, I've been able to find the large-scale equivalents of what I've been testing online.

For the master bedroom:


The top row is what looked good in the virtual room. The bottom row contains options we might actually use. We have no headboard yet, so the only thing to worry about is the bed linens, which can be seen in the second picture from this post. Pretty?

And then for the kitchen and guest bedroom:


Again, the top row was good in miniature; the bottom row is what may work out in real life. I'm particularly leaning toward something close to the color at bottom right. The kitchen has warm woods for the cabinets, a slate tile floor with hints of green in it, and granite counters in a mainly flax color with veins of espresso, burgundy, and dark moss. The guest bedroom will have the red and gold comforter D's been using while I've been gone, which can be seen in this post.

Lastly, for the library, since it's a small room, we're thinking we'll be bold and try the green at the center of the top row in the palette above. Most of the furniture in that space will be white, and there will be throw pillows in mocha and pale pink.

The living room is proving to be more difficult to envision since its walls have the most square footage, transitioning into a stairway and two separate halls. D is also still deliberating on what color he wants for his office. More news as we narrow down our ideas! And certainly news when we actually get started painting. That won't happen for a while because of all our summer goings-on, but come September ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Settling in, sort of


I know I said I was home, but that hasn't been completely true for the last few days.

My aunt got married over the weekend, so D and I flew down to San Jose for the festivities on Saturday. All four of Troubadour Mom's other siblings (two other sisters and two brothers) were there with spouses, which made for quite a family gathering -- haven't had such a reunion since Troubadour Grandma's 90th birthday back in 2006. As always, there was lots of catching up and not much sleep. Though the shut-eye I did manage to get was blissful, especially on the feather mattress that came with the giant log-frame bed at our hotel (see above).


The wedding itself was in Monterey, about a two-hour drive south of San Jose, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The bride and groom gave their vows under the sparkling bellies of anchovies swimming in an overhead tank. The effect was like having a disco ball throwing shimmery light everywhere (the photo doesn't capture it, but you can see the fish zooming around above the quote on the wall).

After the ceremony, guests were free to wander throughout the aquarium during dinner. Each room had at least one huge tank taking up an entire wall, which made for a gorgeous backdrop. D and I checked out the marvelous seahorse and jellyfish exhibits. Unfortunately, those really didn't photograph well close up in the dim lighting (we didn't bring the big camera with us that can handle those conditions), but here's a shot with some jellies behind the dessert table. They look like they want a share of the panna cotta, no?

We stayed an extra day to go wine tasting with the family here and here, among other places, and picked up a few bottles to put away for a special occasion. Now that we are almost completely moved into our new home, we can start thinking about a housewarming party! That may not happen until it's practically September, though. Next week, I'm heading to Boston for my sister's college graduation and some thesis research, then D's parents are visiting for two weeks at the end of June. After that, I'm going to Newfoundland for my cousin's wedding the second week of July, and D's brother may be visiting when I return. Finally, D has a conference in New Orleans at the beginning of August, and then my parents will be in town.

So yes, the summer is going to be busy and I have no idea where unpacking my boxes from Little U. will fit once those arrive in two weeks. First things first, though: getting some kind of start on my reading list. I've got a stack of items from the library to make my way through (convenient since I have a few cross-country flights coming up). I'll post some thoughts on each book as I finish it and add the titles to a list in the sidebar. Stay tuned for that as well as some revisions to this blog now that we're no longer a commuter couple -- but nothing drastic, don't worry.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's official

... I'm home!

I got in very late last night after traveling for fifteen hours. Left Little U. shortly after 9 a.m. to drop the car off at D's parents' place in Illinois. Had a quick lunch with his mother, then headed to the airport for my 3:30 flight. That ended up being delayed an hour and a half, which made me a teeny bit nervous -- missing my connection would have meant not getting to Seattle until today, and I had a doctor's appointment scheduled this morning (more on that later) -- but I managed to reach Chicago with just enough time to get to the other plane. That was followed by a very long four hours (I got sandwiched between a screaming baby and a lady who snored through the ruckus!), during which I attempted the crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine to distract myself. Not enormously successful, but given the circumstances, not a surprise. Needless to say, falling into D's open arms when he arrived at the airport was a very, very sweet end to the day. So was coming home to a house whose interiors are beginning to take on the shape of a proper nest. Pictures as we get things set up, I promise!

I haven't had a moment to do anything in that area as I had my second appointment with my endocrinologist this morning, and I'm now at the library since we don't have internet at home yet. The news from the doctor was good and bad -- I'm doing a great job of keeping track of my sugar levels and managing my diet and exercise as he's asked, but there are some new pieces of not-so-great information we received from my last round of tests he ordered in March. Remember that inconvenient little kidney stone incident that happened right before my spring break visit? Well, it turns out that my oxalate and phosphorus levels are off the charts (the former is over 270 units when it's supposed to be under 30 and the latter is over 2100 units when it's supposed to be under 1300). This is nothing to be alarmed about at the moment, but if we want to prevent more stones from forming, those levels must come down. Which means cutting back on tea, instant coffee, nuts, chocolate, and spinach.

D: "But those are staples for you!"

Yeeeeees ....

I can manage the cutting back on chocolate as I wasn't eating much of it to begin with, given the sugar that normally comes with it. But nuts? They're my fallback snack since they're so much lower in carbs than the usual munchies I can't have anymore. And spinach? Grrrr. I do love fresh spinach salads -- guess I'll be switching up my greens. Instant coffee, sigh. The fun flavored kinds were a replacement treat for hot chocolate when this prediabetes thing started up. Time to start brewing the real thing. This isn't exactly a bad change in terms of quality, but when I'm running off to class and need my caffeine quickly --

Oh wait, I won't be running off anywhere for the next year. Mm, okay, that's doable.

As for tea, well, an occasional cup, which is what I tend to drink, will be fine. But I hope that's it on the diet adjustments! Very glad I'm home for good and can get used to all of this in one place.

I'm going to pick up some reading for the next few weeks (all recommendations from professors) since we'll be doing more air travel soon. News on that front as well in the near future.

Monday, May 18, 2009

All packed up and nowhere to go

Yet, that is.

The movers just called to tell me they're on their way. I'm sitting on the sofa, looking out over the landscape of boxes that has emerged over the last two days. I don't quite feel that sense of limbo I had the last time when D and I moved, but I know I'll feel it once all my possessions are gone. It's comforting to be surrounded by familiar things, even if they're all packed up. Then again, maybe I'm just used to seeing everything in boxes because we've moved so many times in the last decade. Many of them were "storage" moves -- boxing things up for the summer to get them out of the college dorms -- then there was the first major move to New York when I started teaching, the move to Texas after D and I got engaged, the move to a new apartment in the same city when we got married, the move to Seattle, and the move to Little U.

Yikes, that's a lot of cardboard.

This time, we're hoping there will be at least five years before we have to break out the boxes and tape again. And the super scrub-down skills (we're mostly done with that at the new house, but there are some last things to take care of). Am itching to do the last cleaning here once everything is taken out so I can be on my way.

I took this picture on the drive with Troubadour Mom to Little U. Seems a fitting way to close my last post from the Midwest for a while -- enough chasing windmills!


And there's the moving truck ...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So, so, so close


You know how that last mile before you get to your destination seems like the longest sometimes?

Yes.

I've been on that mile all this week because of the 25-pager. But I turned it in last night and gave my last final this morning. The end is practically here!!!

Hmm, that was a bit apocalyptic. Sorry, wasn't what I was aiming for. Ahem.

I've graded half the exams (the ones from Tuesday), so just the ones from today are left. I'll do them tomorrow -- it's been quite a day and there's a farewell get-together at a fellow writer's place this evening that I intend to go to. Drinks and dinner, lots of talk, thoughts of summer and no more deadlines (for a little while).

I had my thesis prospectus meeting today -- an informal meeting of my committee of professors where we workshopped my proposal and laid out a plan for the next year of work. Though in my case it was more like throwing the plan out the window and just generating angles from which to approach my topic. It's a messy one, so the structure I tried to impose on it in my chapter outline was important but also premature. I'm not worried; I'm glad my professors are encouraging me to experiment and explore ways of telling the story. This was actually the second meeting we held as the first opened up so many ideas to talk about that we ran out of time. I'm still a bit amazed about that. At any rate, I have a juicy reading list for the summer (sources for inspiration the committee and I brainstormed together) and lots to think about.

After I get over this last hump, that is. Six days!

Friday, May 8, 2009

So, so close

The last papers are graded. The learning portfolios have been reviewed. Course evaluations have been handed out. All that's left to administer are final exams next Tuesday and Thursday, and then my obligations here are over for the year. Well, there's also that pesky little 25-page paper due Wednesday for my own class, but we're just not going to think about that for the moment. (Though after I finish this post, I'm going to buckle down and try to crank some text out.)

It's been a very packed week and then some since I last blogged. Besides the blitz-grading, I was in Seattle last weekend, celebrating our ten-year dating anniversary by cleaning the new house in preparation for the move -- very exciting! D insisted on carrying me over the threshold, which was a memorable way to enter our home for the first time after officially making it ours. (I made him promise not to throw me over his shoulder in a fireman's carry.) After we were married, he also carried me over the threshold of our first apartment, but this felt different. In a good way, of course.

In other exciting news, while I was gone, Ludwig started to bloom (see above). I think he'll finish just in time for me to return him to D's parents -- somehow, I don't think I'll be able to carry him on a plane, so they're going to take him back into their care. I can't wait to have potted plants again. My apartment at Little U. doesn't get enough light to support many, so I haven't purchased anything, though it's been tempting.

We've been thinking about things to plant in our garden, which borders our tiny patch of side yard (small enough that D can mow it with an old-fashioned human-powered lawn mower in about ten minutes if he's really trying to stretch out the experience). There are already several small shrubs and what looks like a Japanese maple rooted in. Our irises will be ready to transplant soon -- they're greening up very nicely now that the weather has turned warm -- and I have a packet of wildflower seeds that were sent to me as part of some promotional mailing. Random, but we'll take them!

D recently went to a tulip festival a few hours north of Seattle. I didn't think I was a fan of tulips as the ones I'd seen before always tended to get sloppy-looking very quickly after the first spring rain, but these are gorgeous:


We may just have to get some of these too:


D got a few panoramic shots of the fields while he was wandering around. The space restrictions here don't do them justice, but if you click on the photos, you can see the larger versions.



Twelve days. Yes. And more news soon(er), I promise. I have a feeling I'll need a few breaks to keep my academic writing brain from getting worn out.

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Saturday, May 30, 2009

Color me excited

Over the last few days, D and I have been working on the house, primarily getting the kitchen in order as that's where the most activity tends to happen while we're home. (As I'm typing this, I have a roasted red pepper sauce reducing on the stove for the next hour.) We cleared out the last of the kitchen items from our apartment and brought them back last night, so we're ready to fit my things in the remaining space once they arrive in a few weeks. And in probably four more car trips, we'll have the apartment totally empty.

The next project we're contemplating is painting our new place. The walls have seen some better days, and at the moment, every single room is the same color -- beige, as in the exact shade that comes in the Crayola box -- with the exception of the two extra bedrooms, which are Wal-Mart blue and Pepto-Bismol pink. Needless to say, we're eager to change this.

We found some neat websites that allow you to "paint" virtual spaces (generic images of kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms) with different colors so you can try out their effects. Basically, you just click and drag colors from a virtual palette -- nicely organized into reds, greens, yellows, etc., for easy reference -- into the scene provided. It's like a high-tech version of paint by numbers.

One program we tried even gives you the RGB values so you can reproduce the colors in any graphics program on a computer. So, armed with the numbers, I mocked up my own electronic paint chips to test around the house. The colors won't be identical to what comes out of the cans, but at least I can hold up my monitor against the comforter on our bed and say "Maybe?" -- or "Not even close."

What's a little baffling is how deceptive color is in small scale. What looks great painted on a virtual room -- covering the walls in their entirety, mind you, but limited to an image no more than 6" by 6" -- immediately looks overwhelming once you try to envision it in a full-size space. So I keep finding colors I think I love but then as soon as I test them out in human dimensions, I realize they're too intense. I think I've figured out a strategy, though: examine the color that looks good in miniature and then go to the section of the virtual palette categorized as "whites." The shades here are actually tinted (subtly) in hues that are like super-diluted versions of the colors from other parts of the palette. So far, I've been able to find the large-scale equivalents of what I've been testing online.

For the master bedroom:


The top row is what looked good in the virtual room. The bottom row contains options we might actually use. We have no headboard yet, so the only thing to worry about is the bed linens, which can be seen in the second picture from this post. Pretty?

And then for the kitchen and guest bedroom:


Again, the top row was good in miniature; the bottom row is what may work out in real life. I'm particularly leaning toward something close to the color at bottom right. The kitchen has warm woods for the cabinets, a slate tile floor with hints of green in it, and granite counters in a mainly flax color with veins of espresso, burgundy, and dark moss. The guest bedroom will have the red and gold comforter D's been using while I've been gone, which can be seen in this post.

Lastly, for the library, since it's a small room, we're thinking we'll be bold and try the green at the center of the top row in the palette above. Most of the furniture in that space will be white, and there will be throw pillows in mocha and pale pink.

The living room is proving to be more difficult to envision since its walls have the most square footage, transitioning into a stairway and two separate halls. D is also still deliberating on what color he wants for his office. More news as we narrow down our ideas! And certainly news when we actually get started painting. That won't happen for a while because of all our summer goings-on, but come September ...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Settling in, sort of


I know I said I was home, but that hasn't been completely true for the last few days.

My aunt got married over the weekend, so D and I flew down to San Jose for the festivities on Saturday. All four of Troubadour Mom's other siblings (two other sisters and two brothers) were there with spouses, which made for quite a family gathering -- haven't had such a reunion since Troubadour Grandma's 90th birthday back in 2006. As always, there was lots of catching up and not much sleep. Though the shut-eye I did manage to get was blissful, especially on the feather mattress that came with the giant log-frame bed at our hotel (see above).


The wedding itself was in Monterey, about a two-hour drive south of San Jose, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The bride and groom gave their vows under the sparkling bellies of anchovies swimming in an overhead tank. The effect was like having a disco ball throwing shimmery light everywhere (the photo doesn't capture it, but you can see the fish zooming around above the quote on the wall).

After the ceremony, guests were free to wander throughout the aquarium during dinner. Each room had at least one huge tank taking up an entire wall, which made for a gorgeous backdrop. D and I checked out the marvelous seahorse and jellyfish exhibits. Unfortunately, those really didn't photograph well close up in the dim lighting (we didn't bring the big camera with us that can handle those conditions), but here's a shot with some jellies behind the dessert table. They look like they want a share of the panna cotta, no?

We stayed an extra day to go wine tasting with the family here and here, among other places, and picked up a few bottles to put away for a special occasion. Now that we are almost completely moved into our new home, we can start thinking about a housewarming party! That may not happen until it's practically September, though. Next week, I'm heading to Boston for my sister's college graduation and some thesis research, then D's parents are visiting for two weeks at the end of June. After that, I'm going to Newfoundland for my cousin's wedding the second week of July, and D's brother may be visiting when I return. Finally, D has a conference in New Orleans at the beginning of August, and then my parents will be in town.

So yes, the summer is going to be busy and I have no idea where unpacking my boxes from Little U. will fit once those arrive in two weeks. First things first, though: getting some kind of start on my reading list. I've got a stack of items from the library to make my way through (convenient since I have a few cross-country flights coming up). I'll post some thoughts on each book as I finish it and add the titles to a list in the sidebar. Stay tuned for that as well as some revisions to this blog now that we're no longer a commuter couple -- but nothing drastic, don't worry.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

It's official

... I'm home!

I got in very late last night after traveling for fifteen hours. Left Little U. shortly after 9 a.m. to drop the car off at D's parents' place in Illinois. Had a quick lunch with his mother, then headed to the airport for my 3:30 flight. That ended up being delayed an hour and a half, which made me a teeny bit nervous -- missing my connection would have meant not getting to Seattle until today, and I had a doctor's appointment scheduled this morning (more on that later) -- but I managed to reach Chicago with just enough time to get to the other plane. That was followed by a very long four hours (I got sandwiched between a screaming baby and a lady who snored through the ruckus!), during which I attempted the crossword puzzle in the in-flight magazine to distract myself. Not enormously successful, but given the circumstances, not a surprise. Needless to say, falling into D's open arms when he arrived at the airport was a very, very sweet end to the day. So was coming home to a house whose interiors are beginning to take on the shape of a proper nest. Pictures as we get things set up, I promise!

I haven't had a moment to do anything in that area as I had my second appointment with my endocrinologist this morning, and I'm now at the library since we don't have internet at home yet. The news from the doctor was good and bad -- I'm doing a great job of keeping track of my sugar levels and managing my diet and exercise as he's asked, but there are some new pieces of not-so-great information we received from my last round of tests he ordered in March. Remember that inconvenient little kidney stone incident that happened right before my spring break visit? Well, it turns out that my oxalate and phosphorus levels are off the charts (the former is over 270 units when it's supposed to be under 30 and the latter is over 2100 units when it's supposed to be under 1300). This is nothing to be alarmed about at the moment, but if we want to prevent more stones from forming, those levels must come down. Which means cutting back on tea, instant coffee, nuts, chocolate, and spinach.

D: "But those are staples for you!"

Yeeeeees ....

I can manage the cutting back on chocolate as I wasn't eating much of it to begin with, given the sugar that normally comes with it. But nuts? They're my fallback snack since they're so much lower in carbs than the usual munchies I can't have anymore. And spinach? Grrrr. I do love fresh spinach salads -- guess I'll be switching up my greens. Instant coffee, sigh. The fun flavored kinds were a replacement treat for hot chocolate when this prediabetes thing started up. Time to start brewing the real thing. This isn't exactly a bad change in terms of quality, but when I'm running off to class and need my caffeine quickly --

Oh wait, I won't be running off anywhere for the next year. Mm, okay, that's doable.

As for tea, well, an occasional cup, which is what I tend to drink, will be fine. But I hope that's it on the diet adjustments! Very glad I'm home for good and can get used to all of this in one place.

I'm going to pick up some reading for the next few weeks (all recommendations from professors) since we'll be doing more air travel soon. News on that front as well in the near future.

Monday, May 18, 2009

All packed up and nowhere to go

Yet, that is.

The movers just called to tell me they're on their way. I'm sitting on the sofa, looking out over the landscape of boxes that has emerged over the last two days. I don't quite feel that sense of limbo I had the last time when D and I moved, but I know I'll feel it once all my possessions are gone. It's comforting to be surrounded by familiar things, even if they're all packed up. Then again, maybe I'm just used to seeing everything in boxes because we've moved so many times in the last decade. Many of them were "storage" moves -- boxing things up for the summer to get them out of the college dorms -- then there was the first major move to New York when I started teaching, the move to Texas after D and I got engaged, the move to a new apartment in the same city when we got married, the move to Seattle, and the move to Little U.

Yikes, that's a lot of cardboard.

This time, we're hoping there will be at least five years before we have to break out the boxes and tape again. And the super scrub-down skills (we're mostly done with that at the new house, but there are some last things to take care of). Am itching to do the last cleaning here once everything is taken out so I can be on my way.

I took this picture on the drive with Troubadour Mom to Little U. Seems a fitting way to close my last post from the Midwest for a while -- enough chasing windmills!


And there's the moving truck ...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So, so, so close


You know how that last mile before you get to your destination seems like the longest sometimes?

Yes.

I've been on that mile all this week because of the 25-pager. But I turned it in last night and gave my last final this morning. The end is practically here!!!

Hmm, that was a bit apocalyptic. Sorry, wasn't what I was aiming for. Ahem.

I've graded half the exams (the ones from Tuesday), so just the ones from today are left. I'll do them tomorrow -- it's been quite a day and there's a farewell get-together at a fellow writer's place this evening that I intend to go to. Drinks and dinner, lots of talk, thoughts of summer and no more deadlines (for a little while).

I had my thesis prospectus meeting today -- an informal meeting of my committee of professors where we workshopped my proposal and laid out a plan for the next year of work. Though in my case it was more like throwing the plan out the window and just generating angles from which to approach my topic. It's a messy one, so the structure I tried to impose on it in my chapter outline was important but also premature. I'm not worried; I'm glad my professors are encouraging me to experiment and explore ways of telling the story. This was actually the second meeting we held as the first opened up so many ideas to talk about that we ran out of time. I'm still a bit amazed about that. At any rate, I have a juicy reading list for the summer (sources for inspiration the committee and I brainstormed together) and lots to think about.

After I get over this last hump, that is. Six days!

Friday, May 8, 2009

So, so close

The last papers are graded. The learning portfolios have been reviewed. Course evaluations have been handed out. All that's left to administer are final exams next Tuesday and Thursday, and then my obligations here are over for the year. Well, there's also that pesky little 25-page paper due Wednesday for my own class, but we're just not going to think about that for the moment. (Though after I finish this post, I'm going to buckle down and try to crank some text out.)

It's been a very packed week and then some since I last blogged. Besides the blitz-grading, I was in Seattle last weekend, celebrating our ten-year dating anniversary by cleaning the new house in preparation for the move -- very exciting! D insisted on carrying me over the threshold, which was a memorable way to enter our home for the first time after officially making it ours. (I made him promise not to throw me over his shoulder in a fireman's carry.) After we were married, he also carried me over the threshold of our first apartment, but this felt different. In a good way, of course.

In other exciting news, while I was gone, Ludwig started to bloom (see above). I think he'll finish just in time for me to return him to D's parents -- somehow, I don't think I'll be able to carry him on a plane, so they're going to take him back into their care. I can't wait to have potted plants again. My apartment at Little U. doesn't get enough light to support many, so I haven't purchased anything, though it's been tempting.

We've been thinking about things to plant in our garden, which borders our tiny patch of side yard (small enough that D can mow it with an old-fashioned human-powered lawn mower in about ten minutes if he's really trying to stretch out the experience). There are already several small shrubs and what looks like a Japanese maple rooted in. Our irises will be ready to transplant soon -- they're greening up very nicely now that the weather has turned warm -- and I have a packet of wildflower seeds that were sent to me as part of some promotional mailing. Random, but we'll take them!

D recently went to a tulip festival a few hours north of Seattle. I didn't think I was a fan of tulips as the ones I'd seen before always tended to get sloppy-looking very quickly after the first spring rain, but these are gorgeous:


We may just have to get some of these too:


D got a few panoramic shots of the fields while he was wandering around. The space restrictions here don't do them justice, but if you click on the photos, you can see the larger versions.



Twelve days. Yes. And more news soon(er), I promise. I have a feeling I'll need a few breaks to keep my academic writing brain from getting worn out.