Christmas at my parents' in Indiana was great, as usual. I spent a lot of time with Mr. Tobes and a lot of time doing nothing. But because of the timeline for SMT submissions, I also spent a bunch of time editing a conference paper and an abstract that were both due in early January.
Other highlights: Mom took us to an IU game!
BoBo decided that my parents' fireplace is her favorite spot in the world.
My mom graciously offered to help out with some dental bills I had in the fall, so I got a crown for Christmas! Not wanting John to feel left out, she got him a paper crown, shown here.
She also got us this large bottle of tequila and we had margarita Christmas once again. Never gets old.
Dave and Carla came to town for the day. Naturally, we began with a visit to the Spoon, then a walk around campus, and finally, board games with fancy beer at the house.
Nearer to the end of break, we rang in the New Year with Mark and friends, including Amanda. She was dressed the sparkliest so she descended the stairs at midnight, in place of a glittery ball in Times Square.
And since then, lots of other mundane but good things have happened. I will deliver the current 2014 highlights in a conveniently lazy list format.
1. I decided to join the whole TriClub (rather than just the swimming) with the hopes of being able to run at some point in the next few months. I now think the expectation of running so soon was unrealistic (a topic for another time), but I'm really enjoying the rest of the club. I can go to spin class on Monday and Friday, swim three days a week like before, plus they also do strength training and a mystery workout on Wednesday. I don't typically make it to all that, but it's nice to have so many structured work outs available. Also, I'm having so much success with massage therapy that I really haven't had one of my motion sickness episodes in a while, and spin class doesn't make me motion sick!
It turns out, triathlon club members get up VERY EARLY, so I'm still trying to get adjusted to that. But I think that it's actually going to help me graduate. I get up early for the work out and then I'm up. I get in 2-3 hours of solid dissertation time before lunch, or a solid single hour before I teach. It's pretty awesome. Of course, I also fall asleep around 9:30 every night.
I'm going to an indoor triathlon in Toronto in a couple of weeks to swim as part of a relay and I hope to post about what that's like. In general, it is so nice to have a group of people to spend time with who have no idea who Rameau is.
2. Speaking of Rameau, a week or so ago, I went to Tallahassee, FL to talk about Rameau. I presented a chunk of Chapter 4 at their Forum, a conference run by grad students. Even though it was "cold" for Tallahassee, it was nice to get a break from our weather and enjoy some 50 degree days. I also go to catch up with Little Gillian, a former UWO student who's now ABD (time flies!) at Florida State.
Side note: I have two friends named Gillian/Djillian/Jillian. I met them both at Western, neither of them goes here now, and both have attended FSU. Both currently live in Florida. Yet I don't think they've ever met. This is not the premise of a riddle.
I also get to present "Rameau and Friends/Frenemies"* at the IU student conference during "spring" break. I'm lucky to have gotten on two fairly economical conferences - one where I could stay with a friend, and one in my parents' town.
3. And speaking of my dissertation, I actually felt really good coming back to school and starting 2014 because THIS IS GOING TO BE THE YEAR: I am going to finish this dissertation, come hell or high water. My current plan is to defend late in the summer, or, if everyone important is still out of town, in the early fall. Of course, I'm meeting with my advisor this week and he may put the ki-bosh on all of that. Still, I've got a lot of stuff written and I feel good about the progress I've made. I've also learned that writing and presenting conference papers on my dissertation topic is, on the one hand, more efficient than on unrelated topics, but ultimately still a time suck. After the IU conference, I'm done for the school year.
4. While stuck on the tarmac on the plane coming back from FL, I read most of Rachel Dratch's book, A Girl Walks into a Bar. And it's great! If you liked Bossypants by Tina Fey, or Is Everyone Hanging Out without Me? by Mindy Kahling, you will probably enjoy this book. Parts of it made me laugh out loud and others were simply touching and clever. I highly recommend it. Have you read anything by a woman comic lately? If so, please send me the title! Also, when is Amy Poehler going to write her own hilarious and brilliant memoir? All the cool ladies are doing it!
4. It's cold here, like it is everywhere else, apparently. Western canceled class on Day #2 of the semester and I think they vowed never to do it again. But, you know, it's Canada. It's colder than in previous years, but enduring the cold winter is a point of national pride, so they don't complain the same way Americans do. They seem especially excited about the cold because of the upcoming Winter Olympics. If you have a few minutes to kill, check out #WeAreWinter on the twitters. You'll see what I mean.
5. I signed up for the Ontario Masters Provincial Championships swim meet in March. There's no minimum qualifying time and it's in Windsor (about 2 hours away), so woohoo! I'm doing the 50M, 100M, and 400M Freestyle (400! What am I thinking!!), and the 100 IM. It's so exciting to have an actual event to train for. I'm sure I'll post here about the weekend in Windsor after it happens.
And with that, it's 9:30. I've been up since 5:15! Time for bed!
If you're reading this, then I hope your Near Year has been great so far!
*Not the real title. In case you're curious, the real title was, "Rameau, Voltaire, Castel, and Public Image in Enlightenment Music Theory."