Tuesday, May 19, 2015

In the home stretch...

I apologize for taking so long off from writing. Here are some pictures of Conway to make it up to you :) 

The end of the semester is always a little crazier than I anticipate! I'm currently drowning in paperwork, but it will all be over in a few days. In the meantime,  I will have a fun, hectic, sad few days as I celebrate  with and say goodbye to my students for now! I hope to see many of them again this summer and next fall, but they are such a fantastic group and I will miss them. We'll be having our usual end-of-semester potlucks tomorrow and Thursday and I can't wait to see what my students bring. (Today two women who won't be here on Thursday brought in some fantastic homemade chicken and mole sauce, and another student brought me a tray of homemade bliny. Yum!) As for me, I was going to try something new, but I can't resist a chance to make the Smitten Kitchen Strawberry Rhubarb Bars, so that's part of what I'll be doing this evening!

I had a long list of things I've been meaning to blog about since my last post, but here is the Cliff's Notes version:

1. I had to teach my students the word "jogging" the other day. It was a sad moment for this slow runner who hates being called a jogger!  We have also learned some very useful things, such as all the different kinds of sugar substitutes (Splenda is the yellow packet, etc... ;) )

2. Conway had a week of several vet visits a few weeks ago. He is fine, but is continuing on his special diet and was also tentatively diagnosed with doggie IBS. Poor thing.  The first vet appointment was with our regular vet, but the second one was with a specialist. I discovered when I got there that it was a teaching hospital and the first vet who did his initial questions and preliminary diagnosis was about my age. Even though I also have the title of "Dr",  I still find it odd when my medical professionals are my age (and I even have several friends who are veterinarians!) 

3. An important takeaway from the Mother's Day service at our church: Just because something is hard, doesn't mean it's bad. It just means it's hard. I like that way of thinking. 

Another lovely thing seen at church :)
4.  I told my boss recently that this job makes me accept that I'm actually in control of nothing. As a self-described control freak, that's something that terrifies me, but it also something I need. It's good to learn to be flexible :)

5.  I went to my a fabulous happy hour with my run club last week! Super 4 mile run with one of my dear friends and I met a new friend there, followed by amazing drinks and food. Can't wait for the next one.

6. So excited for Thirty-One's 12 Weeks of Summer and all the amazing special offers :D Fun hostess exclusive bundles AND customer mystery offers. And two really awesome brand new products coming out for June and July... Stay tuned :)

7. And, finally, very excited about this dress I made! The top is from a pre-made tank top because I wanted to test this particular design/construction before spending the time to make my own top for the project. But expect another similar dress sometime later this summer ;) 

And now, back to work. Have a lovely week and a fabulous Memorial Day weekend! J and I are looking forward to celebrating our first wedding anniversary on Monday. Hard to believe it's been a year already! (and, of course, happy anniversary to my parents tomorrow :) )

Sunday, May 3, 2015

I think I'll stay away from Pittsburgh for a while ;)

Don't get me wrong. There's absolutely nothing wrong with Pittsburgh. It's just that I / we have driven there twice in the past 10 days and I'm ready to be done with that drive for a little bit :)

It's been another busy couple of weeks, but things are winding down.  I hope! My graduation was great. It was really nice to see my family and my dissertation advisor and to get a little closure on the whole PhD process. The commencement speaker (Charles Bolden) gave a great speech that hit close to home. I finally found the text of the address and am looking forward to really sitting down to re-read it and process it, but this is a part that definitely spoke to me:

"Be bold, be fearless, dream big, and by all means, don't listen to anyone who tells you can’t do something or you don't belong. Don't waste your time trying to explain yourself or your identity to anyone. Don’t feel like you have to justify why you are where you are. This applies to the workplace or anywhere else."

A couple of pictures from the big event:
Starting the day off at Eat'n Park!

Getting my hood from my dissertation advisor


Obligatory Moscow Mule after the ceremony :)

This week has been busy in the classroom. My grades for my online class were due this week, so I spent a lot of my time early in the week grading essays. I'm very happy to, for the first time in 16 weeks, NOT have to wake up super early on Monday morning to do my grading for that class before I go to work! We're also wrapping things up at my ESOL job (three weeks left!) and were doing testing last week. I could write a whole blog post about the tests, but I will spare you my rants on standardized testing :)  All I will say is that it felt so wrong to do testing this week in my beginner class when I have 6 students from Nepal. My heart is breaking for their country after the earthquake.  Please keep everyone in your thoughts and prayers.

On a much, much lighter note - a student in one of my classes brought in an English textbook published in 1965 in Moscow. There are some of my favorite pages from it:


Page 1 of the Lenin poem
Page 2 of the Lenin poem

This weekend has been great and the weather has been beautiful! Friday I finished sewing my first maxi skirt of the season :) No pictures of it yet, but I'll try to remember to get one next time I wear it. But it's awesome, trust me ;)

Saturday I ran 8 miles - my longest run since the Columbus Marathon in October 2013. I really, really want to run a fall half and I'm just trying to figure out how to keep my stomach issues at bay while I ramp up my running (said stomach issues being the primary reason I have NOT been doing distance running these past two years). But I miss it so much and I'm ready to devote some more attention to solving this problem. After the run on Saturday, I made Smitten Kitchen's Not Derby Pie Bars (amazing!) and went to a potluck at our friends' house.

Today I drove to Pittsburgh (again!) to meet up with some of my favorite running ladies, who finished the Pittsburgh Half Marathon this morning. It was a long day, but seeing them was totally worth all the driving! :)  Can't wait until the next time (and I hope to be running with them when that happens!)

And now it's back to reality and lesson planning for me. Have a great week everyone!