Friday, December 31, 2010

10 things I'm loving this fall/winter (#7)

#7 Midwestern weather

I admit that growing up in the midwest gave me a phobia of all things cold. (Everything from skiing to the refrigerated section of the grocery store.) So at the first opportunity I packed up and moved to the desert. I loved the heat and even past 100 degrees rarely used my AC. (I guess all that talk about dry heat is right.) It took Sri Lanka to cure me of my unquestioned love of heat. After an entire year of being either too hot or way too hot, I am appreciating winter in a way I couldn't before. And even more, I'm appreciating the fact that even if I get sick of winter it won't be here forever.

The saying back home sums it up nicely, "Don't like the weather? Just wait, it'll change." (Not quite as catchy as I remember it...) Anyway, the top picture was taken a couple days ago. Notice that the lake has frozen over and the trees are laced with ice. It was gorgeous; crisp, still, silent. The bottom picture was the next day. It looked and felt like spring, with water flowing over the ice and the smell of wet grass. I loved them both. So maybe the weather can help me remember that nothing lasts forever and to just enjoy what I've got.

So here's to this season of my life! Cheers to a month off at Christmas, free lectures, a very good library, a starbucks on every corner, and learning for a living.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Home for the Holidays

So just a quick update, stuff that doesn't fit into my 10 things... scheme.

*I've been too busy with finals to make the most of the holiday in DC - I missed the Eastern Market's Christmas market, didn't go to the Nutcracker, and have not yet been ice skating on the mall. However I'm making up for it as best I can tomorrow by going to visit the National Christmas Tree and listening to some freezing cold choir sing in front of it. Did you know they have music there every night from the 14th until Christmas? (Well, maybe fact check that, but that's how I understood it.)

*I've been conducting some cooking experiments to distract me from all that studying. I've tried pesto (way too much garlic), beef stew (a little watery), tortilla chips (easy!), roasted garlic (only so-so), and lasagna (made enough to feed a small army - will not be eating lasagna again for a year or so).

*I haven't made any progress recently on meeting the entry requirements for state. Basically there's only the Oral Assessment left. I have both of my clearances and passed the FSOT already. (And I don't have to do the PN's, see the Pickering Faqs section.) I still haven't actually gotten my invite to the OA, but I'm assuming that I'll be taking it the next time it's offered, so I've been preparing accordingly. I have a really great former employer who is coaching me on my interviewing skills (which is great because she does that for a living). I'm also planning to join a DC study group, as much for the social value as the study value. I know the chances aren't great for passing it on the first try, but I'd like to think I'm preparing as much as or more than most people, so it's only a matter of time, right?

10 things I'm loving this fall/winter (#6)

#6 Time (Off -that is)

This week I fly home for a very long Christmas break which I am very grateful for. I've already picked up some winter reading from the library (fiction! finally!) and put together an ambitious list of all the awesome, non-academic things I'm going to do while home. On the list? Host a party, learn how to make homemade marshmallows, see my old buddies from high school, and maybe take a first aid/cpr class, because I think I'm the only one in my family now that couldn't save a life, well, to save my life and it's about time I did something about that.

Monday, December 6, 2010

10 things I'm loving this fall/winter (#5)

#5 Memo Writing

Okay, this one may be hard to explain. But I've been preparing for the oral assessment (in my perpetual battle to find alternatives to studying for my finals and writing my research paper) and in doing so I discovered how much I like memos.

They are about everything that grad school is not. Clarity. Brevity. Simplicity. Action. Sticking to the facts. Using words that mean things! No wonder I have been struggling here! At heart, I'm more of a memo person than an 'scholarly research' person. If I have to read one more article about 'conceptualizations of developmentalization' or some such nonsense... well I'd better save that rant for next year. ;)

8 days left in my 1st (otherwise known as fourth to last) semester!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The problem with living in the tropics... that you lose the ability to distinguish between this:

and this:

Is it just me or is DC colder than it looks?

*I should also note, only the first picture is mine.