Sunday, April 25, 2010

Victory... Victory at all costs... Victory at any cost

The funniest thing happened last week.

Now you probably know I'm a runner. I've run a couple of marathons, and while I'm no Boston-qualifier, I love the thrill of the pulse and the finish-line flourish.

Well. The past two weeks I've suffered from what has been called Washington DC's worst pollen in ten years. So when the annual Victim's Rights run came to campus, as it does every year, and my department coordinated registration and t-shirts, and I coughed up a lung that morning, I decided to walk instead of run. Which I did with my friend Sheila. Sheila and I chatted it up the whole time--it was a pleasant morning, and we talked about the state of the history department, her current success at defending her dissertation and now working full time at the Center for History and New Media, and all sorts of things. When we walked across the finish line, some man asked if we were students. Sheila just graduated, but I gave them my name. We sat down with our running friends and ate sandwiches during the little awards ceremony.

Lo and behold, they called my name. I was the first place student walker! Complete with a trophy! I don't know whether to be proud or not, being a runner... but the trophy earned a place of honor above my computer.

I AM, however, proud of my victory at the Lunt annual Easter Eggstravaganza a couple of weeks ago, when my hearty egg, named Eliza R. Snow, won the egg crack-off...

Yes--I did decorate her Martha Stewart-style, although you can't see the fine design in this action shot.

Check out the winning bracket! Intense competition, I tell you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bhangra Blowout

Last Friday, Andrea taught ME and I to make Indian food. Of course we stayed up too late to marinade and watch High School Musical 3 and an episode of Alias (season 3, episode 1--was she really gone for 2 years?!?). But all the delicious food and dancing was prelude to this...

Last Saturday, Jamie persuaded Jennifer and I to attend the Bhangra Blowout with her at Constitution Hall. What's that, you ask? Well, only the premier Indian dance festival in the country, of course!

Jamie decked us out in all her Indian garb (it was so hard to choose!), and we headed into the District (there's something about riding the metro dressed up... you get a lot of looks when you wear garb that's obviously not your skins!). I think we were the only Caucasians around. It was a party, I'm telling you--Bollywood at it's finest! Dancing--on the stage AND in the aisles, singing, and I hear the after parties are crazy.
How I LOVE me a good celebration! The music pumped through that auditorium, the colors swinging around, and boy do I want to learn some of those moves. Who knew all of this could come out of the good ol' DAR? I need to go to India one day...

Monday, April 19, 2010

On the Up and Up

Good news moment! Brought to you with pictures of my favorite cherry blossom neighborhood in Chevy Chase from a couple of weeks ago...

drum roll...

I have funding! My department has offered me one more year of funding. This news came the day after I did NOT receive funding from another significant source (which was a good thing because I didn't necessarily want to move back to Utah, although it would have been ridiculous to turn it down if I DID get it). Ahem. Anyway. The PhD director swore up and down that he would most definitely NOT give me funding ever again after this year, which means I either need to finish my dissertation this year (wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles!) or find another fellowship (I'm trying! I'm trying!). So one more year of pittance upon which to thrive and write and write and thrive. Just you wait!
AND... just found out today that I received a Charles Redd Center for Western Studies fellowship--a very small award but money! Hooray! More pittance!

AND... (the list goes on!)... as I went online today to find a new laptop battery, I discovered that I'm still under warranty for 49 more days! Hooray! New battery for free!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

My View

This was my view. Not today, but two days ago. I didn't have the energy to post on Tuesday.

I must say one of the greatest rewards of growing older (this is not a post on age) is the recognition of what you're feeling--physically and emotionally--and what you want to do about it. You recognize when you're elated and why, you know when you're mad and you can decide what you're going to do about it, and you sense when you're discouraged and you figure out how to handle that.

I've been attacked by allergies. And it's made me feel sick. I haven't been sick in a long, long time. I refuse to let my body slow down long enough to feel sick. But after huddling in a blanket all day, not really being able to breath deeply, clinging to my laptop for warmth (and catching up on a billion emails), when my sweet friend Diedra called to invite me over to dinner, I admitted it. I didn't feel good. She immediately offered to bring me dinner. I started to cry. And then I knew I really was sick.

So this was my view: notice kleenex, water bottle, mug of hot tea, tin-foil-covered dinner from Diedra, my puffy Laura Ashley comforter, and, of course, my bound Woman's Exponent and laptop open to the Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes resting on the awesome antique coffee table I found on the street and still haven't figured out how to refinish.

I'm on the mend. I have prescriptions for flonase and an inhaler, I've had a delightful sleep thanks to some benadryl (who knew it was almost as good as ambien!?!), and lots and lots and lots of liquids. And emails to catch up...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

And the Heavens Opened

Bozeman, Montana, May 2008

Last night I inadvertently left my sun roof open. Thank goodness when I got into my car this morning that it hadn't rained and that the temperature had lowered and prevented a fine dusting of pollen to fill my Golda with its springtime wealth.

I like to believe that I was tapping into my conduit to heaven through my sun roof. That and the wind rippling through my hair and the bright spring sun are what motivate me to open up Golda in this pollen-infested world.

Just last week, for instance, I was in a tight spot with my dissertation. My adviser was convinced that my structure was all wrong and that my previously-written chapters were off and shouldn't be included. She was partly right. The biggest problem, though, was that I didn't have a tight focus. I couldn't figure out the core value of all my little strands. I'd felt blocked the past few months as I tried to hammer out a dissertation that didn't really stand on its own.

So I struggled through it that weekend. I went to all my usual sources of inspiration (including the fabulous Kenwood neighborhood in Chevy Chase for some non-touristy cherry blossom stimulation). I read an article by my dear mentors from a previous life at BYU, Jill & Carol. They seemed to have hit one of my ideas right on, and while I was delighted in their work, I was also a bit disappointed because it's now not mine to make.

And then it hit me. It came. The heavens opened and all of a sudden all these little pieces from my past years of research and papers and exhibits instantly fell into place. CLICK. I figured it out. I saw so clearly, in that beam of sunlight on my back patio last Wednesday, the day before I met with my adviser to restructure my dissertation, and my conduit popped. I welcome those brief moments of clarity. This morning at the gym as I labored on the bike (breathing heavily through my allergy-infested lungs), I had another moment, explaining another part of my life. These are the moments, these bits of light, these conduits, that I cling to and that provide direction for the next little bit. Oh thank goodness!