Thursday, May 24, 2012

Graduation & Beyond

I walked in the doctoral graduation ceremony last Saturday, happy to have parents (sadly, minus Liz) and Austin in the audience. There are very few ways to show personality when you're all wearing identical puffy, hot regalia and trying to look dignified and scholarly (or something approaching that). I painted my toenails the exact color of the velvet trim on my gear and got sparkly gold shoes to match.

When one of the marshals handed me a fake diploma, he leaned in and said "You win the prize for the best shoes here." I rarely get praised on my shoes since I have high arches and it's difficult for me to wear anything fancy, pretty, or remotely cute. I go for comfort but these shoes were flat and my ankle was firmly strapped in so it seemed the safest thing for walking across a stage with a bit of flair.

Following the ceremony, the fam and I ran various errands to put together a feast of BBQ, fruits, veggies, salads, crackers, cheeses, and much more that I'm forgetting. A few of my friends stopped by. Wine was drunk. Good conversation was had. It was a success, I'd say, and I'm grateful for all the help I got from the 'rents and Austin.

The parents left on Sunday and on Monday, we officially listed our house for sale. On Tuesday, we had three showings and madly whipped the house into presentable shape. It wasn't that we were blindsided by the showings but there is something about cleaning for an imaginary showing versus knowing there are several Real Showings on the books. It's interesting, now, keeping up the house. We wonder "If I started baking this casserole, will someone call and want to be here in a half hour?" We've decided all fish will be cooked on the grill for the time being. Other random things that we didn't think about before keep cropping up, like omg, how did the baseboards get so dirty? And when was the last time I even thought about them? So yes, some first world problems are on our radars now.

In some exciting news, I have accepted a professorship in IL at a university about an hour outside of Chicago. I'm really excited about the position, what I'll be teaching, and the other projects it will entail. I've already set up my email and contacted a few (future) colleagues. I'm dreaming about syllabus design and thinking about research. We'll be within realistic driving distance of our family and friends; Austin's mom and my sister will be a mere two hours away as will a close friend of mine. For every wonderful thing I will miss about Aus-town (Alamo Drafthouse! Migas at restaurants! Gardening in February!), I'm thinking of the new wonderful things to come (Actual fall weather! New restaurants to try! A "tea emporium" in the university town!). These are the kinds of things that are good to think about when you're also worrying about selling a home, moving a cat with mental health issues across the country, finding time to house hunt, etc.

The bottom line is that this will be a summer of transitions and new adventures but we did it four years ago so we know it can be done. Go, Team Lunderoy!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

Looking forward to seeing her in a few days!

Friday, May 11, 2012

One of my projects and life

When I was little, maybe brand new, my dad made me a toy box. At some point, it made its way back to me but it had been worn over time and the back panel had been destroyed. Before I moved to Texas, I had my dad replace it. You can sort of see it blending into the white stone of the fire place.

Now that I finally, finally have time, I'm reviving it. I'm re-purposing paint left over from painting the walls of our house. At the moment, I'm thinking the exterior will be white, the inside the deep red of our guest room, and I'm planning a little design to paint on it as well. I have virtually no crafty skills so just unscrewing the hinges and taking them off felt like a significant accomplishment. The first coat of white is on and I'll do the next tomorrow. This will take shape over a few days but I'm hoping it's done before our parents arrive in town for graduation.

On a sad note, as I was going about my project, Austin's grandma Jeanne passed. Our hearts are in Minnesota and we are thinking so much about his family right now.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Life After Diss

We've had some storms and rain lately and it makes me so, so happy. Stinky tends to be oblivious to rain and doesn't mind being wet. Usually thunder doesn't faze him but we've had a few really loud claps that have made even Austin and I jump that have seemed to agitate the furry one (to be clear I mean the cat, not that man). The other night, we had grilled cheese and tomato soup and lounged on the couch after dinner with Stinky snoozing between us and a cool breeze coming through the house. That is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening.

There are plenty of projects to keep me busy during the day, though, but good-busy, not dissertation-writing-busy. We met with our real estate agent and will be staging and listing the house next week. It feels like we just moved in and I love this house but sadly, it didn't come with a job attached. Fortunately, we don't need to do anything major like painting all the walls white or replacing the carpet. We mostly just need to pack all the STUFF away. It will be interesting to see how long it takes to get an offer and if we can get a reasonable price for it. Whatever the case, we are much better off than so many other homeowners so it should turn out all right.

I am also working on a presentation for a conference in Puerto Rico in July. Austin will be joining me so we can make it a sort of vacation and another couple we are friends with will be there. Austin loved his trip to the Virgin Islands so Puerto Rico really appealed to him. In addition to that conference, I'll be presenting at another in Philly in November. One of my presentations is collaborative so my team will be trying to get our work done over the summer. That will be another great conference that I'll be attending with close friends. It's wonderful to have friend-colleagues.

Austin and I are also trying to plan when we'll head to IL to look at the community where my new job is based. We have lots of details to sort out on that but when we've got our new digs lined up, my dad has enthusiastically requested to drive our moving truck north. Unlike our move to TX, this will be interesting since poor Stinky will be along for the ride.

So all in all, there is still a lot going on but my schedule is much more flexible and the projects are more enjoyable than, say, editing Chapter Two for the umpteenth time. Best of all, we will see our parents next week for graduation!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Done? Really?

I successfully defended my dissertation last week and they pronounced me "Doctor Lunderoy" but I still had revisions to tackle and paperwork to process. Today, I submitted everything and I am completely done (minus walking across the stage). Today was a fantastically crazy day that I have to document.

Fortunately, Austin took the day off to help me through everything which turned out to be a good idea. After uploading ("depositing") my dissertation into the ether, we headed to campus to finalize things. The campus parking garages seemed to be full so we parked in a private ramp which had the most narrow spaces I've ever seen. When we finally found a tiny spot for my tiny car, Austin had to get out to guide my car in. My mirrors were just inches from a concrete wall on one side and another car on the other. I had to use the hatch as the exit/entry point. That bad.

We headed to "The Tower" armed with a hard copy of my dissertation, my laptop, a jump drive, water, Kindles, our (dusty) checkbook, and the final paperwork. It was an uphill hike to The Tower in 90 degree heat with major humidity. Lovely. Given that it was the last day of the semester, we had no idea if we would be in line with hundreds, dozens, or a handful of other grad students. Fortunately, things were relatively quiet. We were shown into a "degree evaluator's" office that was plastered in pictures of horses, cats, and the occasional human. There was even a complete antique-y farm diorama on display. The evaluator--who was inexplicably wearing scrubs--checked off cryptic items on a form and declared that I had submitted a dissertation that had appropriately followed the formatting guidelines. Success!

We then went into Bob's office (Bob is a legend on campus) because I was allowed to draw a prize from the Mysterious Bag. Yes, seriously. I reached into a bag printed with a question mark and pulled out the above pictured graduation ducky. Bob also had a nice bust of Napoléon and a large portrait of him which Bob had draped in black crepe paper to commemorate Napoléon's May 5th death. Austin was delighted to see that Bob also had an R2D2 wastepaper basket. I got to look at his phrenology head model and finally discovered that the knob on the back of my skull that so many hair stylists have remarked on indicates a love of animals. I then went to the Cashier's Office to pay my final fees (with a check, no credit cards allowed) and that was that.

We were ready to leave campus and Austin helped me un-wedge my car from the parking space but we were held up leaving the cramped garage because a van had become wedged in the exit lane, floor to ceiling. People were furiously trying to release air from the tires and weigh it down to get it out. We finally left through a wrong-way lane.

It is now completely over and we will soon go out to one of my favorite Mexican dives in the area. I have a graduation duck, a Ph.D., and I am beyond grateful for my husband, family*, and friends who have made this all come together for me. Now where is that margarita?!

*Family includes my cat. Yes, Stinky actually got a mention in my acknowledgments. I'm that crazy. Austin has agreed to read it to Stinky because he is that crazy.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Getting Closer

I'm almost there, professionally speaking, but still a few more hoops to jump through. After one huge milestone, my sister sent me flowers. She described our wedding flowers to the florist and asked for something modern and contemporary. This was the stunning result.

Like I said, I really love flowers. I also received a fantastically bright and cheery arrangement from two friends so I get to have flowers in two rooms of my house. Bliss. I'll post about more than flowers soon enough but for now, I'm trying to wrap up the semester and I'm happy to be doing so surrounded by flowers, Austin, and Stinky (not necessarily in that order!).