Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh May . . . You Are Crammed!

Sorry about the lack of posts lately; May has been one heck of a busy month! Between getting Brandi (my new roommate) moved in, the end of the semester, the starting of summer semester, and all the other odds and ends, I have been one busy (and tired) girl! A lot has happened in a very short space of time, but here's my best attempt to summarize:

1. New Roommate: Brandi is awesome! We get along famously. In fact, I wonder now how I'll ever go back to living alone when grad school is over! We have similar tastes in just about everything, so living together is going far better than we ever imagined. Jasper is besotted by his new human friend; every morning, he has to see Brandi before he is willing to go outside. It is a blast having someone else who is taking the same class, since Brandi and I are able to discuss our reading together and prepare together. So, it was a very wise idea going ahead and getting a roommate!

2. End of My First Semester of Grad School: I finished with a solid 4.0!

3. Summer Semester: I am insane and masochistic, therefore I am taking two summer intensives simultaneously. Modern American Military History is fascinating but absolutely overflowing with work, to the point where I worry about how I'll get it all done. The professor is also my thesis advisor. Film and Television History is fun, taught by a very humorous and engaging professor, and is actually proving to be the easiest class ever, since I have already seen all of the films on the required viewing list.

4. Military History Conference: Beyond epic! I met the authors of three of my books from last semester, all of whom are really nice in real life. I also met four fascinating historians from the CIA (one of whom helped me with my thesis), another author whose book I enjoyed, and a very friendly British historian who offered me some thesis help. The sessions were quite interesting, and many of the papers presented actually pertain to one of the classes that I'm taking now, which gives me a little extra insight.

5. My Hand: I smacked my left hand on a doorknob the other night, in the EXACT spot where I hit it back in the winter. So, I now have an exceedingly painful hand that is twice the size it ought to be.

6. My Novel: I apparently didn't have enough on my plate already, so I started writing a fantasy novel. The hilarious part is that I never write fantasy! I guess I was inspired by my friends in my writing club. So far, my story is heavily influenced by Celtic and Welsh mythology and is about fifty pages long. I am planning to do some significant work on it this week, since I have a lot less classwork to worry about this week.

7. Jasper: He had a session of pampering and grooming at Petsmart about two weeks ago, where they gave him an adorable haircut. He loved it! He is still as quirky and funny as ever, perhaps even more so now that he has another human living with him. He loves my roommate. He insists on seeing her every morning before going outside (he's going to be bummed when he learns that she's leaving for a few days to go home and see her family).

8. My Bedroom: I finally finished decorating and arranging it. I got rid of the beanbag and added two bookcases and a desk to the room, so it is now much more functional and more attractive. I promise to post photos soon, to satisfy the curious relatives.

9. LU's "Controversial" Graduation: I went in order to show support to Brandi, and because I was curious to hear Glenn Beck. He did a great job. I read a few articles where some of the liberal media attempted to completely take his speech out of context AND significantly alter it. Those poor-excuses-for-journalists completely (deliberately) missed the fact that Beck gave a warm, inspiring speech that actually meant something to not only the graduates, but the rest of us students as well. He made only a brief reference to politics, instead focusing on good advice for how to live a life that matters, with strong focus on how best to serve other people. It was well done and was the right speech for the right time.

10. The Evil Final Paper: Remember that paper that the instructor assigned a week after class ended? Well, apparently he didn't feel like grading it (or just procrastinated for too long). Final grades are done, and that paper never received any credit at all. So, my classmates and I stressed out writing for absolutely no reason. I am more than a little bit annoyed over that whole business.

11. 26th Birthday: Slightly traumatizing realizing that I'm now closer to thirty than to twenty, but it was still a fun day. Brandi had put a little sign on the microwave and there were some very nice presents from some very sweet people. That evening, Brandi and I made a delicious stir-fry, I met friends for dessert for a little while, and then Brandi and I went to see How to Train Your Dragon (her first time seeing it, my second). Any birthday that involves dragons is a good birthday!

Well, hope this post satisfies those who wondered what on earth was going on and where I had gone. I will try to get some pictures up later today or tomorrow.

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"