tehuti: (Default)
The year that just passed was a particularly difficult one for many people in our country. My own family was not unaffected by the shaky economy. But despite our economic hardships, this year was undoubtedly one of my best on the planet.

We started the year off by bringing Homer, our shiny new minivan, home from the dealer. Over the course of the next twelve months, I finished my last semester of grad school, passed my exams, found a job in a completely unexpected field, ran and completed my first timed half marathon (plus two more for good measure!), got paid to be a freelance writer and our little boy was born. This list wasn't in chronological order, of course, nor in order of importance. Well, maybe that last bit, making it last to emphasize it. No matter how you add it up, all of that wondrousness makes for a good year.

And lots of wonderful things happened this year, big and small. A lot of them revolve around the Munchkin, which is only natural. Babies tend to take over the lives of their parents. Which is an excellent segway to my Resolution Report.

I was not terribly successful with many of my 2011 resolutions. I can blame/give credit to the baby for a good deal of it. In one case, a stupid hurricane derailed my plans. But no matter. Time for the reckoning.

----------

Success:

Earn my Master's Degree - Check!

Run at least one timed 10k race - I ran three half marathons, which is just over 21k. Check!

Go on at least one family vacation (weekend or longer) - Relaxacon! Check!

Apply to at least two academic conferences - Applied to two, accepted to both. Check!

Go to at least three cons this year that aren't TBC - Arisia, Relaxacon, Pi-Con. Check!

Get at least one piece other than a book review published (Fearless Press does not count) - Demand Studios, Examiner.com and Yahoo! News all published my work this year. Check!

Partial Success:

Run at least ten timed races - Only made it to eight. I'm marking it partial because we had economic difficulties that interfered with this goal. Plus, I totally ran races I never thought I'd run in 2011.

Read 25 books for pleasure (and count them this time!) - Partial because I more than met this goal but again forgot to record them. Finishing grad school was good for my "must-read" pile.

Make at least one new blog post per month on Poly Living for Fearless Press - Partial, because even though I didn't achieve this, it was partially because the site is on hiatus.

Write at least three more book reviews for the Journal of Massachusetts History - Partial, because I am still working on the last bit that will fulfill this resolution.

Failure:

Break 30 minutes in a timed 5k race - Nope. Need to work on speed.

Visit at least one new state highpoint - We had hoped to visit High Point, NJ, this year. Never managed to find the time or monies.

Visit the remaining county highpoints on Long Island - see above response.

Visit at least ten new county highpoints - see above response referencing above above response.

Climb a peak higher than Mt. Mansfield (4393ft) - see a pattern yet?

Visit at least two more VT county highpoints - Aimee and I had planned a trip to Vermont over Labor Day weekend to go hiking and highpointing. Two weeks before, Hurricane Irene tore Vermont to bits. A lot of the roads and trailheads we wanted to use were inaccessible, and the trails themselves weren't likely to be any better. Our friends up there, who we had planned to stay with, advised us to stay home. So we visited some county prominence points in MA instead. More about that later.

Find at least 100 more geocaches (1213 finds as of 1/24/2011) - Geocaching has almost completely fallen off my radar. Aimee's, too. Highpointing is wayyyyy more fun and challenging.

Break 450 total membership for TBC 2011 - Nope. Topped 300 paid members, and 350 total through the door. Good, but not the goal.

End the year with my weight below 210 lbs - Never got close.

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Not too bad, now that I actually thought about it. This next part will be a bit repetitious. My resolutions for 2012 are as follows:

Run at least once a week.
Run at least ten timed races.
Break 30 minutes in a timed 5k race.
Set a Personal Record at the half marathon distance in a timed race (2:41:05)
Visit at least one new state highpoint.
Visit at least two more VT county highpoints.
Visit the remaining county highpoints on Long Island (2).
Visit at least ten new county highpoints.
Climb a peak higher than Mt. Mansfield (4393ft).
Complete the county prominence points of Massachusetts.
Write in my own journal at least once a week.
Produce more copy for Yahoo News.
Finish a novel-length story of my own.
Read 25 books for pleasure and blog about them.
End the year with my weight below 210 lbs.

Thoughts and musings:

I really am enjoying my new job. That isn't stopping me from still looking in the history world, though.

I am very glad that the Downstarians moved here. It's worked out on so many different levels, it would take an entire post of its own to explain. So that's for another time.

Let me explain the whole "prominence" thing. It is a mountaineering term. Prominence is the height of the mountain or hill's summit by the elevation between it and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit. Think of it like this. Suppose that the sea level rises to the lowest level at which a particular peak becomes the highest point on an island. The prominence of that peak is the height of that island. Follow? Mostly, my interest in prominence is only that it gives us another list of places to visit and hills to climb that aren't multiple hour drives away.

I have definitely enjoyed getting to know some of our farther-flung friends better this year. Particularly the other poly families (all of whom know who they are). I hope this trend continues in 2012.

Definitely loving the parent thing.

Regarding Yahoo, I was recently given the option to write for them on a daily basis. I've been bad and not taken full advantage of that. So that's what my resolution above means. Not to write for them every day, but definitely more often than I have been. Since I can, it's fun and they pay me.

I am so glad to be back role playing regularly I cannot even begin to describe it. And both of my groups are great!

May all of your endeavors be successful in 2012!
tehuti: (Running Wolf)
I did a year-end wrap-up post of my races for 2010, and now I continue that tradition for 2011.

Big Fourth 5k, July 4, 2011: 32:43, 10:28/mile

Rock n' Roll Providence Half Marathon, Aug 7, 2011: 2:48:08, 12:46/mile

Greater Springfield Harriers Summer Sizzler 8k, Aug 17, 2011: 53:32, 10:57/mile

Greater Springfield Harriers Summer Sizzler 5k, Aug 24, 2011: 39:23, 12:43/mile

Run to the Rock Half Marathon, Sept 10, 2011: 2:52:41, 13:06/mile

Hartford Half Marathon, Oct 15, 2011: 2:41:05, 12:11/mile

BayState Rays of Hope 8k, Oct 23, 2011: 1:05:08, 12:26/mile

Hot Chocolate 5k Run, Dec 4, 2011: 35:19, 11:09/mile

This year, we missed the Tomato Trot because of Pi-Con, the AIDS Run because of Run to the Rock, And the Bridge of Flowers because of Rock n' Roll Providence. As the results show, in that last case especially, it had nothing to do with fitness level. Our timed runs this year were limited by available funds. When I finished school, my income went with it, so we cut back wherever we could. Hopefully, now that I am back to work, that will change for next year.

I'm going to start working on a general year-end wrap-up post, where I'll talk about these results in more detail. Some of my resolutions last year pertained to running, and although I didn't keep them, I'm still pleased with my times and accomplishments this year. I'll explain later, I promise. Just be patient, and you'll see what I mean. :-)
tehuti: (Tehuti)
I did this meme last year, and found it helpful to remind me of some of the cool stuff I did. So I'm doing it again.

Springfield, MA
Lowville, NY
Hyannis, MA
Boston, MA
Seekonk, MA
Somerville, MA

Compared to last year, 2011 was much less busy. But only in terms of going places. Two cons, one academic conference, one half-marathon and one funeral. But I'm missing something important:

Special mention - Bay State Hospital

I know, it's in Springfield, too. But this was for a very special occasion! :-)
tehuti: (Default)
Transcending Boundaries 2011 is officially in the books. Today is one of my favorite days of the year. It started about 6pm last night, right about the time I turned to our fabulous conference chair and said the magic words, “You’re fired!”

I don’t think I’ve ever made a dead girl happier.

Today is one of my favorite days not because the conference is over. Well, not exactly. I love today because of the effect TBC has on its attendees and staff. This magical sense of calm, belonging and community overcomes me, and it lasts until the real world finally reminds me that we’re done for another year. It’s mingled with a sense of satisfaction and pride, knowing that, for three days a year, we create this special place where everyone is welcome, everyone belongs and the rest of the world can piss off, but in a nice way.

I still don’t know how or why it happens, I just know it does. And it lasts for about a 24 hours. So today is one of my favorite days all year.

TBC provides brain food like no other event I’ve ever attended. And that’s really saying something, since I’m usually so busy I’m lucky to get to more than two panels. I cannot imagine how people that go to things all weekend manage to keep everything in their heads. Walking to the closing panel, I was joking with one of our past keynote speakers that I’ve never really attended a TBC, and in a very real way, I haven’t. As staff (and senior staff at that), TBC is a very different experience for me. Not worse, just different.

Deep down in my secret heart, I think my experience is better.

There were so many “take-away” moments form this year’s conference; I couldn’t begin to list or rank them. I already mentioned one above. Another I posted to Facebook last night, on Robin Ochs Wall. During the Panel of Awesome, a closing panel discussion on the future of the GLBTQ community, featuring three current and past TBC keynote speakers, Robin asked the room how many of us had ever felt like we were too queer, or not queer enough, to be in the community. Nearly every hand in the room shot into the air. It is the first time I really and truly felt like I belonged with them.

I’ve struggled with this for years. Decades. I’m a poly, kinky, pagan, bi, geeky guy. I’ve never in my life not been a minority. I was raised Jewish, and am still proud of my family heritage although I, like my new long lost Auntie Kate, choose not to believe in an Angry God. I was a fat kid, and still struggle with body image and self-esteem. I have a learning disability that I hid from my teachers by overachieving in school. I was adopted, and still feel guilty that I don’t have the connection to my family of origin that so many other people seem to have.

I was bullied cruelly for all of these things. I don’t have many memories of childhood that don’t involve persecution of some kind for some reason. I struggled with gender and sexuality when I began puberty. I questioned who and what I was, who and what I was expected to be and what was happening to my body. In the early 80s, there was no one to tell me that what I was feeling was OK, that I wasn’t a bad person and that it was perfectly normal to be confused. Not that I knew or could find. Everything and everyone around me told me that being queer, whatever that meant, was bad and shameful. So after being bullied by my peers for my entire life, there was no chance in hell I was telling anyone about any of it. I muddled through, survived high school, and it wasn’t until my thirties that I finally accepted myself for myself. Even now, I still struggle.

All of the choices I’ve made in my life mark me as “other”. I’ve never been anything resembling “normal” or “average”. But if you look at me, I look like a fairly typical white male. Even my long hair isn’t that unusual in my part of the world. It’s not obvious that I’m different. Even people that should know better than to judge a queer by his cover can’t get past my white cis-male appearance. Last night, our amazing friend Lorelei said we (meaning my family and I) were some of the most radical people she knew. And I don’t see it, because when I look in the mirror, I see a white male staring back, and I know what that means to far too many of the people in my chosen communities.

And that’s why Robin’s simple demonstration hit me so hard. She proved to me in a way that I will never forget that I belong. That I shouldn’t feel like a fraud anymore. I belong, and not because I go to munches, or make TBC come alive, or go to Pride events, or anything else I do.

I belong to the queer community because I am one of them. They are my people.

-----------------

I’m going to finish this post with my typical random “bullet thoughts” after-con report. Otherwise, I’ll keep writing all night.

From an organizers standpoint, this was our best TBC yet. 315 registered attendees, 350ish total attendance.

The venue loved us. We loved them. Working hard to get back into the Mass Mutual Center for next year.

Got to be a different weekend, though. The largest horse show in the northeast was this weekend at the Big E. Which explains the complete lack of hotel rooms anywhere within 20 miles of Springfield.

And this weekend next year, the damn cheerleaders that plagued us in Worcester will be in Springfield. DO NOT WANT.

I cannot say enough how awesome the venue staff is, from managers and sales folks to the security guards and catering staff. If any of the high muckity-mucks of the Mass Mutual Center are seeing this, please give me a job. I want to work with you all every single day!

To the outgoing con chair; TBC 2011 was only as good as it was because you knew when to beat on heads and when to stand aside and let things happen. It's a rare skill. I know you don't think our success had anything to do with you. You are wrong. Well done.

Practice “Radical Welcoming”.

Dear Gods, way too much eye candy at TBC this year. And not all of it was the attendees.

Wait, what the hell am I complaining about? MOAR KANDY!

I wish I’d discovered Kate Bornstein’s work twenty years ago. Would have saved me a lot of pain.

Speaking of, Kate is amazing. In case there was any doubt. And not just because of the “Old Starbuck” costume she wore at the keynote.

Or her sonic screwdriver.

We’re getting really good at this event-running gig. A whole lot of stuff seemed to happen way more easily than I remember in the last two years. Go us!

My family HAS to get involved as presenters as often and wherever we can. We’ve got stuff to say, and it’s about time we started saying it, often and loudly.

Mark, you can never quit staff. We'd miss your enthusiasm too much. First thing in the morning on Day Three, it's the only thing that gets us going.

TBC had its own “Bread Fairy” this year. More like “Bagel Fairy”. If you are reading this, hope you enjoy them, Katie.

Dear Mass Mutual Center. Please install some giant retractable sun shades. That huge glass wall faces southwest. And the sun is bright, especially during the daytime. Love, TBC Staff and Attendees.

I think that the Munchkin single-handedly put a smile on the face of every single person that passed through Registration. If we had a dollar for every minute that someone other than one of his parents was drooling or cooing over him this weekend, TBC would be set for years.

There was a small Occupy Springfield protest across the street from us Saturday. And there was a cute little Tea Party counter-rally on our side of the street. Some signs supporting the Occupiers magically appeared on the glass wall, facing outward so both sides could read it.

I may or may not have instigated that. ;-)

I was completely and totally wrong about starting programming at 1pm Friday. Close to half the attendees came in Friday because we started early.

Random Happy Moment: Saturday night, watching two of our attendees grooving on the dance floor. In their power wheelchairs.

Nick Krieger, if you happen to see this, please come back to TBC again. And that goes for everyone else that was there this weekend.

In fact, if you have ever been to a TBC, as a vendor, presenter, staff member or attendee, please come back next year.

On that note, if you found this blog through the TBC website, Facebook, etc., feel free to stalk me, friend me, whatever. We’re probably best friends and don’t know it yet.
tehuti: (Tehuti)
I was literally just about to post this to my blog last week when the Halloween Blizzard took out Comcast, plunging our household into darkness for two days. And by darkness, I mean no internet or cable access. It was a truly harrowing experience. OK, mostly it was just inconvenient, and we we especially lucky, considering that even now, hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses still don't have power five days later. But that's another post. Last week, I went on my most promising job interviews yet, and after a bunch of curious questions on Facebook, I figured it would be easier to tell everyone at once.

After a couple of months of almost nothing (a grand total of one interview since July), I suddenly found myself with multiple potential employers on my radar. A week ago Monday, I went on my most promising interview, and that's the one I talked about on Facebook that prompted this post. Here is the promised update, filling in most of the blanks.

The job I interviewed for is with a place called the Academic and Behavioral Clinic. I met the head clinician at a job fair at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Under her direction, I would do assessments on children and teens, up to college age, and develop treatment plans to help them overcome their issues, whatever they might be. Part of the job is in-home, some is out patient, and starting next year, a day program will begin for developmentally disabled teens and adults. They specifically are looking for people that are non-traditional and non-threatening, to immediately put clients and their families at ease. Basically, if you look like a social worker, that's what they don't want. And I don't. :-) Each person working for the clinic has their own clientele, and makes their own hours. You can work as much or as little as you want. That flexibility would be fantastic for us. 

They also want people that have teaching experience, which I have. If you have experience with the system, or with therapy, that's a plus. I have some of both. Finally, they prefer people with graduate degrees, because that proves that you are intelligent, can learn new skills quickly and aren't afraid of writing and paperwork. So my expensive diploma, even though it isn't in psychology, is what got me in through the door in the first place.

The interview really wasn't. It was more like a couple of people sitting down to get to know each other. I made quite an impression on the director and the office manager at the job fair, and it continued through the interview process. I met with the manager once for about 90 minutes, and the director for over two hours. They like me, I like them, and we all want for me to come on board. After the first interview Monday, I received a pre-employment packet, which required a renewed CPR card, thick application, professional references and a physical and TB test. They told me to have it back in ten days, and no one had done it faster than twelve.

I did it in four. Don't challenge me. ;-)

My packet went to Boston last Saturday. All I can do now is wait. So all digits crossed!
tehuti: (Running Wolf)
As I walked through the chute after finishing the half marathon Saturday, I turned to the Princess and remarked that, one year ago, I'd never have imagined completing that race. The fact that it was my third timed half marathon this year would have been complete lunacy to contemplate. But there I was, walking through the line to collect my third finisher's medal in as many months.

I often forget that I've only been running for slightly more than one year. Sixteen months, give or take a week. I know that my hiking experience gave me a good base to build on, but it still feels like I shouldn't be able to enter or complete the races I've done this year.

But enough rambling. This post was supposed to be about the Hartford Half Marathon. As I mentioned briefly on Facebook the other day, I am ridiculously pleased with how this race went. So let's get to it, shall we?

First, the technical stuff: 31.11 miles, 2:45:22 gun time, 2:41:05 chip time. Gun time means from the moment the starter's gun fired. Chip time starts the moment we crossed the start line. Aimee and I were near the back, so it took us a few minutes to actually get going.

Splits:

Miles Time

1 10:51.5
2 10:50.0
3 11:25.7
4 11:37.9
5 11:56.7
6 11:56.1
7 11:38.2
8 12:14.3
9 13:18.1
10 12:51.4
11 12:49.9
12 13:15.8
13 13:08.9

For the non-runners reading this, these splits are really good for runners like us. Like most racers, we started at our planned race pace (a bit faster, actually, but that's also normal) and lost speed as we got tired. The goal was to finish sub 2:45, which we achieved. Up until the last two miles, we were as much as seven minutes ahead of pace. We were so far ahead that, at about the eight mile mark, we took a potty break and still made our goal. Our average pace was 12:18 per mile, which is a really good time for us at this distance.

Physically, we both held up well. We're planning to go for a short run tomorrow, to stretch the muscles a bit. The first time I ran a half marathon, it took me a full week to recover. Aimee wasn't any better. So not only are we getting better at running this distance, we're also recovering faster. Another thing to be pleased about.

A few quick points before I post this and head to bed:

The weather was fantastic. A bit cool at the 8am start, but it warmed up nicely. So did we, which helped.

The rain the day before made for a muddy post-race party. Mud and Vibram Five Fingers don't mix well. Bushnell Park was all squishy! :-P

As we crossed the finish line together, Aimee and I rang the cowbells we snagged halfway through the race course. The crowd's cheering was awesome.

Sadly, they weren't cheering for us. The winner of the women's marathon happened to be crossing the finish at the same time we did. Completely stole our thunder. Sigh...

Didn't see as many toe shoes this year as we did last year. Not sure if that means anything, just an observation.

Did see one guy running the half while barefoot. I thought we were hardcore...

Michy and Ian found a nice little breakfast place on Main St. Turns out that the course ran right past it. Also turns out that she came out with the baby at just the right moment for us to run over, swap kisses and keep on going.

Going to the Town Line Diner for our family post-race meal is now officially a tradition, because I said so.

So are chocolate milkshakes.

Next year, we have to finish a lot faster. We crossed the line in 4736th place, out of 5156. The lines for everything were so long, we skipped a lot of stuff, including the free beer.

It's kinda nice being near the back of the pack, though. We all know we're slow, and encourage each other. It's a nice camaraderie, and I hope that we don't lose that if we get faster.

Micah's Racing Goals: Don't be last (check!), finish the race (check!), post a personal best (check!). Two out of three is a win. Three out of three is fantastic.

Was it really only last summer that I struggled to finish a 5k? Feels weird, looking back now.

Even weirder? When we ran the 5k race in Hartford last year, Aimee was four months pregnant. Where the hell does the time go?
tehuti: (Squee Kaylee)
Last week, I posted about a potential snag with my Master's Degree. Seems the class I took that I thought was in place of my language exam was not on the pre-approved list, so the graduate registrar held up my degree.

I got an email to me student address yesterday saying I've been cleared to graduate, and my diploma will arrive in the mail shortly.

I am genuinely shocked. The UMass administration did something quickly, in my favor, and I didn't have to kill kiss ass kick ass do anything?

What a nice change of pace!

You may all call me Master. ;-)
tehuti: (Crit Fail)
About a week ago, I got a phone call from the UMass History Department. The grad school registrar was processing my degree paperwork, and did not have any record for me passing the foreign language exam. Patty, the department assistant, called to ask me about this.

The registrar had no record because I didn't take one. The department (meaning the current program director) approved a course I took in lieu of an exam. The class in question was my GIS course from last spring. According to what I was told, it had been used as a substitute for the foreign language requirement in the past, and since all of my foreign language classwork is more than twenty years stale, taking a class in "an alternative tool of research" (to quote the grad handbook) instead.

According to the registrar, they have no record of this class being approved in place of the language exam. They have a list of pre-approved classes, and mine ain't one of them. So my graduation is on hold.

AGAIN.

For those of you keeping score, this is the second time in two years (technically, 27 months) that I've been this close to earning a degree at UMass Amherst only to find out at the last gorram minute that, actually, I might not be done. So sorry about that.

And true to form, there'd be precious little I could do about it. I'm not ready for an actual language exam, if I could even take one. Which would require special permission, since they've already been given for this semester. And the add-drop period is over, so I couldn't enroll in a class to try to fix it. Even if I could afford one. Which I can't.

The grad registrar is not in his office today, so there's no one I can talk to. The office people were sympathetic, and both thought I'd probably be fine, but they don't know for sure. You can bet your sweet ass I'll be calling to talk to him Monday. And it should go without mention that I'll be talking to my department.

This shit cannot be happening to me AGAIN. But doesn't it just make sense that, if it were going to happen to someone, it would be me? The guy that has NEVER had anything happen in the academic world according to plan? That has dealt with more roadblocks than I can count or even remember?

Dammit...this cannot be happening again...

And I'm starting to hate this place...
tehuti: (Running Wolf)
Yesterday, Aimee and I ran our second timed half marathon. The Run to the Rock is a benefit run for the Plymouth Boys and Girls Club. They offer a 5k, 10k and half marathon. I already posted our run times to Facebook via Runkeeper, so if you want to see the nitty-gritty details, go check it there if you haven't already. My thoughts, broken into Good Stuff and Bad Stuff:

Good stuff:

Not last!

Almost a personal record despite a much harder course than the Providence Rock n' Roll Half Marathon.

Finished in under three hours, which was the theoretical course cut-off.

Body in much better physical condition after the race, both immediately and the next day.

Last five miles of the course were quite pretty.

Great weather. Sunny, warm but not too warm, and a nice breeze, especially near the water.

Pretty good volunteer support.

The last aid station with Gatorade let me fill one entire bottle of my fuel belt from their supply.

Tried the Power Bar runners goo. They were handing it out at one of the aid stations. It's more watery than Gu, but the flavor was yummy.

Bad stuff:

No pre-race speech or anything. Someone called for the racers attention, and a few seconds later a horn sounded.

The roads weren't closed, and we were so far behind the pack we lacked any protection from traffic.

Said traffic seemed very annoyed that we were there. More than one car zoomed around us at alarming speeds.

No sidewalks until the last two-ish miles to avoid said traffic.

Only saw one porta potty on the race route.

After race party was meh. Only one vendor. Food was also meh. Lots of bananas, though, which is always a good thing.

Aimee ran into some physical troubles near the end of the race. I was a bit worried she was going to have to stop with less than one mile to go. But we made it!

My computer chip in my bib didn't work right. I crossed the line with Aimee, but my chip said I came in a minute after her. No big deal, as I recorded it correctly myself.

All told, I think next year I'll skip this one and try the Hartford Marathon Foundation's race at Missquamicut Beach, in South County, Rhode Island. It's more expensive, but will definitely be a better experience overall.
tehuti: (Enter At Own Risk)
Earlier this week, I wrote about how excited I was for 6Pi-Con this weekend. And I definitely was. Despite Hurricane Irene, the con happened. Here is my after-con report:

Unsurprisingly, the storm hurt attendance. I've been to five of the six Pi-cons, and this one felt the smallest by far.

Vendors in general were meh. But it's a small con, so that's not unexpected.

Among the last minute cancelations was the con's sole gaming vendor. If anyone knows the folks at Foam Brain, tell them they lost a sure sale from me. I went this weekend with the intention to get a particular game that they most likely would have had with them.

And to anyone that decided not to attend at the last minute because of the storm, you missed a good con. One of Pi-Con's features is that it is small. By the end of the weekend, you've probably met and/or talked to pretty much everyone there. It's a nice change from my "normal" con experiences, where attendance is counted in the multiple thousands.

The weather really wasn't much of an issue, at least, not here in Western MA/Northern CT where the con is held. Some folks left early just in case, others planned to stay an extra day, but if you were here, you missed the worst of Irene.

That being said, rain was bad enough this morning that I choose not to drive back to the con for my early morning panel. I don't feel too bad about missing it, especially since Sunday morning first panels are almost always empty. I was more worried about high winds when trying to leave. Turns out I shouldn't have worried.

My other panels all went well enough. The programming suffered from not enough panelists in some cases to too many in others. One of my panels switched time slots, so no one showed up for it. Panel descriptions were also quite rough in many cases. Luckily, most of the panelists that attend Pi-Con are quite experienced, and can almost always find something on-topic to chew over for fifty minutes. Or just make it up.

It was very nice to see some old friends that I haven't in quite a while. Jim and KT, I'm looking at you.

A certain someone (who knows who she is) needs to let her shoes out of the closet more often.

Another certain someone is incredibly amusing the more she drinks. But everyone that knows her knows that.

There was a "Guest of Awesome" reunion panel Friday night. The description said, "We'll see how much awesome we can pack in one room." The answer apparently is "None." Of the six Guests of Awesome (including this year's Trisha Wooldridge), only two were on site this weekend. So the panel didn't happen.

For those unfamiliar with Pi-Con, the Guest of Awesome is typically someone from fandom that the con organizers think is, well, awesome, and deserves to be recognized. Five of the six have been female, most of them have been published authors, two live outside New England, and four of them are personal friends.

The game room remains one of Pi-Con's strengths. There were people there all day Saturday, usually with multiple games going on at the same time. Finally played Power Grid for the first time, and definitely want to pick up a copy.

Hung around the Arisia party for a good portion of the night. Good times. Hermit cookies FTW!

Barfleet remains awesome. Even though I'm not an active member anymore, it's always nice to see them, hang out, have a drink or two and enjoy the vibe.

There was a guy in a satyr costume getting happily drunk at Barfleet. It was one of the most appropriate things I've ever seen happen at a con.

Con rule report: Friday 7/2/1, Saturday 6/1/0, Sunday n/a. I ended up not going back today. Mixed results.

Two different members of the current con comm (who I've known for a number of years) both indicated they want to "recruit" us (meaning my family) back into Pi-Con. We'll see how that goes.
tehuti: (Running Wolf)
I normally only do posts like this after some sort of event, usually a con of some kind. But I've been really busy lately, and to catch up, I'm breaking out my "quick thoughts" entry style.

Our little Raspberry has grown up into a Munchkin. Every time we call him that, I picture him with a Baby Club of Cuteness +3 and a Spiked Diaper Cover, kicking in a door and Looking For Trouble.

Seriously, he's growing up so fast!

Thank you to all of you that got that joke and laughed a little reading it.

I've been applying to jobs on a fairly regular basis for the last month and a half. At least two or three a week. Trying to find something in my field is going to be very difficult. Finding anything at all that pays me enough to make it worthwhile to be full time or a part time flexible enough to let me take care of the baby is going to be a challenge.

Still working on finding freelance writing work. I'm getting more targeted assignments from Yahoo, which is good. My other main source of writing income looks to be drying up. Not sure if this is temporary or not.

Got leads on a few new markets for writing. Nothing to report yet, other than I'm plugging away.

Did I mention that the baby is already four months old? He's not crawling yet, but he rolls around pretty good. And he LOVES to stand. With help, of course. It wouldn't surprise me if he's one of those kids that skips crawling and goes straight for walking.

My Bunker Hill paper was nominated for an award. I'll know whether or not I win in the middle of September. Fingers crossed!

I've been offered an interesting book review opportunity. Ever read one of those academic book reviews where the reviewer looks at two books on the same subject and compares and contrasts them? I'm doing that with two new books on the Battle of Bunker Hill. As soon as the books come in from the publisher, anyway.

Last week I ran an 8k (almost five miles) with the local running club. I ran that distance much faster than I thought, which was very happy making. And I wasn't last! But best of all, with about a quarter mile to go, I reached down for the last of my reserves and finished strong. But even bester than that, after I was done, I thought to myself, "I'm tired, but not as tired as when I ran the half marathon two weeks ago." And that's when it really hit me for the first time. "Holy shit! I really ran 13.1 miles!"

Today was a tough day with the Munchkin. He was not happy without mommy, threw up on me twice, and absolutely refused to do the one thing that would make him feel better; take a nap. I was supposed to go to a fiction writers group in Northampton this evening, but was completely unprepared and frazzled so I begged off.

The silver lining? I took out my fatherly frustrations on my Bikilas this evening. Ran a 5k in 33 flat. Best time this year. And afterward, I felt much better physically and emotionally. Remember this, Micah. Running is good for you in more than one way. Make time for it.

I am really looking forward to Pi-Con this weekend. Like, almost stupidly so.

We have a fridge! Ian got us a furniture dolly with stairclimbers. They are these little tank-tractor looking things that help you slide heavy things up stairs. And with it, we were able to get the new fridge upstairs and the old one out to the garage. Our new fridge is full of awesome. And food. This is a goodness.

Family-wise, we've been having a lot of high-level discussions about goals, desires and long range plans. This also makes me stupidly happy.

The Munchkin is finally starting to sleep in his crib. When we go to bed, he still ends up in the basinet on the bed with us, for Aimee's convenience. But he's using his crib, which means we all get some adult time sans baby most evenings.

I need to make time for fiction writing. I'm sitting on a bunch of ideas that are too good to just moulder away in my brain. I'm strongly considering doing NaNoWriMo this year, for the first time since the first time I did it, to force me to write fiction. All comments and opinions to either encourage me or stop me welcome.
tehuti: (Enter At Own Risk)
Our fridge died Friday.

We're not sure what happened, or why. The front display started flickering, the ice maker door opened and closed on its own, and the lights rapidly flashed. It was like a demon possessed our fridge. Like good little geeks, we fled to our computers to see if there was something we could do to fix or reboot it. What we didn't realize right away was that the compressor was dead, too. Once we figured that out, the discussion turned immediately to replacing rather than fixing.

Like good little geeks, we started out shopping online. Between the four of us, we identified some good targets at multiple stores, and planned to go actually looking at some of them Saturday. As is typical for us, we found a good deal at the first place we went. Best Buy just happened to have the model we were looking at, in the color we wanted it, in the store. Someone had ordered one and canceled it. Instead of having to wait for a delivery (which, thanks to the tax holiday last weekend, would be weeks), we could bring it home today.

This was the end of our good fortune.

We finished our business at the mall, went home and took all the seats out of the van. This is what a van is for, right? Unfortunately for us, the box didn't fit through the rear hatch. It was just a hair too wide. Ian, being a smart guy, called for backup. Our awesome, wonderful and totally butch friend Laurel has a Subaru Baja, affectionately known as the ca-truck. It's one of those El Camino looking cars that were popular a few years back. We've actually moved large appliances in it before, so we were optimistic that the new fridge would fit.

She agreed to drive up from Connecticut to help us out. Luckily, we were right. The fridge fit. But it only fit if we stood it upright. I could describe it, but I don't have to. Like a good little geek, I took some pics. Sadly, Dreamwidth and Facebook don't seem to talk to each other, so if you want to see the pictures (in an album conveniently named "The Day the Refrigerator Died"), you'll have to go to my Facebook photos to see them.

Suffice to say, we strapped the hell out of the box with bungie cords for the drive home. On a normal day, the 10 mile trip takes about 15 minutes. With a refrigerator strapped upright in the back of a car that wants to be a truck when it grows up someday, it takes a bit longer. But we must have done something right. That box didn't move so much as an inch on the way home. We did get a bunch of funny looks, including two Springfield police officers who were too surprised at the obvious stupidity of the people driving around town with a fridge strapped to a ca-truck to stop and ask us what the hell were we thinking. After a somewhat tense trip, lightened considerable by our attempts at gallows-humor, we arrived safely at home.

This did not mark the resumption of good fortune.

The fridge was not going to go upstairs in the box. It was too wide and long by a couple of inches in both dimensions. So we took it apart in the driveway. Luckily, the manufacturer considered this as a likely problem, and had a handy-dandy set of destructions taped to the front. We rapidly disassembled the fridge, and moved all the little bits upstairs. During this process, Aimee decided, rightfully so, that the box was the best pre-made fort EVAR. Obligatory pictures were taken. The baby was introduced to the importance of cardboard forts, and even more obligatory pictures were taken. He was a bit confused at first, being inside a giant box, but came around in the end.

We were finally ready to move it upstairs. At this point, it was getting on to dark, so we were running out of time. The girls have a little hand dolly that we've used many times to move things around. We used it to get the fridge to the front steps. Sadly, it was not up to the task of moving this fridge up a flight of stairs. In the dolly's defense, I don't think it's ever been asked to schlepp approximately 300 pounds of metal before.

This is where what little good fortune we had completely vanished.

Ian and I, being manly men, decided to see if we could simply lift it ourselves. We were right and wrong. We were sufficiently manly enough to get it up the concrete steps. In the process, I almost dropped it on Ian. In the process of not dropping it on him, I wrenched my back a bit, and definitely pulled something in my right arm. We tried valiantly to get it up the stairs, but without better tools, it simply wasn't going to happen.

So, tomorrow we're going to UHaul to get an appliance dolly. They claim they are big enough for the job we need. Fingers crossed that their website doesn't lie. Either way, I get to tell you guys all about it tomorrow. Anyone that is more manly than I and able to help tomorrow will earn our eternal gratitude.
tehuti: (Tehuti)
Early Friday morning, my last maternal uncle passed away. He had and fought cancer for a long time, and it finally proved too much for him. Of all of my uncles, Tutsy was my favorite, and I'd like to tell you why.

I've told the story I'm about to tell before, but I don't think I've ever included Tutsy's role in it. I'm positive I've never told it to anyone in my family of origin, so to any of them reading this, it's new. And for most of the rest of you, this is likely your first time hearing it as well. In order to fully tell this story, I have to go back to my first experience with death.

I was 15 when my uncle Shelly passed away. He was my mother's oldest brother. Shelly also fought a long battle with cancer, and his fight was no less heroic than Tutsy's. He fought until he had nothing left to fight with. We watched the disease slowly eat him alive. He was a wonderful man, generous and kind, a talented musician, and a loving father. Everyone that knew him thought highly of him. He wasted away to nothing, fighting a body that betrayed him.

I couldn't understand what had happened. I'd been taught all my life that God loves us, and takes care of his Chosen People. How could God let this happen to such a good man? It didn't make any sense to me. It still doesn't. I couldn't resolve this crisis of faith on my own. So I did the only thing I could. I asked the experts.

Our rabbi (wish I could remember his name now) gave me a bunch of the standard lines. God moves in mysterious ways, blah blah blah. But one of the things he said to me really stuck, and really pissed me off. He said that everything in life happens because it is part of God's plan. None of his answers satisfied my questions, so I kept at it. I talked to a priest. Then a minister. And they said the same things. God has a plan, we are not meant to know it, and all things happen because God made it this way.

What a horrifying thing to say, let alone believe! This God, who supposedly loves us, intentionally inflicts pain and suffering on the undeserving? This deity allowed a good man to slowly die in such a horrible fashion? I knew there was no way my uncle deserved to die like that. Which could mean only one thing. God doesn't really care at all how you live your life. God had a plan for you, and it didn't matter if you were a mensch or a murderer, it was going to happen how God arbitrarily decided.

This was no deity I could believe in. He turned his back on my uncle, so I turned mine on him.

But I did not turn my back on religion. I started reading everything I could find about other faiths. I discounted any faith that looked to Jehovah or Yaweh, since I'd already covered that and found it wanting. But that left plenty of avenues to explore, most notably Hinduism and Buddhism. And it was there that I began to find the answers I sought. A book about modern pagans (and by modern, I mean a book written about 1960s pagans) made the greatest impression upon me. Multiple divinities, an acknowledgment of the female force in the divine, and the beginnings of an answer as to why bad things happen to good people.

I was past 16 when I made the mental commitment to be pagan. It would still be some years before I formally dedicated myself to my path, but I began to incorporate my new faith into my life.

This did not sit well with my mother.

We've fought over a lot of things, my mother and I. Some of them were stupid, some were extremely important, and some are much less important with the passage of time. Some of them cost us time we can never get back. But of all the things we've fought over in life, this one was top three.

She was scared for me. She didn't understand what was going on in my head, and I didn't know how to tell her. It's tough, being a teenager, on mothers and sons.

This is where Uncle Tutsy came into the picture. At my mother's urging, he took me for a drive one day, to talk to me about my crisis of faith. I don't remember how long it lasted, nor do I remember everywhere we went. I do remember ending up parked on the beach road to Nahant, sitting in his car while we watched the waves, talking about faith, spirituality and the divine. I told him about my doubts, and what led me to where I was. He listed, asked intelligent questions, and admitted to me that he too had doubts, and had done the same kind of searching I was doing. And he said something to me that I have never forgotten. Tutsy said that we should never stop learning, never stop asking questions, and never stop seeking the truth. He said to me that we had to be brave enough to follow wherever it led, even if it scared us, or other people didn't like it. You had to always be true to yourself, to live the life you were meant to live.

I have carried that advice with me ever since, and have added to it. The day you stop learning, questioning and seeking is the day you stop growing, and that is the day you truly begin to die.

That wasn't the only conversation about faith that he and I shared, but it was the one I still remember. His words that day gave me the strength to follow my truth wherever it led. His truth that day allowed me to find mine. His admonition to never stop seeking remains with me still. Although I do not talk about my faith very often, it is the bedrock that my entire life sits upon. And without my Uncle Tutsy's words, I might never have found it. If that first conversation never happened, I might not have had the strength of conviction to dedicate myself to the path I walk today, and the man I am now would not exist.

Of all of my uncles, I loved and respected him the most. And of all of them, I will feel his loss most keenly. Rest well, my uncle. Speedy return.
tehuti: (Default)
Me: You've had a pretty good day, kiddo!

Baby on Lap: (smile)

Me: You've played on the floor! And napped! And nursed! All that's left is a good poop and it's a perfect day!

Baby on Lap: (smile)

Me: That's right! A big poop! POOP POOP POOP! Because pooping is the best!

Baby on Lap: (bigger smile)

Me: (serious tone) Well...maybe nursing is better than pooping. I guess pooping is number two, huh?

Baby on Lap: (smile)

Me: HA!!! Daddy made a funny!

Baby on Lap: (biggest smile)
tehuti: (Default)
It’s been longer than I intended between blog posts. But isn’t that usually the way of these things? There’s always something more important to do, right? So this morning (as it is morning when I right this, if 6am counts as morning), I’m taking advantage of car time to write. Nothing like being trapped in a car to encourage writing.

I’m trapped in the car at 6am on a Saturday because we’re going to New York for the day. Our destination is the Met, specifically to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit. I’ve always been a closet fashionista, and McQueen was one of the best there ever was. His tragic loss should not have been unexpected. Genius and madness and all that.

I owe a lot of updatey goodness, so I think I should start with explaining why I owe my blog so much attention. In the last two weeks, I’ve starting writing for two different websites. The first one you may already know about. I’m working freelance for Yahoo, through a service called Associated Content. It doesn’t pay very well (which is a gross understatement, as hard as that is to believe), but at this stage of my writing career, that’s not the main point. I’m writing every single day, usually on different topics, and generating clips. Clips are what it’s all about. Each one is a tiny little writing sample I can use to show what I can do. I’ve written mostly about sports and current events thus far. One of my pieces made the News Blog, and another is on the Sports page. I must be doing something right. I choose to believe I am doing something right. The reason that this market doesn’t pay well is that it is largely based on page views. The more people that read it, the more I make. So please do share my work around, if you think it’s interesting. Or even if you don’t.

The other market is more exciting. And not just because it pays better. The company is called Demand Studios. You may know them from such exciting websites as eHow.com. They use freelancers to generate all of their content. And unlike many similar sites, which are simply aggregators, they insist on original content. The content is based off of topics they gather from all over the Internet, which they throw into a massive database. The writers can pick from literally thousands of potential topics.

I’m in a probationary period with them at the moment, which means I’m only allowed to claim a limited number of topics. But I get extra attention from copy editors, so I can learn their expectations and practices. What I’m enjoying most is the opportunity to research topics that I otherwise would never do. My first assignment is on encephalitis in dogs. It’s been fun to research it, especially since they specifically disallow using sites like Wikipedia as sources. I just have to do well enough on my first three articles to pass probation, and then I’m good.

I’ve got a few other writing irons in the fire, but nothing I’m going to talk about just yet. The other thing that’s been taking up my attention is my job search. For the first time in my life, I’m looking for work with a completed college degree. Two of them, actually. What this means is that, for the first time ever, I’m not looking for a job, I’m looking for a career. And luckily, with my supportive family, I’m not in the position where I have to find and take just anything. In fact, there isn’t much economic sense in me taking a job that doesn’t make a decent percentage higher than what childcare would cost. Having me at home means Aimee is a lot more productive during her work day. So I am also looking at part time opportunities, should they be a good fit.

Thus far, I’ve answered about a dozen ads. Most of them are either in academia (like the admissions counselor job I applied for last week), or public history. I’ve had only one interview, for a part time position at a local museum, but it went really well. When I know more, I’ll let you all know as well.

It took me all day to write this, half on the way to New York, the other half on the way back, so I think it’s time for me to be done. Got more to say, but that will have to come in another post.
tehuti: (Default)
Twelve weeks ago, our little Munchkin was born. So while he isn't three months old until next week, technically he is. He's three lunar months old, how's that for a compromise?

All of the adults are caught in the same loop. We cannot believe it's only been three months, and what do you mean it's already been three months! And he's growing so fast! We've finally left pretty much everything newborn-sized behind. We haven't been able to use the newborn sized cloth diapers for more than a week already. It became official when we sorted the newborn clothes into "keepsake" and "regifting" piles earlier this week. I'm amazed at his growth despite his small stature. He's under the average in weight, but about average in length. If he turns out to be tall and skinny, I'll be OK with that. So despite his low weight, he's growing just fine.

What's really amazing is how expressive he's becoming. He started smiling a few weeks ago, genuine smiles, as opposed to "I'm pooping" smiles. He's learning to recognize hand signs. Aimee and Ian took a baby sign language class, so I've been trying to use them with him. We all have. I don't know if he truly associates the sounds we make to the motions we make, but he definitely likes to watch us do it! He likes it when we sing, too. His current favorite is the classic Top 40 hit, "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes".

He's getting much more vocal, too. He's always had slightly different cries for "hungry", "tired", "wet" and "infant meltdown". But he's getting *this close* to giggles and laughter. For you parents or kid-wise folks out there, he's starting to do the baby squeal that is the immediate precursor to true laughter. He's been giggling in his sleep for weeks (which, incidentally, is one of the cutest things he does), and I suspect that in not much longer, he'll be doing it awake as well.

He's developed a lot of other sounds and noises, too. But what amuses me the most is when he gets excited. When the Munchkin is excited, he flails like there's no tomorrow. His favorite place to do this is the changing table. I think the changing table might be his second-favorite place in the whole wide world, right after whichever of Mommy's boobs is currently available. He's a fairly fastidious child, and seems to like feeling clean. That "clean feeling" extends to clothing. He's positively giddy when we change his clothes. I've watched him, more than once, go from inconsolable mess to smiley boy just by putting him on the changing table.

His third most favorite place, though, is the bathtub. He's actually been in the "big boy" tub once, with mom, but most of the time, bathtime is in the kitchen sink. And like both of his bio parents, he loves being in warm water. And "warm" is definitely required. We took him in a "heated" pool while on the Cape two weeks ago, and he did not care for the cold! It was fine for the adults, but definitely not for him. When I found where the heated water jetted back into the pool, and stood there with him, that was ok. But otherwise, he was not a happy baby.

Essentially, the Raspberry is ripening right on schedule. He's growing and developing as he should, and we fall more in love with him every day. I'm writing this tonight, actually, for two reasons. First, it's been way too long since the last baby update. Second, he's off with his moms tonight, and won't be back tomorrow. It's the longest amount of time I've been away from him, and I'm not sure I like it. I'm actually home alone (completely alone, except for the four-feets. Even the downstairians are all out tonight), which is nice. But I kinda miss my son, so I'm writing about him.

Oh. And his moms. I miss them, too. But it's not the same. They go away on overnight trips a few times a year, so this is normal for them. But not Ian. He goes out often enough that it's no big deal.

Wait. I mean, of course I miss all of my partners equally when they aren't home! I'm eagerly awaiting all of them to come home.

But maybe the Munchkin just a tad bit more.
tehuti: (Tehuti)
Ten years ago, I started taking classes at Springfield Technical Community College. I'd been interested in going back to school for a long time, but the timing was never right. Finally, I realized that would always be true unless I specifically made it a priority. At about the same time, I quit the job I had in a dispute with an employer over my wages. The dispute ended up in court, which doesn't matter much now. But it mattered then, because said dispute made me eligible for unemployment. So instead of just going out and getting any old job, I went to STCC, and my second life as a college student began. Two weeks ago, I sat for my written Masters exams, last week was the oral portion, and just like that, I was done. I am now a graduate of UMass Amherst, twice over.

Obviously, this summation glosses over a lot of details. OK, it outright skips over and blows by most of them. Some I've written about previously, like the royal screwing I got courtesy of the UMass computers, the summer between undergrad and graduate school, or my much more documented career as a grad student. Many things happened long enough ago that they predate any and all online blogging I've ever done. Most of my junior college career falls into that time frame. Again, some of it I've written about. How I spent 9/11, for example. But most of my higher education story is still untold.

And now that I'm at the end, after a week's worth of reflection, all those details seem less important. The journey may be what matters most in the end (and I suspect I'll be writing about some of those stories, to make sure they don't escape me), but right now, it is the destination that looms largest in my mind. And what comes next.

I've always wanted to be a writer. A paid writer, I should specify. And while I cannot explain it, since I know plenty of writers, and know of many more, I've always thought that, if I was going to be a writer, I had to be educated. Which meant that silly little piece of paper that announces to the world that you are smart. Or, in the case of a graduate degree, a masochist. And while I didn't have any piece of paper declaring either, I couldn't pursue my dream.

I know. Stupid, and plenty of evidence to the contrary. But that's what my brain convinced me was true.

So I've been sitting on a ton of ideas, some for a very long time. Some are articles, others are books. One is even a movie idea. Some are fiction, some non-fiction. And one, maybe two, have the potential to be fictional series, if I get really lucky. And now, after a week's worth of reflection, I realize that I no longer have my old excuse.

In the last four years, I've received three pieces of paper that say I'm smart. And while I was still in school, I could easily justify not pursuing my dream. School is time consuming, at the very least. I barely had time for all the things I had to do, and was required to do, let alone anything extra. So my ideas sat, some partially developed, many little more than ideas or book titles, jotted down in electronic notes to myself, sitting in my inbox as unread reminders of the life I always claimed to want.

As of the end of summer, I will no longer be a student. Even during the year I spent taking care of my personal life when my marriage ended, I still thought of myself as a student. Since the first day I walked into the admission office at STCC, all those years ago, "student" has been part of my identity. For ten years, I've been either taking classes, recovering from taking classes, planning what classes to take, or what school to go to next. And while I am not ruling out a return to school (I'm so conflicted about getting a PhD that it really deserves its own post), it is definitely time to add a new facet to my identity. After ten years of college, it's time to replace "student" with "writer".

In many ways, this has been the best ten years of my life. I've been working for tangible goals, and reached them one at a time. I've been stretching my mind, working with brilliant people, most of whom were my intellectual equals, and more than one or two my superior. I've been studying things that really interest me, and I've made insights that were both original and interesting to other people. I've honed my skill as a writer in ways I never thought possible. Ten years ago, I'd have told you I was a good writer, but with little conviction. That man had no clue what he was doing, and deep in his heart, he knew it. This one knows he is a wordsmith, and if given the opportunity, he can shine!

This is what my week of reflection has led me to. I've spent ten years, far too much money, and many hours of lost sleep to get where I am today. For ten years, I've been pursuing my educational dreams, and now it is time to pursue my life dreams. I'm as ready as I'm ever going to be to try to become the writer I've always wanted to be.

Now is the time to shine.
tehuti: (Default)
I stole this from Crystal, because everyone can always stand to hear some compliments!

Let me say something nice about you.

Comment to this entry and I'll tell you why I think you're great.

It would be nice if you could copy this in your own journal and do it for other people too.
tehuti: (Running Wolf)
This will be a double length post, for the last two weeks of marathon training. The weekend between them I was away at the Cape, came back sick, had my Master's written comp exam, and then went to Boston Pride. So I've been preoccupied.

Rather than breaking everything down by run (my RunKeeper posts on FB have more specific thoughts, check out my feed if you want to see them), I'm going to ruminate on the last two weeks as a whole. Physically, my body is happy to be back in running shape. I'm still stiff and sore, but not nearly as much as I was back in April when I gingerly got back in the saddle, or even just last month, in the lead up to the start of training.

Yesterday and today are a good example. I did 6.3 miles yesterday, which is (just barely) the farthest distance I've ever run. I was a bit sore last night, and a little stiff this morning (mostly in my calves and heels, which is normal for me), but overall, I felt like I could go out on a short run today if I really wanted to. And that is exactly the kind of shape I want to be in.

There is more evidence that I'm getting to where I need to be. The training program Aimee and I are doing varies a lot during the week, but in general, the total distance increases every week, and the long run gets one mile longer every seven days. This past week I was sick, so I only got one short run in. I struggled to finish just two miles, which was nowhere close to my short run mileage for the week. But even so, I did the long run without much trouble, and at a faster pace than my projected race pace. I hope this pattern continues. And if all of our runs could be like that one on the Cape, so much the better.

That run was about as perfect as it gets. Our splits were great, all around 12:00/mile. The weather was perfect; sunny, cool, with a nice breeze off the ocean. We should run through Dennisport every weekend! The best part was the finish. We were running out of road, and needed to make distance, so we ran down a boardwalk to the public beach near our hotel, and did the last quarter mile about ten feet from the ocean. Running through sand is tough, but it's a lot of fun, too.

This week, and every week hereafter, I will set a new personal record for my longest run in both time and distance. I'm looking forward to the challenge.

Comp Exams

Jun. 8th, 2011 06:31 pm
tehuti: (Default)
Today was Der Tag. My written Master's competency exams. Two out of three went really well.

I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. So let's back this up a smidge, and begin at the beginning.

As many of you know, I had planned to do my comps back in early May, naively thinking that I would be able to continue to work with a new baby at home. My plan was to read while up with him at night.

That went about as well as I should have expected. So I admitted defeat, rescheduled my exams for June, and kept on preparing. I finished my prep last weekend, and went into review mode for the first half of this week. Then, yesterday, I did nothing. Kept my mind blissfully blank. Ideas would bubble up and around, but no active studying. It was heavenly!

Today, I got up to campus around 9:30, got my questions and instructions, and went to the library to write. Three questions, six hours, plus a bit for lunch. My questions for the Early America and Public History fields were fine. In one case, I had a choice of two questions to answer. Both fields had questions which were based on conversations I'd had with the two professors in question about my reading list over the course of the semester. In short, they were questions about stuff I was prepared to talk about, and to some degree already had.

The question for Global History was almost completely out of left field. Most of my list was about world-systems theory. The question I got was almost pure economic theory, based entirely on Marx and Smith. To prepare for this exam, I could have completely ignored almost my entire reading list, and focused only "Capital" and "Wealth of Nations". In short, I felt that this question was completely unfair, and did not address my reading list in any appreciable way. I said as much in the essay. I was pissed, and couldn't contain myself fully. When this whole process is over (orals are next week), I'll share the questions here (and maybe my answers, too), and you'll see what I mean.

So now, as I tweeted shortly after I finished, it is out of my hands. Until next week, that is. I get to do orals next Wednesday. Should be interesting...

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January 2012

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