Wednesday, May 22, 2013

::{48 Hours}::

...Until I'm back in the company of my two favorites for a long weekend.

I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Latest Experiment

In the few days I had before moving to Indiana (I'm now a transplant here in Hoosier land), I decided to invest myself in the biggest science experiment of my life:

I built a garden in an attempt to grow a vegetable. 

 I've always loved flowers, but growing a vegetable garden is a different challenge that's been on my bucket list for quite a while now.  Since we'll be in Ohio for a long time, I figured there's no time like the present.

Why do I consider this an experiment?

If you looked closely at the first couple pictures, you may have noticed a dead plant.  I kept it there purposefully to prove just how much of an experiment this will be for Team Adams.
We have not been known to have "green thumbs" in this household, though I will admit, we killed that plant on purpose because we didn't have a good place for it inside.  Frankly, it was a bit of a nuisance.  We set it outside and let nature run its course, i.e. a normal March frost put it out of its misery.

We're trying the square-foot gardening thing from scratch since our back patio is all cement (which added a few more steps to the garden construction to comply with a strict landlord) so we'll see what happens as the summer progresses.  Our vegetables/herbs of choice this year:

Zucchini squash
Bell peppers (green, red, and orange)
Tomatoes (Big Boy and Better Boy varieties)

Now it's up to Steve to keep everything alive until I get back...

Friday, May 3, 2013

::{Some Things I've Learned}::

I am DONE!

Okay, I'm only done with the first year of many, but it feels so, SO good.  Things pick up again next week, but we're all going to enjoy every last minute of the weekend before that happens.
Looking back on this past year, and while things are still fresh on my mind, I wanted to share some things I've learned.  I'm writing this with my kid(s), assuming that more will come our way eventually, in mind, because I hope they learn to value education the way Steve and I do.  So I'm writing takeaway messages for them.

In no particular order:

1.  I have the BEST advisor on the face of the planet.  Seriously folks, I don't know how I lucked out to get into this program and to work with Professor Haeger.  She is one of the smartest people I know, and her knowledge of the field is astounding.  Barbara is also one of the greatest lecturers I've ever had the chance to learn from.  She is deeply committed to her students, she is passionate about the material, and she has some of the best stories about experiences in academia.  Takeaway message: Absorb everything you can when you cross paths with good teachers, and don't be afraid to interact with them regularly - they can shape your life in remarkable ways.

2. As my editor in chief always tells me, good writing takes time.  And it also takes lots of research.  It doesn't look like it, but I promise there is a method to my madness.  Our basement was turned into Study Central so that I could get stuff done when AJ was napping or in bed, without having to go to the library.  Takeaway message: Figure out your own study system, and start it early.  Procrastination is the ultimate academic enemy.

3.  Without ever intending this to happen, I seem to be drawn to Spanish artists/paintings.  I spent many hours with the following works this semester, completed by Bartolome Murillo and Claudio Coello.  Illusionism is at the heart of my interests, and these were fascinating works to consider even though I had never considered them before (or even known about them).  Takeaway message: Don't be afraid to explore things even if they don't "fit" the mold at first glance.

Murillo, Self Portrait, 1655

Murillo, Self-Portrait, 1670

Coello, Saint Rose of Lima, 1684-85

4. Ph.D. programs are not for the faint-hearted.  A Ph.D. is hard work - incredibly rewarding work - but work nonetheless.  Having said that, I must also say that the rewards far outweigh the challenges.  Again, this comes back to the caliber of my committee, professors, seminars, and a totally awesome husband.  I guess what I'm really saying is this - if you don't have to work hard for your education, something is amiss.  Takeaway message: Never steer clear of academic opportunities simply because they are challenging.

5.  People are more important than projects.  Duh.  Time with family is precious.  For a good chunk of the semester, nobody else mattered besides Steve and Bug.  Alongside that, I've also come to more fully understand the meaning of "keeping the Sabbath day holy."  Sabbath observance is a personal thing, and it's different for every person, so these comments are not intended to pass any sort of judgment.  Without getting too churchy, I have come to appreciate this day above all others as it was, literally, the only day I had every week, no matter what, where I didn't pick up a book, grade a test, edit a paper, etc.  I appreciate this decision mostly because it influenced the rest of my week for the better, in addition to getting more family time each Sunday.  I had to motivate myself to do homework between classes, after dinner, before Bug woke up, Friday night and most of Saturday (those were the worst), etc. but it all meant that I got to spend the entire day on Sunday with the people I love. Takeaway message: However you do it, always put family first, and arrange the rest of your time wisely to accomplish your tasks.  It can be done.