Thursday, June 07, 2007

Don't Fence Me In

It seems I am not the only one who yearns for those wide open spaces. But, Imbrium, I'm sorry to say that mountains make me claustrophobic. It's not so much being able to see the open sky as seeing the flat, flat land stretching for miles and miles that I miss. As you might imagine that means I'm not a big fan of the mountains in the LA area (well that and because they keep the city smog from blowing further inland and therefore all you see is this nasty brown haze--yuck!). Don't get me wrong--mountains are beautiful. And I'll never cease to be fascinated by them (topography is very two dimensional in Iowa), but they make me edgy. I guess I'll always be an Iowa girl.

This weekend is graduation weekend and so A (Temporary Roommie) and M (former Roommie) are in town. I'm very happy to see them, but it's rough hearing them talk about graduation when I am not graduating. And watching them graduate tomorrow is going to be hard, too. Which reminds me. I don't believe I ever introduced:

Dr. MRR! She has been part of my core group of friends that have been with me from my first day at grad school (M and A are the other two). She actually defended way back in the middle of May, but I've been busy going crazy over lab work and not posting regularly.

So, getting back to the whole not graduating thing. I've known for awhile, of course, that I would not be graduating this spring. I made that realization several months ago and most of the sting had gone out of it, until these last few days when I suddenly felt very very sad I was not going to be in my cap and gown with the rest of my friends. I think it might not have been so bad if only one or two of them were graduating but with all three, I definitely feel left behind. And I know I have to move past this--life is what it is, right? I mean, there's really nothing I can do to change this so I dwelling on it and getting morose and crying into my beer (wine, actually) is not doing anyone any good, least of all me. But no matter how much I tell myself this (and that it will not be the end of the world) it still bothers me.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The sister, she is very pregnant

Due date: August 9 (the day before her birthday)

I went to Iowa this weekend for my brother's fiancee's bridal shower and as much family time as we could cram in without killing ourselves. And, of course, pictures.

It takes an amazing astological event for the circumstances to be right for my entire family to be in one place at the same time. Hell, it takes an amazing astrological event for me and my siblings to be in one place at the same time. Jason lives in Atlanta and I live in Chicago. Meghan is in Iowa and so is Eric. So, it's really getting me and Jason in one place at the same time that's the issue. Anyway, anytime we are all together, there has to be a picture to commemorate the occassion.

Left to Right: Me, Jason, Eric, Meghan

Even more rarely, we are all in Iowa and my stepgrandparents (stepfather's parents) are in Iowa at the same time (they live in Arizona and come back to Iowa for a couple weeks out of every year, but I am usually not there at the same time).

Me and my sibs, plus Mac (in the back), Derek (step-cousin), and Pat

While it was good seeing everyone, it was pretty damn exhausting.

Here was the schedule for the weekend:
Thursday--pick up rental car (it was cheaper to get it on Thursday than on Friday, very strange)
Friday--Go to post office to pick up I-pass that they are holding hostage there waiting for my signature (the I-pass is a device that allows me to go through tolls without change, it basically tells the toll that I have money in an account then deducts money from that account; John had it in California where it was useless, so he sent it to me) drive from Chicago to Grandma's in Iowa (6 hours due to traffic)
Saturday--drive from Grandma's to shower (2.5 hours), have fun at shower, go to aunt's for dinner (fortunately, she lived close to the shower location), drive to Ames to stay at a hotel for the night (1 hour)
Sunday--Go to church in hometown with Mom, Meghan, and Grandma (very close to Ames, that's why we stayed there), talk to people I haven't seen in 10 years, go back to Ames for family lunch, drive back to Grandma's (about 2 hours), sit and stare at the backyard for awhile because we are both dead tired
Monday--get up early and drive back to Chicago (5 hours--traffic was much better), return rental car, collapse in my apt. and go to bed early

One thing I have discovered about myself after living in cities for the last 15 years is that I really miss wide open spaces. Therefore, I decided to try to take some pictures of them as I was driving back to Chicago. All of these were taken while driving (drive-by pictures, if you will).

That last one is the Mississippi River. The pictures really don't do the landscape justice, but I think I'm going to make them the screensaver on my computer anyway, just to have a little wide open space in the city.