Feeling EXACTLY like this right now! So extraordinarily motivated!
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and your discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.”
Did you hear that? That was the sound of me emitting a giant exhale.
-The motorcycle course wrapped successfully, with me emerging hand-in-hand with a passing score and a certificate that I can use to obtain the "M" classification on my license. While I am FAR from being comfortable on a bike, I'm at least not afraid anymore. Taking the class made me a better driver, too. I had never operated a manual in my life, so getting used to a clutch was a big step. But, I did okay and actually liked going "fast" - we never got up above 25 mph on the course, but it felt fast to me initially. I'm a master corner-er too. I can corner, swerve, lean, and do a perfect double U-turn (a serpentine in dressage horse language). I'm not wanting to go out and buy a motorcycle right now, but it's definitely more possible now.
-My dissertation edits are done and it is in my committee's hands. I will DEFEND MY DISSERTATION next Friday (July 30)! It feels weird to even say that! But, I am very excited and very happy to be approaching the finish line -- it's been a long three years.
-The big news is: I've decided to move! Joel and I will be moving to his new job, which is in a smaller town outside of The Big City. I'm going to spend the first two months closing up my life here, unpacking there, and settling in to a life outside of graduate school. I'm going to be job searching in The Big City, and I'm really hoping I will land something nice - not just something to get by on.
-We've found a very cute rental house with a great, laid-back landlord that (1) has a black Lab, but (2) LOVES that we will be bringing our two Labs!! Can you believe it? She wants us to have our dogs there! It's almost too good to be true - we had to pinch ourselves. The dogs will even have a doggy door in the back door to go out into the FENCED BACKYARD!!!! I'm so excited! The past three years, Cosette (and more recently, Trooper) have had to wear their leashes everytime we go outside. Now, they can go out and play in the backyard without having me go out there too (I'm most excited about this during the winter). It's a small backyard, but it's big enough for them. Plus, we got $100 knocked off our rent by agreeing to take care of the lawn and garden maintenance! Score!
-My time with the winery is coming to a close, although I'm not looking forward to leaving. It's been a great job and something that I've really cherished doing. I will probably stay in contact for the next few months, just helping out and letting them transition to a full-time person that can take care of wholesale distribution.
-So, the next few weeks will be spent cleaning, packing, teaching, defending, graduating (Joel, not me - I have to graduate in December), moving, working, and job searching! Should be a really fun time in its own little way.
There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things
Like a, shoebox of photographs
With sepiatone loving
Love is the answer,
At least for most of the questions in my heart
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy and
Sometimes life can be deceiving
I'll tell you one thing it's always better when we're together
MMM it's always better when we're together
Yeah, we'll look at them stars when we're together
Well, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, it's always better when we're together
-Jack Johnson, "Better Together"
breeze in our hair
laughter and quietness
artichoke dip & greasy fingers
very much not comfortably numb
Last night we watched "The Boys are Back" with Clive Owen. What I thought would be a emotionally-laden film filled with gut-wrenching moments turned out to be a carefree examination of the loss of a mother figure and the transformation of a father figure. The melodramatics were spared by the events being viewed through the eyes of a six-year-old and the father's (Clive Owen) distaste for his new situation.
The film dealt with divorce, another sticky subject for movies to run across; however, the real enemy role of the divorce situation was very matter-of-factly placed on the father's shoulders. There were brief mentions of fights, and some steely glances from the ex-wife of over six years, but mainly the real touchiness came from the older son's sadness that his dad had left him years earlier to be with his new wife and son. Much like the death and the funeral scenes early in the movie, this situation was also approached in a straightforward manner that doesn't illicit tears on behalf of the viewer.
The plot - though based off a true story - felt almost too formulaic and choppy for its own good. The director spends so much time laying down the sequence of scenes that the viewer has a difficult time relating to the characters through their various grievances.
What it DOES do, however, is provide many moments of smiles and knowing warmth from being around children. There's a scene in the movie (and the trailer as well) when the father hears a horrible noise coming from the hotel bathroom, and races in to find his young son with goggles on and tub overflowing asking, "Can I do it again, Daddy? Can I?" There's also a scene where the father is very busy getting ready to leave, and the son comes in to the room. The father says despondently, "You've got those on the wrong feet!" to which the little boy replies, 'But these are the only feet I have?"
In addition to the heart-warming moments interacting with the children, what stands up with a head above the crowd for this film is the cinematography and music selection. I squealed when I saw on the title screens that some of the music was by "Sigur Ros" - they are absolutely one of my favorites (embedding is disabled by request on YouTube, otherwise I would provide a link). In addition, one of the first songs of the movie is "All the Wild Horses" by Ray Lamontange (see below), which only two weeks prior to my viewing I had found and been obsessed with, listening to it over and over. The movie is based in Australia, and the sunlight pouring over the fields and the house, soaking up in the boys' hair, is almost too much to deal with - it is that beautiful. My photography self only wishes that I could be transported instantly there to be bathed in the same sunlight.
Overall, the movie was a pleasurable experience despite having rough transitions and a more formulaic plot. The rich coppery sunlight, the interesting camera shots, the music, and the affection with the boys more than made up for any production deficits.
Let me preempt any concern or discussion about this video I've posted. Trooper does this naturally. No matter what he is chasing or what he is after, this kid jumps like there is no tomorrow. I simply made a compilation of his jumps. He will do this even if I throw the ball long distances, as he will bounce all the way there, mis-judge the distance, flip over himself, flop on the ground, and then bounce all the way back. I recognize that it is probably dangerous to his spine or hips to be doing this, but, like I said, he does this anyway regardless of whether or not I'm filming. I think there may be a chance he's made of rubber. Enjoy.
Last night I turned in my draft of my pre-dissertation paper (don't ask, it's just another hurdle) to my chair. This is the paper I've been working on since I submitted my final pre-dissertation plan (another hurdle) in December. 9 months. NINE MONTHS!? Well, for the first 5 months, I worked sporadically - like once a month I'd read an article for it, and half-heartedly write a paragraph. It just sat at the back of my academic closet, not getting much use and not worn to all the glamorous parties. I waved my hand at it occasionally, promising I'd fit back into it soon, but just never really had the energy for it. I was in my last semester of classes. Then the follow month (month 6) I was preparing for my preliminary examination to be admitted to doctoral candidacy. After passing prelims, my life became a little chaotic. I was teaching a 4-week class (2 hrs a day of lecturing, 5 days a week), and during that time, I lost a family member which required lengthy travel. Then once I got back into the swing of things (month 7), my summer class had ended and I started traveling for various reasons (a conference, a wedding...). Month 8, or August, rolled around, and I started paying attention to it again, and realized I wasn't that far from finishing my complete draft (not a final draft, mind you, just a full draft with no missing parts). School started, and once again I put it on a hanger at the back of my academic closet and promised it I would see it soon. Three weeks into the new semester, I pulled it out of my closet, tried it on (it fit), and then proceeded to party in it day and night, evenings and weekends. Some sort of inspiration bug bit me. I partied so hard in that paper that I wore out the zipper and compromised the seams, but dang, I got my money's worth. Right? Right. Anyway, after many attempts to start and re-start working on it, I finally had my rear in gear and worked really hard on it. I e-mailed it last night to my advisor, who will hopefully have mercy on the beautiful document and have only minor revisions. Whatever revisions (be they many or few), I have resolved to not let the paper fester. As soon as she returns the draft to me, I will sit down and crank out the changes for her approval.
I have less than a year to prospect, collect data, write the results, and defend my dissertation, and I have resolved that I WILL HAVE MY PH.D. BY MY NEXT BIRTHDAY (Sept 5). Watch out, world!