Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 31: New Years Eve

CJ had to work New Years Eve, so my dad and I ventured around in Portland without her.  We had brunch at a cute little place called Jam.  They had snowflakes decorating the restaurant (I wish I had a picture of that).  Anyway, we made our own as we waited to be seated.  It was fun, and kept us occupied while we waited.  We then went to see The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  So good!

After we picked up CJ from work, we headed to the airport to drop dad off.  Then it was back to moms for games and wine until midnight.  
At 4:53pm, I got a call from United that my flight from Chicago to Atlanta on the 1st had been canceled.  They rebooked me on the 2nd.  This was problematic.  First, I didn't want to hang out in the Chicago airport for an entire day.  Second, I needed to be back to work for orientation on Thursday.  After calling United, they rerouted me through Houston leaving January 1st, at 5:30am.  Yikes.  But at least I wasn't going to be stranded in Chicago and I'd make it back for orientation.

Look at my cute sister and her dog.
P.s. if you notice, none of my time in Oregon was spent in snow.  There was only 4 inches on the mountains.  Sad day.

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30: The cold, cold, coast

Dad came into town this morning and we went to the coast.  In Oregon, they don't call it the ocean or the beach, rather, the coast.  It was chiiiiillllllly.  It also gave me a chance to play around with my camera and my new eye-fi card (it makes my camera wireless & is awesome).  I was able to instantly send the photos from my camera to my phone and then text them to my dad.  So stinkin' cool (thanks mom!).  
We also went to the city of Tillimock (famous for cheese and ice cream).
For dinner we went to Little Big Burger (one of my sister's favorites) and to Salt & Straw (ice cream).  I have wanted to try this place for-a-long-time.  It lived up to the hype.  They have unusual flavors of ice cream, but they're delicious!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

December 29: A Jesus Church

Today we went to my sisters church for morning service (but the west side).  They've changed their name from Solid Rock to A Jesus Church: west side, or east side, etc.  The sermon was on the first three verses of 1st Thessalonians, particularly the third verse about working in faith, laboring in love, and hope in Jesus.  He challenge us to think about things this year, our responsibilities (whether work, family, etc) and what specific things God wants us to do or focus on this year.  I believe there are many specific things this year: finish dissertation, graduate, get a job.  However, I've also been thinking about the times I feel like I'm suppose to do something (yes, way more subjective) and leaning into the discomfort (or not).  More on this later, as I ponder further.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

December 28: Beauty & the Beast

Today was wonderful! Mom made Sweedish pancakes for breakfast, we played games, and went to Beauty & the Beast in the evening.
We had an absolutley fantastic view of the 'Portland' sign.  When we walked up to the window, unfortunatley, it wasn't lit up.  My sister, being funny (and obeying a Quelf card) waved her hands and said abracadabra.  Well, about 3 seconds later, bam.  The lights came on.  It only would have been better if it had happened exactly when she said abracadabra...but it was close. :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 27: Twins

Today my sister did my hair.  In her book club, they each brought a skill or something they were good at and she learned a new way to style her hair.  Since our hair is about the same length she wanted to try it on me, with the promise that I could try to do her hair curly.  She's got a lot of natural wave, but seldom uses it to her advantage.  Anyway, we went out looking like twins with our vests and same hair styes.  So of course, we had to get a picture in front of the tree. :)
That evening we also went to the most unusual target in the city.  City target.  Yep, they put a bird on the sign.  Welcome to Portland.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 26: New Games!

We spent most of the day playing new games I got for Christmas.  Quelf is a very funny game where you must 'obey the card'.  The cards tell you to do things like, sit on your hands the rest of the game, wear a chin strap, or get everyone to evaluate.  After a few rounds of quelf, we played Puerto Rico a strategy game.

Later that evening when my mom was out at a Christmas party, the power went out.  CJ and I spent the time huddled under blankets playing phase 10 and making smores in the fireplace.  It was fun, although I was very grateful when the power (read: heat) came back on! 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

December 25: Christmas

Christmas morning we woke up and ...oops, CJ forgot to wrap a gift.  :)  Anyway, we had a leisurely morning opening stockings and gifts, eating monkey bread and drinking coffee.  It was a nice time with my mom and sister!  Later that evening we went to see Frozen (everyone had already seen it once, but it was my first time).  So stinkin' cute!  The music was fantastic AND it isn't the typical Disney princess story.  It was a very nice Christmas day.
Grandma gave me & CJ some of her bone china teacups. LOVE them!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24: Christmas Eve x2

Christmas Eve day I hung out at home, wrapped my final gifts, and nursed my cold.  That evening, we went to two, yes TWO Christmas Eve services (one at my mom's church and one at my sister's church).  Dan did the lights for their church (which were very nice) and there was a candle light portion (which always makes it feel like a Christmas Eve service (asa reminder that Jesus came to be light)).  Then we headed to the Shnitz in downtown Portland for a service.  It was freezing outside, and they didn't let us in until 10:15pm for the 11pm service.  We arrived early to get seats, so thus we waited outside.  Did I mention it was cold?  Did I mention I have a cold?  Good combo ;)  Anyway, the service was worth the wait.  There were some songs, and we read through the birth of Jesus and then John Mark give a mini-sermon.  I always enjoy hearing him speak; and welcoming in Christmas day through the service was a nice way to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Cozy socks & a blanket.  Life is good.

They also had coffee, hot cocoa, and cookies available at the service. :)
Ps. her church also does this for Sunday services too. :) :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 23: Wrapping

Today I finished my Christmas shopping and (most) my wrapping.  Aside from that, the day was spent on the couch with some kleenex.  I enjoy seeing the presents with bright colors and glittery bows under the tree.  I also enjoy wrapping here because my mom has such great paper and ribbon options.  It's also nice to have it done (a little) in advance.  The tradition usually is a scramble on Christmas Eve (everyone is separate rooms) wrapping presents.  I don't know what I'm going to do with all this free time I'll have after our Christmas Eve service ;)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

December 22: Semester Sniffles

I can usually tell it's the end of a semester by a cold.  Yep, this semester was no different.  I think part of it is that my body goes & goes all semester and when it has a chance to take a break it shuts down.  I'm hoping this cold and head congestion decides it wants to leave me before Christmas. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

December 21: Plaid Tidings

Tonight we went to see Plaid Tidings, a story of a quartet sent back to earth to spread Christmas cheer.  It was such a clever show with fantastic music!  Thank you Dan for the tickets!  We also got a chance to meet Dan's daughter Vanessa.  They both are into theatre, which is fun since we all enjoy shows as well (particularly, musicals).  My sister, however, kept giving me the side eye as I tried my hardest to not sing along (not always succeeding).

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20: Wintery Mix Gone Rogue

When I arrived in PDX early Friday morning, I checked the forecast.  Portland was going to greet me with a wintery mix that morning.  Alas, it just rained :(  However, a highlight from the day (aside from seeing my family!) was driving my sister's new car!  Yep, her old one was giving her more trouble than it was worth and she got a steal of a deal on this new Nissan Rogue.  I love it (and may even consider the rogue when my little honda's transmission bites the dust).

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 19: Traveling

Traveling, traveling through the woods...okay, so maybe I don't travel through the woods to get home. But I do take a car, a shuttle, a plane, and more to get to mom's house.  When I travel for the holidays, I take two suit cases, one for clothes and the other (bigger) one usually holds my snow shoes and presents.  Yep, I bring my shoe shoes with me to Portland (it's about the only time I use them right now :).  While at the airport, I also got a cup of deliciousness-Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Winter Dream Latte.  Yumm.  It was a relatively uneventful travel day, albeit long (but that's to be expected).

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 18: Christmas Crafty-ness

Last year during the holidays, Kara and I had a craft night and Kara made a couple of these cute picture frame holders for friends.  They are so stinkin' cute and I got one of my VERY own this year!  She is so crafty. Moreover, I am so thankful for her friendship!

December 17: Yuzhi Hu

Today we celebrated the life of a young woman who left this world far too early.  Yuzhi was a Chinese international student in a PhD program studying cellular biology.  I could talk about her short but joy filled life or how heartbroken I am for the loss of her parents only child, but I'd rather mention how impressed I was at the UGA community that came together to support her family and celebrate her life.  From support services, to the VPs office, to other administrators on campus, to our Chinese student association, to the cellular biology department, people's generosity and willingness to help in many fashions was overwhelming for me, the students, and her family. 

The service was beautiful, Yuzhi will be missed.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 15: Another Application

Today I applied for yet another job.  This will be the story of my life for the next few months...oh and writing a dissertation.  This Assistant Professor position is a fixed term 2-year appointment that would focus on teaching.  It would be a wonderful opportunity to build up my publications, gain more teaching experience, and work with some amazing faculty.  I'm guessing that me and hundreds of my closest PhD finishing friends also applied for this job, but you gotta throw your name in the hat, right?!  Oh also, did I mention it was at Michigan State... one syllable, brrrrrrr.

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16: Dogsitting

I have been dog sitting for Winston & Baxter since Sunday.  Yesterday we enjoyed a fire, a walk, and some cozy time watching tv shows I don't get at home.  Today after work we went for a walk to witness one of the biggest moons I've seen in a long time.  The walk was nice, although trying to walk two at once always provides entertainment.  Moreover, I thought only women went to the bathroom in pairs ;)  Apparently when one went, the other just had to go too.  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14: Portlander

Today I felt like I would fit in just fine in Portland.  All I needed was a bird on it, oh wait, my shirt does have birds on it.  Yep, I'm ready to visit my family in PDX.

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13: Fall Graduation

Today was the fall graduation ceremony, Friday the 13th.  Although some think it's an unlucky day, for Dr. Nikki Tobias it was not a very unlucky day.  Watching her get hooded made me excited, anxious, and a little stressed.  Graduation is five months away.  That means I have to turn everything in during April, which means I have to defend by beginning/mid April at the latest and that means my stuff have to be to my committee weeks before I defend.  The timeline keeps backing up...data collection in January, write-write-write in February, revise w/chair & committee in March...yikes.  

Anyway, today was a great celebration as one of my cohort graduated.  Only four more in my cohort to go.  Ginny & I will graduate in May, then our part-timers Zoe and Megan will come later (and we will be cheering them on).  No cohort member left behind :) 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12: Beauty

I spent all day inside.  From 8:30am when I arrived at work until 5:30pm, I didn't leave the building.  However, when I walked out to my car the sky was gorgeous (this picture doesn't do it justice).  It's the little things in life that bring me great joy!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11: Last Semester Registration

Today I registered for my last semester of classes at The University of Georgia (Lord willing).  I used this outdated system from the 1970s only FINAL time to register for 18 credit hours.  I'm not convinced these are the last classes I will ever take.  However, this is the last semester of classes I intend to take seeking a degree!  What a wonderful feeling.  Graduation count down begins.  Yikes!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10: Winter Dream

Last year after ASHE in Las Vegas I experienced my first cup of this deliciousness.  It's a little piece of heaven in a cup.  Yesterday, this package arrived in the mail and today I had my first cup of goodness.  Thank you Kristin for this wonderful treat!

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9: Full-filled Day

Today was a fun-filled day that left me full-filled! Today is ALSO Tiffanie's birthday.  She turned 29 years old.  I am so grateful she is living next door.  In order to celebrate her birthday we had to celebrate the immaculate conception instead.  Yes, did you know that December 8th is the celebration of the immaculate conception.  Only, since that fell on a Sunday, the celebration was moved to Monday, December 9th.  

Anyway...the day was filled with wonderful conversations with faculty and friends that left me very fulfilled and grateful.  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

December 8: CSAA Holiday Party

Tonight we had our annual holiday party for the CSAA-D (the PhDers) and the faculty.  This year we were at Dr. Chris Linder's house.  The food was amazing and we always have a very eventual gift exchange.  This year I brought a coin counting bank with some $ in it and a gift card.  It was actually picked first and after two steals it was done.  Me?  Well, I got the bulldawg which is suppose to return every year (I don't plan to be here) and someone hoping it brings them good luck with graduation for the following year (i.e., 2015).  I mean, I am pretty confident May 2014 is going to happen, but I guess a little luck is always good.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7: New Game

Ever week the Starbucks app on my phone gives me free codes for iTunes apps or for free songs.  I downloaded this app, Quell Memento and it's well...addicting. It's essentially a bunch of puzzles where you move a blue bubble around collect items, or whatnot.  If this becomes problematic, I'll be deleting it and re-downloading it when I'm PHinally Done.

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6: UVA President

The Louise McBee lecture is an annual event hosted by the Institute of Higher Education at UGA.  This year Dr. Sullivan the president of the University of Virginia spoke.  She was dynamic and engaging.  In 2010 Dr. Sullivan was unanimously named the 8th president of UVA and in 2012 she stepped down after the board of visitors told her they had the votes to remove her.  She was reinstated shortly after.  If you want to read more, here is the story on the controversy.  Anyway, what a rare opportunity to hear her speak and answer questions.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 5: Athens Christmas Parade

Today I had a phone interview for a faculty position at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX.  The position would involved teaching (and research) in their master's program.  Phone interviews are always awkward (and it was my first for a faculty position)...especially when they start by asking you if they can record it.  What?! Yikes?! Ummm, okay.  Here are my notes, curriculum vita (CV), and cover letter.  Having notes helps me feel like I'm prepared...although can you ever really be?! 
Tonight we also had our annual UGAspa (masters & phd) holiday potluck dinner followed by the Athens parade.  Here are some pictures from the parade and some highlights of the event.
Yep, those are storm troopers.
Yep, and a REAL camel.
Tiphaine and I...and last but not least, Santa.