many are you are probably wondering "what's been going on with jen"? and i'm here to answer that, in convenient bullet form. (can i just profess how much i love bullets? so much better than making a list with numbers or letters.)
(warning - this is my first attempt at uploading images, and they're quite small. i'll see what i can do about that.)
+ i'm still working at the U.S. Geological Survey as a geographer. i got a promotion a few months ago, and i've now worked there long enough to earn 6 hours of vacation every pay period, which isn't bad. the people are great, but i'm bored stiff.
+ the last 5 months of 2006 were consumed by a huge report (the MMSD report) which i got roped into helping with when the lead author transferred to another district. i spent nights, holidays and weekends working on it, along with my good friend michelle. it literally consumed our lives. the small good news is that the report finally got submitted for approval a week ago, and i'll get my first official scientific authoring credit (i'll be third author when all is said and done). but the bad news is that i gave up so much of my life (again). it was worse that when i was working at Falk in St. Louis, and those of you who knew me then know what that means.
GRAD SCHOOL PLANS.
+ i'm still planning on going, and i've somewhat narrowed my focus.
+ because i didn't start my research early enough, i didn't realize that most programs would have december and january deadlines. by the time i realized this, MMSD was in full force, and i had to delay another year. see my upcoming post on 2007 plans for more information about this.
LIFE WITH TONY
+ in general, sharing my life (and my living space) with tony has been incredibly easy. but the past few months have been difficult, since i had so little free time during MMSD's reign of terror. when i was home, my mind was distracted and exhausted, and most of the time we just shared the same space but didn't really connect. i'll also admit that my general dissatisfaction with my life as of late has made me grumpy and a bit irritable, but i'm hopeful that as i reclaim myself, i'll calm down and be easier to live with and to love.
+ we celebrated our two year anniversary in august by visiting the small northern Wisconsin town of Bayfield and the Apostle Islands, including an amazing dinner at the Old Rittenhouse Inn. Bayfield is a quaint little town nestled into the bluffs overlooking Lake Superior:
EXTRACURRICULARS and SOCIAL LIFE.
+ as many of you know, i celebrated my 30th birthday with a long, relaxing vacation in the Outer Banks last march. while there wasn't a lot open there, it was great to do nothing but read by the sea, eat great seafood and spend time with good friends.
we rented a house, and here's a view from our back porch:
we took an afternoon to visit Corolla, where houses come before paved roads (you HAVE to have 4-wheel drive) and wild horses eat your vegetation. the beach serves as the highway for jeeps, trucks and construction vehicles. (i didn't take a picture of it, but at the entrance to the beach highway a tow truck had gotten stuck in the sand.)
+ i also made a pilgrimage to St. Louis in late September to see the new Busch Stadium and cheer the Cardinals on into their championship postseason. i also shared the joy of the City Museum with tony, michelle and tim; if you're ever in St. Louis, it is really not to be missed (where else can you climb in an airplane and a castle, slide down an 5-story airshaft, crawl through dinosaur-infested caves, see the world's largest pair of underwear, pet a stingray and have a beer?).
i'm always surprised at how much i miss and love St. Louis; if it had a coastline, i would make it my home in a heartbeat.
+ i reawakened my love of photography (especially traditional film photography) during my trip to the Outer Banks and with the gift of a Holga camera from my used-to-be boss Michelle Greenwood (not to be confused with my good friend Michelle Lutz, whom some of you have met). i took a five-session darkroom class at the university, and i hope to dedicate more time to printing photos again this spring. there's just something about the quality of the blacks and grays, and controlling the entire physical process is so much more rewarding than using photoshop.
+ i've also started reading books again and i've joined a very informal book club. while their literary interests are pretty different than mine, it's nice to spend time with a group of interesting women.
+ tony and i are still very into indie music, and madison is a frequent tour stop for a lot of great bands. we'll occasionally travel to milwaukee and chicago to see a show, but it has to be really worth it.
i'm sure i've forgotten some things, and if there's anything of note i'll put it in a new post. all in all, 2006 was a really a slow progression towards upcoming change, so look for my next post involving my hopes and expectations for 2007.