Beginning of the End

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Skirt: Target...Button down: Banana Outlet...Shoes: Nine West via Buffalo Exchange...Belt: Target...Bag: Longchamp knockoff

Friends, it's starting. Our apartment looks like a bad horror movie set. Dust bunnies, derelict and strewn boxes, a tragic lack of furniture. I'm also rotating between about 7 total articles of clothing and wearing them like mad. So, I'm rationing photos from outfits past. For example, that skirt was last worn about three weeks ago and found a new home with my sister. And that gingham blouse got packed away in the "to be shipped box." Instead, I'm wearing all of the t-shirts that look like they won't last the summer anyway. If I look a liiiittle bit silly for my last three weeks of work, what are they going to do? Fire me?

The other little bit of weirdness is packing what needs to get shipped on the slow boat since that will need to get picked up within about a week or two to get to China in time for the start of the school year. And academic books for instruction are kiiiind of important for a new teacher and a new program.

Happiest Wednesday, dear ones!

Adios to the Three Musketeers

Friday, May 24, 2013

Skirt, Cardigan, Belt, Necklace: Target...Shoes: Nine West via Buffalo Exchange

Well, it's happened. We had our first for-real adios. Our friend (Rob, his Bromance, and this buddy all three came into the doctoral program together) is getting ready to skip town for several summer festivals and conferences and he definitely won't be back before we leave. There have been a few friends that have left after the school year ended who we won't see again before we move, but this is the first major goodbye.

And I didn't cry. Don't know how I managed it, but I didn't cry. It may be because his wife is still in town and I know we'll spend time together, so it doesn't feel "real" yet.

Anyway, we did a BBQ, because there really isn't a better way to say farewell than with a potluck and burgers. We started a grease fire, let it burn off and roasted marshmallows a few hours later, sipped a hodgepodge of leftover beers from the graduation BBQ, nibbled on chips until the 90% humidity made them stale and disgusting, and did a lot of really good reminiscing.

Gosh, it's been a good four years here in Houston.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Skirt, Cardigan, Belt, Scarf: Target...Shoes: Nine West via Buffalo Exchange...Bag: Longchamp knockoff

Ever have one of those looks where you think it's a cheerful flurry of color and then you realize it's really just a matter of wearing skittles? Or jelly beans. Yup, that happened. The candy-colored rainbow barfed all over me and I wore it to work. I suppose that's what I get when I have all my favorite neutrals packed away into a duffel bag and I'm left with the collection of "I don't reeeeally know if I want to keep it for the move" bits and pieces of bright.

I would apologize for going MIA so often, but I really haven't been feeling like blogging lately. Because it's too soon to really talk about our upcoming move to Suzhou, China (I could only tell you about adventures in banking and making arrangements for a Penske truck rental to get our crap back to Ohio. And I can't really talk about life because it's been a series of busy weeks and a funny cycle of doing the same things with the same friends overandoverandover because we want to pack in as much time with them as we can. And I can't really talk about work because... well, it's just work. I'm writing a lot of grant reports.

Okay, well, I guess you guys are all caught up! Thanks for stickin' around in this really weird phase of life.

Graduation Season and a Sister Visit

Monday, May 20, 2013

Highlights since we last spoke:

Rob's mom and dad were in town for 2 1/2 glorious days to celebrate graduation with us! We ate well, we drank better (his mom is a very discriminating red wine drinker and his dad is a lager buff). We had crazy big storms on Friday morning and overnight, but it cleared up before Saturday morning graduation. We had to muck our way through a swamp to get to seats on the lawn, but the ceremony was outside and the bright blue sky was gorgeous! Rob and his two best buddies got a "Ta Da!" style horn-quintet chord played for each of them during the Friday Doctoral Hooding Ceremony (epic), and that was topped by getting to high-five Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who was the commencement speaker, as they walked across the graduation stage (epic-er).

The three graduates hosted a BBQ in our friends' backyard for only our families and their main composition professors and it was nothing short of the perfect way to celebrate their hard work and accomplishments. They're all such laid back guys and so family oriented; anything else, like a dinner out, wouldn't have felt like the right conclusion to their four years together. Spending time with the other two guys' families was a real treat. Oh, and the plethora of grilled dinner options was pretty much the best.

My sister got engaged a few months ago and they plan to wed before we depart for China. Since they had lived in China and Hong Kong before their move back to the States, they wanted to find a way to incude their friends from all over on their special day, even if they're halfway around the world. So, in the tradition of Chinese FuXi (wished for luck and prosperity), she wants to send out red hanging tags that friends and far away family can write notes on and they'll all be tied to a cord at the wedding. With my arsenal of cutting mats and exacto blades, I volunteered to work on the project. And then she got really sad that she wasn't able to work on wedding projects alongside sisters. So, a ticket was booked with miles and less than 48 hours later, she was hanging out in my living room. I got sister time! I got to spend time talking, giggling, crying, and getting excited about the next year for each of us with my sister standing in the same room as me! And she got over 250 red mat board hangtags to include in mailings to her friends. And, now, I wouldn't be at all shocked if she showed up in Phoenix to work on invitations with our other sister.

My dainty little cat also got hold of a gecko and ate him. That was thrilling.

This week was not at all what I expected, but the mix of good and bad (uugh, work is getting tricky with end-of-the-school-year-grant-reporting) makes me tired and happy.

Whirlwind Week

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Pants: Zara...Blouse: thrifted...Cardigan: Target...Shoes: Naturalizer

It's been a wild week and getting more nuts! We sold our Honda Fit on Tuesday (I cried. It was such a good car), and went to see my friend's dress rehearsal of Chinglish, which was an excellent play. A friend from Arizona was in town visiting his parents, so we went to dinner last night and ate a disgusting amount of sushi. We've been packing and selling things like crazy after we posted a bunch of things in the university's online advertisement forum. Poor Rob has spent two days doing nothing but answer questions like "Yes, it's a pretty standard crock pot. No, that tall shelf can't be shortened. Sure, you can come look at it, but it has to be before Friday at 10."

And that's because Friday afternoon is his Doctoral Hooding Ceremony. And Saturday at the buttcrack of dawn is Graduation. Which, by the way, might get rained out, so each candidate only gets two tickets for the Field House, and our group includes a spouse and two parents. (Oh, yeah, and Rob's parents are arriving tonight!) Bromance's family is here too, and his cousin is joining the group, so if we can't weasel our way into any extra tickets, his mom and I are going to spend our morning watching the televised version and drinking mimosas together. I sure would love to see them graduate since I'm so sick of student-hood, but spending time that way isn't a terrible alternative.

So, I'll see you all next week! Maybe. There's been a lot of friend time each evening, lots of arrangements to make, but at least we're getting it all done earlier than later. Phew, I'm overwhelmed and exhausted already!

Beaches and Ballgames

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Okay, so last Friday, I got a little ahead of myself when I chattered about the baseball game. And I never posted a photo of the weekend in Galveston. So, here we go.

It's been a yearly tradition to join the head of the composition department for a celebratory weekend away with all the composer students. This year, we all piled into a house south of Galveston. I've ripped on Galveston before for being too touristy and for not having nice beaches. But, dang, if you get out of the city a little ways, the sand is light and fluffy, wide beaches, and quiet. A little overcast and a bit chilly, but we got some good tennis golf going down on the beach, card games and giggling, and tons of opportunity to watch some cut-throat beer pong. I enjoyed myself immensely!

Thursday through Sunday, we were able to score cheap seats to see all four Detroit Tigers' games against the Houston Astros (charmingly known as the Last-ros. They're not very good). Rob has been a Tigers' fan since he was in the womb (no joke, he was born days after the last time they won the World Series) and he and his dad have been long-distance radio and online tracking the seasons together since we moved away from northern Ohio. And the Astros juuuuust switched leagues, so they came to town to play a series for the first time since we've been down south. Needless to say, we were really excited about it!

I spent the beginning of every game hovering around the 3rd base fence, hoping to get my favorite player, Austin Jackson, to sign my ball cap. I'll be honest, I have a big crush on the guy, but it sure doesn't hurt that he's a pretty potent center fielder. Dude can run and can catch some really impressive fly balls.

No luck on a signature, but he did turn and wave once when the kid next to me yelled his name. I would say "Close enough" but I really thought I had a chance at a pitty autograph since I was down there every day. Tough luck. Also, Sunday's game was pitched by Justin Verlander (widely reconized as the best pitcher of any team right now) and we were less than 200 feet from his warm up before the game. Rob did a little fan-boy dance. Can't say I blame him.

This is when he turned to acknowledge the little boy.

Oh, hey, Justin Verlander. No biggie, we're 200 feet away from the MLB MVP of 2012.

Nice sneer.

Other highlights: Bromance came to all four games with us and purchased a refillable popcorn tub for $10 the first game. We refilled that bad boy for free the rest of the series. Brilliant. Little Roo was in town for a visit from L.A. and we got to spend all of Saturday with her. Such a treat! Our buddy also made a strange face in every photo I snapped of him. It's a series of photographs I'm proud to have. Aaaaand, on Sunday's game, Rob was accosted by the Astros' mascot for being a Tigers fan. He was made to tie the mascot's shoe, and then the mascot flipped his Astros jersey over Rob's head to cover the Detroit Tigers "D" shirt. No joke, it was 3 minutes full of pretty absurd interaction with an enormous green muppet. The Little League kids a few rows behind us were cackling, they loved it!

Trenches and Dugouts

Friday, May 3, 2013

Jeans: Gap Always Skinny...Button-down: Target...Trench: Target...Shoes: Cole Haan via DSW...Necklace: Etsy

Second baseball game toniiiight! Crap, I love Tigers Baseball.

Plus, our buddy is coming back for a visit. Little Roo, Rob's adopted baby sister, moved to LA for her graduate program last year and it's been darn lonely without her!

Happy weekend, dear friends.

Adios, Chambray. I mean "Zaijian"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

This isn't the most lovely photo, it's not even decent. But, it's kind of funny how accurate it is of life lately. The proof?
1. Dusty, disgusting mirror
2. Rumpled, filthy rug
3. Beagle furiously sniffing out all of the dead bugs unearthed in the moving around of things
4. Boxes, mostly still empty, absolutely everywhere
5. Stepstool, used daily to fish something out of a high stack
6. Empty furnishings, sad stacked dvd storage behind me, piles emptied from my junk drawer in the bedroom
7. We won't talk about the nightmare happening on top of my dresser just behind that door with the belt haphazardly looped over a knob
8. Wet hair, unbrushed, because I don't feel like it
9. Oh, yeah, and a last hurrah for some of my more attractive clothing, because I'm saving all my good stuff until after the move

Also not up for discussion? The multitude of floor-scattered sorting projects. The plethora of hangers now sadly hanging derelict in my closet since everything good from wintertime is in a duffel. Remnants of my grand plan to get gone a bunch of stuff in a garage sale. We're also without a sofa, kind of. Our houndstooth couch found a new home with our neighbors and, after June 1, the sofa we're temporarily housing for our friends, purchased from another neighbor, is going away and we'll be seat-less for a month. Lots of Hulu watching in bed and only passed hors d'ouvres parties. Mashed up with a box obstacle course in our living room.

Transition is funny. Packing our lives up into four large suitcases and carefully planned boxes of winter coats and books to be shipped in the fall is a tricky thing.
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