Greetings from the other side of finals! As always, it was a rough few weeks (maybe someday I'll figure out how to keep finals from being a tortuous and miserable ordeal?), but it all ended well, with a 4.0, some really kind and helpful comments on my papers from my professors, and a trip to New York (pictures forthcoming). And even the misery of actually writing and slogging through was eased somewhat by my fabulously funny and supportive spouse. As an example, here's an actual email exchange, reproduced here for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.
Monday, April 29 at 1:01pm
Haylie Swenson to Ross Dewey
Subject: Hey you
Email me, okay? It would do me good to hear your (digital) voice.
Monday, April 29 at 1:43pm
Ross Dewey to Haylie Swenson
Subject: RE: Hey you
Uh…you’re really putting me on the spot. You know how that shuts me down. I never know what to say when I’m asked to say something, but I’ll give it my best shot. I’m reminded of one of my childhood memories. It was last summer, and we were celebrating the joyous day commemorating the birth of my spouse. As you may recall, in fact, you were my adoring spouse at the time. There was good food and good company to be had in plenty at the ever-busy Good Stuff. Having already given up the cow for some time, you may not recall just how good Good Stuff can be when augmented by the succulent flavor of bacon, beef, barbecue sauce, cheese, and onion rings combined in the Coletti style. I digress. As I was saying, a very special birthday occasioned the event, and indeed there was nothing to disappoint. Following the main course, of course, we enjoyed the immensely enjoyable artistic stylings of the Brothers Cohen in the form of the classic Homer’s Odyssey, accompanied by very well-intentioned yet lackluster brownies. Lest, however, by my own selfish elocution I entirely miss the window of opportunity for spousal communication and support given me by the distant plea of my favorite little voice, I must now draw on the powers granted by the underrated god of brevity as I come to my point. Which is thusly: such good times as were had then, must surely increase tenfold in less than the time it takes the moon to cycle from shy to bold. In more universally known terms, your time of bondage will be interrupted by a brilliant burst of freedom in less than 388,800 seconds. With this in mind, and with the remote yet powerful support of your beloved, you must now persevere. And so onward. Huzzah!
Thanks, Ross. I couldn't have done it without you. Onward to summer! Huzzah!
As I biked to campus very early this morning I found myself frantically worrying that I would forget one of the many things I have to do today (finals are upon us, DUN DUN DUHHHHH). Biking is hard that way: it's not like I can write things down as I think of them. So, naturally, I made up a song. Enjoy.
To the tune of "Hello Muddah, hello Fadduh" (or "Dance of the Hours" if you're fancy like that)
Re: the request
Fix the syllabus and then you're done, I guess.
I took this picture (which I realize now seems like product placement but isn't meant to be) a week ago. Ross was leaving the next morning for Portland and the weather was beautiful, so we decided to take a walk down to the United States Botanic Garden. It took us about fifteen minutes to get there, and then we sat surrounded by flowers and blossoms and watched the Capitol glow*.
We lead charmed lives, and I'm very grateful.
*Sometimes, like today, I'm pretty annoyed by all that goes on in the Capitol, but I still love the building and how it stands for us at our best and worst.
Just some photos from the Inauguration. You remember... the one that happened in January? Ross stayed home (cold. crowds), but I braved the Mall and, in spite of bad weather and the masses of people and the incredible difficulty of getting home, I'm glad I did. It felt good to physically participate in a political event. It felt like what living in DC is for.
(Besides, we did vote for the guy :)
Expect more catching up-type posts in the near future. In the meantime, have a wonderful week!
So next week is Spring Break, and I'm not going anywhere this year, which means I have all week long to stay home and work hard. This is great, actually, as I have a lot to do, but at the moment it just means that I've completely lost my carefully cultivated sense of urgency. To that end, here is a list of stuff I've been saving up for recently. None of these things are expensive--or at least they don't have to be--but none of them are truly necessary, either. I think that's a good combination: it's fun to save up and anticipate, and these things are cheap enough that they're within reach. Win.
One of my favorite bloggers does a series called make-believe, where she imagines outfits or tools for certain activities and places. If this were my own make-believe series, this would be called "Moving to Austin."
(Note: This is the final post in a series on our December roadtrip. See the whole epic journey, from DC to Austin to New Orleans to the Everglades to Key West and home, here)
Although Key West wasn't exactly what we expected (I think we expected a charming, small-town feel, whereas Key West is much more boozy and tourist), we really loved exploring it. We were there for three nights, and quickly established some habits, the most important of which was the sunset.
Every night the tourists (and lots of locals, actually), gather at Mallory Square to watch the sun go down and ogle the cruise ship. My favorite (to my chagrin) was the Disney ship. I can't help it: I'm a child of Orange County, and while the characters and kitsch don't do much for me, I'm always impressed with Disney's attention to detail.
Anyway. That was definitely a digression about Disney (alliteration!). Mallory Square always had lots of scrappy street performers. Also, note the mix of sweatshirts and short sleeves. It was that kind of weather.
One of the things Key West is known for is its wild chickens (Seriously: see this quirky website). Apparently the city is somewhat split on the chickens, and they have lots of fans and detractors. We were fans.
On our first full day we went to visit the Key West cemetery and came across a hen with eight (eight!) chicks. Obviously, we watched them for a long, long time, as these ten pictures probably indicate. You're welcome.
(This next photo is my favorite)
At one point, Mama Hen decided it was time to settle down, and within less than a minute all nine chicks disappeared under her wings.
As you can imagine, Key West is colorful and beautiful (in a well-worn, beach bum kind of way). Although there's a lot to do in the town, at this point in our trip we were pretty tired, and I was still feeling pretty crummy, so we spent most of our time just walking. It was wonderful.
I call this rooster Paul Newman.
Our second full day in Key West was Christmas day! We celebrated by calling our families and reading in the sun by the heated pool. Let me just say, there are far worse ways to celebrate.
Sunset #3! My favorite sunset. Because of Christmas. And pirates.
After Key West, we drove up to Savannah where we ate at Cracker Barrel (because our roadtrip didn't feel complete without it) and spent a pleasant morning in the town. And then we came home! Our roadtrip was exhausting and driving-intensive, and I'm not sure it's something we'd do in the same way again, but we're both glad we did it. We saw parts of the country neither of us had ever seen before, ate some great food, spent time with and met some wonderful people, and saw some intimidating and charming animals. I even wrote a paper. All in all, it was a grand American adventure.
(Hey! So, predictably, I'm a bit behind on blogging. But today is a "snow" day [more like a day when it was supposed to snow, and the city freaked out and canceled everything only to be totally embarrassed by a boring gray day], so I'm going to try to catch up. A little. First things first, I want to finish blogging about our amazing December roadtrip. This is post 3 out of 4: see the whole thing here)
After our super fabulous extended stay in New Orleans, we drove to the Everglades. And when I say "we," it's really important that you know that I actually mean Ross. I was finishing a paper, and so Ross drove for twelve hours while I typed away in the passenger seat. Obviously, Ross is amazing. Obviously, I'm really fortunate to have such a supportive partner. Now let's never speak of it again. It was a stressful day for both of us.
After a sleepless (for me) night in Naples, and with my last paper of the term totally and completely done, we drove into the Everglades. One of the nice things about our roadtrip was that we were able to hit a bunch of different travel categories. Austin: Food. New Orleans: Culture. And the Everglades? Behold: nature.
There were air plants (also known as bromeliads, natch) everywhere.
Just a bald eagle in its massive nest. No big deal.
Our second stop was alligator alley. We were hoping to see some gators in the Everglades, obviously, but we weren't really expecting to. Ahem.
Turns out, the gators in alligator alley are more than used to people. I like to think we maintaining a respectful distance, especially compared to some of the other visitor who were getting awfully close to these incredibly reptiles.
To be fair, it was hard to resist the urge to approach.
We spent the evening camping in the southern end of the park. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of pictures of this, since at this point I was feeling extremely and mysteriously sick. It took me several days to solve the mystery. Turns out, staying up all night staring into a computer screen and eating veggie straws is a really good way to get seriously dehydrated. Whoops. After a day or two, I figured out what was wrong, got some Gatorade, and suddenly felt worlds better. In the meantime, I couldn't shake this fantasy that Ross would have to suddenly pull over the car and I would accidentally puke on a gator. Luckily, this didn't happen.
In spite of my stupidity-based illness, we both loved the Everglades. It's a truly special place, and I, for one, am grateful to the efforts of those who are trying to conserve this incredible ecosystem.