February flashback

Holy cow you guys, how is February over already? 



I guess February is the shortest month, but it certainly feels like March snuck up on us awfully quickly. I am certainly not complaining: the sun is starting to rise a little earlier, crocuses are starting to peek their heads out of the ground, and this last week has started to feel just a little bit like spring. 


I am aware that I live in Seattle, which means that summer is a LONG way off and the rains will likely continue well into June (or as I like to portmanteau it: June-uary), but a boy can dream. 

Looking forward to summer is great, but the end of the month is a perfect time for a little bit of reflection. So come along with me while I recap what went on in February and set some goals for March. 
This past month was pretty action-packed! One of my very best friends in the entire world came to visit, and we had a blast romping around the city. 

At the SAM:remix art party for then new Miro exhibit
The graduate students in my PhD program had our annual retreat to San Juan Island, which was a great time- full of scientific inquiry into yeast-fermented beverages.

RIGOROUS inquiry, indeed.
Our department also was interviewing prospective graduate students for next year’s incoming class. I hosted a dinner for the interviewees at my house, and gave them a tour of the city–we got to check out Pike Place Market and Dale Chihuly’s Gardens and Glass, two of my favorite Seattle spots. 

Chihuly!

Finally, I tried a KILLER new restaurant last night for my friend Kris’ birthday dinner. The place is called Din Tai Fung. This restaurant is famous in Asia for their perfectly crafted dumplings. They only have three North American locations: Los Angeles, Bellevue, and Seattle. I had never thought that I could get particularly excited about a humble little dumpling, but MAN this place was good. I love the Asian cooking ethos of minimal, yet hugely flavorful, dishes, perfectly executed.

These dumplings were so delicious


Watching the magic get made

So I managed to have a lot of fun. I also have been ramping up my mileage in preparation for the Tacoma City Marathon on May 4th. In case I haven’t already spammed you with a million donation requests, let me remind everyone that I am using my training to fundraise for the Seattle Humane Society. If you have already donated: THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart. If you have not, please consider clicking on over to my personal fundraising page, and giving to my campaign. Seattle Humane Society is a gold-star rated charity. Last year they were able to admit 6,730 animals to their shelter, provide food and needed medical care, and successfully placed 6,297. If you can give $10, $20, or even more all of that money will go directly towards their mission of helping homeless animals. 

My training has been going GREAT. I have been incorporating some structured track workouts (mostly Yasso 800s) in addition to my weekly long runs and base mileage. My longest run so far has been 16 miles. I feel like I have a solid base as I enter the peak phase of training and really start piling on the miles. Because I am a total numbers geek, here it goes: I ran 148.3 miles during the month of February….none too shabby, if I may say so myself. 



I managed to start and finish a whole entire book this month! All by myself! Now, many of you out in internet land might be rolling your eyes. Let me tell you: as a PhD student, the times I get to read for pleasure have been few and far between. I love to read, and lately it has been taking me FOREVER to work my way through anything substantial. I had been coping with the time deficit by reading a lot of poems, plays, and short-stories; now that I’ve passed my general exam, and I’m almost ready to submit a few manuscripts for publication, I’m hoping to have a little more space in my life for literary pursuits. 

I read Rosanne Cash’s memoir: Composed. I found it a pretty enjoyable read. I love both Rosanne Cash, and her father (Johnny Cash’s) music.

  

She has lived an extremely interesting life and spent time with some extremely talented and interesting people. It’s great to hear her perspective on her father, and the stories about her musical and matrimonial collaboration with Rodney Crowell offer surprising depth and insight into both the creative process and human emotion. That said, the book sometimes suffers under its own gravitas. Rosanne is, for the most part, a wonderful writer. She has several passages that hit you right in the gut with their perception and beauty. A few of my favorites were:

For me, art is a more trustworthy expression of God than religion

“We all need art and music like we need blood and oxygen. The more exploitative, numbing, and assaulting popular culture becomes, the more we need the truth of a beautifully phrased song, dredged from a real person’s depth of experience, delivered in an honest voice; the more we need the simplicity of paint on canvas, or the arc of a lonely body in the air, or the photographer’s unflinching eye. Art, in the larger sense, is the lifeline to which I cling in a confusing, unfair, sometimes dehumanizing world”


Beautiful, right?

On the other hand, she does have a tendency to over-write, which can make her prose feel kind of clunky at times. “I fell in love like a lover waiting to fall in love” is not exactly going to win any prizes in the simile department. I would recommend this book to any folk music fans. When Rosanne is at her best, you feel like you’ve been invited to a great party where you get to hang out and jam with Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, and Earl Scruggs.

OK so those were the things that I did. Now let’s set some goals for March:

1) Make sleep and recovery a priority.

I have been having a lot of fun, but sleep has been falling by the wayside. As I enter my peak training phase, I have to remember to take care of myself to keep running injury free. I want to make it a priority to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.

2) Return to a consistent yoga practice.

It’s so strange to me how whenever life feels overly busy and out of balance, yoga is one of the first things I sacrifice. Yoga helps me keep myself IN balance, physically and mentally. I’ve been noticing a few tight spots in my butt and shoulders, and I haven’t been to class in over 3 weeks. I need to get my Ommmmmmm on. 

When in doubt, stretch it out



3) Keep reading. 

I’m currently reading In the Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. It’s phenomenal so far. Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors and this book does NOT disappoint!

4) Do some career planning.

As part of my graduate programs requirements I have to fill out a career development plan. Now that I’m a PhD candidate, I need to figure out what is next for me. Is it an academic post-doc? Industry? Something else? I have been giving this some thought lately, and my goal for March is to crystalize a few long and short term goals.

5) Find a 2 bedroom house in Phinney Ridge with a fenced yard.

Alli is moving up to Seattle in May! We need a place to live, with a yard for porter!


OK- That was a long post. I congratulate you for reading this far. Now it’s time to open it up for discussion with the class. What are your goals for this coming month?



4 thoughts on “February flashback

  1. February went fast and with it part of the ski season ,so my goal for March is to ski more and telemark which will require mental tenacity to block out my fear stories and focus on my stance, my feet, and my line down the hill. And remembering that skiing is my favorite thing to do, in my favorite place, the mountains.

    Like

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