Friday, February 12, 2010

Antidote for the Thesis Blues

My friend Megan recently posted on her blog all of the small things that both make her happy and help her get through the blustery days of winter (and the challenges of new motherhood). I applaud her optimism (one of the many reasons she is my friend) and am going to adopt her topic for today's Friday blog post. Here the things that make me happy in a world full of snow and thesis writing:

1. David's cooking. Actually, just David in general! (Hey, we're newlyweds, I reserve the right to be overly enthusiastic.) But if he hasn't cooked for you, you really should be lining up outside our apartment for dinner.

2. Muppet characters of any kind, particularly Kermit the Frog. Though I prefer old school classics like Muppets Take Manhattan, I do also like that the Muppets are making a mainstream comeback in the form of Disney-based commercials on ABC.

3. Snow! I absolutely love snow and the winter season, I just hate being cold and driving in bad weather. (Somewhat of a paradox, I know.) But from out the window, it's wonderfully appealing.

4. Valentine's Day. I know what many of you are thinking - how could I possibly love a holiday seemingly created by Hallmark to get tons of consumers to spend lots of money on chocolates and sappy cards??? I guess I am just not cynical enough to have ever looked at it from that perspective. I love the fact that a day exists where we can send messages of love to the important people in our lives, especially since life gets so busy and it is so easy to take those important people for granted amidst the hustle and bustle. So I will be baking brownies, sending Valentines, and buying David something ridiculously sappy and cute. So there. (And for the record, why isn't everyone in support of any and every holiday that encourages chocolate eating?? If you don't like the romantic pressure associated with Valentine's Day, at least go out and get yourself some chocolate for goodness sake.)

5. Pizza of all kinds. In fact, I will be thoroughly enjoying leftover deep dish for lunch in 15 minutes or so.

6. TV shows. Grey's Anatomy, Project Runway, American Idol, The Office, The Good Wife, Mad Men, Top Chef, Archer, Glee...what can I say, I'm an addict. DVR and the staggering of TV seasons is a wonderful thing. My husband plays WoW and I watch too much television. We'll make great parents. :-P

7. Great Expectations. Best. Book. EVER.

8. The Maroon 5 single from the Valentine's Day movie soundtrack, "The Way You Look Tonight." I never get tired of this song to begin with, but put it in the hands of my favorite band to reinvent and it's like hearing it for the first time.

9. Mimosas. (And no, they don't just make me happy just because I tend to consume them while I'm waiting for breakfast food.)

10. Getting the mail every day. I love letters in particular, but I do enjoy just getting snail mail addressed to me in general.

11. Reading magazines. My current favorites are Time, Entertainment Weekly, and Real Simple.

12. The Love Letters blog on Another guilty pleasure, I have so many of them. But there is something comforting about people wearing their hearts on their internet sleeve and a group of readers offering their support through the comment feed everyday. I usually find these things to fall into the category of TMI, but this blog got the better of me.

Happy Friday to you, doing the things that make you happy with the people that make you happy when you are with them!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Snowed in!

Groundhog Day is one of my favorite holidays. Maybe it's because I'm from PA, maybe it's because I love Bill Murray...I really can't explain my love for this holiday rationally except to say that the whole bit makes me giggle. I have never been able to take the holiday (or Phil's predictions) seriously, but I can never, ever stop celebrating it. Someday I will go to Punxy and behold the ridiculousness for myself, but in the meantime, year after year, I celebrate Phil's amazing weather predicting talents by making popcorn and watching Groundhog Day. Except...this year, the whole celebration wasn't really as fun. It turns out that the movie Groundhog Day is only super funny when you aren't writing the same thesis document in the same apartment EVERY SINGLE DAY. Watching that movie only intensified the massive case of cabin fever that has been suffocating me and my motivation over the last few weeks.

Lucky for me, a change of scenery was just a day away. Needing a change of pace (or at the very least, a new dining room table to write from), I packed up my laptop and flew to Pittsburgh on February 3 for a few days. And then a few more. 22 inches of snow fell on Butler in just 12 hours on Friday night! It was fantastic AND productive. As my parents and I waited for the snow plow to make its way up the scary brick hill that is Elm Street, we passed the time working (my mom grading papers, my dad solving some HSBC computer crisis, and me writing my thesis) from the dining room table with some cocoa.

Despite our inclination to get some work done, all that snow was really fun too. We have had snows here in Ithaca, but I have been so consumed with writing that I haven't really experienced them properly. (Most of the time I look up from the window and say, "Hey, it's crazy snowing outside!" and then get back to work.) 22 inches in one day demanded attention. Saturday afternoon was spent strategizing where exactly to put all of the snow from the sidewalk - my parents' front yard was not big enough to handle all of it. (Our solution: backing my mom's car out of the driveway and putting the excess snow there.) My dad and I built a massive snowman out of some of the leftovers, but the poor guy was quickly destroyed by our family dog when she decided it was a menace and attacked it. I also almost got buried trying to make a snow angel. (I wish I had pictures of all of this, but our camera battery has died, and I have no charger to charge it with.)

After failed attempts to fly back to Syracuse, I finally made it back to Ithaca on Sunday night. Unfortunately, I was too late for our Super Bowl party, but I was just in time to be happy to be back in the apartment. I even feel refreshed and ready to work again, though I can't promise this will last beyond the next few days!

And if one crazy snowstorm in PA wasn't enough, 18 more inches are expected to fall in over the next few days! I postponed my trip to Penn until next week so that I don't get snowed in twice in two weeks (good call too, since the university is now closed). Something tells me I am only allowed to have fun in the snow once during this whole thesis writing process. I will say this though - Phil sure has showed us the wrath of seeing his shadow this year, huh? Maybe next year when Phil predicts more winter, I'll take him more seriously.