katernater: (sherlock • (cocky))
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Posting this here because, while it's unlikely I'll spring for the non-watermarked versions, this is the only visual evidence I have that I actually got across the stage on Sunday. I'm wearing Sigma Tau Delta honor cords and my hood (which will be draped over my shoulders five seconds after this shot is taken) is draped over my left arm. I don't remember the guy whose hand I'm shaking. Apparently he's a part of the English Department, but I've never seen him before. I'm not going to lie and tell you that the hats and fancy robes aren't part of the reason I want to go on to get my doctorate.

I have my Japanese final at 10:30 tomorrow morning. After that, I'm officially done with graduate school. I'm going round to my graduate project supervisor's office to say goodbye and I'll be back after the first of the year to pick up my diploma, but that's pretty much it. I feel more "grown up" now than I ever have before.

I should see a doctor about that.

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katernater: (actor • (pleased))
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Commencement was this afternoon. My parents drove two hours through near-blizzard conditions to get here and see me walk. I don't remember much of the ceremony, only that I felt incredibly grateful to be there. (Somebody grabbed the mic in the middle of the conferring of degrees to propose to his girlfriend!) Mom and dad are on their way back to town now (mom has to be back for work before nine o'clock) and I'm pretty much buttoned up in the apartment for the rest of the night.

I feel...accomplished. Proud. Still nervous about the future, but happy for the experiences I've been able to have while getting my master's degree.

Studying for finals begins tomorrow. Eep!
katernater: (house (s3) // Tall dark and cranky)
The rest of the week passed quietly, without incident. The weather around here is still bitterly cold, but the main roads are clear and I can drive without being afraid that I'll slide off the road. We didn't get the brunt of the lake effect snow like I was expecting (it was supposed to add another six to eight inches to what was already on the ground) and the only real problem I've experienced is a build-up of condensation on the inside of my car when I turn it on first thing every morning.

My mom called earlier today to tell me that my new glasses have come in, and that my Nikes have also been delivered. Todd and I are going back to town tomorrow to pick them up and to have Todd's dad change the oil in my car. Tonight, we're going to go see Last Chance Harvey (in exchange for which I have agreed to see My Bloody Valentine 3D some time within the next couple of weeks). We're going to a poetry reading on campus on Sunday. Next week we're going to see a concert at The Bach Institute. I'm excited about all of the opportunities to be on campus. In the dead of winter it's difficult to judge just how pretty it is. I can't wait for spring to come!

I'm also accumulating more and more ideas for my Creative Writing short story. This is the first time in a very long time that I've been almost entirely consumed by an idea, with original characters and plotlines. A lot of the exercise that I get for writing is building on pre-existing characters and canons (House, for example) and I consider roleplaying to be a way to build up my muscles. Being back in a strictly academic environment is challenging me to think outside that regimen, and I'm excited and encouraged by the frenzy of unique ideas trundling through my head. I love writing. I believe that, if anything, it's what I was put on this planet to do. Now I have a chance to explore completely original ideas and storylines and it's really opened up the whole experience for me. I'm so lucky to be here.

Later today, Todd and I are going out to buy the February issue of Playboy. Honest, we're going to read it for the articles.

Mainly, this guy's article:
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katernater: (xf (m) // What an Oxford education buys)
This morning, my Creative Writing professor was going on about how, when T.S. Eliot was a visiting lecturer at Harvard, he used to go around in a bowler and a three piece suit. Which got me thinking -- if I ever become as prolific a writer as Eliot, what will my affectation be? Immediately, the thought that sprang to mind was: handlebar mustache.

The rest of the week rounded up nicely. TESOL will be a bit of work (and will prove to be an exercise in patience more than anything else), but I'm excited by the work and by the enthusiasm of my classmates. Two-thirds of them are from China and it's really the first time that I've been exposed to that much cultural diversity in one of my courses. At the end of the semester, we'll team up to teach a class to one of the foreign language labs on campus. It will be my first teaching experience. I'm nervous, but optimistic.

Todd and I went to see "The Unborn" this afternoon. BLACCH. Not even the mendastic fantastic Gary Oldman could save that movie.

And now, here's that icon meme that's been going around )

Meanwhile, The Cure frontman Robert Smith Matt Smith gives an extended interview about being chosen as the 11th Doctor. CUTE.
katernater: (music (h) // The Who's new frontman)
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So, as a corn dog cooks in the oven, another day comes to a close. Today was the first day of classes and I'm pretty excited about what I've seen so far. This morning I had a Creative Writing workshop that looks like it will be pretty easy: two poems, one short story, and two 8-10 page essays. I assume that the light coursework is a direct reflection of the fact that the class is an integration between undergraduate and grad students. Being that the class is made up of a majority of undergraduates, the lengths of each assignment (and the assignments themselves, I suppose) are tailored for that level of student. I'm excited to get in there and write for a couple new original characters. The short story, in particular, has a lot of potential. I've already got a few ideas.

Tonight, I had Argumentation. The course is structured around how to construct an argument and how to point out logical fallacies in the arguments of others. In comparison to Creative Writing, it will be an incredibly analytical experience. I'm excited about it, though. I sort of feel like it might be a bit like playing at Sherlock Holmes.

I've got one more class tomorrow -- Teaching English as a Second Language -- and I think it will fall somewhere between Creative Writing and Argumentation in terms of mental strength. I'm excited to be back on campus. There's a remarkable feeling of connectedness in an academic environment; people are all striving for the same thing.

Todd and I are watching Cyrano on PBS. Kevin Kline is terrific; Jennifer Garner looks like a stuffed pheasant. CORN DOG CORN DOG CORN DOG.
katernater: (house (hw) // Friends in strange places)
Ha-cha-cha! Check out my exciting new lifestyle! Jetsetting weekends! Culturally aware, ethnically mixed new peer groups! Shiny platform shoes and cork coasters on every coffee table! Everyone gets their own Tom Selleck! (Magnum P.I.-Selleck and 3 Men And A Little Lady-Selleck in limited supply.) What does one do with this wild, halcyon lifestyle? How does one fill the hours between Playboy Mansion parties, museum openings, and deep tissue massages from resurrected American physicist Richard Feynman?

You spend two days syncing up individual cover art for the 4,828 songs in your iTunes library.

Thankfully, the ennui ends tomorrow. Todd and I are going back home so I can go to an eye appointment, pick up a couple more tubs of sweaters (my mom called me this afternoon to tell me specifically that Martha Stewart said you should never, ever hang your sweaters on hangers, otherwise your lips might fall off) and go out to dinner. Then, on Tuesday, Todd and I have an orientation dinner for the grad department on campus. Wednesday, I start classes. I'm really excited to get back into the academic environment. I wouldn't say that I was spinning my wheels while working at the agency, but I always knew I wanted to go back to get a graduate degree. And it means even more now that Todd's here with me.

As schoolwork picks up, my availability around here will be somewhat compromised. I'll try to respond to RP threads and comments with due diligence, but I've had to do a bit of priority shuffling. Schoolwork -- and that Todd fellow -- have gotta' come before RP. (My maturity, let me show you it.)

Todd and I watched "Tape" last night. It put me in the mindset to flesh out some ideas for the play that's been rattling around in my head for the last two years. I might actually get started on that thing this year; is there a statute of limitations on resolutions?

PLEASE. JUST LET ME WRITE SOMETHING GOOD AND BE MADE FAMOUS FOR IT.
katernater: (bored (bsg) // He's sort of Byronic)
I used to think that it was merely politically trendy to be a fan of anything that Aaron Sorkin laid his white powder-caked fingers on, but then I find myself staying at home on a Monday night watching things like this and this and especially this and thinking, Damn, I miss television like this. I was never a big fan of Sports Night, though, and I made myself choose between Heroes and Studio 60 when they both overlapped on the same Monday night timeslot (I ended up choosing Studio 60, and sort of think I still ended up better in the end), so I'm not a great student of Sorkin's work, but I have to say, from a writer's perspective? This guy did dialog like nobody else in television at the time. Certainly, the fast-paced, biting witticisms (often accompanied by one long camera shot) came to epitomize the Sorkin technique, and several primetime dramas have subsequently tried (and failed) to replicate the effect. Somehow, on The West Wing, it worked. Yes, it's preachy. Yes, it has a definite liberal slant and it idealizes an office and an agency that haven't seen respectable years since Carter was in office (and even then, it was an uphill struggle) and there's gotta' be more than faith and spirit gum holding up Martin Sheen's jowels there. But it was hopeful. I miss television that's hopeful.

(Plus, who didn't love The Jackal?)

Todd and I signed for our apartment this weekend. It's official! I had pictures, but they're on Todd's camera and I forgot that my Mac doesn't eat memory cards, so I'll have to wait to post them until I can get his camera and a USB cable. Because you're all jonesin' to see my 700 square feet of white-walled adult responsibility, I know.

I also called the university to check on the status of my class schedule for the spring. I put in a request for classes shortly before Thanksgiving -- I'm taking nine credit hours, three classes -- and I was put on the waiting list for two of them. I was told to wait a couple of weeks to see if any of them opened up, but I never heard back from my adviser. Anyway, blahblahboringcakes. Long story short, I'm enrolled in a couple of backup courses if the other ones don't come through -- one of which is called "Argumentation", which is sort of like a class for people who like to stand on tables and yell a lot. At least, that's how I hope it'll go. And I'm taking the compensatory Creative Writing course, as well as a TESOL course that will come in handy if I decide to ever teach overseas.

LOOK AT MY LIFE. IT IS AS EXCITING AS A STACK OF MANILA FILE FOLDERS. Y/Y?
katernater: (xf (m) // If you walk out on me)
I got lost coming back from lunch this afternoon. I'd gone to Barnes & Noble looking for a little more Sherlock Holmes and hoping to score the latest issue of TV Guide (I decided against the former and the latter wasn't in stock yet) and decided to take a little detour from my normal route. When I passed a peat processing plant and a string of unfamiliar-looking liquor stores, I knew I'd strayed too far. It seems incredible that I can still get lost in the same ten-by-ten mile grid that I've been driving in every day since I started at the agency. I tried to pass it off as no big deal -- a vehicular lark, if you will -- but the shine came off the apple when I cruised by a ramshackle taco stand that enterprisingly doubled as a used auto parts outlet. I consider myself to be a reasonably intelligent person but, when it comes to navigation, I'm pretty much rudderless.

Still no word from the apartment complex, which aggravates Todd more than it does me. Understandably. We're getting down to "crunch time" and it would be nice to have confirmation of a place to live. After cleaning my room last weekend I came up with a fresh stack of "must have" books that will be traveling with me to our new home; I think I should get at least two bookshelves to hold them. We're going to live a pretty spartan existence for a while (knowing full well that this apartment is a temporary homestead to get us both through graduate school), but I honestly don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't have a part of my collection with me. There's something very comforting and homey about a bookshelf jammed full of trade paperbacks. Call me sentimental.
katernater: (alone (w) // A life in packing crates)
I think the stress of work has started to imprint itself on my subconscious. Last night I had a dream that Linda, our digital media supervisor, prescribed me Ritalin to help me remain focused during the day. I was so relieved. Like, in dream terms? I was as relieved by that as I am when the giant mutant shark (that haunts 80-90% of my other dreams) gives up chasing me while I'm swimming off Amity Beach. I think I've got a handle on my stress level. Of course, when a webbie gets an insta!medical degree and starts prescribing you medication, there might be some latent stress issues that require your attention.

I called Valparaiso this afternoon with some follow-up questions about financial aid. As of today, it looks like I'm good to go. Tuition is about $4300/semester for nine credit hours (which is considered "full time" for all graduate students) and I was told that books are about $400-500 on top of that. That leaves me with a nice cushion I can use to pay rent, utilities, and occasionally eat something outside of the Frozen Foods section. I won't get a check until I go through the financial aid interview process (read: fill out an online Promissory Note), but I should have enough money in my checking account right now to put down a couple months' rent when Todd and I go apartment hunting. Which was supposed to happen this weekend but, with the Obama thing, I don't know if I'm going to be able to go. Todd was talking about going by himself and photodocumenting anything of note, but I don't want to put all of that on his plate just so I can work the phones for a few hours. We can't really put it off much longer at this point, either, because we're so close to leaving (3 and a half months, approximately) and having a place to live is, you know, kind of important.

Being a grown-up is terrible. You have to make all of your own decisions. Balls.
katernater: (awkward (h/w) // These awkward silences)
I feel like I'm the only nerd on the planet who isn't going to Dragon*Con. Be safe, travel-savvy geeks, and get a picture of yourselves with the chick who's dressed up like Jabba The Hutt's imperial love bunny! Remember, fandom is counting on you!

Walmart was selling all seasons of The X-Files for $20 a pop last month and, even though I totally missed out on the sale, I was able to pick up Seasons 8 and 9 at Barnes & Noble for about $25 each. There's a certain sense of fulfillment in having the full series on DVD. I remember when I had to scramble to hit the 'REC' button on the VCR every night when it was actually on the air; I must have fifteen VHS tapes stacked back-to-back with episodes. The DVDs are so much more streamlined, it's fantastic.

Everyone in the House fandom has surely seen these already, but for those of you who haven't:

Unused S5 promo pictures )

I got my ass in gear yesterday and called the financial aid office at Valparaiso. It looks like the federal government is going to bail me out after all; they even provide a little stipend for living expenses for graduate students! Awesome! I won't know for sure how much of an "award" they're going to give me, but it should at least cover the cost of my first semester, as well as some summer work if I'm inclined to go the full term. I can't wait to start. They've started to transition my clients and workload at the office, and they've even given me a little proofreading boxing ring to throw punches in, which is great, because it's basically practice for the hundreds and hundreds of bad term papers I'm going to be grading when I take on the mantle of "professor." That kind of work makes my nominal clauses quiver.

Tonight, Todd and I are going out for wings and beer. For more information about how to participate in a full-fledged romantic relationship, submit a self-addressed stamped envelope and two proofs of purchase to...
katernater: (iron man // An inaccurate representation)
We've had some pretty heavy thunderstorms over the last week or so and, apparently, the Finger of God came down from a gap in the clouds and poked a hole in a water main across the street from our building. We haven't had water for the last two days. This means no coffee, no fixes for compulsive hand washers (like myself) and, most jarringly, no bathrooms. The gender distribution of the firm is 90/10, men. Which means that the guys can stand around holding their yanks at the non-functioning urinals while the women of the group -- four of us -- are forced to drive to a building that is five minutes away, just so we can go to the bathroom. RIDICULOUS. While it's not the company's fault, there has to be a better way to go about the business of...taking care of business. There's a large window facing the street, allowing us to see the city/highway crews doing what they do best: standing around looking at the hole, like they're trying to figure out how to get to the money on Oak Island without causing a structural collapse. Jesus. Is this what I'm paying taxes for?

I was able to get away for lunch today, and Todd took me to the galleria to get a Cotton Candy Blizzard from Dairy Queen. You guys. Seriously. I look forward to this Blizzard of the Month all year long. I'm practically hyperactive for it. Last year, Todd and I were in Chicago at another mall (I promise, most of our other dates are more exciting than eating at Sbarro's) and I practically maimed him when I saw Dairy Queen had brought it back again. They need to keep that flavour around all year. 'Appeal to the twentysomething-caffeine-addict and eight-year-old-with-ADHD demographics.

I have to start parsing out my book collection. I can only take so many with me when Todd and I move to Valparaiso. I've already got a "Must Have" stack that's about hip-height. Because, you know, I never know when I'll absolutely need Nick Cave's novel, or a book about wildly creative genetic mutations in human beings. I also need to start looking at bookshelves. And humidors.

I am so excited about the rest of my life.

[ETA:]
And, oh my god, I love panfandom RPG crack. House and Wilson switched bodies over at [livejournal.com profile] thisisarea42 (Cuddy also de-aged to 21!) and the ensuing shenanigans are CHOICE. Hey! Tony and Pepper totally switched bodies, too! I love people who meddle with the status quo.
katernater: (bored (xf) // Many hobbies and interests)
My productivity is a lot like my wireless internet connection. In that it never works when I want it to, and that it's often waylaid by pornography. I'll be halfway through a project -- for instance, filling out the online forms for my federal student loans -- before I'm distracted by at least sixteen different trains of thought, each of which requires some form of immediate investigation and follow-up. For instance, as I was typing that last sentence? I was simultaneously thinking the following:

- Has Billy Zane done any quality movie since Memphis Belle?
- What would I look like as a blonde?
- What would Billy Zane look like as a blonde?
- Do Elvis Costello and Diana Krall share an iPod?
- What would happen if Todd and I had to share an iPod?
- Would I get more respect in Europe if I was a blonde?
- I think my iPod could take Todd's iPod in a fight

I did finish filing for financial aid. It just took me a couple of hours. And I've also been considering a nap for the last three hours, but now it's getting to that sticky point in the day where you end up having to forfeit any hope of napping because it's too close to bedtime. It's nap limbo.

I've got to go do something productive.

Like watch television.
katernater: (iron man // Run before you walk)
HOLY CRAP.

I JUST GOT THE COOLEST EMAIL OF MY LIFE.
katernater: (iron man // Get high like planes)
I went to see Iron Man again today (third go-around) by my onesie, because apparently my family didn't want to see the GREATEST AMERICAN HERO SINCE FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT fly across the silver screen, blowing up tanks and baddies. HOW UN-AMERICAN. AND ON MEMORIAL DAY, TOO. This is the first time in, god, I think ever, that I've gone to a movie by myself. It was funny: I arrived about twenty minutes early and I didn't want to walk around outside so I ended up finding a seat in the middle of the theater and pulling out my book (or, a book; I didn't write it and I'm pretty sure you'll be able to discern why) to do a little low light reading. The book in question? Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. And, of course, as soon as I get to Chapter 10, titled "The Prescription-Strength Vibrator" (subheading: Masturbating for Health), this Ozzie and Harriett model family moves down the row directly behind me and sits down. So I've got a family of impressionable kids sitting behind me, swinging very close to my head like they were a bunch of spider monkeys, and I'm trying to concentrate on the text (A man in a blue smock and a hairnet walks across a factory floor with an armload of enormous chocolate-brown dildos) while simultaneously trying to keep the book down to preserve the kids' innocence so they don't have to find out too soon that babies are not the end product of progressive cabbage farming techniques.

ANYWAY. IRON MAN. I STILL LOVE IT.

'Know what else I love? Apartment hunting and furnishing. Todd is, of course, moving with me when I start graduate school, which means that we've got to start looking for a place to live. We've already agreed on the bare minimum components necessary to sustain healthy living conditions (bed, couch, kitchen table, four-slot toaster, TiVo) and we'll pick up the incidentals between now and next January.

The idea that I'm going to graduate school still amazes me. I don't think the news has really, really sunken in. The university where I'll be studying is definitely on the small size (with only about 4,000 enrollment annually, compared to the 14-18 thousand capacity of my undergraduate university), but it packs prestige (US News & World Report ranked it on its "Best Colleges 2008" list -- you know, if you get off on that sort of report, which I totally and shamelessly do). I'll be pursuing my MA in English Studies & Communication, which will involve a lot of reading and writing and may very well destroy my love of books forever. BUT. The fact remains that I'll be in an environment that I love, doing exactly what I love to do. I couldn't be more pleased.

And, you know, if I'm not, I can always consult Chapter 10.

*rimshot*
katernater: (house // Your anagrams are showing)
Application packet is in the mail and three letters of recommendation have been confirmed mailed out as of three o'clock this afternoon. Commence with the four-times-a-day checking of the mailbox from now until the end of February.

Does anyone have an estimation on how fast graduate school applications are turned around? The hard deadline for admission applications is February 15th -- I'm ten days ahead of schedule. Does this mean that they won't begin to process my application until after the due date? Or will I be rewarded for neurotic over-punctuality? It's highly possible that it varies by institution, too. I just want to know. I know that waiting is going to be torture. I'm that wonderful sort of nervous/excited; the kind that breeds butterflies in the stomach, then breeds badgers to chase those butterflies.

...I promise I won't use lame metaphors like that when I'm a seasoned professional. Unless I'm poor and have to freelance.
katernater: (wilson (s4) // Hot for teacher)
DONE.

Now, to buy a big ass mailing envelope for all of this stuff. I'm pleased as a pleased thing to be done with that letter, though. Whew.
katernater: (house (s2) // A few old touches)
Man. I don't get hung up on certain concert tours very often, but I have to say that I would have loved to have seen Ian Dury and Elvis Costello (!!!) tour together in '77. I love Dury. He's got this bumpy, raw, uncut sound to everything that he sings. It's honest. It's guttural. It's "dark pub at midnight with a glass of room temperature Bass" music. And so diverse. "Sweet Gene Vincent", for instance, starts off as a sort of ballad and then explodes into a rockabilly riff. And of course, the sheer genius of "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" -- pfft! What can you say?

'Also would have liked to have been there for The Who's concert at the University of Leeds. Todd bought me an original Live At Leeds LP for Christmas (with the butterfly-style cover that opens up like a menu, the album sitting crisply in its sleeve) with that great note from Townshend about the sound quality (you have a hard time during a couple of songs because of the static -- sadly removed from all the modern re-recordings; I think it gives the album a great feel.) I'd love to be able to convert the whole album for my iPod (which should be coming back to me any day now.)

I had a chance to see The Who at OSU back in '06, but it fell on the Monday of finals week. Plus, I heard Endless Wire wasn't that impressive and now that it's only Daltry and Townshend -- each of them not poor performers in their own right, certainly -- there's really little payoff in being able to go, other than to say "Yeah, I saw The Who in concert." I would have liked to have been able to hear a live version of "Baba O'Riley", though.

Side note: someone please tell Pete Townshend to stop writing operas.

Side note to an operatic sidenote: Hey! Bree Sharp's coming out with a new album this year! All right!





-- No, I did not write my Statement of Purpose letter last night. I had a crippling episode of self-doubt after I dropped a vacuum cleaner on my foot. Ow.
katernater: (hugh // Philosophizing the stone)
Well, now I'm not going to get anything done this afternoon: New desktop wallpaper )

I will write for the Drabble-A-Thon; I can feel creativity percolating. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have whole sentences and paragraphs spring from my head (I was going to go for a really dorky Greek myth analogy here, but I'll spare you) and those are moments of absolute pleasure for me. That, for whatever reason, I'm channeling something that whole and complete. "Extracting the insect from the amber," if you will. (I was going to make an even dorkier Jurassic Park analogy here, yadda yadda yadda.) Then again, I'm afraid that if I even break for a moment from my plan -- which goes something like "Statement of Purpose Letter, Statement of Purpose Letter, Statement of Purpose Letter" -- that I'm going to sap my resources and one or the other thing is going to come out terribly. Almost like I have to bank my creativity and reserve it for special occasions or for the things that have the most importance at any given time. Is that ego? Does that sound self-involved? God, I can't even tell anymore.

I did cheat a little yesterday. I started writing something for the "packing" prompt that involved House and Cuddy at a medical conference together, critiquing the contents of each other's suitcases. ("God, Cuddy, did you pack for a weekend or were you planning on transporting the entire GDP of Ecuador back with you?") I stopped because I was wonky about the dialog (can you even physically carry a Gross Domestic Product? I think it's just a number, not a physical entity), the premise (how many "Cuddy's big baggage" jokes can you make in one paragraph?) and because the stack of grad school stuff in the corner of my desk started giving me the stink eye.

Tonight. I'll sit down and write that letter tonight.
katernater: (cuddy (s2) // And one hell of a neckline)
I am not allowed to write for House/Cuddy Drabble-A-Thon until I've written my Statement of Purpose letter. I am not allowed to write for House/Cuddy Drabble-A-Thon until I've written my Statement of Purpose letter. I am not allowed to write for House/Cuddy Drabble-A-Thon until I've written my Statement of Purpose letter. I am not allowed to write for House/Cuddy Drabble-A-Thon until I've written my Statement of Purpose letter. I am not allowed to write for House/Cuddy Drabble-A-Thon until I've written my Statement of Purpose letter.

Best part of tonight's episode: Cut for a Houseism )
katernater: (music // ...Will you play?)
Todd took me to look at pianos last night.

This was after I showed up at his place, ready to go out to dinner, and found him in his kitchen, cooking for us. He's more willing to cook than I am (maybe because I'm not very good at it), but I never have a problem helping him in the kitchen. It's funny: when we're out to eat, I'm typically the one with the exotic palate and I'll order the strangest thing off the menu; when we're cooking at home, Todd has the ability to come up with the most incredible and never-would-have-thought-to-put-it-together recipes.

Anyway. Pianos. There's a shop in town that's just full of the things: baby grands, uprights, grands, concerts, midikeyboards. Todd knows that I've got a soft spot in my heart (and my loins) for anything with eighty-eight keys, so he took me over there for a visual feast. We sat down at a 9' Yamaha CFIIIS Concert Grand and Todd played for me while I listened and stroked the keys.

As we were leaving, the proprietor of the shop (who had apparently noticed my zeal for pianos), asked how long I'd been playing. "Never," I said, "I've never had a lesson in my life. I just love the look and sound of them." He then began to quiz me: How many keys does a piano have? Eighty-eight. How many white keys? Fifty-two. How many black keys? Thirty-six. What're the lowest and highest notes? 'A' and 'C'. If I'm ever at a cocktail party with you, feel free to ask me about my piano aptitude. Todd'll back me up.

God, I've got so much to do this week. I need to make at least three seperate trips to the post office. And I need to write my Statement of Purpose letter for grad school because I got my GRE scores back and I kicked ass. I've asked three very wonderful people/mentors to write me letters of recommendation and all three have been more than willing to do so. My undergrad transcript arrived yesterday so, by midweek, I should have all the elements in place to apply. It's really happening. I'm really doing it. I'm going to graduate school.

I'm so happy, so lucky, and so blessed.

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