SMT 2011 - Minneapolis

This weekend was the 2011 conference of the Society for Music Theory. You can read about the previous two years' conferences here: 2009 parts one and two, 2010.

I didn't take a single picture this year, but I thought I'd share this old one from Nashville/2008, along with some non-academic highlights of the conference.

1. Minneapolis seems pretty cool. It was sunny and about 50 degrees, and there was a farmers market right outside the hotel on our first day. You can walk forever in the skyways without having to go outside - a useful plan, given their winters. Like always, I wish I'd seen a little more of the city, but there are only so many hours.

2. Here's my favorite line from conversation that two anonymous theorists had over dinner:
Theorist A: I went to ______ a while back and it lasted forever, like 2 hours.
Theorist B: Two hours for that?! You could have watched all of Jurassic Park!*

3. I went to the Yale reception to hang out with my friend Tim, who gave a great Schubert-related paper. In some kind of ninja moment, he moved to shake hands with a person across the table and the blade of his hand virtually sliced through the stem of a wine glass, knocking a total of two wine glasses in opposite directions, and spilling wine all over both of our pants. By then I'd had enough wine not to care, and they were dark jeans, so no harm done. Just a lot of laughing.

4. I got to hang out with a lot of my favorite people, a lot of IU folks (like Jason and Victoria), and my new UWO friend Katie, a masters student in my program. Now I'm twice as excited for next year when the conference is in New Orleans, jointly with American Musicological Society (AMS) and the Society for Ethnomusicology (SEM. John is calling it AMSMTEM, and the rest of us are calling it the Trifecta (though the Holy Trinity would be more regionally appropriate). I'm hoping my good friend Mark will be able to attend that one, since this conference was a little lonely without him - even though Tim tried to make up for it by putting candy corn in my water glass during the keynote.

5. I got to spend a lot of time with the thoughtful and enthusiastic Committee for the Status of Women and its associates. I'm the student rep for that committee now, and I think the CSW discussions are some of the most useful parts of the conference for me. Thank God, too, because the meeting is usually from 7-9:00AM.

*Also funny because one of the theorists looks so much like Sam Niel.


St. John's 5K and River City Rat Race 2011

I've run two races in the past 7 days.
First, the
St. John's 5K put on by my church. It's a fundraiser for their weekly meal program. The race itself is small and I was right in thinking that might enable me to win either my age group or some other prize.

This was a really encouraging race for me. I won my age group (17-35 or something similar) and I was the second female over all to finish. I also made a significant PR - 27:23! That's a drop of about 50 seconds, and I was really pleased with it. I'm at a point now where I don't feel like I need to hold back on the start of a 5K; I can kind of just run the whole thing pretty fast (for me, at least).

Then on the 23rd I did a the River City Rat Race 10K in Fort Wayne (where I took no pictures). John accompanied me to the start, and then met me at the finish at the Old Fort, Fort Wayne's replica of the historic fort buildings from the War of 1812. This race was definitely one of the strongest I've ever run, and I finished in 60:35 - a new PR.
Several things about it went well, in that I warmed up properly, my blisters held out until near the end, and I timed my meals so that I didn't get heartburn (kind of a common problem for me, but one I'm learning to fix). Also, the race went really close to my parents' house, so they came out and cheered just before the 4 mile mark, and that was awesome!

I'm trying to focus on those things, and the fact that - HELLO - I got a PR, but I left feeling fairly disappointed. My official goal for this race was to PR (anything below 61:13), but my unofficial, secret, obsessed-with-my-time goal was to go below 60:00. It even seemed like that was going to happen, since I accidentally went out too fast, and I ran mostly 10 minute miles after mile 2. Volunteers called out times at each mile marker, and it looked something like this (my thoughts at the time are in parentheses):
Mile 1 - 8:55 (WOW! Too fast!)
Mile 2 - 18:change (ok, better)
Mile 3 - 27:55 (why am I running so fast?)
Mile 4 - 38:00 (this might end badly)
Mile 5 - 48:00 (ok, but my brain can't do the math to calculate what is happening, but this seems very consistent...just keep moving and you will probably go below 60.)
Mile 6 - 59:change, but I didn't really hear what they said.
Then two things happened.
1. I mistakenly thought I only had .1 left (like in a 5K) when I really had .2, and I thought that I could make it. I somehow stopped thinking of fun music in my head because I think I'm almost done.
2. My blistered feet hurt. a. whole. freaking. lot. There is one final dip, downhill/uphill, and then the finish line seems farther away that it's supposed to (see above). I am not mentally prepared for what now seems like a tiny hill.

My conclusions:
- I ran the best race I could for how I trained.
- The training schedule I made up for myself was actually better suited to me running a fast 5K, and that happened the week before.
- It may not have been reasonable to assume I could run a sub-60 10K, since I've never done one in practice, and my last 6 mile run was still 63:00 or so. See above about the training plan.
- I need to find a way to get rid of those blisters, because damn.
- More than any one other problem, I kind of gave out mentally. My attitude could probably have compensated for the blister issues, fatigue, etc, but I kind of lost my focus and then it all caught up with me. Once again I learned that running is so mental. If that's the lesson I get to take home from this race, then that's ok. I know what I want to work on.

...and I got a PR.
A couple of funny things I overheard:
One of the guys around me for the last 2 miles had a radio with headphones and called out "Touch down, Bears!!!" every time they scored.
A guy behind me for the 1st three miles seemed to know every volunteer and when we passed one of them, he said, "That's (so and so), his son plays football for IU....That must be sad to watch."

Despite my own issues, this race was really fun and well organized. It wound through mostly residential streets, and
a lot of people came out to clap and cheer on their front lawns. Plus, for $25 registration I got a sweet Brooks, long-sleeved technical shirt. It's probably the last race I'll do this semester (unless I find a holiday-themed one to run!), and I have lots to think about and work on during the next few months.


Ithaca and Fall Foods

Last week John and I drove across the border to see eighth blackbird perform at Ithaca College in New York state. I didn't think to take any pictures of the gorgeous fall colors until we were almost done with the trip, but the leaves were peaking and the landscape there is very hilly. It was beautiful.

Road trip break to take a photo at Lake Seneca.

I spent a day working in the college library while John followed 8bb around and took field notes. We got to stay with our friends Djillian and Bryn who we know from UWO. Bryn is a theorist and he's teaching adjunct there. The scenery and the liberal environment reminded me a lot of Interlochen. And now, of course, I want to move to Ithaca.*

Totally switching topics, here are some awesome foods we made this fall.
Most of them are not actually fall foods in the sense of cinnamon, fall spices, and squash, but we ate them this fall.

These bars were from the end of the summer, technically, but we froze a few so their wonder lasted until fall. They are Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies, from Brown Eyed Baker. I've always drooled over her pictures but this was one of the first recipes I made from her site, and I'd say it was a success. People went crazy over these brownies. They're super rich, and I feel like they'd be fairly easy to re-create vegan-style, since the cookie dough doesn't have eggs in it anyways and it's going to be baked.

Next up, Jen's Lafayette's Red Velvet Brownies. Jen is a friend from Bloomington, and she's participating in Vegan Month of Food, or Vegan MOFO, and her fundraising dollars support Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, a Bloomington food bank. As a draw for her blog, Jen has created this elaborate True Grub theme, based on the plot and character's of True Blood, and it's hilarious. Also, these brownies were delicious - really chocolately, crisp on the outside, and gooey on the inside. A great balance.

And finally two more vegan dinners that I wanted to give a shout out to:

Texas Tater Tot Casserole from Meet the Shannons. Tater tots! Nostalgia! Yum.

And Butternut Squash Mac n' Cheez from Oh She Glows. We added broccoli to ours, and it was tasty, though I would say it's not really a lot like mac n' cheese. But it is delicious! I would make it again..

This fall is really busy, and I will probably keep the weekly blog posts simple until some of the big things are over. I hope you're enjoying the change in seasons!

*I know, I say that about every place we visit. I guess it's good that I feel that way, and not the other way around.


Lauren in Chicago

We stayed with my aunt Becky during most of our trip to Chicago, but on the weekends we went into the city and stayed with my good friend Lauren.

On my birthday we got dressed up and went to a jazz club near her apartment where a woman named Big Time Sarah was singing with a seriously good band.
Before leaving I said, "Let's take a nice photo of us together, since we're all dressed up." I only have photos of Lauren from before college, and now from this summer. Just like when she came to Canada, we had a hard time taking a serious photo.

Made it. Whew.

It was so nice seeing Lauren's fancy (to me) Lincoln Park apartment. Her location is incredible. On my birthday I went running on a path along Lake Michigan, merely blocks from her apartment, with the lake on my left and the downtown skyline ahead of me. Of course visiting Lauren and spending time in the city with my cousins, aunt, and other friends makes me desperately want to move to Chicago.*
It's also nice to learn that, after visiting her, that she's the kind of person I can stay friends with, even though we don't have as much in common as we used to, we have tons and tons to talk about all the time.

*Wasn't it only a year ago I was saying I want to move to Atlanta? Well scratch that. Chicago for the win. Atlanta is awesome, but I'd miss the snow.

Chicago Birthday

I was so excited when I realized that we would be in Chicago for my birthday. John says he knew right away what I would like - Mexican food and dinosaurs.

I did a five mile run along Lake Michigan that morning and then met John at Frontera for lunch. Frontera is one of Rick Bayless's restaurants and it had fabulous food. John asked me to order him a margarita while he went to the restroom, but by the time he got back, our server was only half way through explaining the margarita menu to me. I think the one I ordered had cilantro and cucumber in it, with a cilantro-salt rim. Delicious. I also ordered a chocolate empanada for dessert (pictured above), and they were kind enough to write happy birthday in chocolate sauce along the top.

Then we made our way to the Field Museum.

We saw some of the permanent stuff, like Sue the Dinosaur.

We also saw Whales: Giants of the Deep, one of the special exhibits (where they don't allow photos, unfortunately). I am apparently the last of my friends to know that whales evolved from a land-dwelling mammal that went back into the sea and eventually stayed there. It makes sense, really - how else would there be mammals in the ocean? Anyways, I was impressed.

We spend the majority of our time in Evolving Planet, where you get to walk through different phases of the earth's development. Naturally I loved the part with the dinos.

John posed so naturally with all of them.
I could have stayed at the Field forever, but they closed early on Friday so our time was a little short. We zipped through ancient Egypt and then it was time to go.
I wasn't sure John would top last year's present (Li'l Choppy), but he really out did himself this year.


Doggie Bath Time

We were in Fort Wayne earlier this fall, and I decided to give my parents' two dogs baths in the basement tub (one at a time, of course). Obviously they were thrilled.

It takes a lot of energy to hold Toby down, since he constantly tries to escape and jump off the big freezer next to the tub.

First he acts like he'll just stand still and take it while you dry him off.
You can see where this is going.

At least one of us is clean at the end of it.