November, 2013

I thought I'd take a break from telling you about my terrifying dreams to write a little recap of the past few weeks.

1. I've participated in a few Triathlon Club events, including this one where we walked around campus with bags of Hershey's HUGS and randomly handed them to people. We also took pictures along the way. 

I love the TriClub, even though I feel old enough to be everyone's mom. It's nice to get together with them outside of swim practice, since I never have my glasses on and everyone is wearing swim caps.

2. A couple of weeks ago we got a decent amount of snow and Bobo went NUTS over it. 

For some reason she really wanted to get it all over her face.

And she loved laying down in it, but she was always poised to strike.

3. I saw this random box of sweet potatoes in Talbot College. Its smiley face makes me so happy!

4. On Friday night we went to Gen Pop. Here's a picture of some music theory classmates of mine, breaking it down.

5. And then it snowed some more! We got almost 2 feet last night. 

Bobo is a tall dog and even she was in it up to her chest. We had to double up her sweater and her coat because it was only 18 F. when we got up this morning. She seems equally excited and perplexed by the snow. She doesn't know where to go to the bathroom, but she likes jumping in the snow like a porpoise. 

One more week until our Christmas decor goes up! I've resisted putting it up, even though our yard looks like Christmas Town from Nightmare Before Christmas. Instead, we're just listening to a bunch of Christmas music to get into the holiday spirit.

6. It's almost time for Gym Christmas! I'll post a lot more during it, and I have some specific goals in mind, but you can read the DJ's preliminary post here (<-- 12="" a="" baby="" bit="" but="" christmas:="" christmas="" complete="" cute="" different="" dj="" explanation="" for="" forthcoming="" gym="" here="" info="" is="" mommy-hood.="" more="" need="" of="" p="" photos="" reflecting="" s="" short="" tasks="" the="" there="" this="" to="" transition="" we="" year="">

You need not be a personal friend of the DJ to participate! Gym Christmas always adds greatly to my December. 


Abby's Dream Recap 2: "Epic Dream"

I had this dream back in 2009 or so and typed out the whole thing in an AIM conversation with John. He kept it so that he could put it on facebook and then I found it this week on my computer. So in this you can see John's reactions, too. We've always referred to it as my "crazy epic dream."

Abby: I had the most cracked out dream. Ok. I dreamt that there was a movie of the war requiem
John:  What?
Abby:  And that it took place in your house in Knoxville with your roommates, plus some more people. At one point this 3 year old (or younger?) kid, that was hanging around the house for some reason, turned out to be a demon and one of your roommates had to fight it, apocalypse style.
The baby sprouted these red and orange gigantic feathers, and the two of them started fighting to the death. But then they decided after a while that they shouldn't be enemies. Meanwhile, one of the bedrooms became consumed with fire.

John:  WHAT THE HELL, this is so epic!

 Abby:  Mysteriously, [actor] Carl Weathers had been beaten to death (not sure by who) and rolled up in a carpet and put in the room so people went in to get his body out. And you were all in the kitchen, gathering things to take with us when we fled and trying to decide what to do. Suddenly the house began to flood quickly. We were submerged in water. Then everyone was taken to safety in one of those motorized rafts, except for the demon baby and your pseudo roommate who had fought him.
They were unconscious in the house, underwater, but not yet dead. One of you knew that there were these giant slugs, more like fish, that could help rescue them because they would try to eat them but they wouldn't actually kill them.

Someone from the raft went down into the chimney, into the house (underwater). The slug fish had half-eaten the demon baby and your friend so he picked the fish up by their tails and dragged all of it to the surface in the end. My final image was of everyone having survived, and the demon baby and your roommate had the fish still attached to them at the waist, so they looked like mermaids.

And then I woke up and I was like, damn, I'm glad I slept for that entire dream.


Abby's Dream Recap 1: "I have many forms."

I've always had really crazy dreams, both scary and completely awesome. At this point, John is sick of hearing about it, so I've decided to post a few of them on the blog from time to time. 
So here goes! In related news, John and I had just started watching American Horror Story. Coincidence? 

The last night that I was at SMT, I dreamt that I had already returned home from the conference. I walked into our living room and saw the recliner chair rocking back and forth, as though someone had just stood up from sitting in it. But John was nowhere to be found and I realized that it was moving on its own. When I said to myself, "What the hell..." the chair immediately stopped moving and changed color slightly, as though the transparent thing that had been making it move had moved on.

Then, I confronted John about it and he sheepishly revealed that he had performed some kind of conjuring ritual while I was gone, and it had gone awry. As we talked, one of our metal folding chairs (normally positioned at John's desk) began moved toward us, still folded up, and I knocked it over when it came close. John and I clung to each other in fear as we watched this happen. 

I asked, "How can we sleep here tonight, after all this? What is this thing?"

A female voice answered, "I have many forms."

And I woke up.

SMT 2013: Charlotte

Last weekend was the SMT's Annual Theory-a-thon in Charlotte. While I was there, I also heard people refer to it as Theory Camp and Theory Christmas. Theory Camp I understand, but Theory Christmas...that's too much. 

Anyways, it was a productive, fun, and also exhausting conference, per usual. I got to reconnect with lots of people from IU, though none of the students in this IU department ad were present, including Mark: 

I got to see my former classmate, Drew (shown below), give a paper about baroque dance that was great! He also played piano in his presentation to demonstrate different conceptions of baroque meter, and his playing is excellent. Presentations with live performance are always the best. 

The DJ and Bryn were present with little Trudy and it was great to hang out with Mama DJ for a bit in between sessions! Trudy is cuter in real life than in pictures, if you can believe it. 

This year's conference had included several great pedagogy sessions, though I was sad to miss Bryn's as it was on Sunday morning, during my flight (but you can check out the materials here!). I found those sessions particularly inspiring and I'm going to try to incorporate some more new tech/media into my teaching. I love the idea of having a short, weekly podcast to introduce the topic of the week for my students. 

I also somehow managed to do a bunch of personal work during the conference weekend. My plan was to go to things when I wanted to, but not to force myself to go to any sessions just because I was there. The result was that I had a little extra time on my hands to write, especially Wednesday afternoon before everyone else arrived. I had the hotel room to myself and got all kinds of stuff written before my roommate, Anna, arrived. It turns out that an expensive hotel room that does not include internet is a good place to get stuff done because you don't have the internet to offer distractions. It did give me the idea to get a few fun colleagues together, rent a cabin (or cottage, as the locals always say) somewhere pretty, then work all day and have fun in the evening. It would be sort of like an informal writing retreat! 

On Saturday I went to the parties and snapped this picture of several senior theorists playing poker at the end of the Yale reception.

Then John went to AMS almost right after I got back from SMT. Bobo and I had the weekend to ourselves and we filled our time with walks in the gray weather.

This was our first fairly cold weekend - highs in the 30s - and it's starting to feel like winter, even if it still looks like fall. 

Bobo has her winter wear all ready to go. She's wearing her red, heavier coat in the photos above. And below you can see her knit sweater for moderately cold weather. As you can see, she loves them both. 


Silver Dolphin's Halloween Haunt/Crystal Ball, Annual Fall Time Trial

A couple of weeks ago my swim coach emailed us to say that the London Silver Dolphins decided to open their annual fall time trial (aka, unofficial swim meet) to Triathlon Club swimmers and other people at Western. I'd like to enter some meets in the spring, but I wanted to have a practice meet sometime beforehand, so I gladly signed up.

The goal of the meet is to come closest to your predicted time, though I was more interested in seeing what on earth my times would be. I haven't timed myself since I last did summer swimming in 2001, so I needed to establish some new baselines to work from. A few weeks ago at Triathlon practice we timed ourselves and I did a 50 free in 42 seconds, so I used that to guess some more times. Here's what I did: 

100 IM
Predicted time: 1:40. 
Actual time: 1:32. 
Holy crap! I can't believe I swam that fast. It was hard. I rarely sprinted while running unless I was at the very end of a 5K where I was trying to PR. But I'm so glad I did it. I love 100 IM - it's just the right amount of IM. But that much hard butterfly made my abs REALLY sore.

100 Free
Predicted time: 1:30
Actual time: 1:19:51. 
Again, I was so happy with this time. I thought it would be MUCH slower and I was pleasantly surprised. The photo below is just before the first turn (I'm the one with the blue head in lane 5).

50 Free
Predicted time: 00:41
Actual time: 00:37:52
Wow, this was MUCH harder than I remembered (pretty much the theme of the day), but I also loved it. I breathed probably 4 times, which is more than I would have done years ago, but I was generally happy with how this went. Also, my swim coaches helped me figure out how to keep my goggles on when diving off the block by putting them under my cap and pulling the cap over the edge of the goggles. I have a lot of work to do if I really want to be able to sprint again and improve this time, but I also feel like a better time is completely within my reach.

I also managed to get into the lane on the end so that John could take pictures.

Now that I've done it again, I'm excited to enter some meets in the spring. I'm thinking of registering as an independent Silver Dolphin so that I can keep training with the tri-club but have some company with the team for meets. 

John was kind enough to come with me (especially since I spent so many cold, rainy hours with him in Indy for the marathon), and I was reminded how many boring long stretches swim meets have. Unlike when I was a kid, no one seemed to have a deck of cards to play War and there was no snack bar where we could go get a Ring Pop. But the UWO Swim Team was there to volunteer as timers and other meet workers and they walked around with buckets of Halloween candy from time to time. From what I could tell, the Silver Dolphins are a nice bunch and I hope to swim with them again.
Now I have some times to beat!