ROW80: Refreshed and Ready to Rock

As some of you know, I celebrated my twenty-fifth birthday by taking a road trip down to Los Angeles to visit my good friend and colleague, Nicki, along with my not-so-little sister, Jaymie, who will be turning twenty in May. I don’t think I realized how badly I needed a short get-away, but now that I’ve had a couple of days to do absolutely nothing but enjoy myself, I feel like I’m ready to get back to work.

I had a short work week and a long weekend, so the progress I’ve made towards my goals reflects that. Here’s how the last week turned out:

Writing: Last Monday was basically a day of writing: lots of brainstorming, lots of editing, and a couple of new scenes planned out for TELL ME NO LIES. I’m starting to wonder, though, if I am going to be able to have a complete draft by the end of this round, which was my ultimate goal. In the weeks to come, I’m going to need to figure out the game-plan for pulling things together, and trying to get it finished.

Day Job: Oh boy, people, things are moving as far as the day job is concerned. I’ve filled out all the paperwork and set the date for the oral defense for my MA thesis. The official date is Thursday, March 1st, and I will be freaking out prepping industriously for the next week and a half. I only need to make a 5-10 minute presentation on my findings and conclusions, and brave the Q&A segment, but I am trying to remind myself that I know this project inside and out, and that committees don’t schedule defenses for students who aren’t deemed ready.

In other news I’ve signed up for the last two courses I will ever take as a graduate student (thrilling, frightening, exciting). One of them will be a directed study with my advisor, which will hopefully help me to gear up for the dissertation proposal that I need to write and defend by the end of the summer. No pressure, right? ;)

Social Time: There were a lot of good times over the past week: a fantastically awesome Valentine’s celebration with two of my besties that involved a hilarious movie (This Means War), cocktails, and cheesecake; an overnight visit with Nicki, complete with gabbing and tasty cupcakes; and a couple of days worth of shopping and hanging out with this kid:

She is, of course, way older these days and approaching adulthood, but I’m really grateful that we got to spend some time together one-on-one. My sister and I are nothing alike, and because we’re 5 years apart in age, and 6 years apart in school, finding common ground is even harder (I think there’s a blog post in this). But the older she gets, the more we have to talk about. I’m looking forward to this becoming an ongoing trend.

Exercise: Exercise and nutrition are always a major challenge around my birthday, because I am very good at justifying excesses, like this cupcake. Just look at it, will you? It clearly was something that was just begging to be eaten.

I managed to work out 3 days last week, and tried to balance out all the tasty desserts and eating out I did with extra servings of veggies. My jeans still button and I don’t feel like I’m busting out of my clothes (yet?), so I suppose I haven’t failed too terribly.

50/50 Challenge: Okay, I basically took Thursday to do nothing but read, and I devoured DARK CURRENTS and DEADLY GAMES, books 2 and 3 in Lindsay Buroker‘s THE EMPEROR’S EDGE series. I pretty much love everything Lindsay has written, and these two weren’t any different. If you like steampunk and fantasy, check them out.

I also hit the movies twice this week and caught This Means War and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy for a double dose of Tom Hardy. This Means War was a lot funnier than I thought it would be, and even though I was irked by the ending, I really enjoyed it. And wow, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was amazing… though I will say that it was definitely worth my $9.75 to watch Colin Firth ooze and smarm his way around in the background (Gary Oldman is pretty spectacular as well).

Zemanta is encouraging me to give you all a picture of the wondrous Tom Hardy, so who am I to disagree?

English: Tom Hardy

Image via Wikipedia

Thanks to everyone for all the fantastic birthday wishes! I have to say, twenty-five feels pretty darn good. :D I’ll be working through all the comments and posts that I’ve missed over the last few days, and hopefully I’ll get caught up on bloggy things sometime this week.

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20 thoughts on “ROW80: Refreshed and Ready to Rock

  1. Sounds like an outstanding birthday celebration – woot woot! Glad to hear it. Gotta love those. And your note about your sister and connecting more now that you are adults was so poignant and touching. Here’s to more of that.
    An all around kickin’ week girl and BEST OF LUCK on your oral defense March 1st. You are going to rock it because not only do you know the stuff inside and out, you are passionate about it. Woot woot!
    And might I just add, the cupcake was MORE than dying to be eating. It needed devouring and I hope you did us all proud and smashed it into your face with pure, epic joy!
    Natalie Hartford recently posted..About me and the superhero formulaMy Profile

    • Haha, thank you for justifying my cupcake devouring! There were so many others at the bakery we went to that I had trouble figuring out which one I wanted, but next time around, I plan on attacking this amazing s’mores cupcake, which basically looked like a piece of art (the marshmallow and graham cracker were arranged so perfectly on top of the cupcake!).

      Hope your Monday is going well, my friend! Thanks for the blog love. :D

  2. I’m glad you had a terrific birthday – well earned after all the hard work you’ve put in over the past year and always good to relax with a cupcake and friends :)

    You are doing fantastic, Lena – Best of luck with the MA Thesis defense, I know you’ll do a great job!
    Gene Lempp recently posted..Lord of the ROWdates 2-19My Profile

    • I can’t tell you how much it means to have everyone’s support — I think it makes this whole process of trying to be a writer and an academic and whatnot so much easier. Thanks for stopping by, Karen, and have a wonderful week yourself!

  3. Wow, thesis defence that’s awesome. I have no doubts you’ll totally rock it. You are always supposed to be a little nervous when it comes to preforming, but you learn to be comfortable with the nervousness (I heard a dude say that at a competition for musicians when i went to support a friend, I don’t really think I believe the last part). But really good luck.

    Sounds like you are doing well on your writing and exercising goals. I’ve fallen off the bus completly. But thanks for the reminder on updating my 50/50 books. I’m behind on movies.

    And thank you for sharing Tom Hardy’s lips! They are beautiful.
    asraidevin recently posted..Meditation for those who can’t settle downMy Profile

    • I am SO glad I am not the only one who appreciates Tom Hardy’s lips. One of my friends has quite dismissively named him “fish lips,” but I disagree. I think they are dreamy. ;)

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Asrai! I’m definitely going to try to channel the adrenaline/fear into my presentation, so hopefully that will help.

  4. So glad you had a great birthday, that cupcake looks delicious! I don’t blame you at all! So glad you had quality sister time. My sister is two years older and although there were some hairy moments when we were teenagers (hormones!!) we have always been close. Will be so lovely for you to find more common ground with her over the coming years.

    Exciting about the day job things and fingers crossed your prep work goes well :)
    Em recently posted..ROW80 Check-in 19th February 2012My Profile

    • Oh gosh, I totally hear you on hormones and how they can affect sisterly relationships. I hit puberty when my sister was in kindergarten, and then by the time I worked past all of that, she hit puberty, so we’ve basically spent a good 10 years at each other’s throats, lol. It’s going to be AWESOME once we both reach adulthood. :D

    • It is NEVER too early to start planning the birthday cupcake(s)! I’m already thinking about the one(s) that I want the next time I visit my friend, because the bakery was filled with all sorts of magical confections. :D

      Have a wonderful week, Coleen!

  5. What and amazing week, Lena. Reading and working out and celebrating your birthday? Whew! And on top of it, you had time for movies and your papers. Wow, did you ever cram a lot into the week. :)

    Your sister and you are so cute together. I have one siter three years younger and another ten years younger than me. Now that we’re all grown up, it is so much easier to relate and we have so much more in common.
    Sheila Seabrook recently posted..Viva La Valentine!My Profile

    • It’s so funny — I don’t think I realize how much I cram into a week until check-in time rolls around, and I jot everything down. I’m always convinced that I haven’t done enough, but maybe that’s all in my head. :P

      Thanks for commenting, Sheila!

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