Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back on 2013

One year ago, I knew this was going to be a big year. I didn't explicitly write "give birth to a healthy baby" on my list of goals for 2013 out of some kind of superstition or because that's not really much in my control, but clearly that was the most monumental event of the year. Adele's birth in May was followed by about 7 minutes of bliss, then the most critical 2 hours of my life completely out of my hands when my uterus inverted and I lost ~3.5 liters of blood, and then several weeks of difficult recovery, re-hospitalization, and physical weakness.

Finish my dissertation.
YES! I did this. I defended successfully. Sending my dissertation to my committee was, at that point, the most satisfying and relieving thing I had ever done. It is topped only marginally by the first moment I felt my newborn daughter.

Submit two chapters for publication.
Ugh, no. Not even one. I have a chapter that has been nearly ready to submit since FEBRUARY. It probably needs only two or three days of my undivided attention. Between finishing my dissertation, recovering from birth, preparing a different project for a conference, applying for jobs, teaching in two places, and then moving, this just hasn't happened.

Get a job.
Not yet (being an adjunct this fall didn't count). I've applied for 18 jobs and had two phone interviews. The right thing will come along.

Present at a conference.
YES! Adele and I went to ESA with my mom in August. I had a great time and I'm so glad I went.

Update my webpage bi-monthly (and transition to my own domain name).
I did the domain name change, but not the bi-monthly updates. I updated 5 times, but not in a few months now, because with nothing submitted and no new job I haven't had much to update. It's due, though.

Exercise 4x per week.
So, this kinda went out the window. My definition of exercise changed radically during pregnancy. I injured myself by moving a heavy box, which shifted my pelvis. This made many daily tasks acutely painful. I started physical therapy and I did the exercises they gave me twice per day until Adele was born (very low intensity but they took about 20-30 minutes each time). After she was born, I had a hard time walking for several weeks, so I didn't get much exercise. I did some kegels. Around September (4 months post partum), I could finally walk consistently at my normal speed for the first time since January. I went back to PT, where I had a variety of exercises that I didn't do consistently at all. Now I'm on a new, low-intensity core-strengthening routine that I am trying to do every day. It's been a physically difficult year! I still intend to write in more detail about my recovery.

Do a race.
No, and I don't have plans to do one in the near future.

Go dancing at least 4 times.
YES! I managed to go dancing 4 times between August and November. I still have some lingering pelvic pain, so I need to be careful about what songs I dance to and who I dance with.

Improve dog's socialization and walking.
No, but as of last week she is living with 3 other dogs until we move into our own place, so that might help improve her social skills!

Do 5 more things on our Big City bucket list before we move.
??? I don't know if we did any more of them at all!

Schedule time for blogging.
No. I have so many things that I want to write about, and just haven't made the time to do it.

Refer to this list when I set my weekly goals.
No, but I'm not sure it would have changed things much if I did. I might have blogged more.

Add goals to this list as necessary-- in case I think of something else important.
I didn't think of anything important enough to add!

One year ago I wrote:
"I have no idea where we'll be at the end of this year. Maybe we'll be in Jon's hometown. Maybe we'll be in some small university town. Maybe we'll still be in Big City but getting ready to move."

Hometown it is!

May your 2013 end better than it began!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Goodbye Big City, Hello Hometown

It has been several weeks since I posted, and quite a lot has happened. Right around that time, we decided to move back to Jon's Hometown in December. I mentioned before that we were planning to move before Christmas, but I really hoped it would be with a job. Unfortunately, I haven't made the short list for a job since July. But Christmas was a good time to make the move. We went to his Hometown for Thanksgiving, where we made plans to move in temporarily with my mother-in-law and then into a house she rents out once the current tenants find a new place. As we were headed home, I had the realization that it was only 3 weeks from then until our planned move. Yikes!

After Thanksgiving, we went home to Big City, where I wrapped up the semester at both institutions, we had one last big party, and then we packed everything and loaded it onto a truck. Thankfully we had plenty of help, since I am still not 100% recovered from birth (7 months later!) and therefore didn't lift any heavy boxes or furniture.

It was hard to leave Big City. We lived in the same building all 6.5 years of grad school. During that time we got engaged, both my grandparents and my sister died, we got married, we got a dog, I spent more than a year in Ukenzagapia, we made some wonderful friends, we had a baby, and I finished a PhD. I got really emotional when I thought about moving, and I sobbed as I drove away. I cried again when I lost the signal of the local NPR station. And I cried as I rounded the bend in the road with a view of my new Hometown.

I left with Adele and the houseplants in our car the day before Jon so I that I could go to a family wedding. Then we met up and stored most of our belongings in my father-in-law's garage and moved the short-term necessities in with Jon's mom.

So here we are, back in the land of Jon's family and friends. We have some savings to help get us through, and Jon will find enough work to keep the lights on, so to speak. My job is to get a job. There are many people around to help take care of Adele when necessary. I've restricted my job search to this area, and I'm ok with that. There isn't a better place for us to be now.

Tomorrow I'm going to see how I did with my goals for 2013. At least I know I got the big ones!