I apologize for leaving you hanging for so long. Believe me when I say it's been a whirlwind. A mostly good one, but a whirlwind. My last week of work (last week) was hectic, then the glorious insanity of graduation weekend started. Welcome to JoannaRuns: Graduation Edition.
Family arrived into town on Friday, bringing our household to seven adults and two toddlers. With Kdot's help, I had planned out meals for the entire weekend and everything ran smoothly, thankfully. A bit of a circus, but a smoothly run one. With a very generous and sentimental gesture from Pepper.
A comedy and a tragedy. The comedy: Meg and I ran in our "look at us we're doctors" hoods (for about a tenth of a mile) just because we could. The tragedy: it was Meg's last long run before her move.
With RunningFirst, we tore through the first 2.4 miles. I'm guessing it was about an 8:45 pace. Meg's knee started bothering her, so she walked for a while and RunningFirst and I ran another two miles or so. It was a good two miles. Plotting about our fall marathon. Running to keep from freaking out about moving a toddler to a new town. And gorgeous weather. But that was all there was time for, at least for Meg and me. We had places to go...
For me, I had my little boy's birthday party to come home and help get ready for. I carried the cake in, so I don't have pictures, but Salt & Pepper (my mother and MIL) and Kdot have promised to share theirs. So check back for that. It was fun. Kdot made some awesome food. The babe looked so surprised when we started singing to him. And gift bags and tissue paper and Thomas are awesome. Naturally. I learned the meaning of the word "obsession" when he opened his new Thomas train set from Pepper. I can't believe he's 2.
When we moved here from the east coast, I brought a bottle of my favorite wine, always with the idea of drinking it with my brother upon my graduation. After I moved here, I amended that idea to say "drink it in a cornfield with my brother." Why? Because I'm surrounded by corn and it sounded like fun. So that's what we did. O.D.P. and I walked to the nearest cornfield (2 whole blocks), stood between rows of sprouting corn, and drank a bottle of wine. Until it started raining anyway, at which point we retreated to my front porch.
My White Sock (graduation) Party!! I've been looking forward to this party literally since I started my PhD program. And it was everything I wanted it to be. My family, my West Virginians, my runners, my church family, my co-workers and friends all got together to eat cake and celebrate. And my Dad told the story that inspired the party's name. Again, back away slowly if you can't roll JoannaRuns-style, because this is about to get eccentric in the way only academics can pull off. Here's the story, paraphrased, told from my father's point of view:
When I was in graduate school, I would go sometimes with a friend of mine over to the student union for lunch. This was in the era where wigs were all the rage in women's fashion. There was a not very bright woman who worked at the union who we called the Wig Lady for all her hairdos. Well, the Wig Lady had a crush on my friend. She would get nervous and flirt with him. One day she was rearranging plates on one of the cafeteria carts and in doing so accidentally spilled cold coffee and cigarette butts on the man at the neighboring table. Flustered and embarrassed, and thinking she'd burned this man with the coffee, she turned to my friend and said, "Can you help us?! We need a doctor, I've burned this man!" My friend turned to her and asked why she thought he was a doctor. "You're wearing white socks," she replied.
O.D.P. and I were 6 and 5, respectively, when we first heard this story, and we didn't get it. We thought it meant that only doctors wore white socks. And so for the rest of our youths, we both avoided wearing white socks. Sometime around my 19th birthday, The Beastie (aka The Bestie--she's requested a blog name change, and this is me granting it) escorted me to the athletic sock aisle of our local Wal-Mart and strongly suggested that I invest. Apparently, I looked ridiculous running around campus in black cotton socks with my running shoes. I called O.D.P.; he'd only been brought up to speed on the sock issue a week before.
But now, since I am finally a doctor (albeit PhD rather than medical), I can wear white socks with a clear conscience. And so I threw myself a White Sock Party.
As I said, a beloved few of my West Virginians made the long trip for the party. Sadly, I don't have a great picture of The Original Bestie (I have two best friends, which is sometimes confusing. There's The Original, who I grew up with, and there's The Beastie, who I met in college) or Will. But I do have a good picture of Sherwood, who has never appeared on this blog but has played a big role in my life as a runner. We ran cross country together in high school. She motivated me. She inspired me. She also generally kicked my a$$.
My hooding ceremony! I was hooded by my advisor with my father (because he's also a PhD) attending. It meant so much to me to have my Dad by my side at this huge moment in my life. I sincerely doubt I would have become an academic without him. That's my advisor in red, me in the middle, and my Dad on the right.
Mr. Joanna, the babe, O.D.P. (brother), Kdot (SIL), The Princess of Detroit (niece), Salt (MIL) and Pepper (Mom) were all there as well. And I could not have been happier.
Well, until I was made even happier.....by several lovely graduation gifts, including a Garmin (!!) from Mr. Joanna and Salt.
More graduating, this time at the University-wide ceremony. Most PhDs in my field don't attend this ceremony. But I did because I've been in college for over a decade and would walk all day if they'd let me. Also because I wanted to walk with The Beastie and her husband, who were also participating in this ceremony. (Admittedly not the best picture, but I'm having internet connection issues preventing me from downloading the other renditions of this picture)
It's hard to explain what it meant to walk with The Beastie, but I really want to try to explain.
In May of 2003, we posed for the picture below as we graduated with our undergraduate degrees. L-R: Ellyn, me, The Roomie (my college roommate), and The Beastie. We'd all lived in the same hall of a dorm during our freshman and sophomore years. When this picture was taken, I knew that I was moving South and The Beastie was moving to the Midwest. We'd planned to talk on the phone one night a week to stay in touch. We both thought then that we would be lucky to see each other a few times a year. There was no way of knowing that after I finished my Masters degree, I would matriculate to the university where she was studying. There was no way to know, in 2003, that we'd spend five of the next seven years living about 4 miles from each other. There was no way to know that we'd seen only the beginning.
We've been through a lot together, personally and academically. And so it was a blessing that I could share the stage with her at our graduation this weekend.
7:45am: drop off the babe at daycare.
8:10am: return regalia to campus
8:30am: pick up rental truck from Home Depot
8:50am: arrive at White Sock party venue to pick up rented tables
9:15am: return rented tables to vendor
9:45am: return truck to Home Depot, incurring a nasty blood blister in the process
10:05am: return home to say goodbye to O.D.P., Kdot, and The Princess of Detroit
10:30am: get on the road to return my parents to the airport
3:30pm: return and drop off thank you gift to our Sunday afternoon babysitter
4:15ish: return home, pick up Salt, and pick up the babe from daycare
5:30pm: go out to dinner to relax
8 loads of laundry, taking out the overflowing recycling, etc.
Helped Meg move out. And that deserves its own post.