Tonight, finally: a lull. It has been a busy season. Classes ended for me on the 15th, and with what I thought would be another successful semester in the hole (and it was! Straight As and summa cum laude are now mine!), I started the process of—one by one—finalizing my applications for graduate school. Wisconsin Madison, Pitt and the U of A were all due on the 15th, Rensselaer was due on the 1st and I tossed the application for Texas in the mail this afternoon (hoping that the Ford holiday doesn’t foul up the postmark requirement). It has been a good time here in Tucson—though it’s hard not to miss my family during Christmas. Here is an excerpt by Dave of a letter to Scott on his mission that sums up a lot of the holiday activities:
Well, we had a snow adventure yesterday. With all the rain (and consequently snow) recently there was a bunch of snow on Mt. Lemmon. We had gone up to Mesa Friday for a doctor appointment for Maryn and went to the temple. On the way back to Tucson, we stopped at Matt and Mindy’s house and they loaned Tina a few things for the snow; boots, gloves (“glums” Seth calls them), bibs and a cool sled which is like a boogie board with handles. So we left home about 3:30 and passed hundreds of cars pulled off the side of the road as low as Bear Canyon picnic area. We trudged on up to the Mt. Bigelow road to the meadow there. There weren’t as many cars there but the road was icy and we drove up as far as we could and then parked and walked a hundred yards or so. You might recall that the meadow is in the shade and when the wind blew, the snow on the tree branches came down on us. Yeah, it was cold. But Seth loved it and rode down the hill on the sled with Jon several times (he made a snow angel with Rachel too). He would dig his heels in at the bottom to stop and spray them both with snow. I took Maryn down a short version of the hill and she liked it too. Jon HAD to start at the road above us and go all the way down by himself. When he hit the first bump he caught some glorious air and landed hard on his coccyx (pronounced “kok-kicks”). He was injured… injured bad… and is sore today. Carlie and Trevor came up and met us there and Trevor rode down the hill a couple of times. It was very fun but Seth was very sad that we did not build a snowman. But it was getting colder and dark (and Mom and the sisters had about had it) and the snow was pretty powdery. Besides, we pretty much had had all the fun we wanted to have. At one of the pull outs someone had made a very cute snowman and people were lining up to have their picture taken beside it (On the ride down we drove into the sunset up to a long line of cars lined up at the Houghton/Catalina highway intersection. Maryn screamed the whole way. My theory is sore ears from altitude change. But when we got home Mom made TWO kinds of soups to warm us up (clam chowder and ham and potato). Yum.
We have been doing some serious chillaxing here these days. Playing Mexican train (a domino game), Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples, watching DVDs, playing Nintendo (including Mom’s favorite, Tetris), staying up late, getting up late and eating… a lot. On the Jon Stone Coke Zero can count, he is currently at about 35 for the vacation. He is hoping for a record. He also is rockin’ on Picmin 2 (a game he claims he bought for you last time they were down—it was only $10 at Circuit City). This week we are going to paint over the drywall repairs that Handy Manny George made for us and probably put the decorations away. Seth loves to play Nintendo. Just give him a controller (plugged in or not) and he will have a great time. He also loves the DVD “The Polar Express” and we have already watched it while drinking hot chocolate. It’s his new favorite movie.
Anyway—back to Mesa tomorrow. The Illinois application is due postmarked by Friday and then it starts again on the 15th. Writing these letters and spending so much time looking at the University websites and faculty articles that have been published is making me excited at the prospects of getting in somewhere. Every school that I have applied to has its virtues and so far I haven’t felt like I have wasted any time or money (though the money thing is huge—I figure that by the end of the process it will have cost us as much as a semester in school costs to apply to grad school.). It’s hard not to dread the possibility of not getting in anywhere. Another seminary-like rejection. We found something out, though, recently that helped to curb some of that dread. We discovered that school districts in Texas hire teachers for almost 10K more per year than they do in Arizona (around 38K a year) and housing there is half as expensive. This perked me up a bit—all that I have really wanted in all of this is to have a job that I enjoy that pays enough for us to be able to buy a house and not have Tina work. So, it looks like we have a very viable plan B.
So that is the update. Stay tuned above for the best of 2006 entry. Coming soon.