Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


2011 Year In Review - Q4

Despite my decreased running activity, I managed to complete the Urban Cow 1/2 Marathon on the 2nd. I've done this race every year since we move to Sacramento, so I was determined to keep up the tradition, despite my slower pace. Adjusting to this difference has been quite a challenge psychologically, as it's hard not to remember how my running used to feel and what my pace used to be, and accepting that I'm no longer a 1:50ish 1/2 marathoner has been a mental triumph. These days, I try to just be content with the fact that I can still run at all rather than trying to push for more.

On the 5th, Mr. E and I headed off for our trip to Lyon and Geneva (see separate post for details), where we met up with his sister and brother-in-law for several days. We returned on the 14th and enjoyed having a whole weekend to settle back into our routine.

I've been part of a list-serve for ABDs/PhDs in the Humanities who opt for careers outside of Academia since I was in grad school at UW-Madison. The community has changed names and structures several times, and the current incarnation is called Versatile PhD. The founder, Paula Chambers, has gradually evolved the site over the years so that now ABDs/PhDs in the Sciences have their own group, and many subscribers organize local meet-ups of VPhD members to share ideas and network. I decided to give that a try for the Sacramento/Davis region, so our first meeting was on the 21st at Weatherstone Coffee in midtown Sac. We were a small group, but I'm hopeful that we might continue to meet and gradually attract new folks, especially since our next meeting is scheduled for Davis, so that might be easier and more attractive for the UC-Davis population. I also forgot to mention that in July, Paula asked me to submit an article for the online content of the web site as well as to be a member of a week-long panel discussion focused on "Careers in Grant Writing." So nice to be able to contribute to a community that has provided helpful career advice and support over the years!

Mr. E and I enjoyed another food tour on the 22nd, this time with a focus on midtown Sac as part of a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen foundation. We'd already been to several of the restaurants on the list, but we enjoyed having some tasty appetizers and visiting some new spots, especially Kupros Bistro on 21st Street.

Our Sacramento Ballet season opened with "Dracula" on the 28th, just in time for Halloween. Throughout the Fall, Mr. E was very attentive to college football, especially since the Badgers started off so strong. Thanks to the broadcast schedule, we were able to watch most of the games at home, even the heart-breaking last-minute losses 2 weeks in a row. Drat!

My sister and I were finally able to coordinate our schedules so that I could go visit her and B in their new home in Austin, so I made a trip to the Texas State Capitol on the 9th-12th (see separate post for details).

On the 19th, we helped S with her move for a couple of hours in the afternoon before attending the Beaujolais Nouveau festival from the Alliance Francaise in the evening. We had joined the Alliance Francaise when we first moved to Sac in 2004 but had let our membership lapse. This year, however, we decided to re-join in the hopes of having more opportunities for me to experience French language and culture, which just aren't terribly common here in NorCal.

The new Central Terminal B at the airport had opened in early October, and one of the unique features is the public art program. Mr. E and I attended a guided tour on the 20th to learn more about each piece, and it was fascinating to see the sculptures and mosaics up close rather than just passing them by as we departed for or returned from a trip.

We spent Thanksgiving with Mr. E's colleague S and his family and then repeated our wine country weekend tradition from the 25th-27th (see separate post). Mr. E had been sick for over a week at that point, and when we finally got him to the doctor on the 28th, we learned he had pneumonia! I worked from home several days that week to take care of him during that first really nasty stage. He's been gradually improving, but the full recovery period could take at least 6 weeks. Poor guy! He doesn't get sick often, so he really goes all out when an illness does finally creep in...

Despite his illness, Mr. E was feeling up for his scheduled trip to Houston for work the 5th-10th. He also extended his stay over the weekend to visit friends G & G and son L in their new home near Dallas. I kept busy during his absence with wine and munchies on the 9th at Revolution Wine with C, whom we'd met at the Beaujolais festival; monthly brunch on the 10th at Danielle's Creperie followed by C's lovely party that evening to celebrate her 2-year milestone of being cancer-free; and a marathon of "Top Chef" reruns with L on the 11th at home.

On the 13th, I went to a workshop sponsored by the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) on "Integrating Health & Equity into the Sacramento Region's Regional Plan." Although I haven't been a member of the City Planning Commission since 2007, I've still nourished my interest in urban design and planning, and I'm especially fascinated by how such decisions can intersect with and affect public health.

Mr. E and I joined a surpisingly large group on the 17th to celebrate S & N's new apartment in the midst of other holiday preparations - cookies, holiday photo cards, final decorations, gift wrapping, etc. I had taken the lead to organize a cookie exchange and gift swap at PPMM, both of which were scheduled for the 20th, so I got to take home a mixed bag of holiday treats along with beautiful silver earrings from L, who turned out to be my "gift buddy." I also suggested a rather last-minute holiday potluck for the 22nd, which was quite well-attended.

Since we didn't have any travel or hosting plans for the holiday weekend, Mr. E and I just enjoyed some extra time off from the 23rd-26th. HP has a "shut-down" the week between Christmas and New Year's, so Mr. E is still on "break" while I'm back at work. So far this week, he's steam-cleaned the carpets, re-configured the big downstairs rug, collected and dropped off a bunch of stuff for the Salvation Army, washed down the patio, re-hung the patio lights, cleaned up paperwork from the desktop, and done multiple loads of laundry. So great to have those house chores done in time to start the New Year off fresh. :)

Happy 2012 to all!


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