Thursday, June 25, 2015


Things are going well in the moving department. In one week, I leave the country for some research-related travel that was scheduled a long time ago. I've been biting off little moving projects leading up to my departure, and I'm hoping to be almost completely ready to move before I leave the country. And if I'm not? There is still a week after my return before the movers come! Gah!

This is the way the body works when you are facing a major move.

1. Panic. It's 2:30 in the morning, and your mind just sent a news flash that your time is running out. Ah!

2. Get up and wander around the house, opening doors and cupboards and cabinets. Yup. It all needs to be cleaned and sorted.

3. Decide to pull everything out of a drawer and throw stuff away. Find that cute apron that Aunt Betty made for you seven years ago that you've never worn. You've never worn it! It can't go with you. But it's cute! And Aunt Betty! Move the apron into a pile to give to someone special.

4. Realize that someone special doesn't want any of your stuff. Put it into a new pile. 

5. Wander around the house looking at the piles of stuff that no one wants. Including you. Now what?

6. Close the door.

7. Go back to sleep.

8. Repeat.

I'm almost done organizing the kitchen, except for a couple of cupboards. Unfortunately, the cupboards left are the ones that have a secret hidden magnet to attract the things you don't really know what to do with. Old canning jars? Empty lunch boxes? Cloth napkins passed along from Grandma Phillis? You know -- the ones you didn't really want in the first place, but Grandma Phillis thought they were too cute to just dump, so she gave them to you because you were special? What do you do with these things?

You put them in a pile.


Close the door. 

And pat yourself on the back for your fabulous organizational prowess.

And then leave the country.

Things are actually going pretty well in the moving department.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Further moving adventures

Our house is under contract. I told you that already. There was a house inspection on Friday, and we heard yesterday that the buyers are worried about a crack in the foundation, and a missing green sticker on the furnace. The crack has been there since we have, unchanging, so hopefully they'll be ok with it. The green sticker, we were told by our furnace guy, was not strictly necessary, but we would be happy to have the furnace serviced to obtain the sticker. And that was all. They told us the house seemed clean and well maintained and they appreciate that. And with those words, many of the bad feelings I have been harboring toward our buyers have gone away. They realize we are clean! They appreciate our hard work! And they appreciate our house! Ok fine. I'm happy to give them that extra money in closing costs.


I have been weeding the yard. We have an amazing yard, in which things just grow on their own. We don't need to plant anymore. No planting flowers or ground cover or anything. It grows on its own now. But some things grow too well, and we do need to pull them out. The bindweed and the Virginia creeper and the cat mint. And the raspberries in the lawn. And the grass in the strawberry patch. That miserable insidious grass. I hate it!

Will I miss our amazing, unique, fruitful yard?

The vegetable garden,

 the strawberry patch,
the garden path,

and the raspberries?

Will I miss it? Probably I will miss it at times. But honestly, not much.

I've been cleaning out my office. I've found a lot of articles I saved over the years that gave good advice on being a faculty member. These articles were so awesome that I filed them in a folder to peruse regularly, so they could shine upon me with their inspiration. And I have never read them since filing them away. Until cleaning time.

While cleaning, I have been reminded that if I want to be great, I need to work harder. I need to spend an extra hour a day working on that hard problem.

And then, I find myself out in the garden in the morning, mindlessly pulling bindweed from around the raspberry thorns for an extra hour a day. Nowhere in those articles does it say that success comes from yard work. Nowhere.

Will I miss the yard? Probably. Will I miss the yard work? Sometimes. Will I miss it enough to find a new garden any time soon? No way. And when I am missing the garden, perhaps I will be reminded that now I have more time to work on that hard problem, instead of weeding. Perhaps.


Jonathan earned a boy scout award. Arrow of light.
There are no Boy Scouts of America in Australia, of course. There is scouting, mixed gender. It could be awesome. But I don't know if he'll keep up the scouting. He has to keep up the flute because we bought the flute. And he has to keep up skating now that we have invested in ice skates. But I don't care about the scouting.


For moving, there is so much work to do still. We have started going through the house room by room, Tim and I. We have been through all the clothes in the closets, and we have a huge box of clothing to donate. We've started filling out paperwork, assigning a value to the items we intend to move and wish to insure. And noting those that are made of wood, or have been outside, or have been made of something animal (down comforter, leather sofa), which must be declared for customs. So much stuff!

Tim is selling collections. Star Wars. Transformers. Nintendo. The drum set sold quickly. My oil paint set was listed longer, but it looks like it will finally sell tomorrow. The furniture is trickier. A friend may want the couch set downstairs. Another friend may want the TV. My sister wants the porch swing. A brother wants the extra dresser. We can donate lamps and appliances. Yard sale? Is it worth the hassle?


We will miss the people here. We've started saying goodbye, mostly over food. There are so many lovely people we've said goodbye to. Lena, Nate, Suzanne, Deneen, Eric, Norma, Michelle. And so much food. We've been eating way too much. When we finally move, I will never need to eat again. Isn't that great? Food will be one less thing to worry about in this wonderful crazy amazing future I am building in which I spend the days working on hard problems with no yard work and no more food! Lovely!

I should stop. That hard problem is calling to me, beckoning me to think! I think I'll go to bed.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Pictures from my phone

As you know, we are in the middle of an international move. I say we are in the middle, because even though we aren't moving until the end of July, there has been paperwork and organizational details and all sorts of things to do since we made the decision in January. Or even before that.

What do you do in the middle of an international move?

Me, I agree to give a talk at a whirlwind weekend conference in Philadelphia.
And then I fly back to the Mountain West, but not to go home. Instead, I immediately carpool to a conference I am organizing in the desert.
The conference was great, by the way, with lots of great talks. And no, they weren't really held at the location shown above. They were in Moab, Utah, which is very close by, however. After the talks, we were close enough to take a few hikes.
The deserts out here in the western United States are gorgeous places to visit. Kind of bleak places to live, though.

The road in this picture below, I read on a nearby sign, was improved in the 1950s to facilitate uranium mining.
Definitely gorgeous, but not really somewhere you want to live long term. You know? Or maybe that's just me.

When the conference was over, my dear sweet parents came back from Eastern Europe where they had been living for the past 20 months. This is my mom, jet-lagged, hanging out with some other family members just after her return from the airport.

And my dad.

The next weekend, we drove to Boise because my brother was getting married there.
And while we were standing on the grounds of that lovely facility above, we got a call from our realtor that someone had made an offer on our house, and we had until 5pm to fill out paperwork. Yup. While in Boise. At the wedding.

But the hotel had internet, so we skipped out between photos and reception and drove back to sit in the dark hotel room and read over contracts and initial and sign and call the realtor and whine a little. And now our house is under contract.

And we made it back in time to help set up for the reception with this guy, my cute nephew in his fancy seer-sucker suit.

Hmm.... The picture from the phone doesn't really do that one justice.

On the drive back from Boise we stopped here:
Shoshone falls outside of Twin Falls, Idaho. The stop was greeted by happiness and joy by all the 11-year-olds in our car.

But finally, finally, we made it back home.
That last picture isn't really home. It's a picnic up in the canyon near our house with some people I know and love. But it is much closer to home than any of the other pictures in this post, from my phone.

I like having pictures on my phone. It helps me remember where I spent the whole month of May!

Ok. Back to the whole moving thing now.