Saturday, December 17, 2011

Finally, a break

I've been on the move since the beginning of December, first in San Francisco for a conference, and then in Arizona for fieldwork. I'm finally home. I'm so glad. It's 10 a.m. on Saturday and I'm snuggled up under the covers, uploading pictures to the computer and discussing Lego airplanes with my son. Best place on earth right now (unfortunately I have to get up in a few minutes, make myself presentable, and go to school to proctor a final exam).

Union Square, San Francisco (don't know who these people are... I was just trying to get the tree)

 John Muir Woods north of SF

Sign at Muir Woods

Excursion to Santa Cruz (~70 minutes south of SF)

After the conference, I spent two days at home before heading off to Middle-of-Nowhere, Arizona for fieldwork:

Canyon near Sitgreaves Pass along Route 66... These bouldery landscapes always make me a little nervous. Who knows when another giant rock is going to tumble downslope?

My field area is beautiful at this time of year. The nights are cold, but the days are perfect for hiking - cool and sunny. 

Campfire food (we camped... I slept in the car because I'm always freezing when I tent-camp in the winter)

Joshua Trees south of Las Vegas

It's been a whirlwind. I've done a pretty good job of maintaining my energy levels; in fact, when we were hiking around my field area, I felt absolutely great. I think ramping up my running in the past couple of months prepared me well for stomping around the desert. On the other hand, my body is definitely waving a white flag and begging for some downtime. As soon as we got to AZ, I came down with a rather clingy cold. Usually I can shake those things in a couple of days, but this time it's still going strong nearly a week in.

I need some rest.

Unfortunately I won't get much of a mental break until the end of January, after my comprehensive exams are over. That's right - over Christmas I'll be hitting the books. I hope I can make myself focus (and I really hope I pass!). Right now all I want to do is lounge around on the couch, drink hot chocolate, and make paper chains for the Christmas tree.