Monday, April 4, 2016

A half century of me

So, two Saturdays back was the half-century mark of being me.  This past week has been a wonderful swirl of activity.  It began the night before my birthday with a rare trip to an all-you-can eat restaurant.  The next morning I had a great run with my girl friends, all the way down Duke Street to a park that has a river running through it.  When we ran back up the giant Duke Street hill (have I ever mentioned that I stink at running up hill?), I was so proud of myself that I bragged, "Now I'm over the hill!"

(Get it?  I thought it was hilarious).

(Wanna hear it again?)

Okay, so the birthday fun continued with an awesome post-run waffle breakfast that I cooked up for friends and family. From there, my family went to Gettysburg National Park, where N-son and I got to pose with one of my heroes.

Meanwhile, that same day, J-son had his first real boxing match.  He went three rounds with some other guy, and he won the match.  He's working so hard at this -- I'm really proud of the focus that he's found.

On Easter Sunday, our church had a big breakfast, and so I spent much of the day leisurely washing the 100 plates and tableware sets that I'd bought earlier this year.  Miser Dog helped by pre-washing the plates for me.  Washing dishes doesn't sound like much fun, but it actually was -- I just get this sense of happiness that there are 100 people eating differently because of something that I did more-or-less on a whim.

On Monday, I did another fairly unusual thing for me -- I went to the grocery store.  (According to my credit card records, I went to a grocery store only 12 times last year, and four of those twelve times were while I was traveling, so local grocery store visits really are rare for me).  I bought three large lasagnas and four loaves of commercial bread, and then I "made" dinner for my student advisees.  Actually, these students were my advisees when they were freshmen; now that they're juniors they've got new academic advisors, but I like to keep in touch with them still.  I've discovered that they're sort of picky about food, which is why I stick with store-bought stuff that they're more familiar with.   We had a great dinner, talking about life and finances and traveling and bad jokes.

Tuesday, I got to go back to the Rescue Mission where I've been volunteering (it had been under construction for a few weeks, and it finally reopened).  It was awesome to get there and have people be really happy to see me again -- and the feeling was mutual.

And then the math bug kicked in again.  Doing research goes in waves for me -- sometimes I'm really lukewarm:  staring at a project that I know I'm supposed to start, but feeling fairly ambivalent about jumping in.  Tuesday afternoon I started slogging my way up the mountain of numerical projective invariants, only to discover that the view from the top of that mountain was a valley of delight and discovery.  And so for the past several days, I've been using just about every spare moment I can find to run around in these meadows of mathematics, gathering in all the luscious growth that springs up under my feet.  You could say I'm over the hill again.

There's been more.  Finding time to do my own math has been difficult, ironically, because I've been going to math conferences -- I gave a colloquium talk down in D.C. on Friday, and did some official stuff at a local-ish conference on Saturday.  Sometime in this week, also, my provost called me in to tell me that something really nice is going to happen that I'm not supposed to actually talk about until the official announcement comes out.  So more happiness, but it's still secret happiness for now.

Oooh, and we had a "Backwards Dinner" the night before April Fools -- the gals came home and we said "good-bye".  Then I declared I was full.  We had cake and ice cream, and then we had sausage and bread and salad and soup.  And then we said grace.  We hung out together a bit, and then said "hello", and the girls went home.  And it was great getting to see my daughters again, especially because it's not just my birthday week, but also the week when my granddaughter turned one year old.

All of which explains why things have been silent on the Miser Mom blog recently.  Too much good stuff happening.