Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

We've been pretty busy the last few weeks, so we haven't had time to keep up. Classes have started. Nora has officially begun her PhD program, so she has lots of new classes to keep up with. I don't have to formally take any more classes, but I am sitting in on the undergraduate Organic Chemistry because it's useful for my research. My major goal for the semester is to pass my qualifying exams in about a month, so I'm studying for that while doing everything else.

Both of us are teaching. I have three labs this semester: two sections of 101, which I've been TA'ing every semester; and one section of 131, the calculus-based intro class for science majors. The 131 class is a very interesting challenge, both because I haven't done it before, and because it intrinsically requires more. I'll have more to say on that soon (working title, "The Kids are All Right"). Nora was offered a TA position at the last minute because her department needed another TA. It's not officially a full TA position, because she only has to run a recitation section (ie, doesn't have to do any grading). I'll let her discuss that more as she wishes.

We are also both doing research. I'm continuing with my research project. We hope to hear back from our grant submission in November or December. Nora's TIGRE grant just started paying her, so she is trying to get started on her research for that. Things are starting slow as you might expect, but one of her advisers is trying to pay for her to go to Martinique sometime this semester to study dengue.

As if our academic responsibilities weren't enough, we've been working on several extracurricular projects. Tony has now been fully acclimated into the family. He was very skittish while Poggibonsi was staying with us, but is settling down now that Nora's father has taken the kitten home to Pasadena. Hodag is also happy to have more of our attention as well. They are getting along quite well with each other, and appear to greatly appreciate having a friend/wrestling buddy. For just over two weeks now, we've been going to the gym 5 days a week, at 7:00am. We mostly do weights and swimming. The main goal is general fitness, but the specific benchmark we are aiming for is to get me into shape enough that I can take surfing lessons when we are in Hawaii in December. And finally, we have become the official University of Chicago alumni representatives for the New Orleans area. In that capacity, we co-hosted (with our counterparts in Baton Rouge) the first ever Send Off party for Louisiana. It was a brunch affair at this cute little restaurant in Mandeville, right on the north shore of Lake Ponchartrain. Ben, the alumni representative for Baton Rouge, knows the owner, so it was very convienient.

The past few weeks have been particularly full of extracurriculars, and have gotten stressful at times, but that seems to be passing. So hopefully we can get back into a more normal routine soon.


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