And I suppose I should catch up on my blog. At least to the part where I was in Arizona.
So when I left off, I was in Lake Havasu seeing my family before heading down to Tucson for my Master's defense. It was a really great visit. Well...sort of.
My sister came to the Las Vegas airport from D.V. to meet up with me and the parents. We went out to her favorite restaurant (Panera) and then over to the Cheesecake Factory for....coffee. (You thought I was going to say cheesecake, didn't you?). R was in Phoenix for work training the week prior to my defense, so he was able to head up to Havasu and meet me there for a little bit of moral support....and BOWLING!
Nothing like a little healthy competition with mom and dad to get me ready to face the professors. Did I mention that my mom and dad are SHARKS at every game they challenge me and R to? Here is a typical conversation:
Mom: "Want to play horseshoes?"
Ashley: "That sounds fun"
Dad: "We haven't played shoes in 20 years"
R: "I'm pretty good, I gotta warn y'all"
Final score: R and Ashley 2, Mom and Dad 21
Dad: "Did you see all those ringers?"
Ashley: "Yes, Dad. I saw all 7 of the ringers you got."
Anyway, after the fun night of bowling and pizza, Dad woke up with a terrible stomach ache. So bad in fact, that I didn't see him until right before R and I got on the road to Tucson. We took this picture though, just as a reminder of what I looked like BEFORE I had a master's degree. Dad looks pretty sick.So I went to Tucson, and got to see Lizzie for the first time since Thanksgiving. We did some pre-defense baking and centering. My defense was Monday at 2 PM - scattered would be a good word to describe me. Nervous. Perhaps a little high-strung. This was partially due to the fact that I did not get the last set of comments from two of my three committee members until three days before I left for Arizona. But no need to dwell on that.
After a harrowing 2 hours of discussion, questions, drawing on the chalk board, and armpit drenching sweat, I passed! Now I get to sign things obnoxiously like this: ArchaeologyAsh, M.A.
The celebration following included some of my closest friends and members of the class I started grad school with. Here I am at my favorite eating establishment in Tucson, No Anchovies, with my three favorite people in Tucson - AJ on the far left, Lizzie next to her, and Barney (also my advisor) on my right side. Sorry about the not so great picture, everyone.There was much "merriment" and BALLOONS!
But then...ominous drum roll please...Sister called R to break the terrible news that the ENTIRE time I was in my defense and enjoying the "merriment" of the day, Dad was having an emergency appendectomy.
Though I had some minor changes to make to my final draft and some materials to put away, I decided that the only thing I was really meant to be in Arizona for at that time was to go home and help take care of Dad. Mom had a few more weeks of school left and would not be able to stay home with him while he recovered. Sister had used up all of her vacation time in Hawaii the month before. R had to go back to Miles City on Tuesday. And really, when it came down to it, I would have flown out to hang out with Dad even if I hadn't already been there to do my defense.
So on Tuesday, I recovered from the "merriment," rented a car, took all my materials with me, and rushed back to Havasu to spend the rest of the week with Dad. He looked great when I got there.
I'm kidding. He was in bad shape. Do you know who makes terrible patients? Yep, you guessed it. Dads. Regardless of the pain, fever, low blood pressure and the fact that he had APPENDICITIS, Dad still would not settle down. The phone never stopped ringing, the television remote never stopped working, and he did a lot of pacing whenever he felt the slightest bit better. I continued to work on my edits, and despite the fact that he was a terrible patient, I enjoyed the opportunity to hang out with him all week. And to see my mom in the evenings after school. Its been a long time since I could spend a whole week at home.
I left Dad in Mom's care on Thursday night and headed back to Tucson so that I could have Friday to tie up all my loose ends on campus. It was a really sad day. I've lived in Tucson for 8 years (not counting this last one), and have been a student at Arizona for nearly all of my adult life. I am glad for the degree (both the undergrad and graduate), and the chance to move on in life because of them (i.e. this fabulous job in Montana), but there's still a little part of me that loves Tucson and all the memories there. And the friends. And the fact that it only takes five hours to get home.
In true Tucson style, Lizzie threw a party for me and her R (who finished his M.A. the week before me). It was 90's themed, since pretty much all of our years in school were in the 90's. What better way to celebrate the end of school than with a tribute to the decade that we attended school. We donned flannel, leggings, overalls, exposed boxer shorts and hairspray (all entirely too baggy) and listened to various grunge and punk bands (none of which we had to find on the Internet since we all still had our CDs from high school and college).
It was a great way to spend my last official day as a student.
Though quite a bit has happened since then, I am not going to be able to get to it all in this blog. I will leave you with one last picture that I was finally able to take a few weeks ago.
Sure does feel good to have that weight off my shoulders.