Writing and rowing

Churchill W2 getting ready to race!
Churchill W2 getting ready to race!

Another busy couple of weeks! I was sick for about a week after coming back from Paris (actually, I was pretty sick in Paris, which mostly manifested as losing my voice), but I’m mostly better now. I also did something sprain-y to my right wrist, which has made rowing and writing a bit of a pain. Okay, a lot of a pain, but I’m trying to rest it as much as possible and hoping it will get better on its own.

Work-wise, things are moving along slowly but fairly steadily. I finished a draft of another chapter, started writing a third chapter, and got a lot of edits to make on my first chapter. With less than a month now until my target time for being done(-ish) with writing (when my parents come to visit in  mid-June), I’m definitely feeling the pressure, and I’m hoping that translates into increased writing speed! Last week, I had two days of demonstrating and lab book grading to do instead of the usual single session, since I took the previous Monday off. Fortunately, the experiment the undergrads are doing (diffraction) is fairly straightforward, and they’ve been finishing early, so I have a bit less work to do. Next week is the last week!

Amanda (2 in the boat) looking like a boss.
Amanda (2 in the boat) looking like a boss as we get the boat out.

Rowing has been going pretty well overall. The Mays 2015 W2 had our first race today, the Champion of the Thames Rowing Club Eights Head! It was a lovely day for a 1.5k, and we looked spiffy in our onesies.

Giorgio goes over some racing strategy.
Giorgio goes over some racing strategy.
Cap'n Natalie is all ears.
Cap’n Natalie is all ears.
Just about to set off.
Just about to set off.

I, at least, felt pretty decent during the race, although I think I’m missing water at the catch (translation: I think don’t get my oar in early enough, so I waste energy/leg muscle at the beginning of the stroke). We came in 8th out of 10 boats in our division, so that’s a bit of a disappointment, but at least we had fun. 🙂

Post-race crew chat: Giorgio and cox Ella weigh in.
Post-race crew chat: Giorgio and cox Ella weigh in.
Amanda, Jess, Gillian, and Beth at the crew chat.
Amanda, Jess, Gillian, and Beth at the crew chat.
A sea of pink and black as we get the blades out of Lady Julia.
A sea of pink and black as we get the blades out of Lady Julia.

With all this other stuff going on, I haven’t had much of a social life, but I did make a seriously delicious soba recipe last week. I also devoured a few books while I was traveling to and from Paris. Shakespeare Saved My Life was a lightweight but interesting read about an English professor’s work with Shakespeare and prison inmates (particularly one man, Larry Newton, in solitary confinement). Jacqueline Woodson’s verse memoir Brown Girl Dreaming was a touching and fascinating look at her experience growing up in the South and New York as a Jehovah’s Witness with a complicated family life. The one I really couldn’t put down was All the Light We Cannot See. I know that praising a recent Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is not very original, but seriously, READ THIS BOOK. (Then listen to the On Point interview with the author, Anthony Doerr!) It’s both emotionally gripping and intellectually interesting, as well as being really well-written. Not many people can make you sympathize with Nazi soldiers, but Doerr pulls it off.

Read more books!
Read more books!

Well, that’s it for now. Back to writing the ol’ thesis!

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