Looking Back...June 2017

My oh my, this year is seriously racing by! I cannot believe it's July already. June was a pretty busy and chaotic month. There were a lot of highlights and special moments, so this post might get a bit rambly. But is that really that surprising for me? Lol. 

June was kind of the month of the Peony. Whole Foods was stocking them again and these gorgeous flowers just made me so happy all month long!

The month started with a very special new purchase. One that had been a long time coming. I still remember the time I ordered my first MacBook Pro. It was 2010, I ordered it online and anxiously waited for it to arrive. When it did, it was amazing and life changing. Once you go Mac you never go back lol. That laptop was now about 7 and a half years old. It's still doing ok, but definitely slowing down and it freezes and glitches periodically. That laptop got me through my second MA degree and most of my PhD. But as I'm now starting my dissertation, I thought it was time to upgrade. It was a tough decision, but the middle of a dissertation is NOT when you want your computer to die on you. So I bit the bullet and ordered a new one. I got a 13" MacBookPro with the Touchbar. I shopped through the education store on the Apple website and got a bit of a discount, as well as being able to upgrade the memory. Then I waited. Thankfully not as long as I was afraid I would. They originally said it would take almost two weeks to arrive but then it only took one. Yay! I had asked for it to be delivered to my nearest Apple Store so that I wouldn't have to worry about being home to sign for it, and also so that I could still have that in-store experience with having them there when I open it and help me set it up. I then took it next door to one of my favorite coffee shops, Press, and spent a couple hours playing around with it.

This new laptop has now become my favorite thing lol. I use it constantly. One of the first things I did that first day was download Scrivener, the program I'm using to write my dissertation (review of that coming soon on my YouTube channel). Everything is so much faster on this computer! I mean, I knew it would be, but I was still shocked. Editing on iMovie is an absolute dream now. And it's half the weight of my old one, so I can take it out to coffee shops or to meetings a lot more easily. Don't get me wrong, it's not as light as an iPad, but compared to my old one, it's much lighter and easier to just throw in my bag in case I have a few minutes between meetings or appointments to work. So if I'm going to run some errands but think I can also spend an hour at a coffee shop, I always bring it with me. Knowing that I can work from other locations so easily is making it a lot easier to decide to get out of my apartment and go work somewhere. Summertime in Arizona is like wintertime in other places. Except instead of extreme cold and snow, it's extreme heat and scorching sun that keeps me indoors. But it's nice to spend time outside of my apartment at least some of the time. 

On the subject of heat, things have definitely warmed up. Summer is officially here. And I'm so not ready. We had a week of temperatures above 110, getting up to 120, hotter in some parts of the Valley. It was as intense as it sounds. I feel like people outside of Arizona don't quite understand how hot it gets here. I mean, it's hard to comprehend temperatures  that high. Sky Harbor International Airport actually had to cancel some flights one day, it was that hot. Thankfully we're back down in the 105-112 range lol. Now that it's July I'm sure it's going to get hotter again, July and August are usually the worst months, so the 120s will be back. But when it's this hot, you really just want to stay inside with the air conditioning. This summer I'm keeping my AC set permanently at 74. I'm paying through the nose on my electric bills but at least I'm not dying in my own home from the heat. The days that I can stay home, and not be exposed to the high temperatures I actually manage to feel ok. If I leave the house the heat just drains all the energy I have and makes me feel a bit sick. I'm looking forward to fall...when it will be 90 again lol. It will probably still be pretty warm when I fly to London at the end of October, but hopefully will be cooled off by the time I get back to Arizona.

Sometimes I go over to my parents house to work. Bonus with that is I get to cuddle with Gus Gus and Luna. Anyone who's been watching my weekly vlogs knows how excited these dogs are when I come over. Gus Gus especially. He seem to think that he should be cuddled at all times, day or night. So my parent's and my sister's work schedules are terribly inconvenient for him lol. And Luna is just happy knowing there are people in the house. So puppy cuddles are always a motivation to drive over to my parents house. That and watching Doctor Who on their flat screen. I'm still a few episodes behind as of writing this post because I haven't been over there in a week or so, but that's another thing I've been enjoying the past month. Life is always better with Doctor Who in it. I'm not ready to watch the season finale. Really not ready. It feels like it just started! But we're now officially half way to Christmas so I guess we don't have too long to wait for the Christmas episode. But hanging out with the dogs is always a good thing. Seeing how happy they are to have me hanging out with them always makes me happy. Even if they are a little bit of a work distraction. I mean, who can resist a face like Gus's?

One of the other highlights of June was another special purchase. Every summer I look forward to the Ted Baker sale. I've bought a new handbag in the summer sale every year for the past four years, so this makes my fifth summer sale find. Each one holds a special memory. There's the brown, faux croc satchel that I bought my first summer in London, on a crazy day with my friend Cindy when she flew in to London on her way to Oxford for a conference. We were browsing the Covent Garden location and she convinced me I had to have (not that she had to convince me that much!). Then the next summer, when I was doing study abroad in Oxford I picked up a gorgeous floral print bag the week before summer school started. In summer of 2015, I was back in London and picked up a gorgeous Peony print shopper. Then last summer a pretty pale blue bag in the Hanging Gardens print, that has become one of my main daily use bags. So this summer I was on the hunt for something just as special as the previous four years and I found it in this stunning Gem Gardens bag. The print is amazing and the shape and size is perfect. It's just a bit smaller than my Hanging Gardens bag but it still holds everything I need for an afternoon out, including my Olympus Pen. Making it even more special is that my mom bought it for me as a gift for passing all my PhD exams and earning my ABD status. This bag now joins all the others as special reminders of special times, and every time I use one of them I'm filled with all those lovely memories.

The biggest task for this month has been to start writing my dissertation. There will be a separate blog post soon on this subject but oh my goodness...what a daunting process! Most days I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing. I imagine that's a pretty common feeling for new dissertators. Do any of us really know what we're doing? Really? Lol. I currently have about 8k words, but most of them are quotes from my sources and random notes. Somehow I need to turn them into a coherent literature review and theoretical framework for the rest of the dissertation. I had a meeting early in the month with my advisor (I highly recommend doing that btw) and that really helped. But now it's just me and my research and I'm trying to make sense of it all but I'm also feeling like I've completely forgotten how to be an academic and write a literature review. Maybe it's because everything just feels SO BIG AND IMPORTANT!!!! Ugh. I'll get there. 

Thankfully I've got some good music to help keep me motivated. Imagine Dragons released their new album and I couldn't be happier. I'm absolutely loving it, especially the song "Walking the Wire". This album has a different sound to the previous one and reminds me a lot of their first album (which is also my favorite). Summer is when I love upbeat rock and pop music, and this album was made for summer. I've been loving listening to it while getting ready in the morning or while driving around town. It made final class prep for summer school quite a bit more enjoyable and if I get a bit down or frustrated with dissertation writing some of the songs on the album just totally cheer me up. Music is a powerful thing and I can't live without it.  June was such a crazy month. Lots of long days spent at my desk, starting my dissertation one word at a time. But also lots of great moments like the new laptop, the new handbag, gorgeous flowers filling my apartment, and there's so much more to come this summer. I have a feeling this album is going to be the main soundtrack of Summer 2017.

The month ended with the start of summer school at my university. I'm teaching Professional Writing in the second session and we started on the 29th. I've been teaching online all this past year so I haven't been in a classroom since last summer when I taught summer school. The first day was a bit rocky, you'd think I'd forgotten how to be a teacher lol. I'd definitely forgotten how exhausting it is. But it's nice being back on campus (even if it's a million degrees hot) and especially nice to be back in the classroom. I know I'll get the hang of it again pretty quickly. My students all seem great and I'm looking forward to getting to know them better and work with them over the next several weeks.

July is going to be a crazy month. Summer school, finishing the draft of the first chapter of my diss (which is actually Chapter 2, but whatever lol), prepping for the fall semester, drafting Chapter 3, which will be the first case study...it's going to be a lot. I also have my conference paper that I need to be starting plus trying to relax here and there. The summer is flying by, and I know it's going to be August before I know it. And if the summer has been going fast, the fall is going to go even faster. As excited as I am to return to London I really wouldn't mind if July through October slows down just a little bit. Please?

What was your June like? Any highlights for you? Tell me in the comments.



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