Having been out of town for most of August, I’m just settling back into my groove at home & work finally. Selinsgrove never quite happened; a conference came up that I was recommended to attend, so that’s where I ended up instead. First week of August was in Madison, WI, followed up by a couple weeks back in Minnesota & North Dakota visiting my family & friends. Despite coming down with some sort of a cold at the end of the conference, I kicked that pretty quickly afterwards & did manage to enjoy most of my time in Minot, Fargo, and Minneapolis.

Coming back to Toronto was rough. The twelve or so hours to get from Madison to Toronto is a long (albeit not terrible) drive. Then to get back and immediately throw the laundry in, unpack everything else, and realize my apartment still needs a sweeping/vacuuming, I really should have taken an extra day to get most of that under wraps. Instead, I just charged back into the work week & powered through it.

Thank god for the long Labor (Labour?) Day weekend. Gave me a chance to catch up with everything: sweep & mop the floors, clean the bug guts off the car, cook some dinner, buy some groceries1, do some laundry, run some errands, and just catch up on some goddamn sleep. I even snuck in a trip down to the Canadian National Exhibition early Friday afternoon, but much like the trip to the Minnesota State Fair over the vacation, I killed an entire afternoon & evening seeing the sights & devouring the food2. I meant to get around to watching Se7en & Ali G Indahouse3 as well, but I’m just a bit hooked on finishing season three of The Walking Dead right now.

I’ll get around to posting about the rest of the summer a bit. World Pride, once I finish up postprocessing all those photos. Madison. Minneapolis. Minot. Fargo. Minneapolis again with the State Fair. One last stop in Madison before the long haul back. But for now, it’s getting back into that groove between work & home. Except this time, I’m trying to play the juggle between my work & personal life a little more generously.

1I had hardly anything to eat besides leftover pasta sauce. I couldn’t realistically expect much of my usual staples to keep for three weeks in the fridge…
2The big reason for both of these events was to really just consume the food!
3This is suddenly on my “to watch” list because I had no idea Martin Freeman is in it, in an utterly atypical role for him!

Life has seriously gotten away from me over the past six months. I think it’s about time I put an end to that. A migraine (or something awfully close to it) really put me down for the count on Sunday. Between trying to juggle work stuff and witnessing the flooding of my hometown through online footage, I think my body finally told me I need to chill the fuck out.

July is reconstruction month. Time to get some things back in check, get back to some other pleasures I’ve neglected, and reevaluate some previously set goals (that are far from within reach, unfortunately). But first, the body comes first…and no better way to recover a body than with rest and refreshing exercise…

So my ten year reunion is coming up at the end of this July. I’m really unsure of whether or not I really want to attend this, mostly because of the precarious predicaments currently going on in my life right now. Regardless of if I attend it or not, I will be driving back to Minot to at least see my family, and maybe discretely coax/coerce/beg them for a few choice items to help me out after I get moved into my new place (a toaster oven would be fantastic!.

As with every trip I have taken back to the Midwest, I will be stopping in and seeing my remaining friend in Fargo. Albeit, I had a wonderful weekend in Buffalo, MN, last weekend with Adrienne and company, she’s unfortunately one of my closer friends that I don’t get to see nearly enough. That, and I have some others that I haven’t seen in nearly three years (e.g. Brenda in Valley City), so I have some catching up to do if I can manage it. Between that, and probably taking three to four days of relaxation in Minot to decompress and maybe see the North Dakota State Fair (it’s been years since I’ve been to that), hopefully I can clear my head of some things that have preoccupied my thoughts as of late.

Better yet is coming at the end of September. Over the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Andrew Bird is playing at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis on September 29th. That’s cool and all, I thought. It might be neat to see, but that was looking like a long trip just to hear him live. What I noticed second was the accompanying group below his name on the ad that I saw: St. Vincent. Holy crap! Bird and Vincent, both, live, $28…I think I started to drool at the thought! I have been listening to Andrew Bird ever since Sarah spoiled me into his realm of musical wonder a little over a year ago. Even more so, I’ve been captivated by St. Vincent’s latest album, Actor, since it came out and have been listening to some of her older stuff as well (just Marry Me at the present). I really want to get a listen of Blue Angel, Stairwell and Oh Oh Love as well, but so far I just love her stuff. I really miss finding music with all these unique melodies that my ears just love to eat up! Just look at my Last.fm history for the past three months if you don’t believe me!

Needless to say, I jumped on buying these tickets as soon as possible. I was up at (a woefully late) 8:30am on the day the tickets went on sale (they officially started selling at 7am) and picked up a four-pack of tickets at $28 each. So, if any of friends reading this think they would like to join me in Indianapolis on September 29th to go see these two amazing musicians live, let me know! I offered one to my brother since I will likely crash at his place in Bloomington when I drive down, so I have at least two tickets available (so far). If he declines it, I will have three. Regardless, I’m looking to get someone to take each one, ’cause I know this should be an amazing concert!

On that note of amazing concerts, is anyone interested in coming out to see any off the following at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, ON, Canada?

The Good
The 3rd ASM Conference on DNA Repair and Mutagenesis in Whistler, BC, Canada, was amazing! Six days of intriguing (for the most part) talks from peers in the field, despite the fact that my work doesn’t necessarily fit in the best with the theme of the meeting. The lab that I’m working in is pretty heavily interested in coordination of repair in general, but I have my own little niche of work in that grand scheme as well.

Whistler in general was beautiful! I was completely out of shape for a good hike up either of the major ski slopes, Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. I did try to take plenty of pictures when I could, despite hardly having the time to a few days. We did get a fair amount of free time, with about 3ish hours every afternoon to squeeze in a lunch and our choice of activities. The best part of the free time activities easily had to be the ZipTrek zip line tour of the Fitzsimmon’s Creek valley, between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. For being afraid of heights, this was a great way to start breaking that fear!

Unfortunately, I did wear myself a little thin at the conference. I went out every night of the conference, meeting new people and having a few drinks every time. In combination with that and getting up relatively early to make breakfast at 7:30 each morning, I rarely got more than six hours of sleep a night, hardly more than four for the last couple! A wretched but brief cold set in as I was coming back, and I’m thankfully just clearing the remnants of it from my system now as we speak.

The Bad
Holly and I have been married nearly four years now. For the last couple of years, we’ve been steadily recognizing and somewhat trying to deal with problems we’ve had between each other since moving to Buffalo shortly after getting married. Since February of this year, Holly signed us up to go see a couples’ counselor in order to help address some of the issues between us.

Since then, the sessions have helped us to open up and address more issues between each other and realize what we’re trying to achieve from these sessions, but at the same time it’s also opened our eyes up to what we’ve been expecting from each other as partners and reevaluating whether or not the other is really going to meet that goal. Just short of a month ago, Holly broke the news to me that she had come to the realization that she just didn’t think the marriage was going to work out: there were expectations we had of each other and they really weren’t accomplishable without significant changes in each other. At this point in our lives, we don’t think we should have to make sacrifices that great in our core principles for the other, and despite our strong connection, maybe we’ve pushed a good thing that we had (in a great friendship originally) a little farther than we should have taken it. I felt similarly about these issues, but I asked for a few weeks to think it over and ensure that I (and Holly as well) believed this was the best course of action to go forward with.

A week came and went, and then I was in Whistler for another week, and we revisited the subject Monday evening of this last week. After seeing what’s in store for my future as an eventual post-doctorate and potentially even a primary investigator (PI), I couldn’t feasibly see myself gaining any additional time to really work on making things better right now, and Holly was surprisingly pleased with the freedom she felt in my absence. So on those notes, we both felt even more assured in our decision to go forward with a separation/divorce (depending on how complicated NY state makes it for the immediate future). It’s a strange and awkward time now, but we both feel this is for the best for both of us. We have no hard feelings for each other, we’d still like to remain friends and keep in touch, and will strive to try to make this as easy as possible for the other as we carry through with it.

Hopefully plans will pan out at least comparable to what we’re hoping for. This is obviously new for the both of us, so it’s hard to predict just how well we can keep things as close to ideal as possible.

The Ugly
This is going to be one crazy summer. I have already gone to three conferences for the summer. I had plans to go camping randomly throughout the summer, and take day-trips mountain biking in some parks in western New York. Holly had plans to be gone for six to seven weeks for a summer immersion program to fulfill her remaining elective credits for her M.A. at UB. I was going to drive back to North Dakota and drop in for my ten year reunion in late July.

Plans have obviously changed to some extent. I likely won’t get the chance to go camping nearly as much as I would like. I would still like to find some time to take day-trips to go mountain biking at least a couple times this summer. Holly got screwed out (by a lack of communication from UB) of her summer program and will have to instead attend it next summer (thanks Mr. Advisor, we never knew she needed to file a Consortium Agreement in order to study abroad, let alone verify that the credits will transfer). The drive back to Minot, ND, will likely come at a bad time in late July as Holly and I will be looking for our own places to live in and move in to around that time, so the end of the summer is looking particularly grimacing.

Sorry for the surprise to those of you who knew nothing of the qualms that Holly and I were having with each other. It was something I don’t typically speak of due to my nature to try and address things on my own first, although I’m sure some of you reading this already know about this, either through Holly or myself. Hopefully this summer will turn out okay, I’ll still have my good friend (despite losing her as a wife), I’ll find a place to live in and get moved into without too much hassle, and I can get some kickass research done.

*deep breath* Time to get started, I guess!