So, it has come to my attention that I have not done a real blog in a while. I’d like to share with you a snapshot of my life right now:

It’s 12:37pm, February in my second year of grad school. I’m in my Admissions office (I need to make this clear, because I have a few offices) eating a salad for lunch with wooden chopsticks.
No, I am not kidding.
Somehow I forgot a fork today.

The weather has been surprisingly nice this past week. Cold, but dry. In Portland, any day when it rains for less than 50% of the day we consider a ‘nice day’. But then every February we experience a phenomenon referred to as ‘February Fakeout’ which is about a week of sunny and warm weather that gives you hope for a warm spring, then the rain comes back and dumps on the region until mid-July. The Portland weather gods are cruel.

It was a convenient week for nice weather because my mountaineering group had a training day on Mount Hood over the weekend. This trip we used crampons for the first time, and boy are they amazing! We were practically running up and down icy canyon walls with our ice axes. The group also learned different belay techniques and practiced climbing together on a rope line.

On our way home, it is tradition for the group to get food and a beer. This time we stopped at Calamity Janes in Sandy, for some really [expletive] good burgers. Our tentative date for summiting Mount Hood is around the last week of March. I am extremely excited about this adventure.

In other news, I currently have a lot of jobs:

When I’m not working at one of my jobs, fencing, sleeping or eating, I am also a graduate student trying to write my thesis (If you didn’t know, my thesis is on coyotes in NE Portland:
As one might imagine, balancing everything can be quite tricky.

Being in my second year of graduate school has brought some additional challenges. For example, I am done with all classes and only need to write (and write and write) and then convince my committee that I know what I’m talking about. There is no structure. No one to tell me what to do. Everything from here on out is up to me.

Another challenge is that my adviser happens to be leaving on sabbatical this summer and I’m trying to graduate this spring (T-minus 128 days and counting!)…. so that means in an ideal world I would be focusing on nothing but my research, writing, and revising right now. I guess that’s why this stage of a master’s degree is called ‘Thesis Hell’.

Don’t get me wrong–I wouldn’t trade this for anything. This week as a Student Ambassador I had the privilege of going to the state capitol with our university president to lobby on behalf of the university, this spring I get to climb Mount Hood with my fellow grad students, this month I am flying to New York to present at my first academic conference (all expenses paid), and if I can finish my masters on time, this year I will be graduating as the youngest grad student from my department in at least three years.