My attempts to catch up in life.

The last couple of days have been, as Jen would say, intense.

Let me start back with Memorial Day weekend…

It all started like any other Friday, as Teri and I were slaving away in the lab trying to get everything done before headed to Manistee. Two cats, loads of laundry, packing, hunting down SubWay in rural-hick town MI, and attempting to fit 3 frazzled girls in a car whose momentum changes (thanks Jen, for the physics lesson!) depending on which way the wind blows later…and we rolled into my parents house in the late afternoon. From there we spent the rest of the day walking around Manistee with my mom, vistiting the Audubon, fighting off motion sickness, and waiting for my mom and Jen outside the bar.

This is what graduate school looks like on 3 totally stressed out girls!

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and us walking down the beach…

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The next morning my dad and I headed out to the beach while Teri and Jen slept in their “Northern love sanctuary” with their Central men…(they didn’t want to drool on the suede pillowcases so they donned them with central t’s). While there I started back up with the summer phenomena of finding the right rock to take home. There I was, 23 years old, walking up and down the beach like a 5 year old trying to find the best sea-weathered rock. What’s more, is that at 8 o’clock in the morning, this older gentleman, who had city business man written all over him, and his wife come up to me and ask to see the rocks I’ve picked up that morning. Apparently he was going to find a Petosky stone, even if it took him all summer to do so. My dad and I then debate on where the best place would be to find them along the west coast when it hits me…I’m 5 days away from defending my thesis, I don’t have everything done, and here I am – walking in the squeeky sands of lake MI having a serious discussion on rocks. It was then that I realized that it was going to be a wonderful weekend.

We spent the rest of the day bumming around Manistee and doing silly things like trying on hats and invading the antique stores…

Here are some of our finds, notice how our faces have changed and how we a much less stressed!

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This one cracks me up! See any similarities between Jordanne and I? If not in looks then in personality, I guess:)

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No, I didn’t buy the owl…though I was tempted.

Following we headed to the beach where we saw a wild Teri, and a wild Jen…oh my! And spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with the fam, hearing about ‘dogman’ (which, I will devote an entire blog to, I promise), and going out with my brothers… Notice the look of calm in all of us – getting ready to hit the riverwalk in Manistee…

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We headed back to Mt. P Sunday night well rested and stress free, and spent the next couple of days building up to the “big day”. Joe’s mom and dad came to my thesis defense, which was so nice:) I got to have a “mom hug” right before, which calmed me down. My defense went well, once it started, but up until that point I was wound so tight I could have burst!

Long story short, Gary, the guy in charge of technology in the HP (where my lab is) wanted to show off the media capabilities that we have so he offered to tape our thesis defenses. Teri wanted nothing to do with it, but I thought that it would be nice because neither Joe or my parents could be there. It went from being one camera in the corner of a small room to being a whole freakin’ CNN production in the “global teleconference room” (which is as intimidating as it sounds!). Not to mention the live web streaming with the chance of questions coming in offline…oy.

Come to find out, my parents, the MISD, and an ADHD child were all in audience. Joe later watched and called me up saying “you are way too smart for me”…speaking of the kid though, my mom said that he was totally into the presentation, and that she actually had to use watching it as a reward for testing…maybe the whole teleconference thing happened for a reason?

If any of you, cause I am SURE I have a huge fan base, would like to be lulled to sleep, here’s the link to 47 mns of thesis-defending joy!!!

I’m the first one!!!

So later in the night, the brain research lab started the “yay – Teri and Nichole are peacing out” bar crawl…the night follows…

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the whole group of us…

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two of my favorite girls:) Notice my feet…

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and Bar Star!!!! Who, BTW, is a ledgend in the greater Mt. P area…so this picture is freakin’ priceless! Jen actually asked him “what’s up with the vest?” Maybe you had to be there…

So life is a little bizarre at this moment. Last night Jen and I moved Teri out of her apartment, and today I packed up things in the lab. It’s all so empty. But so is life – right? You accomplish something and move on, taking with you your memories, your relationships, and what you’ve (hopefully) learned. What have I learned the last 2 years? That I can take more that I ever thought that I could, that life isn’t all about work, that creating names like “duck boy” and “the mayor” can bring your closer together, and that love is really what it’s all about. Speaking of, Joe graduates in 23 days. How wonderful is life?

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