I ended up taking a much longer hiatus than anticipated in order to finish my thesis, but now the project is successfully completed (yes, you can call me a Master now), I have decided to reinvigorate my posts here.
2016 was much akin to a roller coaster ride. There were some serious ups and some serious downs. The year seemed to get off it a slow start but rapidly sped up, the ride was crazy with twists and turns and peaks and valleys, and it came to a somewhat screeching halt. Below are some of the highlights for us. I look forward to posting on a more regular basis. Be on the look out for more recipes this year! I have stepped up my cooking game and cant wait to share 🙂
2016- Our Year in Review
January – January was mellow and filled with work at the Cancer Center (my practicum) and getting back into the swing of school. We tried making fondue at home, successfully, for the first time.
February – We celebrated Drew’s 32nd birthday by dancing to Dark Star Orchestra at the Charlotte Fillmore. I also completed data collection for my thesis!
March – Drew spent a week in Florida with his Dad fishing and watching baseball for Spring training. I hung out at home, enjoyed some nice R&R and beautiful spring weather, and visited with a friend in Colombia, SC.
April – April was a very busy school month. Not to many “exciting” things happened, but I really enjoyed learning how to work in a wet lab and assay biospecimens for my thesis.
May – May was a month for educational celebrations. My doctoral program hosted it’s 10 year celebration. I taught myself how to use photoshop and designed a logo for our program which I am quite proud of. My sisters graduated- one from community college and one from high school- and we enjoyed celebrating with our family.I was a guest on my brother’s comedy podcast- Sasquatch Armada, which you can check out at http://sasquatcharmaga.com or on iTunes. It is episode 13. Note that adult language and content matter will be present.
June – My time at the Cancer Center came to an end. I will miss the work there but am grateful for all I learned and look forward to continuing psychooncology work in the future. My parents came into town on a spontaneous road trip and we celebrated my birthday early at Cowfish, a really cool Charlotte restaurant where you can have burgerushi—sushi and burger fusion food. It was really good and it was so great to spend time with them. We celebrated my actual birthday at a waterpark,beating the heat by sliding down slides and chilling in the lazy river (my personal favorite). I also was fortunate to attend the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute for the second year in a row. This conference/retreat has come to be one of my favorites, and I enjoyed a transformative week in Garrison, NY surrounded by inspiring scientists and clinicians dedicated to the science and application of contemplative practice.
July – My sisters came into town at the end of June/beginning of July for the annual “Camp Cara”. We had an absolute blast hiking in Tennessee, riding coasters at Dollywood, whitewater rafting on the Nantahala River, soaking in Hot Springs, NC, and more. We received some sad news about a dear friend passing away and had a really nice memorial service here in his honor. Matt, you are missed.
August – I traveled to Denver, CO for the annual APA conference where I gave my first academic talk at a professional conference.I loved Denver and was happy to reconnect with a few friends and enjoy some of the amazing food the city has to offer. From Denver, I flew to Tucson, AZ for a whirlwind weekend reunion with one of my dear friends. We had an amazing time dancing at a country-western saloon, enjoying Prickly Pear margaritas, and eating cookies in a cabin at the top of a mountain. From Tucson, I flew back to Charlotte and headed to Holden Beach where Drew and I enjoyed a lovely mini-vacation with his family. We ate alot of seafood and did alot of swimming and I found my first full sand dollar during a long walk. It was a great way to end summer vacation. I also started my new practicum at the Salisbury VA, which I am loving.
September – We celebrated Labor Day at the Whitewater Center dancing to Robert Randolph and the Family Band. They were SO much fun and I got to dance on stage! The following weekend, we enjoyed an amazing visit from one of my best friends, ate yummy Indian food at Copper, and danced in circles at the Charlotte, NC Greek Festival. We also successfully completed our first escape room at Codescape Charlotte with some great friends.
October – My mother, sister, aunt, and two cousins came down to NC for a weekend and we had a blast exploring the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We headed to DC for my cousin’s beautiful wedding in early October and enjoyed a lovely afternoon at Windy Hill Orchard tasting cider and eating donuts with some of our best friends from Charlotte. We spent Halloween weekend in Colonial Williamsburg, taking in the sights and sounds and riding coasters at Busch Gardens. I was completely charmed by Williamsburg and never wanted to leave.
November – I successfully defended my thesis and became a Master. Drew and I celebrated by feasting on Hot Pot at the Boiling Point. We also enjoyed spending Thanksgiving with our families in Virginia.We were able to reconnect with our DC Grateful Dead family and catch the John K band at Gypsy Sallys, thanks to my dad!
December – I walked in my school’s graduation ceremony and was blessed to have both Drew and my family present to celebrate with us. It was the first time we had all been together since our wedding 6 years ago, and it was an amazing weekend. Christmas was another roller-coaster, we learned of the tragic passing of my cousin, Daniel, who is dearly missed. My father spent some time in the hospital, but is now healthy and well which we are thankful for. We enjoyed an amazing Christmas with my family, had a blast eating Chinese food, opening presents, and beating another escape room. We also had a really lovely Christmas with Drew’s family, playing a white elephant game and Big Bang monolopy. We both developed pretty nasty colds and celerated New Years Eve at home. We had our traditional lobster dinner and watched the Disco Biscuits boogie in the New Year.