Wednesday, March 16, 2011

...Emerging from the Ashes.

Fitting title, no?

I suppose a better title would be "about to immolate," since we are once again headed into the heat of the year here in the Valley of the Sun. The winter was blissful, though -- no snow (which I honestly thought I would miss), and only three or four noticeably cold days. Joe is officially lamenting the end of sweater-vest weather for yet another year.

My first semester of PhD work ended well -- at least as well as I expected, and better in the case of my Shakespearean Fetishes course (oh, temporary bane of my existence). I am now once again in the fray, above the frenzy for just a moment to take a deep breath during spring break before plunging back into the mayhem of the final six-week push. My classes this semester are proving challenge, but extremely gratifying. I earnestly feel myself developing as a scholar. This semester afforded me the opportunity to meet with a very distinguished visiting scholar (W.B. Worthen, thank you very much), and I look forward to a shot at meeting Jean Howard when she visits in the fall. I presented at my first non-Idaho State/Utah State conference in February. I was the odd person out in my panel, since my presentation had nothing to do with Renaissance pirates, but my audience was patient and gracious despite an obvious lack of swashbuckling. I was even approached by a scholar from Princeton who found my work "interesting," and although our promises to get wine and discuss our research before the conference's end never came to fruition, it was nice to get an academic pat on the back.

I'm teaching two sections of English 102 this semester, which I assumed would be a piece of cake since I've taught two sections simultaneously before, but the combination of the early times, somewhat frequent early morning migraines, and a disturbing apathy displayed by my 9:00 AM class (ask them about all the lovely homework they had over spring break -- *tsk tsk*) has caused some extreme wear this time around. Perhaps I'm still somewhat "jet-lagged" after fall. I've applied for a much-coveted summer teaching position here at ASU, but Joe and I have been judiciously socking away money in case that doesn't happen, so that our summer fun will be fully funded anyway.

Speaking of Joe, the man has become a home-brewing machine! I bought him a home brewing kit for Christmas -- a gift which I assumed he would enjoy on a occasional basis, but I am delighted that he seems to like well enough to brew approximately once every two weeks. We've enjoyed some fine pale ales, an interpretation of 1554 (my favorite college beer), Rogue's Shakespeare Stout, and a variation of the same called Bottom's Dream, a molasses-spiked red ale inspired by Alabama football, and my very own raspberry-flavored heffeweissen for those toasty Tempe afternoons. Needless to say, there is always beer at Casa de Kimbro.

We've enjoyed a pretty steady stream of visitors since we've arrived here in Phoenix -- something we greatly appreciate since our schedules rarely coincide with one another to allow us to get away. We're hoping to make a pilgrimage back to the Gem State in late July/early August, and visit the Tennessee branch of the family sometime earlier in the summer. I imagine us as refugees of the heat...

Rest assured, blog readers, I am alive and well. Just insanely, but happily, busy.

More to come soon!