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April 24, 2006

Thesis updates, getting out the grill, and countdown to Trader Joe's!

Well, it's been awhile since I've blogged, and truth be told, I was in a bit of a funk following my prospectus meeting. I think one of the most interesting things about this university is how different each department seems to be in what they do or expect for the dissertation process. At this point, I have nearly 100 pages written, while I understand that other departments require much less. At any rate, since my last posting, I've made some changes to my degree program and replaced two committee members with one. My new committee feels so much better than my old committee. Now, I actually think I can get this thing done. So, onward to getting IRB approval!

Today was an absolutely beautiful day! I spent the afternoon sweeping our little deck in the backyard and putting some of our houseplants outside to get some sun (hopefully, this wasn't too optimistic on my part). In the process, C decided to haul out the BBQ and we did our first grilling of the season. It was a good thing we had some salad and fresh strawberries to accompany our "feast" as we were both so excited about having the grill out and using it that we forgot to pay attention to what we were cooking. Everything was a bit more charred than one would want grilled food to be. Nonetheless, we ate happily outside and fed the blackened mushroom caps to the dogs. They didn't seem to care.

I have not yet revealed that I am a serious fan of Trader Joe's. This is, perhaps, the one thing I miss most about Portland (next to missing my friends, of course). Sure, Trader Joe's makes their employees wear Hawai'ian shirts, thereby creating a "forced" party atmosphere everyday. But, they've got lots of good things, including inexpensive nuts and dried fruits, as well as lots of other sundries that I just can't get enough of (the kalamata tapenade is the best ever, in my opinion). Just ask any of my Portland friends who have come to visit me lugging an extra suitcase full of lightly salted sunflower seeds (C's favorite), dried mangoes, trail mix, olive spreads, and various other delicious treats. (Yeah, I realize we can get sunflower seeds here, but TJs ones taste better. Trust me!) I have spent years here longing for TJs. I've spent precious thesis writing time scouring the internet to find the closest TJs (Chicago). I've heard others note the absence of TJs in a metro that has so many grocery choices (yet none of them wholly satisfying). Other TJs fans had mused that the cities probably wouldn't get a TJs as long as you can't buy wine in the grocery stores. So, I had been somewhat skeptical about rumors that TJs was planning a move into St. Louis Park. When a friend told me one just opened in his hometown of St. Louis, I figured that was more like it. Why did I have to move to a city that didn't have a Trader Joe's? Well, my skepticism can come to an end--the first MN Trader Joe's will be opening on Excelsior Blvd in St. Louis Park on May 15th (or at least that's what they told me when I called to find out). Only three short weeks to wait! And, then you know where I'll be--no dissertating that day--I'll be in line with my sunflower seeds, a jar of olive spread, and probably a package of frozen tamales. Let's just hope I've turned in my IRB proposal before then.

Posted by chri1010 at 12:15 AM | Comments (1162)