Saturday, March 30, 2013

Doctor Who!!!!

A picture is worth a thousand words.

What follows may be my longest ever blog post.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

And we're off!

Here we go - a massive tour of the UK and Ireland as a special treat for total Anglophile Maddy's spring break. In about nine days, we are seeing: Cardiff ("Doctor Who" Experience), Dublin, Belfast (Easter mass in Gaelic? Yes, please!), Glasgow, Edinburgh (cafes where Rowling wrote), London, Oxford (Harry Potter tour and the pub where Lewis and Tolkien wrote), and Brighton.
I'll take exhaustion with a side of fabulous, please!
I'm not sure what my Internet situation will be throughout these journeys...I have the feeling Facebook is going to be overwhelmed with Instagram photos, but you all may have to wait a little bit. We shall see.
For now, though - pip pip, cheerio!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

So long, Norwich

Yesterday, I had a great brainstorming session with a group of folks on reimagining the Hydro Cycle, working to better include social, economic, and political issues to the standard diagram we all learn in primary school.
Today, I head into campus for a reception for North American students hosted by my office to help them meet up, meet us, and reflect on how the year has gone and how UEA can better market to American students.
Tomorrow, I'm off to London for a grand series of adventures. This probably means fewer blog posts, but considerably more entertaining and picturesque ones. Maddy, a sixteen-year-old friend of the family, arrives into Heathrow Thursday for her spring break...and off we go on a whirlwind tour of Ireland and the UK. Hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen. The picture stream on Facebook is going to be obnoxious.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Happy Easter

To Becca...from Linda! Charlie will mock me for how many separate posts I have made on this topic, but it really was delightful to be completely surprised by a care package from Kevin's mom with my favourite American goodies and a beautiful Easter card. The gummies will be a critical component of my paper writing this evening...

Picture 1: What's this surprise? Ooh! From Linda!
Picture 2: GUMMIES.
Picture 3: No, no. I don't think this is mixed messaging at all.

Friday, March 22, 2013

And we're done...

...kind of.
All assignments for DEV-based coursework are turned in. I know have a three-hour exam on 23 April and a 10,000 word dissertation to write over the summer.  But I am done with term!

This is not to say I don't have things to do. Currently on the docket:
  • Paper for the Food Security Conference at Oxford, due 1 April;
  • Facilitating a brainstorming workshop on rethinking the hydro cycle, happening Monday in and need of strategic thinking about processes and methods;
  • Helping lead a focus group/pizza party for American students at UEA with the Recruitment Office, happening Tuesday;
  • Getting some Excel data in line for the International Office.
 This, plus a good number of errands, needs to be done by next Wednesday - at which time, I'm beginning a month of being out of town for fun and academic travel purposes.

We'd hate to have a dull moment!

World Water Day

Today is World Water Day - I urge you all to spend some time reflecting on one of our most vital resources.
The programme I participated in on Water and Enterprise several weeks ago got a shout out in local press: I was present at the Pledge Signing yesterday and enjoyed having the chance to chat with local politicians and Anglian Water leaders. And, of course, it was great having a mini-reunion with some of the Water & Enterprise folks - and hearing about what work is happening in the local schools!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Baking Business?

My bringing homemade truffles to work has resulted in a commission to make wedding favours for a colleague in July. I'll be getting paid to make and package 320 petit fours. This sounds like a total lark to me, but it's nice to know I can just become Julia Child if academia falls through. ;)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Lovely Tuesday

I was magically unscheduled yesterday - it's the last week before break, so fewer and fewer seminars and lectures are happening. I do, however, have plenty to do - a game decision aid model for water security and a paper for the Oxford Food Security Conference are due all too soon.
And so, yesterday, I had my favourite kind of day: I stayed in bed all day with a movie playing in the background and typed away on my laptop. My game is now done; I simply need to write the accompanying report, which I also outlined yesterday.
It got to the point where 11 pm hit, I realised I had been working straight since 9:30 am, but I still didn't want to stop - my brain was happy to keep going! I did, however, stop, since my eyes were drooping and I have a 9 am today.
Still to do: Oxford paper. I'm presenting at the DEV Research Seminar on Friday, during which I should talk for 30-50 I should probably get to that eventually!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's!

I have, for the first time, really celebrated St. Patrick's Day.
Brunch, anyone?

I invited a few friends over and we showed Merey what an American brunch looks like. Kind of. Mostly, we just used today and our Kazakhstani flatmate as an excuse to cook a lot!

We had:
  • Green dyed meringues with green Bailey's whipped cream
  • Potato, yam, and Guinness soup
  • Hashbrowns
  • Roasted potatoes
  • French toast with Bailey's and orange
  • Scrambled eggs with Bailey's and orange
  • Sauteed spinach in garlic and lemon
  • Bacon (British style, though, because I didn't know better when purchasing them, not being a bacon girl)
  • Beef patties (for our Muslim flatmate, but mostly because Audrey's meatball recipe is really good and they went well with the soup)
  • Guinness mousse
  • Red wine, Bailey's, Guinness, and virgin truffles
  • Mimosas

Friday, March 15, 2013

Oh, happy day!

In the world of happy news:
Edinburgh has fully waived all conditions (silly bureaucratic ones, but obnoxious to deal with), and I am completely accepted, definitely going, and needn't do anything else!

LLM in International Security, here I come. find housing for next year.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


A very bittersweet occurrence is happening in our flat...our beloved housecleaner, Anca, has been offered a great job in London. We are ecstatic for her, but we will definitely miss her!
We're sending her off with a gift basket of cookies and trail mix. Naturally, this required five straight hours of baking and the production of what I'm pretty sure was more than a gross of cookies (as in, a dozen dozen...I'm pretty sure we made upwards of 200 cookies today).

I refuse to comment on how many I'm pretty sure we ate tonight.  Suffice to say it was plenty.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


I have been (almost unnecessarily) productive today.
  • Campus tour given to visiting faculty from a Japanese university.
  • Seminar on the Nile Basin, stakeholder participation, and scenarios attended.
  • Online presentation on student life in the UK given on behalf of the British Council and the University of East Anglia.
  • 2500 words assessing politics, participation, and the consideration of alternatives in the Red Sea-Dead Sea Conveyance Study Program completed and submitted.
  • Meeting for a working group on Rethinking the Hydro Cycle scheduled.
  • Laundry put away.
  • Dishes washed.
  • Room cleaned.
  • Report on Hull lecture written for the Marshall Commission.
  • Errands for the 2012 Marshall Class completed.
And now, it is most definitely time for bed.

Bonne nuit!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Coursework Rejuvenated!

I was feeling very "bleh" about a piece of coursework I need to write tonight...and then happened to review my blog notes from my summer in Israel in 2010. The sinkholes coursework we did is directly relevant - and reading my blog got me into the emotion of the thing once again.
So, bam - motivation to do coursework.
I shall report back when the 2,500 words of assessment on the Red Sea-Dead Sea Conveyance Project process is done.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Mothering Sunday!

Here in the UK, "Mum's Day" - more formally Mothering Sunday - is held the Fourth Sunday of Lent.
That would be today.
So happy Mum's Day from across the Pond!

We made cards in Sunday Club at the Octagon today.  Consider this my good wishes while cheaply saving on postage, Mum:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Back to the grind...

After my lovely detour to Hull that greatly confused me on Thursday (making me think I had just had a weekend), it is back to the "humdrum" of everyday life.
Had a fabulous visit from a PhD student in water law at Cambridge. Mark, Bruce, and I organised for her to come give a research seminar in DEV on the Nile Basin and water allocation. I got some time alone with her to chat re: dissertation; that was very helpful.

And write an essay that is due next week.  :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I had no idea what was in Hull.
As I am beginning to realise is the case in virtually every English town: Much more than most people give it credit for in everyday discourse.

William Wilberforce's birthplace.
The biggest parish church in England.
A port town history with maritime museums.
A pub hosting the Plotting Parlour, where Yorkshire governors planned to bar the King from the city, helping spark the Civil War.
And several other delightful things!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Today, I am off to the very vibrant and bustling town of Hull.
I actually have no idea what's in Hull. Maybe it's the world's neatest small city.
There is a university there - thus my visit. I, and a few Marshall mates, are presenting on the Changing Role of the American Presidency - whatever that means! :)
Training into Hull tonight, since it's not exactly super accessible from Norwich. (Read: I have to ride three separate trains to get there.)
Lecture is tomorrow at 10, tea and coffee networking to follow.
Too much fun for words, people!! :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

A new citation!

Today’s lecture in “Tools and Skills in Environment and Development” was on Frames and Reframing, exploring how participants and stakeholders have different (conflicting) dominant discourses and lenses that impact how they see and process information. People tend to focus on information that fits well into their “frame” and ignore information that doesn’t. This isn’t anything new – but I now have a good academic reference and framework to use in the paper I am writing for Oxford’s Food Security Conference in April.  Hurrah!  Love it when lectures coincide with other things going on in life…

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Gorgeous Sunday Afternoon in Norwich

This Sunday has been utterly delightful and a rather lovely mix of productivity and relaxation.

This morning at the Octagon, we had nearly 20 kids in Kids' Club!  I get to help with the kiddos once a month or so, and it was my lucky day!  We did some crafts to celebrate springtime coming and played with lots of train track (the same kind Bubba and I used to spend delightful numbers of hours with that were so popular in Granna's lab!).
I came home and got a good bit of planning work done on some intellectual projects I'm juggling at the moment.
And then, off to Quidditch practice (I don't go regularly, but I was long overdue for a meet-up with a mate, and went to hold the hoops).
We then both attended a mate's BBQ - the sun was absolutely gorgeous; it was really nice to be outside for a good bit!  There are some pits by the UEA Broad (lake).  Lovely day with lovely people!
Laura and I adjourned inside when it got a bit chilly for "Doctor Who" viewing.  Found some specials I hadn't seen before, so that was truly excellent.
Now, making veggies for dinner and getting a bit more work done.

DEV Research Seminar

I'm giving a talk at UEA 22 March to help prep for my Oxford Food Conference's official, since it's now online.
I should probably write that paper someday.  If only I didn't have these silly things called classes getting in the way of my learning...

Saturday, March 2, 2013


are not fun when one has multiple scholarships, a home, a foreign address, multiple jobs, multiple forms of "non-employee compensation", and is 22.
But I think I'm done.
So...take that, world.  Can't keep me down.

I would like to state that I am in complete support, at this moment, of just charging way more taxes on the immediate cost of goods (with "luxury" goods having bigger tax rates) and not doing any form of filed tax.  We'd save ridiculous amounts of stress each year, and US governments would save heaven only knows how much in regulation and checking up on all of these things.
But I am obviously greatly oversimplifying.  Just sayin', though...'twould seem to be so much simpler.

Happy Birthday, Kurt!

UEA's Fulbright Scholar lives in the flat across the hall from us.  Our flats trade off dinner parties - which involves moving our tables, chairs, and dishes back and forth constantly.  Haha.
Wednesday was Kurt's birthday; he hosted a party Friday night to celebrate.
Since he's recently made the decision to go vegetarian, we had delightful black bean and sweet potato burger patties, roasted squash and taters, a great salad, and homemade salsa.  And LOTS of dessert. Merey made chocolate cake, Kurt made peanut butter cookies and fruity granola bars, and there was also birthday cake.
I'm not sure if I should be eating for the next month...

Friday, March 1, 2013

Glee Concert

One of my mates from the "Water & Enterprise" Programme is a part of the UEA Glee Club. They had a concert last night. I attended the "State of Fifths" and "Spartan Dischords" a cappella groups' concerts pretty regularly while at MSU, but this was quite a bit different.  There was a band, for one - of course, since they're not a cappella. But their solos were just that - solos, with only them, and maybe one or two back-up singers on stage, and the band playing everything.  It was fun. Two notes, though:
1. Not watching "Glee" anymore and not attending the Fifths or Dischords concerts has moved me right back into pop culture loserdom. Had no idea what was being sung most of the time, even as everyone around me was mouthing the words.  Ah, well.
2. Their programme listed song titles and soloists, but not composers/original performers. It is not fair of a group to perform "For Good" from "Wicked" and "Fine, Fine Line" from "Avenue Q" while having "Tonight" on the programme...and having it not be the song from "West Side Story".  Sigh.
But an enjoyable evening nonetheless, and a nice excuse for a "Water & Enterprise" reunion!