Saturday was my graduation from my program and let me say: I was grinning like an idiot. That day was exciting, difficult, exhausting, and rewarding on so many levels. As many of you know, I also moved out of my house. That was supposed to be Friday, but instead became Saturday at 9:30pm.
Regardless, I was lucky to be celebrating this occasion with my boyfriend, my parents, and my three best friends, as well as other close family members. Graduating was wonderful, as expected. I was completely blown away by the graduate student speaker, as well as Holly Gordon, our commencement speaker. I was less pleased that the Provost mispronounced both my first AND middle name. Believe me, we all joked about it and rolled eyes after the ceremony. It was a beautiful day and I could not have asked for more. Even the prospect of having to return to my home for final packing, moving, and cleaning could not damper the happiness that had me on a high.
We finally packed up the house, cleaned like hell (this refrigerator has never been cleaner, short of being brand new), and made our last run to storage. We hit the road north to Rohnert Park around 9:45pm and found ourselves staying at the sketchiest motel in existence. The room was non-smoking, but had a hint of cigarette smoke, there was a tube of lipstick and a wad of gum shoved down the drain of the sink, the shower light was on disco mode, and I was certain that I would pull back the sheets to find pubes (luckily, I didn't). Partway through the night, Stephen woke up to turn on the air, only to remove the air filter by accident. Needless to say, we did not stay for breakfast the next morning and hightailed it out of there to join some friends in Healdsburg for brunch.
After brunch with our friends and their 2 totally awesome sons, we back-tracked to Santa Rosa to catch the final stage of the Amgen Tour of California. Stephen was such a sport, letting me give him a crash course in professional cycling and putting up with my geeking out over all the gear on display and the racers as they zipped through downtown on their final two laps. He even went so far as to put me on his shoulders so I could see Andy Schleck ride by. I was basically in heaven. We met with Bob, met some of his family, and then grabbed lunch at 3rd Street AleWorks. Kirie, a very close friend from undergrad, joined us for lunch; it was so great to catch up with her. As always, it felt like no time had passed.
We continued north to Willits, at which point I realized I had severely burned my shoulders over the two days of constantly being in the sun with no coverage or protection whatsoever. I'm now convinced that this is one of those burns that serves as the tipping point for cancer. It's bad enough that raising my arms above shoulder levels crinkles the skin and hurts like hell. No amount of aloe vera is going to make this burn go away.
The hotel in Willits was monumentally nicer, as well as the drive up there. Halfway between Santa Rosa and Willits, the burger, fries, and beer kicked in and I was out cold within a minute of switching seats with Stephen. Twenty minutes in the hot tub and two chapters of leisure reading (Sex at Dawn) and I was out cold again.
Despite waking up at 6am for who knows how long, I was able to sleep in until 9am. Absolutely unheard of. We drove through the redwoods to the ocean at Ft. Bragg, had lunch in a cove (including a deep fried Twinkie), and stopped at Cabrillo Lighthouse before heading to Orr Hot Springs. A lot of driving, but easily one of the most relaxing days I've had in AGES.
It still hasn't dawned on me that I'm finished with school and that I won't be returning in the fall. I'm in limbo: taking some time off and recovering before heading back to work and entering the job-search market. Fingers crossed that something comes my way that proves beneficial and exciting!
Tomorrow, I'll be heading back to Oakland to drop Stephen off for a week of work, before heading to South Lake Tahoe to see my cousin for a few days. I'll try to be better about the blogging, but I'd like to spend most of my time reading and finishing Cameron's graduation present. I just need to remember to put on sunscreen.