Wow, so I’ve had a crazy, crazy past several weeks :). In a very good way!
* On November 17th I PASSED MY CANDIDACY EXAMS!! I took my oral exam and defended my written portion plus my prospectus for two hours and I passed! All that work and reading paid off – I subdued the fierce dragon :). This means I’m officially a PhD candidate and ABD (which stands for “all but dissertation,” meaning I’ve thus far completed everything necessary to get my PhD except for the dissertation itself.) Now on to the last, biggest part – writing!
* Then just after that, on November 19th, I TURNED THIRTY. My gosh, that still feels bizarre to even write. My birthday was quite lovely though :). It’s the beginning of a whole new decade! It’s admittedly a bit daunting but eh, I think it’s okay. I’ve had several people tell me that the thirties are the best decade of all so I’m excited for the new adventure :).
* And last but certainly not least… I ACQUIRED TWO KITTENS. Yes, you read that right :P.
A friend from school found them outside and I just fell in love with them. I knew they were meant for me :). Their names are Grimalkin (Grimmy, the grey/cream/brown/black tabby girl) and Pyewacket (Pye, the all black boy) – of course I had to go very folklore-y! “Grimalkin” is the name of a legendary Scottish faerie cat (and also likely the inspiration for the witch’s familiar Gray-Malkin in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.) “Pyewacket” is the name an accused witch in the early modern period stated was the name of one of her familiars and also the name of the witch’s cat in the film Bell, Book, and Candle (which, for the record, I loved until the very end when she has to give up her powers for love… what the heck?! I *hate* that motif! But the cat is still awesome :P.)
Grimmy is very delicate but rambunctious, totally fae-like, with eyes that change color from this opal-y green to a light amber and back again. She’s gray/cream/tan with black stripes and spots and “tarnished” brown ears, is super fast, and has an adorable little “old-lady” meow (another way her name suits her perfectly, as “grimalkin” can mean old woman too!) She loves to climb and she’ll even jump up and sit on my shoulder sometimes! In fact, she is very like an Egyptian Mau in everything from color to personality, which makes me think there must be some ancestor from that breed at least! Pye is a perfect Halloween witch’s cat – all black with orange eyes! He loves to play with anything long and string-like and he’ll do crazy jumps and twists while he’s playing. He tends to be a bit shyer than Grimmy, but he’s getting braver now that he’s getting bigger. Breed-wise he is very close to a Bombay – we’ve even been calling him a little panther, as he is quite big for his age and has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard (and it’s almost always going!) Obviously they are the perfect kittens for me, I can’t even begin to describe how adorable and sweet they are :).
I took them with me to Virginia for Christmas and they were good little travelers too! Mimzer, my family cat at home who I adore (I’ve posted pictures of him before!), is trying very hard to be a good mentor to them – though they do sometimes drive him crazy I fear. They like to… swarm?… and surround him, trying to study and play with the “big cat.” He looks at them sometimes like “… ? What ARE you??” but I actually think he’s been pretty lonely since we lost our dear dog Annie so I think/hope he’ll warm up to them more and more and eventually really enjoy having two little minions to boss around :P.
A few other things:
* I was one of the top referrers to the Hedgespoken project, which finished with £30,816! Thanks so much to those of you who took my word for it and checked out the project – I’m so happy to have pointed a few of you to it! Being a top referrer also means I get a special print from the project too, which is really cool :D.
* Bewitching photographs inspired by Lithuanian forests (where my uncle’s family is from!)
* This TED talk video that my boyfriend Josh found and showed me is crazy inspiring: Jane McGonigal: The Game That Can Give You 10 Extra Years of Life. I know she’s not really doing anything related to my own stuff at all but I’m just so psyched to see someone out there doing this amazing, unconventional work (with a PhD in Performance Studies no less!)
Have a beautiful, magical new year everyone – it’s going to be a great one! :)!