Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013: Much To Be Grateful For

Tis the time of year to enumerate the many things for which one is grateful, and I do have much on this list. I have decided this year to declare success, as my career and family and everything else is pretty terrific these days.
  • I am very grateful for my new and old friends in Ottawa.  1.5 years into the move, and I am so very glad that we went West (1.5 hours).  It was the first time we moved some place where we knew a few folks.  The relatively new poker game at Chez Saideman has both these folks and new friends, and I have enjoyed our encountered elsewhere in Ottawa--especially in the Byward Market with its good food and beer. 
  • I am very thankful for our new neighborhood.  The neighbors are very neighborly, and I have enjoyed watching the herd of small kids play all the time.  
  • I am thankful for the new job.  I am enjoying the interactions with students who already have one foot in the policy world, as well as the conversations with faculty engaged in various aspects of International Affairs. 
  • I am thankful for my new commute.  I am exposed to the elements for 1.5 minutes each way--the walk to and from the parking garage on campus.  The drive is usually quite pretty as well, up and down the Rideau Canal/River. 
  • I am enjoying being in a national capital, meeting with so many interesting folks engaged in making foreign and defense policy.  The Byward has been very good for these interactions as well.  I have also had the chance to present my research to folks working in government, so the "justify your work on the grant application" process is much easier.  Also, it helps to answer the "are you just talking to other academics" question nicely.
  • I am thankful for the internet, even as it can be a time suck.  Sure, I only placed 2nd in TwitterFightClub 2013, but I have made heaps of new virtual friends.  I have increasingly had the chance to meet these virtual friends in real life, and I have enjoyed those experiences very much. 
  • I am thankful that my third book is done and soon will be out and about (you can pre-order your Winterfest present now!).  I am very grateful not only Dave Auerswald's hard work and creativity on this project but his patience with me.  I am also very thankful to my other co-authors, past, present and future, for their work and insights on the projects we have shared.
  • I am grateful that the spin-off book is nearly complete.
  • I am really enjoying the travels with Teen Spew as we check out colleges and universities near and far.  Of course, this means that next year I will have less to be thankful for as I will no longer be able to tease or be teased by her.  And she is still pretty cuddly.  Her new phase of life will be most exciting, but it will have a lot less of me and my wife in it.  Still, it has been a fun ride for nearly eighteen years, and I am thankful for who she has become--a pretty outstanding person who keeps surprising me.
  • I am very thankful that nearly all of my friends and family are quite healthy and happy these days.  My friend fighting leukemia keeps filling me with pride and optimism as she fights so very bravely.  I am lucky in that I only have one friend (that I know of) waging such a war.  One of the boons of the college tour has been to see some friends and family that we do not see that much.  
All in all, it has been a very good year since the last time I gobbled turkey after a long drive south. 

May your Thanksgiving spew not just food but fun as well.

Oh, and one last bit of thanks: I am thankful I am not a grad student these days.  I enjoyed my time in San Diego, but I don't think grad school is quite as much fun as it used to be.  Sorry ;)

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