Sorry for the absence, y'all. Life's way too busy, but all in all, I'm kinda loving it. My time pretty much consists of work, school, bike training, and Detroit. It goes something like this:
I wake up at about 5:30 every weekday morning to do my bike workouts. (I wake up at 4am on Wednesdays to join teammates in Central Park). I try to be in bed by about 10:30pm. On the weekends, I do more and have finally started to actually race. I. Love. It.
I have classes two evenings a week, after work. I really like both of them, and the best part is that these may well be the very last classes I take ever. I'm done with coursework after this semester when I move on to my dissertation proposal and 2nd exams.
I think I've decided to do my dissertation on land tax/use policies and politics of race in Baltimore, Buffalo, Philadelphia, and Detroit. I plan on taking a look at the redevelopment of vacant property in a neighborhood in each city (Middle East, West Side, North Philly, and Midtown/Cass Ave, respectively). I may boil those down to just 2 cities and 2 neighborhoods, but not sure yet. And I think those are the right neighborhoods, but I'm not totally sure about that yet either. But, I'm working on my proposal this summer so all that will come together.
Work has been busy, but really interesting. I've been doing a lot of field research around the rise in mortgage foreclosures and it's been interesting to be involved in this topic from a community development perspective. I'm getting a little sick of my boss and some of my coworkers (who sometimes forget that even though they are 50+ years old, that they are not in high school anymore), but there's also a lot of great people around, too.
And, I've been spending a lot of time with a really great person in Detroit, and he here. He's awesome and has an 130lb American Bulldog with whom I love going for runs (and 20+ stair repeats!). I've been loving getting to know Detroit and think it's really a pretty great city with a lot going on historically, culturally, artistically and design-wise, etc. Economically, not so much, but there's some possibility there, too, I think.
Remember way back when I had the endoscopy? Well, the only possible diagnosis I got was IBS. It got a lot worse starting in March and I was in a lot of pain many afternoons and evenings. Finally, I pulled out all the stops and have been making all these changes to my diet. This includes eating a lot of soluble fiber, like oatmeal, cornmeal, white rice, root vegetables, white flour, potatoes, semolina pasta, chicken and turkey breast, and fiber supplements, and avoiding things like caffeine, dairy, beer, red meat, and wheat, and having to be very strategic about when to eat most fruits and vegetables (after eating soluble fiber foods). Amazingly, I've been better, so I'm sticking to it. Honestly, I feel pretty great physically. I can't believe that I am totally off caffeine! Yes, I miss coffee, but have been satisfied with lots of water, juice (sometimes mixed with either protein or fiber supplements), and herbal tea. I feel a little wussy about all this, but have been really feeling a huge difference. For instance, this past week, I was living off about 4-5 hours of sleep because I had a midterm and a lot of other schoolwork. And yeah, I was tired, but I felt great compared to other similarly busy sleep-deprived times in my life. It's strange, really.
Well, that's the essay update. Onward.