Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jezebella on Tour, the fourth trip

The place: Lawrence, KS
the event: graduation
the hotel: Overland Park, KS

We flew into KC Friday afternoon, drove to Overland Park, got briefly lost (thanks Mapquest!!) then hotel-ward, then dinner at the Hereford House, a steak joint. My parents had to have steak in Kansas City, and thankfully Hereford House is a forward-looking 21st century steak house, so they had a lovely vegetarian polenta dish, with spinach, artichoke hearts, asparagus, and a nice light tomato sauce.

Saturday: lunch at Free State Brewing Company for a lovely garden burger and Ad Astra Ale ("the first beer brewed in Kansas since pioneering days"). Free State was a necessary, must-go, stop on the Lawrence tour. Then to my doctoral hooding, which was a whole lot of chaos that ultimately culminated in a very nice ceremony. Plus the robe with the big poufy sleeves and velvet stripe is way cool. The "hood" is blue & red & black, all satin & velvety. I graduated with my friend D., whose parents somehow managed to end up sitting right next to my parents for the hooding. Afterwards, dinner at my advisor's house with D. and another PhD graduate and our respective families & dissertation committees.

Sunday: Dear gawd, it was hot in all of those robes. We gathered at the top of the hill, waited what felt like many hours, processed down the hill and across the field and into the stadium and up the stairs:

5000 grads, 20,000 guests. It was quite pomp-y and circumstance-y. Also, very hot. Did I mention that it was hot? So, technically, it was only 83 degrees, but in black polyester & velvet, it's like center-of-the-sun hot in an unshaded stadium bleacher.

Monday: checkout, a ride around Kansas City. Ward Parkway is gorgeous, we drove past the Nelson Atkins Museum(alas, closed on Mondays) & saw the giant shuttlecocks by Claes Oldenburg. Thence to the Country Club Plaza, designed in 1922 as "the nation's first outdoor shopping district." Good architecture, free parking, and a ton of fountains. We had cheesecake for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, which I'm pretty sure would not have been approved by any cardiologist anywhere, ever.

So graduation was a long process and at moments, something of an ordeal, but altogether worth it. When I was melting in the heat, I thought "never again!" and then I realized: NEVER AGAIN. I'm done with school. You have to call me Dr. Jezebella now. Woot.

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