Lately, the highlight of my day has been checking the mail to find a handful of wedding RSVP cards. They have traveled far and wide and are slowly making their way back, one by one, many with little notes of excitement or sincere apologies for not being able to make it. Something about holding the tangible RSVP cards and watching the count of confirmed guests grow in my spreadsheet makes this whole endeavor seem real.

Life seems to come in highlights lately, so here are a few more.

The Marriage of Figaro. I am playing in the pit orchestra for this wonderful opera by Mozart, produced by the Dona Ana Lyric Opera at NMSU. I have had the privilege to play in four pits prior to this, as well as a number of semi-staged productions or choral pieces with orchestra. There is simply nothing like it. No, we don’t perform perfectly. Yes, my various body parts (arms, shoulders, back, neck, hands, wrists) are complaining. And yes, it has been a significant time suck – nearly every night this week. But I wouldn’t give up experiences like this for anything.

A weekend in Ruidoso. Two weekends ago, most of my fellow astronomy grad students and I spent the weekend at a “cabin” in the small mountain town of Ruidoso, some 2 1/2 hours away. It is an annual tradition, and was filled with such things as a hot tub, many games of pool, booze, breakfast burritos, Trivial Pursuit from the 1980s, Galaxy Quest, and various outdoor adventures. An altogether glorious retreat weekend! Oh, and I hand-addressed all 150-someodd wedding invitations, put stamps on them, and sealed them. That took the better part of a day.

A weekend in Minnesota. Last weekend, Mike and I took a whirlwind trip to Minneapolis/St. Paul for Mike’s cousin’s wedding. We found each other in the Phoenix airport, were met in Minneapolis by Mike’s parents, and enjoyed a very cold weekend. The wedding was great fun and I got to meet a bunch more of Mike’s family. Hopefully a bunch of them (and the newlyweds, Matt and Missy) will come to our wedding, too!

Spring Break is on the horizon. Or perhaps I should re-name it: “in which Meredith travels to Richland for a bridal shower and then to San Diego to visit Mike and check up on wedding things.” (Did I mention that planning a wedding takes a bit of time? And effort? But it’s also great fun.)

A summer in India. It’s true… I will be spending eight weeks in Bangalore, India as a participant in this program. I know what you’re thinking: “wait a second, Meredith, aren’t you getting married a month before this program starts and essentially going on a multi-week honeymoon?” Er, yes. Which is more or less what I told Mike, who said I should definitely accept the offer. You can’t say we don’t lead interesting lives.

And there you have it. I’ve also been working quite hard at grad school, believe it or not, which is why I haven’t written much over here. My days are certainly full and generally fulfilling. I will say it is a bit strange to be simultaneously planning a wedding, playing my viola, and attending school as a student and a TA. But I daresay Mike, astronomy, and music are the most important things in my life and it is only fitting that they conspire to fill my days. In a nutshell, life is good.