A BLOG ABOUT A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving friends and family!

I hope you all have a nice meal to eat and loving company to share it with today.

Brendan and I are in Austin with my parents and brother, Graham, and will also be sharing the holiday with family friends. We'll be having Thanksgiving at Graham's house this year, and he has been working hard on prepping all week.

I have an overwhelming amount to be grateful for:

Brendan and I have been in good health this year, and we are glad to now live in a country where all Americans will have access to doctors.

We are glad to have a safe and comfortable place to live and two full time jobs. I am enjoying my new job at Midland College and all of the roles I'm playing (tutor coordinating for the writing center, advising Sigma Kappa Delta, and taking students through IRW II to COMP I), as well as working with Brendan. It has been a productive semester, with participating in a conference and presenting at a faculty colloquium as well as taking on overload, and teaching American Literature and serving on a committee for the first time, but I am thankful to be keeping busy. I feel lucky to be a teacher. I learn SO much from my students and genuinely enjoy talking about writing and literature everyday; I enjoy the challenge that comes with teaching and the constant growth and change that it necessitates.

 I am exceptionally grateful for my friends, who make life so much better. Many of my friendships are well over a decade strong, and it is incredible to have friends from all parts of my life. I am thankful for the lunches, the bad television marathons, the phone calls, craft nights, evenings out, and motivations to go workout...in every way, friends, old and new, make our lives brighter.


I am thankful that we can travel. We saw so many wonderful places this past year: Connecticut, Houston, Las Vegas...in Hawaii: Maui, Kaua'i, and the Big Island, and New Mexico, Ohio, and New Orleans. Seeing all this world has to offer is an amazing opportunity.

I am thankful for those two mischief makers, Lola and Zoe. Loving and caring for them these past five years has taught me a lot.



I am thankful for my family, which grew exponentially on July 5th. Having so many people to love and care for us and to love and care for in return is a wonderful thing. In 2013, our families grew too as my cousin Stephen married Casey and Brendan's cousin Molly married John.





Speaking of weddings, I am thankful for ours. It was amazing to see our families come together and have fun with each other. We will remember that weekend all of our lives.



And finally, I am thankful that I married the love of my life this year. He is truly the greatest gift in my life.



Happy Thanksgiving everyone! 

<3 S, B, L&Z

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hawaiian State of Mind

Yesterday, we enjoyed a day off, due to wintery weather conditions in Midland that had schools closing. This morning, we woke up at 6:30 to a power outage that had been in effect for over four hours. Needless to say, it was pretty chilly, and as we dressed for work in the dark, the outside temperature was 39 degrees. Looking at the unlit Christmas tree, my mind drifted back to our honeymoon in Hawaii...

I imagined the warm sun, swimming with the sea turtles, and the most happy three weeks of my life. After teaching classes this morning (Tuesdays are my work from home after teaching day), I returned to a still powerless and cold apartment. I knew I needed something to put me in a Hawaiian state of mind.

Enter the nail salon. It was warm, I could put my feet in hot wax, and have hot towels wrapped around my legs. Sign. Me. Up:



I picked a Strawberry Margarita pink that reminded me of our escapades on the islands:


I came home in these salon flip flops despite the 49 degree weather...oh the things we do for beauty. Now, I have a little bit of Hawaii to keep me warm. And the power is back on, so that helps too.

I'll be answering student emails, grading quizzes, doing laundry and packing today...and all the while, dreaming of Mai Tais on the beach and nights in the rainforest.

Here's to whatever keeps your thoughts warm when it's cold outside!

<3 S, B, L&Z

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Getting Our Holiday On

We've had a very icy weekend, complete with icicles and power loss. 



So, there was nothing to do, but stay in and decorate for Christmas: 

(check out our newest ornaments): 

First Married Christmas 

Just Maui'd 
Catch up on our zzzs: 

Lola's big yawn
And make and eat comfort food: 

Stacy's mini mac and cheeses 
All in all, a delightful weekend so far. We normally don't decorate until after Thanksgiving, but just couldn't resist the charm of thinking of Christmas over this iced in weekend. I've even begun my holiday shopping, and there's already one present under the tree. 

We hope your weekend is full of charm as well, whatever you may be doing. 

<3 S, B, L&Z  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Crunch Time

My life this week resembled a plate of pasta that was microwaved for too long and exploded everywhere.

However, pressure and self-imposed deadlines have always equaled productivity in my world, so even though the days have been insanely busy, they have also led to getting students their essays back, finishing a story, and completing my wedding album, along with meeting other mini-goals.

When yoga was canceled Wednesday night, I seized the opportunity to take a mid-week chill out with my friend, Kristen. Drinking wine and watching bad television ensued.

I also allowed myself to read an entire book for fun this past week. I'd been waiting for Marisha Pessl's next novel for years since Special Topics in Calamity Physics changed my life, and Night Film was worth the wait. Though I wasn't completely enthused by the last 100 pages, I am in complete awe of the believably tangible yet absolutely fantastical world Pessl created and her page turner plot. How long must I wait for the next book?

Tomorrow will prove to be a long day: I'm teaching, presenting at the faculty colloquium, doing a social event with Sigma Kappa Delta, grading, and finishing Fahrenheit 451, but sometimes, it is the crazy weeks that make you realize how interesting and fulfilling life can be.

I'm proud of what my students accomplished this week, and I think we could all use a weekend. Though Midland was 80 degrees today, we are expecting snow tomorrow morning. This desert life keep us on our toes!

Happy birthday to my newest Mom today!


Hope everyone is surviving their own "crunch times!"
<3 S, B, L&Z

Sunday, November 10, 2013

No News is Good News

We've been keeping busy at work, which accounts for the absence of blog posts. I've been interviewing tutors, planning honor society meetings, and working on a story in addition to all the normal stuff that comes with teaching. The good news? I'm teaching the last paper in Comp I and reading the last novel with American Lit. students, which are both signs that we're nearing finals. Of course, the next month will be busy, but I love that there is so much to look forward to with the upcoming holiday season. 

We've had a nice weekend...our third weekend in a row of actually staying home! Brendan made me this awesome Japanese soup on Friday night, and we watched the finale of Master Chef Junior, my guilty pleasure favorite T.V. show. 


Sharing the last bottle of wedding wine meant I was asleep on the couch by 8:30. Oh well. 

Yesterday, we took a walk at the 1-20 Nature Preserve, but unfortunately, every mosquito in town had the same idea. We were lucky enough to run into some fellow trail walkers that let us use some of their bug spray. We also saw Ender's Game at the new movie theater in Midland, Cingery. I loved that we could reserve our seats, show up at exactly the start time, and still have an awesome place to sit. However, the downside was that this place was packed to the maximum capacity on Saturday night, so traffic and getting to our theater was insane. People were ordering plates of food...but it was not like Alamo Drafthouse where waiters come and take your order, and instead, you had to wait in a huge line just to order your food and then go back to pick it up when it's ready. I don't think we'd ever plan to order dinner there. Austin has spoiled me with Alamo Drafthouse. Still, I'm glad Midland has another theater, and I would be excited to experience Cingery again during a matinee or week night. 

Today, we ate breakfast with our friends Jill & Ryan and their sweet baby at The Egg and I in Odessa. It was most delicious. Then, we knocked out all of our grocery shopping for the week. I've also been productive working on writing and other projects this weekend, so all in all, it has been a success. 

We hope your weekend was a great one too! 
<3 S, B, L&Z 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

A Weird Milestone

When every couple moves in together, they immediately assess what they need, and what they already have too much of. For Brendan and I, two things fell into the later category when we moved in this apartment in August of 2011: little tables and dryer sheets. A friend helping us move asked us if we were collecting little tables...no, we just happened to have 11 small tables between the two of us (believe it or not, we actually found a place for all 11). We also had about 280 dryer sheets. I was convinced we'd never have to buy them again. But last week, I realized we didn't have a single one left, and this week, they were on our grocery list.

A lot of things happened as we went through those three boxes of dryer sheets. Somewhere in there, we got engaged and then married. I started a new job...three times! We went from being absolutely broke to having a savings account. Lola and Zoe went from 28 to 36 (in cat years). We did a LOT of laundry. I was literally laughing when I told Brendan "You will never guess what we just ran out of." He guessed it.

In other news, we've had a pretty productive and low key weekend. The fridge is full, and now that we have some dryer sheets, I'm about to do laundry while Brendan finishes dinner. I'm so thankful for the extra hour today: I wish that happened every weekend! We're addicted to listening to This American Life lately, and we literally are devouring the episodes. Radio is actually more entertaining to me than television lately. Though I do love to watch this on Friday night.

Tonight, it's more reading and writing, as we head into week 11. On Thursday, I got the point where I literally finished all my grading...then on Friday, my students took a quiz. Sigh. That's why teachers say, ain't no break until the big break!

Have you hit any "weird milestones" lately? Let us know!
<3 S, B, L&Z

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A Reflection on Difficult Times

Reading Grapes of Wrath with my American Lit class this week has me thinking about all sorts of hardships that people meet, and how they cope with them.

I'm sure most people are familiar with the novel, which follows the Joad family as they migrate west to find work during the Great Depression. I find this book stunning and compelling, and it brings me a greater understanding and awareness about my grandparents' generation.

The novel makes me stop and think about difficult times. Do we have them if all of our basic needs are met? Can times be said to be difficult without the absence of food, shelter, and work?

I think so. I think difficulty is a great part of life. I mean great in that difficulty makes up a large part of our lives, but also in that I think difficulty is what helps us appreciate our lives and inspires us to make more of them.

I'm not drawing a direct comparison, but I did think today of when Brendan and I moved west. We weren't moving here with just hopes, as we had already been offered work, but it still felt strange leaving behind everything we had known to go to a strange place. Those first few weeks here weren't easy. Even with the support system that comes with a great relationship, we still face difficulties, both together and as individuals. I think we have to embrace that truth in order to feel any kind of satisfaction in life. Yes, it will be hard sometimes, and we will be better and more empathetic people for having gone through those times.

It was strange, but after reflecting on this this afternoon, I saw a link come up on my Facebook page. It was about a family that lost everything in the floods that hit Austin, TX on Thursday. Strangely enough, my mom's home had some damage too, but only to my childhood bedroom, which is now getting a new floor. I followed this link and read about this family that had lost everything. Brendan and I donated what we could, and I was reminded that difficult times are in the lives of everyone around us. The only way to combat this is to care. Just like in Grapes of Wrath, our care for one another is truly what makes us human beings. When you see suffering, help if you are able, and outside of that, remember to be gentle with the people you encounter, even strangers. You never know who is facing a difficult time, and your kind words, generous spirit, or offers of help might mean the difference between hope and despair.

I've been spending a quiet Saturday at home with Brendan, catching up on work, and giving thanks for having what I need and for the opportunity to reach out and help someone else. Even though I don't "know" them, I know them because we're all in this together.

That's a nice thought, right?
<3 S, B, L&Z
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