Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Austin Stories

We just returned (as of two hours ago) from a fun filled four nights in Austin. We attended the South Central Modern Language Association conference, and I presented on a creative writing panel. We also attended some really interesting and helpful sessions related to scholarship and teaching. This is my fifth year in a row attending SCMLA, and as always, I'm already looking forward to next year. We always get to see a lot of friends at the conference. This year was maybe the biggest crowd yet, and we caught up with eight friends/former professors from our McNeese days. Having the conference in Austin meant I also got to catch up with all my friends and family too; plus, as an added benefit, we didn't need a hotel. The Austin location made for an absolutely eventful four days!

On Friday night, we arrived at the house, and my parents hosted dinner for ten. I got to see my brother and my cousins. I also had some final grades to input because as of Friday, the Fall semester was half finished, meaning it was time to submit final grades for my eight week flex course.

On Saturday, we went to Trudy's with my parents, and then we all went and got our flu vaccinations. I don't ever miss an opportunity for my vaccine, as I work around so many students every day! So far, so good. I haven't taken a sick day from work since 2011 (knock on wood!) After the vaccine, it was time for something much more fun: my hair appointment at Bob Salon.

As usual, James knew just what to do when I told him I was bored and wanted something more fun. I am loving the results of my new haircut and color. He even showed me how to style it on my own.

Saturday night, we dressed up and ate out at Kome, one of my favorite sushi spots. We really went all out and even ordered dessert. It was delicious.
Then, we caught Hyde Park Theatre's newest play, A Bright New Boise, which was awesome. The show runs Thursday-Saturday next weekend at 8:00pm, and I highly recommend catching it if you are in Austin. We got to catch up with friends Allie, Cassie, and Ken afterwards over drinks. We stayed out so late just talking.

Sunday, we ate brunch with my parents and "second mom" Elda at Julios, and then we headed to the conference for some sessions. Afterwards, we got drinks at the Ginger Man and then ate at Second Bar + Kitchen with Rita, Allie, Scott, Krista, and Rachel. This was my first time at Second Bar + Kitchen, and it was pretty darn good. Not sure I would battle the downtown parking situation anytime soon to go back though, but I really enjoyed our pizza, beet salad, and gnocchi.

Monday morning, I had a second opinion dentist appointment. Back story: I have never had a cavity in my life, and I started seeing a new Midland dentist in March of 2014. At that time, my check up showed my teeth were in perfect condition. Six months later, a different dentist at the same office told me I had FIVE cavities and wanted me to schedule an immediate appointment to fill them all. That sounded a little strange to me, so I booked a second opinion appointment with the dentist I saw for twenty years in Austin. After x-rays and an examination, my Austin dentist concluded that I had absolutely NO cavities. This was great news, but I am disturbed that the Midland dentist would lie, and Brendan and I will not be returning to that office. It is sad that not all people in the health care industry are professional and trustworthy, and I think this story really proves why second opinions are necessary, especially if your gut instinct tells you a diagnosis seems wrong.

After the appointment, I picked Brendan up, and we went out for celebratory breakfast tacos at Taco Shack before heading to the conference for more panels and lunch with our former professor, Rita. Crepes and breakfast tacos in the same day? Why, don't mind if I do!

After a particularly helpful panel about online grading and feedback, we went to the hotel bar for drinks with the McNeese crowd. Then, Brendan and I met up with Amanda and Matt for dinner and visiting. We got Vietnamese food at Pho Thaison. This was our second time, and it did not disappoint. We'll be back for more pho!

Today, we packed up, met Dafydd for breakfast at Kerbey Lane, and then went back to the conference hotel for my presentation. The presentation was great, and we wished we could stay for even more, but it was time to hit the road and get back to Midland. We stopped for dinner in San Angelo and made it home after dark. Lola and Zoe were very happy to see us indeed, and we are very tired, full from all the great food, and happy from all the great company.

Tomorrow, we head back to teaching at 8:00am. I have a brand new flex class to meet, and only one week until I leave for my Orlando conference. Life is crazy, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

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