Monday, January 30, 2017

January Recap

Greetings faithful blog readers,

I haven't updated in a while. In truth, I'm having a difficult time the current political situation, and I've dedicated more time to making my voice heard through writing letters and making phone calls. As I worked with one of my students diagnosed with MS today, and she shared her story of needing medications that cost $12,000 a month to maintain her vision and ability to live, I was hit, once again, with how real people's lives hang in the balance of our everyday political debates. The older I get, the more I feel that I share in collective responsibility,so while I derive joy from blogging, I don't want to be distracted from our country's current important conversations, but I'm looking forward to doing this update.

Two weekends ago, Brendan and I participated in the Women's March Alpine. Our march was more of a hike. The day was cold and rainy and windy, and I cried and did not have tissues, but my heart was warmed by sharing an afternoon being amongst women and allies.

We didn't learn of events in Midland until we had already booked a hotel in Alpine, so we made the most of our one night away and had a delicious dinner at the Reata Restaurant. There wasn't much going on in town, but I visited my favorite gift shop Brown Dog Gardens, which is now the Murphy Street Mercado.

Last week, I tried acupuncture for the first time with Dr. Clay Collins. I really enjoyed my experience. It didn't hurt, and I was deeply relaxed. I only have one bruise, and I plan to return next week. I'd recommend this for anyone looking for a healthy way to combat life stress. Another tip: Brendan recently bought us a second wind chime. I find them immensely relaxing!

Speaking of Brendan and the past week, he got great publication news that he will have fiction coming out at Yemassee. Issues will be available on the website, and we'll keep everyone updated.

Also last week, we enjoyed a piano recital at school and an art opening at the museum. I really enjoyed meeting San Angelo native and artist James Gill.

We had a restful weekend of healthy cooking, laundry, doing taxes, and organizing the master bathroom cabinets and drawers (a much procrastinated on task). We have officially owned our home for two years now, which is hard to believe. Let the decluttering projects begin! We also saw the film Moonlight, which was powerful (I enjoyed it far more than La La Land to be honest). I even fit in a long phone conversation with my cousin Stephen and a yoga class. The weekend ended on a lovely note with celebrating my dear friend Kristen's baptism. It meant a lot for me to be able to be there for her special moment and a new chapter in her life.

Monday morning was chaotic. The house is messy (okay, so we didn't fold all the laundry or clean up the kitchen after our healthy cooking), and Brendan couldn't find his keys, but I still started the week feeling extremely grateful. Each week, I write a weekly affirmation in my life planner (and a thankful thought). It sounds cheesy, and maybe it is, but this week's "The best is yet to come" mantra is giving me strength.

Here's to the end of your month: may you wrap up loose ends and accomplish intended goals. February brings us a clean slate in a couple of days. May the best be yet to come!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

What's Going On In EganLand

Greetings faithful blog readers!

I'm sorry I've not been such a faithful blog updater in the New Year. I am working on starting the new school year (students started today), getting back to healthy eating and fitness, and plugging away at my own creative writing and at reading submissions for Driftwood Press, so there's a lot to juggle right now. However, I definitely have so many things to update you guys on, and I'm excited to tell you what has been going on in our world.

I believe I mentioned a few months ago that I was nominated for the Teaching Excellence Award at school. The college awards two recipients for TEA each year, one faculty member each from instruction and from technical. After being nominated, I submitted paperwork and had an interview with the committee towards the end of last semester. I truly never thought that I would win and was just happy to be nominated. On Thursday, many people worked hard to put together a beautiful luncheon in honor of the TEA nominees. I was so surprised to be announced as the recipient of this award that I had to remind myself to breathe. Our Dean gave a beautiful speech about my time at MC, and it felt like a surreal and out of body experience. I was given a beautiful plaque, an honorarium, and a trip to San Francisco where I will represent MC at the League for Innovation in the Community College Conference over spring break. To say that I am honored is an understatement. I have always felt grateful to find MC: the opportunities and environment and people make it an amazing place to work. Teaching is what I (well, we) really truly love to do. I am honored not just to do what I love but to do it alongside so many caring and outstanding professionals and friends. I've learned so much, and there is still so much to learn and so much to do. Cosmetology chair Micheal Fields won as technical instructor, and Brendan and I look forward to getting to know him (you didn't think I'd leave Brendan alone in Midland for spring break, did you?!). It was really an outstanding day. Here are some photos that my department chair (who nominated me!) took:

Me with my wonderful and supportive Dean:

The greatest hug for the greatest partner: he never fails to help me promote a workshop, stay late to help tutor at a late night event, or provide me with much needed encouragement and emotional strength (plus dinner) everyday. I can say with 100% certainty, I wouldn't be where I am (literally) without him. 

So last week was an emotional and happy one to say the least. 

Also last week, I returned to the barre. I'm not going to lie: I had lost fitness and strength not working out for three works (and not taking barre for six weeks). The holidays and travel were not as easy to work around this year, but I'm slowly getting back into my grove and have attended six classes in the past nine days. 

I've also continued to eat healthy and drink lots of water. Here was tonight's dinner lovingly prepared by Brendan. I clipped the recipe from this month's Shape Magazine. We didn't have Delicata squash, but Acorn squash worked great. The fennel, pomegranate, pistachios, and orange dressing provide so much flavor. Highly recommended!  

Lastly, Brendan got me a weighted blanket for Christmas, and it arrived today! This is made by Penny Layne Fashions on Etsy, and I couldn't recommend it more. The blanket is soft flannel but not hot. Mine is fifteen pounds (you can customize the weight you want), which is the maximum that they make. If you have feelings of anxiety or just have trouble relaxing, this could be a great thing to own; it's very soothing and calming. I loved the pretty bow they wrapped it in, and the shipping was quite fast!

Blanket, meet Stacy:

I like how it coincidently matched my LulaRoe outfit! PS-my hair looks a bit crazy because it has been raining in Midland. I'm happy because our yard is getting some much needed water, and we aren't having to pay for it. I look a bit crazy because I woke up earlier than 9:20AM for the first time in three days. I know, I know, tiny violin time.

Happy Tuesday night everyone. We celebrated a great leader yesterday, and I will leave you all with his profound words:

I am looking forward to meeting my students tomorrow and embarking on a semester of learning.


Monday, January 9, 2017

Veggies! It's What's For Dinner

Greetings faithful blog readers, 

I hope you are all enjoying the start to 2017. Around here, we enjoyed five wonderful days at home, both resting and knocking things off our to do list, before heading back to work today. One wonderful use of our time was to get back to cooking healthy meals after weeks of eating basically whatever we wanted. 

We started last week with Shape Magazine's Calabacita Veggie Tacos, a favorite recipe that I clipped from the June 2016 issue. 

We pulled this Rainbow Ratatouille recipe from a more recent issue of Shape (I believe it was December 2016). There isn't much to it! We used our mandolin slicer to cut up veggies and baked them in the dutch oven over a layer of spicy marinara sauce. As an added bonus, I sliced more veggies than I could fit in the pan, so I can make another one! 

One of my favorite cookbooks is Inspiralized. I made this Beetroot and Feta Dip the other night, and we ate it for dinner by dipping in pita chips, bell peppers, and carrots. Delicious! 

Last, but certainly not least, last night I made Inspiralized's Zucchini Manacotti. I was amazed that I really didn't miss the pasta here. Again, the dutch oven was the perfect tool for this. I served it with Inspiralized's Apple with Asparagus, Pecans, and Gorgonzola Salad (pictured in this post). I can't find the recipe online, but it uses watercress and the dressing is one of my favorites.

In other health news, I returned to barre class today after six weeks away (and three weeks away from working out at all) was tough, but I feel better than I have in, well, weeks! 

Happy 2017, everyone. Even if you've been out of your health groove for awhile, we hope the New Year provides all the inspiration you need to get it back. Anyone cooking awesome vegetarian recipes lately? Please share in the comments section. 


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