Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Break

Greetings faithful blog readers!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend with family and friends. Ours was packed with so much fun, and I wanted to share a recap.

We had Friday off, and we got up early to straighten the house up for the house keepers and then headed to breakfast at Mulberry Cafe. Sadly, Lori's closed leaving Midlanders with frightfully few breakfast options. Mulberry was a good bet though; the prices are reasonable, and the food is good. Afterwards, we headed to the nursery to pick out some plants before heading home. We met up with friends at the beer garden for "after work" drinks. We also shared dinner at the beer garden (our first time eating there), and were pleased with the food. We ended the night by watching Louis CK and Lilo and Stitch on the couch.

These boots weren't made for walking

On Saturday, I made avocado toast with eggs for both of us (thanks for the idea, California) before heading to a special 90s R&B yoga class. After class, I came home and put on Sunscreen, and Brendan and I spent the next four hours outside working in the yard and planting our new plants (Brendan was already at work while I was at class).

I love these "ponytails" and planted a couple between the evergreens in the side-yard.

I totally forget what these are called, but they are supposed to be popular with butterflies, and my goal is to make our yard a butterfly/hummingbird haven, so I bought and planted two. My friend Jesse (Graham's best friend from growing up) passed away in November 2010 and butterflies always remind me of him.

New "ice plant" succulent in the cactus garden (to replace the barrel cactus that did not survive the winter). 

Our big news is that we planted this desert willow in the side-yard in the middle of where the grass will one day be. When I say "we," please note that I mean Brendan dug the hole and I helped with smaller tasks :) 

Side-yard progress picture (we have a long way to go!): 

After all the planting, we cleared, swept, and sprayed our patio, and then opened it for the season (yay!) We had to take an evening trip to Pier One for new cushions (not sure I told you guys, but a bunny moved into our storage bin in October and destroyed the other cushions). After Pier One, we satisfied our sweet tooth with our first visit to Fountainville Creamery. The ice cream was good, but honestly working at Amy's in Austin gave me an extremely high bar for ice cream that is hard to meet!

Saturday night, we started watching The Magicians on Netflix, and we're both fans (think Harry Potter for adults). I've read the books, but it was a long time ago, so I'm not sure I can compare the two accurately. 

On Easter Sunday, I woke up wanting to make Mimi's waffles, so I texted my cousin Amanda for the fiftieth time saying I lost the recipe; luckily, Amanda reminds me how I actually have the recipe and where it is.

For dinner, I made this black bean and chickpea chili from the insulin resistance cookbook. It was a win with both of us, and we polished off the leftovers tonight. 

I also made my favorite Grapefruit Olive Oil Poundcake from Smitten Kitchen. I've made this several times, and I'm so proud of myself for mastering this one! 

I enjoyed seeing everyone's dressed up cute Easter photos, but in all honestly, I stayed in my PJs all day and loved it. I read an article in The New Yorker I've been meaning to get to, and I took an amazing candlelight bath while it was thundering and lightening outside. It was a relaxing day and just what I needed.

Today, we were still off, so we started the day at Home Depot. Brendan built us a new front yard flower bed, and I need another lantana for the matching bed (since only one came back from last year).

Not sure you can see the triangle beds on either side of the driveway, but they're there. The best sighting today was our hummingbird (spotted twice). We hope she builds her nest in our maple again!

Then, I met up with my friend Allison for manicures and pedicures and lunch. I'm addicted to the margarita pedicure. 

Here's a pic of our new succulent and my newly painted toes: 

I went to barre class tonight, and we ate leftovers on our patio. We also got great news today that Brendan was accepted to present at SCMLA (I got my acceptance last week), so we're both ready for Tulsa in October! He's presenting on Race and Gender in 20th Century Literature, and I'm presenting on Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature. I'm looking forward to my paper SO MUCH (hint: it involves Margaret Atwood). 

We'll end today with another episode of The Magicians. I'm sad the break is over, but I'm ready to knock out the last month of the semester. Tomorrow, I'm subbing for a co-worker and tutoring until 10:30pm with Brendan...wish us luck! 

Hope your Easter, Passover, or weekend was fantastic. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spring Has Sprung!

 Greetings faithful blog readers,

Did you think I was disappearing? I didn't; I just got sucked into the busiest part of the semester. Since I last posted, a lot has happened! We inducted 51 students into the English honor society on March 31st (our largest class yet). Those students did 237 hours of documented community service hours all related to forwarding reading, writing, and literature. They passed out books and read to children at the hospital, recorded readings for the visually impaired, tutored on campus and in local schools, worked with an adult literacy organization, and helped the public library and our campus library among other projects. We could not be prouder of the people they are. If you need hope that the world is still a good place, you need not look far.

Outside of work, we managed to fit in a lot of fun these past two weekends: we saw Beauty and the Beast (which I'm sure everyone has seen by now!) and Get Out. I highly recommend Get Out: it was fun, scary, thought-provoking and just what I love in a horror movie. Last weekend, I finally got a chance to take Brendan to the beer garden, so he could discover all he was missing! He loved it, and I returned the next day with my friend Kristen because pineapple cider is something I don't want to live without.

I've been keeping up with my workouts and enjoying the warm sunny weather these past few weeks. We've also had a good deal of rain this spring, and last night was so peaceful falling asleep to the sounds of a storm. Perhaps that is why our yard is looking so lush! Poor Brendan has spent HOURS weeding in the gravel areas of our yard. Remember when we planted grass plugs last year? Look how awesome our grass looks now! 

Almost all plants and herbs from last year came back with the exception of basil, parsley, and dill, which we replanted a couple of weekends ago. 

Herb Garden
Cactus Garden 

Right side raised bed

All of our trees have their leaves back except the Chinese Pistache in the back...they're coming though. We hope the hummingbird takes up residence in our maple again, but we haven't spotted her yet. 

We love our desert oasis of a backyard. The Ocotillo is getting leaves, the cactus is getting new pads, and a lot of the succulents are sending up flowers. 

The project for this spring will be the side yard, and you can see what a project that will be. There's a surprisingly large amount of space back there! 

The roses in the front bed all came back beautifully. 

We always have a LOT going on in the spring, but it's nice that it's such a lovely time of year. Being out in nature is a sure way to lift our spirits. And another thing that lifts my spirits is Easter break. I won't be returning to work until Tuesday, and I plan to enjoy the heck out of the next few days. 

Happy Spring Friends! 
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