Monday, August 28, 2017

Semester Start Up

Greetings faithful blog readers!

I hope everyone's week is off to a good start. My thoughts are with those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and I plan to make a donation to United Way of Houston today. Need more ideas? Here's a list of ways to help. 

Our last week of summer went by in a flash. We got all of our annual doctor/dentist appointments out of the way, started back to our exercise routines, went to the farmer's market and cooked lots of fresh dinners, and watched some good movies on HBO Now (Parenthood and Nocturnal Animals). We read for fun and relaxed a lot and spent nights playing card games on our patio. Of course, we did some work prep too. All in all, it was the perfect end to summer 2017.

Last Monday, we headed back to school and spent our days readying our classes (developing course shells and reading lists and modifying syllabi) and in professional development meetings.

Today, we finally met our students for the first time, and all of our groups seem enthusiastic and ready to go (not the case every semester!) We're excited to teach American Literature face-to-face for the first time and happy about our new promotions to Assistant Professor II (just a title change, nothing different in the job description).

I took this first day of school selfie to show my friend Steph I'm wearing the earrings she got me for my birthday. I can't wear dangly earrings unless they are super light and these beautiful wooden ones work perfectly.

I hope to be updating again soon when I find some time and inspiration to write!
Wishing everyone a safe and dry start to the school year!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Austin + Home + Kristen & Alex Tie the Knot

Greetings faithful blog readers!

What a week it has been since I last checked in. My thoughts are with those affected by senseless violence this week. I appreciated the ideas presented in this article "How To Take a Stand Against Hate in Virginia." When feeling helpless, it is important to remember what power we do have to support one another.

When I last left off, we'd made it back to Austin last Friday. Thanks to our Cape Air caused delay and horrible Austin traffic, by the time we got home to my parents' house, it was almost 1AM. We were annoyed, but with the amount of travel we do, we almost just expect days like this (and it makes us more grateful for the travel days that go according to plan).

We went to sleep immediately (after greeting Lola & Zoe of course) and then took my dad to Trudy's the next morning to thank him for coming to the airport at midnight to pick us up. Then, we headed over to my cousins Amanda and Matt's new place. They are renting a house that my mom owns, so it's great for my mom to have such wonderful tenants. It was fun to see how the house has changed (my brother lived there a few years ago).

I was lucky that my hair stylist (Peyton at Bob Salon) could work me in for a last minute Saturday appointment (I missed my original appointment thanks to our massive delay on Friday). After getting my hair done, Brendan and I treated my parents to dinner at Brick Oven for my mom's belated birthday. Then, I pretty much insisted we all go see The Wizard of Oz at Zilker Hillside theater. We arrived at 7:45 and managed to find a spot about halfway up the hill to squeeze into. It was a great production, and I was so glad Brendan and my mom indulged me (and my dad dropped us off and picked us up, so not worrying about parking was awesome).

The next day, Brendan and I went to breakfast with my parents and then packed up the car and the cats. It was tough to say goodbye, but we had a whole host of to-do items on our list, and we were eager to get home. 

My Amazon delivery of Lindsay Hunter's new novel Eat Only When You're Hungry arrived shortly after I did. I'm proud to report that I finished it yesterday and now I can highly recommend this road trip novel about a man searching for his son who is battling a drug addiction. Touching, honest, and a true portrait of what it means to love someone you don't have control over (including yourself), I would recommend this book to anyone. 

The real reason we were in such a rush to get home was because I was hosting a bachelorette party/lingerie shower for my dear friend Kristen on Thursday. 

Kristen and I have been friends for six years. We first met in a yoga class at a gym, and she quickly became a good friend and introduced me to all her coworkers/friends too. When Kristen & Alex got engaged in the spring, I immediately told her I wanted to throw this party. 

We started out with manis and pedis. There were six of us there total, and our friend Jessica got the party started early with champagne. 

Then, we went to my house to make dinner together, open presents, and play the popular lips & mustaches game from my shower (which I reused at Amanda's shower and thankfully, Amanda still had the lips and mustaches!) 

I love playing hostess whenever I get a chance, and we had so much fun cooking, talking, and toasting with rose. 

Nothing Bundt Cakes is my go to for any celebration that needs a cake, and their lemon cake didn't disappoint! 

We met up with more friends at The Blue Door for drinks later.

The next night, Brendan and I were honored to attend the rehearsal dinner at La Bodega. We got to hear all the speeches, and it started to sink in that Kristen was moving to Seattle on Sunday! 

The Saturday wedding was at Beal Park with an indoor reception and plenty of lawn games. It was great to see my friend so happy, even though I'll miss her dearly. 

I also got to reunite with several other friends that have moved away and came back in town for the wedding!

Last night, Brendan and I went to Odessa to watch Game of Thrones with our friends Dagan and Steph. 

Our first week back in Midland was all about the wedding, and this next week, we're busy today helping to show a new faculty member around campus, and we'll meet up with him and his wife again tonight for dinner. We have one more week of summer and too much to get done (laundry, housework, class prep, revisions, etc.) but knowing us, we will make the most of our last week of summer. 

Happy Monday everyone! 


Monday, August 7, 2017

Connecticut & Maine

Greetings faithful blog readers,

We've had a glorious last couple of weeks, and I can't wait to fill you all in.

On July 25th, we left Austin for Connecticut for a wonderful ten day visit with Brendan's family. We spent four days in Connecticut, which gave us plenty of time for several visits with both sets of grandparents. Here's a photo of Boompa's garden.

We also made time for a day on Misquamicut beach in Rhode Island. 

And of course, we visited our favorite place in Niantic: Anna Pearl's Curiosities! Make sure to visit Brendan's mom and sister if you're ever in Niantic or nearby. 

Our Saturday, the six of us got our earliest ever start to Maine and avoided the traffic. We stopped for groceries before we even arrived and then immediately had time for all our favorite things like fishing and game night. 

We had the best ever fishing year (that I've seen). This was my fifth time in Maine. Check out these catches from our very first night (we put all our fish back, FYI): 

The next morning, we were up bright and early for blueberry picking:

That night, while everyone else was fishing, Brendan's mom and I cooked a feast of pasta with fresh tomatoes, blueberry pie, and blueberry cake.

The next day, we all enjoyed lobster rolls and ice cream at Tubby's before Annie and Dan headed back to Connecticut.

We found a double rainbow on our way back to the cabin. 

The four of us went fishing and caught a gorgeous sunset. 

On Tuesday, we picked raspberries, and Brendan's mom and I made the world's best raspberry pie. I mean, it was amazing! 

I don't have pictures of everything we did: thrift shopping, antiquing, more cooking, and a big game night with extended family, but I do have lots of great memories.

At least I documented all my fish, so you won't think I'm tell fish tales!

Not every catch was so good...

The best part of our trip was...everything! The worst part was our 7.5 hour delay in Boston thanks to a late Cape Air pilot (not cool Cape Air!) But after a 21 hour travel day on Friday, we made it back to Austin.

More adventures to be continued...


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