Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two Years

Brendan and I celebrate two years of marriage today. Two years seems so short, but I feel as if we've always been married, always been together.

Our one-year anniversary couldn't come soon enough, and we looked forward to that first relationship milestone to celebrate our marriage. Now that year two is here, I don't have that "Yes! We made it!" feeling, but more of a warm contentedness and a desire to keep going. Instead of celebrating the event, I would rather rejoice in our relationship together.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Due to the inevitable chaos that ensues when one is a first-year teacher, unfortunately my Christmas cards will be tardy this year. But fear not; they will be in the mail very shortly. So, here's a little something to tide you over. Happy Christmas!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

My Little Niece

Brendan and I spent Thanksgiving with his family in Sugar Land, and one of the trip's highlights was spending time with my little niece, Allison. She's eight months old, and every stage keeps getter more fun. Sure, she was cute when she was super tiny, but she didn't do very much, except sleep and stare at you. Now Allison is crawling and sitting up, which means she can finally play with toys! We already bought her Christmas presents, which was way too much fun.

Here are some highlights from our visit at Thanksgiving.

Giving the herkie. Perhaps she has a future in cheerleading.

Sweet, sleepy baby

How can you resists that face?!

Enjoying some playtime with Aunt Erin

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Giving Thanks

I have a full week off from school this week, so I'm (finally) enjoying being lazy and not doing anything. As much as I love my job, it can be very exhausting in many ways, so I'm looking forward to re-charging and enjoying some time with family.

We're traveling to Sugar Land on Wednesday to spend the holiday with Brendan's family. It's the first time for me to spend Thanksgiving with his side, which seems crazy since we've been married for almost two years. Being introduced to another family's holiday traditions and foods is always interesting, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the Vosses celebrate. Hopefully it will include the Cowboy game and a long post-lunch nap.

One more thing to be thankful for this time of year: my baby niece. I get to see her this week for the first time since July, and I cannot wait. Babies make everything better, and I can't wait to snuggle with her, or at least try to catch her as she's crawling madly across the room.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Go Spurs Go

Note: I've made a resolution to blog more. Balancing life with this whole first-year-of-teaching deal has been interesting, but trust that you'll find copious blog updates in the future.

I've been a Spurs fan as long as I can remember. Actually, anyone who has lived in San Antonio for any length of time can probably claim fandom; since the Spurs are the only professional sports team in this area, we townies tend to be rabid supporters. So when Brendan and I found out that we were moving to San Antonio, one of my first thoughts was, "Yes! Live Spurs games!" We attended our first game on Wednesday, which was the season opener against the Hornets -- and we crushed them. The game was wonderful, and I look forward to many more in the future. And I just may coax Brendan, a long-time Rockets fan, over to the dark side.

Everyday is Spurs Day at my house.

No Spurs game is complete without cotton candy.

How appropriate

Kicking some Hornets tail

The first of many Spurs games together

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Happy Days

Five reasons to be happy this week:

1. Fall(ish) weather, which qualifies as anything cooler than 90 degrees.
2. The return of 30 Rock.
3. I'm beginning to hit my stride at school.
4. It's candy corn/mellowcreme pumpkin season.
5. I can see the new Spurs season on the horizon.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Brendan and I ventured downtown on Saturday to enjoy some cheesy tourist fun. It had been quite a while since I'd been there. Even when I was growing up, trips to the touristy parts of downtown were rare and usually were reserved for visitors and out-of-town guests; tourist attractions are never as appealing to the townies.

I had a wonderful time going back with Brendan. We visited the Alamo and the Riverwalk, and ate dinner at the best restaurant on the River.

We remembered the Alamo.

My 'coon-skin cap

On our River Cruise, the guide informed us that the top three reasons people fall into the San Antonio River are: drunkenness, horseplay, and texting.

We finished off the evening with a delicious dinner at Paesanos.

Friday, September 25, 2009


- The show The Wire is fantastic. Brendan and I rented the first season this week, and I can't stop watching. Imagine an episode of Law and Order played out over an entire season; you really get to know the cops and the criminals. It's a thinking person's crime show.

- Continuing the television theme, Glee is my newest addiction. The musical numbers make me giddy, and it reminds me of my high school choir days.

- My newest book is Jon Krakauer's Under the Banner of Heaven. He also wrote Into the Wild and Into Thin Air (two incredible books), and I'm a little obsessed with his writing. I can't start reading it just yet because of schoolwork, but it's sitting on my nightstand calling my name.

- Living in a city that has a Banana Republic and a J. Crew makes my heart happy.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I've Defected

I've officially joined the Dark Side: I bought a Mac. And I love it.

After a long and dutiful life, my old desktop PC from undergrad finally died last week. Needing a computer for teacher-y things, I gave in and bought a MacBook over which I had been lusting. Best. Decision. Ever. It's faster, prettier, and just plain better than my old clunker. Plus, I love being able to input grades while sitting on the couch watching television.

In other news, life is going pretty well, too. It's strange to think that I'm part of the working world, but the paychecks sure are nice. However, I haven't gotten used to the early mornings just yet. Six a.m. always comes way too soon; I think there should be a law against having to wake up before dawn. Thank goodness for Saturdays, though.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Big Day

Tomorrow I start my first official day as a teacher. Yikes! I feel ready, but we'll see how it goes tomorrow morning. I just keep telling myself that after tomorrow, I'll never have another first day of teaching. That's a happy thought.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back to Work

Well, I'm officially a working woman. Yesterday was my first workday, and, let me tell you, it's exhausting. I know I'll eventually get used to waking up before the sun, but right now 6:30 a.m. comes way too early. I keep thinking to myself, "How did I ever do this during student teaching?" I'm missing those lazy, responsibility-free days of summer, when the most I had to accomplish was getting out of bed before 10:00 a.m., and watching CSI. However, the new paychecks will certainly be nice.

This will probably be my last update about work, since I feel kind of weird blogging about teaching and school. But you can always ask me about it in person!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

An Abundance of Meh

I hate finishing a book that you never really liked in the first place; it has that dissatisfying feeling of staying in a relationship that you know isn't going anywhere, but you're too lazy to break it off. Such was my experiene with my latest read. I just finished John Green's YA lit book An Abundance of Katherines, and I was sufficiently underwhelmed. I originally read it because I fell in love with Green's haunting, heartbreaking first novel Looking for Alaska, a book that I still think about (which is always the mark of a fantastic story). However, a formulaic plot (a coming-of-age summer roadtrip, where we learn of love and identity) coupled with a trite message (Gee, I am in charge of my own future! I'm not defined by my past or my former self!) make for an average read.

The book tells the story of recent high school graduate Colin Singleton, a former child prodigy and wannabe genius, who has been dumped by girls named Katherine exactly nineteen times. Nursing his latest Katherine-related broken heart, he and best friend Hassan embark on a summer roadtrip, the outcomes of which the reader can easily predict from early on in the story. As expected, Colin learns to love a girl whose name is not Katherine, and he recognizes that life and his own future are unpredictable.

Despite the book's formulaic plotline and tired themes, Green excels at building interesting, complex characters, and one of the book's bright spots is main character Colin. Colin's vast intellect results in a general misunderstanding of social cues and human conversation; Hassan frequently chides him for bringing up uninteresting topics, like Austro-Hungarian archdukes, in social situations. At one point in the story, Hassan makes a grammatical error in conversation, and, not wanting to bring up a topic which regular people find boring, Colin internally corrects the grammar mistake: "Stolen something, Colin wanted to say. But grammar isn't interesting." Oh, Colin, I empathize with you. While grammar is infinitely interesting to me, and I could have a lengthy discussion about it with you, I must repress those urges in everyday conversation so as not to look like a complete nerd. All readers will find some of their personal neuroses, academic or otherwise, mirrored in Colin.

Much like romantic comedies, YA lit is always about the same thing, those familiar feelings and experiences of adolescence, making it very easy to screw up. At its best it grabs hold of a worn idea, or premise, or character, and transforms those familiar tropes into something new and fresh and magical that touches all readers; at its worst it feels predictable and gimmicky, using teen drama to disguise poor writing and a trite story (can you hear me, Stephanie Meyer?). And while its story may appeal to young adults, overall An Abundance of Katherines does not stand on its own outside the genre.

One word: meh. Just read Looking for Alaska.

Friday, July 31, 2009

New City, New Apartment

I've lived in the apartment for one week now, and I can officially say that we're all moved in. Art and curtains are hung on the walls, everything is organized, and it feels a little more like home everyday. So, enjoy a tour of my new place... and prepare yourself for copious amounts of pictures.

This is the view from the front door into the living room (and a bit of the dining room). Luckily, all of the furniture fits nicely, albeit snugly, into the new space.

More living room, as viewed from the dining room. Sadly, the lovely fireplace had to be covered up by the television. But what I want to know is, who needs a fireplace in San Antonio?

Here's the dining room. Happily, I finally have enough space to put all four chairs around the table. Yesss.

Next, take a gander at the kitchen, which happens to be an amazing space. Why, you ask? It contains a dishwasher, endless counter and cabinet space, a pantry, a working stove... the list could go on and on. Basically, it's head and shoulders above my old duplex kitchen.

We have some adorable built-in book shelves between the kitchen and dining room, the perfect place for narcissistically displaying all of those wedding photos! (Jk, people.)

Another perk of this apartment is the second bathroom. The days of "calling" the bathroom after coming home from a road trip are history.

The lovely guest room

Our bathroom (which was hard to get a good picture of).

And finally, our bedroom. The curtains are my favorite.

So, now that you've seen the apartment, you know you want to come visit me!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Settling In

Today marks my third full day in the apartment, and things are finally beginning to settle down. All of the boxes are unpacked, and I've been gradually putting everything where it belongs, hanging art and curtains, and generally making the place feel like home. Right now it still feels like a placeholder residence, as if my stay in this apartment is only temporary and I'm supposed to head back to Abilene in a few days.

Even though I'm very excited about this new chapter in my life, I do miss Abilene, but mostly because of the friends I left behind. It's weird (and a little sad) to think that life there will go on without me, that the people I love will have new experiences and make new memories, and that my church will change and grow, without me. However, change is part of the progression of life, and leaving Abilene was the right thing to do. But right now, I'm very ready for San Antonio to start feeling like home.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Almost Home

Well, it's finally come to this: my last full day in Abilene. And let me tell you, I am so ready to get this move started. We pick up the moving van this afternoon, load it tonight, and head out tomorrow morning. San Antone, here I come.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Waxing Nostalgic

Moving Day is scheduled for Friday, so all I seem to think (or talk or dream) about these days is bubble wrap, cardboard boxes, and moving vans, as evidenced by my last five or so blog posts. All of this packing has got me nostalgic about my little duplex, and even though we're upgrading to a larger and nicer apartment, I'll very much miss the place I currently call home. So, please indulge me as I recount some of my fondest memories of 1740 Lincoln:

1. Senior year dinners with Fat Tuesday around the white Ikea coffee table

2. Brendan saying "I love you" for the first time on the front porch

3. Living with Smay, the best roommie a girl could ask for

4. Arriving home from our honeymoon to our first home as a married couple

Our homes are often tangible reminders of our life experiences, built around the memories we made while we resided in them. And as ugly as my duplex is, as excited as I am for a newer and nicer place, it will always remain special to me because of the life I lived there.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Can I Be Your Friend??

I recently finished reading Sarah Vowell's non-fiction book Assassination Vacation, and I'm experiencing book withdrawals. Well, more like author withdrawals. In the text, Vowell explores the lives and deaths of the first three assassinated presidents (Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley), and recounts her travels visiting the locations touched by those assassinations. While the book sounds dark and morbid (and at times it is), it's equal parts travelogue, history lesson, and humorous musings. And while it was a delightful as well as fascinating read, I very much miss Vowell's enchanting style and tone.

The text is written in first-person, and Vowell frequently offers her personal experiences and anecdotes, so her personality seeps through onto the page. So, after reading the book, I feel like I got to know her pretty well (or at least her carefully crafted literary persona... but we'll save that discussion for another day). And now... I want to be her friend. She sounds so awesome! Vowell deftly blends history and modern-day, weaves the intellectual with the mundane, and makes the arcane seem relevant, while offering an insightful yet humorous take on life and politics. Plus, she's freakin' hilarious. Who wouldn't want a friend like her?

Of course, the real Sarah Vowell may be nothing like the one on the page. But lucky for me, two of her books are on my reading list, so I have much more to look forward to.

You know you want to read it.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Our House Is a Very Sad-Looking House

I've made a lot of moving-related progress in the past week. My mom and grandmother arrived last Sunday to help us begin packing, and now my entire kitchen and most of my bathroom are neatly packed in brown boxes, labeled things like "Silverware" and "Bath Towels." My house (or rather, the collection of possessions which make it my house) is slowly evaporating. All of the art, curtains, and decor is also packed, leaving behind only the most basic of living essentials. As a result, the place looks rather glum; you never realize what a cheery difference the little things make until they're gone. The rest will all be packed in about ten days, when we leave our little duplex for good.

Being in my house kind of depresses me now; most of the small touches that made it my home -- like honeymoon pictures, red candles, and green valances -- are packed away, leaving only stark, white walls and empty cabinets, so that it feels like a placeholder residence. I wish I could fast-forward my life to a couple of weeks from now to our new, fully-decorated apartment, and that warm feeling of home.

Take a gander at our growing collection of packed boxes.
The ones marked "Erin's Books" are my favorites. :)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just Doing Their Civic Duty

(Apologies for all the recent moving-related posts; it's just been on my mind lately.)

Moving day is quickly approaching, so Brendan and I are attempting to slowly gather all the essentials needed for the big day. My mom and grandmother are coming to town on Sunday to help us begin the slow, arduous task of packing, so boxes are the first item on the list. We've been on the hunt for them lately, but it's easy to put that type of thing on the back burner. Well, we happened upon a fortuitous find this evening.

I had heard that Pinkie's, the local liquor store, offered free boxes. My freshman year roommate had hit them up before moving out of the dorm; most of her boxes were (humorously) labeled "Jack Daniels" or "Grey Goose Vodka." However, I wasn't sure if they still offered free boxes, or if they gave them out at all, but we ventured there this evening, hoping to get lucky. Once inside, I hesitantly asked the clerk if they had any extra boxes that we could use, not wanting to be a bother. He kindly led us to the stock room, where we had our pick of their superfluous shipping boxes. All in all, we ended up with about a dozen of them, which is wonderful. I also take (juvenile) pleasure in the fact that our moving boxes say "Beringer Wine" and "Tito's Handmade Vodka."

I'd like to meet this Tito.

It's too bad that the boxes weren't accompanied by the
corresponding liquor. (Jk, people.)

So, thanks, Pinkie's, for generously supplying us with moving boxes, and myriad jokes about their labels.

Friday, June 26, 2009

San Antonio-Bound

This week has been both relaxing and stressful, restful and chaotic. But, it's been a very good week.

I drove down to San Antonio on Monday because I needed a break from the boredom that is Abilene, and I wanted to help out my parents with a garage sale they're having tomorrow (and make a little money in the process). Brendan had two days off from work in a row, so he came down to visit on Wednesday and Thursday. We'd been waiting (not so patiently) to hear whether or not his transfer at work had been approved, and we were basically in moving limbo until we knew where in town he would be working. Happily, he got the call on Thursday morning that he would be working at a store about 20 minutes away from the school I'll be teaching at, which is an ideal location.

Since Brendan was driving home that afternoon, and his start date was set for July 26, we had to find an apartment as quickly as possible. So, we spent the morning frantically calling apartment locaters and searching for a location that would be convenient for both of us. Around mid-afternoon, we found the perfect place; it's practically equidistant from my school and his store. Even though we weren't able to do our research and take our time, I feel really good about our new place; it just feels right. And if you've seen our current duplex, it feels like a palace in comparison; we'll actually have a dishwasher!

God is good, and He answers prayers; it was so fortuitous that Brendan received the news about his transfer when he was in San Antonio, and that we were able to sign a lease for a great place so quickly. Everything is finally coming together.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Away We Go

Well, it's official: I have a job! A few hours after my interview on Monday, the principle called and offered me a job teaching Sophomore English. I didn't expect any job offers this soon, but when he offered me the position I didn't feel like I could turn it down in this job market. So San Antonio, here we come.

As thrilled as I am to have a job, and to know where we'll be living, it feels kind of weird to be moving back home; we never planned on moving to San Antonio, and I certainly never thought I'd be teaching at my old high school. But that's the way the cards fell, and sometimes wonderful blessings can arise out of something unexpected.

Next on the agenda: getting Brendan a transfer to a store in San Antonio. I'm hoping he gets one very soon, in part because we can't technically do any planning/moving until he has a job. I can't wait to start apartment hunting!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Home, Sweet Abilene

Brendan and I returned from D.C. on Sunday evening, which marks the official end to the Super-Vacation. I had a great time, and I'll post about that trip very soon. But, the most exciting news of the week is...

I have a job interview at my old high school on Monday. I had been (and still am) a little antsy about not hearing anything from school districts, so I decided to e-mail my cover letter to a couple of principals from my old school district. I figured that I wouldn't hear anything back from them, or at the very most receive a "thanks, but no thanks" reply, but it was worth a shot. Surprisingly, one of them responded that he'd like to interview me. I guess the lesson to be learned is, never underestimate the power of pestering the person who has the ability to hire you.

I'm not crazy about moving back to San Antonio because I'd rather move somewhere new and have an adventure, but I certainly won't turn down anything; in this economy, I just want a job. So, if you feel like it, please send happy thoughts and prayers my way on Monday morning.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Catching My Breath

Brendan and I arrived back in town late, late last night from our wonderful trip to Washington State to visit Clay and Heather. I had so much fun, and updates from that trip will be posted soon. I'm so glad to be home and sleep in my own bed, but we're leaving again tomorrow evening for our vacation to D.C. Craziness.

One totally awesome thing about our trip to D.C.: we're getting a tour of the White House! Brendan e-mailed our senator around Christmastime to see if we could book tours of some of the more exclusive spots in D.C., like the Supreme Court and the Bureau of Engraving (where the government prints the money). I knew that we wouldn't find out if we got the tours until a few weeks before our trip, but when we didn't hear anything by late May I assumed that we didn't get them. Lo and behold, last week we got an e-mail from our senator saying that we were signed up for every tour we requested. I'm beyond excited, especially to see the White House.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


America got it wrong on American Idol tonight. It should have been Adam. Grrr.

Trying to cheer me up after the show, Brendan said: "Well, even though Adam didn't win, Barack Obama still won the presidency. That should make you happy."

Very true, and I'd obviously pick Obama if I had to choose between him winning the presidency and Adam winning American Idol. But Adam so deserved to win over Jason-Mraz-lite.

Monday, May 18, 2009


My summer officially began on Tuesday when I turned in my English 107 grades, which was a wonderful moment for so many reasons. I've been delightfully lazy for the past week, sleeping in, watching numerous backlogged episodes of CSI on DVR, and reading copiously. My laziness won't last long, though: we're about to embark upon our super-vacation.

Brendan and I will be gone for the next two weeks visiting my brother and his wife in Washington State, and then vacationing in D.C. Since our trip is so lengthy, and we'll be hitting up both Washingtons, I've dubbed it the super-vacation. We are flying to Washington on Sunday and will arrive back in town on Thursday, and then we head to D.C. on Monday and return on Saturday. (Whew. It makes me a little exhausted, but excited, just thinking about our crazy itinerary.) We didn't plan our trips to be back-to-back, but that's the way Brendan's work schedule fell.

I'm really excited about both trips, and they'll be special for different reasons; I can't wait to see Heather and Clay, and the trip to D.C. will be our very first married vacation. Washingtons, here we come.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Graduation Celebration

I graduated from grad school on Saturday, the thought of which is still a little surreal for me. It was a crazy, chaotic weekend with all of my family in town, but I had a great time. My parents and grandmother drove in on Friday night, and it was nice to get some alone-time with them. The next day, Brendan's parents, my uncle, and my other grandmother arrived in time for my graduation ceremony. It wasn't very hot that day (of which I'm thankful, because polyester robes don't exactly breathe very well), so I was able to hang out in the mall area with the M.A. grads and some English professors. My whole family ate at the Home Place that night, and the food was delicious as usual. Overall it was a great weekend, and I'm glad that so many people I love could be there.

It still hasn't sunk in that I'm finished with grad school. I'm sure it will soon, but for the mean time I keep thinking that there's something I need to be doing; I'm not used to having free time. The first thing on my summer to-do list: read Neil Gaiman's YA lit book Coraline. Everyone I've spoken to who's read it says it's downright terrifying, so I'm looking forward to starting it. I'll be able to do a whole lot of pleasure reading thus summer since I won't have a job, so I've already started a summer reading list (which makes my heart happy).

Here are a few pictures of graduation day. Some of them are a little washed out, but you'll get the gist.

The four of us started our Master's at the same time.
I'm going to miss these wonderful women

Me with Dr. Carroll, who was my Comps chair.
I want to be like her when I grow up.

The four M.A. graduates with the some of the English profs.

Brendan, me, and my folks

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


I graduate from grad school on Saturday, which is CRAZY! It feels so surreal that this moment is finally here. I can't relax just yet, though, because I have to finish a take-home final and a paper, and grade a set of finals before my summer officially begins. No worries, though; it'll all get done. Also, pretty much my whole extended family is coming up for my graduation, which I'm really excited about. However, if you know my family, you know it'll be one loud, chaotic weekend.

I'm kind of in limbo on the job front, but that's to be expected. I know that school districts don't officially start the hiring process until the tail end of the school year, but I'd just like to know where I'm going to live and work. Because the job situation is up in the air, this will be the first summer since high school that I won't have a summer job. I'm looking forward to no responsibilities and sleeping in, but, knowing me, I'll probably get bored pretty quickly. But, it'll give me some time to catch up on my pleasure reading and visit some friends and family here and there.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Part of Your World (Grad Student Remix)

I share a tiny office with three other English graduate assistants, and the other day I noticed this little gem on the desktop of our communal office computer. I couldn't stop laughing because it perfectly captures the grad school experience.

I couldn't get the resolution any higher, so make sure to click on the picture. And sing it to the tune of "Part of Your World."

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hippity Hoppity

Sorry about the lame title; I wanted to come up with something Easter-y, but that was the closest I got.

Brendan and I are driving to Fort Worth tomorrow to spend Easter Sunday with his family. We couldn't leave town earlier because Brendan has to work today, so we're heading out early tomorrow morning instead and meeting everyone for the late service. I also get to see Baby Allison for the first time since she was born, so I'm really excited about that. I'm sure she's grown a lot.

Words cannot express how happy and relieved I am that Comps is over; I feel like I have my life back. For the past three months, I couldn't do just about anything without thinking about the Comps homework I was putting off. Now I can read for fun, watch TV, or just be lazy without worrying about all the work I'll have to do later. I only have homework for two classes now that Comps is finished, so the rest of the school year will be a breeze. I've also had the last few days off from school, so I've been intentionally lazy; it's been downright wonderful.

Now I can finally start looking forward to graduation next month. For the longest time, I didn't want to get excited about graduation because Comps was all I could think about, and I didn't want to jinx Comps by looking ahead to graduation. (I know, I'm weird like that.) So, now I can finally count down to the date in about a month when I get my Master's Degree. (!)

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Passed!!!

I can breath a little easier because this afternoon I PASSED COMPS! I'm so proud of myself!

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I finished writing my written exams for Comps this evening, and I feel like an elephant has been lifted off of my shoulders. When I finally finished revising my essays, I ran through the house like a madwoman, screaming, "I'm dooooooone!" I just hope our neighbors with whom we share a wall don't think they have a crazy woman living next door.

Comps as a whole isn't quite over yet, though. I have my oral defense on Wednesday afternoon, but I'm feeling pretty good about it. The hard part's over (finally!), and I'm looking forward to some well-deserved relaxation.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Please, Let It Be Monday at Noon

Comps is officially here, and I want to magically fast-forward my life to Monday afternoon so that I can turn in my essays. I'm not really worried about my oral defense on Wednesday; I just want to stop writing papers. I even dreamed about writing essays last night.

I'm beginning to think that Comps is just one big hazing-esque initiation that I have to go through before I can get my degree.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Let the Countdown Begin

I take my Comprehensive Exams this weekend, which means that in about four days I'll be writing non-stop until Monday morning.

Even though the experience is stressful, I feel ready. My Chair has really prepared me for my exams (which is a nice way of saying that she's given me a TON of work), so I kind of view Comps as one more (inconvenient) hurdle to clear before I can get my diploma.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Allison Elizabeth

I had so much fun seeing Allison last week. I miss her so much, even though I've only met her once. Here are some highlights from our visit.

She's so tiny! She didn't do very much, except sleep.

She's already sticking her toungue out at me.

Here she is with Uncle Brendan, or, as I like to jokingly call him, Fun-cle Brendan

Sweet baby girl

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Maybe That's Why You Struggle with Critical Thinking

I didn't teach class on Wednesday because Brendan and I went to Fort Worth for the day to visit baby Allison. I sent my class an e-mail on Tuesday night saying that someone else would teach class on Wednesday because my sister-in-law had a baby and I was going out of town to visit her.

I had this conversation with a student in class when I returned on Friday:

Student: I'm glad you're back. Hey, did you have a baby while you were gone?

Me: Um, no. My sister-in-law had a baby, and that's why I was gone on Wednesday.

Student: Oh. Sorry. I guess I didn't read the e-mail closely.

Me: Guess not.

Keep in mind that this is a college student who's had class with me for three days a week since January. Now I know why he has trouble turning in his homework on time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

She's Here!

Allison Elizabeth Brackett made her debut this evening! Brendan and I are driving to Fort Worth to see her tomorrow morning. I still can't believe she's finally here!

The baby shares her birthday with my brother, so I'll never have trouble remembering their birthdays!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Baby Brackett Is Coming SOON!

Tonight, Brendan and I got a call from his parents saying that Baby Girl Brackett will arrive either tomorrow or on Wednesday! Natalie has been in the hospital with high blood pressure since yesterday, so she's scheduled to be induced tomorrow morning. If for some reason the baby still doesn't come, they'll perform a C-section on Wednesday. Either way, I'm going to be an aunt very, very soon! The baby wasn't expected to arrive for another two weeks, so it's a wonderful surprise that she's coming early, although I wish her arrival had been under less-stressful circumstances.

If you feel like it, please send happy thoughts and prayers Natalie's way so that she has a safe delivery and a healthy baby girl.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Springy Break

Around this time last year, Brendan and I embarked on the infamous Family Mooch Week. This year's Spring Break, however, will be decidedly less exciting. Brendan is working during the entire week, so it'll be just little ol' me around the house for most of the break. My parents are coming up tomorrow and staying for a couple of days, though, so it'll be good to see them and to have something to break up the week.

Even though it would be nice to go somewhere exciting (or, to just go anywhere) during Spring Break, I'm really fine with staying in town. I have loads of Comps homework, so it's not like I'll be laying around the house watching CSI in my pajamas all day, although that does sound kind of lovely. Comps is right around the corner, and staying on top of my assigned readings is the only way I can keep my sanity. So while it would be nice to leave town for a week with my hubby, I'd probably have a massive homework-induced freak-out when we returned. And no one wants that.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Brackett Baby Shower

On Saturday, I trekked to Fort Worth for the day for Natalie's (and Baby Girl Brackett's) baby shower. The shower was gorgeous, and Natalie made out like a bandit with all kinds of cute baby gear. Natalie officially has a beautiful "pregnant" belly, and it feels surreal (and exciting!) to know that I'll have a tiny niece in about a month. I've officially decided to let the little one call me whatever she wants, instead of me choosing an "aunt" name. The baby is due the same weekend as my Comps written exams, so we're planning on visiting her after I have my oral defense the next week. What a wondeful way to celebrate the end of Comps - seeing my beautiful neice for the first time!

Since Natalie is older than I am, I was the youngest guest at the shower. Being around lots of women at the party who already have children, or those who don't yet have them but want them, was an odd experience. After the shower, I came to the realization that I am so not ready for a family at this point in my life. I think it's a life-stage thing. I'm ecstatic to have a niece next month, and I'm more than willing to love on, cuddle with, and play with other people's babies, but I'm not quite ready for my own. I figure I'll know when the time is right, but right now I get kind of freaked out when I think about having a tiny person to take care of. I'm just going to enjoy being with my husband and starting my first job for now.

I hope writing this post hasn't jinxed me in the baby-making department...

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Brendan and I are taking our first married vacation this summer to Washington D.C. This vacation has been a long time coming; we intended to take one last summer, but because of work schedules and other summer craziness we never got around to it. We're flying out the week after I graduate, so it's a combination graduation celebration/vacation. What a wonderful way to celebrate finishing two tough years of grad school. I went to D.C. with my family when I was in high school, but it will be nice to view the city with fresh (and more mature) eyes, and to experience it with Brendan.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Crazy, Book-Filled Life

I've been a delinquent blogger lately because my life currently consists of the following three activities: school, Brendan, and sleep. Most of the time, I'm reading. If I'm not reading, I'm hanging out with Brendan. If I'm not doing either one, I'm probably sleeping. (I must admit, though, in undergrad I was usually one of those semi-committed students for whom sleep almost always trumped homework. But I've learned my lesson in grad school.)

I live a crazy, school-filled life at the moment, but I actually don't hate it like I thought I might. (That realization probably means I was destined to be an English major.) My Comps reading load is insane and sometimes overwhelming, combined with being a student in two classes and a teacher in another. But it's not so bad. I love my Comps topic -- gender performance and the construction of gender -- and enjoy reading about it. I like my classes (they're all Comp/Rhet this semester... yay!). And while teaching 107 is challenging in many ways, the class is fun and will be a great learning experience. Basically, I'm a nerd; but I don't mind.

Brendan and I celebrated our second married Valentine's Day on Saturday with dinner at Cypress Street Station, which has become one of my favorite "date" locations. It's a local restaurant (with steak to die for), and I'll really miss it when we move. The reality of leaving Abilene is beginning to hit hard. For most of my time at ACU, I've been itching to get out of Dodge; I couldn't wait to leave this small, provincial town behind. Now, I'm realizing all the things I'll miss: the entire ACU English department, professors and students included; Cajun Cones; and the easy pace of a friendly town, among others. I've been ready to move on for so long, ready to move to a bigger city with bigger opportunities; but leaving this small, West Texas town will be bittersweet.

Valentine's dinner

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Thank, you icy weather! You canceled classes today! Although you have made my house freezing cold...

ACU canceled classes today because of the icky, icy weather outside. It's kind of a moot point for me, though, since I don't have classes on Tuesday/Thursday anyway. But my two meetings were canceled, so that's a good thing! And I also don't feel guilty about hanging around the house in my pajamas. But seriously, couldn't the cold weather have picked a Monday, Wendesday, or Friday to ice over? That would have been awesome.

ACU is notoriously bad about communicating to students when classes are canceled due to bad weather; they just can't make up their mind. One year I kept checking my e-mail right up until I left for my 9:30 class, waiting for news of a cancellation and hoping I wouldn't have to drive on the ice. I finally gave up and drove to school, and as I was walking to class I ran into a professor who asked me why I was on campus, since classes were canceled. It turns out the administration closed the school at 9:28 or something. Smart.

I really do love the cold weather, though. I always get a little excited when the weather gets cold enough to wear my heavy coat, thick sweaters, gloves, and scarf. I suppose it stems from growing up in San Antonio, where the weather never, ever gets cold; you can wear flip-flops every day of the year and be just fine. During my first semester of college, I remember thinking how bizarre it was that I had to buy a coat and closed-toed shoes to wear during the winter. I'd probably go crazy if I lived somewhere really cold where it stays cold, but right now I'm enjoying this chilly Abilene weather.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Back to School

This week has been pretty eventful; I started back to school on Monday and taught my first 107 class. Teaching 107 is fairly similar to teaching 111, and for that I'm thankful. I use a very similar syllabus, so I can re-use the successful activities from last semester and weed out the ones that just didn't work. I'm also a lot more confident this time around. I know how to teach freshmen, and I feel like I'm a better teacher that I was a semester ago. Even though beginning a new teaching job in the fall will be stressful, my 111 and 107 classes have equipped me with confidence and valuable experience.

While teaching is going well, I have one huge obstacle to tackle this semester: COMPS! I finally narrowed down my topic and have the makings of my booklist, which I'm very excited about. I met with my committee chair this morning, and I showed her my current bibliography of nine texts, thinking she'd congratulate me on having such an extensive list. She said, "Everything looks good, but it needs to be about twice as long." Yikes! That's a lot to read. Comps will be an interesting journey, but I know it will be rewarding in the end (or at least that's what I tell myself).

A sampling of my Comps texts
Can you guess my topic? :)

Brendan and I are headed to San Antonio on Friday for a three-day weekend. He usually isn't able to come home with me on the weekends since he works Saturdays, but he's off this weekend. I'm so excited we can spend the weekend together. It'll be good to see my family and spend some of those Christmas gift cards that have been burning up in my wallet!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking to the Future

My last (!) semester of grad school begins on Monday, which officially kick-starts the beginning of the end. This semester I have to complete two classes, pass Comps, and teach an English 107 class, and I'll be home free. I'm so proud of myself and my achievements in grad school, and I look forward to the days when my semesters will no longer be punctuated by twenty-page papers. Graduation is looming on the horizon, and despite the feelings of joy and relief, it brings one horribly frightful thought: I have to get a real teaching job!

I don't know where that job will be located or when it will be offered to me. I'm such a planner and certainly not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person, so not knowing anything about my future can be pretty disconcerting. I'm probably being more dramatic about this than I need to be, but transitioning from college to career is pretty intimidating. I've got a couple of months before the job hunt officially begins, and I'm really ready for the future to start.