Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Tale of Two Houses

From birth until I went off to college, I lived in a small 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom house with my parents and sister. We lived frugally without much room to move about in, but we shared our space and our love and our belongings the best we knew how. To this day, it is a house of much music, much cooking, much intellectual work, and much spending time together.  It will always be one of my favorite homes.
 
In the past 13 years since I went first went away for college, I've lived in a total of 2 countries, 2 states, 2 dorm rooms, 8 apartments, 1 rent house, and now a house house.  It's been a whirlwind of leases and contracts, moving across the country and back, and more moving boxes than I could ever count...but finally the moving has come to an end.  My husband and I, at last gainfully employed and using our PhDs exactly how we planned, have purchased the home we hope to spend many, many years in.  Truly, it is our dream home.
 
We closed on our house exactly two months ago today. We've spent all summer cleaning, plumbing, stripping wallpaper, texturing, priming and painting walls and trim, tearing out carpet, laying new floors, remodeling, saving huge front and back yards in the midst of a drought, and--little by little--unpacking and turning this new house into a home.  The house was not a fixer-upper, although I'm probably making it sound like that. In fact, it's a gorgeous house.  It was a house that you could simply tell a senior citizen had lived in for a long time, and the d├ęcor and color choices throughout were quite old fashioned.  We could have moved right in and lived comfortably without making any changes, really.    But, we wanted this to feel like our home, one we created together, not just one we were living in. 
 
After months of working and sweating through 100 degree days, we're finally ready to stop, pat ourselves on the back, clink together two glasses of something cool and refreshing, and relax and enjoy our summer.  Of course, now, school starts in a week.  Guess we better relax quickly and complete our fall syllabi!
 
Scott and I want this house to be, much like my parents' home, to be a house of love, music, cooking, thinking, and sharing. Our journey's just starting.  Where are you at in yours?

Saturday, March 30, 2013

In which we have and eat our cake, simultaneously

 
Night Owls Cupcakes 
Picture from spoonful.com. Image is a link to the website.
 
I want to wish everyone a blessed Easter Eve.  Today, I've been thinking a lot about the women who appeared at the tomb of Jesus only to discover it empty.  I've been thinking a lot about faith and obedience.
 
2013 has been stressful but also wonderful thus far. My husband was offered an awesome job at the same awesome university where I teach.  He'll start full-time in the fall.  We're officially off the job market and in the market for a house.  A home.  In the process of learning the ins and outs of this little town, we've decided that this really is where we want to stay, for at least as much of the future as we can imagine, which I suppose is another way to say the short end of long term.
 
But, in making that decision, we also decided that if the short end of long term turned into the rest of our professional lives, we would likely be very happy about that, too.
 
 
Reese's Pieces Kit Kat Cake
Picture from the Love Bakes Good Cakes blog. Image is a link to the blog and recipe.
 
This is not where we imagined ourselves, back when we used to lie in bed in the dark, doing our out-loud imagining.  We never talked about small towns, only cities.  We never talked about specifically Baptist universities, only generically Christian schools, or private schools.  We never talked about living this close to the moms and dads and brothers and sisters and their babies (within 45 and 75 miles), only hoping beyond hope that we might find somewhere in this tri-state area.  But we did ask God for his guidance, and we prayed daily for the faith to be obedient to his call, even if it was to go somewhere we never imagined.
 
We never imagined it was possible to have our cake and eat it too--and I blame the people who circulated job market horror stories without also circulating success stories.  Here we are, having our cake and most definitely eating our fill.  Two full time jobs in the same town.  Amazing.
 
 
Rainbow Cake from Cake Chooser
Picture from cakechooser.com. Image is a link to the website.
 
This cake isn't the flavor we were expecting. In fact, it's unlike any cake we've ever had before.  (...maybe it's pie?)  But we like the newness of it on our tongues, the unusual flavors on our palettes. We're hoping this is just the first crazy slice of many.  STAY TUNED.

P.S. Which of these cakes would you want to try?  I'm taking a poll. :)
 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2012 wrap-up, just a little late

I loved my Christmas holidays so much--so much so that I wish I could stay in holiday mode for another month or two!  (And, by the way...um, does anyone know where January went? I could have sworn it was around here somewhere but it seems to have disappeared...)  But the best part about coming off of the holidays is that I am teaching two brand new classes this semester, and I'm excited about the opportunity to stretch myself yet a little more beyond my comfort zone.  (Which was the entire essence of my 2012--holy cow.)  This semester is already speeding up very quickly.  We're currently four weeks in.

Since this is my first post of 2013, I want to do an overdue 2012 wrap-up.  Here are some of the major things I did in 2012:

1. Applied for many, many jobs and accepted one that I was offered after an on-campus interview: @ the wonderful Wayland Baptist University.

2. Read all of the Harry Potter books for the first time. (This was my present to myself for landing a job.)  Loved them and raved about them so much that my uber-skeptical husband decided to give Book One a try.  He, of course, ended up reading them all, and at break-neck pace.  Then we watched all the films for the first time!  So, we're a little late to the Harry Potter party, but let's set that aside and embrace the fact that we arrived at all!  Now I'm a bit HP-obsessed.

3. Walked the stage with my husband to accept my Ph.D. in English (his Ph.D.is in Musicology).

4. Moved from Glendora, CA to Plainview, TX.

5. Started a full-time teaching position as an assistant professor of English.

6. Taught almost 100 freshmen and sophomores during my first semester @ WBU, almost half of them being athletes (47). Three of them were English majors.

7. Gave my first paper at NAVSA (North American Victorian Studies Association).  Had a fantastic time with old friends and made a few new friends.  Plan on attending again (in addition to CEA--College English Association) in 2013.

8.  Traveled to Virginia and Wisconsin by myself to present papers and managed not to get lost once.

9. Became an aunt for the third time, a third boy. Okay, so this is not something major that I did, but, what a cutie!

10. Cooked my first turkey dinner from scratch. It wasn't for Thanksgiving, but it was at a very thankful time, so it felt right.

11. Had a Wilkie Collins paper accepted for publication. It will be published March '13.

What are the big things on my list that I want to accomplish for 2013?

1. Get pre-approved for a house loan.

2. Publish another paper.

3. Complete the All Things Dickinson project with my sanity intact.

4. Teach a successful graduate seminar. My first one starts this month! (18C British)

5. Cook or bake at least one new thing each month.  And use my kitchen gadgets! (Thanks for the ever-present reminder, Trish!)

6. Take a trip with Scott back to CA to see my wonderful friends.  We miss you all so much.