Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Weekend Recap

Sorry, no pictures of food, a cat, or flowers this time. I guess that means I had a good weekend.
  • Friday night we finally watched Black Swan. Now those who know me well know that I'm not exactly a movie buff; I frequently confuse the names (not the people thankfully) Mel Gibson, Mel Brooks, Mel Torme, much to the bemusement of Austin so take my review as you will. That said, I found the movie compelling and fascinating. It was so eerie, made you constantly question your own interpretations and what you saw, and included so many elements of black, white, and ballerina pink. Really excellently done and one of the best movies I've seen in ages.
  • Saturday the movie marathon continued. We hit up our favorite theatre were Austin was ready to get a Pecan Porter Shake, only to find out there was no porter to be had. He contented himself with a Guinness Shake instead and he and I shared a fantastic breakfast burrito (the real deal- it was garnished with chimichurri sauce and Cotija cheese) and creme brulee French toast. Oh, and the movie, right, Bridesmaids (in juxtaposition to Black Swan!). Just hilarious; I laughed until my sides ached and Austin really dug it too. It was not a chick-flick even though a wedding was part of the plot though the layers of women's friendships were something that Austin admitted he probably didn't appreciate as much as I did.
  • Notice I haven't mentioned cooking. Indeed I did try two dishes Friday and Saturday night but the cooking juju was just not flowing. One was a recipe highly recommended by a friend but it just didn't come together for me. The other was a recipe that looked promising and reasonably simple but it just didn't wow us. On Sunday, we made garlic mashed potatoes and a green salad with strawberries, walnuts, and feta. Really good. Austin enjoyed a steak and I was excited to plank some salmon but it got over-salted and I wasn't able to fully appreciate the smoky cedar flavor. I'm ready for some good cooking karma this week, however. We did have really good veggie/meaty burgers on the grill Monday and a stir fry for dinner. Foolproof.
  • In nature news- the birdlets have gotten huge and one has started flying. I planted some pumpkin and sunflower seeds and the sprouts are up and going strong. I'm excited to see how they turn out.
  • Austin and I booked travel to Phoenix for his good friend's wedding in October. We'll be seeing lots of friends and family there (that's what happens when three roommates marry sisters/cousins). I love travel so I'm having fun thinking about what we want to do while there.
  • Stinky is doing great and chased a large, spiny lizard one day- it got away- and he slew a very sizable mouse yesterday that we promptly removed from him. Exciting times on the LundeRoy patio!
  • We're both back to work now. I am working on dissertation and conference tasks and I start teaching summer school this week. No rest for the wicked!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summery Salad

It was hard to get a photo of this salad that captured the vivid colors in it so just imagine it a little bight brighter. This is a Mediterranean Orzo Salad that is just divine and perfect for a holiday weekend to kick off summer. I'm not a fan of olives (I wish I were) so I substituted black beans which also upped the protein content. I also didn't exclusively use the marinade that the artichokes came packed in but also used some of my own vinaigrette. This is definitely going to be on regular rotation in our summer menu planning.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


These are the little hatchlings that live on our light fixture. There's always been some sort of nest there but this is the first we've seen of a growing family.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Look Closely

Do you see the red dot up in the corner by the ceiling? No, we're not playing laser tag with Stinky. My innovative, resourceful husband has created an indicator light showing if the garage door is open. There is no light when it is closed and you can't even tell there is an LED up in the ceiling but, should the occasional oversight occur, the red light is an obvious reminder that someone could breach the garage perimeter and steal our Subaru rally flag or our old WI and MN license plate collection.

Back Home

This is the new scarf that showed up while I was gone. It has almost nothing to do with this post but I thought it was too gorgeous not to add to the blog.

Anyway, I'm back home and back to it. I ran errands, did some laundry, and have been working on the preliminary tasks associated with turning our presentation (hopefully) into a published paper. I've also started preparing to teach summer school since that begins a week from Thursday. Tomorrow is looking about the same with the addition of some yard work.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Lilies and Rain

I'm heading south today but grateful for all the spring I soaked in while home. Lilies of the valley are some of my favorite flowers and I was happy to find them blossoming away at my parents' house (and being well-watered with the rain storms). They were transplanted from my grandparents' farm and today would have been my grandparents' 69th wedding anniversary.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spring Up North

I haven't updated the blog lately since I've been traveling and what a great time to be doing so. Spring comes earlier in Texas so it's been nice to have another taste of it up here in "Minnesconsin." I've loved seeing every green-gold young leaf, the flowering trees, and the tulips. This flowering tree is from my inlaws' yard but they seem to exploding all over.

My initial reason for coming home was a conference at which I presented with some wonderful colleagues. I ended up doing lots of work on this trip. First, I had to (desperately) finish a final paper and email it away. Then I submitted final grades for the sections I was teaching. After that was out of the way, I had to do some prep work for the current conference and a fall one while I was able to meet with local colleagues.

Fortunately, I was also able to see family and friends. I spent some time with my parents, saw my brother and his family, then got together with two wonderful girlfriends. We did lots of cooking (Indian fry bread tacos and mujadara) and had wonderful conversations while soaking in some spring sunshine. After the conference, I was also able to attend my niece's second birthday part which was fantastic.

I'm now enjoying my last full day in the great, green north spending a little more time with my parents. It's been a great visit but I'm also ready to head back to Austin and Stinky.

Monday, May 9, 2011


Today I let my supervisor know that I would be resigning in the fall (technically just not accepting the teaching contract). This was not an easy decision even though it makes a lot of sense in terms of finishing the dissertation. My degree includes the word "education" so to not teach for the first time in 10 years is just... weird. But good. I'm excited.

I'll still be teaching this summer but as of fall, I'm a full time "dissertator" (such an odd word). I'll work on it more later as the time comes but for now, I plan on essentially following the same schedule as Austin so I'll be working at least eight hours a day. It won't be eight hours of intensive writing but I'll be on track to do any reading, research design, and writing as I can.

So this is the latest update in this journey. I'm very fortunate to even be in the position to make this kind of decision.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Late Spring

These little wildflowers pop up all over around this time of year. They look so beautiful along the roadsides and a single one keeps growing in our yard. I can't bear to mow it over so I pick it and put it in the kitchen and it seems that the next week, another is back in the same place in the yard. I don't know what it is but it sure beats dandelions.

Update: Thanks to the magic of Google, I've identified this as a rain lily.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Good News

At the beginning of the semester, I received an email that I thought was spam promising a very substantial fellowship (aka scholarship) for doctoral students. I looked a little closer and realized it was legit and that I had, in fact, been nominated to receive it. At the last minute, I tested the patience of my family and friends to read my statement of purpose and asked for some letters of recommendation. I was not entirely pleased with my submission and it slipped my mind.

This week, however, I received a kind email giving me a heads up that indeed I had been chosen for this fellowship. I was really surprised, not just from my (perceived) lackluster cover letter but because the fellowship was university-wide. Given that languages are not considered "core" content in the K-12 setting, I was amazed to earn such an award at a University (and to be fair, there were a few of these awards offered along with smaller awards). Wow, just wow. This award not only offers a decent dollar amount but also covers my tuition and our (excellent) health insurance. I'm blown away and grateful.

Austin and I have some logistical decisions to work through this weekend but what an excellent problem to have. We're also looking forward to some down time and talking to our moms; they are a big part of why we're where we are (thanks you three, you know who you are...).

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another Picture-less Post

I always like to post a photo, even if it's (sort of) unrelated to the post but it's been a bit more hectic than usual here. Some quick updates:
  • We had a quiet weekend at home. Some friends had plans and invited us to hang out but we decided on down time. I read for pleasure for the first time in ages and devoured a book group book in about 24 hours. Austin enjoyed some gaming and coding.
  • Monday was my last (required, foreseeable) class ever as a grad student here. I'm thrilled to be done and it was a fantastic class. The prof and fellow students and I all ended class early and went to a local pub. Good conversation, multiple ciders on tap and cheese fries? Not a bad Monday evening.
  • We woke up today to find little white paw prints all over our house. Since Stinky has access to both the indoors and outdoors and it had rained, this is not surprising. Nonetheless, the number of them on the hardwood and tile floors was notable. A simple pleasure, it was pretty cute to see the tracks repeatedly return to the food dish. I'll wipe them up tomorrow since I thought they were so sweet today. Yeah, I'm that much of a Cat Person now!