Friday, August 30, 2013

First Week of Classes

This has been a long week but not a bad one. Due to very last-minute circumstances, I ended up covering some classes at a satellite campus on Monday and Wednesday. My own classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays. Gearing up for my own classes, trying to write syllabi and prepare for someone else, and a long commute added a bit more to the mix. I'm finally catching my breath today when I have no classes, getting to unanswered emails, setting up online course management software, and doing other administrative work. I will need to build research and publishing into my schedule soon too, eek.

A few things have progressed on the house. We put up blinds in my office, the dining room, and living room. Two new houses are going up right by ours so the blinds were essential with lots of workers coming and going. The house next to us is really, really close. You can catch all the exciting construction action here if you're into that sort of thing (and I know at least Austin's dad is!).

We also have some towel bars and toilet paper holders up, yay. I believe mirrors and the kitchen backsplash are in the works. I haven't had a chance to take any photos due to the busy-ness of our week (which also results in a less-than-photo-ready home environment) so here is a picture of the nice zinnias growing in our front yard.

On thing we did find time for was organizing our book group. Five of us met at the bookstore and scooped up some fantastic titles. It was incredibly difficult to choose the first book and I am hoping we can get to some of the others at a later date. We ended up selecting one of my all-time favorite books, The Shadow of the Wind. It is set in Barcelona and I read it in its original Spanish while we were honeymooning in Spain. It turned out another member of the group and I share Barcelona as our spiritual hometown. We thought some compelling and readable fiction would be a good starting point as we all get to know each other. It's also a great excuse to have tapas and sangria at the first meeting which Austin and I are looking forward to hosting.

P.S. Feel free to comment if you've read any of the above titles.

Friday, August 23, 2013


I haven't been blogging because I've been in non-stop meetings and getting ready for the semester, I got sick (just a cold), and Austin's car... also got sick. I plan on bouncing back soon so look for less whining coming up.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Socializing on Friday

One of the things that made my time in IL (and TX and EC...) so wonderful was the group of people Austin and I hung out with. A few folks were great about organizing social events and getting to know new faculty from many different departments and programs. I loved being invited to join a book group and wouldn't necessarily have thought to start one on my own. In my new gig, however, I decided to make an effort to find new friends and the best time to do so is at the beginning of the year when lots of people are new and don't know many others in the area. We newbies spent all day on Friday at a new faculty orientation session and I wondered who among the group might also be interested in some social events. We had more time to get to know each other at the new faculty picnic at the President's house and Austin was a trusty sidekick at the event. I know I made at least one friend in Big Red.

Later, I recruited for a book group. I'm pleased that a number of people said they were interested and I'm hoping we'll be able to actually pull it off. The plan is to meet next week at the bookstore to select our first title and then give people time to read. I'm excited to see what we choose since it seems the group is fairly diverse, demographically speaking, and I love the potential for fascinating discussion with everyone.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Living Room Furniture

Here is a preview of what we ordered. There will also be a more neutraly beige chair and a rug at some point.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Settling In

I got home from Mexico on Saturday night. The bottom line is that I had one of the best classes ever and I really enjoyed myself but being a little under the weather and still covered in bites made me all the more ready to chill in my new home. And I LOVE this house.

It's taking a little longer than I anticipated to get fully unpacked and organized. I finished grading on Tuesday and since then, have had new responsibilities to address. The kitchen should be done today and it's been like Christmas to have the space, the fully-functional appliances, and to find things that have been in storage for over a year. I need to rice some potatoes! Bake some Madeleines! Make homemade ice cream!

There were a few things about having a new home that I hadn't expected. None of the bathrooms have mirrors, toilet paper holders, or towel bars. Our Amazon Prime account will come in very handy for the bathroom hardware and the builders will install the mirrors soon. We also need to purchase some furniture since we have an empty living room with the existing furniture upstairs in the "bonus room" aka Austin's entertainment center. I am really looking forward to furnishing the living room and then will just need the temperatures to drop so I can park myself in front of the fireplace with a good book.

Ultimately, the house is just perfect and will be our office, restaurant, movie theater, gym, coffee shop, and more. I'll post more photos when things actually get organized and the printer is no longer in the foyer.