Thursday, December 17, 2009

End of the Semester!

Hello everyone!

I fully intend to ACTUALLY resurface here, and I'm so excited! I feel like I have so much to tell you about, but really, read the post I just did about the comps exam, and you'll know where I've been the last... well, the last 6 months at LEAST.

Let me just say, I am so relieved to have that test behind me! I decided to give it a go a semester early in hopes of taking pressure off of my last semester (knowing that Matthew will be gearing up to deploy only weeks after I'd take the test in the spring). Woot! And, since this is my blog, a place to discuss my thoughts, I have to share with you that it was actually kind of fun. Four hour test? Fun? That's what Matthew said.

But here is where I know I'm in the right place (academia)-- I relish taking an exam I've prepared well for. And people, I prepared my BUTT off for this thing. I got to see the two grading sheets from the professors who grade our comps, and it was all the more affirming to see that I didn't just pass, but I freaking rocked it. Ok, enough of that. Just had to share while I'm still riding the high of this news :)

So the comps were the 5th of December, but I've had more classes, and then finals and grading, etc. My last final was yesterday, all papers are in, and my grades for my first class of teaching are officially submitted! Very exciting!

So... I'm beginning to decompress! I hope to share some of what I've been writing creatively over the last while, and I'm sure I'll do MUCH more of that in about a month when I begin banging out page after page towards my thesis. CRAZY!

Matthew and I will be in Utah for a few quick days next week, and then we'll head to Arkansas to celebrate Grandpa Teter who is turning 90 on the 24th! We're so excited to celebrate him, and I am really excited because I haven't had a grandfather to celebrate in over a decade!

We'll return to Clarksville on the 30th to enjoy the last few days of Matthew's leave, and then he'll head back to work as Executive Officer (a job he technically begins tomorrow...) on Jan 5. I'll have another week to catch you up on our happenings (mostly my cooking, really).

I look forward to being a more faithful blogger. In the mean time, I hope everyone has a fantastic Christmas, New Year, and I hope to reconnect with you soon! (I definitely feel as though I've been underground for this semester!)

Merry Christmas!


8th century anglo-saxon literature, right up to Adrienne Rich's postmodern poetry (thats uhh... a few hundred years)

this time span broken into three periods (8cent-1780, 1780-1900, 1900-present).

all major political, social, ideological, historical, religious movements affecting literature and vice versa in these years.

273 specific texts (poetry, short stories, novellas, novels).

Knowledge of form, content, significance of each work.

Knowledge of influence, history, style of authors.

Five sections.

Four hours.

Three semesters into my grad program.

Two graders.

One just-got-the-face-rocked-off-of-it comprehensive exam.


(PS> This means I'll be around a lot more)

Monday, November 16, 2009

So... yeah.

SO this is really not going to give you much information other than to say I do still exist.

I am, somehow, managing my first teaching job, my toughest semester of classes, and preparing to take my comprehensive exam on December 5th that determines whether I get my degree or not. Oh, and I'm still human, having fun, periodically relaxing, and even threw my first baby shower this past weekend!

The message here is that all is well, but that I am busy and all my writing energy is going toward the 70-something pages of writing I get to generate in the next 3 weeks. Oh, and studying.

I am planning to recommit to the blogging world for 2010- I hope to blog daily during the deployment, and at least a few times a week otherwise as I work on my thesis and have (ideally, if I pass the comps) a much less stressful night.

I covet your prayers and encouragement over the next three weeks, particularly until December 5! This test is a huge deal, lots of material I don't know, and won't know. I'm feeling as prepared as I can, but who knows!

I'll check in again, most likely post-test and finals.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Catching Up.

On Labor Day weekend, Matthew and I had a "staycation" here in Clarksville.

One of the things we've wanted to do is go visit the Jefferson Davis memorial-- clearly something you'd only encounter in the South!

On our way out, we rode behind this Mennonite buggy for a while.

We arrived at the memorial to find it resembling, alarmingly, another very familiar memorial:

That is located in Kentucky. That's right. THAT is the Jeff Davis Memorial!

Here Matthew is with a relief of the man, and to his left there are doors into the old elevator- looked SUPER creepy and we didn't want to pay $3 to potentially enter the Twilight Zone, so we skipped that attraction.

To get to the memorial we drove about 10 miles on country roads and passed some beautiful farmland, and the following old tractors. Matthew's Grandfather is a farmer and loves old tractors, so we took these photos to send to him, but I thought they were really lovely with the greenery growing around them so here you have them!

Tobacco! The leaves are so big and gorgeous!
I'm not a smoker, but it was neat to see these huge leaves.

The smoking of the tobacco leaves smelled SO good.
Here they are hung in this old dry house to dry out.

Also on our staycation I harvested the last real crop from my tomatoes and peppers:

I decided in order to make use of the 20 tomatoes I got I'd make a tomato sauce this time, so I fire roasted the tomatoes first- here they are with their little bums sliced to allow for easy post-roast peel.

And here is the sauce! Doesn't look particularly appetizing until you realize that the white stuff is garlic, the green stuff is basil, and it is ALL delicious!
I've got two bags frozen waiting for whenever I need 'em!
(and on a side note, I've decided to take up canning next summer... beware!)

On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend we went to Jazz on the Lawn at our local winery. A familiar band was playing that night, so we went with some friends and took a little picnic complete with concord grapes and boursin cheese, and of course some nice chilled wine (oh, and Fried chicken, and bread, and brie, and fruit, and red velvet cupcakes). The picture didn't turn out well, but we had a great time!

The next weekend we had tickets to WICKED! It was, of course, fabulous. It was my 3rd time seeing it, and Matthew's first! It lived up to the hype for him and we had a WONDERFUL time. As usual it elicited the usual deep longings in me that theater tends to conjure.

Our dear sweet Matt and Melissa gave us a very generous gift for our Anniversary in August, and we decided to use it for dinner before the show! The follow is that delicious dinner:

My appetizer: Fried heirloom tomatoes with roasted red pepper sauce and goat cheese.

Matthew's Appetizer: the Germantowne Strudel of the day- a cheese and spinach combo I think, with a lemon glaze sauce. He LOVED it and my taste of it was glorious.

My salad with blue cheese balsamic vinaigrette. Also yum!

Matthew's cream of asparagus soup which I made him get since he wouldn't eat salad and it was included, and he ended up absolutely LOVING. He is still talking about it.

The fried cheesey popover was their bread of the day
(we gathered they have different dinner rolls each night).

My meal- pork tenderloin with mustard plum sauce, haricots verts, and garlic mashed potatoes!

Matthew's meal- some kind of steak I can't remember with a mushroom cabernet sauce and the same sides. Again, excellent.

My dessert- recommended by the waitress and OH so good... Apple walnut pie with BROWN BUTTER SAUCE. People, there is nothing better than this. And, oh yeah, a la mode (and ps, I don't even LIKE apple pie!).

Matthew's Bailey's Irish cream cheese cake with caramel and chocolate sauce (someone climbed into his dreams to figure out his idea dessert, and came up with this for him).

We had a FABULOUS meal, and are SO happy to have discovered this place! If you come here, we will go! (**INCENTIVE!**) Thank you SO much for Matt and Mel's generosity, and for finding the place for us to begin with!

And here we are, at the show. You can't see how shnazzy we were, but just know,
OH, we were schnazzy! And we are realizing we know Nashville well enough to get around without directions all the time, and that is neat.

Life other than fabulous weekend fun is good. Matthew is working hard, and I am working and schooling hard. I am teaching some folks to write (ideally), and learning a lot about puritans, literary theory, and writing non-fiction. Matthew is being super awesome, and looking forward to the change in job coming up at the end of November. More soon, I hope, but for now, there we are!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Food, etc.

Homemade blueberry pie with Vodka crust (the vodka evaporates, but helps the crust roll out more easily without creating a gummy or tough crust).

The bacon and leek part of my bacon and leek tart- I forgot to take a picture of the tart!

A GLORIOUS Raspberry Buttermilk cake- this was SO delicious!

Strawberry scones.
They cooked up much bigger than I thought, but Matthew and I both loved these! They were really pretty easy too!

I also made a really great raspberry ice-box pie but didn't take a picture of THAT either! But I've had some fun experimenting lately.

Broken Lizzard.

We had a great weekend in Nashville this past weekend. Our Anniversary celebration was 2 nights in the Gaylord Opryland hotel. The first night we ate at an Irish pub and listened to some great live music. On Saturday we shopped for work clothes for me, and had a great time together. That night we took the shuttle in to downtown Nashville to go to a comedy show with the Macs. It was Broken Lizzard playing at Zanies- Zanies was such a cool place, we would TOTALLY go back! And the show was fantastic- we laughed our guts out!

Here we are on the bus!

So fun to see Farva and all our favorite characters!

They did sketches where they appeared as characters from their movies,
but also did individual stand up.

Yay! SO good to laugh and let off some steam!

After we got to meet them! Really cool guys. We got this picture!
The McCaslands got this a poster signed, and here they are with the guys!

Here they are signing the poster.
I decided to have them sign a ticket- we should have brought one of the DVD jackets but didn't think of it! So I got them to sign my 4 by 2 inch ticket stub. YES!

Shook Farva's hand- he was excited to meet a native Utahan.

All really great guys!

We had SO much fun! After that we enjoyed some of the broadway strip downtown and had a great time with the nightlife. The show was so much fun, and we even got to see a clip from their upcoming movie- hooray!

Anyway, great time! If you are a BL fan, definitely find a live show near you- you'll love it!

Week of the Eagles.

Every other year when the 101st Airborne Division is at home, they celebrate the Week of the Eagles. This week is full of really awesome events, including homecoming celebrations for Veterans of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, and OIF and OEF. They do a Division review (where ALL the units of the whole Division are surveyed by the commanding general, General Campbell (oddly enough :))), sporting competitions like basketball, softball, combatives, running, toughest Air Assault soldier, and more. They also have lots of fun events, like free concerts!

For the first free concert I went with a few friends to save spots. We got there around 2:00pm on a 95 degree day and waited around until the 6:00pm start time. Matthew came over when he got off of work around 5, and the Cragwalls joined us too!

Here we are!

Me and Leslie!

Despite camping out early for good seats, people crowded in more and more. No one likes big crowds or being crowded, least of all Matthew.

Matthew was VERY happy when, just 10 days out, Hank Williams, Jr. decided to join the set list. All of the artists did the concerts for FREE! It was great!

The crowd behind.
The crowd in front.

So the full line up was Hank Williams, Jr., John Rich (who was a total lame face- had about 1 hour of time on the stage and spent NO JOKING 45 minutes talking about the war and politics-- YEAH WE KNOW, we've been there! We don't want to talk about it NOW while we're all here, IDIOT! Sorry, but he was SO obnoxious! He thought he was preaching to the choir, but come on! NOT a political platform! You're here to SING!), Jake Owen, and then Carrie Underwood! WOOT!

Let me say, she sounds JUST as good live- girl can sing! WOW! She did a great set, lots of energy, good songs, and even sang "Paradise City" and can definitely sing Rock!

Here's about the best picture we got- not a great night time camera we have.
So the night was great. They told us there were 75,000 people there! Insanity! We chose not to go to the other concert the next night with Rodney Atkins- we'd had enough crowds!

The next day was the air show. After growing up near an AF Base, I never really cared to go, but when we heard they were going to simulate a whole Air Assault on the bad guys, we showed up!
They had a little insurgency set up in the middle of the field. They showed us how OH-58 Kiowa Warrior helicopters scout out the insurgents and locate a place to insert men and weapons.

Then the Black Hawks come in and drop the dudes (what Matthew was just qualified to do):

Guys fast-roping out.

They sling-loaded in Howitzers and did attacks on the insurgents, really cool.

Here is a picture of the 160th pilots (Nightstalkers!) doing their final fly-over with the missing man off to the right. These are literally the best helicopter pilots in the world- they fly all kind of special ops people from all branches of the military- no big deal!

They also had static displays of helicopters. Here I am leaning in to a Black Hawk.
The next week all the sports stuff began. We went to a lot of the combatives rounds (Wrestling, basically) and it was SO fun! The tournament Matthew did was primarily holds. In this they could punch, knee, and slap the face. In the final round (in a big cage and everything) they could punch the face, kick, everything- INTENSE!

There was one female who beat down some dudes in her weight class and made it to the final round. She won second place. Hooah Lt. LaForce! She was awesome- pretty dang hard core. Everyone who fought was great, it was really exciting to watch.

Week of the Eagles 09 was so cool! We had a great time, and are looking forward to celebrating the homecoming of the next deployment with our second WOE in 2011!