21 April 2010

Other Duties As Assigned

My career as a college advisor has a job description like none other, and I love it. In the fall, my time is saturated with college applications. In the spring, I plan tons of events. Of course, it's right up my alley.

Do you know what's not up my alley? Wildlife, including: reptiles, rodents, amphibians, and birds. Last spring, I happened upon a snake working his way across the sidewalk. A student refused to kill it because it wasn't venomous. Whatever. Also last spring, a 9-foot python escaped from her habitat, most likely through the ceiling. I spent the better part of last summer avoiding any heavily landscaped pathway. Since I'm one of few left on campus during the summer, I knew I couldn't become lunch to Mrs. Python. No one would ever know.

(Though I did create some plans just in case I happened upon the snake.)

(I never did, but I figured I hug a tree or some other object anchored to the ground. Surely a python can't kill me if I'm wrapped around the tree, right?)

(Although the above plan was in place, I never did figure out how I'd pull a 9-foot python with me to the tree. Adrenaline, I guess.)

Well, I've convinced myself that Mrs. Python couldn't have lasted through the (relatively) cold winter we had. I mean, we had several days in the teens and 20s. She's a goner. I hope. Actually, I just had the thought that Mrs. Python lived with Mr. Python. I'm assuming some type of procreation occurred at some point. I just hope I don't come upon any baby pythons this summer!

Side note to the above rabbit trail: In said building where Mrs. Python escaped through the ceiling, there is a "dead" smell that's been around for a few months. Others think that perhaps birds and squirrels have crawled into the ceiling and died. I have money that when they finally tear down the wall, a snake skeleton will be found. I mean, seriously, squirrels smell bad for a couple of weeks after keeling off. A 9-foot python could stink it up for a few months.

Back to today...

As I was walking to the administration building on campus, I heard a group of students start screaming and squealing. They were at lunch, so I thought I might ignore them. Until they began pointing at the ground. Of course, I assume it's a snake of some size. I was wrong. It was a bat. A bat that fell out of a tree onto one of my students. Then it laid there. And attracted a crowd.

Evidently, word of the bat spread to all students but no other faculty. No amount of pleading could get any student to fetch another adult. I didn't feel as though I could leave the students with the bat since I'm sure the crowd would have provoked it into biting someone. Then I'd feel bad that a student caught rabies.

I had to comfort those who "had made a connection with the bat and couldn't leave it" with hugs and sweet words, threaten those who thought poking it with a stick could have been fun, and yell at everyone to get to class. Two out of the three worked. I mean, how often do you see a bat up close and personal?

The bat slowly began to attempt flying a few feet at a time; then he'd take a break. Finally a couple of science teachers showed up. As we discussed our plan of action, including calling pest control, the little bat flew away, over the gym and across the horizon. The science teachers theorized that he fell off of his perch while asleep; waking up in broad daylight, stunned from the fall and with 50 students screaming surely didn't help. As soon as he had his wits about him, he knew what to do.

And he did it.

And the students who made connections with the bat went to class.

20 April 2010

Because I Care

Ladies, two times in the past month, I've experienced a deep feeling of unbelievableness. (It would be fair to say that this has possibly happened more than two times, but two times that I can remember thinking, "What in the world?! How does she not know this?")

I've blogged about how much I despise the getting ready process. Well, there are some days that if I've worn my hair straight the day before, and if I don't have the pillow-induced bald spot at the bottom of my part, then I don't wash my hair. That's right. Some mornings before jumping into the shower, I check to see if I can get by without washing my hair. Then I pull it into a high ponytail with a headband. After showering, I do any needed straightening with my hair dryer and round brush. (I have very fine hair that does not do well with a Chi, unfortunately.) Once all the weird kinks are removed, I turn my head over and sprinkle baby powder in my hair, concentrating on the roots. The baby powder absorbs all of the grease and it looks like an freshly washed and styled head of hair.

I just assumed that all women knew this trick, as I've been doing it since college. But two times in the past month, I've discovered that my assumption was incorrect. If you don't know this beauty trick, you should. File it away for future use. I've been told by my students that there is such a thing as dry shampoo, and it only costs $15. It works just like baby powder. Though I'm tempted to try it, a travel size baby powder costs $1. That's a big difference for a frugal gal.

While we're on the subject of hair, I believe it was the great Dolly Parton who once said, "The higher the hair, the closer to God." Now, being from Texas, that is the gospel truth. Well, almost. There's some other stuff, too. But many girls are born with the need for big hair. I was. I remember feathering my bangs in the bathroom when I was about 11. Oh, glorious!

Over the past years, I've worked on my strategy for creating big hair. When I wear my hair curly, a pick and enormous amounts of hair product is appropriate. But when I wear my hair straight, any teasing done with a pick loses its pouf within an hour. Imagine my delight when I was introduced to Dust It. This little bottle is heaven for my hair.

Lifting up sections of hair, just sprinkle this magic dust onto the roots and rub in. Then using a pick or backcombing comb (which I love!), tease the hair. It creates just the pouf that I love. Actually, it's very reminiscent of Sarah Palin's 'do. She's my hair idol for straight hair. (Shaun White, Olympic snowboarder, is my curly hair idol. I'm going to figure out how to get those curls!)

One last beauty tip...I love my toenails painted all summer long. However, I do not like the drying time. I always mess up the polish. Or at least I did before I learned this trick. Once toenails are perfectly polished, spray Pam on them. Yes, non-stick cooking spray. It dries the nail polish instantly. I double-up paper towels and step on them before spraying. Then, I wipe away any that's on my toes. As I finish getting ready for the day, any Pam that didn't come off dries and makes my toes soft. It's a win-win!

Okay, one more. I learned this one from my grandmother. Need fingernail polish to dry quickly? Before painting your nails, fill a bowl with ice water. Once your nails are polished, stick your hand into the bowl. The cold water helps the polish dry! True, you could use Pam, but it might be tricky once one hand is greasy.

I'd love to hear any beauty tricks from y'all!

16 April 2010

Friday Miscellany: Planner Edition

One of the perks for upgrading to an iPhone is the capability of using the calendar. It should be great, right? You can enter things immediately and look up appointments in an instant; you can enter things into Outlook, and they magically appear on your iPhone calendar. You'd think I'd like it. Except I don't.

Since high school, I've loved the process of finding my planner for the year. You know, the paper version? I go back and forth between wanting a weekly layout or monthly layout. I've liked both. I prefer a lined calendar, but sometimes the lines in a calendar are just too dark and seem to overwhelm the page. Some years, I buy a planner to find that I don't like the format, so I buy a new planner. But this year, I didn't buy one. The iPhone addition in January was supposed to take the place of the bulky, hard-to-keep-up-with planner. I mean, the phone fits perfectly in my purse, and I don't have to carry around an extra spiral notebook with me. But I miss having a planner.

So, today. I ordered a planner from Amazon. Since we're a third of the way into this year, pickings were slim. I found one like my boss uses, a Moleskin weekly journal; each week is on the left with a blank, lined page on the right--perfect for grocery lists, to do lists, and phone numbers. Since she and are so similar in the way we plan, compose lists, order food, and a multitude of other things, I decided her satisfaction would be good enough. I hope to receive it next week. Yea!
I think I'm most excited because a planner acts like a journal for me. I'm so not disciplined enough to journal everyday. Since I keep all of my planners (and have for years), I can look back to see how I spent my time, transfer birthdays from one year to the next, and smile when I've circled important days, like April 10, 2009, when Husby proposed. (I can't believe it was over one year ago!)

Even though we're so far into this year, I'll probably go back and pencil in things I've done. Just to have a record. I know, pointless, but I'll enjoy looking at it in five years.

13 April 2010

Recipe of the Week: Roasted Asparagus Salad

I'm so happy that it's been warm outside. Warm and sunshine-y. And beautiful with flowers blooming. I'm also a little happy that lighter foods sound best. If it were up to me, I'd have a meat-free week of meals, but since I have a husband, I don't think he's up for being a vegetarian for a week. Although, last night we had a meal of bread, wine, cheese and apples, and he's okay with having that again this week.

I'm also planning to work this Roasted Asparagus Salad into the menu for the week. Y'all, it's amazing! I've fixed it a couple of times, and I could just eat it everyday. It has so many favorites: asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar. I'm salivating just thinking about it. Like other recipes I've posted, this requires chopping of vegetables, but it's so worth it. And one time, we added grilled chicken to it to "man it up." But I think Southern Living knew what they were doing when they published it as a salad without meat.

Roasted Asparagus Salad
Serves 3 meal-sized salads or 6 side salads

1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, divided
1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes (about 1/2 pint)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 head green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
1 avocado

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Snap off and discard tough ends of asparagus; remove scales with a vegetable peeler, if desired.

2. Stir together 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 1/2 tsp. chopped basil, 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl.

3. Add asparagus to olive oil mixture, and toss gently to coat. Place asparagus on a lightly greased baking sheet.

4. Bake asparagus at 425° for 13 to 15 minutes or to desired degree of tenderness. Cool 10 minutes.

5. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, garlic, and remaining 7 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. basil, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

6. Toss together tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, and 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar mixture.

7. Arrange lettuce on individual serving plates. Top with tomato mixture and asparagus. Add avocado just before serving. Drizzle with remaining balsamic vinegar mixture.

Note: To make ahead, toss together tomatoes, bell pepper, and onion without dressing. Store these ready-to-use ingredients in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to five hours. The dressing and asparagus can also be made up to eight hours before serving.

12 April 2010


Off the Vine Wine Gala and Auction, also known as the event that's consumed my life for the past two months, is done. We had a fabulous Grand Tasting, Silent Auction, dinner prepared by Chef Dean Fearing, Live Auction and Venetian Hour. There were a few little things that could have been better, but overall, it was a huge success. Hallelu.

I am thankful that life will be back to normal: leaving work by 4:30 rather than 8:00, blogging, working out, cooking for Husby, talking to friends, cleaning house, getting caught up on laundry. Husby is thankful that with less stress in my life, the breakdowns over insignificant problems will be kept at bay. I've had a few temper tantrums over the past week. Really, how difficult is it to return a duvet insert to the dryer to finish drying? Evidently, very difficult, as I stormed out of the guest room last week proclaiming, "I can't handle this." Seriously? My husband is so wonderful and patient. And very glad that this isn't normal for me. Honestly, I am, too.

Last week, I turned 30. In the busyness of life, it didn't bother me at all. (I'm not sure that it would have, anyway.) I was elbows deep in event planning on my birthday, so I mostly forgot that it was a special day. And then, last night, I got a little sad. I wasn't sad that I turned 30; I was sad that I didn't have a birthday celebration. (Okay, well, Husby and I went to Julian's--an awesome Asian restaurant--for dinner and drinks. But it lasted an hour, and then I had to go back to work for two hours.) I let my day slip by without a cake. And I let the week slip by without the birthday banner hanging proudly between the living room and kitchen. Luckily, we've been tossing around the idea of a party later in April. It for sure has to happen now!

And one funny story before signing off. Today, I wore a maxi dress to work. At my desk, I was moving around in my chair. Later, when I tried to stand up, I discovered that the dress was tangled around the wheel. No amount of maneuvering could release the hold on my dress. A moment later, a student came into the office. We exchanged pleasantries, and then, I had to let go of all pride and ask him to untangle my dress from the wheel of my chair! Luckily, it didn't rip. And luckily, this was the student who didn't know how to spell his middle name. Now, we're even.

02 April 2010

Friday Miscellany: Easter Playlist

Wow. I'm loving today and reflecting on the meaning of the day. Our Jesus knew that he would sacrifice himself for our sins. He knew that his life would end. Today, it's overcast outside and will storm later in the day. How fitting, since the weather was similar about 2000 years ago.

I most feel the glory of God in two ways of worship: spending time outside in His creation and through music. Both can be very emotional for me. It's the artist in me, I'm sure.

I don't listen to Christian music exclusively. But I've noticed that when I do listen to it, it's about the words. This is unlike other music; I rarely listen to the words. Sure, I can sing to the song, but the words don't matter. For instance, until I was in college, I thought the song, "Fancy," by Reba McEntire was about a girl going to prom. Her mom was helping her get dressed in a pretty red dress. Right? I was shocked when I actually listened to the words I sang. Ha!

I have a playlist on my iPod titled "The Best Christian Playlist Ever." Of course, it's very subjective. But today I've noticed how fitting many of them are for Easter and our risen Lord.

Happy Good Friday! I hope that this weekend is a special reflection for you.

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!