Better Crypts and Gardens: Gothic Nesting, My So-Called Academic Life, Updates

My Crazy, Wonderful Life

bannerfans_16248261Hello, my lovely readers! HELLO! Holy smokes! Has it really been almost a month since my last post? Sheeze, so much for “I plan on posting a lot more in the near future.” HA! It has been one of the busiest and most glorious and exciting times of my life, that’s for sure. It’s not that I don’t have anything to post about, because let me tell you, there’s so much news I don’t know where to begin. Rather, I’ve been so busy that I just haven’t had two seconds to sit down and write a post. All I can say is that my blogging schedule will be erratic for the next few months.

Being a full-time professor with classes to teach, advising hours, service duties, and research and writing requirements has been a lot more time-consuming and exhausting than I thought it would be. Honestly, I really didn’t know what I was walking into. Folks told me that my first year would be challenging, but geez louise! Challenging is an understatement!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m LOVING every minute of it. I’m back in the classroom and teaching American Art to a group of students who are engaged and awesome. My online Introduction class is going really well this semester. I’m seriously enjoying working with LIVE Lab to develop educational videos games for art history. And I’ve been spearheading some really cool and innovative pedagogical planning here at TAMU … something I’ll discuss more when proposals go out and plans solidify. My research and writing has taken a back burner while I navigate new duties, a new campus and a new city/state. However, spring break is coming and my schedule is going to regulate a bit more, so I’ll have time to edit, research, and write. Here’s hoping that I get those two papers I’ve been “sitting on” edited and out to be reviewed and considered for publication before the end of March! Yes, I’ve been spinning like a top … but boy! has it been fun!

“How’s Texas, Professor Z? Are you finally settling?” I can hear you ask. I have to admit, I nestingkind of … disliked it … when we first got here. Maybe it was because I was already exhausted from packing and moving, or because everything just caught up with me? Or maybe it was because I was listening to folks who kept telling me that Texas isn’t New York and that I’m going to have a hard time adjusting? Hell, folks in New York and in Texas kept pushing the narrative that I’m going to be in for quite a culture shock and that I might have a hard time politically, spiritually, and culturally.

Yes, things are different than New York City. Yes, you can’t throw a stone without hitting a cow, an Aggie, or a church, including those crazy megachurches! shudder Yes, there are some pretty huge political and social differences. But, the folks here are really nice and sweet … and super helpful. I’ve found a little niche of liberal and Democrat folks who are political engaged. I also discovered that I really like the slower pace, the ranches, the brush and oaks, the birds … all those birds, the critters, and manageableness of my life. I like being able to breath clean air. I also like my “elbow room” — space to move and relax without being crushed by the throngs of people. And let’s face it, I really like my school, the students, and my department. Sure, it’s going to be insanely hot this summer … I get it. But that’s not enough to scare me away or make me miserable. And food here in Bryan-College Station is surprisingly diverse and delicious. Oh who am I kidding? The BBQ is divine.

So after two months, I can say with complete confidence that I really like Texas, its wonderful people, and our awesome Aggies. Hell, we like it so much that we’re buying a house. WHAT?!? Yuppers, we’re buying the house that we’re currently renting! The contract is signed and we were pre-approved for a mortgage. We’re just waiting for everything to go through, including the inspection and assessment. We even have a closing date: March 31! SQUEE! When did I become an adult? The house has a yard and you know what that means? GARDENING. WAHOO! And canning and cooking and all sorts of awesome stuff that I miss.

Indeed, life has been busy. But, it’s been really, really awesome.



8 thoughts on “My Crazy, Wonderful Life”

  1. It is so exciting to see you settling in and enjoying Texas. I moved to Oklahoma after spending most of my life in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. It was a huge difference and took some adjusting, but overall I love my community. There are things I don’t appreciate, but I’m working on effecting change with other like-minded individuals.
    It’s so neat to hear that you’re buying a house! We bought ours in July 2015 and it was such a surreal experience. It really did feel like an official “You’re an Adult” stamp on my life. I can’t wait to see what you do with your garden. I will offer up a bit of advice and say that you’ll want to look into something to provide shade to your green babies and be very sure to water at night. I learned the hard way that even watering super early in the morning can leave just enough moisture on them to fry them when the sun hits. It was a very sad day.

    Have fun with the inspections and final paperwork signing. It’s an experience.


    1. So far, so good with the house buying stuff. It’s a lot of paperwork, a lot of moving parts … but not nearly as bad as when we sold my parent’s house. Good grief — three lawyers, the will, and … ahem … siblings.

      I’ve been talking to the folks at the local gardening center. We’re planting over spring break and we have big canning plans this year. I almost 80% sure we’re doing the Ration Project again, but we’ll see if I can get my brain wrapped around that as well. It takes a lot of planning and I’m not sure if I have the time for it.

      Stay tuned!


  2. Oh I hear you on moving to a very different cultural area! I moved from my home state California to New York, then three years later to Idaho. Serious culture shock. But then, as you have discovered, home prices are a lot lower outside New York! Gardening and canning are huuuuge in Southeast Idaho because of both the survivalist and LDS folks. So I’ve definitely been taking advantage of all the local expertise. And it’s a great balance against all the intellectual desk work. Best wishes on getting through the mortgage process!


    1. Thanks Kristine! Bryan-College Station is a nice mix of rural areas, old town, and thriving, bustling college town. The house prices are much, much lower than NYC … like crazily so! I’m really excited to start working on my garden. I have spring break next week and plan to build my beds and get some plants into the ground before the extreme heat hits. I can’t wait!


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