Sunday, November 11, 2012

Home for 43 hours...unless I did the math wrong

Friday after work I ran home gave the kitties an extra bowl of food and extra water and heading off home to San Antonio.  I got out of Bryan close to 5:40 and by the time I hit Caldwell it was perfectly dark.  The drive through Bastrop was scary, the road curved a lot and cause of the fires part of the road through the forest is closed.  Bastrop to San Marcos was completely dark too and after sitting in traffic for 20 minutes to get on 35, I was so relieved to be on a lighted highway I made it to San Antonio about 25 minutes later- ooops.  Got into San Antonio right around 8:45.

First stop Deirdre's house.  I think 2 months is the longest I've gone without seeing her since I was 16 years old and started driving. Crazy to think about but seriously never go that long without seeing her.  After Deirdre's I headed over to mama and mimi's and chatted for a minute.  Mama practically dragged me out of my car.  A little after 10 I headed over to Haley's house where I will be staying the majority of time I stay in San Antonio.  Isaac was sleepy so I barely had time to kiss his head before they swept him off to bed.  Chatted briefly with Hail and Greg and went to bed.  They have a super comfy temperpedic guest bed and it was like sleeping on a foamy cloud.

Woke up the next morning at 7AM when Isaac woke up.  My dreamy dreamy nephew sadly took a little while to warm up to me again.  It woud have broken my heart if I wasn't so excited to be home- even if it was someone else's home.  Mama came over around 9ish and the Swift's headed out around noon.

Haley left a binder full of instructions for Isaac.  When to feed him, what to feed him, how to change his cloth diapers, how to put him to bed, his morning rituals and nap rituals.  All in crazy detail.  I have put Isaac to bed on several occasions, mama had only once or twice.  Mama had taken care of him during the day time weekly for almost half a year and I've only watched him in the day time a handful of times.  So we both had our strengths.

Later in the afternoon daddy came over and we took Isaac to the park.  He played on the slide and played on the swing set, then we went home and napped.  Saturday mama also picked up BBQ since it was also a thing I missed from SA. Late in the afternoon Dr. Liz came over! She finally got to meet Mr. Isaac and of course got to hand out for a little bit.   Saturday night we got Isaac off his schedule a little bit and put him to bed too early, but he slept like a haus till 6AM close to 10 hours!

This morning we had breakfast tacos and played with Isaac in the house.  He took a good nap even though it felt like he'd slept forever.  Then we went and picked mimi up for lunch and went to La Hacienda so I could get decent Tex-Mex.  After lunch daddy came over again before I had to head back to SA. In true daddy fashion he cleaned my car before I left- he used to do the same thing when I'd go back to Seguin in college.  I ended up leaving around 3:30 and didn't hit too bad of rain till Bastrop.  Made it back to my apartment by 6ish.

My visit was way too short, but got to see the most important people (minus my stepmom who's kids were also in town this weekend).  I'll be back home- Hail's home- in 9 more days.  But that drive SUCKS in the dark so I'm gonna have to see if I can leave earlier in the afternoon.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Taking day 10 off from writing

Okay last post till Sunday.  Tomorrow I'll be too busy with this special man watching him with my mom while his parents take a quick holiday for their 4th anniversary.  I promised them when they had Isaac that for their anniversaries I'd always watch him...of course this was before I moved, but they're still holding me to it which is fine with me.  So take a look at the cute and I'll write all about it Sunday!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Painting with a Twist...Painting with a Purpose

So a few weeks ago we got an email from TAMU about the MSC Galleries fundraiser at Painting with a Twist.  Bring your own wine.  The second biggest thing I miss from UTSA is the Gallery- I can't help it, it was such a cool thing I got to do and I know it was probably a once in a Student Affairs career type thing, so I was like oooh ooh I'll go!   So tonight two of my colleagues and I went yay! 

The night started out beautiful...

Then I remember I have to paint.  I haven't painted since summer camp in 2002, I suck at painting, but the instructor promises we'll leave happy- she doesn't specify if we'll be happy with our paintings or happy cause of our wine.  But people say it's "easy" cause "they walk you through it".  So we find out stations and we have 3 brushes and a paper plate with about 8 different colors on it, blues, yellows, black, white and a teal- that's how we're going to recreate Vincent Van Gogh's beautiful Mulberry Tree

The one we're imitating 

So at least it's a little blurry so hopefully I won't screw it up too much.

Step One, cover the white canvas with white can add some blue or green to it but we don't want it white cover the top half with yellows and white cover the whole thing...

 Cool.  Step one- easy.  I like it.  It looks like water which a bright yellow sky!

Step 2ish, make your leaves like a bowl using the oranges and yellows...add some greens if you like...

Now do the rest...just kidding so next we painted the sky so we covered up ALL the yell we did in step one! Then we added white for "snow" to the bottom blue area, so that neither top or bottom resembled anything we started out with.  

Final painting..nothing like Van Gogh's, nothing like our sample either.  Oh-well.  It was a lot of fun.  I drank like 1/2 a bottle of wine so that helped, but it was relaxing and while I was doing it I was liking how the colors were mixing and it was super fun.  I enjoyed hanging out with two of my co-workers outside of work and I'm so glad I did it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm going home!

So this is the longest I've been away from home ever.  Seriously 2 months is the longest I've been away from home in one stretch.  Summer camp was only a month sometimes 33 days, I went for 10 years as a camper and 3 years as a counselor for 33 days every summer (1 year off between year 2-3 as a counselor).  I can't believe at 7 years old I was okay going away from home for 33 days but at 27 it sucks and I'm a whiney baby about it.  So needless to say my excitement about going home this weekend is a little excessive.

I miss my family of course, it's weird not seeing them every week.  I miss Isaac of course most, cause I have not had any baby cheeks to eat since their visit the first weekend of October.  They need to be consumed regularly otherwise they get ridiculously cute and I go off on a scary tangent about baby cheeks.  I miss my friends.  I can't just go over to a friends house and have a glass of wine when I need to complain, vent or relax.  I miss the city- oh god the city, with it's breakfast tacos, traffic, people and patios.  There are no patio bars here! Or restaurants with patios! It's crazy, apparently they're afraid of West Nile here, so they don't build patios.  The weather is beautiful and no one can take advantage of it!

But maybe it's like certain friendships, a little time a part does you some good.  So now when I go home I'll appreciate it more and be able to just do the things I like.  Hanging with the friends and family, eating and drinking.  That's all I did in SA right?  Eat, drank and hung-out?  I think so.  This weekend there wont be too much hang-out time cause I'll be too busy enjoying every minute of Isaac time, but for Thanksgiving I'll be home 5 days and for Christmas 2 weeks.  I can't wait!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2004, 2008 and 2012 Election Days

In 2004 I was a Sophomore at TLU and member of the briefly active "College Republicans" (I went to two meetings and got a shirt).  It was the first Presidential Election I got to vote for.  I had previously, that spring, voted for a local Bexar county election for school  bonds and a couple of local seats, but nothing as exciting as this.  Less than two weeks after my roommate was killed, I still hadn't figured out how to be around my usual TLU friends without it being sad and awkward, so a lot of the TLU choir people took me in and invited me places and on this occasion invited me to watch the election results with them.

So that's how I ended up first at Austin St. Live in downtown Seguin.  I was only 20 so I couldn't drink, but I got to hang out with the TLU students who seemed to have a vested interest in politics and I got to enjoy all the debating and trash talking between everyone.  I had attended a couple of the TLU sponsored debate watchings in the ASC and that's how I had learned who in the choir seemed to actually care about politics.  One of the guys from choir had a political map he was coloring in as results came in, he and I seemed to be the only Republicans in the bar, but he was totally the loudest, all I had was my "TLU Dubya" swoosh shirt.  I was easily one of like 5 chicks there out of 30 guys, I knew none of the other chicks though.

I didn't stay there long, shortly after Texas polling closed and all that was left to do was wait for all the others, one of the choir guys invited me back to his apartment (on-campus) to hang out with his friends and to watch the rest of the results come in and drink.  So a group of about 8ish of us went back to their apartment and we switched back and forth between all the news stations for about an hour.  Eventually someone said it was boring we wouldn't get the real results till morning so they were gonna put on a movie instead.

Everyone was appalled I had never seen Clerks so that was first.  I didn't like it my first viewing, I thought it was entertaining and fun but kinda cheesy in some parts.  It wasn't till a few years later that I really started to like it when silly random things came back to me.  I was totally obsessed for a while and watched it the last election night in '08 and will probably watch it again tonight.  After that the results still weren't in so they put on a comedy DVD of Dane Cook which was also my first exposure.  The third movie I don't remember because I fell asleep.  Someone eventually woke me up around 2AM and walked me back to my dorm (all of 100 yards away on a well lit sidewalk.

So that was my first experience.  The second one was very different.  I didn't have a conservative support group at all besides my family.  All my friends and all my co-workers were staunch democrats.  I remember that night like any other Tuesday night going out to my fave local bar and seeing the results come, watching Clerks that night, but nothing too special about it.  The next day however was awful, I just remember the office being so smug and being like "Oh who won?" and it's not like I really really cared- cause like I feel this year my day to day life really isn't gonna change one way or another- but it was so obnoxious, I don't remember anyone being like that when Bush won in '04 at TLU.  So that totally left me we an icky taste.

This year, luckily my office at TAMU isn't very politics-chatty.  Most of the office voted Obama and I only know that because they said it in small groups or one-on-one, not loud, boisterously and in front of the world.  No one asks what my political preference is, probably two people in the office know, but they don't care. It's not gonna affect our work-relationships or friendships.  The students are actually louder about it here, as on a lot of college campuses I guess, and most of the students are conservative which again is a change from my last two institutions.

I don't get to vote this year, cause I moved at a weird time and just never got around to registering to vote here.  But I also don't mind too much.  I know Texas will go Red, so since that's all I would be able to participate in anyways, it doesn't really "hurt" that I didn't get to vote this time.  All I can control is my own vote, so I don't feel the need to get horribly stressed out about what everyone else does.  This country is supposed to be a democracy and if this year that means they chose a candidate I wouldn't have supported then so be it.  I don't agree stuff on both sides, but I'll live within the laws created under both- my day to day life really wont change much, sure I may pay more taxes here, get free crap I don't want there but I'm not going to stress about it.

Once upon a time I would have cared a lot more probably, I would have gotten involved in the debates and arguments online and probably pissed off some friends in the course, but I just don't have the energy and don't see the benefit.  You aren't going to change anyone's mind with your witty FB comment or Twitter rant.  Let people believe what they want and maybe ask questions about why they do, in my boss' words "seek to understand" instead of seeking to change or overpower.

Monday, November 5, 2012

What's my presentation style?

I remember my first "presentation" in higher ed.  It was at SAC just presenting about the Office of Student Life.  Sharing with a Student Development class what we did and how we did it, with a basic powerpoint and taking only about 30 minutes.  A year later I made my first presentation to a group larger than 100, an orientation program designed by an outside group but executed by me, this time a 55 minute one.  I never knew I'd be a nervous presenter, I don't remember being nervous speaking in college or in high school- sure I had terrible stage fright, but talking? I love to talk! But I remember being so nervous before my first orientation session, after that one was over and they laughed in the right places I was off.  I took over all the student and advisor trainings and even MC'd the annual awards banquet.  Nerves be damned.

 5 years later I enjoy presenting, yah I get nervous when presenting a new topic, but I jump at the opportunity to present.  I like being in front of students and sharing with them what I know.  Even better I like being in front of faculty and staff sharing what I know.  At UTSA I presented to both, I submitted presentation proposals to a student leadership conference and a staff development conference and was accepted to both.  Both only hour presentations, but both awesome.  It felt great to apply for something I wanted and something I researched and then get it.  

At TAMU presenting is a part of my job.  When I interviewed in person they asked me to prepare a presentation on Risk Management.  Just five minutes and not to worry too much about content, cause they were more interested in my presentation style.  Well I don't know what my style is.  I usually use power point cause I dislike prezi, I don't like handouts cause it wastes paper and I usually don't have a lot of questions afterwards cause I field them during.  So is that a style?  So I did a simple presentation with some Coyote cartoons and that was it.  

So a week or so ago my boss told me that in two weeks she wanted me to give a presentation, open to the department, on how to review contracts.  I was just learning how to review contracts that week, but the best way to learn something is to have to present on it.  It gives you a deadline to learn it, makes you ask questions and makes you an expert.  But how am I going to present it?  My initial reaction to is always make presentations more fun than boring, but it's such a serious subject- contracts.  Contracts aren't fun and exciting, they're tedious and you have to pay attention to all the little details.  I went with my first instinct though when I interviewed and went for entertaining, so I'm hoping that's what they want here too. I can't stand up in front of my co-workers droning on about the importance of Student Rule 42 and making sure it states "a recognized organization" instead of the institution name and not try to liven it up a little bit.  All the while reminding them "I'm not a lawyer" this is just advice.

So I have the outline done and I found a background I like in powerpoint but now I need a theme.  A good theme that will keep them engaged and happy without losing the point of the presentation.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I never pay for TV

I'm a closeted TV junkie.  I can sit and watch hours of TV if given the chance.  I think we had cable when I was very little and then again in High School after I made good enough grades.  I have serious sloth tendencies so not having cable for the majority of my childhood was probably a really good idea.  I had cable again in college, TLU piped it into every room, but I was a very diligent student and didn't let it distract me too much.  After college I didn't really see the need for cable TV.  I worked ridiculous hours that didn't allow for much TV watching and the TV I did watch was all network anyways.  Also my DVD collection was constantly expanding and I owned most of what I wanted to watch.

Most of my favorite TV shows are from the past though so I have them on DVD.  Out of TV shows that are on TV right now, I never feel like I have to watch them when they first air cause I can always catch it later or watch it online.  What I watch that's actually on cable is usually cooking shows or travel shows, some reality TV that makes me hate myself, but really nothing that I would be devastated if I had to live without.

My apartment came with free cable and internet, just like college.  The internet I love, cause that'd be hard to live without, but the cable just is a time-suck.  I watch hours of food network and then wonder where my day went.  I get sucked in the vapid lives of some reality star and then feel an overwhelming need to be productive with my life.  I've been reading consistently less since I've been here because I've become lazy and would rather just watch TV.

In the cable's defense a lot of it has been Netflix, my free month of Netflix is up though so hopefully that'll help.  But I've gotten stuck on shows I've missed out on the last 6 years.  If it didn't come with the apartment I wouldn't pay for cable.  I still don't see the point, it's not something I need.  The internet sure I'd probably do what I used to do with Sprint and pay for it through my cell phone.  I don't use the internet enough at home to justify a huge expense with it.

Hopefully the novelty of it will wear off soon and I can get back to my nookworm standards.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

On Day 3 I was kinda lazy

My apartment is a good place to be lazy in.  My house in San Antonio...not so much.  I always felt guilty when I was lazy around the house in SA, I felt like I should be gardening or cooking or entertaining.  I don't have that problem with the apartment.

I moved from a 3 bedroom 2 bath house with a nice backyard I never used, to a 2 bedroom 1 1/4 bath apartment with a nice balcony that mama's used, but I haven't except for laundry.  The cats like the apartment, they love to look out the windows and sleep under the guest bedroom bed.  They wrestle at all hours of the night and like to climb into cabinets and disrupt things.  I'm glad they're here with me.

My apartment has a bookshelf that's mostly full of my DVDs.  1/2 DVDs and 1/4 pictures and another 1/4 books.  I don't really buy a lot of books anymore but I have my favorites.  It makes the living room feel homey.  Homey and makes me feel lazy, like I just wanna lie on the couch and read.

The kitchen is small, but big enough for just me, I can make my pasta salad and dump cake so really what else do I need room for.  I need a dining room table but its kinda a small space so I'm doing okay without it.

The location is perfect, 4.6 miles from work it takes me less than 10 minutes to get there- without traffic- with traffic it takes me 12.  I've never lived this close to work before it's totally spoiling me for the future.

But its a good place to be lazy, just to sit back drink a beer, watch Netflix or read on my nook.  Nothing exciting, just calm and lazy.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Bryan's First Friday

So it's First Friday, if I was at home I'd avoid downtown like the plague.  But since I'm in Bryan, TX apparently if you go early enough you miss the crowds.  The basic concept is similar, but just on a much much smaller scale.  Live music, art, street artist/performers and all the shops and bar are open.

First stop Uncorked the wine bar.  My fave place in downtown Bryan.  I've seriously been there at least once a week since I've moved here, some weeks more than once.  Thursday they have 1/2 price bottle night, they have yummy snacks and really reasonably priced good wine.  The owner is super nice and today she gave out Frequent Customer cards.  So basically after another month I'll get cheaper wine! Whoo-hoo! It's a super casual environment.  I've been there in jeans and t-shirt, my friend HR Liz brings her kids and there's an outdoor area for men with their stinky cigars.  I can't speak higher of the place.

After about an hour there we walk around the shops and take in the sites.  Super cute hippy dippy stores are everywhere.  As well as the expensive boutiques and gourmet chocolate shops.  Live music everywhere.  The weather was perfect for it.  Towards the end I stopped in a music shop for new guitar strings- it was way past due.  But overall it was a super ice experience.

One of the things I love about Bryan/College Station is you can go out, have a good time and still get home before 9! I love it.  Every time I go out right after work I get home before it's too late, before the college students get crazy and before I can do too much damage to my tomorrow self.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 1- didn't end with a bang.

Day one of my personal challenge to blog more could have ended a lot worse.  The day was great, I felt super productive, work was awesome as usual and I got to chat with my old boss- even if for something kinda stressful.  I love my job and I enjoy my job.  But at the 4:30 as I'm getting ready to wrap up the day we get a CODE MAROON

I love Code Maroon- I don't like getting them, but the system itself is wonderful.  First a computer message pops up that you have to acknowledge on your screen, if you don't click it right away it flashes at you.  Then my phone goes off.  Twitter notifications, I've been told, is faster even than the computer notice so I turn those on to go straight to my phone too.  This time, unlike the bomb threat a few weeks ago, the outside alarms even went off as an added notifier.  I feel like if there is an emergency on campus, there is no way I wont hear about it (unlike another institution where it took 2 1/2 hours to notify the campus something was going wrong) so I feel good in that regard.

So first notice came saying an "armed subject last seen near University Center Garage. Persons in vicinity find safe place indoors..." My building is attached to the University Center Garage, so I run to my door start locking it and one of my co-workers comes in with me to wait it out.  We turn off the lights, close the blinds, turn off my music and silence our phones.  I am freaking out- not screaming, shaking or crying, but still freaking out and very upset.

Shortly after getting on lock down the second notice goes through

This helps relieve my exit buddy as she figures it was probably just someone taking a gun collection to the corps for display or something- apparently that had happened before.  She's calmer, but I'm still a little on edge.  As it slowly passes 5PM we get more notices just saying to stay where we are they're still searching for the subject.

About an hour after it started we get the final message

Everyone exits their office and starts heading home.  Someone comments that this didn't happen before I got there, but I know it's just in fun.  I ask if I can go home yet.  Most everyone seems to be completely fine and unfazed by the situation.  Obviously I'm relieved nothing worse came of it, but I just worry about other people's reactions to these type of situations.  We always tell students when they ask if we have to take these things seriously that you always do because you never know if it's real or fake, but I feel like we need to remind the professional staff of that as well.  I feel like everyone just assumed it was another fake and so they were so unfazed about it.  I know it does no good to worry about every little thing, but there are some things I don't think I'll ever be unfazed by, or ever stop worrying about, it'll probably shorten my life and give me grey hairs, but I have to take these things seriously and I have to take the appropriate responses.  I'd rather worry and have nothing be wrong than not worry and be completely caught off guard.