Tuesday, June 10, 2014


We bought a house!  We started looking in February or so and found a place we liked far more quickly and easily than we imagined.  It's not *everything* we wanted (we already miss being within walking distance of the downtown square and all of the restaurants on Dickson street) but it's a lot of space that we'll be able to grow into.  It's a long but manageable walk from my office (a little over 2 miles), but right on the campus bus route.  We've also realized we're pretty close to the fairgrounds and a few other places worth walking to, and a short drive to all the old standbys.  So far we are pretty happy and settling in slowly, with more wall decoration and furniture to come in the future.

As people have asked for pictures, I figured here might be the easiest place to put them.  Let me take you on a little tour.

Here is the front door and the weird little open room space near the door where we have stashed a couch.  Perhaps later there will be toy bins here, but for now this is what we've done:

To the left of this is the living area (complete with a cat).

Behind the living area is an archway to the dining room.

From the dining room, you can look over into the kitchen.  This is another weird "room" with open space, but there is also a back screened in porch accessible from this area.

Another view of the kitchen.

Off the kitchen there is a room we call the "orange room" (for obvious reasons) which we are using as an office.

We made our books into a sort of "art" piece by arranging them by color...we love how it turned out!

Down the hallway we have the bedrooms.  A guest room (dubbed "the Brown Room" because we had one of those at our old place and it seemed to still fit):

A guest bathroom, which was the only room in the whole place we painted ourselves.  And by "ourselves" I actually mean my husband and our friend painted it when I was out of town.  It used to be a hideous neon orange color the paint can called "Passion Fruit."  We like it much better in bright yellow:

And last, the master bedroom, in a delicious shade of plum.

If you look closely you can see the grey and white paws of the other cat in the hallway outside the room!

There's also a master bath, and a currently empty room that will become the baby's room, but as those rooms are currently not interesting, I won't include them in the "tour."

Nor will I include the incredibly large garage and workshop space or the basement my friends have dubbed the "murder basement" because part of it looks like a place Dexter might want to set up camp.  There is a TON of storage available to us, and at least one room that we can finish to make into a game room or something.

It's our first home and so far we are loving it!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Big news!

Although most of the (very few!) people who read this blog already know this information, it is worth announcing that Doug and I are having a baby!  Here is what we posted on Facebook, based on the trivia cards we had on the tables at our wedding reception:

Now that the obvious is out of the way, it may be worth telling more of the story.  We have been trying to conceive since shortly after our wedding (for those counting, that's a year and a half), with no success.  We did the cheapy tests and found nothing wrong, but I wasn't willing to commit to the expensive tests that insurance wouldn't pay for without trying other things.  So last summer we basically quit drinking alcohol, started eating healthier and I started acupuncture.  Acupuncture was an interesting experience, to say the least, but nothing changed in the getting-preggo department.

So, in the fall, I finally succumbed to having the expensive tests.  The ultrasound (which is done to check for fibroids, I think) found nothing wrong, but the other test, which was so painful that I've managed to block out the name of it (but essentially shows if the fallopian tubes are open) found "something" wrong.  My doctor told me it was "the weirdest" one of these test results she's ever seen...which honestly was a little flattering, but also confusing.  One of my fallopian tubes was open and the other one didn't seem to be blocked, exactly, but something was getting in the way.  So, I had outpatient surgery in November and they ended up removing a polyp in my uterus.  The surgery was an event in and of itself, as I've never had "real" surgery before (only oral surgery, after which I made my mom sing me Christmas songs in the recovery room, despite the fact that it was July).  Needless to say, I made it through that just fine and apparently the surgery "worked" because.....one month later, we found out that we're expecting.

In case anyone is wondering, all is well so far!  We heard the heartbeat at our 10-week appointment in January and everything seems to be progressing well.  I also seem to be in the lucky quadrant of the 25% of women who do NOT experience "morning sickness" (which doesn't always occur in the morning, but is either nausea or vomiting or both)....I've barely felt sick at all, only a little more tired than usual. No cravings, no wild mood swings, just continuing on with life sans lunch meat, sushi, alcohol, and soft cheeses.  Plus I was convinced to get a flu shot for the first time in my life, which it turns out was probably a good idea as the flu has been pretty bad this year, and particularly bad here in Walmart Country.

We are excited about the next year and all the changes it will bring!

Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, because I've already got the "what are you having?" question repeatedly, to which my answer is "a baby?," we probably WILL find out the sex of the baby but we likely will NOT be telling people. Why? Because gender is a social construction and I don't like the genderizing of infants and I refuse to participant in it.

Just call me smug, I kind of agree:

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A respite from the yo-yo weather

Compared to the rest of the country, we really don't have too much to complain about in terms of the weather...not that we don't still try.  It has been bitterly cold here (yes yes, nothing like you've experienced, Minnesota-Wisconsin-Chicago, got it) at times, but mostly the weather has just been a tease.  Take the last week, for example.  It was 55 on Saturday, 65 and sunny on Sunday, and then 25 on Monday with an overnight low of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  We're teased with lovely Southern weather, the promise of spring, only to be spanked back into the cold.  It was actually colder here than in Madison, Wisconsin for a few hours this week!

We took advantage of the absolutely beautiful weather to take a walk at Lake Wedington on Sunday afternoon, a new walking/hiking spot for us.  We got kind of a late start, and had limited time because I had to be back to go to a prospective graduate student dinner, so our walk wasn't as long and luxurious as I'd have liked.  Also, Lake Wedington was further away than I thought it was, which also cut into our time.  I keep telling people that everything in Fayetteville is a 15 minute drive, which is pretty much true....but I forgot that Lake Wedington is not really in Fayetteville.  Still in the county, but not in the town (at all). 

We got out to the lake in the warm afternoon with the sun sparkling on the water, and it was quite pretty:

We then walked about a mile, passing a cute little waterfall:

Our favorite part of the walk, though, was being right up next to the lake, which tinkled like chimes because the top layer of the lake was still icy, but the ice was breaking up and knocking into nearby pieces.  It was neat to look at

and was neat to listen to.

We made it back to town in enough time for me to get ready for my dinner, with a shorter walk than originally intended, but "better than nothing!' as my dear husband pointed out.  Hopefully we can make it out to Lake Wedington again when we have more time to linger and explore. 

Well, that and when the weather decides to yo-yo back again from the frigid to the moderate, as we've become spoiled to expect of Arkansas winters.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

A quiet Hawaiian food return

I have no excuse for not writing for the last nine months, and no real reason to start up again except that I want to.  Because rehashing everything we've been doing for the last nine months is daunting and part of the reason I haven't written a word since April, we'll just skip over that.

We discovered a new tasty place to eat this week.  Or, to be clear, we finally tried a place that's been around for awhile now, called Hawaiin Brians.  It has what might be the worst website of all time, but the food was so good that the web travesty is forgiven.

The restaurant itself is the first success story for the Fayetteville "Yacht Club" which is basically a parking lot with a bunch of airstream trailers.   Pretty sure I posted about it a ways back, when we had some homemade pie from one of the trailers (that place, sadly, is long gone....though an internet search tells me there is a NEW dessert place there now!  Hopefully a forthcoming post will review that one!).  It's a nice way for new businesses to try things out without having to rent a whole building or store.  Some of the trailers serve food, some have clothing, and unless you visit regularly, there's often something new.

Hawaiian Brians was a trailer there for awhile, developed a following, and then rented out a brick-and-mortar store over a year ago, where it appears they have been successful.  It's in a strip mall near the awesome vintage Arcadia Retrocade (a vintage arcade), and when you walk in, the dulcet tones of Hawaiian music are playing, with tropical decorations, and a projector of waves on one wall.  It's a great environment, and different than any other place in town we've been.

I tried the Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken, which was absolutely delish.  Tender meat, soaked in some kind of soy-sauce-plus-other-stuff sauce, it had a familiar taste that I couldn't quite place...and I loved every bite.  Served with white rice and a big spoonful of cold macaroni salad, I devoured every morsel.   My husband ordered the Kalua Pig, also tender shredded pork in some sauce (I think it might have been the same sauce, but it didn't taste the same).  I think he might have licked his plate when I wasn't looking.

Then for dessert we had the Kings Gelato, which was a dessert-y french toast topped with salted carmel gelato.  Yes, it's absolutely as good as it sounds.

Only downside about this place is that it's so meat-based it ain't great for the vegetarians...but as we're not vegetarians that isn't a big downside.  Now we have to go back for breakfast and try the Portuguese sausage!

Friday, April 26, 2013

New finds and new spots

Our regular readers (hello, all 3 of you!) might recall that Fayetteville does something called "First Thursdays" which is an evening (the first Thursday of each month, aptly enough) on the town Square, dedicated to music and art and general community revelry.  They started up again in April. [As a side note, I'm still in awe of living in the south where outside events are scheduled from April through October.....I just learned that the drive-in opened on April 19th....these types of things wouldn't open until around Memorial day in the northlands!]

We went to this First Thursday event, mostly because it gets us out of the house and it's a nice walk up to the Square....well it's a nice walk if you're me, if you're my charming husband you complain and grunt at the steep grade all the way up the hill.  Anyway, right when we got up to the Square we ran into a new friend of ours, a fellow I met on campus last fall who is a first year assistant professor in a more hard science-y field, and we helped him find his wife, another new friend-type who runs the "storytelling" event I've spoken about in posts past.

After quickly meandering around the art, we ended up at the beer tent and then the food trucks.  Food trucks have made their way to Walmart Country, starting with the fancy grilled cheese Grillenium Falcon and the expansion has been pretty rapid.  I think there was an episode of the Great Food Truck Race filmed here sometime last year.

This food truck, Nomads, is often parked outside our cute independent bookstore, and they serve middle eastern food.  They have falafal and gyro pockets, delicious hummus, and these "pita fries" that are to die for.  I don't even know how to explain them....they take pita, slice them into strips and fry them like french fries......damn, they're delicious.  We had not intended to actually eat dinner on the Square but the food truck just called to us.

Our other favorite middle eastern place, Petras, is only open for lunch, so now that we have Nomads (which is also open around dinner time and until they run out of food on fri/sat nights), we've got options in the world of middle eastern food.  Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April flowers and Ground hogs

I have so many things to report on!  Things have been busy here in Walmart Country for us.  First, a simple post.  A few weeks ago, I was walking home from work, as I do just about every day, and I noticed some flowers planted along the brick wall that opens onto the large lawn (as close as we get to a "quad" here--but it's not surrounded by buildings, so it can't in good faith be called a quad).  A week after that, they bloomed, and it was a lovely sight:

It's for reasons like this that I especially like Walmart Country in the spring.  Little touches to make the town stand out.

Of course, two weeks later, the flowers are now dead, perhaps because it's been cold at night, or because they haven't been properly tended to....no idea. The weather here has yo-yoed from low 30s to high 70s and everywhere in between.

It's like the groundhog didn't know if it saw it's shadow or not. 

Speaking of....we saw a groundhog in our backyard recently!  Doug came upstairs to say "Hey there's a big rodent thing in our backyard" and it had scampered under the fence but a few minutes later it popped back into view.  A real groundhog, in our backyard! 

As I am not trained in the ways of groundhog shadows, I could not tell if it had a message for us or not. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Games of Pie and Thrones

Hard to believe it's already April!  Four weeks left of the semester, then glorious glorious summer, when hopefully I can get a lot of writing done.

I'm not here to talk about the future, though, I'm here to talk about March.  March was the month of Pie and Thrones.

Why?  Well, for starters, sometime in late January, one of my students loaned me the DVD set of the first season of Game of Thrones, that HBO show people occasionally go crazy about.  I figured I'd like it, because (a) HBO, and (b) fun fantasy with a good smattering of sex and gore, but I hadn't gotten around to it yet.

I should also point out that Doug started reading the books a ways back.  So long ago that I don't even remember, maybe last year?  He picked up the first book (metaphorically, as he actually picked up the Kindle on which the book was downloaded), started reading it, couldn't get into it, and set it down.  A while later he re-started it and eventually made it through.  And after a long break, decided he should actually read the second book.  For those not in the know, there are currently 5 books out, and the series is slated to be 7 books long.  Each one is 1000ish pages, give 300 pages or so, thus reading them is a true commitment to the craft of reading.

My student kept harassing me to watch the DVDs, so we started Season 1 and by episode 3 I was a goner.  Great sets and costumes, fabulous acting, a cast of what seems like thousands, great use of CGI when necessary but avoided when not, and fantastic characters.  Who the author is willing to kill off when it serves the plot.  And, as expected, a good bit of sex and gore.

When we finished Season 1, we got on the waiting list for Season 2 to come out on DVD, and then we not-so-patiently waited for Netflix to send us each disc.  By the time Season 2 ended, I had already decided to start reading the books.

I spent most of one day of Spring Break sitting on the couch, clutching my Kindle to me, devouring Book 3 (which is the best so far, but I'm only on the start of Book 5).

At this point, Doug is on Book 4, I'm on Book 5, and Season 3 just started.  It's been a month of Thrones, with many many Thrones jokes tossed around between the two of us, and sometimes they leak out into my normal life.  One of my grad students gave me a draft of something that included the sentence "It is known ...." and I wrote the comment "What are you, Dothraki?" on the side.  He told me that he laughed for almost a full minute.

What accompanied our month of Thrones?

The month of European Truffle Pie:

It is the pie of champions.  The pie of kings.  The pie worthy enough to sit on the throne, serving lesser pies.

In reality, it's a chocolate cream pie with chocolate whipped cream, chocolate shavings on top, with an oreo cookie crust on the bottom (and some oreo in the middle, too).  Village Inn, elsewhere in the country called Bakers Square, has this pie for one month a year, where it is, aptly, the "Pie of the Month."  It's usually available around easter time.  Last year it was April, and between April 1 and May 5th we ate five pies.  Not slies, pies.

This year, when we went to Village Inn to buy Doug's birthday pie, I saw it in the glass case before we even made it into the restaurant, and I'm not ashamed to say I caused a bit of a scene.  I yelped with joy.  I exclaimed my happiness to the manager.  We hadn't expected to see the pie until April, so we were both really glad that we happened to visit Village Inn early enough in the month to catch it.

The rest of the month, we had a pie a week.  This year we stopped ourselves at four pies in total.  As delicious as the pie is, we can't eat a pie a week forever (well actually we could, but it would destroy my waistline and probably decrease the enjoyment of the Pie food group), and now we will not-so-patiently wait until the glorious pie comes out next spring

I thought about going back the first week of April to see if they had any pies left (last year we got one in early May), but I showed restraint.  Probably  because the last time Doug walked into the restaurant, the manager looked at him and said, "Another pie, sir?"

In sum, here is our House Sigil, demonstrating our mascot and our House words, both together expressing our month of March: