Friday, October 31, 2008

Solid as Barack!


We found out a few days ago that Barack Obama was making a return trip to Missouri and not just any part of Missouri, but our part of Missouri. In other words, he was coming to Mizzou! I mailed out my absentee ballot (NY resident, still) a few days ago and was pretty psyched at this last minute change to Senator Obama's travel plans. So after I subbed Svitlana's class for her, my friend Liz, Fi and I headed over to volunteer. We received an email saying that if we did volunteer they'd let us in early and we'd be sure to see Barack Obama.

Fi and I

   The Crew: Me, Liz, Fi, Scott, Liz

Not our proudest moment: Snacks from McD's (I had a plain grilled chicken sandwich so it wasn't the worst)

Needless to say, we spent hours walking up and down the quickly lengthening line asking people to fill out forms saying that they would, in fact, be voting on November fourth. It was fun, really. Our head of the creative writing program and his daughter were there, too, so the bunch of us formed a group and got tons of signatures and clowned around while the line grew and people patiently waited. I won't go into details about how they tried to screw the volunteers into getting in early or how they were planning to put us in a parking lot with a big screen t.v. half a mile or so away from the actual grandstand, but what I will tell you is that we ended up ten feet away from Barack Obama-all of us! Our entire group. While we weren't allowed to bring anything in with us besides small bags (tiny-as in-camera sized!), they provided us with "Obama/Biden" signs, American stick flags (which they promptly took away shortly after giving them to us deeming them a safety hazard), bottles of water and those tiny sandbags that keep your hands warm (we used to use them during the cold, beginning of softball season in high school when we weren't piled up and sitting all over each other to keep warm). The crowd waited, as patiently as possible, while every democratic candidate in the state of Missouri came to the podium and delivered brief speeches aimed at riling up the crowd (they only semi-worked). Each person finished up their speech by shouting, "M-I-Z..." whereupon the crowd responded with "Z-O-U!" (Mizzou!)

In the thick of it

Then Barack Obama took the stage. Never before have I seen or been a part of so much buzzing energy in my life. The entire world came to life as if a zap of electric current suddenly shot through the crowd igniting everyone there. There was absolutely no boundary between us: race, age, gender, ethnicity...all joined together as one complete entity there for one hopeful cause. We cheered and cried together, raised our hands to the air together, celebrated and chanted together. For one of the first experiences of my twenty-eight years of life, we were a people full of peace and hope, love and unity brought together by one person that defined change and possibility for the better...for all of us. As a group, we came together as one communally enchanted, enamored and certain entity. He was not only charismatic and articulate, but empathetic and touching. Whether we were ten feet from him or watching him on a big screen t.v. from the back of the crowd, we were all, every one of us, moved by his presence and speech. (I asked my students this morning how they felt-and all were hugely touched regardless of how far away they were in the crowd.) Each of us felt something-the same thing-together.

When Senator Obama took to the crowd to do a lap around the stage and shake hands following his speech, I was fortunate enough to be in the very front (unfortunate, too, as I thought I was going to be crushed to death for a while there). Dozens of hands reached toward the barrier and those of us up against it moved sideways so more of the crowd could reach in and have the same opportunity to shake our future president's hand. There was no sense of selfishness or greed in that boisterous crowd, but a collective sense of generosity-moving for others to get nearer, making spaces so their hands could reach out. I ordinarily value my personal space and would not have liked being in such close proximity, but even in the midst of that crowd I didn't feel overwhelmed or threatened. I didn't worry about being pick-pocketed or feeling invaded, I just felt a part of something much greater than I had before.

See the Presidential Orb around his head?

When Senator Obama reached us-he was as gracious as one would imagine-asking those pushing forward to stop pushing, asking me whether I was squashed or ok, politely asking the girl beside me to let go of his hand that she'd been so desperately clinging to even when he was half a foot away from her. Everything about Barack Obama was presidential and stately. It was truly a mesmerizing and awe-inspiring experience. Before he walked off to continue greeting, thanking and shaking hands-as he was asking the girl beside me to let go of his hand, I remembered to snap a picture (yes, it took me that long to recall I had a camera in my hand!).

Close-up on Barack

So last night Fi and I were a part of history. Maybe it wasn't anything over the top huge, but we were in the presence of our next long as we GO OUT AND VOTE! (As he so eloquently reminded us). I'd like to say he said something different than what we are used to hearing, but he said everything we wanted him to say, he said the things he's continuously been saying-the things that made us decide to vote for him in the first place and we felt lucky and inspired to be a part of it. The only thing I wish he'd done, but didn't was yell: M-I-Z...

I was exhausted when I got up late at 7:30 to teach my 8am class this morning, but it was worth every second!

More to come later. Fi and I are going for a picnic.

P.S.-If you live in Missouri-we are a swing state, my friends...go Go GOOOO vote on Tuesday. I can't begin to tell you how important your vote TRULY is.
P.P.S.-We took TONS of pics and if you're interested, head to my facebook site!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pesto Spaghetti (Squash, that is) and Andrew Parker: Found!

Aaah, to be able to get a fulfilling sleep in. I don't know why this is, but it seems like no matter how much rest I get, it's simply not enough. I went to bed before Conan last night (that's around 11:30, I think?) and rose to head to the Sunrise Yoga class this morning which starts at 6:30. I was so proud of myself. I got up and out of bed, dressed and ready to go. I had breakfast: Strawberry Awake with warm milk. (I discovered the delectability of warm milk on cereal in India last year since that's the only way they really serve it. It's like oatmeal, kind of: mushy cereal. You just have to try it!)

Anyhow, I was too proud of myself too quickly. I was ready before 6 and since it only takes about ten minutes to get to the rec center, I decided to heat up the car (we had another freezing morning today) and wait inside while it warmed. I no sooner got back in the house and reclined then I passed out. Literally. Again! It was awful. I woke up and it was 6:40, so I turned off the car and came back inside. Once back inside, I thought I might as well rest a few more minutes before showering and heading to school to teach and, lo and behold, I fell asleep until exactly 8.
Thank God for Fi! He jumped in the car and raced me to school just in time to stop my students from leaving the room (class is supposed to start at 8 and I arrived at about 8:11). Needless to say, not the best way to start off my morning. My other class finished watching X-Men today and we talked metaphors and then it was all over! Just like that.

Fi came back at that point and we went to the rec for real. I think I mentioned that I wanted to run 3 miles yesterday but I think I forgot to mention that I did it! Yay for me! Today I didn't want to run, but had missed all the yoga/pilates/kickboxing...etc. classes and had no other options. I ran 2 miles to bring my three day tally to a whopping 7 miles. This is great because we just sort of decided to run a 5k next Saturday and we haven't done this in quite some time. Not since the Fourth of July, I think! Oh, and when I stopped into the women's locker room, I momentarily thought I'd lost my mind and went into the wrong place because this was staring me in the face:

Weird, right?

Anyhow, we lost a dear friend of ours for a while. His name is Andrew Parker and he's in the graduate program here at Mizzou, too. We love Andrew. He's tall and thin with good bone structure in his face. He's dark haired and quite witty. Kind and totally quirky. Just our style. He deleted all his online social-networking profiles (Facebook, Myspace) and since I lost my cell a while back I didn't even have his number! Really, he'd been MIA for a while and we worried about him, yet couldn't force him to keep in touch or reply to us. Luckily, Fi ran into him the other day and they have been chatting and catching up. I was so happy to hear that Fi made plans for us to have lunch together today and it really was wonderful to see he'd been found. We ate pizza (I know! Right after those two miles, right???) and I limited myself to one piece of pepperoni. It is tasty, though, so I understood why A.P. opted for lunch there ( deliver all over the country and they, too, are quirky and kind). I took a pic of them on Fi's phone (which he has to send me so I can put it up on here, of course) and it really did brighten up my day to see he's doing well. I was worried for a while there. Also, it made me feel like we were right in assuming we were good friends with him when he told us he'd deleted most of the numbers in his phone since he didn't think he'd really keep in touch or talk to many of the people in there, but he kept us. Whew! Unrequited love is a bitch, isn't it? Good to know we don't have to feel that on this account.

Once home, Fi and I ran lines for his play. Turns out no one has their lines memorized and their director is none too happy. Hopefully, Fi blows them out of the water tonight with his memorization skills! Then we made dinner. Pesto Spaghetti Squash with EXVOO, garlic, Chicken, Broc, and Maters!

A few weeks ago, I'd taken my friend Stephanie's advice and froze homemade pesto in ice cube trays, I asked my friend Liz how to deal with spaghetti squash and tonight for dinner, that's what we had! It was a pretty successful experiment. Shall I elaborate?

1 spaghetti squash (baked in the oven for two hours on 375)
1 cube of homemade frozen pesto
1 breast of chicken, cubed
1 roma tomato
broccoli (as much as you like, I'm kind of obsessed)
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup EXVOO
pinch of Parmesan (I didn't put any in the pesto when I made it, though it normally should have parm. I was just out at the time!)

1. Bake squash, but be wary. Those suckers do not cut easily when you're preparing to put them in there. I softened the skin of mine by heating it in the microwave for a bit.
2. While squash is cooling, heat EXVOO and brown the garlic.
3. Add chicken until slightly brown. A good way to tell whether chicken is still raw or not is to poke at it with the spoon you're mixing with. If it's mushy, it's raw. If it feels more solid, it's cooked through.
4. Throw in pesto and broc. The pesto melts much faster than anything else I've ever frozen and the broc was already cooked as I made some for my lunch today before remembering we were having lunch with A.P.
5. Add the chopped 'mater (we don't like ours super mushy, but if you do...add it in when you toss the broccoli in) Cook consistently on medium throughout.
6. While the sauce is cooking, scoop out the innards of the spaghetti squash (most of the seeds are on top so they're easy to just get rid of by peeling off that layer-you do NOT lose much of the squash at all.)
7. Add in as much of the squash as you want (subbing it for whatever pasta you'd use if you were having pesto pasta, instead) and mix it all up together. At this point you can add in some Parm. cheese if you want (we had some fat free so I thought a little kick might be good) and Voila! You have a tasty, healthy dinner that your Fi (if you have one) or hubby or...whoever...will love!

I need to start taking pics with the camera and not my cellie. This doesn't do it justice.

Unfortunately, Fi had to head out soon after dinner, but I was glad to just get to have dinner together! Lately we've been so so busy we haven't been able to sit down together for dinnerand I've been sending it with him. Tonight, though, he opted to go a little late (his character doesn't appear until near the end of the first act) so we ate together, he spent a little Q.T. time with Byzy (Bizzy-the shepherd, sleeping on his feet) and Bogey (the Eskimo...alpha male in the family) then whisked away to practice.

Sometimes I think they might love him just as much as I do! :)

Tonight, it's reading for me (comps are literally just around the corner!) and back to the rec in the morning for round two of trying to hit up Sunrise Yoga! Also, I'm subbing a class tomorrow at noon for a girl in our department that I've only met once in person. It kind of works, though, her entire class is centered around technology, how we communicate and interact now and society's reliance on  social networking...etc...for it's interpersonal relationships. Should be fun!

Oh, P.S.-Fi and I are going back and forth and all over the place with Honeymoon ideas! We've talked about every place imaginable (Peru, Argentina, New Mexico, a cruise, Hawaii...etc.) Our criteria is sort of simple: we want to be able to DO stuff on our trip-see, learn, experience, adventure-yet still have a day off on the beach if we want or come back to the beach later in the day and relax. However! We have a really low salary and are saving our butts off, but most likely will not be able to afford a Lifestyle's of the Rich and Famous 'moon. Any suggestions!?! We're completely open to them!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Mission Accomplished!

Today has been so busy! After I left the house for the day and inspected the frozen garden (did I mention it was 25-degrees when I took Fi to school this morning???) I headed to school to do some work of my own. It was a productive morning as I graded just about all of the critical papers from my 8am World Lit class, posted their midterm review sheet and got stood up by a student who was supposed to meet me today to talk about his poor class performance and attendance. Ironic, right? However, Fi and I had lunch and lamented the death of our frozen garden (not everything looks terrible, just the basil and the tomatoes, really).

(Yes, we have face-to-face desks)

Then I headed to the rec and accomplished my goal for the day! Three miles! Yay! I was pleasantly surprised that I felt no soreness from yesterday's comeback run and made sure to stretch really well for today's. I think I failed to mention that a large part of the reason I stopped running a few months back was because my left knee hurt so badly before I even hit half a mile that I decided to take some time off. For a while I was really great with going to the rec and taking pilates and yoga...etc...and then the semester REALLY kicked in. Before I knew it, I was napping every afternoon and not going to even yoga anymore.

Out with the old. In with the new. And it felt great to run again.

When Fi finished with class, we met up and drove home. We're super excited because Barack Obama is comin' to town on Thursday night and we just found out this morning while listening to our buddy Monica on her morning radio show. (Fi asked: Is it cool that we know a radio personality? I'm not sure. Is it?) But we're going on Thursday come rain or shine. To show our support (this is not going to turn into a political blog. I respect everyone's right to vote for whomever they see fit to run our country), Fi posed for me with a poster we pulled out of the Maneater newspaper (our student paper here at Mizzou) which is ordinarily extremely republican (I guess since it's a paid-for ad, though, that changes things).

And lastly, I made some Fat Free Whole Wheat Oatmeal Cookies! These were amazing! Seriously. They were so tasty I made two batches: one plain and one with dried cranberries.

Fat Free Oatmeal Cookies
1/2 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup rolled or quick oats
1/2 ts salt
1 ts. vanilla extract
1 tb. fat free plain yogurt (I suppose you could use vanilla if you wanted!)
2/3 ts. cinnamon
2 egg whites
1/3 cup maple syrup (straight from Vermont, without artificial anything)

Mix all the dry ingredients together then add all the wet. Set the oven to 375 and make sure when you put the dough on the sheet you spray some nonstick on there first. Also leave plenty of room because these suckers like to expand. Bake for about fifteen minutes (keep an eye on the first batch, though, since all ovens tend to be a little different). I use two teaspoons to get the dough on there-my mom always did this with us when we were kids. You can add any dry fruit-I happened to have cranberries and thought they'd be tasty (Fi and I both liked them). Oh, also, let them bake until they're a tan-ish color. Too pale and they aren't really set and will be all runny and undercooked.


I'd take a pic, but I sent them to play practice with Fi. If there are any left...I'll put one up later!


Back to the Rec

Last night Fi and I decided to try to physically get back into "it." You know, shape, that is. I took a too-long nap and when I awoke, he'd updated himself on what's been going on in Heroes (thanks to their wonderful website) and we were ready to go.
It wasn't much, but I ran two miles and Fi ran about one and a half. Since he has asthma, I think it's harder for him to get back into it than me. I don't need my lungs to get used to running again while his need to adapt so he wasn't able to do the two miles with me. However, we took the last half mile nice and easy together. I ran a mile in under 9 minutes which isn't bad since it's been weeks and weeks since I ran at all. I'm happy with this start, though Fi expressed a little worry that we wouldn't be able to get into the shape we were in last year at this time (we were running a lot more, though we had the distance relationship, we motivated via phone), but I assured him we'll be just fine. We're only just getting started!

When we left, we were greeted by these amazing scarlet leaved trees lining the walkway we came down. Because the sun was so incredible at that point in time, it was far more breathtaking than when we first arrived.

Our first day back on "the track," literally. It was too cold to run outside.

Fi on the red-tree-lined walkway.

Unfortunately, he had to dash off to play practice so we didn't get to have dinner together which is something we do just about every night. Instead, I sent him a low-fat roast beef sandwich with a little horseradish, fat free pepper jack cheese, red onion, tomato and lettuce cut into four squares (it feels like more food when it's in fours, I think!), a bag of roasted pumpkin seeds and a sliced apple in our Amazing Spiderman Lunchbox. I think he got made fun of by the rest of his castmates, but we love them so it's ok. Plus, they were most likely just super jealous of our old-school, vintage, tin Spiderman lunchbox. Wouldn't you be?

While he was gone, I did some work and made some whole wheat pancake muffins (tasty, but a bit dry) for breakfast today and had my own dinner: mixed greens, dry tuna, veggies with EXVOO and lemon. Yum! Then I, of course, got hungry again and had some edamame beans with salt. I had these last time I had sushi with Sarah Heston and Pete Monicell. Since they were so good, I decided I could probably make them at home. I bought frozen edamame, thawed them out and cut the ends off, boiled them with a Tbl. of salt, drained them, then sprinkled a bit more salt and ate em up. I nearly ate the whole bag. While I know they're high in fat for beans, they're ultra high in protein and super tasty so I think it was ok.

Anyhow, I just finished up my yogurt and granola breakfast and half a pancake muffin so I think I better head off to the rec for more running and take Fi's lunch to school for him (he's teaching all day). His lunch is way cooler than mine: baked tofu sandwich, a banana and some pumpkin seeds while mine (already in the Spiderman lunchbox) is half a tuna pita with mustard, some veggies and a side of yummy edamame and a few strawberries.

Incase you didn't know, I hate fruit and it's a real effort to get it into my diet. Berries are fine. I love them, but I tried to eat an apple the other day and thought I'd throw it up. It was just way too sweet. I even had a slice of cheese with it hoping to dull out the sweetness, but I had to pawn the rest of it off on Fi and go for a plum instead. I think I only like fruits with some tang to them. Any suggestions for ways to get fruit into me without me gagging? It's the part of my diet most lacking and I could seriously use some help.

Today: hopefully three miles. Slow and steady, right?

Monday, October 27, 2008


Fi and I decided to carve up some Jack-O-Lanterns last night after dinner (which was some lemony halibut with raita (Indian salad: fat free yogurt with cucumbers and tomatoes) and a mushroom/brussel sprouts combo with spicy garlic sauce-Fi LOVES brussel sprouts. It's amazing!). Beth swung by for some "Dustin/Neesha" time since she was feeling a little nervous about her observation today by the Dean (which we have NO doubt she blew out of the water because she's such an excellent teacher!) and we tried to coax her into having her way with a pumpkin, too, but to no avail.

My less-than-practiced pumpkin-cleaning technique.

Dustin skillfully cleaning out his pumpkin.

So the competition was on. At first I thought I'd look up some designs online. Then I changed my mind since I thought it might be construed as cheating (ok-really the computer froze before I could find anything). Fi is super artistic and I've seen his Jack-O-Lantern completed projects (last year). Hello amazing pumpkin head! So I had to bring my A-game to the table.

Dustin seeking out the face of the pumpkin with hot apple cider in hand.

Bogey served as his counsel.

After much staring and thinking on both our parts, Beth got bored and left and we set to the task of carving. Fi was finished much faster than I and I had some real issues with my entire Jack-O face falling into the pumpkin which nearly thwarted my entire ability to compete. You may be wondering how I could possibly have competed without a face on my pumpkin, right? Well, my friends, you haven't thought up the many uses of toothpicks!

With much effort and creative toothpick usage, I finished and we displayed our pumpkins for a photo-op on the kitchen counter:

Can you guess whose is who's?

It seemed a shame to throw out the pumpkin pieces we carved out, so, instead, I threw them on a baking pan with some vegetable oil and put them in the oven for about a half hour at 350. Meanwhile, I threw various spices on the seeds (salt on some, cinnamon and sugar on another group, and sage and cumin on a third batch) and baked them alongside the pumpkin. I'm personally not a fan of pumpkin but Fi loves it. The roasted pumpkin came in handy today when I got home from school and wanted some lunch. Since it was super cold, it was the perfect opportunity to make some pumpkin soup! I chopped up the roasted pumpkin and tossed it in with some vegetable oil, then I cut up a sweet potato I baked yesterday and never ate and tossed that in, as well, added a few sage leaves from the garden (chopped), two cups of vegetable broth, a dash of chili pepper and a pinch of pumpkin pie spice. Once it all boiled and fully softened, I simmered it for about ten minutes, tossed it into the blender and voila! We had very tasty soup for lunch. If you decide you want to make something like this, I'd highly recommend more stock. We were pretty much out so ours had a consistency more like porridge than soup. Kinda thick, if you get what I'm saying, but still really good.

More to come later.


Dustin (my fi) and I planted an awesome garden this summer. We started small with some hot banana pepper plants and some herbs I'd grown from seed in the house: parsley, dill, basil. Then we got a little more ambitious and put in a tomato plant, some mums to keep the bugs away, sage, tarragon, oregano, mint, lemon balm, thyme and rosemary. Tasty! We thought that this would cover my cooking needs (since I love nothing more than fresh herbs for cooking) and test our ability to nurture something. What started off as a tiny garden turned into an amazon! Whenever someone came to visit, we proudly displayed our ridiculously vibrant, fragrant and enormous garden. Everyone was impressed and we were thrilled we were able to maintain and care for our garden as well as we did.

(Jack smelling the herbs)

Two of our experiments grew nearly out of control! Our tomato plant turned into a tree, practically, and flailed its limbs all over the little garden. No space was safe or sacred from it's outstretched arms or plump green bulbs. Even though we staked it, it managed to find ways to overreach its bounds. Our basil was the other attention whore in the group. What started off as two small indoor basil plants turned into huge tufts of basil that reached as tall as my chest and grew a bark-like texture over its stems. Dustin claims this means the basil likes it's spot and wanted to set itself there firmly. Someone must've forgotten to tell the basil that it's a annual and won't be returning there next year.

(Garden at the beginning of the summer before the basil-on the left, and the tomatoes-on the right grew into Little Shop of Horrors)

The other day, we went out and picked a bunch of the basil and all the tomatoes since they're predicting a frost in our near future. We had so much basil we filled up three or four vases where we hope they will dry up so we can store them through the winter or give some away! (I read somewhere that leaving basil to air dry is best so it maintains its oils. If it's dried any other way, it loses a lot of its natural flavor.) Right now, we have vases of basil all over the house which we're enjoying the scent of since it's such a spicy aroma. And we're not even done harvesting it all! We just got cold and had to come back inside.

(One of the many containers we filled with basil and our two new indoor basil plants!)

To be sure we don't run out of basil and can have some fresh basil if we so choose (I prefer fresh basil for pasta sauces and caprese salad), I harvested the seeds, too, and planted them in two indoor pots for the winter. Harvesting the seeds is way easier than I thought it'd be...and if there's anyone who'd like some tried and true basil/basil seeds...let me know and I'll be happy to go out and pick off the dried bits and harvest the seeds from them.

(Harvesting the basil seeds: squish out the dried bits and separate the tiny black seeds out for planting!)

I should mention that I'm desperate for more basil-laden recipes and would LOVE for anyone who knows any to send them my way. My friend Stephanie suggested we make frozen pesto cubes. This was ingenious! She said to make a batch of pesto then fill up the cubes of an ice tray and freeze them. As we need them, we simply bust one of those cubes out, stick it in a pot with some oil and VOILA! Pasta with pesto sauce. Brilliant!

When I lamented over my green tomatoes, a friend of Lance and Emily's told me I should put them green 'maters in tin foil and leave them in the sunlight. Also brilliant! The foil will conduct the heat and ripen the maters! I was thrilled with these ideas and am in the process of testing them out. I'll let you know how it goes!

(Maters in the foil!)

Hopefully it works and hopefully our new basil plants grow! Right now, we are off to harvest more basil and save anything else we'd like before tomorrow's frost! More to come!



It's been an insanely busy few months for both of us! So I apologize on our behalf for not being consistent about updating our page and, maybe more importantly, our blog. However, I have decided it'd be super wonderful to keep our blog more up-to-date and everyone else who might be interested in checking it, more interested in what might appear on it.

With that in mind, some updates: Dustin, on a whim, auditioned for a play called Communicating Doors which is being put on by the local community theatre. He is the comic relief in a play with a dominatrix protagonist and British accents abound. I've seen one or two rehearsals and me the fabulously fun cast, but have, otherwise, been overly busy with teaching, reading, studying, getting ready to take my comps and drafting up questions I'd be interested in answering as part of my comps. Because my life essentially only runs that course, let me tell you more about Dustin's so we can live vicariously through his experiences together!

(Dustin with Ben, castmate from Communicating Doors)

Dustin also write a weekly blog for the Missouri Review ( which I strongly suggest you read. He brings personality to the table as well as intelligence. He has recently volunteered for MU's Stripes program which is a driving service offered to students on the weekends. Students call for rides home when they're out and Stripes accommodates free of charge to anywhere in Columbia. Nice, right? I, too, have applied but have yet to hear back. However, the cause is great and his first night was an experience, from what I've heard, he won't soon forget. He began at 9:30pm and told me he got home at 4am. Poor boy! But the stories were one for a blog (we'll see if I can get him to write one for you all).

Dustin and I recently did a reading together at school as an "opening act" for a visiting poet. That was fun, as we love to do readings together. And we have had some nice visits from my future in-laws. My family congregated in Charlotte, NC this weekend where my brother Kiran successfully opened a restaurant to a huge crowd on Friday...despite a few minor setbacks earlier in the week.

(Dustin's Fam Visits)

So, overall, we are blessed. The family is safe and healthy and happy and we are, too.

We had Homecoming this weekend and a Tiger tail fell from the sky (literally) during the parade right at my feet! Anyone who knows me understands this was more than wonderful news! It became a part of my outfit for the rest of the day. We had a non-drinking tailgate with our good friends Lance and Emily. The thing about Homecoming at Mizzou is that this is the school that began the very concept of Homecoming nearly a hundred years ago. The students go all out and so does the town. They decorate windows and streets and buildings. Students in Greek Life make floats and these huge displays in front of their homes that move and come to life where they put on little acts for hours. It's similar to a little festival. Very cool and a lot of hard work on their part. Dustin and I strolled down Greek Row to check out their decks and cheered on my students when they road by on their floats in the parade. It was very cool to be a part of something so full-scaled and spirited as none of my schools had anything comparable to this!

(Homecoming Parade-note my tail and Starbucks. YUM! It was 8am!)

In wedding mother and sisters went to look at some dresses for the bridesmaids this weekend and took our youngest wedding party member with them, Genevieve. From what I heard, she refused to try anything on, but had a wonderful time running around in and out of the dresses. Mom took camera-pics so I got to see some of what the girls tried on. Dustin and I have decided we would like the girls in floor length gowns, preferably in pale blue dresses with dark brown sashes at the waist. We simply love those two colors together and think they are both elegant and classic.

(My sisters dress-trying without me! Aww. Miss you! On a side note: I LOVE the expressions they have on in this photo. They look so distracted and bored.)

I've been sifting through magazines in my spare time and we are still trying to figure out what color flowers the girls should carry with our blue and brown colors. Suggestions? We like orange and yellow, though D seems somewhat opposed to pink and I'd like to carry red, I any other ideas would be great! Whatever color it is, we hope it will be attractive enough to use as part of our overall think on that and let us know if you have some color options we haven't considered yet! Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Keep checking back, guys! I need advice on other stuff, too!

Love you!

Dustin and Neesha Save the World

Hi everyone!
Dustin and I decided we were having so much fun with our wedding blog at that we would open a real blog and keep this updated, too. This way when our wedding passes, we will still be able to keep writing and updating and chronicling our adventures.
We like a lot of the same things and are also involved in a lot of the same things. We are both in a graduate program pursuing our Ph.D.s in creative nonfiction writing. We teach English, writing and literature courses for the school we attend. We both love the arts, gardening, food, animals, movies, fireplaces...We are planning our wedding which is going to be June 13, 2009 in Hilton Head, SC so we are juggling a tremendous amount of things at once.
At the moment, we aren't in the best possible shape but are planning to get better at it. However, every few weeks we start anew and, before we know it, our days are so busy and we are so tired we don't accomplish nearly as much as we'd hoped. After all, we are trying to save the world! By saying this, I mean that we pick up bicycles when they're toppled over at the racks they've been locked to because we'd want someone to stand our bicycles back up if they were walking by and we weren't around. We recycle adamantly, have swapped out using paper towels for regular towels as much as possible (as we were told how bad they are for the environment), reuse any items we can (we put the toilet paper rolls in with the birds for them to climb through and play with) and try not to waste anything. We frequent the Farmer's Market every Saturday, grow as many if our own herbs as possible and do our best, overall, to just be careful with the world and healthy in our lives.
So, here we are, struggling to keep everything balanced. I've seen some fabulous recipes on many of these blogs that keep me completely enamored and have inspired me to do the same. Hopefully we'll make some new friends and keep up with our old ones in our constant journey to save the world!