Friday, February 3rd, 2012 by Rachel

We signed up for Dish Network. The owners left their satellite, and the price just seemed too hard to beat. Plus, since we won’t have as much vacation money this year (between the move and me temporarily jobless), we figured that we’d be using our TV a lot more than Milledgeville and deserve the investment of some channels.


An extra incentive of Dish Network was it came (we signed up a day before this promotion ended) with a year of Blockbuster rentals. We get the mailed Blu-Rays and DVDs (one at a time), as well as Blockbuster streaming. We had this Blockbuster service when we lived in Asheville. I do think it trumps Netflix with its incentive of store trade-ins—it’s a built-in bonus movie. I spent an hour the day of enrollment working on creating our queue, and I’m really excited about the lineup.


The first Blu-Ray we received was Bridesmaids, and we watched it last night. Derrick and I were just talking about this movie the other day, and, since we are coming up on our anniversary, I thought a wedding movie would be fun. I’d heard mixed things about it, but mostly bought into the hype that this was a The Hangover for girls. I like The Hangover a lot, and I’m not opposed to bawdy humor (There’s Something About Mary IS one of my favorite movies, and it’s definitely gross), so I wasn’t worried about being offended.


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Cajun Salmon Scramble

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012 by Rachel

Yesterday, I started craving lunch around 11, much earlier than usual for me. I wanted something lunchy, but I also wanted something breakfasty. I knew I had a salmon packet in the pantry. I’ve never had a salmon scramble, but I had a crab scramble once before, so I wasn’t worried about mixing eggs and seafood. The Tony Chachere’s was a nice all inclusive seasoning that complimented the salmon and the cheese, and I didn’t need to add any salt or pepper.


Cajun Salmon Scramble


2 organic cage-free brown eggs
1 pouch Chicken of the Sea Pink Salmon
Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning (The more you sprinkle, the more kick your scramble has)
1 handful Kraft Mexican Four Cheese Mix
Smart Balance Cooking Spray


Spray frying pan with Smart Balance, and preheat to medium. Mix two eggs together in a small bowl with a fork. When pan is warm, pour in two eggs. Scramble. When eggs are almost complete, add salmon, sprinkle with Tony Chachere’s (I added enough that I could see it, but not so much that I turned the eggs red), and scramble frequently for the next few minutes. Add cheese (I waited until the salmon was hot), and scramble till it melts. When cheese is melty, your meal is done. I ate this with a side of a biscuit, but I think it would be delicious on a tortilla.


Monday, January 30th, 2012 by Rachel

My apologies for my winter blogging absence. I had a very rough end to my last semester at GCSU, filled with grading more quote-less research papers than I’ve ever seen (come on, students; it’s called a research paper for a reason!) and later answering more grade queries/protests than any other semester I’ve taught (grades are not negotiable! All grades are final!). Then I had to deal with wrapping up my personal stuff, correcting my name on my tax-documents, collecting medical records, buying Christmas presents, and watching Law & Order during break time.


Things got a little frantic when we realized around Christmas that we didn’t have a plan for our post-Milledgeville lives. Then at the exact moment in January when we agreed to live with my parents in Greensboro while we regrouped and networked, Derrick found a great job opportunity in the mountains, just where we’d hoped to end up.


I am now a Hendersonville, NC resident. Hendersonville is about 30 minutes south of Asheville, close enough for us to have city life but also far enough away that we can’t get sick of it. Hendersonville is known for hosting the North Carolina Apple Festival every Labor Day weekend. Hendersonville is also known for being a thriving retirement community. We’re centrally located and in a great place for driving to Fletcher, Arden, Flat Rock, Brevard, etc., and I don’t even have to get on the interstate.


So what do I like about Hendersonville so far? This town has sidewalks. It has a Pier-1. Our grocery store has arugula (as well as clearly labeled and priced seafood). People here are very friendly and welcoming. There are lots of restaurants that serve breakfast all day. There are at least five Goodwills in a 20 mile radius of our home (I sense a Saturday shopping spree in our future). I can recycle here without having to get a permit or pay a fee.


Today is Derrick’s first day of work, and therefore my first day at home alone (Where is my Real Housewives of Hendersonville shirt? …well, maybe I need a sweatshirt. I am cold!) I’ll be doing laundry, unpacking, replacing an eyeball on my sock monkey slippers, and resubmitting some rejected poems. It is sunny, and life is good.

Department Newsletter…again!

Monday, December 5th, 2011 by Rachel

It’s so nice to be featured by the department for both publications and my nomination.


The Doer: The Department of English & Rhetoric Newsletter
Issue 4.2: 1 December 2011

Improv Pasta Salad

Sunday, November 27th, 2011 by Rachel

In order to avoid a second Thanksgiving leftover meal today, I quickly came up with this recipe. It used up some odds and ends in the fridge and pantry, and it was a healthy side to go with our Morningstar Farms Riblets. I normally stir pasta salad in a large bowl, but this saved us the washing of a dish! The egg noodles were a much different noodle than the cellentani I love, but it was a nice change of pace because of the texture and because they collected the olive oil well.


Improv Pasta Salad


The end of a bag of extra wide egg noodles
End of a bag of frozen lima beans
About a cup or so of frozen field peas with snaps
1 can organic garbanzo beans / chickpeas, drained and washed
End of a cube of mozzarella cheese (probably ¼), sliced into tiny cubes
Olive oil


Boil noodles. Boil lima beans and field peas (in separate pots, since they have different cooking times). Drain all three when they are al dente. Put noodles, lima beans, field peas, beans, and cheese in large tupperware. Drizzle with olive oil. Put lid on tupperware. Shake it!!! Shake it!!! Take lid off. Pasta salad is done! Sprinkle with a little kosher salt for extra flavor.


Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 by Rachel

Our First Married Thanksgiving Menu


• Tuna Steaks


• Cathy’s Noodles (noodles made from scratch and cooked in vegetable broth)


• Mashed Potatoes and Gravy


• Corn on the Cob


• Lima Beans (lightly sprinkled with kosher salt)


Courson’s Blackberry Wine Spritzers


• Blondie Brownies (mix made by Katie)

2011 Pushcart Prize Nominee!

Sunday, November 20th, 2011 by Rachel

The Camel Saloon nominated me for the 2011 Pushcart Prize for my poem “Waiting Room” !!! I am very excited about this honor, and I am so happy for this poem. “Waiting Room” is the opening poem of my NAU thesis, Diagnostics. It is a very different poem for me, but it’s a poem that I’ve always enjoyed. If you haven’t read it yet, head over to my Poetry page and check it out (as well as the other great poems at The Camel Saloon).

NaNoWriMo: Day 14

Monday, November 14th, 2011 by Rachel

I’m behind. I’m a lot behind. November has taken over, as it always does, and knocked me off my feet. I got blood drawn. I got sick. I got the results of my best blood work in four years, and all of my cholesterol levels are FINALLY in the normal range. I/We did a lot of celebrating. In a completely random and awesome act of perfect timing, I got to see The Foo Fighters with Phillip and Tammy. This is the first concert I’ve been to since before I even met Derrick. Dave Grohl (or as I typo-texted mid-show to Derrick, Dave Growl) rocked it. I’ve gotten student research paper topics approved and rough drafts graded and returned. Those comparison/contrast essays were put on the backburner, but I hope to catch up on those later this week. We had a fantastic visit from MOH Katie and her boyfriend (an artist! Woo!) this past weekend. I need to start packing for our move. I need to work on all this grading. I need to focus on finding jobs, on resubmitting rejected poems, on making Christmas presents, and most importantly writing this novel!


It’s not impossible. I think that with the right motivation (i.e. no more papers to grade!) I might be able to knock out a lot of this thing in binges and spurts. I don’t want to reveal my word count at this point. But I have a LOT outlined. I have a whole structure in place. I have chunks written at the beginning, middle, and end. I need to build characters and establish relationships. I need to figure out how to set up memories and dream sequences. But the plot is there. With this in mind, I feel already like NaNoWriMo has been a success for me. This will get written sometime. But the more I get done this month the better. I still want to reach my original 50,000 word goal. Send me positive thoughts. I don’t seem to have any NaNoWriMo buddies out there…

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 by Rachel

I began this day hungry. Today was the day of my fasting blood work, and I hadn’t had anything to eat for 12 +hours. As I waited for Derrick to wake up and shower (he was my chauffeur to the doctor’s office), I decided, “what the heck! Why not start writing?” It was magic. I already had my first 400 words down by the time he got out of the shower.


I didn’t feel so great after the blood was taken out of me. Even after our celebratory Chili’s dinner, I want to get into bed. I probably will once I post this. I’m nauseous, cold, and thirsty. My arm still hurts. Typing stinks. This afternoon I wrote my remaining 1200 words in spurts, when I felt a moment of nausea reprieve, when I got on the computer to check my email, when Derrick was working on some projects of his own. Today didn’t really work to get me set in a routine of any kind, but I am very proud of myself for making it through the first day. I hope, like a teeny tiny snowball tossed down a mountain, that I continue to gain momentum from here.


Monday, October 31st, 2011 by Rachel

For those of you who don’t know, Nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month. It always takes place in November. The goal is to write 50,000 words during the month of November, about 1,666 a day. I first learned about Nanowrimo two years ago when an Engl. 1101 student named Sarah asked me if I was doing it. I’d never heard about it or noticed it. I guess, as a poet, I sometimes block out that strange fiction animal. Sarah had been involved with Nanowrimo throughout high school, thanks to an inspirational teacher, and I really appreciate that she made the effort of trying to inspire me. That semester, I “didn’t have the time,” with the chaos of finishing up my first MFA semester, as well as dealing with the unexpected news of Uncle TJ’s death.


I’ve never written a novel. During my time at NAU, I planned, outlined, and began a campus novel. This is a project that I hope to continue at some point, perhaps when we return to Asheville and I am able to spend some time around the campus that inspired my story.


This month seems like the perfect month to try Nanowrimo for the first time. I’ll NEVER “have the time” to try something like this, especially in November. I can’t make excuses, despite that pile of comparison/contrast essays that need to be graded, the jobs that need to be applied for, the house that needs cleaning, the poems that need submitting, the packing up of stuff that will be soon moved to a new location, the planning of a first pescetarian Thanksgiving, the making and buying of Christmas gifts, etc, etc, etc. Everything always gets done. This will be the ultimate exercise in time management.


Nanowrimo says to start from scratch. So I will. I’m not worried about those supposedly important writing devices like plot or setting or dialogue. I’m just going to make sure to write every day. I can always rearrange or revise later. And on top of that, I hope to post regular progress on here. I want this to work out. I want to make it through the 30 days of writing, not just for me as a wannabe fiction writer, but for me as a person and a poet. Wish me luck.