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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

play ball

Earlier this week, I had the privilege of accompanying 20-some BSU first year students to a Pawtucket Red Sox game in Rhode Island.  You may have noticed from a previous post or following me on Twitter, I'm a Boston Red Sox fan.  And as many baseball fans know, there is an extreme case of loyalty that comes with a true Red Sox fan.  Prior to 2004 (and even the 2003 playoffs)...for those of you who aren't baseball fans don't worry, I am not writing solely about baseball.

I would like to make a comparison between my work in student affairs, specifically managing the operations of the Campus Center, to coaching a baseball team.  I wish I could have interviewed Terry Francona, but he's trying to get his our team into the playoffs...maybe I'll catch him in the off-season?  Rather, I am using my own professional experience over the past five-plus years in working with students, faculty, and staff to discuss this relationship. 

When I started working in the Rondileau Campus Center (RCC) at Bridgewater State College in July 2008, I had a lot to learn.  I began in what some might consider the "off season," however, others would argue there is no off-season in the student affairs world.  Students may leave for summer, but there are plenty of contracted groups that use our facilities, keeping us busy.  Major league ball players cannot afford to take a season off from workouts & eating healthy.

By the end of August, it was time to get ready and start playing games.  It was at this point, I was introduced to many of the returning student employees in @EdCabellon's own comparison of "The RCC Red Sox."  We discussed who could be a star player and who had potential to make the DL (those students who miss shifts/make excuses).  As the students returned, we did not have the benefit of going away for spring training or even a day-long retreat.  The school year was upon us and following an afternoon of training and meeting the whole team in person the season was underway as classes began the next was time to "play ball!"

After two seasons coaching in RCC Nation, I've learned a lot about our team.   Working in higher education, I've learned we never have the same starting lineup or pitching rotation from one season (school year) to the next.  As students graduate or move on to other opportunities,  we have to scout for new talent to keep the team ready to play. 

For 2010, here's my list of The RCC staff as the Red Sox:
Our director, Ed Cabellon is our very own Terry Francona (manager), our office manager Jill is our lead scout, our two graduate assistants @MikeCourville and @JPike01 are our starting pitchers (and boy, can they can bring the heat), the Building Managers, Print Shop, Info Center and Game Room attendants make up the rest of the team, along with our office assistants, many of whom are rookies...and I'd be remiss without naming our own AVP for Student Affairs (and Red Sox SuperFan) Cathy Holbrook as our very own GM!

Here's to another great season
in RCC Nation!

Monday, August 30, 2010

puppy love

We're getting a puppy.
We have been looking for dogs for the over a month.

We met him on Saturday & will bring him home this coming weekend. 
He's about six months old, and is a whippet & jack russell terrier mix. 
Isn't he precious?!
He is currently named Chase, but we'll likely be changing it.  
We'll see what fits his laid-back yet playful personality.
I can't wait to share more photos & stories when we bring him home!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

what's in a name?

I've now posted a few times to this blog and you may be wondering about the title. For those who knew me prior to 2010, they may be able to guess why "bare" is in the title. When I was considering things to name my first blog, I thought about names and words I hold dear.  Bare is one such word because it was my last name for 29 years.  
My hope is to wander about the things that my life is comprised of:  

faith, community & food.

Yes, it was an awkward name and believe me, I was teased throughout my life. I've heard things like "you mean like 'naked'?" or "oh like the band, Bare Naked Ladies?" An unfamiliar soul would come across the name carefully pronouncing "berry" or "bare" or even attempting to give it some flair with my favorite "bar-ay." As humorous or as much of a conversation starter it could be, I became pretty attached to it throughout my adult years. In elementary school I never went by Beth B. but rather Beth Bare and in high school I was rarely just Beth. My first and last name went together.  And I really grew to love bears over the years!

So, when Brandon asked me to marry him the conversation inevitably came up between the two of us, as well as many friends and colleagues. More than one person said something like, "you're not going to change your name, are you? It's your identity."  I would reply, "yes, my last name will change," while freaking out on the inside.


It 's now been more than three months and I went through the paperwork of the legal name change and there are companies I am still notifying to update their records. I am still adjusting to introducing myself as Beth Goad.  It takes longer to find my name on a list (because I forget to start looking toward the middle) & I even sign the wrong name at times.

Honestly, the name Beth Bare is not my identity. My identity is much bigger than a name, and just eight letters long at that. I am grateful for the name my parents gave me but my identity is comprised of the things I do and people I spend time with.

Does a name makes someone's identity?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

grateful girl

Several of my favorite blogs feature weekly posts such as 
What I Wore Wednesdays from 
It started me considering what kind of weekly feature I could have on my blog.  
While I was at ACUI's Institute for Leadership and Development (I-LEAD ®)

 in July, we used the Leadership Challenge 
which outlines the five challenges of leadership & in the assessment, 
I learned my lowest of the five is "encourage the heart."  
Now, I don't think this means I am incapable of paying a compliment or 
praising an someone for a job well done, 
it does remind me to make a conscious effort to thank others, 
pay more compliments and even to find things to be thankful for.

To begin this venture, I am grateful for...

my husband who is patient + loves me well
I made him pose for this one...after the game ended.

students who spent their summer working in the Rondileau Campus Center
Andy and Piedi ( Lisa and Matt also worked over the summer)

time away with friends (going to NH this weekend)
Our amazing friends last November in New Hampshire

What are you grateful for this week?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

dinner for two (+ lunch leftovers)

My husband and I both enjoy cooking.   This past weekend, we tried one new recipe found in the September issue of  Real Simple magazine.  We served it with a favorite adapted recipe from the back of the Trader Joe's organic red quinao box.  I thought I'd share the recipes with our adaptations!

Chicken Enchildas Verdes (2 large portions)
1 lb. chicken breast
16 oz. jar of salsa verde
1.5 cups fresh cilantro (chopped)
8 oz. light sour cream
1 ear fresh corn
1 long green hot pepper, diced
2 cups shredded monterey jack cheese
1/4 tsp each salt + pepper
4 whole wheat flour tortillas

  1. Boil chicken in pot with enough water to cover meat, once it boils, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. 
  2. In a blender, puree 1 cup salsa, cilantro and 1 cup sour cream until smooth.  Then transfer to saucepan and simmer 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.  Add second cup of sour cream and remove from heat.
  3. Remove chicken from pot and let cool. Shred chicken and place in bowl, set aside.
  4. Remove corn from cob and add to shredded chicken. Also add 1 cup salsa, 1 cup cheese, diced hot pepper and 1/4 tsp salt + pepper. Toss mixture to combine.
  5. Spread 1/2 cup of remaining sauce in baking pan (we used a 13x9 glass baking dish). Roll equal parts chicken mixture into tortillas 4 tortillas. Place seam-side down. Top with remaining sauce and cheese.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until bubbling and beginning to brown, about 20 minutes.

I couldn't finish my portion of enchiladas, it was so filling!
Black Bean, Roasted Corn & Avocado Red Quinoa Salad
1 cup Red Quinoa (cooked with 2 cups veggie or chicken broth)
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained + rinsed
2.5 cups roasted corn kernels (TJ's makes frozen roasted corn and I used that)
1 avocado, sliced into 1/2" pieces
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 yellow or red onion
3/4 cup cilantro salad dressing* 
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 T lime juice
salt + pepper (to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil

  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions (takes about 15 minutes)
  2. While quinoa is cooking, combine beans, corn, avocado, tomatoes and onion in one bowl.  Make cilantro dressing if it isn't pre-made (see below for our cilantro dressing)
  3. Toss bean/corn mixture gently with dressing
  4. Add salt + pepper, lime juice and toss again.
  5. When quinoa is cooked, toss with 1/4 olive oil. Allow quinoa to cool (we chilled our Wilton Armetale bowl in the freezer to expedite the cooling process and it worked).
  6. Combine bean/corn mixture with quinoa and toss gently.

Cilantro salad dressing (makes about 1 cup)
Combine the following in a blender until smooth:
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup half + half
1/2 bunch chopped cilantro 

Perfect summer dish-- I served this for a party in June & it was a huge hit.
The best part about the quinoa dish, is that it makes enough to take as lunch to work or to share if you're making a side dish for a group gathering. We got three single-serving lunches out of our leftovers from the weekend.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

season of change

As I mentioned in my last post, I am eagerly anticipating students returning to campus and the opening of the school year.  While things may seem routine because I've been working in higher ed for five years, there are some exciting changes (both personally and professionally) in my world for the 2010-11 school year.  I am energized by change, so I thought I'd share my list with you:
Meaghan Elliott was our fabulous
wedding photographer!
  1. I have a new roommate: my husband!  We didn't live together until we got married, so the past three months have brought a lot of change (for the better).   We've been having fun arranging things in our apartment and deciding what we need.  Brandon is building a new coffee table for us (I will post some photos when it is complete). 
  2. Since I got married I wanted to have my husband's last name so my name changed
  3. The campus where I work, Bridgewater State is in the process of transitioning from being a state college to a state university.  That means another name change in my life.  And while that doesn't directly affect my daily job, it gives the institution more clout in the world of higher education.  I have something in common with Bridgewater: we will always look back on 2010 as the year our name changed.
  4. In the Rondileau Campus Center, we have been under construction much of the summer.  The elevator was also completely renovated.  Our Auditorium was redone with new seats and wall treatments.  The ballroom is still under construction and slated to be complete just before classes begin on September 2nd.  
  5. My office changed.  In an effort to make our office suite more customer service focused, as well as functional for the staff, my office is now in the space connected to the Print Shop.  The Print Shop is operated by one of our graduate assistants and about eight student employees, all of whom I supervise.  Perhaps the most exciting part of it is that my office now has windows!  It is the first time I've been able to experience natural light at work since I was a graduate assistant in 2005.
As we start the new school year tell me what, if anything has changed for you.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

beginning again

This morning as I left my house, fall was in the air.  I may have only imagined it there, but it seemed within my grasp.  There's a scene from one of my favorite movies, You've Got Mail, that comes to mind about fall and the character's love of it.  "Don't you love New York in the fall?  It makes me want to buy school supplies.  I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils..."  It describes my sentiment today.  I love school supplies and the cooler season that I have long associated with buying them.

It's now been five years and six beginnings to the school year that I am not enrolled in a class, yet I still find myself giddy with anticipation and buy myself a new notebook, after I have thoroughly perused the school supply isle(s) at Target.  I work at Bridgewater State University and live in a city that doubles in size when college is in session (Boston), so my life is ruled by an academic calendar.  This will be my 11th start to a year at college.  My dad teases me "when are you going to be done with college?"  It used to annoy me, but now I find it rather funny because I love college!

Even though I did it as an undergrad, graduate student, and now as a professional for five years, the start of the year is never the same.  And that is part of the charm that comes with each fall season.  The rhythm may be the same (longer work days, questions about how to get around campus, etc.) but the students change (usually) and the energy returns to campus.  Classes start in about 10 days, which puts me in a place to anticipate the excitement and energy.  What will this school year bring?

We have a great team of student employees in the Rondileau Campus Center and I am really looking forward to their return.  Earlier this week, I received a few email replies from building managers who expressed their enthusiasm for returning to Bridgewater.  It's going to be a great year, I can already feel it!  What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming new season?