Blue Skies Smiling At Me. Nothing But Blue Skies…

I don’t know what it’s like for the rest of the nation but down here in Arkansas the weather has been HEAVENLY!  A lot of sunshine, low humidity, warm temps…sigh.  Just the other day it was 80 degrees.  And I loved it.  I’m currently in denial about the fact this probably means the summer will be unbearable hot and riddled with insects.  But for now I’m content and happy with the sun.

A few posts back I talked about an assignment I had to do for class that involved creating a glogster.  I’m happy to say that yesterday I finally got around to doing it and it’s now submitted and done.  Looking at it, it’s pathetic it took me as long as it did to put together because I’m pretty sure there are some third graders that could have done a better job in less than half the time.  The information on the page is ridiculously scant but I think that’s the point.  At least I’m hoping it is.  There was no way to possibly put all the relevant information from the chapter on this thing so I scaled back to an extreme degree.  Here’s a link so for those of you who didn’t know what a glogster was, you can get a peek.

Also, some of you from Facebook may have seen that I posted an update about oatmeal.  More specifically, how I don’t like it but am trying to fool my tastebuds into thinking they do.  I think I have finally found success in maple brown sugar.  Is it the beginning of a long and beautiful friendship?  I doubt it, but at least I didn’t dump it down the drain.  That’s gotta count for something.

Speaking of food, there’s a new restaurant here that’s becoming my favorite.  It’s called Pitza 42.  They serve personal pizzas on pita bread or you can get different kinds of salad.  And for every meal purchased they donate a meal to a charity that helps feed hungry children around the world.  AND it’s cheap.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

A look ahead this week shows that Friday is FIELD TRIP DAY!!!!  I love field trip day.  We’re taking the kids to the fire station so that should be pretty fun.  Last year we had some firemen come to the preschool and the kids got to see and try on some of their fire clothes and sit in a fire truck.  The kids had fun but I think this year will be better.

And finally, I’m going to end this post with the Valentine gift I gave my mom and brother.  If this doesn’t say I love you, well, I don’t know what does.

Advertisements

Picture Update

I really didn’t mean to disappear for a couple of months but every time I came to the computer to write something I decided against it and before you know it, it’d been nearly two months.  So here’s what I’ve been up to during that time.

I had a month long break from school before starting back up again about three weeks ago.  This first summer term I’m taking Research Methods and just typing it out makes me snoozzzzzzzzzze.  In about another three weeks I’ll be adding Child Development to my load before getting a two week break before starting fall semester.  See what I mean?  ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

During my month of May break, I had a whole list of stuff I wanted to do but you know, time passes quickly and I didn’t do nearly half of it.  I did manage to read 8 or 9 books which more than doubled what I had read this whole year up to that point.  Yay me.  And I’ve still been keeping up with my garden which has yielded barely any vegetables so far:

I have since picked and eaten the veggies in these photos and they were really good.  I’m sure more cucumbers are to come because the plants are huge and full of flowers.  So is the watermelon plant and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that one because I have become obsessed with watermelon this summer.

I added to the backyard by planting a lot of flowers and bushes.  It needed it badly and I was in the mood to experiment.  So far the majority of the flowers are thriving and slowly but surely our backyard is looking better and better.  I can’t wait for the sunflowers to finally get big and bloom but it might not be for a couple more months.  In the meantime here are some pics of just some of the flowers I’ve got back there:

I did notice the other day one of the flowers looked like it had been chewed and it didn’t take long to discover the culprit:

Every year we have wild rabbits that seem to roam through our neighborhood.  I have no idea where they actually live and I usually don’t mind them in the yard.  Just not when the eat my plants.

I also went on a little trip with my mom and sister down to Hot Springs.  We did some horseback riding and went to a wax museum among other things.  I’ve gotta be honest.  The wax museum was horrible.  It was so random and no one really looked like anybody they were supposed to.  Here are some of my favorites:

Ack!!  Seriously?!  Prince Charles reminds me of a rat and Queen Elizabeth hasn’t looked like that for at least 60 years.  I had to read the plaque to know who she was.

It was so dark in this section of the museum I took this picture mostly just to see what it was.  And then I had to laugh.  But the laughter really got going when we went into what I suppose was the kids/Disney section and saw this:

Gah, let’s take a closer look:

Hey what do you know, my new facebook profile picture.  I absolutely love his face.

In the beginning of May our town celebrated its annual Toad Suck Daze celebration.  In its honor, we had the kids at the preschool bring toads to school for some toad racing.  Imagine 16 preschool kids with toads but believe it or not, it was fun.  There are a couple of toads that live in the yard of the preschool and the kids LOVE to play with them.  I feel bad for the toads.  We had a frog fatality and I’ll spare you the details but will say barefeet = dead frog.

I hadn’t actually gone to the Toad Suck festivities since I was in high school but my brother and I decided to go and check it out this year.  This included walking the parameter and then leaving.  Too many people and a lot of lame stuff does not a good time make.  Trust me.  Although, one of the booths had a karaoke machine and was inviting participants.  When we waked by some white trashy girls (I know that sounds harsh but you weren’t there) were singing quite loudly and off key to R Kelly’s song Ignition.  It. Was. Hilarious….and terrible.  My brother got some video of it that I will have to get and post.

The only other thing I’ve been busy with is watching TV.  While I’m waiting for the summer shows like Burn Notice to start, I’ve become obsessed with Bones.

I’ve seen the show a number of times and like it but can’t watch it during the season because it’s on at the same time of a number of other shows I watch.  Lucky me, the reruns are on constantly.  There are about 12 episodes that get put on the DVR each week and I recently discovered all the seasons in their entirety on Netflix that I can access through my brother’s Xbox.  Lucky me indeed.  It’s taken me a while to actually be able to tolerate the character of Temperance Brennen.  Admittedly I watch the show for Seely Booth and his sarcasm.

I also spent a day making a ton of homemade strawberry jam that was/is absolutely heavenly and could quite possibly make applesauce a little later in the summer.  I might just be one of the oldest young people I know.

And there you have it – a run down of my two month hiatus.  You missed me didn’t you?

Arkansas Spring = Tornadoes

So if you pay attention to the national weather you know we’ve been getting severe storms down here in the south.  About a week ago we got some crazy, intense wind and this is what it did to our fence

image

This is just what the wind did.  The fence posts have been snapped and since I took this picture that other panel has fallen.  Monday I was sitting in front of the computer minding my own business trying to type a final paper for class, when my brother came in letting me know the tornado sirens were going off.  I’d heard the siren but was so concentrated on my paper I kept thinking it was an ambulance or a cop car.  The sirens ended up sounding not once, not twice, not three times, but FIVE times in a 3 – 3 1/2 hour span because that’s how many tornadoes/possible formulating tornadoes there were.   And all of them followed the same path through the state.

I spent the next three hours watching stuff like this on the TV

image

I happen to live in Conway located in the middle of the screen.  As you can see one tornado skirted around the north part of the town.  At the same time that was happening, that tornado forming to the south ended up making it’s way up going between Conway and Mayflower and it was this tornado that demolished the town of Vilonia just to the east of Conway.  To give a little perspective on distance, Vilonia is within 10 miles or so from my house.

I took video on my phone with the intent of posting it on here but it won’t upload (go figure).  But it was video so you could hear the sirens sounding and the announcement telling everyone to go inside.  What you can’t really tell from the video is how greenish yellow the sky was and how eerily calm and silent everything was.

The other video I took was showing the street right in front of my house and how flooded it became in a matter of minutes.  This was due to the tornado passing over us and on its way to Vilonia.  I did manage to snap a couple of pics though

I’ve seen plenty of photos showing the aftermath in Vilonia and further south in the Hot Springs area that was also hit extensively by tornadoes and all I can say is we were so fortunate at my house to not experience more damage than a fallen fence.  I know a handful of people that got hit pretty hard and lost extensive amounts of their home and property.  Here are some shots that I got from friends or from the Arkansas Severe Weather page:

Last night we had severe thunderstorms and the sirens went off again but as far as I know, there wasn’t anymore extreme damage done.  I thought we had seen the last of it last night but as I left work an hour ago this is what I saw

image

To the east it looks like a perfectly nice and almost sunny day.  To the west it’s dark and creepy.  I ended up driving home in a torrential downpour but it has since stopped raining.  It’s overcast and the wind is blowing really hard but maybe this really is the last of it.  I hope so.

Set The DVR

The Biggest Loser premiers tomorrow and ordinarily I wouldn’t really pay that much attention.  I tend to start watching that show a few weeks before the finale so I can see the changes instantly.  And for some reason I really like watching it while eating a big bowl of ice cream.  Go figure.

Anyway, this year one of the contestants is a man from my home town that I actually know.  Matter of fact, I used to be good friends with his daughters and a bunch of us used to hang out at their house every weekend.  While friendships have fallen by the wayside, I’ve always liked Rick and wish him the best in his efforts on the show.  I now have yet another show added to my DVR and hope you will tune in as well.  Go Rick!

http://www.nbc.com/the-biggest-loser/video/contestant-profile-rick/1247748

Where Football is King

If I’ve learned anything from living in the south, it’s you don’t kid when it comes to football.  Want to know where people are on a Friday night between September and November?  Check the high school football field (they even made an entire TV show about a southern high school football team for crying out loud).  When I was in high school I think the team was made up of about 400 guys out of oh, I don’t know 401.  I think the requirements to be on the team were (1) that you had to be male and (2) at least partially breathing.

For a while the high school stadium was bigger and better than the university’s and they seemed to always be expanding and adding on.  Plus the football team got new uniforms every year and were taken out for steak dinners at the end of season regardless of their record for the year.

I know what you’re thinking.  “Bitter, party of one?”  And you know what?  I am bitter.  We girls on the track team were wearing outfits circa 1982 and had about 15 min to run in, grab some dinner from McDonalds and then head back on the short bus to eat it.  And when I graduated girls track had been conference champions every year since the early 80s and had taken state more times than not.  The football team?  Not even close.

A week from today I’ll be starting grad school and to be honest, if I think about it I get nervous.  So I prefer not to.  A little denial never hurt anyone right?  But I have had to go the rounds with the financial aid office because it became apparent communication wasn’t their strong suit.  Going over fees I came across this:  Mandatory Registration Fees – $405.50.  Er, I’m sorry how much was that?  For a second I thought I read over four hundred dollars in fees.  Oh wait, I did??  So I continue reading to see what these mandatory fees include.  Stuff like campus radio (uh, ok), student health center, student center, blah blah blah.  None of these are more than $15 so where is my money going?  And then I read it:

“For this fiscal year, certain of the mandatory fees have an

administrative charge assessed on them.  This administrative

charge will be used this fiscal year to support UCA’s transition

to NCAA Division 1.”

Translation:  You have to pay $400 more dollars so UCA football can compete in a higher division.

WHAT???  AGHHH!!!!! Are you KIDDING me right now?  (Nope, remember they don’t kid about football)  And the real kicker is that they used to have this money.  But a few years ago they hired a new president who ended up embezzling hundreds of thousands of the university’s money and despite that, they still gave him a 6 figure pay out because he stepped down before his contract was up.  Smooth. Real smooth.

So it looks like things haven’t changed much from where they were 13 years ago.  Football apparently still rules, only now I’m out an additional $405.50 because of it.


Otherwise Known as the “I Don’t Know Parade”

This year my mom and I did something a little different.  We wanted to keep it low key but still go out and do something to celebrate the holiday, so we decided to go to a nearby small town and check out the local scene.  I figured since I live in Arkansas, right in the middle of the I Love America bible belt, there should be something good going on.  I envisioned local shops selling homemade pies and fudge, artwork depicting our American heritage, and who knows, maybe some cool antique collections of American memorabilia on display.  Wishful thinking is what that was.

We saw that a small town about 40 -45 min. away was going to have a parade and though I’m sort of bah humbug when it comes to parades, I sort of thought it might be fun to check out.  We got there about 40 min. before the parade was to start and there were already people lining up on the street (for the record, we were there that early b/c I couldn’t remember how to get there or how long it was going to take).

The parade started at exactly 10:00 and went as follows:

I was there and I still don’t know what the golf cart was for.

As far as I know, Arkansas isn’t known for its pioneer heritage so I’m not sure why those girls in front are dressed like that

I don’t know what those girls and that lady have to do with the fire department or why she’s in a wife beater

I think that first vehicle used to be a part of a tractor.  I don’t know why old men are driving either one of those things.

Random kids riding their bikes.  Yeah, I don’t get why either.

Nascar represented of course

That’s how we do floats up here in these parts

FFA represent!  I thought there would be more kids on this one.

That’s a bulldog mascot in the truck so, maybe something to do with the high school?

Again, not so sure about this pioneer heritage they’ve got going on here

What the hell??

That’s it.  That was the WHOLE parade.  By 10:12 it was over.  There’s only one street that goes through the town and it took three times as long to get out of there than was the actual length of the parade.  I think my favorite part wasn’t the actual parade itself but watching the local people.

I knew I was in for a treat when not even 10 seconds after the road had been blocked, a beat up old car came and swerved around the road block, cut across the parking lot where we were parked.  The lady driving was missing a couple of teeth, wearing a small tank top over her slightly larger frame, her teenage passenger smoking a cigarette, and with her windows rolled down yelled (with her southern accent adding two extra syllables to the last word), “This is g@#damn bullshit!”  Ahh, America.

*Sorry the pics are small and crappy.  Of course, the same can be said about the parade.

Rural King Pt. Deux: T-Shirt Edition

Remember when I was visiting my sister in Illinois and mentioned this dandy little store?

Where you can buy anything from school supplies to farm equipment to clothing.  This store is such a small town throw back that they still use their own local form of credit for farmers:

In the last post I told you about the Anti-Monkey Butt Powder and wipes I found on the shelves but today I’m concentrating solely on the various T-shirts Rural King has to offer.  And what an offer it is.

Let’s start with the kiddies shall we?

Ribbons and bows and camo clothes, that’s what little girls are made of. And here I thought I was made of sugar and spice and all that’s nice.  Thanks for finally setting me straight Rural King.

That deer doesn’t look like he fears anybody.  Looks more like he’s crazed and rabid.

I’ll just go ahead and say this now, hunting creeps me out.  I don’t understand it, have never understood it, and I hope I never will understand it.  And I can tell you that no child of mine will EVER wear a shirt like this one.

Let’s move on the the grown up shirts.  Some are for the ladies:

Winning style – head to hoof! Oh brother.  Seriously, why would a girl WANT to be a barn beauty?  What does that even mean?  That you beat out the cows and pigs in a beauty contest?  “It was a close one Ethel but in the end you win.  Ol Bessie just isn’t the same since she came down with mad cow.  Congratulations .”

Wow.  That’s a bit extreme.  Must be some tractor…or some crappy boyfriend.  I guarantee the girl wearing that shirt wears this one as well:

Boys, don’t feel left out.  This one’s for you:

Let’s take a closer look because is just gets better and better:

Hubba hubba.  I’m especially digging the farmer’s tan.

These next few were in the men’s section but I guess could go either way:

I was told there’s some competition between John Deere and Red Tractors.  I don’t know if Red Tractor is the official name of a line of tractors or if it’s just a color war between red and green.  Either way, it explains these next couple of shirts:

Since there are no Red Tractor shirts to be found and John Deere is so heavily represented, I’m going to guess Rural King has gone green.

Don’t think mom’s weren’t going to be represented.  It is Mother’s Day after all.

…Or she might stick you in one of those hunting shirts.

I saved my favorite for last.  In honor of this brand of clothing:

Rural King proudly presents you with this:

I’m not gonna lie.  I seriously considered this one.  And the best part was this was a hoodie and not a T-shirt.  In the clothing world, hoodies are my weakness.  I guess there’s always next time.