First of All…

Yesterday was my birthday!  Whoo hoo!!  I had the day off work and was pretty lazy for most of the day.  My mom, brother, and I had a little gift opening party and then went to dinner.  My brother went on home while my mom and I went to Target so I could look for cheap school supplies and other Crayola type things for the kids at the preschool.  I then went home and watched Thundercats.  And that my friends is how a 32 year old celebrates their birthday on a Friday night…or at least how this one does it. 

Since I last wrote, summer school started and ended.  I’ve never taken classes in the summer and I never want to again.  It blows.  Summer is supposed to be a time of relaxation and freedom.  It was never intended to be a time of research methods and child development.  But it’s done now and I got a two week break before starting up again for fall.  I did get some good news yesterday regarding my practicum.  The university is allowing the preschool where I work to serve as my practicum site so I now don’t have to be placed in a school somewhere in the district which means no scheduling hassels, worrying I won’t get my hours, and I get paid.  Getting them to accept it has been a little bit of a problem so I was ecstatic they finally agreed.

During those two weeks I had off, I went on a little road trip with a friend of mine from Utah.  She flew down here to Arkansas and we decided to drive to Mississippi to the Gulf Shores.  We didn’t really plan this very well so when we got there it wasn’t at all what we thought it was going to be.  Nevermind that we really weren’t in the right place which we didn’t discover until a few days later.  Instead we went on to Gulf Shores, Alabama which is a tourist spot.  If you have kids this is a great place for you.  I don’t have kids and neither does she so we went on to Pensacoloa, Florida. 

 This was perfect!  We got there late afternoon and drove right to a beach and just layed there.  I loved it.  In the morning we got up to see the sun rise which was kind of nice I guess and I was planning on another day of laying at the beach.  We didn’t do that though.  Instead we went to the national park and walked around on some trails.  We decided to go ahead and make our way back to Mississippi after we got some information on where we were supposed to go.  The second time around was a little better.  We had dinner at a place called The Shed which we had both seen hightlighted on different food shows.  It’s a BBQ/Blues joint and if you are ever in Ocean Springs, MS you need to eat there.  Definitely two thumbs up.  It looks like a crappy hole in the wall place but it’s SO GOOD.

   Anyway, here are some pics from the trip:

    

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?

Death’s Door

I swear that’s where I was this weekend, right there on the threshold.  Last Wednesday I came up to visit my sister in Charelston, Illinois for a nearly two week getaway.  I arrived Wednesday afternoon and that night my niece woke up with the flu.  Or actually, she didn’t really wake up but had to be woken up.  How anyone can sleep while they’re going through something like that is beyond me.  Thursday she was feeling fine but was kept sequestered in her room just in case.  Well, Friday afternoon my brother in law came home from work with the flu.  By Saturday he was feeling better which was just in time for me to pay tribute to the porcelin throne that night.  And pay I did.  All. Night. Long.  Talk about misery.  So here it is Monday afternoon and it looks like I didn’t die afterall.  Whoo Hoo!  But just as I’m feeling better my nephew came home from school with it.  Go figure.  But in between people puking we have managed to go out and see some local sites that I’ll post about later.  Man, this vacation is one for the books.

Little Surprises

I’ve been wanting to write something for a while now but I’ve been in a rut…again.  I’m STILL unemployed which on one hand is kind of nice because I can do whatever during the day but sucks obviously, because I have no money.  So while my day consists of watching TV, reading, and not much else I’ve tried to see what I can make of that for a post.  So here are my little surprises.  Mostly good with a couple that are deserving of an annoyed sigh and eye roll.

I mention that I watch a lot of TV.  Most of it I actually do online which I’ll get to in a second.  Because I’m trying to save a little money where I can, I don’t have cable.  Which means I get about 4 channels.  The other night I accidentally hit the reset button on my remote and bingo, I magically had 7 new channels.  More than double what I had – WHOO HOO!!  That was a nice little surprise.  Especially when I realized one of the channels was ABC and two others play reruns of Friends, The Simpsons, and King of the Hill so score!  Three of them are Spanish stations with plenty of telenovelas and Sabado Gigante.  This would be an eye roll surprise.

Bless the networks or whoever decided that streaming shows online would be a good idea.  And not just current shows either.  I’ve spent the past week watching old episodes of Judging Amy and Family Ties.  I noticed 21 Jumpstreet is streaming and may have to check that out next.

Wednesday night I’m going to a friend’s wedding reception.  I know there have been posts debating the whole registry idea and while I’m not going to get into it I will say I’m against the registry.  I looked at the stuff they selected and thought oh please.  No one is going to buy you the $800 TV or the Ipod Nano you selected.  But the only things I can really afford on their list are the washclothes and soap dispenser.  I’d rather not get them either.  So I fell back on my favorite (and pretty much only) gift I give which is the gift card.  I thought it would be better to put the gift card in an actual wedding card rather than slipping it to them in line.  Who knew wedding cards are almost as expensive as the gifts themselves??  And they all have these lame, sappy poems in them.  Can’t one just say Happy Wedding and be done with it?  Grrr.  While I resisted going home and pulling out my crayons and making them a card, I did settle by buying the plainest (and let’s face it the ugliest) card I found.

Right now I’m reading Lincoln by Gore Vidal.  Honestly I wasn’t sure I was really going to like this book but the more I read the more I like it.  I can’t believe how ignorant I am when it comes to the Civil War and this presidency.  I mean, hello, I am an American for crying out loud.  You would think I would know more about my nation’s history.  So this has definitely been a good surprise.  The reading and liking part, not my ignorance.

Another good surprise?  Re-discovering naps.  I’ve always been one to say “I wish I could just take a nap” but would never actually do it because I knew I wouldn’t be able to go to sleep at night and then I wouldn’t be able to get up the next day, blah blah and the cycle would go on and on.  Well, now it doesn’t matter since I don’t have to get up if I don’t want to.  I’ve been taking 1-2 hour naps a few times a week and am loving it.

And the biggest suprise of the past couple of weeks?  My sister called, invited and payed for me to come out for a visit this Memorial weekend.  Yeah!  A good surprise and definitely one to look forward to.

Thanksgiving in Moab

Ok I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write about this past weekend but without further ado here it is:

Wednesday:

Instead of leaving at three in the afternoon like we had originally planned, we were on the road by 12:30.  I guess we were both anxious to just get going and I know that I at least, did not want to be at work anymore.  It’s only a three hour drive down and the ride went pretty fast.  No need for any of the books on tape and I was very happy that she drove her car.  Usually I end up being the driver which I don’t mind most of the time.  But her car gets better gas mileage and I didn’t want to put the miles on mine.  Anyway, we got to Moab about 3:30 and checked into our motel.  If you ever make your way down to Moab I do recommend The Inca Inn.  It was a simple, basic room that was clean and they provided a simple breakfast every morning that among other things, consisted of homemade bread, muffins, and sweet rolls.  Yum!

There really wasn’t much we could go do at this point.  The sun was going to be setting soon so hiking was out of the question.  We decided to walk around the great town of Moab (ha! It’s pretty much only one street long) but unfortunately we discovered that everything shuts down at 5:00.  We were feeling kind of hungry so we decided to stop at a bakery that we had passed when we had first parked.  I have to say my mouth was already drooling at the idea of fresh bread and hot chocolate.  Only when we got to the store, we noticed through the windows there wasn’t any bread.  That’s when I looked up and noticed the sign didn’t say bakery it said barkery.  Yep, it was a dog store.  Lovely.  So instead we ate at a place called Eddie McStiff’s.  I just got a burger and fries which were pretty good.  We headed back to our room and watched TV.

Thursday:

We woke up to rain and fog but decided to go up to the parks anyway.  We bypassed Arches National Park and headed up to Canyon Lands.  The fog was pretty thick and you could only see about 100 feet or so in front of you.  We got to the entrance toll booth and no one was there but there was a sign saying to pay at the visitor’s center.  But when we got to the visitor’s center it was closed and wouldn’t open for another hour.  So I said we should just go through anyway and pay on the way back.  No big deal.  So we went on to Mesa Arch and were taking pictures when a ranger shows up about a half hour later.  My friend asks him if the visitor’s center was going to open at all that day because it was Thanksgiving and that we still needed to pay.  I realize she was trying to be honest and do the right thing but why she volunteered that information I don’t know.  The ranger had no idea we hadn’t paid until she told him.  It was at that point when the guy turned into quite a douche.  Apparently there was some machine at the toll booth we should have used blah, blah.  We didn’t see it.  So he gets her name and info and tells her to make sure we stop at the visitor’s center on the way out and that he’ll check to make sure we did and if we didn’t he would send her a citation.  We kind of joked about that which I don’t think he appreciated very much.  I guess wounded his ego a little because he puffed up his feathers and said that by not paying it was a misdemeanor which is a felony punishable by up to 6 months in jail.  Um, yeah ok bub.  Pretty sure they only incarcerate when you have a fine of $5,000 or more.  Doubt the $10 entrance fee qualifies.  My friend was asking him about the weather and I’m not sure if it was because she was generally curious or was trying to soften him a little but I had long since turned away and continued with my picture taken.  As far as I was concerned he was dismissed.

We left Mesa Arch and the Canyon Lands (yes we did stop to pay our fee) and went on to Arches.  We stopped at a few little hikes (walks from the car) to look at stuff and take pictures.  Then we decided to go ahead and hike Devil’s Garden.  We started out and for the first mile or so you’re on an open trail and the hike up to this point isn’t very strenuous at all.  Then the dirt trail ends and you walk up this

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Only it was rainy and very slick.  As we watched a couple attempting to come back down we decided we would wait and tackle it the next day.  So we turned around and headed back out which was a good thing because the rain picked up and by the time we made it to the car we were pretty wet and cold.  Since the fog was still pretty thick we just headed back to town.  It was only 2:00 in the afternoon and for the rest of the day/night we just watched TV or read.  We did venture out for dinner and ended up with Chinese.  It was so so.

Friday:

It was still overcast and had been raining all night but again, we headed out anyway.  We decided to go back to Devil’s Garden and attempt the hike again.  Luckily the rocks weren’t really wet so we went for it.  It’s a pretty cool view once you get up there and walk out on a fin.  There are actually a few different arches to see once you get up the rock wall and there weren’t a lot of people out there which was nice.  On the way back, however, throngs of people were making their way up.  One group had three guys that looked to be about our age.  I guess they didn’t want to stay at the arch too long with all the other people (when we were there only moments before, we had the place to ourselves) so before we knew it they had doubled back and had almost caught up to where we were.  There are a handful of areas on the hike where you have to wait for people to pass before you can.  Before I knew it, she was going as fast as she could down because she didn’t want to be at any area when these guys showed up because she didn’t want their help getting down (assuming they would bother to offer).  I’m all for doing things on my own and not being overly needy on a guy to get things done but for heavens sake, I also didn’t want to slide down the rocks and break my leg.  We made it back to the above picture and going down was looking like it was going to be worse than going up.  So instead of trying to hustle our way down before the guys showed up, I said we would just wait for them to pass.  Besides there were now other people coming up and we were going to have to wait anyway.  The guys made their decent down and when they were about half way we started ours.  Funny thing watching them.  They were sliding down on their butts and as my friend and I made our way down we almost caught up with them.  It wasn’t as hard as I had anticipated and maybe we should have offered them our assistance instead.

We kept hiking at different spots and now they all run together into one big hike.  I do know that we started hiking around 8:30 that morning and didn’t get back to the hotel until around 6 that night.  The clouds had begun clearing and the sunset that night was phenomenal.  In town we ate dinner at a place called The Broken Oars.  I got a BBQ burger and I must have been hungry because I ate the whole thing before my friend finished half her wrap and before the girl next to us finished half of her burger. And she got hers before I got mine.  It was pretty tasty.

Saturday:

This was the day we had set aside to climb delicate arch.  The clouds had parted more and you could see the blue sky.  The sky was a beautiful blue until, you guessed it, we got just outside of the Delicate Arch turnoff.  The clouds were so thick again you couldn’t see out very far.  So we turned around and decided to hike a few of the little ones we had done the day before, kind of to waste some time.  Amazingly the sky was perfect at these other arches and it was great for pictures.  After about an hour and a half we went back up to Delicate.  It was still foggy but we decided to hike it anyway rather than keep waiting.  The first part was no biggie.  Then you climb solid rock for what felt like a mile but it was probably only half a mile or less

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Somehow the pictures don’t make it as daunting as it felt.  These were taken on the way down because on the way up, it was so cloudy you could only see a few feet in front of you.  Once you got to the top it was open and flat for a little bit and then you had to walk along a ledge that reminded me of a cartoon

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But once you come around the corner the view is totally worth it

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Up that high, the clouds were awesome.  And we timed it just right because about a half hour after we reached the top the clouds had disappeared and it was a perfectly clear, sunny day.  We sat up there for a little while before making our way back.  We had wanted to go up there at sunset but because of the fog the day before and the fact that it was only noon we decided we would just have to do it another time.  So we headed back to the car and back home.

I ended up taking about 750 pictures and editing around 90.  I posted a handful of those here so feel free to take a look.

My Unconventional 4th – and post #100!!

Many of you know that I went to Santa Monica to visit my sister for the 4th this year.  It was tons of fun and the only part that sucked was when I had to leave and go back to work.  So without further adieu here are the pics that make up my weekend:

Sprinkes got the party started with their yummy dose of pure sugar.  I’m actually not sure there was any cupcake involved or if it was just a giant blob of frosting.

That night we went down to the Santa Monica Pier and rode on the Ferris Wheel.  Before this ride I would have told you that I’m not really afraid of heights.  And I still don’t think I am really – as long as I’m strapped in with some sort of bar or belt.  I was not.  We were sitting in an open gondola that swung with every slight movement.  Not so much my favorite!

The next morning we went to the beach.  Walking down there was no big deal.  The weather was perfect and there weren’t a lot of people where we decided to go.  Walking back, however, was terrible and I was prepared to live the remainder of my days on the beach.

If I thought trying to get across the sand was hard, then I was ill prepared for this:

BEAST is an understatement.

That night we headed for the LA Galaxy game.  I know nothing about soccer but it didn’t matter – it was a blast!

Now I can say I’ve had my picture taken with Beckham…one of those white dots on the field is him.  No really…it is…I promise.

On Saturday we decided to do something totally different and visit a ghost town.  In my mind, I imagined it being spooky with stories of how at night you can still see the residents walking around.  Turned out it was just an old abandoned gold mining town.  It was still a lot of fun and I’m glad we went there rather than Knott’s Berry Farm where we were considering going.

So thanks PammyGirl for the adventures this past weekend.  Until next time….

I Guess I’m Up For It…

Or at least we’re going to find out.  In a few weeks I’m heading out to Spokane, WA to visit with a former roommate from my freshman year.  In the past 10 years since we were roommates, we’ve only been able to get together twice.  My first visit to her house found me arriving the same time her husbands kids, mother, and sister showed up.  Plus they had to take an impromptu road trip for a day while I hung out at their house.  The second time we got together we met in Idaho Falls at a family reunion of sorts for her family.  In no way am I complaining (Leigh I’m really not!) and would do it all over again, I’m just saying it’s always under interesting circumstances and you just never know what’s going to happen.

So we book my ticket and we’re jabbering away at how excited we both are and she assures me that her in-laws/husband’s family are not going to be there this year and that they aren’t going to take a road trip while I’m visiting.  She calls me back a few hours later beyond excited and exclaims “You’ll never guess what we’re going to do when you get here.  I’m so excited!  My mom bought me two gift certificates to get an hour long pedicure and it’s at the same place I get my hair done so we can get a shampoo/wash and style.  Isn’t that awsome?!!”

Hmm, what to say?  I’ve never had a pedicure because I think the idea is gross and besides I’m very ticklish and this does not forecast to be a good time for me.  And I usually don’t get my hair done at salons because A)  I’m cheap and B) I hate having my hair washed by people there.  I know a lot of people find this relaxing but it stresses me out.  As soon as the water hits my head my whole body tenses and I have a viced grip on the arm chairs.  I have no idea why.  And while I’m at it, my work offers free massages every month or so and in 3 1/2 years I’ve never taken them up on the offer.  I can just imagine breaking out in hysteric fits of laughter as soon as they move below my shoulder blades.  Which is really too bad because I’ve had a kink in my back for a few weeks now.

So I tell her my bazare quirks and she still insists we go.  From her point of view it’s completely understandable.  These things make her relax and after watching her three kids all day this is the perfect way to get out of the house and unwind.  How bad can it really be right?  I guess I’m going to find out.