I almost didn’t make this week’s photo challenges, as I have a pile of college homework to do; it’s almost the end of the semester.
This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is copper.
I almost didn’t make this week’s photo challenges, as I have a pile of college homework to do; it’s almost the end of the semester.
This week’s One Word Photo Challenge is copper.
Today’s Daily Prompt is: We Built This City. What do you love most about the city / town / place that you live in? What do you like the least about it? If you were mayor, what would be the most important problem you’d tackle? How would you tackle it?
The city that I live in, Bryant, is a fast growing city. It covers nine square miles and has every fast food chain you can think of. It also has a Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Kirkland’s, two Starbucks, Lowe’s, and numerous other small and big businesses. I loved how people in our community was once generous, friendly, and hospitable. Now, you can look forward to sitting in a turn lane forever as no one is considerate to not block driveways to businesses. Or you’ll sit at a stop sign, forever waiting on someone to let you into the flow of traffic.
The problem with this city is that all the businesses are in one area, clustered, making traffic a nightmare to endure in the mornings and when school has let out for the day. Instead of clustering all businesses into one big area, why not spread them out? It makes it very difficult to get in and out of those businesses, as everyone is rushing to get some where and would not think twice to let you cut in front of them.
When I first left for the Navy in 2000, Bryant only had a Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, and a small grocery store, as well as three gas stations. The population was a little over 9,000. Bryant was better known as the ‘bedroom community’ due to it mostly being houses and not the huge booming town it is today. After I got out of the Navy, Pizza Hut was demolished and a gas station was put in it’s place. We still have Wendy’s and McDonald’s, but the grocery store went out of business due to Walmart moving in just down the street. The current population is over 16,000. Almost doubled from when I first left in 2000 for boot camp.
There’s construction going on presently, albeit they’re building another fast food restaurant…that we don’t need. There was a town meeting the other day for a millage tax, requesting money to build another middle school and elementary school, to upgrade the middle school’s cafeteria, to build more things that our ever growing town needs for its community, yet the millage tax didn’t pass. Guess the towns people don’t see the things we need here or they believe the new High School that was finished last summer was enough as far as educational buildings go.
This city literally has grown immensely within the last fifteen years, that someone like me would have a hard time recognizing it. When I had gotten out of the service, I moved to Colorado to attend college for aviation. I stayed there for almost 4 years, then moved to Oklahoma for a few years, then moved back here in late 2009. I had been gone for 9 years and was astonished as to how much my hometown had changed. The service roads weren’t even two way anymore. They had changed to one way service lanes…good thing my grandmother warned me about that or I may have made a huge error by going the wrong way.
With the current mayor we have, our city has built on a new Recreational Center with an indoor pool and more fast food buildings. What our city needs is less fast food and more buildings for the community. The new rec center was nice, though the indoor swimming pool is mostly for swim teams. I had taken my daughter swimming to the new indoor pool and there were five other parents, gathered in a five by ten area that was sectioned off for ‘free swimming’. Ten of us collided into one another in the tiny space, just to allow our kiddos some time to cool off from the hot summer heat.
The other swimming pool that we have here, is a tiny pool, yet it is overly crowded every summer. We do need a bigger pool that is open to the public and not used for swim teams. Yes, we have a splash pad, to which you have to pay for, but my daughter is terrified of it, due to her autism.
There aren’t enough things here for special needs children. Or I should say, there isn’t anything for special needs children at all, other than a couple of daycare centers. We could use more parks with playgrounds; we only have one playground. There is a park currently being built that is accessible for disabled children. It isn’t here in Bryant, but it’s a twenty minute drive, without traffic. It’s actually a first of its kind park, which is sad as we need more parks that are accessible for all walks of life, disabled or not. (Click here and here for details on that park)
I would love to see a park with outdoor exercise equipment. Gyms may have dropped their prices so that us poor people can go workout, but what about daycare services? There’s only one gym here with a small childcare service while mom works out, yet it’s pricey. Some parents may only have a few minutes to workout after work, yet that’s when they have their kiddos with them. So, why not have an ‘Adult Fitness Playground’ along with our kids playgrounds? Family’s would be more active, would they not? It’s free and open to the public, so there would be more people out there working out, getting healthy.
As a mayor, the community and environment should be the most important things to think about and not what goes in and out of our pockets.
My daughter and I have only been to school one day within these past two weeks. It continues to snow, or we receive more freezing rain, or it melts then freezes, making the roads slick, to which all school close for the day. Either way, I’m getting further behind in my classes due to there not being any…classes. Plus, it’s hard to get any homework done with my daughter at home. I mostly get it finished when I’m at school, sitting in the library, where I can sit in a quiet spot and work.
It isn’t easy being a single mom and a college student at the same time, especially during the winter. There’s only so much whining to go outside and play in the snow that a mom can take before she gives in. I’m trying to be the model college student and work on my research papers and other homework assignments, yet my inner child is screaming at me to listen to my daughter and go build a snowman.
Of course I couldn’t say no to that! My inner child jumps for joy and my daughter does the same. She rushes around the house looking for her hat, gloves, and shoes with all the excitement of a five year old. I proceed to change out of my pj’s and into some jeans.
Of course it was still snowing when we walked outside. It was also mushy and melting, though relatively slowly. Guess it was too warm for it to actually snow, yet it was still coming down.
I was surprised to find that this round of snowfall was easy to work with and it didn’t take much effort for us to build a snowman. I showed her how to roll a small snowball around in the snow, allowing it to grow bigger and bigger until we had the size we needed for the bottom half of the snowman. After we had the middle portion and then the head placed into it’s proper spots, she found a stick that was then used for arms and a mouth. I found a rotten pecan that I busted open, placing the two halves as eyes, and the pecan as a nose.
We stood back and looked at it. It was almost as tall as she was.
Or is it ‘Cabin Fever, Winter Blues’?
Either way, it’s another fine winter day, stuck indoors. I’m actually being a bit sardonic, but who wouldn’t be unless you could be outside enjoying the weather. Though there aren’t any slopes here for me to grab my snowboard and head out to. Nor is the ground covered in snow, for mini me to go sledding. Instead, the ground is covered in ice that has been melted and frozen, again, and again, over the past few days. Today, our forecast called for a snow and rain mix, which didn’t began falling until late morning. It just made everything that much more slippery. I decided to stay home with my daughter, since I have to drive North where the roads would be much slicker.
Though I have driven in wintry conditions, it is very different here in Arkansas, especially when you’re surrounded by drivers who cannot drive on ice and/or snow. Some cannot even drive when it’s raining, so I find it best to stay clear by staying home. My daughter finds serenity in watching the snow fall. We have a large picture window in the living room with a wide window sill for her to lean on and to also give her plenty of space to play with her toys.
On days like this, I find myself in the office, on the computer, trying to finish up homework, or work on the next research paper for a class or two, or do a bit of writing. I think if I redecorated this office, it would have more of a calm, soothing atmosphere where I can be more creative. I think it’s the only room that still has the fake wood paneling from the 1960’s, covering it’s walls. Plus, the photos that cover the wall space above grandpa’s desk are decades old and could be upgraded.
I think I may have found my next summer project…to redecorate and rearrange the office.
I mostly find my creative energy in a mixture of places, such as, bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, front porch. Sometimes, the recliner in the living room, next to our picture window is a perfect spot for writing, especially on days like today. Anywhere my mind can roam freely.
Lately, I’ve been spending most of that free time between classes, in my college library. Just yesterday, I had my headphones on, music going, and I was able to finally finish editing chapter one of my young adult novel. This is the same novel I had tried querying agents last summer for, but without success. It’s a tough job, being an author. Tough market, actually. Some of them were very close in saying yes, adding tidbits of helpful info that would make the next round of querying a bit more successful.
So, I began working on it….again.
There was originally a prologue, but I had cut it out entirely. Now, I added it back into the novel, but instead of it being a prologue, I made it the beginning of chapter one’s story line. I then moved some of chapter three into chapter one, so the next on my to-do-list is to edit chapter three.
I’m coming up on 60K words total…on the manuscript that is. I’m going to make that a goal that I must achieve. Once that’s done, I am finished…I hope, cross my fingers and knock on wood. I’m looking forward to seeing it finalized once more and also hope that I can send it off to the publisher very soon. I think I’ll try querying agents again, if not, I know a few small publishers that wouldn’t mind publishing it for me.
This week, the weather has been rather crappy. We rarely get a good snow fall here in the southern part of Arkansas, so when it does snow I get as excited as my daughter does and we head outside to play. What we usually get almost every winter, is sleet and freezing rain, which leads to icy covered roads. Which also leads to people driving around like crazy trying to buy up all the bread and milk in every store. Twice, I almost got ran into from people driving erratically and the storm had not even arrived yet.
I had prepared for being kept indoors by stocking up our cabinets and freezers. So, if we don’t leave the house for several weeks, we’re good. If the electric goes out, that’s fine too, as I have a small charcoal grill and plenty of batteries, flashlights, and lanterns.
A few years ago, or was it last year, a horrible snow storm hit us, knocking out our power. Then our giant Magnolia tree in our front yard was weighed down from all the ice and snow that it split in two; one giant limb covered the drive way, thankfully missing my car, and the other giant limb fell onto the wheelchair ramp, which blocked any method of getting the cars out. Our wonderful neighbors showed up with chainsaws and a few friends brought their trucks over and we all took care of our poor tree.
Tuesday, it had snowed a few inches, that Wednesday morning my daughter and I went outside to play. I helped her build a snowman, as she’s been aching to do. I watched her run around the backyard, then watch her as she tossed a few handfuls of snow at me. Then after thirty minutes had elapsed we went back inside and proceeded to watch everything melt from our picture window in the living room. It was a great day and most of the snow and ice has melted away. Just in time too, as we’re to get another round of freezing rain tonight and tomorrow. Fun!
For now, it’s catch up time on homework, research papers, and novel edits.
Stay warm all!
Due to my daughter’s autism, potty training has been a major challenge for her and I. I had the difficult time getting her to transition from diaper to pull-up, then an even harder time getting her to transition from pull-up to panties. It’s a sensory thing, plus it’s an autism thing. Change is something a child with autism can’t handle. Then the sensory part, well, the pull-up feels way different than the diaper. The panties feel even funnier than the pull-up. it’s just uncomfortable, which can also lead to meltdowns and stress, mostly for her. I have a lot of patience with her.
It took a lot of bribing and coaxing to get her to switch over, but she did. It cost quite a bit of stickers and some M&Ms, but whatever helped.
Imagine, if you will, the feeling of a scouring pad being pulled ever so lightly against your skin. I know it sounds a bit awkward describing it this way, but this is how some things feel to someone with autism, especially someone with a sensory disorder. It is definitely an unnatural feeling, yet that’s what they experience. I had gotten her a cute little Red Sox jersey. She loves it, except she can’t wear it without having a regular t-shirt underneath the jersey. The jersey on her skin feels uncomfortable. Like wearing a wool sweater without having a t-shirt underneath it. So, not only is the change in going from diaper, to pull-up, to panties hard for her, it takes some time for her to get accustomed to the new feelings of each item.
Next came the success of actually going in the potty, which took a few years. When she was one, I had purchased a little pink princess potty, to which she loved, though she would rather look at it, than she would sit on it. It chimed each time you would push it’s little jeweled lever, which was supposed to resemble flushing the potty, but it was more of a cute little accessory that was only for looks. She found it rather amusing and giggled each time it chimed, that she would sit in the floor and continuously push the lever down.
She still wouldn’t sit on it. I continued to try though.
For the past several months, her teachers at daycare and I have been working with her on using the potty, the real one, as well as wearing panties. I would take her to school wearing panties, but had to make sure she had a few pairs of pants, panties, socks, and another pair of shoes, sometimes I would slip an extra shirt in there, as there’s been times where it was needed too. Oh, yeah, she peed all the way down her legs, soiling everything, including her shoes.
No matter how many times we took her and placed her on the potty, she would still have an accident. It was just a continued work in progress. Yesterday, however, something changed. She actually went the entire day without wearing a pull-up and without having an accident. I couldn’t be more happier for my baby girl! Although, she still has to be taken to the bathroom, I’m sure it won’t be long now before she begins to start taking herself when she feels nature calling, before nature does call.
Next on the list is for her to successful do number two in the potty, instead of holding it. Since she started wearing panties, she’s been holding number two until she can’t hold it any more and has an accident.
Small steps, still lead to great successes!
One day I went to pick my daughter up from daycare. I walked into the room, searching for my little girl, but I didn’t see her smiling face anywhere. One of her teachers pointed towards one of the tables and said, “She’s right there.” But I didn’t see her, nor her recognizable blonde hair. Instead I saw a fuzzy creature with its back towards me, playing with toy animals.
I walked up to where her teacher pointed, to get a better view. When I came face to face with the fuzzy thing, I smiled and began to laugh. There stood my daughter, wearing a giraffe costume, smiling so big and bright at me. “Mommy!” she cries out with excitement.
“Aren’t you just the cutest giraffe I’ve ever seen, ” I say back. “May I take you home with me?”
“Yes,” she says. Though she wasn’t going to take the costume off, she wanted to wear it home. I was told it okay that I let her continue to wear it, and I promised that I would wash it and return it on Monday.
When we walked into the door at home, I called for Grams to come look at what I brought home. Grams comes into the living room and smiles at my little girl, then says, “You’re so cute, what are you supposed to be?”
“I’m a giraffe,” my little girl says proudly.
The day continued to go on as normal, but the giraffe costume had no chances in coming off. I continued to watch a giraffe eat dinner at the kitchen table, then walk around the house, then watch cartoons with me in the living room. Then it was time to go to bed. With a little sweet talk and a promise she could where the costume tomorrow, she finally took the costume off before she crawled into bed.
The next day, after her bath and breakfast, I turned to see the giraffe standing in the kitchen. I smiled and laughed. She’s just too cute, I thought to myself. She then asked for some milk. “Do giraffe’s drink milk?” I asked her curiously.
“Yes,” she says smiling. Why wouldn’t they?
“Ok, if you’re sure.” I gave her one of her small cups, poured milk in it, and put one of her bendy straws in it and watched the little giraffe drink every drop. “I guess giraffe’s do drink milk.”
She hands me her empty cup, then takes off to her room to play. I watch her run in a galloping way that makes me think of how a giraffe runs. She takes being a giraffe seriously.
She continued to wear the giraffe costume all weekend, but took it off each night, before bedtime. Sunday night I had it washed and ready to return, as promised, to the daycare the following day. It was a fun an interesting weekend, when I brought home a giraffe.