Tag Archives: school

OWPC: Sun


This week’s ‘One Word Photo Challenge‘ is, Sun.

Yesterday, I attended an Archaeology lecture in Little Rock, held at the Whit Stephens Conservation building by the River Market. A large group of us, mainly college students and professors, meet up before the lecture at one of the restaurants located around the River Market, then walk over to where the lecture is being held. As usual, I arrived earlier than everyone else (an hour early) so, I decided to venture out towards the river. It was a beautiful, sunny day and it was actually warm, considering the last few days we’ve had were rainy and cold.

The city had fixed up a couple of the train bridges, making them usable again, but for pedestrians; one of the train bridges was built in 1884, the other one was a few years later. There’s a jogging trail situated along the river, as well as a playground, splash pad, and pavilions. There’s also an amphitheater, which is used for outdoor concerts; I once attended a John Fogerty concert there.

Along the jogging trail you will notice many sculptures here and there. Most of them are donated pieces, but a couple of them are a representation of Arkansas’ history. One pavilion included Arkansas’ entire history, including the early settlers and those who came through Arkansas, such as De Soto and other notable Spaniards, as well as notable Frenchmen.

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Chop Chop


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A few years ago I bought myself a Kindle HD Fire, hoping that it will help me with my studies. I was thinking of ways to save myself money by downloading my college books or other reading materials for my classes, though ebooks for college courses are not as cheap as I had imagined.

I also purchased the kindle during the time my daughter began her therapy sessions. My intentions were for me to use the kindle for school, but I didn’t have luck in way of obtaining WiFi coverage at the college I was going to, unless I could find one of the very, very few hotspots where I could use my kindle; so it was generally used at home.

During the summer months, I kept my daughter home, rather than put her in daycare. It saved me money, plus, I was home majority of the time and would rather spend that time I had with her. Since she wasn’t going to daycare now, her therapists began visiting her at home. Upon their many trips to my house, I noticed that they were using an iPad as a tool for part of her therapy. They showed me a few apps I could download for her that would be beneficial for her in OT.

Since I had a tablet, of the sort, I began downloading all kinds of free apps for her, to help teach her the ABC’s, counting, colors, shapes, all kinds of helpful learning apps for children her age. At that moment, my kindle became her kindle and has been ever since. It’s encased in a pink hard leather case, decorated with many stickers from our trips to the ER or doctor visits, though some of those stickers have since been ripped off. The kindle has been a treasured item for my daughter, who is easily bored when there isn’t any form of entertainment for her.

Flash forward a few years and to the present…it’s endured water, juice, and milk submerges; many drops to the floor (carpet and concrete covered); a near attempted meeting with the toilet; an almost attempted dunk into the Arkansas River, landing in the muddy river banks; a trip to Disney World, followed by a trip to the beach; a couple of family reunions during the hot summer days; and many roads trips thereafter and is still working. Only once had I taken it back to Best Buy, where I had purchased it, for a reboot, but it has been one tough piece of wonderful electronic device I had ever purchased and to have survived my five year old for the past three years plus.

Though, yesterday, the wonderful case which holds the kindle from meeting its dreadful doom, finally met its match…a pair of scissors. Those scissors are usually kept up high, so that tiny little hands can’t reach them. Those scissors have chopped bangs a tad bit too short, chopped up a tail of a stuffed dinosaur, chopped hair off a stuffed Pegasus to mimic a horrible mullet. Yes, those scissors have many reasons to be kept put away…in a safe place…until yesterday, when someone left them lying on the kitchen table, where they were being used to cut quilting fabric.

Mini me came running into the office, holding her kindle, still encased, though now in two pieces. My first reaction ‘Man, it finally ripped right in two’. Then, the careful learned forensic archaeologist that I am studying to be, looked carefully at the hard leather case and saw cut marks…this pattern looks strangely familiar. I didn’t get mad. The sad eyes I was given, followed by, “I’m sorry, Mommy” would only soften anything I would think to say, other than, ‘Where are the scissors?’

I followed her into the kitchen, took the scissors left lying on the kitchen table and put them back in a safe place. Then went to find my roll of duct tape, which coincidentally is the same color as my daughter’s kindle case. Duct tape, pink or any other color, can fix anything, including her kindle case. She just happened to have cut the case along the fold, allowing me the chance to save it, whereas, the many other things that she’s broken had not been savable.  But on this occasion, it was. And once again, I’m the Superhero Mom, whose daughter is now toting a kindle, whose case is held together by pink duct tape.

OWPC: 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.

My dad's cat, Willow. She's great at hiding, but my daughter can always find her. She greets her with an excited, "Hi, Willow!" Then gives her a gentle pat and leaves her alone for the rest of our visit with my parents.

My dad’s cat, Willow. She’s great at hiding, but my daughter can always find her. She greets her with an excited, “Hi, Willow!” Then gives her a gentle pat and leaves her alone for the rest of our visit with my parents.

She always has both arms full of stuffed animals. Somehow, they too want to go for a car ride, even though it's a short trip to her school right down the street.

She always has both arms full of stuffed animals. Somehow, they too want to go for a car ride, even though it’s a short trip to her school right down the street.

Alligators in Arkansas?


Spring break usually means vacation time for some, but to me, it’s time for catching up on college homework, as it does tend to pile up for us non-traditional students. It also means finishing tasks around the house that also needs my attention, such as taking my car into the shop to fix a burned out fuse, as well as having them take care of a recall. Then there’s the usual, dentist and doctor appointments that I can finally make since I have some time off. Or the opportunity to go into work early. All and all, for me, spring break just means staying busy, instead of relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere, listening to the waves crash onto shore, while I work on my tan.

But, it isn’t all work and no play, I do find some time for fun.

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the Alligator Farm in Hot Springs. She’s been begging me to take her to the zoo, yet most of the things she enjoys is out of order and under construction at our local zoo in Little Rock; the train, petting zoo, etc. Plus, they no longer have giraffes, which is my daughter’s favorite.

I had thought about taking her to Turpentine Creek, which is a wildcat sanctuary in Eureka Springs, but that’s a four hour drive (back roads and road construction) and it was supposed to rain yesterday. It was also slightly chilly, so taking her into the Ozark Mountains to walk around looking at wildcats wasn’t something she would enjoy.

The alligator farm was a relatively short visit. There wasn’t much going on, but on the positive side, it wasn’t crowded. Since alligators are cold blooded reptiles, they were being kept indoors where it’s much warmer. They have spacious yards outside, yet it is still too cold for them to be moved outdoors.

Along with the numerous amount of alligators, they also had a pair of Arctic Wolves, a mountain lion, turkeys, mallards and wood ducks, peacocks, a macaque, three lemurs, an emu, a couple of donkeys, and a handful of fallow deer, goats, and sheep.

Mini me was infatuated with the alligators, yet knew not to poke her fingers through the fence to try to pet one. Although, there was a guy holding a young alligator for visitors to pet (it had a rubber band around it’s snout so it wouldn’t snap anyone’s fingers off). Of course after I touched it’s belly, she saw that it was okay and touched it twice, which was long enough for me to snap a quick picture.

It was a fairly inexpensive trip, yet we always enjoy getting out of the house, no matter the price. I think that any young child or adult would enjoy taking a few minutes out of their weekend to visit the Alligator Farm. It’s easy to get to, plus it’s located five blocks away from downtown Hot Springs, where there is plenty of other things to see and do for couples and for families.

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DP: 32 Flavors


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Daily Prompt for 32 Flavors; Vanilla, Chocolate, or something else entirely.

When I joined the Navy in 2000, I had unknowingly become an anthropologist. Little did I know, that 10 years later, I would set out to go to college to become one, an anthropologist. An anthropologist studies humans and their origins, race, culture, societies, development, and a list of other things. There are 4 fields in Anthropology – Cultural, Physical, Linguistic, Archaeology.

Most of those in the military, especially the Navy, are unaware of their involvement as an anthropologist or that they are in a way more than diplomatic ambassadors, but they are also anthropologist. They travel to foreign countries as part of their duties, eat food from another country, talk to someone in their home country, shop in another country, walk around on soil that is foreign to them; it is all about submerging themselves into another person’s culture or society. I’m like a sponge, I love to soak it all in.

Before we pulled into port, we would have an idea of the things that we could see and do. A group of people are sent out before we pulled into port to find things that would be entertaining. Plus, they would locate the areas that weren’t safe for us and let us know. They would have tours set up and ready for us, names of a few places we could visit, and names of the shopping plazas nearby, as well as passing out a few maps of the city we were pulling into, and most importantly, they would bring bankers on board so we could exchange our currency.

The first thing some of us would look for once we got on dry land is food. It isn’t unusual to find a McD’s in most of the places we pull into and since some personnel are accustomed and habited to eating there, that’s the first place, and sometimes the only place that they’ll head to for sustenance. I actually look for something local, as I’m not bothered in trying new food. I especially looked forward to touring Italy and eating oven baked pizza and home made pasta. I even had the pleasure of eating tiramisu while I was in Italy, to which I loved immensely. Next thing I had to try was Italian coffee, then gelato.

I believed I spoiled myself, that when I came back home to the states, it was something that I searched for. Olive Garden was as close as I could get to Italian food, but I had some trouble finding Greek food, unless I traveled out of my way.

There were a few things that I tried overseas that I didn’t like; camel meat is on the top of my list to never try again, Greek burgers aren’t anything like American burgers, and I’m not sure what kind of burger meat I ate in Portugal. I’ve heard that camel is an acquired taste, or that the person who served it didn’t cook it right. To put it in the daily prompt’s words, it was definitely “something else entirely”.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall


For more of this week’s photo challenge, wall, check out The Daily Post.

Last month, I visited one of my favorite book stores, Gingles Books and Baubles. It had been awhile since I’ve been there and I had stopped to search for a few books for a couple of classes. When I arrived, I noticed a huge, beautiful wall mural, covering the entire wall of the building (old Bell building) across the street from the book store (South Street). I walked over towards it and noticed that it’s actually a painting of the history of Arkansas and quite possible, some of it depicted history in the town of Benton (Niloak pottery).

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Spanish conquistador, Hernando de Soto traveled through Arkansas in 1541-42, when he had encountered the Quapaws, in the city known today as Parkin. For more information on de Soto’s travels through Arkansas, click here.

*Please note, the tribe depicted in the mural is Caddo. In Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca’s book Castaways, he was the first Spaniard to encounter the Caddos. Hernando de Soto died in May 1942, having never met with the Caddos. It was his successor, Luis Moscoso de Alvarado, who after de Soto’s death, followed along the Red River, into Southwest Arkansas, where the Caddo tribe flourished. For more info on the remainder of the de Soto expedition, click here.

Arkansas is also known for it’s timbers and timber mills, as well as it’s diamonds in Murfreesboro, and bauxite ore found in Bauxite. Arkansas had a hand in helping the US military during both WWI and WWII. Aluminum comes from bauxite ore and the town of Bauxite has an abundance of it.

Arkansas was also known for its pottery called Niloak, which is kaolin spelled backwards. Kaolin is the type of find grade clay found here in Benton, Arkansas. It was popular in 1909 to 1946. Niloak had a hard time making it through the depression, but it was successful during WWII when they produced over a million clay pigeons for the military. After the war, the company hit another downfall and it sadly went out of business.

The mural artwork was done by Dianne Roberts, who was hired by the Gann Museum to paint the mural. You can check out their FB pages by clicking on their names and see pictures she used to help her create her beautiful mural.

Sadly, Books and Baubles will be closing it’s doors for good in April, unless a new owner can step forward and keep it open. Click here, for more information.

Redrafting a Query Letter


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I’m often asked, “You’re so busy, when do you find time to write?”

Of course I reply with, “I find the time.”

I do have a full schedule, or a full plate, whichever way it’s put, I am quite the busy person. Single mom, work, college, plus a huge list of other things to add that I wish not to discuss publicly. I’ve often stated when I fit in my writing. It’s usually scribbling ideas down onto paper whenever I have a free minute, such as standing in the grocery store check out lines. Then late at night, or right before class, I’ll type them up. Usually, it helps to have a printed manuscript for me to scribble on, but I always have a notebook where I keep all my notes.

Currently, I’ve been adding the last pieces to my manuscript. A sentence or two here, cut and paste that over there… As I type this, I’m 200 words shy of making 60,000 words. Wow! Well, isn’t that enough? Apparently not! It is a young adult novel, so there is a minimum and a maximum amount of words required for a publisher to actually look into publishing an author’s book…so I’ve been told…by a couple of actual publisher’s.

I didn’t come up with that entire word count over night…I wish…It took me five, long years to come up with that amount. So, you can see, I may seem to have accomplished a lot, it just took me a long time to get here. I don’t spend all of my time on the computer, writing…though some of my relatives may think otherwise.

Honestly, after hearing other authors tell me how long it’s taken them to come up with their first manuscript for a full novel, I don’t feel so bad on how long it took for me to get this far.

I’m now at the point to where I should prepare a query letter. I have written and rewritten a query letter for this manuscript, though it just hasn’t caught an agent’s attention. It’s taken me five years to write a novel with 60K words, why should it take me so long or be so hard to write up a short professional letter? Well, it is a hard market for us authors. So hard in fact, that a query letter has to have the essentials, yet catch an agents eye for them to pick you and your manuscript. It has to be perfect.

I’ve had a few ‘maybes’, but they weren’t a definite ‘yes’. So, it was back to the drawing board, so to speak. I couldn’t understand what my query letter lacked. It had all the important details; genre, word count, title, synopsis, a little bit about me…yet, no yes’s. I had a hard time coming up with my query letter. I honestly didn’t know how to write one. I had to research and research this on the internet, through the writer’s digest magazine, even thumbed through several books on ‘how to get published’.

Until one day, I had stumbled upon a blog that proved most helpful in every way. Jane Friedman, a publishing consultant, with many years of experience, had written a ‘Complete Guide To Query Letters…’ After scrolling through this post, I finally had the understanding of how my query letter should read. It clicked. The part about her ‘Hook Instruction’ was proved most helpful to me. After having a few people read my query letter, it seems that’s what it lacked, a hook.

Now it’s time for me to go re-type my query letter, though with motivation and determination that I will have the perfect one written and sent out to all those agents I’ve picked to query.

Be sure to check our Jane Friedman’s post about, ‘The Complete Guide To Query Letters That Get Manuscript Requests’. Also scroll through her other posts, you’ll find them all very helpful.

Happy writing!