Tag Archives: United States

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


Naples Noodle Headbeer barCookieslicoriceRaw Fish AnyoneKoper Dinner

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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DP: Bryant, Arkansas


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.

This Week’s Photo Challenge: Orange


This week’s photo challenge is, orange; anything to do with the color orange. Orange just happens to be my favorite color. It’s bright, colorful, and is cheerful.

Below are a few pictures from my 2001 Navy Deployment, as well as a few pictures from the past few months around here in Arkansas.

Enjoy!

Church in NaplesCrete sunset

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One Word Photo Challenge: Seafoam


This One Word Photo Challenge is a bit difficult as I had to search for the specific color. I did find some pictures of the shade of green called seafoam in my navy deployment pictures. I was lucky to have a division officer who compiled everyone’s pictures of the deployment and have them put on a disk and hand them out to each person in her division. The pictures that I took myself was saved on only one computer and it crashed a few years later. I do have some negatives that I do need to have developed again and put on a disk.

When I moved in with my grandmother a few years ago, I had gone through all of my things that I had left here when I got out of the navy. In all that stuff I found all of my navy uniforms, deployment cruise book, and that CD that had my deployment pictures that my division officer had made for us.

Below are just a few of the pictures I have on that disk. Enjoy!

Statue in NaplesMVC-020SNaples Italy 3Monument

Belly dancer in Dubai, UAE

Belly dancer in Dubai, UAE

Fort Kastro in Crete, Greece

Fort Kastro in Crete, Greece

Weekly Photo Challenge: Community


This weeks photo challenge is community. What better to show community than pictures of sailors working and living together on board a ship. Over 5000 crew live on board during a 6 month deployment. A carrier has all the essentials to be called a floating city – barber shop, ship store, post office, many gyms, laundry mat, church, and many other things.

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Economic Patriotism


~ A blog post for my French class:

Read

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/29/monsieur-made-in-france-foreign-goods

about a Parisian attempting, with mixed results, to live for nine months buying only French made products.  Have you ever had a similar experience?  How is Carle’s experience like and unlike an American who might try to do the same thing with US made products? ~

Economic Patriotism

If you were to go through your house and look for ‘Made In’ stickers and tags, how many items would you find in your home that are made in your very own country? There may be a few people out there that choose to buy products made in their own country, which is where the term ‘economic patriotism’ comes from. As you may find, it is actually harder to do as everything may not be made in your own country, or maybe it is not sold in stores. It could also get expensive as you would have to buy it directly from a factory that makes the items you are looking for.

I have seen a few shows on television where a couple wanted to clear their house of everything that was not made in the United States. A team came into their home and removed all but two items.

Do you think that if people were more economically patriotic, it would be more beneficial to their country’s economy? It would probably see an increase in jobs. Do you think the trading industry will see a decrease in numbers? It is quite possible, but there is always something that someone wants that the other person has. Could you be economically patriotic?

Child Pageants banned in France, What about the US?


Another blog post for my French class about child pageantry and how it has been banned in France.

~Last week , the French Sénat adopted a bill that would ban beauty pageants for participants under 16.  Given the popularity of shows like Toddlers and Tiaras in the US, what contrasts can you draw between US and French culture? What does the decision say about French attitudes RE: childhood, the role of government, and gender?~

I think it is sad to have young girls entered in pageants. Let me reiterate that further, I think it is sad that female minors, girls under the age of sixteen, are subjected to all manners surrounded by child pageantry. I do not find it glamorous at all. They endure so much stress during competition. Not to mention, having to don so much makeup and hairspray and inappropriate clothing not suited for their age. Girls before the age of fifteen should not even wear makeup; they are beautiful enough without it. Actually, all females are beautiful without makeup.

Pageantry and the stress behind it only show the little girls that this is the only way they will ever be truly beautiful. Some parents are harsh to their daughter’s when competing, especially when they do not win. Restricted diets, and routine of show, dance, and performance are not something a child should endure when they are growing up. It can all add up to harm their mental psyche. A child should enjoy their childhood, or at least have one.

The BBC news reports that France has put a ban on beauty pageants for girls under the age of sixteen. France also put a ban on child size adult clothing, such as padded bras and high heeled shoes.

According to USA Today, “beauty pageants promote the hyper-sexualization of minors.” USA Today goes on to say that it is not just the pageants that are to be blamed, but the parents as well, as they support and encourage the sexualization of their child. Makeup and inappropriate clothing, such as padded bras and tight fitting clothing should not be worn by minors. It can even explicit them to child predators. It can even go as far as what happened to Jon Benet Ramsey.

Will child pageantry be banned here in the United States?  Should it? What are your thoughts?

Obesity in France and America


Recently I wrote a paper for my French class on the difference between obesity in France and America. How America was the most obese country until a few months ago when Mexico toppled our numbers. It’s a growing concern for today’s youth and it seems to be a problem for military recruitment. It’s even a huge issue where health is a concern. Have a read and see what you think.

Obesity in France and America

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ article for the Atlantic, There Are No Fat People In Paris, can easily be seen as false. Granted there are a lot of thin, healthy looking people in Paris, but you will find a small handful of obese people there as well and a larger number of obese people all around France.

Only seven million of France’s population is obese, making France one of the few countries in the world with obesity issues (telegraph). One hundred and four million of American’s are obese, making up one third of America’s population (cdc). America use to hold the record for the most obese country in the world, until recently.

How does France continue to be one of the healthiest countries in the world when butter is served in all of the dishes and bread is served with every meal (the atlantic). You would think a meal full of fat and carbs would be an issue, but in France it is not. There are stairs everywhere; they are more noticeable than the elevators (the atlantic). With the elevators nearly hidden, it only makes the stairs look mandatory to take. The French in Paris walk everywhere, making it seem as if it is part of their culture (the atlantic).

A few things that you will have to look hard to find are gyms and junk food (the atlantic). There is no need to go to the gym if you are walking everywhere or always taking the stairs. According to USA Today, “the French eat three meals a day and do not snack in between meals.”  What better way is there to burn off all of those carbs, fat, and calories then walking everywhere you go or taking the stairs instead of the elevator?

Maybe it has to do with the fact that the French do not over indulge their plates in one sitting as the American’s do. The French have smaller servings on their plates, including their deserts. They even chew smaller bites, and eat fresher food (Girls Guide To Paris). The Girls Guide To Paris also states, that the French are taught proper eating habits at an early age, and that they are very structured. They also sip alcoholic beverages with their meals, rather than taking huge gulps. The French also take their time when eating, which could lead to a two hour lunch break.

Eating in France almost sounds like eating is an art of leisure. While here in America the stress of trying to find the time to eat during our thirty minute lunch break, results in forcing ourselves to eat unhealthy, fast food. Overindulging in fast food results in heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure, all of which is relatively high in the United States, but not in France.

Stores located in most of the cities here in America are stretched far from one another that it makes walking from one place to another seem nearly impossible. Everyone drives to their destinations. There are quite a few promenade’s here and there, but in order to walk around to window shop or sight see you have to drive there.

The culture between the French and the American’s are each different. It would be interesting to see how the percentages of obese people will look twenty years from now in France, as well as in America. Will the French catch up to us? Will the numbers of obesity in America start to dwindle? However the numbers, obesity is a health concern. It not only affects adults, but our youth as well.

Links for my cited work:

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/9612225/Number-of-obese-people-in-France-doubles-to-seven-million.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/category/paris

http://traveltips.usatoday.com/food-eating-habits-france-12279.html

http://girlsguidetoparis.com/archives/how-french-women-eat-rich-and-stay-slim/