Anais Nin Quote

"Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live." Anais Nin

"A life undocumented is a life unlived."

Friday, November 28, 2014

O Christmas Tree

When I was growing up, we would go to my Grandma's house every year for Christmas. I remember lots of people, lots of food, and lots of football on TV. I loved it. One of Grandma's traditions every year, though, was putting up the Christmas tree. While other homes were spending hours picking out the right tree, placing it in just the right spot, and decorating it, Grandma would pull her tree out of the attic, plop it in the living room, whip off the large black garbage bag, and voila! Instant Christmas tree! I remember hanging a few more Christmas bulbs and draping tinsel on the branches. The first presents under the tree were gift-wrapped bricks. I kid you not. I never understood that tradition, but there they were. Grandma was the only person I knew who had gift-wrapped bricks mixed in with everyone else's presents.

While I loved helping decorate the tree, I personally always wanted a real tree - picked out and drug home, filling the house with the scent of Christmas. Once I moved out, I did just that. Every year, I had a real tree. I became a Christmas tree snob. After my divorce, buying a Christmas tree suddenly turned into an unaffordable luxury. Mom had an extra tree that she let me use. At first, I balked. It wasn't real. I wasn't going to be able to hang real lights from it because it was pre-lit. I felt I was being robbed, but I put the tree up anyway, decorating it with my few precious ornaments. It was nice. It was pretty, I admitted. And if you looked at it at an angle, you almost couldn't tell it wasn't real. Maybe this wasn't going to be so bad after all. Years passed. My ornament collection grew bit by bit. This year, I had no qualms about whipping that tree out of the box and plopping it next to my front window, pre-lit and standing in all its fake glory. A few ornaments later and voila! I had a fully-decorated Christmas tree. I was able to relax on the couch, drink my cocoa, crochet another ornament, and watch the football game while everyone else wrestled with boulder-shaped tangles of Christmas lights and were vacuuming up needles that trailed everywhere. I may even wrap a brick or two to put under the tree. Merry Christmas, Grandma.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every Thanksgiving I witness at least one sadness - someone who has one less person around their Thanksgiving table, a family that has fallen completely apart, or people struggling with the memories of those who are long gone from this world, but far from forgotten. We feel sad, discouraged, bitter, and angry at the fact that the Thanksgiving we envisioned is not the one we're experiencing this year. I know that pain. I've gone through it myself - the pain of one less person around the table, the pain of a family fallen completely apart. Through it all, though, I've tried to pull out at least one thing I'm thankful for, even if it's small and stupid compared to the rest of the heartache going on in my life - I'm thankful for my health, a roof over my head, food to eat, the loved ones that are still here, the opportunity to go to school, a decent car to drive, the fact that I have a lovely smelly candle burning in my living room. Sometimes it's the little, silly stuff, but it's a start. And from that small spark of thanksgiving, I create another spark, and another. Before long, I have a roaring fire of thankfulness where before I was wailing over the burnt-out ashes of traditions I had lost.

I'm thinking of all my friends today who are experiencing the pain of lost loved ones and lost traditions. It's not always easy picking through the ashes and trying to find a spark, but do it anyway. You can do it. We all have at least one thing to be thankful for and that one thing can make all the difference in the world.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

All Saints Sunday (from the perspective of a former Baptist)

I live in an area that is dominated by Southern Baptists. Even the mega-churches down here who claim to have no denominational ties have Baptist leanings. I grew up Baptist. Methodists were considered sinful because they dance. The Catholics were one step away from Satan worshippers and Pentecostals were just considered weird. Things have mellowed out just a bit, but the Baptists are pretty firm in their beliefs, regardless of whether they're Biblically-based or not. So the Baptist way is the only way I have ever known until about a month ago. I made the transition from a Southern Baptist church to an Episcopal church and it has been one of the best things I have ever done in my life.

The Episcopalians are definitely a different breed than the Baptists, but I like it. I like the formal services. I love the collective prayer. I love the fact that we kneel when we pray. I like the fact they're not hung up on alcohol. I will never understand why the Baptists have such issues with alcohol. I understand the whole bit about not wanting to cause your brother to stumble who might be recovering from alcohol abuse and all that, but if all the Baptists avoid drinking alcohol because of their recovering alcoholic brothers then there must be a whole lot more recovering alcoholics out there than the Baptists are willing to admit to.

Today was All Saints Sunday. As a Baptist, I wasn't familiar with All Saints Day so I did a Google search and came up with the Wikipedia explanation. The associate rector spoke of saints, saying that we are all saints and should strive to model ourselves after those who have gone before us who may have been forgotten. It's hard to see ourselves as saints, but by its very definition, Christians are considered saints of God. A Google definition of saint is "a person acknowledged as holy or virtuous and typically regarded as being in heaven after death". 

The other really neat thing we had this morning was baptism. The Episcopals and Baptists disagree on the topic of baptism. The Baptists believe in full immersion. The Episcopals do it a bit differently. This morning, three babies were baptized and the Baptismal Covenant was recited. It was a really sweet and solemn ceremony. 

Learning how to be an Episcopal is proving to be a fun and interesting journey. As I learn, I'll try to post things here from my perspective, but for now...

...Robin Williams said it best:

Robin Williams' Top 10 Reasons to be an Episcopalian (from

10. No snake handling.
9. You can believe in dinosaurs.
8. Male and female God created them; male and female we ordain them.
7. You don't have to check your brains at the door.
6. Pew aerobics.
5. Church year is color-coded.
4. Free wine on Sunday.
3. All of the pageantry - none of the guilt.
2. You don't have to know how to swim to get baptized.
And the Number One reason to be an Episcopalian:
1. No matter what you believe, there's bound to be at least one other Episcopalian who agrees with you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Crochet Pumpkins

I found a neat little pattern that he shared with me for crochet pumpkins for fall/Halloween. It was so cute I had to give it a whirl. The pattern was laid out well and was easy to follow. The problem came when it was time to stuff the little critter. I didn't have anything to stuff it with except for some jumbo cotton balls I keep around the house to take nail polish off with. Beggars can't be choosers, eh? So this was my first attempt:

It's a bit lumpy. I guess it could be argued that real pumpkins are lumpy, too, but I doubt anyone would want to buy my little lumpy crocheted pumpkin. So! On to attempt #2. 

The second attempt came out a bit better although the stem looked a bit pitiful:

On to attempt #3!

The final attempt was indeed the charm. It came out perfect:

I was so happy with it, I made two more:

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

One of the Many Reasons I Love Memphis

I have a favorite park I love to walk in every day. It has lots of shade, the path is nice and hilly, and the squirrels provide endless entertainment. It's also a very crowded park. It's a rare day when I drive by it and there aren't at least 10-15 people walking along that little path. Most days that I walk it, I'm easily the youngest person there. The AM walkers are the older walkers, the ones who are probably retired or at the very least, don't have to go into work until later. They shower, shave, don their walking clothes, dab some aftershave or perfume on (I know this because I catch whiffs of it as I pass by some of them), and hit the trail. We pass each other every day, smiling, saying, "Mornin'", and then go on our way. We don't know each other's names, we don't know what the other does with the rest of their time. But for that hour or so, we're all banded together for the same purpose - fitting a bit of fresh air and exercise into our day.

I was walking this morning and the sweetest thing happened. One of the older gentlemen stopped me and said, "You know, we pass by each other every day and you always have the sweetest smile, but we don't even know each other's name. My name's Hart." And he stuck out his hand. And THAT, my friends, is just one of the many reasons why I love Memphis.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Wonderland Lodge

I stumbled across a Huffington Post article that linked to a YouTube video on Wonderland Hotel. The video can be viewed here: Tennessee Wonderland. The videographer did a fabulous job documenting the abandoned hotel and surrounding homes. The property had been taken over when Gatlinburg National Park came into existence. You can Google Elkmont, Tennessee for the story. I don't want to go into a whole lot of detail on that simply because I don't want to share information that may possibly be incorrect. It's a sad little story, but I do have some good memories of Wonderland, although not of the original hotel.

I first heard of Wonderland Hotel from my now ex grandparent-in-laws. They had been going there for years, meeting up with out-of-state friends and playing bridge, chatting on the front porch sitting in a few of the many rocking chairs that lined the front of it, eating some fabulous food, and just enjoying the mountains. H (my ex grandmother-in-law) shared with me how the hotel guest rooms had no television, no phones, and no air conditioning. If you wanted to call someone, you had to go to the lobby. The hotel was run by a board and when the area was being converted to a national park, they were allowed to keep the hotel running until the last board member died. That was the story she knew, anyway. After that, the hotel was re-built on the outskirts of the park property lines and re-named Wonderland Lodge. That's the location I'm personally familiar with. I wish I had taken pictures of our stay there as the Lodge is now closed. We went there in 1995. We got there by turning onto a small two-lane road next to a house that I was told doubled as an artist residence. The road meandered up the mountain, you rounded a corner, and poof! There was the Lodge, sitting on top of a hill. I remember the entire front porch was lined with rocking chairs. The lobby was huge. Antique quilts were draped over the upstairs railing. It seems like I remember an American flag pinned up on the wall. A small table and chairs were placed at the front with a cloth checkers game draped over the table where anyone could pick up a game of checkers. Another room off to the side had a few games for the younger crowd - one of those foosball tables and an arcade game, I believe. I think there may have even been a phone in there as well. If you walked upstairs, you could see another table and chairs. This table had a jigsaw puzzle on it. The puzzle was for anyone to work on and throughout our stay I remember seeing quite a few people taking a few minutes out of the day to try and piece together another corner of it (and yes, I sat at that table more than once throughout our stay!). The rooms at the Wonderland Lodge mirrored the original idea of the Wonderland Hotel - no television, no phones, no a/c (although it seems like I remember some of the upstairs rooms had a/c). The breakfasts were huge, the lunches and dinners were great. If you sat on the front porch in the morning, you could see the mist move through the mountains. It was very peaceful. 

I looked up the Wonderland Lodge and was disappointed to see that it had apparently closed earlier this year:

And it looks like the newer Wonderland Lodge has been converted into a mental health facility: which I think is a good place to have one. It's nice and quiet and has a wonderful mountain view. 

H and her crew continued to make the trek to Wonderland Lodge until just a few years ago when their health prevented them from making the trip. They had a good relationship with the owners and it seems like I remember they had started dabbling in horses there towards the end. I hate that I couldn't make it back to the Lodge itself before it closed, but I'm glad I have the memories that I do of it. It really was a magical place.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Go Tigers Go!

As we were loading up on the bus to head off to the Liberty Bowl this evening, we heard comments such as, "I haven't been to a Tigers football game in X amount of years". Tigers football has historically been a sport that's been largely ignored by Memphis folks. With the exception of the Tennessee vs. Memphis game, Liberty Bowl stayed eerily empty for Memphis Tigers games. Tonight, though, we made a little bit of Tigers football history. 

We played against MTSU, a team we haven't won against since 2008. We also packed in the Liberty Bowl at the largest number since the Tennessee game in 2006. New old Memphis Tigers fans are coming home and showing support for a team Justin Fuente's been working with for the last three years. I've always been of the opinion that the third year is the charm for a team with a new coach and Justin Fuente has not disappointed.

We play Ole Miss next weekend. It'll be a tough game, but I think our guys can pull it off. They really enjoyed having the large crowd tonight as it gave them a boost of confidence. As of Friday, only 30 tickets were left in the UofM ticket office for the game next weekend. We won't be able to get tickets, but we'll be rooting for the Tigers somewhere around town. Go Tigers go!!

Nice-lookin' crowd!

Memphis Tiger fans - you just can't take us out in public. :D

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day of Fall Semester

My whole summer has been about these past few days - moving back to campus and starting another semester of grad school. The move was rough. Summer decided to rear its ugly head last week after being a no-show for much of the season. We drank endless amounts of water and suddenly the ALS Ice Water Challenge was starting to look appealing. Very appealing. We managed to get everything moved in and set up for the most part. I still have a few boxes and I'm trying to figure out how to organize a few things, but the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom are functional. The rest will be done eventually. I don't like not having things put away, but between my grad assistantship and classes, it'll just have to get done when it gets done.

So I'm back in town after spending the past year in the country. The country is quiet and peaceful and I enjoyed my time out there, but it's a bit far. And I enjoy being in the city. I like the activity and I like things being close. As I'm sitting here typing this, I can hear students outside laughing over something. I can see car headlights pass by my window. I've already caught up with old neighbors and classmates. Best of all, I'm in my own place, with my own bed and my own kitchen. 

Today was the first day of class. This semester's a bit different for me as all of my classes are online. I've taken a couple of online classes, but I've never had a full load of classes online during any given semester. It feels a bit weird not having to be in an actual classroom for three hours. I log on to my account and download my syllabus for each class and do the work. Simple enough. Two more semesters and I'll be home-free!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Daniel Sanders

We've all run into brick walls with genealogy research. One of my brick walls has been my great-grandfather from my adoptive family, Daniel Sanders. Daniel was born August 6, 1877 and died in 1941. He married Minnie Landers October 30, 1898 in Obear, Arkansas. The family said he may have been farmed out for share-cropping work as a child. That is my brick wall. So far I've been unable to track down his parents which means I can't go back any further with the Sanders line than 1877. For the benefit of the rest of the family, though, I'm including some notes I've made on Daniel. Let me know if there is anything else I can add to it!
Dan (Grandpa) and Minnie (Granny) Sanders

1900 Census
In 1900, Daniel was married to Minnie by this time and they’d had Bert (Burt). According to the 1900 census (which was done June 11 in Daniel’s area), Daniel was head of the household at 22 years old. He and Minnie lived in Garland County, Arkansas in the Sulphur T.P. (Township). Their information is on page 3 of the census. Daniel is listed as a white male, born August of 1877, and married. He had been married for 1 year according to the census. His place of birth is listed as Illinois. His mother and father’s birthplace is listed as Indiana (I have yet to find any information on them yet). His occupation is listed as Section Laborer and the Months Not Employed column had 0 in it. Under the Education section, yes is marked under “Can read”, “Can write”, and “Can speak English”. The home he and his little family lived in was rented and it is listed as a house, not a farm.

Minnie E Sanders is listed as his wife, white and female, born August 1876, 23 years old. She had one child who was still living (Burt). She was born in Arkansas. Her mother and father were born in Arkansas as well. She was able to read, write, and speak English. No occupation is listed.

Burton A. Sanders is listed as the son, white and male. He was born June 1899. He was 11-12 months old. His birthplace was Arkansas and his parents’ birthplaces match up to the birthplaces listed above.

1910 Census

This census found Daniel and his family in Cross County, Arkansas, Mitchell Township and the information was collected on May 12th. Daniel is listed as Dan and as head of the household – male, white, 34. The age according to the 1900 census and his birthdate should have put him at 32 at this point. The census is incorrect. He is listed as being married for 14 years. According to the 1900 census, he should have been married for 11 years. He listed Illinois as his birthplace, but listed Illinois as the birthplace for his mother and father as well. So now there’s another question: Were his parents born in Illinois or Indiana? His occupation is listed as Section something. It doesn’t look like laborer, but the handwriting isn’t the best. It’s safe to say he’s still with the railroad. He was listed as working on his own account as opposed to being an employer or employee. For question #26 (owned or rented), there is only a checkmark. For question #27 (Owned free or mortgaged), there is only a checkmark. They lived in a house and in answer to question #29 (number of farm schedule), a 2 is in the box. Question #30 asked if he was a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy. 9 is put there. He isn't listed as being blind. For question #32, a 5 is put in answer to whether he was deaf and dumb It looks as if the census taker used these last few boxes for his own notes and not for actually answering the questions.

Minnie Sanders is listed as wife, female, white, 33 years old, married for 14 years, with two children, both of whom are still living at this point. Her birthplace and her parents’ birthplace is listed as Arkansas. She is listed as English-speaking. “None” is listed for the occupation. She could read and write.

Burt Sanders is listed as son, male, white, 13 years old, single. His birthplace and his parents’ birthplace are both listed as Arkansas which doesn’t match Dan’s birthplace. He could read, write, and attended school since September 1, 1900. “None” is listed for the occupation.

May Sanders is listed as daughter, female, white, 8 years old, single. Her birthplace and her parents’ birthplace are both listed as Arkansas as Burt’s is. She spoke English, could read and write, and had attended school since September 1, 1900.

The 1910 Census doesn’t appear to be as accurate as the 1900 census was. 

At this point, I concentrated more on Burt than I did Daniel Sanders so I haven't really looked at the census records for Daniel between 1910 and 1940. 

1940 Census

Daniel and Minnie Sanders were empty nesters. They lived in Cross County, Arkansas, Wynne City. Their information was gathered on April 2nd. As a side note, my Papaw (Daniel’s son) is also listed on this same census, possibly living next door with my Grandma (Lucille Paul Sanders) and my uncle Benny. I have no proof of that other than their information is listed right above Daniel and Minnie's information. 

Daniel Sanders is listed as Head, male, white, 62 years old, married, hadn’t attended school since March of that year, and his highest grade attended was 4th grade. He is listed as being born in Illinois and the question after that (15C) is for CODE (leave blank). "61" is listed there. He is listed as being in the same house. For questions 21-24, he had listed "no". These were work-related questions. He wasn’t working at that time or seeking work. In the next column (question #25), he was listed as U (Unable to work). He died of Parkinson's disease so it's possible the disease had rendered him unable to work by this point. For question #33, he listed that he was getting income from another source. This was the first year social security was in place for retired workers so it’s possible he was one of those recipients. He may have gone ahead and retired and was able to collect social security on top of possibly a railroad pension.

Minnie Sanders is listed as Wife, female, white, 62 years old (inaccurate, but probably listed as that for convenience), married, hadn’t attended school since March of that year, and her highest grade attended was 8th grade. Question 15C has "84" in it. She has “same house” listed as residence. “No” was entered for all the occupation questions and she listed "household" as her occupation. She listed she was not receiving income from any other source.

These are all the census records I have used for Daniel Sanders. I found a World War I draft registration card for him:
Daniel Sanders WWI Draft Registration Card

The draft registration card shows Daniel Sanders worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Lost Art of Letter-Writing

Remember the days when letter-writing was not only fun, but pretty much the only way you could stay in contact with long-distance friends? I had a friend in 7th grade who moved across the country after school let out for the summer. For the next 20-something years, she and I corresponded via letters. We celebrated birthdays, Christmases, marriage, and childbirth via the descriptive letters we penned. We experimented with stationary and cute stamps, her handwriting not changing a bit of the years while mine changed with the tides. I loved experimenting with my handwriting. It wasn't until we discovered each other on Facebook a few years ago that the letter-writing ceased. Now, we still celebrate each other's happy days, sad days, and in-between days, but sharing these times via cyberspace just isn't the same as it was when we were eagerly waiting for each other's handwritten letters in the daily mail.

I've recently had the chance to start writing letters again. I have to admit I jumped right into it as if I had been writing letters this whole time. I spend half a page describing a funny incident that happened that particular day. I print out funny Facebook cartoons and tuck them into the stationary note cards I buy for the sole purpose of corresponding with someone in another state. I was talking with a co-worker today who laughed about his letter-writing days and how he felt his words were a bit 18th-century, but he was unable to change the tone because it was fun. We get satisfaction from writing a letter, from letting our minds flip through our endless files of memories and stopping on a moment that simply needs to be shared with your recipient, and turning that memory into a literary tale. When we write letters, we all step back into time a bit, a time when life went by at a slower pace, things were a bit simpler, and letter-writing was as natural as breathing.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Chattanooga Trip 2014

Back in March, I was able to escape for a couple of days to Chattanooga. It was my first time to Chattanooga and I don't get to travel to east Tennessee much so I was looking forward to a change in landscape. I love Memphis, but the flat Delta doesn't offer much in the way of mountainous terrain.

Our first stop was The Loveless Cafe off the beaten path just south of Nashville. If you're looking for home-style food, this is the place to go. The place was packed, but the hostess gave us a pager and we were able to walk around. Loveless Cafe isn't just a restaurant. They have shops! Very touristy shops, but they're still shops. We bought some Loveless Cafe jam and a local cookbook while we were waiting for a table to free up. 

We got to Chattanooga that night and the next day tackled Tennessee Aquarium. That place is great! It took us the majority of the day to go through because we covered every inch of it. 

We stayed at The Chattanooga Choo Choo and had cool waffles for breakfast:

 Chattanooga is a great weekend getaway place. I will definitely be going back

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

As I sit here in my pajamas, enjoying coffee and the relatively quiet peace of the morning, I'm taking a bit of time for reflection. Some things I can't reflect on at the moment, but since today is Memorial Day I can take time out to remember the soldiers who have died in the service to our country. We're not a perfect nation by any means. News of Memorial Day services is mixed with the news of yet another shooting rampage. We have our freedom, but we are still a nation with many people and it's inevitable we will continue to have bad things happen in our country - murder, suicide, kidnappings. Political rants from one side or the other scream for our military to do this, do that, pull out from this place, go into that place, ridicule those disagree - including the servicemen themselves. In the middle of it all are our military guys - quietly going where they need to go because that is what they do, no questions asked, but being prepared to die for it. Today, set aside personal feelings of war take some time out to remember those who have served our country and selflessly paid the ultimate sacrifice for it.

Monday, March 03, 2014

The Back Side of Winter 2014

March always seems to be the month winter just can't let go of. We've had some of our biggest snows during this month. Last night we had a pretty large round of ice come through - freezing rain, sleet. Right now it's snowing like crazy and is absolutely beautiful. Schools are closed, churches and businesses are closed or are operating with skeleton crews. Snow shuts Memphis down. We just don't know how to drive in it down here in these parts. 

The bad weather was supposed to move out around noon, but it looks like it's sticking around for a while - literally. I may have to make a little snowman later once it finally decides to quit snowing.

Monday, January 27, 2014

How the Days Fly!

First week of grad school semester #2 and I already feel behind. Where did the time go??? Where did my Christmas break go??? I had great plans of getting ahead of my reading, but my books didn't come in time to do that. *sigh*

At the moment, I'm taking a few minutes to de-stress (with a brownie and milk), listening to Piano Adagios on Pandora. I've gotten addicted to that little app. I can turn it on at work or at home, plug in my ear buds and I've shut everything out except for my classical music, my classic rock, my top 40 music, or my 80s tunes, depending on what I'm doing at the time.

This semester we have our reading logs, just like last semester. This time, though, we're doing case studies. Three in all, to be exact. Real folks - real situations. We're putting the skills we learned last semester to work. I don't know how other grad school programs are, but I have really been impressed with the M.A./Ed.S. school psychology program at the University of Memphis. We hit the ground running on day one, learning the skills we will need to become effective school psychologists. I feel like I have worked my tush off and it's not over yet, but after this semester I'll be over the hump I think.

Part of my reading for tonight!
So I'll be busy reading about assessments, ADHD, and getting very, very VERY familiar with the DSM-5. In between that, though, I'm still going to make some time to relax. 2 years, 3 months, 3 weeks and 3 days!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

College Textbooks

My college textbooks cost an arm and a leg this semester. I negotiated keeping my firstborn so kiddo's safe. I understand folks need to make money, but c'mon people - $591 for six books, one of which is thinner than a Southern Living magazine! *grumble* They ARE books I will use in the future for reference so that makes it worth the expense, I reckon. That's what keeps me from renting them - the fact that I will use them for reference once I'm working in the field. It's just hard justifying paying the price for books when I'm trying to pay for other necessities throughout the semester, but at the end of it all I'll have a ton of information crammed into my brain (hopefully organized in a coherent manner) and that's what grad school is all about.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ethiopian Food Adventures

I love to try new places to eat and I had heard from a few people about Ethiopian food. One co-worker said if we liked Indian food, we'd love Ethiopian food. Another co-worker said the restaurant she went to was really good and the service was great. This past weekend we decided to try it out and went to an Ethiopian restaurant out in the Cordova area called Ethopian Restaurant. The lady in charge has been in business about fifteen months and came out to talk with us towards the end to describe what we were eating and to just chat for a minute. She was so nice and has gotten a lot of support for her restaurant this past year. The food was heavenly! It's eaten similar to Indian-style, more with the bread than with utensils. The bread was called injera, it's made from teff flour and was so unusual because it was spongy so it was a very different texture than what we were used to. We started out with an appetizer, beef sambusa which was a fried dumpling kind of food and came with a chili-sauce style dip. My eating buddy had doro tibs which was chicken with onions, green pepper, and other spices and I had the yebeg wot which was lamb with Ethiopian spices. It came with a crumbled up kind of cheese, spiced cabbage, chickpeas, and lentils. We had a ton of food, but we did manage to put a dent in it. We still wound up with quite a few leftovers so we'll probably split a plate next time. We loved it, though. The food was flavorful spicy, but not very hot spicy (although they CAN accommodate anyone who wants a bit more heat). It's over by the Malco theater in Cordova and they also have a lunch buffet. We were impressed. And we'll definitely be going back!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Camouflage Mile-A-Minute Afghan

What do you do when you have a teenager who loves camouflage? Make them a camouflage afghan! And it's finished! Well, almost. I still need to tuck in the edges, but outside of that it's done. I've crocheted a mile-a-minute afghan before, but I did an altered pattern. I made one for my fiance patterned after one made for him by his granny that had been lost in a divorce. This time, I used the pattern from my Leisure Arts Our Best Afghans A to Z book. I used Red Heart Super Saver yarn - 6 skeins of the Camo yarn and 3 skeins of the Black yarn. This really is a fun pattern to crochet.

Here's a close-up. It's a shell stitch with a round of double crochets, a v-stitch, and a third round of double crochet. 

Here's a photo of the back. I put the panels together with a whip stitch. 

And here's a couple of photos of the finished product! Ignore the stray pieces of yarn hanging out. I'm hoping to get them all tucked in by the end of the night. 


Another project down - 50 gazillion more to go!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First Day of Class

It's that time again! Classes technically start today. I'm taking an online class this semester so that one starts today. My other classes don't start until next Tuesday so this weekend will be my school supply shopping weekend. New spiral notebooks, cool pens, and different colored highlighters (I don't care what research says - I like my highlighters). A new document folder on my computer is made: Spring Semester 2014. Yeah, I'm that geeky person.

There's an air of excitement on campus today. It always is the first day of each semester. The new folks coming in are scared, but excited. The ones returning are either feeling excited or dreadful, depending on where they are in their program. I'm one of the excited ones. I have one semester of grad school under my belt so I feel better prepared for the second semester. Plus, we were told that if we made it through the first semester of the school psych program here, then we're good to go for the remainder. I survived the first semester so I feel accomplished. 

This semester, I'm taking an intro class to exceptional learners, Psych Ed Assessment II, Practicum, and a stats class. It's one more class than I took last semester, but one of them is online so that'll be nice. I told myself after the last online class I took that I would never take another one, but I'm hoping this one will turn out okay. I like the set-up of it and like any online class, as long as I budget my time well, it should flow pretty smoothly.

Two more semesters and an internship after this and I'll be released into the public! Two years, four months, and five days!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Double Crochet Baby Hat

I've got a couple of other afghans going, but I took some time out to crochet up another one of these:

I used some yarn given to me, Baby Bee Sweet Delight Crayons Ombre. I love how it makes a pattern when you crochet it! Here is the pattern for the hat: Crocheted Baby Hat by Hooked on Needles. These can be made up in about a couple of hours so they make great quickie gifts!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Spring Lacy Crochet Baby Hat

It's a lazy Sunday afternoon here at the house. I'm taking a bit of time to recuperate from whatever it was I had last week (I think it may have been the flu), crocheting on one of my projects. I'm working on a crochet baby girl hat for a friend of a friend and I picked out a pattern I've never used before. Here is the link: Spring Lacy Hat for Baby Girls. So far, it's a neat little pattern. This is what I've gotten done so far:

I love the shell stitch. It's such a simple stitch, but it makes up so pretty! I should get done with it this afternoon if the boys don't keep me busy and I don't get distracted by the football game (Go Broncos!) so I'll post a picture of the end result. 

Update: Here it is! 

I got the pattern for the flower from here: Geranium by DROPS Design. It's a very simple design. Be sure to specify whether you want the British or American version because British stitches are just a tad bit different than our stitches across the pond here. :)

Free Stuff for Shelby County Schools Teachers

As a newly graduated teacher, our main question was, Where's the free stuff?? Because honestly, what grad student can afford to buy the ...