Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Friday

Last year I experienced my first black Friday and to tell you the truth, I was a little disappointed. There were no crazy lines (practically no lines at all). No rushing, pushing, or anything of the sort. Realizing the economy probably played a large part in last years' uneventful Black Friday, I didn't have much hope of seeing any craziness this year. Lisa, Ryn, and I left Baylor at 4:30am in hopes of seeing some of Waco's crazies (those who got in line at 2am or earlier for some prized item). Well...when we arrived at Target 10 minutes before the doors opened at 5am, my dreams became reality. There was a line from one door, down the side, around the corner, and back to the door. Crazy. I got out of the car to take a picture then back to the car to wait until the doors opened.

Target was a zoo. After searching for a variety of Christmas gifts, we headed to the line. Getting into the line that fed into the lanes we waited patiently for our turn. Only an hour later, we found we were standing in line for isle 17. Yep, other people decided to form their own lines, but us rule followers stayed in the intended line (don't worry, I'm not bitter) :).

From there we hit a couple other stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohls (with a stop for Panera breakfast in between). It was a fun experience with some great company (I'm not interested in doing black Friday without fun friends to withstand the lines with!) and I was definitely able to see some crazies! :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mrs Granger & Mrs Rogers

Today I went to my first auction! There were two households selling at absolute auction. What does this mean? Well, it means everything these two women ever owned was being auctioned off at a house in Beverly Hills...that's Beverly Hills Texas, not California. There were nic nacs, rugs, lamps, electric scooters, and more!
I was really excited to go, however, this morning when I awoke it was raining and almost choose sleep over the auction experience. After breakfast at a quaint czech bakery Monica, Tiffanie, Sarah, Lara, and I headed to the auction. Under the carport and in the back were two auctioneers selling varying items. At first, it was a bit overwhelming and I wasn't quite sure what was going on. However, Lara, a seasoned auction goer, walked us through getting your number and bidding.
I was strangely excited to bid on something and wanted to purchase something just to say I bought something at an auction. However, there were only a couple items I would have bid on. The first went right as we walked to the back. The second was an item Sarah really wanted and I couldn't see biding against her. The third came with a collection of other items that I had no desire to purchase. Lara later told me she will buy things in packaged deals and just make a separate pile that she immediately takes to goodwill (smart thinking). The last item was a beautiful lamp, but 1. I don't need any more lamps 2. I'm trying not to purchase things I don't need in anticipation of a move and 3. it went more more than I wanted to pay.

Oddly enough, being at the auction was a deja vu moment. I'm not sure what it was about it, but it felt strangely familiar.

Although the auction was fun and interesting, it was also thought provoking (strange, I know). Maybe it was because the whole thing was new for me, and it takes awhile to understand the process?! Maybe the realization that two women had recently passed away and this was the families way of settling the estates?! Maybe it was the uniqueness of the people at the auction?! Or maybe it was the wonderment of all the stuff these women had collected over two lifetimes that made me pause and reflect on the value we place on earthly possessions?! Maybe, just maybe, I think too much. :)

In any case, the auction was fun and purchasing something would have been fun...maybe next time. Sarah is now on the mailing list, so between Sarah and Lara, I'm sure to go again.
Sarah and Monica (below) with their treasures!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Baylor Line

Every home football game, prior to kick off, the freshmen charge the field and line up to cheer the football players onto the field. This is known as running the Baylor Line.

During the last home game of the season, seniors can also run the Baylor Line one last time. Well, since I've been around for a few years, I've never run the line. Now, I know what you are thinking, I'm not a student and never was...but, how fun would it be to run the line?!

On Saturday, Ryn and I ran the line. After trading our tickets out for student tickets, borrowing a couple line jerseys, sneakily showing our IDs as we passed through security, and waiting in line for 42 minutes, we were able to run across the field and cheer on the Baylor Bears!

It was an adrenaline rush. I'm not sure if that was because we were sneaky and ran 'illegally' or if it was the rush of running the field with thousands of people watching and yelling.
Check me out in my Baylor Line jersey. The back says, SWIMDUDE...thanks to my former CL, Jason, for letting me borrow it!
The back of Ryn's said, POOH, one of my students let her borrow it...yay. And I need to remember to ask her why she put pooh on the back. ;)
Getting ready to run...the band is currently on the field.

I thought about trying to run with my camera. However, between holding my purse and trying not to trip in my flip flops (not the wisest choice), I figured I'd be sure to fall if I also tried to video the run.

However, I did get a shot of the Baylor players running past the line.
video
What a fun memory! I'm really glad we jumped through all the hoops in order to run the line, I would recommend it...at least once!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Homecoming 2009

This year was the 100th anniversary of the first homecoming at Baylor University.

Homecoming at Baylor is a wonderful production of events scattered throughout the weekend. The traditions begin with freshman mass meeting on Thursday night where the story of the immortal ten is told. From there, the freshman take the eternal flame to founders mall. Here the freshman use to guard the flame until Friday evening when the flame was taken and the bonfire was lit. However, due to events over the last few years, the tradition of guarding the flame was replaced by the building of the bonfire. Pigskin is offered on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and is the top six acts from Sing (the largest off broadway production in the country). Friday evening is the bonfire and concert. Saturday is the longest collegiate parade in the country and is followed by the homecoming football game.
This year they had a fireworks show, being the 100th anniversary and all. The show had 12 minutes worth of fireworks packed into 3 minutes. I LOVE fireworks! Megan, Sarah, and me at the bonfire (above) and Tiffanie, Lisa, and Monica (below).
I love that there are so many APU people at Baylor. Adam, Em, and I were in the same cohort and Monica and I were RAs together (although I don't remember her...ooops). She just finished the APU program (in higher ed) and is now working at Baylor. Sarah is the odd ball here, but we love her the same, even though she didn't go to APU.

Left to right: Me, Adam, Em, Sarah, and Monica
Reintroduced a few years ago was the residence hall decorating contest. Halls decorate the outside of their building based on the 'theme'. This year, the theme was Baylor through the years (past themes have been Baylor traditions...it's time they get a little more creative).

Anyway, the winner gets a trophy and major bragging rights. This year, little Allen/Dawson WON! This achievement is announced at the bonfire. My students made these impressive 8x4 foot picture frames that outlined the last 100 years of Baylor's history. They made honorable mention signs that lined the way between the giant signs with other random traditions or things that happened within the decade.

I am so proud of their hard work. AND, I'm glad we won!!!!

Here are the pictures of their work and the giant 'frames'.
Yep, that's right, the first African American to play in the Southwest Conference was at Baylor.
Yep friends, Baylor was good at football...back in the 80s and 90s!
Now I know this is stunning, but true. The first woman was not allowed to run in the Baylor line until 1993. Prior to 93, the women would participate in the 'Baylor sideline' where all the women would cheer from..you guessed it, the sideline.

**The Baylor Line is 'run' during the home football games. All the freshman line up with their jerseys and rush the field into line formation and then cheer the football players on as they run onto the field. It's a remarkable site, most of the time.
And here is our living art. Baylor will continue through the years because people like them! :)

The judges come around to each all and although 'spirit' is unofficially judged, it doesn't hurt to have your students out yelling and cheering ;)
video
Ps this is a great showing considering we were planning on the judges arriving an hour later...yikes.

Oh...if you made it through this entire post, congrats, treat yourself to something nice, it was a long one! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

9 To Go!

I love traveling.

I want to visit all 50 states, I'd like to see them all before I'm 30. However, since I'm knocking on that door and still have nine to go, that may be a bit unrealistic.

When my mom was in town, we decided to head to Louisiana in order to cross a state off my list. After entertaining varying ideas, we decided to head to New Orleans (where else would you visit in LA?). In looking up New Orleans, I saw that it appeared to be a quick jaunt over to Mississippi (specifically, where my grandpa was raised) and only a hop skip and a jump to Alabama.

My mom arrived on Thursday late afternoon, and Friday morning we were off and running (or rather driving). With my handy new toy (iPhone) and some directions we were heading to New Orleans. After hours of driving (it only takes 8 if you don't get lost or miss a direction or two), we arrived at our hotel. Deciding we would rather sleep and then get up early the next day, we hit the hay.

Saturday morning, we awoke and hit the road early. The plan was to drive to Picayune, Mississippi first and visit where my grandpa was born and raised. However, after missing another turn off, we kept going straight and headed toward a famous garden in Alabama with a pit stop at the Gulf along the way. Mid afternoon we headed toward Picayune (only about an hour drive from Alabama and 50 minutes from New Orleans). Even though much of what my grandpa remembers from his childhood is no longer in Picayune, it was neat to drive around and find the locations of places he used to play and visit.

That night we headed into New Orleans. What a neat city! The architecture is beautiful, the music is contagious (well, some of it), and the city was 'alive'. I couldn't believe how many boas, masks, beads, and other costume jewelry we saw in OCTOBER. Oh...and Bourbon street. Crazy. At one point, we were driving around and I got caught in a long line of traffic. Not fully realizing what was going on, I kept inching my way to the front. Upon reaching the front of the line, I realized, I was going to have to drive across Bourbon street, and a particularly busy portion of it! I felt mostly confident that I could get through, after all, I learned how to agressively drive in southern California, I just hoped it would not be at the cost of any body parts. However, a nice man decided to try and help the traffic stop so that I could cross.

Bourbon street...not my favorite.

Sunday morning, before leaving New Orleans, we wanted to experience Cafe De Monde (sp?) and the famous beignets (ben-yays). Unfortunately, the line for CDM was ridiculous, so having looked up additional places the night before, we headed to a local favorite, Morning Call. Although it was more difficult to find then the website foretold, it was a great experience one I am glad we partook in! Walking into the restaurant, it looked like an old dinner with the servers wearing matching attire. The coffee and beignets were wonderful...especially considering they bring you a powdered sugar shaker so you can powder your beignets to your liking.

Even the trip was short, it was a great time visiting with my mom, seeing new states, and experiencing some pieces of my families history. :)

Three more down, nine to go!
Believe it or not, it says welcome to Louisiana or something of the sort (this is an action shot) although it apparently looks like there would have been plenty of road to pull over...or maybe that was an on-ramp.
This was the first time my mom had been to the Gulf. It was a beautiful day outside! And NO humidity, which is a GREAT day in my book!
These were the beautiful gardens we stopped at. One of my favorite things about this place was the automated tour guide. You could call a number and they would give you more information than you could ever hope for about the gardens. I am a nerd and just love that kind of random information. For example, on the great lawn, they have over 4,000 flowers planted along the edge. Every season (4 times a year) they completely replace all 4,000 flowers with some sort of seasonal selection. Wow.
It was a beautiful day!
My mom is an avid photographer and she enjoyed taking pictures of all sorts of flora and fauna. Oh, and she's got a really great eye for finding a shot. Me, I'm more of a people picture person. Say that three times fast. :)
There was a sign as we entered picayune that said something funny and it related to Jesus. I wish I could remember what it said, and better yet, I wish I had gotten a picture. It cracked us up!
So my first experience with Waffle House was in Picayune, Mississippi. I suppose I will never forget it for multiple reasons. The cheesy eggs, the strawberry waffles, or maybe the people. It was a unique experience and I would be interested to know how much of it was because we were eating at a waffle house and how much of it was because we were in Picayune.
Does this place not scream cute and quaint?! It was wonderful! And oh yummm, the coffee and beignets were wonderful (did I mention I like powdered sugar?!).
So that's our little adventure that we took. Crazy quick, but so enjoyable. Here are the nine states that I have still to cross off the list. Some of them, I hope/plan to cross off soon, others are going to take some time. :)

Connecticut
Rhode Island
North Carolina
South Carolina
Georgia
Kentucky
Missouri
Hawaii
Alaska

$321

I'm applying for doctoral programs at three schools and for four different programs.

Thus far, my running total for graduate application fees, transcript requests, stamps, and additional test scores comes to $321. This will continue to increase as I have yet to pay the $70 application fee to UCLA, purchase another book of stamps, and any other hidden fees I have yet to accrue. (Not to mention costs if I have to interview on campus/visit)

I have heard varying things from individuals as I trudge through this process...

1. it takes a PhD to apply for a PhD
2. If I only knew what the process would have been like, I probably never would have started (referring to the application process)
3. getting there is half the battle
4. the process is meant to make you feel this way, they try to weed people out from the get go

Yet, I'm so blessed to have other people in my life who have recently walked, walking, or just finished this process.

There are so many details and intricacies to each application process that I've been ready to throw in the towel on more than one occasion.

However, I have sent off my recommendation items, applied to the graduate schools, requested transcripts, and test scores.

The next step is to make sure I have my purpose statements finalized and that all the necessary supplemental information is complete for each department.

Yikes.

If you would continue to pray for me. I'm tired, still have lots to do in this process, and often question if this is worth it. But then I remind myself that I don't ever want to do this process again, so I should see it through :)

Thanks for the prayers and encouragement!