Arkansas

Contains posts all about my life in Arkansas and the state’s wonderful quirks.

Wednesday’s list

Happy Wednesday everybody! We are now closer to the weekend than the beginning of the week! Feels great, don’t it?

First off… let me apologize for my absence. Between my computer breaking, a nasty sinus infection, family weekend at my school, and just life in general I know I have neglected my little corner of cyberspace.

But I’m back! And I have missed you all! Thanks for sticking with me.

And because it’s Wednesday and a lot has been going on in my life as of late, I’m going to give y’all a middle-of-the-week list.

1. This was what it looked like for basically half the month of February.

Icy.

Sleet-y.

And dang stinkin’ cold.

But still beautiful.

Recently the weather has begun to turn. The spring rains are coming and the bushes are budding and soon we will see this!

Spring! Hallelujah! It’s been a long time coming.

March has never been so welcome in my life.

2. Yes, I like March weather. But, March is also very important to me because of… March Madness!

Seriously, I look forward to March Madness all year long. My obsession may or may not be a little unhealthy.

Ever since I was little, my mom and I have always watched the Selection Show together (until I went off to college that is) and filled out our brackets together. We always fill out two of them. One of how we think the tournament will actually go and one where KU wins it all. Because we are from Kansas and we love KU and we always want KU to win it all.

I won my job’s March Madness office pool during me senior year of high school. And KU won the national championship. It was glorious, but that’s a story for another day.

Back to the list.

3. I’m taking a practice LSAT test this Saturday. And I still can’t believe it. How I got to this point is a little bit of a long story, but where it sits right now is me taking this monster of a test in three days (completely cold, by the way) and starting to look into law schools.

Law school.

Never in my life would I have ever guessed that I would possibly go to law school.

People go to law school to become lawyers.

I don’t think I’m the lawyer type. But God knows what he’s doing, so I’ll just trust him and go with it! Faith is a scary thing. But that’s definitely another story.

4. I’m flying out to California in about a week and a half to celebrate my great aunt’s 90th birthday. My whole family–and I do mean whole family: every aunt, uncle, second cousin and sister-in-law by marriage twice removed–is going to be there. And I’m so excited! My family is the best family in the world in my opinion (but maybe I’m biased) and we always have the best parties! I can’t wait.

5. Once I fly back to Arkansas from California, I’ll have two days of class and then I’ll be on spring break! I can’t believe it’s that time of year already. School’s almost over. Life is about to get crazy. As if it wasn’t already.

6. Nothing is set in stone yet, but I have a good shot of completing an internship in Spain this summer. Words cannot explain how excited I am about this.

7. I went to a military ball this weekend. It was a blast! I went with one of my good friends and we had a great time together. I loved getting dressed up and learning more about the military (before I knew pretty much nothing, and I’m sure I asked my friend way too many questions about it) and just watching the people there. I expected the people there to be very formal and almost stiff because this was such a fancy shindig, but they were all pretty laid back, especially during the dinner. All in all, I had a great night.

8. I’m becoming addicted to the show Friends. Remember the popular sitcom that ran during the 90′s? Well, I’m only 10 years behind, but I’m finally jumping on that bandwagon.

9. It’s 67 degrees outside right now. Just thought you should know. I’m very happy about this.

10. KU plays tonight. And I have to write a paper before that. No more procrastinating.

The weekend is only two days away! Y’all can make it!

Much love,

kskristy

Here today…

…and gone tomorrow.

This area, known as “The Quad” at my small university is a large grassy area in the middle of campus. In the fall and spring, students love to hang out on The Quad: playing frisbee, doing homework, napping.

Just a mere three weeks ago, students flocked to The Quad on an unusually warm day in late January.

Then last Tuesday night and Wednesday, a snowstorm the likes of which Arkansas has never seen before dumped 20 inches of snow on our campus and cancelled classes for only the fourth time since the 1970s.

This was Thursday, February 10.

So much snow! Most students here didn’t know what to do with themselves. Not many of them had ever seen that much snow in their lives. But I can promise you this: nobody was napping on The Quad that day!

After a couple days of temperatures in the low teens, the weather went schizo and skyrocketed into the 60s.

And this is all that was left of the snow by Monday, February 14.

What a difference a few days makes.

The snow has melted even further today and The Quad now looks like a swamp.

Oh, how I love Arkansas.

Much love,

kskristy

The Snowpocalypse

Ok, I just couldn’t stay away from y’all. My Mac is still in the shop (can you say “in the shop” when referring to computer repair? Or does it sound too much like auto mechanics? Whatever..either way I’m still without my computer) but I have been dying to share some photos with you.

In the past two weeks, my little college campus has survived what is being dubbed as “The Snowpocalypse.” We’ve had over 25 inches of snow in two weeks. Growing up in Kansas has exposed me to my fair share of blizzards and snowstorms, but this is absolutely unheard of for Arkansas.

Last Wednesday morning, I woke up at 6:30 in the morning to my phone ringing and girls shrieking in the room next door. The phone call was from our campus alert system notifying me that campus would be closed for the day and all classes were cancelled.

I had received the same phone call a week earlier during the first round of this “Snowpocalypse” and was amused to find that hardly any snow was on the ground outside. Arkansans will cancel school for a snowflake, it’s a little ridiculous.

So naturally, I expected to see a similar dusting of snow when I looked out my window Wednesday morning.

I think I may have even shrieked myself when I saw this…

There are cars out there somewhere in that parking lot, I promise!

Needless to say, I felt like the class cancellation was justified this time.

Look at that drift. The snow is up to the windows! I was impressed. It’s been a while since I’ve seen snow like this.

My friends and I enjoyed staying inside that day (because with the beautiful snow also came nasty cold temperatures) doing nothing. The next day though, classes were cancelled again but the sun was out and shining so we decided to go have some fun in the snow.

I have beautiful friends.

During our winter wonderland excursion, I found out a fascinating fact about myself.

Apparently, I’ve got hops like Air Jordan.

What the heck?

I’m pretty sure that person is not me. I’ve never been able to jump that high.

I did have a lot of pent up energy from being inside for two straight days… maybe that explains it?

I have no idea.

I just wish I could have had hops like that in high school. My athletic career would have been way more stellar than it actually was.

Anyway… as beautiful as this snow is, I don’t think it’s going to stick around for long. Temperatures are forecasted to hit the 60s by the middle of next week.

In Kansas we have a saying to describe this: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes and it will change.” And let me tell you, that is an absolutely true statement. But I’ve never experienced it anywhere but home.

Since when did Arkansas turn into Kansas?

Whatever. I like the craziness and unpredictability. It keeps life interesting.

Much love,

kskristy

When it snows in Arkansas…

…the whole world goes crazy.

Or at least it seems to.

I woke up yesterday morning to this view outside my window.

Now in Kansas, this is no big deal.

Actually, I take that back. It is sort of a big deal. See that picture? There are no drifts. Where I come from, that’s rare. When it snows in Kansas, the wind always blows. A lot. So we always have snow drifts. Big ones.

But then we jump in our Chevy’s and bust right through them.

So it’s not a big deal after all.

Anyway… this meager dusting of snow was enough to cause an uproar with all my southern friends (and my Californian roommate).

Facebook was overrun with status updates begging for professors to cancel classes. The roads were surely impassable.

And I’m sure most Arkansans thought they were. There are no such things as snow plows down here.

But that’s where these guys came to the rescue.

Our maintenance crew works so hard. I appreciate that they stood out in the cold and the snow and shoveled that sand. You can’t see it from this angle, but the road they are on has a pretty significant slope to it. Without that sand, the snow probably would have been packed down in no time by professors driving to class and who knows what could have happened on that hill.

Thank you maintenance crew!

But… this is a university full of junk food-loving college kids and so rain or shine, snow or ice, the Coke man always makes his delivery.

I personally don’t like pop all that much, but I’m sure half of the students at this university are relieved to know they won’t have to make it through the weekend without their beloved carbonated sugar. Thank you Mr. Coke man.

After snapping these photos, I put on a pot of coffee and pulled out the box of leftover pizza from my fridge.

Welcome to the life of a college student.

Does anyone remember the promotion Domino’s Pizza had going a few months back where they encouraged people to send in their self-shot photos of the pizzas they ordered?

I’m seriously considering sending this one in.

If that doesn’t say delicious and nutritious, I don’t know what does.

Personally, I think the grease stains make the photo.

Please don’t judge me when I tell you I ate this whole thing.

Cold.

And I may or may not have enjoyed it.

But, of course I ate it like everybody should eat a piece of Domino’s pizza.

Crust first.

Ever since Domino’s remade their crust I have been on cloud nine.

I mean, who doesn’t love garlic and butter smeared all over a chunk of fatty baked dough?

Sign me up for that.

Or a psych ward.

Just kidding, sort of.

And did you know that Dominos now prints instructional sayings on their pizza boxes. They call them pizza proverbs.

That’s alliteration at it’s finest, people.

And that’s wisdom at it’s finest.

Or maybe not.

But while we are on the subject of wisdom and pizza and the finer things in life, let me just say that I also have a theory about coffee. I believe coffee tastes good all the time, but I think it tastes even better when it’s in a cute mug.

Look at this.

Now that looks fine, but wait until you see the entire mug.

Isn’t that happy?

My wonderful Californian roommate gave me that mug for Christmas and it has become one of my favorite mugs.

Thank you sweet Roommate!

Eventually I had to go to class yesterday. I even drove my car to Walmart and back without incident (thank you, Lord) and thoroughly enjoyed the snow even though I almost slipped and busted my face in the parking lot last night.

This afternoon the maintenance crew was hard at work again… clearing the parking lot.

Thank you again, maintenance crew!

The funny thins is that the forecast is calling for another round snow on Sunday.

Here we go again…

Shooting blind

Allow me start off this post by saying I am by no means an expert photographer.

I simply love holding a camera in my hands, looking at the world around me through a viewfinder and doing my best to capture little moments and pieces of God’s great creation.

Photography has always been a hobby of mine. I remember going through one disposable camera after another during my junior high years. Pets, clothes, grass, refrigerator magnets… there was nothing out there that didn’t warrant a picture in my eyes. Then my mom got her first digital camera, and oh boy, was I a happy camper. I’m pretty sure I single-handedly kept Duracell batteries in business all through my high school years with my constant self-portrait photo shoots. That Kodak went through batteries like there was no tomorrow.

Then, in April 2009, I purchased my first dSLR, and that’s all she wrote. I was hooked.

I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve learned how to manually control the settings on my camera. I’ve learned about framing and composition, and even photo ethics.

I still take photos of anything and everything, and I still have a lot to learn. But during my photographic journey, I have developed one theory that has given me some of my favorite shots.

I like to call it shooting blind.

The gist of the theory is that you simply hold your camera in the general direction of your shot and without looking through the viewfinder or framing the shot, you simply snap the photo.

Not everything has to be meticulously composed. Sometimes you just gotta shoot a blind shot.

(Note: I do not recommend putting this into practice with real guns, arrows, darts, or any other potentially harmful projectile. That could be bad news bears for you or others…)

I’ve found that some of the most interesting angles show up when you just point and shoot. I’ve discovered angles and perspectives that I might not have ever thought to shoot from otherwise.

Here are a few of my favorite examples:

I love everything about this shot. The hole in the tv, the window in the background, the cool tones of the foreground compared to the warm tones of the background, the drama and the interest created by the composition… awesome.

I had knelt down on the floor of this great abandoned house (more on that in another post!) and shot a couple of similar shots prior to this one but I had just been focusing on the cracked tv. The photos were very cold and not super interesting. I knew this was too cool a subject to just be content with a mediocre photo so I decided to try something different. I laid down flat on the floor and propped my elbows up in front of me. I set my focal length and focus point to approximate values that I thought might work for the shot I wanted and then I took a couple photos. And I got a great photo!

Here’s another:

Funny story about this photo. I actually got it out the drivers side window of my car as I was flying 70 miles an hour down the highway. (Don’t tell my mother… or the cops.)

Too many times I have been driving down the road and seen something that would make a great photo but didn’t have my camera with me.

After kicking myself and asking myself why a photographer wouldn’t have their camera with them at all times, I vowed to keep my Nikon in the passenger seat of my car forever. Except when I take it other places.

And that’s how I got this photo. I was driving back to college last January and as I drove up a hill close to the Kansas-Oklahoma state line, I saw this little clump of trees in the valley below me. I reached for my camera right away, popped off the lens cap and right as I passed the trees, I took the photo. I basically got lucky on this one, but hey, it works!

Now here are two examples of the same subject I shot blind. One of them turned out well, one of them not so much, but they are still interesting.

This is the photo that didn’t turn out so well. Just in case you were wondering.

A couple months ago, I was doing a photo shoot in the downtown area of my little college town with a group of women. I had a co-photographer along with me and she started setting the group up for another shot. I wasn’t doing anything at that moment so I found this sign and decided to try and get an interesting shot of it.

I gripped my camera in my hand and held it down at my side. Then I tilted the camera up toward the sign and took the photo. This one missed, obviously, but I still find it interesting.

I took a couple more photos and ended up with this one:

I love this. I think the angle is intriguing, the shadows are nice, the composition is somewhat surprising but pleasing and the simplicity of the photo draws me in.

And to think, I got it without even looking.

So I encourage you, the next time you take a photo, to try shooting blind. Don’t look at or through your camera or anything. Just point and shoot and see what you get. You might be surprised!

Happy times and happier times

Drumroll, please.

Duuuuuurrrrrrrrrrmmmmmmmm….. symbol crash.

I finished my fifth semester of college classes today!

Fertig. Finito. Finished. Done.

Now I just have to make it through a couple of not-too-hard finals and I’m home free!

Oh what a feeling, what a wonderful emotion… (name that song!)

I love college. I really do. It’s such a blessing to go to such a great school and have the opportunity to learn about things I love every day. I’ve had great profs this semester, I’ve had great classes.

But I’m so ready to be done.

I’m ready to…

–sleep

–read a book for fun

–sleep

–use my computer for something other than writing papers

–sleep

–cook my own food instead of eating in the cafeteria

–sleep, sleep, sleep.

One week from now I will be living the good life of a college kid home on Christmas break.

Glorious.

It will be a happy time.

I was reminded of even happier times last night as I was organizing the hundreds of files of photos on my computer.

I was skimming through a photoshoot I did for a friend of mine back in October. She’s an RA in one of the dorms and for a hall activity she and her fellow RA decided to take their girls out on a photoshoot. I had the wonderful privilege of being the event photographer.

It was super fun looking at the photos and reminiscing and seeing such happy faces. Faces that weren’t tired and sick and drained from a rigorous semester of studying and rhetoric.

I have beautiful friends.

See for yourself.

Amidst the photos of all these beautiful women, I stumbled onto another little gem.

Isn’t this flower just amazing?

The colors… oh, the colors. They are simply stunning. A computer screen absolutely does not do them justice.

This pretty flower was in bloom just two short months ago.

There’s no way you’re gonna find a flower anywhere outside this time of year. Not a live one anyway.

Nothing is alive outside.

Remember the post from about a month ago where I put up a picture of the vibrant view out my window? I thought about taking a picture today from the same place and doing a compare and contrast thing for this post.

But I couldn’t bear to do it.

It’s just so gray outside.

Gray and dreary.

I’m not a fan.

I know winter is one of God’s perfect creations too, and bless it, I know it’s probably wonderful, but it’s to daggum cold for me.

I admit it has been a milder winter so far in Arkansas, but I’m going back home to Kansas in less than a week and I know what’s waiting for me.

Winters in Kansas go a little like this…

–cold

–wind

–no snow

–WIND.

It’s lovely.

So, being the optimist that I am, I have devised the perfect, happy plan.

I will go home, sit on my couch with a mug full of coffee, read a book for fun, take a nap, and print this photo out huge then tape it to every window in my house and convince myself it’s actually summer.

Signed,

(soon to be) cold in Kansas… aka: kskristy

The view outside my window

Fall.

A season of color, of crispness in the air, of Kristy wearing flip flops like they’re going out of style (because they literally will in a month or two).

I usually enjoy fall… until it gets cold. Which is always too soon for me. But, in all seriousness, I admit that I love the colors of this season.

I was sitting at my desk this afternoon trying to focus on writing a research paper, but I was distracted by the view outside my window.

My desk is right by the window and I love/hate it. It’s good for my soul and bad for my grades.

Today, as I gazed at the beautiful scenery outside my window, I couldn’t help but think that the vista I was seeing was the quintessential picture of fall.

So I got out my camera and snapped a few shots.

I’m glad I did, because about 10 minutes later as I was editing them, a bunch of big white clouds rolled in and obliterated the beautiful blue sky that had just been there moments ago.

Here are the finished products, and what will probably be the last few photos of fall.

Winter is coming all too soon.

Praise God for his beautiful creation. These photos might just get me through the winter, after all.

Much love,

kskristy

Red leaves

I was out enjoying the beautiful 75-degree weather this afternoon while shooting photos for a homework assignment. It was wonderful.

And can I just say how much I love my major? If I were into chemistry, I would be stuck in some lab mixing chemicals together. I would be inside, wishing I could be outside taking photos. This is just one reason why photography and I are perfect for each other.

I don’t do science.

As I was walking around this afternoon, I noticed what I thought were pretty red flowers on tall green bushes. I walked toward the flowers and realized they weren’t flowers at all. They were leaves.

Red leaves say what?

In Kansas, our leaves are green. Well, actually sometimes they’re brown, but that’s because it never rains in Kansas.

And sometimes small children grow up without knowing what leaves even are because there are no trees in Kansas.

I’m only kidding. Sort of.

Here are the beautiful, mysterious Arkansan red leaves.

I want to know what makes them so vividly red.

Well, you see, the beta-carotene found in the plants leaves cause the pigment to appear bright red and….

I’m not really serious. I have no idea what makes the leaves red. I already told you that I don’t understand science.

But I do know that the mix of red and green leaves is absolutely beautiful. It’s a perfect example of color harmony (which is coincidently what I was looking for).

Homework assignment complete.

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