Friday, July 24, 2009


While I have yet to actually move forward with any film projects, MTSU News interviewed myself and Dr. Frisby a while back and made a nice news piece.

Friday, July 17, 2009

raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

I don't consider myself a complainer, but I definitely think I complain too much. About what? Depending on my mood, sometimes nothing and sometimes everything. So, even though it is not November, I thought I would make a (brief) list of things I am thankful for. I am trying to take steps to be more appreciative of what I have been given:

salvation, family, friends, love, freedom, democracy, the right to say/believe/print/dance to whatever I want without persecution, my right to vote, work, school, education (because school and education are totally different), sunshine, laughter, smiles, the nighttime sky, awesome parents, awesome siblings, hope, future, my past (as it helped define who I am today), this moment, technology, history, role models, flowers, mornings, sunsets, sunrises, rain, stars, thunder storms, the ocean, colors (especially pink), my childhood, humor, my hands (to write/quilt/eat/clap/scrapbook/crochet/draw/play piano/high-five with), music, dancing, joy, veterans, adventures, an inquisitive mind, kindness, babies, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, 21st century medicine, naps, hand sanitizer, books, the roof over my head, teachers, inspiration, a full moon (and dancing in it), traveling, blogs, understanding, patience (especially from others), celebration, sacrifice, art*

*this is by no means an exhaustive list. it's just a start.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Struggle Continues

I am contemplating what I should cut out of my life to give myself more time. Time for what? Time for life. School and school-related things consume much of my time. Work also consumes much of my time, but I like my job. I also like sleeping and definitely can tell the difference in my daily functionality depending on how much sleep I got the night before. I also would like to take some time for me. Maybe a kickboxing class? Maybe some sightseeing (Tennessee still holds lots for me to see)? Maybe a movie, as my list of films I'd like to see grows every day.

So what do I remove in order to make more time to do/see/experience the stuff I want? Should I just pedal to the metal for the next year, graduate, then play? Can I make it for an entire year before complete meltdown? Can I lessen my stress over my school and work that I can open up and thoroughly enjoy little amounts of free time?

These are hypothetical (and probably rhetorical). I am writing these after a long 40-hour week (and I'm about to go put in another 2-hours for out Hallowed Ground tour...) so maybe they are just ramblings. I can't plan what my life will look like in a year, as I have no idea what this year will hold. I do know I can enjoy my time now, even the stressed-out, burnt-out, tired times. And I guess I can just plan to the best of my abilities for my immediate future and let tomorrow take care of itself.

Or at least make an effort to do that, anyway.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A meeting with the Bobs

It's amazing how much I can get done if I put my mind to it. It also amazes me how much I limit myself. I have concentrated spurts of productivity when I write. Then I dawdle and do other things and procrastinate. I imagine if I honestly broke down the time I "work" on my thesis, I spend only 30 percent of the time actually writing. I am being productive in the other 70 percent of the time, but I am not specifically writing. Sometimes I shuffle papers around and reorganize the stacks on my desk. Sometimes I write out my lists of things to do (three and four times over). Sometimes I bake cookies.

I love Ron Livingston in the movie Office Space. I especially love his meeting with the Bobs. I challenge any graduate student to honestly say they've never felt like this (those who do are probably lying or suffering from amnesia).

(It has a warning about the rating of the film, but no worries- this clip is clean).

So now that I've spent a decent twenty minutes writing this, I can go think about contributing 5 minutes of writing time to my thesis.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Civil War soldiers don't get manicures*

*Unless, maybe your name is Sam Davis.

Happy 5th of July. It's Dolly the Sheep's birthday (if cloned animals have birthdays, that is). I had today off, but I worked yesterday. It was a fantastically jamb-packed day, too.

Initially, I did not look forward to dressing like a Civil War solider. I don't like wearing that uniform (as it is dirty), and the shoes don't fit (and are ugly), and I don't like not wearing make up (and I do want to try to look as authentic as possible). But, as infantry training remains a part of my job as a seasonal, I trudged to work. I am not sure how I escaped infantry training for over a year, but unfortunately I had. Unfortunately, what? Didn't she just stop complaining about how she doesn't like it? I had a lot of fun training on the muskets. The day was not without its moments, though.

First, my "sergeant" (Jim) reprimanded me for not having my work (ranger) keys on my person (I informed him that I had left them in my other pair of trousers). Then I was issued my gear: a belt, a cartridge box, a cap box, and a rusted canteen). Jim instructed us on how to wear our gear and told us to fill our canteens so we can line up as attention. I avoided drinking from my canteen as much as possible. A) I didn't know who drank out of it last and B) I didn't want to get tetanus. We lined up and things started rolling pretty smoothly... at least for a little while.

I caught on pretty quickly with the marching, although I work with a number of smart alecks and they kept making me laugh. I was rolling pretty well until I Jim handed out the cartridges. As a demonstration, he put one in his mouth, like he was about to tear it for a demonstration, then put it back into my cartridge box. Elena had to point out that I didn't know which cartridge had the germs on it. Which didn't really matter, after every thing was said and done, as every cartridge I used I'd have to tear open with my teeth. Ew. To avoid mouth contact with germs, I attempted to tear the cartridge with my teeth and only my teeth. I tried bending over with my mouth open to avoid having to push any paper/gun powder residue out with my tongue. Jim reprimanded me for that, as by doing so I would lean over the muzzle of my barrel. So, I had to spit out the (sometimes mouths-full of) gun powder. I assure you that gun powder tastes every bit as disgusting as you can imagine.

The drilling part also proved fun, although I chipped three of my nails. I attempted to paint an extra layer of fingernail polish on, too, to prevent chipping. Alas. And while Civil War soldiers didn't have have manicured nails, I am sure they didn't have to deal with the "chest space" issue when trying to shoot. Let's just say being well-endowed makes for a difficult time lifting, holding, aiming, and shooting a musket. I am also pretty sure that I still have gun powder residue in the crevices of my fingernails, even though I have already taken two showers since yesterday morning. I guess that is part of this whole being a Civil War soldier thing.

I am not going to lie. After everything was said and done, I had a blast. I enjoy infantry far more than artillery. I'd almost argue that it made dressing like a soldier worth it (almost... almost). I think that it comes from the challenge of the whole thing. I enjoy being challenged. Listening to the commands and following them accurately was not always easy. I was a little sad when we had to stop infantry training so the rest of the crew could learn artillery. I changed into my ranger uniform, scarfed down some semblance of lunch, then headed out front to distribute visitor survey cards. I'll write more about those later this month.

After my busy, busy day at the park, I ran home to shower and head to the D-Friz's place in Woodbury to celebrate the Fourth with some bar-b-q and fireworks. I had a most enjoyable time. The food was good, the company was fantastic, and the location was wonderful. They live on top of a hill, so we could see other folks' fireworks from that location. The house also sits behind a forest that sits behind a ravine. The noise of the fireworks echoed off of the ravine emphasizing the boom. Additionally, while it did start to rain last night and we had one instance when the rain started falling so hard that we had no choice but to run inside, the accompanying electric storms created some very cool effects. The whole sky filled with clouds that would light up, like God was showing us his own fireworks demonstration. The evening turned out quite nicely and I could not have asked for a better time. Actually, the whole day turned out quite nicely and I could not have asked for more.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Various Visitors

I had a long, yet fulfilling, day today. I worked at the battlefield from 8 to 4:30, then babysat 7 kids from 5 until 11:30. And I am not sure why I am still awake. I think I just need to unwind. But I thought I would record some more memorable visitor interactions from today.

We often go on roves over the course of the day. "We" means the seasonal rangers and the summer interns/volunteers. "Roves" mean going outside, either walking or biking, and greeting visitors. Going on a rove is a way for us to make deliberate informal visitor contacts. We can help orient visitors and give information, always finding opportunities to connect people with this resource called battlefield.

Today, I roved for a little on my bike. The first family I met had driven down from Michigan to visit family in Nashville. We had a spectacular conversation about visiting places and experiencing history by experiencing historic sites. We walked for a little ways (I walked my bike along with them) and chatted about family traditions (especially Independence Day traditions) and the ideas of freedom. The dad wanted to bring his girls to historic sites to help them truly understand the meaning of freedom. I think that the battlefield is an interesting place to try and understand that idea, especially if you are going to look at it historically. What did freedom mean to the slaves and former slaves, during and after the war? What did freedom mean to Southerners, during and after the war? What did freedom mean to Murfreesboro citizens after the Union left? How did the meanings of freedom change according to who you were?

I encountered a five-year-old boy and his grandfather next. The boy had a canteen practically half the size of him strapped to his waist. I asked him what he had been up to and he told me "hiking." Evidently, he went on his very first hike today. He went to his grandfather this morning and stated, "I want to go on a hike." His granddad geared him up and took him around the tour loop and on some of the boundary trails. His bright blue eyes radiated his excitement of his recent adventure. Can I remember my first hike? My family did outdoorsy-stuff and I was a Girl Scout for 8 years (plus helped lead troops for 2 years following that). I don't know if I can specifically remember my very first hike. I imagine my canteen-toting friend will, though.

Later in the day, I had the pleasure of signing in a total of 11 new Junior Rangers. I love to do that, too. And these kids were very serious about becoming Junior Rangers (my favorite!). I became a Junior Ranger at Mount Rushmore when I was 10 years old. I also remember being very serious about my new role as Junior Ranger. Those rangers probably had no idea how important that moment was for me (and, quite possibly, how it affected my later career choices). Maybe one of the 11 today will one day become a park ranger, too.

I love my role as park ranger (even if I am just a seasonal). I consider myself a steward/manager/care-taker/guardian/protector/extraordinaire. I think most serving in the green and grey feel that way, too. My appreciation for the place and historic stuff combined with my love of the histories mixed with my passion for sharing makes this job way too easy and far too much fun.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Child's Play

As a gag gift, I bought a friend the kid's game "Hi-Ho-Cherry-O." It proved fun, as we spent most of our time laughing at the game (and the ridiculous notion that several 20-somethings were playing an "ages 3 and up" game on a Thursday night). Milton Bradley modified some of the rules to allow for a "cooperation" game. In that version, nobody "loses"; everyone playing teams up to fill your cherry basket before the puzzle gets completed.

Later, so another friend could take a break from studying, we decided to play "Sardines." If you don't know how to play that game (as I did not before last night), one person hides and everyone must find that person. Once you find the hidden person, you must hide with that person until everyone "sardines" together. We had a blast, but the challenge was being the first one to find the hidden person.

While we had fun laughing around a friendly game of "Hi-Ho-Cherrio" (as silly as it sounds), we had just as much fun stumbling through the dark. And I wonder about the effects of removing competitiveness from games. This discussion has come up countless times before (even Milton Bradley leaves No Child Left Behind), but how does a little competition harm a child's development? Isn't that the point of playing games? Since I was a kid, I have been told that "it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it matters that you have fun." I'm not going to lie; I have fun competing. And the excitement behind competition rests in the fact that you may win. If you lose, you lose, and life moves on. But what's wrong with having fun while you compete?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Because pictures are so much more fun than words. And because this makes me giggle.