Category Archives: Weekends

The Archived Photos

I searched and searched for some more of my Main Street photos for a part 2 post, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Instead, I came across some old photos that I had forgotten about. I spent a few hours searching and browsing through about 20 discs full photos and decided to share these with you. I’ll admit these photos are not timely and have no purpose other than to show them to you. I had forgotten about a few of these photos, while others I could not locate when I actually needed them. Isn’t that how it always goes?



The First Sentence

PJ Book2

My ninth grade English teacher challenged me. She forced me to think outside of the box — outside of my very small-minded comfort zone — and open my mind. She forced to me answer  questions in which the response I gave was neither satisfying or, at times, tolerant of others’ opinions. Her assignments taught me there was more to the world than the two mile trek from my home to school. There were assignments I didn’t fully understand until I became an adult. There were assignments I still don’t understand — even as an adult. There were assignments to this day I am still proud to read.  This is profound — to me — because there are photography gigs from last month I can’t remember, but I can recall a handful of assignments from nearly 20 years ago! Needless to say, her teaching methods had a lasting impact.

One of the more confusing tasks was what I’ve grown to call the first sentence assignment. We were to choose 10 books and list the first sentence of the book and explain why we chose that book. In theory, I believe the task was associated with dramatic writing and first impressions. I think she was teaching us how a well written single sentence can captivate a reader well enough to continue reading although the subject may not be all that captivating. Personally, it forced me to think. Why was this important to me? What about this moved me?

As I was reading through the many blogs I follow, one post jogged my memory of this assignment. A blogger, Andrea Badgley, posted quotes from a book (one of many it seems) she reads. For some reason, that post spoke to me and reminded me of that long ago assignment.

There’s no way I could remember all 10 of those books on the decades-old list, but I wanted to share the ones I knew were listed. If you had to do this assignment which books would you list and why? It’s a lot harder to list than you may first think.

From 1994’s List:

Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor: “Little Man, would you come on? You keep it up and you’re gonna make us late.”

The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton: “When I stepped out into the bright sunlight from the darkness of the movie house, I had only two things on my mind: Paul Newman and a ride home.”

The Giver” by Lois Lowry: “It was almost December, and Jonas was beginning to be frightened.”

The Bible: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 (New International Version)

Sati” by Christopher Pike: “I once knew this girl who thought she was God.”

(The photos on this post are of a notebook created and shared by a group of Pearl Jam fans who have, over time, bonded through through this book, their love of the band, and the friendships forged from both. I was able to see this book and have it explained to me in detail last year. I took a few shots of thinking I would write a blog post about it. I didn’t get around to writing the post, but I thought the photos fit here. These are dedicated, long-term Pearl Jam fans who are moved by the members’ music, writing, and causes. Just as the first sentence of a book can speak to us.)

PJ Book

The Frisbee Dogs

As part of halftime entertainment at the Arkansas State University double-header tonight, ASU presented The Frisbee Dogs. I had a blast shooting these dogs. It was tons of fun and the whole crowd enjoyed it. I hope you enjoy the photos.

The Songs of Summer


Do you ever feel like you are in a losing battle? I think I’m in one right now because Mother Nature has kicked it up a few notches. Actually, I wish she would turn it up a few notches. She’s really turned it down, and I mean down! The temperature as I type is a crisp and cold 11 degrees in Northeast Arkansas. In an effort to stay warm and not focus on the cold outside I’ve decided to list my favorite summer songs for you.

I love summertime. It’s warm…..OK it’s really hot, but I love it! The days last longer and time seems a bit slower. I could go on and on about why I love summer, but that’s another posting. Below you will find my top 10 favorite summer songs. Here’s hoping it helps take your mind off of the cold weather.

10. Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft, 1972: I was at a picnic the first time I heard this song and I always think of that picnic and flowing summer dresses every time I hear that song.

9. Endless Summer Nights by Richard Marx, 1988: I like his songs and his voice.

8. All Summer Long by Kidd Rock, 2008: What’s not to like about this song? The lyrics tell a great story and has an intelligent mash up from two other great songs — Werewolves in London and Sweet Home Alabama.

7. Summer Love by Justin Timberlake, 2007: It’s a fun song to listen to in your car with the radio up and the windows down.

6. Long Hot Summer Day by Turnpike Troubadours, 2012: I fell in love with this song the first time I heard. Full disclosure here: the first time I heard it was a 30-second snippet at St. Louis Cardinals game this summer. It’s one of Matt Carpenter’s walk out songs. Does it really get much better than a great summer-themed song at baseball game? I think not!

5. Cruel Summer by Bananarama, 1983: It’s great 80s song. Plus it’s fun. There’s something telling about a song that lasts decades and is still enjoyable.

4. Boys of Summer by Don Henley, 1984: I love a good story and this song is one.

3. Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams, 1985: What is it about 1985? There’s really a lot of great stuff from this year including this song and Back to the Future! (Yep, I did it. I managed a Back to the Future reference in a post about summer songs. I’m that good. Ha!) Released in June of that year, the song written by Adams and Jimmy Vallance, tells a story of nostalgia and love.

2. Summer Nights by Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta, 1978: I discovered Grease and Grease 2 in junior high at a sleepover. Within a few weeks of that sleepover I knew the words to “Summer Nights” and all of the other songs. Admittedly, I can still sing  the words by heart to this song and “Cool Rider.”

1. Summertime by D.J. Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (A.K.A Will Smith), 1991: Nothing conjures a better summertime story that this tune to me. Smith’s soothing voice is just what I need to imagine the smell of fresh cut grass and the calming warmth of the sun.

Those are my favorite summer songs. I’d love to hear your thoughts on your favorite summer songs. Please stay warm and cozy in the crazy cold.

PS: The photos are from Henderson Beach State Park in Destin, Florida. I took them this summer while on vacation.


The Arkansas State University vs. Auburn Football Game

There are opportunities in life that sometimes you just can’t pass up. I was able to experience one of those opportunities a few weeks ago at Auburn University. The Arkansas State Red Wolves’ football team played at Auburn and I was fortunate enough to attend. It wasn’t really about going to the game as much as it was about being at the game. The experience far out-weighed the outcome of the game. The SEC (Southeastern Conference) is one of the best conferences in the nation, if not the best. The environments the student-athletes play in can be quite intimidating, especially in the SEC. These are some of the images from the game, the crowd, the whole experience.
On a side note, Arkansas State lost 38-9.

The Cold Brew Way

Let’s get this out of the way: I LOVE coffee. Seriously. I do! I will not pass up coffee. There’s something soothing and calming about holding a cup between both hands and feeling the warmth of this simple beverage. No matter where or when, there’s always time for a cup of coffee.

OK now that’s out of the way, coffee is available in so many ways that it would take a separate post to simply list them all. Don’t worry there are no plans to do that! 🙂 But I would like to tell you about cold brew coffee. This isn’t a new idea or process by any means, but it’s gained popularity recently.

When I went to Coffee Fest in Chicago in June I learned about cold brew coffee, its benefits and the process for making it. It’s taken me a little bit of research and time to finally come around and brew up this cold concoction, but it’s actually very easy. It takes a little patience and a few extra coffee filters, but if you are a coffee lover I promise it will be worth the wait.

Here’s what you need:

• Coarse coffee grounds (some directions will tell you to use coarse freshly roasted grounds. Um, yeah, OK , I will get right to roasting up my batch of organically certified, free trade coffee beans I harvested yesterday. Really? No. That’s not necessary. I’ve brewed up three batches before posting this and for each batch I used: 1, freshly ground French roasted coffee; 2, Dunkin’ Donuts coffee from Sam’s; and 3, Folgers regular roast using a French press. The difference? None! The result was the same. It’s the process that’s important. Use what you like and what is suited to your taste preferences.

• An extra coffee pot, a tea jug, or something you don’t mind getting dirty with coffee grounds.

• water, preferably room temperature, but not required.

• several coffee filters.

Here’s what you do:

• I took the same amount of coffee grounds and water I’d use to make a pot of coffee and combined the two in a container.

• Stir to mix well.

• Let it sit for 24 hours at room temperature, stirring occasionally if you like. (I did it both ways and again no difference in taste.) Allow it to sit long enough to soak up the richness and flavor of the coffee.

• After 24 hours you will need to separate the grounds from the water. The best way to do this is to use your coffee maker. It’s your friend in this case. (I’d hope it’s your friend anyway, but if not, that’s OK.) Place a coffee filter in the drip cup (like you were making a normal pot of pure joy). Pour the coffee/water combo slowly into the drip cup. The water will drip into your pot and the filter will catch the grounds. (On a side note: if your coffee maker has a stopper — so you can pour a cup before the pot is finished and not make a mess — make sure the pot is properly in place to allow the water into the pot.) You are done!

To Enjoy:

You can add milk, creamer or whatever you like to enjoy your cold brew coffee. I encourage you to try different things. Me? I added ice, milk, and a little bit of Splenda and I loved it!

The appeal of cold brew coffee is that it’s a smoother version of the normal everyday cup of coffee. It’s less acidic, so if you have indigestion issues this may be a great option. It really is quite smooth. Remember, though, this is a concentrate so it will be strong. If you add milk to your coffee (like I do) I would use a one-to-one ratio. Half a cup of cold brew to a half of a cup of milk. Cream? I’m not sure. I’d say pour a little bit and taste and repeat until you’ve reached your desired taste.

If you decide to make your cold brew I’d love to hear your opinions and what you thought. I shared my batches with several co-workers who were pleasantly surprised with its taste. Let me know what you think or how you take your cold brew coffee!

cold brewB