Football

My favorite part of fall is the smell of the leaves decomposing on the ground. It’s like the whiff of a strong drink, invigorating and promising. When I was in college fall meant breaking out the socks (because I much prefer sandals!), and football on Saturday. Now that I’m a grown up it means breaking out the rain boots and football whenever my husband can find it on the TV. While I will always feel that special connection between a girl and the football team she grew up with, I have moved on from the desire to actually follow the sport.

Of course, if there is anything as American as apple pie… that thing would have to be football. I’ll take the apple pie any day, but it didn’t seem fair to deny our exchange student the experience.

Her first football experience would come when my sister – a cheerleader at a high school in a neighboring county – was cheering at a game near our home.

Friday Night Lights

We hit a Checkers for dinner then headed to the game. I don’t recall who won, but the cheerleaders were great… naturally!

Ginny, my sister, and our exchange student.

I honestly don’t remember who won, but it’s always fun to see family and get a night out of the house!

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At the beginning of October we took advantage of a long weekend to get out of town and go to a game at Brandan’s Alma Mater, Virginia Tech. The four hour drive took us nearly twice as long thanks to traffic. We had planned to arrive several hours before the game but, unfortunately, we barely made it in for kick-off!

Traffic and a storm.

Thankfully the storm finished up as we arrived and we were able to attend the game in relative dryness! I had snagged some decent tickets online a few weeks before. There’s something very fun about a football game. Noisy, but focused. Loud, but exciting.

Lane Stadium

After a long day of work, school, and packing for our trip, these two were definitely Troopers! We watched the whole game, then it was time to get in the car and drive further south to our campsite at Claytor Lake State Park for the rest of the weekend!

Ginny and P

Do you follow any sports teams? Always have, always will? It’s definitely fun in the moment, so I appreciate the draw to attend the games – but fall is my favorite time of year to get out and about! I’d much rather be out hiking than watching a football game on TV!

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When did this happen?

I know my posts recently have been short and some have even been cryptic. I am sorry. I have something that I have been blogging about privately, and I will be sharing all of that soon enough – but right now I can only go day by day.

Tomorrow I am being initiated in to Omicron Delta Kappa. It’s a National Leadership Honor Society. That should be exciting. I will (hopefully) get to wear the stole and cords at graduation! I know it seems silly, but that was something I didn’t get to do in high school. But I have worked my butt of the last few years, and my grades have been excellent!

B-man and I went home for Thanksgiving. We got to spend some nice time with  my family for Thanksgiving. On Friday we went apartment hunting and I think we found a place. It is pretty nice, new, has a 24-hour fitness center, and we can afford the 2 bdrm w/ den – so practically 3 bedrooms. The rooms are small, but that’s apartment living for you. It also comes with washer/dryer in unit, and a dishwasher. If we don’t find any place better than this we will probably go for it.

On Saturday we went up to celebrate B-man’s brother’s birthday. He turned 40 and the party was a hoot! We made him an “old man kit” with prunes, a cane, and Worther’s original hard candies. The box it all came in was the real present – as we figured he could use it for geo-caching.

Sunday I went to church with my family and met up with a potential employer. We chatted for a little while, and it looks like I have a job all lined up for after we’ve moved! I’m half nervous, and half excited about it. I know the company does a lot of college classes and k-12 classes too, both of which I feel relatively comfortable interpreting. I’ll keep everyone posted!

After church we drove back to Tennessee. I drove for about 2 hours, but I was so tired, so B-man took over the driving. The normal 7.5 hour drive ended up being a little over 10 hours – and he did most of it. I am so thankful, because it gave me a chance to relax, and to sleep.

So I need every one’s help:  how should I decorate my cap for graduation? Please, leave me a comment with suggestions!

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Disappointment

I have always been a diligent, hard working student. My GPA right now is 3.48. And I’ve worked very hard for those grades. But recently I have realized something about college, and about the people at my college particularly. Here are some examples, and then maybe you can see where I’m coming from:

Three guys, eating in the cafeteria, making their fantasy football picks.

“Dude, what did you do this weekend?”

“Not much, I wanted to go to XYZ fraternity, but couldn’t get in.”

“Yeah I know – at this school you have to prove yourself before you get the right to party.”

Oh gee… brilliant. And this is what you guys worry about? Another one?

In a 100 level philosophy glass. Freshman girl, tiny body – big hair. As the class discusses “The Plague” she sits laughing, out loud, at her phone. Then she raises her hand…

“Have you heard of FML?”

The teacher looks puzzled, trying to figure out what this has to do with the reading…
“You know, it’s a website where people write stuff that’s like… happened to them… and it means like… F my life… “

Teacher nods… still waiting for the connection…

“It’s really funny, like this one here…” AND THEN SHE READ THE WEBSITE TO US! And she did this three times. And when she wasn’t trying to read her stupid website to the class – she was giggling at the FML comments on her phone.

It was obvious that the teacher – who is a really decent guy, and a very good teacher – was struggling to keep his cool. This girl is constantly interrupting the class to announce how boring she finds it. That this class is stupid, she hates the readings (which I doubt she did any way), and that it is all a waste of her time.

And then, my last example. I observed a class today that was supposed to discuss a book that they have had over a month to read (a short novel).During the first 20 minutes of the class, only 4 people participated – out of 25.

The teacher got up, and left.

I have been guilty before of being unprepared for my classes. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand what it is like to be in a class you don’t like, or to have so much homework that you can’t do everything. I also know that is can be fun to hang out with friends on occasion.

But I am becoming overwhelm with the number of students around me that are not active participants in their education. Their parents, or scholarships, are paying for their education – and they are wasting it!

I hope that I raise children that are active participants in their own education. I know so many kids that are just expected to go to college, so they go, and while they may graduate with a piece of paper, the majority of their learning is done in that last year as they struggle to make up for slaking off in the beginning.  I hope to raise my children to have a love and passion for learning. But I also hope that if my child doesn’t think that college at 18 is the best thing for them, that I can support them in that. I have read many reports that show that people with work experience, and older students tend to have higher GPAs, and they feel more satisfied with their education, compared with the typical 18-22 year old college student.

I feel like seeing so many people slaking and hating their education seems to diminish the value of my education. Because these are my classmates. These are my discussion partners, my peer review partner. If they aren’t putting an effort into their own education – not only are they hurting themselves, but they are hurting me. The value of a degree is going down. Just like 15 years ago having computer skills put you above the other candidates, but now it is expected of every one. Now it seems like so many people are graduating with degrees that it’s not enough to set you apart from the crowd. Especially when it seems like the quality of education is decreasing. What really upsets me is that when all of these people graduate, and take these same attitudes, and these same habits into the work force these UT graduates will reflect on me, and all of the alumni before them.

I’m sorry to complain so much. It just hurts me to see so many people wasting the opportunity for an education.

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How did this happen?

It’s November already! I can’t believe it. I was talking with my Dad on the phone this morning as he drove past Knoxville, and I said “I’ll just see you at Thanksgiving” to which he reminded me that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away. And then after Thanksgiving is… umm… December. Then in December is GRADUATION!!!

The next month is going to be one heck of a very very crazy month. Graduation is on December 11th. We have family coming into town, and then they are going to help us move back up to the DC area! It’s really weird to think that my time is Knoxville is over. I mean – four and a half years ago I came to UT. My parents moved me into my first dorm room, and then I stood and waved as they drove away. I wondered around for a bit, and then went back to my room and crid.

I asked B-man today if he cried when his parents dropped him off at school – and he said no. Apparently guys don’t cry.

But I have changed and grown so much in the last four years, it’s almost impossible to recognize the fresh faced 18 year old I used to be.

Our college days are almost over!

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Remember that giveaway?

Tomorrow I will announce the winner of the giveaway! I am so thankful to every one who opened up and did a little thinking about their own relationship with food. Knowing, and acknowledging are half the battle!

In other news… I am feeling a lot better. I don’t know what it is about Thursdays, perhaps their proximity to Fridays, but I usually feel pretty relaxed by Thursday. I usually have a class tonight until super late, but it’s been cancelled, so I get to go home at 2, finish my paper that is due tomorrow… and then chill!

I have found a new favorite food too. Any one else tried to limited Peach Mango Muffin from Einsteins? Don’t do it, because you’ll never stop. It has a crunchy top, and a supple, soft, peach and mango filled center of goodness. I have considered trying to recreate something similar at home… but if I do that… I may never lose any weight. I had sworn them off for a few days, considering this one muffin is around 500 calories, but I had to skip breakfast due to an alarm malfunction, and I won’t be having lunch until 2 pm. See how I justify my desicions? Terrible. TERRIBLE!

It’s a process.

My blog has been rather picture-less recently. Partly because I’m not doing anything picture worthy, and partly because I feel like my pictures don’t compare to the other blogs I follow, and I’m embarrassed by my dependence on the macro button. I own a canon powershots camera. Very fancy. Trust me. Ok, maybe not. But it works. One day… when I have better things to take pictures of, I will return to that. I promise.

And lastly… I bought my CAP & GOWN for graduation. In December. That’s really soon. Perhaps I should start a count down. In 78 days I will be a college graduate! Holycowhowdidthathappen?!

And then I will sleep. For an entire year.

Forgive me.

I like sleep.

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A quiet moment…

It is currently 5:15, I have been working and going to classes since 9 am, when I got to campus, realized I was missing my parking pass, and then raced back home to get it, park again, and arrive at class 15 minutes late. So much for being early. My days just seem to fly by. I sit down at the computer and the last thing I want to do is try and string sentences together in some kind of meaningful way.

But right now, at 5:15 – it is quiet where I am. And honestly… it is the perfect moment. I just ate a muffin that, despite being delicious, is something I will never eat again after looking up the number of calories in it. I’m not usually one to focus on calories, but since the cupcakes I made this weekend were less calories than this muffin… well. You can do your own math.

B-man got home on Friday. Being apart is really bad for us. I don’t know what it is, but distance really doesn’t make my heart grow fonder, instead I grow begruding. Annoyed. Mad. Ya know, all of those negative things. I was very happy to see him when I picked up at the airport… and I hugged him… but his arms were full so he didn’t hug back. Then I complained. We went to dinner, and he talked about his trip the whole time. That was fine. Food was delicious. But then… something funny happened. I was really annoyed with him. And it just kept getting worse. We fought over the dishes, and I got mad because he wanted to go to bed early and then I said I wanted to buy an iPod cause mine is broken and he said that we should wait…it went on. The list just gets longer. And I let my inner 5 year old out. Freaking crazy. And then, Sunday morning he said something… who knows what, but it definitely didn’t deserve my reaction. I said something terribly mean. He got up from the bed and left. I got dressed and went out to the car. He followed… and we drove to the store. I just needed to get out of that house. To get my head cleaned out. I don’t know what was wrong with me. Too much stress? Probably. But we were both being nasty to each other.

Then magically… it was over. Strange, how things that seem so huge and impossible just turn into wisps of wind floating along. I know, seems kind of silly. But it’s true.

I added up all of the hours I spend on my internship, classes, and homework… and I am above 40 hours. Which is why I am such a crazy person! I’ve never had to do so much work. The majority of my life has felt like a part time job. Lots of school and home work, or maybe a part time job, but I always got 8 hours of sleep and plenty of down time. Now I’m lucky to squeeze in 5, and still get all of my homework done. There is one class where I am just struggling to stay on top of everything. The teacher isn’t very organized, nor clear on what is expected. On top of all this I have obligations to my husband, ya know… to be a decent person and what not, and I also tutor an international student who is a good friend of mine.

Friends, I am pooped. P-O-O-P-E-D. Sometimes I find myself stealing 20 minutes of sleep, or nodding off when I’m supposed to be paying attention. I am actually, for the first time in my entire life, doing homework. I can’t put it off to the night before when I have classes until 9 pm the night before, and then I have to go home and be productive.

There are some benifits of course… I am going to the gym, not something I used to do – but now I feel like…. if I don’t my brain might explode. I am cleaning. What? You do that on a regular basis? Well… I don’t. My sweet kind husband does a lot of house work right now. But since I am feeling so productive and go-go-go I get home, and just keep going.

Down falls? If something doesn’t get put into my calender, I forget it. Like last weekend a friend of mine was having a Girl’s night. I know she texted me about it, but I didn’t put it in my calender… and I missed it. I so would’ve loved to have gone. I feel like such a loser. Honestly – I am a completely crazy person right now, and my life has never been so calender-dictated. We’re going to go out to lunch this Friday to make up for my blunder but I just feel so bad. Booo….

Another downfall? I have extreme guilt issues, which means I feel bad saying no to anything, which means I end up committing to everything.  Saturday I just freaked out. My husband was the one who had been traveling and gone all week, but I was the one have the mental break down.

BUT, I have found something I love. Up until this point in my life, weekends were just two more days of the week. Now, I literally live for the weekend, and I find it difficult to commit to anything that requires me to get up before 11. Sad? Maybe. But I completely understand the term “Working for the weekend.” I really don’t want to do anything but sit on the couch all day. Unfortunatly I have to squeeze some of my homework in there.

Okay. So. That is an update of my crazy life right now. I work from 9 – 9 Monday throughThursday, and from 10 – 2 on Fridays. There are some short breaks in there, but not enough of a break to get anything useful done.

So, tell me – have you ever been super stressed over a packed schedule? How did you deal? What did you do to realx. I’m looking for suggestions – because heaven knows I need to take a chill pill.

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Life as I know it.

I wish I could just SHOW you what my schedule looks like… but honestly it would be a pain to go through and delete all of the text to make it more anonymous. Work has made me lazy. Not lazy at work, but in every other aspect of life. My energy is being sucked out of my by this vortex called life and I want it back!

I wake up before the sun. The last time I did that regularly I was 18, and young and… stupid apparently. This is probably my least favorite thing ever.

Then I go to the gym for an hour.

Shower. Cause I smell.

And then from 9 am until 8 pm (9 pm on Mondays) I am FREAKING BUSY!

Guys. I need a break. And not like a weekend, but like… a week long hiatus from everything. I had no idea how crazy it would be with 4 classes and a full time internship. But now I do. And I know I should’ve planned this better. So umm… yeah.

That’s my story. It is 1 am right now. I should sleep. But I don’t waaaant to. But I doooo… but there is so much to do!

/end whining

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Way back when…

Monday, September 13: Re-upload the first post you ever wrote on your blog. If interested, re-write that post, showing us a before and after look at the piece.

This is from October 15, 2006 – my freshman year of college!?! I know I had a blog before that, but I can’t access it now, and it was probably just a meme any ways.

Penguins

It is very cold outside. Not the “snow on the ground, be happy and enjoy the crispness of the air” kind of cold, but “It’s too cold to just wear a sweatshirt, but too warm to wear a sweatshirt and a coat, but if you don’t wear a sweatshirt under your coat, you can’t take the coat off so HA HA you have to look like a penguin on your way to class” kind of cold. (Because I know the weather thinks these things out and plans it so that I look funny when I am out and about.

Also. I can not find a matching set of anything. None of my socks are matched in colors any more. Like, the sock is white, but the toe is a different color, and so the purples, pinks, greys and yellows are all mismatched. I am also lacking in a hat and gloves that match. I know I have a set of purple ish ones that match my jacket (and by a set I mean gloves, hat and scarf) and I also have an orange set, but I can’t find the gloves to the purple or the hat to the orange.

I am also sinking very low on the hygene table right now. I think I’ve been wearing the same sweatshirt and pants since…..sunday evening. I take them off and change my underclothes and t-shirt, and then put them back on… lol. This morning I climbed out of bed and walked to class. I got there and had the sudden realization that I was braless! Woops. It didn’t matter cause i slept with three shirts and two pairs of pants on (plus my 3 blankets and a thick pair of socks.), but it was just kind of a suprise. One of those “look how low you have sunken Jessica!” moments. oh well.

In other news, I wish that I lived one floor up so that I could take the elevator without getting the dirty looks that people send my way for riding the elevator up one floor. ha ha! GUESS WHAT!? I don’t care any more. If I feel like taking the stairs…I shall. But if for some odd reason I don’t want to take the stairs….I’m not going to make myself. I’ve come to the point where I don’t care what people think any more. I don’t care about their stares or snide remarks (because I’m paying just as much as they are, and if I can take the stairs, so can they!) and this is applying to more then just the elevator.

Yesterday I cleaned the room. Like, everything except for her desk. (I even made her bed.) My visiting teachers came over, and this is like, a church thing. It’s kind of like having assigned friends that come and teach you a predetermined lesson every month. It was nice, I love the girls that are my VTs, so it’s not really awkward. They brought pizza and we hung out for a while, looked and pictures and talked. I hate it when something (a lesson per say) seems like it is exactly what you need to hear, but it’s not the answer that you’re looking for. But any ways, yeah, I cleaned the room. My roommate has more hair then any one I have ever met, and her thick black hair is always all over the carpet, and it get’s into these little balls, and I always end up picking it up (I don’t dare use the vaccuum, cause I might break it.) and I wish she wasn’t such a slob. Like seriously, it is driving me so crazy that I am about ready to organize her stuff (and i don’t care if she doesn’t like it, cause she’s never here. So it’s kind of like I’m the only one here, and I really don’t like the mess.).

I am addicted to caffine. Now, all religeous beliefs and ideas aside, i get the worst headaches now if I don’t drink something with caffine in it. It seriously is an addiction, and I really don’t like it. It’s helped me see why other things are so much harder to give up (like smoking and drugs and what not.) but yeah. I need to stop, because I need to start sleeping at normal hours, and that isn’t going to happen if I keep drinking as much mountian dew as I do.

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Quote of the day: girl: “I don’t understand…” teacher: “What don’t you understand….I literally JUST said….2 + 2 = 4.” girl: “I know, but I couldn’t see the board.” teacher: *in stun-ed-ness* “but i just said it?!?!”

Thought of the day: “In order to be effective truth must penetrate like an arrow, – and that is truely likely to hurt.” Posthumous Pieces by Wei Wu Wei

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Back then I did quotes and thoughts and stuff. But I also only posted every couple of weeks. lol. Now I trying to post a couple of times a week. Oh the changes. I guess some context is needed. My roommate was a filthy girl who drove me crazy by staking so much stuff onto her desk and bed and floor that it took over the entire room. Now, you all know I’m a messy person. Messier than my husband at least, but this girl made me LONG for a slightly cleaner version of a pig sty. lol. It’s kind of neat to read this – because I feel like I’m very much the same person, I even write the same way. Apparently I haven’t learned anything in college. Yah!

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Another crazy week.

I don’t know when I will find time to blog. Or what I will blog about. Next week I am going to do a give away…. so I guess I should hop back on this blogging train. lol.

My internship is eating my life. All of it. I’m the victim here.

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rise&shine

I am waking up early (check) and going to the gym (almost check).

It is early. It is 5:30 right now. I am tired. Super duper tired.

B-man’s cousin is coming to visit. But I think I will probably be zonked out by 8. 8:30 maybe.

I have classes from 9 ish to 5 ish. Well, intern classes. They are not actually MY classes.

I don’t know if anything I’m saying is making sense because my brain can’t hold more than 5 words at a time.

Sorry if that sentence doesn’t make sense. (maybe I can hold seven words).

Any clue how desperately I want to demand more snuggle time in bed? It is an unmeasurable number. That’s your hint.

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My Yesterday

I woke up at 8 o’clock to be ready for my classes. I haven’t been a fan of waking up lately, but it was easy. I knew I had things to do.

Breakfast – check

Shower – check

Clothes – check

Stuff – check

And I left. But I was late. Always. ALWAYS!

My friend who signed up with to take my computer tech class with me went to the wrong classroom… but it was the same class, so he stated there, with out realizing he was in the wrong room. lol. I felt a little better about being late.

My next class as 15 minute later. I walked to the building I thought it was in. But it was in room 555, and this building only had four stories. Oops. Wrong building. So I turned around, and spotted a freshman. She looked lost. But she had a map. She let me look up my building, and the started walking with me. I asked her if she was going to class. “Nope, back to South Carrick.” She responded confidently. I felt bad, having to tell her she was walking the complete opposite direction of SC, but I did. She was thankful, laughed a little, and turned around.

I was also late to my second class. It was a mile away! So I got to Philosophy, and the room was too small for the class. Like… 50 people were standing or sitting on the ground. I hope that gets fixed. I am going to be rushed for time every day, with only 15 minutes to hightail it over there, so I am never going to get a seat if the room stays so packed. If I’m sitting on the floor where I can’t see I am much more likely to play games on my computer, than I am to pay attention. Bah!

My last class was much later in the evening, so I went home for a lunch break. Educational Psychology is last, and it is a prep class for teacher certification. Which I don’t need. But the class is required. It is from 5:45 – 8:30. LATE! But thankfully it wasn’t as bad as I expected. A  lot of other signing majors complained about the class a lot, but maybe I got a different teacher, because she seemed really nice, and the class kind of seems almost… easy. I guess we will see.

Then I went home. I was making chicken and curry rice. I did two things I don’t usually do. I had a cup of chocolate soy milk, and I stole some caramel ice cream topping from the fridge. And then my through and tongue swelled up, my eyes got itchy, and I got hives on my lips. My normal reaction for most fruits and some vegetables – but umm… I’ve had both of these things before with out problems. Part of me hates myself, because I think my allergies are related to my weight. I’ve never read that, or heard or been told… but I just have a feeling. I started getting random allergies at about 19 years old, and the list just keeps growing. Thankfully we had some benadryl, so I took one, ate dinner, and promptly passed out. So now I don’t know if it was the caramel, or the soy milk. So tonight, before bed, I am going to try the soy milk again, with benadryl on hand. That way if that is the problem – I can just go to bed, with out losing my hole night.

I’m allergic to:

  1. Apples *
  2. Peaches *
  3. Cherries *
  4. Red and green bell peppers
  5. Soy milk or caramel

* If these items are cooked, then I can eat them.

If something has even the tiniest piece of cooked or uncooked bell peppers in it… I hate my life for the next 24 hours. It’s sad because bell peppers used to be my favorite snack veggie.

So, are you allergic to anything? Have you always been allergic to it? Is it a new thing? And do you think it was the soy milk, or the caramel?

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My Tennessee

I want to share my Tennessee. It may not be the most exciting and happening – but it is definitely fun and beautiful. To those of you visiting from Blog-Trotting.com today… welcome! I hope you find my Tennessee as beautiful as I do.

I am not from Tennessee. I have moved all over the world, including Europe and a good portion of the United States. I chose to go to college in Tennessee, mostly because that is where I got in-state tuition. Honestly, I wasn’t very excited about it to begin with, but this beautiful state has grown on me. So I am going to show you my favorite places and things about Knoxville, and then give you some suggestions of places to see and things to do. Ready?

When in Knoxville, do like the Volunteers! So just to get in the mood, I wanted to share some of the most popular SOUNDS of Knoxville.

Yes, for college kids, and anyone in Knoxville on any given Saturday in Fall… football is the biggest thing. Here is a map of Downtown Knoxville, and the University of  Tennessee campus. There are seven multi-colored stars, each corresponding with a picture from below.

Yellow Star:  To be honest, the University of Tennessee has been losing long enough that it’s not about the game, but the environment. It’s about seeing these people walk down Neyland Drive…

To feel the humming from the people filling the streets…

To the point where you can’t see the road, the parking lot, or the sidewalk… it all disappears into a mass of orange.

Watch our beautiful Neyland Stadium start, small, empty, humble…

And become a vibrating mass of excited and anxious fans.

“GOOOOOD OOOOL’ ROCKY TOP” ringing in your ears as 100,000 fans sing along with the Pride of the Southland Marching Band.

The roar of the crowd, and the fireworks let everyone for miles around know that the University of Tennessee just scored!

But my favorite part of UT football is after the game. The next day. Sunday. The fresh feeling of winning a game, having fun, enjoying time with friends, and the soft autumn breeze that carries the sent of dying leaves across campus.

This is my UT football experience. If you are ever in town on a Football Saturday, scalp some tickets and join the fun (or… prepare ahead of time and buy some tickets… whatever floats your boat). I promise you will not be disappointed. Just remember, everyone looks good in orange.

Orange Star: Just to the left of Neyland Stadium (on the map above), is Circle Park. At the entrance to Circle Park you will find this statue:

This is the torchbearer. He represents the University’s ideals. “One that beareth a torch standeth in shadow to give light to others.” We are the Tennessee volunteers, giving of ourselves – not for ourselves, but for others. The torch in his hand guiding the incoming freshman class to our school’s standard of service. In his other hand he holds the Goddess of Winged Victory – the symbol of success. The goddess stands on a globe in the hand of the torch bearer – symbolizing that your success in this world is in your own hands. Take it. Run. Live.

It is just a statue. But it means something. If you want to come and see it… do. Then walk to the left and visit the McClung Museum, which hosts different exhibits 3 or 4 times a year.

Pink Star: Northeast of Neyland Stadium is The Hill.

The oldest part of the University of Tennessee, The Hill encompasses the original buildings, most of which are beautiful, but lack decent air circulation. My freshman year we burned up during August, and then by December we had to have the windows open because the stifling dry heat in the building was unbearable!

Ayres Hall as seen from the west.

If you are interested in Civil War history, this part of town is steeped in it. Even The Hill has its own bit of fame.

If you are interested in seeing the other civil war marker, try this website. It’s usually a good source, but if it’s still having API problems, then just type “Knoxville Civil War Markers” into your favorite search engine.

Purple Star: If you are looking for another college experience, check out The Rock.

Best paint job ever - picture by me, painting by someone more creative than me.

The center of lots of late nights, The Rock is often painted multiple times a night, and is also painted by the Band for Game Days. I’ve also heard that a few people have tried to propose using The Rock – but the most popular messages are those of well wishes, birthday wishes, and luck on exams and during games.

I did paint the rock with my roommates junior year.

Because honestly, who doesn’t love the Beatles?

Red Star: This might not be a place to visit, per say, but it is a beautiful spot during the fall, when all of the leaves change colors to a perfect golden yellow

I no longer live on campus, but I would love to spend my days tromping through these crispy leaves.

Light Purple Star: Less than a mile Northeast of campus is World’s Fair Park. It is full of interesting statues, and our outdoor amphitheater, fountains to play in, and bench parks to spend the early days of autumn sitting on.

This is also where my darling husband proposed to me, just over two years ago! Such a beautiful sight to me. I especially love the multi-faceted Sunsphere. During the World’s Fair you could pay $2.00 to go up and look around, but now the elevator ride is free, and it has different boards and videos about Knoxville and the park.

Aqua Blue Star: All the way on the right of the map is a lonesome blue star. It is lonesome because… well.. it’s not in Knoxville, but it is something worth checking out. This little star is on a path that my husband and I did some geocaching on.

Geocaching with the dogs & B-man

The path leads to Ijams Natural Center, which aside from having plenty of geocaches, has lots of dog-friendly paths, picnicking areas, and a nature center that teaches about ways to go earth-friendly.

Gretel hanging out in the Tennessee River

And that is my little tour of Knoxville, Tennessee!

Tennessee River, Knoxville, TN

Lastly, I wanted to share a few of my favorite restaurants. I didn’t have the time to get out and take pictures, but if you are ever in Knoxville, and you’re hungry, check the following places out – yummm!

  1. Calhoun’s is one of my favorite restaurants. It is a small chain only in Knoxville. The prettiest one is right by campus on the Tennessee River. My favorite dish to get there… is actually a salad. But it is HUGE and you will not be disappointed. It’s called the Turkey Creek salad. I feel hungry just thinking about it!
  2. If you like to go organic and local, you should check out The Tomato Head. All of their ingredients are fresh, local, and mostly organic. They have pizzas, salads, soups and sandwiches, along with vegan desserts! Located in Market Square, it is the perfect place to stop during a day of walking around town. My favorite item here is The Tuscan Chicken sandwich. PS: The hummus is to die for. My husband doesn’t like hummus, but he likes the hummus here. Give it a try; it’s cheap, so if you don’t like it, you’re only out $1.75!
  3. Speaking of Market Square, not only is it home to an outdoor ice skating rink in December, lots of quaint little stores and a summer concert series – it is also home to the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday & Saturday. Wednesday is a small event, with plenty of stands to peruse, but Saturday is almost fest-like, with the different vendors and street performers. Definitely worth a visit!
  4. This last one is a diamond in the rough. King Tut’s Grill is a fun little place in South Knoxville. On the weekend it is a happening party with karaoke and fun, while during the week it is a little more laid back. Mo is the owner and host, while his wife does all of the cooking. It’s delicious, authentic Greek food – and worth a try. It definitely looks sketchy on the outside, but it’s all “win” on the inside. PS: Mo doesn’t take plastic, cash or check only.

And there you have it! My Knoxville. My Tennessee. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little tour, and if you’re ever in my neck of the woods, give me a shout!

Welcome to Big Orange Country!

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What’s going on in my life…

My classes start in a week. Next Wednesday. I already have reading assignments. These teachers are being very proactive and I don’t like it. I am taking a basic philosophy class. Last semester I started taking this upper philosophy class, and it sucked, so I petitioned to have a different one count (one that I had already taken) but what I didn’t realize was that it was fulfilling a requirement, and it can’t count for both so now I need another class. Thankfully this one is easier than the one I was going to be required to take. I hope that kind of makes sense. This teacher sent out the syllabus and it’s a very… odd… class. All writing, no tests, and it’s not about the material but “how the material influences you”… so it’s like a self discovery class. Gee thanks.

I’m also taking a class about how to use power point and the internet in educational settings. Hahahaha. Do you know what a waste of time this is for me? Huge! I have been helping people with this class forever, but I already know! Plus, it’s not actually applicable to my supposed profession as an interpreter. Great. Waste my time. No big deal. Only costs a butt load of money.

Then there is the dreaded educational psychology class that every one says is really hard. The teacher has already assigned reading. I hate reading. But only some times. Because apparently I kind of like reading. I hate required reading…? Yeah. That covers it.

AND THEN! THEN THEN THEN! I have… my internship. Yeah. It should be interesting. Fun. A good learning opportunity. I don’t know where I am going to do it, but I know that I should probably go apply for the one on campus so that if the one at the middle school near me doesn’t open up, at least I’m not behind.

I am kind of nervous. I don’t feel like I’m ready for this level… actually interpreting. I’ve done it before, but I am still nervous. Ah!

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The tales of a troubled bedroom.

This has nothing to do with sex. When I say bedroom, I literally mean the room with my bed in it. Since Easter, when I went to visit my Aunt in Nashville, I have been feeling very underwhelmed about my own bedroom, as her guest room was absolutely incredible. The bed was so luxurious with the different textures and tons of pillows… here… it looked like this…

So I have been amassing a collection of bed linens in an effort to make my own bed a tad bit more interesting, and fun. So today when I went to Ikea, I bought a new duvet cover, and a new quilt with two shams that match. Then I also have my pink and seafoam green linens that I bought earlier this year. I realized that a white bedspread was asking for trouble with Zuko, who runs inside after dancing in the mud, so he can dance on my bed. It is cute, but not when it means I have to wash my blanekts constantly. The new duvet cover is a silky brown/gray. It should balance out the pink, and hide some of the puppy prints. I also bought an adorable rouched blanket to go at the end. It is not very practical, but it is very cute.

Also, I am going to be hanging my chandelier from my wedding in our bed room, and it is not possible to run it with wires to make it a functioning light fixture, but I bought a set of super cute led lights that I’m going to wrap around the whole thing, and it has a switch on it, so hopefully…. this will work out. Ummm… and I bought a light for by the kitchen sink, because the one we used to have in there died… dead… gone. Very practical.

That’s all. Aside from my random bed linen shopping spree, I have been chilling at home, bothering B-man while he works, and celebrating my grades. Oh, didn’t I tell you? My summer classes are FINISHED! Yippeeee! And I got an A in Western Civilization, and and a B+ in World Religions. Not too shabby. I am very happy with it, and that is what is important. lol. 8 semesters, and 1 summer of classes done, ONE SEMESTER LEFT! And… for some reason I can’t explain… my scholarship has been increased, so next semester, even though I am taking 15 credit hours, my tuition will be less than $1000! Woot! There is plenty to party about!

PS: When I get my bed all made up, I will take a picture, but I am worried that the color of the bed spread might not photograph well… so… I might not post  a picture. It all depends.

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