Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Things I Like

Well, my husband, yes. I like him a great deal. But I realized I had not yet posted a "full body shot" of our house. After a week of rain, the sun poked out and we took advantage of the opportunity to take a walk up the street to the lovely...

Water tower. Isn't it great? A funny welcome back to the U.S. after our year in México. If I am lost while driving around Bowling Green, I look for it, as it sits on one of the highest hills in town. And "our" hill is historic, as I mentioned in another posting (note sign below).

Think I better note, Kentucky was a divided state during the civil war, with both Union and Confederate supporters. That is something I like too.

This is something I like and dislike. It is terrific to see so many bikes parked outside of our building every day. It just isn't fun trying to pull it out of the heap when leaving school.

Speaking of bikes, yesterday I was biking around campus and topped a hill to the theme music Chariots of Fire coming from the campus bell tower. That was pretty nice.

I also like the Hilltopper volleyball team. They won again last night in a close 5 game match against Xavier. They are a strong team, with friendly-looking gals.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BFF

It was a Friday night and I was laying on the sofa going through names with Josh. I was listing each of the new friends that I have made here, stretching a bit when I noted our loan officer and realtor. My list was not very long, but Josh reminded me that it's only been a month.

Because we are primarily surrounded by college students all day, I think Josh and I are in a confusing in-between land, trying to figure out who can be our friends. We have had opportunities arise to attend social gatherings with students, go bike riding with a student, go to dinner at a student's house; a student requested my friendship on Facebook. I like these students a lot. But I am determining the "boundaries" and am hopeful for encounters with people closer to my age.

Today when I was biking to school I was startled and confused by someone calling out my name. Hardly anyone knows me here yet. I turned to find it was a student, and one whom I advise at Imagewest. He had a loaf of bread in his hand and was heading in to the frat house to make lunch. I smiled and biked away, considering that regardless of whether I can call someone a friend, it's nice to be noticed.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Running and Meat

There is great hoopla surrounding football at WKU. Tents are set up, tailgating is encouraged. A huge marching band performs and canyons and fireworks are set off. Though the Hilltoppers team has not been so successful, hoards attend games in the 22,000 seat stadium.While Josh and I watched the WKU football team play last weekend (Loss, 13-35), I decided to visit the other side of the spectrum on Saturday morning and walked over to Kereiakes Park, where a WKU cross country meet was being held. It was a still morning with high humidity and remnants of fog. And it was quiet. As I hit the outer edge of a cemetery I encountered the women turning the bend in the first of three laps around the park. At the front of the pack was Janet Jesang, a Ugandan WKU junior who, by race end had achieved over a 30 second gap to win first. And equally impressive was Patrick Cheptoek, a Ugandan WKU senior who cleared the finish well in front of the second-place racer.
There were maybe fifty people in attendance, most of them seemed to be related to, or close friends of the racers. There were large stretches where the course was void of spectators, and it was up to the runner to work up the stamina to push harder. Their faces were set in determination with the simple goal to push their speed until they crossed the finish line... without the fanfare.


Photos taken with phone, so the quality is not the best...
And then the meat. We were invited over for dinner at a Western Kentucky professor couple's home 15 minutes outside of town. They raised a cow called "Freezer Bound" and at 3 years (which is old for beef cows) he left his life on their little tract of land and is now stored in their big freezer. They wanted to have some friends over to share chili made with Freezer Bound's hind meat. We also visited their hens and roosters and saw the contraption they use to move the chickens around to fresh plots of grass each day. The chickens go crazy when they hit a new patch of grass and tackle over each other for clover. I was highly amused, as you can tell from the video.



This is such a common site! Tobacco drying in the neighbor's barn



To end, and make this a real clutter of topics, I thought I'd post a photo of the stained deck for all those who have been eagerly awaiting the outcome (before shot here).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Brings Me Back

We are fairly settled here in the Crump house, and now I am doing the piddly things, like organizing and scanning in old photos. There are many to note, but this one in particular floods me with good memories. Tiff was one of my best friends throughout elementary school. She lived a road away, and when we were called home at the end of the day, we'd take turns biking each other back for dinner. We both had banana seat bikes, of course, and Tiffany had a basket where her little poodle Molly would ride. The way I remember it, we always had a plan...we made radio shows, organized files in our "law office," and played with our Monchichi dolls. At Tiff's house we experimented with her mom's makeup, played The Bangles loud and jumped on her bed, made candles for a science fair, and tormented her older brother Zach.
In high school we grew apart some, as many childhood friends do. But as I look at this photo in particular and think back on long summer days, I'm quite thankful that so many were spent with Tiff.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Action Packed

It has been a sporty weekend, beginning with the issuing of my WKU ID, which I went on to use later in the evening for free admission to a volleyball game. The Lady Hilltoppers had an impressive win over Northern Illinois, closing the deal in three matches. And I had a close-up view of Big Red, our mascot who is one of the top picks for favorite college mascots in the nation.

The following day, Josh and I biked to Pig, and stopped back in at the Porky Pig Diner for water and Cokes. Many of the roads were narrow and winding and had very little traffic, and along the way we were offered views and smells of tobacco drying.

Later that evening the Hilltoppers football team was playing University of South Florida and we decided to bike down and watch the game from behind a fence for a bit. Our team was getting crushed*, but we were offered the diversion of watching the flag team warm up before their half time performance.
*We are more excited about attending the WKU basketball games, which promise to be better, as WKU made it into the second round of the final four last year.

Today I worked my muscles on cleaning and staining our back deck. Here are the before photos... I did not quite finish today, but will post the after shots soon. I am sure the suspense will be hard to handle.


And a few parting shots to finish off my sporty blog. The photos below are from going to see the Hot Rods (named so because of the corvette factory here in town) with my folks last weekend. This minor league team plays in a brand new stadium where it's hard to find a bad seat.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Rock


One thing Kentucky is known for is its extensive system of caves, and in Bowling Green we are sitting on top of some of the most impressive of these limestone wonders, which extend in all directions. The most noted and well-known is Mammoth Cave National Park, a 25-minute drive north from our place. My folks drove down to visit over this long weekend and we made visits to both Mammoth and Lost River Cave parks to do a different style of hiking.

An osage orange, which we thought was peculiar looking


This lends an idea of how damp it is in our area... beautiful moss/ lichen

Coming up from visiting a Blue Hole (explanation of one is a bit further below)

Click on these photos to make the image a bit larger. These informative markers are at Lost River Cave right on the edge of town.


The deep, deep Blue Hole

The following day at Mammoth Cave. Preparing to enter via the Historic Entrance. Goodbye sunshine.

Back in the 1800's and early 1900's this part of Mammoth Cave was used for dances, sermons, mining of gypsum, hideaways for soldiers and early tours given by slaves who new the underground passageways well. Many people left their names scratched into the limestone walls, and because of little effect from the elements, the names are well-preserved. The one above dates from 1839. Even then people were wanting to make their mark.

People also used candles to "smoke" their names into the rock

A huge drop. We had the ease of walking across this via bridge, but the first explorers used a ladder laying horizontally to crawl from one side to the other.

My folks and me. The route on our tour was lit, and quite passable. But we were offered a few opportunities to experience what a more hardcore caving experience might feel like as we squeezed through "Fat Man's Misery" and at another point when the pathway lights were turned off. There are 365 miles of discovered routes through Mammoth Cave, and according to a friendly man in the gift shop, he believes there are over 1000 miles of passageways.

After Mammoth, we stopped in nearby Pig, Kentucky to visit none other than Porky Pig's Diner for their recommended pulled pork sandwiches and catfish.


My folks marveling at the Porky Pig decor, in front of bottles of homemade BBQ and tarter sauce.
On the way back down to Bowling Green.

As I write, my folks are driving 15 hours back to northern Minnesota. I wish them safe travels and that their GPS doesn't fail them.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Smoking

Josh and I were introduced to the website bikley.com by a new friend here in town, and found a slew of bike ride possibilities in our area. We tried out a 40 mile route yesterday that took us on windy, hilly roads, leading us past a number of farms and beautiful vistas. Among the sites were tobacco farms; a crop I had never seen growing before. Despite the fact that this plant is bad on a number of accounts, it is beautiful nonetheless. At this time of year the leaves are large and a striking yellow. They were in the process of harvesting the crop yesterday and drying leaves could be seen hanging in tobacco barns, the beginning of their journey on to being stuffed inside of tiny rolled papers, quenching people's addictions.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

First Days

Above is the building that both Josh and I are working in on the WKU campus, The School of Journalism and Broadcasting. I took a quick walk yesterday evening before heading to observe a class, and liked what I saw. The campus was alive with students... some playing frisbee, a couple tossing the football back and forth, groups scattered sitting on the lawn. You can find just about anything on a college campus, especially a larger one like Western. And what is nice about that is that people can embrace the studies and activities that may not have been as popular in high school, like those practicing in the marching band and creating a performance with flags below (I was pretty far away so this shot isn't so great). I am eager to find my own niche too.