Campus Changes

This is the view of the old MU pay lot that sits just South of Strand Ag Hall (my building). It kind of looks like a swimming pool, but it is the future site of the Student Experience Center.  Oh, and the Bookstore in the background is closed. It moved to its new location.

That is the new location of the Beaver Bookstore. In the parking deck across from Gill.  That end is a yet-to-be-opened Dutch Bros.

The main entrance is around the corner and across from Gill Coliseum. See Reser Stadium just down the street?

The inside is all shiny and gigantic.

Need a hat?
Yup, that is a large screen TV in the corner... with three leather chairs in front. That will be a hit on game day.

The Beavers have their first game on Saturday. Go Beavs!

There is also a new Native American Longhouse across from Weatherford and the MU.

Last but not least - this giant. Austin Hall - the new business building. That crane has been a constant site on campus all summer. Across from Weatherford in the old Women's Building field. The shell is up, but the building is not set to be occupied until Fall 2014.

These are just a few of the project underway now - check out the current construction on this map.


Last 5 books - August 2013 edition

Yup, you counted correctly. My last 5 books list has 6 books. I was on vacation and read these 6 in the last 2 weeks. I love vacation!

After trudging through a book as long as "A Prayer for Owen Meany", I was looking for some quick, non-fiction reads. Thus, "Naked" by David Sedaris, "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me" by Mindy Kaling and "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. This is the second Sedaris book and besides enjoying the Raleigh setting of his childhood (my undergraduate college town), I love the humor in his stories. Since the Office is my favorite show ever, I was excited to read something by the illustrious Kelly Kapoor. She did not disappoint in this story from childhood to Hollywood career - I laughed out loud multiple times. 

"Wild" was not what I was expected - having received a recommendation for this book from some older friends at a Bible study. Since this tells the story of Cheryl's hike along the Pacific Crest trail from the Mojave desert to the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia river, I was expecting redemptive human discovery. I was surprised by the one night stands, hippie values, and heroin use. Not a bad story - just not what I thought I was in for. Since the last part took place in Oregon, I read it on the flight back from my vacation. A good transition.

I had also packed in some southern beachy reads - because I was vacationing by a pool in South Carolina. That lead me to "South of Broad" by Pat Conroy  set in coastal Charleston, SC and "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks set in Southport, NC. I love everything I have read by Conroy and have already added "Beach Music" to my "TO READ" list. I know people think Nicholas Sparks is a bit predictable, but I always get lost in his characters. 

I cannot explain why I chose "Miss Peregrine's home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs other than I have been wanting to read it for months. I would have waited had I known the sequel wasn't coming out until January.  This book was all fiction and fantasy and, a surprisingly quick read about (not) dead peculiar children from WWII. 

Next 5 books up:
  1. Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
  2. Quiet by Susan Cain
  3. Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo
  4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  5. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote


Last five books I have read - July 2013 edition

I was thinking I would talk about what I have read in July - but work has been so busy and 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' is such a hefty book, that I only read two books this month. So I am dipping into June so I can talk about the last 5 books I read.

Speak (Laurie Halse Anderson), Maisie Dobbs (Jacqueline Winspear), Firefly Lane (Kristen Hannah),
A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving), and Summer Rental (Mary Kay Andrews)

These are diverse books.

'Speak' is "a young adult novel that tells the story of Melinda Sordino's rape, recovery, and confession" and was a fairly intense little book. I liked Anderson's style of writing and have already added another one of her books to my "to read" list. 

'Maisie Dobbs' is a mystery set in Post WWI England. Think Sherlock Holmes, but female and in a later time period. It was a fun, quick read and is the first in the series. There may be more of Miss Dobbs in my future.

'Firefly Lane' was about a friendship between Tully and Kate that spans 3 decades and, I am almost sure the story will move you to tears. This is not earth-shattering literature, but is a friendship story set in the pacific northwest that has a summer time feel which made it a great read for me personally.

'A Prayer for Owen Meany' was my book club's selection. I loved John Irving's 'The Cider House Rules' so I was excited to read another one of his works. 'A Prayer for Owen Meany' is a BIG book (my paperback was a whopping 640 pages) and explores the heavy themes of faith and fate while making you laugh at the ridiculous adventures of John Wheelwright and his friend Owen. Irving has a way of infusing wit and humor into even the darkest of topics. Despite that fact that it took almost all of July for me to get through this book, it was a good read.

'Summer Rental' was a departure. It was June and, like the characters in the book, I was away from work (on a plane to a conference back east).It felt right to read about people on a summer vacation. It was your typical summer beach read: girl meets boy, plot thickens with complicated mystery friend, drama ensues. I can't say much for the story except that it made the 5 hour flight go quicker.

Next up: 
'Naked' by David Sedaris
'Safe Haven' by Nicholas Sparks
'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' by Ransom Riggs
'South of Broad' by Pat Conroy
'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?' by Mindy Kaling


Ladies Weekend - Dallas TX - July 2013

I flew to DFW to meet up with some amazing girl friends I met while living in Columbia. We had not all been together in 3 years.  It was a whirlwind. Here is the weekend run down. I flew in on Thursday night and left Sunday evening.You will notice - we ate a lot for three days.

This view greeted me from the tarmac.

Annie hosted and we met her little guy AJ for the first time.What a cutie.

We ate Sonic in the car at 11pm. Coney dog and Mozzarella sticks.

We ate Sno-cones from the Sno-Cone lady - a Frisco tradition since 1983 (Which makes the snow cone lady older than Sara!)

We melted in the Texas heat while eating Tex Mex from the Blue Goose.

We watched a storm roll in while outlet shopping. Yea for new shoes.

I had my first In-N-Out burger.

In two days, we ate a family size bag of Julio's Chips...largely for brunch and late afternoon snacking. Somehow I still lost weight during the week. I know you are scratching your head at that!

We Redboxed and watched 'Identity Thief'. Meh.

We toured the JFK museum at the old book depository. We also had pizza at this amazing little strip mall pizza joint on our way. yum.

Yup, that is the grassy knoll as seen from the 7th floor of the book depository.

My most memorable experience was dinner at Cooper's. HOLY.COW.

When you walk in the door, they raise the lid on a grill and it looks something like this (see below). You order your meat and tell them what fraction of a pound you want....(i.e. 1/3 lb sausage, 1/4 lb brisket) and if you want them to dip it in that bucket of saucy goodness. You hand it off to the next people who slice or chop it, wrap it and weigh it. Moving down the line, you select your sides. I had some sausage and mac-n-cheese that make me want to go back to Texas. So good.

I had lunch at Rosa's Tortilla Cafe and hit up the local mall.

We walked around the Fort Worth stockyards looking at all the fun you can have if you spend the day. Run the maze, watch a cattle drive, take in a wild west trick roping show, shop, eat and more. We went for two things. Cooper's and Billy Bob's.

So, we spent an evening at Billy Bob's (the world's largest Honky Tonk). Click that link to see this place. Gigantic. Concert. Indoor Bull riding. Arcade. Dance Floor.  I also had my  first ever cherry vodka sour - thanks for telling me about those Sara! And as a bonus, we had free drinks coming all night long. And the website doesn't lie: It is a family joint. There was a 1 1/2 year old at the next table - at 10pm.

Oh Texas, I look forward to seeing you again in September. This time: Lubbock.