October 2012

Recently, Erin got found out that she was awarded Top 10 Freshman Women status which was an upgrade from the Top-20 status from before.  Needless to say, as a parent this is a proud moment.  We the parents were invited to a reception Saturday morning.

She had earlier been invited to the president’s house for a reception; I wish I could have gone to that but we weren’t invited.  Luckily there was a photographer there and we got a photo.

They were also recognized on the field during halftime of Saturday’s game with TCU.  This was an ironic situation since my Ph.D. is from TCU although I never really could get into their team when I was there.  When you’re raised as a Razorback, it might seem feasible that you could also become a Horned Frog, (one ridiculous animal to another)  but it was not to be.  I never learned to care.  Even less so now that Erin is at OSU.

Sadly, tickets to the game were not provided so we had to hastily procure some from StubHub.  Yay StubHub!  They never let me down.

The reception was early in the morning in one of their fancy reception rooms and she got a plaque.  Then we frittered away a few hours hanging out in her apartment and having lunch.

We had brought along Mel’s sister and husband and so we had someone to share the experience with.  Erin’s new boyfriend came along too.

Getting to see your child’s picture on the Jumbotron at a Big-12 game is one of those things that leaves an impression on you.  I keep trying to tell myself that it’s just a superficial thing and that the real value lies in the things that led up to this and the things that this implies about her ability to secure a good future for herself.  But it was still really cool and even though the accomplishment is hers, I feel proud too.  To her credit, she doesn’t let this stuff go to her head; she left right after that to go change and get ready to sort recycling after the game.

I want to say that we did a lot of things right to make this happen but I must say that she has been smart and ambitious (as well as social) ever since she could talk.  We can only take so much credit.

I keep thinking I should get her a job where I work and then the two of us can take over.  Just kidding.  Maybe.



Recently, Erin was chosen as one of the top 20 freshman women at OSU.  Just yesterday, she got upgraded to the Top 10 which is as good as it gets.  Mel and I are super proud.  She has already had her photo made with the president of the university as part of the Top 20 thing so I don’t know what other things she will do.  Last year, they were recognized at one of the games so perhaps this is coming up.

They announce this to the recipients during classes where they walk into class and announce it publicly.  Erin had seen the others get chosen during her engineering classes and presumed that she didn’t make the top 10 cut.  But I guess they were just going alphabetically and so during her last class – a 1 hour credit activity class in welding – someone showed up.  So she didn’t get announced in engineering classes when she looked good; she got announced in front of a bunch of ag majors in her welding helmet, gigantic leather gloves, and plaid shirt.  Talk about helmet hair.

Oh well.  She’ll have time to clean up for the photo ops.

Evan joined the cycling club in Ft. Smith soon after he started work there and last Saturday, participated in his first duathlon.  We decided to drive over to watch.
But not before Erin came home for her “fall break”.  That is really nothing more than a Friday without classes.  She had a race of her own to participate it which is the race to find a paid internship for the summer.  She had an interview with a company in Tulsa and so spent Friday preparing for and going to that.  She seemed to think it went well.
We got up early on Saturday to head to Ft. Smith.  It was raining off and on both there and at home and fall had begun all of a sudden with temperatures in the 50’s.  This was nothing but good news to me since I love the cooler weather – it was a great day for outdoor activities as far as I was concerned but Erin stayed put in the car most of the time.
We got to see Evan pass by the start/finish line several times for the riding and running sections.  Then when he was done we met up at his place and then headed off to lunch where we watched the Razorbacks on the restaurant TV.
Not a bad way to spend the weekend.  Plus it kept Mel’s mind off her upcoming new job.

Mel is mentally gearing up to start a new job and wanted to take one more little short getaway before she goes into a situation where she has no time off for the foreseeable future.  So we went to Branson.
If you can’t think of anything to do, you can always go to Branson or (if you’re addicted to losing your money) Las Vegas.  I wasn’t terribly enthused about it but that’s because I have no vision.  We actually had a very good time.
Mel found a nice place called “Still Waters” resort where we could have spent all our time without ever leaving the property.  But the package came with tickets to both Dixie Stampede and Silver Dollar City so we actually spent very little time at the resort.
I have been to Silver Dollar City many times; mostly as a kid.  My enthusiasm for it was at a low ebb since all my memories were of running from one scary ride to another (both when I was a kid and with my own kids).  I’m done with rides – I just don’t care any more.  They don’t interest me at all.  But a coworker mentioned that there is a lot to do there that doesn’t involved riding anything.  I had forgotten about all the craftsmen.  And, as it turned out, it was the “Harvest Festival” during which they bring in even more craftspeople for you to watch.
I thoroughly enjoyed the day. I got to watch and talk to three blacksmiths, three woodcarvers, and a guy who took trees and made them into square beams for building houses.  Not sure what that guy’s description is.  There was also a guy there with a strange little sugar-cane-squeezing mill turned by a mule walking in a circle which was good for a few minutes of entertainment.  The day passed very quickly.
We also went to the Titanic Museum which was pretty fun as well.
When it came time to return home we decided to go home another way.  I had read a couple of years ago about the Ozark Medieval Fortress, a castle under construction using medieval-period techniques but I should have done my homework: they are closed – probably forever due to lack of funds.  We drove up to the entrance but two trees were barricading the road.
I quickly reset the GPS to take me to Eureka Springs.  We made it there in time for lunch and then strolled around a bit until our parking meter ran out of time.  Then I called the number for Old Street Tool; two guys who make wooden handplanes for use in making moldings the old fashioned way.  They don’t really have a storefront; just a shop in the basement of Larry’s home.  They apparently feel that if anybody is interested enough to seek them out, then they probably will enjoy talking to them so he invited me over.  He even volunteered to come downtown and lead me over to his house.  I managed to find it by myself but not without calling him a second time to make sure I was headed down the right track.
It was really fun chatting with a master on the subject of his mastery and I would have paid money for the time I spent with them but they gave me their time freely.  I even got a bit of tutoring on proper technique.
So after littering their floor with shavings, we then headed out – back towards highway 412 which leads homeward.  We got back at 6:30 and Erin arrived soon afterwards for her fall break.  It was a pleasant way to spend a few days.