This idea isn't a completely novel one; I've seen similar ideas on the web and in other teaching materials. However, I created this one to specifically suit the needs of my writing students. Feel free to download and enjoy. Click on the image for the Google Docs download, and enjoy!
It's no secret that Oklahoma's weather is extreme. I don't really know what people from across the country think of when they think of Oklahoma, but I can pretty much guess that just as I involuntarily think of unshaven men in fishing pants when I picture Alaska and my mind's image of Florida is sprinkled with "elderly couples in mint Cadillac" confetti, I can probably assume the universal stereotypes of Oklahoma include some vague concept of a Southern Baptist theocracy in a Devil-went-down-to-Georgia battle with the ubiquitous Indian casinos and thousands of rubbernecking rednecks standing on their porches tornado watching.
And they would be kinda right on both counts.
I've lived in the city my whole life, and I'm indoctrinated to its ways. As I jaywalk to my car every evening, taking in the sounds of cars and trains and the electric buzzing of downtown, the comforting art deco giants looking down protectively, I find the thought of living in the midst of rural quiet a bit unsettling...a bit Deliverance. I'm not going to lie and pretend like I know much of anything about Oklahomans outside of the city. To my shame, when people begin listing off their tribally-named hometowns (Okemah, Coweta, Talladega), I realize my familiarity with most of them comes from watching the storm warnings roll across the bottom of the local news as I watch for Tulsa and pray the storm doesn't interrupt the broadcast of Community.
Most native Tulsans have the similar paradoxically warm childhood recollections of tornado warnings: being rushed into the bathroom, hallway, or (in our case) the "cubby hole" under the stairs, where we'd wait for hours sometimes, eating culinary abominations like canned cheese and chicken-n-a-biscuit crackers (a concept that defies the laws of God and man) while playing Monopoly or Clue by candlelight to the sound of sirens through wind until the storm passed. Honestly, storms are kind of fun to us.
Thunderstorms are kind of fun. Winter storms straight up suck. Case in point, last year's blizzard, when our central heat conveniently went on the fritz while we were snowed in for a week straight and our bath tub froze, literally a week after this sunny day picnic, and the devastating ice storm of 2007 (oddly and unfortunately, I was very pregnant for both of these events).
But even winter storms I can cope with. It's the Iraqi desert heat waves that make this place unbearable. This summer, for example, temperatures lingered over 100 hellish degrees from late June until the end of August in a record-breaking heat wave. On top of all the floods, droughts, microbursts like the one that flipped our neighbors' 18 foot trampoline onto their shed last year, ominous squall lines, golf-ball-sized hail, and other such miseries, the recent rash of earthquakes has prompted an even more menacing threat--a dramatic increase in talk of the "end times" inevitable in this part of the country (shudder).
But the truth is, anyone in 7th grade science can tell you that we live in the middle of the continent--in scientific terminology, the middle middle--near some pretty flat geography, where extreme weather is a fact of life. While it can be a drag, we do get surprised occasionally with unseasonably awesome days, as was the case last week. With three kiddos in the house now that Arthur's cousin Noah is going to be staying with us for a while, I took the hint, grabbing the stroller and a couple of bags for nature hunting.
It was an amazing day. Enjoy our pics.
posted with love by Kristi Roe Owen at Wednesday, November 23, 2011
As a writing teacher at Tulsa Community College, I often find that students have trouble knowing how to get started taking notes. With those students in mind, I created this handy (and cute) little handout for helping students get going on the whole notetaking thing. It also works for church notes, seminars, business meetings. Please feel free to download the document here and enjoy.
When I was a little girl, my parents took a f---ton pictures of my brother and I with the polaroid camera and we did the obligatory seasonal Olan Mills trip. I hated the studio portraits because I couldn't then and still can't smile on request. My smiles were skin-crawlingly creepy. I am glad to now live in an age were it doesn't take a roll of film to get a decent shot and we can take as many home photos as we want and some of the time they are as nice as studio pics. My next goal for this year is to take a photography class so my pics can be amazing. Meantime, for having our camera out of commission, it's pretty freaking awesome to be able to take a half-decent shot, or shall I say a shot that rivals anything my old purple 110 could have caught, with my phone. I love living in the future!
I love this shot of Arthur. He loves scary things...loves them. Haunted mansions, The Dark Crystal, ghosts, aliens, skeletons, crystal balls, Tim Burton. He loves all that stuff...definitely our progeny. For this photo, I asked him to make his scared face. I think he did a pretty good job.
When you wait 12 years as a couple to reproduce, you put a lot of thought into the weight of what having children means. I truly believe that as Arthur and Lucy's parents, it's our job to help them find who they are and become the best version of that they can. But actually seeing that happen...well, it blows my mind every single day.
There are so many things that make Arthur his own man. He quotes "The Raven" and can tell you it's by Edgar Allan Poe. He actually thinks the raven's name is "Quoth" (because the poem goes "Quoth the raven"), but nonetheless, he loves it. He eats (rather well) with chopsticks:
And he knows the names of several Star Trek species and all the major characters from Star Wars.
I love the way he takes all his toys and creates elaborate scenarios with them, sending them on missions and having parties and such. I love that he plays with cars and with dolls equally. Hell, his cars and dolls go to parties together. I love that he dances and plays drums and makes up his own songs and stories. I love that he uses words like "actually" and uses the adverb "well" rather than "good" ("I don't do that very well") and that he loves tuna mac as much as he loves pizza. He enjoys helping us cook, and anytime we wash dishes by hand, he immediately brings his little chair up to the sink to help us. I especially love how he's starting to fill the role of big brother (protector, caretaker, teacher, friend):
I know these guys are going to be so close. I just can't wait to see who Lucy will become.
The baby is growing like a weed; she wears 12 month clothing at 4 months old.
Arthur is starting to really love having a baby sister.
Sneaking some love when no one is looking
Lots of playing dress-up for the fun of it
Hanging out at the VFW
Extra people in our bed
Learning new things
Quiet moments are rare these days
Grocery shopping as a family is more of an outing than an errand these days
Constant laughter all over the house