I work in the Humanities Division, and this Wednesday is the first student appreciation day of the year. The theme is Scrabble, (if you couldn't tell from the sign) and we will have four huge games going all day long. At any time during the day students or staff can come up and play a word, write down their score, and enjoy some snacks. 
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On Monday, our very own Mike Mennard opened his new childrens' poetry book, The Left-Sock Tree, at Indigo Bridge Books. He signed copies while Jim McClelland, the book's illustrator, drew a personal picture for each book signed. The next day, when Mike came into the office, he told Addi and I that the whole thing had just been so exciting and that he'd had so much fun (in my words). We had stopped by for the signing and it did look like everyone was enjoying themselves. Here's us interns with Mike and our fantastic office manager Tamara.
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But not from Chef Boyardee. This week, I had a blast with my grandma and her two sisters who stopped by Union on their way to North Dakota. After several busy days catching up with old friends and an all-day car ride, they had more energy and pep than any of my friends who spent the day sitting in classes. They really wanted to go to Trader Joe's, and I was not at all opposed to spending some time out of the room shopping for fun foods. In addition to buying fun snacks for the rest of their trip, my grandma got me these tiny little raviolis! They are PERFECT for the dorm as a nice alternative to just plain mini shells or orzo for those long Sundays when Union Market isn't open. Not that I go running to devour the caf food, but let's face it, most of the time it just takes too much time and effort to cook for ourselves. However, it all changes now. Mini-ravioli, you are my new staple. 
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Last night was the annual Clyde Peter's vespers, a huge bonfire event for the whole school. It was at the home of Clyde Peters, who was a pilot missionary in Peru and now hosts this huge event.
 
Prairieland Dairy, a local farm, brought us free ice cream and milk for the occasion. They were so nice and even brought two calfs for us to pet. Their ice cream was some of the best I'd ever tasted, the blue was cotton candy and the green was mint. Plus the colors were sooooo pretty! I wish they had a pink flavor.

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Chris's hands were so cold playing for vespers so he wore my gloves, making quite the fashion statement.
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Miss Frizzle's bus really got shown up by this guy, who turned a school bus into a vehicle that can go nearly 400 miles an hour and shoots out flames. Mikey was kind enough to let me sit on his shoulders so I could see and take pictures. I (jokingly) offered to let him sit on mine so he could see and this lady turned around and started cracking up. I guess she doesn't think I'm very buff....
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The school bus guy said his goal was to encourage kids to stay away from drugs. I'm not sure how exactly this helps or applies. I think he just really wanted a jet-powerd bus.

Here's an impressive explosion. Don't be alarmed, it was WAY out there, even though it looks like it's right on those people. It was so loud. This looks photoshopped but it's not.
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Today we went to the Lincoln Air Show. It was really, really cool. We wanted to get an early start so we left around ten in order to stake a claim before the show started at eleven. The really good news was that we parked 342676 miles away and had to walk and walk and walk, and once we got to the check-in gate, they told Nate he couldn't take his water jug in and he had to walk ALL THE WAY back. They were very thorough in their search "miss, do you have any firearms or explosives on you?" Yes, yes I do. Really, who would say yes to that question? It's like when you go to Sonic and you run your debit card through and it says "Do you know your pin?" and there is a YES and NO option. What would happen if you clicked no?

Anyway, once we finally got in with our regular-sized water bottles, we found a good spot close to the front and the show began. The first plane that went is the little one in this picture with the smoke stuff coming out of the back. He did some REALLY cool tricks. Later they had a lady pilot who did a lot of the same things and she was really cool too. The best news? This smoke is environmentally friendly. Good, because otherwise I would have had to leave in protest of this dangerous business. Just wait till you see the explosions that happened later.

They also had several nice tributes in honor of 9/11 and this guy parachuted with a flag while they sang the national anthem. I was very impressed.

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The sad thing was, as cool as all the planes and stunts were, the time when the most people flocked to the fence was when they announced the world's only jet-powered porta-potty. Literally, as soon as the words were out of the announcer's mouth, hundreds of people started swarming to the nearest viewing site in hopes of seeing this spectacular event.

In addition to watching planes drop people out of them, do loops, and produce sonic booms, we got to walk through some really impressive aircrafts. The one below was especially interesting for Nate who wanted nothing more than to push ALL THE BUTTONS.

In all seriousness, I think he did want to push the buttons, but he really was fascinated by all of it. 

We also got to see a FedEx plane, just like the one on Castaway. Luckily, there are no oceans or desert islands in Nebraska so escaping Tom Hank's fate was relatively easy. Plus, we were on the ground.

Another movie note: We were really excited to say "Get off my plane" while we were on this cargo jet thing because it was just like in Air Force 1. Minus the assassin. And the president.

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Mikey earned his wings on the FedEx plane.
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When the first plane was flying around showing off all of it's environmentally friendly smoke, I said to Danielle that I wished the smoke was pink, because that would be BEAUTIFUL! Like giant cotton candy. Well later they had these awesome sky divers who fluffed out pink smoke! It was so cool!

We wanted to stay to see the Blue Angels, which was the main attraction, but we'd already been their for four hours and needed to get homework and laundry and other Sunday chores done. So sadly, we missed that. The good news is, I got back to the room and was very productive. I did a whole load of laundry. Homework? nah. Why did we leave so early?
 
 
Friday evening was the annual Bonfire of the Humanities before vespers. Rachel did a really good job of planning for it, and I'd say it was a success! We had a good turn out and people seemed to be enjoying themselves. 
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Photo credit Union College, Steve Nazario
For thirty years, Union has taken a day out of the school year to serve the Lincoln community. There are no classes on Project Impact day, and most on-campus jobs are closed so that students can participate in this mass-community-service event. Today was my second ever Project Impact, and the thirtieth year overall. Lots of us have parents who have participated in this even, which at the time was known as Project BRUSH (Beautifying Residences Using Student Help). Originally, the idea was mainly to paint houses for people who didn't have the capabilities or time to do it themselves. Eventually, though, Union added the opportunity to volunteer for many other local non-profit organizations. Unfortunately, the super-cool acronym BRUSH was also left behind. 

To my knowledge, Project Impact is the longest-runing annual volunteer day of any school in the US. Participation is usually at least 80% and as many as 50-75 sites are visited each year. This year was a pretty big deal, the Nebraska state senator Tony Fulton was here and he read us a proclamation, proclaiming today 30th Project Impact day. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but it's kind of cool. In addition, Ted Wilson, the president of the Adventist World Church was also here to congratulate and encourage us and to work with a team.

I was pretty excited that the shirts this year are, as Pastor Rich says, "Paprika" or a pink-orange color. We started off the day cleaning at a local community center, something that RaeLea and I were pretty good at with all our daycare disinfecting experience. When we were done there we went to a house and helped paint for awhile before it was time to go. It was really cool to be a part of this 30 year milestone. Apparently the Lincoln media was supposed to cover this pretty thoroughly, so if I find any interesting articles or videos I'll be sure to post them. 

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How they linger, how they ever flood my soul. Yes, I like that song. I got a card from my grandpa and I absolutely love it. A few weeks ago, while dubbing old family home videos, I made a DVD of all the parts where we were visiting my grandparents and sent it to them to watch whenever they had time. Now even for the person IN the home movies, they can get boring. Bless them, they watched the whole thing (nearly two hours) all the way through! Anyway, my grandpa sent me a thank you note which made my day, and even made me cry a little. But in a good way. I love my grandparents so much and I can't imagine my childhood (which I still sort of consider myself to be in) without them.
That's me on the front of the card, with my little brother. I really don't know what I'm feeding him. Maybe a peach?
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Here's me and my grandpa and my great grandma. I think this was around my first birthday, but I really don't know.
 
 
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In exactly 40 minutes, I will be at my Astronomy lab. 
But not a minute sooner. 
Actually, a few minutes sooner, because if you are late you loose a point. After 5 minutes, you loose two points. I'd rather keep my points, thank you very much.
Until then, however, I'm sitting here and working on stuff for my job, as well as checking out this sweet sprout thing coming out of my cactus. I have no idea what it is, but I'm so proud that I have a plant that isn't dying! At first I thought RaeLea put some kind of stick in there as a joke. But it's the real deal. I hope it turns into a flower. 
Wouldn't that be exciting?
I swear it wasn't there last night when I put the blinds down; it had to pop up over a period of several hours. This cactus has accomplished more today than I have.
Until I go to astronomy lab, that is. I'm sure we will accomplish quite a lot. Any maybe, just maybe, we will be done by 10:00 instead of 11:00. 
Oh, also here is a photo of a super cool catapiller-type bug we found this weekend.

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