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Larger Than Life: Nostalgia

by Adria English

The impact music has on memory is huge. It’s something I’ve experienced for myself while at the same time witnessing from my parents–my father often drove my sisters and me to school, and he alternatively lectured us on some subject or “cultured” us by playing music from earlier decades. Sometimes the songs led into a history lecture as many lyrics refer to a concept of the period, like 99 Luftballoons or Spirit in the Sky, or we were treated to biographies of Elvis, the Beatles and Johnny Cash. When my father played a song, he told us its date and what was going on in his life at the moment, and how he first heard the song or what he did to buy a record. Life is wrapped up in the music, as if it has its own playlist.

I love being a kid of the 90s. The pop culture I grew up in remains vivid, looming inseparably over the scene of my childhood and simultaneously valuable for its own sake and valuable for how it appears in hindsight. I heard my father when he mocked *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, and I’m aware that not everyone will genuinely appreciate those musicians (“Call that music?” my father would complain) as well as other aspects of the decade’s culture, but I loved it then and I still love it now.

Like my father, I have my own memories that play to a record–or, to be accurate, they play to a cassette disk and then a few years later to CDs and finally an iPod. *NSYNC’s hit “Bye Bye Bye” was released when I was ten and enjoyed playing Four Square at recess. Unfortunately, the older girls dominated the scene, playing rough and keeping the rules flexible to suit themselves. For a few weeks when someone got out, the older girls jeered “bye bye bye,” complete with hand motions. One memorable day, however, my friends and I succeeded in beating out the older girls, and we did not neglect to crow “bye bye bye.”  

That year, a bad snow storm kept schools closed for a week. During this time, my younger sister Delaney and I spent our time exclusively in the basement putting puzzles together (including a 200 piece Little Mermaid pizza party puzzle and a 1000 piece Beauty & the Beast puzzle) while listening to our *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys CDs. It sounds simple, maybe even dull to some people, but to me it has the strongest sense of nostalgia, sweet and insistent. I could live an eternity in moments like those that reign larger than life.

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Adria English is a professional writer and a casual artist with a penchant for doodling. She currently resides in Mountain Home, Arkansas with her husband, Garrett, their daughter, Nenive, and two black cats. Adria blogs about young family life, culture and home projects at www.whitewallsblackcats.com.

Julie Kohl – Easy Artisan Bread in Under an Hour

by Julie Kohl

I love fresh, warm, just out of the oven bread. I always lamented the fact that we didn’t have a local bakery and for years went without fresh bread mostly, because I thought it was really hard to make. Turns out that it doesn’t have to be. I came across this recipe for delicious artisan bread a few years ago. It is EASY to prepare and tastes so good. I still wish we had a local bakery but this will do when I am craving warm bread. And the best part is, you can make this in UNDER an hour!

Easy Artisan Bread in Under an Hour
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Ingredients
  1. 4 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (two packets)
  2. 1 tablespoon sugar
  3. 1 1/2 cups water
  4. 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  5. 1 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 3/4 teaspoon vinegar (I used red wine vinegar but balsamic works great too!)
Instructions
  1. You will need a heavy duty, oven-safe dish with a lid. I used my cast iron dutch oven. An enameled dutch oven or a covered casserole dish will also work.
  2. Place the baking dish of your choice into the oven and preheat the oven to 450 degrees allowing the dish to come to temperature with the oven.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the yeast, sugar and water with the paddle attachment and then allow to rest about 5 minutes.
  4. Now add 3 cups of flour, the salt and the vinegar and beat for several minutes. Switch to the dough hook, add the last 1/2 cup of flour and beat for eight minutes. The dough will be sticky.
  5. Oil a large microwave bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl rolling it into a ball shape. Cover the bowl with a wet towel and cover that with a dry towel.
  6. Microwave on high for 25 seconds. Let the bowl rest in the microwave for about 5 minutes.
  7. Microwave on high for 25 more seconds. Remove the bowl from the microwave and let it rest on the counter for at least 15 minutes.
  8. Remove your heated dish from the oven. Shape the dough into a ball and place into the hot dish. Make several slits in the top of the loaf. Cover and return to the oven immediately. Bake for 30 minutes. Internal temperature of the bread should reach at least 120 and should sound hollow when tapped. If the bread needs more time remove the lid and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
Adapted from Somewhere but I don't remember!
Adapted from Somewhere but I don't remember!
Arkansas Women Bloggers http://arkansaswomenbloggers.com/

A Day in the Life of Ricci

by Ricci Ellis, Miss February 2017

I just did a “day in the life” post about a day I have off work on The Women Blogger’s Instagram account so today I thought I would take you through a day of my work life!

I am a Registered Respiratory Therapist and I work at two of Little Rock’s best hospitals! I work at UAMS full-time (3 days/week) and I am as needed at St Vincent. I work 12-hour shifts, hence the 3 days per week as full time. As much as I hate getting up at 430am on the days I work I appreciate only having to work 3 days a week.

So let’s get to it…

4:00 am. Alarm goes off and I hit snooze. A lot. I know I shouldn’t but I am one of those people who hits snooze without even realizing it so I hit it for at least 30 minutes, HA! I don’t call myself the Queen of Procrastination for nothing…

4:30 am: Actually get out of bed, take a shower and get ready for work. At this point in the morning, I have to make Sophie puppy get out of bed and go outside. She’s very huffy in the morning and does her business as fast as she can so she can get back in my bed and go back to sleep. Oh to live the life of a lap dog…

5:45 am. Leave the house! Most days I am running late so I usually eat breakfast in the car on the way. If I don’t grab a banana and a Spark for the road then I will most likely stop at McDonald’s and grab a Caramel Frappe. Frappes are my weakness. I love love love those things!! #Addicted

6:20 am. Get to work and clock in. At this point, I get a report, gather the equipment I need and then get to work seeing patients. I am able to work everywhere in the hospital so I never know where I will be when I go in to work each day. My favorite place to work is the NICU but I also enjoy the adult ICU and the floors.

Most people aren’t really sure what a Respiratory Therapist is or what we do until they need us so I will give you a quick description of my job! Respiratory Therapists work in all areas of the hospital. We work in all adult areas of the hospital giving breathing treatments, drawing arterial blood gasses, assisting doctors during intubation (inserting breathing tubes) and bronchoscopy procedures, setting up and maintaining ventilators (machine that breathes for you), suctioning patients, helping with trachs, assessing and educating patients and working in traumas and in code situations.

In the Neonatal ICU (my fave) we do all of the things we do for adults except we also go on high-risk deliveries and help with newborn resuscitations. Working with the neonates is really my favorite and so incredibly rewarding.

As a Registered Respiratory Therapist, I went to school for 4 years getting all my pre-requisites (I changed my major a few times…LOL) and then I transferred to UAMS where I went to school for another 3 years and finally obtained my bachelor’s degree in Cardio-Respiratory Care. I then had to sit for three board exams to get my Registered status. I have to do continuing education every year so that I maintain my Registered status, my state and national license.

11 am. Lunch time aka my favorite part of the day!!

12 pm. See more patients.

2 pm. Snack/coffee time!! I always need more caffeine in the afternoons and luckily for me, both hospitals I work in have fabulous coffee shops!

4 pm. See more patients!

6:53 pm. Clock out and go home!! Hallelujah and praise Jesus!!

6:55 pm. Sit in car and ponder what to do. Should I go to the gym? Not if I have to work again the next day. Grab something to go on the way home or wait to get home and eat? Depends on how hungry I am.

7:30 pm. Get home. Obviously, I have ignored the gym completely and decided to just grab something at home to eat. On the days I work I do not want to come home and make anything to eat so it’s either leftovers or cereal. As soon as I get home I let Sophie outside and take a quick shower before changing into comfy clothes/pj’s.

8 pm. Plant myself on the couch and eat dinner, check email and social media, attempt to watch tv.

9:30 pm. Crawl into bed and pass out because I have to get up at 4:30 the next day and do it all over again.

And that is a day of my work life. You can see I really don’t do much in the way of blogging or blog related on the days I work because I don’t have time! I usually set aside a whole day once a week and write all my blog posts, take pics for the blog, and schedule everything out on social media.

There was a time that I tried writing every night but I just wasn’t any good. I was super stressed all the time and that just makes for really bad writing and really dark photos. So after a few years of trial and error, I have found that this just works for me right now.

Hope you had fun following along on one of my work days!!