After breakfast we walked to the park across the street where a farmers’ market had set up. We browsed through the tables, picking up a few things here and there, including some garlic for planting, some lamb jerky, and a bag of hot green chiles for Jason. Then, with the car loaded up, we started driving east, making our way over to Portales, NM. The drive is what it is, without much scenery to distract you, but there were no issues. We took the long way into Portales so that we could take Reese past Cannon Air Force Base, where his mother was stationed when she was in the military. After that, we stopped at the Taco Box across the street from where my old dorm was, to have lunch. I then took Reese and Heather on a tour of Eastern New Mexico University, where I did some of my undergraduate work.
With that done, we got back on the road for the last bit of driving for today. We pulled in to Jason and Vic’s place late in the afternoon and spent some time catching up before heading out to Cagle’s Steaks for dinner. More catching up, plus some good food, makes for a great evening and a great end to a trip.
We got up early today, fed Reese some breakfast, and then went over to the UIS campus for the On-Line Graduates brunch. It was great meeting some of the faculty and students that I’ve had classes with. Counting me, three of the four members of my capstone project team were there, which was nice.
After brunch and some picture taking we went over to the Prairie Capital Convention Center for the commencement ceremony. It was a little long, but good. I’m glad I didn’t miss it. The commencement speaker was Wenguang Huang, a UIS graduate, who spoke about some of his experiences growing up in China. After the speeches it was our turn to walk across the stage and receive our diploma holders. That was definitely the high point of the day. I know the grades aren’t in yet, but it does bring a little closure to the process. Once we were all done, we were dismissed and got to pick up a free copy of Huang’s book. I was lucky and got one of the signed copies.
From there we went back to campus to take some pictures in my regalia and then back out to grab a little dinner before turning in for the night. Reese and I downloaded pictures from the cameras and his DSi once we were back at the hotel. The little guy’s got a good eye, and I’m thinking of how to encourage it.
Me in graduate regalia, with Reese and Heather
Heather and I got down to Love Field this morning to catch our flight to St. Louis. From there we rented a car and drove over to Pappy’s Smokehouse for some lunch. The barbecue was amazing. If you get a chance, it’s worth the trip through the order line. Here’s Heather munching on a pulled pork sandwich. She’s probably going to kill me for posting this picture, so have a wake for me at Pappy’s.
Heather enjoying a pulled pork sandwich at Pappy's Smokehouse
After lunch we drove up to Peoria to pick up Reese and then headed back to Springfield to get some dinner and settle in for the Commencement ceremony tomorrow. We went to D’Arcy’s Pint for dinner, where Reese and I split a horseshoe. It’s an open faced sandwich composed of bread, meat, and french fries covered in a cheese sauce. It was extremely tasty, and got Reese’s seal of approval as well.
Reese's first horseshoe
After that, back to the hotel for some sleep. Got a busy day tomorrow…
I hit the road for home today, with a few stops along the way. First I stopped by UI-Springfield to spend a little money at the bookstore. After that I putted down to St. Louis and popped in to Gateway BMW. After I grabbed some lunch I made my way over to the BMWMOA headquarters to say hi. They were really busy getting ready for the Redmond Rally but took the time to show me around. After that I got back on the highway and made my way down to Joplin, MO, my stopping point for the day.
Sorry for the long gap with no posts. It’s been a little hectic around here. The semester’s over and my final grades are in. I got As in both classes, which is nice. Five more semesters to go. All kind of crazy, but hopefully things are calming down and there will be more regular updates from here on out.
Today’s leg of the trip was a bit shorter, but just as much fun. I headed out from the farm to UI-Springfield to get my student ID and meet my advisor for a promised tour of campus. After the obligatory DMV like experience and the campus tour, I grabbed a quick lunch and got back on the road to Peoria. It was good to see Reese, he liked the Lego set I brought up. We went out to Chili’s for dinner, then played some Uno, where he beat me soundly more often than not.
Mileage for the day: 154
I turned in my final exam for the Operations Management class today and hopefully I did well enough on it to keep my final grade up. I’m definitely a little uneasy about this class, but at this point, it’s out of my hands.
The final grades for the Spring 2009 semester were posted and I did a little better than I thought I would. I got A-minuses in both classes, so now I guess I’m fully admitted and can get to work on the graduate classes starting in the fall.
Well, I finished my final and I’m on the cusp between an A and a B in the class. I’m happy with it, the class was good, I learned a lot about accounting that I hadn’t been exposed to. In fact, I learned enough to know that it’s not a career field I ever want to get in to.
One class to go, then I get the summer off…
Well… Today’s officially the first day of grad school and I’m busy signing in to resources, posting introductions, and generally getting class stuff in order. I’m taking 2 classes (Accounting and Operations Management) this semester, both deficiencies needed due to my tech heavy undergrad degree. It looks like the learning environment that UIS has implemented is usable in Windows, Mac, and Linux. Linux is the big surprise, but everything I’ve tried out so far has worked perfectly.