Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Keeping with Tradition

Huit jours, encore.
Here goes my (fairly) weekly update.

-I've been reading like a madwoman since I've been home...not so much the last few days but otherwise, it's about all I've done. Nowadays, I'm starting to occupy my time with slightly more productive endeavors, but it has been soooo nice to read for leisure. Kind of one of those things that everyone wants to do but never has the time for...

-Christmas went well. Nothing to exciting, nor boring. Just pretty average. I will say, however, that I wore short sleeves and capris pants on Christmas Day. I know, I know, it's such a crime, right?

-The weather has been pretty finicky, as always. It's on the cool side now, but definitely not cold, nor hot and muggy. I'm okay with this balance. :) I had to laugh though...Nathan claims that he moved to Seattle (from Boise) because it rains there, so I've been complaining about how it's snowing there and how I'm really jealous, especially with all our disgusting weather here in Louisiana. I keep telling him that he moved to the wrong state (referring to the crazy amount of rain we get here). Well, to prove a point, the other night I went to weather.com to find actually data to back up my comments...and I was right!! Seattle's average rainfall is 35 inches per year, where as Abbeville's is 60 inches per year!!! Then I started comparing temperatures and realized that the lowest recorded temperature in both cities was 11*F in 1989. Crazy that both cities had the same lowest temp, and in the very same year. Interesting. And just in case you were curious, Boise's lowest recorded temperature was -25*F in 1990. ...Just some weather trivia for ya, there.

-More praise to the USPS...I got my two boxes from Boise on Friday, woot!! That means they made it here in just under a week, despite the increase in holiday shipping volumes. Niceee. I'm really quite impressed.

-Haven't called about the Child Life stuff in Lafayette yet...need to get on that though. Perhaps I'll call tomorrow, or, maybe early next week. I'll keep ya updated. :)

-England is still a possibility, but not so much for New Year's, considering New Year's Eve is tomorrow, lol. Perhaps I'll go later in January, but no decision yet. I'll be sure to post when a final decision is made.

-As for graduate schools, my mom and I spent alllll day today looking at possibilities online. I've basically narrowed it down to about 5 programs, which, after talking to Briana (friend from Boise who's also applying for the fall), I feel pretty okay with. Now I'm going to start inquiring about them and perhaps planning a visit or two, and that sort of thing. I suppose I have to take the GRE, an idea which I loathe at the moment, but woe is life. We'll see how things go. I really need to make some significant progress in this area before leaving on my next adventure (more about that shortly).

-And, last but not least, apparently my interview with the DC position did go well, because I got a call yesterday saying that I got the job! Wooot! As much as I really want to be in Boise, I think DC will be good for me. There are a lot of things that have kind of fallen into place regarding DC, so it seems like this is what I'm supposed to be doing. For one, Dawn (LA), Jeff (ID), Benjamin (OH/MI), and Gillette (MT), all 4-H friends, will be in DC for Ag Day on the Hill in March, which so happens to be the same time as my birthday. Also, my brother will be going up there twice in the spring (once for WOW and once for National 4-H Conference), and my mom will be going once...so I'll get to see them sometime. What else...hm. Even if I don't have the opportunity to work as a facilitator this year, I will get to see everyone because I'll be around during Conference, which is exciting. Anddd, today I found out that David (NJ), one of my friends from heart camp, is planning a trip to DC in February, so it will be great to see him again, too! So, I guess, all signs point to our nation's capitol for my next (semi) longterm adventure!

Alrighty, I think that's enough for now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Points of Interest

Hm, so, it's been another 8 days, and I can't for the life of me remember what I've done each one of those days since I wrote last. I do, however, have a couple of key points that might be of interest to my few, but loyal (?...yeah I know, I'm just making myself feel better...don't bother, Loser) readers out there.

-I would like to note that it snowed in Louisiana the day before I got home, and began blizard-ing in the Pacific Northwest the day after I left. It hasn't stopped snowing since. ...And, despite various delays, all Boise travelers (Jason and Ashley to Illinios, Kim and Joey to Louisiana, Tessa and Jesse to England) have made it to their various destinations safe and sound.

-I started compiling a list of differences between here (home/Louisiana) and there (Boise/Idaho/Pacific Northwest/the rest of the country in general). One of these days...when I feel it's worthy enough, I'll post it here. Maybe.

-On that subject, though, I saw an article on MSN two weeks ago with some study that listed Louisiana to be the 50th unhealthiest state in the nation. Surprise surprise. And last week, I found another article suggesting that Illinios is giving Louisiana a run for its money as the most politically courrupt state. Again, no surprise there. The worst part is that our citizens have come to expect it, and don't care much to change things. It's always been that way...why start now? (Here's the article if you're interested.)

-As for the jobs, I found out on Monday that I was not chosen as a finalist for the Boise position. In other words, they turned me down without even an interview. :-( I'm really bummed, but what can I do? Not much. All I can do is hope to return to Boise, sooner, rather than later...and at the very latest, sometime within the next few years. Let's hope it'll be for a more permanent time period, too. :)

-The interview for the DC position went well, and I'll know more sometime after the new year. However, I did find out that Jeff (one of my Idaho 4-H friends), as well as Dawn (a Louisiana 4-H friend), and potentially some others, will be in DC right around my birthday in March, so it would be super cool if I was able to celebrate with some awesome friends of mine in the second greatest city in the nation. That's one of a few positive points drawing me to DC at the moment...even though I would still rather be in Boise. heh.

-Dawn, my LA friend who's studying Child Life (the same one who might be in DC for my birthday) told me that a Child Life program is being started in one of our hospitals in Lafayette. This is super amazing news, and I plan to contact the new Child Life person (whom I heard is just out of graduate school/internship) to learn more about the hospital's plans for the new program. I'll let you know if I hear anything more on the subject.

-It was 78 degrees here all last week, then Saturday it dropped 40 degrees in 6 hours, and now it's in the upper 30s. I know it's nothing compared to the Pacific Northwest temperatures and snow there, but at least there's some semblance of winter here now...Then again, it's expected to be in the upper 70s again by tomorrow...boo.

-Praise for the US Postal Service...Kim mailed some of my stuff from Boise on Saturday, and one of the three items arrived here TODAY! Impressive! Anddd it was cheaper than bringing it all on the plane. I highly suggest using the postal service in the future, especially with such stringent airline luggage requirements.

-Um, so, my parents (specifically, my mother) have always been huge advocates of me having as many diverse experiences as possible, especially ones involving travel. As typical for this time of year, many people have been asking what I want for Christmas and such. However, after returning from Boise, and living with "next to nothing" (though not really) for so long, I feel like I have wayyy too much stuff already, and I should be getting rid of stuff rather than gathering new things. For this reason, I told my mom that I want an experience rather than an object. Apparently, that gave her the idea to look into prices of me going to visit Tessa and England. The flight prices she found were super expensive, so in passing one day, she mentioned her idea to me. So, I started looking at prices, just for the heck of it. Strangely enough, I found some flights to England for only $530. Crazayyy?? Yes. So nowww...I'm playing message-tag with Tessa (being 6 hours appart, time-wise, is a bit difficult) to see if I might be able to arrange some sort of England trip during my time off this winter. I do still need to figure out stuff for grad school, anddd I'd like to go to family camp for CBC, so we'll see. No promises yet, but I just thought I'd throw it out there...

I am a gypsy, after all.

Monday, December 15, 2008

It Flew By...

Wowsers. I can't believe it's been only a week (okay 8 days, again) since I've written! This last week has been such a whirlwind, that I'm not sure I'll be able to remember it all. I shall try, however...

Picking up from where I left off last, I skipped my last opportunity to attend a Shenanigans soccer game in return for finishing my disease paper about Spina Bifida on Monday. Gina and I had one of our infamous rant sessions, which was kind of nice. I really enjoy debriefing about things with her. [Speaking of which, I should call her and see how her last week is going so far...note to self.]

Tuesday was a regular work day, and I don't really remember much about it. Wednesday, however, I was given permission to leave early (not long after finishing our weekly meeting and turning in my paper) with full intentions to pack up my stuff. I wanted to buy some Idaho things to bring home with me, but had forgotten my walet at the apt, so Tesa met me downtown and we shopped at 'Taters briefly before heading home. I didn't get much done productivity-wise, before it was time to head out to the Wifebeaters soccer game. Unfortunately, they lost, but at least I got some Twilight reading done in the process, lol. And then, it was time to head back home to pack...

For a while, I was doing pretty good; I washed two loads of clothes and had packed most everything by 10 p.m. At that point, I decided to double check with Delta.com to make sure that the luggage requirements hadn't changed. Good thing I checked, too, because I found out they had changed, and (to make it simple) thus I would only be bringing home one bag of clothes. Because I was originally planning to take two suitcases, my clothing had been packed by genre (shirts, pants, jackets, etc.). With the sudden realization that I could only take one, I figured that I'd have to rearrange everything so I had a good mix of clothing, rather than leaving behind a few whole genres, and only come home with pants and t-shirts, for example. By then, I was really tired and stressed with everything going on, so I gave up and decided to sit back and read Twilight (well, Twilight # 4, Breaking Dawn) for the rest of the night, since I promised Haley (hospital school teacher) that I'd return the book before I left Boise. I resolved to finish packing Thursday afternoon, instead.

Thursday was kind of somber, with it being my last day and all. I spent a lot of time saying goodbyes (at least 8 at the hospital, and plenty more later). Gina and I just kind of sat and looked at each other for a while...in disbelief that it's all over and that I was leaving. It was really hard to say goodbye to everyone at the hospital; they were so wonderful to me and became a sort of surrogant family over the last few months. I've resolved to do my very best to keep in touch with everyone, or at the very least, keep them updated with where life takes me.

I rushed to finish packing that afternoon because we had plans to go eat at some Basque restaurant downtown to celebrate (?) my going away. The restaurant was much smaller than we imagined, so we decided to eat at Bardenay instead. Jesse, Tessa, Ashley, Mike, Jason, and Kim all came out to "celebrate" (I really don't think this term is appropriate, but I don't know what else to use) with me. Joey, Jeff, and Stew were all working, but met up with us later in the evening. After dinner, we all went over to The Front Door to meet up with more people (mostly Ashley's friends) to celebrate Ashley's 22nd birthday. As usual, the festivities were pretty low key and didn't go on very long. We left early, mostly because Kim and I had a very early morning the next day. I'm sure that some of the others had class and/or work in the morning, too.

I didn't finish packing until late that night, and then I had some notes to write before I could go to sleep. By the time I was done with all of that stuff, I decided to lay down on the couch and try to get some rest, but before I could fall asleep, Stew showed up (after getting off of work and going out to see everyone, but I wasn't there) to tell me goodbye. He hung out for a while, and for this reason, I didn't go to sleep until 3 a.m...

Friday, my day began at 4:30 a.m., with final touches on packing, or better said--unpacking--as I knew my luggage was overweight so I kept shifting things and taking more and more out of it. Kim drove me to the airport, and I did curbside check in. Thank goodness she stayed with me 'til after I checked my luggage, because I ended up having to take out four more pounds of clothing so that it wasn't over weight. Bah.

Because I'd only had an hour and a half worth of sleep the night before, I slept for the entirety of all three of my flights. My layover in Salt Lake City, though technically 40 minutes, turned into only enough time for me to potty and jump on the next plane. No complaints, though, because the gates were really close to each other and I made the second flight just fine. In Atlanta, it seemed like it took foreverrrr for everything. Since there were about 300 people on my flight, it took ages for everyone to get off of the plane. Then there were a buttload of people in the airport, so I had to wait a while in line to potty and to get food. Food was an issue in itself, also, since I refused to pay ten bucks for a 50 cent sandwhich that I could make at home. Grr. I did end up with a tasty buffalo chicken sub for only six dollars though. Woot.

In New Orleans, Nannie Lois and Uncle Ray (my great aunt and uncle) picked me up from the airport. We then met Annie (former roommate from Lulling) and Brian (her boyfriend) at the Shoney's in front of Hahnville High to pick up my graduation cap and gown, and then continued heading westward toward Morgan City. In Morgan City, I sat back and relaxed for a while...it was soo nice. My mom, dad, and brother arrived around 7:30 p.m., and we all enjoyed a delicious gumbo dinner, with some yummyyyy (Idaho) potato salad. [Ironic that the potatoes were from Idaho Falls, eh?] Everyone did random things for the rest of the evening--Momma and Nannie ironing our clothes for the following day, and the guys chatting about hunting things. I passed out (in a bed for the first time in ages) soon after dinner, lol.

Saturday was a fairly early morning, for I had to be at the Houma Civic Center by 9:15 a.m., which is 45 minutes (give or take) from Morgan City. Nanna and Poppa met us at Nannie's house to ride with us to Houma. It was soooooooo nice to finally see them, ahhh, I missed them SO much. Due to a wreck along the way, I was nearly late to arrive, but it all worked out. I even had a chance see Jen, Annie, and Lauren (former roommates) and visit with some of the FACS graduates before the ceremony. I really enjoyed seeing everyone; I was really close to my roommates before, and fairly close to my classmates, too, so it was great to see everyone again.

The ceremony was only 2 hours long, despite the fact that we're the largest graduating class in Nicholls' history. Pretty sweet, eh? Bobby Jindal (current LA Govenor and future US President--you just wait!) was our guest speaker!! He's pretty much amazing, to say the least. ...Andddd, we even got to shake his hand!! Ahh!!

Afterwards, I took pictures with Jen, Annie, and Lauren before my family headed out to find some lunch to celebrate. I should also mention that Kyle, my bestest friend ever came to the ceremony. Kyle is in the seminary in Covington, and so happened to have finished school the day before, so I asked him to come to my graduation and told him that it would mean a whole dang lot to me if he came. Basically, Kyle's presence at graduation was about the greatest gift that anyone could have ever given me; it totally made my day.

After lunch at CiCi's pizza (yeah pretty much all the real restaurants had wayyy too long of a wait time), my family headed back to Morgan City for yummy homemade cherry cheesecake and celebration gifts. We hung out for a while, and then headed home to Abbeville (finally--my first time at home in 4 months) for an evening of relaxation.

Sunday was a pretty slow day. I unpacked a little, and didn't really do much else besides church with the family in the evening. Today, Monday, was slow again, minus the phone interview I had with Wonders of Washington. I feel pretty good about the interview, but won't know anything more until after January 1st. I'd write more about it but it's getting late and I'm getting drowsy, lol. In any case, the interview did a good job of getting me more excited about the prospect of the position. Lately, I've been in the Idaho mindset and not wanting to be anywhere else. I still do want to be in Idaho, but I also have to realize that I can't always get what I want, I suppose. So, therefore, I must open my mind to other possiblities...and see what happens.

And, no, I'm not done with the job hunt, or the school search. In fact, I'm on a mission to spend at least the next three weeks looking for jobs (here, there, and everywhere), and figuring out details concerning graduate school. Hopefully this time will allow for some productivity amongst the rest. I already feel like the biggest bum ever, even though I thought I just wanted to be lazy all day. Surprise, surprise, huh?

Anyhoo, I've gotta jet (unfortunately, not literally). Momma and I are running errands and shopping in Lafayette tomorrow. Joy. You alll know how much I love shopping, right? Heh. And, let's see if this whole having free time thing works in favor of more frequent blogging. We'll have to wait to find out. :)

See ya,

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Final countdown.

It's been another week (8 days, to be exact), and I'm back again for another update... T-minus 5 days 'til home.

At work, things were realllyyyy quiet toward the beginning of the week, which was slightly surprising, for some reason. It was really, nice though, because we were able to get a lot of things ready for the MSTI Holiday Party on Saturday (12/06/08). I spent a lot of time making posters for all the games, and we also worked on decorating the pedatric floor of the hospital nearly every day since Thanksgiving. You'd think the decorations were multiplying ten fold each day. Needless to say, I'm not at all interested in assisting with any more holiday preparations, at this point.

As for the holiday party, it was a pretty good sucess, and I had more fun than I imagined. This last week or two has been pretty "blah" for me, work-wise, but the holiday party served to lift my spirits quite considerably. Gina (the other intern) and I worked to design a "Frosty Free Throw" carnival game, and despite some skepticism on the part of our superviors, it was a real hit. *Woot* I also enjoyed seeing so many of the patients that I've grown to love over the last few months. It was sad to say goodbye, knowing it's probably the last time that I will see them ever again, but I was also glad for an opportunity to see them for one last time.

When I got home from the party, Ashley and Jason picked me up and we went to meet Kim, Joey, and Tessa at the botanical gardens to see the Christmas lights . For those of you from the Acadiana area, I'll say that the set-up was similar to that of Acadian Village. It wasn't nearly as display-oriented though, and didn't feature many organized depictions of holiday scenes, like at Acadian Village. However, it was cool that the land sloped and included a hill, so we were able to walk up some paths and then look down over all the lights. Oh, and we were able to see the Table Rock cross lit up from a totally different perspective than I've seen thus far. I really enjoyed that, obviously. ...The free cider/hot chocolate and cookies were pretty sweet, too. :-p

I spent the rest of Saturday evening hanging out at the boys' house. Jason made some tasty pesto/tomato/avocado pizza. Yumm. We drank some of the cider that Tessa and Stew made last month, and then hung out until the wee hours of the night.

Today was the Child Life staff holiday ornament exchange. Since we have a fairly (though not really) diverse group from different parts of the country now, we decided to have a cultural food tasting. I brought gumbo, and there were some cool dishes from Minnesota/Wisconsin, Montana, Illinios, and California, too. (Not that I'm discounting any of the Idaho dishes, hehe.) We had a great time talking, hanging out, eatting yummy food, and stealing each other's ornaments in the Dirty Santa game. I accidently ended up with Gina's ornament, that I happened to have seen already because I was with her when she bought it, but hey, it's okay. I'll always remember Boise because of it, lol.

The plan was for all the guys and friends to come over for gumbo dinner tonight, but only Joey and Jeff (in addition to Kim and Tessa) came. I was kinda bummed, but glad that I didn't go through the trouble of making a whole new batch for no one. Whatever, I guess. Their loss, right?

Looking toward what's left of my time here, in the coming five days, I hope to finish my disease paper about Spina Bifida as soon as tomorrow, so that I can sort of relax for the remaining days. I also need to tie up some lose ends and somehow tackle the packing process, as well. Wednesday night, I plan to go to my last Wifebeaters (indoor co-ed soccer) game, and then we're going out for my farewell, and Ashley's 22nd birthday on Thursday night. I'm sad and sentimental but hoping to make the best of what I've got.

I haven't heard back from either of the job opportunities, but I'll be sure to let you know if I do. The way things have been going, I wouldn't expect to hear back from me until I'm safely landed (and probably graduated) in Louisiana. And with that, I say...

"I'm leavin', on a jet plane...don't know when I'll be back again..."
-Lauren, :*(

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Squeeze'n it In

I know, it's been a while again, but this time I am bound and determined to get another post out before December 1st. And thus...here it is!

As always, things have been busy. I just find it so hard to balance the blogging and photo-posting with school and work assignments, job applications, this new semblance of a social life, and exploring Boise with the little time I have left. I can't even imagine that I graduate in exactly two weeks from today. Ahh!


These last few weeks at work havnen't been overly interesting. Gina and I spent a lot of time practicing the puppet show for a school re-entry presentation. The show went pretty well, but we were both nervous, and I was slightly disappointed in my performance. At least the students seemed to enjoy it, and they were all very well behaved, which was nice. I really enjoyed the opportunity to finally spend some time with Gina, since we never work the same schedule. She's really a cool girl and I'd love to get to know her better sometime.

Oo! For all you CBC staffers out there, you will appreciate this... I got to a see a cardiac cath lab procedure for the first time ever. woot!! I've heard about the cath lab for the past three years at camp and in conversations with my heart defected friends (:-p), but never had much idea what they were talking about. As it turned out, procedure was a few hours long and rather complicated, but I did stay for a good while, so now I finally have some general idea of the cath lab stuff. Soo exciting!! ...Especially considered that this was practically the first and only cardiac patient I've seen since starting the internship. My heart will always have a special place for heart kids, though! :-p


Last weekend (Nov. 21-23), Chris Nowicki, my 4-H friend from Georgia came to visit. (Yes, this is the guy who works miracles with Delta Airlines and flight arrangments...and yes, I love him for it. Seriously, if you want to get something done in life, being friends with Chris is the way to go.) Chris is also friends with Jeff (my first Idaho friend, whom I also met through 4-H), so he stayed at Jeff's house for the weekend, considering my apartment is already pretty cramped...and he's a guy. lol.

Friday, I made some Cajun spaghetti with the yummy sauce that Nanna mailed me last month. Jeff came over to eat and hang out before we picked Chris up from the airport at 8:30 p.m. We hung out at Jeff's for a bit, and then met up with a lot of the soccer team guys (and Tessa) at The Front Door downtown. It was one of the soccer guys' 21st birthdays so the guys were out celebrating. The festivities were pretty low-key and didn't last very long.

Saturday, Jeff and Chris came over to eat left over Cajun yumminess, then Tessa and I joined them to explore Boise for most of the day. Our most memorable stop was Table Rock, my absolute favorite place in all of Boise. It was pretty chilly out and very overcast, but the cool thing was that we could see the storm/cloud system moving across the city from where we were standing. Earlier, I'd heard from Kim that it was sleeting in Nampa, so I joked about how awesome it would be if it started snowing. Well, low and behold, we watched the clouds move some more, and suddenly IT WAS SNOWING!! Oh em gee. It was just the coolest thing ever, that it happened all of a sudden. We took some pictures for a bit and then headed down to explore more of the city. Amongst the other sites were an outdoor nature center, Simplot Hill, the Boise Depot, and Lucky Peak Reservoir. Then we returned to my apartment to play Wii for most of the afternoon, and finally went out to dinner at a hole-in-the-wall hamburger establishment called Big Judd's (sounds appropriate, right? lol.). That evening, a small group of Jeff's friends hung out at his house to watch WallE and play cards. Chris and I had some time to catch up with each other, too, which was nice.

On Sunday, the boys went out shooting with Joey and one of Joey's friends. I spent the day doing homework (my NSU assignments were due Monday) and cooking a good-bye/thanks-thanks-for-coming gumbo. Jeff and Chris came over to eat some dinner before Chris headed out to his red-eye flight home (leaving at 7 pm MST, arriving Monday at 9:30 EST--crazy). I had a lot of gumbo left, and wasn't really interested in eating it, so I invited what remained of the boys house over for dinner...so Kim, Tessa, Joey, his friend, and Stew all ate some of my yummy gumbo. Woot. I decided I'm really starting to enjoy cooking...or at least keeping my ties to Cajun food and home. :)

Originally, Chris was supposed to visit over his Fall Break in October, but when that fell through, I was really sad about the change in plans. However, he figured things out and was finally able ot visit in November. I truly enjoyed his visit, and hope he did too. Now, it's time that he visit Dawn and I in Louisiana. ;0)


As for the Thanksgiving holiday, I worked every day this week. This was SUCH an adjustment to me, as I've always been off of work/school for the entire holiday week. At first, it wasn't so bad because it kept me busy and my mind off of missing home (not that that's a real problem lately). Later in the week, though, it became annoying because everyone else was off of school, having fun, and taking vacations. I was super jealous, to put it simply. It was slow at work, though, so I guess that was good.

Because I was scheduled to work every day, I didn't really plan on celebrating the holiday. However, as the days passed, it began to seem like I might have gotten off early enough to do something somewhat fun, at least. Thus, I accepted Nathan's invite to eat dinner with his family, so that I wouldn't be alone on such a family-oriented day. (Later, I was also invited to spend the day with my supervisor's family, as well as Jeff's. Thanks to you both!)

Fortunately, I got off on Thursday after only an hour of working--we checked on all the kids and there wasn't much going on at the hospital, so we left. hehe. Getting off super early was really helpful because it gave me the opportunity to get a lot of work done on the job applications I have been doing. Nathan picked me up around 12:30 p.m. and we headed to his parents' house in Nampa for lunch. One of his brothers' and his sister-in-law and their daughter were there, as well as his grandparents. Everyone was really nice and welcoming, and I am very grateful to have been able to spend the day with a loving family such as this one. Afterwards, we came back to my apartment because Nathan had to work (from his computer) until 7pm, but since it was slow we just watched movies for the rest of the evening, basically.

I got off an hour early yesterday (Friday), too, which was super nice. Again, it gave me more time to get some things done with my job applications. Then it was time for relaxation and more movies. Today, I've been doing most of the same--relaxing and job application details. It's soo nice that my recommendation forms finally came in, so now I can mail them...just as soon as someone with a car comes around sometime soon.

I guess I should explain the job applications in more detail, since I've mentioned them a few times in this post. For a while I've been planning to apply for the Program Assistant position with Wonders of Washington in DC. That application is due on Monday, and it's taken me forever to get things ready for it because the recommendation forms took a long time to come in the mail, and it required three essays, as well. The other job I found was a part-time position working with the 4-H Operation Military Kids program here in Idaho. I'm super pumped about that one because I'd get to stay in Boise, and with the part-time flexibility I'm hoping I would have more time to travel to cool places in the region, since I haven't gotten to do any of that these last few months. It'd be really great, too, if I could go to National 4-H Conference again...

Regardless, I am going home to graduate in ...less time than I want to remember... and I'm not sure where I'll be going from there. The good news is that you all can continue reading the blog if you're interested in keeping up with my cross-country adventures. Hehe.

Until next time,

P.S. Wishing everyone at National 4-H Congress the best of times this week...have fun and stay warm!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Busy Bee, part 2

Continuing from my previous post...

11/1: It was a pretty lazy morning for the girls. We were slow waking up and getting ready, then made a mad dash to the post office (so that I could mail my FACS 498 assignments) and the bank (so Kim could deposit my rent check) before they closed. The closest post office was closed so we attempted to find the one in Hyde Park (hippie district near downtown, heh) before it closed too. We barely made it, thank goodness, but by the time we got to the bank, it was closed. Fooey. I am super proud of myself, though, because I totally knew where I was going (on the way back anyways), and am fairly good at navigating the city--which, you know, is huge for me!

That afternoon, Joey, Stew, and Nathan (Bosian who moved to Seattle in between our July visit and my September return) came over to watch the BSU game and play Wii. I helped Kim with some of her projects for school, and we just all enjoyed relaxing together. Once Jesse got off of work at 10:30 p.m., we met he and some friends at Old Chicago, a restaurant downtown. Afterwards, we girls and Nathan came back to our apartment to watch Little Miss Sunshine, and the other guys went home to play WOW (computer game). It was a late night, but there were plenty of good times...

11/2: Tessa and I went to 11 a.m. Mass and then rushed home in an attempt to make it to Fantasy Breakfast (at the boys' house) before all the food was gone. There was a pretty decent turnout despite the fact that it was arranged very last-minute. After breakfast, everyone kind of retreated to do their own thing--some of us napped, others did homework or cleaned the house, and still others had the best fun of all...playing Blokus!!! Yep, we basically had a Blokus tournament in the PB (ask) Room all day long. Mike, Ashley, Jason, Sharla, Tessa, Nathan, and I played over and over again. It was great. Once we got tired of Blokus, we played a card game called Golf for a while, too. Then everyone went off again doing their own things such as homework and computer games until it was time for Kim and Joey to go to church and Nathan to go home (yes, 8-hour drive back to Seattle, starting at 8 p.m., eek!). Derek had arrived to play computer games with the boys, so Tessa and I decided it was time to go home and retire for the night. Gosh, I soo love weekends in Boise!

11/3: My first "official" day on a peds rotation, and my supervisor was sick so I was on my own...what a way to start, ay? lol. The idea of running a one-woman show was somewhat overwhelming, but it wasn't very hard to do. However, there was a strong potential for disaster, considering we lost a young girl in intensive care as the result of a severe motor vehicle accident, and the accredidation agency arrived unexpectedly...all on the day that Child Life was absent. lol. All in all, I felt very accomplished at the end of this work day. ...Shenanigans soccer game in the evening and then spent some time hanging out at the boys' house was a great way to end the day.

11/4: Don't remember much of anything from this day, except I have noted on my calendar that the new Brad Paisley cd came out. (I bought it a few days later and was highly disappointed. Ask if you'd like to know more.)

11/5: It seems as though I'll be mostly independent on my peds from this point forward, which is quite alright with me. Nothing overly exciting happened at work, but Dr. Kirkley arrived in Boise this afternoon and met me at the hospital in her rental car. I gave her a quick tour and introduced her to some of the Child Life staff before heading downtown for dinner. We ate at Bardenay, per Jesse's wonderful suggestion. It was yummmy, and a great way to kick off the next few days of Cajun visitors I had ahead of me. We turned in early, as Dr. Kirkley had been up since the wee hours of the morning, and I had to be at work very early the next morning.

11/6: I began my OR rotation not-so-bright and early at 6:30 a.m. For the most part, I observed my supervisor throughout the busy morning. Oddly enough, most of the pediatric surgeries were complete by 11 a.m., so we went up to the office to oranize ourselves and prepare for Dr. K's arrival just before noon. She met us for lunch and we chatted for a while before going through my evlauation. The two hit it off quite well and it was a rather pleasant lunch. After the meeting, Dr. K and I headed out to explore Boise. We went up to Table Rock (my favorite place in all of Boise), drove down Harrison (my favorite street--gorgeous!) Street, past Simplot Hill, attempted to get up to Bogus Basin Ski Resort (but turned around once we were surrounded by snow and potentially icy roads), and briefly hit up the North End, Hyde Park, and downtown, before heading back up "the bench" to meet Tessa for dinner at Rockie's Diner. To close out the night, the three of us played a quick game of Blokus and then we went to sleep rather early again, for Dr. K had an early flight the next day, and I was scheduled for the OR, once again.

11/7: Dr. K left for the airport around 5:30 a.m. In the OR, I was thrust into the Child Life role, doing some work with patients after only a day of observation. Talk about scary. I spent the afternoon talking with Gina, the other intern about our experiences, and practicing for a puppet show we're doing as a part of a school presentation on November 20th. My mom arrived in the late afternoon, and met me at the hospital in her rental car. I gave her a quick tour and introduced her to some of the Child Life staff before heading downtown for dinner. We ate at Old Chicago because we happened upon it by accident, I was too hungry to keep looking, and we'd had a great experience there the weekend before. Again, we turned in early, because Momma had an early morning flight and, of course, I'd been working early mornings lately.

11/8: Momma and I spent the day exploring Boise, trying to take in as much as we could before the rain arrived. We went up to Table Rock drove down Harrison Street, past Simplot Hill (at which point she refused to go any further), and briefly hit up the North End. We parked and "got down" (Yes, I'm being Cajun here) to walk around in the Hyde Park area. There were some pretty cool treasures there, I discovered. Then we headed downtown to explore some more. The market happened to be going on, which was a sweet surprise. For lunch, we ate at the Brick Oven Bistro, which has the bestttt cheddar vegetable soup. Yummy. Then, we stopped in at the Boise Visitors Center, Taters (my favorite Boise gift shop), the Bronco Shop, and a few other random shops in the area. By this time, it was starting to rain (ahem--drizzle, in typical Boise fashion) and we were a bit tired, so we decided to head back toward home. On the way, we stopped at the Boise Depot to check out the great view and take some photos. Afterwards, we headed home to rest up for a bit and read some of the brochures we'd grabbed along the way. A quick trip to Wal-Mart resulted in me owning a warm new coat (yay!) and the latest Brad Paisley cd (boo--highly disappointed). We stopped for Panda Express (our first time) on the way home, and then called it an early night, yet again.

11/9: It was a lazier day, thanks to the disgusting rain that decided to arrange itself right over Boise. (Go figure, it never rains in Boise...except when visitors are here. Grr.) Momma and I slept in and then chose to explore the Discovery Center that afternoon. Basically, it was lame. But, we made the best of things and I just kept reminding myself that it was a fairly creative way to, as a 21-year-old soon to be college grad, spend a Sunday afternoon bonding with my mother. When thinking about it that way, things weren't so bad. That night, Momma, Tessa, and I went to mass at the cathedral downtown. I'm not typically one for ornate churches, but this one was really nice. I liked it for some reason...despite the fact that they completely butchered Chris Tomlin and Matt Maher songs. (boo!) I think this was the most closely-similar-to-home mass I'd attended since I got here. (Then again, maybe some of that had to do with the fact that my mother was with me, lol.) In any case, the three of us enjoyed a relaxing meal at Rockie's Diner before returning home to pack and sleep.

11/10: I got up to say goodbye to Momma when she left for the airport at 5 a.m. I knew it was going to be a hard day, as it would be the first time in almost a week that I didn't have a Cajun visitor. Work wasn't bad; it was actually fairly calm despite the busy census on peds. Emotions didn't really hit me until after I got home and we all headed out to the boys' soccer game. I wasn't in the best of moods, but managed to cheer on the boys as they claimed their second consecutive win. Woot.

11/11: This day was much better, emotion-wise. I'm not particularly fond of the 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday schedules, but what can ya do? They're especially annoying whenever something comes up right before we're leaving and we end up having to stay for an extra hour or something. However, I know this comes with the professional territory, and am just using this blog as a mini-vent session. ;-)

11/12: And finally, today. It was a good day...nothing to exciting. The social worker gave a presentation on professional boundaries, with the assistant of a parent volunteer. It was pretty interesting, and very relevant. She soooo reminds me of one of my teachers back at Nicholls... What else? Oh. Did I mention I'm addicted to the Twilight book? Yeah, if you haven't heard of the series, let me know...but once you get started, you're hooked. It's nuts. I don't even care about much other than reading these days. (Then again, it's easier to forget that I have a lot to do, including some important decisions to make, whenever enthralled with this alternate world.) Yeah so, I spent the afternoon reading, and evening writing this while watching the CMA's (Country Music Awards). On that note, I must say that it was sooooo nice to finally indulge with some country music. I haven't been able to listen to much of anything since I've been here, so I feel totally out of the loop. It was very much a creature comfort to see everyone (on TV, of course, lol) and hear my very favorite music tonight. Mmmm.

Alas, I am done. I think you all have plenty of reading now, and hopefully that makes up for my extended absence from writing. As always, I promise to try to write more frequently in the future. You should know, though, that I have a lot of schoolwork due soon, and my dearest friend Chris from Georgia is coming to visit Jeff and I next weekend. Shortly after that, it will be Thanksgiving and then time to finish up the internship stuff. In other words, no promises.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Busy Bee, part 1

As a result of runing around with my head cut off, blogging hasn't exactly been at the top of my priority list. Well, it has, but it just hasn't exactly worked out for me. Alas, this is what I've been up to for the past three and a half weeks...

10/20: It was a busy day at work. We thought the quiet afternoon schedule-wise would be a great opportunity for my supervisor and I to escape and do some Halloween shopping for the clinic, but that wasn't true at all. One of our patients had a really difficult time with an unexpected/impending procedure, so we rushed back to the hospital to attempt to assist with it.

10/21: Another crazy day at work. My first Tuesday of working 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m. The highlights...Saw two children being removed from their family as a result of an NAT (non-accidental trauma) incident. A usually unfriendly patient smiled and waved at me in the hallway. A difficult IV start resulted in my getting off over an hour later than scheduled. Bah.

10/22: There was a lot going on in the clinic today...I observed a procedure preparation and then did three more on my own. (Felt so accomplished.) Helped escort BSU Bronco Football players as they visited patients on the pediatric floor. Attended the bi-monthly Peds Care Conference luncheon. Manned the playroom for a while...

10/23: Bus adventure began...The driver didn't realize she was doing the wrong route, and thus yelled at me for "being in the wrong place" for pick up. As a result, she was late getting back to the transfer zone, and I missed my connecting bus. She said she'd call the other driver and told me to wait on a specific corner for when he came back around. I did, and because I wasn't in the official pick-up area, he yelled at me, even though the previous driver had told me to wait there. It was extremely frustrating, but at least I made it home, and this was really only the first bad experience I had with the buses...at that point, anyways...

10/24: By far the craziest day I've had at work since starting the internship. It was so busy that my supervisor and I came in early (after staying late the day before), and were forced to "divide and conquer" in order to manage everything. Helped new patient with his radiation simulation, then rushed off to do a school presentation for a transplant patient's classmates. I provided support for a patient as she awaited her spinal tap and bone marrow aspiration, then went to the next room over to provide support with another patient throughout her (sedated) spinal tap. Meanwhile, my supervisor worked with a patient's port access and then offered support to another (long-time) patient as she went into surgery to remove her port. We both barely made it to the weekly intern meeting. (It was okay, though, because each of the Child Life Specialists had to leave at some point, for various reasons such as procedure preparation, support, and other patient requests.) After the meeting, my supervisor and I rushed back over to the clinic to help the new patient with having his port accessed. AHH crazy day!! ...So crazy that I nixed the corn maze idea for the night and settled on a nice, quiet evening at the boys house, with a yummy pasta potluck and night of game-playing. Whewwwww.

10/25: Tessa had two friends over for lunch and tea. We finally made it to the corn maze, after about a month of me begging everyone to take me. It was cute and kind of reminded me of the Rolof Farm (see TLC's Little People, Big World), but on a smaller scale. Everything was pretty simply done, but I still thought it was great. Pictures shall be posted on Facebook at some point. Afterwards, Tessa grounded me until further notice, because I had a ton of work due this week...thanks, Mother.

10/26: Apparently being "grounded" doesn't always include banishment from soccer games, thank goodness. The boys had their last outdoor game at 11 a.m., and the weather was just plain gorgeous. They didn't win, but it was a nice day and we all really appreciated the last game of the season. No planned outings or even Fantasy Breakfast; I was once again banished to the apartment to do work. Boo.

10/27: Work. Missed the darn bus again so Kim came to pick me up. GRR buses! Phone interview with the mother and younger brother of the patient for which I was doing my Case Study Presentation. The phone interview went amazingly well and I received plenty of information for preparing the presentation. It was a great experience, even though I was sad to have missed the Shenanigans' indoor soccer game that night.

10/28: Work 11:30 a.m. - 8 p.m., then presentation preparations. I didn't finish the project until 2 a.m. MST...bah.

10/29: My case presentation went very well, which is good because now I'll feel much less nervous and much more prepared for the second one, I hope. In an attempt to outsmart the bus system, or at least try a new method, I failed miserably by missing the bus, yet again. Thankfully, Kim has been very cooperative, and agreed to pick me up again, for the third day in a row. She, Tessa, and I then went to the costume shop to pick out a few things for the coming two days' costume parties. We were late to the co-ed indoor soccer game because we got lost trying to find it from a different part of town, but Jeff coached us through it over the phone and we did eventually make it there. On the way home, we stopped for groceries at Wal-Mart, where I finally gave into my McDonald's craving, as I hadn't eaten at any fast food restaurants since arriving in Boise. (Yes, I'm rather proud of that, lol.)

10/30: I attended my second school re-entry presentation for work. That was pretty cool and interesting; I love this aspect of the profession. For Tessa's 23rd birthday, we had a Murder Mystery Party, or basically a living clue game, at the boys' house. (Ask if you're not sure what this is, and I'll be more than willing to explain, I just don't exactly feel like typing it all out at the moment.) Everyone dressed to fit the part and most people really got into it. Acting without lines is definitely not something I'm good at, so it was really tough to play the part. The party went on forever because people loved it so much, but after about three hours, we decided to focus on finishing the game because everyone was falling asleep, and most had school or work the next day.

10/31: Happy Halloween! For my last day at MSTI (pediatric oncology clinic), I basically spent the entire day playing Blokus (best game ever) and taking children around the building to Trick-or-Treat. It was definitely a great way to finish out my rotation there. Tired from all the craziness, I took a good nap when I got home. Then it was time to get up, get ready, and head on over to the Halloween party that Tessa and Ashley had organized at the boys' house. I guess I knew about half of the people in attendance, but parties really aren't my thing so...meh, it was okay. I much prefer to hang out with a smaller, more intimate group of friends, but whatever. We stayed from about 10 p.m. to Midnight and then Jesse brought Tessa and I home for the night.

And, I think now is a good time to pause. I'll continue catching up in another blog soon. (This way, its length isn't quite so overwhelming, lol.)


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Accomplishments Galore

I feel so accomplished!!!

At work, I did two procedure preparations this week! Wooooot. On Thursday, I worked with an 8-year-old girl who has been a patient at MSTI for many years. My supervisor really wanted me to do a prep./medical play with her, so she asked the patient if it would be okay for me to do a prep while she "tested" me on how well I did. So, I did a peripheral blood draw prep while the patient watched and then asked her what grade I earned. My supervisor suggested an 80%, but the patient (who, I guess, hasn't grasped an understanding of percentages yet) disagreed, saying I deserved a 20%. It was quite funny; her foster mom vetoed the low grade by saying I deserved a 100%. Hehe. Fun stuff.

Thennn, on Friday, when I went into the Child Life office for lunch, my pediatrics supervisor asked if I'd done any IV preps yet. I said "no," and so she decided that "today [was] the day!" So, I scarfed down my pb&j (hehe), and hurried off to do the prep before our weekly intern meeting. The prep went pretty well, even though I totally forgot to mention the numbing cream and all that jazz. Fortunately, my supervisor reminded me of what I forgot and filled in the holes that I'd missed. A huge weight is lifted off of my shoulders now, though, and the idea of doing preps doesn't seem quite so daunting. Hopefully I'll get some time to refine my skills though, cuz it sure wouldn't hurt.

It was a pretty cool weekend, accomplishment-wise, too. Friday, however, we just layed around doing nothing. I actually fell asleep near the end of Gilmore Girls around 6:45 p.m. and slept until 9:15 p.m. without even realizing it. Like the big lazy bum that I was, I got up to eat a snack, shower, and talk to my mom, then went promptly back to sleep at 11:30 p.m. and slept right up until 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. How nice.

On Saturday, Kim and I went shopping. Now, for those of you who don't know, I absolutely hate shopping. For this reason, I brought along Pride and Prejudice, my new addiction/bus-ride-activity, knowing that Kim loves to shop, and expecting to be finished with my shopping adventure much earlier than she. Oddly enough, I didn't get too bored with the event, and did, in fact, find a decent variety of cold-weather clothing. We met up with Tessa at Savers, a massive thrift shop (similar to Goodwill?), where we each found a costume for Tessa's murder mystery party later this month. It was quite productive, if I do say so myself.

Jeff's housewarming party was fun, but we didn't get there until late (there's just something about girls taking forever to get ready...?). Joey'd had a long day of cutting firewood with his father, and so when he wanted to leave early, Kim did too...and thus Tessa and I left, as well--since she was our ride home. Tessa and I stayed up talking until 3 a.m., though, so that was pretty fun. It's always nice to have girl talk from time to time.

As with Boise Sunday tradition, we girls cheered on the boys at the Shenanigans soccer game this morning. It was such a pitiful match, though. Out of the 18 registered team members, only 9 were in attendance. Most were working and couldn't attend, but some flaked out and just didn't show up. The sad thing was that 11 players are allowed on the field, and there are typically a number of subs on the sidelines, but today's shortage meant everyone played the entire game, and they were still short two players for the field! Needless to say, we lost 4-0, but the guys made a great effort, considering. If they'd had a full team, I'm sure the Shananigans would have kicked some boo-tayy!

For more accomplisments, this afternoon I finished making some beignets that Tessa started before the game. Anddddddd, I made gumbo for the first time everrrrr!!! Yay!!! Nanna walked me through it, via written directions and multiple phone conversations. When it was all said and done, by golly, I made some real, authentic Cajun gumbo! Yummy-ness. Jeff and Joey came over to share in the glory, hehe. Man, it sure smelled like Nanna's house in here tonight...and boy did it make me miss her... In any case, I am SUPER proud of myself for this new skill. I'll have to make it again someday, and invite the entire boys' house, perhaps. Hmm.

Anyways, it's way past my bedtime, and tomorrow's another full day. The indoor soccer leagues start this week, so now the Shenanigans are playing multiple times a week. I'm hoping to make at least one of the games each week, starting tomorrow...

With that, I bid Adieu.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Christmas in October!

Can I just say that I love, love, love my Nanna!!?!?

Today I received a package from my (favorite person in the world) dearest Nanna! A few weeks ago, we were talking about me missing Cajun food and how it's getting to be gumbo weather but I have no gumbo. So, she said she'd send me a jar of roux with directions on how to make gumbo here in Idaho. Wellllllll..it arrived today! Woot.

Not only did my package contain the much-anticipated roux, but also some "Cajun spaghetti sauce" (whatever that is...hey--I'm grateful for everything, ok?), and traditional Cajun spices such as garlic and onion powder and gumbo file! She also included some newspaper articles and pictures from the hurricanes, as well as a hat/gloves set, and warm slipper-type-socks. I can't wait to show the hurricane pictures and articles to everyone at work. Oh, and probably my favorite goodie item of all was the bag of lemon heads!!

Let me tell you, this package of love sure made my day! It was like receiving a mini "Christmas box" in October!! Though, I guess most of you have no idea what I'm refering to, in reference to a "Christmas box"...

So...we have this tradition in our family that Nanna started when we were little and now I won't let her quit... For christmas she would always put together these "family boxes" or "Christmas boxes" with random things for everyone in the family...like funky socks, candy we liked, shampoo, toothpicks, envelopes...some useful and some fun things that come from like the Dollar Store or whatever...and I absolutely love the Christmas boxes becuase we just like tear it open and dive in, looking through it to figure out what's for us and what's for everyone else. It's kind of like a really fun scavenger hunt/guessing game. Over the years, there have come to be a few specific items that I know she always puts in there for me. These items include lemon head candy and funky socks, stationary, etc. So, when I saw the lemon heads and socks, it made me think of our Christmas boxes and how much I love them each and every year.

Last year, Nanna threatened to do away with the Christmas boxes, since we are all older now and the items are evolving into more useful, every-day things. In response, I complained for weeks about how it's just not Christmas without our boxes. I even told her that I'd rather have a Christmas box than a present, if it came down to one or the other. In the end, we did have the boxes for Christmas, after all...and I made sure to remind her that they MUST continue. So, today when I received the box, I told her that she better start working on my real Christmas box...or else. Hehe. (Okay, I was nicer about, but I did say that I expected a box for Christmas...tehehe. )

Anyways, I'm getting sleepy, so I think it's about time I get to bed. These 6:20 a.m. mornings suck royally...but I gotta do what I gotta do. Best wishes to all, and I'll try write again soon!

I love you, Nanna!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week 5...SNOW!

Apparently I suck at updating regularly. Every time I tell myself I'm going to write often, nothing interesting happens, and when it does, I don't have time to write. Grr. The current trend includes weekly updates. I guess that's better than nothing, right?

Okay, work. Last Saturday (10/4) was my final night working in the Emergency Department. We had one patient with extreme respiratory distress, so it took a while to work with her, and she ended up being admitted to the PICU. Meanwhile, a two-year-old boy with a laceration to his head came in needing staples. My supervisor was busy working with the other patient, so I went ahead and worked with he and his family on my own. It was the first completely independent preparation and support that I'd done at all. Afterwards, I was super proud of myself for such an accomplishment! I definitely felt like it was a good way to end my rotation in the ED.

To celebrate my last night, our little group of peds ED people did a "Cajun Night" dinner. We had jambalaya, cornbread casserole, and apple pie. I was supposed to bring King Cake, but Kim had taken my food coloring to school, so the cake didn't pan out as planned. So, I guess it turned out to be more of a "Southern Night," but that's okay. The jambalaya was a huge hit, and we all enjoyed it. Mmm.

On Monday (10/6), I started working at the Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI), which is the outpatient oncology clinic; I'll be there until the beginning of November. MSTI is located in a separate building, but right next to the main hospital building, so I'm still close to the center of it all. In fact, it's pretty normal for us to make a trip up to the pediatric floor to see some of our oncology patients or for other random Child Life reasons. The clinical setting is very different from an inpatient one, but I think it's slowly growing on me. Things got better with each day this week. In fact, on Friday, I spent most of the day playing board games with the patients as they were waiting for their treatment. ...Work is so hard... :-P
So...guess what. It snowed on Friday!!! Yes, that's right, I've now officially seen snow!!! Wooooooooot. Oh my goodness. It was sooo...freaking...amazing!! Ah! It started snowing right after I'd gotten on the bus home from work, so I couldn't play in it until I got home forty minutes later. It was just plain torturous! Thankfully, Tessa was nice enough to play in it with me for a while, but then she escaped indoors "to make hot chocolate." (Personally, I think it was an excuse to get away from my insane excitement. lol.) I begged and pleaded with everyone I knew for someone to come and play with me. Luckily, Jason (one of Joey and Jesse's roommates) really likes snow, so Tessa called and asked him to come play with me. He came, and I had a grandddd ole time. We have over 75 pictures to prove it!! (If you want to see the pictures of me looking like a five year old snow fanatic, just let me know, and I'll send them to ya. Hehe.)

Also Friday (yes, it was a great, busy day), our whole gang went to Briana's going away party. Briana is the really sweet girl who came to have tea and crumpets on that English afternoon I wrote about. She's also lending me a whole box worth of wintery clothing items, most especially important--a winter coat. Yay. Anyways, Briana is moving to Honduras for five months to teach at a school there. To celebrate her greatness (hehe) and send best wishes, she had a Toga-themed party. Even though it wasnt my first time (i.e. summer at French immersion in Nova Scotia), dressing in the Toga theme was quite an interesting experience. We didn't stay very long, though, because the boys wanted to come over and watch a movie or something...whatever. But yes, we have pictures from the whole fiasco...some cute roommate bonding ones, too. :)
Last night (Saturday, 10/11), Kim, Tessa, and I went to Rockie's Diner, a great 50's diner located down the street from our apartment. I've been planning to eat at Rockie's since way back in July and am glad to have finally had the experience. The hamburgers are delicious (yes, I liked a hamburger, whoa), and our side items were great too. It was really wonderful for the three of us to just sit down and have some girl time. Usually the stupid boys (lol) are around, so we don't get much roommate bonding time. I'm putting this restaurant on the list of "To Do's" for when my mom and Dr. K come up to visit in November. I think they'll really like it...

Today has been a somewhat-busy, though always glorious Sunday. I love Sundays in Boise... The day began rather early with attendance at 8:30 a.m. Mass. Tessa and I usually bike to Mass but it's just too darn cold to do that anymore, so we somehow roped Kim into serving as our chauffeur.
After mass, we rushed home to start cooking breakfast, as we were hosting Fantasy Breakfast this week. In case I haven't mentioned it previously, Fantasy Breakfast originated earlier this year, and consists of an open house style brunch event. Invitations are sent out to anyone and everyone, but most especially the usual F.B. crew. Fantasy Breakfast rotates from house to house as sponsored by different individuals each week. The three of us have been to a few F.B. events over the last few months, so we figured it was about time to host it. Plus, we wanted to give Briana a final Fantasy Breakfast before she leaves on Tuesday.
In true Cajun-English style, the menu consisted of traditional Cajun and English breakfast items ranging from beignets to fried tomatoes and mushrooms, amongst other, more traditional breakfast goodies. The crowd today was rather slim, because so many people were busy or out of town enjoying the snow, but it was still fun, nonetheless. I'd say it was a success, and perhaps we'll have to host it again before Tessa and I leave in December.
This afternoon, we girls worked on our Shenanigans groupies t-shirts. lol. Shenanigans is the soccer team on which the boys play, and since we girls are weekly spectators, we decided to design t-shirts to support the team. We also serve as soccer moms/team secretaries/snack-nourishment providers/all other random roles, as needed. Thus, we now have team t-shirts and plan to wear them to the games each week. So what if it's cheesy...okay?

Speaking of soccer games...the next one starts in an hour, so I guess I better go...I'll try to write again soon!

Yay Sundays!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Work, Work, All Day Long...

To make this easier on myself, I now present to you, my summary paper for FACS 497: GFCS Internship... (Beware: It's 5 pages double spaced in Microsoft Word.)


In order to graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in General Family and Consumer Sciences: Child, Family, and Social Services at Nicholls State University (GFCS), students must complete a 480-hour internship in a related area of their choice. Because I am currently interested in earning my certification as a Child Life Specialist, I chose to pursue an internship with an established Child Life Program. This internship is just one component in qualifying for certification as a Child Life Specialist; the others components include taking ten courses in an approved area of study such as child and family development, as well as passing a national certification exam.

Child Life Programs are available in an increasing number of hospitals, most frequently those located in larger cities. These programs are typically organized by Certified Child Life Specialists and consist of two primary objectives: to help the child cope with the stress and anxiety of the hospital experience, and to promote the child’s normal growth and development while in the health care setting and after returning home. In order to accomplish these objectives, Child Life Programs utilize the following interventions: providing materials for guidance and play, preparing children for hospitalization, surgery, and medical procedures, lending emotional support to parents and siblings, advocating the child’s point of view to hospital personnel, and maintaining a receptive environment for children and their families. Child Life Programs offer a “home away from home,” and are a wonderful resource for families.

To begin the certification process earlier this year, I applied for internships with Child Life Programs across the country—10 different programs in 8 different states, to be exact. I completed a number of phone interviews featuring topics such as child development, family centered care, and my experiences within the hospital setting, volunteering, and working with children. My first internship offer came from St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise, Idaho, and because I had a friend from Nicholls who was already planning to move to Boise, as well as a few native Idahoan friends, I decided to accept this offer.

Throughout the summer, I was in contact with the hospital staff, securing professional liability insurance, providing a national background check, and turning in the required paperwork. In July, my friend, her family, and I, drove 2,000 miles to Idaho, taking along with us a moving truck worth of apartment furnishings. We secured our apartment and got settled in while enjoying the humidity-free weather and gorgeous scenery along the way. A few days later, I flew home to begin work at Camp Bon Coeur, a camp for children with heart defects, as well as enjoy the rest of the summer and time at home with my family.

About two weeks before beginning my internship, I traveled to Ohio to meet with two potential graduate programs and reunite with some friends of mine. While in Ohio, Hurricane Gustav set his sights on Louisiana. After rearranging my flight schedule twice, I ended up cancelling my flight home out of concern for getting stuck in an airport with no way into Louisiana before the storm. Instead, I stayed in Ohio a bit longer and then spent a week in Michigan with a friend who attends Michigan State University. I then flew from Detroit to Boise, arriving two days later than originally scheduled.

Upon arrival in Boise, I had only two days to get settled before beginning my internship at St. Luke’s on September 8th. The Child Life staff was very understanding about the storm situation—I did not have any of my paperwork for the hospital, my school assignments, or more than a week’s worth of work-appropriate clothing. Thankfully, my suitcase filled with professional clothing was mailed before Hurricane Ike’s landfall, arriving about a week later, and I received my paperwork about a week later than that.

There are two interns here in the Child Life Department at St. Luke’s—myself, and Gina, a recent graduate from the University of Idaho. The internship is organized based on a schedule where Gina and I rotate through various departments of the hospital. My first rotation is primarily in the Emergency Department, or ED, where as Gina is working on the fourth floor, which is the pediatric floor, and includes general pediatric rooms, as well as oncology rooms and the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Later rotations will also include the Operating Room (OR) and the Mountain States Tumor Institute (MSTI), an outpatient pediatric oncology clinic.

In order to facilitate reflective learning, an intern meeting is held each week, usually on Fridays. The meetings include both interns, as well as their supervisors, and sometimes, other Child Life Specialists or guests such as the hospital schoolteacher or parent speakers. As interns, we discuss our weekly self-evaluations which feature “high” and “low” points for the week, our performance as interns, suggestions for how supervisors can help us better, progress toward accomplishing last week’s goals, and goals for the coming week. We also turn in assignments and our daily journals for our supervisors to read and add comments. Assignments include a “What to Do When” scenario worksheet, two 5-minute “What is Child Life” presentations, two Role Observation (ranking Child Life roles) assignments, seven therapeutic play session plans (one every two weeks), a personal philosophy statement, and a 5-8 page disease paper.

Working in the ED involves an unconventional schedule, to say the least. Most weeks, I work Thursday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 12 a.m., Sunday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Monday from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. However, every third week is a Monday through Friday schedule with some shorter days, so that the Child Life Specialist has one weekend off each month. For the most part, I work a total of forty hours each week, regardless of the schedule.

Typically, I begin my day on the pediatric floor of the hospital and finish it in the pediatric emergency department. My supervisor and I start by getting an updated copy of the fourth floor census sheet (list of patients, their ages, room assignments, doctors, and medical conditions). Then we meet with the other Child Life Specialists who have been working with patients throughout the morning. We discuss which patients have been seen, which need to be seen, who is allowed to go to the playroom, and any special notes such as upcoming procedures. By the time we arrive, most patients have generally been seen by a Child Life Specialist already. Sometimes, however, the floor is rather busy, so my supervisor and I help the other specialists with visiting patients, assessing their level of coping, explaining about child life services, and just making sure we are doing everything possible to make their stay in the hospital the best that it can be.

Because I only spend a couple of hours each day working on the pediatric floor, and it is not my official rotation at this time, I have not been able to build relationships with very many patients yet. The other intern and some of the Child Life Specialists spend more time on the floor working with the same children each day, where as I stop in only to say “hi” every now and then. For this reason, I have found it difficult to develop a sense of confidence for working on the pediatric floor up to this point. I have, however, completed a few patient assessments, usually with the supervision of a specialist, and a few times on my own. The assessments document important information about the patient and their family, helping us to know them a little bit better. Some topics include the patient’s age and grade in school, parents’ names, siblings’ names and ages, pets, and general interests or other information.

The majority of my time, about six hours each day, is spent in the pediatric ED. When patients come into the ED, we review their medical history, chief complaints, and acuity level. We then predict the medical course of action and services we can offer through Child Life. If a child is going to be waiting for a while, we go in and introduce ourselves and offer play materials such as books, toys, crayons, or movies. In cases where procedures are necessary (sutures, CT scans, X-rays, IVs, etc.), we prepare children for the procedures based on their age, previous hospital experience, and level of understanding. We also offer distraction and support during procedures, using spinning lights, find-it books, view-finder toys, breathing and visualization techniques, and much more.

Throughout my time in the ED, I have seen many interesting situations. My very first night, there was a little boy who came in with a fishing hook stuck in his eyelid, and on a different instance, a teenage boy was kicked in the face by a horse, resulting in a broken nose and lacerations. There have since been plenty of lacerations needing suture repairs, as well as abdominal pain requiring emergency appendectomies.

Probably the most difficult situation that I have dealt with in my internship experience has been sexual assault. In my first two weeks, there were four female patients with complaints of sexual assault. The girls ranged in age from thirteen months through fifteen years old. Sure, I knew sexual assault occurred more frequently than I was willing to admit, but now I see that it is an epidemic.

Though it has just begun, the whole internship experience has already opened my eyes in ways I never expected. Looking toward the future, I am sad about concluding my time in the ED, but excited about moving on to new experiences in other parts of the hospital. In the end, my ultimate goal is making the most of this opportunity in every way. It is my hope that experience will have afforded me the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed at a career within the helping profession, regardless of where life takes me.


There. Now you know about work. :)
Feel free to comment/ask questions.


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Boppin' Around Boise

Well darn. I had super high hopes of writing a blog before October, but I guess it's too late for that now. Things here are just so crazy busy, and my work schedule is insane (but only for a few more days), so blogging just has not worked out. For this, I apologize.

Now, as I sit watching the Boise State vs. LA Tech football game, I figure it's as good a time as any to write. (Not to mention, I got a complaint today...saying I hadn't written in two weeks. heh.) So. I now present to you...an update!

I better say this while I still can...Idaho is GLORIOUSLY GORGEOUS! The weather has been just plain amazing. For a while, Tessa (English roommate) and I rode our bikes to the park on my days off, just sitting out and admiring the beauty of it all. One weekend, it rained (yes, rain in the desert, imagine that!) so the temperatures dropped from the mid-nineties to the seventies for a few days. Lately, the temperatures have ranged from mid-eighties during the day to low fifties at night. ...Word has it, there will be snow in the mountains after the rain that's heading our way this weekend. Eek!

It's just so dang pretty outside! Every time I see the mountains, I sit in awe of their glory. Jeff (4-H friend from Idaho) says they're brown and ugly, but I just think they're so amazing. The leaves are starting to change colors now, so soon the greens will be yellows and reds. In fact, next week marks the 1 year anniversary of my first trip to Idaho, and I definitely remember there being beautiful fall colors during my visit. I'll have to go out and take some pictures for everyone to see that real seasons do, in fact, exist, in some places. ;)

What else...oh, the apartment. And roommates. Yeah, sooo...Joey (Kim's Idaho native boyfriend) found an apartment for Kim (and Tessa and I) way back at the beginning of the summer, and Kim moved in at the beginning of July. (Some of you may remember reading about this in earlier posts.) Tessa, our English roommate who is dating Joey's roommate, Jesse (also Idaho native), moved in a few days before I made it up to Idaho. We were supposed to get settled in on the same day, but due to the hurricane ordeal, she beat me to it.

So anyways, we three girls live in a quaint two bedroom apartment on "the Bench" of Boise, Idaho. Tessa has her own room, where as Kim and I share the Master bedroom. I sleep on a twin sized (rather comfy) air mattress, and share part of Kim's massive closet. It's working out rather well, thus far.

As for Tessa's English-ness, I absolutely love it!! We have a running list of English-American comparisons that are rather interesting. For example, American's call clothing for your legs "pants," where as the English refer to them as "trousers." On the flip side, Americans refer to clothing for your lower area as "underwear," and Englishmen call them "pants." You can about imagine the snickers I hear when making comments such as, "I'm going put on some pants." Tehehe.

One day, we had an afternoon of tea and crumpets. Briana (a new Idaho friend!) came over and we had a wonderful teatime experience. We also had yummy cookies and ice cream. Mmm.

Speaking of new cultural experiences, this past Saturday, we girls hosted a cultural party! It was a Louisiana-England food mayhem! I made jambalaya and King Cake, Kim made red beans and rice and pastalaya, and Tessa made fairy cakes and cucumber sandwiches. We decorated with American and English flags, red, white, blue everythings, ribbon, and Mardi Gras beads. To maximize the seating and eating area, the boys brought over a table and chair from their house. We also had random chips and candy snacks, and Tessa made a summer drink concoction using Pimm's which is some famous English beverage. It was a grand ole time and we have tons of pictures. Yay.

The following day, Sunday, we girls went to the boys' soccer game. Joey, Jesse, their roommates, and friends all play on a men's city soccer team. We like to go watch the games because it's a good excuse to sit outside and enjoy the outdoors for a while. I was particularly excited about this game because (due to my crazy work schedule) it was the first one in a few weeks that I managed to attend. Boy was I glad I made it to this one, because sure turned into an eventful experience.

To make a long story short, two of our players ended up in the Emergency Department at St. Alphonsus hospital. When the first guy got hurt, I offered to go with Briana as she brought the guy to the hospital, so that she wasn't alone. Meanwhile, we got word that a second player was hurt and on his way to the ED, following the game. Before it was all over with, the entire soccer team hung out in the ED waiting room, taking turns sittting with the guys while they were going through the whole ED process. Finally, both guys were said to have concussions, one of which also had a broken cheekbone. Once they were both released, we all headed over to IHOP for a late dinner, and the two injured players spent the night at the boys' house for observation. ...I felt so accomplished! Basically, doing Child Life work on my day off, heh.

As for work, I believe that deserves an entire blog entry of its own. For this reason, I think it's best for me to stop here... Now that I've taken the time to write a brief update about my first month here in Boise, perhaps I'll manage to blog again more often.

Thanks to all for your patience.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Alrighty, Michigan.

I arrived in Michigan late Labor Day night (er, early September 2nd, really) and stayed until very early Saturday morning, September 6th. It was a pretty relaxing week, overall, now that I think about it....Basically my entire visit to Michigan can be summarized by a few interesting activities:
*Watching a decent number of movies
  • Life Size (twice)
  • Office Space
  • some weird Munsters immigrate to the U.S. movie
  • a movie about an woman adopting her niece after the parents' sudden death and thus falling in love with guy who threatens her job as famous chef (name being...?)
  • one about saving the world from aliens, with Will Smith, whatever that's called
  • The Family Stone (one of my favorites!)
  • and probably more that I can't think of at the moment...
*Attending a MSU Block and Bridle meeting for the free food (lol) and meeting some of Benjamin's cool, awesome friends.
*Visiting/touring a real dairy for the first time. ...Benjamin's friend, Gail, and her roommate, Erin, work at the dairy (at really strange times, like 2:30 a.m.) and live in the nearby Hog Shed (house with strange name on dairy grounds? idk.). Because I'd never been to a dairy before or been very up close and personal with dairy cows, he convinced the girls to give me a tour. It was so much fun! The girls even did the whole little flight-attendant-acting-out-the-process drama. Quite entertaining. I only wish I'd had my camera. And, a few days after the initial tour, we went back for home-made mint chocolate chip ice cream! It was divine! ...The home-made beef jerky wasn't so bad either. ;-)
*Adventures driving Benjamin's car alone, in East Lansing...all for gas and goodies to make a very tasty Cajun Dinner! ...Yeah, I made jambalaya using the Zatarain's mix that comes in a box (I'd brought it from home), and easy king cake (using cinnamon rolls and food coloring-dyed sugar). Danielle (Benjamin's roommate), Gail, and another female friend of his joined us to enjoy the goodies. Of course, I cheated, because none of it was made from scratch, but that's okay. Their Cajun food experiences can only get better, right? hehe.
*Biking across the Michigan State campus only to sit through a very foreign (to me) genetics class. ...Biking as a form of transportation is definitely a new phenomenon, in my world, but apparently one that I should get used to, as I don't have a car here in Idaho. As for the class, I played sodoku the entire time and listened to Benjamin, Gail, and the other classmate friend of theirs, crack jokes the whole time. It was an interesting experience, to say the least. :)
*Thursday night Bull-a-thon. ...It's apparently tradition within Benjamin's circle of friends to go bowling for free every Thursday night from 8-10 at the bowling alley in their Union's basement. (Bowling alley in the basement? craziness. ...to be fair, LSU has one too...lol.) It was actually a grandly fun experience; I had a good time meeting everyone and really liked all of their friends. I'm only sad that I won't be able to hang out with them all again. (The name, I think, is based off of the fact that these are all "ag kids," but I could be wrong...)
*A very late night and VERY early morning departure from Detroit. ...Yeah, my flight was scheduled to leave DTW at 6:45 a.m., and since East Lansing is two hours from Detroit, we had to leave very early. We asked Gail to ride with us to Detroit because I was worried that Benjamin might fall asleep at the wheel on the drive back to EL, so we left Benjamin's apartment at 3:25 a.m., picked up breakfast (yes, a 24-hour McDonald's near campus?), and met Gail around 3:35 a.m. ish. They made coffee, and then we were off to the airport! I DJ'd the ride, using Benjamin's laptop, and it was just a grand ole time...as much as it could be for 4 o'clock in the morning, lol. At last, the pair dropped me off at the airport, saying their goodbyes, and that was the end of my Michigan experience... :-(
Travels and arrival, settling into Idaho will come next...
'Til then,

Monday, September 15, 2008

Surviving Ohioooo

Much to all of your concern, I-am-alive. Yep, that's right, I made it through the storm, up to Idaho, settled in, and have since completed a whole 46 hours worth of my internship. What about in between? I realize it's going to take a while to write about all that's happened in these last three weeks, which is part of the reason it's taken me so long to write anything at all. However, there is plenty to write and for both your and my sakes, its about time I get to it. So, here goes...
  • (On my way to) Ohio
I never did write about my adventures before even arriving in Ohio, did I? Well, on my way out of Thibodaux on August 26th, I realized I'd forgotten my phone in my car, so we had to turn around to go back and get it. It would have been really horrible for me to be traveling without a phone or important numbers. Because of this, I arrived at the New Orleans (MSY) airport at 5:21 p.m., with a flight scheduled to leave at 6:05 p.m. This meant that I had roughly 10 minutes to get out of the car, stand in line, check in, and go through security.
Luckily, there was absolutely NO ONE in both the check-in and security lines. When I checked in, I noticed that the flight had been delayed 'til 6:15, which made me feel better about things time-wise. However, by the time I made it from the check-in counter to my gate (maybe 10 minutes), the flight had been delayed again--until 7:15 this time. I made a few phone calls, letting people know that I'd made it to the airport, and would possibly be delayed but that all was well. Sometime while making these phone calls and grabbing a bite to eat for dinner, the flight was delayed again to 8:50 p.m.! Eek.
By this time, I'd become worried about missing my connecting flight in Atlanta, but I knew there wasn't much of anything I could do about it. My best defense was notifying friends in Ohio of the situation, making potential sleeping arrangements with a friend in Atlanta, and putting my "do-your-Delta-magic" friend Chris from Georgia on alert for flight changes, etc. To make a long story short(er), our flight ended up leaving at 8:15 p.m., and after a "hustle" in the Atlanta airport, I did actually make my connecting flight (thanks to its 30 minute delay) to Ohio. Thus, I arrived in Ohio at 12:30 a.m. on August 27th.
[I should note that this is the day that the FAA had some crazy computer glitch that caused flight back-ups across the country. I didn't get to see the news but I heard it was nuts.]
  • (August 27th - 29th in) Canton/Akron/Cleveland/Columbus, Ohio
Kayleigh and Domenic, two co-workers from heart camp, picked me up from the Columbus airport, and we drove two hours back to Canton, as I planned to stay there with Kayleigh for my first few days in Ohio. We made it back to Kayleigh's around 3 a.m., so Domenic stayed the night in her basement, because he lives in Cleveland which is an extra hour away. [Yes, they have BASEMENTS?!?! oh em gee.]
Wednesday, Kayleigh and I got up fairly early because I had an early-afternoon meeting with a graduate program at The University of Akron, which is about thirty minutes away from Canton, if I remember correctly. Needless to say, navigating a city and university campus that is completely unfamiliar can be quite a challenge, but we did make it to the meeting on time, thank goodness. Child Life was the graduate program of interest at UA, so we met with a faculty member and two graduate assistants/students in the program. The students were very helpful and informative about the program, its curriculum, and life as a GA. They even shared their contact information with me in case I had any more questions or concerns...and now that I think about it, I really should write them about how all the hurricane stuff turned out... Anyways, it was a really poopie day weather-wise, but I felt rather accomplished after that meeting, so yay.
After the meeting, Kayleigh and I had a late lunch, then drove up to Cleveland to meet Domenic. We had tasty ice cream at his family's ice cream shop and then went to see Lake Erie. Yes--I've seen a Great Lake! Woot. Again, the weather was nasty...it was all gray, foggy/misty, and rather chilly...but hey--I SAW LAKE ERIE! Yayyyy.
That night, Kayleigh, her sister, mom, and I ate at Milk-n-Honey a really quaint hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We all had ice cream for dinner, which was just pretty much amazing. If you haven't ever eaten a true waffle sundae, you're missing out. It was absolutely delcious! :)
Thursday was a rather lazy day; Kayleigh and I slept in and then roamed around Canton for most of the day. She showed me some of the schools that she and her sister attended, cool buildings downtown, and we ate at a tavern (Domenic insisted that I see one, since "there are no real taverns in Louisiana," grr), and then went back to Kayleigh's. She had to work for the evening, so Domenic met me at her house to entertain me for a while. At this point, Hurricane Gustav had become a pretty powerful force in the Gulf, and so I was mostly glued to the TV. Kayleigh's parents took us to another quaint restaurant for dinner, and then we watched The Princess Bride (worst movie EVER!).
My mom called that night to say that I really needed to reschedule my flight for Sunday rather than Monday (Labor Day). I attempted to make arrangements with Delta that night, but after getting disconnected four times, and then talking with a crazy foreigner, I gave up. It was extremely frustrated and I was just so stressed out and upset that I couldn't do it anymore.
Friday morning, we woke up way before it was light out, and left around 6:45 a.m. with hopes of making it to Columbus before 9:30 a.m., since my meeting at Ohio State was scheduled for 10 a.m. On the way to Columbus, I spoke with a very friendly Delta representative who rescheduled my flight without any problems. We had a few extra minutes, so Kayleigh drove me around her school, Otterbein College, on our way to meet Mike (also co-worker from heart camp). Mike attends graduate school and is a GA at Ohio State, so I figured he'd be the best person to show me around and give the graduate student's prospective. We didn't have much time to talk before my meeting, but it was really nice to be able to bounce ideas/possibilities off him afterwards.
My visit to Ohio State was a jam-packed four hour session. I met lots of faculty members, went over the curriculum requirements for a Master's Degree in Agriculture and Extension Education, discussed assistantship options, and even toured the brand new Ohio State 4-H Office, which happens to be a very nice GREEN Building. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and they were really interested in me and my experience, especially since I was from Louisiana, a state with a very strong 4-H program. They seemed to really "want" me there, and were willing to do whatever they could to make it work for me attending their program. It was a really cool experience, to say the least. [I must also note here, that I felt really bad when I later realized my National 4-H Conference collegiate facilitator friend, Katrina, works in the state office and I didn't get to see her while I was there. I did see her the next day, though, thank goodness.]
After the meeting, Mike and I spent some time catching up with each other; he didn't work at camp this summer, so we really hadn't gotten to spend much time with each other in the last year. It was good to have some time to really talk in person and things like that. I definitely see Mike as an older brother figure and appreciate the closeness we've developed over the last few years. As kind of a nostalgic Louisiana treat, he and I made red beans and rice together...though I guess I should say that Mike made red beans and rice, and I watched. lol. It was fun, nonetheless...and his Ohio friends sure liked it, hehe. [For curious minds out there, Mike is originally from Nacadoches, TX, but attended LSU for graduate school, and now lives in Ohio, so he's rather capable of making tasty Louisiana red beans and rice.]
I spent the night at Mike's apartment, and Saturday morning we walked to the little market a few blocks away. Basically it was an open market set up on the side of the street with various home-grown fruits, vegetables, and beautiful flowers for sale. Finally, the Ohio weather had begun to cooperate with my visit, so it was a gorgeous day outside. After returning from the market, it was time for me to pack up and get ready because Benjamin was on his way to pick me up; the plan was to visit his family and stay at his house for my last night in Ohio.
  • (August 30th - September 1st) Just outside Columbus, Ohio
Benjamin, another National 4-H Conference collegiate facilitator friend, lives just outside of Columbus in Lewis Center/Africa. He came to visit Louisiana in May after returning from a semester in Europe, and so it was my turn to visit. We hung out at his house, playing video games with his siblings for most of the afternoon. His younger brother (Jacob-10), Benjamin, and I, played in the pasture with some air soft guns for a good bit, too. Surprisingly enough, it was pretty fun, lol. It was also cool to see some of his sister's (Katherine-17) sewing projects and study sessions for their upcoming county fair. Ohio 4-H in comparison to LA 4-H is a very interesting specimin, that's for sure. For dinner, we all went over to his extended family's house for a cousin's 11th birthday. Katrina and two other active Ohio 4-Hers came to visit, too. It was really cool to finally see Katrina and I think we all had a pretty good time catching up with each other.
Late that night, my mom called, worried about me getting stuck in Atlanta the following day due to Hurricane Gustav. She said I needed to decide whether I wanted to risk getting stuck in Atlanta or just stay in Ohio indefinitely, until I could make it out to Idaho for my internship. Of course, I was really upset about the idea of not going home before Idaho, because I never got a chance to say goodbye to my family or to pack up important papers and adequate clothing for three months away. When it came down to it, I decided that it was probably safer to just stay in Ohio with people who loved and supported me than to chance being stuck in a city where I know only one person (a person who happened to be very busy with her senior year of high school).
Thus began another late-night adventure with Delta representatives. Fortunately, however, this foreign representative had no clue what she was doing and somehow refunded my entire ticket to and from Ohio, meaning I ended up with a free trip to Ohio and plenty of Delta credit for a flight home from Idaho in December. It was pretty much amazing. Benjamin asked if I was Irish, because of my luck with airlines. ...I must say that the exceptions made by Delta for hurricane situations are really great; and I still love Delta, despite the occasional frustrations.
Sunday morning, I went to church with Benjamin and his family, ate at Bob Evans for the first time, we hung out a bit, and played some more air soft. Air softing is so much fun; even though I'm not very good at it, I only got shot once! woot. It was a pretty laxed day. I layed around a lot, watching the maps and listening to the storm unfold via Katc.com (Lafayette news channel). I also did some searching for airline tickets, because Benjamin invited me to go up to Michigan with him for the week (he goes to MSU), and I thought it sounded like a cool idea.
Monday, was also relaxed. We woke up pretty late and I listened to the hurricane for a while, too. Ms. Beth, Benjamin's mom, helped me search for airline tickets, and we finally decided on the Frontier Airlines flight out of Detroit early Saturday morning. We all went to eat at Cracker Barrel for lunch, which was a fun outing. Most of the afternoon involved Benjamin shopping for food and other stuff to take back with us to Michigan. There was another family dinner (at his house, this time) that night; we hung around waiting to see everyone and eat before heading out to Michigan, a 4-hour drive ending at nearly midnight.
As this is the end of stories from my trip to Ohio, I think I'll stop here for now. Expect another entry from the visit to Michigan and my internship adventures in Idaho. As far as reflecting on Hurricane Gustav, it's hard to put into words all of the emotions I felt that crazy week. And now, it's especially difficult because we've since gone through a second storm, Hurricane Ike, and everything just really all blurs together. Plain and simple, hurricanes suck. Sometimes things can be exciting, but the devatation far outweighs the fun stuff. Louisiana is one special place, that's for sure.
And with that, I bid adieu.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Officially declared: Hurricane Evacuee.

After one re-scheduled flight and one cancelled flight, I'm now officially stuck in Ohio...will write more later, when I'm not running on 2 hours' sleep, if that.

Having a fantabulous time here in the O-H, but likely heading up to Michigan for the week...

then, Idaho?


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Gustav is a dirty word in my book.

If you guys only knew how much hassle this trip has been, and it's not even over yet. Better yet, I don't even know if I can get home, but these are two completely different stories...ones that I may share at some point, IF I ever make it home.

Aiming to arrive home Sunday afternoon, through Lafayette, that is, but no approval from Delta at the moment, so, who knows. Maybe I'll just stay here forever?

...and if I get home, will I even make it to Idaho for work on the 8th, considering my flight is scheduled for the 4th (and the storm will make landfall on the 2nd)?

So, I'm in Canton tonight, leaving for Columbus at 6:45 a.m. tomorrow, until, I'm not sure when. Should have internet access at Mike's in C-bus tomorrow, but just in case I dont...I'll give an update someday, probably after I'm in Idaho, considering I probably won't have electricity once I make it home, for who knows how long.

Good times, people. Good times.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Go away, Gustav!

Well, here I am...hanging out in the FACS Department while I wait for Ms. Marsha to get off so she can bring me to the airport. In the meantime, I'll go ahead and write a little... What's that--a blog two days in a row? You got it, dude!

This morning, I met with Dr. Junot about the article we are writing; we want to publish the results of the 4-H study I did for my Honors Thesis. Then, I went to bring Ms. Marsha the buckeyes I made for her and ended up getting distracted by some of the many awesome people in our office. One of those great ladies, Dr. Kirkley, informed me that she will be coming to visit me in Idaho for my instructor evaluation! Yay. I'm so excited and can't wait--we'll have a blast!

For lunch, I went to St. Thomas (Catholic Student Center/Church) for the Tuesdays with Thomas, "Not on Bread Alone" free lunch. There, I met Jason and Lindsey (former roommate), as I hadn't seen them since May and won't see them again until at least December. It was really great to see everyone. Jason even took me to see the new dorm, which I will affectionally refer to as "the hotel" from this point forward. Okay, seriously people, this place is freaking' insanely nice. It truly does look like a hotel! Craziness. When I come back with Lauren on Monday, I'll bring my camera and take some pictures. You'd never even guess this place was a dorm. I mean, really.

Now, I'm just "chillin," lol. Looks like I will be getting the money for a scholarship that I apparently won in May, afterall. (It didn't show up on my fees, so I thought I was going crazy and somehow imagined winning the scholarship, lol). This is good, because it will hopefully pay for most of Dr. Kirkley's airline ticket to visit me in October.

Speaking of flying, have you guys realized there's a freakin' hurricane out in the Carribbean? Yeah, tell me about it. Stupid Hurricane Gustav has got his sights set on the Gulf Coast, but it better not be Louisiana if I have anything to say about it. Mom is worried that I will get stuck in evacuation traffic on my way home from Ohio and said something about me possibly flying straight to Idaho instead of coming home. Um, this.is.not.an.option! I don't have enough or appropriate clothing for three months in Idaho without coming home. Eek. And, if I do make it home, I better be able to make it out on Septeber 4th. Cuz, um, if not, we will have a problem, a very serious problem. So, everyone say their prayers and tell Gustav to GO AWAY!

Anxiously excited,