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, :*(