Wednesday, January 28, 2009


You got it--I'm back!! Every once in a while, I do seem to manage writing a tad more frequently than usual. It's been a productive week, and for that, I plan to write about it all before I forget. Here goes.

Last Friday, I had a nice outdoor lunch with some of the folks from Camp Bon Coeur. It was a gorgeous day out, that's for sure. I didn't make it to Family Camp this year, so it had been quite a while since I saw camp people (excluding Allie). Speaking of Allie, she's interning at the office on Fridays this semester, so I decided that I'm going to try to see her as much as I can while she's in town. The lunch on Friday was the second time I saw her since I came home from Boise, and I plan to see her again this Friday-Saturday, as well.

The weekend was pretty relaxing. I didn't do much other than watch TV movies (Hallmark, I've decided, is the best), study for the DC tour guide exam, and do some edits on grad school stuffs. Uncle Ray was in town toward the end of the week, and Nannie Lois came for the weekend, so I really enjoyed seeing them. It was the last time I'd see them until at least the summer, since I am leaving for DC in only a week and a half.

I suppose Monday was spent doing more grad school editing and letter of recommendation searching. This process has just taken forever, it seems. Bah.

Finally, yesterday, I was able to submit three online graduate school applications. Oh, and my official GRE scores came in, too. Of course, I already knew my Verbal and Quantitative scores, but I was waiting on my Analytical (writing) scores. I'd hoped to do a little better on the writing, to counteract my not-so-great scores, but I suppose I'm satisfied with how it turned out.

Today, I went to the post office to mail 3 of 5 application packets containing my resume, letters/statements of intent, assistantship applications, transcripts, and other documents. From the beginning, I've tried to avoid saying much about where I was applying, mostly because I started out by looking at a large number of schools in very diverse locations, and I didn't want to mention specifics until I was more sure of where I'd be applying. Since I have sent off three applications already, I suppose that I can share the list of schools now.

Officially, I have applied to North Carolina State (Extension Education), the University of Georgia (Nonprofit Organizations), the Clinton School of Public Service (Public Service), and Louisiana State University (some really long, confusingly named program). Tomorrow, I hope to mail off my documents for LSU and Ohio State (Ag & Extension Education). Honestly, though, I still don't know where I want to go, or what I want to do. ....So if you want to keep me in your thoughts about that, I'd surely appreciate it.

I'd also like to give a shoutout to my wonderful grad essay editors, Chris Nowicki (GA) and Melissa Askew (TX). Of course, I can't forget my official Grad School Mentor, and keeper of all things National Treasure-y, Danielle Smarsh (NJ). You're all great!! [Please accept my apologies if I have left someone out.]

Aaaaand, lastly, I just want to ask a special favor from all my readers out there. For those of you who don't know, the FACS Department at Nicholls is a very close-knit group. Not only was I a student there for three and a half years, but I was also a Student Worker in the office during my time there. The FACS Department is truly a family. Recently, I found out that a professors's daughter has been dealing with a serious medical condition. The doctors are having a hard time figuring out what's wrong and how to treat her, and for the time being, she is hospitalized in New Orleans at Children's Hospital. Not only is D.'s illness causing great concern within her family and friends, it has affected our FACS Family. Everyone is really worried about her, and wants her to get better soon. Because of this, I would really appreciate it if you all could keep this little girl in your thoughts and prayers as she battles this illness.

Thanks to all, and expect more updates soon.

DC in 10 days.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Flurries (of words)

I know, I know, I am really behind on updating the blog these days. Believe me, though, there are reasons I haven't been writing, and I hope you accept my apologies. And anyway, I'm here today (woot--a rhyme), so get excited!

As always, starting where I left off...I did, in fact, visit Allie in Baton Rouge so that I could take the GRE, but the timing was a little different than I expected. Instead of staying with her on January 7th and taking the test on January 8th, I actually ended up spending the night at her house on the 8th and taking the test on the 9th. To make a long story short, I was lucky that to even be able to take the test on the 9th, but I did have to miss the parish 4-H Jr. Leader meeting that I was hoping to attend on the 8th. Stupid conflicting dates...I hate those.

Anyway, it was great to see'd been foreverrrr. (Okay, just since August, but still!) We spent a lot of time talking about camp and hashing out plans for Summer 2009. In an attempt to find the testing center the night before, so that I wouldn't get lost, Allie, her cousin, and I decided to have dinner at Applebee's, near the center. Neither of them had been there before, and Misty had a gift certificate. Afterwards, we went to Wal-Mart to buy some Cajun goodies (Zapp's potato chips) for Matt Eckess and Kyle Bost, Aldersgate staff members who had their birthday that week. Then, we drove all around looking for a Red Box with the movie Juno (heh, Nathan) but when we finally did find it, we decided to watch 27 Dresses, since Allie owned it already, lol. I enjoyed the movie, and to prevent the temptation to stay up talking until the wee hours of the morning, Allie banished me to bed as soon as it was over. She even made us sleep in different rooms! Hah.

As for the GRE, I made it to the testing center wayyy early, but I guess it was better early than late, right? It's been two weeks, now, so I guess I've blocked out most of the details, but I will say that that stupid test sucks some booty. I was highly disappointed in my scores, but I'll just have to suck it up and hope for the best because I don't have time to take it again before turning in my grad school applications...nor do I want to take it again. To be honest, I don't feel like I could do any better, even if I did take it again...grr.

After the test, I drove home from Baton Rouge, only to turn around and go back to Lafayette, all the way to the north side, in fact. My brother and his friend had to meet Mr. Todd to catch a ride to 4-H Camp in Pollock for the Winter Executive Board meeting. I didn't mind the driving, but at some points, it started to get old...

On Saturday, January 10th, my mom and I set off for a weekend in Little Rock, Arkansas. When we arrived that afternoon (it's an 8 hour drive, eek), we went to camp so that I could say hello to the staff (it was a respite camp weekend) and show Mom around the facilities. Everyone was really welcoming. In fact, when I walked in, they started shouting, "THE CAJUN GIRL IS HERE!" It was so cute, lol. Momma was quite impressed with the facilities (with a 7.2 million dollar grant, who wouldn't be?), and made some comment about how it was very different than 4-H Camp, lol.

I didn't have much time to hang out with camp friends, but Matt and Kyle both seemed to enjoy the yummy chips and birthday cards that I hid in the Khaki Cabin, lol. K. Bost hung out with my mom and I when we went to dinner during his "paperwork" (off time) on Saturday night. Then on, Sunday night, he came to the hotel for a while; we watched School of Rock twice and spent some time catching up with each other. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to see many of the other staff members, especially Matt Eckess and some of the other people that I was pretty close to this summer...buttttt, at least I can get excited about seeing them all again this summer, which is only about 5 months away now! Woot.

On Sunday, my mom and I found a church, which happened to have been the same church that Eckess took Allie and I to once this summer. Ironic. Then we went to Arkansas Children's Hospital; I applied for my Child Life internship there, but didn't get in, so I kind of wanted to see what it was all about. For lunch, we ate at The Purple Cow Restaurant, which is the coolest place everrrrrrrrr. :-D In the afternoon, we did a test run to find the two schools I planned to visit the next morning, and then walked along the river (one of my favorite places in Little Rock) for a little while.

Monday morning, we met with someone in the Master's of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The school was smaller than imagined, and kind of quaint in an old, familiar, sort of way. The people on staff were really nice, but I'm just not quite sure if it's the sort of program I'd enjoy studying.

Our second meeting was at the UALR Clinton School of Public Service (UACS). Just like UALR, the staff was really nice and welcoming. Their program is so unique and exciting; it sounds perfect for me, in fact. However, they are not able to offer assistantships, and funding is limited, so if I got in, I probably could not afford to go without taking a loan or something. That saddens me greatly, because I really do love the program... :-( However, I'm going to apply anyway, and see what happens.

As for my feelings toward Little Rock, in general, it definitely seemed a lot larger during this trip than it did in the summer. I think most of it has to do with the fact that we liked to stay in our own little area of the city during camp, and only ventured out on the weekends. Our corner had everything we needed--shopping, food, and...well, that's about all you need when you work at camp and only have 2 hours off a day, lol. If I were to move to Little Rock, I'd want to be able to have another little corner of life and not have to drift out onto one of the four freaking interstates anytime I wanted to go somewhere. Big cities...bah...take me back to Boise, darnit!

Anyways, what have I been doing since Little Rock...a whole lot, and a whole lotta nothing all at the same time. I had lunch with Victoria (an old 4-H friend from Abbeville) the day after returning from LR. It was nice to talk with her and catch up on each other's lives. I probably hadn't seen Victoria, or really even hung out with her since Benjamin's visit last May. Needless to say, a lot can happen in eight months.

Other days have been spent gathering a ton of essiential paperwork for my DC tour guide licenseure. I mean, seriously, it's a rediculous amount of stuff to get, places to go to get them, and money to pay for measly pieces of paper...Sheriff's Office (fingerprints-$5), parish jail (criminal history report-$10), 2 passport photos (Thrifty Way pharmacy-$10), driving record ($17), 2 physicians forms (random doctor in Delcambre-$22) That's nearly $70 bucks, not to mention the 3 forms I had to have notarized, 6 character reference letters, and a few other documents to sign! All for a Class B DC tour guide license; Crazy!!

Once I secured most of my doucments for the license, and while waiting for the others to arrive, I began requesting letters of recommendation for graduate school applications. That has taken quite a while, and I'm still not finished securing letters for each of the applications. It's understanding, but sometimes frustrating when people are too busy with work to respond to my phone calls or e-mails, but I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to get everything done in time.

And while waiting for thooooooose documents to come in, I've been writing graduate school admissions essays and such. Yesterday I ruled out at least one school, maybe two, which means that I'm mostly finish writing essays now. (That one school required nine essays, and yeah, I just don't feel like writing any more.) So, as of now, I'm applying to 5, maybe 6 graduate 5 different states, lol. *And the gypsy life continues...? lol*

I also spent all of Saturday working on my application to be a Collegiate Facilitator at National 4-H Conference in Maruch. I've worked at Conference for the past 2 years and can't bear to think about missing it this year. Conference is by far my favorite 4-H experience of all time, and it will be especially special (lol) this year, because Austin is going as a delegate. Thankfully, my supervisors at WOW have been flexible in allowing me to apply for this position. Even if I am not chosen, though, I will be living at the Conference Center, so I'll still get to see everyone that week, which is super exciting. :)

Whew, so I guess that's it. Oh wait, no...I should also say that I've been reading more novels and studying DC factoids in my spare time. We were given a 300+ question study guide to prepare for the DC tour guide licensure test, which is scheduled for February 17th. I'm not a pro, yet at least, but I'm hoping that my casual studying will be worthy of something, lol. What I really need to do is get some index cards and start studying the information that way. Busy, busy.

Okay, now that's it. Off to find more means of productivity...and hopefully write again soon.

Oh, and, yay for King Cakes in Mardi Gras season. :-D

PS: My thoughts are with all those marching in our nation's capital this week, especially my dearest Sunshine. Best wishes toward the success of the National March for Life and for the overturning of Roe v. Wade..."As a former fetus, I oppose abortion."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Progressing in "L'Annee Nouvelle"

Whattaya's only been 7 days since I wrote last. Perhaps I'm getting better at this? Yeah, I doubt it. I did want to write a few days ago, though, but I've been making so much progress by the day that I didn't want to update and then something change the very next day. With things changing so quickly, I'll try to stick with updates about only concrete pieces of information. Be glad I didn't write earlier because some things have changed about four times between my previous post and this one. Believe me.

New Year's has come and gone. The day after my last post, I traveled to Brusly (just outside of Baton Rouge) to visit my dearest Sunshine, Miss Dawn Jason! Dawn and I met at LA 4-H Jr. Leadership Conference in 2004 and remain very close even though we have never lived within an hour and a half of each other. I guess that's worked well for the development of our friendship, considering she and I are both practically gypsies. You think I move around a lot--you should see this girl. Her trips aren't usually as long, but tend to be more frequent and diverse than mine. Between all of her invovlements, she's at a conference, retreat, or trip nearly every weekeend, all year long. She's been to DC at least 8 to 10 times, visiting there an average of more than twice (up to four times) each year. And ironically enough, Dawn was best friends with Annie (who would later become my roommate at Nicholls) from the time they were wasn't until Annie and I became roommates that we discovered Dawn to be a mutual friend. I swear, this world keeps getting smaller and smaller...

Anywhoo. I hadn't seen Dawn since she and I visited Annie in Luling in August, so it was great to see her again, especially since we generally manage to see each other only every few months. It was nice to hang out and catch up with each other. Wednesday evening, she and I went to Katie LeBlanc's house (who I happened to have met on a LA 4-H trip in 2005, and is one of Dawn's best local friends, as well) to watch the LSU game. After the game, we continued to watch the New Year's festivities, which involved some stunt guys flipping a pickup truck and also driving a motorcycle over the arc-de-triumph in Las Vegas. Of course, we watched the ball two different time zones, lol. I sent out mass text messages wishing everyone a Happy 2009, by time zone...since I have friends in all four continental U.S. time zones (not counting Luke in Alaska, Tessa and Jesse in England, Benjamin in some other European country, and Hayley in New Zeland). Heh.

On Thursday, Dawn and I began with 10 a.m. mass at Christ the King Church on LSU's campus, since it was a Holy Day of Obligation. Then we headed out to do some shopping errands in the city. She returned and exchanged some shoes at Payless, while I bought two pairs that will hopefully be comfy and stylish for work as a tour guide in D.C., lol. We tried to exchange my photo card at Target and spend some of Dawn's gift cards, but were successful at neither endeavor there. In keeping with tradition (that began to celebrate our great GPA's at the end of each semester/quarter), we went had stuffed French toast at IHOP for lunch. Note to self: Don't go to IHOP on New Year's day; it'll be the only thing open and you'll have to wait ages to be seated. Ah well, it was worth it. We also spent some time at Barnes and Nobel...searching out some fun books about Washington, D.C. She's the expert on D.C., and it was fun to talk about exciting things to do and see, and plans for when she comes up to exciting!!!

That night, we "channeled" Danielle, our 4-H friend from New Jersey, and watched both National Treasure movies. Danielle and Dawn are both obessed with the NT movies, and have proceeded to act out various parts of the movies during their times together in D.C. Personally, I liked NT2 better, but perhaps that's because it includes England and France as well as awesome D.C. places. Hehe. It's just wayyyy cool to see D.C. monuments on a tv screen, knowing that I've been to them all at least 4 times with plenty more visits to go in the forseeable future. :-D

Friday, before I was allowed to depart from the Jason residence, Dawn and I each had some things to accomplish...both her mom and mine have been insistant on us deciding what to do with our lives -- summer study abroad for Dawn and fall graduate school for me. Therefore, we pulled out a buttload of study abroad pamphlets and spent a few hours agonizing over them. Dawn didn't know what she wanted at all, and so I decided that there are certain places she is not allowed to go, or else we're no longer friends (heh). These include Rawanda, the Congo, India, and various other "sketch" countries, lol. She is, however, allowed to go to England, France, Spain, Greece, South Africa, Australia, and New Zeland. ...So much for narrowing things down, lol. I do think we ended up narrowing some things down, or at least I provided a different perspective of thought about it all. We'll have to see what she decides, but it should be soon, considering the trip is only 6 months away!

As for me, we didn't make much progress in grad school stuffies, that day at least. Our final conclusion was that I needed to take the GRE as soon as I could manage it, andddd that I should figure out some way to visit at least Georgia and South Carolina, in addition to the Little Rock schools that I already plan to visit. [We're still working out the details for this...]

Just as soon as I arrived home, I hurried to shower and get ready to turn around and go back to Lafayette for an evening with my family. We ate at Applebee's and then proceeded to shop at J.C. Penny's, Best Buy, and Target. (Unfortunately for my Daddy, Academy closed before we managed to arrive.) It was a rather productive outing; my brother exchanged his new digital camera for a bright blue Olympus that happens to be the exact same camera that I currently own. I was able to exchange my photo card (with the receipt, this time) and pick out a new, cuter luggage set with spinner wheels. (Dawn and I decided it's sad that we travel so much that we know specifics on luggage design, lol.) We did pretty well for the trip to Lafayette that night, if I do say so myself.

The days between Friday the 2nd and today, Tuesday the 6th, have all started to blend together. In the short of things, I've been doing errands and contacting more graduate school programs. My mom and I are going to Little Rock this weekend. with plans to visit two schools there on Monday. There's also a strong chance that I'll end up in Baton Rouge again tomorrow through Thursday or Friday because I found out that I can register to take the GRE on Thursday. It would also be a great excuse to see my camp friend Allie for the first time since August and probably last time before June. Not to mention, taking the GRE now would mean getting it off my mind and out the way before I have time to develop anxiety about it, and it'd be nice to know my scores before visiting schools, too.

Two last notes before I shut up...A) Dawn called today to say that she got clearance from supervisors in D.C. to stay with me for the week of my birthday!! Woot! And, I found out that Emily from New Jersey will be in town for Ag Day on the Hill, as well. This brings the reunion total to about five people now, which is super exciting. D.C. is going to be so much fun!!

And, B) I know it's a bit overdue, but I forgot to mention it in my last post... CONGRATULATIONS to Kim and Joey (Idaho) and my long time school friend LanKhanh and her now fiance, Joey, on your recent engagements!! My how I am growing old; all my friends are getting engaged, lol. But alas, woe is life, right? I'm super pumped for these couples though, and I'll be especially looking forward to the Kim-Joey wedding because that means I'll definitely get to see all my Boise friends again in the next year and a half, at least. Yayyy. Start saving your money for plane tickets, yo. I look forward to seeing you all in New Orleans in 2010!

And with that, I'm out.