Ganon was supposed to be taking a practice test for the ACT Aspire, which is the standardized test they take at the end of the year. This blows my mind, because the Aspire tests whether a child is on track to take the ACT itself...making the Aspire a practice test...thus making yesterday's test a practice test for a practice test. The profound absurdity of that just really got to me yesterday, heightened by the fact that my son is TEN YEARS OLD. That whole thing about how we test them to death is true. Plus, having an all-day practice test meant that they wouldn't be covering new ground, so Ganon wouldn't have make up work if he missed. Perfect!
So we planned to go to Memphis to shop at Whole Foods and get Gibson's Donuts, but on our way out to the car Ganon lamented the fact that Memphis didn't have a River Market, because what he really felt like was Big on Tokyo from the River Market in Little Rock. I told him that my car was capable of driving to either one, and for him to pick where he wanted to go most. He chose Little Rock. This turned out to be good, because Bryan was in Russellville, having gone to a conference with a coworker who teaches the other section of Essentials of Programming. He rode with the coworker, so that meant we could pick him up!
Ganon & I went to the River Market for the aforementioned teriyaki chicken. I had chicken jalfrezi and Bombay chicken from The Indian Feast. They give you SO MUCH FOOD. I was so stuffed by the end I could barely walk. We went to the Museum of Discovery and puttered around for an hour or so, then drove off to Russellville.
Russellville is in the sorta central western part of the state. It's on I-40, west of Little Rock. This time of year, that's a gorgeous drive, taking you from the Ouachita Mountains into the Ozarks. The trees are just beginning to turn, not at their full height of color yet, but it was still beautiful!
When we got to Arkansas Tech University, we drove around for a short while battling Pokemon gyms and getting Pokestops. I would bring the gym down and then let Ganon put a Pokemon up in it. :) He was rather thrilled.
Afterward we went to CJ'S Butcher Boy Burgers in Russellville, which makes QUITE an excellent burger! I wasn't entirely hungry, since I'd been so stuffed at lunch, but I still managed to eat half of it simply because it was so yummy. Ganon got a grilled cheese with bacon, which he declared "excellent" even though he mainly just ate the bacon out of it. ;)
Have some pictures from a most excellent skip day!
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This is a toss-up. I'm pretty sure I was around 5 years old in both cases, but in one I remember going to the lake at Heber Springs, AR, and in the other memory we are going to our family cabin in Hardy, AR on the Spring River.
2) What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while travelling?
I am not a good flyer. I truly hate flying; it makes me so nervous that I literally ache when I get off an airplane; I sit with my muscles tense during the entire flight. I am worst during takeoff. It's horrible & I hate it, and since I heard a geophysicist speak on the environmental dangers of continuing air travel at our current rate, I will not fly again unless it's to a place I literally cannot drive to.
That said, my funniest story happened on a plane. I was wearing scrubs & I was sitting next to a priest (see; it even SOUNDS like a joke: "a nurse & a priest were sitting on an airplane"). This flight was only a short 1-hour hop from Little Rock to Dallas, and I thought I had done well during the very uneventful takeoff. Apparently my emotions show on the outside, though, because after we had stopped that initial extremely fast ascent, the priest leaned over to me.
"May I ask you a personal question?"
I blinked in surprise. "Yes, sir," I answered.
"Have you ever considered Valium?" he asked in a very concerned voice.
Guess I hadn't done as well as I thought!
3) What's the worst thing that ever happened to you while travelling?
I am going to go with Billy the Kidney Stone. For those of you who were not following my LJ at that time, during the 2013 Arkansas Nurses' Association Convention (which I attend every year), Bryan & Ganon had a free weekend & they came with me. Long story short, on the last day of the convention (after which we'd planned to go stay in Eureka Springs for a night so I could take fall foliage pictures), Bryan didn't feel well at all...and then suddenly was in the most inexplicable excruciating pain of his life. Being a mainly critical care nurse, I had literally no idea what was going on...because kidney stones rarely make it past the emergency department & I had never seen the symptoms on a real person. We went to an Urgent Care, where they fixed him up with some ketorolac by injection & gave him a scrip for hydrocodone (which makes him intensely amusing). We had to cut the trip short, but I did drive home by Highway 77, so I got my foliage pictures anyway.
I believe my honeymoon in Orlando, Florida holds this honor. We honeymooned in Disney World. :)
5) Where is the next place you hope to travel?
I am really wishing for a trip to northwest Arkansas. That's more or less my baseline status, though. On a grander scale, I'd like to visit Japan, New Zealand, and Australia.
1. Have you ever gone camping?
That's a yes. Four times, primitive camping at music festivals, which is the only thing that would even entice me to TOLERATE camping. Bonnaroo 2010, Wakarusa 2012-2014.
2. Do you prefer to rough it or do you prefer some comforts?
I prefer "some comforts", if by that phrase you mean "an RV or possible a hotel". I can't sleep in a tent with people around because I hear everything, but I also can't sleep in one in the total quiet because my imagination goes wild. I can't stand port-a-potties, but I like the idea of digging a hole (backpacking style) even less. I feel gross & sticky without running water. I am a fan of modern climate control.
3. What is your favorite meal to prepare ‘in the wild’?
Not preparing one at all? If I had to choose, though, I would do grilled fish. Fast & delicious.
4. Where was your camp site (by a lake, in the mountains, etc.)?
Both music festivals are set in a mountainous region: Bonnaroo is in the Appalachian hills of Tennessee, and Wakarusa is in the Ozarks. Waka has the more mountainous features, and if you camp in West Woods, you get all-day shade, which was a major plus.
5. Million dollar question – did you have fun? The music was fun in all these situations. I hated the camping in all of them, however. My major objection to all 3 years in Wakarusa was the WEATHER. I don't wish to ride out major thunderstorms in a tent or my car, and in all 3 cases I was forced to do exactly that. 2013 was the WORST, with 60 mph gusts. I FELT like the only thing holding the tent down was me & Bryan, but upon checking the pegs the next morning, we found it had held EXTREMELY well.
That's my basic gripe with camping: we're good at it. We pitch a tent quickly. We pack food well (we've mastered the art of dry ice with water ice over top) & make wise decisions about what food to pack. We prepare for the weather & handle it well. We bring stuff to "bathe" like wet wipes & hand sanitizers. We even know how to rig Bryan's CPAP to a small engine battery (we have a lawnmower one but we understand a marine deep cycle would be better), and we know how to recharge that battery using a car engine. We know how to do this, and if there was ever some emergency in which we HAD to camp, we'd be a pretty good pair of people to have on your team. The fact remains, though, that we HATE IT WITH A PASSION. We are uncomfortable, gross & sticky, and if it wasn't for the music festival aspect, we'd be bored as hell.
So. Next year? I'm booking a hotel in Ozark for Wakarusa. :)
- Leave for Wakarusa
- Get a phone call from Q saying the microwave is dead.
- Come home, microwave is indeed dead.
- Check outlet, check breaker (both of which Q had already done, of course).
- Microwave is dead as a doornail.
- Being the search for a new microwave. Don't find one.
- Take a trip to Hardy.
- Come home, buy a floor model microwave at Home Depot.
- Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
- During installation, find that we are missing one vital piece for installation.
- Go to Home Depot. Receive exactly no help & piss poor customer service.
- Come back home.
- Take microwave back to Home Depot. Receive better service but still no part.
- Return microwave.
- Do not find any other in-stock microwaves that are acceptable.
- Go to Lowe's.
- Find a great, brand new microwave on sale for $160 down from $260.
- Buy it.
- Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
- Open microwave, find buckling & denting consistent with very hard drop or fall.
- Take microwave back to Lowe's.
- Customer service lady insists on return.
- Bryan suggests exchange would be easier.
- Customer service lady insists on return.
- Return microwave.
- Find that they have the same one in stock.
- Take it to register, find that the sale is over & it's again $260.
- Inform manager of issue.
- Manager honors sale price.
- Manager asks customer service lady "Why didn't you just do an exchange?"
- Bring home.
- Wait one more day for Daddy to come install.
Leave for Wakarusa
Get a phone call from Q saying the microwave is dead.
Come home, microwave is indeed dead.
Check outlet, check breaker (both of which Q had already done, of course).
Microwave is dead as a doornail.
Being the search for a new microwave. Don't find one.
Take a trip to Hardy.
Come home, buy a floor model microwave at Home Depot.
Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
During installation, find that we are missing one vital piece for installation.
Go to Home Depot. Receive exactly no help & piss poor customer service.
Come back home.
Take microwave back to Home Depot. Receive better service but still no part.
Do not find any other in-stock microwaves that are acceptable.
Go to Lowe's.
Find a great, brand new microwave on sale for $160 down from $260.
Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
Open microwave, find buckling & denting consistent with very hard drop or fall.
Take microwave back to Lowe's.
Customer service lady insists on return.
Bryan suggests exchange would be easier.
Customer service lady insists on return.
Find that they have the same one in stock.
Take it to register, find that the sale is over & it's again $260.
Inform manager of issue.
Manager honors sale price.
Manager asks customer service lady "Why didn't you just do an exchange?"
Wait one more day for Daddy to come install.
That's where we are now. So we have been an entire month without a microwave, and let me tell you, I did NOT realize how much we used it. Especially for leftovers. If you don't have a working microwave, leftovers are not nearly as convenient.
In other home improvement news, my basement has a sink! I have always been confused as to why it didn't have a sink in the first place. The laundry has always been in the basement from the time the house was built in 1979. With the house being that old, I can't imagine why they didn't put a sink down here in the first place. In the 70s, there were a lot more hand-wash clothing items & pre-treating stains was much more labor intensive. Plus, if you ever have to rinse something off or pour something out, you had to go upstairs. Not anymore! It took the plumbers only from 8am-10:30am to finish it, too. We were concerned it might be complicated by the fact that the tiny basement corner that contains the washer & dryer (and thus the water & drainage lines) is a reinforced concrete safe room. There was a possibility that drilling through the wall was going to be a giant pain, but it was ok. They had to use what they called a "hammer drill" but whatever. It worked quick, & I got a sink! It will allow me to rinse things out before laundry, pour out my cold coffee when I'm studying (I use the basement as my school "office"), but most importantly: the dehumidifier!
We have a dehumidifier in the basement. I notice when it's running, the entire house feels less humid. Problem was, without a sink down here, we had to use the dehumidifier basin & then empty it out in the washing machine as it got full. This meant it would never run more than 6-8 hours before needing emptied, at which point it would either turn itself off or leak (only a couple of times). Now we can set it beside the sink & run a hose so that it's constantly emptying into the drain, and it can run continuously!
We've actually been doing a LOT of great organization around here. Bryan is very good at thinking of organizational systems. We both create them. Then I am very good at maintaining those systems & tweaking them as our needs change. Ganon has gotten to the point where he can help us with things, like picking up & sorting his toys without being told each step to take. He can make his own bed now, as well. We made a toy organizational system in his room and we put a new set of closet organizers in mine & Bryan's room. It helped with a LOT of stuff.
I've also gotten someone to start cleaning my house every other week. This took a lot of hemming & hawing & wincing on my part. It triggers a LOT of feelings of inadequacy: why can't I keep my house as clean as I want it? The truth is, when the house is clean & organized, I feel much better. My mind is much clearer, I am less distracted, & I feel less foggy. That said, I'm not a very good housekeeper. I let things get cluttery a lot. When we clean up, we do a surface clean on an urgent basis, usually because people are coming over. I don't think about moving furniture to clean under it. I don't clean things up unless I can SEE the mess and it bothers me, or it's stopping me from doing something. I do feel bad that I'm not the Tazmanian Cleanliness Devil my mother is. I feel guilty about it. But the fact is I'm not, and I decided to grit my teeth & shoot a text to a nice lady who came very highly recommended by 2 of my former coworkers. Any lady recommended by 2 nurses (especially 2 that I know personally) is probably a good fit.
Thus did Hurricane Olga come to hit my house yesterday while I was out. I figured she would be good, so I wasn't too fazed by the price she set me. When I came home, I realized I'd gotten one HELL of a bargain. The floors gleamed. Every horizontal surface was shiny. The bathtubs were so clean you could eat off them. The toilets looked immaculate. EVERYTHING looked immaculate! I was SO impressed.
She's going to come every other week. I feel like this is a great arrangement. So I'm not that great a housekeeper under normal circumstances: fine. But with Olga coming every 2 weeks, I will have a reason to keep the horizontal surfaces uncluttered (so she can wipe or dust), things put away, & laundry not overflowing onto the floor. Every 2 weeks it will be exactly this clean once again, and when something starts out clean, it makes you less likely to mess it up. Ganon made his bed this morning, & so did Bryan & I. I think this is going to be a worthwhile expenditure.
Yesterday I drove Alice to the airport. She has a convention where she's going to sell jewelry in Nevada. There was a lot of going back & forth with asqmh & Bryan about things that Olga needed, & whether I knew where they were, etc. on the drive. But we got her there on time, & then Ganon & I went off to get my annual drug test for school.
We arrived at LabCorp (what a difficult place to find!) and went to the 7th floor...where they told me I couldn't have my drug test because Ganon was with me. What? It is apparently their policy. It's too "dangerous" to leave him in the waiting area by himself, but he couldn't go back with me & stand outside the door or come into the testing bathroom with me. I think the ladies genuinely started to feel bad for me when I asked why he couldn't just come in with me. "Because you might have him pee in the cup!" I must have looked as astonished as I felt, because they kinda started to sadly laugh.
"I guess if that's the policy, you must've actually had someone TRY that?!" I asked incredulously. They said they had.
Hating the world at that moment, I stomped angrily down to the lobby (Ganon apologized that he made me miss my drug test, & I told him it certainly was NOT his fault) and fired off some very colorfully worded texts to Q & Bryan to get my frustration out. Also Bryan usually has some great ideas. He was asking about Jess, since she lives in Little Rock. "She worked last night. She's asleep," I told him, not wanting to wake her up. She sleeps little enough as it is, and when you wake her up she almost never goes back to sleep. Just as I hit send on that text & went back to scowling at the world...Jess walked in the door of the lobby.
I just stared at her for a second before my brain kicked back into gear. I called her name, and then she stared at ME for about the same amount of time. We both asked what the other was doing there, though in retrospect I'm the one who deserves that question more since she actually LIVES in the town! We were both there for a drug test! Hers is for the agency she signed on with for travel nursing. I know she made my day for sure, and she told me that it made her day 1000% better that she'd met up with us.
An incredible accidental meeting like that certainly deserves lunch. We ate at Panera. :)
Tomorrow, Q & Bryan & I leave for the Lake of the Ozarks to spend a weekend with our friend Rob & his wife at their lake house! I'm pretty excited. It sounds like a lot of fun. SWIMMMMMMMMING! Games! Nintendo 3DS! Rob's cooking!
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We had a fabulous time on Saturday when we went to the Perot Museum of Nature & Science. Gotta remember in the future that they have reciprocal membership with the ATSC museums. If we'd had our Little Rock MoD cards, we could've gotten me, Ganon & Bryan in for free!
It was a VERY worthwhile museum trip. They had an entire hall dedicated to birds, much to Ganon's delight. When he found out about the bird hall, he barely had patience for anything else until we went to see it. He designed his own bird, flew around as an eagle, learned about different types of beaks being for different types of food, etc. My favorite part was the hall of minerals, where a zillion different minerals & gemstones were on display. It was ruined only by a presentation on the wonders, beneficial properties, & complete safety of fracking for natural gas. -_- After we left that presentation I pulled Ganon aside & gave him the 7 year old appropriate talk about how people will only tell you the GOOD things about something if they stand to make a great deal of money from it. Please note, this is a museum in Texas, specifically in the area of one of the largest natural gas shales in the US, and in a state that's quite used to oil money. *sigh* It's okay, though. It's an opportunity to teach Ganon to think critically. Parenting moment!
Skyline of Dallas, Texas from the museum itself.
My boys at a museum photo opportunity spot!
Two girls playing with an art installation. A tiny camera filmed you as you stood in front of it. It rendered you extremely low resolution so you'd be pixelated, and then the wooden tiles tilted to be more or less shadowed to create the image. Very intriguing.
The dark green mineral at top center is my favorite of the entire hall. It looks like green fire.
Galena? Or fossilized Borg cube?
I like the way they light many of these, leaving you with the sense that they glow from the interior.
Drove home on Monday. Bryan went to the doctor yesterday for his completely stopped up ears; he can't hear anything & has a huge problem in white noise situations. Turns out he has a middle ear infection, which is uncommon for adults. Poor guy. I think when his allergies went completely insane at Wakarusa, he ended up with a sinus infection which ended up as an ear infection. Yet another strike against camping if we do a festival next year. He's got antibiotics & steroids now.
We are now chilling out at home, doing laundry & things like that. We had been planning a trip to New Orleans, but given our extended stay in Dallas, I think we'd rather have a very chill, low-key vacation. Now we're considering staying up at our cabin in Hardy for a few days & making it a jumping off point for some other adventures, like exploring Mountain Home & seeing Blanchard Springs caverns & stuff like that. There will be LOTS of photos of that!
Strawberry Sprinkles & Evil Elvis (bacon, peanut butter, & bananas on top of a glazed yeast). You don't even UNDERSTAND how amazing the Evil Elvis was. I'm going to have to place it as the single best donut I have ever had in my life.
Canadian Healthcare (which made me think of you, velvetpage!), Mr. Pistachio, Strawberry with sprinkles, orange cake. This is our "take home" box, because we were too stuffed to eat everything. Bryan & I had fried chicken biscuits (his with cheese, honey & spicy mustard and mine with gravy) as well as the donuts. We devoured the biscuits too quickly to photograph. The chicken was juicy on the inside & crisp outside, & perfectly seasoned.
A lady who seemed to be the manager asked us how we were doing & where we were from (they apparently get a lot of regulars so we stood out). Told her we'd driven there from Frisco and she was really startled! "That's a long way!" she said, which made me laugh. Your perspective is different when you drive 8 hours to a place. You drive 30 minutes from Frisco to south Dallas & that seems like nothing! She was familiar with our part of Arkansas, since her husband used to travel there for work, and then I made HER laugh by telling her I was originally from Weiner, Arkansas. :) No one ever forgets that, y'know?
Spotted at the Dallas Arboretum. I think I would like this lady.
Water Wall at the Dallas Arboretum.
We checked the prices, but ended up not going because it was expensive: $10 for kids & $15 for adults, so that's a base price of $40 before we even thought about adding on the "children's garden" access. It would normally have been completely worth it (it looks like an amazing garden!), but Ganon was whiny bear, and I'd rather not have an expensive experience ruined because Ganon was a beast.
January: The deadline passed for graduate school application at University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. I'd already turned mine in back in November 2012, but now the real waiting starts. January 2nd passed without any particular bad luck (it used to be a bad day for me most of the time), though I did get CRAZY sick over New Year's holiday. Ganon got into video games for the first time with Lego Lord of the Rings. Commander Hadfield earned the love & admiration of the geek community with his tweets from space. Finished the very last Wheel of Time book ever, 14 years after being introduced to the series by Bryan. The Wakarusa lineup is released; I was super excited about ZZ Ward, Of Monsters & Men, Ozomatli, STS9 & Galactic. Observed my first open-heart surgery by the surgeon with whom I work most often. I was later primary nurse to that same patient.
February: For the first time, I had to show my teeth to a group of nursing students. In one week, 4 of them were late on weekly papers. I gave them a speech about it & they acted terrified. :D First jonquils of the year, shortly followed by daffodils in my back yard. Visited a Trader Joe’s for the first time, and all of my loyalty is transferred from Whole Foods to TJ’s. :) Discovered SleepyTime tea for insomnia. Yelling goats in YouTube videos were a thing. Bryan took the EAST lab students from Weiner to their competition in Hot Springs. The entire school did a Harlem Shake video.
March: It snowed on March 2nd! Discovered OCC Lip Tar. New Kids on the Block released a new song & it wasn’t bad! My birthday! My first group of junior nursing students presented their final care plans. Spring break started out with Ganon getting a stomach bug. I got confirmed for Warehouse tickets for the DMB show…in the pit! Had my interview on campus at UTHSC just before driving to Dallas. Got a red Logitech bluetooth keyboard for my iPad, & it’s been one of the most useful things on the planet ever since. We started our spring break journey home from Dallas a day early…to beat the winter weather that was heading for Jonesboro. SPRING BREAK. WINTER WEATHER. I found that the best way for me to pull off a drunken tweet is to use Siri, because my typing remains too articulate.
April: I caved & rejoined Instagram. Gmail Blue was my favorite April Fool’s Day joke. :) We had to remodel our nurse’s station while actually remaining functional as a floor. The nurse’s station was relocated into our largest patient room. It was horrible & I came THAT close to a mental breakdown while at work. The Pegasus pipeline failed, flooding an Arkansas neighborhood with crude oil. Farmer’s market season opened, and I officially reopened my favorite room in the house: my porch. A couple of weeks after we remodeled the nurse’s station…we remodeled all the patient rooms. Could we not have just done that all at once?! Bryan’s & Daddy’s birthdays this month. I found out that I wasn’t going to be eligible to continue teaching clinicals at ASU, which was super disappointing because I wanted to teach while going to nursing school. I took care of an all-oncology team for a short time at work. Bryan was in Bye Bye Birdie, the final play put on by the Gifted & Talented program at Weiner High School. We went to the final prom at WHS, too. Oh, and I GOT ACCEPTED INTO GRADUATE SCHOOL! Doctorate in Nursing Practice, here I come!
May: A coworker in my hospital passed away this month; J was very young (40s) and his partner, K, was devastated. Our hospital did not extend spousal leave benefits to K, even though they’d been together for 15 years & it’s not possible to get married in Arkansas. I was highly disappointed. Got retweeted by Jeff Coffin, which of course made my day. Received a hand-carved wooden pen from a person who had previously been a post open-heart surgery patient of mine. Last graduation for Weiner High School, and Bryan’s last day of work there. They closed it down this month. Ganon, with his best friend Maggie, was in the “memorial” video for the school. Walking alone down the high school hallway in shirts that say “Our Time”. Everyone who saw the video cried like a baby at that. Dave Matthews Band concert in Dallas! They played several of the songs I very much wanted to hear. Met Mimi & Augie for a night or two in Hot Springs before me & Bryan went off to Wakarusa!
June: Started off with Wakarusa: which was a soggy, rainy mess. It was miserable for having to endure mud up to our calves & ride out an Ozarks spring thunderstorm in a freaking tent. It was amazing for seeing some GREAT music live. Seriously though, dat mud. I got to tell Bryan “I told you so” because he said he wouldn’t need mud boots. I got written up for customer service suspiciously soon after getting accepted to graduate school, and in spite of all the patients & families who said they felt “safe” when I was their nurse. We drove to Dallas to surprise Augie for Father’s Day. Texas liberals pulled off an astounding feat for the pro-choice in that state & I was happy to watch it unfold on Twitter. Wendy Davis filibustered the Texas legislature & I screamed along on Twitter when they attempted to screw her over at the last minute & then lie about it on the official record. I got super bad Animal Crossing envy…and then I got Animal Crossing.
July: Jumped through the millions of hoops necessary to enroll in a major healthcare university. I was thrilled to see my sister on the stage in a local production of Les Miserables…but stunned & sad that Trayvon Martin’s killer was completely acquitted on that same night. Q, Jess, Bryan & I watched the hysterical Sharknado one evening. Starbucks opened a stand-alone shop in Jonesboro for the first time. New couch for den; super amazing comfortable with chaise lounge at one end!
August: First on-campus week for graduate school! It was, of course, hot & humid as hell, being Memphis in August. Ate at a few places in Memphis I’d never eaten at before. I GOT A MACBOOK AIR! Bryan began teaching at Bay High School. Ganon started school there, which was not as traumatic as we thought. I discovered I was going to have to make a decision about whether or not a B was going to bother me during graduate school. I arrived at the conclusion that B stands for “balance”.
September: We put a moldy recliner out on the curb by the house…and it was gone in less than 2 hours. :D Bryan was surprised. The fair came around, and Ganon rode a grownup ride (the Scrambler) for the first time! He loved it & wanted to ride it again immediately. :) Took, and passed, my heart-sounds exam in acute diagnostic reasoning, a major milestone for the acute DNP program. Started going out for drinks & supper occasionally with my weekend Crewmates & sometimes the Captain. Ganon discovers flash cards on his iPod touch & tests begin to go VERY well for him. :)
October: The government shut down! I was very stressed about graduate school & work. I thought possibly my tendency toward B grades was because I was moving too fast on exams, but when I took one as slowly as possible…I got the same grade. Cue frustration. I did not get to go to Yonder Mountain Harvest festival, and that was sad. I began to resent always being pushed into computer-related stuff just because of my experience & comfort level with computers. I got the horrific, worst-cold-ever thing that was going around. Downtown Jonesboro gets a wine bar! Yay! The cheapest glass of wine is $9. Booo. I attended the ARNA convention in Rogers, Arkansas—and this time Bryan & Ganon went with me! It really made the trip more fun than ever. We stayed in the convention hotel, Ganon went with me to the “schwag room” thereby netting me a lot more stuff than I’d have gotten on my own. Won a position on the state nominating committee for ARNA. Q moved into our guest room, at first temporarily because of a particular issue, then on a more permanent basis.
November: ARNA convention bleeds over into November; it was the last weekend October/first of November. Bryan got a freaking kidney stone! We cut the trip short and took scenic highway 71 on the way home instead of I-540, meaning I got some AMAZING fall foliage pictures. Also a stone from the Ozarks that I keep for…well, just because I like it. Along with several internet friends, we raised funds to buy our friend Alice a Nintendo 2DS and Animal Crossing to play with while she’s in the hospital. It went over WELL and now Alice is one of my ACNL BFFs as well as IRL. Discovered my allergy to hibiscus is worse than previously thought; accidentally drank some in a tea & my tongue swelled! Ganon got into Avatar: The Last Airbender & pretty much marathoned it in a few days. Feminist selfies became a thing and I loved it. Loving the weekend Crew at work & building great camaraderie.
December: Started out with on-campus week at UTHSC. Took epi/bio final, came home unexpectedly to surprise Ganon. Went back, stayed at Doubletree downtown with Tashina & Kelsey; we decided this was going to be our way from now on. Was fairly cheap and a LOT of fun to stay downtown, catching the trolley to class & grabbing dinner & drinks at local restaurants. So fun! Passed all exams, turned in all final projects. Got procedure experience on cadavers at the MERI lab. When grades came back I had 2 A and 1 B, much to my surprise! Dr. Thompson told us “turn off school brain” but then Dr. Jordan proceeded to not allow us to with all her emails. Dropped down to 1 day per week at work. Got a lot more into Tumblr, decided Google+ was worth it for journaling after all. Discovered electric throws are AWESOME. Threw a birthday party for the Captain at a downtown venue. According to J, it’s the first time anyone has ever dared do it. It went VERY well. Another coworker died extremely unexpectedly, just a week before Christmas. Christy worked very closely with my floor & it threw all of us for a loop. Christmas road trip, complete with blowout & rescue by Action Wrecker Good Samaritans, kidnapping Jess, & huge shopping fun in Dallas. Bryan got MacBook Air, too! Year ended drinking Woodchucks & playing Animal Crossing & Cards Against Humanity with Bryan & Q in the den.
FIRST! Some definitions for your reading enjoyment:
FestyKid: This is a young person, usually not yet 21. I'm pretty sure they've never held a real job. Their parents probably bought their ticket. They were completely unprepared to camp comfortably under normal circumstances, much less the hellacious weather circumstances we got. They did a lot of drugs, and most gave me the impression they were not there for the music so much as the party atmosphere (& the ability to openly use drugs without legal repercussion); they probably had no idea who Widespread Panic & Umphrey's McGee were, and were mainly spotted at the EDM sets like Baauer & anything else playing at the Satellite Stage. Not all young people at Waka were FestyKids.
Wook (short for wookie): This is a shady type person at a festival. Unkempt & filthy, but that's pretty much the rest of us this year, too. These are the people who come rummaging through the campsites when everyone else is gone. You don't put a lock on your tent, because they'll just cut your tent open.
Ragestick: a decorated stick of any size that you can hold above a festy crowd so your group can find you. Can't find the Creeches? Just look for the staff of Asclepius made out of electrowire. :) Okay so I didn't make one, but if I did it would be that. They are as diverse & individual as people at festivals, & each one says something about the person who made it.
We sat in the security line for AGES. From 1400 arrival, to 2030 when we began setting up our camp. This was mostly because of the weather; we kept having wind/rain intermittently, and any time it threatened to get thunderstormy, the Powers that Were would shut down the festival main venue. Each time that happened, security shut down & stop letting people in. I felt this was a silly tactic; we could've at least been getting to our campsites. I was very glad we'd stopped at the I-40 travel center & filled up the tank.
( The rest of Thursday; photos )
Was in only a marginally better mood on Friday morning. It started off with someone playing some surreal recording of instrumental sounds (I hesitate to call it music) with some guy doing pseudo-political, New Age conspiracy theory spoken word stuff over it. It was LOUD, and finally we got the guy to turn it off. Seriously, we can't have that crap at 5am...we're trying to sleep!
( Friday, continued; photos )
At first I was cranky because of the drips & condensation in our tent. Before I had my coffee, I wrote that I was "beyond disappointed" & "I am no longer a music festie fan if it means camping". I know myself well, though, because I also wrote that I reserve the right to change my mind. Especially for the right lineup. The fact remains, though, that if a hotel & shuttle is an option? I'll probably take it.
After the coffee, my optimism returned...or at least my resilience. Other people had tents down, rain flys blown away, EZ-ups torn & broken. Furniture was missing, the entire contents of tents were soaked, laid out on car hoods to dry. For novice campers, we did EXTREMELY well (I had chosen a good spot on our little piece of land, I had angled the tent so a natural trench ran around it, and I had driven in the tent spikes & the rain fly spikes and THEN put giant rocks on top of them). Even that morning I realized I'd see this as "what I am capable of" and feel less disappointment. I do. I may not LIKE doing this sort of thing, but I'm telling you, I will be EXTREMELY useful should we ever have an apocalypse.
( Saturday continued, with awesome photos )
And then we drove home. We showered & scrubbed off the top layer of our skin, & passed out cold. :) The end.
I cannot sit still for very long, I think. Since reality means I can't just buy an RV and roam around all the time, I need little side adventures to keep me happy. Right now I'm feeling super restless & suffocated (this is the mood that always gets me listening to Grey Street by Dave Matthews Band), I want to jot down potential adventures for myself, then see about having one of my own today. I want to take some photos of Jonesboro for that new community I joined.
July 21: In Little Rock again, as I need to attend a meeting of the ARNA board. Our chapter prez is out of the country, so it's up to VP Hillary to represent!
August 4: Same thing again. This one is a larger meeting.
First 2 weeks of August: I have taken ALL my vacation time. It rolls over in August & I lose what I don't use, so by George I'm getting me a vacation. I know there will be a somewhat extended trip to Dallas in this time, & I'm making plans to find local food trucks & visit new things I've not seen in Dallas.
Man, this is one of my favorite user pics. THANKS, Q!
Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.
From the top of Basin Spring Park.
Our friendmoogintroll went with us!
( Moog had LOTS more adventures! )
Driving home on Highway 23 is the most beautiful drive ever.
Headscarf & marabou floofy clip: my uniform for the weekend. I dressed in color schemes the whole weekend; the first day was pink, the 2nd day was all blue, then the 3rd day was all green. It wasn't as outlandish as some things being worn by other people (or as outlandish as what they WEREN'T wearing), but it did get me noticed, especially since I coordinated my waterproof MUFE eyeshadow with the clothes! :)
( And everything else... )
That's a good variety of pics, I think. There are lots more over on Flickr if you're so inclined.
He's not wrong. That's exactly how it happens.
On Saturday, after I got off work, we drove to Dallas. I "slept" most of the way, which is in quotes because Ganon was also in the back seat. This meant my sleep was punctuated with "Hey. Mama. Mama. Mama. Are you asleep?" I woke up a few times to eat & the rest of the times I just sort of dozed. Bryan was an awesome trooper & drove the whole way, listening to Wheel of Time on his iPhone. It was pretty uneventful, as Bryan had his entertainment, Ganon had his iPod touch, & I had sleep. Modern technology makes road trips SO MUCH better.
I spent Sunday sick! I ran a low-grade fever in the morning and I couldn't breathe all day. In fact, I slept most of the day, waking up at supper time, just in time for beef pot pie! THAT was nice. Sick in bed all day only to wake up to comfort food. Monday & Tuesday were better, spent shopping for Christmas gifts & generally going places we don't get to go when we're at home. I was irritated that the cell network didn't seem to handle Gowalla very well; I think it was so overloaded with people, you know? Booo. Christmas celebrations were on Wednesday, when we ate lunch & exchanged presents. We left for home at 5pm so we could spend as much time as possible with the Texas Grandminions.
I got a LUSH trip! Yay big! I got some Buche de Noel facial scrub & some Ultralight. Because of the mass amounts of snow dumped on Canada, the store only had what was out on the floor. This meant I could get a large bottle of Ultralight...or none at all. A large bottle is...rather expensive, but it'll last me all year. MAN, IS MY FACE HAPPY. If you're the kind of person who gets dry, extremely chapped skin in cold weather, this moisturizer is a great choice. I also picked up some light pink color corrector, which is this REALLY cool stuff: you use a dab of it in your moisturizer & it tints! You can do anything from a very sheer tinted moisturizer to a much more opaque one, like a base.
For Christmas I got a Sephora gift card (OMG YAY!!!) and this really adorable tiny Coach purse. Augie took Ganon shopping for gifts, and each of us seemed to get a Thomas playset. We happily shared these with Ganon. :D
When we got home, I slept all day & then went into work. Thanks to Bryan, I was the most popular nurse on 3 East...he brought me dessert from my mom's family party. Banana pudding, peanut butter bonbons, strawberry pizza, & pumpkin roll! Of course I slept all day on Christmas Eve, then went back into work.
Work was weird on Christmas Eve. It's different: patients are only there on Christmas because they really HAVE to be. That means they're very high acuity, and there are very few of them. Of my three, 2 of them were enough to make me worry the whole night.
Work got VERY bad about 4am on Christmas morning, when I found that I was actually in the staffing computer for Christmas night, though I had been promised I would not have to work both Christmas Eve AND Christmas night (it's hospital policy you only have to work one or the other). When I mentioned this to Carol, the house supervisor, she told me there wasn't anything she could do; my manager would have to remove me from the database. Before I left, I told Debby, the oncoming house supervisor for Christmas Day, that I would be calling in sick that night. Technically I could be written up for that, and obviously you can see why. If everyone called in on Christmas day, the hospital would be screwed. On the other hand, the people who work Christmas day are SCHEDULED to work Christmas day. I wasn't; it was sprung on me at the last moment. I figured if I was going to be written up for the first time, I might as well walk into it knowingly--but who wants to be written up for a call-in when it isn't their fault to begin with? Not to mention the matter of the policy. All this outweighed my desire not to call my manager on Christmas day. So when I got home on Christmas, i called my manager & asked her to take me out of the computer. She did, so no write-up for call-in for me!
I did not go to sleep on Christmas. I know, this is ill-advised, but I had missed all of my family Christmas parties up to that point. We opened gifts at my parents' house in the morning & had Christmas breakfast (biscuits & gravy, bacon, & eggs! YOM!). I got some AWESOME red Dansko clogs! Danskos are all I ever wear at work; I have a matte white pair and a "petrol" black pair, which is black with an oil-slick finish. The red ones are going to look AWESOME with my blue scrubs. <3 I also got a "Shark" vacuum cleaner; it has bare floor & rug settings so I can use it all over the house.
After all that, we went to my Aunt Mary's for a late-afternoon lunch. THAT'S where I got all the fun Christmas food I'd been wanting. Sweet potatoes, broccoli, rice & cheese casserole, yeast muffins, all the good stuff. I have TONS of leftovers, including all the sweet potatoes. :)
I woke up feeling nice & refreshed this morning...after sleeping for 15 hours. Not kidding. WOW.
December 26 is really starting to be one of my favorite parts of Christmas. We hang out, just me & Bryan & Ganon, sometimes going to the mall for a little return fun or to check out the sales. Sometimes we meet up with my family for a movie, but sometimes not. Eating is always easy because of all the delicious leftovers. Today I had aforementioned delicious leftovers for breakfast: a Cajun ham sandwich & a cocktail of orange juice & Mt. Dew. Ganon is putting together a Thomas puzzle & watching Thomas on the new Apple TV, which was Bryan's gift from Augie & Mimi. Funny how, given all the Thomas videos on Netflix, Ganon is making MUCH more use of Daddy's new Apple TV. :D I'm thinking about the Bath & Body Works sale. This is the week for the super huge "rubber duck" sale they do twice a year, and it's the only time you can get the classic scents like Cool Citrus Basil & Country Apple & White Tea Ginger. And today they're $3. This might be worth getting my lazy butt out of the house.
But yesterday was good. Yesterday was a Borg Day with Q & Jess. Jess drove down and we hung out all day. The goal was to march around Jonesboro doing cool stuff & eating & drinking our favorite things. This was intended to start with pumpkin pancakes for "breakfast" at IHOP at noon:30. We're all night shift workers, so screw the socially accepted standard of meal times. IHOP failed us by being closed for remodeling. BOOOO. Instead we ate at Cracker Barrel, which is the only other place in town for breakfast at noon. I hate their politics, but I love their sourdough wheat french toast. (Kinda like Chick-fil-A; their politics creep me out, but when you have a 4 year old begging for chicken nuggets, you'd rather get him ones that are actual chicken & not whatever McD's has.) After Cracker Barrel, we went to my new house!
That's right, we MET THE APPRAISER! She did her appraisal thing while I showed Q & Jess around the place. They agree that the capiz shell chandelier is awesomely bad, and that the pink carpet has to go, and that the den, living room, dining room & kitchen are perfectly laid out for having parties. My back deck is pronounced "EPIC" and the house in general is approved of. YAY! The appraiser is giving her review to the bank, and then something about that takes 3 days. On Friday, then, I should know something about the next hoop I have to jump through to buy this house so that we can START THE PAINTING!
After we hung out in my house for a while (we discussed porn in light of feminism!), we went to the mall for coffee & pumpkin cheesecake. This was awesome. We then walked to Target, stopping in at Lane Bryant & Maurices. I complain about Jonesboro a lot, but between Lane Bryant, Maurices, and the Target plus-size section, we actually have a fairly decent selection of plus-sized women's clothing (compared to other towns of similar population). I got a really awesome short-sleeved hooded sweater.
Then we took Q by PakMail to check her mailbox, and went back to Cracker Barrel for Jess's car. This was amusing because my family had JUST texted me asking if I wanted to eat supper...at Cracker Barrel. Nice. I did eat there again; I had different food this time.
So it was an epic day, in all. It's just that now I'm paying for it in a major way. *eats more Tylenol*
Marshmallow roast at my house, peeps.
So. New house checklist:
1) Paint on all interior walls. Warm color throughout, super-awesome accent wall in each room. Den gets painted eggplant or dark red or something else superbly bold.
2) Yank up that pink carpet. 'Cause damn, yo.
3) Put in some black walnut laminate flooring because a) cheap b) durable c) gorgeous. Seriously have you seen this stuff?
4) Put new countertops in the kitchen. Because the current stuff is pink. WHAT IS UP WITH ALL THE PINK I DON'T EVEN. It is not my color.
5) FIRE PIT.
6) Put our stuff in the house.
7) MOVE IN.
We will be replacing all the pink carpet with laminate flooring (probably Brazilian cherry or bamboo!). The den will be our entertainment room, our kitchen will be expanded into the dining room (we much prefer an eat-in kitchen), we don't yet know WHAT amazing possibilities the basement holds, and I am SO KEEPING that bad, incredible, chandelier.
( Pictures of my house! )