hillarygayle: (Agent Smith)
1. When was the last time that you enjoyed a camp fire?
You know it's been a while! I have one of those cool split logs with kindling in the middle, meant to use in a fire pit. I should get it out and Ganon & I can roast marshmallows later tonight.

2. What is your favorite fall tradition?
I love the IDEA of hayrides, but Bryan & Ganon & I all have allergies to some extent which are exacerbated by hayrides, cold air, and smoke. So that means it generally stays an "idea" rather than a thing we actually do.

My favorite autumn tradition that I actually DO, however, is warm drinks. I live in Arkansas, which means we get all 4 seasons, very distinctly, and usually in 3 month increments. I drink coffee and tea iced during the spring and summer, but I go back to drinking it warm in the fall and winter. I actually prefer it warm in both cases, but it is simply too HOT here in the summer to drink anything warm. When it's 101F outside, hot coffee sounds like torture.

Just for interest, my own very unscientific perception of how the seasons break down here in Arkansas:
Spring: March, April, May
Summer: June, July, August
Autumn: September, October, November
Winter: December, January, February

3. Do you celebrate Samhain?
I don't, personally. I feel like it's a religious celebration that I'd be appropriating if I even used the trappings of it, as I know it's important to a lot of people who follow various forms of paganism. That said, I've always had an interesting draw toward some of the pagan belief systems. There are things that stem from those belief systems that make me feel better; more firmly grounded, safer. There's a lot of the concept of balance in certain pagan beliefs, which appeals to me on a very visceral level.

4. What are your real feelings about candy corn?
You know, most people are either very pro or very con as it comes to candy corn. Me, I'm all about balance in this too! I'm not particularly fond of candy corn. I won't seek it out to eat it on purpose the way my husband will, but when he buys it and keeps it in a dish on the kitchen table, I will eat a piece or two every so often if I think about it. I don't adore it, but I don't hate it either!

5. Do you believe in things that go bump in the night?
I don't, particularly. There are things I can't explain, but it's because I simply don't KNOW the explanation for them, not because they're supernatural. 
hillarygayle: (Hillary Dark Queen)
Friday Five from a couple of weeks ago!

1. Have you ever done something awful to your hair? What happened?
Not particularly, but do you remember when that layered bob was in style? Everyone called it the "Rachel" because Jennifer Aniston on Friends made it popular. I had something approaching that cut, though I styled it a bit differently. It looked okay on me, because I have a nice face shape for it, but looking back, meh. It just wasn't outstanding.

2. Conversely, at what time in your life have you looked your best?
I don't have a good answer to this question, because for the last 12 or so years, I've been super intentional about my appearance. Everything I wear, all my makeup, my hair--all of it is very intentional and I've considered exactly what it will express to most people. Because of that, whatever image I have now is exactly what I want to look like, and that's been true for the last 12 years.

3. Do you have a favorite article of clothing? Tell us what and why.
Oh, I do, I do. It's more like several articles, though, because it's all my custom-made eShakti stuff! I have 2 dresses and 3 or 4 skirts that are entirely bespoke: I took my measurements, chose my dress, and requested any alterations I wanted (like skirt length; I love 50s silhouette skirts just below the knee). What arrived in each case is a garment that is literally tailored to fit me. The dress I wore for the party after graduation is one of those dresses. There is nothing like putting something on and having it fit perfectly in every possible way.

4. Confess the worst fashion trend you ever succumbed to.
Hmm. I grew up in the 80s (born in 1979) so I lived through a lot of seriously questionable fashion decisions. I can't say I "succumbed" to those, though, because I didn't have a lot of say in what I wore before my teenage years! I went in for grunge in the late 90s, which coincided with my late teens, but I don't hate what I was wearing when I look back at that time. I mean, oversized flannel shirts and jeans are comfy and the right plaid can be adorable. I think I'm going to go with the huge fluffy bangs and spiral perm I had right when I was about 11 or 12. Think Reba McEntire in the 80s and early 90s. In fact, my hair looked exactly like hers, and I got told that a lot. It was in style then, but looking back now it's like ooooooo. Yikes. Also, my first pair of glasses was a huge, round-lensed affair with thick, clear, acrylic frames. Like, you've seen Barb on Stranger Things? I had those glasses. If I had been older during the 80s, I would've BEEN Barb.

5. Are there any clothing / fashion trends today that you simply don't understand?
I'm not so much the fashion police. For the most part, I'm perfectly content to wear what I want, and let others do the same as well. A lot of people get super judgmental about leggings worn as pants, but usually I'm just kinda "whatever" about it. EXCEPT when the leggings in question are the same color as the skin of the person wearing them! THEN it looks, from a distance, like the person is not wearing any pants. Do I think they shouldn't wear that? Nah, that's up to them. But the 8 year old in me is still gonna giggle at the idea of apparently pants-free people in public.

So I've been saying for a while I wanted a silicone wedding band I could wear at work. Obviously I do a lot with my hands, so it's better for me to avoid a metal wedding ring at work. Also there's the alcohol hand foam, which isn't great for metal and appears to react with it to tear my skin up under my ring. I'd wanted to see if a silicone band did that, and of course there's always the danger I could catch my ring on a bed or other piece of hospital equipment in a rush situation like a code.

So I got this one!
My silicone ring came in today! I chose @saferingz because I wanted more gender neutral options (unlike the brands that carry mainly pink & turquoise for women and black & camo for men). This is antique metal finish. It's so comfortable I've forgotten several times I was even wearing it!

It's from SafeRingz. I chose them because they had mostly gender-neutral options, and I didn't like the fact that Qalo & Enzo had basically turquoise and pink and peach for women vs. camo and brown and black for men. SafeRings has actual metallic finishes!

Here's a video of the ring in all its squishable glory:

I wore it all day yesterday and forgot I even had it on! Can't wait to see how it works at work...in part because that means I'll be WORKING, and I'm still going stir crazy waiting on my privileges!
hillarygayle: (BPAL Fire Pig)
It's the Friday Five, on a Saturday! Get yours here: [livejournal.com profile] thefridayfive.

1. What’s your favorite way to stay cool in late summer?

Air conditioning! I live in the southern US (Arkansas, specifically), and it's both hot and humid here. There's really no way to defeat both of those things together without A/C, and the vast majority of homes built here have central A/C. Leaving that aside, I also drink my coffee iced in the summer, and I really love swimming and water parks! This summer I've been obsessed with iced green tea lattes from Starbucks.

2. Are you ready for autumn yet?
Autumn is my favorite season and I am SO VERY READY for it! I'm always ready for both autumn and spring. Extremes in temperature are not my thing, especially when they go on for very long. I'm always ready for it to warm up in March and to cool off in September (although it really doesn't cool off dramatically here until October). I like pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the smell of smoke. I like jeans and skirts with cardigan sets and jackets. I like ruby red, topaz yellow, and all the bold, dark, saturdated jewel tones that come into style during fall.

3. What do you have left to do before summer ends?
Working on getting all the physician signatures for my collaborative practice agreement to work in the emergency department. I'm hoping to have it done by the end of August so I can start working in September.

4. Has it been a good summer for you?
You know, it really has. At the beginning, I graduated with my doctorate in nursing. Then I went to Chicago for the first time and took a review course for boards. Had a couple of trips here and there and everywhere, and took a 3 week exercise course at the local university as a volunteer for training personal trainer students. Went to interview with the emergency room and was hired after the world's shortest interview. Studied like a madwoman throughout, and then finally passed my nurse practitioner boards on August 2...only to find out immediately that my dad-in-law needed heart surgery. That went well, though he's currently dealing with some gall bladder issues now. It's been much too busy for my taste, but most everything that happened this summer has worked out in my favor, so I'm very satisfied. I worked hard, and it's paid off. Now, to start work so I can actually get PAID! :)

5. Have you started Christmas shopping yet?


hillarygayle: (Ganon Cute Overlord)
The Friday Five! On a SUNDAY! :)

I fixed some grammatical errors in the original. I couldn't bear it.

1) What was the first Shakespeare play you read or saw performed?
I believe it was probably Romeo & Juliet, which was required reading for one of my high school English classes.

2) What is your favorite Shakespeare play?
I'm really fond of Twelfth Night and Much Ado About Nothing.

3) What is your least favorite Shakespeare play?
Hamlet or Romeo & Juliet. Both are so highly overrated. I vastly prefer the comedies over "Life sucks, misunderstandings abound, and then everyone dies in a tragic and untimely fashion."

4) Who do you think wrote Shakespeare; are you a Stratfordian or Oxfordian?
I do not know what this means. I am a casual Shakespeare fan. ;) I assume it refers to some question of authorship; whether it was William Shakespeare or someone else who authored the works. (Just looked it up; that's exactly it. I have no opinion one way or the other!)

5) Which Shakespeare plays have you read or seen or seen performed?
Come to think of it, I don't believe I've ever seen a live Shakespeare performance. Closest I've come are the movies made wherein they use the original language; Much Ado About Nothing with Emma Thompson is a favorite, and I also like the Midsummer Night's Dream with Christian Bale. Romeo+Juliet with Claire Danes & Leonardo diCaprio is definitely the first movie I saw like that; I'm not sure I can say I liked it, but it is certainly a gorgeous film to watch. "Spectacle" is the word that comes to mind!
hillarygayle: (Agent Smith)
I really hate ADD fog. The medication wears off and suddenly the fog rolls back in. The sound of the fireplace is exactly as important as the next word I type. I can't block it out. I can't block anything out...so nothing gets in. It's maddening and it makes me so ANGRY that somewhere out there, someone abuses the medication I take to force my brain into thinking straight.

Well. I don't want to be all crabby lately, so let's go with a Friday Five to see if I can manage a little focus.

1. Are your "LJ friends" friends to you, or just acquaintances?
A little of both. I've known some for YEARS and those people are absolutely friends. Others are newer & still more like acquaintances, but I like them nonetheless and I hope they will become friends. :)

2. How do you feel about modern feminism?
I'm quite the feminist. I do think we've allowed white feminism to define the movement, unchecked, for far too many years. I think we need to pay more attention to intersectionality and the way it affects certain women. Yes, we're all women, but women isn't all we are--there are many other things that affect our lives and they interact in complicated ways with each other. That woman is black, this woman lives in rural poverty, I am fat--these things are all inextricably linked with our status as women.

3. Do you look down on people for their LJ habits, or do you think everyone's entitled?
Oh I'd never judge someone over their LJ habits. It can be whatever someone needs it to be. There aren't rules about how it works & how it doesn't.

4. Have you ever been flamed? If so, what for?
Not here. I've been trolled here (someone once called me a "meaty whale," which remains the single most amusing insult anyone's ever flung at me & frankly it's shocking I haven't put it on a shirt yet). I've seen flame wars erupt with distressing frequency on my Facebook, though. I like to post links there; this article I found interesting, that editorial I agree with, this write up of a bit of research. I have never been particularly quiet about my opinions there, either, and often when I support something which is not popular with conservative Republichristianity, the flames erupt again. The majority of my family disagrees with me dramatically about those things. I once had a good half dozen of my friends arguing with my younger brother about religion. Yikes.

I've given Facebook up for Lent this year. The fact that it's an election year really, truly makes me want to give it up for the rest of 2016.

5. What is it about LJ that keeps you posting here?
I couldn't put a single reason to that. I'm not sure. I like the ability to get the thoughts out of my head in long form (unlike the short blurts that Twitter allows for). I like the interactivity of comments. I like the security of a friends' only journal. All of that, I suppose.

I was nominated yesterday for the nursing 40 under 40. This is a list by the Arkansas Action Coalition; they choose the top 40 young (under age 40) in the state for a particular profession, and then they give them this award. I'm THRILLED to be nominated, and especially since the person who nominated me is one of my former nursing instructors who is now a colleague. We will know by the end of March whether I've gotten the award!
hillarygayle: (Coffee!)
It's a desperately needed laundry day here in the Creechdom. This means I'm in the basement. The basement is the Nurse Cave, which I use for studying, but it's also the home of an extra fridge, the washer & dryer, some extra shelving, the utility sink, and my staging area for steaming clothes (I don't iron but I do have a hand-held Shark clothing steamer instead). Being down here makes me feel a little like I'm abandoning Bryan & Ganon to themselves, but on the other hand, they're both playing their video games and I am content doing my thing down here. I've been puttering around on Facebook, and now I'm playing with Peach on my iPhone.

Aside: if any of you are on Peach (iOS only for now), I'm HillaryGayle. It's a fun little app, and it's going to be my pocket social media outlet when I give up Facebook for Lent (and decide whether I wish to give it up for good).

So I missed the Friday Five on New Year's Day! I didn't realize that.

1. What is your favorite food?
That's such a difficult question. I have different favorites for different times of the year, different temperatures and types of weather, different locations, different events. I suppose I will go with my favorite food this time of year for the cold weather: avocado toast. It's very simple: just a piece of toast with an avocado squished on it, seasoned to taste. Since I mainly love them in January, I tend to put very warming spices on them like chili powder and pepper and hot sauce (particularly Cholula).

2. What was your favorite food when you were a kid?
I would have to say my mom's french toast, which is still one of my favorite things when we're at the cabin during the summer. It's good for breakfast but it's also good that same afternoon, when you're starving for a snack after swimming for hours in the river and there are leftovers from breakfast. :)

3. What is the best tasting, quick to cook meal that you make for yourself?
The aforementioned avocado toast is incredibly quick and easy. Slow-cooker meals are by definition not quick, but they are ultra low maintenance. Quick to prepare, and quick to eat at the end of the day, so that's convenient.

We do like buffalo chicken pizza. Get a prepared pizza crust, then some shredded cooked chicken. Mix the chicken with your favorite buffalo sauce, then dump it on the crust. Top the whole thing with your favorite cheese mix; mine is a Kroger brand "Mexican" blend of monterrey jack and cheddar.

4. What is your favorite food to order in a restaurant?
I like to order complicated, several-step dishes that I wouldn't make myself at home. I'm particularly fond of eating dessert in restaurants, since I don't make them much at home.

5. If you could go anywhere in the world to any restaurant, what would you order for yourself?
I would like to eat at Sukibayashi Jiro (the sushi bar in the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi") and let the chef choose the menu. In fact, that's something I recommend at many sushi bars: just let the chef choose what to feed you. If you love fish of all kinds, it's a very adventurous way to discover new types of sushi you might not have chosen for yourself.
hillarygayle: (Hillary Top Hat Flowers)
1. What is a favorite Christmas/Hanukah tradition of yours?
I might say my favorite thing about Christmas married to Bryan is that we DON'T have any stressful, must-do, gift-giving related traditions. We don't get each other gifts and we get Ganon very little (because he gets so very much from Bryan's parents as their only grandchild).

I DO watch Muppet Christmas Carol yearly, though. THAT is one of my super favorite Christmas traditions. Best Christmas movie in the world.

2. Do you listen to Christmas music while wrapping/bagging gifts?
I do. I'm a sucker for holiday music.

3. How soon do you start playing holiday music?
November. Usually it's before Thanksgiving; to me, Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's make up a "holiday season" and are one major reason that "happy holidays" is my phrase of choice.

4. If you could change one thing about the holidays, what would it be?
I'm not into gift-giving, nor do I like having to tell people what I "want for Christmas." The first one is stressful as I try to figure out what other people might want (this is easy for some, dead impossible for others), and the second one feels selfish. I wish we could all just agree to have experiences together rather than buying stuff.

5. Have you been naughty or nice? Remember, Santa is listening.
Well if Santa has been listening to me, he's been hearing a lot of cursing because I'm a doctoral nursing student and I work in the ICU for clinical. There's a buncha cursing involved. However, I have dedicated my career to saving other human lives and in my downtime I organize a group who does random "do-gooder" stuff for the less fortunate, so hey. Maybe that gets me some points. ;)

Yesterday. Wow. That was the longest Christmas Eve I have EVER EXPERIENCED, but it was absolutely worth it.

Christmas Eve Eve
This day was Creechmas! We opened gifts in the evening after we picked up my car. Ruby Rhod is everything I wanted her to be. I will miss Leeloo; she was an incredible car and exactly what I needed when I needed her. She was the perfect car for the person I was. The person I am needed Ruby, though. I'm happy. Highlight of the day: Ganon was inspecting all of the things Ruby can do (Bluetooth phone connection, heated seats, sunroof, the fact that you literally cannot lock the keys in the car because the presence of the key fob allows you to auto-unlock!), and exclaimed "I will miss the Element, but this is the high tech-est thing I have ever seen!"

Final selfie with Leeloo. Man, I hope she goes to someone who loves her as much as I have. Such a great car.

Final selfie with Leeloo

Selfie with the new car, Ruby Rhod! Honda HR-V EX AWD. Ganon quote "I miss the Element, but this car is the highest tech thing I've ever seen!"

First selfie with Ruby Rhod

I had no idea what to get my in-laws, but fortunately an opportunity presented itself. My mom-in-law Christy is stressed about the number of people (and which specific people) are coming for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day. After she & Walter went to bed on the 23rd, it occurred to me what we could do...so we cleaned up the entire downstairs of the house. Ganon & Bryan & I all pitched in, and if I do say so myself, we got it seriously looking nice. My goal was for Christy not to have to lift a finger before guests, and I think it worked! They were both so impressed when they came downstairs & saw what we'd done. I was pretty impressed with my inspired gift. What do you get someone who has everything they want? The opportunity to NOT do something they DIDN'T want to do! :)

In addition to my car, which I feel was a fantastic Christmas present, I got a Mophie Juice Pack case for my phone (in lipstick red to match my car!), the Urban Decay Gwen Stefani eyeshadow palette (OMG I WAS SO EXCITED) and the greatest cardigan Think Geek has ever produced.

This cardigan, y'all!!! #agentsofshield #thinkgeek #geek #femme

Christmas Eve
Yesterday was an early-ish (8am) breakfast at a place called Jake's Uptown in Frisco, which had Oatmeal Pancakes. DIVINE. I want the recipe. We loaded Ruby (Bryan is incredible at packing cars) and set out on the 7-8 hour journey home. There was a short stop at Texarkana so I could buy some stocking stuffers for Ganon; we are getting him a "coupon" for his own bicycle but we want to let him pick it out. I wanted him to have SOME surprises.

That stop left us running late, so we didn't go home first. We went straight to my Aunt G/Uncle A's house when we drove into town at 18:50 for the Keller family Christmas, at which there was AN INSANE AMOUNT OF DELICIOUS FOOD as always because my family can Straight. Up. Cook. Home afterward for about 20 minutes, then I headed to church at 21:45 for midnight mass practice, and sang nearly the entire time from 21:45 to 00:30. It was a BEAUTIFUL service. So much music; we sang almost every Christmas song I know. The candlelit "Silent Night" was beautiful. We had the choir, a handbell choir, a brass quintet and even Dr. Bill playing the violin. I'm so happy we did that.

At home we filled Ganon's stocking, put a few small gifts under the tree, & headed to BED.

Christmas Day
So far this morning, J has come over for his 2nd testosterone shot, which he gave himself this morning with a ton of encouragement & some instruction! At 1:30 we have lunch at my Aunt Mary Gaye's house, and then supper is going to be "breakfast for supper" at my mom's, where the nieces & nephews will open their gifts and I will have begun World War III with Nerf weapons. Best aunt ever.

Tomorrow for Boxing Day, we are "dessert bombing" Two Saints kitchen with so many Christmas desserts.

I hope you are having a lovely Christmas, LJ. Mine is delightful, even if I will need some rest after it's all over.
hillarygayle: (Sakura Gypsy)
Today I intend to completely finish my DNP Role Development class. However, my Concerta has not yet kicked in, so I'm killing some time while I wait for that to happen.

1. What was your favorite book during childhood?
I have never been able to narrow it down to a favorite single book. Not once in my entire life. However, in the 2nd & 3rd grades, our teachers collaborated to read us the entirety of the Little House on the Prairie series and I remained in love with them for literal years. I have a very nice boxed set of them now.

2. What is your favorite book now?
This is so very difficult again. I have been known to avidly re-read the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan, the Kushiel & Namaah series by Jacqueline Carey, anything by Mercedes Lackey, and of course the Harry Potter series. So maybe one fave from each author?

Jordan: Lord of Chaos
Carey: Kushiel's Avatar
Lackey: the Storm Trilogy, which 3 books are relatively short, and are basically a single book in my mind
Rowling: Deathly Hallows

3. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book?
I think I have to go with Prisoner of Azkaban.

4. Do you prefer checking out books from the library or buying them?
Buying, absolutely. I do love the feeling of a book in my hand, but the ability to carry around an entire collection on my iPad is something I dreamed of when I was a kid, so I tend to collect the ebook version of everything I own, and many books I own only in electronic format.

On textbooks, ebook and ebook rental have been a godsend. Nursing books are huge; when you get to doctoral level nursing it's just plain ridiculous. The ability to carry literally all of my textbooks in my iPad, pick up and go study anywhere I like? I'm not sure how nurses did graduate school any other way.

5. Have you ever been let down by a book that was highly recommended to you?
YES. I can't recall the name, but it was a Tanya Huff book that came highly recommended by most people who enjoy similar fantasy to mine. It was about a country divided mainly along religious lines, and there was a sword that no one could wield except a chosen person, and a woman who was married off to someone against her will. For me, it was more the writing style than anything. I never made a connection with any characters. I recall the story gave me a dream-like feeling, as though I were disconnected, watching this story play out from behind foggy glass, hearing conversations as though they were muffled. Nothing about the story felt like it was vibrant or truly alive. I believe that's the 2nd time I failed to finish a book (the first one was the Scarlet Letter, which just frustrated me because none of its characters knew how to communicate).
hillarygayle: (Kero-chan TEETH!)
1. What pets do you have?
Currently we've got 3 dogs: Sam, Pete, and Harry. Sam is a fox terrier of questionable breeding, Pete is a rat terrier of uncertain origin, and Harry is a mutt of impeccable heritage. :)

2. Have you always had pets, even as a child?
Yes. The first pets I recall getting were 3 cats: Ginger, Gigi, & George. They started breeding & quickly turned into about 14 cats. These were all neutered or mysteriously vanished (I was young & didn't notice; we lived on a farm with coyotes all around so this was probably not that mysterious). After that, I was in 4th grade when we got a dog; a stray who'd been dropped off with the rest of his litter at the vet. His name was Marty & as it turned out, he was supernaturally smart. He lived for 13-ish years. I miss that dog almost daily.

3. What was the most unusual pet you’ve ever owned?
That honor might go to Willie the ferret, or perhaps Taco the golden chameleon.

4. Do you ever pet sit?
No. Other people's pets are like other people's kids; they're great in theory but in reality they tend to make me uncomfortable.

5. How would you finish this statement, “You know you are a pet owner when _____?”
You find the 35th thing chewed up around the house and you wail "TELL ME WHY I HAVE DOGS AGAIN?"

As it turns out, next Friday, Ganon & Bryan don't have school! That's the day of the nurses' convention and I'd planned on spending Thursday night in Little Rock. This means Bryan & Ganon can come with! After the convention is over we will have a fun day hanging out in the big city.

Next week is going to be incredibly busy for me.

Monday: 12 hour clinical shift
Tuesday: Teaching health assessment all morning, 6 hours of clinical in the afternoon
Wednesday: 12 hour clinical shift
Thursday: Teaching BSN clinical from 7-4, then parent-teacher conferences for Ganon, & drive to Little Rock after Bryan finishes conferences at 8pm
Friday: Nurses' Convention all day until 3pm, then playing around in Little Rock! Probably we'll stay another night as well.
Saturday: More Little Rock fun! I'll deserve it. :)
hillarygayle: (arima & miyazawa flying)
1. What do you do to encourage yourself when going through hard times?
That depends on what the hard times are. If I'm struggling through something I can't affect, I use the phrase "Can't go around it, so I gotta go through it." Time will eventually lessen the blow, and in the meantime I use distraction to great effect. Just keep living life intentionally instead of letting it happen to you. Take action where you can. The only constant in life is change.

2. How do you motivate others?
Again, if someone's going through something hard that they can't change (a breakup, death of a loved one), I try to use distraction and humor. It gives a bit of relief from the constant ache. That said, I also listen if what they need to do is vent, and I try not to be a "fixer" if that's not what they need.

If someone is DOING something hard, like making a decision or performing some action, I motivate them by telling them all the things they've accomplished before, & how they can do this thing now. I also like to point out how it's better to regret having done something than having done nothing. :) GRAB LIFE & EAT IT!

3. Who do you talk to for encouragement and inspiration?
I have a fantastic support system. I have a husband & BFFs & family who all think very highly of me & my abilities, and they're always available for encouragement.

4. What books have offered encouragement and inspiration?
I use books mainly for distraction purposes. The tension of doing something very difficult (grad school for example) leads to a lot of stress build-up for me, and one of the best ways to diffuse that a little is to read a book that has nothing to do with the issue at hand. Fluffy scifi & fantasy are my super favorites.

5. Which of your family members have encouraged you most over the years?
That has to be Bryan. The best decision I ever made was to marry him. He believes in my ability to do basically anything, and he supports me in whatever it is I want to do. Before I got on the elevator to go to my grad school interview, the last thing he said to me was "Whatever we have to do to make this work, we will do it. We will make it through this, and you will get a doctorate." From little things to the very biggest thing I've ever undertaken, Bryan never doubts me and always offers whatever support I need.
hillarygayle: (Galadriel)
1) What's the first place you remember travelling?

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.
4) What's the furthest place from home you've ever travelled?

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.
hillarygayle: (With chopsticks!)
1. Can you remember being a very young child?
From what I can tell, the very oldest thing I can remember is an extremely short flash of a visual. I would have been less than 2 years old at the time, because what I remember is the inside of a dark (black walnut?) crib, done up in yellow gingham material. I remember extremely dark paneling on the walls, and a window to the right. Most of all, I remember trying to sit up, but it being hard because I had braces on my feet; hard white leather shoes with a blue metal bar between them. That's how I know my age, and how I know it's an actual memory & not just me putting together a memory from old photographs: there aren't any old photographs of me in that brace. I don't remember any more than that, though.

2. Do you remember the first day of school?
Vaguely. I do remember being introduced to Brooke, who would remain my very best friend until we were 13 and some things happened. Not much more than that. I remember a few things from kindergarten, like having to miss "green eggs & ham" because I had to go to the dentist. Miss Kathy sent me a piece of ham for the road...but I still have never had green eggs.

3. Did you love or despise your siblings, providing you had them?
I have 2 siblings, and I love them. My relationship with my brother is fraught, as I think his politics are selfish and harmful to other people, but he's personally a pretty kind person. A little hot-headed. My sister is a sweet person who makes some crappy life decisions, but she's got a good support system & always manages to land on her feet. I love all my nieces & nephews, even when they're loud & crazy. :)

4. Do you remember the name of your first friend?
Brooke. Her mother & mine introduced us on the first day of kindergarten, and we remained friends until we were 13, when something drove us apart. We never managed to drift back together. I do not regret it.

5. Would you journey back to your childhood (as an adult) if you could?
I think that depends on what this means. If I could go back and watch some things, I would. I wouldn't want to change or interfere in anything, because my childhood as a whole has resulted in the person I am today, and I rather like me this way.
hillarygayle: (Hillary Dark Queen)
1. What kind of vehicle (car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, whatever you have) do you currently drive? Make, model, year, color, personality, name, bumper stickers, rearview mirror/dashboard/rear window ornaments, if any.
I drive a 2005 Honda Element. The color is "Sunset Pearl Metallic," which is a fancy Honda term for "orange". Her name is Leeloo, and she sports a Dave Matthews Band firedancer sticker on the back window, along with 3 Apple stickers: Daddy size, Mama size, & Ganon size. :)
2. What are some of your favorite things about your vehicle?
The interior space, OMG! I also very much love that she is orange. I love that the back seats lie totally flat & can be tilted to hang along the sides of the vehicle, leaving the back so open & tall that you can almost fit as much as some delivery trucks.

3. What are some things you dislike about your vehicle or would change if you could?
They discontinued the Element in 2011. If I ever want to update, I'll have to switch to an entirely different car. I am NOT down with that, as I love it so much. If I could change anything about it, I'd have Honda bring it back. :)

4. What is your fondest memory involving your vehicle?
The first time we went camping in it! We hung the back seats up as mentioned & slept on eggshell crate mattresses & sleeping bags in the back. It was awesome. We did it again at Wakarusa 2012.

5. What's something you've never done with your vehicle that you'd like to?
Can't think of anything, really. Maybe tailgate with friends at a DMB show.
hillarygayle: (Azumanga Sakaki stunned)
Today's Friday Five is about camping torture!

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. :)
hillarygayle: (PP Molly kickin' ass)
It's not Friday, but whatever. I work weekends so NO RULES APPLY TO ME.

I also just want to say: this Friday Five assumes a certain age. For example, Ganon can't answer these. In fact, I'd be surprised if my 28 year old brother could answer these.

In a related fact: my first email address was "weiner_girl@hotmail.com". When I entered chat rooms where that was visible, you can imagine what I got. I was a naive high school girl from Weiner, Arkansas. I learned how to internet very quickly.

When did your family get your first computer?
Possibly 1996-ish. We lived on a farm, so we had a computer but no internet.

What type of computer was it?
Something you could order. I want to say a Dell, possibly.

What were your favorite things to do on your first computer?
No internet, like I said. I was way into Sailormoon fandom at the time, and I would take 3.5 floppies to school (where we had an amazing internet connection; one of the first in a school in Arkansas) to download manga & fan art pics, bring them home, & look at them.

I also wrote what I now know to be fanfic. I wrote horrible self-insertion fic where Javert didn't jump from the bridge in Les Mis (because I had a massive crush on Phillip Quast) and X-Men fic in which I was the love interest for Hank McCoy/Beast. :) I had…unorthodox crushes when I was a teenager.

When did you/your family first connect to the Internet?
That was in 1998, if I'm not mistaken. The first summer I was home from college at Harding. We lived (they still live) on a rice farm in rural Arkansas, so in fact, dial-up had JUST become available. There was no broadband. There still is no broadband except radio wave wireless. Again, if I'm remembering correctly, we had 14.4k dial-up. You could send emails with it, chat with it, but downloading a JPEG meant going into the kitchen for a drink. Loading an entire site was FOREVER.

How did you spend time online when you first connected?
The same way I spend much of my mobile online time now…talking to Q & Bryan! :D Bryan & I did TONS of emailing & chatting during the summer of 1999, and of course Q & I have used the internet to be connected at the brain since the internet was invented/we met (which was more or less around the same time anyway).
hillarygayle: (Floaty Brain)
I haven't done the Friday Five in a long time, & I worked Friday, so I didn't do it then either. Technically being back in school, though, I thought it was appropriate to answer this.

What was your first day of school like?
I don't so much remember my very first day of school EVER, but I can remember this year's! It was intimidating & exhilarating at the same time. I was happy to meet so many people who wanted to do the same thing I did, and I was thrilled to meet the professors who were going to help me get there. UTHSC campus is in the middle of downtown Memphis, so it was really unlike any college campus I'd experienced before. Harding has that "Ivy League" look where campus is clearly a separate, tree-filled, park-like world separate from the town, and Arkansas State U pretty much looks like every generic state university. Memphis was humid, bustling, & busy. Somehow it made me feel important. There's a lot of character in a campus like that, not to mention the superb little restaurant only a block away from campus. The Trolley Stop Market is officially going to be my oasis during on campus weeks. We had to contend with a lot of traffic, crosswalks, & even trolleys. I found out my friend Tashina is afraid of trolleys. :) I adore them & wish I had a reason to go on one.

What was the last day you attended school like?
My best "last day" of school was probably from my accelerated BSN program in 2009. We had a small pinning ceremony to serve as our graduation, and all of our families came for that & for the reception afterward. My in-laws showed up unexpectedly to surprise me!

Have you had a teacher who really influenced you?
I credit two teachers with making me who I am academically: Patricia Hesse & Martha Senteney. Ms. Hesse is a gifted & talented teacher, and she is unlike any G/T teacher you probably have ever known. She doesn't just take learning out of the box. She takes it out of the box, then turns back around & sets the box on fire. I learned to love learning because of her.  Our G/T program threw a Renaissance fair, a speakeasy, a 1920s shanty town, a hoedown. We put on plays. We rode buses to Memphis & St. Louis to see Les Miserables & Phantom of the Opera & Miss Saigon (and please remember I grew up in a rice farming town in rural Arkansas so these were Big Things).  We did read-throughs of the libretto on all three. We made movies. We dressed in costume & performed as historical figures during a "Night of History". We did huge exciting things that every one of us was personally invested in & enthusiastic about. I learned that "learning" is not always sitting in a classroom or reading a book. It is living experiences & examining them to gain understanding. That high school is closed now, and with it, one of the only gifted/talented programs of its type. Most schools use AP as "G/T", and do not have separate G/T classes. It's a DAMN shame, because I know--I know in my bones--that her type of teaching is the hands-down best for many students, including myself. I am afraid that none of them will ever get it, now.

Martha Senteney was my 7th & 8th grade biology teacher. She was a super-fascinating person, too. She had a room full of aquariums, including a salt water one with sea anemones. She had lizards & snakes & spiders & so many plants that the biology room looked a little like a jungle, especially over in the corner with the sun lamp. She let us listen to Mannheim Steamroller, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, & other instrumental music I'd never heard of while we were working on things. The biggest thing she did for me, though--I often wonder if she knew it changed my life. The transition to "high school" at my old school happened in 7th grade. You moved to the high school building & got a locker & began to switch classes cold turkey, never having been exposed to such a thing. You also had to very suddenly keep up with your own due dates. It was a shock, and looking back now, it should have been clear to everyone at that point that I had ADD. I found myself entirely unable to remember dates for tests & papers. I was forgetting EVERYTHING, in a panic, & entirely without a way to organize myself. My parents were no help; my mother remembers everything naturally & she keeps my dad organized. Ms. Senteney caught me one day after class & told me "Tell your mom to buy you a day planner. The kind with a weekly calendar AND a monthly calendar." So I talked my skeptical mother into it, and brought the planner back to Ms. Senteney. She proceeded to show me exactly how to use it, and told me if I was using it in class, none of the other teachers would "get onto me" for having it out all the time. I wrote EVERYTHING in that thing, and used all her advice to develop the organizational style I have today. I went through a planner per year from age 12 to age 19, when I got my first electronic PDA, a Handspring Visor (this exact one: http://www.amazon.com/Handspring-1002E-Visor-Deluxe-Ice/dp/B00004TDMY). I have used that Visor, a Palm Tungsten, and a Palm LifeDrive (MAN did I love that thing!), before moving to the iPhone upon its release in 2007. I graduated salutatorian, have graduated cum laude from two bachelors programs, and am now pursuing a doctorate. I could never have done ANY of this without Ms. Senteney showing me how to organize my considerable brains into a thinking machine.

What was the first school you attended?
Weiner Elementary School in Weiner, Arkansas. Also the first school Ganon attended, but alas, the high school closed so Bryan doesn't teach there, & Ganon went with him to his new school in Bay, Arkansas. He's loving it (his teacher is redheaded, as he tells everyone), but I am still brokenhearted about the school.

To you, is college important?
Goodness, yes. I've been twice, Bryan's been twice, and I'm now pursuing a doctorate in nursing. I'd say we are true believers in college.
hillarygayle: (Jeff 2 at once)
1. What were your three favorite songs ten years ago?
Interesting that they were probably Dave Matthews Band songs. I'd have to go with "Crush", "Stay" (both from Before These Crowded Streets), and "Spybreak" (from the Matrix soundtrack).

2. What songs or groups from ten years ago did you love then, but don't like anymore?
You know, I had kind of a Madonna thing back then. Not so much, now. I listen to one of those older songs for nostalgia purposes, but otherwise, no.

3. What songs from ten years ago did you love then, still love now, but haven't heard in a long time?
If I loved a song then & I still love it now, I've got it on iTunes. I'd say I don't listen to Fiona Apple as much as I used to, but I still love her stuff like crazy. I also liked a lot of Eve6 from back then, and I have not heard much from them since.

4. What songs or groups from ten years ago did you not like then, but do like now?
I loved DMB's studio albums back then but I didn't know a thing about them live. I wasn't into live music at all back then, as most bands I listened to were just mediocre live and only really good when they'd been edited in studio. Somewhere between then & now, I heard them live for the first time and was blown away. I'm not sure I would've liked the Flecktones or the Mu'tet back then, but I'm not sure. No way of knowing that.

5. How has your taste in music changed in the last ten years?
Realizing that DMB was incredible live led me to an all-new love of live music. I just kept looking for more & more good live bands, until finally I turned into the person I am now, scouring JamBase for good shows, tracking my favorites just in case they come near enough that I could go see them, attending music festivals to hear new bands. I've gone from never listening to any live music at all to downloading fan-recorded concerts from the internet & basing my love for a band on whether or not they're good in concert.

WELL, now I'm off to get ready. I sat down long enough to make this entry & eat a bowl of dry Cheerios (I'm seriously nauseated this morning), but now I'm off to the loan people. We had one more paper to sign, then I will let them know who we're going with as our insurance company, and we'll be all set. TO CLOSE ON WEDNESDAY. Seriously, that's their estimated closing date. I AM SO STOKED I COULD JUST ABOUT POP.
hillarygayle: (PP Rowena Ravenclaw)
Theme: International Travel

1. You have the summer and plenty of money to travel abroad. Where all would you go?
Definitely Japan. Bryan & I would go on a tour all around the country to places we want to see the most. Akihabara is a must for Bryan, and the hanamachi districts of Kyoto for me.

2. What foods would you be sure you got to eat?
I would want to eat nikuman, yakitori, okonomiyaki, and takoyaki.

3. What landmarks would you be sure you got to see?
Everything. In addition to the two above, we'd certainly want to see certain shrines and definitely stay at a ryokan, preferably in the process of visiting a hot spring.

4. What airline would you use?
Most likely whichever was the cheapest in getting us to Japan.

5. Would your knowledge of other languages influence where you went? (i.e. would you be more likely to go to France if you spoke French)
Neither of us speak a language other than English fluently, so this doesn't influence us. However, we both wish we spoke Japanese, so even if we did speak another language, that would be it.

Theme: USA Road Trip

1. Who would you take with you on a road trip?
BRYAN! Also, if we all had our own RVs, all of family 2.0 on one huge cross-country trip.

2. What states would you visit?
I would like to visit the deep Southern states: Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia. Big RV trip all the way through them. I especially enjoyed the Gulf Coast states on a couple of business trips down there, so that'd be on my list.

3. What national parks and/or monuments would you go see?
I'm an urban kinda person, so I would want to visit certain cities. I'd like to visit San Francisco, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington D.C. If this is the 2.0 road trip, I'm sure the others have their choices; I know we'd end up at the Grand Canyon & Yellowstone at some point. I also think the Salt Flats would really be a sight to see.

4. Las Vegas: Overrated or a Must-See?
Overrated. The lights are pretty and would make for good photography, but better photographers than I have covered that ground already. I don't like to gamble, and though the hotels would be amazing & some of the attractions might appeal to me, I have heard that shopping in Vegas is dismal if you're larger than a size 8, so that's boring.

5. How long would you be gone?
All summer long, if possible. Just gypsying around the country in our carbon-spewing monsters, getting whims, looking them up on the internet, and heading out to find them.
hillarygayle: (Floaty Brain)
This week's:

# Whats harder to live without, chocolate or alchohol?
I'll have to go with chocolate, as I go a lot longer between alcoholic beverages than I go without chocolate. I'm particularly fond of DMB Magic Brownies ice cream by Ben & Jerry, and also Lindt's Cherry Chili 72% dark bars.

# Does the colour yellow remind you of anything?
Flowers, sunshine, raincoats, and popsicles. So I suppose I'd have to say yellow reminds me of spring-like things, altogether.

# Who most annoyed you last week?
Hmm. I'd have to say my family for getting weird about the fact that I don't encourage Ganon to watch TV. They keep pushing me to let him watch Sesame Street or Baby Einsteins or whatever, and I don't see the need. I don't have anything against it, but I don't watch TV unless Bryan and I sit down to watch a specific program, and I don't see the point in encouraging Ganon to do something I don't do myself. If they're worried about his education I can assure them he's getting one: we do colors & counting & names all the time. So yeah, that's annoying.

# Do you have a cutesy romantic nickname for your partner (or previous partners)?
I call Bryan "Puppy", and he calls me "Mousie".

# What is your favourite Stephen King movie?
I don't have one. I don't like Steven King (which way is spelled properly?) because I don't care for horror/scary movies. Don't read the books, don't watch the movies.

And last week's:

1. Love at First Sight: Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. Attraction at first sight, absolutely, but love? No. Love is an ongoing action; a verb. I strongly dislike the dilution of the word "love" in our culture; I wish we had more words for it, the way they do in Greek or Japanese.

2. Fortune Telling: Fact or Fiction?
Fiction. I've never had a horoscope, fortune, or prediction that was both specific and accurate. Either they're so general that anything could apply, or they're wrong.

3. Other Life: Fact or Fiction?
Other life? Like in the universe? I'm going to have to go with "fact". There's no possible way we're alone here. That's an awful lot of space for us to be all there is.

4. Afterlife: Fact or Fiction?
Fact. I'd be a rather strange Christian if I didn't believe in an afterlife!

5. Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction?
That's a hard one. While I'm sure there are species we have not yet found, named, and catalogued, I have a hard time believing that one of them might be a gigantic, ape-like creature roaming marginally populated areas of the United States. It isn't that I don't think it's possible, but I really think it's terribly unlikely. I'll go with fiction, and if ever I am proven wrong, I'll be happy about it, 'cause hey new species!

Once again I'm restoring my iPhone to factory. *sigh* It is ridiculously inconvenient. I need to hunt down a fix or a reason for this happening. I'm tired of having to restore it all the time. For the rest of you with iPhones, I will explain:

I take a photo with the camera function, and then I go to look at it. Instead of saving the photo, it has saved a blank white box. When I try to tap that box to see the photo, it crashes out of the photo program to the home screen. The way I fix this is to restore entirely to factory settings, take a few pictures, and then restore it from backup. This will ensure that it works for a little while. It normally happens again after I take a lot of photos and then pull them in via iPhoto. I always select the "delete originals on the phone"; perhaps if I keep pictures after I import them it won't happen. I could set up one or 2 photos that would always stay in the camera roll. Hmm... Regardless, this shouldn't be happening, especially as often as it does.

I very much look forward to June, when the software begins to roll out. I'd like to see sync'able notes between iPhone and computer as well as a sync'able to-do list. Video recording would be nice, and we know the iPhone is capable of it because there's a program that does it for unlocked phones. Also, I'd like a way to take photos sent to me as email attachments and place them in my iPhone albums. As it is, if I send Bryan a picture or he sends me one, the only way to view those photos is to go into the email itself.

At some point tomorrow I'll do the 36 things meme, stolen from [livejournal.com profile] fa3ryg1rl, and the 5 things meme stolen from [livejournal.com profile] pyat!


hillarygayle: (Default)

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