Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Research assistanceship

Everyone knows that it is the plight of grad students to be penniless and drowning in coursework. However, most grad students are somewhat compensated through research or teaching assistanceships; in fact, many students won't go to a program that won't pay their way.

Not so for graduate nursing students...at least at the master's level. Maybe the school thinks that you'll make so much, it won't matter that you've spent two years in poverty! My school does offer a few assistanceships, but being a distance student, I haven't been able to take advantage of them and have subsisted on loans, loans, loans (and a grant here and there).

Well, all that is about to change. Today, I had an interview at ISU for a research assistant position. It's actually an RA assigned to the whole department, to help faculty members complete literature reviews, apply for grants, and do preliminary data analyses. The interview went well and the professor I interviewed with said she'd recommend me for the position. Whoo hoo! Free tuition and a stipend...funny how that can make one feel like she is rolling in the dough. :) So...the only thing I'm waiting on is to hear if there is funding available for the position. Wish me luck!

In other news, it is 7 degrees tonight in Idaho Falls, but the trick-or-treaters are out in full force and Schatzi is getting some practice at not acting like a maniac when we answer the door. We'll see if the lesson lasts.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Secret revealed...

I know you, dear readers, have been waiting in suspense about my previous post. Well, the surprise can be revealed...I flew to Seattle yesterday to surprise Amy! Mom had a friend who had a free ticket that needed to be used before the 1st of November, so Mom set it up for me to fly to Seattle after finishing clinicals for the week. Unfortunately, it wasn't really the surprise I envisioned because Amy figured it out the day before I arrived, but it's still been a great trip. I'm getting to spend a lot of time with that fat baby, Noah, who is growing up so quickly. He's been babbling a lot and pulling himself up to stand.

Today, Noah and I drove to Bellingham to visit my favorite Gemmers: Deanna, Darin and their bunny, TJ. (Visit Deanna's blog at http://deannag.typepad.com ). It was a lazy day, but I got to see their new kitchen and enjoy a great burger and good conversation. Then, Deanna, Noah, and I ran some errands and that was the end of our short visit.

Tomorrow, we're heading to down to Tacoma to visit our "Seattle parents", Elton and Mercy. Elton is actually my dad's cousin, but we adopted them as our Seattle parents after we started at SU...their home became our home away from home. We're so lucky to have them...and they always feed us so well!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Secrets, secrets...

Ask anyone who knows me...I'm no good at keeping secrets. And, sometimes, I don't even tell them on purpose. One year at Christmas, I volunteered to wrap all the Christmas gifts from our family. Wanting to be original, I wrote on the gift tags more than just your usual "merry Christmas" and wrote (for example) "Dear Grandma, Hope you like your earrings. Love, Jen". I think I'll be eighty before I live that one down.

Other times, I WANT to keep the secret, but then my conscience gets the better of me. Like, when Joe first told Amy he liked me. And, Amy told me but swore I couldn't tell Joe. Well, I kept that secret for about a year, but then I felt bad keeping a secret from Joe, so I told him that I already knew he liked me before he told me. Amy says she won't tell me any secrets any more.

These are but a few examples of how I've spilled the beans many a time in my life. And, while I feel a sense of relief in general after telling my secrets, usually the other people involved aren't too happy with me. But, I'm going on a new record, folks! I've been keeping a secret for almost a week now and haven't told...whoo hoo! Just a few more short days before I can tell it...and this posting is one way for me to let off a little pressure. (Don't worry...I promise I'll post what the secret is by the week's end).

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

pig-phobia?

Just a short post today about my wacky dog. I never gave her credit for being very smart (and I'm not sure that she actually is). Anyway, she generally watches TV and looks interested, but I always assumed it was the voices. A couple of weeks ago, though, we were watching a commercial and a pig came on...and Schatzi went nuts! She ran right up to the TV and started barking away. I didn't even realize she knew what a pig was, but then I remembered she'd seen Jeff's 4-h hog and buddy pig and didn't take too well to those. Well, we had a good laugh at our nutty dog and didn't think about it again.

Tonight, though, on our evening walk, Schatzi suddenly stood stalk still and started stalking some random resin pig that was sitting on someone's front porch. She even crouched down and tried to sneak up on it, flattening herself on the lower step so she could peek up at the pig. She ran around the side to bark at it through the stair rail, but wouldn't get any closer. I started patting the pig, trying to show her there was nothing to be afraid of, but she didn't believe me and started barking wildly (warning me away? Who knows!). Well, it was fun while it lasted, but then I thought the homeowners (whom we don't know) might think this little game of "bark at the pig" was odd and we went on our way, with Schatzi throwing a few more barks over her shoulder at the little resin pig.

So, I guess only time will tell if she ever gets over her pig-phobia.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Spontaneous road trip...

So, this week, I finished a clinical rotation, a midterm, and my homework a bit earlier than expected and I was faced with the glorious possibility of getting ahead on the next week's homework, studying for another midterm, and working on some embroidery projects. The thought of having so much free time to work and the thought of the potentially less stressful week was appealing, but in the end, I didn't take the opportunity.

Instead, I called up Amy, who was planning to be just a mere 7 hour drive away (versus 12+ hrs to Seattle) in Spokane to celebrate Whitworth's homecoming (that's Kevin's alma mater). With some quick scheming and a wonderful, flexible husband, I finished up some last minute things, walked Schatzi so she'd sleep until Joe got home, and jumped in the car for a road trip on a sunny Thursday afternoon. I got to my Aunt Becca's house at 11pm PST on Thursday night and visited with Tancie and A. Becs (and, of course, Priscilla) until Team Eddy arrived at midnight with a sleepy Noah (he woke up quickly and gave us each a smile and slobbery kiss).

It was a short night (we were up till 2am) and Noah came to wake me up at 7am, but we had great time snuggling in bed. It was a great day in all...hanging out with Amy, Noah, Tance, A. Becs and Kevin for a little while. We ate too much at a chinese buffet for lunch and then went to visit my Aunt Choly afterwards. I had to be back home for a study group in Pocatello on Saturday, so after my wonderful day (it was well worth all the driving and tiredness to follow!), I was back on the road for a late night trip to Idaho Falls.

The drive home was not as great as the drive over (is it ever?). I was pretty tired and I kept seeing dead deer on the road, which made me jumpy...scared that another would jump out and I'd be dull and tired enough to hit it. I stopped around 11pm and got a Diet Coke and bought an audiobook from the thin selection at the gas station. "Summer Island"...the only one that wasn't a crime story or horror (who wants to be scared while driving in the dark alone?). Turned out to be a romance set in the San Juan Islands...in fact, Lopez Island played a major part in the story! That made me smile.

I made it home safely early that morning (one-ish) to my wonderful husband and our excited puppy. Poor Schatzi didn't understand it was time to go to bed, even though I'd just gotten there and it took some convincing (and ignoring her pleas) to get her to bed. But, alls well that ends well. I was exhausted, but so glad I took the trip. I was getting a little homesick for my family and Noah is growing up so fast...it makes me a little sad to be so far away. So, I have to take the opportunities I have, even if it means I'm still behind and unprepared for the upcoming midterm. :)

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Getting ready for midterms...

How you might ask? Well, not by studying! :) I have a midterm this week and another next week and I promised myself I'd get some studying in, but so far, this weekend, I've done NOTHING productive school-wise.

But, I have been productive in other arenas. Saturday, Joe and I helped load up a U-Haul for a friend, Mandy Chase. Mandy was flying to Alabama with her 2 little boys, so her brothers volunteered to drive her U-Haul down there. So, Joe and I headed over to her storage unit and it brought back such moments of deja-vu...when I moved last June, I was by myself (since Joe was already in Idaho Falls) and desperately needed help. I was so grateful when my wonderful mom, my wonderful Kaufman parents and brothers, Steve and Jeff, my wonderful neighbors (DJ and Melissa Newman), and my wonderful church friends (Earl Stroschein and gang) worked so hard to get my truck loaded and packed. And, then my wonderful friend, Deanna came down with me and helped me unpack. Anyway, I was so glad that Joe and I could help "pay it forward" a little and help load Mandy's U-Haul. Then, I also had some great (much-appreciated) phone visits with Deanna and my sis, Amy on Saturday. I did get some homework in while Joe made a casserole (what a husband!).

Sunday, Joe and I slept in and missed Mass since our dog decided she needed to get up 3 times the night before. This morning, Joe got up first and took his dog downstairs and made a great breakfast. After an extra half hour of laziness, I got up and made up with Schatzi, so we took our dog for a hike on different trail in the Targhee National Forest. We were all looking forward to this new adventure, but it turned into more of an adventure than any of us thought.

At first glance, the trail seemed pretty easy, hiking up a ridge and gradually gaining elevation. Well, about half a mile into the hike, we were surprised with a creek crossing...it was wider and deeper than I felt comfortable with, so we walked around looking for a better place to cross. Eventually, we found a rocky sort of dam, which Joe & I were able to cross, but it was too much for Schatzi. She refused to follow and sat on the bank, howling until I came back to get her. So, Schatzi and I went back to the original crossing, I took off my shoes and rolled up my pant legs and plunged in. Well, it was deeper than I thought, so I ended up with wet pant legs (brr!) and Schatzi had to swim across (which made both of us a little nervous).

Then, as we were going to meet up with Joe, we discovered him on the other side of yet ANOTHER creek crossing. We found a better place to cross, but it took about half an hour and a firm hand on the leash to convince Schatzi she really had to get in the water. After all that, we were a little discouraged. But, the afternoon got better. Schatzi came off her leash as we took a stab at blazing our own trail to find a return route without creek crossings. Joe spotted a grouse, which he didn't get a shot at. And, we set up our new tent (just for kicks), which is way roomier than our old one.

So, now we're home. Joe & I have had hot showers so I'm no longer chilled. Schatzi is exhausted and snuggled down her bed. And I"m blogging instead of studying...maybe I'll start tomorrow. :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Targhee National Forest

School has been crazy and I have been remiss in posting...sorry. I was going to do it last night, but got all caught up in a "Project Runway" marathon, trying to catch the episodes I'd missed from Season 3, only to discover I hadn't missed any at all. Oh, well. Got to procrastinate somehow.

Anyway, last weekend, Joe and I decided to go on our annual fall backpacking trip. I love backpacking in early fall and mid-spring, even if it means you have to carry more stuff to keep warm. One summer, we decided it would be great to go in the summer since it meant we could take a little tarp and theoretically less weight. Well, that one trip turned me off to summer backpacking forever...our packs were weighted down (not with warm clothes) but with tons of water as we hiked in the heat (I sweated so much that I felt grains of salt on my forehead!)...and were slowed because I had to scratch all the bug bites I got whilst sleeping under our open tarp. So, no more summer trips.

This fall trip was especially fun. It was the first time I'd been to the Targhee National Forest and saw these beautiful aspens changing colors among the evergreens. It was so beautiful! In the picture below, that's Joe and me, 8000+ feet, with the Tetons in the distance (and our dog, distracted by something shiny). And, it was Schatzi's first time hiking. She did so well, which made the trip even more fun. We were able to let her off leash and she roamed a little distance away and came back. After 6 miles of hiking up a couple of thousand feet, she was pretty tired that night and ended up sleeping for 13 hours straight! Even though I packed her sleeping bag and Joe packed a sleeping mat, we should have left them at home, since Schatzi ended up snuggled inside my sleeping bag early in the morning. :) I told Joe, "I bet Schatzi thinks our little tent is her crate and she's like, 'Oh, my people are sleeping in my crate with me! Sleep over!'". (Joe hates it when I anthropomorphize our dog...so he just rolled his eyes.)

Other firsts: we forded some creeks (pretty cold!) and I fell off a log while trying to prove my legs were just as long as Joe's (they weren't), but just got a few bumps and scrapes (and a wet butt!). Schatzi discovered that being in the water wouldn't actually kill her (after all), so she began fording the creeks without any cajoling after awhile. (The picture to the left is of Schatzi and me, warming ourselves in the morning over the nice fire Joe built for his girls).

And, since then, we've been recovering. (We also discovered that going backpacking only twice a year leads to some sore bodies!). Schatzi's a little tired, too, which is a blessing. :) But, there's another hike on the horizon for this weekend, so maybe it won't be quite as painful this time.