Texas Alumni Weekend

It's that time of year again when an ostrich, a penguin, and a quail must get together. I went to Austin for the weekend to enjoy UT Alumni Weekend. I think we are all much cuter now than any of our composite photos! Trust me...we checked!
We started with some Trudy's margaritas (and dinner too) and then hit 6th Street for a night on the town. That's right everyone...we got the party started on the dance floor!
We had fun without even showing our goodies! Let me tell you...wearing a red shirt on 6th Street will get you lots of attention. Who knew? We had some burgers at Players and stayed to watch the game on Saturday. We had to get milkshakes at halftime to try and cheer ourselves up. It didn't help, as the Longhorns lost the game. We went out for some great Texas barbecue to drown our sorrows. We finished the weekend with a walk down memory lane at the Alpha Xi Delta house. We actually made it to the sorority brunch this year. It was great to be in the house again and visit with everyone. We made one last stop at the Co-op before heading to the airport. It was a great weekend and I can't wait to go again next year! Val & Kathryn thanks for all the fun! Kellyn & Allison you better come next year!



I had my first over-night adventure to Sedona, Arizona. I stayed in a cabin off a narrow winding little highway through Coconino National Forest. The weather the afternoon I arrived was simply perfect in the high 70s/low 80s with a nice cool breeze and sunny skies. My cabin was part of a bed and breakfast and the owners were the nicest couple. They gave me a map and multiple ideas for ways to spend my afternoon.
So my first stop was a beautiful shopping and arts area. A brewery was recommended to me...so that was my first stop. Nothing like a refreshing beer on the perfect day.
I sat on the patio and had the seven dwarfs (7 mini beer steins, as seen in the picture, to taste all their award winning beers). An excellent choice I must say. After the beer I drove around a took in the scenery. Red rocks everywhere! This was taken near a chapel famous in Sedona for being built into the canyon by one of Frank Lloyd Wright's students. Later that night I opted for a prickly pear margarita. Yummy and pink! My trip to Sedona was prompted by wanting to take a hot air balloon ride. I was picked up at 5AM. The desert really does get cool at night it was nice waiting on my patio, quite a change from the blazing valley of Phoenix. There were 5 balloons total to take off. You can see a balloon being inflated in the picture above. As some have heard the balloon I was to ride had a large tear in the top of the balloon. So needless to say I did not get to ride in a hot air balloon. I was very disappointed. p.s. They found the tear before we every left the ground.
A pink jeep tour was recommended to me by some ladies from the hot air balloon fiasco. So I was on my way off-roading by 8AM. This is me standing on Submarine Rock in the middle of a canyon. There was a very nice couple from North Carolina that kept taking my picture for me. I didn't even have to ask...they would just say, "Give me your camera. That's a good picture." I have decided when I retire that I am getting my own jeep to go off-roading. The jeep tour was a great alternative to my aerial tour. I really enjoyed it. We did 45 degree angles and everything! This is me up on Chicken Point towards the bottom of the canyon. It was very windy at this point in the canyon. Needless to say the trip was wonderful even though it didn't go as planned. I recommend that everyone take a trip to Sedona at least once. Apparently the rest of the world likes to visit here in their retirement years. I was one of the minority of young people. Made me feel young and vibrant!


Piestewa Peak (Squaw Peak)

I hiked around and then up Piestewa Peak today. It's about 2,600 feet to the summit. I took a 3.5 mile hike around the mountain and then 1 mile up to the peak and another mile down. It took me a total of 2.5 hours to complete this task. I learned a couple things about myself during my hike. First, I'm more of a forest/woods hiker as apposed to a mountain climber/hiker.
The path is primarily rocky from start to finish as in the photo above. Second, I learned that you should really have a good pair of hiking shoes for this hike and not a pair of tennis shoes as I had. Third, I learned what heat exhaustion feels like. I bit off a little more than I can chew. I started hiking at 8am and the temperature was mostly in the mid to high 90s the entire time. When you get goosebumps in 90 degree heat that is your body's way of saying I've had too much. Once I made it to the top of the summit (1 mile straight up the side of a mountain) at which point I ran out of water (not a good thing)...I could see downtown Phoenix in the distance. See picture above. Let me tell you the glory of the Sonoran desert consists of rocks, cactus, and very little shade. I did see many lizards, some wild hummingbirds, desert ground squirrels, and one cotton tail.
This picture above is showing the parking lot below. If you can see the little black spot down where the road makes a culdisack, that would be my car. When I took the picture I was so ready to be down there with my car. The hike from here to the car is where I thought I might collapse. Don't worry my sister knew where I was and knew I should be checking in when I was finished. She was ready to send out the troops after me. I did pass a park ranger station near the bottom. So I knew if I really couldn't make it I could yell for help. Have no fear...I did make it home without additional help. One cold shower and many glasses of water later I was back to normal. I'm sure my legs will be telling me about it tomorrow. I am proud of myself for finishing, but no more hiking for me as this point.


Elsie's Corner

This section is for those cat people out there and those who thought I was traveling alone. I think Elsie was a little sad when we first got here and was sleeping a lot.....SO I got her some treats and toys. Above Elsie is playing with her very own catnip ball that she can not only play with but also eat. Don't worry Linus and Macy I have one for you both! She enjoyed rolling around on the floor with her "pawbreaker" and pushing it under large pieces of furniture for me to retrieve (she didn't want to leave me out of the fun).
Elsie girl exploring the pantry! Your nose has failed you...the kitty treats are one level lower. We're both doing great! And Elsie is excited to have the family come and visit for Thanksgiving. Thanks for all the well wishes.


First Shift at Phoenix

First shift completed and over! The other traveler I work with, Lauren, and I went into work Sunday night a little nervous about the computer charting. But we came out with flying colors! The nurses we worked with were great, very funny, nice and helpful. I was a little slow getting used to some of the equipment, but I have no hesitations in going back tonight. The setting is nicer and newer than Parkland, but there are a couple things that Parkland had to make the job easier. This experience has made me appreciate where I "grew up" as a nurse. May the paychecks come in frequently and plentiful as I'm off to work again tonight!


Hospital Orientation

Wow! Things seem different and I haven't even had a shift on the unit yet. This computer charting is very strange to me. Never thought I'd miss Parkland. One more day of orientation and the I have my first real shift Sunday night. Then I'm on my own Monday night. Yikes! There is another travel nurse I've become buddies with (she's from Delaware). We're going out for drinks to celebrate the end of orientation tomorrow. YAY! Wish me luck and I'll have an update next week. The picture is from the Desert Botanical Garden. The round things are sculptures made entirely of twigs/branches. The white spot is Mom inside the sculpture.


Desert Botanical Garden

I made it to Phoenix! I am very happy with my apartment and it was the fastest move-in and set-up in my history. It only took one trip to Wal-Mart to get me fully stocked. The ladies and I went to the Desert Botanical Garden Saturday morning. We learned about lots of different cactus and a tree with green bark. We saw numerous lizards and even a roadrunner. It was 100 degrees out by 10am that morning. Mom and Gale took off after the garden and now the adventure is left to Elsie and myself!