Friday, September 14, 2007


I think UHaul should add me to their frequent mover club! And if I keep moving I may end up with only the shirt on my back as more & more things get thrown away each time I move.

My last day at the RC was last Friday & they made me an honorary nurse. Please note that no patients were harmed during this time.

The boxes are packed & ready to go. I found some victims aka helpers to assist with the loading & unloading.

Molly has been her usual helpful self...holding down her blanket or her bed/throne. She doesn't even hold the tape for me & gives me dirty looks when I make too much noise during her naps (which is pretty much all the time).

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Back To Virginia...

It has been an interesting week around here, to put it mildly. The unexpected resignation of my boss has effectively ended my VISTA project. That said, I will be returning to Virginia in mid-September. I am still getting some of my end-of-service benefits for the 7 months I served which is somewhat helpful. This is all pretty sudden so I am still sorting out the details & making future plans. I would like to continue my work with the RC in some capacity.

Despite all that has taken place over the past week, I can not say that I regret my decision to move here & take this adventure. The lessons I have learned are both describable & indescribable & I know many of my experiences will have a lifelong impact on me. This has been a time of great personal growth & reflection. I am grateful for the support of so many people who have helped me along the way - both new friends & old.

As you know, it is nearly impossible for me to write an entire blog without mentioned my beloved daughter, Molly Brown. She has been a truly faithful companion through all this & I've seen her grow a lot too. I guess her personal reflection takes place while napping!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Queen

I took a road trip this past weekend & realized that I am a well-trained dog owner. It will take a while longer to accept this fact but I know most of you are saying 'it's about time she noticed'! You are a well-trained dog owner when (please note that this list is not all-inclusive): you go away for two days & your dog has more bags & stuff than you; your dog has a wardrobe that requires its own storage area (I will not admit to its size); you come back from a vacation with many things for your dog & nothing for you; you come within seconds of buying a $130 life-size replica of your she has someone to talk to & hang out with during the day; you are not allowed to be on your own in a specialty dog store; your toughest decision at a store is which dog clothing to buy - the baseball jacket or the t-shirt (we picked the jacket); you have a dog clock on your desk on your work & a pillow at home that looks like your dog.

The best part is that I would not have it any other way. Molly had a hard life before she came to me so I think she deserves to live it up during her retirement years. She has thrived during all the changes over these past months & I have loved to watch her change. Instead of running away, she acts as if everyone is there for the sole purpose of petting her. As her dog tag will remind you, she is The Queen after all.

The infamous clock - the tail even wags!

This is what happens when she sees the suitcases. It gets me every time.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

National Geographic - live & in your front yard

This city girl is experiencing the country life up close & personal. The state park near my home does have a member of Yogi's family in the name after all. My close encounter of a moose kind took place just after I moved to my current residence then again a few weeks later. There is a mommy bear & cub reported to have a crib somewhere in the neighborhood. Deer are usually out in the front yard at dusk or dawn or in the backyard. I nearly ran over a wild turkey & her future Thanksgiving dinners on the way home tonight. You could hear owls & coyote nearly every night where I lived previously.

Any of those animals are tolerable. There are only 2 creatures that I would prefer to avoid all together - skunk & possum. It's rather obvious why I would like to avoid the stinky skunk & possum are known to have a mean streak in put it mildly. I went to take the trash out tonight & had a close encounter of the possum kind. It was just as happy to see me as I was to seeing it. I have said before that the VISTA experience extends beyond your 9-5 job but this is not quite what I had in mind. Molly just looked at it then continued sniffing around like usual...but would you expect a different reaction from her? I'm surprised she didn't ask the thing for a belly rub! I had to grab Molly, as we practiced during the previous moose encounter, & head upstairs. Now I am glad to be typing this versus getting the skunk smell off Molly while wearing a gas mask! It's those little things in life after all...

Back To Reality

I have been back in NH for over a week now. It takes time to get caught up on your sleep, re-adjust, come down from the adrenaline, etc. Molly has not exacted her revenge on me YET for leaving her. I remember not-so-fondly the rather sizable 'gift' she left on my living room floor when I returned from Alabama.

There is a lot of grant writing, research, etc. in the near future. It is weird to think about the end of my VISTA year coming up in January already but that seems to come up daily in discussions. My two primary goals with the RC are to submit grants this year & to develop a grants plan for the coming years.

I am almost at the 7-month mark & the time has flown by so quickly. Nearly all my expectations for this year were surpassed by the 3-month mark which is truly a blessing. I look forward to the opportunities ahead with some anxiety and lots of excitement. The goal of a better life for me & Molly seems attainable though Molly seems more focused on her napping schedule & giving pitiful looks for belly rubs than anything else. Yes, I am a well-trained dog owner & proud of it!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Kansas DR Pictures




Sunday, August 5, 2007

Home At Last

After nearly three weeks away I have returned to NH. Just for the sake of one more adventure during this trip, DELTA (Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive) lost then found my suitcase with the majority of the clothes that I own. It feels like I have been gone much longer. Kansas was everything I hoped for & more in terms of learning, RC work experience, networking, deciding if this was a suitable career path, etc. It enhances your experience when working alongside people who have similar goals & passions in life. The RC does a lot of great work to provide immediate & long-term assistance to those affected by disasters.

Molly did great while I was away & added to her fan base immensely. She was able to win over the hearts of the family who watched her for me, their immediate & extended family members, countless friends...even an entire ward of a nursing home. Once she saw that I was there to pick her up, she stood right by the door waiting for me. I think she wanted to get home to her throne (aka plush comfy bed) more than anything but that's understandable once you lay on it. Now I have three weeks of belly rubs to catch up interest...and I know Molly has been keeping a running tally. As a well-trained dog owner I will find a way to make this up to her.