Category Archives: Storytime

Aside

This weekend I celebrated two holidays:  Mother’s Day and my Bachelor’s in Nursing graduation, so Brad and I made a “Tour de Mother’s Day” and drove to Arlington (its in the DFW area) on Saturday for the festivities.

I don’t know why but especially when I am out of Austin, I feel the need to Yelp/Google if there are any gluten-free bakeries.  It just seems a waste of travel if I don’t find something new.  My travels this time led me to I Heart Muffins in Hurst.  It said “dedicated gluten free bakery” on the Facebook page, but I still felt the need to verify this by email before trekking across the Metroplex.  Sure enough, its really dedicated. LOL.

We made it there about an hour before close so picking were kind of slim but PLENTY more than I could get anywhere normal.

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These were my goodies for the day (from 12 o’clock):  Apple Cinammon Muffin, Peanut Butter Cookie, and SNICKERS CAKE!!  I promptly ate the cake in store and Brad ate the cookie after I got a bite.  The cake was DELICIOUS and gooey and worth the drive.  I saved my Apple Cinammon Muffin for the next morning, but it was equally enjoyable with little pieces of apple and just the right amount of cinnamon, not too overpowering.  For those that live in the DFW area, the bakery even makes loaves of gluten-free bread.  I asked about shipping the bread but that wasn’t available yet.

The rest of the afternoon preceding the graduation was pretty comical:  we couldn’t check into our hotel until 3 (graduation was at 4), Brad had to buy a new shirt at Jos A Bank since his was wrinkled and we had nowhere to iron it and a new pair of jeans since apparently our terrible cat Barf peed on them when he was laying his clothes out at the house.   I ended up getting dressed in Jos A Bank and putting my makeup on in the car.

Finally, we made it safe and sound to College Park Center at UTA and I got to the staging area for all of us RN-BSN bridging students.  It was quite interesting to graduate with a class of 400+ people whom I had never met due to the online setup of classes.  I made friends with my neighbors and we discussed the best/worst classes, where we were all from and our future plans in nursing.

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This is my double Maverick face: my BSN is my second degree from UTA 🙂

I was quite impressed with the changes the University of Texas at Arlington has made to their campus in hopes of becoming a Tier One school.  College Park Center was amazing with the Jumbotron and stadium style seating.  Brad was even able to find a bar to kill time at on campus.

We hit the road back the next morning to see both of our moms.  My mom and grandma are in Waco and requested we bring them kolaches from Czech Stop in West on the way home.  This is probably the gluten-free person’s nightmare:  smell of sweet dough rising, all kinds of kolache from cherry to sausage ones and cupcakes too.   I don’t know why but sometimes I ask Brad to let me smell his glutenous eats.  Maybe it seems like I have eaten it through my nose. Or I’m a masochist.  I think it just makes me feel like I am participating in normal eating.  I was very glad at this point I had saved my apple cinnamon muffin, because while Brad devoured his hot chubbie with cheese, I wasn’t giving him dirty stares.  For those without allergies or intolerances, it is a CRIME to go through West, Texas on IH-35 and not stop.

We scooped the treats up  (along with a fruit plate for me from Walmart) and enjoyed some conversation with the family for a couple hours before heading to see Brad’s mom/Spurs game.

My weekend reminded me of this quote by Gordon B. Hinckley:

“Anyone who imagines that bliss is normal is going to waste a lot of time running around shouting that he’s been robbed. The fact is that most putts don’t drop, most beef is tough, most children grow up to just be people, most successful marriages require a high degree of mutual toleration, most jobs are more often dull than otherwise. Life is like an old time rail journey…delays…sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling burst of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.”

My weekend didn’t project to be a blissful one, but Brad and I laughed through the delays and silly mishaps, ie. cat pee. After all, it’s not everyday that you get to graduate with the largest nursing graduating class ever from UTA.  🙂

double maverick

The End of the Beginning

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Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Winston Churchill

I just turned in my final assignment for my Bachelor’s in Nursing program. I can’t believe that it is actually over and I have done it!!  I got my RN in 2011 and started immediately after in a bridging program from an associate’s to a bachelor’s.  I have literally been in school since Kindergarten and can’t believe I will be entering the “actual life” portion of my life.  I have a good job here in Austin, soon to be two bachelor’s degrees and an awesome family and boyfriend.  I feel like I have finally completed “the preparation” for life and now I get to live it.

Brad and I are saving for a house right now and I know only good things are to come.  I feel so blessed to have had these opportunities in my life.  Now to living and learning and shaping my career: such a surreal feeling. 

Thanks to my family and roommate for putting up with my mood swings while doing projects, discussion boards and assignments. 

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My sister and I at my first graduation (BA in Communication) in 2009

 

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My besties, Michelle and Chrissy at our RN graduation in 2011

 

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After finishing our last day of clinicals in the RN program, we jumped in the pool in our scrubs in a show of success (and because we hated those pickle suits).  Tonight I’m celebrating the end of my RN-BSN journey in a more tame way–with a nice dinner of top sirloin center cuts wrapped in bacon and baked potatoes.  

Here’s to the future 🙂 and the beginning of my life!!

 

Texas wine country

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Last weekend we headed out 290 toward Fredericksburg to celebrate our friend Rachel’s birthday. We stayed at the Exotic Resort Zoo, which proved to be rather interesting. The “resort” was a couple of cabins decorated with dinky animal print and weird elephant pictures, but that didn’t really matter.

Anytime you can get drunk and pet a donkey in the middle of the night, it’s a good time.  Outside the cabin area is a small petting zoo with donkeys, geese and deer who will walk right up to you. The best part however is the tractor/trailer tour (free if you stay at the resort). The animals are so domesticated they come running when they see the “meal wagon.”

I liked the camels best. They are calm, gentle and eat out of your hands. My boyfriend, Brad enjoyed pouring food into the Buffalo’s mouth. Overall, it’s a good place to have some barbecue, drink some beers around the campfire and relax. Only negative was the hot tub wasn’t working.

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Brad and our friend Zach feeding the buffalo

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But the weekend didn’t stop there, we took a quick run through Texas wine country on 290.  Here’s a quick rundown of the places we stopped at:

Grape Creek Vineyards:
http://www.grapecreek.com
High quality production, our guide was really friendly and knowledgeable, free glass if you did the tour also, tour includes looking at their cellars and trying from different barrels before the tasting. $30
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Favorite wine: Cabernet Blanc. Nice sweet strawberry taste and is palatable for non-wine drinker like me. Brad liked the Merlot and bought a bottle.

Pedernales Cellars
http://www.pedernalescellars.com

Definitely the place I enjoyed the least. They give a decent number of tastings and a free glass with tasting. The girl who was doing our tasting seemed annoyed with her job and didn’t provide the “experience,” which I think is half the fun. The redeeming quality was the beautiful views of Hill Country out on the patio and Moscato.

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Rachel with a giant bottle of their wine, probably not supposed to pick that up 😉

Favorite wine: Moscato, but mostly because we drank a bottle with Rachel’s heavenly birthday cake.

Woodrose Winery
http://www.woodrosewinery.com

This place was my favorite of the wineries!! First of all, you actually get to sit down to drink, which is awesome after standing all day. The tasting was in this old dance hall style room with wood floors and vaulted ceilings. Our guide and owner, Mike, was knowledgeable and efficient. I took the Sweet Flight, of course.  I even could tolerate the Port here, it was paired nicely with some dark chocolate. (The Port at Grape Creek was really overpowering for me).

Mike educated us on the tannins and how drinking a red wine in between bites of steak, for example, makes each bite taste like the first time.

Favorite wine: 2010 Sea Breeze. Sweet and fruity just how I like it. Brad purchased the Unfiltered Cabernet/Syrah.

By this time, we were all “wined” out and swung by the Garrison Brothers Distillery. They have a great hometown operation to make real quality Bourbon. Even my whiskey-hating self can tell it’s top notch. The tour is $10 and walks you through their process. It’s a small group who work together to make it happen.  The owner even signs and numbers every bottle. The atmosphere was exceptional: music playing, free beer and horseshoes before you even head to the tour.
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And of course, we ended the weekend like any good Texan would: stuffing our faces at Dairy Queen. 🙂

For more information on wine tours on 290, visit http://www.wineroad290.com.

i’m keeping my joy

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While at work this past Sunday, one of my patients was watching the Sunday message by Joel Osteen.  I’m not big on televangelism but he is one of the ones I can listen to and get something from.  His message was to not give away your joy to the constant barrage of distractions, irritations, problems and small pitfalls that are sure to come our way in life.

This particular message hit home with me and gave me chills.  Especially in a career like nursing, it is easy to become frustrated and angry with the little setbacks that occur daily.  For example, medications aren’t stocked where/when they should be, getting an admission 10 minutes before shift change, constant phone calls about anything and everything.  My constant struggle in nursing has been to remain calm and cool, anxiety-free as possible during the day.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a nurse who is angry can’t provide the best care possible.  I took his message to heart: to let the little things roll off my back and try to just chalk it up to life.   Breathing deeply and even mentally saying “it’s okay” seem to help diffuse the anger/anxiety and make my life/shift so much easier.

This is definitely one of those easier said than done things that needs continual practice.  It also reminded me of when I used to wait tables during college,  my mantra then was “don’t let Cracker Barrel take your smile away!!”  Life will always be stressful, it’s a given, but how we respond to stress will decide our own happiness.  I would rather keep the key to happiness in my own hands, instead of letting the world decide my fate.

So the next time a car cuts you off in traffic and you are about to utter some type of expletive, take a deep breath and remind yourself: it’s not worth losing my joy over a red Honda cutting me off.  (That may or may not have happened to me this morning).

 

Check out his sermon #563 Don’t Give Away Your Joy at http://ww2.joelosteen.com/Broadcast/Pages/ThisWeeksMessage.aspx.

good samaritan

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Today in the haze of watery eyes and allergies, I dropped my phone on the sidewalk out front of my house and didn’t realize it.  I am quite the space cadet when I’m sick and I was carrying a big box (new pet stairs for Riley)–those are my excuses.  It was probably 30-45 minutes later when I realized my cell phone was gone and frantically started searching the house.

Luckily (or so I thought), I have the Lookout app for Android to help locate the device.  My boyfriend, Brad, logged on the computer and started the search with me.  He kept telling me that the phone was near the Randall’s by our house (which I hadn’t been to today).

He continued to ping the phone’s GPS to locate it and we hopped in the car to see if we could find the perpetrator who had clearly taken my phone.  We drove in circles in the grocery store parking lot and the adjacent church parking lot.

At this point, anyone could have been a suspect: the lady at the bus stop, the Randall’s employee out front or the bum on his flip phone (because obviously he was using that phone to make the transaction to sell my phone away).  Brad’s testosterone levels were at an all-time high thinking everyone could have stolen his girlfriend’s phone.

We scoped out Randall’s while grabbing some chicken for dinner (Riley had eaten the chicken I bought earlier and left on the counter, that dog I swear!) to no avail.  I had succumbed to the fact that I was going to pay the $150 replacement fee for my Galaxy III that was barely two months old.

When we returned to the house,  Brad gave me his phone to call Sprint when all of a sudden my photo popped up on the screen calling him.  I quickly handed him the phone and tried to decipher his “uh huhs,” “oh yeahs” and finally “where do you want me to meet you?”

We walked out on the front lawn to see a girl on her phone holding my phone in her hands.  Apparently her mom went on a walk to the Randall’s for some quick groceries and saw my phone on the sidewalk and was trying to figure out how to get it back to its owner.

Awesome is all I can say.  It’s good to know that there are still honest and kind people out there, so of course I’m going to do something to show my gratitude.  I’m baking some brownies and got a $10 Target gift card to say thanks.  Apparently the neighbor spirit is still alive here in South Austin.  God bless her!!