Monday, February 28, 2011

another chapter winds to a close

our time here in colorado is drawing to a close. rapidly.
which means two things.
one...we're in a scramble to squeeze as much in these last two weeks as humanly possible.
two...we've been growing increasingly more inquisitive as to where we will soon be calling home.
 travel nursing is a funny thing.
on one hand, not much is more exhilarating than rising in the morning not knowing which region of this country will soon be my own personal sandbox. ripe for my exploration.
and by nightfall, my future has begun to take shape. i can be found scouring the internet. 
developing loose must-do/see lists.
 and yet these are the things of which stomach ulcers are made.
{see ~C~, i'm feeling the stress}
oh, not once my next offer has officially been extended & genially accepted. no, that's the thrill that keeps me living this gypsy life.
i'm referring to the last four weeks of an assignment. as the stress ratchets up daily.
time spent in daily convos with my recruiter {J}
she briefs me with prospects as they become available. short lists of stats: city, type of floor, pay rate.
i have a {constantly growing} wish list of cities i'm itching to grace with my presence.
that being said, i've also learned the value of allowing the wind to blow me in the direction of places that were never even on my radar.
some of my most beloved moments were in such places. this leaves me open to most opportunities. {within reason}
still yet, there are always qualifiers that pique my interest more than others.

here's a peek into the wish list we've been hoping to make checks on for our next assignment:
~warm weather.
this is numero uno for a reason. {a big 'un} 
although there's a magical beauty to colorado in the winter, it's lost it's luster.
as lovers of warm weather, i think we've been good sports about all this sub-zero temp business.
but our feet keep asking why they aren't in flip-flops. 
{and who are we to deny them their one desire?}
~remain out west.
as anyone who's been fortunate enough to visit this region will know, there's no shortage of sights to see or adventures to be had. our bucket has hardly a drop in it.
then there's the duh factor.
gas isn't cheap is sickeningly expensive and it takes a few days to get here from our end of the country, so why head back so soon?
~abundance of outdoor activities.
no explanation needed.
we aren't greedy here, it doesn't have to be a beach  
{although that's  what  we've been hoping for}
  we'd settle for a nearby lake or river. not too much to ask, right?

now lemme tell you where the opportunities have been arising.
don't get me wrong because it's actually on my city-wish-list.
sure it boasts most requirements on our list, but it's lacking our most coveted one.
furthermore, when we say west we don't also mean three thousand miles to the north.
maybe some other time.
ugh. again, it has it's charms and cities on my wish list.
it also currently has endless snow storms and freezing temps. 
and there's that pesky two thousand mile drive rearing it's ugly head again.
  grossfor obvious reasons. {apologies to any lovers of the city}
~blah, blah, more of the same.
i must have angered the gods of travel nursing. lucky me to have such stellar timing.

as some of you know i'm flying home next week to meet my teensy new niece...assuming she makes an appearance before then. {seriously sweating this one}
i watched flight prices for months. equal parts hopeful prices would drop and willy-nilly nervous i'd select the wrong time and miss the baby. {not to imply i'm not equally thrilled to see the rest of the fam}
prices plummeted two hundred bucks a few weeks ago and after much deliberation  
{read: hard core freaking out i was choosing the wrong dates}, i booked.
yesterday morning i checked the flights and had a minor major freak-out sesh as i studied the calendar.

two  weeks until we're done here. 

what the what?!
i began having visions of us selecting the perfect cardboard boxes to shelter us from the wind. {no such visions were actually had}
more realistically, i began to feel we may have to make some concessions on our list. 
apply somewhere less than desirable. sigh.
 we agreed last month that we would refrain from making any decisions out of desperation.
we would stay the course.
wait until a position materialized that we could get excited about.
telling ourselves we still had plenty of time.
i failed to consider that traveling became much more of a challenge for me when i invited {L} along for the ride. {not that i would change that decision}
as luck would have it, we share a vision of where we see ourselves traveling. so no issues there.
the dilemma is that we must find positions in two separate fields of nursing in the same place, at the same time. and then convince them to hire us both. and that's if they even like both of our resumes enough to call for interviews.
see how the level of difficulty just kicked up several notches?
there have been a string of postings in some spectacular places that only fit for myself or {L}.
uh oh.

so imagine my delight when {J} called thursday morning with a fresh posting in a city that we've been hoping to visit and which merits a check for each  category in the list above. 
well before nine am,
{or the interviews  we'd need to nail} we had mapped out our drive, decided when we should leave, and were doing searches of things to do in the area.
how's that for getting ahead of ourselves??  ***confession. i make a practice of doing this and haven't jinxed myself....yet.
 we interviewed around two and by three we had our official  offers.

austin, tx?
don't mind if we do.

we'll have a week off before we start the assignment.
our plan is to head down early and bypass austin in favor of the beach.
six nights of sleeping in a tent at the water's edge is in order.
we've found a national seashore on an island just off the coast where we can pitch our tent for no fee.
now before you are overcome with jealousy be aware that there are no facilities on site.
just adds to the adventure, right?
{we reserve the right to revoke the last statement once said adventure is underway}
 so it's settled.
we're austin bound.


Monday, February 21, 2011

an exercise in cold tolerance

a few short days after arriving in colorado, the temps reached the mid-60s.
completely astounded with our good fortune we opted to snake up the famed pikes peak highway to take advantage of the deliciously warm temps.
what better time to ascend to 14,000+ feet in elevation than on an unseasonably warm day, right?

and up we went.
it wasn't long before the pavement disappeared and we were traversing a shoddy dirt road.

about halfway up {no idea on the accuracy of this claim} we stumbled upon crystal creek reservoir.

gorgeous, right?
*confession-i have a mild obsession with photographing trees. please excuse. 

did i notice the temperature was dropping? sure.
was it drastic? nah. at least, not yet.
however, we were soon to discover that while giddy with excitement as we approached the ranger gate,
we failed to notice a sign warning of the temperature drop plummet we were about to experience. 
it read something along these lines:
**when reaching the summit expect at least a thirty degree drop in the temperature from this exact point**
the sign should  read as follows:
**expect temperature changes that will rip all oxygen straight outta your lungs. 
forgot gloves? frostbite will likely ensue. 
think you're going to enjoy hours at the summit soaking in the views and contemplating life?
think again.**
surely that is what the authors intended to scroll upon that cautionary {barely  noticeable} sign
now i must say i did anticipate a slight change in temperature and lugged along jackets, sweatshirts, and tennis shoes accordingly...all of which were grossly inadequate.

when we reached the summit and opened the door to see the sweeping views we'd been anticipating,
every random paper that had been tucked away in the cracks and crevices of my x-terra began swirling about and were one by one sucked out in hurricane force winds {mild exaggeration} before we had the good sense to slam the doors. 
we then began the ever entertaining and frantic dash to gather all of the litter we'd just unleashed on the peak as it whipped and whirled around us.
in the time it took us to regain control of our stray papers dignity and return to the car to leash the dogs, our hands had frozen. nearly solid.
not wanting to waste the opportunity to glimpse views from such a dizzying height, we soldiered on.
we lasted five, possibly ten minutes. {five, definitely only five}
long enough to have this photo snapped.
note: those fancy looking ponytails aren't ponytails at all. just the result of wind forces that will damn near pick you straight up off the ground and fling you over the edge

once we made it back ran like hell to the safety of our car, it took at least thirty minutes for our hands to fully thaw.
and the process was painful. very  painful. 
another lesson learned. pay close  attention to signs posted when exploring new areas. 
and come prepared.
would we recommend a trip to the top of pikes peak to others?
definitely. just heed our warning and learn from our stupidity.
*note-it is entirely possible that the weather isn't always so harsh at the summit {though we doubt it}
oh and if you do go...
we've heard that the summit house at the top of pikes peak has amazing donuts. the altitude is said to change the consistency and give the treats an airy quality. 
this tidbit was made known to us sometime after our ill-fated trip and we have not braved a second of yet.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

the outset

mine is a traveling spirit.
an i can do anything and go anywhere kind of outlook.
an i will  conquer mentality.

after learning that my brother, {D}, was lying on a surgical table 1,800 miles and an ocean away, i frantically boxed up said traveling spirit and flew to his side.
which is where i stayed for the next six weeks. alongside my mom, five siblings, and {D}'s new bride.
and when i settled on the realization that i must return to work, a travel position in nearby nashville deposited itself neatly into my lap.

how serendipitous.

i called nashville home for twelve long months and took advantage of my family being down the street. because after being nearly two thousand miles from home, a few hundred miles may as well be just that.
i made frequent trips home to spend cherished moments with the people i love the most in this world

i drank in my two pink-cheeked, spirited nieces. two delicious souls that set my heart aflutter.

i basked in all things family and mundane. we all did.
when you come breaths away from losing a person so vital to your essence, mundane takes on a whole new beauty.

i soaked up all that is nashville.
honky tonks and outdoor concerts on the lawn of city hall.
all-day kayak trips with {L} and friends.
evenings that concluded with sinfully delectable bushwhackers in the heart of five-points.
late night concerts at dive bars.
i feasted on divine biscuits at the renowned loveless cafe.

i returned from a visit home in may to find the city afloat from a devastating flood. i watched as the residents united, dignitaries and celebrities descended.
together they worked tirelessly to rebuild their sodden metropolis.
nashville spoke to me.

but after a year, that box i'd stowed away began to weaken against the strain. my traveling spirit was alive and well. and it wanted out.
it yearned to once again feel the thrill of discovering a far away city. one that held mysterious wonders and unknown adventures.
the time had come to move on.
and so i began the exhilarating, nail-biting process of finding my next destination.

embarking with me on this next venture was {L}.
fresh from grad school and eager for change, she would join me on my cross country endeavor.


 it's feed this addiction of mine.
to pack up my things, gather my dogs, and drive in the direction of new possibilities.
to leave all sensibility and trepidation behind and boldly, blindly steer myself into uncharted land.
as the powers that be would have it, i pointed myself west and  was off.


land of rocky, mountainous terrain and capricious weather.
filled with people so friendly it slips my mind i'm not in the south.
home to a style of mexican cuisine i had yet to discover.
 a state with such natural beauty i feel inspired simply ambling out my door.
 clouds unlike any i've ever glimpsed.
 a state that's sat at the tip-top of my wish list since i began this journey three years ago.


the place that myself, {L}, {Kibo}, and {Naya} have been fortuitously calling home for nearly three months now. we marvel daily at the wonder held within the boundaries of this state. we are frantic to explore all four corners of this temporary home. cautious not to squander our time here.

exceptional  moments are being collected here, friends.


Monday, January 10, 2011

an embarkment

it's official. i'm entering a new realm. a new chapter begins.
i've been intrigued for sometime by this blogging phenomenon.
it's time to start.

i've always enjoyed writing. sadly, it became a forgotten passion somewhere along the way. 
fell victim to the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
the fire was rekindled when my eldest brother suffered a life threatening injury. we created a website where i chronicled his fierce & awe-inspiring battle for his precious life.

now i shall chronicle my own life. 

some might say i'm obsessed with travling. and photography.
guilty as charged...i suppose there are worse addictions.
i've worked for nearly three years as a traveling nurse and the more places i go, the more i add to my wish list. 
the size of this world is mind boggling and i'm gonna soak in as much as i can.
i want to squeeze it all in. experience as many places, people, and cultures as this one life allows.

so many moments make up each day.
some seemingly insignificant. some life altering. 
some fall somewhere in the middle. but all of them are precious in their own right. 
each moment shapes us. molds us. 
urges us to be better

...these are my  moments collected