GRADUATION!! (Grad School)

Friday, January 30


The stop in St. Louis on Day five meant that I didn't get to Hannibal until late that night. I drove to the hotel that I wanted to stay at but it was dark and well we all know how afraid of the dark I am. Plus, I had passed a Holiday Inn Express........what can I say.......I'm a sucker for a really comfy bed all to myself.

The morning started with a tour of Hannibal. Unfortunately, they have a tourist season and I had missed it. Lol! I ran into a lot of signs like this:
Fortunately for me the Mark Twain Museum were still open. The museum consists of a few separate buildings spread out over a couple of blocks. The only building with any heat is what they call the Gallery, which is the interactive museum but it was located at the other end. So I did all of the outdoor exhibits 15 degree weather. Ironic....but I believe I was the only patron.
It was cool to be able to see the homes of the people that influence the writings of Samuel Clemens. The really nice lady that ran the bookstore at the outside exhibits even pointed out a coffee shop between the outdoor exhibits and the Gallery so I could warm up. A cup of hot cocoa was definitely needed to get the 2 blocks to the Gallery. As for the information that was there, I didn't know much about Mr Samuel Clemens to start with. It was interesting to learn about his time on the river boat, the guilt he felt about the death of his younger brother, and even where he came up with his nom de plum. I loved the quotes of Mark Twain that they had posted throughout the exhibits. Then again, I have always loved Mark Twain's quotes.

The Gallery had quite the set up. They 3 different areas dedicated to specific books. You could sit on Huck Finn's raft and watch excerpts of the movies. Or travel in a stage coach for a while. I had a lot of fun even if I was the only one in the building. Lol! I found a special edition set of the 2 greatest Mark Twain classics in the book store and just had to get them. I now have never-to-be-read copies of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

After leaving the Mark Twain exhibits, I was on the road again. Here is where that change of plans came in. After listening to the weather and realizing that the snow was supposed to get pretty bad, I got nervous about the passes in Wyoming and Colorado. I called a bunch of people who have driven them before and came to the conclusion that something would have to change. The first thing to go was Mt. Rushmore. It was too far out of the way and by the time I was done with it, the snow was supposed to be in full swing. The second decision I made was to head south, through Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. But that would have added a week on to my trip and I was ready to be home. The final decision was to cut across Nebraska and head straight home. Which is what I did...........

I took a quick break at Council Bluffs, Iowa (just outside of Omaha, Nebraska) to visit our church site there. In the mid 1800's when the Mormon pioneers had been kicked out of Illinois and decided to travel to the west, Council Bluffs became a stopping point. As a matter of fact, a large body of Mormon men were recruited from Council bluffs to fight in the Mexican - American war. So I got to stop and see the museum / visitor center, there was a very nice sister missionary there that took me through all of the exhibits.

From there I continued my drive and decided I could make Wyoming before morning......which I did.....I arrived in Cheyenne at 3:30 am...too tired to think straight but very grateful for a bed.

Thursday, January 29


Hello Everyone....sorry for the delay in posting these. I am settled in Utah.....I even have an apartment which I will move into on Monday! Yay! Now I just need a car and a job and life will be good. Ha Ha ha Anyway, I will try to get the rest of the trip posts is midweek last week.
I woke up early and hit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. This museum is located at the Motel where Martin Luther King was shot in 1968. The museum requires you to check your camera when you enter so the only pictures I have are from the outside.

I found the museum very informative. But I must admit that the set up of the museum wasn't very clear. The flow of information wasn't always clear and everything wasn't always documented. There were a lot of pictures that I didn't know who they were and the signs didn't explain them.

After the museum I headed out of town and on to St. Louis. I had promised people that I wouldn't stay the night in St Louis as it is apparently a fairly dangerous city. So I chose to leave Memphis early in the day so I could hit the St. Louis Arch during the daylight hours. I arrived and got lost. So maybe everyone was right about me not staying there. As Steph says it is very possible that I would end up in the middle of a gang war in the ghetto. Lol! The Arch was pretty cool. I got to stay for a bit at the top and took a bunch of pictures. I evan had the ranger take a picture of me at the center point. FYI.....the arch is 630 feet tall and 630 feet wide.

It was late in the afternoon when I arrived so I had to rush through the museum at the base but it seems to have a lot of information even if there didn't seem to be an obvious beginning or ending point.

Also as I was the last person to arrive before they closed the trams that run up each of the legs of the arch I got to ride in a tram all by myself. Which I am very grateful for. All I would think was that this is how Mork felt in Mork & Mindy. It was a tiny egg shaped elevator thing that was supposed to seat 5 people. Ugh!

The people were really nice and I was on my way to Hannibal Missouri as night fell.

Sunday, January 25

What day is it?

So there was a change of plans yesterday......when I realized that there was snow predicted for Wyoming all through the beginning of the coming week I decided that my plans had to change. I didn't want to get stuck some where. There were multiple calls to friends and family that have either driven through the area or live in the area to help me decide what to do. A decision was finally made to keep course to Winter Quarters in Nebraska and then cut across Nebraska to Wyoming and head home today. While I was supposed to stay the night in Omaha.....I changed my mind when I noticed that the roads were clear and I was totally hopped up on Cherry Coke. I figured I would just drive until I either got tired of the snow caught up with me.

Unfortunately, the snow caught up with me about 3 hours outside of Cheyenne..........without a decent hotel in sight. Ugh! But The caffeine crash came about an hour outside of Cheyenne but by then the roads were clear again (thank you for snow plows!!) and the snow had stopped and I was determined to make it to a nice bed at the Holiday in Express in Cheyenne.

I got in around 3:30 and was up at 8:30......vaguely........a call with my friend Laurie gave me the bad news. I-80 East and West has been closed.......but they hope to be open in the am. So I went back to! Forgetting to reset my alarm so I could go to church. Now that I am awake sacrament meeting is almost over. So instead I am going to go to lunch with Laurie and enjoy the rest of my Sabbath.

May be I will get the rest of my pictures up.

Friday, January 23

Day FOUR.....

Yesterday started with a trip to the land of the King: Graceland.
I learned quite a bit about about the Presley family yesterday. This isn't all that surprising once you consider the fact that the only thing I knew about the Presley's before yesterday was that my younger siste, Gretchen, liked to listen to Elvis music when she was in high school. Walking around the various exhibits at Graceland was fun. While I might not have been a huge fan, I can understand the effect Elvis had on many people, both of my generation and my parents generation. I even ended up buying a bunch of the Elvis movies as I haven't seen any of them. While talking to my dad last night, I learned that he has seen every one of them. Lol! It makes sense, but was not something thaty we have ever discussed before.
I find it interesting, that the green 70's shag carpet in Elvis' house wasn't just on the was also on the ceiling in some of the rooms. I found that a bit odd... and still don't know the purpose of that. Anyone have any clues?
I think my personal favorite Elvis tidbit was that Elvis liked to read......A Lot! Every where he traveled he packed a TRUNK of books. When he flew on his plane The Lisa Marie (which I saw and took pictures of) the trunk was kept in his room on the plane so that he could read before going to bed. See.....I am not the only one that packs a stock of reading material. Lol!

After finishing up at Graceland, I headed over to the Rock 'n' Soul museum to learn about the start of Jazz, Blues, and Rock and Roll. Another place full of information where I didn't take any pictures. I must admit by the time I was done it was dark and I didn't want to be out by myself, so I jsut headed back to my hotel. There was a small detour to find a grocery store....which unfortunately took me through the hood........I finally found a Piggly Wiggly just like in the movie Win A Date With Tad Hamilton. Now I can say that I have been to one. ;) it is after 10 pm and I am tired......I'll have to write about today in the morning.

Thursday, January 22

Day THREE...

I am headed to Graceland here in a few minutes but wanted to get my thoughts down about yesterday.
The morning started bright and early with a trip to the Country Music Hall of Fame. As everyone knows, I like country music and so the chance to see the Hall of Fame was at the top of my trip wants. What I didn't realize was that it would be kind of like hitting a museum at the Smithsonian and expecting to take it all in, in one morning. There was tons of information and I think I was a bit overwhelmed. I must admit that the building itself is pretty awesome. I was told that the building was shaped to represent 3 distinct things. You'll notice that the main body is shaped like a keyboard, the piano keys run into the lobby of the inside as well. Second any one who knows their carts will see the old school Cadillac fin shape. Finally the third is that it is shaped like a Bass Clef. As Meg said when i described it.....It sounds a bit "white trash" but it looks pretty cool. ;)
I didn't take all that many pictures inside because I was trying to assimilate all of the information but I did see Elvis' Solid Gold Caddy.

I Also learned a lot about the Hank William's family. Since I didn't start listening to country music until the mid 90's, I had a lot to learn. Mainly, who he was.......LOL! I ended up buying my first Hank Williams CD in the book store. Good stuff, if you like the old school twang.

I also saw Big Kenny's Top Hat!! I have loved Big 'N' Rich for a while now. They sing a song called the 8th of November that is very moving. And last year while I was visiting with Boo's family I met her uncle who served in the 173rd airborne. It was really cool for me. So it was a way cool display for me to see.

From there, I had a short tour of Studio B....the RCA studio where Elvis and others recorded from the 50's to the 70's. They still have the piano that Elvis would play when he recorded.

After I finished those I headed on over to the Ryman Auditorium. You might know it as the original site of the Grand Ole Opry. I must admit, the building is quite the grand old gal. When I sat in her pews, it felt like I was sitting in the tabernacle in Salt Lake. Which makes sense, as I was told no less then 3 times that the Ryman's acoustics are second in the world. Who is first....that's right the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. (Had to have a Mormon moment at least once.)I got to stand on the stage (they even let me play whit a guitar....ooooohhhhhh). It is was quite a moment for me as I now know about the history there. The girl who took my picture was really nice and we had quite a little chat. Once she found out I was on my way to Memphis that afternoon she suggested my dinner spot. She laughed and told me that I would think she was crazy when I arrived. Which I did. It was a roadside buffet, called Loretta Lynn's Kitchen. And well.....there wasn't much to it......but I have to admit the girl knew her food. Good night nurse, it was good southern cooking and I probably added 15 pounds to my hips . But it was totally worth it. ;)

So......4 books and 1 Hank William's CD later and I was on the road to Memphis. It was nice to have the time to chat with some friends........old and new. I got to talk to my dad, my sister Tiana, my best friend Meg, and Drew from high school. By the time I checked into my hotel my battery was almost dead. Lol!

Now, I off to shower and learn more about the King of Rock and Roll! Wish me luck. Lol!

Wednesday, January 21

Day TWO.....

Here I sit in my hotel room in Nashville. This won’t go up until I have access to the internet but I thought I would get my thoughts down while I had time.

Today started extremely early for me, only to find out that the museum I wanted to stop by didn’t open until 10 am during the winter hours. So, in an effort to use all of my time in Knoxville wisely............I went back to bed. Lol!

I almost changed my mind and just headed on to Nashville, but I am really glad I didn’t. The Museum of Appalachia was fascinating. What I expected to be a large
building with a bunch of exhibits turned out to be a village and farm full of artifacts.

Even the buildings were artifacts. Some had been transplanted and restored, others were replicas. It was really cool. Though it was really funny.
I believe I was the only person on the grounds that didn’t work there. When I arrived, the woman who gave me my ticket told me that I would have to wait while they opened the buildings. Might have had something to do with the fact that it was freezing cold and the inauguration had already started by the time I left. As you can see from the pictures I had fun.

From there I drove to Nashville. While driving, I had the opportunity to listen to President Obama take the Oath of Office and then give his inauguration speech. It was quite a moment in history and I will always remember that I was driving the freeways of East Tennessee when this moment happened.

Once in Nashville I checked into the hotel (I promise, this one is better then the last one. ) and relaxed for a bit before heading out to a small cafe with live music. The Bluebird Cafe is apparently known for “hosting some of Nashville’s most talented songwriters” and I figured a low key night with acoustic music could be fun.
I really enjoyed it, I even bought 2 of the CD’s. The music was fun and the atmosphere was relaxing.
There were 4 people performing tonight:
Will Hodge
Matt King
Sarah Majors
Ashley Harris

One bit of irony......I traveled to Tennessee, all by myself and end up at the one event where a Mormon is preforming. LOL! Yup, over a year ago, my dad sent me a signed cd of the Mormon singer Ashley Harris. I had a good chuckle when I saw her name of the list of performances and realized that her “fans” sitting behind here were a bunch of Mormon women from Atlanta.
(P.S. Update on the connection to Ashley Harris.........Apparently, my dad served in the Bishopric (LDS leaders in a congregation) with her husband in Mesa. So not only did I end up at the one event where a Mormon was performing, but I ended up at an event where there was a family connection. It never fails. The Mormon world is just too small!)

Monday, January 19

Day ONE (1)

Today started my personal trek across the country. I am currently hunkered down in a No-Tell Motel (Boo it was soooooo not what I thought!) in Knoxville. Today was my driving day. The rest of my trip will be my playing days.

I have been taking pictures but I left my camera locked up in my car and it is toooooo cold to go out and get it. There fore the pictures will have to go up tomorrow.

As I said it was driving day.....I had a very nice brunch this morning with Kate and Steph then I hit the road. The drive was clear most of the way, and as always the country side is very pretty for the most part. Driving by yourself means that there is a lot of time for thinking, talking on the phone, and singing along to the radio at the top of your lungs. I did all of the above. Be grateful you weren't here to be subjected to the torture. :)
Unfortunately, my Sheila (the name of my GPS unit) decided that I should travel the whole way on backwoods country roads. Not so fun for me. I am not a huge fan of winding steep hills.

Well I am going to crash. I need to get some sleep so I can get to the Musuem of Appalachia early tomorrow morning before heading on to Nashville.

Sunday, January 18

Beyond tired.....

Yesterday after Sushi......where I ate most of a Dragon Roll.....
Really would you have eaten the tail? I couldn't get it past my brain, especially after the guys kept referring to it as the "Keith Richards tongue".

(**Author's Note** Apparently I mis-remembered. Thanks to David for the head's up. This was referred to as the Gene Simmon's Classic. My mistake.....either way....Not gonna go in my mouth ;) )

Anyway back on topic, After the dragon roll I hit a bookstore to find a book of places to see on my travels. After a few hours there it was off to Alexandria to hang out with Heather (Tina....I'm so sad that you couldn't make it, I hope you are feeling better already.)
Dinner and a movie,Paul Blart, Mall Cop (funny stuff), I headed home to do laundry and pack until about 4 in the morning. 45 minutes later I was up and showering for the New York trip. It is a good thing Tink was driving, because I was exhausted. I slept off and on for about an hour and a half so the minute we hit NY we were off to see all of the fun.

First stop was the Museum of the City of New York, which was Tink's Choice.It had some great exhibits, specifically, a photography exhibit by Eudora Welty which I found fascinating and a timeline narrorated by Stanley Tucci that was really informative.

Stop Number 2 was a walk through Central Park. Yes, my friends love me, because in 14 degree weather they will let me check Central Park off my list by walking through it in the cold. Brrrrr! But it is a beautiful park, even if it had a layer of snow.

From there we went to a greasy spoon dinner for lunch and then headed on to the New York City Public Library. Talk about taking your breath away. The architecture is amazing, and the Reading room is enormaous. There were two exhibits that caught our eye. One on Yaddo, a haven for artists trying to create. The other was a pictoral look back on the faces of the people of Afghanistan. Both were very interesting.

Unfortunately, during the visit to the library, my Blackberry stopped working. Long story short, I had to buy a cheapo, $20 phone that I will use as I cross the country. When I get to Utah, I can call them and have a place for them to send the new one. I stressed just a tad, but Tink, Kara and her hubby Craig kept their heads and were able to think outside the box for solutions. Not something I could do in my tired condition.

Dinner with Craig was at a place called Spanky's. Disturbing huh. But I am told the BBQ is good. Us gilrs split appetoizers and dessert as we were all still pretty full from lunch.

Our final stop for the even was the Theatre. Mary Poppins was the show for us this evening. This was my choice for the trip, as it is one I wanted to see. Unfortunately, in one of my less then brilliant ideas I suggested we see this play. And I have no complaints about the play itself. But the little kids that attened got on my very last nerve. There was a little girl that screaded behind us and others were kicking all of our chairs. It was very irritating. As for the show, I enjoyed it. Bert was great! My only caveat is that I enjoy the Disney movie more. Most likely because it is what I have grown up on.

Okay, I am so tired I can't keep my eye's open.


Friday, January 16


Yesterday was a hard day.

And not only because it was the last day in the office but because we had to tape up almost 115 boxes of files for the UPS guys to ship. Paper can be very VERY heavy. I'm a touch sore today and my hands have been ripped to shreds.

But that is not the reason for this post.

Yesterday was also my last day at the office. I am now officially unemployed. But I really have to much to do to linger on the fact that I am never again going to wake up and head into the office on Westpark Drive. Sad thought. Monday I start my trek across the country back to Utah.....I won't be back here for a long time. Even sadder thought. Darn school!

Anyway...yesterday.....last day in the office.......

4 years ago I came to The District without a plan. I found a place to live and fell into a job as a receptionist. Who knew that 4 years later I would have settled into a company that has become almost a family to me.

As I said goodbye to the ladies there it was weird to realize that I won't be part of the future lunches they plan or the American Idol pools that we have had for the past 3 years. I won't be going to Annapolis for crabfest's or long lunches where we all laugh and talk.

Kristin and I prolonged things as long as possible these last 2 days. We stayed late, talking and packing, on Wednesday and then went for lunch and a bit of book shopping therapy yesterday. She heads to Louisiana today and doesn't return until after I have left for my trip. As she dropped me off at the metro for the last time and we hugged good bye, I wanted to cry.....but I don't do that in public. :P Kristin has become more then my boss these last few years. Not only is she a great friend, but she is almost like a big sister sometimes. She has watched out for me over the years here and I am more grateful then I can express for the time I had to work with and learn from her.

The people here have had a profound impact on my life, teaching me about different working styles and atmospheres. These are wonderful people and I have learned something valuable from each one. I can't believe I am not gonna hear Joe laugh or talk with Anne and Moira about the things going on. There are quite a few others that I saw on a regular basis, and would stop and take the time to chat with here and there. What's gonna happen to Suzanne's son in Germany playing ball? Or David's son that is back in School. Or Jonathan's 2 adorable baby girls (though I guess they aren't babies any more are they Jonathan?) What about Nancy, who helped me through Kristin's maternity leave? or Beth and her family in Connecticut.

Today I go to lunch with the guys I made friends with in the beginning, when I was just the lowly receptionist. The guys in R and D made coming into work then fun. I haven't had much time to spend with them in the last couple of years as I was integrated into the HR position (plus I no longer had the good candy they wanted; that stayed at the front desk.)
There were the Mormon jokes from Karl, the cracks from John and Subodh, Paul and Ben were good for a chat about anything that came up, (and a really cool new years eve one year. ;) ), Hugh was the silent one, with some really good one-liners, Eddie always wanted Friday....and a smoke. Lol! Rob with his comfortable leather chair, Karen and all of the rest.....

I could go on and name each employee (Happens when you work in HR at a small company) but I won't. I guess what I am taking away from this experience is that even thousands of miles away from my family.....I have family. This job wasn't supposed to be a permanent part of my life, it was a stopping point on the road back to school. But it has left a mark, a mark I am glad to carry with me. And thanks to modern technology, I can and will keep in touch with the great friends I have made here.

....AND......they can all read this and embarrass me about it at lunch. Doesn't that sound like fun. Lol!

Okay enough of the time I am online, I will give you a run down of the playing I have done and that I plan to do over the next couple of weeks.

Plus I want to write about the play Funeral Potatoes that is back in theatres.....I wish I could go but it doesn't run until after I leave. I am so you all have to go for me!

Wednesday, January 14


Could some one please tell me why I have woken up every day for the past 3 days singing the Bingo song?

I am rather disturbed about it. :)

Thursday, January 8

I couldn't help myself......(Part Deux)

So I came across this video on St. Richards Blog and I had to share.

He apparently posted it forever ago and I just haven't had time to watch it until today. Boy am I glad I did!

Enjoy the chuckle!

Wednesday, January 7

I couldn't help myself......

I know...I know....

Who needs a quiz to get this answer. In case you were wondering I was just a touch more Literate Good Citizen then Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm. Which is really quite a relief. ;)

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Dedicated Reader

You are always trying to find the time to get back to your book. You are convinced that the world would be a much better place if only everyone read more.

Literate Good Citizen

Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

Book Snob

Fad Reader


What Kind of Reader Are You?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Monday, January 5

What to do..........

I have exactly 2 weeks left here in the district.


2 WEEKS!!!

In an effort not to miss the important things, I am compiling a list of things that I haven't done but MUST do before leaving the area.

What do you suggest? What is on your "MUST SEE" list? What will I regret not seeing?

Of the things I haven't done, Mt. Vernon, Arlington Cemetery, and another trip to NYC are already on the list.

Thursday, January 1

Week in Review

I have at least 3 blogs started on my blackberry that will never see the actual blog. I haven't been able to gather my thoughts. It has been quite a week.

- The trip to Idaho was a bit scary as we were driving some pretty icy roads. It was good to see my family. My little sisters are really starting to grow up. It is crazy how old they are getting.

- I traveled home on Monday and finished the packing.

-Tuesday I packed the storage unit and moved into the temporary housing. I can't tell you how much I love living in Georgetown. Even if it is only for the nex couple of weeks.

- Wednesday was New Year's Eve.......I feel a bit lazy as I didn't do anything really special. But I just got the new Feehan book and spent the evening reading it. (For me I had a GREAT night!!)

-Today I spent the day playing at Pache's house. There was a really late brunch, Wii playing, Phase 10 Thai food......The night still continues. Wahoo!

Now I just have to figure out what to do with tomorrow. My awesome work gave me the day off.....Wahoo for a 4 day weekend. :)

Happy New Year!

Maybe tomorrow I will be able to gather my thoughts and write some of them down.