GRADUATION!! (Grad School)

Thursday, June 14

The End of the first phase

Picking up where I left off yesterday.....

After the Martin Luther King Jr, National Historic Site, I headed out to meet with Lara and the kiddos for lunch. Lara and I met when I lived in Virginia before she and her husband Nick were married. I haven't had a chance to catch up with them in real life since their wedding. Since they now have two children, the oldest of which is three, it was good to be able to sit down to lunch and just chat. Lunch ended just in time for me to head off to World of Coca-Cola Museum in Downtown Atlanta. I know it wasn't a serious historical exhibit but it was a fun chance for me. I did go to see the vault, where they keep the secret recipe, but really I think that exhibit is over-rated. The chance to see the changes that have been made to the logo, the bottle, and even the signage fascinated me. I also got the chance to see a bottling plant in slow motion. It was pretty cool. The coolest part, was the tasting room. There were 64 different flavors on tap for visitors to try. Various brands of the Coke family from around the globe, including things like Nestle and Fanta. Beverly from Italy was just nasty... but the drinks from South Africa, Brazil, and France were pretty good.

After almost an hour and a half at the Coke Museum, I jumped in the car and headed to a local Barnes and Noble for the Laurell K Hamilton author event. Now, Laurell K is not someone I talk about regularly. Her books are very dark, and there are very few friends I recommend her to. I think she is an awesome writer and her heroines are the kind that kick butt and take names. Usually women who have learned to take care of themselves. Yet, there is a lot of violence and quite a bit of sex in the later books in the series. This is the first time I have attended one of her events and it was interesting. Her husband Jonathan was with her and even answered a few questions. They were very open about many topics that most society seems to shy away from. Granted, I was surprised at some of the questions that people asked. But I guess after more than 20 years as an author who writes the scenes she does, shy wouldn't be in her repertoire. Yet, you could tell she wasn't completely comfortable being the center of attention. The first thing she did, after introducing herself and Jonathan, was ask the staff to remove the podium so she could pace. I have some pics on my phone, but haven't had a chance to download them. Yet, the session was an open Q&A, and she answered every question that was asked. She then took pictures with everyone that stood in line. It was pretty cool.

After the signing it was off to the home of another friend of Boo's for a good nights rest (or to read until 2 am and then snag a few hours sleep) before heading on to the next leg of the trip. I had planned to take longer on my drive from Atlanta to Richmond Kentucky, but there wasn't anything that really interested me. So the only places I stopped were at the Welcome Centers. I took a few minutes to stretch my legs and take a picture and each center in Tennessee and Kentucky. There is an awesome outdoor Appalachian Museum just outside of Knoxville. I went to it on my original journey from DC to Utah 3 years ago, so I didn't feel the need to go again. (I put the link in there because anyone who is in the area really should stop in and see it.)

So a quick 6 hours and I was at the cat farm,..... without cell reception. I am feeling a little adrift. How can I live without my phone? So, it has been quiet here, I took a long nap this afternoon and I plan to hit the hay here in just a bit. I am not sure how long I am staying. I have to check in with my recruiter. It will depend on when I need to be to work. But I am here till at least Sunday. :)

Wednesday, June 13

Road Trippin'

Blogging time is not a priority on this trip so I will have to catch as catch can. Today I have a few minutes while I wait to meet up with friends for lunch. It has been a pretty cool trip. Yesterday was quite a whirlwind. I got to tour the LSU campus, and by that I mean get lost over and over again. Lol! The old buildings are so cool. It is everything I imagined. The air was hot and muggy and the world was green. And there were massive trees everywhere. I mean, EVERYWHERE!

I did take a look at the graduate housing, and if the linoleum floors hadn't turned me off, then the roaches probably would have. But in reality, the part that made me most nervous was the fact that the front wall, aka the front door, was a set of sliding glass doors. Kinda like a closet. I know they said it was safe, but I would never have felt it was. So, I will have to find somewhere else.

After the housing tour, I set off for the next stop on the trip: Montgomery, Alabama. There was a lot of driving.... but I stayed close to the coast. It is amazingly green. It almost feels as if the forest was closing in on you. Once in Montgomery I had dinner at Sinclairs, per Boo's suggestion.  I can't remember what I had, but I do know that there were parmesan crusted tomatoes, Shrimp. Scallops, and Crab meat. It was GOOD! I stayed with a Friend of Boo's, Abby, and was up and out early yesterday morning.

The drive to Atlanta was great. While driving I passed a sign for Tuskegee University and decided to take a short detour. I didn't take any pictures and the tours weren't open but I did drive around the town for a bit. The buildings are gorgeous and the history of the area is amazing. Just one more place that I can add to my "I have been there" list.

After Tuskegee, I finished the drive to Atlanta and to my first stop which was the Martin Luther King Jr, National Historic Site. There is a museum and then various buildings that impacted Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. I took the time to go see the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Dr. King first preached, as well as the freedom walk that been created to house the tomb and the eternal flame. It was a gorgeous day, and I felt humbled by the work of this great man. As I was leaving I noticed a set of engraved stones in front of the museum. Each stone had the name of a great man who impacted the Civil Rights Movement. I was excited to see the stones for both Ambassador Andrew Young and Julian Bond. As a student at Utah Valley University, I had the privilege to hear these great men speak. I was even able to attend a dinner with Julian Bond. It was an exciting connection for me. I was also reminded that the UVU History department ROCKS!

Monday, June 11

Another road trip....

So today started yet another road trip. 2 weeks ago, I began the trip that would move me south. Last week I decided to take a week and enjoy some travel.

Today I made the 8 hour drive to Baton Rouge. I entered Louisiana for the first time. What do I think?  I think it is sticky here.  And really green. And there is so much water. It was dark by the time I arrived, but there was water everywhere. I assume that is what people refer to as the bayou, though in New Hampshire we called it the swamp. Also, the bugs are really really loud.

Tomorrow I head over to LSU campus. I get to visit the registrar and the French Department and then I am off on a tour of the Graduate housing in the afternoon.

After that I will be heading off to Atlanta which will be followed by Kentucky, Little Rock, and Dallas, before I head back to San Antonio.

I am looking forward to the trip, with the full knowledge that I will get lost. A lot. I have already gotten lost twice today, so I figure it won't be anything new. :)

Friday, June 8

Another day, Another Author

So, I just realized that I have 1 book and 2 short stories and I am done with my Brockmann books. Therefore I thought I would send a question out to the universe.....

Who do I read next?

I only brought a small selection of my books with me..... so if you had to choose would it be:

  1. Robert Jordan
  2. J.R. Ward
  3. L.M. Montgomery
  4. Karen Marie Moning
  5. Diana Gabaldon
  6. Maria V Snyder
  7. or J.K. Rowling in French
I just can't decide. 

Monday, June 4

The Good Stuff....

Happy Birthday to me.... and the rest of the song... blah blah blah.

I turned 33 today. And in 8 minutes my birthday will officially be over. I spoke to friends old and new, received many wishes of happiness from my friends via Facebook, and got a couple of text messages and voicemails. So to everyone, thank you. It was a good birthday. My day was filled with a new Thai restaurant for lunch with Steph, laundry, and rearranging of the furniture. Then I topped it off by heading out into San Antonio on my own to go to a movie. In Utah, Monday night is movie night. Theaters are always packed as families head out to catch a flick. Apparently here it is not the same. I chose a movie that had received a decent rating and I went early because, in Utah, 7:40 is a prime movie time and I didn't want to not get a good seat. Interestingly enough, there were only two of us in the theater. I am not sure if it was the movie or this new city, but either way it meant that I got to meet a very interesting lady tonight and we enjoyed a movie together.

So what did we see? The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

 Now, I know if I had been in Utah or Virginia I would have had friends that would be willing to see it with me. But here it was just me and one other lady. I later learned that my movie companion had lost her husband of 40 years last July, which means this movie was especially poignant for her. Yet, as we talked of the movie afterwards we found many things that crossed the age barrier.  Whether we are 20, 33, or 65, we all worry about life in general. New places, new faces, or the loss of friends and family, though the trials may wear different clothes, they seem to all be the same. But, as the movie says time and again, "Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, then it is not the end." Life will continue to cycle, and when we are at the bottom of the wheel we must remember that it is not the end. It is just a stage in the cycle that we call life. This idea is then expanded in a short conversation between two of the women towards the end of the movie.
Mrs. Greenslade: Nothing here has worked out quite as I expected.
Mrs Donnely: Most things don't. But you know sometimes what happens instead is the good stuff.
So here is to a life that has been lived. One that, though alright, is not at an end. If I have learned nothing else in my 33 years, it is that we must battle through the hard stuff, deal with the emotional stuff, and enjoy the tangents that bring us the good stuff.

Sunday, June 3

Changes Abound...

So I guess I should catch everyone up. Though most of you already know the updates.  Since my last post:

  • I graduated 

  • I was given my new friend Rockwell. Since this picture we have added fenders, a back rack and a basket. It is primed for Biking in Baton Rouge.

  • I packed up my whole life. 
 (Granted that is just my clothes... there is now a storage unit in Utah with  a massive amount of boxes full of books, a hope chest, and a trunk full of dishes. )

  • I got to hang out with my siblings and their families... especially my baby sister's newest addition named Zowie.... she's cute.

  • Then I chopped off  all of my hair, so I could travel to a place that was a million degrees with a billion percent humidity. 

  • After that I found out that I was officially accepted to the graduate program at LSU for this fall (I don't have a picture for this one as I didn't think to take one as I was crying with Meg and Papa Thorne in the kitchen.)

Then I began the first stage of moving.

  • I saw Drew and his Grams in Cedar City. 

  • The Giffords in Arizona. 

  • And the Hinksons in Fort Stockton

  • Before arriving in San Antonio to stay with Steph and her husband for the summer. 

And now I have been here for a week, I was sick for a few days and have started going about the business of getting a job for the summer. I love the humidity, but probably because it is a stark contrast to the freezing air conditioning that is everywhere here.

Another moment of GREAT news was the chance to receive a Graduate Assistantship for schooling. I will be working for the Graduate program, in return they will waive my tuition and out of state fees while providing a monthly stipend.

It has been quite a roller coaster, but I have  enjoyed the ride. I can't wait to see what the rest of the summer brings me. :)