Thursday, July 17, 2014

Break from the Blog

Back from the blog break.  If I at least kept a journal, I would feel better about not posting on here more regularly. The other night I was at dinner with some close friends and we were talking about blogging and I learned that neither one of them even knew that I had a blog!

So, where was I?  In February, I spent lots of time studying for my boards and spent time just enjoying doing nothing.  I was anxiously awaiting to get authorization to take my test.  Each week...waiting and waiting.  Finally, at the beginning of March I received my letter and was able to schedule a test date!  It was time to buckle down and study continuously for the next 3 weeks.

I took the NCLEX in Redlands and, for sure, it was the most anguishing thing I have ever done.  I went into the test feeling so prepared and when the test began, it was one question after another that I felt unsure about.  I normally keep it together, and instead, I almost burst into tears midway through the test.  2-1/2 hours and about 120 questions later, my computer screen shut off and the test was over.  I had the biggest pit in my stomach.  There was no chance in hell that I passed the test.  I left and cried in the car the whole way home.

Each day for the next week, I continually checked the Board of Registered Nursing website to see if my name was on there.  Each day, nothing.  Finally, a week later, I was setting up for a Stella & Dot party, when my friend, and fellow classmate called me.  I answered the phone and she said, "Lori....YOU'RE A NURSE!!!!!!"  She had been checking the website, as well, and saw my name.  It was the most surreal moment ever.  I was officially a registered nurse.  Wow!!

So, now that I was official and could actually put my license number on an application, I began to search for jobs.  It's been very funny when talking to people about my job search.  All everyone has heard about for years is this "nursing shortage."  Oh, you'll have no problem finding a job with this nursing shortage, I hear often.  But, the reality is, for the new graduate, nursing jobs are not so easy to come by.  Hospitals want experienced nurses, unless they have a new grad program.  So, I began to apply for some jobs here and there.  Initially, I decided I was going to be a little selective about where I applied.  Many new nurses, in order to gain experience, will go work at a skilled nursing facility--a place which I wasn't interested in pursuing.

So, I put in several applications at Eisenhower and I applied for the new grad program at Desert, requesting either Labor & Delivery or the NICU.  The program at Desert is very competitive to get into, as they get over 400 applications for about 20-30 spots in the whole hospital.  I was not holding my breath.  I applied for other jobs, as well.  There are several areas of nursing that interest me, such as the OR.

As I continued to look for jobs, in May, I learned of an internship opportunity that became available.  I could choose what units to intern in and the hospital that I wanted.  During the time I contemplated doing this, Craig's job at PGA West was eliminated.  We were suddenly BOTH unemployed!  I could not believe this.  Just when we were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, this happens.  So after a lot of thought, and some tears, we decided that I would pursue this internship, as it would give me more experience and get my foot in the door at Desert, and meanwhile, I would continue looking for (paying) work, as well.

So, here it is July.  I did get called by Desert for interviews for both units.  I felt really good about both interviews.  In the same week, I also was called for an interview at Eisenhower and also at a cosmetic surgeon's office.  In all, I had 5 interviews in 4 days!  Crazy.  I finished my internship in the NICU last week and I will start Labor & Delivery this weekend.  The NICU was a great experience and I learned so much and the staff was amazing--all making their jobs look so easy and also making me feel right at home.  I am so looking forward to L&D.  L&D was what I originally went to nursing school for.  I am sure, though, that I would be so happy in either unit.  I am hoping by the end of next week, I know if a job offer is on the table from one of these units!!  Praying!!!!

And as far as the rest of our summer?  Chandler was gone to South Carolina for 10 days and had a blast with the Britton family.  Craig has been in Canada for the last 11 days and comes home tomorrow.  It's been since June 29th that our whole family has been together under one roof. Rylee leaves for cheer camp next week.  I went to the beach for a day..  and with the hopes of escaping our heat again soon... and maybe for longer than a day.

Until next time.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I have been away from this little writing corner for a while now and I am not quite sure why.  I mean, it's not like I have been busy.  Really.  I have not been busy.  I have been anxious to write about the most amazing experience of graduating from nursing school, and for whatever reason I have continued to put it off.  But, here I am. 

Off and on over the last month, I've considered no longer "blogging."  I'm not really a "writer."  And I have just 6 followers (although I have a ton of page views, so I know you are reading..thank you for that!) But, I figure even if I no longer "blog" at least I should write about the wrap up of nursing school.  It's how this blog came to journey through nursing school. 

So...our 4th semester came to a close with our final on December 12th.  It was a bittersweet end--such relief and also some sadness with knowing that our life and routine over the last two years as we knew it was about to end.  After much anxiety and some drama regarding our final grades on the following day, I found out that I would be graduating!

My mom and both of my sisters came to town.  Actually, my sister, Andrea, surprised us all and flew in and made the graduation even more special.  It's been a very long time since we were all together. 

I was beyond honored when I was selected by my class to speak at our ceremony.  About two weeks before our graduation I put together a speech with very little effort.  Over the course of the two weeks, I added and edited here and there.  But, the day before our ceremony, on Sunday, I finally decided I needed to rehearse.  Oops...after 13 minutes I was only halfway through.  I panicked.  I went back to the computer and did more editing.  Still too long.  I went back for more and still...too long!! I was having major anxiety.   Like, seriously, my heart was pounding out of my chest, as if I was about to walk on that stage right then and give this speech.  Meanwhile, my sister walks into my house surprising me, and although I tried to contain my panic, I was a mess.  Finally, I is what it is.  I cut out what I could and I hoped I wouldn't put anyone to sleep.  It was time to enjoy my time with my family.  And that we did.  My aunt and uncle hosted an amazing dinner for us that night and we enjoyed some wonderful quality time. 

So, Monday came.  I drove Rylee to school that morning (yes, I made her go to school in the morning) and practiced my speech for her in the car.  She was like.."uh, you aren't really going to say that are you?"  "Yes, I am," I said.  She is my harshest critic. Our pinning ceremony was lovely and my speech went off without a hitch and I don't think anyone went to sleep! 

I felt so honored and grateful that my family and some of my nearest and dearest friends who made the effort to be there that day.  I mean, Monday at 2:00...taking off work or making arrangements for kids or whatever.  It meant the world to me for them to be there for something that was such a huge accomplishment for me.  I received some of the most sincere, heartfelt feedback in cards and texts after our ceremony and my heart never felt so full. 

After the ceremony, friends and family gathered for a fun celebration at the Yard House...a festive time with good music, cocktails and appetizers.  I tried my best to take in every moment, as surreal as it was. 

Unfortunately, Andrea had to go home the following day, but I got my mom and sister Sheri for awhile longer.  Actually, Sheri stayed for a whole 10 days.  We got in some good sister time.  Don't remember the last time that happened. 

So...what's happened since then?  A lot of celebrating.  About 3 solid weeks of celebrating.  Cleaning the house and organizing.  Catching up on life, coffee with friends, and trying to get back into shape.  Cooking.  And studying...because, yes, I have graduated, but now I, along with my entire class, await hearing from the Board of Registered Nursing, as to when we can take the NCLEX.  I am beside myself that they are so behind in processing applications.  So....we wait.  And continue to study. 

Tune in for more.  Maybe I'm not done blogging. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Hello, Again.

Oh my.  Long time, no blog.  Since July?  Where has the time gone?

So much has been happening and I've been sort of busy.  In August I started my final semester of nursing school.  In less than 3 short weeks, I will be graduating. (Well, at least I hope to be graduating....). Holy heck.  This has been the fastest 12 weeks of my life.  I have loved the content of this semester (cardiac, respiratory, critical care)...but boy...the exams have kicked my booty.  Today was our last day of clinicals.  My last day as a student nurse.  And it came with so much mixed emotions.  So ready to be DONE.  But so NOT ready to be done.  It's been quite the ride and I am so proud of what I have accomplished.  I continue to learn so much more about myself and about other people, as well.  I have loved this latest chapter of my life.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  It's really my favorite holiday.  I have the best memories of Thanksgivings at home in Texas with lots of family around.  Our Thanksgivings here are much smaller in size.  I will miss being home again this year.  My girls ask every year if we will be able to go back--they love it, too.  So, today, I came home from the hospital and began cooking.  I can't wait for tomorrow to hang out, cook, watch football, and eat! 

For the last couple of years, each November, I have "adopted" a daily post for what I am grateful.  I have been remiss this year.  I've had some hiccups in the road, that sometimes keep me from seeing the bigger picture.  But, they are just little bumps, and we get up and move on.  Here are just a few things (among many) for which I am grateful:

That my family is healthy and happy. 

That we somehow managed for me to continue my education without working and not landing in the poorhouse. 

For new friendships I have made along this journey of nursing school. 

For a loving, supportive and hardworking husband.

That both my girls enjoy being home on a Saturday night or Sunday morning and loving watching football games on TV with us. 

That even though I can't be home for Thanksgiving, I have some amazing, traditional recipes that I love to make, so that I can pass on my family traditions. I learned from the best.  For sure. 
That my mom and sister (maybe sisters) will be visiting in just a couple of weeks to see me graduate!

So, tomorrow will be filled with football, eating, family and friends and then you can find me locked up somewhere studying for another exam all weekend long. 

Tonight, the menorah was lit and the tree went up (don't judge).   I am a happy camper. 

Happy, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

And We're Back

I last left off on our east coast adventures while we were in New York, but if you followed my facebook posts, you already know the rest. 

It was a great trip.  I must say, I did a great job coordinating everything.  Everything went off without a hitch, with just a couple of minor how I accidentally booked a smoking room in Charleston, and they had no other rooms to offer us.  It was really, really yucky.  Really. 

And how I didn't book things when I first found great fares/rates.  I am not sure what I was waiting for.  For instance, for months, FOR MONTHS, I found Amtrak fares that were pretty reasonable going from New York to Washington.  Why didn't I book this?  I mean, we were definitely going.  Nope, in typical Lori fashion (I'm a little non-committal sometimes), I put it off, and lo and behold the fare had more than doubled.  :(  (Shh...don't tell Craig).

Anyway, I think we planned pretty well and we covered a lot of ground.  We didn't spend more than 3 days in any one place...just enough time to not feel like we were ready to leave.  If we could change anything, it would have been another day in Charleston and another day in Hilton Head.  And we would probably nix Disney.  But, for sure on the 18th day, we were ready to come home. 

18 days, 24/7 we were together.  Every meal, same hotel room or condo.  Shockingly, there was very minimal bickering between anybody.  And there was only one or two near-divorce incidents.  Not bad, right?  I was also a little worried that all the constant/frequent schlepping of luggage would be a big pain in the ass, but it wasn't at all!  We are easy...

We have all talked and none of us have a "favorite" of the trip.  Too hard to have one favorite.  We all found something we loved at every stop. 

So, we returned very late Friday night.  We encountered a few challenges after we returned, but hoping by tomorrow we are feeling more settled and back in order around here.  But, boy is it good to be home.  I really missed my bed.  A lot. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New York State of Mind

This may be short. I am blogging on my iPhone and I've had a couple of glasses of wine....

We are in New York. We've had this trip planned now for about 9 months. After toying with the idea of wanting to go to Florida to see my dad, who I haven't seen in about 4 years at least and my new step-mom (still sounds weird to say that), and wanting to take a trip to South Carolina to see friends who
moved there...we decided that since 2013 was to be such a big year for us...we would add a few more fun things while we were on the east coast.

So here we are. In New York. My second time here and I am IN. LOVE (again...i fell in love the first time, too). I love the vibe. I love the attitude. I love the pace. I love the excitement.  I love the melting pot. Currently, i am infatuated with our hotel. Our room...spacious, modern, well-appointed, and beds exceptional. Last night we met my sister out (she lives here) for a drink and dinner. Started at a little French place called Felix and i became infatuated with our French bartender. Yes, i am married, but i am still allowed to say that.

People aren't rude here, as some think. Interestingly, everyone has been more than accommodating and friendly. I love these people.

Today's activities included:
Harbor tour of Liberty Island, etc.
City bus tour (partially in the rain...good adventure).
9/11 Memorial
Lots of people watching.
Sunset and a bottle of wine.
Great day.

I love you New York. <3

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Smell Summer

I admit, I took this tagline from another blog I read earlier today.  But, it's true.  I smell summer.

I got my first taste of summer this weekend and I was a happy camper.

Rylee was invited to a birthday party this weekend that included an overnight at La Quinta Resort.  Lucky me, was able to tag along for part of it.  And so it was pool time with friends, enjoying our fabulous holiday weekend weather... (hot, but not-too-hot.)  Tasty beverages.  Snacks.  Good music.  People watching.  At my most favorite place.  Perfect.

Hello Summer.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

This Ride Called Life

I'm a little bit of a mess.  The last few months, and more recently have been a whirlwind.  A merry-go-round, rollercoaster. 

Since January, we have experienced a mix of joy and sorrow.  There was the excitement of starting a new semester of nursing school, that came with countless papers, quizzes and exams.  Three 5-week rotations.  It was rough, but we made it!!  We experienced a variety of excitement and joy and pride of witnessing our children's accomplishments--performances, grades, college acceptances....Our kids make us so proud! 

Thrown into this mix, there was much sorrow, as well.  We learned the news of a special person having stage 4 cancer.  Two local high school seniors who tragically lost their lives within weeks of each other.  We have watched the devastation and heartbreak caused by the tornado in Oklahoma, that hit much too close to our dear friends and family. 

Just weeks ago, we suddenly lost Craig's dad.  Sad for the loss of Mel, but more heartbreaking for me, is that it was Craig who found his dad in his home.  This will forever be ingrained in his memory. 

A week after his dad's passing, Craig learned of a new position that he will be taking.  Yes, it is both exciting and scary at the same time. 

As I write this, I learned the news that this special man I wrote about previously, passed away this morning.  His battle is over.   If you could see the love between he and his family...we should all be so lucky.  So blessed.  It's like none I have ever seen.  I am grateful that I was able to write about him and that he knew how I felt about him and how he touched my life.  I am grateful that I attended his celebration of his life while he was alive and that he could see the outpouring of love and recognition for him from so many people.  It was beautiful.  A special man and he was surrounded by so much love...because he gave so much, as well.  If everyone takes a little bit of how Jackie viewed life, we would all be much happier people. 

Tonight, Chandler graduates from high school.  And just like the last few weeks, I know I will be overcome with emotion.  So proud of this girl.  She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. She's special, this girl. 

Tomorrow, I have the privilege of being able to volunteer for the pinning ceremony for the nursing graduates.  This pinning ceremony always gets doubt, the tears will be flowing again.

And over the course of the next two weeks, Rylee begins her end-of-year festivities, as she prepares to promote from 8th grade.  OMG, I am going to have a freshman.  My emotional rollercoaster continues!!