Friday, June 27, 2008

Final Destination: Los Angeles, California

When I arrived in Tallahassee to pick up Kara, my navigator for my big trip across the country, I arrived with so much excitement I could hardly contain myself. This was my big move. I was really doing this. I had loaded my life into my car and was leaving Florida and the majority of my old life (minus a nursing degree, a roommate, about a thousand pictures and a few boxes of clothes) behind. I'm taking a 2 month break to hang out with Grams in the woods for a bit before completing the last part of the drive to my final destination: Los Angeles, California. I am moving across the country to a place I have never been, trusting that Carly knows me so well and trusting her opinion that I will absolutely love it! My 12-hour day (the first of five long, but fantastic, days of driving) warranted me a lot of time to think and drive half scared, half beaming with excitement. How liberating to be brave enough to embrace such a huge change with not a single apprehension. No ties. Nothing to hold me back. ... except 3 needles and a scare with skin cancer. Before getting on the road, I went in for a routine skin check by the dermatologist Kara is working for and got a real taste of what her internship entails when next thing I know, I'm lying on a cold table in a gown getting injected with lidacaine before three suspicious spots were removed for biopsying... still recovering from the traumatizing experience, I left the office and returned to my thinking chair (the driver's seat of my car) wondering what the hell just happened? I've been seat-belted in for 2 days straight ultra-analyzing every aspect of my life.. how each part was going to dramatically change with me relocating to a new place. Even the time was going to change 3 hours back in my new city. Little did I know the biggest change would be the 3 new scars that grace my skin.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen, Benny!

Although it was only a mere 13 days with Benny, it felt like I just spent (more like survived) an eternity with him. We developed a true love-hate relationship for each other over the past two weeks. I took him to summer school three mornings a week and the psychologist two afternoons each week. We spent endless hours in the sun kayaking, swimming and building sand castles! We played his Wii! We build forts! We played games! He flew his helicopter on the roof. He broke the glass table. He talked through every movie we went to. He locked me out of the house! I'm not sure if he listened to me once... Each evening I would leave his house with a splitting headache and go home to sleep for 12 hours before waking up and doing it all over again. I will say it was fun getting a little insight into the German culture- the chocolate was fabulous, Mrs. Grupe's cooking was unbelievable and her daughter (who is my age) was very sweet. The only word I learned is "nein" which means "no" but I used it so much in the short time I spent with him, it has become a part of my vocabulary. I think the thing that helped me through it the most was delving in the German custom that the woman drinks wine all throughout the day. "Cooks with a little bit of ice" might have been the reason I made it through each eight hour day with the devil. It helped take the edge off when Benny was driving his Vespa through their dining room, dragging the dog with one hand and waving a Pirate flag with the other. My time with Benny may have aged me about 15 years and I think I may have a permanent migraine from his amplified voice but I feel like I really learned a lot. I learned medication is not always a bad thing for kids with ADHD; some kids could really benefit from being turned into an inanimate object, like a lamp for instance, with the aide of some form of central nervous system stimulant. Without such methylphenidates, some children just will not be able to function in society, which in turn makes their care takers (like a babysitter) go insane and non-functioning too. I felt as though I was going to need a few therapy sessions myself just to regain my sanity after a day with him. I learned why some parents chose to send their children to boarding school. I learned why some fathers chose to work so much , if is gives them a reason to not have to be at home. One thing that I learned that you can't chose is you can't give kids like Benny back. They couldn't from a store. There's no exchange policy or any warranty ensuring that "if this child does not turn out like you expected, you can return him for a better behaved, less satanic one." You just have to take each battle with a grain of salt (and a shot of tequila and a wedge of lime). My heart goes out to Benny's next babysitter. I hope she discovers the antidote of a continuous wine infusion a lot sooner than I did.    


The hills are full of marble before the world blooms with statues.

Friday, June 13, 2008

the game of life

On a recent trip to visit the marrieds, I laughed inside when the only game they had to play was LIFE. I used to play LIFE all the time growing up but since the game begins with the huge decision of taking out student loans and going to college or starting a career that doesn't require an education (like an artist), nothing on the board seemed applicable to me. There was no spot to play dolls or do gymnastics or be in a school play. You didn't earn a LIFE tile for babysitting or losing a tooth or making straight A's. You couldn't skip a turn for having a messy room or getting kicked out of band (twice) or fighting with your sister. This so-called LIFE didn't make much sense to me ... until now. I've come to the first fork in the road (or should I say on the board) and it's kinda surreal... choosing a career and a salary card. I'm pretty excited about my selection! After I travel a bit and earn my masters, the next stop is getting married. I've lost a couple of turns on this one and really hope the little blue man I selected from the ziploc bag as "my soulmate", who always rode in the passenger seat (the feminist in the eight-year-old-me would never take part in convention and let the man drive), comes to life one of these days because the milestone after marriage is buying a house and then having kids (which a husband is not entirely mandatory for, but in my ideal world, I would like him to take part). I always hoped I would pick the Victorian or the Tudor Mansion from the deck but I'll settle for the cozy, log cabin if it means waking up on the shores of Long Beach every morning. As far as kids go, I still want the two carloads I would drive around the entire board with (even if I didn't land on the space that read "It's a boy" or "It's a girl!", this is the one area that I never could pretend... if it wasn't in the spinner's fate that I would have children this round of LIFE, I would always add them to my car anyways, even if it meant I didn't earn a LIFE tile for their birth. Nothing's changed.) This summer Mount Rushmore won't just be a plastic icon in the center of the board; I will really drive across the country (twice) and see the real monument. I'm sure I'll attend a few charity events, write an American Novel, maybe even win a Nobel Prize in my lifetime but I have a lot of living before I reach the last stop on the board: Retirement. Much like the beginning of the game was once unfathomable, the end of the game is too far out of reach to imagine. I will just have to live vicariously through Grams' retirement for the next few months! For now, I am going to focus on my next few turns: excelling so I can swap career cards (to a neonatal nurse practitioner), earn a LIFE tile for backpacking through Europe and who knows? ... Maybe that plastic, blue man is closer than I think!?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

take us to the west coast!

Carly and I have been busy preparing for our greatest endeavor yet... moving to Los Angeles, California! Since graduation, we've managed to unclutter our lives, find a job, secure a couch to crash on, and have spent the last five weeks spending time with our loved ones before we relocate to the other side of the country!! As we enter this next chapter of our little lives, the greatest priority in our new post-college world is that of a career, a real one.. not that of "student". To maximize our success in this strange adaptation period, we have been spending our free time (being unemployed warrants a lot of this) perfecting our occupational skills! Carly has been brushing up on her acting skills and is currently entirely consumed in a fab read: Breaking Into Acting For Dummies! I have been studying religiously for the NCLEX and have selected Saunder's NCLEX-RN Review as my book of choice!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Happy 50th Birthday, Mama Hallam!

Today is Mama Hallam's 50th birthday! We spent Sunday celebrating how fabulous she is at 50 when Carly and her little sister, Taylor, hosted a fantastic surprise party for her! The guests were happy, the birthday girl was super surprised, the catering was delicious, Hall & Oats Greatest Hits was a great hit, the cake was yummy, and all Tammy's birthday wishes came true (*including the one in which she wished her oldest son (the first born is always the favorite) would fly in from Atlanta!) Here are the highlights:

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Yard Sale

After packing up our entire house in Gainesville two weeks ago and deciding none of it was age appropriate for the real world, (much to Carly's disapproval) we decided to have a yard sale to get rid of our most prized possessions from college like hot pink end tables, polka dotted plates, and sequinced prom dresses. It was bittersweet selling the fabulous items that the four of us used that made up so many memories while at UF. With the mindset that my entire life has to fit in my car to drive across the country this summer, I got rid of everything that could be replaced once I arrive in L.A.! =)

Shocking Resemblance


Dennis the Menace

Coincidence?? I think not!

Explore. Dream. Discover.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008


Meet Benny, my new worst enemy. Ben, or as the pool attendants at his private beach club refer to him "Ben Laden", is the 7-year-old little boy I have been babysitting the past week. His family moved here from Germany 5 years ago and Benny has spent everyday disrupting the snobby people in his community ever since. Our playdates consist of kayaking, playing with lighters, riding his Vespa and breaking glass coffee tables.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Top Chef

Jess is fabulously adapting to her new role as a wife! While staying with her last week, she prepared fantastic meals every night for us. After dinner, we would take a walk through her apartment complex. It's a huge step up from our staple in college of pasta with parmesan cheese and butter that we would eat, without fail, 5 nights a week. I'm hoping you naturally acquire these gourmet skills by wearing a poofy, white dress and saying 'I Do"!