Tuesday, May 17, 2011

spring break, part II

our trip was the maiden voyage for the van-turned-mini-rv. we had a few things "undone" but i wanted to test it out before we sunk much more time {& $} into the thing so we only did the work we needed. 

i was plesantly surprised! it was really comfortable for sleeping & i didn't have the oh-my-goodness-get-this-stinky-dog-out-of-my-face-cramped-feeling i often have when we camp out of the outback. we have since finished up a few loose ends so we need to get the photos up of that transformation. overall, we are stoked about this thing!

we feel like the van needs a name, but we just can't come up with one we agree on. we are taking suggestions...

let my bed head speak for the comfort of this van! :) 

 justin was kind enough to ride behind me because
i was really freaked out about the reports of a cougar in the
area & since i am so slow i was the most likely cougar-bait candidate.

 of course the guys found some sweet jumps.
brandon above, justin below.

 we followed the guide book and trail markings, but somehow we
still managed to come out on air force land. total oops!
this was the first warning we saw so i am not sure we came
upon it backwards. we neither saw nor heard anything of interest.

 pretty southwest sunset.

 the rv in action!

harvey is also fond of the van because he can stand
between the two front seats & rest his head on the dash.
he was in a cast for the whole trip so this was
about as exciting as his day got.

brandon wanted a picture of them & their cars looking "hardcore."
i just don't know how hardcore a van can possibly look.
we had an awesome time with justin & it was hard to part ways. from albuquerque he headed back to texas & we went north to the four corners/mesa verde area. mesa verde is an amazing national park! it was a trek off the beaten path, but totally worth it!

the cliff dwellings were mind-blowing.

we couldn't believe how well they remained intact. 

it was fascinating.
after mesa verde we booked it up to moab where we met my friend megan & brandon rode slick rock. i'll get those photos up soon. for now, off to work at one of my new jobs...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

rewind: spring break, part I

we had such an amazing spring break trip this year, but that was nearly two months ago & i have yet to document it. life has been busy, but it is slowing down for me as it picks up the pace for brandon. of course. 

on our trip we drove down to palo duro, texas, which is outside amarillo. now, i am not fond of much of texas; austin & port aransas are the the only parts i have fond feelings for, but west texas is especially awful to me. flat & ugly. but that makes the beauty of palo duro all the more incredible. the ground falls away without warning into this beautiful canyon. justin recommended we meet there & we loved it. it was full of awesome mountain bike trails--even my favorite trail EVER. 

from there we headed to new mexico. we stayed the night at a state park, but didn't do much exploring. we did feast on justin's amazing jalapeno dip & enjoyed (cold) showers. after that we drove on to albuquerque. a friend from the hospital recommended a couple things to do in the area since they recently moved from there to laramie. one of those things was ride the tram to the top of sandia peak. it was incredible! we had wonderful views of the valley and the mountain-top was beautiful. plus we had a great lunch at the summit. by far one of the best "touristy" things i have done in my life. i took a ton of photos on the gondola ride, in part to ignore my minor discomfort with heights.
rock totem
view of albuquerque & beyond
so beautiful
brandon was about two steps ahead of the tram operator in
explaining the geologic features.
i can't believe i got brandon & justin to act out the
titanic scene for me! glad i captured it!
stone house at the tippy-top of the peak, built by the CC
headed down.
passing the other tram on its way up.
barely a breeze. (yeah right.)
view of the lights of albuquerque from our
camp spot outside of town.
more pictures to come....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


the defense has been over for a couple of weeks, but i still don't feel "done" with grad school. it took about two hours for the knot in my stomach to loosen after my defense meeting. i passed! {whew!} i had a few corrections that took longer than i would have liked but they made my findings more significant. i will work on getting my thesis converted to a journal article & submit that this summer with hopes of getting published.

i finished my practicum at the hospital this last week by attending the national kidney foundation clinical meeting/conference in las vegas. despite my disdain for the sin city that should not exist in the middle of the desert, i traveled there for the second time in seven months. it was a great conference & confirmed my interest in nephrology social work, both with patients on dialysis & awaiting transplant. i am looking into a few jobs in the field & hope to have good news on that front soon.

i do have a job now though. i got hired on PRN {translation: "per request as needed" or on-call} at the hospital. i am really excited about this opportunity! i got the job without even interviewing, although brandon thinks i had a four month interview with my internship. i will cover for three people at the hospital & cancer center, filling in when they are sick or take vacation time. plus i will cover one weekend of call per month. the pay is lovely but there won't be enough work so i am on the hunt for something else. i think of this job as a foot in the door as it will place me first in line to be hired for the next social work opening. 

brandon is working furiously on his thesis & should be done this summer, just in time to jump into his PhD program. we are both excited about his new advisor who is a great mentor & friend to brandon. plus his research area will be the snake river in jackson, so it won't be hard to do research in the shadow of the tetons! 

he was awarded "graduate student of the year" for the geology department last week. {luckily he doesn't read the blog often to know i am bragging on him--he would be so embarrassed!} brandon shared the award with a good friend of ours that is the most diligent worker we have ever known, so it was a compliment to be considered equal with him. 

as i have said in the past few posts, i will get pictures up soon. just when i think i am done with school stuff another thing comes along. like exit loan counseling, which they told us about today and must be complete by friday or we don't graduate. thanks for the advanced notice.