Monday, April 7, 2014

More to Come

Ok so I knew that I wanted to re-start my blog and just try to keep in touch with people a little better. I often love quickly catching up with some of the latest things going on in my friends and families lives so that I get a better picture of what is going on, and it's fun for me to share more than just pictures on Facebook or Instagram - this way I can also share my thoughts.
So for now I posted two reviews of the hiatus I took in 2012 and 2013, I'll be back soon to post about my fist winter in Alaska and how this year is shaping up so far! I love you all!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2013 Review in Pictures

2013 was another great year but I made a transition from my job and decided to head back up to Alaska with the intention of taking a "working vacation" and then diving into the next thing.  I wasn't expecting to find an opportunity to stay or even that I would really consider it and eventually accept that offer - but just like most things in my life, it doesn't quite end up like I planned but everything ends up just as it should!
March 2013 - 1/2 Marathon that I didn't really train for but just ran anyway, so nice to have these friends to motivate me and wait for me at the finish line!

March 2013 - Celebrated Shaun's 30th birthday in Sunriver, OR

April 2013 - Took a road trip to visit friends/family in the Pacific Northwest, so nice to re-connect and get some good quality time with the people that remind me who I am!

May - I decided to head back up to Alaska to work on the trains and convinced a friend or two to join me for some summer adventures!


May 2013 - Quickly reminded myself of how much I love Alaska!
June 2013 - We had some visitors, Katie made it up for Solstice

July 2013 - 4th of July raft down the Kenai River

Aug 2013 - Carlina came too and caught our silver salmon in Seward!
 Aug 2013 - My parents finally made it up to see me and I tried to show them as much of Alaska as I could in about 7 days, while balancing my work schedule!

October 2013 - After I decided to stay in Alaska as the Supervisor or Rail Operations for the Wilderness Express Train, I went home to visit and get some warmer clothes - we headed over to Yellowstone too to see Old Faithful while I was in Idaho!
Oct 2013 - Then we sent Nathaniel on his mission to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Oct 2013 - Stayed in Utah to go to Lake Powell for the first time!

Dec 2013 - more to come on my adventures during my first winter in Alaska but I made sure that I got to spend the holidays this year with family and I flew down so that I arrived just in time for Christmas morning with some of my favorite people!

This year I was grateful for changes that I expected and others that I didn't, I know that many of our experiences are given to us to allow us to grow and become better so I'm trying to take advantage of every opportunity that is sent my way!

2012 Review in Pictures

Well in order to catch up I thought I'd try to fill in the gap a little - so here is my review of the year 2012, mostly in pictures cause let's be honest that's the best part!
Feb 2012 I finally made it to Delicate Arch!

March 2012 My first time to Festival of Colors in Spanish Fork, UT

March 2012 Got to celebrate the wedding of one of my FAVORITE people! I love you LJ!

May 2012 Visited India with Kaiizen and had an amazing trip and fell in love with the kids there!
May 2012 Came home to my niece Miley being born that same day (this picture is of her blessing later)

May 2012
 Rob easily won best birthday gift award with my own corn hole set!

Aug 2012 - Had a family trip to the Oregon Coast and took some "classic" family pictures.

Sept 2012 - Finally hiked to the top of Mt. Timpanogoes (not sure if I'll ever do it again)

Oct 2012 - Ran the Dirty Dash in large animal face T-shirts with my work!

Top: Before > Bottom: After

Oct 2012 - Went to Madonna in concert in Vegas with work

Oct 2012 - Finally made it to TN to see Amy Lou!!

Nov 2012 - Welcomed my niece Norah to the family (picture obviously later)

Dec 2012 - Made a last minute bouquet for my cousin Callie's wedding

Overall 2012 was a great year, although it's funny posting about it now cause now of this seemed very long ago yet more that a year or two have already passed, CRAZY!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

"The Incident"

I'm currently working for an adult drug and alcohol rehab in Utah which has been both rewarding and challenging. I enjoy helping people, especially those who are trying to improve their lives and progress to reach their potential. It's not always easy but I feel needed for both patients and therapists and I have learned a lot and grown.

However last week was by far the worst day in my year of working there. I took half of the group to a recreation activity at a local trampoline gym. Unfortunately one client had smuggled drugs into the facility after a weekend pass (he had almost completed 60 days of treatment). He shared it with two other clients on the way to the activity and then decided to elevate their high by taking more when we got there. The used a synthetic drug that can't be traced in your urine but took way too much and by the time our session was over one client was babbling and acting stupid. He is a total jokester so I thought he was messing with me and after prodding him and telling him it wasn't funny anymore I told him to follow us out to the car.

When I got outside I found another client just sitting on some steps near the van and when I told him he needed to always wait for me he turned around and starting slinging a bunch of profanities. This didn't face me just caught me off guard but I don't think I'll be able to forget the look of his eyes. His pupils were the size of pins and it was as if he was possessed. I mean I could not even glimpse a part of his goodness or anything true to his nature. When I looked back inside and realized the first client had not "snapped out of it" I knew something was really wrong. I'd love to say how strong I was and how I heroically controlled the situation and made everything better.

In reality, I was completely overwhelmed and out of my comfort zone. The clients continued to be aggressive and incoherent and although the other clients were trying to help I was so lost. I started calling my supervisors only to completely start crying and already being sick and losing my voice they couldn't even understand me. We eventually got them the info and were instructed to load everyone up and head back to the house immediately.

Easier said then done, the client who was sitting out side was hitting and biting and cursing as two boys guided him into a bench seat. The other client was holding onto a fence and screaming and when they tried to lift him up went crazy swinging at anything he could. Finally once he calmed down they tried again and this time he started to pass out and go unconscious on us. Now I knew we had a bigger problem and that these boys were in danger of an overdose. Another call to my boss and we were now headed straight to the hospital. Oh it gets better, on the way to the hospital the unconscious client is turning grey and not breathing well and another client leans forward to inform me that she is positive a third client is high as well - I look in the rear view mirror and she similar eyes and know that we'll have to take care of that soon as well.

I pull up and have everyone wait in the car - come inside and while yes still crying explain my situation to the nurse who grabs some friends, I don't want the clients to hurt anyone, and they come out to the van to help get the clients onto beds. From there a lot was happening fast and slow at the same time, I'm trying to provide information to the hospital while keeping my other clients in sight, and giving co-workers updates and directions to the hospital.

The first client has a strong reaction and after not breathing well on his own is eventually intibated and moved up to the ICU. The second client when he wakes up is so violent (and a strong person) so he is eventually restrained in the ER. The third client eventually had a gradual reaction in the waiting room, passed out, wet himself and also landed in his own room.

So on my watch 3 of the 7 clients ended up in the ER. I cried pretty much consistently from 3pm - 10pm when I finally was home and went to bed. They say I saved someone's life by getting him to the hospital but I was so frustrated/hurt/and scared that it had to even come to that. All three clients were discharged and although I still hope for their recovery I personally can no longer be involved.

Addiction is a real disease and it kills people, lots of people, everyday. From my observations there is no "high" or "buzz" that is worth even an once of the pain, sadness, hopelessness, aloneness, fear, and frustration that it causes to all those who have to share the consequences. I just needed to share my experience to try to let it go. I won't blame myself for someone else's choices and I don't have to hold onto any of the emotions that I felt that day. I will not be able to forget this experience but I pray that I never have to be present for something like this again. I choose to be clean and sober because I want to be present for my life and I never want to let something control me and take away everything that I am.

We end every AA/NA/CA 12-step Meeting with the serenity prayer: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."

Everything is better with Friends!

So this year started out great I was able to head up to Washington for my brother's reception and see a bunch of family and friends. Unfortunately it seems like every time I get to visit with someone it is not enough time. We try to catch up and share some laughs but I just wish we all could take a month off and just be together.

So every October Southwest Airlines has this great deal and if you fly the beginning of December or sometime in January or February you can get great rates. I really wanted to go visit my friend Katie who had just done a full year internship with Walt Disney World and since I had never been there before I couldn't pass up the opportunity. And luckily my work appreciates what I do and how hard I work so they allowed me to take a full week off so that I could take the Am Track with Katie up to Washington DC to visit her sister Anna too. I loved that I just got to spend TIME with them and we did just enough sightseeing but enough relaxing to still call it vacation.

The photos loaded backwards and I'm too impatient to re-do it or move them around. But enjoy!

In front of the Washington Monument - thank you random man who took our picture and got none of the Monument (the whole point). Don't worry he cut out the baby in the first picture too.

At the Lincoln Memorial - it was pretty cold this day with some good wind - add that to my eye itching and watering all day, hence the squint. But we still had a great time. And yes I forgot a hat so I'm wearing my scarf like my grandma used to.

We went to Gettysburg one morning - Katie and I climbed an observation tower. It was so cold we stayed up there just long enough to take a picture.

The canyon location where the union Army held the high ground.

We were on a self-guided driving tour and when I got out of the car the map blew away - and I'm talking it was incredibly windy so it was like gone. It blew about 60 yards away through this fence but I saw it get stuck in these grasses so I chased it down and jumped the fence - tons of prickly bushes I didn't see (oops) and retrieved our map so we could continue the tour. Abe would have been proud.

The other observation tower check out Anna's scarf and hair the wind was so strong.

Our walking tour of downtown Fredrick. These towns are so fun with so much history and personality it was great to walk around.

Katie and I took the Am Track up to DC from Florida, not as scenic as I would have liked but still a great experience. This kind gentleman rode with us from Orlando and would constantly come talk to us about places to go in DC. I think he kept trying to think of more so he could stop by our seats again. So nice!

Wildlife Kingdom Walt Disney World - by the Tree of Life

Epcot - Katie works super close to this and she took me on a backstage tour of the hydroponics greenhouse she had been working in. It was so fun!

Had to get a picture with a character! Katie's roommates came with us and we all had such a great time touring the parks.

Thanks again girls for taking the time to let me come visit. I'll be buying another ticket I'm sure next year in October so let me know if you'd like a visitor coming your way.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Year in Review - 2011

So 2011 wasn't my best year for blogging, in fact I posted once until now. However I don't want to give up on blogging I like to get little updates from friends and share a few pictures from my life and what I am up to. So I am taking the time (while working over the Christmas weekend) to post a glace at 2011 for me. Nothing big but as a quick way to get caught up so I can continue to post from the present and not get overwhelmed with what I didn't get done.

Last year ended with an amazing trip to Spokane for Kurt's wedding and then traveling with two of my best friends to catch a cruise out of LA. We were able to visit friends along the way and stay at the "Bro-mansion" out in Claremont.

The cruise was so much fun we went down the Mexican Riviera and had so many laughs along the way. Falling out of THIS boat actually, zip-lining through the canopy or Puerta Vallarta, eating guacamole, and watching some awesome and not so awesome entertainment.

Then I moved down to Utah to live with my cousin, got a job at a drug and alcohol rehab center for adults and moved in with this house full of girls. It is so fun to come home and have great people to talk with, play games, or go for a hike with. I feel very blessed.
(Picture taken from recent Christmas Party)

Then in April when Joe and Damon were visiting from med school we all headed down to St. George with some new friends to go canyoneering and I got to climb down these canyons and repel from this huge rock face. It was a little scary but very fun.

I visited Arizona for spring training and a friends wedding and we were able to attend all the festivities and still meet up with the boys at the Cubs game!

We stopped by Horseshoe Bend on the way home which I'm pretty sure has to in some way be part of the Grand Canyon.

Later that summer I ran in an Epic Relay Race that went 205 miles from Layton, UT to Jackson Hole, WY. We ran in teams of 12 and it was so fun I'm so glad I was able to run with friends and the race was awesome, not to crowded and some beautiful scenery.

Then I flew up to Juneau to visit Hana who worked their this summer and finally saw some of the inside passage of Alaska. We had so much fun and went to the glacier everyday naturally!

I think I wore Red to my first football game ever because Amy got a job up at the U! And I told her I loved her more than any team so I would always support her - plus I couldn't let her lose her season tickets. They are intense about it!

And we got to spend some time hiking up some of the SLC canyons and near our house, this waterfall up Big Cottonwood was a great little hike one evening.

And to top it all off we even saw a moose on the way down!

And in December I traveled down with Kaiizen to Mexico one more time to help with the Christmas trip with the orphanage. Josh is moving to California so things will change (they have been changing for a while now) but Kaiizen will always be in motion in some way or another. This was just a great way to see the kids and spend time with great friends.

And a few things I don't have pictures of for one reason or another that are still noteworthy:
> I bought a car (Honda Civic) back in February and it is running great.
> I'm starting an application for a Masters in Teaching program for fall 2012
> I was able to stop and visit friends along my trip and some even came to visit me (Amy Lou I don't know how I don't have pictures of our trip did we only use your camera>)
> My little brother got married - this one just happened so no pictures yet

I'm sure I'm forgetting tons of things but I think this is enough for a glimpse at 2011. I hope all my friends and family have been blessed this year and that 2012 brings you blessings and joy.

Love you all,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Where? And Where Now?

Where have I been? - absent from blogging for a while yes, I just didn't make the time not that I didn't have the time that's for sure! I have for the last few months actually been spending some time with my G-parents. It has been great I was learning some cooking skills, oil painting, how to be a card shark, crocheting (sp?), and just having a good time overall. However it's hard for me to sit still and I had taken a part-time job as a nanny but lets be honest I felt like I wasn't progressing in life at all which I've been trying to think more about.

Then I got this lead for a job from my brother filled out everything, had a great phone interview, flew out to Chicago and thought I was for sure on my way to being a full on Adult. Unfortunately the company wasn't ready to move forward with me at this time. TRUTH: I had prayed that if the job wasn't right to NOT let them offer it to me because it was too good to pass up and I would for sure say yes.

Now I'm just trying to pray for understanding at this time in my life as to where I should be and what I should be doing? I'm headed down to Utah because it seemed the most obvious place of friends, family, and job opportunities for the time being.

But now I face this dilema - and please feel free to comment WHAT DO I DO NOW? I am trying to look for full time "settled" jobs and feel like maybe moving every 6 months is not what I should be doing anymore. At the same time I love working in Alaska it's beautiful, it's good money - but I've already done it twice now and I feel like I've had a good run and would not regret leaving it for now and what it's been. I will be 26 this Spring so what do I do now.