Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Washington DC - The Finale

Ok so it has taken me a little while to get to this last post. I guess partly because of adding all the pictures and partly because of a lot of crazy changes in life and my schedule lately. But here is my final post about my trip... it is for Fri and Sat and sadly my trip home... 

So on Fri morning we had decided to go to Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington was one of the places I for sure wanted to visit while there. I had hoped to go to the Temple as well but unfortunately it didn't work out this trip. So on Fri morning we again walked to the metro and started our day at Arlington. It is amazing how much you can be affected by a cemetery. I knew I would likely get emotional there and I did. When we got there we decided to take their tour instead of walking the entire time. The tour takes you first to the Eternal Flame and drops you off. Then you can take the "tram" to the next stop which is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and changing of the guards, then the final stop is the Robert Lee home. 

I remember having gone as a child to Washington DC and I know that I saw the WHite House and the memorials and the monuments and so many places that I saw again during this trip, but it's completely different when you're an adult and know the history, knowing the sacrifices and the events behind the places. It was emotional but I loved being at the cemetery. While there I kind of had a strange set of emotions, I was touched by the experience and knowing what I know now, but while there it really made me think a lot about my Dad. Knowing that my Dad is a Vet and that he will be buried in a national cemertery like Arlington really hit me. I was looking at the headstones and suddenly I felt as if I was in Los ANgeles at the National Cemetery there near the VA hospital where he goes. I was suddenly remembering how many times we have come close to losing him. It's bringing tears to my eyes writing about it and thinking of it now. I also seemed to notice a lot of birds on the headstones. For some reason this stood out to me as well. I thought about these birds and how they stood so tall and proud as if they knew the significance of everything as well. Maybe that is a weird thought but it really did seem that way to me.

So we started out at the Eternal Flame. I loved that most of the memorials and places we went in DC had quotes carved in the walls, concrete etc. Especially when they were from former presidents. It was really cool. I think I learned a little more in DC than I did in previous history classes. Or maybe it was just re-freshened in my mind. I have to admit I don't remember as much as I wish I did! I really enjoyed all the "history" parts of my trip. I loved getting to see COllin and Sharon and the kids, but I really do enjoy going to museums and historical landmarks and just exploring/learning! It's incredible how much there is all around us that we can enjoy and learn about on a daily basis! 

As we went to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier I remembered watching a documentary about the guards. It is incredible the sacrifice they're making. I thought a lot about how our Heavenly Father knows the identity of that soldier and all the "unknowns" I wondered if somehow people who may be related or connected to that particular soldier if they can feel his spirit there? If they somehow know they're directly connected to him? I remember seeing the guards and thinking "they're so young" but yet they are incredible servants! What a tremendous experience they're having and what an example they are to so many others. What a great lesson they will be able to teach their families someday. As we finished and were leaving I noticed someone left an empty water bottle with some trash in it on the steps. I was kind of shocked by the lack of reverence of that person. To have witnessed something so touching and yet leave trash there. I am not trying to brag or boast of myself or anything but I picked it up and carried it until I found a trash can. It really made me feel for whoever dropped it, maybe that was me as a kid during my first visit, it was obviously someone who doesn't understand. It seems like such a small thing but it really left me feeling disappointed in humanity a little. I know I haven't always been the best person and I have a lot to learn but I hope that in circumstances like that I am not ignorant to the reality of my experiences. I was truly touched though by the changing of the guards. I almost felt as if I could've stayed there (melting in the heat) all day and been content. Just watching the guards pace and the changing regularly. Speaking of the heat though I was also impressed with the guard, in their uniforms they don't even seem to notice the temperature. I didn't even notice a bead of sweat! And to think rain or shine they're there! Again it is an incredible experience to be there and witness! 

After the Tomb we saw nearby a few other monuments for the space shuttles and other crews that lost their lives in service. It really is an incredible place with so much to see. I am thankful for our service members, past present and future. Even those who don't necessarily see war they have all made a tremendous sacrifice and should be thanked! I don't think that many people really know the significance of military. Unless directly  connected to our service members I wonder if people really understand. 

Then we went up the the Lee house, it is currently under renovation and restoration projects but there was still a good amount to see. There was also some slave quarters and showed their living conditions. I feel bad for the tall slaves because I am not even sure I could fit on their beds. Which didn't even have mattresses so they probably were not super comfortable to begin with! It was all so interesting to see. As we were on the tram back to the "entrance" area with the gift shop etc. I overheard something that made me smile, there was a family sitting behind us with an elderly female and she said something along the lines of "all I really want is a hot dog, we should've eaten lunch by now" Maybe that isn't funny to you but for me it made me laugh a little inside because you wouldn't expect an elderly person to want a hot dog! At least I wasn't expecting it! I mean if it had been a kid it would've seemed more appropriate! I am not sure what I would expect her to ask about for lunch but I guess it wasn't hot dog! 

Speaking of lunch it was already after 2 I think by this time so we were ready for lunch as well. I was feeling a little bit of heat exhaustion I think because I was kinda nauseated, and with the heat I didn't really have much of an appetite, but we went back to the metro and got off at some mall (i think it was a mall) and got sandwiches at a place that I think was called "Pot Belly" or something like that (memory is slipping a little now) but i think that's it because I remember there being a pot belly style stove thing along one wall behind us where we were in line to order our sandwiches. I got a sandwich, some chips, a glass of water and soda. I drank the water before Collin had even paid for his sandwich. We sat and ate. For how I felt I did pretty well eating my sandwich, but saved the chips. Towards the end I kinda pulled some of the bread off so it wasn't so thick. It was tasty. 

We walked from there a few blocks to go to the Thomas Jefferson memorial. I am not sure if I saw that one as a kid or not. But it was really beautiful. It is along the tidal basin and eventually during the trip we walked completely around the basin. We walked around there a bit and then walked from there around the basin to the Franklin D Roosevelt Memorial. Which I think was one of my favorites. Partly because I really enjoyed the quotes they shared of his and it was a bunch of waterfalls. It was really peaceful and inspiring. From FDR we walked to the fairly new (Collin said about 6 months) Martin Luther King Memorial. Walking there we heard a little thunder and got a few rain driplets. I was hoping it would start pouring! It was another hot gross muggy day and the few droplets actually felt nice! It didn't start raining at that time though :-(  Darn it! I was glad we were done after that and heading back to get ready for dinner because my knee was getting really sore by the time we had even hit the FDR Memorial. I felt like I was starting to limp a little.. (and it was a no-cane day... I know I brought it and should've been using it, but it's hard. I am right handed so I like having my camera ready in my right hand, and use the cane on the right side since I have a bad left knee)

That night Collin had made some plans for us to have dinner with some of his friends. So after the memorials we headed back so we could meet them for dinner. As it turned out we had to kinda push back the time a little since we were out longer than anticipated. We walked back to the metro, and back to the condo. I showered and then I used the oven door as a mirror to do my hair and make-up so Collin could shower. We got ready and were only a couple minutes late for dinner. As it turned out James and Andrea were a couple minutes late as well. So it worked out nicely. While we were at dinner it rained! It was a lot of fun meeting them and the 4 of us had a fun time at Chili's. We had shared some BBQ and Buffalo wings appetizers, and had our meals. The guys had beer, I had a virgin strawberry margarita and Andrea only had water. We all ordered our meals and we talked and laughed. James was kind of picking on the waitress a little but I don't think she minded because she dished it right back at him. (plus she hung around our table probably longer than she should've) It wasn't too busy in there though so I don't think she was ignoring other patrons. I hope not anyway. After dinner we headed back.

We sat on the floor and I was showing Collin pictures from my trip to Sacramento for the CHP academy and the museums I visited while there. I was also showing him my blog and some of my poetry. I am fairly certain I had included him in my email telling people when I started my blog, but I think it was when he was on the ship so he may not have really known. So a lot of my writing was new to him. We had a good time talking about things and it was nice sharing with him some of my writings. I still don't feel as if I am very eloquent or talented when it comes to my occasional poetry but he seemed impressed. 

Sat morning he was showing me his pictures from his recent Europe trip while we had breakfast. Then after getting ready we headed out. We stopped at the marine corp base again and got discounted tickets for the aquarium in Baltimore. We drove to Baltimore and had lunch on the harbor "next door" to the aquarium. It was already getting later and by the time we went to the aquarium we barely had an hour or so before we were going to need to leave for the airport. So we kind of rushed through a little and didn't see all the exhibits but it was an incredible aquarium! If I am ever back in that area I want to plan a trip again and really get to experience it. I want to see more of the exhibits and maybe the videos they offer. I loved it! We ended up being there a little longer then we should've but it was worth it. 

Since we were at the aquarium longer than expected it meant we were running behind getting to the airport for my flight. Luckily we were not too far from the airport, but we hit some traffic due to road work or something. It was weird because they had part of one interesection closed off and it made me that much later. I almost didn't mind because I wasn't ready to leave anyway. I looked up my flight though and knew it was running about 15 min late so I knew that gave me a little bit of time. But I also knew that little bit of time would be taken off my layover (and plane change) which was only going to be about 40 min already! So I was nervous about that. On the way to the airport I was starting to cry and so I kept looking out the passenger window so that hopefully Collin wouldn't notice. I got most of my tears under control before we got to the airport and was feeling a little stronger and was trying not to let him see still. But as we got out and he was hugging me goodbye it was getting hard. He was telling me he had a good time and he hoped I did too, and all I could do was nod (otherwise I would've lost it) I felt bad for not really saying thanks or goodbye, but I couldn't do it! He told me to get going so I wouldn't miss my flight and so I got my suitcase and headed inside. 

This is where the story gets interesting (I don't think I told Collin about this part...) but I got inside and checked it and my suitcase was 8 pounds overweight! (sorry Collin, since you carried it for me!) I am not sure how that happened since it was under by 20 pounds on the way there (must've been all the sweat in my clothing!) and I didn't really buy any souvenirs so I had to take stuff out. So I grabbed my scriptures, my sweater and all the fliers etc. I had collected during the trip. Eventually I got enough stuff out of it and shoved into my backpack so that it was right at 50 pounds! I then went to the security checkpoint and waited in line.. I was starting to get really nervous now, since I had gotten to the airport with less than an hour prior to my flight already and had to do the suitcase stuff... finally I get up there and am going through security and they pull my backpack and ask to check it. UGH!! So she opened it up and pulled out a bottle of soda I forgot I even had in there. She ran my bag again and everything was ok. It was an unopened soda and I asked if I could have it because it wasn't opened and she said if I did I would have to drink it and then go through security again. I didn't have time to do that! So it got tossed! Go figure! I didn't know how far it would be to my terminal but luckily it wasn't too far. I quickly used the bathroom, when I got to my terminal they were already boarding. I had my cane with me I was able to get on without waiting for my boarding group. 

That flight didn't go too bad, we had a plane change in Atlanta and because there were several people who had short times between flights the attendants kept making announcements for people who had more time to please allow others to exit first. I had to wait a little but luckily several people let me go before them. I was glad that my other terminal was only like 2 away. They were boarding that flight already too. I had my cane and literally went from one plane to the next. I got my backpack etc to my seat and used the plane bathroom before the plane filled up. My flight home again went fairly well. My stop in Atlanta allowed me to see the sun starting to set a little. It was cool, but a little weird too because then as we continued to fly it got brighter again, but then I landed in the dark! So I saw the sun set, but then there was still sunlight, then darkness because I was too high to see it "set" again! 

After landing it seemed to be that I was at the far end of the airport or something because it took me forever to get to the baggage claim. Then I had to wait quite awhile for my luggage. So long that I was beginning to worry that it didn't make the plane change with me in Atlanta! It seemed like there were several luggage drops and then nothing! I think the screen was even showing a different flight! Finally though my bag came and I headed out for the flyaway. I debated about waiting for the first flyaway and seeing if it was full or not, or walking down to an earlier terminal. I decided to walk, and as I was starting to walk one came by (darn it I should've waited) so I went to 4 and waited there. I decided to take my chances and if it was super full than I would walk again. But I got lucky and it wasn't bad. My driver was way enthusuastic and talked non-stop during the drive! It was interesting! At least she has a great attitude about her job. I probably should've sent in a good comment about her. But I guess it's too late now. When I got back to the flyaway my mom was almost there with Deann to get me. I only waited a couple minutes. Then we came home. I had to work Sunday morning at 10 am so when we got home I basically got into bed. But since I didn't go in early I was able to get some sleep. Of course I got some early texts on Sunday but I didn't mind. 

Well that is my trip in a nut-shell.... or rather in 3 blog posts! I had an amazing time and even though at times it was hard on my knee and the heat sucked I really am glad I went! It was completely worth everything! Through it all I had a great time! I loved that there was no TV or anything else to distract us and we were able to just hang out in the evenings and catch up on life! It was really cool! Plus like I said I won all games for eternity! Although that's a little sad too because I love games and have quite a collection actually! The next few weeks at work didn't go well, and if nothing else the fact that I was working where I was and making more money and able to get that time off for my trip, I am thankful for it! What a tremendous trip it was and I learned a lot about myself and even a little more about Collin! I love that we are so close and he is such a great example to me! He encourages me, supports me and helps lift me up probably more than he realizes. Over the past 21 years i've grown a lot and a huge part of that growth is because of friends like him! I am so blessed! 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

32 and starting anew

I have always been told I could do whatever I wanted in life. I have always been taught to follow my dreams and go for it. So that is what I have always done. In my childhood I always said I wanted to be a doctor. As I got older I even narrowed the field down and was thinking I would be a Pediatrician or go into Family Practice so that I could spend time working with kids. I loved the idea of helping people and especially to make them feel better. … Then after high school I was going to Moorpark and taking my general education courses. I was working at Albertsons and was looking into medical schools and their programs. (I was really interested in a program in Irvine)

As I continued to look into it I also began to think of other “goals” I had for my life. I began to think about someday becoming a wife and a mother. Wanting to have a family and be able to travel. I wanted to be able to go places with my family and to have good experiences. … So I started to wonder if I was really ready to go into medical school, to know that with school and internship and residency the next several years I would be surrounded by school and all that becoming a physician would require. I knew it would make the family goals a little tougher to accomplish. I also thought about the cost. I was barely making more than minimum wage, my parents did a lot for us as kids and helped us with what they could, but I didn’t have a “college fund” so although they would support me I knew I would have large loan amounts to re-pay someday.

While I was contemplating all of this I had a co-worker who had just become an EMT. I started talking to him about that.  It seemed really exciting. I never really thought about becoming a Paramedic before and EMT was the first step (and was relatively easy too) so I looked into it. I took an EMT course. After that I was looking to work as an EMT. I was learning it was going to be difficult to get a job in Ventura County as a new EMT, and at the time I didn’t have adequate/reliable car to drive to LA County for work. So I was certified but still at Albertsons. After a couple years (and my first re-certification for my EMT) I went to AMR in LA. I was going to be working in Glendale. I was in a medical profession! Things were going well and during my time there we had even moved and were now in North Hollywood so even my commute had become easier. Then unfortunately thanks to not slamming on the brakes and red-light cameras after 8 months I lost that job L It was hard but a few months later I got picked up at Gold Coast Ambulance in Oxnard and within a few months was already trained as an EMT-D! I was now able to work 1-1 with a Paramedic and respond to 911 calls! It was amazing! I loved it! I was gaining such great experience and everyday was rewarding!

I was in my 5th year at Gold Coast and although I wasn’t sure when or how I was going to do it I was wanting to go to Paramedic school and increase my certification and be able to do more. Then I messed up my knee… 3 surgeries (and several years) later I have never been able to return to the EMS field! It was/has been really hard on me! I still sometimes want to cry when I see an ambulance rolling code. I feel like a hunting dog sometimes, I will hear the sirens and my ears perk up and I am looking around to see where they are and where they may be heading. Knowing that I needed to get into a less physical job and being completely unemployed with no income I was searching for all kinds of jobs!

A friend of mine called me one day and asked me if I would be interested in working at CMH hospital doing admitting work on-call. I said definitely and the next day I had an interview. Within about 2 weeks I was starting that job! It was going great. Within a short amount of time I was working full time hours (even though I was still “on-call”) and I was hoping that a spot would open up so I could be picked up as a permanent employee. I got lucky too that I was working in the ER admitting for the majority of my shifts. So I felt right at home a bit. (Although it was hard to not jump in and help when it came to patient care) During that time I got a call back from the County of Ventura on a dispatching job I had applied for. I went in for the interview and was offered the position. After about a year of being on-call I now had a permanent full time job again with benefits. (I might have stayed at CMH had I been getting benefits) So I began another new job.

Working for the county was nice. I was working regular business type hours. I was getting my weekends off and I was working at another hospital. But I was in the maintenance department. Not exactly the most desirable position but I had great co-workers and we all got along really well. I was doing dispatch and I knew I was appreciated. It wasn’t always an easy job but I was successful at it. Just over a year later I got a letter from the CHP and was being offered another chance at an interview for employment. (2 years prior I had tested and interviewed but not hired) At first I was somewhat hesitant to respond because I was so happy where I was, but I knew in the long run it would be better pay and opportunities for me. I also knew it meant 911 work again (via phones) and working with officers not maintenance guys on the radio. That seemed much more exciting than clogged toilets and burned out light bulbs etc. that I was dealing with in the maintenance dept! So I went ahead and returned the letter of interest. Then things quickly started changing. At work they started making some changes and suddenly my job was becoming less secure and shakier. Things were changing in the County of Ventura Healthcare agency especially in regards to the maintenance dept. The timing couldn’t have been better. It looked promising for the CHP job and at the same time all my good friends at the county job got transferred out and I was left with a staff that didn’t like everyone I had been working with! It was really hard for me. I was miserable and couldn’t wait to get out and start with CHP.

Finally the day came that I could give my 2-week notice, I couldn’t have been happier! I was even able to take 2 ½ weeks off between my last day at county and my first day at CHP. I was ecstatic! Things went well and I got to spend 3 weeks at the CHP academy in training! It wasn’t always easy but I made some great friends and was really feeling comfortable and learning a lot! It was great knowing I was going to be answering 911 calls and helping make a difference again! I came back from training and my first month on phones went fairly well. I was learning and although I had a few struggles I was new and so it was somewhat to be expected. My second month I got a new trainer. This trainer had a completely different approach to things and it became a little more difficult at times to feel I had a “good day”. But I was still chugging along and although I had a few struggles with her I was still mostly on the right path. Then I got my 3rd trainer. He has been there for a long time. I was nervous to be working with him, but in the long run I felt a lot more comfortable with him. It was great. I was really starting to have more confidence in myself and my call-taking capabilities! It was going well and I was improving!

My last shift with him was right before my trip to Washington DC. That last day I struggled a little bit and so my review scores had dropped a tad. But overall I still felt pretty good with how things were going. When I got home from vacation that trainer had in the meantime began his vacation so I was working with another trainer, who also happened to be the training supervisor. Most of that week went somewhat well. I wasn’t getting perfect scores but it wasn’t horrible either. I still felt I was on the right path.

Then on July 1st I came in for my next shift. Before I began my shift they brought me in for a training meeting. They told me that they felt I was not quite where I should be so I was being put into remedial training and that I needed to have more consistent scores during the week. I was also beginning my shifts with another new trainer that day. As it turned out my newest trainer has a different style about things then my previous trainers. At the end of that shift I felt horrible! She had made me feel so stupid and I felt as if she was treating me like I was incompetent! I cried all the way home that night. It was horrible. I knew I was supposed to show them I could do it and that I was going to be consistent and capable of doing the job but it seemed like even the smallest simplest things she was finding fault in with me. She was making me change things in my logs that had been acceptable by my previous trainers. It seemed like her style of doing things was different then the others and it was a really bad shift for me because of it. After the first few times she “went off” on me for doing things differently than she would like them done it started to make me doubt myself. From there I just spiraled downward. The more she got frustrated with the way I was doing things the harder it became for me to be successful in even the simplest calls! … So then I had 3 days off! During those 3 days I was thinking about things and thought maybe I was taking it too hard and I told myself on Thurs when I went back in I wasn’t going to let her get to me negatively. I was going to “kick butt” and really show them who I was and what I could do!

 I went into work feeling nervous but knowing I was capable. Then within a few hours I began to get yelled at again for things that seemed like trivial things to me. Things that although they were mistakes on my part I felt like she was again blowing them out of proportion. Some of them were again style issues that were things that were acceptable to my previous trainers. So again I had a rough day because I felt like everything I did she found fault in and I spiraled down again. I cried that night too! I wondered what was wrong with me and why I couldn’t just get it right so that she wouldn’t find fault in every simple thing. I called one of the supervisors the next morning and told her I knew I was slipping backwards and that I felt it was partially because of my trainer. I knew that ultimately it was MY responsibility to handle the calls and to show them I was capable, but I felt less confident working with her than I had with other trainers. Being honest with my supervisor didn’t really make me feel much better. She basically told me that I had been put on remedial training before I was with my current trainer and so it didn’t really make much sense. I guess she couldn’t see that maybe personality wise it wasn’t working to make me feel very confident and comfortable so that I could be successful. Then she told me “not everyone is cut out for this type of work”

That afternoon before going to work my Bishop (who also happens to be my home teacher) came over and we talked for about an hour and he gave me a blessing. After that I felt much better and knew I was going to go back into work with my head held high and not let me trainer get to me. I was able to write down some of the concerns I had and my feelings about how things were going. I got to work and met with the supervisor I had talked to that morning as well as the manager. It kinda went the same as my morning phone conversation in a sense that they told me it was up to me to overcome whatever it was that was keeping me from taking control (they didn’t seem to understand that it was my trainer that was my biggest issue at the time- sometimes personalities don’t work out!  Everybody learns differently and as much as a person needs to adapt for training I think that sometimes a trainer needs to adapt for teaching) after talking with them, we also met with the trainer and had a good discussion about how I was feeling. That sometimes I felt as if my trainer instead of talking to me about something she felt I wasn’t doing well it came across to me as an “attack”. She apologized for that and said she wasn’t trying to be that way. Overall I still made a few mistakes that night but I felt it went a lot better. I also felt as if we were able to talk about things better, I left that night unsure how my review would go, but knowing in my heart I felt more confident in my work. The few times I had an issue I didn’t let her approaching me about it get me down. I drove home that night tear-free.

Then I came in on Sat afternoon for my next shift and saw my review! She still gave me bad scores! I felt crushed! Yet I still tried to not let it get me down and was working hard to overcome. But things again didn’t go as well as she felt they should and late Sat night the manager came in before the end of the shift. We went into the office and chatted. It wasn’t going well. Basically I was told I was going to be rejected during probation, unless I chose to just quit. With the RDP I would not be able to do anymore time answering dispatch phones but would be re-assigned to work in another office doing clerical work during the time it takes for everything to be processed. (A few weeks) I would still be able to get paid during that time. So that was the option I chose. I stayed strong during that meeting and didn’t cry until I was driving home again!

My mom was the first one I called. She is so supportive of me and I love her for that. She told me she was proud of me for even being able to handle it for as long as I did. She told me that she would help me out as much as possible financially or otherwise if I wanted to go back to school and get back into the medical field again. She also said she’d help if I wanted to go into something else all together. I know she was trying to help and wasn’t really sure how to comfort me and I think I may have snapped a bit at her (sorry mom) but I really didn’t (and still don’t) know where I can go from here! I still haven’t become a wife and mother, but the dream of being a physician is pretty far fetched at this point in time…. And I can’t go back into EMS because I still have lingering knee problems. Plus in Nov I let my cert lapse (even while I was out with my knee I kept it up to date, I should’ve continued with that) so even if I wanted to try and use that to my advantage at this point I would have to take a full course for that again! So I was left with a feeling of fear and hurt and just the unknowing! I cried a lot that night. By the time I finally crawled into bed it was after 3 am and I couldn’t go to sleep! I struggled for a long time! When I finally did get to sleep I woke up again at like 6:30! I stayed in bed after that until 8a but I never fell back to sleep either.

At around 8 I got up and got ready for church. I shed a lot of tears during church and basically felt helpless to some degree. It’s nice knowing that I have the gospel though and I know I wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else at that time! I am thankful for the gospel and I have faith that it will all work out, I just don’t know when or how! I was able to take a nap after church and then had dinner with some good friends and got to spend some time with them after dinner. I am so blessed to be around such great people and I know that I am loved! I didn’t cry when I was with them and I think it was then that I really began to understand that in the grand scheme of things where I am working doesn’t really matter. I was able to realize the hardest part about the entire situation for me is the feeling of failure I suddenly have. For me always being told I could do anything and mostly being able to, it was hard to be told that I wasn’t capable, or that I wasn’t improving enough to be successful. It didn’t make sense to me and almost still doesn’t. I don’t fully understand how I can be on the ambulance responding to these same situations I was answering calls for and help those people directly, yet I couldn’t seem to get it right to help them on the phone. Maybe I am a hands-on kind of person. Maybe I need to see the situation in order to really do something about it. But it really did make me feel a bit like a failure. For once in my life I wasn’t able to do anything I wanted to do! WOW! It’s hard to accept!

So now I am left still wondering, what am I going to do next? What is the path I am meant to take? I really don’t know! I have always loved working on cars with my dad, so do I take auto-shop classes? I still want to learn to play piano (and my dear friend Renee started teaching me once, but then moved away so I never got to finish learning) so do I take a piano class? I still love the medical field and knowing I love being there hands-on, do I look into medical assistant? Physician assistant? Do I try surgery technician? I really don’t know. In the meantime I will get to do some clerical work. I am going to look on the state jobs website and see if I can get in somewhere else within the state while I am already in the system.

I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for me. It seemed like (and was) such great timing when this job came around because the county job fell apart. Things were going so well and I was looking at moving out and other options, now this has fallen apart. I know that there is a reason, but I don’t see it yet. I am hoping it won’t take long for me to figure it out. But I think in the 2 days since I learned that I was losing my job I have already come a long, long way! I am keeping my head held high and I am looking toward the sky! I know that I am going to be at church every week, I am going to be at the weddings I might have had to miss in Aug, and I know that right now is the perfect time to look into fall classes. So again although it sucks the timing is good. I WILL be ok! It just may take some time! I am not crying anymore and somehow I feel a sense of relief. I am not sure why I feel relieved when I was happy there and enjoying the opportunities it was giving me. But there has to be a reason that this has happened. I saw a quote on facebook today that seemed to be appropriate for me right now, it says “might not be tonight, tomorrow or the next day, but everything’s going to be ok” E.S.  I have to believe that! I have faith in it!

So here I am 32 (almost 33) and left starting over. I don’t know where I am going. I don’t know what I will be doing in a month or two. But I do know that I am hanging onto hope. I am not going to let this trial get me down. I know that I have potential. I know that my parents still believe in me and I still know that I can do anything I put my mind to (except 911 dispatching apparently) I cannot let one little setback bring me down! I will be doing a lot of praying in the next few days/weeks/months and figuring things out. Until that time I guess I am working clerical in the Moorpark office for my last however many days as an employee of the CHP. This experience has taught me a lot and I won’t forget it. I may be a little regretful that I struggled and couldn’t quite get it right but once I find the silver lining on this dark cloud that’s come over me it will all make sense. Until that time I am going to ride the wave and see where I land on the shore! It can’t get much worse, unless there is a shark nearby in the water! But hey if you read my recent post about being adventurous that may not be such a bad thing! I’d love to go swimming with the sharks!  J 7-9-2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012

D.C. Part 2

   Ok so I have already blogged Sun-Tues of my trip. Now I shall continue, I am thinking if I write about Weds and Thurs there will be enough info to have a nice decent length blog. So here it goes:

As I previously mentioned, because I decided not to rent a car and drive to NC on Mon Sharon was going to drive to VA on Weds. Knowing that she would have a 3-4 hour drive Collin and I had some time in the morning to hang out some more. Sharon got on the road later than she had expected to, and so we were not  expecting her until the early afternoon. After having breakfast we went down by the Potomac river to walk. Collin promised to show me a pterodactyl as we walked along the river but I never did get to see it. (I joked about him wanting to push me in and so that was what he said he was going to "point out" to me to "accidentally" push me in) So we walked along and sat on some of the benches along the way (it was already hot/humid even though it was still somewhat early) We went down by the dock too and he showed me this offspring nest and the bird was there with it's baby. That was fun! Then we sat in the shade in the grass a bit and just relaxed/chatted a little. All the while I was taking pictures.

After walking along the river a bit on the way back we went into an old Navy Torpedo factory. It's now become an art gallery/studio building. It is 3 stories tall and all the different rooms are occupied by artists. Some painters, sculptors and more. It was fun, we walked around in there a bit and enjoyed some of the artwork. There was also a small archaeology room with a few cool artifacts in it. It was getting close to the time for Sharon to maybe arrive so we headed back. After getting back we had some sandwiches and pretzels for lunch then played some connect 4 on the computer. A little while later Sharon got there with the kids. It was so great to see her (it'd been about 4 years at least) and I finally got to meet her daughter Andrea (who turned 3 back in April). She is so cute and looks just like her brother did at her age! Except her curly hair is much longer than his was.

We stayed inside in the cool for a bit and let the kids run around for a few and stretch their legs. During this time we were discussing options and places we'd like to see. It was determined that we would take the Metro into the DC area and go to the Zoo (which is free there that was cool, LA Zoo is about to raise their prices AGAIN) The walk to the metro station was about 15-20 min. During the walk I asked Kalen if he remembered me, and he said "not really but you sound like my Aunt Nay-Nay" I told him that I am Aunt NayNay and he had to ask him mom to verify that was true! Then he later told me he kind of remembers me, but that in his memory I was much taller! ... I reminded him that I didn't shrink, he has just grown! We stopped on the way to the metro and got some water. Then we were there... that day was my first experience "riding on the metro-o-o-o" (That was me singing the Berlin song in case you couldn't tell) The kids seemed to enjoy it too. We even made one transfer between lines. (But I couldn't tell you which colors we were on... I guess I could look at the map thing I brought home and figure it out but you probably don't really care) Finally we got to the "destination" stop and walked from the metro to the zoo.

Across the street from the zoo is a yogurt shop so we sat and enjoyed some yogurt first and got some more bottles of water. The zoo was nice. There was a lot of really beautiful scenery and wonderful animal exhibits to enjoy. But unfortunately late in the afternoon and in the high heat/humidity many of the animals were not enjoying their outdoor exhibits as much! We did see the zebras and some other random animals that I can't name. I think we see a wallabe, and some monkey thing, we saw one cougar (or other cat species) a lot of wild squirrels, chipmunks and even one wild deer fawn! So cute! Andrea was so fun because she would stop by most of the random places around the zoo and tell me "take a picture TO me here". The saddest part though (for me) was not getting to see the elephants!  They also have panda's there which would have been fun to see as well, but again they were not out n about! When we had seen what animals we could and gotten to the bottom of the zoo Collin went to request the shuttle to ride back to the top, and it had stopped running a little while before. So we had to walk back up to the top. It felt like the longest journey ever. Maybe it was just because I had already spent 2 days walking around and my knee was getting pretty sore already (yes I had my cane that day) So it was a slow walk up the hill. But my friends are patient with me which is a blessing! I tried not to let anyone notice (I think Sharon may have seen it happen once or twice) but my knee "popped" and kinda gave out on me a couple times. NOT FUN! But I kept on going. I did ask Collin though if he could take me that evening to get a refillable ice pack so that I could use it in the evenings. I had meant to pack mine from home but forgotten it.

During the hike back up the hill we decided on having pizza for dinner. When we got to the top we picked upo some more waters from the yogurt shop (only .29c each) and sat for a few. I was thankful for that break, not just for my knee but because I think I was starting to get a little bit of heat exhaustion. I was feeling queasy and light headed. But sitting and having the water sure helped. Thankfully because I didn't want to get sick or end up in the urgent care or anything! Collin found a pizza place he enjoyed and the metro line we needed to get there. So we walked back to the metro, again with one line change and went to the pizza place. By this time it was after 8pm, we were all hungry and tired and hot! They were crowded and we waited like 40 min for our table. (we couldn't have been like normal people and gone back to the condo and just ordered delivery) During which Andrea fell asleep. But once we were sitting it was nice to have a cold drink and we ordered some bruschetta for an appetizer and (huge) individual pizzas to eat. It was really tasty! I loved that mine had mushrooms (I had to throw that in here since Sharon and Collin were harrassing me about liking mushrooms) Mine had pepperoni, mushroom and red onion, as well as tomato (from the sauce), sharon had the same except hers was sausage not mushrooms. And to be honest I am not sure what Collin had on his. Kalen's was just pepperoni. Collin being so amazing as he is paid for our dinner. Sharon and I both offered him money but he insisted, I tried to offer to pay just the tip but he wouldn't let me. (thanks again) After dinner we got back on the metro and headed back to the condo. This time though since it was already after 11pm we took a cab from the metro to the condo. So not only did I get my first experience "riding on the metro-o-o-o" I also got my first ride in a taxi cab!

When we got back I asked Collin if he didn't mind could we still go and get an ice pack. So we found a 24 hour CVS and just before midnight we went there. The unbelievable thing was at that hour it was still like 87* outside! So gross! It really made me appreciate my So. Cal weather! It gets hot here but not with that humidity and it usually cools down at night at least! We picked up my ice pack, some Tylenol, some milk, juice and cereal and headed back again! When we got back Sharon and the kids were already asleep on the air mattress (I told her I would take the floor, Collin offered me his sleeping bag but I said no, I had my blanket so I was good) It felt so nice to ice my knee! In fact when I laid down to go to sleep I postioned myself so that I was lying on the ice pack still.

 In the morning we all had breakfast and showered and we were going to Washington DC. Collin looked online to see how much it would cost for one of the bus tours through the city (so we wouldn't spend another day walking) but they're like $40 a person, so he offered to give us a driving tour instead. I told him I didn't mind walking but he wouldn't listen! So we loaded up his car and headed out. He showed us around Maryland a little bit then we went into Washington DC. We saw the capital building and he stopped so Sharon, the kids and I could go a take a few pictures. We also went inside to the bathroom and gift shop for a minute. Then he drove us around and showed us where the monuments.memorials are. Showed us the treasury building, the White House andthe museums. We decided to park somewhere and get some lunch. Then after lunch we walked to the WHite House. Took some more pictures and headed to the Old Post Office Tower. So we could get a "birds eye" type view of DC.

All this sight seeing we did on foot. It was kinda nice to be walking around again, even though I was still uncomfortable most of the time. I enjoy walking around because I can pause and take pictures. I can look at angles and I don't miss as much as when driving/riding in the car. It's fun to see the people and things like plaques about the history of the building or the significance of the statue etc. So I didn't care about the pain because I got to see more! While on the way to the post office tower we stopped at CVS for some drinks. We went inside and decided to get gatorade (they were on sale) The coolers are right inside the door to the right and inside the door to the left are the registers. Once we had gotten our drinks and we were at the register paying a large group of juveniles came running in the doors, making a lot of noise and started stealing drinks from the coolers and running back out. The CVS staff came running up and yelled @ a few of them they caught with stuff (one kid looked to be maybe 8 years old!) and made the rest leave, even if they were insistant that they were going to pay for their items. I am so glad we were not still standing there picking our drinks when it happened especially since Kalen and Andrea would've easily been trampled! (There were that many of them and they came in that packed together an carrying skateboards) After we paid and stepped outside we saw at least 5 times as many kids all on their skateboards take off from the park area across the street going down the street. In the middle of the cars and traffic paying no attention to getting hit or hitting anybody! It was really quite interesting to witness! I feel bad for those kids.  I am glad that (to my knowledge) none did get hit by a car or seriously injured or anything. They sure were not making smart choices that day!

After that interesting trip to CVS we continued down the street to the tower. It was really unique inside. A lot of really intereting architecture and there were some cool little shops and stuff too. And a penny pressing machine!) We went up the glass elevator to the top of the tower to see the view. It was cool, I took a lot more pictures from there as well. Then we went down one level and saw the bells in the tower. We talked about how loud they must be if you're in that room or even in the tower when they're going off! I couldn't imagine really! I know I wouldn't want to be there! After the view from the tower we headed back to the car to avoid traffic and back to the condo. When we got back we hung out for awhile again and in the evening Sharon had to head back to NC. It was so hard to say goodbye to her yet again! When we met in 2006 we became fast friends. The very first shift we worked together we connected and have been close ever since. Within a few weeks of working together we were going to the zoo with her son and Disneyland and hanging out both at work or after! It was great! So when she moved it was hard, and she came back once for a visit and we said goodbye again, then this time we had to say goodbye not knowing when the next visit will be. In Sept her husband is getting re-stationed in Germany! So it may be awhile before our paths can cross again! I am going to miss her! As soon as it was time to hug her goodbye the tears were already flowing (for both of us) and even Andrea started crying! (but that may have been because Collin carried her on his shoulders pretty much anytime we were walking around, so she was enjoying that) I walked them out to the car and more tears were shed. We chatted for a few and she was heading out. I went back inside and just sat on the floor crying.

Collin started making dinner while I was outside with Sharon and when I came in he gave me some space for a few. Once I had cried for a bit I offered to help but he said he had it under control. We had some pasta with spaghetti sauce, green beans and corn, and some bread for dinner that night. We enjoyed our meal on paper plates on the floor. It makes me smile to remember it. I have never had an experience with moving since my parents moved into our house when I was an infant. I have never gone away to school or anything and so my house is all I know. Even generally when you travel there are tables in hotel rooms, or you're at someone's home. So I really enjoyed being in an empty condo just kinda laid back and enjoying things without being distracted by a TV or video game or whatever else there is to deal with. It wasn't a fancy meal but I enjoyed it. It was fun to sit and chat and eat a simple meal. It was also nice to not be eating out for another meal! I had plenty of money with me (especially since Collin didn't always let me buy my own stuff) but sometimes it's nice to stay in.

After dinner we decided to go miniature golfing. We went to one place nearby and although their sign showed summer hours that they should be open they weren't so we went to another place a little further away. It was a driving range and mini-golf course. They had this huge bar and loud music, kinda like a club scene too! It was all in one entertainment. We got our stuff and went out to the course. There are 2 courses and you're allowed to do both so we started with the closer one. I told Collin I planned to get the highest score (and I did) but at the beginning I was actually doing really well! I don't know what happened but then later in the course I finally started missing shots! Maybe it was after I knocked my ball in the water and had to get a replacement. Or after one of the other 2 times my ball went astray and onto another course... I am not really sure. But at first Collin thought I was some sort of mini-golf  female Tiger Woods or something!I don't even know what came over me! Maybe not having a castle to shoot at or a windmill to aim for improved my playing! After the first course we decided to get some drinks and we sat for a bit. It was getting kinda late already so we decided to skip the second one and head back. I wouldn't have minded staying but it worked out well that we didn't. (plus it was still stinkin hot!) After we got back and cleaned up some we played cards for awhile. ... in fact I better document it here in case either of us ever forgets (more liekly him than me) the very last game we played he said "winner takes all, past present or future" and of course I won! So I guess in reality there is no sense in my playing games with Collin ever again because I have already won! --- although I don't know if we were just talking card games or all games-- or just crazy eights since that was what we were playing... maybe I need to clarify with him. No matter what I still won!

Well I think this blog entry is long enough... I will leave Fri and Sat to part 3! :-)