Guys, GUYS! I’m in In-N-Out Country Again!

I’m too lazy to even check where I was the last time I posted. Ah, the sweet luxurious life of a drifter.

I’m currently in Layton, Utah and yesterday I got to play pickleball with the reigning city league Pickleball champions. What now?

In other places, I got creeped on in “the Best Gay Bar in America” which is in Omaha, Nebraska, so apparently San Francisco can just go suck it. I also had a lovely Easter and got a baller basket full o’ travelin’ supplies (I tried to truncate supplies, but I don’t think it’s possible) and then drove back to the Rez.

I actually rather enjoyed myself visiting ye olde St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. Hung out with a group of teachers who lovingly refer to themselves as the Unicorn Success Club. Also met the current JVs who sound like they are having a delightful time and really getting the most out of their experience. I’m just gunna go ahead and take some credit for laying the groundwork that made all that a possibility. No need to thank me, guys, your fulfillment is my fulfillment.

I then made a lovely little trip to all my old favorite SoDak stomping grounds, like Pierre and Rapid City, making a stop at iconic Wall Drug, mostly so I could send my parents a picture of their favorite tourist trap ever. EVER.

As it turns out, South Dakota still makes me feel all poetic and wordy, but I won’t share that feeling garbage here. Also, Wyoming is so pretty. I’m going to marry a cowboy and raise sheep out there. You’ll probably never hear from me again.

My next stop will be Oregon for a night, then Washington. It’ll be fantastic to be back in the Pacific Time Zone and hopefully I’ll be in Davis for Picnic Day and San Fran for April 22 (which is my BIRTHDAY and subtlety is for chumps).

Oh, and I officially gave my 30 days notice to my roommates, so I will be moving out of my apartment May 15 and have no concrete plans after that, soooo, if you’ve got like, a job opening and a place to live and think you’d “Hey, how much better would my life be if I got to see Maggie’s face EVERYDAY,” then you should, I dunno, talk to me or something.

Also, over 8,000 miles on this trip so far and I filed my state taxes while on the road! Living the drifter dream.

Happy trails everyone!

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Going Back

I’m currently in Vermont, which in a way is my turning back point. From here on out, it’s doubling back and then heading west. I’m excited to see the people between here and home, but I’m nowhere near ready for this absurd adventure to wind down. As I’m sure every mother loves hearing, I could probably drift about in my car forever. Not to mention, when I finally end up in San Francisco, I’ll have to focus on tedious details like finding a job, instead of figuring out where I’ll be sleeping for the next few nights. 

Since I last checked in, I have seen quite a lot. I spent a good deal of time in Tennessee, visiting some touristy locations which mostly focused on the history of rock and roll. More importantly, I stayed with a cousin of a cousin (because my family extends way beyond actual blood relations) and got to hear beautiful banjo and fiddle music in someone’s living room. I also fell in total and complete love with the Smokey Mountains, but that is another matter entirely.

I was supposed to drive to Atlanta next, but my friend who was hosting me decided to quit her job and go backpacking. I’m actually a little jealous. However, I’m realizing this trip is far more about seeing people than it is visiting places and so instead of driving down that way to stay in her empty house, I figured it was time to do something a little reckless. I was itching to get on the road and put hundreds of miles on my odometer, so I took off East and figured I’d stop when I got tired or when I hit Williamsburg, VA. Somewhere around 2 am I pulled into a truck stop for a bathroom break and a power nap. An hour later, I was up again, finally reaching my destination around 4 am. Needless to say, I slept for quite awhile before tooling around Colonial Williamsburg and meeting Holly and her fiance for dinner with her grad school friends.

The next morning was one of my easiest drives to Washington, DC, where I got to see one of my best friends in the whole wild world. After breaking some minor laws (no dancing in the Jefferson Memorial? But have you seen my moves?) and the healthiest dinner I’ve had all trip, I accompanied her roommate out to the bars at 2 am while Gina went to bed. Because why not. As someone pointed out in Nashville, I get along with pretty much anybody. I got to spend the entire next day with Gina, giving a hearty approval to her boyfriend and feeling positive about her situation as I left town early Sunday morning. I probably won’t worry about myself enough to ever satisfy my mother or anyone else who doesn’t want me to become a hobo, but I do feel very protective about Gina’s happiness.

My drive to Vermont brought on the first non-gorgeous weather since San Diego. Apparently, my ability to summon California temperatures and sunshine does not extend above the Mason-Dixon line. I spent the night in Burlington, VT and then sauntered over to…you know, I’m not even sure I know the name of this town. I’m in rural Vermont. It’s friggin amazing. I’m staying with the parents of a former coworker whom I had never met. Why? Because someone suggested it and one of my three personal mottos is “I’m game.” (The other two are “Sack up.” and “Be the person you want to date.”)

I’ve been doing terribly at keeping stats, but I can tell you that I’ve heard a total of 35 Adele songs and been through 16 states. I’m at about 6,000 miles and am afraid to check my credit card balance to see just how much money I’ve spent on gas. 

Have I mentioned that between here and Omaha, it’s about 10 hours of driving every day? Bring it!

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This Is My Ninth State So Far? Really? High Five, Me.

A quick and dirty recap of the last few days while I sit here at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Memphis, waiting for my friend’s bus to arrive. 

I drove nearly a thousand miles in Texas. I went all the way down to McAllen, where I stayed with my old roommate and her family, having some phenomenal Mexican food and taking Monica through Costco for the first time in her life. I also filled up on gas for $3.48 a gallon. Yeah, California, I can hear you crying. 

Next stop was Houston, where I met up with Margee, who is currently living in a house that was once abandoned and has now been rebuilt using mostly recycled and reused materials and employing such eco-friendly practices as collecting rain water to use for flushing the toilets. We spent most of the night shooting the breeze with a few of her roommates, who are friendly and welcoming people. The next day, with the warm sun shining and delightful breeze, we walked to the re-market, where people leave clothes and household goods off and people are free to rummage through and take home what they fancy. There was a lovely market atmosphere with a food truck, music playing, people selling wares and an arts and crafts table. It was the perfect kind of place to spend a late Saturday morning with a friend that you’d never read about in a tourist guide and exactly the reason I planned this trip around seeing the people I know rather than the places I think I should visit.

I arrived in New Orleans Saturday night, grimacing as my poor tired car rattled over horribly bumpy streets. I met up with Steve at a bar where he was out with some of his coworkers from the public defenders’ office, and we caught up about the last 7 months. When we went back to his house, his roommate (and another FJV) Nate walked with me around the neighborhood, again, discussing our lives since the end of JVC. The next day involved eating crawfish on the porch, heading to Congo Park to see a brass band competition, and running into a former coworker from SutherlandGold. Yup, even in New Orleans, I happened to bump into someone I knew. And I absolutely love it. The night ended with a late Mass at St. Joseph’s and then Nate and I had some coffee and beignets before heading to see some live music. Both nights I was there I ended up going to sleep at about 2 am, but I actually felt great having a whole day where I didn’t have to drive 300 miles or more. 

Today, I was in 4 different states, stopping to get gas in Jackson, Mississippi, where I was offered marijuana by a gentleman who was quite impressed that I had driven my beat up old Carolla all the way from California by myself. I declined the invitation to purchase narcotics and the inquiry for my phone number so that Frank could “holler at” me. Thanks for that, Mississippi. I then got a little side tracked on my way into Memphis and ended up visiting beautiful Arkansas for awhile before figuring out how to get to where I’m (pretty sure I’m) supposed to be. 

Welps, I suppose I should look at some jobs with the remainder of my time here on the internets. I asked people with whom I stayed to contribute some guest posts, and hopefully they’ll actually write something, as I have limited time for and access to the webs. And you, know, any time I can get people to talk about me, I’m happy.

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Day 7: Texas Isn’t That Big… HOW AM I STILL DRIVING!? Will this road NEVER END?

Greetings from Austin!

Actually, would you mind giving Austin and me a few moments of privacy, please? We need to have words.

Austin, what the hell? You’re a cool town, I want you to know that. I really dig your scene and you’ve got a wonderfully friendly skeeball bar. I wasn’t here for SxSW, but I heard it was an all out shitshow, in the best possible way, and I’m super glad to hear that about you.

But you have GOT to be kidding me with how hard it is to drive here, man. Seriously, Austin? SERIOUSLY? I just dragged my ass from El Paso, and I’m pretty sure everyone you’ve ever met has told you this, Austin, but East Texas is a gorgeous but unrelenting oppressively expansive stretch of land. You would hope that after nine hours of two lane highway like the crack of humanity between the unending buttcheeks of the southwest, I would be rewarded by a breezy little freeway way trip into the city. The capitol city, no less, with a capitol building larger than the federal government’s (Texas, I don’t even have the time or wherewithal right now to discuss your superiority complex). But do I get that, Austin? Do I get to cruise those last 30 minutes after cruising 500 miles in a day? No, ya smug dipstick, I have to suffer through stoplights and arbitrary highway changes in the middle of podunk towns on the outskirts of your city limit, stopping and going 80 different times in what should be the easiest part of this drive. And then, and THEN Austin, once I actually get into the city limits, you go into a freeway spaz for all with onramps and exits crisscrossing each other like a spider orgy. That’s messed up, Austin. That’s messed up, and I’m pretty sure you know it.

Like I said, still think you’re a great town and I’m totally excited to check out the food trucks today, maybe order some East African food or something. Just, maybe try to figure out an easier way for traffic from the 290 to get into the freaking city, ok? Ok, good talk.

Alright, sorry about that guys, just had to straighten some things out with my current city. I spent two nights ago in El Paso, seeing a fellow Former Jesuit Volunteer (FJV). Fun part of the day- about 50 miles outside of El Paso, there is a border patrol check point, where I was asked to step out of the car so a drug sniffing dog could inspect my trunk (I did ask that they could put my pillow in the back seat before a dog stepped all over it, and they obliged after giving me weird stares… inconsiderate punks. Yeah, dude, maybe you should notice that there are personal items in that trunk over which you are giving your dog free reign. Rude). I think my favorite part was when the officer asked me where I was headed and I told him, “Uhhh, all over. I’m on a road trip.” I probably would have arrested me at that point, but obviously they didn’t (or maybe they did and they let me use the internet while I’m being detained, you’ll never know). I have no idea what could have set the dogs off, but I suspect that living in the haze of San Francisco has just let the stench of marijuana seep in the the very fiber of my car. I mean, she’s already trippin’. Am I right?

Next stop is McAllen to see an old roommate and then back up to Houston for what is rumored to be an FJV reunion shake down. Or whatever you kids call big parties these days.

Oh, and New Mexico? I don’t care how many roadside billboards you put up, the Continental Divide Trading Post will NEVER be Wall Drug.

STATS

Ohh, look at all these stats. Try not to drool on your computer, it can be really bad for laptops.

Day 4 (San Diego to Phoenix)

Miles traveled: 379

Total miles traveled: 951

Gallons purchased: 8.410

Adele songs heard: 2

Total Adele songs heard: 6

People seen

Dana (Sister, LS: Christmas)

Jon (Brother in Law, LS: Christmas)

Hans (Dog- Dana would insist he be included. I’m rolling my eyes right with you, LS: Christmas)

Day 6 (Phoenix to El Paso)

Miles traveled: 407

Total miles traveled: 1358

MPG: 37.4 (AWWWWW YEEAAAH!)

Gallons purchased: 9.959

Adele songs heard: 5

Total Adele songs heard: 11

People Seen (reminder, FJV = Former Jesuit Volunteer and LS = Last Seen)

Laura (FJV, LS: July ’11)

Day 7 (El Paso to Austin)

Miles traveled: 579

Total miles traveled: 1937

Gallons purchased: 6.916 (I’m almost on empty right now)

Adele songs heard: 2

Total Adele songs heard: 13

People Seen

Rachel (FJV, LS: 7/11)

Pamela (FJV, LS: 7/11)

Joel (FJV, LS: 7/11)

Various skeeballers of Austin, never before seen

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Days 3-5: Family Affairs

Awww Yeaaaahhh! I’m finally in another state! 

Last I left you, my brother and I were playing Wii and trying to figure out what he, his wife and I were going to do for the day. We ended up going to see 21 Jump Street, and Josh and I both snuck a 32 ox bottle of his home brew into the theater (because how else do you expect a couple of Portuguese kids to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?). Movie was hysterical but we both had to pee so bad it hurt, and right at the climax of the plot. We then decided to find an Irish pub to continue partying St. Paddy’s style. At first, we went to a bar with a five dollar cover, and then promptly turned around, because the kind of people who sneak homemade beer into a movie theater are not the kind of people who pay cover charges. In fact, people who go out to bars with me, take notice – I judge you when you make me go to bars that charge for me to simply walk in. No place is that cool.

To get back on track, we found a place that served a tall boy PBR and a shot of well whiskey for five bucks. Josh and I were sold. I think Lisa ordered a beer. We spent a few hours there; I tried my hand at darts (I suck at those even worse than I suck at skeeball) and told strangers about my intentions of dating Tim Tebow (we would have such great conversations!). After some greasy Irish pub food, we got home at about 8pm, ate girl scout cookies and watched Jersey Shore pop up videos. Seriously, I can feel the jealousy seeping through each and every one of you, and I haven’t even mentioned that I was wearing my brother’s Forever Lazy, which is for people who think the Snuggie is just too much work.

My drive to Phoenix on Sunday was without trauma. There was snow on the mountains near San Diego, but I ignored the signs imploring me to carry chains. Living for a year in South Dakota has given me just enough confidence to figure I’d make it through just fine, but also enough respect for the road conditions to realize I should drive carefully, which I did. Duh.

Phoenix has been lovely. My sister and I saw some of the hoochiest outfits I have ever witnessed walking into a restaurant/club last night. We lingered long enough to weep inwardly for my age group, and then went somewhere else for dinner. Today my sister, her husband, their dog and I hiked Tom’s Thumb. Where it SNOWED. In ARIZONA. In MARCH. Obviously not huge flakes, but visible flurries. Outrageous. I also tried the Taco Bell Doritos Taco. I actually feel slightly ashamed sharing that, but I’m going to go ahead and own up to it. 

Tomorrow I’m driving to Texas. Hopefully spending a night in El Paso, then on to Austin. 

I’ve been uploading pictures to a flickr account, so you can view my shenanigans here

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email. Stats are only for days where I actually drive my car. 


Stats to be posted later, when I find where I wrote down the stats. Whatever, I’m on vacation. 

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Day 2: There We Go

I’d like to apologize, because this has started on a bit of a dull note. Running errands, hanging out with my grandma, and visitng a few friends is great fun for me but not exactly the best reading for anyone else. Ridiculous circumstance have to be coming soon. As much as my mother doesn’t want to hear this, if this trip goes through without any mishaps, I will be sorely disappointed.

I left SLO and headed to LA (ok, Manhattan Beach, whatever), meeting up with a friend from my movie theater job for dinner. Part of what I love about catching up with people I haven’t seen in years is the conversation flows so smoothly. There are years to discuss, plus Brady and I always had easy conversation anyways. At some point I realized it was 10:30 pm and I still had to drive to San Diego. In the rain. Whoops.

I mede it to my brother and his wife’s house without incident, until I realized I had no idea what their apartment number was. So I played a fun game of “Try the doors and see which one opens” and the accompaniying ditty, “I really hope I’m at Josh and Lisa’s place and didn’t just break into a stranger’s apartment-oh, that’s a picture of them, we’re good.” And then crashed like a kid at the end of Halloween.

The whole reason I drove in so late was so I could wake up and attend Lisa’s yoga class, at the studio where she not only teaches, but manages. Unfortunately, this meant we also had to leave at 6:45 so she could get the studio set up, but since she’s the lady in charge, she let me sleep in the floor of her office until the class started. I love me some floor napping. And then hot yoga class, which is always a hilarious undertaking for a slob like myself (but don’t be fooled, I’m surprisingly flexible. Did a bird of paradise like a boss). Her studio is fabulous, in case you were wondering.

I’m now playing Wii fitness with my brother and his wife, laughing at how much effort Josh is putting into making my Mii as realistic as possible, and hoping the rainy weather clears out before I leave to Phoenix tomorrow. When I left SF, I thought I’d be heading towards sunshine and warmer climes, but the friggin rain followed me down. I better get to wear some shorts soon, or I will punch the clouds in their babymakers.

DAY 2 STATS

 Miles traveled: 311

Total miles traveled: 555

Odometer reads: 128326

Gallons purchased: 9.294

Total gallons purchased: 9.294

MPG: 28.83

Adele songs heard: 3

Total Adele songs heard: 4

Stops: Nipomo, CA; Manhattan Beach, CA; Carlsbad, CA

People Seen:

Grams (Birthed Mom, LS: January)

Kathy Tompkins (Birthed Patricia, LS: January)

Brady (Worked at the movie theater together, LS: 2010?)

Josh (Brother, LS: Christmas)

Lisa (Married Josh…sucker, LS: Christmas)

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Day 1: Barely

Finally!

With a grand total of 127,771 miles already on ye olde Carolla, I’ve started this massive drive-o-derby.

Well, sort of. I have yet to break out of the realm of places I know and have either visited often or lived in for 18 years.

 I stopped in Redwood City to have dinner with Patricia and then drove down to my parents’ house, where I got to sleep in a real bed. For those of you who don’t know, in my apartment in San Francisco I sleep on a queen sized air mattress with a pillow top cover. Why don’t I have a real bed? Because if given the chance to spend my money on a bed or on thousands of dollars worth of gas, I will choose the option that lets me visit EVERYONE who gets in touch with me over the next month. I will choose that option every time. That’s the real reason I can’t have nice things. Ok, that and the fact that I rain destruction on material possessions through my astounding clumsiness and my ability to forget anything that isn’t food related

Now, I don’t want to start any needless competitions that would be laughably beneficial to me, but Patricia did serve me up a delicious dinner of marinated chicken skewers with roasted vegetable, cous cous and frozen Greek yogurt for dessert. I’m just saying that if any readers who will be hosting me in the future thinks he or she can do better, I certainly invite you to try. There may have to be a final ranking of the top meals of the trip. I do this for you guys, because I care so much about your reader experience and am such a selfless giver. Not at all because fatty needs feeding. 

Look! A subject change!

Now that I’m in San Luis Obispo, I’ve got to run some car trip related errands, like getting an oil change, purchasing some bear spray and stealing food from my parents (one day…I’ll be well enough off where I won’t take food out of my parents’ pantry. Probably sometime after I decide finding a job is more important than driving 10,000 miles. So actually, maybe never. Sorry Mom and Dad. PS, thanks for the big knife). It’s a bit of a boring stop in the trip, but grander stories are soon on their way, this I can promise.

I’ll be keeping track of some stats below, in case this interests people. Perhaps at the end, I’ll compile a nifty infographic, but most likely I won’t. If there is a stat you care about and would like me to keep track of it, let me know, and I’ll add it in.

Hope you’re having fun reading about how much fun I’m having. Suckers.

Just kidding, I love you all. Especially if you win the unofficial, best meal fed to Maggie competition. Yeah, I’m 100% behind this idea now.

 

DAY 1

Miles traveled: 244

Total miles traveled: 244

Gallons purchased: 0

Total gallons purchased: 0

Adele songs heard: 1

Total Adele songs heard: 1

Stops: Redwood City, CA; San Luis Obispo, CA

People seen (LS = last seen) :

Patricia (friend from high school, Davis, and family friend – LS: last Friday)

Ryan (Patricia’s boyfriend—LS:  last Friday)

Keith (friend from high school –LS: last Friday)

Mom (birthed me—LS:last Sunday)

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It’s Go Time, Fatty!

Dear Adoring Public,

 I’m back!

 Well, back on the blog, because in reality, I’m leaving.

“Where ya goin?” I can hear you ask because I’ve had several cups of coffee which allows me to hear the thoughts of my readers (it’s an underwhelming super power, but I’ll take it).

AMERICA, that’s where!

Check out that big beautiful map.

My internship has come to a close. I don’t have a new job lined up quite yet, so I decided why not take a month and visit all kinds of people I haven’t seen in far too long? I’m young, I’ve got some savings to burn and am game for sleeping on couches, floors and maybe in my car a few nights (JUST KIDDING, MOM. I am definitely not lying to you and completely have this entire trip perfectly planned so I have a warm house to stay in for every night. My pants are certainly not combusting as I type this. I’ll be fine. DON’T WORRY). Like I’ve always just started saying, there’s no time like IMMEDIATELY.

To answer a few questions that I know are going through your mind (I’ve still got the coffee-powered brain reading, pal)…

  1. I’m going by myself. Scary? Only if you think about it, and thinking has never been a problem with me. Also, I’m staying with people I know, so it doesn’t feel like I’m doing it alone, it feels like everyone is a part of it.
  2. YES, I’ve seen how expensive gas it. Still going.
  3. I know I’m missing skeeball, but I have to do this. I HAVE TO.
  4. She’s a Toyota Carolla, I call her Camelia. She gets great gas mileage and shall be my glorious companion.

 

So get ready to accompany me on the narration of a journey of 10,000 miles, certain to be a tale of rugged adventurism, fraught with digression (and parenthetical thoughts. You’ve already noticed how much I love me some digressive parenthetical thoughts), laughter, a brick ton of friends and hopefully as few life lessons as possible. Because life lessons are usually painful and expensive and I hate them, that’s why.

If you’re one of the stops on the map, I can’t wait to see you. If you’re one of the folks in SF, I’ll pretend to miss you and I can’t wait to see you in April.

Happy Trails, Everyone!

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Because Everybody Loves Pie

Some of my best Fourth of July moments have found me wandering a town with no clear plans, but armed with patriotic fervor and an apple pie and up for any crazy adventure upon which I may happen to stumble.

This year certainly didn’t let me down.

I made my pie, taking certain liberties with the recipe (you want me to do a lattice crust? Oh I do no think so. I will make a crappy star to “decorate” my full topped crust and you will like it) and then headed into Valentine to see what was about. My roommates were enjoying a day off and didn’t have the antsy drive compelling them awake at 8 am and out of the house as soon as possible, so I believe I was still the only one out of bed when I trucked out. I just love this holiday, I couldn’t sleep. Mostly I just love wandering around with homemade pie knowing I make endless friends with just this and a mutual love of the United States of Awesome America.

At one point on the way into town, I passed a tractor driving down a dirt road through prairie dotted with haystacks and cattle. God Bless America and there is no way your Fourth was as American as that because remember, there was an apple pie riding shotgun.

Well, I headed out to the Valentine City park, met a friend for a picnic, and after she left I was walking towards the creek to take a walk. Well, I happened to walk past a church picnic and a five year old girl decided I was her new best friend and we ended up hanging out for the entire afternoon. This included getting drenched in a water balloon fight and culminated in an invitation to go to her house (I can hear all the mothers at this point sucking in their breath in disapproval, but don’t worry, I made sure she asked her mom). Um, sure, why not? This is Nebraska/ South Dakota where people are just genuinely and extraordinarily friendly. Neil and Monica met me at the house and we spent about two hours sitting in the Niabrarra river, enjoying the sunshine, playing with two hilarious little kids.

The evening ended watching fireworks at the Rosebud casino. Except these fireworks were backlit by some of the craziest lightning I’ve ever seen, because hey, this is God’s country.

So once again, I started the day with pretty much no plans for the day and pie.

And I ended with awesome.

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Called Out

My mother sent me an email telling to update the blerg. Considering just how much she helped me out this weekend and even, a little bit, kind of managed to hold back some major judgement (I forgot how strong craft beer is), I should probably do what she tells me (but just about the blog; I’m still going to join the Marines… and join couchsurfers.com… when I have a couch of my own).

I’m unfortunately going to have to speed through some very exciting adventures I’ve had since May. I went to Omaha, twice. I saw Wicked. I met Soledad O’Brien (she told me she liked my shoes!). I ran a half marathon (YUP). I rode on the back of a motorcycle. I saw the angry spillway up in Pierre and the dam that now runneth over. I also went back to California, but that might actually deserve it’s own post.

Lately, I have been extraordinarily busy. The JV house from Austin came up and visited us. They had an 18 hour drive, but we tried our best to treat them like royalty. This included stealing some mattresses from the administration building so no one slept on the floor and borrowing a 15 passenger van for our ride to Mount Rushmore so we could all stretch out in luxury. The day they left, I left for Rapid City to fly out to “home” (um, where is home, these days? Where I have a few boxes of stuff? Where I’m going to live? I still kind of think it’s Davis.), and as soon as I got back, we were already partly through a week long summer camp, also called Body, Mind and Soul (BMS).

This is the third week long camp we’ve put on, the we being Monica, Neil and the two permanent religious education teachers. From  9 am to 2:30 pm, we have activities, mini lessons about a few saints, games and food. The students range from 2nd to 6th grade and some of them came to religious ed classes during the year, but there are many new faces as well. It can be pretty fun, but it can also be fairly draining at times. We have also had groups of high school students from other states who have been here to help out with BMS who have been extraordinarily helpful, probably more so than they intended or realized. Back when I was holding classes for just one hour of up to 15 kids, it was hard to get them interested in the activities, especially if they thought it was lame. However, when the younger kids see the bigger ones participating, they just kind of go along with it. I’m not sure what this says about individuality among children and the herd mentality, but it’s helping me out so I’m not going to question it.

I’ve also been taking on more responsibilities here and there at the radio station, especially when people take their vacations. The weeks when they need me to do extra work always seem to coincide with the weeks where we have Body, Mind and Soul (and this week there is the added stress of Monica being at a retreat). However, next week we will not have BMS, so I’m hoping to go to Rapid City, hang out with the Swishers, hike a mountain and tick off any last “oh, I should really see/do/eat that” items from my South Dakota list before I leave.

Because I will be back in California in 24 days. Not that I’m counting. Really the calendar with the big red Xs and descending numbers on it is counting for me, and I just remember what it tells me.

I’m not sure if I announced here what I will be doing after JVC. I’m going to be moving in with my brother and his wife and being a nanny for their one year old son. Because it’s one step above moving back in with my parents. Also, because I only have nine months before I would start the Marines, I didn’t feel like jumping through the job finding and apartment or house procuring hoops.

Whew, so that’s the what have you for my past month or so.

Happy now, Mom!? (Thanks again for the cookies!)

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