Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I cannot decide what I want to do with my life. I decided to become a nurse for many reasons. I love taking care of people. I love comforting people when they are going through a hard time in their lives. I even love helping a person through their death, I know that sounds weird, but there is a great blessing in holding a persons hand and telling them not to be afraid and that it is OK to go. One of the greatest things about nursing is job stability and availability. I loved the fact that there were so many opportunities to do so many different things. I also thought that nursing was an economy resistant field. After all, there are always sick people. Boy was I WRONG!
The hospitals control our industry, and what controls the hospitals? You guessed it, just like any other business, $Money$! Well I never thought it would get like this. I have enjoyed being in Jefferson, but as I am sure many of you have guessed, it is not my first choice in places to travel. When I first started to travel, you could really pick where you wanted to go. Now unfortunately you can pick from alot fewer choices. Hospitals do not want to pay for travel nurses, because as you can guess we are there most expensive staff members. It seems like now, they are going with less staff before hiring a traveler.
It has been interesting at home too. When I graduated nursing school, 2 years ago, a new graduate could get a job in any type of nursing they wanted. I had 2 offers to go to an OR. I had 4 job offers total. Now you get on the websites to the hospitals, and there are very few listings for nursing job opportunities. The ones that are posted all specify that they want a nurse who has experience in that field. I have been told that the people that are graduating from nursing school right now cannot find jobs at all. Can you imagine? You start school 2-4 years ago, and make a decision to go into a career where job availability and stability is the best of any other career you could go into. Then 2 years later you can't get a job at all!!! I am frustrated for myself, but that is just devastating for them.
So, I am at this crossroad. I would like to keep traveling, but I do not want to continue to have to go to places that I don't want to go to. There is a part of me that wants to go home, but I have always said I would go to the OR when I got done traveling, and right now that is just impossible. There are a few jobs out there at home, but they may not be the most exciting. So, the question is, Keep traveling to places that aren't so exciting, or go home to a job that isn't my dream job? What do you think?
P.S. I have decided that no matter what I do, even if I go home. I am going to have some great adventures. I am going to find fun and interesting things to do. I will quit ignoring the things to do around me, and enjoy Alabama. I have enjoyed doing random things to keep me busy. I should continue to do those things even if I am in a community where I have friends and family to hang out with.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

7 Quick Takes- 1st Edition

1- I got this idea from my fellow blogger Amanda. Thanks girl! It is great because there are quite a few things I want to blog about but aren't long enough to make a full blog post. So I thought I would give this a try.

2- Mushroom hunting? Apparently here in Iowa this is a big sport! No, they aren't getting high off these shrooms! They collect a type of Mushroom called Morrels. Apparently they are very yummy, and grow wild quite abundantly. It has made me laugh to hear people start at story with last night we were mushroom hunting! I told them that if I did that in Alabama, I would more than likely wind up eating something poisonous! I'm still trying to talk someone into taking me to do this interesting activity.

3-I definitely have some of my grandmother in me. She loved birds, she always had bird feeders all over, and kept her birdbath perfectly clean. I can't say that I have a great love for birds, but I can say that I can't stand to see a bird and not know what it is. When I was driving down the road the other day I kept seeing these little black birds with orange on there wings. I thought they might be Orioles, I called my mom and asked her, and she agreed with me. I decided to look it up online, and I was completely wrong. They were Red winged black birds. So pretty. So I guess I still haven't seen an oriole.

(This is a redwinged blackbird)(This is an oriole)

4- I miss Milo's. Is it sad that when people ask me about southern foods I wind up telling them about Milo's? Yes, I give them the traditional answers about the best bar-b-que in the world, fried everything, and the best way to cook any vegetable. Then my mind wanders to things I miss, and I want to tell them about Milo's. Then the inevitable question comes. "What is the sauce like? Is it like a bar-b-que sauce?" Then you are in trouble, because as any true Milo's lover knows. The sauce is like no other, it is indescribable. Okay, I better stopping talking about it before I drool on myself.

5-Spring Lake is a state park in Iowa. I went yesterday. It was so much fun. Everyone takes their campers, and go hang out for the weekend. It is very pretty, and there is so much to do. Everyone takes there bikes and they ride around. They swim, fish, and go for paddle boat rides. They also have roller skating rink that opens at night. It felt like stepping back in time. It was an open air roller rink, that looks like it has been there forever. After everyone cooks out for dinner, they walk over to the skating rink and listen to the music and skate with the kids. It was so much fun, but needless to say I am sore today from skating.

6-Getting old stinks! It is still hard for me to understand that I can't do the things I did when I was 13. I remember going to skanks Skates 280 (for those of you that don't know, that's a nasty skating rink in Birmingham) and skating for hours, while never getting tired, sweaty, or sore. Last night I kept having to take a break. I am pretty sure I smelled like a pig, and it was hard to walk back to the car. Maybe I shouldn't blame it on being old, just out of shape! SAD!

7- Happy Memorial Day! Thank you to all those people who gave there lives for our freedom! Also thank you to any veteran of any war who fought for us! You are all hero's!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mall of America

Wow, have I had an adventure!?! On Tuesday I drove 3 1/2 hours to Minneapolis to go to the famed Mall of America. I have heard about it for years, but never had the opportunity to go. For those of you that don't know The Mall of America is a shopping mall in Bloomington, MN. Right outside of Minneapolis. It is 4 stories, boasts over 520 stores, has 4 department stores, a movie theater, a theme park, an aquarium, put-putt golf, and a ton of restaurants. It is amazing.
When I first walked in to this shrine to shopping, I must have looked like a moron, because I had my mouth hanging open, and my eyes popping. I have never felt so overwhelmed in my life. I went to guest services grabbed a map and took off. The first day I was there I only made it through one floor. It amazed me. This place has every store you could possibly ever want to go to. It even had stores that I have never seen inside a mall like Marshall's and Best Buy. My favorite store they had was a Nordstrom Rack. It's a Nordstrom outlet. It had everything from designer jeans to great shoes, and the were all discounted. Ohhh, I was in heaven. After I completely wore myself out I decided it was time to ride the roller coaster. I am not a person who really likes roller coasters, but I felt like it was a rare opportunity to ride a roller coaster inside. It was very fun, but what an odd feeling being indoors. Next it was time to go to the hotel and get some rest, to come back the next day and conquer the next 3 levels.
I went back on Wednesday, and did my best to conquer the rest of the mall. It is so big, that it is very easy to get turned around. You often feel like you have made a whole loop, and the realize you only have made it around half of the mall. It also is complicated because many of the stores have 2 or more stores in the mall because of it's size. So you turn a corner and see Victoria's Secret, and you get deja vu because you feel like you just passed it. It took me awhile to figure out it wasn't deja vu but I had already passed it. Well, as the afternoon wore on I was exhausted. I decided to was time to sit down and have some lunch, and hit the road back to Jefferson.
When I got in the car I really relaxed. My legs and feet hurt so badly. I was happy to be in the car sitting down for a good 3 hours. I got on the interstate, set the cruise control, and got on the phone. It is kind of nice being in the car when you are so far from home. It is a nice time to catch up with all my friends. I realized after I had been in the car for a little while that I only had a quarter of a tank of gas and would have to stop to get gas. Well then I got on the phone and forgot about it for awhile. I realized I had to stop soon when my little gauge told me I had 40 miles left in my tank. So I started looking for an exit with a gas station. No such luck. When my little gauge said I had 20 miles left, my car sputtered to a stop. OHHH NO! Well, I didn't freak out because I have AAA. I got out my card and called. When I called AAA the proceded to inform me that I didn't have service. Apparently the bill hadn't been paid. Ooops! At that point I turned into a basket case and cried to the lady on the phone about being in the middle of nowhere on the side of the rode. So, I had to pay to have it reinstated. They transfered me about a thousand times, before the finally had someone on the way to bring me gas. I came to find out that in the middle of nowhere in Iowa, there can be as far as 50 miles between exits with gas stations! They also do not have those lovely little signs we have in Alabama, that tell you if it is going to be a long stretch between stations. (You know they say: 17 miles to the next gas exit) Well I finally got my gas. They brought me 5 gallons, when the AAA service usually only brings you 2. I thought they were just being nice. Then they tell me that I had to stop at the next gas exit because it was 17 miles away. Well after a nice hour of sitting and sweating in the middle of nowhere staring at cornfields I was on my way again. I finally made it back to Jefferson. I was exhausted. What an adventure!

Monday, May 18, 2009

How Blessed am I???

Sometimes being away from home can be really hard! Travel nursing can be so much fun, and you have so many adventures, but often times it is lonely and boring. I have been feeling that way the past few days. I guess it is because I haven't been feeling well. I have been nauseated, and running a low grade fever. This means that I have felt like crap, but not bad enough to not work. Being at work when you feel like this takes so much more energy, effort, and patience (toward those patients). Especially for people like my poor confused old man who spent half the night last night yelling at me that I was holding him hostage, and about the planes flying over his head. Nursing can be soooo much fun!

Today when I was feeling this way I started looking at my pictures and realized how much I have gotten to do over the past year. It really has been amazing. Over the past year I have lived in 4 different cities. I have had 4 family members get married. I have been on the vacation of a lifetime with my Mom. I have partied with the Montreal Canadiens (NHL team, for all those crazy southerners like me who know nothing about hockey!). I went to Napa with my sister. I went to the beach with my dad and step-mom. I went to see New Kids on the Block in concert (om, I know lifetime dream come true!) I did Mardi Gras in Shreveport. It makes my head spin to think about it all. So I thought I would share a little bit about the past year with you.

This time last year we were less than 2 weeks til my sisters wedding. Life was crazy! My sisters wedding was so much fun. She had it at Lake Martin, AL which my family loved showing to all of my brother-in-laws family from Reno, NV. The weekend was one of the best I have ever had. I have so much to live up to when I have a wedding of my own. I have rarely been so happy. I loved seeing my sister so happy, and was so excited to have Tyler join our family.

Shortly after recovering from that. I was packing my bags to take my first travel assignment. I was so nervous. I felt like I was really leaving home for the first time. I was going to Reno, NV, and my sister and brother-in-law were going to let me live with them. While on my assignment in Reno I got to do many things. I went and spent the day at Lake Tahoe, went to San Fransisco for my cousin Jonothan's wedding, went to Virginia City, NV (old gold mining town) and went to Napa with my sister. I loved being able to spend so much time with my sister. We never spend much time together just the two of us, so that was truely a blessing.

(Mom and I in San Fransisco for Jonothan and Jenn's wedding)

(Napa Valley)

(Beth and Tyler's Dogs, Bama and Daisey didn't want there aunt to leave Reno)

When I left Reno I came back to Birmingham. I spent the money I had made for my mother and I to go on a fabulous vacation to St. Thomas. We had never been before, but it is so beautiful. It was wonderful to do a mother/daughter vacation. I don't think I have ever seen my mother so relaxed in her entire life.

(our last day in St. Thomas)

When I got home I packed up again to move to Shreveport. I lived there for 4 months, and made some good friends. My greatest adventure while I was in Shreveport was going to Dallas with my friend Rebecca to see a Montreal Canadiens game. Long story short (I will tell you the long story if you want, and trust me I will tell anyone who has ears) we wound up eating dinner in the same restaurant as the team, and next thing I know I am riding in a limo to a club with the Montreal Canadiens! Craziest night of my life! Shortly after that it was time to leave Shreveport!

(at the hockey game, the Habs Won!!)

I went home for a month or so, and then took off again to Jefferson, IA. Looking back over the past year is amazing. I have gotten to do so much, and even though I have spent a lot of time away from my family and friends, I have also spent so much quality time with all of them. I am so blessed to have them in my life, and to get the opportunity to do so many memorable things with them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I just don't get it?

rAs you know I'm as southern as grits. So living anywhere outside to the deep south is a learning experience for me. So far living in Iowa has shown me many things, but one thing that seems to keep reappearing is rhubarb. I was sitting in my little room one day when my phone rang. It was the sweet little lady that owns the Limburg house. (See earlier post) She proceeds to ask me if I like rhubarb pie? Of course I had never had rhubarb in any form, but I was embarrassed to say so. I responded "oh, yes, I loooove it!" She said "well, I just pulled a pie from the oven, and I will bring you a slice up." I ate it,and it was delicious. Kind of sweet and sour at the same time. Yummy! Well I called my mom and told her about it, and she responded "oh, what does it taste like?" Okay, so maybe I wasn't just weird for never having had rhubarb pie.

Well then over the next few weeks I noticed rhubarb was every where. The cafeteria at work had it, a girl brought some in her mom had made, and people were talking about eating it. I was so confused. I proceeded to tell some of the girls at work, that I didn't think we grew it in the south, because I had never had it before I moved here. The looked at me like I was absolutely crazy!! Then I talked to a girl who has lived in Iowa most of her life, but spent a few years living in Nashville. (She is the only person here who understands how wonderful it is to live in the south) She explained to me that rhubarb does not grow well in the south. She said "I think it is that clay ya'll call soil." She had attempted to grow it when she first move to Tennessee and she was unsuccesfull.

Will someone explain something to me? Why don't people in the south make rhubarb pies? Surely you could get rhubarb in the grocery store? Well I don't know about that, because I have never looked for it. I do know that you can get lots of things that are not indigenous to Alabama at the Piggly Wiggly. For example we are famous in the south for our Nana pudding, and I know that we do not grow Bananas in Alabama. Someone look at the grocery store in Alabama, and tell if you can find rhubarb there? Also let me know if I am crazy, have any of you southerners out there ever made, or eaten rhubarb pie?

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Bridges of Madison County

You will never believe what I did today, OK I guess the title gives it away. I just found out the other day that Madison county is in Iowa, right outside of Des Moines. I figured this would be a good day trip, to give me something to do. I love to read, as any of you who know me know, and though it has been many years "The Bridges of Madison County" was a book that I adored. Unfortunately I have quickly discovered that Iowa is not nearly as romantic as the book made it seem. When I got up this morning I saw that it was a beautiful sunny day and the temperature was supposed to be in the 70's so I figured it would be the perfect day to go. I did a small amount of research and took off. I drove about an hour to Winterset, IA. Which is the county seat. I went to the chamber of commerce and got a map and took off. There are 6 of the original 20 bridges that remain. They are located all over the county. Some of them are down long dirt roads and some of them are right outside little towns. They were all very pretty. Many of them had been moved multiple times, and all of them had been restored. I also learned a little bit (which I guess is always good) so I will pass on one tidbit I learned. The bridges were covered because the timber they used on the floor was very expensive, so they wanted to protect it from the elements. Apparently the cost of the roof was less expensive than having to replace to flooring. Interesting, huh? I was waiting to meet some cute photographer on my journey, but no luck.
The second thing I did on my journey will interest you guys more than the girls. The Bridges of Madison County is kind of a chick thing so I figured I would do something a little more masculine. In my research for my little day trip I came across the fact that John Wayne was born in Winterset, IA. So of course, because I couldn't pass up the chance, I went to visit John Wayne's birthplace. He was born in 1907. So of course you get there and go in this little gift shop. And there are about 10 little old ladies there, giving tours to about 10 little old men. So cute, so I thought I would go along for the tour. They take you into the house, and tell you can't take pictures inside (I'm really not sure why). They then proceed to show you 3 little tiny rooms crammed full of John Wayne memorabilia. Very exciting! Then they have one room that has furniture that they "think" "might" have been like the furniture he would have had in the home when he was born. I'm telling you people it was fascinating! (catch the sarcasm, if you haven't already) Well needless to say I am now crammed full of useless John Wayne facts, so now I will share them with you! John Wayne was a 13 lb baby. Which is really no surprise given the size man he became. Though it makes you wonder how is mother survived childbirth in 1907 at home. I tell you how, because a female physician came to his house to help deliver him. My most hilarious fact of the day is that John Wayne's birth name was MARION! hahahaha. I just love that a man as rough and tumble as John Wayne was named Marion. I guess it's just proof that a child can survive any emotional trauma you throw at them. Oh yeah, Not far from one of the bridges was a little stone school house that was built in 1874. It is so cute. It has been restored along with the the outhouse, and little water pump.
Overall it was a really fun day. I think it is great that I am able to do things that I NEVER would have done in a thousand years if I hadn't have come to Iowa. It's not like I was so fascinated by the bridges that I would have made a special trip to the middle of Iowa for it, but I am really glad I got to see them.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Limburg House

One of the perks of being a travel nurse is that your agency finds and pays for housing for your assignment. Majority of the time that means a lovely furnished apartment. When your assignment is 8 weeks or less the company usually won't spring for an apartment. They book you an extended stay hotel. Well in Jefferson, IA there aren't many options of places to stay. I could have stayed at the Super 8, or I could stay at a Bed and Breakfast called the Limburg House.

As I am sure you can guess I decided on the Limburg House. It is a lovely bed and breakfast immediately down the street from the hospital. It used to be owned by a Dr. Limburg, and he ran is practice out of the house. Displayed throughout the house is some of his old timey doctors instruments. Of course this is much better than staying at the Super 8, and much more homey! It has a great wrap around front porch with a great swing and places to lounge. My room is on the 3rd floor. It is roomy and spacious, though I keep hitting my head on the roof. (It is an attic room, and has slanting ceilings in some parts)

As you would expect from an older house that is turned into a bed and breakfast, parts of it kind of creep me out. Some of the decor throughout the house is very old fashion. Including a antique doll that is on the couch in the living room. I don't know about you, but antique dolls have always freaked me out. The most entertaining thing in the house is in my room, and can be incredibly creepy. It is an antique wedding dress on a dressing dummy. So basically it looks like a headless bride in the corner of my room. You can easily turn around and think you have a woman standing in the corner. Freaky I know. Fortunately now that I have been here for 3 weeks, I have really gotten used to the headless Bride. My Mom has found it funny to ask me how the bride is doing, when we talk on the phone. We decided the other day that we needed to give her a name. Any suggestions????I also wondered if there are any ghosts stories that go along with the house. I have yet to ask the owner this question, but I did mention it to someone I work with. She told me that her grandmothers sister (I think), used to work for Dr. Limburg as his nurse. Apparently there was something going on between the physician and his nurse (surprise surprise, right? some things never change). Then the nurse, who was in her 20's, died mysteriously in the house. Rumor had it, she may have been pushed down the stairs. Well just so you know I haven't yet woken to a woman standing over my bed, except for the bride in the corner. Stayed tuned for more stories from Jefferson, IA.

Friday, May 08, 2009

New at this!!!

I am very new at this! I have never been a writer, or even been good at keeping a journal, so it should be interesting to see how I do at this. I have been a blog stalker follower for awhile now so I figured I would try to do it for myself. I guess I will start by telling about myself. I am nervous that I will not be witty enough to keep people interested, but I will certainly make a stab at it.
Well as the title of my blog tells you I am a travel nurse. I have been doing it for about 10 months now and it has been very interesting to say the least. I am a true southern girl at heart. I was born and raised in Birmingham, AL. I haven't strayed very far from home until I started doing this. When people ask me why I am doing this my answer is usually "because I can". I am single, and don't have anything tying me down. So I thought I need to see the world while I can. It is nice to be able to pick up and try out a new city without permanently relocating. I am learning more and more about what I want, and don't want, out of life. That is why I chose to do this.
Right now I am in the busy metropolis of Jefferson, IA. When people talk about the heart of America this is it. This town boasts one red light, a DQ, and a giant 25 bed hospital. It is the ultimate in small farming towns. I am used to working in a hospital that is 935 beds, so this has been an adjustment to say the least. I have many stories, but I will have to save them for future blogs.
Around here, all i get is people making fun of my southern accent. Most people say "LeeeAinn" (as if thats the way I pronounce it) thats sooooo cute! As anyone who knows me knows my southern accent is not that pronounced. The people around here talk like they are in the movie "Fargo". Do I say something to them? Nooooo! I guess my southern kindness just runs too deep. Keep reading, more to come from Jefferson, IA.