Thursday, May 29, 2008

Moving so soon...

So, I really don't have a point to this particular post.

I am just sitting here thinking of my upcoming move and life changes and decided I would just start typing. I have prepared for this move for several weeks... I've bought a car, found a place to live, got a job, resigned myself to the fact that I will be cold 9 months out of the year, and lined up many other things that I need to do. And all of that was done before I graduated! =)

What I haven't done is dealt with this emotionally. I don't mean to use the word "emotional" as though I need to cry and be all dramatic. What I mean is that most of my best friends are here in the Sacramento area and I have yet to internalize the fact that I will be moving 1,500 miles away from everyone. I don't want to say goodbye; I'd rather pretend nothing is changing.

At work, all my friends have taken me out to dinner, taken pictures to make a scrapbook for me, and many other thoughtful things that have been really special. I still don't feel like I am leaving.

I haven't even started packing yet. Maybe because if I pack, that means this is really going to happen. I am really moving. I really won't be able to play poker on Saturdays with my friends anymore. I really won't be tubing all summer with everyone. I really won't get to see my CA family much. I really will be leaving a great office and great co-workers.

On the other hand, there is so much to look forward to. I will be living closer to my family. I will be starting a new job. Making new friends. Getting a new car. Have access to cheaper plane tickets to the east coast. All in all, it's a great opportunity and I will be challenged and I will grow.

I am terrified and excited. Happy and sad. Confused and Certain.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

6 Random Things

My cousin Rebecca tagged me in a little blog thing that asks me to disclose 6 random things about myself...

1- I can do this weird ear thing where I tuck the outside of my ear inside the inner part. Then, when I smile, the outer ear part pops out. You kind of have to see it to really understand what I am talking about.

2- Whenever I drink with a straw, I always chew the top part so that it is a square. Also, I always push the little triangles down on the drink lid because I hate that squeaking sound when the straw moves around.

3- When I drink starbucks, I always adjust the lid so that the drink opening lines up with the little boxes they write your drink order in.

4- If I have a pen that requires a pen cap (rather than the kind that clicks) but the pen cap is missing, I either throw away or give away the pen. I hate using pens that are supposed to have the pen cap but it's missing.

5- My toes are almost always crossed (my big toe over the one next to my big toe). This is usually when I am sitting, although at times, I have noticed my toes crossed while I am walking around or standing.

6- I will share almost anything I am drinking with a friend except for milk. I don't know what it is but there is something about milk that makes it grotty to share.

Now I am tagging 6 other people to do this: Tiffani, Katie S., Nicole S., Aunt Lori., Aunt Barb, and Ashely E.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Updates on life

I realized that I haven't posted any updates for a little while and a lot has happened in the past month or so.

Yesterday was my last final for this semester... and better than that, it was my last final EVER! I will be graduating on Saturday with my Bachelors Degree in Criminal Justice. It's kind of surreal, but I am sure it will hit eventually. I will be more relaxed once I see my grades (which I know will be fine, but there is just something about seeing them on an official transcript); and I will be even more relaxed after my diploma is mailed to me and in the extremely over-priced diploma frame I bought (but hey, it's a big deal). I am celebrating with my CA family on Friday night in Turlock and then with my friends all weekend at various grad parties. I even have announcements to send out, but I am kind of running late on those. I debated on whether or not to get them but I thought it would be fun to have a grad announcement to look back on some day =)

As far as work goes, my last day "on the books" in my current position with State Farm is May 30th. As of May 31st, I am officially on the payroll of the Minnesota office! I won't be moving until June 10th though. It was too unrealistic since I am graduating from Sac State on May 24th. I have a week of training the first week of June in Lincoln, Nebraska and my new supervisor graciously offered to fly me from Sacramento to the training. Then, I will keep work on my training books in the office I am currently in on Monday and Tuesday of the second week in June (June 9-10). I have the rest of the week (Wed-Thursday) off to move. Charlie and my mom are coming out to CA to help me endure the 3 day drive across the country in a Uhaul truck.

There is a lot of planning involved when you move across the country! This will be my 4th move from one state to another, but the other 3 times, all I needed to move was my clothes and a few personal items like pictures and knick-knacks (is that spelled correctly?). All of that fit into my little Dodge Shadow so I would pack it up and drive off. Also, I was always moving to a place I knew people so I didn't really need to bother finding a place to live because I already had one. But now, I have accumulated lots of furniture and have even more pictures and stuff, hence the Uhaul (and just in time for record high gas prices). And I am going to a place where I don't know anyone so I had to actually find a place to live!

I decided the first thing I needed to do was find a vehicle that could handle the Minnesota weather (they get snow from September through May, so 4x4 is a must)! So, I bought a 1999 Toyota 4Runner, 4x4, and manual transmission (the stick shift was just for fun)! Since it was in MN, my mom test drove it and then picked it up for me! I sold my car and a friend of mine is letting me borrow his car (that he is not using at the moment) since I don't have one.

The next thing (and probably the hardest part) was finding a place to live! Rent in MN is cheaper than CA, but I am used to sharing the rent with my roommate so if I found a place to live alone, I would end up paying more money than I am now, plus the full cost of utilities. I decided to find a place where a couple of girls wanted another female roommate to move in. Today, my mom checked out a place for me and now, I have a place to live!

Well, I am super tired and need a nap (go figure). I need to get my nap in before the American Idol finale comes on (GO DAVID ARCHULETTA!!!).


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hannah Madison Clark

Hannah Madison Clark
7 lbs 3 oz

This is the only picture I have so far (thanks to sending pics via cell phone text messaging)!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Big Changes

Some of my blog readers know that I applied for a job in Mendota Heights, Minnesota (in the twin cities area) a few weeks ago. The job is an Auto-Claim Processor with State Farm. It would be a lateral move since I am currently a Fire-Claim Processor. I didn’t post about this pursuit because I didn’t know if it would pan out and honestly, it’s never fun to say, “I didn’t get the job” (although we all have said that at times and there is no shame in that as long as you did your best).

The beginning part of last week I went to Minnesota for an interview. They didn’t pay for me to go out there; I brought myself out. They were willing to do a video conference interview, but I wanted it to be face-to-face.

I have gone back and forth on this issue… a lot. While I have always said I wanted to move back to Minnesota after I graduate college, once the option to go became a reality, I got cold feet. It's one thing to make a decision where all you need to figure out is which choice is “good” and which is “bad,” but this is different. But both options are “good” choices. I have a lot going for me here yet there is a lot for me in Minnesota too. No matter what state I live in, I will be facing new challenges since I will be done with school and needing to find various things to fill my time. I have a great job here, yet the job in Minnesota is great, too. I have great friends here, but I know I’d make great friends there. CA has great weather, awesome family and friends, lots of big cities to visit, a diverse environment, and did I mention great weather? MN has mom, dad, Charlie, Greg, John, Tiff, Taylor, in a few days, Hannah, and dad’s airplane, ice hockey, and the Midwest mentality. You can see my dilemma.

Before I heard back from the interview panel in Minnesota, I decided, “If I get the job, I will go,” and, “If I get the job, I will turn it down,” about 5 times each. I had even hoped I would not be offered the job so that I wouldn’t have to decide (what a copout, huh?).

Yesterday, my manager came up to me with an email he received from the Human Resources Department in Minnesota stating that they were offering me the job.

Hooray??? Er, Hooray!!! <-- That is how I felt. On one hand, I was proud that I had been offered the job. Interviewing is tough and I was proud that they had selected me. On the other hand, I was forced to make a very important decision.

Sparing the details of the numerous conversations I had with many people, one point that several people seemed to make over and over was that I need to just commit to one decision and stick with it, even when I feel like changing my mind, until I have overwhelming evidence that leads me in another direction. That is hard for me because I have a hard time committing to things. But, I heeded that advice.

And, I took the job.

I am very excited and happy, yet a little sick to my stomach. Some of you may be surprised to hear I took the job because we may have discussed this on a day (or minute) where I was strongly leaning towards staying in CA. I know one thing: I can’t sit here and hope I made the “right” decision because I think either decision would have been ok. But I think the decision to take the job and move to Minnesota will challenge me far more than staying where I am at… and it’s never a bad thing to challenge yourself.

I have received so much support from everyone: friends, family, and obviously my parents. I would definitely appreciate your continued prayers as I say “see you later” to my dear friends and family here in California; and for all the details of moving across the country and finding a place to live. And finally prayers for peace, because I am certain I will question my decision for many months as I settle into this new phase of my life in the twin cities.

I don’t have a “release date” from my current job yet, although I am pretty sure it will be at the beginning part of June. I should know by the end of this week. I'll keep y'all posted.

Oh yeah... I would be happy to entertain those of you who might want to come to see me, experience the twin cities, and visit my family up in Grand Rapids!

One last thing: If I haven't told you personally, "I got/took the job!" please know that this is something I have been stressing about for so long that, now that I have made a decision, my focus has quickly and temporarily shifted elsewhere: school. Don't take that to mean you can't bring it up if we talk, though. I just might not think of bringing it up because in the midst of this job decision, I am also trying to finish my last 3 weeks of college!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Learning the "Other Side"

This post might be kind of random as I attempt to write what I am thinking, but here it goes...

Over the past several years I have done a lot of growing and learning through various means: conversations with my friends, family, and parents, finishing my Bachelor's degree (well, in 3 more weeks), life experiences, etc. Through all this, there is one thing I have learned that really sticks out to me: while we all have our own beliefs about God, politics, this ethical issue, that moral issue, etc., it is not compromising your values and belief system to genuinely learn why someone else believes differently than yourself. I actually think it is very important to hear the "other side." And for many reasons...

-you can make well-informed decisions
-it can confirm what you already believe
-you don't look ignorant when discussing things with someone on the other side of the issue
-you demonstrate that you recognize their are other perspectives besides your own
-You find that you can (and I do) have very meaningful relationships with people whom you have opposing views with
-and you just might find yourself changing your position on an issue

By being willing to hear other persectives/arguments on issues, I have learned a few things about myself and about what I believe. To name a few:

-I have found that I am not 100% "republican"
-I no longer support the death penalty
-My faith is no longer just a part of what I grew up with; it is what I firmly believe to be true and cannot be convinced otherwise; I have always known that Jesus is God and the Savior of sin but now I have a better understanding of why I believe it.
-I love the Harry Potter movies and don't believe they are the devil's handiwork (C.S. Lewis' Chronicle's of Narnia are just as magical)

I think this lesson I have just written about is one of the most important things I could have learned. So "thank-you" to everyone who has challenged my thinking! I would name specific people but I don't want to forget anyone, although, it is pretty safe to name my parents. For the rest of you, you know who you are!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Minnesota Trip

I recently went home to Minnesota for a weekend visit.
I took lots of pictures so I grouped them up in 3 categories:
1- Minnesota Trip: The Plane Ride With Dad
2- Minnesota Trip: The Garden Center
3- Minnesota Trip: The Family

Minnesota Trip: The Plane Ride With Dad

Dad took me flying while I was home. We flew around Grand Rapids, went to Hibbing, then to McGregor for fuel, and then back home to G.R.
***Watch the video at the bottom of my dad landing his plane***
This is my favorite picture of my dad flying.

There were still ice chunks in the lakes as of April 27th!
But they looked cool

Dad is probably just "fine-tuning" the instruments

I took over, but not for long!

In McGregor for fuel

Fueling up

Man, it was cold that day!

Dad and his plane!

Arial of Bloomers Garden Center

A closer look at Bloomers

Mom and Dad's house
Arial of Grand Rapids and the Mississippi River (looking toward the East)

This video is of dad landing his plane. Watch and make comments!

His landings are really smooth! =)

Minnesota Trip: The Garden Center

I got to see Bloomers before Mother's Day weekend while I was there.
I haven't been able to see the garden center while everything is still
in stock and blooming for a long time so this was awesome!

This is painted on the back of the large greenhouse.

If you look close, the plane says "Tooter Turtle" - if you don't know the significance of that story, ask my dad! It's great (or maybe dad can post it as a comment!).

Mom's favorite planter - this may end up on her deck!

Mom posing with her new flower cart.

John taking a quick break to say "hi"

Mom's office. Working hard as usual!

Minnesota Trip: The Family

I was in Minnesota for a visit last weekend and took lots of pics.
I will attempt to group the pictures together.
Here are the pics of the family!
***There is a video of Taylor at the bottom of this post***

Playing Guitar Hero! Should be a staple in every home!

So, Taylor was calling these bran muffins "cookies" - She has much to learn =)

Bran Muffins are pretty darn good, though! And they keep you "regular" -
what else could you want? (except maybe a real cookie?)

Taylor was intently watching guitar hero!

I guess he was in mid-blink when I took this =)

Taylor was saying "cheese" in this pic.

Mom's attempt to do a "charlie impression"

A video of Taylor busing a move to the Guitar Hero music...