Thursday, May 28, 2009

A successful day in D.C.

After getting plenty of much needed rest, mentally and physically after yesterday's debacle, the crew was up and at 'em again this morning.

We started our journey today by heading to check out my new place of employment, The American Pharmacists Association (APhA), which is located on the National Mall here in D.C. We walked down there (took about 30 minutes, 15 of which Lisa and I had to have technically, only a 15 minute walk) and met my boss, Crystal Atwell, who is a UAMS College of Pharmacy graduate and now works for the APhA. Crystal was kind enough to give us the tour of the brand NEW building after we were "cleared" by security, including the terrace on the top floor that overlooks the Potomac River, Lincoln Memorial and you can even see the Washington Monument and over into Arlington (see picture below with Lincoln Memorial in background).
After checking on what time I should be at work on Monday and when I would be getting my ID badge that gives me "clearance" (necessary because the APhA rents out several floors of our new building to the State Department) we were on our way to the next big thing. We didn't have a plan really (in our case=NOT a good thing), just took off walking down the National Mall. We soon ran into the Albert Einstein Monument, which was HUGE!! (See below)
After stopping for a quick break, we took off again, walking past the National Academy of Sciences and Federal Reserve buildings. We then decided that getting a tour bus ticket would be the best way for us to get acquainted with where we are and where things we wanted to see were located in vicinity to us. So we bought a ticket for a "Hop-On, Hop-Off, Open Top Bus Tours," that will be good for the next 48 hours! Whew! We have lots to do! On our way to our first destination, we saw the IRS building, the Department of Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice.

Our first stop was the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Mom and Lisa wanted to see the Rotunda, AKA the big elephant below, as well as the dinosaur exhibit.
This museum was amazing!! There was so much to do and see! We wondered around in here for about 3-4 hours! There was a "Geology, Gems and Minerals" hall, so of course we had to go in there and check it out! The Hope Diamond (see pic directly below) was beautiful and so were all the other gems!!

We even found HUGE 65, almost 66, carat Alexandrite (pic below) and I learned that it comes from Chrysoberyl! This is proof that you truly do learn something new everyday!

After finishing up our tour through gems and such we decided to go get something to eat! We ate at the Old Ebbitt Grill, which is only a few blocks from the White House! On our way to eat, we passed the Treasury Department. A good friend recommended the Old Ebbitt Grill to me (thanks Clint) so we decided to try it out! It was delicious and had a great atmosphere!

Next we walked on down to our next Smithsonian museum, the National Museum of American History. The first exhibit we went to was the display of the American flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write what is now our National Anthem. After watching one lady get yelled out and from what I could tell, almost tackled for taking pictures in the exhibit, she was removed and we continued. Yes, there is a sign that reads bigger than day "DO NOT TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS." I guess reading is a very hard thing to do. Nevertheless, this display was truly inspiring! The flag was originally 30 x 42 ft, but some of it has been removed to be preserved as a keepsake (just a little part of the stripes and a star), and originally had 15 stars (but now only 14). The exhibit also showed where the flag has been since its creation, passed down through families until its donation to the Smithsonian. It was very interesting!

The next exhibit we went through was the Lincoln Memorial. Lincoln was born in 1809, so this exhibit celebrates 200 years since Lincoln was born. The exhibit moved through his life, from childhood to his time as President and concluded with his assassination and death. It had very cool artifacts which included his top hat, one of his suits and some of his wife Mary's things. I did not know that after his death they drove his body all over the U.S. from Washington to where it was buried in Springfield, Illinois...totalling over 17o0 miles. Again, historical point #2 that I learned today.

We also went through the "First Ladies" exhibit to see some of the dresses that the First Ladies wore on their husband's Inauguration Day. The last exhibit we went through was "Thanks for the Memories," which displayed memorabilia from famous TV shows including Dorothy's Red Slippers from the Wizard of Oz.

Upon trying to exit the museum we learned that we didn't really know how to get out of the museum! We got so turned around and lost that we ended up by a train exhibit and took several routes that had an "Exit" sign pointing in their direction, but none provided a successful exit. We finally backtracked and made our way out of there just in time for the rain to start. It sprinkled on and off for a few minutes but then it stopped, thankfully. It is now almost 5 and the crew is getting tired, for we have been walking all day up and down the National Mall...even in circles at times, ok, most times! This would be solely due to the 2 indecisive people and myself, who has 10 weeks to explore what I want to see so would like to do what the 2 "short term visitors" want to do before Sunday...and yes, they know they are indecisive...they warned me within the first few hours they arrived in Little Rock! But, nevertheless, we are in this sightseeing adventure together, getting lost and found again, laughing the whole way! We wait for our tour bus to come pick us up and we were off to our next stop.

If you have never been to Union Station, it is a very neat and busy place! Not only does it serve as a Metro stop and Amtrak station, but it also houses many restaurants, boutiques and shops. It is a beautiful building that always has people running to and fro, but also has tourists and slow moving people like us who have maps out and luggage going every whichaway. We felt like we blended right in (today with the maps and yesterday with the luggage)! After a walk around Union Station and a drink stop, we hopped on the Metro and headed home to Foggy Bottom just as it started to sprinkle again. This time of day the Metro is packed with people getting off work, so there wasn't much room to spare today (right now I am grateful I didn't move during rush hour yesterday).

We got back to my apartment, after finding a quicker way to walk to it from the Metro stop, around 6:45 p.m. and we were beat. Sightseeing is no easy task in a BIG NEW place!

For those of you reading this and are coming to see me this summer, PLEASE have a method of attack that includes what you want to see.....which is exactly what I just finished planning and writing down for the crew's adventure tomorrow in hopes that we can cross off more of Mom and Lisa's "D.C. in 3.5 days" list.

So, your mental picture for today is: even if you think you are trying to blend in and not appear as though you are a tourist, you cannot hide from will still happen.

You will be bouncing around the Metro because you don't have much experience riding it and had to stand up because its so full, will bump into a DC native/"Metro Pro" who is quite annoyed that you just barely nudged his shoulder as the Metro threw you forward 5 feet when it stopped unexpectedly (not at an actual stop at all, just for fun I suppose) and who will look mad enough about what happened that you don't even think to ask him to lean up as you exit the Metro so you can grab whatever it was (which is still a mystery) that you dropped and he sat on during your so called "tumble" into him.

(Trust me, speaking from don't want to be that bouncy ball)

Here are some hints though: leave the map in your purse or pocket for it's a dead giveaway that you are a tourist (which gives people even more of a reason to be annoyed with you if you cross them), HAVE A PLAN, practice hanging on to something to avoid the ugly Metro drama and nominate someone as "The Decision-Maker." D.C. has been a blast the past 2 days and we can't wait to see more tomorrow!

Stay tuned......

Too many bags.....not enough hands

Yesterday was a LONG day. If you're ready for an exhausting adventure, please continue reading.

My morning started promptly at 4:00 A.M. when I heard my alarm clock go was in my bedroom where my mother was sleeping...did she turn it off? Did she hit snooze at least? No! So, up I jump after a good 5 minutes of listening to the darn thing, run into my bedroom, kindly turn on the big light and turn it off! Mom was thankful, to say the least....

Up we went, Mom, Aunt Lisa and I were ready for the big day! Yesterday I moved to D.C.!

After hastily throwing our bags into the car and waking Zach up to be our driver, we were off to the big city! Once we got to the airport and unloaded our bags I realized quickly that maybe I packed a wee bit too much! But that thought was over quickly as I strapped two suitcases together (put my smallest one with my largest), put one of my two big suitcases in each hand to drag behind me, threw my laptop bag and purse over my shoulder and made my way to the baggage drop area. Are you forming a picture yet of what the three of us looked like at the airport?

Then Mom and I get on our first flight (Lisa flew on a different flight) and it went surprisingly smoother than I thought. When we landed, we had a brief 30 minutes before our next flight would be departing! So, picture this....Mom and I mad dashing from gate B36 to gate B6....on the other side of the airport! Geez...could they have parked our plane any further from where we needed to be??

We made it there with 10 minutes to spare and got comfy on our next plane, which resembled a crop duster, nevertheless, it was taking me to D.C.!

At 11:45 A.M. we arrived in Baltimore, Maryland and had quite the journey to go to get into the city. We went to the baggage claim and got our luggage and headed to find the stop for the Metro Bus that would take us to the end of the Metro Subway, which we would then ride into D.C.

Another mental picture: It's me, Mom and Lisa...I have two huge suitcases, laptop bag and purse, Mom has one huge suitcase, one small carry-on and purse, and Lisa has one huge suitcase, one carry-on and a purse....and we are trying to board a Metro Bus at 12:30 p.m.......
After making several people upset because of the number of bags we had, how long it took us to load them on the Bus and how much room we occupied on that bus, we were finally on the road. It was shortly after this when I realized we had boarded the bus with a lady who must have dreamed she had tried Nascar racing rather than settle for driving a bus. She was flying everywhere, I was trying to hold on to my 50 lb and 48 lb suitcases and my seat. I was unsuccessful. Around a curve we went and out of my seat I went, on top of my suitcase and landing right next to Mrs. Nascar driver! This traumatic fall was followed by Mrs. Nascar driver looking at ME as if I was crazy! I apologized, of course, and pulled myself back into my seat. This ride went on forever, really only 30 minutes, but it seemed like longer! We finally made it to the metro around 1:45 p.m.

Once we got to the Metro, I showed Mom and Lisa how to get metro cards to ride the subway and off we went with our 14 bags to get on the subway. By the way, escalators are not fun with 14 bags that have a total weight equal to your own body weight....but escalators are all over the, we had to brave them! Our metro adventure was alot better than the bus adventure....until the very end of the ride.

Keep in mind that I am from Arkansas and I don't have much experience with the subway....our stop finally came and I'm wrestling my weight in suitcases to get them off the subway before the doors start to close (which is literally like 45 secs). I get one out and am in the middle of getting the other off, when the other begins to topsy turvy (AKA falls over as I'm holding it). And then it happened.....the door shut on my suitcase, part of my body and my aunt's leg. And there we were, holding up the subway and hoping it didn't take off which us attached. As all the passengers started yelling at us "it's gonna keep trying to close! It won't open back up once it's closed!" Superman comes to the rescue. Yes ladies, he does still exist. He jumps in there, yanks the bag with one quick jerk, pulls me out and Lisa too! And just as he did all that, the doors do finally give and open back up. Every inch of me wanted to just look at the passengers who thought they knew the subway so well and say "Hmmmph. Learn something new everyday." But I restrained, thanked Superman (who quickly pointed out that we were not from here and welcomed us to D.C.) and exited the subway.

After meeting up with my roommate, we had about 6 blocks to walk with our luggage before we would arrive at my apartment. So, down the streets we went, taking up most of the sidewalk and looking as much like tourists as humanly possible. Mom and Lisa were fading fast, with nothing to eat since breakfast at 5 A.M. and remember it is HOT in D.C......I was about to lose them when all of a sudden I hear both of them laughing so hysterically that it startled me! I turned around only to find that Lisa had experienced not 1, but 2 "blowouts" on her big suitcase. That's right people, if you couldn't exactly picture how much we had been through to this point, you should know now. When BOTH of your wheels fall off your brand NEW suitcase after one trip, something is bad wrong!! We continued, with Lisa just dragging her suitcase and Mom just giggling the whole time. We finally arrived at my apartment in D.C. at 2:30 P.M. Whew! What a trip!

I unpacked, we all showered and off we went to see the Lincoln Memorial....passing Lisa's suitcase's tracks on our way! And that was "Collin's Move to D.C.," what a fun-filled day!

This morning we are up and ready to go! There will be more to come and pictures too! Stay tuned.....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

At the Request of Mrs. Hency....

I was reminded over the weekend(by Mrs. Hency of course!) that I do have a blog and that yes, I do need to update it.....the problem is its been so long, I don't know where to begin.

I guess I will start off with announcing that Zach cut his goldilocks! For those of you who have not seen his picture on facebook, I'm putting one below. His hair was 10.5 inches, just enough to send off to Locks of Love. He is like a whole new person with a new attitude! It was funny because I knew he was ready (had been ready for awhile) but had no clue when he was going to do actually do it. I knew his graduation photos (woo hoo!) were coming up and I doubted that he would want to take his picture with the long locks....but it was a total surprise when I came home and it was GONE! In other news, we are doing just fine!

I finished up the semester on April 3rd and have been searching for places to live in D.C. ever since. I have also started my rotation at Apria, which is a Home Health IV infusion pharmacy...TOTALLY new to me! That's right, I hate needles and now I'm playing around with them everyday! It's been a great experience thus far and I anticipate it to get even better! I am going on several nursing visits to see the patients, which will also be new, but I'm sure very rewarding as well! Zach is finishing up his LAST 3 days of class in pharmacy school EVER this week.....his rotations start June 1st and he'll be out of the state 3 out of the 4 first months of his rotations....I am really excited that he's finally done with class, for he hates class more than anything!

We went on a roadtrip to Tunica and Memphis a couple of weeks ago and had a fabulous time! It was a surprise! I had been in San Antonio at a convention and when I got back, he said "let's go!" and we went! I didn't gamble much but enjoyed watching him LOSE! Lol! The second night, we stayed in Memphis and had dinner at The Melting Pot! It was amazing! We ate tooooo much! But it was well worth it! And Jeni, the pomegranate martini is a close runner-up to Bonefish!

The next few weeks will fly by I'm sure! Zach and I, along with Clint and Bryna, are going to a Legislative Conference in D.C. for 3 days! I'm looking forward to getting to know my way around a little. When we return, I finish my rotation on May 15th, then head to Destin with Zach and his family for a week! I CANNOT wait! I haven't been to the beach since Spring Break '07 (RIP!)..... After our trip to Destin, I will be leaving for D.C. on May 27th and will be gone the majority of the summer, minus a couple of weekends I have to come back! I am SUPER excited about the internship and am hoping my living arrangements work out soon enough!

Both of our pups are doing great! Darbi is getting so big! She'll be 6 months old on Tuesday and she continues to crack me up!
Mer and Bekah- I am heading your way on May 8th for Anna's graduation! I hope to see you while I'm there! And if anyone else is in the NWA area that weekend, please let me know!

That pretty much sums up my life as of tonight.....I miss all my girls and intend to catch up with each of them soon!!

Good night!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

When Music Turns Obnoxious

You know, today I had an interesting thought....I am a fan of music, I like all types of music. I will even admit to listening to my rap music a little loud.....HOWEVER, I would like to post signs in every parking lot that is adjacent to the place I spend most of my time attempting to get an education. Yes, this would be at UAMS, where one may also find very sick people, people who need their rest. My sign would read (in a Jeff Foxworthy type of parody):
"If you're sitting in your car and the people who are walking by start to trip over themselves and yell at you because they can't even hear themselves think--you're music might be too loud.
If you're standing 100ft. from your car and you can still hear the music playing as if you were right next to your car--you're music might be too loud.
Or if I'm walking past your car and all of a sudden I hit the ground screaming "drive by!" because the music you're playing just sounded like someone sprayed a whole round of bullets at me and I'm a football field away from you--you're music might be too loud."
Come on Lil' Scrubby, Big' Pappy or Yung Ol' Dude! Cut that stuff out when you're on your break, in the parking lot of the place they have deemed to be "Where Medicine Lives." Hello?? What's the point? Who are you trying to impress? Turn your music OFF and get back to WORK so I don't have to keep paying for your Medicaid. Oh, and pull your pants up off your ankles, you're setting a bad example for your 10 kids. Thanks.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Dynamics of My Household....Who's The Boss?

Life on the Rodney Parhams is interesting these days to say the least. Between my 3 year old Dakota, now 14 week old Darbi and 25 year old sweetie, things get pretty hectic. Taking turns is not only necessary to avoid going crazy, but necessary so that I get as much sleep as possible on my days off (which are limited). Zach is wonderful about this though, even at trying times when Darbi wants to get up at 6 a.m. and play. She does not fully grasp the idea of "sleeping in," nor does she appreciate being put on a leash to go outside. If it were up to her, she'd love to play in the middle of Rodney Parham all day long. Dakota takes the "big brother" role and quickly puts the little one in her place when she's doing a little bit too much biting or barking. He doesn't tolerate her attitude and only tolerates her playfulness in the smallest doses. For the most part though, they get along as brothers and sisters do. Zach and I agree that even on the worst of days, these two can put a smile on our faces. Neither one of us can stay in "grinch" mode when they are around, especially when the greet us with that eager attitude and playful smile! For those of you who have a dog or any other animal, you know what I mean. For those of you who are considering getting a dog, but haven't taken that leap yet, jump my friend! It's a rewarding experience, trying at times, but the majority is filled with laughter!

Hello Techy World!

So, thanks to the wonderful friends I have (see picture above), I too have joined the Blogger world and the Twitter world. I just couldn't resist, considering it's the best means of communication that we girls can get together with our busy lives! I am excited about it though, it's going to be a new challenge for me! I've already struggled with setting it up, but have no fear, I'm all about pushing the help button! Lol! Thanks ladies! I hope to write on here often, and I enjoy reading about all of your stories and daily happenings! It's fabulous! I miss you all!!