Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Storm

The crazy snow started last night around midnight and didn't stop until around 10:00 this morning. I haven't heard the actual amount of snow we got, but we are estimating 8 inches. We were very lucky not to get ice. Travis's school decided to close because of the storm. Apparently this is very rare for Rosalind Franklin. Travis had a test scheduled for today, not a final (again, his schedule is very different from universities). The snow is perfect for snow balls and snow I think we are going to go out this afternoon and build a big snow man!

This first picture was taken by Travis at around 7:00 in the morning:

I watched as many people used their snow shovels to dig their cars out. I'm so glad we have a garage:

Here is a path someone shoveled...look at all that snow!

And...Travis and his snowball.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Job Search Update

I have aggressively been on the job prowl ever since I found out I did not receive the position at the museum. I have been applying to anything I am qualified for. I can't even tell you what all I have applied to. I probably should have kept a list. I figured since I was applying in late November/December I wouldn't hear anything until we got back from our two week trip to Texas. But all that changed last Friday...

I received an email from one of the places I applied, asking to set up an interview for next week (Dec. 15th-19th). The job is with Rotary International in Evanston, IL. This is the main headquarter for all the Rotary clubs, national and international. The job is for Coordinator of Central Pan America. I would coordinate information for 63 districts of clubs and also travel to training sessions.

Then on Monday I received a call from another job possibility, setting up an interview for later in the week. The job is a Quest Instructor at a place called Lambs Farm. It is an organization for adults with developmental disabilities. I would create classes and teach them to these individuals. The topics range from anything: history, life skills, computer programs, arts and crafts, etc.

I had both interviews today, the Rotary in the morning and Lambs Farm in the afternoon. I feel that both interviews went well, and hopefully one will come through. Both places told me I would hear something after the holidays.

I also received some applications for jobs at the naval base from a member of our church. So I plan to turn those in tomorrow.

If these jobs do not pan out, I plan to get registered for substitute teaching. Apparently North Chicago is a good area for this part-time employment.

We greatly appreciate all the prayers one this aspect of our new adventure!

Monday, December 15, 2008

By request I am posting pictures of my snow boots as well as all the other outer wear I put on when it is unbelievably cold. An example of unbelievably cold would be today: this morning when I woke up it was 4 degrees but with the wind it was -15. It did warm up this afternoon to 11 degrees with a wind chill of -3.

Here are the snow boots:

It took me awhile to pick these out. I actually asked one of the store associates for help on picking out the boots. I pretty much wear these all the time. They are made to keep your feet warm for up to -10 degrees.

And now here is a picture of what I look like going out in "unbelievably cold" weather. I have on snow boots; a long, down coat; scarf; water-proof gloves; and wrap around the head ear warmers. My down coat is absolutely amazing! I wore it for the first time the other night when it was 11 degrees out, and it kept me so warm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Snow Stories

Here are a few incidents we have had with the snow:

* On Tuesday when Travis was walking to class he slipped on the ice. Apparently he hit a patch of "black ice" which is ice on the asphalt that is hard to see. He told me later it was a pretty bad slip. In his words, "I ate it hard." He is ok--no injuries. He did have to come back home and change clothes. I have yet to slip, though I have had a few "wobble moments." But I know my time is coming.

* Pretty much all day Tuesday it snowed. At times it was coming down thick--it was gorgeous! I was making cookies that afternoon for a cookie exchange with our church this Saturday. We didn't have enough eggs for me to do another batch. So I opted to drive to the store so I could finish and be done with them. The roads were covered with freshly fallen snow, and it was still coming down. I am very thankful to my dad for giving me snow driving lessons years ago in Abilene. I'm putting them to good use, dad! I was very careful driving. Everything was done in slow motion. And thankfully everyone around me did the same. It was really fun being all bundled up with snow boots, gloves, and ear muffs.

* Yesterday we took some pictures at the Clinic next to our apartment. There was a lot of undisturbed snow over there. Travis decided to jump in and make a snow angel. He thoroughly enjoyed it! However, a couple minutes after he started to feel the cold of the snow...he forgot his gloves. Here are some pictures of his fun:

* After the snow angel incident I was walking back to the apartment when my right leg disappeared! I stepped in a spot of uncompacted snow and my leg sunk in to about mid-calf. It also was stuck for a few moments. Thank goodness I had my snow boots on. My foot and leg were warm and dry--I love those things!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Northern Creatures

Today while I was eating lunch Travis excitedly called for me to look out the window. Apparently I wasn't the only one eating. In the pine tree right outside our living room window was a squirrel carrying lunch in his mouth. What was his lunch? This little fellow had a mighty appetite: half a piece of pizza! Luckily, I was able to grab a quick picture.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It Feels Like Christmas

On Monday/Tuesday I put up the Christmas tree and a few other select decorations. The living room is just a little cramped with the tree, but it's worth it. Living in North Chicago in December feels much more like Christmas than anywhere in Texas. As of right now it is 17 degrees, but with the 15 mph wind it feels more like 2 degrees. This morning around 9:00 the temperature was 8 degrees with a wind chill of around -4. Needless to say I stayed inside today. I had some errands to run but they weren't pressing. I think it is now time for the long, down coat.

One of the things that has been difficult to get use to (aside from the bitter cold)up here is when it gets dark. By 4:45 night has fallen. It has been like this since the time change and we are still not use to it. Quite often one of us will think it is 9:00 and come to find it's only 6:00! Sheesh...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Holiday Fun

We had an absolutely fabulous Thanksgiving filled with friends, both new and old, and delicious food. Since it was our first turkey to cook by ourselves, we were a little nervous about how it would turn out. Travis did a fantastic job! With a little help from family members, he pulled out a succulent bird. I got a little caught up in all the festivities and forgot to take pictures. But take it from me everyone had a great time and made sure to go back for seconds.

Kim stayed with us through Monday which meant extra days of fun. Friday Kim and I went tooling around the Lake Forest area. They apparently were having their tree lighting celebration when we went. We watched a man create ice sculptures (once again I forgot my camera). We also got free samples of roasted chesnuts which neither of us had ever had. If you haven't tried them you are not missing out on anything. We both agreed they were not our favorite. I think it was the texture that got us. They look like a nut but are very soft, almost bread-like. That evening we went to see the movie The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. Wow--all I have to say.

On Saturday the three of us ventured out to downtown. We hopped on the CTA (more commonly known as the "L"). It was our first time to be on the L. I felt like I was in the movie the Fugitive. I did remember my camera this time and took a lovely shot of Travis:

Our main objective downtown was to visit the special German Christmas Market. Before we made our way there we stumpled on Millinium Park and grabbed a few quick photos:

In the last photo I took a picture of our reflection in "the bean". If you look close you can see the three of us.

At the Christmas market we got some delicious bratwursts and hot chocolate. The market was fun but a little crowded. We also ended up finding the huge Macy's downtown. We were all overwhelmed by the size: nine floors full of merchandise. Here is a picture looking down from the 6th floor I think:

On Sunday night it began snowing. I think Kim and I both agreed that the best part about the snow was watching Travis. Every few minutes we would look out the window to see if it was still snowing. I wish I had taken a picture of it. By Monday morning there was a nice blanket of snow on the ground, and it was still falling. I never heard the actual amount but I would guess 2 inches, maybe 3. Here is a picture from our apartment:

The snow is almost all melted by now, but we are expected to get more today and on Saturday. It truly feels like it is Christmas!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Two Strikes, Good Friends, and Snow

Well, I found out on Thursday and Friday that I did not get the two jobs I was hoping for. I have been waiting since October to hear about the National Speakers Bureau job. On Thursday I decided to check the staff page on their webpage to see if anything new was up. The position I applied for was up on the site with someone else's name. Late Friday afternoon I checked the mail to find a letter from Lake County Forest Preserves, Discovery Museum. I knew as soon as I saw that envelope it was not good news. The letter thanked me for my interview, but they hired someone else. This was a bigger blow for me because this was my realm; I was very qualified for that job. Needless to say Friday night was a little tough for me, but thankfully I had my wonderful husband who knew exactly what to say, even if at times it was nothing, and what to do, even if it meant just holding me. He especially understood the trip to the grocery store for emergency chocolate and Diet Coke :) So now I am back at square one. I am continously searching for jobs and applying to anything and everything. I also am searching for seasonal/holiday work to bring in some income.

Our friend Kim flies in on Thursday for Thanksgiving and will stay with us through Monday. We are planning to have a potluck Thanksgiving dinner with her and a couple of Travis's classmates. A couple of weeks ago we received a wonderful gift from Travis's parents. They are flying us home to Texas for Christmas and New Years. We will be in Texas from December 20th through January 3rd. We plan to visit Abilene (20-25), College Station (26-28), and Lufkin (29-3). We are so excited!

Last Thursday I traveled down to Evanston to attended an art show Katrina put on with some other local artists. And while there I was able to see Daniel Stinson (aka DanX) who was spending a week with Mark and Katrina. It was so much fun to hang out with some of the old crew. And the art show was fantastic! I wish I was in a place where I could buy some of the art. There were quite a few Katrina originals that I wanted. On Sunday we had lunch with Kelly, Sarah, and Lisa Davidson who were in the area for a wedding. Kelly was the one who performed our wedding. It was so wonderful to catch up with them. Seeing them made me feel like we were back in Texas.

Today at 7:30 Travis gingerly woke me up and asked me to look out the window. It was snowing! The ground and the cars all had a light layer of snow and more was falling lightly from the sky. It stopped by 8:30 and by now is almost all melted but it still was fun to wake up to!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I had my interview yesterday at the Discovery Museum. I feel that it went well, but I always think afterward that I didn't do as well as a should. I think back on what I said and wonder if I could/should have said more. I felt very at ease and enjoy the people I interviewed with. They are finishing up interviews today and said I should hear something by the end of the month. Before the interview I visited the museum and spent about 2 1/2 hours looking and reading. The museum is very well put together. One section is a permanent exhibit on the history of Lake County; there is another permanent exhibit on postcards which is really fascinating. Then there are two spaces available for traveling exhibits. The museum is located within a forest preserve and right next to a lake. It is beautiful. Over the past week and a half, aside from visiting the museum, I rented a couple books on Lake County history and studied up on some very interesting facts about the county.

I am very hopeful and will let everyone know as soon as I hear something.

Monday, November 3, 2008

"It's For a Good Cause"

Travis has entered himself into a "contest" in which he is the only participant and the proceeds will go to a worthy cause. Before I explain the contest I need to prelude with another contest. Three weeks ago, at the start of the crazy tests for Travis and his classmates, some of the guys in Travis's class decided they would go without shaving their moustaches until the tests were over. Travis was not one of the ones who participated. Last week while discussing the contest with a fellow classmate, Travis mentioned that a real contest would be to go without shaving a moustache until Histology class is over, which would be the beginning of February. Travis's classmate said that if Travis did it he would donate $100 to the American Diabetes Association. There is the possibility that other will donate money to the organization if Travis makes it. He is not allowed to trim the moustache; the only thing he can do is trim the area on his upper lip.

Even though it is for a wonderful cause...I am somewhat looking forward to February :)

I plan to take pictures of the stache's growth over the next 3 months. Here it is on day one:

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday's Snow Flurry

At about 5:00 Monday evening I heard Travis in the guest room say, "Oh wow--look outside!" And there it was: little white pellets falling from the sky. We stood on our small balcony and watched the 2 minute (if that) "snow storm." It wasn't much, but it was pretty awesome to see any amount of snow in the month of October! Here are two pictures of the little white dots covering the ground:

Monday, October 27, 2008

Some Updates

Travis is doing well with his studies. Last week started his crazy test schedule--6 tests in 3 weeks. He had one test last week (Biochemistry) and he did well on it. He has three tests this week: Monday-Structure and Function Histology Midterm, Wednesday-ECR (not sure what that stands for), and Friday-Structure and Function. Next week he will have two tests and these are the ones that are the killers. On Monday he will have his Anatomy written exam and Tuesday will be his Anatomy Lab exam in which he will have to identify body parts that have been labeled on cadavers. Among the study he has found time to spend with me and others. His cousin, Kyle, was in downtown with his wife for a few days. On Sunday he and Travis went to play disc golf. Travis is looking forward to the week of November 10-14; his much desired quarter break.

As for me I am still waiting to hear about the job I interviewed for. But I have received another call from a job that I think I would like alot more. I received a call last week from the Lake Forest Preserve Discovery Museum. I applied for the position of Museum Educator which seems to be in line with what I did at my other museum positon: scheduling, conducting programs, etc. The first call was to see if I was still interested in the position, and I was called again today to set up the interview time. My interview will be November 11th at 2:00. The museum is about 15 miles away which is not bad and it is not in the direction of downtown. So hopefully the traffic will not be horrendous. I'm really excited about this opportunity. It would be a job I'm really interested in and have a passion for. The museum is about Lake County history. So my plan is to go check some books out on this subject and be as prepared as possible. Hopefully something good will come of this.

The past couple days we have had some interesting weather and it will be continuing for the next few days. On Sunday the morning started out in the mid 50's which is what we have been seeing for the past week or so. By the afternoon the temperature dropped into the 40's and the winds started gusting. According to the weather channel the winds were up to 30 mph! Today the temperature has been in the 40's but with the wind it feels like the 30's. Needless to say I have stayed inside as much as possible. On his way back from classes, Travis said he saw some snow flurries which was forecasted. They were very small and very dispersed but still, snow flurries, though small, in October! The meterologists have been saying that this is unusual weather for this time of the year. By Thursday it is suppose to be back in the 60's, but for now we are staying bundled up.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Northern Holiday

Yesterday while driving I heard the djs on the radio say, "Don't forget this Saturday is Sweetest Day. Buy your cards and candy." What the huey is Sweetest day? They continued to discuss this "holiday" as a smaller version of Valentine's Day. Once I returned home I googled this oddity to find out what they were talking about. Apparently it is celebrated on the third Saturday of October and mainly celebrated by the Great Lakes regions. It is described as a day to remember those who have showed kindness and helpfulness. To read more about this intriguing celebration click the following link:

Sweetest Day

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Job Status

I called the placement agency yesterday to check up on the status of the job. I've been getting a little anxious since it seems to be taking longer than I thought. I'm not sure but I think my contact lady told me something she wasn't suppose to. The company is wanting to hire two people for the position, me being one of them. My thought process is that instead of one person assisting two executives, each executive would have there own assistant. The company is running this idea past "the powers that be" and waiting for the o.k. It may happen that they can only hire one person and then I'm not sure if it will be me or the other person. So at least I know what is going on, and now I continue the waiting process.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fall Pictures

Here are some pictures of the trees around our apartment complex. It seems like each day a new color pops up!

This next tree is inside a cemetary near us. We noticed it on Sunday when we drove to church. So yesterday we did a quick drive by inside the cemetary and took the shot.

These next few shots are from a forest preserve down the road from us.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Waiting, Cooking, and Reading

I am still waiting to hear the results of the second interview. The lady at the placement agency called me on Monday to let me know it would be a couple of days until the company decided. The main reason for the delay is the fact that they are needing a day when everyone is in the office to discuss the matter. Finding that day is rather difficult. I completely understand this predicament. At the museum when we were working on hiring someone for my position it was during summer when everyone was taking vacations. It is hard though being on the other end waiting and hoping for that call.

In the meantime I am trying to fill my time. I have found excitement and enjoyment in cooking. In the past I was never very enthralled with the idea of cooking an entree. I didn't find it all that fun--not like baking. I love to bake! My reasoning for this love would be the thrill of eating the product...and in some instances (actually most) the thrill of eating before the product is done, i.e. the delicious batter. Since we have been in North Chicago I have been scrounging through the wonderful cookbooks I received as wedding presents for new and somewhat easy recipes. This week I made two meals that were fairly easy and actually turned out to be edible. The first was called pan enchiladas--beef enchiladas turned into a casserole dish. They were really good, and since there are only two of us there were plenty of leftovers. A couple of nights later I made Sheperd's pie using sausage. Again it didn't catch on fire and actually tasted very good. One night this week Travis and I both had a craving for something sweet and since we didn't have anything premade in the house I decided to try out this interesting drink recipe I found. Using the blender (which I now love) I made these frosty orange drinks out of orange juice, milk, sugar, vanilla, and ice. Super easy and super good!

I also I have been spending my time reading. About a month ago I finished a book I was reading and needed something else to delve into. Travis mentioned his fantastic collect of John Grisham novels (18 books in all). I have seen a few of the movies but had never read any of his books. I am thoroughly enjoying the books: easy read and intense plots that keep you wanting more. I have read The Client and The Firm (both of which I have not seen the movies of but would like to now) and am currently reading The Testament.

Travis is also keeping I had to say that. Even though he has two weeks without a test, he remains devouted to studying. He knows that after these two weeks there will be three weeks of agony. He will have 6 tests within those three weeks. And each of these tests cover an unbelievable amount of material. One of these tests will be his Anatomy Lab in which he will have to name labeled parts on different cadavers. He does take his fair share of breaks which I think is healthy, (in fact right now he is watching the OU vs. UT game with some fellow classmates) but he knows the importance of his studies. I can't say enough how proud I am of him!

We can definately tell that fall is here. The weather is nice and cool and the trees are changing colors. I plan to take some pictures of the beautiful foliage and post them on the blog. Stay tuned...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Venture to Downtown

This past Friday we took a trip to downtown, or rather we went to a spot in downtown called Wrigleyville. We had planned to go with a group of Travis's classmates to a place called Harry Caray's. The class president had arranged for busses to take everyone down there, but we decided to drive, mainly because the busses were coming back a little later than we wanted to stay up. The drive was not bad at all. It took about 40 minutes and the only trouble we had was finding the parking garage I had located online. We never found the garage, but we found a public parking lot even closer to where we were going, and it was right next to the Chicago Police Department which made us feel good about the security. Since we left while the others were just gather to get on the busses, we knew we had some time to kill. So we of course went to see Wrigley Field, located right down the street from where we were going. It was amazing to stand in front of this sports venue that we both had seen in movies, tv shows, and, of course, while watching televised baseball games. What was really neat was the very next day I was watching tv and a reporter was talking from right outside the stadium...where I had stood less than 24 hours ago! Hopefully the next time we see the field it will be on the inside, sitting in the bleachers, snacking on a hot dog, and routing for the Cubs...unless the Rangers or Astros are playing. (I don't know a whole lot about the specifics of major league baseball so if the Rangers and Astros never play the Cubs just humor me).

Here are a few pictures from Friday:

This is one of Travis's classmates, Jason who went to Baylor.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Second Interview

I have really enjoyed using this placement agency to find a job. The lady who is my contact is absolutely wonderful and she gives me tips on my resume and for my interview. The interview was set for 2:30 on Wednesday afternoon. She informed me that the interview would be behavioral questions: "tell me about a time when you had to..." This was how my first interview went but this time I was prepared. I went online and looked at samply questions and thought of examples from my past experiences. It was nice knowing what to expect and how to be prepared.

I left quite a bit earlier than needed just in case something should happen. And it's good I did. The road I took last time was closed at the railroad tracks. So I followed the detour which I knew would lead me to highway 94, the toll road. After quickly checking to make sure I had change to take this route (just barely enough) I hopped on the highway and tried to remember if there was an exit at the road I needed. There wasn't. Luckily, the last time I went for my interview I was super early so I drove around the area and happend to find a back road that emptied out right near highway 94. So I took this and made it to my interview with about 5 minutes to spare--cutting it close but still not late.

I met first with the president of the company who I had briefly met the first time. He discussed the company, the position, and what they were looking for in the position. The majority of my time was spent with the VP of sales. She asked me a few situational questions and through my answers other questions were spawned. She was very intrigued with my scheduling at the museum and how I kept track of almost 200 tours. The position I am applying for would involve alot of the same organizational skills. I then met with another account executive. He and the VP of sales would be the people I would be assisting. He asked a few of the same questions. He also showed me the database program they use on the computer to keep track of the speakers and clients. He also showed me some of the paper checklists they used to keep track of the different pieces involved with each event.

My interview lasted from 2:30 to 4:00! It didn't feel like it took an hour and a half. I was having an enjoyable time. All of the people I met with were very nice and seemed like excellent people to work with. As soon as I was done I called the lady at the placement agency to discuss how it went. She was suprised at how long my interview had gone--I'm thinking that's a good sign. She asked me some questions that she would pass on to the company. So know it is another waiting game to see what comes of this interview. I feel really good about it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Random Tidbits

* My temp job is coming to an end on Monday. We have pushed through and are almost on the last of 22 boxes. If I never see another staple in my life that will be fine and dandy. It really wasn't that bad of a job. It was quite easy, just monotonous. I did find it quite easy to get lost in my thoughts while making copies which was entertaining. I also would set small goals for myself, such as, I wanted to finish this box before I go to lunch, etc. And I enjoyed lunch. I had an hour off for lunch which is way too much for me. I was use to 30 minutes at the museum and sometimes that was too much. But I have been bringing a book with me and spent the time sitting at an outdoor table reading and eating. It has been quite delictable.

* My second interview at National Speakers Bureau will be Wednesday afternoon. I will find out Monday exactly what time and what to expect. Hopefully this will go really well and I will be offered the job.

* Travis made it through his two tests and did wonderfully! After his test on Wednesday, a group of classmates planned to meet at Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate. It ended up being a rather large group--people just kept showing up and we kept adding tables. Most of the people I met at the barbeque, but there were also a few new faces. It was nice to get out and spend time with people. Travis has another test this Wednesday and then he has two weeks without tests. So to celebrate a group is getting together and going to downtown this Friday. Super fun!

* We are getting to know our church congregation more. The preacher and his family took us out to lunch for the second time. We have really enjoyed getting to know he, his wife, and sons better. We told him today that we would like to place membership. I met a really fun lady today: she introduced herself as Katherine with a "K". So I introduced myself as Erin with an "E".

* Texas moment: Saturday I went to get a few necessities at Wal-Mart while Travis studied. As I was loading the car with my purchases, there was a car stopped near me, waiting for someone to back out of a parking spot. I heard the man in the car ask, "Are you really from Texas?" I said yes and he commenced to ask me questions at the major cities: Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas. He also asked about places to eat. I gave rave reviews about all of the's Texas everything is great there! He thanked me and pulled into his parking spot. Perhaps I persuaded him to change his vacation plans from some back-packing trip across Europe to a more pleasurable Texas excursion. Maybe I need to set up a side business for Texas Tourism.

Monday, September 22, 2008


My job interview on Thursday went really well. I left my temp job an hour early just to make sure I was there on time and to ensure time in case I got lost. I found the place easily and it only took me 20 minutes. So I drove around the area to kill time.

I met with the general manager who was very nice. We had the interview in the break room. Before we started the president of the company came in and I was introduced to him. He was very nice and had a wonderful, energetic personality. We started the interview of by discussing my ties to Texas and how I got up to Illinois. She told me about a time she went to Texas. She stayed in a ranch house in the Hill Country. The funny story she told me was about an eating experience. The waitress at a restaurant mentioned the specials, one of them being chicken fried steak. She told me that this blew her mind. She could not figure out what that was. Was it chicken? Was it chicken on top of steak? As a southerner I had never thought about someone not knowing what chicken fried steak was. I first filled out a little survey, to find out what my perspectives were on certain aspects of employment. We then discussed the company and the position. She then asked me questions in which I had to state an example from work experience. I always feel put on the spot. Some of the questions you are ready for, whereas others you have to rack your brain for an example. I feel I did fairly well in this section.

Next I had a small "assessment test." She took me to one of the computers and explained my assignment. I was given one of the sheets they use to keep track of the information for speakers at an event. Some of the information was missing, and I was to write an email to the client to obtain information about the speaker's attire, as well as to write an email to the speaker to obtain his travel information. I then was to use the internet to locate the hotel's contact information and email it to the general manager. I suppose they wanted to test my email etiquette and my ability to surf the web.

Once I finished the emails I was done. The general manager thanked me and told me there would be a round of second interviews with the Vice President of Sales and I would get a call if considered.

This afternoon I had a voicemail from the lady at the placement agency letting me know that the company is very interested in a second interview. The VP of Sales is out this week so I don't know yet when my interview will be. Hopefully on Friday they will know something more. I'm pretty excited!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Job Interview

I have a job interview tomorrow at 3:00 with a company called National Speakers Bureau. I have an idea of what the job entails and it sounds very interesting. The position I am interviewing for is Customer Engagement Manager. The CEM supports the sales executives by researching speakers, updating the speaker database, preparing proposals, sending clients info about speakers, scheduling conference calls, etc. I should know alot more about the position after tomorrow.

I meet with the HR person tomorrow and also take some assessment skills tests. Then if I pass this interview I will be called for a second interview with the Vice President of Sales.

I will be going to my temp job tomorrow until about 2:00 and then I will head out to the interview. We shall see what happens.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Employment Venues

This week I have had some employment opportunities. I am still waiting to hear about an interview with the job I talked about in my previous blog. But in the mean time I have been blessed with some other jobs to bring in some cash and keep me occupied during the week.

My first job was Monday afternoon--a modeling gig. Katrina had asked last week if I would like to pose while she painted my portrait. For family members and friends who do not know Katrina she is a fabulous artist and super fun. So for three hours I posed in a sitting position on a very comfortable ataman. I was welcome to as many breaks as needed and she did a great job! The picture isn't finished yet, but my face is there. When I first saw it I thought I was looking in a mirror. You can check this out at Katrina's website. Feel free to search the rest of her website and see her wonderful work. (Katrina, I'm giving you some great exposure!)

The other job opportunity came Monday as well. The lady I have been in contact with for the job interview had a temp job available for this week. It was for a printing company who needed help making copies of legal documents. I said I would be able to do that. I've been there for two days now and has been good--not like the other temp assignment. It is alot of work though; I don't think we will finish this week. I am almost finished with my second box of documents...the total number of boxes is 22. Another lady is working on the coping, but she is also helping customers who come in. She is almost finished with her first box. We have been told that some of the boxes are only half full. If so hopefully we can knock them out pretty quickly. The client called today asking about the progress and was wanting to pick them up on Satureday. HA! I don't think he realizes what all is involved. We have to take out the staples then put them back in to the originals and copies, as well as make sure the copies are organized with rubber bands. I'm enjoying the work--it reminds me alot of projects I did in the Provost Office during college.

Travis has his first test this Friday. He has been studying very hard. He also is running for honor council and he has to give a speech on Thursday. Needless to say the next two days will be very full for him.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Ups and Downs of the Week

The beginning of this week started out not so great. I've decided that I really do not enjoy the temp agency I interviewed with. They are not as professional or as altogether as I had thought in the beginning. Because of this I ran into a problem with them that put me in a major funk for all of Tuesday. I'm typically a very upbeat person who can handle lots of adverse situations. However, no one is perfect and I just felt the weight of not having a job on that day.

It is truly amazing to me how when we are in our weakest moments God comes to the rescue. The afternoon of my "down and out" day I received a call about a job I had applied for. The company that called was not the actual company of the job I applied for. In my mind I was really afraid that it was another temp agency and I didn't want to get messed up with that again. But I agreed to go to an interview the next day. The office was in Lincolnshire which is about 11 miles but takes 20 minutes to drive. I easily found the building and was about 5 minutes early. This building was so much more professional than the temp agency interview I went too. I took this as a good sign. The lady I met with was absolutely wonderful! I felt so at easy with her and she was truly interested in helping me. We looked over my resume and she made suggestions on changes to make it more alluring to employers. The company is actually a placement company. Instead of a company looking over 200 applications, they contract this place to send them a handful of qualified applicants. She told me that she wants to make sure I am in a good place that I really like. That being said she told me that she probably wouldn't call every day. It depended on what jobs came in that she felt matched my skills and experience.

The very next day, Thursday, I received a call from her with a job possibility. Because of confidentiality issues she could not tell me the name of the company (at least until they decide to have me interview) but she could tell me about what they do. The company is in charge of selecting speakers for different corporate events. They find out what the goal of the event is and then find a speaker for the company. Because of my background with public speaking she thought of me. The job would be Administrative Assistant to the VP of sales. In time the job would also entail supporting two other executives. I thought it sounded pretty interesting. Using the information I knew I searched the internet to try and deduce the company. I could be wrong about the company, but if it is who I think it is they are a very well-established business with some pretty famous names as speakers. Also if this is the place I think it is, it is only 4.5 miles from where we live.

Hopefully this next week I will find out my possibilities of interviewing with the company. I will keep everyone informed.

Labor Day

Travis and I had a wonderful Labor Day spent with some wonderful friends. Travis was off from school on Monday. He started the day off by getting some morning study in--I truly am very proud of his good study habits. At around 12:30 Mark and Katrina came up and the four of us went out for a jolly bit of lunch. After our filling meal at Chili's and some good times coloring chili peppers, we made the great divide among the couples: the women went shopping and the men went to play disc golf.

Katrina and I headed to Michael's, Kohl's, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, all of which are very dangerous. I can easily create major financial damage in all of these delectable shopping venues. I, however refrained from spending since it really wasn't in our budget. Although I did steal a glance at the beautiful scrapbooking materials at Michael's and heard the whispers from the sparkling jewelry (that was almost all on sale) at Kohl's. I also denied the beckonings of the comfortable bed sheet sets at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I remained strong, however if I had stayed any longer I think I might have lost it.

After the shopping and the disc golf we all rendezvoused back at our apartment. We enjoyed some wonderful and pleasant conversation. Then to end the evening just right we headed out for coffee at Caribou Coffee. This was our second time to go to one of these coffee shops and they are really fun! I'm not sure if there are any of these in Texas. I haven't seen or heard of them. The inside is fixed up like a wooden cabin. It makes you feel like you just finished snow skiing in Colorado, minus the skis and the snow...well, at least for now.

All in all it was a wonderful day spent hanging out with dear friends.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Any Old Job Will Not Do

This past Thursday I had a day of "bumness". I was feeling pretty blah about not having a job and not even receiving a call from anyone. Not even the joy of my ER reruns could pull me out of the feeling. To top it off I received an email from one of the jobs I applied to saying I didn't meet the qualifications--sigh.

I decided to check back with the temp agency I interviewed with the previous Monday. Apparently they only had one temp-to-hire position that I could start on Friday if I wanted. Out of my desperation I went ahead and said yes, even though the job paid extremely little and it was not what I was use to. The job was a receptionist at a company called Pizzey's. When I looked up the company's website I found out they are a distributor of flax seed. What did I get myself into? Though it was a job I still did not feel cheered up, probably because I already knew this job would not be worth it.

Friday morning I got dressed in my professional best: nice gray pants, white button up shirt, and red jacket. When I arrived at the office the first thing I noticed was the clothing of the girl I was replacing as well as the lady in charge of the business. They both were in a casual shirt, jeans, and flip flops! I've heard of casual Friday but I think this is taking it too far. I think that was my first clue at this job. There were about 5 other people who worked there. Everyone seemed very dry and not very happy. Nobody really talked to me much. The girl I was replacing showed me around and explained what I was to do but that was about the extent of our interaction.

The head of the office called me in to find out about my background. As I discussed my previous work at a college, student teaching, and working as an educator in a museum, I'm pretty sure I could see on her face that she knew this was not my type of did I. She explained to me about the company: how they just went through a merger and were growing quickly. She told me they were looking for someone for the receptionist position who would want to stay and possible move up in the company. She said my time there would allow me to evaluate them and vice versa. After my one day at the company I knew this was not me. I know that if I stayed there I would dread going to work and I know that would also effect the other areas of my life. And I feel it would be unfair to the company if I stayed.

During the course of the day I did some filing, answered the phones (and on almost every call I had to ask someone for help), and mailed some bills. One of the things I know I did not like was all the paper work. There were so many different papers that went to different places or I was suppose to do certain things with and it was confusing. I had a small list of instructions but it wasn't specific enough. I truly did not like it.

So I'm still in pursuit of a job. I did apply to a children's museum for the position of educator. It sounds a lot like my other job. It's a little farther away than the other jobs I have been looking at but I would be willing to drive if I will be happy in the employment. Please keep Travis and I in your prayers as I continue my job search.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Relaxing at the Beach

On Saturday Travis and I spent some time together by going to the beach! Last week while tulling around I found an area that looked like a good place to visit. I only did a "drive by" of the spot so all I could see from the car was the pure deep blue coloring of Lake Michigan peeking out among some trees. This beach is located in the town of Lake Forest which is absolutely gorgeous! It is easy to know when you have entered this area because the house exponentially grow in size. They are enormous. We have been told that some athletes and other high ranking officials have mansions in that area. If any of you come to visit us make sure we take to this area.

After a late breakfast we headed out to the beach. We were unsure if you could swim in the lake so we didn't bring swim suits. The area I found was special parking for Lake Forest residents only. So we drove around until we found the "foreigners" parking lot. The parking lot was much higher up than the beach so we walked down this beautiful wooden ramp which was covered with tall trees. We picked a really good spot to visit. This beach had a special area marked off for swimming, which many families were taking part in; a very nice playground; a dock for boats; an observation area; and even a snack bar for when that swimming hunger takes you in.

We mainly walked around checking everything out. We went to the observation area and looked through the binoculars and asked a man, who actually knew what College Station, TX is famous for, to take our picture. We wadded in the water and it felt wonderful. The water was so clear and cool. It felt like being in the ocean because of the many waves that washed against our legs. When I looked out at the water it was so hard to realize that this was a lake. I guess it's hard when all you have to compare it with is the lakes in Texas.

After visiting the beach, which we have decide we will be visiting again, we went to look around downtown Lake Forest. The main store we went in was Williams & Sonoma. I have heard about these kitchen stores but have never been in one. Let me just say it is a very dangerous place. There are so many fun cooking gadgets and food items that you know you really need, even if your kitchen is already jam packed to the gills with other fancy items. My favorite items in the store were a package of animal cookie mix and very small animal cookie cutters.

Below are some pictures from our trip to the beach:

Monday, August 25, 2008


Travis' first week of school went very well. Things started off quickly and are picking up with each new day. During his first week he, along with his other schoolmates, created an image of their footprint, as seen on the left. I thought it was too cute not to share with everyone else! This image will be used later for one of his classes. Also last week he had a History of Present Illness Workshop in which he had to take someone's history. The school hired actors to come in and pretend to be patients while the students took turns asking the actor medical history questions. While Travis took his turn his partner was listening and taking notes on his presentation.

His schedule of classes is very different from undergrad in college. He doesn't have Mon/Wed/Fri and Tues/Thurs classes. Everyday the schedule is different. One day he will have Anatomy fro an hour, the next for two hours. Some afternoons he will have class or a lab and others he won't. Travis has been very studious. As soon as he is done with class for the day he heads to the library to study, usually right up to dinner time. Once dinner is done and he has had time for his food to settle, he will set up camp in the office and study until bedtime, with an occasional break.

Today in his Anatomy Lab he and his group are meeting their cadaver for the first time. And I believe on Wednesday he will have his first dissecting lab. I am really proud of all that he is doing and the dedication he is putting into his education!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Job Hunt

I'm still in the process of looking for a job. Everyday I search on the internet for new listings of anything I think I may be remotely qualified for. There is one job I have applied for that I would really like to get. It is the Mentor Program Coordinator for a college that is located about 6 miles from our apartment. The description sounds just perfect!

I received a call last Wednesday from someone who found my resume and wanted to talk to me about a job possibility. I called back to see what the job might be. The position was an individual sales representative for Books Are Fun. It's one of those companies who set up the book fairs at schools and other venues. That is not exactly my dream job. I'm a horrible sales person and the thought of working on commission makes me ill to my stomach. I need a stable job with a salary.

On Thursday I received another call from a company called Office Team. Apparently one of the jobs I applied for was through this temp agency. Since I am in need of a job I figured this would be a good route to go--let them help me find a job. So I set up an appointment for Monday at 10:30. When I arrived for my interview I first had to fill out some paper work. I then met with one of the managers and we went over my past jobs, skills, and what area I would like to work in. Then I had to take 4 skills tests: Microsoft Word, Excel, Database Alpha entry, and Database Numeric entry.

When I finished the test I met with someone else who went over the scores with me. My database numeric was my worst test--I didn't even score near the average. Truth be told I don't deal that much with numbers so this score wasn't too much of a shock. My database alph was just below average. My Word and Excel scores however were fantastic! I scored in the 80's on both tests and the averages were in the 60's and 70's. Hopefully in a few days I will hear about some job possibilities.


We went to another church this past Sunday. This one was in Vernon Hills which is about 12 miles away. Traveling up here is somewhat different. In Texas 12 miles would be about 12 minutes, but up here it took us a little under 30 minutes to get to the church. It is a new way of thinking.

The attendance at the church was about the same as the other church we visited. Everyone was so nice to us. We ended up staying 30-45 minutes after the service talking with people. We had met the preacher before service who grew up in a town in east Texas, not far from where Travis is from. I think he said it was Gilmer, Texas. After the service I got to talking with the preacher's wife and through our conversation I mentioned that I went to ACU. She then told me that her son teaches at ACU--Steven Moore! I was in two of his English classes and, like every other ACU student, loved the class! While I was talking to some other people, Mrs. Moore called Steven on her cell phone. So I got to chat and catch up with Mr. Moore--so much fun. I love finding random connections with people!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Orientation, Pizza, and Bowling

Travis has been attending orientation this week, learning all kinds of wonderful, new information about his school. To break up the monotony of the days lectures, the school set up special evening events. The event on Wednesday night was bowling at a place called Fat Man's. I was looking forward to meeting some new people.

Fat Man's is not far from our place and was located on a street we haven't been on yet. On the way there we found some new places such as a much closer Walgreens, a small shopping strip, and a restaurant called The Shiloh that we were told has wonderful food. Because I was not a student we had to pay for my bowling but my pizza was free. For some reason food tastes even better when you don't have to pay for it. I'm not sure where this pizza came from but it was pretty amazing. It wasn't the Chicago deep dish style but it still was mighty fine.

We started off bowling with a couple of second year students. Towards the end of our second game, Travis jumped up and started to make his way to a couple who just entered the bowling alley. I figured it was someone he had met during orientation. Alas, I was wrong. The guy who came in was wearing a Texas A&M shirt and Travis quickly honed in on the maroon ora. While talking with him we found two other Aggies within the mass of students. We began a new bowling game with the couple and chit chatted about Texas. While playing Travis found some more people from Texas--two girls who attended UT. So we finished our last game of bowling in between telling Aggie/UT jokes.

We had a really good time and enjoyed meeting new people!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


On Sunday we started our search for a church home up here. It really is a new experience for both of us. We both have done the church search before but it was when we were younger and our parents were mainly in charge. When we came to College Station (he a little earlier than me) we both knew we would go to A&M C of C. So we are starting out by looking in the phone book. We started with the first one on the list: The Church of Christ at Waukegan.

Coming up here I knew we would probably be going to a much smaller church than I am use to. The smallest church I have been a member of is probably A&M which is around 1,000 people. In the service at Waukegan I counted 30-35 people. Quite a differenece for me but it was a very enjoyable service. Before and after the service we had members coming up to meet and greet us. Everyone was so nice and invited us back. We found some people who had grown up in Texas--we are finding that is a common thread up here. The songs during the service were probably our favorite part. Every song had a wonderful amount of soul within it.

We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at this church but I think we may need something a little bit bigger. I really enjoy getting involved with the Children's ministry and I really didn't see too many kids. We will continue our search and find something that fits us well.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Apartment and Surrounding Areas

We are very close to having everything in its place which is very nice. The apartment is feeling a lot like home to both of us. We have yet to meet any of our neighbors; I don't think everyone has returned yet for school. Here are some pictures of the apartment:

Here is the living room...along with the PGA tournament on tv.

Our kitchen where we got very creative figuring out where all of our stuff would go.

Our Texas "bling" right outside the kitchen.

Our nice big bathroom with two sinks--no more water fights!

The guest room/office. *Please note the shark jaws on the left as mentioned in a previous post.

The master bedroom which is much larger than what we previously had.

This is the front of our building.

Travis' school which is literally a parking lot away from our apartment.

And just for fun...

Shark Attack! It's a little blurry but you get the jist. The stitches came out Friday and I am almost completely healed.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How Did You Get That?

We had a little adventure on our second day in North Chicago. On Friday we remained very busy with unpacking and figuring out how the furniture should be placed. We got quite a bit done during the morning and the afternoon. At around 5:30 things took a little bit of a change.

Those of you who visited our old apartment know that Travis has a pair of shark jaws that we hang on the wall in the guest room. In the midst of tryin to hang these they sort of slipped off the wall and I happened to be right under them getting a picture. One of teeth got my arm pretty good, not bad, believe me I've had worse injuries. The cut was deep enough that I would need stitches. So my dad used his GPS to find an emergency room. We got there at 6:00 and didn't leave until 12:00! After the first three hours of waiting I was finally called in to get registered. The lady registering me was so nice and actually lived in Texas at one time! Everyone in the ER was so nice and personable. And let me tell you, my injury story was the hit of the ER. How many people can say they got a shark bite in their apartment?

I ended up getting three stitches and a tetnis shot. I am healing quite nicely and go to a doctor on Friday to get the stitched taken out.

We Are Here!

Sorry to keep everyone in suspence...we actually made it to North Chicago! We had so many wonderful friends come to help us pack up the Uhaul. I would guess that we had around 15 or so people. We greatly appreciate the help that everyone of you offered.

We left College Station at around 6:00 in the morning and met my family in Dallas at around 9:00. Once we rearranged luggage and people in the cars we headed out for the next part of the journey, Travis and my dad in the Uhaul, Jennifer and I in the Toyota, and Traci and my mom in the van. The Uhaul crew began driving towards Oklahoma while the rest of us went to drop the van off at the airport. Around 12:30ish we stopped for lunch at a Burger King/gas station across the street from a huge casino--I kept expect a herd of Elvis impersonators to come barreling out.

We finished the drive through OK, quite a boring drive I might add, and then we came to Missouri. We enjoyed the drive through this new state, mainly because the hills at least added a little bit of variety to the journey. We arrived at our hotel in Sullivan, MO at 8:30 in the evening. We quickly ran over for a quick bite at the Crackle Barrel right next to the hotel and then we all fell right to sleep.

The next morning we started out at 7:30. Sullivan is only an hour away from St. Louis so we were doing pretty well. We passed by the arch which was quite thrilling! Then we entered Illinois which felt like we were back in Oklahoma--flat farm land as far as the eye can see. We arrived at our apartment complex at around 2:30. Once we filled out all the paper work and got the keys we entered the apartment at around 3:00. It is very nice which we are glad about since we rented this place without seeing it. We've had to think outside the box a little bit with all our stuff. The kitchen is smaller and has less cabinet room than our other place which is tough because we hardly fit our kitchen items in that space. We have found a way to make it work. Our master bedroom is bigger as well as the bathroom. The best feature of the apartment is it has one of those systems where you buzz visitors up to your apartment--so fun! I plan to put up pictures soon. I'm waiting until we have it put together a bit more.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Last Day

Today is our last day in College Station, Texas. Tomorrow we will be leaving at 6:00 in the morning, heading to North Chicago. We've had some "fun" the past two days. Yesterday when I returned home from running some errands I noticed it was a little warm in the apartment. The temperature in the apartment was 81 yet the unit was still working, just not blowing cold air. So I told the apartment people at around 11:30, figuring that would be plenty of time to get it fixed. At about 1:30 the maintanence guy came by saying he would check the freon on the roof. I didn't hear anything more about it. We kept calling and they said they had a call into the contractors. By late afternoon it was 88 degrees in the apartment which made it very hard to do anything. Needless to say little packing was done.

We had dinner plans with a couple from our church. When they heard about our problem they offered up their guest room to us. We said we would check first to see if anything had been fixed and if not we would take them up on it. When we got home at 8:30 the apartment was up to 91 degrees--the carpeted floor was hot to walk on! So we packed our overnight bags and headed to the lovely air conditioned guest room.

As of right now the a/c has yet to be fixed, but one of Travis' friends was kind enough to bring us three floor fans. I'm hoping something gets fixed before 5:00 when we will be loading the truck. I think Travis and I will always remember our last few days in College Station!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New Beginnings

Welcome to Travis and Erin Bodeker's blog!

For those of you who do not know we are less than a week away from moving to North Chicago, IL (about 30 miles north of downtown Chicago). Travis will begin podiatry school at the Dr. Scholl's School of Podiatry and me, well I'll be doing something. I'm in the midst of looking for jobs. I think once we get up to Illinois it will be easier to find something.

We both are finishing up our last weeks of work, me at the Star of the Republic Museum and Travis at St. Joseph's Hospital. For the past two days I have been training the person who will be taking over for me. It's a weird feeling training someone for my job because I can distinctly remember when I first showed up and was learning the ropes.

This Friday my dad and sister are driving down from Abilene to pick up my car and tote it back. With all of the other forms of transportation up north, we feel we won't have a real need for two cars. Our apartment is less than half a mile from his school. Next Tuesday we will pack up our lovely 17 foot Uhaul truck, and early Wednesday morning we will head out! The first stop will be in Dallas where we will pick up my parents and sisters and then head for Springfield, MO. The next day we plan to be in North Chicago, hopefully with enough time to get into our apartment--an apartment that neither of us has seen yet but we have had very good recommendations from outside sources.

We are excited about our new adventure and will keep you posted!