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August 19, 2009

Caught Up On Photo Website

Well, I've finally caught up in putting up photo galleries from the past three months. It has taken me a long time, which I don't understand, but it's done now.

I have put up two galleries from Arizona, two galleries from Colorado (July and August), and a gallery from our trip to Vancouver that we took way back in May. Sadly, there weren't any other galleries to put up, but the heat in Tucson prevented that.

Click on the pictures or links below to check out the galleries:

Trip To Vancouver

Looking For Wildflowers At Brainard Lake, Colorado

Hiking In The Rocky Mt. Nat'l Park, Colorado

Summer Monsoon Storms In Tucson, AZ

Saguaro East Nat'l Park, Tucson, AZ

Until next time, be safe.

August 07, 2009

Leaving Tucson....And For Now, Travel Nursing

We've hung up our spurs, as they might have said back in the cowboy days of Tucson. We've stepped away from travel nursing.

Of course, technically we've stepped away from work entirely, as we've chosen a six month voluntary unemployment period. I prefer to think of it as a hiatus from work altogether. Besides, we plan on resuming being travel nurses upon our arrival from our world trip come next February. We certainly aren't prepared at this point to return to staff nursing, and I highly doubt that five months of wandering around the world is going to make us want to either. There are too many benefits - and too few downfalls - of being travel nurses.

At any rate, we headed out from Tucson earlier this week, having finished up our shifts by last weekend. It was a pretty bittersweet week for us, because seven months in Tucson, despite the furnace blast temperatures of the last two months, brought us some great friends and surprising attachments to our hospitals. We spent the entire week not only finishing up business and preparing for our journey to Colorado, but trying to spend every possibly moment with friends we've made in Tucson.

My unit even bought pizza on what should have been my last night there (I received a call requesting that I come in for an extra shift the next night, which I awkwardly did). That actually really meant a lot to me. In my staff position at the Big D, all I got when I left was the worst eval I hope to ever get and a foot pushing me out the door. They didn't even get me a card there. My unit in Tucson probably didn't think much about buying pizza for me, but it made me feel like I had become a part of the unit in the past six months and not just a warm body, and that was a good feeling. I was actually a little bummed to leave, I've been working in a pretty good unit these six months.

Leaving Tucson itself was a little sad as well. Of course, the last couple of months have been hard, with the temperatures consistently between 105 and 110 every day. It's been hard not being able to do anything outside during the day hours, and all of my hard work running all spring into June have gone to waste as I haven't been able to really get much jogging in. Still, Tucson was good to us. We had a great social scene there, and there is always the environment that has appealed to both of us as well. Jess's parents came earlier in July, and we realized (sadly for the first time) that the best time to be outside was in the early mornings and late evenings. During the few days they spent in Tucson, they saw an amazing number of creatures that I have unsuccessfully looked for, including scorpions, tarantulas, and even a couple of rattlesnakes.

Since their visit, we've been trying to get out and check out the wildlife in the dusk hours, as have our friends Scott and Lindsay, who managed to score a major find, the gila monster, which is a very reclusive and rarely seen lizard. I even went out my last night, at midnight, to try to find some creatures, particularly a rattlesnake. I went into the Sabino Canyon Recreational Area, in the pitch dark, armed with my camera, a flashlight, and a big stick that had been leaning against a sign at the entrance that stated, "Active Mountain Lion Area: Enter At Your Own Risk." I wasn't terribly worried about the lions, most people in Tucson never see one, even those who hike regularly. Still, I hiked for more than an hour, slowly walking up the road peering off into the dark to see some critter, at which I was highly unsuccessful. At some point, I saw movement in the bushes off the road, and became pretty excited until I saw that my quarry was a skunk, which not only do we have in Colorado, but aren't that great of a find anywhere or anytime. Then, up ahead in the hills, I heard a sound that resembled a woman's scream with undertones of a cat sound. I've never heard a mountain lion before, but I've read of the sound they make, and all the descriptions quite accurately fit this particular sound. At any rate, that was pretty much the end of my hike, I turned around and walked as slowly as my eroding courage would allow back to the car. I never did see a rattlesnake in Tucson, which I find to be a tragedy. I also didn't see a mountain lion, which is less of a tragedy.

So, we've left behind Tucson, with its traffic and its mountains, its heat and its unique landscape, and our friends and our hospitals. We're looking at this point to returning to Tucson next February, our vaunted return to the world of employment. So, we didn't feel like our exit was anything permanent, just a spell of time somewhere else doing other things. In a sense, that could be said about our relationship with travel nursing. It's not that we are finished with it, we are just doing something else for awhile.

Keep track of us via our Seven Continent Trip Blog. It's looking to be a good time.

Until next time, be safe.

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