Monday, January 31, 2011

Dr. Donuts

After church yesterday I decided to try Doctor Donuts. The store was new and modern with quite a bit of seating. When I walked in around 11:30am there was just one family inside. I was unimpressed with the selection of donuts, there were probably 7 choices of donuts in the case and only a few of each in stock. I ended up ordering an iced coffee a raspberry-filled donut for Brandon and a chocolate-frosted french cruller for me. We agreed the donuts were tasty but my coffee wasn't great. I just looked at their website and it is really awful! Their slogan is "No fat donuts to low fat donuts." Apparently, the "Doctor" is Dr. Srinivas Gaddam who has his hand in all sorts of different business plans. He owns the adjacent hotel which frequently  hosts doctors for medical conferences. If his angle is nutrition then I couldn't tell from my visit.

Brandon and I spent the afternoon unpacking and rebuilding our furniture. The apartment is almost ready to move into!
Big kitchen. Very happy! I guess I can introduce you to the place:
This is the back, obviously. But since we park back here we will be entering through the sliding doors most of the time. And this is the front:
A big thank you to Jamie and Jared who helped us move. Across the street from us is Murdale Gardens which is a cemetery. We can see Jamie's grandma from our living room :)

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sinners & Saints

Yesterday, I experienced a Carbondale rite of passage at Pinch Penny Pub's 10th Annual Polar Bear Party. It was basically a big drunken frat party for SIU students featuring mass Corona consumption. The bar and beer garden opened at 10am. We got there around 4pm and waited half an hour to get in! The cover was $5 but the beers were only $1.50. The place was packed and there were hundreds of crushed Corona cans littering the ground. The weather during the afternoon was really nice and we didn't need our jackets until the sun went down.We left after a couple hours but ventured back around 11pm. The crowds had died down by then but a lot of people were inside the bar area staying warm. One of their signature drinks is a "green dragon" which was explained to me as being like a long island but made with sour mix. It was bright green and tasted like a lime popsicle to me. Well, I just did a google search of the drink and got back some results for a marijuana drink -- it was not that!

This morning I ventured out to St. Andrew's Episcopal Church in Carbondale for the 10 o'clock service. The church is located across from the Pulliam Hall clocktower (shown in my blog header). It was a very intimate service with just about 30 people present - including a piano player and just 2 choir members. The service progressed very similarly to that of St. Dunstan's. The main thing that was new to me were the bells used during communion. I also had an embarrassing moment at the altar when I thought the chalicist skipped me. I was holding my wafer so that I could dip it in the wine. When he didn't stop for me, I just ate my wafer and left. Turns out that they have a separate bowl of wine for those who dip and I should have just waited. Lesson learned :) Actually, the best part about the morning was getting to meet Father Roderick. He recently moved to the area from Fredericksburg, VA. His family still lives in Northern Virginia and in fact his daughter lives in Alexandria and is coming to visit next week. A nice coincidence.

Friday, January 28, 2011

My So. IL Bucket List

Here is my list of places to go and things I need to do while I'm in Southern Illinois:

Items I've completed already!
So what do you think, did I miss anything?

      Monday, January 24, 2011

      Signed a Lease

      We have an apartment! Brandon and I signed a lease this afternoon with Hawk Apartments. Here is a sneak peak at the fabulous wallpaper in the kitchen:
      More photos to come. We move in on Saturday. But, let's look at some stats: 
      In Fairfax County, VA the 2009 average rental complex rent was $1,375 source 
      In Jackson County, IL the 2009 median rent for apartments was $447 source
      I think it's safe to say that the rent is not "too damn high" out here, and that's a very good thing :)

      Sunday, January 23, 2011

      Bball and Dumplings

      A few more flakes of snow fell this morning as we were leaving church. We went to Berean Christian Church which is where Brandon's family goes. I have been there 2-3 times before. I will have to remember to take a picture next time.

      Last night we drove up to Sparta, IL for the championship game of the Mid Winter Basketball Classic.
      We drove this far (1 hr) to see HIGH SCHOOL basketball. As Brandon told me last night, I'm going to have to find a hobby, lol.

      The Murphysboro Red Devils made it to the final game of tournament against the Trico Patriots. They won! The team is really good and they are currently ranked 4th in the state. PS: Their coach is literally named "Coach Murphy."

      This afternoon Knute made chicken and dumplings for lunch. It was my first time having it. I always thought that the chicken was inside of the dumplings, like chinese dumplings, but no, the chicken goes on top of a pile of mushy noodle broth. Not a fan. It reminds me of another southern delicacy - biscuits and gravy. It just tastes like a hot pile of bland... Anyway, I will try and give it another chance sometime.

      Saturday, January 22, 2011

      Movie Night: The Way Back

      Last night Brandon and I went out to a movie. The tickets were $9, a bit better than Tysons Corner prices. We went to the AMC theater across from the mall in Carbondale. There is also a newer AMC theater in the mall and clearly everyone else was hanging out over there. Our theater was empty! I was thinking maybe it was our movie choice or time (9:50pm), but the parking lot was also pretty empty. Don't get me wrong, I loved it! It is my new Merrifield (and I won't be surprised when it goes out of business, lol).

      We saw:
      This was obviously Brandon's choice. But it actually held my attention for a good hour. (Sorry I nap during movies!) We were 2 of 8 people in the theater. I was amused by the 3 dudes in front of us who came in together but sat one every-other-seat.

      Thursday, January 20, 2011

      Snowy day

      It started snowing late last night and didn't let up until this afternoon. This is what my drive to work looked like:
      And here is my car after sitting in the parking lot all day at work:
      Not too bad. Luckily, Nancy bought me an extra-long snow brush and ice scraper that did the trick.

      I'm catching a southern accent from my coworkers. I used the phrase "fixin' to" today, who am I??? I also poured my milk from a glass jug:

      Wednesday, January 19, 2011

      I live here!

      We made it to Murphysboro early Monday morning.

      Brandon and I are staying at his parents house until we find a place of our own. We're pretty close to finding an apartment - I'll keep you updated. (Spoiler alert: it's across from a cemetery)

      The drive out here was tortuous! It was a 14 hour drive that was preceded by a 5 hour packing spree because we underestimated the amount of crap in our apartment. While we are in waiting for an apartment, we have unloaded everything in the basement and garage. It's a mess!

      On Monday, we eventually woke up and headed to campus. Brandon bought some textbooks and it brought back memories of college days for me :)
      We both jumped into work and school right away so our days have been busy. Although the forecast for tomorrow is snow - maybe we'll get a snow day?

      Friday, January 14, 2011

      Wise Words

      “When you miss me, look directly east” -- Mom

      This will be my last night alone in the Virginia apartment. Headed west on Sunday!

      Thursday, January 13, 2011

      Saying Goodbye

      I'm tried of saying goodbye... it's hard! On Sunday I had my last Sunday school class with my 11-13 year olds. They surprised me with a donation of over $350 to help AIDS orphans in Tanzania. On Tuesday, I resigned as Kiwanis Club President. Unfortunately, our meeting was canceled due to snow. Kind of a let down. And yesterday was my last day of work. I went out to lunch with my co-workers. Then in the evening I had dinner with my sister who went back to Boston this morning.

      Today, I used as an opportunity to sleep-in, get my car inspected and registered at the DMV. I even posted some furniture on craigslist. Brandon and his parents will be here Saturday night and moving day is Sunday. Busy busy!!

      Friday, January 7, 2011

      Resting in Reston

      Hung out with the fam last night. I'm gonna miss them. Aren't they cute:

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011


      I have two resolutions this year. My first and most important is to be more thankful. Thankfulness leads to happiness. With my upcoming move and potential for homesickness, I think that focusing on the things that I am grateful for will really benefit me. I have to admit, I don't yet have a plan for holding myself accountable for this one. Because it's so fresh in my mind I have just been trying to incorporate it in my daily life. I'm considering keeping a journal or jar.

      My second resolution is to take better care of my skin. I rarely wear make-up so I figure my skin better look awesome. I've already gone through a course of Accutane which dramatically improved my situation however I still get small breakouts. These need to stop! For Christmas my dad got me the Clinique 3 Step system. I plan on using the system twice a day. So far it's been really easy to use and gentle on my skin.

      Saturday, January 1, 2011

      Hire me!

      Happy New Year. It’s 1/1/11, love it!

      Ok, I’ll admit it. I’m terrified to be job hunting in this economy. I have exactly 2 weeks before I am unemployed. Let’s look at what I’m up against. 

      The national unemployment rate is about 10%. The average unemployment in the City of Carbondale in 2009 (source) was 5.6%. Not bad. So I should be able to get a job but what are my options? In Jackson County, IL the 5 Largest Employers as of 2003 (that seems old! but it’s all I could find) are:

      1. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
      2. Memorial Hospital of Carbondale Regional Medical Facility
      3. Center for Comprehensive Services (Rehabilitation)
      4. Penn Aluminum International
      5. City of Carbondale

      The health care industry is prominent in Southern Illinois which is definitely in my favor. I would love to work for another eye doctor. I am very hopeful. I had a phone interview yesterday. Crossing my fingers!