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Probably excessively long but awesome synopsis of my and Jesse's backpacking experience a month agoCollapse )

So FINALLY, here is a link to all the backpacking pictures. There’s a lot shared- 153 to be exact... but I took 334 the entire trip so yeah. Holy crap. Enjoy!

And now it's time for sleep.
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Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
 
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Sarah (my little sister) has been singing for a few years now. She was in a performance of Les Miserables, has given many recitals (she once sang a song all in French) and sang for the Centennial High School Jazz Band (which she had to audition for). Singing has been one of her loves and talents! Recently, she has decided to make a Christmas album to give to family and friends. She tried recording on her laptop, but the quality... just wasn't there. She got hooked up with a recording artist by Lynn (thank you again Lynn!) and got a discount, but the cost will still be $300. She has started a fundraising campaign to raise funds to help her pay for this. She won't be selling these albums, rather giving them away as Christmas presents, so she's not receiving any sort of payback and really needs help! We are both very excited for her to professionally record an album!

Here is the website where you can contribute via Paypal:
http://sarahcylkowski.chipin.com

If you don't have a Paypal account, you can snail mail her some money as well via a P.O. Box that she will soon be getting (tomorrow I believe).
She is also holding a Bake Sale on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving break (November 23rd, 24th, and 25th) in the Senior section of the Centennial Parking Lot out of her van. haha

Even if you can only contribute 1-2 dollars, please do so! Any amount helps and we would both REALLY appreciate it!

And all contributors who give $5 or more will receive free copies of the mp3s of her songs!
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhelpful
 
 
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08 November 2009 @ 10:53 pm
So Jesse and I have been getting more into sustainable living and emergency preparedness lately. One of our new favorite sites? Beprepared.com. They have all sorts of cool stuff on their and we got some of our backpacking gear from them as well.
They came out with this new tool called the Food Storage Analyzer, which allows you to input all the food you have stored for emergencies. I signed up for it and started to use it tonight.

In general, it's pretty cool and I like it a lot. It is a little annoying that you have to put in every individual item by itself, instead of just being able to choose from a range of buttons for their giant multiple item sets like the Year Supply bunches. There should be an option where you can choose which one of these you have and it automatically puts in all the individual items. One button as opposed to 50.

It's helpful that they have a grocery store item/add your own item section to include all the other food storage you might have that you didn't buy from their site.

Certain sections don't seem to have their items in order though, for some reason. For example, the Mountain House section has a bunch of items all thrown in at the end on the second page that were not put in alphabetical order with the rest of the items. I just assumed that they didn't have cans of all the MH products, until I saw that there was a second page and found them on there.. out of order. Kinda strange.. but at least they were there I suppose.

The search is also a good idea. Before having it dawn on me, I searched for "garden seeds" because I wasn't sure what section they'd be in, after unsuccessfully finding them in the grocery store section.

I LOVE the calculated chart at the bottom. I think that's awesome. Obviously the calculations won't be exact since a lot of what you will be eating depends on the situation you are in, but it's still pretty cool to be able to see approximately how many days you can survive on what food you have stored. It also allows you to put in other people, their gender and age and takes that all into account with the calculations. Because if you're storing food for a family of four, you're going to need a lot more than just storing food for yourself.

It's also pretty handy how you can click a button and automatically add all of a new order to your food storage analyzer. Although, after looking at the picture of this, it seems like it isn't all that obvious. The placement of the button seems pretty hidden and grayed out, so I can imagine lots of people don't even see it and skip right over it, only having to individually add all their new purchases to the analyzer later. Also, the fact that you do this action before actually confirming your order seems odd to me. But! The fact that it is there at all is pretty sweet and helpful.

The whole tool is pretty intuitive and helpful. This is the first time I've started calculating my food storage, though, so I can't compare it to having to do it all by hand. I imagine I'd love this WAY more if that had been the case.

It's also free and you really can't beat free. :o)

Thanks so much for creating this Preparedness Pantry and I will definitely be using it in the future!
(But PLEASE add a function to automatically add whole Year Supply batches! :D )



Gift Card Giveaway
 
 
Current Mood: busybusy
 
 
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27 October 2009 @ 07:46 pm
After three weeks of waiting, I finally received my Authorization to Test Letter in the mail! :D I went online and paid for and scheduled my Biomedicine board exam!

Unfortunately, I have two midterms and a final in the next two weeks (all three exams are actually on two consecutive days ><), so I schedule for the 20th. WHEN I pass this board exam, I will be 1/4 of the way to getting my Acupuncture/Chinese Medical license to practice! Weeeeeeeee! I have been so outrageously nervous about graduating and having to get a real job (even though this is what I want to do, obviously) that I haven't had much time to feel excited. This is the first time I really feel excited about passing all my boards and getting my license. I can't wait to jump 5 years from now, where I will be successfully practicing and possibly specializing in gynecology/fertility. CHINESE MEDICINE IS SO COOL.

Lucky for us, our biomedicine instructor Dr. Cai has made an actual program with practice questions to help us study for the board exam. There are ten tests with 100 questions on each test, coming out to 1,000 total practice questions. Dr. Cai is both a Medical Doctor AND a Licensed Acupuncturist in the United States, Canada AND China and is a fantastic teacher. (I'm sure that sentence can't be grammatically correct...)


Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
 
 
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
 
 
 
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17 October 2009 @ 12:09 pm
Ney boys and girls! I know I haven't updated in awhile but I have been so busy. (And I KNOW I always say that... {And I know I always say that too!})

School has been crazy! This trimester has slowed down a bit, but I still have clinic twice a week and have had about 1 exam per week for the last month and a half.
Student government is also throwing a Halloween/ National Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Day party (which is actually on the 24th) next Friday and so we've been busy planning that.

I also am preparing to take my first board exam before the end of the year. To be licensed, we have to take 4 national board exams (which costs about $2,000 total); biomedical, fundamentals of chinese medicine, acupuncture and herbs. The biomed board exam is changing at the end of the year and our biomed professor, Dr. Cai, has created a program with 1,000 practice questions to help with the board exam. I also have an additional biomed board exam practice question workbook. So I decided to take the board exam before it completely changes. To be able to even take the board exams, our still requires that we take the 2nd year exam. This exam consists of 40 questions which can come from ANY material from ANY class that we took in the first two years of the program. We get no review and you have to get a 70% or above to pass. Yikes! Well I passed that (got an 84% actually! :D) and sent all my things into NCCAOM (the organization who deals with the board exams and licensing). They have let me know they received my things and now I'm just playing the waiting game for them to finish processing my application and let me know I'm eligible to take the biomed board exam. That has been taking about three weeks apparently. Once they do that, they'll give my an ID number and I can go online to their website and sign up for a testing date at Pearson Vue! :D So now I’m just preparing to study my ASS off with things like what’s the incubation period for Hepatitis C?

In other news, Jesse and I are going backpacking this weekend. We have our packs packed and estimate they weigh between 30-40 pounds. It will take us about an hour to drive to the park, whereby we pay, park and hike 2-4 miles to a campsite we want with our packs and set up camp. We have everything we need in the packs; food, clothes, tent, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, backpacking stove, water filter, toiletries, etc. We’re going to have to bathe on our campsite, filter our own lake/river water (so we don’t get giardia and thus dysentery! Yaaaay!) and also dig our own pooholes with a trowel we have.

Anyhow, I’ll post pictures when I get back and have a good weekend! :D
 
 
Current Mood: busybusy
 
 
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27 September 2009 @ 11:44 am
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE SISTER!

Hope your 19th is freakin' sweet, just like you. :o)

<3
 
 
Current Mood: happyhappy
 
 
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13 September 2009 @ 06:16 pm
I'm not putting a cut tag because I'm too lazy and no one updates on LJ anymore anyway, so it will look like you have a lot to read, when in fact you don't. :D

"What I intend to do:

- Get a LOT of reading done. I have somewhere between 5-10 books I want to get through
- Do pilates at least every other day
- Do Tai Chi for at least 20 min every other day
- Clean my car out, vacuum the interior, change the floor covers and wash the exterior in my driveway! :o)
- Sell a bunch of stuff on Ebay that I no longer use/wear
- Finally use our Six Flags tickets before the season ends
- Write in my livejournal about what's been going on
- Yelp review all the places I can think of that I've been to
- Drink lots of water
- Sleep in
- RELAX."

haha So obviously I fail at getting things done.

I did get rid of a lot of stuff on Freecycle... but then I acquired a whole room full of stuff over the weekend.

I got SIX FULL garbage bags of women's clothes all for free off freecycle!
Jesse and I went to REI's garage sale yesterday and got $372 worth of backpacking/hiking equipment, clothes and shoes for $120 and a free nice reusable bag!
We also bought a lightweight tent from someone on CL to use for backpacking.
And we got two reasonably new backpacking backpacks off CL as well.
While biking tonight, Jesse and I discovered a fancy jogging baby stroller that someone was just throwing away. The tires were deflated, but Jesse aired them up at our house and they’re fine! I can’t believe what people will just throw away. If you don’t want it anymore, at least give it someone else that needs it and keep it out of the landfill!
Woo! :o)


In case you don't know, Jesse has been working with a start-up on PetsMD.com, basically the animal counterpart to WebMD.com. They just launched the site this past week and had their launch party and demo day. It seems to all be going well and I wish them the best of luck! The party was neat, but I'm anti-social, so I just stood around eating free food and generally bothering Jesse. :o)
Here’s the album of the pictures I took while there:
http://picasaweb.google.com/laurencylkowski/PetsmdLaunchParty#

Otherwise, the new trimester has started and I feel a little more in balance being in school than having nothing to do. Classes seem okay for right now but I STILL haven't even taken my old notes out of my binder yet. >< So lazy!

Jesse and I were going to go to Six Flags this past weekend finally. Our tickets expire on September 30th (the end of the season) and we were going to drive down early Friday, see one of Jesse's friends who happened to be working in San Antonio last week and then go to Six Flags on Saturday. But then it rained. And not only did it rain, it flooded. We've been going through one of the worst droughts since the 1950's and now it has been raining every day for the past 4-5 days and Central Texas is FLOODING. Stupid Texas. Soooo we didn't go to Six Flags and will have to wait for one of the next couple weekends when the hours are cut more. :oP

In other news, as you can see by our recent purchases, Jesse and I plan on backpacking sometime soon. I haven't been camping in YEARS (like 3-4 years) and I MISS IT. But we're afraid of fire ants, scorpions and deathly heat down here. So we have avoided going. Anyway its much nicer in October and November and we're planning on going literally backpacking sometime in October. There's a nice park called Pedernales Park close to us, so we're going to drive there, park and backpack the two miles to the campsite and set up camp. There will be lots of hiking and the like. If that works out okay, we plan on possibly doing a week excursion sometime in the same park or in a different one. I'm so excited! :o)

The kitties are loving the fenced-in backyard. Spike screams at us every night to let him out. Besides a dead frog, there have been no issues with this. Plus, they get all fluffy from the wet grass and humid weather. XD

I have also added some pictures to our house album, so check on that every now and then for any new photos. :o)
http://picasaweb.google.com/laurencylkowski/House#

And now it’s bedtime.
 
 
Current Mood: soresore
 
 
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20 August 2009 @ 11:59 pm
Ugh.  
This week has seriously sucked. A lot. Amongst other shit that is going on, I have been trying to find a dentist, which is not going well. I found out a couple weeks ago that my dental insurance actually ENDS this year on October 3rd (my birthday), so I've been trying to find a dentist that is taking new patients and can get me an appt ASAP. I need 5-6 cavities filled in, some cracked teeth fixed and a bite protector to wear at night. I thought I had found one, made an appt this past monday for NEXT monday and then they called today to let me know that they're not accepting my insurance (even though my plan covers anyone I want to see, not just providers on their list or network). So I tried to call other places today but they were closed. Then I tried to call my insurance to ask them specifically about my plan and if there ARE in and out of network providers and if there's a difference, and this was the recording that played "Hello, thank you for calling your dental plan. Our office is currently closed, so please call back during our normal business hours. Thank you, good-bye." And then it HUNG UP ON ME... and that's ALL IT SAID. HOW DO I KNOW WHAT THE NORMAL BUSINESS HOURS ARE? I got so frustrated, I literally screamed as I hung up the phone.

Tomorrow is the last day of the trimester and today was my last day of clinic for the trimester, so I was happy to begin my break today... only to have the A/C STOP WORKING tonight. Jesse did some troubleshooting, but it's still not working. The fan on the outside unit isn't even moving. And now it's 88 degrees in the house. I made a maintenance request, but it says to allow the people 48 hours to respond.... but they're not open on the weekends... SO. Jesse is going to call tomorrow morning and hopefully we can get someone out here to fix it tomorrow. Otherwise, I will be spending most of this weekend next to a fan not moving or somewhere else (wandering around Target, soaking in the A/C). It's already cooler outside than it is inside (84 degrees vs. 88) and it's NIGHT. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrown when it reaches 100 degrees. *melts like the Wicked Witch of the West*

And there are more issues with my dad and tuition this trimester. Mostly just him being irresponsible and NOT doing things he keeps telling me he's going to do. And I absolutely LOVE chinese medicine and what I do, but accumulating all this debt is making me nervous. I really hope I don't end up hating doing this, otherwise I'll have wasted 4 years of my life and have tens of thousands of dollars to pay off.

I am just pissed at LIFE. And I'm really hoping this week turns out to actually be relaxing. I'm trying not to become overwhelmed with things and pass off all this negative energy on all those around me, but UGH.
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Current Mood: pissed offpissed off
 
 
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19 August 2009 @ 02:38 pm
Jessica Lynn Wise,

I am thinking of you and I love you very much.

<33
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Current Mood: lovedloving.