Monday, December 26, 2011


I recently decided that now that I am a full grown 22 year old woman, and because every person with good taste I know is constantly insisting I must, I needed to watch Garden State again. I say again because I have already seen it, but I was pretty young and didn't remember much about it. I did know that the soundtrack was incredible. That was still true.

I think I appreciated that movie a great deal more now that I'm not in high school. It was so incredibly sad and hopeful all at the same time, but what really stuck with me was one conversation between Andrew and Sam.

Andrew: You'll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it's gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It's like you feel homesick for a place that doesn't even exist. Maybe it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I don't know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.
Sam: [cuddles up to Andrew] Maybe.

I've been blessed with an amazing family and a fantastic home. I truly have. Since I've been in Birmingham, I've realized this more and more. And I think Andrew is wrong. Family is so much more than that. But I do feel like sometimes I'm homesick for a place that doesn't exist. A place to call home. A place to be home.

There are very few places I would call home. I can count them on one hand. And I actually don't get to spend much time there at all. A few days out of the year, really. But those days remind me who I am. And it's like taking a big deep breath that opens every surface of my lungs.

I'm sure you know where I'm talking about. I think everyone has this place. It doesn't really matter so much where it is as who is there. The people that love you unconditionally. The people that know your opinions without even having to ask. The people that cry with you and laugh with you.... and laugh at you when you need to remember not to take yourself so seriously. The people that make you feel like you're home, no matter where you are.

Some days I feel like I'm wandering from home to home. But other days I feel incredibly blessed to have all of these little pockets of home. And even though there is usually a lot of time and hard work between my visits to my homes, I know in the mean time that I am loved. And that's really what home is. Being known and loved. And that is irreplaceable.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


I'm coming up on two months of living in Birmingham, and I am finally getting around to writing a post about my grand new life. And actually the reason that I haven't posted anything yet is because every time I start to think of what to say I realize that I don't really have anything that epic to tell anyone about. And today is no different. So I apologize. I'll try and muster up a brief synopsis of what I've been doing the past two months.

The first thing that happened was the very close bond I formed with my GPS. We are best friends. We go everywhere together. I have the feeling that once I know the area more I will realize that I didn't do that awesome thing that every young single person aspires to do and move off all on their own to a huge metropolitan city, but at this point I kind of feel like I did. So as for now I'll keep viewing myself as some awesomely independent person that does cool things like that. Except that here is the list of things I have been really excited about lately:

1. Learning to cook.... for one
2. Getting all the way to Walmart without my GPS
3. Planting mums. (They are ugly, but they are an improvement from what was in the planters, AKA dirt and dead things)
4. Shaping up the hedges in my front yard
5. Wearing a bathrobe until noon on days I don't work (okay, that one isn't new)

So really, anyone who knows anything about what I actually do with my time knows that I'm really not living some kind of super edgy life. But I don't mind if you continue to imagine that I do, because that's what I'll be doing. 

When I'm not living the life of a 70-something year old, I'm pretending to be a nurse (I mean, I don't really feel qualified yet.) Work has been great so far. The orientation for my floor is 10 weeks, and I just started week six. This Sunday night is my first shift on nights, and I'm honestly a little worried about it. But like I said, so far everything has been great. The nurses I work with are very willing to help and answer questions, and even give words of encouragement like "don't worry, it's way harder to kill someone than you would think." That was actually really comforting to me.

I've become really comfortable with the idea of most likely getting whatever my patients have, because I'm pretty sure my new morning routine is to get to the floor, get report from the night nurse, and then immediately get some type of bodily fluid on my face. I'm kind of like a walking Petri dish of diseases. (But not really, Mom. Don't freak out.) But beside all the disease and stuff, I have really loved all the patient interaction I've been getting. I imagined most of my patients wouldn't be able to communicate, but it hasn't been like that at all. Which I'm really happy about, because I really love talking to my patients.

Well, that's all I can muster up today. I've got things to do. Like go to Hobby Lobby.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I got the jobby, Freddy!

So there might be a more legitimate reason for me to have a blog soon, seeing as I've been offered a pretty great job in Birmingham. I'll be working in the Neuro ICU of UAB Hospital, and as much as this thrills me, it kind of terrifies me as well. I think that some amount of fear about this job is healthy, but I'm just going to have to tell myself that there is no one expects me to know exactly what I'm doing on the first day. Or really even in the first six months. Since it's a teaching hospital I know there will be a lot of room for growth and I'm looking forward to learning about how to care for these patients. With that being said, I will be needing a lot of prayer during the beginning phases of this job. It's bound to be very high stress, and I am known to have the ability to stress like none other.
I'm in the midst of finding a place to live and working out the details of the move. I plan on keeping everyone updated as the details of the move start to become more clear. The only detail I can give you right now is that I start orientation August 1, so I'll be up there some time before then..... Hopefully.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Five little monkeys

Being a mom is kind of like micro-managing a band of monkeys. There are a constant slew of little fires to put out, one after the other. I don't know this from experience. I mostly just know if from stories and pictures from the early years of the Randy Rice family. Mom, being born and bred for the art of motherhood, wanted six children. She ended up with the five of us; Haley, Ryan, Aaron, Hannah and me.

I can only imagine the daily trials of just trying to get everyone up and out the door. Haley, being the oldest, sort of played back up for Mom while being able to fully manage her own schedule. For the first couple of years of their lives, Mom was doing good just to be able to keep Aaron and Ryan dressed long enough to venture into society for a few hours. Hannah's little duck fuzz hair was constantly matted looking no matter what you did to it, and I'm pretty sure they just stopped trying at some point. And it took me all too long to learn how to catch myself with my hands before busting my face on the ground, so Mom had to worry that any second Child Protective Services was going to be knocking on the door.

At some point in time, I'm guessing when I was between four and six, Mom had a brilliant idea. All she needed was some note cards and gold stars.  The note cards would contain our morning routine, and all the little monkeys had to do was read the note card, follow the instructions, and happily receive their gold star. It was foul-proof. Except that one unnamed child had taken a little longer than the rest of American first graders to learn how to read.

This was no issue for Mom though. She would not be stopped by her daughter's illiteracy. She simply had to alter the plan. And here is what that new plan looked like:

Wake up.... super happy.

Get dressed

Fill up those Rice chipmunk cheeks with some cereal

Hang out in a slanket

Try not to get any more cavities than you already have

Brush that crazy hair out

The old "gold star" trick always works

This is just one example of what a great mother Mom was and still is to me and my siblings. She has been a source of encouragement and strength to each of us when we have needed it, and I know that we all really cherish that. Thank you for being so sacrificial for our sake, Mommy. We all love you so much. Happy Mother's Day.

Mom with Haley up top, Hannah beside her, being adorable as always, Ryan to the left and Aaron to the right. 

Mom with Hannah on her left and me on the right at Old Faithful.

Me and my sweet mommy.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Slacking off for Jesus

It's Spring Break. I had so many ambitious plans for myself over the break. First I was going to knock out a care plan, then I was going to work on my presentation power point, then I was going to start reading and making notes for Adult Health III, the hardest class in the history of the world. OK, I'm sure astronauts or maybe brain surgeons have harder classes. But this is by far the hardest class I've ever taken.

So like any good, anal retentive student would, I made myself a mental checklist of all the wonderful and productive things I would do.

I have done nothing.

I literally woke up at 2 AM this morning having a rather unexpected panic attack about all the things I have put off. I had to restrain myself from getting out of bed to start working, because I knew that I would not be able to function at that hour and my care plan would probably be a piece of trash. Luckily this morning the feeling of panic was gone and I rearranged all my time slots and checklists in my head so that I might be able to still finish most of the things I set out to do over the break.

And then I decided to get a haircut. Then I needed to do my hair because... well, I had a new haircut. And now I'm still looking at the scattered bits of paper on my desk as if they might spring into life, type themselves out, diagnose themselves, and come up with some amazing interventions for the patient that is represented on the scrap paper. Hey, it could happen.

I am probably going to regret this later, actually I know I will. But I think that sometimes slacking off is actually the Christian thing to do. I am well aware that that theory isn't true many times in our lives. But personally, I don't even know where the last month of my life went. School has been just one thing after another and I'm thankful to even still be passing my classes. It's ridiculous. And something about being insanely busy makes us feel good and like we are doing what we ought to be doing, because we see such obvious signs of progress. And let's face it, sometimes we just like to feel like our lives are so important that we don't even have a minute to spare. I know I feel that way. So I get the feeling that when the kind of people who love being busy for the sake of being busy actually chill out and acknowledge that the world will not in fact fall apart if they don't check off their mental checklist, it is glorifying to God in some way. It's a form of resting in God to provide the end result rather than ourselves. I am not going to pass my class just because I was a good student and spent all my free time reading and studying. And that is as comforting as it is terrifying.

I know that all the stress I'm putting off is just around the corner, waiting to pounce, but for right now I'm at peace. And for that I am thankful.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fatherly Love and the Great Grammatical Error Parade

I think I should start by explaining the title. If you're reading this blog, you probably already know the story behind it, and you also probably think I'm pretty lame for wanting to bring up my childhood nickname in the title of a blog. My witty, English major sisters are both holding their breath right now. They have each done enough "proof reading/saving me from public humiliation" to know that there will, undoubtedly, be around 200 grammatical errors per post, not counting my complete lack of knowledge of where to put a comma, in, a, sentence. Personally, I think they are kind of just like sentence decoration. Spritz them around here and there and you magically look more intelligent than half of teen pop culture that is apparently still unaware of the existence of the comma. (I feel self-conscience because there wasn't a comma in that sentence... Was there suppose to be one? Probably.)

So now that we're all aware that I have not hit my head and decided that I would make a brilliant writer and the world would be a better place with my thoughts in it, let's get down to what this is really about; following your blog.


I want a blog so that I can follow yours. I'm not sure how that even works, really. Maybe I've made it out to be way more exciting than it ever really could be. But all I know is I have to have a blog to legitimately follow a blog. So here it is.

So back to that thing I said I was going to explain at first and didn't; my title. (Semicolons make me feel smart, just like when I wear my glasses.... I really hope I used that semicolon correctly.)

We had a lot of weird nicknames growing up in the Rice household. For example, each girl has a variety of a "moose" nickname. Haley is Big Moose, Hannah is Middle Moose, and I'm Baby Moose. Haley had to stick it out through some of the worst nicknames. If being called a "big moose" wasn't enough, she also had to learn how to emotionally cope with being constantly referred to as "Tuna Tummy."  No one is really sure where Dad came up with our nicknames, but it's kind of become a right of passage at our house.

One of my nicknames growing up was Audgie Podgie. My whole family called me this, and as far as my family nicknames go, it's really not bad. It actually could pass for normal. But Dad, being resiliently weird, took it to the next level. Any time I was particularly upset, he would say in his sweet, empathetic fatherly way "Awww Audgie, it's hard being Queen of the Audgie Podgies when the Audgie Podgies won't obey."

I can't remember ever having a good reaction to this form of consolation. Actually I think it kind of mad me more mad. But sometimes that's kind of how we live, like that we are the main character in the movie about us and all of our extras are just there screwing everything up. And that's what makes me laugh about the title Dad gave me. He couldn't have put it better if he called me "Audgie Podgie, Queen of Nothing." And that's why I love my family.

Now it is time to post this blog and get to the following. I hope I'm not too lame of a blogger now or in the future. I can't promise to not be cheesy.