17 April 2006

Last minute items...AKA the checklist before the storm

So after a long, but fulfilling church weekend, I’m now scrambling to make sure I have everything and am prepared (or at least seemingly prepared) for my time in AK. All weekend I’ve been laundering, cleaning, rolling, packing, Ziploc-ing, and sorting to figure out just what I will need and what I won’t. It’s always a fear of going somewhere you’ve never been and packing what you normally need for three weeks. Three weeks! It’s more than a normal vacation, which is obvious since it’s not an actual vacation, so it’s packing not just clothes and necessities, but also supplies and uniforms and work gear.

It’s also getting everything in order at work. I have a unique job in that I can’t just up and go for a few weeks, let alone a day. I have to cover the shifts I’m missing, train people in on how to enter reservations (which isn’t always easy – both the training and the reservations) and make sure I have every last question answered to the best I can. I watched Confidence* this weekend and the character Jake was talking about how a good chess player sees ahead 20 moves, essentially can see the entire game and how it will play out. I have to do that here, too, anticipating problems that may occur, determine how I would solve it and either fix it so it won’t happen or write down a contingency plan for when it does. It’s a challenge in itself.

And on top of all this, I need to get my head in the game – the game of the military. This means moving out of the castle on the hill and moving into the trenches. Again, harder than it seems. These are different people – people who live in the ‘real’ world, shoveling people’s crap day after day. (And just to cover my own butt, I’m not saying seminary isn’t the real world, but it isn’t the same either – but that’s a blog for another day.) But these people are also phenomenal – they give their all for their country and generally work their butts off in the process. I’m really looking forward to it. If it's anything like the IMAX show I saw this weekend, I'm in for a wild ride.

So here I go. Heading off into the wild, blue yonder. I’m excited and scared sihtless all in the same moment. I’m stressed and relieved simultaneously. I’m happy and sad – and funny enough, this will continue the whole time I’m away.

*This is an AWESOME movie, by the way. Great grift.

13 April 2006

Things that make me happy

A good workout sweat
The burn after the good workout
Hell, just a good workout in general
Drinks with friends
Seeing a mom read to her child while they wait for the school bus
Sun roofs
The smell of morning
Long, hot showers
Bubble baths
A good book

11 April 2006

Basic truths to be self-evident

I’m weird.

Yes, I know this. And others know it, too. A couple of my weird truths have come to light, as of late, like my necessity that if I start a book series in paperback I have to finish it in paperback (no, I can’t borrow your hardcover until the paperback comes in print – that doesn’t work) and that I like gray, cloudy days like today – they make me happy. Yes, I’m happy today, even though I’m tired. This weather is great!

But those who know me, also know that there is one basic truth – I wear black. Yes, I wear black all freakin’ year long. It’s my color of choice. I wear blue jeans and a black shirt or black pants and a colored shirt. The basic point is: I wear black.

But those who know me may not know that I’m also a coat person. I prefer to wear a coat – no matter what the weather. I need something covering my arms and somewhere to put my hands while I walk. I’m really a Neanderthal in that sense, but I need a coat. It doesn’t have to be heavy, but I have to have a coat of some shape or form. Last night I went out with MH and I wore a sweatshirt/hoodie thing. I had my pockets and I had my coat, even though it was in the 70’s. Today, I’m wearing black and red long-sleeved shirt, and I still wore my coat as I walked downtown at noon.

It’s a weird trait, I know, but not one I can lose for some reason (I’ve tried and I’ve felt naked walking around with just a tee-shirt or shirt). I did once make it through the day without a coat, but I was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved t-shirt instead. But I felt kind of weird the whole time.

I’m weird. I wear a coat.

I wear a black coat, no less.

Yeah, that’s enough.

07 April 2006

Things I learned this week

1. More people love you than you know.
2. It’s okay to let them show that – it won’t kill you.
3. Friends are VITAL.
4. Decorating cupcakes is harder than it looks.
5. Practice is essential. No one, well very few, got to where they are without hard work.
6. Sugar at 9pm at night is NOT a good idea.
7. Always wash dishes when finished with them.
8. Family is ESSENTIAL to living well and happy (at least for me).
9. Each day is a gift – no one day should be more important.
10. Though some days are deemed more significant – I f others don’t agree it doesn’t mean they are wrong or your are right (and vice versa).
11. Fun Guns RULE! (It's a South Dakota thing - right, E?)
12. Sometimes the cheap stuff is just as good as the expensive. Just because you pay more doesn’t automatically make it better.
13. If you’re going to bake, decorate and share … a digital camera would be a good thing to own to record your efforts for future reference.
14. It can be hard to put down all you do so others can do it for you when you’re gone, especially when you’ve been doing things for so long.
15. Showing people what you do and how you do it can stir up ideas that may work better! Learning to be open to those ideas is a good thing.
16. It’s good to be assertive, as long as your assertiveness doesn’t come off as aggressive. Passive and passive-aggressive is bad.
17. Letting go is a good thing.
18. People can do more than we think. We need to learn to empower them, instead of crushing them with this authoritative world.
19. Just because one person likes something, doesn’t mean I have to like it, too.
20. Sometimes being in a busy place with lots of people can make a person seem more alone than they should.

06 April 2006

Smile on my face

I received REAL mail today; not bills or advertisements or catalogs – real mail – from three of the coolest entities on Earth. The card was awesome and when they signed it, “you are loved!”, I actually became choked up.

What is it about getting cards from people who love you because they choose to love you versus cards from people who love you because they’re related. These folks wouldn’t need to love me, let alone LIKE me…but they do. Sometimes I wonder why since I’m such a pain in the arse most days, but they still do. It’s incredible.

A man from the church I attend just came to the desk and gave me a book. This is just out of the blue, though he and I have talked after the Sunday evening services about my voice. So he gave me a book called “The Singer’s Life: Goals and Roles” and asked me to read it. I’m kind of excited about this – it’s partly because he talked it up so much, but also because it’s geared for people interested in singing but not quite at the Met status. There are 4 sections in the book…this should be good. More to come…

05 April 2006

Martha I am not

I’ve been baking a lot again lately. I’m not sure why. It’s a nice stress reliever, but I haven’t been all that stressed lately. Maybe it’s just a good diversion keeping me from cleaning my desperate house. Yeah, it’s probably that. My sister is worried. I sent her some different things and one of them was a Martha Stewart recipe. To quote: “Martha Stewart ideas....I'm starting to worry about you! It's not always a "good thing"! :-)” I did my best to assure her that I’m not MS, but that I use box mixes and canned frosting. I’m not sure I eased her mind.

So I tried these on Monday and these last night. (By the way…I really do love this site and this site, and if I could actually set up links on this blog thing I would have them on the side. Anyone want to show me how?) I took pictures of how mine turned out but it will be a little bit until I can get my disposable camera film developed. Sorry folks. Maybe I should get a digital camera…but I don’t have a computer so that doesn’t help much.

Anyway, the Monday rendition turned out okay. Frosting and creating the little birds was a little trickier than I thought, but the box mix I used for the cupcake was really good – gotta love Roundy’s. It’s inexpensive AND yummy. I’m finding that now, 2 days later, the birds are falling off the coconut. Not that that’s a bad thing…every bird needs to leave the nest at some point…but I feel bed when I see the little heads rolling off the cupcake onto the ground. A note for next time: serve them to others right away!

Last night’s trial run did not go very well. The dough was really sticky and wouldn’t roll out or together well. It might have been too warm in my kitchen itself last night…the chocolate chip cookies I made, which usually are kick butt, didn’t turn out like they should have. Very strange. I felt like I was losing my touch for a moment. Then decided it must have been the working conditions. :)

So on to the next. I want to make these for Emmy’s b-day party but it’s looking like that’s going to be on Easter which I won’t be home for. :( That really does make me sad, because she’s such a sweetie, and I hate to miss her party. So I might make these on Thursday and give them to her this weekend when I’m home. We’ll see. I have nothing to transfer them in, I’m going to have to invest in some sort of goodie transporter. Do they sell those?

04 April 2006

Lacking luster

I was struggling yesterday with this thing. No, THIS thing – this blog. I was looking at the limited comments I’ve been getting, which is totally fine because really, even I’m bored with it. My writing is lacking luster lately. Say that five times fast. Ha.

But I have to remember that I’m not writing for others, at least I’m not really intending to, but I’m writing for myself. The fact I’m bored with my writing just means I’m not writing about what I really want to write about. So I need to figure that out.

I skim a lot (!) of blogs throughout the day. Several (other than my friends’) have become ones that I look forward to reading: Heather, Mrs. Kennedy, FP, Manda, and Melissa. The latter was recently interviewed by Leah, whom I also read, and in this interview Melissa said this:

What do you want to tell other bloggers, if anything?

There’s this ‘popular blogger’ debate I keep hearing. All blogs have value if they have 4 readers or 4,000. You just have to keep writing what you love and the people who are supposed to be reading it and the people who are important to you will find it.

So, even though I limit, somewhat, who gets to read this, I still have it open to the public. So maybe if I start actually writing on things I find important and love, this place won’t suck like it has. :) I do like the idea of a journal, and this has served the purpose well and will continue to, but I’m going to make a strong commitment to write more, and about better topics. 'cause really, I'm not that exciting of a topic. :)

03 April 2006

shameless plug of a Must Read

I’m realizing today that I haven’t plugged my latest favorite book lately. HMS is reading the first book right now and just made it through a trying point of the book. I’m on book three and suffering through the ‘what’s going to happen next’ continuing moments. They are just SO good.

Dress nice, but not in red and blue

I’m staying with my tradition of dressing my avatar well when I want to not be here. Not that today is bad. I had a great work out this morning and plans tonight to make these, so it’s really not a bad day. Just wanting to stay focused. Had a bad dream last week that I’ve been avoiding talking about, but maybe it’s time. So, Tre if you’re reading this…help me sort this out!

So I was at guards in our office, working, pulling things together for whatever project I was working on. The day was beautiful, warm, sunny and gorgeous. It was around the time I was supposed to go to Alaska but I hadn’t received my orders yet, so I was killing time, waiting to hear. When suddenly, I look outside and see a huge blue bus pull along side our building (which was on a tarmac for some reason). People start filing up to the buses with their army duffle bags, dressed in dark blue jeans and red shirts (one of whom was my friend, Debbie – in fact, most people in line weren’t from my unit) and begin loading their luggage on the bus (kind of like greyhound buses but more like the blue school buses we have on base). Then they all line up in a pseudo formation.

Suddenly, I freak. Was I supposed to be on this? So I run outside to the guy in charge – who wasn’t Larry but kind of looked like him – and he starts barking at me wondering where my stuff is and why I’m not in line. I said that I never had notice we were leaving today. He looks at me like I’m the biggest idiot in the world and screams at me to get my crap together and be on the bus in an hour. So I run home (apparently it wasn’t as far as it really is) and start packing my stuff, crying my eyes out, freaking out for screwing up and wondering where the hell I’m going to find dark blue jeans and a red shirt so I’m in ‘uniform’. I grab my stuff and haul butt back to the base and get on the bus.

Then, suddenly we’re in Alaska, I’m in normal uniform and I’m trying to check into my room. This was really weird, because the housing was set up like school – rooms off to the side, narrow corridors and lunchroom/rec room right in the middle and people everywhere. I go to the room they’ve assigned me and find it packed with women – 5 beds, 4 of which are larger, and 1 open one that looks like an easy chair (there were arranged weird…the little one was in the middle but they almost looked like they were standing upright in my dream). “That’s your bed,” they say cackling cattily (yes, women cackle). So I drop my crap and head to look for another place in case somewhere else is open. I end up running into some guy who starts yelling at me that I’m not where I’m supposed to be and that I was supposed to unload all the equipment and I better get going. I’ve been there all of 5 minutes and this place is insane and I have no idea where I’m going. So I start walking toward the planes and trucks, hoping this is right. The guy who yelled hooked up with some buddies and start following me in a jeep. So I walk faster. And they drove faster – staying just behind me, but taunting me the whole way. I finally made it to where all the equipment was being unloaded and I ran into someone from our unit (I recognized his face, but can’t think of his name now) who took me under his wing and helped me find my box and load it on a jeep and drove me back to the housing.

Then I woke up.

I’m sure some of this stems from not knowing when I’m leaving yet and getting an email that I have to get a few things done (dental, duh), and that it’s my first real deployment as a PA alone. My stomach turns when I think about it, though part of it is excitement, but other parts of it are just fearful. That fear of rejection and screwing up… maybe someday I’ll get over that.