30 May 2006


Someday I’m going to be comfortable enough with myself to do this.

Gotta love the meme’s

Stolen from whoorl

1. What curse word do you use the most? Shit, but I’m a sailor girl so whatever.
2. Do you own an iPod? Nope. I’m a sad, sad girl.
3. Who on your MySpace “Top 8” do you talk to the most? MySpace is a crazy place.
4. What time is your alarm clock set for? One is set for 4:44, but it’s also about 27 minutes fast, the other is set for 4:35. That one is accurate.
5. What color is your room? This room is brick and Luther White. My rooms at home are mostly white, with the exception of the girlie bathroom which is light purple.
6. Flip-flops or sneakers? Depends on what I’m wearing
7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture? Taking it
8. What's the last movie you watched? Something’s Gotta Give
9. Do any of your friends have children? Yes.
10. Has anyone ever called you lazy? Only when they want to be mean.
11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster? Only when I’m sick – Nyquil is the best.
12. What CD is currently in your CD player? James Blunt in my car; Bob Dylan and Bob Marley mix at home.
13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk? If I have to drink milk I prefer white skim. But I don’t really drink milk.
14. Has anyone told you a secret this week? Yes.
15. Have you ever given someone a hickey? Yes. A long time ago.
16. Who was the last person to call you? Angela (personal call); David B (work related)
17. Do you think people talk about you behind your back? Probably, I think they also talk about me in front of me, but I’m paranoid that way.
18. Did you watch cartoons as a child? Doesn’t, shouldn’t every one? I loved Marvin the Martian and anything Warner Bros related.
19. How many siblings do you have? Three – one sis, two bros, all married.
20. Are you shy around the opposite sex? Depends on the moment.
21. What movie do you know every line to? Johnny Dangerously, Airplane!, My Blue Heaven, The Princess Bride, The Goonies
22. Do you own any band t-shirts? No, but I’m super jealous of whoorls Monkees shirt.
23. What is your favorite salad dressing? Sad to say, Olive Garden’s house Italian
24. Do you read for fun? Yes, it’s a necessity.
25. Do you cry a lot? Yes, I’m a sap.
26. Who was the last person to text message you? My friend, Tom
27. Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop? Desktop computer but it’s unplugged and sitting on the floor of my mom’s house wishing it could be powered up. I’m currently using a laptop from my work to do some projects at home. Otherwise I do all my computing at work only.
28. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoo? I’d like to get a nose ring but I don’t think my job would appreciate that.
29. What is the weather like? Hot, sticky, humid. Wait, that was yesterday. Today is warm, sticky and slightly humid. Gotta love MN.
30. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos? Probably not.
31. Is sex before marriage wrong? Only when it’s bad sex.
32. When was the last time you slept on the floor? This winter when I was sick and curled up in 3 old comforters watching some stupid movie and I couldn’t get up to make it to my room.
33. How many hours of sleep do you need to function? I prefer around 8, but can manage on 7. Anything under that I get crabby and anything more than 9 makes me more tired.
34. Are you in love or lust? Both.
35. Are your days full and fast-paced? Sometimes.
36. Do you pay attention to calories on the back of packages? Yes, but more so the carb and sugar count.
37. How old will you be turning on your next birthday? 32.
38. Are you picky about spelling and grammar? This depends to whom I am talking. :)
39. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Nope.
40. Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex? Generally men are easier to handle. Women can be too pissy and bitchy for me. Or course I am a bitchy, pissy woman so maybe that’s the problem.
41. Do you like cottage cheese? Sometimes.
42. Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back? My back. ahhhh
43. Have you ever bid for something on eBay? A few things, but I’ve had to stop going there or I’d be poor.
44. Do you enjoy giving hugs? Yes.
45. What song did you last sing out loud? I don’t remember…that’s sad. Usually I’m singing a lot, but I can’t remember the last song! Scary.
46. What is your favorite TV show? CSI
47. Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with? I’m with whoorl: John Cusack.
48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? Saturday, May 20
49. What one thing do you wish you had? A home of my own.
50. Favorite lyrics? There are too many to choose from.


So the weekend is over. More importantly, baccalaureate and graduation are finished and a memory. Of course, we still have the wrap up this Friday so we can fix things for next year. But both events went well and are finished. Yay.

Monday the sem was closed for Memorial Day and so I had a nice day off. I mowed my lawn early to avoid the heat, then came to check my email and ended up spending about 2 hours writing one, yes ONE, email…I’m insane. It wasn’t anything bad, I was just rambling as I tend to do. Hopefully, the recipient didn’t have a heart attack when they opened it this morning. Well, time will tell on that I guess.

The rest of the day was spent napping, picking up my house, fixing the disc for the mailing project, watching the Numb3rs finale and vegging. If only it had been less humid I could have gone running. That’s just way too hard on the lungs to run in 90% humidity.

So, now it’s back to normal, whatever normal is. I went to the gym this morning and ellipticated, ran and did a few crunches. I need to keep going with that – the body’s getting flabby again – which is so not good. Of course eating the color-coded M&Ms probably isn’t helping that either. (I eat them in color sets. Yes, I’m weird, I know this. But, for the record, the order is: brown, blue, red, green, yellow and orange. When eaten out of order, bad things can happen. If the order is reversed or overlooked, one must correct oneself as soon as possible. If it is not corrected, bad things can happen. Seriously. You have been warned.)

I do have a secret but I’m not going to put it here just yet. I’m worried I might jinx it. And besides I’m not sure I want the outcome that may come anyway. But we’ll see and when I do I will, of course, let you, my internet, blogging and blog-reading friends, know.

26 May 2006

Decoration Day

This is one of those weekends that mean a lot to me. Decoration Day, aka Memorial Day, was created in 1868 to remember those who have died in our nations service. Growing up it was just another day with a few twists. The ‘rents had the day off of work, we would all go to the cemetery and put flowers on the grandparents, aunts, uncles gravesites and maybe attend a service at the church. The rest of the day was spent cleaning around the house, mowing, and hanging out.

I never really understood the meaning of this until I was older. I remember watching Art Moe putting a flag by Dad’s stone and realizing the significance of it. Art was much older than Dad, in fact was his Godfather, and had been through several wars himself. To see him taking time to honor my father, a fellow veteran, was very humbling. I began to make a point in my life of whenever I was at home to stop by the cemetery and taking a moment to think about those who have gone before.

I think this day has become one where people honor those they’ve loved, which is very good. Without them, we wouldn’t be here.

This weekend I can’t be at home like I would like. Mom and I can’t take our morbid trip around to different cemeteries checking on the sites, planting flowers, taking the moment to say thanks. This year seems a bit more significant to me, I’m not sure why, but Dad would have been 70 this year, just a week or so ago in fact, and it has struck me a bit harder this year. I was telling a friend back home about this and they offered to put a potted plant on Dad’s Place for me, which I’m glad my stubborn head didn’t rear itself and say no.

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

25 May 2006



What a week! I had the great joy of getting to see Kohly and actually meet his wife on Monday. That was really great. It was slow enough when he was here that we could actually talk for awhile. And during that lovely chat we, of course, discussed our blogs. I think we came to the conclusion that we check each other’s (our little group here) more than we actually write. It’s very true.

Now, from my perspective, my life doesn’t change a whole lot and I feel like sometimes my blog just becomes venting. But really, what else is it for? It’s a weblog, essentially an online journal. This can be a good thing though sometimes boring to read. (I’m not as eloquent as K). Our initial thought was to keep these as a way to track folks’ first year of ministry and compile things together, as a support network for each other. From my seat here in the ‘constant’ section, I think it has helped. I know I enjoy reading and keeping up on what y’all are up to. A lot of shop talk doesn’t happen via emails or on the phone, since those are times we just catch up and talk about our lives, but not necessarily about work.

Okay, I feel like I’m rambling here, but I guess my thought is for myself, a reminder as they say, is that I need to blog a bit more. There’s nothing wrong with using this as a venting post or to talk about what’s going on in my life. That’s kind of the point, I guess.

So, here’s a little update on my life:
I’ve been back to work 2 weeks now since the AK trip. I’m still not settled back into a routine, but I’m getting closer. I was stupid last week and agreed to take on a mailing project to help out the Pres’s wife – that has become a total nightmare. Talk about communication. Whoever did the project last year must have NO clue about mail merges and easing the process of multiple letters asking the same thing. the disc I was given had letter templates set up, sort of. There were about 50 individual letters, many saying the same thing (with the exception of to whom and asking for what – but even the latter was often the same), but all set apart for different people, all separate files! The spreadsheet connected to it also was not in any order, and didn’t make any sense. For example, there are letters that go to area associations – condos, apartments, etc – and there was one letter labeled ‘landlords 500’ but the spreadsheet had no indication of who the letters should go to! I spent 15 minutes on the phone with the lady whose project it is trying to sort it out and she had a great way of making me feel about this | | big because I didn’t know who these folks were, or that they ask Pepsi for 2,000 drinks for their participants (there was no letter for that), etc. So I’m finishing that project today, and fixing the damn disc because I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Whoever does this next year deserves to have a little more order because this is just awful. And the lady didn’t understand why I didn’t get it done in one night – uh, duh, ‘cause it doesn’t make any sense lady! Oh yeah, and by the way, I have a life! Grrrr.

Otherwise, let's see...a friend and I have been talking back and forth lately – talk about communicating. This seems like no big deal, I know, but our method is a little odd. In lieu of email and the phone, we’ve been talking to each other into a tape recorder – those microcassette recorders journalists use – and then send tapes back and forth. It’s kind of fun because we can talk to each other like we’re sitting together but no one talks back. And we can also listen and laugh and comment without interrupting. It’s kind of fun. The only drawback is that we do still email and occasionally talk on the phone so our conversations sometimes overlap. Oh well. It’s different and unusual, which is fun. I’m sure I look like an idiot sometimes though as I drive to work talking into a tape recorder. Of course, I used to just talk to myself, so maybe this adds a note of sanity to my life.

Graduation is this weekend at LS and Events is taking a stronger role this year. NS left LS in April to go to Augsburg Fortress and so her office handed off graduation to us. Crazy because we don’t have a clue of what’s supposed to happen, and trying to figure that out in less than a month is more than a little insane. Plus I’ve been gone so CH has been taking on a lot of it, and going crazy in the process. :) But I’m sure it’ll be fine. It’ll all go well and next week will be much better. Should be an interesting time.

So that's me so far. I'm going to try to blog more often. I don't care if anyone reads but I need to be writing. See y'all on the 'net!

17 May 2006

13 May 2006

AK - Round 2

Okay…so I had this all written up but I needed to redo it to (hopefully!) make it a little more coherent. You’re right, K, when we get out of our cultures, it’s all doublespeak. Seriously, I sometimes feel like that even within both the cultures I live. People start talking about hermeneutics and my eyes glaze over from confusion. I completely understand if people do the same with the military (hell, I do that at times there too!).

So here’s a shorter recap and explanation of what I did:

I and 129 of my closest guard friends, traveled to near Fairbanks, AK, to attend a training called Red Flag. This isn’t a new kind of training because it often happens in Las Vegas. The significance here is that it was the first time it was held in AK and with, what we call, a dedicated Aggressors force. This last thing means there are dedicated pilots who train and ‘play’ as the enemy using enemy tactics the military has studied and learned. So here’s a story based on the Aggressors Squadron of men who play the enemy.

My job there was to initiate interviews with key players of the exercise, take pictures of the different players (and primarily my unit), help set up media interviews with real media from the area, write articles, and perform the functions of a Public Affairs specialist, which is what I supposedly am.

The trick is that not many people really know what I do. Especially in our unit. One of my friend's told me that people had been telling him that I was just there to take their picture. SO not true. He set them straight, but most didn’t believe him. One person had even told others that I was just there for a vacation trip. Funny, since all he did was sit on the computer.

It wasn’t a vacation. We worked a lot. The PA office had 3 people dedicated to Red Flag, but we also worked with the host unit PA office of 7 people. These folks were all active duty and knew their way around – they were fabulous. The three of us, the Captain and Tech. Sgt. Jeff and me, were really indebted to them for all their great help. All 9 of these folks are people that I will forever remember. They all taught me so many things. I learned more than I can even express and truly understand my job better.

That was the big thing for me during this trip – it was really the first time I was able to deploy (go on a military exercise) as a Public Affairs person in a true Public Affairs capacity. Such a learning experience. There is so much more to my job than just putting together a stellar paper in 16 hours (though that was a big part of it, too). I’m still overwhelmed by emotion when I think of my time there for 2.5 weeks. I met so many fabulous people, many of whom I may not ever see again (though I hope to!), and worked with the incredible talents of the folks in my unit. I was able to see them in action on a daily basis and see others watching and learning from them! (i.e. active duty folks watching our guard guys and taking and implementing some of our tactics into their workplace). OH and I did get to go up in a KC-10 and watch the boom operator refuel several jets. Very cool.

We did get to relax some – though 12+ hour days, most days didn’t leave a whole lot of time. I mentioned Denali National Park last time. Our second weekend the group minus Casey went to Chena Hot Springs just outside of Fairbanks. If you click on that link…the middle picture shows the rocklake, which they liked to keep at about 104 degrees on the edge (so around 110 in the middle). The group spent 6 hours there on our second Saturday and I spent the entire 6 hours in that rocklake, having found the perfect rock to sit on where I could relax and enjoy. I got too relaxed though – I spent the next 3 days feeling like jello. It was great. On our 2nd Sunday, Tom, Jeff and I went to the Protestant service. SO much better than Mass…at least I felt welcome there. And then another vegging day. Lingered over breakfast/lunch. Drove to Delta Junction (which there was nothing there!) but the scenery on the way was great. Saw the Alaskan pipeline, which was pretty cool. Went for a 3 hour walk that night – the weather was perfect, found moose poop along the way. :) And just relaxed. It was really great.

Our last Friday there was a very touching day. In so many ways. I spent most of the day finishing up a story, running errands, slamming my hand in a van door, crying over the coin Jeff gave me (he coined me!) and trying to keep focused. I really didn’t want to go. It seemed too soon for the exercise to be done, though I know the rest were ready to move on. I felt like I had finally found my niche and could pull things together, but alas it was done. That night the PA folks all went out for Mexican (which was good since it kept me from the end-o-deployment party for the unit which tends to turn into a drunken bash – blech!). Airman Weaver and I had put together a spoof front page (this is a tradition in the PA world) for the Captain, Jeff and I that afternoon. The three of us had written spoof articles and picked out some appropriate pics to highlight our time and then Weaver and I put it together. It turned out really well – lots of inside jokes or I’d share…plus I don’t have an electronic copy. But that night at dinner the host Captain presented them to us. It was very touching. Hugs all around, laughter, a few tears (just from me – I’m a sap).

I took the Captain to the airport that night. I was very sad to see him go. He’s possibly getting out of the service in a couple months (I had set him up on a Y cord on Thursday – it’s a jet thing – as a going away present) and it’s really a loss to the Air Force. He’s fabulous.

The next day we did our usual military hurry-up-and-wait moment. Work call was at 0600 and we sat around waiting to leave til close to 11. I hung out with the crew chiefs some, took a few last photos, and just tried to downshift. Our 7.5 hour flight on a C-130 sucked – cold and cramped, but we made it home fine (obviously). And the next day I worked another 10 hours getting our latest edition put together of the base paper.

So I hope this helps – I’m not sure if I was clearer or not. I’ll find some links to the papers we did, but I can’t get them to come through on this computer very well right now. Soon.

11 May 2006

AK - Round 1

So it’s the start of story time. This’ll have to be in segments since I have basically 3 weeks to cover, but since there are other things I want/need to blog about I probably should get the AK time in now. So here’s week 1.5 highlights or ramblings, depending on how you look at it:

23 April 2006
I’ve been in AK 4.5 days now. Things are going smoother than initially. I packed too much and didn’t realize it until it was too late so I have way more crap here than I need – dammit. I may have to mail some back. But on the drive down I was SO nervous, at times I had a hard time even breathing. I got to the base and it was eerie – not like the other 2 deployments I had gone on where there was a mass movement of people and everything lined up to sign off on. Instead there were 2 tables and a truck. I dropped off my luggage, JP had me sign something to get paid, and I was told to be back at 0645. Crazy. So mom and I went to BK for some breakfast and then she dropped me off. Once I was back and mom had left, I suddenly felt better. I don’t know why, but I did…somehow I shifted into military mode. I walked upstairs to the briefing room, and felt calmer. It was very strange.

We arrived in AK at 10am Wednesday on a KC-135. The ride was awesome…super smooth, even for the jump seats. It wasn’t as cold as I expected seeing as we were sitting in the cargo bay. I slept part of the way, then read a couple chapters of “The House of Medici: Its Rise and Fall” by Christopher Hibbert which I’m borrowing from Keith. The flight went way quicker than I had thought it would and when we arrived we jumped right into work. Had a meeting with one of the AEW guys, (which I probably wouldn’t have had to be at since though I was AEW I wasn’t under him, but it gave me a good contact for the next couple weeks) and then headed to PA to meet the team and get to work. I had missed the tour of the base, so I was starting off a bit blind, but immediately was taken by the Captain and Tech Sgt Jeff I was to work with.

The Captain is my main boss and put me to work right away, but not in a bad way. Jeff and I went out to the flight line and took some pics of the Red Team and their mechanics. All these young kids keep these multi-million dollar planes up in the air. Amazing.

The next couple days I was working. We need to be writing and taking pics. I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to write. I hate writing. Ugh. I have a couple starts to some stories but I’m not sure if they’ll work.

Anyway, Saturday a group of us went to Denali National Park in hopes of seeing a glimpse of Mt. McKinley – whatever, it was SO overcast that we could barely see the mountains we were in. Oh well. I got a few pics (see below) and we did see some Caribou which was nice. It was a fun day with Tom, Dan, Rob, Jeff, Machelle and Casey.

Today, after I completed an interview with 3 captains, I went to Mass with Machelle and Tom and a couple others. Tom and I held up the Protestant part of the bench – it was okay, but I think I’m going to see if he wants to go to Protestant service next week. Nothing against Catholic Mass but they always seem so disjointed and not planned well. Do they not have a Worship class? Hello!

After that Machelle and I drove around Fairbanks and then North Pole, AK. It’s been a pretty vegging day. I’m trying to write now while watching DH but it’s not going well.

I did find out tonight that the Captain and Jeff both hate writing too…what a team we have! :) hahaha this should be an interesting couple weeks.

24 April 2006
1351 - Today is a dreary day. I’m hoping the mission went well this morning but with the weather I’m a little worried. Knocked off my first article but right now my captain is double checking my facts….suck. I feel shitty now. Grrr…I’m going to have to haul ass on my next article. Suck.

25 April 2006
0910 – Sunny today, hopefully flying will be better. I’m published though. WOOHOO! Though in truth, the captain helped a ton. Two minds are better than one I think. Today is Aggressor day. I think the Capt is getting a little worried that he’s assigning too much and I’m taking too much on. Whatever…I need to do this for the learning experience. Interviewing Matt F tonight. Should be good.

26 April 2006
So today I got to watch bombs go off…not just set out and detonated from afar, but dropped from planes, see the smoke, hear the big boom and feel the aftershock impact. Pretty damn cool. I just wish my pictures had turned out. My damn card filled up too quickly so I missed the best options for pictures. And by the time I figured out how to delete them off the card the game was done. Oh well. I got to play in the mud and freeze my fanny off. It was a good time.

I’m working late tonight. Jeff and I told the Captain he needed to go back to his room and just sleep and rest. He’s been working WAY too late lately. And so I sweetalked him into giving me the office keys so I could come back and work in quiet. It’s so much easier to work like this. I’m listening to interviews (90 minutes from Matt alone!) and I typed up a quick secondary story idea and shot him to review in the AM.

I’m trying to figure out my role here…am I for my unit or for the exercise? I’m kind of leaning for the exercise but with side bars for the unit. I’m not sure that’s the best option but we’ll see. RC wants a general article on what we’re doing and why were here…I’m working on that but it’s hard to write in a general way when there are so many little specific things going on. Hopefully if the captain approves this MXS story idea I shot him tonight I can use a bit of that for the big article at the end. Plus the Aggressor story I’m working on now should help to supplement it all as well. I just don’t think I’ll be able to pull that together ‘til next week.

Oh and the captain asked again today about the aggressor story. I think he’s getting the feeling he should do it but he doesn’t want to take it from me…I don’t care. It’s not like he’s stealing from me but if he feels he should do it for PACAF or whatever then he can…but I’ll probably still do a smaller aggressor story for our paper anyway. I don’t know. I just finished my notes, will print and highlight tomorrow and sort what I want to put together. Then I’ll have a better idea of what I want to showcase and we’ll see if that matches him. Ugh.

27 April 2006
Tired this morning. Machelle and I stayed up way too late again last night, but at least she’s filling me in on things happening. Found out Phil gave a briefing yesterday and is doing one again today for the unit (didn’t happen). And that she and Daryl are going to go around to the shops today and meet up with everyone. I need to get on that trip so I can find everyone. And found out from Tom there was a fuel leak last night so I need to get pics of them moving the plane and such and get our guys doing some work. My fingernails are gone I’ve been biting them with nervous energy so much lately. As mom would say, “it’s nerves.” Oh well.

28 April 2006
Man…stupid idiots across the hall partied until 3am. Jerks. Even after I asked them to keep it down. grrr. Plus I worked til 9pm, got back at 9:30, did laundry with Machelle and didn’t get done with that til 12. Finally had fallen asleep and at 1:30 the phone rang – JeffVW calling saying Northern lights were up. Those were beautiful – green and dull yellow, constantly shifting. Sweet stuff. But I didn’t want to screw up my sleep schedule any more than I already have so I still got up at 630 to shower and be at work by 715.

Three things today – picture we sent up that I took got gigged because I forgot to blur out the line badge. Bad.
Typed up my Aggressor article – Captain helped with the lead and editing and I nailed it. YAY!
My ATO crappy article made the front page of the Arctic Sentry. Woohoo.

So that’s been my trip so far. Going to a briefing by Phil at 3 today then taking pictures of some folks who want their picture taken. Blah blah blah.
Oh well. Really tired today.
Oh and did see mooses yesterday…but didn’t get very good pictures of them. Ugh point and click cameras. I wish I had had the D1 with me. They would have been awesome.

10 May 2006

Another picture for your amusement…

…just until I have time to sit down and type more…for the record this was a ONE time occurrence and I wasn’t even drinking crown.

09 May 2006


Okay a quick note. I’m back and things are super busy. I wasn’t able to blog while there but I’ll tell you all about it soon. I have pics – TONS of pics – to sort through and figure out what I can put up and what I can’t. The trip was phenomenal and though I’m glad to be back I easily could have stayed another week or two. (Although the host unit is sucking rubber this week, so maybe not this week). So more soon.