C'est La Vie
What a beautiful piece of heartache this has all turned out to be. Lord knows we've learned the hard way all about healthy apathy. And I use these words pretty loosely. There's so much more to life than words..
Things I love
Thursday, July 22, 2004
What an exciting day!
It's continued to be a really busy week for me and my shipmates, and this upcoming (or current) week will be the busiest days ever for us. We had this huge inspection today, which included the whole compartment (office, head -- aka bathroom, laundry room, deck, windowsills, everything) and alternately our bunks and/or lockers (that is, either how well we made our beds, or how well we stenciled/labeled, folded, and stowed all of our clothing and most of our gear.) As yoeman, (a) I don't have much time and thus my shipmates are supposed to help with my stuff, and usually do except not always enough or correctly; and (b) I "get" to follow the inspector around with a clipboard, writing down the hits he calls out on bunks and lockers. When he got to mine, of course, I was on the edge of my boots. I stinkin' bombed the thing. The office was perfect, but I got 4 hits on my locker, which is failing. They were for dumb things, too, like not having buttoned the cuff buttons of the utility shirt that I had folded up in there. So it was frustrating. But the inspector said I can't fall apart; he needs me to have my head on my shoulders and continue on with the inspection. So I did, and only on the bunk right after mine did my voice crack at all. Beyond that, I was just fine. One inspection bombed, yes, but good enough scores on everything else that I'm set.
So then, one of my petty officers (actually, this may have been before the inspection) told me that I'm one of our (86 member) division's 3 nominees for honor graduate. So out of our 86, I'm one of the top 3. And they had to send a male, and RPOC is always sent (our RPOC is a female). So it's like either way I was going, and since I'm the one of that, it's like they said I'm the top. Which is partly because I passed PT0 and did decently well on all the other tests and assessments so far, with excellent military bearing when needed, can train almost anyone in the division for their position,, and have most everyone coming to me for advice, mediating, and/or to support me, all in the midst of the most hectic job for a recruit to have.
That was stinkin' awesome.
And then all the females were getting ready to shower, and I was slow because I had a corndog for lunch and my stomach was tore up. So I was standing by my rack getting my stuff out, when Petty Officer came out looking for RPOC. Since she was in the shower already, Petty Officer told me to get my shoes on and get in the office with my best military bearing, because the FTT inspector was there. So I did, and to make a long story brief, he ended up giving me a Brovo Zulu (which is a good chit) for "outstanding military bearing and a great team player" as well as a 15 minute phone card. In the process, I made my senior chief and petty officers have a good belly laugh with one of the answers I gave the inspector, but it was kind of a you-had-to-be-there thing. And since, fortunately for you, you're not here, I won't bother.
Tomorrow is PT1 (the first real physical fitness test) and then there's plenty more fun to be had in the next 2 weeks. For now, I got letters from my mother and Barbara (pictures included -- yay!) and it's time to go read them.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 14, 2004. 2203
My RDC's, for whatever reason, decided to only send two recruits for honor board, without even having the ship's leading chief petty officer look at us and choose between. So, they're sending our RPOC and me. 2 females; something that is NOT done in this kinda situation. But you always send the RPOC (and our RPOC is a great candidate, anyway) and none of the males could replace me there, so they're pushing the envelope in a big way on this one.
Wow, I am so amazed.
And then they had the division vote on who they want as the division-decision honor graduate, knowing that I was already nominated for this other thing. By more than twice the runner up, they voted for me. Well over twice. Then the second, third, and fourth most recommended all had within a few votes of each other. The guy I voted for later asked me (before the results were announced) if I was it, and others came to tell me why they'd voted for me (or in some cases, why they chose the person they did). It's just blowing me away, having such incredible shows of support from both my RDC's and my shipmates within my division. Me, the one who took a year deciding to join, who couldn't seem to keep a job or work my way through school.
I'm not quite sure yet what any of these things mean other than getting recognized specifically at graduation and attending a special brunch and all, but I'm caught in this whirlwind of excitement and some anxiety.
It does help ease my nerves a little that even if I don't do so well tomorrow and I don't get one of the 5 honor-board spots, I’ll still be my division's honor graduate. But if I do get a spot, our second most recommended recruit will get it. Unfortunately (in my humble opinion) that doesn't happen to be the guy I really think should get it (as in, I think he should've had more votes than me), but it's a decent-and-helpful enough recruit, and I'm glad for him. And all my shipmates, who are getting much better as a division, most of the time.
Now I need my sleep... honor board is in 8 and a half hours -- yikes! Nite!
THURSDAY, JULY 15, 2004. 2226
The moral of the story is that I can be fully confident around my peers, and can certainly hold my own under pressure at certain times, but at other times (when I get nervous) I lock the snot up and am not good for anything regarding speaking confidently or having "military bearing." On top of that, I seem to be really sick again -- I've been nauseous the past 3 days, but I thought it was nerves about the honor board. However, (or, as my RDC's say, "However, comma,") I've been getting more and more nauseous as the night goes on, and feeling perhaps feverish or just like something is way off.
Eh. Here's to getting healthy when I get out of boot camp and can hopefully sleep more. And here's to still being my division's selected honor recruit, even if I sucked at the awards board.
SUNDAY, JULY 18, 2004. 0834 -- started chatting (and getting rid of trash and stuff from my letter-writing pile), now it's 0931
Holiday routine is shorter now, because about 2 weeks after I started boot camp, they shortened it to 6 weeks (plus processing) instead of the 8 (plus proc.) it is for my division. Granted, we have it shorter than many in the past, but honestly I can't imagine how they'll compact it even more and still turn out half-decent sailors. Just not gonna be good for them, trying to squeeze it all in.
The point, though, was that because those recruits need more training time on Sundays, we have less free time even though we’re at the point where we don't need as much training anymore anyway.
Today, there's a lot of excitement around these parts. Within the past 2 days, we were finally granted permission to use HAIR BARRETTES (no more than 2, and must "match" hair color) which is an amazing feeling. And today, we get to pluck our eyebrows for the first time since leaving home, since our photos are tomorrow! And lots of the girls are using perm/relaxant/etc. products on their hair, and we'll get to wear makeup tomorrow just during the pictures time, and we all feel like females again. It's incredible.
Yesterday, there was a pretty intense situation in the division involving a few of the females, and everyone called ME over to deal with it instead of an RDC. Because they've seen something in me that makes them think I can handle pretty much anything. That something can only be my relationship with God, whether they realize that or not just yet. Either way, it's honoring and yet stressful. Butt I diffused the situation, and then spent the next hour and a half AFTER TAPS explaining to the one that started it that just because she's at the same level as me in the chain of command, that doesn't mean that she is right in this situation or that HER "feeling threatened" is any more ok than her making the other female feel threatened. So, more stuff to deal with today when the RDC's get in. C'est la vie.
It's less than 3 weeks now 'till we graduate, and just a bit more 'till I actually leave. Yay!! I am so stinkin' excited about it. And so proud to think ahead to standing up as honor recruit at graduation, especially.
Time to shower, and then I've got lots more to do. But yes, it's actually good now with some difficult moments instead of the other way around.
Please write, everyone. Thanks immensely to those who have. People said letters would be my lifesavers here, and they really weren't kidding. If you know someone else at boot camp (or on deployment or for any other reason, far away from home), please write them, too. I was really bad about that before, but I'll not forget this in the future.
With love in our Lord, Jesus Christ
Seaman Recruit Tracey...
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Really, really difficult day today, but ending well enough. Started with some recruits being told in my presence one thing not to do by the senior chief, and then doing that very thing with the excuse that they didn't hear him. Right. He was yelling right in their faces. So, that came back on me, a little bit.
And then we just had this incredibly busy day, which busy for all of us means at least three or four times busier for me, and nearly that for my sub-yoeman. In the midst of all this busy-ness, we had an inspection, on which I got one hit which really isn't too bad in my humble opinion, but to senior chief it's just horrid. At any rate... because the division as a whole made a lower score than we could've on the inspection, we had the IT (punitive or intensive training workouts) session of a lifetime. During which, as has happened nearly every time since my second week here, my muscles completely failed and I eventually had to sit down and just drink water, which is not looked on kindly. (I do, by the way, drink plenty of water each day, mostly due to my background as a long-distance runner, and also due to my lack of dislike for the stuff, which a lot of people use as an excuse -- disliking the taste or lack there-of of water, that is -- to not drink enough. Most health probems here, besides colds and whatnot, are due to dehydration. Not in my case.)
I had been talking a bit before the session with one of my petty officers about being concerned that I seem to be in WORSE shape physically than I was when I got here. And he was saying I'll be fine on the tests, which wasn't the only point of that whole conversation. So meanwhile, I've had this really nasty, non-productive cough thing going on for about a week or week-and-a-half now, and it's getting worse every day. So senior chief and earlier mentioned petty officer each finally caught on tonight and said I need to go to medical. I tried to briefly explain that because of my shin splints and the fiasco with my dentist, I couldn't afford to go to medical, and had two different results. Senior chief's conversation with me ended in, I think, a decision that since I'd already gotten Sudafed from medical and still had plenty to take, that should help me.
But with petty officer earlier, he was saying that they'd be keeping an eye on me and if I looked like I was hurting, they'd send me to medical. And then he said, "you won't get asmo'd," which was fabulous because that was one of my big concerns, since ASMO means being transferred to another division and thus set back in training and thus graduating later. I cannot stay in this place one day longer than necessary -- this past month has been far too long already.
However, I am getting more disciplined (somewhat) and praise God no matter what.
FRIDAY, JULY 9, 2004. 2237
From some Navy paperwork about post-tooth-extraction care: Do not drink alcoholic beverages. This includes the use of mouthwashes, ALL of which contain alcohol. You may use an acohol-free mouthwash. (emphasis mine)
From a cadence we sing while marching sometimes: They say that in the NAVY, the coffee's mighty fine. It looks like muddy water, and tastes like turpentine. Oh Lord, I wanna go Home. But they won't let me go home.
One of the silley-worst things about being yoeman is when I'm working in the office and the RDC's come in with some fast food or a fresh salad topped with perfect little cubes of some fragrant cheese. Likewise, every morning when they've got coffee and I, of course, don't. Even though I'm tired as all get-out and don't get to take a nap during the day. Of course, it wouldn't be cool for me to get some and not my shipmates, but I'm not sure I'd let a cup of coffee go to waste if they set it down beside me. Alas, they don't, so it's a moot point, I suppose. It's a good thing I still like the galley food, for the most part. Especially the hashbrowns. Mmmmm.
We were woken up at 0400 today to conduct a man-overboard drill, for which I had to call the muster (as I do during fire alarms and any other time we're mustering up) VERY EARLY. I've had this bad chest cold (one of the coughing-all-the-time,-never-productively types) for maybe a week or 10 days now, getting worse each day. So my voice is scratchy and squeeky and whatnot (just noticed I mention the cough in the last entry), and early morning hours (earlier even than 0530 as I'm used to) only enhance that. Perhaps I sounded like Smeogol (sp?) but either way, we completed our muster. With one very sleepy yoeman. On that note, goodnight.
SUNDAY, JULY 11, 2004. 1418
We had a bomb threat today during our holiday routine, so I've got a lot less time than normal.
So, one more line from another, not-earlier-quoted cadence: "Mama, mama, can't you see what the Navy's done to me... I used to drive a Chevrolet. Now I'm marching every day."
Love y'all, write more next week!
You know what? Praise God. I keep thinking back to that last letter I sent and how negative-focused most of it was, and wondering what the snot's been up with me for so long. Actually, maybe not that last part, because I really was in stinkloads of pain in the very midst of an extremely difficult transition. But in the past two days, though some of the pain is still around (much less since all the stitches have fallen out) and my lips will most likely have a scar on them, and even though the transition has been hard still, I've gained loads of new perspective (or at least refreshed) and am back to my me self again. That is, lots of prayer and lots of work and lots less stress, and God is faithful in providing His strength and His joy. And His conviction. Which is a wonderful, wonderful thing -- to be made a better person by God while the Navy makes me into a sailor.
One of the newer perspectives came really full circle today. See, maybe 4 days (or a week max) after arriving, we were marching, and I march near the front partly because of being yoeman. And my female petty officer was walking a little ways in front of me/us, talking to a chief from another division. And the chief was talking about not being able to find a yoeman in his crowd, and my p.o. says, "Well, my yoeman thinks she's the RPOC" and went on to contrast me with your typical yoeman -- they're shyer, would-be-wallflowers, etc. And then the stinger, she was saying something about not being able to find anyone else qualified.
I figured out maybe a week or two ago that perhaps the conversation wasn't quite as cut-and-dried as all that, and perhaps some of what I didn't hear was BIG FAT important stuff for my understanding of the fact that I am a strength to this division in not being a typical yoeman.
Fast forward to today: I was sitting at the "yoeman's table" with the yoeman from our brother division, while our divisions were at Classifications (where we get some finalization on our job and our training school), and one of my RDC's came over to say I'd be carrying the cutlass home. I figured, I'm the yoeman, I carry everything for everyone, I guess RPOC just has other responsibilities. (The cutlass, btw, being the sword RPOC's -- and maybe other divisional leaders outside bootcamp -- carry as they lead the division in formation.) A while later, the same RDC came over to say, "You know what that means, right? You're driving the bus home!"
The bus is our division. He meant I would be leading the division, making all the calls on the street and whatnot. Oh, stinkin' snot! Were they insane?! So my whole division was really supportive and could tell I was anxious (in a silley way) about it, and saying things like "Our friendly yoeman! Driving the bus!" like a parent making a big deal out of their oldest child's first day driving.
So, I put on the cutlass, and because I march near the front normally, I knew most of the calls that're made while standing there getting ready to march, and knew most of them during the march, too, and had my ROC's there helping me anyway. The whole experience, starting out, was nerve-wracking. But then it was fun beyond what I would have believed, and I'm excited about spending some time training to be a backup RPOC in case ours is out of commission during an inspection.
Some things are still really tough about being here, but in all things, Praise God.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
First, a brief (ha!) explanation of my job as division yoeman: When 88 some odd people between 17 and 30 years old (in our division, though the range can vary slightly from that, of course) and from almost every background come together and have 8 to 10 weeks to turn into sailors, there is a lot of paperwork and scheduling to do. There are things the whole division does (from both academic and physical tests to haircuts or live fire range time) and there are things only certain groups or individuals do. Since none of these people have a calendar (except me and the medical and dental yoeman who are under me, both of whom work hard and do good jobs) or are allowed to be remotely independent anyway, the yoemen's jobs (theirs mostly in their specific fields and mine in everything the division does or might do) are to get the division, groups, and individuals all to their scheduled appointments and activities, to make sure everyone has what they need (ID cards for certain events, etc.), keep track of who is where, when, and if they returned on time, and be at every beck and call of our RDC's every moment of the day. If a form is filled out incorrectly (includng, say, the barracks check out sheet which recruits use when they sign out to say they're away from the division) I or my sub yoemans get dropped (as in physical training) for it. Push-ups are passe, you see... here, we do "8-count body builders" which are much, much harder, and they control which step we're on and what speed we're using. I'm sure there's an explanation of 8-counts somewhere on the net, so I won't even try here. But anyway, the point is that it's a lot of work and a lot of stress, and I sure wasn't quite ready for it to be quite like this.
So, throw in some other quirks and I had a very bad week. I already talked about the other divisional (recruit) staff, the inspection garbage, and the resulting lack of motivation I've been feeling since. Here's the real kicker, though!
In middle school, I had a root canal done, very poorly, on one of my bottom molars. In high school, I had all 4 wisdom teeth and another tooth pulled out. Since then, I had had 3 further teeth pulled (remember that my goal is to become a waffle-house waitress), all molars, and the root canal molar was still there with its stubby, jagged little remains. (The cap had fallen off and been replaced several times, and finally I just left it off.) So, since my body is now property of the US government, they decided that tooth would be surgically removed here at bootcamp to give their "I-came-in-as-a-lieutenant-and-yet-I-have-no-idea-what-the-snot-I'm-doing" newer dentists some practice, and make them earn the $100,000 a year they pay them (as the dental staff said over and over). And of course, I had no choice in the matter, just as the decent portion of my divisional shipmates who had 2 or 4 of their wisdom teeth pulled had no choice. The removal of my tooth was surgical because there was so little left above the surface that they had to cut my gums in order to yank the stub out, which, by the way, was held in with a metal post.
Ok, so I've had 4 teeth AND my wisdom teeth removed, so I can handle this, right? Except that in the process (this was Tuesday, mind you, and it's now Friday), the dentist cuts my cheek (behind the good tooth behind the one they were pulling) and takes 2 chunks out of my lower lip. Thanks, I didn't want that lip anyway. You know, it was such a pain how it held things in my mouth when I ate or drank...
And then there's the nerve damage; my right cheek still looks swollen, except it still feels like there's Novocaine inside, and it's because he damaged my nerves. Whether this lasts weeks or months or forever, at least right now it makes talking, running, and looking in the mirror very difficult in various ways.
This dentist, worst of all, has the gall to tell me that my "lips were too chapped, so small pieces of them came off during the procedure." I stinkin' FELT you hit them with your grinder tool and your sharp tools! The Novocaine hadn't gone that far up, buddy! Cut them deep enough they didn't bleed much, either. I come back to my division and everyone says I look like my lip was burned. So I'm on 4 different medications just for that, because it's so painful... 3 of them, actually, are painkillers. They had me on Vicodin and Motrin first with some bacitracin to put on my lips, but I had a severe reaction to the Vicodin and the doctor at the hospital took me off that without prescribing anything else. When the pain was keeping me from eating and sleeping much, a post-op dentist prescribed another gel (triamcinolone acetonide) that helps numb "oral lesions" and that has helped a bit, but not much. During my follow-up appointment, she prescribed MLB Rinse (which is Maalox, Benadryl, and lidocaine mixed and MUST not be swallowed), which numbs what it comes in contact with, including taste buds, and that helped a little. But then we had a PT session today including a lot of running, and it nearly killed me, the pain did. So backk to dental, where they prescribed naproxen, which still isn't enough, but all these pills are tearing my stomach apart. That's 5 medications now, just for the one problem, not to mention the physical damage done and all. But it is healing, very slowly and painfully, and I don't feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame as much anymore when I go around people other than my girls. Even with the males in my division, I was really self-conscious. And since I don't have but 4 molars left, not even lined up with each other, on my left side and it's too painful to chew yet on my right side (on which the 5 molars left are a little more lined up), and then I was feeling like crap aesthetically, and I was in pain just breathing and moreso eating, and I had to pass up on several of my favorite foods because they'd need more grinding than I could do... since all those factors are there, I've cried every meal from Tuesday to now, and I cry many places we go when the pain flares up particularly badly.
I've realized that I have a bad attitude about all this, and I've prayed for Christ's joy to reign instead and for strength and mercy. And then I go somewhere and my lips hurts and my divisional RCPO (pronounced "Ahr Pock") gets an attitude with someone and doesn't get IT'd (the punishment version of PT) for it or an inspection happens and they mess with the results, and I get so bothered. Meanwhile, I still realize that I have a bad attitude and that a lot of this is what bootcamp is all about, but it's breaking people into little shreds, and I really think the shreds have got to be the smallest out of my division. Because no matter how much I work at things, I get shin splints, or a dentists messes me up, or whatever else happens, and something completely outside my control destroys my hard effort.
Oh, that's not so different from my civilian life, eh? Except when I'm on major drugs, I can't sit at home and rest... no, no... I have to be at bootcamp of all paces, looking and feeling like this. So what did I come here for? Can I really believe it'll get better? That the Navy's benefits will make all this worth it?
SATURDAY, JULY 3, 2004. 2225
Yes. Yes, I can believe it'll get better, and that it's a good thing I joined the Navy. I still struggle, sometimes, but I'm optimistic again. I hate feeling like some moody chick, swayed by every whim and writing different tones each night; however, I had as much dental/lip pain as ever today (maybe more) and yet had a pretty good day overall. It started off really bad, but by lunchtime I was feeling like progress was being made both in the division and in me and my yoemen getting caught up on our work, so now I'm going to bed rather content and rather excited about having holiday routine the next days (!!!) because of observance of the 4th, and sleeping well tonight (hopefully) and writing more tomorrow. Not that this isn't long enough.
SUNDAY, 4th of JULY, 2004. 9:26
Sundays are the most wonderful thing here, at least 'till 3:30 when our free time ends. Tonight's gonna be a lot of work on bunk and locker drills, and for me prolly a lot of work in the office, too. But it should be good, and tomorrow should be good and in 4 weeks we'll graduate and one week after that I move on to my "A" school.
Lots of letters to write today, so I'm off now. Love y'all!
Oh, yes, blog readers, one more bit. I was selected for yoeman (if I didn't explain yet) because I'll be personellman which is a related field, and because I aced my ASVAB.
A typical day -- well, that really doesn't exist so much. We wake up usually between 5 and 6 (and I have to wake up half an hour early to get things rolling and get my own rack "on spot" before Reveille... and we all know how much I love waking up early...), and usually go to chow soon after or run a bunk drill, but some mornings we'll be doing PT first. Then we may have a class, a test, more bunk drills, marching practice, and/or shots/medical processing/etc. and then lunch. Then more of the same, or time in the barracks learning more about folding our laundry or marching certain steps or movements, or usually PT. Then we'll do dinner and hygeine (which means 44 girls have 10 minutes total to shower, get dressed again, and be ready for RDC time. And evenings after chow are usually being talked to by our RDC's or PT or getting in trouble and being IT'd and whatever it is, it's followed by a LOT of cleaning. And then Taps is 10pm.
We do receive mail (by law) the night it gets to our barracks, which does sometimes take a bit longer than it would, say, to get to my house. But not too much longer. No mail on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays... The Saturday part is a bummer, of course. But it's nice getting mail during the week.
So, 4th of July, and I had Wootbear and ice cream and a cheeseburger and fries and baked beans and (to make it as American as possible) Apple Pie!
Yay for Independence Day!
Patty -- Seaman Recruit Tracey
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Blogmen 1st class,
Senior Chief told me, when talking about my position as a yoeman, that I'm like the mother hen of the division, I need to gather everyone up and make sure they're where they belong when they belong there, and really take care of everyone. That even though I'm not at the top of the recruit chain of command, I run the division and I keep it running properly, or improperly if I don't do my job well enough (this past sentence having been mostly paraphrase). This is especially true since the other division staff, with the exception of the one who doesn't speak English, are of not-so-people-friendly-personas. That is, the division staff of my level or higher. Several of our staff under my level are fabulous people, but the 4 others that have 3-chevron collar devices (like mine, indicating Recruit Petty Officer 1st class) and most of all our recruit chief petty officer (who wears a gold anchor, like real chief petty officers) have serious issues in either their people skills or their integrity. I've already brought this up to some of the RDC's, but nothing that I know of has been done yet. So, here I am, mother-henning my division and plenty of the other division's females as well, and only getting done with about half of what needs to be done as far as getting good at making my rack or folding my clothes perfectly or studying some of our test material.
I decided today, though, that I really don't care about the performance standards here so much, especially after I saw some INFURIATING practices during one of our inspections. I think that it all comes down to politics and if you're one person, you'll sail through, and if you're someone else, no matter how perfect you are, they'll break you down anyway, by pulling some dishonest crap on the inspection. All that hard work for nothing. So I really lost my motivation as far as that goes, and I'm now just all about helping the individual members in my division and brother's females to work through their weaknesses and grow into great sailors and mostly survive bootcamp well. I think that's more important, really, and is certainly more achievable than the impossibility of getting everything all right on inspections. Because after all, what score I got on my bootcamp personal inspection isn't going to matter nearly so much even 2 months from now as how I helped a shipmate talk through her problem or get to the test he needed will matter for all eternity.
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
GOOD MORNING! --recruit writing. It's a habit now.
0600 came early, as always, especially because when the Officer of the Deck (or person that's monitoring the "ship" for any given time frame throughout the day) comes in in the middle of the night to tour the compartment, he or she usually likes to yell a lot and wake everyone up and say silley, nasty things just because everyone's asleep and he or she isn't. Sometimes, I sleep right through their visits, but the one that came in last night was really aweful, really power-happy, and extremely grouchy. So she woke up everyone she possibly could, including pretty much every divisional staff member, in the sense that she woke almost everyone up with her voice, but actually forced several of us to get out of bed to do this or that.
Meanwhile, my boots are nice and shiny, I'm gonna take a shower in just a minute, and do lots of ironing later on, as well as FINALLY attend a church service for the first time since I arrived. We were taught how to iron in military creases yesterday, so I'll have those going on soon. And a couple more letters to write, and then I'll be ready when holiday routine ends at 1530 and we get back into the military swing of things.
I'm refusing to allow myself to actually do the math and figure out what my pay averages out to per hour, considering that we all work 7 days a week except for 8 of the 15 hours on Sunday, and I for one am sort of working 24-7 because even at night I can be woken up for any problems, and during holiday routine people still ask me stuff. But as long as I don't do the math or think about how much they'll be taking out of my first paycheck for my ditty bag, I feel like I'm making plenty enough. Oh, then there's taxes. But I do get free medical and dental, and all my food and clothing is taken care of, so it should be fine. And the food here, as I mentioned, is Really good! This morning for chow, I had Corn Pops, hash browns, french toast, a banana, and poweraid. A far cry from the former norm of the military! So yes, I'm doing well enough here, especially when I'm not to do the physical training stuff.
And now it's time to say good bye, for another week... USA (A good time was had by all) NAV (V as in c'est la vie) Y BOOT Camp... OK, nevermind that. I tried.
[ed: Patty also says: tell everyone to send pictures and funny clips (very G-rated) to make me laugh!]
MOST DEAREST OF DEAR BLOGGEES:
This has been a much better week overall. Tonight, we got our collar designs (or pins that show our recruit rate) pinned on for those of us in divisional petty officer titles right now. Out of all of them, I'm the only that's been in the office more than a week, and the least likely to get fired simply because of how hard it is to train someone for the division yoeman position. In my usual, suave way, I managed to say, "Thank you, chief," when my SENIOR Chief was pinning it on! It's because our brother division (that is, the 44 females that share the compartment with our 44 females, and likewise for the males, but then we're split up into the integrated divisions for anything related to training, meals, etc.)... our brother division's head RDC (Recruit Division Commander) is a chief, and I had to break the habit of saying senior chief when their chief is talking to us, but it's a bad thing to call a senior chief a chief. That's like taking away between 3 and 10 years of his career. Ours is eligible for a master chief promotion next year, which is the highest enlisted rank in the Navy, and I'm really excited for him -- I honestly think he does a fabulous job with this, and I'm sure he's equally great at his rate of QMCS (or Quarter Master, senior chief) and I feel honored to be part of his division, and especially a seemingly appreciated part. They don't really say good job in so many words, but sometimes Petty Officer Brooks will say something like "You've been here before" or Senior Chief will say "stay on top of the game" which is good since you have to BE on top of the game to stay on top.
So both Senior Chief and Petty Officer Dahlinghaus asked me what I came in as, and the answer is an E-2, which is a seaman apprentice. POD-haus then told me (as opposed to SC just nodding and looking thoughtful) that being yoeman, if I stay yoeman, means getting advanced to E-3, seaman, which is an increase in pay and status, and one step closer to E-4, Petty Officer third class. So that's exciting, too. I'm already looking forward to graduation: Last week while we were singing Anchors Away, I got a little sniffley thinking about getting to the farewell verse (Anchors away, my boys, anchors away... farewell to foreign shores; we sail at the break of day day day day... Through our last night on shore, drink to the foam. Until we meet once more, here's wishing you a happy voyage home...). I kinda felt like when you're in high school and it's the last day of the school year.
A lot of these girls have become pretty close friends to me already, which is significant considering we really don't get much time to talk to each other just yet. We can't talk during meals, for example, which is really hard. But I was told you make dear friends, whether for the duration or for life, because of going through all of this together, and that's certainly proven to be true already.
I am learning more than ever about helping others to become better leaders, as my seniority in my position and the way that I can get along with, respect, and be respected by such a wide diversity of people has put me in a situation of the other leaders coming to me for advice, all our shipmates coming to me to resolve and/or mediate conflicts, and myself actually giving some kind but unsolicited advice to our divisional petty officers. It's helped the division to get along at least a little better, and ended at least some of the drama. Not all, mind you, as is understandable when 88 girls sleep, shower, and mostly live in the same rooms as each other. But, they're arguing less and I haven't gotten punched out in the process, so I figgur that's a good thing.
This week also found me at medical again with severe and unbelievably painful shin splints. We spend a lot of time marching here, of course, and mostly outside on the concrete in boots that just don't cut it, and most of the other surfaces we walk on are hard as well. So I got some insoles for my boots and my sneakers, I ice my shins after every meal, and I'm on a really high dosage of ibuprofen for the next couple of days. They seem to be getting better, though that's mostly because I'm on "light, limited duty" for a couple of days and thus haven't been marching. The good news is that on LLD, I don't have to do all the 8-count body builders, pushups, situps, etc. when they're BEATing (Better-Educate-and-Train-ing) the division. The bad news is that because of that, it's really looked down on. So, hopefully these will heal before Monday when I go back to "fit for full duty" and hopefully they'll stay away forever.
OK, it's now 2300 (or 11pm) and we're getting up at 0600, which is sleeping in for us even though that's Navy boot camp's normal reville time these days. So, I'm gonna go to sleep now and write more in the morning.
Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
"So how do i do normal
"It's been known for a train to jump its track. It's ok, so you'll know, most times they come back. It's ok to lose your life, when you finally see your birth. It's ok to say, "I love you," and figure sometimes it's gonna hurt.
"As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can't be like pancakes, all exciting at first, but then by the end you're sick of 'em!"
"Hey, this is weird! I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?" "I love it!" "You're kidding! What a crazy random happenstance!"
"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
"It was Flannery O'Connor who said that 'grace must wound before it heals.' Her words help me to separate what is most true about life from the things we want to be true. We want life to be painless. True grace is a hard sell because in order for the human heart to understand forgiveness and love, it must first experience darkness and isolation. A life lived under the rule of grace is a life of need which allows us to receive an appreciate the gift of the giver of grace. This is why we will always have the poor with us; this is why God will not allow us to ignore injustice; this is why we are called to a life we cannot handle alone, which can and will break us in the effort to live it -- because grace must wound before it heals."
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
I thought Christmas Day would never come. But it's here at last, so Mom and Dad, the waiting's finally done. And you gotta get up, you gotta get up, you gotta get up, it's Christmas morning.
O little town of Bethlehem,
Walk humbly, son
Strings of lights above the bed
"In a little while I'll feel better
"Please tell me once again that You love me. That You love me. Please tell me once again that I matter to You and You really care. Please tell me once again that You're with me, forever. It's not that I could ever doubt you, I just love the way it sounds. I just love the way it sounds."
"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
have you seen my love
Traveling is significant because it takes so much effort. Either you're going to some place you love, or you're leaving some place you love. Usually it's both.
I think I have Bond's ability to get into trouble but not his ability to get out of it. Someday I'll be in some foreign country with 5 thugs with automatic rifles pointed at me, and I'll just.... fart
"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
The summer ends and we wonder where we are And there you go, my friends, with your boxes in your car And you both look so young And last night was hard, you said You packed up every room And then you cried and went to bed But today you closed the door and said "We have to get a move on. It's just that time of year when we push ourselves ahead, We push ourselves ahead."
Looking out the bedroom at this snowy TV.. ever since commencement, no one's asking 'bout me. But I bet before the night falls, I could catch the late bus.. take small provisions and this Beethoven bust. I could find work in the outskirts of the city, eat some fish on the way.. befriend an old dog for a roadside pal, find a nice couch to stay -- a pull-out sofa, if you please!"
Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
"The trouble with folks like Brownie is they hold their life in like a bakebean fart at a Baptist cookout and only let it slip out sideways a little at a time when they think there's nobody noticing. Now that's the last thing on earth the Almighty intended. He intended all the life a man's got inside him, he should live it out just as free and strong and natural as a bird."
"Life is a phantasmagoria .. It is a pell-mell of confused and tumultuous scenes. We try in vain to find a purpose - to bring an order, a unity to life. I suppose that is the appeal of art. Art is the blending of the real and the unreal, the conquering of nature. It is real enough for it to reflect life, but has the unity that life lacks."
"in time memories fade.
I've always had this feeling about Patty that she's complex and intriguing...I like Patty alot. She's got a good heart and tells terrible squirrel jokes.
"Try to remember that world-weariness isn't necessarily a bad thing. In the book of Mark, I think its Mark, Jesus looks at a blind man and sighs. Jesus sighed before even telling the man he would be healed. He sighed, and I'm not sure that there's a much more human expression of frustration than this. Faced with the horrid picture of a cursed earth and looking into the white eyes of a man blind from the day he was born, He sighed. The Creator of the universe in human form was sad "of the evils of this world," the world He created. Your Creator sighed for you in the same way before He healed you and made you His."
After the last secret's told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves
And the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that's just too hard
There is love
-- Andrew Peterson, After the Last Tear Falls
"when you most need people, you don't need perfection - just to know someone gives a damn"
"My brother's always [telling me], 'You should be more mysterious--boys like that.' But I'm not good at that. It would just make me more uncomfortable."
"Loners want to kill you, but not for any particular reason, and they'd probably like you if they weren't being guided by the violent voices in their head."
"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
Her mom: "We're all safe."
-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002
i'd throw out all my shoes
i'd set up cans for friends
to dump their shoes senseless shoes
a pioneer of callouses
lordy-be and bless my soul
i'd be a barefoot spaceman
the first you'd ever know"
"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
"Generations circle and each one atones. The sins of the father are seperate from my own. In Pilgrim's Progress, it's forgiveness that makes whole, and as time levels and consoles, I place the daisies in your bowl."
"For a moment he just stared at her. Then, with an urf-urf-urf of laughter, he turned back to the controls."
"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
Blessed be the rock stars!"
Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
I believe that people laugh at coincidence as a way of relegating it to the realm of the absurd and of therefore not having to take seriously the possibility that there is a lot more going on in our lives than we either know or care to know... I suspect that part of it, anyway, is that every once and so often we hear a whisper from the wings that goes something like this: "You've turned up in the right place at the right time. You're doing fine. Don't ever think that you've been forgotten.
When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, "Peace, child; you don't understand."
CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
"Youth is not a period of time. It is a state of mind, a result of the will, a quality of the imagination, a victory of courage over timidity, of the taste for adventure over the love of comfort. A man doesn't grow old because he has lived a certain number of years. A man grows old when he deserts his ideal. The years may wrinkle his skin, but deserting his ideal wrinkles his soul. Preoccuptaions, fears, doubts, and despair are the enemies which slowly bow us toward earth and turn us into dust before death. You will remain young as long as you are open to what is beautiful, good, and great; receptive to the messages of other men and women, of nature and of God. If one day you should become bitter, pessimistic, and gnawed by despair, may God have mercy on your old man's soul."
""Don't go matchmaking for me, Ilse," said Emily wit a faint smile... "I feel in my bones that I shall achieve old-maidenhood, which is an entirely different thing from having old-maidenhood thrust upon you."
"I wish Aunt Elizabeth would let me go to Shrewsbury, but I fear she never will. She feels she can't trust me out of her sight because my mother eloped. But she need not be afraid I will ever elope. I have made up my mind that I will never marry. I shall be wedded to my art"
"Tomorrow seems like a long ways away. But it will come, just like any other day... Deep inside, where the wounded creatures hide, I am afraid. Maybe I got lost somewhere along the way somehow. Please rescue me... Yea, though I walk through the valley of the dark shadow of death, I will fear no evil. For you are with me... Though I fear, though I am afraid, You are with me. Though I'm angry, tired, broken down and confused, You are with me. Though I sin like I've never sinned before, lose myself right out an open door, You are with me."
"The invisible people agreed about everything. Indeed most of their remarks were the sort it would not be easy to disagree with: "What I always say is, when a chap's hungry, he likes some victuals," or "Getting dark now; always does at night," or even "Ah, you've come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain't it?"" -- C. S. Lewis, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
"When People object... that if Jesus was God as well as Man, then He had an unfair advantage which deprives Him for them of all value, it seems to me as if a man struggling in the water should refuse a rope thrown to him by another who had one foot on the bank, saying, "Oh but you had an unfair advantage." It is because of His advantage that He can help."
"But, you know, as a Christian, one of the big questions you always ask yourself is, "So we believe in Jesus, we believe in the teachings of the church, but what does that look like when it's lived out?" Because surely, one of the things that Jesus said that I think we often overlook is, "The person who hears my words and does them is like the wise man who built his house on the rock." He didn't say "the person who hears my words and thinks about 'em" or "whoever hears my words and agrees with it." But he said, "Whoever hears it and does it."
"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
"I have packed all my belongings. I don't belong here anymore. This pair of sandles, one pack to carry, this old guitar and this tattered old Bible. And I know I won't be afraid. 'cause I know, I know Home is where You are."
"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but
"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve
to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not
"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my
feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed
"They say God blessed us with plenty. I say
you?re blessed with poverty. ?Cause you never
stop to wonder whether earth is just a little
better than the Land of the Free"
"Computers will know everything in the 21st
century. They'll be like me in the 20th