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
Monday, September 27, 2004
Yes, I'm perfectly capable of it, but I made one stupid mistake on the last section of our last test and two on today's (the first section of our current test), so that I ended up with a 96 on each section and a 99.2 average before today, prolly a 98.something (maybe just 98) after we take the other section of our current test tomorrow.. IF I actually get a hundred on that test.
I really feel frustrated with myself for it, because they were such incredibly simple mistakes, and I still could have gotten a hundred average if I'd just listened to the nagging little voice in my head telling me to double check.
I'll still be one of the best PN's in the Navy's history, though.
At least there's that, for whatever it's worth.
Ah, well. You'll have that, eh?
I've been having a lot of trouble breathing since I got here, and it's worsened this past week. Today it's been constantly difficult, even very, very painful at times. I've been to medical about it several times, and they've been trying a few different medications, none of which seem to have an positive impact. Some of them seem to for a little while, and then suddenly I have a day like today. But Doc just put me on Claritin, to see if it's just an allergic reaction type thing to the MS area or what. So far, no difference in the several hours since I took it, but here's hoping.
Library's closing now, so I must be off. Goodness, October 7th (IF I get outta here by then .. still no orders just yet, so I don't know where I'm going, and we have to know that before we can leave here) is so close and yet so far away.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
I figured out yesterday why I've been having such trouble with the finer details of adjusting to military life (as opposed to the overall adjustment -- which was, as I mentioned in my bootcamp posts, relatively successful) when so many of my peers seem to have had less:
I know better.
I didn't come here right out of high school or a strict parental background, nor directly from a very liberal parental background. I didn't party my college years away and realize how I need to settle down now, or find myself a father-to-be and decide to step up to the challenges, financial among others.
I lived in the real world for 23 years, lived on my own since I was 17, had several jobs in the civilian sector, and know through-and-through exactly how much of this would never fly in a company that actually earns its ability to pay its employees, who in turn thus have to earn their ability to be paid by the company.
This military thing may be easier for people who come here without knowing any better, or out of even more desperation than I was facing the first few months of this year. But I know better. I cannot settle for those over me doing things incorrectly when it affects so many people, especially when the incorrectness is a simple matter of organization that really wouldn't take much to fix. If I offer to help (being a very organized person in most areas and in any areas in which I choose .. even those that have known my more cluttered side may have seen glimpses of the organized chaos that side produced), I'm given a half-hour speech on what life will be like in the fleet; a speech that reflects only what life would be like in a bad or hectic command that happens to be deployed/on a cruise at that time, so that you actually do have 12 hour watches and few duty sections. As a TAR PN, I'm unlikely to find myself in such a situation, but even as an undesignated deck seaman I would only have found myself there so often. I am then given another half hour speech on what it takes to be in the Navy and if I didn't want to do my duty, I shouldn't have joined (oh, Lord, if I had known I could've backed out once I got my old job back after enlisting before reporting to boot camp), and that I need to just suck it up. And then, the obligatory parting comments about if I still have a problem, I can just take it up my chain of command.
Sometimes, I wonder if people actually want things taken up the chain of command, perhaps in the hopes that if the chain of command finally realizes how bad they are at that particular job, they wouldn't have to do it anymore.
All I know is 18 year old kids at boot camp do a better job of rotating the watchbill than some who have been in for half as long as said kid has been alive.
My teacher still holds out the notion that I'll have a 100 average or very near to that by the time my class is done. I figure I'm capable under the best circumstances. But when I'm being woken up to suddenly replace someone on the watchbill for a 3:30 am watch without enough prior warning to have, say, gone to bed earlier so that I still would have had enough sleep .. I've fallen asleep in class several times today, and am making all kinds of very stupid mistakes on the classwork we've done, because I'm so tired that my brain isn't functioning.
16 more days and a wake-up 'til we're gone, as is said among my classmates.. if I get out of here graduation day, that's only 16 more nervous breakdowns before I leave.
Monday, September 13, 2004
If you're evacuating, and make it to VA and find yourself stranded, give me a call and I'll hook you up with a space in my beautimus apartment.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
We had our first test on Friday, and I am currently one of three in my class of 24 with an average of 100%. (Jim said that you can't have an AVERAGE of 100, but how else are you supposed to put that? And besides, 100 plus 100 divided by two equals 100, right? And since you added them together and divided, that's an Average by definition, right? Just happens they're the same number and all.. So there!) It amazed me how some people could score as low as they did on the test, though, because even for someone without office experience and all, the test was stinkin' easy. Perhaps that was part of the problem.. they whizzed through it and didn't actually read the questions or check their spacing (there was a knowledge- and a performance-section to this test) and office jobs are really all about attention to detail. Actually, anything in the Navy is, as long as you aren't someone doing paperwork or inprocessing at boot camp or an "A" school. They can lose stuff anytime.. and I'm told that it'll be so throughout the rest of my Navy career.. Well, rest assured, Shipmates.. I won't be losing any of your paperwork or accidentally putting the wrong code into your pay info so that you don't get a check anymore.
Meanwhile.. Last weekend, some dumb kid from the base here went to a nearby hotel bar by himself, befriended a few locals, and left with them (in their car) around 2am. Since they were going to some other bar (or perhaps another event.. I do wonder about the details of this story), he asked to stop at an ATM on the way -- instead of just using the one in the lobby of the hotel. Once he'd put in his pin, they bonked him on the head, beat him up, cleared out his account, and left him there. He had already graduated, btw, and got to leave the base within the next couple of days with limited if any further consequences.
Now, in the civilian world, everyone would point and laugh at him for being dumb, knowing that he already had his bank account cleared out and he can put that in the "sucks for me" file and move on with his life, while the rest of us can use it as a reminder (if needed) not to be dumb..
In the military world, not so. Although he got away with only the natural (and, frankly, deserved) consequences for his actions, the rest of us are now suffering for his stupidity. Even people in Phase III (the highest phase of priveledge you can get while a student here) now have to check out with a buddy as well, if they're not a Petty Officer First Class. Which means that if you want to leave the base, you gotta take someone with you, keep together the whole time you're gone, and check back in together.
The buddy system has some logic to it, yes. Personally, I'd rather be on an honor buddy system where if you choose to go out without a cohort, you take upon yourselves all the risks associated therein. Which is, really, how we functioned as *gasp* civilians. So, we have the enforced buddy system. Which has at least as many potential downsides as the problems it hopes to alleviate. However, (comma) I am not the Commanding Officer of this or any other command, and everyone here has been instructed (not in so many words) to put this policy in their own "sucks for me" files and move on with life.
Unfortunately, my "sucks for me" file has gotten rather overwhelmed since I joined the Navy, and I'm not entirely certain the "yay for me!" file is enough to balance it out at all. But, that's why I have a choice in reenlisting (after FIVE years of sucks-for-me-file-growth) and in whether or not I want to make the one potential move that I'm considering which would really break down into a 10 year commitment. But, if it worked, the latter five years (and any further career time -- I'd be halfway to retirement already, after all) would be as an officer, which may not be such a bad deal after all.
In earlier news -- I've gotten a few of my most frequently-called numbers from my online phone invoices (I really do like Sprint most of the time), but the thing is that since all these numbers were plugged into my phone under names and I only brought like five numbers at all with me to bootcamp (including family members .. heck, didn't even bring most of my closest friends' numbers with me!) and I don't really recognize the numbers I used to call unless context clues (like calling in the wee hours or which area code/city the number has) help me to figure it out, I'm sorta shooting in the dark as far as trying to restore my phone book in my new phone. So, if you have my number (yes, it's the same as before, of course), feel free to call. Me not calling you doesn't mean a darn tootin' thing, except that I don't happen to have your number with me or recognize it from the invoice.
My stress levels are certainly MUCH lower now that I feel like I have access to the outside world, and to some of the parts of it I miss the most, what with having a phone again.
I've started overusing the phrase "I'm gonna go postal", because that's what I tend to say now whenever I'm theorizing about some other disappointing circumstance handed to me by the World's Finest Navy. For example: "If I don't get to leave here the day I graduate (October 7th), I'm gonna go postal." Or, "If they make another dumb policy because of some stupid kid here doing something really awful, I'm gonna go postal." I think I must have overused it sometime in my life previous to now, perhaps in middle school or early high school. But it amuses me that it's come back into frequent use. I wonder if it's because of the return of "freakin'/frickin'" to extreme overuse in my vocabulary due to bootcamp.
Mmmhmm. Whatever it is, at least now I don't have to go postal because of not having A cell phone anymore, even if it's not my real one.
Monday, September 06, 2004
So, when I went to church (the only thing you ARE allowed to leave the hill for), I wore my whites because that's what you wear to church when wearing a uniform -- utilities are just not appropriate -- and other than that, I was in my utilities all weekend.
And now, on our day off, I'm back in my civilian clothes.. wearing one of the sarong wrap skirts and a tank top, with one of my new pairs of shoes (I got THREE at walmart on Friday.. ME! What the snot?) and my new purse-thing, and feeling really good about the freedom to dress like a normal human being again .... and I'm really looking forward to going out with some friends later. I think I'll be doing my Laundry on Tuesday, so that I can just completely relax today.
I'm wondering how my family and friends have been faring through Frances, of course. (That really didn't start out as alliteration in my mind, but it went there.) I'll probably call my mother tonight for a report, if I can get ahold of a cell phone.
Right, mine's still not in. Called Murray on Saturday about if there was any kind of tracking number, and he said there was and it was at the office and he'd call me back with it after stopping by the office on Sunday (a mod-mate and a friend each offered their cell numbers for return calls) but he never called back, and didn't answer when I called Sunday evening. Seriously, this whole situation is getting more than a little suspicious instead of just frustrating.
So, civilian clothes, an trip to Walmart (while WEARING civilian clothes), the freedom to stay out 'till Midnight nights before non-academic days.. It's getting better here, more tolerable. The base has been completely dead this weekend since everyone's been gone almost as much as they were allowed to be. And listening to my home radio station every time I'm in the library has been helping the most, I think.
I should be home in time for the Garlic festival, which I look forward to every day. And then two weeksish total of a visit, prolly including at least a little extra trip or two, depending on where my first command will be. There are some good options out there, and I actually requested to be part of a squadron (I prolly don't know much more about it than you.. you may even know much, much more) because they're shore duty 'till a ship is deployed and then they go on the ship and get all the port visits and all, so that they seem like the best of all worlds. All the fleet-returnees (or fleeters) here have recommended them.
On that note, what amuses me is how many people think that I'm a fleeter and/or have been here, at this command, for quite a while. But then, people thought that within my first week here. The fleeter thing, though, is new, and fabulous. For someone who took a year deciding to join the Navy and then went in knowing so little about it, and has only just seen the bootcamp and this command side of things, plenty of people already think I've spent some time out in the fleet. And that includes fleeters themselves.
I guess I've adjusted pretty well, then.
Thursday, September 02, 2004which she did! .. pictures and all), though I haven't checked Josh or Kaly's yet. I've gotta go eat some lunch now, and the Library often enough closes shortly after we get out of class. And it's closed on Saturday.. that one just frustrates me, though I'm glad it's then open on Sunday for me to come in when no one else is on the base.
Anyway.. great post, Beth! Nice to see your perspective. :) And you, by the way, are a very fun writer and I need to get back into reading other friends' blogs.. which is one of the many reasons I'm considering getting a palm pilot with a portable keyboard instead of an actual laptop. It seems to me I'd have a lot more chances to pull that thing out and read people's blogs, etc.. but then, I dunno. Those of you Palm-blog-readers, what do you think?
Wednesday, September 01, 2004WNRN is a fabulous radio station. I am glad to have the chance to listen again. It's a piece of home, and not a little one, either.
Anyway.. in better news, I had a very outstanding appointment with the dentist this morning, and feel much better taken care of here than I was at boot camp. And I will start class for real tomorrow and should graduate and leave on October 7th, making it home just in time for the annual Garlic (and wine) festival I love so much, if all goes well.
And I got some Spam in my old, old yahoo account today (I actually look through the junk mail folder sometimes since a lot of real emails are sent there both by yahoo and hotmail) and one of the lines was "Did you seen that?" Another was "our meeting on the 1th " .. Good for a chuckle. I keep trying to say that one in my head.. firth, I suppose. Which is a funney word, too.
I had watch from four to six this morning (which means it starts at 3:30am), and you can't "phase up" on duty days, so I've still got the red sticker indicating no civilian clothes (etc) on my badge, but should be able to get the orange one tonight as all the kids that came here with me from boot camp got theirs yesterday. That will feel really good.
And now I'm gonna go grab a bite real quick since our lunch break will be over soon enough and I've gotta rejoin the class (from which I seperated for dental, of course) after lunch. I'll have duty this weekend again, but then will have Monday off. It won't be anything like past labor days in my old town, but maybe there'll be something fun going on for it.
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