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..
I really think I'll be ok. They've taken their toll these latter days.
-- Over the Rhine, Latter Days


2001.04 2001.05 2001.06 2001.07 2001.08 2001.09 2001.10 2001.11 2001.12 2002.01 2002.02 2002.03 2002.04 2002.05 2002.06 2002.07 2002.08 2002.09 2002.10 2002.11 2002.12 2003.01 2003.02 2003.04 2003.05 2003.06 2003.07 2003.08 2003.09 2003.10 2003.11 2003.12 2004.01 2004.02 2004.03 2004.04 2004.05 2004.06 2004.07 2004.08 2004.09 2004.10 2004.11 2004.12 2005.01 2005.02 2005.03 2005.04 2005.05 2005.07 2005.10 2005.11 2006.02 2006.03 2006.04 2006.05 2006.07 2006.08 2006.09 2006.10 2006.11 2006.12 2007.01 2007.02 2007.03 2007.04 2007.05 2007.06 2007.07 2007.08 2007.09 2007.10 2007.11 2007.12 2008.01 2008.02 2008.03 2008.04 2008.05 2008.06 2008.07 2008.08 2008.09 2008.10 2008.11 2008.12 2009.01 2009.02 2009.03 2009.05 2009.07

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Contact Me

by email
change to proper format: pattyt81 at hotmail dot com
(I hate Spam)

By mail
(contact me for my new address)

Other Weblogs I enjoy
(In no particular order)

Katy Raymond


Recommended Readings

A Grief Observed

Wishful Thinking
Frederick Buechner

Divine Conspiracy
Dallas Willard (may never finish)

Rich Mullins: An Arrow Pointing to Heaven
James Bryan Smith

Recommended Listening
(from my collection)

The Hymnal, Arkadelphia
Randall Goodgame

Land of the Living
Eric Peters

Laryngitis, Longing
Katy Bowser

Walk [EP], Carried Along, Clear to Venus, Love and Thunder, and live bootlegs
Andrew Peterson

In the Company of Angels
Caedmon's Call

Delusions of Grandeur
Fleming and John

The entire CD catalog
Eddie From Ohio

Bootlegs including Eddie From Ohio, Rich Mullins, David Wilcox, and Andrew Peterson

Things I love
(AKA: Ways to win my heart)
Music, gift certificates, ice cream, music, chocolate, meatballs, music, books, knowledge, music, good movies, music, animals, art supplies, music, cotton candy, fajitas, music, safety, music....

Things I wish I owned and could listen to or read
found at Relevantmagazine.com,
and at pastemusic.com, too

Friday, December 31, 2004

"And what did you do for the last day in 2004?"

Oh! Oh! I know this one! I know it! I .. I.. I..

I paid bills online!

Ah, but the day is still young, and there is much more fun to be had.

So meanwhile, I got in (to my mother's place) yesterday after making good time because the traffic was nothing like the wretched Thanksgiving set I faced on my last trip.

My niece was already here, and my older brother met up with us for dinner several hours later..

And the most exciting part, my twin brother (Peter) and his partner (Jesse) were here! This was my first time meeting Jesse, whose birthday is today, and who fits in remarkably well (even frighteningly so). He is a gentleman and a kind heart, and I'm glad I've finally had the pleasure of meeting him. A little too trusting perhaps, the poor soul.. me and my poker face story-creator self has, I must admit, taken advantage of his willingness to believe almost anything I say without smiling. I REtold the fight-with-the-redneck-story and he believed it, even though he was WITH Peter when Peter was reading that blog entry and thus already heard both the fictional and factual stories! Rock on.

Peter, whose hair is quite long for him nowadays (and has been for a yearor more, but of course I haven't seen him since my gramma's memorial service over three and a half years ago when it was not long) has been great to be around again, too. Still just as quiet as ever, but happier, I think, and more... more something. I don't know what. I'm just so happy to see him again and for more than a couple of days and not at a funeral and all.

We'll do whatever we do for New Year's tonight and then go to see my Grampa tomorrow. Then I'll be visiting some other folks on Sunday, perhaps, and we'll prolly all get together again at some point.. and then Monday we'll spend most of the day together and I'll head back to the base in time to get there early enough to get to sleep early enough to work on Tuesday.

Lots still up in the air, lots (specific or vague) to look forward to.

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Friday, December 24, 2004

Ok, number 3 was mostly thoughts from today. From just now, actually. But on with thoughts from yesterday..

4) When you rear-end somebody and you are a scrawny young man, and the person you rear-ended is a significantly burlier man who looks like a scruffy Kid Rock and drives a large vehicle, it might be wise NOT to get up in his face and cuss him out.

5) Not all last-minute shopping experiences are bad. I swung by Wal-mart yesterday to pick up a couple of everyday items, and everyone I saw was in a fairly decent mood, the cashier most of all. So even if I had been there buying gifts at the last minute, it would have been a good experience.

6) I am "on" much of the time. I am a performer as much as any I know, except that I sing off-key and I freeze on stages, so I like the little normal-life performances instead. And then when I go into my introverted mode, people get all paranoid that I'm mad at them or they think I'm sick. It's like how my mouth (and all the females from my mother's side) naturally curves down and thus if I'm not actually smiling I look like I'm frowning. So if I'm just nuetral or just thinking, even about nice and pleasant things, I look like I am mad or upset. In the same way, if I'm not talking, people think there's something wrong.. and perhaps it's a sign of their own confidence/perception whether they think the something wrong is with them (that I would be mad at them for.. or is that a sign of how they see me?) or just a natural something wrong with me, like being sick. This has always been the case, though, when I go introverted. These days, I'm having enough alone time that I'm generally introverted while alone and extroverted (or "on") when around others. So it's working nicely enough.

7) I don't like the number six in general.. I don't like six being the final number of anything I do or the total number of anything I have. When putting some hair clips in last night (I did that style of twisting the top of my hair into rows and clipping them in the back), I had seven black ones and I absolutely did not want to use six, which was entirely feasible. Incidentally, one of them broke while I was taking them out last night, so I'll either have to use six tonight and be fine with that, or use the brown ones that came in the set instead. Or use some brown and some black. Or use bobby pins. The bobby pin method of this hairstyle doesn't work for me, though. I'll prolly just use the black clips. And I'm not into the mystical side of numerology or anything.. I just don't like six in general. It's a feeling, an awareness. So, this thought, although it is a thought from yesterday as well, is posted here simply so that I would not leave the post with 6 points..

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Some thoughts from yesterday:

1) If you have a customer service job or that is in any way a major part of your job, whether your job is civilian or military, and especially if you are Active Duty working with Reservists and thus are military serving customers who are civilians, you will ALWAYS, regardless of the specifics of your job, get people who think that you are either there to listen to them complain and take out their anger/frustration/irritation/childhood-trauma on you in the midsts of whatever they're ACTUALLY there to do, or that you are somehow going to be able to help them with the vast majority of OTHER issues in their lives that are entirely and completely unrelated to whatever it is that you do, including somehow having a telepathic connection with the person at the store a few miles away who they hope will keep the store open an extra hour or two because this person will otherwise be inconvenienced, and so they can call YOU because you will answer the phone when they don't even have anything at all for you to do and they just want you to telepathically connect to that person and demand exceedingly great customer service and self-sacrifice on this person's behalf in order for this person to get what he or she wants from that person.

(Whew.. my fingers did all that in one breath! Okay, fingers.. breathe now.)

2) When one is told to make six copies each of 7 files, it uses up a lot of paper. No matter how frequently you go by to reload the paper, it's just a lot. And when one types quickly, with good accuracy, and seems to not be terribly busy all of the time, one gets tasked with many menial jobs. And if one knew what all of the different menial jobs were going to be beforehand, one could, in one's efficient way, multitask and arrange them in such a way that one could complete them in comparably little time and with minimum energy, especially as far as typing in names and addresses for paperwork AND mailing labels. If one knew that one was going to do the paperwork AND the mailing labels, one could do them both at the same time and be done that way, instead of typing in the same 40 names over and over. But, I am really quite convinced that my LPO (Leading Petty Officer, or the person in charge of my office on the administration level) has her own way of making me more ready for my advancement and for continuing to advance quickly. I'm really quite certain that I am fortunate to be working under her, and in the office I am working in, with most of my fellow staff members. Fabulous group of people.

3) I never could have imagined, when I was filling out my dream sheet at "A" school, that the one place I would want to end up would be the one place I asked them to keep me away from back then. Even with living on the base (although these days of having this big house to myself far away from base and not having to go anywhere near it help), and even with that nasty bought of extreme loneliness I was feeling (which I think is mostly getting as gone as it ever does), I think that this particular command and these particular orders I'm filling are really the best I could've gotten. When I was at home on leave, I was feeling like God was calling me home to Jacksonville.. not that Jacksonville would be my home for long, but that God was going to make me at home here, was going to draw me into Himself and my real Home more while stationed here.

The Burg was a great place to get out of FL to, and "safe", as it were, to learn to be the adult in age that I mostly always had been in mind. To learn for it to be OK for me to be an old soul now that less people would be looking at the kid body housing it. To be an adult in responsibility and all practical ways as I had had to be in emotional ways growing up. But the Burg's time for me was certainly drawing to a close. Spiritually, it's a pretty extreme town. There are so many groups of people there who are very different from eachother, but all fitting into these molds, these stereotypes. I mean, not the individuals' personality, but mostly the spiritual backgrounds and present thoughts of most people there. I'd say that just about every major school of spiritual thought was represented there in some form or other, but even within them there were the stereotypes, the rebellions or the obedience, the journey and the stagnant. I don't know that Spiritually, Jax is really all that different. I'm not sure any place is. But I think the Burg exists in such a way that this spiritual level influences the surface more. Not that it is a more Spiritual town, as it were.. simply that the Spiritual is a bigger issue there, it is more part of life, whether directly or indirectly.

It is said that there are two things not to be talked about in bars: religion and politics. And during election years, the politics side is fuzzed into it not so much being discussed in bars as often, but certainly it is mentioned. I couldn't walk into a bar in the months leading up to the election without hearing somebody make a sarcastic comment about the current presidency or about the Ugly Man trying to take it over. But in the Burg, religion was never a topic to avoid. People MENTIONED the Great Law of Topic Avoidance all the time, of course. But it was rare to be in a bar for more than a couple of hours without hearing some subject irrefutably having to do with religion. Whether it was about certain town notables or about the person's own beliefs.. but what am I saying, every such conversation was about the person's own beliefs, just sometimes more obviously than others. At any rate, Religion is in every aspect of that town, and little else is.

It was a great place to get away from the Spiritual dryness and cloneness that is South Florida, the same dryness and cloneness that took all of what I loved about my middle school and high school youth groups, friends, and leaders and destroyed them into either smurfy little groups that cannot accept reality, bitter clumps of people who spit at all things blatantly Christian, or apathetic-seeming people who figure if they just don't pay attention to the problem of Spirituality, it will not really be a problem at all. This happens everywhere of course, but moreso in South FL than anywhere else I've personally seen. In Boston, there is great tradition to root people into their familie's religious practices. There is cultural exploration of conceptual spirituality so that people understand why they would want to believe anything. Of course, I just remember Boston from my very young childhood and from other people's accounts, but that is how it feels to me inside my bones. The feeling of Boston is the feeling of home, the feeling of something deep and mysterious and older than my own old soul, where South Florida was nothing to it. And the Burg was a great place to remove that dryness and cloneness.. I mean, in many areas the cloneness was much more insidious than ever in South Florida, but then anything that makes a subtle problem more obvious also makes it easier to remove or resist. So, the Burg was this set of obviously-s and obviously-nots. Obviously this is where I want to go, and obviously that is not who I want to be.

But the Burg, then, in its obviousness became more difficult for me. After five years there, it was not what I needed anymore. And I did not entirely feel that when I enlisted in the Navy, but when I was home on leave the feeling was there. The Navy was sending me to the one place I had asked not to go to, but everyone I talked to at home had a family member there or a friend there or had lived there previously. And I had already come to terms with the fact that yes, I would be back in Florida, but I would be as close to not-FL as one can get in the state (with GA a mere twenty to forty minutes north, and the culture here representing that of GA much more than South Florida) and I would be close enough to watch my niece grow up and see my Grandfather more often and yet far enough away to not go south every weekend or even, necessarily, every month. To have my own life with a more accessible connection to my relatives'. So having already come to terms with that fact, and hearing so much about who I could meet or where I could go once I got here (and for the record, I have met only one of these connections and been to none of the locations (other than the base, of course) that I was told about beforehand), I knew that this place was going to be important and fundamental in my life. That it was not just a place God would work His glory in, but that He was calling me to. A specific location at which He wanted me (for my own good and maybe others') that in and of itself was necessary for my growth and well-being.

It is that feeling, or rather the memory of that feeling, that got me through the loneliness. (Along with friends who stuck in there, of course, and offered what they could from a distance.. friendship and communication, less of a feeling of isolation.) And so Jacksonville is home. For now, but any place that is really home at all is always home. Boston will always be the homiest for me, and VA will be right up there with it. South FL will always have certain aspects of home, certain things that feel familiar.. but will never really be home. California, Sacramento at least, certainly isn't home. But Jacksonville is, already I think.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I'm housesitting in this huge house right on a canal off the St. John's River in greater Jacksonville. (Although Jacksonville is one city, technically, it is made up of a bazillion little sections that are referred to among those inside Jacksonville the way that Jacksonville and Gainesville and Starke are referred to among those in Tallahasee. I'm in Orange Park, which is one of the South-western-most portions of the city, while there is Middleburg nearby (I think there may be one section of Jax AND an actual town of the same name a few miles below, but I haven't fully figured that out yet) and Southside across the river by the beaches, Westside up North and Northside east of that.. There is no eastside, but east of the base is Mandarin (I guess the Base and a very small section around it are either just in Jacksonville or maybe they fall in Westside to those from Orange Park and Orange Park to those from anywhere else?) and east of that is Southside, and east of that is Jax Beach, Neptune Beach, Amelia Island, and one other beach.. perhaps San Fernandino? That's somewhere nearby. And then there's Mayport. I haven't figured out whether Mayport (and its own little Navy base) is part of Jacksonville or another township altogether.)

But back to the issue at hand:

When I let the dog out this morning, I sat out on the patio to keep an eye on her. It was maybe 63 degrees out and the sun was nice and warm and the sky was beautifully almost-clear, and there was just a little bit of wind over the water..

And then, nearly covering the upper half of the back yard next door, were the Ugly Ducks.

Every time I'm away from FL long enough, I forget about the Ugly Ducks. And I guess I just hadn't seen any since I got here in late October. But there they were, as Ugly as ever, and I'm sure they're still just as protected.

I did a search on Google images to see if I could find something to show you how ugly these ducks really are, and found one picture with a great blog-style "feature" about the Floridian experience as relates to ducks.


This link will take you to a "Feature #155", even though the link says 16, and it will start out with an idea the writer had, and then a story about ducks in MA. I thought that was especially appropriate since I was born in Boston, and fondly remember the ducks and pond-covered experiences such as he initially mentions. And then we moved to FL, where for the next ten years I saw nothing but the Ugly Ducks, except in pictures and movies. Or brief glimpses when we'd travel elsewhere.

These Ugly Ducks do not grow up to be swans. They are actually not so ugly when they're babies (there were some babies swimming with their mom this morning in the canal, and so I know this from reconfirmed fact), but they grow into these hideous, nasty beasts.

When I was at bootcamp (and I forget if I wrote about this or not), we had an unfortunate incident in which our division was marching back to the barracks from something, with just our male first class RDC with us, and we saw this family of ducks waddling along. They were so cute, and then people started pointing out (even though you're not supposed to speak in formation) that they were even walking across the street using the crosswalk. At bootcamp, signs of life (other than harried recruits and yelling/intimidating RDCs, civilians who make you jealous that they're not suffering and officers who make you feel awkard because you just can't get that whole salute thing down since you're not supposed to look at them there and yet ARE supposed to call them by title) .. signs of life are very rare. Nature is not seen often. Even in the trees there, there aren't so many birds chirping, and you're not really able to stop and look at them, anyway. You spend almost all your time inside, and when you're outside, you're marching (and must be looking straight ahead) or you're running. So we were feeling good about whatever it was we had just done, and we were really enjoying seeing these cute little ducks.

And then a car turned onto this road. You could feel the tension increasing in the ranks. She slowed down, though, and the baby ducks (who were probably in their pre-teen stages of life) made it to the side of the road we were on. The mother was still in the middle, making sure all her babies were safe, and the car sped up. She stopped after running over the mamma duck with her front wheel, and then ran over her again with her back. And she sped away. We recognized her as one of the galley workers who was always in the back, though we weren't sure quite which one. But watching this mother duck be killed, and having to march by her babies who were crying out and looking around for her...

Our RDC and some of the guys from the division managed to almost make the whole situation seem funny later on. When I think of them and what they said, I can still laugh. But retelling the actual scene here wasn't funny at all. Very sad, indeed.

Yet, I was struck this morning with the thought that if someone did hit one of these Ugly Ducks with their car, it wouldn't be nearly so sad, honestly. And I'm a lover of animals and of life, but these are just Bugly. (Bugly, by the way, means Buttocks-Ugly.) And so you don't want to look at them anyway, and they're so aggressive and yet so protected (as endangered species, it is illegal to kill or harm them), that they often fill drive-thrus with their menacing presence and foolish souls throw fries at them out the window which just keeps them around. And then you have to drive very slowly so as not to hit them, but if they feel like sitting around (and they really will plop themselves right down where your tires would otherwise be about to go), you just have to wait. Seriously. Because if you get out of your car to scare them away, they will honk and hiss at you and tell you that you are a silly human who is bound by law not to hurt them, and you happen to be in a very public place and you never know Who might be watching. And thus, they may sit around all they would like, and the cars honking behind you are not nearly as threatening (despite that another peculiarity of FL is the likelihood the person honking at you is also carrying a gun and might even use it) as the honking, hissing Ugly Ducks.

So if one were to ever get run over in my presence, it would be like seeing a squashed cockroach -- nothing I wanna see and it would probably make my stomach turn, but the thing was Ugly to begin with and this just makes it Uglier and stationary.

Ah, the Ugly Ducks.. How nice it was to have forgotten about them.

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Friday, December 17, 2004

It looks like I'll get my advancement in February, after the four-month observation period. My Chief and others were trying to put the rush on it for me so that I could be advanced sooner, but I guess the rules can't bend any in this situation. So goes my current understanding.

I'm doing well, though, as far as I can gauge from anyone's conversations with me. Perhaps not the typical, more reserved little bottom-of-the-totem-pole-dweller many are used to in E-3 females, but learning quickly and able to do my job while handling my own. Not that anyone here would try to treat me worse because of my position. My command is really great, and most everyone is quite friendly and all.

It's still up in the air about if I'll have to switch upstairs to the pay department instead of my current, cozy little home in admin. But I'm hoping to stick around, and the good impression I've made on the CO and current XO (who is retiring soon, but I've already met both of his potential replacements) may help me get more of a choice. Either way, though, at least I'd still be here in Jacksonville, on shore.

I may be able to move off base soon. I put in a request for it yesterday, which hopefully will move its way up the chain of command quickly so that I can get word soon. I've got the money and the steady income to back it up, and I found a couple of apartments going for significantly less than what my housing allowance will be, which will leave the remainder of that for utilities, cell phone, and food expenses, while then my food allowance will be extra money for myself -- perhaps. It all depends how smoothly everything really works. Oh, and I'll have car insurance (through USAA though I would have stuck with Progressive if USAA weren't so very much cheaper for servicemembers) which isn't too much per months, and savings which will be fairly substantial. I'll do quite well, I think, financially. And that's a good feeling. Unusual for me, but very, very good. I'm sure it will make those of you who have known the rockiness of my normal financial ground happy to know it's been hoed and smoothed-over, with a nice little flower garden ready to come up in the spring.

Just imagine if I do go officer.. I'll be making roughly twice what I'm making now, with no significant reason to expect an increase in my expenses without similar increases in my allowances.

At any rate, as an enlisted person for the time being, I'm quite happy with it. Less need to be formal (though really I'm kind-of formal anyway, as far as professional interactions) and less folks under me to get in trouble for. It's like being yoeman at bootcamp, when I had to do push-ups or jumping jacks whenever someone else did something wrong. Here, I have no one under me, so as long as I do everything I'm supposed to do right, and quietly try to help those over me, there is no way for me to lose face, really. Of course, since I'm new at this whole game, I don't do everything right. But as I said, everyone here has been very understanding, and I'm learning quickly.

I'm very much looking forward to my New Year's trip down to see my mother, brother, niece, twin brother, and the significant others or friends that may be in tow. I've got plenty of gifts already ready to go, with a few more in the works, and only two weeks from now I'll already have been there and been spending plenty of time with them.

Goodness, one week 'till Christmas eve, and one more week left in the year. Really, that's pretty crazy. It has been one amazing year. In just under one and a half months, it'll be my birthday. A month following that will be a year from my enlistment date, and three months later will be one year in the Navy. I'll have made a lot of progress within that year, to be sure, and in the years to come, be it 5 total or a full career.

Apart from my Navy advancement and adjustment progress, I've had a lot of other progress issues on my mind.

I got this nice journal from one of the CD promotional campaigns I did nearly a couple of years ago, and I took that out of my storage space the other day so that I can start writing the stuff I won't put here, whether because it's too small or too complicated or not really what I want to put in the complete open about myself between this blog not being anonymous and knowing about certain readership. I haven't really broken it out too much just yet, but I will this weekend. I've been needing to for a very, very long time.

I am tired of getting to know guys in a completely platonic and just-for-the-moment kind of way (talking for a few hours, with the idea I'd never see or hear from him again) and then getting the questions about keeping in touch, sometimes even the persuasions if I initially decline. And so I give him my number, my email, whatever I deem appropriate, and he never calls or writes. Why did he ask, then? Had he never requested we keep in touch, I would have walked away having had a very nice evening or weekend or whatever of getting to know some new person and then leaving him at that spot in my life. No need to be curious years later as I am with longer-term friends about what he's up to or if he ever thinks about me. Just a few nice memories of conversations and shared moments. Half of loneliness is having no one to share the moments with, and sometimes strangers are better than friends for curing that. But when he asks for my number or to otherwise stay in touch, he's asking me to commit him to memory, to move him from the side of my brain that is just temporary encounters into the side of people who I know, who I interact with regularly. (And regularly can be a very varied term, of course .. sometimes meaning once-in-a-blue-moon while other times it means much more often.) And once he's settled in over on that side of my mind, I figure out that he's just another one of those guys who doesn't actually follow through on his request, but makes it from some unknown reason.

Seriously, did he ever intend to keep in touch, or was he just saying it because that's what he thought he should say? Perhaps I'll ask the next requestor that. I've been tempted to before, and I think I even have asked one or two guys. The whole thing is about keeping things in perspective. We talked for a few hours, maybe we had some good conversational chemistry. If we meet again randomly at some point in our lives, that would be great. But are you the guy I am going to marry or at least have a very deep and rich friendship with? Odds are highly against that, especially since I'm a person so in need of tangible people, HERE with me.

When Andrew and I were best friends, there was a time when I lived in CA and he lived in FL. About ten months of that, and then another two or three afterwards when he was still at school in Pensacola while I was back with my mother in South FL. During that time, our friendship grew significantly through the exchange of letters and care packages, with phone calls as often as either of us could afford -- perhaps twice a month. When I was in foster care for three months on the tail end of my CA life, he called me every Sunday just to talk. Our friendship grew, yes, despite the distance. But it had already been built on a very strong foundation of nearly a year of friendship. We had already become best friends in a very deep way. His expressions of our friendship when I left for CA were incredible, and came from someone that knew me much better than all but a small handful of others ever might have.

In contrast, when I meet a guy at a music festival and talk with him there throughout the weekend, my departure is not so sad, and his goodbyes not so bittersweet.

Why do I still heed their requests, then? Because I have indeed kept in touch with some such people, male and female alike, who I have become friends with during an evening or a weekend. And those have blossomed into very great friendships. After all, anyone you meet outside of school and work is likely to be someone you meet for one evening and may not see again. Once you're done with high school/college, you've got work, church or other weekly events, and random meetings left. In a working environment like mine where the people come and go so fast you barely have time to find out how they tick, it's a bit harder to make deeper connections at work. And I've made a few such at the church I've been going to here, but still rely on my other random meetings (the hangout on base, the friend-of-a-friend, etc) to provide more chances for friendship.

So I still give my number or my email if I think there's any reason I'd want to stay in touch. And then he doesn't call or write. And there is no way for me to answer the ever-present question of why.

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Two and a half weeks later, the migraines or headaches or whatever they are are still pretty constant. My eyes hurt, my eyebrows throb, the muscles at the top of the back of my neck are wound so tight that sometimes I can barely move my head. Massaging hasn't helped, heat only helps for a very short while, and the migraine medication the doctor here gave me can only be taken when I've got several hours to sleep/rest it off, and usually the pulsing and throbbing in my head is back once the medicine wears off. They aren't the killer types all that often.. just once every two or three days (including yesterday) though the worst can last over 36 hours at a time. But even when it's not sending me, doubled-over, to my medicine cabinet and bed, it's still there, lurking, making its presence known in subtler ways.

I have GOT to figure out what this is. I'd take my occasional breathing difficulty over this! I considered for a while that it may be a severe and delayed reaction to the inhaler, but I hadn't used the inhaler for quite a while before that first post-Thanksgiving Sunday headache, and yesterday's monster came on strong a full 20 hours after Wednesday's use of the inhaler. And again, I'd been using that inhaler for nearly a month before these headaches started, and they have yet to go away after two and a half weeks even considering there was at least a week in there I didn't have to use my inhaler at all.

Oy. Be careful what you wish for, eh? I'm breathing a little better, but I really would go back.

So that's the update. Thanks to those of you who have checked with me about how they're doing. Not so good, most of the time. I got to the point where I was sick of being holed up in my room when not at work (I skipped several social events because of them or the medication's side-effects) and ended up just forcing my way through to pain out into town. But I can only do that so much longer. Last night's to-the-point-of-tears (except it hurt even more to cry) pounding made me realize that I have GOT to go figure out what this is without further delay, because another night like that migh just make me .. well, let's just say it's not a good thing. It started Wednesday night, peaking by the time I finally left the karaoke thing I was at (after going to the youth group from the church I've been going to, and shopping for the command's Gift Exchange before that) because of my head. So I took lots of medication and turned in for the night. Thursday morning, it was a bit difficult getting up in time for command PT, but my head was feeling better enough that I didn't mind the grogginess. After PT and the de-stinkification process, I made it to work already feeling another whopper coming on.. or the same one coming back. And by lunch, I was hurting so badly I seriously considered asking to leave early, AGAIN. (I've already left for medical twice for these headaches specifically, and once was sent home Sick-In-Quarters after the appointment, and another time took an early out, and elsewhens took an early in. Also, when I have taken some medication during the day when they were really bad, I haven't been able to drive -- which is one of my duties here -- or function well enough to have my normal quick-turnover on my paperwork.) I hung in there, though, and made it 'till the CO cut me loose (everyone else in my office had already left, but I was replacing the CO's secretary for the day as I sometimes do) around 4, and promptly went to my barracks to medicate myself up real nice and hibernate 'till this morning. Even this morning, though, I had the fair edges of a headache-in-the-making, and have been fighting that all day with ibuprofen and willpower.

I will go to medical on Monday (when I won't miss work for it) and fill the Dr. in on all the things I've observed since I last saw him. Hopefully we'll get this knocked out once and for all.

(0) comments

Hippie: (after hearing Max wants to avoid the draft)You still have options man.
Max: Yeah, jail or Canada and they both suck. I mean I could never come home, so what is it, it's a choice of a 6x4 cell or an endless wasteland of frozen tundra.
Hippie: Montreal is cool.
Max:Man, they speak French there.
Groupie: So learn French. Learn French or die.
-- Across the Universe

"So how do i do normal
The smile i fake the permanent way
Cue cards and fix it kits
Can't you tell - I'm not myself
-- Frou Frou, Hear Me Out

"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.
Don't forget to bring kindness, don't forget to say thanks. Don't forgot to spend your love, no it will break the bank. Don't forget to bring some empathy, for the saints and the sinners. Don't forget to bring encouragement. Yeah, we're all just beginners."
-- Bill Mallonee, Bank

"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!"
-- (The late) Mitch Hedburg

"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!"
-- Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

"Only one more trip," said a gallant seaman,
As he kissed his weeping wife,
Only one more bag of the golden treasure
And 'twill last us all through life.
Then I'll spend my days in my cosy cottage
And enjoy the rest I've earned;
But alas! poor man! For he sail'd commander
Of the ship that never returned.
Did she never return? She never returned,
Her fate, it is yet unlearned,
Though for years and years there were fond ones watching
Yet the ship she never returned.
--The Ship that Never Returned, Henry Clay Work

"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."
-- Justin McRoberts

Regarding 2007:
"the year has gone quick, but most of the days haven't"

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days o' auld lang syne

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely ye’ll be your pint-stoup !
And surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

We twa hae run about the braes,
and pou’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin’ auld lang syne.

We twa hae paidl’d in the burn,
frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d
sin’ auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere !
And gies a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right gude-willie-waught,
for auld lang syne.
--Robert Burns, "Auld Lang Syne"

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.

Did my sister get a baby doll? Did my brother get his bike? Did I get that red wagon, the kind that makes you fly? Oh, I hope there'll be peace on Earth, and I know there's goodwill towards men, on account o' that baby born in Bethlehem.
--Rich Mullins, You Gotta Get Up (Christmas Song)

O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie,
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.

O Holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us we pray,
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels,
The great glad tidings tell,
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel.
--L.H.Redner, "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

Walk humbly, son
Walk humbly, now
And cherish every step
For a life well spent
On this earth we're lent
Will be marked by the void you have left

May you conquer (not curse) challenges
May you hold back the dark like a dam
May you lead your life with lion's roar
May you leave it like a lamb

Don't await rewards for your good deeds
A reward won't make them good
Don't await judgment of any foes
They'll receive just what they should

When you find the axis of this world
Don't tread too far inside
Run away as far as you think you can
Be well and enjoy the ride

Walk humbly, son
And store your pride
When you need strength later on
For your life's work will be judged if earth
Is saddened when you have gone

Walk humbly, son
Walk humbly, how
And forget not where you are from
May you go further than those before
And provide for those to come

Will you walk humbly, Son?
--Eddie From Ohio, Walk Humbly, Son

Strings of lights above the bed
Curtains drawn and a glass of red
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

Saxaphone on the radio
Recorded 40 years ago
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

When you play my song
Play it slowly
play it like I'm sad and lonely....

Weatherman says it's miserable
But the snow is so beautiful
All I ever get for Christmas is blue

It would take a miracle
To get me out to a shopping mall
All I really want for Christmas is you
--Over the Rhine, from Snow Angels

"In a little while I'll feel better
Gonna travel around the world
Gonna see it all

Gonna go to Paris, maybe Rome
But I'll feel better miles away from home,
Gotta figure some things out

So sell all my things, I'm not coming home
There's nothing there to keep me there
Just heartache and panic and worries and things that'll bring me down
My head feels much clearer being here

In a little while I'll feel better
Gonna spill my heart to every stranger in every town
I'll visit castles in Ireland, have some fella play the violin and play a song for me

So sell all my things, I'm not coming home
There's nothing there to keep me there
Just heartache and panic and worries and things that'll bring me down
My head feels much clearer being here
--Rosie Thomas, Sell All My Things, from Only With Laughter Can You Win

"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."
--This Train, I think it's from a song on Emperor's New Band.

"Every once in a while, a bannerzen posts."
--Me, during the 2002 Boredeys at Cornerstone Festival

"7:30. What kind of people have to be at work at 7:30?"
--Mr. Holland's Opus

have you seen my love
is he far away
have you seen the one for me
whose face lights up my day
i won't let one boy steal a kiss
or call me his instead i'll wait
for his voice to call out to mine
and carry these daydreams away
have you seen my love
is he far away
have you seen the one for me
who won't let me get away
please tell him that i'm
waiting for him praying for him
night and day for now i'll be a
lonely girl just longing for his sweet embrace
--Rosie Thomas, Have You Seen My Love, from When We Were Small

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.
--Friend of a friend of a friend

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
--Peter, my twin brother, while we were talking about bicycle accidents.

"You had no alternative .. We must work in the world. The world is thus." --- "No .. Thus have we made the world."
-- The Mission (a movie)

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."
And it was cloudy in the morning And it rained as you drove away And the same things looked different It's the end of the summer It's the end of the summer, When you move to another place
--Dar Williams, End of the Summer

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!"
--Eddie From Ohio, Fifth of July.

Ooh! Get me away from here I'm dying
Play me a song to set me free
Nobody writes them like they used to
So it may as well be me
Here on my own now after hours
Here on my own now on a bus
Think of it this way
You could either be successful or be us --belle and sebastian, 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."
--Leo Bebb in Frederick Buechner's "Treasure Hunt"

"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."
--D., in a recent email.

"in time memories fade.
senses numb.
one forgets how it feels to have loved completely."
--Pedro the Lion, The Longest Winter

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.
--Julie, from her blog on 4/8, after a large group of friends from all over gathered at my house for the weekend.

"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."
-- Jesse, in response to my Weltschmerz blog entry

"After the last tear falls
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"
--Jamie, during a recent IM conversation

How will you answer when, years from now, your child asks you: 'Mom or Dad, what did you do to combat the evil of squirrel hazing?'"
--From Dave Barry's Blog

"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."
--Rosie Thomas, in an interview with Kathleen Wilson

"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."
--The non-box result from a random quiz I took today. (No, I frankly can't recommend this quiz site, but if you're really bored and you're not seeking to remain pure, go right ahead..)

"No one wants to oil a snake these days!"
-- Emmett Otter, Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas (Found under the Specials section of the TV section of the Henson website.)

Jamie: "I am one of the greatest criminal masterminds in the world."
Her mom: "We're all safe."

-- Jamie Bevill and her mother during Christmas-Decorating dinner, December 20, 2002

"and if i were a jetson
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"
-- Eddie From Ohio, If I were a Flinstone

"The best way to have God's will for your life is to have no will of your own!"
-- Charlene Potterbaum, Thanks Lord, I Needed That!

"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."
--Jan Krist, 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."
"They made good time, despite the lingering tenderness of Mara's ankle and the distractions inherent in a faceful of itch."
-- Timothy Zahn, Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

"It's on the internet.. so, then, it must be true."
-- Five Iron Frenzy, The Untimely Death of Brad

"Be at least as interested in what people can become as you are in what they have been."
-- Steve Griffin

Blessed be the rock stars!"
--Justin Dillon Stevens

Get up for the shower.. wash and scrub and scour every part as if a cleaner man could better bear the shame..
--The Waiting, Look At Me

"She was eating gnarly amounts of calcium."
--Samuel Hernandez

Homeless man to girl trying to give him money: "No, thanks, ma'am. I never work on Sundays."
-- Amilie, the movie.

"Wow! I never thought I'd need a radar-guided spatula!"
-- Larryboy, Larryboy and the Angry Eyebrows

"Isn't it great that I articulate? Isn't it grand that you can understand? ... I can talk, I can talk, I can talk!"
-- Wilbur, Charlotte's Web (the movie)

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.
(and in another entry)
When we close our eyes to the deep needs of other people whether they live on the streets or under our own roof -- and when we close our eyes to our own deep need to reach out to them -- we can never be fully at home anywhere.
(and in another entry)
Maybe at the heart of all our travelling is the dream of someday, somehow, getting Home.
(and in another entry)
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. -- Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker's ABC

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."
-- C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

CCM: You've spoken a lot more about crying than I ever thought you would.
JK: Oh, I've cried a lot. Truthfully, I've cried a lot more this past year than I've probably cried in five years.
CCM: Why?
JK: It's fun to feel.
-- An Interview with Jennifer Knapp in the January Issue of CCM Magazine

"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."
-- General Douglas MacArthur

""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."
-- Emily, from the Emily books by L. M. Montgomery

"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"
-- Emily, from the Emily books by L. M. Montgomery

"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."
-- Waterdeep, 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."
-- C. S. Lewis

"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."
-- Rich Mullins, during a radio interview, as quoted in An Arrow Pointing to Heaven

"find that which gives you breath and grants you more to give
because life ends not in death but with what dies inside while we live"
--Christopher Williams, Breathe

"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."
--Dog Named David, Heavenly Rain

"Open up your weepy eyes, everyone is dancing. Angels peer through sweet disguise, through a fire of cleansing.
--My Brother's Mother, Finest Hour

"Long hair, no hair; Everybody, everywhere: Breathe Deep, breathe deep the Breath of God!"
-- Lost Dogs, Breathe Deep

"You may be bruised and torn and broken, but you're Mine!"
-- Asiam, Relentless Love

"I don't deserve to speak, and they don't deserve to hear it. It's makin' me believe that it's not about me."
-- Justin McRoberts, The Story Stands Alone

"Kickin' against these goads sure did cut up my feet. Didn't your hands get bloody as you washed them clean?"
-- Caedmon's Call, Here I am Again

"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"
-- Andrew Peterson, Land of the Free

"Computers will know everything in the 21st century. They'll be like me in the 20th century."
-- Crabby Road