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
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
(All of these pictures were taking by MC3 Clarke.)
The moral of the story in the last picture is Food Makes Me Happy.
Monday, October 29, 2007
The fridge is too cold. It froze my tomatoes and my milk.
The dryer is too cold. With only four cotton shirts in the dryer for 90 minutes, they came out nearly as damp as they went in. They probably would've air-dried faster.
The stove-top (which really is just a stove top, since the oven/stove itself is over on the other wall under the microwave and above the dishwasher) only has 6 settings on the burners, apart from off.
Along with the coffee pot, and the stovetop (between which I've always sufficed my need for hot water for tea and such in the past), the apartment came with a water-pot (the plug-in variety pitcher thingies) and a water cooler (the multi-gallon --- or litre -- jug variety like "talk around the water cooler" at work types), which has a hot setting, and spits out water more than adequate for tea or other such purposes. How much hot water do I really need, or rather, how many ways do I need to be able to heat water?
The dining table is really a bit bigger than can be comfortably handled by the space into which it's been placed. I've been thinking about ways to re-arrange the furniture to make it a little more functional, but I don't think that's going to happen.
The bathtub has a large-textured floor of the don't-slip-on-me raised dots variety, and yet is made of a material that seems to coat itself in the shampoo instead of letting it go down the drain, so that it's actually more slippery.
Those are the big quirks here, apart from the others I've mentioned previously.
I love my walks, and being close enough to lots of folks to have many ride options. I am almost maybe getting used to the daylight schedule. I feel very comfortable here in my apartment, and I mostly feel comfortable here in this country, at least as much as I ever did back home. I may know a lot less people here, but the people I do know I tend to see more regularly.
This is a good spot for me.
Sunday, October 28, 2007
We had our semiannual Physical Readiness Test today, and I got an Excellent High, which is at or just below what I was hoping for. If I had just done about 6 more sit-ups (I did 85), I would've had an Outstanding Low .... but regardless of how many sit-ups I actually did, I really wasn't so much thinking that I would do as well on the run this cycle as I had in the past. I was expecting to get about a 13min, maybe 1330, but instead I somehow wheezed out a 1230. So, much better score for that. Which at least makes up partly for the sit-ups. I maxed out on the pushups (47) and then stopped, as usual, because any more after the max is just using energy I could be using on the run.
My favorite part about the Test each year is eating a big fat, greasy, fried meal afterwards ... usually a nice breakfast with hashbrowns (or here, tater tots, which they apparently think means the same thing. It does not.), biscuits and gravy, and my coffee. I probably shouldn't have coffee on days I use my inhaler, but then I would really feel so much worse about the whole thing, if not as jittery for the rest of the day.
I was the first female running today to finish, by a good distance I think... but that's not saying a lot, since we have so many options for the cardio portion (run, swim, stationary bike, treadmill, eliptical, etc) and some of the faster females were monitering the run this time around.
So now, a well-earned good night's sleep.
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Of course, the events that have received international media recognition (some more valid than others) have played a role in how busy this week was even for me, but the normal events that I hadn't always previously been any part of, along with getting ready for the girl I'm replacing to leave, were the bigger part.
Oh! There are pictures available already! So, here is a picture of me, asking the new CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) a question during his recent visit to our base. He and the MCPON (Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy) were both there, and it was really great getting to hear firsthand their plans for the Navy and their thoughts on its future.
(Picture taken by the Public Affairs Office staff)
And no, I did not get a coin from either of them...
Meanwhile, my Boston pride is joining forces with lots of other Sox/Pats/Celtics/etc fans out here, and all the folks who hate the New England teams are still talking to me despite that... so, Go Sox! Go Pats! Go Celtics!
I told people at the going-away party for the girl I'm replacing last night that they're all doing so well because they want me to come home to Boston. They years surrounding my coming into the Navy, they did similarly well (just not necessarily all in the same season) but the Navy just wouldn't station me there... well, now that they know it's going to be my choice again in a couple of years, they're going into overdrive to get my attention and make me proud.
I dunno, Boston... you're pretty cold sometimes, and people drive almost as crazy there as they do here... but keep it up, and you might just win me over!
Monday, October 22, 2007
The less I know about anything other than how to do the paperwork required by my daily job (which is publicly available information and absolutely not exciting anyway), the better.
Apart from the tragedy and loss of lives, which had a significant emotional impact on all of us just as it probably did you, today's events also made me feel a lot more isolated... by the time I was hearing there was any problem, most folks back home were already in bed and wouldn't be waking up until shortly before I finished my workday ... I'm far away from almost everyone I know and love, and it becomes much more clear when there's significant news but little significant overlap in waking hours in which to share it.
Mel must know this better, even, what with being even further now from everyone she grew up with and knew, I'm sure... and so many others who are so far from their loved ones. But I don't think I really felt the impact of the distance until today.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Everyone was SO warm and welcoming (which was interesting to me after the less-than warm reception when I first got here), and some folks had noticed I was gone who I wasn't sure even knew I existed, and since it was only a week, that's really somewhat impressive. And I felt really productive today, getting a lot of things done and racing through catching up on my e-mails, and I got about two-thirds of the action items done today, with a clear plan for the rest tomorrow. And to my supervisor's knowledge, there is nothing that anyone got upset at me for while I was away, which I think is where a lot of the feeling of dread was coming from ... some folks were upset that things hadn't been done months before I got here or that I hadn't read their minds or made other people who outrank me jump to and get the job done... so it was a hard position to be in and was making some things pretty stressful. But it wasn't really anything I hadn't been through at Jax, I just wasn't expecting it here. Guess it's really more of a part of the military in general than what I was told at Jax.
Anyway, it was a really great day. It was around noon that the jet lag hit, though, and by the close of business, I was getting ready to fall over. I made it home and passed out for about an hour on the couch and now I'm nice and awake to do my chemistry homework and maybe try to figure out the TV schedule.
I do have it good over here, and I'm aware of that. Every moment.
So, off to homework.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
The Dubai airport is one of the nicest but most disorganized airports I have ever heard of. The transfers desk was way understaffed, with too many folks whose English was minimal considering the population of their passengers, and who didn't seem to have even the basic understanding of general airport security that anyone who has travelled twice since 9-11 would know about .... after I got cut in line by a British gentleman scheduled for the same flight as myself, he got the last ticket for our flight before they closed it off over an hour ahead of departure, and so the woman told me just to go straight through security, "don't wait in line, just go through and run to gate" ... so after being let into the security line (because, um, you can't just skip that step, really .. and running through would be an especially good way to ensure I did NOT make the flight ... so maybe she was just trying to make sure I wouldn't be speaking with her again that evening as I sat under arrest or something) and rushing, with a few other passengers who had been told the same thing, to the gate, we got turned away because it was too late for them to transfer our luggage from the Delta flight to the Gulf Air flight. "Just go back up to the transfers desk and rebook for our next flight." Back again to transfers, which took some doing since we had to go backwards through security, and they said that not only is the later flight already overbooked, but that they couldn't even put us on the Chance List for another hour and a half, so just come back then. "Ok, what about the flight after that?" "Oh, this flight looks much better, but we can't rebook you for another hour, but come back then and it will be three hours before departure, so then it will still be wide open." (That was the translated version, since I can't remember how it actually came out.)
The nice part about it was it was very large, clean, nicely designed, lots of shopping and good restaurants, just like it actually were keeping up with the modern age... but to be a major commercial hub for the gulf region, it was quite surprising to me how poorly administered it was.
The great thing was that there was another woman in the same boat with me, so we quickly bonded over our shared frustration and need to get home, and then we spent the rest of our trip together right to exiting to wait for our rides. We had a lot in common, and her single son is about my age, so we kept chatting even though I know that kinda thing rarely if ever works out, and I'm really not looking right now anyway........ so it's good to have another new friend in this area, and it's good to be home, and other than the Dubai airport, my trip went really well. And it may have been enough frequent flyer miles to get me a good part of the way towards a free or cheap ticket down the road. And now it is SOOOO far past my bedtime, but of course I'm still sorta back on Eastern time, so we'll see how tomorrow goes....
Thursday, October 18, 2007This blog is right up my alley! Thanks, Blogger, for putting it in the Blogs Of Note section. I was laughing out loud (and, in trying to keep myself quiet, was snorting a little) right here in the mighty fine Atlanta Airport USO ... all the Army guys here were probably wondering what was so funny, but none actually asked, so I didn't share... I know some of you guys will really enjoy it, though. The title alone is a jewel!
The wedding and reception were held at West Manor outside of Lynchburg. This is a barn to the side of the property, and to the right in the background is Sharp Top Mountain, which is one of my favorite sites in the whole world. As you can see from this picture, it was a nice day for a white wedding! There was a nice breeze, but not enough to need a shawl or coat... just a slight little wisp to keep the sun from heating you too much. If there were any clouds, they were few and far between -- but there was a perfectly slight casting to the sky so that the sun wasn't too bright. THIS is where the Blue Ridge Mountains get their name from ... most of the time, they have that blue haze around them which makes them look like something right out of a storybook.
This is me with Lindsay, Kelly, and Christie (the bridesmaids) right before we really started getting ready. We were toasting to a beautiful day, a beautiful ceremony, a beautiful couple, and a beautiful life together. I had more fun with those three ladies throughout the weekend (Friday was our Lindsay day and then Sunday at the wedding, plus a bonus Kelly -- and Stephanie -- night on Tuesday at a venue that will probably be torn down before my next visit) than I could've imagined. My face hurt from smiling so much, my stomach hurt from laughing so much, and it was such a very nice time spent together.
This is one of the unique, fun things I'm talking about. This is their cake topper ... custom-made bobbleheads! When they get back from their honeymoon, I'll have to find out where they got that done .. I know they ordered it off the internet, so you can probably find a way to get your own if you want... I tried to post the video we took of the heads bobbling (Lindsay bobbles a lot more ... Garren just nods twice and then is still ... which might be a pretty accurate representation of them both anyway) but it just wasn't loading. I'll try again, though. It's so amusing!
Along with that, they replaced the clinking glasses tradition with two options:
Either your whole table had to stand up and sing a song together that had the word "Love" in it, or you had to hula hoop!
They wrote it out into this really cute rhyme spread along the tables, and it was a major hit ... our table sang "Love and Marraige" and lots of people Hula Hooped. Then, Chisty caught the bouquet and Jose caught the garter, so they were given their own special dance, and so Linds and Garren started hola hooping ... it was hilarious.
Apart from the wedding festivities, I also got to spend lots of time with Ash and his parents (who were so hospitable to me the entire time) and see many of the folks I didn't get to see last time, which was my main focus besides the wedding. And I got to go to a day of the Garlic Fest, sampling some wonderful Virginia wines and picking up some delicious gourmet foodages... and it was a fabulous trip.
I'm now back at the Atlanta airport, after a really great week that hit the spot entirely. It will be good to be home, though. It will feel especially good after my next flight, which is over 12 hours straight. Yikes!
I'm looking forward to being back in my apartment, sleeping in my (rock-hard) bed, cooking in my kitchen, and even walking to my office. This is my first leave trip during which I did not get any phone calls from work, which is the nice thing both about not having been there so long or being so involved in my job there just yet, and also being on an international trip so that it's not quite a free-ish call for them anyway.... plus the time change ... so it would be something a little more important than "do you know where the ___such-and-such-person___ file got put?" or "there's going to be a potluck three days after you get back," for them to call me.
I have this strange feeling, though, that there's something less-than-positive to come... but when I get that feeling, there's still nothing to do but brace myself and go about busines as usual before I find out why.
Anyway, I've got more than enough homework for my on-line class to fill the rest of my layover, plus I gotta eat at some point. But I think I'll still post some pictures.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
My first real, independent international travel has gone well so far, though it was really pretty confusing for me at points. But I made it, praise the Lord, and I'm on my last layover and will be home in the Burg soon! Yay!!!
Burgers, please try to catch me on AIM or e-mail me if you wanna hook up... I don't have a Stateside phone number you can use at this point.
I may get Vonage or some other such service when I get back ... though I was never much of a phone person before, it's nice just to be able to hear a familiar voice sometimes. And some of my phone calls have been a little longer because of the whole "I'm in another country" thing, too...
So, I've got some stuff to do for my on-line course, but stay tuned, kiddos.
Oh, and Beth and Josh, guess what?!? I'm going to see OTR with Rosie Thomas while I'm home, too!! Yay!!!! Did/will you get to see them this tour?
I should probbaly check your blogs, of course, but answer me anyway....
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
I just don't know what I can do about having a phone while in town, but we'll see. (My phone here may have broken today, so that doesn't help either.)
I'm also really excited about my flights, going through great places.
I am SO fortunate I was able to get leave!!
Sunday, October 07, 2007
I'm in my new flat!!!
As I type this, I'm also in the midst of unpacking (not quite at the very exact same time) after the movers delivered the stuff. (I should've had them at least take it outta the boxes for me ... I don't know why I waived that benefit....)
This is the ceiling in the entranceway. There are mirrors EVERYWHERE here! This is also the laundry area... all the ceilings here have a raised center in some way, but this one is the strangest to me. Just a random cylindar cut into the top...
To go with the mirrors being everywhere, there are also picture-windows in the livingroom and both bedrooms. And there is more natural light here ... it's like there's no side of the building that the sun doesn't shine into directly. That's just nuts. So with the sunrise being around 530am and the sunset around 530pm, it's going to be interesting getting used to the natural-light schedule. I've already figured out I'm probably going to need those eye cover things to sleep well, but then I do have to get up pretty early anyway...
The places here are furnished if you want that, btw... so this is the kitchen/diningroom, with another mirror. The window in the reflection is the livingroom. The microwave is too high for me to reach, so I need a stool ... I've been standing on one of my dining chairs whenever I need to heat something up. There are some quirks here to be sure.
It's a really beautiful flat with lots of space ... and the floors are all tile (many of them marble-look) or wood-look... and I have a classroom ceiling in my bathroom. You know, the tiles with the grid-line holders... Oh! And the backdoor even has an Exit sign (they're green over here) with English and Arabic.
So, yay flat!
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