Friday, April 22, 2011

Upside Down Turtles

I worked in our natural resources division today, hauling a twenty pound pack filled with herbicide while wearing rubber gloves up to my elbows (in humid 84 degree heat!) tramping through fields. Our crew kind of looked like the guys from Ghostbusters. But instead of hunting apparitions, we hunted exotic invasives. It was a thistle round up.

At one point, I came across a turtle lying on its back. It was stuck in the mud and would soon be hawk food if we didn't do something about it. If turtles could look frightened, this one was terrified. We set him (or her... I don't know, I don't really consider myself a turtle person) on his (or her!) feet and went about our way. After we finished the field, we passed the spot where the turtle had been, but he (she, it, whatever) had gone.

I thought about this in relation to my own life. I have let a lot of things stack up against me (school, obligations, work, stress) so much that I got stuck. Upside down. In the mud. I had to let my own guard down (even if it meant shrinking my head into my shell) and let others help me. My mom flew in to be a support for me for a while. My dad was very sweet to send her. My grandmother will also be coming to my rescue (and thanks to my granddad for sending her!). My family is helping set me upright. So I can finish writing. So I can graduate. So I can move (I still don't know where to, yet). So I look to my future, even if it is at a slow and steady pace. I want a slow and steady pace.

I have not heard about the job I interviewed for, yet. I had hoped to hear something by the end of this week. And I have also decided to step down from my trip to England. So I will have the month of May help sort my life out (while writing furiously and wrapping up tasks at my current work in hopes that I will be relocating soon). Maybe I will get this thing called "life" right while on this Earth. I guess that is what eternity is for.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Things I look forward to

Trying new recipes.

Reading books that I choose (not just what I think will help inform my thesis).

Choices. Fun ones.

Traveling. Or decorating. Or decorating with travel posters.

Guilt-free napping.

Oh, the naps. That is what I look forward to most after I am all done with this nonsensical thesis.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Da Vinci knew a thing or two

"Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation. For when you come back to your work, your judgement will be surer." -Leonardo da Vinci

I babysat today. I then decided if I napped for a half hour, I could recharge. So I napped for an hour and a half, ha. Evidently, I needed it. Then instead of writing, I outlined my chapters to find where my arguments were the weakest. I was also able to list what I have left to finish. That means...

The end is near!! Ahhhhhhh!!!

Oh, wait. If the end of my graduate career is near then that is a good thing. Whew. Actually, the list has helped me see what I have left. It is still a large obstacle to tackle, but it is a defined obstacle. I feel better seeing that, indeed, the end if in sight.

So now I am off to relax myself to sleep (don't worry, it won't take long... literally I will sleep within seconds of my head hitting my pillow). I hope to revisit my writing tomorrow afternoon with "surer judgment."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Return to Writing

Over the course of the day, the topics and titles I would have chosen for a post would have changed from hour to hour. It probably would have looked something like this:

6:00AM: I Never Want [Bedtime] to End! [or] I Hate Alarm Clocks
7:00AM: Rolling With My Natural Resource Homies
8:00AM: Rain, Rain, Go Away (You Only Make me Want to Cuddle Under Some Blankets and WRITE)
9:00AM: Thesis on the Brain
10:00AM: Singing in the Rain! (With My Natural Resource Homies)
11:00AM: Cross-Training is Overrated (I Should be Writing!)
1:00PM: Napping is my Version of Heaven (And One Day I Will Get to Nap Regularly... One Day)
2:00PM: Thesis Always on my Mind (A Willie Nelson Tune)
3:00PM: Almost Out of Here (So I Can Continue Writing!)
4:00PM: Haven't Even Showered (But am Writing!)
5:00PM: I Should Consider Dinner (But Need to Keep Writing!)
6:00PM: My Roomie Convinced me to Eat Food
7:00PM: Return to Writing

Good news, though. I am still on my writing roll. I have finished four pages this evening (after a cold, wet day at work in which I worked OUTSIDE most of the day). I think I can I think I can I think I can.





Friday, April 15, 2011

a new hope

I am not a Star Wars geek, but was raised as one.

My interview went well. I will not find out until next week if I got the job (or not). But since the call did not end in "Well, this was a good chat, have a nice life," I feel like it was a positive interview. I am feeling hopeful that I got the job. Today wore me out. I worked, prepped, interviewed, chatted, wrote, read, showered, wrote, made cookies!, wrote, and then jotted down more ideas for what I should write tomorrow. I have to work at 7AM tomorrow for a volunteer work day. I know I will get physically tired at work, but I have to maintain my writing momentum. And the good news about working that early means that I get off at 3:30 and will have a solid evening to write! Woo! Don't stop me now, I am on a roll.

If anything during this process, I definitely feel the support from family and friends. Between texts, emails, calls, and facebook postings from people who encourage, support, praise, and most importantly pray for me, I know I have LOTS of people who love me. That is an amazing feeling not easily put into words.

deep breath

I am currently sitting in my dining room, trying to "get in the zone." I have a phone interview for a position that I really really (really) want. I think that strong desire (on top of all the stress I have allowed into my life) has severely wracked my nerves. I keep telling the butterflies in my stomach to calm down and stop flying around so fast, but they are not listening.

I debated my clothing choice for this interview. I thought that even though it is an interview via phone, if I were wearing professional attire, I might feel more professional and come across as such. Then I got home from work and ultimately decided that my favorite Killers t-shirt, pirate pants (my comfy, modified sweat pants), and bunny slippers were the way to go. I have set out my notes and calendar and am waiting for my chamomile tea to finish steeping. Bring on my afternoon.

I just have got to keep saying to myself, "I think I can I think I can" so I can let out a "woo woo!" at the end.

Monday, April 11, 2011

something charming in the sound

"I heard the bullets whistle, and, believe me, there is something charming in the sound." -George Washington

Mr. Washington wrote that to his brother about some of his battle experiences during the French and Indian War. I have been pondering that all week. On its surface, it is just a soldier recounting his war stories. But to pull back a layer and to think how "there is something charming in the sound," makes me wonder where the charm comes from? I like to think that in the heat of battle, the charm comes from the fact that he can still hear each of the bullets as they whistle past his head. Washington stayed alive through what even could have felt like hell at the time.

I most certainly am not comparing my life to war or battle or hell. But I am definitely not walking through the easiest part of my journey. So I think of whistling bullets and their charming sound. And will myself to be thankful for still hearing them.

Friday, April 8, 2011

you can't see the stars if you don't look up

This has been my day:

It has been rough. I worked in Resources, so it was a physically demanding day on top of the mentally and emotionally draining day. The temperature broke 80 degrees and it was sultry. The sun brutally beat down on us in the afternoon. Before we were dismissed for the day, we had a "Shutdown Contingency Plan" meeting, a time for our supervisors to pass along information about what to do if, indeed, we shut down.

I came home, showered, and tried to think happy thoughts. I tried to push out my thoughts about not working, not getting paid, not being able to do anything about it, not being able to work, all while trying to remain hopeful. I can't do that alone. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him..." Romans 8:28

That is what I dwell on. I have to. I also try to pull out the humor when I can. Like when we decided we could put our cut-out ranger to good use:

You have got to find the sunshine on cloudy days.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

false teeth

This morning I was a guest speaker for our local radio station, WGNS. My Chief of Ops and I were there to talk about the history of the battle, the changes taking place, and promote some of our programs. Some of the show worked as a "call-in" show, and listeners could call in and ask questions or make statements.

One caller who epitomized "backwoods" wanted to ask about metal detectors and what has been found at the park. We had a brief conversation before it was time to move onto the next caller.

"Oh, before I go and hang up, guess what I went and found some weeks back?"

"Uh, a minie ball?" "An artillery piece?"

"Nope. Better. A set of false teeth! Ah ha ha ha ah ha!" He continued cackling as he hung up the phone.

It was probably a good thing that this was a radio show, so that nobody could see the look on my face, beaming of puzzlement, horror, and humor. I can never predict what my day will look like when I go to work.

My Day in Numbers

Today I:

-worked 8 hours
-completed 6 "to-do" tasks at work
-still have 4 more tasks to move to tomorrow's list
-ran 2 miles in 18 minutes (that is fast for my slow legs)
-spent 42 dollars, filling up my tank
-mailed 5 letters to assorted friends and family
-exchanged 1 ice cream craving for 1 banana smoothie
-drove 5.6 miles to the university
-circled the library parking lot 3 times until I scored a spot
-walked up 112 stairs to the 4th floor
-sat in the study cubicle #407 (TyLove's)

And will not leave here until I finish at least 2 more pages of my thesis.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Killer Anticipation

Anticipation could be one of the worst feelings in the world. Or, maybe, I just am not trained very well in anticipating. My generation asks and... gets. I don't have to wait long for, well, anything. I want a piece of fruit, regardless of season? I hop over to the grocery store. I can't remember of that guy in that movie? I ask the internets, easily accessible by phone. I have something to say? I just tweet it, no filters. I don't want to wait in like at Disneyland? Fastpass-it. Even as adult, I don't always have to wait until my birthday or Christmas to get something. I make my own money and can buy my own things (within reason). In a word: spoiled. A lifetime (practically) filled with instant gratification has spoiled me.

When something comes up that I have to wait for, the waiting seems to kill me. Let's call it an exercise in discipline and patience, but it is so hard. I am waiting right now to hear about a potential job. A potential job that I really, really want. I have mentally already pinned a lot on the job, just because of the way it has played out so far. And I may not hear back about it until later this week. I should just live my life like normal until I get that call, right? Yeah, right. The anticipation of hearing back is killing me. A mix of hope and dread. What if I don't get it? I know it is not the end of the world, but I will be one sad ranger.

So I hope. And I continually pray. Usually my prayers turn into "please help me be patient... now!" I will continue to hope. To wait. To pray. To think happy thoughts. And to try and distract myself with my insane "to-do" list while I anticipate.

Friday, April 1, 2011


I worked in our Resource Management division today. My coworkers will attest to it: I was one giggle-infused individual today. Sans coffee, at that. I believe it came from a combination of delirium from my lack of sleep combined with my slight sense of accomplishment. The two are indeed connected. My accomplishments this week would not have happened without my lack of sleep.

It probably also comes from the fact that I got to yell “April Fools!” all day. Ha.

My giggle-boxness could not be stopped while working with the likes of my counterparts, Keith and Dave. We worked hard and still the sunshine beaming from within me could not be squelched. Dr. Doom (Keith), Dr. Death (Dave), and Dr. Mayhem (me) chipped the heck out of some trees and then conquered some exotic plants in the Round Forest. I know I marched at least two miles through woods with a twenty pound backpack while in the Round Forest. I am wore-out. And sore. And tired. But I feel good. The weather cooperated and we completed several things on our “to-do” list.

I know I will sleep well tonight. I still have stuff to finish (like revising my chapter and cleaning my room), but I know as soon as my head hits my pillow, I will be snoring. Loudly.