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A Is For Acceptance

Hello all, been a while I know, but let’s just say that life has been a little unforgiving of late.  It’s been a rough last half of 2011, but there’s light ahead.

Call me a harbinger of heavy burdens and old accusations.  It’s one of those “can’t have one without the other deals.”  I have cried more this year than I think I ever have in my whole life (NOT exagerating), but I have also laughed more in the last few months than I think is even healthy for me, which is saying a lot!

I can’t honestly say what the new year is going to bring because everytime I think I have figured something out or feel I have a good hold on where my life should be heading, it starts doing backflips in the other direction.  So, there I go again, trying to make sense of “my life” when my first rule about life is standing there sayin’ “see, I told ya so!”

My first rule about life, by the way, is that all I know in life is that I know absolutely nothing for certain.  Unfortunately, that’s like constantly starting off at square one, but if I would listen to myself more often, I would be going through life with a lot fewer surprises.

I’m tired.  I’m sick of Vermont winters, social order, being poor, fulfilling “have-to’s” instead of “want-to’s”, and I’m sick of standing in one place.  All my life I’ve made a habit out of working myself to death, just getting to that next phase of my life, trying to find something that makes me happy enough right where I am.  Life certainly did not get easier after college, and though I did not kid myself into thinking that it would be, I did envision a more rewarding path.  Maybe I’ve found it, some days I think I have, other days, not so much and I find myself doing what I never said I would – wishing I was back in college.  It’s a dangerous edge for me, because I hate having regrets and I don’t want to lament about finishing up college as fast as I could. But as always, you invision for yourself a more hopeful and freeing path in life, one where no one gets hurt along the way and you can be free to make decisions without as many consequences.  But this is life, and we don’t get that luxury, we just think that once we get “somewhere else” it will change, get better, have that greener pasture we always dream about.  C’est la vie 🙂 

In September of this past year, I started my first full time “real world” job, which has had both its ups and downs along the bumpy road, but I work with some truly amazing people, have gained a lot of good experience in the business world, and feel that I have grown leaps and bounds in the last few months.  Not just because of my job, but that certainly has been a large part of my growing up since I last wrote. 

I think that’s one thing that will constantly surpise me about myself and humanity in general: we never cease to stop growing and the fact that we can grow so much in such small spands of time, whether it be because we were forced to or out of our own shear will to change and become more than we are.  I can’t even begin to describe the stages of growth that I have mentally, spiritually, and physically gone through during the last few months, but I know that I have changed more in five months than I have in probably five years.  Going from a welcoming, albiet hectic pace of college and forgiving environments to a rise-n-shine at 6:30 every morning job that is so different from everything I have ever known or thought I knew.  It’s funny really…I always saw myself as having grown up really fast because of the life I have led, but obviously I hadn’t grown as much as thought.  Again I am forced to realize that I have a lot more growing up to do and that is one thing that will never stop.

So many things have changed for me this past year and as it always happens, it’s never the things we think will.  I feel even more lost than I did after my mother died and yet, I know that in shoving me out into the cold and unforgiving world of personal growth, life has also given me the chance to show what I can do on my own.  I simaltaniously hate it and hope to God that I don’t dissapoint myself in letting this opportunity get the best of me.  After all, “Peace of mind is not the absence of conflict from life, but the ability to cope with it.”

So this is me: let’s recap,

I am currently a Customer Service Representative at an art publishing company.

I am putting myself through Massage Therapy School at night and on weekends. I still have no idea what I want to do with my life, but this is one thing I have always wanted to do, so I guess that’s what I’m doing right now!

I am happily still pursuing scuba diving and loving every minute of it, with hopefully many more of these experiences to come.

I have made a lot of really great friends

AAAANNNNNNDDDD I am still Freaked out, Insecure, Narotic, and Emotional about….well, just about everything.  Yup, still kinda losing the battle with trying to change that aspect of myself, but as always, I’m workin’ on it. 

I feel like when you work really hard on this huge puzzle and you finally get it almost complete, and realize that the picture really isn’t all that pretty and you’re missing about 20 pieces.  Eh, that’s when we paint over the ugly bits and make our own puzzle, right? 

A is for Acceptance.

When the Good things in life are JUST out of reach...

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Life Is Made of This Stuff

Leaf Peepers  VS Locals:  

Admit it.  We all do it, it’s why we suffer through five or so months of blizzards and freezing cold and then mud season and pot hole hell – the leaves ignite themselves in a final blaze of glory, a testament to the last hurrah before they subside into their survival mode for the winter.  It’s when we can take pride in the New England we call home and breath deep.  That full bellied inhalation fills our lungs with a smell, atmosphere, and feeling that only fall can produce.  It hints at the days to come, while carrying the last dying scents of summer along the current of change.  We complain about the “busy buddies” with nothing to do, who travel from many a mile to see the leaves, slowing down to thirty in a fifty five and slamming on the brakes whenever they see a flash of red or gold.  True, they can make a drive to and back from work suicidal at best sometimes and we can wonder at their apparent lack of concern for the angry drivers that are forced to creep along behind them, but we would be lying if we didn’t say we know why they do it.  It is a beautiful time of year, one we sometimes forget in the mad rush to prepare for winter and our chastising about all we failed to get done during the summer.  The “leaf peepers” remind us to stop and take a look at our surroundings, stop bitching about our lots in life, and realize that at least one of Vermont’s seasons still captivates our attention. 

 

Fall in Vermont is like a wakeup call before the frost of wondering why we stick around.  It’s a good reminder of a certain crossroads point we all reach in our lives.  Fall reminds me that there is moments of light and flashes of color in times of gray and cold wandering.  I have realized that we all reach segments in our lives were we have flat stretches of life that do not jive with where we want to be.  It’s not a bad thing per say, it just is what it is.  We don’t have to like it or want to do it, but for the moment, we need to do it.  That’s my realization or the week (or month maybe).  I am at one of those points in my life where I have no desire to be where I am, struggling to just make some ends meet so that I can get to another point in my life that will be a want, not just a need.  On the other hand, I’m trying not put off life.  I’ve done that before, multiple times.  I’m still learning to avoid this dangerous path in life, but I know I will continue to stray when things get tough.  Still, I am also not fooling myself into thinking that I will be stuck in this rut forever.  It’s a short term part of my life that is based on what has to be done in order to get to those juicier bits of what it means to keep going.  Goals help a great deal in my opinion.  Right now, I am saving the money I am making right now to hopefully buy me some more reliable transportation and if my dreams can come true, I am vying for a Mini Cooper.  I have always wanted one and this is just the motivation I need to get there.  With that Mini, I am hoping upon hope to reach my ultimate goal: if I can survive things as they are until May of 2012, I plan to travel across the American Mid West.  It’s a dream, but a doable one that I am planning to stick to.  Right now, it’s what’s getting me through and probably what will continue to do so for the next few months. 

 

Vermont Fall

Welcoming a New Life:

It’s an easy thing for me to get all wrapped up in my little existence and forget about all the other things and people out there that have their own takes on life.  One great reminder is in the welcoming of a new life.  My sister’s boyfriend’s sister had her baby a week early, Friday October 14th, weighing in at 4 lbs and 11 ounces.  Now, I am not one to think that all babies are cute, quite the opposite really, but I have to say that she is absolutely beautiful!  Holding her while she was quietly dreaming, comfortably wrapped in her blanket and surrounded by people that love her so much, it adds a good dash of perspective to what’s really important.  I wish her all the luck in this scary and brand new world and I hope that the hardships she will come to face will only serve to make her stronger and ready to take on anything that life throws at her.  She has plenty of people looking out for her along the way and I guess that’s a good enough reason for me to keep finding ways of outrunning life’s little speed bumps.  It has and always will be the little things in life and as long as I can keep reminding myself that they are out there if I only look hard enough for them, each day will get a bit brighter than the next. 

Mable's First day of life

As a certain semi-famous (and one of my personal favorite) songs once stated, “we must accept certain inalienable truths.”  The United States isn’t going through a recession or trying to come back from a few setbacks, it’s dying.  America has beaten the stone for the last time and no more lucky strikes are coming our way.  We’ve coughed and wheezed our way through the last 20 or so years with false promises and “light at the end of the tunnel” hopes, only to face the reality that the cancer has spread so deeply into America’s heartland, nothing short of a miracle will cure our afflictions. 

The “Y” generation, my generation, is screwed (‘scuse my French).  We were never born with a silver spoon in our mouths.  Instead, we were told to get up and feed ourselves, walk on our own two feet before the world can crush us.  We were forced to grow up fast, firm in the realization that our “youthful” years would be spent pursuing endless amounts of education in order to put us in the running for jobs that don’t exist.  These careers will burn us out with being overworked, underpaid, and unhappy for the prospect of never being able to retire because by that time our 401K’s and social security checks will never be able to support the most basic costs of living.  It’s a race against ourselves and against the person on your left and right, who in a different time you might have been friends with, but now it’s a desperate fight to the death for a little more food on the table and the ever-present desire to get far enough ahead of the rest of the world so that we can slow down on our own time.

We are scared, worried, exhausted, and years too young to qualify for a mid-life crisis.

We are a generation born into nation that is hitting a wall.  We grew up with harsh realities and doomed expectations.  We are finding every avenue of life a deadly intersection and the fight for the crosswalk is more like a free for all than a desired stroll. 

Who are we?

We are strong.  We are the generation where whatever doesn’t kill us helps to make us stronger, more ready for the next battle.  We are painfully aware, but conscious of our burden to struggle through, perhaps prevail, and maybe leave a little less damage in our wake than our predecessors. 

We are angry.  To not be given a choice over the outcome of our own lives, to have the idea of a life of our own choosing wiped away with fewer chances of the life we deserve than winning the lottery. 

We want change, but we are annoyed that we’ve been told since we were able to listen that “it’s our job to fix it” and yet we can barely manage to keep our own heads afloat.  The natural environment should be the least of our concerns if we can’t even figure out how to keep our social and political environments from spinning out of control.

We are also inspired.  The past has provided many role models for our future, but I think more importantly it has given us plenty of faces and theories of who we don’t want to become and will ever continue avoid being.

We are no less special, no more of a lost cause, and not altogether unable to enact change and find our own ways of getting joy out of life.  We are a generation with very different ideas about faith and belief.  It leaves vulnerable in some senses, and more open to the world around us in others.  Whether it’s a good thing or not, I think that most of us have come to the conclusion that life is what we make, this is the one that matters, and we need to make the best out of a bad situation.  I’m not leaving this world in the clutches of a diseased economy and I will do whatever it takes to live a life that reflects my own ideals. 

I am who I am. 

I am scared, strong, weary, thoughtful, frustrated, loved, cautious, funny, clumsy, beautiful, awkward, and aiming to please.  I am all of these things and so much more, but I am myself.

Sometimes it feels as though I am the worst version of myself that I could be, claustrophobic in my inability to escape the confines of my own reality, but it depends on the day.  One step, one day at a time, I am finding my way and trying to outrun my future. 

We are us.  Deal with it.

Hello wide and gorgeous world!  You remember me, don’t you?  Hmm, maybe not, it’s been a while.  But that’s the sign of a busy lifestyle, right? This time, it’s actually true.

Here’s the thing.  Let me put something into context for all of you, something that will better explain why this summer has been so amazing.  I am an over achiever.  Okay, so not that big a revelation to those who really know me, but here’s something else.  I started taking college courses when I was fourteen.  Now, ambitious you might say, but I’m glad I did it and it worked out.  After all, I was able to graduate from college at the age of nineteen.  However, it’s had it’s consequences.  Starting so early, it consumed me.  I realize now that because of certain things happening at the time, I found school work to be theraputic and my professors and schoolmates were like family that I could escape to whenever I felt like I was drowning in the “real world.”  I found it a scary challenge, one where I was daunted not only by the age gap at first, but also by my own moral standards that begged me to grow up faster than most.  I asked a lot of myself and although mostely gratifying, it also meant I put off a lot of things that otherwise might have come first.  Think about it – you’re fifteen and instead of hanging out with friends on a Friday night, getting involved in sports, or crushing on boys, you’re biggest concern is centered on a mid term research paper that’s twenty pages long and on a presentation you have to give in front of faculty and staff memebers.

No, I’m not trying to brag – my point is that this summer has been like a wake up call.  For the first time in over four years, I am enjoying life’s journey and actually doing things that I normally would be putting off “until later.”  Today has been my clarity day.  I looked back, watched my past race up to meet me, and realized it was trying to tell me something.  It was saying, “hey, you turned twenty, remember”?  And, “stop looking at me, face forward, relax, breathe, and take back your summers!”  I have to say….I’m enclined to listen.  What have I got to lose?  That is the beauty and the fear of having an open play book on life…..there’s nothing in your day planner to guide you, but it leaves room for penciling in the good stuff with plenty of room for more stuff.  So I say, hey, why not?

And you know what else I did today?  I patted myself on the back.  Yup, I’ll admit it, because frankly it doesn’t happen very often and every once in a while it truly is good for the soul.  Now and again, your mind tells you to stop beating yourself up and be proud of who you are.  It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like, but I need to start listening more when it does.

So let’s recap.  This summer, I have:

Gone to Alaska.  By myself. Wow!  I went on a glacier landing tour, rode on airplanes by myself for the first time, saw grizzly bears, moose, a wolf and fox, elk, and met amazing people.  I went on a jeep safari, saw Denali National Park, and ate the most amazing food.

Driven to New Jersey and spent time with my Nana and best friend at the beach.  No easy feat, driving through NJ….. @_@

Went to Rhode Island for the first time and had a blast!

Been certified in open water scuba diving…..I never thought I would say that, or at least not until I retire (hhahahahaha, that is becoming increasingly more funny as the economy dies.)

gotten my boating license, which I have been meaning to do for over a year now.

Started learning how to properly train with handguns….I have always wanted to do this, and it’s so much fun!!

Had another job interview, which will hopefully lead somewhere, but even if it doesn’t, I’m proud that I did it.

Spent way more time hanging out with friends than I have in years.

Made it through another birthday.

Read at least 12 books, none of which has anything to do with boring, real life stuff 🙂

Found I have more room in my heart than I thought and that stretching it’s limits feels good.

 

So, here’s my advice:  sit down and make a list, either by yourself, or have some friends help you remember, but take a pen and paper or a computer and write down everything you have done this summer that has made you happy, that you have succeeded in, that is memorable.

Don’t worry if it’s small, happy, sad, or you think that others might think it’s stupid.  This is your list.  The point is to make you realize that so often we do things that we don’t credit ourselves for or that we think is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, when in reality, we should be proud of it.  It’s time to stop focusing on the insults and injuries and count the moments that have made us strong, that give us a reason to say, yeah, I did that, I am seriously that cool.

You’ll be surprised at just how much that list can grow when you really start thinking about it, and how little you do credit yourself on daily achievements.

My list is still growing. I hope yours does to.  ‘Til next time,

From VT with love.

Well, yes I know, it’s been a while…yet again.  Now that I’m actually back to civilization, the internet takes a bit of a back burner…sorry!  Still, I don’t want to lose touch.  Just because my summer adventures in Alaska were a bust, I don’t want the rest of my summer to be one too.  I guess I feel like if I remember that I have this blog and that people are reading it, I have that much more of an incentive to get off my butt and do something with the rest of my summer. Does that make sense? Gee, if it did, explain it to me, will ya? 

So, let’s recap.  Sunday was nice, we had our first campfire of the summer at our friends house….and almost caught one half of the lakefront property on fire because we tried to burn their christmas tree.  Yeah, now that was exciting!  I think the flames reached at least twenty feet into the air, with all of us running for cover except for one person who had the hose trained on the trees so they wouldn’t catch on fire.  All in all, a very succesful summer opening. 

Monday was a big day….after visiting a few friends at work, I headed back to our friends house and we transplanted an entire hillside with hostas and ferns, then mulched, then weeded another section, then mulched again, then finally collapsed after watering it all.  It looks really nice though, so it was definitely worth it.  We all went out to the 99 for dinner, totally exhausted and hungry.  It was nice and we all needed it! 

 Tuesday…..honestly, I can’t remember.

Wednesday was awesome though 🙂  We went shooting!  I shot the civilian version of the m4, which is now at the top of my birthday/christmas wish list!  It was soooooo much fun, and definitely helped relieve some of the stress muscles!  Unfortunately, I did some summer job hunting after that online and I could have used some more target practice after that. 

Thursday we got up bright and early, less on the bright though, and headed down to main street Poultney for the farmer’s market that my sister, best friend, and favorite boss were setting up at.  The day was rather a bust for selling, mostly because of the crummy weather, but it was still nice to see everyone and just have a chance to hang out!  Afterwords, my friend and I took a trip into Manchester to see about the farmer’s market there, but couldn’t manage to track down anyone except for the owner of a skateboarding shop who was very helpful!  We came back, had breakfast for dinner, and watched a movie. 

Friday was busy.  I spent the day helping some friends with house repairs and renovations because the original plans of building a cement retaining wall were dashed by the rain.  Still, it was nice to be out and using my hands, working for people I actually really like 🙂  We all headed to the lakehouse for wing night afterwords, which was fun, except that our waitress was…..well, not exactly the most friendly or helpful person on the planet.  Still, it was fun to be out with friends! 

Today has been slow and a little aggrivating because I have been trying to still figure out my AT&T phone bill and my original plans for the fourth of July are looking pretty much dead.  I still have no idea what I am doing for the rest of the summer, my mind is starting to wander towards the future and I am a bit daunted, and I am missing someone terribly.  But really, who cares, what’s the worst that can happen? Sarcasm saves me from a life of dissapointment, everyone should try it.

Ah, so last I wrote, Bobby was on his way to Alaska, I still had my Friday to get through, and then I was planning on sticking around for another week to finish out and then maybe do some traveling around the United States before heading home.  Well, here’s what happened.  Friday was awful.  One of my coworkers couldn’t get her shift changed so I did the 9 to 5:30 shift instead of what I wanted, which was the 6 to 2:30 pm shift.  That meant Bobby would be arriving and then spending quite a few hours by himself while I was still at work.  Oh well, at least I wasn’t working until 10 pm.  I finally got one of the packages I was expecting, which was good because it had my National Park Passport booklet in it (if you haven’t heard of these, look it up, they are so cool and totally worth checking into!), but the rest didn’t really matter because it was bed sheets and such that I wasn’t planning on sticking around long enough to use.  The work day was terrible and only got worse in the last few hours, so I couldn’t even read the texts I had from Bobby saying that he had made it and was in his hotel room.  Finally though, the day was over and I could start my weekend.  I grabbed my stuff and met up with Bobby, he showed me his hotel room and I showed him where I was staying while I packed my bag for the weekend.  He had already found the post office by himself and once I pointed out the two gas stations and the direction of the powerplant and mine, that pretty much covered his tour of Healy, Alaska. 

Next, I told him the plans of tomorrow with the bus ride into the park and about the other tours we may try to go on and then I showed him wear I work and we went to Prospector’s Pizza for take out dinner to bring back to our room.  It was really good, but we were so tired and had such an early morning the next day, that we pretty much came back and collapsed. 

Saturday began at a wonderful waking hour of 3:30  am (still light out though of course) and we got stuff together and headed down to meet the bus into the canyon at 4:30 am.  We didn’t think things through well enough though because we definitely were not wearing enough layers.  We got on our bus and got into the canyon and then walked the rest of the way into the park to meet our park bus at 5:45 am.  We took a brief tour of the visitor center, bobby bought a long sleeve, I refilled my water bottle, and then our bus arrived.  Thank goodness it had heat.  We handed in our tickets and boarded for the 6 am trip into Denali National Park to the Eielson Visitor Center…..and boy are we glad we did 🙂 On the way out to the visitor center we saw Mount Mckinley in all its morning glory, unclouded and beautiful (yup, we’re now a part of the 30% that actually get to see a glimpse of the mountain!).  We also saw Dal Sheep, a Marmot, caribou, a grizzly bear, a wolf, some snowshoe hares, and tons of other stuff!  My camera was on 48X zoom the whole time, but still….it was exciting!  The bus driver gave us some information about the park and its animals while we tried to spot wildlife.  We were so glad that we took the earliest bus because nobody else that day saw nearly as many animals or a good view of Mckinley.  We made it to Eielson and immediatly hopped on another bus that was heading to Wonder Lake.  Unfortunately, the weather was turning more cloudy and less likely to present good picture opportunities.  It was still nice to see and our new bus driver was so chock full of information and really really talkative.  On the way back we saw four more grizzly bears, moose (one right next to our bus outside the main visitor center), a fox, more sheep and caribou.  We really hadn’t slept much and got back to Healy around 3 pm.  We tried to find meat to put on the gril outside, but couldn’t find a steak no matter what. 

Sunday, we even slept in slightly later and then awoke to figure out plans for the day…..the first being finding me a way home.  I realized after Friday that I didn’t think I could make it through another whole week in Alaska.  I couldn’t stop thinking about it all weekend and we both knew that the sooner I got out of Healy, the better.  So, with both of us on the phone, pacing around the room, and plenty of people at home helping out, we managed to book me a seat on the same flight home as Bobby.  We would leave Healy on Monday, take the shuttle five hours south back to the Anchorage airport, catch a flight to Philly, and then get a ride home with his mom from there.  I only had to quit my job, pack everything I had thought I would need for four months into three bags, and get home in one piece.  Tall order? Nah, just the Miller way.  So, we both breathed a sigh of relief that we would both be heading home together on the next flight out of dodge. 

So, we turned out sights to other things to experience while we were still there.  Unfortunately, the only thing that panned out was the Jeep Safari, and frankly that worked out really well, because it started pouring after we got done and being on ATV’s during a rain storm would have sucked.  THe jeep safari was fun.  It wasn’t very active, but it was just enough of an off road trip that it was exciting, but yet you could enjoy looking around and seeing stuff.  Speaking of seeing stuff, we saw a mother moose and her baby right on the side of the road just as we set off!  They were sooooo cute!  After that, we made it to the end of our fun filled trail and got to have meat stew and lemonade before heading back! 

After that, we headed into the canyon to buy fudge (best fudge I have ever had, really…..there was a cappicino to die for!), and finding another duffle bag so I could try to stuff all of my crap onto the plane.  We came back and wound up spending most of the evening watching Stina attempt to fit a mountain of stuff into a mole hill of a duffel bag.  Bobby had already packed what little he brought, so he pretty much just laughed at me while I acted like a girl and managed to fit everything in except a hair brush and my laundry detergent.  Not bad, huh? 

Monday morning, we took our incredibly stuffed bags, marched them down to the Totem Inn to wait for our bus, and I sucked up my spare reserve of courage in confronting my manager.  Of course he wasn’t there and a coworker had to call him over for me while I grabbed a few sandwhiches for the road.  Unfortunately, I was scared I would miss my bus so I didn’t exactly give him the larger piece of my mind that I had wanted to.  I simply told him that I quit and was on my way to Anchorage to catch a flight home.  He was shocked needless to say and wanted to know why.  I told him this job hadn’t turned out the way I wanted it to and that even though I give my hundred and ten percent everyday and work my butt off, it never seems to be enough and I was coming home exhausted every night.  I didn’t need that for my summer job so I decided to leave.  He told me I had put him in a bind because of the short notice and I casually replied that he had practically threatened me the other day by stating that he had willing bodies lining up at the door for my job.  He still didn’t like that because it was too short of notice.  I shrugged my shoulders, told him to have a good summer, and walked away.  I keep playing it over in my head, thinking what else I might have said if I had had more time, or if I should have given him even less information.  This was the first job I had actually quit at because it was a bad job, at least the first one that I didn’t stick out for a year and give my all before calling it quits.  I know I did it for the right reasons and I am so glad to be home and away from Alaska and that job, but it’s just the kind of person I am.

So, we spent a very long five hours in a car, then abuot eight hours in a plane, then about three hours in another car before stopping to meet some of Bobby’s mother’s side of the family (who were really fun!), and then another three hours in the car before finally arriving home. I was so happy when I saw my first cow, I think I made Deb and Bobby go deaf in the front seat for a few minutes.  When we arrived home, I started unloading my stuff and then Bobby and I went to the Shaw’s in Fairhaven to get some real food.  Both of us have been deprived of anything resembling real meat and good food.  We bought pork loin, baby carrots, beer, and then soaked the pork loin in maple syrup and brown sugar on the grill while we pan seared the carrots in butter and herbs.  I think we both just about died from the sheer pleasure of allowing our tastebuds to have a decent meal. 

Wednesday we got off to a slow start, which was lovely, putting pictures on FaceBook, checking emails, enjoying tea on the porch in the nice weather.  Eventually we made it up to Rutland and did a full day of errands.  That was also when we were able to purchase the necessary ammunition for our vanalization of a fellow friends car, which was left in our driveway while he was away on vacation.  After all, he didn’t write Bobby any letters in basic and wasn’t around for Bobby’s few days of leave, so really, how could he have expected us to leave his car alone?  Needless to say (as the pictures on FaceBook say a thousand words), it was…..well, redecorated in various shades of pink, glitter, hippy statements, and flowers. 

We had a wonderful dinner at Bobby’s father’s house, I played pirates with his little sister, and then we finally came home and collapsed from exhaustion.  Thursday, we had a nice breakfast on my porch, taking our time and enjoying being back in Vermont.  We eventually dragged our butts out of the house and made it over to the Keller’s store for sandwhichs and took them out on their dock to eat and relax.  We stayed there for hours talking and enjoying the sun and lake Bomoseen before we realized that we might burn to a crisp.  We went home and took a nap on the couch for an hour before Bobby went off for guys night, something he hasn’t been able to do since he left for basic.  I took the opportunity to hit up Rite Aid in Granville to print pictures for Bobby’s new photo album that he was taking with him to his new duty station.  I ate dinner at McDonald’s while the photos developed, which may not sound very glorious, but everything I have been able to do this week has been enjoyable because I actually have the ability to choose to do it.  I once thought that Vermont and New England for that matter was boring and dying.  After spending almost four weeks in Healy, Alaska, I realize that it’s a lot more alive then I have ever given it credit for.  I’m not completely dissing Alaska.  I’m just saying that there is nothing like leaving a place you once despised to find a place that is less than ideal and then returning to find ways in which your own views on life have changed. 

Anyways, Friday came all too soon and after heading to Bobby’s mom’s house to pack up his things, we headed home to put our devious car plans into action.  It took a few hours, but we are nothing but proud with our dedication to destruction.  While we were inflicting painfully pink lessons on this car, we found out that my father, sister, and her boyfriend would actually be coming home early because of car trouble…..so we would be able to both witness the reaction to his car!  I wish they weren’t coming home early for car trouble, but I was glad that Bobby would be able to see them before he left for duty.  After messing with the car, we took off for wing night at the lakehouse and enjoyed some time with friends over good wings.  We eventually dragged ourselves away to have dinner with Bobby’s father and step-mother again.  It was really good food and I got to hear some family stories which was fun.  We got home around 9 and my family had made it home from New Jersey safely.  My sister’s boyfriend secretly loved the effort we put into our practical joke, but he did take all of our hard work and use it against me….let’s just say, I had some cleaning up to do with my bed before I could get in it that evening.

This morning, at 5 am, Bobby and I set off to meet his mom, who took us to the Rutland airport where Bobby was flying out of for his trip back to Kentucky.  It went smoothly on his end, a little more roughly for his mom and I 🙂  Still, silver linings and all that.  It won’t be anything like basic (we hope) and I’m just glad I got to spend so much time with him during his leave.  I miss him already and it’s going to be hard, but I’m also very proud of him and I know the Army could not have gained a better soldier.  For now, it’s just a lot of texting, praying, and good thoughts. 

I have no idea what my plans are now for the summer, but I want to feel like I am actually home for a bit first, see some friends and family, and then I will figure out my next move.  I’m not too worried I guess….after all, I am an Alaskan survivor now, right?  More later, even though this was probably enough to make most of your eyes cross.  My apologies, but a lot has happened in the course of a week.  I still can’t really believe all that’s happened, but I guess that’s how life works a lot of the time…..summits of happiness, valley’s of depression, right?  Come, let us pussyfoot.

Yup, so it’s Thursday.  Made it.  that’s good.  With flying colors? Hahaha, now we’re just asking too much.  So, let’s see….today: well, I started it off with a trip to the post office, which of course did not have a package, so I ‘ve got two packages of my stuff somewhere in the US, floating around and going nowhere near Healy, Alaska.  Then, I lolligaged my way to work so as not to be early because I definitely will not get paid for any over time, and made it just before the downpour.  My boss showed me the new work schedule, in which he switched me to nights without any prior warning, including having me working this Sunday…..which I explicitly told him I couldn’t do.  So, another point in his favor for being one of my favorite people.  I then had to ask someone else to come in on their day off and work for me and that I would pay them back next week by working on one of my days off….which also means that I am going to be here until at least next Friday.  I’m going home.  It might not be for another two weeks as I finalize stuff, ship things back home, figure out plane tickets and stuff, but I’m definitely leaving.  I think I might try to wander a bit around the states before getting back to Vermont and then possibly spend some time (or the whole summer, who knows) with my great aunt at the New Jersey shore.  I just have to make it through the next few weeks…..yeah, keep those good thoughts coming.  I also found out that a coworker who I had told last week I needed to switch shifts with still hadn’t found a babysitter, so I won’t be able to meet my byfriend’s bus tomorrow, but was able to switch shifts with someone else so I am at least getting off at 5:30 pm.  It isn’t too bad, but I am just really angry that I won’t be able to spend the afternoon getting him settled and showing him the town.  At this point, every minute counts since he’ll only be here for a few days.  Also, his plane got delayed, but  he should still be touching down in Anchorage around 10:30 pm Alaskan time. 

Either way, I’m just trying to hang in there for a few more weeks and then I’ll be packing up all my baggage and changing adventures.  Did I happen to mention that planning and Stina don’t mix together?  Alaska is still neat, beautiful, wild, and very largely unexplored by me.  I would actually like to come back – just in a more jobless fashion.  It will just have to wait for a return trip, hopefully less epic and a little more……relaxed.  Onward and upward then: look out mid-west, you’re in for a Miller-style adventure! 

Hopefully more this weekend, with *fingers crossed* good pictures, better adventures, and a more enjoyable read, but if I don’t get to it, it means I’m having too much fun to worry about writing until Monday……so maybe it will be a good thing not to hear from me for a few days 🙂  Chow for now, but please keep those good thoughts coming.  I can’t tell you how much it means to have all of your support and believe me, it’s not wasted.  Thanks.

So, it’s Wednesday now, and frankly I haven’t written sooner because I wasn’t sure I could.  I’m not really sure what to say or how to say it because I’m still swinging between such conflicting emotions.  I’ll recount all the I guess highlights of the past few days, more for myself I guess than anything else, but I’ll preface it all with this warning: I’m seriously considering a trip home.  I spent about two hours last night crying and searching flight tickets, in between trying to convince myself that I can handle this, it’s all a learning experience, and that there really is still more to Alaska than I am seeing.  I’ve decided on one thing though – I hate my job.  I know, who doesn’t right?  But this isn’t some backwoods survival after college deal in which I need the job and can’t afford to quit.  Unfortunately, I don’t really know how I feel about finding another job.  Plus, I would have to find a new place to live as well, which is incredibly hard around here.  I am so split with myself right now – Stina, you’ve only been here two weeks, you haven’t  seen a tenth of what there is to see in Alaska, you hate quitting anything and will probably regret nto sticking it out.  On the other hand, you hate your job, you are exhausted and sick of being here when you don’t really need to be, it would be so easy to book a flight home within the next two weeks, maybe see some of the country first or go spend some time at the beach with your nana.  I haven’t a clue what to do and I am rithing on the inside with indecision.  I guess the plan for now is to try and survive the rest of the week, enjoy as much of the time as my boyfriend and I can this coming weekend, and then make a decision on whether I am going to stick things out for a while longer or whether I am going to throw in the towel and start heading for home. 

Monday my bike tire did come and after  work I managed to put it on without too much difficulty…..which worries me because….well, it’s me.  So far, it’s riding okay, except I think the tire got a little warped being folded into a box for a week so I’m not sure how good that’s going to be. I went next store to the 49th State Brewery CO. for the first time and had dinner.  THe place was a lot smaller on the inside and yet again, dissapointing.  I mean, the food was awesome and the people were really nice, but I can’t say I’m really missing much by not getting there more often for their over 21 things.  Still, it would be so much easier to fit in and enjoy Alaska if I could drink and attend these things.   The coworker I normally can’t stand was actually pleasant and friendly, chatting with me and not reprimanding me for everything (believe me, she still just about knocked me out of the way for everything and I certainly got shot down a few times, but not as often).  Tuesday, I survived somehow as well.  I took the bus into the canyon, crossed the street, and followed the trails into Denali National Park for the first time.  It is gorgeous!  The foot pathes are really nice and from what little I saw it was pretty cool.  I huffed it though, because I wanted to make it to the Wilderness Access Center before they closed.  I wanted to book bus tickets for Saturday all day into the park and had been trying all weekend but couldn’t seem to get  a hold of anyone or my credit card wouldn’t work online.  Unfortunately, they said they couldn’t book seating that far in advanced….I pleaded my case and one of the guys took pity on me.  It was fun and I really appreciated it – he definitly wasn’t supposed to do that, so he kept having to whisper and pretend it was for tomorrow, winking the whole time 🙂

After that, I took my time finding my way out, but didn’t explore as much as I would have liked because it was eight and looked like it might rain.  I headed back to the canyon and did what I seem to do best lately – I shopped.  Seriously, it’s the only thing I have enjoyed doing since I got here.  I bought a fleece jacket wicked cheap, some cheap t shirts, another stuffed moose because this one was even cuter, and more icecream because it is amazingly good.  I caught another shuttle and headed back to my workplace to pick up my bike.  Big mistake.  I found out while I was there that I would be reprimanded the next day by my boss for not cleaning the bathrooms well enough and for skipping my lunch break so I could clock out half an hour early and make it to the wilderness center before it closed.  I was also told that the big boss had seen me and another girl talking instead working (right at that particular moment) the other day and relayed to our manager that obviously we didn’t have enough to do because we were being lazy staff. 

So, I came home, cried for about two hours, tried to find plane tickets home and finally cried myself to sleep.  Wednesday was obviously a blast then.  I did get reprimanded for those exact things, as well as being yelled at for not being able to pack up about twenty boxes of stuff in time for the next shuttle bus (which was about ten minutes).  Also, we are now told that if we can’t account for any of our house account receipts at the end of our shfit, we may be liable for paying what’s owed out of our paychecks, which means hundreds of dollars because they are mostly gasoline receipts.  Yeah, that’s illegal, but “it’s just a precaution” to make sure we don’t lose any of them.  Everytime the bosses higher up crack down on our manager, the whip is cracked and the job tally towers a bit higher.  I’ve figured out why this job sucks so much more than others and why we are being paid so little to do soooooo much: they’re struggling to get this store on its own two feet and can’t seem to get it to a point where its not constantly breaking down or being solely held afloat by non stop maintenance.  Maybe in a few years, this might be a good place to work, but now is not the time.

So, I had plans to ride my bike into the park and check out the visitor center, but that closes at six, which means I never would have been able to make it, even if I went directly from work.  I’m exhausted from wantting to cry constantly and struggling to just make it through the day.  I don’t want to be this depressed or worn out for this weekend and I am going to try really hard not to.   I just don’t know what’s going to happen come Monday.  I feel like I am going to dissapoint so many people and myself most of all if I tuck my tail between my legs and run away from this Alaskan summer, but right now I can’t stop thinking about how badly I want to get away from here.  *sigh* I could really use some chocolate right now. 

Boy, this blog sure did turn into a depressing mantra of “Stina’s rants,” didn’t it?  I apologize for the long winded downside of Stina’ life.  It’s just that I am so used to having people at home who I can turn to at a moments notice to recount my day to or complain about work to.  Those people are still there, but it’s not the same.  I knew it wouldn’t be, but I also didn’t think I would be having this much trouble going it alone this summer.  Guess I’m not as skilled a pessmist as I thought.  This blog is the closest thing sometimes to connecting with home and just being able to explain all the positives and negatives of my day, right down to the pebbles that I trip over along the road.  Thanks for listening all, I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate it.  You are all like my open-earred sounding board, ready to lend a digital shoulder to my very realistic head.  Cheers, and please don’t stop listening.

So, it’s been a few days….and of course, so many things have happened.  Not completely major by anyone’s standards, but I’ve had enough conflicting emotions this past weekend, I feel like I should be checked into a hospital….which is scary because right now that sounds almost pleasant. 

So, Saturday went well for the most part I think.  I got up late, had breakfast (frozen muffins….really, that’s when it’s at its best). A coworker met me at the complex and we drove to the Mountain View Grocery store to search for balloons and other birthday-ish things since it was the 22nd birthday of another coworker.  She had to work that day, so we wanted to do something special for her.  We found some fun birthday gags, like a cap gun, “girls day out” package, which included a pair of sunglasses, a bracelet, a lollipop, and some other essentials, a kite, and bubbles.  Unfortunately, the only balloons we could find were water  balloons. We also found some Reeses peanut butter chocolate chips to stick in the cupcakes we planned to make.  We loaded up our stuff, headed back to her house, and set to work on the cupcakes.  They actually turned out well, which was a point for each of us non-cooking/baking types.  While they were cooling and before we could ice them, we took our incredibly sad balloons and drove up to the coal mine where her father works to see if we could find a helium tank.  It was a really neat trip!  The coal mine is off limits to anyone who doesn’t work there, so it was cool that her dad took the time to drive us around and give me the grand tour.  He even let us get out and take a picture next to the giant dump trucks and of the coal grinding shoots….of course, I only had my camera on my phone because I didn’t want to carry my good camera with me.  It was still cool though!  We couldn’t find any helium, which was a good thing really, because the little balloons never would have been able to handle it.

On our drive back, I was casually looking out the window as we crossed over the railroad tracks and thought I saw a horse walking down the tracks, only to realize it was a mother moose and two babies!  I practically screamed at Cori to pull over, which she did, and we raced back onto the bridge.  Unfortunately, they were too far away for me to get a good picture, so we did a little illegal driving down to the rail road tracks to see if we could get a better look.  Unfortunately she kept ditching us and finally we completely lost her.  Still, I’m glad I finally saw something bigger than a fox and Cori is proof that I didn’t make it up. 

That was pretty much my Saturday in a nutshell…I was feeling kind of good for most of the day, but afterwords I felt home sick.  After all, what’s the point of having these experiences if you have no one to really share them with?  I mean, putting them up here is all well and good, but it’s not the same as being able to run home and tell someone all about your day.  Plus, I got word that my friends were thinking of leaving Alaska.  I can’t blame them, because it’s exactly what I had been thinking for the last few weeks, but I can’t leave this soon, as I feel I never would be able to live it down that I was only here for two weeks.  Still, it was a sobering thought for the evening.

Sunday morning……I awoke to my roommate having packed all of her things while I was sleeping and telling me that she had booked herself on a blame tomorrow morning for home because she was too homesick and bored to stay for the summer.  I spent about an hour or so talking to her and sharing my own misgivings about staying the summer, all the while realizing that I was desperately wanting to trade places.  I was just starting to get to know her too, and although it might be nice to have a room to myself, who knows how long that will last before Cathi finds me a new (and probably less approachable) roommate.  I had also awoken two times this morning, thinking I was home, only to open my eyes and realize that, nope, still in Alaska.  Let’s just say that I was ready to jump on that plane as well.

Once nice thing though, my boyfriend did get his phone back for about an hour today and I finally got to talk to him.  I haven’t heard a word since my college graduation, so it was nice to have time to catch up.  That’s the only thing really going for Alaska right now – he’ll be arriving on Friday and will be here until Monday.  I’m trying to plan everything I possibly can into those few short days, so we can have the Alaskan experience together.  My friends are leaving for home on Monday of next week, so after that I will truly be with complete strangers.  *Sigh* I guess I am giving this lovely trip experience until next week before I start thinking about coming home.  Today was definitely a good test of my own will power not to completely break down and I am just hoping I can get through the rest of the week and have fun next weekend.  After that, my roommate and I went into the canyon to have lunch together.  We ate burgers at the Bake and then went shopping at a Dizzy Lizzy’s that’s on the strip.  She had to work after that, but I thought I would wander through some of the shops.  I’m glad I did because I found tons of postcards, a penny press (yyayyy!!!!), patches, a t-shirt, and a stuffed moose to make me feel better.  Hey, what can I say, sometimes spending money is theraputic.  I raced back to my apartment complex after that and changed into a swimsuit and headed back to the canyon because my friends were able to sneak me in so I could use the hot tubs with them!  It was by far the most relaxing part of my past two weeks, sitting in an awesome hottub outside, overlooking the Nenanna river and a mountain view.  We changed and went to Prospector’s Pizzeria for dinner and then walked down the boardwalk for ice cream.  Both were delicious, but I don’t think the pizza liked me.  Anyway’s, that was definitely a better end to my Sunday than the way it had begun, but I am still pretty exhausted.  Tomorrow, I plan to check the post office and see if my bike tire has come in yet, survive my Monday work day, and then finish making reservations for tour plans. 

I feel like I’ve been through too many emotional upheavals today that right now I don’t even know what to think or feel.  I guess I just need to get some sleep and try not to have any break downs or panic attacks. 

Never know until you try, right? Man, I miss home.

Nothing to Say, So Why Am I Saying it? Good Question….

Yup, so nothin’ new to report….the last two days have been really painful, slow, and boring.  The only two good things that have really happened are that I have bought a bike tire and inner tube, which is being shipped to me from Fairbanks (spent half an hour on the phone with the guy, again, super nice), so I should hopefully have wheels soon (depends on my skill at changing a tire for the first time) and secondly, I talked to the girl who works the morning shift on Friday’s and I think I will be able to switch shifts in order to be off earlier on the tenth.  Yeah…..so that’s good…….um…..oh, other news flash, I pretty much hate my job.  Yup…….how to people work five days a week for the entire lives stuck in a job they can’t stand?!??!  I mean, I know I only have this job for the summer, but I’m already wanting to quit.  It’s one thing if you at least semi-enjoy what you are doing and the money is good enough to make you feel like it’s worth it, but I don’t have any of those things going for me.  Anyways, I have to just keep at it, I know, but I’m even thinking that maybe a different shift might be better.  We’ll see I guess.  For now, I’m just counting the slow and grueling hours, then the days, not even the weeks because that’s just depressing, and hoping I will start making less mistakes soon and feel like I’m not such an epic fail at this job. 

I’ve caught up on Glee, Bones, and Doctor Who.  Glee: still annoying really, but entertaining I guess.  Bones, what the hell!?!?!?!  I hate that they drag out the Bones and Booth relationship for YEARS and then all of a sudden, everything happens and they make it seem likes a small deal that’s thrown in with other things. “whoops, he’s dead, hey new baby in the world, oh by the way, I’m pregnant”….aahhhh!!!  Doctor Who: …..eh.  It’s definitely interesting and the story line is becoming more epic again, but on the other hand….I MISS DAVID TENNANT!!!  I got used to Matt Smith, but now, he’s bugging me again.  *sigh* oh well.  Then, I still had time to kill, so I caught up on Sanctuary…………………………………….not much to say there, except IT STILL SUCKS.  Come on people, it has soooooooo much potential and YOU ARE RUINING IT!!!  Could be a great story line, great people, shitty graphics, but still…argh, it’s just so disappointing.  Anyways, now I’ve caught up on all the shows……dododooodeededed.  Yup, Alaska’s a total blast, can’t wait to come home everyone!