Sunday, December 30, 2007

Lazy Day At Home

I have decided to just hang around here for the weekend. I'm pretty much a home-body, or just lazy. I got some things done yesterday and I'm set to make more progress today. If I get antsy I will head out and do some hiking somewhere.

Lloyd, over at has decided to do shorter and more frequent postings. I may try that. Or not. We'll see.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I have decided to stay home today. There are things that I will feel better if I tidy up around here. I will go out and play next weekend over New Years, although I haven't decided where yet. I'm thinking someplace solitary, but that is subject to change.

I slept on the waterbed last night. So did the cat. For the first time in a year we both had room to stretch out. The cat seems as content as I am about the decision to set the bed up. As I take posession of this house, it is really in preparation to say goodbye to it. A nice paradox that, but it works for me. As my future gets closer I feel more free to enjoy what is now. My countdown timer says 790 days, and 13 minutes until my hike. In one perspective it seems a long ways away. When I think of what has to happen before then, I feel the time rushing by. It's time to let go of more and more of my past in the form of clothes, dishes, books, just plain stuff. Time to look back and cherish who I was as I make room for who I am becomming.

I wrote in my new paper journal last night. The first page has now been sullied, or claimed depending on my perspective at the time. I also read a few parts of the book that Nancye gave me. It is a book of essays gathered from the writings of nature writers, meant to be read on the trails. It was Frank's book before he died. Nancye knew that I would appreciate that fact as much or more as I do reading the book itself. It reminds me that I ended up with some of his science fiction paperbacks that I need to see if her son Stephen wants now. Frank would like that, I think, us passing he books around. I wonder who else in his group of friends felt a need to save his multitudes of books piled around at the yard sale of his things so many years ago.

Went to my parent's yesterday. Mom actually cooked a nice meal. My Dad is in no real shape to go out to eat, so it was nice to gather at the table, something we had gotten out of the habit of doing. She liked the bird feeders I got her, and the pictures Nancye took of me and printed off. She gave me some rubber jar openers, which I use as sink stoppers in hotel sinks while doing hand laundry. Also some binoculars, a keychain, and money. I kinda feel badly about the money part, but decided that graciousness was called for. Mom had vetoed the can of nuts for Dad, so her gift to him of 2 fleece shirts was from both of us. Dad couldn't keep straight if we'd opened our gifts yet or not while we ate, kept asking Mom if I liked what she'd gotten me. At one point he said something about a big bird in the room. I acted as if he had just misunderstood what I'd just said and went on. Mom is going to try to get the doctor to cut down his medications in hopes that this is what his main mental issue is.

Today will be the start of my year-end gathering and sorting and figuring out if I made any financial progress this year and looking ahead to the next year to see what I need to do. I have 4 days off again next weekend, and then the next Monday I'm off out of town for another 3 weeks.

Monday, December 24, 2007

When I am old I shall wear purple...

When I am old, I shall wear purple. And a red hat that doesn't go...

Yesterday was my birthday. I am not yet again to one of the big milestone birthdays, so I decided to just enjoy this one. I am normally very uncomfortable about my chronological age. I feel so much different that that age would imply. So, since this isn't one that everyone would know I just enjoyed it. I usually wear purple anyway, so actually wearing it wasn't a real issue. I did wear a cotton broomstick skirt over tights and let my hair hang down. I said I was letting my freak flag fly. I even wore sandals with the tights. I would have worn my birkenstocks but couldn't find them.

My present to myself is to put up my waterbed. It was taken down at the old house over a year ago and has been in storage. My housemate helped bring it up to the house and set up the frame for me. I will put the liner/heater/mattress in today and start filling it up. I must be getting my confidence back, 'cause I'm starting to think that I might actually want to bring someone home and it would be nice to have something other than a leaky air mattress to offer.

I put the spiced wine in the slow cooker in the morning with the bag of spices I got while in Salisbury at the winery. After several hours I transferred the wine into my large thermos and headed to Nancye's house for the Holiday/birthday gathering, wearing my skirt as I said. It was fun. There was crackers and many cheeses and some sliced meats and sweets. Patricia, Cathy, Melanie and Nancye's husband Bill were there and we had a nice afternoon talking and catching up. Their son Stephen came in for Christmas from eastern KY later and gave us all hugs hello. He has made that step from young man to adult somewhere in the past couple of years while I wasn't looking. I saw him at his sisters wedding in October, but hadn't really noticed it then. Nancye took some pictures of me sitting at the table and printed some out for my parents as Christmas gifts. She will email them to me, and one will become my picture here.

I have also decided that I will look into getting paid accounts here on my journals. I want to start posting pictures and maybe branch out a bit. I am growing and I'm feeling the need for room. The women gave me a hardback journal as a gift. Patricia made colorful drawings on the inside covers and they wrote quotes scattered throughout the book. I said that the randomness of the placing of the quotes was pushing me out of my techie, linear thinking about it. I wanted to say, but somehow couldn't, that it took the 'new' off so that I feel more free to actually write in it now. Nancye knows me, and that may in fact have been a very intentional thing.

So, today is Christmas Eve. I kinda want to go shopping. I have Mom's gift already and I want to go get Dad a can of nuts. The rest of the shopping is for me. I'll go to Mom and Dad's later. Then decide if I'm going to get up early and head to the Smokies and go for a day hike. The main thing I want to accomplish is filling the waterbed, though, so I'm playing it by ear.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Now, Where Was I Again?

Home again. The nice, sunny 80's degree weather we had for the past couple of weeks while on the fielding has given way to a chilly steady rain here at home. I'm looking around at the familiar surroundings, still feeling a bit of the distance. Laundry is started, some cleaning already done around the house. The truck really didn't want to start this morning. Once it started it was rough, and the suspension is telling me it needs some work when I drive. A couple of weeks of driving new rentals, and I can now tell my truck needs some more major work. With 311K miles on it, that is part of it's life cycle.

When I walked in the house yesterday I expected to be smothered by the clutter after 3 weeks in a motel room. Instead I was a bit startled by the lack of stuff. Not that there isn't more than there should be, but there was less than I remembered. I guess my work the few weeks before leaving really did make some difference. However, I am now spoiled by having lived someplace that someone else came in every day and cleaned for me. I have wiped down the bathroom already, and am working on the dining room and kitchen.

It is time to swap my summer clothes out and finish bringing out my winter ones. I took mostly short sleeved tops on the fielding, and that worked out because the weather there was nice. It really is the middle of December, though. Time to sort and purge and swap out. Maybe somewhere in all the cleaning and swapping I'll at least put up the small aluminum tree and color wheel light that will be my Christmas decorations.

It seemed strange not to have to coordinate with anyone after I got out of bed this morning, not having to figure out my schedule based on a few other's needs for the transportation. Funny, it was kind of a let down. I got up around 6 am and didn't have to meet or talk to anyone.

This traveling is sure a mixed bag of emotions.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Almost the End

We go home tomorrow. On this third week, it is somewhat obvious that people's thoughts have turned towards going home. Some reference has been made to 'it's the time of the year' and I assume that the family guys, which is most of them, are hearing in the phone calls from home about preparations for Christmas and the general Holidays and are missing being there for all of it. I do think that the guys I've spent enough time around to talk to much do start really missing their families by this third week anyway. The first 2 are busy, and it's still just part of the job to be away. Now, the job is winding down, and being off alone is getting old.

On the flip side, there seems to be less need for them to pick at each other and me now. Everything calmed down. The job got done, and all is well. It's just cleanup of details now, organizing paperwork. There is a team dinner tonight. Early breakfast, then get on the road to the airport at 0'dark-thirty. Arrive at the home airport mid-morning, and life goes back to normal again.

I am changed. Not sure of all of it. Not sure how much will translate back home. I do now know that I can do this job. Whether my boss agrees or not. I don't know what I'll be walking in to back at the home office. But, I myself know that I can do it.

This has been a different world for me. I don't have words to bring it all together. I'll always be a visitor in this military world, but at least I don't see it as quite so alien anymore. It makes some things I've watched go on with friends who were in the military before make some sense.

I'm babbling. Time to get back on the detail cleanup. I can sit and ponder more once I'm back in my world again.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I just got back from walking in the local city park. It has been a stressful week. Not from the actual job, but the dynamics of having the rest of the guys here. More on that later.

Yesterday I needed to get in touch with what is 'me' apart from this job. This is really difficult when there are only 3 cars for 11 of us. So, I got the keys yesterday afternoon and found the park. Just getting behind the wheel of the Jeep, alone in the car, going someplace that only I wanted to go, I felt my entire body language changing, my whole sense of myself stepping back out from wherever it went for the previous 2 weeks. It was good to get out where there are trees and sunshine. And solitude. I walked for awhile, then I laid back on a bench in the sun and soaked up the energy. I walked some more. And I reconnected with what this whole thing is about. The job is a temporary thing. No matter how long 'temporary' ends up being, a few weeks, months, years, even decades, it is temporary. It is not the main event.

This morning I got up early. I had gotten the keys again last night. After breakfast at the hotel I went back to the park. It was a bit foggy and cool, and it felt great to be outside again. I walked for about an hour, round the trail 2 or 3 times, just lost in thought. Those thoughts were about hiking, not about this job. It was good to get away.

I'm reassured that I am a hiker. Not because I have hiked a small city park 2 days in a row. Because when I needed to get back to myself, it was walking in a woods that I reached for. Everything else will work itself out. It really is the woods and the hike that I want and need. I headed there, not the mall for more gear, when I was stressed. It is good to know that. This is something that no one else's judgment of my abilities can take away. I may not be 'cool' or fit in anywhere else with other people, but the woods is mine.

As for the week on the job... It went ok. But, the other guys don't like me. Which is ok with me. One of them, unfortunately the social leader, makes non-stop 'jokes' that are insulting and demeaning to everyone and everything around him. He laughs that 'I think we hurt George's feeling when we (whatever)' hahahaha. When I wasn't laughing at breakfast at his insults of all the team members who weren't there, he actually laughed and said 'if you can't laugh at this, you are a flaming homo', hahaha, which kinda shows the level of his humor. I have pissed him off. He doesn't like me. So, since he wants to consolidate his followers to show his influence, I've been cut off socially. This is actually ok with me. Doug, the IT guy, plays the part of Switzerland, and I'm good with that. I have no reason to force any issue with the other guy. I figure the ones who are usually the brunt of this guys insulting 'jokes' are getting a chance to be part of the gang this time, so it's all good. Every government knows that hatred and prejudice are strong binding emotions that are easily exploited. In my own small way I'm creating team unity. :)

I'm understanding why a lot of the IT guys don't hang out with the teams but instead just play WOW or find other things to do in their rooms in the evenings. This is what I'll do for whatever fieldings I end up doing. I need to bring my trappings of what and who I am to sustain me for 3 weeks outside my usual world. Stepping outside of the normal ruts is good, but I've found that I need at least a bit of a tether to keep myself reminded just what my reality is.

This journal works for me in ways that aren't obvious. As I'm walking I'm writing journal entries. When I step outside at work and bum a cigarette (which I do when I'm stressed, and yes, I've been smoking this fielding), while I smoke I'm writing a journal entry in my head. The vast majority of these never see these pages. Just having someplace to 'talk' to in my head (besides the usual voice there) helps me organize myself. Those of you who leave comments (/me waves at Dave...) help me have a sense of friends hanging around me while I'm pacing, smoking, and composing the mental journals. Thank you. And, those who read but don't comment, thank you, too.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cleanliness is...

Cleanliness is apparently not easily attained. I am sitting in a lobby at the hotel. We tried to go do laundry this morning. We've only been using one of the rental vans all week because with the 4 of us that's all we've needed. When Doug tried to start the other van to take to the laundry, the battery was dead. The rental company is replacing the van, with an estimated time of 'a couple of hours, and what did you say the nearest large city was to you again?'. Doug wants to go play golf with one of the guys coming in for the fielding today, and the other van is going back to the airport to pick them up. Soooo, not a lot of happy here in fielding land. I'm outside of my room waiting on housekeeping to clean my room. I wanted to take a nap, but kept thinking that housekeeping was getting close and I'd have to get up anyway. So, my one day off so far is less fun than working has been. Ah, well.

We all went out for a steak dinner last night. Since I'm such a loner most of the time, this whole thing of traveling with a group of guys is kinda fun. I enjoyed dinner. I had earlier talked to Nancye, who suggested I should get some hummus and pita to eat for lunch since my other items didn't turn out so well. I asked if the Team Lead would stop at Walmart on the way back to the hotel so I could get some. Well, these, ahem, guys had never heard of it, or maybe just saw an excuse to give me an even harder time. I haven't heard the last of the hummus jokes. It's amazing what they can come up with. In reality, I haven't laughed as much as I have this week in a very long time. I'm not sure how the dynamics will change once others start arriving. With only 4 of us we tend to hang together. I guess I'll see soon.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Back Right With the World

The teaching went ok. I am very much not happy with my performance. I didn't give out any wrong info, and got passing marks from my IT partner. However, I'm still boring, monotone. I'm excited about the part he is teaching, the loading of the application. What I taught is an overview of the program. I just don't know enough about it to know what an improvement it is so I can get excited about it and convey that to my audience. I need to fire up. And, I need to be more prepared. I'll get 'em next time. Now for 2.5 weeks where I know I'm up for what else is involved.

Tonight I head out to dinner (in about 30 minutes or so) with Slowhike and NCPatrick who live in the area. They are hammockers that I know from the message boards. I've met Slowhike a couple of times at hang-outs, so it's not like I'm going to be jumping into a car with total strangers. It should be fun. I enjoy getting together in small groups of people with a common interest over pizza.

So far being away from home has been ok. Other than the food issue, everything has gone as planned. More of the team start arriving this weekend to being the real training. The rest of the time should be fun.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And the Beat Goes On (and On...)

I'm laying on my bed in the Holiday Inn, sipping a Bushwa (3/5ths of a Bushwhacker, the Irish Cream, Amaretto, and Kalua) and am about half toasted. One of the guys is supposed to come join me for a drink in a few minutes. We stopped by the ABC store (liquor store in less regulated states) and since I was in the land of temptation I got the above liquors (hey, considering I'm half toasted, my sepelling isn't all that bad!) Made our second trip to WalMart. I didn't realize that our initial trip was for all of us to load up on food to take in for lunches and have for most dinners instead of hitting restaurants. The team lead found me in the grocery section wandering around uncertainly. He reminded me I would need forks/spoons/knives and lead me to where they were. I told him my main thing to make for meals was reservations.

Work... oh, yeah, that's why we are here. Well, today was set-up day. We are pretty much set up. More of the folks from the local unit's structure who are to make sure the infrastructure is in place are here than I expected. Looks like most things are going to work out ok for the production side of things. I do my first 'real' class tomorrow. I should be practicing. Maybe, if I don't drink too much, I'll do a run through of the slides. I'm ashamed to say that this is the first I've remembered that I should do that. This teaching thing is gonna be what breaks me in this job. And it's only 3 days of the 3 weeks.

Tomorrow night some of the local hammockers are supposed to come by and get me and we go to dinner. I haven't heard concrete plans yet, so don't know if it will happen.

Guess I should get on with looking through my slides...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Eve fo Destruction

I am as ready as I can be at this point. I realized that I have lost/misplaced my 6 thumb drives that I bought. Since I'm going with another IT person for this trip it isn't a show stopper. I hope my boss can find the wallet of drives tomorrow and send them out with one of the trainers. Oh, well.

I will turn off the computer when I finish this, pack it, and then crash. I have the alarm set for 5 am. Time to make coffee, shower, put on the clothes I've already laid out, maybe sit for a minute and then head out. Hopefully anything I have forgotten will be available at a store in NC, and nothing here has been undone that will be an issue.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Turkey Day 07

I'm at home. In front of the computer. Again. I have a lot to do, and I'm surfing the web reading other folks' blogs about what they are doing instead. I know the problem, I just don't seem to be able to put the computer down and get off my a$$.

I have asked a co-worker to sketch a small picture of me, simple outline, to upload on my blogs since I don't have an icon on either one yet. For some reason that is bothering me, mostly when I leave comments. In the process of explaining why, I went to both blogs on his computer, blowing away any anonymity. That was intentional. Or, at least I did realize what I was doing. I prefer to hide in plain site. This blog is of marginal interest to those of my friends who live far enough away from me that we don't communicate on a regular basis. It would be totally boring to come here and read the same whining that I subject my co-workers to on a daily basis. So, if I have acquired any new readers at work, welcome.

I leave at 6 am on Monday for my first fielding. I am making lists. Mostly I'm just sitting here.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


I realized I am staying up past my usual bedtime because I don't want to end the weekend and have to go to work tomorrow. I'm not sure whether the be glad it's taken 2 months for me to have a day when I just don't want to go to work (no specific reason other then I just don't want to go in), or be concerned that I am losing my enthusiasm right before my first fielding.

I did realize while attempting to teach the class that it was not fun. It was not something that I want to spend the majority of my time doing. I'm hoping that having real students out in the army posts will be better. I had a lot of expectations for this job, and thought that the teaching part would be a piece of cake, hitting me in my strong suits. Turns out that the way it's been handled so far, I, well... I hate it. Hopefully this is just my boss's bad attitude towards my training showing and not the way it will work in reality. I guess I'll find out soon enough. I am not looking forward to the fielding at this point, though.

Weekend Wrapup

Nothing really to wrap up. I am making some inroads into things that have been packed away. I tell myself that the amount of mess stays the same, but it is different 'stuff' that I have unpacked and am finding places for or giving away. That's what I tell myself.

Mom and Dad both have what is going around. I don't want to catch it, on the even of going out of town with work especially. I said I'd come over next weekend for Thanksgiving. Mom had sounded really bad on the phone, then today Dad sounded horse and sickly. I hope they get over it so I can go over. I'm afraid that I'll pass on it if they are still sick. I would take the chance for a normal job, but I have to travel this time, no matter what. I don't want to be sick.

I have started shredding and deleting emails from my other job. It's been 2 months now, there has to be some statue of limitations on paperwork for a former contract job. I am tired of tripping over the papers. I also paid my property taxes online today. A guy came over yesterday, asking if this was next door's address. Seems he had heard that that place might be for sale for unpaid taxes. I went online. The ownership of my own place had taken me finally calling and getting transferred around the county offices for an hour or so the week before I started this new job to get properly registered. This is after I'd owned this place a year and a half. I never got billed for last year's property taxes, and they showed past due. I checked the neighbor's listing online, and they owe less than I did. Not sure where this guy got his information, or who he was. He is outta luck if he thought he would get both these places in a tax sale. I'm paid up now.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I survived

I did survive the week, and it has even ended on an up note. I just went in to work on Tuesday and started teaching. I knew I wasn't prepared, I knew I wasn't doing a good job. However, it worked for others, they could be encouraging and sympathetic. I was critiqued. I just set the rules of the class up for myself. If I screwed up, it was just more room for improvement. I got through it. That is the main thing to take from it. I got through it.

Last night was our company party. I actually had fun. I wore what I wanted, which was an outfit I already had. There was enough range in outfits there that I don't think I stood out too much. Wayne, one of the guys who's around my age, is a dance instructor. He tried to start teaching me, but had to leave for a prior engagement before the dancing got really going. I was disappointed in the big boss a bit. I had assumed (don't know why...) that he would go around and dance with most of the women there. He only danced with his date, and after they got it all going they sat down. I danced a bit, but decided that I didn't want to spend the night going around finding partners. Mike and his wife were headed out to the bars, and invited me to go. I should have gone, but I was dressed a bit dressy for hitting local bars, and I also knew that when I got away from the people and music that I would start feeling the aches and soreness from wearing shoes with no support and the stress of maintaining my 'social' persona. So, I headed home. I crawled into bed, happy for the week to be over.

This morning started well. After a cup of coffee and just as I turned on my computer to start my morning browsing, the phone rang. It was stumpknocker. We hadn't had a real conversation in many months. We talked about gear mostly. He's starting a winter hike this year, and was telling me about what all the new stuff he's been accumulating to get ready for it. I'll be very interested to hear how it all works out. It was good to talk to him again, I've missed that.

Every weekend I wake up on Saturday morning to a house that looks like a 'stuff' bomb has gone off inside. I know that I let things go during the week because I a) have too much stuff to keep track of and b) don't have a real place for most of it. I really, really need to pare down and get to where I only have what I have a place for. I keep saying that. I'm getting more and more annoyed with all this stuff just sitting around in corners and on top of things. Guess I'll get up and starting getting on with fixing this problem.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Swan Dive

I feel myself taking a swan dive into depression. Working for a boss who meets my every positive comment with a glare and a raising of the bar of performance is taking a toll. I have decided that I won't fight the process anymore. He wants to break me. I don't think that is a particularly difficult task he set himself, but whatever. I will go in and make a total fool of myself being unprepared to teach tomorrow. I will practice today, but there is no way to be a success, not even any way to mitigate the absolute failure. I'll either get a total ass chewing, or a total cold shoulder. I will probably get told that I am not meeting my requirements to be able to teach within 90 days, and another ultimatum of some sort, totally unattainable by me with no training. Whatever. I don't care anymore.

I want to do the hike. I see it as a way to strip all the expectations of others away and deal only with myself and my own abilities. If I can't make it, it won't be because of anything other than myself, my preparation, my strengths and weaknesses. The things I see as my strengths others seem to only want to smash. How dare I think I actually have something to offer?!? Then, of course, once I'm pathetic, they can be oh so comforting, saying soothing things from their perch of superiority. As long as I am below them, they can be pseudo-sympathetic. Patting themselves on the back for not being as fucked up as I am.

Who is 'them'? Most men I've been involved with, most specifically my x-husband. Most bosses. Most of the men and a lot of the women I've worked with. I have been accused to 'walking around like I know what I'm doing' at work by a co-worker. The big boss, who left, my first day as I walked up to him as an employee for the first time with my boss, said 'Walking around looking smug, I see' which totally floored me. Yes, I was in a good mood and was smiling. I was glad to be there. Apparently that wasn't proper protocol.

This is Veteran's Day. I am working with a lot of retired military. A few of them seem to be examples of the shining best examples of what the Army teaches about life and leadership. Most seem to spend a lot of time telling stories about how great they are, and looking down on everyone else. Several seem to think that they are owed the respect of their (former) rank even in civilian life. Seems they confused the rank with some personal glorification. The ones who are quiet, and only refer to their past if asked tend to have the more interesting stories, ones that don't rivet around how wonderful/smart they were in relation to the rest of the goons around them at the time.

I'm bitter. Can you tell?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

834 1/2

I put a countdown timer on my personal laptop a couple of weeks ago. Now it says 834 days and a little under 12 hours till I start my AT hike. It is fun to watch it count down. There are days that just knowing it is counting down the time helps me get through.

Work has me all over the place emotionally. I am currently totally certain that I won't make it. I hear about how the others got official training. As in, there was one person in charge of their training, and they practiced with them constantly. I have kinda just asked occasionally if I'm doing what I'm supposed to be, and just trying to concentrate on my weak points. I have been accused of walking around like I know what I'm doing. I am to teach the IT folks the entire class starting Tuesday. I have never given it before. Never. I found out Friday that the others practiced over and over with each other and their trainer before giving the class to everyone. I didn't know that before. I didn't know to ask to do that. I'm alternately depressed, scared, and pissed. I'm pretty sure I'll give them ammunition to tell me how bad I am at this. sigh.

I have gotten more done around the house. Mostly cleaning and laundry. Things I hadn't done for a few weeks cause I've been off doing things on the weekends. I need this 3 day weekend.

Friday, November 09, 2007


It's Friday. Jeans day at work. The day before Saturday, when I have scheduled everything I've needed to do for the past 3 weeks or so. This job, when I'm at home in the shop, isn't a job that I count the days till the weekend. I am starting to look forward to getting on the road because with so many of us back there is just not a lot to do. It is interesting how the personality of the place changes as the different groups of people cycle in and out. Right now almost everyone is back, and it is crowded. Most of us go out on travel on the 26th, so it will be a ghost town again.

Bob may not be able to make the Holiday party next Friday. The memorial for his Dad is the day before and he has family coming in for that. It really wouldn't be cool to just take off. So, I've basically let him out of the date. I think that in most other situations it would have been fun for him meeting this group. Oh, well. Dateless again...

Thursday, November 08, 2007


The cat and I are curled up on the couch journaling again. This time I have my coffee already in hand. Yesterday at work went better. The IT guy I'll go out with at the end of the month and I started talking about it. I voiced my concerns, and that the boss has used 'forcing' me to teach on my first fielding as a threat/ultimatum. Since it invariably is used in a negative sense, I have had a 'hell no, I'm not teaching this first time' attitude. We'll see how it all pans out.

Not much else is going on other than work. The big boss, who I really like, has officially taken his name plate out of the holder by his door. No word on who will replace him. Gossip from his new assignment makes it sound like folks over there, including him, are not having a good time. I'm sorry they are seeing him in that situation, because in the right situation he is an incredible leader and one who I was enjoying working for.

Seems that I have Monday off. These 3 day weekends in this job just keep showing up and surprising me. I have no special plans. I really need to work on getting the house organized. Again. Still. I invited Bob to go to the Holiday get together for work the next Friday, and I want the house to be as good as it can be for him to see it for the first time. When I was up in Indy it reminded me that he and I haven't spent much time talking and hanging out this year since I didn't make it to the Dayton Hamfest this year.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I'm posting something before work, to get today's post in. Yes, this is cheating, just posting that I'm posting. Madcap Mum did better with a haiku.

Shadowmoss and cat
Curled up and writing journal
Coffee's ready now

Bad haiku. Worse, I have to move the comfortable cat to get up and get my coffee. And such are the daily struggles here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I'm sending an 'I'm sorry' to Charlie. He's been waiting to hear about Bob's party, and I haven't had the energy and time together with an internet connection all come together since I got home. So, now the rest of the story...

When the accident was cleared we started right back up at 70mph on the interstate. I never could even tell where the accident happened. I fumbled around and found the complex where the party was held, and walked in. It's been at least a couple of years since I've been back, and much longer since I've seen any of Bob's family. I thought that his younger daughter was his older one when she was talking to me, and kept looking for her sister. sigh. Kids kinda grow up on ya when you aren't around to watch them. I didn't recognize some of the caver friends, either. I latched onto Pruit and kept asking him who was who. Saw the RCA guys that I hang with at the Dayton Hamfest every year, Les and Bob and his wife Marge. Les had good news employment wise in that he started full time this Monday at the place where he was working part time. He said that after they told him last week, he drove home thinking 'I've got insurance now!' and then a few minutes later, again he would think 'I've got insurance now!'. I fully understand, although I've had COBRA the entire time I've been contracting.

Bob's Dad died last week. His daughters had to tell him about his surprise party because he had no intention of coming back to Indy from Missouri where his Dad had been. The memorial service is the 15th of this month, which would have been his Dad's 85th birthday. The slide show the girls had put together was intersting, especially some of the earlier pictures that I hadn't seen before. There were some from his days in Viet Nam when he was an Army Ranger. That was a side of him I hadn't seen before, although I sorta knew about it. The pictures put it more into perspective.

The gifts were appreciated, and included the requisite 'old' party standards. Bob seemed a bit overwhelmed by it all, after spending the week at the hospital with his Dad. JoEllen wanted to leave just as things were winding down and I was planning on talking more with some of the folks. Since she was riding with me to help me find their house to spend the night, I went ahead and left.

The cavers up there put on the National Convention this summer. It was obvious that they are still pretty tired of each other. Several folks were grouchy, and for once the family members outnumbered the cavers at a party. It was good to see the ones I got to spend some time with. I just wish they were all getting along better. I found out that a couple of the people that I enjoyed talking to over the years have died. Guess it comes with the territory.

I drove home Sunday, and pretty much just unloaded the truck and finished laundry and crashed. Work has been busy, which is why I haven't posted. So much for the every day thing. Oh, well. I'll try for several times a week instead.

Apologies to those who read this who don't know any of the folks I talked about.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I am sitting on Interstate 65 in Southern Indiana. I'm at a standstill. An engine off, folks walking around outside their cars standstill. I had been congratulating myself that I was going to make the party on time, crossed into Indiana at just the right time and headed north. Then, things came to an abrupt halt. Some guy standing around said that there is a bad accident a couple of miles ahead, and they are Life Lining 2 people. I am frustrated, but I also wonder if I'd have been in the accident if I had just not made one of my stops for food or gas. So, I'll sit here and wait. And maybe miss the party. But, at least I am alive and well.

Odds and Ends

It's Saturday morning, and I finally have time to sit down and catch up. Most of this week my internet signal here at home has been so poor that it wasn't even worth trying to get on. That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. Work isn't a good place for me to post here since I can't really sit for any length of time and think about non-work stuff.

Last weekend I went down to Meriwether Lewis campground for a hang-out. That's where several of us who use hammocks instead of tents for camping get together and hang around and compare gear and talk around a campfire and generally goof off all weekend. I had fun and met some more really nice folks. This hobby, a subgroup of backpackers, seems to have a majority of interesting, fun, just really nice folks.

Work is, as it has from the beginning, being interesting. That is a euphimism for various other descriptors, none of which really describe it either. There are changes afoot, management-wise. I'm too new to even really care. I'll hear about it soon enough.

Today I head up to Indy for a birthday party for a good friend. I even got him presents, things from on post. He served in the 101st in Viet Nam so I got him some 101st items. My boss took me on post to find them. We went to the museum, and then to the clothing store and the px. I may ask someone to get me on post sometime to go to the museum to actually tour it sometime. Not sure if that would be enough reason to get on as a civilian. I have gotten on post by myself many times but that was in the course of needing to go there to work on computer gear.

I'll post about the party and my trip back up home tomorrow. The cell wireless card works well pretty much everywhere except here at home, so it makes getting on the internet when I'm visiting people much less hassle.

Friday, November 02, 2007


Yes, it is now November. Yes, I didn't post yesterday. I am already behind, 2 days into this. sigh.

I'll write more tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

At Work

I'm at work. Killing time. I can only absorb so much at a time, and I'm like the Gary Larson cartoon. I need to be excused, my brain is full. I think I'm stepping on and over and stomping on protocol at every turn. I get frowned at. I think I talk to folks that are above the level that I'm supposed to. Heck, there's only 20 or so of us here at any given time.

I'm being called back to work. sigh.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


So much for posting every day. I still have time to get into the habit before November starts. Luckily, as far as I know the blog sites I use don't have a minimum number of words to post.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sunday's belated post

My run up the ridge on Saturday showed me that my summer of not doing anything has taken its toll on my body. So, since Sunday was a beautiful fall day I took my fairly loaded down new pack over to the county park to hike for awhile. What little hiking I did kicked my butt. I did get questions about my large pack since everyone else was carrying nothing, usually not even water. The pack did fine, as did the new shoes. I realized, yet again, that I need to change out of jeans into something else when I'm carrying the pack. Too many bulky seams right where the hip belt rides. Also, I need to wear heavy socks if I'm going to buy my hiking shoes a tad larger. Mostly, though, I felt the hike in my legs and arms, right where I should feel it.

My Dad is having more issues. Minor, relatively, but his mind is getting fuzzy. Mom is cutting his pain medication down to see if his mind comes back. He ended up having shingles, which is painful, and possibly what was causing his hip pain. So, as that is being healed with the proper medication hopefully the narcotic he's been taking for the hip can go away. Also, hopefully he won't need the hip replacement. He is too old for it, and the surgery might take him out. With the pain he was having, he was ready to take that risk, though.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Peopled Out

I went to Phreaknic last night. I didn't get a room at the hotel this year, just wasn't worth the money to me to have one. I had all intentions of going back today, but ended up enjoying my solitude too much. I did see pretty much all of the folks I had wanted to see. This year everyone seemed to get along well. At least last night. The fragile connection I have with these folks was a bit reinforced. All good. And I had sushi. One of these days I'll actually be able to eat it without peering at it perplexed for several minutes before I pick it up with trembling chopsticks.

Today I met two more neighbors. I met them the usual way - trespass on my property. This time with a dozer. Knocking down trees. Running up the ridge in my truck on their very steep access road (they might call it a driveway), I again met the other neighbor that was trespassing on my property with his 4-wheeler last spring. He knew who it might be with the dozer, and offered to investigate with said 4-wheeler. Not long after, they showed up at my door. Nice guys, apologized for coming onto my land, fuzzy about property lines and such. Truth be told, even I'm not sure where the lines are. At any rate, as an olive branch they will fix my driveway. Works for me. Seems that the new neighbor who owns the land right next to me (other side from the ones I usually talk about) has staked out his new house right on top of neighbor from upper ridge's water line. So, upper neighbor was asserting his easement.

Upper neighbor works in 'computer security'. He was definitely NOT impressed with my 'Hacker Inside' Phreaknic tshirt. Nor was he impressed when I mentioned 2600, and that I am a member. sigh. Always the one who looks like I'm pushing the edges of proper behavior. And this is after I've become so boringly straight.

On to other things... I am inspired by Madcap Mum's vow to post every day this month. It seems that October is blog month or some such. I was going to start, albeit a week late. I never did. So, I am, dare I say... vowing? Ok, vowing to post every day in November. I don't think I have the novel in me to do my usual attempt at nanowrimo ( in November, so I'll do a belated month long blog. She posted a haiku in lieu of a 'normal' post due to being tired last night, so giving myself that out if I need it I will attempt, no, I will do a month of daily postings. I'll work my way up to it this week. Since I never seem to be able to do anything every day for a month (sigh), this will be a good start to new abilities to follow through. right.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Third Day in a Row

I'm really trying to get back into the blogging habit. I so enjoy reading others folks' blogs, even when I don't know the people in real life. So, although today was a fairly normal day I'll post about it here.

Work is going ok. I gave the short Intro classes again for co-workers to critique. Total time for both slide shows is about 45 minutes. My timing is ok, but I'm still boring. I need to pep it up. One of the guys who was in Iraq for a year and is now getting back to being a trainer showed me how he does it. He doesn't explain each form in the slide show, or sometimes even say what it is. Just "This is an example of the forms in this section of the program" next... Food for thought. I'll run through it again tomorrow, once just for myself and once to torture the guys I work with again. The longer class (the rest of the 2.5 days I'll teach each fielding) is actually installing the software and explaining that. I do that all the time. I'll start concentrating on that class next week.

Housemate and I (well, I stood there and talked to him while he worked) started back working on the laundry room. I am learning to just stand there and talk, not give directions. Really, he can do it however he wants. I just usually tend to ask why he's doing something, and he thinks I'm saying he's doing something wrong. I'm just curious. And chatty. And a pain. But, progress is being made. I loaded the pile of Goodwill stuff into the truck. Tomorrow I'll hopefully actually find a drop-off place and get rid of it.

The list of things I should be getting done is longer and longer. I do things, but more sits there and looks at me, waiting. I was thinking today that ever since Mom and Dad drove down to Atlanta, where I moved after high school, with everything that had been in my old bedroom in their house and unloaded it into my apartment for me to deal with, that I've had too much stuff to drag around. It's always been a total pain. It is even more of a pain to go through it and try to get rid of large chunks of it. I just try to keep ploughing through it all. Clear flat surfaces! is my mantra. I want to leave the house with abundant clear flat surfaces when I go off on my first fielding in November. The dining room table is cleared, as is the counter of the Hoosier cabinet. The kitchen is getting clearer. Progress. Momentum. sigh.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

End of an Era?

The bees are officially gone. Dan came and got them early this morning. I just noticed it. He left me a couple of quarts of his honey. I'm sure that any honey I want will be promptly sent my way if I just let him know. I'm not talking cases of it, I only use about a quart a year or such. And so, my attempt at self-sufficient homesteading is officially over. I'm still using the soap I made a *cough* few years ago. Who knew that 3lbs of shortning and a can of Red Devil lye would make so much? At any rate, I have the knowlege if I decide to get back into any of this. I'm just on to different things now.

The housemate is talking about working on the inside of the house today when he gets off work. I will have the laundry room emptied for him to work on by the time he gets here this afternoon. I had thought first that I'd have him start on the kitchen since I'm getting impatient with not having a full sized fridge. However, I realized that I really, really don't want to have every room in the house in various stages of being remodeled. Right now the laundry room and the master bedroom and the master bath are like this. Better to actually finish a room before starting another. Heck, I may even get motivated to work on the master bedroom while he's doing the laundry room.

Mainly what I want to get accomplished before I start traveling is to not have every flat surface cluttered with STUFF like it is now. There is some room in one of the storage barns now that the bee equipment is gone. I'll move some things down there today. I'm working on clearing the great room where I tend to live. The camping gear is also getting organized. I even put some clothes into the Goodwill pile. Still baby steps, but some minor progress at least.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I guess it's time to check in again. I just don't have the energy to post when I'm going through a lot of change. And, change is what it has been. The new job... started out challenging. After the first 2 weeks things calmed down. I'm still learning. It's not as easy learning new things as it once was.

Another challenge lately was the really bad headaches that started when I got the new job. Stress? The ginkgo I was taking? Turns out it was maybe the coffee? I used to get those headaches whenever I'd try to drink, or inadvertently got hold of some decaffeinated coffee. I am allergic to something left behind when things are decaffeinated. It's not just the lack of caffeine, it is an actual reaction to something. I was very sensitive to motion. The guys were ready to haul me off to the hospital or doctor or something. Then, one morning I didn't drink any of their coffee for about an hour, and when I took a couple of drinks of a cup of it later the headache hit me like a hammer. I put their coffee down and went next door to the station and got coffee there. Much less headache. Yesterday I took my own coffee in, almost no headache and no sensitivity to motion. Maybe I can start learning the stuff now, too. I don't know if it is some do-gooder trying to decaffeinate the office for their own good or what, but it's not worth the fight to find out. I'll just take my own coffee in or go next door and buy it.

My first out of town trip with the job will be the Monday after Thanksgiving. I'm headed to North Carolina to observe. The tech I will be shadowing is fun, we have a good time. It should be challenging and interesting and somewhat scary all at the same time. Speaking of scary, I look around here and think that in a month I'll start traveling and see all that I need to organize here beforehand. I ended up giving the bees to a guy in the beekeepers group. He's helped me a lot, even though he kinda made me mad this spring. One hive was a total loss, but the two packages seem to be thriving. He will move them this weekend maybe, and some of the equipment, too. That will pave the way for more stuff to leave the house to the sheds. It is a beautiful weekend, no excuse not to do this.

I also want to get out and hike, even if it is just over to the county park. I bought a new pack last night at REI. I'll take the 80L one back (they have a wonderful return policy). I got an REI woman's 70L pack. The new underquilt I got for the hammock and the down bag both go in and leave some room for other things. The suspension is much better. I had them put 35lbs in the pack in the store, and I could carry it without my back hurting. I wouldn't want to carry that much on the trail, but the pack carried it comfortably. It's not an ultra-light pack, weighs in about 4.5lbs for the pack itself. It will be a good pack to get into shape with.

Much more has gone on, but I'll just jump in and try to post more often from here.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Wheel Keeps Turning

I figured out there are (at least) 8 things that need to happen by February, 2010 for me to start my thru AT hike. They are:

Get a job making enough money to finance everything
Pay off all non-mortgage debt
Fix up the house so I can sell it
Put at least $10K in hiking fund
Put at least $10K in fund to pay for things here while I'm gone
Put at least $10K in fund to live on after the hike
Sell house
Get myself into better physical shape

Those are the basics. Pretty much all but the getting into better shape depend on a job making good money. I now have that. So, a large part of my effort towards my hike will be spent on doing well in this job.

The main issue that has had me tied up in knots about taking this job is what do I do about the cat? I really, really like my cat. I really, really don't want to get rid of him. I even basically hung up on my Mom when the day after I took the new job she asked brightly if I'd found a home for the cat. Traveling for 3 weeks out at a time wouldn't work well with keeping the cat.

The answer came yesterday. I have a house sitter, someone who will not be here a lot, but will be here often enough to take care of the place and take care of the cat. He moved into the spare room yesterday. Well, he moved in after I cleared it out. Now I need to spend a lot of time/effort to find a place for all the junk, err stuff that I moved out of that room. I can keep the cat. I am happy.

Now I really need that week off between jobs to get organized around here. And, I need to get rid of A LOT of stuff.


I typed that the other day, but lost my internet connection before it posted. My connection here at the house is iffy sometimes. The housemate moved in, slept a few hours and went to work. Then he went back to KY for his days off with his family. I knew he was due back in town sometime today/tonight.

Around 4am I hear noises like someone is moving things around. This is an odd time, since he works midnights. Then I hear the unmistakable sound of something largish eating the cat's food in the kitchen. This seems odd even for this housemate. I gingerly turn on some lights and peae into the kitchen and see a tail dissappear behind the trash can. I call the housemate at work and ask if he, perhaps, brought a small animal into the house earlier? He says no. As we talked he suggested that I probably had a possum in the house.

I closed myself and the cat into my bedroom and tried to go back to sleep after assurances from said housemate that he would dispatch the possum when he got home this afternoon. I guess men are useful after all. Someone Else would take care of this intruder. The crunching sound began again. Sigh. I got up, put on shoes and peeked into the kitchen again, having left the lights on. Yes, a possum. In my kitchen. Eating out of my cat's bowl. I called the housemate again. His work partner suggested a broom and screaming. I swore under my breath. The broom was next to the possum.

So, I shut the cat up in the bedroom and when the possum hid behind the trash can again I got the broom. I opened the back door and slowly made my advance. Moving the trashcan out of the way, I looked at the largish (ok, it's 4am, anything is largish at that hour) possum cowering in the corner. I gingerly prodded it with the broom, housemate on the phone in my ear waiting for me to scream. It ran, but not out the door. It ran instead towards the housemate's bedroom, then veered into the other junk-filled bedroom next to it. I closed the door to that room and told the housemate where he could find the possum when he got home.

Of course, now it's close to 5am, and I can't sleep again. But, at least the cat can come out and I don't have to worry about rounding a corner and being surprised by the intruder. I washed the cat's food and water bowls, and cleaned the floor with bleach cleaner, just in case the animal has health issues. The idea of my cat and the possum tangling was actually my main worry. The cat wasn't at all concerned about the intruder, though. I'm wondering just how long the thing has been here...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Commentary on My Life

I had this conversation with a former work partner when I called to tell him about my new job:

Me: ... and I'll be making decent money again.
Him: Good. Now you can afford to buy a Television Set
Me (who NEVER watches TV): Television set?!? I already have one of those.
Him: THEN TURN IT ON. Get informed.
(he always has to tell me what the current news is before we can talk about it)
Me: Well, actually I'm thinking of getting rid of most things and moving into an RV.
Him: You always have to be that rebellious hippi, don't you. The non-conformist.
Me: Well, think how boring it would be if I was just like all of you normal people.
Him: Yeah, but us normal people get laid.
Me (sighing): Ok, you got me there...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Turn the Page

"The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice
what we are for what we could become." -- Charles Du Bois

I got the job. As of the 17th I will again be gainfully employed at a permanent (as in, not contract) job. There are some ifs/and/buts to finishing out the 90 day probation. As in, I have to get a Secret clearance (I've had one before) and I have to be ready to step in front of up to 20 people and give a 3 day class (only 20? only 3 days?) and the main consideration for me, what do I do with my cat while I'm off traveling for 3 weeks at a time. The money is good. I can get out of debt and fix the house and move on with whatever this next phase of my life is.

The main thing for me right now is that I feel alive again, excited. I have always felt at ease when I went into this place. They like me, they expect a lot from me. It feels good.

I gave a week's notice at my current contract. I have been told I am welcome to come back if I want/need to. That is good. I like leaving with the bridge intact. That hasn't always been the case when I've left jobs. I will then take a week off to take care of some things around here and then go off hiking for a day or so. I'm happy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Good Start

I feel good about the progress this weekend, after a summer of not getting much of anything done. I unpacked 2 boxes of kitchen stuff and found a few things to get rid of. I now have my wine glasses washed and in the china cabinet, and a few other things out and about. There is getting to actually be a pile of things in the area where I put the 'to be given away' stuff. I got a lot of paper piles sorted, shredded, tossed and generally got the main room cleaned up again. I even cooked supper last night. Small things, but still more than I have been able to do all summer.

I'm feeling good about having a week to get myself ready to interview for the other job. If it actually happens it will be a huge change for me. Better to have had time to process that before I have to answer questions. I got some of the backlog of paperwork done for the current job. I am feeling good about tying up loose ends of things. I guess that means I'm ready to move on.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Coming To Life

Slowly some of the things are getting done around here. The heat makes it difficult. It's been over 100 degrees every day for 2 weeks or more. I did finally break down and get a small window air conditioner unit for the bedroom. The cat was getting sick, being in the hot house all day. That is getting better, too. Now, if the weather would just break and it get at least somewhat cooler.

I'm waiting to see if Buddy is coming over this morning to start the movement of equipment and such to take over the bees. I'm finally giving them away. He has no air conditioning in his truck, so I'm thinking he won't make it this morning. We can't move the bees in this heat, but I was hoping to start some of the equipment on it's way out of here. Ah, well, all in good time.

The new job is still in process. This is a good thing since I don't make major shifts in reality quickly and well. One or the other, quickly or well. I have the paperwork in, but now the immediate supervisor is out of town for a week. Fine with me, gives me time to ponder and figure out just what changes will need to be made. Even if I don't get this particular job this is a good thing for me to be doing right now. As I move bee equipment out of the storage building I will move things from in the house out there. Clearing out and cleaning. Moving some of the stale energy around. Hopefully getting rid of some things in the process.

Looking way off over the horizon, this job could potentially kick me into what I've been saying I want, selling this place and getting an RV or houseboat and living like that. The river is not far from the home base of this job. An RV could maybe be taken on some of the travel locations for housing. Of course, till I know more about all this I can't really say what I will need to do. It is interesting to look around and think about what I would actually pay to store and what isn't worth paying folding money to keep. Helps with the clearing out process.

So that is what's going on around here. Lots of laying by the air conditioner, pondering, and some sorting and getting rid of things.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Divine Insecurity

I've mentioned Lloyd Kahn's blog here before. I really, really enjoy reading his takes on life and what he's doing. It's at . The latest thing he wrote that has me pondering is this:

Heard Baryshnikov on the radio yesterday, talking about doing a performance in front of a screen showing him dancing when in his 20s, dancing with an image of himself when 40 years younger. The interviewer asked him about dancing these days, was he worried about performing? He said he liked the pressure, the challenge, and the "divine insecurity" of trying something difficult…

That phrase, divine insecurity, is a good way to describe the pull of trying new things, pushing past everyday routine. It is something that I struggle with, constantly trying new things and then pulling back into the security of what I already know. Sometimes when going into that insecure area I find my limits. This house would be one of those. It is beyond my current ability to work on remodeling it. Maybe when the weather cools down again. Sometimes when I'm in the insecure world I find new things that I incorporate into my life with glee. A lot of times I just run back to routine and safety after a bit to look back out on my recent adventures and lick my wounds and ponder if I learned anything from it.

I may be about to jump into that Divine Insecurity with a vengeance. I am trying for a new job. These folks already (hopefully only half-) kiddingly asked when I can start. I said 2 weeks. My mom was surprised that I would give 2 weeks notice at my current contract. I said, no, 1 week notice and a week to get my life organized. This job would be almost all travel, for weeks at a time. Most likely making enough money to save up for my AT hike in a few years. And, pushing everything I ever knew about computers, servers, software, network administration, and training to limits I've not done before. I'm reaching for the ginkgo biloba as I type (the mind needs all the help it can get to cram new info into it).

I don't know what I'll do about the house, the cat, about much of any of my life as it currently is. I'm not going to get wild about changes until I have an offer in hand. But, the thinking about making the leap is getting me excited and blowing life into the stale energy around here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Human Nature

I went up to KY on a call this afternoon. My usual cheap (Flying J) gas station is at that exit. The one nearest the interstate is the cheapest, with the one a bit further down the road (Pilot) being usually a couple of cents higher per gallon. I've been paying around $2.80+/- 10 cents/gallon lately. On the way home I started to pull into the cheaper gas station to fill up. There was a traffic jam, folks liked up like sardines at every pump, and so packed that there was a line on the road just to get in. I don't get into that kind of chaos for any amount of money. So, I did a U turn and headed for the other station. I looked and the cheap price was $2.51/gal which I guess warrants that kind of mob for those who value their time and nerves less than I do. So, I go a quarter mile up the road, still within sight of the interstate, to the other station. The price difference? It was $2.53/gal, just 2 cents difference and within sight. I drove in, right up to a pump, and filled up with no waiting. What some folks will do for $.02/gal. With that many folks there had to be some of them who are local and know that the two stations are never that far apart in price. Oh, the BP station across the street? It was $2.89/gal, and no one was there...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Adjusting My Reality

I ordered a very large backpack from REI-Outlet and had it delivered to the store here for the free shipping. It came in yesterday. I had time to kill before a late call, so I actually had David from REI fit the pack to me. He filled it with fluffy weight. I was amazed when the 'pillows' he put in to fill out the pack almost pulled me over backwards when he let go and put the entire weight on the suspension of the pack I had strapped on. We weighed it when I took it off for him to make some adjustments. Mind you, I know I need to keep my pack weight down. The 23lbs I've been carrying has been child's play, I pretty much didn't feel it, at least not like I remember the backpacking trips of years ago where I would have multiple very sore spots where the pack belt and straps would rub. But, I figure if I just keep it below 35lbs I'll be fine.

This pack is not a rugged backpack. It is large, 85 liter. But it isn't a hardcore pack, and the suspension shows it. It's ok but not great. So, I knew that it wouldn't handle the very heavy weight he had put in it. When we weighed it, it was... 35lbs. That heavy brick of a pack was what 35lbs feels like. Now, I know that in a more expensive pack with better suspension I could carry 35lbs easier. But, darn. So, I'll be keeping the pack weight down even (or maybe especially) with this larger pack.

The 'big 4' weight is a benchmark in light weight packing. That is pack, shelter, sleeping bag and pad. I had figured that with the hammock, this pack, my Z-light pad and I think the lighter sub kilo 15 degree bag I was around 12lbs. Kinda on the heavy side for light-weight, but in the ballpark barely. With my much warmer North Face -20 degree bag, the Z-light, this pack and my ultra-light tent, I'm still around 12lbs. The tent is a couple of pounds lighter than my current hammock setup. So, I now have a winter setup and a spring/fall setup. From here on out it is tweaking to get lighter. I still have the ultra-light 45 liter pack, and if I go with the sub kilo bag and the ultra-light tent I have a very light setup. I am wanting to go with the hammock as much as possible, though, which is why I'm still playing with my setup.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Middle Again

It's again the middle of the month, middle of the summer, middle of my blahs. Nothing going on but work and getting on the computer most of the time I'm home, just reading about what others are getting out and doing. I haven't gone and tried to buy a new car yet, just not in the mood. I have decided to give the bees away, and will carry through with it this time. Still getting by with no air conditioning in the house, but it is getting a bit more miserable. I will give myself the option to go get a window air conditioner, it's not the money. It's this thing where I think I have to prove something. I have to not need all the fancy smancy modern technology (just don't take my computer!) that others need. I can get by in a hammock or living out of my truck or... But, I'm not doing that, either. I have the worst of both worlds, trying to hang onto this house and all it's trappings and the yard that needs tending to, but not taking the rest of the time and effort to make it really liveable.

I'm hanging on for late August. If memory serves, about the time you detect a bit of a twinge of color start creeping into the leaves and think maybe it is because of lack of rain and not impending autumn, my mind and energy and resolve will return. I was this useless last year, too, and I had a nice house that was cool. By next year I just need to plan for this, and be in a position not to need to do anything from early June till late August.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Easy Saturday

I am supposed to go car shopping today. I should be excited. I'm not. I'm not excited, and I'm not sure I'll actually go shopping. The day is young yet, we'll see. I will trade in the Stanza, if I can get it running enough to drive to the dealership. The battery is dead, not sure what else may be wrong with it. At some point I'll get dressed and spray on bug spray and wade into the weeds and run the battery charger cables out to it. I've decided to have no plan.

The problem is, the truck is getting harder to start. Not sure if it's the alternator or the starter. It's not the battery, according to Advance Auto Parts store, who would have been quite happy to sell me a new one. If I was really as gung ho as I once was, I'd pull the alternator and starter off the truck and take them in and have them tested, buy whatever was broken, and fix the darn truck myself. But, I may just take Monday off and take the truck in to have it worked on. Who knows. I'm not in the mood to make a decision.

I took a benedryl capsule last night. It mellowed me out. I slept well. And I feel good this morning. I may try that for awhile. Since I've been using the benedryl gel on my legs for the bug bites, I started feeling better. Maybe all this lethargy is really something as simple as allergies after all. Several of my friends are having depression issues lately, too. It's something to ponder, if maybe is it really a medical condition and not so much mental as we all think.

I got the yard mowed on the 4th, and it feels better driving home of an evening to see it mowed. I still have a LOT of weedwhacking to do, but all in good time. I'm still pondering how to live away from people, cheaply, and not have a lot of yard maintenance and home repair issues. Cheap housing == lot of work to fix and/or maintain and room away from people == land that usually needs some kind of maintaining. An RV in a semi-permanent park means little maintenance, but close people and small spaces. I just don't know...

I am (mostly) enjoying not having air conditioning. I have actually aclimated. I sweat now, which is a good thing really. I don't get sick in the heat like I used to. I enjoy the breeze when it happens. Yes, 90 degrees in the house when I get home isn't totally pleasant, but it's not as bad as I used to suffer getting in and out of the truck in the heat when my body craved being in air conditioning constantly. Since I work out of my truck and don't sit in the cool all day, this works for now. And, I'm enjoying the $40 electric bills instead of $100+. This is just a note to remind myself that it's not as miserable as I thought it would be, and not as miserable to me as it is to others who might visit who are not aclimated to the heat.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Day Off

It is the 4th of July, and for me it is mainly just a day off from work. Well, paid-for work anyway. I have a long list of stuff that I need to get done. My summer lack of energy/depression is in full swing. Everything seems to be so much more difficult to get done. I am barely keeping up with the urgent things that keep me alive and in my house, like paying bills and going to work and such. But, I think that most of the survival things are caught up at this point. It is now down to things like mow the yard, do paperwork for work (so I can get paid!) and things like that.

I am really, really sure now that I do not like a lot of home maintenance. I don't like yard work. I don't like working on the house. I want to travel. I want to do pretty much anything but take care of this place. Maybe it is the depression talking. But, whatever it is, it is talking loud.

I started reading some more journals of guys who are full time RV'ing. I don't know that that lifestyle is exactly what I want (can't afford it for one) but the entries about how they are going from having a full house/shop/ranch to having everything they own in a 5th wheel trailer is interesting reading. Here is the one I'm talking about:

They just went through the process in the past 2 months. Read it if you are looking for inspiration to get rid of stuff and/or simplify. He's a cowboy and has a writing style that goes for humor and entertainment as well as being informative.

I guess I should put on some long pants and go outside and start mowing. I haven't mowed in over a month. One good thing about being way back here is that no one but the neighbors I don't really like much sees my yard. However, the chiggers and ticks are bad because things are so grown up.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


I am reading blogs on my computer this morning. One of my favorites, MadcapMum finally came out of hibernation to write again. Lloyd has a wonderful writeup of his solstice paddling evening, and Earth Home Garden had a list of comic mishaps that have overtaken his mornings lately. Me? Well, I'm reading other folks' journals. Not a lot going on. My summer lack of energy and apparent inability to get anything done has kicked in. If I remember right, from my last year's journal, my mind should return to me sometime late August. For now I'm just trying to keep up with the really urgent stuff. And I'm not doing a very good job of that.

I went on the hammock hanger's campout a couple of weeks ago. I really enjoyed myself. I enjoyed the people and the place, which was Hot Springs, NC. The hammock and I need more time to sort things out. It was not bliss at first night, as some like to report. It wasn't bad, just not noticeably better than my tent. And, this setup is heavier than my ultra-light tent, too. However, the fun of home made gear is calling, so I may work my way into this. I have the parts now to put what is called a ring buckle system on the hammock. It is an easier way to quickly attach the hammock to the trees. It is also portable enough that I can move it to whatever hammock I end up with. It is back to learning knots for me, as when I was playing with some cord last night trying to tie them from memory, my memory didn't work well. The rings attach to the hammock with some kind of knot, and I need to play to figure out which one I want to use. This is the attraction for me, the playing around with the gear.

Time to stop reading and start moving.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Oh, and another cool thing...

Last night I met some friends for dinner. I had initiated it since I don't seem to see these folks much anymore. Besides, they helped me move, and I had never gotten back around to inviting them to dinner as a thanks (which would really just be an excuse to see them anyway). So, I pondered back and forth that I should pick up the tab, and that I didn't have to, and how I'm so used to being poor, and how I'm so tired of feeling like I don't have money when in reality I do have money in my account there just are several places I could spend it easily... I decided in the end that I wanted to treat them. I wanted and needed to feel like I could do it, and had more than enough in the account to do so. I needed to feel not poor for once.

I had a good time and enjoyed the conversation. Catching up was good. Picking up the tab and feeling like I could leave a nice tip for out enthusiastic (if inexperienced) waitress. All in all a good evening.

Today I got a totally unexpected check in the mail for almost 4 times what I spent on dinner last night. Something about an incorrect figuring in my mortgage at initiation, and figures being stated incorrectly. I'll call them about it soon to see what it was. But...

All my learning in Unity Church about not being in a 'poor' mindset, but rather being in a generous mindset, and knowing that the Universe will provide seems to be tapping me on the shoulder again. Time to look up and stop being so pathetic. I have what I need, and then some.

I'm still alive

I haven't posted in awhile. I'm ok, just going through change, and that takes a lot of energy out of me. While hiking, that morning while laying in my tent, some owls were hooting at each other around daybreak. Then, one landed in the tree above my tent - I could tell cause it made drops of water fall onto the tent - and started hooting right next to me. It was cute for a few minutes, then I wished he would go someplace else to make all that racket. Later in a journal on Trail Journals someone related that owls signify change coming. So, I've been ready for it, sort of. Nothing monumental yet. I thought I might have another job (again), but basically the conversation went along the lines of how they would really like to have me, had work for me, but can't quite justify it yet. sigh.

I probably won't post much more about the hike. It seems time to move on. I posted enough for me to remember it. This next weekend I'll be in Hot Springs, NC for a hammock hanging convention. I will hopefully learn how to hang my camping hammock and even sleep in it all weekend. I'm taking Friday off work and taking my time driving over there. I need a nice road trip. Not sure how I'll spend the majority of my time there, but I'm sure I'll have fun.

The drywall patch is up, taped and mudded on the bathroom side. I haven't put up the larger piece on the bedroom side yet. Just feel like I'm stuck in molasses with the remodel. It is progressing, but slowly. There seems to be a reason for this, but I'm not sure what it is.

My summer lack of energy is in full swing. And since Sunday I have had actual symptoms of alergies. I'm blowing my nose all day long, had a sore throat at first, and thought it was a cold. It isn't getting worse or better, so I've decided it is alergies. Makes it difficult to work, blowing my nose all day long.

I'm feeling that crowded, uncomfortable feeling that I usually feel right before big change. The smaller changes, while being entertaining, don't feel like 'it' yet. Not sure what 'it' is, but I'm starting to feel more and more ready. That is if I just had some energy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More of the Story

I'm writing about the hike as much to put the memories down for myself as anything. So, it may be piecemeal.

Once I got to the park I checked in. I put the appropriate paperwork in view on the dash of the truck to allow it to be parked there overnight, then I grabbed my pack and hiking poles out of the back. I locked everything up, and looked back to check on it as I walked across the parking lot. It occurs to me now to wonder what the time limit on parking there free is. There was a vehicle next to mine that had a tarp over it half blown off. Wonder how long it had been there. Anyway, it was drippy and foggy all day. I stopped off at the bathrooms on the way back past the visitor's center, then walked through the archway. I wanted to make some landmark moment type of thing, but came up blank. So, I headed up. My new way of taking just baby steps, but not stopping, works well on the uphills. Part way up that first mile a couple of young guys caught up with me and stopped to rest with me. They were from the Keys in Florida, and were starting a thru hike. When I got to the parking lot at the top of Amicalola Falls they were still there. We talked some more as we got more water and hit the restrooms there. We then took each others' picture at the sign for the approach trail, and they headed off with 'see you on top'.

I got a picture of some of the signs on the trail there to show how foggy it was. The picture captured it well. I went up, and up. At one point after I got to where there are fire ring campsites I stopped to rest and water the leaves. I didn't get very far off the trail since I hadn't seen anyone in awhile. Well, of course here came some people just as I was finishing. If I hadn't had on a dark pink shirt I would have just stayed still, but I hurriedly stood up and got put back together, and said hi to them as I walked back to my pack. They stopped long enough to put pack covers on, I guess seeing mine triggered the idea. By that point it was obvious that it wasn't going to clear up any.

When I got to where Stumpknocker and I had stopped last time, these same folks had stopped for a break. I said something about being about half way. The obviously more exerienced guy kinda stopped and looked at me, but all he said was 'well, when you cross the other hiking trail you know you are making good time'. Hmmmmm.

More later....

Monday, May 21, 2007

Progress Happens

I actually worked on remodeling the house this weekend. Finally. I got the two holes in the walls of the mater bedroom/master bath cut so that I can install drywall. I added a brace on one side to attach the drywall to. A friend had told me to cut the drywall along the edge of the stud, not try to find the middle, and then put a 1X2 brace next to the stud to screw the drywall into. That is what I did on the side where the drywall spanned the stud. On the bedroom side the piece of drywall that was busted was only 16" wide, so I too the entire width of it out exposing the studs on both sides. Then, even though I measured it, it ended up I got the wrong drywall thickness. I got 1/2" instead of 3/8". At Home Depot they had 2' X 2' squares of the drywall which was much easier to work with. So, cutting on the smaller pieces was a confidence builder and not just wasted effort. I'm pretty sure I'll end up having to get the full 4' X 8' sheet of the 3/8" stuff. I have already figured out how I'll cut the 2 pieces I need. Just need to get back to a store to get it.

A lot happened lately, but I didn't have the energy to write about it. A couple of weeks ago it became obvious that it was time to let the dog go. She got injured, and I don't know if it as one of the loose dogs or whether the wooden platform she liked to crawl under fell on her. I had to lift it off of her at one point, but that may have been because she was so weak at that point. In the day I was gone to work she went downhill very fast. I had already decided that it was time to have her put to sleep, and by the next morning when I took her it was truly time. I could have taken her to a vet and gotten her medicine, but I still had no way to protect her from the other dogs. At her age, it was for the best, I keep telling myself. So, I have an igloo dog house, a 40lb bag of Science Diet food, and various leashes and tie out cables to find something to do with. I will at some point go on free cycle and advertise for a rescue place to come get them.

The next day was a huge sale at REI. I was leaving for my second attempt at the approach trail that evening, and needed a pack cover since it was rainy. Well, I spent a lot of money, but I really did only get things I had planned to get at some point. I got a new summer down bag, a headlamp that is small like Stumpknockers, a coffee filter like his (it packs much smaller than anything I had), hiking socks, a spork, and, oh yeah, a pack cover. I used everything on the hike and it all pretty much performed well.

After work I headed to N. GA to the Hiker Hostel ( Following my GPS, I questioned it a few times and ended up taking the long way when it tried to give me a shortcut. Oh, well. I got in about midnight, and Leigh was waiting up for me. I had the bunk room to myself as there was only one other person staying there and she had one of the private rooms. I was happy to find I could carry everything I had brought with me in one trip, especially since I hadn't had time to organize or pack but just threw anything I thought I might need into the truck.

Next morning I heard Leigh in the kitchen. She had the coffee on, so I went back to the room and got dressed and started laying out my stuff. I heard the other woman come down, so I grabbed my coffee mug and went out to be sociable. Josh came in from work, Leigh had made a nice breakfast, so we all sat down and talked and ate for awhile. It was nice, and the room and breakfast only cost $15 for the night. After breakfast I went back to the room and sorted gear and packed the pack. The new sleeping bag made the new pack work fine for everything I needed. For winter when I'll want my larger down bag I'll need a larger pack, but the 45 liter one is fine for now.

I was on the trail by 9:30, after getting lost driving to Amicalola State Park. Well, not lost, I just thought I must have driven past it. The GPS came to my rescue again, telling me it was still 5 miles down the road.

Time to get ready for work, so I'll write more about the hike later...

Friday, May 18, 2007

Long Time No Post

I've been in hermit mode. Change has been happening, but nothing that I was ready to talk about. Not that it's any huge deal, just processing as I go along and staying to myself as much as possible. Hopefully after this weekend I'll have some concrete progress to report. That is some of my motivation to actually do the things that I have on my to do list.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Finally Getting Things Done

This weekend I finally got a few things accomplished around here. I have started clearing out the worst of the bedrooms where I just piled stuff during the move. A lot of it is junk that needs to leave. More of it is stuff that goes out in the shed, but was moved here before the sheds were here. I put some things in the give away pile, some things in the trash pile, and moved a load of stuff to the shed.

When I finally got gas for the yard tractor and installed the hopefully charged battery back into it, the battery was still dead. I did manage to go get a new battery and got about half of the yard mowed. I was going to call it good, since the other parts needed to be cleared of downed limbs and trash and/or I needed to have my bee suit on to mow near the hives. After the sun started going down and it cooled off some I ended up going out and cleaning up large parts of the rest of the yard so I can mow more tonight. I figure this first time over everything will take at least a week of working on it evenings. There will be lots and lots of weedwhacking, too. When I pulled the tractor out of the shed on the ramps, the end supports bent under the weight of the tractor, just as my parents had said they would. I have no idea how Howard and Nancye got the tractor into the shed without bending them. I had originally planned to use some of the concrete blocks I have strewn around here as supports, but was lazy. I pulled the tractor up near the house when I was finished mowing and just hoped that it wouldn't rain before I got energy to figure out what to do to get it back into the shed. When I was clearing the yard later it was breezy like it was going to rain soon. I decided to go ahead and carry a couple of blocks down to the shed, and tried the ramps on them. It fit exactly as I had hoped it would. I was able to straighten the bent supports (no wonder they didn't take the weight of the tractor). I then as able to get the tractor stowed properly. Both times I've driven on the ramps I've been driving forward. Again, I don't know how Howard got it backed into the shed. The next time I use the tractor it will be exciting to have to back down those skinny ramps. Luckily the vertical drop is about 6" so even if I drop the tractor off the ramps it shouldn't break much (I hope).

I also finally started the remodel in the master bedroom. I took the trim off from around the door next to the hole in the wall. I measure to see what I need. I think that week after this will be remodel time. This week is yard work, and this next weekend is my time to go back to N GA and try that approach trail to Springer Mt. again. Sometime this week I'll get the supplies I need, such as a sheet of drywall and a new drywall saw and, oh, some drywall nails... better make a list I guess.

I went to REI and met a woman who works there who hiked the AT last year. I came home and found her journal. Her trail name is Red Dane. She had some good suggestions. I was looking at packs since when I finally buy another one I want to make sure it is the one I want. She talked to me awhile, then suggested I get a different sleeping bag first, since the bulkiness of my current down bag is what makes the pack I just bought too small. She recommended 2 different ones, one of which will be on sale next month and the other is already under $200. Since I was figuring $400-$600 for a new down bag, this puts it in the ballpark. As she said, I could do other things to stay warm for the few weeks it is truly cold while I'm on the trail. I'm pondering her advice... I went to get some trail runner hiking shoes that I had tried on last time I was there. The ones I wanted are $85. But, at this point the shoes are my weakest point. I found some others on the clearance rack for $44. Not quite as nice, but should do fine until I'm doing really high mileage. I'll test that theory next weekend.

Between getting the yard mowed, clearing out some of the clutter, and finally taking the recycling, I'm feeling better in general about progress around here. And, the bees are doing well, too. I hope I can keep up the good progress.

Monday, April 16, 2007

To Bee

I checked my bees this evening. I wasn't going to, I had laid down to nap, which usually means I'm in the house for the night. But, it was early and I kept thinking that if I'd screwed up the queen cages like I thought I had, it was soon enough that I could save them if necessary. So, out I went. Both queens were out of the cages like they should be. One hive is doing truly amazingly well. They already have some honey, some new wax, and they had gone through the entire jar of sugar water. The other hive is doing ok. There were still some bees in the wire box. I thought that maybe they were dead, but saw some movement. I shook about half of them out into the hive, but there were a lot of bees clinging to the wire outside of the box as well as still a lot of bees in the box. So, I put it up in the feeder area which is still inside the confines of the hive. That hive had only gone through about half the jar of sugar water. Not sure why so many of the bees are so lethargic. I'll check them in a few day to see how they are doing. At least the queen was active, so even if a large number of the bees are gonners hopefully she can replentish the hive quickly enough to keep it going.

That is pretty much all I accomplished. I did stop and get some Science Diet food for both the dog and the cat. I have always used Iams. I have noticed the past 6 months or so that neither pet has had the nice slick coats and such that the premium food that Iams used to be gave them. The pet food recall just pushed me into a decision that I had been considering for awhile. Both of them immediately chowed down on the new food. I got small bags to see if they liked it, so I guess I'll go back and get the large bags of food now.

I did also go to the dollar tree store and got 4 plastic drop cloths to use in the master bedroom when I start sanding. Looking at the wall in there that is shared with the bathroom, the hole that is punched through it is the only damage on that wall. I think I'll concentrate on just that wall to begin with. As for the bathroom, I may put some kind of cabinet in the wall where the hole is on that side. I really don't want to get into remodeling that room yet.

Tomorrow evening, and most of the rest of the week if the weather holds, will be yard work. Gotta get the yard tractor running. I have the battery in the house here, just need to hook the charger up, and then go get gas for the tractor. That is tomorrow's plan.

My infected gum is responding to the mega doses of vitamin C. I kept an eye on it, and never have had a fever or much pain at all. If I had either of those I would have gone wherever I needed to for some antibiotics. As it is, the swelling is almost gone. I am thankful, since my dentist appointment isn't for a few weeks yet.

Daily Progress

Under the heading of working on the house:

I moved my air mattress and some furniture into the office and slept there last night. I cleaned out the master bedroom and am ready to start the tear down in there.

I finally folded up Mom's now defunct air bed (leaks badly now) and moved some furniture into that area of the Great Room. I'm opening up some visual space in my living areas so maybe I won't feel like I'm such a refugee here.

On tap for tonight:

Check and top up the feed on the bees, and pull the frame off the door between the master bedroom and master bath. Maybe do a bit a yard work if the weather cooperates. Small steps leading into the larger projects.

I also need to decide if I'm going to to go over to N. GA and hike the approach trail this weekend or put it off. I'm thinking put it off a bit due to money.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Not A Good Week

Well, I said that if I wasn't posting daily on what I've done to progress towards my hike it was because I didn't feel good about it. That has been true. I haven't done anything directly to get ready, and not much indirectly. It has been a bad week, with setbacks financial, and health wise. Nothing I can't get trough. Just enough to make me feel like I'm barely treading water.

I did get my 2 packages of bees, and installed them yesterday. I didn't do it perfectly, and I worry that some things I did incorrectly will impact the survival of the bees. However, today has turned cold and rainy and I can't really go out and open up the hives. Hopefully tomorrow evening after work I can get in and check them.

One good thing, I think, is that while I was outside 2 of the neighbor kids came by, and I got into a conversation with them. I gave them a mini instructional lecture on the bees, and gave them some warnings about what not to do around them, such as don't walk in front of the hives, always behind, and don't come walking over to me if I'm working them with my bee suit on. I was able to show them the packages of bees, and an open hive. Any positive interaction with the neighbors is a good thing.

I have decided to change the order of the remodeling again. I haven't really done anything except clean a lot in the office to get ready to remodel it. I need better organization in my daily life around here. So, I'm moving into the office with my bedroom stuff. I will actually start (really) the remodel on the master bedroom/bath, which is the part of the house that needs the most work. The good part of starting there is that pretty much anything I do in there will be an improvement. I have most of the stuff cleared out of there already, and should have it emptied by the end of today. I'm feeling a need to have this house where I can sell it if I get too disgusted with my current situation.

I am making progress. Not on any layers that show yet. That is frustrating. I also feel like I'm being relegated to the social equivalent of 3rd world, sort of pathetic and not really with people on an equal basis. From Dan coming over one day and working my bees without bothering to tell me till afterwards, even though I'd said that I was going to do the things that needed to be done, to other things that have happened, I feel that others don't give me much respect as a person or a friend. I'm working on myself, and part of it is not relying on what others think of me as the defining element of my own feelings. I have processes in place to take care of a lot of the surface things that cause people to look down on me. As for the rest, well, I am who I am, and I'm ok with that. If other aren't, so what.

Friday, April 06, 2007

What Have I Done

What have I done towards my hike lately?

Wednesday: finally finished all the seam sealing on my tent (I thought)

Thursday: tried my idea to attach the very lightweight waterproof layer to the bottom of my tent. It didn't work. Basically, I got the Gossamer Gear polycryo ground cloth, which is kinda like heavy Saran Wrap. It was impossible for me to put it on the ground and have it stay there long enough to set the tent up on to of it on a windy day last weekend, so I started thinking about ways to attach it to the tent. As a proof of concept I wanted it to be very non-permanent for now, and thought of using packing tape. Great. Except that packing tape doesn't stick to sil-nylon for some reason. Back to square one. Also, I remembered that I needed to seal the small hole I punched in the beak of the tent with my hiking pole when I didn't watch where the tip was while setting it up. Lesson learned on that, and the small hole is now sealed with the seam sealing stuff.

This update stuff is working. I actually got up out of bed and did the stuff last night so that I had something to report. Didn't take that long, but is a big step in the process. I can stuff the tent again tonight for the first time in a couple of weeks (that's how long it took me to finish the seam sealing).

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

New Mantra

Looking at how much has to get done in the next less than 3 years if I want to hike the AT, I have a new mantra: What have I done towards my hike TODAY? I should post it each day here, even if I don't post anything else. If I don't, it will be because I'm not feeling good about my progress. Things that count include anything done to actively get into better physical condition, any hiking (duh), any gathering of gear, any techniques learned, anything done towards the house remodel since that has to be finished one way or another before I can leave, anything done towards getting a better paying job since I need money to go off and hike for six months. What doesn't count? Basic maintenance stuff like dishes, laundry, yard work other than long term improvements. Getting rid of things counts, since I need to eliminate large chunks of stuff no matter what I end up doing. So, on with it...

What have I done towards my hike today? I went out to Beaman after work today and hiked for 2 hours. I remembered my hiking poles, and water this time. I worked on pacing my steps and various ways of using my hiking poles. I like the new hiking poles, and they seem to work like they are supposed to.

At some point I want to do an evaluation of all the stuff I've bought recently to list what is working, what might work, and what hasn't worked at all.

Friday, March 23, 2007


I was planning on finally treating my bees evening before last. The chilly rainy weather had moved in before I got to it last week, and Wednesday was the first warm sunny day. Bees don't like to be messed with when it's cloudy, chilly, and damp. I was even composing my journal post about it in my head as I got ready for work. I've been getting off work early lately because the call volume is down, so timing was good. At 8:30 am I got a call from Paul and Dan. Seems Dan had the same idea with his bees, and decided he would come over and do mine, too. I weighed my past history of putting off working the bees, as I'm sure the two of them already had. So, I said I would appreciate it. I took some good natured ribbing from Paul about needing to be taken care of, then I went down to the hive and put the supplies where Dan could get to them. My other two packages of bees are due April 14. I need to get over to Paul's and put together some equipment beforehand. I'm sure the fact that I hadn't called him to do that yet is part of what prompted the decision by Dan to just stop by and take care of my hive for me.

Yesterday was another short day at work, so I came home and changed into jeans and a tshirt and headed over to Beaman Park to hike. As usual, I hadn't eaten enough, but it was a nice upper 70's cloudy breezy day. I put my heavy wool socks on over my thin dress socks I'd been wearing all day for work, and hiked in my running shoes. I just took a day pack with some things in it to give it a bit of heft, and a little bit of water that I already had in my platypus bottle. There were several others there taking advantage of the nice weather.

Fist thing that happened is that the new hiking poles I had traded for at REI because one of my previous poles would slip randomly wouldn't open up. No matter what I tried (short of a wrench which I didn't have with me) I couldn't get the twist lock to open so I could extend the pole. So, I put the hiking poles back in the truck. I'll go back to REI and trade them in with some extra money and get a pair of Leiki poles. Next I remembered when I tried to fasten the hip belt on the day pack that I had caught the strap in the truck door and shattered the plastic buckle on it. I tried just tying the belt, but it didn't work well. So, I was just on the shoulder straps.

Soon I realized that the day pack sits heavy on my back. Now that the temperature is warmer, this means that my back was soon wet with sweat. So, that is the last hike with that pack. I will try to get the buckle fixed, and just use it as my gym bag. Next I realized that I really, really should have eaten. I was feeling the hike mostly in my abdominal and side muscles. This is a good thing if it is really working these muscles and not just that I was that hungry. I also was starting to get hot spots on my feet for the first time since wearing running shoes to hike. The jeans were hot, too. I need to get some inner soles for my shoes and stop wearing heavy socks for the padding effect I guess. And, I need to get over the need to hike in long pants, or at least dig out my nylon hiking pants. Since summer hiking concerns me more than issues with cold weather hiking this is a good time to shake down all of this.

I didn't do as much as I had planned in the hike. I maybe hiked 3 miles. But it was nice to get out in the woods. I need to figure out something to carry with me in the truck to eat besides the uncrustable peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have got to start eating more...