Thursday, June 26, 2008


While driving from work to a hiker get together that I organized (that overstates the fact that I was the one to post 'let's go eat pizza'), I was pondering the quote I posted yesterday. Specifically I wondered how I could 'live' right then, that day. I decided that for that day I was doing ok. I was leaving work feeling good about things. I've been learning SQL 2005 Express, playing more than seriously. I do seem to have more database experience than my co-workers in my group, so I feel like I can help further the general knowledge in this area. I was headed to see some friends and meet new ones. For once I got good marks on my 'living' score.

Today I left work feeling like shit. I apologized to a co-worker for mis-interpreting a situation and walking into his class. I thought they were pretty much done for the day and he was not in the room and the folks taking the class were just sitting around talking. I asked to use a machine one of them had built in the class to check out something. Turned out that the class was still going on, he had apparently just stepped out or they were on break or something. Anyway, he merely told me how upset he was I had done that and never acknowledged my comments of apology. Instead of feeling like I bring something to the group, I ended up feeling like I am a troublemaker. I really, really wish, I don't know what. I guess I wish I could learn to like this job. It has potential, and I make good money. I just end up pissed off more often than I feel good about it.

I'm not going to Iraq. The guy who gets all the good trips is going. I thought that because he's on a new contract that might free up this trip, but they are bringing him back to do this. I probably won't get any of the overseas trips anyway. Not the way the clique that is in power feels about me. Oh well.

In good news, I got an email from Phil, and he is doing ok after his surgery and they have downgraded the level of his cancer. Thank you God.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


We are always getting ready to live, but never living.
—RALPHWALDO EMERSON, American essayist, 1803–82

And this is why I hang out on message boards such as I was directed in a thread there to a PDF of quotes about wilderness. And I found a quote that speaks volumes to me. Pardon me while I get ready to finish reading these quotes about the wilderness (self directed sarcasm intended)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

At Home on Sunday

I made it home on Friday evening. Not a great flight, I'm glad it was a direct flight and only 2 hours. I had a sick headache until almost midnight. I will definitely take fewer things next time, less luggage.

I talked for an hour to Shiloh on Thursday. He was heading into Delaware Water Gap. I saw in his journal that he was diagnosed with Lyme's disease while in town. They gave him antibiotics and hope that catching it early he won't have any symptoms other than the rash. From the journals, it seems that when someone makes it that far on the trail, it is usually only injury or sickness that takes them off. I'm hoping that he will be fine and be able to continue towards Maine.

I unpacked and did laundry and did some more organizing yesterday. Today I'm concentrating on my bedroom, getting it clean. The cat is snuggled beside me in the chair while I'm on the computer. He's been there most of the time I've been home that I'm sitting down. I made bread in the bread machine last night. It turned out ok. I really want to use up all these 'ingredients' that I have stockpiled. I'll make spaghetti later, and maybe try dehydrating some of it. The focus for the next week will be gathering up some clothes to get rid of.

At the moment I'm supposed to be home for a month, then traveling for the next 2 months with a week or maybe two between the trips. If I go to Iraq I'll leave the end of July, if Oregon then the first week of August. I may find out which I do tomorrow or the next day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

winding down

The day before the last day of the fielding. All is done in my part. I'm moving into transition, getting ready to leave and hand off everything here to the unit DBA.

Shiloh updated his journal, and for once - first time that I know of - he had cell signal and didn't call me. He posted that he's been thinking of his late wife all week. The first time on-line that he's posted about losing her. I hadn't really thought about how symbolic it is that he's hiking back to Maine, where the two of them lived for most of their 30 years together that ended last November. I feel him moving out of my life. I had encouraged him to deal with his feelings of loss, not just 'not think about it'. So, now he not only is doing that, but posting about it.

My good friend Phil had surgery on Tuesday. The second cancer surgery in a month, the first one to take out part of his lung. Ten years ago when we worked together and he smoked he would answer any suggestions that he quit with a grin and say 'I know what I'm gonna die of, you folks don't know what you'll die of, but at least I do.' I haven't reminded him of that statement. I call more often now. I haven't heard anything of how the surgery was. I'll try calling him next week, and hope he answers.

So, I'm here, doing the responsible thing while people I care about move away from me. There isn't anything I can do about losing either one.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It was bound to happen

I know myself. When I have time on my hands and money, I end up spending the time spending the money. So, when I don't have money I spend time researching the things I wish I had money for. I had been looking at the Asus eeepc for a few weeks. I don't like lugging my D800 large laptop (that sounds like an oxymoron) around along with my necessary D630 work latptop. I like the size of the eeepc, but it is limited in function in many ways. I'm spoiled, being in IT, and while I don't do much, if any, gaming, I like my features. Looking forward to hiking in a few years, I wanted something that I could put into a backpack. I ended up comparing the features/weight of the eeepc to a D430 Dell. I am Dell certified, I know how to take a D430 apart and put it back together again. It has the features I wanted. It is only a pound heavier than the eeepc, and has 2G memory rather than 1G, a 100G hard drive rather than 20G solid state drive, comes with the DVD/CD combo drive that I'd have to order separately with the eeepc. It was maybe $400 more expensive. I ordered a D430 yesterday. So, there went the expense check from this trip. Or, the rest of the expense check, after the $200 for clothes for work and, uh, the $120 for the hammock setup I bought from a guy on Hammock Forums last week...

Today is about getting myself back up to speed, care wise. I need to wash my hair and lotion my skin, get on the treadmill, do laundry. Probably need to pass on a trip to the mall, no more money needs to be spent. I need to put together the box to send home so I'm not overweight with my luggage on Friday when I fly home. Hopefully I'll stay busy and not spend money.

I counted most of the big things I brought with me. I have way more than 100 things. I have 94 items of clothing alone. I have 10 pr of shoes (not 8 like I said before) in that, counting as 1 'thing' per pair. So, even before getting into toiletries, electronics and general stuff I brought I'm almost up to the 100 items some folks try for all of their possessions. And this is for a 3 week trip... sigh... I know I can cut down on some of the clothes. I am seeing what I do and don't wear. I have decided to buy one pair of pants and one top new each month while I'm working. I need to just get rid of a lot of my things that have been washed too much and/or I just don't wear anymore. I'm going to try for quality, not quantity.

Ok, off to take a shower.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Another Saturday

Another Saturday [morning] and I ain't got nobody.... nod to Cat Stevens and a reminder that I want to pick up a cd of his songs if they still exist.

Two days off in Houston. No transportation. There are restaurants and a WalMart in walking distance. And, I have this computer. Life could be worse. I got most of my work done for this fielding. Everything is built and I'm waiting on the unit IT guy to show me where to set it all up. I'm getting along with everyone this time.

This is when I wish I could have my sewing machine and hammock-making things here. I have uninterrupted time to actually make things. But, no materials.

Shiloh is working his way through PA. Phil is having surgery on Tuesday to take out the cancer in his thyroid. I'm here. Not much else going on. Nothing I can do for anyone else since I'm so far away from everyone. This travel is freeing in the way that 'freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose'. I wonder if those of us trying for a more free life are ready for that other side of the double edge sword.

I am feeling weighted down by the house and stuff again. I wonder why I have all that back there when I'm not there much anymore. I asked Shiloh last call if he has missed being 'home' any since he left to hike in March. He said he hadn't at all. I wonder how I'll do when I do finally cut the ties and am living out of my truck/backpack/rv or whatever I end up doing.

And so, I have checked most of my websites I follow, checked my email and now updated the journal. It's 8:45 am. I have most of the rest of 2 days left to fill. Welcome to freedom.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


I continue to be assimilated. I went to an outlet mall yesterday after I got the servers built. I spent approximately $200 and bought 3 pair of shoes, 2 pair of socks and 3 pair of slacks. I got 2 pair of Tommy Hilfiger pants and one pair of dockers. The dockers were on a clearance rack, one of 3 pair in my size. They were the only non-jeans pants in the women's side of the... DOCKERS... outlet store. sigh. And I now own tommy Hilfinger clothing. Me. Double sigh. But, I did get things on sale (the pants were 50 percent off at least) and more or less what I was looking for. I got 3 pair of Naturalizer shoes. They are really winter shoes (hence the sale), but at least they should fit what everyone else thinks I should wear. If not, then at least I tried.

I will now need to send some things home in the mail or I'll be overweight again. I also need to inventory what I have with me now. On there is a thread in the organizing section on picking a 'set' of clothes and only wearing those clothes for a month. Most women are settling on about 20 items. I'm pretty sure (actually I'm positive) that I have more than that. That site always has some kind of challenge going to make us think of just how much stuff we have and hang on to that requires storage space and energy to keep track of and such. Another theme there is '100 things' as one woman tries to keep her total possessions down to around 100 items. Size of living space is also talked about a lot. There is a website that shows people in Hong Kong who live in public housing that is a 10'X10' room or 100 square feet. So, of course now there is a thread on 100 things in 100 square feet.

These threads are good to make me look around at all the stuff I still have, and all the room I'm spread out in at home. So, here in the hotel room (which is larger than 10X10) I have a subset of my 'stuff'. I'll inventory it and count it, but I'm fairly sure I have more than 100 things with me. Hell, with my 3 new pair of shoes I have (counting a pair of shoes as 1 thing) 8 pair of shoes alone.

Today's list of things to do on my day off include laundry and walking on the treadmill. I have no excuse at all not to start working out. The major time and stress period of the fielding for me are over. So, I'll do laundry and then inventory my clothing and see just what I have brought along after all. Then I'll figure out things that I can send home so save the weight.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


This is one of those relaxed times on a fielding. It's Saturday morning, and I don't have to go in to work. I will, because I want to be ahead of things. The person I most need to finish training is the only one who will be around, and that will be good. We can build the systems in a relaxed atmosphere, and I can explain more of it to him. The class went well, only 5 in the class this time. That is about the right number of students. All were older and took it seriously. A couple had deployed previously and had to learn a system by just having it handed to them. They really paid attention so that they will know what's going on when they deploy again.

I almost lost my voice. I am reacting strongly to something here, and it is mostly at night. By mid-day I don't have a sore throat and my voice, while still raspy and deep, is strong again. They moved me to a nicer room that has been renovated recently. Last night wasn't nearly as bad. I was almost ready to head to the ER again Thursday night. This time it is right across the street from the hotel at least. I do not want to live in a low-lying, flat, humid place like this for any length of time. This is one of the good things about all this traveling. I'm scratching off or moving down the list a few places I had wanted to visit previously.

I'm having a difficult time realizing that 'I' am currently a Silver member of the Marriott rewards club, and by the end of this fielding I'll be a Gold member. It doesn't get me a lot, other than maybe a free night at the Marriott on St. Thomas if and when I ever go back. Somehow getting elevated status at the Holiday Inn didn't hit me as being so weird.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Out Again

I'm in Houston, TX now. I'm not impressed so far. It has been an unfriendly town to me today. The airport is confusing, and not many folks there to ask how to find things. The hotel is not particularly friendly, and my room not only doesn't have a kitchen, there isn't even a fridge or microwave. This is bad, in that it means that even for a simple meal I'll have to eat out. Which mean unless I want the Burger King (I don't like BK), I'll have to coordinate a ride. Even keeping cokes in the room isn't an option. Sigh.

A funny from last week at work: A co-worker asked for a script file I had, and I reached into my pocket and pulled out the contents. I had a knife, my micro leatherman tool, 2 thumbdrives and a lipstick. He laughed and said I seemed to be prepared for anything.

I didn't want to leave home this time. I wanted to stay with my cat and sit and drink coffee. I got some things done while home this time, stuff donated, other stuff relocated to the shed. It is a bit (just a bit) less cluttered. But, I didn't want to leave. I have got to pay off the debt so I can stop HAVING to work at things I feel iffy about just to make big money. I keep running the numbers. If I was to keep my nose to the grindstone and stop spending money I don't need to, in a year and a half I'll have the CC debt paid. I could have the house paid off 5 or so years after that. If I choose to keep the house. That is good, but I don't really want to work 7 more years like this. Just gotta keep paying stuff down and getting rid of things I don't use or need.

A goal this trip is to walk on the treadmill at the hotel every day. Haven't done it yet today. It is still possible. I do remember that I said this year is the 'get into shape' year as I get ready to hike. In October is a decision point. I should decide by then if I want to keep the house long term or not. In the meantime, I am putting some money into it. First the appliances (paid with cash). Next is the driveway which needs a lot of attention. After that the cost of what needs to be done gets higher, and I really need to decide what my priorities are.