bluealoe: (Default)
Eleven years.

I'm starting to forget the Before, and that scares me. I've lived too long in this strange shattered, half-mended world, and all that came before is starting to seem like a hazy dream. Did I ever have my dad here with me? Was it all wishful thinking?

Deep down, I know it all happened. I had twenty-two years with him, full of thousands of stories, card games, hugs, bad jokes, four-wheeler rides, fishing, root beer floats, target shooting lessons, history discussions, dancing, bread baking, support, encouragement, and love. It was Real, it Mattered.

But right now, those years seem like a faded memory. Something that happened hundreds of years ago, a story from a history book. Not something that I experienced, not so long ago.

I don't want to forget. I don't want to feel like all those experiences happened on a movie screen. I want them to be Real again. I don't want to be comfortable in this new world. I want the old one back.

Eleven years ago, my world cracked into jagged shards around me. I've been picking up the pieces ever since, trying to salvage them and tie them together to create something new. And most of the time, I think I've done okay. I've scraped together a life for myself, one full of family and friends and love, one I can be proud of.

But it's never going to be like Before. There's no going back, there's no "getting over it". It's just learning how to live in this altered, broken world.

I wish more than anything else that my dad could meet his grandsons. I wish he could meet his son-in-law. I wish he could have seen me get married, graduate with a master's degree, get a job at a museum. I wish he could have enjoyed his retirement. Every day of my life, I wish he was here to crack a bad joke and give me a hug.

Dad, I love you, deeply and fiercely. I will continue to love you as much as I can as long as I can. And I promise you that I will Remember.
bluealoe: (Default)
Every year, I dare to hope it will be easier. And every year I'm disappointed when it's not. I guess it's time to accept Father's Day is never going to slip on by without turning the knife a little deeper.

It's not the constant reminders of fathers everywhere I turn, though that does hurt. (It feels like the universe is taunting me, saying "look at all these people who have fathers, and you don't!") It's not that our old tradition of breakfast in bed is gone, though that does make me sad.

What really gets me is the memory of that last Father's Day. How I was in a bad mood, I didn't want to talk to him, I just wanted to be left alone. How I called him anyway, because it's what you're supposed to do. How I was grumpy and cut the conversation short. How that whole week, I keep thinking "I'll call Dad back tomorrow." Because of course there's always a tomorrow. Until there's not.

I know it could be much worse. We could have been arguing, or not speaking to each other. We could have been on bad terms, and left unfinished business. On the whole, we had a great relationship. We said "I love you" to each other every time we talked.

But still...

I wish I hadn't been so grumpy. I wish I hadn't treated Father's Day like an obligation, not a gift. I wish I had called him back. I wish, I wish, I wish.

One thing I've learned over the past eleven years is the most destructive emotion isn't grief. It's regret. Grief hollows you from the inside out, but regret...regret lives in that empty space inside of you, burrowing into every wound you have, constantly whispering "you could have done better".

I'm trying to live with it. I'm trying to accept I did the best I could. I'm trying to remember the positives, the love and the laughter and the hugs. And most of the time, I do all right.

But every year, the third Sunday in June comes around and everything crashes down on me again.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
If history is any indication, 2016 will be a dramatic year.

I wrote that line exactly one year ago, and I wasn't wrong.

[I'm going to focus on personal events, because if I get into larger national/global events, I'll get too depressed and scared.]

Three very good things happened this year. I finished my last semester of grad school and successfully graduated. That's something I never dreamed would happen. It was definitely satisfying (but scary too).
I got a job. That was absolutely amazing. It happened much faster than I thought, and now I have a steady job in the education department of a very good museum. The job isn't perfect, but overall I enjoy it and feel much better that I have some stability.
And we got a new cat. That was totally unexpected, but she walked into our lives and chose us to be her humans. We couldn't say no. And every day I'm thankful that we have Goldie; she's a total sweetheart, a purring machine, and has brought us so much love.

We moved to Alaska. This was both good and bad. It's wonderful to be back in a place I'm familiar with, and I feel more like myself in Alaska than I do anywhere else. And of course, having a job is good. :) But the move itself was very stressful (if you ever get the chance to drive four thousand miles in eight days with your mom, husband, and two cats...don't.) Dealing with the in-laws has been difficult; they REALLY didn't want us to move. And Fairbanks is filled with old ghosts I'm still trying to deal with.

On the bad side, Rory went through some very rough times. His boss turned out to be emotionally abusive and controlling, and that job ended with hurt feelings on all sides. Rory's dad reacted very badly to us moving to Alaska, and said some incredibly hurtful things to both of us that are going to take a long time to heal. And there's been ongoing issues with his mom that came to a head this summer, and still haven't been resolved. About the only salvageable aspect of the situation is that Rory is learning to stand up for himself and not give in to guilt trips. It's a work in progress, but getting better. And he's settling in very well in Fairbanks; he's very comfortable in Alaska.

And the absolute worse thing that happened was losing Jade. It was almost exactly one year after Sapphire, and totally unexpected. She was fine, and then she was gone, and there wasn't a damn thing we could do to save her. It's even worse this time, because while I loved Sapphire dearly and miss her every day, Jade was...well, she was JADE. I can't explain it better than that. She was a very special cat that touched so many peoples' lives, and I still can't adjust to a world without her. And it happened so least with Sapphire, we had a little bit of warning.
For so long, I had the two of them, Sapphire and Jade, always the two of them. And now they're both gone. And life will never be the same.

Other things that happened this year: I traveled to Massachusetts, South Dakota, and four thousand miles to Alaska (I think we crossed nine states and four provinces). We attended the wedding of our dear friends Lynds and Lauren. My friends Caitlin and Mark got married as well. My cousin had a baby, two of Rory's friends had babies, and at least four more friends have announced babies on the way. Rory and I went to a family reunion in July. A very good friend died of cancer in May, just before graduation. My mom, sister, and nephews came to visit for Christmas, and while it was hectic, we survived. I reconnected with some old friends in Fairbanks I hadn't seen in a long time. We went to Chena Hot Springs three times.

It was a hell of a year, but I won't be sad to say goodbye to it.

For 2017, I have one major goal: stability. I want to stay in the same house for an entire calendar year (the last time that happened was 2010). I want to get better at my job and feel more settled at the museum. I want to be more financially secure. [Of course, all of this might change with political developments...we haven't ruled out immigrating, if it comes to that.]

As the Monkey gives way to the Rooster, I hope the new year is kind to all of us.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
There are some griefs that run too deeply to express in words.

I could write thousands of words about her. How she came into my life sixteen years ago, an enexpected Christmas present. How she stayed by my side through some of the most difficult times of my life. How she criss-crossed a continent with me, from Alaska to New York and back again. How love poured out of her onto everyone she met. How she gravitated toward anyone with an available lap. How the first time Rory met her, he said "I didn't think cats could be so affectionate." How she always seemed to sense when someone needed comfort, and would sit by their side, purring loudly enough to rival a lawnmower. How people who didn't like cats loved her.

But none of that captures how special she truly was. How many people's lives she affected, and how crucial she was to my being. How I quite literally cannot imagine existing without her.

If you ever met Jade, you'd understand. Nothing more needs to be said.

In one year, I lost both Sapphire and Jade. For so long, it was the two of them, always the two of them. I feel like something inside me has snapped, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Thank you for taking care of me for so many years. You were the best cat in the universe. I love you, Jade.

 photo Jade_zps7bhb142m.jpg

 photo Jade20Sleeping_zpsul5jpqom.jpg
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
One year since Sapphire died.

It still seems like it happened a month or two ago. How could it possibly be a year already?

And yet so much has happened in that year. I'm in a totally different place, physically and mentally, than last October. It's been a wild ride of a year.

I spent a great deal of my life saying I couldn't imagine a life without Sapphire. That I couldn't comprehend of a world without her in it. And I still can't. Yet somehow I've lived an entire year without a haughty Siamese judging me and putting me in my place. I just doesn't seem real.

I still have Jade, and she's as lovable and affectionate as always. And now we have Goldie, who is the perfect addition to our family and every day I'm thankful we adopted her.

But no one will ever replace Sapphire. She was one hell of a cat, and there will never be another one quite like her.

I love you, Sapphire. I hope that wherever you are, you have a sunny spot to sleep in, plenty of tuna, and enough minions to do your bidding. I hope you're looking down on me disapprovingly, knowing I could do better if you were there to keep me in line.

I can't think of a clever way to end this entry. I wanted to write something that sums up how I feel about Sapphire and how much I miss her and how I will always love her and I'll never have another cat like her and nothing will ever replace her....but how do you condense all that into a single sentence?

I just want her back.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
It's been an interesting summer.

After graduation, I settled in for a long job search. All my professors said it would take time to get a job, and to be patient. I had my routine down; which job boards to check daily, my templates for cover letters, a spreadsheet to keep track of where I applied...then I got a job.

I was shocked. No one gets a job after their first interview. But apparently I did? The University of Alaska Museum, in Fairbanks, offered me a position in the Education department. I really had to think long and hard about whether to accept the offer...on one hand, it's a great museum, I actually volunteered there for awhile back in 2008, the position sounded perfect for me, it's the town I grew up in and know well. But on the other hand, I wasn't sure I wanted to move back to Fairbanks, and the logistics of moving all the way across the country are not the easiest. Plus I didn't want to take the job just because it was the first offer I got. And obviously Rory had a big say in the decision, too. I wasn't going to do it unless he wanted to. And after several days of long discussions and considering ever angle, we decided to say yes.

The next month was an utter whirlwind. Finding a place to live, packing everything, arranging to get our stuff shipped to Alaska, figuring out how WE were going to get there, seeing all our friends before we left, plus some major drama with my in-laws (let's just say they didn't take the news well). Oh, and going to a family reunion in South Dakota in the middle of all that. But at the end of July, we left New York and started driving to Alaska.

It took us eight days and over 4,600 miles. With Rory, my mom (who volunteered to drive with us), two cats, and me, all in two cars. It was definitely an experience. I'm glad we did it, but I never want to repeat it. Especially with the cats...they behaved remarkably well, but it was hard on them.

We got to Fairbanks on August 3, and it's been surreal. I still can't believe I'm back in the town I grew up in. We're actually living only a few blocks from my old high school. Everything looks the same, and parts of it are very comforting, but it's different too. And I'M different. There's so many memories here, both good and bad, and I'm still struggling to sort it all out. It just doesn't feel real.

I started work last Wednesday, and so far the job is good. I've mostly been filling out paperwork, doing online trainings (including a certification in how to use a hot glue gun), and talking to the person who I'll be replacing to find out how to do the job. I'm going to be the Outreach Specialist, meaning I coordinate family and adult events at the museum, do outreach events at schools and other places, and run the monthly Family Days. It's a lot of work, but it's what I've wanted to do for a long time. I'm excited, but also nervous...this is REAL. We did a lot of hands-on projects at school, but I always had a professor there to look over my shoulder. Now it's up to me, and the responsibility is daunting. Luckily my co-workers and supervisor all seem very nice and willing to help, so that's a good sign.

It's been exactly three months since I graduated, and my life has changed dramatically, from being a grad school student in Cooperstown, New York to being a museum employee in Fairbanks, Alaska. But I have Rory, and I have my kitties, and overall life is good.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
Ten years.

I feel like I should write something thought-provoking or sentimental or even gut-wrenching, but I have nothing. It's all been said before. All I have are disjointed fragments of thoughts, enveloped in a cloud of sadness.

Ten years is a long time, but no time at all.

The years from 1996 to 2006 took forever. But the years from 2006 to 2016 were nothing. It literally feels like yesterday. I know I've grown, changed, accomplished lots of things, had adventures I never thought I would...but it doesn't FEEL like it. I still feel like the same person who answered the phone that morning and had her world shattered. I'm still trying to pick up all the pieces and mold them into a new life.

There are two songs that have been running through my head all morning....."Now you're expecting me to live without you, but that's not something that I'm looking forward to"...."I refuse to surrender the small part of me that is you".

I was looking for a picture of Dad to put here, something to sum up who he was. But how can you summarize a person with one image? There's too much there. The master of terrible jokes, the serious advice-giver, the silly kid, the hard worker, the coffee drinker, the aspiring chef, the historian, the knife-maker, the game-player, the outdoorsman, the hugger, the mayor and manager, the retired person who didn't give a damn, the one who was always always always there for me, the loving and loved father.

In the end I decided on a picture that reminds me of my childhood, yet reminds me to leap into the future.

 photo scan0015_zpsdhif3t4t.jpg

I love you, Dad.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
In five days, I graduate from grad school.

Four days after that, we move to a new apartment.

The day after that, we bring home our new cat. (Apparently we're adopting a cat. That was NOT in the plan. But things happen.)

Then I try desperately to find a job.

Life is very weird. I never imagined I'd even be in graduate school, let alone make it through. And now that it's almost over, I have so many feelings. Mostly it's relief, that I'm almost done and I don't have to deal with school again. But there's also the looming terror of having to get a job and enter the real world. (I did it before, after college, but somehow this time it's worse.) And there's the incredible sadness at leaving my classmates. Two years ago, I didn't know any of these people existed, but now I'm so used to spending day in and day out with the same eighteen people that the thought of not having that support network around is so depressing I can't even wrap my head around it. I know they're still going to be in my life, we're not losing each other forever, but it won't be the same once we're scattered across the world.

I thought graduate school would never end, but it's gone by so fast. And I don't know how to feel about that.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
Well, that was a year.

There was a lot of good and a lot of bad, in almost equal amounts.

On the good side, I applied for and actually got the internship I desperately wanted. I got to spend three months in Seattle working at an awesome museum, spending lots of time in the Chinatown-International District, and being close to my sister and nephews. We also lucked out with an incredible landlady who was very kind to us. I successfully finished two semesters of graduate school, plus the summer internship, and only have one more semester left. I also successfully helped plan and run a huge event in March. I got much closer with my classmates, and we've formed a very tight-knit group.
I got to attend two weddings; my sister-in-law got married in July, and my dear friend Thomas got married in September (YAY!). I also visited my friends Heather (and family) and Susan, both of whom I hadn't seen in several years. I traveled to Canada twice (both sides: Victoria and Montreal), California, Vermont, Massachusetts, and of course Washington State. I visited New York City for the first time, and was very overwhelmed. I went to the Museum at Bethel Woods, the site of the Woodstock Festival. I saw two amazing Pixar movies, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur. I watched all of Cosmos.
I got to meet lots of chickens. This year truly was the year of the chicken; we house-sat for one of my professors, who has chickens; held baby chicks at a farm in Massachusetts; spent all summer with nine chickens in Seattle; and saw even more chickens in Vermont.
In family news, my mom traveled to Antarctica and Europe, my sister seems much happier with her life, both of my sisters-in-law are making great strides in personal matters, and my cousin-in-law has completely turned her life around after the birth of her son. One of my cousins had a baby, and another cousin is due in May.
And of course I got to spend another year with my incredible husband. Without him, going to graduate school wouldn't have been possible, and I appreciate his support, loyalty, sense of humor, creativity, and goofiness more and more every day. Oh, and his cooking makes everything better. :)

On the bad side of things, my internship did not go exactly as planned. I had issues with my supervisor, and did not get to do as much as I had hoped. Living in Seattle was rough at times, and I hated dealing with the public transportation and the traffic. Finding a place to live was also very stressful, though we lucked out in the end. The fall semester was also really difficult; I seriously clashed with one of my professors, and wasn't the only one who had issues with her. School in general was pretty chaotic, and communication between faculty and students was very poor, for a variety of reasons. I had a nervous breakdown in front of one professor, which was very embarrassing. I also started to get very tired of school, and by the end of the fall semester was definitely ready to just graduate and get out of here.
Rory had a lot of problems finding work once we got back from Seattle, and went through a pretty rough patch. Watching him feel bad about himself was incredibly difficult for me. (Luckily things are going better now.)
There were a variety of family issues. My stepfather-in-law fell and seriously injured his neck, and has been recuperating for months; his quality of life will probably never be the same. Rory's uncle was diagnosed with cancer and died the day after Christmas. There were also a few sensitive matters with Rory's family; they didn't directly involve us, but were very stressful anyway. And one of my mother-in-law's dogs also got very sick; she's okay now, but it took several months to figure out what was wrong and how to treat it.
And the absolute worse thing that happened this year was losing Sapphire. At the beginning of the year, she was frail but generally healthy. Then she got an eye infection, had dental surgery, and developed a lump on her cheek. She still acted like herself, was eating and drinking, but over the course of three days she went downhill fast. Watching her lay on her side, struggling to breathe, refusing even to drink, trying to walk....I'm not exaggerating when I say it was the hardest thing I've ever witnessed. It's been almost three months since she's been gone, and I still haven't adjusted to life without her. I miss her like crazy every single day. I've lost pets before, but this was by far the worst. She really was one hell of a cat, and life will never be the same again.

In history is any indication, 2016 will be a dramatic year. Every five years seems to bring big changes, and since I'll be graduating in May, I'm sure changes are coming. All I want is a stable job in the education department of a mid-sized museum that focuses on telling the stories of marginalized people and is devoted to community engagement. Is that too much to ask?

My goals for the year are to get through the spring semester and successfully graduate, get a museum-related job, work on being financially stable, and continue to enjoy spending time with my amazing husband, family, and friends.

Happy New Year, everyone. May the Year of the Monkey be kind to all of you.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
Another year, another Father's Day.

Instead of drowning in grief, this year I want to share a story.

I was about four years old, and my dad, his best friend Gary, and I were visiting friends at fish camp (only accessible by boat). When we got in the boat to go home, the motor was broken. Dad borrowed a little 10-horsepower motor from a friend, which would get us home, but would take about five times as long as usual. We set off putt-putting down the river, and soon the temperature dropped, and it began to rain. The boat was open, with no cover from the rain, but we had one sleeping bag. So Dad told me to crawl in the sleeping bag, and zipped it up around me. I pulled it over my head, and soon I was warm and comfy.

I poked my head out a few times to see Dad and Gary soaking wet, grimly steering the boat down the river. They were obviously tired and uncomfortable and just wanted to get home. But whenever they caught sight of me, they smiled and reassured me everything was okay. And I stuck my head back in the sleeping bag and felt safe and secure and loved.

It's a memory that makes me feel like all is right with the world, and secure in the knowledge that I am loved. And to this day, I still think that is one of the best things my father ever did for me.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
I successfully finished my first year of graduate school. I'm not quite sure how that happened.

It was a tremendously difficult year. I had to adjust to living in a new town, meet new people, and learn how to be a student again. There were a LOT of readings, even more papers and projects, countless meetings with classmates, and dealing with difficult professors. And doing all of that while wondering if I'm doing the right thing by going to grad school. The good new is that after a year of school, I'm pretty well convinced museum work is the right career path for me. But it's not easy, not at all.

We're moving out of our apartment on Tuesday, spending a few weeks in Syracuse, then flying out to Seattle for my internship. It should be a very interesting summer. I should be excited about it, and I'm sure I will be once it gets closer, but right now I'm just sad. I've spent almost every day for the last nine months with nineteen other people, and now I won't see any of them (except maybe one or two) for the next three months. Despite my introvertedness, I did get very used to having my classmates around, and the idea of not seeing them for three months is so weird. And when we do get back, everyone will be a bit different, and they'll be a new group of incoming students to get used to. I know change can be good, but it's also really damn hard. It took me most of the last year to get used to the grad school thing, and just when I think I've got the hang of it, it all changes. Why does life keep doing this to me?r

Tonight I was at our neighbors' apartment, sitting on the porch as the sun set, listening to Rory, Ryan, and Noah strumming guitars and singing "Let It Be", feeling content and peaceful. Yet somehow, still sad.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
So, I'll be in Seattle this summer.

My grad school program requires a summer internship, and through an enormous stroke of luck I managed to land an internship at the Wing Luke Museum, which is an amazing museum focused on Asian-American experiences. I'll be working on a project to bring more women's stories into their historic spaces, and I'm super excited. My sister lives about a half hour away, too, so I'll be nice to be near her for the summer.

I'm also very nervous; we're trying to find housing for the summer, and Seattle is quite expensive. And we can't bring the cats, so we're trying to find someone to take care of them for a few months. Rory's coming with me (yay!), but he has to find a summer job (boo!). So there's a lot going on, plus all the hecticness of the end of the semester...15-page research papers on museum administration are really my dream come true *rolls eyes*.

It's so weird to think I'm almost done with my first year of graduate school.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
I got a train!!

When I was little, a local charity always raffled off a toy train set for Christmas. They'd set it up in the local mall and you could enter the raffle and watch the train go around and around. I entered the drawing every year, but never won.

I happened to mention this to my husband a few months ago, and lo and behold, under the Christmas tree this morning was a little train set. R swears he had nothing to do with it, that it was all Santa, but I have a sneaking suspicion. ;)

It's been an interesting Christmas. I finished the semester last week...I'm officially one-quarter of the way done with grad school. Yikes. The last few weeks were rather hectic, including a three-day writing marathon to finish my final paper, but somehow I made it.

Then it was off to Syracuse to spend Christmas with R's family. We were at his aunt's last night, and then everyone came over to his mother's house today, and there were a LOT of people. Way too much socializing for my tastes. But it was still fun. I got to Skype with my family while they were opening presents, and we're going to visit my sister for a few days next month. But I still miss favorite part of Christmas was always being with my parents and sister, and I miss a lot of our traditions. Not that I dislike spending time with my in-laws, but it's just unfamiliar and different. But that's what growing up is about; mixing and blending traditions and finding your own way.

For now, Happy Saturnalia, everyone.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
Yeah, I'm still here.

I went back to school in September, and grad school is a LOT of work. It's interesting, and I'm learning a lot, but it's still a massive amount of work. My classmates are all very nice, and fun to hang out with. I've already gained a reputation as the strange one from Alaska.

At the end of September, [ profile] eofs and Guido stayed with us overnight, in the middle of their grand U.S. tour. Although I've known Emma for at least ten years, this is the first time we've met in person. It was a good visit, though brief. But they brought us Cadbury chocolate. :)

In October my Sapphire-kitty fell off the couch and got a concussion (yes, apparently cats can get concussions). It was incredibly scary, especially when she couldn't walk properly for days afterward, but the vet says she'll be okay. Shes just a little more wobbly now, and can't jump as well as she used to. But it's still making me think a lot about how both my cats are getting pretty old....*sigh*

Last week was our second wedding anniversary. We went to Lowell, Massachusetts for the weekend to see Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood, and it was amazing. The show was completely improv, based on suggestions from the audience, and utterly brilliant.
I still can't believe I've been married for two years. What insanity is that? But hey, somehow we're still here. :)
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
Life has been insanely hectic lately, and it's not likely to get better until next month. R and I are taking the GREs (graduate school tests) tomorrow...five hours of torture, but at least we'll get it over with. I'm madly trying to finish grad school applications and get people to write recommendation letters, even though I'm not entirely sure I want to attend grad school, but that's another story. Then there's holiday shopping; since I don't have a lot of money this year, I've had to be creative, which is fine, but it just takes a lot of time. We're leaving next week to spend Christmas in Seattle with my family, so there's a lot of preparation to get ready for that. And I don't even want to talk about work.

So yeah, things are a little nuts right now. But overall, everything's going okay. Just don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while...I promise I'll reply to posts and emails after New Year's. Have a lovely Saturnalia, everyone!

(But yes, [ profile] elen_nare, I'll still beta for you! I've already allotted that time for you. :))
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
There's lots of things I want to talk about....the fact that I'm working two part-time jobs, being back in a college classroom for the first time in seven years (though I'm not taking the class, a client is), taking cats to the vet, moving to a new apartment, my birthday and elephants. But for now, I'll just say we're going to Alaska tomorrow for about a week. I'm taking R out to my dad's old hunting camp for a bit of a pilgrimage. I haven't been back there for three years, so I'm really looking forward to it. R is being a good sport about flying to Alaska, taking a small plane out to a village, getting in a boat to go down the river, and spending five days in the middle of nowhere. It's the most beautiful place in the world, but it's the definition of remote. :)

We'll be back about September 24th, and I'll have pictures and stories to share.


Jun. 13th, 2013 09:17 pm
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
Quick update: Peter's doing really well, you can barely tell he had open heart surgery a month ago. He's still not at 100%, but he's getting there.

Work has been extremely stressful, and it's gotten to the point I need to set some boundaries to avoid overloading myself. I still like working with the clients, it's just the bureaucracy and the management that can be tricky. But it'll all work out.

Went to a duck race a few weeks ago. There's nothing quite like several thousand multicolored rubber duckies floating down a creek. :)
I'm currently in the middle of reading The Hobbit. We're planning on watching the 1970s animated version (I fully expect it to be terrible), and R told me I have to read the book first so I know how it ends. I'm about halfway through right now, and Gandalf is being a bit of a jerk...I hope he shapes up soon.

We're going to a wedding in Rochester tomorrow. I've never been to Rochester, so it should be interesting. It well also be really nice to attend a wedding with no responsibilities other than showing up, and not have to be the center of attention.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
There's a lot of things I could write about.

I could write about my new-to-me car, which has had numerous starter/battery problems and how I'm furious at the dealership, but I still like the car. I could write about the continuing drama at work, and how I had a total breakdown while on the phone with my boss, yet somehow managed not to get fired. (It's all okay now, no worries.) I could write about the student I'm tutoring in English, or how my cat almost jumped off the balcony. I could write about my mom's recent visit, which involved a lot of shopping and eating and socializing, as well as a roadtrip to the Adirondacks. I could write about the Beatles tribute concert we went to last month, and how I've never seen R so excited as I did that night. I could write about the absolutely stunning wedding quilt my mom sewed for us, and the messages of love and support everyone wrote on it. I could write about Easter, or St. Patrick's Day, or R's birthday, or how I've been watching the 1978 animated Lord of the Rings (and my god, it is ever TERRIBLE), or how I went to the circus and got paid for it.

But I'm not going to write about any of that. Instead, I'm going to write about the lovely day I had yesterday.

We both had the day off, which is pretty rare. R woke up early and started baking bread. After I slowly woke up, we had a lazy morning in bed, watching YouTube videos and drinking tea (and coffee for him). We had a bit of adult time, then ate bread fresh from the oven and snuggled together. Finally, we dragged ourselves out of bed, took a shower, and then I talked to my mom for a while.

It was a beautiful day, so we walked over to the local library, enjoying the weather and talking about Lord of the Rings the whole way . R printed out some papers he needed for work, and I requested the next few Dragonbreath books, since R's reading them for the first time, and I gave away my copies to Aidan last year.

After we got home, I did a load of laundry, mostly so I could feel that I did something productive. Later that afternoon, we went out for the first ice cream of the year. We stopped by a local ice cream stand that makes all of its ice cream from scratch, and it was seriously delicious. I can't say enough good things about a scoop of cookies-and-cream in a waffle cone. Then we made our way over to the duck pond, and watched all the ducks and geese waddle around and paddle in the water. We tried to feed them some dried corn, but no one seemed very interested in eating...I think they were all too concerned with attracting mates to bother with food. We even saw one goose sitting on her eggs. I definitely want to go back in a few weeks when the ducklings and goslings hatch.

R had a restaurant gift card that his dad gave him for his birthday. So we went out to eat at a restaurant far above what we can usually afford; R had schnitzel, and I had pasta with Andouille sausage and a tomato-basil sauce. It was nice to sit in a fancy restaurant and pretend to be adults. I think we did worry the waiter a bit when she overheard us talking about banana apocalypses and Munchie Kitties, though. ;)

After we got home, we watched some of the special features on the Return of the King DVD, and marveled at how much Peter Jackson has changed in the last ten years. R had to go to work in the morning, so we went to bed at a reasonable hour, with the cat on my pillow purring up a storm.

R has to work all day today, and I have to go back to work tomorrow. But for now, I'm happy. It was a good day.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
February 16, 1998.

Fifteen years and half my life ago, I turned on the TV and saw Patrick Stewart staring back at me, his face covered in shiny metal bits,  declaring in his deep voice that "Resistance is futile....Number One."

My jaw dropped, my eyes riveted to the screen, and my life was never the same again.

It sounds like an exaggeration, the overly dramatic pronouncement of a self-involved teenager, but it is 100% true: In that moment, I fell in love with Star Trek, and my life changed.

There are the lessons of the TV shows themselves; respect everyone, don't interfere in others' affairs, Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, exploration is worth it, strive to be your best, you true friends will stick with you, to be human means to make mistakes, Live Long and Prosper. The power of creativity, the power of a dream. A vision of the future. Powerful lessons that have stuck with me and helped me live a more fulfilling life.

But perhaps even more importantly, Star Trek led me to a community. Along with a newfangled thing called the Internet, Star Trek helped me reach out, connect with other loners, misfits, geeks, nerds, the ones who didn't belong anywhere else. And together, we created a family.

Star Trek has led me to some of the best friends I've ever had. Almost every one of my close friends I've met directly or indirectly through Star Trek. I've been present at weddings, met babies, flown across the world, all because of a shared love of Star Trek. Even the non-obvious connections, even my friends who aren't necessarily Trekkies. Even my husband. (Through looking up Star Trek fansites, I found Sev Trek, which led me to Newshounds, which led to my future husband.)

I found Captain Picard and B'Elanna and Paris and Data and everyone else at a very low time in my life, when I was retreating further and further into myself. The friends I met through Star Trek carried me through that time, gave me courage and a reason to keep going. Star Trek has literally saved my life, and for that I will forever be grateful.

These days I'm not as obsessed as I used to be; I rarely re-watch episodes, don't participate in the forums or chats anymore, and don't go wild over every new piece of information released. But whenever anyone asks what my favorite TV show is,  there is not a moment's hesitation. I will always and forever be a Trekkie, and damn proud of it.

That moment fifteen years ago, my life changed for the better.

Thank you, my friends.

Thank you, Captain Picard.

Thank you, Gene Roddenberry.
bluealoe: (BlueAloe)
I will always remember 2012.

It was the year I decided to leave a job that wasn't working out, and after many months of unemployment, started working at a completely different kind of job.

It was the year I traveled to Abashiri, Wakkanai, Asahikawa, Minnesota, Syracuse, Seattle, and Boston.

It was the year R, my mom, and Julie visited me in Japan.

It was the year I moved back to the US, and moved in with my love, starting a new life.

It was the first year in 27 years I was not in Alaska at least once.

It was the year I drove 1100 miles in two days.

It was the year I was reunited with my cats, and got to live with both of them for the first time in almost four years.

It was the year I re-learned how to knit, tried cross-stitching again, and sewed an oven mitt.

It was the year I received a Kindle and a baby elephant.

It was the second Christmas in a row without my mom, but the first with my expanded family.

It was the year my amazing, beloved Subaru skidded off the road and the damage didn't look too bad, but the insurance company declared it totalled. I'm still in mourning.

It was the year I was reunited with many old friends.

It was the year that with a lot of assistance, we pulled off a wedding.

It was the year I got married.

I get to wake up every morning next to the love of my life, and for that reason, I will always remember 2012.
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