Is this thing on? (AKA InfoDump 2013)

I haven’t been blogging because I don’t know where to start.  I’m going to start, but I may not know where to end.  Here goes.
Running.  If you would have told me I would be running at 38 when I was a young, fit 23 year old, I would have laughed in your face.  But I am.  I know it's an "in" thing to do.  It's so simple.  You get to wear cool clothes if you want.  Technology is so advanced, you can wear your music on your arm and headphones with no wires.  The best part--I am not being subjected to a timed test, or forced to run in a formation, or being told I'm "slow" (Hi, Army!)  I have been doing this since late December 2012 and honestly, it's the lazy person's exercise.  I can run for an hour and burn 800 calories.

I went to my 20 year high school reunion.  I felt a bit like I did after last year’s college reunion.  I wish I had done more, gotten out more, but then again, maybe I need to stop doing this to myself.  This is how I am.  I have a small circle of friends.  I don’t kiss up, or put on a happy act.  One person told me he “admired” me for getting in to West Point and joining the military.  I never would have guessed that.  Sometimes I still can’t believe I survived four years as a cadet until graduation.  I look at my college classmates and feel like a dud.  So many have advanced degrees.  We have doctors and lawyers, people who continued their education through Ivy League schools.  We have lieutenant colonels and private business owners.  I feel like I have been left behind, when really, they are just far ahead, and the ones plodding along just like I am, are not outspoken about their averageness.  In the bigger picture, I am doing alright.  I just have trouble some days figuring out what I really want to do, and deciding how to get there, which brings us to…

Writing.  I feel like I have fallen off the map and lost my motivation.  I have 1.5 books revised, and now what?  I have decided to go the self/Indie publishing route, which I used to scoff at.  The tide has changed.  I still want an objective edit (possibly $$$$) and a beautiful cover (more $$$) design and formatting (you can do this yourself, but I read the instructions and my brain locks up, possibly more $).  I have to do the legwork and I’m starting off tired.  Why, yes, I would like some cheese to go with this whine.  Right now, I can’t quit my day…

Job.  Without elaborating any further, I will just say it’s time to move on.  You know that point when you’re ready to leave your current job (hello pay cut, hello, watching coworkers get laid off, hello, threat of office disappearing pretty soon?) but have not landed the new gig yet?  I’m there.  And conversely, I am shopping online like it’s my job.  I think this is a combination of compensating for sucky job (because things = happiness) and the pre-Christmas shopping selfishness that goes on every year.

Kids: I love them and they are exhausting.  We took our two on vacation in July.  The 7 year old had a blast.  The toddler, not so much.  She had a horrible fever the first couple of days.  We took her to the nurse, who took her temperature and gave us a cup of Tylenol (kids HAAAAAATE this stuff).  The fever went down, but went back up again. We took the toddler back to the nurse, who made me sign a waiver when I decided not to see the doctor.  Who’s the bad parent now?  She was okay, but I don’t think she enjoyed the trip.  Now the following week with her grandparents?  Guess who was smiling in every photo?  Guess who was bored?

Husband: We are carpooling.  Some days are great.  Some are opt out events.  This morning, at the last minute, I pulled back and opted for the commuter train + metro + walking over commuting with my beloved.  It was a series of annoyances that built up into “I can’t do this today.”  Yet, I am halfway expecting him to call and see if I want to ride home.  And I would respond, “Only if you don’t mind riding in the cold, cold shade I’m throwing, darling.”  I kid (kind of).  Most of the time that is our quality time together.  We have been very fortunate to be able to keep up some version of carpooling for the past 4 years.  We are coming up on 14 years of marriage and 16 years as a couple.  It has been mostly fun and very fortunate. Can you tell I’m not good with writing about these things?  I have a great husband.  Not perfect, but most of the time he is fantastic.

Depeche Mode: Saw them in concert AGAIN.  Still love them!  It always wigs me out to think I am roughly the age (or a bit older) than they were when I watched them for the Violator tour.


A time of peace

I attended West Point a time of peace. While I was there, the thought of classmates dying at war was theoretical.  We were more concerned about  making it to graduation and seeing what waited for us in the "real" Army.  Sometimes we couldn't even see graduation, the focus was on surviving the month, the week, the day.  I knew I would be entering "the profession of arms," but I never realistically considered the full meaning and possible consequences of that profession.
The class of 1997 has lost too many classmates in war -- it's not a big number until you consider there were less than 900 of us.  Not a big number until you attach faces, names, spouses, children, siblings, friends and classmates to those we have lost.  Not every death has been from war, but most of my classmates that have died were in Iraq or Afghanistan.

I am hoping Jaimie Leonard was the last.  Her funeral was on Thursday, at West Point.  From the pictures, it was a good send off, but the world would have been better with her still in it.

Life is unfair, but it doesn't mean it hurts any less when we experience the unfairness.


See you Monday (or will I?)

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a promotion of two co-workers. They are in the Army and both of them took the long route toward earning their new rank. The ceremony was a mess, but it was nice to meet the families and take a break from our desks. During the ceremony, we could hear an ambulance siren in the background. Later, we learned for whom the siren tolled. 

“Did you hear? Dr. Rhymes-with-Parker died while waiting to brief Important Dude. Important Dude (ID) was notoriously picky with briefings. He liked clips, not staples, and the documents had to be in a certain format. There was an email with directions of briefing ID, which included forcing yourself to behave unnaturally. If you were there to brief ID, then you look only at ID, even if you are addressing a question from someone else in the room. Answer that guy but KEEP YOUR EYES ON ID. DO NOT LOOK AWAY FROM ID.

So, I thought, “Maybe Dr. Rhymes with Parker” looked away from ID."

I know. Mean.  Eeeee-Vil.

 Back in our office, we talked about it.

 “I just saw him the other day,” said co-worker #1, clearly freaked out. “I LOOKED AT him.”

 “Oooohh—don’t let #1 look at you!” we said for the rest of the day. 

“I looked at him, too.” Said co-worker #2. “And I said to myself, that’s an accident waiting to happen.”

Clearly co-worker #2 is not the sentimental or rose-colored glasses type. He was also correct. Dr. Rhymes-with-Parker was not the picture of health. He probably should have retired and taken care of himself instead of making that last trek to ID’s office. It saddens me that someone died at work on a Friday afternoon, the time you are looking forward to the weekend and the plans you have for the time that belongs to you. The thought of dying at work is a nightmare, but dying on a Friday is an extra twist of the knife.

 “Maybe ID will have new standards for those coming in to brief him,” we guessed.

 “A blood pressure check before you enter his office.”

 “A cholesterol count."

"A BMI of no more than 25.”

 It was so awful we had to joke. It’s like the jokes that came out after the Challenger explosion. It's so horrifying you compelled to distract yourself with something funny.

 “They’re cleaning his desk out now,” said the boss.

 We all shook our heads. This reaffirmed the things we already knew: Life is short, take care of yourself, and if you can help it, don't die at work.