Monday, December 28, 2009

Breathing Room

I hope everyone had an excellent Christmas and is getting some quality time in to start the New Year off right!

I did make it to my parents house safely Wednesday night, after getting horribly delayed in New Mexico on Monday. (Something about a propane truck and a car getting friendly on the interstate, which then shut down said interstate for the next TEN HOURS and diverted ALL of that traffic onto little mountain roads that should never have that much traffic on it. But I digress.) Teddie was actually pretty good about the whole traveling thing. He's decided he prefers the back seat to the front, though, and he likes hotel rooms with king sized beds ("Aw, Mom! This is perfect! Where are you gonna sleep, though??"). He's been spending a lot of time under the bed here, though. It's not the extra three cats and the large Labrador that seem to bother him, it's the people. He's never been what anyone would call a sociable cat in the first place, so having a minimum of two extra people around almost constantly seems to drive him a little batty. However, we do know that he comes out at night, when no one is home, and, apparently, when I'm the only one home, as he's currently laying on my arms, which is making typing this uncomfortable.

My car, however, is in a state of shock. It's never even HEARD of this cold white wet stuff that falls from the sky and is pretty much buried out in the drive way. All you can see is the California license plate. Poor car! I'm going to dust it off in a bit and see how it handles on the roads (which aren't too bad as long as you aren't stupid), so I can go into the local YMCA and finally get a decent workout in. I'm pretty sure all I've done for the past week has been eat either holiday goodies or fast food on the road while driving, so I definitely need the workout!

I brought my New Angle afghan out with me to work on (I ended up NOT having to make slippers, yay!), and there's a pretty decent LYS in a town just south of here that I'm planning on hitting up. (She is generally my source for the Mountain Colors Twizzle, so I like her.) I also, for the first time, have the opportunity to actually bring my own loom back to California. Yes, a weaving loom. Some of us started weaving many many moons ago (like, maybe twenty years or so? When I was younger and long before the recent craze for it started anyway). My grandparents had big looms and wove rag rugs and things with them, and my grandfather built a tabletop loom for me one year for Christmas. Unfortunately, we never had enough room in my parents' house to store/use it, and I certainly didn't have the money to ship it to California when I moved out there, so it's stayed in my grandparents' basement all these years. But this year, I have my trusty car with me, with a lot of room in the back, so it will finally get to come home where it belongs. Now I want to go searching for inspiration for that craft, too!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Great American Road Trip

So the big plan was to get on the road by 0730 this morning. Unfortunately, Teddie is not packed (he claims he doesn't have a thing to wear, and doesn't believe me when I tell him he will - for once - NOT be overdressed in his long fur coat. Males!), my laptop cable has gone missing along with (as far as I can tell) a whole laundry load of dark clothes (including my FIGHT gear and some favorite pjs, that I haven't seen since I got back), and my garage door is broken. The laptop is irritating me the worst right now - I still need to get caught up on Fringe and White Collar and I'd love to re-watch Leverage, too. Mrph.

Going to try to make it to Albuqurque/Kirtland AFB today. We'll see.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Because this IS a knitting blog (in theory, anyway), I thought I might pass on the fact that I did finally finish the Diagonal Lace Scarf last night. It's made of my absolute favorite yarn (Mountain Colors Twizzle), and pics will be up in the near future (maybe). It wasn't really made with any particular purpose in mind, but now I'm thinking I'll ship it off to a friend in Alaska. She makes me little craftsy things when the mood strikes, and somehow, I can see her with this. So once the ends get woven in (and a pic taken), this wooly silky purply goodness will probably be headed far far north. (While I can't say that I would NEVER go to Alaska, because I do hear it's beautiful, I can say it's not on my top ten vacation spot ideas. Unlike, oh, the warm Carribbean. There IS a reason I live in California, y'know. I do enjoy my 70-degrees-and-sunny December days.)

Off to make yet another pair of felted slippers. Because SOMEONE lost hers. Ahem. (Actually, I think I have to make another pair of those for my brother, too. Or did I do that last year? It kind of all blurs together.) I wonder if I have any more leather soles...

On a positive note, I think my Christmas shopping is done. (I have to see if I can find one more thing, and if I can, then I'm going to return one of the things I already bought, but if not, well, that person is stuck.) It's kind of nice to not have to ship things and pray they'll get there in time this year! (I'm packing the gifts and the cat and maybe a couple warm changes of clothes and driving out to the Midwest this year for the holidays. Various friends throughout the country are already putting dibs on my drive back West, from Louisville to Seattle. That drive should be interesting, at any rate!)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A1C Trummel

I don't even know how to start this post. Obviously, I'm back from Basic Training. I graduated (as an honor grad, as my mother will happily tell you) on 11 December and got home to Santa Maria Monday morning. I'm kind of still in a fog, though. I'm jet-lagged, trying to get back onto West Coast time, and trying to get caught up with everyone and everything I've missed and get back into the swing of "real" life, but also trying to work in the discipline that got drilled into me over the past two months and still being so darn TIRED that nothing is really working right. I did go to classes at the dojahng Monday night, and they felt good. I am about half-decided on just writing the rest of this week off, though. I'm leaving this weekend to drive out to Illinois for the holidays, and I'm thinking that taking one week completely off of life in between won't kill me. But then I think I'm not being disciplined and feel guilty again. We'll see. (I'm also having a crazy urge to knit another Rogue, how weird is that?) I did get to spend the weekend with my parents and my brother, who all flew down to San Antonio and braved the absolutely freezing weather most of the time to watch all the ceremonies and hoopla and take pictures. (Y'all will have to wait until I get the pics from them, sorry.)

Like I said, I'm not really even sure what I want to say here. It's not like you can explain Basic Military Training to someone who hasn't done it. It's such a unique experience. People tend to either go "omg, that's horrible, why would anyone ever put themselves through that?!" or they think they understand and that it's no big deal and anyone can do it. Less than 7% of Americans ages 18-30 actually qualify for any military service. Less than 2% actually ever do it. Of those 2%, there are only 47 other people in the nation who went through the same things I did with the same people I did, and all 48 of us have our own unique viewpoints on it. How do you explain the sheer exhaustion and confusion of Zero Week, the smugness of getting your nametapes sewn onto your uniforms during Fourth Week after overcoming the obstacle course and the gas chamber, the constant awareness and weight of BEAST (Sixth Week), the studying and tutoring to help one of our girls who barely spoke English with the final written test in Seventh Week (and the tears when the whole flight cheered and mobbed her when she passed it), the sheer pride at hearing your TI call you his airmen after Retreat in Eighth Week? It really can't be explained, just experienced.

There are three things you always are at Basic. You're always hungry, you're always tired, and you're always in trouble. Basic Training is both really hard and really easy at the same time. My instructor team was very tough on us, but also very fair. Although it's part of their job to stress us to the max, they also never set us up for failure. Things were always explained, and usually you even got one chance to fix a mistake. (Heaven help you if you weren't paying attention or didn't fix it the first time, though!) As long as you maintained your military bearing, treated them with the respect and etiquette they taught you, and weren't being stupid, the TIs were mostly easy to deal with. If you just listened and did what you were told, the actual training part of BMT is easy. The hard part of BMT is living with your flight for two months. 50 females together in one room NEVER SHUT UP while they're awake (some of them don't shut up when they're asleep, either!). Someone ALWAYS has an opinion that absolutely must be shared, which usually led to arguments, which turned into screaming and cursing matches. That, for me, at least, was the hardest part of BMT - far more difficult to deal with than TIs, PT, BEAST, lack of sleep and medical mishaps combined. (Note that "lack of food" didn't make that list. After Zero Week, where it felt like you had a total of thirty seconds to eat for the whole week, you get to actually taste your food and realize that while it's not 5-star surf-n-turf, it's a heck of a lot better than regular cafeteria food, there's usually quite a variety, and portion sizes are relatively large. We burn a LOT of calories while in Basic, so you're still always hungry, but I can't think of any time where I didn't have enough to eat.)

I wrote letters to my parents explaining things as they happened, and I'm hoping they saved them, because posting them here would explain things a lot better than I could now. The hardest week for me personally was Fifth Week, not because of anything we did that week as a flight, but because that's when I was really dealing with a seriously major infection in my hand, so I was tired and sick and a little scared and really fed up with the girls arguing and that was the one time that I really thought "I can't do this anymore. I have to give up, I have to go home. I just can't do this." Of course, that passes. Life passes too quickly, and they keep you too busy, to really get bogged down in those kinds of thoughts. You just don't have time for self-pity there. It's both the longest and shortest two months of your life. There are lots of tears, but also lots of laughs. There is bitter disappointment and shining pride. I'd never do it again unless my life or a wingman's depended on it. But it's worth it.

This was one of the songs that they played every Sunday before chapel. It's John Michael Montgomery's "Letters From Home" and pretty much guaranteed to make you cry if there's ever been anyone you cared about in the military (not even males are immune). The first couple weeks, you cry because it makes you homesick, the rest of the time, you cry because you know how true it is. (It doesn't sound quite right without an Air Force "hooah!" after every time he says "letters from home", though!)

John Michael Montgomery - Letters From Home

~Sh@wn~ | MySpace Video

"My dearest son it's almost June
I hope this letter catches up with you, and finds you well.
It's been dry but they're calling for rain,
and everything's the same old same in Johnsonville.
Your stubborn old daddy ain't said too much
but I'm sure you know he sends his love."
And she goes on, in a letter from home.

I hold it up and show my buddies
like we ain't scared and our boots ain't muddy,
and they all laugh like there's something funny 'bout the way I talk
when I say "Mama sends her best y'all."
I fold it up and put it in my shirt,
pick up my gun and get back to work,
and it keeps me drivin' on,
waitin' on letters from home.

My dearest love it's almost dawn.
I been lying here all night long
wonderin' where you might be.
I saw your mama and I showed her the ring.
Man on the television said some things, so I couldn't sleep,
but I'll be alright, I'm just missin' you,
and this is me kissing you.
X's and O's, in a letter from home.

I hold it up and show my buddies
like we ain't scared and our boots ain't muddy,
and they all laugh cause she calls me "honey"
but they take it hard, cause I don't read the good parts.
I fold it up and put it in my shirt,
pick up my gun and get back to work,
and it keeps me drivin' on,
waitin on letters from home.

Dear son, I know I ain't written
and sitting here tonight alone in the kitchen it occurs to me
I might not have said it so I'll say it now.
Son, you make me proud.

I hold it up and show my buddies
like we ain't scared and our boots ain't muddy
but no one laughs, cause there ain't nothing funny when a soldier cries,
and I just wipe my eyes.
I fold it up and put it in my shirt,
pick up my gun and get back to work,
and it keeps me drivin' on,
waitin on letters from home.

Thank you