Monday, October 25, 2010


My mom keeps telling everyone that we got spoiled this weekend. I must say, I have to agree with her. No unexpected visits this time - I'm pretty sure I mentioned (once or twice or a million times) that we had planned out a Blackhawks game in Chicago this weekend. Mom picked me up at O'Hare Thursday afternoon, we got to spend the drive back chatting and then we spent the rest of the evening with the guys and my favorite Chinese food.

Friday was spent on a run, some time with the little bro & extended family, then off to a football game at the local high school with my best friend from that time, her hubby (a teacher) and their adorable little girl. After halftime, we packed G (who was really really upset that she was so sleepy and bound and determined to run until she dropped) up in the carseat with her daddy, and then B and I went to one of the local watering holes. Ran into another old friend there (after a bit of confusion b/w me and B on his identity), and unfortunately a drama king decided to join us at our table and cut our night a bit shorter than we wanted as we had to pull a "Hey B, how come K isn't here yet? Wasn't she coming? We should call her now!" to get away from him. We ended up going back to her house and chatting with her hubby for a while before crashing for the night.

Saturday, though...we packed Mom, Dad, & Bro into the car and headed back up to Chicago. That's when the spoiling really started. We got to the United Center before the gates opened, so we wandered around and happened to find the lot the players park in. Most of them were already there, I guess, but we watched Pat Foley and Marian Hossa park and go in - my brother is now madly in love with the Bentley that Hoss showed up in - and we watched one of the employees start moving cars around. We saw him move a big SUV to right in front of the Mustang Pat Foley had shown up in, and just as my dad joked “Wouldn’t it be funny if that was Eddie O’s car they just used to block in Pat Foley?” Eddie O himself came out to put his bag in that very car! We about died laughing. Mom also wondered how many car-moving pranks got pulled, and it turns out at least one - Kaner’s car apparently got regularly moved on him during his rookie year, according to the game program! =)

Mom about had a heart attack when she saw our seats - I refused to tell them where we were sitting beforehand. She teasingly complained about it to the guy at the gate, who snickered and told her she better be happy with such horrible seats. We walked almost straight from the gate down into the rink, where the usher, of course, does his job and says “oh yeah, just keep going down the stairs, you’re the second row up from the ice on the other side of the aisle from the bench” and after we picked Mom’s jaw up off the floor and made it down, I don’t think she stopped saying “Oh my gosh!” until the first intermission. My brother got hooked during warmups; he’s been tolerant of our hockey adoration but I think this is the first time he actually got it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him grin so much!

2500 mile plane ticket: $250
4 Blackhawks tix @ the UC: $X
Sharing a hockey game with your family for the first time: PRICELESS!

More pics of the game up on my Facebook & Flickr accounts (same pics, just different places). Unfortunately they lost, but hey, they've played 10 times in 16 days, with only a max of one day off between games and they looked fairly exhausted. I hope they're taking advantage of their couple days off now and getting some rest! But both of my favorite players scored goals, we got to hear "Chelsea Dagger" and the National Anthem UC-style, and we were thisclose to our guys!

(Why yes, that trio of hockey awesomeness is Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Captain Serious - Jonathan Toews - sitting there all in a row. Right Next To Us!)

Sunday, we got some breakfast, then headed to the airport. Got a bit of knitting done on the flights - I'm finishing up a Puck This! swap package - drove home from LA, and crashed pretty hard after getting chewed out by a thoroughly ticked off cat.

It was very cool to see my first home game with my family. I can't wait until next month when the Hawks come out to Cali!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

One Year Ago... was one of the longest days of my life. I didn't wake up in my comfortable, queen-sized bed with soft sheets and a warm comforter and the cat snoring next to me; I woke up on a hard mattress with cheap sheets and a wool blanket and fifty other girls waking up around me. My alarm clock didn't go off, waking me up with my favorite songs; "reveille" took its first step in becoming one of my most hated songs ever. My exercise wasn't spending two hours in the dojahng with some friends each evening; we were out on the track doing pushups, situps, and running with the rest of the squadron before the sun even thought about rising. Breakfast wasn't a leisurely cup of coffee and a muffin while chatting with friends online; there was no speaking at any meal as we ate whatever we could wolf down as quickly as we could and prayed we didn't get screamed at by the TIs stalking between the tables. Getting ready for the day didn't include a warm shower and picking out a professional yet still flirty outfit; it was a quick rinse and the only thing in the "closet" was, while comfortable, quite possibly the most unflattering thing I've ever worn. We didn't learn about orbital mechanics or aerospace design in classes; we learned how to challenge and kill enemies, look for IEDs and apply first aid to those wounded in combat. We didn't relax in front of the tv at the end of the day; evenings were spent scrubbing and folding and praying you would have time to write a letter home. Mail didn't come in a digital inbox; it was a card or a letter you could hold in your hand and cherish and look at to help get you through the next day. Phone calls with home didn't make you roll your eyes and wonder what Mom wanted now; they were your lifeline to the outside world and became the most important twenty minutes of the whole week.

One year ago, I needed a drivers' license to get to work instead of a military ID, two badges and several PINs.
One year ago, the phrase "being a wingman" would have only meant something at a bar instead of in daily life.
One year ago, people in uniform would have been set apart, instead of brothers in arms.
One year ago, a memorial service would have included a black dress instead of a salute.
One year ago, I was a trainee instead of an Airman.

What a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Some things you just can't look forward to

From the East out to the Western shore
Where many men and many more will fall
But no angel flies with me tonight
Till freedom reigns on all
And curse the name for which we slaved our days
Till every man shall his kingdom come
But sure as night turns day
Ends the passion play
Oh my god what have they done
With madman's rage, well they dug our graves
But the dead rise again you fools

Walk away me boys, walk away me boys
And by morning we'll be free
Wipe that golden tear from your mother dear
And raise what's left of the flag for me

-Flogging Molly, What's Left Of The Flag

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Bragging A Bit

It's been more of those "lots of things going on but not really a lot to talk about" kind of days. Busy training at work still, and I'm liking the job more as I get into it. I like the variety of things we do, although I hope I get a little more confidence soon, because it's really scary to think "oh man, what did I do this time? Is this sensor having problems because of me?? Did I take down the entire network??" (Note: it's very very unlikely that anything I do will irrevocably screw anything up, but you know me; I'm usually that one-in-a-million case!) We also do a lot of statistical analysis, which I always enjoy for the sole purpose that it lets me make pretty graphs in Excel. (Learn and love Microsoft Excel - it's one of the best tools you can use in the office. Pop the right numbers into cells, make a bar graph with some of them, a line graph with others - approximately five minutes of work, counting font-tweaking time - and a captain will walk by and say "wow, that looks good! Nice work! How long have you been working on this? You should go home!" Trufax!)

I have been able to achieve two of my financial goals so far this year. I have one credit card completely paid off now AND paid for, in cash, the best tickets I could afford to two Blackhawks games - one here in LA against the Kings in November and ONE AT THE UNITED CENTER IN CHICAGO in two weeks!! (Why no, I'm not excited. Wherever would you get that impression??) Actually, four tickets to the Chicago game - my family is going with me! The plane ticket was also paid for in cash. And I should be able to make it to at least one more game this season! I'm very pleased with myself right now.

I'm also proud of myself on the exercise front. I haven't been to the dojahng in several weeks, unfortunately. Honestly, by the time I get home from work, the very last thing I want, or even have time, to do is go out again. So instead, I've been stopping by the gym on the way home from work. Tuesdays and Thursdays are either weights or off-days, and Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays are running days. I use the trail, the track, or the treadmill depending on the weather conditions and the workout, and Saturdays I run in Santa Maria. I have a program set up through Adidas' MiCoach system, which I really like. The workouts are fairly short, usually 16-25 minutes, so it's really easy to do the "Ugh, I so do not feel like running today! But it's only another 20 minutes of my life and then I can go home and sleep!" thing. I have it set where I do three days of interval training, including one day of sprints, and one day of a steady run. The only thing I don't like about it is that the GPS doesn't work so good with the iPhone, which really screws up your distance and pacing results. I'm thinking about getting a different compatible GPS tracker to see if that helps. I think I've been actually averaging around 2 miles per workout, though, and honestly, having it set up in advance makes it so much easier to stay motivated. I've been really consistent with it so far, and, while I still don't like running, I do think I am getting closer to being back to where I was at before.

I think that's about it for now. I just finished a conversation with a friend in Seattle, and all the games I care about today are much later this afternoon/evening, so it's probably a good time to run some errands and hit the library to finish up term paper research. Thank goodness it's a three-day weekend - the paper is due Monday night! ;-)