City Girl Goes Outdoorsy

Pivotal moments for my psyche have revolved around the outdoors. Key moments.

Gresham, OR

We had some fairly intense fog in early October of 2013. I don’t live in the mountains, but it damn well felt like it at times.

And then in the second week of December, we had ice and snow at the campus I go to school at. The pond (that people stupidly fish from) froze over.

And then I began my Wilderness Survival class. Most people felt like it was an introduction to camping, but for this city girl who craves the wilds, it was essential coursework. And also, really fun. See: photo above, my first attempt at a shelter. Sorry for the blurriness.

And then, I got better. I got more equipment, and played around with more abstract setups that required minimal tiedowns.

And as we reached the end of the term, I had pretty much everything. I was ready for field day, hell, I was more ready for anything to get out of concrete everythings and not have the sound of cars permeate every waking moment.

Also, can I just say that my hatchet is effing badass?

And the next day, the field day was incredible. We left early, crammed into vans and an hour’s drive later, we pitched our emergency shelters, and completed our scenarios. Team Gladiator scored all 5’s on all 8 scenarios, including the bonus ones. We then decided to make pine needle tea with an old can we found near the river. Much success, such wilderness.

Winter term came to a close. My Wilderness class project, a camping trip to a po-dunk area of Southwestern Oregon near the confluence of the Illinois-Rogue Rivers, was complete, and we were due to leave the following Monday after finals.

My preferred shelter, actually in use, barely stood up to the rain. It was the thought that counts, and I know now what I need to do. Here’s the major parts of what I brought (since we didn’t hike in):

  • Hi-Tec Waterproof Hiking Boots [similar here]
  • Texsport Reinforced Tarp – Camo [here]
  • Thermarest Ridgerest [here]
  • Browning 20 Degree Sleeping Bag
  • High Sierra Access Pack
  • Coleman Hiking Pole
  • Timbuk2 Messenger Bag – Small
  • Cheap crappy solar charger

I also had most of what I included on my field day set mixed in here, with different clothes… except I should’ve brought the snow pants during the camping trip. With how much it rained, I needed them. Hindsight man… hindsight.

But let me show you what a little area called Oak Flat Campground looks like…

Three days here. It rained most of the time, and shown are the intermittent breaks in cover we had. Probably the most beautiful place I have ever spent time in, and I would love to go back someday. Not bad for a first camping trip, eh? Only took 22 years to happen. Next on my bucket list is a multi-day trip somewhere in Eastern Oregon.

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Why Dropping Off The Planet is Needed… Sometimes

Sometimes you get caught up in the daily hub-bub of what it is to be a college student, or what it is to suddenly find out that in September you’ll be an aunty. Sometimes you start reading a really good book and realize a few months later, ho’shit, was I supposed to be writing somewhere?

And then there’s me. I decided to take 17 credits all at once. So let’s do a quick rundown on what’s been happening to me:

  • Got officially accepted into the Forestry program at MHCC. That begins this September.
  • Began EMT-Basic classes. I’m three weeks in.
  • I’ve begun some research on possible leads for my winter job I want to do in 2015. One of them includes being a camp nurse for Multnomah County Outdoor school, or a med assistant, or a program director. I’ll have the credentials needed to apply to anything so it’s just a matter of doing that.
  • My sister is pregnant. She’s having a girl in September and I am way too excited.
  • I have three backpacking trips I want to do. I’ll probably only get one, and if I get the other two I’ll be SO HAPPY.
  • Went on my first camping trip finally, to a place on the Rogue-Illinois River confluence in Southwestern Oregon. I will post pictures this week. 😀

So, that’s a lot, right? Right. I’ll be posting more now that I know what my work load is and how I’m keeping up with everything. Believe me, it’s a ton (about 51 hours a week spent in class or studying/doing homework… so…)

Anyway, don’t lose hope for me yet. I have a recipe I want to post over the next few days, some insider photos of the EMT program and some other stuff planned.

OH! And the man got a job! He’s been working full time for about a month and a half and doing SO well. Couldn’t be more proud 🙂

For now though… it’s back to the grind. Happy Monday everyone. ♥

If they cared, there would be cake.

It seems like this blog runs in waves & warning for this post, there’s a bit of cussing.

From the wave of things going well, to a wave of negativity. I would say that it’s been an easy two months since my last update, but that’s far from it. Mentally it’s been a challenge in adjusting to college life and keeping up with my classes, but I’ll let my current pre-finals GPA of 3.97 stand for itself. I still have two large pieces due soon, and the actual finals to work through, but I feel really good about it despite my anxiety.

Aside from that, my life’s just been… that. Reconnecting with my buddy who went to Alaska, school. The loans I signed myself up for with school have been enough to get me through and a tiny bit more. I am very thankful. I’m going to be in debt by the time I get my Bachelor’s or Master’s if I decide to jump after it, but that’s the price of following your dream I suppose. I’ve also been really lucky this last month that my boyfriend was able to stay for the entire month and celebrate my birthday with being bored and watching way too much Ghost Adventures. I’ll let the photographic evidence speak for itself for how well the time has been lately…

See this? This is a copy that is almost 90% pristine of my favorite roleplaying system, Geist. It’s now out of print and I snagged a copy before the price jumped up trifold.

This is my buddy who went to Alaska’s dog. Her name is Jesse and getting to this point took a lot of video game visits, a lot of cheese treats and waiting for her to adjust to me. She’s a really nervous dog, really anxious about pretty much everyone and hates men even more (yay for not having dangly bits for once on my part), so it was an accomplishment to my friend and I that she trusts me to snuggle me (read: demanding attention and love) while playing Baldur’s Gate.

This odd creeper followed me home on November 4th and demanded to play the copy of Grand Theft Auto 5 I bought for my boyfriend. Oops. This is my boyfriend. I keep telling him he needs to shave more. My cat also mauled him with love when he got here. While he was here we… gasp, spent time together. The previous time he had visited I was still working full time and barely saw him. While he did get on my nerves just a little bit (I think I annoyed him just as much in my defense), it was way better this time around; we’ve finally relaxed around each other and it just concreted in my head how much better this relationship is in comparison to others I’ve had. I can’t express how thankful I am for his patience when it comes to my head.

I turned 22 on the 29th of last month. While I was lucky that I got to spend it with my boyfriend, luckier in that it was during my break from school for the holidays… my depression kicked up. We didn’t really get to do much of anything because of the sudden arrival of a hefty bill that my parents had to tackle, and the plans we were going to do in the evening got mostly cancelled. My parents even mostly forgot until well into the afternoon that it even was my birthday. In hindsight it doesn’t bother me; I understand the situation. The little five year old child hoping to get wool socks and maybe macaroni & cheese at a restaurant didn’t and the monstrous creature that’s my depression an anxiety warped the situation into worse than it was. The five year old that got infected with all that ichor of hate felt like the people who did care in my life, my friends, should’ve at least said hi or something. This breakdown of my head, mentally, happened pretty early on in the day and I eventually got over myself and the lack of macaroni & cheese in my life.

My dad, later that day, made me a pretty epic fucking dinner. I’m talking angus burgers with guacamole, good. And since there was leftover pie, it was better. And beer. Can’t forget the beer. Dead Guy Ale is fucking good.

I guess this picture wraps it up. I feel better now than when I lost my job. I feel more at ease. I don’t know if getting into the Elder Scrolls beta was part of what made November pretty damn good, but I’ll just shrug and accept it. My cat is fine and healthy, I’m fine and healthy, I’m keeping up… I’m okay.

The big black monster still creeps on me day-to-day, but in the end of it all. I am okay.

Social Anxiety and the Beginning of the Job Race

That’s a picture of the Rosemary I planted near the beginning of the summer. I feel it best kinda represents what I’m trying to tackle and the attitude I hope I can hold onto while I try to achieve what I’m trying to achieve.

Losing my job kinda leads me to start thinking about the long run. Are there jobs in my chosen field? Will I be able to handle supporting myself and potentially my significant other for a period of unknown time? There are plenty of jobs in my field, which is highly encouraging. But I need things like a license, and a stable crap job to get me through until I can reach my career.

The revisions my resume has undergone has begun to make me feel a lot better about looking for a job. I’ve posted a brief outline of myself on CraigsList’s resumes section and gotten a few responses, put out a few copies of my resume. It feels really good to have not two or three, but six references who are willing to attest to (what I hope is) my awesomeness. My resume is sitting on the desks of the manager of a local small market and a video game store right now. I’ve applied to the game store twice before, and I hope that third time will indeed be a charm. It’s not too much to look for a part time gig doing just about anything, right?

The second question I’ve been asking myself relates a lot more to how I want to handle my psychological stability. I have a semi-dependent personality and both I & the man know this. We’re very similar in that respect. I’ve only been unemployed a few days, but he’s been unemployed going on a few years now. Being stuck in bum-fuck nowhere does that. The times he’s been down here before have been filled with good times, but also job hunting. Do I think he’ll have a better opportunity down here, to find a job and hold out until he can establish residency? Yes, it’s with 110% certainty I say that. Am I financially stable to support both he and I as well as my beloved fur babies while I go to school? That.. I’m more worried about. 

The idealist in me wants to say, YES, yes, it will be just fine. But the realist in me is screaming NO, no, it won’t be fine. And I’m just sitting here, on a slowly dwindling away monthly transit pass, scrolling through CraigsList and spending my afternoons turning in my resumes to whoever will give it a glance. All while putting in 150% effort in at school, to understand algebra (which I have absolutely no confidence in but apparently I have an A in the class so far?) and remember how the bloody fuck to write a paper.

Each time I approach an employee somewhere I get this screaming wave of terror that they’ll laugh at me, that I’ll be ignored or that I will be seen as “sub-par”. I’m scared they’ll judge me by the pants that just barely fit and the dress shirt that’s too big, and not by the fact that I’m well kept, responsible and ensure tasteful placement of my piercings as well as consideration to keep the only religious symbol I own on my person under the tshirt that also hides the text of the tattoo I have along my collarbone.

So, what does a picture of a flourishing Rosemary plant have to do with my job hunt? I’ve barely paid attention to it over the summer. I’ve let nature take it’s course in letting it root down in the barrel it’s planted in, watering it only slightly while it got extremely dry over the summer. The damn plant seems to have just slowed down, and taken root as much as it can before slowly getting bigger and bigger. It kept on going.

So here’s to hoping. That my fat ass can keep on going.

The light at the end of the tunnel

It’s been way more than a month since I’ve updated this, and with the big black monster I addressed several posts ago looming over my shoulder, this is how I’m trying to handle it.

I’m disappointed to say that I was fired from my job just yesterday. It was unexpected, and unjust; filing unemployment and a complaint with the labor bureau (shout out to Boz) and adjusting my financial aid with my new jobless status. Oof. I had to literally knock myself out last night. It took two advil PM’s and a few cups of Trader Joe’s Well Rested tea. The self loathing is intolerable. But I guess there’s more than a few things that are positive right now that I’m gonna try to focus on.

First off, school is going well so far. I’m keeping up with my Math 60 class (beginning algebra) so far, been keeping up with all the reading for both Ancient History and Intro to Natural Resources. The very first yoga class I have ever had was way more enjoyable than I anticipated. My yoga instructor (that class is 3 hours long, just btw) is also the instructor for the Wilderness Survival class I will be taking sometime this year, and she is extremely chill.

Losing my job means for the first time in well over a year, I have another 60 hours a week back. That’s a job & homework right there. I’ve already applied to places in town and I’m getting some things put together, such as a photography gig Saturday evening at Edgefield and possibly some freelance drawing for the game shop’s Magic tournaments. I’m sleeping more and I’m not as bad off as I feel I am.

I will be okay, I think. I just need to keep on trekking.

Addendum: considering writing a book… I have one sitting in limbo. Decisions, decisions…

Tricks and things and patriotism

Insert something red, white and blue here. Probably a flag. Add in something about our military service and how much we appreciate them. Goodness knows, I do.
There’s a comic floating around the internet by a certain Danish artist who personifies the major countries ala usually armless people that vaguely resembles Hetalia. The last panel has the U.S., who has been trying to get the attention of daddy Britain for so long, throwing a tea pot off a boardwalk. Accurate, but this act of rebellion was one of the first that led our nation to its freedom. Happy Birthday, see the Boston Tea party for more info.
Now, we were built upon the idea of freedom. Freedom of speech, religion, etc etc. Freedom to paint your house rainbow and name your daughter North West. But here’s what pisses me off about how our country has turned out over the last hundred years.
The government invests money into big businesses instead of its populace. Instead of funding education, we fund bailouts for banks. Instead of making life a priority, profit is. Hundreds of thousands of people my age are in debt for a degree, making half of what they should. Poverty is common. News is censored so the general public doesn’t realize that all the bullshit is dropping all around us and the news anchors are spraying a febreeze of elephants playing in the waves.
And here I am. Getting lost in my ignorance, fighting every day with myself to keep anxiety at bay, trying my damndest to make my dreams come true.
Think for a moment. Do you remember a time in your life where you dreamed? I’m not talking about seahorses doing the electric slide in your backyard. Dreamed. Planned out how you would work hard, build a castle, go to outer space, meet people in other countries. Open a bookstore or become a doctor.
What happened to that, America? Where did your dreams go?

Adrenaline

I’ve been working very hard lately. My boyfriend is in town currently, I’m filling out school paperwork and items for my FAFSA and loan information, and throughout all of it…. I’m still vegetarian.

Usually by now I’ll have broken and jumped to the nearest meaty comfort food (my personal favorite is biscuits & sausage gravy, which I may post the recipe for soon because I want to make it Saturday morning), but for some reason I’ve been able to beat the craving. I’m going to blame the bounties of summer & her fresh vegetables and the promise of my own measly zucchini plant finally pushing out a single squash (did you know that? zucchini is a squash? yeah? oh..). The recipe I tried this week and totally spaced on taking pictures about was Eggplant Parmesan. I literally had no idea what I was doing but it turned out pretty decently. Well. Amazing enough that I had to put my foot down in order for there to be leftovers.

But that’s enough of that. There’s a bigger issue in all of this. Working full time (at minimum wage, no less) with a commute that adds another 20 hours to my work week that is unpaid for has finally taken it’s toll. I am exhausted.

I need something better. I need a new start and I need to focus on school. I can’t be distracted…

This short post is here for one purpose and that’s to alert the masses that for the first time since 17, I won’t be trying to work as many hours as I can. I won’t balance it with school. I either will be working weekends or evenings, but I feel there’s a big chance I will be attempting to ease myself out of working my current job to find something else to pay my core bills while I go to school.

I’m terrified. Let me say that again. Terrified. All of my friends have moved on to either university or are almost finished. I turn 22 at the end of the year and while that’s not that big of a deal, I’ll be older than the other freshman. I haven’t taken a math course in six years and I have never been through this scary process of applying for aid & loans. Not only that, I have my animals to worry about. I have that beautiful kitty Peaches and my wonderful little crazy ball of poo, Annie. I know there’s going to be bigger vet bills for the cat in the future and Annie will be reaching two this December.

This is me having a panic attack. It’s an irrational fear of the future and the small things that has me nearly hyperventilating as I sit at the kitchen table, waiting for my breakfast muffin.. things.. to finish baking in the oven before I run out of here in a whirlwind to replace my phone charger and then leave for another 1.8 hour commute and 7 hour shift and another 1.8 hour commute back. Run on sentences. Self loathing for run on sentences. Coffee gulp. Stare at the screen for a few minutes with a twisting feeling in my stomach. Yep.

This is what a panic attack does to me.