Summer-there time, thanks.

So, it’s been a while!

I did my ASL DVDs, am at the halfway point of my last two classes, and have had my oldest turn one year older.  Little Man’s birthday (he who refuses to be called by his name by me, I have to call him my Spider Monkey) is next, and our reading lessons are going well.  Sounds as if all is going smoothly, yes?

Yeah, the thing about that…

This time of year always makes me…funny.  It’s always held such huge transitionary issues, and later, bad Will Smith songs.  School letting out each year, moving off base and out of Idaho in 1990, making the National All-Star team in 1995, losing a friend for the first time in 1996, graduating and getting my first job that same year.  I became engaged in July 2002 at the top of the Space Needle, and discovered I was pregnant with Liam in July 2004.  Brendan was born in June 2008.  I returned to the workforce after five years in summer 2010 and I’ll be finishing my current bout of schooling in July.

Not only that, but I practically have to bathe in sunscreen, and that just makes me feel goopy.

I don’t mean to come off as though I’m complaining.  I’m really not.  One of my best memories is getting up at heaven-knows-what-time o’clock back in Idaho.  I lived on an Air Force base surrounded by at least 10 miles of sagebrush and rattlesnakes.  And nothing else.  But that place had everything one would need in a town, and I was off to explore it on my too-big red ten speed bike.  I’d have to stand on the front porch to ensure I could get on, then I’d be gone.  The NCO club was my first stop.  The kildeer would nest in the volcanic rock in the parking lot and I would monitor the progress of the mounds of the little speckled eggs.  Not to say that Mama Kildeer wasn’t giving the skinny towheaded kid some side-eye, though.

Next stop was the flightline.  This was the 80s, and all of the fighter pilot movies were huge.  Iron Eagle, Top Gun, you get the idea.  I’d find a flat rock and watch fighter jets take off for hours!  I was surrounded by these guys, and their awesome planes.  They’d end up at our house for impromptu front yard baseball games.  The airmen must have been in their early 20s, max and were often too broke to fly to wherever home may have been.  We’d have them over for steaks on the charcoal BBQ and they’d join in on the batting practice Dad would be razzing me through.  By this time, it was about noon, and all the neighborhood kids would be out.  Have you ever seen photos of New York City in the 1940s?  That’s what our section of the base resembled.  I freaking loved it. 

Turnover on the base could be high, families being assigned here and there.  We were the rarity, not moving once in ten years.  We were so involved with the community, I couldn’t imagine living someplace else.  I’d walk to meet Dad partway on his way home, and we’d walk home together.  Had to make our time where we could, as he could be stationed who knows where at any given point.  He wore several pagers (yeah, I’m that old) that were constantly going off.  Mom was getting more and more mad.  A change had to be made.  She’d grown up military, so knew the gig.  However, trying to raise two girls pretty much alone was getting old.  She asked Dad to retire, and he did, June 1990.  We then moved to Washington State, wet side.  I had no idea what those big giant green things growing everywhere were, but my lungs hated them.  I eventually learned that these were called “trees”.  My lungs still don’t like them.

That was the start of the large summer transitions.  This year is going to hold another, next year will be just as big.  Unless Marketing continues to kick my rear, I am graduating in July.  I will have most of what I need to get the job I’ve been wanting to have.  I’m excited, but still pretty scared.  I’ll be returning to work part-time since Bren will be starting preschool.  The next year, I can go pretty much full-time. 

I hate transitions.  I imagine that’s why I drive 90s model Fords. 

But, there’s no stopping it.  I have my suits ready for interviews, networking being done, education to finish up.  Just have to work through the nerves.  That’ll come, I suppose.  In the meantime, I may just have to take myself on an early morning bike ride and find some other type of bird to stalk.

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On Becoming A Sensation…

Remember how I said in my first post that I’d rather be in bed than a bar?

Guess what I did on St. Patrick’s Day?  I went to what seemed to be every bar in Richmond and handed out condoms to drunks.

It was part of the “Getting Lucky?” initiative at the Heart of Richmond AIDS Society where I volunteer.  Let’s be safe, people!  But can I just share with you that this had to be one of the more awkward situations of my life?  There’s nothing like crashing someone’s dinner and handing out prophylactics.  Presumptuous, don’t you think?  “You look like you might be getting some tonight!  Here!  I am praying you’re not related!”  Conversely, if I DON’T give them to someone, what does that say?  “Your shirt is birth control enough, Sparky.  But here’s a rubber glove, if you still want to be safe!”  Fraught with peril, that night was.

But, I have been receiving confirmation without condoms myself, lately.  I snagged the volunteer position I was hoping for, Keep A Breast Canada is still looking to have me help them with events (yay!), and I’ve been offered a job (repeatedly) that I cannot accept.  Makes one almost bouncy.  But the oddest confirmation came from a place I was not expecting it…

Yesterday, I attended a professional development breakfast put on by the American Fundraising Professionals group here.  It’s about telling stories to motivate both your staff and donor base.  Sounds like something I could use for my future grown-up job, so I dragged myself out of bed at 5:15, put on a pretty dress, and off I went.

We were tasked to tell a story about how we have used a story to motivate staff and/or fund raising.

Yeah, the thing about that…

I’ve never done fundraising like they’re talking about.  What on earth do I say?  How do I not sound like a fool?

I am the last in my group of four to tell my story.  So I relate the tale about my first management job, and the issues that it brought.  Sort of an anti-motivational, if you will.  At one point during my narrative, I noticed they were all leaning forward.  They laughed at my jokes.  They were nodding.

Biscuits and gravy, Bristow.  I thought to myself.  You have UNDIVIDED ATTENTION.  Why doesn’t this work on your children?!  Wait, what?  Why are they looking at me?  Do they want me to feed them or take them to the park?

Focus!

When the facilitator came around, she asked who among us had the best story.  Three fingers pointed my direction.

Aw, thanks, y’all.

But I pointed out that my story was only within shouting distance of being on topic, and nominated the lovely lady from the Red Cross who invoked a mental image that gave me baby goosebumps.

I left and went home to put on jeans and go grocery shopping.  Talk about your paradigm shifts.  But instances like these are reinforcing my decision in little ways.  I really feel like this is what I am best suited for.  Having others validate this through offers of employment or requests for help is just…I don’t have the word.  It kind of feels like being internally carbonated.  It’s a physical sensation I get when something is just going RIGHT.  I’ve got that feeling, and it’s freaking fantastic.

Please, no one shake me.  I may explode.

Paging The Pursuit of Happiness…

I’m an adult now.

There’s really no escaping this fact.  I’d rather be in bed than a bar.  Stuff I used to listen to in high school is now being considered “old school”.  I detect the tip-toeing of crow’s feet.  And the weird small people in my house keep calling me “Mama” and expect me to feed them.

I shouldn’t bash the weird small people, though.  If I hadn’t had them, I wouldn’t have had the time to ponder my now-misshapen navel and figure out what I wanted to be now that I’m grown up.  As it stands now, if I manage to pass Financial Management, I will be finished with my Nonprofit Management program and I can finally begin work.

Yeah, the thing about that…

I may have gone a little nuts.  I know, so unlike me.  I figured my school was going to be over, Bren would be starting preschool, and I could just take on contract projects here and there.    But no.  I had to jump in the deep end without my floaties because I am a colossal dumb ass who has to prove her worth to the world.  The world, however, does not care.  I know this.  But does it stop me?  Of course not.

I’ve got myself signed up for an additional course come April.  So that’s three total.  I also somehow figured that this would be the PERFECT time to become fluent in ASL.  I ordered DVDs that I can learn from, when they’re not sitting unused, giving me the slacker stink eye.  I volunteer, so there are upcoming events that I am going to be a part of.  Is this one group?  No!  Three!  Join ALL the charities!  Plan ALL the events!  Drink ALL the Red Bull!  (Which sadly, Brendan points out to me in grocery stores and tells me I’m out of my favorite drink.  But I’ve been off it for months!)

The boys’ birthdays are coming up.  Liam’s in a couple of weeks, and I’ve had that all planned for a while.  He wants a Titanic-themed birthday, so I was glad to oblige.  We are going on a ferry to Vancouver Island, so I hope not to carry the theme too far, if you know what I mean.  So Liam’s cake will be in the shape of an iceberg, because I figured that would be somehow easier than making an ocean liner.  Bren wants a pirate birthday, which will be easy to swing.  Part of me wonders if I just couldn’t combine the two and throw a Pirates on the Titanic theme, but that’s just not cool.

Incidentally, did you know that the process of an iceberg falling off the larger ice face is called calving?  Now you do.  If they ask me that on my upcoming Jeopardy test, I’ll be freaking ecstatic.

Part of the reason I’m writing this blog is to help keep myself accountable.  I could cheerfully spend the entire day in my PJs, reading Damn You Auto Correct and eating yogurt.  But I can’t.  I’m an adult.  I have to get off my rear and get things done.  I got one paper closer to being school being completed today, and I’ve got to keep the momentum going.  So I am going to chart my progress on here.  Odd little observations, frustrations, good news, setbacks, it’s all going up.  No filtering, but that’s to be expected.  If you want polite, I’m sorry, you’re in the wrong place.  Now GTFO.

I hope you enjoyed our maiden voyage here.  It’s better than the Titanic’s, after all.