the one thing i really want to do…

You know how when you’re a kid and you’re on the cusp of being able to make your own decisions, and just when you thought you were able to make those decisions without regard for anyone else’s opinion, they slap this one on you: “you need to have a goal.”

What?  A goal?  I’m only <insert age here> how the heck am I supposed to know what I want to do further than ten minutes from now?  The only reason I wait until the weekend or even the next day is because there’s other stuff (like getting a ride) in the way of going out and being with my friends!

So there’s pretty much two ways to go: you say “I don’t give a damn about your conformist goals” and pretty much go nowhere unless you’re a: insanely lucky, or b: change your way of thinking to number two: “I suppose I should have goals, it’s the right thing to do…”  I am in this latter category.

I spent a lot of my life making the decisions I made out of guilt.  I still do it, in fact.  Has this practice lead me astray?  Maybe once or twice, but on the whole, not really.  Do I wish I didn’t do it?  HELL YES.  Can you imagine what it feels like to feel guilty all the time about one thing or another?  I’m starting to think that Catholic Guilt is genetic, because while my mother never made us go to church, she was subjected to it as a child, so maybe that’s where I get it from…  Or maybe it happens with baptism!  Mum said she baptised me to make sure “I had my bases covered.”  Whatever that means.  I bet that holy water has something in it that just makes you feel guilty about everything for the rest of your life…

But back to the issue at hand: goals.  Completing goals that you set because someone else (inadvertently or purposefully) guilted you into working towards feels good for about 3 seconds, and then you’re left sitting there with the most pathetic look on your face and you’re thinking: “Why did I even do this, really?  I don’t even care about it that much.  In fact, the only reason I care about it at all is because such-and-such cares about it…”

Is that really a fulfilling way to live?  Because our friends, mentors, parents, whomever, put these ideas of what is important into our heads, and then we either disappoint them or disappoint ourselves?  That sucks!

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the advise and coaxing from the people in my life, from my mother especially, because if I didn’t listen to those people, I guarantee I’d still be living with my parents.  But…  Is that really the only way to accomplish anything?  By completing a string of achievements that you couldn’t care less about, only to get to the place you thought you wanted to be, and it’s a coin toss whether you like it or not?  That’s why I’m terrified of completing this Master’s program; what if I finish and get hired and start working and two months later all I can think is “get me the hell out of here!”?  Then what?  Have I just wasted my money, Dave’s money, my time, my professors’ time, just to find out that it’s not for me?  HOW DO YOU PEOPLE WITH DEGREES CHOOSE MAJORS???

Can you tell I suck at making my own decisions?  I cannot stand making decisions (well, mostly, sometimes it’s pretty easy, but that’s rare) because I’m afraid of being wrong.  Even decisions that have no right or wrong answer, I sweat over them trying to figure out the best one.  It’s ridiculous and exhausting.

The one goal that I’ve always had that never came from anyone else was to write a book and get it published.  That’s it.  No unrealistic expectations like “must be a bestseller,” spawn a movie or TV series,” or “land in Oprah’s Book Club.”  I don’t care if it’s successful or not, I just want to make sure I like it, and that it gets on a shelf somewhere.  As long as I can say to myself “I am a published author,” I’m good.  Just thinking about it makes me feel like the sun is shining inside my heart.

Oh yeah.  One more thing.  I wanted to be published before I’m 30.

Crap!  A deadline!  It seemed so easy when I put the deadline down at 13 years old… but now I’m twice that, I’m in school, and you know what, I actually have time to do it, so what better time than now?  I’ve got a basic outline of what I want to write, and I’m working on filling it in with great writing, which is actually pretty funny to me because I used to HATE the traditional writing process.  I used to just go.  I never had a plan, I would just write furiously until I couldn’t write anymore, and then I’d never finish.  Any big writing assignment I did usually ended in a crappy ending where I’d lost interest, or, if it wasn’t for an assignment, I would just never finish for some reason.  I would get totally into writing about something, and then as suddenly as the urge to write came, it would be gone.  I don’t want that to get in the way of my dream.  I know it’s probably going to take me forever to write, because if I don’t feel like writing, and I try to write, it sucks.  So I’ll have to wait for the urge, or find some kind of trigger for it (caffeine?) in order to get it done.  Then there’s the wonderful fun of finding an editor, publisher, publicist, people to actually read it…  I know I said I didn’t care if it was a bestseller, and I don’t, but I want at least a few people to read it, come on!

Who knows, maybe someday it will be a bestseller, but I think if that happened, my head would explode, that’s just too much to even imagine…

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widows of mw3…

I have lost Dave.  Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 came out this week, and it is IMPOSSIBLE for him to go a day without playing it for at least four hours – and that’s just while I’m home awake.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome that he has something to do that doesn’t involve me so that I can write, or get my homework done, or whatever, but I can’t wait until he has his man-cave so I can get the stupid music out of my head!  I also tend to jump when he gets upset and yells at the other people playing (though they can’t hear him because the last time he chucked his headset, we never saw it again).

I can’t say that I’m not into video games, I also have my xBox with kinect, and my PC games (I’m actually quite fond of “The Sims 2,” don’t judge me) but I don’t usually get involved with those, probably because I’m always doing other stuff.  Usually, as soon as I walk in the door, it’s cooking dinner, then eating dinner, then I do my homework while Dave does the dishes (he’s so nice!) and he plays video games while I finish my homework.  When I’m finished, he usually turns it off, and we’ll watch some tv for a bit until I finally just can’t stay awake anymore.  I go upstairs, he turns on the PS3.  Not to mention that he splits his time off work fairly evenly between napping and playing MW3, and there’s about a six-hour gap between him getting home and me getting home.

I don’t really mind it, but I do wonder about the effect it’s going to have on other things.  Like when we decide to have kids.  I used to get so angry at my mother for not allowing me to have a game console or unlimited computer time when I was a kid, but now that I think about it, there were many, many times that I stayed up all night playing after I was old enough to deal with the consequences of my own mistakes.  I cannot imagine having that option when I was, say, ten.  I’m hoping that Dave will be able to set a good example once we have kids, and only let them play certain games, for limited amounts of supervised time, and not let the kids be around when he’s virtually massacring everyone in HD…

I do worry that perhaps I’ll be considered “old-fashioned” and over-protective by other parents, but in the grand scheme of things, these are going to be my kids, I’m going to be the one responsible for teaching them, and as much as I don’t want them to be teased like I was for certain stuff, I’d rather that than them running with the wrong crowd, having an inappropriate amount of knowledge about certain things.  I’m actually more concerned with whether or not they’ll even be able to have friends; I’m worried that I won’t be able to find parents that have the same values that I do.  Hell, I’m worried that Dave is going to think I’m nuts!  That’s why I occasionally run this stuff by him so I can kind of test the waters, and so far, he seems cool with it, but that might be because we’re not even married, let alone seriously starting to plan kids, so it might not seem “real” to him yet.  I hope we can come to an agreement on kids before we get married though, because that would be a straight road to ruin if we can’t see eye-to-eye.  I think we’ll compliment each other well, though, I’ll be the crazy over-protective neurotic mother, and he’ll be the laid back “don’t mind your mother, she’s just crazy right now” dad.  We seem to be doing well with the dogs anyway, I think they’re a decent test-drive, especially since our dogs are so damn needy!

this is our baby boy, Spud

and this is Isis, she's REALLY cranky, mostly...

 Yes.  Chihuahuas.  Dave was away when I decided to adopt them, so he didn’t really have a lot of say.  He pretends that they embarrass him, and I’m sure they do sometimes, but I know he loves them anyways, he’s the one holding Spud in that picture, bwahahahahaa!

But back to Call of Duty, is there a support group I can get in on?  I feel so left out, because I suck at first-person shooter, so I can’t play 😦

maybe school just isn’t my thing…

I have GOT to crack down on myself with this homework thing, but all I can think about is getting another job like I had in the Emergency Operations Center on base.  But that requires a Master’s.  So I’m right back where I started.

I used to love school, when that was all I had to do and I didn’t have to worry about money or insurance, or food, I wish I had just finished college from the get-go.  Granted, that would mean that I would have graduated from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island in 2007 with a double-major in Theatre and Music.  Wow.  My life would be SO different…

Sorry, I got lost on a tangent there.  But my life would be a hell of a lot different, that’s for sure…

Unfortunately, since I kind of need money, this whole going to school and not working thing has me really stressed out, even though Dave repeatedly (probably to his great consternation) tells me that it’s okay and he’ll take care of everything.  I would give anything to just go to school, let Dave worry about everything, and just get it done already.

See, what I want to do is be a training and development specialist for a company.  I want to have them tell me what they need training on, and I’ll research it, develop a training plan, and teach the employees how to properly implement it.  I loved doing that in the EOC, it was something I was good at, I was able to learn, and I got to teach people that were (mostly) willing and professional.  I loved that job.  So I have to finish this stupid Bachelor’s in Human Resources and then hopefully I’ll have the fortitude to go on and get the Masters in Training and Development.  So much boring stuff for such an awesome job!  Ew!

First thing’s first though, I’ve got to catch up on my algebra homework or Professor Edwards is going to kill me…

rain, rain, go away…

Yuk.

I hate rain. That’s why I left New England, San Diego was supposed to be warm, and sunny, and 75 degrees every day!  Pththththt, not in November…

I hate rain mostly because I am not only a veteran, I am a disabled veteran, with knee and back damage, so everyone over the age of 40 knows that cold + wet = pain.  My left knee is the size of a dang grapefruit, and that’s supposed to be the GOOD one.  Last night I was using both of my canes, a new experience, but it allowed me to step outside for a smokey treat (yes, I smoke, if you’re in the Service and you don’t, you’re pretty much out of the loop on everything, and you lose opportunities to schmooze your superiors.  I’ve cut back a lot, no lectures please, I’ll quit when I damn well feel like it.  Certainly not when I’m stressed and in pain all the damn time…).

Where was I?  Oh yes, the evil rain…

The other reason I don’t like it is because my dogs don’t like it.  They’re Chihuahuas, and I don’t think they really understand the concept of rain.  I go to take them out and they take one look at that wet path and turn around and go back inside, so I either have to drag them, or carry them to their “spot” and rather than just go so we can go back inside where it’s warm, they stand there, crouched down, ears back, looking at me with THE MOST pathetic expressions ever and then I feel bad for being a terrible mommy.  Manipulative little brats…

they enjoy snuggling on anything made with microPlush..

On the bright side, the fun thing about it being cold and wet is being warm and dry while looking at the cold and the wet and saying taunting things to it (akin to the “nana nana boo boo” adage…) I also made yummy tomato soup with grilled ham and cheese sammiches for Dave and I at lunch, though he politely requested that his soup be swapped for macaroni and cheese (it’s amazing the man is capable of using the bathroom with the amount of cheese he consumes, I swear) but it was a lovely, hearty lunch that brought me back to afternoons at home in the fall, sitting at the table with a book and a bowl of soup, dropping crumbs into the creases the pages, and not even noticing.  I used to DEVOUR books.  I still read quite a bit, and definitely more often than most of the people I know, but I don’t read nearly as much as I used to, which makes me a little sad.  I read a lot on deployments; it was the only way I could wind down in my rack so that I could actually get some sleep before watch.  I remember one time I went on a deployment and I forgot to bring books, don’t ask me how it happened, but thankfully, I had just downloaded Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer on to my iPhone.  I read that book more times than I can count.  At least five.  It was ridiculous.  I distinctly remember skipping entire sections simply because I’d memorized the content.  Thank god it’s a good book!

Breaking Dawn TSBD 1sht Breaking Dawn Pictures

Speaking of “Breaking Dawn”…

OMG!  I’m so excited for the next movie to come out!  Not that I’m a Edward or Jacob freak, but I genuinely like seeing the pictures I’ve imagined on-screen.  They have cast these movies incredibly well, and I even enjoy some of the ways they’ve taken artistic license in order to convert the books to movies. Plus, you get to see the whole story without having to do stuff like eat, sleep, and work in between reading sessions…  I don’t know what it is about Twilight, but you simply must watch “Hey, Shipwreck”s take on the whole female obsession with it…

you’re never totally out of the navy…

It’s been three months. More than that, if you don’t count my terminal leave as time in the Navy. I’ve got a nose ring, pierced my ears two more times, and dyed red streaks into my hair. But even if I look decidedly un-military on the outside, I’m still very much a sailor on the inside.

I have a new job, teaching, in fact, and it’s so completely different from the last six years that I’m still having trouble adjusting. It’s hard to remember that my coworkers aren’t sailors, that the students are just kids, and in their world, there’s no such thing as a “direct order,” and especially no real punishment for disobedience. I find myself tempted to hand out ass-chewings and eight-counts as forms of training and punishment, but that’s ridiculous, especially at the school I work at. This place is so different from the Navy, these children treated so differently from the way I was treated as a child, that it’s hard to keep up.

I have a few friends that are still in, and I’m actually dating a sailor that I met on USS Last Ship, but they are my only link to the world that I knew for the last six years. I envy them. No, seriously, hear me out! Yes, there were parts of Navy life that were unbearable, that’s why I wanted to get out, but let me tell you, getting out is a LOT harder than staying in. Allow me to explain:

Money. My paycheck has been quartered. QUARTERED. That means I make 1/4, or 25%, of what I made when I was enlisted. I made FOUR TIMES MORE IN THE NAVY. That’s ridiculous. Try paying bills when you only make like $250 a week. In freaking San Diego.

Healthcare. Yes, I was separated due to PTS, so I got six months of TRIcare Prime, meaning that I still don’t have to pay for health insurance. But my version SUCKS. I’m sure any dependent can vouch for me when I say we basically have nothing, and it’s only good for horrific accidents that require immediate admittance to the emergency room by ambulance. It takes three weeks to get appointments. By the time we can get seen, whatever the issue is will have gone, or it’ll be too late. It’s ridiculous.

Simplicity. Everyone says the Navy’s the easiest job ever. They’re wrong. It’s not easy, it’s freaking hard! You never get sleep, you have crappy living conditions underway, your working hours in port suck, and there’s a ton of douchebags and losers everywhere. But it is SIMPLE. It’s so straightforward, a four year old can understand: you do what you’re told, or you get in trouble. THAT’S THE ONLY RULE! HOW hard is that to figure out?? In civilian-land, everything’s complicated, it’s delicate, and you have to know things like customer service, even if your job has nothing to do with it (case and point: ridiculous parents that make all these excuses for why their kid is a waste of space, and woe betide you if you tell them their kid isn’t a perfect angel – they freak).

Job Security. Okay, yeah, I got separated due to PTS, which is like getting laid off, but there were other stupid reasons behind it that I’ll get into later that should not have caused that outcome. Regardless, it’s pretty hard to get kicked out. Unless you’re a f#%&up. And then you deserve it.

I find myself torn between missing the Navy, and kissing the ground in gratitude that I got out. I suppose it’s possible to lament some things and not others, however. I guess I’ll just have to remember the good times, and be thankful that I don’t have to deal with all the bad stuff anymore, even though I now have all new bad stuff to deal with which, at the moment, seems WAY worse…