Friday, January 24, 2014

Christmas Tree

Dear friends,

how are you? I'm good. I'm lying in bed typing this, wearing my navy hoodie, hand knit socks, and snuggling up under the blankets. We are only heating the upstairs of our house , which means that it's like 58 downstairs or something crazy, no way I'm going down there! Just THINKING about washing dishes by hand makes me cold.

Aaron and I were sick for like 3 weeks (Aaron got sick a week before me, and then I got sick, it was a whole thing. ) This means that I have been canceling a lot of my social plans, my house was trashed (although game night last weekend so it's relatively clean now from that, ), and MY CHRISTMAS TREE IS STILL UP. We got so many lovely ornaments in the mail from Aaron's Grandmother, and they were all wrapped up so nicely, and they are all very dear, so I'm kind of afraid to put them away. I think I might put them away wrong or break them in the wrapping process. I'm not brave enough to do it myself, and I can't get sick husband to do any cleaning. (He was REALLY sick. ).

I've officially invited a bunch of people over to my house on monday for a 'knitting circle', so I REALLY hope I am able to put away all of the Christmas stuff before then. I'm inviting my two Georgia crafting BFFs, and they would understand, but I'm also inviting a whole bunch of other girls from work who I've never really hung out with before... SUPER NERVOUS. I'm turning into some kind of weird bipolar extroverted introvert. I mean, I own a SPINNING WHEEL for gods sake, I'm not exactly part of the 'friday night' scene... so why am I facing the possibility of having  SEVEN people at my house, whom I apparently invited of my own free will, thinking it was a good idea? What's going to happen when they all realize how boring I am?

A lot of the time it feels like *all* I do is work and sleep. And when *all* you do is work and sleep, even an introvert starts to crave human company. I need SOMETHING to look forward to to make life worth living, and I think it's human nature to want diversity. (Otherwise my husband and our little game night would be enough social activity for me. )

I'm not really interested in bars or other eating-out socializing, and the only other thing I really like to do is craft, so in a way it makes sense to want to craft together with other people. I've always wanted to be a member of a knitting group, but I've never really clicked with the ones I've tried.

There's a knitting group that meets here that I've never attended because they meet in restaurants, at 8PM which just isn't my thing,
And I tried the spinning group here once and swore off it. I'm a firm believer that you should be able to interact and connect with people who are different ages from you, but I just did NOT feel welcome or comfortable in that group at all. It was the first time I really understood the meaning of the phrase "generation gap", and it was not fun at all.

I'm hoping this will be better. For starters, I suggested we watch 'princess movies' as background/ice breaker activity while we craft (I'm not sure if this is true of everyone, but wearing a uniform every day can turn the most die-hard tomboy into a dress-obsessed princess fanatic. I've seen it happen.  )
I asked one girl to bring DVDs because I don't own any, but if technology works out and everyone is OK with it, I kinda want to stream Penelope from netflix. I LOVE that movie so much! And it's got just enough 'princess' without being too overboard for anyone who might be allergic to Disney, IMHO.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Vowels in a Bar fight

As a Military Linguist, I work and live in a very tight circle. I have trouble keeping in contact with my family and out-of-state friends, and ALL of my current 'friends' that I can hang out with in person work in the same field as me. This means that I'm pretty used to being able to make some random comment and having EVERYONE in the room nod knowingly. My jokes are pretty much all 'inside jokes'.  Every now and then - like today when I talked to my dad - I get jolted out of that little bubble, and it's like this weird complete shock to be reminded that not everyone in the world is on the same page with me.

It's cold out right now. "Should have been a Korean linguist" means "Wish I were stationed in hawaii"

It's totally safe to assume that if "Iraqi" is in anyway mentioned in a  homework or test question, the answer is either "Bombs"  or "No power, food, energy, water, government support, or security."

The question  "How can I tell if....."  Will always be met with the response "Context" followed by everyone else in the room smirking at you as if you were an idiot.

I hear about 3 nerdy grammar jokes a day, minimum.

Jokes about obscure middle-eastern countries are also common.

More than half of the people I work with either grew up on a farm, worked on a farm over the summer for free, wants to become a farmer after getting out, or both.
Is it a coincidence that farmers and military personnel are both very low percentages of the US population?

On a completely different note. I made these White Chocolate Cranberry Scones on Sunday. EXCEPT that I didn't have cranberries so I made them with just the white chocolate.

They are pretty good, but I realized after one bite that there are TOO many white chocolate chips. If I were to make them again I would at least halve them. However what I really want to do is substitute the fruit and chocolate for spinach and cheddar cheese. I think that would be EPICLY DELICIOUS!!

Monday, January 13, 2014


In the world of internet forums, there are lots of acronyms and abbreviations. The mommy forums are no different. SAHM = Stay At Home Mom and WOHM = Work Out of Home Mom. Growing up and all through high school and college, my one and only goal was to be a SAHM. I only went to college and got a degree (in something that I thought was fun and I'm not even using in my current job) in the event that I *might* have to work to help support my family. It never occurred to me that I would be the primary breadwinner at any point in time. Then life happened. I find myself now a WOHM while my husband stays home doing the "job" I always thought I would have. The more I think about it, the more I do things to advance myself in my job and take another step towards a career, the more I'm actually ok with it. I'm not resentful that Dan is home with the kids like I thought I would be, I mean, I was initially, but then on cranky days or tantrum days, I leave the house and speak with adults. Don't get me wrong, if we won the lottery or if Dan were offered a salary at his current job, I'd be staying home in a heartbeat. I guess I've more or less "made the most" of having to work. I've looked for the silver lining and found it, more than once.

Then I think about eventually being a SAHM. After working so long, could I really give it up? Maybe not completely. I'd be happy working part time. What about when the kids get older? Even though we're thinking about homeschooling, eventually they'll go off to college or trade school, what then? Do I just go back into the work force after taking all that time off? Do I look at doing something completely different than what I got my degree in? I don't have to decide any of these things now and that's good I guess, having time to think about it.

There's potentially another position opening up at work. Rumors that someone in a senior spot will be leaving, so if I applied for it, I'd still be a contractor on the same contract but have the word "senior" in my title (dunno about a pay raise). I was offered this exact spot almost a year ago actually (Jessica it would have been working with Brian back then LOL), but at the time I enjoyed the work I was currently doing more and I especially liked the people I was with. I couldn't see leaving people I knew I liked and work I knew I didn't hate for a job that sounded boring with people I didn't know. Since then, I've been working on being seen by management of my group at functions, doing a fabulous job, and getting work completed in a quick and efficient manner. My goal would be to get noticed and hired this way, but almost a year later I'm still doing exactly what I was doing before without even the promise or hint of something opening up in the department I'm in.There's been talk, a lot of "it sure would be nice if we hired you", but nothing concrete. I've been passive-aggressively doing things to be "seen" with very little to show for it. I still like where I am, I still like the people, I even like my desk location, but my perspective has changed.

I know sometimes these things can take time, but how long am I personally willing to wait? That leads me back to SAHM or WOHM, why bother working towards a long term job/career goal if I'm going to give it all up eventually anyway? If I got my dream job in the video department like I've been waiting for since 2009, could I then give it up to stay home with the kids? If staying home with the kids is my end-game, why does the work I'm doing matter? I should just take the job that pays the most so that we're closer to our long-term goal of putting Dan through night school for technical training so he can eventually be the breadwinner and then I can stay home.

Lyndsay, we need to win the lottery and open our own yarn store so I don't have to think about these things!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Time Warp

Yesterday was my first day of class, and I still don't know how I feel about that.
I've been REALLY looking forward to it, as a way to escape work and get back on days. I love that I actually get to DO things and have some sort of intellectual challenge every day, and I love walking outside and being able to see the sun. So those things are pluses.
I'm taking Standard MSA though, which is super hard! As a Dialect learner, Standard MSA might as well be a completely different language. I can barely understand a word the teacher says!  Plus Aaron is still working from 2 PM to 11 PM, so last night I stayed up until midnight to see him, and I have to be in class by 8:30  >.<  I'm too old for that shit.  I need to be better about getting enough sleep!

On a side note. It's literally freezing here. It doesn't feel like our heater can keep up!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I have a love-hate relationship with Japanese.

I have wanted to learn to speak Japanese for as long as I can remember. I was born in Japan, and while my parents moved back to the states long before I was old enough to remember anything from Japan, I have an entire baby album with pictures of me there. The album was bought in Japan and is full of Kanji, and all of the Japanese congraulataions cards that my mom got when I was born are in there, also covered with kanji.  I used to look through my album a lot as a kid, and from the moment I was old enough to understand that those funny looking characters represented a Language completely diferent from English, I was hooked.

Most of my favorite memories from highschool and college are about my pursuit of the Japanese Language. Memories that are happy are numerous - I became an Anime fan because of Japanese. I met a lot of awesome people. I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in DC every year and that was FUN. I took and failed the DLPT and felt cool just for being able to take it. I even went on a nine day trip to Japan. I have amazing memories from that, but I also kick myself over all of the missed opprotunities. I was such a sheltered introvert then, I could enjoy myself so much more if I could go back now!

Many of my most bitter regrets are about Japanese. I was so focused on learning Japanese that I didn't really think about anything past that. That means that like most Americans who go to college, I never actually looked into actual JOBS I could get with my degree until towards the begining of my final Semester. While I am desperately in love with Japanese, studying it taught me that just because you love something doesn't mean you will be good at it. I struggled with C's through most of my Japanese classes, and eventually failed one, Although that had more to do with my poor health at the time than my abilities as a student. Such a shame.

By now I'm sure you are wondering how any of this is related to pokemon. Your right, other than the fact that pokemon came from JAPAN, and all. Doesn't have much to do with most of the contents in this post. Just go with it.

My dad gave my lots of advice, most of which I either ignred, or else his advice would wildly contradict itself. He would tell me to always follow your interests and not let people dictate what you do based on 'success'.  He said if you were happy with something you should do it even if it made less money as a career than something else. But he also said I should study Arabic and work for the Government.

I took Arabic classes at AACC after I ran out of Japanese classes to take, and I considered my options when I went to College Park. After all, Arabic was a good career move, right? But I studied Japanese instead. Probably for the best, because I eventually joined the Navy and learned Arabic anyway.
three-four months into my military Arabic course, and I already had a more functional ability in Arabic than I ever did in Japanese. Kind of Depressing huh? What was even the point?

I can't be too bitter though. I met my husband studying Arabic.

The thing is, I STILL want to learn Japanese. After all these years. Over time I feel like I have changed a lot as a person, but this one thing hasn't changed. I can't put into words or rationalize my desire to learn this Language. I'm well past my fantasies of moving to Japan and living there, I'm not interested in being able to watch anime without subtitles on, (you don't really need the subtitles anyway. If you've seen one anime you've seen them all. )
I don't know what I would DO with a functioning knowledge of Japanese. But I want it.

My husband loves to play pokemon.  (Aha! She's getting to the point!)
Other people play minesweeper, or do sudoku or crosswords to pass time when they need a bit of busy work to occupy their hands. Not Aaron, he just plays his pokemon games over and over, And like me, he is fixated by the idea of learning Languages, so he has been getting me to teach him Japanese. It's hard because I don't really remember much of it, and he is so much better at Languages in general.... That I think he has pretty much already caught up with my current level of fluency.

So the new pokemon games that came out a few months ago....X and Y. They are the first (to my knowledge ) English copies of the game that come with the OPTION to switch Languages. So of course Aaron and I have been playing it in Japanese. It's so FRUSTRAITING to be so illiterate, but it turns out that playing it is actually helping me remember stuff I used to know! Because I know what the stuff is supposed to say in English, I can often use logic and context clues to figure out what words in the Japanese version mean. My favorite game is to read the name of a pokemon attack and then read the discription of it, how many of the words can you figure out once you KNOW which move it is? It's not hard to figure out which moves are Fly, DIG, or SURF, for example, and once you know what the move does it gives you a huge advantage in figuring out those illusive vocab words.

So whats the point?  I don't really have one. I guess sometimes I just seriously question the things I choose to waste my free time one. I mean, I can play pokemon in English, so why do it AGAIN in another Language? There's no need.  But it's fun. Fun is good. I just don't know WHY it's fun, and that is the part that is driving me crazy!