(no subject)

Things are weeeeeirdd these days. Trump. Bannon. Radical Christians. Times are fucking bizarre and I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of absurd news that can’t possibly be true, but then IT ALL IS. Anyways, fuck that cheeto and his band of merry racists. I am trying to take a mini break from news just because its so overwhelming and reading LJ instead. There are so many issues I care about that are just being pulverized I don't know how best to focus my energies right now. I have gone to two protests and feel really good about that, I think its a great way to be like, 'you can't ignore us' and I find it energizing as oppose to other forms of engagement. I was calling my represantatives incessantly about opposing various cabinet appointments and it just felt draining because of course they are both republicans and fucking voting in despite record amounts of people like me calling in to oppose. I also want to get involved in a group doing more stuff but since I am moving, feel a little torn about doing it here. Also, I don't always agree with some of the motivations others have, so yeah I really wanna figure out a better approach.

In other news, we are feeling a lil sad about our cute house here and nice roommate living situation ending soon. Al and I only planned to be here for 2 years so he can get his Master’s but there was still a slim chance he'd get a job around here or in DC. But I am happy to return West. He applied to PhD programs in Utah (Logan), Colorado (Fort Collins) and Montana (Missoula) as I think I have mentioned. So far our top choices have flip flopped quite a bit. Fort Collins is probably the coolest town on the list and we both loved Colorado and would be perfectly happy moving back there. Missoula is also a pretty cool town too. Logan is by far the least cool town but would logically ( in a purely academic career sense) be the best choice. Since Al want’s to study water, his advisor in Logan, would have the absolute sweetest connections. He’s been doing research on the Colorado River for 30+ years so he’s the most established and well connected of the three potential advisors. Like Alex would potentially be able to do research trips in the Grand Canyon and other shit like that. And the pay is crazy low but so is the cost of living so we'd be buying a house probably. And outdoor access is nice, plus his advisor mentioned he'd leverage his connections to help me find outdoor work nearby, but who knows.

The way I feel about Logan varies quite a bit although I think we've ruled it out for the most part....  it would be really hard to live in a town that boring but the outdoor access would be really good? And I’d think be able to find work. Maybe? But the huge and oppressive Mormon population would mean I'd have very few friends, and i've already had very few friends just from having to move alot lately so I really want friends again! I even fantasized about sort of befriending and learning more about Mormons, but everyone who has lived there has told me that they are a pretty closed socially to non-Mormons. And there is no real culture (beyond Mormon) thus like only 10 -20 small businesses so I might only be working a job 6 months out of the year? Although a quick search for Logan reveals only 3 jobs, one of which I might be qualified to apply, but USA jobs is really whack right now so that might not mean much. Trumps hiring freeze has thrown a real wrench in this. My contact says seasonals will still be hired but he's very very nervous about future stuff and has been saying increasingly dark things each time I talk to him. Most recently he was like, well if there's no nuclear holocaust between now and then we should be fine! Anyway the job was supposed to posted from Feb 2-8, and so far every day I have checked, the job wasn't posted until the 16th! Anyways, I applied this weekend and today I will be double checking for errors and probably applying to more.

So ready to be done with my current jobs. While I am glad I got mental health experience, I really dread going into work like every time. There's always someone refusing meds or threatening to run away or actually running away (i have chased on foot) or cutting themselves or trying to fight another guest or punching holes in the wall etc... I thought I would kind of adapt to the stress but I feel like I sway between being more sensitive and also just have less patience/empathy with it. I know its not really their fault, these people have been clinically diagnosed with limited intellegence and then were exposed to traumatic events so it feels unfair to feel my patience weakening, and then I just feel like a bad person. I try and remind myself I am just not meant to be in this field at least with this particular population. I never thought I would click with this population to begin with so I guess its not surprising, also Alex's aunt who was a social worker, told me when I started that it was basically the worst job in the field. I was like, ugh. Thanks? And now that I didn't get in to the one grad school I applied to and have had this negative work experience I feel really turned off from doing social work, which I think she is disappointed about. But you have to love that work (and she did) because when I was quizzing her about it she was like, "its common to look for work every 3-5 years because funding runs out and whole programs shut down and everyone gets laid off" and that on top of all the emotional stress of working that job and the fact that you'd be constantly getting fired while worrying about paying off grad school debt was unappealing from the beginning. Plus Al is annoyingly almost certainly going to need to bounce around to at least one more state (even after this next move, ugh). Social work requires state licensures and each state has its own process so it doesn't even seem practical to invest in a degree I might not even be able to use but then would still be in thousands of dollars in debt for. When I mentioned this to him, he definitely wasn't like "ok let's pick a state to live in then". So fuck it, back to the woods!


I applied to 4 government jobs this weekend. The first job was the hardest. I sat down at the kitchen table at just past 8 am and didn’t finish the application until 4:45pm. I took a break to make and eat lunch and that was it! You have to be so detail oriented and there’s sooooo much crap you have to do a certain way, even though I am already in contact with the hiring manager for my top choice job, and even though he’s already looked over my resume there were still things I had to adjust on the day of. It’s all little dumb stuff, and then you have to make sure you don’t have a single typo or formatting issue, kinda similar to most other jobs except wording has to be specifically tailored in this unintuitive way. Then there was this weird confusion about college transcripts (for a trails job) which I had previously been told wasn’t needed. I called the hiring manager and he was furious they were asking for that and gave me advice on what to do. I mean, I could get a transcript, but the job closes in a few days so I wouldn’t have it in time or in the right format. it wasn’t a requirement though, just needed if I was using educational experience to count as experience for the job, which I am not. Once again, my English major is shoved into a darker, dustier corner!

It’s a weird, frustrating process but once I got the hang of it, I felt pretty good about it. It was good to check out other potential future jobs and see what stuff I needed to get on my resume within the next year. Like park ranger jobs although I know they are fiercely competitive and who knows if that career will even survive this ‘presidency’.

I really want to do trails this summer and the crew I have this connection with is going to be a trails/fire militia crew. I’ve pretty much shelved my wildland firefighting ambitions because I feel old. But it won’t be like a hotshot crew, the hardest part will just be potentially having a schedule that is 20 days on, 2 off and likely having 16 hour shifts. But I’ll get paid much needed overtime if anything like that happens, and if not, I will make enough money and add valuable things to my resume. My contact also mentioned another job he’s considering me for which would be more like visitor engagement heavy and also “signage” is a big part. of it? So like, hiking around and changing signs I guess? I don’t know. I applied, and the job description was vague as usual but made it sound like you do park ranger-esque things so that could be a good option too.

I applied exclusively to Colorado jobs, I should probably apply to Montana ones too, its just that they look kinda lame. Like being an interpretative ranger for a ghost town 45 miles from where we’d potentially be living. Little odd, but it might be a good safety pick. I have two more days to apply before the jobs close. Part of me is accepting of the fact Al and I will likely spend the summer apart anyways so I shouldn’t stress too much if I end up working in a different state for a little while. Or even in the same state, but far away, Colorado is so big. Al flys to check out both schools later this week so hopefully we will have a better sense of where we will end up soon-ish. I am excited about both but leaning towards Colorado because i think the weather will be better there and we’ll be close enough to Denver to reap bigger city benefits which I think will really matter looking at 5 years in one place. That is something neither of us has done since high school, and actually I didn’t even stay in my high school town past four years so here goes nothing I guess.

(no subject)
Al got an offer from Montana. So maybe Montana? Missoula is certainly better than Logan. Anyways enough about him, I’m excited about this Women’s Strike!

Guardian Article Here.

I just learned about the Icelandic Women’s strike in Michael Moore’s Where to Invade Next Documentary and it was really cool to hear one was already being planned for here. The Moore Doc was as usual bot a hit and miss for me. I liked the subjects discussed but it was hardly a work of art. I guess it just kinda is something you could only show to someone who already is left-leaning. The style feels so unbiased, if I saw the same technique in a right wing documentary, I’d probably be furious. But it did introduce me to a lot of interesting ideas and past movements.

Icelandic Women's Strike

All this after the shit shows with DeVos and Elizabeth Warren being silenced on the Senate floor. I feel like I should write a letter to the editor or something. I mean it’s just so rich.
Under “Rule 19,” Senators are not allowed to “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another Senator or to other Senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a Senator”.

The basics. A man silenced a woman. A man stated that A woman stating the opinion of another woman whose chief concern was the protection of civil rights that her husband died fighting for. How can these scum call themselves representatives of the people? For this man, true words that cast an unbecoming light on another white man, the words of a black women being recited by a white woman on the Senate floor is more appalling than the systematic mistreatment of blacks in America? I mean, of course we all knew that fucker thought this way, but mistakenly gave him the benefit of the doubt on having general human decency. They used to erode on our rights in secret, now they’re doing it right in our faces.

So let’s strike! March 8th!

Luckily I’ll still be working my current jobs and not a government job so I can feel secure in taking part in this strike. I have a feeling CC will make some bizarre statement to discourage CC peeps from striking, but I’m prepared to organize some motherfuckers if he tries anything like that.

In other news, my grandpa and I are having some tense times. He’s always been a conservative but we have been able to civil discussions about scientific issues before. But we had a horrible argument about women’s rights. It was bad, he said some outrageously misinformed and very offending things. And to top of it off, he was recently re diagnosed with cancer. During literally any other political climate I would just drop all that and prioritize my relationship with him. But I’m finding it extremely hard to call him now. I have visited and plan on going up this weekend too with my mom so we can cook for them and spend time with them. But I can’t bring myself to call him as often as I thought I would be, given his diagnoses. Among other bizarre things he said all teachers were lazy, worked only 6 hour days with "paid summers off", that women needed to "earn their rights", repeatedly asked me why I want to kill babies, and that he was "dancing in the streets" over Trumps position on immigrants. Um, IM an immigrant. My mother is an immigrant and so is 90% of one half of my fucking family. The other half have to endure a shit South American economy and TWO of them have been approved for Visas just to visit us, in the past 25 years. TWO out of 36.

I love him but I don’t think having cancer gives you the allowance to be a complete jerk to anyone. It feels a bit radical to type that, but I have bit my lip on the way he’s treated my grandma for fucking decades, and i’m not about to let him walk all over me. It just sucks and I don’t think there’s any real solution, unfortunately. It’s just going to be tense, but i’ll keep visiting in person until I move away. I love cooking for people I love and right now, I feel like that’s the only way I can show him love. Al did say something that really helped, that the time I was used to spending with my grandparents was "for me" and now the time is "for them". So here's to spending a few days trying to bond with my grandparents over the constant din of Fox News! 

(no subject)
Is this thing still on?

Well. I'm trying to start writing more. I don't feel like I can safely express myself on social media. Or don't want to wade through all that crap as I rarely see any real dialogue going on there so here I am!

I only quasi used LJ right towards the end of its popularity so it seems none of my old peeps still get on here which I guess is cool. I was always nervous about sharing my private thoughts publicly, so this will probably be the same as writing in my password protected Mac Journal. HA.

(no subject)
Escaping from fire

Is not one/two/three

Is not stop/drop/roll

There are further instructions

I cannot interpret

Just as every combination of letters

Spells cliche

Every possible move seems done

Before and not my own

Every stepping stone is vacant

But scared with footprints

The river has ceased production

Of slick new homes

To stand on forever

(no subject)
Wasn't sure how long since I last updated so I checked and wow im far behind. I feel like I start every entry like that. I'll stop. So ok here it goes.

I took that job and flew out to Colorado that Sunday night.I had three connecting flights and the one coming in to Denver was the sketchiest one I've ever been on. A guy a few rows behind me started jokingly quoting Psalms "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death..." and I was like, seriously dude? But I landed safe and sound in Durango, stayed a night at the hostel and then started work the very next morning. So that was in the Spring, I was assigned to the Sustainable Forestry Crew and went through chainsaw training with the three other crews there. It was pretty sweet, I learned to run a saw and did it for the next 3 months. I fell many trees and got to learn some sweet techniques and so I was doing everything from fuels reduction, to hand thinning and invasive species removal. I struggled with everything at first, it was very hard physical labor and I was doing it at a higher elevation than I was used to. And I wasn't quite connecting with my crew like I had hoped. I turned out to be almost the oldest person there and the one other girl had the emotional intelligence of a 14 year old. Eventually I turned a corner after about a month of struggling and started to love it.

The way my job goes is this: the conservation corps that I work for gets contracted out by various state parks, cities, the forest service or what have you and a crew of about 8-10 gets assigned a certain project. Our first project, for example was fuels reduction on Dalla Mountain which was in Durango. So that involved taking out any ladder fuels (trees that would harm old growth native Ponderosa Pines and Pinion Pines) and spread fires easier and also any invasive species. Out west the fire season is brutal because its so dry and so this is one of the preventative measures taken in order to preserve and restore a natural old growth forest with native species. So after we get assigned we are on the project for a 10 day hitch. This means living out of a tent for 10 days, no showers, and hard labor from 7 am to 4:30-5 with one day off in the middle and the final 10th day being de-rig which means packing up all our stuff taking it to the farm and giving it a thorough cleaning before we store it for the weekend. So the communal living and lesss showers were the hard parts for sure. Especially since the longest ive ever lived in the woods prior to this was 3 days. And usually at music festivals, ha. But eventually it grew on me. And I decided to apply for their Crew Leader Development program and was accepted and so here I am again for the summer. This time Im on a summer crew with 5 other crew members and 2 crew leaders. We do hitches and work a more diverse array of projects and do leadership training after work everyday. Then when the fall season comes, we Co-Lead our own crews. Its so exciting, and I love it. But now I have to go bc its my last day off and I've already been on the computer for hours and theres still laundry and packing for our next hitch to do. Which is actually more chainsaw traning, woo woo!

(no subject)
Today has been a crazy one. In raft guide school I have not been feeling a whole lot of improvement but today I finally felt like, I was really turning a corner and putting everything together. In my head I always know what Im supposed to be doing but its a matter of the physical muscle memory. Rowing with your entire body not just my toothpick arms and a million other things I should keep in mind. One other guide in training's run had a really awful run. He sent us over a huge rapid sideways which ended up knocking another guy onto me and out of the boat. He then landed on my head in the water, as did the boat. I held onto my paddle and tried to swim into the eddy. Well I wasn't the only one knocked out apparently the boat in front of us had dumped everyone out and so there was kind of a line in the spot where we could climb out and so I got swept away and into the rapid again and decide to finally bid good riddance to my paddle and get my ass out of there so I didn't have to swim the next rapid. It definitely gave me a needed perspective on falling out of boats. I have never swam before and it being unexpected definitely put me in a sour mood for a minute and I felt very uneasy getting back in the boat with the guy to do the whole thing over again. Before I had always been of the attitude, well, you are in whitewater, expect to get wet. So I guess now I have more sympathy. I took a run and our instructor said it was one of the best lines he'd been in all week so that made me feel great. Then I took two more runs that weren't as good, but i heard one of the guys say something about me having balls the size of coconuts so I guess they had a good time. Or were terrified. Probably both. Anyways the Manager over the whole department was watching us today and and the end told us he would like to have us working for him this summer.

Now for the best part of the day. I was driving home and of course got stuck in 485 traffic. I checked my messages and I totally got a call back for a job I really wanted in Durango, CO. Its for a Conservation Corps and the kicker is that it starts (this) Monday at 9 am. Ha! The timing is terrible and also perfect. I definitely feel like its meant to be and Im going to try everything possible to make it happen. She is in the field all night but said she'd be in her office tmw morning so I left her a message and hopefully she'll call me back and say yes we'd love to have you and no you do not need your car here we will pick you up at the airport just fly on out. I am sooo homesick for the mountains I would love so much to go. And to take off last minute like that is always exhilarating for me. I checked the gear list and I pretty much have everything I need already. I could just pack up and be living in Colorado by Monday. ALSO the cheapest flight i found was out of Asheville (not charlotte, which is usually the case) so I'd get to go visit my buddies there before I go! Icing on the cake. So now Im going to have the most fitful night of sleeping ever and hopefully hear from the lady first thing in the morning. I will probably skip the last day of guide school tmw and start packing and make arrangements to head to Avl. I hope I hope I hope she calls me soon enough that we can make this happen!

Living at home again is WEIRD. I am not used to it and its been a month. It's probably because I really don't like being in the city and I have just spent the last 11 days in Asheville and was loving being back and being outdoors and meeting cool people and seeing all my old wonderful people. I went back to take a Wilderness First Responder course and now I am certified Wilderness Medicine Institute WFR, and Adult and Child CPR. I am SO glad I did it, I learned alot, met some really great people from all over and can now fix dislocated shoulders and make splints out of backpacking gear and a million other things, which makes me feel like a supercool wilderness woman. It came about bc I was applying and applying to jobs and just kept getting more offers for dining room stuff and I realized I couldn't say yes to any of them (even if they were in the devastatingly beautiful Tetons of Wyoming) and figured i'd like to transition into outdoor work. Since I only have done outdoors recreationally, I signed up for this course to buff up my resume. And it worked, I applied for a kayak/rafting job at the USNWC and got called back the next day to sign up for guide school which just started today!

So things are looking up. But, of course, not fast enough to please my own sensibilities. I am super stressed out bc I ran out of money and have had to take on a little bit of debt. I've been lucky to not have to do it and now that im just the teensiest bit in debt it is driving me completely insane. On top of that, I missed paying a big bill and now i have a huge late fine on it which i just learned about 5 minutes ago and it is infuriating. Hopefully I will get hired once guide school is over (in one week) and can start getting paid. They said I'd get as many hours as I want. I was going to start off with 30, but now that my debt all my happiness away, maybe I'll just bump it up to the full 40. Aside from wanting to volunteer with a local Search and Rescue, thats pretty much my only priority. I'll also get to climb for free at their gym and practice kayaking in my off time. So thats pretty much how I want to spend my days. And then I'll come home and practice some tunes on the violin and read and call it a day. I think I should cancel my Netflix, it seems to suck all hope and creativity out of me. I have some sort of TV addiction sometimes. I feel like I should just cut off all contact, just getting a taste, just one episode and next thing you know, I'll wake up in a gutter with Red Netflix envelopes all around me.

i moved
I just took a tylenol pm for my headache so don't judge me if i sound loopy towards the end of this. Over the counter meds really knock me on my ass sometimes I guess since living in Asheville I ate pretty fresh foods and avoided coffee and sodas. So now if I have like and espresso-sized cup of coffee, I feel jacked. Its sort of awful and anxiety inducing so I try not to. Anyways.

I made the big move to my moms house in Waxhaw. But maybe I should back up. So I made the plan to leave but then wasn't 100% on where I was going. Then I went to visit my college roommate who lives in Jackson, Wyoming for a ski/snowboard vacation and they were saying they might have an opening on the dude ranch she and her girlfriends work at in the summer. So I applied! I actually met the boss and some of the people at the ranch party while i was there but I left early to meet a quasi-date. Now I have to wait until they know their returning staff and if there's a housekeeping position open I will definitely take it! I really only want housekeeping (the other option is the kitchen but i NEED a morning schedule after 4 years in food and bev). You work from 7am-12-12:30 and then have the rest of the day to hike, explore, ride ponies or any of the other awesome things you can do in Jackson in the summertime! There's also rafting on the Snake River and tons of camping and swimming. I really hope I get it, its going to be the best thing ever. Fingers are crossed.

If I don't get it I will just keep applying there's tons of jobs out there and I found some really cool alternatives in Colorado, Alaska and I'm open to just about anything. Its pretty freeing and wild. I plan to take my car cross country and backpack in national forests along the way rather than stay in hotels. Backpacking would be cheaper. But since Im actually updating all my gear it's not so cheap, its more about the adventure and experience for me. I asked my neighbor Megan if she would come along for the journey. I really want a partner. And she was a wilderness therapy instructor this past year plus she spent all her college years In Durango, CO being a nature freak so she's more experienced than I am, which is what I need. Plus she is so easygoing and awesome to talk to and it'd be fun to do it with a girl. So yeah. While I'm out there I plan on using my car to take full advantage of all the national forests I cant get to. I for sure want to hit up the Tetons, Wind River Range, Arapaho National Forest, Rocky Mtn State Park, and Mt. Hood National Forest. Mara is moving back to Portland so I want to visit her there for sure and also Ellen in San Francisco. I might have her meet me, she said she would be down to travel and meet up. Somewhere awesome in Northern Cali. I think I want to hike the John Muir trail so maybe I could meet her near there.

The ranch, or any other seasonal job will probably run from May-ish to October-ish and then ill have a month or two free. Then I want to apply at ski resorts in Colorado. I learned to ski on my last trip after getting so beaten up snowboarding and I fell in LOVE. After the winter season I want to take a super awesome tropical vacation where I can finally learn to surf. Ragan was talking about traveling to Alaska which would be awesome. Ben says he read the Northern Lights are better now than they have been or will be for several years. Its there I gotta go see it. And then a flight from Alaska to Hawaii wouldn't be too bad. Although Hawaii is not as cheap as Costa Rica or Mexico, but im getting ahead of myself here. I have time to figure it all out. Next time I post Ill have pictures and introduce myself and Louie properly.

(no subject)
I ended up not taking the GRE after all. I just ended up wasting my money on the class. I was just too intimidated at the prospect of taking out a huge loan to pay for school. Im already hating paying rent and car bills and grocery bills, i could not possibly add another monetary stressor to my life. Also I have very strong feelings about education and feel like we should be France where it is available to all at no cost. Although im not totally updated on that fact, i think the current Pres, Sarkosy is trying to change that but im sure the French will stay true to form and protest. I think the French are highly displeased with him anyway, at least thats what my French tour guide told me. I mean it really is so stupid to saddle young adults with this ridiculous debt that they'll have to spend the next decade (usually more!) of their life paying off. Its hard enough starting off and also in a recession like what we are in now, the government should be creating more opportunities to give ppl specialized skill sets so they can go out and get jobs and pay their bills and boost the economy.

But I did get into a rut since that little plan failed me. I was pretty excited about going back to school but when i was stopped by fear of how to pay for it, I got kind of down. Then I started thinking it was time to get a more serious job but then i realized that wasnt what i wanted either. It bothered me for weeks until i finally figured out that i never gave myself that chance to travel like i had always wanted to at this time in my life. I had just really not pulled into consideration how hard it was to pay rent and save for a trip. And every time i get a little saved, something happens with me or the car or Louie and bam, its gone. So now Im moving to live in the house my mom just bought. Its kinda cool bc its not a house that i grew up in, she literally just bought it and its all new furniture and appliances and the house itself is only like 7 years old or something. She's been saving for years to be able to do that so its really cool to see her managing it all on her own and fixing it up the way she likes. Not that i care about fancy furniture and appliances, i myself would have gone for a cottage in the mountains but its cool to get totally free reign on my room and not be moving into a room that had high school me reminders all around it. Its a win win situation though, bc she is glad im moving home and has been asking me to do it for years. I can get some kind of non food and beverage job and do the domestic thing for a while and help out around the house. Like getting them to eat healthy for starters, they have terrible diets as of now bc of the single mom on the go mentality, but im about to cook the hell out of some delicious food once i move in. Then ill be able to save and help my mom out and plan my travels and spend quality time with her and my little sis.

I've notified work and landlord so its all set. Currently there is alot of roommate change going on in this house and somehow it has come to this: 7 people, 3 dogs and 3 cats. One house. One old old Asheville house that was built when ppl thought one bathroom to be suitable for all this space. So ....yeah. I look forward to not having to deal with that kind of thing. Im sure i'll miss my old life when im in Waxhaw living with my fam and hearing about fun music shows or art shows but I also need to remember how miserable leading a purposeless life is for me and that im doing the right thing. And I feel i will def come back and settle here eventually. I am just not ready to settle down yet, there's still so much I want to see and do. Its a bittersweet kind of deal but im relieved to have a plan and am looking forward to the life changes. Im going to Wyoming in Jan to visit Dana and was telling her about this on the phone and she said i definitely sounded more upbeat than the last time we talked.

So thats that. I threw a curveball at my therapist with that one, I think. He's a nice guy and all but I felt like he was suggesting strange things like having a relationship to fill my void. I always feel like relationships are about the last thing i want to focus on. I plan on being married to the love of my life (whoever that is) for decades so why even worry about what young punks i date in my 20s? I always end up dating assholes anyways. Well I was supposed to be packing. Ok I should pack. Ok, Dinner first...I doubt ill actually pack but i enjoy the delusion of maybe thinking i will.


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