Just 2 more days

until school starts!

Tuesday May 25, 2010

Today we did 8 hours of Wilderness First Aid and about 2 hours of CPR training.  It was really cool.  Consult manual for everything I learned.  One downside of today was during patient scenarios, my patient just told me what was wrong with her and I couldn’t evaluate and fully practice what I learned.  My reaction to that was to totally half-ass the standing assessment and be annoyed.  It wasn’t a very constructive reaction…I actually got annoyed several times today by some of the other ppl.  Hopefully I learn from these experiences.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

8 more hours of Wilderness First Aid training today and now I’m officially certified!  I also received my CPR card as well.  Tomorrow will be super busy packing up and everything.  We officially start work on Tuesday.  Now I need to come up with some superhero oriented goals…

Thursday, May 27, 2010

This was the last work day of our 10 day hitch.  From 8 to about 1230pm we put up all of our tents and stuff and cleaned up our part of the Hot Shots Base.  We also had a debriefing and a goodbye.  Then our crew drove up to Harrisonburg and shopped for books, pants, and food.  That took a very long time.  We probably didn’t get home until 11pm, but we get to sleep in tomorrow.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Today is our first day off!  We saw a black snake;

I ate a bunch of truffles; I buzzed my hair again;

I was unsuccessful at geocaching because of the abundance of undergrowth; I cleaned a shower and had a bunch of ice cream; then we got to Lake Moomaw and set up camp in the rain.  It’s gorgeous here!

This is officially my first night without service and I miss being able to say goodnight to KC…

Saturday May 29, 2010

Today we visited University of VA in Charlottesville

and Washington and Lee in Lexington.  We also went to Monticello but didn’t get to see it because admission was $22.  Jefferson’s grave was included in that too.  Seeing the African slave graveyard was free though…

Wasn’t persistent enough to go geocaching…A couple of my crew mates started talking about rape in the car and it started to get to me; it brought anxiety and a few memories that I would rather suppress…(painful subject)

I miss him already.  Unless I go into town tomorrow to get my phone charged, I won’t be able to talk to him until I get off my hitch on June 9.  That’s a very long time to not be able to hear his voice or at least be able to imagine it. (as in texting) I’m sure I’ll be fine but it’ll be tough to go through, especially this first hitch.  I can probably say I’ve missed someone like this before but to a far lesser extent.  This is the first time for those feelings to be reciprocated.  Last time I was out of phone service and dating a guy who started to totally ignore me after a while.  He’s told me he would never do that and I believe him but I’m still anxious…It’s just been a long day; I feel like I need to exert myself as a distraction.  I might go for a run in the morning.  I hope I dream about him tonight.


Lazy, Lazy Sunday

I have never felt so free.  My boyfriend told me so many wonderful things yesterday.  1. If I ever decide to have kids (I don’t willingly subject myself to torture), then he would try to produce them haha. 2. If I ever want to get married (sans the brouhaha, I don’t like that institution), he would marry me. 3. We will live together the next time either one of our living arrangements end.  I feel like I could never not be happy with this boy.

Monday May 24, 2010

Today we learned new things for about six hours.  The morning consisted of a drivers ed course. (More like a sit around and do nothing session).  Then we learned how to properly secure a load, change a tire, and do a vehicle check.  After lunch, while the of-age ppl drove, we serviced the cross-cut saws.  After that, it was pretty much all free time until Raven’s evening session- Your conservation food dollar.  She emphasized buying local and not shopping by price because price does not reflect quality.  Because of the overproduction of corn, it is being put in all of our foods, esp processed ones.  Back in the ’20s or something, 25% of our budget went towards food.  Now it’s at 15% and decreasing every yr.  This could explain (partially) America’s health problems…Also because of the overproduction of corn, we are feeding it to our stock animals.  Cows naturally eat grass, not corn!  This changes them irreparably.  After a certain time, their stomachs even explode because of it so they have to be killed sooner.  Also with all of the fertilizers and chemicals we put in the soils to grow our crops and the high winds in the central U.S., those soils are flowing down our rivers and into the Gulf of Mexico creating a dead zone in the Gulf.  Petrochemicals rob the soil of nutrients; the beautiful apple you see at the store is not necessarily the most nutritious-looks are deceiving.  Shipping costs are not reflected in the food price.  Those bananas from Venezuela may be cheaper, but it took a lot more energy for them to get here than locally grown food.  You are paying for nutritional value, so the cheaper it is, generally the less nutritious it is.  Buy at farmers markets!  It supports farmers, the community, the earth and yourself.  Hydrogenated oils and high-fructose corn syrup has free radicals which has shown to lead to cancer.  False organic-USDA lowered their organic standards so that all the big corporations could fit under them.  “Free-range” chicken, according to USDA organic standards, is a chicken that lives in a cage with thousands of other chickens until slaughter, and the last few wks of its life, a door in the cage is opened so the chicken has the opportunity to go outside.  The chicken may or may not take this opportunity.  Monsanto funded a huge campaign in the ’90s to get everybody to eat soy.  Only eat real organic, non-genetically modified soy.  Healthy cow milk is definitely better than soy milk.  Natural foods are easier to recognize by the body.  The body cannot recognize the “fortification” in cold cereals for example.  It’s not in its natural form.  Food in its simplest form is generally better for you.  Good resources for this subject-Weston A. Price Foundation with Sally Fallon as head.  Anna Colbin’s (?) research and Book of Whole Foods.  Molly Catsin’s (?) book- the old version without low-fat.  (Eat the best fat!)

I blame society

I’ve been going through a body image crisis lately.  I gained weight primarily in my lower body over the summer because 2.5 months of trail work & lots of food didn’t keep it in check and I know it happened because I can’t fit into some of my old clothes.  Then I’m too lazy to not let my boyfriend’s eating habits affect me (or rather his lack of; he doesn’t eat!).  All I know is tomorrow I am not going to eat sugar for breakfast and I’m starting my new workout regimen.  It’s super exciting because by bike workout starts tomorrow! I’m taking it slowly because I know what my body can handle and how long it’s been since I’ve worked out rigorously.  The day after tomorrow I’ll also start training for a 70mi relay that one of my best friends spontaneously signed me up for.  I hate running but I’m too competitive to chicken out (I primarily compete against myself; I like to prove that I can do anything I set my mind to).  Today I also dropped my spanish class for a class about Buddhism with one of my other best friends.  Spanish classes at my school are boring because they are too easy for me.  I should’ve tested out of them long ago.  Plus I can’t even pronounce the professor’s name! haha well yes i can, it’s actually easy, just really long: Gamechogoicoech or something like that.  It sort of sounds Mayan or something which would’ve been super cool if I felt like dealing with the boredom…I haven’t meditated in a really long time.  I don’t feel motivated by anything other than finishing the meditation I’m currently on and moving on to the next…

Friday May 21, 2010

Corny poem I wrote to follow 😉 :

You are always on my mind.  I can see you but I can’t touch you.  I can hear you but i can’t kiss you.  Thinking about you makes my heart beat faster, my breath quicken, my eyes become moist.  How I wish to have you near me.  To see me and feel me.  To hear my heart beat.  To taste my lips.  Without embracing you my arms don’t feel fulfilled.

Today we worked about 10 hours.  We were at the timber workstation building steps but with the skills we learned today we could build bridges, log cabins and other wooden structures. 

A cool bench was constructed before us with saddle notches. 

Today I used the cross-cut saw a lot to cut out notches along with a pulaski, grubby hoe, and wood chisel and hammer. 

I also stripped part of a tree with a draw knife and schlepped like McGyver with clove hitches and square lashing. 

I also got to learn the technical side of it with all the measurements: 5 foot deadmen, 4 foot steps, 1/2 flat areas (?), 8 in high steps, 4 in per log (?).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Today we worked about 11 hours.  We were at the rock station.  At first when I first started using the rock bar, I thought it was incredibly awkward but once I started working on the wall and looking for rocks I actually wanted to move, then I really got into it.  A rock wall goes with the slope, is reinforced with backfill, cornerstones and capstones and is surrounded with gargoyles and other rocks and debris to prevent people from walking on it.  Rock steps and toothing were also a little introduced.  (Wow, I need to work on my grammar…) After working with the rocks we carried the tools back to HQ and sharpened and cleaned them.  Then we did evaluations, watched a slideshow, debriefed, ate gumbo, and relaxed for a little.  Tonight’s evening session was a movie night.  We watched Alone in the Wilderness.  This 50-something year old man builds a log cabin in Alaska in ten days using home-made tools and lives there for 31 years!

Sunday May 23, 2010

Today we trained for about 10 hours.  We started out with risk management and an in depth take 5 for safety.  Then our project leader went over having a forum for constructive criticism, what essentials we should pack in our day packs in case of emergencies (Alpo! haha), ticks, and the book list.  Then an SCA representative went over future/leadership opportunities in SCA.  After lunch the project leaders showed us how to use the mini camp stoves and water filters; how to lay out a proper base camp (pretty much 200 feet away from everything); how to use our kitchen supplies and how important it is to eat healthy; and how to keep animals from disturbing our tents and camps so much.  (Never keep anything that smells in your tent because we are in bear country; keep food in bear box and other smelly things in trailer; it would be useful to keep a pile of hand-held rocks outside of one’s tent to scare off any critters; basically keep camp clean so as not to attract critters or make them curious with tasty/smelly things).  Then we had an intense hug session.  (huggy bear)  After an amazing/fancy dinner and engorging myself for the last time, we did our navigation evening session and I learned how to use a compass, explained geocaching to the group, and get some takers to join me in geocaching!


Well it’s not a surprise how drunk I got on my 21st bday.  Some bars offered free drinks and I was with excellent company!  I remember everything up to leaving the last bar, which is awesome because it means I didn’t embarrass myself in front of strangers, only in front of close friends haha I was told later that I cried because I wanted to be a better person (I think that thought always lingers on my conscience).  I’m not really surprised that I cried.  My summer was quite stressful at times and I needed a good cry…I also puked which I’m glad I don’t remember.  My boyfriend stayed sober and took care of me which I’m very thankful for.  I still had the spins the morning after so I just lounged around on my bed all day watching TV on my computer and drinking tons of water.  I’m so glad school hasn’t started yet so I have this opportunity to be lazy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Today was our first official work skills day.  I think we were learning new things for about 11 hours.  We did the tread and drainage work skills set.  First we learned about the corridor for hikers.  It should be 4 ft by 8 ft.  (insert illustration here)

For equestrian it should be 8 ft by 10 ft (insert illustration here)

This means just clearing the area outside the trail so its open but still natural and as if we weren’t there.  Then we learned about drainage structures.  You can either make an earthen structure called a grade dip or you can use logs or rocks.  It basically looks like this: (insert illustration here)

Make aesthetically pleasing and as if it was never worked on.  Cut roots so it doesn’t catch debris and scatter leaf litter to camouflage.  Only use mineral soil for the earthen structure.  After constructing the drainage structures, we constructed a rock footpath across the stream, used a draw knife to strip the bark off a tree and cached our tools in the woods.  Then we ate a wonderful supper and learned to tie 11 knots and hitches!

1. Clove Hitch-Cross and under/2. straight on lap, cross hands, line up

3. Top Line Hitch-2 to the tree, 1 to me

4. square knot-left over right, opposite

5. fisherman’s knot-2 pretzels (simple knots) side by side

6. simple Figure 8-Bend (loose end to right), hand through, pull through

7. Double figure 8-just like climbing knot/8. like simple except rope is doubled

9. Bowline knot-make a hole on the inside with ‘tree’ on bottom, rabbit comes out of hole, behind tree and back into the hole

10. Truckers knot-Bowline knot to one object, make a bend, twist it twice, pull loose end through.  Wrap loose end around some other object and pull through bend.  (2:1 leverage). Simple bend to finish off

11. Butterfly knot-Wrap 3 times around hand. Pull finger end all the way over; Repeat and pull under and towards fingers.  Tighten.

Thursday May 20, 2010

Today we learned stuff about 9 hours.  New tread has an outslope to prevent standing water; Backslope has a 45 degree angle of repose; and downslope.  Aesthetics is important! Also, an oreo race occurred.

Happy Birthday to me

Today is my 21st birthday and this is my first blog since May.  No blogging occurred during the summer because I was in back woods Virginia without phone service or internet.  I did journal though and since I’m sure that my 2 readers (haha) would love to have a glimpse of my thought processes over the summer, I will post my journal entries from the summer along with amusing-to-me commentary.  But first I will submit my thought processes of today; then on to reminiscing!!

I had decided months ago that I would have just a birth day; I would have a birth month and what a birth month it has been!  Today is especially special though.  My boyfriend showed up at 5 in the morning with my birthday present-an acoustic guitar and a repeat of the offer to teach me how to play it.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I haven’t played a musical instrument in so long!  My parents already gave me their present-a new GPS unit and a gift card to REI.  This day/month could not possibly get any better because I’m already so happy! But for dinner, my parents are treating the boyfriend and me to Pappadeaux.  Then afterwards is a trip to the bars.

Off the birthday subject, moving into my new apartment has almost come to a close.  I feel a little distant from my roomie for some reason.  Maybe because here stuff seems to take over the rest of the apartment….

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I stayed up until 4 this morning packing.  Typical of me and of course not such a great idea.  Then, after a wonderful breakfast, KC and I don’t leave for the airport until an hour before my flight.  KC ran more than a few reds to get me there 40 min before.  Then, with a departing kiss, we both tell each other we love one another.  I teared up when I pulled myself away from him.  I still tear up thinking about it.  It’s going to be hard not being able to physically touch him for awhile…

My flight was on last boarding call when I finally made it.  A speedy security check and a good woman who got my bag on the plane made everything work out.  Then I decide to take a nap and almost miss my connection.  Luckily it was delayed.  Then I left my glasses in my hurry to get to the plane.  Luckily our plane malfunctioned and we had to return to the terminal.  So much luck working for me! 

I’ve already met my teammates.  VA is absolutely gorgeous!  So mountainous and green!  We’ve already set up our tents at the training site.  Dinner was awesome.  Also had to sign up for 6 chores.  I think my first is on Tues…First day of training is officially tomorrow.  Breakfast is at 7am.  Time for some much needed rest.

Monday, May 17, 2010

It was really hard waking up today.  I still have sleep to catch up on.  Today we went through 10 hours of training.  There was a welcome into SCA, the USFS and the Hotshots base.  The Forest Service guys are hilarious and awesome.  Then we went into safety, sexual harrassment, protocols and the handbook.  Basically just a bunch of info to absorb.  Right now, some guys are jammin out before quiet time.  Tomorrow we do field work training and the last team member will be joining us.  Tomorrow should be really fun, although today was the best day ever! 😉 (I was reading a super hero book that really emphasized that haha)

Tues, May 18, 2010

Today we were in training for 8.5 hours.  We learned what our tools were and how to carry and store them.  We broke rocks with sledgehammers; chopped wood with axes; made wedges in logs with pulaskis; cross-cut logs with saws; and sharpened blades and sanded and oiled handles.  I thought today’s physical labor was pretty badass.  We also did this cute/fun Yeti thing (Yes!!!!!) for warmup.  We basically pretended to be Yetis and ran away from hunters and abominable snowmen 🙂 We also had Indian food for dinner and chilled out with Frisbee and Scrabble.  fun day!