Focusing on the good amongst all the bad

I am nearing month three in tech school. When I first got here, I wanted to try to make the best of it. I had to be here and there was nothing I could do about that so what else is there to do than make the best of it? I volunteered for the humane society and went to the beach a couple times. I checked out a couple restaurants and visited the neighboring city, Ocean Springs for a couple of beer runs. I tried to keep myself busy when I wasn’t studying, although my studying was definitely starting to increase by the end of month one.

The longer I’m here though, the more and more I long to be home. The most Dylan and I have ever been apart at one time before this was around four months, when he was deployed. That was very hard on us. And once again, here we are, apart for months. I guess at least with this separation, we are able to see each other here and there since I’m only nine hours away, but it still sucks. We have these amazing weekends together, but they are so bittersweet. I love so much spending time with him when I can, but when we have to part? It’s literally painful. The pain of us having to part every time gets worse and worse.

Our lives are on hold while I go through this military training. I’ve been able to go home a couple times, which has been wonderful every time. Just this last weekend, we tried a new restaurant and went out for evening coffee along the river. But again, this is such a short visit and it turns bittersweet quickly. I find myself falling into a depression and becoming moody and anxious quickly. I’m really trying hard not to fall into this. I still need to focus on school. Especially now since this is the hardest part of the training course. Just 70-some more days and then I’m done…for now. I know there’s more later but I only want to focus on this part for now.

I’m praying that Dylan will find peace while I am gone. It’s been really hard for him as well as myself, for me being away. I feel for him so much, and I wish I could move time faster, so that he didn’t have to feel so much pain and longing. At the same time, this separation has made us remember how much we mean to each other. We came to the realization that we’ve taken each other for granted and being away has helped us remember not to do that. I appreciate the fact that I mean so much to him that when I’m gone, he’s sad and misses me (I never actually want him to feel sad and lonely, but it’s good knowing that I’m needed). We’ve really delved into our relationship and discovered so much about each other. And for that, I’m grateful. I feel like we’ve gone deeper into our relationship than we ever have. We’ve dug deep, asked and answered tough questions, laughed, and cried together. It almost feels like it’s been a renewal. The unfortunate part is that I’m still away and I want to be home with Dylan, talking, discovering, learning, and loving him more and more. So for now, I’ll have to do it from here, over the phone.

But – another amazing thing about Dylan? His selflessness. He has come out to visit me, just because he knows that I’m feeling lonely. That’s a nine hour drive…just to see me for a night. Sometimes I can’t even wrap my head around that. He amazes me.

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So even though this situation is far from good, I’m trying to focus on the good that can come out of it. Otherwise, when do you learn? When do you become wise if not during challenging times?

What the heck WordPress? An open letter to whomever picked a CNN writer to be Freshly Pressed

Dear WordPress,

 

I’ve been away, longer than usual as I am in a rather intensive IT course right now. But to take a break from my never-ending reading, I decided to come back, to read what all of the talented writers on this blogging site have come up with lately. I love finding new writers, who inspire me to strive for that better sentence, to create a better intro.

WordPress gives us little guys a chance, at maybe 24 hours worth of fame if we’re lucky enough to get published. For me, it would be a dream, to know that someone read something I wrote, and thought it worthy enough to post on the giant refrigerator that is the Freshly Pressed section.

But the other day I was put-off. I opened a blog in hopes of reading about a young tech-writers thoughts on technology today and his opinion on the technology bubble. Instead, I was whisked away and redirected to a CNN Money article. What??? I’m confused WordPress. I thought this whole idea of blogging was so that little people like us have the chance to be heard. Why are you posting something that came from a major news corporation? I’m stunned and saddened.

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If I had wanted to read this filtered junk, I would have gone straight to the source. But no, I could get that any day. I wanted someone’s fresh opinion, one that didn’t go through three chains of approval and plenty of scrubbing before publishing.

I really hope this isn’t a continuing chain of events WordPress. I rely on you for entertainment, inspiration, and a collaboration among us ever hopeful, fresh, and thought provoking writers.

Please WordPress, don’t forget your roots and why this environment was created in the first place.

 

I thank you….and I’m watching you…

 

Sincerely,

Michelle

 

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MS brewing deck1

I’m two “blocks” down of 14 in this course. I feel pretty good so far but we’re now getting into the meat and bones of this course so things are going to get a bit more real. No more history lessons and memorizing terms.
I’m excited but nervous. Completing this course could possibly change my life on the civilian side when I’m done. I’ll have a lot more career options which is pretty exciting.
But as much as I have to study, I need to relax too, so yesterday I went back to Mississippi Brewing Company to have a pint and relax with a few classmates. The bar is completely open and sits on a giant deck that connects to a restaurant and kayak rental. The view is wonderful for relaxing and feeling the sun and breeze on your face. I had a great couple of pints, played a horrible game of darts and just relaxed. It was great.
Now to buckle down.

Balance

 

Balance

I’m not someone who can hang out with a ton of people for a long period of time. I consider myself to be introverted. Blame it on me being an only child, blame it on me moving enough to not stay in contact with any of them these days, or blame it on nothing. I enjoy my alone time. I don’t mean that I have to be alone all the time, but lately with classes, I’m around people all the time and it starts to grate on me. I was suggested by someone to coordinate this hike with a group of people. I ignored the suggestion and went on the 7-mile hike in the woods by myself.

 

It was lovely and energizing. What extroverts need to understand is I do things by myself, not because I don’t want to socialize with people (although that is sometimes the case), or because I’m feeling depressed or anything like that. Sometimes I just want to be by myself. I enjoy exploring alone sometimes. Just me and the trees and frogs and my thoughts.

 

Hope you enjoy my solitary pics. I’m sure I’ll be back there before my departure from this area of the country.

 

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treetops pond pinecone path forest floor footbridge flowers caanopy bridge meAn introvert's idea of a fun Friday

 

An introvert’s idea of a fun Friday

30 (almost) and still growing up

I don’t know how unusual I was as a young child but I’m assuming my thought processes weren’t quite the norm. When I was around 14 or 15, I couldn’t wait to go to college. I had this plan of studying biology and I’d have these intelligent conversations with these intelligent people and we’d sit around coffee shops with a fire glowing in the background, warmed by sweater vests and lattes. 

Well, if you’ve ever been to college, this is certainly not the vision you receive. Everyone, including myself, has earbuds stuck in their ears and half are rushing to class after just waking up around 11am and are still wearing their PJ pants (I refused to stoop so low). My expectations slowly sunk. As I neared graduation, I thought about getting into the real working world. I thought I would find a job with “real adults” who were professional and who had the real intellectual conversations. But I soon realized after entering the working world, that this wasn’t always so. It was the 40-something women who created the most drama in the office. I felt like I was in a world I didn’t belong.

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As weirded out as I was by the lack of maturity in some folks, I did find some that I could relate to, which was refreshing. I’ve outgrown the notion that adults are people who drink espressos and read the Wall Street Journal, but I still have my ideas about what is considered to be a fun Friday. You have to find the people who fit you. Let the others be who they are, and just be you, even if it’s so different. Pieces will start to fit together. 

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I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in, but I’m not worried. I think as a society, even as we use the words like tolerance and diversity, we have a hard time letting people be themselves. Remember that even if you may not like their personality, remember that it’s not your own, and they are still “growing” as well. Are you who you were five years ago? Probably not. They probably won’t be the same five years from now either. Don’t try to change them. Let them be. 

I’m still working on me, and I don’t want anyone to try to force my path. I want my growth and discoveries to be as natural as possible. I’m in school to learn about networking, and software security (somewhere I never thought I’d find myself), and I’m working on my writing at the same time. Do I know who I’ll be in five years? Not really. But I want to do it all on my own. 

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Onward!

My weekend is coming to an end, which is always sad, but welcome at the same time. I’m ready to start week two and get this ball rolling. I did the usual weekend stuff, like laundry and running, but I did do a little “getting out” as well.

I checked out a local brewery, called Crooked Letter Brewing. I love small breweries, and love that other states are starting to explore the world of craft brews. Austin is ripe with craft brewers and it’s a lot of fun. Every bar you go to has different beers. Craft brewers aren’t afraid to try something different so you’re apt to find something unique in Austin. This isn’t always the case when traveling to other towns. You walk into a nice restaurant of theirs with a “great” beer selection, only to find a handful of your biggest beer manufacturers available. No craft brews at all. I love trying out an area’s local brews. You never know the flavors you’ll discover. A lot of small breweries will take local flavors, like freshly grown vanilla, or local coffee, and infuse it into their brew. It’s great if you can associate a town/city with some of the beers you tried and loved. What a great reason to go back, right?Image

Mississippi is just at the birth of the craft brewery and I really hope it takes off. One here, Mississippi Brewing Company, which I haven’t checked out yet, is considered a nano-brewery, which means they make one barrel at a time (a barrel is 31 gallons), and usually max out at a handful per year. The brewery I visited, Crooked Letter Brewing, makes between 15,000 and 20,000 barrels a year, which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t. To give you an idea, Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Stella Artois) made 161 million barrels in 2006 (by the way, Anheuser-Busch isn’t even an American beer company any more. They were bought out by In-Bev, a Belgian company – so much for your great American beer…but I digress). Image

I love talking to the brewers, which are usually the business owners, accountants, and cleaners of breweries as well. The owner of Crooked Letter, you could tell, loved his job. He loved making beer, he loved talking about it, he loved nerding out over the science of brewing beer and all the chemical reactions that occur to make the perfect brew. That’s when you know you’ll get quality. These giant beer companies, such as Anheuser-Busch, unfortunately only think about money. I’m sure when they were a small company starting out, they made a great beer, and only had a few varieties. Now, they make garbage that people drink because it’s cheap (you can’t tell me you drink Natural Ice for it’s wonderful palette of flavors).

Craft brewing is great because it brings business and art and creativity to the area, without just bringing starving artists. Craft brewers usually come in the creative variety because they’ve had to create their life from the ground up. They’ve had to think of a label that sticks out, a flavor that is their own, and marketing that will lure the A-B die-hards to try something a little different. 

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I hope the best for the brewers here in Mississippi, and hope that if I return years later, the industry will have taken off for them. Craft brewing isn’t just about beer, it’s about re-inventing and reminding people about the wonderful world of buying local and doing something with pride and care.

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One step at a time

I made it through my first week of training. It went better than I expected, which is always a wonderful thing. I’m still exploring Biloxi and Gulfport and the surrounding areas, but today has been a study/Netflix day. We’ve had a wonderful thunderstorm, ripe with thunder and lightning going all day. The clap of thunder even woke me at five this morning. It’s been a welcome noise since I haven’t been in a good storm like this for some time. Tomorrow is supposed to be less wet, so I’m thinking of touring a local brewery here.
I’m full of mixed emotions right now and I’m trying to keep the right ones at the front lines. I’m happy that I’ve completed one week of training, but then my brain reminds me that I have 21 more to go, which spirals me down into a longing depression. I try to re-direct my thoughts and remind myself that since I’m here, I should make the best of it, so that when I go back, I won’t have regrets, or wish I’d done more while I was here.

I can only take life one step at a time, so that’s what I will do. Right now, I’ll take it one week at a time.

One step at a time