An introvert’s idea of a fun Friday

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

 

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

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.

Notebook, check. Pens, check. Nerves going nuts, check

I’m not one for big changes, especially when I’m on my own. Tomorrow I start my new training. I turn into a bundle of nerves when I have to do new things, especially if I have to time things right, and there are unknowns. What I mean is, I’m staying on one base, but have training at the next base over, so I have to factor in traffic and drive time, which I’ve never really done here. Then, although I’ve already done a dry run to the base, I have to make sure I have ample time to get in and “refind” where I need to go and the correct room. This kind of stuff gets me sick. I get really anxious, can’t sleep, and constantly have to go to the bathroom (sorry if that’s TMI, it just happens). I’m always worrying I won’t have what I need, that I’ll be the only one who didn’t get the memo on something, that I’ll say something stupid. 

First impressions suck because they’re crucial, whether you believe they should be or not. They just are because it seems like that’s what everyone always remembers. 

I’m trying to do as much prep as possible now, so that I can make a smooth exit tomorrow. The more I feel like I can eliminate in the variables department, the better I feel. 

I’m going to make my lunch, make sure I have my uniforms in check, and hit the sack so I don’t look puffy and pathetic in the morning. Wish me luck!

Blogging in Biloxi

I will be living in the Gulfport/Biloxi region for the next six months for military training. Although I’m excited for the training I’ll receive, I’m not happy about being away from friends, family and pups for that long. But since I have to be here and I can’t change anything about the length of time I’ll be here, I’m going to try to make the best of it. I got in last night and just started some exploring today. This morning I went to a little coffee shop called Liberty Coffee. It’s a small shop that acts as a church on Sundays. Not sure if I’ll make it tomorrow but I might have to check it out on a Sunday. This morning it was pretty empty but I had myself a tasty coffee and bagel. Image

I also explored the beach today. I hadn’t been to the coast for about two years, when I visited a Port in Texas. Before that, it’d been many years since I’d been to the Oregon coast. I made sure to bring my book to write in and I brought my coffee from Liberty. The breeze was blowing and the beach was almost empty so it was me and my thoughts.

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I’ve been told most of my studying with be book studying, so I may have to make this a regular study spot, as long as I don’t get too distracted by seagulls and people.

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Distracting myself with another project

Since there’s a good chance I won’t see my counter tops finished before I leave for six months, I decided to move forward with one more project before I left: flooring!! 

It sounds like a big project, especially since it includes my living, dining and kitchen area, but so far it’s actually been quite easy. I think overall we’ve spent two days, but have worked a total of eight to nine ours on the floor and we’ve gotten quite far. We are putting down Allure Ultra vinyl plank flooring. I know, you’re thinking “vinyl, what???”. Hear me out. This stuff is awesome. It’s like laminate in that it is an interlocking plank, but it’s so much better because it doesn’t sound as hollow when you walk on it, it’s super moisture resistant, and requires no underlayment or crazy tools. All we’ve used is a utility knife, measuring tape, square, and metal snips. 

Here’s a very quick timeline:

This was taken the evening of our first full day. I did the majority by myself as the hubs was working. We had done maybe two to three feet out of the far wall the evening before, just to try it out. Although it only took me around five or six hours to do as much as you see, my fingers and knees were suffering, so I had to stop for a beer….or two. 

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The next two pics are day two pictures. This took a lot longer as there was a lot of cutting, around the pony wall, the curved wall by the entry, the door to the yard…all the cutting took quite the effort. 

 

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My dogs love to photo bomb

 

 

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My dog Arthur, thinking he is helping with the cleanup

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I took tomorrow and Wednesday off, hoping to finish it up, plus spend some quality time with the hubs before I leave on Friday for my six month adventure in the land called Mississippi.