May 29, 2014

And when I come home, they'll be damn proud of me.

I thought about joining the army. It was kinda this on and off thought I had in my head for a long time. It might make me miserable, but I also think I'd like it. A recruiter talked to me once (while I was volunteering for the Veteran's Olympics) and he was asking about my career and telling me about all the cases I could be on if I joined.

But I never did. And it's not because I'm too scared. I'd go face the dangers of being in war every day. I'm still not sure I can place why I never looked into it more. Because war is messed up? I look at my friends who served. They're messed up. And some of them are doing a good job at moving on, and some of them are only doing a good job at pretending to move on, and some of them aren't even doing that.

But I think I could, maybe. But the fact that someone has to... the fact that there's a need for this position to be filled. I think that's wrong.

I appreciate the people who have served and fought for me and their friends and family, for this country and others, for what they think is right and for the opportunity to change. But I wish we weren't asking them to.

A friend of mine from high school was killed yesterday in Afghanistan. RIP Jake.

"This isn't every soldier's story. But it is one soldier's story."

May 27, 2014

I've earned 12 credits!

I passed all my classes!

Unfortunately, you've all lost the right to know what grades I got.

  • I have a coworker who was there when I found out what my grades were, and he said, "Cool. But you should try to get better grades."
  • MJ gets a low C on her test that she's upset about, Chaelomen comforts her. That's ok, honey. C's get degrees. You're doing fine. I get a low C on my test that I'm upset about, Chaelomen agrees. Yeah, you can do better than that. Shame.
  • I tell another coworker about how I passed all my classes and these are the grades I got, and he says, "Don't you want to get A's though?"
  • My climbing partner asks about how school's going, and he always tells me I should be getting A's, otherwise I'm not really learning the material and I'm just wasting money on school (but I think he'd actually be... maybe not proud, but at least he wouldn't be displeased with my grades).

I mean really. Yes I can probably do better. But compared to all my past semesters (with the exception of my first and maaaybe my second semester) this is quite a drastic improvement! Especially compared to last semester. Dark times. This is a win and I'm taking it. And there shall be no more people to tell me that I need to be doing better, because no one else will know how I did! Muahahahaha

But I passed and I'm still on track to graduate in 3 semesters (+1 semester off in China)!

May 25, 2014

Just some personal values before I get ready for work/church/barbecue.

A couple years ago we made a Personal Creed at church, similar to one that the early prophets had. It's just something we were supposed to say we'd live by, and we got a pretty card to write it on, and I still actually really like mine, so here it is.

  • I would strive to serve others at all times.
  • I would give excess money to programs to help the needy of the world.
  • I would constantly strive to better myself physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
  • I would not force others to abide by me and my standards, but show love to all.
  • I would have courage.
  • I would rely on the Lord for direction in my life.
  • I would never cease to be an example.
  • I would go out of my way to make others feel welcome in my home and life.

And then here's this, just for fun. It's the Dauntless Manifesto (or at least, the parts I don't particularly disagree with).
  • We believe that justice is more important than peace.
  • We believe in freedom from fear, in denying fear the power to influence our decisions.
  • We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.
  • We believe in acknowledging fear and the extend to which it rules us.
  • We believe in facing that fear no matter what the cost to our comfort, our happiness, or even our sanity.
  • We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.
  • We believe, not just in bold words, but in bold deeds to match them.
  • We believe that pain and death are better than cowardice and and inaction because we believe in action.
  • We do not believe in living comfortable lives.
  • We do not believe in empty heads, empty mouths, or empty hands.
  • We do not believe that learning to master violence encourages unnecessary violence.
  • We do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by.
  • We do not believe that any other virtue is more important than bravery.

But... but this means I can't be lazy.

Yesterday was a pretty busy day at work. We were really busy on and off throughout the day, but what made me, at least, extra busy is how much training I was doing. The first thing I did was a class, which was a lot of fun and I got to climb for it, and then I cleaned and did a belay assessment for the next couple hours, and then I did a ton of training with one of our new kids. It was fun, we did a mock rock climbing party. All a lovely day. But I was pretty tired by the time I got off at 3:30. It was nice to finally get to go home.

So nice that I thought, with the babysitting money I made the other day, I'd stop at Family Dollar on the way home and pick up some treat (hot cheetos and the movie Fired Up). The rest of my day was going to consist of watching the movie and How I Met Your Mother. It was going to be glorious.

Which obviously means that I will be called back into work. Not ten minutes after I got home, I got a call from PDRC. Oh no. I answer the phone, and it's my boss.
"This is Bridget."
"Hi Bridget, this is Tony."
"Hey Tony, what's up?"
"I'm calling because we're having a bit of a scheduling [at this point in my life, I realize I have no idea how to spell this word... snaphue? snafoo? hm.] at BCC and we were wondering if you'd be available to work from, well, now until, I'm not really sure, maybe 8 or 8:30?"
"Uh, what would I be doing?" I feel the need to emphasize here that I don't actually work at BCC. I was hired to work the rock wall at PDRC, and then I volunteered to close the building at BCC for my bosses, but my job is still really just at the rock wall. I don't know how to do any of the jobs that exist at BCC. The other day, someone asked me if I could cover his kitchen duty shift, and I have absolutely no idea what that even means. I don't know what that would entail, I was not trained for it, I don't even know 100% where that would be. Yes, hello, Bridget? Would you mind flying this plane full of people to Dublin? And actually, I was already working when he needed me to cover, so I couldn't on two counts, but it was still kinda intimidating that he'd even think to ask me. I don't work with you! Stop thinking of me as your coworker! You don't think of Tracey or Adam as your coworkers, why me?
"It's a rental, I think there's a birthday party or graduation party or something."
"Ok. I can do that, I live about 40 minutes away, and I'm not actually sure what all that entails. I've never been trained for it or anything."
"Sure, I think it's mostly just about checking in with the party when it starts and making sure they have everything they need." You can do it, you've flown in planes before. To Dublin, even! Plus, you know how to drive a car, right?
"You're the first person I've called," Why, are you trying to punish me for something? "and if you can't,  that's ok, I thought I'd see if you're still around and not doing anything and wanted to cover it." Hm. I wish I possessed the ability to say no to covering a shift without feeling guilty about it.
"Yeah, sure I can come in."
"Great! I'll tell them at BCC that you'll be in about 5:15."

There's just something about being able to work-- not having other plans-- and having someone call me or talk to me in person to ask if I can work... I feel so guilty if I say no. They're in need! I need to help them! If they're asking me, they must be desperate! The closest I ever get to saying no when I'm available is, "I can, just this is the only day I have off in ---- weeks," and then they try to see if anyone else can cover instead of me. But I'm still fully prepared to go in if they need me to.

Anyway, I heat up a breakfast burrito since I haven't eaten since breakfast, and I get back in my car and head down to BCC.

When I get there, I walk down the hallway to where I'm pretty sure I'll meet up with everyone who needs to talk to me and tell me what exactly I'm doing. And as I do so, the girl who I thought I was relieving sees me.

"Oh, Bridget, I didn't call you in time."
"Melanie's here, she came for her shift, you can go home."
Grumble grumble.

Haha. In her defense, the girl I was coming in to cover for offered to let me stay and work if I wanted to so I wouldn't have driven all the way out for nothing. But no, no no no, I'm ok. I really don't want a sense of a purpose that much actually.

However, I also didn't actually want to have driven all the way out to Broomfield for nothing, so I stopped at the rec center to climb. Fortunately, while I was there, I was talking to my boss and told him about what happened, and he let me add an extra half hour of pay for the day for driving out there (and also for bringing in some traffic cones from a blood drive that was going on earlier). Quite nice, and then I also convinced one of my coworkers to stay and climb with me after the wall closed, because we were busy for the last half hour I was there, so I couldn't get a belay from the guy who was working, and I didn't want to just climb the autobelay.

So what would have been the most obnoxious night ever turned out to be a really nice night, actually. Still makes for a fun story to tell, though.

May 21, 2014

Be Brave.

I have a friend who is in love with the book Divergent. I also have a sister who read it and told me I should. So I kinda decided that someday I would, but I didn't exactly get a great recommendation (in fact, Scooter's exact words were, "you should read Divergent. It's a wee bit predictable, and some parts are super lame. Glowing review, right? You should read it.") so I wasn't particularly concerned about getting around to it.

And then it came out in movie form and a bunch of my church friends all saw it, my one friend who's in love with it saw it and posted about it, and everything, but I still didn't really care about it. I didn't actually even read the blog that went with it. I knew nothing about this book, but I decided it wasn't exactly my thing. Then Alli, my best friend since 3rd grade, listened to it on CD and she told me super vaguely about the plot, which interesting me enough to finally watch the movie.

I loved it. So much. We went to see it on the 7th, and I bought the first book, Divergent, that night. I had finals the study for and take the next week, so it took me a while to finish it, but I finally did around the 11th, and then immediately started Insurgent and finished it on the 16th, then started Allegiant and finished that yesterday.

Let me just start by saying that I don't love teen novels, especially the popular ones. I haven't read many of them (the only ones that come to mind are Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments, and now Divergent. Oh, I guess Harry Potter, too, but that seems like an exception maybe since I didn't actually love reading the series until I got to the 5th book), but that's because I really dislike them. I always end up loving the stories, and usually I get really sucked in, but they're really... uh, how do I explain it... easy? They're an easy read, you don't have to think much, usually they're in first person (all the ones I listed are) and it bothers me. It makes me lazy. This isn't something I've always known about, I did have a blog a while back about how fantastic Hunger Games was. And after I finished that series, I wanted something else to read, and that's the first time I picked up His Dark Materials (which is so fantastic. I highly recommend it). But His Dark Materials is written better than Hunger Games, and I couldn't focus enough or use my brain enough to handle it. It was too thick. Which is embarrassing.

I dislike feeling like I can't handle something that "advanced." But every single time I've gotten into a teen series thing, that's without fail what happens. I can no longer focus on the better books. This is where I personally draw a line between a story and literature. If it's something that's easy to get into and doesn't require a lot of brain power, I just call it a story. If it's something that I actually can feel improving my cognitive skills, that's literature. There's just a difference.

All this said, I feel the exact same way about Veronica Roth's writing. There's nothing spectacular about it, and I had to engage myself with critiquing what she wrote as I read it to not fall into this trap. She had some entertaining dialogue, and there was like 1 or 2 sentences in the entire series that stood out to me. But, that's not a lot. 1 or 2? In 3 books? When I was reading The Way of Kings, I did not get through a full chapter before stopping and running upstairs to read a sentence to my mom, because I thought it was written so poetically. He seemed so cold. Like a shadow caused by heat and light falling on someone honorable and true, casting this black imitation behind. It was such a cool visual. Love it. And I just didn't get any love of the prose in Roth's stories.

However. The story was so good. I still do not love the way Roth writes. But her story was so well thought out and captivating that these characters won my heart, and I cried so hard at the end of it. Berserk once said that the ending for His Dark Materials made him really sad for the characters, but that was praise in itself, because he actually cared about what happened to them. I'd say it's similar here. The way the story is told might not be the best, but the story itself is so good that I genuinely cared about these characters and the ending destroyed me a little. PS, Mom would not want to read this one haha. She could probably hand the movies, though.

Honestly, maybe the story isn't all that captivating for everyone, but I loved it. Here's a quick run down of what drew me in so much. The story starts off in a place with factions. There's 5 of them and they each value something different. You're born into whatever faction your family is a part of, and the year you turn 16, you participate in the yearly Choosing Ceremony, where you decide upon a faction to live in for the rest of your life. There's a test you take to kind of help you figure out where you could belong, but the decision is yours to pick whatever you want. But the factions don't mix, so if you choose differently than you family, well.

Faction before blood. The factions are the most important things in your life. You swear to live a certain way, and nothing will break that bond. It's just not done. So the five factions are Abnegation (selflessness and serving), Amity (peace and harmony), Candor (honesty and truth), Erudite (knowledge and learning) and Dauntless (fearlessness and bravery). When Alli had finished reading this, she's going on telling me about how she thinks I would be Dauntless, which I just kinda nodded and went along with, pre-movie. While watching the movie, I realized how wrong she was. The Dauntless faction is really enticing, but there's no way I could do it. One of the things they do in the movie is just like, they climb things. I know I talk all the time about climbing and how much I love it, but I'm tied in. I trust the system, I trust my belayer, it's beautiful. I do not free climb things. The thought terrifies me. It makes my hands start sweating if I really think about free climbing. It's not my thing, it hasn't been for as long as I can remember. But that's like the first thing they do. They just free climb a bunch of scaffolding.

Anyway. The movie ends, and I feel really energized by watching the Dauntless this whole time, but really I think I'm more of an Erudite person. I get really excited to register for classes, I like to read, I'm pretty smart especially if I apply myself, my worst subject in history and I still pull a decent grade there. My second worst subject is the one I'm majoring in, and if I actually do a couple homework problems before taking the test, then I usually get over 100% on the test. So, I'm really looking at being Erudite. I love Alli, but she was wrong about me. But, the movie was really good, and while we were wondering around Flatirons, we found a second hand bookstore, and they had Divergent for pretty cheap, so I bought it and started reading it.

The difference is kinda amazing. I love the movie. I will own it when it comes out. And I think it did a really good job following the book. But actually reading the book and getting the extra details here and there about the factions, I started to see what Alli was saying.

The thing about Dauntless is that it represent the kind of person I always wanted to be. The kind of person that I think I could have been if I chose to hang out with those friends of mine more than these friends. And I think, if these factions were real, I would blend in well. I like to be loud, I like zip lines, I like climbing, I wear a lot of black, I have crazy colored hair... I mean, it just continues on. I would blend in well with them. But what about for how I act?

I never really thought of myself as particularly brave. And after a brief conversation about it, I learned that neither does Chaelomen. And after a long conversation about it, I learned my best friend Sara doesn't really see that as a quality that stands out about me. It was kinda heart breaking. I love everything about Dauntless. Everything. I would choose it in a heartbeat. I think I could also fit in with Erudite fairly well, but Dauntless would have been the more natural place for me. And yet, two people who I think know me fairly well wouldn't have even considered it a possibility so much.

It was just frustrating, and I talked to a couple of my other friends, and they think I could be in Dauntless, no problem. For the record, I know the factions are fictional, but the traits are real and asking which faction my friends see me in is a quick way to find out who they think I am. So, I guess it just depends who you ask. But it was helpful for me to see that how I want to be perceived doesn't quite line up with how I am perceived, and that will probably make me try to be better.

Even in just the little things, We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another. It's just beautiful, the things they believe. Overcoming your fears, not letting your fears take control of your life. Shouting for those who can only whisper, defending those who cannot defend themselves. I love it. And the way it all fits together, all the faction and the direction the story took, it was really impressive. It spoke to me almost directly, and that drew me in for the ride, and I cared about what happened in the story (similar to why I love Frozen, actually).

They always tell each other to be brave. Just, "Be brave, Tris," when they have to go through something scary. And Four's instructor always instructed him to adapt. Having a hard time with this? Adapt. Be better. I love it. Those are great things to hold on to. And it's actually a way I instruct my kids when I teach rock climbing, now that I think about it. "Be better, challenge yourself, have some integrity."

And I'm proud that I can love this story with my entire being, and still see its flaws. But the flaws don't hinder the story, the just don't enhance it.

   There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have every loved, for the sake of something greater.
   But sometimes it doesn't.
   Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through the pain, and the work of everyday, the slow walk toward a better life.

Good story. Definitely recommended. I guess a lot of people were mad at the ending and thought that Roth only ended it how she did to get a rise out of people, but I don't believe that. I think it was the way to end it. It was hard, but it was what had to happen. And it killed me. But it was good. It was right.

And now I'm onto the 2nd book in the Stormlight Archives! Yay :) (The first was The Way of Kings, and now it's Words of Radiance. only 8 more books to go! Brandon Sanderson just needs to write them.) ((oh, and in case anyone -coughBerserk- is wondering, I am still reading Song of Ice and Fire. And I still have my place marked in The Blade Itself for Rocky Reads. haha))

May 20, 2014

Win Some, Lose Some

On the one hand, I've trapped myself in this room. (That's Chien Po by the door, not trapped like I am.)

On the other hand, I've found my lap top!

Can't lose them all.

I'm distraught.

Idk where my laptop is. But I have a beautiful blog I want to write! Just, I anticipate it being long enough that I don't want to use my phone for typing it all out.

I guess Tuesday is cleaning day!