Monday, October 12, 2015

Day 42

Well, I did it. It wasn't particularly graceful or grand, but I set a goal and I accomplished it. 42 days straight of blogging once a day. Some posts were better than others. Some were barely posts at all.

I learned a few things, as I have with most goals. It's easier for me to motivate myself when it's for someone else besides myself. There were nights where I simply didn't have anything to say, but knowing I had other people to answer to if I didn't get one spit out made me buckle down and say something, even if it wasn't overly insightful or interesting.

I had another goal this patrol -- to train for the Battleship 1/2 Marathon on 8 Nov. The training schedule had me doing a circuit work out twice a week, running moderate distances (three to four miles) twice a week, increasing mileage on Sundays, up to 10 miles, and then a rest day on Monday. The most I ever ran underway was five miles. I did it once. It sucked horrible ass. It was blazing hot, even at 0900. I could run at most 30 laps around the flight deck before I had to stop for water. I had to run 170 laps, which I did, but it took me over an hour. I'd run 10 laps in one direction, 10 laps in the other direction, and call that one rep. 5 miles meant eight reps plus a five more laps in each direction. Dreadful boring. It blew. I did it once and then barely ran anymore on the flight deck. Thankfully by then we were pulling into GTMO for port calls, so I could use their gym and treadmills. Even with the air conditioning, the most I ran at GTMO was six miles. I was supposed to be up to 10 miles by yesterday. There were only a few days where I justifiably had an excuse that it was too rough out. The rest of the time, I was just too lazy. I was training for myself, and I couldn't maintain the discipline to keep to my schedule.

It's a good thing to know about myself -- that it's easier for me to do stuff for other people. I don't know how much I'll work on changing that. I think it's a pretty good character trait to have, but I can also recognize that it doesn't always serve me well or to my own benefit. It's ok to be selfish once in a while.

I had a couple of favorite posts.  The one about gremlins still makes me giggle when I think about it. I'm pretty happy with the one about all the little oddities I've gotten used to being underway. The one about the guys doing yoga on the flight deck gives me hope. The one about making mistakes keeps me honest. And the one about chicken -- I'm pretty certain that one changed the menu the next day. We were supposed to have Indian curry chicken for dinner. I emailed the post to SUPPO the evening I wrote it, saying please feel free to share with our FSs (Food Service Specialists) because I thought they might enjoy it. They made two types of Thai chicken curry for dinner -- spicy and mild. Both were excellent, and I ate too much.

Some of the descriptions I used make me think I know a thing or two about writing. "Sunsets at sea will always live in my soul." "We were children of the sea, reveling in her glory." "The bale of suspected contraband sits imperiously on the wardroom table like a prized trophy." "Did I really just write a post about writing a post about nothing?" "I have box of stevia packets for my morning tea sitting on the shelf above the couch in my stateroom, that must have done a cartwheel down to the floor as it showered all the little green packets over the floor like leprechaun confetti." "The only difference between the sky and the water was a subtle difference in density." CO told me his favorite was "Like a noxious fart in a stuffy room."

Which brings me to the fact that I in no way succeeded in this challenge on my own. The emails of encouragement I received were wonderful. Mike K, whose son is OPS on a Portsmouth WMEC sent regular emails that thanked me for my efforts and let me know my readership was bigger than I thought. I'll get to those posts on what Department Heads do -- though I might be a little out of touch with their actual moment to moment challenges. Maybe I'll ask for a guest post :) I got an email from Richard E (no, not that one) which said my posts brought up a lot of good and bad memories from his time underway, and congratulated me on my selection for O5. JKR even sent me a note saying he was reading my posts. I'm always awed when anyone in the CG community tells me they've read my blog for however many years. It happens more often than I expect and from the most unforeseen quarters, but is always a welcome surprise.

CO took a bold chance on giving me free reign with my posts. He read the first two or so, and then let me go ahead with whatever I had to say. He asked me to wait a few days to post "Disruption" simply because he didn't want to interfere with any disposition discussions that were taking place at high levels. He shared the blog link with his family...I think it sparked some discussions with them, when I wrote about full power trials after we had already experienced our generator casualty. I'm not the only one for whom engineering is a mystery.

My sister sent wonderful emails that gave me good ideas and let me know she appreciated my sense of humor. And my Uncle Heathen was my trusted agent, faithfully posting my daily musings. Thank you, Uncle H, for being so diligent about working with our (constant) connectivity challenges.

Here's the thing. Anyone can do this -- write a blog about their personal interactions in a professional Coast Guard setting. One of my ex-boyfriends said he didn't see the point of reading books (I should have known at the time he said that, it wouldn't work out) because he could write stories just as good as the authors. Only he didn't. He just said he could. Half the battle is just plain showing up and doing it. It doesn't always have to be grand. Sometimes it just has to be.

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