Thursday, April 30, 2009
I was happily working on the computer near one in the morning and listening to "Love Song" by Sara Bareilles when at the end of the song I heard a loud meow as though a cat were right outside the window or recorded with the song. At first I thought it was part of the song, but I knew from listening to it so many times that wasn't right. I ripped out the headphones quickly and looked at Roomie who had just layed down. She looked up at me and I asked,
"Did you hear that?"
She looked startled,
"That sound? I thought that was you? You didn't meow?"
I shook my head and stood up and moved away from my desk. Suddenly we both heard it again, a very loud mrrreow and it sounded like it was inside our room and close to my desk and corner of the room. The window wasn't open so if it had been outside it would have been muffled.
We freaked out and went next door to see if our annoying neighbors (hereon referred to as neighbors1) were messing with us. We knew that our other neighbors one of whom was the SL would never do something so childish. Neightbors1 were so annoyed we stopped by that we figured they weren't the ones behind the noise. What was less reassuring though, besides this, was that one had been on the phone and leaning outside his window and had not heard anything. Meaning the noise had to have come from our room.
We went back and investigated wondering if there was an actual cat in our room. When nothing turned up I dismissed it thinking maybe somebody's AIM entrance and exit sound was a cat meow. I checked the volume though and even had it maxed the volume I had set, there was no way it would have been as loud as my roommate and I heard it.
As I write this now, the light is on and the door is propped open ans well as the window a crack just so I can tell what is on or not on the windowsill. I cannot shake this freaked out feeling and I am still very weirded out.
Was that a ghost? Was it just a bad omen? Is there a feral or domesticated cat in the barracks?
It sucks I have a paper to work on right now. I'd really rather not be sitting in this corner of the room right now. I honestly hope nothing else strange happens, this is quite disturbing.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
- Got to get a notarized birth certificate from home
- Schedule an appointment with the passport and VISA POC (Point of Contact)
- Get a copy of my orders to go to Cape Verde this summer
- Complete hours of internet training for the trip to Cape Verde, one of which includes uploading a picture of myself
- Schedule an appointment with preventative med. dept. for vaccines that apply to the Cape Verde trip
- Schedule a meeting with my Law Dept. Academic Counselor to talk about my 8-TAP (all of my classes throughout my time at West Point)
- Get a credit card/checking account with Pent-Fed Credit Union
- Go for a run in the gorgeous weather outside
On top of these mostly basics I have to do some academics too, statistics tonight, physics in general, econ policy paper is due soon for my group as well. The Term End Exam for law is a paper due lesson 40. A presentation for International Relations about Russia I think...
I also don't want my social life to stagnate when it seems to have so much momentum right now. I have the relay for life this saturday but hopefully more than that too. I need to make plans for TEE Leave since I have from Thursday until Sunday... I don't know where I should go but my roommate might be going somewhere interesting. I guess I should start asking around. I also need to plan my trip home ^^ I'll get plane tickets now that I know my schedule...
Other than feeling so busy, the weather finally turned from bitter cold to oppressive heat and it's been great. I admit there is a downside, but it's totally preferred to the snow and ice. Well hopefully I can get more done now, just a brief interlude.
Friday, April 24, 2009
When you restart it is slower than before like it's scared or something and eventually a little box pops up saying the computer has "recovered from a serious error" as though it just went through invasive surgery and you should be being nice to it or something!
Anywho... things are looking up, very up. I am enjoying life right now, going out and socializing, hooked my roommate up with a cute dance partner, and just enjoying the sandhurst team's company in the mess hall for breakfast and lunch and yesterday dinner. I've been using the downtime in the evenings to basically sleep and work-out on my own and hang out with my girl friends I've been missing. I went to Catholic Choir practice for the first time since I joined the company sandhurst team this Tuesday. I'm going on trip section with them this weekend in fact. I worked out with "Ali" at Arvin yesterday before her intramural hockey game and otherwise preparing for TEEs, the Cape Verde AIAD, and planning ahead for my semester abroad.
Sitting in a great place right now. That's all for the moment.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Then at lunch one of our plebes Joe was still making jokes about my sister's boyfriend, mostly to get under my skin. I laugh it off, but at the same time I snip back by accusing him of feeling insecure and being all talk and no action and the least violent loud person I know. Joe called the guy an "air-stealer" and someone taking "resources that could be used by [him]". I retorted,
"Joe, you seem to be projecting, are you going through an identity crisis with your manhood right now?"
Joe: "No one else even gets your joke!"
And everyone started laughing, which I felt was sort of unnecessary, after all it wasn't a bad insult even if it was a little bit high-brow? Not even really, but that's not the point. All of a sudden 'The boys' decided to reference a joke they thought was funny that morning and started to pretend they couldn't understand me and telling me, "No, Taco Bell isn't open right now!" ha. ha. ha. I don't mind Mexican jokes, or woman jokes, but it gets a little annoying when they use it as a way to shut you up. So, maybe I was a little riled up from the feminism block but I rolled my eyes and there was more than a little edge in my voice as I commented,
"Ha ha. You guys are so funny. You know Mia I think it's so funny that I use a joke a couple times in a row and the guys are all over that, but they say the same joke over and OVER and think it's funny every time!"
The boys were still laughing and Mia says to my surprise,
"I know it's that same double-standard you know the one where a girl is slut if she sleeps around but a guy is a player."
And all the guys change their tune, "WHOA! Emmy where did that come from? Left field?"
They are defending themselves and saying that taco bell and this double-standard business are two different things. I quiety try to diffuse and tell Emmy in a lower tone,
"It's okay Mia, I understand where you're coming from. I get it."
And J. says,
"Yeah, but it's completely unrelated. [my name] is laughing at you now Mia."
Now it's too late for the boys to undo what they've done. I look at J. funny, because the boys would defend each other to the death just based on the fact they all have a Y chromosome and I don't mess with that. I also was going to just let the situation simmer down, but when he tried to turn me against my female compatriot... I felt irritation well up inside me. This was alienation at its best, they were even trying to get me another female to alienate Mia.
"Well, no she has a point, there is a double standard, and I'm not laughing at Mia."
And out of the corner of my eye I see S. say to Joe something about making fun of Emmy the next time she talks and I catch his eye and shake my head but he nods gleefully and I say loudly,
"No you won't do that, let's have it out now, if it's such a funny joke about Mia, let's hear it now."
Then Joe starts to say,
"I can't even talk without the women's right activists here arguing against me--"
and he's holding up a cup of gatorade for emphasis or something and I grab the cup and slam it on the table and a good portion of the contents sloshes onto the table and into his clam chowder. I am clearly irritated to the point where it's no good for anyone. He gives me a dirty look, but everyone realizes things are heading too far and everyone starts to pipe down including Joe. I rattle off one final pointed question,
"What about women's rights Joe?"
J. interjects and says,
"I think we should call a ceasefire on that topic for now."
Which makes everyone laugh, including me, I have been looking for a moment to laugh and move on ever since Mia made her point, which I agree with but know there is no solution for at the moment. Still I was glad that I hadn't turned against my sister at arms. It wasn't the best outcome but it was nonetheless a better outcome than if I had stayed silent or worse called her out.
"It's not that big a deal."
Which isn't true for me. I think it is a big deal because it means to me that I am committing to Catholicism, and I don't know if I want that. There is a certain aspect of Catholicism that I love, and that is the reservation of the importance of the Virgin Mary. She is on a high pedestal for many Catholics, and we have a prayer for her. I don't know all the intrinsic details of our worship of her, but I do know I appreciate the importance we give to her.
On the other hand though, women can't be priests, which I don't understand. Additionally, I have issues with several political issues the church stands for. I love parts of it, but not all of it. I am trying to educate myself to make a decision that is based on my knowledge and spiritual belief.
If I don't believe, how can I worship? How can I even sit down and pray? If I don't believe in anything I feel like there is a need I am not filling inside of me. I want to answer these gnawing question inside of me... what is there besides this mortal life?
Do plants and animals have souls?
Is there a devil?
What happens when we die?
Are miracles the result of spiritual energy or scientific anomaly?
I often wonder about the spiritual side, and sometimes find myself looking at my emotional side. A religion I could confidently believe in and educate myself about and practice without hesitation would be the stabilizer in my life... the sweet and higher distraction that was self-developmental.
I am on a journey to figure out what I should do. I am strongly influenced by family when it comes to this decision. My grandmother was a Catholic and always practiced religion. She even had a religious candle burning every night (fire hazard as my dad would say) and went to church every sunday and had more than one rosary and religious pictures and statuettes around the house. She believed in God, and in prayer, but I don't know if she believed in the entire system. She often told me the people who appeared the most pious could be the worst when it came to infractions against the teachings of the church.
My dad told me a long time ago to be careful about changing my religion just to fit what I wanted, since that changes over time. This is true, but it brings me to another question: are we born into the religion we were meant for? I mean, that doesn't make sense to me. I was born a lot of things I can't change... like by ethnicity, my predetermined height, my natural eye-color and hair-color, but I dont' consider my religion one of those things. When you can't internally tell yourself, "Yes, I believe." then are you really... I just don't think... I don't think I'm ready to be confirmed Catholic yet. Since I'm not confirmed, you could argue I'm not really Catholic. I'm in limbo... purgatory so to speak. I don't know if I want to take that next step. This has really been weighing on my mind since my roommate was baptized, received her first holy communion, and got confirmed this easter.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
This will be short I need to make some serious progress with my IR paper which is due 1600 tomorrow. I have a sense of urgency, but my thoughts are scattered. I noticed that I am the most inspired when I have caffeine in my veins and with a lack of sleep. My most honest artwork has been completed at 3 o'clock in the morning when I'm sure there are dark circles under my eyes and I look palest. I am not suggesting I do good schoolwork under these conditions, but referring to the way I create art.
My style has varied through the years. Lately I've been drawing (the same figure) over and over again trying to get a realistic effect. I also have created one comic and hope to continue making it as a social statement. I think I've come up with good names for the characters. I haven't decided on their rank, but they are military with the last names Valory and Dickson. The last name Valory obviously comes from the word valor and so it's a strong, brave name. The name dickson... well I think it's obvious why I chose that name. The jokes are supposed to point out the tiny ironies in life. The struggle of women in male-dominated fields, and the issues faced by both genders because of that. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them and hopefully be able to translate onto paper.
Which brings me to my last subject somewhat briefly. What's a person to do when they feel like their skills aren't really useful in the job sector? I mean, I love drawing, but I draw for me and not on a schedule and my style changes. I couldn't be a comic book artist. I write, but not scholarly, and again only if I'm feeling inspired. I like language, but I am not fluent in any language and I'm afraid to talk to native speakers because it's intimidating. I don't doubt my ability to get a job, but I'm afraid of being in a job I eventually hate. I also wonder if I should drop my law major. If I was the major in Portuguese things would be simpler, and it's not like I'm worried that someone won't take me seriously just because I don't have a "serious" degree. If I could have any degree I would pick this one an instructor told me about. It's a Physics Art Degree. Using geometric optics and light, you create art. I cannot think of a better major that would feed my artistic hunger at the same time would I feel like I am still stimulating the math and science part of me that isn't half bad. I just don't like scholarly writing or reading. I think I could maybe write articles. I guess I could minor in Journalism. I would take language classes regardless of my major. West Point doesn't have these options though, so here I am.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
I have no particular gift for intelligent writing. I am not the classical writer adding to scholarly journals with my in depth review of the theory of some old and more than likely white male and the information gathered by some old and more than likely white male from a group of decrepit, old, wrinkly old men and women bound by a patriarchal society. A society I am living and surviving in but find myself occasionally frustrated and bound in such a way as to make me want to scream and be considered an oddity and outsider because it would free me from the constraints that society binds us with. If you read Wicked you can see this very clearly. I couldn't get into the next two books or even the end of the first, but the middle portion when Elphalba is in the city and going to college... I can totally and completely relate to that.
I can summarize succinctly but vaguely to you reader my frustration with this one interaction with someone I deeply admire,
"Hey SL did you get my email about lunch Tuesday?"
"Oh yeah, I did, but I sort of didn't read it yet."
Thanks. Thanks a hell of a whole lot. You read that ridiculous email from Baumer. You replied to it. Hell everyone replies to the men on the team, but noone even replies all to the women. Do you just automatically delete or ignore the email if it comes from someone without a Y chromosome!? Seriously what the hell is going through your thick skulls, all of you men, when you know a girl is on a distro?
[After a Shower and some time to cool off]
So... I am still frustrated. Not to the point of wanting to scream, but at my lack of communication. I can only connect to one person at one time with one rant. The only people who listen to me rant are inevitably the folks "in the choir". And when I did get on my soap box in the hall and vent loud enough to get a group of guys in discussion with me about it... all they did was immediately jump to the question of whether or not I am a feminist. The final decision must've been a tie. SL and the Phantom both voted that I was not a feminist. "Mat" abstained. Lou called me a feminist, possibly in jest, but possibly in all seriousness. When the Steve's arrived, I became fed up with the increasing ludicrity of the conversation and left before I could find out whether I had been branded or not to be burnt at the social stake.
They naturally asked me whether I was a feminist or not. I replied that I didn't know. The word has different meanings. Ask Webster... then turn around and ask urbandictionary. Semantics aren't the point. I'm momentarily angry with society here. I am as usual bound by something distinctly masculine. It isn't men I'm angry with... it's just the way it is.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Yesterday, we practiced the one-rope bridge although a large percentage of the team wasn't there. We were going through Flirty Walk and going off the trail to practice our drill. We came to the cliff by the river and someone jokingly suggested we rappell. We had the rope and the caribigners though... let's say hypothetically we rappelled down the cliff one at a time. We kept every single safety mechanism in place that we'd had during training and we all went down at least once. At one point (again this is all hypothetically) someone said,
"I'm just trying to be the voice of reason..."
and was cut off by,
"Well I'm the voice of INFANTRY!"
Obviously, as someone else said, "Well... fun and safety always seem to be inversely related..." and I love how reason and infantry were set opposed to each other. The day, had this event occurred of course *cough cough*, was hilarious and wonderful and warm. Tomorrow is the Spring Fest and talking about the competition. I slept in for the run today, but I am trying to really defeat the cold I've had since Sunday. Hopefully that and all the liquids I've been consuming and the vitamins will be good enough to get me in tip top health for next Saturday. If anything, my missing a run today isn't going to determine my fitness by then anyway. Apparently the favored team this year suffered an injury to their primary girl so we have an even stronger chance of placing in the top 5 now. I don't really know, but everyone else is optimistic and if anything I am excited. During practice our SL brought up that the Sandhurst sign used to read, '88 Days' and now it's less than 8... Crazy, but I'm truly looking forward to it.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
"This other guy is on his company's swim team and we see each other in the hallway and he asked me how my company did one day. He's B4? No, wait D4."
My ears perk up and I concentrate on what she says next and she continues,
"I said hi and he said his name was Dan."
I am thinking to myself No way... it's not, tell me he didn't... come on there's no way that it's...
"Dan? Dan S___?"
I find myself asking before I can stop myself. She brightens up,
"Yeah! Do you know him?"
I quickly look away,
"Yeah, he was in Roomie's and my beast company. Go on."
She continues to describe the situation and the emails she's gotten and how he gave her his phone number and she thinks it's all "so sudden". I can barely contain myself, but I want to hear more. Still my expression changes and she stops after a moment and asks suspiciously,
"Why are you making that face?"
I turn to her and smile broadly,
"Nothing, that's just too cute! Seriously, so cute. Go on."
I mean eventually she'll find out I'm his ex and it's just too awkward to bring it up now, but at least now I know for sure that he's talking to someone else. This helps me make up my mind to sit with the team at breakfast because sitting in D4's company area for breakfast is going to be too awkward with this new information. I broke up with him because there was no trust. Now he's lying to me and all we are is friends. I don't need this right now. There are less than 10 days till the Sandhurst Competition and he's not even going to be here for that... so I've made up my mind. There are also like 45 or so days until graduation and I'll be a cow at the beginning of next semester. I'll be a squad leader this summer and going to Capo Verde as well right before Fall Semester. Jay from the Air Force Academy will be spending fall semester at West Point so I plan on going out with him to the city quite a few times this year. At best he'll be in Pershing, a second best would be either my old company or one of the adjoining barracks, and at worst he's a three-minute walk away. It's going to be great, because the semester after that I'll be in Portugal going to classes in the afternoon and wearing civilian clothes... it'll be awesome. Hopefully somewhere in between this I'll be able to get CTLT (shadowing a Platoon Leader or XO in the real Army) somewhere else foreign and cool too.
So now the Sandhurst update... but seriously. I am officially the primary girl for competition day. Woods says we will place in the top 5, I'm not so sure, but I do know I will be giving 100% and everything in the reserve as well. Today we did a River to Tower Run, which sucked, especially because today I wasn't really feeling well. I was sniffly this morning and drinking so much water today to flush whatever bug I had/have out of the system. I also made sure to take my multivitamin, the Naproxen, and drink plenty of juices and water with Crystal Lite too. I was dying in Economics today, but by the afternoon I was doing much better nasally that is. I was breathing okay during practice although I was slightly more out of breath than I was during the run through. Part of it may have to do with not being pulled by any teammates, but part of it was definitely that a lot of my body's resources are being diverted to fight this cold. I'm considering taking another multi-vitamin tonight, but I'm not sure if that would be overkill since it's called a Once Daily, but I mean I'm sure I'm using all the vitamins now and I've flushed out my system several times by now today. I've drank at least 56 fluid ounces of water in between meals.
Also quick review of this past saturday which was the run through. I felt nervous, but I knew I had to finish it. I can tell you the results up front: num 1) I finished, num 2) We ran for 3 hours and 51 minutes, and 3)We ran approximately 10.2 miles. Considering there was uphill so steep we could not run and various obstacles not to mention three sets of stairway to heaven and one round of the IOCT thrown in and we were carrying gear, I now feel like I could do a half marathon at the drop of a hat. I didn't say I could do a half marathon well but still it's something. I was pulled up various hills of course to keep pace with the team and towards the end even pulled to keep up with a flat pace, but despite this I have good news. First and foremost, towards the end of the race Jack told me I was doing "awesome" which could have been attributed to encouragement to finish, but afterwards he gave me a high-five/hand shake and told me that if I "ran the competition like I ran [the run through]" that we had a real good shot. When we got back to the Q, and were stretching all the guys commended me saying positive comments like I had not slowed them down and had given them a 'hell of a run'. It was enough to make any girl beam with confidence. It's all relative, I feel like I can give them another hell of a run on April 18th, and that's all that matters. The fact that some of the guys weren't there is irrelevent and possibly was even beneficial. I now have the confidence to press on and I won't doubt myself even if maybe some of the less tactful ones say something that isn't particularly motivating.
There are quite a few things to prepare for. There's my IR paper, Physics WPR II, Statistics WPR, the Economics White Paper, and of course Sandhurst. All I can think is, "Bring it."
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
329 on the APFT, supermaxed it! 51 push-ups, 85 sit-ups, and a 14:15 2-mile run. I believe this is my best score on the APFT, although only by a couple of points. It still is some of my best performaces across the board. The best (or worst) part is that I felt like I could have done better if I'd been working on the events leading up to the APFT. I heard if we had been doing more speedwork on sandhurst we could have shaved like 20 seconds off our 2-mile run, and I know if I'd worked on my push-ups I could have done more. I guess that's why I feel good, because this is my best performance and I feel like I have more in me. Next year... I am aiming for a 340.
Also... no more D's in classes!!! All C's, B's, or A-. And after this next Physics WPR, and Portuguese WOPR, hopefully two solid A's. I am bringing myself back up. I am getting back on the horse. And other good things are happening too! My roommate passed the APFT with a 276 which to me is an AMAZING "IN YOUR FACE" to all the people who recommended to separate her. If anything I have more faith in my roomie who persisted in spite of meanness and despite not having the support of classmates who are apparently too myopic to look down their stuck-up noses to help her. No one can ever tell me that she can't perform under pressure, I've seen her keep her cool in the History Department (they are so strict) and has a 3.5 in spite of physical grades that keep her from possible 3.9 and 4.0 Even though her element is in the academic realm, she has such a gift with people, that I think she would be a valuable asset to the Army. I will be extremely pissed off if she were to be gone, because additionally, who would I room with? It wouldn't be the same, she is my confidante and practically my sister soldier.
I need to finish strong, I want to, I love the comradery of the company and the team, I didn't shoot as well as I could have today, but that's okay I just need to concentrate and probably adjust my sling and maybe a couple more clicks left. Nice thing we have another range tomorrow. I am still nervous about the competition, in a way that makes me feel like I have a bowling ball in my stomach, but I cannot be distracted, because there is on April 17th and 18th, the I.R. paper due, the Physics WPR II, and Sandhurst. Combined, they will be a monster to deal with. I am preparing for the attack now, even if only mentally for the time being. We're past the hump of the week now! Less than three weeks until Sandhurst!! It's overtime so to speak now. Wish me luck all!