Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Leave the wives at home, gentlemen, you're in Toronto!"

I get points for being a fantastic girlfriend. I mean, more than usual. On Saturday, I really just wanted to sleep in, but there was so much to do that I got up and was going right away. I went to the farmer's market first thing, and bought salad stuff as well as two rhubarb plants. I can't help it! When Shane saw the new plants he said, "Um...I think we need to have an intervention." Apparently I buy too many plants.
Anyway, our friend Fiona (the very first friend I made in Fairbanks) is moving to Juneau at the end of the summer because she got a fabulous internship at a theater there. She's been super busy stage managing for the Fairbanks Shakespeare Theater's performance this summer, "Two Gentlemen of Verona". On Saturday, I knew she was coming over at about 1:00 for what will probably be one of the last times we'll get to hang out for a long while. So I decided to make a big breakfast. I'd only had a peach before going to the farmer's market (I LOVE SUMMER FRUIT!!) so I was pretty hungry. Here's where the girlfriend points come in, though: I tried to wake Shane up because I knew he'd want to see Fiona. But he was so tired, and instead of shaking him awake or shouting at him to get out of bed, I very kindly woke him up with the smells of coffee and bacon. I also made pancakes and cooked them in the leftover bacon juices. So good! Fiona was very appreciative, too.
Her dad is our veterinarian, and they got a new puppy a couple of months ago so Fiona brought Kelty over to show her off. I guess she was rescued from a house in a village and the only reason animal control had any idea she was being abused was because the neighbors finally got sick of hearing her cry and called in the abuse. How awful is that? Luckily Fiona's family adopted her young enough, she was rescued young enough, that she isn't showing any lasting psychological effects of the abuse. She's just a happy, sweet puppy. Zap didn't like having her in the house at all. He went to hide in my bedside table, and when Shane brought Kelty over to try to socialize him a bit more, he started hissing pretty vehemently. We have the most unsocial animals! Pepper wouldn't play with Kelty, and Zap wouldn't come out of hiding. It was kind of sad. Fiona and I took the dogs for a walk, though, and that was great.
Saturday night was James and Lucy's housewarming party. It was so much fun! Of course, I managed to spill all over myself and their new carpet, but luckily it doesn't seem to have left a stain. We were quick enough soaking it up that it should be ok. Phew!
I really want to buy a house.
Sunday was a really lazy day. I biked to Gulliver's and bought some books, but that's about it. I also took a nice long nap in the afternoon because ever since we started the second month of Insanity, I've been exhausted! Eight hours of sleep is just not enough when the body is constantly being broken down and remade.
I can't wait until this weekend. First Amanda gets into town on Friday, then on Saturday Shane and I (and Pepper) have a twelve hour day of driving to look forward to. We're going camping and boating with Shane's family for the fourth. Maybe fishing, too, but I'm not sure about that. It should be so much fun! And relaxing. I'm so looking forward to having a four-day weekend. I really need a vacation right now, even just a mini-vacation.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Kitten mittens!"

I am so unbelievably sore today. We started month two of our workout program, and Sean T. has invented whole new tortures for us. There were several times last night when he demonstrated what move to do next and I said, "You have got to be kidding me!" Yeah. I managed to do most of it (!!), but I'm so tired and sore. I think I needed about three more hours of sleep to recover.
But we bought ice cream last night, and that was my motivation to push myself really hard last night.
I also weeded my garden last night. It totally felt like the weeds had grown about twelve feet since the weekend. Ugh. Shane came out to tell me that he was going off to work and see how I was doing. I told him, "Farming is difficult!" I should have been weeding all along, though, rather than waiting and letting the weeds to grow up really tall.
Still no zucchinis, but my cabbages are looking nice and big, and the potatoes are definitely getting to a nice size. I just need to hill them now, so they'll produce more potatoes. My tomato plant is finally starting to ripen the big tomato that's been on it since I bought it. I had originally kept it inside because I was worried it would be too cold, but since nothing was ripening or even seeming to grow much, I brought it outside the other day. My mom said as long as it stays above 40 degrees it should be ok, and that made me sigh with relief. I'm not good with tomatoes, so I've been really worried. But it's ripening!! This makes me very happy. Hopefully I can coax some more great big tomatoes out of it.
I'm also thinking of buying a rhubarb plant at the farmer's market this weekend. We still have some in the freezer from Shane's mom last summer, but I figure if I don't want all the rhubarb I can always just trade it at HomeGrown Market for meat. Shane's getting anxious for me to produce (haha) stuff for trade. I just want my efforts to finally be validated.
I'm hoping that every year I can expand a little bit more.
I'm getting really excited for the 4th of July. We're going down to the Kenai Peninsula, although we don't know yet what we'll be doing. Seward has been scrapped, because Shane's parents bought a boat and they want to use it. But Steve's mom is possibly having knee replacement surgery, so whether or not we go to Kenai Lake depends on whether or not she's home and needs help. But whatever we do, it will still be fun to see his parents. I always have fun when we go down there. Which makes me so unbelievably happy! It's always good to get along with the boyfriend's parents. And with his, it would be hard not to because they're wonderful.
I also have a friend coming in to town, and we'll only get to see her for a day but it'll be sooo nice to see her! Lots to look forward to.

Friday, June 18, 2010

"All I'm saying is, whoever killed her also murdered the English language."

I have been so hungry this whole week! Shane and I started this workout program called "Insanity" over four weeks ago, and it's really great and, yes, it lives up to its name. Some of the guys we know started it weeks before we did and they all lost a lot of weight and got really healthy with it. So we decided it would be a great thing to do. And it's been great! I've only lost about a pound, but I've gained a lot of muscle in place of fat. I've had several people (most notably Shane) tell me that they can really see a difference. But I haven't really been super hungry, either. I mean, a little bit more than usual, but not that bad. Until this week. It's the recovery week (which still leaves me rubbery and weak by the end), and suddenly I'm starving. Even after eating a huge dinner last night, I was full but still hungry. It kinda sucks.
But we had a little pizza party in the office here today, and I finally feel not hungry. Part of me regrets eating four slices of pizza (and leftover broccoli from last night) but at the same time, it's so nice to finally be satisfied. Plus, pizza is yummy. And it's made the day go by pretty fast so far. It helps that I re-watched the SNL with Betty White, and then a few clips like "Great Day" and "On a Boat". Hilarious.
I'm excited for softball tonight. I've been working on batting, so I'm hoping that I can do a bit better this week. I apparently need to put more twist in my torso. I did have a couple of decent hits last week, but I'm aiming to get on base every time tonight. We're still 10-0, though, undefeated! Woo-hoo!! Let's hope that continues!
It's so nice to have Shane home. Even the dog seems more relaxed now that he's back. Of course, she still doesn't like it when we leave the house, but in general she seems happier. Although, both the animals were driving us nuts last night! Pepper was moving around the bed too much, so Shane kicked her off. Then she started trying to scratch up a nest for herself. On the carpet. So I had to get up and yell at her. Then the cat was walking all over us, purring. He has this way of standing right on my sternum and staying there. It hurts! So when I finally woke up this morning, I had to keep telling myself, "It's Friday, and it's pay day. It's Friday, and it's pay day..." I don't feel as exhausted as I thought I would, though. Must be because of the pizza.

Friday, June 11, 2010

"His relationship with food is probably unhealthy."

I haven't posted in a little while, and a lot has happened.
First, the good. I got to talk to Matt on his birthday for well over an hour (on Skype). That was so much fun! And funny. I couldn't get my webcam to work, and he couldn't get his mic to work. So I could see him but not hear him. He could hear me but not hear me. I got to do stuff like tell him that some guy was staring over his shoulder. At the end of the conversation he said he had to write some e-mails before his time was up, and we said goodbye. But he didn't actually end the call. It took me a moment to realize what was going on. So I said into my mic, "You look very serious." I saw him start laughing as he realized what he'd done, and then he ended the call. It was so good to see him laughing so much, though. We had a blast. I've missed him! I need to get my webcam working, so that he can see me, too. Oh, and another mic because I broke mine. I didn't realize it was tangled around my legs and I started walking away...yeah.
Now the bad. Shane's in Barrow right now. He was supposed to leave last Friday night, but he was getting a ride from his idiot boss, who decided to run some errands even though they were cutting it close, and so they missed the flight. On the upside, we were able to go to the Marlin to hang out with James and his dad and brother. We watched someone getting arrested for DUI, were accosted by a seriously drunken native guy, and then stayed up the rest of the night so that I could get him to the airport at 5 a.m.
Ever since getting there, he's been putting in 12-13 hour days, while never getting a chance to sleep more than about three hours at a time because someone (usually his boss) is always knocking on his door. Yesterday was the first day he "only" worked 8 hours. And he sounds more and more exhausted and defeated every day. It sucks. The only good thing is how much money he's making, with a $95 per diem (food is ridiculously expensive up there, which is why we went shopping and he brought up most of his food) and already over 16 hours of overtime. He was approved for 38 hours of overtime, and I think he'll probably use all of it. Because there's nothing else for him to do. Wednesday was possibly his worst day. One of the guys he works with went home that night because three separate cars swerved to TRY to hit him. Shane saw some guy beating his girlfriend in the street, most of the people he saw were drunk before noon, and some guy went to his neighbor's house to start vandalizing stuff. Most of the population up there is Native Alaskan, so they get checks from the government and a lot of them don't have jobs. They also fall into the category of subsistence hunters, so Shane was absolutely sick at all the wasted meat he sees everywhere. After all, they don't have hunting limits so what do they care about waste? Why should they fix that snow-go or four-wheeler when they can just wait for their next government check and buy a new one? I agree with Shane that to get the money, they need to put restrictions on it. Like, if you don't have a job then you need to put in a certain number of hours of community service. Teach the youth about the rich cultural heritage, the songs and dances and history! But they don't, at least not in the villages. And this has been going on for so long that many of them don't even realize that most people don't live this way, they don't stay drunk all the time and they don't consider it normal to beat your wife and have 18 kids that you can't support and just waste or destroy everything you get. When I said some of this Shane teased, "Are you racist?" I don't think it's racist to know that they could be so much better than this, because the actual Native culture (not what's being lived in the villages) is very cool. But because of some of the government policies (like giving out free money just for being Native, or having no hunting limits so people can do things like slaughter 50 caribou that they have no intention of eating--that happened two winters ago, and there was nothing anyone could do about it because it's not illegal for subsistence hunters) and because of a culture in the villages that is based on defeat (pretty much anyone with any drive gets a good job and gets out of the villages), there's this horrible, distorted view of how life should be lived. Or they just don't care. And it makes me so sad and upset. Plus, there's a LOT of racism on their part, so if someone does go out to try to help people and make the community a better place, it's more than just an uphill battle, it's almost impossible. They view white people with distrust because, somehow, we're going to make their lives worse than they already are. And I get that, historically, yeah, we've screwed up their culture. But I really don't think there's much anyone can do to make their lives more miserable than they already are. I can't imagine living that way.
Since Shane's been gone, I've been spending a lot of time doing stuff like cleaning. I clean when I get lonely or bored. So it's been driving me nuts that the vacuum broke a couple of weeks ago, because I desperately want to clean the carpets. I've cleaned out the kitchen (twice), dusted, cleaned the bathroom, done laundry, and I even cleaned off Shane's desk a bit. I'm running out of cleaning to do. It's a good thing this weekend is going to be busy. I need to finalize some plans for my brother's wedding, go shopping (I need shoes, since I'll be in the wedding and Johanna wants the bridesmaids to wear silver sandals), run a bunch of other errands, and help James and Lucy move into their new house. They bought a house! I'm happy for them.
Shane gets home Monday night. Maybe. They might keep him until Tuesday, but he said he refuses to stay there after that. I think, if only for the state of his mental health, he needs to get out. He's my happy-go-lucky guy, and I hate hearing the depression in his voice. I've never heard him like this before. And he can't even tell me all of it, because of the rules for census workers. Even if he went to someone's house and there were heads in jars, he wouldn't be able to even call the cops about it. So some of this stuff, he's going to have to live with without telling a soul. It makes me very sad for him.
Tonight I have two softball games, and before that some of the guys and I are going to the batting cages because I really, really need to work on that. The first couple of games I got on base every time, and now I can't get on base at all. I'm determined to do better than that!