Steffen who is participating in track and field this year at the high school, fell hard on his first meet on the 100m hurdles. He had only been practicing two weeks and with the shorter 300m height. Needless to say, the extra three inches did him in and he tripped. I heard a collective "gasp" come from the spectators in the stand as he tripped, then made a graceful tuck and roll onto the track. He then stood up, dusted himself off and began to run again, but because he had lost his momentum, he fought to clear those remaining hurdles; however, he finished the race. His follow teammates congratulated him, even though he had come in dead last. They were impressed with his 'can do' attitude and willingness to finish. His coach approached him, first asking if he was okay, and then congratulated him for finishing the race. She then proceeded to tell him about her first race and how after she had tripped, she did not finish the race, but had stepped off the track. He looked at her, blinked a few times, and asked, "Was that an option?"
"“Dear Elder ______, You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the Washington-Tacoma mission for a period of 3 months. . . " And so began Michael's mission call. He openly wept, while I'll admit I had mixed feelings. I won't lie, the Church continues to frustrate me. It's almost like, we want you to be a missionary, but we don't trust you. I mean, why the token mission call?
I feel slightly cheated. Most missionaries wait with bated breath for their letter to come in the mail and either open it alone or read it aloud to family, friends, and/or roommates. Michael did not get a letter, but instead the Bishop of our Ward came by the home and read the above words to him. Basically, the Church is giving him a trial mission, albeit a full-time proselyting mission. One close to home, in his home mission field, and if he does well (which, I am sure he will). Then after the three months, he will receive another call and two week training at the MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo. Where he will serve the remaining 21-months will be determined at a later date.
I am trying to stay positive and do not wish to rain on Michael's parade. He is very excited about serving and with this calling comes a super quick 'baptism by fire' excursion into the mission field. Michael will be living with other missionaries, tracking, giving lessons, and working on service projects, just like all full-time missionaries. He reports in two weeks. Wow, very little time to get him ready, and boy, do we have a lot of shopping to do!!
Really, I am proud of him for his willingness to take upon this selfless sacrifice. He really is growing up.
Another week has come and gone and we still don’t know how the sequester will effect this household and my husband’s income. The waiting and wondering is what has me tied up in knots. I just wish we knew what was coming, so we are better prepared for when it comes. Most employees are looking at four-day weekends every other week, but for the transportation department nothing has been announced other then today bus service around the base has been suspended indefinitely. Still ticking me off when people say we federal employees are living beyond our means. If you say rent, utilities, food, and insurance is beyond our means – then I guess we're living beyond it. Sigh! Some say to save up money – would be nice if overtime had not been the first thing cut. We are now literary living paycheck to paycheck. In addition, we have some medical bills that could choke a horse (thanks to a hysterectomy and couple cardiology visits in the last few months) and I have no clue how we are going to cover said bills. Also, one of our teenagers just started braces and the other one is supposed to be starting in six months. Not now. Nope, don’t have it. Yes, I stress about money. Makes me so mad when the amount proposed to be cut isn’t even a drop in the scope of federal dollars spent, yet the military and those who support the military are getting the rawest of deals. Yes, I am the first to say there needs to be cuts and also agree there could be cuts in the military, but I think these ‘draconian’ cuts are nothing more then to punish those who do not agree with the current administration and who are pro-military. Why else would congress take away daycare hours for military families, limit hours of the fitness centers on base, close down the commissary to two days a week, stop military tuition assistance?
I also believe the whole thing about the White House tours is one big freaking lie. When I was in high school, I was able to tour the White House. We were given a guided tour and even got to witness the presidential helicopter land on the White House lawn. I know because of 9-11 everything changed; however, when my son went with a school group two years ago, the group had to make the request to our congresswoman months in advance, jump through a whole bunch of security hoops, and then the tour they got was beyond pathetic. It is now a self-guided tour and only includes a small section of the east wing, which is not much more then a museum tour. Now, the President has cancelled White House tours, because of the sequester, yet the tours are run by volunteers. There is no doubt in my mind that President Obama wants to inflict maximum pain upon the American people.
Well, another exciting weekend has come and gone as a minion for the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle, Washington – the largest comic book and pop culture convention in the Pacific Northwest! They promoted this year’s con, as the biggest and best and I believe it lived up to the hype. I heard a rumor the final attendance numbers were close to 73,000 attendees. Wow!
I was super excited about being a "Minion" again this year. I really like to help people! My crazy, busy, hectic weekend started on Friday. The Seattle Convention Center was so packed with fans; the fire marshal closed down the escalators. I finally was able to get into the center and made my way to the minion lair, where I signed in, received my badge, and my official minion t-shirt. My assignment on Friday night was line control in the comic book section, specially observing the crowd waiting in line to see comic book writer Chris Clairemont (X-Men). I had a good time chatting with fans, some who had been standing in line 3-hours to talk to him and get his autograph.
On Saturday, I arrived early, so I could "play" for a couple hours before I had to volunteer. The lines were long, but I heard little complaint and most were just excited to be there and meet and talk to their heroes. I still can’t believe the line-up of media stars; Patrick Stewart, Adam West, Burt Ward, Michael Shanks, Christopher Lloyd, Will Wheaton, Gillian Anderson, Dirk Benedict, Misha Collins, Billy Dee Williams and more. I wish I had had more time and money, but I did get the opportunity to get both Michael Shanks (Stargate SG-1) and Christopher Lloyd’s (Back to the Future) autographs and shake their hands. Also had my little fangirl moment when Michael Shanks called me “sweetie.” Squeal!!! In addition, I saw Julie Caitlin Brown (Babylon 5), who was standing at Michael Shanks table (I think she must be his agent). Although, I did not have the time or money, while waiting in line for autographs, I did see Dirk Benedict, Michael Rooker, Chris Sarandon, and Natalia Tena.
My afternoon was spent doing food runs for hungry minions in the panel areas and then line control in the main lobby and show booth. Mostly, I answered questions and gave directions. I saw some fantastic cosplay and sci-fi costumes and was easily entertained by antics of many of the attendees. It was a great opportunity to people watch!
That evening, I spent the night in downtown Seattle at the Green Tortoise – a hostel located across from the world famous Pike Place Market. The rooms were clean and the rates could not be beat, and free breakfast, wi-fi, and private bathrooms. I did not mind sharing a room, although I was not thrilled that one of my roomies had to have the light on all night long. Next time, I think I had better bring a sleep mask.
Sunday was my all day minioning. My day started at 8:30 am at the convention center and I spent the morning between the escalators directing traffic, giving directions and helping those who were lost or looking for a place to eat or the restrooms. While volunteering, I ran into a high school friend, Anneliese and we chatted for several minutes and even when I took a 15-minute break, she walked with me to the café and we visited some more. I had a great time catching up with her. On my lunch break, I went back up to the celebrity floor and waited in line to visit with Jim Cummings (voice of Tigger and Winnie the Pooh). I almost didn’t get a chance to see him, because of time constraints, but was able to slip a picture with him under the wire. I also saw an amazing Lego exhibit and costumes from the movie The Hunger Games were on display. The final event of the evening was a panel discussion with Patrick Stewart. I would have loved to have attended his panel, but by the time my shift was over it was standing room only – and not even in the room he was in and I was too TIRED to stand any more that day, so I walked down to Coleman Dock and took the ferry back home.
Overall, I had a great time. Crowds were crazy and lines were long, but people were friendly and obviously having a good time. The Convention food is expensive (but not more then what one might find at a sporting event) and it was hard to get from area to another because of the size of the crowds. I was also disappointed as I really wanted to get Wil Wheaton’s (Star Trek: The Next Generation) autograph, but his lines were always too long or were capped off, so I struck out this weekend. Oh well, there will be other times. Finally, I do have to thank the minion leaders who made sure we stayed hydrated over the weekend and thanks for letting me have the opportunity again this year to be a minion. Stay calm and minion on!
My legs, neck, back, and shoulders hurt and I have blisters on feet – but looking forward to doing it all over again next year!
"Hey. . . it's me."
I live in the shadows of the Olympic Mountains, in the State of Washington and I love camping, boating, hiking, and hanging out with my husband, our three boys, and two Bernese Mountain dogs.