27 February 2010

the greatest.

I had the coolest day ever.  Not for any specific reason, just because.

It's getting to the end of winter, and the snow is still on the ground, but the days are much warmer, especially when the sun is out.  I was still at the cabin this morning, and spent a good chunk of time writing a little reminiscence of childhood.  I got a bit of a late start on my walk, but it was a good one!  I walked across a lake, and bushwhacked a little, then stumbled upon a cross-country skiing/ snowshoeing trail that I would happily have followed for hours, but had to turn back.  I bushwhacked a bit more (which was kind of frustrating, because my feet kept penetrating the snow pack, and I'd suddenly be knee-deep under the snow!  Good exercise though, I figure)  I was late getting on the road back to the cities, but made it perfectly in time for my haircut.  On the way down, I was looking up cute hairdos online, and came across these stunners of Katie Holmes:

I especially love this second one, just because the curve is so beautiful.  She's really stunning.  So obviously, I don't resemble her in the least, but Dennis did an amazing job with my hair, and it looks lovely.

I ran a few errands after that, drove past my house and down the alley way.  I got an email from my realtor today, she doesn't appear to be making any headway in finding funding options for the house.  I may start doing some research on my own, at the beginning of next week.

I feel especially happy with myself, as I finally finished a cover letter!  Yay me!  Tomorrow is the annual Dive Into The Past Scuba and Shipwreck show, and I'm planning to head over in the morning to talk with some peeps right when the thing opens.  I can't imagine anything will come up in the next 10 days, but I'm excited to start putting out the vibe.

21 February 2010

riders on the storm.

I can't stop thinking of that song, by REO Speedwagon no less, that goes, "Riding the storm out," or something similar.  I'm thinking of the song because a question popped into my head earlier, one of those ambiguously gay blog-type vaguely rhetorical questions, it being: If you get into a bad rut (or out of a good routine), how do you deal with it?  Do you just ride it out (this is where the bad 80s rock/pop tune comes in), or do you force yourself into action to counteract said rut?  The reason I ask is because I've been on hiatus from the gym for the past, oh, 2, 3 months.  I'm getting to the point where I'm almost ready to go back, but not quite.  See, I'm the type who just rides it out, lets it pass on thru, like an out-of-town guest who's overstayed his welcome.  I'm virtually powerless to force when it comes to my habits, both good and bad.  I have that stupid authority complex, the one where if you say one thing, and I know the underlying theme is power and control, I'll just do the exact damn opposite.  Very, very stupid, considering that 1. I'm 33, and 2. I'm FULLY cognizant of the tendency, but there you have it.

I've had some blog vibes come in this week.  Yesterday someone left a comment on a post, and I was ever so excited.  Sadly, it turned out only to be a link, similar to the emails that end up in your junk folder, not even anatomically appropriate for my gender.  The other blog vibes were better, one from my aunt, who is a Dietitian/Nutritionist and just started writing a blog in conjunction with her work (http://nutritionoutlook.com).  While at her house this week (cuddling with my favorite bulldog, Diesel), we talked a little about her blog, and some of her colleagues who also blog.  I have to admit, when the blogosphere first started to take off, I hated it a little, mostly because people were blogging about really personal, and sometimes really mundane, topics.  Basically it was just TMI, total oversharing, and kind of boring.  This was the gist of my conversation with my aunt that day, that professional bloggers, if their blogs concerned a topic like nutrition, should probably refrain from sharing all the tedious details of their daily life, if only for the sake of professional integrity.

The second incoming blog juju this week was just today, watching HGTV, a link to www.dooce.com.  This one is intriguing in a whole different way, maybe just because it speaks to the voyeuse in me, because basically I want this woman's life.  I'm sure it's not perfect, and since she blogs about her life, I could probably read it and quickly learn the ways in which it is not, but regardless.  From the outside looking in, what she's got going looks a hell of a lot better/more normal/healthier than where I am @ present.

And speaking of the over-share...  My final thoughts tonight are on a house that I looked at yesterday with my realtor.  It still feels like a joke, looking at houses, like there's no way in hell I could ever be a homeowner.  But it's becoming almost a visceral sensation, this need to have a place of my own, and since renting just seems silly now, home ownership seems to be inevitable.  We looked at 4 or 5 houses, all within my price range.  It was almost laughable though, the first one was almost a thing of beauty, if you could overlook the holes in the walls and spray painted tags in the bedrooms and on the floors.  It had really good bones, or it at least appeared to.  It looked like the house had been pretty well maintained, and looked to be in decent repair.  The basement was mostly finished, and appeared to be dry, no trace of water damage; it had a fireplace on the main level, 2 bedrooms on the upper level and 2 dormer windows.  My favorite feature was the library with built-in shelves just off the main entry.  Argh.  I can't get it out of my mind, even though there was an offer pending.

Can't hurt to think about it a little, and dream just a bit.  The universe never ceases to amaze.

13 February 2010

sunglasses, at night.

I'm freezing!  I'm offshore, probably going back to the beach tomorrow, and it's winter!  Even in the Gulf of Mexico!  My tootsies are so cold and have those little spots where there's just a complete absence of feeling.  I am not fond of that feeling, but I have only a few more hours til I retire to my room for my nightly hot shower before bed.  For some reason today I was ravenous for meat, and, it being steak day, I had a gi-normous steak for lunch (which is really my breakfast, since my shift starts at noon), so my body is probably still just diverting all blood flow to the buddha to break down such an unexpected feast.

I've almost been out on this rig for a week.  The first week is typically the hardest, since it takes that long to re-accustom oneself to the confinement of living and working on a boat or rig.  Once the first week is over, it gets much easier, although I'm saying this from the comfort of knowing I'll be leaving within the next few days.  Really though, it does get easier.

I may be back on the beach in time for Mardi Gras!  And might wander into the festivities, even just by myself, just to experience it a little.  I'm not sure my friend who lives in Nola would be up for anything, since he works a normal-type job, but I think it would be fun to get a little lost, provided I could find a way to get there and not have to walk forever, or pay through the teeth for parking! 

Here's a funny observance I made today.  I want to go home, not necessarily to the staid 9-5, Monday-Friday I left 3 years ago, but I would like to actually have a home and a somewhat normal existence in Minnesota.  I fantasize about having a really calming, soothing little house, and to be able to have brunch with my parents or whatever (sincerely, this is what I dream of! So funny for one who couldn't wait to get away.).  So, obviously, the first step is looking for a job, or finding something that would allow for a more regular schedule, or simply more time at home.  Today I found myself researching degree programs necessary to become an HSE rep (basically a safety representative offshore, a third-party contractor in most cases, hired by the petrol companies).  I don't really want to do that job, but am finding myself in this place where the only place I can think to go from here is to doing something else out here.  I don't really want to work offshore anymore, the lifestyle is hard and pretty uninspiring, not very healthy, so I would much prefer to get away from it altogether.  But it's the rub, that since I'm here, I'm not sure how to go anywhere else, or do anything else.

I remember reading once, probably in an Anthony Robbins book, that it's all about association, that what largely drives our behavior are the things associate to one another.  Like, if I associate being thin with being appreciated only for superficial characteristics (a negative association), I'll subconsciously never allow myself to become thin, to avoid causing myself that pain.  Which explains why we sabotage ourselves so easily in the areas of health, success, relationships, etc.  But it also works with positive associations, which may not always manifest as positive in our lives.  To use the earlier example, it's the 2nd side of the same coin that maintaining my weight at slightly above ideal is just a little safer, maintains a more comfortable degree of anonymity, let's say.

So, what I'm trying to figure out is what I associate being offshore with, what's the positive association that keeps me here?  It will 2 years since I moved from California on March 8th, and I genuinely think I would have already moved on if there wasn't something keeping me here, in the sense that this job, this environment, this type of work is feeding something in me.

05 February 2010


So, where's the line between being convincing, and being manipulative?  Between assertive and competitive?  Working in this industry sometimes taxes my brain in ways I can't begin to understand.  It's worse at times like these, when I'm working in the yard, and closer to the office, and closer to the politics.

I went in to talk about my current situation with the Offshore Personnel Manager today.  I needed to talk to someone, because I think I'm spending more time in the hotel than I am at home.  Or maybe in equal measure.  In any case, I have no balance right now, and my objective is to give OII a good chance to make it right before making any decisions.  I can't say I don't already have one foot out the door, but I also don't want to have to make a run for it, as that always seems to incur debt, by virtue of being an act of singular desperation.  I would love to make a smooth, easy transition.  Have I done that before?  Can I even imagine what it's like?  I'm really not sure, but I'll envision it until it feels so real I can totally imagine it.

Being in the office is always confusing though, because there are so many different stories to be heard.  I never know if I'm coming or going, or who to believe.  There's so much double-speak going on, and me, being far too honest, I never know how to interpret what's being said.

02 February 2010

jiu jitsu.

I'm getting back to my roots, the roots of the dabbler.  I have a burning desire, since my last hitch on the Clear Leader, where I met an eager beaver by the name of Kevin, whose alter ego is a pro MMA fighter.  I've actually been thinking about it for a while, I don't know exactly why, it just strikes me as something really engaging and fun.

I went back to the shop today.  I am resigned to letting whatever comes in to happen.  I don't want to force and fix anymore, just want to ride it out and relax.

01 February 2010


I've returned from my Caribbean cruise with the family.  There was no internet, and no phone available on the ship (well, there was, but the cost was exorbitant), which was actually really, really nice.  I can't say I've been without since last year when I was on a wee work boat for a week.  Although, internet would have been welcome in that instance, it was a pretty poopy hitch.  In any case, it was pleasant not obsessively checking my phone, or email, or facebook all the time.  I know I do too much of it, even though I don't really care, and don't hear from people often enough for the amount I check to see who's contacted me.  OCD, I tell you, I'm OCD sometimes.

Beyond this, the trip was wunderbar.  Oh, I totally overdid it, and my body is rebelling at present; and I ate too much, and didn't get enough sleep or nearly enough water, but at the end of the day, it was grand to have a vacay with the family that allowed for so much time together, but not so much as to drive me crazy.  It was also just really, really enlightening.  In the past few months I've been in intimate situations (not romantically intimate, more tete-a-tete sort of intimate, long periods of time spent in close quarters, with the same people, like on the transit to Africa on the Boa, and this trip with the fam), and have started to understand myself so much better.  I keep thinking of the Bob Marley song, "Running Away," certainly a remnant from our shore excursion in Jamaica.  But it's on my mind, that you can't run away from yourself, just like Bob says in the song.  One can blame shortcomings on others for only so long, until eventually comes the day when one has to own up and accept that the shortcomings are one's own. 

Family, I suppose, is the best mirror for everything we love and hate about ourselves. 

23 January 2010


Long. Ass. Day.  It's never a good idea to go without sleep, and I've done it a few too many times in the past month.  I worry it will catch up with me at some point!  But mostly I think it's mind over matter, so I don't worry too much about it.  It's a bit uncomfortable though.  It would be better if I didn't drink when I've not slept, this is certain.  Drinking under normal circumstances is almost certain death, let alone when I've been up since 3am and traveling all day.  The best sign I'm shot: complete lack of coherence in writing.  Or maybe I'm flattering myself and that's actually quite normal.

In any case.  I arrived in Fort Lauderdale today.  Everything appears to be going smoothly. 

And... for all that rambling build up, I really have nothing to say.

sailing (takes me away).

I leave for the airport in a matter of hours.  I arrive tomorrow in Fort Lauderdale, in time for a bit of decorating, the groom's dinner; then Sunday, the early morning preparations for my brother's wedding, then we set sail.  Overall I'm really excited for the trip, surprising considering I spend most of my time on boats and rigs for work.  Nonetheless, it will be fun to spend the time with my family, especially my niece.  There's an added bonus of being on a boat for my time off, and that's a sort of enforced relaxation.

I'm beginning to realize how compulsive and neurotic I am when I'm on the beach.  I actually discussed this with a coworker tonight, and it was validating to know that someone I deem so sensible and good with money has the same woeful predilection returning from offshore.  I don't know where the money goes, I don't know how it's possible to spend so much in such a short time; it's truly uncanny.  I guess it's because you're always starting over with buying groceries, or maybe it's so appalling because you go from not spending any money to spending so much.  And maybe it's not so much, it's more that you've gone for a month without doing any shopping and then suddenly you're faced with so many options and all the freedom of being able to go where you want.  Or something.  So, I got sort of zen about it.  Because I've worked in this industry for 2 years now, and trying to force myself to change hasn't helped, so I sort of just observed it, and let myself be ok with it.  The idea of suspending judgement.  I still want it to be different, but realize in this (as in all things!), I continue to bang my head against a solid wall, hoping magically to form a doorway. 

If I have some cosmic purpose in this life, it's this: to let go of what the will wants to force, and be open to what comes in.

11 January 2010


I'm making a quick experiment today, nothing terribly exciting, just adding a blog entry via email.

I arrived on board the Discoverer Clear Leader today, a TransOcean drill ship.  The ship is new, only having arrived in the Gulf a few months ago, I think.  I'm working with a few former Boa Sub C guys, which is good.  I like being around guys who know what it's like on my regular boat.  The accommodations are nice here, more importantly, the beds are very comfortable.  I left the hotel this morning to arrive for transportation around 2:15.  I had a little sleep on the ride to the heliport, and had slept a bit yesterday afternoon, but once again I find myself in that odd limbo of not knowing exactly how much I slept for the day, or for which day, for that matter.

It's terribly cold here at the moment, has been for the past several days.  I always get the same response when I say it's cold, that, being from MN, I must be used to lower temps.  The thing is though, I don't spend any time outside when it's cold out in Minnesota, and this is such a distinction!  I'm guessing with the windchill today, the temperature outside was in the 20s, and the winds were really strong.  Today, being Sunday, is the day for a fire drill.  So in these poopy conditions, I got to stand outside for the better part of an hour.  And steel-toe boots do nothing to keep the toes warm; when the drill was finally over, I clumsily hoofed it back inside with my frozen and numb tootsies.

The... void that comes over me upon returning to the Gulf has dissipated a little.  I suppose it's the initial anxiety that comes with the anticipation of going offshore.  I'm fine if I go from one hitch directly into the next, and I can spend weeks offshore on the Boa, but coming from home back to the Gulf is painful, kind of heartbreaking a little.  After a few days it quietens, just sort of goes back underground.  That it exists, this discontent, this anxiety, I'm starting to see as a good thing.  Of course there are all the melodramatic ideas of never being able to have a good life, or the fatalistic that one doesn't deserve this or that, but recently, I've started to think there's a lot to be learned from having lived this life, for however brief a time.

08 January 2010

shiny & new.

I came across a really good quote today, reading The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron.  I'd read bits of another book of hers, The Right to Write, but this other title was specifically recommended to me, and it seems to be her more seminal work.  I picked it up tonight and was struck by this within the first few pages:

And now either I can't find what I was looking for, or the quote that was so meaningful only a few hours ago isn't resounding in the same way.  Or maybe it was from another book I'm reading but cannot currently locate, which is entirely possible since I've got a stack of 8 books next to me.

Why do I have 8 books stacked next to me on the bed in a cheap hotel room?  Because I'm seeking a change, and guidance, in my life, always seems to come from books.  It's easy for your mind to get out of the way while reading.  Much less interference from a mind as overactive and chatty as mine tends to be.  A book that's good in this particular application is What Should I Do with My Life? by Po Bronson.  Basically a series of interviews, something of a modern-day Working (Studs Terkel), it's a great book to flip open when you're seeking a bit of insight.  The stories are short, but every one is the individual story of someone's choice of career, and no matter what story I flip to, there always seems to be some kernal of insight or inspiration just waiting there for me to discover.

I went back to work today, sort of.  I've been at the hotel since the night before last, but didn't work yesterday.  Last night, my ops guy called to let me know he'd found some work in the shop for me.  I went in today for about 3 hours, to help cut some tubing.  I spend the rest of the afternoon working on training modules.  I have tomorrow off, then back offshore Sunday morning. 

The question is how to make the transition.  I have a bit of the perfectionist streak in me, and it tells me not to go home because I don't have a home yet, or to wait until I have more money in the bank.  Experience tells me that I need to follow my heart.  Not foolishly, I want to have something lined up to go back to, but that I shouldn't wait until conditions are ideal, because they won't ever be ideal, or as ideal as I feel they should be to go back.  I think I spend more money working this job because it's always the feast of famine mentality.  Overcompensating for all the time I'm offshore, or trying to lessen the boredom of time on the beach, but not at home.  It feels too out of balance, I think is the biggest factor in wanting to move on.

I talked to a guy today at the shop, who always seems to be talking about how he wants to move on.  I realize that I'm also that guy, I'll talk this into the ground.  I get frustrated talking to this guy because he's like a broken record.  In fact, I get frustrated listening to him because I'm seeing my exact weakness in someone else.

07 January 2010

I will dare.

I started thinking about writing in my blog again, maybe because I'm on the verge of doing something again. The next big thing, or something like that. What if the next big thing is to go back to the exact place where I started? It's sort of novel, this idea, actually. Because somehow, in the past 3.5 years, *normalcy has become novel to me. Novel enough, in fact, that I crave it, that I covet it, that I maybe even dream about it.

So I started thinking about writing in my blog again, because that's what one does, these days, when one undertakes something of note. I started a blog when I moved to California. I continued writing in the blog when I moved away from California to Louisiana, and I continued writing in the blog, on a somewhat regular basis, beyond that first year, and even into my second year in Loozianne. At some point I acknowledged the futility of trying to maintain an online journal during a period when my online access was spotty at best, and restricted my writing to a private blog when I was able, but more commonly to the draft folder of my computer's email client.

But here I am again, writing a new entry in my blog. Not because my circumstances have changed, per se, but maybe because I'm willing them to. There's been an internal struggle raging within since the moment I set foot in Louisiana. It's followed a few different paths, but its serpentine course seems to lead to the one place I've spent the better part of the past 15 years trying to get away from... home.

Funny to think about, the idea of life as a river. I spent a semester abroad, studying in the south of France. My roommate, Katrin, was from Hamburg, Germany. After the semester concluded, I traveled a bit, including a quick sojourn to visit Katrin in her hometown. While I was there, we spent a night lounging on the couch, watching movies with her boyfriend. We had chosen a popular movie of the moment, Fargo. During the course of the conversation that followed the viewing, two facts became clear: first, that Minnesotans do actually have a very thick accent (Following the movie, Katrin asked if Minnesotans actually spoke as they had in the movie. I responded in the affirmative, though acknowledging the movie had gone a bit overboard. Katrin's relief was evident, and she explained that she'd thought, when the Minnesotans would respond "Oh, yah," that we had been making fun of the German accent); second, that it's not common knowledge that, to quote a favorite Indigo Girls song of my college days, "The Mississippi's mighty/ It starts in Minnesota/ At a place that you could walk across with 5 steps down."

And so the course of life leads me back to Minnesota, or at least, I'm willing it to. I've lived so many places, and worked so many jobs, but there really is something to the idea of home being where the heart is. For all the technology available, for all the ease of access to email/ phone/ video/ social networking, at the end of the day, it's so lovely, and sort of irreplaceable, to simply be in the physical presence of those you love.