Trump Terror

11 Nov

I was actually happy when Trump got the Republican nomination.  I thought Jeb Bush, with his family-backing, and Texas oil money, and far-right support was more of a threat.  I highly doubted anyone would take Donald Trump seriously.  I mean, all he had going for him was money and trash-talk!  I felt voting for him was akin to voting for a Kardashian.  They’re in the same camp–you know their names from the stupid stuff they say and do on television, but you don’look to them for any serious leadership.

And I knew if nobody took Trump seriously (because HOW could they!!!) that whatever democrat was running would be a shoe-in.  I wasn’t sad to see it was Hillary.  I had actually voted for her over Obama in the primary that first time around when she ran.  I knew her face, thought she worked really hard as Secretary of State, and yeah–I wanted a woman in the White House.

But I thought women’s rights were farther ahead than they actually are.  I really think if Hillary were a man, things would have played out differently.  It would have been an EQUAL assessment of two candidates.  Not just a singular attack on one and blind-spot toward the other.  They would have dug into her dirty laundry–sure–that’s part of the political game these days.  And believe me, they ALL have their share of dirty laundry.  The political machine is so caught up in money now, that ALL candidates that make it to a certain lever most certainly made back room deals to get funded.  They all owe somebody.  Every politician has to water down a certain policy they care about, because a special interest group contributed to their campaign.

That makes them all lairs.  They all manipulate.  Every politician is shady.  I expect it.

But they would have used the bad stuff to equal disadvantage, apples-to-apples.  They didn’t.  When people called Hillary a liar, I was like–yeah.  Of course.  But what I didn’t expect was to people to hold that against Hillary in a militant way, when they didn’t hold the male politician to the same standard.  I would challenge that every accusation, every piece of dirty laundry found on Hillary was used against her in a more drastic way then it is used against any man that has run or held office.  People were a LOT harsher on Clinton then they’ve been on most males in politics.

The patriarchal double-standard reared it’s ugly head.

Even so, I didn’t think the country would go for Donald Trump.  How could they?  He is a caricature.  He’s all fluff and propaganda, and realty TV!  He has no political experience, no solid policy ideas, only hateful sound-bites.  His business dealings were murky.  The guy claimed bankruptcy and didn’t pay taxes.  He wavered on issues, and lost all three debates.  His supporters were the trashiest, most backward, belligerents in the country.  He got caught candidly admitting his penchant for sexual abuse.  Americans would not get behind any of that.  We might like to see the train wreck on TV, but we expect more decorum and have higher standards for our president.

The leader of our country–the leader of the world.

I was in absolute shock when we didn’t.

This week was difficult.  I felt suddenly scared and alone.  I knew every person from my small town voted republican.  I felt since Trump is against many of the minority groups I belong to (women-in social standing, impoverished, gays) that my Utah work managers were also.  My hometown was also.  My Facebook friends were also.  My parents were also.  I was suddenly marginalized.  Cowering at the fringes.

And my groups are actually dominant groups OF the marginalized groups.  The illegals, people of color, transsexuals, Muslims–all have it way worse.  If I felt scared and alone, how must THEY feel???

I saw many Trump supporters come across my Facebook feed.  And they shut-down dissent by telling anyone liberal or sorry about the win to “get over it.”  They discounted their opinions, silencing their views.  I try not to make waves on Facebook.  Or at work.  I know I am more progressive then my small-town peers.  I understand I have lived in more states, have more education, watch documentaries and learn about issues.  I’m a moderate, but a progressive one.  That sets me apart from most loud political views.  I get that people that just don’t know, don’t necessarily hate, but they are ignorant.  I can let some things go.  And I am usually quiet.  I scroll past the politics that are opposite to my views, the hate-memes, and ignorance.  Because these people are family.  Or they are my past.  I grew up and went through every year of schooling from kindergarten to senior year with some of these people–it’s just not worth it.

But when people started hassling Cool on her Facebook page, I stopped to think.  She was upset and posted why.  People wrote long diatribes, personally attacking her.  People told her to shut up about it.  People said to “move on.”  And in a society that just accepted what Trump stands for, and voted him in the highest office–I decided we could no longer afford apathy.

A lot of the reason he got voted in was because people didn’t like either candidate so they didn’t vote.  A whole, big section of youth, and moderates, and democrats just didn’t vote.  Which left privileged people to make our decisions.  People whose lives look nothing like mine.  People who don’t have the same problems and worries as me (or other marginalized groups).  It made me think a lot of that Holocaust quote, which I will not directly quote (because I’m too lazy to go search for it, and I already have more tabs open then I like) so I will sum the sentiment up:  They took the criminals, and I was not a criminal so I didn’t say anything.  They took the gypsies, and I was not a gypsy so I didn’t say anything.  They took the Jews and I was not a Jew so I didn’t say anything.  So when they came for me–there was nobody to speak for me.

We always have to remember how the Holocaust started so nothing even remotely similar can repeat itself.  It’s not just about some tyrant stealing power–it’s the apathy and silence from the real majority that allows that to happen.

And Cool and I spent a very large part of the year watching WWII (and everything around the periphery of that) shows, interviews, and documentaries.  I know what apathy can lead to, I know how things got started in Germany back then.  So I felt motivated to stand up where I could in my own life.  I made a new policy that I would not be silenced by the privileged few.  I would not stand down as a woman.  I will not hide as a gay.  I will not let my poverty minimize my power.  And I wouldn’t stand by and say nothing when others were hassled–not anymore.  I will act with integrity and stand for what I believe in.  Even if it causes confrontation.  I will deliberately show my ethics and speak my morals.  I have to counter the negativity and hate that was just sanctioned by a vocal majority by stopping the silence and apathy.  First in my own life, then maybe even on a larger scale.

Here’s what I wrote to Cool (and her frenemies on Facebook):

hypocracy

 

And I wrote to her (and those frenemies of hers):

“Words of wisdom: I will not be shut-down or silenced. I will continue to voice my ethics and let my values guide my actions. Hate has no place here. Don’t let societal pressures make you falter. Speak your mind. Speak your truth.”

Because right now it’s super-important for all those just marginalized by the ignorants and the haters to have a voice.  Remind people we’re here and we’re just as valid.  And we have dreams, hopes, and rights.  We deserve an equal chance.  We deserve respect.  That dissent is not unpatriotic.  To speak out for injustice is as American as you can get.  It’s what this country was built on.

I also got brave and wrote from my heart on my own Facebook page.  Knowing I was outnumbered by right-wingers.  Knowing there was hate for my groups just under the surface.

“I try to keep politics off my page. Nobody really wants to hear it–you’re not changing anyone’s mind. And I don’t identify with either party. I think with all the money, and lobbyists, and Super-PACS all candidates that make it that far have to be corrupt just to be in the game. But I am in shock and dismay.

For me, this 2016 election result is not about red or blue, winning or losing, it’s about standing for my values, and modeling my ethics. I will not be shut-down and I will not falter in defending my morals for fear of antagonism. It’s not about, “move on, get over it.” Trump’s values do not align with mine. And friends/family I hope I know you well enough that Trump’s quotes/feelings are not in your heart either.
This is a country of immigrants, mentally ill, minorities, women, gays, impoverished, of “other.” Big-Money shouldn’t have the largest and last say in all matters. As a proud American I recognize how fortunate I am to be born here and at the status that I hold. But that’s all it was–luck, completely out of my control. I will raise my voice to defend the little people– outsiders like myself–because that’s the kind of person I am.
If you can’t respect that, if you are ignorant to the sentiment of this message–mostly I feel sorry for you. And a little afraid. For myself, for the others like me, for this great country, and for you. God bless, and may the universe be kind to you and yours.”
I was disappointed I only got 3 likes and one comment–none of those from family.  So the fears and isolation are real.  Those people on my Facebook WOULD turn against me.  I have to watch my mouth and watch my back.
But I will not be silenced.  I will not go down without a fight.
I took my new personal-policy of not being silenced to my job yesterday.  Crissy bought us ice cream.  She got 4 different flavors of candy bars.  Derick the Douche loves Reese’s PB cups best, so she specifically got ice cream in that flavor for him.  He claimed it before he saw it.  The rest of us decided which flavors we wanted.  Derick then saw the ice cream, and saw his flavor was smaller then the rest.  He said he wanted oreo instead (it was the biggest).  But an Indian gal had already picked that one out.  White, male, privileged, dominant Derick the Douche wanted it, and pushed for it.  She conceded.  I spoke up–“No Siama already chose that one.”  And I like PB, and didn’t particularly care which ice cream flavor I ate (I love ALL ice cream!) so I told him to take the Twix one I had picked.  He pouted and tried to take hers anyway.  I put my foot down.  Which, I never would have done before.  He’s always that way.  It was none of my business.  But under my new policy, I was not going to stand by and let him bully a minority and take the (perceived) better ice cream away from her.
I used my policy a second time in the same night.  A chronically slow, co-worker, who is always late, always lagging on his buckets, and actually disallowed to do basic tasks because he messes up, ruffled my feathers.  I always do the document imaging at work.  My co-workers don’t like to.  Everyone is supposed to do it.  We even have it assigned to a certain color.  But I do the lions share-no matter what color I am assigned.  Night after night.  Because I am a hard worker.  I’m motivated.  And it needs to be done.  I’ll do the scanning–ALL of the scanning.  Night after night, month after month, year after year-I do the majority of the scanning.  To the point, they don’t even know HOW, some of them, including the boy in this story.
For once, Crissy (who is just a sub and usually doesn’t work) was helping with the scanning.  She got stuck and didn’t know what had gone wrong, and this kid (Josh) was near so went over to help her.  But since he never scans, didn’t know how.  And they all just KNOW that I’m the scanning bitch at work.  In an accusatory tone, he called my name–like ‘YOU fucked this up, now come over and fix your mistake so Crissy can finish our work.’  That’s what his tone and body language said.  And he’s used that tone on me before.  Usually I let it go to keep the peace.  Even though it’s a totally inappropriate tone for work, and completely condescending.  I usually let it go.  Even though it makes me mad and makes me feel ‘less than’ I let it go.
But last night I called him out on it.  I said, “Are you asking for my help or accusing me of something?”  And he still looked agitated and a little hostile toward me so I continued, “You don’t need to use that accusatory tone on anyone at work–especially when you’re asking for their help.”  Turns out, I had not messed anything up.  But even if I had–so what?  And um–scanning is not MY job.  They are supposed to be doing their share and they never do–so don’t come accusing me of anything regarding scanning!  Anyway, Crissy had pressed something wrong, and it was no big deal, I simply showed her how to fix it, and we went on with work.  But my defense had made the kid mad.  He was storming around, slamming his stuff, and had a shitty demeanor for the rest of our shift.
But I wasn’t silenced.
And that felt good.  In a week where shock and horror ruled.  So I will continue on, living ethically, not hiding behind fear or apathy.  I will act with morality, defend those without a voice, and stand up for my beliefs–because they’re just as valid as Trumps, and those who voted for him.

The Security Breach

24 Oct

We had to move to our apartment (in a new state) sight-unseen.  We have 2 cats.  And a strict budget–especially at that time, b/c moving is expensive!  No one called us back in Salt Lake City.  Everyone who responded at all, never even read our out-of-state situation, and invited us to a showing.  When we couldn’t make a showing “tomorrow” they just didn’t correspond with us.  It was everyone.  How nice for realtor’s in SLC that it’s a seller’s market.

Bottom line:  We pretty much had to take what we could get.

It was OK.  The apartment was a little larger and better then what we had in Spokompton.  The neighborhood was quiet, but had tons of potential.  The park across the street was not like the ghetto-homeless situation of Mission Park near our apt in WA-state, but largely empty.  And quiet.  And they did lawn maint like 4 times a week.

But recently things have slowly started to change.

Every once and again there will be a homeless person sleeping it off under a tree in the park.  Someone parked their shopping cart 5 blocks up on the sidewalk next to the main street.  Nothing big.

The change from quiet to icky came with this homeless family.  A man, woman, toddler, and dog lived in their car.  And parked the car in our complex’s parking lot.  Like, every night.  Nobody seemed to notice, and they stayed under the radar for 5-6 weeks.  Everything started sliding downhill after that:

8/17/2016:  Wrote in the apartment portal that homeless people were living in the car in our parking lot.

9/2/16:  Texted the manager that the homeless people were still parking/living in our apartment’s parking lot.  Was informed the manager was out of town and instructed to call police about it.

9/13/16:  We came back from an out-of-state week-long trip and suddenly the homeless family in the car weren’t around anymore.

Wed Sept 28:  A knock on the bedroom window at 11 PM.  Cool had turned on the bedroom light to change for bed, and the knock came.  Then there was the sound of some tool trying to pry open the window frame.  She didn’t want to call 911 only to find it was a squirrel not an emergency (and she was still a little manic) so she she ran out of the apartment, to the entrance of the back alley.  She held up the flashlight app on her phone, but our window is toward the 300W street-side more, so the person she saw was not detailed.  She DID see a person in black clothing, holding something red (a cigarette or a pen light?) and at our window!  She called 911 and they sent 6 police officers and a dog.  They did an official sweep of the apartment, holding up guns, and calling for intruders.

I wasn’t too, too concerned though.  Because I thought it was probably a crime of opportunity.  There is an apartment on 300 W, and its parking lot is behind their building.  It ajuts to the end of our (dark, abandoned) fire alley.  They must have had problems with prowlers because they no longer park cars behind the building, favoring the side of the building, which is visible to the street.  They also installed a bright light in back.  The light illuminates a portion of our fire alley, but the first window in the dark is ours.  So I figured someone just went to the first dark window they saw.  And the person must have been dumb or not sober.  Because Cool had just turned on the light when she heard a knock–and who breaks into an apartment when the light is on, meaning someone is home?!  And a bunch of cops came in about 5 minutes, so I figured whoever it was went along their way.  And would never be back.

Fri/Sat, Sept 30:  The next door neighbor fixed the hole in the fence between the dark parking lot behind the next apartment and our fire alley.

Sat Oct 1:  I closed the black-out curtains, tucking them between the dresser and the wall.  We are watching a movie in the living room, and there are a lot of people outside their apartments talking, smoking, and drinking.  I hear what I think is Goose fussing with the curtains, trying to get in the window sill to look outside (it’s his fave thing to do).  Thinking he might pull the whole suspension bar holding the curtains down (and holding my dinner at the time) I ask Cool to go in the bedroom and check on him.  She reports someone is knocking on the back window.  I’m scared–who comes back a second time?!  I was too scared to open the curtains and see who it was.  I would be face-to-face with them, and that’s too much!  My adrenaline was pumping from the fear and I banged (3+ times) on the inside of the window with my fist, hoping to scare the would-be intruder away.  I banged a 2nd time (3 loud knocking sounds), while Cool was on the phone with 911.  Whoever was on the other side of the window. . .  Didn’t startle away–they knocked again.  This told me about their frame of mind and made me even more afraid.  I knocked on the thin wall of our bedroom, hoping to get help from the neighbor.

Bronco ran out to the fire alley, but all was quiet.  A police officer arrived about 20 min after our call, and stayed a long time, hearing our story, the neighbor’s opinions, and offering suggestions:  Lights in the alley.  Remove the abandoned/broke-down cars b/c they are a thief/vagrant attractant (and a fire hazard).  Put razor wire along the top of the fence surrounding the alley.  The police officer did not seem impatient or eager to leave.  I could hear calls on his radio on a busy Saturday night, but he made sure to get the whole story and he made sure he answered all of our questions.

We were afraid all the time at this point.  It felt like we were waiting with dreaded anticipation for someone to come back and try to get in.  I was afraid to open the windows.  I didn’t want to shower when I was home.  I was afraid to sleep and let my guard down, in case someone tried to break in.  I checked every noise to make sure it wasn’t someone trying to get in the apartment.  Every time the cats jumped in or out of the window, I was alarmed.  I listened for footsteps in the alley.  I felt stressed and unsafe.  Cool became crazy.  She started hearing things.  She wouldn’t go to sleep when I wasn’t home.  When I finally coerced her to sleep so that she could make it to work in the day, she wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom.  She had all the lights in the apartment turned on all the time–even while she was sleeping.  She started bothering the neighbors, asking them to check the alley.  We were scared in our apartment.

Sun Oct 2:  We were also scared about being away from the apartment for 11 hours, because someone could get inside.  So I took 1.5 hours of vacation and left early (forfeiting some of my weekend double-time) to go guard the house.  We bought a bat, a strong flashlight, and strong, locking bars to block the window and the door closed.  After work at 6:30 PM we inspected the fire alley (carrying the bat) and saw a broken bench was propped up on the chain link fence.  It looked like maybe someone had attempted to throw it away at the dumpster across the parking lot–just my theory.  And someone else came along and dragged it over to use as a step-stool over our fence.  We pushed it away from the fence and it folded in half, making a crunching/squeaking sound.  It ended up about 2 feet away from our fence and folded sort of in half (because it had already been broken).

Mon Oct 3, 1 AM:  I awoke to hear that same bench being moved.  It happened only briefly.  No one came to our window.  In the daylight I checked, and the bench was still away from the chain link fence.  I wasn’t going to mention it to Cool, because she was already freaked, and I wasn’t 100% certain (just 98%), but Cool mentioned she had heard it, so I know it happened, b/c we had both heard it.

Wed Oct 5 a pack of stray cats were eating from our bird feeder and making a tapping sound on the window.  Cool thought it sounded like the knocking of before so she knocked on our neighbor’s wall.  We absolutely know the first 2 incidents were a person though b/c the first time Cool had run outside and actually seen a person.  And the 2nd time, I had banged HARD on the window.  Hard enough that my knuckles were bruised the next day-and I never bruise.  No animal would have sat there for that banging.  And I had done it multiple times, twice.  It would have startled away any animal.  And after I had banged, someone knocked back at me.

Thurs Oct 6, 12:30 PM:  A man was sitting in Bronco and Cough’s parking spot, which is directly across from my living room window.  My curtains had been open.  I took a pic, but his head was down.  He stood and looked into my apartment so I called the non-emergency police line, but before I could complete the call, the man meandered to 300 W.  I asked for police patrol.

11PM:  heard walking in the fire alley and a quiet jangling (like keys in a pocket).

10-6-16:  Texted the apartment manager asking when any safety measures will be taken–never got a response.

10-6-16:  Wrote in official apartment portal-

Someone tried to break into the bedroom window this last Wednesday (9/28) at 10 PM. On that occasion, a person knocked on the window, then used some sort of tool to try to pry the window frame apart. Luckily one of us was home and called 911. We also reported the incident to management the next day, but so far no additional security has been completed. Saturday (10/1) at 8 PM, someone came back to the bedroom window and knocked. I pounded the window to scare them off–and they tapped again. We called 911 a second time, and the officer gave us some tips: 1) The cars on the side of the building are an attractant to burglars and homeless people. Some are also in violation of fire code. 2) Get a motion sensor light. 3) Put razor wire along the top of the entire fence, because someone is probably climbing over. 4) Consider a gate on the back side of the fire alley. I need to feel safe in my apt–please make some changes soon so we don t have to move.

Sat Oct 8, 5 AM:  Saw flashlight through blackout curtains (through sleep mask while sleeping).  But for certain.

Sat Oct 8, 5:10 AM:  Thud on bedroom window.  Goose ran behind curtains and stayed, so it may have been a cat.

Sun 11 PM:  tromping in fire alley (may have been police patrol).

Mon 1:40 PM-police drove by front of apt.

Tues 10/11, 3 PM:  marked police car was sitting on the street next to the park.

Wed, 1 AM-ish:  I got home from work, and the homeless car was parked street-side at our apartments.

Wed 3:15 PM:  the same man that had been sitting in front of the window last Thursday slowly walked past our window toward 300W.  He was with another guy, and they walked slowly, looking in the apartment.  The neighbor also came outside and commented how the two guys had been leering into his apartment–so it wasn’t just me that noticed.  I called the police just to make a report.

Wed 4 PM:  The apartment manager (Royal) was leaving and we caught him.  He has been on the job 4 days Bryson left in Sept?, a woman took over for a week, Dusty was with us for a week or 2, now this guy.  We asked for locks or lighting or safety measures and he said the management company couldn’t do anything–it was all up to the owner.  He was defensive and scoffed in our faces as if we were being hysterical and unreasonable.  He kept saying they are not the police and cannot have 24/7 security.  I tried to tell him there were things that could be done–such as the police suggestions.  Lights for starters.  I also said we were coming from a place of frustration, b/c we were living in fear, and no one from the apartments had even acknowledged our requests/complaints.  And no action had been taken.  He told us he/the management company couldn’t do anything because everything was up to the owner.  We don’t have contact info for the owner.   Royal said the owner wouldn’t do anything–and didn’t have to.  He also told us the housing association doesn’t regulate apartment owners.  The conversation escalated to a confrontation for sure.

Wed 4:30 PM:  The police called back to get a full report of all the incidents.  I recounted the 4 incidents we called about and offered the other 2 that I thought/hoped were the police.

10-13-16, 12:45 AM:  Noticed homeless car parked street-side at our apt as I got home from work.

Oct 15-16:  Started looking for a new apt.  Contacted several options located around work.

10-16-16, 1 AM:  Someone moved the bench.  We then heard footsteps in the back alley.  After an hour, finally called the non-emergency police line to report it.  While on the phone with the dispatcher, flashlight shined in the bedroom.

10/16, 2 AM:  2nd flashlight swept across bedroom–assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/17/16:  Went and looked at a unit in a different apartment complex.  Turned in our application for it.

10/17/16, 2:30 PM:  A homeless man and woman with a bike and a sleeping bag were on the walkway directly above our apartment waiting for the neighbor to get home.

10/17, 12AM:  Possibly homeless car parked street-side by our complex.  Looks slightly different than the homeless car that I remember before, but still the same size and color.  A woman was outside of the car, and stuff was on the complex lawn outside the passenger side.

10/17, 12:35 AM:  Flashlight through bedroom window and footsteps, assumed/hoped it was the police.

10/18/16:  Application for new apartment approved.  The new landlord just needs a reference from our current apartment.  She calls and calls, but cannot get through.  Cool makes a dozen phone calls to random places because our management company has no evident contact information, and we never had contact info for the apartment owner.  Finally, a different complex managed by the same company gets in contact with the regional office who gets in contact with Royal, our apartment manager.  He is annoyed anyone is contacting him.  When Cool asks him to contact this new apartment landlord, Royal off-handedly mentions how our current owner contacted him and said they didn’t want to renew our lease.  We are out at the end of December.  Also, his demeanor on the phone was annoyed/rude.

So I’m not sure,

  1. why, out-of-the-blue the owner (with whom we’ve had ZERO contact) would terminate our “lease.”
  2. I’m suspicious our confrontation with the new manager, Royal, where we asked for ANY security such as lights or removal of concrete blocks and broke-down cars from the fire-alley had everything to do with this given the timing.
  3. We don’t have a lease until December.  The only lease we ever signed for this current complex was the first one when we moved here.  It was for 6 months, and ended October 2015.  That lease specifies that if no other lease is signed, it defaults to a month-to-month arrangement.  And month-to-month is an additional $100/month.  I’m sure we just slipped through the cracks, because it’s been a full year since our original lease expired and no one asked us to sign another lease–or raised our rent price.
  4. I am concerned about an eviction.  I don’t want it on my rental history.  And WHY?  We just passed on info from the police about amping up security.  We’ve paid all our rent, have been quiet, and clean.  We’re actually great tenants.  We just demand things like hot water, flushing toilets, and ask for ANY security measures.
  5. I’m SUPER concerned once they find out we don’t actually have a lease through December, they will put us out in 15 days, without cause, per our original lease conditions.  That’s October 30.  Our new apartment isn’t vacated and available to us until Nov 15. . .  And that’s before any carpet replacement or painting that they will surely do, driving the date back.
  6. We had to band over backwards to contact the manager–and he had already known about our non-lease renewal–when was he going to mention this to us??!
  7. I’m so, so, so glad we were all but in a new apartment at that point, because this news would have REALLY flipped me out if we had to start from scratch.  It’s not always easy to get into a new apartment.  Especially with cats–and he have a price range that can’t budge b/c we had absolutely no notice or time to plan/save.

later that day (10/18/16) I typed up a formal notice of termination for the current apartment.  It asked that we get a walk-though in order to redeem our deposit, and that we leave last day of December (or mid-Dec if they are willing to pro-rate rent).  And I typed it into the apartment portal online.  There is no formal address to mail it to, and that makes me nervous.

10/19/16:  Dropped formal leaving letter off where we drop rent, since we have no contact info for the management or owner, and there is no formal office for anything, and we can’t even send it certified mail.

10/20/16:  Paid $400 deposit at new apartment.

10/21/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.

10/24/16, 12:30 PM:  A group of 3-6 people dressed in rags had a bike and shopping cart and bags on the sidewalk between our complex and the studio property next door.  They seemed to be hanging around, and I wondered if that was a new bus stop or if the park was doing some kind of maint and asked them to step off that property for a time.

2:35 PM:  When Cool got home from work the group was still loitering around on the sidewalk.  We closed all of our curtains b/c where they were standing had a direct view in our apartment.  After we did our afternoon workout, about 3-ish PM, I looked out and they had moved along.

10/25/16:  Our letter with prospective move-out date still hasn’t been acknowledged.  Cool called a lot of numbers trying to see what recourse we have if they just never respond.  Because I don’t want to go and get slapped with abandonment fees.  No one knows–everyone just gave her more phone numbers to try.  We texted the number for the apartment managers and heard nothing.  So Cool called the number.  Royal is no longer our person.  Now we have Brian.  This is the 5th manager we’ve had since August (2 months).

10/28/16:  Still haven’t heard anything about our lease (they think we have), and acknowledgement of our end date, or a walk through.

10/29/16, 5-ish PM:  Saw the police go to apt #2, two doors down.  Eddie, who lives there, said someone in a red hoodie had banged on his front window (blinds closed) and shouted his name.  The police and Eddie came to our door, because we were peering out our (blinds open) window, and since we had had trouble with banging on our window.

10/30/16, 3PM:  The homeless car parked inside the laundry area.  Looked they’d been in our apt complex for awhile and were very comfortable here.

11/1/16, 10:38:  Noticed the homeless car in the complex parking-lot by the laundry area.

1 mile (minimum) 1000 days in a row!

28 Sep

Today is the day! This is it. P.S. Obviously, I had to stop being lazy and write a post on this MILEstone day.  Also, I’m sorry for not writing (as I always am).  Now that I’m not a student and forced to sit for long periods of time, procrastinate from overwhelming studying, or use a computer for papers and research constantly–it’s hard to keep up on it.  I’m NOT finished blogging (I’d TELL you, dear readers) just sparse and lazy.

What I’m no longer lazy about though–is running.  At least a mile.  OK, actually, there’s really no day that I WANT to run.  I’m not all crazy and addicted to running.  I will probably never do a marathon–or even a half.  Just no desire.  Why would I?!  I may not even do a 5K.  I run to be alone–not wake up at the crack of dawn, go in the cold, and elbow through a crowd.  Oh no.  It’s more an obligation.  A daily, obligation that I know I will HAVE to do.  Kind of like scooping the litterboxes every day.  Nobody, WANTS to do it, but it has to be done, so you plan for it, just get it done, and are thankful when it’s over.  That’s how my runs go.

12728909_959654397416640_8415443010741764767_n

I tried to go back in my posts to find out what I was feeling when I started this.  And honestly, I couldn’t find anything super-huge about it.  I didn’t look VERY hard through the old posts (because I wanted to write this for sure) but it didn’t even seem a monumental goal.  Such a big accomplishment–and it started very small I guess. . .  I absolutely know I had no intentions of ever doing it for a thousand days in a row–that just happened.  Honest.

I know this for sure:  I started running on the treadmill January 2, 2014.  It was on January 2nd because I think I used January 1st as a holiday.  Maybe it was a hangover day?  I don’t recall, if I had been drinking or not.  I know I had been contemplating quitting.  So I had slowed down the alcohol.  I can’t remember if that was the last hurrah (I actually did quit drinking alltogether for 2 years) or if I had stopped earlier.  I think it was actually more a day of contemplation.  My life wasn’t exactly where I wanted it to be.  I was working a thankless, stressful veterinary job, taking part-time Speech & Hearing Science Classes, and drinking too much.  I was scared, actually.  What I wanted to do was stop drinking all-together–that was part of the reason to start running.  Because quitting alcohol left me with a lot of extra time.  So I wanted to fill it.  But not with more work, and I was already studying my a$$ off.  So fitness and health seemed sensible.

12932613_992951877420225_6022199846653140198_n

I wrote a lot of goals in 2014, and was pretty good at tracking them and accomplishing tem little by little.  The running just stemmed from that.  I wanted to never break the chain.  If you do something every single day, every day in a row, on those inevitable lazy days, you’re less likely to skip.  Because skipping isn’t just slacking on one day anymore–it’s losing all the previous days in a row.  If you run 1 day, a skipped day doesn’t matter all that much, and suddenly, you haven’t run in 3 months oops.  But if you run 7, or 50, or 700 days in a row, when you feel like lazy-ing out–you don’t lose THAT day, you lose the 7, 50, or 700 previous efforts too–then have to start over.

I ran before work at 4 AM, inside hotel rooms (bear-jam), during family visits when everyone was having fun and I felt lazy, and once at 1:30 AM after coming home from work.

I rode a Grayhound from Spokane to Salt Lake City for my school interview–and ran in the hotel parking lot–in February.

I ran with head-colds, when I had blisters, with broken ribs (very slowly), and when I was tired.

I treadmilled after working for 10 hours, when I was very busy, on every birthday and holiday.

In bad weather and when it was 104F (outside, and I ran outside, b/c inside was worse w/no AC), I ran my mile.

The 2nd day of moving, after a sleepless (thanks kitties) night in a hotel, I drove a Penksy from Missoula to Salt Lake City, had to skip lunch, unloaded the entire moving truck, and discovered the hot water hadn’t been turned on in the new apartment.  And I still ran.

uu-interview-018

I did it!  And some days that was the only thing I did.  Many days the only thing that got me out of my jammies and off the couch was my mile.

But there were good days too.  Those first hot days in the spring are some of the best runs–you are finally outside!  All the record-breaking days.  Days after being cooped up at work or studying for finals–those runs felt great.  A new running outfit or pair of shoes.  After I got my Tom Tom fitness tracker and no longer had cords of any kind.  Just feeling good.

And the drinking crept back in, but it is in moderation.  I’m at a new job–and it’s not in the veterinary field.  I dropped tracking goals (this year) because I’m in transition and it was a bummer seeing them fall by the wayside month after month.  But I ran–1,000 days.  In a row.  No stopping.  If I can do that I can do anything.  I just have to put my mind to it.

So I created a work/community event knowing I don’t really know anyone in the state, and I work with duds/douches losers that can barely get themselves to work.  But I’m a winner so I created a commemorative (/fundraising) event, knowing it was just be me.  And my family who participated.  And not being disappointed about that at all-because I’M doing it.  And that is important–as is this day.

7-7-15-pr-b-day

So now I may NEVER stop!  If I broke a leg–I’d probably hop out a mile.  Because I never want to throw away more then 1,000 days in a row of running at least one mile.

event-in-a-row

Poke’-tarded

17 Aug
My coworkers are my least favorite part of my job–the administration a very close 2nd.  They bring the new social acceptability of being an anti-social nerd  to life.  It’s like “The Big Bang” but in person antisocial behavior is not funny/amusing at all.  If someone sneezes, it’s met by silence.  If you say something to your neighbor, they won’t even give a grunt of acknowledgement-they’ll just straight up ignore you if they don’t care what you said or don’t feel like talking.  I’ll ask questions regarding Utah places or events and nobody will answer.  They all grew up in Utah, but they don’t know because they are up all night playing video games and talking trash online.  Then, they sleep in their Mommy’s basement all day til work.  None of them have many social skills, or if they have them, choose not to use them.  Our boss is one of the worst-you’ll come into the lab and he’ll ignore you.  No hello or anything–just like you don’t exist.  Our supervisor has mostly good intentions, but is socially oblivious, and is always making (faulty) assumptions.
I’m not a fan, and whenever I’m out in public, at a restaurant or appointment, I find it delightful that it’s not me.  When you’re just locked in a room day after day, it starts to feel like you.  But it’s not me, because people in the outside world are hospitable and sometimes even friendly.  They have manners and manage to hold a conversation.  It’s only in the lab their is this blanket weirdness.  There’s a reason people work in a lab, away from people.
So my coworkers were my first introduction to the “Pokemon Go” phenomenon/trend.  Suddenly, these people who laid on the couch during breaks were outside.  They would venture out to chase Pokemon.  And I think it’s good that video game designers try to make their games useful and productive.  We don’t need a bunch of fat-ass kids sitting and looking at screens 24/7.  Anything that gets them moving is good.  Getting them outside in the world is even better.  And benefiting businesses is good.  Well, done Pokemon Go designers.
Except, I feel that people should do these things anyway.  And on their own accord.  I think you’re super-lame if you never get off your ass.  I think it sucks if you don’t go outside just because there are things to do out there.  And I am incredibly annoyed that people aren’t going to zoos and avairys simply because they are there.  They are awesome!  They should be appreciated because they are fun and serve a purpose and they’re still available in the world!  Not because your video game told you to go there.
And how stupid that these people aren’t paying attention to the world when they are on the chase?  Seriously–people have fallen off cliffs and are getting run over??!  Like we’re lemmings?  I’ve seen my co-workers come in all fat, McDonald’s in hand, and talk of never sleeping in until work at 5PM.  Then discussing their screens they stare at all nightlong.  Like, get a life!
Here’s my Facebook trash-talk:
Can I just say I hate this already?! I can’t go 2 seconds without hearing about it. And seriously–it takes a game to get your fat/pale ass outside? And you’re going to the zoo to stare at your phone??? Super-annoying–Ugh.
Which I got a lot of $hit for saying “pale.”  Like it’s a race thing.  I’m not bringing race into it–all kinds of people can be guilty of screening 24/7.  I’m stigmatizing pale, like you’ve never ventured out of Mommy’s basement, never seen the sun.
And here’s my zoo rant, because animal organizations had to resort to pandering to the hype to get money:
I disliked the event, because it upsets me that people don’t want to [without virtual enticement] support a non-profit, see beautiful, exotic animals, learn, and give to conservation just because it’s available. I am glad the zoos are capitalizing on this trend, but really–should they have to? I think people should want to go to a zoo simply because it is there–and I think they should pay attention solely to what’s important (the real animals that are endangered) when they do go. You are so lucky to have such a nice zoo close to you, and you’re wasting it, or trivializing it by going because of a game. I’d like people to do things for the right reasons, that’s all. Now let the thousands addicted to the app blast me for my opinion, as I’m sure they will.

Like · Reply · 6 · July 21 at 4:15pm
And I think my point is 100% correct.  But I’m at a disadvantage saying it behind my screen where all the people I’m talking about are living their lives.  I’m totally out-numbered.  And people can’t admit they’re bing $hit-heads and guilty of my accusations, they are addicted to the game, and addicted to screens in general so they trash-talk me.
Aquariumplantsuk
Aquariumplantsuk totally correct 🙂
Like · Reply · July 21 at 7:00pm
Cecilia Alexander
Cecilia Alexander I understand where you’re coming from sweetie but also recognize the good that this app has done for those will mental illness and terminal illnesses. Some people don’t want to leave their house because of these illnesses and now that they are they’re being bashed. I’m sure the zoo is making a ton of money off of this so there is no losing.
Like · Reply · 2 · July 21 at 8:59pm
P.S.  I think it’s totally condescending to call a stranger “sweetie” and I hate that.  Also, her point is ridiculous, because people with mental and terminal illnesses should be motivated to get out of the house without an app telling them to.  Why should some app be the key factor getting them outside?  They should be motivated by the imminent extinction of these beautiful animals.  And by the fact these things are available even without the app!  So I’m calling B.S. on the illness card, though she is totally right about these non-profits benefiting from the game.  But it’s unfortunate they have to depend on some app to lure people in–shouldn’t people just want to go anyway?!
Ryan Alexander Milstead
Ryan Alexander Milstead It’s just an idea to get people to come to the zoo that usually wouldn’t. Maybe those people have a great time and become regular visitors or even members. People might be encouraged to come by this event, but if you don’t enjoy zoos, you’re not gonna go just to play Pokemon Go (cause you can do that literally anywhere).
Like · Reply · 1 · July 22 at 5:56pm

Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker Quit your bitchin’ lady. The world doesn’t revolve around what you like and dislike.
Like · Reply · 1 · July 23 at 3:05pm
Then I retort:
Tyler Baker way to keep it classy
Like · Reply · July 23 at 11:24pm
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker I could care less about keeping it classy. You just need to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around your opinion, or what you like and/or dislike. Posting about why you dislike this event won’t change anything. Just being a realist. I really don’t care if I’m classy or not.
Like · Reply · 1 · 16 hrs · Edited
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker You’re welcome for that life lesson.
Like · Reply · 16 hrs

I want to tell this Tyler asshole where to shove it so he doesn’t think he “won” but I know arguing with a fool–makes two. And it would just spur him on to shit-talk more. But ahhhh–totally annoying!  I saw a stand-up comedian talking about how Millennials are all ritious and enable their own opinions or call it bullying when other’s say an opposing view.  If anyone dares make a point or disagrees with them, instead of having a conversation they spew some hate and navigate away from the page or block the person.  And I see here how that’s true.  I wrote an earnest blurb, because someone on Facebook was like, “I don’t get why people are disliking this Pokemon Go event at the zoo???”  So I gave a sincere, well-thought reason why.   And this Tyler-20-something year old is an ASS!  WTF with all that “schooling me” and everything.  I wanted to scratch eyes.  And re-reading this makes me too riled up to even write a decent conclusion to this post.

I guess I will just hope he Pokemon’s himself right into the lion’s den at some zoo and gets eaten. . .  Maybe my coworkers will be lemmings and follow him.

Bears Don’t Live on Deserted Islands: My Analysis of “Swiss Army Man” [Spoiler Warning]

8 Jul

For my birthday, we went to an Independent theater and saw the Sundance Film, “Swiss Army Man.”  Let’s just get all talking/jokes about farting out of the way now–that’s not really the central theme of the movie–or this blog.  When you’re watching this movie, you have to “buy in” very early or you’ll hate it.  The film is like one of the whimsical paintings I like, but in a film format.  The reality is altered/fanciful, the shots are jerky, the characters (one is a literally dead guy) in their own little world where physics and time aren’t invited.  You could watch the entire film, and just feel like it was a random string of crazy events.  BUT after much thought, I found a linear plot and meaning.

The supporting evidence:

-When Hank first sees the body, and rides him out in the ocean, then the film cuts back to him with his face on the sandy beach.  Is it a new beach?  Is he somehow back at the same beach?

-random garbage appears in the place–all the time.  Everywhere they are.  I know the ocean has trash, but THIS MUCH???

-Hank looks scruffy as if he’s been in this deserted place for a long time.  His beard is long and he’s dirty.  Yet, he has no survival skills.  He doesn’t know how to make tools to hunt or fish with and he eats bad berries so he doesn’t have a good grip of foraging.  How has he survived this long without having any skills?

-toward the middle of the film, a (grizzly?) bear attacks.  Where is this place where a tropical white sand beach is attached to the woods?

-they travel, travel, travel and end up in the love interest’s back yard

-there are space/time descrepencies regarding the island, such as at the end when Hank is back in society, they are both in the yard with other people, then everyone runs through the forest, but finally everyone is back at the beach.  and Manny goes back to the ocean.

-After Hank is discovered, he rides the body down one hill behind her back yard–and there are his crafts and trash-projects!  He has been right behind her house the whole time-creeper.

11071034_813397512042330_4255319368153347567_n

_____

Given these factors, I decided there is no physical island in the movie at all.  And that fact changes the whole movie doesn’t it?  We’re not just in suspended disbelief–this is a perspective story.  Hank’s POV.  The island is a metaphor for how Hank feels/Hank’s thoughts.  He is on a self-imposed deserted island because he feels weird/lonely/stigmatized by society.  This is a movie like the 6th Sense or Memento–we are watching through the lense of whatever mental illness (anxiety/depression, love-obsessed stalker, anti-social personality, skitzophrenia???) Hank has.

Let’s re-examine the above factors:

-When Hank first sees the body, and rides him out in the ocean, then the film cuts back to him with his face on the sandy beach.  Is it a new beach?  Is he somehow back at the same beach?

*Hank was in the middle of committing suicide when the film opens, and he sees a dead body.  A lot of people with mental illness are at risk for suicide.  Seeing the dead body, somehow gives Hank something else to think about other then how he feels.  The body makes him interested in something so he changes his mind about suicide.  Then, as Hank’s mind settles a little, and he doesn’t feel so alone, we see Hank “leaving the deserted island” via the body.  But there is no real personal connection between Hank and this body (yet) so the exit off the island is brief and Hank wakes up back on his deserted island, isolated the way it all started.

-random garbage appears where Hank is

*I won’t go into the more obvious symbolism of trash in the movie, but I’ll talk about how the trash proves location.  At the end, Sarah recognizes her own diary in Hank’s belongings/crafts.  It’s the same diary she happened to be writing in when Hank took the pic of her on the bus.  It shows that Hank has been behind her house, squirreling away her trash the whole time.  All the crafts and stuff are made from her trash!  And that has a more creepy/sinister vibe.

-toward the middle of the film, a (grizzly?) bear attacks

*I don’t know everything about bears, but I’m pretty sure they never live on tropical deserted islands.  This was the primary reason I “got” the film.  The terrain in this deserted changes from beginning to end of the film.  We start out at white sand beaches, go through the forest, over bodies of water, hear a road, then we’re in a back yard.  If all Hank had to do was walk, then why was he so desperate to commit suicide at the beginning?  Also, I wouldn’t think you’d make the effort to kill yourself in a deserted island situation–nature would do it for you.  You’d soon starve, or dehydrate.  If you were desperate on an island, and no longer cared if you lived or died, wouldn’t you just make some sort of last ditch heroic effort to get back to people?

-Hank looks scruffy as if he’s been in this deserted place for a long time.  His beard is long and he’s dirty.  Yet, he has no survival skills.  He doesn’t know how to make tools to hunt or fish with and he eats bad berries so he doesn’t have a good grip of foraging.  How has he survived this long without having any skills?

*Really, Hank didn’t have to know survival skills because the desertion was in his head.  He was physically camping near Sarah’s house and scrounging in her garbage.  Which is why Cheetos and alcohol make it to the deserted place, when in reality it would be implausible for one of those items, and probably impossible to get enough trash to literally survive upon.  Also, the beard.  In the beginning, on the island, Hank’s beard is long and scruffy.  As he and Manny open up and gain a camaraderie–Hank is clean-shaven.  Yet we are never shown how.  I think the hair is part of feeling like an outcast hermit so when he has someone else, Hank no longer feels like that and the symbol of being outcast hermit also just disappears.

-they travel, travel, travel and end up in the love interest’s back yard

and

-there are space/time dependencies regarding the island, such as at the end when Hank is back in society, they are both in the yard with other people, then everyone runs through the forest, but finally everyone is back at the beach.  and Manny goes back to the ocean.

*You start to notice that the more intimacy that is gained between the dead body and Hank, the less deserted the island becomes (we go from isolated white sand beach, to forest, to water, see bears, hear cars, and finally see a little girl in a back yard).  The entire film is about these two buddies traveling back to society.  It takes the whole time!  Yet, at the end, Hank rides Manny’s body out of Sarah’s yard, down one hill, through some water and he’s back on the white sand beach.  It shows how Hank started out in self-imposed isolation in his mind (but physically camping behind Sarah’s house), then as he found an ally, left that isolated place his mind had created.  The more they talk, the more secrets come into the open, and the more comfortable Hank gets with being “other/weird.”  His mind is now a forest.  Not quite the isolation or loneliness of a deserted island, but still removed from society.  Then, Hank and Manny are best friends and understand each other.  Hank’s mind has reintegrated with society and he will take a chance and talk to Sarah.  But then, he sees his father, who is ashamed.  He sees Sarah is alarmed, and the world is a scary place again where Hank is the weird one.  All the progress he made with Manny recedes and his mind takes him back out of the yard, through the forest, on the isolated white beach.  And with the exit of Manny into the ocean–to an altered reality.  It’s (the physical location is actually inside Hank’s own mind) cemented when we see the change in Hank’s father demeanor.  When Hank’s mind is back in reality (he is physically and mentally in a yard) his father leans against the truck–ashamed at what has happened and who his son is.  But when Manny goes back into the ocean, and hank is arrested the father smiles.  It’s because Hank’s mind has gone back to his safe place, and in it Hank can fantasize his father is happy and proud of him–because it’s not reality anymore.  Hank is free of societal restrictions on the island/in the ocean fantasy.

-After Hank is discovered, he rides the body down one hill behind her back yard–and there are his crafts and trash-projects!  He has been right behind her house the whole time-creeper.

*This is the biggest clue the audience is given to Hank’s mind/physical body being different.  When we watch the movie, yes everything is strange, but the shows, and crafts, books, and reenactments are normalized.  We aren’t repulsed by any of it, because we bought in.  When we are out of Hank’s head at the end, and see the same items through the lens of Sarah’s perspective, the crafts and trinkets suddenly look garish and creepy.  She realizes he’s back there doing weird stuff with her garbage.  She knows some random stranger saw her on the bus, took a cell phone pic, found out where she lives, and is now camping there are doing strange projects with her garbage.  She looks horrified.

_____________

So even though I, also, sat in that theater and said, “What the fuck?”  as the lights came back on–I liked the movie.  The more I thought about it, and discussed the plot after the movie, the more it made sense.  And when it made sense, it suddenly had a linear plot that was more likable than that string of random happenings.  I like a movie you have to think about.  And Swiss Army Man has no shortage of metaphor’s, symbols, and discrepancies to make the audience do just that.  I recommend you give it a chance and watch the film–just do me a favor and stop with all the fart jokes.

TomTom Spark Cardio + Music

31 May

I love my TomTom Spark Cardio + Music! And a disclaimer from me—this review is fairly glowing, because I genuinely love my TomTom. I didn’t get anything at all for writing this review and I don’t work for the company or anything—this is just an ideal product for me and it took a LOT of trail and error on my part to find it. This is also NOT my first rodeo with fitness trackers. Prior to this I had a FitBit Zip and a Garmin ____ 2 (as well as various phone-apps). I like this tracker best, and here’s why:

I hate carrying things. I’m the gal who will forget my jacket or purse in the booth at a restaurant. Pockets in women’s clothes are not large enough to accommodate a phone, and will look like an ugly bulge if you do. Also, I’m afraid the phone will drop out of a pocket. Once, I tried an arm band to hold my i-pod (and in theory you could use one for a phone) and liked it at first. But the tan lines were crazy, and it started rubbing in a bad way because of sweat—so I loved the arm band less. Also I couldn’t see my upper-arm well enough to skip songs or skip the volume, especially without breaking stride. And the number one reason arm bands don’t work, is eventually mine got bigger and became a leg band, then when it grew large enough to become a belt, I tossed it. So I bought a legit, moisture-wicking running belt to carry my phone. I like it for walking around the city hands-free, but for running it has too much weight bouncing around, and I’m paranoid my phone will fall out. So the option of just wearing a watch and stringing cordless headphones through my hat—awesome!!! The number one, greatest thing over every other tracker is my ability to run/sport hands-free. I absolutely LOOOOVVED running with nothing in my hands and no cords, but still having all the data and my tunes!

tomtom spark cardio plus music

The band is about the same size as the one I bought in order to have my FitBit Zip on my wrist. And the TomTom’s band is negligibly larger than the Garmin’s. What makes it superior, is the fact the band goes through a watch-like mechanism and the loop latches down, the through end latches down, and there is a third latch that locks the band in place. My FitFit arm band just hooked one end to the other and had a cheap little plastic portion that went over that. The Garmin was slightly better then my FitBit watch because it _____________, but this is the most secure. I am not afraid it will come open at any time. Also, just like the FitBit, you can trade out the band for fancy colors or when your first one looks a little worse for wear. There are a lot less options right now then there were for FitBit, so I’m hoping for some power yellow, or patterns to come on the market soon.

The face of the tracker is very large. This is great for display purposes, because I can see it without breaking my stride too much during a run, whereas I had to really peer at the tiny FitBit Zip and sideways Garmin displays. This is only OK for wearability, so I put the face on the inside of my wrist so every outfit doesn’t scream, “fitness nerd!” and it is a little. . . Less. And yes, it still seems to track my heart rate accurately worn that way.

Speaking of the display, I didn’t think I would like the color of the numbers on the TomTom. My Garmin’s digital with backlight had made me pretty happy. I compare these to white road paint—they just sort of glow, but not by indiglow. And it goes without saying the tiny, unlighted/unglowing digital font in the FitBit fares worst—you have to peer at it in every scenario. Aside from the reflecti-color, the font is very large on the TomTom, and if you really can’t handle not having light, you just hold your hand over the face for a few seconds and it will light up. I found I usually don’t have to go to that extent, but it hasn’t been a nuisance when I’ve had to. Also, I think there might be a setting that let’s you trade all-the-time backlighting for battery drainage.

As for battery, I have not had a problem. I wear my TomTom all day as a pedometer and watch as much as for fitness tracking. It lasted a 12 hour work day just fine. My FitBit was constantly needing a new battery (like every 2-3 weeks) and the garmin was supposed to last a year. I just charge my TomTom through the night while I sleep and it’s worked out OK for me.

The music—is awesome! I used to run with my i-pod. It was one of the thin ones and help 16GB so it wasn’t terrible. But I had to hold something, and my headphone cord had to be tucked through my clothes. Then, the cord was too short for a full arm swing, so I was constantly fighting to keep my arm swing from pulling the ear buds out of my ears. This was a horrible nuisance on long runs and on the timed, sprints absolutely slowed me down. How can you sprint your fastest without having a full arm? And you either had to slow down to re-tuck the headphones in the top of the sports bra or just continue on with one ear bud getting pulled out. My TomTom, isn’t that different of a set up from the i-pods. I physically hook it to my computer in the same way. I pick some (but not all) playlists from i-tunes, which I had been doing with my i-pod anyway. The display will accommodate ____________ playlists and the music itself can’t exceed 3 GB. My i-pod held 16GB, but I rarely used all of those songs on my run, and I can just soup up my “workout” playlist if I want more variety. I bought the combo TomTom/headphones package for just-in-case, because I wanted to be certain I could play my tunes—because let’s be real, this tracker’s main selling point is its ability to play music. Then, all I had to do was navigate “up” one screen on my watch and hold the middle button of the headphones until it flashed red/blue. They paired very quickly and that was that. The headphones screw into your ears and I just pull them through my running hat in case the buds fall out of my ears during a run (there has never been even a threat of that). I can play any individual playlist straight through, shuffle any individual playlist, or shuffle all the music I imported. The sound is just as good as my i-pod. If I am not feeling a song that comes up, I can navigate “up” on the watch then “right” to skip, “left” to re-play. The only thing I don’t like about that is, IF you’re already in the middle of tacking an activity, you have to go back passed the start menu for said-activity to change the song. That ends the activity and once, I was in the middle of a timed mile and accidently ended my time/distance by skipping a song. Now, I just use the controls on the headphones—hold the front button for 2 sec to change the song without messing up my running stats.

The data does pretty much everything I want and more, and I read numerous times the heart monitor is the most accurate on the market—and bonus, no chest strap required! You can even see your bpm while you’re running and on a graph with your speed/pace later. And there is a setting for you to run in a certain heart rate zone with voiceovers that make sure you do.

The sleep tracker is not really a thing. It pretty much gives you the hours slept and leaves any other information out. The Garmin showed movement and told me when I was in light sleep vs. deep sleep with a graph and I found that very useful. This one just wants to name sleep as a feature—so I just charge my TomTom to my computer at night instead. To improve the sleep function the need to track movement and give me graphs like the Garmin. And allow me to write notes on the night like the Garmin. Oh, and have a smaller band to trade out for sleep purposes, because I slept fine in this, but it could have been more comfortable. Never mind—if you want in-depth sleep analysis get a tracker specifically for that, because even the Garmin, which was better, was still not that informative. Or best yet, get a sleep study.

I like that it will sync automatically to the phone app or I can do it at the computer. I really HATED having to always manually sync the Garmin, because my FitBit had always auto-synced if I was in proximity to my computer. So the TomTom’s syncing has been working out. The only thing I like less about the TomTom, is the MySports computer program isn’t as souped up as my FitBit program had been. For instance, I can’t invite friends to see their progress and I can’t track (or sync) food and water. If I could see my mate’s and mom’s step count and link MySports to LoseIt—my TomTom would be absolutely perfect for me.
My favorite thing about FitBit—the huge array of replacement bands and the data-heavy social website. My favorite thing about the Garmin—the tone telling me I had been sedentary too long . But don’t let the TomTom’s mediocre reviews scare you off. If you hate carrying things (even a phone) and love exercising with music I highly recommend this tracker!

I’ve Been In Utah a Year!

4 May

Hey, hey hey!

U district

Once I stopped being a student, I pretty much stopped writing.  Though I like blogging, my daily run is more important to me, and aside from working full-time, sometimes that’s the only thing I do all day.

It’s weird to think how different I am as a person now.  I don’t have long-term career goals at the moment.  Not in a depressed, sad way–and (hopefully) not in a loser way.  My priorities are not really my career, and only my career any more.  I’ve come to the realization I must work to live, but it’s not EVERYTHING.  Also, the barriers into my career were crazy.  And that drags me down.  For instance, I’m pretty down on big-university and I’m not sure I’ll ever attend one again.  All I got was a huge amount of insurmountable debt–and nothing really to show for it.

The vet thing–didn’t work out.  And it’s too bad it kept working out that way, because I would have been the most wonderful, dedicated veterinarian.  But they didn’t want me–time and time again.  So I eventually (after literally 10 attempts) I had to learn when to say when.

Audiology:  Unlike veterinary medicine, which I know a plethra of (unfair) politics, issues, and reasons why I wasn’t accepted, I have no idea why Audiology didn’t want me.  I had a 4.0 GPA and I forgot my GRE scores (they are in this blog somewhere) but they were good.  Here is what the university published,

UU AuD class stats

The minimum GPA requirement for admission is a 3.0. Our average admission profile for an incoming Au.D. student for Fall 2015 was a 3.74 GPA and a GRE score of 311. These are only averages, and we admit candidates above and below these values.

So I met that, did extra-curriculars, worked during school, and tutored students in my program–what else could they want?  Maybe they give preferance to Utah residents–and I didn’t become one until too late.  I really don’t know.  But I certainly didn’t try nearly as hard as I did vet school, once they wait-listed me.  I only applied the once, then kinda felt thankful that I didn’t have 4 more years of school I couldn’t pay for.

So those things changed my perspective, and now I may SEEM lazy.  But it’s not the case.  I’m just sort of on hold for now.  We are living in Utah to save money.  Because Cool and I want our lives to be in Colorado.  It’s just too expensive for now.  So I’m working at a company (we both are) that we can make direct transfers to when we move.  And I don’t trust the management, or love my coworkers, but I’m hanging in there.  Because the peace of mind of having a job before you move, and moving and starting work when money is tight–is totally worth hassle now.

And I figure, I can’t make concrete plans because we are leaving, so I’ll just have to start over anyway.  This is a 3-4 year period of saving money and focusing on things besides my career.  My health for one.  Relationships.  Enjoying nature.  More easy-going types of things, for sure–but not less important than career stuff.

I was singularly focused on my career my whole life.  And what did that get me?  Thus, I’m changing my outlook slowly, and I’ll refocus on the career once we’ve settled in Colorado (last move ever!).

CO 169

So I’m alive, I’m well.  I just don’t make the time to write like I used to.  And maybe another post won’t happen for awhile–but I’m not stressing out over it.