2020 is S P O O K Y

You’d think with all this free time, I’d be blogging like crazy. Right? Ha, you thought wrong. It’s been since March, and boy can I just say this year is WEIRD.

COVID-19 is still a thing. Quarantine, murder hornets, wildfires, protests, a presidential election, and we lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Chadwick Boseman, and Alex Trebek.

I swear man, 2020 is just spooky. Even my favorite holiday was weird. 🎃

Let’s do another one of those month recap thingies!

April. In April I met a new friend, even though quarantine was going on. We’ll call him C. He was a returning CAP senior member who was going to take on the ES program in our squadron- and let me just say at first I was totally jealous. How dare he. My prejudice aside, we became friends right away. I hung at home a lot with Evangeline. I got used to Zoom meetings. Andrew and I broke up (I’m okay, or something). I had interview for Homecoming Court.

May. Lots of online Civil Air Patrol courses and conferences. CAP really adjusted to the quarantine. I bought a bunch of radios and got really into CAP Communications. I chopped 13 inches off my hair. I was selected for Homecoming Court.

June. In June, I went to Texas for one of my best friends’ weddings. I got to see NASA, my friends in Texas, and go to an amazingly beautiful wedding. Other than that, June was pretty mundane. The world was shut down. I spent lots of time with C, and he did the most romantic things. When I came home from Texas, he had my apartment covered in tea candles and there were roses. He asked me to dance with him. It was super sweet. We also transported a pup named Nikki.

July. In July, C and I attended a CCW Course. It was super fun, and I learned so much. One step closer to checking off a goal on my goals that I’ve had for…. years now. I also led a TLC-Intermediate course for CAP, and it went really well!

August. C and I broke up. We’re still best friends (I’m okay, or something). I transported Skinny Pig “Fredrickson“. He was my first real interaction with Skinnies, and man, they’re a little weird. This was also my introduction into the guinea pig rescue world. I picked Fredrickson, née Rex, up from Heart of Ohio Guinea Pig Rescue and Sanctuary. Even though the Fall semester was starting (all online classes, thanks COVID), I knew I wanted to help out eventually.

September. Evangeline turned 6! 💖 I got a position on Ohio Wing Civil Air Patrol Staff, as Director of Plans and Programs. I got my CCW Permit… I could finally check that off my goals list! I adopted this little man, and named him Gomez. He’s about two months old, and he’s the cutest little guinea pig I’ve ever met. I also started volunteering at Heart of Ohio Guinea Pig Rescue and Sanctuary.

October. Homecoming week!!! ⚡💙💛 Homecoming was strange this year because it was virtual, but I still had a blast! We got to paint the K as per tradition, and hang out at a socially-distant Flash Bash. I didn’t win Homecoming Royalty, but the two court members who did are so super sweet and totally deserving. My mom, Alex, and C all supported me by watching the livestreamed reveal. It was so nice. I stepped out of my comfort zone and got back into photography a little. Oh, and I turned another year older! Yay, birthdays. And Halloween happened, but it was weird. I got to decorate the Haunted Loop at work, though! 🎃

November. Well, here we are. It’s November 8th. The semester is dragging along, I’m still volunteering at Heart of Ohio with the Guinea Pigs, I’m fostering for The Pipsqueakery, the election just happened and Joe Biden is projected to be the 46th President of the United States.

Let’s also take a look back at my goals from, well, 2019.

  1. Achieve the Carl A. Spaatz Award in the Civil Air Patrol. This one is incredibly outdated and I already talked about this one.
  2. Obtain my CCW. Done!!! 🎉
  3. Get a computer certification (CCNA, CompTIA, etc.). I got a virtual badge for participating in a Cisco Learn-a-Thon? Does that count?
  4. Obtain a General Class HAM Radio License. I swear every time I schedule to take the test it gets postponed. I’ve tried three times now.
  5. Go scuba diving. In what, corn? Thanks, Ohio.
  6. Save $1,000. Yes. But no. But yes. Finances are odd. Thanks, COVID.
  7. Stop apologizing all the time. I THINK I FINALLY GOT A LITTLE BETTER AT THIS.
  8. Read at least one book per month. I think I touched a book in like, April?
  9. Stop looking down on myself and gain some confidence. I’ve got a bit of confidence or something.
  10. Don’t blame myself for everything. I honestly don’t even really remember why this was a goal. I guess I’m doing better.

Let’s set some new 2020 Goals!

  1. Get a new Certification.
  2. Get my General Class HAM Radio License.
  3. Stop stressing about finances so much.
  4. Blog at least two more times this year.
  5. Get my Senior Rating in Cadet Programs in CAP.
  6. Exercise more.
  7. Eat out less.
  8. Do my dishes regularly.

There. Goal things. Maybe I can actually follow through on these ones! Especially the last three… The quarantine 15 (ha) is a real thing. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and it’s really awful honestly, but at the same time, I’m the most confident I’ve ever been too. And I really just need to stop spending money on Dairy Queen… BUT GOODNESS GRACIOUS THEIR PUMPKIN COOKIE BUTTER SHAKE IS GOOD. Go try it. Now. It disappears at the end of this month. And I just hate washing silverware. Like. I’ll pay you to come do my dishes at this point. Ya girl needs a dishwasher. Or a maid.

Here, have some Guinea Pigs I fostered for The Pipsqueakery.

Balthazar, the Paralyzed Peeg.
Cibus, the Bitten Up Peeg.

Cibus means “food” in Latin, and I was kind of a jerk, but a funny jerk, naming him. He was bitten by… something.

Balthazar, who I named Perry on the last day I had him, was nameless most of the time. I got a little attached to this little fella who couldn’t use his hind legs.

Well, I guess that’s it for this blog post. Stay safe out there, and don’t get COVID!

~E. 🌸

A Lion’s First Quarantine

What a time we’re living in right now! It’s March 2020, and three months into this year it’s already been insane. Australian Wildfires, we lost NBA Star Kobe Bryant, and now the Coronavirus, known as COVID-19.

My, how my life has changed since last year. I’ve only blogged once since March 2019, and I do miss it. I’ve just been so insanely busy. I guess I’ll do a quick recap.

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October – I took the Spaatz Exam for Civil Air Patrol the second and third time. I passed everything but PT, and ended my cadet career on my 21st as a Cadet Lieutenant Colonel. While the feeling was disappointing, I am so proud of how far I’ve come. Also in October, I attended the Alpha Lambda Delta National Conference in Niagara Falls. It was over my birthday weekend, and it was amazing to be in one of my favorite places on earth. I also got to volunteer as FTAA at the Curiosity Open off-season robotics event, something I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from.

November – In November, I coordinated the first Orientation Flights for the cadets at my squadron ever. It was a really good feeling as a brand new Senior Member to do something the cadets wanted, that no one else would do for them.  I also volunteered as a Core Values Judge at a FIRST Lego League tournament, and it was so much fun. Last, I went back to counseling. After at least five years of swearing it off, I made the leap to go back. It’s been… nice.

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December – December brought an end to the Fall 2019 semester, and I once again finished on the Dean’s List. I went to a work bowling party, and had a really nice time. It was the first time I’d ever been into a bar, and I guess it wasn’t too bad. It was kind of dak and sticky, but enjoyable enough. Disclaimer, I’m no fun; I volunteered to be the designated driver. Yeah yeah, your resident 21 year old isn’t huge on alcohol.

I spent the rest of December with my family in the Netherlands. It was amazing to see them again. 

IMG_20200104_143818January – In January, my second season as lead coach of an FRC team officially began. With Kickoff on January 4th, a new build season was underway. The Spring 2020 semester began on January 13th, and I started some classes I was really anxious about. January consisted of lots of robotics meetings, lots of work, and school. I also volunteered as a Robot Inspector at the FIRST Tech Challenge Kent Qualifier. I learned so much here, and gained so much confidence.

February – February started off with a military ball with my lovely boyfriend. We got dressed up, had good food, and danced a bit. It was a great night. The next day, we rescued three guinea pigs, that needed to travel to The Pipsqueakery. We babysat them until the early hours of the morning, and they were absolutely adorable.

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February continued the roll of lots of work, school, and robotics. On February 16th, I decided to get into volunteering with a local rescue called Oshie’s Tail Wagon Rescue. They specialize in transporting dogs out of kill-shelters. I transported an amazing senior German Shepherd named Marley. Sadly, my beloved Volkswagen Jetta, Sven, decided that it was done being a car that day. Lots of panic and waiting later, I was towed back home. I spent the next two and a half weeks without a car.

IMG_20200216_131346That didn’t stop me from doing all the things I love, though. I started attending the Kent Citizen Police Academy, an amazing course to learn more about the local police department, police processeses, law, and more. I got to tour AT&T’s central office in Cleveland. I also attended Kent State’s production of the musical “Parade”. It was an amazing musical and story.

February concluded with the Miami Valley Regional. Attending a week one regional for the second year in a row proved to be tricky. It was almost like being rookies again for myself and fellow coach Dave, running the team without a teacher. While we finished very low and definitely had some hurdles to overcome, it didn’t stop the students from learning a lot. Their enthusiasm returned, and they talked to other teams and focused on the future.

It was also a leap day, which I guess is cool.

MVIMG_20200310_081645March – Here we are now. The first week of March I bought a new car! Yay adulting. It’s a Buick Encore Premium. She’s got all wheel drive, turbo fancy things, heated everything, working air conditioning, a backup camera… yeah. I’m lucky. I love her. I still own Sven, and I’m putting off dealing with that shenanigan. Am I too attached to that car? Entirely possible. Oops. We also had a Game Night for robotics, where middle school students spent time with us playing board games and learning about the robot. It was entirely planned by the students, and was a huge success!

The week of the 8th is when everything got weird. Daylight Savings Time began. On Monday, a great thing happened though! My boyfriend was notified he received word that his dream would be coming true- he was selected to be a pilot in the US Air Force. Boy, am I proud of him. On Tuesday, all classes were cancelled and were moved online until April 13th. On Thursday, it was announced that classes would be online for the rest of the semester. Then came Friday the 13th. It was probably the most uneventful of the days.

Since then, everything has been canceled. It’s like life came to a grinding halt. FIRST canceled both Houston and Detroit championships, and postponed every other event. The Citizen Police Academy was canceled. Doctors appointments are online now, for the most part. Grocery stores have weird opening times. People stocked up on food and toilet paper, the shelves in the stores are empty. Mail should be quarantined. Lots of people are jobless and applying for unemployment. We’re under a stay at home order from Governor Mike DeWine. I really wish people would take this seriously. As I’m writing this, there have been over 1,000 confirmed cases in Ohio alone. There have been 19 deaths. It’s not just “old people”. It’s not just “pre-existing conditions”. It’s healthy people. It’s your friends and neighbors. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and STAY HOME.

00100dPORTRAIT_00100_BURST20200325190645899_COVEROh, and, meet Evangeline. I adopted her on Wednesday. She’s the cutest cat, I swear. She’s a five year old Dilute Tortoiseshell cat who loves cuddles. She doesn’t jump much, and her meow is the cutest little squeak. She’s a tad annoying at 4 a.m. when I’m trying to sleep and she just wants to cuddle, but we’re getting better at that. I bought Evangeline the cutest cat tree, and so far she likes it. She really likes just laying on my bed though, which is nice because that’s really all I’ve been doing in quarantine. Yesterday we sat at the window for a little bit and listened to a resident of the apartment complex play her marimba outside. It was nice.

Everything is pretty strange and a little apocalyptic right now. Students left in campus housing all over the country are unsure of their future. My boyfriend is one of these unlucky people. International students, students without a home, students with parents far away, and students in any other situation have all been left without a thought. It’s infuriating. Will they be able to stay in their homes? For some universities it’s clearer than others. Kent State has been doing a great job. Wright State, on the other hand, has not.

IMG_20200227_145804Robotics meetings and classes are online now, and it’s the weirdest experience. Dogs barking through lectures, figuring out a different platform every week, and we’re still having meetings that could’ve been emails. Power keeps going out. Time spent on social media has skyrocketed. The world is full of stress and anxiety. No one is sure of anything. But there is hope.

Me? I’m just trying to keep going, like things in the future are still happening. Encampment is currently still happening, and I volunteered to be the Admin Officer. Everyone’s on a planning hiatus right now though from what I hear, because honestly, everyone expects it to be canceled. This year’s IACE got canceled, and I feel awful for the cadets that worked so hard and will never get another chance. I’m trying my best to focus on school. To do what needs to be done. My days mostly consist of hanging out with Evangeline at home. Having her around has helped me cope. I don’t feel as lonely.

Kent’s already announced that Summer Classes will be all online. I don’t take summer classes, but that makes me wonder when this will end. When life goes back to “normal”. I miss hugging people and hanging out with my friends. I miss driving buses and fixing computers. I miss going to lectures in person. I will say, I don’t miss my networking lab. And cheap gas is pretty cool, but no one is going anywhere. I don’t enjoy the uncertainty. Because at some point, everything is going to crash. Will it be my financials? Will it be the entire economy? Will someone I love get sick? I’m not ready for any of those scenarios. I just wish life was normal again, and I don’t think I’ll ever take mindlessly leaving the house to go to class or to the store or to the gym or to a concert for granted again.

Something I used to frequently write about on my blog was my goals. I’ve done decently on my goals, I suppose. Scrolling back to previous posts, it looks like I accomplished the majority of my “monthly goals”. As for my 2019 goals, well. Here’s what they were:

  1. Achieve the Carl A. Spaatz Award in the Civil Air Patrol. I guess this didn’t happen. But that’s alright. I learned so much about CAP in the process, and I learned so much about myself. I tried my best all three times, and I’m just not a very athletic person. It’s okay. There’s always the disappointment of “I could’ve tried harder”, “I could’ve started sooner”, or “I should’ve done this differently”. Yeah. It’s there. Trust me, I beat myself up, I won’t lie. But I’m happy where I am. I’m happy as a First Lieutenant, and I’m happy doing my operations work.
  2. Obtain my CCW. Man, guns are expensive. I don’t want to do this one until I can comfortably afford my own gun, a nice holster, and proper storage. Yanno, be responsible or something. 
  3. Get a computer certification (CCNA, CompTIA, etc.). This one should hopefully be happening after this semester. I passed my final in Networking Hardware 1 with a high enough grade to get the test discount, but our professor decided to wait since all the standards are changing and the course I’m in now will help us build on our skills.
  4. Obtain a General Class HAM Radio License. Yeah, no, that didn’t happen. I haven’t really touched ham stuff. I went to an amateur radio club with a friend in January and that was kind of neat. And my license plate is now my Call Sign. 
  5. Go scuba diving. It’s cold in Ohio, man. And where am I supposed to go? The flammable Lake Erie? Nah, but really. I’ve been playing with the idea of doing rescue diving. It sounds fun and right up my alley. Just don’t really know where to start.  
  6. Save $1,000Hey look! One I did! Of course, I spent it all on my new car. 
  7. Stop apologizing all the time. I think I’m getting better at this one! It may just be the lack of people I’ve been around lately, though. 
  8. Read at least one book per month. Nope. Didn’t happen. I watched a lot of Netflix though. And I wrote down all my dreams. And I read a lot of robotics documents. Does that count?
  9. Stop looking down on myself and gain some confidence. Working on this one. It’s actually going pretty well. Except for when it isn’t. But hey.
  10. Don’t blame myself for everything. Same for this one. It’s going pretty good, I guess.

So, there you have it. That’s what I’m up to these days. Maybe with my newfound spare time I’ll be around a bit more. I hope to get back into regular blogging anyway, I really miss it. I’ve been catching up on everything on my to do list, and maybe I’m getting my life together. We’ll see. I’ll be back.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands! 

-E. 😷