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Using my degrees – all of them

When I was little in elementary school we were presented the standard options for jobs; Teacher, Lawyer, Doctor, Fireman.  I spell badly, don’t really like blood or fire so I put myself on the lawyer track.  Funny enough, that early ‘you will be’ declaration never really left even when I knew by my teens that there were infinite varieties of other jobs and as a college graduate I looked at all the jobs I had never heard of and now as an adult I do a job that didn’t even exist then…

Before college, I had thought about what I would do with my law degree and I had the dream of doing international relations.  I looked at schools that had that as a major and there were two and both schools got off my lists for different reasons and at 18 I dialed it back from international relations just to the more general political science.

In college, I took the general government/pre-law track that was Political Science.  I figured that a solid knowledge of government and politics would do me well even if I didn’t go into law (because even as a freshman I had a suspicion).  I double-majored in History, a very natural double major and ironically minored in English because it is less about spelling and more about reading and by being a bad speller I’m actually a really good reader because minor errors never bother me so I can read translations and older versions of English and be just fine.  During college, I worked at a law firm in NYC and while I had a great time there and didn’t even mind the work, the partners and associates that told me every day to “save myself” and “don’t do this!” while probably half joking were a cautionary tale.  The fact they also slept in their offices, had food in their desks because they didn’t leave, and had extra suits in their closets actually were more telling and I wanted a life a tad more than a law career.

I graduated with honors, but in reality, the thing that matters is that I graduated since nobody since then has ever cared that I had a nearly perfect GPA.  With a degree doors opened and I took one that led me into purchasing and logistics and I really loved my time organizing and streamlining and getting things at perfect as possible for the different companies I worked with.  The ‘dream’ of law and politics went into the background as I had real word situations to work on.  My international relations came true in the form of overseas supplier and customers and knowledge of law is woven into all business so I’m glad I had a foundation.  I went on to my MBA and learned even more about how systems of business work and how to use what I know to make a company better or more effective.

In the back of my head, I have always loved law and politics but had put it on a shelf because of ‘real life’.  Until now… This week I accepted the Campaign Manager position for a local levy and bond and I’m officially in the world of politics.  I like that my hard hours of study about political demographics and parties are paying off because I know exactly what the analyst is saying about the best way to run this campaign.  I think I’m in this position not because of my undergrad level of knowledge of politics but probably because of the MBA that is basically a masters in being bossy and orginized – both things that make a good campaign.  I feel like I’m jumping into the deep end but there is a team that believes in me so I owe it to my self to have the same level of self-confidence.

I’m working on a campaign for a thing, not a person.  Technically I’m working to get money so our kids and schools can have a fighting chance.  I’m willing to give up my time so my kids and their peers can have a class under 30, supplies without begging, and the support staff to let the teachers teach not do everything else.  The budget in our district has been cut yearly, jobs lost, programs cut, but still, the school performs.  There is something special that keeps the teachers and administration keep working and doing a great job.  I can’t imagine what they would do if they were fully funded!

This is a sprint of a campaign, only 2 months, but there is a team and a plan and guess what – I get to lead it!


3 reasons why

Summer Limbo

We are in the last week, the very last week of summer.

I’ve mentioned that this was a super short summer because they are shifting the year so that next summer can have extra time for construction.  It’s a good plan really, but, I can’t say I like short summer and I’m not wild about extra long summer next year either….



The literal haze of summer.  Looks like I’m living in a white dome


Anyway, we are in that hazy post vacation time limbo.  There isn’t really enough time to start something new and after 2 weeks away from tv, the kids want to zone out to all that Netflix has to offer.  I’m 3 loads of laundry into the unpack process, that is about half way for unpacking because some of what we brought came home clean so it just needs to be put away.  The car needs to be thoroughly cleaned since carpool is coming up.  Aside from the events I talked about last time I wander around wondering what to do next because I can’t really start any of the 105 projects I want to start until kids are in school.

For the record, we put our impulsive decision to sell our house and move on a more realistic track.  We will still move but probably next May.  The plan is to list our house in March at the START of the season while kids are still at school making showing far easier.  This means we are reversing a few of the staging things for living but nowhere near all.  Our books and fabric and extra stuff will live in storage, but, project #1 is going to be to get our winter stuff back.  We are still house hunting and if the perfect one comes up we have basically figured out a way to get a downpayment without selling our house first but it’s complicated and I would prefer to sell ours and buy the next the normal way.  We know better what we want in the next house too so all for the good, little time wasted in round one.

However, the house thing creates a different sort of limbo too.  The process isn’t over, just delayed, so a percent of my brain is still working on how to improve the house to show, keep the house ‘show empty’ by resisting new purchases.  All projects go through a cost benefit with the hope that we get the money back in sale.  On the positive, I am going to put working out back on my list but even though I didn’t work out much over the summer my eating habit changes and general moving activity shaved a few pounds off and I’m nearly 10lb down from last year.  It was a happy surprise to have things fit better.

So we might not have a normal schedule this week we still have to feed the kids and breakfast time is now.  The highlight for today is a playdate for Niamh, back to school supply shopping for kids and art in the park tonight.  I also hope to get more done on the unpack but yesterday I also got the kitchen clean and baked so I have good momentum for the week.


It was a really nice 2 weeks disconnected from the majority of the world and reconnecting with friends and family.  This year was easier than others because A. kids are bigger and when everyone uses the toilet everyone is more happy.  and B. I brought a nanny who was a perfect addition to camp and helped me make sure the kids were taken care of.  Because of A and B I was actually able to do a few fun things for myself like go see friends and sit and chat/sew and I also got to go to a day long fiesta that started with a tournament, continued with a happy hour, picked up the kids for a court (like get awards not sue others) and sent them back again while husband and I got to go to see a friend in a vigil and then a surprise for Lars at another court.  It crossed my mind to worry about the kids but I knew they were all ok even though I was gone most of the day.

This, like most SCA events, is not really vacations like with the relaxing and the sight seeing but I love that it is an enclosed microcosm.  I can walk everywhere I want to go, I never have to worry about what is for dinner, I know 1 in 10 people I pass and that itself is marvelous after living so far from people I grew up with so I never know anyone locally ‘forever’ like I do at Pennsic.

I still didn’t get to any classes and I missed half the battles because there was still plenty of work to be done.  I co-ran the camp and there was always something to work on not to mention cleaning up after my children (and self) so our living in a 12×16 tent was not a pigsty.  Even with a nanny kids need parenting (and nannies need breaks) so while friends were going out for things I was getting kids asleep but this year, once they are asleep they tend to stay that way so I was able to go out later while Grandparents kept an ear on sleepers.

The weather was a top reason why this was such a nice year.  It rained epically 2x but other than that it was truly pleasant.  Not too hot, not too cold, and the sun was not blinding most of the time.  Frogs might have been living in our camp, but, I’ll take this weather anytime.   We also met some new and fun people and that always makes things better to add new stories to compliment the old standbys.  Finally, the absence of any true problems absolutely contributed to the positive year.  There were no breakdowns, or drama, or even much bad temper from the camp, and the children generally behaved too.  Nobody got hurt and I didn’t even notice too many cases of ‘wine’ flu.  The sad exception was one person who arrived getting sick and really had a bad week but we did what we could for her and to her absolute credit she did the best she could.  I hope this didn’t ruin future pennsics for her….

Travel was actually really good.  We hit the road at 12:30ish EST and got to our house at 11:59 CST.  We only stopped for gas, I made food as we went, and we did dinner take out.

Today I got up to bring Nanny home (not delivering a kid at midnight) and we need to unpack and get back to real life.  I spent an hour or so going through email and in the next week I need to;

  • get our front bumper replaced – it was hit before we left but the body shop didn’t have time before Pennsic
  • school shop for all the things
  • attend a back to school night on Wednesday
  • attend a VoteYes meeting, also on Wednesday, did I mention I’m running a campaign?
  • attend art in the Park event Tuesday that the Mom’s club is running
  • school board meeting Thursday
  • final moms club summer social on Friday

and that is just this week!  Next Monday kids go back to school so I also hope to fit in a fun thing or two also.

Also, apparently while I was not looking at news, the news got crazy.  I’m not sure if I should be more concerned with NKorea pointing things at us, or, internal political crazy.  Maybe dig a bunker needs to also be on my list…  I’m going back in my cozy bubble of post vacation happy, pre busy week prep, and last week of summer bliss.

Niamhs view

We have a friend who can’t come to pennsic so the kids got my old phone for pictures. Here is a selection from day 1 taken by Dakota and Niamh 

Glamping time

It has been a very crazy few days – let me fill you in and make my notes for future me to look up.

Driving to Pennsic was reasonably uneventful, the new things this year were driving in Konrad’s car (pulling a trailer) AND we brought Leah to help mind the children since Pennsic updated the rules and now you CAN bring kids that are not your own.  I have seen kids be kicked off site for not coming with their parents and there was a certain level of fear that this was going to go sideways on us but nope, it worked.  There were minor issues in driving but the only of note is that while Konrads SUV has way more towing capacity, it has way less interior space and we were all very squished the entire time.  On the positive, it was an easy drive and we maximized who could drive out overall since Lars is bringing more guys on Friday.  We did the whole trip in one day – leaving around 6:30 CST and arriving on site at 9ish CST.  Let’s just say there were only stops for gas and everyone was glad I packed a ton of car food.  Big win this year was pepperoni and crackers but we had the old standby of peanut butter and jelly, and, lunch meat plus some yogurt tubes, string cheese, chip bags,  grapes etc.

Saturday and Sunday and a chunk of Monday were all about making a camp worth the title Glamp but we have our shower, sinks, fridges, 2 dining areas, pantry, courtyard etc all set.  Yes, there are MORE pretty camps but my theory is I want to balance pretty with easy to set up/take down and storage and price.  This year we are doing well especially considering we had to re arrange things due to a new version of power/water on the block but it is better now I think, just took some adjusting after looking at it for a day and by the end of the 2 weeks we will know what to keep for next year and what didn’t work well.

Having a mothers helper with me all the time is a level up better than a 3h a day nanny like last year.  I think she may actually be bored sometimes because the kids just play with friends in camp, but, she is super helpful when there just needs to be more of me for all the needs.  I’m still pulled in a few directions at times but that’s just part of my world.

Today is my designated work day so I can isolate myself in the business center and click off all the tasks I could not pre arrange but it also gives me a chance to post a little something here.  No promises for other days though, but now that it is in my brain set to post I’ll get some pictures here over the next two weeks to give you a little taste of what we do here.

This ‘vacation’ is not for everyone, I know a segment of my facebook friends from PTO and school think I’m semi crazy for all this but I’m generally glad that I can post about my hobby and I just take the questions as they come.  Yesterday I finally got out of camp and saying hi to everyone and it is always fun to see who changed and who is exactly the same.  I met new people, I saw a person I have not seen since she was a toddler and had a nice conversation, I’m still missing people but I’ll wander and find who I find.  The banner event is that I actually got to a class yesterday!  Probably my first in 20 years and it is all because Niamh has taken over the scheduling of things and she choose a felting class and we left with about 15 little balls ranging from marble to lacross size.  She has more plans today and I’m reminding her that over-scheduling is the road to crazy but I guess she comes by it honestly.

Time for me to get done with computer time.  I’ve done what I need to do with 2 exceptions but I can’t post what I don’t have.  Hope you all are having a happy August!



marines and packing

::Mrs. Paper commented on the packing end of things and I started to type this as a reply but it got too long so here it is in post form::

Growing up my family and close friends, the ones who inform the baseline experience and expectation (be it high or low) for most things and my father is probably the best car or trailer packing person I know.  Dads are supposed to be awesome at things though right?  If only he had been good at packing I probably would have a normal expectation about how well someone can pack a car but…

We had quite a few friends who were former military and they were also very very good at packing things.  One friend, in particular, packed a trailer so well that while it was within the weight of pull for his truck, he had exceeded the tongue weight and it crashed in dramatic fashion within a quarter mile of his house going over a railroad track.  This is double memorable because we were leaving so early because he won the fight with my mom who prefers to drive after the traffic and in the end post repair we actually got to the event at the same time as if my moms leaving time won.  Anyway, for my entire early life of going camping and various events between my father and people with military experience, there was tons of very fine packing.

The expectation was continued when I hung out with many military people in my teen years and met plenty of people proud of the fact they could pack a backpack with all they needed for a year in the desert.  As an adult, my husband’s surrogate father was a marine (just retired this month actually) and he also had the best way to pack an amazing amount of things into a small space.  It makes sense, the military is full of small spaces like Navy ships where a sailor has about 2 feet to live and my soldier friends that lived from packs in the jungle or bush for real for ages.

To balance this out, I met plenty of people that were really bad at packing but they were just nonmilitary, not my dad people so it was reinforcing my assumption.  One day my assumptions were shattered by an event I’ll never forget…

It was a January event in MN (so very very cold) and I was pregnant with Niamh (about 5m) and I had packed our car carefully because for this event where I was doing a display of a ton of art pieces that belong to our historical group that nobody ever sees because they are too fragile/impractical to bring out often.  I was in charge of the inventory so I took it all out for the show and it went really well, but, by the end of the day I was tired and it was cold out there so a nice guy in the group offered to help pack my car.  He was a dad, he was a Marine!  This should be fine, I expected he would do as well as I, maybe better…  30min later I go out to find…

Absolute mayhem.  I can’t think of a better word but what was in the car was a Fragile and CYLINDRICAL thing on the bottom and several large heavy rectangles semi balanced on it.  I also saw 75% of what should have been in the car in the parking lot around the car and the guy with a very confused look who told me it just would not all fit.  I’m sure any witness decided I was being a picky, pregnant hormone fueled person but I pulled every thing out and told him to “go away!”  It was negative degrees out and my coat didn’t fit well so I also didn’t do the best job either and the 2 things I could not fit just went home with a friend who got it to me later but yes, it can all fit.  The worst part was my rock solid expectation that people in the military were great at packing things…

I’ve re adjusted my perception of who can pack and I feel that people that pack well are attracted to the military, but, it’s a big army/navy/airforce/marine/etc and they have to let in some sub par people just like any other industry.

As I pack each year I always remember the trailer tongue snapping experience and try and keep a balance of packing so well that you break the container.  I think of dad as I carefully pack betweens and on tops.  I am showing my kids how to pack and they are getting ok at it and at the very least they know that round things do not go under flat things…


I could bore you all for ages with all the contingencies of how to pack, like, you need to consider what you will need during the trip like snacks and spare clothing for when there is puke or the overnight bag for stopping at a hotel half way.  Things on the bottom need to be strong, don’t forget the small spaces created by big things…  Be sure that if you pack high in the car if you stop short you won’t avalanche on everyone.  I won’t say more because it’s time for me to finish up and I’m lucky if anyone even did.  See why this was too long for a comment?




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