Thursday, June 26, 2008

How I Spent My Summer Solstice

June 21st really was the longest day of the year for me -- I got in the car at 3 am CDT and stayed out until 1 am PDT for my 15-year high school mini-reunion. Let me tell you, it was well worth it. It was just a small gathering of the bunch of us who took honors classes together -- some of us having been together since elementary.

This really couldn't have come at a better time for me. I've spent all these years out marauding around the country -- it was great to come back to my roots, especially since my parents moved out of the area about a year after graduation and I've had no occasion to run into anyone. At the cores of our beings, none of us has really changed. What was especially wonderful was to find myself in a room full of happy, confident people who do not derive their identities/self-worth from their jobs. I've felt like an odd-ball in this sense in the places I've found myself all these years away. Turns out, our whole cohort is like this and I either learned this from them or alongside them. So refreshing. My impression of reunions is a bunch of people clobbering each other with how successful/happy/better they are...pretending to be. This factor was decidedly absent from this gathering. Nowhere to be found. We were genuinely curious and celebratory of everyone's paths since the last time we were together, and everyone seemed to be quite comfortable in their skin. Fantastic!

I'm not sure how to describe my exact feeling in seeing everyone so healthy, happy and content. Joyful? Satisfied? Affirmed? All of the above? I don't think I'll press the issue, just revel in the feeling.

These next pics are for my Mom. She fed these people lots of free and/or discounted donuts, which they remembered. I suspect she was more popular with them than I was because of it. (Also, I was kind of a rowdy numbskull. Like I said, none of us has changed much.)

Tammy, Jim, & Tom
(Mom, you probably remember Tom as the super tall kid who came in with Keith and the rest of the swimmers.)

Sara, Mike & Tammy -- The Bus 'D' crew.

Alas, not everyone was able to make it, but we enjoyed being together so much there is talk of making this an annual event -- especially since everyone but Sara and I live within an hour or so of each other. Can't wait 'til next year!

Ye Olde Timeline

My high school friend, Tom, had one of these on his site and I decided to follow suit. (Will update as necessary.)

2008 -- Put 10 pounds back on while studying for qualifying exam. Pass. Blog sporadically; train with slightly more frequency. FINISH IRONMAN LOUISVILLE!

2007 -- Fail at first Ironman attempt. Begin PhD focusing on gender, sports, and media at the U of Iowa. Lose 20 pounds; finish first marathon.

2006 -- Finish putting on 30 pounds.

2005 -- Complete first triathlon. I'm hooked, but undisciplined.

2002-2007 -- Teach at Dona Ana Community College in New Mexico. Find my setting for "changing the world." Love my students and many of my co-workers.

2000-2002 -- Complete MA in Communication Studies at NMSU.

2000 -- While driving to a wedding in Taos, NM, a young woman and her dog pass us in her jeep. I realize I must go back to New Mexico. Through some strange twist of fate, Sara Kurzenhauser and I find ourselves living within 2 miles of each other in Seattle. Dan Dau is also in the area.

2000 -- Work as a writer in the WA State Legislature. Appreciate state-level politics much more than national.

1999 -- Graduate from George Washington University with an MA in Political Management. Move to Seattle.

1999 -- Fall ass-backwards into a job at the White House. We pause during salary negotiations to watch the impeachment vote. I see many famous people, Hillary Clinton disses me, and I become completely disillusioned by politics.

1998 -- Two days after graduating from NMSU, I begin classes at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

1996-1998 -- Major in Communication Studies at NMSU. Because of transfer policy, I manage to graduate with a 4.0 and high honors (top 1%). How you like them apples?

Spring 1996 -- Move to New Mexico and, having missed the registration deadline at New Mexico State University by two days, spend a semester reading Kennedy assassination conspiracy books. Contemplate joining the Navy. Even parked in front of the recruiting office. Mom said, "Ooh my baby's gonna be an officer in the Navy!" Dad (a Navy vet) said, "I don't think you want to do that." He was right.

Fall 1995 -- Transfer to Cal State Northridge to pursue degree in Communication Studies.

Spring 1995 -- Transfer to Solano Community College. Take first courses in communication; find my calling. Ran into Wayne Tilcock and gave him my dad's old Willy's truck.

1994 -- On the SSU cheerleading squad. Parents move to New Mexico.

1993-1994 -- Attend Sonoma State University because I didn't have to write an essay to get in. Also, it's beautiful. Majored in creative writing as part of a pipe dream to get on SNL. (Yes, I see the irony.)

1993-8, 2001-2002 (summers) -- Teach/direct summer camps for USA.

1993 -- Miraculously graduate from high school after not cracking a book for the entirety of my senior year and the majority of my junior year.