I like to consider myself an organized person, and I know many people would agree with me. However, true to the INFJ personality type, there is a part of me that will never be tidy.

Such is my constant struggle with my room. I feel like for the most part my room strives to achieve a moderately messy state. What usually happens is that I will clean it up to a sparkle, and within days there is a backlash, and suddenly it is 10 times messier than it was before I cleaned it.

It is like it’s trying to compensate for the fact that it was clean for a little while, so it has to be extra messy to make up for lost time. Tidiness is a constant battle.

Scott says that I should not worry about it; I should just relax and admit to myself that it is the way I am, and move on with my life. That certainly would save a lot of fret, I will admit, but sometimes accepting some truth about yourself can be more difficult than accepting a total stranger for who they are.

Maybe it is just the build-up of scoldings for being messy I have endured growing up, or just some weird cultural thing. Or maybe it stirs my logical side to battle. My room should be as organized as my inbox or my project binder. Resist! Resist!

Oh, what that I could just accept myself and thrive in my disarray!

Mammoth Cave Adventure!

What a fun weekend! I love camping.

We got to the park and set up camp with no troubles and saw our first batch of wildlife right off. There were some deer nosing around the trail, and a pileated woodpecker having a fit up in a tree. Pileated woodpeckers are huuuuuuuuuuuuuge. We actually have one of those that used to live in the woods right behind my house. He still comes around now and again, and occasionally pecks on the house to make us think someone is spraying machine gun bullets into our walls.

We also saw a yellow jacket nest in the ground right next to our campsite. It was strange because there were always one or two horseflies milling about near the nest, and occasionally one would wander too close and get its ass handed to him by one of the wasps. I don’t know what the deal was with those horseflies, but I wasn’t about to waltz up and get a closer look at the yellow jacket nest either.

My new tent is quite nice, and for some reason I am very good at sleeping in tents. Sleeping on the floor hurts my chest very badly nowadays, so I was a little worried, but sleeping on the ground was very pleasant and I got a good night’s sleep.

It rained a bit early in the morning, and thundered some. It was nice, though, because the thunder rolled on and on all across the park and the rain pattering on my tent was very lulling. I watched through the mesh of my tent as the daddy-long-legs scurried underneath my rain slick to keep dry. It was a very lazy morning, disrupted only by some turkey vultures screeching and calling on the road near our campsite.

When it stopped raining we got up and prepared a fire for breakfast. I think I need to learn more about different types of fires. The only fire I can build (and I can build it well), is the massive heat-generating “keep this drafty house built in the 1700s warm on the coldest of Connecticut winter nights” fire that I refined while staying with Carleton’s family awhile back. I’d built said fire the night before, and it was a bit much for a summer night. I think it would have been too hot for cooking, so I tried another fire design that apparently wasn’t very good, because we had a tricky time getting it started. If anyone has tips for building a cooking fire, I am listening!

Anyway, once we got the fire going, I made a delicious breakfast on my cast iron skillet. Nothing fancy, just bacon, eggs, and pancakes (the trick to amazing pancakes, I found, is to cook them in bacon grease, but isn’t that the trick to amazing anything?) My brother and sister-in-law were very appreciative, as they’d never had a hot breakfast on a camping trip before, usually resorting to powdered donuts in a box. After the delicious meal, we promptly returned to our tents for a nap.

The cave tour was also awesome. It was hot and muggy out, so the 54 degree cave was a blissful relief (until we exited the cave at the end, at which time the muggy atmosphere was amplified by comparison and it felt like we were walking out into a rainforest). I’m really glad we did the lantern tour, because exploring caves by lantern-light is quite different than a walk-through tour with electric lighting, or scrambly spelunking with a flashlight helmet, which are the two types of caving I am used to. We had a main ranger giving the tour and another ranger following up the group, and occasionally slipping ahead and hiding off the trail, so that when you walked by and held your lantern out to see some area the main guide had just finished telling some spooky story about, he’d be standing there staring at you. GAAAAAH!

Mammoth Cave tours focus a lot on human history, which I am only so-so interested in. I’m much more of a formation/geology person when it comes to caves. Not to say the human history of Mammoth Cave is dull by any means, for example, I had no idea there was a TB hospital inside the cave in the mid-1800s. KIND OF CREEPY A LITTLE. Regardless, Mammoth Cave is GIGANTIC, clearly, with huuuuuuuuuuuge rooms that are quite impressive. However, it is somewhat of an ugly cave, both from the damages of its historical use and from the fact that it has a very strong roof, with a layer of sandstone overtop, so you don’t get many stalactites and stalagmites until you get closer to the surface. As I said, I’m a formation girl, and I think in the end I prefer the smaller yet prettier Marengo caves than the gigantor Mammoth. (My next camping trip is planned already!)

I shouldn’t sound overly picky, though, as I had a great time on the trip and am really glad I went! Plus, there were tiny bats at the end of the cave tour that were so adorable it was worth the 3 mile underground hike. The Tuesday night ballers should really go caving more often.


Today is a special day!

This is the first time I’ve ridden my bike to work every single day of the week. I ride my bike to work often, but I’ve never made a straight week for various reasons (rain and storms, illness, having to go somewhere far straight after work, etc.)

On Sunday I noticed the weather was supposed to be good all this week, so I set a goal for myself to ride my bike every day. I have achieved my goal!

I really enjoy biking to work. The mornings are blissfully cool, I’m brave enough to ride on Bardstown road without any problems, the exercise to and from work gives me energy so that I don’t want to crash and take a nap in the evenings, and everyone at work who sees me on my bike treats me like I’m the coolest kid in school (it seems that half the faculty and staff here are environmental nuts and the other half are health nuts). All in all, riding my bike is great.

There is only one thing I dread about biking and which keeps me from automatically riding all the time without question, and that is carrying my bike up the stairs to my apartment at the end of the ride. It’s only 3 flights of stairs, but I have yet to figure out a way to lug the thing up that doesn’t absolutely kill my chest and my hands and my wrists. Nothing’s perfect, I guess.

So, to reward myself for reaching my goal, I am going to go and buy a tent! This is because I’m going camping on Saturday, and my brother and sister-in-law have decided to go (I was initially going to borrow their tent). Camping is exciting! I haven’t been camping since I was a freshman at Centre, and I haven’t been to Mammoth Cave since I was 4, so that’s practically having never been at all.

Have a good weekend, everybody!

Friendship and Role Models

Today’s quote is Mother Theresa’s “God does not call us to do great things, but to do small things with great love.”

The other day I was talking with Will, and we were talking about each others values and how different ours were from the other’s and prodding around about how we got that way, and it brought to surface some interesting insights.

I was trying to figure out why friendship is such an important value to me, while for other people it is family or self-advancement or something else that is more important. I figured that my parents and family were good role models for teaching me how to maintain and value friendships.

I’d never really thought about it until during said conversation, Will asked me who my parents hung out with as a lead-in to something else, and I said, “Well, their friends…” and was puzzled because I didn’t know what else the answer could have been. My parents have always had close friends in their lives.

Nancy and Greg were the first and most prominent examples I had growing up. “Next door” was as commonplace as another room in our house, and watching how my parents maintained their relationship with the Fowlers must have been my earliest lesson in how important, and yet how ordinary and expected friendship was. This is also likely why Nancy’s death affected me and continues to affect me so much.

As I grew up and acquired new friends, so did my parents’, and to this day my mom and dad seem to have a more active social life than I do, but oh well 🙂

It wasn’t just my parents, but my grandparents as well, as I can remember their friends being around on a normal basis. I have noted several occasions my surprise when I found out that this person or that was not actually related to me, but just a family friend, simply because they were always around I had assumed the former.

It is strange to figure out how these role models were the source of my values, when looking back on it it seems rather obvious.

So what about YOU, internet. What are your values and where did they come from?

Esteem Improvement

In Outlook at work, I have a folder called “Ego Strokes,” where I put any work email where someone thanks me for my help, or tells me how awesome the website is looking, or just generally tells me I’m awesome in general.

Whenever I feel somewhat low, I just page through this folder and read all the messages together at once. You would be amazed how helpful it is, and how much better I feel afterwards! I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone.

On the otherhand, the reason it works so well is because I work with so many people who never keep quiet a kind word or expression of thanks. Taking a moment to thank someone for something, or to tell them you love them or how much they mean to you can have quite an impact, even though it seems a small thing for you do to.

So, internet, you really should take a moment now and again to tell a friend you love them, or express gratitude for how much someone has done for you, or just let someone know they are important to you. It has fantastic residual effects!

I must do this more often myself.