Sunday, September 28, 2008

Thoughts on shyness

I remain convinced that Ethan and I have a much deeper, much stronger love than anyone else. Sort of a desperate, intense love. I love him not only for who he is, but for *how* he is. He understands me in a way that no one else ever has, and I understand him in that very same way.

We are a support system for each other in ways that go beyond husband and wife.

We are both intensely shy and have very different ways of coping with it. I see Ethan succeeding greatly at times, and struggling others; he encourages me as well, and most importantly understands what the real meaning of 'painfully shy' is, and how sometimes it is just breathtakingly hard for me to interact with people. He 'gets' it.

Those of you who do not have an intense shyness (or lack of social skills, as I put it) will never understand the little nuances that take up so much of my brain at times. How I have to actually THINK about trying to make eye contact with someone when I am speaking with them, and then I worry that I am making too MUCH eye contact or that I am doing something else wrong. Or I walk down a hallway at work and see someone I know--do I say hello? Should I make eye contact, or will it seem like I am staring at them?? If I DON'T say something, am I being rude?? If I just keep looking where I am going, does it seem like I am pretending I don't see them??Seriously. I get all stressed out. Sounds dumb, but it really isn't. Aren't you glad your mind is not constantly full of little things like this??

Once I am comfortable somewhere, this is not so much of a problem. I remember at Crane, when in the 8th grade one of my classmates made a remark about how I had said I was shy before I moved there, but they didn't think I was shy at all. Yes, in 8th grade with only 9 students in my class who I had now known for a year, I was fine. Not so introverted. Doing well. But come 9th grade and a whopping 16 extra students in my class (as well as the 60 or so other students in the high school), I was back to being awkward and quiet and lost and terrified all at the same time. By my junior year I was better, at least during the school day, when things were structured. I had figured out that I was smart and 'good' at school, and that was enough to keep me going through the day. It all went out the window AFTER school, but whatever. I had cheerleading and books to read and plenty to keep me occupied.

Cheerleading. The thing I am most proud of myself in my entire life is that I tried out for cheerleading. Now, I do not tell people that I was a cheerleader. I would not want a daughter of mine to BE a cheerleader. I am not proud that I got to wear a skirt etc, etc, etc. I am proud that I tried out. And didn't make it my freshman year, even though others who DID try out didn't even know some of the special kicks you had to learn and demonstrate in front of the whole school. It is a popularity contest, and I lost. Okay. Came back my sophomore year, tried out again. Again, a popularity contest in front of the school. And I lost. My Junior year. Tried out AGAIN. And tied with a freshman who did not know the routines, had not shown up for practices before the tryout. Then the teachers decided that THEY would be the tiebreakers in a second tryout. I went to that tryout and made the team.

Sticking with it when I KNEW it was a popularity contest, and I KNEW I wasn't popular is something that still makes me cry. I am proud of myself for that.

I have been better with my awkwardness since high school. It helps to not be around the people who saw you being so awkward, and have a hard time seeing you any other way. I didn't go to my 10 year reunion because I KNEW I would be scared and quiet and hide and I HATE being that way, so I skipped it. I really wanted to go, but I wanted to go as ME, not as someone who would hide in a corner trying to look like I was happy to be there and unconcerned about anything.

I have a hard time around my family. I KNOW who I am. But being around all those personalities brings me right back and I am uncomfortable and unsure and I totally revert. I really hate that.

In social situations, I suck. I know that. At this point, I don't care so much. I figure that if I am in a conversation with someone and *I* run out of things to say or am not sure how much conversation to have or something stupid like that, it is just as much on the other person to keep a conversation going. So if it dies out, I am not going to let it be an uncomfortable silence. Screw it. I am comfortable. Don't want silence?? Say something to me. I will keep talking. Just can't think of what I should say to lead a conversation.

At work, I am comfortable. I know my job, I know I do it well. I have been there 8 years all together, and many of the nurses there have been there just as long, if not longer. Lots of familiar faces. I am known as someone who is sarcastic and humorous and opinionated and sometimes a bit too loud. I am the one who always has an answer, the one who knows the ins and outs of the computer system we use. The one everyone comes to when they have a question, since I am so resourceful and will know where to send them in the event that I DON'T have an answer. People there don't think I am shy. Not at all. I have a hard time with new staff there that I don't know, but I deal with it pretty well, and after a while, I am comfortable with them, too. No one has any idea.

At work, still the hardest thing I do is when I am working as a floor nurse once a week. The most painful, difficult thing for me in nursing is making myself walk through a patient's door and introduce myself. "Hi, my name is Alyca. I am going to be your nurse today". Absolutely excruciating every time. No easier now than it was 7 years ago. Once I am past that initial part, I am fine.

So. Feel my pain.

Ethan does.

There are lots of issues out there that people deal with. Mine doesn't have a pill for it, just lots and lots of practicing.

New header

I was inspsired both by Davinie's new header and by me coming across my old one as I moved all the .psd files from my old computer to my laptop (forgot to do that months ago when the other computer died and was replaced....just the other day realized that NONE of the digital layouts I did made it off the computer. SOOOO glad I was still able to get them!).

Anyway. New format, new colors. We will see how it goes. I am really hoping this post does not come out centered, because I cannot figure out how the heck the others became centered. I want them aligned left...not sure how they changed but I am sure I can figure it out...

Look Who is in the Seattle Times today!

Friday, September 26, 2008

With all the crap going on in the economy today, I am SOOOO glad I am in a stable position.

I am thankful that Ethan and I work for the state, in jobs where you can't get laid off, and only if we do something stupid can we get fired.

I am thankful we are not stupid.

I am thankful we have disability insurance, so if something DID happen to one of us, we would still receive our salaries and not lose our house.

I am thankful we bought and sold the condo before buying the house. The idea of still paying the two mortgages we originally had on this house is scary.

I am thankful that Ethan had knee surgery, which made us decide to delay remodeling our kitchen and sock our $10K into savings instead of spending it. It feels like a security blanket.

I am thankful our fuel efficient car is paid for in full, and that we have a Metro VanPool to take us to work every day, and a metro bus to take us home, so we don't need to worry about gas prices.

I am thankful that JCAHO came to Harborview while my union was negotiating a new contract. The threat of us picketing while JCAHO was here made management cave in to our demands, and I have some great new perks and pay raises coming.

I am thankful that we have life insurance, so that if the worst happens, Ethan or I would not have to move out of the house.

I am thankful that we decided to refinance our mortgage last year into a 15 year, 5.65% loan that has no ARMs, no balloon payments, and a payment we CAN afford to pay.

I am thankful that Ethan is so diligent, we pay our mortgage a month in advance.

I am thankful that housing prices in Seattle have only dropped slightly, so we still have ~130K in equity in our house.

I am thankful that we have good insurance, where Ethan pays $0.91 a month for his medications, and his surgery cost us less than $1K.

I am thankful that we are in good health and live safe lifestyles and are not at risk of accummulating large medical bills.

I am thankful that we DID buy that timeshare (that we thought was a mistake), so we can travel and relax and get away, even in these turbulent times.

What are YOU thankful for?? I know we all have decisions we can look back on and be glad for.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I just signed up for the Seattle (well, Bellevue) CKC Scrapbook convention in November. I am in need of inspiration and ideas to expand my creativity. Still hard at work on my Australia album, although it has now been a full YEAR since I went there. Well, a year on Sunday. But almost a year. Oh, how I want to go back!!

I am talking Ethan into a 2-week trip in 2010. If we plan enough in advance, we can use our air miles to fly either to Europe or to Australia. I am letting Ethan pick where he wants to go. Well, if he picks Europe, I am totally taking over WHERE we go in Europe, but he can decide which continent he wants. See how I share???

Next year, we are probably doing a cruise with Kim and Justin (Kim just got hired onto Holland America and gets a free cruise a year, plus a 50% discount for friends and family). Probably do that in the spring. I am also hoping to schmooze into a Vegas trip with the Merritts in late spring, then maybe go to our timeshare in Puerto Vallarta in the fall. Ahh, travel.

But, I digress.


I want to get started on a Hawai'i album. I just got back, so the memories are still new and I remember all the details. I am such a discombobulated scrapper, I have NO continuity in what has and has not been scrapped. I am deciding to forget all the pictures I have, and only scrap vacations. I have my pics organized into big folders by year, then broken down into subjects within that year (For example in 2008, I have a folder for Mazatlan in April, a folder for Victoria in July, and one for Hawaii in September). This way, I can easily find pics when I know what subject I want to scrap, and they are all together until I DO scrap them. Anyway.. Someday I will be...well....MORE caught up than I am now.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One for the wall

One of my goals for this (and every) vacation was to take a picture worth framing and putting up on our wall.....this is straight out of the camera and my #1 contender so far. I intend to populate this house with dozens of pictures of beautiful things. Ethan has taken some of them, and I have taken the rest. No storebought pictures for us!

This picture was taken while we were ziplining. It shows the island of Lana'i in the distance, over the town of Lahaina

Monday, September 15, 2008

Maui (Little camera pictures)

Okay, we arrived on Maui Friday, got upgraded to a 2008 Mustang convertible, then stocked up at Costco and headed to Ka'anapali. We stayed at the Westin Ka'anapala Ocean Resort Villas. We were quite impressed. Even discussed buying a timeshare there. Very nice, great location, and you can snorkel right off the beach!

Here is our room. We tried to get pictures as soon as we could (before we destroyed the room)..


We spent Saturday exploring the resort, playing in the ocean and relaxing in the pool. Very low key. I think this was also the night of the Republican National Convention where we watched Sarah Palin speak. Talk about scary!!

Here is the view from our lanai. Lots of green space, very peaceful.


Sunday, we hung out in our room watching football. First week of the season, and all of that. After the morning games (they started at 7am and 10am), we had lunch at a beachside restaurant on our resort, then returned for the late game (at 2pm Hawai'i time).

Footballed out, we headed to the Old Lahaina Luau, widely regarded as the most top notch luau available. Great food, nice drinks, wonderful entertainment.

Unearthing the Imu pig


Monday morning, we headed out to Atlantis submarines. Ethan was randomly spotted in Coscto by the submarine pilot who remembers him from Argens back when the guy worked for Argosy cruiselines in Seattle. Got that? Anyway, he got us onto a tour at over 75% off, so we headed out.

Pretty cool to watch the submarine dive and surface, lots of fish around, a sunken ship to see. Overall, a very nice time.

Pictures here of the view of Lahaina as we set out, some underwater creatures, and Ethan and I finishing the tour.

Submarine surfacing



Tuesday morning, we headed over to Skyline EcoAdventures to do their Ka'anapali ziplines. Lots of fun! Eight lines, a breakfast, a breathtaking view and red dust in all our crevices to take home as a souvenir!

We really did have a great time. I loved being able to back up and leap off into space, and running up a ramp to stop yourself worked well, too.


After we zipped and came home to shower, we headed out to the beach at our resort for a little snorkelling. Ethan's knee was not up to playing in the water, and we were not sure how it would do snorkelling. Turns out that he is fine as long as he doesn't wear the flippers. He just wore water shoes to protect himself from the rocks, and tooled around using his arms rather than his flippers.

Lots of fish here!! We were literally feet from the shoreline--so crazy that fish were so close! We snorkelled for several hours, coming out a little before sunset. Totally made our snorkel gear worth purchasing!!


Wednesday, we putzed around the resort, then decided to take a drive.

We drove up the northwestern side of Maui (up the head of the turtle, if you look at the island on a map)

Our first stop was at Dragon's teeth, a crazy lava rock formation jutting off Makalua-puna Point, just a few miles north of our hotel.

Right next to the formation was a rocky shore where we spotted turtles playing in the surf!

Dragon's teeth

After seeing Dragon's teeth, we continued our drive north to the Nakalele blowhole. It was a bit of a hike down to the actual blowhole, but you could still see it even up at the parking pull-off.

Lots of people here, and just as we were leaving, a huge wave came up and blasted over the top of the protective rocks around the blowhole, SOAKING the people perched there for close-up pictures and a great view. No one got hurt, and most had waterproof cameras, but that was sure a big sneaky wave! We were in the drier, more careful part, so we remained dry..

From here, we put the top of the car down and drove our windy way home. The speed limit was 25mph in most places (15 in others!), so we had a great preview of what was to come on the road to Hana

Thursday--road to Hana

We headed out around 8am on our journey to Hana. 46 one lane bridges and 620 turns......each way. We stopped several times to take pictures or hike to waterfalls. All in all, it made for a long day, and we ended up just wanting to go home. It was pretty, we had an entertaining and informative road to hana CD to listen to, but we were pooped. Maybe if we had done it on the front end of our vacation it would have been better for us, but we were just thinking of going back to our hotel and snorkelling.

But...we can say we did it, and we DID have fun along the way.

Upper Waikani Falls

Taro fields in Wailua.
Black rocks pounding in the surf on Ke'anae Peninsula. We stopped here for pictures, and also bought some banana bread from a little shop to snack on (and some potato chips that Ethan swore tasted like funions and refused to eat)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hawai'ian from the little camera. (Oahu)

Okay. Honolulu here. A lovely shot of the sunset our first day there (Wednesday), Waikiki Beach and a view of Diamond head. MUCH more of Diamond head later...

We had a $50 burger dinner and booked a trip for the next day--Pearl Harbor with a North Shore tour. The tour was from 6am to 330pm, because we already booked a sunset cruise on the Ma'i Tai.
Our tour guide was great--picked us up at 6am and drove us to Pearl Harbor. He had great commentary along the way and played music and audio clips pertinent to Pearl Harbor. We got there early and lined up outside (they don't hand out tickets until 745am, but they run out and it is best to be there early). We were actually in the first group of the day to take the shuttle out to the USS Arizona memorial.

The USS Missouri (now a museum you can tour through), and Aloha Stadium, with the Pearl Harbor museum in the lower right hand corner.

The model of the flagship of the Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor
The shuttle out to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor

The Memorial wall with all the names of the entombed sailors was a powerful monument that really put the sheer numbers into perspective. The oil slowly ascending to the surface, called black tears, was pretty amazing too.

The USS Arizona Memorial.

These pictures were all taken by Ethan. I generally stick to the bigger camera, unless it is likely to get wet, then I leave it home and man the little one in it's protective baggie.

Ethan and I on a North shore Oahu beach

All the pictures of us together are on the little camera--it is the only one Ethan can use to reach his arm out and take our picture, and the only one we can hand to other tourists to take our pictures (they simply CANNOT figure out the other one...we have learned our lesson)

Ethan and I at La'ie point with a cool rock arch formation.

Ethan and I at the Pali lookout over Kane'ohe. There was an old story about king Kamehameha defeating his enemies here by driving them off the cliff...thought to be just a story until they began constructing the freeway through the mountain and found over 800 skulls at the bottom of the cliff.