My education goals

My educational goals are divided into two categories, though they support each other in critical ways. The first is for the temporal security of my family, the second is for the enrichment of my understanding and enjoyment.
My short-term goals involve getting certified in Drafting so that I may obtain employment somewhere that will permit me to earn enough money to continue living and studying independently. I decided on Drafting because such knowledge and experience will bring me much closer to my next educational goal to become an engineer. Also, I may explore the various branches of the Engineering field while I study Drafting, and this without the distractions and demands of the typical university curriculum and campus life, which one normally must go through to reach such academic exposure. The school I plan on attending is connected to a nearby university so that a certificate at this school translates into 30 credits toward an associate degree. This plan will put me closer to my goal of becoming an engineer, while, not only saving money, but also providing a source of income.
As I work to enhance my employment opportunities I intend to busy myself in developing my skills and interests such as creative writing, languages, political science, music, and sports.
With grants and scholarships I could better my situation instead of working full-time just to maintain the status quo. I do not seek more than a supplement for my limited resources

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Concentration

I sat down on the couch, placed my textbook down on the coffee table. The evening was quiet except for the crackle of the fake fire and the tunes from my laptop. In the soft lighting I rested my body and worked my mind ’til drowsiness caught hold of me. It would have been easy to lay back and nod off into the blissful quiet, but the sudden ring of the phone hurt the atmosphere and raised my stress level a few noticeable notches. Answering the phone was at the bottom of my to do list, but after all, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. So I heaved myself up and grabbed the offending piece. I briefly contemplated whether throwing it would cost more exertion than answering it.
“hello?” I said, my voice automatically going an octave lower.
“Hello. Is Garret around?” it was a female voice, sweet as a peach.
“Sorry he’s not here right now, can I give him a message?” I dropped another octave.
“Is this his father?” said the peach.
“Uh, no. I’m his room mate. He is at the orientation deal on campus. I could have him call you back when he gets here. What’s your number?” I searched frantically for a pen.
“OK, well I might just see him at the activities then. Thanks, bye.” And with that she was gone.
“Uh, goodbye…” I said. I still had the phone up to my ear as my mind caught up with the times. The indicators added up to about twenty-one years of brunette and one of blond. I was wishing she would have left a number.
Back on the couch I divided my attention between the dulcet voice and my impending exam.

Categories: Fictional Stories | 3 Comments

All Alone in the Dark

I was going to meet with the scouts up the sheep lane past the cabin. I took the 4 wheeler. I started it not knowing it was in reverse, but with lightning reflexes I was able to dislodge the throttle well before I got to the trees. After that the journey was uneventful up until I got past the cabin and was feeling like I was getting pretty close. Then it died. A thorough going over couldn’t find anything wrong but the fact that it wouldn’t start. After thinking it over I decided it a good idea to strike out afoot. I remembered that one of the scouts is good with mechanics. It was a nice afternoon and I enjoyed the walk, the scenery and the air (though slightly smoky from the wild fires down in Utah). I passed a sheep camp, a dry riverbed, a cattle guard. Then I saw headlights up ahead. I wasn’t sure how a stranger would take finding a man such as I wandering up the sheep lane on foot, nor was I in the mood to deal with them. So I hid myself in the trees just off the side. As they passed I heard the one driving, a woman who seemed to be doing all the talking. I over heard something about a “huge herd of elk”, and then they were gone. I simply stepped out and continued trudging. I was starting to wonder where the scouts could be when my phone rang. It was Dad informing me that a fire had started up on the mountain and that I’d better get out of there pronto. I told him that if that was the case then I was in a predicament.

I also learned that the scouts were a bit farther than I’d expected. All I could do was hike on back to the vehicle and do I know not what. I couldn’t help but wonder how ablaze the sunset looked as I back tracked. I decided to run. I fell only once in the dimming light, but had so much momentum that I just rolled and righted myself and kept running as though nothing had happened, which I thought extraordinarily graceful to have happened in the river bed.

My only hope of getting home was to somehow get the vehicle running. I pulled and prayed, pulled and prayed, till my hands started to blister and my knees were frayed. By then it was dark. I sat down to rest for a bit. Then I realized just how alone I was, just how eerie the full moon cast shadows among the trees. The noise from the herd of sheep up the trail seemed to fade and silence choked the atmosphere. That was all I needed, a healthy dose of panic to liven the limbs. I decided to push the contraption at least back to the cabin where I knew I could get service on my phone. From there I could call and have someone come and pick me up. I felt no cold, I was all lathered up from trying, to heave the 4-wheeler up the rocky trail. I finally gave up and decided to go find service before sun-up.

I walked for a long time, checking my phone for service every now and again. As I walked there were shadows and beams of moonlight that created odd shapes in my minds. The hair on the back of my neck wasn’t just standing, it was doing a few numbers of river stomp. I saw a big black object standing among the trees. I froze and watched closely for movement. I stared at it a good five minutes before I could convince myself that it was just a stump.

I continued my evening stroll until I finally found enough cell service and called my brother. So they were on their way. I was saved… or would be if something else didn’t get to me first. What really had me concerned was my ability to see things that weren’t there. I wasn’t too keen on dying of a hyperactive imagination, but the danger was peaking.

After another few minutes of walking I found myself at the gate leading to our cabin. I wondered why I didn’t tell my brother to meet me at the cabin instead of the sheep lane. It would have been only a bit of a walk compared to the one I had embarked on earlier today. But my course was set and it wouldn’t be too much longer until they got to me, I decided to not complicate things. I sat myself down on a nearby log and waited.

the moon was high now but it’s light was dimmed slightly by the smoke that still hung in the sky. The wind only breezed through once and again to rustle the leaves in random places. the night was getting chilly and I began to feel it now that the more physically exerting part of the evening was done. I realized that the later it got, the more acute my senses became. I observed my surroundings and there came again that feeling of loneliness trimmed with fear, knowing that if something were to happen to me there would be no witnesses. There was no one to watch my back. I was alone in a dark forest, only a picture of my girlfriend to keep me company, and I checked it often to make sure she still was.

I heard noises in the trees surrounding me. owls conversed long distance. Elk could be heard calling in a grove of trees not too far from my front row seat. Mice would sneak up behind me and start thrashing around in the grass and leaves until I had made a satisfactory response and then disappear. I had to figure something out or I was going to go insane.

Finally I heard the sound of an ATV sputtering up the trail. It took an eon to come into view. The Rhino came closer and closer and the only thing louder than the engine was the talking going on. My sister was with him. they came close to passing me up. I wasn’t about to let that happen. I gave a shout, but I think it was the cell phone I was waving around that finally got their attention. The talking was interrupted by a scream which startled my sister. Then she gasped “what is that, a star?”, and my brother answered “no, it’s Pete. Hey Pete what are you doing up in that tree?”

Categories: Adventures | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Rain on the windshield

The other day I took my lunch break to a city park where you can look out on the ponds and natural landscape. There I sat and ate a bologna sandwich and wished I had an apple to complete the meal. Others came and went, also on lunch break. I’m sure there would have been many more if it hadn’t been raining.

The rain helped accentuate my mood. Was i depressed? Not really, but I was yearning for clarity and perspective. That’s what I like about the rain. I discover that my car is green and not brown. The rain reveals true values. In the soft grey lighting there are no shadows to distort the colors. Everything is sharply defined yet blends in a sort of harmony with everything else making it easy on the eyes. Things far away and unimportant fade in the mist and let one focus only on his immediate surroundings. Ones shadow leaves and his reflection appears.

The louder facets of life are dulled and put down just like the drenched flags limply waving under the weight of the water. Trucks on the highway push along at a steady pace resigned to stay busy. Man is not a machine. He is affected by his environment ,but has the choice to act or react. When I see a pretty picture I just want to stare at it until i can pinpoint the feelings that I am experiencing. however that luxury isn’t often available.

I think that writing can let one transmit a feeling or a mood just as effectively as a picture or a song if it is done right. I want to reach that  capability, not to be a tear-jerker but to express myself effectively. Words are powerful, they can help one to change perspective or paradigm. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I think that is because the right word is hard to find. The chances of hitting a bull’s eye are greater if your bullet is bigger than the entire target. That is not accuracy, it is overkill. I wish I could write like a rainy day.

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Enough Already

Sometimes life feels like a car that is going too fast and you are getting pushed into the seat and getting the willies.

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She drove. Part 2

After the first session we all shuffled out into the sunlight and made our way out of the square to find some food. We found a small fast food place that wasn’t swamped with people and we men went inside to brave the crowd while the women found a shady tree to sit under for lunch. As we waited in line I started a conversation with the Spanish-speaking family behind me. I thought it a great opportunity to practice. We talked about food and family. A major conversation piece was their little toddler that was going all over the place. On our way there I had seen him stop and stare in the middle of the cross walk and then tear off ahead of his poor parents. After talking for a while I realized that the other guys in my group also spoke Spanish, and we practiced for a while.

We got done with lunch and headed back for the conference center. By now it was time to get in there so that we could get a seat. The temple grounds were heavy with pedestrian traffic. It was just like the roads except there were no signals, rules or stop lights. It got a little scary, I thought I was going to get run over or sucked into an eddy while the group flowed on to where ever we were headed. but we all arrived in time and in one piece so I was feeling good.

I’m sorry to say that I had a little trouble keeping focused this time. I told my date to just elbow me if I started dosing, which explains the sore ribs I had the next day, come to think of it. She must have enjoyed it. I did take notes though and toward the end I was alert.

It was fun to sing as a congregation in such a large body of saints and with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir it felt like we were one huge choir singing great hymns. I always get goosebumps when that happens.

Everyone waddled out as if in a daze. Squeezed our way through to a statue in the middle of the marble floored hall and watched all the people staggering out in large quantities to start the traffic jam once again. My group tailed me to the bag check room to grab my backpack. Then we strolled toward the parking lots. We passed the protesters, the ticket seekers and little boys selling the Conference News. The homeless were still placed randomly in our midst, I saw a girl run up to one of them and place a bill in the hands of a man in a wheel chair while his wife sat beside him looking gray and feeble. This was one time that a girl showed me up for courage.

There were three couples in our group. A married couple, a boy friend and girlfriend, and my date and I. They escorted us to our car and we said our goodbyes. We drove away to find the interstate. As we pulled out I couldn’t help but feel a little twinge of self-consciousness being the man and waving goodbye from the passenger seat. But after all, it was her dad’s car.

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She drove. Part 1

This past weekend I had the rare opportunity of going to see General Conference. An old friend invited me to go with her. We have hung out for the past month doing random stuff so it was nice to do something with a bit of structure.

It was an amazing experience to walk the temple grounds and see the people come together from all parts of the world. many would be envious of the chance to see the conference speakers in the flesh, even though they appeared as tiny specks in the distance. There is also the spectacle of demonstrators in the streets competing with the member choir singing hymns.

The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that Utah is in spring while in Wyoming winter is still latched onto our pant leg. The place is abloom with tulips, and daffodils, the trees glow white and pink in the sunlight, grass as green as… well, grass. Pastel colors are sharply contrasted with the black suit coats and conservative colors of Sunday dress. It’s something unreal to stand in a perfect atmosphere with a girl by your side and no wind burning your face to tell you it’s not a dream.

Like everything it had its catches. All the way up from the two dollar parking we were bombarded by homeless people, protesters, newsies, and people in their Sunday best asking if we had any spare tickets on hand. I also got nailed by the ushers about my missionary backpack, i had to put it in the package checkroom.

So with my journal sticking awkwardly out of my suit jacket i accompanied my companion through the doors at the last-minute to the last few seats in the place. For a recently returned missionary there are few sights more exhilarating than seeing the Mormon Tabernacle choir perform live. I hadn’t the slightest urge to dose during the session. Though my nose was a little stuffy and I had a hard time keeping it from whistling and drawing too much attention.

We were some of the fortunate few that got to attend both sessions, thanks to my friend’s connections. At first we were only going to the second session but since one of her connections happened to be present we had an unexpected opportunity. Mine was to sit next to a little Hispanic kid that had translation equipment for headgear. He kept looking at me when my nose made funny noises.

Categories: Dating Life | 2 Comments

The daily grind

So I have about three weeks of steady work under my now greasy belt. The place is big and dark and has a thick patina of grease and metal shavings that seems to spread like a disease. I have learned a ton in these few weeks, among them are with whom one can joke and at whom one is better off not looking. there are so many machines to learn how to use but so far I am only proficient in using the grinder and the broom.

There is an interesting variety of characters among the crew, some of them even have nicknames to add to their flavor. To mention a few there is Toad who mostly keeps to himself and works steadily and without too much action, then there is Critter, the skinny guy that always wears his jacket from the oil fields and has a toy skeleton stuck on his car window, also there is Brown Spot, I guess he got that name from his Latino heritage. Personally I would have given that name to any of the others who constantly are fingering Tobacco into their gums.

My average week day goes something like this: My cell phone goes off and I press snooze to get in another ten minutes. I get dressed and scrounge something up for breakfast. I load my lunch, coat, gloves and fancy safety glasses into whatever vehicle is available and cruise off towards the rising sun. I pull up outside the gates because that is where the new guys have to park. I clock in and go searching for the foreman to put me to work. I drift from one end of the shop to the other cleaning up after the certified welders.

 

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I got a job

The other day I spent several hours in town on various errands. Feeling the freedom of wheels I decided to be decisive and take some steps for the development of my future. I went into Murdochs and asked for a job application. The nice lady at the check out desk informed me that they were not hiring at the moment but the manager was taking apps.

I then drove to the Metal fabrication shop I had worked at more than two years ago and chatted with the owners for a bit before taking an application and scooting. I drove home feeling very manly for having been such a big boy about it all.

I was sure there was no reason for filling out the app because one of the owners had told me a few days earlier to drop by the shop for a job. I knew it was in the bag but I was also sort of hesitant to dive into regulated time. I was sort of enjoying all the free time with no obligations on my hands. I was a slave only to the dinner bell.

i drove into town ready for a day of work. I went in and plopped my application onto the desk. They looked at me like cats receiving a fresh can of tuna. Before I knew it I had some fancy safety glasses, earplugs, and a pair of fresh white leather gloves. I punched in a time card and started grinding on a piece of I bar.

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Getting Back

I have decided to continue the account of my doings starting from about one month from returning from my mission in the Mexico Monterrey East Mission. The account of those best two years is not covered here but I may make reference to it on occasion. I will make sure to explain the contexts.

Following my return I have fallen into a routine of irregularity. I find myself tied up with a range of activities, only half of which turnout to be worth the time. With no other obligations on my time I like to read or visit with my sisters or parents who lend an ear out of love, or pity I’m not sure which. My activities consist of reading or talking, sporadic sessions of exercise, occasional naps, late nights, and general dawdling.

I have made up my mind to learn to milk the cow and get used to doing such duties at home. Dad said that I didn’t do too bad for a first attempt, then he took over to get the job done.

I have made a good practice of keeping the basement stocked with wood and coal. The coal-burning is a new development here. One chunk the size of my shoe will keep the fire from going out until morning so we only have to put a log on instead of building a new fire every morn. Dad hasn’t had to start one but once this winter. Pretty good I’d say.

Not being a missionary lets more trivial activities creep into ones time at the expense of other worthwhile things like scripture study. That can’t happen. I probably would have gotten into trouble had I not written myself a letter as a missionary to my future self, reminding me of what I thought of returned missionaries that pour their knowledge and experience down the drain for things of naught.

I am vulnerable to insignificant project ideas that get me no closer to my long-term goals. I found a video on the internet about how to build a rocket stove out of tin cans. I tried it. I put one together and cooked myself some eggs and chorizo, a Mexican dish of which I am fond.

On another occasion I took a walk and decided to test my outdoor survival skills by making myself a bow drill fire. I crunched through some six-inch deep snow in tennis shoes to a grove of trees and found an old fallen aspen tree. I grabbed some dry branches and fashioned myself a shaft, carved a socket into the log as I straddled it, and put together a bow using my shoelace and a curved stick. I don’t know how long I was out there drilling my shoelace to a frazzle but I finally gave up and ran home bragging that I had succeeded in producing smoke. I must say a shoelace is a high price for just a stupid waft of smoke.

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