Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Final Scenes from Mactown

The perfect tractor to have my name on it. And a beautiful scene from my window a la "American Beauty"

The grittiness and austere bareness of the town is what is most compellingly beautiful to me about it. Its lonely feel & detritus covered landscape make me love it like a scruffy unloved dog. I wish I knew how to line up this typeset with the photos!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Farewell Mactown...

See you in six months!

My last night in Mactown was a perfect representation of why I love this station. Live bands filled with friends & familiar faces playing fun dance music for hours. It always takes me straight back to college where I spent 4 years going out & dancing to punk bands several night a week. People seemed to be having so much fun, and as so many of us are leaving today it felt relaxed and like a great big release from an exhausting season. That was the word I heard most about people's season this year: exhausting. The station had so much work to do and was so shorthanded in my department that I felt tasked almost to the breaking point. I went into autopilot at some point in the season & hit the ground running every day at work - didn't let myself pause to feel my tiredness...went home & powernapped for 15 minutes - went to the galley for a long leisurely dinner...then plowed through a long Saturday night after a full day of work & never slept in on Sunday. Sleep deprivation was just something I got used to and saw that I could function on. I had two days in a row off and have been off for another day & a half & I can feel my sore & broken body & mental exhuastion setting in. I yearn for LM Gould style sleep again!

In the "be careful what you ask for dept," I asked for something I really wanted and got it. I signed a contract to be an equipment operator in Fleet Ops next season. I am thrilled, nervous, perplexed as to why they would hire me, and hoping that I can rock the IT28 again like I did 2 seasons ago. Not only did they give me contract for exactly what I asked for, they were excited that I asked, made things happen fast so I could get a contract quickly, have been extremely welcoming and appear to be terribly excited that I am "moving up the hill." (Fleet Ops is a bit up the hill from the Heavy Shop, where I worked this season). I wonder, have they ever seen my operating equipment? They probably can see me in the Pickle running around all the time...but they seem to have confidence in me enough that I didn't have to drive around & show them that I can operate an IT (the loader I'll be living in next season)...I guess my supply/offload experience is good enough. The really exciting part is that this could open doors for me as far as doing exciting stuff on continent. I have been in a dead end dept. that does not get to go off station or fly to field camps and barely gets morale trips for everyone. I couldn't believe my ears whey my new boss was telling me that as soon as I'm comfortable I can train on the Challengers & possibly go on traverses in future seasons. Now, I've spent a big part of the past 20 years trying to figure out how to channel this strong ambition I have always felt into getting an exciting job...and it seems like it's finally happened. Someone reading this or who knows me might think that my life is exciting enough as I have chased my goals fairly relentlessly...but I always wanted good pay with a job I loved, and that has been one of the major frustrations of my, at nearly 50 years old, and spending so much time & money on trying to figure it out, preparedness has met opportunity; and as is part & parcel of this process, the fears are coming at me in many forms (not being a good enough operator, I'm going to drop something really big & everyone's gonna see it, I'll cry and everyone will see I'm not tough enough!). It's so interesting to watch the mind go crazy whey the daimon finally starts taking what it wants. This is a big leap for me as far as proving myself at work. I'm lucky to be one of those people who is always on the hunt for a different job and won't settle for something "cushy." I used my bitterness towards my current dept. to propel me to find something better (to their credit, Supply is a great dept. for a few seasons - you get to learn lots of great stuff & have a fun job filled with variety-I am just done with it). I love working in Antarctica and I was afraid I would not be able to find another job here I would like or a dept. that I could be qualified to work in. I just went and asked for exactly what I wanted and got it. Another example of the adage of 90% of success is just showing up. I saw the long timers in my dept. and did not want to be one of gets me into trouble sometimes but I have always wanted bigger & better - and I had felt the rustlings in my soul of desiring a challenge at midlife...contrary to what society has told me about the invisibility of the middle-aged woman, I have this to say to menopause: bring it on. I'm not gonna stay indoors and knit, I'm gonna go drive tractors!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

A Couple of Pix from Icestock 2010

New Year's Day is always the best day at McMurdo. Here are a couple of photos of me & my good pal Kyle dancing away in the warm summer of Antarctica