Monday, July 28, 2008

Less than 48 hours...

..and this pretty much sums up how I feel:

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Party like it's 2032

My parents are currently at their 30th Class Reunion (those are their senior yearbook photos, HA!) which got me thinking...where will we be in 24 years?

It's hard to imagine what a reunion would be like, not even having our 10th yet, (2012, here we come) but let's see we will be 48...well if we have it before August I will be 47, but Austin will be 48 ;)

Hopefully we will have a couple of kids off doing impressive things so we can brag about them, as parents are wont to do...and with the Navy reopening the fourth fleet, which covers the Carribean, Latin America and South America, hopefully we will have lived in Europe and some other amazing places, mayhap Brazil.

Austin will either be pretty high up in the Navy or retired...and I will be...who knows? Maybe somewhere along the way I will have gotten a PhD. Austin said he would cut a deal with me and retire wherever I wanted to since I would be following him all over the world for years, but where will that somewhere be?

And where will our friends be in life? OSL will really be old school then. Maybe we will actually be able to afford annual beach house summer vacations by 2032 - hopefully sooner, rather than later :)

In any case it is fun to dream about what the future may bring as we begin this military journey. I am sure my parents never thought they would do half of the things that they have done in the last 30 years.

4 days until I hit RI!

Celebration of Life

Yesterday I went to my great-grandfather's funeral, which was actually very amazing. While everyone was saddened by the loss of such a great man, it was actually a celebration of his life.

My uncle Mark (Lute's son) who was a state represenative for Wisconsin for 8 years spoke, as well as his long time friend Bud Grant, long time coach of the Minnesota Vikings and member of the NFL Hall of Fame. Grandpa recruited him out of college to pitch for the baseball team he managed in Osceola, WI. (Bud also played professional basketball for the Minneapolis Lakers, who later moved to didn't actually think there were lakes in LA, did you?)

My great-grandpa was an amazing man: I got the numbers yesterday and he had 7 children, 23 grandchildren, 54 great grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren at the time of his passing. What a family!

He had an impact on so many people's lives; he hosted a radio show, wrote two books and happily passed out business cards that read "Professional Tinkerer" for years and years. I have posted the obituary from his hometown newspaper below so you can get a glimpse of what his adventures looked like:

"Luther Roderick "Lute" Pettis of Osceola died July 18, 2008. He was 93.

He was born to Clarence and Hester Pettis Jan. 4, 1915, in Buffalo, Minn. At an early age he lost his father in an occupational accident. The family moved to a small farm in Alden Township near the West Immanuel Church. Luther, being the eldest, found employment as a "cowboy," locating a ranch in South Dakota that was in need of one. He would "ride the rails" as he put it, to the ranch for the spring roundup, work until after the fall roundup and return home the same way. He earned a living in his father’s stead, with boots and cowboy hat still in a closet somewhere. While at home he met his wife of 73 years at a church function and quite a large family evolved as two of Lute’s sisters married two of his wife’s brothers. God blessed their lives with seven children, they all survive including Mayme his exceptional wife of 73 years.

Also surviving are children, Sherman (Elenore) Osceola; Marlys (Dale Haugen, deceased) Roberts; Gail (Chuck Beaver, deceased) Winter; Rebecca (Arvin) Larson, Osceola;Velma (Daryle) Larson, Saginaw, Mich; Mark (Joey) Hertel; and David (Diane) Osceola; and sister, Jean, in California.

He was preceded in death by his father, mother, one brother, Leland, and four sisters, Iylla, Mary, Audrey, and Ida Dell.

He often would boast the total of well over 80 living direct descendents and his loving wife, who was with him in hospice when he died. She repeated several times "those hands were never out of work."
Luther and Mayme began their married life in New Richmond where Lute was employed by Bernard Motors. They traveled, as their family grew, to Horse Creek, then to Southern Minnesota and his first blacksmith shop in Kasota. It was here where his interest in the game of baseball blossomed. Managing his first team there, he often told of how he made bats for that team, turning them out on the lathe in his shop.
It was on to St. Peter, Minn., where he was employed, because of his mechanical skills and abilities, by Hallet Construction Co. World War II then required these skills be used for defense. He worked for a defense contractor in the Twin Cities, then named Northern Pump, welding and building gun mounts for the U.S. Navy.
Lute and his growing family were now closer to his wife’s home and it was on a trip to visit them that he saw a for-sale sign on the blacksmith shop in Osceola. He inquired, but not having immediate funds for the purchase, was introduced to a local businessman by his wife’s father, Martin Johnson. As for the money, he recalled, this man said to him "you look like an honest much do you need?" The purchase was made and his extraordinary reception into this new town told him he was to settle his family in the community he grew to dearly love, Osceola, (then population just over 600). He used his God-given talents with mechanics to support the growing family, 19 years of which with H.G. Stocker and Son.

Shortly after moving to Osceola a group of young men learned of his interest in baseball. The team was short one man and requested he play with them, at least for this one game. They won the game and as Lute explained many times, they wanted to continue playing but needed a manager. "Since I was the oldest, I was elected to the job." This launched an honest-to-goodness love affair with baseball in Osceola that included construction of a new baseball field, the lights, fences, dugouts, grandstand, uniforms, exhibition games with various semi-pro teams, equipment, Bud Grant, managing the Osceola Braves for 19 years, many lasting friendships, and so much more.
Also, during his life in Osceola, he hosted a radio program that was broadcast weekly on Saturdays over the station in Stillwater, Minn. The name, "Hello From Osceola," gave him an opportunity to boast of his home town, and he did just that. There were no notes, no script, just delightful conversation. The show was so popular that there was an actual waiting list of sponsoring advertisers.
Lute made so many friends and found it terribly difficult to make enemies. He was a devout Christian and left Friday on the arm of his very best friend and his manager, Jesus Christ. You are safe at home now..... we’ll see you, Dad." (The Osceola Sun)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"Lullaby of the midnight train" or "I'm in a glass case of emotion"

So, this is it. My last day in Madison. Maybe forever. My emotions have never been on such a ride.

I thought I would take a second, while I have it in my busy day, to reflect upon my summer. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be here - to live here and to work here. Not only is this city amazing, but the people I have gotten to work with this summer in the Center for the First year Experience are more so. This office is the most purely collaborative, fun and friendly setting that I have ever worked in. I think I finally understand the perfect balance between challenge and support, in a way that I never realized I did not know before.

I could not say enough about the university itself. It is such a cool place, with such an interesting student body. There is this thing here called The Wisconsin Idea, which basically states that they believe in holistic education, a proclamation if you will, and they stick to it. Pretty phenomenal stuff.

I don't know what I would have done without the people here: Sarah, Tricia, Melissa, Kevin, Derek, Carren, Chris, Wren...the list could go on and on...They have made this summer so much easier for me to have been separated from Austin and my other friends.

I feel like this summer I got a glimpse into what my life would have been like if I would have come here for undergrad...I almost did. It's still so weird for me to think that I was born here - a block from where I sit now. Sometimes I find myself imagining what my parents life was like when they lived here, young newlyweds. I can visualize the streets that they walked everyday, the places they worked. It's pretty amazing.

Not only have I worked here, but I have played here and enjoyed every minute of it. The people I work with are so much fun. There is always something going on here, and I have met friends of friends, who I like to think have become my own. Such cool people here, always doing something fun and interesting.

Today is a bittersweet day because it is the end of such an amazing experience, leading into a day of grief and sadness tomorrow, and the extreme excitement for next week.

So Madison, I bid you adieu. You will always hold a special place in my heart.

On Wisconsin!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

1 Week!

ONE WEEK! oh my goodness. I always knew that it would arrive, but now it's finally here! so here is the countdown:

 1 day until I leave Madison :(
7 days until I fly to Rhode Island
9 Days until Graduation! 
10 Days until my birthday!!
11 days until my family is complete again! 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lots to do!

Not that I am wishing that time would tick by any faster, but at midnight tonight it will be Wednesday, which means it will be ONE WEEK until I arrive in RI. I have so much to do!

To Do (in no particular chronological order):

  1. Pick out potential outfits
  2. Get haircut/touch up the grays (yes, I really do have gray hair...blame genetics)
  3. Confirm flight
  4. Cancel reservation at beautiful hotel (I'm happy about the navy lodge, I swear)
  5. Pack everything at Madison up, load it into my sisters Civic and haul it back to Chippewa
  6. Do mountains of laundry
  7. Spend quality time with the family 
  8. Figure out how to pack new additions to my arsenal of things (including but not limited to 4 pairs of shoes and at least 5 new books) into the same two already overstuffed suitcases that got me here
  9. When #8 proves to be physically impossible head to the post office for some serious shipping costs
  10. Mail Austin's LAST Monday card
  11. Figure out a way to say goodbye to all the amazing people in Madison
  12. See Dark Knight 
  13. Wrap up all of my mountains of work/schoolwork and get it in before the deadline
  14. Say goodbye to family :'(
  15. Get Excited! (as if I could possibly be less excited as time winds down)

Ack! 8 days till RI!

 That is all. woo!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Last weekend in Madison (!?!)

 Finally some dirty martinis to be had...
 The capitol at night...I will miss this view. 
Tricia and I, outside of Ian's on State Street. This time I had mashed potato, chicken and bacon pizza and she had mac' and cheese.

Hamming it up in Urban Outfitters during the sidewalk sale craziness known as Maxwell Street Days.
 On the capitol steps!

I was determined to enjoy my dwindling time here and Tricia really helped me feel better this weekend, all things considered. (This is why she will be a great student affairs professional! <3 )

On a much happier note...

Here are some updates about Austin :)

He is officially a full fledged Officer Candidate Candidate Officer now. (His full title is Candidate Ensign Gage) He is acting currently as a liaison for H class, leading them to and from all of their appointments, teaching them tricks of the trade, etc.  He really likes helping them learn and really, really likes seeing how far he has come.

His orders still have not come in, even though they were supposed to be there last week, so cross your fingers for soon.

As far as graduation is concerned, here is the rundown of the schedule:


  • morning: Change of Command ceremony, those in town welcome to attend, but not necessary. (his words, not mine...)
  • afternoon: Lunch on the town with family and friends, followed by general merriment and hanging out :)
  • night: "Hi Moms" dinner, let me or him know if you want to attend
  • 0500: Graduation run, 1.5 miles. Family and friends welcome to run with (but feel free not to, so I can have some company because you know I am not going running at 5 am) followed by breakfast and running quick to change
  • 0700: Private commissioning service, where Austin's dad will swear him in (tears to follow, I will bring the Kleenex)
  • 0900: Graduation Ceremony
  • rest of the day: Celebratory events, TBD
**These are our best guesses on times so far...hopefully he will be able to get me some nailed down times in the next few days.

10 days. Wow.

"Good men must die, but death can not kill their names"

I have been a little hesitant about posting about this, but I am just going to go ahead and do it. On Friday I found out that my great-grandfather, Luther Pettis (my dad's grandfather) passed away in his sleep.

Grandpa Pettis certainly lived a long and very full life with my great grandmother Mayme. They were married for over 70 years, had seven children together, tons of grandchildren, and a myriad of great grandchildren. He was very loved by many people in the community and always volunteered when necessary. He lived such an interesting and varied life, which included publishing books about his experiences such as those on ranches in South Dakota in his youth. He was a man of very great faith and I am taking comfort in the fact that he is in a better place.

The funeral service will take place on Friday morning, so I will probably be leaving my internship a little early to make it up there with my family. It saddens my heart to know that I will be ending such a great experience in such a depressing way, but I will always remember this summer for the highs before the lows.

Friday will also mark five days before my trip to Rhode Island - I am hoping to be able to continue focusing on the way that Grandpa Pettis impacted my life and not the way that his passing has affected me so as not to be an emotional mess while I am there.

I will leave you with the title quote from proverbs "Good men must die, but death can not kill their names."

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"What have you done for fun today?"

My boss told this story in our staff meeting the other day, and I liked it, so i thought I would share it with 'all y'all' out there.

This weekend she was grocery shopping with her little daughter Marnie, and because she could not get all the groceries and the baby to the car together, she decided to use the drive up service. As she was helping load groceries into the back of her van the man from the store asked, "So, what have you done for fun today?"

"Well, nothing," she replied, tipped the man and drove away.

She said she pondered that simple statement for the rest of the weekend, and it spoke to her -- just an honest question from someone who was just doing his job. She tried to remember the last time that she just had fun, honest to goodness fun, and she couldn't remember. So with this simple statement she has resolved to have more fun, or find the fun in the things that she is already doing (like taking a baby to the grocery store).

I really liked this story, I feel like it could be a simple change that many of us could make, myself included. Summer is an easy time to have fun, at least for students. The responsibilities are far less and there are so many more opportunities: outdoor concerts, just eating outside, fairs and festivals, etc. The daylight drifts on, and people are more apt to linger.

But, I am really going to try to strive to have more fun -- everyday -- even when I have a million things due coming back to school in the fall, and I challenge you all as my friends to do the same, or at least to keep me in check. I think this time apart from Austin, my home and my friends has really helped me to value the time that I do have with loved ones, and once I settle back into the routine of normal life, I hope that I don't lose sight of all of, spread the fun.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

2 Weeks Out!

and I think I have strep throat :/

Nevertheless I am excited for this mile marker! It seems measly in comparison to the 11 1/2 weeks we have already been through.

Now if I could just get over whatever this is so I can get to this looming pile of loose ends here in Madison...

Monday, July 14, 2008

...and I have a picture with Kevin

Here is the result when Kevin and I decided to take a picture together so that he too, could be on the blog:



Here are a few more from that night, courtesy of my own personal paparazzi, Tricia :)


The lovely ladies of SOAR


Tricia and Peter, who does not work with SOAR, but we let him hang out with us sometimes anyways ;)


The other side of the booth...this is Jase, he was an NSL last year. 

OSL: he looks strikingly similar to TJ, no? 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Goodbye Marina...

Austin got us into the Navy Lodge of Newport...which I am happy about...really...I am. (she tries to convince herself)

It will be is much cheaper than that other gorgeous place (and who really needs to stay at a place that pretty?) The lodge does look nice and Austin says that this one is right on the water too, so hey, at the end of the day, I get to see him either way so this will be great. 17 days till touchdown in RI! woo!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Graduation Stuff

Ok so, I know I said that I was going to sleep this weekend and now it's almost midnight and I am posting -- but I just got off the phone with Austin.

Graduation Updates:

Thursday night there will be a fancy schmancy dinner. He is checking on times, prices and how many people he is allowed to have come.

Friday morning is graduation. All those wishing to attend have to be there at "0830"...graduation starts at "0900 hours" (hehe, that's a direct quote)

If you are interested in attending any of the events listed, please let either he or I know...

After graduation is completed, he is free to go!!!


Also, he told the Navy he would be taking care of his own travel, he is flying with me! We got him on the same flight and will be arriving in Norfolk at 1254. Yay!

Friday, July 11, 2008



After a week of inexplicable insomnia,  I have decided that this weekend is going to be all about rejuvenation...through sleep. Gotta rest up, after all, many exciting things to come in the next few weeks...we are in the teens! 19 days until RI :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

3 Weeks!

So, today is Wednesday...did you know that? I knew that it was Wednesday but the realization just hit me about 10 minutes ago that today is exactly THREE WEEKS, as in 21 days, until I land in RI!

Wooooooooot! Thought I would share with you all since I am currently supervising an orientation program and typing is way more silent--and let's face it, much less creepy--than if I just shouted out from the back of the auditorium :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pictures from Madison

So one of my new friends Tricia has fierce privacy settings on her Facebook and I have recently been alerted that my friends cannot see these photos unless they are friends with her! She has graciously sent me some of them so that I can post them here for all to see :)

Miss Tricia (one of the fab undergrad interns) and I out on the town. She is headed to USC for Student Affairs next year! woo!


Later that night was my introduction to Ian's pizza. I am eating Barbecue Steak and French Fry pizza here...delish.


This is Miss Melissa (another fab undergrad intern) and I rockin it out at the staff social at a glamorous.

Derek (yet another fab intern) was DETERMINED to play chubby bunny...

even if that meant doing it by himself. 


Tricia was gracious enough to invite me to see Rhythm and Booms with her and her family...we are all cuddled up and ready for the show!

Ahh, the Terrace. One of the top things that I will miss about UW. This is the back patio of their Student Union. Where they serve beer. For real.

So, there are the interns...minus Kevin, who i don't yet have a picture with for whatever reason...but! he is headed to Appalachian State for Student Affairs next year! yay Kevin!

Monday, July 7, 2008

done and done.

He PASSED! Yaaaaaaaaay!

It seemed to take forever for him to call and alert me of this last hurdle today, but he finally called and the news was good!

He passed his Inspection with a 100% and for his PT he did 100 sit ups in two minutes, 87 push ups in two minutes and ran his mile and a half in 10:02. wooooo.

So, bar anything extreme happening he is pretty much guaranteed graduation on August 1. (Thanks goodness--I don't think I could handle an altered countdown)

I am so proud and excited for the 30th to get here to see him in uniform!!

Oh, and the big thing about today? Now he gets to have his cell phone with him. They will be using their cells primarily for work during the don't try to call him a lot, but will have privileges most nights so text him if you want to chat and I am sure he would love to get back to everyone.

Wooo! So excited.

New addition to the Blogroll

Yay! another friend caved.

Check Corey out at:

a note on "army wives"

Does anyone else watch this show?

I know it is on lifetime, and I am semi-disgusted with myself for liking typical...I l-o-v-e, love this show!

It is so good, I feel like it showcases realistic relationships and I cry almost every week. I know! Me? Crying?

It's true. Either I have just become a huge sap or this show has something good going on, and I am inclined to believe the latter.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

...and we're back.

And with plenty of updates! First and foremost, I hope that everyone had as good of a weekend as I did!

I enjoyed getting some R and R with the family and enjoyed a few days of boating, eating lots, enjoying fabulous weather, watching Wimbledon (tough break Federer) and watching fireworks at the town of Greenwood :)

You just can't order days like these.


Zach slalom skiing


Cousin Noah in the boat


My cousin Dylan and I getting ready for fireworks


Yay for fireworks right overhead!

In any case, I had a great weekend besides that in that I got to talk to Austin a WHOLE bunch!!! He passed his navigation test! Woo! One more evolution down!

Because he passed the test, on Wednesday, he got to have off base leave for the fourth. He was pretty excited about going to a parade for the fourth and then getting a tour of the newest ship in the Navy (which I cannot remember the name of at the moment...).

Unfortunately, he did not get to go to the parade after all, because he and his class didn't get the regiment clean in time, but they did get to go on the tour of the ship so that was exciting. They also got to go explore and hang around Newport, RI that night. He was pretty proud walking around on the 4th in his uniform :)

So, he has two more evolutions which take place tomorrow. He has his PT and PI left and will complete both of them tomorrow. They are the last things that stand in the way of him graduating on time, so cross your fingers!!! If he gets through this tomorrow, he will get his cell phone back and have calling privileges every night, and it will basically be just a waiting game until graduation, yay!

In other news, congratulations to my sorority little sister Katelyn who got engaged over the weekend to her long time boyfriend Joey! We are so happy for you guys!

I will --hopefully-- be back with good news tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Outta Here!

I am out! I am officially heading up to my parents today and will be unreachable by cell phone, email or any other form of modern technology Thursday night through Sunday evening at our glorious cabin.

I am looking forward to long and luxurious days of boating, tubing, eating, watching fireworks, and general merriment.

I hope you enjoy the holiday weekend with friends, family and loved ones. Happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July 2008: the month of emotional turmoil

I can't believe that it is July already.

This month is going to be insane for me and my emotions. On one hand I do not want this month to end because it means that I am going to be done with my internship and be leaving Wisconsin...

On the other hand I will get to see Austin and all my friends in VA and GA and be reunited with my pup!

This month will alternately crawl and fly by...I just know it already.

So, in the spirit of reflection, here is the beginning of my list of things I will/will not miss about WI...

Things I will miss:

  • Sarah, Tricia, Melissa, Derek and Kevin (in no particular order)
  • Ian's to come but they have flavors like "Lasagna," "Macaroni and Cheese," and "Steak Barbecue and French Fry"
  • Being within driving distance to my family for the first time in 5 years 
  • Being within reasonable driving/walking distance to: Einstein's, Cosi, Noodles and Co., and J.Crew
  • Temperate Weather 
  • Indie Coffee
  • Concerts on the Square
  • The Farmer's Market 
Things I will not miss:
  • Counting down to seeing Austin 
  • The uncomfortable twin bed I currently sleep on 
  • Not having a Bingley foot warmer at night
  •  Being far away from my friends!
  • Having to explain the difference between Southern and Hillbilly
  • Having people get whiplash every time I say "y'all"
  • Not being crunchy cool enough to have a bike
  • Almost being run down by mopeds

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