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I'm not sure if it's my Porphyria acting up because I haven't eaten anything yet today, but it's definitely been one of those days.

I've got buttloads of homework I've been very slowly meandering through, but I just can't seem to focus for more than a few minutes at a time. I'm not really hungry, but knowing I need to get some carbs into my system, I have food on the way here. Maybe after I eat something I'll feel a little bit better, and my mind won't wander nearly as much.

The truth is, I miss her. I never thought I'd think that at this point, let alone say it, but I do. Perhaps it was the conversation I had earlier today with [livejournal.com profile] redeemed_143 , maybe it's the conversation I had with my roommate earlier today about the fact that I'm spending a lot of time by myself; easy to understand, what with classes getting back in and the lack of a car, but I know she and her boyfriend need some time to themselves as well. The main catalyst for my realization, though, just came about an hour or so ago when I was writing a pre-lab for Chemistry and Nickodemus popped up on my Pandora station. I immediately recognized the track without having to look, and memories started flooding back just as quickly.

It was just over two years ago, and I was in the middle of my tour in hell as a recruiter. Tana and I hadn't yet moved in together, and the proposal was still eleven months away. However, our relationship had gotten very serious, and of course our shared love of good music had been the basis for many fun nights and adventures, as much as my schedule would allow. I remember the look of excitement on her face when she told me about one of her favorite artists, New York-based Nickodemus, who was scheduled to play a show soon at the Kava Lounge here in San Diego, and how she'd already taken the liberty of getting tickets for us. Thankfully, I was able to make it home at a decent hour on the night of January 18th, 2008 for us to be able to make it to the show with plenty of time to spare.

The Kava Lounge is located on Kettner Street- probably just over a mile where we would soon be making a home together- perched precariously on the hill overlooking the airport. The club had been the first location of The Casbah, and Tana told me about her first experiences going to shows there with that gleam in her eye that always showed itself when she was especially excited about something. I immediately liked the location, the local artwork hanging on the walls, and the delicious all-organic drinks they served at the bar, and we talked about how we should hang out there more often, once we had the time. More of those plans we started making that were doomed to never reach fruition.

The show itself was amazing- Nickodemus had live musicians backing him, guest vocalists, and even a couple of local DJ's also sharing the stage with him. We danced, in our own little world of rhythm and music, entranced by the beats and each other, and completely oblivious to the rest of the world around us.

As I continue listening to music from the same artists and other similar to him, I can't help but find myself wondering about what's been said and done, and what might have been. Part of my procrastinating on my homework today has involved re-reading old posts on her blog page, and I can't help but ask myself if she really meant it when she said we were never meant to be, and that she could never see herself as a wife. I couldn't help but picture how today would have been different if things had gone differently- I'd be sitting at the dining room table working on Calculus and Chemistry while she'd be puttering around, probably watching a bit of Food Network and trying so hard to simultaneously be non-intrusive to my efforts, but wanting to flirtatiously steal my attention away from my studies as often as I'd let her. Instead of getting Chinese food delivered here, one of us would be cooking something organic and mostly vegetarian, and we'd probably both have glasses of wine in hand- maybe either one of the bottles we'd picked up in Temecula  or one that had been a wedding present. And when it was time for bed, we'd be cuddled up together in the bed that we bought together, and in the morning she'd be up, sipping her first cup of coffee, and probably making sure I had a lunch packed by the time I dragged myself out of the bedroom. Such was our routine for most of our year in Little Italy.

I had a talk with a friend recently about things that I still have a hard time doing, or can't even bring myself to do at all any more. Taking the trolley to school had been an adventure- my heart starts beating furiously in my chest when the train approaches the Little Italy stop, and if I happen to look over at the County Center building across Pacific Highway, where we'd applied and paid for our marriage license a scant two weeks before the breakup, I can feel a great sense of sadness wash over me. The same thing happens as the trolley crosses Union Street as it continues it's trip downtown; every time, I glance down Union Street to where I once lived, and as I see the top of the high-rise tower of the La Vita complex poking above the surrounding buildings, the same fleeting wave of melancholy hits me again. Strangely enough, I can't seem to look away- like a grisly train wreck or something, I can't seem to NOT look away when the train passes my old street. I don't know if it's my subconscious saying, "hey asshole, you're supposed to be living there," or what. Maybe. I still can't bring myself to go back through Balboa Park, I'm thankful that we don't have a TV here (that way I don't have Jeopardy and and Food Network constantly reminding me of things), and as I look through internships and part-time job opportunities, I find myself purposely avoiding anything having to do with Sempra or SDG&E, and there are still several restaurants around town that I can't even think about eating at. And Lord help the girl that wants to go out downtown with me.

Memory serves a purpose, and emotion is a big part of that. I'm feeling too lazy and hungry right now to look up any wise or witty quotes about that, but I know they're out there. Anyway, I keep telling myself that everything happens for a reason, that there's something else down the road that's going to make all of this seem like it was a fleeting rough patch in my life. However, if nothing else, memory serves the purpose of reminding us where we've been, which is important to know where we're going. Take physics, for example. A vector has to have both a starting point and an endpoint, otherwise it would be impossible to determine anything in between. So, as I figure out what my direction and magnitude are, a little bit of looking over the shoulder has to be expected, right?
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As I write this, I'm sitting on the couch of the condo, enjoying my last weekend of vacation before I head back to work- for about 3 weeks. Then it's totally out of the Navy, and trying to figure out what I want to do when I grow up. Am I excited? Hell yes. Nervous? Without a doubt. But, at the same time, I know that I'll be ok, regardless of what happens right off the bat. My wonderful (Civilian) doctor finally got me tested for Sleep Apnea, and lo and behold, it hasn't just been a bad case of snoring all these years. Although we're still wrestling with Tricare for the necessary prescription to treat said sleep apnea, as it stands right now I'm looking at getting some compensation from the VA as a result. After the last 3 years, it really seems to me the least that they can do.

It's hard to believe that I'm almost at the end of my recruiting tour. Looking back, it's felt like an eternity. Still I have to say that I did learn a few things, as much as I hate to admit it. Granted, most of the things I learned were really not the sort of thing I wanted to know, about how the Navy works, and also about what I'm truly capable of in the name of self- preservation and watching out for Number One. I've recently starting re- reading Heart of Darkness, and it's slightly frightening how easy it is to make parallels to some parts of the novel with some parts of my life and work experiences the last 3 years. "The horror! The horror!" indeed. I've been compiling my notes and I'm looking forward to writing QUITE a story about my experiences. Not to mention the fact that I've actually started writing the speech of what I'm going to say to the commanding officer when it comes time for my check- out interview.

Lots more I could talk about, but it's really time for me to get some sleep- I know Tana is probably half- wondering where I am, and this is the 3rd time I've started writing this entry; I think it's good enough for right now.
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As I write this, I'm looking across the table at my beautiful FIANCEE Tana, aka Miss [livejournal.com profile] mepeachykeen619 as she makes playlists for our New Year's Eve party tonight, the light from her monitor making her face glow softly in the muted lighting we usually keep in the condo. A year ago, we were in Charlotte, hanging out with my old high school friends Andre and Gerin (aka [livejournal.com profile] capt_hornblower) at some overcrowded, overpriced irish pub place in downtown Charlotte, watching in amused fascination as some ridiculously drunk UNCC student (an oxymoron, I know) prattled on and on about why she was a political science major. Had somebody told me then where I would be in my life right now, I think I'd have had a hard time believing it.

The biggest news of the year, without a doubt, is that Tana and I are now engaged. That just happened a little under two weeks ago- December 19th, to be exact, at the base of the fountain at Balboa park after taking her out to dinner at The Prado, one of the best restaurants in San Diego. I've been fortunate to hook a girl like her, and I know it's not the kind of thing that happens every day to a guy. I've been through so much this year, put her through so much, and she's never wavered, never swayed at all in her devotion to me, to us. I know I'll never be able to thank her enough or show how grateful I am, but I'm happy to spend the rest of my life trying to. We just reserved the place for the wedding along with the date- October 18th, 2009 we'll say our vows at the Ocean View Room at the Point Loma Submarine Base. I don't have the foggiest idea about anything having to do with weddings, but I know that Tana, her mom, her sister, and the rest of her family will help there. Just tell me where to show up, and make sure there's beer there and I'll be happy. In my opinion, we could be running off to Vegas and just have it done with- the important thing in my opinion is that I just want to be able to spend the rest of my life with Tana. And I know she feels the same way too. ;)

On another note, I'm less than 3 months from finishing this 3- year tour in hell that has been Recruiting. This last year has been the hardest all around- getting moved and promoted to running an office, getting cursed out, fired, and moved back to Orange County, and having a crosshair securely on my back for most of the first part of the year took its toll on me- one day at the beginning of July spent at Balboa Naval Hospital following a nervous breakdown and lots of anti- depressants later, I'm doing much better. Lord only knows where I'd be right now if it wasn't for Tana once again being by my side. I'm looking forward to spending most of the beginning of January starting my check- out process and getting ready for 60 days of paid vacation on the Navy's dime. Then, it's a simple matter of figuring out what I want to do when I grow up. Easy, right?

Christmas was a different affair than usual this year as well; Tana came back to New York and Charlotte with me last year, but we both knew beforehand that she wouldn't be able to do it again this year- she's got her own family out here as well, and I knew that I didn't want to be away from her for the holidays. So, in probably one of the hardest calls I've ever had to make to my family's house, I told them I wouldn't be home for Christmas this year. In reality I kinda knew it was coming- I'm 27 years old, and it's really time for me to start doing my own thing when it comes to the holidays anyway. Spending it with Tana in our own place was a very nice plus- and this time next year we'll be married anyway, so it's been good practice.

We'll be married this time next year.

Wow. Yeah, I really just said that. Strangely enough, it feels good.

2008 has ended really well- I couldn't have asked for a better way to end it, and I'm looking forward to 2009 as a blank slate, a truly fresh start, and another year of truly momentous changes. Here's to love, luck, success to everybody else as well!
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- Sitting in the living room enjoying a cup of coffee at 9 in the morning while Tana is sitting in "her" chair cross- legged, working on paperwork for her Practicum clients. 

- Knowing that she'll be leaving for work before I will, and knowing that she'll still be awake when I get home from work.

- Looking forward to spending a weekend together, even if we just spend it doing little things like going to the Mercato here in Little Italy, or unpacking even more of the junk I have scattered around the spare bedroom.

- Coming home every night to the woman of my dreams, to our own place, without having to share it with anybody else.

- Only half- joking about running off to Vegas to get married.
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  1. I'm sitting in the USO at Charlotte- Douglas International with [Bad username or unknown identity: mepeachykeen as we wait for our flight back to the West Coast. Thought I'd kill some time. Stolen from Megan, because I'm not that creative when I'm hung over. ;) 1. What did you do in 2007 that you'd never done before? Brought a girl home to meet my crazy family and friends.  2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don't think I bothered to make any resolutions last year- but I most definitely did for this year. And hopefully folks will help keep me in check on those.  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Kelly, and Lori (shudders). 4. Did anyone close to you die? Not this year, that I can think of... 5. What countries did you visit? Stayed right here in the U.S. and A. the whole year- recruiting sucks away any attempts at having a life outside of work.  6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007? Time off from work, less stress, more fun. In other words, a life outside of work.  7.What date from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory?  March 3, 2007. First date with Tana. We went to Aussie Pub and talked for a long, long time over pitchers.  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Not going crazy or killing somebody as a result of my job.  9. What was your biggest failure? Screwing up certain plans that certain people made for birthdays and such.  Not doing more to ensure I was getting to use the time off that I'm supposed to be entitled to. 10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  I caught a couple of crazy nasty flu bugs in March and September, probably brought on by an immune system weakened from too much stress, too much work, and not enough sleep.  11. What was the best thing you bought? A 4-day cruise with Tana for this coming April. :) 12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Michelle and Tana for being so forgiving, and everybody else who helped me stay sane over the last year.  13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? My stupid vengeful bitch of an ex- girlfriend 14. Where did most of your money go? Gas, uniforms, food. Recruiting- related expenses. 15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Flying home for the holidays with Tana.  16. What songs will always remind you of 2007? good question.  17. Compared to this time last year, are you  i. happier or sadder? Happier, in most ways...  ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter. And not happy about it in the least.  iii. richer or poorer? Richer. And not just in monetary means  18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Working out, spending time with friends, just living and appreciating where I am.  19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Working. 'Nuff said. I hate my job.  20. How will you be spending Christmas? SPENT Christmas with the family and Tana in New York. Had a blast while we were there. :) 21. Did you fall in love in 2007? Most definitely! :D  22. How many one night stands? Um..... that really depends on how you look at it. But more than I'd really like to admit to.  23. What was your favorite TV program? Lost! The only one that was on late enough for me to be able to watch when I got home from work.  24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? The list is long, but distinguished.  26. What was the best book you read? The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. Brilliant read.  27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Federicko Aubele  28. What did you want and get? A wonderful lady in my life ( who I promise I'll write more about soon...)  29. What did you want and not get? Out of recruiting. :(  30. What was your favorite film of this year? Transformers! Made me feel like I was 6 years old again!  31. What did you do on your birthday? We had one hell of a busy weekend- went out, went to brunch at the Wave House, drank all day, and played beer pong until well after midnight.  32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not being in recruiting.  33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007? 98% of my waking hours were spent in uniform. You figure it out. 34. What kept you sane? Tana, Michelle, Jason, Colin, Billy, Zeke, Mike Jenkins, Beer, Vodka, Rum, and karaoke.   35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? EIther Edwards or Obama  36. What political issue stirred you the most? Either Immigration or the handling of veterans returning from Iraq (or lack thereof).  37. Who did you miss? Everybody back east.  38. Who were the best new people you met? Tana, her friends, and re-connecting with Mikey Jenkins again.  39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007: Karma will always come back around and get you.  ]
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Happiness is...


- Winning a KICK ASS Karaoke Machine.

- Laying around in bed until noon with [livejournal.com profile] mepeachykeen619 before walking up the street for awesome cheap coffee, blueberry pancakes, and waffles.

- Catching up with old friends from the crazy Virginia days.

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