Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Cue the vultures

Some of them approach the subject directly.  "Sooo...when are you going to retire?" they ask.  Others are more indirect.  "I'm feeling lazy about doing an you think I should do one?" they say hesitantly.

I get it.  I work in an amazing place, and I have a good job.  Since people found out I'm eligible for early retirement, I don't blame them for wondering when the position will be vacant.  However, it's hard not to feel like a carcass in the desert with vultures circling overhead.

My response to these questions is vague.  Depending on who's asking, I say "I'm not sure," "Three bad days in a row," or, if I really don't want that person to get my job and screw up the program I worked so hard to build, "I think I'll stick it out till they kick me out."

The truth is, I really don't know.  I don't know if I'm ready for a drastic change in income, to stop flying in helicopters, or to lose my identity as a wildland firefighter.  Some days I am, especially on those long pointless meeting days or when faced with red tape and paperwork.  Other days, when the pilot and I fly over the national park to a new fire start, I'm uncertain.

Some people have a plan in life.  I never had one.  I moved wherever the wind took me.  I never planned to be a firefighter for 31 years, yet here I am.  And even though it's a little scary at times, I like not having everything decided in advance.  Some day I will wake up and say, I think I'm done with this job.  Maybe it will be soon, and maybe it won't be.  The vultures will just have to wait and see.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

New challenge!

Did you buy a Mega Millions ticket? I did, even though I knew the odds were low. But hey, somebody won it!

If you're in the mood for taking a chance, why not enter 1st Phorm's newest 8 week "transphormation" challenge? You could win $50,000, but more importantly, you could change your body, health and life!

It's really easy. You have to sign up by October 29. Click on this link: My link and you can choose one of three options. Two of them will allow you to enter and purchase discounted supplements. One is free if you don't wish to buy anything.

Once you've done that you will get an email with instructions on setting up your profile. Now here's the scary will have to upload Day One photos. But don't worry! You won't see them on some Hot Or Not website! Only about 3 people at 1st Phorm will see them. Unless you win, of course. Then you'll want people to see them!

That's it. You don't need to buy anything (although the supplements are great), submit videos, or post on social media. You'll only have to submit photos of your amazing transphormation on the last day.

With your entry you will get diet and workout plans, access to exercise videos, and advice from personal trainers at 1st Phorm. If you don't want any of that stuff, don't use it!

There's really nothing to lose except whatever you want to change. And, new Mr. or Ms. Billionaire in South Carolina: congrats on your win. You probably will have more time on your hands now. How about joining this challenge?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

What is a friend

"What is a friend,
a friend is here indeed
sitting all around me,
listening to my song..."

Laurie sang, strumming her guitar.  We were having an informal memorial service for my sweet friend Ron, who had died in a motorcycle accident.

This was over 30 years ago, and I haven't seen Laurie since then. 

Laurie, Beth, and I were very young then, and very different from each other, but, thrown together as roommates in a cabin, we worked together at a state park in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  After work and on days off, we would pile in someone's truck and go hiking or what we called "looping"- driving the scenic road that circled through the park, looking for wildlife.  On the rolling hills we would find the semi-tame park burros and herds of buffalo.  We would hang out the windows, enthralled, even though we saw the animals all the time, even having to skirt grumpy bison as we walked to the Visitor Center. 

We all moved on after that summer, but every so often Laurie and Beth would pop up in a letter or on social media.  This September they met in the Black Hills where we had worked.  I wanted to go, but fires prevented me.  Next year we are going to try to meet again for a park employees' reunion.

I admit, I'm not very good at staying in touch with anyone during fire season, unless they work with me. And it really is me, not you.  After working months of 12-16 hour days, I don't have much left for anything or anyone.  I always hope that friends will understand, but sometimes they don't.  Maybe I wouldn't either.

I'm grateful for the ones who stay.
Picture from

Sunday, October 7, 2018

It's over (kind of)

Fire seasons used to have a beginning and end. You could count on taking a break and hanging up your boots for a solid few months every year.

That's not the case anymore. There are fires somewhere all year round. If I wanted to, I could be on assignment every month. Fire seasons have become fire years.

That being said, it's pretty much over up here next to Canada. Days are shorter and nights are colder. Also, it snowed!

The helicopter is off contract. The minions are drifting away to wherever they spend the winter. The paperwork and cleanup season has begun.

It's time for a break.