This is the LOG of a MARINE

Monday, July 13, 2009

Riding a Wave

It's hard to believe that over a month has gone by since my last post. I was able to participate for two weeks with my soon-to-be SMCR unit BEFORE separating from Active Duty on 01 July, and this past weekend I just completed my first actual Drill with them. I've already recieved the cash from selling back my leave to the Corps, and it ended up being almost twice what we had forecast. This was due mostly to the fact that the majority of the leave I sold back turned out to be leave earned while in a combat zone--which is tax free. Apparently the taxes on leave sold back is generally very high, but we escaped that. We are really praising God for that.
Participation with the Jr. High kids at the church is ramping up as we get to the end of the summer, and though I will not be able to attend (as a counselor) a two week retreat in the mountains at the end of this month, I'm finding it rewarding as well as challenging. Though rarely "easy," I think this type of involvement is perhaps more up my alley than sitting on a committee or something.
I'll be starting to perform Drills at my old command tommorrow, and as time allows and in the absence of job offers, I plan to use all of my paid drills before the end of the FY (I've already coordinated a mission that will permit this).
All said, God is truly providing for us, and blessing us with many opportunities to paise Him. As always, thanks for your continued prayers.

Semper Fi,

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Hard at Work

Everything that everyone has told me about how much work it is to find work was right on the money. Additionally, one of my preplanned options, that of working in an IMA billet, has fallen through, so that caused some scrambling--as I will stop recieving paychecks from the Corps in less than 30 days.
However, God is good, and I've been able to coordinate a billet in an SMCR billet that will be flexible for the remaining three months of the FY, giving me the opportunity to keep a paycheck coming--as well as the potential for work in the new FY, even though it may involve some travel (and separation from my family for short periods).
Meanwhile, of course, I have been steadily applying for jobs, most of them government related (as this community offers the most direct application of some of my skill sets), and all of them within a commute distance, though some are at the extreme range of what I would consider a comfort zone (I would not necessarily choose to commute more than an hour one way for a very long period of time).
I've made a decision, after discussion with my family (of course), to volunteer in support of the Junior High leadership team at our church, I'm really looking forward to this opportunity in many ways. Again, thanks for your prayers and support in all of this!

Semper Fi, JarHedJon

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Job Search Update

I know this has been a long time coming (I’ve been back in CONUS for a little over three months now), I’m finally going to update y’all (probably give you more detail than you wanted) on what’s happening.

Sheryl, Joshua and I have decided that it would be best for our family if I separated from Active Duty if I cannot find a non-deployable job in southern California. I am not retiring at this point, but that is an option depending on how things pan out. Our preference is to remain in this area for continuity in Joshua’s education (he’s partially completed a six year dual language immersion program). I am willing to travel up to 25% of the year, and Sheryl will begin the initial phases of her job search in June (we will probably need two incomes to maintain quality of life and stay in this area, as many of my job skills are not directly transferrable; it is realistic to presume movement into the civilian sector slightly below middle management vice upper or senior management).

I have participated in military-to-civilian career transition classes offered by Marine Corps Community Services and the Veterans Administration, and continue to attend classes as I have opportunity (I’m signed up for another one next week regarding the Government Service job application process). I am in two different job networking and transition groups that I physically meet with on occasion (one at church and one on base), have had my resume reviewed by three different professional sources (at no cost to myself, fortunately), have perfected my 30 second “commercial” and am working on my 90 second “commercial.” I have as a goal to apply for a job, post my resume to a career site, or enroll in at least one job search site every day. I’ve got hard copies of my resume handy on 35# ivory paper; I’ve got plenty of business cards, one with contact information only and one with four “bullets” on the back; I’ve got business envelopes and stationary for “official” business correspondence; my business wardrobe is cleaned and pressed and can be donned at a moment’s notice (admittedly, I had to have some of the items tailored, everything appeared to have shrunk somewhat over time); and I’ve had some time to practice answers to the twelve categories of questions I can be asked during an interview.

I will come off orders on 01 July; however, over the 90 days following that, I can perform 38 days of Reserve duty that will produce over 60 days of pay. Following 01 October (the new fiscal year), I can exercise the same options, taking us through to 01 January, 2010. If during this time I receive a viable job offer, I can almost immediately cease Reserve duty and accept the job. Having this flexibility, with a projected income for the rest of the year, is a tremendous blessing.

I’ll post more later, but for now, thanks for your prayers, your support, and your continued encouragement.

Semper Fi, JarHedJon

Friday, January 11, 2008

Deployed again...

A fortnight from now, I should be back at the same base in the same country for a 13 month deployment. If I'm lucky, I'll get the same room (that I worked so hard to functionalize at the beginning of my last deployment). I will be in a different billet on the staff, which is good news--it is a two deep job, meaning that I will be someone's deputy, and will be spelled, though I'm sure there will be occasions where the mission will require more than 12 hour shifts. The base, which was during my last deployment one of the safest places to be in country, is now even safer (for instance, hostile incidents in the province have dropped from over 450 a week province wide to less than 50 a week province wide). However, complacancy kills, and the country is still a dangerous place. That being said, quality of life is increasing at an exponential rate, not only for citizens of this country, but for service personnel there as well. The point is that as much as I appreciate all the care packages I recieved back in 2006, and as much as they were "needed," I'm being increasingly informed that there is more available on the base there than many small bases in the US. However, as during any other time in my life, and certainly for Sheryl and Joshua, I request your prayer.
Sheryl and Joshua are pretty well established in the new pre-fab home, though I've got a bunch of things I'm going to try to close the loop on this weekend (clean and organize the shed, move stuff over from a neighbors, get a ceiling fan working, put wire screens on the skirt vents, etc.). Sheryl will need wisdom and courage to deal with issues that come up, from plumbing to whatever, working with the manufacturer where the warranty applies, the broker, and the various "fix it" folks where necessary. She'll also need a break from parenting every once in a while, as well as need to attend various functions related to her position on the PTA, on committees at church, etc. A big need for her is available and reliable child care. Joshua is, needless to say, going to miss me, and while I was gone last year he had several opportunities to participate in "guy stuff" with men in our community. A fishing trip, a few hockey games, a monster truck show, a field trip to the Midway (aircraft carrier), these were things that he was able to participate in, and my prayer for him would be that he would continue to have the opportunity to do stuff like this due to the generosity of decent men. Check Sheryl's blog (link to the left) to stay informed on what's happening with me for the next 13 months...

Semper Fi, JarHedJon

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ode to the Rode

A motorcycle brings a quality to solitude, speed, and the open road otherwise unattainable, and as a specific catalyst in the fusion of these elements into what is commonly known as experience, I am here endeavoring to voice my honor, respect, and gratitude to my late motorcycle (which, happily, is extending the experience of a new owner on new roads to a new destination).

The distinct process that melds operator and motorcycle into a single entity during the transition from stasis to movement has never been adequately described by science. Certainly, there are a limited number of physical contributors to the transition: the separate and varied stimuli from the beneficence of the earth; the vision of the planned route stretching to infinity before you and beginning to fall away behind you; the (mostly) unconscious function of balance creating both risk and opportunity; the authority of the accelerator in one hand and the control of the clutch in the other; the constrained power of myriads of horses rumbling urgently through the seat and up your spine; the major muscle groups in your lower body gripping and guiding the restrained machine; and pegs tingling the bottom of your boots, feet poised to shift or brake as necessary. The result of all of these processes occurring simultaneously is not finite or empirical—rather, they together set the conditions for a metamorphosis that transcends the physical and approaches the spiritual. Concluding the melding process, the operator is now in a separate dimension I call the Zone. This Zone can be approached by a plethora of mechanisms, but never fully attained except by a two wheeled motorized vehicle.

Having imparted a poor (but nevertheless valid) description and identification of the Zone, I must qualify the dimension with the following modifier: Though all two wheeled motorized vehicles transport their operators to the Zone, some motorcycles provide a more full experience. There IS a Platonic Form of the Zone, and it can only be reached by the Perfect Motorcycle. Due to the vagaries in the human condition, it is conceivable that this is actually a different motorcycle for every person.

I’m convinced I found MY Perfect Motorcycle in my late Ride. This motorcycle put elation into acceleration, lent emotion to motion, put the perform into performance, ranked when cranked, created the “Oooooh” in smooth, personified the engine in engineering, became the tour in touring, demanded the look in looks, became the corner while cornering, amplified the lean in leaning, put the mean in meaning, put the “Q” in torque, was the fine in refined, all while instilling the vibes in vibration. After averaging over nine thousand miles a year for three and a half years, and having melded to transcendence on just about every road surface describable, I could do nothing less than pen this Ode to the Motorcycle I Rode.

Semper Fi, JarHedJon

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fires, Yes, but We're Safe

Despite the many fires threatening homes in many areas of southern California, our family and our neighborhood are safe. Commutes to and from work (or anywhere, for that matter) take at least twice as long as normal, due to the many road closures and whole neighborhoods being evacuated. Of course, we fight frustration as we sit in bumper to bumper traffic, but we are so thankful that we have a home to return to and can sleep in our own beds at night.
I ended up over-doing it on that three mile run back on October 10th, I've actually been forced off the road by a super-sore ankle (my left one, this time) that I apparently over-stressed on that little run. I think I've finally turned the corner on it, though, and plan to start running again (at first, probably on the treadmill) by November.
We'll be in "transition" from the 2nd weekend in November until the middle of December, when we plan to move into our new pre-fab home. Watch Sheryl's blog for more details :)

Semper Fi, JarHedJon

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Marathon Aftermath

I am mildly surprised at how quickly I seemed to recover from the marathon; by mid Wednesday I was practically pain free, even climbing or descending ladderwells (er, that's staircases for the non-maritime among you). I decided to run three miles today (Thursday), and though I was able to maintain a ten minute mile pace throughout, I could still feel a few "things" going on in my feet and ankles. I have resolved to refrain from running again at least until Monday.
As soon as Team World Vision puts out their team photo, I'll see if I can post it for y'all to see.

Semper Fi, JarHedJon