Sunday, September 1, 2013

Looking Back & Squatters Hell's Keep

August has ended and I think a general update and review of my goal progress is in order.

My birthday passed pleasantly. Not too much fuss and I received a wonderful carepackage from my grandparents. Afterward (but unrelated to the carepackage, I hope) I was ill for a few days. Later in the month, we got our first casualties of the tour. My old platoon hit a very large IED. The Lieutenant and the Afghan interpreter were killed. 3 others were critically wounded, currently in Germany for surgery and rehabilitation. We were fortunate enough to get out of Iraq without any of that, so this whole process was new for the unit and me especially.

I got these done:
  • Started Deployment Savings Program with initial deposit
  • Re-established contact with my pennsylvania bank account 
  • Re-established contact with student loan accounts 
  • Tracking all account balances
  • Open Vanguard Roth IRA (building ETF portfolio until I can roll it into an IRA)
  • Populated profile with all my accounts
Totally failed at this (more to come)
  • Chill out on Car/Motorcycle shopping
I still have to make a real student loan repayment plan. I'm making greater-than-minimum monthly payments now, but I want to know specifics of how/how long I'll repay those loans. It just requires me to wrestle with Excel in my free time so it naturally gets put off.

I haven't been back to Crossfit yet. I was feelin' ill after my birthday and then our shifts were changing and then we had casualties to deal with. I know they're all excuses and others here found the time and gumption to get to the gym, but it all culminated to sap my drive from me. Now that all of that is settled, I'm going to start attending the 1800 class.
I have found there's not much room for me to be ambitious with my role in the TOC, but I'm glad I made an effort. However, I can now focus more of my at-work hours into personal professional development:
  • Online Army education
  • Promotion tracking 
  • Studying for promotion board
I found a very promising program at George Mason University. It's a strong state school (between Pitt and PSU in size) located in Fairfax Virginia. It's a good area and Sarah could commute into DC via the metro. All veterans who reside in Virginia are now eligible to receive in-state tuition if they can show proof of residence in Virginia (lease or deed) and proof that they are in fact a veteran (DD214). All in-state tuition would be covered by the Post-9-11 GI Bill, so I could go back to school without incurring lots of debt again. The program is a combined Earth Science BS + Curriculum and Instruction Accelerated MEd which seems perfect for me and my goals. All of this is a ways off, but it's nice to have an answer for one of the possible destinations Sarah and I have discussed. In the meantime, I also got my physical copy of Lindberg's Beginnings of Western Science to reread in the TOC.

Squatters Hell's Keep

Total retro-review here: this Belgian-style pale ale is bread-y in flavor and quite possibly the only libation I've ever had from the exotic state of Utah. Maybe one day I'll make a map of the different states whose beer I've tried. I remember Hell's Keep being good with food, but a little under-whelming for its top-shelf pricing. Still, a top-shelf beer is only maybe 12 bucks per 22oz bottle. Compared to wine pricing, taking a gamble on something new still seems rather frugal.

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