Friday, January 30, 2004

Heather doesn't sit still long enough to update....

Between hanging out with the Mormons, ski trips, rollerblading, ice skating, going to WalMart and irritating the school administration, Heather has no time left ;-)

I'm sooooo tempted to say things I'm not supposed to! Let's just say Heather has been asked to muzzle herself by the powers that be. The rule doesn't apply to I will write about it in MY blog ;-) All I need is the energy to do it.

I miss my baby!!!!!!! We have travelled together for many years. Being a grown-up and shipping my baby off to school is very tough on me. But....if Heather can put up with the beaurocracy, I think she will have a great time on this adventure. Growing up in the sticks, she never had access to a roller rink or Super WalMart. Now she can see what it's like ;-)

Wednesday, January 28, 2004


I'm not home sick, I'm travel sick. I miss traveling. I've been sitting here looking at my old journals and pictures from Florida and the AT. What I would give to be hiking from Key West to Newfoundland right now....

The feeling of exhilaration after completing a 38 mile day, the sound of pine needles crunching under my feet, the smell of sand and salt water wafting over the breeze ... The people I met, the things I saw, the experiences I had were all so wonderful.

I'm like a dog. I LOVE to go for rides! It's a very unnatural feeling to be stuck here on center without going for rides or trips anywhere. The only time I get off center is activities with the mormons and when I go to Wal-mart. I signed up for a walmart trip the other day just to go for a ride off center - I didn't need to buy anything. It got me 2 hours of looking around outside Loring.

I'm still kicking myself for not having finished at least the AT last year. I wish I could have. My current life goals plan includes me doing the ECT within the next 5 years, no exceptions. I'll be here at Loring long enough to get all of my Outdoor Rec levels and the many certifications they offer. (Wildlands firefighting coming up in the next 2 months!) I may go to the college for outdoor rec at UMPI, since room and board would be free and my tuition would be federally covered.

I'm really looking forward to all of the leadership training. Because I'm outdoor rec, I facilitate the team building exercises that all of the new groups need to go through their first week on center. It's fun! I start actually facilitating next week. We do ropes courses and team activities like "Negativity bomb" and "spiderweb" It's fascinating watching the group dynamics develop.

Well, back to my essay.

Monday, January 26, 2004


I moved over to another computer to do my typing. This one has earphones so I can listen to music. Yippie! I'm sad though, they boot us out in 7 minutes for lunch. I'll have to go back to using a regular computer later today ... this lab is closing up so they can take the regular students in here to a museum.

I've been avoiding my "real" classroom since I got into my vocation. It's easier to use other rooms to study in, and other computers to do my typing. I'm extremely glad they let me do this!

Last night I was cavorting with the Mormon missionairies. I'm taking a college class (I could even get college credit for it) about the Bible. Fascinating stuff. The family that teaches it is extremely nice too. The mom gave me and some of the other students some fancy scriptures. I now have a regular king James version of the Bible and a matching book that contains the Book Of Mormon, The Pearl Of Great Price and the Doctrine and Covenants. They're all cross referenced and have little thumb tab index thingies on the side to make it easier to look up stuff.

I will never be able to believe anything about Joseph Smith and some of the other Mormon tenets, but I really do enjoy their religious slant on other things in life.

Whoops, bell rang. Time to go.

Being bratty at school

I'm trying to be good, I swear! The beurocracy is irking me at the moment though. I just spent almost two hours retyping some answers my teacher thought needed redoing. I can't type her exact words, but the gist of the conversation was that she thought I did a very thorough, correct job explaining the topic at hand. However, she marked my paper as wrong because as she was grading 4 other student's papers on the same subject, mine was the only one that was worded differently. She wants me to word my papers in the same way the information is supplied in the binder, so she knows that I'm actually reading it. It doesn't matter if I already know the subject matter and can explain it eloquently. They want it in the format of the binder.

Makes sense, doesn't it? (mutter mutter grumble grrrr)

I used an entire piece of paper to redo one answer. It follows:

Question 9A
By Heather Anne Martin
January 26th 2004

The questions is:

“How long, typically, will two pints of liquid fuel, burning, last?”

The answer supplied in the binder is:

“Two pints of liquid fuel will burn approximately 2 hours at a medium high flame.”

That is a misleading answer. First, two pints of what type of fuel? Some stoves (Such as an MSR
XKG) will burn an hour longer on two pints of Diesel than they will on Gasoline. Second, what
type of stove? An MSR Whisperlite will burn 2 hours, 40 minutes on two pints of white gas. The
old backpackers standby, the Optimus Svea, will burn for 10 hours on the exact same two pints.
The difference? Burn times vary dramatically depending on stoves, conditions and this
case, the Svea burns three times longer on the same amount of fuel.

The binder doesn’t tell me this. It doesn’t compare burn times for different stoves, nor does it
tell me that certain fuels will burn longer then others. It doesn’t offer lessons on picking out a
fuel efficient stove, nor does it have a chart that explains different fuel and stove burn times. It
doesn’t offer a good core base knowledge. Instead, it gives me a meaningless statistic without an
explanation on how stoves and fuels differ.

This is exactly why I don’t agree with only working from the binder. If I were new and learning
only from this binder, I would seriously over pack fuel for a trip, based on the skimpy knowledge
it gives me. The binder needs to be updated.

I’ve included a few copies of the burn time information I found from other sources. It’s
interesting how much brands and models within the same brand differ. My personal favorite is
the Optimus Nova stove. It burns 5 hours on two pints of gas and can boil water in a few
minutes flat or gently simmer and bake for hours. It has lots of really cool features that I’ve
come to immensely appreciate....for instance, when I’m done cooking, I simply flip the fuel bottle
onto its other side. This causes the remaining fuel in the line to bleed out and burn off. When I
disconnect stove and bottle, I have no dripping mess like I tend to notice with other stoves,
especially Whisperlites.

To conclude: the binder isn’t an all-knowing source. Nor is the information contained therein
always accurate. It needs updating. I’d be happy to help if you desire. In the meantime, I’ll
supply my required essays with information contained within the binder, but I’ll surreptitiously
be reading from other sources and double checking the binder information.

Heather goes to church.....

For the second time since she has been in school, Heather went to the Mormon church. I think it's a great choice, even though I have mixed feelings about it. Of all the religious affiliations, I admire Mormon family life the most. I have many LDS publications on food storage, home production and preparedness. I have always believed in having LOTS of food, fiber and fuel stored up.

I grew up Presbyterian and my step-father is a Presbyterian minister. When I was in college, I belonged to the Baptists, Methodists, Lutherens, Catholics and Episcopals. I wanted to try everything and I enjoyed the different activities sponsored by each church. Heather was brought up Unitarian, but baptized Presbyterian one Easter while visiting my mother.

I have to admit, I'm not much into organized religion. For years we have studied with the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses because they are the ones willing to walk back to our underground house ;-) I like learning everything.

My personal philosophy is that there is one God and there are many ways to go about having a relationship with God. I do not believe any religious persuasion has the corner on truth. All have been corrupted by people. The thing that scares me about being a Mormon is following Joseph Smith. I see God as the only true authority....anything else and you are following the interpretations of mere mortals.

I grew up in New York State, so went to the LDS Palmyra Pageant each summer. Now I live in VT....birthplace of Joseph Smith. Twice now I have been to Salt Lake City, Utah. I love church square, the friendly people and the beautiful flowers. I just have no desire to join a club. It will be interesting to see what choices Heather makes.

Heather has found a nice bunch of folks to go to church with. They are also great about picking her up at school for potlucks and classes. I have encouraged her to begin food storage at school. She says she feels "naked" without it.

Heather has a friend who is Creole. She plans on going to the Adventist church with him. I will have to look that up. I never tried one of those ;-)

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Sickie goes skiing

Heather continues to be sick. For 3 days I told her she had bronchitis and she thought she also had a sinus infection. The nurse said the fluorescent yellow and green snot didn't mean anything! get my hands on her...... Well, Friday Heather went to the eye doc for glasses and took a detour to the hospital walk-in clinic. Yes indeed....she has sinusitis and bronchitis!!! At least now she has antibiotics to go with them.

Thursday Heather went downhill skiing for the first time. She still has all body parts intact ;-) And she loved it.

Since Heather is a second grade drop-out, she never had the joys of forced schooling. This is now getting her into hot water.

We learn because we want to know something. And if you want to know's only natural to read everything you can get your hands on.....right????? NO!!! Guess not.

Heather did most of her school reports over Christmas vacation. She had to answer questions by writing short papers. Heather spent hours and hours researching each subject on the internet and with our extensive book collection. I thought her papers were great ;-) Guess what the instructor wants? A few words copied directly from their workbook. All kid's answers are supposed to look the same.

ACK! Here I have an intelligent, curious, motivated kid and they want to dumb her down and fit a mold. What's truly pitiful is the info in their binders is neither current nor fully correct. Heather spends more time arguing than learning new stuff. She has a new appreciation for her unschool and uncollege background ;-) Nobody ever said beaurocracy makes sense. My personal opinion of narrow minded administrators and teachers cannot be said out loud here ;-)

Those who can DO....and other people teach. No great person ever became that way by copying stuff from one page to another. You'd think the school system would encourage creativity, intelligence and initiative....but instead they strive to produce limited knowledge clones. Sigh....

I have to keep remembering that the US style of schooling was brought about by the industrial revolution. It was intended to produce obedient factory workers. For years I scoffed at the homeschool parents who ranted about public schools. I considered it a waste of time and just went about doing things better. I sense myself becoming more publicly radical.

Heather is going to the Job Corps first of all because it is FREE. She looked into several colleges, but did not want to have student loans when she got out. After all....she already has a house of her own building, free and clear of any a camping van, kayak and lots of outdoor gear. Debt sucks.

Heather was searching for a carpentry apprenticeship for the winter when she stumbled on a Job Corps website. When she saw the Outdoor Recreation offering, she was hooked! It's the first in the nation and from what Heather says, the gear available onsite is fantastic ;-)

Sigh....Heather and I were never meant to be team players in a beaurocracy. If you have any wisdom to share, Heather would appreciate some encouragement. Write to her at Be nice to her.....she can't help who her mother is ;-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Heather is STILL sick!

I kept hoping Heather would be able to update. She has very little internet access. She has been to the wellness center a bazillion times, plus they took her to the hospital for tests one day. This is one heck of a flu going around at school! Now Heather sounds like she is getting bronchitis to go with it. I think she has missed a week of school....but so has half of the campus.

Heather's next adventure is trying to get into an apartment. There are dorm rooms and apartments. Heather misses cooking.....especially spicy food ;-)

Besides writing to Heather, you can actually call her toll free after 5 PM to 10 PM. The # is 1-888-216-2034 When the automated voice starts talking, ignore her and quick dial 7417. You will get The RA's room. Ask for Heather.

You can also call the main # and dial 6024 for the lounge or 6023 for the laundry room. Heather actually prefers talking in the laundry room ;-) You have to ask for Heather....I think there are about 30 kids in her wing, any of them may answer the phone.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Heather's math

My temp is down. I've been alternating 1000 mg's of tylenol and 400 mgs of ibuprofren every few hours for the past few days. I've been subsisting on cough drops and cloraseptic spray. Hopefully I get well soon. I even puked today. Ick ick ick.

Back when I was well, I failed my math test by 2 questions. I'm pretty proud of myself actually. After a lifetime of avoiding math like the plague and never ever doing any studying, I did better then the majority of kids on campus when it came to math. I weirded out the instructors with my scores though. I scored 100 points higher on applied math then I did with pure computation. They can't figure out why I would know math problems when they had words in them, but not when it was just straight numbers.

I'm going to be studying up on all varieties of math now, so I can ace the test when they give it to me again. It's actually pretty fun.

I'm going back to sleep.


Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Heather is a Sickie ;-(

This is Wendy....Heather's mom. She asked me to let folks know she likes school, but has the flu right now. Seems like half the school has the flu!!!! know how Heather likes testing her temp was 102 deg.....only second highest. Another girl was 103.

You can always send her a get well card or other real letters to:

Heather A. Martin
Loring Job Corps Center
36 Montana Road
Limestone, Maine 04750

Thursday, January 08, 2004



Reading: Perfect score. I test at mid-college level.

Math: Utterly failed. I tested at a 4th grade level. They're pretty sure it's because I failed to fill in the right bubbles, and that it's not from me being that stupid. I tested at a 4th grade level.

Everybody keeps asking me if I'm an R.A., wing leader, or staff. The TABE testing lady asked me what the heck I was doing in Job Corps. She said I was a very atypical student.

I shadwoed OR yesterday. They make us do 200 sit ups and 50 push ups every other day, as well as run 1 mile in 10 minutes. Everything is pretty fun so far.

TABE Testing

I took my TABE tests today. Arrrrftghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got a perfect score in reading. I got all 50 questions right. Because I got a perfect score though, they automatically reject it. I have to retake a higher level reading TABE, the equivalant of upper college levels.

My math TABE was a disaster. I've only taken one or two standardized fill in the bubble tests previous to my job corps experience. I have really bad test anxiety because of that, especially in's not my best subject. But, I started off good. I was humming along, filling in the blanks, making notes of qhich questions I skipped so I could come back and do them later...

I started to double check my answers. I got to question #6, which I had marked down to come back to later because it had been too difficult. When I looked at #6, I realized I must have skipped a row and accidentally started filling in the right answers in the wrong boxes. Everything was screwed up! I got another answer card and started to fill it in.

My book said I had 3 more questions to answer, but the answer card didn't have the space. It turns out I had been filling in the right answers in the wrong block of the test. ARGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!

I got another answer card. Started to furiously fill it in, trying to copy the right answers into the right boxes. Don't know if I did, because the bell rang before I could check.

I don't know my math score yet, but I've been told I failed. I want to know how much of it is computational error and how much is due to the fact I was filling in the wrong boxes. I hope they let me retake it. Otherwise I'm stuck in math class for 3 months before they'll let me near a TABE test again.

I go take my swim test in half an hour. Hope Everything goes well there. :-)

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Back At School

Here I sit, procrastinating again. I'm currently in the computer lab. I'm supposed to be typing an essay on an opinionated environmental article I just read. Instead, I decided to surf the web and update my blog :-)

Things are going well here at school. They have me fast tracked. While the rest of the group I came in with 9 days ago still has a week of orientation to go, I start my Vocation tomorrow. Heh heh heh. :-) Sorry, I can't help but gloat. It's a good feeling to be smart enough to be put into classes ahead of my peers. It's a good thing I didn't go to school. I'd have an ego bigger then Australia. As it is now, my ego is about the size of Alaska. (Australia could fit two Alaskas in it)

Tomorrow I job shadow, then the next day I'm into Outdoor Rec full-time. They just assigned us all into different groups for our upcoming skiing trips. This is so exciting! They're all impressed I'm almost done with Level A and C paperwork already. The only problem is, now I'm going to have a lot of down time. I'm going to try to convince them to let me take Carpentry and/or mechanics to fill in the OR holes.

I'll write more later, now I really have to buckle down and do my paperwork. Right after I check some things online.... :-)

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Plastic Flamingo Boycott

I'll be leaving for school tomorrow. I have no idea when I'll be able to access a computer to update. I'll leave you with a link to an amusing site:

Plastic Flamingo Boycott!

I'll probably update within the week.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Hi again

I dissapeared for a few days to go to Boston with mom. Her Doctor called at 4:45pm on the 29th and wanted to know if we could travel to the Lahey clinic for a 8:30am appointment the day after. We went, and mom got to be tortured by three different doctors. We came back yesterday at midnight. We got home so late because mom had to make a stop at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock hospital on the way home to get IV diruetics so she could breathe.

I go back to school in 2 days. Yay!

My brain power is still non-existant. I just woke up. I've been tanking up on sleeping in. Soon, I get up at 5am every day.

My brain power is still non-existant.