Six More Years!!

Today was my reenlistment day! I didn’t do much all morning – should have practiced tuba but I didn’t feel like it. My reenlistment ceremony was after lunch – supposed to be at 1300, but the Division Reenlistment NCO got tied up and finally showed up at 1345. So I got my contract signed Free Image Hosting at and then we went inside for the ceremony. This was the first time I’ve had my commander be my reenlisting officer – it’s always been my Chaplain before. Here’s Chief administering the Oath to me: Free Image Hosting at And here’s the “grip and grin” handshake/certificate picture: Free Image Hosting at My speech afterwards was very short – “Thanks everyone.” I’m not much for speaking in public, so that sufficed. Of course, during the 45 minute wait before hand, any speech that I had not thought of making was completely lost.

That was pretty much it for the day. I just hung out with my friends the rest of the afternoon – there really wasn’t time for a BQ rehearsal after my ceremony was done. I’ll leave you with a couple more pictures from the past week or so. This is me cleaning my M-16 Free Image Hosting at And here’s our unofficial unit mascot. He crawled out from under the rehearsal hall one day and we have him in a plastic jug now. Since this picture was taken, rocks and sand have been added to his “habitat”: Free Image Hosting at

Not much, BQ & a Baptism, and Nothing

Saturday we didn’t do much. I did run 3.25 miles in the morning for PT even though we don’t have to do PT on Saturdays. After formation, I practiced my tuba for a bit and then stitched. After lunch we had a short BQ rehearsal just to go over the hymns for Sunday, and then I went home and stitched more. After dinner I probably stitched more and/or hung out with my friends.

Sunday was a good day. I had my first BQ gig here and we played really well at the Reformation Sunday service at the chapel. It was the service that I normally go to. 1LT Erica Anne Stephenson was Baptized into the family of Christ and also Confirmed as a member of the Lutheran Church. It was really neat at the end of her confirmation. She was told to remove her dog tags as they were now obsolete and she was given new dog tags that correctly identify her as a Lutheran Soldier! I thought that was pretty cool. After the service, we had time for pictures and I’ll be getting copies of them from Chaplain Ebb and Erica. We had one fun one with me, Erica, Sarah (a National Guard soldier) and Chaplain. We all had temporary tatoos on our upper arms that had a picture of Martin Luther and said “Luther is my Homeboy”. I’ll get a copy of that picture, too. Once we got back from the chapel, I took a nap for a couple of hours and then stitched, went to the PX to pay for another month of internet, and then stitched more.

Yesterday was a day of nothing pretty much. We did PT – ran to the PX and back for 2 miles. Then after formation there was no concert band as Chief had stuff to take care of. I made a phone call and did a bit of e-mail for a gig that came in last minute that I was going to Op, but then it ended up going to the other BQ instead of a cut down band because they only needed a very small group. So that took up my morning. After lunch I stitched a little bit and I don’t remember what else I did. Hmm. . . I don’t know. After dinner a group of us hung out with I since he’s going home to take care of his wife who just had back surgery and their 4 kids. We brought him to the Passenger Terminal about 9:30 and then I came back and chatted with a friend for a bit and then went to bed.

A very good mail day!!

I got 3 boxes in the mail today. Or so I thought. One box was some craft stuff I ordered from Mary Maxim. 2 boxes were from my friends C and E – yes TWO boxes. One of them (box 1 of 2) was FULL of beef jerky, mostly the individual flat “sticks”. YUMMY!! The other box had some drink mixes, more beef jerky, some hand sanitizer (bottles and wipes), eyeglass cleaning wipes, scrunchies (can’t wait til I get home so I can wear them – lots of pretty colors, too!), and the most beautifulest pair of hand knit socks! E made them for me and they’re green and yellow and purple stripes. I should take a pic of them to show you. They’re comfy and warm – nice to wear around the hooch. Obviously I can’t wear them in uniform, but that’s ok. Thanks so much C & E!!

And then, when I was done oohing and aahing over my boxes, my friend E (aka SPC B) called me over to her room. Ok, so I went. And she says she got me a present and hands me a box that was addressed to me. Ok? This is kind of wierd. She says open it, so I do. And inside is a beautiful, soft, warm, cuddly green blanket with Prayer Blanket embroidered in yellow on the corner. I cried! She has one and I comment about it all the time. Her church back home in PA gets blankets and puts them on the altar and then they pray over them for a couple of weeks and send them to people that need them. The note inside the blanket reads “This prayer blanket is given to Lani Yearicks. Prayers were requested for you by EB and Family. This blanket has been prayed over by members of the First United Methodist Church of Emporium. May God comfort and surround you with his warmth and love.” And then I noticed the card inside the box – from E’s parents: “We would like to thank you for serving our country and thank you for being an excellent mentor as well as a good friend to our daughter E. We will continue to pray for you and your family.”

How awesome is that!!! E’s family is so sweet for doing this. And yes, Mom, I will be sending them a proper thank you. Thank you for raising me the “right” way!!

And finally, a small disclaimer about my previous Why is it post. I actually meant it in fun. Yes, life isn’t the greatest here, and yes, sometimes I do complain. But I’m enjoying life here for the most part (other than missing my guys). You just need to take things in stride and have a bit of leniency toward others when we’re living in this close of quarters. So I hope no one thinks I was completely serious about it (although, not having chocolate milk in the chow hall for a week is pretty serious – especially if you know me and milk!). Mom, Dad, and Eva, I do appreciate your comments though, and you’re right – everything happens for a reason!

Why is it. . .? or. . . Rantings and Ravings of a soldier who misses her guys and wants to go home

Why is it that you complain when anyone else makes noise in the hooch, but when you are the one making the noise it’s ok?

Why is it that we go to lunch at the same time everyday and if something changes we talk about it but today I got left sitting reading my book waiting for you to show up? And when you got back and I asked you how lunch was, why is it that you didn’t even get a clue?

Why is it that all the other chow halls have chocolate milk but ours can’t seem to stock it?

Why is it that all the cool people have to go home for reasons beyond our control, but all the useless people are stuck here?

Why is it that you can play your music as loud as you want all day long, but when I turn mine on for a little bit, you ask me to turn it down? How do I turn it down when the volume is at its lowest level?

Why is it ok for some people to do lots of PT and some people do no PT and everyone gets treated the same?

Why is it that we can go to the chow hall and North PX without a buddy during daylight hours, but we can’t go to the run start point by ourselves for PT? Afterall, it IS located right by the North PX.

Why is it that my ICQ suddenly decided to stop working? And why is it that only my family is on ICQ? Which means, why is it that I can’t talk to my family right now, other than Mom who has Yahoo or Dad who has AIM but I don’t remember his User ID?

Why is it that the “fall back” time change is coming up this weekend but we don’t do it here in Afghanistan so it’s going to mess up all my chat times with my family and friends? Of course, it may make it easier . . .

Speaking of time. . .

Why is it that Afghanistan is 8 1/2 hours ahead of Eastern Time? What’s up with the half hour thing?

Why is it that if women sit down to pee, there’s ALWAYS a dribble on the side of the seat when I go in to take care of business?

Why is it that I can run over the rocks around here better than I can walk over them?

Why is it that it’s always super HOT or super COLD in the hooch? Mostly it’s HOT, though, and I think I live with a bunch of cold-blooded beings.

Why is it that I complain because the chow hall seems to serve the same things all the time, but yet I’m ready to go home and have peanut butter and jelly and yogurt for lunch everyday?

and last but not least (at least for now. . .)

Why is it that I can’t go home and be with my family?

A test of endurance

Salaam! That’s the most common greeting in the Dari language, spoken by the people of Afghanistan. It basically means peace.

I slept in this morning and didn’t do PT – and I got 8 1/2 hours of sleep! I actually felt refreshed when I woke up. Oh to be able to do that every night. . . After formation, I came back to my room and practiced my tuba for a while and then I stitched until lunch. I started reading The Bookseller of Kabul (thanks Aunt C and Uncle W. . .) while I was waiting for my buddies to show up to go eat with and when they showed up, I didn’t want to put it down. I’m glad it just barely fits in my cargo pocket. There was a pretty long line for chow today so I read more while waiting in line.

After lunch was BQ rehearsal. We played through the 4 hymns for church on Sunday and then just started going through our book. I wanted to see what the endurance level of the group was, and by about 30 minutes into the going through (45 if you count the hymns), it was starting to sound pretty bad. But it let everyone know what they need to work up to by next Friday when we have our first chow hall gig and we’ll be playing for an hour straight.

After rehearsal I chatted with Ryan for a bit before he headed to work, and then I stitched more before going to the gym. We did back and biceps today, but no cardio. It seems that everyone else was doing cardio today and we couldn’t get on ellipticals OR treadmills. Oh well. . . After dinner, I had a nice relaxing evening hanging out with my friends.

Lots of things, including getting shot (NO – don’t panic)

By 8:00 this morning I had run 3.25 miles, eaten breakfast, taken a shower, and turned my weapon in for gauging. It’s some kind of something that has to be done to weapons on occasion that someone from outside our unit came to do. So after I turned my weapon in, I still had an hour before concert band, so I came home and chatted and did other computer stuff. Concert band went ok – not the best, and I think Chief was getting a little frustrated with how things were going (or not?) and he let us out a little after 10:30. So I came home and did computer stuff again and then I took a nap until lunch.

After lunch we got our flu shots. The medic people came right to our rehearsal hall and we were all done being shot probably within 10 minutes of them arriving. I got some pictures, but I haven’t uploaded them yet. Tomorrow I’ll get to that. Once that was done, I went and talked to the Reenlistment NCO. More on that on another day. . . .

When I got home I crocheted another snowflake, went to dinner, and then hung out with my friends. I’m really going to bed early tonight – like within 1/2 hour.

More days. . .

Ok, so I’ve been pretty bad about writing this month. Now it’s been 3 days. . .

Sunday morning was breakfast with a friend and then church. There were a few new faces there so that’s a good thing! When I got home, I helped the Rock Band and Woodwind Quartet load their equipment on the truck – they had an “out of town” gig. And then after lunch I spent the whole afternoon in my room stitching. That sure was nice! After dinner I stitched some more and called Mom & Dad. I didn’t get to chat with my guys cuz they weren’t home. 😦 I did enjoy the quiet in here – I was the only female because of the gig.

Monday for PT I ran 2 miles – my fastest 2 mile time other than the PT test. There wasn’t much going on all day with 1/2 the band gone, so I cleaned my weapon and practiced my tuba and stitched. After lunch, I got together with my supervisor to start working on my annual evaluation report and we had a nice talk about what I’ve done so far, and he thinks I’m doing a good job around here and setting a good example and stuff like that. Then I went to the gym with my friends and did 6.37 miles on the elliptical in an hour. We were going to lift weights, too, but there wasn’t any open machines and we were hungry and didn’t feel like waiting around. After supper was a bit of downtime, and then we had to go help the RB and WWQ load their stuff onto the truck when they got back to the airfield. They had had quite a day, and in less than 24 hours had unloaded/loaded their equipment ELEVEN times. They were beat and sore and our commander said the rest of the band would load/unload the final time. Not a big deal – I had planned to help when they got back anyway. So we did that, and by the time we were done, it was pretty much time to go to sleep, so I didn’t get anymore stitching in. But that’s ok.

This morning, the other females didn’t have to get up for PT because of yesterday, and I forgot to unmute my computer so I didn’t get up for PT either (my alarm clock is on my computer). It wasn’t a big deal, and my body needed the rest after yesterday’s gym session. So I went to breakfast and then formation. We did BQ rehearsal this morning and sight read some Christmas music and then went through our hymns for Sunday. After lunch we had our weapons inspected by our armorers and mine was pretty good. I had just a couple places I needed to clean a bit more, but that only took maybe 15 minutes. Then I crocheted some and then took a nap. After I woke up, I crocheted and computered more and skipped out on going to the gym. After dinner, my friend Ian and I went and got coffee from the coffee shop and just sat and talked about our families and stuff for a while. When I got home, I finished the snowflake I had started earlier and now I’m ready for bed. I’ve got 10 snowflakes done!

Another couple of days closer to coming home

I really miss my guys. I’ve had a couple of days where I really want to go home. Only 3 1/2 more months. . .

Yesterday we ran to ECP 1 and back – 3.25 miles – for PT. Then we had concert band sectionals instead of full band – we need to get sections playing together before we can put the full band together successfully. Our trombone sectional went pretty well, and we spent a good bit of time on a couple of our tougher pieces, but did touch on everthing we were supposed. After lunch a few of us went to the Bazaar again, and I bought a few Christmas presents. Then it was to the gym and I did 1/2 hour on the elliptical (3.8 miles) and lifted weights for chest and tricep muscles, and of course ended with crunches. After dinner I stitched and chatted.

This morning was no PT since it was Saturday. I “slept in” until 0645 and then got ready and went to breakfast. We had a short sectional again this morning and kept working on stuff from yesterday. The other females cleaned our hooch during that time – we had a little visitor overnight. It’s the second mouse sighting – the guys in the hooch behind ours have one, too. After my sectional was done, I cleaned my room really good, but that didn’t take very long. Yes, Mom, I’m keeping my room clean. LOL After lunch was BQ rehearsal, and we just looked at the hymns for the chapel service next week and then sight read another new piece and played a couple of others in our book. Thanks, Rick, for the page protectors! They work great. Then it was to the gym and I did an hour on the elliptical (6.27 miles) and back and biceps and abs. I always feel so good after working out. Of course, I was really hungry by the time we got to the chow hall, and Saturday nights they always have spaghetti! Yum, but not as good as mine. Then I took my stitching and went and watched American Wedding with my friends.

We have a couple of mousetraps set with peanut butter on them, so maybe come morning we’ll have a “present”. The other girls, although they bought the mousetraps, didn’t know what to do with them. So I got them set, and told them that if we catch anything, I’ll take care of it. I think they think I’m strange sometimes. LOL

Unit APFT and a very good tuba day

Yesterday morning was the PT test for the unit. I was one of the graders, and I had 4 soldiers that I graded – counted their pushups and situps and wrote down their run times as they came in. The whole test went pretty well – only 3 or 4 soldiers failed. The rest of the morning was spent in concert band sight reading stuff for our Christmas concert. After lunch I crocheted on snowflakes and then went to the gym about 3:30 or so. I went 6.4 miles in an hour on the elliptical. It was a good workout! After dinner, I crocheted more.

Today we didn’t have to do PT again – recovery day from the test. It was nice sleeping in again. After breakfast and formation, I practiced my tuba for a while and actually had a really good practice session. Then I spent the rest of the morning cross stitching. After lunch was BQ rehearsal and we had a really good rehearsal, I think. We worked on our 3 pieces for the chapel service we’re playing at in a week and a half, and then sight read a few new pieces we’re adding to our repertoire. They actually went pretty well, and with a bit of work, they will be good for our chow hall gigs. We ended the rehearsal with a couple of pieces that we’ve been working on. Then I came home and stitched and chatted with Ryan and Mom for a while before they went to work and then went to the gym about 4:30. I just walked on the treadmill for an hour because there weren’t any ellipticals available and I didn’t feel like running. I also lifted some weights. After dinner I watched “The Matador” with some friends, and stitched while I watched it. It was a pretty good movie.