A long day

I conducted a 10% urinalysis this morning, so I got to the band hall about 0630 to get set up and organized. Ryan had a drivers’ meeting at 0630, so I brought Robbie on my way in. My alarm went off shortly after 0430 to allow me enough time to get ready and eat and get Robbie ready. So we headed out and I dropped him off and I headed to the band hall to get ready. During PT formation, I called out the 3 soldiers that would be tested and got going with that. I had to go to the ASAP (Army Substance Abuse Program) building twice to turn the specimens in as they are closed from 0830-0930 on Thursdays for staff training. But I got them turned in and picked up more supplies for whenever my next one will be. Then it was back for rehearsal – music for the Tattoo that’s coming up next Friday. After lunch was just sit around and try and look busy time. Ryan was making a delivery to our supply building (it’s being renovated), so I went out and saw him for a bit. About 3:30, I headed home and picked Robbie up on my way. We played until Ryan got home from work and then I made tacos for supper, ate quick, and headed back to post. We had a Troop Return Ceremony tonight and I was on that. I was home about 8:45 and we watched a couple of shows and I stitched for a bit.

Here are some pics from Monday. First, the Washington Monument Image Hosting by PictureTrail.com

And then me with the men of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division
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And finally the 10th Mountain Division Band with the U.S. Capitol building in the background
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High: 81
Low: 60

A productive day off

I slept in until about 8:30 – woke up with my alarm at 6:30, but then fell back to sleep. Once I was up and dressed, I went for a 6 mile run. It was a very nice day for a run and my run was 3 minutes faster than last time I ran 6 mlies. That’s a good thing! At least I’m improving with all this running. Once I got home, I vacuumed the house, put the clothes in the dryer that I had put in the washer before I left on my run, and then showered. I learned that I should probably wear shoes when I vacuum. I backed into my left big toe and broke the nail vertically about 1/4 inch. OUCH! Then after eating, I headed to the grocery store for some food for the house and after I had put it away, I headed out to post to get some supplies for upcoming urinalyses and then to the PX Beauty Shop for a manicure and pedicure. That didn’t work out as they only do appointments. The lady asked me if I’d like to make an appointment and I said no thanks because I don’t know what my schedule is going to be like. Looking back on it, I should have said yes, I’d like to make an appointment for now. LOL So I left and went to a nail place I remembered seeing while driving into Watertown. A really nice Korean lady runs the place, and she did a really nice job. She’s been in the US for quite some time and speaks pretty good English, so we talked about my time in Korea and about our families and stuff. Once I was done there, I went and got Robbie from daycare and then to Watertown to get Ryan from work and head to our chiro adjustment. On our way home (after dropping Ryan off to get his truck), we stopped at the Koreana Restaurant for some Korean food for supper. It was really good, and cheaper than the other Korean place we went to last year shortly after we arrived at Ft. Drum. Then we stopped for ice cream on our way home. After Robbie was in bed, we watched some Tivo and I crocheted.

HIgh: 80
Low: 50

Washington, D.C., and the National Memorial Day Parade

Wondering where I’ve been the past few days? I’ve been in Washington, D.C., our nations beautiful capital. The band left out early Sunday morning – formation at 7 and we departed about 7:30 and headed south. After several stops for food/fuel, we arrived at the Doubletree Hotel Bethesda in Bethesda, MD. It was a beautiful hotel. My roommate SGT CK and I were awed by our room when we entered. There were FIVE pillows on each bed. And the beds were soooooooo soft and comfy. And a FLAT SCREEN TV in the room. WOW! The bathroom was a normal hotel bathroom. LOL We had a corner room and a corner window. It wasn’t much of a view since we were overlooking city, but from the 9th floor, you sure could see for a ways. Come to find out later when I saw a diagram of the hotel, most of the rooms were corner rooms due to how the hotel was built. Soon after arriving, I changed into my running clothes and headed up to the 15th floor to check out the (according to the website) “state of the art” fitness center. Yeah, right. It had a few weight machines and a stair stepper and a bike and a treadmill. A funky looking treadmill at that. And a semi-broken one. The treadmill itself worked fine, so I was able to run, but I couldn’t tell how long I had run as the time display was burnt out on the minutes. And I couldn’t tell exactly how far I had gone as the tenths/hundredths part of the distance display didn’t work. So I quit as soon as I saw it hit 3 miles. But at least I ran some. After a shower and changing, JG and TW and I headed down to the Mexican place right next door to the hotel. That was some good food, and good conversation as well. After dinner I headed back up to my room and called Mom & Dad and then Ryan. And I watched the end of the NASCAR race and when that was done, I went to bed.

Memorial Day. A day to remember and reflect on those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. A big day for the 10th Mountain Division Band. I got up and had breakfast in the hotel lobby. $9 for an all-you-can-eat buffet. It was ok – I got a decent breakfast, but I don’t know if it was worth $9. I had a jelly danish, some fruit, some yogurt, scrambled eggs, 2 pancakes, some oj, and a cup of coffee. Then it was back up to my room to get into uniform and get ready to head out. We wore our ACU’s (Army Combat Uniform), as we have been doing for all the parades. It’s much nicer than marching in our Class A’s and uncomfy shoes. We all got on the bus and headed to downtown D.C. Our bus driver dropped us off, and after we all had our instruments he left and we went to our line-up area. We got warmed up and tuned and practiced what we would be doing in front of the reviewing stand which was right at the beginning of the parade. There was an Air Force 4-star General as the reviewing officer since it was also a celebration of the AF’s 60th anniversary. So we played Ruffles & Flourishes, the Army Song, and then our first march. After running through that a few times, we were released and had an hour to do whatever. Several band members volunteered to stay back and watch instruments, so that was nice.

JG and I went and walked and checked out some of the other units in the parade. I took some pictures of military vehicles for Ryan, got a short video of a guy playing the bagpipes, a picture of the Washington Monument and Capitol Building from a distance, and then we happened upon a group from the 101st Airborne Division. Gentlemen from WWII. Famous gentlemen. The men of Easy Company, 506th Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. The men from Band of Brothers. I was awed to be able to meet some of them, and I got my picture taken with them. JG and I shook their hands after and thanked them for what they had done, and they said in return, no, thank YOU for your service. Of course, one of the guys yelled at me (not really, but jokingly). He said that he usually got hugs from pretty ladies. So I hugged him, and of course, the other 2 wanted hugs as well. I’ll share pics tomorrow – they’re still on my camera. Then we made our way back to the band area, and when everyone was back, we took a unit picture with the Capitol Building in the backgroung. I’ll share that one tomorrow too.

Then we stood around and waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. I called Ryan and Robbie. I called Mom & Dad. We were finally told to line up in our spot in the street. So we got formed up. And waited. And waited. And waited. And observed the moment of silence they had at 3. The parade had started at 2, and here we were an hour later still waiting. We were unit number 159. Finally about 3:40 we started moving toward the parade start point. YAY!! oooh. Nervous. Yes, I was excited but very nervous. This was my biggest parade of my career so far. So we stepped off playing our Reviewing Stand Honors and the parade went without a hitch. Thousands of people lined Constitution Ave. and boy did we get a a big cheer and applause when we were announced – they had in our narrative that we had just returned from a year-long tour in Afghanistan. It was soooooooooo cool. It was along Constitution Ave., from 7th St. to 17th St. We went through our music not quite twice (4 marches, and then 3 repeated). We were done and getting back on the bus shortly after 4:30. It was a beautiful day, although a bit warm and muggy. But at least it didn’t rain like the forecast said it might. Oh, and THE Color Guard was in front of us. Like THE Color Guard that does the big time ceremonies in DC. Like THE Color Guard that earlier in the day had been at Arlington when the President did the wreath laying. WOW!

Then it was back to the hotel to change out of SOGGY uniforms and shower and head to dinner. JG, JN, TW, and I went to an Irish Pub that some of the band had gone to the night before. I had an excellent steak and baked potato and beer. Monday nights are Trivia Nights, so we stayed and played trivia. We didn’t win, but of the 3 band teams that had formed, we came in 2nd in the band. LOL It was a lot of fun, both hanging out with everyone and the trivia. JG, JN, and I left a little after 10 I think and headed back to our rooms. TW stuck around with the other band guys there, including our commander and First Sergeant. Most everyone had WAY too much to drink, but everyone had fun. Once I was back in my room, I called Ryan and talked to him for a while and then headed to bed.

This morning we were on the bus at 6, but we were waiting for one person and at 6:35 our commander finally showed up. Oops! I guess he had a good time Monday night. LOL So we got underway and headed home. Pretty much everyone crashed on the bus and we didn’t stop for breakfast until about 11 so it was actually lunch. At least I had a granola bar in my backpack so I had a little bit to eat. During the ride home, I stitched some and read a few magazines. And I slept some, too. We got back to the band hall a little after 3 and got our instruments put away and then were given the good news that we’re off tomorrow – “See you on Thursday at 7”. Woohoo! I headed home and changed to go run, but Ryan texted me and said he was on his way home with Robbie. His chiro adjustment was quicker than I thought, and I wanted to see my guys, so I’ll run tomorrow morning. Robbie almost bowled me over when he saw me, and of course, Ryan was glad to see me as well. Robbie and I played outside for a little while and then we walked to our local pizza place for supper. I guess I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow. After we ate, we walked to the little park area where the Farmer’s Market is and looked at the river, and just ran around for a while. Then we headed home for bedtime. After Robbie was in bed, we watched a bit of Tivo’d shows and I crocheted on a dishcloth.

Time for bed for me now. . .

Today high was 70 and low was 45.

Memorial Day Weekend begins

One of the busiest weekends for Army bands has begun. It started yesterday morning with the Memorial ceremony on post. It was a nice ceremony and not too long, and they also rededicated the Mountain Statue at it’s new location. Once the ceremony was done and we were back at the band hall, we did vehicle inspections because of the long weekend (weekend? what weekend?) and then we were done. I headed into Watertown to pick Robbie up from Emily’s house – she was at work but their almost 13-year-old son watched Robbie for the morning. We headed home and he went right down for his nap – him and C (Emily’s son) must have played hard. While he was napping, I got some more fundraising stuff done on the computer and I took a very relaxing shower. After Robbie’s nap, we headed back to Ian and Emily’s house for dinner and relaxing and conversation. It was a lot of fun, and Ian grilled steaks and we also had asparagus and corn and salad. I brought a pumpkin pie and whipped cream for dessert. We stayed until after 9, and when we got home, Robbie was ready for bed. So were Ryan and I and we didn’t watch any TV. We just did a little computer stuff and then headed to bed as well.

This morning Ryan took Robbie to Emily’s again on his way to work. I headed to formation at 8:30. We had a parade and ceremony in Remsen, a VERY small town about an hour and a half from post. The parade was only a mile long, and the ceremony was, uh, let’s just say interesting. They didn’t really have a clue what was going on. The school band played the National Anthem – rather poorly. But their band director is also the mayor of the town and was also the guest speaker. We played God Bless America when they were done. Although the ceremony was not the greatest, the people there sure loved having us and they voiced their appreciation to every band member they could. That’s what it’s all about! After everything was done, there was food (TONS of it) and drinks at the VFW for us. That was nice. Chief said if we were of legal drinking age, we could have no more than 2 beers. I had root beer. LOL After we had all eaten, we got back on our bus and headed home. I was going to go run my 6 miles when I got home, but I’m all stuffed up and miserable today so I opted out of it. I tried to take a nap but I couldn’t sleep, so I called Rick and talked to him for a while. Of course, I had computer questions for him, but that gave me a good excuse to call him! After Ryan and Robbie got home, I got supper in the oven and went out and mowed our yard. It took me all of 20 minutes. After supper was bathtime and then bedtime. Ryan and I watched some more Tivo shows – still trying to catch up – and I stitched. Off to be now. . .

High: 70
Low: 52

Batallion Organiztional Day

Today was a long day. And it didn’t start very well. I slept through my “get up and go run 5 miles” alarm so I’ll do my 5 miler tomorrow morning. After that the day wasn’t too bad though. I dropped Robbie off at daycare and then I headed to the multi purpose fields where the event was being held. We had Batallion formation at 9 and the day went from there. First up was the soccer tournament. Each company had a team (ours was formed at 1500 yesterday, so no practice). It was a double elimination tournament, and we’ll just say the band team had a lot of fun playing our two games. We lost both miserably – a lot to nothing. When we were done playing some of us went and just sat under the pavillion to get out of the sun for a while. Lunch was good – steak and ribs and macaroni salad and tater salad and a few other things. After lunch I was in charge of the Kiddie Games. So I got my stuff set up for the games (some relays and stuff), and then I wandered and found parents with kids and let them know. I got back to my area and during the whole time there were like 4 kids. So we just used the plastic baseball bats that were going to be for one of the relays and hit baseballs (also plastic) for a little while. Each kid that showed up got a “Winner” medal (plastic), so at least they got something.

By the time I was done cleaning up my area, the football games were starting, so I headed over to cheer on the band team. They lost their first game, and I actually got to play the second game. I wasn’t originally on either of the teams because I was in charge of the kids’ games. But I’m glad I got to play. It was flag football. I made a couple of catches and also quite a few “tackles”, including this one guy that must have been close to 7 feet tall and HUGE. I “tackled” him two plays in a row – the SAME play both times. You’d think they would have learned after the first time. We continued our streak with that game and lost. The band didn’t score a single point between soccer or football. LOL But we had lots of fun. After the game I went back to the pavillion for a bit and had some cake and some water, and then I had to leave at 3:45 thereby missing the tug-of-war and closing “ceremonies” (formation). The band actually did win their first t-o-w match, but then lost the second. At least we weren’t last place in everything!

I had to leave as I had made a massage appointment for 1630 (free 1/2 hour one from the chiro). I picked Robbie up from daycare and then headed to Watertown and I had a wonderful massage – back, neck, shoulders, and face. Ryan met me there so he could watch Robbie. Then we headed to our chiro in Sackets Harbor. Then it was back to get Ryan’s truck, a stop at Kinney Drugs because I realized that even though I had brought my uniform with me for just in case, I hadn’t thought to bring stuff to put my hair up. So I bought a hairbrush (needed a new one anyway) and some rubber bands for my hair. Then we went to the Golden Unicorn for supper.

One of my coworkers met me there shortly before 7:30 and I drove him to the band hall. He can’t drive on post and the usual people he rides with weren’t on tonight’s job. Once at the band hall I changed into my uniform and then got my horn warmed up for the Troop Return Ceremony we played at this evening. The ceremony lasted a whole EIGHT MINUTES! LOL The Commanding General’s speech was pretty much “Welcome home. Families, thanks for your support. I’m the only thing standing between you soldiers and your hugs, so let’s get on with it.” I wish they could all be short like that. Then it was back on the bus, back to the band hall, and head home. I made a quick stop at the grocery store on my way and now I’m ready for bed. I’m TIRED.

High: 85 (and we were all wearing BLACK t-shirts all day)
Low: 59

Another day

We ran at PT this morning – 3.4 miles. For the other 3 I ran with (all from BQ), it was a long, slow run. For me it was a short, fast run. Since my shortest run in my marathon training program is 5 miles, 3.4 was short, and I ran it in 34 minutes – a 30 second per mile faster pace than I’ve been running. Just like Ryan, some people at work think I’m crazy for wanting to run 26.2 miles for the fun of it.

After morning formation, we went out to the field by our buildings and did some marching band. We have a Tattoo coming up to honor some Colonels who are leaving Ft. Drum. We’re going to be marching in playing, and then when we get to the stopping point, we’re executing a bit of marching band drill to go from our marching block to a concert band setting. This morning we learned how and practiced going from block to concert. We started working on getting back into the block, but it was getting close to lunchtime and it was hot outside. We’ve still got a little over 2 weeks until the tattoo, so we have plenty of time to learn this simple drill. After lunch we had weapons maintenance time so we were all cleaning our weapons. Mine was still clean from the last time I cleaned the clean weapon (I’ve never fired the rifle I have assigned to me), so it didn’t take much to get it to standard. Once I was done, I went and took care of some stuff in my Ops office, and then I headed out to get Robbie and meet Ryan to go to the chiro. We ate supper at Wendy’s on our way home, and after Robbie was in bed, we watched TV and I crocheted.

High: 81
Low: 48

Sunshine!

Today was my first day back doing PT in a while. We did pushups and ab work. Boy were the pushups hard since I haven’t done any in over a month. But it felt good to be doing them again. After 0930 formation, we had a rehearsal for those of us on the job for the Warrior Leader Course Graduation ceremony. I was on it. One of the soldiers from the band graduated from the course. That took up the morning. Then after lunch I had my 30-day eye check up. Things are looking good and the healing will continue. My optometrist refilled my prescriptions for my steroid eye drop and my rewetting drops, so once I was done with the appointment, I headed over to the pharmacy to get those. Then it was back to work to get caught up on government travel card stuff. We’re getting there with getting everyone a card, but now I’ve discovered that I need to have several people refill out a form since I had them do the wrong one the first time. What the form had written at the top of it said exactly what I wanted to do with their accounts, but I found out today when I called to check on the status of those forms that I had to use a different form. I’ll get that taken care of tomorrow. I left a little before 4:30 and headed home (stopped at the Post Office on my way to get my fundraising letters in the mail) to go run. I went for a 5 mile run today – nice and sunny out with a slight breeze. It took me a little while to get loosened up and into a rhythm, but I did eventually and had a good run. Ryan and Robbie were home when I got back and Robbie came running to the door to meet me. After a shower, I made spaghetti for supper and then after Robbie was in bed, we watched some Tivo and I stitched.

Off to bed now. . .

High: 67
Low: 39