A long, but productive day

No PT this morning so I got to sleep in a little bit.  We had formation at 0830 so we could rehearse a little bit before we headed over to the ceremony rehearsal.  It’s a very high profile ceremony, so it was full band for the rehearsal – and it took all morning.  We got our instruments and chairs loaded on our truck and then walked over to the ceremony site where we unloaded the truck and got set up.  We played some, but not a whole lot during the 2 run-throughs of the ceremony.  It’s going to be long – everything, including the speeches, is going to be translated into Iraqi.  We finished up about 11:30 or so and got the truck loaded and walked back to the band hall and unloaded the truck.  We got an extra half hour for lunch since we were leaving a half hour late (so it really was the same length of time, just 1/2 hour later than normal).

After lunch our inventory continued and we discovered more discrepancies and stuff we’ll have to do paperwork on and/or track down.  Then after that we were pretty much done for the day, but we had to wait until Chief and Top got back from a meeting so they could put out information for our move tomorrow into our permanent rooms.  I’m probably in the room I’ll be in, with the same roommate, but we’ll make do once we get the room rearranged and divided somewhat.  I kind of like this room – it’s fairly close to the latrine and showers, and we’re on an end and not in the middle so there’s only neighbors on one side.

I was chow relief for the CQ this evening, so after formation, I sat in the CQ area for a while so the CQ could go eat dinner.  Once he was back, I headed out to dinner and ended up sitting with a couple of female Captains from our Battalion.  I knew one of them because she’s the UMO for her company.  They’re both really nice and we had a good chat, and then they offered to let me walk back with them since I was by myself and it was dark by the time we were done eating.  It’s always nice talking with different people once in a while.

So once back I got a shower and changed into PTs and was able to even get a little bit of stitching in.  Now it’s bedtime – or past since I have to get up EARLY tomorrow.  Everyone (band) has to be at formation at 0445 even if we’re not moving.  We “get” to help everyone else move.  But that’s ok – I told NJ that I’d help him move.

Today’s High:  104
Current:  93 (10:55 p.m.)

My first Praise Team rehearsal!!

We went to the gym for Yoga again this morning, and that was a nice relaxing time.  I like ending my week this way.  Then we stopped for breakfast on our way home.  After formation we had Stage Band sectionals because we didn’t have a full band to rehearse with.  Some of the Soldiers in our unit have started moving to their permanent CHUs.  I haven’t moved yet – maybe tomorrow, but Sunday for sure.  Our sectional went well.  Then it was lunchtime.  I had my (pretty much) usual of a tuna sandwich on wheat bread with Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and black olives, something from the salad bar (usually kimchi), and something to drink (usually sweet tea with no ice).

After lunch we had to show our pro-masks to our NBC guys so they could make sure they were all accounted for inventory tomorrow.  Then I did some other supply stuff for the rest of the afternoon.  It was kind of a long afternoon, but I had something to look forward to!  Once we had had a put-out-information formation and details were done, I headed over to the Chapel to help get set up for rehearsal.

Tonight was my first rehearsal with Joyful Noez (the o has the 2 dots over it) – the Praise Team for the chapel service I attend.  What a great group of people!!  We have a civilian contractor, an Australian Soldier, U.S. Soldiers, and U.S. Airmen.  After we had finished setting up, we went into one of the classrooms for prayer time.  Our leader took prayer requests and praises – went around the room and everyone had a chance to talk about what’s going on in their lives right now – and then we prayed.  We did popcorn prayer, so after one guy started, it was just whoever had anything to pray about and then the guy that started the prayer ended it.  Then it was rehearsal time.  It was a little disorganized, but it’s our first week in the new chapel.  I’m one of the vocalists, and it was such an awesome experience singing and worshiping God.  Even singing into a microphone didn’t bother me.  Of course, Sunday evening when the chapel is full might be a different story, but we’ll see.  We rehearsed all the songs for Sunday and then after we tore down, we all (well, those that could) went to the chow hall for dinner together.  Before we eat, we all hold hands in a big circle at our table and someone prays and blesses our food.  Right in the middle of the chow hall!  I’m really glad I was led to sing in this group, and I think I’m going to have an awesome time over the next months.  One of the guys walked me home since I need to have a battle buddy after dark.  

Well, between rehearsal going until 2040 and then dinner, it was after 10 when I got back to the LSA, and then I chatted with one of my fellow Supply Sergeants from the Battalion for a while – been trying to get ahold of him via e-mail because I had some questions for him, but his e-mail wasn’t working until today so that’s why he wasn’t answering me.  Now I’m heading to bed – it’s almost midnight.

Today’s High:  106
Current:  93 (11:40 p.m.)

A really good day

I ran yet again for PT this morning.  A friend from another company from Battalion was going to run with me, but I guess he slept in.  So I went exploring around camp by myself.  It was a nice run, although it ended up being a little shorter than my usual runs – only 2.77 miles.  But I got to see different parts of camp and I didn’t even get lost!  Then it was my usual morning routine.

After breakfast and formation, I did e-mails and other computer stuff for the morning.  Then after lunch I went and sat on my tuff box in the back of the rehearsal hall and put my iPod on to listen to my salsa music.  I had my music so I could see it and hear it, and then I sang along as well.  We had rehearsal this afternoon and it went really well, I think.  Our first 2 tunes are really starting to come together, and number 3 has a decent start.  My listening and singing really helped.  I played a lot better than last time we had rehearsal and I hadn’t even touched my horn.  I think I’m going to start playing along with my iPod and go that route as well.  Once rehearsal was done, it was details and then we headed to the chow hall.  I had to stop back at the band hall before heading home so I could get a box (mail) that I needed to bring to my room.

I had a nice relaxing evening in my room – updated my MySpace page a little, but I can’t get the rest of the updates to go.  The internet is being slow tonight I think.  And I stitched for a little over an hour!  Now it’s computer/chatting time and then off to bed.

Today’s High:  100
Current:  91 (9:50 p.m.)

What a Wednesday!

Today was a good day.  It was productive but not stressful and everyone pretty much got along with everyone!  I started out the morning running again.  We did 3.68 miles, but after a warmup, we did 2 miles of 1/4 mile intervals (1/4 mile fast, 1/4 mile slow).  And then we finished with a slow jog back to our living area.  Total time was 38:22.  I really like running fast – I just need to work up to more than 1/4 mile.  I felt really good when we got back.

Then it was the usual shower/change/computer/breakfast routine.  Except before I went to breakfast, I stopped by and picked up my laundry that I could have gotten yesterday had I been back before 1900 when they close.  Then it was formation followed by supply stuff the rest of the morning.  After lunch we began our 100% inventory and completed the brass, woodwind, and rhythm instruments, and also weapons (done after morning formation).  Then I did more supply stuff for the rest of the day – inventory prep for Saturday, some e-mails, hand receipt stuff, etc.  The day actually went by pretty quickly despite not having any rehearsals.  Then it was off to dinner and then home for a shower and time to relax.

Off to bed in a bit I guess.  I’m tired.

Here’s a pic of our Stage Band rehearsing the other day.  Yes, that’s me on the end of the front row.

Today’s High:  101
Current:  90

A much better day

We went for a 3.64 mile run this morning for PT.  It was the same route, but it just depends on where I start and stop.  It was a little slower today – finished in 39:00.  But after the 4 yesterday, it was a nice recovery run.  Intervals are up tomorrow so that will be fun!  Then it was off to shower/breakfast and then formation.  After formation we had stage band sectionals, and I think our trombone sectional went fairly well.  We worked some on intonation and rhythms of course.  That took us almost until lunch, so I just did a few quick e-mails and then headed out to lunch.  I had the stir fry today – you get to pick what you want in it.  It was a chicken day (some days they have beef), so I had that and rice, mixed veggies, green peppers, onions, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and then garlic and chili powder for seasonings.  It was really good, but it was  HUGE amount of food.  I didn’t even eat half of it.

After lunch we had a short ceremonial band rehearsal to go over some of the music for our upcoming ceremony.  That went well and then it was off to my office to do some supply work.  I set up a few new hand receipts to help with our system of property accountability.  Midway through the afternoon, I went to meet up with the Battalion UMO, and we went to make the necessary arrangements to get my last 2 quad cons moved to our band area.  We finally found the office we were looking for and I got the information we needed.  We thought we still needed to uncouple the quad cons, so the forklift driver met us by the containers, but we discovered that they had been uncouple already.  That was nice!  So I found out what I needed to do to get a flatbed truck and I headed off to that office – the BN UMO went back since I knew what I needed to do.  I got to the office I was looking for and they gave me the information I needed to get the flatbed.  Then it was back to the band hall to call to make the arrangements for the truck, and then back to the container yard to make sure the forklift would be available at the same time my truck would be showing up.  But at least that’s done and I know when my containers will be in the band yard.

By then, it was time to go to dinner.  My friend from basic training met me and we went to eat together.  It was nice catching up on the past almost 9 years over dinner at the chow hall.  He had to go back to work after, so he headed back there and I went home to crochet.  I also got to chat with my friend

.  I always like chatting with her, and I can’t wait until I get to meet her in person when I get home.

Wow.  It’s almost 2300.  I guess I should probably get some sleep.

Today’s high:  99
Current:  90 (10:45 p.m.)

Yup. It was Monday. Oh, and Happy Memorial Day!

PT was good this morning so at least I had a good start to my day.  Bravo Team met at the band hall at 0600 so we could go run the 2 mile PT test route for familiarization – most of the team hadn’t even seen it yet.  So I ran to the band hall from my CHU and that was a half mile.  Then we ran from the band hall to the start point and that was a little over a half mile.  Then I ran the 2 mile loop and ran home.  My total was 4.04 miles and I did it in 40:09.  I took another 30 seconds per mile off my pace since last Wednesday.  Of course, the first mile was split up, but still, it wasn’t bad.  Maybe by the time I leave here, I’ll be able to get down to an 8 to 8 1/2 minute mile for 4-5 miles.  We’ll see. . .

I had a nice chat with Ryan after I had gotten back and showered.  I always enjoy when he’s online and I get to chat with him.  Then it was off to breakfast and to formation.  I spent the morning doing pretty much nothing except answering a few e-mails.  Then lunch.  Then after lunch it was more of the same until 3 when we had Salsa Band rehearsal.  We just did a horn line sectional today with a little bit of rhythm to keep the time.  I think the rehearsal in and of itself went ok, but there were a few things that stressed me out.  I’ll live, though.

Then after details and our final information gaggle for the evening (which seems to be getting later and later each day), I headed to the new chapel to help the praise team get the sound equipment and everything set up over there.  Then it was off to chow and that was kind of relaxing once I was finally able to enjoy it.  Our jazz combo played for Memorial Day and that was nice to listen to.  It finally relaxed me from the stress of the day.

I finally got back to my room about 8:50 and my roommate greets me with “Gee, you’re out awfully late.”  Whatever.  Like it’s any of her business what time I get in.  Of course, I got the same thing last night after I got home from chapel and dinner so I should have expected it.  Another week and then I’ll be moving in with my band roommate and I can get settled finally.  I had a nice relaxing shower and now I’m snuggled up in bed with my computer.  Time to hit the hay!

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day and took a moment to remember what it’s all about.  It’s not just about BBQs and getting together with families and friends.  Please remember that you have the freedom to do those things because my brothers and sisters in arms and I are over here fighting so that you may have those freedoms.  So when you see a Servicemember or a Veteran today, please thank them for their service.  And especially take a moment to remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice so that you can sit by your BBQ, flipping your burgers, and drinking your beer.

Today’s High:  97 – a cool day!
Current – 90 (10:15 p.m.)

Gator class and an otherwise relaxing day

I slept in this morning and got up about 7:30.  I chatted with Ryan as I was getting ready, and for breakfast I had a chocolate muffin and some lemon cookies that I still had from Kuwait.  We had formation at 0845 for accountability and then about half the band headed up to the Battalion motorpool for a class on the Gator.  We have to be licensed to drive it, and I guess our in-house training wasn’t good enough for Battalion.  At least it only was about 45 minutes long, but it was a complete waste of time.  I didn’t learn anything that First Sergeant hadn’t already taught us in the class we had last week when we first got here.  But it’s official now and we’ll be licensed on them.  After the class was done  I stopped by the post office to mail out a letter and then SGT O’B and I went by the band hall to bring our helmets back and then to Green Beans for coffee.  I actually had a chocolate smoothie and not coffee.  We hung out for a while in the pavilion area in the food court (Green Beans, Burger King, Pizza Hut, and Subway) and just talked and drank our beverages.  Then it was off to the chow hall for lunch and then home.

I changed into PTs and went to the Beauty Shop for a manicure.  I only got a sort-of one.  The power went out (they randomly shut down generators to clean them) so she wasn’t able to do a very good job.  I had to walk back to my room after she was done so I could get cash to pay with.  I only had my credit card with me but with the power out, that wouldn’t exactly work.  They were really nice about it and didn’t have a problem with it.  So I walked home and then walked back to pay.  Since I was up there anyway, I went to the band hall to call Mom & Dad even though it was an hour earlier than we had planned.  They were up anyway, so it worked out ok.  We talked for about 20 minutes and then I headed home to stitch.  I also chatted with Ryan and checked e-mail and message boards and stuff.

At 6 I met up with the other guys from the band that go to chapel together and we walked up to the chapel.  The service was nice – lots of singing again.  After the service I chatted with a few members of the praise & worship team and I’ll be joining them as a vocalist to help lead the songs for worship.  Rehearsals are on Friday evenings.  We all went to the chow hall for dinner – I walked over there with my band buddies, but I ended up sitting with the members of the praise team.  They are all really nice – mostly military, but there is one civilian contractor and a guy from New Zealand or Australia.  My band buddies left before I was done eating, but they did ask if I would be ok.  One of the guys from the praise team walked with me since he lives pretty near where I do.  That was kind of nice of him.  Most everyone else lives in the opposite direction of where I needed to go.

So now that I’m home, I’m checking e-mail and I’ll play some pogo games before I go to sleep.

The weekly running update. . .  Not as much as I would have liked, but a good start!

Today’s high:  97 – windy and dusty and it felt cool
Current:  90 (9:40 p.m.)

A long, slow day

Today was sleep-in Saturday.  We don’t have to do PT on Saturdays if we don’t want to, so I took the opportunity to sleep in a couple of extra hours.  I got up about 7 and chatted with Ryan as I was getting ready for the day.  I stopped and dropped off my laundry on my way to the chow hall for breakfast on my way to the band hall.  After formation I was in charge of a detail to move water.  We get pallets of bottles of water delivered to us each week, and one pallet full had been brought inside yesterday when it was delivered, but put in the wrong spot.  So that got moved to the correct storage spot and then we moved the other pallet inside.  There’s 12 bottles of water in a case and I think there’s 20 cases on a pallet.  I’ll let you do the math on how many bottles of water we go through around here.  That task took about 15 minutes, if that.  The only other thing I had to do this morning was type up a couple of documents and then gather signatures for them.  That took about 45 minutes, only because I had to redo them a couple of times to get them completely correct.  That took me almost to lunch, so I sent a few e-mails to finish out the morning.

After lunch was long.  I went to the Ed Center to see about continuing or restarting my masters degree.  There is some paperwork that I need to sign and have my commander sign for my tuition assistance.  And I’m going to have to call back to Ft. Drum (or e-mail) and talk to an education counselor before I can do anything else.  So that trip next door to the Ed Center was pretty useless.  I spent the afternoon researching possible masters degrees, but didn’t really get anywhere with that.  I just don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  I’d really like to get a masters in music or something sports/fitness/exercise related.  At 3 we had a short rehearsal of the Iraqi National Anthem for our upcoming ceremony and then it was try and look busy for the rest of the afternoon.  I could have taken my horn out and maybe looked at my salsa music, but I just didn’t feel like playing today.  It was finally time for our end-of-the-day information gaggles by MST and then we were done.  I went to dinner which was bleh tonight and then back to the band hall to get my helmet and ballistic glasses for a class we have to go to tomorrow.  Then it was CHU Sweet CHU.  I had nice chats with Ryan, Mom, and my friend A, and I got to watch Robbie on the webcam.  And I stitched.  Now I’m ready to head off to dreamland.

Today’s High:  109
Current: 93 (10:45 p.m.)

Yoga, Jazz Band, and a Productive Afternoon

Today was a great day.  For PT this morning, NJ and I went to the gym for a Yoga Fit class.  The instructor (a guy) was really good and the class was awesome.  Some of the poses were fairly easy since I’ve been doing a few on my own as they help me stretch for running.  Some of them totally kicked my butt, especially the side planks.  I felt great after an hour of stretching, and we’re planning on going every Friday to relax after the week.  That and it will be good stretching for our Saturday or Sunday long runs!  We stopped for breakfast on our way home, and I had tons of fruit (well, not tons, but a nice variety) and a bowl of Frosted Flakes and an English muffin with peanut butter.  Then I had some time after I got changed for e-mail and stuff before heading to the band hall for formation.

We had jazz band rehearsal this morning, to start getting ready for the 4th of July concert(s).  It was a lot of fun and we’re playing some cool tunes.  We actually sounded pretty good so that was a nice surprise as well.  After lunch was a very productive afternoon.  I dropped off some paperwork for supply on my way to the Battalion Supply office to get information on more paperwork I need to do.  Once back, I typed up the paperwork that I got the info on, and then I went to the weapon cleaning area and cleaned my weapon.  Boy did it need it with all the dust around here.  Our armorer, SGT O’B wasn’t doing anything, so he helped me out.  That was nice of him.  Of course, he’s one of my friends, so that always helps.  It was kind of relaxing just sitting and cleaning and chatting.  Once I was done with that I took care of a couple of e-mails I needed to send and then it was time for details.  About 5:30 we were done for the day and we headed to the chow hall for dinner – steak and seafood on Fridays!!  I had a couple of crab legs and some shrimp.  I stay away from the steak – it’s usually like shoe leather.  Again, it was nice to just sit and relax and chat with friends.

After dinner I went back to the band hall and called Ryan and Robbie.  Daycare was closed today for the holiday weekend and Ryan stayed home.  It’s always nice to hear their voices and talk to them for a while.  Robbie tells me about everything he’s seeing – a crane that’s reallly big and goes up to the sky, a yellow backhoe, the wet slide but it wasn’t raining it had stopped, etc.  And of course, I get the other news and stuff from Ryan.  Now that I’ve got a new phone card, I’ll be able to call home more often.  I sure miss my guys, and I’m glad for my webcam (thanks for fixing it Rick!!!) so I can watch them like I’m doing now.

I got home after a nice leisurely walk only to find out that our A/C unit wasn’t working.  But the guys were there to fix it.  That involved them taking the old unit out, leaving for a while, and about 20 minutes later came back with a different unit for us.  But boy was it HOT in here – it was 100 outside and it was pretty close to that in here.  My roommate and I were both just dripping with sweat.  Once they got the new unit in, it was shower time.  And did I need it at that point.  Oh, the guys that fixed the A/C unit work for KBR and one was from India and the other from Macedonia.  We chatted with them for a bit while they were doing the re-install.  The guy from Macedonia had never seen snow, so I pulled up a picture of Robbie shoveling last winter.  His comment was “no thanks.  I take hot.”  LOL  He did say that Robbie was cute.  🙂

Ok, I think I’ve rambled on enough for today.

High today:  109
Current:  95 at 10:11 p.m.

Starting to get into a routine

We went to the gym for PT this morning and worked our abs.  I did probably close to 400 crunches,  some flutter kicks, situps, etc.  We did do a little bit of pushups, but it was ab focus.  I’m going to be feeling it tomorrow probably.  I stopped for breakfast on my way home from the gym and I saw another face from the past.  CH Triplett, one of my Chaplains (and my reenlisting officer) from Korea, is here with 3ID.  I didn’t get a chance to talk to him, but I hope I see him again before he leaves here in the next few weeks.

After changing and stuff, I had some time on my computer for e-mail and message boards and stuff and that was nice being able to relax for a bit.  The rest of the morning went by pretty quickly.  We had ceremony music rehearsal after formation and we did it outside to start getting used to standing in formation in the heat.  Besides our instruments and music, we were all required to have a bottle of water with us as well.  It wasn’t too bad and we actually sounded good (not the best, but still not as bad as I expected after everyone being off their horns for probably 3 weeks).  Then after rehearsal, I spent the rest of the morning working with my expendables (after the supply shop meeting we had).

For the first 2 hours after lunch, I finished my area.  It looks WAY better than what it did when I started.  It could still use some tweaking, but I’ve got 15 months to get it the way I like it.  LOL  Then we had Latin/Salsa Band rehearsal.  We just listened to lots of music today and had our music so we could follow along.  Being in this group is going to be a challenge for me, but it’s also going to be lots of fun.  We’ll be getting CDs of the music so we can listen to it, and I’ll start taking my iPod to work and I can practice along with the music.  At 5 we did our building cleanups and got the “last words” for the day (any info that needed to be put out) and then we were done.  Dinner was pretty decent tonight – I had chicken cordon bleu and mashed potatoes and corn.  Now, I like to mix my corn into my ‘taters, and boy did I get a funny look from the serving guy when I asked him to put my corn in the same section of my plate as my taters.  But he did it.  🙂

Now I’ve stitched for a while and am doing my pre-bedtime computer stuff.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures. . .
Members of the 10th Mountain Division Band outside our new “home”

View from the front of the Band Hall

Front of the band hall

And finally, the deep end of the pool, taken from up on the pool deck

Today’s High:  105
Current Temp:  90 (at 2230)