Happy Halloween!!

And Happy Birthday Aunt Carol!

Today was PT test day. We got started at 0530 at the band hall with the pushups and situps. I did 32 pushups (83%) – my worst ever, 60 situps (81%) – one of my worst ever, and ran my 2 miles in 18:14 (83%) – not bad. I haven’t really been training like I should have and then I’ve been sick for the past week and a half, plus my hurt foot from last week. So overall, I can’t complain about my 247 – my lowest score in about 4 years. But I still passed everything sick or not, so that’s always a good thing! After we were done with the test, we were done until 1000, so after a shower to get all the mud off my legs and a little bit of computer stuff, I went back to bed for a little over an hour. Longer would have been nice, but work was waiting. We were back in at 1000. After formation we had our monthly urinalysis and I was the female observer. Only one female was testing, so it wasn’t bad. And I just hung out in my office doing work until she was ready to "donate". The morning went by really quickly and soon it was lunchtime/stitching time.

After lunch we had a Halloween party and could wear costumes if we wanted. Of course, I didn’t find out about the party until too late to come up with a costume, so I just went as a Soldier – as most of the unit did. We had some games – bobbing for apples, toilet paper mummies (2 teams – Team Top and Team Chief (I was on Team Top) – wrapped our commander and 1SG up in toilet paper and other stuff – we used a kevlar helmet, goggles, PT belts, gloves, and TONS of tp – and after our 5 minutes were up the judges picked which team did a better job of "dressing" their "mummy" – our team won and our prize was that we got to wrap up all the members of the other team into mummies. It was a ton of fun!), and a balloon pop where they had balloons tied to their ankles with strings and they had to try and pop everyone elses balloons without getting their own popped. 1SG ended up winning that one. I didn’t participate, but it was a ton of fun watching everyone who did participate. Then they showed a couple of scary Halloween-ish movies, but I didn’t go watch them. They turned off all the lights and it was too dark to stitch. I can’t just sit and watch a movie, and I’m not really into scary movies anyway. So I spent the rest of the afternoon in my office catching up on e-mail and paperwork.

This evening was Joyful Noez rehearsal, and it sure was great being back with them and singing again. We have a great set for this week. The only downside of the evening was that since I was already sick, singing made it worse and I had NO voice left by the end of rehearsal. We got to the chow hall about 10 minutes before they closed and I had my usual Friday night shrimp, and I had my first dish of ice cream in 3 weeks!! That tasted really good – I had given up ice cream for a while because I was worried about the weigh in yesterday. Weigh in and PT test are over, so I could have ice cream again. We had good conversation over our dinner, and then J gave me a ride home as he had a truck and no one was walking my way this week. He’s a a really nice guy, and we talked about our spouses and families on the drive home.

Off to bed now as I can’t sleep in tomorrow like I thought I could. Stay tuned tomorrow to find out why. . . 🙂

Today’s High: 66
Current: 59

Really Good Day

This morning started off with our semi-annual weigh-in.  I was BARELY under my table weight, but under is under so I didn’t have to be taped.  I did tape the other females that needed to be taped for body fat percentage.  Then I stopped at the chow hall for breakfast on my way home.  Once home, I got changed and played on my computer for a bit and I crocheted for a while as well.  Then it was off to work.  After formation we had brass quintet rehearsal and that went really well.  During our break, I pulled up "Misty" to see where I was at on it.  It’s a trombone feature, jazz balad, and it’s pretty high.  Like at the top of my range high.  I’ve not been able to play it since my softball injury.  But today I could!  It still needs a lot of work, but I got it.  So when the BQ leader got back from break, I asked him if we could play through "Misty" if we had time.  We did, and it went pretty well.  It’s a ways from being performance ready, but it was so awesome being able to play it even a little.  That’s a huge milestone in my recovery process – my high range is finally coming back!

After rehearsal was done, it was about lunchtime.  I went in my office and checked my e-mail and stuff from the morning and answered those that needed to be answered.  Then I stitched for the rest of the time.  After lunch I did computer stuff and then when the mail clerks came back from getting mail, I had a ton of ADO to take care of – like 2 mail bags full plus a few more that weren’t in the bag.  I got them all sorted and all delivered except for those Soldiers on leave.  I still have some paperwork to finish up tomorrow, but at least I know I have something to do.  Also in the afternoon, I had to counsel a Soldier for not passing the tape test for the weigh in this morning.  That’s never a fun job, but it’s one that has to be done.

Soon it was time to head for home, and I got changed back into my muddy/yucky boots and left my good ones in my little cubby by the back door.  I had gotten a box from my brother today and a few other things, so I bypassed the chow hall.  My stomach wasn’t feeling too good anyway.  I got home and took a nice hot shower and changed into PTs.  I crocheted for a while, finishing the project I started this morning and starting on another one, and then about 0830 I headed to the MWR for Country Night.  I did quite a few of the line dances – some that I remembered from last week, some that I learned new this week.  And I danced some of the two-steps as well – some with D’s dance partner A as a refresher course so I could teach M how to dance.  It was wierd leading, and then M caught on pretty quick and I forgot that I wasn’t leading anymore.  It was a lot of fun, and definitely a good workout.  I think I’m going to go every week and get a little bit of extra PT in if nothing else.  They had burgers and hot dogs and some other food there this week as a farewell to one of the units that is leaving for home soon.  About 1/2 way through the night, I finally got hungry and I had a hot dog.  No bun, no ketchup.  Just a hot dog.  And it was very good!  Of course, it’s probably not the best pre-PT test food, but whatever.  🙂

I finally headed home about 2330 or so – M walked me home so I wasn’t walking  by myself.  Now I’m heading to bed because it’s way late and I have a PT test in less than 5 hours.

Today’s high:  71
Current:  64

The Rainy Season has Begun

I was off this morning so I just slept until my body said it was time to get up – which was around 0945 or so.  The power was out in my room when I got up, so I couldn’t get online right away.  They were cleaning the generators.  I crocheted for a while and then the power came back on so I was able to do e-mail and stuff like that.  I finally got ready and headed to work for 1300.  Through the mud.  It rained some this morning again.  I need to remember to bring my good boots to work to leave there so I can change out of my muddy ones at the back door.  At least it wasn’t too bad today and I was able to clean my boots off at the door before I went in.  I spent the afternoon catching up on my e-mails and ADO stuff and other supply things.  It’s amazing how many e-mails can come in in just 4 days.  At 1600 we had to be at the Honor Chapel for an EO class on the Prevention of Sexual Harassment.  Our mandatory quarterly training.  At least once the class was done, we were done for the day.  I came home and did computer stuff and crocheted for a while before heading back for dinner at 1830.  I met up with my friend SB for our last dinner together.  He is going home as his deployment has come to an end.  We sat and talked over dinner for almost an hour and then we headed to the chapel so I could get a picture of the two of us together.  It was a sad goodbye with much hugging and a few tears on my part.  He’s a great friend, and he really helped me get through my tough times with my softball injury.  I’m going to miss him, but this is such a small Army I’m sure we’ll see each other again sometime.  And we’ll be in touch via e-mail.  I’m happy that he’s getting to go home to his wife and son and parents and I wish him good flights and safe travels.

I spent the evening chatting with friends, playing on my computer, and crocheting on a prayer shawl.  I had to take a break from Christmas presents so I could meet all my stitching and crocheting goals for the month – this one being to finish 2 skeins of yarn on my current prayer shawl.  I finally got the second skein done (it had been started already) about 2330.  Now I need to get to bed as it’s midnight.

Today’s high:  71
Current:  63

October 28 – Tuesday Travel Day home

I slept in again Tuesday morning.  So much for cereal that comes out of a box and milk that doesn’t.  LOL  At least I had one breakfast while in Kuwait.  Once up, I got everything packed and then SFC M and I went to get our weapons.  We got CPT K’s as well while we were there.  It was a nice break to not have my weapon, but it also felt good to have my trusty "friend" back with me.  Then the 3 of us went to lunch before turning in our linen and checking out of the barracks.  We got a ride to the bus station and took the bus to the airport – another hour and a half ride.  I read since it was took dark and bumpy to stitch.  After much waiting at the airport – where I did stitch – we were finally on our way back to our "homes".  It was a very FULLY flight on a C-130 and I felt like a sardine.  And the guy across from me kept slouching down in his seat and his knees were practically in my chest.  Hello!!!  Common sense anyone??  But we made it back and NJ picked us up at the airport here.  It sure was nice to be back in my room with my computer and able to sleep in my own bed again!!

October 26 & 27 – Sunday & Monday

Sunday. . .

After we got our stuff on our assigned bunks, 3 of the 4 of us headed to the chow hall for breakfast.  They have real silverware, plates, bowls, and cups here.  And cereal that comes out of a box and milk that doesn’t!  After we ate, we headed back to the bay and the others went to sleep.  I crocheted for about 20 minutes and then about 0815 I headed across the street to the chapel for the 0830 Lutheran service.  It was another female Chaplain!  9 years in the Army and I’ve never had female chaplains until Balad and now.  It was a really nice service with Communion for the 10 of us in attendance.  After the service I chatted with the Chaplain and a few of the other attendees for a bit and then I headed to the PX.  Talk about a nice PX!!  MUCH bigger and more variety of stock than ours.  I bought a few things and then stopped by the bazaar to look around.  I ended up buying a Christmas present there.  Once back to the bay, I wrote out a postcard for a friend (hi A!!) and then I crawled into bed for about a 4 hour nap.  When I woke up, I finished the crochet project I had started earlier and when CPT K and SFC M got back from their shopping expedition, the 3 of us went to dinner.  After dinner, SFC M and I took our craft projects (she stitches as well!!) to the TV room and watched football.  I finished a second crochet project I had started after I finished the first one, and then I stitched for a while as well before heading to the phones (right in the same building) to call Ryan & Robbie and Mom & Dad.

Monday. . .

I slept in and then just lounged around and crocheted until lunchtime.  Then our briefing – it wasn’t really a class – was at 1300.  It only lasted 2 hours.  It was about stuff Unit Movement Officers have to do for redeploying.  Don’t get your hopes up – we’re still here for a while.  It’s just that the movement stuff starts way early – remember how many months before we came over here I started doing movement stuff?  Well, it’s even longer for the trip back home.  Once the briefing was done, I changed into PT’s and went for a 2.45 mile run in 23:34, a nice brisk 9:37 pace!!  I still want to get faster, but mainly today I wanted to test out my foot and see how it was feeling.  No pain during or later, so that’s a good sign!  It was short because I didn’t really know where to run and I didn’t feel like going in circles so I just went.  Oh, and I didn’t want to get lost either.  🙂  After the run and a shower, I went to dinner by myself since CPT K and SFC M weren’t around.  And then I spent the evening crocheting and stitching.

October 25 – Saturday

The 3 of us from the band that were going to the class in Kuwait were given the day off because of our upcoming overnight flight.  I slept until about 0945 and once up, I did computer stuff and crocheted until about 1330 when I left for the palace parking lot.  It RAINED most of the monring, really hard at times, and there was thunder and lightning.  The internet went out for a little while due to the weather.  It was MUDDY when I headed out at 1330, dropped a bag of laundry off on my way to the palace.  Since I had the day off, I was able to go to the Scout meeting.  And because it was my second meeting, I got my Scouting in Iraq "uniform" t-shirt.  That was pretty cool.  There weren’t many kids there this week due to the weather, but we still had a great time with the ones that were there.  We did the human knot as everyone was arriving, and we had some jump ropes out there as well and the kids enjoyed learning how to jump rope.

After the opening ceremony during which the kids sang the Iraqi National Anthem, they split into 2 groups – boys and girls.  The girls started at Line Dancing, the station I was volunteering at.  There were 3 of us adults and we taught them 4 dances – Chicken Dance, Cupid Shuffle, Cotton-Eyed Joe, and one other that I can’t remember.  We adults demonstrated the dance first while our translator talked through the steps and then everyone got to try it.  After we had taught all 4 dances, the girls went to knot tying and the boys came to dance.  Talk about a workout – doing each of the dances 4 times.  But everyone – kids and adults – had a great time.  Even some of the Iraqi parents (dads) joined in with the dancing.  The kids really enjoyed learning something new.  After the closing ceremony, the kids (and adults, too) got to choose tons of snacks to take home – several HUGE boxes of stuff had been donated for the Scouts.  You should have seen the armsful of food and the smiles on their faces.  I wish I had thought to take pictures of the kids getting their food. 

Once we were done, some of us (including me and my friends DG and MD) went to a small Iraqi restaurant for dinner.  It was Iraqi food, prepared and cooked Iraqi style.  There was a big hunk of meat just hanging in the open air and the cook was preparing the food bare-handed (no gloves).  It was cooked on an open-fire grill – meat, tomatoes, and onions, and then served with bread, kind of like pitas.  Everything was delicious, especially the bread.  We all ate our fill and then near the end of the meal, most of us had a cup of traditional chai tea.  That was really good as well.  And I guess an Iraqi meal/social event isn’t complete without smoking the hookah, so some of the guys did that.  I did not partake, but it smelled good – fruit tobacco.  Finally all was done and we headed home.

I got to chat with Ryan for a little while before I had to head to the Battalion with my stuff for the night flight to Kuwait.  We had to wait a couple of hours at the airport before our flight (I read) and then I slept on the flight.  The flight was about an hour or so.  Once we landed, there was the usual briefing and then we got to go.  There are some 10th Mountain Division guys in Kuwait, and they met us to drive us to Camp  Arifjan – about an hour and a half ride.  We finally got our weapons secured (they don’t carry weapns here – kind of strange not having my trusty M16 on my back, but kind of nice as well) and to our billets about 0630.  The females (4 of us) are in an open bay with about 49 bunk beds, but it’s really nice.  We each get a locker for our stuff and the latrine/shower is about 10 feet from the door of the bay – inside!!  And the lights are off from 2200-1700, so that’s nice.

Friday Fun

It was a typical morning.  Get up, get ready, drop off laundry, breakfast at the chow hall, and then off to formation.  After formation, I headed to my office and started going through e-mails.  It seems like everyone e-mails me after I’ve gone home for the day.  And I wrote down some notes in my notebook, stuff to discuss at our supply leadership meeting.  Once SFC E got back from the weekly supply meeting at Battalion, we had our supply leadership meeting with SFC E, SGT G, and myself.  We did some reorganizing of the personnel in the supply shop and made a clear list of what everyone’s duties are.  That meeting took until lunch, but it was very productive, and us 3 in the leadership positions are happy with the results.  I did a little bit of work at lunch because I thought of something from my PBUSE class last week that I wanted to try.  I need to play around with it more to see if I can get it to do what I want it to do.  Then I stitched for the rest of lunch time.

After lunch I went to the medical clinic and got my #5 Anthrax shot.  Only one more to go of the initial series and then it will be just an annual booster.  They want you to wait for 20 minutes after you get shot to make sure you’re not going to have any reactions, so I took my book out and read for 20 minutes.  The medic that stuck me commented on my preparedness.  First I had my paper shot record (which I guess is becoming obsolete, but I still use mine anyway), so he updated that.  And then I had a paperback book in my pocket for something to do while I waited.  I’m amazed at the number of people who haven’t thought about putting a paperback or small puzzle book in their cargo pocket.  Once I was done at the clinic, I headed back to my office and played around in PBUSE some more to pass the afternoon.  I did do a couple of documents to change the serial number on one item (it was posted on the property book one number off) and to add serial numbers to a couple of items that needed them.  We had a formation at 1600 to promote MM from Private to Private First Class.  It’s always a good day when a Soldier gets promoted.  Then we were done for the day after details.  I had one last thing to finish up on my computer, and then I headed home to change into PTs.

And then it was back to the chapel for Joyful Noez rehearsal.  Even though I won’t be singing on Sunday because I’ll be out of the area for a few days, I enjoyed rehearsal.  And tonight would be my last time singing with my friend SB.  Sunday is his last Sunday and he’ll be heading home.  So it was kind of a sad rehearsal as well.  Me and K (can’t think of his last name right now) went to Pizza Hut with the money we collected from everyone and we got 6 pizzas to take back to the chapel.  We had planned on eating out at the picnic tables by Pizza Hut, but it was really windy and dusty out so that wouldn’t have been much fun.  So we had a great time eating at the chapel and talking.  This is such a great group of friends, and I’m really going to miss SB – and others that are leaving in the next few weeks.  We hung out for quite a while at the chapel, and then I headed home and I crocheted on a Christmas present for a little while.  Well, I thought it was a little while, but now that I’m looking at the time. . .  yikes!  LOL

I’d better get to bed.

Today’s high:  91
Current:  79 (and it feels GREAT!!)

Country Night

I felt a lot better this morning when I got up. I’m definitely not completely better yet, but at least my head doesn’t feel like it’s being squeezed and I can sort of breathe. And I had energy. So I got ready and then it was off to the chow hall for breakfast on my way to work. After formation this morning, I checked my e-mail and answered a few. Then we had brass quintet rehearsal!! We sight read through a bunch of Christmas songs, so that was fun! It sure was nice being back in quintet again. Then I stitched during lunch, and after lunch I did some stuff on my computer until 1500 when we had salsa rehearsal. That was a lot of fun as well and we had a good rehearsal. It was a really good day, and 3 hours of playing. I headed to dinner and then home. I crocheted on a Christmas present and I chatted with my best friend from middle school/high school HB. We’ve lost touch over the past years, and she found me on Facebook. It sure was awesome getting to chat with her again and catching up on the past years. Then about 2100 I headed over to the MWR for Country Night. My friend SB (from Joyful Noez) is leaving next week and this was to be his last Country Night. Him and DG (also from JN and my Monday night stitching friend) have been asking me to join them at country night for the past couple of months or so and I’ve never gone. So I went tonight, and I’m glad I did. I had a lot of fun. They got a lot of laughs at watching me try and be coordinated enough to do the line dances, none of which I knew. And learning how to two-step was interesting as well, and provided much entertainment to those trying to teach me. I did dance a few songs with SB, though, and that was fun. I hope Ryan and I can find a good country place to go so we can dance once in a while once I get back home. Now I’m heading to bed, but before I go, I’ll leave you with my running ticker so you can see where I’m at. I had hoped to get over 200 this week, but with hurting my foot running Monday morning (I fell off the sidewalk and bruised up the side of my foot pretty good) and now getting sick, it’s not going to happen. But by the end of the month for sure!!

Time to get back on track

Monday it was back to work.  I didn’t have any rehearsals so I had lots of time to work on getting the ADO finished for the month.  Despite having all day, I still didn’t get it done.  Monday night was my weekly stitching night with my friend D.

Tuesday was more of the same – trying to get caught up on supply stuff from while I was gone.  We had salsa band rehearsal after lunch and then I was back in my office to finish out the day.  I spent the evening crocheting and I finished one Christmas present and worked on another one.

Wednesday morning I woke up feeling miserable.  I was stuffed up and sneezing and my head hurt and all that fun stuff.  And we were supposed to get our flu shots.  But they ran out before they got to my team, so we’ll have to go back some other time.  Then it was off to work, but SO and I stopped at Green Beans on our way, and he bought me a coffee.  We sat outside for a while and chatted while we drank our coffee.  Then I spent the rest of the morning in my office continuing getting caught up.  After lunch, I sat on a mock promotion board for a Soldier who will be going to her Staff Sergeant promotion board soon.  I had questions on the Roles & Responsibilities of the NCO, Leadership, Counseling, and Current Events.  Of course, I had to ask a NASCAR question for one of my current events questions!  After I was done with the board, I waited around until they got back with mail and then I headed home for the rest of the day (with permission).  I slept for a couple of hours until some noise outside woke me up.  One of my friends brought me dinner and then I just sat in my room and crocheted and watched a movie (Witless Protection – for the 3rd time).

I’ll be back later to write about today. . .

Saturday & Sunday

I’m almost caught up with the blogs!!

Saturday was a travel day.  I got checked out of temp. billeting and got on the bus to the air terminal.  Eventually they did roll call and we built the pallet with our baggage and finally the flight got ready to leave.  I got some stitching done while I was waiting.  The flight was short and uneventful, and after a short briefing when we got back here, I went out to get my bag and NJ was there waiting for me!  He actually carried my rucksack for me – I thought that was awfully nice of him.  Then it was back to the band hall where I went straight to Salsa Band rehearsal.  Was I glad to be back?  You bet!!  It was nice being able to jump right back into my music.  After rehearsal I went to my office and went through the 118 e-mails that were in my inbox of my work e-mail.  And then I got a ride home since I still had my rucksack plus 2 packages that had come while I was gone.  At 2100 I had a VTC with my guys, so that was a really nice way to end my day!!  

Sunday I slept until 1030 and just kind of was lazy getting caught up on the internet and stuff.  Then I had prayer shawl ministry from 1300-1500.  We have our first male member.  He started last week and is learning how to crochet.  He’s doing really well so far.  After prayer shawl, I headed home for a while and did more computer stuff until I headed back for my 1830 chapel service.  I didn’t sing with the praise team tonight because I wasn’t at rehearsal, but that’s ok.  I can still sing as part of the congregation!!  It was great being back with my "family" and in my "home church".  Everyone was glad to see me as well.  After the service we went to dinner at the chow hall and then to Green Beans to hang out and play Combat Uno.  On my way to Green Beans, I stopped by the band hall and called Mom and we had a nice chat!