Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!  I am very thankful for such a loving and supportive family, and wonderful friends all over the world.  I’m thankful for my brothers and sisters in arms.  I’m thankful for the freedoms that we have.  And I’m thankful to my command team for giving us today off!  I did have to get up and be at the gym at 0630 for a weigh-in for a few Soldiers.  I had to tape the females.  Once that was done, I came home and went back to bed for a while.  I got up about 0945 and got ready and headed to the chapel for the Thanksgiving Service.  Then I went to lunch with a few of my friends from Joyful Noez.  Very nice decorations and all the senior leadership was serving the food.  I had a 2 Star General serve my dinner roll.  🙂  I ate way too much, but it’s Thanksgiving.  LOL  We had great conversation with the 3 of us and good food.  I had turkey, mashed taters, sweet taters, corn, cranberry sauce, shrimp cocktail, a dinner roll, and apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  And egg nog to drink!!  After we were done eating, I headed home for computer time and crocheting.  I’m almost done with my Christmas presents!!  Woohoo!!  I’ll be glad when I can get back to my cross stitching.

Shortly before 1900, I headed to the other chow hall for dinner.  More Thanksgiving dinner, but I only had turkey, sweet taters, cranberry sauce, and a white chocolate macademia cookie.  The decorations were pretty cool – some chocolate sculptures and lots of "sculptures" made out of styrofoam.  Then it was back to my room for a little while and I took the time to get packed for my trip this weekend.  Then I headed out to the MWR for Country Night – time to dance off all the food from today.  And dance I did.  I added another line dance to the ones I know – well, it still needs some work, but it’s better than last time I tried it – which was never.  LOL  Two-steps, waltzes, cha-chas.  Lots of fun!  There was a LOT of people out there tonight so that always makes it even more fun.  I even taught a few people several of the line dances.

I need to get to bed now, but before I go, I want to leave you with this.  You know you’ve been deployed too long when you walk into the laundry place to pick up your laundry and the guy behind the counter says "Hi Ma’am" and disappears.  Only to reappear with your laundry bag.  He knows the last four of my SSN – that’s what we use on our laundry bags.

This was the sunset the other night.  I just thought the clouds were neat.

Today’s High: 73
Current:  55

More salsa

After turning in laundry, breakfast, and formation, we had salsa band rehearsal again.  I played much better this morning than I did last night.  It was a really good last rehearsal before our next gig.  Rehearsal went pretty much all morning.  Once in my office, I did a few e-mails and then I stitched through lunch.  After lunch we had ceremonial band rehearsal for an upcoming gig and then I went to my practice spot to put in an hour of individual time on my trombone.  Then it was in my office for the rest of the afternoon – some e-mails, some ADO stuff, some FOO stuff.  The afternoon went by pretty quickly and then I headed to dinner.  I stopped to pick up laundry on my way home, and I’ve had a nice evening crocheting.  I finished presents for two people – only 1 to go!!  Off to bed now – before 2300!!

Today’s High:  73
Current:  63

Another day done

I slept until about 0740 this morning, even after all the sleep yesterday.  I guess my body just needs to recover from the race yesterday morning.  I got ready and headed to breakfast and then to work.  After formation I headed to my office and worked on some paperwork and other computer stuff.  I stitched during lunch.  Then after lunch I went for my appointment to draw funds at the Field Ordering Officer (FOO) Pay Agent but some of my paperwork wasn’t correct so I went back to work to fix it.  Of course, it needs to go up to Battalion for signatures so I’ll have to go back another day to get the funds.  Then we had Stage Band sectionals after a reenlistment ceremony to finish out the day.  That went pretty well.  After a quick dinner it was back for salsa band rehearsal.  Rehearsal itself went pretty well, but I wasn’t playing very well.  It was really loud in there and I couldn’t hear the other parts to tell if I was in tune or not.  And I was missing notes and rhythms left and right.  At least I got my bad day out of the way before our gig this week.  Rehearsal went until 2000 and then I finally headed home to do computer stuff.  I’m going to bed now – too tired for anything else.

Today’s High: 73
Current: 63

VTC, Las Vegas Marathon (Half) and a Coin

Last night I couldn’t get LiveJournal to load so I couldn’t post a blog. Yesterday I did my hour of practicing in the morning and then ceremonial band rehearsal. I stitched through lunch. After lunch was stage band from 1-3 and then I spent the rest of the afternoon in my office taking care of email and stuff. Then it was home to crochet until it was time to head to Battalion for my Video-Teleconference (VTC) with Ryan and Robbie. I always enjoy those – getting to see and talk to my guys. Robbie was sleepy/snuggly yesterday, so he didn’t really talk much, but it’s still nice seeing them.

This morning I was up EARLY on my day off. I met up with CT and NJ and we headed over to Camp Liberty to run the Las Vegas Marathon satellite they had here. It was a half marathon. My friend ST from Joyful Noez was there also. I started the race with her, but she’s a faster runner than I am so she left me fairly early. It was a beautiful day for a race and about 63 degrees. I finished in 2:32:48, an 11:44 pace. After I had finished, those of us from the band started walking back. We ended up getting a ride from some other 10th Mountain guys that had a bus. That was nice! Once back in my room I chatted with Ryan for a while and then I grabbed a shower and went back to bed. I guess my body really needed sleep as I slept pretty much straight through from about 1030 until 1600. Of course, I was REALLY stiff when I finally woke up. I did a little on my computer for a while before heading to the chapel for the evening service.

The power was out at the chapel when I got there, but eventually they got some generators hooked up and we had power. We got our sound check and rehearsal done and our pre-service prayer time. Our preacher tonight was the Chief of Chaplains, the senior Chaplain in the U.S. Army – Major General Carver. He was really nice and gave a great message. The praise team was ON tonight and it was an awesome service. After the service, we got a Joyful Noez picture taken with MG Carver and he presented us all with his coin. It’s a really neat coin, and this one will go in the category of "special coins." Coins are pretty much a dime a dozen for us in the Army band field, but certain ones for certain things really stand out, and this is one of them for me.

After the service and pictures, we headed over to the chow hall for dinner – my first meal today since the race. I sure was hungry. And then I stopped at the Band Hall to call Ryan & Robbie and Mom & Dad. I had nice chats with all of them – except Robbie didn’t want to talk on the phone. But that’s ok – I still love him anyway. Then it was off to Green Beans to hang out for a little while before heading home. And now it’s time for bed.

Today’s High: 73
Current: 63

More rain

I have no idea what I did yesterday morning.  Supply stuff?  I really have no clue.  I know that I stitched at lunch, and then after lunch I went out to my practice spot for a while and spent some time on my trombone.  And then for the rest of the day I have no idea.  Did yesterday even happen?  After I got home from dinner, I settled in with my crocheting.  And then it started raining.  And the internet went out because of the rain.  So that’s why there was no blog last night.

I slept good last night and I got up this morning and got ready and headed to breakfast.  And then I headed to Battalion for our weekly Supply Sergeant meeting.  The meeting lasted almost an hour, but it was really good.  Lots of informatino and stuff.  And then it was off to the band hall.  I spent the rest of the morning doing computer stuff.  I stitched at lunch.  Then after lunch we had salsa band rehearsal.  That went really well and was a lot of fun.  Then I finished up some paperwork and went back to Battalion to turn in various pieces of paperwork at various places.  I stopped at CIF on my way out so I could get a piece of equipment that someone needed.  Then I stopped at my room to change into PTs before heading back to my office for a final check of e-mail for the day.  I headed to the chapel for Joyful Noez rehearsal which went ok.  Then it was off to the chow hall, and we got there just before they closed.  Dinner and fellowship was good.  Now I’m home and heading to bed.

Today’s High:  73
Current:  61

4 hours of rehearsal

I attempted to run this morning.  But my running buddy overslept and I tried to go by myself but I started coughing up a couple of lungs.  I decided maybe more sleep would be wise so I did that.  I slept for another hour and a half and almost overslept myself.  I did manage to get breakfast before the chow hall closed, so that was good at least.  Then I headed to the Honor Chapel for a briefing with the Command Sergeant Major.  He wanted to talk to all the Staff Sergeants in the Battalion that are eligible to be looked at for Sergeant First Class at the next board in February.  I am one of them!  It was a pretty interesting session – things to look for in our records to make sure everything is correct and stuff like that.

After that was done, I stopped by my room on my way to the band hall as I had something I needed to bring to work.  Once at work it was nearly 1100 so I didn’t have time for much – e-mails, a little bit of ADO stuff.  I stitched during part of lunch, and then I remembered that I needed to have questions ready for the mock promotion board at 1300, of which I was a part.  So I got my questions together and printed them out just in time to head to the board.  The Soldier did a lot better than the last mock board I sat on, but she still needs some work before she goes to her real promotion board.  When that was done, I had some time in my office to get caught up on ADO until the mail came, and I did some other paperwork and computer work that needed to be done for supply. 

And then the 4 hours of rehearsals began.  From 1500-1700 we had stage band rehearsal – sectionals for the first hour and then full band.  Rehearsal went really well, and the trombones sounded pretty good today!  Then I headed to a quick dinner with DP, CH, and S (I still can’t remember his last name) and then back to the band hall for salsa rehearsal from 1800-2000.  That was a fun rehearsal and we sounded pretty good as well.  But I was glad that was done after playing for 4 hours.  I headed home to my crocheting and am almost done with another project, so that made for a good evening!  I’m off to bed now so I can get up and hopefully run in the morning.

Today’s high:  75
Current:  63

Room Inspection

This morning we had a room inspection at 0730.  It took about 2 minutes.  SFC J peeked his head in the door and said Looks Good.  That was it.  Nothing major.  It sure is nice having a full bed to sleep on and not a super huge pile of stuff on top of my tuff box!  I had time to chat with Ryan this morning so that was a nice way to start my day.  Then it was off to breakfast (stopped to drop off laundry on my way) and then off to work.  After formation, I went to my office for a bit to check e-mail to get the day started.  And then I took my horn out to my practice area for my daily practice time.  Again I was pushing a lot of air through my horn and I got light-headed.  It’s such a great feeling!  LOL  I know that you don’t understand unless you’ve played a brass instrument, and more specifically a low brass instrument.  When I was done it was almost lunchtime.  I stitched through lunch.  Then we had salsa band after lunch.  It was nice having had a good warmup earlier in the day.  Rehearsal went really well.  Then after another e-mail check, I headed to Battalion via my room and the post office.  I mailed off 3 packages and then I went to Battalion to turn in some paperwork.  That took pretty much the rest of the afternoon – only a half hour left when I got back and I took care of ADO.  Then I had to go to the Seniors meeting to represent supply so that was kind of interesting.  I was the only SSG at the meeting.  Then I finally headed to dinner, and I ended up sitting with 3 guys from Joyful Noez – DP, CH, and S.  We had a good time and we discussed the set list for the week that D had sent out in e-mail earlier in the day.  Then I headed home for an evening of crocheting and chatting with Ryan and other friends.

Off to bed now. . .

Today’s high:  72
Current:  61

Pay Agent Class and a Clean Room

I ran with CH this morning. He’s another friend from Joyful Noez. We went my usual 3.65 miles and ran it in 36:46, a 10:04 pace. This was my third fastest time on this route and I felt really good afterwards. Once back and showered and changed, I had a little bit of time for computer stuff and chatting with Ryan but not as much as usual. I was at the band hall about 0815 and did a quick check of my e-mail before I headed out to the neighboring camp to go to the Pay Agent class. I will be handling the cash to buy stuff from various places around here – thingslike office supplies, storage lockers, etc. It was only a 45 minute class – and I went through it back in June. But I couldn’t find my course completion memo anywhere and I need that to draw funds so I retook the class. It was good refresher training, and they have actually changed a few things.

Then it was back to the band hall to my office where I got caught up on ADO stuff (until the mail came this afternoon) and did some other things. I stitched during lunch and then more with ADO because the mail came. I also took a trip to the PX to get some more nyquil so I can sleep tonight. And I brought my second patrol cap to the alterations shop and had them sew rank on it for me. It cost me a whole $2. LOL Around 1515 I headed outside to practice for an hour and fifteen minutes. I was really light headed at the end as I was really trying to push a lot of air through my horn. It felt great! Who needs drugs to get high when you have a trombone?

I ended the day in my office checking e-mails and stuff, and then I headed home. I got my room straightened up and put a bunch of stuff in my tuff box to prepare for our room inspections we have tomorrow morning. I spent the evening crocheting and chatting with friends. I think I’m going to head to bed now. Early for a change!

I’ve changed my running goal slightly – it is now 750 miles while I’m here.

Today’s High:  71
Current:  59

What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Today was a really good day.  I started the day off by meeting up with a Joyful Noez friend for coffee and chatting at Green Beans.  That was a lot of fun.  And then I crocheted until prayer shawl time.  During prayer shawl time I finished my #4 prayer shawl and started on #5.  Then I crocheted more until it was time to head to church and I managed to finish another project.  Then I headed to the chapel for Joyful Noez warm-ups and then the service.  The band was small this week – just lead vocal, 3 others, guitar, drums, bass, and keyboard.  One of the vocals played congas since our regular conga player wasn’t there.  But it was really cool with a small group – us vocalists had some good harmonies going on.  And I had a solo.  I sang What a Friend We Have in Jesus.  I was really nervous and during our prayer time before the service, everyone laid their hands on me and prayed for me.  Once I got started I did fine.  DP was singing a little bit with me and I think that really helped.  Maybe someday I’ll be confident enough to do a true solo.  After the service was dinner at the chow hall and then off to Green Beans – of course, after my usual stop at the band hall to call Ryan & Robbie.  I love my weekly phone time!!  And then it was Combat Uno at Green Beans and then I called Mom & Dad after.  It got me home a little later than usual, but they didn’t have to rush home from church and choir practice.  Now I’m heading to bed so I can get up and run in the morning.

Today’s High:  73
Current:  59

Friday. . . and then a new CSM and Scouting

Yesterday was a full day.  We had stage band in the morning – sectionals for an hour and then full band.  Then I ate lunch with one of the girls from Joyful Noez (BD) who was supposed to leave earlier in the week, but her flight got bumped so she was still here.  It was nice seeing her again, other than that we had to say goodbye again.  Actually, see you later.  You never know in the Army.  Then after lunch we had ceremonial band rehearsal and then I went out to my practice spot and got an hour of individual practice in before heading to my office for ADO and supply stuff.  Then it was off to Joyful Noez rehearsal and dinner after.  I was TIRED when I got home so I went right to bed.

This morning we had a Change of Responsibility Ceremony for the Multi-National Force-Iraq Command Sergeant Major.  Our formation was at 0715.  I woke up at 0645.  YIKES!!!  Not much time to get ready, but I made it to formation on time and I even chatted with Ryan for a little bit while I was getting ready.  Of course, I didn’t get breakfast, but I survived.  The ceremony went well and then it was back to my practice spot for my hour.  Then I stitched during lunch.  After lunch I headed up to Battalion to turn in some paperwork, but I hadn’t done it quite right so I’m going to have to redo it and make another trip up to Battalion.  On my way back, I stopped by my room to change into my Scouting t-shirt under my ACU top.  Then it was back to the band hall to sign in from that excursion and sign out to go to Scouting.

There were A LOT of kids there today.  It was a ton of fun.  I helped with softball.  Each position had an adult volunteer and a kid, and then the rest of the kids took turns batting.  Boy was I tired at the end.  Of course, I was in the catcher spot.  🙂  The kids really enjoyed it.  There were other events as well – they rotate every 30 minutes – but since I was helping with the softball, I didn’t get to see the other events.  And then we went to the Iraqi restaurant again (not everyone – there were about a dozen of us that went to "Operation Kebab" – we get kebabs to eat) and we had a good time socializing and hanging out.  I took some pictures of the "kitchen" area and the food prep and everything.  It’s very interesting.  The food was very good like last time, and of course there was chai after and hookah pipes.  I did not partake of the hookah, though they sure tried to talk me into it.

Once we got back from the Scouting area, I crocheted for a little while and finished a project I’ve been working on.  One project closer to being done with Christmas crocheting!

Today’s High:  69
Current:  57