Warrior Tasks & Battle Drills

I walked Robert to school this morning and then finished getting ready and headed to work.  After formation, I did a quick check of my work e-mail and then headed to the conference room where BQ was.  We spent the morning and the first part of the afternoon doing Warrior Tasks & Battle Drills (army training stuff).  We’re all done for now and got a lot of tasks knocked out.  During lunch I stitched and I finished the project I’ve been working on.  After we were done with the WT & BD for the day, I did a little bit more work in admin and then I headed home.  I stopped by my higher-ups to pick up some paperwork on my way.  I went home and changed into shorts and then headed to a nearby park to practice my Drum Majoring.  Tomorrow morning at Drill Band we will be practicing a Pass in Review for the upcoming Retirement Ceremony that I will be Drum Majoring, and I wanted to practice PIR before tomorrow morning.  I only had about 20 minutes before I had to go pick Robert up, but it was better than nothing and I got to run through it a few times.  Then I picked Robert up and we headed to the pool for swimming lessons.  He is doing a lot better about putting his head back in the water during the back float and stuff but he still won’t go underwater.  I crocheted on a baby blanket while he was in the pool.  After swimming we headed home and Ryan made "pigs ‘n cheese" for dinner.  Because we got home at 6 and because dinner took a while to cook and because I wanted to eat, I missed Community Band yet again.  I will be there next week – the last rehearsal before the concert.  So we gave Robert a bath and I crocheted on the baby blanket a bit more after he was in bed.

Today’s high:  80
Current:  65

EST and BQ

We were at the EST (Engagement Skills Trainer) this morning and I was one of the operators.  And since I was senior of the three of us operators, I "got" to sign for the range.  It was no big deal.  Everything went well, everyone that was supposed to be there was there and on time, and everyone got some good training, including us operators.  After everyone was done, we made sure everything was good with the head guy and then headed out ourselves.  We stopped by Starbucks for beverages – I had a black cherry mocha.  It was really good!!  I spent the rest of the morning in my admin office.  I got some stitching done during lunch and then after lunch we had a short BQ rehearsal to go over our music for Sunday.  After BQ, it was back to my office to knock out my to-do list for the day.  I actually got most everything done, but one thing I couldn’t do because the web site I needed to use wasn’t cooperating.  Then I headed out to pick Robert up from Child Time and take him to swimming lessons.  He’s doing really well, but he still won’t go underwater.  Someday. . ..  Then it was home for chicken chow mein for dinner and then some stitching.

Today’s high:  77
Current:  63

Click here —-> Pictures of Robert’s swimming lessons

Palm Sunday

It was Palm Sunday today at church.  We began the service outside by the fellowship hall and after the opening, we processed in, singing "All Glory Laud and Honor" while waving our palm branches.  The rest of the service was really good and the choir anthem went really well.  After church, we went to Ivey’s Home Cookin’ for lunch.  We haven’t been there for a while and it was good food.  Then we went to the grocery store for a few things before heading home to not watch the NASCAR race.  Well, we started watching it, but it got rained out and they’ll race tomorrow.  So we watched Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition and worked on getting caught up on those.  By the end of the day we made it to mid-November.  After I had talked to Mom & Dad on the phone for a while, I made some Asian Fried Rice for dinner (from a box).  After Robert was in bed I continued stitching and we continued our Extreme Makeover marathon.

Today’s high:  68
Current:  54

Thunder Mountain 10K and a BQ gig

This morning started early for all of us.  Ryan and Robert left at 0600 to go work breakfast at the Legion and K and I headed out to post for the Thunder Mountain 10K.  We met up with SJ, a friend and wife of one of our coworkers.  She was running her first 10K.  The three of us pretty much ran together.  The very first part of the course was not well marked and we ended up missing a turn.  A guy in a truck came and told us we had missed it, but we still didn’t find it, so we kind of modified the course.  There were a few hills along the way and it was a little breezy, but not bad.  The three of us pretty much stayed together until mile 5 and then K ended up ahead of S and I.  S finished just a few seconds ahead of me.  I finished in 1:10:25 – not bad for six days post-Bataan!!!  We stayed around for the awards ceremony which was supposed to start at 0845 but actually finally started at 0930.  But we’re glad we stayed.  S won first overall civilian female for the 10K and got a pretty neat trophy!!!  Way to go S!!

On our way home, K & I stopped at Starbucks and she bought me a vanilla chai latte.  It was really good and the warm sure felt good!  Once home, changed and put a sweatshirt on because I was SOOOOOO cold and curled up under my covers for a little over an hour nap.  Then I got up and took a hot shower before getting into my uniform and heading back out to post for a short BQ gig.  They had a mock one-day "deployment" for the kids of Soldiers that are deploying soon and we played at the "redeployment" ceremony.  We ended up playing a whole 2 marches.  LOL  But it was worth it to see the look on the kids’ faces when they heard the "band" at their ceremony!!  Each kid got a certificate from the unit’s commander, and they had some cookies and juice for them.  It was pretty cool.

After that was done, I stopped at Walmart and the grocery store for a few things both places and then I headed home and got into my pj’s for the rest of the day.  Ryan had been asked to help with the food for a wedding reception at the Legion tonight, so Robert and I had fish sticks and cheesy broccoli for dinner.  It was really good, but Robert decided he likes plain broccoli but not cheesy broccoli.  While dinner was cooking, he beat me soundly at Mario Kart on the Wii, and after we ate, we finally watched the Opening Ceremonies from the Winter Olympics.  It was pretty good, and Robert really enjoyed it.  I did let him stay up a little later so he could finish watching the ceremonies.  I crocheted.

And now, it’s time for bed.

Today’s high:  62
Current:  45

BQ and the Installation Awards Ceremony

I got up this morning and had breakfast with Robert before walking him to school.  Then I came home and finished getting ready and headed to work.  After formation, we went out and cleaned the courtyard area.  Then we had Brass Quintet rehearsal for about 1/2 hour and then we were done for the day.  I went to the gym and picked up me and K’s race packets for tomorrow and then to the allergy clinic for another allergy shot.  I stopped at the cleaners on my way home and picked up my Class A pants.  I had planned on taking a nap but I didn’t have enough time for one.  I played on my computer for a little while, and then I redid my hair and got into my Class A uniform and headed back to post for rehearsal for the Installation Awards Banquet.  My job as part of the award detail made a lot more sense when there were actual awards.  Before the rehearsal, however, I went and helped SSG B pick up all the awards and stuff and then once at the banquet location, we got the tables set up with all the stuff.  Then we had the rehearsal.  We went through everything twice.  Even without talking things over, the PFC (the other half of the award detail) and I were very much in sink with each other and were making our facing movements together and everything.  It was nice not having to practice that!  We were done about 1545 and I headed home for a little while to relax before having to be back at 1730.  The Awards Banquet went really well, although the food wasn’t the greatest.  Our part was after we ate, and it went very well.  Afterward, we both got lots of compliments on how professional we looked up there.  And someone who knew me and knew what unit I was in (he was in civies, so I don’t know who it was) said that he was going to let my Commander and First Sergeant know how professional I was.

Then I headed home and Robert was just going to bed when I got home so I got hugs from him and got to talk to him about his day for a little while.  Then I crocheted for a little bit after I got out of uniform.  Now I’m heading to bed.

Today’s high:  68
Current:  51

BQ Ceremony, Farmers Market, Rehearsal

This morning started off with a ceremony that the BQ played at.  The ceremony went well, but it was long.  After the ceremony I headed back to the band hall and got changed from Class As back into ACUs.  I did some admin work and then I headed out for lunch a little early.  I stopped at the shoppette to get money from the ATM and then at the cleaners to turn my pants in so they’re good for tomorrow.  Then I headed to the Farmers Market where I met up with K.  We enjoyed browsing all the stuff that local growers had for sale.  I bought some Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly, the makings for a salad for dinner (mixed greens that were growing yesterday, a tomato, a cucumber, a green pepper, and some onions).  I also got a spinach feta tart, which I took home for lunch (it was really good!!) and 3 pasties!  I told the guy that was selling them that I’ll be seeing if they taste as good as Mom’s.  After we were done shopping, we came back to the house for lunch – my spinach feta tart and she had a pizza tart.

Then it was back to the band hall.  I only had about an hour and I got some NCOER (NCO evaluation report) "shells" done up for upcoming NCOERs.  What I do is take the NCOER form and fill in all the admin data on the form and then sent it to the rater and they’ll do the rest.  Then I headed to the Thunder Mountain Activity Center (TMAC) for rehearsal.  It was almost a waste of time today as it wasn’t really a rehearsal – more of a briefing on what we’ll be doing.  I’m part of the award detail for the Installation Awards Banquet tomorrow evening.  Without awards actually on the table it was kind of hard to figure out what we were to do.  But we were given a general "this is what you’ll do" and then we were done.  Of course, we were there for an hour.  But at least it wasn’t the two hours as it was scheduled!

I was able to head home early and change out of uniform before Ryan and I went to get Robert from Child Time and go to the pool.  It was Parent Observation Day today, so we were able to be up close and take pictures and stuff while Robert was swimming.  I got some pics and some videos, but I’m too tired tonight to upload them.  Look for them this weekend.  After his lesson was done, we headed to the grocery store for some much-needed groceries.  Then it was home and got all the veggies and stuff ready for our salads, and we had some really yummy chef salads for dinner!  After Robert was tucked into bed, I crocheted for a little bit, but I got really sleepy all of a sudden so I didn’t do as much as I had hoped to do.

Today’s high:  73
Current:  59

Good day!

I got to sleep in some this morning – on a work morning!!  Robert had Donuts with Dad at school this morning, so the guys got up early and headed to the school for 0645.  I slept until about 0730-ish, and boy was that nice!  I headed to work, and after formation, I headed to my office and did some stuff that needed to be done and checked up on some things and did e-mails and stuff.  Then I actually stitched at lunch and then after lunch we had Brass Quintet rehearsal.  We were released a little early today, and that was nice.  Of course, I was still there past when we were released, but I left way earlier than I usually do!  I had time to go home and re-write my Easter Medley on Finale since I can’t get my old laptop to "hold hands and play nice" with my printer.  It didn’t take me very long – maybe 20 minutes.  I needed to get it done so I could bring it to choir tonight to give to F.  She’s going to work up an accompaniment for it and I’ll be playing (possibly prelude) at the Easter Services.  Once I was done with the music, I went and picked Robert up and we headed to The Cove for his swimming lesson.  He had a great time again, and is getting less fearful of the water.  He still won’t go underwater yet, but that will come.  After that was done, we went to Little Caesar’s Pizza to get dinner.  Ryan had Legion meetings tonight – special executive board first and then general membership, so it was just Robert and I for dinner again.  Our pizza was good, and after we ate and cleaned up, we headed to the church for choir practice.  We ran through our cantata with all the narrations and everything and then our anthems for Maundy Thursday service and Palm Sunday.  Rehearsal went well.  Then it was home to get Robert ready for bed.  I think he fell right to sleep.  I’m having a little bit of ice cream and I’ll be heading to bed also.

Today’s high:  62
Current:  49

Rainy Dreary Day

It was drizzly this morning when I got up.  I hadn’t seen rain in the forecast, so this was kind of a surprise.  I brought Robert to Child Time and then off to work for 0800 formation (we switched Tuesday & Wednesday morning schedules for this week).  We had drill band on the schedule, but because of the weather, we did our classes that were scheduled for the afternoon.  That took a whole 20 minutes.  Then I headed to my office to get caught up on stuff from my 4 days away.  Part way through the morning I made a trip up to my admin higher-ups to bring some paperwork, but also to try on a pair of class A pants that SSG B had that are the size I need.  They fit really well, and we decided to trade class A pants since hers are too big and mine are too small.  LOL  And we’re the same height, so there will be no adjustments needed.  She’s one of the the people I deal with when I bring paperwork up and she’s really nice.  Then it was back to my office, and I actually ended up working through lunch.  I did eat, but I didn’t get any stitching done.  Oh well.  I got done something that needed to get done today.

After lunch we were going to have drill band finally, but the weather was still pretty nasty.  It was trying to rain and after talking with SFC F and SFC H, we decided that I would go out with 4 Soldiers plus a drummer with sticks and SFC F came out to observe.  We marched around for a little while so I could practice turns, marking time, halt, forward march, counter march, roll off, and cutting the band.  I did pretty well and there were lots of helpful comments from my "band".  My first cut-off was very confident, but on the wrong foot.  It was the right foot, that was wrong.  The next one I did better at.  It will help actually having the band playing so I’ll be able to "hear" left better.

Then it was back to my office, and the e-mail on my computer has been fixed finally!!!  I don’t have to log onto another computer to check my e-mail anymore.  I’ve been doing that for the past week.  I got more stuff done now that my e-mail is back.  Then I left for the day about 1615 or so.  I picked Robert up from Child Time and headed to The Cove for swimming lessons.  He did really well again today.  His instructor is very patient with him and is very good with kids.  And I think it helps that the classes are SUPER small – only 3 in Robert’s.  After he was done, we headed home and Ryan and Robert made mac & cheese for a quick supper.  I didn’t go to Community Band again since Ryan had something going on.  They don’t mind that I bring Robert with me and he does really well, but I wanted to be able to get him in bed at a decent hour, especially since he has to get up super early tomorrow for something special at school.  Stay tuned tomorrow for what.  🙂  After he was tucked into bed, I crocheted more (I crocheted during his swim lesson as well).

Today’s high:  62 (that’s what it was at 0645 this morning)
Current:  48

Bataan Memorial Death March and the day after

Yesterday was one of the most difficult days of my life.  I participated in the 21st Annual Bataan Memorial Death March held at White Sands Missile Range, NM.  To summarize what the event is, this is from the website:  "The Bataan Memorial Death March is a challenging march through the high desert terrain of  White Sands Missile Range, N.M., conducted in honor of the heroic service members who defended the Philippine Islands during World War II, sacrificing their freedom, health and, in many cases, their very lives."   Challenging is an understatement, but we’ll get to that.

The morning started at 0300 when my alarm went off.  I finally got out of bed about 0315 and took my laptop into the bathroom so I could have light to get ready.  Yes, our hotel room had lights.  But the light for the bathroom was connected to a light that was not in the bathroom and I didn’t want to wake my guys up.  I headed down to the lobby about 0345 and grabbed a bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee and met up with Chief and her friend S.  I was riding with them so that my guys could sleep in.

We got to the parking area and it was very well organized.  We sat in the car for a while as it was only 28 degrees outside.  Brrrr.  But then S saw people carrying cups of coffee and she wanted one, so off we went.  They had breakfast stuff at the start area, but I didn’t have anything.  They had heaters set up, so we huddled around one of those with lots of other people.  Eventually the 2 guys from the band that were participating also showed up.  FV and EF.  So the 5 of us hung out together by the heater until it was time to move to the starting corrals for the opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony was very nice.  They brought the colors in, played Reveille – after the commands of "Bataan Marchers, Attention" and "Bataan Marchers, Present Arms", a high school choir sang the National Anthem.  They introduced survivors of THE Bataan Death March.  There were some short speeches.  The colors departed.  They had a roll call for survivors who have died in the past year.  Then Taps was played and it was time for the race to start.  We had to wait a while before we got to cross the start line, but as we were approaching the start line, the survivors were lining the start area and we got to shake hands with all of them!  That was very cool.  And then we were off.

The 5 of us started off together, but they were walking and I had planned on running some.  So I walked the first 3 minutes and then said my good byes.  I walked 3 minutes and ran 3 minutes pretty steadily for the first almost 10 miles.  It started on paved road for the first couple of miles.  The first water stop was about mile 2 and that’s where I got rid of my first layer – my "throw-away" sweatshirt I had gotten at the thrift store for $1.10.  They collect all the discarded clothing and donate it to charity, so it’s all good.  I also filled my 2 water bottles on my fuel belt up.  I had gatorade powder in them, but the only water I could find before the start was in the form of coffee.  Shortly after the first water stop, we were on a dirt trail.  This trail wasn’t bad, but it was CROWDED and I had a hard time with my run segments sometimes.

Eventually we got back on paved road and headed under the interstate to where the first "suck" began.  Somewhere before the first suck started, I took off layer number 2 – my NYC marathon shirt – and tied it around my waist.  After mile 8 it turned to trail again, sometimes with loose gravel & sand, and it went UP.  It had gone up some between miles 7 and 8, but after 8 it went UP.  UP UP UP UP UP for 5 miles.  And we were going around a mountain, so you really couldn’t see too far ahead.  My 3 minutes of walking turned into a lot of minutes of walking, but I was still doing well.  At mile 14 I stopped to see the medics as my fingers were really swollen.  The medic that checked me out was clueless I think.  He recommend that they call the trucks for me to be taken to the clinic because he had "never seen anything like that before."  Well, they can’t make you quite, and I was feeling fine other than the fingers, and I told him there was no way I was quitting.  He did help me get my rings off with lots of lotion and twisting and now I have bruised knuckles.  But he got the rings off.  He did recommend that I not run with my rings for future distance events, and I agree.

The downhill was fun – downhill for 3 miles, a slight up hill, and then down for another 3 miles!!  I was able to get some more running in during the downhills.  At mile 18 we finally got back to the paved road and had made it around the mountain.  I stopped at the medical station to change socks after cleaning all the sand off my feet and out from between my toes.  Clean socks sure felt great!!  And it was nice being back on the paved road again.  We headed back toward main post, under the interstate again.  And about the point where we got on the paved road earlier after the first trail section, we left the paved road.  That’s where the second "suck" was.  Welcome to the Sand Pit.  That’s about a 2 mile stretch of LOOSE sand – think "fluffy" beach sand.  At that point, the things that kept me going were several – seeing all the marchers with 35+ pound rucksacks/backpacks on their backs, the older lady doing the march but she was on oxygen (her daughter? was carrying the oxygen in a backpack), and just thinking of THE Bataan Death March and the fact that what they went through was MUCH more difficult than what I was – no food, no water, no medical support.  So I trudged on through the sand.  And at that point, that’s about what it was – a trudge.  I was going about a 35 minute per mile pace for a little bit.

And then there was mile 22 and the end of the sand pit!!  I stopped at the medical station again to sit on a cot to dump the sand and rocks out of my shoes and rest my hips.  My hips were killing me, but I kept going.  Mile 24 – another aid station and another sit down break.  Mile 25 1/2 – the last water stop and another sit down break.  And then my hips didn’t want to go anymore and I was crying cuz it hurt so much.  Two other girls came up next to me and talked me through the pain and helped encourage me and we made it.  And then I came around the last corner, and the best sight in the world was there – my guys!!!!  And Robert was on my side of the fence and he got to cross the finish line with me!!!

I finished in 7:54:29.  My goal was 8 hours.  The next guy from the band finished an hour after me.  And the other guy almost an hour after him.  And Chief finished about 45 minutes after him.  But all 4 of us finished.  It was an AWESOME experience, but definitely a difficult one.  I probably will do it again someday, but right now my brain and my body are saying NO!  I did that with very little training, so imagine what I could do if I actually trained for it!!  In fact, maybe I WILL do it again someday to see what a difference proper training can make.  I don’t know that I’d do it in the military category and have to wear my uniform and boots, but we’ll see.

After it was over, we hung around for a while before walking to the van and getting on the road.  We stopped at the same diner in the truck stop for dinner and had the same waitress.  And then the 4 1/2 hour drive home.  We stopped a few times for potty, and once at Walmart about 1/2 hour from home to get a few things.  It was good to sleep in my own bed last night!!

This morning I got up and got Robert up for school.  I had a doctor’s appointment to get my lab results finally.  Everything they tested for was well within the normal range.  So the blah-ness could be from the higher blood pressure I’ve had or just a down after the excitement of the marathon in January.  After that was done, I went to the allergy clinic and got another allergy shot.  After my half hour wait, I headed home, making 2 stops along the way – the gas station for gas and Discount Tire for an air pressure check up on my tires.  After I had been home for a little while and got caught up on my 100+ e-mails from yesterday and today, I went and got a massage and then a manicure and pedicure.  The massage and manicure were good ideas.  The pedicure, not so much.  My toes sure were tender from yesterday, and I did get a couple of blisters on my right little toe and 4th toe.  But it was a good relaxing way to spend part of my day.

I crocheted for a little bit before Ryan and I went and picked Robert up from Child Time and headed to the Cove for his first day of swimming lessons.  There are only 3 in his class.  Both of the others have had lessons before and had no problem jumping into the deep end of the pool.  Robert was a little scared at first, but eventually he got in the water and was holding onto his teacher (probably a high school boy).  They moved a little shallower and that helped Robert and they were kicking on the wall, and the instructor took each of them in his arms to "swim" a little away from the wall.  Robert said he had had a good time and was looking forward to tomorrow.  Then it was home for dinner (chicken pot pies) and more crocheting.

Today’s high:  77
Current:  61

Travel to New Mexico Day

This morning I slept in – until a whopping 0815.  LOL  We had breakfast and Ryan and I did computer stuff and then we got the van loaded and headed out.  We stopped at the Legion for a few minutes, and Ryan bought a really cool Legion Riders t-shirt.  Then we went on post to the Shoppette to get gas and then we were on our way.  We made a couple of stops along the way for potty, snacks, and to switch drivers.  I stitched while Ryan was driving and he napped while I drove.  It took a little over 4 1/2 hours to get to White Sands Missile Range, just north of Las Cruces.  We found where we needed to be and found a parking spot.  Then we waited in line for a little over an hour so I could do my "in-processing" for the Bataan Memorial Death March.  I got my bag with my commemorative dog tag, my race number, my timing chip, got the chip checked, got my participant’s certificate, and my t-shirt.  We looked at all the stuff for sale and then headed out of that room.  They had frames for $35 and they framed the certificate and the dog tag together, and we had that done with mine.  It looks really nice, and we’re going to start a running wall in our house – we already have our Army wall and our patriotic wall.  I need to find my finisher’s certificates and pictures from New York City and Phoenix, and we’re going to get them framed nicely also.

After we were done in-processing, we headed back to Las Cruces, stopping at K-Mart along the way.  I had set my GPS (phone type) to find a Walmart, but it found us a Sam’s Club.  NOT the same thing in my book.  But we did find a K-mart right there.  I wanted to look for a pair of gloves for me since I forgot mine and Ryan had forgotten a sweatshirt, so we got him a New Mexico one.  And Chief had called me (she’s doing the March tomorrow also) and her friend had forgotten a sweatshirt and asked if I would find a cheap one for her.  Well, I found a clearance rack and everything on it was $2.99 or less and I found a $20 sweatshirt on there.  When we finally got to our hotel and got our room, I brought the sweatshirt down to Chief’s room and her friend couldn’t believe that it was only $3!!  

After we had got settled in our room a bit, we FINALLY went to eat dinner.  The guy at the front desk of the hotel (also co-owner) had told us about a 24-hour diner down at a truck stop a couple miles from here.  So we went there, and OH MY!!!!  It was called Fork in the Road, and it was awesome!!  First, they had Pepsi products, so Ryan was happy.  And EVERYTHING on their menu is all-you-can eat.  Even the kids’ menu.  I had an omelet and toast and once was enough for me.  Ryan had grilled cheese and fries, and he had three times.  Robert had a scrambled egg, sausage patty, and toast, twice over.  All that food for only $18!!!!  You CANNOT beat that.  And it was good food, too.  Then it was back to the hotel, and now it’s 2330 and my alarm is going off at 0300.  We’re leaving at 0400.  I’m riding with Chief so Ryan and Robert can sleep a little later.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the race report (if I’m not too tired when we get home).