Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday, 30 Jun 2010

Another day down... Another day closer to home.
I got up at 0500 this morning.. went and ran and did good cardio for about 45 minutes, then went to work. :) At about 1600 - I left and went and completed Day 1 of P90X!! :)
Again...
then, back to work until 9.. now, here I am.. wish
Today was a fairly busy day.. I had to work one of the stations, because one of the others was off. So, I didn't get much accomplished for my taskers today.
But, its okay.
I did talk to the kids this morning, and I did talk to my parents.. so all is good.
I am tired.. yet again.. (I think tomorrow I will leave at 2000 - see if that will help, so atleast I will have an hour to myself, before I feel soo tired I could fall over.
Thats how I have felt the last couple days.. Dog tired.. but - atleast by the end of my day.. my work outs are complete and I can crash without feeling guilty!!!
26281 total steps since yesterday.. :)

Okay.. going to bed. .Night all - more tomorrow..

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday, 29 Jun 2010

Today was a good day. I got plenty of sleep last night, actually, I
left here at 9pm last night and was asleep by 915.. I was tired! Today
was much better. I am getting adjusted to days, again and starting my
routine.
I can finally create my routine, that is.
I will get up and do cardio at 0515, and then at 1600 is P90X time.. :)
I am able to get things done during the day - since everything is open
(in other words, I am not chained to my desk). Yesterday was bad
because we had a couple different teams come in for some face to face
time.. on top of our normal meeting, and blah blah
Today - I actually got a lot done. But, as in any work - there is never
enough time in the day.. lol
I am living proof.. :) and so the saying goes... the work will be there
tomorrow! :)
Anyhow, today - I left at 1600 to go work out. Got about 2 1/2 miles on
the elliptical, then jumped in on the AB RIPPER X, then 2 1/2 miles on
the bike.. and then 1 lap around the compound outside. The air is
definitely different here (I guess a little over 6000 ft in elevation)
so it's a different run.. but it felt really good!!! I jumped on the
scale today - saw that I have not gained any weight since I left - which
is good..
Finished with my workout, showered, went back to work in time to see 3
packages on my desk! Woo hooo!!
My wireless booster, my PT shorts I ordered and the box from my mom with
all my bedding!
In the box was a video created by Katrina - with the kids and my parents
for Mothers Day!! OMGosh! It was a wonderful video! Wonderful!
I cried..as did the girls in my office! :)
So - all in all - it was a great day!
I have my linens, which I will wait until next week (my room mates leave and I will be changing bunks..) to put my bed together with my new sheets/mattress pad and comforter!
In my box was also a teddy bear.. which is now sitting next to me as I lay in my bed typing this.. YES - my internet booster works and I have internet in my room now! another bonus!
Seriously.. between a productive day at work, a good hard workout and my packages.. who could've asked for a better day? Not me.
It was great!

It took me a couple of days to get adjusted.. that is why I haven't written.. but.. I am back!
BTW, I was supposed to walk one of my new guys across the street today for some more check in procedures, but something came up and we had to cancel.. GOD works in mysterious ways... this afternoon, a fellow military member from the UN was shot - right out in front of our gates. He was in a small truck.. but an Afhgani pulled out a gun.. and shot it up.. killing him.. so, there are no more walking chits allowed to go across the way..which is a good thing... won't have to worry about me walking outside the wires!!

Again, people here start to get complacent.. thinking we are a "Green" zone.. but, it can happen to anyone.. even with many many armed servicemen (both Afghani and our own) around.

On a different note.. I also started wearing a pedometer today... 13,430 steps today...
Apparently, over 10,000 a day is healthy. :) Guess I am healthy!

Love to all.. I'm going to bed! 5:15am rolls around early! :)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday, 26 Jun 2010

I had an awesome day! I left work at about 930 this morning and met up with Donovan!!
He showed up around 945ish here at NKC - so I spent the next couple hours showing him around the base (which took less than 10 minutes) and the rest of the time walking around looking for the gentlemen he had to meet up with today!

It was great to have a taste of home and surreal to know we were both sitting here, next to each other in Kabul Afghanistan! In twenty years (since sophomore year in high school), he has always come and visited me, or come to be at the important events in my life.. (College Grad/ Commissioning.. even being a groomsman in my wedding) - he has always traveled to see me.. Well, Don, you did it once again! :) In Afghanistan! I needed the "pick-me-up" so to speak... a little taste of normalcy! Too bad you live about 30 minutes from me right now! Woulda been awesome had we ended up at the same compound!!

So - that's how I spent my afternoon... then got some rest and now here I am.. ready to do it all over again!!

Thanks for a great visit Donovan!! I love ya!

More tomorrow!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday, 25 Jun 2010

Its Friday... what would be my day off.. BUT, since I am switching to days on Monday, I am taking Sunday off instead. Fun Fun.. SO, I will be going in tonight, but its okay. Its not like I mind working, there really isn't much else to do, beyond working out.. which I can't wait to get back on a normal schedule for that.. I miss my P90X..
The work here isn't bad and definitely could be worse! I am meeting new people and seeing foreign forces that I have never seen before. Its crazy!
I am slowly taking more and more control of the Casualty Cell.. Finding my way around. I basically had to give new guidance to our cells that work for foreign HQs and well as US HQs. Its kinda neat to see the mix. We have people that work for NATO and so on..
Its kinda cool to know that our Cell is the HQ. Our Cell is the one in charge of all the Cells in Afghanistan.. Pretty big responsibility and have already had to learn some of the politics involved and then some of the different personalities involved- of the others that run the cells.
Work hasn't been too bad lately. It is a steady stream of injuries and casualties.. but, you just learn to not humanize it anymore. We keep ourselves busy with data entry, processing and THE UNIT. I bought the UNIT season 1-4 at the last Bazaar.. and we are almost completely done with it. I think we have 1 CD left of season 4.. LOL - But when we work nights and it slows, its nice to have something else to focus on, or we would go stir crazy! :)
SO - Someone is letting me rip their Season 1-6 of House.. woohoo.. Its always better to watch these shows with no commercial interruptions!!

As far as me, I am doing okay. I do have a couple different funnies for ya..
I may have told you this, but, when I go outside at night to smoke... especially, 2-3 in the morning, I am the only one out there... But I have noticed that between the barriers put up -I can see into the homes/apartments of the Kabul city.. and my mind plays tricks on me.. lol especially after watching the UNIT.. All I can think of is that there is a sniper in one of those windows.. and so I smoke very quickly.. and zig zag my way back to the main door.. in a very fast (not quit running speed...LOL) yea.. then I have to laugh at myself when I get back inside..

Yesterday I had a blow out.. Yes.. a full on blow out.. and didn't know it until someone said something to me.. OMG.. What is funny is that a little earlier than that, I had seen some stuff on my watch, and was wondering, how the hell did that get there... so - I am outside smoking and Trisha so kindly tells me - My pen must have blown up.. Yes.. My pen. what were you thinking??? LOL My pen blew out and had leaked thru to my arm and my watch..
It sucked! So, for the rest of the night I had to roll the sleeve up and spent 1/2 hour washing my arm, hands and watch with alcohol (the hand sanitizer..) worked wonders to get the ink off!!

Okay - last funny.. but scary story.. I was in the shower tent.. had just showered and was still in my towel I think.. and i hear what sounds like a plane.. well, I know there is an airport nearby.. but this plane, well, it really sounded as if it were headed straight to the tent. It was so close and so low that I truly thought it was going to crash in to the base - and into the tent I was standing in a towel, in.. As the seconds grew - sodid the loud sound, making me believe this was truly it.. I really did think this plane was going to land on top of me.. and its not like I could run out to see where it was.. I was only wearing a towel.
So, I stood straight up, covered my ears and really, honestly figured this was it. My life didn't flash before my eyes in those few miniscule seconds, but a few thoughts did.. those of my kids and my parents and then the thought that after all this, and being here - that this was how I was going to go out.. But even I was amazed at the sense of calm that came over me as I stood there.. with my hands over my ears, just waiting for the crash. There was nothing else I could do.. Then, the airplane crossed over and the sound started to fade..
I exhaled, and then laughed at myself. Was extremely grateful to be alive..
Now, to some of you, that may seem completely ridiculous.. but, I have to tell you, it was not to me. At the time, I was not thinking that I am over reacting, I was thinking of the planes that went into the pentagon, World Trade Center and how it would not be beyond them to do such a thing. It kind of puts life in a different perspective.. especially for me.. right now.. because that incident happened about 2 hours ago.. I can look back and laugh, and will probably never tell anyone here what I went thru (besides those that read this) - But this was a moment that I hope to never relive.

When you think about dying, just the thought usually sends panic, you think of your kids, your family, your life in general.. and you worry about the pain it would cause for those that love and need you.. In those few seconds it took for that plane to cross over - those thoughts ran thru my head, and I seriously prayed to GOD for the few seconds of thought remaining, but I remember thinking to myself, if this is it, there is nothing I can do.. and so I stood there.. waiting for it.. with a serene sense of calm.

I know.. this sounds crazy.. but in my world here, it is not. Nothing is impossible, or ridiculous here. THere is such a thing as a healthy sense of fear - which I do have..
not a sense of fear that clouds my ability to live, to function, just a healthy sense -
But this.. this was not something I had even thought of, until it happened. So I didn't think I was being silly.. For those moments, I thought I was going to die. AND no matter how I describe it to you now, or laugh at myself for it all now,
I don't think I will ever be able to convey the thoughts and feelings that ran thru me as I stood there, covering my ears, waiting for the plane to land on top of me..

Yes- I can laugh at myself now.. more in mere relief than out of feelig silly..
And if I should feel silly for that? I don't know if I could say I feel like I was being silly.. it was a real fear in a moment that I feel was as real to me as it can get..

Okay. thats enough for tonight.. I don't want to get all sentimental - as most of you (atleast those of you in theater here with me) are probably laughing your asses off at the fear i felt today.. and as funny as it may seem now.. it was real to me then.

Gonna take care of some stuff online and will write more later.. feel free to email me at work.. I work all night..which is all day your time! :) tanya.r.zinn@afghan.swa.army.mil

More tomorrow

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wants.. and Needs..

Okay, so, everyone has asked me about wants and needs.. To be honest.. I am in need of nothing here. I really do have the essentials.. and could survive.. I am quite lucky to be where I am at, its much more comfortable here, than where some of my battle buddies went... so, for that, I am greatful.
Now, as to what I want... :)
These are some ideas of things I see others get.. and think.. hmm.. that would be nice..

Magazines like People.. stuff like that.. don't really get local ongoins here.. We get the worldwide news.. on the Afghanistan news channel.. but thats about it..

DVD sets of TV series.. they help pass the time.. (Law & Order, Greys Anatomy, Bones, Medium, Heroes, any kind of mystery - solving crimes TV series.. season sets.. etc)

Junk food.. not just for me.. we keep a cabinet in the office to share... I will tell you what I don't like.. the rest is all good - I don't like coconut, raisins, and that's about it.. lol

I could use my own stash of french vanilla creamer for all the coffee I drink here now... (I don't much care for the hazelnut creamer they put out most of the time)

I could always use fufu stuff to make our room smell good.. not the sprays.. but the scent holders.. or things like that.. NO CANDLES tho..

I can always use hair clips/barretts (BLACK or BROWN only)

I don't know what else.. but that's a good start..
Again - I am not in dire need of anything.. but, as far as wants.. those things would be a good start. :)

Thanks again to everyone who reads, subscribes and to those of you that comment. I may not comment back, but I appreciate all the support from everyone!

Off to a training session for my guys... write more later..

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday , 23 Jun 2010

I was soo tired after my shift last night, I actually left at 0930 this morning, went straight to bed, got up at about 5pm, showered and made it to dinner.. tonight was Taco night... Mexican food.. mmmmm..
not quite the same as the chips and salsa at the local restaurants but it will do.. :)

I am looking forward to moving to days next week... this schedule would be hard to keep for an entire year. I probably lose my mind.. just from the lack of being able to do anything else during the day, and loneliness.

I am sitting outside the USO - listening to some music and chatting with Donovan on IM. So close, yet like prison break to get too.. lol
I hear the Afghani music all day.. their call to prayer... atleast every couple hours you can hear it over their loud speakers throughout Kabul. Its kinda weird..

I posted pics last week of the "bathroom" facility we have.. I had put in a work order to get the leaks fixed, toilets fized etc.. I will say.. they move fast, fortunately and I had two Army Sgts come and talk to me personally to let me know what they were doing to fix it. We did get the 3rd shower curtain fixed... they fixed 1 of 3 toilets.. had to secure the other two ... females putting things down there they shouldn't - How stupid can you get.. anyhow, the did finally fix the leak too.. but now, the hot water is off.. lol so I haven't even used it since its been mostly fixed. But.. atleast they fix it and they let you know.. BUT I will tell you.. these facilities would not pass a ZONE Inspection.. and definitely need some ZIDLs..
Its funny..

Talked to my parents last night, called the kids, and talked to my Grandma. :) I am sure she was happy to hear from me.. she worries too much! I did get some stuff sent off yesterday.. tomorrow I have to stay up late so that I can get my laptop internet fixed... that will be nice - to be able to sit in my room and chat.. vice being over here. :)

Its only 8pm here and I still have atleast an hour before my shift.. I can now concentrate solely on the RFI files I have (deceased records). We keep records on all the SM that die in country. There is a long list of information we need before we can close the "case" so to speak and when I got here we had about 90 RFI files..in the last week since I have been working the files, I have closed move than 18 cases. Its a great sense of accomplishment since some of the cases were from Jun/Aug/Sep 2009. I have also redone their filing system and changed a few ways of how they do business, to streamline the process in which we use to report the casualties we get. Seems like there has been a lot of changes in the last week, but - I have let it be their idea.. just kinda pushed it in the right direction and encouraged them to do what they wanted to. (IE - Our MSgt complained that we were wasting too much paper just to print/scan and then shred.. so.. we got adobe PDF and I explained he wouldn't have to print much anymore.. just save the files from the computer to a PDF file to the same place we would have scanned them.. then.. they ran with it.. :) now.. we print FAR FAR less than what we used to.. and digitize all our files without having to scan everything. Its a great streamlined process.

Anyhow, I do enjoy what I do. the job itself.. the data processing, administrative side of it.. Definitely don't enjoy hearing about all the casualties.. there isn't a night where we don't read something that comes thru that doesn't make you a little sad.. but then you push on. We don't concentrate on the bad, per se.. we do our job, process the information so that the Next of Kin can be notified. Its definitely not a "pleasant" thing to have to see.. but we are doing our part..

Anyhow, I had to move inside the USO.. starting to rain outside.. more like sprinkle.. but.. don't want the laptop to short out on me!!! lol

Think I will sign off for now.. do a little online shopping.... since there is no where here to really spend some money.. LMAO
BTW for any of you sending care packages.. keep in mind it takes about 3 weeks to get here. :)
Okay.. thats enough for now.. more tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRAVIS. He is the first priority. J

I worked the 2000 until about 1030 today. I do enjoy the company on the night shift, I have a pretty great group of individuals. But it still makes for long days!! I left early enough today that I was able to mail some stuff out, and pick up my clean laundry.

That is something I forgot to talk about.. there are no washers and dryers here.. (machines that is). Instead we drop our laundry off to laundry services and so long as you drop it off before 1300, you have it back the next day after noon. AND its folded. We drop our laundry in dity bags… they wash them in those, then take everything out and fold them… it is kinda creepy to think about who might be folding my underwear.. but… its all we got.. there is no other option.. so, we take it.

So – I did pick up laundry today. I miss the computer guys yesterday errgh.. will catch them again soon.. need to get the internet fixed so it works in my room . J I did buy a signal booster.. hopefully it helps.

Since the kids have been in Ms, I have talked to them less.. they are staying busy and don’t get great reception out there so I talk to them average of atleast once every other day. I still call my mom everyday.. they are in OR – getting stuff ready to be moved down.

As far as me.. I am hangin in there. We were really busy last night.. a couple of group casualties, in different areas, different circumstances. I try not to read too much of the circumstances as I process, instead I just copy and past the whole thing, so that I really don’t have to read too many details. It gets sad. This week we have lost 2 hospital corpsman and several marines on top of the army soldiers.

I talked to Don yesterday ( I think it was yesterday- can’t keep my days straight working nights) – I guess he will be doing some traveling, so I told him I better NOT see his name come thru my office.. holding my breathe waiting to hear from him!!

I had a talk with Trung last night.. told him I wasn’t intentionally going over his head, but that we definitely needed to get him out of the Casualty mode.. so- after some discussion with the boss (Colonel) – she agreed and I start this coming week (after getting my new guy trained up). I will carry the cell with me.. in case they need me on nights, but otherwise, I will finally be able to get on some kind of schedule and start back on the P90X. I just need the workouts. Its not that I am feeling fat- I just need the tension release… definitely.

My appetite hasn’t been normal since I have been here. It doesn’t help that I sleep through lunch and dinner and usually end up with coffee for breakfast (and all thru the night..) so I am definitely not eating right, on the flip side.. that means I’m not over eating either..lol BUT – being back on days.. I can eat right and enough to maintain and get my work outs in. I am excited. I want to come back a new me. Well.. okay.. improved me.. hows that.. J

I want to feel better about myself and my body and I was seeing a huge difference with P90X.. so I will jump back on that bandwagon and hopefully be in the best shape ever when I get back.. who knows.. maybe even have that 6pack I’ve always wanted .. will definitely keep you posted on FB.

Think I will get some sleep now.. and get up early enough to post this before going back on shift. Friday is my day off!! Wooohooo.. J what to do with all that time?? I will probably get bored after the exercising and endless movies!! LOL

Love to all and

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TRAVIS. 12 years ago, you were an 8 lbs 13 ounces bouncing baby boy – today you are growing in to a fine young man. I love you baby.


I am up.. I woke up at about 5pm tonight. Showered, ate and am now here.. again.. on the computer at the USO. I suppose when I am done, I will just start some work early.. ehh.. we'll see. We had Philly Cheese Steak for dinner tonight, btw.. it was okay. I am hoping work isn't quite as busy tonight as it was last night.. very sad stuff..

Will write tomorrow after shift...

5 more days til I am back on days.... can't wait!!



Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, 21 June 2010 - Venting

Today is Monday.. and it feels like a Monday. I am tired. I am worn out. And I need a regular schedule.
I talked to the Deputy this morning about my schedule.
Here's what happened:
I had changed my shift to 2100-0900. SO those are my official hours. NOW, I usually show up about 730 or 8 for work.. so last night, no different. I got there about 8 - and come 9 this morning was still knee deep in work. So, I just push thru. Well, then there was a 10am meeting.. which, I should be in BED for.. but, Trung didn't show (says he doesn't need to go anymore) so it was a good thing I stuck around for it. Anyhow, as we were giving our updates for our divisions to the Major, he asked why I was still here,... told him I would talk to him offline.
SO after the meeting he took me to his office... I told him I had not yet talked to Trung yet about this, but, here goes....
So I explained to him why I, as the OIC, need to be on days. I gave him a list of 7 or 8 reasons (written down) of why it makes a difference. Then I proposed me working 0600-2100. (WORKING a 15-16 hour day is much easier during the day.. than doing that schedule at night).
Some of the things are:
I will have eyes on and interaction with all 6 of my operators with that schedule
I will be there during the day.. when the Deputy or Colonel may have questions
I am working the RFI folders (Case files for deceased SM that are not closed yet)
and all those POCs work during the day (BTW, I closed about 8 last week when I
was on days)
I need to have the BIG picture and cant do that if I am only working at night

okay - you get the point.. Anyhow, he concurred.
My office has ran with 4-5 people alone for the last month.
We have a new guys which gives us 3 per shift with 1 person off each night.. We have a total of 7 people (including me) and we all have a designated day off).
Its not bad.
So anyhow, the new guy started last night.. and we trained him.. he was inputting data last night. It took me 1 day to figure it out and I think he will do pretty good too..

Also, the Deputy stated that getting me on days will kinda push Trung out of the Casualty picture where he can then concentrate on what his assigned job is right now.
So all looked well. He told me I could start tomorrow.

THEN at lunch i see Trung and I go to back fill him (Mind you, he is not my boss.. the Deputy is..) but I wanted to back fill him because at some point he did fill in and I just wanted him to be aware..
that's when he said.. that might have to hold off.

He doesn't think the new guy will be ready by Saturday..?????
it takes about 2 days of processing to start your rhythm.. (its all fill in the blanks..lol databases).
Anyhow, so the Deputy tells me I can start next week on days.

NOW... I am happy about the change I am making
BUT I am pisst that Trung is continuously trying to keep me on nights? It was not the COL idea (according to the Deputy)
SO WTF? He says well, if they have questions during the day they can come to me..
NO.. its my job. Once I learn it full on.. you should be back in your office working your job.. not handling mine as well.

So - altho I am happy.. I am also pisst. I was planning on starting days tomorrow.. instead I had to rush to bed at noon.. got up at 7 and showered and am ready for work. Fortunately, I did eat lunch, but slept thru dinner..

Nights aren't bad.. we keep THE UNIT in the DVD playing.. as we work.. to help pass the time.. BUT - its not conducive for me as the OIC.

Anyhow, so - I am not starting my night in a good mood! I seriously and so tired.. I just want to cry... I know that sounds crazy.. but.. its true. I dont mind long days. again, I proposed the 06-21 knowing full well I will probably be there later than that.. but.. throughout the day I will also get time to do the running around and workout (Post Office/Laundry/Workouts) so that when I do get off at night, I can go to bed and sleep a regular full night.
As it stands now, if I want to do those misc things.. its during what would be my sleep time.. especially beings I don't leave at my official time.. I am usually at work a couple-few hours beyond my scheduled time.

So - altho I am venting - dont get me wrong. I am not afraid of long hours.
I just dont feel I am getting the opportunity to be the OIC - working 14-15 hours at NIGHT.

Okay - enough from me. I have to get to work!
Its going to be a long night!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday, 20 Jun 2010

Bazaar day! SO, I got in the office last night about 730pm. The TSGT I relieve was glad to see me.. I was about 2 hours early! :) I was there this morning until about 11am. After shift, I was supposed to go to the newcomers brief from 12-5 but.. figured I would go next time (and take the day off, before hand) where I will not have been up all night. So instead, I went to the Bazaar and bought some stuff for my family and friends. I have to force myself to manage what I buy when. There is enough here to be able to buy stuff for everyone.. for their birthdays, etc.. while I am here. SO, my first gifts I bought today were for my Sister N Law - who's birthday is in July.. and whom is taking care of my kids for the summer!! :) I love her!!
I also bought Katrina, my parents and the boys something. AND I have a couple things that I will be sending to a couple of my sisters. More to come for everyone else.. I think I need to make a list of who all to buy for so I can get something for everyone from Afghanistan! :)

Okay - so here I am at the USO.. I just IMd Katrina on her AOL IM..
I got a reply..I"I don't think you know who this is.."
I said.. "Katrina?? Who is this??" REPLY: "No, Please don't write anymore"
Hmmmm.. someone using Katrina's account?? Not Cool!
Just found out.. she must have it set to send to a cell.. but its not her CELL.. so every time I IM her on it.. it costs THEM on text.. lol oops..

Anyhow, as I was saying, slept all day.. first time in a while. The last couple days I've been running off about 4-5 hours of sleep at night. Still trying to get in the groove so I can start my workout. Figured I would give myself a few days to get on a schedule.. and get some sleep.. then start my P90X. I did actually buy the CDs today (I've always had them on my puter) - so that me and a few of my friends can do it together in the Gym. :) I am actually quite excited to start again. AND - the CD set.. $13.00.. LMAO.. in the states its probably about $120.

Anyhow, Not much else goin on for the day. Feeling a little secluded from some of my friends here since I started working this shift. Believe that I will ultimately try and get back on days. I have never met an OIC that works the night shift. That leaves me out of the loop of all the things that go on during the day - when everyone else (all other cells) are up and operational. The COL/LCOL have questions during the day that my TSGT answer.. i come in and have no clue.. it just isnt' right. We have a new guy, so now I have 3 for mornings, 3 for nights and then myself. There is no reason I can't work days and seriously.. if they need me for something, it takes 5 minutes to walk to my room and get me.. NOT a big deal. Instead right now, Trung just says well they can come to me during the day.. NO.. I am the OIC... It is my responsibility. ULTIMATELY I feel as if He is the OIC and I work for him. If I were an O4.. would this be different? This is an O4 billet.. I just want to do my job... I want to be the OIC and not feel as if I am just an in between.. and he is functioning as the OIC... I know.. its only been a week.. within the next couple tho, I will be trying to move back to days, so I can actually be at work when everyone else is (the higher ups with questions, the other cells with issues) - because I am doing no one any good by being on nights. Okay enough venting..

I should go. I am gonna get to work and go call the family. I miss everyone. I am okay, I just miss everyone. Being on this schedule I am missing all my friends here too.. If I want to see them, I basically have to cut out some of my sleep to meet them for dinner.. Well - we are going to get on a schedule where I can meet them everyday at about 330/4 to do P90X together. SO I will get my 6 hours of sleep or so, get up, work out, shower, eat, and then chill out for a while before work.. Ideally, that would be a decent routine. We'll see.

Okay all, gonna go. I love you all and thank you all for all your support.
More tomorrow

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Saturday, 19 Jun 2010 - FOR Travis :) I love you






In 3 days my 1st born son will be 12 years old!
He has grown so much and I am soo proud of him. He has turned in to a pleasant young man and I am soo proud to be able to call him my son! :)

Rght now, they are in Mississippi spending the summer with their Aunt Tammy, Uncle Mike and Cousin Dylon. Travis was soo excited to go.. he was really looking forward to spending some man time with Dylon - who's a few years old than him.

I remember when I found out I was pregnant with him.. I was in the doctors office and immediately called my mom crying.. (excited.. of course). It was a great pregnancy and well, we won't talk about the delivery..
BUT
He made it worthwhile, and was a happy little baby! I was very lucky!

Now, he will be 12. Where do the years go?? Wow..
This post.. is for him..

I love you Travis and I hope you have a wonderful Birthday!!!

Mom

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday, 18 Jun 2010

Its morning time here and I normally write in the evenings, but due to the replies from my last posting, I felt it necessary to write this am.
Last night, my post was odds and ends of things I had thought about and never quite verbalized. Things I noticed, things that gave me little twinges of fear.. But - a healthy fear. NOT ones that I constantly obsess about. When I write these... I try to let people see from inside my mind.. and throughout the days, I generally get lots of thoughts that I never remember to write about..
Some as simple as "Man - she is a reason why Navy women get a bad name.. I KNOW she is not within standards" or "Damn, how many assistants do the generals need to do their jobs" or "This is my job, my billet, let me do it and take OIC of YOUR signature line.. "
Stupid random thoughts, and those that I wrote about last night were prominent, because it was all fresh in my head as I walked around last night after my shift.
There are some things I feel I shouldn't say.. but.. this is my blog.. of my thoughts.. and if I don't write them down.. how will I remember everything I was thinking, or feeling, from day to day.. BUT please, don't worry about me. Usually, if I am sad.. or a little depressed.. I will actually state that.. as I did when I was in Kuwait and felt soo alone.
Here I am lucky to be surrounded by 30% of those that I had trained with for the previous 6 weeks.. I have friends.. I have aquantances and more importantly, a support network to whom I can vent to here... when or if I feel the need.

Its funny because, yes, usually, as a parent, as a daughter, we hold up a certain strength to my kids.. to my parents.. so that they don't worry about me. My parents have a hard job right now of taking care of my kids.. I don't want them worried about me or my well being.. And although I know they will, simply becuase I am in a war zone.. and that's a scary thought for any parent or child.. the less they have to worry about other stuff is extremely important to me..
However, here... I will usually write about those worries.. after the fact.. when the danger or fear or sadness has passed.. I write this, so that others may see - as visually as they can from afar - this place, this war zone, through my eyes. No Bullshit, no cover ups, no flowering up the statements as we do with everything in the military. This is me. These are my thoughts.. Good, bad or indifferent, this is what I see and feel from day to day.

Thank you all for your concern.. I seriously appreciate it, but don't worry! :)
I just want to capture every moment I can, every thought, every feeling, so that in years to come, my grandchildren can relive my year in "the war zone" and understand what we in the military go through to help protect us all. Its not just physical casualties that people experience. Its the mental turmoil of being away from family. Its the helpless feeling of knowing that no matter what is going on at home.. we really can't do much to help from where we are..
Don't get me wrong, I am okay with being here. I am glad I am doing my part. I will be able to retire in a few years knowing I did something BIG for the military. I did my part as many others do.. over and over again.

Thank you to all who serve. Thank you to all who support those of us that do and mostly, thank you for the onpooring of love and strength we receive from those back home!

Now - if you really want to support me... start sending care packages!! :) LOL
Anything.. I don't care.. lol - Just getting mail from home.. whether it be a card, or a package is definitely like Christmas.. every time! :)

Some ideas:
mixed nuts, magazines, M&Ms (those are my weakness), graham crackers, healthy snacks, stationary, I dunno.. things like that.. My address is on FB.

Okay.. I will write more tomorrow after my shift..

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thursday, 17 Jun 2010

Well, here I am again.. at the USO for internet... WHY, when I spent $80.00 to connect to the local web (and be able to connect from my room).. ITS NOT WORKING.. ERRGGH.
I am frustrated. It would be nice to be able to sit back and be out of uniform and chat with my friends online.. without being at the USO... Owell.. I know.. we are lucky to even have internet... OMG.. HOW would I survive without it at all.. I guess I should be thankful, vice bitching about it ehh? I think I am more pisst becuase I spent 80 to be connected..
and its NOT working..
Owell..
Today was another busy day.. but today was GOOD busy.. improvements busy..
See - I dont just receive reports for people that die.. I also get them for those that get sick.. or minor/seriously injured.. and then we get updates and statuses on them.. almost daily.. so today was full of updates and statuses - but they were all (MOSTLY) good.. so it was a Busy Good Day. :)

As I was walking around Prison Camp today I noticed how many foreign locals we have here working.. and it makes me wonder.. how many of them are spies.. come on.. we can't be naive enough to believe that the Afghans are smart enough to infiltrate themselves.. they did it in the US.. they damn sure could do it here.. in their own country.. so I wonder.. which one that I am looking at is the "bad" guy...

Then I look at the foreign locals that are armed on base... yes.. armed and guns loaded.. and wonder.. "Is today the day he is going to freak out, and just go on a shooting rampage?" Is he a good guy.. or a bad guy in disguise...just waiting for the right moment.

I look out over the barriers at the mountain sides around us and see homes.. buildings and wonder.. which one could have a sniper in it.. How clearly can they see us? I know this is like a prison here.. and that leaves me with great comfort.. BUT watching foreigners walk around with loaded weapons.. kinda creeps me out..

Not to mention..even our own.. when I see our own guys.. walking around with loaded weapons.. i wonder.. which one will be the one to negligently discharge? Which one will sweep me with his weapon so I can go off on him!

And then pray - please GOD.. don't let me be around when all that happens.

See, the funny part is.. I am almost.. ALMOST.. more afraid of our own with loaded weapons.. then some of the locals.. just because we too often see people that have cleaned and taken apart their weapon... and when they
put it back together.. end up shooting themselves or someone else.. becuase there was a round in the chamber! Errgh.. How fucking stupid is that? They TAKE apart their weapon.. and still dont see it?? IMPOSSIBLE.. seriously.. come on.. those of you who have cleaned your weapons.. if you have done it correctly.. you know.. it would NOT be loaded and BESIDES.. CARDINAL RULE - ALWAYS ALWAYS treat a weapon like it is loaded!!!

Today - was a sad day of few incidents. SUICIDES are always hard to deal with. And it hurts to think about that individuals last moments.. what hurt soo bad.. that ending their life was the only answer? Meticulously planned.. thought out and executed... DAMN... if only they would've talked to someone.. anyone.. It's truly disheartening.

Okay.. enough about death.. altho it is scary out here.. I am probably exagerating on my fears.. just a tad... BUT NOT too much.. Seriuosly.. BUT what is funny.. is the Marines.. they THRIVE on that fear.. they know NOT that fear and want more.. want to go out.. want to drive that HMMWV.. want to man that weapon... they love it.. its imbedded in them.. BUT.. that is then. I am not a Marine.. I am not in the Army.. I am a Sailor.. I drive ships.. I don't drive HMMWVs with mounted weapons... I drive huge steal ships with mounted guns and other tactical defense weapons!! :) WE are usually bigger than our opponent.. :)
Out here.. we are in the heart of their city.. and they have nothing to lose.. That is probably the worst part.. they have NOTHING to lose (the locals).

Okay.. enough depressing crap.. Thats the kind of things that have been running thru my head today.
Tonight.. I am going to try and stay up late.. I start night shift tomorrow.. so.. I need to stay up way late.. sleep in and go to work by 2200..
woohoo.. night shift. :) It will be good.. it will put me on good schedule with kids and friends back home..(Jamie!! :) and my sisters!! I will be able to chat with them periodically throughout the day!! yeaaa!! :)
Okay.. gonna go.. they are having SALSA lessons tonight.. and trying to recruit more women.. lol might as well... :)
More tomorrow

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, 16 Jun 2010




Hump Day.. It sure felt more like a Monday today..
We stayed busier than we have been the week that I have been here.
Not alot to report today..
I got up about 615.. off my richety bunk bed.. seriously.. it feels soo richety when I am on it.. LOL I slept so hard last night that I didn't wake up before my alarm.. which is unusual. I woke up to my alarm.. which startled me.. lol
The O4 below me and myself.. we sleep with our 9Ms under our pillow... startling us is not a good thing.. LMAO
Anyhow, I do have to say I like being 5 min from work and being able to eat every meal at my desk.. I do enjoy staying in the DFAC or outside for lunch occassionally.. but usually we are soo busy.. after 700 turnover.. i go down and get breakfast.. bring it up to eat.. I generally skip lunch (just am not hungry by then.. but will snack on a bagel or something) and then for dinner.. i go down and get a togo plate too.
I forgot to tell you.. Night before last.. Lobster Tail and Prime Rib for main meal (of course they always have alternatives..) tonight was Mongolian night.. Its funny.. eating at the DFAC is like eating at one of those cheap buffets... Its good food.. All you can eat.. all you can eat dessert - including an ice cream bar - and drinks.. gatorades.. energy drinks.. soda. punch.. water.. whatever you want.. whenever..
we do not pay for any food here nor do we have any fast food places here.. there would be no where for them to go.. lol
Anyhow, so can't complain about the food.. :)

It rained here today for a short time.. which is a rarity I guess.. but its okay.. it wasnt bad, only for a few and I didn't spend much time outside today anyhow!! lol

The day has flown by for me today.. I am a bit tired.. I guess it doesn't help that I stayed up til after midnight watching Up in the Air on my laptop. It is soo nice to be settled in to my room and I now have bet both my roommates and they are both cool.. no drama.. no prisses.. PLUS they leave in a month! :) So I will have the room to myself.. long enough to rearrange it and take my pick of the bed! :)

I will be posting pics tonight of some things from our base. Our exchange... is literally a trailer.. yes.. and our rooms.. are RLBs.. they look like big trailers.. made into rooms.. you will see.. its hard to explain.. and Im not talking about house trailers.. Im talking about shipping containers.. trailers.. lol

Okay.. enough for now.. another safe day.. another day down.. counting my blessing and appreciating the love and support from everyone..

BTW - I had 2 letters when i got here.. thats it.. people in my office are getting packages everyday.. lol (hint hint)

:) Thank you everyone, seriously, for your support tho, okay!! Love to all!!! Pics are up on FB.

More tomorrow

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Payday... :) I only say that because this one was nice.. :) Since I arrived in country (they call it BOG - Boots on Ground) on 30 May.. I am entitled to the whole month of May tax free.. :) woohoo.. :) so, this was a nice chunk of change, altho - I will say - it came at a brilliant time because there is ALOT going on at home.
The kids are out of school this week and fly to MS on Thursday. The boys will be there for about 6 weeks and Katrina will be there for about 3. I have to fly her back early so that she doesn't miss too much cheer practice and get kicked off the team..
My parents are driving up to Oregan to close up their house and bring ALL of their belongings (officially move) to the house.. so - when Katrina flies back early.. she will be staying with one friend for about 2 weeks.. then another for another 2 weeks, while waiting on Grandma and Papa to get home.. ITs a busy month for everyone I suppose and the preparations are in full force right now.. :)

As far as today.. it was a slow day.. good for my fellow service members!
I did get a new barracks room today.. the down fall is that there is only 2 lockers - vice 3 - and there are 3 of us in there.. I made do.. I bought a plastic dresser from the little Exchange (trailer) we have here and will suffice. The good news is.. both my roommates leave in a few weeks.. I will get more.. but when they leave.. i will get to move to the single bed.. vice being on the top rack of the bunk bed!

I am still in awe about the senior leadership here. I work just a few doors down from the Col that runs USFOR-A and a few doors down from that the Generals.. Its crazy.. I don't think I have seen so many stars this close up before.. :) I have to laugh.. because I used to just hear names on TV.. now I see them in person and its crazy.. lol

Beyond that, just got off the phone with my mom tonight. We always chit chat for about 40 minutes each night after I get off the phone. Its very nice and makes me feel closer to home, thats for sure! I am very grateful at how advanced we are technologically - which makes this possible!

I am still a bit preturbed at the sense of entitlement some of these people here have.. and Im not talking about the O6 and above.. Im talking just some of the O4s and O5s.. and to be honest.. most of those with that mentality.. are reservists, that were activated.. that have simply just been reserve long enough to put on O4/O5..
We all have to earn our keep... nothing is entitled to us.. we are in a war zone. Everyone is 3 to a room.. no matter who you are.. (okay.. maybe the generals get their own living quarters.. but they've earned it.. I think they've been in longer than I have been alive!! LOL)

I look out beyond the wires today (outside the compound) and can see the mountains and houses up on the hill in Kabul. I am not sure if that is a cool site.. or scary.. I tend to find myself looking to any sign of snipers... lol I shouldn't laugh.. because anything is possible!

Everynight at about 2000 they play their music (in Kabul..the Afghans) extremely loud so that our compound can hear it clearly.. I am sure they do this on purpose - and whats worse.. they do it all throughout the night too.. lol you can wake up at 2 am and hear Afghani music over some stupid loud speaker in their city.. and our compound is just overtaken by it.. I mean.. its not blaring.. but.. its there.. in the back ground.. no matter where you are on this base.. you will hear it.. and they know it..

I have met some really cool people here.. and some not so much..
I do miss my BBF (Battle Buddy Forever - Michelle!! :)).. she is over in IRAQ now.. but doing a pretty awesome job and I think having fun with it..

I have yet to see Donovan.. hopefully soon (HINT HINT) since he is just a little bit up the road at a different compound..

I have taken some pics today and will upload them when I can..
Gonna go see if my new roomies are in and make sure everything is kosher!
More tomorrow..

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday, 14 June 2010

Today was yet another busy day for me. I was in the office by 0700 for shift turnover and started learning how to process the reports. This will help my team greatly, by being able to contribute. I have 2 E7's and 2 E6's and 1 E5s working for me. They are all Air Force. I like them, so far! LOL.. It looks like I have a pretty good team.
I learned how to do the process and started helping this morning. It is nice, and I feel like I am contributing. Now, I am the OIC - but we are so undermanned that I can't NOT help. The funny part is, the LTC from Kuwait emailed me today telling me that as the OIC I should not be processing.. But see, he is at an advantage - as the OIC there.. he has a staff of atleast 18 people, working 8 hour shifts in 3 sections.. with atleast 1 person from each shift off every night. I do not have that luxury. I explained to him that I only have 5 people working for me in my cell.. and they need my help.. Besides, How can I be a good manager if I don't know how the process works. I should know how to do everything they are doing, so that when I QA - I know what the hell I am doing!
Anyhow, I was on the list tonight for permanent berthing ... I went and picked up my key and moved 2 of my seabags to my room. EACH room will house 3 people.. they used to only house 2 - so there are alot of people NOT happy about having a 3rd person move in.. lucky me. I am living in a ROB - so its not the hard bldg stand up barracks.. its the ones that look like containers.. its nice enough.. it will work.. but i get back from work tonight with a note on the top bunk telling me that my bed is broken and I can't sleep on it (apparently its missing 4 bolts) - and of course, the billeting office is closed.. apparently they went to billeting to tell them, so the guy moved me to a different ROB (4 doors down) but failed to contact me before they closed so that I could get a key and move in.. errggh..
I just want to get settled. I just want to unpack my seabag with the things I need and use and start my routine. I can't workout becuase I have 1 set of PT gear right now.. the others are in the bottom of a seabag that is stored in my bosses ROB while I was in temp berthing..
Anyhow - I am just tired of the Temporary tent and am ready to get settled. I want to be able to go "home" at the end of the day.. and home being a container that I have unpacked and a locker that has my stuff in it.. rather than living out of this damn sea bag for the last month!
Not much else going on tonight. Its an early night, I may just go watch a movie (back in the temp tent) before I go to bed.. I have plenty of work to do.. but.. its not going anywhere.. so it will keep me busy during the days.
I start my night shift on Friday, woohoo.. Time to get in a routine.
I hate feeling unsettled.
More tomorrow...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday, 13 June 2010

My day started at 0500 so that I could be in the office by 6am today. We had some work done on the base last night which required the power to be out.. if the power was not back on or our network not up - I would have had to walk over to ISAF again (outside the wires) to set up shop for the day there.. BUT FORTUNATELY, everything was in good working order and I jumped right in. Implemented some new check sheets to ensure we are on the same page as Kuwait (where we send our data) and jumped into verifying records.. I stayed busy all day. It was nice.
I have now met all but 1 of the guys that work for me. Tomorrow night at our turnover we will have a pow wow and I will set down some of my expectations.
I actually enjoy the job here so far. We definitely stay busy - we are undermanned, in my opinion of junior enlisted personnel. I have never been to a command or a base - let alone a Code itself that is soo top heavy. Its a good thing this base is cover optional - altho the only saluting going on is to the generals and above - you will still stay busy saluting.. It is rediculous. The thing about my code is that we have plenty of officers - with made up/created jobs and not enough enlisted to get our job done. Kuwait CAC has almost 4 times the crew I have.. so I will definitely stay busy and in the weeds in this job. I don't mind staying busy, but it would be nice to have a little more help than what we have now.
Anyhow, I will tell you - I (except for RIMPAC.. ) have never seen soo many foreign military working together.. and I mean TOGETHER in an office.. Italian, Australian, British, Turkey, I could go on and on, but it's pretty neat to see all the joint forces working together (and it was pretty cool listening to that Italian army guy talk on the phone in Italian yesterday, too...) I have to admit, thats kinda hot.. lol
Anyways, I will start my nights this week which is good.. becuase that means I will get this Friday off. :)
Today was the Bazaar.. found lots of cool things.. things I will eventually buy.. gift ideas, etc.. but will have to manage my time.. the Bazaar is here every Sunday and I have atleast 49 more to attend before leaving here.. :)
I did make a promise to a guy today that I would be back next week to buy something he had.. (a gift..) but today was just a day for me to look and see what was out there and how much you can talk the prices down.. some of these guys are crazy here.. and yet some.. really good prices.. movies.. $2.00 a peice. DVD Series Sets.. and I mean like seasons 1-5 or all seasons.. anywhere from $20-30 MAX.. I can see it already.. I will have boxes of movies to send home before I leave here.. :)
Thats about it for the happenings today.
Oh.. I pisst a marine MAJ off today that works in with my boss.. see.. here's the deal
My boss wants me to go to Camp Julien - its an overnight trip - for some training. I wouldn't mind the training (altho I think I got it in Camp Virgnia) - can't really talk about that part.. BUT - here's the problem.. I read about the Convoy that was attacked a couple weeks ago on their way to Camp Julien. 2 Vehicles blown away.. several casualties.. (and by casualties.. I don't just mean injured.. ) I read the reports today... (after being told yesterday about this course).. I happened upon some reports today (I had no idea..) and after reading them I told my boss there is no way I am going that far and OMG.. no.. I don't want to be in one of my own reports.. Besides, I honestly think I had the training already.. Anyhow, the Marine MAJ was mad when I said I was scared and dont want to die.. lol It literally pissed him off.. he said I should give up my hazardous duty pay.. okay. .seriously dude.. its $100 fucking dollars extra a month.. really? We should be getting paid a whole lot more than that for where we work! Come on.. its okay to be scared! Obviously, if I got ordered to go, I would; but - if I had my choice, I would rather not! This guy was like - "Just up your insurance" - my boss defended me "She has kids to think about" his reply: "You have kids? How many" I said: "Three" He said: "I have 5. I just upped my insurance" - OKAY mister Macho Marine guy.. you be tough.. I will continue to be fearful of my life.. becuase your complacency.. will get you killed.. my fears - will keep me alert and alive!
errghh..
Then i felt bad becuase I didn't want this guy pisst at me.. (altho I am allowed to feel how I feel) its not good to piss off the other officers on your 2nd day at work..LOL
Owell.. just got off a 14 hours shift.. gonna go chill for the night and maybe watch one of the movies I bought today. :)
More tomorrow..

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday, 12 June 2010


Well one full day down... and its just the beginning.. :) I have officially checked in and received my email address.. tanya.r.zinn@afghan.swa.army.mil for those interested.
I have a few things about today. I was kinda rushed and think I left out a few things... about yesterday, so as I remember them, I will include them in my blogs..

As far as today goes.. I had to go outside the wires today... walking... Mind you, we are SMACK in the middle of Kabul.. We are in the heart of the city. So my boss and I put on our battle rattle and had to go across the way (only a few blocks, crossing the busiest intersection in Kabul, to get my Badge..) Yes.. I know.. sounds crazy, but let me tell you, it was even crazier to do it. According to my boss - he has to go over about once a week..
Anyhow, okay, so we gear up, and start heading to our gate.. I actually load my 9 MM and ensure there is a bullet in the chamber.. yes.. locked, cocked, and ready to be rocked (only the safety on).. and then we walk out of our compound. Our security holds traffic for us on our side (yes.. only 2 of us.. but they hold traffic..) I'm sure that pisses off the afghans whom, already most of them hate us, I'm sure.. And we begin our couple block journey to safety.. lol
He walks ahead, leading the way.. and I am behind him.. hand on my weapon, ready to pull.. and as we walk the sidewalk.. I end up with one afghan guy on my port bow.. lol yea I said it.. port bow... about 30 degrees to my left side about and seriously within touching distance.. (30 degrees to port basically... and then one behind him.. about 20 meters and off my 210 (for those of you familiar with ship terminology - you can visualize.. ) just behind me in my perifial vision.. yeah.. here I am, literally surrounded by 2 Afghans.. and who knows.. they could be the two that hate us most and see a small American.. thinking they can take her.. lol... YES a million different thoughts ran thru my mind.. from my self defense methods I learned in Camp Virginia, to hey.. I have a loaded 9M.. with my hand on it.. It was definitely scary. Now - in defense of my boss.. he could see me and the front guy in his perifial vision.. but he had to watch the front.. as well.. so - we were both taking up the 360 trying to maintain our safety.. Now - no, its not like there are Afghani's running around with machine guns 24/7 trying to kill every american military they see... but in some places.. they would!
We are fortunate that we are in the heart of the city with several compounds around us.. we would demolish anyone for trying to attack us going from compound to compound..
It also helps that we have the American Embassy just down the road too.. YES - today, I was on US Soil.. :) I walked around the Embassy to see what it looked like.. pretty interesting.. not to mention, they have a pool.. mmhmmm.. they have solid building barracks that look 100 times better than ours.. for that matter.
Anyhow, We got my badge and toured around the compounds, in all the shops, before gearing back up to head back to NKC.. the way back.. was kinda sucky.. as we were walking down the side walk.. i got caught on the razor blade barbed wire (just caught on my uniform momentarily) BUT.. you don't want to be caught for anymore time than necessary to expeditiously walk back inside the safety of the compound! You don't stop for anything!! so.. that was a freaky few seconds.. unhooking myself.. but.. that few seconds.. felt like minutes.. LOL.. maybe overreacting.. but, you never know who is out there, watching and waiting to pounce!
BUT alas, we made it back safely.. mission accomplished..
I could really never go back outside the compound and be okay with that.. :)
That was about the most exciting thing that happened today.. Oh besides talking to Don.. He is at a camp not far from me.. so I may actually get to visit with him during his tour (since his is shorter than mine). <------ TOUR TIME, DON... TOUR TIME.. :) LMAO

I did look at the schedule today, looks like I will work days all next week 0700-1900 and then start nights the following week 2200-1000 - with Fridays off. :)
Thats it. Thats what my year will be like. The good part is that I will be on the same cycle/schedule as the kids..

Now, I am sitting at the USO - on my laptop - enjoying the down time, and trying to get photos uploaded. :)

Will write more later as I get a chance! Thank you to all who follow me in my journey.. it definitely helps! More later..

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday 11 Jun 2010

So I made it! I am finally in Kabul, with quite the story to tell...
So continuing on from the last time, I stayed the night at the Air Base, expecting to be on the next flight to Bagram at 1230, so it was definitely a ground hog day - but atleast I was plenty rested and felt a little better!
I started my morning by lugging all 4 of my seabags back to the tent 1 - in preps for the flight that afternoon... So after waiting and waiting, its about 1130 - the time for roll call for the flight.. and they announce that our flight is being rerouted and the next flight would not be until 1930 - but it was for R&R passengers and they had priority.. so, OMG.. I am pisst.. lol and hot and tired.. again.. this heat wears you out! So I finally hook up with the NAVY LNO where I find out I am actually with a group of about 6 other Navy personnel (only 36 hours after I arrive...mmhmm.. shitty communication on their part!) so - they tell us they can try to get us on the next flight, but plan on us staying until the next day becuase it doesn't look likely..
SO - I, instead of moving all 4 seabags, grab one small bag of overnight necessities and take my self back to my little tent.. to take a nap. I finally fall sleep (resigned to the idea of going thru this ALL OVER AGAIN - to be woke up by one of the guys in my group telling me we were on.. we got on the flight! SO -I round up my stuff, head out to the mustering location and sure enough, we are mustered and getting ready to finally leave!
WOOHOO! I just wanted out of the heat.
So - we get loaded on the busses, and head to the run way.. where we hear - they aren't ready for us - errghh.. so I think the same thing is going to happen that happened yesterday.. BUT it didn't. They just needed another 20 minutes or so, so we hung out there on the busses waiting to load!
We loaded into a C130 - the center of the plan was our seats. 4 rows.. 2 facing eachother... and seriously, the space between them... your knees were in someone else's crotch.. yes.. no kidding.. that is how close we were. PLus we had our carry ons that had to be on our laps, becuase there is not luggage area and we were definitely squished in.. BUT - we were headed to Bagram! Finally.. so we dealt with it!
The plane ride was 6 hours long.. we arrived in Bagram about 2 am I think.. something like that.. and was immediately wisked off (the 7 navy) to the inprocessing center.. where (at 230 in the morning we listened to a PPT brief, filled out some paperwork and were told that we would be leaving in a few hours.. we had to option to go to temporary berthing.. but, we just decided to hang out at the USO.
within a few hours we were mustered and told that we would be taken by CONVOY.. not by plane as originally planned (for whatever reason) to Camp Eggers... Are you kidding me?This was not what I was expecting nor desiring to be honest.. I had a fear in me that you would not understand. AND the worst part - I couldn't call my mom and tell her "Hey, plans changed, we are leaving by convoy soon.." becuase I didn't want her to worry... I was worried enough for us all.
So - Go time.. we load up in MRAPS (I have several pics I will upload later) and start our journey. Every bump, every ditch, scared the hell out of me.. I could not believe I was in Bagram Afghanistan, taking a Convoy to my base.. I was praying the whole time, as well as taking pictures..
I have lots of pics to upload, rather than just describe, but I will tell you - some areas were just tents, some looked like mud shacks and others were bldgs that looked run down. It was very reminiscent of Panama living conditions.. Those of you that went on deployment with me, will know what I mean, especially once you see the pics.
So we arrived - and my boss picked me up.. we stopped and picked up my ammo, and then headed to my area, where I saw my office, and my temporary berthing tent.. ONE tent, 20 bunkbed racks, no lockers and space hoggers.. yes.. space hoggers.. 2 of my seabags my boss took to his room to hold.. there would be no way to fit all 4 of mine in there..
I took a much needed shower, called my parents and then went to bed. I was out by about 8pm and woke up about 5 am this morning.
BTW - all my battle buddies are here! :) It was sooo nice to see familiar faces at dinner last night (Steak and Lobster..btw) - I feel much better now that I am with people I know!
Gotta go get checked in and start the process.. looks like I will be working the 2200 to 1000 shift. Will write more later when I can and upload pics..

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday, 9 Jun 2010

Travel day...
It started the night before, where, because my body is not quite used to changing sleep schedules, I did NOT sleep Tuesday night. So, I stayed up watching movies until it was time to get up and moving. I headed to the bus for the airport early in the morning - knowing only what time I needed to muster (who, what, where, etc.. UNKNOWN) - yeah...
So - we get dropped off at the airport.. and I mean dropped off. Thats it. I am on my own (I say we, because there were a few other people heading to the airport, as well). SO - we get there and I take all (4) of my seabags off the bus and set them aside. We are told to check in at blah blah and so I did, where they scanned my ID and that was that. From that point on - there was NO guidance for me.. NONE. I had no idea where to check in, who to talk to, and everyone seemed to give me different stories of what I needed. Yeah - the LNO Afghan desk.. NO HELP! Thank you very much!
So I finally find the right place, move all my bags, and am where I need to be atleast for the next few hours..
When the ROLL call comes for my flight, my name is NOT called.. so I (at this point, tired, hot and hungry) get upset and go to the counter where they tell me I am in a different category - but on the flight.. go to the next counter... so I go to the other counter and sure enough.. I am booked.. (WAS ANYONE GOING TO LET ME KNOW THIS???) okay.. so - I find out I'm on.. now.. just a couple more hours and we muster again.. The next time we muster its time to take out bags over to be palletized. At this point I met COL Bruzese, who, with the help of Master Sergeant - helps me with my bags and informs me she is also at NKC..So, she fills me in on NKC and instantly takes me under her wings.. She was also on this flight. SO - bags are palletized, we are bussed over, where we find out there is mech probs and there will be a 2 hr delay!! OMG.. so we get bussed back to tents.. to wait.. I sleep.. yes.. finally.. a couple hours of rest..
1830 rolls around and we are briefed that our flight is canx. OMG.. the fiasco starts.
First off, there is no food over here.. (well.. okay.. vienna sausages.. pizza with no flavor (which you have to pay $11.00 for) BUT plenty of warm water and gatorade!!
So - flight canx.. now what.. I am told to go to this counter, nope wrong counter, go back to other counter, nope.. back to LSO counter.. OMG.. can someone please give me a straight fucking answer? I need to know what to do, where can I eat.. where do I sleep.. SOMETHING people!! FUCK!
At this point, I am soo tired, hot and frustrated, I called my mom and the minute I heard her voice, I just broke down crying. Crying out of frustration, you name it. I could NOT get ahold of any of the 3 POCs I had to rebook my flight to Thurs.. no one was giving me answers.. no one was helping.. PLUS we had to now DEpalletize our bags and drag them somewhere else.. AGAIN! I am in a foreign country, and in unfamiliar circumstances. I have never felt more ALONE than I did on this day.. I think I have said I felt alone, but yesterday, completely on my own in a foreign place, and not knowing where I was going to sleep or when I would actually get out of here.. it hit me. I broke down like a baby with my mom for about 20 minutes.. I just cried.. cried so much I couldn't talk.. it was rediculous.. but much needed.. before I WENT OFF on the multiple people I got NO help from yesterday. INCLUDING soldiers walking right by me, seeing me try to carry 2 seabags at a time - weighing as much as me.. and taller than me.. without offering to help. (Fortunately at one point there was 1 guy that helped me carry 1 of my seabags across to another tent earlier in the day..) - NOT that I am saying they are douche bags for not offering.. I know.. equality and such.. but.. chivalry, ehh? what happened to it..
Anyhow, ERRGH.. COL to the rescue. Her and MSGT helped again, then she took me to the billeting tent to get overnight billeting.. and then we all 3 went to the DFAC to eat.. then planned to meet at 0800 Thurs for the morning brief.
So - FINALLY.. I get a little rest. I was woke about every 2 hours, but it was sleep none the less and a SHOWER! Yes, MSGT helped carry my bags to my tent.. THANK GOD for the two of them!! OMGosh!! THANK GOD for them!
AS far as Thursdays travel.. well, its all yet to be determined.. I have gotten a hold of everyone and hopefully had everything changed.. so.. we will see.. will blog about it later!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday, 7 June 2010

Work, was work. Another 8 hour shift.. somewhat slow night.. slow just means less than 10.. give or take.. it definitely gives me the "look" into what kind of casualties we are seeing out here in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait. Very sombering. Very sobering.
Can't talk too much about it, but needless to say, the news does NOT report everything. Only what they want people to see or believe.. its quite sad to be honest. The only thing on the news is what ever could be considered con traversal. Its really sad for those that are losing their lives over here, and all you get to see... is things that make us look bad.. what they are NOT showing is the constant stream of IEDs, snipers, and ambushes our guys are facing, on even the most simplest of tasks. We take for granted driving down a highway in the states, being defensive drivers to those we think are not paying attention. Over here.. driving down a street is a nerve racking experience. Anything.. ANYTHING can be an IED..anyone can be guilty.. someone paying TOO much attention, and you never know.. and you can never be sure..and if you find an IED, of those that are found, there are those that are not... most of them are traps. If you found an IED, before it detonates, its usually because they want you to feel as if you found it.. and you may let your guard down for 1 sec.. 1 mm of a second.. and thats all it takes.. the real IED.. the real one, not meant to be discovered, is waiting for you to turn around, or take one more step, or one more rotation of the tires on your HMMV thinking you found it... Thats all it takes. I am telling you, even here in the so called green zone.. my drive here was definitely nerve racking and as I get closer to getting to Afghanistan, it scares the hell out of me. Some of the guys here were TAD to Khandahar when a Rocket hit. They were less than 100 meters from the incident.. I can NOT even imagine..Its a scary fucking place.. period.
and it really pisses me off that the news doesn't show you what really takes place here. I have seen some news that makes us look like gorillas.. (not always.. I know) people here... are just tryin to stay alive. Just trying to help those that are in need, those that are injured, or stuck, or ambushed.. and they are put in impossible situations. I'm sorry.. but if it were anyone of them, and it came down to it.. and their life was on the line.. if they had to choose to shoot the shooter or be shot... they would shoot the shooter.. if they say they wouldn't.. they are lying or simply stupid (my opinion).. I have to tell you.. I want to go home. I will do what it take to go home alive.. not in a box. They don't train us to be killers, they train us to stay alive.
Even still, no amount of training will prepare you for watching someone die in the vehicle in front of you. I feel for each and everyone of our guys that have had to face that, each and everyone of those family members that have lost their loved one over here. Simple missions, turn into blood baths. It a sad reality and its happening.
This is our reality.
I was lost in the haze and thought, well, I work in a building. Not on the front lines. Not in convoys.. not outside the wires. Maybe I am safer where I am at.. but.. tell that to the others, in other locations that are being rocketed, or bombed, mortared, ambushed, and they aren't outside the wires. I won't say much more than that.. I have done some google searches - with no results, so until then I will reserve what I am really pisst about.

Yesterday was a baking 124 degrees. Today was probably the same.. but included a sand storm all day. It felt as if you were walking into a blow dryer blowing fine sand in every crevice of your face... with no "cool air" button to push. It was hot. It is 5 am and has cooled down considerably.. (probably only about 100) - but I am sure by the time I wake up.. it will be nice and HOT again..

Thats really all I have for tonight.. I'm tired. Tomorrow is a day off for me.. finally.. a day to myself..

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Raw Thoughts

Okay.. so its 5 am here.. I've been off work since midnight.. watched both full episodes of the Bachelorette.. (BTW.. my pick is Roberto... mmm hmmm) There's another hot one... but I can't take his voice..its just too... I dunno..) Anyhow, I was laying down, getting ready to sleep.. but have all these thoughts in my head.. so I'm just gonna babble..
I find myself, each night, clinging to a blanket I bought (like a throw) when I was in SC. Its just an average throw.. one I bought for the plane rides.. but.. I find myself holding on to it at night as if it were my "blanky." Sounds odd? Yea.. tell me about it. I think the last time I clang to something was when I was 7 and had a teddybear.
It gives me a sense of closeness.. or comfort.. to what - I have no clue.. I know.. crazy.. In a sense, it makes me feel as if I am clinging to my kids, or my mom.. even tho I bought it after I left home.. Its really weird, but it made me realize how totally alone I feel here.
Its sad... but don't worry, this isn't a pity party, its simply me, getting stuff out of my head..
I am not so sure that separating me from my battle buddies (especially the ones that were heading to my same FOB (forward operating base) was a smart idea. Yes, I needed the training, and I am glad for the opportunity, it will allow me to do a better job - BUT - I'm not sure its worth the mental/emotional strain...
It may not seem like it... but its definitely putting a strain on me. I am usually a "glass half full" type of person.. and can say things like.. "Its hot.. but could be worse.. we could be at the front gate in full battle rattle..rather than in an office with A/C." or "it could be worse" - Don't get me wrong, I will bitch with the best of them when I am tired, hot or hungry/grumpy - but..since i have been here... in training in SC/Kuwait - I have noticed I have been better about the bitchin and always making people see that we could have it worse.. HOWEVER, that being said.. I can feel it getting to me..
The loneliness.. feeling secluded from EVERYONE.. not just family.. or friends.. but my new friends.. and in a completely FOREIGN place (pun intended) and feeling very much ALONE. I am confined to my work.. or my rack - for the most part.. even when I am off.. its late in the night.. and there is nothing to do besides be on the computer and watch TV/Movies.. and to be honest.. it kinda sucks!! I've only been here 5 days, and I kinda feel like I want to cry.. okay.. so I do feel like I want to cry.. I know.. sounds girlie of me.. really not trying to sound like a wimpy bitcher.. but - these are my thoughts.. my feelings..
I am just ready to get there.. to be around people that I have already connected with and connect with new people that i will spend the next 12 months with.. form the friendships.. have people to talk to (not just on the puter..or IM)
I know.. I can call my family and friends.. whenever I want.. but its not about that..
Its about being thrown from one huge change to another.. leaving your family.. creating new bonds and then being stripped of that (even if only for a week) - making me feel quite alone.
I am a social butterfly.. so, I usually make friends fairly quick.. I know.. whoda thought? me.. a social butterfly?? yes.. I will admit it.. BUT here.. its not that easy.. everyone here in my barracks are all transients. And to be honest.. the only time I see any of the girls here in my barracks.. are when they are transiting to the head!! LOL
I am trying to stay positive.. and know that its only a few more days til I get in theater..
and telling myself it could be much worse.. believe me.. I am grateful I do not have it as bad as others.. but - it the mind.. in the heart.. it still hits ya.. and thats where I am at..
I can't sleep, all these thoughts are whirling around in my head.. and I keep trying to tell myself all the positives... I make jokes in my blogs.. I even poke fun at myself for stupid idiocincracies.. (sp??) - but in the end.. I still laydown at night, hugging the blanket, wishing I weren't feeling quite so alone over here..
The LTC that runs this place has been gone the whole time.. my boss in Afghan doesn't email to check on me.. I have to initiate contact with him ( and have done so, every step of my journey.. just to keep him in the loop..) and it just leaves me feeling kinda as if I am being fed to the wolves.. Now, don't get me wrong... I am a grown ass woman, and I can make my way around, and figure out what I need to do.. I don't need to be hand fed.. but it doesn't mean it wouldn't be nice if he would just check on me.. while I am here, alone, without my battle buddies.. in a country I have NEVER been - something to learn from.. I will learn from that, in case I am ever in that situation, on the reverse side.. I will remember how lonely I felt, and ensure that I do my part in "keeping up" with whomever it might be..
This is a terrifying place.. not Kuwait itself, but this area, this war.. there is Never really a GREEN zone. Over here.. it is all fair game. We are in a war time, and if you feel like you are safe becuase this is supposidly a "green zone" then you are complacent and should not be here.. Even on my trip here from Camp Virginia.. I was watchin out the windows on the freeways looking for IEDs.. Pressure Plates.. anything unusual.. This is a scary damn Area, period.
Alright.. I think I have said enough for now.. Im tired.. I really do need to get some sleep, hopefully I can now.