Saturday, July 31, 2010

1 August 2010

I think my brain is on overload..
There is not enough hours in the day for the database I am trying to update/correct...
I took this on, to create a better and more efficient way to track in our office..
buts its turned into a monster and NOW
the higher ups know what I've done and are constantly wanting reports from the database.. NOW NOW NOW and quite honestly.. its not where it needs to be.. but.. what do you tell the 4 star General..except.. "I'm on it, Sir"

Beyond the constant scramble for P4 (Gen Petreaus) Taskers things were slower today in the casualty world.

and I think I am recovering from my mental melt alittle.. this week was hard.. and soo many things here and personally at once.. but.. step by step.. one by one.. doing what I have to do to keep my sanity.. NOT THINK about it.. LOL
okay.. seriously, just dealing with them one by one.. to ease the stress and drama in my life..
Stress I get here.. don't need anymore..

Tomorrow.. I'm sleeping in.. then doing the same thing all over again..
Doesn't it sound exciting?
Need some sleep! Night friends.. more soon..

29 July 2010 - RANDOMNESS

I have had a busy week this week. There has been alot happenening here in
Kabul, in case you didn't know. Two of our sailors went missing and then
within the week, on separate ocassions, both were found, deceased.

In our office we process all casualty reports for Afghanistan.
This includes Navy Sailors - however, this was the first for us..
We had not had to deal with Sailors being missing nor being found
deceased.. it was a whole new process for us over here which took many
hours of coordinating between several different facilities.

I pulled 2 (almost) all nighters .. which.. looking back probably sounded
like shit to hear me complain about being tired.. and at work.. when in
reality.. what I was doing.. was making a difference and although I was
complaining about being tired.. at that very moment a mother was being informed
that her son had died for his country. At that same moment a wife and 2 children
were being notified that their husband and father were never coming home.
Atleast not in the capacity that they had hoped for. The sad part about it all,
is that both Petty Officers were due to go home within 2 months.
Really makes sleep sound very menial..

Its a long and arduous job here. High Tempo long hours, and few are lucky to
have whole days off. I am lucky.. but for the next month or so, I will simply
enjoy being able to sleep in 2 of the days out of the week.. but no day off..

I am covering for my counterpart who is basically an aid/assistant to the
Colenel. So, I will need to be there during the day for taskers.. its that or
get called in to work.. which is not a good thing.. so my plan is to just be there..
be available/accesible.

This week has been emotional for me. Lots of things, outside the office going
on as well. Some too personal to talk about in this forum.. those of you
that I talk to outside my blog will understand.. and other stuff that quite frankly,
is just creating drama that I don't need.

Some of it is my own doing. I did come here, knowing this would be good for me.
Good for me in many aspects.. but honestly, for the most part..
personal growth. Personal Growth, on my own, with no one to "depend"
on to take the problems away, or distract me from what I need to do, for my
own growth.

I am experiencing some things that I really thought I had dealt with, but I think
in my heart of hearts, knew I had not.

(1) My personal growth. I have spent my whole life, always with someone, or always
a title. A Student, A Sailor, A Wife, A Mother, A Girlfriend, A confidant, A Division
Officer, A Division Head, with very little time to figure out who I am. I have
always been, what I had believed what I was supposed to be.. A Good worker. A Wife
(failed at that.. unfortunately). A Good Mother (I hope..). I have spent the last
six months in San Diego trying to deal with heartbreak.. change and living on my own..
Maybe that sounds kind of crazy.. I am 35 years old. I have always lived on my own,
but I have always had someone.. besides just my kids. It was lonely, it hurt, then
it turned to "wow..this is kind of nice" to enjoying a routine, with a somewhat
"normal" life. As normal as one can get as Single Mom Active Duty Officer in the Navy.

Now - I am taken out of my element.. taken away from whatever support I had at home..
and figured this would be a good time to rediscover me.. and what my capabilities are,
even by myself. Maybe this was what I was searching for.. independence .. so to speak.

SO you may be asking, why would you need to go all the way to Kabul for that? I dont.
But, this was my destiny, part of my journey. When I retire in a couple years, I can
rest at night knowing I did my part in this war, that I made a difference. In my own
mind, this is not only a personal endeavor, its a professional one as well.

So onward..

I have experienced quite a few bouts of drama while here..
not necessarily stuff here.. but.. things even from thousands of miles away.
Things happening with my children, that I so badly wish I could have been there for.
Things with friends, unwanted drama.

Anyhow, I could list about 8 different things, but, again they are somewhat personal and
that kind of stuff will keep. Needless to say, its been a rough week. Balancing my life here
with my life at home and everything in between.

Today has been a day where all I've wanted is to just cry..
Not necessarily depressed, don't get me wrong.. just overload.. just need a little time
to unwind..Just emotional overload.. What can I say.. I'm a girl.. every now and then I
just need a good cry. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday, 25 July 2010

I usually thrive on stressful situations. I work my best, in my
opinion, thru a very stressful environment. I feel like I usually
"shine" during those times.. I think that was one of the reasons I so
loved being OOD of the ship during special evolutions! I loved it. I
felt like I could control the environment around me, even through what
may have been chaos.
However, this is a little different.

Yesterday was a busy day and by far one of the worst for me. That's not
to say that casualties in general don't affect me, but casualties of our
fellow Navy, who are just supposed to be Administrative Support, is

These two SM should never have been on their own.. we are not trained
the way the army is. Our 3 weeks of training is not sufficient to do
what our Army/Marines do out there on the front lines. Realistically,
if you go outside the wires, especially driving a vehicle, you are on
the front lines. Ambushes, IEDs you name it are waiting for SM out there
and I see the results first-hand everyday!

It saddens me to see the news and see what is being broadcast, imagining
in my heart how the SM's must feel, how their families must feel.

When we first got here, I had a fellow sailor that was recruited to the
combat driving team. He went to their little training and then was
off.. my first question was.. Does the Navy know what you are doing?
This is not what they sent you here for. He enjoyed it, and that was
that, but the real question here is, who should be doing this. Are we,
the Navy, being sent over with the knowledge that this could be the
case, or are they completely oblivious? Is this particular detail of
their employment being kept under wraps. Well, I have a sneaky
suspicion that will change now. The Navy will be looking for answers, as
will the family members.

Now, some jobs require the element of traveling, I get that. BUT, that
does not mean it requires traveling without Army Support. This should
not be the case. Even if you feel you are safe.. in the event of an
ambush, the numbers speak for themselves.

I was a little disturbed last night when my roommate got it. I told her
it had been a long day and her response was "Oh, yeah, because of those
two Yahoos"
Well, here is the deal about those Yahoos.. they are my shipmates. They
were doing their job. I can't discuss anymore than what has been said,
due to the ongoing investigation, but, I will say that the blame should
not lie on the SMs who are now victims.

This is the responsibility of the leadership that allowed for them to be
out, in a vehicle, by themselves.
Again, we are not trained for this. Not the way the Army is. I hand it
to the Army and Marines, they are out there everyday, on the front
lines, but - they are trained in combating the enemy in ways that we are
not. They had a step up on our Sailors.
I am sure I am not the only one out there questioning how this situation
could have happened.. and I am sure I won't be the last.

I am not pointing the finger at anyone, nor am I trying to be
disrespectful to anyone.
This case has hit home. For all those people that think it's a "routine"
ride anywhere, for all those SM that do not think of the realities of
where we are, they are a danger to us all. Those individuals that aren't
concerned, or don't give proper guidance, or don't ensure the right
people are doing the right mission... are endangering us all.

This case has had my stomach in knots and my mental attention. Today, I
felt more like I was part of a CACO cell, vice casualty processing cell.
I spent the better part of my day on the phone with people from the
Pentagon, OPNAV, SECNAV, and NAVCENT. It is hard to just think of this
as "just another case" when your entire last 36 hours has consumed you
with following reports, (Next of Kin) NOK notification, and basically
broadcasting to the entire Navy - what is going on, every step of the

This is not to say that I can't handle this job, okay. Everyone has bad
days and this, just happens to be one that really hits home and is hard
to just "process" to keep my sanity. I am trying. I am doing what I
have to do, to ensure the right people know at the right time. It's
unfortunate that the media has been broadcasting this information well
before the NOK were notified. It's even more unfortunate that pictures
are posted, and stories, and headlines that have not been confirmed are
being broadcast world-wide. My heart goes out to the families and I pray
for a speedy return of both SM.

Maybe I have no right to say this, but this is how I feel. I am not
saying this is how anyone else feels, how anyone else should feel, this
is simply my opinion.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Several Reasons to go to Kabul Afghanistan

(1) This is a no-salute base (unless you run into a General
outside...and are covered)
Which brings me to the next item
(2) This is a cover optional base... Really.. Optional..
Basically.. no covers need be worn
(3)You get a great view of all the homes and buildings on the hill..
so you can see the shot from the sniper, should he be there..
(4) You do not have to Wash or fold your own clothes
Think of all the money you are saving.. just don't mind the Afghan guy
who handles and folds your panties and bras
(5) No dishes to do... you throw away all dinnerware every night..
No dishes to load or unload and put away!
(6) Less chances of slipping in the shower
since your actually wearing some kind of shoes
(7) You never have to worry about what you are going to wear to work...
Or at least for about 18 hrs a day
(8) You may receive some good old fashioned SNAIL MAIL
(If not... call out all your friends and family for not caring.. :)
(9) Foreign shopping
Flea Market style.. although be careful what you bring out there (to
include pens.. if they ask for it.. you should give it.. )
you may end up losing more in giving away items, than you gain while
spending money on merchandise
(10) Housekeeping (inside the work building..)
You just have to learn how to hold your breathe or only EXHALE while
walking in after them.. or near them.. in the vicinity of them.. you get
the point
(11) You are completely enclosed and considered safe
Don't mind the walls and security guards which make it feel and look
like a prison
(12) No traffic to deal with.. (inside the compound)
Outside of the compound is another story... 10 times worse than New York
(13) Egg white omelets and scrambled egg whites are very common - and
actually.. most preferred since the regular eggs to scramble are a very
dark orange
Unnatural looking color..
(14) All you can eat salad buffet
What's left of it.. after the flies have had their fill
(15) Steak and Lobster!
Every Friday night...every 7 days... 52 times in a year...
(16) Fast internet... some of the time
Unless the insurgents have cut the lines...again... ( which happens
quite often.. )
(17) You get to carry your weapon with you..
EVERYWHERE... 24 hours a day... 7 days a week (MINUS gym time..)
(18) All the NEAR BEER you can possibly drink
And not get drunk.. :) or even catch a buzz.. (If you like to drink
beer...) I need some NEAR WINE here.. :) or NEAR TEQUILA..
(19) Unlimited supply of bottled water..
Seriously.. unlimited.. is there such a thing as OVER hydrated?
(20) Hollywood Showers....
So long as they are in the middle of the night.. otherwise.. you end up
with NO water..
Half way thru your shower, when your hair is lathered with Shampoo..
(21) Grilled Chicken everyday at lunch and dinner... (Grilled inside)
Yummy... 365 days a year.. twice a day...
(22) Thursdays and Saturdays CIGAR nights..
If that wasn't fun enough..The smell will linger on your uniform for a
week to remind you of the fun you had.. just being out there in the area
(23) Thursday Night Salsa
In your uniform, with weapon still on... real sexy...
(24) Friday night Pop Night..
No bumping and grinding on that makeshift dance floor.. unless you want
to bump and grind against other peoples Weapons..
And I mean real Guns.. not their genitals.. :) LOL
(25) If you aren't satisfied with your working hours at home, think they
are too lax... too short..
Here the normal/average day is between 12-15 hour days. No less than
12.. sometimes up to 18 hrs...
(26) You want to feel like GI Joe/Jane
Walking across the street means adding an additional 40 lbs of gear and
loaded weapons.. (again... the real guns...)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday, 18 July 2010

There are days when I think.. "This isn't so bad... Really.. " and then
there are days where I think "What the hell did I get myself in to?"
But- fortunately, there are never days where I feel like I can't handle
it.. quite the contrary.. I know, of all people, I can handle this job.
Its called compartmentalizing.. :)
And I do that quite well.

I had a talk with the crew in my office, to ensure they had an outlet, a
way to deal with the reports we receive.. because that's our job here..
all day.. everyday.. 365 days a year.. 24/7. We receive casualty
reports - with details of the circumstances, good or bad.. mostly the
ladder. Anyhow, I asked them to be sure they had someone to talk to,
some way to vent, some way to not let this eat at them.. and one of the
girls asked "How can you just think of it like a number" she seemed a
little appalled.. and my response was: you process the report, don't let
it process you. In other words, let your fingers do the typing as you
see the words and letters, but don't let it sink in.. don't let your
mind think about it. Now, of course, sometimes that is easier said than
done. We see some stuff that you can't help but think about because of
the shock factor.. but beyond that, especially on the busy days, you
just process it.. and move on to the next..
Most of the time that works, and for those times that it doesn't - you
make sure you talk to someone, vent, do something so that you stay
mentally healthy. We do talk in here to, and sometimes it turns into
morbid humor, but its our way of collectively taking a situation that
would ordinarily be probably the worst thing a person could read - into
something that is just the "norm" for us.
It works.. and to be honest - I will make sure that for us, as an
office, that we do what works to keep us all mentally healthy!

Anyhow, I say this on a day which for the next few to come promise to be
busy. Local news will tell you all about things that are goin on over
here.. so I will let you read for yourself..

Its been a few days since I have written and quite frankly I have been
going thru my posts, to ensure I haven't breached PERSEC or OPSEC.. and
from the looks of it.. I haven't (in my opinion) Anything that I have
written about has been in the news already. The thing is, in the past 2
months I have received 2 friendly emails from friends, with good
intentions, but they simply say "Watch out" or "be careful with what you
write" for OPSEC reasons, but never any details or indication that I
have breached it with any details.. So- to all I say, if you think that
something I have written breaches OPSEC or PERSEC, please tell me... let
me know exactly what it is that breaches, and I will gladly remove it.
But, don't beat around the bush. I'm a big girl and if I make a mistake
I will correct it and thank you for helping me to keep us all safe over
here. :)

Okay, on to other things... Yesterday I received 3 big boxes from Master
Chief. He sent care packages for all of us that were in Charlie
Company. I know that we were all grateful. I should've gotten a
picture of me going thru these boxes, it was like Christmas in my
office!! :) Its always fun and exiting to get boxes - especially when
you don't know what's inside, because it makes you feel like a little
kid! You have no idea how grateful I am to receive the little things
like coffee, creamer, magazines from home, etc.

This week I have been able to do P90X, despite my last post. My body is
paying the price too - but I love it! I have noticed that I sleep much
better as well. I am more tired by the end of the night!!! So tired
that I really don't chat with anyone when I do get home, except my mom
or my kids. Last night, I got home, logged in to my computer, fell on to
my bed and slept til the morning! I guess I needed the sleep!

Friday was my day off.. it was nice.. for the first half! I slept in
until about 930 in the morning, got up and did P90X until noon, showered
and then ate brunch. Following that I decided to take a nap.. and in
the middle of my nap was a big loud KNOCK on my door.. more like BANG on
my door.. because unfortunately, my MSGT knocks on doors like he answers
phones.. LOUDLY! But they needed me for some report, which I ended up
staying at work until about 10pm collecting. Errghh.. So to make up
for it, today, I slept in until about 730.. and then came in to work
about 8.. but, I also do that because on Sundays, I stay until 10 - due
to the make-up of the night shift on Sunday nights.

Thursday and Saturday was not much to talk about..

That's it for tonight.. I will write more tomorrow..

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Today was a pretty busy day for us.. No.. actually it was REALLY busy. We had non-stop reports all day today.
Last night there was an attack.. insurgents stormed a Police HQ building.. Killing a few and injuring many others!
Then today we had another IED incident which killed 4 of the 5 occupants and Seriously injured another.
Not a good day.

I have been trying to adjust my schedule lately.. seeing what works best for me..
Originally I had proposed 0600-2100 because I would take 2 hours during the day to go PT.
To be honest.. besides the smoke breaks.. that was about the only break I would get throughout the day..
Every meal I get to go and eat it at my desk while working..

I started doing Insanity at 0500 but have quickly realized that with the long hours, lack of wind down time, and inability to sleep before 1030 or 11pm at night.. that is not going to work for me. It would be one thing if I had a normal schedule.. where I was home early enough in the evening to chill out.. but I am not.. and I can't do it. My body normally wakes up about 530-600 in the morning.. no alarm necessary.. so.. I am going to stick with that. I will have to work my workouts in, when I get them.. daily.. but different times, based on the activities that day.

Unfortunately it is hard to have a set schedule to PT or anything else for that matter when there is no set schedule for casualties..
Today, is a good example.. I would not and could not leave today to go work out with the amount of reports we had in our inbox to process.
I will find time, but, unfortunately, I can't do the set schedule thing. I will try.. I am going to try and attend the P90X sessions that we have in the afternoons.. on days I can.. I will.. on days I can't.. I will do my own PT at the time available.

I talk about it, because I feel like a failure...I had such high hopes and goals.. but.. it will just have to wait and work around my schedule.
I will find my time daily to work out.. but it won't be the insanity at 0500.

Its amazing the difference I feel in the morning waking up at 0530/600 vice 0500, especially when I work about 14-15 hours a day.
So - all of you followers out there.. don't be disappointed in me.. I will work out.. but.. just not what I thought I would be doing...

So, a couple night ago - I was on the smoke deck and one of my fellow LTs was out there..he asked me how I was doing, if this ever gets to me, etc etc..
So I explained my coping mechanism.. and then he asked me.. "Is it worth it?" So I replied.."The job?" and he said, "NO, this.."
Hmmmm... I had to think for a minute.
Now, no matter what you think of our president, or out country, or the war, this question can almost never be simply a black or white answer, but,
I blurted out, "No." Then I thought about my answer. I had never really thought about it. Thought about what are we doing here? Why are soo many people dying everyday? Are we actually making progress? And if we were, or are, then why are soo many people still dying?

These are all hard questions, but I am not about to get into a debate (especially political or war driven) with anyone..
I have my own views and my own opinions from a different perspective.. one different than most, simply because I see first-hand ALL casualty reports for Afghanistan. Now - this doesn't mean I have a better perspective, it's just mine.. and its based on what I see, and what is reported..
Anyways, the purpose of this was to say that quite honestly, I had never really thought about the war.. why we are here.. what we are doing, if it is working, etc.. I have never been much for politics and quite honestly until 6 months ago, probably couldn't have even shown you on a map where Afghanistan was. Now that I am here, it is different. I have to answer that question for myself... after some diligent thought.

Okay, enough political stuff.. okay.. well, maybe not.
I seen a post of facebook today from one of my friends from the ship, Brett,

This article talked about the privileges the detainees are now getting: Cable TV (18 channels) WIFI, Computer/internet area, skype, flat screen TVs to watch their cable..
Then I thought about that and compared it to us.. here in Kabul - we have 16 channels.. (when we're lucky) a WIFI café thru the USO with NO computers.. and an MWR movie area in the basement with 1 flat screen tv.. .

Something is wrong with that picture when the detainees get to SKYPE home, and ours is barely enough bandwidth to IM...
Now - yes... we are lucky to have anything... I'm just sayin...

The summer is winding down for my kids and my parents. My parents are packing up their house as we speak (okay, well, my mom is probably still sleeping as I write this..) but you get the point.. they will be leaving within the next 2 weeks, with 30 years worth of "stuff" to head down to San Marcos. This is a big move for them.. and I hope they know how grateful I am! The kids will be heading home in a few weeks (1st week of August) so that they have enough time to readjust and get ready for the next school year...They are having a blast with Aunt Tammy and I hope she knows how grateful I am to her as well for the great summer memories she has shared with them.

My night is winding down. The night shift has come in and I am thinking I am going to leave here pretty soon. Its already about 2015 and I've been here since about 615 this morning. I think its time to go.. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday, 11 Jul 2010

SO, I am having problems sleeping now....I can't seem to get my brain to shut off...
and quite honestly, I have avoided writing the last couple days because I am a little peev'd and feel like I should justify what I write or moreover apologize for what I complain about..

I know other people have it much worse than I do.. BUT when I am in an environment that proclaims to offer the essential necessities for living, I expect that. If I knew I was going to the desert.. a foxhole.. I would expect that.. but.. I am living on a facility with bathrooms.. running water. I expect to have some kind of sanitary standards..

like.. not having a toilet that leaks from the bottom of the bowl.. walking on someone's urine as i go into the not showering in a shower that has mold growing up and down it..Its sad when you feel like you need a shower after your shower.. so you go to the tent that actually works well.. across the FOB.. just to shower again and feel like you have no mold on you.. or urine.. or.. you don't smell like a urinal.. errggh..

Okay.. enough.. Im done with that.. you all get the point. Its gross... and thats it. its just gross!

Now, I do appreciate the support I get from everyone, but I dont' want to have to put a disclaimer before every blog that I might bitch, or complain or vent in. Please. This is my blog, my thoughts, my feelings. I can't call a girlfriend on the phone and vent. I cant have a glass of wine over dinner to unwind. I can't go to a friends house and cry on a shoulder.. so I BLOG. Its mine. I don't want to offend anyone and I appreciate the fact that people read and support and follow me.. but please dont get offended when I write. I know some of my readers have been here.. done that... and had it much worse.. and I know.. it could be oooooh soo worse.. I could be in KUWAIT.. that could be much worse!! LOL
so take what I write.. with a grain of salt and understand this is my views.. with my comparisons to life at home.. in my house.. in California.

To another subject... talk about a small world.. not only is Donovan here.. *which by the way he came by today.. had some business to take care of here.. so came by to see me.. BUT Katrina's dad is also here in town.. at the Embassy.. talk about a small world!! I met him when I met Donovan.. :) Strange how we have ended up in the same place across the world!! :)
My ex high school boyfriend and my ex-husband.. LMAO.. boy.. when they say they follow you to the ends of the world.. I guess they weren't joking.. LMAO Just Kidding.. LOL
Its nice to know some people here.. Katrina wasn't too happy that both Mom and Dad were here in Kabul... in a war zone... but.. he's not here for very long.. so she will be okay :)

As for me.. I am okay.. the last couple days have been busy, sad...
I can't get my brain to shut off at night.. I get off work.. come home.. watch TV a little... and then try to sleep.. but.. I lay here.. toss and turn...

Hopefully... I can get tired enough that my brain will finally shut off.. I am tired..going to try and sleep now...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Friday, 9 July 2010

So, today is my day off.. and so far it is much better than the last one..
Last night I came home from work, fairly on time, and organized all my
stuff... unpacked and made my little area (about 5x6 ft) into a home for
the next year! :)
I spend most the evening chatting with George on chat.. and loving
getting caught up. I missed my friend and the friendship we shared for
many years.
Then, I went to bed about 1230 or so, and woke up about 9 am this morning!
Yes.. I slept in!!
Now, I am sitting on my bed, on my laptop, watching TV :)
I have my room to myself becuase the one new room mate I have is gone for
the week, and I have yet to get another.. which, I am sure will happen soon.
BUT, until then, I am enjoying the sanctity..

Thank you to Ben for the humongous care package he sent! OMGosh.. and the
DVD sets that he sent.. they are what is keeping me occupied right now!

SO, today, not alot to talk about.. so I am going to Bitch about a few
things here:

(1) the bathrooms.. heads...latrines.. whatever you want to call them..
ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING and UNSANITARY! All of them except the one in my
building at work. THese cadillac rest rooms with showers are disgusting.

The toilets don't flush - 99% of the time. THe plumbing gets clogged soo
easily that by 9am in the morning the toilets arent working.
There is no ventilation.. so if someone showers and the water is hot.. you
can imagine its like a sauna in there. To make it worse, one of the toilets
leaks from the bottom of the bowl to the floor - which makes the room
smell like a urinal!

The showers are in stalls that have lost the tiles. There is mold growing
on the walls.
To give them some credit, they did fix the leaky pipe that was spraying water
all over the floor.. and..they put a black raised matt down so that we aren't
stepping on the water puddles that are there caused by the showers. THe shower
stalls are about the size of the ship shower stalls - but there is a shower
curtain, and becuase the area is soo small.. you feel like the curtain is
constantly touching you... eeewww...

So - that is the bathrooms.. its a crap shoot on which one you can use.. last night
I had to walk across to the other row of bathrooms becuase this one was
disgustingly clogged with toilet paper that wouldn't flush. To put it bluntly,
if you have to go #2 - you are better off ensuring you do that in the building
bathroom... prior to leaving work. :)

Okay, so that is enough about the bathrooms..

As far as brushing teeth - the water here is NOT drinkable, nor brush your
teethable.. :) Only showerable. :) or flushable.. :)
I miss being able to just walk in to a shower bare foot (vice having to wear
flip flops) and being able to brush my teeth without having to use a bottle of
Could it be worse HELL YES.. I know this. I know I could be in a fox hole
somewhere with no running water at all.. in 140 degree heat, like some of
my fellow service members.. so I am not complaining in the sense that I have
it soo bad here.. I am simply trying to give you a visual of what it is like

Enough for now.. will write more later tonight! :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

So, its been a few days since I have written. I am struggling with my internet in my room and quite honestly, too damn lazy to go sit outside at night to get the USO wireless... I have been working late and taking advantage of the free calls home from work.

So, I think last time I blogged, I talked about staying at work one night until about 1230 - this was a long night.. and even longer day the next day, due to getting up early to PT.

I am trying to find my niche and get in to a routine. What I thought i was going to be able to do.. well.. what I thought and what I can do, feasibly - are two different things.

They started Insanity in the mornings - and P90X in the afternoons. I am motivate to workout and wanted to do both, but due to my schedule, I think I will have to do the insanity in the mornings - since it does not conflict with work. trying to do something scheduled in the afternoon does not work, since, we never know what is going to come in. I was going to start P90X on Monday with the group - basically starting over .. again... after having just started over last week - however, 10 minutes before I was due to leave, we got a multi-casualty in.. which gets us all busy. So, I think Insanity in the mornings and P90X - when I can.. on days I can - in the afternoon. On days I can't - well, I can't.
After Insanity - they are going to do the P90X again.. so maybe I will catch it then.. we'll see. So far.. I am loving/hating insanity.. as it pushes me cardio wise.. more than I normally push myself on the elliptical..

So – its been a busy week for me.. I left off last time talking about how I had a rough day.. It was a rough day. One of my battle buddies had a really rough time.. it was a reality check for those of us over here.. at how quickly your emotions can get the best of you. Being over here isn’t just a burden of worry about ourselves.. what people don’t realize is that we still carry the weight and burden of our families, and their worries. What happens at home, although 7,000 miles away (halfway around the world) – still affects us. We can tend to feel helpless. Useless. What can we do from here? How can we help? Then, we carry that burden, unannounced, for the duration. Those burdens add up. Now, couple that with the stress of being in a war zone, worrying about your future once you leave here, and possible relationship issues/marital issues, kid issues, you name it.. Things can spiral pretty quickly! Fortunately, we, as battle buddies (even at different FOBS) are looking out for one another and are here to lend an ear when needed.

That night I also dealt with some work casualties that left me speechless and with a hurting heart for those that suffered and their families. A HMMWV was hit by an IED, rolled over and burst into flames. Of the 4 service members inside, they were only able to get two of them out before the vehicle was surrounded by flames. The vehicle burned for about 10 hours. 10 hours. Take that as you will. That broke my heart to think about the casualty, and really messed me up that night.

It is difficult sometimes, so I vent. I vent, I have a bad day like everyone else, I cry, and then I get over it. Its not very often that it gets to me. I am learning to view the names as just names… nothing more.. but sometimes, some incidents you just can’t wrap your head around and it catches you off guard.

Anyhow, so, that is how that is going. Kids are doing well. Tylor is just as easy going as ever and enjoying his summer, him and Travis are going to Vacation Bible school, and Katrina, well, she is 15. You could not pay me enough to go back to that age… her 15, the boys in their pretweens.. OMGosh! Umm.. Yea.. I guess that’s what they call it the “Wonder Years” because we parents are asking the question… “I Wonder if it will get better” LMAO
Altho we all know the answer to that. J
Well, lets see… yesterday was a good day for me. I was able to reconnect with someone and get some closure that had been a long time coming. I have never been a vindictive, or “get back at you” type person.. and I have never been in a relationship that ended with the two of us “hating” or not speaking to one another.. But, this had been the case for a few years.. and it was weighing heavy on my heart. I carry a lot of guilt and regret for how things fell, and was given the opportunity to put some things to peace. It was nice. And I am very grateful!

My roommates moved out so I was able to move to the back of the room.. on the single bed!! Woohoo!! I will update pics soon! Its nice to be on a normal bed.. and set it up.. feeling a little like home. J

Random Comment: Have I ever told you we have a civilian that works here.. Foreign National who look EXACTLY like a cleaned up Sadaam Hussein? It was a little freaky the first time I saw him... and the weirdness has yet to fade..

Okay, I think that does it for me tonight. Good night all!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Saturday, 2 Jul 2010

Much better day today.. but, that's probably because I worked all day.. this time, I mean ALL day.. I didn't even break for PT.. 0600 until about 1230 this morning..
Stayed busy - which is never good for others and their families..

But, I also am in the middle of creating a new tracker for USFOR-A Cas Cell to use. Right now, they use like 5 different trackers in Excel.. its crazy. I spent all day until about 2000 working on a new database to use - so the info only has to be input ONCE vice 5 different places.. Then I had to import all the data and reformat some.. its still a work in progress - but should be ready to roll by Monday I hope..
It will help to expedite the processing on our end.. with less input. We do so much redundant inputs - its ridiculous!

I've already created a database to track my files.. (I maintain and track all the deceased files - from beginning until the case is closed.. and that too, was being tracked in excel- I made a more user friendly tracker in Access and am loving it. It took about 2 days to populate with all my files and info - but now, it makes my life easier for tracking and completing the files.

I should've been a programmer or something.. lol

I used to create programs in DOS too (yea.. I know.. just showed my age) when I was enlisted.. Created a database that also produced forms for inputting information for reservists.. when I worked at RNCF in Gulfport. The funny thing was, SURFOR used it long after I was gone.. and about 4 years after the fact I had a CDR find me.. from SURFOR.. asking about the programming and how to manipulate it.. kinda cool.. :)

Anyhow, so today my day was spent mostly creating this database to make my guys' life in the office a little easier. Its a pain now.. but will be well worth it later! :)

It was good busy work.. on top of the processing work later tonight. A few more multi-casualties came in.. busy day today for the soldiers out there -- outside the wires.
I thank GOD For them.. they are keeping me safe here.. and their lives are definitely on the line outside the wires.. buts its their job and they do it.. for us.. for their country.. for themselves. GOD be with them all each and every time they go out on a mission!

So - here's something simple.. actually talked to the 2 star yesterday.. :) General McHale..the General who will sign my FITREP.. I think he's the first 2 star I've ever talked to... lol I worked for an Admiral when I was a second class.. but.. that was it..
Here.. I see more birds and stars.. wowza.. But, I bet compared to the Pentagon... this is nothing. I will say.. being here makes me feel like a SEAMAN all over again.. A LT here is On a FFG - A LT is a Dept Head.. we looked up to them as our all knowing.. (okay.. not all.. just a few select) but here.. we are a dime a dozen.. lol Nothing spectacular.. blah blah blah.. So - yes.. I think I was a little star struck talking to a 2 star... (get it?? lol .. star struck? LMAO) okay.. now I know I'm tired..

Okay, I am done for the night! Its been a long day and I am tired!! Have lots of things to catch up on tomorrow since I did concentrate so much on the database today...
Hmmm.. tomorrow is a late day.. maybe I will take advantage of it, since I worked so late today? We'll see...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday, 02 July 2010 cont...

So, I took my nap.. and woke up in time to do my P90X! Now, unfortunately, I had to do it alone today, but, I did it! Then I showered and went to work to check on things.. My oh my it has been a busy day for the Taliban here in Afghanistan.

Insurgents continue to strike out however possible -

Gun Battles/RPGs, and Vehicle Borne IEDs are on the rampage here the last couple days.
As the article above eludes, the bombing provoked a gun battle that lasted several hours.
I feel for those men and women - as I sit in my cush office, visualizing what must go thru their heads as they heat up and push on. I receive the casualty reports and linger for a few moments of sadness, and then within hours see their names and pictures across the TV (for the fallen soldiers/sailors/airmen alike. Today, I was working a file for a SM (service member) that died a couple days ago, as I was processing more of his paperwork, I saw his name across the TV and reality punched me in the face. He was not just a file. He was a son, spouse, father and brother in arms to those he served with and gave his life with.

Then, my mom wakes up to the news of an attack on a compound and thinks its mine.. Poor mom.. I wanted to cry for her.. Her emails were frantic (atleast email/phones were up today) and I was able to call and let her know - I was okay.. our compound was okay.

Tonight as I lay on my bed browsing, I find a profile of someone I once loved, and shared many great years and memories together. It tugged at my heart at the great times we had, which are all buried under that last year of troubles, change and drama. I feel bad for the pain that I caused and just the loss of a friend I once had. We both made some mistakes, but that shouldn't shadow and replace the good times, great memories and amazing accomplishments me made together. Maybe one day, we will be friends again.. I saw some pictures of some of my old pets Ella, Rizzo, Squeaker - and it hurt. Reality.

Some times I wonder if the pain of a relationship ending, is worth the good times in between? I guess I'm not a big believer in Forever anymore.. been down that road.. had those dreams, tried it.. been there.. got the bumper sticker.. but "forever" rejected me at his door.. and sent me back to "temporary" or "for a little while" or worse yet "almost forever, but not quite" "plans for forever... but plans change" and then "Let's get your hopes up... and then knock you down when you least expect it" yes.. been there done that.. all of that.. and its old, and it hurts..

I'm feelin a bit cynical tonight. A little sad for the many men we've lost and the many men we have lost in the last couple days in Small Arms Fires, RPG attacks, IED's and CONVOY attacks. I'm feeling a bit lonely - as I watch my friend's lives go on.. and I'm stuck in groundhog day.. and I'm feeling a bit of regret at the mistakes I have made that hurt people, which in turn, end up filling me with hurt.

Tonight.. is not a good night.

I'm not sure I am liking days off.. I think its easier to just work, it keeps my mind occupied and makes my day go by much quicker with less time for idle thought. I will remember that for my next day off..

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Friday, 02 July 2010

TGIF?? I dunno.. hmm.. Today is my day off.. and what did I do? Woke up at normal time.. skipped the elliptical this morning... saving it for this afternoon after P90X workout..showered and went to work..
Theres really nothing much to do here. My roommates dont have to go to work til noon on Fridays so they are sleeping all morning.. so I went to work.. waited for brunch.. ate something and am back here in my rack.. settling for a nap til 2.. then I will go do my P90X, and run.. and then after that.. I have no clue!

I got Dan's package yesterday.. thank you. Now I have the phone that I plug in to the internet.. once I get my ethernet splitter.. lol (I ordered it last night on Amazon..).

It is actually kinda boring here on a day wouldnt be so bad, but you can't walk around in PT gear here.. even on your day off.. unless you are PTing. (altho I see MANY MANY doing it.. we are not supposed to.. and its too hot to hang out outside.. in uniform at the benches all day - so here I am.

SO some of my random thoughts:
Since when are pony tails allowed in uniform.. regardless of service?
Why is there always that 1 person that just drives you crazy in your office..
and why is it always that 1 person is the senior person who is supposed to know what the hell is goin on.. and never really does.

Last night there was another shooting at our gate.. no injuries.. but definitely not pleasant to know. Hopefully it will be a quite weekend, but doesn't look like it. We have been having major internet issues here. so it causes major headaches for us.. since everything we do- and submit revolves around internet and email..

Gave my mom a scare.. didn't mean to.. but her and I chat every day.. twice a day.. once in the morning her time via email (before she goes to work) and then I call in the evening. Yesterday becuase email sucked..I never got her emails.. and she didnt get mine..
she started to worry when i wasnt responding to her... fortunately facebook was up for 5 minutes and I was able to see she had posted "Has anyone talked to tanya today" - come to find out it was my dad that posted it.. for her.. since she had to leave for work.. but.. immediately tried to respond and of course we lost connectivity.. then i try to call.. phones messed up.. frantic.. i was finally able to call and let them know i was okay.. it was just our email/internet.. lol
she figured that.. but.. for a mom with a child in a war zone.. knowing there have been incidents almost everyday here at our base.. she let her mind run away with her.. Fortunately I was able to let them know I was okay.. and give them an emergency number to call me on.. should they ever get panicked or worried.. :)

Not much else excitement.. my roomies leave monday.. so i will spend mon night and tues rearranging the room and taking a new bed (single) instead of this top bunk! should be fun times.. woohoo..

Alright - that about catches me up for now..
gonna take a nap and enjoy the down time.. for now.. :)
More later