Saturday, June 27, 2009

Iraq in all it's glory....

A sand storm. There's really no describing it, especially if you're caught outside in the middle of one. So I will post pictures of the aftermath.... Enjoy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Michael Jackson...


...died today.  It's one of those things that I think I'll probably remember every moment of the minute I found out.  Not that I was a fanatic until the day he died but he was such an icon of my generations history.  I loved his music that he produced.  He was a showman like no other.  Sure he was weird and misunderstood, and no one quite knows what went on in his private life.   Do you think you wouldn't get driven to crazy if a BILLION people knew your name and felt like it was their right to disect your life and point out every flaw you had?  My guess is we all might be a little "crazy" if we were in Michael's shoes.  I'm not defending or supporting anything about his private life.  Honestly I don't know what he did behind closed doors.  But I do know his music brings so many fond memories to my mind and today I am sad that he is no longer here.  This entry won't be long, I just wanted to jot a little something down to remember the day we lost the King of Pop.  There will never be another quite like him.... he has left some big patent leather shoes to fill.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I like how.....

....I just had the week from hell....Got back to Speicher exhausted....Went to play basketball after work but the court was closed due to volleyball (VOLLEYBALL?!), so I ran instead and had to walk home from the gym only to get caught in a sandstorm, literally... But can't stop smiling and because I got to see and talk to Mom, Dad, Amy, David, Julie, Beckham, Ainsley and Megan on gmail's video chat tonight :D

That's enough for tonight. I should've been in bed two hours ago... But somethings are worth staying losing sleep over! I love you guys! Thanks for chatting. It made my day!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Army Navy Fun :D

Yes, I am aware that I had not posted in a month or so and now have posted 3 times in one day... I'm catching you up of the little things that I haven't been able to post over the past chaotic month.....
I found this when I came back to my desk one day.... Do they work??? Who has time to cut all those things out?

Go Navy! BEAT ARMY!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Whole Different Level - It's Summer Time in Iraq.

Before I came to Iraq I imagined it to be hotter than I've ever felt but I still wasn't really sure whta that actually felt like. When I arrived in March, I was pleasantly surprised by the temperate weather. I thought to myself, it's beautiful here... For about 3 weeks or so it was in the 70s and 80s, no humidity and just beautiful. I knew the 120's were coming but for some reason the spring weather was clouding my judgement on what that would realistically feel like.

Well, I know now. It's been getting hot here for the past month or so but yesterday, whew, yesterday is when I realized that I am glad I didn't live here in Jesus' time. It is freakin' hot! And when I say that, there really are no words to describe it. We picked up a band in Balad yesterday morning and it actually started off eerily cool (and by cool I mean in the upper 80s, lower 90's). I thought to myself, "we may get a break from the heat today..thank God b/c we're going to 3 different FOBs and we have an afternoon show outside (why I don't know)." Little did I know that with in the next 3 hours the temperature would go up at least 20 degrees and get to just about blistering by the time we were unloading and setting things up for the first show. perfect. It was hot enough that I didn't even ask "What's the temp today?" I didn't want to know. I knew that it was hot enough that there wasn't an inch of my clothing that wasn't sweated through, dried and then sweated through again. I thought our poor entertainers (The Effects) were going to pass out on stage... We went through a 24 pack of Gatorade and about the same amount of waters with in 2.5 hours.

The "breeze" that they like to call it here is not a breeze at all. It's what I would imagine a breeze from Hell to be. It's hotter than a blowdrier being blown all over your body. Honestly, you feel like you're sitting inside a convection oven (yes, mom I know what that is, aren't you proud of your me?!). Oh, and don't forget to add when we're on the Birds to travel around, we get to sit in the "breeze" WITH our kevlar and flac vests on. I thought it was hot a few weeks ago, but I realized I didn't know what hot was until yesterday. And it's only June. When people say "it's hotter than Hell outside," I don't really think I've ever grasped that cliche.... until yesterday. It's stifling and miserable and almost feels like torture.

On a brighter note, The Effects were great last night. They performed the second show at FOB Grizzly and it was amazing to me that they had even more energy than they did the first show! They are more of a classic rock group can really jam. One of their songs, "Desert Rain" couldn't have come at a better time in the show. Joel introduced the song as one of their own and literally as he was talking a few rain drops fell out of the sky almost as if it were planned ahead of time. It rained for that one song. And that one song only. It was too perfect! The Soldiers had a great time and were thankful we brought them to here. Grizzly has become a home away from home for me here in Iraq. It's one of the smaller FOBs so I've gotten to know a lot of the people here (although one unit just went home, so there's new people I don't know yet) and they are so hospitable. Of course for some reason, as the weather would have it, I'm stuck here today... again. Hopefully we'll get out soon because our next tour starts tomorrow, in Kirkuk ironically enough. The other place I almost ALWAYS get stuck! Well I'm off for now... gonna go check on the weather and see if there's a window of green weather for us to fly out and bake on those Birds! Til next time... (hopefully it won't be another month) :D

More than overdue - I believe this was my "1 month in Iraq update"

I wrote this and meant to post it over a month ago... I am so bad at making time for this out here! So this was from 26 April.. If you're on my email list you got this already but I wanted to put it on here too :D

I know it's been a while since I've emailed or blogged but I have been CR-AAAA-ZZY busy! I can't believe I've been in country for over a month! Where has the time gone? I've gotten my legs under me here and feel like a vet at this Iraq thing.... kind of. I could do without the sand/dust storms (which at this time of year seem to happen at least once a week here in Tikrit), but other than the weather I can't complain! Do you remember what it felt like your first day of middle school or maybe even at a new school? You were so excited to start something new. Then you walk through the doors of your new school and you meet hundreds of new people, need a map to get to the bathroom, feel out of place, maybe even a little akward and aren't really even sure how to open your locker. The excitement starts to fade as you realize you aren't "home" anymore and you're having to adjust to this new life at your new school. Suddenly getting to change classes doesn't seem as cool as it once did b/c you dont' know how to get from the c-pod to the a-pod without being a nerd and asking a teacher for help....b/c you can't ask an 8th grader, then they'd know you're a SEVIE (what a term for 7th graders). All that to say, things are overwhelming and not really what you expected them to be at all. But eventually you start to settle in and actually start to enjoy your new school rather than dread it. You know where you're going and even have time to hang out in b/w with some of the friends you've made in your new classes b/c you instead of taking 5 wrong turns you only made one wrong turn and that has cut your travel time considerably. So that's kind of what I felt like my first couple weeks. There was a lot of things to learn and get under my belt... I wasn't sure my belt was big enough at first. But yesterday when I was at the DFAC (dinning facility) waiting in line, I saw a now familiar face and it dawned on me. I'm not the new kid anymore and I feel at home (as much as possible) here on Speicher.

I am loving my job, the people I meet and the opportunities God is walking me through. There have been some challenges but I don't mind, it makes life interesting! I meet some of the most amazing people out here. And I'm talking more about the Soldiers than the entertainers (but they have been amazing people too). The thing that has hit me the hardest is how YOUNG some of them are (yes, I sound like an old fuddy duddy right now). They all have different stories of why they joined the Army but when it comes down to it, they are sacrificing. For you, for me, for their families and our country. Some of them are on their second or third tours and are will choose to come again. wow. if that doesn't humble you, I dont' know what will. I absolutely love that I get to serve these Soldiers by bringing them the entertainment we are assigned. Most of them thank us repeatedly while we are on their base but even IF they never uttered a single word, I would know. The smiles that break through their normally grave faces tell me over and over again. And that's all the thanks I need! I love my mission out here! This is someting I won't soon forget!

I hope everything back in the States is well with all of you! I do miss you and think of you often! I will try and post pictures when I have time to download from my camera! Feel free to write anytime... I love hearing how everything is going and catching up with my people from back home! Til next time!!! :D

Monday, June 1, 2009

Honoring Those Who Serve - KingBilly

I know I haven't been posting much, but there are days I'm so busy I don't have time to think about anything but what's right in front of me and needs to be done at that moment. Bare with me as I try to catch you up with some pics over the next few days recognizing the entertainers who are taking time to honor those who serve.

This first collage is from KingBilly, an amazing Country/Rock (bluegrass) band that came to Iraq at the beginning of May. These guys were a blast from start to finish and were incredibly talented musicians. We ended up getting stuck at FOB Grizzly for 3 days so they made the best out of an almost bad situation and did their main show the first night and then two acoustic shows the next two nights. The Soldiers absolutely loved interacting with them, some of them even got up and sung with them on the last two nights. It was something I don't think anyone who was there will forget and I would bet money that it will be one of the fondest memories some of these Soldiers have from their deployment. Thank you, KingBilly :D