Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Teeth it Christmas, no just Washington

As I was browsing facebook for the millionth time today, I saw Brittany's blog on her cookie making and I realized I had neglected all my blog readers for the longest time.

Well I am now settled into the swing of things here in Washington...that's STATE not DC. Its cold here, and we all know how much I hate the cold. I pull out the sweatshirts when the temps drop below 70. Well its yet to be above 50 this week so just think of the freezing that is taking place! I like it here though besides the lack of the warmth and the lack of a vehicle. I plan to have mine shipped to me after I get my tax return. I figure if I didn't have the money, then I can't miss it, right?

Just now compiling a Christmas present list, all of the shopping will probably be done online to save me from shipping things individually. Also planning to buy a mini tree this week/weekend to get into the spirit.

I have already watched The Nightmare Before Christmas, A Christmas Story and Its A Wonderful Life, the 3 staple movies upon which the entertainment portion of this holiday season should hinge on. So I feel I'm off to a good start, if only I could stay warm!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hey I Put Some New Shoes On...

I don't know if anyone has heard Paolo Nutini's song "New Shoes", but its become a regular on Pandora as of lately just for the upbeat tempo and easy going feel of it. He's a Scottish artist who's first album came out in 2006, so I'm a little late on getting into his music, but better late than never, right? I think everyone should at least give him a listen. I got a new pair of Chuck's the other week and every time I put them on, which has only been 3 times since I purchased them...thanks to a daily uniform, I get that song in my head!

Tried to watch Green Lantern last night here on base. I was a little excited about the Ryan Reynolds-ness of the flick, but did not expect to give up on it. Which I did. The movie was supposed to start at 1900 (7pm), so I got there about 15 mins early to get my ticket and get situated. Well the movie didn't start til at least after an hour of sitting tight waiting on the movie to begin I was a not the happiest camper. But it started and I gave it a chance, I sat through an hour of sci-fi, computer generated scenes mixed with real time/live actor moments and what I considered sub-standard acting. I tried to enjoy it, I really did. But the whole plot seemed a little too far fetched and far too predictable for me to sit there much longer. So up out of my seat and back to the dvd's I had picked up from the library. This weekend I chose Confessions of a Shopaholic, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Sound of Music (all movies I've seen before, but enjoyed for different reasons) and I picked up The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe which I've never seen but it drew me in so we're giving it a shot.

Oh! And yesterday I finally got ESPN3 to work on my computer so I had the priveledge of watching Manchester United take on Chicago Fire! My biggest regret is that I didn't get into soccer sooner. I enjoyed the whole match and the time passed so quickly. And that's saying a lot since Michael Owen didn't even play yesterday but still I watched the whole game! Seattle has a team so once I get situated at Fort Lewis I may be looking a little more into that and my fan-ness will probably grow. But for now I'll be content with ESPN3 and the upcoming match Man U has against the MLS All-Stars Wednesday! Oh! And ESPN3 shows a few baseball games during the week I'm also looking forward to checking out! SPORTS HOW I HAVE MISSED YOU BEING WITHIN MY GRASP!!!


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Could it get any crazier?

The answer to that question is a resounding YES! (and FYI I had to check my spelling on RESOUNDING and the definition google provided me is quite fitting - loud enough to reverberate) I start block 4 Friday, which means I have that class and 2 more left! I'm halfway done. That's what that means. But block 4 is the the first totally tough class. I'll be outside everyday, all day, in the Texas heat. Which means tons of hydration, moreso than I already am. Praying it passes quickly. Block 5 is hazmat and is spent almost entirely in the class and then its to Block 6, aircraft fires which is a mixture of both and has its difficult moments.

New flash for all who didn't catch the news on facebook, I'm heading to Fort Lewis, Washington in September. Yay for not Texas and yay for not Leonardwood! And yet again THAT could get crazier, I'm assigned to an EOD unit...just think The Hurt Locker. Me assigned to a bomb unit...guess someone has to put it out when it catches on fire. Crazy life I lead.

OH! Anyone in the US that's able to go see Man Utd while they're stateside should! If for no other reason than I can't. I tell you though, if they played in Texas on a weekend I would def be there. They're in DC the end of this month! And anyone searching for an awesome birthday present for moi...less than a month til I hit 28...a Michael Owen jersey would be on point! ;-)

Josh Hamilton got a sweet hit in the All Star Game last night! Didn't see the game, but I saw the butt was in bed super early. Hmmm...thinking of other interesting sports news...I'm not following the New York Rangers on twitter since Brad Richards is there.

And that's all I've got for now, have to take my Block 3 end of block exam in a few hours and should probably do a bit more studying.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Shop til you Drop!!!

So to anyone that's been checking my facebook lately, I've been doing a bit of clothing shopping. Mostly due to the fact that I entered the Army in FEBRUARY when it was below freezing, with just the clothes on my back and about 20+ pounds heavier.

I opted to do some bargain shopping which should make my mother proud. I started with Target and went with something classic. I'm trying to start dressing the near 30 that I am, that and I've never been a fan of short shorts and barely there tops. So here's what I ended up with:

I absolutely love these shorts! The length is perfect for me and the green is amazing! Only downfall is they will require some care (probably going to have to break out the iron), as they wrinkle very easily.

Also fell in love with this top. I'm not sure if this is the exact color I purchased, I think mine is a bit more red and less pink. Similar to the bathing suit I bought the other weekend if anyone recalls that. The color goes great with the green of the shorts!

I also purchased a great pair of brown sandals which sadly I couldn't locate a photo of...planning to buy a camera before too long and I'll be able to just take my own pictures! :-)

All of those items were kind of spur of the moment with a quick stop at Target last Saturday. I had already done some online shopping prior to this at I've always been a fan, but I am just picky on the fit of so many items that Old Navy usually disappoints. But all that aside I still opted to shop there due to the amazing deals I found. I bought the following there:

My first pair of skinny jeans, I don't think this picture does them justice. They're cropped so I think they'll go great with those new sandals!!! All the time I spent at Jcrew and never once did I consider buying skinny jeans. They were a steal too! Only $15.99!!!

This is another item that the picture doesn't do justice too. It's embroidered so the detailing is stunning...but it is quite sheer so I will need to pick up a tank top to wear under it. Also I'm a bit leary of the elastic at the bottom of the garmet...I plan on keeping it, but trying to make up my mind on how I feel about that.

Not sure about this either, the grey is actually glittery. But the weight of it is perfect for cooler days...not that I'm seeing those here in Texas, but eventually. And it was another good deal. I love the length of the cardigan, it is quite long. And the yellow is a bit brighter, not quite the baby bedroom yellow this picture shows, actually closer to a fluorescent yellow, which I love!

Well I'm going to continue to hunt for great deals and see what other additions I can make to my none existant wardrobe in Texas!!!

Definitely on the list before I leave this state is a new pair of cowboy boots. Some amazing statement type boots! :-) Can't wait to find them!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Feeling Old

Week 2 has come and gone, so has the weekend. I get so bored during the weekends, but they still somehow manage to pass by in the blink of an eye. I'm sure all of you that follow this blog are also my friends on facebook so I know you all know how much time I spend on facebook. I like to keep up with everyone and see what's going on in the real world.

Classes are trucking along, passed First Responder with a 98% average, still shooting for honor grad. Now we're on to the first part of Firefighter 1. Not sure if those certs I already have will kick in, just more studying and staying busy. Its all good.

My weekend started with Military Ball, which was awesome. I thought it would be super stuffy and formal, almost dreaded it, especially when Sgt Wilder said we had to wear our skirts because it was an evening affair...ridiculous. I think phasing out the skirts should be next on the list now that the Army is getting rid of our berets and velcro on our ACUs. But anywho, I wore the skirt and the ugly shoes...looking like a flight attendant. And low and behold had a good time. Mingled with NCO's and laughed a lot. The food was great, steak and chicken, potatoes and green beans. And BIRTHDAY CAKE. Happy 236th Birthday Army! ~actually on the 14th, but when you get that old who really cares what day you celebrate on.

Saturday I bought a swimsuit and actually spend a whole 45 minutes at the pool. Also did laundry, some straightening up and wasted time on the computer.

Today, Sunday, slept til 8. Ate breakfast, studied a bit, decided I was getting hungry again so instead of heading back to the DFAC and instead of Subway, which I'm actually tiring of, I made up a shopping list and headed to the Commissary. I now have groceries!! Including lunch meat, cheese, peanut butter and a loaf of bread. Also purchased high sodium Ramen noodles, that amazing (also high in sodium) Chunky baked potato soup Sarra turned me on to. I know I have meals at the DFAC whenever I want, but it gets boring...and sometimes not that I don't spend enough time here as it is, I'd rather be in my room.

I feel old here. My 28th birthday is quickly approaching. I've calculated my time between specific events. I count down to the 4th of July and the four day weekend (18 days), then to my birthday 5th of August, and then its less than a month til graduation. Breaking it down that way makes it a bit more bearable. I just keep having flashbacks to college, which I loved at the time, but I have no desire to relive at 27...10 years older does not make me yearn for my younger years...but so many here are in that age range and this is their college experience...I couldn't

Well until my next installment, hope you enjoyed the randomness!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Weekend Edition

Week 1 is in the record books. 12 more to go...perhaps...supposedly all those handy dandy certificates I accumulated during my time in Amherst County just might transfer to the DoD (Dept of Defense) Fire Academy. Impressed? You should be. You should also be impressed at my patience and ability to keep my eyes open through class...through my FIRST RESPONDER class. I have just taken about 3 or 4 giant steps backwards as far as EMS training is concerned. Just means I get to ace everything, right? Right!

I had one of our Sgt's look at me Friday and say "You're the one that's a paramedic right?" I looked confused for a moment and attempted to tell him I wasn't QUITE a medic, to which he said "Well its all the same." Oh Army if you only knew! :-)

The firefighter PT test however is no joke. Hose carry, ladder carry and set up, pull charged hose line, climb ladder, pull a bin of hose, whack a tire with a sledge hammer, drag 150lb dummy, climb ladder, move ladder that you set, and then carry Hurst tool ALL WHILE WEARING A 50LB the morning Texas weather? I laugh at my attempt at that test. I'll admit I didn't make it through it. I'd like to say I kicked butt on it, but we have to be realistic. I was spent by the time I made it to the dummy...wishing I had that extra weight to throw around at that point. Good news, it doesn't mean I miss anything in my course. Just means I get to partake in extra PT four days a week...Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Hooah, going to be a beast by the time I'm done.

Army Military Ball coming up next Friday! Get to dress all spiffy in my ASU's.

That was pretty much my week, get up at 0200ish and PT, then change, breakfast, class, lunch, class, formation, dinner, study, sleep, repeat...

Friday we picked up our internet router so guess who now has internet in the room!! AND THAT MEANS I HAVE NETFLIX AGAIN!! Also went to Walmart! Bought a massive bath towel and was super excited about it! Its white and orange if anyone really cares, I had picked up a grey one after eyeing a green one that would have gone all too well with my ACU's. But then I saw the white and orange and figured I needed a little color in my life. Thinking I might break down and by new sheets tomorrow as everything on my bed minus my pillow and pillow case and my fleece blanket are Army issued and I just don't really like the thought of sleeping with that for the duration of my stay in lovely Texas.

Today was awesome in the most lazy of ways...slept til 8 (well after waking up at 4am scared I had overslept through PT), ate a relaxed breakfast, did laundry, spent some time online, organized my stuff, went shopping for necessities, more time online in which I realized just how much I'm missing sports - NASCAR included, even posted a few NASCAR commercials on facebook. Decided I might order that amazing Cardinals shirt I found online, and then kicked back with the guys for awhile...relaxed and more day like that then back to it. Hooah!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day Weekend

Free time for me has been limited the past few months. It was nonexistent at BCT. Then at Fort Benning it was limited to the weekends and a few hours in the evening where I was able to get online and watch tv and movies on netflix. And Fort Leonard Wood?? A pass on the weekends but still had various formations during the day. But here at Goodfellow? Free free free weekends. I actually was able to watch an ENTIRE hockey game last night. Go Bruins! I even picked the winning team. It was awesome to just kick back with my fellow OC's that are also going the firefighter route after leaving the lovely accomodations of Fort Benning HHC.

Now if only the weather would be accomodating...100+ temperatures are not for the ginger. So I've taken to spending time indoors when capable. Today's its meant time in the room rewatching Six Feet Under (which I will thank Sara Baldwin, one of my friends from the years spent at MBC, who introduced me to the program) and now surfing the internet at the library. I also have completed about half of Nicholas Sparks' book Last Song, I will say that the book is much more enjoyable less Miley Cyrus...she killed me in the movie that I believe I watched at Girls Night at Janelle's...

Tomorrow, more of the same and again on Monday...but TUESDAY it all begins.

Everyone enjoy your holiday weekend. Be safe and don't forget why we have this weekend. Remember all of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, soldiers both past and present, retired and active duty, reserves, guard, all of us. Freedom doesn't come free.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Catch Up

So many people have been keeping up with me the past few months, whether it be through the numerous letters I received during my time at BCT (Basic Combat Training), the few times I was able to update my facebook (moreso lately) or through the family members I have spoken to and kept abreast of what has happened. So many in fact that after viewing various blogs that my friends are doing I thought that this would be the best way to keep everyone up to date. Now I make no promises as to how often this will be updated, class does start on Tuesday and it will be time to buckle down and get it done so I can get out of here and on to bigger and better things, but I do promise to make an honest try at this blog thing.

To date: I started my military journey over a year ago going through the process of becoming an OCS (Officer Candidate School) of you know about the hoops I had to jump through, the numerous trips to Richmond, the board I subjected myself to while having strep throat I later found out...the waiting game, all of it I thought would be worth my pain and suffering when on Feb 1st, 2011 I began my actual journey with a trip to BCT at Fort Jackson, SC.

I'm not going to say it was the easiest thing I've ever done, the 20 lbs I left behind in SC are proof of that, but all in all over a month past graduation looking back it wasn't bad. My advice to anyone going into the Army, if you can go to Fort Jackson for BCT. They don't call it Relaxin' in Jackson for nothing.

Honestly I gained a lot from my time there. I was around people that in my life I would have never chosen to be around, people whose paths I would have never crossed in small town Virginia, people who I am blessed to now call my Battles. My life is better for it. It had its physical moments, the last FTX in particular pushed me, there were moments when I really doubted my own strength, but thanks to amazing battle buddies we all made it through. We graduated. I also thank the DS's our platoon was forunate to have. All three of them made a positive impact on my life in different ways. DS Johnson's ability to read people was amazing. He took an interest in those under him and knew exactly which ones needed a push to strive towards bettering themselves, even when they didn't really think they wanted betterment. DS Smith's drive kept all of us on the top of our game in fear of a "karate chop to the throat". And DS Ellis, without his perservance and patience I would not have qualified with that blasted M16 which I downright loathed the week of qualification.

My time at basic wasn't without some rough spots and some tears. Honestly the tears that fell really had nothing to do with basic itself, but all that went on at home while I was gone. There are those people you are blessed to have in your life, the ones you call your best friends. People that know you so much better than you know yourself. I have a few that fit that description in my life, but without a doubt the most important one is my grandfather. Anyone that knows me knows how much that man means to me. Nothing happens that I don't tell him and prior to joining the Army I would see or speak to him just about everyday. Leaving home wasn't as hard as leaving him. That I believe was one of the only moments I cried when leaving and I'll always remember the way he looked at me when he said "You're not crying are you?" The crinkle of a smile in the corners of his eyes. I had to laugh. He's my best friend.

Well around the time I was battling with that blasted weapon and BRM, that's when it all went down at home. We were still yet to receive phone priviledges and I was relying on the trusty postal service to deliver all communication from me to my family and friends. I'll be honest I hadn't bought stamps in YEARS!!! Well I get a letter from my grandmother that says that Gramps is in the hospital, a possible heart attack. I cried...right there in the classroom where I opened my letter, face in my dirty SC sand coated hands. Not a bawling cry, but tears escaping my eyes. I knew joining the Army there was the possibility of things taking place at home beyond my control that I might miss, but something of this caliber while still at basic hadn't even dawned on me. So I waited a day or so for a follow up letter with more information, but that letter didn't come. I then still not having access to the phone, wrote a couple frantic letters to my mom and my aunt desperate for information. About the same day those were turned in at mail call in the morning, another letter came from my grandmother down playing all that had taken place and assuring me that he would be fine. I was put somewhat at ease and relaxed enough to survive BRM with the help as mentioned above of DS Ellis's patience.

Not 2 days later though our DS calls me out of formation along with a battle to meet with the Company Commander. Can we say scared? My goal at basic was to fly under the radar, not do anything I wasn't supposed to, be where I was supposed to be when I was supposed to be there, and in the right uniform with the right equipment. Easy enough right? But there I was getting called into the Cpt's office. I report and there sits 1st Sgt. with the Cpt. and in his hand is a Red Cross notification. My heart hit the floor. The Red Cross part of our in processing I had heard but had thought I would have no use of it while at basic. WRONG! The notice was from my mom telling me Gramps had had quadruple bipass surgery. I held it together in the office, no tears right? Because this is the Army and I'd be damned if I let the commander and 1st Sgt see me cry. That's not flying under the radar. I was granted phone privileges that day. Called and spoke to my Gramps who sounded wore slam out and rightfully so, but it was him and his voice put me at ease more than words can describe.

Apart from that I survived basic and graduated on that bright and sunny day April 14th, with my mom, Spensir, Josh, Kristie and Mary B. in attendance. Next stop was Fort Benning, GA for that OCS spot I had worked so hard and endured so much for. It was the day we were to ship, while waiting for the bus to take us the 6 hours to our next spot that it was told to us that the PT cutoff was insane to make it in. And that is when the dread hit. My best PT score at basic was a solid 222. Army standards require a 180 (60% in all three categories) to pass. I was well above that, but in comparison to the ridiculous scores others put up I was subpar. So started the longest weekend of my Army career so far. I was a nervous wreck, sick to my stomach, unable to eat, unable to think of anything but that PT test the upcoming Monday.

Monday came...I took the test putting up my best score thus far a 240...cut off to class up? began my stay at HHC, a holdover company of people unable to make the cutoff, people who were kicked from their OCS classes, profiles, and a variety of others. My time there wasn't bad, wasn't a four star resort, but in the grand scheme of things I guess it wasn't bad. I shared my bathroom with one other person...take that BCT! While there I began to think about my options. I wanted to be in the Army there wasn't a doubt in my mind about that. The Army I feel is the place for me. But did I REALLY HAVE to be an Officer at this juncture in my life? I came to the decision that no, that wasn't necessary. The icing on the cake was the day a group of us from HHC were privileged to meet and hear a Medal of Honor recepient speak. SFC Sammy Davis Jr. (the name caught me as well...hello Rat Pack) served in Vietnam and just listening to him sealed the deal. This man served in the military as a Pvt during one of the hardest conflicts I believe for military personnel, in that day in time the military did not get the recognition they deserve, the thanks they deserved for their sacrifice and service, yet the Vietnam vets are the most gracious and polite vets you will ever have the priviledge to meet. His demeanor was what pushed me over the edge to the enlisted world.

I started my paperwork that day to head to AIT. My first choice had been a medical position. Which with my background sounded amazing. A week later my orders came in and low and behold I'm a firefighter! Who even knew that was an option in the Army? I mean can something be more perfect? So I felt relief. I felt for once in this whole screwy mess of a month's time things were coming together.

My first plane ride was next. Started a little bumpy in that I couldn't fly out of GA as scheduled, luckily American Airlines is amazing with getting you a room and meal vouchure. Not that the butterflies in my belly didn't multiple in the time it took for my flight to finally get off. So a layover in Dallas/Fort Worth and I arrived in San Angelo, TX and Goodfellow AFB. Only to find out upon arrival that I have to leave for a firefighter physical and will not in fact be starting class right away. Guess who gets BACK on a plane just a few days later? THIS GIRL! And off to Missouri I go. Arrive in St Louis and purchase a....CARDINALS HAT! Its the little things that matter in life. Then a 2 hour bus trip to Fort Leonard Wood...which I am a firm believer is hell on earth. I hated the place with a passion and am so glad to be out of holding there. As I said BCT at Jackson wasn't bad...but Leonard Wood was worse that BCT there. We hung tight there for a week and a half before finally getting all our i's dotted and t's crossed. Then a road trip back to San Angelo and now I sit awaiting my classes to start dark and early Tuesday morning! I cannot wait to start, I hope once in course time will pass quickly and before I know it my 13 weeks of training will be over and I will be an Army Firefighter (12M).

I appreciate all of you that have given me words of encouragement and listened to me moan, groan and go on and on about my going's on. Its greatly appreciated and I hope to keep you further updated through this media outlet. :-)