“What i like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce.” ― Karl Lagerfeld

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
Ansel Adams

From Mid-October till now…

Ok so this was from the summer…but only a couple days till I get to see these crazy girls again!

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Early morning APFT (army physical fitness test) — passed!!!  Not quite at 300, but it gives me something to shoot for!

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Approved for Thanksgiving leave in NC ❤

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So much paperwork/homework to do!

After a long week, all smiles for the weekend and sushi happy hour/ended up staying till 10:30…ImageImageImageImage

Zumbathon for breast cancer awareness on post

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Halloween tutu success

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We all have that day to be a jacked up 2LT — forgot my boots — luckily had time to run home and grab them between PT and formation

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No, I didn’t suddenly put on a ton of weight…me + my field gear… no wonder I started having lateral knee pain… ImageImage

All the shots/blood tests I had to get for medical readiness… 8 vials and multiple shots later…I didn’t pass out.  Walked around pale as a ghost (or so I’m told) — but I didn’t drop!

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And yes, it was not a fun day considering the arm massacre workout we did the day before… ImageImageImage

My belongings for the 3 weeks in the field..

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Fun run/zombie obstacle course morning PT and First Friday pub run in downtown SA.

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My platoon — and field life — we froze in 20-40 degree weather and intense wind… and lived through the gas chamber… not a fun experience (not for the future — don’t piss off anyone with tear gas)

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Note the name on the ticket haha — Image

Turned on my heat — pretty sure that’s the first time it’s been on since February

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Mango helado to complete the super expensive and delicious Brazilian mealImage

Veterans Day relaxing

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And then the light above my dining room table went out… typically this wouldn’t be an issue… but I have wonderfully high ceilings and an amazing glass and marble table that won’t budge even though it’s on gliders.  So I need a tall friend with a big ladder…

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I was super hooah when I got m&ms in an MRE….and then realized the sweepstakes inside expired in 2011…

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Night to day land navigation was amazing — gorgeous views and 100% of points found!ImageImage

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Rock and Roll San Antonio Marathon (turned into half) — with great company!!! The race itself sucked — started hurting at mile 6 and then had to drop to the half marathon…and now dealing with Achilles tendon issues …

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Doc says no running for a week… it’s almost been a week and still having issues…hopefully I can get seen again before I leave for home…this whole not being able to workout is killing me!

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Chilly weather in SA — Friday at 4am, it was 75 degrees…and within half an hour…it dropped to 40 — I was not the only one putting air in tires

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First experience with Korean food — delicious, but holy cow– so much!!!

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Unfortunately, I’ve been sick all weekend…however, it has been nice to just spend some time curled up in my cozy little apartment by myself — its freezing outside and after being constantly surrounded by people for the past 3 weeks, my inner introvert needed some alone time.  Netflix has been my best friend!

Last night began a flash back to the classics — Audrey Hepburn in “Roman Holiday” — of course I didn’t make it through the whole movie (anyone who has watched a movie with me shouldn’t be surprised), but I finished it this morning.  How different movies are today.  It made me want to travel back in time when Rome was not continuously packed with people — it was still a busy place, but nothing compared to what it is today.  It had been a long time since I had watched a classic movie — I found the reduced dialogue refreshing — every second of the movie doesn’t have to be high speed — there is even a whole scene when Ann is taken into the police station, and there is no audible dialogue whatsoever — rather it’s filled with instrumental music and the body language is read.  If you haven’t seen the movie, I give it a thumbs up for a cold winter day with tea and a fuzzy blanket!

On Wednesday night, I’ll be home!!!!!! Can’t Wait!!!

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“It’s all right for you to have a train of thought if you also have a terminal”

I preface this with an apology for my jumbled thoughts.

 

Monday–11 November 2013

“The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” -Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit

Land of the free. Home of the brave.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many amazing people since coming to San Antonio — I love hearing what brought each person to BOLC.  It’s especially exciting to hear the many places people have been since joining the military — I can only imagine what my future holds!  Not only does it excite me about the future, but it gives me so much respect for them.  This year’s Veteran’s Day is different than any other year–it honors me to be able to put on the same uniform every day and serve with the 1%.  I’m also amazed how many companies support the military on Veteran’s Day — lots of free meals, discounts, and for the lucky people in DC, MD, and NOVA, free 60 minute massages….bummer for us in TX…but there was still so much going on, I was out till almost 10…and then realized I had to be up and on my way to the field at 3am the next day (and hadn’t started packing).

The past couple months have been unusual — however, that’s kinda just how the Army rolls.  It’s definitely a regimented lifestyle…but one that lacks schedule (at least in BOLC training).  Anyone who knows me well would agree that I operate optimally once I have a set schedule, so my transition continues to have some bumps along the way that I expected to be worked out within the first couple weeks.  It’s frustrating —

With the exception of last week, I’ve had death by powerpoint… allllllll day

But in my spare time, I did have some fun..

I learned to be creative with spaghetti squash

Screen shot almost every snap chat Amber sends me — yes that is our main form of communication…

Made more rings (as I seem to still lose them…)

Enjoyed the college coffee shop scene

Ate and created some delicious food

Celebrated Halloween

Almost ruined a brand new pair of boots

Did a fun run and pub run in the same day

Lived a week in the field — which included sleeping on a cot with no pillow, going through a gas chamber (ya experiencing tear gas was….fun), being loaded onto a medevac helicopter after being hit in the face with an M16 (don’t worry, I wasn’t shot…just happened to be nailed in the face by the muzzle while being lifted in a practice evac…) and many shenanagins with the paltoon

Learned to salsa, merengue, bachata, and two step (in the same weekend!)

On a more serious note…since training started, I’ve overheard numerous comments about direct commission officers — a lot of people feel like we shouldn’t be in BOLC, we shouldn’t be given the luxury of being an officer without any previous military training…and in a way, I completely understand where they are coming from.  I know I didn’t go to basic or ROTC — I’m new and don’t know a lot — I make mistakes — but I’m also learning…and most importantly, I’m giving it my all.  Perhaps they were only referring to a couple of specific instances and I just happened to overhear part of their conversation — regardless, it’s discouraging — especially since in pre-BOLC I got to see so many of the direct commission officers shine in leadership positions.  We want to be good soldiers — good leaders — give us a chance to show you we can before discrediting us.

Saturday — 16 November 2013

And as per (now) usual — I ran out of time to finish that blog….so another week in the field and almost another weekend later… so much more … photos….eventually

I’m quickly learning how fast a weekend goes by … and how much time ‘real people tasks’ occupy.  I feel like getting home on Friday between 5 and 7 the past two weeks, it’s been a hurried shuffle to get everything done… and still maintain my social life….which lets be real, that takes priority over things like vacuuming my car or getting small things for my apartment — how blessed I am to have my own washer/dryer and dishwasher in my apartment…multitasking wonders ❤

So I know I don’t talk much about my personal life (that’s purposeful), but there is one occasion I must share…. I agreed to go on a date Friday with a guy I met last week…I already had plans for dinner with some people in my platoon, so the date was just going to something like movie and maybe frogurt …..  We met at a Colombian restaurant around 7….and well due to some pretty poor service (I’m being generous with my words), we finally all paid our bills by about …9:30 pm.   I’m pretty sure my date had almost given up on me …. but I gave him a call to see if he was still wanting to go see a movie. ..he said he’d still love to see me if I was up for it…so I said ok…

–first though, take a couple steps back and examine my past week–

We went back to the field on Tuesday morning– I woke up at 0300.

Tuesday-Thursday were chilly days– I’m talking 0430 in the morning and maybe 25 degrees (if we were lucky) — attire was just basic ACUs (none of the fancy cold weather gear), tennis shoes, a small fleece cap and the tactical gloves I brought…not warm at all — the activity, combatives.  I was previously very excited about combatives –what’s better than being 5’4″ and having the skills to hold your own against someone bigger than you if needed (or against your ‘little’ brother who is 6’….just to show you’re still the big sister); however, being nauseous and almost passing out while freezing and trying to do drills is not my idea of a good time… it was one of those ‘suck it up soldier’ moments that I would dispute in the civilian world (…and I still question if it was correct for the instructor to tell me to get over it and keep going as others noted my pale face and glossy eyes…I clearly was not ok –regardless… I made it through…).

I don’t really remember most of the week other than combatives…and freaking out in my MOPP4 gear when I was given a far too large mask…so it didn’t seal…and still had CS gas (tear gas) trapped inside… maybe the just of what I’m getting at is ….this wasn’t my favorite week by any means…

Friday was day 4 of being in the field…and the first day I had actually felt well… it was an early morning that started at 0415 with night/day land navigation till 1030 — there is no telling how far my amazing partner, Jess, and I trekked — but we hit all of our points (even the one we deemed as impossible…and I still think it’s the hardest point on the course — It was a gorgeous day…warm…and fun!

….soooooo the point of that whole rant was…by the time my date and I met up around 10:00 pm at the Quarry Market theater, I was pretty tired… some ‘eenie meenie miney mo’ action decided Thor was the movie to see… we were cutting it close to the start time…so by the time we got a drink and through the ticket line, all the doors were closed to the movies… so we creep into the one labeled Thor… to a packed room…the movie already started… we had to shuffle by a decent chunk of a row worth of people to find 2 seats next to each other…so we got settled and started watching, trying to figure out what was going on … about ten minutes in, he leaned over to me and said “I think we’re in the wrong Thor showing….”

I died…we had just made a huge scene coming in …so then we awkwardly shuffled back out of the room, trying to contain our laughter till we got to the hallway.  We made it to the correct Thor room…trailers were still playing.  When the movie came to the part we had already seen, we both struggled not to burst out laughing.

The movie was ok…I struggled to stay awake…

The date was kinda set up to fail awkwardly…but it worked…date 2 is a go!

Completely unrelated — my first big race in TX and as a real person is tomorrow morning!!!  San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon….or so I’m registered… I have put aside my pride and ‘want to do the full’ attitude…and accepted that the past few months haven’t allowed me to train to run the full 26.2…so I’ll be running the half — but it’s empowering in a way to finally be in the mindset to run a race for leisure… and I’ve convinced friends to run with me!!!!  I think all my Roanoke friends are used to my pestering, telling EVERYONE to register to run races with me…some have been crazy enough to join in… but most blow me off haha (to each their own…that’s ok)  I forget that my friends here don’t know me like that though… running into a fellow Army-Baylor student at the expo today…after hearing he was backing out of the race… I naturally confronted the situation and used my best tactics to change his mind…no such luck.  I think he realized I was mostly kidding in my disappointment…but I guess I have to be more mindful that everyone here doesn’t know how to deal with my over-enthusiasm with running (now that I think of it, I don’t think some of my Roanoke friends know what to do when I’m all ‘woohoo lets run this race,’ so maybe I just need to be more mindful with my hooah running attitude).  So tomorrow morning, I’ll be up bright and early, excited to run — forecast looks great for 6:30am — 72 degrees in the morning, and then rising to 81 for a high (man — I love Texas…except when it decides to be freezing in the field)

I think that’s all for today…I’m supposed to be doing an online army class right now… so I probably should get to that…

As I said before….pictures will come…eventually.  Maybe tomorrow when I’m exhausted after the race… a couple of my good friends have been snapping pictures the past few weeks and sending them to me ‘specifically for my blog’…. so I’ll have to upload them one of these days…

But that plane ticket for Christmas I was procrastinating on buying… it’s booked — Minneapolis bound for a Lee Christmas ❤ ❤ ❤  I will likely freeze…

 

And finally a terminal to my train of thought.

Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.

“Our bodies are apt to be our autobiographies.”  Frank Gillette Burgess hit it spot on.  This week added a couple more scars with stories of my first few weeks in the army….learning some things the hard way.  I now carry prewrap, cushioned tape, bandaids, liquid bandaids, neosporin, and athletic tape at all times

For the first time in a week, I was able to sleep more than 5 hours — the weekend is an amazing thing.

 

“I saw you from afar….” were the first…and only words formulated for a solid minute after an attractive guy tapped me on the shoulder while out with my friends.  As my married friends and spouses watched (holding back laughter since they observed him try to approach me for 15 minutes before), I let him continue to attempt his pick up line….  Since I rendered him speechless *insert sassy sorority head tilt with hand by opposite cheek*, I decided to steer the conversation in a more positive direction.  He turned out to be a really nice guy…we talked for a solid 20 minutes and then went our separate ways — I don’t remember his name anymore…it was short– one syllable– It was the beginning of a great night with friends — there have been many a “I saw you from afar” references at work within the past week.

Monday began the week of putting the skills and info we had learned via hours of powerpoint into action!  Land navigation at Camp Bullis — However, as I am reminded each day, nothing goes as planned.  We met at Ft. Sam at 0520 to catch our bus to Camp Bullis — all the buses meet at the same building, so we were one of 6 or 7 platoons waiting — however our bus never arrived…so we waited…and switched over leadership positions.  This week I was third squad leader, so as we waited for the bus, I was transferred to my new squad.  After taking my position, platoon sergeant called us to attention and to report — as I looked to get accountability, I realized how difficult it was.  I didn’t know most of my squad or how many there were to start with– I kept losing count going down the blur of camo line with my peripheral vision since I couldn’t break formation — and when it came my turn to report, I had to trust that my squad was all present.  Unable to see the PS through the squad ahead of me, I gave my salute, “third squad; thirteen assigned, thirteen present” report in my command voice… and waited a couple seconds hoping PS had dropped his salute and dropped mine.  It was a rough morning for all squads — but it improved. 

Arriving Camp Bullis felt like I was on a war movie set.  We were surrounded by a ton of platoons loading up the trucks, endless equipment, black hawks were taking off and landing, and we marched around in formation wearing molle vests–adrenalin was pumping. 

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I had my first experience with MREs –> breakfast menu was Spanish rice, black beans and beef, tortillas, cheese spread, marble pound cake, chocolate powder drink, and I can’t remember what else…these meals are insane…like 1500 calories, a ton of fat, salt, etc… and you cook it with a special heater.  We were shortly briefed on how to use the heater — you add water no higher than the lines on the bag, which creates an exothermic chemical reaction within the pouch…put the food packet within pouch and let it heat up.  Needless to say, I added WAYYYYY too much water to my heater (looked at the wrong lines–like 10 oz more than the approx 2 oz it needed)…so I ended up having slightly warm crunchy rice and lemon lime electrolyte drink mix (basically Gatorade) donated by a neighbor.  Meanwhile, I was watching the people around me get pesto chicken pasta, reeces pieces, skittles — the MREs with candy are envied, even auctioned off!

As squads, were were given a set of coordinates for points we had to find by shooting azimuths and calculating distances from our maps. However, rather than the entire squad walking together, we each did our own work with tracking our azimuth with our compass and keeping our own foot count.  It went pretty well overall…the 800 meter distances tended to result in a couple lost soldiers…or finding the wrong point.  However, I had a bigger issue developing…I had just put new insoles in my boots…and was beginning to feel the burn of blisters on my heels.  By the last point, I could barely walk…but had to keep going without complaint.  It was beautiful…but after getting home, I suffered the consequences.

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…and then I was supposed to run 18 miles at home.

I taped up the ankles and set out… only to be disappointed that the trail was flooded at most places, the sun was setting, and I was a magnet for mosquitoes… so I decided to cut the run short and book it to not get completely eaten alive by bugs.

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Tuesday and Wednesday were my favorite days by far — firearm training.  Of course, they started at 0400 to get ready for morning pt — which included indian runs and mile repeats (shooting at 90 seconds faster than our 2 mile pace).  Along with lots of marching on base…any time double time was called, I cringed to hold back tears as I booked it.  Despite the pain and 100 degree days, it was totally worth it.

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M16 training was by far my favorite –I didn’t get any photos with the M9 Pistol… but the result of too fast a function test is below…. yep…2 separate occasions, I got caught…not fun at all since its spring loaded.

However, I’m pretty quick at disassembly/reassembly of both; my shot is much better with the M16 though…

 

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Thursday morning started with a 4 mile ruck march.  We were dropped off in a field …still dark outside…and began warm up exercises…naturally in the second exercise, I put my hand in stinging nettle –my hand began burning and swelling……suck it up soldier.  And so it began.  Luckily it was a gorgeous morning, so the all-over pain somewhat subsided.

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(however, I guess my stride must have been off because I now have shin splints)  I guess you could say my body took a beating this week.) 

The rest of the day was doing the leadership reaction course — low ropes drills.  Third squad killed it!  We lifted each other multiple times…made a human bridge and crossed it…transported many ammunition cans and 2*4s — tested the strength of said 2*4s — and had a blast developing our skills to execute a mission!

Of course, it wouldn’t be a day at Camp Bullis without MRE meals — after the ruck march… everything tasted great! — and I got real candy!!!! I was mostly just excited to get a good packet…didn’t even eat the candy hahaha

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After a late Thursday night study session for our final exam, poolside, with some classmates who live nearby and ASU (dress blues) assembly, I think my entire preBOLC class was more than ready for Friday.  PT Friday morning was awesome…we did squad relay races — third squad killed it!  We won all rounds…except one…which had an unforeseen interruption.  I learned that apparently I can do the side straddle hops (ie jumping jacks) like a pro…insane fast — apparently my “pop lock and drop it” style squats were comparably entertaining…says my squad.

Friday we had ASU inspection…. around an hour at attention or parade rest… with bugs biting through my stockings….in new heels….needless to say the command “fall out” at the end was oh so sweet. 

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I passed the course test with flying colors…only missing 3 questions!!!

 

After being released for the day, we had a platoon happy hour and then met up at Mikala’s amazing home–> it all was well-deserved and we were finally able to let loose and relax for once!  We’re finally getting to that point where we can make jokes and prank each other.

ImageNow that it’s Saturday, I can finally get my apartment in order!!!

 

Oh how could I forget–I had a fun surprise waiting for me on Tuesday… Giant bug –I tell myself it wasn’t a roach…though I’m not convinced…luckily it was the first and hopefully the last I ever find!  I walk with caution still though.

ImageAlso if you’ve read this much…watch this video — it pretty much embodies the first week on base feeling….and still somewhat now the one month on base emotions…still very new to the army

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdJttMdSKho   From 1:34-8:30

“Enjoy your sweat because hard work doesn’t guarantee success, but without it, you don’t stand a chance.”

So I take back my former feelings of boredom during my TDY last week — I’ve been running nonstop since last Saturday…when I learned I was late for checking back in from my leave… not a great way to start (but I wasn’t alone and we ended up being ok).

Last weekend my class (the 2016ers) got to let loose and get to know the PT class above us — definitely a much needed night out in downtown/southtown!!!

Sunday was the beginning of my pre-BOLC (basic officer leadership course)!!  We weighed in, filled out more paperwork, and sat through about an hour of powerpoints — in retrospect of the week…well…I’m sorry I complained about that session

Monday morning — report time:  way before the sun– I think it was 0530 report time…so NLT 0520 for formation…which means leave my place by 0450…so get up around 0400…

side note:

Perhaps you’ve heard “To be 5 minutes early is to be on time.  To be on time is to be late.  And to be late is unacceptable.”  Well in the Army, 10 minutes early is on time…which really means you should be there 15 minutes early.  And somehow that time keeps getting bumped up earlier and earlier…its an awkward rule full of a million times (see previous paragraph for example) — and the amount of sleep I get continues to diminish.

But regardless of the hour — it was freezing (I mean 60 degrees to someone who now thinks 85 is cool…) — and we stood in formation….and marched.  With the exception for maybe 5 of the 52 people in my pre-BOLC class, none of us have any type of previous military experience.  We were briefed by our company commander on the commands and how to execute them…however, it was perhaps one of the most embarrassing examples of a …well… some could call it a train wreck, cluterjam, or maybe more appropriate, a snafu.  I’m sure everyone on post who observed us asked who the heck let these guys into the army…much less as officers.

So most of the past couple days have been spent in the classroom listening to hours worth of powerpoints about Army basics (with multiple 5-minute Starbucks breaks)– incorporated with minimal sleep, early morning workouts, and hours of standing in formation —-

Hours of standing.

Essentially completely motionless.

In ACUs (the typical army uniform).

Under the hot San Antonio sun.

Intertwined with quite a bit of marching.

However, this week has been full of many experiences — good. bad. and morale killers.

Image <<– so after a 15+ hour day on Tuesday…with only having time for an apple and some almonds…I was so excited for dinner….and while cutting my chicken…the plate flipped on the floor.  So my dinner was pushed back an extra half hour while i cleaned quinoa off the floor and made more — womp.

Image <<– Wednesday morning was early.  First APFT (army physical fitness test).  Start time 0500.  Instructions begin at 0450.  Formation at 0430.  Be there by 0420.

So it typically takes me a good 4 miles to warm up before I actually run well…so I decided to go to post early to warm up a couple laps before the test.  I kicked my 2 mile warm up out at 0400.  At the time, it sounded like a great idea…

However I didn’t take into consideration several key points:

a.  I did a hard full body workout (550 rep fat massacre to be exact) late Monday night and was still sore by Wednesday.

b.  Warming up at 0400 was not going to do anything to help with the last event of a test…we didn’t run till at least 5:45 am

c.  A banana is not sufficient fuel

d.  the APFT is a max test, essentially — one should take it to easy a couple days leading up to it

First event — 2 minute push up.  I got in ready position — and then I felt it.  My arms and chest muscles were already regretting Monday’s workout.

First pushup

      “zero–go lower” said my scorer

Second pushup

     “zero”

I got it right on the third one — however I had many more that didn’t count… and long before my typical max…my arms refused to fully extend.  I fought fatigue for what seemed like an eternity, but landed on my stomach.  A fist to the ground out of frustration, I moved on to the next event.

While waiting to do the situp event, I started to see spots and realized my hearing was fading– the first sign I’m about to pass out.  “You CAN’T pass out” I told myself–and somehow I didn’t.  However, the situp event was equally disappointing.
The run was not too bad though…sure I thought I may pass out at several times, but I completed it in time to earn max points in the event.

We were given only 45 minutes to shower, dress, and eat breakfast…I naturally got lost on the way to the gym to shower…and then had to wait forever for a shower…needless to say, it resulted in a sprint to formation.

Although the past week has been full of sore muscles, little sleep, and a lot of hunger, there have been good moments.

Like yesterday at our morning PT, I was complimented on my pushup form — “excellent form” was the phrase … I needed that boost!

Image<<– I learned I LOVE land navigation…and I’m good at it!!!

…and I got new gear for the field — I’ve had too much fun with it so far….

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ANDDDDD:  it’s the weekend, so I get to sleep past 0400 tomorrow or Sunday!!!

“Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.”

After several path runs, outside froyo for several hours, and an 8-hour BBQ in the past weekend, I’ve found that the mosquitoes here really LOVEEEEEEE me.  The area from my achilles tendon to about mid-calf is covered in bites… so curious me looked it up.

(http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/07/25/205526533/why-mosquitoes-love-me-and-other-mysteries-revealed)

And apparently mosquitoes are attracted to lactic acid…..well no doubt about it, 7-15 mile runs will definitely create some lactic acid in that area….just my luck.  So I invest in some bug spray and continue to lather on the hydrocortisone plus cream.

Better news though — all of my HHG arrived and nothing broken — ok my dresser had a decent chunk of wood that broke off and all my poor white furniture was covered with dirty hand prints, but if that’s the most I can complain for a $4,000 move that I didn’t have to pay for….well I can handle that!  It is very nice though to have my bed again!  And my DVD collection!!  Everything is unpacked (with the exception of some clothes that I don’t need at this time nor do I have space for) — and now I just need to find the perfect place for all my decor!  I’m off to a good start by putting up a big painting in my living room and photos in my frames!

photo(3)     <<— wooo painting!

photo(4)     <<– and hooray I have a bed!!!!!

photo(2) <<– however, this was the state of my apartment for several days — pure chaos!

Pros of having a top floor apartment:

–fabulous high ceilings in my living room

Cons of having a top floor apartment:

–moving in was, and moving out will be a pain

–noise when workers are on the roof… that’s been the whole past week

–grumpy neighbors beneath me who don’t like zumba or insanity (which really puts a damper on insanity marathon training…) so I get to talk with the management staff tomorrow about alternatives — I’m paying far too much for this complex to not be able to do my training… especially on rainy days like today

I finally got my official TX license though!!!!

IMG_9560 <<– six years sure does make a difference in a license photo — so happy mine turned out well!!!

So as an official Texan, I decided to go to the Witte Museum and learn more about the state…plus I’m kinda going crazy with TDY and rain every day…

IMG_2220<<– reminded me of my family’s old log cabin ❤

IMG_3909<<– biologist still learning…

IMG_8586 <<— now Tim, Kyle, and Dylan… this is WOLD –> and made by hand!  They were selling for over $250 in the 1800s!!!

There are lots of fun options for outdoor exercise classes that I’ve found…most are on Saturdays though, so I haven’t been able to check them out yet… Looks like I have to find somewhere other than my apartment though to workout…

Outdoor movies are common too — I’m looking forward to the next 2 weekends!!!

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I’m definitely still adjusting to the new city, but it’s exciting and fun!  Tomorrow morning I finally get my CAC card — yay I’ll finally be officially recognized as part of the military!!! So I can finally get all of my medical/dental/health care things finally squared away!

9 weeks till marathon #2!!!

“Things cannot always go your way. Learn to accept in silence the minor aggravations, cultivate the gift of taciturnity and consume your own smoke with an extra draught of hard work, so that those about you may not be annoyed with the dust and soot of your complaint.”

…well…I’m trying haha

 

and because texas continues to make me chuckle….photo(5)

“Keep your dreams alive. Understand to achieve anything requires faith and belief in yourself, vision, hard work, determination, and dedication. Remember all things are possible for those who believe.”

The past week has been packed full of soooo many big life moments.

A photo is about the only way I know to describe my emotions!

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Last Friday, I finally commissioned into the US Army as a 2nd Lt!!!

However, before my commissioning ceremony, I stumbled upon an estate sale in the Castle Hills area — absolutely GORGEOUS house, so I strolled in….I did not expect to buy my dinette set and living room furniture that morning…but some of the best things are unplanned.  The owner of the home, Shirin, was an incredible lady.

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Walking into her home, it was evident that she was an interior decorator — however, she was moving to a different home in the area and starting out fresh, so it was all pretty much up for grabs!  Not knowing how on earth the tiny rental car I was driving would accommodate everything I bought, I committed to it.  Needless to say, I had to hire movers to transport the bulk of it the next day– I was not going to try to transport the cast iron, marble, and glass table uninsured (and in retrospect, that was definitely the best idea — my table is so heavy that even on coasters, I can’t make it budge an inch!!!!)

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I was fortunate to come across a painting that coordinated with the colors I had — and then even found throw pillows and place mats as well for some more color!

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Lucking out that morning would have been exciting enough for one day, but that was all before 10am!!

I took oath with the other PTs, OTs, and dietitians that will be in my BOLC class — and courtesy of “Animal House” and a lipsync, the “I, state your name…” part of the oath brought an instant smile to my face.  The ceremony was short — mostly because it was at least 100 degrees and we (including some high up officers) were roasting outside.  I was in the second row, so it’s hard to see me, but here’s my class taking our oaths!

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After our ceremony, we were finally able to meet most of the people in our program (there are still a couple who won’t arrive until November).  The rest of the weekend was for us to enjoy — so Friday night we went downtown to celebrate!

Saturday was my first double digit run since my marathon…. and compared to my previous runs that week, I killed it!

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Monday began ‘real life’ — 0730 on post to be in formation and ready for inspection… meaning be there no later than 0720 to be on time…

So after a LOT of anxious nerves Sunday night and early Monday morning, I was ready to go

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After getting on post and through inspection, all the nerves were gone!

Tuesday was not as smooth, I forgot the casual 10 minutes early to be on time….and commute time… so what was a leisurely morning turned into booking it…and then hitting all red lights in the rain.  As I hurried from the parking lot to the AMEDD building (the area where I’ll be spending a LOT of time on base), I ran into a couple captains… higher rank than me, so I needed to salute them…only I had my folder of important docs (birth certificate, social security, bank acct, etc) under my right arm….so my “oh crap I have to salute” form was sub par…and the captain (aware that my class of Lts are brand new) decided to give me a rough time with a joking (but still serious), “LT get that arm up there!  Come on LT!!”  After that one roadblock, the rest of the day went smoothly and all of my financial paperwork is in, so hopefully I get paid soon 😀

After begin dismissed from post, my afternoons have been quite busy

I’m now a Texas resident and have my (temp) Texas license — and a good picture!!!! Apparently “I look army” –at least according to the lady at DPS.

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So what fun is a TX license if I don’t have a TX car to drive (after 2 weeks of rentals, I was ready to be done!) — so after 2 long days of car shopping and many test drives, I signed the dotted line! And picked up my new Honda Civic Coupe today–only 9 miles on it!!! And yes, I know I said I’d never again drive a 2door…but what can I say… it fits me 🙂

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Other than that, I’m missing friends and family back home — Amber, your snaps make me giggle…a lot

I got my first package from home… shorts that I had ordered and a random sock?? — no note…but apparently dad thought I was really missing that sock haha Image

I did find my new favorite farmers market, though!  Mom — you’d be proud of how healthy my kitchen is!!!!

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It’s obviously been a very strenuous week of work (especially considering the past two days we have been dismissed after a half hour) *if you didn’t catch it, that’s sarcasm*, so tomorrow begins my first permissive TDY time…. free till the 22nd!!  Perfect timing since the movers and internet set up are coming tomorrow (supposedly…we’ll see) — I will finally be able to complete setting up my home–or at least get it to being an absolute mess that will eventually get there!

Other than that, it’s going to be insanity marathon training and hanging out with my new friends — they’re working us too hard, I know!

And one more quote to finish…

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.

“You loose something Sssswwwwwwup. It goes to the pile. And where is the pile? In heaven, of course.”

I would naturally lose my credit card the third day in SA — luckily a quick phone call yesterday canceled it and there was a new one at my door this morning…that’s some pretty good service!  In cleaning my apartment ie my living room (before –Yikes!!!)Image, I came across some things that really made me smile 🙂

I found pictures —Image   Needless to say, I miss all my friends back home (both in NC and Noke) — and I need more magnets for my fridge…

Then I found a note from my mommy — I doubt I would have found this for a long time were I not searching EVERYWHERE for my credit card, but it made my day! Image

Seems like life is starting to somewhat settle out a little — I commission in on Friday and then begin in-processing Monday!

Snapshot of the past 24 hours in my ‘homemaking skills’

Image–mastered the pan flip for eggs

Image tried out the new salad spinner and lettuce knife (not metal, so it doesn’t make the lettuce brown!!!)

Imagefailed at my first paint attempt…it literally pealed off…

Imageso I bought a sander and am hoping for the best!

Imageand I can see my living room floor!!!

ImageCheers!  (yes that is chocolate almond milk in a wine glass…hey, it was only noon!)

 

 and if you’re curious about the title quote read this (It’ll make you laugh):

I hate to loose anything. I don’t like to loose anything cause… Where is it? See that’s basically the part that bothers me the most. I’m a practical guy… Where is it? “I just had it!” You know that feeling? “It was just here!” Where is it? “I don’t know.” it’s gone. “That’s true.” It’s lost. “That’s right”. Where could it be? “Could be anywhere”. Not here. “No, we know that”. Maybe it’ll come back. “Maybe but not yet.” There are some things, I don’t even care if I get them back, I just want to know where they went. And loosing things is something that’s even worse when you’re a child cause people get on you for it. Someone gets on your case. Not only is the item gone but you’re catching heat, from up here. “You what?” I lost my yo-yo. “Well where did you have it last? “Eh! If I knew that… I’d still have my yo-yo. “Well… it must be somewhere.” Right! “Well it just didn’t get up and walk away”. That one always got to me. ‘It just didn’t get up and walk away’. One time I lost the cat. It just got up and walked away. And she actually started to say it to me… Eh ma. I think you’ve figured this one out. Where do things go when they’re lost, you know what I think? I think there’s a big of things somewhere. I think there’s a big pile of things that are constantly lost. You loose something Sssswwwwwwup. It goes to the pile. And then you say ohh look, there it is. Vvvvvwwwwum. Right back from the pile, and you didn’t even know there was a pile. And where is the pile? In heaven, of course. It has to be in heaven, that’s the first thing that happens when you get to heaven, they give you back everything you’ve ever lost. That’s the whole meaning of heaven. “Here you go, 75 pairs of sun glasses. 212 cigarette lighters. 4983 ball point pens. And here’s a jock-strap we found on interstate 90, it appears to have mule huff prints and chocolate sprinkles on it, my have been quite an evening”.

George Carlin, 1986