Friday, December 28, 2012

December!! (HA! Got one in!!)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!  I am the WORST blogger ever.  I can't believe you all

still follow me!!  One of my New Year's resolutions is to blog AT LEAST
10 times/month.  Let's see if I can get there.  Considering I've only
blogged ONCE in December, it's not lookin' good....but I can do it!!

So how was everyone's Christmas?  Hopefully you all spent it with
friends and/or family and had a WONDERFUL holiday.  Mine was good!  We
did lots of events leading up to the big day....starting on the 21st,
each day we did "Captain's Cup" events each afternoon from 1300-1500 in
the gym....we were in teams of 3 so we had one team event each day and
one "Army-vs-Navy" event each day.  The Army/Navy events were mostly
team-building type events and the team events were mostly physical
fitness events like sit-ups/push-ups/pull-ups, 3pt/free throw/half
courts shots, a weighted ruck-sack run, etc.  Me, the Doc and our supply
sergeant, Kern, were on a team (poor Kern didn't really have a choice
when we 'recruited' him (i.e. TOLD him he was going to be on our
team!!)).  Doc dissed us most days because he had to do "sick call" in
the afternoons (whatev) so me and Kern were on our own.  On the
sit-up/push-up/pull-up day, Kern did the pull-ups and sit-ups, I did the
push-ups.  It was funny, I went first for push-ups and got TWENTY whole
push-ups and then all the guys went and did upwards of 50 or more (hey,
I'm a 40-year old GIRL, they're all 20-year old GUYS!!).  After like the
5th person went, Kern walked up to me all disappointed and was like,
"Great, we're in LAST."  Ummmm....with ME doing push-ups, did you NOT
think we were going to be in last?  I liked his faith in me,
though.....that he seemed to be somewhat surprised that we were in last.
It was fun, though.  We all had a great time and I think it helped keep
people's minds off being here for the holiday.  

Me and my partner KERN-Bread!!

Me, carrying my two teammates across the finish line in "Toxic River" (we won).

Me running the course in the Weighted Ruck relay....notice my ROOMIE Ward, watching me like a hawk.  Where's the trust??

On Christmas Eve, we had our Christmas party and Christmas dinner.  It

was a lot of fun.  We had done voting ($2/vote) to see who was going to
dress up as Santa, Mrs. Claus and two elves.  We raised almost $250 and
our Maintenance Chief ended up being Santa, our Ops Officer ended up
being Mrs. Claus and the CO and my roomie, Ward, were the elves.  We did
a Secret Santa gift exchange (where Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves
passed out the gifts) and had pork, fried chicken, mashed potatoes,
gravy, greens, and sweet potato pie for desert.  It was SO good.  Great
time that night.  On Christmas, we had the day off so I slept in, went
to the HUGE Australian lunch at the dining facility (we're talking
turkey, pork, salmon, lobster, shrimp, potatoes, many different salads
and TONS of desserts) where the DFAC (dining facility) was decorated so
cute and there were poppers and candy and treats and party hats on every
table and a guy walking around playing the was really
cool!!  Unfortunately, I was starting to get sick at that point so
didn't enjoy a lot of the dinner and spent the remainder of the day in
bed, between sprints to the bathroom to either throw up or do otherwise.
Being sick like that sucks when you're at home and are 20 feet from the
bathroom....being sick like that when you're here and are 50 yards from
the bathroom, have to walk through your entire living 'chalet' and then
outside to the bathroom REALLY sucks.  This lasted from about 1 in the
afternoon until about 2 in the morning.  Ugh.  I am SO happy to be
feeling better.  

Sadly, Sam looks better in that Mrs. Claus suit than I would have....
My door, all set for the door decorating contest (I didn't win).

My festive gear

All the WONDERFUL and amazing love I got from home!!
So now we're almost to 2013 and it's so great that I'll be COMING HOME

THIS YEAR!!  We've only got about 6 months left to go and it will feel
GREAT to get back home.  I Skype'd with my family for the first time
this morning and it was really fun!  It was great to see everyone, great
to talk to everyone, fun to watch everyone open up their presents (I
even saved 3 presents to open myself!!) and I SO wished I could have
been there.  Especially after Beth told me that Millie was so pissed when they woke her up Christmas morning to see what Santa brought her that when Lorin handed her her stocking, she threw it on the floor and then kicked it.  HA HA HA!!  It was fun watching Sarah drink 3 glasses of wine while we were on the call, hearing about the spinach dip they had earlier in the day, watching the little girls meltdown while their Mom was attempting to put
their snow suits on them to leave....made me miss all of it....even the
meltdowns.  :)  I've always loved Christmas at home....being with the
fam....hanging out in my parents' cozy house....having my Dad's
home-made big breakfasts every morning....watching movies....playing
with the kids....catching up with my sisters' and parents....just is
so....HOME.  Missed being there this year but SO look forward to getting
home for the holidays next year!!

Me, Skyping with the fam....

Now that Christmas is over, we'll get busier with work again.  I'm

planning a trip out to one of our FOBs in January...I haven't been to
that one yet, so it will be nice to see the guys out there and get out
on some missions.  I'll be heading up to Nili soon, where I'll meet with
the Nili mayor again, the only female mayor in Afghanistan.  She's
pretty amazing.  Does great things for her city, all at her own risk.
She said when she goes to Kabul, she wears a burqa, she changes clothes
a number of times a day and she also switches vehicles periodically to
try to keep herself safe.  Scary....and inspiring.  So we're trying to
do as much as we can for Nili/Daykundi, since they have already
transitioned over to GIRoA control and are a pretty big success story as
far as security and governance go.  I'm also going to be meeting with my girl Fatema, who is going to single-handedly become her own NGO so she can continue her sewing and literacy program for local women.  AWESOME!!  

We're winding down our PRT mission here in Uruzgan and going from a 'training' role to more of a 'mentoring' role....we're also working on retrograding the base here in
Tarin Kowt so a good portion of our mission now is getting rid of stuff
that has built up here for the past 5 or 6 years....the PRT after us
will have to completely close down the base so we're trying to do as
much as we can to set them up for success.  It's a pretty daunting task
but we're taking it bit-by-bit so hopefully it will be manageable.  

Me and Fatema....she's AWESOME-SAUCE!!
(And I look like the Stay-Puffed Marshmallow man because I have about 5 layers of long underwear on, in case you were wondering....)
So that's the update!!  Again, I hope you all had a HAPPY HOLIDAY and I
wish you the BEST 2013!!  I will make a SERIOUS attempt to keep the blog
updated, although I can't promise pictures with every post because they
are a BITCH to post with our crappy internet here.  If I want to upload
or send a picture, I have to get on the internet between like 2300 and
0600, when no one else is on.  It's a pain in the ASS.  But I will do
what I can in 2013 for my loyal blog readers.  Thank you for all your
support and THANK YOU to everyone who sent care packages!!  OMG we got
so much stuff and everyone was SO appreciative!!  It was really touching
to see how much you all support us out here, and I know it made a lot of
our holidays much, much brighter.  So THANK you!!

P.S.  Sorry about the formatting....I wrote this earlier and then copied it onto the blog and it won't let me format it properly....


  1. Awesome blog! Keep it up, we like to hear from you.

  2. Sounds like you all really made the most of the holidays over there! I especially like the photo of Mrs. Claus. Miss you! (And ditto what your Mom said. ;-))

  3. My child is next door in Camp Holland so I appreciate even a once a month blotter.