10 September 2007

Going to the Chapel and we're.......

Hello all. I am writing this on 10 September and I am thinking about tomorrow. While many people are disheartened remembering events 6 years ago, I am remembering joyful ones two years before. Tomorrow is 8 years since Heather and I were married. It is kind of hard for me to be able to describe to you how wonderful the last 8 years have been. We get told often that we act like kids sometimes, like newlyweds. Heather and I sometimes joke that it may be because, of those 8 years, only 4 1/2 have we actually been together. I think that has definitely helped her sanity, because dealing with me everyday can be trying for the heartiest of souls. But I know the reason is much deeper. Even out here in this barren land, I think about her smile and can feel her warmth from here. I was worried about going home on R&R because I knew we would eventually have to part again. But I have learned that our marriage, our love has stood true because of the little things we share. A grilled cheese sandwich when we've had a rough day. Celebrating together when we score a strike while bowling with friends. Laughing together at a funny movie or a silly moment. Walking together in Annapolis, enjoying the fresh breeze and remembering our sweet moments there. A squeeze from her hand in mine while we walk. A hug while sitting on the back patio in the company of good friends. A Rita's ice sitting on the tailgate of the truck during the cool evening breeze. All these sweet moments comprise a loving relationship unlike any I could have imagined in my younger days. I always know the day is good and everything is fine when her face lights up with a smile. She is my best friend and my favorite companion. I miss those moments when I am away and cherish each one when we are together because I know they are special because of her. I look forward to getting home and enjoying these moments and feeling her warmth. I know some people rarely get to feel these moments, either because they haven't found that special someone or because they are too caught up in life to take the time. I don't make that mistake because I know when your relationship is this good, nothing can be too bad. Every hurdle can be overcome as long as we're together. I remember a little magnet on our fridge that says things best "I miss you when we're apart, but I always know we're close at heart." I just wanted to convey how special this day is and how many are more to come. Because 8 years ago, she said "I Do", and every day has gotten better since. Happy Anniversary Darlin'. I love you more than these flimsy words can say, and I wanted to let you know.

30 August 2007

Welcome Back, Your dreams were your ticket out....

Hello all. It is hard to believe it has been over two months since I posted something and so much has happened. I will try to encapsulate everything in chronological order. I guess I should have called this blog "Going Back in Time.."
14 Jun: Right before Father's Day, my good friend Gadi and his lovely wife Jenna welcomed their daughter Lila Sivan Ben-Yehuda into the world. I had the opportunity to visit them during my recent R&R (comments later) and I must say Gadi, either that beautiful girl's looks come only from Jenna or you should check the milkman (ha, ha). I know, bad joke. Seriously though, she is a lovely girl and you all are great parents. I am very happy for them.
16 Jul: I turned 35 today. I am now older than Mozart. Last year I was older than Jesus. As Gadi said, my goal is to get older than Reagan. Well on my way. Here is a picture of my birthday cake. It was a brownie cake Heather sent to me.
04 Aug: I landed in Atlanta at 745AM and saw Heather for the first time since January 27th. A wonderful and awful day. Wonderful because I was seeing her, awful because she had to tell me my close friend Chris, who was like a brother to me, was dead. I will talk more about that later. I spent the next 18 days flying from Atlanta to Florida (to visit my parents and sister) to Maryland (home in my bed for one night) to Austin, TX (to bury my friend) back to Maryland for good. Along the way I saw old friends Dan Subia and Rudy Quiles whom I had not seen for many years (13 1/2 in Dan's case).
I had a nice cookout with good friends at home and enjoyed some good food, good wine and good company. In fact I saw Gadi's sisters who came to my party and I had not seen since 1988 (Tahl) and 1992 (Naomi). But best of all, I saw Heather. We saw a movie, had a Rita's on the tailgate, and just enjoyed each other's company. What could be better. As our good friend Heather Mackenzie would say, it didn't suck!!
20 Aug: I said goodbye to Heather and started my journey back here which included numerous stops and 5 hours roasting in the cargo bay of a C-130. I got back to base late on 22 August and have been catching up ever since. I am now at 84 days and counting as of 30Aug.
Well that has caught you up on everything except for one thing, Chris. I remember emailing him before I came home telling him we needed to get together to talk. I write this finding it hard to believe he is gone. Even after crying by his graveside, I still expect a silly email or a phone call from him with his crazy laugh. Chris was a complex person. A writer, musician, historian, warrior. His life was always a challenge, whether he chased the challenge or it just fell on him. But he never backed away and he kept fighting, fighting to live life on his terms. I remember, at his funeral service, his eulogy, given by his close friend Tracy Green. He spoke about his relationship and how it was defined by a song. Heather astutely observed that all his relationships were defined by music, each person probably had a song that meant something special between them. I remember that he and I always talked about having "Tea in the Sahara" together. That was our song. Soulful, complex. That was Chris. I imagine him now, in Heaven, running around in white camouflage, sneaking up behind the angels and burping out loud "God Bless You". I miss him. I wish I could talk to him, about my adventures. I find it ironic that now I am the one and cammies and combat boots, and I wish I could tell him how much I respected what he did, that I understand it better now. God bless you Chris. I hope you are finally at peace.
Well that is all for now. I will try and update you more as things go on. Take care and I hope to see you all soon.

16 June 2007

I'm lookin out for a hero....

Hello again all. If you haven't noticed, I have been using music and movie quotes as titles, as I have found both have a certain emotional connection and common understanding. Forgive me for trying to wax eloquent, though I'm just a dumb old sailor. I received a letter (sent in February) from a soon to be father, my old friend Gadi Ben-Yehuda. He lives in D.C and we maintain a very strong friendship though years and miles have separated us. It seems that different paths have brought us to a similar place. Well Gadi is a poet, and after reading his letter, I felt inspired. His letter was written on an old typewriter, and his writing style and writing instrument have an old, poetic feel that feels as if he is telling a story and not just writing a letter. It reminds me that eloquence is not just for Homer and Shakespeare, but for common expression amongst uncommon friends.
Now you are trying to make a connection between the first paragraph and the title. The one word that links them both is this: father. It is Father's Day tomorrow, and we all remember that person, whether an uncle, a friend or an actual father, who was the hero in our life. Like mine. We always told other kids when we were children "My daddy can beat up your daddy" or something along those lines. I think it is because we didn't know how to say that our fathers were bigger heroes to us, larger than life in some way. Invincible. This brings me to my picture for this weeks blog:
This was drawn on the concrete wall near my trailer. It was done by a 20-year-old kid (I must be old, calling 20 years a kid). He was preparing to go home and wanted to leave his living area a better place. I asked him why this particular topic. He said it was to be a daily reminder to all those still here that we are heroes. Maybe without the fancy suits (though the uniforms are a little crazy) and without the superpowers (what, didn't Marvel or DC comics have a hero with "blogging" powers) but we are heroes nonetheless. To our families and friends and to the American people yes, but also to those silent majority who live in fear of the common villainy they see every day. To those who wish for a peaceful life and see only one group of people willing to fight for them, us.

I am also reminded of the fathers and sons here, one sergeant I met the other day. He was in the National Guard and had just participated in his son's re-enlistment, here in Q-West, because his son's unit is also here. Odd coincidences bring father and son together. I ask that as you read this, think about your father, that hero in your life who helped make you the person you are today. Call and say thanks. If you are a father, remember that you are the hero. Acts of superheroism are not required, but common acts of caring and example to your children are. For all those fathers, whether safely back home, or separated by miles of land and ocean, this is your day, a day to be thankful of your father, and to be thankful for your family. I salute you and wish you many more days of happiness. Take care and write soon all. God bless.

26 May 2007

Oh it's Hot, Hot, Hot!!!

Hello all. I haven't updated in a while because this place is like groundhog day. Same thing every day. There have been some happenings lately I thought I would write about. First of all it's getting hot. How hot you ask? Well, check this out:Yeah, that outside temp is 110 degrees, and that is in the shade. I am coping though. Drinking alot of water and staying hydrated. I am still doing alot of walking which will hopefully be good for the wasteline. I am sporting a new look too. Check it out:
The floppy hat helps with the heat. I am still working hard and trying to keep busy. It helps to know that what I do is appreciated by people back home. The following is an example of what I am talking about. A parent of one of Heather's students heard about my being out here and she had the students decorate some fabric panels. She then made a blanket to send to me. Take a look.
There is also an article online. The newspaper came by to see what the kids were doing. Read here. It is nice to know we have the support of the American people. As hard of a job as it is, it is easier when we don't have celebrities calling us terrorists. Something like this reminds me of why we do this job. Maybe one day the children here can enjoy a life like the one ours do. A good thought to remember on Memorial Day, that many servicemen sacrifice to make a better world for all, and many appreciate it. Well, that is all I have. I hope you all enjoy the pictures and are doing well. God Bless.

21 April 2007

Well, we're movin on up....

Hello all. Not much new here, except my residence. I moved into a new trailer, due to the already present enhancements, and made some enhancements of my own. First of all, the already present enhancements, look at this:

Yes, it is a covered patio. Neat, huh. I figure, it'll protect from rain and, most importantly, excessive rays in the summer. Can't believe this CHU was left empty!!! So I took it. After moving in I realized I needed more storage. Well, scavenging is still an acceptable art, and I was looking into an abandoned building next to the maintenance facility I oversee. The building was condemned but only after they started renovating it. I found some nice shelving and, thanks to a little Velcro, I did some Trading Spaces action and:

Wallah, I now have a "kitchen area". Necessity is the mother of invention. I know, not alot of work stuff being talked about, not that I can talk about it here, but you do get insight into how we fill the rest of our time here.

One more thing, I think I figured out why they sent me here. Look:
A lake!!! Now all I need is a boat and I will be back in my element. It is not a big lake, but I AM only a LCDR. It's a water reservoir and isn't very deep, so I won't get a submarine. Oh well. I hope you are enjoying these updates and I will endeavor to update things more often. I hope you all are well and I will update again soon. Hasta luego!!

07 April 2007

Happy Easter!!!

Hello all. It is Easter and I find the theme of rebirth interesting as I am in the desert. Even here there is rebirth however. Check out these pictures:
It makes me wonder what this place may have looked at back in ancient Babylon. I don't usually quote the bible, but I found these excerpts interesing:
Psalm 137: By the Rivers of Babylon, There we sat down, yea we wept.
When we remembered Zion We hung our harps Upon the willows in the midst of it.
Revelation 18/2 :And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Interesting huh? Well, I've waxed religious during a holy period. Well I hope all of you are well and have a Happy Easter and Passover. In the spirit of my current location, Salaam Alekhem.

28 March 2007

Updates & Condolences

Well folks, I was having some problems with the computers here, but I updated the pictures missing from the last blog. I will do my best to keep things updated.

Well not much new has happened here. I moved into a new room and the guy I relieved gave me a fridge and some nice furniture and another guy gave me a TV so I am enjoying some Armed Forces Network TV which includes news, sports, even American Idol occasionally. Trying to keep myself entertained during my down time. Here is my new place:
Otherwise just working hard. The weather is getting warmer and I am sure I will be sweating in no time. My accommodations are nice and the neighbors are all people I work with, so we have a little community in our section of the living pad. We even get together to cook out once a week. Here are some pictures:
Well, that is all for now. Before I go, I just want to let those of you Lakelanders know about the passing of an old friend. Wendi (Bloss) Mangold passed away on March 25th, finally succumbing to cancer. She fought the hard fight, but I guess God needed one of his angels back. Her husband Dave and children Davie, Charlie and Mary will be missing her I am sure, but I am sure God needed her too. My prayers go out to her family, with the knowledge she is looking down on us with her ever present smile. God Bless you all.

Take care to all and I will keep you all updated.