Sunday, December 31, 2006
Today was nothing special in the way of work. The weather is just warm enough to melt the snow we've had but still freeze up over night. My procrastination is still intact as I've still not done anything about the next school term which starts later this week. Maybe, I'll do better this next year, (yeah, that was bad, but I promise it's the last bad joke I'll tell this year)
For the new year, I've given myself a new look. Yep, Mrs. Dub won't be too thrilled, but my mustache should grow back in by then. I shaved it off, just to give me a change of pace. Not much else to report on my end. I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful New Years' Eve, remember to get a DD is you're going to a party. Sorry, I won't be available this year for it. See you next year.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
It's about 6 p.m. here now, and we just came in from working on a project outside. Let's just say that my toes are frozen and not very happy at the moment. Of course, the rest of me is just fine and I'm sippin' on some hot chocolate. We spent a good portion of the morning either watching football or reports about Saddam. Being part of the Big Twelve conference we watched the Texas Tech game with much dismay until the fourth quarter. What a game!
Tonight is Ab Lab and I guess I'm going to it. I'd rather try and thaw out ad just go to bed, but that's not what's good for me. Right now I'm sitting here at my computer trying to fall asleep.
Miss Dub informed me that she has her blog site up and running now too. Looks like the whole family is here now. We can just tell each other how we are doing through our blogs. Well, really not much else to report from my end, most everyone else out there is working on big plans for tomorrow evening. Drop me a line and let me know what your plans are.
Be safe and have a good day.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Ok, Folks, I have an announcement. I will put it out there, but it's up to you if you wish to visit. Mrs. Dub has possibly gotten bitten by the blog bug. Now, no need to panic, I think she'll be ok. Check her out if you want at Mrs.Dub, on the sidebar, and as always, be safe and have a good day. Now back to our original post.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Monday, December 25, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Christmas is one of my most favorite times of the year. I have had reason to not be fond of it at all, and could even bare an excuse to avoid it all together. "God is good, all the time" as Ben would say at his blog site. My mother passed away on Christmas Eve 14 years ago. God is good. God replaced that lost with the birth of my daughter, Miss Dub, who was born on November 4th, just in the nick of time for the holiday season. So I got a reason to be thankful, to feel blessed, and to enjoy Christmas as much as I always have. On Christmas Eve around 1800 - 1830 hrs, I stop what I'm doing and talk to my mom, just for a few moments. Then I go back to celebrating the meaning of Christmas, the Birth of Christ, my family, my friends and of course, wait eagerly for Christmas morning to see what Santa brought me.
Now with that out of the way, As I logged on tonight, I found one of those stories that our fine media slips up every once and a while and publishes. This one I found in Yahoo News. I won't get on the soap box tonight, but this story brings hope to all here in Afghanistan, and it helps me realize even more how much more that us as a Nation, as a world, are bringing freedom and hope to this country. For those of you who wanted to see what Al Franken had in store for me, you'll have to wait one more day. This story should be the headlines all over the world. It's simple, but it speaks so loudly to me.
By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - In devoutly Muslim Afghanistan, Christmas is like any other day — people go to work, there are no blinking lights lining the streets and pine trees remain unadorned — except on Flower Street, where local tree vendors are making an extra buck from the foreigners' holiday.
Located in the heart of Kabul, Flower Street is different at Christmas from any other time of year, transformed into a festive place full of trees decked with multicolored tinsel garlands and lights.
"After the Taliban, we started to make Christmas trees because lots of foreigners are around, and they are asking for them," said Eidy Mohammad as he decorated a tree at his shop, the Morsal Flower Store. "Business is growing — we had only the wedding season before, but now we have Christmas as well."
Unlike many non-Christian countries in Asia, Afghanistan does not recognize or celebrate Christmas. But thousands of foreigners who live in Kabul working with the United Nations, non-governmental organizations or international military forces, celebrate the holiday quietly in restaurants and behind military barracks.
Many shop at Flower Street for their holiday trees.
"Christmas is a good season for flower stores in Kabul," Mohammad said, adding that during the Taliban's rule, nobody was allowed to make Christmas trees in Kabul.
He has sold about a dozen Christmas trees, earning anywhere from US$20 to US$200 — a hefty sum for Afghans, many of whom make only about US$50 a month. The trees are from across Afghanistan and are adorned with Chinese-made artificial materials.
"I was amused when I saw trees with lights," said 29-year-old Abdul Qader. He thought the lit-up trees were a new fad in Afghan home deco, but he later found out they were for Christmas.
"They looked beautiful to me," he said with a smile.
Had this story gotten out earlier, I would have attempted to go and take pictures and shop there. I have been on flower street before, walking into the flower shops, the corner stores. It is a marvel unto itself in such a war-torn country. May they continue in their freedoms.
Be safe and remember to give extra kisses and hugs to your loved ones. Have a Merry Christmas. Did I mention that I'm having a white Christmas this year, it started snowing today at about 2 p.m. It's beautiful.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Next up was Mark Wills. The troops had been as far away from the stage as 35 feet, but with each new act, we got closer to the stage, partly because we were enjoying the show, partly because the stage had heat radiating off it from blowers and it was 35 degrees outside. Anyway, Mark put on a great show singing and interacting with the audience. With his announcement it was his last song, someone from the crowd booed him, Mark quickly turned and said, "Don't boo me, I'm not the Dixie Chicks." This got a round of applause from the troops.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Darryl Worley - Country Music Star. Darryl Worley has been on scene for several years now, and with at least 3 different CDs showing gratitude and support for veterans and service members. Those songs include POW 369, Have You Forgotten, and I Just Came Back From A War, which is on his newest CD Here and Now, and he is. Darryl has been doing USO tours since 2002.
Mark Wills - Country Music Star. Mark Wills is another singer that is on his 4th USO Tour. Mark just had dinner at the White House last week and is spending his Christmas time here with the troops. You can't ask too much more of a person who is willing to spend Christmas away from his family to bring a little piece of home to us here. And as his hit song says, The Crowd Goes Wild.
Keni Thomas - Veteran/Motivational Speaker/Rising Country Star. I had to use Wikipedia to find out about him, and I'm glad. 'A former Army Ranger and member of the elite Task Force Ranger assault unit, Thomas fought in the Somalia battle recounted in the book and motion picture Black Hawk Down. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor and the combat infantryman's badge. Thomas spent four more years in the Army as an assistant team leader for the 75th Ranger Regimental Reconnaissance Detachment. He got out of the Army to work as a counselor in an outdoor therapeutic program for troubled youth.'(courtesy of) He has done much in motivational speaking and has his own band, Cornbread.
Leeann Tweeden - sportscaster/model. Leeann Tweeden is on her 8th USO tour. She has been featured in Maxim, FHM and various other magazines as well as being a host on several sports shows.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Afterwards I came back to my room. Then between 2000 hrs and 2200 hrs it apparently snowed about 2 inches. I noticed it when I went to take a shower and it was awesome. Most of it was still around today. The snow shovelers were out in the early morning hours scraping it off the boardwalks in our connex housing. I say early, remember I get up at around 5-530, and they had been working on it, (and it sounded like outside my door the entire time) for a couple of hours already.
The crud has really kicked my butt today and it wasn't until late this afternoon that I finally started feeling a little better.
We had some visitors come in just this afternoon, but I'll share more about that tomorrow. Be safe and have a good day.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
But really, you didn't come here to hear that, so is there anything I can say that will make your time more enjoyable? Well, only 4 more days till Christmas eve and then it's Christmas Day!! Certainly a favorite time of year for me. We are looking at a 50 % chance of snow tonight, and I'll have to check the weather to see if I will get to have a white Christmas. I started listening to my Christmas music yesterday.
In other news....well, I'm not sure if there is other news, it's been pretty quiet around Kabul, and of course, we like it that way. I'm going through the coughing, congested stages now of this crud. I did make it to PT today and did an hour of cardio, but I didn't push myself to the limits, as nobody would have enjoyed that very much. We stepped up on the scales afterwards and I was at 237 lbs, but that's the unofficial verdict so I will have to wait until the first of the month to do something official. I'm hoping I can knock another 2 lbs off and bring me down to 235 lbs. CPT C is working hard to catch me, he's lost over 40 lbs so far during this deployment and he wants to catch me on my weight. I told him I am going to stay 1 lb ahead of him at all times just to keep him motivated. He's only about 1-2 lbs away from me so I better get busy, either that or start leaving some homemade cookies by his desk and fatten him up some more, hmmmm.
That's about all I have on my end, be safe and have a good day.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
For those of you who showed concern reading my last post, maybe I should have started with the responses I got just for turning it in. MAJ M, (formerly known as CPT M) started laughing when I handed it to him. I asked him what was so funny and he stated it was just his anticipation of what I wrote. Remember, LTC Y will tell you I was just brought for comic relief.
This afternoon I had my choice of torture. I chose to go to an ISAF briefing. "I'll tell you whatever you want to know, just stop the briefing!!" rang through my head several times during that 3 hours. Actually, I should have recorded the briefing and then market it next to Sounds of the Ocean, or Highland Wind Chimes and other relaxation CDs.
Not much else to report, be safe and have a good day.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
"At 171158LDEC06 our convoy had finished the construction at the sub-station located at the above grid. Before we could leave, several members of the convoy heard gunfire 100 meters east of our location. Immediately, the patrol set up a defensive position providing for 360 degrees of coverage. SFC M and SPC M defended the western flank to deny any enemy forces from attacking. CPL L and SPC T assembled to the east providing coverage from the direction of the gunfire. 2LT M immediately established contact with the ANP Officer in charge at the sub-station and with the assistance fo the interpreter began gathering intelligence to ascertain our situation. I maintained a position that would allow me to communicate with both our security elements at this crucial time. The sound of approximately 7 rounds had us all on edge. 2LT M was quickly able to determine that the ANP was attempting to arrest a _ _ worker. After several tense minutes we were able to extract ourselves without further incident. Although rattled, we were able to continue our mission."
Now, before you get all excited, I'll tell you the real story. We had just finished the construction, and my LT was talking with some elders of the villages surrounding us. I went to my truck and sat down. I then began to eat some potato bread CPL L had gotten for us from a vendor. I looked over at another guy and he made a motion. I opened my door and he said they had just heard some shots fired. (If you haven't read it before, I had to have a waiver for my hearing, it's that bad) I didn't hear any shots fired, but could see the ANP had two pickups about 100 meters from us and were definitely doing something. I won't mention names but someone, not me, called in to headquarters and made the statement "We're taking fire". If I had been closer to this individual I would have slapped him in the back of his helmet. (That's because this incident was much like me getting taken off a bicycle by a real clothes line and the other officer making the comment over the radio, "Officer down". Anyway, we contacted headquarters again and let them know that we only heard gunfire and that we were not engaged in anything. Within a couple of minutes the whole incident was over and the man they were looking for was in custody. My only concern during the incident was that I really needed to travel in that direction and I was hoping they would be gone soon. Other than that, it's been a normal, boring day, which in a war is a good thing.
Be safe and have a good day.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
This didn't seem to bother the Afghans at all, it would have been one of the first things asked about back in the states, "I'm sorry, where's the door handle?" I am planning on going back to the first site and installing the handle as well as putting in a window if I can. Even Marshall Matt Dillon from GunSmoke had a nicer office than this, but it's a start. The scale of police work involved at this level is very low. They have branched out to having investigators, but the grunt work almost revolves entirely around traffic detail and setting up checkpoints. Anyway, let's get on with the pictures from yesterday.
U.S. and ANP pull security so I can play, (um) I mean work.
Promo shot for Dewalt Tools, I'm waiting by my computer for that endorsement deal.
The crew is all set now. Now only 5 more is what I hear. Guess I'm going to be busy. Yeah.Tonight is Ab Lab and I'm just about ready to go. I need it, I just don't want it. Lousy sleeping last night. Such is life in Afghanistan. Be safe and have a good day.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
The rest of the day, I spent getting paperwork done. we didn't have PT this morning so I'm not as sore today as I was from yesterday's run but tonight is the ab workout again. I'm feeling pretty good, so hopefully, here in a bit, I'll head over and get a good workout done before hand and then do the ab class. Right now, my biggest problem is staying awake. I keep saying I'm going to go to bed earlier and I stay up till 2200-2300 hrs.
Here are a couple more pictures from our trip two days ago. The first one shows you a closer look at the houses on the mountain. The construction is mainly mud bricks, some concrete, and wood.
I'm not sure if these were houses or just bunkers of some sort. But as you can see, plenty of mountains all around. Well, not much else from my side of the world. Be safe and have a great day.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
This next picture is several houses with a view, although the smog and haze take that view away.
This next shot is the mountain range in south Kabul still near the Queen's Palace. The building on top of the hill is the old Russian Officer's Club. It stood stripped and abandoned for several years to include when we were here the last time. We went up there several times during our first trip for the spectacular view it offered. Someone finally decided it was worth fixing up.
We went out on the track this morning and ran 3 miles. Let's just say that that my body and I are not on speaking terms at the moment, although it is yelling at me for doing that. The fact that I have been working out is probably the only thing that kept me from falling over from this week. Time to go, be safe and have a good day.