Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A Soldier carries a wounded Iraqi child into the Charlie Medical Center at Camp Ramadi, Iraq, March 20. The child is one of several Iraqis who were attacked by anti-Iraqi forces in western Iraq. (Photo by Lance Cpl. James F. Cline III)
She looks pretty damned young doesn't she? I wonder how working as medic over there is going to affect the rest of her life. Will she come home proud of what she did? Or will it wreck her? Or will it be a little of both? Was she a serious girl before she went over there? Or a flake, or a typical teenage girl? And if she was fun and lively before, has this given her a new level of maturity that will serve her well for the rest of her life? Will she be able to re-integrate with the friends she had before? Or has she outgrown them, and for the next couple of years will she only really feel comfortable around people who've been there, or places like it?
There's been alot of mention in the news the last 4-6 weeks about some survey that shows that college kids today are more self-centered than ever before. More obessed with wealth and fame. I'm guessing this girl wasn't one of those that was surveyed. In my unit there are multiple kids who are (once again) voluntarily putting their college or career or relationship plans on hold while they go back to the desert for the 2nd, 3rd and even 4th time. And most of them are doing it because they believe it's a good mission, because they don't want to let their buddies, unit and country down, and because they want to help the people over there. I can't quite quote the dictionary definition of "selfish" word-for-word, but I know that it doesn't apply to these kids. Or to Malinda's new mechanic.
I love these kids. They frustrate the shit out of me sometimes. I hate the amount of personal time they take away from me because I'm forced to write up counseling statements and the like when they screw up and I hate doing evaluation reports. Frequently they embarrass me or disappoint me when they don't complete an easy task up to my standards. More than once I've been convinced that they are dumber than a box of rocks and that their only purpose in life is to steal my oxygen. But usually they impress the hell out of me. Most of them have developed a sarcastic sense of humor to match my own. The really young ones are almost always smiling and laughing and cracking one another up, no matter how big the suck. Usually all they need is a big attitude adjustment in the beginning and then little adjustments over time and they're awesome. There are some screwups who can't be fixed. And it sure does seem like that percentage is getting bigger all the time. But that's just a reflection of society as a whole. For the most part though they're great. And I just keep praying that God gives me the strength and the wisdom and the patience and courage to never let them down.

Monday, March 19, 2007

it's finished... it looks alot better in the picture than in person. the stain ran in a couple of places and i didn't go back and resand it. partly out of laziness. but all-in-all i'm proud of it. i'm not good at finishing projects and in alot of ways that stopped being fun a LONG time ago. so the fact that it's not still in pieces and half sanded in the garage is a huge accomplishment for me. i'm really trying to not start new hobbies or projects until i finish the stuff that's already on my plate. school's the big one now. anyways. there it is.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

normally i follow the party line and say that i have no regrets, that there's nothing i'd change, that all the things i've done in the past make me who i am today. the reality though, is that that's not quite true. i do regret all the different times i've hurt people, even if they didn't know it. the lies over the years, the gossip, letting someone down, whatever. i try to be a good person but there have definately been moments of weakness.

i was talking to someone the other day and they were able to rattle off so many details from their past. i can't do the same thing. i don't remember the names of so many different people i went to school with, or the teachers' names or anything. but one person i can't forget is charlotte. my first kiss.

i wasn't a popular kid in school. no self confidence, gawky and awkward. an easy target. or so it felt. i'm sure in hindsight everyone was teased just as much as i was, but that's not the way it seemed at the time. at the time it seemed like i could blame it on so much. mom and dad sending us to a private school with a bunch of rich kids in j.c. penny and sears clothes instead of the brand name stuff. being the new kids in a class with only 98 other kids in it who'd grown up together all their lives. being funny looking, just finding out i was going to have to wear glasses, whatever. it just was what it was though, and not that bad. but the normal teenage angst made it seem worse...

there were a couple girls i crushed on. the same ones everyone else did. the gorgeous, rich, snobby ones who wouldn't notice me. the beautiful, sweet, non-snobby ones who were so deeply entrenched in relationships that they'd notice me, but only as a friend. and then there was charlotte. she was kinda like me. not one of the popular ones. and for some reason she liked me.

my little sister was in the band. that's a big thing for small schools in the south. every weekend there was a band competition someplace in the state. (my parents definately loved us, giving up every single weekend to drive all over the state and deal with the politics of it). it was fun. the whole saturday spent with the gang. one time me and a couple of my friends were on the bus. someone was getting something out of a bag, or it was fall and cold and we were just trying to stay warm or hiding out from our parents. charlotte and her friends came on the bus. i was sitting on the back of one of the seats and as she walked by she gave me a shove in the chest and pushed me over. i struggled to get up and next thing i knew she was sitting in the seat and my head was in her lap and she was kissing me and stroking my hair.

i have to say, as far as first kisses go, it was great. if anyone would've been waiting for me to make the move for the first kiss, as much of a weinie as i am, we'd still be waiting for it. it was soft, sweet and great. she smelled great, felt great and looking up at her...

so we dated forever and lived happily ever after? or at least through prom? no. not so much. why? because. i was a dork. people made fun of her. people made fun of me. i wasn't strong enough to date her and risk the additional ridicule that i thought might happen. i was too concerned about what everyone else would think, when in reality they probably wouldn't have thought about it at all...

it's a shame too. there's other charlotte stories. one where she definately raised some eyebrows and turned me into a stud. at least in the eyes of the band kids. but i was still too weak.

i moved a couple years later, part way through the 10th grade. senior year a friend got word to me that she died.

blah. yeah. there's some regrets.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

new 10 list...

i'm tagging everyone who reads this, so if you don't want to play, stop reading now.

the only rule is that i want you to leave a comment when your list is up so i can go steal me some more songs.

ten songs you HAVE to sing along to when they come on the radio/ipod/whatever. those songs that you can't skip past, you can't turn the dial, you have to turn the volume up and sing along with.

1) "life on a chain" by pete yorn

2) "friends in low places" by garth brooks

3) "playboys of the southwestern world" by blake shelton

4) "you shook me all night long" by ac/dc

5) "we are in love" by harry connick, jr.

6) "cradle of love" by billy idol

7) "nearly lost you there" by the screaming trees

8) "overkill" by colin hay

9) "kick my ass" by big and rich

10) "drive" by the cars

now the sucky thing about this list is that there's some embarrassing ones out there that you don't want to admit to. for me it was a couple of beegees songs. and when you're trying to come up with ten, you can't. and then after you've published it, there's like, 20 more that pop into your head as they come on the radio that would've been totally better choices. already i'm thinking there there is no mellencamp or stones on the list. no inxs. no replacements. no nirvana or foo fighters... arge! have fun with it!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Amy tagged me...

She wanted ten songs at random that are currently on my MP3 player. Here's hoping I don't embarrass myself:

"Nearly Lost You" by the Screaming Trees
"One Step Closer" by Linkin Park"
"M.I.A." by the Foo Fighters
"I Want To Live" by the Talking Heads
"Helena" by My Chemical Romance
"Countin' On A Miracle" by Bruce Springsteen
"Lost in The Shadows" by Lou Graham
"Authority Song" by John Mellencamp
"Drain You" by Nirvana
"Little Guitars" by Van Halen

I'm tagging P.W. because she should enjoy her new iPod, Julie because she's always got a song on her mind, Courtney because she's just Ms. Music and I'd love to know what's on her player, EDW because while I don't feel like I should ask her for a mixed CD yet, I'd still like to know what she listens to and Chris because she's run out of topics and Guy #2 hasn't come back yet.

There are others I'd love to hear from though. I think LeeLee would have some great songs, I think it'd be fun to hear from Kim and T.A.B. and Wanderlusting because they're younger and with the b-day coming up I'm feeling old and out of touch...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


i've got a friend. we've been buddies for over a decade. we met on active duty lifetimes ago. we both left active duty at roughly the same time swearing to never wear army uniforms again. years pass and we realize that it's too late. it's in our blood. we can't walk away. and then 9/11 happens. it's one thing to be in the military and train and train and train in a time of peace. it's another thing to be in the military when it's real and it matters and you're making a difference, no matter how small. don't take this wrong. i'm not saying war is fun, or that i like it in any way. if you think that, just stop reading now. there's tons of other great blogs out there that you'll get better.

i did my tours and she did hers. got a bronze star with a "v" device for some amazing actions in combat. she's an amazing woman. on top of her first college degree, she became an emt, then put herself through an accelerated graduate nursing degree program at john hopkins. she saved lives that day. i've got a picture of her after the ambush. she's got the blood of the men she saved that day on her uniform and she looks more tired than i've ever seen her in over a decade, and she's surrounded by three of the men and women who were on the mission with her when it got ambushed and it almost looks as if they're holding her up she's so tired.

she struggled a bit when she came back. i'm not gonna tell her story here, but it's been a rough road back for her, not helped by the normal crap life throws at you. relationship/family/health issues. but being the super trooper she is, she wants to go back. now that she's officially an "army nurse" (she wasn't when she was over there last time) she doesn't feel like she's doing enough in a stateside hospital when there are hospitals over there that need people with her skills.

i was just watching *m*a*s*h*. it wasn't one of the funnier episodes. it was one of the episodes where they show all the stuff that goes wrong. the shortage of supplies, the entire episode is run in the o.r. because it's just this insanely long, never-ending shift as the wounded keep pouring in. they form attachments and have minor miracles and have huge losses. they have to decide who's too far gone to operate on.

i worry about her. and to be honest i worry about her more in this position, where she should be safer and on base than if she would've been in her old job, going outside the wire and dealing with the public, in physical danger. i hate that little pieces of "her" might not come back.

Friday, March 02, 2007

what you don't want to see...

Your serpentine belt shouldn't look like this. just as an fyi.