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Of Cracks and Sand

I always find it interesting how I don’t write here often. It isn’t that I don’t enjoy having a place to ramble or even that I don’t have something ridiculous to rant about. I think it all comes down to those cracks that we all have.
You know, those little crevices of time that annoyingly occupy inconvenient spaces of our lives? Well, I have many such cracks. I do not have cable and hardly ever turn on the media machine at all save for the hours upon hours of Pandora I have going in the background. I would rather read a book about inconsequential fantasy characters in make believe worlds (ironic, no?). Truth be told, however, I really don’t have that much “free” time at all. My cracks are so inconveniently arranged that I would almost much rather have none at all. I work a lot more now with the kids gone and if I’m not at work, I’m at school (graduate this year! YAY!) or reading or spending “quality time” with Em. I would like to blog more (ahem, consistently at least) but I find the time spent on other things instead. I should really look for a Droid app and maybe things would be different.

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YpYp

Ahhhh, language.You know the strange thing about the funny way we humans communicate is? That there’s more than one way to do it. So the other week, we had a class of Americans, Romanians, and French soldiers. The Romanians were pretty quiet the whole time and the Americans … psssah, I already speak that ridiculous hodgepodge they refer to as a language. But the French … well now, that’s a fantastically arousing vocal method if I do say so myself. The careful mix of harsh “r”s and gentle “u”s moves something deep within me every time i set ear upon this beautiful song. Something deep within my pants is moved as well. I don’t know exactly what it is but I can be content for a week just hearing it. This class also interested one of our HUMIT collectors (sort of like international super spies … without the super. And only international because it’s Afghanistan) because she is fluent in French and hadn’t been able to speak it in some time. Something about no one speaking it in Afghanistan or some silly excuse. At any rate, on the final day she accompanied us to the class to “talk French” with the Frenchies. (heehee, that’s what i call my new French friends. They’re so cute! haha!) And for twenty glorious minutes, i was in pure communicative ecstasy. I understood very little but the essence of the conversation couldn’t help but be conveyed and by the end of it i felt as if i knew what they were saying (…. though I did not. Let’s not be silly!). One day, I’ll move to France (heheh. “ever been to France?”) and learn that language. I know if I go there, I will learn it because I love french bread and I will at least have to learn how to say “where be the French bread, my Frenchie?”

Now on to why I have titled this entry “YpYp”. I have no idea what that means. But the thought occurred to me that i do have a strange fascination with language. I like to hear the way other people speak. The way that some methods sing and others yell and some are so entirely unique that one could be only mesmerized by the sounds one thought impossible to be emanated from a human orifice. The myriad speaking methods I hear when I leave the relative safety of the American dialect lets me soar into another plane of vocal consciousness  (let me interject that the US is in no way a land of single language, however. Quite contrary, some sort of English, Spanish, Puerto Rican, Creole, French, and all the variances of each are all interesting but, sadly, never required and therefore the need to learn them all, fades). For instance, my Frenchies taught me to say many things (like rendezvous) and I even learned some words in a language i never knew anything about before: Macedonian. Kur. I learned that word. Never mind how and I shall not translate for you dear readers; I’ll tell you when you’re older.

Anyway, enough rambling for one evening. Go and learn a new language, my friends! The best way to do it is to be forced to, unfortunately. So! Move to Thailand, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Ireland, even New Zealand! Sure! learn a new way to speak your old language. As my Macedonian friend, Arsen, and I like to put it: “We’re bringing world peace and unity here.” … and then he taught me to say “kur”. heehee

The Army

So here I am in Afghanistan. I work for the 321 MI BN (Military Intelligence Battalion) administering their UGS training program.  UGS are intelligence gathering sensors. Basically, it allows commanders in the field to put a machine out in the cold for 6 months at a time and watch for bad guys doing bad things instead of a soldier. At any rate working with the Army is an odd experience. I say that every time. Three years ago, i worked for the Army here too .. sorta. PA doesn’t really count and the Army bosses were 40 miles away in Kabul. This time, though, the boss-man (ahem. boss-woman) is in the office next door and there’s a First Sergeant and everything. So the Army has weird rules that we Air Force folk simply aren’t used to. Did you know I have to tell the Top (“First Sergeant” in Army) if I go too far away from the camp; like over to the east side of base? Of course I don’t but I still think it’s cute he cares so much. Meh. Mostly, they leave us alone and it is nice to say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, First Sergeant. I’m in the Air Force”. And then, when the Air Force calls (or emails because that’s what we do in the Air Force), we just say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, SSgt Strong. We work for the Army right now”.

Anyway, I haven’t ranted in a while and thought I might be overdue. I miss my little ones a bunch and I think they’re doing okay but it isn’t anything I can change right now. That reminds me of this time Phinn was laughing at my OCD because I was mumbling under my breath, “it is beyond my scope of influence”. He’s taking a nap right now. Like I said, we can do that. Haha. I think he’s doing some paperwork for the Air Force or something, First Sergeant.

The Band With no Broccoli

Well. The day has finally come. My dear, dear friends (“the weirdos” as Phinn lovingly refers to them) have departed Bagram. SuziQ, Yank, and you two boys too: miss you already … immensely! Alicia and I went to Rock band night early because we both decided that the other could not continue to sit in the respective rooms and cry all night.

So, we met at the 4-corners and somberly trudged the familiar path to the 8-Ball. We reminisced about all the silly things we were going to miss about those two crazy cucamungas. The country night dancing and how Yank always said i was a terrible dancer even though deep inside she really thought that I was the best two stepper she’s ever had the privilege to two step with. The way SuziQ’s gorgeous chestnut eyes sparkled under the fluorescent lights of the Green Bean. *sigh* Criekey (it’s spelled with a “y”) we’re really gonna miss ya’ll … I am really going to miss you.

When we got to Rock Band night, everyone there knew something was wrong and I was forced to relay the devastating news to all the other weirdo friends who were gathered there. “Friends.”, I began. “Friends, a great travesty has taken place this eve. Our dear, dear friends SuziQ and Yank have been taken from us.” A hush quelled the rooms normal excited din as I continued, “It is a sad, sad day for us all. But we must persevere. For there will be no honor in their memory if we allow our grief to stricken us tonight. Tonight; of all nights … Rock Band night.” As I concluded, a silent tear fell glistening from every cheek to the dusty floor. Then someone began playing Bon Jovi’s, “Living on a Prayer”.

In memorium of our departed comrades who will be forced to enjoy New Years Eve with alcohol in Manas, Alicia and I decided that a fitting first song for the band must be chosen. One that would properly relay the mood of the evening. “Leaving on a Jet Plane” and “Should I Stay or Should I Go” were both quickly banished from the options for obvious reasons and so we settled on “Damnit” by Blink 182. In retrospect, I am sure that it was a terrible choice considering the song’s lyrics but it made us feel better to yell out a song we knew by heart. Then it was time to sign the band up on the set list. As I placed ink to paper it suddenly occurred to me that our band, “Chocolate Broccoli” was suddenly and irreverently devoid of any broccoli. As another tear streamed its way across my meloncholy face, I turned to Alicia and asked, “What shall we call ourselves now?” What indeed. How can we continue the charade of chocolate covered broccoli florets when there were clearly no florets to speak of?! And so it was decided by Caramel and I (Chocolate) that we would be known as “The Band With no Broccoli”; a fitting tribute to our departed band mates.

SuziQ. Yankee. If you read this, know that we miss you tons and tons and you’d better have a grand time in BOTH Manas and B’More or we’ll be mad that you left us for substandard entertainment.

Yank – Tell your mom .. and brother .. I said what’s up.

SuziQ – Aku cinta kamu; melihat anda di eropa ;o)

Those little fellers

More than once in my life, I have been accused of loving them too much. Those quirky, expulsions of oxygen rich ozone should really be given some credit. Think about this: he began his life as a small piece of an altogether grander thing. He was ripped, cut off, and generally disowned from this warm blanket of togetherness to be trapped in a dank and dismal cage. And what imprisoned him so? What evil deed did he dastardly devise that should keep him ensnared in such a violent manner? His only crime, good people, was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He unfortunately found himself at the edge a seeming precipice of danger and never knew what ominous card fate had dealt.

And yet … after such a traumatic experience as this ripping at the seams of his very being … this little cast off piece of a larger whole has only yet begun a journey that will transform his entire existence. He will cease to be another piece of fat drooping on the underarm of his former life’s entirety. For now, he has a purpose. He may muse that it is simply to endure the hardship he has now fatefully found himself in but, no; this is is not the case. Mere survival in a foreign world wrought with unknown danger is beneath his station now. His quest is one more noble than that.

His adventure will take him plummeting down tunnels of darkness and unseen depth, through endless crashing waves of acid that would sear the flesh off mortal hides, deal him crushing blows while traveling through miles of tortuous canals filled with gorging carrions ready to pick clean any spare nutrients of the poor souls who wander by. But he, the favored one, remains immune to such dangers.

His road will be nearly completed by then. His grand transformation nearly finalized. For you see along his path of change, this little nugget of a grander whole was collecting that which would change him. When he finally emerges from this cocoon of solitude, he will bear the mark of one who battled fierce elements and all that nature could deal; of one who had survived. Once he is expunged from the cavern of his imprisonment, I will fondly call him mine. For he passed through me. He will have become a small part of me that, though he was not mine to begin, he will bear my mark. My scent will be upon him and all will know exactly where he came from.

But to me, the cycle will begin again. Perhaps our paths will cross again, or maybe he will be destined to travel the path of another. Either way, eventually, he will rejoin his whole. He will be reunited with the others of his kind and the world will be complete again. Of course, he will never really have left it, will he? He will merely be disconnected for a time in order to complete a task set aside for him alone to complete. Such is life, I think; such is life.

Snow, my old Friend

I love snow. It has always perplexed me as to why I love it but nevertheless, I love snow. It is rumored that once, long ago in a place far far away, I witnessed the silent event of snowfall. But, growing up in sunny SoCal (I am not complaining!) snowfalls are such a rarity that I cannot recall any specific time when I actually stood in falling snow; snow on the ground, sure, but falling on top of me? Once, in Washington state, I think I watched it happen through the safety of a front room window but that doesn’t count. It was not until I was a ripe (ummm … old?) age of 22 that I witnessed the blessed event of snowfall. I was at Ft. Meade, MD and everyone laughed at me because there I was running around with snow falling gently upon the landscape whose features were quickly becoming indistiguishable under a clean blanket of dazzeling white. I count this as my first real snowfall experience.

At any rate, I love falling snow. I love snow that noone’s touched yet. The way that it reacts to the warmth of my hand by melting a fraction of itself and molding to a new shape is a commune of man and nature that cannot be duplicated. I love the way my footprint stays pristine in it’s careful preservation. And when it falls from the sky floating in a gracefull flutter I am filled with awe and amazment. Looking up into the gray sky that fills my field of vision to watch this event is a magical moment that we share together, the snow and I.

Afghanistan will have snow, I know it. One of these days, my friend the Snow will make his journey to visit me in this place and he will bring his soothing fleece of white. He will come and mask the scars of this marked landscape. And for those few minutes, between which the snowfall creates his covering of purity and the moment when some person scratches the first tears into his clean garment marring the beauty of it, I will relish in the joy of seeing Him. Then I will ask myself the question that has become my very first question to ask when in the Snow’s presence: “Is there enough to board on yet?”

This is Afghanistan

It is a Saturday. The biting wind that began its voyage high atop the jagged peaks of the Hindu Kush blow steadily across the barren landscape in a fury of angry gusts that spew plumes of fecal-laden dust into the night air. It continues this rampage until screaming to an abruptly fierce halt at the base of the wall. The wall: a simple barrier hurriedly erected nearly a decade ago meant to be a show of force on a landscape that pleads with the world to be forgotten. Meager boxes of recycled post consumer materials formed around a solid wire frame and filled with dirt, debris, and perhaps more than one would care to guess at what else. But this is the way of things here; heroic displays of things meant to be frightening. The wind itself even, at once so terrifyingly chill, now but a steady break upon the sand filled boxes that once appeared so tame. This place of opposites; of false steps and false hopes. A place where hearts and minds will be won with deadly force. Where the price of warm blankets and hot soup is retribution from those who enjoy the cold. This is Afghanistan.

My Shop is Awesomely Awesome

So Phinn and I got a package today! (if you’ve ever seen leagaly blonde, there’s this part that I always think of whenever someone says they have a package) It was from our shop; thank you, Bock, for sending it! Phinn picked it up from the mail room and when i went to see him (to ensure that he was still breathing and had left his room at least once during the day) he said it: “I .. have a package.” (I giggled a little at that point) So he let me into his room and sure enough, he was still in sleeping type attire so I was glad that i went to visit him.

He had already opened the box and said that there were little boxes of Hickory Farms (man food fa sho!) and calenders. He showed me his calender. I got a little worried when it was a Hooters calender that had his name on it. My first thought was, “Great. I may have a PlayGirl calender or something in there.” They love to play jokes like that. As we both had the same thought, Phinn assured me that this was not the case because he had already checked. We both got very nice Hooters Girls Calenders. Oi vay. The photography is stunning.  Really. Top notch photo compositions throughout.

So then on my way back to my B-Hut, i thought, “Why were our names on them if they’re the same calender?” The question nagged me a bit but I put the thought out of my mind because tonight was my favorite night of the week: Rock Band Night. My band, Chocolate Broccoli, effing rocked as per usual. And as a special treat to all our fans, we did a fantastic cover of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls”. A song that is one of my all time favorites because of it’s unequivocal awesomeness.

At any rate, when I returned to my humble abode, I unpacked “… the package” and, after drooling a little … over the Hickory Farms, I began to flip through the calender. By flip through, I mean I casually perused each and every square inch of that beautiful piece of glossy goodness. After a few minutes alone (ahem) moments, i reached that month that had been included in this years calender especially for me. March 2010. And the gorgeous Lauren from Grapevine, TX was there to greet me. She was showing how much she cared for the environment by hugging a palm tree. The best part (and the reason for the names) was that somehow, those crazy bastards from my shop had gotten Lauren from Grapevine, TX to sign on that month which was reserved for her honor with a nice message .. just for me!

Now, a gift from my shop would not be complete without the clever message she wrote. “XOXO Lauren. 2: Molly Wish you weren’t gay!!! jk. Come see me sexy!!” Obviously, they showed her my picture. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have requested my presence all the way in Grapevine, TX. And obviously, they told her how amazing I was with the ladies. Or she wouldn’t have said the whole gay thing. Oh, Lauren from Grapevine, TX. One day, I may have to let you down gently. But for now, XOXO right back at ya!

Criekey

Lauren from Grapeville, TX

Oh, if only I had the same amazing powers to discover such wonders as this young woman has found here. The astonishing display of Google Powers remind me of this one SuperHero.

Children are sponges. They learn faster than adults and pick up habits easier the younger they are. So when placed in an environment filled with proper, right-minded adults, they will grow to become proper, right-minded adults. If, conversely, they somehow find themselves in an environment filled with incompetent, petty, ignorant, sub-par adults, can you suppose what they will grow to become?
It is interesting. I was just having a conversation recently with a friend regarding learned behaviors vs. genetic patterns in children. As me mum is a Psych major (and a ridiculously smart woman, may I add) and I myself have taken a few of the silly little classes, I believe I accurately captured the general consensus of the day amongst professionals in the field. What I did not expect is to so recently be living out my fears of poor learned behaviors in my own children.
Perhaps it is unfair to say that the behaviors I am observing are poor. So I will rephrase: I do not appreciate my children walking around saying retarded things learned (I am certain) from people I do not believe they should be associated with! And if i hear one more time that I am being unreasonable, I am going to become unreasonable. Is it so wrong to be interested in the mental state of ones wee ones!? Crikey!