Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Get Ripped!

Okay, This video is kinda lame but it's my first attempt at using my footage and Adobe Premier Elements... I think my favorite part is when you hear Lt. Col. Olson in the background when Spc. Angelo is eating tuna say, "I've only eaten tuna for lunch." BTW- last time I checked, the man lost 11 pounds!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fictional Forbidden Fantasies: The little android who couldn't possibly...

Lt. Commander Data

He's programmable, humble, a great listener, and compliant. What more could a woman ask for?

Download the latest relationship tips to your flash-drive and watch as Data becomes the most well-informed lover you ever had. His smooth, pasty skin makes you look like a golden goddess, and his seemingly naive android-charm makes you want to help Data understand love.

Alas, it could never work. Just like most men, you'd be forever searching for sign of any true emotional substance.

More FFFs to follow...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hospitals and Highways

I drive a lot. From Waseca to Rochester to Waseca to Rochester over and over and over. It's an hour-long drive... Not sure if you are familiar with rural minnesota roads, but here is what one can be expected to look at during a mini-road trip in Southern Minnesota...

I got the call a little over a week ago, the kind of call that you never want to get.

My mother's idiot boyfriend left a message on my voicemail:

"Steph it's ___. Listen, ...(interject pointless babble)... and anyway, she fell down and had an accident and she has a fractured skull and there's some bleeding. They're taking her to Rochester. Gimme a call back."

It was about 07:30 and I'd just gotten off a 12-hour shift. It was snowing big, fluffy, wet snowflakes in Fort Lewis.

A day later I was on a plane, rolling over the information in my brain, trying to be a 23-year-old playing a "real" grown-up, researching medical/legal options, preparing for the worstcase scenario -- that my mother could be a vegetable.

What it came down to was this: I am simply not ready for my mom to be dead. Or brain-dead.

Lucky me, she wasn't.

Unlucky me, she still wasn't (isn't) too good.

In between trying to coax her to walk around the halls once a day, let me attempt to help her into the shower, run a pick through her mangled, knotted up curly bed-head or feed spoon-fulls of mashed potatos and other various hospital foods into her definiant mouth, I usually just kind of sit there. I let her hold my hand. I change the movies for her. I watch her as she dozes off and wakes up again.

It's so unnatural. It's like, "Wait a minute, I'm the daughter."

I think she senses this, too, because although she really needs me there and needs my help, she tries to tell me what to do. Only I don't obey now. Responseless, I notice how the silence fills the room with an awkward sensation -- the way that you feel when someone is in front of you in line at the grocery store arguing with a screaming child who wants something she can't have. And getting nowhere.

After the first couple nights in the intensive care unit, I watched the news alone in my hotel room. I thought about Natasha Richardson's accident in correlation to my mother's mishap. Here was a woman who just bumped her head going down the bunny slope. She's dead. Here's my mother, who supposedly fell down 13 cement steps only to be found curled up in a ball by her boyfriend the morning after and then left to internally bleed for 24 hours before being actually admitted to a hospital. And she's here.

Thank God. I really am not ready for her to not be here.

I'm so grateful, but I'm so annoyed. I am angry at her for a lot of reasons but it seems wrong and pointless to express it right now. I'm not sure she'd really understand.

She's gotten her sense of humor back but who knows if she's just silly because she can be or silly because that's her mentality right now.

What I really want to say to her is:

Do you realize how your drinking not only put your life at risk but affected all of the people around you?

But how is it fair to say that to somebody who is living life in a hospital bed? Is my anger justified?

Friday, March 13, 2009

13MAR2009: I haven't been to bed yet.

It's 05:41 ... and I'm still awake from the night before! This is totally like college. Get outta bed in the afternoon, throw back some chow, roll out around 1800 and don't go to bed until after sunrise. Partyin' like a rockstar!

Except without booze, music, cool clothes or late night drunk-dials to Jimmy Johns.

Right on.

So I'm working at this exciting place we will call the "F-N'BS," where we are not allowed to have any portable electronic devices that are fun. No cellphones, no I-pods (just when I crafted a tech-savvy-like dependence on my I-pod Touch) No personal computers, no cameras or video cameras (just when I finally bought one to go with my new laptop and Adobe Premier!) or anything else that might potentially record and/or exploit the very uninteresting activities that are routine here.

If you're reading this and are offended by my blatent lack of conscience effort to be understanding with military logic you can (as SSGT Pond would declare) "lick my balls!"

I get it. Operational Security, yada yada yada.
On to more important things... Think I could get away with one of these?

12MAR2009: Little PT test action, eh?

Here's how my day went...

Slept in until 12:00 -- No, I'm not lazy. I'm officially working the night shift.

Called my best friend, Corey, who resides in South Dakota to thank her for the incredible package she sent for my birthday, which included:

  • 1) A massager ;-)
  • 2) A pink satin case for the massager
  • 3) Batteries
  • 4) Burt's Bees chapstick
  • 5) Non-Microwavable wax (so I don't grow a unibrow or mob-stache) with applicators
  • 6) Extra razor blades (So I don't grow Yetti leg hair... TMI? Too bad.)
  • 7) Facial mask
  • 8) Hair clarifying treatment
  • 9) Hair moisturizing treatments
  • 10) French manicure kit
  • 11) Nice nail filer
  • 12) Pedicure kit
  • 13) Jellybeans
  • 14) M&M chocolate easter eggs
  • 15) Very sweet card.
  • 16) The new COSMO!!
I know there was probably other things in this shoebox of love. I'm so corny... I cried. I guess when you are far away from the familiar (and have to spend your B-day there) just knowing that someone took the time to look out for you and individually wrap a million things they know you would love and appreciate can send almost anyone over the edge. Thanks Corey... and Ben... You guys are absolutely fabulous.

... So anyway, it's now 13:50 and I get a phone call from SFC Kemp.

"Ready for your PT test?" Meh..Kinda.

"Yeah!" I exclaim, faking my enthusiasm but honestly just ready to face the consequences of half-assing my health since my last test... 14 months ago.

Ended up maxing my push-ups, doing significantly worse in my sit-ups than I ever have and just barely passing my run.

I walked it off with shame. The minimum? I'm not a minimum kind of person. I try to be the best at everything I do. I'm not a minimum kind of Soldier. How could I get a minimum run time?

My disappointment quickly evaporated when I stepped on the scale and saw that it was 6 pounds less than the last time I stepped on the scale...

(Maybe I've been reading too much Cosmo when the fact that I weigh less outweighs the sadness that comes with worsened cardiovascular fitness...)

On second thought, it's that kind of thinking that will make me forever unhappy with myself. One must learn to count her blessings.

I passed! And will soon be Specialist Cassinos...

Here is an AAR of my overall PT Test --

  • Made good use of short notice. I only knew a week in advance I would have to take a PT test and decided that failure was not an option.
  • Picked motivating people to be my graders - one being a female. These were higher-ranking people I respected and did not feel threatened by. They rooted me on but challenged me to push harder.
  • Amped up my cardio the week before to build my endurance up.


  • Did not hydrate enough the day or couple days before the test.
  • Restricted carbohydrates the week prior to the test due to diet. Should have amped up the carbs a couple days before to have more energy during the run.
  • Did not take the time to plot out an exact route or give myself a trial run.
  • Took the test during week where I was adjusting my sleep schedule and neglected to wake up and eat breakfast -- my test was at 14:00!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

08MAR2009: Normal day at work.

"Lawrence, the best career strategy for you is to get out of a stifling organization like the military," says Sgt. Roos.

He's recently had an epiphany to get the hell out of the Army. When Sgt. Roos has a new idea, it tends to become a running theme for days, weeks, until finally he either has a silent change of heart and you no longer hear about it or he's moved on to the next big thing. (More on that later...)

"Sgt. Roos! Stop it."

I inarticulately come to the rescue of young, impressionable, almost 19-year-old Pfc. Lawrence. Okay, he's not that impressionable... But he is young and fresh out of training, and waived his non-deployable status to deploy with us, so don't discourage the kid.

"Lawrence is like a Chia," I say. "You need to help him grow."

"That makes no sense," says Sgt. Roos.

"No, it doesn't," agrees Lawrence. "I'm not made of terracotta."

Jungels laughs. "What?"

Our team. All 12 of us. We all get along so well that I consider myself lucky (most of the time). I honestly would not want to deploy with anybody else.

But then sometimes I wonder: Do we all genuinely like each other that much or does every unit learn to adapt and eventually learn to love the people around them? ...Well, if that's the case then we all learned to put our differences aside - no, fuck that - celebrate each others' differences and bond in a very short amount of time.

Intros on the 12 of us yet to come.

So this is the new year...

As we roll into the New Year (with style and class) there is much to be reflected on.
Here are some questions I'm asking myself to gain better insight on how to make 2009 the BEST. (smacking object off table) Year... Yet.
1) Did I achieve everything I had hoped to in 2008? What stood in my way? What preventative measures can I take to overcome such road-blocks this year?
2) Am I holding any grudges? Why? What course of actions will I take toward forgiveness?
3) What were my major accomplishments this year? What am I most proud of?
4) Who played major roles in the movie of my life? Have I done all that I can to let them know how important they are?
5) When was the last time I cried hard? What inflicted this pain, and has it been resolved yet?
6) When was the last time I laughed until it hurt? What can I do to bring more of that into my life?
7) Where am I financially? Am I on-track or spending like there is no tomorrow?
8) Was I good to my body this year? To avoid the drastic, "lose 20 pounds by Valentine's day" measures that will no-doubt expire in three days, how can I make small changes to my life habits that will add up by this time next year?
9) How am I spiritually? When was the last time I said "thank you" to God? Do I have a well-developed view?
10) What have I not checked off of my life's "To Do" list? (I want to learn how to dance.)
I may expand on all of these questions in seperate blogs, but I'm very interested to know how some of you responded to these questions. Post away!