Drinking and Drawing

I’ve been drinking a lot more than I used to lately. I am not sure about the official scientific roll-up of all the effects of drinking, but I do know that it’s more calories than when I don’t consume alcohol and that my body feels weird the next day. I also know that while about two months ago, one beer was able to make me feel toasty, it now takes me way too much.

I would like to stop, but at the same time, I do enjoy the friendship that results from going out and sharing a drink. Of course, the obvious answer is that you don’t have to drink to have fun… but there is something about letting loose and just dancing for no reason on the streets.

I feel like quitting alcohol isn’t something that I want to do, but I do what to do it in moderation, and I want to figure out what precisely that means.

The good news though is that I received my Request for Orders (RFO) which for nonmilitary types, that is an order from the Army to give a warning to other people in the Army that I will be incoming personnel. So, it’s not genuinely official, but it’s the paper that allows the official paperwork to be written up and to alert my new unit that I am coming.

I got Fort Carson, Colorado! I won’t officially say I am there until I am physically in processing. There’re always these crazy stories that get told how so-and-so’s friend thought they were going somewhere and as they were driving across the expanse of Texas, they got a call that said orders changed, you’re going to Korea in two weeks.

If I had to bet poker chips on me going to Carson though, I would go all in. My husband is already there, and the Army does try their best with keeping military to military spouses together. My dwell time is still under a year as well. People with 55 months or higher of dwell time… it seems those people have less of a chance of getting precisely the post they want.

I’m still lifting and working out. I could always do better at that front. It’s hard not to get down on myself for not going every single day and running every day but at the same time, rest days are real. I remember when I did this team called Ranger Challenge at Fordham. We used to work out soooo hard that we started to get worse and worse at everything we did, much to the chagrin of the cadet in charge. Easter break then happened, and since I went to a Catholic School, we got a pretty long time off. I will never forget the feeling we got on the first workout back from break – I think we all shaved about 5 min off our run times for the lap we usually tried to complete around the Bronx. It was merely a testament to how vital recovery time is for the muscles. It seems I am saying that story as a crutch, which in some ways it might be, but I also know my body. I’d like to amp it up in a way that’s reasonable to keep me happy.

I am definitely seeing some results.

Remember, I first started lifting at 95 lbs as my one rep max. This last Friday I was able to do the prescribed weight (no scaling) for our group workout. It was 100 reps of 135 lbs straight bar lift split between four people. I was able to contribute 20 reps which, if you do the math, is a little short and I did have to break it up between the other exercises we had to complete, but I was happy I didn’t have to ask for a different weight bar and set up a smaller weight rack.

We got peer evals back, and we got to read what people thought were our strengths and weaknesses as well as being able to see how people ranked us numerically.

Only two people mentioned my physical strength as a weakness, which is nice as I know that it is, but if it weren’t a writable weakness for all 15 members of my small group, I’d constitute that as a win… It is something I’m aware of though.

The most common comments were related to my sensitivity. While a lot simply commented ‘too sensitive’ I did get some that said I ‘cared too much about CCC’ which made me laugh. I know that I take a lot of things to heart and then act out weirdly sometimes, and that is something I will forever have to work on and be aware of, but I don’t feel too bad for caring too much about my TRADOC. I do care a lot about everything, and I take pride in that. I just need to stay calm when things start ‘being wild.’

One person wrote that my weakness was simply, ‘light infantry’ and that made me laugh out loud but noted: when we learned about a breach being wide enough to get a tank battalion through, I did have to adjust my COA sketch because I was not ready to support that, among other mistakes I’ve made in class. This is my saga.

At the end of the day, I’m thankful for getting to befriend so many people. I’m also very excited to move out to be a captain in FORSCOM and to being in a unit again. Plus, living with my husband again will be a plus. I believe last month was the official mark for two years apart.

Writing Again

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Apparently, I can’t write for shit. Writing essays is a perishable skill. These last two weeks or so, we have had to turn in four different writing projects. The first one I didn’t do horribly, but it was an information memo where you are supposed to sum up information for your commander. AKA it needs to be succinct and save your commander from having to read the long paper/research you personally had to do. I am a wordy person so while I kept it at only a page, I was the opposite of concise. The next paper was a persuasive one, and we had to argue if towed artillery was still relevant in today’s fight. Today’s fight was defined as a fight that is moving away from COIN (counter-insurgency) and into multi-domain large scale combat.

Being from the world of light artillery/light infantry I argued that towed artillery is relevant.

I got smacked down on that paper.

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The next paper, a 7 pager I did in one sitting after doing research for three days, I actually feel will be okay. It was an analysis of a commander’s mission command during a specific battle. I got LTC Honeycutt during Hamburger Hill. I actually really enjoyed reading about him and found Hamburger Hill to be impressive. Plus, this paper was in the standard thesis style paper I am used to writing from college, so I didn’t have to count syllables or words the way you’re supposed to for information memos.

I did get a little frustrated this week though because one of the instructors, not mine, walked into the class and told us how company FSOs were irrelevant and that nothing in BOLC was useful for fire support.

Literally, everything I did as an FSO I used in BOLC. So, it made me feel like he was invalidating my fire support time which, while it wasn’t my favorite and was hard, I felt was successful.

I need to learn to stop being sensitive and that no one can know the path I walked. The officer who spoke to us was from Carson. This is a little nerve racking since that is where I want to go. One thing I have learned though is how much I don’t know about heavy artillery or heavy infantry.

We were talking about how to conduct a breach, and while the principles of breeching were the same between light and heavy, it was wild in the difference of scale. In heavy, they have to plan to get at least four tanks/large vehicles through at once which drastically changes how and what assets are blowing the hole. For light, we just have to make it big enough to walk some people through.

So, I’m trying to keep an open mind.

On the friend front, it’s going amazingly.

I’ve said this before, and I will repeat it, Polk sucks because with only one brigade and thus only one artillery battalion, friend selection is hard. Even if you loved every single person you met, there’s still only a small amount of people to hang out with. Here, it’s swarming with captains who just want to hang out! It’s cool getting to expand my social group and try out different things.

They also all are in pretty good shape and inspire me to get healthier and stronger. I’ve been lifting a lot more than I’ve ever lifted before in my entire life. Of course, I’m still not at the running level I was before I got injured. With the weather getting nice, I will start running again.

 

Currently Reading: Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War By Karl Marlantes

Currently Listening To: Billy Eilish

ACFT Stats:

  • 3 Rep Max Deadlift Hexbar: 150 lbs

  • Standing Power Throw: 4.8

  • Hand Release Pushups: 11

  • Sprint-Drag-Carry: 2:32

  • Leg Tuck: 1 2 Mile Run: 16:10

One Day I Will Get This Blogging Thing Right

Celebrating my birthday in Iraq

Celebrating my birthday in Iraq

Every time I start to get into blogging, it feels like it’s when I’m the most healthy mentally. This isn’t meant to imply that when I’m not blogging I’m losing my mind, but in actuality, it means I am very tired. For example, this recent hiatus I will chalk up to having bad WiFi overseas. After deployment, life hit me hard.

I’m a Battery Executive Officer (XO) now which means I am assistant to the boss. Not the main boss of course. It is a lower level than the Battalion Commander. His ‘assistant’ is a Major who is also an XO. I refer to him as ‘Big XO’ as so others don’t think I’m talking about myself in the third person. I focus on things like supply, ordering, and maintenance. While I work later then I want (1900 ish?) I would say that my command climate is very healthy. The Soldiers get to leave way before me so it’s administrative office work I’m finishing up. Of course, every day is an unexpected struggle/experience but that’s part of the Army.

Matt is already in Colorado after having graduated from Captain’s Career Course. His life is more desk work and while he likes that, it actually reminded me that I do not. I’m okay with having a hybrid job of desk life and motorpool life. While I hate sweating for no reason, I also hate my windowless office. At the end of the day, firing artillery is so badass that it makes up for the sweat.

Despite all the normal and healthy stress I have going on, I do want to keep blogging through it. It might be some experimenting to see what that looks like for me in reality. Recently, I downloaded a ‘brain app’ on my phone to study. It had basic math and reading skills all the way up to college level skills. I got to advanced reading, intermediate writing, and just barely cracked intermediate math before I deleted it. It was tedious and made me panic about taking the GRE one day. We all know that is going to be an ~*Emotional Event*~.

Oddly, this silly phone app made me realize that everything is a perishable skill. Because of this, I need to start actually doing intellectual things like writing - even if blogs aren’t the equivalent of reading War and Peace.

The key is just doing something...anything.

When I first started Active Duty, I thought a huge mistake I had made was that I would work and come home and do nothing (IE eat and watch TV). I got through every episode of Pretty Little Liars as a 2LT.

My hypothesis was I got so wound up because all my success and life revolved around my job. I couldn’t reflect on the week with any sense of pride. I couldn't say, "I completed this drawing or wrote this post", instead it was, "omg I haven’t completed anything at work or at life or at all! I’m dying!"

Since then, I’ve tried to do an ‘Anne Thing’ every night but I’ve been falling into the TV pattern again, but this time feels healthier.

My best friend Jackie is a connoisseur of television - she works for The Ellen Show and majored in Television at Fordham. She humors me when I text her about the political implications of Brooklyn Nine Nine (noice noice) and offers her thoughts on Todd Offerman when I live text her about the show Making It. Before, I was keeping to myself. It wasn’t watching TV that was so bad, it was just living quietly. Now that I’m reaching out about what I am doing, even if it’s just a text, it feels so much more refreshing.

You could even say that watching TV is essential to anyone striving to be a good writer. Most of the writing I know takes some semblance of mainstream media as a reference and a way to connect with the reader. The biggest thing about only watching TV after work is that it depends on what you do with it.

Crafting and blogging is a natural way to reach out. After you make something, you want to show it to the world because you’re so proud. Blogging is writing and leaving your journal in a public bathroom and letting people view it.

Hopefully, I have a Brooklyn Nine Nine themed blog post soon.