The Season

(Its been a little bit since I’ve written, and I’m aware of that. However, its been a busy month, so shush.)

So this month has been an interesting one. Some negative stuff, and some really awesome stuff. All boiling down to I didn’t have the time wipe after pooping (figuratively, not literally. I’m a grunt, not a damn savage). Right from the get go, after coming back from Thanksgiving, I went on CQ, had my comp day where I got relieved late and ended up getting little sleep afterwards, went to the field where I averaged 3.5 hours of sleep all week and was playing with machineguns, taught some POG’s how to shoot, got tasked by my Sergeant Major to design a screening process for the unit for the sniper section, got told in the field I would be going to the promotion board in a week and a half, came back to an overblown work week and little time to study, got a packet for master arctic trainer approved, got told that even though I go through the class twice in master arctic trainer I’m still being sent to cold weather leaders course for 2 weeks (that’s a total of 8 weeks I’ll be gone in the fiscal quarter), got told my friend is dating an ex girlfriend again (though good news for him, he made it into the sister-battalion’s recon platoon), went to said promotion board ill prepared, passed said promotion board some how, signed out on Christmas leave, and was spoken to about the possibility of being on the Army team that is climbing Mt McKinley (tallest mountain in North America) this summer.
Yes, that was a run-on, but I used it to emphasize how ridiculously busy I have been. Try saying all of that in one breath, and that is a metaphor for my month. There’s even more I could write about, but I think you got the point. Actually there are a few things I left out that I would actually like to go more in depth with, so if you thought this one might be short, you might want to grab a cup of coffee and get comfy.
I had been researching some things that might interest me when I decide to tell the reenlistment guy to eat it. One idea that kept popping up was search and rescue. Though unfortunately, it typically isn’t a job as much as a volunteer position. That didn’t dissuade me, however, and I finally reached out to the local SAR and got some information. It seems that despite my hectic work schedule and personal life, they are eager for me to volunteer and help out where I can. Apparently they are very reasonable about working with people in the military and for that I am thankful. That part that sucks is their next meeting is scheduled during the time that I’ll be in CWLC. Then for the one after that I’ll probably be in Master Arctic Trainer. So, that means SAR is going to have to wait until probably the spring. Staying positive about it though, that means I just have to hold off, not that I can never do it.

Also, this year we found ourselves in enough of a monetary surplus, that we felt comfortable giving back. I’m not boasting by any means. Here today, gone tomorrow. But for those of you who can afford to do so, giving a little bit of cash to a good cause can feel rather rewarding. I often don’t feel like I am really helping people out with anything I do, this provided me the opportunity to change that. Hopefully, what I’ve done helps a child or adult have a happier holiday. Coming from me, that means a lot; normally I’m a big ol’ scrooge. So if you have it to spare, why not give a little this season, because there are those who are in need. Its not socialism, its just looking out for other people in the spirit of giving.

Thirdly, I’m so happy to have my wife and daughter in my life. She really went out of her way to get me some cool guy stuff for Christmas. But what is more important than Christmas gifts could ever be, is the support I receive from her. If it wasn’t for her help and giving me the time she could to study, I definitely wouldn’t have passed the board.  She was a constant source of inspiration during this whole month and it was her support that kept me going most days.  I don’t acknowledge that to her nearly enough. So here it is.

Then there’s Mt McKinley. So excited about the possibility of going on this expedition. Its something I’ve been hoping to do from the time I was planning to come up here. Its going to be rough. I’m going to hurt. But damn that is going to be so awesome. How many people do you know that can say they even lived in Alaska, much less climbed the highest mountain in North America? Not many, if any, I would bet.

Finally, for those of you who aren’t aware, we do the paleolithic diet.  Well, as closely as we can follow it while still functionally eating.  Its harder than it sounds in modern society due to the fact that everything likes to come on a bun anymore.  Point being though, we have planned a Christmas dinner that is mainly paleo food.  I have other people coming over that I don’t expect to follow my diet on some of the key holiday dinner foods, so there will be a FEW exceptions for comfort food.  The big thrill for this whole meal though, is that a particular dinner guest is vegan.  Completely blew my mind that someone in the Army can live that lifestyle, because that goes beyond simply changing your diet.  Typically, whenever this guy is invited to dinners or parties I have seen him in the kitchen making his own food so he can have something to eat.   That’s kinda sad to me.  SO, in the spirit of the holidays, I have catered our meal to include vegan friendly dishes with minor substitutions on regular dishes.  For the most part, many vegan dishes will fall into paleo anyways, so it works out, though typical paleo foods are meat based making things a little difficult.  But this is a challenge in cooking I am all too excited to take on.

All and all, this is the first year in a long time I have felt like enjoying the holidays.  I look forward to the joy of the season this year, instead of trudging through it with a lingering hate towards the consumer machine and industrial commercialism.  My heart may have grown 3 sizes this year.

On that note, here’s some classic holiday for you…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eulSbXIjzk
I’m pretty sure that’s McKinley, and Talkeetna is really Whoville.

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