Brothers

Brothers
E Plurubus Unum, Rex Montis

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Room

I was out driving the other day, thinking about nothing in particular...the wheat fields were just black dirt covered in snow, looking like so much cookies 'n' crème for a mile in all directions.

Out of the blue I had a random thought that jerked me back almost 8 years to a hot day in Iraq.

(I have remove said story previously published for personal reasons)

With Fallujah falling back into the hands of terrorists I have been asked a couple times if our time in Iraq was worth it.

I pondered this.
We did a LOT of good over there that the media didn't care much about. We helped build a hospital. We built a water purification plant on lake Taqqadum. We instituted a school where girls could be educated (first in the area). That says a lot for an Infantry unit. That's not typically the type of mission we do.

There are certain stories I choose to never share. Too many questions, too many stares, too much judgment.

 I hear that time heals all wounds; I don't think it does. There will always be burdens I and my fellow soldiers carry. However, I find that the more I share, the more people are able to help me carry that burden, and it is much less of a weight.

Yes...freedom comes at a price. Yes...it was worth it

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's What?

So, haven't researched any of this. When did a story about a guy named Valentine getting executed turn into Chocolate, flowers and a mandate that guys do something special for their girls?

(Time to digress on a rabbit trail)

Don't get me wrong, I love doing special things for my wife. With three kids, I think it is very important to make sure you date your spouse so you don't turn into glorified roommates. I take my wife on one date a week MINIMUM. Lots of excuses out there...the top two being:

     1. I don't have enough time
     2. I don't have enough money

Those are both valid excuses. Wait a minute. NO THEY ARE NOT!
Though they certainly help, neither are a valid reason not to date your wife.
Some of our fondest memories are dates that didn't cost a penny. Get creative, do a word search on free dates, invest some of yourself into the process. The dating process doesn't stop when you get married. Unfortunately for so many, it does. Maybe that is PART of the reason divorce is so rampant in America.

If you want something bad enough, you can find a way to make it happen. Dates aren't about meals and movies and flowers. They can be part of it. Going on a walk is free. Friends, family, church can be a possible resource for low cost/free child care.

(back on track)

There, now that you all know I am not some slob that sits around 364 days out of the year, then complains about the one holiday where there is an expectation for a date.

This can all be summed up nicely. I was at the grocery store and the female clerk stated how Valentine's day was all about her and all women and it was the guys duty to do nice things for her. I looked at her, shaking my head (joking of course) and with typical Zeke-no-mouth-filter style said, "Only a women could take a day some guy died on and turn it into something about them!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

New Year

Well, here we are in 2014. I didn't bother making any "resolutions" to speak of. Mostly I want to spend time investing my energy and time into people that matter.

To that end, a close friend and I road-tripped and visited another buddy from a neighboring state and spent an afternoon belly laughing and re-living some old memories while making new ones. Ah what a genuine joy is the company of a good friend.

Random thoughts:

1. I know that as of January I am already so very tired of winter and am looking forward with great anticipation towards spring.

2. I am seriously considering returning to college this summer and finishing up a bachelor's degree. Complete change in major to Business Management. We'll see how that goes.

3. I went back through my blog because my 8 year old niece didn't believe I was a soldier. After showing her some photographic evidence she says, "Uncle, you always have the coolest jobs!" That warmed my heart a little bit...ah the wonderful ignorance of childhood. Blissful.

4. "Register your guns" they said, "for your safety" they said. Two years later, "Give us your guns" they said, "for your safety" they said. "Turn in your neighbors" they said, "For your safety" they said. Not too much later, "Get on this train" they said, "Show us your papers" they said. They didn't want to get on, they didn't feel safe. But it didn't matter what they wanted anymore, they had no choice.  Location: Nazi Germany: in what used to be a free country

"Register your guns" they said, "For your safety" they said. Fail to do it by Jan 1 2014 and you are a felon- Location: Connecticut in what used to be the free country of USA
(Response- You are a conservative nut, gun registration does NOT mean gun confiscation, Obama is not after your guns!!!)

"We see you have xxxxx guns registered with the city. Turn them in or you are a criminal." (is that confiscation?) This is for your safety they said. Location:  New York City 2013 in what used to be the free country of USA

Yes, I still cling to my old fashion values of God, Family and Guns. If any one starts to go, the others are soon to follow. But it is usually degraded in the order listed.




Friday, December 06, 2013

Vertical




 
Hello fans!
    So, two posts ago was on my health and how I feel at times like my body is deteriorating. So what was my solution? Go on a rock climbing adventure with some guys in their late 40's and early 50's. Now THAT is the answer right!? Well, it sure was fun and my body held up just fine. (If you click on the last picture you can see me in my blue shirt scaling the cliff)

 I have never been rock climbing before. The closest I have ever come was repelling in the military and then your standard rock walls here and there at a college or mega gym.

Anyhow, in the past year I have started teaching basic survival classes to groups of 5-20 people. What better environment than rock climbing? I wasn't teaching a thing on this one. This expedition was a learning experience for me from some very experienced people.. I have so much yet to learn.

We went to a camp site and struck out for climbing. There was a bit of repelling and then a lot of scaling cliff faces. I was very thankful we could start out with a smaller cliff. I must admit, I was terrified right up until I got off the ground. Then it was just me and the cliff and trust that rope! What an exhilarating experience. Definitely going again in the spring.

The first picture I was trying out a new light, cheap, camping shelter. It is an 8' x 10' blue tarp with a glued on survival blanket to reflect the fire heat. I slept in this thing and it was raining all night and got down to 33 degrees! What a good testing ground. I DID have a sleeping bag that I slept on top of for a cushion. I didn't need to get inside of it until about 2am when I ran out of wood for the fire. We couldn't bring enough in to the campsite. But the end result is that my experiment worked and my new shelter will be in my camp pack from now on. No heavy tents. Add a mosquito net and it is a backpacker dream. No rope or string required. Uses tension of tent stakes to keep everything in place. If you care to look at the design in full, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pneD0wu8O3w which is where I learned to make this setup.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo

This is supposed to be a post for November, but I doubt I'll even look at this blog for the month. That is because I have been standing on the high dive of writing for a very long time, never tackling "The Novel."

I am now taking the leap, in exactly 12 hours and 23 minutes it will be November 1st. This is the start of an annual event called, NaNoWriMo which is short for "National Novel Writer's Month." It is a free competition based on a created account and the honor system, of writing 50,000 words in a month, the equivalent of roughly a 400 page  novel. I am psyched and terrified.

I have put my Iraq memoir on an extended postponement for the time-being. I am trying out a fantasy novel I have been thinking about for a while.

The main reason I am posting today, is that I recently purchased a book for $15.00 I am quite a miser and usually would never spend that much on a book. However, this is a work book to help you plan plot and write a book. It is titled, "Ready Set Novel." It is written by the creators of NaNoWriMo and has been the single biggest push in getting me writing.

Before this workbook I was lost, without a clue how to organize an entire novel. I have a much clearer picture now. If there are any people out there who have "always wanted to be an author or write a book," I highly recommend this one.

Good luck to any fellow writers out there. I will update you all when November concludes!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Toxic

I was just chatting with one of my old army buddies who just happens to work in the same county as me. I was commiserating the fact that when air pressure changes one or both of my knees will hurt.

I do not like to attribute this to old age as I only recently kissed my 20's goodbye and I am not so silly as to think that I am "old."

That said, my neck is frequently out, every muscle group in my body takes turns with spasms. My circulation is crap. I seem to throw my back at the drop of a hat and am sore sore sore.

To look at me, you would see a perfect bill of health. I work out three times a week (could use more cardio), I have a very balanced diet, I go to massage thereby, a homeopathic chiropractor and have made a modest transition to organic foods. We have been back for 6 years now and my body feels like it is falling apart at times.

I digress, my buddy said that even though he is a decade older than me, all of us (the old unit) are feeling the same way. We may never find out all the toxins, carcinogens and chemicals we were exposed to, but it sure would be nice, just to see if there is a way of detoxing this crap.

I am thinking of trying a body scan to see if that works. I have read good reviews and talked to several "no crap" soldiers who swear by it. I also like the idea that it is oils and herbs that treats whatever ails you instead of  some universal ungodly expensive cure-all pill.

You certainly never see this sort of thing in most movies. You just go to war, fight the good fight, kill the bad guys and come home the hero. That's Hollywood right?

We continue to make the transition into a life of simplicity, be it de-cluttering, trying a total vegan diet for two weeks or making time to do nothing...I am enjoying the journey and am very interested in how we will end up.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Just like that

...and just like that, summer was gone. It still feels a bit like summer, but the leaves have been kissed by Jack Frost and my favorite time of year is here!

Hard to believe summer was just beginning last time I wrote here.
Now I am learning how to rock-climb and simultaneously BBQ'd my first squirrels ever. I hate to say it, but it tastes just like chicken; the squirrels that is.

On a not so light note, tomorrow September 28th will mark another year that passes in loving memory of SSG Jesse N. Davis R.I.P.

You were a fantastic squad-mate and a better friend. Your life was cut far too short, and it is with fond memories that I think back to what once was, and wish it could be again.

Your life was short, but meaningful. You gave laughs to many and tears to a few. You said what you thought and did what needed doing. Everyone's life you came across was better for having met you.

I don't spend a lot of my time in pointless regret, I have made my peace with your passing. I have had my time of grieving. But there will always be an empty place inside that I hold in deep regard for the memory of yesteryear and what once was.

I miss you brother, and we will never forget.