Saturday, September 29, 2007

Curb Alert

Today was our "Tagging Party" for next week's consignment sale. This translates into Amy and I sitting in my dining room amongst 1,000 lbs of other people's clothes.

Sorting. Folding. Pricing. Pinning. Sorting.

Her husband drove up for dinner (and to be disappointed that his team sucked ass tonight). When he arrived:

E: You're never going to believe what I picked up on my way here!!!
A: What?
E: I was driving on 322 and saw a huge pile of stuff on the side of the road. When I got closer I saw a big FREE sign on the stuff.
A: Well what is it?
E: Lemme go get it. It is in the car.

(Guess what was along side the road?......)

(Come on! Guess!!).....

We laughed for nearly 30 minutes.
There is never a dull moment with these two....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Outdoor Wire

Geo is in an article published in The Outdoor Wire.

Follow the link to find Waldo....and then drop him an email to boost his ego :)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fungus Among us...or Shitake Happened

I am (way) late in posting information on our fungus fun at the 22nd Annual Mushroom Festival. Better late than never though. Sophia and I were offered prime parking (read: FREE) on Saturday just two blocks from the festivities. The Borrelli posse were our tour guides and we live it up!

Ed was so excited by the possibility of being featured as the Mushroom Man on this blog that he nearly wet himself at the entrance to the Mushroom Exhibit!

Way to go, Mushroom Man!

And this is what the exhibit had in store:
Beds of smooshed poop with mushroom growing stuff on it...
And of course...mushrooms.
Keith, aka. Lil' Mush, enjoys a piece of fungus straight off the ....uh....bed of mushroom growing stuff. He LOVES it as his mother is gagging behind the camera.

There were also plenty of mushroom crafts to go around. These are mushroom shaped concrete that have been decorated by local artists. They were being auctioned off to raise money for...more mushrooms?
I wanted to bid on one of them. Though having a huge, psychedelic looking mushroom in the front yard would be humorous for George to come home to. Unfortunately the starting bid was $150 and by the time we got there they were well over $300!

Smaller, wooden mushroom crafts.
Even the radio station was there with their own mushroom tent!
And there was a shady mushroom truck down a side ally that was selling all sorts of goodies (of the fungus sort) out of the back on this truck. Seemed a little "Sopranos" to me.

If you have been inspired by the posted fungus and are now jumping out of your shorts to have some mushroom memorabilia you can visit the website and quench your thirst for a while....and we'll see you there next year! (I know where there is some cheap parking!!!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Family and Friends Update

Dear Family & Friends,

I want to introduce someone new to the Family & Friends circle, Julie (edited to remove last name) from West Chester, PA. Julie adopted us after getting information about our team from a friend of one of my friends. She organized a bunch of great people to send us dozens and dozens of boxes of goodies. We have received so many boxes from Julie's campaign that we have been able to share them with our other US and French comrades too. (My personal favorites have been the boxes sent from the Tasty Kake bakery in Philly.) Welcome and many thanks to Julie!

I am back in cool (80's F), sunny Darulaman at the moment, and those of us here are really enjoying the weather. The east remains hot and especially humid, and the monsoon-style thunderstorms still roll through.

I came back for the relief of our French ETT team with a new team from France. Our new team is made up of soldiers from their 27th Mountain Infantry Brigade. These hardy men feel at home at 6,000 foot elevation here and in the surrounding mountains.

We are in the process of preparing for our ANA brigade's return to Darulaman. You may recall from our movement out to the East in the spring that this is a very involved process that it takes weeks to complete as we phase through the relief of each separate unit with their ETTs. Some of the locations are only accessible by air.

Our guys continue to rotate through leaves and LTC Judah Whitney and SPC "Tato" Maritato are en route back to their families. We are expecting LT "Yartzie" back soon and he will pay for teasing us by sending us pictures of himself drinking beer.

This coming week marks the end of our EIGHTH month in Afghanistan. Time seems to be marching along rapidly now, and there are already signs of Fall.

Best Regards,

Team Leader/Senior Mentor
1st Brigade, 201st Corps (ANA ETT)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Family and Friends Update

Family & Friends,

Sorry that I am late on the update this week, but I have been spending quite a bit of time on the road lately.

I am back at Camp Darulaman tonight where it was in the "cool" lower 90's today. Back in Jalalabad and the East, we had a couple of days of relief the first week of September, but this past week it was frankly miserable hot at times.

Our ANA brigade along with all of our ETTs -- PA and other Guardsmen, Marines and French -- are doing phenomenally across six different provinces right now. I don't believe that there is another brigade in the ANA or a team of advisors who are doing what we are doing right now.

The start of Ramadan has slowed down our ANA some because of their fasting during the daylight hours. It must be conditioning, but with these temperatures, I don't know how they deal without liquids during the day. They break fast just before the 1800 prayers when they have a little water and a few dates. Then after prayer, they have large meal before the 2000 prayers, which during Ramadan take an hour. Then because they can't eat again after 0400, they usually have their other meal at 0300. (The hours alone would be enough to make me grumpy all the time let alone the fasting.)

Our French advisory team is in the process of being replaced. They are on a six month tour, and it is time for them to leave already! The new group comes from their army's Mountain Brigade, and they are getting off to a great start. We were also informed that the whole brigade would be taken over by the French, which I think is very encouraging sign for the allied effort. Their new president, Sarkozy, has had some influence in the decision, and wants France to take a bigger role in global security matters. Their soldiers appear to have always been eager to participate.

This coming week is business as usual. We will be working with the ANA to finalize their plan to turn over the eastern zone area to their sister brigade, so that we can come back to Darulaman.

Warmest Regards,

Team Leader/Senior Mentor
1st Brigade, 201st Corps (ANA ETT)

Monday, September 3, 2007


Nothing in my life, neither personal nor professional, prepared me for the difficult week. So many feelings came up this week and all I could do was let them wash through me. One by one, and in some cases handful by handful, emotions came up. Many of them got caught in my throat on their way past my heart.

In order to remain present and genuine in the face of such tragedy I needed to attend to whatever it was that came up. This, as you can imagine, was an exercise in consciousness. I wrestled my mind's urge to shut down and tune out, a coping mechanism that I commonly used while growing up. But when I felt the most alone, I realized that I had the perfect teacher at arms reach. Sophia's entire existence is about being present in the moment. She doesn't live in the future or the past. She isn't making plans for tomorrow or stuck in last week. Her life's mantra is "Be here now." So I started paying closer attention to the ways that she processes the world. The way that she lives in the moment. I felt a lightening and my heart opened.

There are still moments when I catch myself feeling heavy and wishing that I could feel the skin of George's cheeks in my have him home and safe right now....but then I hear a laugh or giggle and am reminded to "be here now."

My girl. My guru.