Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 140

Mom – Day 140

While Dal and I have been on vacation, I had the opportunity to read the book, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. This is the second book I read of his and I really enjoy his writing. I enjoy that he shares with the reader some history, literature, and the rich culture that is sometimes forgotten. There are so many things that I can write about with respect to what I read in the book and my thoughts on it but I really want to point out one thing that really goes over in my head all the time. I have spoken on this topic before but I need to mention it again. I am so disgusted by the treatment of women and children (especially girls) by the Taliban and by many of the Afghan tribes. The book is primarily set in Kabul, the capital and the most educated and progressive city or community in Afghanistan. Khaled Hosseini lets the reader see the spectrum of rights women use to have and what they had under the rule of the Taliban. My heart went out to the young girls of 14 and 15 being married off to men that were old enough to be their grandfathers – and often as a second or third wife. Under Taliban rule, they had to be covered from head to toe, they could not leave their home without a male escort, they could not work, could not wear make-up or even fingernail polish or their fingers would be chopped off. Women did not have a lot of access to hospitals and there were only a few doctors (they had to be women and women were not suppose to work) and they didn’t even have anesthesia or antibiotics. Women would be raped and then their husband or father would kill them because they disgraced the family. Women were no longer able to attend school – but with that said, people were no longer able to read (except for the Koran), write, sing, watch movies …. Although what the Taliban did to women is not considered genocide, there should be a word for it. A word that describes the deliberate humiliation, abuse and fear tactics imposed on a group of people in order to break their spirit.

I don’t know if Zach is making an impact on the people of Afghanistan but I hope the killings and the abuses will eventual stop and that education and schools will then fill the void.

I love you Zach

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 141 Dad

Lisa and I continue our trip through the Canadian Maritimes. Tonight we are in the little town of Bouctoushe New Brunswick across the Northumberland straight from PEI. We are having fun, but watching the news and listening when we can checking on line for any piece of information. I believe General Petraeus is going to be confirmed tomorrow, I look forward to the change in leadership and hope that the rules of engagement change more to reflect our troops willingness to finish the fight.

The more I hear, read and learn about the people in these areas the more I feel that we cannot change what they have or what their lot in life is. Oil is the only reason many of these countries are relevant. Take away the oil take away the money and they are just a nomadic country with nothing going on. It seems that Afghanistan has now found natural resources I'll bet some warlord gets the royalties, collects the money and immediately starts buying arms, not bread, not building schools only more weapons. It is all they know which is why education is at the bottom of the wish list for them.

So much to say so I will stop, the only thing I know is how this has all impacted my family and thousands of other families and it pisses me off, these people and so much about them pisses me off.

Zach, I love you, you are superman, you are my hero, and you are my son, I miss you more than words can say!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 142 Dad

Well we are still in Prince Edward Island it is so beautiful and peaceful. Lisa and I are relaxing and spending quality time together. But until Zach is safely out of Afghanistan nothing really changes. At breakfast this morning we were laughing and joking then something brought us to Zach and it took a few minutes to get it back together. This is our life until he is home. Relax - but never fully, sleep - but never soundly, laugh - but not as loudly, live - but day by day!

Tonight we went to whats called a Ceilidh which is a little concert put on by some local musicians but these are professional local musicians who play traditional music it was great we really enjoyed it. I wish we could have been here as a family, Lisa did get Zach an autographed CD. Zach I wish you could be here you would love this place and the food which is spectacular!

I miss you every day Zach you are superman and I love you!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 144,143

Mom - Day 144, 143

I tried to write on the blog last night but I couldn’t get on-line. I was so frustrated. I wanted to call Zach and even that fell through. I did speak to Shane yesterday and he said that he spoke to Zach for about an hour yesterday. Zach seemed to be in good spirits. Zach was busy physically working on their outpost. I think that meant making it more tolerable and more secure – remember that not too long ago his team leader got shot when they were fired upon at their outpost.
At the outpost there is a 13-year-old boy helping out. Imagine a thirteen-year-old helping out – he is taking a risk, a huge risk. Zach gave him a pair of gym shoes so that the boy could have something decent on his feet. The thoughts that go through my mind are all of the stories with respect to the Taliban and what they do to people that speak to the Americans or those, even children, that accept items from the NATO forces. It is really hard for me to understand how people could hurt children. I am thinking about some stories at this moment of what the Taliban has done to children but I am afraid to write it down – almost like I don’t want to jinx the boy helping out.
Update info on Zach’s team leader that got shot. He will be recovering for a bit, and then he will go for some R n R and then BACK to Afghanistan. The doctors told him that he was lucky.
Reading the news: Pakistan is now monitoring Google and Yahoo and many others. Some sites have been blocked. I guess there will be Pakistani “officials” that will decide what sites are blasphemous against Muslims. Censorship is so dangerous. For that matter, I also read that China is not allowing their soldiers to blog or even open a blog – for any reason. I feel so lucky to live in the US.
Also in the news, how to mine for the mineral deposits found in Afghanistan. According to the Afghan mining minister, Afghanistan could be self sufficient in a decade. BUT, there are problems like the terrain, the Taliban, the infrastructure – or lack of it, and the big problem of corruption. The investors would have to weigh out the problems – and if they decide to invest, then there will be more heat to the fire according to the extreme Muslims – here are Westerners trying to exploit them. Right now though, it is China that is interested in these mineral deposits. What I find interesting is the Afghan mining minister is assuring a special mining security force, in order to provide some security to these regions. I wonder what that means. I do know that there is a mine in the Logar region – which would be somewhere in the vicinity of where Zach is.

Enough said – I love you Zach – I have even put in prayer requests for you in Canada, I believe in the power of prayer. I miss you ☹

Friday, June 25, 2010

Day 145

Mom – Day 145

The numbers of days are getting smaller but the worry is getting greater. I am supposed to take off for a few days with Dal – you know some alone time – but I am not sure if it will actually happen.

I love you Zach

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 146 Dad

Well it seems as the military transitions from McChrystal to Patraeus the issue being most discussed is the Rules of engagement. So despite the fact that a promise has gone out to continue the same idiotic strategy one can hope that at least the stifling rules of engagement are being re-examined. It is so easy I think for those not on the front lines to say "hold your fire", "just let them go", or "be so careful to avoid collateral damage"! The reality is that there are many American and coalition forces that would like to go home safe and sound and they should be given every opportunity to do that, if that means a more aggressive posture than that is what we should do. Time will tell.

Zach you are in my thoughts every day, I love you son, you are superman, and you are my hero!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 147

Mom – Day 147

Zach called me today on a satellite phone. It was so nice to hear his voice. He also called his Papa but they did not speak for a long time because their call was cut. We spoke about General McChrystal – which he didn’t hear anything about – and politics in general. We spoke about some of the yucky things like the boy that the Taliban hung because his grandparents spoke to the Americans. He said that the Afghanis were upset with the Taliban – I am glad to hear this. This is a NATO war but there are so many Americans that are being killed, the Taliban really hate the Americans. Zach understands how some Afghanis are trying to live some type of life and that there are many good people. He also spoke about the importance of education. It is so true, being able to read and write can have an impact – imagine being able to decipher facts for yourself. We spoke about other things, some things I don’t feel like writing about. Then we spoke about other dumb things like what type of stove I should get – eventually I need a new stove-, and what color paint will be on the walls, and silly things. I am so proud of Zach, he is so grown up and he still has compassion and a sweet side to him.

I love you Zach.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 148 Dad

Well Gen McCrystal will probably get the boot tonight from Pres Obama. On one hand I appreciate his candor in speaking about the ineptness of the administration in conducting the war, on the other hand he is a subordinate to civilian superiors thus is the nature of being a military member so he will be fired. He should resign before he gets there to trump Obama but.....

He is part of the problem as well though as he crafted these stupid rules of engagement, that result in American serviceman dying to prevent some ill feelings by the locals. You the hearts and minds idea that has always worked so well for us ...NOT!!!!!

We can only hope that whoever takes over will let them fight or bring them home! In the middle of all of this political BS are our military members. God bless them all.

You are superman, and I love you Zach!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 149

Mom – Day 149

I have been enjoying our weather here in Maine and Zach is withstanding 115 degrees F. The summer months are supposed to be more active because the Taliban are out more than compared to the winter months but how can anyone function in that heat.

Today I printed off some pictures that I downloaded from Facebook. One picture was a nice picture of Zach in Afghanistan. I decided to make an 8 ½ x 11, label it, frame it and put it up at our local convenience store. It is nice that some businesses do things like this to recognize their local military men and women. When I looked at the wall, I recognized many faces as former students of mine. There are so many young people that join the armed forces around here.

I am amazed at how many people still join the armed forces. I worry about all of our brave people. I honestly don’t know how they can keep up their morale when they have to fight on the defensive side all of the time. The current rules of engagement need to be modified.

I love you Zach

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 150 Dad

We talked to Zach today and it was so nice, he was in good spirits and talking about just anything.

Father's Day but only one thing I am hoping, waiting and praying for - for my son to be home safe and sound.

You are superman, I love you Zach!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 151

Mom – Day 151

I had a chance to speak to Zach twice yesterday. Last night, Galen and I spoke to him for a good 20 minutes. He can’t wait to be home, as he says it, “I smell the bacon”.

Zach said that he just got a new person on their team, since his team leader got shot. He said that they are now mission ready. He also said that he has been busy because he has been the acting team leader and he is learning a lot.

I was happy to hear his voice☺

I love you Zach

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 152 Dad

I saw a picture today of a mother, who found out her son was returning from Iraq through Bangor. One of the troop greeters knew her son was coming and called her she drove an hour to meet the plane. The picture was worth a thousand words. They got to spend an hour together before he had to reboard for the flight headed for Ft Lewis Washington. But he is out of the combat area. I long for that day I long for the day when Zach walks off a plane and has left Afghanistan. God Bless our troops and God bless their families.

You are superman, I love you Zach!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 153

Mom – Day 153

Zach has really been on my mind. I can’t seem to shake it. I know that he is always on my mind but last night and today he has been occupying my thoughts. I have a lot of work to do – maybe it is stress, I don’t know. I need to try and call him so I can calm my nerves.

This blog is not private so sometimes I feel a bit funny always whining on it. I usually tell people to suck it up! My thoughts and emotions are minimal compare to some of the pain other people experience. I have to vent somewhere, so this is my place to let it out, my coping mechanism.

I love you Zach

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 154

Mom – Day 154

Today is June 16th and my girlfriend Barbara mentioned how June is half over. The reason why she said this is because I have been so worried about the summer fighting in Afghanistan. The summers are always bad and so far it has been bad. I think I really didn’t pay attention to the fact that June is half way over because I don’t want to think about the summer and how many days there are in the summer.

Today there was an end of year BBQ at work. Once again I couldn’t go. My girlfriend Rachel stopped by and it gave me an excuse not to go but I knew I wouldn’t go even if Rachel didn’t stop by. I couldn’t do our Christmas party at work and now again I couldn’t go to our end of the year party. I planned on going, I even bought something to bring but I couldn’t do it. I guess I didn’t feel like celebrating – it is hard for me to celebrate when Zach is in harms way. I do know that I have to do things and I have had a department party at my house and people over to my house – but if I have it at my house then I have to be there; or I have been to events, but only ones I feel like I have to. If I could collect every tear that I shed since Zach has been over there I could create my own ocean. Today, I almost put on the regular mascara but now I think why bother, I should just throw it out – I miss Zach so much and I am so tired of worrying about him but I will do it until he comes home.

I love you Zach

Day 154 Dad

I am tired and I need to sleep, but sometimes sleep comes hard, and for all I think we are enduring it really is nothing. What Zach goes through on a daily basis would make most of us cry and just want to go home. But he does it day after day and with very little complaint other than he thinks they can do more to bring this to an end. We are blessed as a country to have such people who are willing to endure such hardship to bring freedom to people they don't even know.

I just wonder sometimes how so many don't appreciate what we have in America and want to change us and shape us into something other than what we are. What we are is pretty good and we have done more in a little over 200 years than many countries have done in centuries of existence. God bless America and God bless our troops.

You are superman and I love you Zach. Stay strong!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 155

Mom – Day 155

I am behind the news in Afghanistan, someone had to tell me to check the news – I was in shock. All the mineral deposits that were found! I read that Afghanistan could be like the Saudi Arabia of Lithium. Being so close to China, this could be very beneficial and lucrative for China. Afghanistan is so war torn, and dangerous that an investor would have to take some risks. If indeed the mineral deposits are of a high quality that might entice some entity to support some form of stability in Afghanistan. Maybe, someone will want Afghanistan to be a safer place – maybe this new information will entice our governments to want to finish this war.

I love you Zach

Day 155 Dad

155 wow, almost looks good - better when it drops under 150 each milestone is important and it is getting closer.

I heard General McCrystal say that we are putting the pressure on the Taliban and they are feeling it that is why they are getting desperate and using more IEDs it seems to me they are setting them because they can we need to stop them. 80000 troops in Afghanistan, if only 7% go outside the wire that is only 5600 who actually bring the war to the enemy, what do the other 74400 soldiers do! Let them fight or bring them home!

Zach you are superman, keep the faith, I love you!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 156 Dad

A day like many others still missing Zach still worrying that never changes. Went for a walk today and it was so nice, just Lisa and I laughing and walking it was marvelous. Together is how we are getting through. We support our son and we have to support each other this whole thing is not easy for any of us.
Sometimes it is odd as we just carry on and laugh but then I realize I am not whole and will not be whole until Zach returns to us safe and sound. Thanks so much to family and friends for prayers and well wishes it does mean alot.
Zach you are superman, I love you and miss you!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 157

Mom – Day 157

We have been busy at the Dalrymple household. I feel bad because I didn’t have time to try and call Zach – considering the 9 ½ hour time difference. We had graduation this weekend and both of our host kids, Marjo and Stefani, had their families here. I know that my sister spoke to Zach and that he seemed in good spirits. Victoria, my daughter also came home this weekend, which was nice.

Yesterday, a man stopped in front of our house and asked about the single blue star hanging in our window – he recognized the symbol. I told him that my son is serving in Afghanistan. He said he will pray for him and that he was a veteran. The Blue star flag or sometimes called the Service flag is displayed by a family member for their loved one who is serving during a time of war.

Zach I love you and I NEVER stop thinking of you.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 158 Dad

Today as I sat watching the class of 2010 graduate I thought of a day just two short years ago when Zach was graduating. Now only two years removed from that day he is in Afghanistan carrying a rifle everyday. It is odd to fathom but yet real. It was a great day tiring but nice to see so many family members at Derek's party. So much activity at our house, Marjo's parents arrived from Finland last night late dinner and neither Lisa nor I wrote, but in our hearts and our our son Zach is always at the forefront. We think of the blog, the war, Afghanistan, the military, politics but we never loose sight of what is dearest.

Only 2 short years so much has changed, but yet so much remains the same. I am so happy for Derek as he starts the next chapter and I know he will do well. We are proud of him. Zach is too, and he sent Derek some wishes via facebook. I need the next chapter to start the chapter when Zach is out of Afghanistan and I am ready for it now.

What does it mean to graduate today what next steps do people take, interestingly for me what comes to mind are the words of a Democrat but not like the liberal, social justice type that many Democrats of today are but this guy was the real deal, American hero larger than life type guy who cut taxes who went his own way. "And so, my fellow americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man." John F. Kennedy (1917 - 1963), Inaugural address, January 20, 1961

These words spoken almost 40 years ago still resonate, in America you can do anything, and free people with free choice can do great things. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what your contribution is!! Is it!! What is it?

Thank you Zach for making the tough choice for your willingness to stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. You are superman and I love you dearly!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 160

Mom – Day 160

Sometimes when I am really stressed out it helps me to write in this blog. The blog has helped me. It is my outlet. Today I am really stressed out that I am starting to feel sick. It is kind of foolish all the things that I am stressed out about because in the end it probably will not matter. What really matters and what I should focus my stress on is the everyday worry about Zach. The hard thing is that when I tend to be more stressed out, I tend to not handle well Zach being in Afghanistan. I know in my mind this does not make sense, logically one would want to do things to bring a balance (what nature does) but I tend to always want to tip the scales. I am now crying and I can’t work because I can’t focus – I need to quickly get it together – hopefully writing this out does the trick.

Thank you Beth for always checking on me – today I needed it☺

I love you Zach and miss you more than all the words in the universe can say.

Day 161/160

Mom – Day 161/160

Zach is disappointed at how their hands are tied with respect to what they can do in Afghanistan. With that said, he often mentions how there are so many good people there. I think he wishes he could do more for some of these people. As a mom, it is nice to hear him voice how he still sees so many good people and good things, like the Naan. It is always nice to see a beautiful flower in a bush of thorns.

I love you Zach

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Day 161 Dad

Days roll by but no where near fast enough! I am ready for Zach to be home, the more I read tells me that the shit hole that is Afghanistan is getting worse. Someone actually blew themselves up at a wedding killing over 35 people. Really think for a moment who does that who blows up people that go to a wedding! These people have no heart and no soul they are evil incarnate and for our leaders and so many out there to not see that is either blindness, naivete or just plain stupid and you can't fix stupid.

These Taliban, Al Queda or what the hell ever they are deserve only our contempt for the murderous thugs and cowards they are. They kill in the name of their god and kill children, women the weak then when faced by soldiers who are willing to fight them hide behind the skirts of women and use the innocent as shields. Death is too good for them they are not fit to breath oxygen that could be used by the lowliest of animals.

Zach I know you are superman, and I love you so much and I miss you so very much. I worry each day, but I keep the faith that tells me you will be ok! I love you bud!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 162

Mom – Day 162

The war in Afghanistan now has a new name, it is now named “the longest U.S. war” !!! We have been in combat in Afghanistan for 104 months.

Zach I love you

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 163 Dad

Today the sun shone, there was a light cool breeze blowing and it was for appearances a perfect spring day. But ever present in each day is a gnawing ache that will only be cured when we see Zach walk through the doors of our house when he comes home for Christmas. Sometimes people look at me as being the strong one, but the truth is I do all I can not to tear up just thinking about my little boy in that hell hole Afghanistan. I hope the leadership from the President on down understands that our sons, daughters, fathers, mother, uncles, aunts, grand parents whatever it may be, are precious and we hold them dear. Let them fight or bring them home is more than just words, it is the reality that I want to impress upon whoever will listen.
No more worthless convoys to draw fire and be a target for IED's, no more useless missions to just say you did one, we need to use the information and lower the number of IED's being deployed, kill those who are setting them, pursue the Taliban or Al Queda when we can and cripple their ability to strike back. Let's get whatever the job is - done and bring our troops home. If we have no mission and cannot kill the enemy, and only try to win the hearts and minds of the relatives of those in the Taliban and Al Queda then it is time to bring them home.
You are superman and I love you with all my heart bud!! I miss you!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 164

Mom – Day 164

I am chatting to Zach on Facebook as I am writing this. I went on the computer to write the Blog when I noticed he was on. He always tells me to stop worrying but I can’t, I can’t do that. It is nice to hear from him because then I know he is okay. Well I will cut this Blog short so I can chat with him.

I love you Zach

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Day 165

Mom – Day 165

Today is day 165 – I cannot believe that Zach has been deployed to Afghanistan for 200 days! At least now the numbers are looking smaller and smaller.

Today in the a.m. we called Zach and he asked us to call him in a half an hour. A half an hour later we could not get through. We tried over and over. Finally, about a 1½ hours later we got through to him. We told him how we tried to call but could not get through and he said “yeah, someone got hit by and ied (improvised explosive device) and their neck was all messed up – I saw him and he didn’t look good, I think he died” and then he started talking about something else. It was weird how he was so nonchalant about it. I do understand that the war changes people and he must find a way to cope – his mind learns how to survive but it still seems strange.

There are so many ieds! They are just multiplying because it seems other then trying to remove them; we are not going after the Taliban who are putting them in the roads. It must be frustrating to the military personnel who watch their colleagues get injured by these horrible devices.

I love you Zach.

DAD 165

A rainy day and up early too much time to think. I miss Zach so much and just want him home. He and i have always been what a dad and son should be, fishing and hunting partners, sports guys and chefs extraordinaire! He is my bud and my boy. It is hard because through college your children transition away from home. Even if they work they may be close. Zach just left to be in the military and though he loves home and comes back when he can he is still away from us too much. Now being in Afghanistan and in harms way the feelings are just compounded even more. Each day I pray for his safety and for the quick end to this whole mess that it is becoming.
I know that he cares for the afghan people and hates the Taliban and Al Queda for what they are doing to the innocent. But he feels helpless to stop it. (Let them fight or bring them home)

The future us bright and that is what I must concentrate on. He will be out of the army in a little over a year and off to college with a majority of it paid for. He will be home a Christmas when we will go snowmobiling and have a lot of fun! So..... each day is a day closer to that reality and then we begin the process of putting this reality in the past.

I love you Zach, you are superman and you are my super hero!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 167

Mom – Day 167

Yesterday was tough. It was hard to hear Zach talk about his experience, something he will never forget – unfortunately. I kept on thinking about Zach and what he was thinking about – the blood of his fallen comrade that was on his hands and uniform; or what he thought about when he laid down to sleep, or maybe he couldn’t sleep; the anger he must have felt, feeling helpless; the frustration of not being able to go after the enemy that hurt his friend; and I also think that Zach must feel alone not having his team leader and friend there next to him. Things seem to be getting worse, the intensity of the fighting from the Taliban, the “Rules of Engagement” that favor the enemy and not our military, and the fact that summer is here and the Taliban is more active during this time. The summer will be difficult, but everything is one day at a time.

I love you Zach

Dad 167

Yesterday Zach was involved in a firefight and one of his closest friends was hit in the shoulder as he stood right beside Zach. I am sure that Zach showed great courage as he aided his friend and naturally was concerned for his safety and health and welfare. But then came the after effect and the reality of war sank in. I could hear in his voice not necessarily fear, but concern for his friend and anger at what seems to him to be the willingness of leadership to sacrifice American soldiers for politically expedient complacency aimed at the Taliban! Somehow I wish I could transport my self there and just waive a wand to end this. But prayers are all I have and I will pray for all of them to return home.

God bless our armed forces for all they do and pray that our leaders let them fight or bring them home! It is time to go or get off the pot!

Zach you are still my little alien boy. Please know I love you and miss you more than words can say! You are superman and I love you Zach!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 168

Mom – Day 168

I knew I couldn’t sleep – I feel sick to my stomach. I wish I could hold you Zach and tell you everything is going to be okay. I really don’t know what to say, or what I should do. Thank God you are physically okay - - Right now I need to figure this out.

I love you Zach and one day you will be looking back on all of this.

Day 168

Mom – Day 168

I can’t sleep; I have been up for a while now. The funny thing is that I finally started sleeping a full night and sometimes over-sleeping. I hope tonight will not be a trend; I was getting tired of not being able to sleep.

My friend Mary – I call her my cyber sister – her son Robert was home for some R n R (rest n relaxation) from Afghanistan. He is stationed where Zach is but both Zach and Robert are always outside the wire so they don’t know each other. Anyway, he just left to go back. I felt so sad for Mary because I know how she must of felt when she had to hug him good-bye. Hugging your child before he goes BACK to war is an awful feeling. I remember the tears could not help but flow and my stomach felt like I wanted to throw up. Robert and Zach have both had a few close calls and they are both discouraged that they can’t do their jobs. Too many of the Taliban are allowed to fight and gather while our military watch. I can’t wait until we all leave Afghanistan. The world should be appalled by the extremists – in this case, the Muslims that are extremists!

I love you Zach

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Dad 169

It was a bit of a tough day, Shane left to go back to Fort Bragg. I wonder what he will be able to do given the status of his back. He is not happy with the Army and I can't blame him. He is really smart and motivated, and it seems like a waste of talent to have him in a reserve unit that spends most of its time working in the motor pool. But then that is the army, nothing makes sense sometimes. Shane had a good visit and rested his back which will hopefully mean a complete recovery of his broken back.

Our exchange daughter Stefani's sister arrived today from Bolivia. George and Barbara came over for dinner and it was a good time. It is amazing how good you can feel when you spend time laughing and not frowning. We all need to laugh and smile more. Too much time is spent frowning and worrying about one thing or another. I know I am working on a new attitude and i feel pretty good. It is not easy because some times the weight of the world seems overwhelming. But it is nothing compared to what Zach is going through. One day at a time - one day closer to Zach being home safe and sound.

Keep smiling Zach and know that we all love you. You are superman and I miss you so much.