I'll say one thing for Marines - they are ingenious. Every day during my two-week reserve training, I looked forward to my evening shower. There were very few women (less than 30) and about 600 men - so we were allotted a very generous hour for female showers. But how do you shower in the middle of the desert? For that matter, how do you take care of other basic hygiene needs? Well, let me take you along for the tour.
First things first. You follow the rules for the shower tent.
No female product trash
3 minute showers
Turn off shower when done
Seems fair enough. But you are probably wondering what military field showers look like, right?
Not what you were expecting, right? Pretty cool actually. Gotta love Marine Corps engineers! Fortunately for me, there were very few women, so we actually had a decent amount of privacy (well, as much as open showers allow).
The bathrooms were provided by none other than Nevada Johns. They were actually some of the cleanest heads I've ever seen in the Marine Corps owing to the fact that Nevada Johns cleaned them every day. The deluxe sinks are a hoot. You use your foot to pump the water so you can wash your hands. I was just glad for the soap and water. Enough said.
Laundry was done expeditiously in the shower, or in an ammo can filled with water, and then dried - in minutes! - in the desert heat in my field expedient 550 cord clothes line (with 2 very nice half hitches, thank you very much).
I think my favorite field item is the hygiene pits. There are 2 chest high tables constructed by the engineers for putting your dopp kit, canteen cup (for shaving) and then two trenches on either side of the tables. Basically, the trenches are your sink/sewer. So you brush your teeth and spit into the trench. The men shave, and the waste goes into the trench. You really have to see it to believe it.
So, are you ready to go take a shower in your indoor plumbing yet?
This week I decided I needed an appropriate knitting bag for the Marine Corps. While I planned to grab my camouflage Go Knits bag, I remembered the Marine Corps bag I purchased at the Sock Summit a few years ago - and quickly decided it was the perfect accessory for this week.
This is the Knit, Purl, Sew What? Knit'n Walk bag in the USMC motif with a stockinette sock in the works. The sock is knit with Ty-Dy Socks yarn in color #1233 - red, pink and tan. I'm knitting it on US Size 1 40" Turbo Addis using the Magic Loop method.
So there you have it. Some people match their handbags to their shoes and their outfits. I match my knitting bags to my activities. Go figure. Now I really should go do crunches to get in shape for my upcoming PFT. Wish me luck.
My Girly Girl is a woman of many faces. This past week she shared a whole bunch of them with us.
Wilma and Miss Piggy
Wilma, her tongue, and her corn on the cob. I just love that lolling tongue!
God Bless the USA! (Thanks Kathy B for this great scarf from Huck!)
And God Bless you, too, Wilma!
Thanks for all your nice notes of encouragement yesterday. I'm meeting with a reserve unit to see about joining them. It's very exciting to be around Marines again. It's a few hours from my house - so it's close and far at the same time. I'll be doing the typical reserve thing - one weekend a month and two weeks a year. Wish me luck. I'll need it. Did I mention that this diet and exercise program is doing wonders for me? Tomorrow the Gunny mentioned something about doing sprints. I'm ready! This is fun.
I've decided that it's time to fight the middle-age rut. It's time to put my knitting needles down for a bit and focus a bit more on a healthier habit. If I spent a fraction of my knitting time on diet and exercise, I think I'd be a much more well-balanced individual.
So I hope to get back into my fighting shape - ooh rah - and have been watching my diet and exercise program vigorously. It's already paying off. I feel better. I'm losing weight. I'm slowly building some muscle - and boy are my hamstrings tight!!! I'm also throwing in a bit of yoga at a wonderful new yoga studio in town. I just love those stretches. I always feel so invigorated after either a workout or a yoga session... so why don't I do this more often?
Well now I will. How about you? Are you on a health kick? Want to join me? Let's keep our bodies in motion and see if we can walk/swim/run/bike a little bit each day. My goal is to work back up to a 3-mile-run in 30 minutes or less. I can do it. Can you?
Please excuse me now. The treadmill is calling my name.
Remember to thank your favorite veteran today. Why, you ask? Because freedom isn't free. Thank goodness there are young men and women in our country who believe in this great nation of ours and are willing to stand up and fight for all of us.
Here's to my two favorite devil dogs out there - my nephews Javi and BJ.
Since you last heard from me, I jetted off to San Diego to see my nephew graduate from Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego. What's not to like?
I think this is possibly the most beautiful Marine Corps base. I know it's my favorite. Just look at the gorgeous buildings contrasted against that beautiful blue sky... and palm trees. Who doesn't want to see the American flag flying with the backdrop of palm trees?
This is probably one of my favorite common views of boot camp. Have you ever seen 88 19-year-old men pack their gear so neatly? I swear their sea bags were standing at attention!
Here's the handsome young Marine with his family - girlfriend Whitney, PFC BJ, sister Julie and Mom Priscilla.
PFC Jackson and Aunt Major Jackson.
BF commented how I get that stupid look on my face when I see young Marines. You know the look. It's the one that you make when you see a little puppy. "They're so cute!" I had such a great time as a young Marine that I'm thrilled to pieces when I think about all the wondrous things that are going to be learned and experienced by these new Marines. Awwww.
Here's BJ with his Drill Sergeant. Congratulations BJ. We're so proud of you.
My nephew Javi is in Iraq for his third tour with the Marines. I'm trying to be a better aunt this time and sending him care packages every so often. He asked for oatmeal cookies - said they were his favorite - so I sent a batch last month. They seemed to arrive just fine. Then Javi wrote and said he loved Grandma Marienne's chocolate oatmeal cookies because they were so easy to make - that he and his brother would often make them after school for a snack.
Priscilla (aka Javi's Mom) informs me that yes, the boys would make a batch of cookies, but they'd be gone before bedtime. Sounds about right. That's the way I remember it in my house, too. If you'd like to try these at your house - click HERE for the recipe.
As soon as these cookies cool, they're being shipped to Iraq. I think these will definitely crumble, but they'll still taste good and bring back some memories of home.
Enjoy Javi. Stay safe. Semper fidelis, from Aunt Jennifer