Posts Tagged ‘ABOL’

Sunday morning update

June 19, 2011

So, it’s been a busy week.

Bundles are arriving in Afghanistan, and the crew there is building the first shipments for onward movement.  And the more Super Secret Bundles have arrived, too.  It’s been a busy, busy week.

Buuuut, I got some photos in the mail.  And some awesome, awesome notes of encouragement.

So, back to a quiet Fathers Day. I’m watching a horrible movie, and doing some research on manual / hand-crank sewing machines.  Really — that’s how I spent Sunday mornings in Iraq.  And yes, my own dad would agree with both my choice of actions and even my movie selection.


Some photos

June 15, 2011

If you’re looking for the address for IBOL / ABOL, just leave a comment anywhere here on the blog, and I’ll email you.

I’d telly u that I’ll email you in the next 60 seconds, but actually, sometimes it takes a day or two (sorry — sad, but it’s true).

And now, the important stuff.  After a long day at the office (15 hours), little beats turning on the email and finding stuff like this.

The owl, by the way, is the COOLEST of them all.

More on FET

June 11, 2011

Well, well, well.  Here’s a short article worth the read.  Looks like the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team is fielding FET’s to Afghanistan.  Hot diggity.
I heard from the ABOL team in Afghanistan this week — 18 had arrived at of their Friday night.  18 regular bundles, no SSP bundles. The good thing about places like Iraq and Afghanistan is that mail arrives every day, weather and transportation and other things permitting.

More in the morning.


Sorry about that

June 8, 2011

Sorry about that.  I sort of dropped off the net there for a little bit.  I’m back.

As some of you have heard, yes, there was an attack here in Baghdad the other day.  There are actually attacks in Baghdad most every day, but this one in particular caught the attention of the news.  It was horrible, tragic, and it involved the loss of life.

We each respond in our own ways at these times.  I’ve seen battle hardened Soldiers with ice in their veins, who may only flinch before getting back to the business at hand.  Others stop and reflect, and others fight their emotions as they face the losses.  It’s different for different folks, and it can be different each time, based on the conditions.  But it always sucks — that’s pretty universal, I think.

Why?  We fight our hardest not for king or country, but for the man or woman standing beside us during these times when we are called to arms. It is an integral part of our profession of arms, dating back for as long as we have had one.  We are here in service to the Republic, but we live and breath and will fight and bleed if we have to, all the more so for those with whom we stand — American or Iraqi.

For me this week, I buckled down and worked.  I do that sometimes.  My long days became even longer.  I skipped things like meals and time on Skype with my family, working more and harder and focused on a particular part of the problem set, trying to fix what I knew I could not undo but could only perhaps rectify.

My hard work won’t bring back a life taken.  But at times it feels like it is all that I can do.

So, sorry about dropping off the net.  Tomorrow, I will try to check in with Afghanistan and see how they are doing.  I should hope that they would be swimming in bundles by now.  And swimming in boxes from the Super Secret Project, too.

As we say, more to follow.  I needed to check back in, say hello, let you know that I am fine but saddened.  It happens, I just don’t have to like it.

And that’s me, last Saturday before the attack.  One of my buddies was cramping towards the end of the 18km run, so I went back out to find him and to run the rest of the way in with him.  We do some stupid things sometimes, like running an 18km race and then running some more, just to help a fellow Soldier see the mission through.


Sewing patterns

June 5, 2011

One of the things that’s different with ABOL is that yes, people are sending sewing patterns.  But what kind?  What works, what’s best?

Well, take a look at this photo, and I’ll see if I can explain.

1.  If you want to include a sewing pattern, like this photo, it does’t have to be the prettiest thing ever.

2.  And like this photo, it can be a guy thing.  It’s universal – people sew and make clothes for a bunch of reasons, utility still being on that list.

3.  See any bi-focals on that guy?  At his age, he’s obviously not ready to read anything.  Assume the same with patterns.  Good pictures will go a long way, and simple patterns not reliant on reading are idea.  Literacy is out of the norm.

4. Look at that sleeve.  Two ball points, and a Sharpie.  Egads, that’s a horrible set of tools.  What can one make with that?  Well, the answer is, not much.  But for most of the folks on the other end, it’s going to be simple sewing with simple tools.

5.  See the photo bomber?  Well, the CST has been running sewing classes when they can, and they’re interested in doing more.  So, if all goes well, there will be someone looking over their shoulder.  Just hopefully not in a creepy manner, like the ad on the wall here.

6.  That’s a pretty universal outfit in the photo.  Young and old, men and women in the US Army wear that garb.  Most folks still tend to wear the salwar kameez, which has pants like pajamas and a basic tunic-style top, and is worm by men and women.  The colors and fabric selection probably make the difference there.

7.  Think rugged.

8.  Think about patterns that support both light and heavier fabrics.

9. And thankfully, it’s not revealing.


Bundles in Afghanistan

June 3, 2011

I have to be careful when I write these titles — for the life of me, I always spell Afghanstan wrong on the first try.

So, anyway, where was I?  Ah, yes.  Bundles in Afghanistan.

I’m at work this morning, trying to fight the good fight, when the phones rings.  I answer it, and to my surprise, it’s Afghanistan calling.  Good grief, the bundles have already started to arrive.  It’s 3 June, and the first five have already made it half way around the world, through the military postal service, and to the front door of the Cultural Support Team’s new ABOL World Headquarters, which is probably a foot locker or half-empty wall locker.

And, true to form, the folks there could not resist the appeal — they opened them up, just to take a look.  And true to form, the first five that arrived were wrapped as nearly all bundles are — a big piece of fabric surrounding all the goodies, held together big a big piece of ribbon.

So, it’s good, good news on this happy go lucky Friday.  Kind of hard to have a bad when you learn that our collective effort is starting to show dividends.

And, as always, let me say thank you. thanks for all who have stepped forward and offered to help, and a special thanks to those whose bundles have started to arrive.  The folks in AF have said they’re going to try and fling some cards into the mail — hopefully, they’ll fare better than I have over these past couple of years, try as I may.

Tomorrow, I’ll try to put something together about patterns.  I have a funny photo to share, and it should serve well to illustrate a few key points about sewing patterns.  But first, a few hours of sleep and an 18 km run in the run with some paratroopers.



June 1, 2011

And yes, IBOL is on Facebook, too.  Lots of different odds and ends there.


Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

May 31, 2011

Let me put this bluntly — my poor in box is taking a beating this week!

Thanks to all of you for leaving a comment, and sharing some great emails, and passing along such kind works of inspiration.  It’s nice to know that there are more than a couple of people out there willing to help.  I do appreciate it.

And SSP5 seems to have some takers.  I’ll be most curious to see how this one turns out.  I like Super Secret Projects — they are a fun distraction.

And before I close up shop for the night, here‘s a short article some of you might enjoy.  Nice, nice story.


Super Secret Project 5

May 30, 2011

Let’s not mess around this time. IBOL –> ABOL kicked off yesterday, and it’s already time for a SSP!

Ladies and gentlemen, I am looking for a few volunteers to help with Super Secret Project 5, Operation BBD.

  • No, I am not going to tell you what Operation BBD stands for.
  • Yes, the BBD part is important — and it’s a secret.
  • I am hoping to find a platoon of folks ready, willing and able to help with this most super, most secret side project.
  • It’ll be fun.  It won’t involve angry ferrets.
  • Target audience is folks whose kids are a little bit older now, but who still have too much of their old stuff laying around.  There’s a certain kind of something in demand in Afghanistan, and this Super Secret Project is to try to do something about that.

Sound mysterious?  It should.

Interested?  Leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I’ll send to you all of the Super Secret Details.  (insert maniacal laugh soundtrack).



May 29, 2011

Folks, I’m going to spend the next two months trying to help some people in Afghanistan.

I reached out and made contact with the Cultural Support Team leadership with the US Forces in Afghanistan, and we’ve worked out the kinks on how to do it.

If you’re interested, and want to help, well, I’d certainly welcome it.

Why Afghanistan, why through the CST’s?  I’m a big fan of the Female Engagement Team concept.  They play a great role in Afghanistan, as I see it, and they have great placement and access for helping others.  And they happen to have some ongoing projects that involve fabric — mostly sewing, but at least one quilting.

So, leave me a comment here on the website, or send me an email if you have my address, and I will send to you the details.

And, as always, thanks in advance for all that you’re doing to help with this.  I think it’s awesome.