The Rehders in Cuba

March 2, 2011

I’m going to blame my negligence in updating my blog on the perpetual Ground Hog Day in which I live.  One day runs into the next with the same cloudless blue sky overhead and  passing the same obese iguana on my way to work.  I know I sound like I’m complaining but I’m really not.  If there are days to repeat over and over again, these are definitely some of the ones I would choose.  My point is more to explain away my dereliction in updating you all on my Air Force adventures.  But recently there was an event that warranted note.  My parents made the long trek from cold and, depending on the day, rainy, sleety, or snowy Illinois, all the way down to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

The trip was inspired and rationalized by many discussions about what a rare opportunity it would be to visit Cuba, even if it means visiting the portion of Cuba controversially claimed by the United States.  Cuba is Cuba and, dang it, I wanted my parents to see it.  And so they came, beginning with a 2am drive to Chicago and ending with a 3 hour flight on a plane smaller than my mom’s claustrophobia would prefer.  They came and they saw Cuba.  They saw the ocean:


They saw me SCUBA diving which necessitated taking a picture that makes it appear that the level of difficulty of SCUBA diving is on par with that of curing cancer or bringing about world peace:

They got to go on a boat ride around Guantanamo Bay, though we used my mom’s lap as a storage area and my dad rode in the blue bucket:

They got to see my house and spent as much time as possible soaking in the island life on the back patio:

We spent a lot of time looking for sea shells and other such things and as a result, Illinois has a lot more coral in it than can geologically be explained.

And probably the highlight for my dad and me (though not mom, she walked 2 miles around the track) was playing soccer together.  It had been a while and I think we’re both better than ever…probably…okay, maybe we’ve both slowed down a step or two but dang it, we had fun:

So that’s their trip in a nutshell and a few pictures.  I have no doubt that I will be receiving a flood of requests to visit within seconds of posting this but unfortunately, my time at GTMO quickly draws to a close.  Upcoming tour dates include stops in Virginia (see you there E!), Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, North Carolina and ultimately Texas.  Tickets are going fast so shop early.  Hope to see you all soon!


Since We Last Spoke

November 8, 2010


Honestly, not a whole lot has happened.  The Office of Military Commissions did send someone to jail which was kind of a big deal but that was over a week ago so I’m going to focus on, well…yesterday.  Yesterday was a big day for me because it was the first time since arriving at GTMO, oh, and definitely the first time in my life, that I had an iguana run straight at me.  One of the biggest iguanas I’ve seen so far….

chased two smaller iquanas straight at me.  It was terrifying.  And some of you may be asking the same question my dad did, are they really that fast?  The answer is yes.  Those puppies can move!  Sure it’s an awkward wobbly run but somehow that only makes it more terrifying.  I don’t know what happens when an iguana catches up with you but I’m sure whatever it is, is nightmarish. 

Before the iguana helped me do a startlingly good impression of Road Runner, I did manage to take a few pictures.  There’s a slightly beaten up lighthouse and a kind of boat graveyard on one part of the coast that’s fun to walk through.  I did learn today that you can get a key to the lighthouse and there’s a museum inside.  Yet another thing to do if anyone is brave enough to visit so close to communism.  Here’s a few of the pics:

Here’s a picture of my office and several of the other folks that I work with more indirectly.  It’s a fun group and I’m certain this is one of the few times I’ll have an office picture with the ocean in the background:

This week is the Marine Corps Ball which I’m lucky enough to be attending (I have to say that, I’m on a naval base) and in not too long I’ll be getting off island for a bit.  Can you believe it’s been 6 months since Kurt left?  I feel like I haven’t seen him in years.  So there will be crying and turkey eating and everything else that goes with a Thanksgiving/return from deployment trip.  And I’m excited to come home for even just a few days because so much has happened since I left.  I think nearly everyone in my family has had a life changing event.  I only have two cousins and one got married and one had a baby.  I have two brothers and one got engaged and the other sent his daughter off to college.  I only have one best friend and she bought a house.  I only have one Kia and it’s been to the shop 3 times since I left.  Honestly, I leave for 2 months…

But an old friend posted a very old picture on Facebook that made me laugh outloud which almost compensates for missing all those life changing events.  I’m just going to sit back and let you guys soak this one up.  Oh, and I’m not the only one in this picture that is now an Air Force JAG.  Seriously, who would have thought?

That leaves you with enough to think about for today.  I know it blows my mind.

Garden Update

July 17, 2010

I realize that calling my potted flowers and vegetables a garden may be a bit bold but I’m close enough that I’m going to call it in terms of horseshoes (close only counts in horseshoes…oh, nevermind).  Since I haven’t updated the progress of all my plants since my initial set of pictures back in May, I thought I’d post a few updated ones.  Here’s the front:

My one hosta exploded and engulfed everything around it but in my gardening world, that kind of behavior is encouraged.  If I can get anything to grown well, I’m happy.

Now on to the back.  Yes, I have two grills.  Yes, one of them has a gas tank bigger than the grill itself.  Listen, it’s not even a big deal.  Just chill.

I don’t have any control over when the yard is mowed and as of yet, the pattern is unclear.  They usually come to mow about a week and a half after it’s already needed to be mowed for a week.  The thick patches of grass are ideal for mosquitos to live in so I think a fair assumption is that those in charge of mowing my lawn are somehow in league with the giant mosquitos that plague Grand Forks.  Maybe it’s like a mafia thing.  There’s money changing hands that no one sees.  I bet the mosquitos could get a liquor license if they wanted to.

If you look closely at my hanging tomato plant, you can see this:

 I’ve also planted cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and green peppers.  The mowers (seriously, bane of my existance) some how managed to run over one of my cucumber vines but they seem to be bouncing back fairly well.  No signs of peppers yet but the cherry tomatoes are starting to take shape.  I’ve never really planted much in the way of veggies before but some day I hope to have a huge garden so this is just a warm up. 

The next couple of weeks has a vacation to the Dunes, a Cubs game, and a major court martial in store for me so I apologize in advance if I drop off the face of the earth.  Don’t worry.  You’ll manage without me…for a little bit at least.

Check out my entry on Shutterfly Summer Freedom Contest.

July 3, 2010

Check out my entry on the Shutterfly Summer Freedom Contest..

The Waters Are Rising

March 21, 2010

It’s flood season in Grand Forks (and all of Red River Valley) which may be the only thing worse than January up here.  But Grand Forks learned its lesson years ago.  Grand Forks is now a town protected from the flood waters by walls all along the river.  Yesterday when I went for a run I took my camera with me and caputred some of the rising water and the walls that protect us from it.  Standing on top of the wall which would normally over look miles of river front running and walking trails, I saw this:

These trees give you a pretty good indication of how high the waters are but this might help too:

For those of you who have come to visit me and know what downtown looks like, this is what the entrance to the bridge to Minnesota looks like now.  You can probably guess we’re taking a different route into East Grand Forks these days.

As the waters get higher (and they will) they keep adding metal slats.  This is what it looks like just on the other side of this gate:

If you look a little closer you can see the marker for the big flood they had in 1997.  We’ve still got a little bit of room…

As I was taking this picture, a cop was walking toward me with a somewhat grim look on his face.  Don’t worry though, I’m about as law abiding as they come and I was just on the right side of this sign:

So I smiled, waved, and ran away.  I did nothing wrong.  At least I’m assuming so since he didn’t chase me.  

So that’s the flood.  So far the impact on me has been limited to a slightly wet basement floor and running trails that abruptly end in water.  This biker was confused:

 But don’t worry, I haven’t just been sitting around watching the water rise.  February was an action packed month, mostly because I spend a couple weekends out of the state.  Valentine’s weekend I headed to New Ulm for a brewery tour and a visit with Hermann the German.  What says romance more than beer and a slave chieftain named Armnius the Cherusci (later re-named “Hermann” by Martin Luther) who turned against his masters and led a ragtag army to victory over three Roman legions, thereby saving Germania from conquest?  Nothing.

The following weekend I headed back to Chicago for Elizabet’s long planned and awaited bachelorette party.  After a delayed flight out (thank you once again Grand Forks International Airport) I made it to Chicago for a day at the spa, dinner at Fornello, and a very entertaining evening at the Kit Kat Club.  As with any mass gathering of girls there were some hiccups but they were mainly logistical which is much more manageable than most other girl gathering hiccups (aka drama).  Then my amazing friends stayed up with me and drove me to the airport at 4am so I could catch an early (very early) flight to Montgomery.  A couple birthday suprises and another delayed flight later I was flying first class back to Grand Forks.  By some small miracle I made it back to Grand Forks on time with the most major upset being that I wasn’t able to finish my Sandra Bullock comedy before we landed.

Since the end of February it’s been all work, all the time.  I’ve moved to Chief of Military Justice which is great because my focus now is completely on prosecutions and handling disciplinary actions and discharges which are my favorite things but they make life hectic.  People find new ways to get in trouble everyday and sometimes they just fall back on the same old ways such as drinking and driving.  Keeping busy with work keeps me distracted and makes the time move faster.  In about a month from now Kurt will be on his 6 month trip, Elizabeth will be married, and my cats may fear for my sanity.  I’m just hoping work will keep the time moving at a nice clip then too.

Thanks as always for tuning in and here’s hoping we all stay dry this spring.

Assault Course Pictures

January 24, 2009

Anna asked me to tell you all that she has been real busy the last few days and regrets not being able to put up a blog post herself. She did however let me send me some of the pictures from the assault course she completed the other day.

Also, as you know Anna is the Athletic Officer for her flight. And they won “Athletic Flight of the Week” this week, which as the title implies, means her flight did the best job during the athletic portion of the week. Obviously, it would have to be Anna’s motivational techniques and her ability to plan workouts that helped her flight win the award. This week they have a 5k run and the chance to hold on to the award for another week.

Well, without further ado, here are some pictures.


Anna in her PT gear, camel pack and reflective belt.


Anna dominating the parallel bars.


Some sort of rope… with elbow pads.


Cargo net. I already submitted Anna’s name for American Gladiators.


Up and over the wall.

UPDATE: Looks like I forgot to add some other pictures.


Anna didn’t want me to add this one. But I like it.


Saluting… like a pro… probably.


The whole flight.

Sorry I don’t have more information for you guys, but hopefully Anna can throw something up on the blog this weekend. Maybe ask some questions in the comments?