Thursday, December 30, 2010

The wheels on the bus go round and round.

A wonderful family we have the privilege of knowing invited Lillian and me to look at some of Nashville's greatest Christmas decorations at the Opryland Hotel the day after Christmas. This grand hotel recently reopened after the floods in May. I was very excited about this opportunity. This family travels in their own bus! I was as excited, if not more, about the bus ride than the destination. Old Man Flake did a great job getting us there and back with such a beast to drive.

The bus is needed with this bunch. To date the family count is as follows:

Twelve children
Five child-in-laws
Four foster children, a recent and unexpected addition
Nine grandchildren (I think), with two more on the way

And then they invited the two of us! It was awesome. We all fit nicely. And I do mean all. Everyone was there! We were quite the parade going through the hotel ogling at the lights inside and out.

Thank you Flakes!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Lillian received a book from her cousins today. She loves books. She'll bring them to me all day long. I've recently caught her flipping through her favorite jungle book while doing her lion roar. "Baaawwh!"

Lillian loves her new book. Though my voice is on vacation somewhere warm without me we read it six times in twenty minutes. How she heard me is a mystery.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Parthenon

As everyone else is appropriately blogging about Christmas I am trying to play a little catch up on recent events.

While my sister was visiting we patronized Nashville's own Parthenon. It's the world's only full size replica and has an interesting history in it's own right. Built to last only 6 months during the world fair in 1930 it was refurbished much later to stand in the glory that it is today.
The double brass doors on each side of the building are 24 ft tall 6 ft wide and a foot thick. They weigh 7.5 tons each! They were very impressive. I'm lamenting that none of my pictures show the scale of these beautiful doors that were made in 1930 in Long Island, New York.

The 42 ft Athena wasn't added till the 90's.

It's an impressive building surrounded by a beautiful park complete with reflection lake. It was a great November day for a picnic.

I hope anyone visiting the Nashville area gets a chance to see this wonderful structure and the art museum they've added on the main floor.

Guy Fawkes Day

Who loves bonfires?
Ooh, me, me, pick me!
Really, who doesn't love bonfires?

They are warm and bright on a cold dark night. A gathering place for friends. A beautiful pit of crackling and popping in the midst of a quiet evening. They're great!

Thus Guy Fawkes Day is a great day to celebrate. Not only do you build a bonfire you get to build Guy Fawkes. Then BURN him! Mwaahaaha!
Here is my Guy Fawkes Fire. For those of you who are in-the-know this takes place on November 5th. Which shows what a slacker I am in updating our blog.

Here is one of the kindly firefighters putting out my fire. Party crashers! I've learned a valuable lesson in this. Invite all your neighbors to the celebration. That includes the ones that live through the woods, over the river (creek) and across the fields. Yes, invite them before they erroneously report a house on fire. Thanks guys. Love you too.

To my smug satisfaction it took "Clarksville's I-fight-fires-for-a-living" over 30 minutes to put my fire out. With my previously prepared and nearby water hose and my water that I pay for. Again thanks for that. During this 30 plus minutes of praise for a well built fire, apologies for ruining an obviously harmless event and watching my beautiful creation dwindle to smolder my concern for our surrounding community increased greatly. These so called fire fighting machines failed to scatter the logs (in my ample fire pit) to remove the hot spots. Which resulted in a nice little camp fire within a few hours.
We were able to scorch our Guy Fawkes after all.

RIP Guy. It's been fun. See you next year with a few more neighbors present and less flashing lights in the driveway.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Terrific Athlete.

No, not the Homestar Runner. And not me either. If I hadn't broken my camera doing something silly you would see me standing with Mr. Lance Armstrong. Instead you can see a picture of two very fuzzy people and my word that it's us. But it is. He and Robbin Williams stopped by our little patrol base the other day to say hello. They probably had a more organized agenda than that, but I don't know what it was. But it was neat to meet them and chat for a minute.

Posting a picture of a fuzzy man that I say is Lance Armstrong is my way of announcing to The Internet that I have officially started my pre-training training for the marathon I am running on April 30th in Nashville. Today I went to a spin class to ease in with some low impact endurance exercise. Low impact my butt. My heart nearly exploded! Our danish cycling instructor had us going up and down hills and pyramids and fighting pirates and all kinds of craziness. How all that was accomplished on stationary bikes is hard to explain. Like the photo, you just have to believe me: there were pirates. Tomorrow its going to be a 5 or 6 mile jog. Like I said, easing into it.

I'm following the Furman Institute of Running Science and Training program for my race prep- I know you're all dying to know that. Three run days a week, two or three days and week of low-impact cardio. I'll post how its going on Facebook so anyone who wants to can follow along with the agony and the ecstasy. It would be great if one of you readers out there took the plunge with me! Your not dead yet, but you aren't getting any younger either- Go for it!! The real training starts on January 8th, 16 weeks before race day.

Peace out.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

We love Babies!

Lillian's cousin count increased by TWO this month. One on each side of the family. They are both beautiful additions to their families.
Here is handsome Henry born earlier this month.
This angel is Charlotte. Who entered the world earlier this week.
Dave and I are excited for our siblings as they begin parenthood. We look forward to meeting these bundles of joy and introducing our baby/toddler to them.
My siblings recently discovered where babies come from. The baby button! Here's a link to this insightful event.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm Thirty!

Wow, another year older. How about that! Three decades old.

Thanks to my family, friends and all well-wishers for the emails and letters and care packages. They are all very appreciated.

As some of you (few) readers may have heard from Dad, I had a crappy mission on my birthday and one of my patients died. I don't want anyone to be over-worried about me, I am doing fine. It is unfortunate but sometimes it happens. I have a lot of supportive friends here that I can talk about these kinds of things with- they're my fellow flight medics and they all know what it's like.

In this particular incident the patient what a middle-aged Afghan who was severely injured in some kind of vehicle-related accident. When I got to the aid station that he was being treated in, he was already doing very poorly. Things went downhill from there as we secured an I/O (like an IV that is drilled into the bone) sedated and paralyzed him, intubated him, performed chest decompressions, connected an assortment of machinery to him and moved him to the helicopter. On the flight back his heart stopped and my crew chief and I performed CPR and ran a full cardiac code on the patient until we reached the hospital about 20 minutes later. By that time there wasn't anything left to do and the attending doc called it.

A few days before that I had evac'ed a 6-year old boy that suffered a terrible fall and later died of his injuries. On Thanksgiving we picked up an 11-year old who suffered multiple gun-shot wounds he received accidentally (I assume) from American soldiers. Both later died in hospitals from their wounds. It is very sad.

It is not normal for me to have that many fatal casualties in such a short period. But, sometimes that is the way the dice rolls. Thankfully most of the patients we take are not so bad off and they can eventually be healed. We have flown over 3200 missions as a company in the last 10 months and have been able to do a lot of good for a lot of people. I don't feel sorry for myself because this is the job I wanted and I have enjoyed doing it. Also, this is what real life is like for the people who live here and other impoverished and difficult places. In the end, I get to go home and live wherever I wish and do whatever I want. These kind of experiences are bitter but brief and help me to really appreciate all the blessings I have like my family and country, and especially my faith in God and his plan.

On the other hand, I have had many very happy experiences this week as well. I have received a mountain of mail- including more peanut MandM's that I could eat in a year. I have had a lot of down time to relax and goof off at sites away from KAF and it's rules and high ranking officers. I became an uncle again. I (with permission) threw a pie in my battalion commanders face- not something that happens every day. So things are not all doom and gloom in the world of Dave Harrell. Things here are the way they normally are for everyone: fine with little bursts of really crappy and really great.

Also, I wanted to let my family and friends know that I really appreciate all the support and love- they keep me sane. And your prayers for me- I know they keep me safe.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Many Halloween parties were to be had while we were in Alaska. We love us some Halloween parties! There's a great costume shop near my parents home known to only a few. A lady has an extensive collection in her three car garage. No cars. Hardly any standing room either. We found a little duck costume for Lillian that served us well for the first party. This gave us (my mom) enough time to make her costume for the last party a week later. A party with a fabulous bon fire and fireworks!
Thank you to all my siblings who had wonderful parties and amazing food. Thank you to my mom for making the adorable panda costume. We had a great Halloween!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

First Birthday

Our baby is a year old! OK, actually she's closer to 14 months by now. But back in October when these pictures were taken she had her first birthday.

We were blessed to enjoy her birthday with family in Alaska. It was great! We celebrated a duo birthday bash and birthday breakfast with grandma Cathy. Who shares birthdays with baby dearest. Which is way fun. Then we shuffled over to my parents place for MORE birthday cupcakes, paper ripping and blowing out candles. What a fun day!

For lack of a better time, I am announcing baby's internet name here.


It might seem silly to give her an internet name now that's it been a year. It's also silly to keep referring to her as baby. She may not appreciate that name in the future. She may not appreciate us using her given name in this medium in the future as well. Thus we have Lillian. Sweet, fun, baby Lillian.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This is Me on April 30th, 2011.

Today I registered for the Nashville Music City Marathon. You are all welcome to join me and watch the free entertainment. By that I mean the music and festivities, not me barfing. But hey, I don't judge. Whatever floats your boat.