I’m currently enjoying some blissful time alone in the hotel room after a day of playing Army. I’m sitting at the desk chair and watching an episode of Forensic Files on HLN. I’ve already seen all the episodes, but it’s my routine to watch a murder mystery show before bed. These military weekends are a mixed bag. Sometimes they run smoothly and people generally do what they’re supposed to do. Other times I’m putting out fires and failing to meet “suspenses.” My involvement in the Army Reserve gives me an outlet that I don’t have in other aspects of my life. It provides a balance. For instance, most of the soldiers are male, whereas I have three daughters at home and most of the college students in my courses are females. For that matter, there’s a greater mix of ethnic groups in the Army, and this diversity makes things more interesting. Also, soldiers interact with one another and communicate in ways different from academics. Part of this distinction has to do with military protocol and culture, of course; but I’m sure the social background and educational level of the soldiers are also factors. Anyway, these last eight years of Army have been quite a roller coaster ride, taking me outside my comfort zone but giving me some invaluable experiences.