Friday, December 28, 2007

Joyeux Noel, Froehe Weihnachten, Merry Christmas

25 December 2007

Greetings came in this year from all over the world. I heard from two of the three AFS kids I liaised from Italy and France, friends in Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland, not to forget all my family and friends back home scattered to the winds in Arizona, New Mexico, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, New York, Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Maryland. Even my doggie Cayenne wrote me a card this year! What a sweet old Girl! Thank you again to all those at Salem Lutheran Church in Peoria, my congregation away from home. I am certainly blessed to have so many people keeping me in their prayers and thinking of me over here over the holidays.

Yet another Christmas in Iraq. This makes number 4. I called my old friend Eve and we did lunch together at the Sports Oasis Chow Hall for the big day. We ended up running into Jocelyn there too, so that made three of us old “NOSCer’s” having Christmas lunch together. Eve started in Oct of ’03, Joc in Kuwait in Oct of ’03 then over to Victory in March of ‘04 and me in Feb of ’04. There are still a few of us old farts running around here who remember what it was like in the old days at Victory with the old trailer chow hall, no sidewalks, no Hesco barriers or concrete T-walls, no ID checks to get into the PX or the chow halls. Days of shortages of everything at one point or another. If you see it in the PX, better hoard it…you never know when of if you’ll ever see it again! Boy how the years pass so quickly.

Typical Christmas feast…shrimp and sauce in the center table surrounded by carved melons and veggies, turkey, stuffing, yams, corn, carrots, the works! Table cloths and fine paper napkins with Christmassy paper place mats and paper holiday trees on the tables. I bit kitchy, but the mood was there.

My afternoon off (my normal day off, not for the holiday per se) I decided to watch a movie my sister sent me…Santa Claus 3. I had just watched SC2 the day before, so that worked out well. I have been watching the classics over the past couple of weeks. You know, two different versions of Scrooge, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, Call Me Claus (Whoopie Goldberg is a Scrooge-like QVC exec who hates Christmas and becomes Claus), Drummer Boy and of course, Elf!

I had almost dropped off for a nap late in the afternoon, but woke up to the Big Voice screaming, “Incoming, Incoming, Incoming!” “Incoming, Incoming, Incoming!” Which is my cue to get on the floor. With no protective barriers at the one corner of my trailer, it would really spoil my week if I got hit by shrapnel coming through that unprotected corner. Better to be safe than sorry. Do the 60 count laying on the floor and usually the Big Voice comes back saying, “All Clear, All Clear, All Clear. This is the Command Post, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Basically, an “As you were; go about your normal mundane existence here.”

I think that something landed somewhere cuz I saw a plume of smoke off north of here. Of course that might be the burn pile over on Liberty on fire again, but who knows. The compressor for my A/C slash heater clunks on and off so loudly that you never know if something landed, if someone knocked on the door or if incoming just impacted!

I scored pretty big this year on the Christmas scene. Both my sisters, my Gram and my Aunt and Uncle sent stuff this year. Not to mention that Phil’s Mom and her evil-wonderful six tins of homemade Christmas cookies helped me pack on about six pounds! I did manage to share a bunch of what was sent…once or should I say if, I got it out the door! I shared stuff with my coworkers, but also with the Indian and Nepalese coffee guys at the Green Bean and with the Filipino laundry people too. AFFES and KBR don’t pay them squat and they really appreciate when you share with them. They have to work 7 day weeks too, they aren’t on our five day schedule. AAFES and KBR can be real stingy when it comes to unskilled workers and pay.

Well, time for bed. Christmas is almost over and I’m about ready for bed. No nightmares of sugar plums, please! I don’t want to choke on my vomit in my sleep! A Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night.
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