Friday, January 18, 2008

Getting Over New Year’s Resolutions

A very belated Happy New Year. A long enough break that you AND I have successfully blown any chance of keeping our New Year’s Resolutions … you know, like promising myself that I’d go back to weekly blog entries! Ha! I’m sure resolutions are only made to make one’s self feel relieved when you finally have broken them and are free of that yoke to go out and live your life renewed inside, that at least you’ve made a resolution to start with, broken it and ready to carry on with life again. Wow, what a run-on sentence! But it’s the thought that counts … or so I’m told.

Well, in my little break here, some good things have actually come about with the bringing in of the New Year. I’ve been given back my fangs and cape and am back on night shift. Wooo-hoooo! I’m oh so much more at ease with life when I’m on nights. Waayyyy too many self-important boobs running around with their entourages during the day.

But along with the shift change, comes the inevitable “jet lag” of getting the old bod back to that schedule. And no, as a matter of fact, I haven’t been running, but thanks for noticing. It has been damned cold here lately. I just don’t have the spandex outfits and gloves for this type of cold weather! :) Truth be told, AAFES has quite the racket going as they are only stocking some friggin warrior gloves at $85-$95 a pop.

“We go where you go” is their motto because they know they got you by the short ones with lack of selection and inflated prices! A marketer’s wet dream (sorry Laura and Tanuja!) Make ‘em pay till they hurt! I’ll take frostbite rather than pay those AAFES thieves. It’s just the principle of it. They are supposed to be here FOR the soldiers but in their eyes, they are here to take the soldiers for all they’re worth then brag on how good they are to the community by “giving back” millions of ill-gotten dollars for pet MWR projects back in Europe.

As I was saying about the weather here, we better get ready for the end of the world cuz I think Hell froze over last week when we had copious amounts of white fluffy snowflakes flying through the air here. Although the news claims that this was the first time in 100 years, I seem to remember seeing a couple flurries back in Jan of 2006. No, I was not hallucinating and no, my mind isn’t failing me. The greater Baghdad area probably didn’t see them like we did on this side of town. Unlike last week where it was coming down pretty darned good. I’m not talking a Chicago or Buffalo type snowfall, but enough in the air to amaze the locals. Not anything that made you want to drop on the ground and make snow/sand angels or anything of that sort.

Also in the last week, Lance and I were walking to evening chow when overhead I heard a whoooosh, then a boom! Hummm, that was a bit closer than we’re comfortable with, wasn’t it? Gotta admit that the old boy beat me to the prone position on the asphalt. He might be over 50, but he still has the reflexes of a cat! The big voice must have had its mouth full, cuz there wasn’t any warning of “Incoming” on that one. Once we got into the hand washing stations at the chow hall, THEN the big voice went off again as another one flew overhead in a suicide clash with a concrete T-wall on base.

The weather has still been unseasonably cold for Baghdad. I guess I can’t complain as we’ve also had a bunch less rain than usual too. We had a good full day of rain last week that still has mud sitting around here. Funny thing is that the night temps are below freezing, but the puddles of mud don’t freeze up. I guess the ground here gets warm enough during the day to prevent it.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped KBR from ripping up all the stones they put down earlier in the season to prevent us from having to walk in the mud. They have cranes all over the place swinging 14 foot tall T-walls into place in all the living quarters. They can’t do this stuff when the soil is hard as a rock and there is no mud around. Wait till it is muddy as hell and you can rip things up all the better! KBR is always challenging themselves to be the civilian oxymoron of “military intelligence”!

I’ve been occupying myself lately on a reading binge. Got done with Wicked. Much different from the Broadway play. In fact, a nearly complete rewrite of the story. Guess now I’ll want to read Son Of A Witch next, but not right away. I have such a freaking library here already I’m wondering how I’ll get through them before retirement. Also just finished this week Maartin Troost’s, Getting Stoned With Savages. What a roar! I love his writing style and the way he tells a story. The guy is someone whose style that if I ever can get my sh*t together from my Antarctic and Iraq experiences, I would love to emulate.

I’ve just started Catcher in the Rye. It hasn’t been too torturous yet, but I’m getting that feeling that I may tire of it soon. I read ten pages of My ‘Dam Life by Sean Condon, but wasn’t in the mood for another “uproot my life and move to a completely different society on the other side of the earth” type book just yet, so I picked up Catcher in the Rye. I may be sorry for that one. And this week I also received a belated Christmas present book from my buddy in Korea. He sent me Ken Follett’s World Without End. Another 1000 pager by Mr Follett. I’m thinking that might be for my trip home in Feb/Mar.

Speaking of which, the cruise to Cabo has been postponed. I’m disappointed, but not. I was seriously thinking of waiting to go home until April, but now that the thought of going home at the end of Feb was already bouncing around in my head, I’m thinking about going home anyway … but just not spending a fortune while I’m home. Alright, ALRIGHT already, you can pick yourself off the floor now. So I like to shop a little bit when I’m home. Someone has to keep the economy going … you all certainly aren’t doing your share from the news I’m reading back home! At least I have that excuse of pent-up consumerism from being away from the real world to use. ‘Course with gas at $3.40 per gallon back home, that might hurt the pocket book a tad bit.

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