Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Iraq

Welcome back loyal readers. I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving
meals and time with family and friends. I also want to reassure everyone
that the same thing happens here as at home…there was a lot of leftover stuffing
for Thanksgiving night and all of Friday.

Speaking of Thanksgiving food, the fare here wasn’t too bad at all really. The turkey was pretty decent, the stuffing wasn’t bad once it was doused in gravy (as all stuffing is), and to top it off there was a cocktail shrimp bar that I did my best to demolish as best I could manage. But the real story here on “The FOB of Choice” wasn’t the food really…it was the decorations. I mean, I knew it would be interesting. For most holidays there are some streamers and some red, white and blue stuff strewn about. For Halloween there were even some large “scary” things that almost resembled American Halloween decorations. For Thanksgiving though I must say it was quite a spectacle. Let me be honest, the intent is great and I give the food services contractor an “A” for effort. But really, if you take a bunch of Indian expatriate workers and try to explain the “theme” behind the Thanksgiving Day decorations you want…well, it’s sure to be an adventure. SO – let the adventure begin.

The main decoration display, I must say, was pretty good and on-target. Below is a picture of the “centerpiece” of the Dining Facility (DFAC) was this huge display of food, fruit, cakes, and a large cornucopia at the top.

And there was even a ship on one side. I mean, the pilgrims did come here by ship…so that works.

I will say though, the strange thing is that the cakes all over the place never got cut all night long. But that’s not nearly as strange as some of the other ideas they had. Speaking of the cakes, I’m not exactly sure what’s going on here…but I think the title is “rejected lover” or maybe something much more sinister. I’m just not sure.

But let’s move on a bit shall we. For some reason this display here makes me think of G.I. Joe’s lair. Or at least, if I had been near as creative as a kid this is what I would have made for my G.I. Joes to play on. Also, the little guys you see in the middle are supposed to represent each of the different services…apparently they are all lined up for execution. What the heck, it is Iraq I guess.

Oh, and for some reason some astronaut was busy invading the scene as well. Maybe he was a zombie astronaut there to save the military folks. Who knows.

There was also a nice bread display which featured many interesting bread animals. My favorite was this one right here. If it was art I think it would be titled “The Gator Ate Your Baby!!”

And where would Thanksgiving be without some kind of elephant pagan god?

Last but not least…where would the Army be if they weren’t out to torment your soul as much as possible? You see, U.S. Dept. of Defense policy is (essentially) that alcohol is not allowed in combat zones. Never mind that every other military in the world that anyone knows of allows its members to conduct themselves as adults. But to make the matter even BETTER they like to tease us ceaselessly with fake beer and “sparkling cider”. Don’t let the sign below fool you – it’s just a mirage suitable for the worst desert environment…not a vendor cart at Wrigley by any stretch.

Well all – that was Thanksgiving on FOB Delta. Unfortunately I won’t be going as soon as I thought to visit our 4.7 million dollar project so those photos won’t be as soon as I wanted to. But don’t fret all. Another post will be coming soon. I already have some great ideas.

Little known family members

So everyone has met my three fabulous puppies. But you may not know that Jason and I actually have some other pets as well. This is Chompers

He's a dwarf hamster. I got him about two months ago because I'm a sucker for small furry woodland creatures.

It may seem a little odd, but I actually keep him at work with me. With as crazy and stressful as work gets on a regular basis, it's nice to take a break and watch Chompers chomping away at things. And boy does he love to chomp...fingers, nuts, pens, pretty much anything you put close to his cage. We actually gave him an official work title, Chompers the Chief Operating Hamster. So far everyone at work has been really understanding...I kind of expected odd stares and whispers about the crazy hamster lady. But I think as long as he doesn't end up escaping and reaking havoc throughout the office Chompers is welcome.

We also have a fish, meet Galahad the Goldfish...

That's right, I said Galahad. So this is actually goldfish number 2. Frankie the fish died about three weeks ago...I feel a little bad that I didn't get any pictures of him. He was a present from Sgt Hubby...because not only am I sucker for furry woodland creatures, but I'm also a sucker for goldfish. And I never quite got over my high school goldfish, I had him for several years and when I went away to college my parents forgot to feed him and he eventually died. It was very traumatic. But I'm crossing my fingers that Galahad will have a long and happy life. And no post would be complete with out gratuitous dog pictures.

Gus in all of his sleeping glory.

Edgar in all of his fruitcake-iness. He has reindeer antlers on his head...he's ready for Christmas!!!!

And Sammy and Gus taking a nap together. They are best friends!!! Mr. Gus really loves his Sammy.
So basically I'm filling the house with animals to keep me company while Jason is gone. I don't know if there will be any room for Jason when he does come back! Only 135 more days, I'm getting anxious!!!!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Just dropping a quick note to everyone to say Happy Thanksgiving. It's been a crazy week or so but I promise I'm alive. I have some good pictures of our dining facility that was all decorated today and we had some good food. Also hoping to have some pictures next week of our 4.5 million dollar project that we have going here.

For now - Oakland lost (no suprise) and it's 3:30 am so I'm going to bed.

Love everyone - hope to post some pictures soon.



Sunday, November 22, 2009

I heart Jacob Black

(just don't tell Sgt Hubby, ok...?)

New Moon was fabulous!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Welcome to Operation Gratitude-Support Our Troops-Care Packages for Military - Volunteer Hours & Donor Delivery Information

Welcome to Operation Gratitude-Support Our Troops-Care Packages for Military - Volunteer Hours & Donor Delivery Information

Horray for Care Packages

Hello there all!!

Ok, I have to admit, I’m done apologizing for the infrequency of my updates. It’s madness around here and it seems that for every one thing I get done, two more pop up. Not that I’m complaining. Time is absolutely flying by thankfully. And as an added bonus, my veins and arteries should be twice their size by the time I leave this place from the constant increases in blood pressure. That will help me be more cardiovascularly fit – right?

Anyhow, this is a fairly simple update that I keep promising to multiple people. It’s the proof that we got your care packages! That’s right, your gifts have not been lost by the military postal system – just temporarily delayed by a couple weeks in most cases. And I will tell you right now that I thank each and every one of you for not sending any perishable good or meat products, especially any in leaky cellophane wrappers. Also, I must say that while cookies and candy are nice as we find in most care packages…I have seen some pretty creative stuff as well and the staff here appreciate it. So without further ado – let’s get to the easy to read part….PICTURES.
Below is a picture of one of the first packages I received from non-family members. This one was a “mystery” package that arrived out of the blue from the American Legion post in Kentucky. One of the best parts of this was really the Skyline and Gold-Star Cincinnati chili in the can. Folks from all over the globe now understand why I have to run on a regular basis…because I keep going back for more!!!

This next package is a package from my friends at the Health Department containing tons of books. I don’t know of a single one that didn’t find at least one reader…most have been circulating to more than one. My personal favorite – “No Touch Monkey”. A book about things learned NOT to do during international travel.

This next box here is from all the great kids down in “I didn’t know you could go south from New Orleans” Plaquemines Parish Louisiana. They all sent me cards too which were very nice and thoughtful. But for now, just enjoy the picture of me enjoying the goodies. And to that nice girl who was born on the best day of the whole entire year – October 4th – “HELLO FROM IRAQ – AND HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY.”

Also, between the 2 lb. bag of Community Coffee in this box, and the few dozen pounds that my dad sent me in another shipment, this work site has the best java in all of Iraq…and plenty of it. There is very little more refreshing to me (and another south Louisiana native working here) to have the taste of Community Coffee to wake us up in the morning, and to keep us going through the night when we’re up at 3 or 4 am to watch the Tigers or the Saints.

Speaking of which – all you people who are saying “This is our year” had better be knocking on some serious oak wood and then HUSH!! There will be no jinxing it! We’re just going to keep winning “one game at a time” like the good Mr. Peyton says, until the season is done. That’s it – “one game at a time!” No jinxing or I’m going to sick my maw-maw and her famous gris-gris on you all!!!

OK, now that that’s settled, this next box down here is from all the good kids (and I think a couple of the 50-50 ones) at Zion Lutheran Church. Up until I got the last package from my dad – I think this one had the lead for the most sugar per pound of any box. And it was all of course scarffed up in record time…especially the Rice-Krispy treats. I didn’t realize they were ever in the box until I looked at the photo. Somewhere between the camera flash and the box going back on the table they were gone I think.

Last but certainly not least – those who know my dad know that no simple box of food type stuffs would suffice. Thankfully we share the same sometimes sick, sometimes dry, but always highly intellectual sense of humor. So in addition to the snacks and candy, he also sends copies of the World’s Greatest News Source – The Onion. If you don’t know what that is then you haven’t lived. But that’s ok, you can start now by visiting You can thank me later - after the hernia operation.

Oh – and Emma – I have secretly stashed the Danielle Steel books in random unsuspecting male individuals’ bookshelves. I will dime them out later in as public a fashion as I can. I’m sure this was not your original intent for mailing them…but I am my dad’s son and I think it’s a stellar idea and helps to stave off monotony, so thanks.

OK – next edition, maybe I’ll share how yours truly almost got sent up for a possible Courts Martial. Yep, no kidding. Apparently lawyers in the Army like to find out how much they piss people off just as much as lawyers in the real world like it. And if you know my generally even temper – that gives you ALMOST a clue how pissed I was. But then again, I guess managing 9 million U.S.D. in projects isn’t supposed to be easy.

For now – off to do whatever in the heck I want. I’m finally on my 4 days of R&R so I plan on sleeping and exercising a lot, followed by plenty of TV and some more sleeping. Only 2.5 more months till I come home for leave, and 5 more months till I come home for good!!

Take care all – and….