Sunday, August 15, 2010

What...we have a blog!?

It's been a very long time since we posted. If anyone still reads this thing, we're alive, I promise. It's been more than easy to let life get in the way. Work is going well for me, I moved my cubicle on Friday...for the sixth time since I started working there. Pretty soon someone is going to be stealing my red stapler and moving me to the basement. But at least I'm back to where I can look out a window and watch the married squirrels.

Jason is kicking butt and getting straight A's in grad school. Of course he is...he's a smart guy. And we now have to be on a strict budget until grad school is over. How strict? No new shoes strict. In theory that shouldn't be a hard thing to do. I mean, it would be for a relatively short period of time until Jason graduates and gets a much better paying job. And that should be a sacrifice that I should be more than willing to make in order for my hubby to be happy. But then I see these...

And I want them. Or these...

And I can't live with out them. Or these...

Every girl needs a pair of red satin pumps with a bow! Or these...

My life will not be complete until these are on my feet. So do you undertsand how hard this is going to be for me!? Two years from now when Jason has graduated my shoe collection will be two years out of date and I'll have two years worth of shoe buying to make up for. The thought is making my head spin. Lordy mercy.
In less overly dramatic news. A new pug has entered our lives. Trevor aka "T-bone". He came from the Ohio Pug Rescue (always use a rescue please) and he is a super sweet little guy. His head is about twice the size of Gus' so they look really funny standing next to each other. He's easy going and laid back and we haven't had one fight since he's been here. Granted that's only been a day...but still, I think he's going to fit right in to our little pack.

Now if only we could figure out why he incessantly licks!
Many of you may already know that my mom is now living with us. She's doing surprinsingly well given the unfortunate circumstances. Your prayers for some sort of resolution to the continuing family drama would be much appreciated at this point.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Corporate Retreat

This picture pretty much sums up the whole week. 25 property managers, two huge cabins, and four days of beer drinking, ping pong wars, and food fights. I was going to write about all the excellent fun we had and all the cool things we did. But no, I think I'll just leave it at this.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Antigua and such

It seems fairly rediculous that it's fourth of July weekend, and we've been home from vacation for over two months now and I'm still blogging about it. Sometimes life gets in the way.

Jason completed his first summer semester of grad school, straight A's of course. He's also attempting to quit smoking. I dangled motorcycle classes if he can go six months and a motorcycle if he can get through grad school. That's been a very tempting carrot for him to chase. He's also trying his best to get me to regret that decision. You never realize what kind of mood alterer nicotine really is until it's removed from the body. We have to relearn how to live together with tempers, and short fuses, and lot's of stress.

But I did promise swim up bars, zip lines and bees.

One of the "fun" things we did in Antigua was go about thirty minutes inland into the rainforest and zip line over the rainforest canopy. I tend to shy away from all things adventerous/dangerous/adrenaline infused, but I try to make exceptions for my adrenaline junky hubby. I was terrified during the whole safety briefing and harnassing. Soaring three hundred feet above the ground and through the tree tops....sweaty palms, racing heart, get me the hell out of here. Jason was in Jason heaven, just itching to get out on those lines. I have to admit it ended up being a lot of fun. After the first line, I felt safe and secure in the harness and started pushing myself off to even get more speed. Jason and I were having a blast!

Then we got to the last line. And no one was moving. At the other end of the line there was a huge nest of bees. Angry, aggressive, stinging type bees. Umm we were stuck on a platform in a tree fifty feet off the ground with no way to get down. Which meant we had to go back up the line we had just zipped down. Back UP. The workers pushed us out on the line as far as they could and then we literally had to hand over hand climb back up the line. Husbands went first and the workers pushed the wives next so that husbands could wrap legs around wives (we're weak and girly...or something) and hand over hand back up the line we went.

After that point I was sore and tired and beyond sweaty and just ready to go back to my poolside bar. But wait there's more. A rope adventure course! Down a thousand stairs we climbed so we could balance ourselves on various rope courses and work up even more of a sweat trying not to fall. Which meant of course that I fell. We had safety lines, so I didn't fall thirty feet to my peril. But my legs were all scraped up and sticking through the slates of the wooden bridge I was trying to traverse. I knocked Jason off the course completely in my attempt to steady myself, and the two workers are shouting different instructions to me "Grab your safety lines! Grab your safety lines!" I just sat there hanging almost upside down wondering how the heck do I drag myself vertical at this point. Needless to say I was not a happy camper and not so politely informed Jason that I earned a whole lot of brownie points for this little excursion. I actually did manage to pull myself up and finished the course with no more incidents, and then climbed back up those thousand stairs. And as soon as we got back to the resort nursed my wounds here,

The end.

Happy Fourth of July all, enjoy the beautiful weather.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Antigua Vacation Part 2

Jason and I had the privilage of doing many fun things while on vacation. I saw this thing sitting on the side of the beach and knew instantly that we just had to try it.

I mean it looks cool, right. Who wouldn't want to give it a try. We pedaled our little butts off, for sure thinking that we had gotten so far out in the ocean that our resort would be a tiny speck in the distant...we had traveled five feet. We were going against the current and the darn thing just wasn't efficient at traveling. It was pretty much at that point we said, "well at least we can say we tried it", and headed back to shore. And by heading back to shore I mean, letting the current bring us back in as we steered. But other activities proved to be much more fun and fulfulling.

Snorkeling by far was the most fun. We had been snorkeling once before on our honeymoon, and that time we were surrounded by a huge group of people and three other boats that also had huge groups of people. Not to mention the fact that there was only one fish that wasn't icky brown colored. But this time...this time was awesome. We went out to an actual reef with maybe ten other people. The reef was absolutely teaming with fish...literally we saw teams of fish!

Before Jason went to Iraq we invested in this heavy duty, crazy cool camera that could withstand extreme cold and hot and sand and impacts...and water. I must admit that I was very nervous jumping into an ocean with a camera that had no other protection other than a little note on the side saying it was safe at up to 10 meters depth.

But the camera didn't fail and Jason snapped away. We ended up pulling away from the rest of the crowd and it was just Jason, me, and our guide nicknamed Sharkbait. I don't know how safe I felt about that...But we spied the biggest puffer fish I had ever seen.

The thing had to be over a foot long. The coral all around us was gorgeous, and we made sure to be very respectful and didn't touch anything.

There was a lot to look at. We could have stayed out there all day exploring the ocean, but Sharkbait and our Captain "Squeaky" signaled us in after only thirty minutes.

Getting back into the boat was fun because they had thrown out food in an effort to attract some fishies.

This is me reaching out trying to touch one. The fish weren't too happy with that idea, for some reason they kept swimming away.

Part 3 will include swim up bars, ziplining, and bees!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Antigua Part 1

For one week we were in paradise. I miss paradise. Paradise didn't have sick dogs, or work, or school. Paradise didn't make us cook our own food, or pay for our own booze. I really miss paradise.

Needless to say, Jason and I enjoyed our vacation to Antigua. Our all inclusive resort was beyond beautiful, the staff was friendly, the food and drinks delicious...and we got a free upgrade to our room when we arrived...which meant...

Free stocked bar in the room!!! So we did the only natural thing after 14 hours of travel to get to this wonderful paradise...

We celebrated...

...and lounged. But after that long tedious day of airports and planes, we rested peacefully and awoke to this view.

So we weren't super close to the ocean, but that was ok. We were nestled in this wonderful little area with our own pool and surrounded by gorgeous tropical plants. It was quiet, and peaceful, and it was easy to forget that there were hundreds of other people spread throughout the resort.

And it was just a short walk to all the fun activity. There were seven different restaurants and two different swim up bars. When we weren't lounging on floaties in the pool soaking up the sun, we were stuffing our faces at all the restaurants. But it didn't matter where we were, the view was always spectacular.

This was my first time in the Carribbean, I had never seen water so blue, or crystal clear

We debated for quite some time about taking a vacation like this, and spending a significant chunk of money.

But after over 12 months of Jason and I being apart from each other I think this vacation to this paradise was more than justified.

Many more pictures and stories to come!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Princess Mimi

It's been well over a month since the last post, and this past month has been hectic to say the least. Jason and I have been readjusting to living together as a married couple, we've had a wonderful vacation, I had an insane corporate retreat, Jason started grad school, I went to the Jimmy Buffett concert, we had our sewer line replaced, and unfortunately we had to say goodbye to our little puggy Mimi yesterday.

Right before we left for our one week vacation in Antigua, we noticed that Mimi was becoming more and more picky about eating her food. As any good pug owner knows, a pug that won't eat is a sick pug.

But we didn't think too much of it. Then we returned to realize that now she would barely eat anything. Maybe she's just being really picky?

I traipsed off to my corporate retreat not worrying too terrible much. Sometimes her belly got upset and we just needed to find the right food to settle her stomach.

But when I returned from my retreat I noticed instantly that she was acting she didn't feel well. Over the past several months Mimi had become almost spunky. She had energy, she would run up the stairs, jump up on the couch all on her own, her little tail would twitch with joy when she heard her name called, she would follow me all over the house in the hopes that I would reach down and give her a little ear scratch. She had no fear and never let her complete blindness slow her down. I said many times that I could take life lessons from the blind, old pug.

But now she just stood there, she wouldn't come to her name, and she wouldn't accept any food.

We took her to the vet and they told us she had some liver disease. They were realistic but gave us some options. We could try antibiotics and steroids and it might help.

We were hopeful, and I tried not to think about the alternative. But after two weeks of treatment we didn't see any improvement. She was refusing food, and refusing her medicine. She started having trouble breathing and her little body was just giving up.

We put her to sleep yesterday evening. The vet reassured us it was the right thing to do. We didn't want her to suffer. She was such a blessing to me, even for the short time that I had her. I knew that she was very old and that she had had a very rough life before she came to me. I'm glad I got to spoil and love her for the time I was given. It was very hard for Jason and I to say goodbye to such a special member of our family. Goodbye Princess Mimi, I love you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

AHHH - My Own Bed!!!

Well all, there was plenty of drama yesterday to say the least. We were all finished on Thursday evening and they needed the night to type up our discharge orders as the last step. Then at about 10am Friday morning we were told that for some reason they had made all of our flights for SATURDAY!!! They said that they were "working to fix it and to try and get SOME of us out on Friday". But WTF!!!???!!! I have my own suspicions as to how it happened but we'll keep the story short. Basically, at about 1pm they came in with all of our flights fixed and I finally landed in Cincinnati (or, technically, Kentucky) at about a quarter till midnight last night.

I was so happy to see my wifey, and so happy to see my dogs, and so so so happy to finally spend a night in my own bed knowing that I could wake up whenever I wanted (or whenever the dogs wanted as it turns out) and that I didn't have to shave in the morning.

I do want to send a quick "shot out". When I was waiting for about 5 hours at the airport for my flight I swung over to the airport hotel bar for a quality burger and a couple drinks to pass the time. There a nice lady there stuck waiting for her family to fly in and we talked about everything under the sun, but mainly sports, for about 3 plus hours helping us both pass the time. So a shot out to Beverly for keeping me company and helping the time pass. And the next shot out is to the two anonymous bar patrons that paid for my burger and fries, as well as my three drinks. The only money I put down was a generous tip for the bartender in the end. Certainly a lot less than a burger meal and three drinks at a airport hotel would have cost. So thanks a million to those folks who showed your appreciation for my service by keeping me fed and "un-thirsty".

So all, I AM BACK!! Now I have a little over a month of built up leave to burn so I can still get paid so-to-speak for all the "honey-do" list items around here now. First order of business, putting up some lattice type sides on the back porch stairs. Mimi is learning how to climb the stairs but in her visually impaired state has already managed to fall off the edge once. So time to fix that up. Then on to the weeds :)

Take care all. And we'll keep you all posted on possible Memorial Day Weekend festivities.

God Bless America!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Today's the day

After some serious drama, Jason finally has a flight home!

I'll be picking him up at the airport close to midnight tonight.

But he'll be home tonight.

And the doggies will rejoice.

And so will the Natti

Thursday, April 15, 2010


The countdown is complete which means I should be rejoicing that Jason and I are together again. The only problem is, Jason and I are not together again. He's still at Fort Dix. He still doesn't know when he's coming home. Is it ok that I'm a little frustrated? Not with Jason of course, but I'm shaking my fist at the army right now. I just keep reminding myself that it could be much, much worse...his deployment could have been extended by months as opposed to delayed for days. That would be worse, and I would be in the loony bin.

Hopefully at some point tomorrow Jason should find out his flight time, and there's a very good possibility that he will still fly out I'll hold on to that possibility.

This whole week I've been running on pure adrenaline because my husband is coming home! The house has been cleaned top to bottom and I couldn't have been happier. I completely crashed today. I feel exhausted.

So everyone keep your fingers crossed that tomorrow will be our lucky day. LOL otherwise Jason will be renting a car and driving in from New Jersey.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Jason's safe in the United States. Anyone else feel like doing a happy dance?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Phase 3

A quick stop in Qatar and then on to the United States. Mr. J should be state side by midday Tuesday. Keep praying for safe flights and for Jason to be home by Friday. I think I'll go insane if I have to go another weekend without my hubby. I think there will be a very angry sergeant Hoyt if he has to wait another weekend too.

On a completely different topic, the Apollo 13 story always makes me cry. It's the fortieth anniversary of the event and I'm watching a Dateline special of the actual crew members and what they remember. To be brave and courageous enough to even fathom going into space and to the moon boggles my mind, but then to have the strength and fortitude to overcome the hundreds of obstacles they had to overcome to make it back to Earth...unbelievable. Can you imagine going four days with no heat, your food and water has frozen, and you can no longer expel your pee out of the space craft for fear that it will push you off course? Can you imagine the only thing between you and the endless vacuum of space is a craft that contains less computer technology than we now find in our cell phones? It's just so fantastic and heart-warming that human ingenuity can manage to get us into space at a time when it seemed impossible. So yes I'm a little bit of a nerd, I kind of believe that Star Trek could totally happen at some point in the future, and I'm totally proud to admit that I went to space camp twice.

I love Jason!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Phase 2

Jason had a several day layover in Baghdad before heading out of Iraq. By the time we all go to bed tonight he should be safe in Kuwait and finally out of Iraq. I'll feel much better knowing that he's finally out of a war zone. Originally April 15 was the absolute last day that he would possibly be back in we're praying that he'll be here on the 16th. Welcome to the US Army. If the date gets pushed back again there will be a very angry wife making her way to where ever her husband may be and bringing him home! But I heard from him just about an hour ago and he's safe albeit slightly bored and preparing to head to Kuwait very soon. Phase two of his homeward bound trip has begun...I'll keep everyone up to date for Phase three!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jason's coming home!

There was a good chance that he was going to fly out earlier today, but that didn't happen thanks to bad weather. But the forecast looks good for tomorrow, so he should definitely be on his way out of Iraq. And when I say tomorrow that really means like five hours from now.

Honestly it's taken me a couple weeks to really understand the fact that Jason is actually coming home. For the last twelve months all of my energy has been spent in not thinking about and not missing my husband, and now that it's so close I have to force myself to change gears and allow myself to be excited that the end is really near. It's not twelve months's ten days away. Blows my mind.

We'll keep updates coming as the ten day trek home begins.

Prayers and well wishes are greatly encouraged...Jason needs to get home to his family safely!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Big Finish

Well, I promised some pictures, so how about the ones from our going away party. We seem to have a party about every month or so to celebrate someone arriving to or leaving from the team. It could also be that we are always looking for an excuse to have a party and to make Kamil cook for us again. But this time it was OUR time to be sent on our way in grand fashion.

As usual, we typically have Iraqi food for our parties. This time a lot of the local Iraqi employees had their families (read "wives" in this culture) cook us food for our party. We had all kinds of good eats, to include Dolma (sp?) which is like the rice and meat stuff you would fill in a stuffed bell pepper, except that it is wrapped up in grape's wonderful.

Oh, and the two females are with the band. They were here for a huge ribbon cutting earlier that day so they got to join in the fun too. Not new members of the team.

What party wouldn't be complete without the requisite attempt by Steve on Oghale's life? I keep telling him though that the plastic forks won't do the trick. Once Steve recovers from the butt kicking that Oghale swiftly administered, I'm sure he'll be at it again.

During the night there was the obligatory semi-formal giving of speaches and gifts and such. One of the presents from the PRT as a whole were these huge photos of the pretty much the whole team and most everyone had signed them. Even the base commander left his mark. They're pretty just took a few days to figure out how in the heck we were going to mail them home. We basically had to cut up a bunch of boxes and make one big box for each one.

Also, the Iraqi staff gave us some gifts as well. I got what is supposed to be a brass replica of the oldest guitar in the world. LT got something that resembled a Christmas tree but it was supposed to be something else. You may also notice that we somehow convinced the Lieutenant that smoking cigars was cool during these pseudo-monthly parties. So here she is puffing away.

And what farewell party would be complete without a stirring speach by Dr. Khan, our local resident Chicago native engineer. He can sure give one heck of a speach and it's always hillarious with plenty of segways and non-sequitors. I swear to you at one point he said that "we had been here ten months and he was amazed that LT Neve wasn't pregnant". Or something along those lines pretty much. I swear to it - I couldn't make up this stuff if I tried.

Well folks...that's it for Iraq hopefully. In the next 24 hours I start hopping from one spot to another on my way back home. I wish I would have had more time and energy to blog, or at least for the internet to cooperate more often as well. But for those who have stayed tuned I'm glad that you did and I hope that I kept what is going on here in Iraq a bit more alive than the local media does for you. There are great things happening here and I think in the end this war is definately going to be seen as a success, especially by the troops and civilians who executed it and made it all happen.

This isn't signing off though. There will be other photos I'm sure once I get home and some more time. And who knows...maybe we'll even keep posting so that those of you far away can have some confirmation that we're still alive from time to time.

But for now, wish me speedy travels and safe pilots on our journey home.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The End Is Near!!!

And no, I'm not standing on a street corner dressed in a sandwich board sign proclaiming this news. But our replacemnts arrived yesterday night and today was our first full day of getting them trained up to replace us as seamlessly as possible. This won't be a long post, but it was too momentous to ignore and not let everyone know. The last few weeks have been pretty busy with training up the Navy replacements who arrived here at the beginning of the month and doing all the odds-and-ends logistical stuff to get us out of here as well. We also had our Team Leader replaced as well (scheduled change - he didn't get fired); so it's definately been a busy few weeks.

Now all we have to do is train these guys up for a week, pray for good weather for the flights out, and pray for a quick turn-around once we're are back at our Redeployment Center back home getting all the outprocessing stuff done.

Can't wait to get back home to the wife, dogs, friends, food, and of course - GRAD SCHOOL.

I'll keep you all posted...for now, off to coordinate the exit some more. Hopefully some photos and such this weekend.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Shooting and Love in the Desert

Yes, yes, I know, it's been forever and you thought I was dead or stopped carring about you all. But no, I promise that I'm alive and I promise that I still love you all. It's just been quite busy since I last wrote with all the post-holidays people returning from leave, gettting them all briefed up on what they had missed, preparing to go on leave myself, all the travel, the funeral, the time home spent with the wife (sorry - just wasn't thinking about blogging then, what can I say), all the travel back, and then all the catch up at work. It has been fairly exhausting.

Some of the highlights of the past couple months you have already read on the blog or maybe saw on TV (the night of February 7th anyone???). It's certainly been a full couple months. To start it off, we had about 50 percent of our staff I think out on R&R over the Christmas break. Granted I wasn't expected to fulfill all those lines of effort during that time. But there were certainly parts here and there that needed to keep some continuity while they were all out. So that added to a lot of the fun. Also, I was using about every waking minute that I could trying to catch up on all the other stuff that I had been meaning to "get around to". We did have a very nice New Years celebration here on the base though. All the folks who WERE here took up a collection to pay for food and we had a couple of our local employees cooking us some great Iraqi food for the night. Even though I was pretty tired we stayed up until 3am just chatting about life in Iraq, cultural items, crapped about work a little, and all the other random issues that one might discuss until 3am. Once everyone started filtering back in from their leave it was even more fun. I had about a half dozen folks that I needed to get up to date on everything I had done while they were out. There were tons of contracts to get either actioned or problems fixed which is what took most of my time. There were also duties to begin handing over to other folks as I prepared to go on R&R myself finally.

I will say, being the last person to go on R&R has great advantages. The first 9 months of this deployment have literally flown by. I was able to basically dive into everything head first from the get-go. Able to keep my nose to the grindstone the whole way. And only every once in a while would I come up for air long enough to see what the date was on the calendar, only to be amazed that yet another month had flown by without hardly noticing.

My leave, despite the passing of my grandfather, and maybe partly with it, was great. There is no way that I could have made it home in time for the funeral if I was in Iraq when he passed. So the fact that it happened 2 days after I was home is simply more proof that there is a Higher Power up there watching over us and having things happen according to His will. Paw-Paw was a great man and never one to complain a bit about his lot in life. He made due with what he had and taught others to do the same. His past two years were not ones without discomfort and inconvenience as he went through treatments for his throat cancer and the lingering effects of those treatments. But in the end his passing was truly unexpected and mercifully swift. There is litttle doubt that he felt no pain and probably never had the time to worry or be scared. It was truly a merciful end to what was a truly blessed and full life.

Paw-Paw was a huge Saints fan though and our only small regret was that while he did get to watch the heart-stopper of a NFC Championship game, he would never get to see the Saints actually play in the SuperBowl. However my logic is that in Heavn you will always be happy. So I'm just assured that he got to see the game anyway but from a great vantage point. And what a wonderful game it was. We were all a little nervous during the first quarter and were hoping that the Saints could shake the "big game jitters" before they fell too far behind. But once they did - WOW was it spectacular how they finished it off in the second half. I can't say that it was one of the most competitive games in history. The 1998 Rams v. Titans and the 2007 New England vs. Giants games still get that label. But holy makrel - the SAINTS WON!!! And that my friends - makes it the BEST SuperBowl ever, ever, ever, ever, ever!! And I would also like to point out that while she might have been paying more attention to Kevin and I than the game...I think this would be the first game that Natalie was in front of the TV the whole time. So kudos to her as well - I LOVE YOU HONEY BUNCHES!!

Well, on top of all the time I got to spend with Natalie which was truly a blessing since I got an extra 5 days of leave because of the funeral, and on top of the Saints winning the BIG ONE, and on top of us getting a tax return for the first time in 3 years, one of the last great things to happen on my leave was that I finally got the letter telling me that I was accepted to grad school. I was never really in doubt - but you can't count your chickens (or register for classes) till their hatched either so it was great to get that letter finally. My main course of study will be International Business, so hopefully in 2-3 years I'll be Mr. Jason Hoyt, MBA.

Upon return from R&R I was promptly informed that literally the next day we would be going to the range and that we'd be taking some of our Department of State folks out with us. They apparently get about a 4 hour block of basic instruction on how to fire a couple basic weapons before they come to Iraq (just in case they have to pick one up and fend for themselves) but it's one of those classes which isn't very informative and is easy to forget (as we learned when we started this range). Not to mention that they only get to shoot about 5-10 rounds per weapon. So we took them out to the Special Forces range where we go to shoot and "refreshed" their training...and added a little to it as well. However, this is also where things went horribly awry and I had my heart broken for the first time in the desert.

Here below is me trying to teach Dr. Khan, our resident engineer, how to fire the M-16 rifle. He's one of those guys who looks funny doing it, but in the end he still hit the target with suprising accuracy.

And here is me coaching and being a "safety" for Mr. Oghale, our USAID rep, as we practice walking and shooting at the same time. Like chewing gum and walking you may think - not quite so fast there. This is MUCH harder than you think I can pretty much guarantee. And even harder if your actually trying to hit the target. But all in all most of our crowd did pretty good even at this task...and no one shot themselves or anyone else which always spells success in my book. Also notice the brass being ejected from Oghale's rifle - this is Mike's camera being used here and it's absolutely an amazing camera.

Furhter proof of Mike's awesome camera. Not even Dr. Khan can screw it up - as he is the one taking this picture of Mike, our Governance Officer, taking his shots with the 9mm pistol. I love this shot. Slide action back, some smoke, and the brass casing flying backwards.

I also had to throw this one in there. This is me firing on three-round-burst. Open the picture and you can find all three cartridges in the air at the same time. Proof also as to how fast it fires those three rounds.

Natalie always accuses me of having a secret girlfriend every time I go on training exercises, as well as this deployment. Well, I have to admit, she was right. And we even brought her out to to the range with us. I figured I would teach her how to shoot just in case we got seperated in combat and she had to fend for herself. I mean - I do try my best to look out for the welfare of my women.

Here she is practicing shooting from the prone firing position. She had a little trouble managing the recoil at first given that her muscle and bone structure isn't exactly up to the task. But eventually she managed to get a few good shot groups in and felt fairly comfortable with the weapon.

However, wouldn't you know that once I turn my back the little tart starts running around with the other guys on the range. Thanks to Mike's quick shutter speed and crystal clear images I caught her cavorting around with Dr. Khan and Posada. She tried to tell me that they were just friends, but I know that look on her face and it says more than I need to know.

Later on I caught her with Schwanke as well. I tried confronting him about stealing my secret girlfriend. But then he reminded me that he can bench-press a Volkswagen and I knew that conversation was over.

So all, that's how my heart was broken in the desert. War is hell I tell you, war is hell.

Well, I'm glad that I could finally find the time (and energy I must admit) to hop on the computer and catch you all up on some of the fun of the past couple months. It's certainly been a crazy time - but still a good one. And the best part is, I only have about a month to go until I'm boarding a plane for Kuwait and then home. Keep your eye on that countdown timer because it's pretty much spot on as to when I should be walking into my front door.

For now - time to call the wifey and try and decide if I want to stay awake to watch the gold medal hockey match betten the US and Canada. Go North America - yeah!!!