Sunday, July 31, 2005

Another "TAG" from Enrique

Man, why didn't he give me this tag first - this one rocks! Literally. I too seem to be a bit of a r&r music lover... but really - I like music like I like people - I either love it or hate it. So, I will try to limit it to 10... that is SO hard (I feel like... 10 when I say that.).

1. Cowboy Mouth (I heard them today - much love to the military dj who played it!)
2. Bush
3. Cake
4. Norah Jones
5. Susan Tadeschi (Sorry Sue - I think I slaughtered you last name... I'll look it up and fix it later though. - AND REALLY SHE IS #1 ON MY LIST.)
6. Stevie Ray Vaughn
7. Diana Krall
8. 7 Mary 3
9. Enigma
9.25. SmashMouth
9.5. Enya
9.75. PapaRoach
10. Jewel
10. Metallica

OK - there they are my favorite 10. Thanks Erik - LOVED THAT!

A little smile

How did I know... I visited this afternoon and guess what little treasures I found there? Well, besides another version (silver plated or sterling silver.. I forget) of the ballscratcher I also found out that this UK company is selling acres of the MOON, MARS and VENUS. Isn't that just a unique little gift? How is stock on property on the moon doing these days? Are property expenses going up? You can buy an acre for something close to $15 (USD). Mars and Venus though are a little more expensive? Hmmm, wonder why that is. Seems it should be the other way around... Given, Mars and Venus are further away, so they probably don't have the same gangsta' problems, horrible commute times, and sanitation problems that the moon does. But lets face it - the property values should be cheaper on Mars - NO WATER - hello - NO INDOOR PLUMBING!! At least on the moon the russians can even make a water delivery. Seriously though, if anyone has Donald's (Trump) number they might want to give him a call and tip him to the sale on the moon acreages.

OOOOH, they also had a Hot Plate & 4 port hub USB gizmo. Gotta' get one of those. It'll keep my coffee hot while I am bloggin', writing papers for my classes (YEAH, I will be starting my senior year when I get back!). A USB connection can do all that? WHO KNEW? I love those rascally europeans! All the more reason to kill all the terrorists in the world, as far as I am concerned.

** Just so y'all know... the farewell went well. It was as short & sweet as possible, so I am only sun & wind burnt slightly. Curt & Erik were great - they had a lot if pre & post BBQ tasks to do. THANX!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Enrique's Tag

OK - Here they are...

*Muscular shoulders - I like a guy who makes me feel secure.
* Seeing my kiddos laugh with/at their daddy.
* Watching Johnathan laugh
* A gorgeous smile
OK - I am in Iraq... maybe I should make the TURN ONs list once I get back home and remember what that is.

TURN OFF: (this is the easy part, I have been subjected to them for the past year!)
* wimpy-ness (in character, personality, ethics, morals)
* stupidity/ignorance
* hypocrisy
* hoochie-mama/pimp daddy dressin'
* trying to be something you are not (frontin', posers)
* sleaziness
* blatant liars
* b.o. (ok - I am pretty use to this after the temps here for the last 2 months)
* just not taking care of yourself... you know the ones who have toilet mouth (we are not talking about swearing)

OK - in all honesty... I just don't think about these things that much. I either like ya' or I don't. I don't pretend, I don't sugar-coat... and I don't kiss butt - I treat ya' nice if you are worth it. I am not someone who thinks that you should tell everyone how great they are (lie) - I believe you should recognize the people in your life who mean something to you, who friendship is valued and respected by both sides, whose personalities align with your own morals. Stand for what you believe in, IS THAT SO HARD? (Sorry, it is still Saturday)


So I haven't posted anything recently... I will get to the "tag, your it" Erik gave me later. I have to spout for a moment about the past week. It's not going to be funny - so if your looking for a laugh try me again tomorrow.

Here's the thing... I am getting ready to go home. That means that I am going back to the people I love and cherish the most. The people who have managed through thick and thin, to make it without their momma, his one-and-only Heather - me for a year now. My children and Johnathan mean the world to me - not this job and not some menial detail like picking up cigarette butts (no, I am not a smoker) and ribs (you've sat there and looked at it for 2 weeks and NOW you are asking ME to pick it up - who needs help with this picture?). Fine I did the police call for the Farewell you are throwing me. Yeah, there is just something a little funky with that picture. The other two who are leaving with me had to go pick up all the food, beverages and ice for the party that is being thrown for them. Is it just me or is there something a little off with this picture? Why does this bother me so much? I guess it is just the fact that one of the personnel acts like he is doing us this BIG favor by doing this. A) We didn't ask for a party - as a matter of fact we asked for something more subtle - like a movie night with popcorn and sodas - where the people we actually liked and appreciated could just hang out and have a relaxing evening with us. (Actually - I first asked for a pool party up in the IZ - we don't have a pool that we are allowed to swim in here at our base. And you know what I think about these Bar-B-Q's in the desert heat, but hey! - Throw one anyway!) B) Many of the people we REALLY enjoyed working with have already left. Because I was out on missions - I didn't even get to attend there farewell - yeah, maybe I am a little bummed about that. But I can deal with it. C) Because we have been trudging around in the heat for the past two days I am completely nauseated. The heat and the sun do not react kindly with me. I will have a hard time stomaching anything this evening, but I will because Erik and Curt have been tasked out all day to make this thing happen. I guess maybe people forget that when you get to this stage - you really start focussing on the real people in your life, the ones that you have a life-long commitment and responsibility to. That is part of what is eating me... their are only 4 people left here that I really have/want to say "thanks for everything, I'll miss you when I finally get out of here." I just wish they would let us leave more quietly in this case. Don't try to make a splash out of a ripple.

We are suppose to be getting ready to return to our families. For the 3 in my group - that is a different scenario for each of us. Johnathan has been handling all of this so well, but I can tell he is feeling pressure from being a single daddy right now. I will always be amazed with how well he has handled this. I wasn't so sure when I left - I don't think he was either. Not in his parenting, but just with the fact of doing it all alone. I wish there was something I could say or do that would really encompass my love and respect for him. Charish - is the only word that comes to mind right now, but that is not enough. It is more than just that. But I'll just get him liquored up and take advantage of him... HA! No, but really... we have birthdays to celebrate, holidays missed, holidays coming up, more birthdays coming up... I wish there was a way to give it all back to each of them. To celebrate the things like 4th of July in the middle of August with Johnathan and the kids... then the week after that: Valentine's Day, then St. Paddy's... you see what I mean.

Don't worry - I have mad a promise to post another "FUN" post tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Discovery Launch

Blog 2005
Originally uploaded by twinsleymom.

All eyes in the office were locked onto the TV during the launch this evening. Even now, while the news is reporting the story of the successful launch, all ears are locked onto what they are reporting. We only get 6 channels and nobody cares what is on the other 5.

Yep, that is Curt standing there evaluating the launch. Everyone was in awe over just how quickly it blasted away from earth. The comments were always referencing look how far, look how fast... OHP - the fuel tanks are gone, it was clean. I am so glad it went well. I don't think any of us could have taken it if something had gone wrong. What they say about space exploration and advancement is true. If something tragic occurs it kills a little piece of our hope in the future, our imagination. But I think it is even more crucial for those of us that are serving over here. The heavens always inspire. The skies do not restrain. Hope as a nation, hope for the future, hope for ourselves just seems more possible when things like this launch succeed. Call it positive energy, call it karma, call it luck, talent... I don't care. It feels great and I am so proud to be part of a nation that reaches for it's dreams.

At this moment I wish I could be near Johnathan and our children to share all this excitment, emotion... I hope they were able to see it. An event like this just makes ME feel like a kid again.

Silly Office Shrine

Blog 2005
Originally uploaded by twinsleymom.

SO much to blog about... what's up with that pic? Well - it is a little representative of my time here. Of course the American flags because I am American. The bobble-head Jesus came from my friend Davey. That man can send a care package (it included some really HOT salsa, smoked salmon, tea cookies, gormet crackers, yo-yos...). I met Davey in Korea and he has one of the best senses of humor a man can have. Their is a story behind the bobble- head Jesus and a song that he use to sing. The jist of it is that as long as the bobble head Jesus is with us we are not bothered by the threats here. The camel is Erik's and, of course, represents the desert we are in. The British flag - well Erik had picked some up and we figured that since this is a multi-national forces base we would include it. Now, I know, you are dying to know why Jesus is holding the US flag and the Camel is holding the Brit's. Well, lets just say rock, paper, scissors was involved.

I received the bigger US Flag inside a box from Treats for Troops. THEY ROCK! First - I open the box and it has a couple of big bags of peanuts and raisins. Mind you, these are not treats I rave about, but if you remember I love to put stuff in my Kettle Korn. We all get excited when we see not 1, not 2, but 3 containers 'Country Time Lemonade'. Great!! Nothing like a nice cold one in this heat. And since there isn't a cold beer any closer than a 3 hour flight away - Lemonade Rocks! OOOOHHH - but then I spy (with my little eye) a wonderful little treat. These people know what I want... I see two little baggies of Burt's Bees products. The little Head to Toe Starter Kit - Yummy!! AND the Burt's healthy treatment facial care kit.... I don't know who they hired or who runs this group that packs these boxes, but they nailed it as far as I am concerned. There was also some sunscreen (crucial in this area of the world), lip balm - I almost forgot... they also sent Erik's coffee a competitor. It is a tea called "Morning Thunder". NO JOKE. I am scared to drink this stuff. Only thing that came to my mind was "why THUNDER?" I went on to read the box... oh, no... it contains many references to this tea being "moving", "unpredictable", "changing", "charging", "spilling over the edges"; being harmonious with nature... this stuff screams toilet time will be approaching. I can't wait to try a cup! (Did I mention there is a buffalo on the box?)

wooly bully, wooly bully, wooly bully

Monday, July 25, 2005

Kettle Korn Concoction

Just wanted to let all of you know exactly why I chose the title. My mom - gotta' love her - has kept me supplied with my favorite tasty treat since January. THANK YOU!! However, I am not big eater of it plain outta' the bag - ok, yes I am ... but, I like to add extras to it if I can.

My all time favorite is CRAISINS! Man, I love those little gumps of pure heaven - hehehehe - but I do love 'em. Probably my second favorite is to add dark chocolate M&Ms. I didn't even know they made such things until one of the guys here in the office received a couple of packages of them - I think they were the "Darth Mal" ones or something... anyway - they were great! Then there was the time that I got completely outrageous and added BOTH Craisins AND Dark Chocolate M&Ms - Watch out - Mad woman on the loose. Well, that is what these bland men in the office thought.

Geesh - I know all you moms out there probably make little treats/snacks - fruit, fiber and some sweetness - I have always done the cereals (you know, what is left at the bottom of the box, but not enough for a bowl) plus whatever dried fruit we have in the house and in the summer the colored marshmellows left over from Hot Cocoa season. It is a good thing I am going home though - I only have 4 packets of craisins left - You know what - that is how they should determine when your tour is over. They give you a 6 month to 1 yr. supply of your favorite snack - when it is finished - you get to go home... Yeah, bonus points to those who can get their friends to eat extras!!

Curt would have a year's supply of chocolate chip cookies and sardines - he would finish the chocolate chippers in no time flat, but the sardines would keep him here an extra 6 months - but the smell of all those sardines would make us all wish that he would have left 9 months early.

Erik - he would have a year's supply of coffee and cake. - Although he would love to finish them off in about a week, I think that as long as the cake stayed moist, he might take his time and finish it off in about 2 months. Of course, you know from my previous posts that he would not gain a single ounce from eating all of that cake (because of the sludge he calls "coffee" he pours into his intestines everyday).

Oh, Well! Just another manic monday...woah, ohh Wish it were a Sunday ....

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Packin Up

Seems like everyone has been moving in the blogs I have been reading lately. Well, I AM TOO!! Ohhhhhh, it is so close.... So I am packin up my 6x6 - how the heck did I ever accumulate so much crap in such a small space??? There are some things that you look at and go - "definately goin' home with me" - other things "Where the heck did that come from" - yet other - "trash - why isn't it already there??"

One of the guys who is headed home at the same time laughed because I was taking home my good shampoo, conditioner, body lotions, etc... he was all condescending saying, "yeah, I don't know why you sent that stuff back." This coming from the guy who sent back 100 movies (haji copies - cost us a buck or two each) where some of them didn't even play. OK - this is starting me on another (off the subject) rant.... What is up with people who think that everything they like, and ONLY everything that THEY like, is cool? They come off as condescending pricks and then get all upset and act like you've sucker punched them if you throw it back at them. This guy even goes so far as to think you should love the food he likes, love the same music (the crap rap, the re-makes that sound like the chipmunks singing a previously good song - yeah, love it - not so much...) As a matter of fact, if you have a food on your plate that he doesn't like - he makes a loud barfing sound - not just gagging - actual up-chucking sound. Lovely! STFU already - you don't like it - that's why you didn't put it on your plate. Get over yourself!! ahhhhhh.... anyway.

So I had some crap that at first I couldn't remember where the heck it came from. One of them was a feminine wash (yes - wash - as in similar to body wash, but for our "feminine areas"). However, I never bought it - so I began thinking... where did this come from?? Oh yeah - the OLD roomie gave it to me when she left... who passes on feminine body wash?? I only kept it because I was trying to decide how I could throw it away without the haji's seeing it. Why did I even care what a haji thought of some feminine wash?? (The haji's, "local national males", go through our trash when they pick it up. - It isn't hard to figure out which room the stuff comes from there are only two garbage cans for every 6 people.) Needless to say - the haji's will be outside my room laughing about it tomorrow morning - it is in the trash. Back to the packing for me - the rest of you - hope your weekend went "swell". (Eddie Haskel style) hehehehe!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Blogging for Breakfast

Blog 2005
Originally uploaded by twinsleymom.

OK, OK - I am late! At least that has nothing to do with being pregnant. Whew! (My relief becomes more apparen when I tell you I have had 3 pregnancies - two of them were twins!) It is Saturday morning here in Iraq, but I figure that at least, technically, back in the states it is still Friday - so YEAH! I made the deadline! I gotta' tell ya' ~ this was kind of a hard shot to get of myself. I tried many angles and finally "just settled" for this one.

I am so proud of Johnathan ~ I have been waiting for this day for a long time. He wants to train to run a half marathon with me. He says that he will never run a whole (Yeah, I think I remember him saying that about even a half at one point). So, for now I will happily settle for a half. We have a new running club forming in our hometown and it happens to kick off a week after I return home. Yeehaw! At least he is a chiropractor and can keep us as pain free as possible. I say that like he can completely adjust himself... Right - that would be a contortionist (and we would live off his tips from performing on street corners... or we would live in Vegas and I would have to take the kids to Circ De Soleil to see their daddy - that would be ok...). But hey, I am pretty good - giving him rub downs once he gets me feelin' good. I'm talking massage here. (Erik and Curt are gonna' read those last couple of lines and give me crap all day - so I will just stop before I give them any more material to work with.)

As you can see those contractors do a pretty good job - I had toasted sourdough, lots of fresh fruit and some scrambled eggs with onions and peppers. Not bad for "war food", 'eh?

Oh, and this is another case of perspective.... my hands aren't GINORMOUS (I love that word!) my computer is tiny, tiny, tiny. Gotta' post before it turns back into a pumpkin.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Shower-Time Ramblings

The things we think of while in the shower... a lot of times I consider the things that have pissed me off through-out the day, the "first" things I want to do when I get back to the U.S.... However, lately it has been more along the lines of the things I "have got to remember to Blog about". I have what I consider to be a great nightime routine. I leave the office somewhere between 5 and 9p.m. (usually) take a nap for a couple of hours and then go to the gym. Sure this little practice usually puts me in the gym somewhere between midnight and 3 a.m., but I like it that way. Not as many "looky-lou's" as my friend Stacy use to call them. The best part is that when I finally hit the shower - I usually have it all to myself!!

Last night all I could think about (after sniffin' up all the good shampoo scent my nose could handle) was the groups of troops we first handled when we got here. In case you don't know - my team's mission is to go around and see troops at so many weeks out from them leaving country. We do the whole "health" questionaire and make sure they will be put in for any consults that they may need once they return stateside. Nothing Grand - but when you see me or one of the other people on the team... you know your seat on the bird is being reserved. Well, when we first arrived here we saw some of the most pathetic groups of soldiers there were. I don't think I have ran into any this rotation that were nearly as beat-down as those troops we were processing out then. To help you get a grasp on this - we always need dates for those questionaires... these troops that I am talking about had every date down. The sad part was that they remembered their dates according to who died or was severly injured. (Yeah, die-hard democrats are gonna love that sentence.) I haven't ran into those type of groups in a long time. (Republicans are gonna' love that one.) One of the younger soldiers on our team said it best when she stated that she just wanted to help them get out of here. Since then, I have kind of changed into my own credo - do whatever it takes to get those troops home. Many times it meant doing missions with the funkiest smelling DCUs (laundry turn around at many of these places is days long, and most places don't have washers and dryers for the soldiers to use) and some of the worst looking hair (kevlars are not made to double as beauty queen tiaras). I sincerely hope that the other troops that are over here with me now will have other ways of remembering their dates. Which brings me to another point... With all the media that is given to all the soldiers that are wounded or injured you would think that we wouldn't need to schedule any flights home... you would either be in a body bag or on a Medical Evacuation flight. I just want the public to keep it in perspective... MANY return home in a similar shape to what they came over here in. Sometimes we have lost some weight because of the heat and the 30+ pounds of body armor that have to be worn (NO, not everyone over here has to wear that all day either). Sometimes soldiers just grow up a little - you run into some who make some realizations as to what is important in life. Some of us get a few gray hairs - we all age anyway. Most of us at least come back with a better face and neck tan - but usually that is it - go ahead laugh at the rest of our pasty bodies!! Agreeing or Dis-Agreeing with this war doesn't play a big part in my head... how I have changed and what has hit me as "the most important things to teach my children" is what takes priority in my mind. I am just SO thankful to have them to return to. There are some soldiers who their government didn't shaft 'em while they were here, it was their spouse/significant other. I could go on, and on, and on... I guess today was just a day that I have looked back over these last 11 months - realizing what has affected me. That is - the things that have just hit me in the gut and the heart.

Getting this close to going home (yeah, I know I keep saying that - Sorry Erik) is almost like being pregnant - it is like a bajillion hormones are running through me~ whenever I read something sentimental I almost break out in tears... What kind of Crap is that? That is not normally me. But, I guess it is a good step and is just part of the transition back to real life.

So, in my effort to list the REAL things to do when I get back home - give me some ideas on the fun places to make some good memories... you know.... that bottle of wine I have to try because it is sooooo good, the best amusement park/water park/zoo to go visit with the kids, the best scenic hike for the fall... throw 'em out there.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Scratcher for the parts down under

Blog 2005
Originally uploaded by twinsleymom

ARE YOU SERIOUS??!! This is labeled the "Gentleman's BallScratcher" - for the man who has everything. NO WAY! Are you kidding me? It is even dishwasher safe! NO WAY - if my sweetheart ever came home with one - it would not go in with the plates that we eat off of. Are you insane? What cycle would allow it to really be cleaned appropriately?? My great guy is clean, but lets face it... it is not going in next to the spoons that go into mine or my guests mouths.

I was looking for the gift for the man that has everything, but I think I will pass on this one - at least until I get another dishwasher. Does anyone actually own one of these?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Zurrigat - ZurriWHAT? You say.

Blog 2005
Originally uploaded by twinsleymom.

Here is my picture from our trip to the Temple of Ur near An Nasiriyah. It was a very quick training mission, but Erik and Curt were telling the truth when they were talking about how hot it was there. The blow dryer in the face and the blisters on our butts from the seats that doubled as broilers that would create a need for 15MinuteLunch's ButtPaste were true to a T. Yeah, that is Erik half way up the stairs. Those stairs were something else. They were only about 2-3" in height so there were like 500,000 of them. OK, not quite that many - but I tried to hit every one, so it seemed like that many to get to the actual top of the Temple. Yep, a spot of Abraham's (Biblical, not the guy sitting at the Memorial all the time) history.

I am getting a "short timers" attitude... it is getting so darn close (and yet so far away) to me going home. I miss just seeing, touching and being near my kiddos. The whole touching is what seems like a sureal dream. Just to be able to tickle them, help them get ready for bed - sitting in the boys' top bunk reading them Dr. Seuss... I can't wait to get back home. D.D. and her need to be touched and loved - rubbing lotion into all her little pudgy rolls... Can't wait to get back to her baby (ocean) blue's. It is amazing the things about them and home that I have come to miss while being on this deployment. It is going to be a shock when I realize how much they now comprehend compared to before. It amazes me in just how well they talk to me on the phone. In my mind when I talk to them, I still picture them at the age, height, weight, etc. as when I left. Man, I have a lot of catching up to do. You know - it's like I have been abducted by aliens - only they forgot to put me back at the time that they took me. (Not that I know - I'm just guessing - UNLESS your one of those people who thinks that Bush is an alien - then that statement would almost be true.)

Erik is sitting here asking me about FUDs (Female Urinary Devices - the things the Army gives us so that we girls can pee like a guy - without droppin trou). Well, I say - you can't talk about them unless you use 'em. Stand by for pictures of Erik using one. Can I get a Bwaaahaaahaaa! ??

***For my family and friends - I have changed my 'comment' setting. Yes, you can now leave me a comment - It will post annonynmously (I'm pretty sure I spelled that wrong - but it is after 1am) so Play Nice and leave your name before posting!!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Do I Look like a freekin' Bank Teller??

Blog 2005
Originally uploaded by twinsleymom.
OK, I am doin' a bit of an Eric thing with this "venting"... but what hay?? I just come back off a mission and I am asked if I have collected the money for a going away party. Why does this piss me off? Well, where do I begin? 1)I was left a post it note the morining that we were preparing and leaving for a mission that requested that I do it. 2)We didn't even have transportation back scheduled at the time, so there was no way to know we would even be back. 3)What the heck are we contributing money for??? The chow hall gives us the food, the plates, the silverware, the drinks.... we can't drink beer here, so it's not like someone is going out and getting a keg.
This whole issue is an on-going saga... what is it with workplace parties? If there isn't a cold beer or a chillin' margarita waiting for me - I admit, they don't excite me all that much. If you want me to kick back and relax with ya' then lets do it RIGHT! Here's the scenario for 'chillin' in Baghdad. NO POOL - just 'chillin' in the 120+ degree sun gettin' red as a fire engine. Add a grill - there's another 10 degrees of furnace. Add 30 people - between the yummy smell of sweat and the extra 5 degrees of body heat I am just jumpin outta my skin to participate in this event!! Do we get to put on a pair of shorts?? Only if they are part of the Physical fitness uniform and your legs are shaved. (Yeah, better not go too european 'cause the General is gonna' be there... Damn. I haven't had time to shave since a week BEFORE I went out on this last mission!) Which leads me to another pet peeve.... our showers are like 12" by 12" - how are you suppose to really shave your legs there? Guess I will be wearing my DCUs - add another 5 degrees. Final Point: Who holds a bar-b-q in the middle of the desert at 2 o'clock in the afternoon? Could we do it when it was just a little hotter or the sun was beating down a little harder, PLEASE!! I'm White... but don't worry - by the end of this little party we can do surf and turf - I'll be the lobster.

Drink a cold one for me today!

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Entry from a Caffeine Addict

Even if I could have a drink slightly the color of this text I would be happy this morning. That's it I am joining the Italian ranks - they always have espresso, coffee or know where to get them. As a matter of fact, I was just told to go talk to the Italian soldiers - they would know where I could get a good caffeine-kick-in-the-behind. I shouldn't make it sound like this whole base is going without coffee... they have some in their chow hall. It was labeled "Regular" and "Strong". I would have been brave, but they both smelled like crap. It must be for the soldiers who have blocked intestines. ..... On that note, I will go find the Italian soldiers.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

MugofaMugwithmyMug - MothaMugga'

Blog 2005
Originally uploaded by twinsleymom.
In case you were wondering... no my head isn't tiny - my coffee mug is GINMORMOUS!! Erik and Curt give me crap if I take a full mug, because then one of them has to brew a whole new pot of coffee - BOOO HOOO! One Problem: Erik and Curt don't like good coffee. I like the good, flavorFULL coffee - they take straight crap and make it strong and thick. Syrip de ala crappa... Erik could patent the stuff as a dietary weight loss system: "Just one cup of my coffee first thing in the morning and you are gauranteed to have sh!t out a pound before your lunch break. My unique formula gives a whole new meaning to 'droppin' pounds'!!" Anyway, I like the good stuff. Real French Roast, and yeah, the froo-froo stuff - flavored coffees - creme brulee, french vanilla, raspberry chocolate... I could go on and on, but that would just be torture. We don't have a lot of the good stuff over here and being the only woman in the office now - most of the men just make their syrup and line up at the bathroom door. Yeah, sign me up for that one! U

I know this post is a little early, but we got work to do and I didn't want to miss out on this one! Have a great Friday everyone.

Reality Bites!!

HOLY COW!!! In the past 48 hours it has just really hit me as to how long I have been gone from home and how much I must have missed. Yea, I'm feeling a little dense, but until you are removed from your family for a year it is hard to put it in to a "I know what your going through" context. The other day Johnathan told me, "the boys have gone through a growth spurt, you won't believe how tall they are..." I don't know why, but that comment spurred it all. It then hit me like a brick wall smashed directly on my forehead, that my boys will be four very shortly after I return. WHAT??!! They were just a months past two when I left. They are starting pre-school??? Where the heck have I been - oh, that's right - completely out of the loop, lounging in the middle of the desert. (Well, not exactly, but that sure is what I feel like right now.) It just forces into my face how much I have missed out on. I guess reality had to hit me at some point.

Yesterday morning I returned from my physical therapy (a.k.a. the ankle torture chamber) to find that I had mail!!! Ya' love it when some love flies in from the US. Well, this one was from my auntie Patty - she is a goddess. She sent me some GOOD shampoos and conditioners! As I opened the box, just the smell was euphoric...mmmmm. Paul Mitchell and Redeken products. The water over here has to be treated because it too many 'little bugs' in it. My hair went from soft and fun to a prickly hay stack within the first three months of being here. (TAKE NOTE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO KNOW WHAT WE WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO SEND OVER) Needless to say - I take a little longer getting ready after my shower because I just have to take a couple moments and just smell my clean hair..yummmmmmmy!

One pet peeve for the day: What is up with companies that don't ship to APO's?? Fine you won't get my business, now or when I return.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Grandma Peggy's Birthday

Today is my Grandma Peggy's Birthday -if I were actually able to be home I would probably like to just show up at her house and help her with whatever she wanted to get accomplished! Then I would make her a cake and let her know just how wonderful she is. (She always made sure that there was cake and some sort of acknowledgement of your birthday!! Gotta' love that!) I know she is having a little salad luncheon with her gal pal relatives, but let me tell you a few of the reasons my Grandma Peggy is so special to me:
** She always let me stir in the chocolate chips - and on occassion she encouraged us to mix the cookie dough with our bare hands. Loved the feeling of those slimy eggs gushing between my fingers.
** She taught me a few things about planting a veggie garden and a lot about picking them and eating them fresh!
** Piano - I think my first song was "Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater" (I only had to keep hitting one note while she did the other half of our duet). Grandma always encouraged me to play and I am sure it helped with the math (as the studies show) and numerous other things in life.
**She had the softest grass in her yard and always let us take off our shoes and do cartwheels, summersaults, wash the cars, make homemade ice-cream, eat watermellons and have seed spitting contests (OK, I don't remember her being too big on the spitting portion, but she let us, I think!)
**She always complimented each of us on the genuine things that we did well or were proud of! Nothin' phony out of her mouth.
**The poems by Shel Silverstein (who my kids thinks looks like their daddy) and Mother Goose which she read in such a way that you just wanted her to read them over and over and over.... The books by Dr. Seuss when I was young - and the other favorites that she let me borrow or gave me over the years. She helped me find my love for reading.
**On occassion, she would let me come stay over night and she would put in a musical - "Oklahoma!", "West Side Story" or "The Music Man". We would stay up really late and she would let me have a bowl of ice-cream with Grandpa at like mid-night! What a cool grandma!!

Well, these are just a few of the wonderful ways that I am remembering my Grandma Peggy today. I hope you have a wonderful Birthday!! Any of my family that happens to read this today (I know, it's the weekend) give her a call - tell her Happy Birthday again for ME!!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Warewolf in London

I have concern and sympathy for what others in the world are doing and going through. However, it is a pet peeve of mine when the news reports one story over and over and over - showing the same clips over and over and over... you get my point. They interview different people who say the same things... I finally just turn it off and wait for our paper to come out at lunch time. Of course I want the latest news, but I also want the whole story - not just what the media has decided that they can exploit.

In light of all of this, I began to think about my cousin, Timothy who was injured here in Iraq. When my unit was handing off command to the group that was replacing us I was fortunate enough to 'run into' my cousin Timothy. I hadn't seen him in almost 2 decades and we both thought it very ironic that we managed to see each other again here in Iraq. After about a week, I had to move to Baghdad. I talked to Tim via the internet a couple of times after that. However, very little time passed before his convoy was hit and he was wounded. I just finished reading an article ( on him. Tim amazed me in the short time that we had together. Remember - the last time we really 'hung out' was when we were kids - probably 10-ish. He has grown into an admirable young man. This interview and a couple of others that I read made me a little emotional. His perspectives are uplifting. His goals are based on faith and optimism. It was the little shot in the arm I needed this morning. Thanks Tim!! Although having lost half of his leg, he is running again!!


This is the picture of my cousin Tim - Proof is in the Picture - he got the t-shirt, he did the run!!

My FotoPage

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Smellin' like a Melon?

Women - even when stuck in the middle of a desert, we have our few necessary items that are a bit more than what a man would consider basic. Mine are lotions and body sprays. Is it more than the fact that they smell great and take me back to my real home? ~you know the place I don't have to get completely dressed to hike the length of a football field or two just to get undressed and shower~ I think not - lets face it - it is over 110 degrees out here. When you stand outside at over 117 degrees you feel like your hair dryer has taken steroids and turned on you. NO deoderant stops you from sweating profusely in these conditions. So, yes! I have my favorite lotions and sprays. Recently, when I was down in Qatar I found the coconut lime verbena. Being on a 4 day getaway at the time, it smelled like a tropical getaway. Now that I am back at work it is almost a little too sweet. Don't you hate in when the scent seems to change between locations? No, I don't think it has anything to do with it sitting in my luggage which sat on a 130+ degree tarmac for a couple of hours... ah, the riggors of travel! Another favorite of mine is the cucumber melon scent - that one just seems to be pretty good no matter who/where you get it from. Almost one of those 'hard to screw up' scents. Another great gal pal - Dana turned me on to the White Tea Ginger - Eric in the next cubby seems to think that one is pretty good. Imagine that - Eric has a little taste!! hehehe!

Your Favorites??

Our Sand Castle

Well, there it is. THE Palace. The intricate details on the ceilings inside amaze me. The craftsmanship, colors, designs all are with doing a little oggling at. However, Don't for a second think that I have enough suck-up, brown-nosing, or other womanly talent that I would resort to using to be 'able' to work over there. (Naw, I'm joshin'! Most of 'em are pretty good eggs over there!) The water - although it looks cool and refreshing - I don't think there is a one of us you could pay to jump into it. It is a man-made lake and the fish in it are gianormous. No sushi here though. That is the one thing I can't wait to get back to - Johnathan taking me out for some sushi and a glass (or two) of plum wine...mmmmm!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Palace Next Door

OK - This is NOT where I work, but it is the highlight of the area I work in. Our team works across the street/lake from it. Another BEEE-you-TEEE-full picture that I did not take!!

My FotoPage

Remembering the Beach

Well, as you can see I have added a few pictures. These are not from Iraq!! As if you really thought that I would bring my cherubs over here. These pictures were taken by my very energetic gal pal Christina - I miss her! Christina has a little boy, Timothy, who is just a few months older than Divon and Zephan - makes for lots of great "they're just being little boys" pictures and stories, but I digress. When I was on my 15 days of fun in the sun at home in NC we all went to the beach. The kids were great - playing in the sand, the ocean, chasing the beach birds... what a great time we had. Now that I am getting closer to going home, I am getting a little excited to get back to the beach as well. That is one of the first "little getaways" that Johnathan and I are trying to get lined up. Don't know if we will be taking bananas down to the beach again, for the kids all dipped them in sand and were not to pleased with their culinary experimentation - a bit on the gritty side. But I had to laugh - they just tried to keep on eating and spitting out the sand. Don't you dare try to take away their beloved bananas!!

The past couple of days we have been having a sand storm. (If you ask me they should be called what they really are - walls of dust that require 4 showers and a box of Q-tips to actually feel clean after they have subsided.) Last night it started to clear up - we could see the stars again. And this morning was as close to 'crystal clear' as I have seen it in a while. It was a beautiful morning with a nice breeze. When I closed my eyes, as I was walking this morning, I felt like I was at the beach. Sun warming my hair, wind rushing into and carressing my face... and then opening my eyes and seeing the above-the-beach-blue sky. Almost fooled myself for a minute. But then you see the guy ahead of you walking with his M16 and it brings you crashing back to reality. Oh well, it was my 15 seconds of being at home for the day.

Don't worry, I will be adding some pics from around Iraq, but for this morning - I am day-dreaming of being back at the beach.

Monday, July 04, 2005

First thing's First

Hi, I am Heather. I am a soldier deployed over in Iraq - far, far from home! This is just a little journal of sorts to help me reaquaint myslef with the real world after being over here for almost a year. Our office is very quite as of late, so a bit of time has presented itself for me. Don't missunderstand... I am just not having to work from 0600 until 22-2300 just to get things set up. I actually have time for gym workouts and a shower now. My one "favorite" thing is KettleKorn Popcorn - I love the stuff!! My mom keeps our office pretty stocked up on it with her care packages. (Actually, she keeps us so stocked up on it that the others who work with me are often left asking 'where is the REAL popcorn?')

I work on a team of 6 people right now. I say it that way because at one time we were 11, but as we are leaving country nobody is replacing us. (Boy that should make some of those political nuts happy - they'll be happy to know that our team alone sent 2 packin' yesterday!) I am not a politically centered nut, I do what is right for the man I love, our children and my family based on my morals and ethics. Yeah, Johnathan and I were not happy about me being deployed - but it was a committment that I had made. I knew the "worst case scenario" when I signed up. No, at the time I didn't really think they would extend the deployments to National Guard units, but my inclination was wrong. It has been an experience that has both happy and frustrating (so PC of me) moments that I will never forget. The soldiers that I have been with over here though have been through all of it with me - and thankfully we are still standing.

I look forward to going home, it gets closer everyday! Yes, I am counting down!!

For Johnathan, Divon, Zephan and Dazjah - I love you and miss you all very much!! XOXOXO