Monday, September 12, 2011

The Greatest Thing

I've figured out the greatest thing about Dubai and the Dubai Airport.
At the McDonalds here, they still serve the original apple pies!!!
The fried, crispy, wonderful apple pies from my youth!

I have about 11 hours to kill here, I may try to eat one per hour...MMMMMMM!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Last Week

A week ago an Engineer working with the Corps of Engineers here in Kabul was murdered. It was a pretty quiet story as there was/is an active investigation going on to try to determine what happened...most of the major news outlets carried the story, but it was a short story as there were very few details. Most people don't even know that it happened. I don't know many details, and can't really talk about what I do know, but I know that his death was totally senseless. We had a memorial service here on Friday. It was both somber and sobering. Sobering because some forget that we are in a combat zone and seen as unwelcome occupiers to many people in this country.

Today is 9/11. To commemorate this anniversary, the soldiers are holding flag flying ceremonies all day long. They say that the greatest honor that can even bestowed onto a flag is to have that flag flown over a U.S. base in a foreign land. Today about 200 flags will get this honor. They won't be flying over the base for a long time as the color guard has 200 flags to push through...but the color guard raises the flag, salutes, and then lowers it, folds it, and presents it to the person that requested to have the flag flown. The flags can be flown in honor of someone else...or for someone else...and the Commander signs a certificate for each flag. As it is an honor for the flag, it is also an honor for those involved in the ceremony. Most of the military members on this base will rotate through flag duties today. Until I got here, I never really thought about the flag, what it means, and all the people that have died serving under it. It is a bit different now because of my experiences here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

video

Another bad day.

The current events related to Afghanistan are deeply saddening. I'm not allowed to speak about anything that has happened, so I won't. But this much is very clear: despite of all the time, money, personnel, and effort that we have invested in this country, there are still lots of people in this country that don't like us.
It is really too bad.

In news that is not a complete downer...my kindle has been broken out of jail!
I found a website that shows how to apply a "jailbreaking hack" to my kindle so that I can load my own screensaver pictures onto my kindle instead of having pictures of old-lady authors on there when I turn it off. Below are some of the pictures that I've added.






There are about 20 more pictures that I loaded up...it is so awesome!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Cigars

Today on our compound was a meeting of the Tali-banned Cigar Aficionado Club; I went.

It is a group that was founded in Kabul in 2009. They have patches, shirts, coins...you name it. A picture of their patch is shown below.

They have almost 500 members worldwide. You become a member by attending a meeting held here in Afghanistan and paying your lifetime membership dues of $50. This gets you a shirt, a patch, and a free cigar at every meeting. Then when you go somewhere else, you can start your own cigar club and you'll still be under the Tali-banned regime.

They now have about 6 clubs in Afghansitan, a couple in the states, and a couple in Europe. They enjoyed meeting at Qalaa House as we actually have some trees and shade. Most of the time they're sitting in the sun trying to enjoy their cigars.

I didn't join, but I did have a cigar with the group.

They usually meet twice a month at ISAF or at the US Embassy, but they voted to start a chapter at Qalaa House to cover the other 2 weeks in a month. They even voted to give the new chapter $1000 to start buying shirts and cigars.

During the "meeting" they provided some tips on how to properly smoke a cigar. The guy said, "...it is acceptable to put down your cigar to take a drink of your favorite beverage. Here in Afghanistan, that beverage is water." A large number of good-natured "boos" erupted from the crowd. It was a decent way to spend an afternoon.

Getting shorter ever day...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Getting short...

From what I understand, some military terms never change. Most of the people at Kristi's office know that I'm deployed over here. Some older guy that Kristi doesn't really know stopped her in the hall the other day and asked when I was set to return. She told him I would be back in just a couple of weeks and he responded with, "Oh, he's getting real short now!"

That's the term. When your time over here is winding down, you're "getting short". I've asked a couple of other people and they said the term has been around forever. Just another thing about this deployment that makes me feel like I've become part of a special club. A special club where random people can talk to Kristi about deployment and their concern for me/us is genuine...because either they've been there or they've had family who have.

I still have 2 weeks here but but I'm already "chomping at the bit" to get back home. The other night, I had a hard time falling asleep as I was planning my first 10 days or so at home. All the things I want to do with, and for, my family: family pictures, backpacking, canning peaches, projects on the house, etc. It is going to be a full 10 days but I'm really looking forward to it.

Getting shorter every day.




Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Brain!

When the boys were little, whenever they bumped their heads we would always ask, "did you smash your brain?"

The other night at t-ball, Matty fell down in the gym and bonked his head so he was sitting out for a bit. Sam yelled for him to come play and Matty replied with "I'm taking a break because I smashed my brain!"

How great is that?!?

I can't wait to see those boys...only a few weeks left.
Fingers crossed that it goes by quickly.