Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving preparations

Pick your caption:
Iraqis and Americans getting along
MOD and MOI getting along
Cat and dog forbidden love

This Thursday I get to spend another holiday in southern Iraq. It will be, like most of my other days here, another day of training Iraqi National Police and negotiations and love songs with the many stakeholders in my little corner of the world. Iraqi Army folks on the base, U.S. folks on the base, the BLP expats and local nationals, the National Police and Trainees, and our current livestock- cow, calf and one sheep (critters to be sacrificed to keep the trainees happy someday in the not so distant future).

But I am thankful. I'm safe. I get to work in a situation with reasonable autonomy and variety. I learn. I get to communicate with family reasonably frequently (thanks Mom and Dad for the call on Saturday!).

And of course, there are many worldly comforts I enjoy right now. I'm listening to some Ben Folds on my new noise cancelling headphones... an odd experience to turn them on and prior to starting the Ben tracks listening to the sounds of silence. Typically there is the constant noise of generators in my ears- but as I flipped the switch, I entered an auditory vacuum.

I just finished working through my 3 seasons of The Office sent by an old friend. I laughed early and often over the past month or so. And I dig watching TV shows without commercials.

In case anyone is keeping track on my DVD requests, now I'm down to looking for seasons of Monk, Psych, and Scrubs. Let me know if any are headed my way and I'll amend the list (and I'll be your friend!).

I've had various friends send me other good stuff- an HR faculty member (Timmy G rocks the house!) sending me a preprint of a good text on a topic that interests me, Dave Talbot- The First 90 Days (I'm taking more than 90 days to read it, though), and Isaac with a bit more on Tenet. Friends rock.

I've been enjoying running a bit more lately, as my back has gotten better. I run slow given my portly stature and 3 reconstructed knees- but I am blessed to be able to do it regardless of how pathetic I look.

"Let's Build Something Together- Like Another Championship Season!"

And I'm thankful for a good sports weekend. Even though the Steelers slipped up, Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe's Team won the Nascar championship, and the BYU football team broke into the top 25 in 4 different polls.

In deference to Bronco's "Tradition" themes, I break out the "old school" logo...

I'm thankful that MSG Timmy got back safely from his leave. Poor guy, stuck past his ETS. Back door draft is kicking him in the Jimmy. He brought back a bunch of really cool coins that he had made for the Academy/Training Center. We're selling them at cost, and they're moving like hotcakes.

Timmy's cool coins

And I'm thankful most of all for my companion and our children. I'm less than a month from being able to hold them in my arms again, albeit for just the two week leave period. I will hear my youngest say "I love you, Daddy !" for the first time in person. And I will be able to look them all in the eyes, hold them tight and tell them how much I love them, too.

Pass the cranberry sauce, let's get our thanks on!

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