Saturday, May 24, 2008

24 May 2008

Been feeling some better. Still not 100%. The Army doctor had some tests run, but the lab here is inadequate to run sophisticated tests. I read on the internet, how some US Soldiers are coming back to the USA, with parasites. I hope I do not have a parasite. There are sand fleas here, and a bite can give you leishmaniasis. They call it the "Baghdad Boil". You get red spots and inflammation on your skin. At least I have not noticed any of that.

Still hot and dusty. Fortunately, there is unlimited water, and I can get a shower daily. I must force myself to drink water, I am up to about a gallon a day. I will keep taking it easy, and get myself well.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Still on sick leave

Been feeling bad. Only able to eat once a day, just no appetite. This is one good thing, maybe I can lose some weight here. The dining hall (American) has unlimited baskin-robbins ice cream, and soda pop. There is tons of fried food, french fries, etc. All the stuff that goes right to your hips.

HOT here, make no mistake, when the sun goes down, the temperature drops to 90. I must drink a gallon of water per day. The sweat evaporates so fast, you dont even notice. At least I can sleep easily. I usually do not need the air conditioner.

I miss cable tv. I sure enjoy CNN, and history channel. I also like having a daily newspaper. When I was in Fort Wayne, I bought two newspapers every day, and read them. Here, the military paper is hard to locate, but it is free.

I miss Freemasonry. There is no way to attend lodge, and it is impractical to set up a Square and Compasses lodge. I have never been to a lodge meeting in Iraq, but there are lodges at some of the bases. Once in a while, I run across a Freemason, there are some in the US Army. But it is seldom.

When I return to the USA, I want to get back into the Oriental Shrine. I had a ball with the Shriners, when I was in Columbus OH, back in 1990. I was in five Shrine clubs, and president of one of them. Maybe when I get my vacation, I will be able to attend lodge. I got to attend a lodge in Moscow Russia, and it was terrific. The lodge is not wealthy, they have no lodge building, so they meet in a meeting room in a hotel. This is in our splendid Masonic tradition, when we used to meet in taverns and inns.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Still feeling sick

I got so sick, I had to go to the American Doctor. The Army runs a clinic on the American side, and the doctor there saw me right away. The Army does not have to help us, but they give us medical care on a courtesy basis. I have been given some powerful antibiotics, and I had to give some blood,etc. so that the lab could run tests.

Being sick in this country is bad news. I work outside in 110 degree weather, and I must run to the porta-john often. One good thing, I cannot look at food, maybe I can lose some excess weight. When I was living at Al Asad and Tall'Afar, I ate too much. Unlimited Baskin-Robbins ice cream will pack the pounds on.

I put together a package of my winter clothes, I am sure not going to need them here! I will send the excess clothing back to my home, and if I need any warm clothing, I can get it here, or from an on-line store.

I did not stay up all night, to see the Preakness Stakes. But I read all about it, on the Daily Racing Form internet page. It looks like Big Brown, is on the way to racing immortality, he might have the right stuff to win the Belmont Stakes, and then retire undefeated. What a horse!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Tuesday afternoon

Been feeling a bit ill. There is a virus going around, and I have it. The nurse here, gave me some antibiotics, and started me on one a day, then increased it to two a day, now the med-tech wants me on three a day. My appetite is gone, food is impossible. I sip water, and juice all day, just to keep my fluid balance up.

A dust storm blew up quickly, ths afternoon. There will be a slight dribble of rain, which is not a problem, the dust will settle, and the air will be a bit cleaner. Aircraft cannot fly in these storms, so it will be quieter. I must say, I do not like the choppers flying over my trailer at 0500am, and getting woken up!

One of the team here, has a birthday, so there will be a little celebration, they set up a charcoal grill.

Work is slow, the team rotates their day off, and I get Tuesday off today as well. Work will pick up.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My address

My precise location is not disclosed. I do enjoy getting comments, and emails. I get some bulk mail, and books, etc. through a forwarding service in the USA. If anyone would like to email me, my email is if anyone would like to send books and reading material to the troops, just email me, and I will provide you with the address. The troops love to read. (So do I)

Sunday afternoon

Sunday. It has been unseasonably cool the last couple of days. Last night was very clear, I actually saw some stars. It is hard to believe that astronomy began in Mesopotamia, the nights are so dusty, that it is difficult to see the stars on most nights.

Work is excellent, I am so grateful to be working here. We have some slow days, but we will pick up soon. I have been picking up junk parts at the junk yard, and recycling them for use. Now, the resource is about depleted. I went to the wash rack yesterday, and collected some junk parts there. Scrounging is part of life in Iraq.

Still trying to lose weight. I would love to drop 10-20 pounds while I am here. If I can stay away from ice cream and soda pop, I might make it. Last night, there was shredded beef stir-fry with onions and green peppers. They feed us good here. Today for lunch, some of the work force went to the American chow hall on the American base, and ate T-Bones and lobster tails. I don't like to travel all the way to the main base for lunch.

I hope that I get some mail today, the APO has mail almost every day. I could sure use some books. If you like to read, this is the place. I got a bunch of paperbacks at Al Asad, and read every night.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

7 May my day off

Slept in late this morning. Got a shower, and a shave. Picked up my laundry, and ate a small beefsteak for lunch. Temperature not too hot, around 90. The environmental dust, is not too bad, but the high-level dust has blocked out the sky for weeks. I have not seen the stars for some weeks. One thing about Afghanistan, is that being up in the mountains, away from any light pollution, the sky was clear.

Biggest problem here , is the loneliness. I do not have TV in my trailer yet, but soon. Only leisure activity is surfing the net.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Monday morning 5 May

I was sad to hear about the euthanizing of Eight Belles, on the track on derby Day. Horse Racing is the king of sports, and the sport of kings. Sometimes, the sacrifice has to be made. Big Brown, looks like a real champion horse. He may go all the way, in the Preakness and Belmont.

We had two more engineers arrive from the USA last night. These two guys look to be real fine men, I will not work with them, but I wish them well.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Saturday Morning, 3 May 2008

Cold this morning. The desert does not hold the heat, so by 0500am, the trailer is cold. The firm wants us on the job by 0700am, not a problem. I like getting to work early. This morning, I went down to the junk yard, and I picked up some parts.

The desert winds, sometimes cool the place down. By noon, the temperature was 75. The chow hall served grilled prawns (shrimp) and beef fried rice. The chow hall food is fine, no complaints from me, except that I eat too much.

The Kentucky Derby is tonight, I may stay up and watch it on the CNN. The greatest horse race in the world.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Friday afternoon

Got up at 0615am, same as every day. I prefer to take my shower in the morning. Ate a breakfast, eggs, chicken sausage, pepper bacon, tea, mango juice. The mornings this time of year, are cool. As long as the dust is down, the mornings are the best time of day. I went to the salvage yard, and collected some parts.

Back at the office, then I found out about some more parts, so I went over to the recovery yard, and collected some more parts.

The afternoons are getting hotter, I have been through two of these summers, and they are HOT. We had a drill today, they sounded the sirens, and we all had to run to the concrete bunkers, and wait for the "all clear", then we had a head-count.

I need to collect my clean laundry, but the laundry has been closed all day. I have enough surplus clean clothes to last for a week.

I spoke with my mom on the phone, she asked if I was reading. I told her, I did not have much appetite for reading. I read the newspaper here, and keep up with the news on line, and watch CNN in the dining hall. We are getting TV run into our trailers, but it is not on yet.