"It's never too late to start your life over."

You know how it is, you're just minding your business, doing whatever it is you are doing and all the sudden, something catches your attention, be it a car, or a woman, or an airplane at 30,000 feet and BANG, you aren't doing what you were doing before, you are distracted by said shiny thing. Yea, welcome to my life.
"I'm not stupid, I'm easily distracted."

Monday, January 29, 2007

Could I have spoken too soon?

I will admit, my prediction of the outbreak of spring may have seemed a bit premature, especially considering how early in the year it is, but I stand fully by it! I wasn't quite so confident this morning when I was awoken by a faint choking sound. Turns out, it was a good thing I woke up, I was the one choking.

For those of you who don't know, I have a one inch gap beneath my door. The gap is caused by, well, just outstanding craftsmanship. Another example of the quality, as though a one inch gap at the bottom wasn't enough is the construction of the hinges. The hinges on my door are actually two and one half inch nails. On the outside. Good thing the door double locks! So this gap just fits right in, it is perfect! Perfect to slide right under if you are dust, rain, a field mouse, or even the moderately skinny cat that was chasing the field mouse. For those without the ability to do the limbo, see previous sentence where I indicate that you need only be a three year old with a stick to break into my highly secured room.

Back to the choking. So I wake up to, well, me, choking. I was choking on dust. I instantly look up to my window to see what time it is, you know, by checking to see if the amazingly bright light outside my room is on. The room is slightly dim so I know that it must be after sunrise because they turn off the light at sunrise and not even high noon is as bright as that light.

So the window is dim. Oh yea, and orange. This confuses me as well so I spring up from my bed, pull open the curtains and see... orange.

Lets go back to yesterday where I said that the great thing about weather is that everyone can relate. I lied. You can't relate to this. Well, maybe you can. Go to the fabric store Get a nice piece of semi-sheer orange curtain, and wrap it about your head three or four times totally covering your eyes. Did you do it? Of course you didn't, because if you did you wouldn't be able to read the screen. If you had though you would be able to understand what the orange out my window looked like. I couldn't see more than about 15 feet. "There used to be things out there," I told myself hopefully.

In this case the orange is actually caused by a "schmal" though I am absolutely sure that isn't even romotely how you spell that word. A "schmal" is a dust storm. In the case of Iraq, those storms are orange. Everything turns orange, the sky, the sun, the horizon, your unprotected eyeballs. Everything. This morning, the "schmal" was blowing right into my room through the gap under the door.

Let me tell you, for those of you who haven't woken up choking, it isn't plesant and certainly isn't the way you want to wake up in the morning. Not good on the heart, of that I am sure. The initial shock of an orange day passed and I quickly put on my clothes and headed off to a work day filled with meetings as though nothing were out of the ordinary.

Oh, yea, and it was winter-like cold. I put on a sweater.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Is it Too Early For A Season Change?

Well, I don’t think so. I am fully confident in this proclamation: We are fully in the grip of Spring!

Yes, I know, it is the end of January, how are we part way into Spring already. Well here in Iraq we actually have five seasons. Those seasons are Fall, Spring, Summer, Oh-my-god-I-feel-like-I-am-going-to-catch-on-fire, and finally second-summer.

It is actually quite nice here right now. The nights are cool, about 50 degrees, and the days are nice, about 65-70 with some slight breezes. It is actually quite like spring you have in the US. You have bees zinging by and blooms bursting. We have AK-47 rounds zinging by and mortars bursting. Really, it is very similar.

Actually we did have winter here, it was just really short. It was about a week long. The temperatures dropped into the high 30s at night and it rained just about every day.

Rain in a country that doesn’t get rain is miserable. The entire place turns into a quagmire. You can’t keep anything clean, and there is mud everywhere. It became a twice daily chore to go to eat because no matter how hard you tried, your boots would be caked with mud in just a matter of steps and would quickly become about as light as a cinder block. You would then take about five minutes to clean off your boots and after eating you got to do it all over again on the walk back. Some people would take a truck the 800 meters to the dining facility and while I would outwardly jeer them, inside I was really just jealous.

Other than the mud, it was actually quite cold. I have some cold weather gear, but I somehow always forgot to wear it. What truly frightens me is that two months from now when it is over 100 degrees, I will be wearing exactly the same clothes I was wearing when it was 40 degrees. I really hope my body adapts, because I don’t have any different clothes to wear.

I have heard people complain when they get on the phone or get a letter all the person talks about is the weather. To me, it is one of the most important things. Sure, you can’t do anything about it, it is always changing, and the weather on one side of the message has nothing to do with the weather on the other side of the message. But weather is the one constant. You both have it. It affects both sides. And while the effects of weather may be more or less profound for you, it is something to which everyone can always relate.

Till next time, here’s hoping the bees are far away and the blooms decide to burst somewhere else.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How am I tired?

I don't get it. I go to bed early, well, earlier than usual anyway and two things happen to me today.

First, I wake up at 4:30 AM. Wide awake, no reason, other than, of course, the bright light that is shining through the window of my room, but that was there all night, it shouldn't wake me, and I don't think it did. I am a bit annoyed that I am awake, after all, I know that I haven't gotten enough sleep and that I am going to be exhausted if I don't get back to sleep. I look around my room. I don't need a light, as I said, there is one shining through the window. I consider going to get some breakfast, and then realize that the dining facility doesn't open for another 90 minutes. Fortunately, reason overcame all motivation and I fell back asleep.
Second, I woke up with only six minutes to get to my 7:30 AM meeting. I love going into a meeting, unshaven, and those of you who know me know that if I don't shave it is really obvious, after a week. I apparently had some bed head going on as a friend from the other side of the room made a hand gesture on top of their head that looked like they were an indian brave who had just earned a few feathers. At first I was a bit confused, then just embarrassed.

So anyway, it makes me wonder why I bothered to go to bed early. Apparently if I had gone to bed two hours later I would simply have woken up 15 minutes before my alarm went off and all would have been well.

At least, that is what I keep telling myself.