Christmas Update

Merry Christmas to all,

Since I last wrote there have been two rounds of large bombings, more political posturing, and a general tension leading up to the elections. Despite this, things are still progressing. Unfortunately, if I were not here, I would probably not know. The events in Iraq have been far overshadowed by the events surrounding Tiger Woods; an incident of global proportions.

We have been fortunate enough to receive the H1N1 vaccine and our seasonal flu shots. Of course, I now have the flu. The past four days have been a wonderful experience of general ill feeling, coughing, sneezing, stuffy head, fever so I can t rest. I have developed a very close relationship with Nyquil. I just don t understand the need for a vaccine to prevent an illness that either gives me the illness, or doesn t prevent it at all. Well, I have whined enough for now (cough, cough).

It has rained twice since I last wrote. This means that it has put enough water on the ground to make the glorious mud I have spoken about before. As soon it dries out, it rains again, maintaining a status of gook (I realize that is not a real word, but I can think of no better description). Our soldiers are very happy about the daily duty of cleaning the floor, which lasts about 10 minutes or until the next set of dirty boots walks into the TOC. Despite the rain, the weather overall has been beautiful. It is nice to sit out on a cool night, smoke a cigar and not talk about business.

I have been fortunate enough to meet a few more celebrities who have visited Iraq. Tom Watson, Corey Pavin, and several other professional golfers visited and hit golf balls over a lake and into a palace window about 250 yards away. They completed this amazing task while talking more trash to each other than Jerry and C.P. get through in a meeting. I also attended a concert by Aaron Tippin, who is one of my favorite country music stars. We also got a visit from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Keni Thomas, Leanne Tweeden, Alana Grace and Mark Wills. It was a great concert as well. I have autographs and photos with all that I have posted on my facebook page.

Most days are pretty monotonous. I spend 12 hours in the TOC sorting through email, operations plans, fragmentary orders, situation reports and other means of correspondence. Then I go to the gym and lift weights, back to my room for an hour on the bike play some guitar and then the highlight of my day, talking to my wife on the webcam. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, I am not sure how much fonder of someone I can get.

That is all for now. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Robert