Published: February 23rd 2011February 19th 2011
Maggie making us pancakes for a trial run. OMG they were so good!!!
Month 2 is coming up quickly. Not much has changed, but we're all settling into our routines a little more. Mine now includes a panini for lunch pretty regularly. Maggie and I have it down to a science. We do some "shopping" at the DFAC, where we get wraps, ham, pastrami, turkey, swiss and provolone cheese.
For hers she gets some other weird stuff she adds (chinese noodles, green apples, raisins, pickles. Weird!) We've found that the secret ingredient is pesto! Once the pesto is on the grill and cooking, the aroma it sends out is like a siren for everyone around us. People come to investigate, and we end up making extra paninis. It's been fun though! The highlight of the deployment, for some of the people. The only limiting factor for a really amazing panini is pesto. I was finally able to get a company to ship some out here, but I'm going to be pesto-less for a while since I didn't plan well (and didn't know it would be such a wild hit!)
My new purchase was a toaster oven. I'm not sure if we're allowed to have them, so I have it tucked back in my
This lovely plaster cast was done by the British hospital on base (didn't know anyone still used plaster!) 6 weeks later they obliged us and cut it off! The hospital is joint British and American, but currently run by the Brits.
office. So far I've only used it to warm up a left over panini, but I think Maggie is making morning toast with it. I scrounged some baking supplies from one of the units here (the Chaplain used to do a lot of baking but is gone now --redeployed, not dead-- with tons of stuff left behind!). I scored a big jug of vegetable oil (which they've been using in the popcorn maker), cake and cookie mixes, mixing bowls, measuring cups (on loan), spatula/spoon, egg substitute, and bisquick for the pancake maker. Oh yeah, I got a pancake maker too :) Well, that one was already here and collecting dust at the FLAS. I took it up to the squadron and Maggie and I did a test run for a possible pancake breakfast fundraiser we'd do soon. We used some Hungry Jack that was with it. Wow! Those things were AWESOME! Mom had sent out some pancake syrup, so it was quite yummy! If I can manage to find some chocolate chips, we might have some really awesome pancakes -- in lieu of that, I think some broken chocolate bars might work. And I just ordered some really good (and
This is our little family. They're still a little small yet, but give them time!
unhealthy sounding) pancake syrup from this great store online -- www.preparedpantry.com. Great customer service too! Check out what they have -- awesome! I ordered the coconut cream pancake syrup. Yum! Reminds me of the best pancakes I've ever had -- in Hawaii. Boots & Kimo's. They were known all over the island for their pancakes. That was the yummiest pancake syrup I've ever tasted. Coconut cream might be horrible for you, but wow it tastes good!
Another find this week was a website called FOByardsale.com. It's very much like Craigslist, but for out here. What a neat idea! People are constantly buying stuff to make life nicer here, but when they leave, they just throw it all out. Makes me sick. Sometimes they turn it over to the incoming squadrons, but there are so many people who just don't care. The website boasts that you can "turn your can into a candominium". I think that's what I had in Iraq -- a candominium. Not as much here, but we're working on it. I really don't spend much time there at all! I did need something though -- book 3 in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. I knew
Mom sent an amazing cake that made it out here surprisingly well! It tasted like it was just baked. And everyone's favorite -- yellow cake with chocolate frosting! Yum!
I could buy it on Amazon, but it would take forever to get here and I wanted it now. There are tons of morale bookshelves around with books, but I hadn't yet found it on the ones I'd searched. So I posted a wanted ad. Within 2 hours I had someone emailing me telling me they had it at one of the compounds on the morale shelf. Now it's waiting for me down on mainside! Yay! How neat. :)
The other book I just finished is The Kite Runner. Wow! What an incredible book! And now I'm partyway through A Thousand Splendid Suns. Interesting to read it out here -- makes you think. We have a lot of contractors who work on base. Some American, but a lot of them are from other countires. I would say most are from India/Nepal, Uganda/Kenya, or Russia. The last one has more meaning for me after reading the book. I knew that Russia had invaded Afghanistan a few decades ago, but didn't realize how deep the hatred ran. I'm not sure how much of it is still around, but I'll bet they wouldn't be that thrilled to know that there are Russians working in their country. The book also gave me a different appreciation for the wind. I notice it more now. It is almost always windy here. I imagine a little boy running a kite into the wind. Very plausible in the winter.
You would think that if it's so windy here we might have trouble flying, but actually it hasn't been too bad. I've been up flying with the squadron a couple of times. My little bit of motion sickness has decided to rear its nasty head. I'm working on overcoming it. Part of my pay requires me to fly an average of 4 hours per month, which doesn't sound like a lot, but since I haven't been flying for the past 6 months because of my eye surgery (PRK -- awesome!!!), I now have 24 hours to make up. It also gives me a little more cred with the squadron when I'm actually flying with them, not just sitting in my office. So I've been trying. The last flight I was on was so straight and level, I have no idea why I got nauseus, except that maybe I was a little tired from staying up too late the night before. Little by little. I'm going to try to fly again later this week. If this one doesn't go well either, I may resort to medication until I can get over this. There was a time when I could do simple flights without any problems whatsoever, so I think some of it is mental now. Not helping.
A little stress relief out here has come in the form of an old, resurrected fad: Sea Monkeys. We have a healthy little family in medical, that are growing by the day. I was interested in ordering some more packets of stuff online, so I wrote to the company and asked if they would ship FPO. The response was from the owner/president who told me about his time as a Marine in 1956-58. A very nice guy who corresponded with me a couple of times and will be sending out a box of stuff for us. Can't wait to get my new little Sea Monkey toys! They really are so easy and so much fun. The perfect addition for us! Sadly I won't be able to take my family home with me, but I plan to start a new one at work when I get back. :) I think it'll look nice on my desk.
I've tried to come up with a few different activities to pass the time out here, in addition to reading and staring a the Sea Monkeys. One was my Sunday morning routine of going to church. I really hadn't been much into church before, but the mood had struck me and I started going. I went once, loved the sermon, and went back. However, the last few times it was this old "mariney" "Protestant" preacher (and I put Protestant in quotes because he was raised Baptist and really sounds more Baptist). His ideas are a little too right-wing for me. Ok, I can get over his version of the Ten Commandments that we have to read every Sunday that talks about God punishing non-believers to the 6th generation (REALLY??), but when he went off about gays, I almost walked out. According to him, over 95% of Christians everywhere believe that it's wrong for gays to be married, and the rest of us are just writing off the Bible by saying that it doesn't apply exactly in these times. Well, I'd have to agree with that last statement since we don't keep slaves anymore either. Anyway, his little rant about gays (which had NOTHING to do with the Sermon -- it was supposed to be about not having too much pride) really turned me off. I haven't been back since. That was 3 weeks ago. I'm waiting him out. He goes home in 2 more weeks. I don't care what he believes, but he's not allowed to tell me what I should believe.
At work I've been keeping busy with crocheting, my new favorite hobby. I really got into it on my last deployment, and came out with some nifty little scarves. Now I'm expanding to blankets. Pretty ambitious, but we'll see. I could use another blanket to help with my little cave back at the can. As it is, I have to pull down my sheets and blanket from my cave every week for duty at the FLAS. It's annoying. I'd like to just leave something up here, so if I can make a blanket to hang around my bed instead, I can leave my cave undisturbed. It's keeping me busy, which is fun, and is more productive than sitting around popping bubble wrap (which is quite cathartic for some reason). Somewhere around 10 I lost the joy of bubble wrap, but as with the Sea Monkeys, I'm rediscovering my forgotten (and awesome!) youth out here. Oh yeah, and one of the Sergeants has an emulator for his computer, so he can play ALL the old Nintendo games! He even has a nintendo controller that plugs into the USB! I'm definitely gonna have to get that from him.
The weather here has been mild. Cool in the evenings and mornings, and warmish/cool during the day. Most days it's sunny and clear. We're right in the middle of the rainy season, so I figured it would be really wet and rainy all the time, but it really hasn't been bad. We had one week of on and off rain a few weeks ago, which really made a mess of things. I thought the ground was so parched that it would soak up any rain immediately. Not so. It sat around in puddles and mud pits for EVER. In fact, some of it is still there! There are lakes where there used to be walkways.
Time is ticking by. I wonder, am I going to look back with regret in 30 years because I wasted this precious time in my healthy youth by counting down the days and wishing time would pass faster? I hope not, but I really can't wait to come home! I'm watching people around me with other units getting ready to go back, and can only look on in jealous anticipation. I'm trying to make the most of where I am, but can't help mentally checking off the weeks as they pass.
On a final note, a shout out to my dad. He's having hip surgery on March 7 which will require a couple of days in the hospital. Really sad I can't be there! I know mom will take good care of him, and I'm trying not to worry. I guess the tables are turned now! Love you dad -- be careful and do well!