Another Sunday, another work day. The morale over at my new workspace is better than where I was before, but the bosses back in Victory don't want any of us to be happy over here... so my personal morale isn't that great. The leadership doesn't care about the individual soldiers at all, it seems. Nearly all the soldiers I speak with talk about when they can get out of the military... and I'm one of them. I can't wait until I can make decisions for myself and not get berated (it's interesting getting corrected by a sergeant when you're a Lt, in front of junior enlisted personnel for a silly rule that shouldn't have been made in the first place). I don't mind following rules, but sometimes I feel like I should take a stand against idiocrocy. Such as... it's cold here now, and the Army issued everyone black fleece jackets. BUT.... we can't wear them with our uniform because there isn't a regulation saying so, unless it's under your blouse (which there's no way it'd fit) or under your gore-tex jacket, which I don't have. So there are lots of soldiers walking around cold. It's just stupid. I could go on and on about the rediculous things that happen over here just because some Sergeant Major needs something to do with his time, but it would just depress me as well as you.

At any rate, I'm glad it's nearly Christmas. Some people got decorations sent from home, and we're going to put them up. Someone put some Christmas music on the shared drive, so I can listen at work while I'm reading reports, and that certainly livens the mood. This Christmas, all I want is a day off.

Well, gotta get back to my desk so someone doesn't think all I do is spend my time on the internet!


Life continues over here.... I've been busy, but not in the frantic, irrational way I was over at Camp Victory. Here, work is the same, but I can set my own pace and even accomplish more. I'm happier here. :) dibriad@isg.mil for those of you who used to email me at my other work email address (like my friend in New Hampshire).

There was an article sent out about Fallujah, by Jack Kelly. He makes some very good points, and although I don't agree with all he says, it's nice to see something other than the negative reporting that been out in the news. His article is titled "Victory in Fallujah:Iraq's Iwo Jima gets scant media respect." If you feel like reading something different than what is published by al-Jazeera or NBC, look it up.

Today I went for my first run in weeks. I was actually able to go during working hours, in the daylight (we're not allowed to run in the dark over here for safety reasons). I ran maybe just a mile, over to Saddam's personal Mosque and back. The entire time, there was water on at least one side of me, and in the slight breeze, the light flickered off the tiny little waves. It made me almost feel as if I were back in San Diego, watching the harbor. The buildings, little marble and cement cottages set up for the Ba'ath Party, dotted the rim of the lakes. There is even a houseboat, but it's nearly sunk. The Victory over America Palace (that was never finished being built) was being worked on, and I could hear the hammering across the silent lake. The run itself wasn't fun because I still have some sort of cold and my endurance is at nil, but it was pretty and nice to be out in the sunshine for a change. It shouldn't be too hard to keep that up.

~ amber dawn


I have successfully moved to Camp Slayer, into a house. There is a huge room partitioned off to make cubicles with beds in them, and my little cubicle-room has a sliding glass door (unopenable) right along the lake. It's beautiful, quaint, and much safer than that tin-can trailer. This morning's walk to breakfast was nostalgic, but I couldn't tell where the nostalgia was coming from -- Bahrain? Japan? At any rate, the temperature was cool and there was a strong breeze coming off the blue-green lakes. It was a peaceful walk, and I even passed a few stray dogs and cats who seemed oblivious to the change this once-Ba'athist resort has undertaken the past few years.

I work in the "Perfume Palace" now. Still don't have indoor plumbing, but that's alright. The palace has an enormous dome, which I work inside of. I must get pictures of it... I can see the palace from my bedroom. :) This is SO MUCH better than Victory. Camp Victory was like a bustling Army extravanza.... and Camp Slayer is like a small town with a little Main Street.

Must start work! ~ Amber


i've been unable to write recently because i've been sick and stuck in my trailer. the doctors didn't know what was wrong with me (weak, dizzy, strange creatinine levels) so they wanted me to go to the CASH (which is like M*A*S*H) at the International Zone. It took me two days to finally get a flight here, during which i was stuck in my trailer. well, the doctors here took some more blood tests and decided i'm fine and "on the way to recovery." it's embarassing that i came all the way here via helo and nothing is wrong with me except that i had an "unknown viral infection." yes, i know, it's a good thing everything is fine now... on paper anyway. i still feel crappy. at least psychologically i know now that i'm not heading into kidney failure again. for the first time in days, i want to eat something... but the chow hall doesn't open until noon, and i'm supposed to catch a bus back to Victory then (they call the busses Rhinos, and they're armored but ugly). so... to answer emails, i'm fine now and should be all well again in a few days to a week (according to the doctor).

while i was waiting to be seen, there was an Iraqi National Guardsman with his foot wrapped up and he was moaning and crying for some pain meds. he didn't speak any English, but after they got a translator, found out he hurt his foot in Fallujah a few days ago. he kept begging for medication, but they couldn't give him any until they figured out what was wrong exactly. i felt bad for him, but he was moaning incredibly and it was just a foot.... the British guy across from me kept his eyes down as did I, mostly, avoiding the Iraqi's attention because there wasn't anything we could do for him. a pitiful case, and it was unnerving.

there are so many banged up soldiers here. i can tell they've been in battle, and several have shrapnel wounds on their legs and their hands bandaged as if they've been in a fire. and here i am, weak and sick but apparently "just fine" wandering the halls hungry and thirsty until my time to make the voyage back to my home base. i am looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow, but i am embarassed that the only explanation i will have of not being able to work the past few days is an "unknown viral infection." the doctor said she'd seen lots of really strange illnesses here. she got to chalk me up for another.

well i'll get off the computer now and let some other wounded/sick use it. i'll go read my book ("Crime and Punishment") and wait out another hour or so until i catch the shuttle to the bus.

it's sad i came all the way to the International Zone and i don't get to see it.


it's been raining. although i enjoy the familiar smell of wet pavement... i do not so much enjoy the mud. it's not just normal mud... it sticks to your boots and piles up and up so suddenly you find yourself two inches taller and walking on rounded soles. it's got the consistency of chocolate pudding mixed with corn starch.

the change in climate is welcomed, though. it suddenly feels, smells, and looks a bit like Fall. or at least a Fall with Palm trees.

i think i am getting addicted to running -- and that's alarming, coming from me.