i'm visiting my parents and sister this week in Charleston, South Carolina. it's a nice, warm, sunny day, and guess what i get to do now? mow the lawn. wonderful. mom said i can "work on my tan." i love how they pick this week to do house work.

this may be my last time visiting them in Charleston as they're moving to Denver for about six months and then to Anchorage. Christmas in Alaska, my dad says. at least it'll be white.

well my sister is getting increasingly annoyed that i am being "lazy" and not helping. i doubt she understands that the past two days have been the first relaxing days i've had since i got back and i just don't feel guilty for not jumping in and helping scrub the new tile they just laid down in the sun-room. some mischevious filament inside me is relishing my new-found ability to annoy my little sister. muahaha. i have come back from Iraq and am evil! ;-)



I started work yesterday, and it's going well so far. It is strange and different to be back, needless to say. The work day went by so quickly, too, now that I'm only working 8-hour days.

The new shoes are great. We went running last night in the neighborhood, up and down hills, and my legs didn't hurt at all (still don't).

I don't what else to say. Hopefully the house will get organized soon, and before I leave for home this weekend.


just a quick update: house is still a mess, but getting slowly better. the roommate situation is a little improved. got new running shoes and am going to take the dogs on a run to the beach....


this has been the worst day since i left Iraq. i have broken down more times today than i can ever remember doing in one day before. i don't know what it is. so many things didn't work out today, plus it was gloomy and rainy and my roommate skimped out on me in my time of need to go to a movie with his girlfriend. now, the house is a mess with all of my belongings all about because i just unloaded my storage unit. i don't know where to put it away or how, and i don't know why i have so many (heavy) books. my dog thinks i'm insane because i keep yelling into my pillow as i get increasingly more frustrated and upset. it's too quiet here. i wish my storage unit had burned while i was away. i wasn't even able to get into it until 6 because the guys tried to deliver it too early and i was at the gym, then they came later so i had to wait all day and pay extra for them to deliver it again, and then i discovered i lost the key to the lock and had to buy some bolt cutters to open it. my roommate helped me unload it as i yelled at him for even the notion of leaving me with this mess. i became an enraged demon, willing the books to fly at him but instead getting a stitch in my back as i carried my desk upstairs. my writing desk...the one i'll write my first novel on. i thought of that, briefly, as i fumed. he left as soon as the furniture was in the door and i broke down. after screaming into my pillow and crying for half an hour, and calling for my dog who never came, i came here to purge my angry thoughts and my self-pity. now i'll do anything to get this house in perfect condition before he returns so he can feel guilty as hell. unfortunately, that is impossible, and i'll have to actually work with him on the house tomorrow and be civil. i wanted to call my friend in town, but she's got kids and really doesn't have the freedom to just run to me when i've lost it. really, it's probably funny. i can handle being in Iraq, but i can't handle being left alone with a house in mint-tornado condition. i'm half tempted to drive to Border's, sip a latte and browse through the travel section and just ignore it all. but i can't concentrate with a house like this. i don't know how he can sit through a movie right now. grrrrrrr. oh, and don't post any comments on this like, "oh now Amber, things will get better," or "having a bad day?" or "you really need to calm down" because i already know these things. tomorrow may not be as bad as today -- it may not rain, or i may get one room organized, or a gorgeous man may knock on my door and whisk me off to a movie while my roommate has to organize. yes, that would be better.

mammoth lakes valley1

mammoth lakes valley1, originally uploaded by ambotchka.

amber rides

amber rides, originally uploaded by ambotchka.

at mammoth mtn


the Sierras are absolutely gorgeous in the spring. rolling, green hills beneath peaks of snow, speckled with pines.

i went snowboarding and cross country skiing up at Mammoth the past few days and then drove to the western side of the Sierras (via Nevada since the pass was closed) to see family. the poppies have started to bloom, and it's warm and breezy here. why be anywhere else?

adjusting to life in the States has been a little more difficult for me than i had anticipated. for instance, the hotel door kept making a deep booming sound whenever anyone else opened their door, and it sounded much like the door in our house in Baghdad did when an IED would go off nearby. i find myself staring at things that never affected me before. i can't really explain it.

getting back to San Diego after this trip will be a relief. i wish i had spent more than just two days there before leaving again. it seems almost like i wasn't really there.

my uncle is watching the new Exorcist movie. it's very disturbing. i don't know if i can watch it. this is sorta a distraction, so i don't have to look at the bad parts. but i am being rude and i should get off his computer.

~ amber


I am in El Paso, Texas. It took me THIS LONG to get here, but at least I am back in the States. I may be able to fly home tomorrow - I hope!



unfortunately, there is no pool here. oh well.

tonight after my yoga class i was going to do some cardio, but they were having a boxing fight and the rest of the gym was closed off. i stayed to watch (nothing else to do), and i have to admit it was a little interesting.

boredom breeds the desire to shop, so i spent some time in the PX today, browsing and getting the new Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco cds (plus season two of Sex and the City, which i'd never watched until recently and am embarrassingly hooked).

my flight leaves on the 6th. that is too many days to spend eating all my meals and doing everything alone. forced time to "look within" and figure myself out, i guess.