30 April 2009

Air Command and Staff College - Round 1

Course: The Challenges of Leadership And Command (5.1) - PASSED.


On to Round 2 - National Security.

26 April 2009

Days of Remembrance - Joint Base Balad, April 23 2009

I had the pleasure and honor to be part of this program. I was given a piece to read on the meaning of this year's theme "Never Again: What You Do Matters". It was compilied by the committee from state & federal proclamations and information from the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.

"The Holocaust was the state-sponsored systematic persecution and annihilation of European Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators between 1933 and 1945. Jews were the primary victims - six million were murdered; the handicapped and Polish were also targeted for destruction or decimation for racial, ethnic, or national reasons. Millions more, including Soviet prisoners of war and political dissidents also suffered grievous oppression and death under Nazi tyranny.

"The history of the Holocaust offers an opportunity to reflect on the moral responsibilities of individuals, societies, and governments; and we should always remember the terrible events of the Holocaust and remain vigilant against hatred, persecution, and tyranny, and we should actively rededicate ourselves to the principles of individual freedom in a just society;

"The Days of Remembrance have been set aside for the people of the United States to remember the victims of the Holocaust as well as to reflect on the need of respect of all peoples. Remebrance obligates us not only to memorialize those who were killed but also to reflect on what could have been done to save them. Those who survived tell us that as many faced their horrific deaths, their last words were "Remember us. Tell our story." Survivors promised that they would, and that never again would the world stand silent or look the other way.

"The Holocaust reminds us of the fragility of democracy and the need for citizens to be both well-informed and vigilant about the preservation of democratic ideals. An engaged citizenry that embraces the power of the individual to make a difference is the frontline defense for strong, just societies. What we do - or choose not to do - matters.

Wing Photo

This was the original photo:

There is some major talent in the photography department around here.

How dusty was it? Here are some pictures I took that morning down on the flight line while we were getting ready and standing around before the picture was taken. We arrived around 7:30a, the picture was taken around 10:30a.

21 April 2009

Deep Thoughts

Port-a-potties get smellier when the weather gets warmer.

The Hospital Tbar

Tbar artwork is all over the base (cause there are so many of these cement structures with flat walls that just beg for paint).
I've taken pictures of many of them (see my flickr pages).

In front of our hospital the 332d Expeditionary Medical Group Tbar project has finally been completed.

Here's the series.

The final result!

20 April 2009

Deep Thoughts

I love it when my pants are so loose the belt is the only thing holding them up over my hips!

19 April 2009

16 April 2009

It's All Downhill From Here

As much as I want to see my husband, my friends, my home...there's a part of me that is going to want to stay - to see this through to the end of our mission here in Iraq. Sometimes it feels like I just got here, and there is still so much to do. Other times it is just the same thing over and over again. But I try to change it up now and again.

This weekend I'm going to attempt something I haven't done in more than 15 years. I will be doing a biathlon (800m swim, 5k run). My goal is first, just to finish; second, to finish in under 50 min.

15 April 2009

Operation Postcard Update

We're halfway through April and here's the wall in the DFAC (Dining Facility) so far -

For those who may not be aware of Operation Postcard, here's the story:

For the month of April, I'm looking for people to send us postcards from all over, to post on the wall in the hospital dining facility.

If you are interested in sending us a postcard, here's the address (standard US postage).

Nutritional Medicine
332nd EMDG/EMDSS-Nut Med
APO AE 09315-9997

Yup, that's it. Nothing else needed. We'll get it and put it up. Of course there will be pictures. I wonder how many cities, states and even countries we'll see.

And this expires at the end of April (then I'll have to think of something different to do to keep life interesting around here).

Military Challenge Coin

Are you familiar with the tradition of the Military Challenge Coin?
Here is the Wikipedia entry (easy click & read, so I won't recopy it into here).

I'm collecting coins here in Iraq (natch). Some I am purchasing.



4th AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE UNIT (From Hill AFB) when I participated in "Medics to Maintainers".

Sometimes a coin is gifted to you.

777th EAS (gift from 1st Lt Parker, who wants to be a dietitian and spent a few days in Nutritional Medicine shadowing me)

And then there is a Commanders coin which is presented (in a handshake) when you do something above & beyond. These are the best!

330th Transportation Battalion - I gave a Nutrition briefing "For the Love of Chocolate" and the Colonel must have really enjoyed it. He gave me this coin in a handshake at the end. Nice!

14 April 2009

Less Technology?

I'm not carrying a cell phone. I find that I'm not missing it (except maybe the daytimer function).

I cannot wear my iPod headphones outside when walking or jogging. That I still miss. If I want to work out in the gym I can listen to my podcasts. But I've been jogging outside (taking advantage of the weather before it gets too hot) and when I'm on the bike or elliptical, I'm either reading my Professional Military Education homework, or an issue of Entertainment Weekly that Ray sent.

No pager or radio from the hospital. There really isn't such a thing as a Nutrition emergency. Although I've been around when 1 has come up (something about a medication nutrition therapy and specialized tube feeding that I had to think outside the box and get creative with the supplies on hand).

Just a gun. Have to wear my M9 when I walk outside in uniform (supposed to do it when wearing PT gear as well, but I just can't do it, and no one has enforced it for medical personnel).

10 April 2009

Peep Show - Please Cast Your Votes!

Started in the ICW (Intermediate Care Ward) and open to all hospital employees. Votes are being cast today and tomorrow. Which ones are your favorites?

Black-Eyed Peep

Duck Duck Duck Peep

Peeps Porridge

National Association for the Advancement
of Colored Peeps

Bunny Ranch

Peeper Peeper Pumpkin Peeper

Peeps Gone Wild

Red Hot Chili Peepers

One Very Clean Peep

Cheese & Peeperoni Pizza

09 April 2009

Passover Seder in Iraq, In a Tent no less.....

The Two-Minute Haggadah
A Passover service for the impatient.
By Michael Rubiner

Opening prayers:

Thanks, God, for creating wine. (Drink wine.)

Thanks for creating produce. (Eat parsley.)

Overview: Once we were slaves in Egypt. Now we're free. That's why we're doing this.

Four questions:
1. What's up with the matzoh?
2. What's the deal with horseradish?
3. What's with the dipping of the herbs?
4. What's this whole slouching at the table business?

1. When we left Egypt, we were in a hurry. There was no time for making decent bread.
2. Life was bitter, like horseradish.
3. It's called symbolism.
4. Free people get to slouch.

A funny story: Once, these five rabbis talked all night, then it was morning. (Heat soup now.)

The four kinds of children and how to deal with them:
Wise child—explain Passover.
Simple child—explain Passover slowly.
Silent child—explain Passover loudly.
Wicked child—browbeat in front of the relatives.

Speaking of children: We hid some matzoh. Whoever finds it gets five bucks.

The story of Passover: It's a long time ago. We're slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh is a nightmare. We cry out for help. God brings plagues upon the Egyptians. We escape, bake some matzoh. God parts the Red Sea. We make it through; the Egyptians aren't so lucky. We wander 40 years in the desert, eat manna, get the Torah, wind up in Israel, get a new temple, enjoy several years without being persecuted again. (Let brisket cool now.)

The 10 Plagues: Blood, Frogs, Lice—you name it.

The singing of "Dayenu":
If God had gotten us out of Egypt and not punished our enemies, it would've been enough. If he'd punished our enemies and not parted the Red Sea, it would've been enough.

If he'd parted the Red Sea—(Remove gefilte fish from refrigerator now.)

Eat matzoh. Drink more wine. Slouch.

Thanks again, God, for everything.


Our seder & meal lasted 4 hours. It was full of song and learning and laughing.

Oh, did I mention the wine? Yup, we got to drink real wine here in Iraq. Don't worry, those cups were pretty small.

The Two Minute Haggadah was posted on Slate in 2006.

07 April 2009

Kill the Flies

It's that time of year around here, the flies are multiplying. Despite fly strips and frequent reminders about closing the doors, we get lots of these visitors.

This has led to a little competition.

SSgt SM snuck into my office chasing after one of these little buggers.