Now is the Winter of Our Discontent …

You can endure a lot of “how” if you keep looking to the goal and remember the “why” of what you are trying to achieve.

I am climbing out of that pit of despair I inadvertently tumbled into yesterday.  I had the opportunity to talk with General Robert Magnus, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.  I have to admit that I am still impressed with meeting important people, especially when they turn out to be impressive and I can learn from being with them.  Over breakfast, we discussed our ePRT programs and as I answered his questions about what we had done and planned to do, I remembered our goal and the valuable work we are doing.

Making progress here remains slow and painful.  We have more starts than finishes.  It takes hours or days to perform some simple tasks that might take minutes in a more benign environment. Sometimes we cannot even get started.  I did not make it to Anah yesterday and the ceremony went on w/o me.  But for the losses there are gains.  Missing my flight yesterday allowed me to have breakfast with General Magnus today, for example.  Being trapped in a big dusty waiting room also gave me a chance to think through some management decisions, which I put into effect yesterday.  And through it all, we are moving forward.  Projects, like the courthouse I did not get to see, are being done.  Anbar is becoming more secure & prosperous.  It is worth the effort.

The picture is from my backyard when we lived in New Hampshire.  I doubt if anyplace in Iraq looks like this, but it is the only Christmas picture I have on my computer.

White Christmas?

Yesterday night the temperatures dipped into the 20s and it was even colder with the wind chill.  I wonder if it will get much cooler.  Yesterday was the shortest day of the year.   Now it will start getting lighter and warmer.  I hear that February is a beautiful month.  March has good temperatures, but it is sandstorm season.  It starts to get hot in late April and by June it is again frying pan weather.  Winter evidently turns into what reasonable people would recognize as glorious summer in February.  It gets warm enough, and then it overshoots the mark moving into unbearable heat, so I am less enthusiastic about the coming of spring that I have been other places where I have lived.  Winter is okay with me. 

As I walked home tonight, I noticed something about the landscape in the moonlight.  I could imagine it as snowy.  In the moonlight, the gravel and dirt looked white.  The heaps of dirt could be snow banks and the dust blowing in the light near the guard post could have been snow.  You are right.  I don’t really believe it either.   Merry Christmas anyway.