Sunday, August 24

Greetings from the Middle East!

Well, so far the trip has been ok. It was very long. After a week of training in Georgia, we left for Kuwait. That trip took 41 hours from barracks to tent. We spent a few days doing more training in Kuwait,then left for Iraq. We arrived in Baghdad a few hours later and moved into temporary billets. Tent city in Kuwait

Inside the tent

Now we have switched to what we'll be staying in. It is pretty nice, especially for a war zone. I have a room with an attached shower and bathroom and one roommate. He is a general surgeon and seems like a pretty good guy, though he is leaving and getting replaced in the next month or so. It is very hot and dusty. So far we've topped out at a little over 120. Not much fun to be out in, I must say. At night it is pretty reasonable though. We are doing detainee ops as our mission, with about 15% American. So far the ones I have met seem ok. The vast majority of them are guys who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, though we do have a few who are bad guys. One of my current patients blew himselfup trying to plant a roadside bomb, then tried to resist the troops who came to arrest him and got shot. He's going to make it though.
Loading the plane to fly to Iraq
The food is good. I have no complaints yet, though I have been told the menu has little variety and you get tired of it after awhile. I will have to wait and see. I hope you are all doing well!

Coffee kiosk at Camp Cropper

Wednesday, August 20

Going to the chapel

Last weekend, my good friend Karen married David Bowes in Baltimore, MD. They are off on their honeymoon now somewhere in the Caribbean! It was a lot of fun and they were so blessed to have had a GORGEOUS August day (as compared to our wedding 3 years ago in 102 degree blazing heat and no A.C.!!!)

The beautiful bride

Karen, David and David's daughter, Trisha

Walking around the Inner Harbor for pictures

View from the banquet room

The three amigas! Ole!

Monday, August 18

Joe's boo boo

Poor Joe fell off his new truck yesterday and got a nasty boo boo on his face. Mommy learned that even if you are watching a baby closely, all it takes is looking away for a second for an accident to happen!!

Sunday, August 17

One week down

Well, what can i say. It has been a really tough week. I was hospitalist for the group at Howard County Hospital starting on Monday until Thursday. What that means is I am basically the person on call during the day for the group at the hospital so I get all the new consults, ER calls, and help out in the OR as first assist. Let's just say it can get pretty busy. PLUS, I didn't get home most nights until after 7 pm and once as late a midnight. Lucky for me, my mom lives right in Olney so she picks up Joe and took care of him while I was at work.

It took Joe a little time to adjust to being back at day care. He a bit clingy and whiny this week but he gradually got back into our routine. It didn't help that I wasn't seeing him at night either. Today was a rocky day too as he and I spent the day hanging out at home, but he fell off his new truck onto the pavement and faceplanted. It looks like he has roadrash but nothing serious. Somehow, with 2 doctors in the house, I could not find a tube of antibiotic ointment ANYWHERE even though I could have sworn we had some, so we went to CVS to get it. We got some funny looks, but oh well.

Ken arrived in Kuwait yesterday after a 41 hour journey from Ft. Benning which included a lot of waiting in airports, bus rides, and plane rides. The details are confidential apparently but he told me that currently, he is at Camp Buehring, Kuwait where he will be for a few more days. He finally was able to call me yesterday around 430 pm (EST) but only had 15 minutes. There are long lines to wait to use the phone and there is a daily limit of 15 minutes!!! He was able to call again today which was nice but the darn phone got cut off when it hit that limit!! Darn phone!!! He got some sleep and is eating much better than at Ft. Benning where the majority of the time he was served some canned stuff which he dubbed "dogfood". If Ken didn't eat it, that stuff must have been REALLY bad. I should be getting pictures soon so Iwill post these once I have them.
Here is a map of Kuwait for those of you interested. I think Camp Buehring is near the Iraq border but I am not totally sure.

Please keep him and the rest of the soldiers that are deployed and their families in your prayers!

Saturday, August 9

Countdown begins!

After several months of getting everything ready, today was the day that Ken had to leave. It had been a tough week already, somewhat softened by a few days at the beach, but still a difficult goodbye nonetheless. His parents, Joe and I took Ken to BWI airport where he caught a plane to Ft. Benning, GA. He will do the pre-deployment in processing there before he goes to Iraq. Hopefully these next months will go by quickly! Please keep him in your prayers!

Terrapin family picture

Thursday, August 7


A few days ago, we unexpectedly lost our beloved cat Soledad. She was only 6 years old and had not shown any signs of being sick until we found her dead. This post is sort of a eulogy to her and therapeutic to me since she was my beloved pet and friend since she was a tiny kitten. I got her in July 2002 from a friend of a friend in Delaware. I remember going to pick her out from the litter of kittens and she was the most beautiful one and most active one of them all. When I took her home, I was not really sure what to do, so I wrapped her up in a towel and drove home with her squirming in my arms. It was my first month of residency (before the 80 hour work restriction) so I was exhausted from work but occasionally could not sleep at home because Sole liked to 'knead' on my head while I slept. She also liked to jump on the bed in the middle of the night! Somehow we both made it through!

She reigned over the house like a queen and had such a funny personality. She was always a loving cat but only on her terms. She loved you and sat on your lap and then once she was finished with you, there was no convincing her to stay. About 3 years later, she adopted a little sister, Navi, although it was a bit rough going at first. It was very obvious who the dominant cat was around the house though! One of the things I loved about her was how much of a social cat she was. She would usually come to the door to greet me when I came home, or at least come to wherever I was doing something to keep me company. That was assuming, of course, that it didn't interrupt her nap/s. She found new and interesting places to curl up....the sofa, the chairs, the window sill, our new piece of Korean furniture by the window, our pillows, the sink, and on and on. She was also quite an athelete. Once she was walking along the balcony in our current house when we had just moved in and she lost her footing and dangled over the family room for a second, then recovered and sauntered off as if it had never happened. Cats!
She also loved Joe and didn't mind when he petted her a little too roughly. She would rub against him and played with him all the time. They had a great time together.

We are going to miss her very much and she will always have a special place in my heart. I suppose there was someone in heaven who needed a really awesome cat so I will try to be happy for her. Goodbye Soledad! We love you!

Sunday, August 3

Little Red Wagon

Today is Joe's actual birthday and Ken put together his new Radio Flyer red wagon. Joe helped of course!

Saturday, August 2

Happy Birthday Joseph!

It seems like it was just the other day that we were driving to Delaware for Joseph to be born and now here he is a year old. Hard to believe!! We celebrated his birthday in conjunction with Ken's going away party since all of our family was going to be at our house anyway. We had a fun-filled day visiting with everyone and eating my Dad's tasty asado (Uruguayan style beef) and chimmichurri. After the barbeque, we brought out Joe's birthday cake and presents.

Look how I've grown in a year!

Joe's Birthday Bear cakes!

This is a cool rocking chair just my size. Thanks Pap and Nonni!

Proud grandmas with Joe and Ellena (Joe's cousin)

Look at my awesome truck that Uncle Gus and Cousin Branden gave me!