I'm falling for Fall in the desert

So much to catch you up on.

First, I have not had time to write and remind you that November 1st means it is a mere 16 days until my birthday (Nov 16) and typically not much would keep me from a reminder as important as celebrating the day of my birth, but the 11.5 Celebration is back on.

Yes! It's true! And as much as I would like to say I am happy about this fact, morale is low. At every meeting post-cancellation there is a key player who just doesn't feel like participating. It's never the same person, but the bad attitude is contagious, so please say a prayer because the party is back on and I want it to be safe and supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

One good thing about planning for an Extravaganza that reduces to a mere Election Day Celebration is that you've already planned on a HUGE scale and so a large scale celebration leaves breathing room. (If that is a blessing in disguise, I didn't appreciate the emotional roller coaster, but a few evenings off was nice--including Oct. 30)

Halloween was a very fun weekend. I was the Queen Bee.

(See the Birds and the Bee : )

Friends met at my apartment and we had a great driver esquire us about the IZ for the evening. Yousef was in my FACT driving class that I took where we were RAMMING cars. (There were 3 people plus and instructor to a car, and Yousef was in my car) In Baghdad, there is a service called motor pool, and it's like a taxi service, you call and they take you where you need to go.

(Ladies, "Dorothy" and Yousef)

So the Statue of Liberty, Amy Winehouse, Dorothy, the chicken, a Greek goddess, a cereal killer, a sexy Yale Revolutionist, Hillary, Bridget Jones, Marilyn Monroe and Bee keeper and a bumblebee went out in Baghdad. First a tent party and then to the British Embassy for a Black tie Masquerade Ball that we busted in "fancy dress". It was a blast. And my Ambassadorial photo count for the night was 3.

First, in the afternoon a group of high ranking Embassy staffers and Ashley and I went to the German Embassy for their Independence Day Celebration. This was my 3rd trip to the red zone. Ash and I had a beer with Christof, the German Ambassador, the Minster of Foreign Affairs Zebari, and Her Excellency, the Minister of Human Rights. It was that cool. I also ran into some friends I had met at my first mission to the red zone when I went to a party at the German Embassy in the summer.

Then I finished up my work for the day and got in my bumblebee gear. We ran into the Danish Ambassador at the first party and then I danced my feet off with the British Ambassador. Very Fun. See below for my Halloween Wall of Fame.

The next day I somehow was signed up to pass out candy to the soldiers in the DFAC. "A whole group of people were getting together to take pictures by the pool and pass out candy" When I showed up, per my colleague's prompting email to all parties involved, I was surprised to find I was only one of two. So Foxy Brown and I made out rounds boosting Morale and Welfare around the Embassy. And at least giving everyone a good laugh--including myself!

Per the Subject Line:
So it's November now and the temperature is beautiful. Not the weather per say, because it is still extremely dusty, and it's been raining--which although the fresh water from the sky is nice there are no drainage systems here. And the drainage systems that were in place have been cemented shut because terrorists planted bombs in them. So, when it rains, it is a mud pool.

Also when a cool breeze blows through, you can see it coming towards you. All you can really think is, "that sucks" watching the dust tornado whirl towards you and there is no where to escape it except for a shower at the end of the day. Since the temperature has dropped I don't get sweaty, but I still get dusty every day.

However, the dust is norm and you deal with it. The temperature is what is so enjoyable, it's the strangest fall I have ever felt, the air hits a high of 76 during the day, but the sun is still hot, so in the sun it feel glorious. I crave afternoon runs (hopefully after 11.5 I will get to take them again). Apparently it will be this pleasent until February- when it gets cold, to a high of 40 degrees.

My favorite is the fall moon. Last night I walked on a errand to an outside office as night was falling around 1745 and I caught sight of the moon, a perfect bright crescent that had just risen over the palm trees. It was so glorious, my soul wanted to explode. I wrapped up work and beelined home gazing out the shuttle window at the moon until I reached home. I had dinner outside with a friend in order to enjoy the night and before I knew it, I looked at the moon that had now turned red as it slipped out of the sky.

The moon disappeared! 1900 there is no moon in Baghdad!

I was totally paranoid after just watching the movie "The Objective" (horrible acting, but the Afghanistan setting drew me in) about UFO/ghost type war fare in the Middle East, when the moon disappeared I was telling myself not to overreact.

It turns out tonight, the crescent moon was back in the sky, even a little thicker than last night. Apparently the moon sets here.

Anyway, a fall moon in Baghdad under a cool sky is really amazing.