1. Still cranking out the Christmas Cards.  Hooray for me!
  2. Is it insane that to buy sale wrapping paper at IKEA, that I drove out there during rush hour?  Probably.  But I moved pretty efficiently, and even made it back in time to meet AB and some work friends for happy hour downtown.  I have to say though, the valet parking makes it possible to go downtown efficiently.  I’m a big fan of that.
  3. Stressful moments when the sink backed up, but the neighbors did too, and he called the rental company (since he is renting, and they sent someone to fix it, and fixing his clog, fixed my problem too, and I didn’t have to write a check!  Hooray!  Now I can do dishes again.  Hooray?
  4. Chris’s Christmas Report:   “Speaking of other countries, we have a large French contingent here at Phoenix.  Their job is to run the ANA staff college and NCO school system nearby.  They live in one corner of the camp which they have marked off and dubbed “Quartier Lafayette.”  For all of some Americans’ bad mouthing of the French, even to the point of renaming french fries “freedom fries” the French are intensely proud of their role in our Revolutionary War.  The buildings in the “Quartier” are all have names like “Valley Forge”, “Yorktown”, “Rochambeau” and “Louisiane”.  For Christmas, they built a very elaborate mechanical Christmas Nativity scene, which is apparently a Foreign Legion tradition, with platoons competing for the best one.  This one showed all of the local area and had a narrative of and american and a French soldier sharing a beer and talking about life at the camp.  At one point the French soldier talks about the crazy traffic, and seemingly unaware drivers and pedestrians running through the streets on Route Violet which runs in front of the camps.  I turned to one French NCO and said “I have driven in Paris; it is the same!”  He had a laugh at that.  At the climactic moment of the presentation, part of the Afghan mountainside is lifted away to reveal the creche.”
  5. Reports from our friends visiting up north.  Hooray for a babies that coo and gurgle!


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