Sunday, December 31, 2006

Well, that didn't take long.

An amateur video (from a cel phone) was taken of Saddam Hussein's execution. And of course, it's already up on LiveLeak, among other sites.

Aside from being astounded at how quickly this has gotten up on the web (and of course, that they allowed cel phones in the room as well as let this dude obviously film it), it's got me thinking. It's really rather Orwellian, isn't it? I mean, Big Brother is watching in a sense, whether it be Saddam's hanging, Britney Spears' coochie-pop, or Paris Hilton bending over some sick kid in Australia. It's just that Big Brother is us and we are all too happy to record every moment, any moment to be used against the subject (and potentially us) in the future.

It's kind of scary, really.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

What men should read instead of Maxim.

I've found a new site that has captivated me:

http://theshapeofamother.com/

It's all photos of women's bodies, pregnant and post-partum. I find myself visiting it quite often. I can't really turn away. I would like to say that it's because it's all empowering and shit, but the truth of the matter is, some of these photos make me feel better. I look at some and think, "Geez Louise, I don't look that bad. Pregnancy was kind to me!" And then I go upstairs and put on the skinny jeans that cut off circulation in my post-pregnancy ass and strut around the house until the lack of oxygen to my brain makes me dizzy.

But still, I think that both men and women should take a look at this site. Men, to realize that it's not helpful to tell your wife that she should get to the gym. Some changes to your body after having a baby are just not fixable. And second, for women, to realize that you are not alone and there are definitely women out there who would kill for your -- yes, your -- body.



It is done.

Saddam Hussein was executed. They sure didn't waste any time.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/meast/12/29/hussein/index.html

This is the line that is of particular interest to me:

The execution was videotaped and photographed, state television reported, and those images will be distributed to the media.

Guess we'll be seeing it up on YouTube before we know it.

So now that it's done, how do you feel? Do you think justice has been done?

Friday, December 29, 2006

The making of a martyr.



New reports state that Saddam Hussein, whose appealed death sentence was recently upheld by the Iraqi high court, will hang this weekend. And, of course, Baathists are saying that the U.S. will pay. I don't actually know how many true Baathists are left in Iraq but I'm sure they could do some damage if so inspired.

I do believe that Saddam should be punished for his crimes. He's a bad man -- not sure if he was bad enough to justify a war without weapons of mass destruction but that's a whole 'nother blog post. But I don't think that he should hang. Given the culture of martyrdom pervasive in fanatical Islam, his death serves only to give them another reason to fight. And frankly, I think the worse punishment for Saddam himself would be to sit in a 8x8 cell for the rest of his life, washing his own drawers and having nothing to look forward to but Salisbury steak for Friday's dinner. He should be held in confinement, without the benefit of someone to hear his pontifications, and be allowed to fade from public consciousness. That would be the thing that would truly kill the man.

But he will hang. And perhaps even on television as the world watches.









But I can't help but think that justice will not be achieved.

Merry Christmas, 82nd Airborne!

I'm not surprised. I'm not sure anyone is. Now we'll just have to watch and see what exactly these 3500 guys can add to the mix.

http://www.army.mil/-news/2006/12/27/1131-gates-approves-82nd-airborne-division-deployment-to-kuwait/

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ummmm, no.


I just attended a baby shower where the guest of honor spent over an hour discussing the cosmetic surgery she will have once she finally gives birth. Apparently, she has scheduled a c-section already -- why wait for a medically necessary reason to do so? -- and her doctor is willing to give her a tummy tuck at the same time. After all, why worry about the health of the baby or have a vaginal birth for a quicker recovery time when there might be cellulite and a few extra pounds to contend with?
Anyway, this sparked a conversation about the rumor that the military, wanting to train its doctors on the finer points of plastic surgery (with the idea that it will help with cosmetic surgeries on burn and blast combat casualties), has allotted one free procedure to all military spouses. Every woman in that room went on to say what they would have done -- boobs, liposuction, cheek implants, nose jobs -- you name it, someone wanted it. I was the lone dissenter.
First of all, I've never heard anything to make me believe that this rumor is true and I doubt very much that it is. But more importantly, why on earth would anyone submit to a *free* cosmetic surgery so an inexperienced surgeon can *practice* on them? C'mon now. That's like letting the kid next door take apart the engine of your new Porsche for his freshman auto mechanics class.
In truth, I don't believe in plastic surgery. I think this world does enough to make women feel bad about their bodies. And given that I have a few friends who do indulge in nips and tucks, I've never seen a procedure help with those body phobias. I've only seen it compel them to do more unnecessary and potentially dangerous surgeries to perfectly healthy and beautiful bodies.
I'm not one to blow smoke up your ass and say that any body problem can be solved with diet and exercise. As someone who naturally had a big ass before my kid and then an even larger one after, I know it can only do so much. But it can do enough. Enough to make you feel strong and good inside, which will reflect on the outside. Perfection is unattainable. I don't know why it's so hard for us as women to understand that.
And as for the free plastic surgery, I'm guessing most of the women at that party won't partake. I hope not. But if they do, here's hoping that the military is willing to offer some kind of discount on any follow-on procedures. After all, what's a pair of new boobs without a new ass to match?

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The reason why musicians should not be politicians.

Have you seen this stupidity? "Not as seen on TV?" C'mon, now. This is what Bono and Billie Joe think that the military could have done in New Orleans?! And what good is an aid drop like the one at the end of the video that FALLS IN THE WATER?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNpfVNOW-Uw

And don't get me started on the stealth bomber. Complete and utter bullshit.

I changed my mind.

*THIS* is the perfect Christmas gift.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05349/622923.stm

"I thought it would add that extra sparkle to our marriage"?!?! What the hell is she going on about? Why can't she do what the rest of us do for a little more virgin sparkle -- just lie on the bed, eyes closed, missionary position with knees as close together as possible, with a few winces of pain while whispering, "What time did you say your mother was coming home again?"

Stories left untold.


Like many soldiers, CPT Dick didn't really talk much about his deployment in Baghdad. He simply summed it up as, "It sucked ass," and saw no need to elaborate further. I think the most descriptive he ever got was in one letter back home after he had been there for a few months. He wrote, "The city smells like a combination of sewage, diesel exhaust and more sewage...the sand gets everywhere, including behind your balls." Poetical, no?

But being in Cairo did prompt him to tell me a few stories about his Iraq experience, albeit a few years later. Maybe it was all the sand (still getting behind his balls, I'd imagine, given how much I found in Munchkin's diaper), or the pervasive smell of sewage, or perhaps the crazy drivers always asking for a "baksheesh."

But as we were being taxied around Cairo by a particularly insane driver, CPT Dick laughed to himself and finally told a story. He said that while he was in Baghdad, there was a suspicious vehicle that was called in by a patrol. The guys at the base were asking for details about the car: make, model, distinctive characteristics, etc. The soldier calling in described the car in detail and was then asked to provide the license plate number. The soldier paused, sighed dejectedly, and then said, "Squiggle dot, squiggle squiggle dot, circle squiggle dot." He couldn't read the Arabic script and just did the best he could.

As I laughed at the story (because I certainly could do no better in deciphering Arabic script, especially on a dirty, banged up license plate), I thought about how strange it must be for soldiers to be in Iraq. How completely foreign it must all be. Different world, different culture, different language and different alphabet. For us, on a leisurely trip to Egypt (where everyone speaks English, at least to ask for some money), the foreignness was part of the allure. But for someone going on a year tour, I can't even imagine how completely and utterly unsettling a world of squiggle dots must be.

As I prepare for CPT Dick to make a year's return to that foreign land, I hope I remember how strange it all can be and be more patient with him.

A belated Happy Holidays.

My apologies for the lack of contact in the past week. We spent in our Christmas in Egypt -- well, why not? -- and I stupidly thought I'd be able to update from there. Let's just say that "state of the art" wireless Internet access does not mean the same thing here as it does in old Cairo. And sadly, I'm so addicted to the WWW that I found myself actually surprised at that development. What's wrong with me?

But Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope that Santa was good to everyone and wish you all the best in the coming year.

Monday, December 18, 2006

To get us in the holiday mood.


Tomorrow, we're leaving for the week. We're headed to a place about as far away from Christmasland as you can get but it will be nice to sip Mai Tais and enjoy the scenery.

I left CPT Dick at home with Munchkin to do some last minute shopping and came back to hour 3 of "Das Boot." When I raised an eyebrow, CPT Dick said, "Nothing says Merry Christmas more than 'Das Boot'!"

Again, he's dead serious.

The must have gift this Christmas.

Check out this SNL Short starring Justin Timberlake. Hilarious!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The burden of knowing too much.

The other night I attended a wives' party. Usually, these parties feature Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple,Tupperware or, at this time of year, some god-awful Christmas decoration manufacturer.

I said I'd go, mostly to get out of the house for a couple hours. But as I walked out the door, I yelled back to CPT Dick, "If the food isn't good, I'm so outta there!"

So imagine my surprise when I got there and realized that it was a Slumber Party. No, no. Not a slumber party with jammies and ouija boards and bras in the icebox. Oh, no. A fuckerware party. I decided I would stay for the entire event even if the food did suck. Maybe I'd win the free gift. A girl can never have too many pairs of crotchless panties, you know.

It was actually a good time, though it was a bit strange to see a Colonel's wife playing pass the vibrating double-dildo with such enthusiasm. Let me tell you, she certainly doesn't muster the same kind of excitement for raffles or fundraisers. But I suppose it's not a fair comparison. I ate a lot of food, laughed very hard and learned that a lot of wives that I thought were total sticks in the mud are actually a lot of fun. But there is one item from that night that is haunting me.

What do you do when you learn that a certain high ranking NCO, one that inspires fear and bedwetting in most 18 year old privates, one that attends church standing at the same force of attention he would for a three star, one who will go on and on about the sanctity of home and family if you let him, well, what do you do when you learn that the man has some rather unexpected tastes? How do you react when his wife tells you all about those tastes and why exactly she's tired of licking his ass hole after he sticks things in it (and, of course, is interested in a lubricant that might mask some of the aftertaste)? And knowing all this -- and even more, really -- how do you face him in the future with a straight face?

I'm still trying to figure that one out. Maybe I'll ask CPT Dick for his advice. But I'm afraid I might scar him for life.

My prayers answered.

Earlier this month, I pined for Harry Potter. I did what any girl would do in the same situation. I re-read one of the earlier books. I watched the movies on DVD again. I scoured the Internet for nudie pics of Daniel Radcliffe from his new play (kidding! -- well, maybe).

And somewhere, out there in the abyss, some kind person heard my cry and released the movie trailer for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Sure, some of you cynics may think it has something to do with Christmas marketing. But you can go scrooge yourself. I'm sure this release date was all about me, me, me.

In any case, the trailer looks pretty good. Hopefully it will do the 800+ page tome justice. And in the meantime, will this small token have the ability to carry me through to the movie's July 13, 2007 release date? Time (and how many times I can watch the trailer online before my husband starts an intervention) will tell.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Something to really get you in the holiday mood.

Brought to you from our friends at the Sprinkle Brigade:




It's so wrong. And yet, it's one of the first things that's put me in the holiday mood this year. I wonder what that says about me.




Stating the obvious.

Today, I gave a carless soldier a lift into town. My CD changer was in random mode and one of the CDs that was getting extra play was Robbie Williams' "The Ego Has Landed." I know that Robbie ain't all that in the states but when I lived abroad he was *the shit* (TM) and I associate his music with good times fueled by a lot of scotch. Brilliant his music may not be, but oh my, is it fun.

As one song finished, the soldier -- all of 19 years old -- asked me with a scowl, "Who is this on the radio?" I should have remembered that if it ain't Slipknot, it ain't music. But I thought maybe I could share my interest in catchy Brit pop with someone new.

"Robbie Williams," I replied. "Have you heard of him?"

"Oh, right. Yeah. He's gay."

Now, I wasn't sure how to take this exactly. When I was a wee one, "gay" most often meant dumb or too insignficant to be bothered with. Like, homework was "gay," the Barbies we would never admit we played with in private were "gay," and so was Ethan, the guy whose left pointer finger was permanently attached to the inside of his nostril.

But these days the word has a whole new connotation. So I had to ask, "Do you mean gay as in stupid or gay as in homosexual?"

He raised one eyebrow and said, "Well, I meant stupid but the other most likely applies, too."

I didn't reply for a moment. The fact that there was some overlap in lexicon between an old broad like me and a boy that I technically could have given birth to made me a little giddy. But then, I started to take offense. The music was not stupid (well, not much, anyway), nor is Mr. Williams a homosexual (at least, not if Page 6 is to be believed). And so right when I was about to protest, to explain Robbie's overwhelming "shitness" abroad and how he's more likely to be suffering from an overabundance of pussy, the sounds of track 4 filled the car.

My breath smells of a thousand fags
and when I get drunk I dance like me Dad
I'm starting to dress a bit like him

And with those words exploding in my ear, I thought better of saying anything. The soldier already got an education in nostalgic, old lady music. He didn't need me to explain the finer points of British slang, as well.

Still lame as far as I'm concerned.

The Democrats are in a tizzy as South Dakota's Senator Tim Johnson recovers from surgery after a most ill-timed brain hemorrhage. Apparently, the Republican governor of South Dakota is the one who will name Johnson's replacement and his choice can swing the balance of power back over to the dark side. I was discussing this yesterday with a friend and fellow misanthrope and loved his final word on the matter:

"I can't wait for the reports that the GOP somehow engineered his stroke."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A perfect fit.

Tonight is our company's holiday party. It's been sort of a pain in the ass to put together. And a lot of it has involved me showing up at CPT Dick's office yelling about needing something or other from him so I can get everything done in time. So not so much fun all around.

And of course, whenever you have an event of this size, there are always going to be those little last-minute, ass-chomping things that come up a few hours before go time. This morning was no exception. And so, I wandered into CPT Dick's office before I went to the gym to make sure that he could get these things done for me.

He glared a bit as I told him what I needed, then looked at me thoughtfully, and said, "That sports bra is way too small for your boobs."

I looked down. "No, it's not. It's just the right size for my boobs. Especially if my boobs are going to run."

"No. I can hear your boobs. They are screaming, screaming for freedom! They are saying, 'please, in the name of all that's holy, let me out, let me free!'"

"Oh, I see. Some sort of boob Morse code, eh?"

"Yes, they are staging a coup for freedom."

I just wanted to get to the gym at this point (and stop the discussion about my boobs) so I point-blank asked him, "So are you going to do what I asked or what?"

"I don't know. Are you going to set your poor boobs free?"

Top 10 Funniest Political Quotes from 2006

All I have to say is I am surprised and deeply saddened that Rumsfeld did not make the list. Did he say nothing noteworthy this year?

The complete list from Extreme Mortman:

1) John Kerry: “If you make the most of (education), you study hard, you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.” (
Oct. 30)
Of course, with a joke so brilliantly funny and insightful, there were bound to wannabe imitators.

2) A tie: Ted Stevens: “The Internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes.” (June 28)
and
Larry King on the Internet: “I’ve never done it, never gone searching…. The wife loves it. I wouldn’t love it. What do you punch little buttons and things?” (
Nov. 14)

3) Joe Biden: “You CANNOT go into a 7-11 or a Dunkin Donuts without an Indian accent.” (July 6)

4) Hugo Chavez describing President Bush: “The devil is right at home. The devil — the devil, himself, is right in the house. And the devil came here yesterday. Yesterday, the devil came here. Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today.” (Sept. 20)

5) President Bush to legally blind reporter Peter Wallsten “Are you going to ask that question with shades on?” (June 14)

6) Rep. Bob Wexler: “I enjoy cocaine because it’s a fun thing to do.” (July 21)

7) Sen. Jeff Sessions: “I talk to those who’ve lost their lives, and they have that sense of duty and mission.” (Dec. 5)

8) Tony Snow to Helen Thomas: “Thank you for the Hezbollah view.” (July 18)

9) A tie:
George Allen: “I still had a ham sandwich for lunch. And my mother made great pork chops.” (
Sept. 19)
and
Los Angeles Times correction: “An article in Section A on Wednesday about friction in the Republican Party between gays and religious conservatives said Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) had a campaign manager who is gay. The Allen staff member who is gay is his communications director.” (
Oct. 19)

10) Prince George’s County, MD, County Executive Jack Johnson: “I always fly business class or first class. I think the people of Prince George’s County expect me to. I don’t think they expect me to be riding in a seat with four across and I’m in the middle.” (Nov. 20)

We weren’t sure whether to include a quote by Mayor Ray Nagin; after all, hasn’t New Orleans suffered enough? But then we caught HBO’s Comic Relief special for Katrina relief and reconsidered. Heck, if Robin, Billy, and Whoopi can find humor in a disaster while on stage in Las Vegas, then why can’t we recognize Nagin’s home-grown humor? Here then, a bonus: The Eleventh Funniest Political Quote of 2006.

11) New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin: “This city will be chocolate at the end of the day.” (Jan. 16)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'These people should be court-martialed.'

I read Salon.com's article on Mikey Weinstein, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) with great interest today. I am not Jewish, and as I said, we're not all that religious. But both my husband and I were raised Roman Catholic and we have baptized our son in the Catholic faith as well.

Weinstein's style is a little over the top, however, I do agree that evangelical Christians are stepping out of bounds in many ways without any kind of reigning in by their superiors. Since CPT Dick took command, we've had several incidents that have raised my hair. The one that stands out most in my mind was an innocuous little barbecue. Soon after we got here, a supposedly non-denominational Protestant chaplain held a unit-based barbecue. That is, not just this preacher's flock, but all of a particular unit -- Protestant, Catholic, Muslim and Jew -- were also invited to attend. There are many such events that are co-sponsored by chaplains and the MWR (morale, welfare and recreation) folks and when people hear the call for free food, they usually come running.

At this barbecue, religious coloring books were passed out to the children. These coloring books talked scripture and beliefs, which is fine, I suppose, but they did so in an extremely inappropriate way. On one page, the coloring book explained that religions that believed in saints (like the Roman Catholic faith) or any prophets other than those sanctioned (Mormons, Muslims and Jews) were idol worshippers and would therefore not be welcomed into heaven. Unsurprisingly, some parents were outraged and complained. A whole lot more didn't, but that's not a surprise either, I guess.

And what was done? That would be a big, fat nothing. And to add insult to injury, the new Catholic chaplain that recently came to post found a box full of these coloring books in his office with a note stating that he was free to use them for Sunday school activities.

Can you say classy?

So, as I said, I don't like Weinstein's style. And unfortunately, I think that style will kill the MRFF in the end. But I'm glad someone is finally getting up and saying something.

We're a military family that is meant to represent the United States and all of the Americans who live there, with no discrimination based on color, religion or creed. There are some higher-ups that really need to be reminded of that. Let's hope that the MRFF can serve as a wake-up call.

On family friendly movies.

Last Sunday was a rather rainy, yucky day so we decided to hang out inside and watch movies. We happen to have a large DVD collection and as such, we suffer from a great burden of choice. The actually selecting of which usually starts with one of us saying, "What do you want to watch?"

This is always immediately followed by, "I don't know. What do you want to watch?"

This continues, ad nauseum, until one of us gives in and says, "Whatever you want to watch." Then, ultimately, a few vetoes have to be thrown because once a movie is selected, it's never the one the other is actually in the mood to watch.

But surprisingly, yesterday, the song and dance changed a bit.

"What do you want to watch?" asked CPT Dick.

I was working, and Munchkin would be watching with his Daddy, so I said, "I don't know. Something family-friendly."

"Family friendly?"

"Yes. Family friendly. No boobs. No extraneous violence. Something educational and fun and interesting for the boy to watch, too."

"Like 'Patton'?"

And do you know, he was actually serious.

Balance is a dirty word.

Women's magazines have launched a full-scale assault on today's women. And their ammunition? The ever-elusive and panic-inducing life balance.

All I see are articles promising how to achieve balance in your life. Find balance between home and work. How to balance your time vs. time with your husband. Hell, they even have blurbs about balancing the balance for a better you and a happier family. And here is what I have to say about this concept: fuck balance. (Though, if there were an article about fucking and balance with right kind of illustrations, I might be down).

The only purpose of these articles is to make women feel bad. Make them think if they feel overwhelmed by motherhood, work, marriage and personal goals, then they are simply not doing something right. And nothing is further from the truth. Frankly, to be an adult woman -- and especially a mother -- means that your life will always be in a state of flux. That your priorities will shift not only from day to day, but minute to minute. That at the end of the day, something, perhaps many things, will be left undone. And you know what? That's okay.

When I think of balance, I think of my years as a dancer. I think of myself standing at the barre, poised on the top of my pointe shoe, and taking a deep breath just to get the gumption to start. The seemingly simple adjustment of raising my leg into an arabesque was some of the hardest work I've ever done. My stomach pulled in, my standing leg strong, my mind repeating a breathing mantra -- yes, I could achieve balance. And yes, I could stay that way for quite a while. But the demands on my body would eventually take their toll and I would have to come back down. Sometimes, I would fall and fall hard. It is more than enough stress to stay up like that for a few minutes. It's not something we should be coaching ourselves to continuously do in our daily lives.

Honestly, the balance part is not the key at all. It's that sweet relief in coming down. Letting go and realizing that you don't have to do it all.

So ladies, next time you see a magazine cover advertising some new strategy for achieving balance, walk away from the rack. We don't need it. Instead, let's take some time to recognize how much more applicable the falling down can be.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The true impact of Britney Spears.

This past weekend we attended a holiday ball. Thankfully, it was the last formal event for the year. Or at least, it had better be. I'm tired of mandatory fun.

These things start out staid enough but by the end of the evening, the alcohol is flowing and people get a bit out of hand. People dance, throw things, make out, hurl and sometimes throw a punch. That's just the way it is.

But this year, there was a difference in how people got out of hand. Or rather, should I say, an absence.

Panties. Most of the ladies were going commando underneath their dresses. And they weren't afraid to show it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I know that formal attire is usually cut in such a way to make wearing a bra difficult. And of course, if you are going for a clingy look, perhaps you want to avoid visible pantie lines (or VPLs as my friend S. calls them). But please, ladies, if you are going to go without, make sure that your dress stays put!

I think I've seen more va-jay-jay's in the past few weeks than our resident gynecologist. I'm ready for this pop culture phase to be over. Ladies, notice that Britney has written on her webpage that she's thankful for Victoria's Secret new pantie line. Let's follow her lead and not show our coochie-pops unless someone is paying good money for it.

Nothing kills a good buzz...

than your husband upchucking all over you in the back of a taxi.

Nothing, except, having to pay the rather irate cab driver an extra $50 for "cleaning fees."

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The most wonderful time of the year.

Or not.

I had to go to the PX to pick up a couple of things today. It's a Saturday and since I know that the PX is a happening spot on the weekends (why, I don't know, but whatever) I get there right at opening.

Well, I forgot about Christmas.

Holy shit. Between the Christmas carols at full volume (note: country musicians should not be allowed to put out Christmas albums EVER. I am going to make sure it ends up on a ballot at some point), the bright holiday decorations, and every single PX employee opening their mouth into a AAFES-approved smile as they wished me a Merry Christmas, I thought I had died and gone to Stepford.

What's worse is that they didn't have what I needed -- vacuum bags -- but when I asked if there might be any in the back, I was informed that they did have a large and lovely toyland set up in back instead. Well, that's nice and all but it ain't going to get the Cheerios off my floor. Guess Munchkin will just have to keep on eating duty for a few days more.

Remind me not to step foot into the PX until well after the new year. I don't think my nerves can take it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Jonesing for Harry.

I am a Harry Potter fan. There. I said it. I AM A GROWN WOMAN AND I LOVE HARRY POTTER. I'm not ashamed.

I think JK Rowling's tales of the boy wizard are fantastic and I wait impatiently for each book and movie to be released. So impatiently, in fact, that I once made my husband drive me across state lines so I could pick up a copy of "The Order of the Phoenix" one day earlier. Like I said, I'm a fan. Maybe even a slightly kooky one at that.

But this Christmas there is nothing to look forward to. No movie release. No book. Just months and months of anticipation to bear until next summer. I'm not sure how to cope. I've already read and reread each book in the series. I have the movies on DVD and frequently get my Potter fix on. I've gotten on the forums and talked about where I think the story is going and cast my vote on whether Dumbledore is really dead and gone. But these actions are empty. They only remind me of what I won't have in my hand for some time to come. And that's the next book. I am beginning to really worry about what is going to happen to poor Harry. And I have enough to worry about as it is.

It may be time to start sending Ms. Rowling a few emails to remind her to write faster.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Please cover the coochie.

The Gallery of the Absurd has an awesome artistic work of Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton called the "Three Disgraces." Absolutely priceless.

Of course, what I can't understand is why these women are so happy to flash the coochie day in and day out. Don't they know that they could get good money for that shit (not to mention "tasteful" artistic shots) if they just sold out to Playboy? Heck, I think Hustler would make them look more innocent than the paparazzi do.

In any case, ladies, if you are reading this, please cover up. I'm a mother now and completely terrified that you might all catch cold.

Bush is "not happy" about Bolton's resignation.

Oh well. I, for one, am doing a happy dance. And I'm sure that quite a few others will join me.

And if Gonzales resigns in the next few weeks, I'll even do the Macarena. In public. Naked.

Read about it on CNN.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The mantle has been passed.

At a hail and farewell a few months back, I had a little too much to drink. One might say I was drunk. More accurately, I was seriously, out-of-my-frickin-mind obliterated by alcohol. It might have been the fact that I sort of dislike these mandatory fun events, that I was tired and stressed from too many deadlines, or that I hadn't had more than a glass or two of wine since I weaned my son. Alternatively, it could have been the half bottle of whiskey I consumed as a bunch of young soldiers cheered me on. Who can tell?

In any case, I was smashed. And somewhere after my fifth glass of wine and fourth shot of tequila (with a Jameson chaser), I lost track of what I was saying and doing. By all accounts, the drunk me was a hit. I brought sexy back. But CPT Dick was a little embarrassed by my behavior. One of the other CPTs consoled him by saying, "They all do it. At one time or another they all do it and we have to watch. It's just your turn tonight."

Well, last night, it was everyone else's turn. Several of us from the unit had to attend a division formal. And since these things tend to be long and drawn out (and the bar lines exceptionally long), the more industrious members of our group brought their own hooch.

Not only did they bring their own, but several wives walked over to the Class Six (a fair jaunt) during the formal portion of the evening -- in full formal regalia and pointy heeled shoes -- to buy more when the tables ran out. And let me tell you, between the booze there, the booze brought and the traditional "punch" served, the ladies were flying high.

I think it is fairly safe to say that I have passed my mantle as "Most Drunken Wife at a Military Function." I'll just have to try harder and see if I can't up the ante at the next ball.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Total disaster.

Well, I'm not sure how exactly the Developmental Nazis are going to say anything concrete about my son. Sitting there during their evaluation was pretty much like watching my young nephews put on a stage performance of the Power Rangers. It was chaos and anarchy, almost funny, but you have to swallow any laughter because the performers are taking themselves very seriously and you don't want to shatter the illusion.

When they arrived, they put a big case full of toys in front of the Munchkin. And then they OPENED it so he could see them all there waiting for him, his own little toddler toy orgy. And then they wondered why he didn't want to pay attention to the tasks they wanted him to do when there was a whole big box of sunshine to explore.

Needless to say, the visit didn't go incredibly well. And of course, at the end of it, when the Munchkin had collapsed into screams because they had taunted him with new toys and then sadistically took them away, they said they'd come back when my son was in a better mood. What a crock. Who trained these ass hats?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Developmental Nazis: The Return.

After our last visit from the Developmental Nazi, I was told that we were going to adopt a wait-and-see strategy for Munchkin's lack of language. But apparently, once the the coven of DNs got together to discuss this reasonableness, this far too sensible approach, they decided it was better to throw the agreed upon plan over for a more entertaining make-the-kid's-mother-completely-insane proposition.

Today, the DNs will return -- en masse -- to evaluate my son. And once again, I face the visit with impatience and frenzied cleaning. And here's me thinking I wouldn't have to mop again until after the new year.

I doubt that this visit will be much different than the last one. And yet, I'm still stressed about it. So much so that I found myself telling the Munchkin that I would buy him his own mini Ferrari if he would just recite a soliloquy for our visitors (and maybe that I'd get him a hooker to match if he was willing to do the St. Crispen's speech from Henry V). But he seemed to resent the fact that I wanted him to kowtow to these folks and perform like a trained monkey. Ungrateful little snot.

And now I must finish cleaning before they arrive. I've skipped the lemon juice altogether this time and used storebought mop solution. So if Munchkin starts licking the floor this time, at least he'll get a good buzz. Hell, I might take a lick of it myself. Just to calm the nerves.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Got to Have Faith.

A few months ago, our post, like many, hosted a Vacation Bible Camp (VBC). I should probably state for the record that my family is not overly religious and I didn't intend on signing the Munchkin up for said camp. I should also probably tell you that it's not monsters or bumps in the night that scare the shit out of me, but crazy Baptists.

But in any case, the VBC needed volunteers. And one thing you should know if you are even considering marrying an officer is that you need to love volunteering deep down into your itty bitty toes. Or, at least, tolerate it without wanting to tear other people's heads off. Either one works but if you fall into the latter category you also have to spend hours practicing not looking like you want to tear other people's heads off. Trust me, I've spent some serious quality time with the mirror to cultivate a passive look.

In any case, I had no intentions of volunteering for this one (it had a theme like Viva Las Jesus with a horrifying Jonestown-esque t-shirt with kids in sombreros -- and the kids had totally already drunk the Kool-Aid) but I felt sort of bad because of this whole volun-telling culture with us wives. And so, I made the mistake of looking for absolution.

On a phone call with another wife (I'll call her Rae) about a fundraiser or gift or some other nonsense -- I told you there was a lot of volunteering -- I mentioned that I felt bad about not volunteering for the VBC and then went into self-defensive justification that Munchkin was too young, we weren't religious, yadda-yadda-yadda. To her credit, Rae listened and then said, "You know, you should volunteer. I think it would be fun for Munchkin since there will be lots of other kids there and I've seen the materials and it's really not over the top."

We got to talking more and I explained my issues with organized religion and my atheistic tendencies. We talked a lot about faith and how it doesn't come so easy for some people. And we talked more about the VBC and how it could help introduce the ideas of faith and God to my son.

Needless to say, Miss Rae did an excellent sales pitch and got me thinking maybe I wasn't quite as open-minded as I thought. Maybe the VBC would be something that my son would enjoy and I needed to remove the stick from my ass. It would be fair to say that her comments made me wonder if the religious intolerance didn't stem from those crazy Baptists but from deep down inside me.

Fast forward a week. I'm at some God-forsaken luncheon for somebody and I'm seated at a table with Rae, the Chaplain's wife and the woman who is organizing the VBC. Once again, a wide call for volunteers is raised. And then I make my fatal mistake. I look over at my tablemates and I say, "If you really need volunteers, I can help."

There was a moment of total silence. And then Rae, my supposed ally in a walk towards the Lord, looked over at the Chaplain's wife and said in a snotty voice, "Yeah, right. Like we want the kids around someone who doesn't believe in Jesus. That would be some role model!" And the other two women laughed and went on with their planning for the event as if I wasn't even there.

I was more than a little pissed. First, this woman had been the one trying to talk me into volunteering. And second, she took comments made during our conversation about religion, warped them and used them completely out of context. But the good news was that I learned that someone was not my friend that day. And more importantly, I didn't have to don a sombrero and ruin a classic Elvis song for children by singing lyrics like "Viva Las Jesus." So perhaps it was a win-win situation after all.

But now with the holidays approaching, the call for volunteers is ringing loud throughout the unit. Volunteers to set up for holiday services, Christmas carolling, and Christmas tree lighting. And once again, I find myself thinking about that long phone conversation about faith I had with Rae.

I do want my son to see both sides of this story. I do want him to learn that faith is possible. I just don't think these are the people who should be teaching it to him.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A piece of advice.

Never, ever, upon pain of death, ask a commissary employee for help in finding mascarpone cheese. Mass confusion and chaos will ensue. Don't be fooled if the employee's nametag designates her as a deli expert. Don't mention the word "tiramisu" in hopes that it will help elucidate what exactly you are looking for. Don't explain how it is a sweet Italian cheese often used in desserts. Just don't.

And don't be surprised that after going through all that for 5 minutes straight that said deli "expert" will offer you a nice aged Wisconsin cheddar to use instead. Just say thank you, slowly back away and resist the urge to throw the block of cheese at her head.

Tune in Tokyo.

For the first 6 months of my son's life, I didn't shower without an audience. When I actually remembered to shower, that is. It was quite a treat when he got big enough to entertain himself in the Exersaucer or on the floor of his room so I could shave my legs with some privacy. It was a sweet taste of freedom that, like most, did not last long enough.

Munchkin went totally mobile quite a while ago but it's only very recently that he went completely off-the-fucking-wall daredevil. And so, he's right back in the bathroom with me when I shower
so he can't rappel down the side of the house in the time it takes to shampoo. Neither of us is really happy with this arrangement but we're making do.

Yesterday, after stepping out of the shower, Munchkin walked right up to me with his arms up, like he wanted to be picked up. I told him, "One sec, baby, I'm all wet." But he kept coming so I bent down to see what was up. And it was then that it occurred. I still can't believe it. The boy took hold of my boobs -- one in each hand -- and did a double-squeeze like he was testing the fucking Charmin.

Before I even had time to react, he sort of shrugged with boredom and went back to his toys on the floor. I'm not sure whether to be relieved or hurt that my boobs no longer hold any appeal. Maybe a little of both.

This kid is definitely his father's son.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Terrified by brown specks.

I used to be normal. Well, okay, at least I appeared normal enough. I could put on clothing without checking the seams first. I could traverse a room without examining every brown speck on a hardwood floor. Hell, I was so normal I could read watch sci-fi horror flicks about alien insect infestations and laugh.

But that was before we had bedbugs.

It's amazing how much such a small creature can totally fuck with your psyche. I've never been the type that was afraid of bugs. In fact, I was that crazy girl who used to collect spiders in jars and find inventive ways to collect flies for them to eat. I lived in Georgia and, as such, learned to peacefully coexist with very large cockroaches. I have even allowed mosquitoes to feast on my flesh without too much impunity when I forgot bug repellant. But I cannot stand these fuckers. I can't sleep for fear that they will get me. I live in fear that they will attack my son. I am growing an unnatural attachment to my vacuum. I am a woman obsessed with the obliteration of the bedbug.

So imagine my surprise (and disgust!) when I read about Louis Sorkin, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History in the New York Times. Sorkin not only studies the critters but keeps a jar on his desk, allowing them to feed on his arm. And as I read the piece, I couldn't help but wonder: Is this our future? Is the resurgence of these insects unstoppable? Will we all be allowing these little bloodsuckers to feed on us as we sleep? Is it just time to throw up a white flag and surrender ourselves to these god-awful parasites?

All I know is, pondering that question is going to keep me not normal for some time to come.


Killing me softly with his song.

My son is addicted to the ABC song. He wants to hear it constantly. On the way to school On the way home from school. In the bath. Drying off after the bath. During visits to the grocery store. On the swing set. You name a place and chances are that I've sung the ABC song there. Sure, I vary it a little. Sometimes I throw a little scat in or sing it in a French accent but it's still the same song. And when I try to outsmart him and sing, say, "Baa, Baa Black Sheep" just to give my poor tired head a rest, he knows that it is a trick and howls in righteous indignation. So back to the ABC song we go.

I've decided to start counting the number of times per day I have to sing the dreaded tune. And I'm setting a limit. Once we hit 100 -- 200 max -- times per day, I'm switching to "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" out of spite.

When did I get so old?

Statler: You know, the older I get, the more I appreciate good music.
Waldorf: What's that got to do with what we just heard?
Statler: Nothing. Just thought I'd mention it.

My husband and I shared an eerily similar exchange yesterday as we listened to American Top 40. You know you are old when you are paraphrasing Statler and Waldorf without even realizing it.

Things I wouldn't have believed.

There are few things as nerve-wracking as traveling with an toddler, except, of course, traveling with a toddler on major holiday weekends. My son got sick a few times during the trip -- a combination of too much good food, a totally wacked schedule, and a runny nose. And so, as an ode to my little Munchkin, here is a list of things I wouldn't have believed prior to becoming a mother.
  1. How much vomit can actually come out of a toddler's mouth;
  2. How I will allow Munchkin to vomit all over me to ensure that he doesn't accidentally choke;
  3. How after Munchkin vomits on me, if the food has been put on the table, I don't see a huge need to change clothes just yet. (I will wipe myself off. I'm not that gross).
  4. How after a toddler vomits, parents can sit down to a meal almost oblivious to the vomit that was just there and then often talk about the consistency, color and quantity of the vomit as they eat.
  5. How raisins come through the gastro-intestinal tract almost fully intact. (Do you love how I switched from vomit to poop just like that? That also happens at the dinner table, too. Poop is a very hot subject at our table these days).
  6. If I get poop on me, I will always change, even if there is chocolate on the table. Hell, especially if there is chocolate on the table. I do have some standards, after all.
  7. You can never carry enough diapers. And wipes, well, just bring an extra carry-on to hold all the wipes you'll need.
  8. There is something about the take-off of an airplane that compels toddlers to poop their pants. I think it has to do with the fact that you have to sit there, all buckled up, and wait 30 minutes wondering if his diaper will hold, while he squirms maniacally on your lap for freedom.

There. I feel better now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

God Bless America...





Is it bad...

...that my son can drag a chair over to the pantry, climb up on said chair, shave years off my life as he balances on his tippy tippy toes, just to reach a box of vanilla wafers?

We won't even get into the fact that he remains precariously positioned on the chair while he shoves handfuls of those heavenly little cookies into his mouth. Or the fact that after he's gotten nilla-wafery goodness all over his face, I can't resist scooping him up and kissing the crumbs off of him.

The trick with self-promotion, part 2.

Last week, in extreme ire, I put up a post about a rude and mostly illiterate email I received. I had posted excerpts of the note with running commentary and then, after my initial anger and amusement wore off, deleted it from this blog. Suffice it to say that I felt that if her email wasn't worth replying to, it wasn't worth posting here either.

But since I've now received a follow-up email, I feel that I should say the following.

When trying to convince another person of your wit, your wisdom, your grand experience and, of course, your thorough research abilities, you may want to do the following:
  • Research spell check. Wisdom does not have an e in it. The word extremely has three.
  • When every sentence ends with 4 or more exclamation points, the point you are trying to emphasize gets lost among the rest of the idiocy. Tip: next time, dot your i's and j's with hearts and maybe you'll be taken more seriously.
  • Consider, perhaps, that some random dude's MySpace page (that blinks and plays an old SlipKnot song over and over again) may not have the most up-to-date information on matters of religion. Just a thought.
  • I'm not sure what the "two-faced week-minded" are but somehow I doubt you are commenting on that person's time management skills.
  • Bringing up how smart your husband is doesn't help matters. I've never met him but he married you. That tells me quite a bit right there.
  • And finally, if you write someone a nasty email and they don't respond, just believe that you had the last word and move on. Writing a second time to make sure they got it (after you sent it with a read receipt) with additional misspelled, grammatically incorrect and just plain daft comments just makes you look kind of -- dare I say it -- dumb and pathetic. Note: Pathetic has two t's and no k's.

Hopefully, we've all learned something here.

What am I forgetting?

It is a well understood law of the universe that when packing a bag for an infant, you will always leave one crucial item behind. And of course, you will not realize you did so until your child is screaming and that one little thing holds the key to salvation.

To be honest, though I still have a hunchback from carrying an overstuffed diaper bag back in those baby days, I find it much more difficult to pack for a toddler. How many diapers will he really need? What kind of clothes are weather appropriate (and don't make it too easy for him to slip into nudie time)? What toys are must haves? What, if anything, will help the Munchkin potentially sleep on the plane? And the answer is, I don't know. And not only are the choices more numerous these days but they are much heavier. Oh well. Maybe if I start carrying the diaper bag on my other side, I'll even out the hump or just grow another set of boos on my back. It will be my own little experiment.

But I haven't even gotten into the next step. Figuring out what I can actually take on the plane. That's a whole 'nother entry in itself. Which reminds me, I need to send out another fuck you to that TSA agent who so cruelly tossed out my son's entire sippy cup in the name of security but let the fat cat first classer on with his mocha latte the last time we flew.

We fly out later this afternoon to spend Thanksgiving with some dear friends. Here's to a non-eventful flight where I don't forget anything too important.

Like Munchkin's raisins. Or my socks.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving for every wrong move.

On the day before the turkey and mashed potato (the greatest food in the universe) engorgement, I let the immortal words of Poi Dog Pondering speak to that for which I'm most thankful.

Somehow I find myself far out of line
from the ones I had drawn.
Wasn't the best of paths,
you could attest to that,
but I'm keeping on.
Would our paths cross
if every great loss had turned out our gain?
Would our paths cross
if the pain it had cost us was paid in vain?
There was no pot of gold,
hardly a rainbow lighting my way.
But I will be true to the red, black and blues
that colored those days.
I owe my soul to each fork in the road,
each misleading sign.
'Cause even in solitude,
no bitter attitude can dissolve my sweetest find.

Thanksgiving for every wrong move that made it right.

CPT Dick, you are a serious pain in my ass. But I'm so thankful to you for bringing me along on this strange and wonderful path.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Karma, baby!

Yesterday, somehow, somewhere, the estimated percentage of American adults with genital herpes came up in casual conversation. I'm guessing it was either mentioned on Oprah or there's an outbreak among some of the soldiers. But once the astounding 50-70% estimate was uttered aloud, one of CPT Dick's colleagues said authoritatively, "That's because women are much sluttier today than they used to be."

I thought about letting loose and asking about what men are today or how exactly he knows that behaviors have changed so much but then thought better of it. This man just had a baby daughter. Karma -- and a whole lot of hands-on training during his daughter's teenage years -- will teach him better than I ever could.

Chicken Soup for the Droll

Earlier, I was speaking on the phone to an old friend. She's another military wife, stationed way too far away from me, and absolutely rocks the Casbah. While we were talking, after we got past talking about the kids, I complained that I received that stupid "Recipe for a Military Wife" forward AGAIN. I then went on to say that if I received it one more time I was certain that my head would explode. She laughed and then went on to teach me a lesson.

FRIEND: Why? What's wrong with it?

NE: Those forwards are stupid. They are just oversimplified and cute beyond bearing. They don't really say anything about being a military wife at all. And frankly, they are way too "Chicken Soup for the Soul."

FRIEND: And what's wrong with that? I like Chicken Soup for the Soul.

NE: Oh, I have no time for Chicken Soup for the Soul. Everything in those books has a Pollyanna veneer on it. It's so fake. Everything has a silver lining and a happy ending and that's just not the way life works.

FRIEND: But maybe sometimes we need to believe that it can work like that.

Touché, girl. Touché.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Forward THIS!

Because of my role in the FRG, I'm on a lot of mailing lists as well as a few web forums. For the most part, I'm there as a lurker -- to hear and answer rumors before they get too out of hand. But these groups do actually provide a lot of good information for the military spouse.

But what they also provide are email forwards. Lots and lots of email forwards. I got over my need to forward every funny thing sent my way, oh, back in 1996. But quite a few of my military wife peers are not on the same page as I am when it comes to clicking the forward button. And so, on a daily basis, I receive at least a dozen email forwards: several urban myths can be easily invalidated by a quick trip to Snopes, a few supposedly real missives from downrange that prove the media's liberal bias, and then -- the absolute worst of the bunch -- the Chicken-Soup-for-the-Soul style military wife poems. I cringe every time I get one.

Today, I received the infamous "Recipe for a Military Wife" (which has been passed around the WWW as long as the WWW has existed and has hit my inbox at least 400 times). I also received an e-petition to continue the incarceration of two boys who were released years ago, a sham email about how to send money to soldiers downrange and something about heroin needles in McDonald's ball pits. But it was the poem that really chapped my ass. Here it is in all its glory:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Patience
1 lb. Adaptability
3/4 cup Tolerance
1 tsp. Courage
A Dash of Adventure

Instructions: Combine above ingredients. Add 2 tablespoons elbow grease. Let sit alone for one year. Marinate frequently with salty tears. Pour off excess fat. Sprinkle lightly with money. Knead dough until payday. Season with international spices. Bake 20 years or until done.

This is dedicated to military wives everywhere, who have waved good-bye more often than not, who have heated up more dinners than most wives cook, who have missed more anniversaries, birthdays, Christmases and Valentine's Days than they should have, and most important of all have welcomed their husbands home GLADLY.

(I'll just state for the record now that I fixed all the typos [9] before I copied it here. I'm anal like that).

Why do these ladies feel the need to forward this? Ladies, listen up. That compulsion to forward this kind of crap? It must be stopped! For the love of God, think before you click send and inflict this torture on yet another of your sisters.

But you know, email ettiquette aside, the thing that bothers me the most is that so many military wives really do dig these poems. They like sending them and they like receiving them, even if they have gotten them 100 times before. Why is that? Do they really think that these words encapsulate all that they are and all that they do as military wives? They are so much more than this, so much more than just a glib poem or a faded reflection of their husbands. I wish they knew that.

Maybe I should forward an email to all of them as a reminder.


I wipe ass, therefore I am.

It's funny how motherhood can change the way you view yourself. Sometimes I have to wonder if it's still me in here or if she wisely escaped out the back door once she heard that an epidural wasn't an option. I really can't tell. Did I lose my identity or just gain a new one?

Back in college, I remember long, philosophical discussions about nothing while we drank Schlitz or Natty Light. And I'm being literal. We talked about "nothing." If nothing was really nothing, than why would it have a name? Was nothing more like the mathematical concept of zero? Or perhaps nothing was just a vacuum. Yeah, we were that stupid and fancied ourselves that smart. I blame the preservatives in that shitty malt liquor and an overpriced private university education.

But philosophy hits home once again as I ponder, "Who am I?" Once I married, I slowly morphed from NE to Mrs. Dick. Then when I had my son, I became Munchkin's Mommy. And that is now how I'm referred to by just about everyone. Who NE was or who she may still be pales in comparison to these other identities I've collected. My whole life is wrapped up in my son. Feeding, entertaining, wiping, pleading, laughing. And what's left over most often goes to CPT Dick. And though my life is more fulfilling than I ever thought it would be, I do wonder if this is all there is. If this is all that life holds for me now. And if it is, is that really such a bad thing?

But sometimes I wonder what happened to the girl who got straight A's, who made out with the lead guitarist of her favorite band on at least three occasions, who fell out on an airplane while skydiving, who got all those tattoos, who could dance the night away no matter what music played, who was going to take over the world. That girl who thought she was so fucking invincible. Is she still in here somewhere waiting for the right time to reappear? Or is it time to accept that she's gone and let the mourning process take its course? Find ways for this new me to bloom?

I don't know. But I'm guessing Descartes never bothered himself with this shit.

Giving Americans the Shaft...ooops, I mean Draft.

New York Representative (and Korea vet) Charles Rangel thinks we should bring back the draft. I'm not sure why this is news, exactly. He's tried to do this a time or two before. And let me state, for the record, that it is a bad idea.

A few months ago, there was a fair amount of hoopla over John Kerry's quote about the uneducated ending up in Iraq. Let's just ignore, for a moment, that the quote was taken completely out of context and was a slight not on our troops but on President Bush's handling of the war. Let's pretend, just for the sake of argument (and to make Karl Rove smile) that Kerry meant his comment exactly how the GOP spun it: that if you don't get an education, you'll end up in the military and then, of course, in Iraq. If you noticed, though President Bush and a bunch of politicians all got their panties in a wad over the comment, there wasn't much of a reaction from the troops themselves. And that is because there is more than a grain of truth to that statement.

Though you have folks who are called to the military in a similar way that some are called to the priesthood -- men and women like CPT Dick, who are well-educated, but who are compelled to serve -- you also have a lot of people who end up in the military because they have nowhere else to go. Just in the few years that I've been a military wife, I've met soldiers who are in because they were given a choice between enlistment and jail, because the plant closed down and there were no other jobs except McDonald's for a 50 mile radius, because a family member took sick and they believed their enlistment bonus could help save them, because they wanted to go to college but just couldn't find the money. There are so many reasons that people join the military and I would argue that the majority of them do not involve a strong calling to serve one's country. But despite that lack of calling, most who join up manage to step in time and find a place in the military. And quite often, they are often better soldiers because it was not something they thought they would ever do.

But for some, combat boots will just never fit right. And they just wreck it for the rest of the soldiers.

They don't want to be there. They don't want to do their job. And they don't give a rat's ass about service, the betterment of themselves or their fellow man. They just want to get over any way they can. They play the victim and in doing so, they put their fellow troopers at risk. It's a problem.

Re-instating the draft will only exacerbate the problem. You'll just have more people who don't want to be there -- and who are even more bitter about it because they had other options and opportunities that they had to leave behind. And because of that bitterness, they will, like the others who never find their place, slack off and make the military weaker.

Rangel says that he thinks Congress would think twice about wars if kids from their neighborhoods had to serve. Obviously, Rangel doesn't remember how that actually worked in Vietnam and how it would work again now.

Leave the draft alone and start thinking about how the government can inspire Americans once again to take up service.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What he missed - November 2006.

Do you know Dooce? It is a fabulous blog authored by Heather B. Armstrong. One of the highlights for me is the newsletter, a chronicle/love letter to the author's daughter. These newsletters are both poignant and pee-in-your-pants-funny. I think anyone who is a parent can relate to Heather's adventures in Mommyhood. But a small disclaimer: they are not for the faint of heart. I'm a cast-iron bitch and I've found myself tearing up a time or two during the reading of them.

Taking a page from Dooce's blog, I've decided to start my own newsletter of a sort. Not a month to month one like Heather's (I'm not that much of a copycat, plus I just don't have her energy) but a letter to my husband that documents what Munchkin adventures he missed while away. This will be the first one.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear CPT Dick,

This was a small absence, only three weeks with the gift of a weekend here at home, but you still missed some great stuff. The Munchkin continues to be adorable but his nudist tendencies are increasing. Whereas before his pants would fall down just because his little old man butt was too small to keep them up, he has now figured out how to pull them down himself. As such, our daily battle to get dressed has been taken to a whole new level. I pull his pants up only to have him pull them down. And we continue this dance of power until I manage to roll down the waistband in such a way that he can't figure out how to pull them down (and I fear that I am cutting off all circulation to his lower extremities). It's exhausting. He's also started taking his pants off at school. Just nonchalantly stepping out of them on his way to the swings or the slide. And of course, they don't stay on long here at home either with Munchkin generally opting to take them off when company comes to call. What can I say? Our son is an exhibitionist.

Last night, we hit a major milestone. It was *officially* the thousandth reading of "A Monster at the End of This Book." You may think I exaggerate but I do not. I've been counting. I've read that book so many times now that I can say it in my sleep. I've read it so many times that I just keep reciting the lines even when the Munchkin gets impatient and pages ahead to the climactic ending. Note: We really need to get some new books. I feel like Drew Barrymore's family in "50 First Dates" after each viewing of "The Sixth Sense."

But when we do get those books, we need to make sure that they have Sesame Street characters in them. Because even though we don't have television and we've tried so hard to monitor what Munchkin watches, he shows a decided preference for any muppet. He stares intently at any book, DVD cover, or toy representing his Sesame Street crew. Hell, he'll even sit still while I change his diaper now provided I give him a Pampers diaper to examine first. This, my dear, is why I insist on going to the grocery store alone. I fear that if I bring him with me now, the only food I will end up buying will be co-branded with the Jim Henson company. And man can not live on Grover granola bars and Cookie Monster cereal alone. At least, I don't think he can. In any case, I don't want to find out.

This week Munchkin also took his first trip to the toy store as a non-sleeping infant. I could actually see the sugar plums dancing in his head as he took in all the cars, blocks and balls. I had him safely strapped into a shopping cart, even though I was there for just a small item, to avoid any possible mutiny. But it was absolutely amazing to watch him as we rolled through. I wonder if that brightly colored toy wonderland is the stuff of which his dreams are made. And then I have to wonder how long it will be before the dreams switch to scantily clad girls because our son, CPT Dick, is growing up so damn fast. I don't know when he became a little boy exactly but I do know that each day there are fewer and fewer reminders of the baby he once was. And even though I didn't exactly dig the baby stage, I find myself missing him sweet and needy and so cuddlicious. And yes, I'll admit it, immobile.

As an extra reminder never to leave the boy alone in the bath, he learned to turn on the faucet while you were away. Apparently, he finds this control (and the potential to fatally scald himself) hilarious. I'm desperately searching for some kind of baby-proofing device that can (a) work with our wonky faucet and (b) that I can figure out how to install. So far, I've only come up with duct tape and, as we already know, that is no deterrent for our little Einstein.

Munchkin is still addicted to DVD watching. He continually brings me DVDs (Sesame Street, what else?) to put in the player and when I tell him, "No, we're not watching any TV, sweetie", he breaks the cases open seagull-style on the floor. He can open the entertainment center door, press the eject button and place the DVD in the player itself, but like most of our guests, he can't figure out how the hell we wired up the TV to the DVD player and is quite frustrated when it won't play. But when it does play, he will sit still for half an hour, sometimes longer, and just watch those muppets. When he does get up, it is to dance his little white man's overbite to the songs that I now have memorized and find myself singing in the shower. I'm not sure whether this obsession with Sesame Street, and the things that he's learned to further it, are a sign that we are good or bad parents. Time will tell, I suppose.

And to close, yes, you won the contest. He said "Dada" first (but as I tried to show you in the development books, that sound is easier for babies to make). But now he says "Mama" and means it. Despite the fact that he is still waking up at the crack of dawn, he now wakes up calmly, calling "Mama?" louder and louder until I come to get him. And when I lift him out of his crib, he smiles so big and hugs me with both arms. It makes waking up at 5:30am not only bearable but beautiful. And for a moment, just a moment, in that pre-dawn light I can pretend that my Munchkin hasn't already morphed from a baby into a little boy.

Come home soon, CPT Dick. He's going to be all grown up before you know it.

Love,
Me