Monday, December 24, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

So we made it across the pond.

This morning, so my kid won't have that "just-had-a-haircut" look for the family portrait scheduled for next week, I took him to the barber shop that my husband has gone to since he wasn't much older than Munchkin.

Sure, Munchkin was completely uncooperative and there were tears and a helluva lot of shorn hair that ended up in my cleavage. But the woman who cut his hair offered him a "sucka" and comforted him in that comforting New England brogue that needs no "r's." And as she leaned in close to make sure the air around his ears was cut clean, the smell of clam chowder and freshly baked bread wafted into my nostrils.

It's good to be home.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Are you frickin' kidding me?

"Did you hear that Britney Spears' sister is pregnant?"

"Ummm, isn't she like 12?"

"No, she's 15 or 16."

"Oh, that's so much better!"

"And get this, it's by her live-in 19 year old boyfriend. I was surprised to hear it. I figured she was all set up to be the good sister. And you know, she always seemed okay. My daughter watches her on that Zoey 101 show."

"Not for much longer, I guess."

"They haven't said they are going to fire her. But I honestly hope they don't."

"Are you serious? It's a kid's show. How exactly are they supposed to spin the fact that their squeaky clean teenage star is pregnant?"

"But she's a role model for these girls. So many big stars run off and have abortions. I want my daughter to see that if you make this kind of mistake, you have to own up to it. She's not going to see that if Jamie Lynn Spears just disappears."

Let this be a lesson to you.

My grandmother, the most opinionated woman on the planet, liked to use stories in the paper or rumors she heard in her small town to illustrate to us grandchildren all the ways that we could fuck up our young and ignorant lives.

"Honey, that boy down the road died when he didn't wear his seatbelt. Wasn't even his fault. He was just driving down the road and when another car pulled out of a driveway, BAM!, he died instantly. Let this be a lesson to you."

"She ran around with all kinds of boys when she was just 16. And when she got pregnant, she had no idea who the father was. Now she's on welfare and she has four kids by just as many fathers. Let this be a lesson to you."

"He partied all through college. And guess what? He didn't graduate. All that money, all that opportunity just squandered and for what? Nothing. Let this be a lesson to you."

You get the idea.

Because of a few incidents this week, I've found myself in this Mama Bear role with a bunch of people. Getting wild at the bars, hanging out in the barracks, driving without a license, your basic young-wives-bored-guys-gone-behavior. And I gotta tell you, I must be turning into my grandmother because it was all I could do not to follow up my little lectures with her signature phrase.

When did I get so old and crotchety?

Salon names SGTs Mora and Gray as their persons of the year.

I know a lot of folks on the right have their issue with Salon's coverage of the war. But I found this tribute to SGT Omar Mora and SGT Yance Gray to be really touching.

An excerpt:

It is, of course, impossible to note in a single article the stories of each of the 892 American men and women who died so far this year serving in Iraq, or of the 3,895 who have died since the war's inception or the 28,661 who have been wounded. But in the story of Mora and Gray, we are given a clear glimpse of what our soldiers died for. They did not just die for the mission, as prescribed to them by their superiors. "We need not talk about our morale," they wrote in the Times. "As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through."


They died in service to a country where even the soldier in the field has the right to question the judgment of the commander in chief. They died in service to the idea that political and military leaders must be held to account for their failures and challenged on their facts. A month after their article ran in the Times, the soldiers words echoed through the halls of Congress, when the war's Gen. David Petraeus and its chief diplomat, U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, came to testify.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I made a promise I don't think I can keep.

We leave for our Christmas "guilt trip" next week. In a fit of pique, or rather, a lengthy negotiation with CPT Dick about child duty this weekend so I can finish up some work, I somehow promised that if I got my work done I would not take my laptop with me to the states.

That I would be laptop-independent for 9 whole days.

I can't explain my reasoning. I was tired and cranky and really thought I was pulling one over on him. I was stupid.

Someone help me get out of this one.

Stunning.


Have you checked out The Full Body Project? Leonard Nimoy -- yes, Mr. Spock for you Trekkies -- is now dabbling in photography. And doing pretty well.

One of his most recent projects, now a book, is of full figured models. The photos, in black and white, are absolutely stunning. Visually arresting, beautifully composed. Just gorgeous.

And yet, as much as I go on and on about how unfair the world is to women and their bodies, I find that I must admit that these pictures make me somewhat uncomfortable. I can't quite figure out why.

Definitely worth a ponder.

She has a point.

"Mitt Romney's wife was on the radio again. And of course, as if she hadn't told us enough, when asked about how her husband was different from the other candidates, she felt it necessary to mention that she is his first wife."

"She does like to bring that up."

"Here's the thing. I figure it's politics, right? I should expect it."

"You should."

"But by the same token, this guy's been in the game for a while. Chances are, he hasn't been faithful to this woman. Hell, I wanted to cheat on her just in the five minutes she talked on the radio. I can only imagine how bad he must be itching after 20 odd years of marriage."

"You're funny."

"So let's be honest. He's probably cheated but just not gotten caught. And like, I know this sounds jaded, but that makes me wonder what else he's getting away with. I mean, Clinton got caught in a lie. Sure. But it makes him somehow seem more honest because he was just so bad at covering his tracks. And that's how I'm approaching politics these days. How fucked up is that?"

Where is the spirit?

Judith Warner, who usually writes about Mommyhood and all the stuff that comes with it in her NYTimes Domestic Disturbances blog, hits the nail on the head when she takes on the presidential candidates and faith.

Where are the moderates, indeed.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

My favorite Christmas song.



I've added it to my iPod's Christmas play list. (And actually, this rendition by Robert Downey, Jr. is one of my favorite covers EVAH. I remember seeing it on Ally McBeal -- yes, I'm that old! -- and just tearing up. He's got a great voice).

Christmas cookies.

So if I only have to bring three dozen to the coffee and the recipe makes six dozen, how much dough and how many cookies can I eat and still be in the safe zone?

Exactly right.

An editorial in the NY Times, for me, has gotten why presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speech defending his faith was in such bad taste.

An excerpt:

We believe democracy cannot exist without separation of church and state, not that public displays of faith are anathema. We believe, as did the founding fathers, that no specific religion should be elevated above all others by the government.

The authors of the Constitution knew that requiring specific declarations of religious belief (like Mr. Romney saying he believes Jesus was the son of God) is a step toward imposing that belief on all Americans. That is why they wrote in Article VI that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

5 more things.

Tagged again for this. Guess it traveled 'round the Internet and back again. Why not? Certainly there are five more things I can share.
  1. There is an old Indian superstition that children with moles on their feet will be travelers (and as part of that old tale, break a mother's heart by leaving her alone). I have two moles on my feet. Munchkin has four.
  2. I see nothing wrong with flirting to help get things accomplished, and as such, do so whenever the opportunity presents itself (which, I admit, is less and less now that I'm old and sporting the large post-baby ass). But still, I think whomever said you can get more flies with honey underestimated just what you can accomplish with cleavage.
  3. I have a thing for the movie, "Harold and Maude." When life looks its bleakest, I can pop that movie in the DVD player and feel instantly renewed. And for the record, I find the idea of an 18 year old boy and an 80 year woman in bed together very romantic. Probably because I feel like most days I'm set on warp speed towards old age and hope that someone will still want to jump me when I'm a card-carrying member of the AARP.
  4. The book I read over and over again? That touches me in a new way every time I pick it up? Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin." The perfect novel, as far as I'm concerned.
  5. I cannot read a uniform. I've taken the AFTB classes. I've taken the FRG training. My husband has told me a million times. I've read the books. I just can't bring myself to care. But it embarasses my husband, who doesn't understand how I can still, after all these years, recite the chain rule and discuss where I can be used, but can't remember how many guidons a Staff Sergeant makes. What can I say? I'm quirky.

Anyone else want to play?

Immer Weider.

There is a great German saying: immer weider. Loosely translated, it means "always again," and is basically used to talk about those things that we seem to be permanently cursed with, too much rain, the kid not bothering to sleep through the night, and, of course, how you never realize that you are out of that one crucial ingredient until you are ready to start cooking that gourmet meal.

I love to say it. It just is such a perfect fit for so many situations. Especially for a misanthrope like myself.

And so, immer weiter, we are going to see a new speech and language pathologist (SLP) tomorrow. I'd like to be excited but I am also a little wary. This is our last shot, really. What our pediatrician called, "the only game in town." With a shortage of SLPs in the Army's medical system and those who are here being strictly resourced to injured soldiers, it's been hard to find someone willing to spend some time with Munchkin and figure out his language issues. We've had all kinds of one-off evaluations -- with only the kinds of corresponding diagnoses that you can get after only spending 1/2 hour with a toddler in a strange environment -- but no one to actually treat him.

But after fighting the Army system for months, I've been awarded a victory (not without cost, though -- when the Tricare ladies see me in the PX these days, they quickly turn and walk away lest they have to speak with me). I have won my son some space on the calendar of that one last SLP treating kids, not only for an initial evaluation but for further treament if warranted.

But as I said, if she doesn't work out, I've exhausted my last option. And then I'll have to seriously consider returning to the states.

Needless to say, I'm nervous. I want to like her but I want to make sure I like her not just because she's my only option and I don't want to leave Europe. I want her not to be another cog in the Army medical system wheel, throwing oversimplified and just plain scary diagnoses at me. I want to like her because I want her to be able to help. It's always scary to still find those last vestiges of hope, even after you've been disappointed so many times.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

I might have peed my pants a little.

"Hi, NEE. How are you?"

"Good, thanks."

"Good, good. You probably are wondering why I'm calling. I don't know if you saw the invitation for the non-denominational Bible study that I'm starting after the holidays?"

"Oh, yeah. A couple months ago, right? I'm pretty sure I forwarded the invite on to the families in our FRG back then."

"Yes, and thanks to everyone putting the word out we've had a tremendous response. So much so that it looks like we are going to need to set up a second group to properly minister to everyone."

"Ummm, okay, is there like a time change or something you want me to put out to our families?"

"Oh, well, we're not quite there yet. First, before we can set up that second group and figure out the times and dates and other logistics, we need to find someone to lead it. And I thought you'd be perfect for the job."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Truly disgusting.

There's not much that truly shocks me anymore. If you read the news in this post-9/11-Columbine-African genocide world, you do get jaded after a while. The truly horrible things that people can do to teach other just don't seem to penetrate as much as they should. But you kind of have to grow that thicker skin. Otherwise, how would we be able to bear it?

And so, when I started reading the myriad of stories regarding the suicide of a 13-year-old Missouri girl named Megan Meier (summed up well in Judith Warner's NY Times blog), I thought that it was very sad. But I figured that Lori Drew, the mother whose fake MySpace profile may have put the young girl over the edge, went too far and had probably seen the error of her ways. Was it really worth changing laws over when the world was already punishing Mrs. Drew and her family? Wasn't the answer, really, to frickin' monitor your child's online use as opposed to figure out a way to really enforce legislation for online harassment?

But then, a friend sent me the link to this blog: Megan Had It Coming.

Now, I have no way to verify that it is actually Lori Drew that put up this blog. It could all be a hoax (and if it is, the person who created it is one sick puppy). But if it is legit, I find myself absolutely enraged at this woman. I can understand why people are standing in line to insult her and threaten her life. I really can. How on earth, after all that has happened, can she think created a blog with that title will make others understand her point of view? How can this woman be allowed to be a parent?

It's a hard thing to read so if you are unable to get through the comments, I understand. But these few popped out at me, comments that the blog's author responded to.

On the whole scandal:
GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEAD I DIDN'T KILL MEGAN I DID WHAT ANY REASONABLE PARENT IN MY POSITION WOULD HAVE DONE WHY WON'T YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THIS????

Regarding an apology to the Meier family:
They don't want to hear it! They don't want an apology, they want blood. The Meiers have turned vindictive. Their rampage of media coverage shows it. You want to know how Megan was so manipulative? She learned it from her parents! An apology isn't right and it won't help.

On why Megan deserved the insults:
I swear to God this is like that movie The Good Son with the home alone kid. No one believed how twisted the kid was until the end. Everyone attacked the mom who tried to protect her own, truly innocent, child.

Please, please let this blog be a hoax. As someone points out later in the comments, the Drews must have lawyers telling them to lay low right now. But if it isn't fake, my God, I just cannot understand it. And you know, no person should ever have to grow skin thick enough to be able to.


Monday, December 03, 2007

Chimps smarter than college students?

A recent study says so. And you know, after teaching at the college level, and having to stop teaching the curriculum material so I could spend a whole class period differentiating between "there," "their," and "they're," I totally believe it.

I'm loving it.


So, usually, I see movies, like, years after they come out. Seriously. I might see a trailer in January that will be released in June. Since my only movie theater options here are either German-dubbed or AAFES-approved, I then must wait until it comes out on DVD, usually just in time for Christmas. Then I put it on my Netflix queue and wait. And you know? The buzz does not last that long. So by the time it does make it to my queue, I can't really decide whether it's worth watching.

So I guess it's fair to say that I'm just not current when it comes to movies.

But Edward Burns, writer/director of the Brothers McMullen, tried a new thing with his upcoming movie, "Purple Violets." Before its release into theaters (but after its rotation through the major film festivals where it got a lot of buzz), he made it available on iTunes for download. Of course, the man made it available for $14.99 (gulp!), but frankly, the idea of seeing a movie before the rest of the world could snarkily tell me how it ended (and why it sucked) appealed to me so much that I was probably the first one in the download line.

And you know, it was so worth it. It's a beautiful film with wonderful performances (thankfully, now that Edward Burns has married Christy Turlington, he doesn't feel the need to cast his pretty but God-awful actress girlfriends in critical roles). I highly recommend that folks to see it.
Heck, it may even be worth a download and a trip to the theater.

But if nothing else, I hope it does well enough that other folks will consider putting their movies up for pre-download. It would be nice to be current every now and again.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Good for her.

Jennifer Love Hewitt wrote a blog post about all of the attention a few unattractive photos of her butt received on the internet this past week.

I really liked that she attacked it head on. But I wish that she hadn't said she was a size 2. Not to be snarky, but I have a hard time believing it. And as such, it makes it seem that she's as much a part of the machine -- that deluded, masochistic one -- that makes girls feel bad about their bodies.

The countdown.

Once CPT Dick returns from the field, we'll be heading stateside for Christmas. We are only flying back for a few days -- which, of course, will be so much fun with a toddler! -- but since he is due to deploy early next year, the family wants to see him. I don't blame them. But I have dubbed this sojourn the "guilt trip" since that is pretty much what is motivating it.

So yeah, I'm not looking forward to it. And it's not that I don't want to see his family (though his mother is crazy in a way that is totally annoying and usually directed at me). But really, it's that I don't want to be asked by every single individual family member when I'm going to have a little brother or sister for Munchkin.

You know how you start dating someone for a while and the family starts to ask when you are going to get engaged? And then you get engaged and they ask when the wedding will be? And then pretty much as soon as your new spouse smooshes cake in your face they start in about babies? The baby thing continues, apparently, ad nauseum, until you have 2-3.

(And I guess, after that, if you keep popping 'em out, after the fourth or fifth the family will ask when you plan to start using birth control).

I hate this question. One, I just think it's nobody's business. What if I couldn't have another? Doesn't that ever occur to anyone before they ask? But two, when was it decided that I'm failing my child if I don't pop him out a playmate? I just hate the assumption that if my reaction is not "we're working on it" -- maybe even emphasizing it by throwing my husband down on the floor right there and then -- that I'm somehow cheating my kid.

It's not like they don't know our situation and that I'm effectively a single parent. It's not like they don't know (and give me all sorts of useless advice) about Munchkin's speech issues. And it's not like they haven't heard us say, time and time again, that we're not ready and don't think we will be for some time. They keep asking, thinking that if they do, they'll get a different answer.

And when our answers become terse? They skip the questions altogether and just start saying crap to my kid like, "Just wait until you get a little sister, buddy! You won't be so spoiled then!" or "Tell your Mama that you need a little brother to play with!"

It's exhausting, really. I think this year, maybe I'll just start fucking back with them. When they ask when Munchkin gets a sibling, I'll just say that we're still working out the details with the Russian ex-crack whore who agreed to be our surrogate for $15,000 and a Volkswagon.

Gifts for that super-annoying person who has it all.

Last year, a few friends asked me to share my list of website stores that for those hard-to-shop-for people on their holidays lists . The list has been whittled and changed some but I figured I'd share it with the blogosphere. It's always great to have some other options -- especially when you are looking for something a little different.

  • Stonewall Kitchen. Sure, you could go for the Harry and David's fruit basket but why not try some of the scrumptious sauces and jams from Stonewall Kitchen? I highly recommend the chocolate peanut butter sauce, blueberry syrup and potato pancake mix. You can also choose from their gift baskets or make one of your own. Every single person I've given one to has become a loyal Stonewall customer since.
  • OyeModern. This is a new online store but it has some of the most incredibly funky jewelry. I don't even wear that much jewelry and I'd be thrilled with a pair of the stacked earrings (shown in photo) in my stocking this year.
  • CafePress. You can never go wrong with a fun t-shirt and CafePress has slogans, designs and photos for all races, walks and creeds. My current favorite is the "Save Britney: Where There's a Wig, There's a Way" t-shirt.
  • BabyWit and PsychoBabyOnline. In the same vein, there are these fun and funky baby clothes stores. Because -- seriously, folks -- is there anything cuter than a two-year-old in an anarchy t-shirt? I didn't think so.

Here's hoping that your Christmas shopping is painless and quick!

The most wonderful time of the year.

How the hell is it December already? Seriously? Is it me, or has this year flown by way too fast?

I meant to post a few times this week but time just got away from me. I'm trying to finish up all that extra work, return the house to a semi-clean form since CPT Dick left again, chase after a two-year-old run amok AND address and write out 162 holiday cards.

That's not a typo. 162. And I even trimmed the list this year (based on outdated addresses). That's enough cards to make one's hand cramp up.
You see, not only do the CPT and I hail from Catholic families that like sex so much they'll risk repetitive procreation -- and our gaggles of cousins now have their own broods, some of whom are old enough to have kids -- but we are a military family. So every couple years we move and add a few more names to the holiday card list. Some of these people I haven't spoken to in years -- and yet, I can't bring myself to remove them from the holiday card list, the sole connection left.


My hand is going to hurt. I may be injured to the point where it affects my online Christmas shopping. But I'd like to think it might be worth it.

On what books teach our children.

"Babe, what happened to my bathroom book?"

"Which one?"

"Well, any one of them. I think I had the Templars book in there and maybe one other."

"Try 6."

"Huh?"

"You had six books in there, precariously stacked and waiting to fall into the toilet or bathtub."

"Huh. Who knew? So where are they now?"

"The books? Well, I know this is going to sound kind of crazy to you but I put them on the bookshelf."

"The bookshelf?"

"Yes. The bookshelf. The shelf that was made, so I'm told, to put books on. Specifically to put books on. Even more than six."

"Well, put them back into the bathroom because all I had to read while I was in there was Munchkin's 'Ten Apples on Top,' and you know, by the fifteenth or sixteenth reading, I found there was some powerfully disturbing subtext in there."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What I want for Christmas.

Now if only they would make an adult-sized Sit-n-Spin.

On hormones after having kids.

How do I know that my hormones were permanently altered after the birth of my son? When I saw that Ginger, Baby, Mel C. and Victoria Beckham -- all of the other Spice Girls -- came to the "Dancing with the Stars" finale to cheer on their mate, Mel B., I started to tear up. I'm serious. And then when I realized that I was tearing up over the Spice Girls, I started actually crying wondering if maybe something has gone totally haywire in my brain.

Luckily, their collective booing when the judges said they expected more from Mel B.'s routine helped bring me back 'round to reality.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Heartbreaking.

Did you see the NY Times article, "Free and Uneasy" about Jeffrey Deskovic? He was convicted of rape and murder and served 16 years, only to be exonerated by DNA evidence.

My heart broke with the whole story. What can truly compensate a man for all that he's lost in a wrongful capital conviction?

What's your Travel IQ?

We are a well-traveled bunch. What's your Travel IQ?

I got to Part 10. Traveler IQ = 110.

Prolific.

You know, I read this great article this week. It was really well-written and it pointed out some well-thought out arguments about a controversial topic. It was incredibly thought-provoking. As soon as I finished it, I thought, "You know, I need to blog about this!" I thought it would stimulate some really interesting conversation.


But I forgot what it was or even where I read it. And thought I told myself at the time to bookmark it, I was distracted and did not.


And later, CPT Dick and I had this totally perfect talk that would have been perfect "Conversation" blogging fodder. It was funny, kind of ironic. Just the kind of thing I usually use. But I can't recall a single sentence. You'll just have to take my word on it.


Munchkin has been cute as ever. And he flushed something funny down the toilet but, honestly, I'm sort of blanking on that, too.


And, of course, with the guys back, there is all kinds of FRG-related crazy. But I'm trying to float about it. So nothing to say there, either, really.


What can I say? I'm one of those prolific blogger types!

So this is how conservatives dress, is it?

Today, a spouse new to the area needed a ride to the PX. Though I really, really wanted to say, "Hell, no! Don't you know it's still Thanksgiving weekend and the place will be packed?!" I obliged.

As I waited for our newest arrival to find some cleaning supplies and diapers, I wandered over to the book section. And wouldn't you know, just in time for Christmas, there was a HUGE display of Ann Coulter's new book, "If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans." I'm guessing it's due to Coulter's giving nature and forgiving Christian sentiments. Either that, or they just had to find something to take up the extra-large display table that they bought for the last Harry Potter book.

(Note to readers: Yes, that was sarcasm. If I told you what I really thought of Coulter, we'd be here a long time and you'd probably think I had a potty mouth).

Both in curiosity and disgust, I picked up the book and read a couple pages. It looks like more of the same -- pointless, hate-filled drivel.

But one thing struck me. You know, for a conservative, Ann doesn't mind showing us the cleavage. Or her legs. On the cover of every book I've ever seen, she's dressed more like Carmen Electra than Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What is with that?

Not that I like Ann at all but there might be a slightly greater chance that I might listen to her for a second if she only practiced what she preached. Or at least occasionally appeared to do so.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tired.

I am bone tired of people expecting me to wave some magic FRG wand and get them help when they won't lift a finger to do anything for themselves.

I just don't understand why people refuse to plan for "what if's" and then expect the FRG to clean up their mess. Case in point, the soldiers were in the field. We had one spouse that was in a car accident and really messed up her arm and back. She has three kids under 4 years including a 5 month old. She couldn't really take care of them or pick them up. So she wanted her husband home.

And you know? The guys were training in country, it was close enough to the Thanksgiving break, so we got him home. And in the couple days before he got back, we got her some help with the kids and brought her a few meals.

But when I called her recently to check up on her, I mentioned that we didn't have an emergency plan in place for her and why didn't I come over to bring the forms to her? I suggested that she and her husband could discuss what they might need if this ever happened again, who they feel comfortable watching her kids, etc. And I told her that I'd also bring her some information about childcare options in the community and other information for the future. 'Cause you know, when the guys are in Iraq, the likelihood of her husband being able to come home is not that high. I said it was probably wise to think of this of the accident as a practice run. What if it had happened when the guys were deployed? It's always better to be prepared.

Do you know what she did then? She yelled at me! She said no one watches her kids but her and that the Army needs to keep its promises about taking care of families. If she needs her husband home, that should be all it takes to get him there. She told me I could take my emergency plan form and shove it up my ass (literally). Apparently, she has also been rather unkind to some of the ladies who helped her prior to her soldier's return. She told all of her neighbors that the meals made for her "sucked" (and of course, it was brought by one of her other neighbors) and complained about the way others watched her kids.

Note that this was a totally different attitude from before -- when I was arranging help and assisting her with the Red Cross message, she was real sweet. And I can't help but shake my head because if she had filled out her stupid emergency forms, she'd be able to tell us who she wanted to watch her kids. Heck, there is even a space on it to write down food preferences and allergies, so she could have gotten a meal more palatable to her personal taste. But why bother? She got her husband home. Who needs the FRG after that?

Although she might. Her husband will be returning to the field with the others for the second half of the training exercise. Should make for some interesting phone calls.





Another thing to take up with my therapist.


You know, because Alistair Cookie's penchant for eating pipes may make us want to smoke (or eat pipes, too!). Oscar may be too depressing. And any merchandising possibilities without Elmo just weren't worth the bother.

We actually bought both Volumes 1 and 2 for Munchkin. And I gotta tell you -- he loves it. He likes to count along with the Count. He digs the Ladybug Picnic and seeing Bert ice skate. He sings the songs. And God forbid, it is helping him to learn his letters, numbers, shapes and colors.

I'll let you know if I notice any lasting damage.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Homecoming.

Yes, you've used my towel even though I put out a clean one for you. My toothbrush, too, even though yours was just in the rucksack that you threw on the floor of our bedroom, stinking of mud, sweat and way too much nicotine. And you complained about the kind of beer I bought and forgot to thank me for making you a special dinner even though you never bothered to specify what time you'd be home exactly.

But home, you are. Our son is thrilled. And as I see you teaching him how to use a hockey stick (and in doing so, making even more of a mess than usual), I find that all the irritation may be worth it.

But check back with me in a few days, just in case.

Serendipitous.

Someone posted Mary Oliver's The Summer Day on an online forum I frequent. I've been experiencing a bit of family drama recently so it fit my mood perfectly. And as I read it, I took it for what it should be, even if in reality it is just coincidence -- one of those weird karmic gifts. Thank you.

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass, the one who is eating sugar out of my hand, who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down- who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass, how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields, which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Your questions answered.

Here we go. My responses. Hopefully, they are somewhat interesting!
  1. Why do you call your husband CPT Dick? You mean, besides the fact that he is so good at being one? Or are you hoping that it's because he's gifted in the down there department? (And I'm not telling on that one). Really, it's just one of those stories. A few years ago, we went to a wedding. The groom's drunk uncle, for whatever reason, was convinced that my husband's name was Dick. And he kept seeking him out and saying, "You know, Dick..." and spouting off his opinions of the administration and the war. It just became funny. And when we went out other places later, I'd just start walking up to him and saying, "You know, Dick..." and we'd laugh. When I started to think about what to call him on this site, that story just came to mind. And, oh, I have to say, I find it so much funnier with the CPT in front of it (but not quite as funny as I'll find it when he makes MAJ).
  2. Where do you live? Germany. We've been stationed over here, at different kasernes, for several years.
  3. Are you really a writer? I guess so. That is how I'm making my living these days. But I don't blame you for doubting me. I find it kind of funny myself.
  4. You mentioned in an earlier post your former life as a grad student. What did you study? And, what was your concentration? I studied neuroscience and cognitive science. I concentrated in human/computer interaction. I never finished my PhD, though. After a few years in, I realized that though I love learning, academia is not the place for me long-term.
  5. How did you become a freelance writer and how does that work for you? What do you write about? Getting to writing for an actual living was kind of a fluke. After I turned down a job opportunity over here because of my pregnancy, I was feeling a little lost. I'd never not worked before (at least not by my own choice) and I was getting more than a little stir-crazy. I generally journal during those kind of manic times and thought that there might be some essay fodder in there. The fabulous Jody Mace, the kind of writer I'd like to be when I grow up, kindly shared the name of an editor for a small paper in the South that published essays. I sent them one. They accepted it. And it was never that easy again. But I kept at it. I didn't think it would be a full-time gig but I did enjoy writing essays. So, I tried to learn everything I could about the business by getting involved with freelance writing groups, services and forums and reading fabulous books like The Renegade Writer and Six Figure Freelancing. As for how it works for me, it's just about perfect for my life right now. It's a job where I can be creative, work from home and technically be a stay-at-home Mom and still feel like I'm contributing to the Gross National Product. I generally cover parenting, healthcare and neuroscience topics. And then, of course, when I can think of something brilliant, I write personal essays in the creative non-fiction vein.
  6. Does your husband know about your blog? Yes, he does. He's never really read it except once when I had a draft post open and he saw that I referred to him as CPT Dick. He suggested another name that sat better with him - Conan the Love Warrior. He then wanted to switch it up to Conan the Love God. I tried to accomodate his request but just couldn't do it. So, the short answer is that yes, he knows and isn't really interested in hearing me talk crazy on the Internet. After all, he gets to hear me talk crazy every single day.
  7. Do any wives from your unit know about your blog? Yes and no. Some of them know that I do blog anonymously. I highly recommend it as a venting tool. But most of them aren't all that computer savvy (at least that they've admitted) and none of them have been interested enough to ask for the URL.
  8. How do you deal with the FRG? Honestly? Some days I really do wonder. But what I try to do is be honest with people about what I can and cannot do and what is important to me. And my son's care and my work is important to me. And then I put in time where it fits. Like, I may not be your bake sale girl unless you want burned brownies but I can design and print you out some flyers for the event right quick. Computer stuff is easy for me and easy to fit in to my schedule. And that is what works without driving me crazy. As for dealing with the FRG during deployment, I guess you need to remember that you get what you give. The FRG is going to be much more adept at helping you if you hit some problem if they know who you are. Offering to help in little ways -- making some phone calls, doing those flyers, proofreading the newsletter -- might not take as much time as you think and can help get you in the know. And believe me, when your husband is gone and you haven't heard dick in three weeks, you are going to want to be in the know when you can be.
  9. How do you feel about the way congress is handling spending appropriations for the troops? In particular, spending with a hard withdrawal date? Well, honestly, I don't blame Congress for trying. They are dealing with an executive that doesn't want to budge and are using the means that they have at their disposal to represent their constituents' interests. With that being said, I don't think it's the best option. The message I'd send to both the Bush Administration and the Democrats fighting so hard for a time limit is that military leadership should be making the military decisions in a war. But neither of them would listen to me anyway.
  10. Did you ever read the Sunday List of Dreams? No. I'll have to check it out!
  11. And, for the clincher, where did your friends buy the 24-inch black rubber dildo that you mentioned on SpouseBUZZ? At a store in Atlanta called Inserection. My friend went in there to buy some penis ice cube trays and party hats and walked out with a horse dildo. Just goes to show you never can tell what you might find on sale.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Another one for the crappy idea file.

So, like, if you are ever blowing bubbles with your kid in the kitchen because the weather is totally rainy and nasty, and while blowing those bubbles, a bunch of the bubble liquid gets on the floor, so when you are done, you think, "You know, it's just soap. I'll just wipe it up and then mop with some water. It'll be just like wet Swiffering!"

If you do ever do this, smack yourself. Or call me, and I'll smack you. Trust me, it will hurt less than when you slip and eat it after "mopping" while running in to get your kid a cup of juice.

There's weirdness on both sides.

Shrek the Third is out on DVD. Did you know? I did.

Mostly because since it arrived in the mail, my son has insisted on watching it every possible second he can. Never underestimate the allure of a farting green ogre.

I was talking to a friend back in the states last night, decrying my newfound ability to quote pretty much this whole movie, and she said that she would not be buying it for her kids, even though they wanted it.

"Why not?" I asked. And I expected some comment about too many fart jokes. My friend is a staunch liberal in most ways but since she had kids, she tends to follow Tipper Gore's lead on what her children should watch and listen to.

"It's a pro-life movie."

"What?! How do you figure?" I needed her to explain this to me. Yes, in the movie (spoiler alert!), Shrek and Fiona become parents, and Shrek does voice some concerns about becoming a father, but I missed the part where they were made any statements referring to or condemning smushsmortion. Somehow, I imagine a subplot where Fiona and her princess friends picket the local Planned Parenthood clinic wouldn't mesh with the fairy tale theme.

"It is. It's subtle but the agenda is there."

"Where? I really have no idea what you are talking about."

"That song, 'Never Been to Me' is on the soundtrack. And it's used in a scene where it makes absolutely no sense. It's a statement. Trust me."

I pushed a little more but she was getting a tad defensive. I decided to drop the matter and check out the lyrics to the song.

Now I well remember Charlene's 1970's hit, "Never Been to Me" for two reasons: First, I used to sing along with it to the radio when I was a little girl. I guess hearing her 7 year old belt out, "I've been undressed by Kings and I've seen some things that a woman ain't supposed to see" vexed my mother a bit. And it became an issue because she kept switching the radio station every time it came on, which made me just want to listen to the song even more.

(Tangent story: the same thing happened to my friend, K, with her daughter. Except her five-year-old decided to sing along with Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy." Somehow, my singing about being undressed by royalty seems totally tame in comparison to "I want to lick-ick-ick-ick-ick you from your head to your toes." But I digress).

The other reason I remember the song is because it was used in one of my favorite all time movies, "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert." And let me tell you, Hugo Weaving owned that song, I tell you, owned it! Maybe it was the giant fake eyelashes. So whenever I hear the song, when I'm not thinking of my mother overreacting, I pretty much think of transvestites.

But still, I don't remember anything about it being a pro-life anthem. So I looked up the lyrics. And what did I find?

Yes, the song is still cheesy as ever. No surprises there.

But there is this one line:

Sometimes I've been crying for unborn children that might have made me complete.

Which I guess, if you stretch and squint your eyes and really, really want it to have a deeper subtext could be construed as pro-life. But I think it's a reach.

So now, as we watch Shrek the Third, for the 3654th time, and now I'm all looking for something that probably is not there, I am wondering if I'm the crazy one or if I just inspire it in the people around me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Question, Question, Who's Got a Question?

I read Butterfly Wife's "Answers to Life's Persistent Questions" with interest. What a cool thing to do? Open up the floor to questions! Why didn't I think of that?

You see, I do actually get emailed questions from time to time. And although I usually answer them in an individual email, I recently realized that I'm always being asked the same types of questions (Why do I call my husband CPT Dick? Where do I live? Am I really a writer? Do any wives from my unit know about my blog? Where did my friends buy the 24 inch black rubber dildo that I mentioned on SpouseBuzz? etc.). And as such, I've been toying with the idea of a FAQ post.

But instead, why don't I be brave and open up the floor? Anyone have a question they'd like me to answer? I promise I will take a shot at all questions, no matter how off the wall.*


NOTE: I will close the questions on Monday and then answer them on Tuesday.



*Within reason, anyway. I won't give out any direct identifying information and if any question's answer hints too much at my identity, I may have to be a little vague.

I never need sex again.


I got together with a friend the other night at her house. When I got up to leave, she insisted that I take a box -- No! Two boxes! Heck, here have four! -- of Dove Beyond Chocolate Chunk cookies.

"Please take some! I bought a case at the case lot sale," she said. "And I can't stop eating them!"

With much pushing on her part, I took a single box. I'd never had a Dove cookie before but I imagined them as little bite sized cookies. Probably pretty good but nothing on Famous Amos.
Oh. My. God. They are not bite sized. But boy are they, mmmm, mmmm, good. I grabbed one to have with my tea today and lost myself in the chocolate-y explosion of flavor. It was a taste bud orgasm. So rich, I figured that one would be more than enough to satisfy. "How could she keep eating these?" I asked myself. This is definitely a one-at-a-time kind of cookie.

And it was. I had one when I refilled my tea. And then another when I got Munchkin some juice. And then just one when I made him his lunch. And then one more after we came in from drawing with chalk on the driveway.

There are only 10 cookies per box so it wasn't long before I came to the end of the better-than-sex-chocolatiness.

Just a few minutes ago, I called my friend and I said, "You know those cookies? I ate the whole damn box in just under four hours."

She replied, "Told you."

I could have gotten mad at that point and accused her of trying to sabotage my diet. But instead, I did the only thing I could. I told her to save me a few boxes to take home after my next visit.

I don't trust myself to go out and buy my own.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Practically perfect in every way.

There's a girl in my son's class at school whose mother is perfect. Absolutely perfect.

She's the one that brings fabulous, delicious dishes to each potluck that look magazine cover ready even after driving 20 minutes to get there. Her daughter is always impeccably clean and dressed, not to mention well-behaved. She is always willing to volunteer. She is funny and kind and makes people feel better when she's around.

Perfect.

So there are times where her inherent goodness reflects on me and makes me feel like being a better person. And sadly, yes, there are those other times when her perfection makes me feel woefully inadequate. But it's a tribute to her perfection that it's usually more the former than the latter. It's only after she leaves that I realize just how goofy and unorganized I must seem to her.

Last weekend, we had back-to-back activities with the kids. We had a gymnastics thing in the morning followed by an FRG event in the afternoon. The afternoon event was by my house so I offered to make lunch for her and her daughter.

Because of the craziness of the day, and the finicky natures of most toddlers, I made an old standby that is usually eaten by even the pickiest of eaters -- macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. I know, I know -- total gourmet. As I got it started, I thought about just how ridiculous it was that I was serving Mrs. Perfect and her daughter such a mess. What the hell was I thinking?

This was only compounded when they showed up for lunch, with a perfect homemade vanilla bundt cake for dessert and a bottle of wine as a gift for me. I felt like such a hoser.

So later, after the day was finished, Munchkin was put to bed and I was dwelling a bit on my total inability to channel Martha Stewart, like, ever, I opened that bottle of wine. Of course, it was wrapped up with perfectly coiled ribbon in a velvet bag.

Once I got the bottle out, I noticed something. There were three empty Halloween candy wrappers in the bottom of the bag. She hadn't noticed.

Those wrappers meant that, one, she regifted the bag (and hey, not that there's anything wrong with it -- I'm all about regifting those bags but she's so perfect I could see her going out to buy a new gift bag for each and every token gift) and, two, they were hidden in that bag for a reason. Either she, her husband or her daughter were sneaking candy.

I know it's total schadenfreude but I felt instantly better. I guess we're all faking it to make it here and there.

(And you know, her daughter did eat every single bite of her serving of that macaroni and cheese. It's the hot dogs. They make it irresistible).



Just another reason not to give unsolicited advice.

A few days ago, I attended a baby shower. Along with the baby food guessing games, diapering races and other shenanigans, all of the attendees were asked to write a piece of advice on a notecard that she could put in her baby book.

The mother-to-be has told me numerous times about how nervous she is about having a boy -- she comes from a family of 5 girls and has no experience with infant boys. So coming into my own Mommyhood ignorant of the workings of baby boys, I thought long and hard about what I should write. I knew it should be boy specific. But what piece of advice, that perhaps I'd received late, was the most helpful? It only took a moment to realize what it should be. The single most important piece of advice that I knew of for newborn boys.

Always make sure that the penis is pointing down.

Because, you know, this is something that isn't often written in the books or mentioned right away by others. I think for those experienced with baby boys, this just seems like a total "duh," but it took me weeks to figure out why my son's diapers kept leaking the way that they did. I was just too sleep deprived to consider the physics of the matter. And when you factor in erections -- as much as you may not even want to even fathom those occurrences, they happen all too often -- it becomes even more important to make sure that the penis is pointed into the most absorbent part of the diaper.

So that's what I wrote. "When changing diapers, always make sure the penis is pointing down."

Once everyone had written their advice, the hostess collected them and handed them to the mother-to-be to read aloud. She read all of them aloud except mine. I'll be honest that I was so knee-deep in chocolate-y cake and laughing at other advice at that point that I don't think I noticed.

But as I got up to leave later, the hostess pulled me aside to tell me that she removed my advice card from the pile. This was a baby shower and she didn't understand why I would write such a thing. After all, there was really no need to be vulgar. I was taken aback. I mean, when did the word penis become a dirty word? I was offered what I thought was an important, non-sarcastic piece of advice about being a first time Mom to a boy. Advice that would help a Mom avoid being sprayed and even more laundry. But somehow I was being inappropriate. I started to try to defend myself, to explain why I wrote that particular item but somehow I figured it would do more harm than good at that point.

It's days like those that I really, really wonder if I'll ever find a place in this weird world.

Moth watch.

Still not a one. I keep looking behind the bar and in nooks and crannies but I seem to have vanquished the beasts.

But I'll be the first to tell you that if they are hiding only to appear randomly one day and scare the shit out of me, they'll probably end up winning.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Confession #3.

Since we're heading back to the states to see family at Christmas (which I am referring to the "guilt trip" -- aren't I punny?), CPT Dick wants to go spend a week, just the three of us, somewhere warm and relaxing right before deployment. He has a few criteria for the trip:
  1. It is warm.
  2. It is sunny.
  3. There is a beach.
  4. There is a golf course.
  5. It is all-inclusive.
  6. It does not have entertainers or other individuals that will try to get you up and dance on the bar when you are just trying to get a goddamn refill on your beer.
  7. It has stuff for the Munchkin to do.
  8. It is not on the military's no-go list.
  9. It costs no more than an arbitrary random figure that he pulled out of his butt.

Umm, hello? Warm and sunny in February? Meals and drinks included? You want all that? No problem. Wait? You want it for how much?

Yes, my husband has no concept of time, space or how much a decent vacation costs now that our son is old enough to require his own seat on the plane and we are looking for sun and surf in February.

It's not that we can't afford more than my husband's set price. We can. And frankly, since he'll be heading off for 15-18 months in the desert, I think that we should be willing to splurge to make sure he gets exactly the kind of decompression trip he's after. But he, being dumb, can't think outside the change purse.

So here's my third confession. I found the perfect vacation spot -- a week in the Maldives. And I found a great deal on a resort there. It's gorgeous, has activities for toddlers and an open bar. It is my husband's dream come true.

But it's almost twice the amount that my husband wants to spend.

So guess what? I'm not telling him. I booked it today and then immediately sent out a bunch of emails to editors I work with frequently asking for a little extra work this month. With holiday crunches upon them, most of them came back with something. I got enough to cover the whole trip plus some diving for me.

I won't tell him about the extra work either.

And if he asks me how much the total was? Well, I'll just fudge the numbers a bit. What he doesn't know, won't hurt him.

Thank you.

I'm a day late, but thank you to all who are called to serve. We honor you and remember.

Funny how the missing ebbs and flows.

Did you see me walking by the Buick Repairs?
I was thinking of you
having a Coke in the heat it was your face
I saw on the movie magazine,
no it was Fabian's
I was thinking of you
and down at the railroad tracks where the station
has mysteriously disappeared
I was thinking of you
as the bus pulled away in the twilight
I was thinking of you
and right now

-"Song," Frank O'Hara

Rethink privacy?

Oh, no, he didn't.

But yes, he did. As the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act comes up in Congress, Donald Kerr the principal deputy director of national intelligence says that we need to rethink the way we define privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Now, I know plenty of people who believe that the Patriot Act, and others like it, are completely harmless. As my one friend, B., always says to me, "The only reason why you should care if someone is listening is if you are doing something wrong."

But is that really true? Sure, if I choose to give my information, that's one thing. I'm doing that of my own free will. But why should the government have carte blanche to my financial information, to what books I take out of the library or the phone calls I make back to the states (and I gotta tell you -- if anyone was listening, I'm sure the spooks were totally grossed out by all the phone calls I made to my Mom describing the color and consistency of my son's stool when he was an infant)?

Why exactly is that information important? But more importantly, what will the government do with it? How can they really safeguard it? (And even more disturbing, if I'm not even supposed to know that they are examining that information and it is compromised, how am I to know?)

The executive branch of our current government is doing its best to try to knock out basic checks and balances. Yes, it's a pain in the ass to go through a judge to get a wiretap. But you know, that process is there to make sure that there is just cause for that tap to be placed. To make sure that individual American rights are protected. And as anyone who has been wrongly accused of a crime can tell you, those rights are never more important when the spotlight is pointed at you.

Running roughshod over the safeguards our forefathers placed to make sure that America could not become a dictatorship or tyrannical regime is not making us safer. Sure, to a certain extent, I guess it's all philosophical, but it makes me sad that people are willing to trade so much for the illusion of security.

Because, really, at the end of the day, has it been demonstrated that access to all of this data really has the potential to make us safe?

I'm probably jinxing myself...

...but I have not seen a pantry moth in 5 days. For the longest time, it seemed that I had them beat but then, sure enough, as soon as I felt really confident in victory, I'd find one waiting on pantry door in the morning or maniacally flying around when I turned on the kitchen light at night. I'd kill the onesies and twosies I'd see, regularly replace the pheromone traps and wonder if I was ever going to have a (mostly) insect-free house.

And then, for the past few days, not a single sighting.

I've been unsure whether I actually managed to kill them all off, new ones are in a larval stage waiting to break free to torture me or if they've simply decided to regroup in another part of the house to organize a new plan of attack. But I wasn't going to mention it because, you know, I figured by doing so, I'd just karmically invite them to come on out and say hello.

But after a few days, I'm starting to get a little freaked out. If they are still here, I want to know. I have new pheromone traps and my rolled up magazine handy. I can't let my guard down and be ambushed. It would be too much of a blow to be bested by a creature that has no more than a few ganglia to speak of.

So, do you hear me, little mothies? I'm calling you suckers out. As far as I'm concerned, I have won our little battle. So come on out if you are still here. We can play this game for a little longer. But just be forewarned -- I'll be ready and I ain't taking prisoners.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Good, old-fashioned Christian values.

"You know, B. asked us to pray for R. yesterday at Bible Study."

"Really? Why?"

"Oh, I guess her doctor found a lump or something."

"Oh my goodness. How scary!"

"I know, it's terrible. But honestly, when B. asked, I felt a little irritated about. It just seemed inappropriate. R.'s not a member of our group. She doesn't go to church. I don't even know if she's a Christian. I really wonder if I should have to pray for R."

"Maybe she just needs to be shown the way..."

"The church is right there. She can't miss it. Honestly, if R. needs the help of holy Jesus, she needs to ask for it herself. It wouldn't hurt her to get herself to church on Sunday, maybe do a little praying on her own."

"No, but still..."

"God helps those that help themselves and, frankly, I have enough people, that have actually embraced Jesus as their Savior, that I have to pray for every night. I can't be responsible for the help and healing of every pagan on this post."

I'm hot. Sort of.

Have you made your celebrity look-a-like collage on MyHeritage.com?

I resisted. Mainly because I've gotten only about a bajillion emails about it in the past few weeks. But after a while, instead of being annoyed, I became fascinated. Watching some of your most attractive friends morph from themselves to Newt Gingrich and back again can do that to you. Some of the matches are absolutely hilarious. (Except for the Roseanne one for you, M. It's obviously a heinous, horrible codding mistake. Really. Your noses look nothing even remotely similar).

So I did it. I had to know who I looked like.

First I uploaded what I consider to be the most attractive recent photo of me. But wouldn't you know, every time I uploaded it, the stupid software told me that it couldn't find a face. Conspiracy? Perhaps. Obviously, when I'm looking my best, I can't be matched with Lance Armstrong or Snuffalapagus. So then I put in a second photo that included both myself and CPT Dick. I didn't realize that it could match two faces at one time. And, as you'll see below, this ended up being a serious added bonus.

So without further ado, our celebrity matches:


So like, according to MyHeritage, I'm kinda hot in that geeky, weird looking girl kind of way. But my husband? My husband is a bombshell! Brigitte Bardot? Eliza Dushku? Hot, hot, hot!

This opens up a whole new world of fantasy possibilities for when he finally comes home.







Sources needed.

A writer friend of mine needs sources for an article she's doing on military families and debt. Here's what she's looking for:

Hi, NEE! I'm hoping you can help me. For an article I'm writing, I'm looking for military spouses/families who found themselves in serious debt and somehow found a way out of it. Debt is something that we've all had to deal with and I'm hoping that this article can help other families who may think they are all alone with these kinds of problems.

If you fit the bill and are interested in going on record, email me at nonessentialequipment@gmail.com and I will put you in touch!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The problem with freelancing.

In the past few months, I've earned a bunch of money writing. That's the good news.

Now the bad news: I haven't yet collected a dime of it.

Oh, I've done the edits and submitted my invoices. But my well-deserved checks are either "in processing" or "in the mail." To date, not a single penny has been added to my checking register from any work after August 4th.

The worst part is that I should have had one of these checks months ago. I invoiced for the article in May, for goodness' sake. But the invoice got lost, the link wasn't in the system, yadda yadda yadda (add in whatever accounts payable excuse is needed), and so my check was never cut.

And despite the mistake being on their end, I was informed that I'd still have to wait 4-6 weeks for a new one. 'Cause, like, that's their payment cycle. Apparently, you cannot, under any circumstances, fuck with a corporate payment cycle. It might change the future as we know it. So you just have to wait and hope that whatever mistake made them miss your invoice the first time won't happen again.

So I waited. And I just found out (finally!) that this particular check was cut last week. My editor, being a total peach, decided to express mail it to me to make up for the delay. So when I got the tracking number, I immediately headed on over to the tracking website, expecting to see that my check was only hours away from delivery.

But, um, instead, it just was scanned in California. Why something would go from New York to Germany by way of California is just beyond me. My quest for this single check is now seriously bordering on the ridiculous. Will I ever receive it? Am I just destined to be poor forever?

These are the days that I really, really miss my regularly scheduled full-time paychecks.

For a seriously hilarious trip in the way back machine.

Check out 15 Minute Lunch's "Strap in, shut up and hold on. We're going back."

'Cause, like, seriously? Can there ever be enough terry cloth?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Gift ideas for your runner.


For a magazine review, I tried out the Nike+ iPod Nano sensor this week. I'm more of what you'd call a casual runner -- I usually hit somewhere around 10-15 miles per week -- and so often the running gadgets that CPT Dick likes (he who runs 25+ miles a week and likes to rub it in my face) are a little too much of a pain in the butt for me to find helpful. After all, I'm not trying to run a marathon. And you know? If I walk for a few minutes during a 8 mile run? IT'S NOT THE END OF THE WORLD AND DOES NOT MEAN THAT I AM A WUSS.

So this baby? It is AWESOME. And really, it would work for any level runner. You can use it for walking or running. And if you don't have the specific Nike+ shoe, no biggie. You can get a sensor pocket for a couple of bucks on Amazon to attach it to your shoelaces. So you can have the gadget without having to pay an extra $50 for shoes with a little foam insert.

The sensor tracks miles run, time and other variables. You can upload your data to a Nike+ website to track your progress. But I think my favorite part is the power song. You know that song? That song that is guaranteed to help you up that big hill? Instead of slowing down as you hit the hill to search through your thousands of songs to find it, you can set the song earlier and just press the middle button on the iPod to get it going. It rocks. And it isn't that expensive -- under $30. (Of course, you do have to have an iPod Nano, but most guys I know who run already do).

Anyway, if you were having trouble thinking of what to get the runner in your life. Check this out.

Brilliant.

I'm a big fan of the "Lives" section of the Sunday New York Times Magazine. And not just because the editor *almost* accepted one of my essays to run in it. The essays are edgy and make me think. This week's essay is no exception.

Check out "Son of the South" by Robert Leleux.

Things I never thought I'd say as a mother.

  • "Stop! That table is glass. If you are going to jump, go jump on the couch."
  • "Try to throw up on Mommy, honey."
  • "What? You want Mommy to tickle your balls?" [We were tickling his stuffed animals and then he came over with two soccer balls for me to tickle next. I didn't realize what I had said until CPT Dick doubled over with laughter].
  • "We do not flush diapers down the toilet."
  • "Do you want to sit on the potty? No? Okay. I'm going to go potty. Do you want to see Mommy go potty?"
  • "Dog poop is not a toy!" [And for the record, neither is horse or goose poop].
  • "Wow! You can walk fast in high heels!"

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

In the newest Vanity Fair, Julia Roberts says:

"My dream is to be a highly fulfilled and productive stay-at-home mom and wife," the Oscar-winning actress tells Vanity Fair magazine. "The highest high would be growing our food that I then make, and then composting and growing more -- that kind of circle."

Stay-at-home Mom, huh? Then tell me, Julia, how come you go on to say that you want to work with Denzel again? The tens of millions of dollars you've already made aren't enough to start your own compost pile?

Gotta love the things that come out of celebrities' mouths.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

What goes around, comes around.

My son never really said, "Mama" or "Mommy." We tried to coax it out of him, we did. But it never happened. And honestly, with his speech delays, I would have settled for any uttered sound that he consistently used to call for me. Ma. La. I'd even have taken Moo, though I would secretly wonder if my large post-baby ass had inspired it. But alas, it seemed not in the cards and I didn't want to press the matter so hard that he'd always associate hatred with the word, "mother." After all, we have his teenage years for that.

But as he's started to make more sounds and, now, words, I've once again been trying to get him to say, "Mama."

And do you know what that little devil does when I ask him to do so? He smiles widely and says, "Daddy, daddy!" Because, you know, he's been able to say Daddy practically since birth.

(As a side note, what is with this paternal conspiracy? I carry the boy inside me for nearly a year, breastfeed him for more than that and spend every waking moment catering to his needs and all I ever hear from other people is, "Oh, my, isn't he the spitting image of CPT Dick!" and "He's a Daddy's boy, all right." And then with the boy himself only saying, "Daddy." It's just so wrong).

But yesterday, CPT Dick called home from the field. Munchkin spent most of the day asking for the man -- pointing at pictures of CPT Dick and saying, "Daddy," and then saying "Daddy?" every time I used the phone. I know CPT Dick is missing his son and missing so much of what Munchkin is doing these days so I put the speaker phone on and called Munchkin over.

"Munchkin, it's Daddy! Say, 'Hi, Daddy!'"

*silence*

"Munchkin, don't you want to say hi to Daddy? Daddy misses you! Say, 'Hi, Daddy!'"

*silence*


"I don't understand it. He's been saying Daddy all day. Let me try one more time. Munchkin, say, 'Hi, Daddy!' C'mon now, say, 'Hi, Daddy!'"

And then Munchkin smiles widely and says, "Mommy, Mommy! Hi, Mommy!"

CPT Dick thinks I paid the kid off. If I had known that I could have done so to set up such a situation, the kid would have been rolling in greenbacks and Elmo-themed paraphernalia months ago.