Saturday, June 23, 2007

Is this really what women voters want?

In a NY Times op-ed, Melinda Henneberger, author of “If They Only Listened to Us: What Women Voters Want Politicians to Hear," argues that the Democrat party needs to move away from a pro-choice position in order to even have a chance at the White House in the next election.

"Over 18 months, I traveled to 20 states listening to women of all ages, races, tax brackets and points of view speak at length on the issues they care about heading into ’08. They convinced me that the conventional wisdom was wrong about the last presidential contest, that Democrats did not lose support among women because “security moms” saw President Bush as the better protector against terrorism. What first-time defectors mentioned most often was abortion."

This is so hard for me to wrap my head around. I realize I'm a total wackjob, but for me, it's the complete opposite. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm probably more Republican than anything else (sssh, don't tell anyone!). But I cannot in good conscience vote for a candidate who would try to make abortion illegal. Especially when that person would most likely also back legislation for abstinence-only sex education, restricted access to birth control, tougher adoption laws, and diminished welfare and social programs. I've simply never understood a dogma that only respects the right to life until the baby is outside of the mother.

Plus, I do believe that abortion can be a moral choice. I think that it is immoral to bring a child into the world if you cannot do your utmost to provide a safe, loving environment in which to raise it.

Is this really what women voters want? A Democratic candidate who is for social programs but will overturn Roe vs. Wade? What do you think?

Stop trying to ruin it for the rest of us!

There's really no need for this kind of nonsense, Gabriel.

And please, please let it not be true! Like I didn't cry enough with the loss of Dumbledore. I really don't think I could handle the others.

Feeling resentful.

As I type this, my son is laying prostrate on the floor, kicking his little legs and screaming for his father.

Now lest you think I'm a completely uncaring mother, I've already tried plying him with hugs, kisses, the new Little Einsteins DVD, juice, a baseball that talks, going outside to ride his tricycle, his Star Wars Galactic Heroes action figures, Matchbox cars, and porn.

(I'm just kidding about the porn. But honestly, after a good 45 minutes of this, I'd consider offering it if I thought it would actually do any good).

But all the little guy wants is his Daddy. And nothing I do, NOTHING is going to change that right now.

CPT Dick is actually home this weekend to visit. But he's off today at a football game, a last hurrah with some of the other commanders before they all take off for parts unknown. And I wouldn't mind so much if we didn't go as a couple to that last hurrah party last night and spend God knows how many evenings with last hurrah dinners and drinks and BBQs and formal events before CPT Dick took off for his new post.

For all intents and purposes, we should have been hurrahed out about 2 months ago.

My son is feeling his father's absence acutely. He freaked when we left him with the babysitter last night. And when CPT Dick left earlier today, Munchkin stood at the door, wailing, "Daddy! No bye! Daddy, no bye!" And being fairly wasted after a week of doing inventories, CPT Dick hasn't exactly been 100% with the boy when he isn't out and about. He's exhausted and is expecting a two-year-old to understand that and give him a little space. Good luck with that, honey.

I mentioned earlier that the game was a bad idea but my husband thinks I'm exaggerating the issue because I didn't want him to go. And he's partly right.

One of the problems of being a good military spouse, of being able to juggle 10 balls while people throw fire darts at you to catch in your teeth, is that your spouse can sometimes forget that you are only doing all that stuff because you have to. Not necessarily because you want to. I'm happy to pick up the slack where I can. But it seriously chaps my ass when he takes it for granted.

Sure, I can play Mommy and Daddy all week long while CPT Dick gets acclimated in his new role. But it irks me to no end that I have to do it this weekend when, with all that it in front of us, my husband chose to go to tailgate and basically pretend that he's still in college, instead of staying home and spending some quality time with the Munchkin.

It seems the more often he deploys and things don't fall apart, the less he thinks he has to do. He knows one way or another, I'll get it done.

And sometimes, I can't figure out if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Jeans for the large post-baby ass.

So I'm not really a fashionista. And the day I started working from home pretty much cinched the idea that you'll find me in (a) my Cookie Monster sweatpants or (b) some comfy jeans on any given day. I'm just generally kind of low key and appreciate the Old Navy/Gap kind of stuff. I like to find a shirt that fits well and then buy it in three colors. What can I say? I'm a simple (lazy) girl.

But I do like reading about fashion. And though most of that involves reading blogs and pop culture sites that make fun of what celebrities are wearing, I also like to see the reviews of clothing lines. Especially in the NY Times. They like to get all poetical on feathers and sequins. It tickles me.

So this week, I was reading a Q&A with Sarah Jessica Parker about her new line, Bitten. I had to read it, because, you know, I wanted to see if the designers had incorporated those ugly fabric flowers that SJP's character on Sex and the City always seemed to have tacked on to her dresses. This is critical information.

But in the Q&A, SJP touches on the fact that she's getting some criticism for deciding to provide clothes from sizes 0-22. You know, for repping a line that actually makes clothes for women who don't have an eating disorder or scary genetic advantage. Like the majority of women in America. Who, funnily enough, do wear clothes.

"What can people say to me—“how dare you want to make clothes for women who are size 16?” There’s no argument. Either you like it or you don’t."

What a frighteningly risky business plan! Inexpensive clothes for people of all shapes and sizes? Who does this woman think she is, putting a celebrity name to jeans, hoodies and tees that will not only fit my large post-baby ass but my budget? The nerve of some people!

It's funny, I get all indignant when I see the photos from the runway shows and wonder how some of these super-skinny women can even walk without their bones crumbling to dust. And I die a little bit inside when I read about some supermodel and realize that she's nearly a foot taller than me and yet somehow 30 lbs. lighter. So I have to say, kudos to you, SJP. I don't know where I can find a Steve and Barry's store (I keep thinking of it as Ben & Jerry's in my head) but if and when I do, I'm going to buy a couple of items.

I've got your back, girl. Until I find a shirt with one of those fugly flowers, that is. Because we bigger girls got enough going on without having to justify one of those crazy, flappy accessories.

Need some motivation?

Of course, the poster shown is one of the classics from

I remember that when I first came upon the Despair site, many moons ago, I wished I could make my own poster -- I had so many good ideas (though none I could imagine fit my life as well as the Meetings one). But now that I have a generator, I'm coming up with nothing. Total blank.

Maybe you'll have more luck with it. Because everyone needs a little (de) motivation now and then.

Take that, younger siblings!

Sure, you may have gotten more of Mom's love being the baby and all but I got 3 more IQ points.

(And, yes, somehow even in my 30's, I still view quite a bit of my relationship with my sister as a competition. I know -- sad, sad, sad).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Reading past the headline.

A recent AP interview with John Travolta garnered the following headline: John Travolta says no to psychiatric medication.

And while I find this stance completely and utterly mindboggling, I read on. And bless my e-meter, but wouldn't you know that ol' Johnny T. and I agree on something?

"I have never been compelled to share with you my bathroom habits or share with you my bedroom habits," says the married father of two. "Everyone has a right to privacy, so I have never felt -- even though I am famous -- that I had to share that with anybody."

Do the rumors bother him? Does he think they've affected his career?

"No and no," he says. "What affects your career is the quality of the product. I don't think anyone can hurt me."

Quality of the product. Hear that, people? Not who he's sleeping with. Not what he thinks of psychotropic medication or Tom Cruise calling someone glib. Not even showing his nipples or manly garden on the red carpet. The quality of his work.

And just in case you weren't paying attention, that work is acting. Not doctoring. Not scientific research. Not even public spokesperson for weird religion. Acting. And as such, we shouldn't be looking for him (or Tom Cruise) to tell us what is okay in realms other than those. And when they decide to say something about those other realms (or, thanks to Tom Cruise's public comments are goaded into doing so by the press), we should just nod our heads and roll on through. Not worth getting into a tizzy over.

Thank you, John, for the reminder.

A case of the blahs.

I'm exactly where I should be. I hurried up and finished all of my work for the month so that I could have time to run around and accomplish all of the pain-in-the-arse move stuff that my husband should do but will actually fall on me and my trusty power of attorney.

But without orders, there ain't much of that to do. I'm in waiting mode.

So instead I have a rainy day, a cranky boy and a whole lot of Sesame Street in my future. It's a tad depressing. I mean, it ain't like having to tussle with Army civilian workers is necessarily fun but it is always entertaining.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A true tale of American entrepreneurship.

Want to know where should you stash pot in your car? How to avoid getting raided? Ex-Cop Barry Cooper has the DVD for you.

This would be funny, you know, if it weren't so damned sad.

This is just plain wrong.

Where exactly is the Simpsons' hometown of Springfield?

With the release of the big Simpsons' Movie, Springfields across the country are vying for the honor of being the Springfield and hosting a big-screen premiere of the film.

Don't get me wrong. It's brilliant marketing (and I think it's hilarious that Teddy Kennedy agreed to be in the Massachusetts entry).

But I like to think of I always thought the point was that it could be anywhere. That there was a Springfield in practically every state. And that worked so well, because if there is a little Simpson in all of us (and mine is the drool and unconscious mmm-ing when faced with donuts), then the Simpsons should live in every town.

You can tell I've thought way too much about this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Army Wives

I got an email again asking my thoughts on Army Wives. I touched on my opinion in a previous post but I'll get into a little more detail.

I have no specific thoughts. I did not watch it though most of the ladies I know are getting into it. I hear it isn't so bad though a few have said they think it's too officer-wife-centric.

Frankly, I have enough Army wife drama in my normal life. I probably would watch the show and just stress out. And then wonder way too much about what's really happening in on-post housing. Like MySpace doesn't give me enough of a clue.

It's funny, I've never thought of my television watching as an escape, per se, but when I think about the shows I like to watch, there does seem to be a theme. A theme of the life I could have had if I had not married my husband. I watch a lot of medical shows -- not the sappy ones -- but Scrubs (which, I can tell you is most like my experience working in a hospital) and House. And it makes me wonder if I would be in medical school right now, or perhaps finished, if CPT Dick hadn't sauntered into my life.

But maybe the theme doesn't hold as well as I'd like -- I also like Weeds, Heroes and LOST. And I doubt very much I'd be dealing marijuana, cultivating a new super power (though, it would be cool!) or planning to ambush the Others. But you never know, I guess.

In any case, a show like Army Wives is just too much like my own life to be fair television game. The parts that resonate would be all too real and the parts they stretch for plot would just annoy the crap out of me.

So I'll continue to abstain and instead get my television fix from those dreamy doctors of my fantasies.

Best laid plans.

I had a full day planned.

I was going to go for a 5 mile run, do the shopping, pay some bills, finish up my last story of the month and then set up and attend an afternoon welcome function for the FRG.

But the thing is, the day was full in just the right way. I had enough time to do everything on my list with some breathing space in between. It would have been a busy day but not overly stressful.

Until my husband called.

HIM: "What are you doing today?"

ME: "Ummm, lots. Why?"

HIM: "Well, we have our transportation appointment. But someone has to go to the mandatory transportation briefing today at 9:30am."

And guess who that someone is going to be? I get to sit in a boring briefing for two hours and totally squeeze the rest of my schedule.

We still don't have orders. And we don't have a new place to live. But if we want to even consider the notion that we are leaving before the end of the month, not going to this thing isn't an option.

Hopefully, no one will mind me furtively typing up my story in the back of the room.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Talking the talk.

In preparation for taking on my second FRG, I've signed up for a one-day refresher course on the in's and out's of the position. And by signed up, I mean that I was signed up by the battalion Commander's wife as a favor and now have to pretend to be grateful. Yippee!

I'm sure that some of the material will be helpful. And Lord knows, the Army is sort of learning as they go with the whole FRG thing so I'm sure there will be a whole new list of things not to do that I should know about. It won't be a total waste of my time and it will give me the opportunity to meet some ladies and get to know the environment.

But I digress.

In preparation, the instructor of the course, the wife of a pretty up there Officer, sent out an email to provide an agenda for the day.

But in that email, after the salutations and niceties, instead of getting down to business, she says this:

The most important thing you should know about me is that I am a Christian.

She then expounds for a few more sentences on having the light of Jesus in her life before moving on to actual pertinent matters.

What the hell? This is an FRG refresher. Not a chapel meeting.

It seems that more and more, especially around the military, people think it is appropriate in a professional setting to start off by stating their strong religious beliefs. It is not. In no other organization or industry (barring, of course, a specifically stated religious one) is it ever apropos to do so. And you would think, in the military, an organization attracts so many people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and religions, people might stop and wonder if they could potentially put off someone by stating their religious fervor right upfront like that. But they don't. And it's becoming more and more commonplace.

I read a recent quote by Hillary Clinton where she said that she had been raised to be somewhat wary of people who wear their faith on their sleeve. I have to agree. It's a New England thing, I think, but it was always considered polite to keep matters of faith and business separate. And again, given the diversity of the world, I can't say it's a bad thing.

Now, I've met a lot of really devout Christians who are wonderful, caring people. But NONE of them told me their religious beliefs as an introduction. It's something that came out naturally through the course of other conversation. People who just slap you with it first thing make me uncomfortable. And I'm not afraid it's to say that it's because, too often, the ones who are so busy talking the talk aren't bothering to walk the walk. I feel sometimes that they believe if they say they are Christian often and loud enough, then they are exempt from having to actually act like one.

I don't know what this meeting will hold. I'm trying to withhold judgment until I get there. But if it was the instructor's intention to make everyone feel more comfortable by sharing her devotion, she missed the mark a bit.

The man behind the curtain.

The NY Times has put up a fascinating slideshow featuring people and their online avatars. It's a really interesting look at just how much people will put into their online lives.

I find, though, as I scroll through it, I want to ask these people for some details. Why pick one of the opposite gender, especially such a girly-girl? Does the fact that you picked an avatar so close to what you look like in real life mean that you are that comfortable in your own skin? For those that have selected one who is identical except for that extra 20-30 lbs., does that mean that you see your weight as the only thing keeping you from being the person you want? Why so many over-sexualized females? Enquiring minds want to know!

And then I have to wonder what avatar I would choose. As I scroll through these, I wonder about the appeal of appearing to the (virtual) world as a scantily-clad, hot chick who can kick ass and take names instead of the military wife/Mommy/misanthrope with a large post-baby ass. Would it hold any appeal? Would it make me appreciate my real life more or less?

I can't answer that question. But certainly, it's fulfilling enough for the millions of people who religiously play these games.

Interesting times, these. Indeed.