Saturday, July 07, 2007

Fabulous Frida.

It's hard to view Frida Kahlo's art without also talking about her life. When you ask people about Frida, they often talk about her marriage to Diego Rivera, her lack of space between her eyebrows, her communist ties, or, if that person is my husband (or most men, really), the bio-pic where Salma Hayek shows her boobies.

But her art is incredible. Beautiful, poignant and incredibly raw paintings that may be biographical but also can speak to many of us.

They never make it easy, do they?

I have to thank the Army. I was really starting to wig out about moving on Monday. But now I'm just annoyed.

I had been informed that our door-to-door move would result in our household goods showing up at our new house on Wednesday. Of course, given that Army agencies never talk to each other, Wednesday was also our final out with Housing at the old place.

Since CPT Dick will be in the field and all of this is falling on me , I wondered what course of action would result in the least amount of angst -- actually trying to reason with Army agencies and reschedule a few appointments or instead finding a way to bend the time/space continuum so I can be in two places at once.

Since I left my chemistry set and old lab coat at my Mom's house, I had to go with the former.

And they did not make it easy. Somehow, someway our door-to-door move is no longer a door-to-door. Why? Who knows. But now, our stuff is scheduled to be stored for a week and then delivered. But, of course, I had to call and harass the Transportation people to figure this out. I was put on hold, accidentally hung up on. Told that I'd receive a call back and never did. So I kept calling. And I'm glad I did considering I might have felt a little dumb sitting at my new place waiting for the movers all day Wednesday and having to pay an extra day of rent out of my own pocket for the old place.

So actually, the Army in its infinite wisdom has done me a favor. And I guess I should be grateful. Except for the fact that just finding this little piece of information out was such a pain in the ass. And now, instead of just throwing some clothes into my car for a couple of days, I have to actually think about what we'll need over a week in a new place.

First Harry, now Bart?

What is up with all of these childhood icons nuding up for the stage and big screen?

I think I'm traumatized a little.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Moving Gourmet.

In preparation for the move, one thing we have been actively trying to do is eat up all of the food.

(Well, I say, "we," but that's a lie. CPT Dick still hits the market on the way home in hopes of a BBQ-worthy day. It has now rained for almost 10 days straight, and as such, we are adrift in meat).

Of course, eating up all the remainder food ain't easy. We seem to have overbought in the areas of yogurt, Chex cereal, french bread pizzas, stir-fry veggies and frozen smoothie fruit.

And, oh, yeah, all that meat that CPT Dick keeps buying.

The sheer randomness of what is still lying around makes planning meals a bit of a problem-solving exercise. Last night, I managed a mostly edible beef stroganoff substituting plain yogurt for creme fraiche (note to readers: I wouldn't recommend it unless you desperately need to rid yourself of beef and yogurt). But I am at a loss of what to do for tonight. My current plan is to make a beef stew with some of the stir-fry veggies.

And why not just do a beef stir-fry? Well, that would involve having to buy more peanut or sesame oil, which would leak in transport, and rice. So a mish-mash of genre stew it is.

The question is whether or not scraping all of the stuff off of the french bread pizzas to serve as a side with the stew is going too far.

Holy crap.

We're moving Monday. I'm so unprepared. I don't even know where some of our dirty items are to pack separately so that the movers don't think we're total pervs. I hid them when Munchkin got mobile. Which basically means either Munchkin or the movers will find them first. I'm going to have to practice delivering my "What?! It's a neck massager!" line with a straight face.

And, of course, I just accepted a new assignment even though I have no idea when my phone/internet will be turned on in the new place. Why? I could not tell you. I think it must be early onset dementia because when I got the email asking if I had time to take the article on, the move did not even enter my mind. I mean, time? What's that? Certainly something as meaningless as time in between the moving of all my worldly goods and a severed connection to the outside world can't affect me! I'm INVINCIBLE.

More like, I'm in trouble. Hold me.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Full disclosure: I hate self-help books. I do. I'll admit it. I kind of believe that they are out there on the market just to make us feel bad about ourselves and buy more self-help books.
I have nothing against trying to improve yourself, mind you -- I just don't think Dr. Phil can show you the way to do so in a book written for a general audience. has an interview with Jennifer Niesslein, one of the editors of the brilliant Brain, Child magazine. She's just written a book, "Practically Perfect in Every Way: My Misadventures Through the World of Self-Help and Back." The book is all about her experiment in trying to use self-help books and techniques to improve her life.

In the interview, she admits to having issues with sleepwalking and panic attacks during this time of her life and is asked if the self-help might have influenced these problems. She says this:

"These books say you'll have all this knowledge, you'll be empowered, you'll be the master of your destiny. But the flip side of that is that you become acutely aware of all the burdens that you have, too, and your responsibilities. You're responsible for your financial destiny, and especially according to the folks [I was reading], women are responsible for what's going on in their relationships."

Interesting stuff. I'm definitely putting this one on my list.

Happy 4th!

It may not come as a surprise that my husband is a purist. He believes that certain days require certain routines and to deviate is the worst sort of sin.

The 4th of July is one of those days. In his mind, the best way to celebrate such a momentous day is by BBQ-ing up a lot of meat, drinking beer and then setting off fireworks. If asked, I'm sure he could ad-lib a place in the Declaration of Independence that guarantees his right to cook meat over an open fire and blow shit up.

So imagine his disappointment when it ended up being one of those horrible rainy summer days. It was bad enough that the 4th fell on a Wednesday this year, thus making a four-day weekend impossible.

He kept postponing dinner in hopes that the heavy rain and gail-force winds would let up. He climbed upstairs to stick his head out the window and would come downstairs and announce, "Looks blue to the West. I think we'll be okay in an hour." Then the hour would come and go and he'd repeat the experiment.

Finally, he came to grips with the fact that it had rained on the 4th. That he had been let down again on this day of all days. And, oh, the horror!

But my man is not one to let a little potential pneumonia stop him. He marched on out to the back patio with platters of marinated meat and grilled anyway. It was the 4th, dammit. There would be hamburgers, hot dogs and a few steaks no matter what.

As I saw him out there, getting soaked through as he turned dogs, I stuck my head out the window and offered him an umbrella. He declined. Because, as he said, that -- that -- would be ridiculous.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I cannot believe I missed this on Father's Day.

The Rocco Ritchie one just made my day.

Do you know what's really bothering me?

Bush as good as said that Scooter Libby was guilty. He said that he stood by the conviction. He just felt that the punishment was too harsh.

So if he stands by the conviction, what does that say about the commutation of Libby's sentence? Which may now even be less of a sentence as a judge reevaluates probation. All last night, as I tried to sleep, I wondered about this. I mean, it's one thing if Bush felt that Libby was wrongly convicted or that Libby was a political pawn. I might think he was a bit deluded but at least I can understand that reasoning. But if he stands by the conviction?

I can't think of anything worthwhile behind it. And I hate that.

So for obstructing justice, Mr. Libby will probably only have a $250,000 fine. A fine that he won't even have to pay personally since his friends have donated millions to his defense. Bush said that his life will be forever changed with this conviction. But wouldn't it have been just as changed from working his job as Cheney's aide? I mean, is not practicing law such a downside when he can now tour the country and charge $25K a pop for speeches and executive training seminars?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I knew it was possible but didn't expect it to be quite so blatant.

Scooter skates. Pardon still possible.

Couldn't he have at least waited a few months and done this on his way out? At least then it would appear like some justice had been served.

But Joseph Wilson is not helping matters. His whole comment about how the President is now obstructing justice isn't going to change anything. And it just makes those conservatives who might question the President's judgment feel they have to play defensively. It's a lose-lose for all.



We found a place! And with a kitchen! Who knew that being so high maintenance could actually work out in my getting not only a place to cook food but two indoor toilets and a carport. Ladies, there is a lesson here.

It's a little further from post than we had hoped but the place itself makes up for it. There's plenty of room for guests and a playroom for Munchkin. Plus, it's actually a single floor so I can keep half an eye on the kid while I am cooking/cleaning/working/running to answer the phone. Now I just need to figure out where all of my stuff is going to go. You know, in between running around to make sure that Transportation has us confirmed, we have our security deposit ready in cash and rescheduling our final out with our current landlord since this place is available now.

And you know how it's always the little things that make or break a place? I'm sure next week, as we're trying to figure out where to put stuff, I'll find plenty of those little break-y things. But now, there's also this little stone porch just to the side of the door that is just so quaint and beautiful. It overlooks a fish pond with carp included. I give it three days before Munchkin decides to jump in to catch one. Less than one before CPT Dick tries it and gives the boy the idea.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Going to my happy place.

So I go to read Salon this morning and am faced with an animated .gif of smiley faces on butts.

It's an ad for a toilet.

I'm not outraged or offended. Sure, I went for news and was accosted by a bunch of bottoms but that seems par for the course these days.

But as I look at butt after shapely butt flashing in front of me, all I can think of, besides wondering why people want a toilet to blow warm air up their kiester, is that once these actors decided to do this campaign, they then had to seriously consider whether or not they should include the ass with a smiley face photo in their portfolio. Did they or didn't they?


After last week's house hunting debacle, it has now fallen on me to find us a place. And I'm just dreading it.

Mostly because whenever I call the housing office, they tell me to come in to the office. They don't want to help me on the phone. Instead, I need to do a face to face. And that would be fine except (a) I can't make an appointment with them and (b) it's 2.5 hours away. So because they are phone-phobic, I'd be driving 2.5 hours with an uncooperative Munchkin to go sit indefinitely in the Housing waiting room in the hopes that they could make an appointment for me to see some properties later that week.

Can you say, "ummm, no?"

So since I have refused to play the game their way, they are punishing me by making me play the call-back game. I call ahead with the exact properties I want to look at and they tell me, "Can you call back in one half hour?" So I do, and they say, "What is your name again?" I tell them and they say, "Oh, yes, you want to look at House X. Can you call back in one half hour?" And the whole charade plays out once more.

I'm just a total ball of stress. Our move date is in less than a week. It was only confirmed on Friday. I have no idea where we're going to live. I haven't even bothered to print out the pre-move checklist because I know that half the stuff is moot now anyway. I'm flying by the seat of my pants and just hoping that Henslowe is right and the natural condition of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster will all turn out well.

But the mystery here is how I will keep my sanity intact in the meantime.

I need a good book.

I'm currently reading Elfriede Jelinek's "The Piano Teacher." I'm not loving it. It's a little too complicated for me. I'm sure I would have loved it when I was younger and had the attention span for such literary complication. But with a two-year-old interrupting my reading time for juice, the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse or just plain ol' attention, I just can't get into it.

But I am just the type of person who always has to be reading something. I'm just wired that way.

Anyone have any good recommendations for fiction?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

That thing I do.

I received a few emails asking what kind of writer I am, whether my designation of such begins and ends with this blog.

And while I think that blogging may very well be a huge part of the future of non-fiction writing (even bigger than it is already), I am what you call a professional freelance writer. I write articles for magazines, newspapers and websites, as well as write up your more dry corporate reports and newsletters. My articles have appeared in a bunch of stuff you may have even read including American Baby, National Geographic Traveler and the Washington Post.

The writing thing is something I just kind of fell into. The combination of a PCS and a pregnancy made working full-time in my previous field, corporate and government consulting, a bit hard to balance. So at a good friend's suggestion, I tried this. And I'm loving every minute of it.

For those of you who are thinking about a career in writing, too, there are so many great resources out there to learn the ropes. A really good one is written by Allison Winn Scotch, author of the new novel, The Department of Lost and Found, as well as a prolific writer for pretty much every popular magazine you can imagine. Her blog, Ask Allison, is a great way to get all of your writing questions answered.

But be warned. This magazine writing stuff takes a thick skin as well as the ability to gracefully roll with the punches.

Seems like a description that also fits the job of military wife, too.


There's only one way to end a week like we've just had. And it involves cookies for breakfast. So yesterday I spent the day a-baking so we'd have plenty.

And if my mother is reading this, stop being so judgmental. They are oatmeal cookies and, at this rate, they'll be gone before Monday.