Saturday, September 08, 2007

What the heck is going on in Portugal?

I've been fairly interested in the Madeleine McCann case. Mostly because it seemed like such a tragic end to one of those parental mistakes you are always warned about but think you can beat just this once. (For the record, no, I would not have left Munchkin alone in a strange hotel while I went out to dinner but here in Europe, that kind of thing is not all that uncommon -- especially in a closed resort).

But from the beginning, I wondered what evidence there was that the little girl was taken. The most obvious scenario -- to me, anyway -- was that the little girl had woken up in a strange place, found her parents gone and found a way to open the door to find them. From there, she could have wandered just about anywhere.

Today, the Portugese police have announced that both parents are suspects after finding the little girl's blood in their rental car, 25 days after they reported her missing. That would be right around the time they were off visiting the Pope, I think.

It's just so odd. I know that many folks have thought that the parents were involved with the little girl's disappearance in some way. But with all the media attention, how could they have made a move that would have resulted in their daughter's blood in the car without notice? If the police contend that the parents accidentally killed the little girl, how is it that with all of their searching, they were unable to find her body or some forensic evidence before then?

Guess my interest will continue for a while. I just hope that we don't have another Lindy Chamberlain case on our hands. A botched police investigation paired with public outcry is usually not a great formula for justice.

"You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you."

Numerous obituaries and news reports have already spoken about how her first book, "A Wrinkle in Time," touched the hearts of millions of children.

Let me add my own heart to the list.

I re-read "A Wrinkle in Time" every year -- and my childhood copy was so tattered that my nephew got me a new one at his book fair a few years ago. And since I am still compelled to open it whenever I see the cover, I fear that the newer copy isn't looking much better at this point. Even now, I so relate to Meg -- stubborn, likes short-cuts, sports hair that never curls evenly on both sides. It saddens me that there won't be more of her in future books.

Godspeed, Ms. L'Engle. Thank you for reminding me that we must hope for everything.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I saved $6.32.

I don't clip coupons. I know I should, free money and all but I'm a lazy girl. Plus, because I'm in Europe and it's not so easy to get the coupons. And when I do go home and say something about wanting to clip a few, my family wants to claim the good coupons for themselves -- after all, they bought the newspaper so why should they have to give up $0.50 off the large Tide? Instead, they give me the leftovers, magnaminously saying, "Here, NEE, have the coupon for the flea and tick collar," when I don't have a dog. But perhaps they are making a comment about my son's personal hygiene. He is two, after all.

But today, when I hit the commissary, there were stacks and stacks of coupon booklets at the front of the store. I guess ACS got a shipment. And not just for stuff like "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" and "Metamucil" or cheapo "$0.01 off when you buy 3 boxes of Eggo brand waffles." It was the good stuff -- a coupon clippers nirvana. I grabbed a few choice ones and went hog wild. It was totally fun.

Of course, I only went in to the store to get some apple juice and came out with 6 sacks of random other crap. But I saved more than 5 bucks!

I need to find me some coupons more often.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


As FRG leader, I have to attend a lot of meetings. Steering Committee meetings. Hospitality meetings. Spouses meetings. Army Community Service meetings.

But now, adding to those meetings, we are now in crazy training season. Child care training. Point of contact training. FRG leader training. Army Family Team Building training. CARE Team training. Food handler training.

I find myself overwhelmed and wondering if I really have to attend a food handler's training. I mean, seriously? Wouldn't my waitressing days have prepared me enough for selling cupcakes outside the commissary? You'd think, right? But apparently not. If I intend to sell brownies or even have potluck FRG meetings, I need to spend an hour being reminded to wash my hands.


And just after I was talking about the state of my ass...

...I go and cheat today.

I went to the gym, as usual, and lifted weights. But when I went into the cardio room, the gym folks were preparing for an inspection. And they were cleaning the machines with that Army disinfectant -- you know, that stuff two parts bleach, one part motor oil, three parts urine (for color and fragrance) and one part random unknown carcinogens.

It reeked.

I got on the elliptical trainer with the best of intentions. I did. But less than two minutes into my interval work-out, I realized that the fumes would either make me vomit or pass out before I reached the first mile marker.

So I did the only thing I could do.

No, I didn't head outside for a run. Or over to the other gym which was probably safely grimy and unclean as ever. And I didn't go for a walk or play some ball.

I went home and made soup. Good soup. Soul-fortifying soup. Most likely, ass-sticking soup, too.

But I ate it. Three bowls.

Ass be damned. Because as the cook from "The Tale of Despereaux" can tell you, "There ain't a body, be it mouse or man, that ain't made better by a little soup."

Or, a lot, as in my case.

And for those who believe in the power of soup, here is my quick and easy soup recipe.

-1 stick of butter
-2 large heads of garlic (separated into cloves, peeled and chopped -- I usually just use about 5 tbsps. of the pre-miced stuff)
-6 tbsps. all-purpose flour
-6 cups chicken broth
-2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
-a handful or two of fresh watercress or spinach
(Optional: orzo pasta)

In a Dutch Oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until golden. Add flour one tbsp. at a time, stirring until mixture is golden and smooth. Add to broth and bring to a boil, stirring
constantly. Reduce heat and add shredded chicken and watercress. If adding orzo, add and then bring back to a boil. If not, simmer at medium heat for 15 minutes. Serve with crusty bread.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Maybe just a nip or tuck.

As I said in a previous post, I'm pretty much against frivolous plastic surgery. You have a body. Do what you can with it but don't go overboard.

But apparently, my scruples don't go so far as to stop me from spending $60 on some fancy-schmancy cellulite butt cream after a friend recommended it.

Childbirth was hard on my body. I stretched out. I ripped. My ass got huge. I suffered a helluva lot of post-partum hair loss. My face seems to break out a lot more. I have a lot more freckles than I did. Really, I look like hell.

Granted, I can't tell you how much of that is just due to lessened hygiene/primping standards. Don't get me wrong -- I'm not dirty. I still shower every day (mostly). But I don't do nearly what I did when I was working. I don't spend half an hour doing my hair and make-up every morning. Hell, I'm not even sure where half my make-up is. And I don't get monthly facials or bi-weekly manicures anymore either. I notice that I don't spend nearly as much time in the drug store or spend unnecessary money on new fangled mud masks or blackhead peels. I don't have to. Munchkin will kiss me even when I'm sporting three big zits and my hair is standing on end.

But lately, my fallen standards have started to bother me a bit. I mean, one can't go around with uncombed hair and Cookie Monster sweat pants forever, can they? (Seriously? Cause if I could, I just might).

So, with a glowing referral, I was totally willing to buy what CPT Dick is referring to as my overpriced French ass cream. I have no idea whether or not it will work. But buying it did make me feel better. Made me feel as if I wasn't a total lost cause. That just because I won't look like I did at 18 doesn't mean that I can't still look good.

Does that make any sense?

What is sexy, anyway?

You know, I usually love the "What Would Tyler Durden Do" blog. It's rude. It's irreverent. And it's funny.

But a recent post about Maggie Gyllenhaal's Agent Provacateur ads got me good and pissed off.

Umm, what does it say about society when someone thinks that Maggie Gyllenhaal is not only unattractive but "disgusting?" I think that she has a captivating face. And no, she ain't some dumb blonde Barbie look-a-like but she definitely has that something.

And hell, anyone who has seen "Secretary" knows that she's damn sexy. Seeing these ads, taken so shortly after she had a kid, remind me just how sexy she is.

So bloggers at WWTDD, keep at what you know. Crazy Britney. Jessica Alba's ass. Lindsay's rehab antics. Don't try to venture into beauty ideals. You'll just look stupid.

When Daddies Dress Babies.

Today, as I was dropping Munchkin off at CDC for a few hours, I overheard some drama at the front desk.

A father was arguing with the Director about why he could not drop off his approximately 6-month-old daughter in her current outfit. All it took was hearing the words, "But why would she need shoes or socks? She can't even walk!" and I had to take a look.

The CDC policy is that all kids need to wear at least socks for their own protection. It's written on all of the stuff they give you. But as the father decried, "This is my first time dropping her off!" they wouldn't budge. And after a few more minutes of futilely arguing, he begrudgingly admitted, "This is my first time watching her without my wife!"

Then I really had to take a look. The poor girl not only was barefoot but she was wearing a pair of lime green shorts with yellow daisies and a brown and red Redskins cheerleader one-sie type top with built-in pom-poms. It was 56 degrees outside. He really didn't have a clue.

He was going to be late to report if he had to run home and get her socks so I took pity and grabbed a pair out of Munchkin's bag. They were Steelers socks, of all things, but the soldier seemed too grateful to care.

But it got me remembering the first time that CPT Dick got Munchkin dressed all by himself. He also went with the sports motif, although in his case, he grabbed a size 4T Patriots football jersey. He then paired it with a pair of Snoopy pajama shorts in a totally clashing shade of blue.

And despite the fact it was February, also no socks. I walked in the house and changed Munchkin before you could say, "Tom Brady." CPT Dick still maintains the outfit was fine.

I can only hope that the little girl's Mom is out of town and didn't come in to the CDC to the sight of her daughter all dolled up like that. If so, I'm totally willing to apologize for my part in the horror.

Monday, September 03, 2007

I need a vacation from my vacation.

We spent the holiday weekend in the South of France. I feel like I have a lot to say but I can't quite remember what it is. But I guess lots of sand, fruity drinks and chasing a two-year-old with limitless energy down a pebble beach can do that to you.