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:

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."


"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."