Thursday, December 25, 2008

Alive and...Well, I'm alive.

First off, Merry, merry and all that. Munchkin and I are back in the states, hyped up on chocolate and too much family time. Makes me homesick for Europe.

I wish I could say that is the reason I haven't written. But it wouldn't be honest. In the past four weeks, I've sat down to type out a post countless times and closed the browser before clicking 'save' each and every time. I just wasn't sure what to say without being honest. And being honest and talking about what is going on with me makes it all feel all too real. I don't want it to be.

But in the spirit of the season, and trying to find my way for the coming year, I find that I just can't keep this inside any longer. That honesty is really my only option.

And so, dear readers, I'm going to take you into my confidence. Why have I been so quiet? The truth of the matter is, it is difficult to discuss the ins and outs of being a military wife because I'm just not sure that I want to be one anymore. And unfortunately, I'm not being all existential. I simply don't know if my marriage will survive this deployment. As each day passes, I become more and more convinced that it won't. I've tried to find a way around this truth, to find some hope that CPT Dick and I might weather this storm, but I fear that there is little to be spared.

As for the where's and why's, at the end of the day, the details don't matter so much. It's no one's fault, exactly. It's not necessarily that I'm not Army spouse material (if I ever, indeed, was to begin with). And it's not even the war, the deployment op tempo or the craziness that comes with being a Commander's wife. It's just two people who have grown apart over time and can't seem to find a way to bridge the gap.

Some have told me that this is just par for the course. As one friend told me the other day, "My husband and I talk about getting divorced each and every deployment. You'll find yourself back on track when he comes home." It's possible, I suppose. But this isn't a heated argument during a 30 minute morale call or a disagreement about $300 in Eagle Cash. This is been a slow, gradual and, for lack of a better word, organic process that was going on even before CPT Dick left. And despite my best efforts, I'm not sure if it can be contained.

I know that's a lot to throw on you. I'm sure most of you will decide I'm either (a) overwhelmed at the holidays and will be back to my normal misanthropic semi-happily married self by February or (b) a frickin' quitter who should go whine to someone who actually gives a crap. I wouldn't blame you. Until very recently, I was vacillating between the two myself.

But as we all move towards January 1st, and our resolutions for the new year, I hope that you all remember that it isn't an easy road we've chosen. As that stupid military forward email I made fun of all those months ago said, we "chose the man, not the life." But it didn't address what to do when we are no longer so sure of that man -- or, ourselves.

Merry Christmas, friends. I'm thinking of you all and wishing you all the best in the coming year.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Developmental Nazi update.

After nearly a year of hearing, "Well, we think Munchkin might be autistic," but having no one available to actually evaluate him for said condition, I had enough.

While we were in the States, I scheduled an evaluation with a pediatric neurologist and a speech/language pathologist at one of the top 10 Children's Hospitals in the country. After several months of runaround, TriCare, of course, wouldn't okay it. So we paid out of pocket. More than I care to say. But it was completely and utterly worth it.

(Although, I may one day have to write a serious rant about how fucked up the Army system is when it comes to kids with developmental delays. We could afford to fly back to the states and then pay thousands for a real evaluation -- not everyone has that luxury).

And not because the assessors validated what I've been saying all along -- hell, I spend more time with him than anyone, I was pretty sure I was right. But because now I have something solid, based on established batteries, that I can take to the Developmental Nazis here. With actual suggestions on what Munchkin should be doing to shore up his abilities.

It's about fucking time.

There but for the grace of God go I.

Deployments and gossip go hand in hand. It's just one of those cosmic rules. But sometimes, there is a tidbit that is so particularly juicy, it goes beyond the normal she-said-she-saw bullshit. It is a piece of news that just grows into a phenomenon all its own.

Right now, that juicy tidbit is that one of our spouses is leaving her husband. Granted, you never know what's going on in any relationship. But the news has thrown quite a few people. They had been married over a decade and seemed very happy. She was involved in community activities and the FRG. She'd survived two previous deployments and had been a rock for several other new spouses during this one. No one saw it coming.

But instead of finding some sympathy, many in the community are ready to throw this poor woman under the bus. They wonder if a third party might be involved and speculate on who that might be. They offer unsubstantiated conjecture about what might have been happening behind closed doors. And, of course, they shake their heads, look down their noses and say that obviously this woman just couldn't hack it. They act as if this private decision between two adults is personally offensive.

How do I feel about all this? I'm sad for both the spouse and soldier in question. It can't be easy to end a marriage, particularly long distance. But I have no interest in burning her at the stake. Mostly because I can all too easily see how it can happen. Three deployments. An overseas assignment. The Army life. It doesn't matter if there was someone else at the end of the day. I think that these two more than tried to make it work. It just didn't. And really, as much as two people may love each other, that is always one possible ending.

Deep down, I'm really just a 14 year old girl.


Meet my new boy crush. I am way, way too old to even be interested in the Twilight books. But I tore through them anyway. And I'm definitely too old to have my heart a-thumping over a Harry-Potter-actor-turned-vampire-heartthrob. But here we are.

Hopefully the movie doesn't totally suck.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Got a Daddy Hall of Fame story to share?

My friend Jody Mace is writing an article for a national parenting magazine about great dad moments, sort of a like a Father’s Day Hall of Fame. They can be funny, sweet, heroic, pretty much anything. She's just trying to get a good mix.

She would really love to include a military dad in the mix. Got a story to share with her? Send it to jodymace@live.com.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The horror, the potty!

Before CPT Dick took off for Iraq, he gleefully commented that it was too bad he'd miss potty training. After he said it, I wondered if there was any way I could avoid it.

But it seems not. Here we are, in the thick of it. I waited a good bit to try it. I wanted Munchkin to be ready and hoped to avoid pee-soaked couches during a summer without air conditioning. So for the past week, we've been diaper-free.

Munchkin was not really keen on the idea. He probably still isn't. Every morning, he wakes up and asks for a diaper. But we're persevering. And for the past three days, with the exception of pooping (which, thank goodness he only does once a day), he's potty-trained. (And if anyone has any idea how to convince him it's okay to poop anywhere outside of his pants, I'm listening!)

I thought I'd envy CPT Dick for missing this particular milestone. After all, it's pretty stinky. But I find that it's kind of an amazing thing to experience. To watch Munchkin reason it out, figure out what is wanted and then try to it. To see him try to match me will to will. I daresay that when I'm not mopping the floor, it's even kind of fun.

I wonder whether CPT Dick will recognize this child of his once he returns. This smart, willful little punk who is growing up way too fast.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

And oh yeah...

I'm back. Just exhausted.

Hottie cabinet list?

This is so wrong and yet so right:

The Inappropriate Hottie Rundown

Hope and bitterness.

In 2004, after John Kerry was defeated, an acquaintance despaired. "I feel like I should just move out of the country," she said. She went on to name a litany of sins and mistakes from the campaign. Wrongs, she felt, that needed to be righted. And then she followed it all up with, "I mean, what can we possibly be expected to do now?"

To which I replied, "Move forward. Get behind our current President as much as we can and look for other ways to affect change."

She hasn't really spoken to me since. It would seem that some election wounds are too much to bear.

I see the same thing now. Although the majority of people on my small post in Germany are thrilled with the election outcome, I've now seen several people go off the deep end. A guy yelling at all of us watching election coverage at the gym, "You do know you just gave American to our enemies, don't you? You sheep just elected a Muslim and didn't even blink!" Another wife telling me that everyone who voted for Obama will burn in hell for all the babies he kills under his Presidency (to which, I admit, I replied, "Wait, we aren't liable for the ones killed under Bush?" -- I just couldn't resist). And then a young soldier who opted to use the 'n' word when referring to our President-Elect.

But there's always going to be some of that. But what I've seen more of is graciousness. Even from some die-hard Republicans. And that's been mixed with some hope and not more than a little wonder. I like it.

I don't know what the next four years will bring. Certainly, President-Elect Obama will have his work cut out for him with all that is happening in the world. But it heartens me that so many who were unwilling to give him their vote are willing to give him a chance.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm the weirdest kind of ex-pat.

Technically speaking, as a military dependent, I doubt I can even be classed as ex-pat. But pretend with me so I can feel a little more cosmopolitan as I sit here typing in my (new!) Elmo-themed pajama shorts.

I've been living in Germany for 5 years. And every time I come back to the states I feel a little overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the 15 different brands of Italian-style bread crumbs at the grocery store. Overwhelmed by the variety of billboards that can offer me all-night staying power or a reminder that God is listening within the same 5 mile stretch of highway. Overwhelmed by the sheer number of McDonald's restaurants I will pass during any one car trip. Overwhelmed by the diversity, really. There is just so much going on, so much of the time. This truly is the land of plenty in many respects.

I feel like a rube venturing to the big city for the first time, even though this is the place I once called home. I feel out of my element. I wonder how much life overseas has changed who I am and what values are most important to me. I haven't quite figured it out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Powell endorses Obama.

I think this is huge. I love Colin Powell. I've often wished that he would run for President.

Of course, my cousin cynically stated, as we watched the press conference after the announcement, that he was amazed that none of the reporters asked Powell whether his endorsement had anything to do with Obama being African American.


And I realized that I was a little surprised, too. That kind of bullshit seems to be what it's all about these days.

I'm so ready for this election to be over. Let's pick our President, stop the nastiness and just start moving forward.

I really need to rent "Home for the Holidays"

Because all I keep thinking is "Who are these people? How did I even get here?"

Back in the saddle.

Yesterday, Munchkin and I flew back to the states. To Texas, where much of my extended family lives.

It was actually a fantastic flight. We sat next to a woman from Spain, Ilona, who is starting a coveted post-doctoral position. She was so excited for the opportunity and to spend some time in the United States. She talked about how it had taken nearly a year for her to get all the paperwork together so it could happen. She fingered a thick folder full of papers as she told us it was done, she was on her way and she was ready.

Once we landed, we queued up for immigration. Ilona was kind enough to help me lug the dreaded car seat/stroller/50 lb. carry-on bag/child combination for what seemed like miles until we got to the line. And so, once it was our turn, it was only fair for us to wave her ahead. After all, I couldn't figure out where I had put our passports. Somewhere between extra diapers and the animal crackers, I think.

I'm guessing that the immigration official was not familiar with all of the student visa paperwork or perhaps Ilona wasn't sure exactly what papers she needed to show him. It was a thick folder of stuff. After a few minutes of failed communication, the official hollered, "I need a Spanish translator, please!"

And that's where it got surreal.

We were in the U.S. Citizen/Green Card/Permanent Resident line. The line that Ilona was told to go to (thank goodness, since she was carrying my car seat and we still had like a half mile to go) by another official when they split up visitors and residents. And apparently, the fellow in the line next to me thought the whole thing was taking too long. As the translator approached, he said, loud enough for everyone in the whole damn hall to here, "It's a crying shame when a resident of the United States of American can't speak English. Fucking Mexicans."

Then another woman piped up, "I know, right!"

I saw Ilona's face fall. I don't know if she totally understood the words but she understood the tone and that it was directed at her. How could you not? And it broke my heart that this woman who had worked her ass off to come to the States should be given this introduction the first time she steps foot in it.

So, I couldn't keep my big mouth shut.

I informed the gentleman (and I use that term loosely) next to me that the Constitution of the United States, the great document upon which our country was founded, made no mention of an official language. And over the past few hundred years, an amendment to make English the official language has been shot down every single time.

I then went on to explain that men much smarter than him -- because a smart man does not walk into an airport that employs a majority of individuals who claim Latino descent and start spouting off about "Fucking Mexicans" -- oppose the idea of an official language for a variety of reasons including impact to free trade, due process and equal protection under the law.

It's not like I expected the response to my outburst to be, "Wow, you've really given me something to think about!" The "fuck you" I got was about par for the course. But I didn't expect so many in the crowd to snicker when he did, as if his expletive really countered anything I had said.

Then I was called up to the immigration desk. I kept an eye out for Ilona at baggage claim but between a diaper change, corraling of bags and finding my ride, I didn't see her.

I hope that her new University welcomes her with open arms. I hope that these two years are all that she dreamed and more. I hope that she doesn't think that all Americans can be stereotyped. But most of all, I hope that the wonder of what comes next completely expunges any memory of a rude man in a baseball cap in line at U.S. immigration.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wow.

Do you like Post Secret but feel you just aren't creative enough to pair the right words and visual?

Then you might want to check out One Sentence.

But beware, you may waste a lot of time there. And then, if you are me, struggle to sum up what you want to say in a single sentence.

Friday, October 10, 2008

OK, I'm weird.


I just can't stop laughing at this. Really, I can't.

Maybe she has a point.

Kathleen Parker, most well-known as a Republican Washington Post writer who has come out against Sarah Palin, wrote an interesting column last week entitled, "Call off the Pit Bull."

In it, she argues that McCain and Palin are subtly trying to make us think that Barack Obama is a terrorist. An excerpt:
Neither McCain nor Palin would dare mention Obama's middle name, Hussein, but they can play up Obama's past associations and let others connect the dots. Terrorist. Muslim. Dangerous. Other.

It is legitimate to question character and dubious associations -- and William Ayers is certifiably dubious. The truth is, Obama should have avoided Ayers, and his denouncement of Wright was tardy. But this is a dangerous game.

The McCain campaign knows that Obama isn't a Muslim or a terrorist, but they're willing to help a certain kind of voter think he is. Just the way certain South Carolinians in 2000 were allowed to think that McCain's adopted daughter from Bangladesh was his illegitimate black child.

I have to admit, I snorted a little when I read it. I mean, come on! Certainly, Parker doesn't think the average American voter is that dumb.

But then I saw this video.



Now I know that this video is an amateurish one. It could have been edited all sorts of ways. I'm sure there were many more people outside the rally who rolled their eyes when asked if Obama was a terrorist. Hell, it could have even been staged. But the anger in this video seems pretty real to me. And it floors me.

So once again, I wish we could start talking more about the ideas for our country instead of all this other bullshit.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Questions for those voting for McCain.

I've now seen several military spouse bloggers talk about Obama's connection to Bill Ayers. So I have a few questions:

(1) Re: Ayers, at what point do your present actions for good outweigh a sordid past? Or can it ever? Don't you think there's a big difference between Obama being linked to Ayers in the 60's on subversive activities versus him working on a conservative educational grant decades later?

(2) How are McCain's connections to some less-than-savory characters different, i.e., Charles Keating?

I'm very curious to hear the responses.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Last call for Book Club.

If you want to participate, email me at nonessentialequipment {at} gmail {dot} com. And if you already emailed me, be on the look-out for a Google Group invite.

Debate? What debate?

All over the blog world, people are talking about the VP debate. Some are claiming the Biden win, others the Palin.

But the truth of the matter is, much like the Presidential debate before it, I doubt anyone learned anything new. If you were for Obama/Biden before, you still are. And if you were for McCain/Palin, there's no change there either.

Some people may just be wondering who the heck General McClellan is.

But me? I'm wondering what a Hillary Clinton/Sarah Palin debate would have looked like.

3 in a week.

Yet another soldier. This one not just from our community but from our battalion.

This is just getting way too hard.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Economics 101

"Shit, did you see how far the Dow dropped?"

"Yeah. Enrique called last night. He said he wished he would have sold our stocks before the drop."

"Makes you almost wish you hadn't saved anything. If we'd have bought that new TV, at least we'd still have it."

"Well, you have to look at the silver lining, I guess."

"And what's that?"

"With Wall Street in the toilet, Enrique bets that recruiters are going to make their numbers and then some this fall"

Another death.

Another one. Too many. I don't know if I can sit through another Memorial Service.

But I will.

No tickers for me, please.

Must. not. look. at. investments.

It really sucks when you are responsible with your money and you lose a huge chunk of it because other people aren't. And by others, I'm talking about both consumers and lenders.

David Carr had a great piece in the New York Times about some NPR reporters who actually had the audacity to ask the question, "Why are they lending money to people who can't afford to pay it back?"

A good reminder that even if you don't understand economics, a little common sense can go a helluva long way. For everyone.

I don't usually do this, but...

I get all kinds of weird emails about this blog. People who want me to stump for a candidate, try a product or plug their book. I even got a marriage proposal once. He even might have been serious. Usually, I send them a nice, "Thanks but that's not my bag."

And when I received an email from the International Medical Corps a few weeks ago about their Top 25 American Express' Members project, "Saving the Lives of Malnourished Children." I did the same thing. I don't write all that often about social issues in Africa. But after I declined, I read up on them and was pretty impressed. Impressed enough, as an AmEx card holder, to vote for them.

Lo and behold, they made it to the Top 5 without any help from my puny blog. Mostly because it's a good project.

So, if you happen to carry an AmEx, check out the projects. Vote. Because $1.5 million could do a whole lot of good right about now.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Call me heartbroken.

Paul Newman dies at 83.

Blogger book club?

Anyone really into this idea? If so, send me an email at nonessentialequipment {at} gmail {dot} com.

A first book could be Allison Winn Scotch's "Time of My Life." Especially since she was so great to do an interview for the blog.

If there's enough interest, I'd love to do it.

"Why do you think he's changed?"

Sarah asked the following question in response to my post, "You know, there's something wrong with the world:"
For curiosity's sake, can you explain what exactly McCain/Palin said this week that gave you pause? Why do you think he's changed?
It's a good question and I'll take it, though I'm guessing I'll get some hate mail out of it. =)

First, let me tackle why I think McCain has changed. Back in 2000, he said he did not support a repeal of Roe v. Wade. On that issue, he has definitely changed. And not only does his running mate support a full repeal but would also like to make abortion illegal even in cases of rape, incest and a pregnancy endangering the life of the mother. He's also now changing his tune on financial deregulation since the economy SNAFU -- back in the early part of the campaign his staff said they saw no need for any credit or lending reform policies because it was all about consumer responsibility. Now, all of a sudden, that's not the case.

I also got the chance to see a few McCain ads. And particularly the one about Obama being for kindergarten sex-ed made my blood boil. Talk about negative and misleading! And worse, he's as much admitted that it is.

I believe, and this is my opinion, that when you compare McCain in 2000 and McCain in 2008 what you see is a man who has take a step further right to cater to the Evangelical and hardcore conservatives. If that's your bag, then that's a good thing. But if you aren't, it's not.

Second, I've now watched McCain on the View and a few other interviews. I thought they were good discussions. But what he has to say just isn't working for me. And frankly, then having Cindy McCain say that the View hosts "picked their bones clean" -- ummm, what happened to discussion, to questioning, to getting to the bottom of things? I thought the McCains more than held their own. Why come out with that line after that? I just didn't get it. It makes it seem there is no room for discussion, for new ideas. It's the McCain way or the highway.

And now, on to Sarah Palin. Where to begin.

First, love or hate the press, they are there for a reason. For a campaign continually referencing the importance of the Constitution, I think the banning of press from Palin's meetings is a kick in the teeth. People asking questions about Palin's qualifications is not sexist. Coddling her like a baby, limiting her interaction with the press so we cannot see what she stands for, is.

And then the interviews. I'm still waiting for a Republican to weigh in on whether, after her interviews with Gibson and Couric, whether they still think she is the right pick. What I see is a woman totally over her head. I see a woman who is not well versed on the issues that are most important to America today. What I see is a spokesmodel VP -- I think in a recent conversation I actually referred to her as a "trophy" VP. She looks great and definitely paints a picture. But she is not ready to be the VP, or potentially the President of our nation.

So there you go. I'm ready for the onslaught.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You know, there's something wrong with the world.

When the most balanced political coverage comes in the form of Glamour magazine.

After a lot of reading and a lot of soul searching, I've chosen my horse in this race. And it has to be Barack Obama.

(And please note, part of me hates to admit this because of the huge number of people in my life who will say, "I told you so!")

I would have voted for the John McCain in 2000 with no questions asked. But after hearing what he and Sarah Palin have had to say about the economy this week, I wonder if that man still exists. And so, I cannot in good conscience vote for him.

I'm sure I'll get a few hate mails about this post. Full of how-could-I, don't-you-know, and what-makes-you-think kind of missives. But I've done a lot of thinking about this and my decision is made.

But what I hope for more than anything, honestly, is no matter how the race turns out that we can bridle some of this political passion to help work with the winning administration, Republican or Democrat, to get back to where we all want to be.


Congratulations to AWTM!


ArmyWifeToddlerMom
took home the honors for the Milbloggies' U.S. Military (Spouse) category.

Be sure to congratulate her!

And of course, congratulations to all the others that were nominated and in the Final 5.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

In need of some inspiration.

With the economy shifting, so has my business. I've lost one client, fired another and then significantly changed the relationship with a third. Ultimately, this is a good thing but it does change my guaranteed monthly income. And I'll be the first to admit, I get fidgety when I'm not contributing to the GNP so this does have me thinking.

And really, it comes down to, what is it that I want to do now? Come January, I will have shifted a lot off my plate. I will have passed on the FRG baton, fulfilled some family obligations and, now, reduced my weekly work have-tos. My husband will still be gone. Munchkin, of course, will continue to come first but there is time for me to do work that I'm really passionate about.

The question remains, of course, just exactly what that might be.


Do you know John A. Nagl?

You should. He's the equivalent of an Army rock star.

And he had an outstanding essay in the Washington Post last Sunday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Move over, Dr. House. There's someone new in my life.

OK, so is it totally weird that I find myself strangely attracted to Dexter Morgan now that I'm through Season One of the series?

I'm beginning to think that lack of sex may be totally screwing with my taste in men.

Calling all Republicans (again).

I want to hear what you thought of Charlie Gibson's Sarah Palin interview.

Obviously, the "left" is trashing it. But I want to hear from conservatives/Republicans if her responses were what were expected.

Still time to get your vote on!

Voting for this year Milbloggies closes tonight at midnight. Your humble servant is a nominee in the U.S. Military (Spouse) category, along with some other killer blogs.

So if you haven't done so already, get out the vote!

I hate everybody. Again.

This weekend has been fairly crappy.

A few weeks ago, I made a very difficult decision. And that is to step down from the FRG leadership when my husband leaves command. The choice was not made lightly. But ultimately, since we have no idea where CPT/Future MAJ Dick is going next, staying on as FRG leader for the remainder of the deployment might have seemed easier -- at least in the beginning -- but it would not have been best.

For anyone.

Unfortunately, some people see that decision as a betrayal. Several of them having coordinating roles in the FRG. And their response is to try to go all high school on me.

Case in point: We had an event this weekend. I was on point but Mrs. B, an all-star volunteer, said that she would be happy to help set up/organize/host. Even the day before the event, she was still saying she would be there with bells on. She was on it, girl!

But at go time, she was nowhere to be found. No call, no email, no explanation. I called her a few times and couldn't get hold of her on her mobile or her home phone. Then later, after the event, I asked around if anyone had seen her. At that point, honestly, I was a little annoyed but I was mainly concerned. I worried that something had happend with her kids -- or even worse, with her husband.

You could have knocked me over with a feather tonight when she called and read me the riot act for "talking about her behind her back." Being worried should not be my concern. I ain't her mother. If she doesn't want to be somewhere, she don't have to be. She is a volunteer. Her time is her own to do as she pleases. And after all, what do I care? It's not like I care about the FRG anyway.

So, since I've planned an exit, found a replacement and am doing what I can to ensure a seamless transition that will be transparent to these families, it's somehow not all right for me to ask why she said she would help out or why she bailed at the last minute. It is out of place to even think that I deserved an explanation. No matter what, I am in the wrong.

Funny how it all works like that sometimes.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today.

I wrote about remembering in last year's 9/11 post. It's a common theme. We remember. Lest we forget. We will never forget. It's everywhere today. And I think most of us would be hard-pressed to forget what happened that day. The image of the plane hitting the building. The worry about our loved ones in New York and D.C.. The lives lost. And, of course, what came after. How could you forget?

But with that being said, I do think we are forgetting something. As we draw nearer to the election and all its related ugliness, I think, if nothing else, 9/11 should serve to remind us how, if only for a short time, we came together in the face of tragedy. There was no Republican. No Democrat. No Conservative. No Liberal. Just Americans, coming together to mourn, to cope and to move forward together.

Today of all days, I wish some of us would remember a little more of that.




It's time to vote!

The nominations are in for this year's Milbloggies Awards. They are:

ArmyWifeToddlerMom;

The Life and Times of a Butterfly Wife;

SpouseBUZZ;

My Crazy Amazing Military Life;

And get this, ME!

For those of you who nominated me, thank you. I've got this whole Sally Field "You-Really-Like-Me" speech going on in my head. It made my day. But now you got to get over to Milblogging.com and vote.

I don't envy your decision. All four of my competitors rock.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Now it's just getting ugly.

I haven't picked my political horse yet.

And I'm desperately reading, talking, doing what I can to learn more about what the candidates plan to actually "do" in office. For whatever reason, the cult of personality seems even more in force for this election. And that is having two second-order effects: (1) making it harder to see what the candidates are actually proposing, and (2) making it so that those who have picked their candidate are very emotionally -- even personally -- involved.

And #2 is becoming fairly hard to bear for a person who just wants to dig a little deeper.

What happened to a free exchange of ideas? What happened to trying to get past the veneer? What happened to the press being allowed to do their jobs so that we the people can make an informed decision? Why can't a person ask questions or even, God forbid, make a small criticism of a candidate without being branded a sheep, an idiot, the reason that America is in the state it is today?

And this is not directed at either party. This is something coming from both sides of the political spectrum. Now more than ever, it seems that when it comes to politics, people think "you are either with me or against me."

And I find that very sad.


Dear White House Spokesperson:

When you release a statement that there will be troop cuts in Iraq, can you do me a favor? Please clearly emphasize that it does not include my husband's unit or any of the others on that last round of 15 month deployments. As soon as the words "troop cuts" float along the bottom of the CNN screen, my phone starts ringing. And after the fourth time in five months that there has been some kind of story about troop cuts, it's really hard to keep breaking spouse's hearts by having to say, "Nope, sorry, doesn't apply to us."

And if I could make a suggestion, what would be really great is if you could maybe butter the soldiers and families up about being one of the last units to endure a 15 month stay in the desert. You know, thank them for taking one for the team, as it were. 'Cause right now, I could use that kind of love myself.

Ooops, gotta go! There goes that phone again. Thanks for listening.

Smooches,
Me

Seriously, what can you say?

A good friend of mine and I spoke on the phone for the first time in months last night. Her first child is due in January. And as we talked about her pregnancy and her motherhood philosophy, she dropped this bomb on me.

She plans to do a Lotus Birth, also known as umbilical nonseverance. And when she mentioned it, I thought she was joking. Really, I did. In fact, I thought that there was no way in hell that this was an actual thing that people do. But they do. And she was not kidding. Totally serious on the Lotus Birth front.

Ummm, what do you say to that? Having lots of friends who have spawned, I know how to be supportive of things like toddler nursing, cloth diapers and homemade, organic baby food. I even managed to sound gung ho about hypnobirthing. But I can't really understand why someone would want to keep a child attached to the placenta after birth. I imagine if there were a proven health benefit, I would have heard about it.

But, there you go. It takes all kinds. And knowing all of the surprises that are in store for my friend after this kid surfs down the birth canal, the next time she mentions this Lotus Birth, I'm going to try to sound as positive as I can about it. After all, she's in for one hell of a ride. And at least now she has some say in how things will go.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Green and dumb.



CPT Dick called home tonight. Another soldier lost.

He was pretty inconsolable. So failing to cheer him up, this song, one of our songs, is on repeat play over here.

A dog on hindered legs?

Read Judith Warner's thought-provoking column this week: The Mirrored Ceiling.

Could there be a more thoroughgoing humiliation for America’s women?

You are not, I think, supposed now to say this. Just as, I am sure, you are certainly not supposed to feel that having Sarah Palin put forth as the Republicans’ first female vice presidential candidate is just about as respectful a gesture toward women as was John McCain’s suggestion, last month, that his wife participate in a topless beauty contest.

Such thoughts, we are told, are sexist. And elitist. After all, via Palin, we now hear without cease, the People are speaking. The “real” “authentic,” small-town “Everyday People,” of Hockey Moms and Blue Collar Dads whom even Rudolph Giuliani now invokes as an antidote to the cosmopolite Obamas and their backers in the liberal media. (Remind me please, once again, what was the name of the small town where Rudy grew up?)

Why does this woman – who to some of us seems as fake as they can come, with her delicate infant son hauled out night after night under the klieg lights and her pregnant teenage daughter shamelessly instrumentalized for political purposes — deserve, to a unique extent among political women, to rank as so “real”?

Today's sentence - 9/7

The Sundays that do not require you to change out of your pajamas always seem to be the best.

Contemplating anonymity.

With a promotion approaching, CPT Dick is soon to be MAJ Dick. With that, he will be out of command and I will step down from FRG leadership.

A friend, who knows my super-secret identity, asked me if I plan to lose the anonymity on this blog once that happens.

It's interesting -- I really hadn't considered the idea until she mentioned it. Now I can't stop thinking about it. Part of me has always cringed a bit at being anonymous. Although it has been smart for this stage in both my and my husband's career, it has always struck me as slightly cowardly.

Most of what I write on this blog is stuff I am perfectly comfortable saying in public. But in the right arena to the right people. I don't tend to tell my mother-in-law she's crazy to her face, nor do I insult the only therapists available over here when I need them to still provide services to my kid. If I did go public, I'd have to revamp the blog a little. I'd have to remove some old postings (mainly the ones pertaining to said crazy mother-in-law) and I probably would avoid drinking and blogging. As much as I say that I have only one face, I have to admit that being anonymous has offered me a unique freedom to purge what's happening in my world without direct consequences.

So I'm turning the question over to you, dear readers. What say you? Do you think there is value in removing the mask at this point (you know, those of you who haven't already figured out who I am)? Or should I just continue the ride I started?

Nominate!

A friend emailed me this morning to let me know she nominated this blog for a Milbloggies award. Why? I don't know. But I was touched, nonetheless. The only thing I could do in response worthy of that nod was to log on and spread the love to some of my favorite military blogs.

I know many of you get the same combination of laughs and solace each day from the postings of our military spouse peers. So log on to milblogging.com and place some nominations to let everyone know how much you appreciate it.

Rules and Instructions

The Milbloggies Award recognizes military bloggers for their contribution to blogging, news and information, and to the military over the past year.

Nomination and Voting Overview

1. A military blog can be nominated ONLY once by the same registered user. However, a user can nominate as many military blogs as they wish.

All nominations must be submitted online through Milblogging.com by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 10th, 2008.


2. The top five nominees in each branch category will be announced on Thursday, September 11th, 2008 and those nominees will move into the Voting Phase beginning September 11th, 2008.

3. Nomi nees may be military blogs that belong to the following branch categories in the Milblogging.com database:

U.S. Air Force
U.S. Army
U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Military (Parent)
U.S. Military (Spouse)
U.S. Military (Veteran)
U.S. Military (Supporter)
U.S. Navy

4. To nominate and/or vote for a military blog, you must be signed in to the website. Registration is quick and free and you will not receive any SPAM. This helps maintain the integrity of voting by reducing possible click fraud. To place your nomination, simply click on the listing in the Milblogging.com database, and click the Nominate button that appears at the top of the military blog profile.

5. To vote for a military blog (once the nomination phase is over), a chart will be published that includes the top nominees in each category, along with the ability to vote.

Friday, September 05, 2008

For Cripes' sake.

Why does everyone automatically assume I'm voting for Obama? Seriously?

This is something that is coming from both political sides. From Republicans, "I know you are going to vote for Obama, but..." or "I just don't understand how you can vote for Obama..."

And then equally as aggravating, from the Democrats, "Thank goodness for Obama, right?" and "At least we've known who we were going to vote for from the beginning..."

I'm getting a little fed up, honestly.

I know it may seem ridiculous but I still don't know how I will cast my vote come November. I know where I stand on the issues but I'm not in agreement 100% with either of the candidates. I need to hear more from them than the tedious celebrity gossip fest that has been going on so far. I need more so I can make a decision based on reason instead of rhetoric.

Hopefully, that will start now that the pageantry is over.

Today's Sentence - 9/5

Why does it always have to come back to autism?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Well, I watched.

Since Hillary dropped out of the race, I really had no idea which way I was going to vote. And though I found the Sarah Palin choice curious, I wanted to hear what she had to say before immediately writing her off. You know, as opposed to just reading what US Weekly and the National Enquirer had to say. So when I saw her speaking at the Republican National Convention on the gym TV this morning, I immediately plugged my headphones in, ready to listen.

I don't know why I bothered. I wasn't impressed.

For someone who came out against rhetoric, she certainly had more splash than substance in her own speech. And for someone who talked about how inappropriate it was to target her children, she certainly had no problems parading them up on stage as her own political props.

Maybe it's time to move to Germany. Oh wait. I did that already.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Um, remember that part about kids being off-limits?

The lovely and talented Miss Kimbaland linked to my post about feeling like a sexist concern Gov. Sarah Palin (thanks, Kimba!). I still feel the same way. I decided to console myself by purchasing a "Hooters" t-shirt on the Internet. Might as well embrace it.

But, OMIGOD, the whole circus around her daughter's recently announced pregnancy? This shit is playing like an episode of Desperate Housewives. All we need is a trashy looking Southern prostitute (gender optional), a midget and a ball gag to have ourselves some truly decadent entertainment.

Months ago, a friend of mine said that she would never vote for McCain because of a joke he made about Janet Reno being Chelsea Clinton's father at some public event 10 years ago. I can see why that wouldn't play. But that same friend is now completely enthralled with this Bristol Palin pregnancy blow-out. She even went so far as to call her a little slut. And ironically, she really doesn't see why everyone's obsession with Bristol Palin's reproductive organs is just as inappropriate. Even when you point out why it is. Funny how party lines can change things. And the Internet isn't being any kinder. I guess when you smell blood in the water, it doesn't matter whether you are a Republican or a Democrat.

Ignoring the politics, here we have a 17 year old girl whose sex life is now making the front page of newspapers. It's not right. So, please, let's we, as voters, Americans and decent people, let this one alone. Dislike Palin for her policies or personal values. Vote your conscience. But let's leave her daughter, who didn't ask to be the potential VP's kid, and her personal business out of it. And that includes whether Bristol is also the mother to Trig. It has nothing to do with Palin as a politician or a mother. It has nothing to do with us. Let's get beyond this so we can pay attention to what's really important -- an election that has the potential to change the course of history.


P.S. Kimba, I guess you could call me an independent. But in the past, my votes have generally gone towards liberal bed-wetting Democrats. They probably will this time, too. But I happily embrace the opportunity to listen and learn more about all the candidates. If only to get fodder for this blog.

Trucks!

Parents will often be the first to tell you that you should procreate because you get to view the world through innocent eyes. It's so much fun! There's so much to re-learn! And hey, you get to play with Legos again! Or some other such brand of bullshit. It's often true but people get way too sanctimonious about it. Most of the time, if the conversation heads into that direction, that's the point where I either grab some Jim Beam or daze off into space.

But as I said, it is often true.

Yesterday, I walked outside to find two of my tires totally flattened. Usually, this would have given me the opportunity to display my She-Ra like tire-changing skills. You know, flex my muscles for the man. But this car has those auto-fill tires. You know, so you never wake up and find your two tires flattened. But I digress.

There was nothing to do but call a tow truck. And you know, there is just nothing more annoying that being at the whim of a tow truck driver. And as I ranted and raved and got myself worked up in a tizzy about the tow truck company that was going to gauge me $75 since I opted to pay $500 for a tire refilling system that didn't work, my son just watched me curiously.

But when the tow truck finally arrived? Oh my gosh, you would have thought that I had planned the most awesome play date ever. Munchkin was thrilled with the whole process. And when the tow truck driver allowed Munchkin to push the button on the remote to pull up the car onto the bed and then drive in the cab? I think I might have just been made mother of the year.

It's funny how his reaction made a totally irritating situation so entertaining. Hopefully he can do something equally as cute when it comes time to pay for the two new tires.

I feel pretty, oh-so-pretty. I feel pretty and witty and gay!

A few days ago, one of the Rear D soldiers stopped me to tell me I looked very nice. I was kind of floored by it -- I'm just not the type of girl that your average 20 year old stops to compliment. You know, I'm old and I have my large post-baby ass to contend with. So I did a mental checklist:
  • Bra on? Check.
  • Boob appropriately checked into bra? Check.
  • Nipples in non-cold, locked-down position? Check.
  • Bra type that supports against stripper-like jiggling? Check.
  • Butt crack safely stowed in jeans? Check.
So I dismissed it. Probably just an ass-kisser. But then about 5 minutes later, a friend of my husband's complimented me, too. Told me my eyes shined. And as he said it, another person, a spouse, concurred. At this point, I wasn't taking any chances. I ran to the restroom to look at myself and figure out what the hell was going on.

There I was, reflected in the mirror. I was wearing my usual uniform of jeans, t-shirt and sneakers. My make-up was the old regular routine -- a little mascara and chapstick. So what was all the fuss about?

Wait. I forgot. I did do something different. I wore earrings. That's it. And I didn't even really put them on. I threw them on as a joke to entertain Munchkin as I sorted through my jewelry box and the piles of crap I never wear earlier that morning.

Earrings, people. Who'd a thunk it? Someone remind me of this next time I start obsessing over whether or not it's time to buy a pair of Spanx. It's always the little things.


Sunday, August 31, 2008

The deployment blahs.

I'm in 'em. Nothing particularly set it off. But I'm having trouble filling time. I don't really want to see people if I don't have to. And I just feel bored, bored, bored.

Any recommendations? Rewatching all four seasons of "House, MD," though reinvigorating my love for Greg House, didn't do the trick this time.

I was fired. Well, sorta.

About 8 months ago, I took on a new client. It really was a stupid move on my part. They required too much time at specific hours, lots of edits and the pay sucked donkey butt.

So why did I take the job? Everyone's talk about a sucky economy made me think that a long-term prospect that would offer me a specific number of hours per month and direct deposit was a good thing. Friends, I thought I had found myself that mythical cushion, which is nearly impossible to find in the freelancing world.

And there's a good reason why. It doesn't really exist. Turns out small companies, no matter how many hours they may promise you, aren't immune to the economy either. So facing their own business woes, they offered me an ultimatum this week. Up my hours significantly -- basically becoming a full-time employee without actually becoming one -- or go away.

I chose to go away. And it's amazing. I don't think I realized how much I was letting the economy, or more precisely the rumors about said economy, bully me until that moment. But when I was shown a door, I took it gladly.

And you know what? I found something else to replace it the next day. Something that had I chosen not to pick up this client, I would have had time to pitch months ago.

It pays not to let yourself be too scared.

Apparently, I'm a sexist.

Like many, I was very surprised by the Sarah Palin pick. But the more that I read about her, the more she seems like the kind of maverick that would complement McCain. Plus, it would also revitalize the campaign, which can't hurt.

But here's the thing. And I have a very hard time admitting it. But here goes.

Palin has a four-month-old Down's Syndrome child. The right is positioning this as a sign that Palin can put her money where her mouth is when it comes to pro-life policy (never mind that it was a *choice* that could equally stand up in a pro-choice context). They are saying this is a good thing. And while I applaud Palin for opting to keep a special needs child, I can't help but wonder how it will affect her duties as VP.

If I think the best of Palin, then I know that when her child needs her, that child will come first. And a child with Down's Syndrome is going to need her often. There are going to be doctor's appointments, tests, all manner of complications that could happen at any time. And given her son's young age, it is very unclear what those needs may be and how much time they will require. And of course, whether they will occur when it is convenient for the country.

At some point, I think that Palin will be put in a position where she has to choose between her child and the American people. Not only it is an unfair choice to put upon her but also unfair to that child and the people she was chosen to represent.

Of course, any pundit out there will say, "Would you say the same about a father who had a special needs child?" And I will tell you honestly -- a child with Down's Syndrome at 4 months of age? Yes. Yes, I would have concerns. I see it the same way I would a VP with severe health issues. (And in fact, after Elizabeth Edwards was diagnosed with cancer, I almost got slapped for telling someone that I thought that perhaps it would prove too much of a distraction for a leader of the free world).

Frankly, I just think it is just too hard to stay focused when there are so many unknowns, so many potential problems that take the VP's head away from where it needs to be -- on our country.

So, apparently I'm sexist. And since it's out there now, don't be surprised if I slap you on the ass and tell you to get me a beer.

(P.S. Now they are speculating that the baby isn't even Palin's. Oh vey).

Friday, August 29, 2008

In case you've forgotten...

...I still have a mad crush on Dr. Greg House. Who cares if he's fictional? He's still dreamy.

Calling all Republicans!

Sarah Palin? Really?

What do you think? Good or bad choice?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What? There's a convention going on?

Forgive me, friends. I took yet *another* vacation. And for a week I was without Internet. I'm only now getting over the DTs.

My family came to town and simultaneously destroyed my house and goodwill. But we're now back to regularly scheduled programming. What have you all been up to?

If Madonna jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge...

"I just don't understand why any gathering of more than four females immediately turns into a discussion of what kind of plastic surgery everyone plans to get."

"C'mon, you can't tell me you never considered having something done."

"Actually, no. We do enough to make ourselves feel bad about our bodies. Talking about bigger boobs and tucked tummies in front of our daughters, for Crissakes, is just wrong. We are a total disgrace to our gender and, frankly, it's boring."

"Madonna's had work done."

"Madonna has also posed in Playboy, published her own sex book and still likes to flash her crotch at people at 50. I don't see everyone lining up to do that."

"You never know. They might if they actually get the plastic surgery."

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Today's Sentence - 8/10

Can someone explain why friendship with women is so damned difficult?

John Edwards.

After the Edwards admission story broke, I wrote to a friend that I found myself surprised. She immediately emailed back and said, "Why?"

Perhaps I should clarify.

I'm not surprised that he's guilty of an affair. I'm surprised that he admitted it. I'm surprised that, in today's age of 24/7 coverage and citizen/paparazzi journalism, political candidates think they won't get caught. I'm surprised that Edwards would have the audacity to mention that he is "stripped bare" in his statement.

But most of all, I'm surprised that we give a shit. Because, really, why should we? When did fidelity become a benchmark for ability?

It's lonely at the top.

When you are an officer's wife, one thing is bound to happen at some certain point: A higher ranking officer's wife will remind you to be careful what you say and follow it up with the ol' cliche, "It's lonely at the top."

It's actually very annoying. Mostly because it's so frickin' true.

And I got a real-world lesson in that this week. And what sucks is that I really did think it was someone I could trust.

Bleh.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

So wrong and yet so right.

This isn't safe for work. But it is oh-so-funny.



(Notice the source -- TagTele. It just makes me even that more proud to be an American).

Friday, August 01, 2008

Today's Sentence - 8/1

If there was a conversation about cock rings going on anywhere with anyone around post today, somehow I managed to find myself overhearing it.

An update on this week's troubles.

Mrs. X got a good scare. With a little help, she cleaned up her house. She cleaned up her act. She got her kids back as well as a prescription for some serious anti-depressant and anti-anxiety meds.

Sounds like a happy ending, I guess. But I don't feel good about it.

I can't help but think that the services available here -- now stretched thin by wounded soldiers -- can not provide the support that she is going to need moving forward. And there's only so much the FRG and her neighbors can do. She received a lot of help this week. It can't go on indefinitely.

So here's hoping that we don't find ourselves in the same boat with Mrs. X in 10 weeks. Or worse, that we hear from Mrs. X again after something happens to her or one of her kids.

A new online addiction.

Earlier this week, a total-blast-from-the-past high school boyfriend (wait -- can you call someone a boyfriend if you only "went together" for like two weeks back in 8th grade and only ever held hands?) invited me to Facebook. Bored and on my third glass of wine, I joined up.

It's going to be a new addiction. I can feel it. Seeing so many people from these past high school and college lives feels like a voyeur's dream. I can see who married who, who had kids, who got fat, and -- even more entertaining -- who has had plastic surgery.

It's amazing what kind of shit people will post on social networking sites these days.

I'm not sure if the allure will last. Once your curiosity is piqued, can someone twittering about getting their nails done really hold the thrill that seeing their pre- and post-nosejob pictures can? Probably not. But it was something nostalgic and silly to do this week when I was ready to run screaming away from my own life.

And that's something, anyway.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Suddenly, I don't feel so bad about the state of my house.

Last night, I got a phone call in the wee hours of the morning. The MPs had been called on one of our FRG's families. Not for a loud party, illegally parked car or a fight. Nope. Because of the smell.

This spouse, I'll call her Mrs. X for brevity's sake, had not cleaned her house since the soldiers deployed. She has two kids, both in diapers. She has not done laundry, taken out the trash or disposed of a single dirty diaper in nearly four months. She has not cooked either, opting to bring home take-out and leave the leftovers out on the furniture and floors to breed maggots and attract vermin. And she and her children somehow have lived in this mess for all that time.

When I arrived this morning, after the children had been removed from the premises, Mrs. X and a group of volunteers had been cleaning for nearly 10 hours. But I still found myself knee deep in garbage. The walls were covered with brown stains of unknown origin. The entire refrigerator door was writhing in maggots. There was a dead rat in the bathroom cupboard. By the time I left, more than 40 industrial-sized garbage bags had been filled and carried to the dumpster.

I have no idea how someone, let alone someone with young kids, managed to let things go like this. When I asked Mrs. X, she said that she just didn't realize so much time had passed. That it didn't seem that bad from the inside.

The worst part about all of this is that Mrs. X did not seem like that kind of person we'd have to worry about. She comes to meetings. She comes to events. She has a group of several friends that she sees regularly. She calls when she needs information about the Nurse's hotline or where to get a new ration card.

It makes me wonder who else I should be worrying about. And that pile of clutter on my dining room table? Is that the start of something more sinister?




Monday, July 28, 2008

Can someone explain to me...

...why the new Major promotion list for the Army Competitive Category is delayed? Anyone? Anyone?

It's driving me more than a little crazy.

Sell your testosterone elsewhere. We're all full up here.

Sarah blogged on SpouseBUZZ about how she likes to pass deployment time by watching testosterone-filled movies. Though I'll admit to throwing 300 on every once in a while to look at lots of half-naked hotties, I find myself watching another sort of movie when CPT Dick is away -- the chick flick.

And during deployment times, the sappier the chick flick, the better.

I tend to store up stress. So much so that there is probably a Rubbermaid logo stamped on my ass - you know, under the wide load sign. And when you carry around that much worry, you need a release. My release is to cry.

I'm not a crier by nature. I tend to take most of life with a stiff upper lip. So I watch these movies about love lost and found, love dying and renewed, the man who got away and the woman who left -- these totally predictable and maudlin films -- so at the end of them all, I can let myself tear up and get it all out.

I realize that it is pretty ridiculous. But all it takes is a good cry after watching Shirley MacLaine tell those nurses that it's 10:00am and Debra Winger needs her pain medicine, goddammit, to reset my internal stress meter. It's what works for me.

Exit lights, enter night.

Take my hand. Off to Never, never land.

Or La-la land, in this case. Never knew James Hetfield had it in him to be frickin' preppie.

Another part of my childhood now ruined.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Today's sentence.

Red toenails make me feel flirty.

In a funk.

Woke up in a funk today. I'm still mulling whether I should keep on as FRG leader or just get the hell out of dodge. And for whatever reason, the question has me reconsidering everything about this deployment -- whether I should have stayed in Europe, what more I should be doing for Munchkin, what more I should be doing for me.

It's not a fun internal conversation. Maybe it will get more so once I add in the tequila.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bush or Batman?

Can you figure out who said it? Bush or Batman?

(And as an aside, it's really kind of sad when the New Yorker could learn a thing or two about satire from Comedy Central).

Does no one think spelling is important anymore?

I pulled into the commissary parking lot yesterday next to a Suburban that had the following pasted on both backseat side windows:

Pussy's drive Fords
Chickens drive Dodges
Real men drive big box
Chevy Trucks

Now leaving aside the reason why one might feel they have to have such a message in 200 point font letters on both sides of the damn car, mightn't the driver realize that Ford drivers will be less insulted with the glaring plural error (plus misuse of an apostrophe)?

Or do you think I'm the first that noticed?

I swear, next time I see that truck, I'm going to do some correcting with a big, red Sharpie.

It's stories like these that make me fear for the human race.

It's Botox for you, Dear Bridesmaids

Have we really become so shallow? Wait, don't answer that. I don't think I really want to know.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Overheard at the PX.

"Did you hear about John Edwards?"

"Did he get named Obama's VP?"

"Uh, no. He was apparently caught meeting up with his mistress and love child."

"Seriously?"

"So the news reported."

"Wow. And a kid, too?"

"Yes. Who must have been born all while his wife was battling cancer. Nice, huh?"

"What the hell is it about politicians and love children? Can't they afford birth control? I mean, John Edwards is a liberal. He's the one pushing for real education about safe sex. You'd think he'd learn a thing or two about practicing it."

Screw my diet...

I'm making enchiladas. And not your Old El Paso variety either. My grandmother's green chili enchiladas with lemon cream sauce. They take all day to make and there is usually at least one chili-related injury, but, boy, are they worth it.

The lemon cream sauce is the best part. And even though my grandmother would kick my ass, it's so easy to make, I'll share it:

1/4 cup butter (salted)
2 tbsp flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup creme fraiche (sour cream will do)
Salt and pepper to taste

Melt the butter and then add in the flour to make a roux. Stir so it doesn't stick. Add in broth and lemon juice and stir over medium heat until thick. Remove from heat and add creme. Stir until blended. Season to taste.

The sauce works with just about any kind of chicken dish. And it is mmmm, mmmm good.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fun timewaster.

Check out Photofunia.

I just put CPT Dick's photos on Angelina Jolie's t-shirt. I think he will appreciate that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

OK, this is just wrong.



Say Anything is 20 years old. TWENTY!

When the hell did I get so old?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Was she trying to be ironic?



I received a package from my mother-in-law yesterday. It was a "Super Mom" t-shirt. She stuck a sticky note on it that said:

[Daughter] gave me this for Mother's Day but it didn't fit. I thought it might fit you better.

I'm just going to ignore the fact that it was a XXL and laugh at the unintended compliment.

Add this to the "Tell me something I don't know" file

As wars lengthen, toll on military families mounts.

Note that they don't mention anything about FRG volunteers. Or how much the Army is relying on said volunteers. *sigh*

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The shower scene.

It's not safe for work but if you want to see Ving Rhames dancing his naked butt off to "I'm Every Woman," click here. Totally worth it, especially if you are having a bad day.

I *heart* Ving Rhames.

FRG Crazy

My husband has been given a tentative date for change of command. Even though I know that the plan will change 15 million times before it actually happens, the idea that I will be freed - FREED! - from FRG leadership warms the cockles of my wee Grinch heart.

Because I was so excited about the possibility of passing the baton, I emailed the incoming commander to introduce myself and let him tell me who would be taking my place so I could make the transition as smooth (and fast!) as possible. I just got his reply:

I do not have a wife, so I will be taking recommendations and volunteers for this position.

Shit. Shit shit shickety shickety shit shit shit.

The battalion's senior advisor has already said she would like me to stay on in the role if the new commander doesn't have someone in mind. Many of the women in the FRG have asked that I do so (though I'm sure an equal number would tell me not to let the door hit me on the ass on the way out). And though the FRG has a group of stellar core volunteers, the ones who are fit to lead would refuse if offered. And the ones who would volunteer willingly? Let's just say we've seen enough of their idea of leadership to know it wouldn't work.

So somehow, even after already writing my goodbye note for the newsletter in my head, I'm considering saying I'll stay on. I've been an FRG leader now for over 2 and a half years. I've seen a lot (though soon as I say I've seen it all some spouse ends up surprising me). I'm tired. I think I've had enough. I don't really know what I have left to give these families. But seeing as there aren't any feasible alternatives to replace me, I somehow can't bring myself to leave the families mid-deployment.

What is wrong with me?

I just don't know what to say.

Before CPT Dick deployed, I felt like I was really slacking on the blogging. But hey, what better excuse could I have had? I wanted to spend as much of my free time with him and Munchkin before his departure.

Now I don't have that excuse and yet there's still so much space between entries. I don't know what to say really. I just feel really uninspired. What is there to say that hasn't been said before about these Groundhog Days of deployment?

For me, the best way to get through a deployment is to keep my head down, stick to the routine, stay busy and push on through. And doing that, there's not a lot that is new and different to talk about. I mean, I could talk up how cute my kid is, or how hard it can be late at night to sleep or how I've just decided not to watch CNN anymore, but there seems to be a lack of point to it all. I see no bigger picture to analyze and discuss except that he's gone and I'm doing what I can to deal with it. For both myself and my kid.

Maybe I just need to try a bit harder.

He called.

CPT Dick called last night, after a lull of over 3 weeks. It was just after midnight and Munchkin was sound asleep. But since he's been pretending to call Daddy on his silly little Elmo cel phone for the past few weeks, I couldn't not wake him.

He sleeps like his father. Hard, deep and all over the place. He was out cold but stirred a bit when I shook him and said, "Daddy's on the phone!" He then reached for the phone, put it to his ear, and said, "Hi, Daddy. I sleeping. Love you. Bye bye."

He then handed the phone back and rolled back over into slumber. And I felt terrible for a moment, wondering if CPT Dick would feel sad at such a dismissal. But instead, CPT Dick was pleased as punch.

"Wow. He's really talking," he said. And he is. Not as much as I hoped. But a lot more than he was.

Hopefully, CPT Dick can manage a call during the day sometime soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Ving Rhames for the Oscar!

So I'm watching "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry," which, by most accounts, is not the best movie in the world. But oh my goodness, Ving Rhames nails it. I laughed so hard as he grooved in the shower to "I'm Every Woman," that I lost it.

If you are feeling down, I highly recommend it.

As for me, whenever I need a pick-me-up, you'll hear me start to sing, "Whoa, whoa, whooooo-aa." That's right. It's all in me.

Dear Busybody Spouses:

Why does everyone automatically seem to think I'm going to get knocked up when my husband takes R&R? What makes you think I want a second child? That I could even have a second child? Why am I viewed as so strange when I say CPT Dick and I have no plans to that effect?

Sheesh.

Month 3 of a 15 month deployment. Guess we all need ways to make things a little more interesting. Mine, of course, may be to beat the living shit out of the next person who asks me if I'm going to get busy during R&R.

To date, there has not been one sighting of Swedish fish.


Munchkin and I spent a few days traveling about Sweden. Not for any particular reason. Mainly to find another way to make the time pass.

It was a lovely trip. I highly recommend it. Especially the Junibacken -- a storybook tribute to Astrid Lindgren, complete with Pippi's own Villa Villakulla. It was so much fun.

But seriously. Not one Swedish fish. Unless you count all of the char, which being a Swedish fish purist myself, really do not.

Friday, July 04, 2008

To the creators of the Elmo deployment video...

Would it be too much to say both "thank you" and "fuck you" at the same time?

(I don't mean to seem so ungrateful but, goddamn, by the thirtieth viewing of the day, I start to hate that little red monster with a fierce passion).

Make mine chunky.

So Munchkin has picked up one of those summer illnesses. And honestly, hanging out at home (out of this unfamiliar sunshine and heat!) wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't a pukey sickness. To date, Munchkin has hurled on:

His bed.
My bed.
The guest bed.
The couch.
CPT Dick's car (lucky for me, I took that one to ferry Munchkin to the pediatrician, no?)
The pediatrician's examining table
My laundry chair
underneath his bedside table
and, of course, me, several times.

(But never once the toilet, no matter how hard I tried to get him there).

They were right about parenthood being an adventure. I just didn't expect the day-to-day of it to require so much Swiffering.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Reasons I should not go shopping while having my period.

  1. Forgot the carrots for the Japanese curry rice.
  2. Was somewhat grossed out by all of the chicken in the poultry case.
  3. Took advantage of the $1/bag sale on Doritos.
  4. Found myself with a case of Snack Packs left over from the case lot sale.

(Make that half a case now).

He was high, right?

'Cause I'm just not sure I can come up with any other explanation.

(And you know, I'm really kind of wondering what Oasis thought of the rendition).

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mistakes I will never make again.

Mistake #1: Not having a shitload of wine in the house before making the call-out to inform our spouses that we lost two of our community's soldiers.

Mistake #2: Deciding to watch a movie since I couldn't sleep afterwards. And throwing in my newest Netflix. Which just happened to be "Grace is Gone."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

On waiting by the phone.

In the past few weeks, I've missed quite a few phone calls from my husband. It's the combination of a few things -- 1, much as I love my husband, I ain't sitting around all day and waiting by the phone for someone whose job only allows the most random of occasions to call and 2, the stupid git will never call my cel phone.

Before CPT Dick left, I made him a laminated phone number card. Yes, you read that right. A *laminated* card that had every phone number on it that he could ever possibly wish to call. Our home number. My European cel number. My stateside cel number. His parents number. His sibings' respective numbers. My sibling's number. Everyone's, really. Hell, as a funny, I even put Graceland's phone number on there. After all, you never know when you may need to commune with Elvis.

Even with that card tucked neatly in his wallet, he only ever calls the home number. I could not begin to explain why. But I have a feeling it has something to do that part of his brain which makes him throw all dirty clothes on the floor an average of 8.6 inches away from the hamper.

But I just learned I can forward my home phone to my cel phone. I know some of you, more experienced in the whole deployment-inspired art form of waiting by the phone without ever literally waiting by the phone, may be like, "duh!" But it just hadn't occurred to me.

So yesterday, I forwarded all calls to my cel phone. But then we went to the pool with friends. And you know, I now know from experience that it is impossible to chase a toddler around a large body of water and keep an ear out for the phone. Yes, I missed another call.

Oh well. I guess there will be plenty of time to talk when he gets back next year. Or maybe, if I miss enough calls, he'll pull that stupid card out of his wallet for a change.

Inheritance? What inheritance?


I was very tickled to see that "Your Money: 8 Reasons You Should Not Expect an Inheritance" at the top of the NY Times' most emailed list.

And then I pretty much peed my pants when I saw that the story was waiting in my inbox this morning, courtesy of Mom. Think she was trying to tell me something?

Hrm, I wonder what target demographic is emailing this story around...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Will Dad ever do his share? Uh, define share.

I'm a little late on this one but last week's New York Times Magazine ran a cover story entitled, "When Mom and Dad Share it All."

The cover tag was a little more pointed -- it had a child holding a list with "Will Dad Ever Do His Share?" printed underneath.

Of course, they don't define share.

My husband will tell you, with a completely straight face, that he does at least half of the house and child care here. He honestly believes it. You can remind him that he spends 15 months deployed and then 3 month trips to the field when he's not downrange and he still believes it. And that is because he sees "share" as being what he has the capacity to do after work.

It's taken me a long time -- and a helluva lot of angst -- to understand that.

Honestly, I don't know that a child benefits from a score card type of parenting. I'm all for Dads getting more involved and those who can and want to taking paternity leaves or staying at home. But more and more, as I've wasted years shaking my fists at the sky over what seems like an unending inequity in family duties, I realize I could benefit from taking the same tact as my husband.

No, no -- I'm not advocating neglect of my child. But when the kitchen is cleaned, who does it hurt if the pots soak overnight? If a few toys don't get put away before bedtime, who says I have to spend my evening cleaning them up?

Maybe "equality" isn't really what we should be striving for here.

Friday, June 20, 2008

*Sigh*

"It can't be done."

It's amazing how often the big, green machine responds to families with this particular phrase. Even after they promised that it, indeed, could be.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Okay, even if you are a fan of the President, this is funny.

Little Brown will be publishing a new children's book, "Goodnight, Bush." It's a parody of the tired classic "Goodnight, Moon" and includes lines like:

And a quiet Dick Cheney whispering hush.

Complete with said Vice President sitting in the Old Lady's rocking chair, holding a shotgun.

What will people dream up next?



Sunday, June 15, 2008

Oh, jeez. You have to be kidding me.

"Hello?"

"Hi, Mrs. _____. This is Mrs. _____, my husband is in the Medics section."

"Hi! How are you?"

"Well, not so good and that's what I wanted to talk to you about."

"I'm sorry to hear that. What's up?"

"Well, I got my newsletter yesterday. And I was looking at the photos."

"Oh yeah. I think your husband's photo was in it, right?"

"Yes, his was. But behind him, in the chow line, I noticed there was a female. A blond woman."

"Uh...a female?"

"Yes, a female. Can you explain what she's doing there?"

"I'm looking at the photo now, ma'am. I'm not sure what there is to explain. She's a soldier. Looks like she's just getting herself some food."

"That is bullshit. This is supposed to be an infantry unit. Our guys should be nowhere near females."


I hate people.

Today, at the commissary, I found myself stuck in the freezer aisle. They had brought in some new brands of chicken nuggets and I wanted to look over the labels to see which were the least damaging to my child's health.

The aisle was also the site of a bunch of Father's Day promotional crap so after a few minutes of perusing, I realized I was blocking the aisle. It was a Mom with a little girl about Munchkin's age.

I apologized for blocking and not noticing and then said, "Given my son's predilection for meat in its most unnatural state, I am just trying to find the most healthy nugget they have."

She gave me a really snotty look and then said, "Chicken nuggets are never healthy. Maybe you should try actually cooking for your child if you are really concerned for his health."

I was stunned. Literally, speechless. Who says that kind of shit?

On the drive home, I thought about all the things I could have said to her. I could have made a list of all the stuff I do cook and all the healthy food my kid eats regularly. I could have complimented her on having so much free time and suggested that it may be due to her not having any life. I could have asked her if she had a stick lodged permanently up her ass or only when it came to kid cuisine. I could have asked if her fine family cooking was the reason why she was obese. I could have cursed her out. Or I could have just beaten the shit out of her and then screamed, "Clean-up in Aisle 11, Bob!" But, you know, why bother?

People can be nasty for no reason whatsoever. And I'm learning, when it comes to parenting, the viper tends to strike even harder.

So you cook those healthy meals, lady, and feel superior about it. We're doing just fine over here -- even with the occasional chicken nugget.