April 30, 2005


We're leaving for our vacation tonight, but look what we did this afternoon...


When we get back, we will choose one that's right for us. The cuteness went to eleven today.

We'll be gone for two weeks, as if I could get any further outside of the blogging loop. It's been 16 months since we've been in the US, and we're jumping out of our skin. I'm sure I will have stories when I return.

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April 27, 2005


Man, I wish I could punch Saddam in the face!

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I woke up at 0400, fidgety and anxious. You see, two 7th graders had gone on vacation and hadn't turned in their make-up work and they were now failing. Boring stuff, huh? But it kept me awake fretting, and I'm not even their teacher anymore. Theoretically I left all of that behind me yesterday, but I lay in bed last night wondering about certain kids: what they'd be like in ten years, how they'll do on their quiz today, if I'll ever see them again. As much as I despised a handful of them, a different handful became very dear to me. I was their teacher for two months, which is a good chunk of the school year; it's funny to think they're not my students anymore. Moving on is more bittersweet than I thought it would be.

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April 26, 2005


Shoelaces arrived in the mail yesterday; they're perfect. My friend came over and reinstalled Windows last night, so we're rid of the crap. Today's my last day of school too...

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April 25, 2005


My first instinct is to say something extremely rude to Ms. Gyllenhaal. All I can think of saying after reading this disgusting article are some pretty choice insults. I'll leave them to your imagination...

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April 24, 2005


This Amritas post about translating reminded me of a class I took in France. I signed up for it because it was called "Communication et Langage", but I didn't realize until I was weeks into the class that it was under the science dicipline and was a course about animal communication (I kept thinking we'd do a bit on animals and then make it to humans: we made it as far as gorillas.) One exciting aspect of the class was that my animal knowledge was pretty poor. I found that I could understand everything in the class except for the names of the animals. So I would write down what I thought I was hearing and then try to guess what animal it was by the description of how they communicate! And then I'd get home and look in a dictionary and go, "Oh, badgers!" It was a funny language learning experience because I knew everything in the sentences except for the key word!

Translating is hard, by the way. When I lived in France, my mother and uncle came to visit me, and we all went to visit my relatives. One elderly relative was very witty and was always making jokes and references to things that happened hours prior, and my mom and uncle always wanted to know why everyone was laughing. Then all the French relatives wanted to know why it took me three paragraphs to explain a one-liner...usually because I had to explain something that had happened two days before that I hadn't translated back then because I didn't think it was important. My brain was so tired at the end of that week.

When we first moved here to Germany, I was hard at work translating a Swedish play. I got twenty typed pages done before I got my job, and I haven't touched it since. I want to finish it after we get home from our vacation; I enjoy translating as a hobby, though I doubt I'm that good at it. I started translating this play because it's so good that I want others to be able to read it, and I can't even find an original Swedish copy, much less one in English translation. So I decided to make my own. I wish I could translate my favorite Swedish book too.

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Today my husband has 24-hour duty, so I've gotten a lot of stuff done around the house, stuff that I normally put off because I'd rather be hanging out with him. Like his sewing...he asked me to start getting his BDUs ready when he was still in Iraq, and once I finally found green thread, I had no desire to sew. Then he came home and started studying for the GMAT on my sewing machine (it's one of those old antique ones that folds into a desk), so any time he was busy, he was always blocking the machine. I finally got to work today and spent a couple of hours changing rank and insignia and also adding the combat patch and the flag. It was quite a job, but they're lookin' good now.

Tomorrow my friend is coming over and we're finally getting rid of this awful virus once and for all. That is, we're reloading windows and starting over. I'm looking forward to using the computer and not having it ask me repeatedly if I'd like to meet hot German singles.

More after school ends on Tuesday...

(P.S. The litter of Tibetan Terriers was born last week; we are going on Saturday to see them and maybe pick one out. I don't care which color we get, as long as we get something that looks as cute as this!)

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April 22, 2005


I found this dialect quiz via Amritas, and my results were just as I would expect:

Your Linguistic Profile:

70% General American English

25% Dixie

5% Midwestern

0% Upper Midwestern

0% Yankee

This makes perfect sense, since I basically spent the first half my life in Texas and the other half in Illinois/Missouri.

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I'm stuck here at school on parent-teacher conference day, and no one wants to talk to me. I've been here two and a half hours and I've talked to one parent. So I've been catching up on my reading, and I came across a wonderful Varifrank post.

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April 20, 2005


My husband is officially sick of being a house-husband. He can't wait for me to stop working so I can take care of him again. He said he'll pay me to stay home and square away the house, which I thought was cute. It's true that this job seems to have taken more of my energy from me; I'm not devoting nearly as much time to wifeing as I did before. Today I realized I forgot to pay the credit card this month, which means that I made $87.50 today and I just blew $35 of it on the late fee. Sheesh, where's my head?

Just a few more days and it's back to wifeing...and hopefully puppy training...

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Last night I ruined one of my favorite shirts while I was making enchilladas. I was bummed all night about it.

At one point during the deployment, a friend and I briefly ventured into what we would do if our husbands didn't come home from Iraq. My friend said that she could leave in a minute and never look back, that someone could come and loot her house for all she cared because she wouldn't want anything from her house. She wouldn't want to take her old life with her to the next. I remember thinking that I could never do that because I love things too much.

I love stuff. I bet if I really tried, I could catalog nearly everything we own. I don't like to borrow books because I want to own them myself. I never really got into the Napster craze because I like owning the CDs and seeing them lined up (alphabetically, naturally) on the shelf. I get very attached to material things, and I always thought the worst thing that could happen to me would be a fire. (In fact, I went through this phase where I kept a bag full of the most important things I owned so I could grab the bag as I ran out of the burning house.)

The comical part about all of this is that I hate spending money. I love owning things, but I am the stingiest person I know. Sure I want to own the book, but I will wait and wait for it to get a dollar cheaper online before I buy it. I'm still waiting to buy From the Earth to the Moon until I can find it a little cheaper. One of my friends always teases me about my "card" because I have this index card where I write every book, movie, or CD that I want to buy. Some things have been on that card for two years, because the test of knowing how much you want something is how long you keep it on the card. If I still want it after a year, I probably will shell out the money for it.

So when I ruin a shirt, it hurts me. I ruined something that I can't replace, and I feel angry. It will take me years to find a blue shirt I like as much as that one.

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April 18, 2005


So how shocked was I today when one of the 7th graders quoted my blog to me?

Apparently at least one of my students' parents reads my blog. And may I say, Mr. H, that your son is a dear. He's one of my favorites, and I actually joke with my husband that I want to "keep" him when I leave the school because he looks enough like my husband to be his child. If my son is as polite and cool as yours, I will have done well. One bad apple may spoil the bunch, but all I cling to at the end of the day is the memory of the good ones.

But it never ceases to weird me out when people in my real life cite my online life.

Like I've had much of an online life lately anyway. I just don't have much to say, and I find that the more I write, the more I get uncomfortable in my real life. I find myself wanting to comment on stuff like releasing illegal aliens, but all I can think to say is "that's messed up", which doesn't make for a very interesting blog entry. I just don't spend any time online anymore. (Part of the reason is that my chore load has gone through the roof: I'm back to doing triple the laundry! If I had the time, I would love to talk about this Amritas post too.) But my last day of 7th grade is next Tuesday, so I'll be back on Wednesday.

And can I take your kid with me, Mr. H?

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April 14, 2005


Ali says that what he wrote isn't a poem, but I disagree. It's wonderful.

I re-read what I wrote after the first anniversary of the fall of Saddam's statue. Funnily enough, we have one of those posters in our house: I like to think of it as how far we've come.

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April 13, 2005


Teaching 7th grade has made me think a lot lately about parenthood. It scares the bejesus out of me, to be honest. I look at all these kids all day long, and I worry that my kid could be a jerk. I honestly think some aspects of it are luck-of-the-draw. Sergents' kids are jerks and captains' kids are jerks. White kids are jerks and black kids are jerks. Boys are jerks and girls are jerks. I really don't know what it is that makes a kid act like a complete fool, but I am scared to death that my own kid will be a jerk someday. 7th grade has really shut down my maternal instinct.

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You know what I want more than anything in the world? Shoelaces.

I've had this pair of brown shoes for many, many years, and the laces finally wore out and broke. I checked all over post, and all I could find was black and white laces. I tried to hit some German stores, but I could never figure out where to get shoelaces. I gave up and sent the broken lace to my mother, hoping she could find something similar to what I need. And every day I open my closet, wishing I could wear that freaking pair of shoes.

I'd kill to go to Walmart right now.

So many friends and family have been emailing us, wondering when we're moving back. I guess since the husband is home from Iraq, they assume we'll be moving soon, but we still have over a year left at this duty station. What's even worse is that now that deployment is over and stop move will be lifted in about a month, all of our friends are getting orders to leave. Nearly everyone we are friends with will be leaving this year, and some are leaving as soon as May. One close friend was telling me about everything that will be near her new home at Fort Shelby, including two Walmarts and a big mall. I am getting so anxious to go home.

We leave for our vacation on 1 May, with a week in Florida and a week on a cruise. It will be the first time in the States for both of us since Christmas 2002, and we're both getting quite antsy. I'm just ready to go somewhere where we know what everything is. We know what food is at the restaurants, what stuff is in the stores, and how far it is to our next destination on the map.

And maybe I can get some freaking brown shoelaces.

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April 12, 2005


Oda Mae has been a long-time commenter and a good friend to me here in our community. Her husband leaves for Iraq today with the British Army, so drop her a line in the comments section and say hi...

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April 10, 2005


Yesterday morning, my husband asked me what the date was: it was the first of the big three anniversaries this week, the days when my husband saw his heaviest fighting and for which he earned a pretty green ribbon to wear on his dress blues. Last night we went to his former company commander's house and had a Baqubah Bash to celebrate the event, complete with the most hooah American movie we could think of: Rocky IV. I checked what I was doing a year ago, and sure enough I was blogging about troop movements and nervousness. I also posted one of my favorite photos from Iraq.

Last night we had a talk about Adrian Balboa; I don't really like her. My husband said he kind of understands that she just wants what's best for Rocky, but I say that if you marry a fighter, you can't force him to change. And in Rocky IV, he fought for a principle, not for a title. You have to stand by someone who fights for what he believes in. My husband asked if I would still be proud of him if he were a civilian working for some company, and I said that of course I would. But it's different. Am I more proud of my husband for being a soldier and fighting for something he believes in? Of course. But only incrementally; he would still believe in the same things even if he didn't have the opportunity to fight for them. Adrian told Rocky that lots of people live with pain, to which he replied that not everyone has the opportunity to do something about it.

I can't believe it's been one year since some of the most important events in my husband's life. I'm glad that he had the opportunity to fight for something he believes in, and I'm glad that he came home safe to me when he was done.

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April 09, 2005


I have been thoroughly enjoying the book The Skeptical Environmentalist. It's amazing how things that we've been told our whole lives -- the "litany", as Lomborg calls it -- are not exactly true, or at least not exactly testable. Acid rain? Didn't happen. Exxon Valdez? Not as bad as everyone claimed. 40,000 species extinct every year? Ha. Global warming? Well, I'm just starting that chapter, but so far it's pretty untestable. It's an amazing read because one-third of the book is references and endnotes; Lomborg did his research. I'm disgusted by what makes it into science without sources.

Much of what Lomborg points out is the cost-benefit analysis of environmental issues. Sure we could save ocean-dwelling amoebas by banning fertilizer, but at what cost? Recycling paper might seem like you're helping the environment, but for the cost and effort, it's apparently better to burn the paper and plant new trees. I like Lomborg's approach of balancing nature and cost.

If you're interested, the introduction chapter is available on Lomborg's website. It's a good read.

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April 07, 2005


Dear Deskmerc,

I know, I know. I'm sorry I haven't been around much. I now have a job where I can't blog. Hell, I can't even stop talking for more than 10 seconds before the whole room erupts into roars and highlighter fights. And I don't get paid for a second after 1500, so I try to get everything done during lunch and my planning period so I don't have to take anything home. Because when I get home, I tear my husband away from his GMAT studies to just sit on the sofa and, well, sit. That's all I want to do. And we get in bed at 2100. The days are flying by, and I find myself further and further from the computer. Dang, Mitch Hedberg died a week ago and I just found out. I'm out of touch, what can I say. The only thing I really have to blog about is something that happened at school, something big, but it's really too sensitive to blog about. I wish I could though. God help the state of our public schools.

So I haven't been around. But I still think of you guys all the time. And instead of missing me, go ahead and read Notes from the Olive Garden again: even after the tenth reading, it's still better than anything I could say.

Talk to you soon,

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April 06, 2005


Please keep CaliValleyGirl in mind today: the Chinook that crashed in Afghanistan was from her soldier's unit. Say a prayer or visit her and give her strength as she lives through casualty notification day.

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