October 31, 2007
A Gallup poll found that only 7 percent of Americans do not believe in telepathy, déjà vu, ghosts, past lives or other supernatural phenomena, which may have more than a little to do with the soaring popularity of Halloween.
A few years ago, my husband and I were visiting his parents and sleeping in the guest room. I woke up in the middle of the night to a bone-chilling noise, a wailing, moaning, ghostly noise. The hair on the back of my neck stood up straight and my heart began to race. I still have no explanation whatsoever for what the noise was: the wind? the dog? my father-in-law groaning in his sleep?
I realized the next day that, if I believed in ghosts, I would forever tell that story as an encounter with one. I would swear that I had heard a ghost at my in-laws' house. But I don't believe in them. Instead I see that story as proof of how people say they've encountered ghosts.
But the truly interesting part was how I could not stop my body and mind from being frightened. Even though I absolutely don't think there was anything out there, my body went into panic mode.
Interesting stuff. But only 7%? Wow.
October 29, 2007
It seems to me, for example, that when anti-war types bemoan Iraq as this generation's Vietnam "quagmire," older folks are thinking of the real Vietnam the Gulf of Tonkin resolution and whatnot but most anybody under 50 is thinking of Vietnam movies: some vague video-store mélange of "The Full Metal Deer Apocalypse."
And the other night, on the way to the party, we passed an accident. I think normally this would've gotten to me anyway, because it became obvious as we passed that a very distraught woman had just hit someone's dog. The poor little white doggy was lying in the road. We had to sit in the car for several minutes before going into the party so I could get my sobs under control.
But this one might not normally have made me cry, except for the fact that it reminded me what lies in my future. My mom and I have a good friendship and talk often, but my dad is much more reserved. He and I get along perfectly, but we rarely talk because he is definitely a Man's Man, and they don't do things like chat on the phone. But I know he loves me, because he shows it in little ways that mean so much.
When we went to my grandparents' house last week, I forgot to pack my glasses. I had my contacts in, of course, but I'm blind as a bat once I take them out. So is my father; we have the same prescription. When I realized that I had forgotten my glasses, my dad immediately handed me his and let me borrow them for the entire week. It might not seem like much, but it is if you're as blind as we are. My dad sacrificed his vision so his daughter could see. Shoot, I can't imagine myself lending my glasses to anyone, much less some dummy who has a perfectly good pair she stupidly left at home. In no way did I ever expect him to hand his glasses over to me. But my dad did it without even thinking.
He sacrificed for his child.
He made a pretty big sacrifice this past weekend as well. Crazy Aunt Purl was going to be in my hometown for a book signing, and I begged my mom to go meet her and get books signed for me and The Girl. My mom assured me she would, but business came up and she needed to be out of town. She got my father to go downtown to the Women's Lifestyle Show and ask a knit-blogger for an autograph.
What a man.
My dad made me cry a lot this week thinking about what it means to be a parent. It means doing a lot of crap you don't really want to do, like braving the estrogen-filled halls of the convention center to make your child happy. It means giving up something you need so your child can have it, like your eyesight.
Even when your child is 30.
In 12 years, my child will almost be 11 and a half. I hope I am as selfless as my father is.
October 28, 2007
So that's that. The girl who loves cooking and knitting can barely bring herself to enter the kitchen or muster the strength to lift the needles. It's a sad state of affairs in this house.
But it's exactly what I wanted, right? At least I keep reminding myself of that as I run to the bathroom.
I'll jump here, or lurch I suppose, to something I am concerned about that I think I am observing accurately. It has to do with what sometimes seems to me to be the limited lives that have been or are being lived by the rising generation of American professionals in the arts, journalism, academia and business. They have had good lives, happy lives, but there is a sense with some of them that they didn't so much live it as view it. That they learned too much from media and not enough from life's difficulties. That they saw much of what they know in a film or play and picked up all the memes and themes.
Members of the Iraqi Army in Besmaya collected a donation for the San Diego, Calif., fire victims Thursday night at the Besmaya Range Complex in a moving ceremony to support Besmaya's San Diego residents.
Iraqi Army Col. Abbass, the commander of the complex, presented a gift of $1,000 to U.S. Army Col. Darel Maxfield, Besmaya Range Complex officer in charge, Multi-National Security Transition Command Iraq, to send to the fire victims in California.
October 27, 2007
October 25, 2007
As you undoubtedly have noticed, the 2008 campaign has, for Democrats, been nothing but new entitlement programs, expansions of old entitlement programs, and tax increases. This is the essence of what it means to be a member of the MoveOn Democrat Party. Create more government dependency, and tax those not dependent on government to pay for it.
Here is what I imagine the seven Harry Potter novels are about: I imagine that Harry is an orphan who had a bad relationship with his father (kind of like Tom Cruise in Top Gun or Days of Thunder or A Few Good Men or any of his movies that didn't involve Ireland). He escapes some sort of abstract slavery and decides to become a wizard, so he attends Wizard College and meets a bunch of anachronistic magic-using weirdos and perhaps a love interest that he never has sex with. There is probably a good teacher and a bad teacher at this school and (I'm sure) they eventually fight each other, and then some previously theoretical villain tries to destroy the world, and all the wizard kids have to unite and protect the universe by boiling black cats in a cauldron and throwing lightning bolts at pterodactyls. Harry learns about life and loss and leadership, and then he doesn't die. The end.
Now, I realize I don't have to guess at these details. I'm sure I could read the entire four-thousand-page plot summarized in four hundred words on Wikipedia, or I could simply walk into any high school and ask a few questions of the first kid I find who isn't smoking crystal meth.
No, you can't read the Wikipedia entry. Because if you don't know anything about the books, like I don't, then all you'll read is sentences like "Harry and Frimbleframp travel to the smigglefloop in a wimbdywhop to battle the canterstamp with a shimmelflap." It's utter nonsense if you don't already know what you're reading.
Anyway, the article is an interesting take on how pop culture brings us shared knowledge. And why you can't understand Kevin Smith if you've never seen Star Wars.
Incidentally, I saw the "Trapper Keeper" episode of South Park before Neil made me watch the Terminator movies. And I didn't get the cultural references. Once I saw the movies, I thought the episode was a lot funnier, plus I finally got the line in Family Guy where Adam West asks Meg if she's Sarah Connor.
But I still don't have any plans to read Harry Potter yet.
October 20, 2007
These were the happy days, the salad days as they say, and Ed felt that having a critter was the next logical step. It was all she thought about. Her point was that there was too much love and beauty for just the two of us and every day we kept a child out of the world was a day he might later regret having missed.
So we worked at it on the days we calculated most likely to be fruitful, and we worked at it most other days just to be sure. Seemed like nothing could stand in our way now. My lawless years were behind me; our child rearin' years lay ahead. But biology and the prejudices of others conspired to keep us childless.
Our love for each other was stronger than ever, but I preminisced no return of the salad days.
I've been itchin' to watch Raising Arizona again, it being one of my favorite movies of all time, but I just didn't think I could bear watching a movie about a couple who can't have a baby. For nine months, I touched it lovingly on the shelf but knew I wouldn't be able to watch it. It makes me cry on regular days; there's no way I could watch it when I too thought my womb might be a rocky place where a seed could find no home.
We've even joked about stealing one of the Dente boys, since they too have more than they can handle.
The past nine months have been a valued experience for me. I thought I'd be going into labor by now, but instead I've been forced to examine why I wanted a baby in the first place and what is really important in this world. Nine months ago, I thought it mattered what month the baby would be born, or what time of year would be best to be pregnant, or whether I wanted a boy or girl. Now...none of those things matter anymore. I've let go of caring about anything, save that a healthy child blesses our household.
I've woken up and taken my temperature 234 times, each time a depressing reminder that I wasn't yet pregnant. I've been forced to watch others around me get pregnant and to learn that life isn't fair and how hard you try really plays no role. I've confronted myself, thrown temper tantrums, and learned to get over myself in the process. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't trade these nine months for anything. I learned a lot about myself and about life in the process.
So when I took that pregnancy test last weekend and saw the little pink plus sign appear, I knew we were ready. And I hollered at my husband to get Raising Arizona out.
We were finally going to watch it.
October 17, 2007
Uh, yeah. Dial up. It took me ages to just check my email last night.
I hate these people.
October 16, 2007
I have no idea what you're talking about with needing to whiten your teeth. I certainly didn't notice that when we met. I was too busy feeling like a fool because I couldn't figure out how to read the menu at the coffee shop. I can never read coffee shop menus, and since I didn't want to look like a dunce, I pretended that I didn't really need to eat any breakfast. So I starved and then made my husband take me to a gas station on the way home and get me some food.
I didn't notice your teeth, I just noticed that my husband, who generally doesn't like conversation with anyone, seemed to be having a good time talking to you about Iraq. That's an awful big compliment in his book.
And you're wearing make up in Vegas? Crap. I am so out of my league here.
Oh and also, the weight thing? Hogwash. From reading your blog, I expected you to weigh 300 lbs when I met you. You look great. Don't be so hard on yourself.
Can't wait to see you again in Vegas!
P.S. You need to copy this post and put it up on your own blog so your readers can hear somebody saying that you have nice teeth and a normal sized butt. They're going to picture you as a freak of nature if they go by your description of yourself.
She was horrified.
I expected her to think it was weird, or not romantic, but I didn't expect her to react so vehemently. She thought the whole thing was plain awful, and incomprehensible, and that all the commenters were horrifying as well. She even called her sister's American husband to ask him if he knows what the 2nd Amendment is (too cute) and whether he owns a firearm. She was really rattled by this and even started talking about Virginia Tech.
Then she reminded me of something that I hadn't thought of in a long time. When I lived in France, I was walking home late at night one night when a man on a moped drove up onto the sidewalk, pinned me between a van and a wall, and tried to grope me. Needless to say, it was a frightening experience, and for weeks after that, I walked around the city with my Swiss Army knife in my hand. I have no idea what I actually would've done with it if someone else had tried to attack me, but it made me feel a sliver of control over the situation and it helped me get over my fear. What I had forgotten was how crazy my Swedish friend thought I was for walking with a knife. Or at least, I didn't realize just how crazy she thought I was until she brought it up again last night, that thinking about me with a gun brought back memories of me walking the streets with a one and a half inch blade. Apparently something that barely registered in my brain today was seared, seared in hers.
I told my husband about this last night, and he said, "Wait, let me get this straight, she thought you were dangerous and crazy because you wanted to protect yourself from being raped?"
I explained to my friend that while we disagree on lots of issues -- death penalty, health care, etc -- the Gun Issue is so cultural that we typical Americans and Europeans will never begin to understand each other. We can't even talk about the issue because we're coming at it with completely different cultural baggage. She says that guns create violence; I say they deter it. No common ground.
After we got off the phone, I thought for a long time about our conversation. She can't read my blog; it makes her sick to her stomach. She's against everything I stand for, and vice versa. I'm not mad about that: if she had a blog, I wouldn't want to read it either! But I started to think about the fact that we are friends with each other despite our value systems. That we set aside everything we think about the world and everything we believe to be right in order to remain friends.
She thinks blogging is weird, that it's odd I would bare my soul to strangers on the internet. I kinda think it's weird that I've been friends for nine years with someone I have no common ground with.
Oda Mae is right: This is a friend who would drop everything to take me to a hospital. She even said that she would fly to the US to meet my future baby. She is a good friend. Maybe that's equally important to the equation as our values.
October 15, 2007
(Found via RWN)
October 14, 2007
Sex and marriage with robots? It could happen
They already did this joke on Futurama, with the public service announcement called I Dated a Robot. (I love that clip...hilarious.) "All civilization was just an effort to impress the opposite sex."
Don't Date Robots!
October 12, 2007
Some years ago, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, a World War II veteran, in which he described his decision to put the cow-milking business on hiatus to enlist in the Marine Corps. He would leave town on the train to Chicago and not come home for over three years.
Can you imagine that? Better yet, can you imagine being his mother, never once getting to even speak to him in three years? Three years, waiting day to day for casualty lists to be published, for the awful sight of two uniformed men on your porch, never knowing where your child is or if he is alive, or whole.
The headlines wouldnt have helped.
WAR CABINET READY FOR LONG WAR: WILL WIN AT ALL COSTS
And yet, people endured this. Even when MacArthur abandoned the Philippines, the failure of Operation Market Garden, the horrible casualties in the Ardennes and Iwo Jima, even when it was not clear at all that we were winning this war, one thing had to be clear: that we could not afford to lose it, either.
And this perspective from someone who will soon have all three of her sons in Iraq.
We are indeed an instant gratification culture. I want a baby right now. People want to graduate from college and have the house of their dreams and two new cars right away. We want the war to be over right now. I find it to be one of the worst American habits. We all need to get over this feeling; not everything can be fast-food style.
I have been working on it myself a lot lately. Patience. Long term perspective.
Kudos to RagingMom; she has perspective in spades.
All these squares will be sent along to Hand-Crafted Comfort to be made into afghans for the wounded. I am on a roll. I made all the blue ones on the plane to Hawaii, and my goal is to make a whole afghan's worth of the autumn-themed ones: 70 total. I'm a tenth of the way there.
And yes, they're crochet. Don't judge me.
Oh, and by the way, this is hilarious. Butterfly Wife was asking for suggestions for songs to listen to during deployment. Someone mentioned "Right Here Waiting For You." Then BW's husband shows up in the comments section and says
No Richard Marx sweetie. We both don't need PTSD.
October 11, 2007
He took me to exercise my rights.
We have been talking about purchasing a firearm since we got back from Germany. So when we drove up to the place, I figured we were going shopping. That's when he told me that this place had its own firing range. I'm sure my face looked like most women would look if they were offered a shoe shopping spree. Better, in fact.
I had never fired a weapon before. I'd never even been around firearms before; the first time I ever saw one up close was the day my husband deployed. (Seriously, I was so retarded that when my husband gave me tips, a few times I thought "Hey, I know that from CSI:Miami.") I must admit it was a bit intimidating. I had to keep reminding myself that bullets can't just explode on their own, and a revolver with the cylinder open can't really hurt you. That may sound silly to experienced marksmen, but it's an unsettling feeling for a novice. Someone who's accomplished with firearms handles them with confidence and ease, while an idiot like me wanted to hold it like it was an egg and hide behind the partition while my husband was loading it.
We rented a Smith & Wesson revolver and an XD 9mm. My husband gave me some pointers and showed me how to handle the revolver first. As I aimed for the target's chest, I savored the moment of taking my first shot. And didn't really hit the chest. I am not very good at aiming yet, and I wasn't expecting the spark of flame that accompanies the shot. And the noise. But I improved a little as we made our way through the box of ammo and became a bit more confident.
The 9mm was a different story though. My husband originally said that we might want to consider buying a revolver. In my stupid mind, I thought that a revolver wasn't sexy enough. Who wants a revolver when they could have a 9mm? Um, I do. Holy crap, the kick on that thing was absurd. Apparently knitting muscles are not the same ones as firearm muscles! I had the hardest time keeping the danged thing from jumping four inches every time I fired it. I could barely even aim the thing, just hope for the best that I was at least hitting the silhouette somewhere.
We didin't buy anything tonight, but I think I'm leaning towards a revolver. Maybe I'll graduate to that 9mm once I have more practice.
So my husband, who barely remembers to get me a birthday card most years, came through with flying colors. It was a genuine surprise, and one that made me feel giddy inside to be an American. Especially since I just read Bill Whittle's Freedom again the other day:
Once the Second Amendment goes, the First will soon follow, because if some unelected elite determines that the people can't be trusted with dangerous guns, then it's just a matter of time until they decide they can't be trusted with dangerous ideas, either. Dangerous ideas have killed many millions more people than dangerous handguns -- listen to the voices from the Gulag, the death camps, and all the blood-soaked killing fields through history.
The Framers, in their wisdom, put the 2nd Amendment there to give teeth to the revolutionary, unheard-of idea that the power rests with We The People. They did not depend on good will or promises. They made sure that when push came to shove, we'd be the ones doing the pushing and shoving, not the folks in Washington.
However, as we arrived and walked towards the range, I got a funny smile on my face. I told a lot of people that my husband had a surprise for me today. My friend from Sweden. My aunt. The little old ladies from my knitting circle. Are they going to all freak out if I tell them the truth about what my husband organized for my birthday? It's even more intense than that year he introduced me to his tank.
So I made the leap to Grown Up today. And I also made the leap to 2nd Amendment practitioner. Big day.
I swear, the older I get, the less I look my age.
The most vivid birthday I remember from my past was turning 13. I was so excited, because I was going to be a Teenager, by golly. I had made it to another stage of my life.
Today I also feel like I'm hitting a new stage. I'm a Grown Up today.
Somebody needs to tell my hair...
October 09, 2007
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