August 31, 2007

PAST AND PRESENT

Erin just recounted an interesting story: a girl she went to high school with contacted her via MySpace...and this girl is now a boy. Hmmm.

Leaving completely aside the issue of transgenderism, I started to think how bold it was of this person to contact Erin. Seems to me it might be awful hard to reach out to people you went to high school with and tell them you've changed genders. Not bumping into them in the grocery store and having to explain yourself, but actively reaching out and seeing if people accept you. Wow. Made me feel pretty silly to be scared of letting people in on my blog.

So thanks to Erin's friend for bashing me over the head with perspective. And best of luck to him as he tries to mesh his old life with his new one.

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NO WORDS, JUST CLICKING NEEDLES

I haven't had anything to say for a few days. I have not been online much, and even when I have been, I don't ever come up with anything to say. Except knitting stuff, and I'm not sure how many of you are interested in knitting stuff. But I was looking for patterns for chemo caps (found some good ones here at Head Huggers) and somehow stumbled across the cutest baby bib. I love peas, they're probably my favorite veggie, so I thought this was magnificent.

Now if you'll excuse me, my lion needs a mane and my snowman hat needs a carrot nose.

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August 28, 2007

KLEENEX ALERT

This article needs no introduction. Just go read it.
My Cousin Frankie

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IT DOESN'T HURT AS MUCH AS YOU'D LIKE

While I'm admittedly over-sensitive, there are some criticisms that are just too laughable to let them bother me. It appears that my "nemesis" has rediscovered all the reasons he fell in hate with me in the first place. Ha. I've never linked to him before because he doesn't really deserve any traffic, but what the heck. Go see how much I get under his skin, for some hilarious reason. You can just feel how much it galls him that I like Walmart.

War Cheerleaders, Laptop Warriors, and Other Everyday Loons

How touching that he hasn't posted since February but took the time today to crank out an entry on me. Gosh, I feel so special.

I guess I'm supposed to feel bad that there's a war on and I'm knitting instead of running to the nearest recruiter's station. Sorry, that's not as unique of a jab as it may seem. Besides, all those squares I crocheted will be assembled into an afghan for wounded servicemembers, so even my yarnwork is doing its part for the war. Plus, saying my husband's service isn't enough and that I need to join too, isn't that the grown-up equivalent of playground logic: "If you love the war so much, why don't you marry it?"

So thanks to No Name Person for coming out of blog retirement to make fun of me again. And thanks a bunch for coming and leaving a comment for me so I would be sure to see the post; it was such a classy move, and otherwise I would never have known that your precious little site was still in operation.

And let me know when you come up with more material for ridiculing me in the future. I can't wait!

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IN AWE

Ack, I've totally met my Better when it comes to stuffed animals! Look at Amethyst's turtle. I better get cracking on that lion so I can hold my own.

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August 27, 2007

ME TO A T

Are You Too Sensitive?
I bet you're not the least bit surprised that I clicked on that link.

I have no idea if I was a "fretful toddler" -- I always figured that my oversensitivity stemmed from an overly-controlling former boyfriend -- but I sure nodded at this part:

Cruelty, at least, is a malady that rarely strikes the sensitive. And, in fact, while it's easy to dwell on the downside of being thin-skinned, the pluses are many and varied. "Sensitive people encourage others to feel that their opinions matter, they're usually good listeners and they're naturally empathetic," Dr. Jacobson says. "And because they are so acutely aware of their own imperfections, they tend to be patient with the imperfections of others."
...
But the pendulum can easily swing the other way, too -- where, like the princess and the pea, you feel every tiny bump so intensely that you suffer more than is reasonable. The key, as with so much else in life, is keeping things in perspective.

Been working on that perspective for about four years now. Don't know I've made much progress though.

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August 26, 2007

CUTE AFTER ALL

OK, the octopus is finished. He's not as cute and chubby as this crocheted one, but I'll be darned if he doesn't look like a smiling octopus. Well, maybe more like a squid, but whatever. And nevermind that he's three times the size of the rhinoceros I made. Charlie immediately took a liking to him and decided to curl up like best buds.

octopus.JPG

Now to finish the lion I started...

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RECOMMENDATIONS

I could use some movie and book recommendations. Here are some recent finds of mine, for what it's worth. Movies: Stranger than Fiction and Hot Fuzz. Books: Michael Crichton's Airframe and Surowiecki's The Wisdom of Crowds. What do you have for me?

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GRANDPA RAMBO

A man affectionately called "Grandpa Rambo" is deploying to Iraq. He's been trying to get there for two years. His wife's reaction is so cute; it reminds me of that old couple on the airplane:

Horne’s wife Sydney West, also a public defender, said he gave her no advance notice of his decision to re-enlist, and she wasn’t surprised that he opted for a combat job over anything else, including putting his legal background to use.

“I wouldn’t think he’d want to go over there to write wills,” she told the newspaper. “If he gets back alive, I’m going to kill him.”

But here's how this feel-good article ended:

As for those who might call him irresponsible for heading off to combat with two children at home, Horne said: “I can’t think of a better example to set for them.”

Good for Grandpa Rambo for answering that question the only way you can. Irresponsible? About half of people in Iraq and Afghanistan right now have children. Are we really suggesting that everyone in the armed forces is irresponsible for putting their country before their children? We wouldn't have an Army if that were the case.

Can we please stop hiding anti-military sentiment behind nonsense phrases like "As for those who might call him" (blank)? You call him that, weinery reporter, or give a full quote where he addresses the topic. Stop hiding your bias behind phrases like "some people think."

(Thanks to Conservative Grapevine for the link.)

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August 24, 2007

HEH

This experiment was really interesting: Six weeks without a wash: The soapless experiment

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August 23, 2007

I AM JOE'S BREAKING HEART

I didn't even have to make it to the article body to feel a lump in my throat over this one (via LMT): Family Loses Second Son in Iraq War

And what came to mind was this:

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.

Dear Madam,--

I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.

I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.

I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.

Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,

A. Lincoln

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August 22, 2007

HE FILLS GAPS

Leela: "Fry, this isn't TV. It's real life. Can't you tell the difference?"
Fry: "Sure. I just like TV better.

I'm always fascinated by our modern-day tales and legends, by the fictional characters we hold up as our inspiration for greatness. Sadly when I write about this, I often get insulted by people who think that I can't tell the difference between a TV character and a real person. But apparently a Serbian village is looking for inspiration in our modern-day heroes as well:

A Serbian village is hoping to channel some of Rocky Balboa’s fighting spirit with a 10-foot-tall statue of the fictional boxer portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone.
...
Zitiste has repeatedly suffered flooding and landslides, gaining a disaster-prone reputation. Fed up, the locals contemplated how to change that image and revive the village — one of the poorest in northern Serbia — and came up with the idea of a statue of the tenacious fictional fighter.

I think that's pretty cool. If we have to be a cultural hegemon, at least we're exporting Rocky.

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August 21, 2007

I LIKED IT

I'm going to do something completely insane here and link to something at Daily Kos. Because I liked it. I suppose I liked it because I thought the telling made the Marine look classy and the lefty look like a drunk pseudo-intellectual, but that's neither here nor there. I too sing daily praises that I was born in Oklahoma instead of...anywhere else in the world. Fat and Happy and No One Trying to Blow Us Up

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August 20, 2007

GO YE AND READ

CaliValleyGirl found a great article on Iraq translated from German. It's quite long, but worth the read. And, as she says, it's even-handed. It starts with

Ramadi is an irritating contradiction of almost everything the world thinks it knows about Iraq -- it is proof that the US military is more successful than the world wants to believe. Ramadi demonstrates that large parts of Iraq -- not just Anbar Province, but also many other rural areas along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers -- are essentially pacified today. This is news the world doesn't hear: Ramadi, long a hotbed of unrest, a city that once formed the southwestern tip of the notorious "Sunni Triangle," is now telling a different story, a story of Americans who came here as liberators, became hated occupiers and are now the protectors of Iraqi reconstruction.

and gets both better and worse from there. Please go read it.

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WHEN AND HOW?

I know everyone's BS detector is running on high after Scott Beauchamp, so maybe I'm treading heavily. But I'm puzzled by a Newsweek article on MSNBC today. The reporter's cousin just came home from Iraq, so a homecoming article was in order. It seemed like an ordinary tale of happiness and relief until she delineated her family's fears during the previous year. And then this odd paragraph appeared:

I’d read reports of some female soldiers allegedly being raped by Iraqi insurgents—some 50 to 75 rapes, according to The New York Times. Alexia assured us that several male soldiers had volunteered to walk her home after she stood post at night. But that reassurance still couldn’t erase the images of assaults, bombs and corpses.

In the quiet words of the Virgin Mary...come again?

A google search of "raped by insurgent" brought nothing but tales from Sierra Leone. A search of "raped by Iraqi" brought horrible tales from Iraqi women, and a hit on Jessica Lynch. But aside from her, do you know of any story of a captured female coalition soldier who was raped? Who are these 50-75 women and how are they getting raped in Iraq? Getting raped by an insurgent means getting caught and captured, and I don't remember hearing about this. Please point me in the direction of the stories if I have missed them, but for now I remain completely puzzled.

My husband also pointed out that an escort on the way home from the guard tower wouldn't exactly prevent insurgent rape. Soldier-on-soldier crime, perhaps, but surely these insurgents are not scaling the walls and raping American females on duty. Something is just not right here.

I also find it hard to believe there are heat-of-the-battle rapes going on in Iraq, where females are getting raped while their male counterparts are too busy firing at the bad guys. We certainly would've heard of this, right? It's the anti-war left's dream story.

If you can find this Times article or any leads on such rape stories, please let me know. Until then, I'm having a hard time believing insurgents are raping our female soldiers and getting away with it.

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August 18, 2007

CRAFTING AMBIDEXTERITY

I've been tempted by the Dark Side.

crochet.JPG

Craft-minded readers will notice that this stack of squares is not knitting but...gulp...crochet.

A friend of mine is compiling afghans for a charity. She asked for 6x6 squares, and she goaded me into trying my hand at crocheting them. At first I hated it with a passion, starting and ripping and starting and ripping. I did more un-crocheting than crocheting. But eventually I got the hang of it and figured out how to read the patterns. I got a lot of practice in on these squares, and boy howdy does crochet use up a lot of yarn. Stash depletion for a good cause = awesome.

I picked up my knitting again last night, and it sure felt good. But I think I will venture into crochet again sometime in the future. Especially to make the Exchange Bag from the Happy Hooker book.

And this girl's octopus is turning out waaay cuter than mine. Mine, I fear, is going to look more like a real octopus than a cartoon one (i.e. ugly and scary). I have images of my infant wrapped up in it à la 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Maybe once I put a smile on him, he will seem like a friendly overbearing monster...

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August 16, 2007

NOT GOOD WITH THE CHANGES

I'm a woman who likes her routine. I've pretty much done the same thing every day since we moved into this house. In fact, on days that I have a dentist appointment or a knitting class, I often feel really thrown off and have to start mentally preparing myself a few days prior for the change in routine.

Yeah, my mom can't wait to see me saddled with kids. She'll laugh herself silly.

Anyway, I'm all thrown off right now because my husband's Farsi course is running on second shift. For some unknown and odd reason, they're meeting from 2:00-9:00PM every day. That throws us way for a loop, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around my new schedule. We're eating dinner for lunch and sandwiches for dinner, and last night felt more like he was in the field than at work. This morning we kept looking at each other wondering what we're supposed to do with each other at 11AM. Every day feels like Saturday.

It also throws our computer time way out of whack, so I haven't quite figured out how to arrange my blog reading and writing into this new schedule. Normally it's the first thing I do after he leaves in the morning, but now he doesn't leave until after lunch. Er, dinner. Bear with me as we adjust to this. I haven't read a blog or article in days.

But the husband's already thriving in his class. It's only the second day and he's already memorized all his flashcards for the free-standing alphabet (the initial and medial forms are another story.) And we've been singing our Alef Be Pe's all morning!

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August 14, 2007

MAKES THE HEART SWELL

I loved this airforcewife post over at SpouseBUZZ...

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FARSI BEGINS

My husband starts his Farsi training today. Things should get interesting around here. It's hard for me to imagine learning a whole language in six months, but I guess if you're at it for eight hours a day, it's a little different than the three hours per week deal I did all through college. And apparently the Army is wising up to how badly they need competent speakers, so they've changed the final test from all multiple choice (sheesh) to reading and aural comprehension. My husband is determined to clobber this puppy and get the highest score ever.

It's funny the reactions you get when you tell civilians that you're going to start learning Farsi. There are two main choices: "What's Farsi?" and "Are we invading Iran?"

Our old neighbors from when we first got married are Iranian, and we got to meet up with them last week. They were just tickled pink hearing what my husband has already managed to learn on his own via the Rosetta Stone program. They about fell over when their daughter toddled into the living room and my husband said, "The girl has on a shirt but no pants." And he just floors them with his knowledge of the region, such as when he found out what city the wife is from and said, "Oh, so you're Azeri and not Persian?" Most of the people they meet in the US can't tell Iraq from Iran, but my husband knows the different Iranian ethnic groups and their corresponding geography.

Can you tell how much this man amazes me too?

Everyone asks if I am going to try to learn Farsi alongside him, and I haven't really decided yet. I can count to ten and nearly recite the alphabet, but maybe I will try to glean more than that.

And when our friends asked, "So are you going to invade Iran?", you could tell they were half-joking, but you could also hear some wistfulness in their words.

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HEH

This Craft the Vote! thing had me laughing. Make sure to look at the photo slideshow.

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