March 20, 2008

FIVE YEARS

I didn't forget today's anniversary; I just didn't really know what to say. But at our brigade ball tonight, I bowed my head and thought of Heidi and Debey when we toasted our fallen comrades.

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SO MUCH PERSPECTIVE

I just finished that previous post about being happy for the things I have and not dwelling on what I don't have, and then I went over to SpouseBUZZ and read AirForceWife's latest post.

I am just weeping.

I think I am pretty good at keeping life in perspective, at trying to see the positive in things. But I am not drinking-wine-off-the-floor good.

I love that story and I won't soon forget it.

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PERFECT GENTLEMAN

Oh look, another chance to rave about my husband!

I already wrote about how my husband and I ended up together:

When I realized that my friendship with my husband was turning into something more than friendship, I knew I didn't want to make the same mistake twice. So I flat out told him one night, told him that I really liked him and that I was starting to think about him all the time, and asked him how he felt. He was quite taken aback, and that's when he gave his famous "well, I like you, but I'm not going to marry you or anything" line. He wasn't quite sure what to think, but he slept on it (for two weeks!) and finally told me that he wanted to be with me too.

Dr. Melissa Clouthier did a follow-up post and wrote about dating rules for men. One of the things that so impressed me about my husband was that, while he was taking his time deciding whether he wanted us to be together, he never abused his position in the relationship. He could've used the info to try to get me to go home with him, or strung me along, or whatever. But he was a perfect gentleman. Just perfect.

And I complimented his mother on his behavior later on.

I really liked this part of Melissa's post:

Another aside: I think men are more romantic than women, not less. A man will fall in love and be in love and stay in love with a woman and he just knows. It's often very cut and dried for him. Women are often more needing of proof and evidence. Now, I realize this is a generalization, but I believe it to be true.

My husband is very cut and dried. He just fell in love with me and never stopped, and never considered not being in love with me. It's so simple and so wonderful. Granted, sometimes he could work on his delivery: for example, we are attending a military ball tonight, and when I tried on my new dress to show him the other day, he barely looked up from playing with the dog. He takes it for granted that I know he thinks I'm pretty, which is actually quite cute. He also thinks the height of romance is funding my IRA. He says things like, "See how much I love you; I put money in an account that I would never be able to touch if you divorced me." That's true love for my husband.

And I've been meaning to tell this story for a while now. We were watching highlights of a slam-dunk contest on ESPN a few weeks back, and I asked my husband if he can dunk. He got the cutest look on his face and said, "No, absolutely not, but I think it is such a compliment that you even remotely thought I might be able to."

One of my cherished readers reminded me in an email that, despite the fact that we have encountered roadblocks trying to get pregnant, I have many things to be thankful for. She said that many people would give anything to have the marriage I have, let alone kids. And she's right. Since then, I tell my husband often that I'd rather have zero babies with him than five babies with anyone else.

I am lucky and happy, and I know it.

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March 19, 2008

OBAMINATION

What happened yesterday was an Obamination. (Sorry, I just really wanted to find a way to make that joke.)

Ace:

Madonna is "controversial," champ. Changing the opening theme to Monk was "controversial." The Patriots' SpyGate was "controversial."

This was vicious and vile anti-Americanism and racism and anti-semitism. If those things are, to you, merely "controversial," it seems you need a teachable moment or two, rather than presuming to fill us with "understanding."

Stanley Kurtz:

No, Obama does not fully agree with Jeremiah Wright, but the Democratic Party under Obama will be complacent about its Michael Moore wing. That’s why the MoveOn types are so excited about Obama. There will be plenty of the most left-leaning appointees staffing the federal bureaucracy and set into judgeships under Obama, and all of it will be smoothed over by speeches about national healing and understanding pain. Under Obama, the Michael Moore-MoveOn wing, far from being purged, will be in the catbird seat, and all because they’ve found the perfect spokesman.

Newt Gingrich:

So, here's question; if you knew a year ago that (Wright) was saying things so anti-American, so dishonest, so hateful, that you were going to have to disown him, then...why did you only disown him when it became such a big political issue? And if you thought what he was saying was false and wrong and to be condemned, why didn't you care enough for him to try to teach him the truth? I don't think he can have it both ways...

...if he can't give a different opinion to Reverend Wright, who he has known for 20 years, I sure don't want him visiting the dictator, Ahmadinejad, or visiting the younger Castro brother. ...This is a core question of character. How can you ask me to believe that this guy who has said he wants to visit Kim Jung-Il...(he thinks) the President of the United States ought to talk to anybody. He can't even talk to his own pastor?

Here's something really obvious that I haven't yet heard someone ask. Obama says that he wasn't in the pews when these things were being said. But he was friends with this pastor for 20 years. In all their personal talks after church or in their homes, these ideas never came up? Wright cares enough to get fired up on Sunday but not to mention his beef with the US when he's got a Senator's ear? I seriously doubt that. I mean, seriously. He screams and rants and shouts from the pulpit but never once brings his views up outside of church? Right. Obama knew his pastor was an angry racist and continued to be friends with him. Period.

Has Obama jumped the shark yet?

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MEN IN COMMERCIALS

This is so tangential to her post that I almost feel bad leaping off from it, but after Dr. Melissa Clouthier gives dating rules for women, she ends with this

This is a lot of rules, but what it comes down to, to me, is treating someone else the way you'd like to be treated. Men might be from Mars, but they're still humans. All the male-bashing that goes on is offensive. One of my least favorite commercials features a guy ordering a pizza which will come in 30 minutes. He asks his wife for sex and she bats her eyes and asks, "What are we going to do for the other 28 minutes?" It's meant to be funny, but it just seems like more of the same disparaging of men.

I too hate that commercial. I have also been meaning to say for a long time how much I hate that tax commercial where the husband is trying to use Turbo Tax or whatever and he's frustrated. And the wife comes up and says, "Maybe you could ask for help? Oh, that's right, you used a box." It is so condescending it makes my teeth grit just to write about it. Maybe you could sit down and figure out an insanely complicated tax code, you nagging cow. How dare you condescend your husband as he tries to save money for your family.

Nowadays I look at these commercials and wonder What Would Kim Do? ever since I read his masterpiece blog post on the issue. His least favorite commercial?

The scene opens at the morning breakfast table, where the two kids are sitting with Dad at the table, while Mom prepares stuff on the kitchen counter. The dialogue goes something like this:

Little girl (note, not little boy): Daddy, why do we eat Cheerios?
Dad: Because they contain fiber, and all sorts of stuff that’s good for the heart. I eat it now, because of that.
LG: Did you always eat stuff that was bad for your heart, Daddy?
Dad (humorously): I did, until I met your mother.
Mother (not humorously): Daddy did a lot of stupid things before he met your mother.

Now, every time I see that TV ad, I have to be restrained from shooting the TV with a .45 Colt. If you want a microcosm of how men have become less than men, this is the perfect example.

What Dad should have replied to Mommy’s little dig: Yes, Sally, that’s true: I did do a lot of stupid things before I met your mother. I even slept with your Aunt Ruth a few times, before I met your mother.

That’s what I would have said, anyway, if my wife had ever attempted to castrate me in front of the kids like that.

Commercials where the husband sucks abound, but one year Budweiser tried to turn the tables and made this as a Superbowl commercial:

Hmmm, apparently it wasn't too popular with the ladies. You mean you don't like being made to look a fool on TV commercials? That's funny, men take the abuse every day.

I will say that there is one husband/wife commercial that I do love: the Sonic ice cream mustache one. It makes me die laughing every time I see it. (Maybe you can only appreciate it if you have a lady mustache...)

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March 18, 2008

POLITICS AND CHURCH

I heard this in the car yesterday. Rush makes a good point:

Obama, by the way, is purposely campaigning on character, his character. He is a uniter, we need to get past the old visions, politics of the past, blah, blah, blah, blah, without ever providing evidence of that character. We haven't seen any evidence of the character. We've heard flowery speeches of nothing, delivered greatly. We don't see any evidence of the character. What we see is that this guy is surrounded by people who are constantly enraged, ticked off about everything, mostly their country. Now we see evidence of his character as exemplified by his choice of church, by his choice of reverend, and we're supposed to await proof of him being in the pews, when the worst of these things were spewed to the pews?

The double standard here is Mitt Romney. Here's a guy whose religion was trashed as a cult. The Drive-By Media did everything they could, there were some on the Republican side -- ahem -- no need to mention names now because they're no longer in the race, but they were out there trying to undermine Romney on the base of religion. Romney went out and gave a great speech in Texas about it. We're supposed to just look past this because Obama wasn't in the pews when the Reverend J. Wright was spewing this stuff to the people in the pews.

You remember that I read countless comment threads about Romney and people who wouldn't vote for him because he's Mormon. And there were always many comments about how Romney is racist because offical Mormon doctrine was racist up until 1978. And because he didn't denounce his church's policy or renounce his faith when blacks couldn't be members, they would not be able to vote for him.

So Romney was held personally responsible for church doctrine from 1978, but Obama doesn't have to answer for what his minister says last month if he wasn't actually in church that day.

Wow.

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LILEKS

You know, Lileks can make me choke up by saying the simplest of things. Raising kids, watching them grow up, remembering the days gone by, both hers and his. Sniff.

Incidentally, I used to watch Rolie Polie Olie when we lived in Germany. I was 28, I had no kids, but I watched it in the mornings when we had just gotten Charlie and his puppy-ness made him wake up at the crack of dawn. I watched the show just because of Lileks.

I have never met this man, but he has touched my life over the past five years and become a part of who I am. It's amazing that he's so dear to my heart, and yet he has no idea of my existence on this planet.

I dream about Lileks on occasion, and it's probably pretty accurate. He's always nice.

UPDATE:

Lileks makes me cry; Frank J makes me wet my pants. Go on, read it.

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LINK

The Girl sent me a link to the new issue of Stars and Stripes, marking the 5 year point in Iraq. I can't recommend enough that you go to the site and poke around.

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March 17, 2008

AT 19

Ever since Bubba said that I'd be lying if I thought I wasn't self-absorbed when I was 19, I have been trying to remember my life at 19. I managed to come up with a few things that I did that year as a freshman in college taking 34 credit hours. I belonged to a Big Sisters program and mentored a little girl. I took high schoolers on a mission trip to rebuild houses. I volunteered for a gay rights group. I ate lunch once a month with the Kiwanis Club. I raised money for the Crop Walk. I loaned a boy in my dorm $600 when he needed to get his car repaired. And I began knitting, starting with a baby blanket for a nice couple who'd struggled to have their first baby.

Was I less mature then than I am now? Of course. But would I have had the sense and common decency to know how to behave and grieve if someone got shot? Get real.

There are 19 year olds out there who have far more responsibility and maturity than I did at that age. Many of them are serving in the military. Some of them are even parents. Those young men and women don't deserve condescension.

Gunnar Becker gave his life for his country at 19. Self-absorbed? Not even close.

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SEEING GREEN

I donated these preemie hats to the hospital last week. Isn't the "kiss me" one cute? That was my mother-in-law's idea.

st patty.jpg

And happy birthday, Oda Mae!

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March 16, 2008

KNIT HAPPENS

You know what sucks? When you start a baby cardigan and then set it aside for about a month while you work on other things. Then you return to the cardigan and make the second front panel, only to find you used the wrong needle size. So you have a whole section made with size 3s instead of 4s. Oh, and despite the fact that you double-checked, you don't have enough yarn to finish the sleeves. Grrr.

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I DON'T GROK

Bubba Bo Bob Brain,

You have been reading my site now for at least three years, and I still can't figure you out. I can't remember a single time in all these years that you've ever left a comment saying you agree with me on anything. And I can't help but wonder what keeps you coming back. It can't be that you're trying to constructively offer opposing viewpoints, because you clearly come off as hostile and rude in most of your comments. You said once that you want to "expand my horizon," but don't you realize that when all your comments are negative, it gets so easy to tune you out? Haven't you heard of a compliment sandwich? Surely I must've said a few things over the past few years that you agree with, or think are funny, or seem logical. You never write on those posts; you just wait until you feel like cussing or calling me a liar. Or reminding me of how much smarter/better/wiser you are because you're older and have experienced stuff. It makes it way too easy to roll my eyes and move on.

Surely there is some reason that you've been coming here for years. I can't figure it out. The only way you'd ever make headway with me is to find some common ground to build on, so why do you think ranting about how I'm brainwashed or naive or a liar is going to make me come around to your arguments? You catch flies with honey, Bubba...

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March 15, 2008

LINK

An overwhelming piece on Obama by the Instapunk.

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March 14, 2008

WHY YOU?

I just watched a National Geographic special about the shooting of Ronald Reagan, and I got curious and started reading about Hinckley and Jodie Foster. I guess she doesn't like to talk about Hinckley, but she wrote a piece in 1982 called Why Me? about the event and its effect on her life.

Funny how she barely even mentions the people who got shot.

I mean, it's her story and she has every right to tell it in her way, but...how freaking self-absorbed. No, she shouldn't feel any real guilt that what happened to Reagan was her fault, because it certainly wasn't, but in a 5000-word article, she never once mentions how she feels that these men got shot? That's just freaking weird to me. It was all about her and how the media took away her privacy and how having her picture taken feels like being shot. Um, you know what feels like being shot? Being shot. Ask Reagan, Hinckley, Delahanty, and McCarthy.

Look, what happened to Foster is really scary. Some nut thought he was in love with her and decided to reenact Taxi Driver. That's spooky, and I can see how she'd be freaked out. But if some nut who loved me shot the president, I would be wringing my hands about the president, not about myself. Or I would at least mention him in the huge article I wrote about myself.

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March 12, 2008

BABY BOOM

I've been checking Angie's website every day waiting for the news, and it's finally come. Baby Boy #4 was born. Camo teddy #4 needs to get finished asap so he can join his teddy tank crew.

Congrats to Angie and family.

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CHANGE IS FOR THE BETTER TOO

ButterflyWife found a CNN article called Troops, families changed by 5 years of war. All of the stories are about changes for the worse: death, divorce, injury, depression. I thought I would like to add how my family's life has changed for the better.

I've been thinking about this ever since they were talking on the radio about how 9/11 changed people's lives. I blogged:

Today I started thinking that if 9/11 hadn't happened, my life would be quite different. My husband was slated to join the Army for four years of Finance. My guess is that he would've completed his commitment and taken his business mind elsewhere for more money. Certainly he wouldn't have stayed in and chosen to learn Farsi. We'd probably be somewhere in the Midwest, working and living like most of our peers.

I'm pretty sure my husband wouldn't be in the Army today if it weren't for Iraq. We also wouldn't be reading so many books on Iran and Arabs, there probably wouldn't be a SpouseBUZZ, and I never would've met any of my best friends.

Andi wrote a good post on the fifth anniversary of the Operation Iraqi Freedom. The story is a story of strength, of resolve, of commitment. That is what has changed in my life, for the better. Without Iraq, my husband's job would just be a job. Instead, it is more like a calling. In the CNN article, they talk about a chaplain:

When Etter himself returned on leave to Pennsylvania to officiate at the funeral of a close friend, he turned to his wife and said he wanted to go home.

"I said, `OK, get in the car. Let's go home,"' said Jodi Etter. "And you said, 'No, my home in Iraq. I just want to go home."'

When his tour was over, and he went with his wife to buy furniture for their new house in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, he had to remind himself that it was important to her -- even if it seemed trivial to him after the war.

I think they mean for this story to be a bad thing, but I don't see it that way. Our troops are invested in Iraq. They live their lives for a serious purpose, so yes, furniture is going to seem trivial. That's called Perspective. And my husband says all the time that he wants to return to Iraq to see this thing through. As an Army wife, you make a choice: when your husband says he'd rather be in Iraq on Valentine's Day, you can either be selfish and resent him, or you can be proud that your husband has such convictions and deeply cares about both the future of the US and the future of Iraq. I'm impressed that my husband would rather be "stuck hear n Irak" than safe and snug at home, and I'm proud of him for putting his country ahead of his family.

That's how we've changed in the past five years. If you'd asked me as a teen what the height of romance is, never in a million years would I have come up with the answer "having your husband wish he were in Iraq every Valentine's Day." But it is. Iraq has matured us, as a couple and as individuals. We read more, we think more, and we love more.

The chaplain goes on to say:

Now executive director of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Veterans Affairs, Etter says a deployment is like a magnifying glass.

"Personalities that are strong become stronger," he says. "Personalities which are weaker are made to become weaker."

We are better for having been to war.

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March 11, 2008

LONG WALK

In college I did something called a Crop Walk, where we walked 20 miles to raise money for hunger. It sucked. I will never forget how badly my feet hurt after walking 20 miles.

These guys from Resolve to Win are walking from SC to DC to show support for the troops. Hot dog, that's a long walk. I hope their feet fare better than mine did!

If you're in the DC area, these walkers deserve a hearty welcome when they arrive.

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SO MAD I CAN BARELY BREATHE

I have never hated the Army as much as I hate them right now.

The time my husband got turned down for Civil Affairs because Finance wouldn't release him comes close, but even then I was more sad than mad.

I can't explain many of the details, but Civil Affairs units go to more places than Iraq and Afghanistan. And one of the places they're going, it would be the perfect assignment for my husband. He is more qualified to go there than anyone else who is going there. But the Army is so fracking stupid that they don't consider merit in placing people. They just deal 'em out like a deck of cards and let the chips fall where they may. So they end up with Arabic speakers going to Afghanistan, French speakers going to Iraq, and Farsi speakers staying home on Rear fricking D.

Today was already a really disappointing day, but this just sealed the deal. I don't know whether I want to scream or cry. Or puke.

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TABLE TENNIS CLUB

If you've read my 100 Things post, you know that I am one of the, oh, ten women in the United States who doesn't like the British accent. That said, I can't get enough of listening to Pat Condell, accent and all. Most of you have probably seen his youtube rant called The Trouble With Islam. His new video, Appeasing Islam, is good as well. And I just love the line "If only they'd had a table tennis club": perfect delivery.

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March 10, 2008

AFW's GONNA LIKE THIS ONE

I was laughing out loud at Mark Steyn's article today. I'm copying a big chunk of it in case it disappears, because it is too good not to have archived:

As Ali Gallagher, a white female (sorry, this identity-politics labeling is contagious) from Texas, told the Washington Post: "A friend of mine, a black man, said to me, 'My ancestors came to this country in chains; I'm voting for Barack.' I told him, 'Well, my sisters came here in chains and on their periods; I'm voting for Hillary.'"

When everybody's a victim, nobody's a victim. Poor Ms. Gallagher can't appreciate the distinction between purely metaphorical chains and real ones, or even how offensive it might be to assume blithely that there's no difference whatsoever.

On the other hand, Barack's ancestors didn't come here in chains, either: His mother was a white Kansan, so was presumably undergoing menstrual hell with the Gallagher gals, and his dad was a black man a long way away in colonial Kenya. Indeed, Obama would be the first son of a British subject to serve as president since those slaveholding types elected in the early days of the republic. As some aggrieved black activist sniffed snootily on TV, Barack isn't really an "African American" – unless by "African American," you mean somebody whose parentage is half-American and half-African, and let's face it, no one would come up with so cockamamie a definition as that.

As for victims, you have to feel sorry for John Edwards. He was born in a mill. He weighed 1.6 pounds and what did his dad get? Another day older and deeper in debt. John spent most of the 19th century as a spindly 7-year-old sweep with rickets, cleaning chimneys in Dickensian London until Fagin spotted him and trained him up as a trial lawyer. And it worked swell in the 2004 primary but it counted for nothing this time round because, even with all that soot on his face, he's still a white boy.

Bill Richardson was the first Hispanic candidate but nobody needs a Hispanic called "Bill Richardson." Hillary assumed she'd be the last identity-politician standing in a field of bouffant poseurs like Joe Biden, only to discover that by the time she got to the final round the Democratic primary process had descended to near-parody – or, as The New York Times headline put it, a "Duel Of Historical Guilts."

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