February 15, 2009

BABY MAMA

Last night the husband and I watched the movie Baby Mama. We had thought about seeing it for a long time but we weren't sure if it would make us laugh or make us depressed. It turns out that it made me laugh until about the last ten minutes. Then I hated it, choked back tears, and wanted to strangle someone.

Spoiler alert: I am gonna talk about the end of this movie. more...

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February 14, 2009

I ALMOST FORGOT WHAT DAY IT IS

I can't believe it's been five years since my husband left for Iraq the first time. What a Valentine's Day that was.

We're not much for celebrating the 14th, but there are two things we do every year.

One, we sing this.
Two, we watch this.

Happy Valentine's Day, husband. I still choo-choo-choose you.

valshat.jpg

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February 13, 2009

SPENDING

You know that 1% retail gain in January? I think that was my husband and I. Since my husband is having two deployment years in a row, and since the stock market is in the toilet, there's no sense in hiding money in Roths or TSP. So we've been spending it like it's going out of style. My husband got a bunch of stuff that he needs for SERE and for the next deployment (He's an "operator" now, which apparently means he needs a bunch of stuff that the Army won't provide.) I decided to live in the now by doing two things I've wanted to do for a while: I bought an elliptical machine to make good on my promise to start exercising, and I bought a plane ticket to go visit CaliValleyGirl and finally meet her baby.

Spending is kinda fun; no wonder other people do it so often.

UPDATE:

I said to my husband, "Oh, I also should've put that we paid off our car." And he joked in a cartoonish announcer voice, "Freeing up capital for someone else!" Heh. We're doing what we can to help the ecominy.

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DOING SOMETHING"

At least we're doing something. What a hollow statement. We don't have any idea if it will work, but at least we look like we care about the problem.

Seriously, everything coming out of DC these days sounds like it could've been dialogue from Atlas Shrugged.

And the Wesley Mouches of the world waste our money...

(via David)

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February 12, 2009

STRESSED

Yes, the timestamp on this entry is correct. I've developed a terrible new habit: I wake up every night around 4 AM to fret. I have been awake for an hour now, so stressed out that I don't know whether to cry or throw up.

My husband leaves for SERE school on Monday. A few days later, I will find out whether I am pregnant. If I am, I won't be able to tell him for two and a half weeks. But the more likely scenario, obviously, is that I am not, in which case I will have to do the next fertility round by myself a day or two before he gets home. Thus, I will have to pick up my husband from SERE and drive him straight home for babymaking. The thought of forcing the situation the day he finishes being beaten and starved makes me sick to my stomach...but so does the thought of skipping a cycle when we have precious few left.

So I lie in bed fretting and stressing every single night. I'm back at the Choose Your Own Adventure stage.

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YES, IT DOES SUCK

I am going to do short book reviews on everything I read this year during The George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge, but I couldn't wait to discuss this one. I read the book Infertility Sucks, and it is hilarious. Even though I haven't had to do IVF (yet), I could relate to everything in this book. And I have to quote you my favorite part:

Mr. and Mrs. Lifesabich, this is obviously not working out for you. Have you tried prenatal vitamins, valerian root, baby aspirin, changing doctors, standing on your head after sex, standing on your head during sex, exercising, not exercising, praying, having sex on Friday nights, trying a doctor in New York, trying a doctor in Colorado, increasing your medication doses and wearing boxer shorts?
Good, very good. Keep up the good work. Stay optimistic. Keep communicating with each other. Keep up on the latest research. Get to the pharmacy on time. Make sure your health insurance is up to date. Don't miss any doctor's appointments, even on the weekends. Make sure you've had all the necessary tests. Try not to miss too much work; you need to save up those parental leave days, just in case. And above all, don't forget to relax. That's very important.

Ha!

And in googling for the book link, I came across a funny list of what not to say. I was just thinking about this yesterday when I remembered that I forgot to mention someone on my post of people I'm grateful to have in my infertile life. A girl I know here in town went through fertility treatments unsuccessfully a few years ago. She always asks how I'm doing and listens to me talk, and she never comments. Nothing optimistic, nothing pessimistic. She just says, "I know, girl, I know." Once she explained that she purposely doesn't say anything because she hated every single thing that every other person said to her during the process. So she just says nothing. I respect and appreciate that.

There's some decent advice in the comments on this blog post for what to say if you have a friend who's struggling to have a baby. But I recommend buying this book! As long as your friend is a little irreverent, she will love this book.

And I thank my dear friend for recommending it to me.

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February 11, 2009

WITHOUT AN ACCORDION

A friend sent me this article -- U.S., France discuss Afghan war, avoid troops issue -- and told me to pay special attention to the last paragraph.

I dare you not to laugh when you read it.

[French Defense Minister] Morin has repeatedly said there are no plans to add to France's 2,800 soldiers [in Afghanistan], which make it the fourth-largest contributor to the operation after the United States, Britain and Germany.

"France's effort counts for more than just the number of men on the ground, first of all because they are better than the others," Morin said at a joint news conference with Petraeus after their meeting.

Bwhahahaha.

Now is the time to quote Jed Babbin:

Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without an accordion. You just leave a lot of useless noisy baggage behind.

OMG, how absolutely French is that?

I sure as shootin' hope he didn't include American soldiers in the "others" that the French are better than.

Hahaha. Oh France, you make my sides hurt.

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February 09, 2009

PAIN IN THE NECK GUESTS

As I was working today, I thought back to another quote from that Wal-Mart article that resonated with me:

As I patrolled the aisles, repositioning misplaced items and filling gaps in the shelves, I realized that Wal-Mart "guests" really are like guests. They are visitors who move things around and create a mess before they go home. Cleaning up after them was not very different from doing housework.

I've never been one to shove items where they don't belong, but now that it's my job to un-shove, I am even more diligent about it while shopping at other stores. I make sure to take unwanted items right back where I found them.

I spend a lot of my time putting stuff where it belongs. It never ceases to amaze me that I can almost hear a shopper's inner monologue: "I want to buy this purple yarn...(walks around the corner)...No, wait, I want this purple yarn...I'll just shove the three balls of other purple here, whatever." I am constantly pulling purple out of green and green out of orange, all day long. And taking cake decorating and beading supplies back to their own parts of the store.

It's ridiculous how many people just drop stuff wherever they are in the store.

Oh, and also how I spent two hours of my Christmas Eve making a pirate ship that was manhandled and destroyed within days of putting it on the shelf.

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PAIN IN THE NECK GUESTS

As I was working today, I thought back to another quote from that Wal-Mart article that resonated with me:

As I patrolled the aisles, repositioning misplaced items and filling gaps in the shelves, I realized that Wal-Mart "guests" really are like guests. They are visitors who move things around and create a mess before they go home. Cleaning up after them was not very different from doing housework.

I've never been one to shove items where they don't belong, but now that it's my job to un-shove, I am even more diligent about it while shopping at other stores. I make sure to take unwanted items right back where I found them.

I spend a lot of my time putting stuff where it belongs. It never ceases to amaze me that I can almost hear a shopper's inner monologue: "I want to buy this purple yarn...(walks around the corner)...No, wait, I want this purple yarn...I'll just shove the three balls of other purple here, whatever." I am constantly pulling purple out of green and green out of orange, all day long. And taking cake decorating and beading supplies back to their own parts of the store.

It's ridiculous how many people just drop stuff wherever they are in the store.

Oh, and also how I spent two hours of my Christmas Eve making a pirate ship that was manhandled and destroyed within days of putting it on the shelf.

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WALMART

Charles Platt Goes Undercover At Wal-Mart

Interesting article about working at Wal-Mart. And this paragraph:

[An employee] was invited to corporate HQ as a guest at a management conference. "It was totally different from what I expected," he told us. "I thought it would be these fatcats talking about money, but no one even mentioned money. All they cared about was finding new ways to satisfy customers. I met everyone including the chairman of the company."

reminded me of this quote from the movie Sabrina, which I blogged about some months ago:

What's money got to do with it? If making money were all there was to business, it'd hardly be worthwhile going to the office. Money is a by-product.

And this thought bears repeating:

To my mind, the real scandal is not that a large corporation doesn't pay people more. The scandal is that so many people have so little economic value. Despite (or because of) a free public school system, millions of teenagers enter the work force without marketable skills.

(Thanks, David.)

UPDATE:

David Foster wanted to post a comment, but neither of us can figure out why it's getting rejected. So I'm just gonna stick it here:

I agree that there should be more emphasis on vocational education...but we need to be realistic that as things are, people without college degrees may do very well for a while but are eventually likely to see their progress halted by lack of the piece of paper. For instance, someone might learn to operate and program CNC machine tools and make a very good living doing so. He might even be promoted to department foreman. BUT, when it comes time to pick a new plant General Manager, the job will almost certainly go to someone with a college degree.

The education cartel exercises such a dominant influence on our society that it is hard to see how we can ever force it to relax its grip.

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February 07, 2009

A SAFE ZONE

I didn't see Jay Nordlinger's My Kingdom For a Safe Zone when it came out, but I just saw that Varifrank linked to it. The stories are all too familiar, but the very last one is just abominable.

My personal philosophy is to always assume that I'm surrounded by Democrats. I never assume that someone agrees with me until I have it 100% confirmed, on his initiative. And even then, I am quite reluctant to go the full nine yards.

Only once have I heard a conservative make me uncomfortable in public like this. I was at my knitting group and a woman stopped by to see what we were doing. We told her we knit for preemies, and she remarked that she couldn't believe how tiny the little caps are. And then she said, "These babies can be born so small and still survive, and that's why I am pro-life." She continued talking for several seconds about abortion, and my eyes were like saucers. I am screaming in my head, "What are you doing, lady? Why do you assume that people want to have this conversation in the middle of a yarn store? Don't you realize you're being confrontational and controversial?" I found it horrifying, in the exact same way as when random tourists on the Vegas monorail blab on about Bush.

Despite the fact that I was sitting with a group of elderly women who knit for charity, I have never assumed that they are conservative or pro-life. I always assume that they disagree with me and that I should keep my mouth shut.

Sadly, these clods Nordlinger's readers wrote about haven't gotten the hint.

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February 06, 2009

LIKE A WHALE BIOLOGIST

Tom Coburn was on fire this week:

We are going to spend $448 million to build the Department of Homeland Security a new building. We have $1.3 trillion worth of empty buildings right now, and because it has been blocked in Congress we can't sell them, we can't raze them, we can't do anything, but we are going to spend money on a new building here in Washington. We are going to spend another $248 million for new furniture for that building; a quarter of a billion dollars for new furniture. What about the furniture the Department of Homeland Security has now? These are tough times. Should we be buying new furniture? How about using what we have? That is what a family would do. They would use what they have. They wouldn't go out and spend $248 million on furniture.

He rants about all the stupid crap that's in the stimulus bill. Another little funny line:

We have $75 million for smoking cessation activities, which probably is a great idea, but we just passed a bill—the SCHIP bill—that we need to get 21 million more Americans smoking to be able to pay for that bill. That doesn't make sense.

Seriously, read the whole thing. And feel your head explode.

UPDATE:

See also 50 De-Stimulating Facts.

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BOGGING DOWN THE SYSTEM

I grew up in a state that didn't require vehicle inspections. This is a new and highly annoying process for me. I just sat for an hour and a half so they could tell me that my three year old car isn't a safety or environmental hazard. What a surprise. And I got to pay $30 for the pleasure...and I go back on Monday with our other car.

All that waiting was giving me flashbacks to the emergency room last Friday. There was one story I haven't yet told from that night.

I decided to go to the emergency room because it was a Friday night. If it had been any other day of the week, I would've waited it out and called the next day for advice. But since I already had the procedure booked and needed to know if I should continue with the meds or stop, and since I know someone who nearly died from Clomid complications, I decided to play it safe.

It's darn near impossible not to eavesdrop on other people in the emergency room. All that separates you is a curtain, so all night long my husband and I were also privy to the medical business of the patient next to us. I am not going to reveal any details, but their presence was baffling and a tad infuriating.

The gist is that the daughter had a chronic problem that had been happening for months. The parents were separated and the mother was "too lazy" to make the kid an appointment. The dad said that he works here in the hospital and had asked colleagues about his daughter's problem, but since it persisted, they wanted to have it checked out.

On a Friday night. In the ER.

There was no emergency, no sudden change in her condition that made them feel that treatment was necessary, nothing like that. This dad just brought his three kids in to spend the night in the ER. My husband and I were there for eight hours, until 5 AM, and this family had arrived before us and was still there when we left.

That is not an emergency.

This family was clogging up the ER and making me and, more importantly, other people with more pressing problems wait longer. They were sapping resources. If you work in the hospital, can't you find the time to make an appointment for your daughter? Why are you taking care of a child's chronic health problem in the middle of the night on a Friday?

Because you don't have to pay anything either way, that's why.

Why make a regular doctor's appointment during the week, and have to ask for time off work and take the kid out of school, when you could just bring everyone to camp out in the ER all night. There is no cost difference, so it's just easier to do it off hours.

No wonder it took me so long to be seen. And I feel even worse for the guy with the gall stones; he really would've liked to have been treated faster.

I am sure that this family isn't the only one of its kind. They bog down the system for all of us. A problem that's been going on for three months is not something that requires ER care on a weekend. Make a normal appointment and free up that ER doctor for someone who really needs him.

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February 05, 2009

WOW

My buddy at Daily Koan found an awesome aerial photo of Obama's inauguration.

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I UNQUIT MY JOB

I was joking with Amritas and David the other day that I have found the secret to workplace productivity: Hire people who don't need the money and then tell them that they can go home when they finish all their work.

My managers wanted me to stay on at the store so badly that they offered me whatever I want...except money. I said I would stay on if I could work one day a week and only do things that are fun. Amazingly, they agreed.

There were some parts of my job that I really liked, like organizing the yarn section. I love doing that; I would do it for free. I like to see how quickly I can do it. On Monday, I shelved all the new yarn in 24 minutes. I was sweating and puffing by the end.

And, absurdly enough, I have grown fond of making those foam houses. Now that I have several of them under my belt, I automatically know what will and won't work, and I just glue-gun the hell out of it and go to town. (I made an Easter castle today, and I was just thrilled that it didn't have any butterflies on it. They are the worst.)

So I am staying on to work one day a week, sorting yarn and doing crafts. And I go home when I'm done with my tasks. I'm cool with that.

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"A SOLUTION TO WHAT?"

David from Rishon Rishon sent me a link to a Michael Totten post called A Minority Report From the West Bank and Gaza. I thought the most interesting part was the Q&A session. Excerpt:

General Tom McInerney, Fox News Military Analyst: Is there a solution to this problem?

Khaled Abu Toameh: You Americans are always asking us that. Why are Americans always asking me if there is a solution? A solution to what?

Michael J. Totten: The whole thing.

Khaled Abu Toameh: What is the whole thing?

Anthony Cordesman: Is there anything useful that could be done this year?

Khaled Abu Toameh: Listen. Look. We must stop dreaming about the New Middle East and coexistence and harmony and turning this area into Hong Kong and Singapore. If anyone thinks a Palestinian will wake up in the morning and sing the Israeli national anthem, that's not going to happen. If anyone thinks an Israeli Jew will go back to doing his shopping in downtown Ramallah or to see his dentist in Bethlehem or eat fish in Gaza City, that's not going to happen. There has been a total divorce between Jews and Palestinians. We don't want to see each other.

I think that's good. Separation is good. Separation doesn't need harmony and coexistence. Forget about that. That's not going to happen. Let's focus on managing the conflict. Instead of talking about real peace, let's first of all try to stop the violence, reduce the level of bloodshed, and maybe that will pave the way for future peace. The only solution now is total separation between these two communities. Israel should not be involved in the internal affairs of the Palestinians, but at the same time Israel has the right to look after its own security. They should disengage from the Palestinians completely and tell them, “Listen, folks. Don't mess around with us anymore. We're going to strike back if you fire rockets at us. And if you want to have Hamas, Fatah, or whomever, go and do it over there without our help.” That's the only way. I don't see a real peace emerging over here. We should stop talking about it.

The whole thing is definitely worth reading. And it reminds me that the husband and I were talking about donating money to Totten a while back...gotta do that.

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CLOUDING THE ISSUE WITH THE FACTS

From John Stossel's We Can't Spend Our Way to Prosperity:

We should be suspicious when politicians, economists and the media declare a "consensus" and marginalize dissent. President Obama says, "There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy."

That's not true. Last week, the Cato Institute ran a full-page newspaper ad signed by more than 200 economists, including Nobel laureates stating:

"We the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's 'lost decade' in the 1990s ... Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth."

Doesn't that sound remarkably like global warming? There's no debate, everyone agrees, blahdy blah, and meanwhile the peanut gallery is saying that actually they don't agree.

My father is fond of saying, "Don't cloud up the issue with the facts." How fitting.

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LINKS

Jonah Goldberg, Democrats are hypocrites when it comes to paying taxes:

When moralizing conservatives get caught, say, cheating on their wives or challenging stall mates to robust Greco-Roman wrestling in airport bathrooms, liberals justifiably howl at the hypocrisy of it all (even though conservative moralizing has no teeth, while the IRS has agents with guns). When liberals fail to pay taxes -- the wellspring of a just society -- it's merely, to borrow an old phrase from Daschle, "sad and disappointing," but ultimately not that big a deal.

When he was still running the Democratic Party, Howard Dean made fighting hypocrisy his top priority. "Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced by the Republican Party. We get lectured by people all day long about moral values by people who have their own moral shortcomings."

Well, I hear a lot of lecturing from Democrats about why I should be ashamed for not liking taxes more because "the children" need it.

John Eberhard, The Liberal Mind, Part 1:

“An extensive survey by the Pew Research Center found that three out of four Republicans believe that people can get ahead by working hard. Four out of five believe that everyone has the power to succeed. But Democrats have much less faith in the value of hard work. Only 14 percent believe that people can get ahead by working hard, according to the survey. And only 44 percent believe that everyone has the power to succeed. This is not a case of ‘rich’ Republicans believing one thing and ‘poor’ Democrats another. Even when you compare Republicans and Democrats of the same income, the gap still exists.”

“What this means is that many modern liberals believe differences in wealth are a result of dumb luck rather than hard work and a diligent attitude. It should therefore not be surprising that according to one scientific survey, liberals are two and a half times as likely to play the lottery or gamble in the hope of getting rich.”

This fact is incredible, and very revealing. 75% of Republicans believe you can get ahead by working hard, compared to 14% for Democrats. 86% of Democrats don’t believe that hard work allows you get ahead! The book also quotes many leading liberals in stating that the idea that you should work hard is “ridiculous,” a “seductive myth,” a “profoundly conservative, if not reactionary agenda,” and that the game is “rigged.”

[both links via CG]

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February 04, 2009

HA

The funniest Dining In story ever. (Lots of naughty language)

UPDATE:

When I took that one year of ROTC, I couldn't attend the Dining In because I was performing in a play that weekend. Apparently I missed out on a roaring good time, because afterwards it was decreed that there would be no more alcohol served at Dining Ins in the future. The husband says it was pretty crazy.

In Dining Out news, when the husband and I were first married, they made all the wives come up and drink from the grog bowl. I thought it would be oh-so-funny to go last, and instead of taking a little sip and making a horrible face like the other wives, I wanted to grab the cup, chug the whole thing, and walk away without blinking. And I did, and it was funny...until I spent the rest of the night puking in the 3 Putt Willie's parking lot.

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HEH

Tom Elia at The New Editor:

At the dawn of the Obama Administration we have witnessed: four high-level appointees blow up over various issues, tax and otherwise (Richardson, Daschel, and Killefer get axed; Geitner stays); the appointment of at least 12 lobbyists to positions in the Administration -- in direct contradiction of campaign promises; a pork-laden economic stimulus bill without precedent in US history; and the reversal of campaign positions concerning controversial policies like rendition.

The first couple of weeks of the Obama Administration has simply reinforced my stated belief that the Obama campaign and subsequent election represents the biggest, most successful political con of my lifetime.

(via Instapundit)

And a hilarious comment from JorgXMcKie:

Democrats remind me of the old story about a baseball player-manager who pulled his right fielder from the game after the right fielder had dropped two fly balls.

The manager put himself in right field, and promptly dropped three fly balls. When he returned to the bench he yelled at the player he had replaced, "See!! You screwed it up so bad nobody can play right field."

I expect to hear this over and over and over and over and over [...] as Obama screws up over and over and over and over and over.

Heh.

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