May 18, 2007


A couple of really kind people came up to me at the Milblogs Conference to tell me I was articulate. (Sadly, no one thought to comment on how clean I am.) But I just watched the video interview Mary Katherine Ham put together, and I must say I don't see it. I seriously think I need some botox to stop the horrible contortions my face makes when I speak. Ugh, I look ridiculous. Do I look like that all the time when I talk?

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Over the weekend at SpouseBUZZ Live, I sat in on a seminar on how to start your own blog. One of the wives asked if it was possible to set her new blog to private so only her friends and family could see it. We bloggers all paused: of course it's possible to do that, but as I sat in the audience surrounded by ArmyWifeToddlerMom, airforcewife and her husband, and with CaliValleyGirl glued to my hip, we all wondered why on earth you'd want to.

When I have childrearing questions, do you think I call people from my real life? Nope, I call ArmyWifeToddlerMom. When I had military questions during deployment, Bunker Mulligan was my man. Amritas helps with linguistics, Deskmerc helps with physics, and Annika is the go-to for all things Goldie Hawn.

It is so strange, this my need of you.

CaliValleyGirl told this wife in the audience that setting her blog to private would effectively cut off her chances of finding a best friend. The thing is, we know more about our blog friends than we usually do about people in our real lives. I follow ArmyWifeToddlerMom's parenting life far more closely than even my neighbors'. I know my blog friends' likes and dislikes before we've ever met in person. When The Girl showed up in Germany, she knew everything about me before I ever picked her up at her hotel. When I asked CaliValleyGirl at the Milblogs Conference if she was surprised we were getting along so well, she shrugged and replied that she was not surprised at all because she already knew she liked me.

I thought about this weekend's conversation a lot this week as I read about the Lileks family's trip to Disneyworld. I have read The Bleat nearly every single day since Jan. 23, 2004. I know everything that's happened to him over the past three years, and I know far more about his life than any of my real world friends' lives. He is my friend, whether he knows it or not, and if he ever set his blog to private I would weep like a baby.

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May 08, 2007


This was so awesome. AWTM pointed out that there's footage online from last year's Milblogs Conference. I loved watching this: Talking to Somebody Without Talking to Anybody

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May 07, 2007


I wasn't exactly sure what we should expect as panel speakers, so in typical plan-ahead fashion, I wrote up something to say in case I needed to explain why family blogging is important. I didn't give this speech per se, but I did manage to work most of these points into my time on the panel. I thought I'd share my planned speech with you in case you're interested.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I write at trying to grok. I have a hate site dedicated to me, a guy who pokes fun at me for being the #1 War Cheerleader. At first I was not so pleased about this site, but eventually I realized that my role here is indeed war cheerleader, so I may as well be #1, right?

I think in some ways a being a war cheerleader is harder than being a soldier. The military wife faces her husbandÂ’s mortality on a daily basis. I came to terms with the thought of my own death long ago, and itÂ’s far easier to face than the death of my husband. IÂ’d rather go to war myself than send my husband, even though I canÂ’t run 2 miles in under 6 days and about the most discomfort I can handle is banging my funny bone.

A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine from high school returned from a Special Forces deployment. Once he was safely home, I breathed a sigh of relief and mentioned to my husband that every time I emailed my buddy in the final days of his deployment to make plans for dinner when he returned, I felt a tinge of dread, that feeling of “what if he doesn’t come home to eat this chicken parmesan”, as if the mere act of making plans for his return would invoke The Power of the Jinx, as milblogger Tim elegantly described when CPT Patti was in Baghdad. My husband looked at me incredulously and said, “Did you really worry he might not come home?” as if the thought had never occurred to him.

I pointed out to my husband something that every servicemember needs to remember when he thinks of his family back home. WeÂ’ve never been to Iraq or Afghanistan. We donÂ’t know what itÂ’s like. We imagine the worst, and our mental war zone would probably seem cartoonish to you. But we simply canÂ’t fully grasp what war is like. And while you know when youÂ’re safe or bored or having a slow day, we donÂ’t. Many times you can see danger coming if you have to go on a mission and you can emotionally prepare yourself to let slip the dogs of war; we have to stay emotionally prepared for the entire deployment, never sure of when your mortality is on the line. Your deployment is filled with the ebb and flow of adrenaline; your life is monotonous days punctuated by moments of anxiety or excitement; our adrenaline is always half-on, since every moment that weÂ’re not on the phone with you is a moment when youÂ’re possibly in danger. Such is the life for those on the homefront, those who stand and wait. Such is the life my husband canÂ’t begin to understand, any more than I can really understand his.

So IÂ’ve decided IÂ’m taking the insult back. I wear the title of #1 War Cheerleader with pride, for itÂ’s one of the toughest jobs in the Army.

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In case mine is the only milblog you read, I too will sum up the Milblogs Conference. We started with a very special guest speaker to address the gathering of milbloggers. Yep, President Bush sent a pre-recorded statement for us. The crowd went wild and everyone was snapping photos of the big screen. You can see W's speech to milbloggers here. Next we got to VTC with Admiral Fox in Iraq, Blackfive read an email from General Petraeus and a letter from Senators Coleman, Coburn, and DeMint, and the conference was underway. Never let it be said that bloggers don't matter.

I can't even begin to sum up all that was said on the panels. RedState has a great liveblog you should read to get the gist. I did try to make mental notes of topics I'd like to address further, and I plan to work on those posts over the next few days. I also plan to work on tidying up a few things I said on my panel. As I joked over the weekend, we bloggers deal in print, and there were a few times on the panel that I really wished I had my backspace key. I think I flubbed some points along the way, so I'd like to write a few posts clearing up some things I said when my mouth was moving faster than my brain.

The highlight of the weekend was meeting people I've known for years. SGT Hook was nothing like I expected, but I'll be darned if he's not better than I could've hoped for. I am trying to figure out how to arrange a play-date for Hook and Tim, since I think they'd get along swimmingly. It was so exciting to meet people like Teresa and Tammi, two awesome ladies who definitely ate their veggies growing up. And I think I've developed a major blog crush on Mary Katherine Ham. Chuck Z is nuts, Patti Patton-Bader is the warmest person on the planet, and Blackfive is more than just the talking head who's constantly on my TV these days. I also loved meeting the Lurkers, and it was jawdropping that a non-blogger would fly from Arizona just to meet all us buffoons.

And I have to say a little something about my darling bunkmate. I had met CaliValleyGirl in person before, but only briefly. Nonetheless, we settled in like we'd been friends for years. And hell, I guess we have. But she's even more perfect in person than she is on the phone, and I marveled at my Alabama Worley feeling all weekend, "that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: 'You're so cool. You're so cool. You're so cool.'"

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May 06, 2007


I'm home from DC, exhausted and full of stuff to say. I promise to say it all tomorrow.

One of my awesome Lurkers (thanks for breakfast!) suggested that I put up a sort of "Best Of" list with some links to typical grok posts in case I have any new readers after the conference. I invite anyone who's here for the first time to check out my In a Nutshell post on the sidebar to learn more about me. If you want more, may I suggest scrolling down the sidebar to my "Tooting My Own Horn" list for a handful of older posts.

Oh, and if you're still confused about the title of my blog, see here.

Posted by: Sarah at 01:41 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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