August 29, 2009


I have been trying to log in here since I got back from Nebraska with no luck.  I have no idea why it didn't work or why all of a sudden it worked again, but if I disappear for another long chunk of time, at least you'll know why.

So Charlie and I loaded up and headed west again with my mother, across the plains to Nebraska to visit AWTM.  I love this part of the country; it makes my heart sing.  From Ohio to Nebraska, there isn't a piece of highway that isn't beautiful.  AWTM is right: it's the sky.  It's seeing sky and clouds and corn as far as your eyes can take you.  It's seeing clearly where you've been and where you're going.

Sadly, western Iowa won the Plains Off this year, because it was the only stretch of the drive where we didn't have rain.  My plains were dismal this week.

We arrived and picked up the kids from school.  They are both charming as can be.  Pink Ninja decided she was in love with Charlie and wanted to become a tibetan terrier and marry him.

Sir Rowland was very cute too, and spent most of his time asking me about Rokenbok, which I know nothing about.  He built an elevator while I was visiting, complete with shaft and pulley system.  And while he had no intentions of proposing marriage, he seemed to warm to Charlie too.

The next day, AWTM and I tried to do the entire city in a day.  We went to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.  We didn't realize that rotating exhibits means that only a fraction of the quilts are on show at any given time.  There just wasn't much to see.  So we moved on to the National Roller Skating Museum.  AWTM wrote about it here.

We also decided to take one photo of ourselves everywhere and just run with what we got.  No do-overs.

We could've used a couple do-overs.

Next was lunch at a down-home ma and pa restaurant.  Taters and gravy and rolls and, at the end, pie.  Er, wait, this is a Hillbilly Travelogue.  I meant to say we ate pah.  Peach cream pah, to be exact.

Then we headed to the Capitol.  The only unicameral one in the 50 states, you know.  And perhaps the only one built without incurring any debt.  Good for them; I already want to move to Nebraska just for that reason.  You will too, once you read this article:

Nebraska shuns all long-term financial commitments, not just for retirement benefits. The state has no debt. Its Constitution forbids it.

One thing Nebraska does have: A balanced $3.5 billion budget and a $563 million cash reserve.

That should be in the String Beans song.

The entrance to the Capitol is nothing to get excited about, so I wondered why exactly AWTM was making such a big deal of taking me there for a tour.  I found out once we rode the elevator up to the main level.

It was the art.


So many types of art in so many styles.  All of it depicting the plains and Nebraska.  It was beautiful.

My favorite:

And this series reminded me of Objectivism.  Can't you just see this one, depicting the 'labors of the mind' on the cover of an Ayn Rand book?

Beautiful.  The Capitol was totally worth it.

AWTM wore me out and felt terrible about it.  But it was a lot of fun, and I slept like a log when I got home.

Oh, and because this is a Hillbilly Travelogue, I have to end with random pictures of a dog.

Charlie didn't really know where to sit in AWTM's car...

And he did such a good job tolerating Pink Ninja's hugs and tugs the whole time.  I grow more confident that he will be a good doggy to our little girl too.

Thank you, AWTM, for sharing your home and your state with me.  I traveled 1300 miles in a car to get to you...and it was worth every backache and pain.

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August 25, 2009


I made my way even further west this week and am now sitting in AWTM's living room, watching her daughter give Charlie pigtails and her son build with his rokenbok blocks.

More later.

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June 30, 2009


Worlds have collided: my husband met Chuck Z tonight.

We only got to see them for a short time, but we're hoping to see them again before the end of the week.

Also, the Z daughter is wicked adorable.  I want a head-to-head Cute Off between her and Pink Ninja.

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June 22, 2009


The other day the hotel phone rang.  My husband answered and started chatting, and I figured it was his dad calling.  After a while, I started to think it maybe wasn't his dad but I couldn't figure out who it could be.

It was Chuck Z.

Chuck had decided to do something nice for us while we were here in Vegas, something he would like to do if he were here.  He wanted to get us races at Pole Position, the indoor go-kart raceway.

Totally unexpected and cool.

Also it was funny to hear my husband talking on the phone with Chuck like they've known each other for a while, when they've never actually met.  Although my husband does call Chuck my "internet boyfriend," so I guess that makes them practically related.

So today we went to Pole Position.  I assumed Chuck had gotten us one race, but no, he had sprung for two races and t-shirts for both of us as well!  I felt bad about him doing so much for us, but it turned out to be a good thing to have two races.

The race consists of nine laps in a car that goes up to 45 mph.  Your first lap is a practice lap to get you oriented, and then they kick the cars up to high gear and you're off.  Only my car didn't respond.  I was flooring my gas pedal and people were passing me on straightaways.  I didn't get why 45 mph seemed so sluggish.  Then all of a sudden on the fifth lap, my car leapt into gear!  I jerked forward and nearly crashed into a wall.  I realized my car had been goofed up.

Luckily I had a second race to redeem myself.  I decided to consider the first race a practice shot to learn the curves and not feel so nervous, because I was in fact terrified that I would crash, or cause a crash, or hit someone, or overall make a fool of myself.  So one slow race in the beginning was a blessing in disguise.  And my second fast race was fun!

Chuck (and Mrs Z), thank you for treating us to a fun activity that we misers wouldn't have done on our own.  We had a great time, and you really shouldn't have.  We hope to make it up to you with dinner when you pass through town on your PCS journey.

And we're throwing a little change in the Valour-IT pot for good measure.

Chuck is one heck of an internet boyfriend.

And I can't even say how wholeheartedly I wish him a Happy Alive Day...

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June 19, 2009


You know you're a blogging family when your husband points at something on vacation and says you should take a photo of it and circle the Area Of Concern.

Dude, there are so many areas of concern in Vegas it's not even funny.

(Hat tip to Rachel Lucas for introducing a new term into our lexicon.)

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June 12, 2009


I got to talk on the phone with AWTM today, on the heels of a long phone call with her yesterday too. I for one am super happy that she's not working anymore, because it's much easier for us to reach each other.

Also, I'm glad she's not living the office life anymore...

I also had to call Guard Wife and break up her love getaway to ask a question. Her husband answered, so he and I chatted for a bit, which was fun. Which reminds me: At the last SpouseBUZZ Live, somebody turned to Chuck Z's wife and said, "I got the funniest email from your husband the other day." Only among bloggers would that be normal.

As I told Wife Unit the other day, while she was dropping her dog off at my parents' house where he will now live as my brother's new dog, "I love teh internets."

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June 03, 2009


All my posts from today disappeared.
Plus a long draft.

UPDATE: Pixy fixed it.

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May 28, 2009


I asked Amritas to write a guest post about his weekend visit.  He came through in spades, but trust me, we aren't nearly as cool as he makes us sound!  In fact, I feel like a d-bag putting such gushing about me on the front page, so click after the jump to read about our most recent blogger meet-up...

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May 19, 2009


No blogging today.  Instead, I've been Facebook updating all day about my cleaning activities.  I'm trying to get the house in order because there's a big Blog Meet-Up this weekend: Amritas is coming to visit us.  I've known him now for nearly six years, but we've never met in person.  It should be a hoot.

I had really let the house go, so a guest is good incentive to deep clean.  I even scrubbed the top of the refrigerator...

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May 01, 2009


My husband is definitely not a blogger.  He reads Abu Muqawama, so I was excited that Andrew Exum was at the conference.  After the final panel, I excitedly asked if he'd like to go talk to him.  My husband shrugged and said, "Nah, it's no big deal."

Definitely not a blogger.

I asked my husband on the way home what he thought of the conference.  He said it was interesting.  I asked him what he thought of the content as a non-blogger, because I think that's an element that's rarely addressed in our discussion.  Are milblogs relevant?  Asking bloggers is going to elicit a different response than asking non-bloggers.  We touched on this during last year's conference, when one non-blogger audience member suggested that maybe blogging was not the highest priority for the chain of command.  That stuck with me; those who aren't completely sucked in to the world of blogging don't see the same level of importance as we do.

But it's hard for my husband to really have an opinion right now.  Even if he had the desire to blog, the job that he has now is absolutely not bloggable.  All of the interesting stuff he does is opsec, and the stuff that bloggers can write about, the non-opsec stuff, is less interesting to him.  It doesn't float his boat to read milblogs because his life is a milblog.  So he comes at the whole thing from a completely different angle than the rest of us, which I find interesting.  Someone who has no internal push to put his every thought online is always going to look at this activity differently.

But still I think he should've at least said hi to Exum.

(I will say that I impressed the heck out of him by getting a big hug and smile from Bill Roggio.  To him, Roggio is big-time, and the fact that Mr. Big-Time was all excited to see his wife, well, he thought that was pretty cool.)

(He also came home still oblivious to the fact that people wanted to meet him.  I had tried to explain that some people have been reading about him for about five years, but I don't think it sunk in until we were home.  Then he said, "Maybe I should've been more charming."  Sigh.  I told you no one would describe him as nice.)

I still want to write about the content of the conference...someday.

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April 27, 2009


Pixy doesn't live in the same time zone as I do, plus he has a crazy sleep schedule, so I am not entirely sure when the switch will be made.

In the meantime, because I have a rant that needs bangin' out, I will begin putting new posts up at my new blog, and eventually you will be automatically directed there.

For now, you must follow the link.

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April 24, 2009


Dear Readers,

Fluffy the Spamhound and I are announcing our irreconcilable differences. I know you will all miss having your comments eaten, sending me screaming emails about how your perfect comment disappeared, and whatnot.

I am leaving for the Milblogs Conference today and will not be taking the computer with me. When I return on Monday, my blog will be new and improved. Not the content, mind you; you get the same drivel as usual, only with a flashier interface.

And no Fluffy.

See you Monday. Hopefully however you normally get here will still get you here. Pixy is handling the details, because he is teh awesome. (And Code Monkey is my back-up brain.)

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April 19, 2009


I have been thinking for a while about John McCain.

My blog is about five and a half years old at this point. That's how long he was a prisoner in Hoa Lo.

Every thought I've had since I started blogging, every friend I've made, every article I've read, every lesson I've grokked...

I have been free. I have had the freedom to do all those things.

From Professor Cockroach to Charlie's birthday...

3571 blog posts.

I have lived for five and a half years.

Lived and learned and grokked and loved.

I was not beaten, not locked away, not tortured, not forced to listen to propaganda. The worst I've had to deal with is some name-calling and sleepless nights.

I have never had my spirit broken.

Five and a half years.

Imagine if every blog post were wiped away and replaced by a day in captivity. Everything I have read and learned in this half decade gone, replaced by solitude and madness.

My husband came home from SERE with a newfound respect for John McCain and the men like him. My blog has taught me respect too, respect for the freedom I have had to live and share my life with you for so long.

I cannot imagine not having been here...

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March 28, 2009


This blog has been responsible for some of the best experiences of my life. I wouldn't have any of my close friends without this blog. Sometimes it brings me such joy and comfort. But it is also responsible for some of the most stressful moments of my life. It sucks to lose a baby. It sucks even worse to hear that you deserved it, that you talk about it too much, that you're self-absorbed or just plain wrong for your feelings about it. That's hard to take, and I'm starting to wonder if it's really healthy for me. I'm tired of lying in bed at night losing sleep over something that I or someone else said on the blog.

I'm shutting off the computer for a while. Truly off: no email, no Facebook, no blog. I need to quiet the noise in my head for a while.

I'm not doing well and I need to find a way to cope. I'm gonna try silence for a few days.

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March 26, 2009


Unliberaled Woman got noticed by friends of Michael Yon. Now that's cool.
I wonder if there's such a thing as a Yonalanche?

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March 01, 2009


Don't feel bad that no one is stalking you at CPAC, Instapundit. We'll always have Vegas.


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February 26, 2009


I met my first blogger in 2004 when I took the train to meet Tim. It was such a big deal back then. I wrote:

The butterflies are gathering in my tummy. Will I recognize Tim? When we see each other, will it feel like we've known each other for years instead of five minutes on the phone and seven months of peering into each other's lives from the blog window?

There was nothing to be nervous about in the end, and we've gotten along swimmingly all four times that we've gotten together.

Used to be, I had this mental divide between my Real Life and my Imaginary Life. I thought that meeting a blog friend was different from meeting a regular old friend. Over the past five years, I have gotten to meet so many of you and you've all become such a part of my life that I don't make that mental distinction anymore. Imaginary friends are just my friends, and I have way more of you than of people in my Real Life.

Now you guys are just normal to me. So normal that you're barely blogworthy, heh. I didn't even write about my weekend visiting CaliValleyGirl, or how we went to meet Allison, or how funny it seemed when someone was shocked that CVG and I had met (gasp) on the internet.

I didn't blog about going to SpouseBUZZ Live last November and meeting DeltaSierra (who at the time didn't have a photo of herself on her site and looked WAY younger than I expected), or Sig (who was exactly what I expected), or Leofwende (who was super nice), or seeing Barb again (who is always a joy to see).

And I didn't blog about meeting R1 either, but I should have. Truth is I've been too embarrassed to apologize to him for how goofy our meeting went down. We were both flustered because a girl had just shared some (ahem) personal TMI with the group. I was happy to see him, because he's been reading my site and emailing me for the entire time I've been writing, and in my excitement and flusteredness I hugged him, which is completely out of character and immediately seemed like the weird thing to do. And he was a bit out-of-sorts, being a man in a sea of milwives, so we didn't get to meet each other until optimal conditions. And I hate that, and have felt guilty about it for months. I also never thanked him for the great gift that he brought me.

I ought to have blogged about all these things, but I don't...because they are my Real Life now. They're just normal.

They're just my friends.

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February 17, 2009


Real life superseded blogging life today and will continue to do so for a few days as I make my way to visit CaliValleyGirl. I will try to throw up a link or two if I can, but I will be out of the loop for a bit.

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January 29, 2009


Last night my husband and I were talking about Rachel Lucas' post about the morons who are suing over that plane crash. And my husband goes, "That's not even the most ignorant thing I heard today. I read this somewhere, maybe on The Corner?, I can't remember, but apparently 49% of people think the government gets its money from a money tree."

And I just laughed and said that, yes, you read that...on mah blog.

My husband quoted me back to me. It was hilarious.

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January 07, 2009


Yes, I've been MIA. And this time it's not one of those nothing-to-say reasons for not blogging. I have just been busy with work and haven't been on the internet. I haven't even read another blog all week.

No time for love, Dr. Jones.

(You should count that as two quotes.)

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