February 26, 2006
When I was in middle school, every kid used to say that Michael Jordan was his role model. It was always Michael Jordan. For some reason I was thinking about that a few weeks back and how silly it seems now to me to have a celebrity as a role model when we've got plenty of real people in our life to emulate. One of our biggest role models as a couple was the Major at my husband's ROTC. He was extremely hooah and completely unassuming. He and his wife had been married for nearly ten years; they had just built their own house (literally, the Major built it with some Amish help) and were all set to welcome their first baby into the home. My husband and I thought that was a great way to be ready for a child, and we want to be as emotionally and financially ready as they were. We still talk about what a good influence they were on our life.
We moved here, and as I slowly got to know Angie, she became a new role model for me. (And my mom will vouch that this is true, because I rave about Angie all the time!) Angie has always felt somewhat inadequate that she didn't finish college, but the reason she didn't finish is because she and her husband decided when they got married that Angie's job was to raise their children. My parents made the same decision when they got married, but it's a decision that doesn't happen much in 2006. Angie and her husband knew that the most important thing Angie could do with her life is to raise these three little boys to be gentlemen, and she's doing a wonderful job.
I know during the deployment that Angie sometimes wanted to tear her hair out. I witnessed firsthand some of the trials of being with her boys, like when a temper tantrum broke out because the older brother ate the little one's imaginary strawberries! It's not easy to be a stay-at-home mom; how much quieter and nicer it would've been for Angie to drop the boys off at daycare and go to a job. But she stays home with them because it's her job to mold their character, teach them manners, and be their mommy. Angie deserves all the praise in the world for the no-so-obvious task of bringing up her own children.
I'm glad that I had a role model like Angie. If/when my husband and I have children, we too will make the same decision Angie and her husband did. And I will be the one to stay at home and break up fights over imaginary fruit. I'm happy that I met someone like Angie who also believes that raising a child is the most important job a woman has.
Angie, you may sometimes feel sheepish that you never finished that degree, but you display qualities far more important than a diploma, and people notice. I noticed, and I hope someday to be half as talented at motherhood as you are.
I'm really proud of her, which is not meant to sound condescending. Dealing with deployment was made easier by 1) the community around me and 2) that gold ring on my left hand. Cali has neither of those. She dealt with her boyfriend's absence on her own at a German university, which I can't believe was easy. And she handled it with grace: the other day she told me how much she's grown and how much she learned this year, about herself and her boyfriend. I'm glad that she was able to see deployment as a learning experience and not a burden.
And I can't wait to meet up with her at the Taco Bell in a few weeks!
February 19, 2006
After his initial yelp, Charlie didn't seem to notice his wound so much. He was up and romping around with his toys; I was the inconsolable one weeping on the floor. And this, my friends, is Reason Umpteen why I can never have kids: I hurt Charlie. My carelessness caused him pain. Every time I look at him, I burst into tears again, even though he seems to have accepted the 8 shiny new staples hiding under his right ear.
I learned and emotionally (ugh -- and financially) costly lesson today, one that I won't soon forget. I have the power to hurt Charlie. Or my husband, or my child someday. I really don't like the thought of that.
February 10, 2006
Clooney is as vain and materialistic as the next guy in Hollywood - "[F] it, I love my house in Italy. It's big and audacious and ridiculous, and nicer than any human being has the right to have" - but he is also one of the few really grown-up movie stars. "I have Irish Catholic guilt," he says, smiling, "and want to make up for [my successes]."
The way Clooney atones is by making, alongside the romantic comedies and heist numbers, a range of films that bring him a different kind of attention altogether.
My husband was absolutely mortified by the phrase "nicer than any human being has the right to have," as if some Equality Police could come and knock down half of your house because you're not allowed to live extravagantly. For him, the fact that George Clooney thinks that people shouldn't have the right to a big house is just beyond words. I, however, find something differently but equally reprehensible in this paragraph. Clooney's attitude reminds me of something I heard Ben Affleck say on TV right before the last presidential election. He was upset that he had gotten a tax cut because he said he didn't need the money and he would've rather the government kept it.
Do these celebrities want us to think that they don't have any will of their own? You know, the world is just the way it is and I wish it weren't but that's life so I gotta stay ridiculous rich. That's what we're supposed to believe?
Ben Affleck, if you want to take your $1.5 million tax cut and donate it to charity, guess what, you can! Hell, you can even opt to pay more taxes in Massachusetts, as O'Reilly trapped Affleck into admitting he didn't even know. Here he is, complaining that he couldn't give more in taxes, and all he had to do was, you know, give more. You could donate it to cancer research or stem cells or veterans benefits or all the other stuff you say you care about. You don't have to wait for the government to do it for you. Your hands aren't tied because they gave you your $1.5 million back; it means you have MORE OPTIONS.
Same for you, Clooney. No one is forcing you to live in a big house. If your wealth makes you feel guilty, then buy some land, build a modest-sized house on it, and start donating some of your money. But don't you dare say that the way you compensate for your Catholic guilt is that you make more movies. Even if it is Syriana and you think you're doing some good by educating people to the Ways Of The World, you're still raking in the dough doing it. That's supposed to make us feel better about you? Poor Clooney, he's so big and famous, he can't help but be a bazillionaire, but at least he makes Films That Matter. Are you serious?
Last night we got the Grammys here. I swear I nearly spat on the TV when Alicia Keys said "this is the most important night in the world." Get over yourselves, people. You know, I can accept it if you're filthy rich and lovin' it. I read once that Christopher Walkin will do any movie that's put before him because it's a job and he's in it to make money. I can respect that; my husband and I are out to make as much money as we can too. But to hear celebs ask for millions of dollars for each movie they do and then complain about being rich, that's too much for me to accept.
No one put a gun to Clooney's head and made him buy that stupid house. Get over it.
February 09, 2006
This photo from Pakistan feels like a punch in the gut. It makes me want to cry, just as the al-Sadr photo did two years ago. Why doesn't my ideal chair ever match up to the real chair?
I don't want my husband to be right.
February 07, 2006
It's true that once I started to meet people who agreed with me, it was easier to prefer their company to the company of others. I'd much rather nod in agreement than argue! But before that, back in college, more often than not I'd find myself talking down a road less traveled and then backing off when I realized the other person wasn't following me. I usually changed the subject or tried to find ways to agree. I began to feel more isolated, especially after my Dinesh D'Souza experience. But the war really tipped the scales; I have very little contact with anyone I was friends with before OIF. Heck, my maid of honor hasn't spoken to me in about two years. I have no problem with people growing apart, but it's sad to me that we could be friends when I knew others' political views but not when they knew mine.
However, there's one friend who has shown me that two people can be respectful of each other and put aside their differences. I met my friend from Sweden back in 1998, and we're still as close today as we were then. She's a Swede through and through; I don't think we agree on a single thing politically! However, we always manage to talk civilly and explain our positions in peace. Maybe it's easier because we come from two different worlds: we can easily shrug and say, "What else would she think, she's Swedish/American?" But we manage to make the friendship work even when we have fundamental differences in thinking: she about had a heart attack when I whooped after Timothy McVeigh was executed, and I nearly keeled over when she told me that Swedish parents receive School Supply Money from the government! She's been nothing but supportive about my husband's deployment, even though I know she's not such a fan of the military in general.
She visited over the weekend, and we had a wonderful time. She was interested in my husband's photos from Iraq and learning about the new functional area he's applying for. She even met my two best friends here; I wonder what it's like for her to listen to my right wing friends' conversations about re-enlistment and school bullies! Erin even thought later she should apologize for sounding so American, but I think it's good for my Swedish friend to hear us as we really are. She's tolerant enough to hear the truth!
So in response to Pericles' joke, I have indeed distanced myself from many people in my life who have expressed hostility towards my husband's career or towards my views. But it doesn't have to be that way. I am completely capable of accepting my Swedish friend just the way she is because she's willing to do the same. We have a wonderful friendship, despite the fact that we're ridiculously different. She's a true friend.
Plus she uses me for my commissary privileges to stay stocked in Starbursts. I can live with that...
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