May 30, 2008

YOU'VE GOT ME PEGGED!

People who write at DailyKos are hilarious.

More frequently than not, military families lean conservative because, they figure, the conservatives like pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into the military industrial complex without any sense of accountability for how those dollars are spent.

Did you know that when you join the military, you have to decide whether you're conservative or liberal? Most people decide to become conservative.

Yes, I just love all the unaccountability in the Army. It's my favorite part. I love when they pump senseless dollars into stupid ideas. That's why I'm a conservative!

Thank goodness I decided to join the party that throws money down a hole. Not like those pesky Democrats, who are completely accountable for every dollar they spend.

Yay, Republicans! Now let's see if we can get the cost of the Iraq war to equal the cost of public education! Take that, liberals!

Sheesh.

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May 24, 2008

MEMORIAL DAY

My father is the oldest of 13 children, so this weekend there are 42 of us together for my grandparents' 60th anniversary. And when you have that many family members, the gene pool is big enough that you can trace family resemblances across generations and branches of the family tree. Naturally one of the favorite games is to figure out who the young kids look the most like.

This evening all of us were in church together, lining the pews in family order. I was looking around at everyone, noticing how much my little 6 year old cousin looks like the old black and white photos of my father, noticing how much the back of my uncle's head looks like my little brother's, noticing which kid looks like his mom and which like his dad. And all of a sudden, my thoughts turned to the baby inside me.

Consciously or subconsciously, I have put the baby out of my mind. I convinced myself that there was nothing to be happy about and nothing to get my hopes up for. With all the excitement of 42 people in the house, I have not thought about the baby at all, not felt pregnant, not thought myself pregnant.

But in the quiet of church, as I looked at all these kids who look like their parents and aunts and uncles, I suddenly wanted a baby that looks like my husband. And like a flash, I remembered that a baby is inside of me now. And I wanted it to be alive so badly.

I started weeping silently in church.

Luckily my mother handed me a kleenex. And extra-luckily, the kleenex had a chewed up piece of gum in it. That made me giggle and helped me calm down.

And then the vocalist began a special song for Memorial Day.

I had never heard the song "More Than A Name On The Wall" before, and it hit me hard. Especially this part:

She said, "He really missed the family, being home on Christmas Day
And he died for God and country in a place so far away
I remember just a little boy, playing war since he was three
And Lord this time I know, he's not coming home to me."

My thoughts turned to Debey and her Gunnar, and I realized how stupidly selfish I was feeling. I was spending my Memorial Day service feeling sorry for myself. It was the reality check I needed. I stopped my silly crying and focused my thoughts to where they belong this weekend, to Gunnar and Sean and all the others like them who deserve to be memorialized.

I won't make the same mistake the rest of the weekend.

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May 13, 2008

SHE GROKS

I've come across a complaint that SpouseBUZZ is too cheerful of a place. Man, I think it's sad that anyone would dislike the site for that reason. I just think we try hard to see the glass as half full.

Being of that mindset, I loved the post over at Fifteen Months called My Top 8 Tips For Surviving Deployment. My favorite is #5:

5. Everytime you feel like you want something from him to fulfill something missing inside of you, think instead of what you can do for him and the voids he must have being so far away from the colorful landscape of America. If you feel unloved or ignored or sad, do something that you think will make him feel loved, wanted, less alone. Instead of focusing on what things are like for you, try to think about walking in his boots a little bit every day.

All eight of them are such good advice for keeping deployment in perspective.

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May 12, 2008

BOOKWORMS

Oh my gosh, I miss my husband so much right this moment that I can't stand it.

I found a blog post that I'm dying to discuss with him. Yeah, we don't get enough telephone time to discuss blog posts.

“I hope the officers of her Majesty’s army may never degenerate into bookworms.”

Husband, if you're checking the blog, you simply must read that post and also the comment by SmittenEagle it references. And then write me a letter about what you think!

Actually, I already know what you think.

When my husband started Civil Affairs training, he was given a stack of books to read. He was dismayed to learn that, months later, some of his classmates hadn't read any of them. And we're talking Bernard Lewis level books, not Lawrence of Arabia (which my husband read on his own two years ago). He was so frustrated that people could be in a class about the Middle East and have so little motivation to learn anything about the Middle East.

He, on the other hand, is a studier. He has a reputation in his unit for being a bookworm, a brain. And while my husband is a danged genius, really all he's doing is reading books on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran. That should be a given for anyone in his branch of the Army. Instead, when he went to the branch library to check out a book on modern Iraq, he was the first person to ever have checked it out.

There's no danger of bookworms among his peers. Sadly.

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May 11, 2008

MARKED PASSAGES

I read the book Gates of Fire because Neil from Armor Geddon said that I reminded him of a Spartan woman. What a compliment! I loved the book when I read it during the last deployment. My husband picked up the book about a year after he returned from Iraq, and he was almost mad at me: "Why didn't you suggest I read this book sooner?" Heh.

I'm reading it again now, and I noticed that my husband marked some passages when he read it. I love to see what he marked, like a window into his mind, illuminating what's important to him.

Like this passage:

War, not peace, produces virtue. War, not peace, purges vice. War, and preparation for war, call forth all that is noble and honorable in a man. It unites him with his brothers and binds them in selfless love, eradicating in the crucible of necessity all which is base and ignoble. There in the holy mill of murder the meanest of men may seek and find that part of himself, concealed beneath the corrupt, which shines forth brilliant and virtuous, worthy of honor before the gods.

And this passage, which I know must have struck a chord with my husband. If I were to say that anything haunted my husband from his first deployment, it would be that he wishes he had done more:

The secret shame of the warrior, the knowledge within his own heart that he could have done better, done more, done it more swiftly or with less self-preserving hesitation; this censure, always most pitiless when directed against oneself, gnawed unspoken and unrelieved at the men's guts. No decoration or prize of valor, not victory itself, could quell it entire.

I like these marked passages; it's as if my husband is here beside me, reading aloud the things he finds interesting. It's nice to hear his voice in the house.

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GOLD STAR MOTHERS

If you have a quiet moment today, please reflect for a second on our dear internet friend Debey. Think of her and all the other mothers who have lost their children in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maybe take a minute to go tell her that you're thinking of her today, that we are grateful that there are mothers out there who raised sons like Gunnar.

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May 06, 2008

POETRY WEDNESDAY

A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning

As virtuous men pass mildly away,
  And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say
  The breath goes now, and some say, No:

So let us melt, and make no noise,
  No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move,
'Twere profanation of our joys
  To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th' earth brings harms and fears,
  Men reckon what it did and meant,
But trepidation of the spheres,
  Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers' love
  (Whose soul is sense) cannot admit
Absence, because it doth remove
  Those things which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined
  That our selves know not what it is,
Inter-assur'd of the mind,
  Care less, eyes, lips, and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
  Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
  Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
  As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fixed foot, makes no show
  To move, but doth, if th' other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
  Yet when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,
  And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must
  Like th' other foot, obliquely run;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
  And makes me end where I begun.

   -- John Donne

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