December 22, 2009

30 MINUTES

It's amazing how short 30 minutes is.

When my husband calls, I always feel like we've barely scratched the surface of two or three topics before he has to get off the phone.  I feel like I've just gotten started and it's time to stop.

It makes me wonder how much I run my mouth to him when he's home.  If 30 minutes only covers part of two topics, then I reckon I must do an awful lot of talking when he lives here...

I can't wait until I get more than 30 minutes with him.

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A BAG OF CHARCOAL

Thank you all for your kind words on my previous post. I must admit, I love the delurking. I'm not completely set on a course of action at this point; I plan to wait until baby arrives to see just how busy I really get.  Until then, you're stuck with me.

And now for something completely different.

My mother starts heading my direction today to spend Christmas with me. I am getting quite excited to see her. And though all I could muster this year in the way of decorations was a 2-ft Christmas tree and a couple of holly-covered placemats on the table, I am feeling pretty festive.

Stay tuned this week for a few of the things that put a grin on my face this Christmas, like another photo of my growing belly, and the latest ultrasound photo...

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December 11, 2009

I NEED A SURGE

I was waffling for a while, but I have decided to go with a surge strategy: I shall get down to brass tacks and put out the effort to beat Karl Rove.  So I need to get off the computer and get reading.  Eight books in 20 days...too bad I already read Animal Farm back in February.

I wish the internet counted as a book.  I read that all the time.

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December 10, 2009

A PERSONAL UPDATE

Just a little personal note to check in...

I am doing well these days.  I just started my third trimester.  I finally started feeling chipper and relatively pain-free, and now all pregnancy info says "Welcome to the third trimester; it's gonna start sucking again!"  I'm not ready for that; I just started enjoying myself.

Last night I felt a foot for the first time.  Baby was kicking and then she had one looooong pushing kick, and I put my fingers there and pushed back, and I could feel her body parts through my belly.  That was a milestone I have especially enjoyed.

My husband is confident that he will be home two or three days before my due date.  As long as baby stays put until then, he should be here for the delivery.  Let's just hope she doesn't want to show up early.

Oh, and my husband finally has better access to computers...only all blogs are blocked from viewing.  We just can't win.

And I have eight more books to read before the end of the month if I want to beat Karl Rove.  I am not sure I can make that happen, which makes me mad that I didn't read more books in September.  I may start cheating and reading Encyclopedia Browns or something.

Can you believe it's almost Christmas?

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November 29, 2009

TABLES HAVE TURNED

My family is doing Thanksgiving today because my brother and dad had to work on the real holiday.  And I got such a chuckle when my mom called to ask how I make my cranberry sauce.  I'm just glad she didn't call me in the middle of the night!

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November 25, 2009

SELFLESS PARENTS

Two years ago, I wrote about something my father did that I found completely selfless and the true essence of parenting: he lent me his glasses.  But I never wrote the post I could've written six years ago when my mother did the same.

My husband and I hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner when we lived in Germany.  I had called my mother ahead of time and asked for all her recipes and how to cook a turkey, stuffing, gravy, and just about everything.  I got started on Thanksgiving morning, thinking that I was squared away, but once I began cooking, I realized I still had several questions.  Questions that couldn't wait several hours until Mom's time zone caught up to morning.

And so I gulped and picked up the phone.  I called my mother in the middle of the night back in the US to have her walk me through some last minute snags.  (Like what in the hell I was supposed to do with the neck.  Turkey neck is about the grossest thing I can think of.  I'd rather have a mouse in my kitchen than deal with a turkey neck.  I am already freaking out that I have to touch one tomorrow.)

My mom wasn't upset that I interrupted her sleep, she never acted put out, she just answered my questions and helped me keep on cooking.  And poor mom had to make her own dinner in a few hours, now on much less sleep.

I have been feeling cold feet lately, worried that I might not be a good mother, that I might not enjoy it, that I will be overwhelmed by the magnitude of what I am taking on.  But when I think of these times that my parents still selflessly help me out, even when I'm an adult, I figure that they wouldn't do that if being a parent weren't rewarding.

Thanks, Mama.  And if I need help tomorrow, at least we're only one time zone apart this year...

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November 20, 2009

BOOK LIST V

I've got six weeks to catch Karl Rove...I might make it, if I didn't exhaust my light reading during this batch.

50)  The Road To Serfdom  (F.A. Hayek)
The previous nine books have been largely fluff, so I decided I needed to do some mental calisthenics of my own.  I thought Capitalism and Freedom was an easier read, but this wasn't as dense as I'd been warned.  And I'm glad I read it.

49)  Everything Bad Is Good For You  (Steven Johnson)
This was an interesting book, the premise of which is that popular culture is making us smarter, not dumber.  It's the reassurance I need after watching Idiocracy!  Johnson argues that people are doing more mental calisthenics these days from playing Sim City vs playing checkers or watching complex shows like 24 compared to the old Dragnet.  He argues that our leisure time is spent following more complex forms of media, which work to make us smarter, counter to popular wisdom.

My favorite anecdote was this:

Several years ago I found myself on a family vacation with my seven-year-old nephew, and on one rainy day I decided to introduce him to the wonders of Sim City 2000, the legendary city simulator that allows you to play Robert Moses to a growing virtual metropolis.  For most of our session, I was controlling the game, pointing out landmarks as I scrolled around my little town.  I suspect I was a somewhat condescending guide--treating the virtual world as more of a model train layout than a complex system.  But he was picking up the game's inner logic nonetheless.  After about an hour of tinkering, I was concentrating on trying to revive one particularly run-down manufacturing district.  As I contemplated my options, my nephew piped up: "I think we need to lower industrial tax rates."  He said it as naturally, and as confidently, as he might have said, "I think we need to shoot the bad guy."

48)  The Apostle  (Brad Thor)
I think I might've liked this one better than The Last Patriot.  Blasphemy!  And now I'm out of Brad Thor.

47)  The Last Patriot  (Brad Thor)
Like the Da Vinci Code, but for Islam.  I think I may have built up the excitement too much over the past two years, but it was still enjoyable.

46)  The First Commandment  (Brad Thor)
I'm on my way to The Patriot, finally.  I liked this one, as usual.  A very good use of Biblical plagues...

45)  Glenn Beck's Common Sense  (Glenn Beck)
I enjoyed this book, but I am finding that right-wing nutjobbery just doesn't do the same thing for me that it used to do.  Back when I read Larry Elder or Dinesh D'Souza for the first time, I had never been exposed to writers who said the things I was thinking.  Now that I surround myself with likeminded people, these books aren't as shocking as they once were.  Still worthwhile, but they don't pack the punch they once did.

44)  Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right  (Bernard Goldberg)
I liked Bias better, but this was a quick read and relatively entertaining.  I also read it in about a day.

43)  Never Again  (John Ashcroft)
My aunt lent me this book while I was visiting my grandparents, and I read it in a day.  I enjoyed reading about the rationale behind the PATRIOT Act and other aspects of 9/11 that I was too clueless to follow at the time.

42)  Eaters of the Dead  (Michael Crichton)
I finished the previous book on my flight out to San Diego and started this one on the way home.  It was unlike his other books, and not really my favorite, but it was OK.

41)  Sphere  (Michael Crichton)
I needed a quick book to read on the airplane, so I always reach for Crichton.  As usual, he didn't disappoint.

Previous Lists:
31-40
21-30
11-20
1-10

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October 12, 2009

BOOK LIST IV

I hit George Bush's total for 2008, so now I am racing to catch Rove.  I also got lazy about writing my reviews as soon as I finished the book, hence some of the short ones.

40)  Misunderestimated  (Bill Sammon)
In honor of passing Pres Bush's book total for 2008, I read a book about him.  A good book.  I really liked this.

39)  The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression  (Amity Shlaes)
The book was a bit dense and slow going, but I enjoyed parts of it a lot, especially the chapter on Andrew Mellon's art collection.

38)  A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini)
AirForceWife lent me this book, and I read it very quickly and cried all through the last segment.  It was a good, though horrifying, story.

37)  The Girlfriends' Guide to Pregnancy  (Vicky Iovine)
I got a few laughs out of this book, learned some things, and especially appreciated the chapter on what to pack to take to the hospital.  It also saddened me to keep reading about all the things a husband should be doing during a pregnancy...

36)  The Quest for Cosmic Justice  (Thomas Sowell)
I didn't realize this was a collection of speeches when Leofwende recommended it, but it was good...as Sowell always is.

35)  Class 11: Inside the COA's First Post-9/11 Spy Class  (TJ Waters)
I really enjoyed this book and thought it was super interesting, but I am still shocked that he was allowed to write it.  I learned many things that I supposed I wouldn't be allowed to learn about the CIA.

34)  Bold Fresh Piece Of Humanity  (Bill O'Reilly)
My mom wanted this book for Christmas, so she brought it back so I could read it.  I have never been the biggest O'Reilly fan, but this book rounded out his personality for me and made him more of a complete character than just his show does.

33)  Showdown  (Larry Elder)
Larry Elder always challenges me to think more libertarian.

32)  Takedown  (Brad Thor)
Another good one, as usual.  I especially liked the idea of inventing a second attack on the US after 9/11.  And I love Jack Rutledge as president.

31)  A Red State of Mind  (Nancy French)
I have known about this book for a long time, and Nancy French has even commented here a couple of times, but I just finally got around to reading it.  I thought it was charming as all get-out.  And if I ever thought I was irritated by Kerry voters in 2004...

Previous Lists:
21-30
11-20
1-10

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September 25, 2009

TRANSCONTINENTAL

I'm leaving this morning for SpouseBUZZ Live Camp Pendleton.  Will be in the gulch this weekend and thus out of the loop.  Which is good, because I could use a break from the UN and ACORN.

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September 08, 2009

FATHER/DAUGHTER BONDING

My husband has sent a couple emails lately that show he's been thinking a lot about our daughter.  He's wondering what she'll look like and how their relationship will be.  I find it endearing.  I haven't thought about her much beyond a theoretical level yet, so I found it cute that my husband thinks about her concretely. 

But today I realized that someday, like Chuck, my husband will get to do this.

It's the pink jacket.  The jacket just made that picture.

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September 01, 2009

FOR MY HUSBAND

Do you see what I see?

I saw it first.

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August 08, 2009

TOO COMPLICATED RIGHT NOW

I haven't been a very good wife for the past few years.

I was thinking the other day about how miserably I failed for my husband's birthday.  Granted, we still didn't have a mailing address for him, but I was so nonchalant about it.  And this year I didn't get him anything for our anniversary either.  He comes in and says he'd like to give me my present, and I just stared at him.  Then he laughed and said, "You mean I freaked out and ran out to buy you something for no good reason?"  Ha.  The thought really just hadn't crossed my mind.

The first time he was deployed, I mailed him 24 presents for his 24th birthday.  It came so easily to me.

But I have been absentminded since then.  I have been so focused on this whole stupid having a baby thing that I have really been lazy about being a good wife.

And I feel guilty that now I miss him, but in a selfish way.  Like I need him to be here to dote on me, to encourage me, to be Randall to my Dante.  I am bitter that I have to cash my chips via email.

But he is busy and stressed and frustrated with his own issues.  And the poor man can't cash any chips at all.  He alludes to the desire to, but he's not allowed.

Our lives are too complicated right now, in two completely different ways.

I miss the simple days.  Bringing him sack lunch while he was the gold bar recruiter.  Quizzing him for his vehicle identification test at OBC.  Studying for our German driver's license together.  The first deployment, when all I did was brainstorm ways to make him smile.

I was looking at old photos of us the other day, and somehow my husband turned into a man while I wasn't paying attention.  The difference between 19 and 29 is astounding.

I've been too preoccupied to miss him yet...but I miss him this morning.

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August 03, 2009

BOOK LIST III

The next ten books in my 2009 George Bush Reading Challenge.

JULY

30) Anthem (Ayn Rand)
Quick and good, as usual.

29) Hemma hos Martina (Martina Haag)
I try to read occasionally in French and Swedish, since reading is the only way to keep up my skills.  Only until this year, I thought I was doing it a lot more frequently.  It's amazing how few books I can read in a year!  But my friend sent me this book at Christmas and I hadn't gotten around to reading it yet.  And thank heavens, because it was about a pregnant lady.  It might not have been so charming to read a few months ago.  But I got to learn lots of new Swedish words that never come up in regular conversation: moderkaka, förlossning, fostervattnet, mödravårdstant, etc.  Because when I lived there ten years ago, I didn't have conversations about placentas and amniotic fluid.

28) Cool It (Bjørn Lomborg)
I loved the article "Get Your Priorities Right" when I read it three years ago, and Cool It is a fleshed-out version of how we would get more bang for our buck solving other problems like malaria and AIDS than global warming. I usually use Lomborg's ideas when debating global warming with believers because, while I am still skeptical, Lomborg definitely believes in anthropogenic global warming...yet he still doesn't think we should make it our top priority. It makes for good middle ground with believers: even if you concede that global warming is real and is caused by man, there is still a debate to be had over whether it is our most pressing global issue. Bjørn Lomborg says no way.

27) The Sandbox (milbloggers)
I still have to review this for SpouseBUZZ.  I will link my review once I write it, hopefully by the end of this week.
Update: Um, it took more than a week, but here it is.

26) Congo (Michael Crichton)
I was halfway through The Sandbox when my husband deployed, and I didn't exactly feel like reading military stories the night he left, so I grabbed a Crichton book instead. It didn't disappoint.

25) Blowback (Brad Thor)
My favorite Brad Thor book so far. But "so far" is definitely a relative term.

24) The 5000 Year Leap (W. Cleon Skousen)
Glenn Beck has been promoting this book, so I picked it up. It was good, but it's kinda...basic for me. I think it would've been much more valuable to read when I was 18 instead of now. There were some more in-depth lessons that I appreciated, such as the one on the origins of separation of powers, but overall I think I already grasped most of the lessons. But I'll hang on to it and hand it to my kid someday.

JUNE

23) My Grandfather's Son (Clarence Thomas)
Back in February, Amy recommended this book. I went back and read her recommendation today, and she was totally right: I got such a jolt when Clarence Thomas first discovered Thomas Sowell! I enjoyed reading this book and was saddened that the only mental association I previously had with this man had to do with a Coke can. To have worked his whole life, up from not having electricity and running water, to have it culminate in that. It's depressing, really.

22) Natural Selection (Dave Freedman)
This novel's premise was Michael Crichton-esque: What if nature made an evolutionary leap and a new predator emerged from the depths of the oceans? The cover proclaimed the book to be a great "beach read," but that would've scared the bejesus out of me. As it stands, I have been wary of my plecostomus ever since...

21) Discover Your Inner Economist (Tyler Cowen)
While there were times when it felt like Cowen was a little too SWPL for me, overall the book was interesting. I especially liked learning about micro-credit, and I immediately went to Kiva.org and donated to a bricklayer in Tajikistan. I begged my husband to let us pick out someone to lend to once a month. I have long felt like I wanted to do more giving, and the idea of "lending to the working poor" immediately appealed to me. I am so motivated to keep this up.

Previous lists:
Book List II
Book List I

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July 23, 2009

THE CURE IS NOT THE CURE

I do this every deployment: I get to this point where I don't even intentionally do it, but I realize I have started listening to The Cure. (I did it last July too.)  It's just not such a good plan when you're trying to stay upbeat. But "Disintegration is the best album ever" and it's hard to avoid music you like.



The thing is that The Cure has so many deployment-applicable lyrics:

I've been looking so long at these pictures of you
That I almost believe that they're real
I've been living so long with my pictures of you
That I almost believe that the pictures are
All I can feel


However far away
I will always love you


Daylight licked me into shape
I must have been asleep for days
And moving lips to breathe her name
I opened up my eyes
And found myself alone

Waiting
For the telephone to ring
And I'm wondering
Where she's been
And I'm crying for yesterday
And the tap drips
Drip drip drip drip drip drip drip...
It's always the same...


AWTM said I need to listen to The String Beans instead, something cheery.  I'd better go find some Elvis or Weezer instead.

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July 19, 2009

TWO ANNIVERSARIES

I failed to mention two anniversaries this week, two events that mean a great deal to me.

First was the Apollo XI mission.  Over recent years, I have developed an awe with the engineering feat that was the space program.  I love imagining the what-ifs and the science problems and the minutae.  And I can't put into words the profound sense of Americanness I feel when I think about it, despite the fact that I too experience "contradiction in the conservative soul."  Nevertheless, it makes me feel alive, and confident in my fellow man.

Second was the anniversary of Willis Carrier's invention of the air conditioner, an invention that put food on my table and a roof over my head for the first 18 years of my life.  And one for which I am sure my husband is eternally grateful right about now.

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July 16, 2009

SOMETIMES I DREAM



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July 11, 2009

CHECKING IN

I feel like I should check in, just to check in.
We're good.  Despite what I said here, husband is back to the original plan; he leaves in a couple of days.
Let the packing begin...oy.

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June 28, 2009

ANNOYING MATH

Jet lag + head cold + pregnant, so no meds = miserable and exhausted

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June 26, 2009

DEPRESSED CHARLIE

Also, the dog is mad at me.  Or depressed.  Or scared.  Something.  Because he is not himself.

He supposedly had fun at the boarder.  But he came home a tangled mess, so I immediately took him for a shave-down the next day.  Maybe that was too much.  Maybe dropping him off with strangers a second time set him over the edge.

He keeps doing this hacking thing, almost like a seizure.  And he hasn't barked in two days.  Normally he's perched in front of the window to bark at anything he sees, but not a peep since he's gotten home.  He hides, and won't make eye contact.

Our dog has always been weird, but not like this.

Seriously, I want my Charlie back.



I'm never leaving him again.

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STARTED AT SPOUSEBUZZ BUT FINISHED HERE

My husband and I went on our much-anticipated vacation to "somewhere other than our parents' houses."  We took two whole suitcases and had the time of our life.  My husband did a much better job of relaxing than he did back in January.  The vacation was perfect.

Until the last day.

And all of a sudden, I realized we were on Block Leave.  I realized that the end of this trip signaled the end of block leave, which means July was coming soon, which means my husband is deploying.

My husband is deploying in like two weeks or so.

And I wanted the last day to slow down, to last forever, to never end.

But it did.

Right before the last deployment, I said this:

I love having my husband home. I need to have my husband home if we're ever going to successfully have a baby. But three years on, I miss the deployment feelings. I miss the sense of connectedness, of purpose, of conviction. It probably sounds strange, but I miss the feeling of sacrifice, of knowing that I've given up being with someone I love for the good of our country. Honestly, for me, the deployment feeling hurts, but it's a good hurt, a deep and satisfying pain. And I haven't felt it in three years. I feel ashamed that I've lived too ordinary of a life for three years.

I welcomed that last deployment.  But this time, it just kinda seems too soon for me.  It feels like he just got home.  That coupled with my lack of emotional investment in Afghanistan has made me unprepared for him to leave this time.

I can't believe he's leaving.

The IVF clinic called me while I was at SBL Utah at the end of May.  I haven't called them back.  I've been stalling.  I don't really care right now.  I don't want to think about it.  I know I need to call them back and get the process moving, but I just don't want to.

I'm kinda incredulous about life these days.  I can't believe what's happening to my self, to my family, to my country.  It's like I'm in a bad dream that I can't shake.

I'm being Dante again.

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