December 31, 2009


2009 doesn't feel like one year to me.

My husband returned home from Iraq at the end of 2008, a couple days before Christmas. We began 2009 with his trip to SERE school. And getting pregnant for a third time. And losing that baby too. Then finding out about the translocation.

It was a sucky first six months.

But then we took a great vacation to Vegas. And I got pregnant again. And the John Elway Baby worked out. My husband is deployed, but he's there with a great team and they've done some good work that apparently everyone else wants to steal credit for. I'm proud of him. I wish he were here to share in the joys of pregnancy, but in the long run, the second half of 2009 has been pretty good. He's impressing all the right people, and I have a three pound person bouncing on my bladder.

And 2010 should be great: my husband and my baby arriving at the same time! We'll be a family. I can't wait.

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I joked that I needed to start cheating if I'm going to make it to 62 books by the end of the year.  Unfortunately, I had misremembered the goal: Rove read 64 books.  I realized this only a couple of days ago.  Even with a couple of hanging-chad books in here towards the end (books that probably shouldn't be counted but we're gonna count 'em anyway on a technicality), I couldn't make it.  No one can beat The Architect.

But I didn't get divorced either, so who's the big winner?  (Ew, that's mean.)

All in all, I was surprised that I could average more than a book a week.  And a decent mix of fluff and "real" books.  I found that a year of reading goes by fast, and several books are still in the pile.  I didn't read a book in French like I planned to.  I also never made it to Lone Survivor; I just didn't have the stomach for it right now.  I'd like to read it once my husband gets home.  Also in the stack for the beginning of next year are several baby books.  I have two months to study up on baby's first year, breastfeeding, how to get her to sleep, etc.  And then, according to popular wisdom, I'll never read again.

All in all, this was a neat exercise, and that original article about the challenge remains one of my favorite things written about George Bush ever.

62)  Zen and the Art of Knitting  (Bernadette Murphy)
I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading about knitting.  Once I realized it was hopeless to make it to 64 books, I decided to read something relaxing.  It's a little hippie-ful for my taste, but it's soothing.

61)  Babyhood  (Paul Reiser)
It's my understanding that there are lots of books lying around Iraq and Afghanistan.  The troops read them and leave them in common areas for someone else to pick up.  My husband happened upon this book and read it.  He then bought it for me for Christmas because he thought it was funny and I might enjoy it.  I laughed so hard I cried in parts.  (Of course, I'm hormonal, so then I kept crying.)

60)  The Crisis of Islam  (Bernard Lewis)
I don't know how I didn't read this six years ago, but I ought to have.  Nonetheless, it was still worth reading today.  It's a basic primer on where Islamists are coming from, the history and philosophy that drives terrorists.

59)  Charlotte Sometimes  (Penelope Farmer)
I've been stocking up on books for my little girl, and I got this one because of the song.  And because of, well, other reasons.  And who knew that there would also be a character named Sarah?  Or that the first lines of the song, the ones that make me think of my struggle to have this baby, were the first lines of the book...

All the faces, all the voices blur
Change to one face, change to one voice

58)  Charlotte's Web  (E.B. White)
An endearing secondary storyline I remember from the TV show Ed was when Carol said she liked the book Charlotte's Web and didn't understand why people always thought it was so sad.  It turns out, at the end of the episode, her dad gives her a new copy of Charlotte's Web, saying that when she was young and her mother died, he had cut the final pages of the book out and typed up a new ending in which Charlotte lived happily ever after.  He had wanted to protect her from sadness.  I always thought that was a sweet story of parenthood.

57)  Pursuit of Honor  (Vince Flynn)
I wanted to read this just because Glenn Beck called Chapter 50 "conservative porn."  Heh.  It turned out to be an enjoyable read all around.
A while back, Amritas asked why I liked Brad Thor's books.  I think Vince Flynn's character Mitch Rapp falls in the same category as Scot Harvath.  And my answer was simple: these protagonists are like Jack Bauer, but in the books, the bad guys are always terrorists and usually Muslims...unlike the show 24, where we always seem to learn in the fifteenth hour that the bad guys are really white guys working for a corporation.  They are simple stories about clandestine operatives working to keep the United States safe, with none of the PC baggage that shows and movies seem to have these days.  No evil white CEOs.

56)  What Americans Really Want...Really  (Frank Luntz)
I had no intention of reading this book because, really, I thought the title was just too goofy.  But AirForceWife also gave it her seal of approval, so I went for it.  What struck me about this book is how unlike me everything seems.  I don't fall into one of the five categories of how people behave and think, I thought the political chapter was absolutely off-base with my values, I thought the chapter on teens made me feel like an old fuddy-duddy (I stopped dating before cell phones and digital cameras), and so on.  I don't doubt Luntz's work or research; I just wonder how I am so unlike these great swaths of Americans.  I feel like that apocryphal lady who didn't know anyone who voted for Nixon: my people, my tribe, doesn't believe these things.  So how American does that make us if everyone else around us just wants security and organic food?  (I mean, nearly 50% of poll respondents said that the 2nd Amendment mattered the least to them...and a good margin less to them than even the self-incrimination part of the 5th!)

55)  Survival of the Sickest  (Dr. Sharon Moalem)
AirForceWife lent me this book, and I couldn't recommend it more.  It explains why we have certain diseases today: At one point in history, diseases like hemochromatosis and diabetes were actually selected for because they helped people survive in their environment.  It was so interesting.  There was also a section vindicating Lamarck and talking about how your fetus' genetic makeup can be altered by what you eat even before you know you are pregnant.  I ate seven days of Las Vegas buffets...yikes.

54)  Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control  (Jeff Snyder)
Nothing pumps me up like guns and taxes.  I really enjoyed reading this book and the arguments behind the fundamental right of gun ownership.  I found it after CVG sent me the link to Walter Mitty's Second Amendment, one of the essays in this book.

53)  Pearl Harbor  (Newt Gingrich)
The authors really did a good job of making you feel like you were at Pearl Harbor.  It was harrowing.  However, I didn't realize until I was finished that it was a set-up book for an alternate history sequel, in which the Japanese hit hard in a third strike and really piss off a sleeping giant.  I guess I would've preferred a straight-out historical fiction instead of trying to figure out after the fact what was real and what was invented.

52)  For The New Intellectual  (Ayn Rand)
Blog post on the book here.

51)  What to Expect When Your Wife Is Expanding  (Thomas Hill)
My husband got this book as a gift when I was pregnant the first time.  He read a few pages and then set it aside when disaster struck.  So I pulled it back out and decided to read it now and annotate the margins for him, noting things I was indeed experiencing.  I mailed it to him so he could flip through it in Afghanistan, and he said he has been reading it.

Previous Lists:

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December 22, 2009


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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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 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


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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