Hank Dagny (nice name) finds an appalling article called "Is 'early' retirement ... well, unpatriotic?"
When I hear my fellow baby boomers gleefully talk about their plans to retire ASAP, head for the Tuscan hills or otherwise continue their lifelong quest for "self-actualization," I have to bite my tongue.
It's not that I'm all work and no play. But there's just something -- lots of things -- wrong, in general, with retiring at 55, 62 or even 65. I would go so far as to call it profoundly selfish and unpatriotic.
For individuals, working longer can mean more income and savings and something to bequeath to one's children. For the nation, if millions of us worked until 67 instead of 62, Americans' wealth and consumption would increase appreciably, fueling stronger economic growth.
That added income would provide about $800 billion in additional tax revenue and reduce government benefit costs by at least $100 billion in 2045, according to Urban Institute calculations. This alone would cut the projected deficit in 2045 by 159 percent.
Well then, call us unpatriotic, because my husband's goal is to retire from the Army at 42 and be retired. Done. Finito. I don't know if that will stick because he might get bored being at home, but at the rate he's planning now, he will have the option of making it so.
And I dare some communist to say that what he's doing is "unpatriotic." He doesn't have to keep working an additional 25 years so he can fund social welfare programs. It's his responsibility to provide for himself and his family, nothing more. And as much as we've scrimped and saved and done without for the past six years so that we have the financial flexibility to do whatever he wants when he retires, I'll be damned if someone says that he has to work longer to help out deadbeats who didn't scrimp and save and do without.
Yes, we're selfish. I daresay the US would be a better place if everyone were a little more selfish, taking care of their own needs and doing what needs to be done to maximize profits and reach their goals. The Invisible freaking Hand.
Blood. Boiling. Calm. Down.
My husband never remembers his dreams (lucky) but I always do. We often laugh at how mundane and stupid my dreams are. For example, last night: The husband and I visited some sort of aquarium museum. In the gift shop, I picked out a quartz that was carved into a turtle and bought it. Afterwards, I realized it was $11, and I panicked. I didn't think it was worth $11, but I was too embarrassed to immediately ask for a refund. And then my husband comes around the corner and sarcastically says, "You could always buy one of these," referring to a little statuette of a mother holding an infant.
Seriously, these are my dreams. Of all the things I could be doing -- flying, commanding a space ship, winning the lottery of free yarn -- I dream about buyer's remorse. And about how mad we are that we don't have a baby yet.
Apparently I'm just as parsimonious and cynical in my dreams as I am in real life.
I made the pumpkin version last fall, so yesterday I tried the peach.
These preemie hats are too darned cute.
And I got some great suggestions on yesterday's post that if I have too much yarn, I can give it away, either to newbie knitters or to a good cause. While both of these ideas are admirable, well, I don't think I'm that big of a person. You see, I will spend hours and hours and hours making stuff that I just give away. I make tons of preemie caps, squares for HCC afghans, and gifts for friends, but handing over an unknittedup ball of yarn to someone else? Ouch.
At one of my knitting classes, a woman didn't buy her own yarn. She brazenly asked me if she could just use mine. I had this crummy, old, ugly ball of faded brown acrylic junk in my hand, and yet I went, "Um...well...er...uh...o...kay," and slowly handed it to her. It was crap yarn! It was ugly and awful. But giving it away? It hurt my heart. I would've gladly made something out of it and handed it to her for free, but I have a severe selfishness problem with giving away unused yarn.
Sis B, I'd rather hand you ten bucks to go pick out your own yarn! And FbL, we too make blankets for the VA hospital here in town; I was just going to start one soon. The problem is, a lot of the yarn I have is not stuff that is good for these projects. I have used up most of my washable acrylics on HCC squares; what I'm left with is fancy wools and sock yarn and a ton of baby yarn to be made into preemie caps. But I'll dig.
Maybe I can convince myself to be a big enough person to give away yarn.
I kept this Butterfly post in the back of my mind for a long time, knowing I'd reference it later because it mirrors my situation.
But this is not all that dissimilar to the incident that happened in the fall. Back then, I complained I couldn't cry about it. This time I cried and cried. This difference this time I think has to do with the fact that I do not think of him as being in all that dangerous of place, well, at least compared to where he was. At his last assignment, I think I had an enormous barrier in place to deal with this kind of thing. But once he took the new assignment, and I settled in to the day-to-day officeness of it all, I let that wall down.
Whenever people like my husband's grandma or his friend's wife started to get that worried look as they hugged my husband for the last time, he just smiled at them and reassuringly said, "If I told anyone in the Army where I am going, what I will be doing, and how long I will be there, no one would feel sorry for me. So you don't need to worry about me; I have an enviable deployment!"
His last deployment, not so much.
I wonder how this time will be different. Last time, the only experience I knew was weeks without contact, no phones at his location, two intense trips to Najaf, every third week living off the FOB, and no hot food for the first six months. His deployment was on the rough(er) end of the spectrum, but I don't remember feeling overly scared. It just was what it was; it was the only deployment I knew.
And sometimes now I get worried because this one is even more relaxed. I don't feel nervous or scared at all about his leaving. I don't feel like he's preparing for war this time. But then my mind plays tricks on me and I start to wonder what if something happens like happened to Butterfly Wife, where the husband's "day-to-day officeness" is interrupted by danger? Honestly, I have thought more than once how stupid it would feel if my husband were killed on his "easy" deployment instead of his prior hard one. But stuff like that happens, even to soldiers with the jobbiest jobs.
I hope he spends the entire time bored out of his mind.
And close to a phone.
Knitters with a big stash will completely grok this:
So that's where I am today. At least in my head. Remembering how I felt when I bought this stuff. Remembering what I planned on making with it. Remembering all the emotions I was sure I'd feel when the projects were finished. Beating myself up for never getting around to starting the projects. Beating myself up for not even winding the yarn yet. Beating myself up for beating myself up for all the projects I wanted to make but never got around to.
My friend learned to knit and crochet right when her husband left for Iraq. A year later, she had a serious obsession. She made her husband come over to my house to see my stash so that hers would look small by comparison. Her husband was a bit stunned by my skein collection; my husband just shrugged his shoulders and sighed.
I've been making a conscious effort to use up yarn I already own, but somehow the stash keeps growing. Sometimes is grows slowly, as when I find one lonely ball of mustard yellow on sale for 60 cents that can be used to make HCC squares. Other times it grows in leaps and bounds: one of the ladies in my charity group has been ridding her stash of yarns that bother her arthritic hands, and every two weeks she brings me a new big bag of yarn for me. So even though my stash is growing mostly due to free yarn, it's still starting to overwhelm me.
It takes several hours and about 1.5 oz of yarn to make a preemie cap; thus, bags of yarn every two weeks will take me ages to work through. But somehow I have this stupid mental image that I will use up everything I own someday, and then dust my hands off and go buy more.
Working through my stash is like digging in sand.
I'm often dismayed and annoyed with TV storylines involving the GWOT; they usually involve soldiers who kill innocents, loot Iraq, and blame it all on the war. Friday's Numb3ers was no exception.
One of the main characters of the show got out of the Army to join the FBI. In this episode, the FBI was searching for a Marine whose family had been kidnapped because he wouldn't give his fellow Marines the whereabouts of $1 million stolen in Iraq. (Yep, it's the Three Kings storyline again.) Here's the conversation they had:
Marine: They're gonna kill my family. If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. Force recon taught me that.
FBI: Playing the "bad war badass" is not going to get your family back.
Marine: What do you know about bad wars? Chasing bin Laden in '01 don't compare to what's going on now.
FBI: Yeah, I've heard the stories.
Marine: (mocking) You've heard the stories. Talk to me when you've seen woman and children blown up by a 50-cal, or a school after a mortar attack, or a man tortured by your own guys until he begs you to kill him. You fought the bad war when it was good.
This seemed like Hollywood bullcrap to me, so I had a long talk with my husband about it. In his experience, he has never heard conversations like this about Afghanistan being a "good war" but Iraq being a "bad war." And 50-cal bullets work in Afghanistan too; I am sure some soldier in Afghanistan has made a kill that bothers him. This just smelled like projection to me: someone in Hollywood thinks Afghanistan is more justified than Iraq and writes that dialogue into the script.
Heck, everyone in Hollywood is projecting. I can't even list how many episodes of shows like Cold Case, Law & Order, CSI, Without a Trace, etc, have plotlines that seem like stereotypes gone horribly wrong. Everyone has PTSD, and the number of people who return from Iraq and murder their recruiter, journalists, or other soldiers from their platoon who are about to blow the whistle on cover-ups of massive Iraqi murders, well, it's just staggering. If this had happened even once, I think we'd have heard of it in the past seven years. It's all Hollywood exaggeration, and sadly they're exaggerating our soldiers and Marines into killers, thieves, and mental cases.
Later on in the show, thankfully this exchange happens between the two FBI agents:
Colby: What Porter said about me fighting the good war, there's truth to that. When I got pulled out of the field by military intelligence, I left a lot of guys behind.
David: And a lot of them went to Iraq...
Colby: I read the names in the papers, guys I knew, I heard about friends who came home messed up physically and messed up in the head
David: Where I grew up, people were messed up by a lot of things, a lot of it out of their control. It didn't make them any less culpable for their actions.
They're talking about the context of crime, but this point can be extended much further. War is ugly. But so is rape, abuse, incest, drugs, and a host of other things that people are exposed to on a daily basis. Soldiers watch their friends get killed, but sometimes in this messed-up world we live in, children watch their parents get killed. Wives watch their husbands murdered in front of them. Life is not only brutal on the battlefield.
Last night I finished reading The Airman and the Carpenter. The NJ state executioner thought Hauptmann was innocent, but he had to pull the switch anyway. I had never thought about executioners before, but I'm sure on occasion they have to take a life they're not comfortable with taking. But they do it. Does it haunt them? I don't know; we never hear about executioner PTSD. Nor do we hear about doctor PTSD, though I'm certain the ER is a horrifying place to work. I bet they see more people dying in a week than my husband did in an entire year. But they're not portrayed on TV as mental cases who are going to kill their fellow doctors for money.
I've been holding in a complaint for a long time because it is a delicate subject, but I'm going to air it now. There are people out there with PTSD, and they need help. I am glad that there is awareness and that they can get the help they deserve. I know it's real. But there's a nagging part of me that rues the fact that the more emphasis we put on PTSD -- the more we talk about detection and diagnosis and how widespread it is -- the more civilians expect that everyone who's been deployed is messed up in the head. And the more of these storylines we're going to get on movies and TV, which just reinforces civilians' belief that everyone has PTSD.
My husband reminded me of the time we went to The Mariners' Museum and his cousin asked cautiously if he would be OK sitting in on the video presentation of the battle of the USS Monitor because it had simulated cannon fire. It was nice of her to be concerned, but my husband just had to chuckle. He had been jittery for the first few weeks of being home, but by then he had been home for two and a half years. But she knew about PTSD and thought it affected everyone who's been deployed. She was worried about my husband and wouldn't accept his reassurance. She kept asking me if he was OK, no I mean really, is he OK, you can tell me.
Yes, he's OK. Most people are. Some do have PTSD, but most of them won't go on to murder or pillage. They need to see a doctor; what they don't need is Hollywood making them out to be ticking time bombs on every TV show and movie ever made about Iraq.
Why can't we have any storylines where someone comes home from Iraq and then sacrifices to save a life? That's happened, you know. Or where someone survives a murder attempt and helps bring the killer to justice, as Airman King did?
There's heroism among returning servicemembers. But for some reason that never makes it into TV plots.
Neal Boortz was talking about the lottery earlier today as I drove home from the commissary, and I couldn't believe my ears. He said he had read a study a while back that said that 50% of respondants said they planned to use lottery winnings to retire. I've been searching and cannot find this study, but I did find this:
Twenty-one percent of those surveyed said a lottery would be the most practical strategy for accumulating several hundred thousand dollars, and that percentage was higher among lower-income people, with 38% of those who earn less than $25,000 pointing to the lottery as a solution.
Some Americans "both greatly overestimate their chances of hitting a lottery jackpot, and greatly underestimate their ability to build six-figure wealth by patiently making regular savings contributions over time," said Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA, in a telephone press conference.
Knock me over with a feather.
This ties in nicely with a blog post AirForceWife sent to me yesterday. FrugalDad wrote a blog post called Language of the Perpetual Poor, which contained this gem:
If you are ever around a gas station on Friday night you see them lined up at the counter forking over $20 of their hard-earned paycheck for their chance at financial glory. And just try telling them that $20 a week in a mutual fund averaging 8% growth for 30 years adds up to $130,000. Who can afford to invest in mutual funds?
So there you go, there's your six figures. Shoot, you'd be better off putting the money in a coffee can, as one commenter said she started doing instead of going on on the office pool.
In searching for these shocking lottery statistics, I also came across this anecdote to put it all in perspective:
"'Suppose you have one friend in Canada. If you put the names of everyone in Canada in a hat and draw one name at random, you are 2.5 times more likely to draw your friend's name than you are to win the Big Game,' according to Cal State-Hayward statistics professor Michael Orkin."
A big problem is that people are so mathematically ignorant that they don't even understand these odds. Here's how bad it is:
The study also identified a strong relation between financial literacy and retirement planning. Persons who understood finances more were more likely to take charge and plan for their retirement. Financial literacy was judged on the basis of being able to answer simple financial questions including:
“If the chances of getting a disease are 10 per cent, how many people out of 1,000 would be expected to get the disease?” Answer: 100. (Percentage of people answering correctly: 84.)
“If 5 people all have the winning number in the lottery and the prize is $2 million, how much will each of them get?” Answer: $400,000. (Percentage of people answering correctly: 56.)
“Let’s say you have $200 in a savings account paying 10% per year interest. How much would you have in the account at the end of two years?” Answer: $242. (Percentage of people answering correctly: 18.)
This is just basic stuff, people. Yikes.
There are only two tricks to investing for long-term financial success: early and often. The lottery doesn't enter into it.
An astute observation on how Obama and Clinton are tearing the Democrats in half:
Also, heard from a smart conservative strategist a day or so ago... this is what happens when your party is made up of groups that want government to do things for them (and spend time and resources) vs. when your party is made up of groups that want government to get off their backs and go away.
Government dollars, even with high tax rates, are finite. Sooner or later, a dollar has to be spent on either environmental protection or worker retraining programs, on scholarships or on expanding Social Security, on government-run health care or foreign aid, on infrastructure programs or on open space preservation. Sooner or later, a Democratic leader can only split the difference so much, and more resources will go to one instead of the other. Someone will feel shortchanged, resentments will build. Besides money, there's the finite resource of time, focus, and energy of lawmakers.
Peggy Noonan is good squishy today. I'm not even going to excerpt because you need to read the whole thing.
I wrote over at SpouseBUZZ about my pre-deployment stress. With the fertility and my husband leaving, I have not been at peak mental performance lately. So how could I make it worse? How about reading the most stressful and awful book I've ever picked up.
I found the book The Airman and the Carpenter: The Lindbergh Kidnapping and the Framing of Richard Hauptmann for fifty cents at the Goodwill. I thought I'd grab it and learn a little about the Trial of the Century.
I can't read this book for more than a chapter at a time. I cry too much. I get knots in my stomach and shortness of breath. I cry out in anguish and my husband has to ask me what they did this time. When I set the book down at night, I rant endlessly to my husband. I pace the room, I raise my voice, and I can't calm down.
I've even dreamt about Charles Lindbergh.
The Trial of the Century was a joke. It was a farce and a disaster. They executed an innocent man because they had no better suspect. Everyone who took the stand lied. Flat out lied: cops, expert witnesses, Lindbergh himself. God, how this book has made me hate Charles Lindbergh. They planted evidence, coached witnesses, tricked Hauptmann into damning himself, destroyed documents and evidence that exonerated him, and laid out a boatload of perjury as the truth.
And Hauptmann lost his life.
This website does a pretty good job of laying out the absurdities of the case and lining up the questions that Hauptmann's defense lawyer should have asked. Only he didn't, because he too thought Hauptmann was guilty. So throughout the entire trial, he only spent 40 minutes conferring with his client.
This book has gotten me in such a tizzy that I can't stand it. I find the whole thing so disgusting and reprehensible. I can't even recommend the book because it's too painful to read. I'm glad I learned about it, but it literally makes me sick to my stomach to read it.
Just this morning, I was thinking about that mom who got arrested for leaving her child in the car while she put money in the Salvation Army bin. I watched a mom strap her kid into the car at Walmart, take her groceries out of her cart, and then leave the cart right in the middle of the parking lot instead of pushing it to one of the cart corrals. I hate when people do this! But I got to thinking, would she get in trouble for leaving her child unattended as she put her cart away? That's the same distance as it was to the Salvation Army bin.
I seriously thought about this all day, about moms who don't stray from child's side. I thought a lot about my own childhood, and about CaliValleyGirl's (she should regale you with tales of her childhood independence), and about leaving a child alone in the car for a few moments.
So I was fascinated to find this article this evening:
Would you let your fourth-grader ride public transportation without an adult? Probably not. Still, when Lenore Skenazy, a columnist for the New York Sun, wrote about letting her son take the subway alone to get back to her Manhattan home from a department store on the Upper East Side, she didn't expect to get hit with a tsunami of criticism from readers.
"Long story short: My son got home, ecstatic with independence," Skenazy wrote on April 4 in the New York Sun. "Long story longer: Half the people I've told this episode to now want to turn me in for child abuse. As if keeping kids under lock and key and helmet and cell phone and nanny and surveillance is the right way to rear kids. It's not. It's debilitating—for us and for them."
I honestly think it's cool that she let her kid ride the subway. I was only a little older than he when I rode my bike to school, an event which I immortalized when I previously wrote about letting kids have freedom:
On my last day of fifth grade, my mom let me ride my bike to school. Some of my friends who lived closer to the school got to ride their bikes often, but we lived in a neighborhood that was further away and so I was a bus-riding kid. (Oh, and every day my brother and I walked down the street to the bus stop and waited alone.) But finally my mom said I was old enough to earn the right to ride my bike to school. I just google mapped it, and it seems I rode roughly two miles. And I felt SO COOL. I was one of the big kids now. I was independent. I had Done Something Awesome. And without a helmet.
My mom and I talked about that not too long ago. She says looking back she can't believe all the parents let their kids ride bikes to school. And she's not sure she'd let me do it today. Even she has a hard time remembering when cartoon characters didn't need helmets.
I needed to ride that bike to school. Heck, I still remember it. As a crowning achievement, as a milestone, as a step on the way to Growing Up. The thing that scares me is wondering if I will be able to let my kids take those steps too.
The Newsweek article says this:
Back in 1972, when many of today's parents were kids, 87 percent of children who lived within a mile of school walked or biked every day. But today, the Centers for Disease Control report that only 13 percent of children bike, walk or otherwise get themselves to school.
My husband is pretty adamant that we won't be driving our kid to his bus stop. And likely we won't have to; the local bus stop seems to stop every 100 feet to let a new kid out right in front of his house. We want to have a relaxed and groovy approach to parenting. (Ha, the last thing Sarah is is relaxed and groovy.)
Of course, these feelings are all theoretical. I want to be a cool, independence-fostering mom. But I've also been plagued by hovering thoughts.
I know a couple, they tried for eight years to have their daughter. She was born dangerously premature, and she ended up being their only child. She's now 30, and when I think about how hard it was for them to have this child, I wonder how they ever let her leave the house. How did they let her ride a bike or start driving or go to college? How did they ever let her out of their sight? She was irreplaceable. Literally.
Since having a baby has proven so hard, I can imagine it will be even harder to let my kid become independent. I will have to really work at not smothering the kid.
I will have to remind myself how I felt when I rode that bike to school. My kid needs to feel that too.
Oh good heavens: I Left My Son in San Francisco.
The last time my husband left, it was buying shampoo that made me realize he was leaving. This time it was tortillas.
I pack lunches for my husband to eat at work, and usually I make him wraps. As I bought a ten-pack of tortillas today, I realized that that's all he'll need. There are about ten more work days until he's gone.
Boy, that hit me like a ton of bricks. It snuck up on me fast. The shampoo realization came four months ahead of time. This time I've been a lot more distracted.
I finished my Magknits t-shirt yesterday, and I am loving it. I already have plans to make another.
It's not easy to take a photo of yourself with the camera timer and try to get the dog to look cute, your new sweater to look cute, and to not look like you have a bald spot. Two outta three ain't bad, right?
John Stossel echoes a point I was trying to make via email to Sis B:
Politicians love a "crisis." John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama all think that the government should bail out homeowners who can't pay their mortgages. When they say the government should do this, they mean the taxpayers, including those who are paying their mortgages. They also think the government should regulate the lending and investment industries further.
Because "crisis" justifies making government bigger.
It's why we now have a global warming "crisis" and in previous years we had "crises" over avian flu, the Y2K threat to computers, imaginary cancer spikes caused by pesticides, killer bees flying up from Mexico, and uncontrolled population growth leading to a "Population Bomb" that will bring "riots and mass starvation" by the year 2000.
In my email, I mentioned the HBO series John Adams and remarked how deeply it struck me when John Adams told Congress that it wasn't his place to give his opinion when they were deadlocked. Imagine any politician today saying it's not his place to give his opinion! Nowadays, politicans tie millions of dollars to their opinions and give both out freely. And imagine telling our early presidents that they need to help people pay for their homes or stop the spread of disease. No way that was the government's job back then. But it sure is now. Hurricane hit your city? Free trailers for everyone. And here's a voucher to go buy a new Gucci purse.
The term "predatory lending" just gets my goat. Forced lending? Ha. You can't make someone borrow money from you. If you make $30,000 a year and bought a $400,000 house, it's no one's fault but your own. I wish John Adams could be here today to stare incredulously at those people's faces and tell them to get real.
Lileks is a gem:
You know, it may be hard to find a candidate who doesn’t belong to a church whose leader delivers eyebrow-singing speeches on the evils of America and also built a house Jim Bakker would approve, and it may be hard to find a candidate who doesn’t move with ease in the same social circles as some people who bombed the Pentagon, but it can’t be that hard to find one who doesn’t do both.
Speaking of gems, my husband's ego grew about two sizes after the previous post. Now he's walking around the house talking about how great he is.
Once again, I have the perfect set-up to rave about my husband. The internet makes it too easy, I swear.
John Hawkins found the most horrific article about why men don't do housework. Now there's room for complaining about my husband and his violent toothbrushing (the man brushes his teeth so hard that he sprays everywhere, showering the bathroom in white spots), which I have been known to gripe about on the phone with certain valley girls from Cali. But this article, it's just too much.
And yet everyone acts as if Jeremy deserves some kind of medal just for making a run to the supermarket. No one has ever suggested that I’m a heroine for doing the things every mother is expected to do. I admit that my husband helps out more than many men, but here’s another news flash: It isn’t because he’s such a fabulously enlightened being. Left to his own devices, he would doubtless park himself in front of the TV like some sitcom male-chauvinist couch potato while I did all the work. The reason Jeremy “helps” as much as he does (an offensive terminology that itself suggests who’s really being held responsible) is simple: He doesn’t have a choice.
OK, I'll say it. My husband does deserve a medal for helping me around the house. I do most of the housework, and I'm darned lazy at it. Right now I am blogging in the middle of the day with election coverage on the TV, and I just set down my crochet project to pick up the laptop. La-zy. I did do several loads of laundry earlier, cleaned out my husband's dresser drawers, took out the trash, weeded the front flowerbeds, and unloaded and loaded the dishwasher. But really, I still had time to watch two Laws & Orders, make a preemie hat, talk on the phone with Erin, my mom, and my mother-in-law, and eat several pieces of candy on the sofa. The fact that my husband helps make dinner, change the sheets, and load the dishwasher is indeed a sign of his sainthood. Because he woke up at 0430 this morning to spend more than 12 hours at work and then will come home to study for an economics final.
I'm the one who would doubtless park myself on the sofa all day, watching cop dramas and knitting to my heart's content. I clean up the house because I don't have a choice. It's my job since I don't have a job. And once he deploys, I won't have anyone around to shame me into doing housework. The house will probably be a disaster. Charlie sure ain't gonna pull his weight.
I'm lucky my husband puts up with piles of yarn, laundry, and dirty dishes at all. He could easily chew my butt for not working harder around the house while he's at work all week and getting his MBA on the weekends. But he doesn't care, as long as food's on the table and his socks are clean. And he'd have every right to ask me to do more. The oven needs cleaning, as do the windowsills.
I am the one who counts my blessings around here.
My husband is a dream.
I don't understand stuff like this at all.
Officials with Marriott International have agreed to meet with pro-family leaders to discuss the hotel giant's policy of selling in-room pornographic movies to consumers at some of its properties.
The letter stressed that pulling the plug on pornography would be in keeping with Marriott's public statement of "promoting the well-being of children and families."
What a bunch of meddling busybodies. If a businessman alone in his hotel room wants to pay outrageous sums of money to watch a dirty movie, why is it anybody else's business?
I mean, don't get me wrong, buying those movies at a hotel is dumb. They're expensive! Shoot, all in-room movies are expensive. Last week the Red Roof Inn wanted to charge us $5.95 to watch an episode of Dexter. Uh, no. But people have the right to spend their money however stupidly they choose. And if they want to spend it on certain types of movies, that's their business.
I just don't get how offering these movies, for a fee, harms children and families who stay in the hotel. This is like the easiest way to prevent your kid from watching dirty movies. If you share a room, there's no way the kid will see it. If the kids have their own room, you'll know about it immediately the next morning when you settle your bill. That's easier control over your kids than you have at home, where any kid at school can hand your precious baby a DVD to take home and hide.
And they're the easiest thing in the world to avoid. Don't want to watch them? Don't buy them! What a novel idea. Just skip that selection on the menu. It's not like the dirty movies are on every channel for free. That will only happen when you take your kids to Europe on vacation.
This kind of stuff drives me nuts. If you don't like sex/violence/nudity/Nip Tuck on TV, don't watch. Change the channel. But seriously, don't try to pressure advertisers and hotel chains to make it so no one can watch. That's manipulative and pathetic.
Incidentally, one time when I was in like high school or something, my family was at a hotel and tried to order an in-room movie. We hit the button, and the movie started, but something wasn't right: it was grainy, and the music was...funny. And then the name of the movie showed up, and gosh I wish I could remember what it was. Something erotic. Obviously the wrong movie had shown up on the screen. So my mom calls the front desk, but she's left the movie playing while she's dialing. My dad was like, "Uh, I think you might want to stop this from playing," while my younger brothers are shushing him and staring intently at the screen. Ha.
So apparently that miscarriage art, it was a hoax. I don't know what is sicker: really inducing your own miscarriage for art, or just pretending you did to get attention.
Via Insty, an excellent comment on taxes:
Clearly the government wants us to spend ourselves broke and throw ourselves on welfare. Then they will stop fining us every year. They fine us for speeding, for spitting in the streets, for doing things they don't want us to do: they also fine us for improving our property, investing money to grow the economy, saving money; the implications are pretty clear?
I knitted two socks last week on vacation.
Yeah, I never said they matched.
The red one has the StL Cardinals logo on the heel. The black one is made with that fun Tofutsies yarn made out of crab shells. I just really wanted socks made from seafood.
And I imagine someday I will make the partner for each of these socks. But right now, there's work to do. I thought my baby knitting was winding down. Both my cousins had their babies last week, so that only left one more preg lady to knit for. And then I got two wedding invitiations in the mail. And found out someone else is pregnant.
It never ends.
Also in knitting news, while on vacation I went to the Toy and Miniature Museum. I knew that some of Althea Merback's work was there, so I dragged my husband's family to see tiny knitted gloves. This was the sweater we got to see, but there was so much more. It was The.Best.Museum.Evah. (My husband laughed when I said that; "You've been to the Louvre," he joked.) But some statue with no arms has nothing on a six-inch-tall working printing press. Or tiny working musical instruments and cameras. My in-laws are lucky we showed up two hours before closing because I could've spent all day there. And the whole time, I kept wishing I had the AirForceKids or Sir Rowland there with me; they would've loved it.
Any soldier worth his salt doesn't get wrapped up in ribbons and accolades. I learned that long ago, when I saw medals thrown haphazardly in a foot locker. And I took notice when a guy from my husband's armor unit showed up at his new finance unit and tossed my husband's OIF medals on a desk for him. Finance wanted to have a big ceremony for my husband; armor knew the medals were an afterthought. The men who earned the medals, they knew that the pride came in the work they had done, not the bits of ribbons they received for it months later.
Soldiers wear their uniforms with pride, making sure that everything is proper and in its place. But rarely do they care which ribbons they wear. In fact, I was appalled recently to overhear one soldier belittle another for his paltry chest collection, because I had never heard anything so vulgar in my life. I had never before seen anyone point to his hardware as "proof" he was better than someone else. (But this soldier proves himself a douchebag, time and time again.)
Remember when Mr. Miagi said that karate was in your head and your heart, but never in your belt? Real soldiers think the same thing about their ribbons.
And over the past few days, I have read a couple of slams on GEN Petraeus for wearing a chest-load of commendations when he testified before congress. Badger6 is right that the people who write these columns have no idea what they're talking about. It's not like Petraeus can simply decide not to wear parts of his uniform for fear of intimidating the public. Oh gosh, better leave a couple of these stars off my shoulder, lest someone think I'm trying to show off with four of them. I guess two of them will do for today; I'll leave the other two at home.
Badger6 is dismayed that a wine critic somehow got paid to write an opinion column about Petraeus' hardware. Me too. Because it seems obvious that this fella has never even met anyone who has ever been awarded a medal:
In more contemporary times, decorations have suffered a fraught reputation among the rank and file: nice to get but awkward to display if the memories associated with them are of violence, loss and the ineptness of commanders. There have been isolated incidents of Iraq war veterans returning their medals, and, of course, Vietnam War vets were better acquainted with this kind of protest.
Oh yes, the only reason for medals is so you can throw them on the White House lawn. I forgot. Silly me.
Cassandra found another piece griping about Petraeus' uniform. (You really must read her entire post: A Suspension of Contempt.) She says this:
Challenge the good General on his testimony. Challenge him on the facts if you wish. But check the ad hominems at the door. Just because he wears the uniform of the day doesn't give you carte blanche to take cheap potshots at medals that commemorate battles where better men than you will ever be have fought and died for ideals they believed were worth fighting for, even if you do not.
Petraeus doesn't wear those ribbons because he thinks he's better than everyone else. He wears them because they're a part of his uniform. And I bet if you asked him about them, he'd be humble and dismissive.
Go on, critics, ask him which ribbons he got for getting shot in the chest and breaking his pelvis. None.
It took me a couple of years of being in the Army community before I really grokked ribbons. I should've learned the lesson from watching The Karate Kid for the umpteenth time, but it took a while for it to really sink in. It took seeing real heroes brush off praise over the medals they did receive -- heroes like Neil and my husband -- and seeing those precious awards being treated like the hunks of metal that they are for me to truly get it.
I'm not surprised that some wine critic doesn't grok.
Today is our stinker's 3rd birthday.
Here's to many more, Chuck.
This morning we had an appointment with a fertility doctor.
I wanted closure. I wanted reasons. I wanted someone to pore over my charts with me and help me find the definitive a-ha as to why we haven't had a baby yet. And honestly, I wanted a big fat neener-neener "I told you so" that I could say to all the people who told me to just relax and stop stressing. I wanted there to be something wrong with us that we could fix.
But I didn't get that. Instead we got hemming and hawing and maybe you could get pregnant on your own but maybe you couldn't and you got pregnant once before but actually these test results don't look so good, well they're not the worst we've ever seen but they're not great and when are you deploying and for how long and hmmmm and uhhhhh and...OK, fine, you're candidates for fertility treatment.
And I guess the reasons ultimately don't matter so much. After 15 months, the ends justify the means, and whatever means it takes us to get a baby is fine by me. But I really wanted answers. Because as of now, we're still living with the same amount of uncertainty that we've dealt with for the past year. If there's nothing absolutely, definitively wrong with us that can get fixed, just some low numbers here and some less-than-optimal conditions there, then we just blew it. We had an 85% chance of getting pregnant this year and we blew it. That sucks.
And even though we're getting an extra dose of Science to help us on our way, it's just going to be more finger crossing and hoping for the best.
So my husband's leg of the journey ends here, but I must soldier on. Like Frodo with the ring, I will continue to carry the burden while my husband goes off to fight the battles of men (this analogy is totally working for me.)
And I'm ticked because we're right where I absolutely didn't want to be. We did everything we were supposed to do, and raised all sorts of concerns along the way. I took all my charts to the doctor last August and begged someone to listen to me. After the miscarriage, we pleaded with someone to hear our case. And now, now that my husband leaves for Iraq in less than a month, now they decide to help us. Now that the last 15 months have been one big fat waste of time.
And I can't help but be annoyed that if someone had just listened to me last year, our journey could've been more like this:
At any rate, we are where we are now and we have to make the most of it. At first the prospect of multiple babies freaked me out, but now I've gotten really used to the idea and I think I really want twins. Give me all the babies I am ever going to have in one fell swoop so I can be done with this horrible procreation process once and for all. Sorry, Mark Steyn, but I just don't have the stomach for it.
But it's funny; if we do end up having a baby, we will have Mark Steyn to thank for it. America Alone is the only thing that's kept me going. I asked my husband the other day what happens if we go through this entire stupid process and then only end up with one baby, do we go through it again? And he sputtered, "But...but...one child? But...Mark Steyn..." Ha, that book really messed with our heads.
So it's America Alone and now Sarah Alone, headed into Mordor with a burden that grows heavier with every step.
I start treatments the day my husband deploys.
What is this, f-ed up art day? First these wacko artists and now another one. Apparently some girl put a bunch of American flags on the floor for people to walk on, as art. Several people are talking about it, but I really like what Kat had to say. Please go read her whole post.
As for the provost who called the flag "just a piece of cloth"...
Typing that hurts my heart.
You know, I've lived in a couple of countries and I've met people from all over the world. And most of the ones I've met, they don't give a flying fig about their flag. Some of them were downright ashamed of their national identity and wanted no part of flags. When a friend and I found a shop in the Netherlands that sold flag patches from all different countries, we bought respective flags for all our exchange student friends. Some took those patches gingerly from our hands, half smiling and half wondering why on earth we would've bought them such a weird gift.
But my flag, it is not just a piece of cloth.
You know what the coolest part of that Aftermath program was? The end, where they said that once all traces of man are wiped from the face of the earth, when nothing is left to show we were here, there will still be an American flag on the moon.
I spent about ten minutes just now trying to find a story I'd heard once. I finally found it: The Mike Christian Story. And as I finished reading the story, I got a jolt when I realized it had been told by John McCain.
And it's times like this when I feel sad that we're relieved that some people didn't walk on a flag on the ground, when other people risked beatings and death in order to salute the flag.
It's not just a piece of cloth.
Wow. After the Dem debate last night, a bunch of Democrat focus groupers talked about why they'd consider voting for John McCain. Check out the video.
I am putting my fingers together like Monty Burns and saying, "Exxxcellent."
My husband is on block leave right now, using his vacation days before he deploys. Three guesses as to where he is right now. Yep, he's at work, just like he was yesterday and just like he will be tomorrow. But in civilian clothes, cuz he's on vacation. Whoopity doo. Then he gets to come home, take an economics final, and work on a group project.
You know your life is particularly stressful when the pep talk you give is, "The next few weeks are going to be insane, but you just have to make it through them. And then you leave." When deployment is the light at the end of the tunnel, you have too much on your plate.
Ha, Mare thought to do a little googling, and she found that we don't know the only Hitler cat. There's a whole website of 'em: Cats That Look Like Hitler. I'm gonna get permission to add our kitteh to the bunch.
This "art project" is just beyond anything my brain can comprehend:
Beginning next Tuesday, Shvarts will be displaying her senior art project, a documentation of a nine-month process during which she artificially inseminated herself “as often as possible” while periodically taking abortifacient drugs to induce miscarriages. Her exhibition will feature video recordings of these forced miscarriages as well as preserved collections of the blood from the process.
The goal in creating the art exhibition, Shvarts said, was to spark conversation and debate on the relationship between art and the human body.
But Shvarts insists her concept was not designed for “shock value.”
“I hope it inspires some sort of discourse,” Shvarts said. “Sure, some people will be upset with the message and will not agree with it, but it’s not the intention of the piece to scandalize anyone.”
What could you possibly think your art project is going to inspire me to talk about, besides the fact that you horrify me as a human being? Do you think people will go to the exhibit and say, "Huh, I had no idea there was so much blood during an abortion. Thanks to this display, I feel educated on the subject." You're unbelievably stupid if you don't think the only thing people will feel is shock and revulsion.
Look, even people who think that there might be some times when the morning-after pill or an abortion is the right choice for a woman, that time is certainly not whenever you feel like pumping yourself full of sperm and videotaping your miscarriage for a passing grade in art class.
And because these days I have a hard time seeing anything without my own lens of reproductive woes, this just appalls me on levels I can't even describe.
What in the hell is wrong with "artists" these days? Doesn't anyone just paint anymore?
Here's another completely awful "art" exhibit. This time, a dog is chained up Tantalus-style, just out of reach of food. And left to starve to death. It's art!
I read yesterday at CG that a blogger I've never read before, Dispatches from Blogblivion, has fallen on hard times. I noticed his wife has an Etsy shop, so I went and bought a cute crochet pattern. If anyone is so inclined to get a crochet pattern in exchange for a little charity, her Etsy shop is here. Looks like I will be crocheting little birdies at some point in the future.
Anyway, Charlie loves cats. Loves them. His first cat experience was with my in-laws' cat when he was young, and their cat thinks he's a dog. Seriously. He goes on walks and stuff. And he wrestles with Charlie. They scrap and fight and roll around. Unfortunately, Charlie now thinks this is how all cats are supposed to act. He's since scared the bejesus out of numerous cats because he wants to play with them and most kittehs are not into that sort of thing.
But he got to play with his favorite cat all last week, which was so fun to watch. Sadly, it's not so easy to photograph. But here they are, face to face, right before the cat reaches out and punches Charlie in the face.
Also, I forgot to mention that this cat is hilarious for another reason. The jokes write themselves because he has a dark patch of fur right under his nose. Beware of Hitler Cat.
Charlie doesn't seem so scared. Maybe he thinks his blond hair and blue eyes will endear him to Hitler Cat.
By the way, he would make a great LOL Cat.
Found this story on ABW's site: Baby left at doorstep finds new home
BAGHDAD – Spotting irregularities is a tactic that is drilled into the minds of Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers throughout training and in practice while in Iraq. Soldiers recently watched as a car pulled up to an entry control point at Forward Operating Base Callahan in northern Baghdad. They continued to watch as a woman stepped out of the car holding a bag. Once the woman dropped the bag near the gate, internal alarms were ringing and a careful search was called for and conducted.
That search yielded a newborn baby wrapped tightly in several cloths. Soldiers raced to the bag, retrieved the child and brought him to the aid station to be examined. “We unwrapped it to make sure he was alive – and he wasn’t sick, he wasn’t dead, he wasn’t injured,” said Staff Sgt. Paul Briscoe, the Aid Station NCOIC at FOB Callahan. “He was a perfectly healthy baby. I’m guessing three to seven days old. He was in perfect health. There wasn’t a scratch on him.”
And what's to happen to the little bouncing boy? That's the best part of the story:
The baby is to be adopted by the brother of a local national, who works at the base. The brother and his wife have been married five years and have been unable to have a baby of their own. The interpreters at FOB Callahan have taken a collection to donate to the family to help care for the baby.
A happy ending for everyone. Plus I like thinking about manly soldiers in Iraq changing diapers and cooing over a newborn.
Heh, that reminds me of the time we went to visit some friends who had just had a new baby girl. While we were there, our friend was telling my husband about the new pistol he'd bought. He brought it out to show my husband, and oh how I wish I had a picture of my husband holding a newborn baby girl under one arm and aiming a Glock with the other.
Now that's hot.
We had our mail held while we were on leave, and it just got delivered today. Some interesting pieces in there. First of all, via the university my husband is about to graduate from, there's a letter urging him to consider joining the Army. Heh.
Secondly, our 2008 Census Dress Rehearsal. Wanna know the choices for race?
Oh yeah, and White or Black.
Christ on a cracker, where to begin? These are not races; these are national identities! We're really going to let Asians self-identify as Japanese, Korean, or Laotian but white Europeans can go f themselves? Oh, and remember, Arabs are considered "white." So we'll lump Swedes, Sicilians, Bulgarians, and Arabs all together, but heaven forbid we don't know whether you're Fijian or Tongan living in the US.
This makes me so mad I can't even see straight.
Who cares about any of this? You know what prevents us from moving from the color of one's skin to the content of his character? This bullcrap. I have the audacity of hope that one day we won't have to check stupid effing boxes like this, that one day we'll just all be called Americans.
Is that too much to ask? Really? Because otherwise I want a write-in tally for German-Irish-English-Native-American-American.
Today is tax day, the craptastic-est day of the year. Well, OK, it wasn't tax day for us; we filed months ago because we were owed a ton of money that the gov withheld from my husband's retention bonus.
Anyway, today is the day for Boortz to shine. Read here.
This is just...well, awful. It's one of those stories that on the surface sounds funny if it weren't so damned serious and sad.
'World peace' hitcher is murdered: An Italian woman artist who was hitch-hiking to the Middle East dressed as a bride to promote world peace has been found murdered in Turkey.
The artist's sister says it all:
"Her travels were for an artistic performance and to give a message of peace and of trust, but not everyone deserves trust."
I've decided that whoever came up with the expression "misery loves company" has never truly been miserable. Real misery feels worse when you hear someone else is going through it.
I got to go check my email at the local public library while we were on vacation. I found out that two other bloggers had miscarriages this week.
I cried quietly the whole way home from the library.
I do not want to share that misery with other people.
We're home now. I've got some stuff to share, but I'm too exhausted from the 18-hour drive to do it now.
But I did have a laugh the first night we were gone when I heard that Hillary's story of the girl who couldn't raise $100 for a prenatal visit, the story I wrote about when she was campaigning here in town, was baloney.
I missed my blog that night.
My husband deploys in about a month and I haven't given it any thought at all. In fact, it just now kind of hit me. We've been so wrapped up in trying to have a baby that we haven't had time to think about any other emotions. We haven't even talked about his leaving.
And all of a sudden, I am sad. I am really going to miss him while he's gone.
I went and read the things I missed about him last time he was gone. Ha, they're all still true. Mostly this time, I will miss his company. Last time, I had many good friends whose husbands were deployed with mine, but now...well, I don't have any friends here in town. All of my friends are internet-based, and when the husband won't be coming home at the end of the day, I fear time is going to drag.
But anyway, enough about that. My husband is signing out on block leave today, so tomorrow we're headed across the country to visit his parents before he deploys. And while everything is up to date in most of the city, they haven't gone as fer as they can go at his parents' house. My in-laws don't have internet access, so I will be taking a week off of blogging. Don't have too much fun without me...
A good Townhall article today: Do We Care What They Think of America?
I wonder whether Democrats ever indulge the suspicion that "world opinion" may be bunk? Let's contrast, for example, the popularity of Israel (19 percent positive, 52 percent negative) and North Korea (23 percent positive, 44 percent negative).
You can imagine the juxtaposition she sets up between Israel and North Korea. Why do we care if Europeans don't like us; if they nestle us in betwee China and North Korea, they're the ones with problems, not us.
Also, Lorie Byrd wrote an article called I'd Pay to See Movies About American Heroes and opened her piece with quotes from lil ol' me. Aw, shucks.
(Both articles found via Conservative Grapevine, one-stop shopping for good links.)
Oh my heavens, now MEN are getting pregnant before I am.
AirForceWife wrote the following recently:
A few weeks ago I read an article that summarized a study about kid play. The results of the study were ASTOUNDING. The gist of it was this:
For the last fifteen years or so, parents have been directing children's play more and more in an effort to help them learn earlier and more easily. Action figures are no longer generic, but so specific they can't even be kept in the same vinyl storage case. Rather than "free play" where kids interact together with a minimum of adult involvement, adults are now fully involved and moving their spawn from place to place and activity to activity without giving the kid a chance to just play.
And a lot of kids don't know how to "just play" anymore.
The results of the study showed that in trying to help our kids this way, we were actually stunting the evolutionary adaptions that kids self-teach themselves to problem solve and interact in society. These learned behaviors are the basis for everything else a kid learns. In effect, we are giving our kids learning disabilities by trying to give them learning advantages.
I am no longer teaching knitting classes, but I am still working at Michaels when they have in-store events. And my favorite thing to do is watch parents interact with their kids when they bring them in for the kid-geared free events.
One example was the day sponsored by Crayola where the kids got to try out these fancy new markers and paper. So the craft was to make a door hanger, you know, like a Keep Out sign. And it was fascinating how many parents didn't like the way their kid was coloring or what he was doing and literally took the markers from his hands and made the hanger for him.
Yeah, little kids color like crap. The door hanger will not have their name and a fancy drawing of a cat if the kid is 3 years old. But if he just wants to take one marker of every color and draw a mess of squiggles, why not? It doesn't hurt anything, and it sure doesn't teach the kid any skills when you take the marker away from him and do the craft yourself.
At the play-doh section, I saw one parent tell her kid his thing was ugly. And she was right, it was ugly. But dang. She made him re-do it.
I think this is related to the idea of "free play." One thing that I have learned from watching all this parent-child interaction is that I will have to remind myself someday to let my kid put whatever he wants on his door hanger. And not do it for him. No matter how ugly it is.
Oda Mae emailed me to say that someone mentioned me on a Rachel Lucas post about people's favorite bloggers. So I just spent ten minutes reading through all the comments looking for my name, cuz I'm a douche like that.
Anyway, thanks to MargeinMI, whose moniker I recognize from years of readership, for mentioning me, especially in the same breath as names like Lileks and Steyn. It was such a compliment.
And she shaved four years off my age, so there's that compliment too!
Let the going nuts commence:
"Profit-seeking firms beat most of the government to the scene and provided more effectively the supplies needed for the immediate survival of a population cut off from life's most basic necessities," Horwitz wrote in the study, which was published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. "Though numerous private-sector firms played important roles in the relief operations, Wal-Mart stood out."
Stuff Mentioned That White People Hate:
free market solutions
the government sucking
bottom-up problem solving
how price gouging saves and appropriately distributes resources
I considered writing about Obama and his "I don’t want them punished with a baby" comment. Then I considered not writing about it because I am weary of thinking about other people having unwanted babies. But I will just say a couple of things.
As much as I want a baby now, that's how much I did not want a baby previously. I can't say that I would've used the word "punished," but I would not have been happy if I had gotten pregnant before I was ready. Not happy.
Right before my husband left for Iraq the last time, he was out on a training exercise for a month. During that time, my grandmother died. I was stressed with his upcoming deployment and being half a world away while my mother was losing her only living parent. And I was ten days late for my period. Even though my husband was in the field and there was no possible way I could've been pregnant, I was freaked out. I did not want a baby. I had been married for a year and a half, we had the same good relationship that we have now, and yet I did not want to have a baby yet. Not at all. I know we would've gone on to be OK with it and been a great family, but still I'm glad I wasn't pregnant back then. Even knowing what I know now -- how hard it's been to start a family -- I still can't honestly say I would've wanted it to happen four years ago.
Much less before I was married. No freaking way.
So that's my thoughts on that. I don't think "punished" was the right word to use, but I completely understand Obama's idea that a baby isn't always a blessed miracle. And while today it is really hard for me to think about all the unwanted babies in the world when we want one so badly, I still can't say I think it's appropriate to saddle young girls with a baby they don't want. Having to have a baby you don't want is the flip side of the coin to not being able to have a baby you desperately want. I wish no one ever had to live through either scenario.
Rachel Lucas has more thoughts on the matter: Reality always trumps idealism.
I found this article funny -- Average British family eats the same six meals every week -- because it's a running joke in our family that we never eat the same thing twice. The only time we have repeats is when we have company over because I'm not brave enough to try something untested when guests are coming. Otherwise, I browse the cookbooks every week and find something new to try. The downside to this is that my husband is not so vocal about what he likes and dislikes. He said once, "What's the point; even if I love it, we're still not going to have it again." I say there will be plenty of time for repeats once we have kids. For now, there's no reason why I can't spend three hours making enchillada green sauce from scratch. Yum.
I finished reading Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom. I think for accessibility's sake I prefer Thomas Sowell's books, but without Friedman there would be no Sowell.
One thing that struck me was how little progress we've made in 46 years. Most of the points Friedman argues are the same points I've heard from the likes of Sowell, Stossel, or Elder. School vouchers, ending the minimum wage, a flat tax, the unsustainablility of social security: Friedman was talking about all of these things in 1962. 1962, for pete's sake. And we haven't done anything about it since then? These problems have been common knowledge for nearly 50 years, and still we manage to screw it up.
A lot of the book felt like it could've been written last week, since we still face the same stupid issues today. That is, until he starts using actual facts and figures.
In 1961, government amounted to something like $33 billion (federal, state, and local) on direct welfare payments and programs of all kinds: old age assistance, social security benefit payments, aid to dependent children, general assistance, farm price support programs, public housing, etc.
Then you see just how boned we are. Each of these programs alone is more than $33 billion these days.
We've had 46 years to take the advice of the world's greatest economist. Why have we been so stupid?
Do you remember that episode of House where all those people got sick on the airplane, and it turned out they were all psychosomatic? I completely believe in the power to think you're sick and the placebo effect. One thing I would love to see, which is a completely unethical experiment, is to give women positive pregnancy tests when they're not pregnant and see what symptoms they report. I would bet that most of them imagine themselves nauseated.
For over a year now, I have spent the final days of every month trying to guess whether I feel pregnant or not. All of a sudden, you notice every twitch and twinge in your body. There are pains in your abdomen you swear you've never felt before. You sit and wonder if you could throw up. And every month save one, all those symptoms I felt were imaginary. It's amazing what the mind can be tricked into thinking when you really want to be pregnant.
So I'm sitting here trying to fight back nausea that most likely only exists in my head. Mind over...mind? And then at the end of every month, I have this fight with myself because I get so annoyed that I fall for it every month. I berate myself for even entertaining the hope. Because when you start to feel the twinges and nausea, you start to imagine all the good stuff: taking a positive test, calling mom and dad, finally getting to use all the lovely things I got at my baby shower. And then it just hurts your heart even more when it turns out to all be in your head. It's a stupid cycle.