April 20, 2009

DEAR DARLA, YOU'RE THE BEST

Darla and I are currently going through much of the same -- a break from babymaking, upcoming deployments, etc -- and she wrote a great post about it.

I'd be lying if I said it hasn't been a little calmer around here since we took a hiatus from the baby making.

This past month has been very relaxing for us. No thinking about babies, no trying for babies, nothing. I had honestly been afraid that we might never be able to go back to "normal," that two years of forced coupling and repeated heartbreak might be hard to undo. But we have spent the past month happy with each other, as happy as we were before this whole mess began. So that was a relief.

I'd be lying to say I wasn't enjoying last weekend. [...] As slightly inebriated baby sister and I stumbled down the streets of Portland in the wee hours of the night behind our spouses, it was a bit of a relief to not be neglecting any children or having to place their care in someone else's hands while being completely stupidly unresponsible for myself. Sometimes it's joyous being an adult, and yes I know they have these things called 'sitters' but those barren like myself have to see silver linings everywhere.

I am quite good at the silver linings game by now. This weekend I ran to the grocery store to buy carrots for Charlie's birthday cake. I wandered around the store for a while, checking everything out. $30 in groceries later, I checked out and went home...to find that I'd left the carrots at the store. Back in the car, run back in the store, back home.

That was annoying, but imagine the ordeal toting a kid. I try to remind myself of stuff like that all the time.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't melancholy on occasion.

Snort. Sitting here doing nothing and then bursting into tears for no reason is just a way of life for me anymore.

Yet, as is the case in life, some evenings are crazier than others and sometimes the littlest stupidest thing, like someone's FB profile photo, can remind you of the exact spot you are at in life. For instance barren, at 29, here, now.

Replace that last sentence with "habitual aborter at 31" and that's me. I can't stand Facebook updates about other people's ultrasounds, and their healthy babies, and their profile pics of their bellies. Sometimes I have to stop myself from making mean comments.

Tomorrow we head to the doctor to find out the results of the tests on our genes and my immune system. I have completely freaked myself out by reading the book Is Your Body Baby Friendly? and now I am imagining the worst.

But truly the worst would be to hear that there's no cause for the repeated miscarriages. Then what?

And Darla, for Easter we had pork wrapped in pork. Mmmm.

Posted by Sarah at 04:40 PM | Comments (781) | TrackBack

April 18, 2009

PUPPY BIRTHDAY!

Today our Charles Pup turns four.

He's being spoiled rotten today, with walks and wet dog food, and he'll even get a birthday cake.

It's hard to believe the little sweet potato we picked out...

sweetpotato.jpg

is now our favorite creature in the whole wide world...

charlie4thbirthday.jpg

Happy Birthday, Charlie!

Posted by Sarah at 03:19 PM | Comments (790) | TrackBack

April 15, 2009

MY VALUES ARE NOT FICKLE

As you know, taxes is one of the things that gets me riled up, so I have been reading around about Tax Day and Tea Parties. I was thrilled that my friend Unliberaled Woman already posted about the Tea Party in Chicago. I've also read several postings from people who just don't grok this whole movement. But one particular sentence at Indie Army Wife gave me pause:

Get educated about the tax code and you'll understand that taxing the uberwealthy really isn't going to affect about 99.9% of you.

I started a related post months ago but left it as a draft; now I feel the motivation to revisit it, tangentially to this one sentence I read. I find this concept puzzling, that I should only care about the things that affect me directly. Imagine that I restated the sentence like this: Making abortion illegal "really isn't going to affect about 99.9% of you," so why do you bother forcefully defending your position? I don't think a pro-choice person would accept that statement, and an anti-tax person like myself doesn't see a difference. In both cases, the person's opinion is based on his values and principles, and not necessarily direct experience.

So, unless I am in the, what, top 1%? top 10%?, I shouldn't care because the massive tax burden doesn't affect me. Leaving aside the concept of trickling down -- because I do in fact think that taxing the rich has an effect on my measly little job -- I have never understood this I-got-mine mentality of Democrats. It's the same thing I overheard at the Chinese take-out: screw everyone else that this policy hurts, as long as it doesn't hurt me.

I think this attitude is related to the attitude that made me start the following post months ago:

*****

I resent the implication that my value system is up for grabs. I have been told twice recently "Wait until you experience X and then you'll feel differently."

My value system doesn't work that way. I don't have a different set of rules for myself than I apply to other people.

I don't like taking things from the government, even things I am entitled to, because everything in the government coffers comes from someone else's pocket. I already said that I buy my own prenatal vitamins instead of taking the "free" ones I can get here. I don't want a stimulus check, and I offered to pay the Army back for the money they paid for my fertility treatment.

Shoot, I don't even take things from my parents. I am always trying to find ways to secretly sneak them money or pay for their dinner.

I have been poor-ish. I grew up that way. I got breakfast cereal and deodorant wrapped under the Christmas tree so we kids would have more presents to open. But my parents rose out of it and my husband and I did too. So I champion the successful because that's where I want to be. If I suddenly became poor, I would not start to resent the rich. I would not want to take their stuff.

I don't make decisions based on what's happening in my life right now. I make them based on my values, which don't change with the wind.

I wrote about luck and choices, but I guess I didn't take it far enough. Regardless of what happens to me, my value system is what it is. I resent the idea that if I become poor I will become a Democrat or change the way I understand economics. I resent the idea that if my mother becomes gravely ill I will support nationalized health care. I resent the idea that if life gets hard, I will change my mind and look to government for help.

I guess I resent the idea that a couple of you think that my worldview is all fine and dandy for me when things are going well but that when things start to suck I will sing a different tune.

I resent it being implied that my values are fickle.

They're not.

*****

The same can be said of taxes. I don't want to stick it to the rich and vote for higher taxes for them just because I won't be affected. My anti-tax opinions are based on principles and values, not on how much I pay on April 15th.

And my opinion still matters, even though I am not uberwealthy.

Posted by Sarah at 08:46 PM | Comments (1801) | TrackBack

April 03, 2009

HARUMPH

The rejuvenating weekend I have been looking forward to has been somewhat marred...

Posted by Sarah at 07:19 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 01, 2009

NO EXPLANATION, BUT I'LL TRY

Since I am so open on my site, it must seem like I say everything here. But I don't. Sometimes I freely show my weaknesses; other times I combat my sadness by hiding it behind sarcasm or the lessons I've learned. But I kept from you the fact that I was straight-up broken for a while. I had some of the hardest days of the last decade of my life, which is why I had to silence my head.

I didn't want to let on how bad things were because I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that I wasn't coping well, that I was crying constantly, that I was unable and unwilling to leave the house, that I thought that things would be better if I rolled over and grabbed the loaded gun that was a mere arm's reach away from my bed. But I am doing much better now. I really think I had a minor form of postpartum depression and that my problems were hormonal instead of emotional. I am feeling much better, and while I still choke up thinking about what happens if Baby #4 also dies, I am past the worst of things.

I only told a handful of Real Life folks about this baby. One lady I told was the leader of my knitting group. And when I sent out an email that the baby had died, she asked why I couldn't go to a different doctor or see a specialist in the nearby metropolis.

And her email irritated me.

You all know how much I hate my doctor and how I have indeed considered seeking a second opinion elsewhere. Her email was not at all offensive, but the timing just hit me wrong. My first thought was, "Do you not think I am smart enough to have thought of that on my own?" My second was, "Do you not think I am capable of managing my own care?" She implied neither of those, but that was how I mentally responded.

The friends I have who have gone through infertility and loss, they all seem to echo the idea that no advice is good advice. I guess I haven't done a good job of explaining how perfectly reasonable advice can just kill you if you feel it comes at the wrong time or from the wrong person.

It was not my knitting friend's fault, and nor is she a stranger to struggle: she's a recent cancer survivor, one who still has wispy short hair. But I resented her advice nonetheless at the moment she gave it.

When you already feel like a failure, it is difficult to accept anything that smacks of the slightest criticism. Even if it's sound advice, even if it's factually accurate, whatever. It hurts to feel like someone is saying you're not competent enough to find the right doctor, you're not smart enough to google a bit and learn about blood clotting, and yes, even you're not emotionally strong enough to "adjust your reasoning" and try to develop a different meaning of life.

It also hurts when you pride yourself on having a healthy dose of perspective, when you constantly remind yourself of how life could be worse -- my husband could be dead, I could lose a living child, I could never have met my husband in the first place -- to feel like someone is saying that you lack perspective. This is me we're talking about, me. You know me, you have five years of my thoughts. Do you really not think that when I am lying there wanting to shoot myself, that I think of how long Heidi has lived without Sean, how Mare's friends only had their baby for 24 hours, how I have friends who are my age and older who have never married and may never get to find out if they have fertility problems? I do this to myself enough; I don't need to be reminded of it. Or at least I sure didn't the other day when I was already a mental disaster.

And maybe that doesn't make sense to people who are content right now, or whose human chorionic gonadotropin is at zero, but that's the way it feels when you are suffering.

I'm not upset because none of you had any way of knowing how bad things were. Because I didn't tell you. Because I was embarrassed that I was being weak. I was embarrassed that my head was a jumble, that I wanted everyone to go away and leave me alone...but also sending flowers was nice. I wanted to push you away but I wanted you to resist. That's some hormonal nonsense right there. I felt like such a woman for a while.

But my husband handled me beautifully, being understanding and nice and exclaiming gently in frustration, "But I don't know what right looks like!"

And renting Henry Poole Is Here for me. That was great timing.

So I'm better, and I'm technically back. But my mother is visiting and the whole family is headed to SpouseBUZZ Live this weekend, so blogging is still gonna be sparse.

But I'm back.

Posted by Sarah at 11:39 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

March 27, 2009

JEALOUS

I'd like to add something to my grokking post from yesterday.

I am not better off for having this wisdom. If I could give it all back, I would. Without question. If I could magically go back in time and have a baby when I first tried to, without difficulty or heartache, I would do it in a heartbeat. I don't want to be wise and well-versed in life's lessons; I want a two year old instead.

I am, quite simply, gut-gnawingly jealous of people who can control their family planning. I am jealous of their naivete and their happiness. I don't want them to be wise like me; I want to be naive like them. I envy them, in a way that is entirely unhealthy.

I have also learned that dwelling on this doesn't do me any good either. It just makes me more insane and unfulfilled.

The meaning of life, if you ask me, is to create life. It's to pass on your genes and your values to another generation. And I haven't been able to do that. I cannot participate in the meaning of life. I can't begin to describe how that feels.

I don't want you to have trouble getting pregnant. I don't want you to not have children. I don't want you to get anywhere near knowing what it feels like.

I just want what you have.

So much so that I don't even know how to deal with it anymore.

Posted by Sarah at 04:09 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

March 26, 2009

I FINALLY GROK

A person in my life is newly pregnant. An intermediary called me to tell me the news so I'd hear it in person and not through the grapevine. When I realized that this girl was only as pregnant as I was -- 7 weeks -- I remarked that they were not out of the woods yet and said to pass on my congratulations and that I would continue to hope that everything goes well with the pregnancy. The intermediary said, "Well, she has been to the doctor and everything looks fine." And I, complete cynic about pregnancy that I now am, refrained from reminding this person that I too had a healthy happy 7 week old baby once, a baby that subsequently and unexpectedly died.

And it irked me, irked me that someone could be so naive about pregnancy woes while having been acquainted with me for the past few years. That someone thought that good-to-go at 7 weeks put you in the clear. That this person was so...oh crap...I am not really going to let this word pop into my head, am I?...

flippant.

And all of a sudden, I grokked. I understood what she was feeling when she said that, even if I still disagree that I personally was coming off as flippant. But I also realized that it doesn't really matter, because I am sure this intermediary never would've characterized herself as flippant either.

But it's this naivete with the process, this happy-go-lucky vibe, that's hard to swallow when your own journey has been like dragging and clawing to Mordor. You want other people to have a healthy fear of pregnancy, an inkling that things can go terribly wrong very quickly; you want them to realize that bringing a child into this world, though it seems to happen easily to a great many people, is actually a miracle of engineering and timing. But people who've never suffered just don't have that perspective and never will, no matter how close they are to you or how hard you try to encumber them with your anguish.

They will sound flippant to your ears, no matter what.

What I have learned from this process, and from the whole flippant flap, is that I have to let it pass. I have to let these people be naive. Either they will learn the lesson the hard way, as I did, or they won't and life will turn out happy and jolly for them. But having me rain on their parade doesn't help any of us. It cannot make them understand the suffering that some of us go through to have children. I cannot give them wisdom they are not in a place to understand. It will only make them resent me for not letting them live their own life and learn their own lessons, as I resented her.

But I get it now, two years later. And these are the times when I am happiest as a blogger, when I can document my learning process.

And say that I finally grok.

Posted by Sarah at 01:53 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

March 25, 2009

GROUCHY TODAY

You know the problem has burrowed deep in your psyche when you dream about doctors and genetic testing and surrogates.

I am still feeling about the same, but I am going to try to stay off the meds today. I actually have to leave the house to go get my bloodwork done, so we'll see if I can make it.

And then I go to my knitting group to knit for other people's babies, like I always do. Always a bridesmaid...

Posted by Sarah at 08:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 22, 2009

DECEPTIVE

The last time I went through this miscarriage process, I was Afraid Of Becoming a Drug Addict. I wanted to ration out the percocet and only take it when it was extremely necessary. Thus, I spent a lot of time in pain and stupidly trying to justify to myself why I needed another pill. This time around, I threw caution to the wind and started taking them every time the pain returned. Unfortunately, that method taught me why the #1 listed side effect of percocet is nausea; I spent last night running back and forth to the bathroom.

So I skipped the meds at bedtime and managed to sleep through the night. I woke up this morning feeling great. I thought that since this pregnancy wasn't as advanced as the last one, maybe the worst was past me. I thought I was mostly done. I imagined going on in to work tomorrow and living a normal week.

Yeah, shoulda checked my notes from last time again: this process is deceptive. Just when you think you're on the mend, pain rears its head again.

An hour ago, I doubled over in agony.

I hate this crap.

Posted by Sarah at 10:47 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

March 21, 2009

MY BABY

Charlie was holding his zebra toy lovingly and licking its face. It was too funny; it looked like they were making out. But when I grabbed the camera, he stopped and just stared at me like I was a peeping Tom. Heh.

zebra.jpg

Posted by Sarah at 05:21 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

THANK HEAVENS I'M ANAL

During the last miscarriage, my heart was destroyed. I told my mother that the only way I could get through it was to completely shut off my emotions and treat the whole thing like one big science project. Thus I took detailed notes about what was happening to me and timecoded every dose of medicine and every symptom.

In hindsight, I am so glad I did that. Whoda thunk I'd need to consult those notes again?

I pulled the journal out yesterday morning and reread the event. I realized I had forgotten how much it hurt. I also had condensed the timeline in my head: I thought the medicine took effect in like an hour, but my notes say it took five hours. Good thing I didn't have to rely on my faulty memory.

The process went OK yesterday. This pregnancy was not as advanced as the last one, so there's less to expel. Still, I am pretty certain that we're not completely done, so I took another dose of cytotec this morning.

My husband, meanwhile, has required attendance this morning at the Multiculturalism Readiness Fair. Good old Army and their mandatory nonsense. Of all the Saturdays...

I am doing well. The percocet makes me goofy though. One minute I can be smiley and joking like a drunk person, and then I crash into pain. It's bizarre. I can't believe some people like the way that feels and take this junk on purpose.

Posted by Sarah at 08:22 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 20, 2009

CONCLUSIVE

Well, the paradox has been solved: Schroedinger's cat is dead.

We actually had a good appointment with the doctor today. He was straightforward, talked to us like we were informed adults, and listened to my hypotheses and agreed with me. And I even got to wow him by knowing about the concept of a pseudosac, which I learned from reading about A Little Pregnant's first miscarriage. I felt like this was a really productive visit, and I feel like we're on the right track with how to proceed.

We went right down to the lab and both the husband and I gave blood for genetic testing. The doctor is also testing me for blood clotting problems, though the fact that this was my second blighted ovum leads us to believe that this was a chromosomal problem and not a clot.

My husband says that if we produce genetic mutations, his vote is for a Wolverine baby.

I already did all of my grieving for this baby earlier in the week. Unlike the last two times, the death of Baby #3 was not a surprise for me. I had been anticipating it ever since I started bleeding three weeks ago, so it's been a gradual sadness. I am feeling OK. Unlike last time, I didn't have the put-the-fish-back-in-the-water sadness. I took my cytotec (the miscarriage-inducing medicine) an hour ago, so now we're just waiting for the end.

It takes a few weeks for genetic testing to be done, which is fine. We need a break anyway. I don't want to try to get pregnant again until we have a better gameplan and know what the stakes are.

Oh, and today a seriously pregnant lady hopped on the scale at the doctor's office and she weighed less than me. Ouch. So while we're taking this break, I'm gonna give our new elliptical a workout. I've depressedly gained ten pounds since Miscarriage #1, and I really would feel better about myself and my health if I lose that before we start the process again.

Despite the fact that our baby is dead again, I am doing well and keeping my eye on the future.

Plus there's percocet.

Posted by Sarah at 02:20 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 19, 2009

PAR FOR THE COURSE

So we go into the ultrasound room, shared again of course, but at least this time we're first. The ultrasound tech -- mind you, the exact same person as last week -- comes in with a big grin on her face and squeals, "Are you excited?" I guffaw a No right in her face. And then I remind her of who the hell I am and why I'm there.

Seriously, I couldn't invent more churlish behavior for this entire process if I tried.

I had my mother in stitches last week regaling her with tales from The Hospital Of The Absurd. I never blogged these at the time, but they become more ridiculous when taken as a group:

  • When I wanted a checkup before we started trying to have a baby, back in January 2007, I saw a doctor and wanted to run through my medical history, have a few blood tests run, and get some clarification on some stuff I'd read in pregnancy books. I asked her what advice she had for someone trying to get pregnant. Her response: "Just pray." Thanks, but um, that's not really medical advice. My mom already told me that one; I was hoping that since you were a doctor, you might tell me something I didn't already know.

  • When we finished things up in the ER in December 2007 after we learned Baby #1 was dead, the outprocessing nurse had to have us sign some forms. She looked at the paper and exclaimed, "Oh, you're pregnant! Congrats! How far along are you?" We just stared at her not knowing what to say until I said, "Um, well, we just found out that we're not anymore." Really, who congratulates a dejected-looking pregnant lady who's been admitted to the ER?

  • When I did the first IUI, my doctor told me, "Now I want you to have sex every night for the rest of this week." I said that sounded like a great idea, but did he have somebody in mind? Because, if you'll recall, I'm here on the exam table alone because my husband is deployed. But thanks for not remembering any detail of my life, again.

  • When I went to the ER six weeks ago because I was bleeding, the male nurse asked me, "Are you sure it's not your period?" Yes, I am a 31 year old woman who sits eight hours in the ER for her period. That makes perfect sense.

  • And let's not forget the gems I did blog about: the pregnant doctor who did my D&C, the who's-on-first phone calls, and of course the shared ultrasound room.

    Anyway, if we were writing another absurd chapter to this whole annoying story, I'm not even sure you could guess what happened today.

    The baby is still a Schroedinger's cat. The results were again inconclusive.

    Basically, the embryonic sac has grown, and there's now a yolk sac inside, which means progress, albeit weird progress since we're about two weeks behind schedule. Babies are supposed to have heartbeats at 6 1/2 weeks; we are at 8 weeks and still no heartbeat. But there was growth, so the doctor can't confirm that the pregnancy is over and advise me to remove it. It's just moving too slowly. This baby wants to gestate like an elephant.

    Yep, more WTF news. We are supposed to go back tomorrow and talk to the doctor.

    This is absurd. But it's par for this course.

    (And before anyone even suggests it, because the first person I told this to this morning already tried: No, I did not get pregnant two weeks later than I thought. That was while the husband was at SERE and I'd already taken a positive pregnancy test. Not possible. Please don't try to concoct sci-fi fantasies about how this could be a healthy baby.)

    Posted by Sarah at 09:51 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack
  • March 18, 2009

    WE MAY BE DONE

    Nothing I can do will change the outcome next week, so I just live for the next ten days and go from there.

    That sounded like a great idea on Day 1. Now that it's Day 9, not so much.

    These past few days have been really stressful because we have been mourning not only what we see as the inevitable loss of Baby #3 tomorrow, but also the loss of the whole theoretical concept of Baby Grok.

    I have thought all this time that our problem was getting pregnant and that the two miscarriages were statistical flukes. Now I have started to panic that I can't carry a baby, which bodes so much worse.

    Even after experiencing two miscarriages, your chances of having a third one are not much higher than if you never had one. [...] After three miscarriages, however, your chances of carrying your next baby to term go down to 50 percent.

    There is no sense in trying to get pregnant again if subsequent babies will just die. And the normal problems that cause miscarriage -- low progesterone or blood clotting -- have already been addressed and don't seem to be my problem. And our jerk doctor doesn't seem to care about the underlying cause and just wants us to naively pay hundreds of dollars to try again.

    Plus there's a deployment looming on the horizon again too, severely reducing our chances of getting pregnant, much less getting one to stick.

    So we're heartbroken, because this may be the end of the road for us. We've spent the week trying to come to terms with the idea that we may never be parents and that we're cheating our parents out of grandparenthood (neither side has any grandchildren yet) and that our only legacy on this planet may be a date-harvesting program in Iraq and a few knitted items.

    The loss of this baby means so much more than the loss of this baby.

    *****

    Some links, for needed humor and whatnot.

    My Latest Miscarriage:

    Oh I'm rich with miscarriage material. I gotta tell ya -- I was thinking of creating a new line of greeting cards that instead of saying IT'S A BOY! or IT'S A GIRL! would say IT'S A MISCARRIAGE! HelloÖ is this thing on? Well I know for a fact I could have sold at least three of those cardsÖ if I were buying them for myself.

    Leap of Faith:

    Trying once again -- or again and again -- to conceive after repeated miscarriages is a leap of faith, an act of amazing persistence, pure will, and even, one might say, stubbornness. For one thing, after three miscarriages, you're dubbed a "habitual aborter" by the medical profession, which is enough to make anyone take a vow of celibacy.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:53 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    March 12, 2009

    JUST WHAT I NEEDED

    My husband walked in the door tonight with a bouquet of flowers for the third time in our nine-year relationship. I immediately burst into tears and cried for a long time.

    I really needed that tonight.

    I don't quite know how to strike the right balance on my blog. If I write too casually about my fertility woes, I get called flippant. If I write in too much depth about my innermost feelings, I get told I am self-centered. So I swing back and forth, trying to figure out just how much to let you know without sounding whiny or weak so I don't come off robotic either.

    Please don't take the fact that I still write about Obama and Thin Mints to mean that I am not constantly fretting about my baby and planning for the worst: becoming The Lady With Three Miscarriages And Zero Living Children.

    The flowers were a wonderful touch today, husband.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:54 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    SIX THINGS

    Barb tagged me long ago to share six non-important things about yourself. I've already shared 100 and 13, but I'm a team player. So I stockpiled a bunch of random thoughts that weren't really worth their own blog posts.

    1) I don't text message. I have sent like 25 texts in my whole life. And when I do, I type everything out grammatically. I even use the shift to add apostrophes and other punctuation. I sit and compose text messages, and I usually use my entire word limit.

    2) I don't like raw carrots. When I was a child, I wanted to like them because my father liked them, and I remember choking them down in kindergarten because I wanted to be like my daddy. I wanted to like them, but to this day it just hasn't worked out for me. And, humorously enough, I feel the same way in adulthood about Mark Twain. I want to like his writings, I really do, but I just have never been able to make it work. So I choke them down, just like the carrots.

    3) I used to really enjoy watching CSI, but now it's starting to drive me nuts. Who are these people who live in houses that have no extra dirt or fibers or hair besides those related to the murder? I swear, a week ago I dug a hairball the size of a bird's nest out of my shower drain, but these people have one solitary hair in their drain that just happens to belong to the killer? Ridiculous. CSI would spend days at my house on all the extraneous hairs and dirt and fingerprints they'd find.

    4) I love the smell of my husband, no matter if he's sweaty or hasn't showered for three days or whatever. But I realized that I also love the smell of my dog in the same way. Dog is not generally a good smell, but am filled with love whenever I smell Charlie's stinky self. I like to pounce on him, bury my nose in his fur, and breathe in his doggyness.

    5) I'm one of the only people in the US who doesn't care about Thin Mints. They aren't bad, but they're towards the bottom of the list of cookies I'd like to eat.

    6) I don't really like to travel either. Most people say that they love to do this, but I am all traveled out. I've seen plenty of places in this world and I am kinda over it. I don't really care so much anymore about seeing places, only people. Even so, it takes a fair amount of effort to get me to leave my house and go somewhere. If I were to travel, I have some interest in the Grand Canyon and Arches National Park, and also India and Galapagos. Everywhere else, not so much. I'd rather go to Nebraska.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:46 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 10, 2009

    THE SCHROEDINGER PHASE

    Even though I talked about getting one last time, I never did. So I just went and bought this t-shirt. Because we're back to the freaking Schroedinger's cat phase of pregnancy.

    I was talking to a friend earlier and I said that this is, oddly enough, the phase I don't mind so much. Because it's the phase I cannot control. There is nothing I can do to make a dead baby alive or an alive baby dead, so I just wait it out and see. I find this phase more comforting than the actual getting pregnant process, where I over-think everything and beat myself up wondering what else I could've done to maximize my chances that month.

    Don't get me wrong: this Schroedinger phase is absurd. But it's the closest thing I have had to a "vacation" from thinking about fertility for the past 2+ years. Nothing I can do will change the outcome next week, so I just live for the next ten days and go from there.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:45 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    WTF NEWS

    We had to share an ultrasound room today with The Most Annoying Couple On The Planet. The guy talked just like Frito from Idiocracy, I am not kidding. He would've totally taken first place in a douche-off. So we got to hear all their business: here's their baby's head, here's the arms, oh look the baby's kicking. Then they turned the heartbeat monitor WAY up so we could all enjoy their baby's being-aliveness. The guy asked if they could stay there and watch their baby all day long. No, dude, there's someone else in the room who is silently crying behind that other curtain because she's been forced to listen to your joy while she waits her turn in agony because she's bleeding onto her exam bed.

    Then it was our turn, in which we preceded to find no heartbeat. Sigh. They sent me to redo my labwork. An hour later, the doctor comes in and tells us it's either 1) the baby is dead or 2) it's possibly multiples, in which case we might not see heartbeats yet. Only the labwork will reveal the answer, but unfortunately it's not completed yet, so go on home and we'll give you a call.

    So the husband went back to work and I went grocery shopping, because disappointment is such a normal part of our life that it makes no sense not to act like business as usual. And I made plans to eat my weight in fried mushrooms tonight and then get to work on losing ten pounds tomorrow. Oh, and to unload all my baby stuff on craigslist.

    Five hours later, the nurse finally calls with the lab results: my hormone levels haven't dropped any, so all we can do is check again at the end of next week and see what we see then.

    Dragging the agony out...that sounds like fun.

    This is exactly the crappy situation I worried about the last time, the something in between alive and dead scenario.

    And if anybody dares tell me that this is good news and that I should be happy that at least the baby isn't definitively dead -- and I swear I know somebody in my real life who will so do this -- I will freak out.

    So, um, that's my WTF news.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:35 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

    March 09, 2009

    HOPE

    It's choose your own adventure time again.

    You want to trust the doctors
    Their procedure is the best
    But the last try was a failure
    And the intern was a mess.

    We're headed to the ultrasound tomorrow. I am not optimistic. The pain and symptoms got worse today.

    They're saying don't be frightened
    But you're weakened by the sight of it
    You lock into a pattern
    And you know that it's the last ditch
    You're trying to see through it
    And it doesn't make sense

    I don't know if I can do all this again if we have bad news today. I don't know if I can subject myself to even more fruitless heartache.

    And you're questioning the sciences
    And questioning religion
    You're looking like an idiot
    And you no longer care.

    I don't know what else I can do if this didn't work. We've tried everything.

    And you're looking for salvation
    And you're looking for deliverance

    Funny that this song is called "Hope." I sure don't feel much of that.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:15 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    March 08, 2009

    ANTICLIMACTIC

    Several people have asked to hear the story of how I told my husband I was pregnant. I assure you, it is not as exciting as you'd think.

    The first time I got pregnant, back in 2007, that was the fun time. That was when I surprised him with the news early in the morning and we both got really excited and giddy and couldn't go back to sleep. But since then, it just has never been the same. The second time, I had to wait for him to call from Iraq to tell him that I was pregnant but that the nurse already said the baby would probably die. So it's not like we're going into this fresh; we will never be able to recapture the carefree happiness we felt the first time.

    My husband reacted exactly the same way I did: happy and grinning upon first hearing the news, but once the reality sunk in, he pulled back and grew as distant as I have. We're both cautiously pessimistic, shielding ourselves from what we see as the eventual crash and burn.

    We are now completely unable to trust any signals. I had two miscarriages without any bleeding or pain, but now I have had nothing but bleeding and pain. The first time I was morning sick, but there never was a baby in the first place. The second time we had a healthy heartbeat a few days before the baby died. Nothing makes sense to us anymore, so it's easier to ignore it all.

    Even if they tell us that everything looks fine this week at my ultrasound, it won't make us feel any more confident or any happier. Our last baby looked fine at 7 weeks, and look where that got us.

    So I hate to disappoint you, but telling him was fairly anticlimactic. We've been down this road too many times before to naively believe we might actually become parents in eight months.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    March 06, 2009

    HE'S HOME

    hands.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 07:20 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    February 28, 2009

    BOOK LIST

    I'm going to post short reviews of all the books I'm reading for my George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge. I thought I'd break it up and do ten books at a time. And I've just finished my tenth.

    FEBRUARY

    10) Economics In One Lesson (Henry Hazlitt)
    I got this book because it was mentioned in the article Why The New Deal Failed. It was originally written in 1946, which makes its lesson even more frustrating than when I read Milton Friedman. 63 years ago he warned us of everything that President Obama and Congress are doing right now. And the most depressing part was the last page, when he talks about hope for the future:

    In addition, there are marked signs of a shift in the intellectual winds of doctrine. Keynesians and New Dealers seem to be in slow retreat.

    Thank heavens Henry Hazlitt has passed away, for I would hate for him to see what has become of his Hope.

    9) Animal Farm (George Orwell)
    I told you I was gonna read this book! And it only took one day. I hadn't read it since high school, so it was nice to revisit it.

    8) Good Omens (Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett)
    AirForceWife lent this book to me, and it was pretty funny. I read I, Lucifer last year, and it was funny to read another book of the same genre. My absolute favorite part was when four bikers wanted to be additional Horsemen of the Apocalypse. That part had me laughing out loud.

    7) The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery (Massad Ayoob)
    A Christmas present from CaliValleyGirl, in lieu of another knitting book. I learned a lot of interesting facts from this book, such as why most policemen carry Glocks, and I was reminded of other things, like the racist origin of gun control laws. My only complaint is that it's not exactly written for true beginners. Ayoob doesn't define his terms at all. For example, in the chapter Point Shooting vs Aimed Fire, I didn't know the difference between the two and had to read the entire chapter and use a little deductive reasoning to figure out what the heck each one of those terms means based on how they were contrasted with each other. A one-line definition at the beginning of the chapter would've been much appreciated. But overall it was an interesting and helpful book.

    6) The Bookseller of Kabul (Åsne Seierstad)
    My husband gave me this book for Christmas. I recommend this book and also The Places In Between for a look at Afghanistan. But it's bleak. I just found myself so thankful throughout this book that I was not born a woman in the Middle East.

    JANUARY

    4) A Personal Odyssey (Thomas Sowell)
    I got this book as a Christmas present from Amritas. I had no idea Sowell was so old! It was fascinating to read about his life in the 30s and 40s. And you'd never know by reading him today that he used to be a Marxist! Very good autobiography. I basically read the whole book while waiting at the emergency room.

    3) You're Wearing That?: Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation (Deborah Tannen)
    I always enjoy Tannen's books, and when I saw this one, I bought it for my mother but wanted to read it before I gave it to her. I really enjoyed it and learned two things: 1) My mother and I get along better than I thought we did and 2) maybe having a girl wouldn't be so bad...

    2) The Night of the Hunter (Davis Grubb)
    Everyone knows the image of the prisoner with LOVE and HATE tattooed on his hands, but I never knew where this image came from. Boy, that Preacher was one scary villain! Worse than Bruce Dern in The Cowboys.

    1) Liberal Fascism (Jonah Goldberg)
    I learned a lot about WWI-era politics. I also knew very little about Mussolini and Woodrow Wilson before this book. Quite worthwhile.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 27, 2009

    HOW MUCH I LOVE MY HUSBAND

    Last night I dreamt I ran into my husband on post. Not very likely or realistic during SERE school, but OK. We stood there and talked for a few moments before we had to say goodbye. And a voice in my head was saying, "Tell him you're pregnant! Tell him!"

    I didn't.

    As I walked away from him, I had the urge to turn around and blurt the news to him. It would be so easy, to just tell him. But I held myself back for two very practical reasons: 1) he needs to focus on SERE and not be distracted and 2) I am not at all confident that the pregnancy will last and I hate to get his hopes up.

    As bad as it got last night -- and it was bad, and painful, and confidence-shattering -- I know it's not nearly as bad as my husband has it right now. I can bear this burden alone while he bears his. I wouldn't tell him right now even if I could.

    That's how much I love my husband.

    I wonder how he's doing...he should be heading into the nasty part...

    Posted by Sarah at 07:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 26, 2009

    PUPDATE, LUCAS STYLE

    In dog news, Charlie has decided that he wants to be Charlie Bronson and make a Great Escape.

    Our backyard is a disaster, with dirt on one side and sand on the other. It's like a spectrum running from Mildly Crappy to Completely Worthless. Charlie recently discovered that sand is easy to dig and wriggle through. Thus, he keeps escaping. I bought those cheapy wire garden dividers, and I even strategically placed an old flowerpot so he couldn't get out again.

    He still managed to escape.

    To put things in Rachel Lucas terms:

    greatescape1.jpg

    He can still manage to squeeze out of that space. This means he can't have unsupervised backyard time, which is a real pain in the neck.

    greatescape2.jpg

    Very annoying. I will have to go steal some dirt from the construction site in our neighborhood to put on top of that sand to keep the danged dog in the yard.

    greatescape3.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 09:15 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    UPDATE

    I figured I should give you a small update re: baby.

    So here's the deal: You take women who are extremely freaked out about miscarriage and you give them a medicine which prevents miscarriage but which also has the absurd side effect of irritating your cervix and making you bleed.

    (I'm reminded of the scene in Futurama when Fry says he can't swallow a pill that size, and the professor says "Well then good news!" because you don't swallow it. Ahem. Oh, and they're refrigerated.)

    Anti-Pressure_Pill.jpg

    So basically now it's just a waiting game until I go for my ultrasound in two weeks. I won't know anything until then, but even then I won't feel great: the last time, you'll remember, we managed to become one of the 5% of people whose baby has a heartbeat and then subsequently dies.

    I may be a while before I feel confident. Please don't try to convince me I should get that way right now. I won't breathe easily until I make it to a milestone that I haven't reached in the past. Like seeing a doctor. I've never even done that yet.

    So we wait it out.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:59 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

    February 22, 2009

    UPDATE

    I had a little bleeding today, which sufficiently destroyed my enthusiasm and optimism.
    I won't be blogging about it anymore for quite a while, at least not until I know something one way or the other.
    I am OK, but I would prefer not to talk about it, so no need to phone.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:50 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    February 19, 2009

    CATCHING GREEN LIGHTS ALL THE WAY

    Before my husband left for SERE, I took a negative pregnancy test. We started discussing our options: I talked to my friend about her IVF experience and I talked to Guard Wife about the adoption process. We also talked about giving up, about accepting that things weren't working for us and tossing in the towel. It was depressing.

    But now, it's déjà vu all over again: just like last May, once my husband's gone and incommunicado, I take another test. Negative. Or...wait... At about three minutes, a faint second line begins to appear. I squint one eye, then the other, looking at the thing like it's a Magic Eye poster. Is the line really there or am I crazy?

    And then I just start to shake. I don't know if it's excitement or nerves, but I can barely calm down. And I have an immediate urge to run and tell everyone, which is reassuring. I was afraid I'd be afraid this time. But I feel pretty good, and we'll deal with disaster if we need to later on. Heck, I'm good at disaster at this point.

    So I probably ought to announce the news as "I've taken a positive pregnancy test" instead of "We're having a baby!", but surprisingly enough, I don't really care to make that distinction. Either phrase works fine for me.

    *****

    I probably have taken a postmodern indulgence with the story behind this song, but it has always felt like my story. I don't know what Richard Shindell meant when he wrote it, but I have always imagined that the two parts of the song are about the same couple, first finding out their baby is dead and riding home in the taxi in agony, and then being picked up at the hospital in the future with their new baby. It has hurt my heart a little every time I've listened to this song -- especially the day I heard it when I was driving to the hospital to arrange my D&C -- but it has also given me hope, hope that we too will catch green lights all the way this time around.

    My husband won't be home for another 15 days. I can't wait to tell him the news. (And I know he won't mind that I told all of you first.) I just sincerely hope there's still news to tell him...

    Green lights, baby. Green lights.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:02 PM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2009

    I ALMOST FORGOT WHAT DAY IT IS

    I can't believe it's been five years since my husband left for Iraq the first time. What a Valentine's Day that was.

    We're not much for celebrating the 14th, but there are two things we do every year.

    One, we sing this.
    Two, we watch this.

    Happy Valentine's Day, husband. I still choo-choo-choose you.

    valshat.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 10:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 13, 2009

    SPENDING

    You know that 1% retail gain in January? I think that was my husband and I. Since my husband is having two deployment years in a row, and since the stock market is in the toilet, there's no sense in hiding money in Roths or TSP. So we've been spending it like it's going out of style. My husband got a bunch of stuff that he needs for SERE and for the next deployment (He's an "operator" now, which apparently means he needs a bunch of stuff that the Army won't provide.) I decided to live in the now by doing two things I've wanted to do for a while: I bought an elliptical machine to make good on my promise to start exercising, and I bought a plane ticket to go visit CaliValleyGirl and finally meet her baby.

    Spending is kinda fun; no wonder other people do it so often.

    UPDATE:

    I said to my husband, "Oh, I also should've put that we paid off our car." And he joked in a cartoonish announcer voice, "Freeing up capital for someone else!" Heh. We're doing what we can to help the ecominy.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:40 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    STRESSED

    Yes, the timestamp on this entry is correct. I've developed a terrible new habit: I wake up every night around 4 AM to fret. I have been awake for an hour now, so stressed out that I don't know whether to cry or throw up.

    My husband leaves for SERE school on Monday. A few days later, I will find out whether I am pregnant. If I am, I won't be able to tell him for two and a half weeks. But the more likely scenario, obviously, is that I am not, in which case I will have to do the next fertility round by myself a day or two before he gets home. Thus, I will have to pick up my husband from SERE and drive him straight home for babymaking. The thought of forcing the situation the day he finishes being beaten and starved makes me sick to my stomach...but so does the thought of skipping a cycle when we have precious few left.

    So I lie in bed fretting and stressing every single night. I'm back at the Choose Your Own Adventure stage.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:49 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    February 05, 2009

    I UNQUIT MY JOB

    I was joking with Amritas and David the other day that I have found the secret to workplace productivity: Hire people who don't need the money and then tell them that they can go home when they finish all their work.

    My managers wanted me to stay on at the store so badly that they offered me whatever I want...except money. I said I would stay on if I could work one day a week and only do things that are fun. Amazingly, they agreed.

    There were some parts of my job that I really liked, like organizing the yarn section. I love doing that; I would do it for free. I like to see how quickly I can do it. On Monday, I shelved all the new yarn in 24 minutes. I was sweating and puffing by the end.

    And, absurdly enough, I have grown fond of making those foam houses. Now that I have several of them under my belt, I automatically know what will and won't work, and I just glue-gun the hell out of it and go to town. (I made an Easter castle today, and I was just thrilled that it didn't have any butterflies on it. They are the worst.)

    So I am staying on to work one day a week, sorting yarn and doing crafts. And I go home when I'm done with my tasks. I'm cool with that.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:43 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    February 01, 2009

    BOOKS

    I'm on track to beat Bush's 2008 and 2007 scores in my George Bush 2009 Reading Challenge: I've read four books in four weeks. I'm gonna make sure I keep up the pace, which I think will be easy once my husband starts leaving town all the time. Heck, maybe I could even beat Rove.

    I have plenty of things on my bookshelves to keep me occupied, but I always enjoy asking people to recommend books. What are your favorites? Maybe I will add some of them to my list this year.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:20 AM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

    January 31, 2009

    UPDATE

    Quick update...

    I realized that I couldn't wait until Monday morning, because in order to be ready for the procedure on Tuesday, I have to give myself that trigger shot Sunday night. So I had to find out if the procedure was still a go-flight.

    Luckily, my neighbor is friends with my fertility doctor's wife. She called their house and got me permission to call the doctor today. Otherwise I have no idea what I would've done.

    He listened and said that it probably is just the hormone levels tricking my endometrium into doing goofy things. He said that as long as the bleeding is letting up, and it has, then we are still on track.

    So whew.

    Hindsight sucks. I wish I'd gotten a good night's sleep last night instead.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:07 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    THE TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD VERY BAD DAY

    Some days just beg to be blogged about. They have Palahniuk's "paperback potential." But other days are just too much to even form a coherent story.

    Yesterday was the perfect storm of awful. In bed last night, the husband and I rated it as one of our three all-time worst days of our marriage. And by "in bed last night," I mean this morning, because we didn't get into bed until after 5 AM.

    We started our day Friday at 5 AM with a trip to the fertility clinic. Everything looked good for a procedure next week. And then all sorts of little things started going wrong during our day, things barely worth mentioning save the fact that they all happened in a row: had to buy a new printer, knocked over a can of coke on the sofa and my knitting project, the garbage disposal broke, etc. We kept describing our day like this: Life FAIL. We just wanted the day to be over.

    But around dinnertime, I started bleeding...and there's no earthly reason why I should be bleeding today. It was enough to make me nervous, and since it was a Friday night and I wouldn't be able to reach my doctor or nurse until Monday, we decided we'd better head to the ER. Luckily we ate dinner first, because we had no idea what we were in for.

    I expected to be there until midnight. I didn't expect to be there until 4:30 AM. During that time, I had less than ten minutes of actual medical care -- take blood pressure, ask about my symptoms, quick pelvic exam -- and was eventually told...drumroll..."Geez, I don't know anything about fertility stuff, so just call your doctor Monday morning."

    When we walked in the house to finally go to sleep, my husband's watch alarm went off. It had woken us up at 5 AM that morning to start our day, and he wryly announced it was ending our day as well.

    Thanks to everyone who noted my offhanded Facebook status and checked on me. I am fine, apparently, even though I am still bleeding and don't know why or what this means.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:52 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    January 28, 2009

    THE END OF AN ERA

    I case you were sitting on the edge of your chair in anticipation (snort), I did go ahead and resign from my job. I will not be staying on in a more generic capacity; I will finish out the remaining three weeks of this job and then say my goodbyes.

    With karmic timing, more foam houses arrived this week, so I will be making Easter-themed castles. But I plan to smile while I do it, because I have gotten darned good at it. I am a quick-draw with that glue gun these days. It will be my last hurrah there at the store.

    And as much as I hated that foam when I first started, I think I will miss it, in a small way.

    Not enough to buy one though.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    January 27, 2009

    ENJOYING OUR TIME

    I wrote at SpouseBUZZ about how we've been spending our block leave. One nice thing about just being at home is that we can be so lazy. We've been waking up and then spending about another hour or so talking and loafing in bed. It has been nice to be able to do that.

    And we know it and keep talking about it in a meta-knowledge way.

    I have been trying harder to live in the now, to live my real life and not the parallel one. We have been trying to find the good in not having a baby, and lazing around in bed until 9 AM is a definite start. We keep reminding each other that we can't do that anymore once we have kids, so we should enjoy it while we can. We are trying to be happier about not having a baby and focusing on the silver lining.

    Another mental change I need to make is about my health. For two years, I have stressed out about what I was eating and drinking, in case it would have either a positive or negative effect on fertility. I have made myself sick with this cycle of guilt about having a glass of wine, etc. No more. I can't keep living this way, where I am freaked out that every little thing I do might injure this baby that doesn't even exist yet.

    I also have put off diving into an exercise regime because you're not supposed to drastically change your exercise habits upon becoming pregnant. I never wanted to go to the gym because, what was the point?: If I got into a good habit of going to the gym for two weeks, I might get pregnant and quit going anyway. So I never had the motivation to start something that I imagined myself quitting. And two years later, I am just mad that I have been living my life in two-week intervals. So I'm going to start exercising, and we'll deal with baby if/when it happens.

    We're hardening our hearts a little, mentally preparing ourselves for not having a baby, which is a hard thing to do when you also have appointments for fertility treatments. But I have hated the way we've been living for the past two years, so it's not like it can get any worse.

    So we're enjoying doing whatever the heck we want with our time while our time is still ours.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    January 26, 2009

    LAME

    Professor: Well, it looks like I'll need my heroic bureaucrat back. At severely reduced pay, of course
    Fry: What about me? Can I come back at severely reduced pay?
    Hermes: You got it, mon. In fact, severely reduced pay all around!

    That Futurama quote has been running through my head all day.

    So Obama becomes president, and I lose my job. Causation or correlation?

    Seriously, I just found out today that my job has disappeared. I can stay on as a regular associate, at severely reduced pay, if I so choose. Try this on for size: do all the same work you've been doing, for a dollar less per hour.

    I'm sure it's For The Greater Good.

    Oy.

    Must decide by tomorrow.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:51 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    January 21, 2009

    PIECES OF THE CRAZY PIE

    It's been two years since we started trying to have a baby.

    No two journeys are exactly the same, but I have been fortunate to know several different ladies who each understand one piece of the crazy pie.

    A girl I know here in town, she understands the obsession. She was a charter and a planner. Though it only took her a few months to get pregnant, she remembers vividly the obsession with the science aspect. Like me, she never stopped picking up her charts and comparing month to month. She knows the agony of knowledge and the grief of searching for some medical indicator of why things don't seem to be working.

    Another person from my Real Life understands the bitterness. She is mad, mad that she grew up, finished school, got married, got a good job, planned and saved, and now is stuck frozen in time, just like I am. She also hates her high school health teacher for saying that Man + Woman = Baby, because for some of us, it just simply doesn't. She is the only person I know who is as bitter about her lot in life as I am.

    I am eternally grateful to know Darla, who like me counts the chickens far before they're hatched. Every month I too check the due date calendars online and plan for a baby nine months later. She and I remain hopeful to a fault, because the overwhelming evidence in our faces should make us slit our wrists rather than start picking out names. But we do it anyway, torturing ourselves with hope. I am glad to know Darla can still do that after seven years, because I have felt crazy for doing it for two.

    And on the flip side, my best friend from high school understands the despair. She understands those days when you wallow and feel like it will never happen. Because although she eventually went on to have children, she never fully recovered from the emotional damage the journey took on her. She never gives me any platitudes, never tries to cheer me up, never tells me that things will work out. She keenly remembers the despair, and she too is a bruised orange.

    And this Army Wife, whom I recently discovered because of The Worst Possible Thing, understands feeling like a biological failure. When the majority of people on this planet can and do reproduce, and you slowly realize that you can't, it is a severe blow. I feel like we have lesser genes, that we are faulty, that we are not the fittest and thus shouldn't survive. I've never heard anyone else even mention how not getting pregnant or miscarrying feels like a personal biological failure. Reading that on her blog made me finally feel normal about that one piece of the crazy pie.

    These women help me realize I am not alone and I am not insane. I am so grateful to each of them for what they have taught me along the way.

    Two years.

    Damn.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:27 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    January 20, 2009

    SNOW

    We woke up to our first real snow in three years.
    Charlie loves it, just like he did as a puppy.

    pupsnow.jpg

    We're getting smiles where we can today.

    Also, people in the South can NOT drive in snow. I was laughing with my husband that I took my driving test at 16 in more snow than we have today.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:40 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    I AM A BRUISED ORANGE

    If you thought Worldwide Obama Day couldn't get any worse...let's throw in a big fat negative pregnancy test for good measure.

    I am not feeling the hope and change.

    Maddeningly, I remain the eternal optimist, even when there is absolutely no logical reason to be. Despite the fact that I have taken 16 negative pregnancy tests and only two positive ones, every month I still hold out that hope. I start to plan and dream and get excited...based on an 11% success rate. How stupid am I?

    I'm trying to take these lyrics to heart. I have been trying for two years to not become my own prisoner. I really have. But every month I'm not pregnant stains my heart. It is a battle, the challenge of my life, to imagine that I will ever get past this.

    And I carry those bruises to remind me wherever I go.

    You can gaze out the window get mad and get madder,
    throw your hands in the air, say "What does it matter?"
    but it don't do no good to get angry,
    so help me, I know.

    For a heart stained in anger grows weak and grows bitter.
    You become your own prisoner as you watch yourself sit there
    wrapped up in a trap of your very own
    chain of sorrow.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:05 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    January 15, 2009

    GRRR

    Could life get any more annoying right now? First annoyance: We noticed that we weren't getting any mail delivered. Not even a piece of junk mail for over a week. I called yesterday, and someone had gone online and put a hold on our mail for a month. Thanks a heap. Then this morning, Ticketmaster calls and says that someone fraudulently charged NY Knicks tickets to our credit card. Fantastic. Maybe tomorrow someone could slash my tires.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:02 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    January 11, 2009

    COMPARISON BABIES

    My husband and I have been torturing ourselves with alternate reality a little lately. Our due date is coming up this week, which just underscores how perfectly timed that baby was. I got pregnant right before he deployed, and he would've returned with a little over a month before I gave birth. And the birth would've happened right during block leave. It saddens us to think how perfectly that would've worked out.

    Another wife in the unit got pregnant right at the same time I did. She is due any day now. I also hate that I keep getting hit with these Comparison Babies. Sometimes I look at CaliValleyBaby and think that my own first baby would be teething and scooting around these days too. And now I will have to look at this new baby in our unit and be reminded of the progress that our second baby isn't here to make.

    Some days I am hopeful that this will work for us. Other days I think that, with our track record, we have little chance for success with only five times to try before the husband deploys again.

    My New Year's resolution ought to have been to stop being Dante Hicks.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:08 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    January 01, 2009

    LONELY

    OK, so it's not just the dog who's bummed.

    I think it was too soon to send my husband away again. I cannot remember a night during deployment when I felt as lonely and depressed as I do tonight. I have been on the verge of tears all afternoon.

    But all these pants stories helped.

    Is it bedtime yet? Heck, is it Sunday yet?

    Posted by Sarah at 06:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    ALONE AGAIN

    I called my husband last night a few minutes after midnight and said, "It's 2009 here; what year is it where you are?" He said, "2008. Are you calling me from the future?" It cracked me up.

    I spent the evening with a friend, which was fun. I am home alone now, and it's surprising how normal it feels. Almost like my husband was never here. This is just how I lived for so long that it feels normal.

    I think the dog is depressed though.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:09 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 29, 2008

    DYNAMIC STAGNANCY

    My husband finished his MBA three days before deploying. He took a full load of distance classes every term in addition to his full-time Army job. He was always busy. And he finished the program and deployed, so I was really looking forward to having him home and having him to myself. No more homework, no more projects, no more me sitting alone in the TV room all day Saturday and Sunday while he worked.

    He sat me down last night and said that he wants to start a new Master's Degree. Or learn Pashto. Or both. Either way, he warned me, he will be busy again. There go our Saturdays and Sundays.

    I admire him for taking his professional development so seriously. But I can't help but feel frustrated that the thing I was supposed to be doing -- raising a baby -- hasn't happened yet and I keep sitting around waiting for my life to start. I could relate to Heidi's recent post about being consumed with the way life should have been instead of what it really is. I don't know what to do with myself besides sit around and wait for baby to show up. That's my only major life goal, and I've been twiddling my thumbs on it for two years now.

    Maybe I ought to learn Pashto too.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:53 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    December 27, 2008

    DOCUMENTING

    I debated whether I should post that thing on sleep the other day. It seemed unnecessary to cash that chip on the blog. It also made us look like we had problems, and I never like to give that impression.

    But if you asked me if we had any reintegration issues in 2005, I would've said that we didn't. A trip back through those archives reveals that we did indeed have a rough patch or two. If I hadn't documented them on the blog, I would've forgotten those tough days and said that we had no problems whatsoever. I wanted to document this issue too.

    This reintegration, it is a tricky thing, even for solid couples. My husband is truly my best friend. We like the same movies, the same music, the same foods, the same TV. We're both stingy, both homebodies, and both love Krauthammer. I wanted to show that reintegration is hard even for couples who get along swimmingly. It's an adjustment. I wanted to document that, because to pretend like we weren't frustrated with each other was to lie, in a sense.

    He's been home a week now, and we're doing much better. No more grumpiness. He's staying up a little later to be with me and I'm not asking him to stay up as long as I'd like to. We're meeting halfway and doing fine. I want to document that too, to keep a record of when we got back on track.

    MORE TO GROK:

    More thoughts at SpouseBUZZ.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:27 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 26, 2008

    TRAGICALLY HIP

    We hung out together every single moment
    'Cause that's what we though married people do
    Complete with the grip of artificial chaos
    And believing in the country of me and you

    The husband is walking the dog and I am on teh internets. I am learning to not want to be with him every waking second.

    But we did go out together this afternoon. The husband had a very Happy Boxing Day...

    XDM.jpg

    But, you know, technically it's mine because it was my permit. I plan to remind him constantly that they are both my guns but that he can borrow one if he wants to.

    Heh.

    Oh, and CVG got me a funny Christmas present. She was bored of getting me knitting books all the time and decided this year to focus on my second hobby. Her husband picked it out for me, which I find phenomenally cute.

    My boys are back from their walk now. Gotta go stick to him like glue again...

    Posted by Sarah at 03:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 25, 2008

    I DON'T CARE WHAT YOUR MAMA SAYS

    Today was great. My husband didn't fall asleep once! Heh.
    We had a lovely day. And we just listened to this and had a good laugh.


    SNL Christmas Song

    Posted by Sarah at 08:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 24, 2008

    BUD

    I was just getting ready to head to bed when I noticed that my Christmas cactus has a bloom!

    xmascactus.jpg

    Last year, my uncle was trimming one of the plants that's been in our family for generations. I took the trimmings home and put them in a pot. The cactus has grown a little since I got it, but it has never bloomed before.

    A Christmas cactus getting its first bloom on Christmas. Now that just makes me smile.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 20, 2008

    BACK TO NORMAL

    AWTM blogged from her second honeymoon. That's hardcore, and I love it.

    Actually, what I really love was when she called me the other evening and asked if my husband was home. She hadn't read about the delays yet. I love that she called me even on the night she thought my husband might have gotten home. She knows I don't have a Do Not Disturb sign.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: You may tell me to stay away from the blog, but you know I won't.

    And actually, it was my husband who sheepishly asked this evening if I would mind if he took a trip around the internet. It didn't bother me at all, because I had been trying to figure out the polite way to ask him for the same courtesy.

    We've been having fun today, doing nothing at all. We went out to breakfast and took the dog on two walks, and I've been talking his ear off and cashing in some of those chips.

    We are happy to be together again and to quickly slide back into our old routine. Except now we have two laptops. Think of the fun we can have being on the internet in the same room!

    (And don't worry, Chuck. We're having plenty of fun other ways too.)

    Posted by Sarah at 05:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 19, 2008

    BRING ON THE HAVERING

    Talked to my manager at work; she was completely understanding. Another girl offered to come in early and work my event (I was only scheduled for two hours in the morning.) So, whew.

    He's supposed to be here in an hour, and I haven't heard anything to the contrary. This may actually happen...

    This time around, I don't have any words of wisdom to give. My own thoughts don't seem pertinent right now, but Tim's do:

    This is a swing moment for me. By that I mean my reality is swinging from her being gone to her being here. Right now it feels as if neither is entirely accurate. I'm not experiencing a dizzying rush of relief...the big exhale hasn't really happened yet.
    [...]
    But in these final few moments alone...the last of innumerable moments alone, it occurs to me that these are moments of joyous anticipation. And that is a blessing as well.
    [...]
    I didn't handle this separation as well as I wish I had. But the perpetually messy house is now clean...and the added pounds are mostly lost. That which has been under my control is reasonably as it was.

    My house ain't that clean, but these are words I can relate to.

    So, I was wrong. I had to return the movie before my husband got home. And the milk expired too. But presumably he is here, at least in this state by now.

    And I suppose I should let myself get happy.

    We left our wedding ceremony to that song. I am ready to leave this deployment to it today.

    And I think he could've walked 500 miles faster than it took him to travel the Army way.

    I bought myself my "surviving deployment" present the other day. Last time it was a stand mixer; this time I bought a two time-zone watch...thinking ahead to the next deployment, for there will be another. And we will survive that one too.

    Watch out, husband: I am gonna haver my head off tonight.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:57 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 14, 2008

    A LOAD OFF

    I was starting to panic a little that I got nothing constructive done today. And then I did some thinking and decided to throw the list out the window.

    I see knitting and Futurama in my future, not vacuums and dog baths.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 13, 2008

    MUSHY

    So T linked to my brain love post, and I realized that I have recently said that I only love my husband with my brain and that I don't want babymaking. Lest anyone think that our love is boring and passionless, I thought I'd point out an old post from his last deployment:

    Anthology of Goofy Crap I Said to My Husband Back in 2000

    We are mushy too, not just cerebral. I love him with my brain and my heart, and though I often quote that we "care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss"...really, I do love him with all those body parts too.

    He will be home so soon...and I am thrilled.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:19 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 12, 2008

    FROZEN IN TIME

    There's another thing that happens when my husband gets home: we have to get back in the business of babymaking. Frankly, I am dreading it.

    My cousin is pregnant. When my mom told me, she said, "I know it will happen for you too someday." And I felt this flash of anger and snapped at her. Because she doesn't know that, no one can know that, and it feels like a lie when I hear it. It angers me up because I know it's simply not true.

    I don't have any hope that we will get pregnant. I have lost all ability to think about the future. This time last year, when we were reeling from the first miscarriage, I comforted myself with the thought that we could end 2008 with a baby. Not even remotely close. I just don't allow myself to imagine what will happen in 2009. And how on earth is it already almost 2009?

    I feel like I have been frozen in time for two years, watching everyone else's life keep moving on. We have no more goals to work towards besides having this stupid baby. Before we got pregnant, we wanted to move back to the US, save x dollars, and finish my husband's MBA; we reached those goals a long time ago. We have lived in this house for two years now, and it feels like I have no idea what we have done in that time. I can't believe it. I feel like my life has made no progress since we started trying to have a baby. That was the next step, and we just can't seem to get there.

    And I just want it to be over. I joked the other day that it's like in action movies when someone gets shot and they still keep trying to fight back. I feel like I keep getting shot, but I'm the Good Guy, so I have to press on to save the day and ignore the fact that I keep getting shot. And I feel like I'm limping and dragging my way to some imaginary finish line where I kiss the girl and finally get to go to the hospital...and then finally I can breathe a sigh of relief and say "it's over" while the credits roll. Only I never get there. It's never over. That's part of the reason why 'giving up' is so tempting, because then it might feel like my life can start rolling again. If I stop letting myself get shot, I will stop feeling like I've been wounded.

    I have managed to block a lot of this out while my husband has been gone, but his imminent return is has shown me that I really don't want to think about it.

    I don't want to start trying to have a baby again.

    Darla has been doing this for seven years. She is amazing. And I know it doesn't work this way, but I would choose for her to get pregnant first if I could.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:50 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    December 09, 2008

    LASIK UPDATE

    I have been meaning to do a lasik follow-up post for a while now, but I just...haven't.

    For those of you just joining the story, I got lasik eye surgery five months ago.

    And, I have been trying to decide what to tell you all.

    In the beginning, I was very uncomfortable. It often felt like I had been swimming all day long; my eyes burned like from chlorine. I used eye drops nonstop. I was decidedly not happy.

    Over time, I began to notice my eyeballs less. I started to forget they were in my head; whereas, right after the lasik, all I could think about was how itchy and painful they were. My day was like this: eyeballs, eyeballs, oh good lord, eyeballs. But that has passed. So now, at this point I think on a scale from 1-5, my satisfaction level is at a 4. I manage just fine day-to-day without any glasses anymore. I go to work, read books, knit, watch TV, all without strain. But I notice a marked difference in certain situations. Trying to read street signs while driving is difficult now. I also noticed that I couldn't make out faces clearly when I was at the campaign rally. Being in large crowds is a tad unsettling because I just simply can't see as well. I notice it when I am bustling around the store at work or when I am walking the dog, times when I am looking at things that are further away than my TV or my computer screen.

    I had my last follow-up appointment in November. The doctor wrote me a prescription for glasses if I want them: +.50/+.25. Now, before the lasik, my prescription was +5.50/+4.50, so that is a huge improvement. But with corrective lenses, I was at 20/20 vision before. Now I'm more like 20/25 or 20/30. So it's a net worsening, even though I have the joy of not cleaning contacts or wearing glasses.

    I just simply don't see as well as I used to. It often feels like I have dirty contacts in, like if I just blink hard enough, I will be able to clear my vision. I also am still battling the blocked tear ducts, so my contact regimen has been replaced by a hot compress for 10 minutes a day. I can't really say that I am noticing any difference in my tears.

    What's funny to me is that my lasik experience has kinda mirrored my fertility experience. Just like how I never knew anyone who had trouble getting pregnant, I never knew anyone who wasn't thrilled with lasik. I only heard glorious stories of how it would change my life. It was only after I got it done and was less than 100% satisfied that I found out that, for example, one of the people said that she had had to have a touch-up. I didn't anticipate this touch-up thing, and since, if you remember, I have those thin corneas, it's debatable whether I will even be able to touch-up.

    So...I can either look into paying $300 for a touch-up or I can pay $100 for a pair of weak glasses to wear when I am driving or at political rallies. Buying the glasses seems to me like it defeats the whole danged purpose of the lasik. But I hesitate to do a touch-up now, because sometimes after about five years or so, your eyes can shift and get a little worse. So, thin corneas and all, I don't want to waste my one touch-up now and then run the risk of not being able to get it later if I really need it. And I hate to pay the money for glasses and then turn around and pay the money for the touch-up later.

    So I am torn, and stuck at a satisfaction level 4.

    I keep asking myself if, knowing what I know now, would I do it again? I honestly have not been able to decide. It's an expensive procedure, and if we needed the money badly for something else, I would certainly be more frustrated than I am now. Luckily, we didn't really make a financial trade-off in order for me to have the procedure. But if I end up still needing glasses or weak contacts, then what was the point of spending all that money on lasik?

    I do enjoy being able to see the clock at night. When I first had it done, I had a hard time sleeping because I could see everything in the room! It was a major distraction; I was used to being in my cocoon of blindness. I haven't been swimming yet because I hate swimming, but the worst part about it used to also be that cocoon of blindness when I got near a pool. (OK, that's not true: the worst part about swimming is water.) The cocoon of blindness is gone. I'm probably still not swimming though.

    There are reasons why I am glad I did it. But I am not Lasik's Biggest Advocate. Just like with babymaking, I am now the wet blanket, the rain on everyone's parade: If you want to get it done, just be aware that it may not turn out to be perfect. I expected perfection, because I never learn my lesson. I advise you not to expect 20/20 vision.

    But you will be able to see your clock in bed. That is a biggie.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:54 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    December 08, 2008

    THANKS A LOT, DOG

    When my husband is gone, my bedtime creeps later and later. I have begun the process of pushing it back to where it needs to be to match my husband's sleep cycle. So Saturday was my last hurrah and I was going to go to bed early last night.

    I let Charlie outside one last time, and I noticed he was spending a suspicious amount of time in the garden. We came back in the house, went upstairs, and he immediately crawled under the bed and barfed.

    Had he mathematically calculated, he couldn't have done a better job of finding the middle of our queen sized bed. So I'm squeezed under the bed, my arm stretched as far as it will go, scooping up vomit.

    Then I notice that the genius dog has also barfed all over his front paws. So into the bathtub he goes.

    Guess who didn't really go to bed early last night?

    Sleep shifting starts tonight...

    charlieyawn.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 08:45 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    December 03, 2008

    PRETTY HAPPY AT THE MOMENT

    So far today, two people have said that they're worried about me and my general level of usch. I didn't realize I was that transparent. I have been feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders lately.

    So I shrugged.

    Tonight I swung through BK for a #12, I rummed up my Coke, and I'm sitting down to watch 300 and work on my awesome top-secret knitting project.

    Seriously, how could I be in a bad mood with that lineup?

    Posted by Sarah at 06:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 01, 2008

    DECEMBER

    Now it is the month when my husband comes home from deployment.

    I still haven't watched the Terminator movies yet because they are on backorder. Same with 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story, which has been in my queue the entire time my husband has been gone.

    Seems we mouth-breathin', gun-clingin' rednecks are all lined up to watch our moving pictures.

    But there's plenty of Redacteds to rent.

    I also have been working a lot, since I got promoted right before Christmas and right when the only other person who can do my job had back surgery. Oh well, a few more hours gives me a little more wealth for Obama to spread around.

    Cynical today, eh?

    Posted by Sarah at 08:34 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    November 26, 2008

    THE THOUGHT DID CROSS MY MIND

    My husband's response to my post from earlier today: "People are going to be disappointed if they ever meet me." Heh.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 19, 2008

    HAPPY AMMO DAY!

    I participated in my very first National Ammo Day today! I headed to the range bright and early...and then realized that ranges don't open bright and early. But I was ready to go as soon as they opened. I bought my 100 rounds and then shot half of them. I am improving -- only a few stray shots, the majority of them clustered around the bullseye -- and I am a lot more relaxed about the whole process.

    I talked to my mother today, and we decided to organize a family shooting day the next time I go home. Neither of my brothers has ever been shooting, and it's been decades since my parents have been. I think it will be a fun family outing.

    And my mom just laughs that her daughter is now a gun nut.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:21 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 18, 2008

    SCOFFED AT

    Over the weekend, I told my fertility journey story at SpouseBUZZ Live. After the event, a handful of wives came to me and thanked me for sharing. They too have had difficult journeys and appreciated my candor. My friend from my real life was shocked; she had no idea that any of this had happened to me in the past six months. And typically, that's why I like sharing, because it's a private thing but people want to know that there's someone out there who groks. We've even had an audience memeber share her journey at a SBL who said she never even told her parents about her miscarriages. But she shared with me.

    I wish it were always that simple and touching.

    Instead, I also met two ladies who openly scoffed at my woes. They heard my entire story -- dead babies, failed fertility treatment -- and looked at me derisively and said that I just haven't been patient enough. Apparently I am just being silly in thinking that two years is a long time to try and that 31 is getting a late start. Nevermind the fact that they weren't that much older than me and their kids are teenagers. Wait, did I say "kids"? I meant their "whoopsies" pregnancies. Oh good golly, am I pregnant, how did that happen? Whoopsie! They got done telling me about their whoopsies and said that I am just impatient.

    And I sat there and took it and then excused myself and left. Because I am polite.

    I wish it were possible to type their tone of voice. I'm glad I had a witness to this conversation who assured me later that I wasn't overreacting.

    People never cease to amaze me.

    But I am trying very hard to be content with the people who were grateful I told my story, instead of dwelling on the naysayers. Guard Wife offered to throw hands for me, but I told her that it's really my problem and that I need to take a deep breath and not let it ruin my night. I kept reminding myself of this:

    The first line of the most popular book in Buddhism, The Dhammapata, goes something like this: All that we are is determined by our thoughts. It begins where our thoughts begin, it moves where our thoughts move, it ends where our thoughts end. If we think thoughts like he hurt me, he stole from me, he is my enemy, our life and our destiny will follow that thought as the wheel follows the axle. And if we think thoughts like he cannot hurt me, only I can hurt myself, he cannot steal from me, he cannot be my enemy, only I can be my enemy, then our life and our destiny will follow those thoughts.

    There will always be naysayers and boorish people. The only thing I can control is how I let it affect me.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:20 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

    November 17, 2008

    PHOTOS

    AWTM was impatient for me to upload photos from this weekend. But I had to go to work today and to get ready to start decorating for Valentine's Day. Yeah, I know. I got all the Valentine's decorations and signs in, and they go up the day after Christmas. I died a little inside.

    Anyway, here was the view out my hotel window.

    tacoma.jpg

    And here's AWTM, who is mixing it up, and Guard Wife.

    awtmgw.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 07:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    November 16, 2008

    HAPPY

    Tonight I laughed so hard I think I won't have a voice tomorrow.
    I love being here.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    November 13, 2008

    NOT FORGOTTEN

    I published my previous post and pulled up my blog. Today's date hit me in the gut.

    I hate this time of year.

    Veterans' Day starts a series of horribly reflective days. And the agonizing part is that I never met any of the men that our post lost in Fallujah. I know what these days in November do to my heart; I can't fathom what they do to the families.

    And the 13th is the worst day of all.

    All I can say, four years hence, is that I will never forget.
    And I will never stop telling Heidi that I haven't forgotten.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 07, 2008

    TIME KEEPS ON SLIPPING

    My husband has been deployed for six months today.

    In many ways, it has gone quickly. It has been easy. But I also want him to come home Right Now so we can enjoy our time together before he leaves again.

    Six months ago, I was pregnant. It seems like an eternity ago. It seems like a dream instead of something that really happened. A year ago, I was at the BlogWorldExpo in Vegas. I was also pregnant then. That doesn't seem possible either.

    We have a little over a month until my husband comes home. I have already watched all the Rambos and all the Die Hards. I'm gonna try to squeeze in all the Terminators before he gets home and makes me start watching movies for people with a brain.

    And when he gets home, I finally get to read Liberal Fascism.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    November 04, 2008

    GOODBYE

    My husband's buddy is a politics wonk like me. We watched all the debates together, we went to the rally together, and we frequently get together for dinner to rant at each other. (I think my husband is just glad that I found someone to suffer through election season with besides him; he doesn't have the stomach for election nonsense.) So the culmination of our wonkiness was going to be staying up all night watching election results and biting our fingernails. This is our Super Bowl.

    But orders came down, and he deployed this morning instead.

    I took him to drop him off, and I was just so bummed. Six months ago, I said goodbye to my husband, and now I had to say goodbye to a friend who's helped me pass the time through the deployment.

    I met a girl at the rally last week who said, "I'm a diehard Republican but politics is just so boring."

    "Not if you do it right," I muttered under my breath.

    It's rare to find someone who likes the ins and outs of politics. Someone who wants to rant about current events. Someone who wants to watch Fox News so long that you see the same show twice. Someone who gets giddy at the mention of Krauthammer. I have all of you in my imaginary world, but I was happy to have someone like that in my Real Life. Someone to rant with in person and not just via email.

    It was fun, and I will miss his companionship.

    It will be a long six weeks of the rest of my husband's deployment.

    But thank heavens Chuck Z is hosting more liveblogging of the election results, so I have a place to fit in tonight.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    November 01, 2008

    YEP, IT'S A COSTUME

    Last night I went to a Halloween party at my friend's house. One of her neighbors asked to see my weapon and asked if it was real and what kind it was. I told her I had borrowed it from a friend. I asked her if she shoots, and she said she used to be a cop.

    As the night went on, another neighbor said that she thought my Halloween costume was really clever, especially since Sarah is my name too. She liked my hockey jersey with PALIN on the back.

    And the first neighbor, she got this a-ha look on her face and said, "Ohhhh, you're in a costume. You seemed like such a nice girl; I couldn't figure out why you brought that gun to the party."

    This lady thought that I just bring assault rifles to neighborhood get-togethers. I nearly peed my pants. She thought the glasses were real and she didn't catch on to the hockey mom concept, and she just thought that I was some nutball who carries an AR-15 to parties.

    Good golly, it takes all kinds, don't it?

    Posted by Sarah at 12:13 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    October 30, 2008

    WTF?

    In personal news, I have done all the normal fertility testing that they do. There's nothing wrong with me. There's nothing wrong with my husband. But we still don't have a baby. Fantastic.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:07 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    October 27, 2008

    I'M A COUGAR AND I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT

    So there's a stock boy at my new job -- I'm gonna peg him at about 18 years old -- who I suspect has a crush on me. Last week he followed me all around the store, gave me a "how you doin'?", and wanted to know how old I am. The look on his face was priceless when I told him. And I figured that would be the end of it, but today he asked me if my band is just a ring or if I'm married.

    I've probably been married since he was in middle school.

    One of the girls at work says that makes me a cougar.

    You know, when I was 16, I worked at a concert arena. I was one of the only females, and I was a good 30 years younger than most people working there. I can't tell you how many times gross 23-year-old roadies would come on to me. I used to get so annoyed at the unwanted attention at work.

    And now, shoot, I want to hug this kid.

    It has been years since someone has shown an interest in me. It is sincerely the most flattering thing that's happened in a long time. I am just tickled pink that this kid even remotely thought it would be appropriate for me to talk to him. I have been giggling all day.

    Now there's an ego boost. Heh.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    October 20, 2008

    NO RETURN OF THE SALAD DAYS

    how can I explain personal pain
    how can I explain my voice is in vain
    how can I explain the deep down...driving

    I had myself convinced that I was going to have triplets. I had them named, and at night before bed I would have visions of myself corralling toddlers. I was kind of excited that we might breed at more than replacement rate. Twins was also acceptable. I got comfortable with the idea of multiples. Shoot, one was feeling like a let-down.

    But I never prepared myself for zero.

    Sure, I knew it could happen. Just like I knew two years ago that it was possible to have fertility problems. But it's one of those things that happens to other people. It wasn't going to happen to me. Because everyone I know who did the treatment I just did got pregnant. And since I have been pregnant twice before, and we know it's biologically possible, I figured this was the boost we'd need to make this work.

    I never put any energy into thinking it wouldn't.

    I feel so much frustration and ire today. I feel emotionally incredulous. I feel biologically sickened.

    I feel like a failure. Squared.

    I want to have my husband's baby. He's handsome, strong, tall, and fit. He's super smart. He's only been sick once since I've known him. He has perfect vision and nice eyebrows. His genes belong in the pool.

    And we've been ready for two years. We have a stroller. We have a the paperwork for a rider on our life insurance. We have the baby names we picked out eight years ago. And yes, though it's been mocked, we have a nursery filled with knitted stuffed animals and blankets.

    We still see ourselves like the end of Raising Arizona. But it's just as cloudy for us to imagine as it was for H.I. McDunnough.

    One year ago today, I told you all that I was pregnant. Little did I know that we too would have "no return of the salad days." And last Christmas, I consoled myself with the hope that we'd have a baby in the house by this Christmas. Not even close.

    And, you know, I am always the first person to try to keep things in perspective. To be grateful that I have a great husband and a nice home and plenty of things to be thankful for. But today that's just not enough. Today I'm not content with the blessings I already have.

    And I probably should stop listening to The Violent Femmes, because that's not really helping anything.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:13 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

    October 19, 2008

    AT LONG LAST

    At the Milblogs Conference, during the tribute to our fallen, I mentioned Bunker Mulligan. Or, I tried to: I immediately choked up and barely managed to sob the words out.

    It's been three years since the death of a man I never met, and it still hurts that much.

    A while back, I found this old comment he left:

    There are just too many things in this country I haven't seen to go wandering around the world looking for more. I still haven't been to the Black Hills, and I want to see Yosemite again. Washington is one of my favorite cities in the entire world--so much to do there. I've been four times and still want more.

    I keep trying to plan a road trip from Corpus Christi through Big Bend to Vegas, then back along the northern route to the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, then back to Corpus across the Llano Estacado and Comanche Country.

    There will be time for golf when you get back!

    He didn't get to do these things. We didn't get to play golf.

    Mike is buried in San Antonio, and I had to see him while I was there. We located his marker and my friends stayed in the car as I got out to pay respects.

    The sobbing started even before I saw his name.

    bunker.jpg

    I had tried to think of something I could leave there for Mike, but I couldn't come up with anything and was empty handed. My fellow SpouseBUZZ author Toad surprised me with the most perfect idea: he had brought a golf ball and a Sharpie for me.

    I left Mike a little note on the golf ball and then sat there and wept.

    bunkercry.jpg

    I still miss him so much.

    And I want this blog post to be better, because he deserves better, but I just don't know what else to say.

    Damn, this weekend was rough.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:17 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    October 04, 2008

    MY GROWN-UP REGRET

    My youngest brother misses being a kid. If he could be six years old for the rest of his life, he would take it in a heartbeat. But I have always enjoyed getting older and looked forward to the day I would be a grown-up. I have never wished I were still in high school or college; I have gladly passed those years by.

    But I sure miss dancing.

    Boy, did I used to dance. Any chance I could get, I was breakin' it down. That's probably why I weighed ten pounds less! And when I was home on break from college, my brother, who has remarkable skills for a white boy, and I used to turn his bedroom into a dance-off. Some of my best memories are dancing and laughing with my brother. But then I got married, and married ladies don't go shake their junk at clubs. I had successfully graudated to adulthood and left my party days behind, and I didn't really miss it...until CaliValleyGirl's wedding. It was my first dancing in five years, and it totally whet my appetite again. I really miss it. (And CVG said something funny like "You're too...Republican to dance like that." Ha.) I have started secretly dancing more here at home, with the dog staring at me like I'm nuts.

    Shoot, it's a good thing I wasn't at the Penthouse Party, because if I had had 12 gin & tonics like AWTM and Guard Wife did, I woulda been on the pole.

    So I don't regret much about growing up, but I do miss dancing. I started thinking about it again yesterday; respectable married ladies don't dance, but respectable moms sure don't. My dancing days are really over.

    Maybe my brother can come for a visit and we can turn my house into a private club for a day.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:39 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    October 03, 2008

    FEELING BETTER

    I am feeling better emotionally tonight, especially after a great chat with my husband. I told him that I really miss him and that, while I have had fun watching the debates with his friend, it's not the same. He said:

    Husband says:
    well when you've been in love as long as we have personalites start to merge
    Husband says:
    you become more or less one person
    Husband says:
    it's like talking to yourself

    Yep, I miss my better half.

    On the physical side, I feel terrible. I was told I might have "some cramping," but this is nearly as bad as the miscarriage. I did not expect to hurt this much. I hope it doesn't feel like this tomorrow.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    BRAVE NEW WORLD BABYMAKING

    The farce continues at the fertility clinic. I found out I had to give myself a HCG shot, so I had to go pick it up. I arrived, the nurse handed me a paper with instructions, and I went home. I read the paper and saw it says that I have to come in the next morning for bloodwork. This had never been mentioned before, so I called and left a message for the nurse to confirm the info. She called back a few hours later and said that I do not have to come in. Geez almighty, could this process get any more muddled? Who's running this clinic, the Mad Hatter?

    So Wednesday night I went to my neighbor's house so she could give me my HCG shot. She was gleeful. I pinched my tummy fat and she came at me with the needle. It didn't go in as easily as she thought it would, so there was a little more of a push than she geared up for. But it didn't hurt any more than any other needleprick. And that was that.

    Thursday I didn't feel so great. My lower abdomen was hurting. Not serious pain, but enough to make me uncomfortable all day long.

    And I couldn't sleep last night. I was pumped up on dorkosterone from the debate, and I started to miss my husband very much. I began to worry: worry that this might not work, worry that it might work too well, worry that this baby will also die, worry that I will be a bad parent. I did not sleep one wink last night, hence the middle-of-the-night debate post.

    I was a zombie when I arrived at the cryobank this morning. The TV in the waiting room was playing Jon and Kate Plus Eight. That seems a tad inauspicious. And did you know that you hand carry the (ahem) male contribution to the hospital. They say the best place to keep it warm and safe is tucked in your bra. That's an awful weird thing to have tucked there. And you instinctively keep reaching up to make sure it's still there, so I'm sure I looked freakish to passersby.

    I got to the clinic and was seen remarkably promptly. The process hurt a little more than I expected it to, but it was quick. They like you to lie there for 20 minutes, so the doctor and nurse left me alone in a room to become impregnated.

    I took my knitting with me because I thought it would be a funny story to say that I was knitting while I got pregnant. But when the moment came, I didn't feel much like jokes.

    I lay there alone for 20 minutes and cried.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:58 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    September 30, 2008

    17?

    I found a quiz on Facebook to determine your "real age," based on lifestyle. I thought I was a grown up at heart, but mine came back as 17 years old! No wonder people think I'm a teen and wish me a birthday that's half what I really am.

    I think the quiz just ended up that way because I clicked that I have never smoked.

    I don't feel 17 inside. A 17 year old wouldn't be so fretful about the state of the world...

    But I do miss my pigtails.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    INTER-SPECIES SNUGGLING

    Mary asked for a pupdate, and I must say that there's not much going on in Charlie's life at the moment. But we did kitten-sit over Labor Day weekend. Charlie spent the weekend chasing after a four-pound kitten trying to make friends. He has such a good relationship with Hitler cat, and he thinks all cats should be as receptive to his advances. Luckily this kitten took it like a champ and even let him get close to her a few times. Here they are snuggled together...

    withcandy.jpg

    But most of the weekend the poor kitten hid under the dresser in the guest bedroom.

    In other cat news, the family that dog-sits for me just got a cat who's not so into Charlie. Charlie keeps getting scratched in the face because he just gets too danged boisterous around their cat.

    My husband says Charlie is like Lenny from Of Mice and Men...

    Posted by Sarah at 01:52 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 29, 2008

    ON FIRE

    I've been wanting to blog this all day but kept telling myself that it was not blogworthy. But I can't help myself any longer; I just have to blab it.

    My ovaries feel like they're on fire.

    No, seriously. I feel like I am burning up from the inside. You know when your laptop is on your legs for too long? That's what it feels like on my stomach. From the inside.

    The other day my neighbor's 7-year-old gave me a hug. Her head is belly button height, and she recoiled from the hug saying, "Eww, you're hot."

    So...things must be working. I'm apparently producing a lot of energy.

    I had my ultrasound today to make sure the meds are doing what they should, and it appears we're good to go at the end of this week. I am not so excited that I have to give myself a shot of HCG on Wednesday. A shot. This was nowhere to be mentioned before today. I nearly freaked out when the nurse told me.

    I would not be a good diabetic.

    I am scheming to get my neighbor to do it for me.

    So then by the weekend we will have done all that can be done, and thus begins The Waiting Game. I need to plan some activities for myself for the beginning of October.

    I have made 19 preemie caps in the past week. You think I have nervous energy?

    Posted by Sarah at 08:40 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    September 23, 2008

    THEATER OF THE ABSURD

    I find myself really hoping that this fertility cycle works, and not just so I get to have a baby or three. I keep thinking, "I can't wait until I have a healthy 12-week-old pregnancy so I can get the heck out of this fertility clinic."

    Dealing with these people is theater of the absurd. The doctor has one philosophy and plan of action, while his nurses have another. The doctor is gangbusters, diving right in and slapping bandaids on problems so we can jerry-rig some success. The nurses want to run tests and get to the bottom of things before we do any treatment. The problem is, they haven't worked out their issues among themselves. So I end up having conversations like this:

    Nurse: So we need to do a clomid challenge test and day 3 tests.
    Sarah: But you told me a week ago that it was OK that I was going to be in Vegas on day 3 and couldn't be here.
    Nurse: No, not OK, we have to skip this month.
    Sarah: Not acceptable.
    Nurse: But we need to make sure you're not already pregnant.
    Sarah: My husband is deployed, so I am most certainly not.
    Nurse: If your husband is deployed, how are you going to get pregnant?
    Sarah: IUIs.
    Nurse: Why are we doing that?
    Sarah: Don't you people take notes or anything?
    Nurse: (looks at chart) Oh, now I see what the doctor is doing. Well, that's risky but OK...
    Sarah: RISKY??? No one said the word "risky" last week; you all acted like this was standard procedure.
    Nurse: Well, the doctor doesn't always like the run the tests first, which is a problem.

    Oh good lord. I was waiting for her to turn into a rhinoceros.

    Ironically, a long time ago my husband and I joked about nicknaming the baby Godot, since we've been waiting for him to show up for quite a while now. I never knew I was inviting absurdity into my life with that harmless joke. But apparently I've jinxed myself into this Who's On First routine with the fertility clinic.

    So we're doing a backwards compromise now. We are full steam ahead this month, trying to get pregnant. If it doesn't work this month, we will step back and start running tests to make sure my innards are a go-flight.

    Maybe next time I talk to the doctor and nurses, I can get them to peek out of a joke wall à la Laugh In and have them dispense medical information in the form of knock-knock jokes.

    Excuse me, does this IUI come with a cream pie to the face?

    Posted by Sarah at 10:08 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    September 10, 2008

    SAVIN' BACON

    My husband will be proud of his business-savvy wife! I called to get the windshield fixed and got an estimate of $394. The man said that windshield must've been made of solid gold; it's the most expensive one he's ever seen. I called a couple other places, and his was the best price. Then, on a hunch, I called our car insurance company and asked them if they'd cover it. They don't, but they found a place to do it for $318. So I called back the original place to cancel my appointment, and they said they wanted my business and would beat the other offer and do it for $300.

    So, I saved a hundred bucks! Funny how I feel excited about spending $300 but saving $100.

    One gremlin down...

    Posted by Sarah at 04:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 09, 2008

    STRESS

    Today was one of those days...

    Over the weekend at SpouseBUZZ Live, Andi asked me if I've had any "deployment gremlins." I couldn't think of any. But I returned home to find that we may have a water leak somewhere on our property and we may have a case of identity fraud. Both are things I'd rather let my husband deal with -- or at least things we could stress out about together -- but he ain't home.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    September 08, 2008

    AT FULL GALLOP

    Today I pretty much guaranteed that I'm gonna get pregnant soon: I bought $66 worth of booze.

    Saturday night after SpouseBUZZ Live, AWTM called me at midnight to check on me. She said she had been thinking about me all day after the panel at SBL and wanted to make sure I was OK. It was so thoughtful of her. But really, I was OK. In fact, I was puzzled at first about why she was checking on me.

    I did speak about the miscarriages on our panel, and how frustrating it's been to try to squeeze pregnancy into deployment schedules. And also how depressing it is to miscarry your baby on your wedding anniversary while your husband is deployed. Heh...sigh.

    But honestly, pregnancy has been pretty far from my mind lately. I stopped charting -- there was no point with my husband gone -- and I knew there was no chance of getting pregnant, so it became a non-issue for two months. Until I talked about it at SpouseBUZZ, I hadn't thought about it in a long time.

    But today I had my first appointment with the fertility doctor. Remember how I said I'm getting back on the horse? Well, I'm hopping on a horse at full gallop. At the end of the month, I will be trying to get pregnant. Sadly, it will be alone in a doctor's office. For all my griping about babymaking, I kinda wish we could do it the old-fashioned way. But that's probably just the four months of deployment talking.

    And squeezing it into deployment schedule? We will be lucky if we get pregnant right away, because otherwise there's not much hope for my husband being here for the birth. Funny how I could get pregnant without him and he will still come home and leave again during the pregnancy.

    So much for planning out our life, right?

    But we're back in the saddle. And I'm off the wagon until I'm not allowed to be anymore.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:44 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    September 07, 2008

    POOR DOGGY

    Bad news. My parents' little doggy has cancer.

    toby.jpg

    Charlie and I are hoping for a full recovery.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:48 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    September 05, 2008

    ON MY WAY

    When John McCain gave his list of things we can do to personally make the country better -- "feed a hungry child, teach an illiterate adult to read, comfort the afflicted" -- I said, "Make chemo caps?"

    Cuz that's what I was doing.

    chemocap.jpg

    This morning I set out for SpouseBUZZ Live. I also get to stop along the way and spend some time with Sis B...and give Crush his knittery.

    I live for meeting up with these friends.

    Oh, and I'm wearing my new t-shirt, a gift from AWTM: I heart Nebraska.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    August 31, 2008

    GOOD TIMES

    I haven't been blogging because I have a friend in town this weekend. I also am unrelatedly kitten-sitting, which has been an interesting experience. Charlie desperately wants to wrestle this 4 lb kitten. And he even more desperately wants to eat her wet food.

    For a laugh, read Palin Facts. My favorite was the Tom Brady one; my husband's was the Terminator one.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:21 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 27, 2008

    HOME

    We're home, and we're tired.

    charlieyawn.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 03:00 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    August 25, 2008

    COMING UP

    The time has come to head back home. Let's hope my windshield survives.
    I can't believe I scheduled my three-day drive home for the nights of the DNC. Dumb.

    Oh, but there's something fun to look forward to when I get back: my husband just got his new laptop in the mail, which has a *webcam*! I get to see his dimpled face for the first time in three months.

    And then it's almost time for SpouseBUZZ Live: Hampton Roads!

    Posted by Sarah at 07:29 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    August 23, 2008

    EXPLAINING MY LACK OF SUCCESS

    I hate meeting new people or catching up with old acquaintances. It's the worst aspect of coming home for a visit.

    I, she states emphatically, am not enterprising. My shame is that I would've made a terrible pioneer and probably would've never crossed the Atlantic for the New World. I don't like adventure, and I'm not the least bit entrepreneurial.

    I am a born follower.

    When our future children start school, I will get a job. Not a career, a job. I have no interest in a career whatsoever. I fancy myself a sort of Renaissance Lady who likes learning new things for the sake of learning, but I am not ambitious. I went to grad school merely to kill time while my husband finished school. I liked school and was good at it, but I can't imagine myself in any sort of career.

    I say all of this to set the stage for the question I hate most: "So, what do you do?"

    I don't do anything. I don't know how to answer that. I do a monkey's job two weekends a month. I don't make money. I have no job to speak of.

    I was voted Most Likely To Be President by my graduating class. I have no idea why. I am certain I am a disappointment to them.

    But I am fine with my life. My husband likes me the way I am, though I am sure he will enjoy the extra money once I get a job. I have no regrets at all about where I am in life. (Except if I'd known it would take more than two years to have a baby, I would've gotten some sort of job at this duty station.)

    But any time I get the "What do you do?" question, I feel like I need to explain all of this. I feel like I need to prove I'm not a bum. Or I have to explain the two dead babies, so at least I have an excuse for not working.

    Yesterday we ran into the mom of a kid I went to school with. "So, what do you do?" I fake laughed and said, "My husband is in the Army, so I follow him around for a living." She looked disappointed. "I just remember you were so successful in school."

    Ouch.

    I'm just typing this to get it off my chest. I hate that question. I hate not having an answer to it. I hate the look people give me when I don't have an answer for them.

    Sometimes I answer "I'm a trophy wife" if I think I can get away with it.

    I hate how the question makes me feel inadequate when really I am happy with my life. I shouldn't let it bother me, but it does.

    I just need to hurry up and have a kid so I have an excuse for staying at home.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:15 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

    August 22, 2008

    BACK ON THE HORSE

    Yesterday I had lunch with my best friend from high school. I hadn't seen her in almost nine years; the last time I saw her I wasn't even dating my husband yet. We reconnected via email around the time I started trying to have a baby. She has been a good friend to have in my life over the past two years; she had to undergo monstrous amounts of testing and IVF to have her two children, but the sting of infertility is still fresh with her. She didn't dust her hands off and get over it after her children came along, and she keenly understands my gripes and frustrations. And she lost her first baby, so there's that angle we share too.

    In short, she makes me feel normal.

    With my husband gone and babymaking out of the question, I haven't given much thought to the babies we lost or the one we'd like to have soon. It's been a non-issue for me as my HCG level steadily declined and there was no chance of getting pregnant again in the meantime. I haven't talked about the issue with anyone in a long time, but my visits with Guard Wife and my friend from high school, two women who've been in my shoes, brought the issue to the forefront for me again.

    And this morning, the fertility clinic called me and said they have an opening when I get back, so I scheduled an appointment to see if we can figure out this crazy puzzle.

    Time to get back on the horse.

    Oh, and Darla and I are totally going to have triplets at the same time and move in together while our husbands are deployed. Take that, Jon and Kate.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    ROCKS

    So I made some calls re: the windshield. Naturally there are two hitches: both my sticker to get on post and my state inspection sticker are on the broken windshield. I can only get a new inspection sticker if I get the windshield replaced in my state, and since our vehicle was registered at our old post, I have to go in with umpteen documents to get a new sticker at our current post. Pain in the neck. So I decided to just wait until I get home to get the windshield replaced.

    But would you even believe that, while driving today, another rock hit me and made another chip in the glass in a different spot? Thank heavens I hadn't already fixed it; I would've gone through the roof.

    Don't ride with me, I'm a rock magnet.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    August 20, 2008

    MY MOTHER IS A HOOT

    We were teasing my mother the other day that her eulogy is going to be a laugh riot. We have so much hilarious material on her, including the fact that this week I threw out some canned goods in her pantry that expired in 2001. And how she argues with her GPS: "No I should NOT turn left here!" And how she whistles under her breath all the time. Oh, the whistling, it drives me nuts.

    She pouted and said that we can't wait for her to die so we can make fun of her.

    But yesterday, I saw a side of my mother that I love. Through her work, she's befriended a family from Tanzania. We stopped by their house because my mother had done some school clothes shopping for their daughters. My mother is so entirely generous that way: she invites this family to Thanksgiving, she bought them a Christmas tree, and she's always popping in on them with new clothes and toys for their kids.

    And I just love how these two little African girls climb all over my mother and call her Grandma. And my mom kisses them and reads books to them and loves on them to death. It is such a beautiful sight to see this little black girl throw her arms around my mother and shout, "Grandma!"

    Don't worry, Mama. We'll include good stuff like that in your eulogy too.
    Just please stop with the whistling.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:41 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    WALIMA

    On Sunday, the final wedding event was the Walima, a sort of brunch reception that takes place after the consummation of the marriage. No, seriously, thatís what the speaker said at the thing. This event seems to be the groomís familyís doing, and it ended up being fairly military. My friend just got out of the Army after being Special Forces, so his Army buddies were in their dress blues, and they performed the saber arch as my friend and his new wife arrived. My friend also wore his blues, and his wife again looked stunning in a bejewelled robin-egg blue dress.

    Some of my friendís cousins and friends got up and spoke a few words, like you would do at a toast during a Western wedding. I made some jokes about high school and what a good friend heís been over the past 16 years. And then there was Pakistani food and merriment again.

    After my little toast, several people came up to me to thank me for my husbandís service, which is always nice but especially nice to hear from the Muslim community. In fact, during the wedding ceremony on Saturday, when the officiant mentioned that my friend had served his country, it got a round of applause during the sermon. Those things just affirmed my good feelings for everyone I met this weekend.

    And my friend asked the wedding photographer to take a photo of two of the guests: his cousin, who wears a traditional turban, dishdasha, and long beard, and his SF buddy in his dress blues. Everyone laughed as the two men symbolically shook hands and then threw their arms around each other for a photo.

    So that was the wedding. As I bid my friend and his wife goodbye, I got tears in my eyes. I was overwhelmed by the emotions of the weekend, and I sadly donít know when Iíll get to see them again. His entire family made me feel so welcome this week, and I hate to say goodbye to them.

    But heís kept in touch over the past 12 years, so Iím sure we can manage in the future.

    What an awesome experience this whole event was. I am so glad that I came home for it and that I got an inside glimpse at the local Muslim community and their customs. It really gave me a perspective on some things Iíve only considered in the theoretical before.

    (See also the Mehndi and the wedding posts.)

    Posted by Sarah at 10:09 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 19, 2008

    THE WEDDING

    Until this weekend, I never really thought much about how bride-centric a Western wedding is. The Seinfeld joke -- "A wedding is like the joining together of a beautiful, glowing bride and some guy. The tuxedo is a wedding safety device, created by women because they know that men are undependable. So in case the groom chickens out, everybody just takes one step over, and the ceremony continues." -- is basically pretty true. The groom just stands there and all eyes are on the bride.

    My first thought was that this Muslim wedding was going to be overly groom-centric. But it ended up being pretty egalitarian.

    To kick off the ceremony, there's a groom entrance. I think I rate this as one of the all-time most awesome things I've ever seen. My friend came in to so much fanfare and jubilation, you'd think the King of Zamunda just showed up. There was great triumphant music, there was a man leading the procession playing the drum, there was clapping and ululating, and every family member and male friend invitee esorted my friend down the aisle.

    It.
    Was.
    Awesome.

    Once he got to the stage, it was time for the bride's entrance. Her procession was beautiful and solemn, with sweet bridal music. She was escorted by her female relatives with rose petals and candles. You could tell the immensity of it all was getting to her, for she trembled as she walked. It was so emotional.

    And she looked so beautiful I can't even do her justice. She wore a dress of deep purples and magenta with gold embroidery. She was covered head to toe with flowers, in a bouquet and leis and such, and had henna decorations from her elbows to her fingertips. And she's a beautiful girl on a regular day, so she was breathtaking on the most beautiful day of her life.

    The ceremony began, and the officiant was the same man who married my friend's parents so many years ago. He spoke at length about marriage, "for the benefit of those attendees who are at their first Muslim wedding." My friend whispered, "Table 13," and we giggled; we were the non-Muslim table: friends from school and the Army.

    I was frankly surprised by the short "sermon" he gave about marriage. The whole thing was about equality, about how men and women are equal in the marriage and how important this is. I tried very hard to remember what was said so I could look it up later. I almost wish I'd taken notes! But I know these ayah were quoted:

    • Fear Allah regarding women. Verily you have married them with the trust of Allah, and made their bodies lawful with the word of Allah. You have got (rights) over them, and they have got (rights) over you in respect of their food and clothing according to your means.
    • They (your wives) are your garment and you are a garment for them.

    And he also explained the mahr, the monetary gift my friend has to give to his new wife. Table 13 was again giggling that she's a doctor and he's a new law student right out of the Army, so she caught him at a poor time in his life for giving her money.

    The officiant then recited the oath with my friend and then with his new wife, and they were pronounced married. And I cried, of course.

    Then they broke for evening prayer, at which point I bought batteries, and returned to cut the cake and serve dinner. I was again surprised that there was dancing after dinner; I didn't expect booty-shaking at a Muslim wedding. But there was, and my friend is a huge ham, so he was out there dragging everyone on to the dance floor.

    Around midnight, the couple proceeded to their limo. My friend's new wife ceremoniously and tearily said goodbye to her parents, and then my grinning friend picked her up, tossed her into the back of the car, and whisked her away.

    *********

    I already mentioned that I was surprised at how egalitarian the ceremony was. I guess I expected the bride to be "given" to the groom, but I didn't feel that's what happened. And, no joke, the bride is a doctor, for heaven's sake, so it's not like she's expected to be barefoot and pregnant. Shoot, my own marriage is probably more chauvinistic than theirs will be. So that was something I noted.

    Another thing that struck me, that I'm not sure how to put into words, was the concept of chastity. Both my friend and his new wife are devoted Muslims. They never dated as teens, I am certain they'd never kissed anyone before, and when the DJ announced "their first dance," it was literally their first dance. There's no kissing at a Muslim wedding, so when they were pronounced man and wife, they just stood and smiled. But when they left the stage, my friend took his new wife's hand, probably for the first time. It was such a loving and sweet entwining of the fingers.

    I've always thought the concept of chastity to be outdated and overrated. But at this wedding, I definitely developed an appreciation for what that means. What it means to give yourself entirely to your spouse. How electric their first dance must've been. And how, when the officiant spoke of marital fidelity, I know that there is not a chance on this green earth that my friend will ever disrespect his new wife.

    A few days before the wedding when I stopped by their house to pick up my clothes, my friend's father asked what advice I would give as a seasoned wife of six years. My friend griped, "Dad, you're making it sound like we need advice, like we're going to have problems." I laughed and said that I have no doubts that my friend will be as happily married as I am. I said my only advice is to love your spouse more than you love yourself. If you put her feelings first, and she does the same for you, you'll never have problems. It's worked for my marriage. But my friend doesn't really need that advice; he's the type of man who is such a kind and caring friend that I am sure he will blow us all out of the water with the kind of husband he will be.

    His wife is a very lucky girl. And I couldn't be happier for both of them.

    (See also the Mehndi and the Walima posts.)

    Posted by Sarah at 11:12 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    August 18, 2008

    MY BATTERY FIASCO

    AirForceWife and I have the same camera, and last time we were together we were lamenting how it sucks batteries. I came into town with a set of batteries in the camera and an extra pair. I cycled through all of those during the Mehndi alone.

    So on my way out of town on Friday, I stopped at the Walmart to buy batteries. My husband called while I was in the self-checkout, and I stupidly walked out of the store without my bag of purchases. It didn't even sink in until I got to Chicago that the batteries were nowhere to be found.

    Next stop was a corner store near my friend's house the day of the wedding. I bought a four-pack and we headed to the ceremony. I had enough battery power left on the ones from the Mehndi to take one photo of the venue.

    weddinghall.JPG

    Right before the ceremony started, I put the new batteries in the camera: nothing. Not even enough juice to turn the camera on. I bet they'd been sitting in that corner store for years.

    So here I am at the most beautiful and colorful and camera-worthy wedding I'll ever attend...with no batteries.

    Luckily, Muslim weddings have a break in the middle for evening prayer. During this break, I went to the hotel front desk, asking if they have a gift shop. They do, but it was out of batteries. However, the nice manager went off in search of a pair of batteries owned by the hotel. He brought me two AAs and I handed him some dollar bills and raced back to the wedding.

    And thank heavens those batteries lasted through the wedding and the Walima.

    More on that later. I'm on my way to Walmart. I called them from Chicago to see if they'd found my forgotten bag, and they said that if I bring my receipt, they will give me another pack of batteries. Three cheers for awesome customer service.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:20 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    August 17, 2008

    I HEART CORN

    Seems to me out here,
    it's all about the sky.
    Clouds are pure art,
    migrant birds flying by.
       --Allette Brooks

    Apparently I'm supposed to be able to dodge flying rocks while driving. What? Phone or no phone, how in the heck was I supposed to do that?

    And I was on a bluetooth, people.

    But I threw caution to the wind when I noticed what a beautiful day it was. I love the Midwest so much that my heart grows two sizes when I drive here. You can take your mountains and oceans; I'll take my corn and clouds.

    So I pulled out my camera and started indiscriminately snapping pictures of the road without looking through the viewfinder or bothering to focus. I took a ton, and a few actually came out great.

    I called AWTM and told her I was thinking of her. Apparently she also drives through the Midwest with a camera in hand.

    She challenged me to a Plains-Off.

    Nebraska...

    nebraska

    Illinois...

    illinois.JPG

    AWTM, I'll see you your barn pic and raise you a farm plus a big honkin' American flag.

    weaver.JPG

    Also, you mentioned cows. I managed to snap some.

    cows.JPG

    Man, I love driving in this state. What a view. Horizon as far as the eye can see.

    It's home.

    Oh, and a photo of the new crack in my windshield, for good measure.

    crack.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 10:55 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    August 15, 2008

    MEHNDI

    So the reason I came home now, and the reason I've been furiously making this afghan, is because a good friend of mine from high school is getting married this weekend.

    And it's not just any wedding, from a blogger's standpoint: it's a Muslim wedding. A chance for learning. And pictures!

    At the beginning of the week, I went to my friend's house to borrow some of his mother's clothing for the events. We had a little fashion show in her bedroom, and my friend's father said that I looked beautiful and then joked to his son, "How did you not marry this one?" My friend's mother then quipped, "You know he can have four..." We all cracked up. I thought it was an honor that they even joked about it; later when I told my husband, he grumped, "He can't have four in this country!" He didn't think the scheming to steal his wife was as funny as I did.

    Last night I went to the first of the events, the Mehndi celebration. It's a party where the bride shows up in her bridal henna, and after dinner the men get kicked out and the women dance the night away.

    But no one told me about keeping "Pakistani time." The invitation said 6 PM, so I showed up at 5:50. Yeah, no one was there yet. In fact, the thing didn't kick off until about 7:30. Wow.

    After all of the traditions for the bride and groom, one of the ladies asked if I'd like some henna. But she didn't have the special henna tools, so she did the best she could with a toothpick. Later someone else showed up with the tool, but by that point my ink was already setting, so they did what they could to encorporate the first design into the second. Which turned into a funny spiderwebish design. I've been laughing that they made me into Pakistani Spiderman.

    mehndi.JPG

    I loved looking at all the different traditional clothing last night, and the get-up I had on was actually pretty comfortable. Except for the scarf, which I was wrestling like a python all night. One woman actually thought I was Pakistani, but I joked that a real Pakistani wouldn't be choking on her scarf.

    I also found the celebration fascinating when the men left and the women let their hair down...literally. I realized that all I'd ever seen of my friend's sister was her face and hands; I'd never even seen her ears before! I thought a lot about the headscarf last night, and I think in the end I gained a better appreciation for it and simultaneously came up with more puzzling questions about it. I was fascinated to see the most demure and covered woman pull off her scarf and shake her Shakira hips as soon as the men left. The juxtaposition was something to behold. And after all the shaking and the dancing, they wrapped their hair back up and said goodnight.

    I know the headscarf is supposed to keep the woman's beauty for her husband alone, but I found it just made me insanely curious. Perhaps men in that culture are just used to it, but every woman I looked at, I was just dying to know what she looked like under all that cloth. It made me more curious about the women, not less. And I'm a 30 year old woman, not a teenage boy; it must drive them batty. Is that a good thing?

    Of course, last night I was having a bad hair day, so I would've given anything for a headscarf.

    The Mehndi was a lot of fun and very interesting. I am looking forward to the wedding this weekend. I am leaving for Chicago in about an hour, so more when I return.

    (See also the wedding and the Walima posts.)

    Posted by Sarah at 10:04 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    August 13, 2008

    LITTLE GIRLS

    An observation from my trip: Maybe little girls aren't so bad.

    I realized that Guard Wife lives on my route home, so ol' Charlie and I stayed the night with her on the road trip. Our arrival coincided with her daughter's 5th birthday party. I was mentally thinking, "What did I agree to do?", but the party was charming and funny.

    And Guard Wife's two daughters never made a bicker or a peep the whole time I was there. No fussing, no whining, no "she's hitting me!" They really upped the bar for me on child behavior. Maybe little girls might be up my alley.

    Ha, now I just know Guard Wife will mess up her dynamic by adding a boy to the mix!

    Posted by Sarah at 09:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 08, 2008

    HOMEWARD BOUND

    I'm headed out this morning for a trip home. As my dad always says before a road trip, "It's 902 miles to Illinois; we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses." (Hey, that's one of our Dadisms, like we talked about last night with Sherman Baldwin.)

    More when I get there. Midwestside til I die, baby!

    Posted by Sarah at 07:26 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    August 05, 2008

    I THINK THE CLOCK IS WRONG

    I am having such a hard time getting off the computer. I mean, I just categorically deny that it is already 10:30. It can't be. Where did today go? Oh, right, the car dealership. Where I stood and drank mediocre coffee and then gave them six hundred bucks. Ugh. And the three hours I spent on that long post. I didn't knit a single stitch today. I refuse to go to bed yet, even though I'm exhausted.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 02, 2008

    RANDOM BLATHER

    AirForceWife left a comment yesterday that reminded me that I haven't even told you the worst part of the wedding afghan knitting. My husband and I are ridiculous cheapskates. It's 90-95° around here most days, and we keep the thermostat at 80°. Yep, if you can't take the heat, don't come to my house. And I'm proud to say that our July electric bill was a mere $92. But...I do my knitting in the room above the garage, so when the rest of the house is 80°, the room I knit in is about 83°. Thus I sit, with an afghan on my lap, knitting in my own little sweatshop.

    How I just long to work on a sock in this weather...

    Oh, and here's something that absolutely none of you will be interested in hearing. Last night I had a dream I was playing beach volleyball against Dick Cheney. Nice, huh? Also, I was pregnant, but instead of carrying the fetus in my stomach, I opted to carry it in a backpack. No, I am not making that up; in my dream, I pushed aside a forming baby to try to find my cell phone in my bag. And then I went to the hospital with the woman who taught me to knit and Erin. Erin and I shared lunch: a loaf of italian bread filled with a footlong hotdog and chili mac. (Happy birthday, Erin; hope you like crap.) And the Soldiers Angels were there in the cafeteria -- I know I recognized MaryAnn -- playing cards and waiting to be summoned like Batman.

    And that was totally pointless for me to type, but it made me laugh. Dick Cheney...a backpack baby...snort.

    Anyway, can you tell I'm in a better mood today than I usually am?

    Plus...it's my husband's birthday today. As long as I'm in a silly mood, I thought I'd share a picture of me from the year my husband turned 22.

    tengallon.JPG

    Happy birthday, husband. I hope your day started out as giggly as mine did.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:08 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    August 01, 2008

    GO GATHER YOUR NUTS, YOU NAGGING GRASSHOPPER

    Went back to the eye doctor. I am stuck where I'm at for now; we can't do another Lasik correction until we're certain that this is where my eyes have leveled off, so I have to wait a month and see. Also, I have blocked tear ducts so, to quote the doctor, they should be oozing Wesson oil and instead are blocked with Crisco. Gross. He was doing everything he could to unblock them and make me cry, including digging his fingernail into the base of my eye until I saw stars. It made me giggle on the inside because I felt like Fry on "My Three Suns," when they have to make him cry the emperor out. Good thing the doctor didn't start beating me up or telling me my husband was murdered in a juicer. Heh.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:36 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 31, 2008

    UPDATE

    For weeks, people have been asking what happens next fertility-wise. Well, I'm still technically pregnant from the last baby. My levels plummeted and then plateaued; the nurse said she's never seen anyone's levels stay the same from one week to the next. And we all know there's no way I could be pregnant again, so I have no idea what's happening or how to make it stop. I can't make any appointments with the fertility clinic until the levels get back to zero. So I'm stuck in teeny-tiny-bit-pregnant limbo for now.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 29, 2008

    A BAD DAY

    It seemed like such a nothing choice, putting that Ray of Light CD in the player. I haven't listened to it in nearly ten years.

    It wasn't a nothing choice. I am unable to do anything now but sit immobilized with my thoughts.

    This CD takes me back to France. And not in a good way. That year of my life, I wish I could erase it. It is such a deep wound. I spent eight years loving France and waiting to get there, and then I hated it once I was there. After a horrible month of bad experiences with my host family, worse experiences with teachers, and being chased by a pervert until I had to climb under a car to hide from him, I turned numb to France, pretending I wasn't there. I got into a hurtful and bad romantic relationship with another exchange student instead. The year culminated with my near-death. And anything that reminds me of that year makes me sick.

    *****

    That's how I started a post yesterday. I never finished it because, coincidentally, a friend from that year in France called me while I was writing it.

    The post sat as it was; the bad feelings lingered to today.

    I remember thinking it was cute that The Girl wrote a post just to remind herself of a day when she was feeling fine. This is my post to document a day when I'm not doing well.

    Yeah, it's 0100 and I'm still awake.

    It was that France stuff hanging over me today. Thinking about how crappy the year was, what bad choices I made with my life, and how awful I feel in the pit of my stomach whenever I think about it.

    But mostly today it was the eyes. I feel like they're getting worse instead of better. I'm back to hating my body. I'm back to feeling the unfairness of having a body that won't accept a baby and eyes that won't accept Lasik. I am discouraged.

    And I'm reading a book for a SpouseBUZZ review. I read the entire second half of the book tonight, two hours of feverish reading. It took me right back to the last deployment. It included names that I'll never forget: Kenny, Iwan, Khan, Falkenburg, Sims. (And just now, in looking up how to spell "Falkenburg," I couldn't avoid three names that brought the tears: Prewitt, Rosales, and Becker.)

    So here I am, at 0100, not having such a good day.

    And I just thought I ought to document it.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:20 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 27, 2008

    HEH

    Oh, and I think it's cute that all of you are saying, "But you didn't call meeee." I said non-internet friends, sillies. Also, AWTM, you are PCSing like tomorrow, and, Guard Wife, you are taking the freaking bar exam this week, so I'm not gonna call either of you and waste your time with stories of how my eyes are too blurry to watch an episode of The Dead Zone.

    But I did watch Friday's episode of The Soup, and I was laughing so hard I was pounding the coffee table with my fist. I wonder if there's laughing gas in the eye drops I'm taking...

    Oh yeah, and my face is still sticky. My hair keeps sticking to my cheeks and forehead, which is not pleasant. I even considered putting Goo Gone on it, but the bottle said to avoid prolonged exposure with your skin.

    Vision-wise, I see about the same as I did yesterday.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    GUESS I FIGURED OUT WHAT TO DO TODAY

    You know what you can do with only 20/30 vision? Housework. Bleh.
    Scrubbing, sweeping, mopping...so far I've found that none of those take perfect vision.
    Just my luck.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 26, 2008

    RECOVERING

    I have to wear metal eye protectors to sleep in. I told my husband they make me look like Spiderman. Just in case he didn't truly believe me...

    spidermaneyes.jpg

    Incidentally, I took eight of these pictures of myself lying in bed, hoping that one of them would be decent. So today when I was picking out which one to put on the blog, I felt like I was back in the eye doctor's office: Which is better, #1 or #2?

    Also, notice that they have to be taped to my face. I cannot for the life of me get the sticky residue off; I've tried soap, exfoliator, and even rubbing alcohol. I am certain that by the end of the week, I will have two tape lines of pimples in an X on my face. Lovely.

    So, yesterday was not so great. My friend and I decided that we did this all backwards: we hung out this week and culminated with the surgery, but we should've started with the surgery and then hung out, since I can't do anything but sit. Because my vision is blurry, I can't watch TV and I really ought to limit my computer time (so hard for me). Did I mention that I can't watch TV? Yesterday I sat alone listening to a book on tape. Lame.

    Today my vision seems a little better, which is reassuring. But just in the hour I've been on the computer, I swear it's gotten worse, so I'm going to get offline now. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself all day. One thing I can do is gab on the phone, so I think I might catch up with old friends. Like non-internet friends. Yeah, I still have a couple of 'em.

    UPDATE:

    I just called six people and none of them answered. Lame.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:57 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    July 25, 2008

    UNDERWHELMED

    I woke up this morning a tad underwhelmed. I didn't feel safe driving myself to my appointment, so my friend took me. The doctor said he likes his patients to be at least 20/25 by the next day, and I'm 20/30. Now, that's WAY better than what I can see without my glasses, but I still feel like I'm in a little bit of a fog. Some of that could go away in time, and I freaking hope so because I certainly won't be happy that I spent thousands of dollars to still need glasses. I go back in a week to see if there's progress. But the pessimist in me thinks that this might just be one more nail in my loss-of-faith coffin.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:57 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    EYEBALL UPDATE

    So, the lasik, eh?

    I went in and waited and waited; naturally they were behind schedule. There were two other ladies in the waiting room who had done the surgery a few years ago and who were in for a touch-up. They said that, even with having to have a touch-up, they would do it again in a heartbeat. They also said that there's no pain whatsoever.

    Hmmm, I am not sure I agree with that.

    I went in and they numbed my eye and drew marks on it with a marker. That's because of astigmatism; apparently when you sit up straight, your eyeball is in a different shape than when you lie down, so they have to mark you sitting up before they recline you. Then they took me in and cut the flaps in my cornea. Painful isn't really the right word, but it was uncomfortable as all get out. They put this suction cup thing on your eye and create a vacuum seal and then start cutting. It was blindingly awful. It was so hard to keep my eyes open, and the even had me in this Clockwork Orange contraption so I couldn't shut my eyes. Still, I would've given anything to close them. It was like my brain shut off and the only thought I had was get-it-off get-it-off get-it-off. They did my left eye first, prounounced it a success, and did the right eye. But no pronouncement after that one.

    Then they walk me across the hall and put me under another machine. I hear lots of commotion from the doctor and nurses and get the vibe that something is wrong. Panic attack. I am trying not to freak out or cry for what feels like an eternity before some nurse pats me on the arm and assures me that there's nothing wrong with my eyes, just the machine. Turns out the machine was having trouble uploading my info, so someone had to go back downstairs and save my flie to a thumb drive and come back with it. But I seriously thought something had gone horribly wrong. It was entirely unnerving, lying there for interminable minutes thinking that I had just lost my right eye.

    Then, by the time they came back with the thumb drive, I had been lying there with my eyes closed for several minutes. So when they turned on the machine and the light flooded my eye, I thought I was going to pass out it was so bright. Nothing like being in complete darkness for five minutes and then having a flashlight shined in your eye from six inches away.

    The wild thing about this next part is that it's done on camera and broadcast into the waiting room, so my friend and her son watched them pull back the flap in my cornea, pulse the laser into it, and then replace the flap. She took pictures with her cell phone, heh. And then we were done.

    I shut my eyes, got guided out of the office, into the car, into my house, and into bed. My friend then had to figure out how to tape the protective eyewear to my head before I went to sleep. I woke up three hours later and took the goggles off.

    I can see...decently. I guess I was expecting this life-altering transformation already, but as of right now I see better than I did naturally but not nearly as good as I did with my glasses. They say the process can take up to 48 hours to really work, so I'm hoping I have better vision in the morning.

    Oh, and I would never say the process was easy or painless, but whatever discomfort I experienced -- I spent a lot of the time with my toes curled and my fists clenched, wishing I could be anywhere but with a blinding light in my eyeball -- it will be worth one hour of discomfort if I can see. My eyes are still extremely itchy this evening, maddeningly so. I would give anything to rub them, but that's the biggest no-no. I hope the worst of that goes away by tomorrow.

    Wish me luck that I wake up in the morning with better vision.

    UPDATE:

    As posted above...

    If you're really squeamish, this might freak you out. But there's a youtube of a Lasik surgery, and it's exactly what they did to me. I must say, sitting in the waiting room watching these creeped me out at first, but after I'd watched three people go ahead of me, it wasn't that hard to watch. But still...not for those who get grossed out by eyeballs.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:26 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 22, 2008

    A SLEEPOVER

    Charlie and I will be gone for a few days; we're going on a sleepover to my friend's house. Her husband is out of town this week, so we're going to knit and bake. And then she'll nurse my eyes back to sight. So I may not be around for a few days, but hopefully when I return I'll be 20/20.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:44 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    July 21, 2008

    HAPPY DAYS

    Last night I went on a Mia Wallace date with our buddy. (You know, where he has to take his friend's wife out for a five dollar milkshake. Minus the drug overdose.) Listening to him complain about dating woes just made me miss my husband so much. I am so lucky to have found such a great guy. And his buddy misses him too, so we were going back and forth talking about how awesome my husband is. That was fun. The next time I have to fill out some email forward about my favorite hobbies, I plan to include "swapping stories about my fantastic husband."

    And today, I got a phone call with some surprising news. I went back to the eye doctor last Thursday to re-run all the tests, and then he crunched the numbers three different times to triple-check the results, and we're a go flight on the eyeballs. So I get it done this Thursday.

    BCG.JPG

    On Friday, I will be able to see. If you wear glasses or you've had Lasik, you know how huge this is. I will be able to see. I've worn glasses since the 3rd grade; before that, I thought it was normal that the entire world appeared blurry. But on Friday, I will be able to see. This is so exciting to me that I can barely contain my joy.

    I will be able to see.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:05 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    July 20, 2008

    A PECK OF PEPPERS

    I've never grown anything edible before, so I am fascinated by my new little garden. I go out and look at it constantly, mostly to marvel but also to be on the lookout for hornworms!

    So I was tickled pink to come home from DC and find that my little buds and marble-sized peppers had turned into this:

    peppersgreen.jpg

    Four on one little plant! How is it standing under all that weight? And the little pepper that I took a photo of a month ago?

    pepperred.jpg

    He's red! He's still only the size of a golfball though. But this farmer thing is addictive.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 19, 2008

    MY ALTERNATE REALITY

    The Girl and I have a running motivational speech, wherein we admonish each other not to live in an alternate reality. Hers is that if her husband hadn't deployed and gotten stop-moved, she would be back in the US now instead of still languishing in Germany. Mine is that I would already have a baby instead of still being in not-able-to-be-pregnant hell. We have to constantly remind each other that, even though we don't like it, we have to live in the reality that is.

    But this is hard for me today, because my husband just found out his next deployment schedule. He still has six months left on this one, and he already knows tentative dates for the next one. And I can't help but be overwhelmingly disappointed that this baby we were pregnant with a month ago would've worked out so perfectly. Baby would've been born right after the husband got back, and he would've been here for the birth and then maximized his time at home before he left again. Now that we already know when he's leaving again, it's like another sock in the gut that I wish this baby had worked out.

    I am still planning on getting fertility testing done, and perhaps heading into Mordor this fall. But if things go perfectly well, and I get pregnant on my own in a doctor's office right away, the baby will be born right as my husband is deploying again. That is not a reality I care to live in. In fact, that was the exact reason that we started trying to have a baby when we did, so we could avoid such a crappy situation. But there it is. Perfect Baby is no longer with us, and now we get Undesirably Timed Baby. That is, if Baby even works out for us at all.

    I promise you, The Girl, that I am trying really hard not to dwell on that alternate reality, where my husband actually gets to enjoy the birth and early life of his child. And I swear, I was doing really well and was practically over the fact that I am not pregnant anymore. I was moving on, but this is something that makes me wistful for the alternate reality I almost had.

    However, I take some vicarious comfort in this: no matter how we slice it, you will be back living in the US before any sort of baby enters our home! And that is something to definitely look forward to.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:49 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    OH HEAVENS

    Dear AirForceGuy,

    You know how you were ashamed that my Tibetan terrier kicked your pit bull's butt? I have a piece of news you'll be interested in. Remember how Charlie kept scratching his ears the whole week? We went to the vet yesterday: he has a yeast infection in his ears.

    Trust me, our dogs are equally emasculated.

    charlierug.jpg

    Poor Charlie, that's just not cool at all.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    SLEEP

    One of the bad things about having a deployed husband and no job is that I don't have to do anything. Time is just one big fluid thing, and the distinction between separate days becomes arbitrary.

    I have always been an insomniac, but having a husband with a set schedule helps keep me on a system. Now that he's gone, there's no reason to go get in bed. I end up promising myself 'just one more episode' or 'just one more chapter.' My bedtime creeps ever so later: 1AM, 2AM. Same with when I get out of bed; if there's no job to go to, and I stayed up until 2AM, why not sleep until 9:00? It's a bad cycle.

    But last night, I found myself exhausted. I felt like I was drugged, I was so tired. Maybe it was the midnight drive home from DC catching up to me, I don't know. But I shut the lights out last night at 8:45, before it was even dark outside. And I woke up this morning at 7:45. That's a heck of a slumber.

    Oh, and trust me, I am enjoying it while it lasts. There's my silver lining to not having kids yet; I can sleep for 11 hours if I need to.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 17, 2008

    THE REJUVENATING SURPRISE

    He was rejuvenated. You hear that? Rejuvenated. He was juvenated before, lost it... and got juvinated again. Rejuvenated!
        -- Pootie Tang

    AirForceCouple was teasing me that 1) I wildly overstated the secrecy of the event and 2) I'm a moron because I didn't recognize that they asked for the same info that I'd been asked for two months ago. But I'm not the type of person who shakes her Christmas presents; I don't analyze surprises too much. I figured it could've been anything.

    The AirForceKids got invited to t-ball on the White House lawn. And, heartwarmingly, AirForceGuy came up with the idea to invite me up and include me in the event. I thought it was very touching that he even remembers my name, much less that he wanted to share a family invitation with me.

    This t-ball game was more fun than I could have hoped. It was relaxed, darned cute, and quite funny; Mike and Mike were the announcers, and they said hilarious things like, "Next up to bat is Betty Sue. She loves Dora the Explorer, and her favorite food is cake!" We couldn't stop giggling.

    And I spent the whole time compulsively taking photos of this man, because he just gets to me.

    t-ball 023.jpg

    Throughout the game, while I was snapping photos, I was reminded of something a friend wrote to me the last time I went to the White House:

    I campaigned vehemently for GW and I love Texas and I love him and Laura, but The World has made this last couple of years feel so foreign, distraught, and the necessity of always being on the defensive or offensive has left me weary.

    Living in Texas, I had such pride and hope for a future with GW and I don't mean to say that he has disappointed me, really, he hasn't. The world has. I feel frustrated and weak and that even if you're a good man (or woman) with a strong heart and a strong mind, LIFE can lead you looking stupid, immobile, reactionary, and all the while impotent. Maybe that's just growing up, but darn it, I don't think it has to be so.

    That said, your picture of GW brought warmth to my heart. The same warmth that had me jumping on the couches of the Stephen F Austin Hotel during election night of 2000. That hotel hosted the Republican Party headquarters that year that I somehow snuck into, as well as two years later, my wedding reception. A lot has happened in my life in the last eight years, but I would like to thank you for reminding me of why I loved him in the first place.

    This is a man who routinely gets called a liar, a criminal, and a murderer. Half the world would rejoice if he died; some people even make movies about it. He is saddled with having the blood of the entire GWOT on his hands. He is blamed for everything, can do nothing right, and daily gets equated with Hitler. And he still gets out of bed in the morning, and still smiles. One-tenth of what this man deals with would make me slit my wrists, and he can still smile.

    This week of vacation made me forget my woes for a while, but as I drove home, nagging thoughts about lasik and fertility treatments started to creep in again. So instead I made the conscious decision to feel rejuvenated. At Heather's house we watched The Darjeeling Limited, and I chuckled at how simple yet profound Sister Whitman's plan is:

    Alright, let's make an agreement.
    A) We'll get an early start tomorrow morning and try to enjoy each others' company in this beautiful place.
    B) We'll stop feeling sorry for ourselves; it's not very attractive.
    C) We'll make our plans for the future.
    Can we agree to that?

    I'm feeling rejuvenated, and I am going to do my best to hang on to that feeling for as long as I can. And smile.

    t-ball 062.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 06:22 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    July 14, 2008

    LOVELY VACATION

    My time at Heather's house was so nice; we just sat and crocheted together for three days. I joked to her husband that we were going to get bedsores! It was so relaxing and nice to just talk. And her husband used to be Civil Affairs, so we compared notes.

    I'm here at AirForceHouse now. There was an "incident" tonight: Charlie was wrestling with their dog and their dog's foot got caught and it ripped his toenail completely out by the root. Ouch! AirForceGuy is mortified that our Tibetan terrier managed to take down his pit bull. Heh.

    More later.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 11, 2008

    NO PRIZES FOR ME

    I don't feel so great today. Unsettled, disappointed, depressed. Getting lasik surgery was supposed to be my consolation prize for losing the baby; now it looks like I don't get First Place or the consolation prize. No prizes for me. No silver lining, no green grass, no happy ending. They told me to come back in a week and they'll re-run the eye tests to be certain.

    Thank goodness I already had something good planned for this week.

    I leave tomorrow to go visit friends. My first stop is Heather, the recipient of all those squares I've been crocheting. We will have a nice couple of days of pure crafting, and I can have some precious company while I get some more work done on my afghans. My next stop is AirForceFamily. AirForceGuy has even arranged a Top Secret excursion, something that even required some sort of security clearance. I am so curious to see what it is. (And so is my husband, apparently!)

    You know, I was supposed to take this trip in May, but a dead baby threw a monkey wrench in it. I am really glad that I happened to reschedule for right now, because I could use the distraction and the joy in my life.

    Today will go down as a really bad day in my life: the day I felt extra salt in my wounds. But if this is the worst day I ever have to face, then I will have lived a very good life.

    It just sucks today.
    But my vacation will help boost my spirits.

    And I'm taking the laptop, so I hope to stick around the 'sphere...


    Posted by Sarah at 05:40 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    TOO MUCH REJECTION

    I can't carry a baby.
    And my corneas are too thin for lasik.
    I hate my body.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:45 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 09, 2008

    NO MORE TOMATOES

    My mother and I planted a vegetable garden while she was here, and I had four thriving, big tomato plants on the back fence. I go out there tonight and find this.

    tomatoes.jpg

    Every second plant was stripped completely bare. No leaves. Huh? I move in for a closer look.

    caterpillar.jpg

    Two of the fattest, grossest caterpillars took up residence in my garden. Both totally engorged with an entire tomato plant. They were about four inches long and as thick around as a Tootsie Roll.

    Blech.

    Naturally, I pried them off with a spatula and dumped them over the fence into the neighbor's yard. They don't have anything planted in their yard anyway.

    I'm bad.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:39 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    July 08, 2008

    LOSS OF FAITH

    So I just wrote this morning about how safe and easy this deployment is. Now I'm going to write something mildly contradictory.

    CaliValleyGirl just pointed me in the direction of the I Should Be Folding Laundry blog. This blogger, Beth, sounds like the kind of woman I'd like to be. Everyone speaks glowingly of her. She lost her pregnancy (twins) back in February, and this is what haunts her now:

    So, on February 25th, 2008, when the nurse could not find their heart beats, I was fearful and faithful, I had faith as I took the elevator down to ultrasound, faith that these babies would soon be kicking me in my ribs. I had faith.

    But then I watched the words "no cardiac movement" being typed slowly with one hand onto the screen. A piece of me died at the moment. And sometimes? I think that piece of me was my faith.

    Because now I tread through life cautiously, I fear cars running into our's and injuring my children, I don't get my hopes up for our new house because I'm certain the deal will fall through, even with the closing being less than a week away. I fear another pregnancy, I fear I'll never see Brian again when he leaves for a business trip, I fear for Be Design, I have lost faith in myself and people and my surroundings.

    I fear the rug being pulled out from beneath me in every situation.

    I understand this "loss of faith" completely. I was carefree going into this second pregnancy, but when it too ended, a part of me worries that this will always be my fate. I actually plan to lose the next baby, figuring out who I'll call and what I'll do. I imagine giving all my baby stuff away in the future because I've never used it and the tags are still on.

    And the worst of this is the nagging feeling that the loss of this pregnancy means the loss of bigger things. I've imagined my parents dying before they get to become grandparents. I've imagined losing a brother. I imagine someone breaking into the house and killing Charlie. Or me. And I often have the ridiculously morbid thought that "at least I won't be pregnant when the Army comes to the door and tell me my husband is dead." Because the only reason I can see for denying me the joy of a baby is to spare me the agony of raising the baby alone.

    So I worry about my husband, not because there's anything to worry about but because I too fear the rug being pulled out from under me.

    And then last night in my book, A Short History of Nearly Everything, I read about the likelihood of an asteroid hitting earth and killing us all. So there's that rug to worry about too.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 07, 2008

    TIME IS TIGHT

    [Cross-posted at SpouseBUZZ]

    I asked AirForceWife if I could write this week's SpouseBUZZ Fit Club post because I just exercised for the first time in over a year. Seriously. I hate exercising.

    For me, it's not a matter of finding the time to do it; it's the motivation. I could either go to the gym or sit on my behind and knit. That's a no-brainer. But when the husband and I decided to start a family, I found the motivation to go on a health kick. I cut all kinds of things out of my diet and started working out. After a few months with no baby, discouraged and disheartened, I said screw it.

    When I had the first miscarriage, I figured there was no reason why I couldn't drown my sorrows in chocolate and wine. By the time I was pregnant again, I was six pounds heavier and not too keen on adding another 25 or 30 to that. So when I lost the second baby, I figured I needed to take advantage of that do-over and get myself in a little better shape while I had the chance.

    But now we were back to motivation. I was even using gas prices as a cop-out; it's too far to drive to the gym. But today I had to go on post anyway, and I forced myself to go to the gym while I was there.

    The girl at the front desk was really nice and explained to me how the system worked and what they had available. She also apologized that the air conditioning was broken in the building today. But I didn't really mind that too much, because it meant I would sweat more, and more sweat makes me feel like I'm working harder.

    I didn't do anything phenomenal, just 30 minutes on the elliptical machine. But I had forgotten how good it feels to get moving. I had planned on only doing 20 minutes, since it was my first workout in a year, but I felt good enough to keep going. And I learned that Booker T's "Time Is Tight" is a great song to help me keep my pace steady, so I plan to run that on a loop on the MP3 player next time.

    I also learned that the National Geographic channel is a terrible thing to have on the TV in the gym. One screen had ESPN and the other had baby seals getting eaten and bloodied. That's a workout buzzkill.

    While I was driving home, my husband called me from Iraq. I proudly announced that I was driving home from the gym. His reaction: "Woah." I said, "Feel free to expound on how awesome I am." Heh.

    I plan to keep this up a couple times a week. I know it's good for me.

    Maybe next time the air conditioning will work.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:39 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 03, 2008

    WORRY AND CRUSH

    When my mom was here, I was on and on about something. I can't even remember what. She looked at me incredulously and said, "And I thought I worried about stuff."

    Today has been a day of worrying.

    I got an email from a friend; her sister just lost a pregnancy and had to have a D&C. They couldn't stop the bleeding afterwards, and she nearly died. Four hours of surgery and many transfusions later, she is OK.

    A D&C did that. I just had one of those.

    I know there are risks in everything. Hell, I am planning on having someone shine laser beams into my eyeballs soon. But this got to me, this scared me. This thing I've been trying to do for a year and a half, this having a baby, it can kill you.

    So I've been a little freaked out today. And I started thinking about Sis B and her Scheduled Worry Time. So I popped on over to her site to check on things, since she'd been having some early contractions.

    Baby Crush was born. Early. And little.

    Wait...a 4 lb baby? A little preemie? Who needs a hat? Hot dog, I'm on it.

    I'm glad Sis B and Crush are OK. One less thing to worry about today.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 01, 2008

    REWORKING MY MIND

    I've been feeling pretty mopey they last few days. No real reason, just bummed. I had this exchange with my husband yesterday:

    Sarah: I'm feeling kinda down. I've been listening to The Cure a lot lately.
    Husband: Oh God! Don't do that!

    His exclamation was too funny; he knew right away what listening to too much Robert Smith can do to your head.

    I also had a dream last night where I was trying to find a date for prom. Every boy I ever had the hots for in my life made an appearance in the dream, and every single one of them rejected me for a date. I think that says a lot about what's going on somewhere in my subconscious too.

    My bio of George Washington wasn't doing much for me either way, so I left him right as the Revolution was starting and switched books. I was given a book called Stolen Angels at the miscarriage support meeting, so I thought I'd give that a try. And while I was heartened to find that many of the stories had elements that were similar to mine, I found myself coming away from the book armed with knowledge I didn't want to have. I found myself daydreaming stuff like, "When the next baby dies, I will do X differently." Not exactly positive thinking. So I set that book aside for a while too.

    I picked up A Short History of Nearly Everything, and a wave of peace rushed over me. I had forgotten how calming it is to read about the universe. How much it puts my hill of beans in perspective. How much comfort Sagan's cosmic calendar brings to me.

    I read this paragraph with wonderment:

    Not only have you been lucky enough to be attached since time immemorial to a favored evolutionary line, but you you have also been extremely - make that miraculously - fortunate in your personal ancestry. Consider the fact that for 3.8 billion years, a period of time older than the Earth's mountains and rivers and oceans, every one of your forebears on both sides has been attractive enough to find a mate, healthy enough to reproduce, and sufficiently blessed by fate and circumstances to live long enough to do so. Not one of your pertinent ancestors was squashed, devoured, drowned, starved, stranded, stuck fast, untimely wounded, or otherwise deflected from its life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material to the right partner at the right moment in order to perpetuate the only possible sequence of hereditary combinations that could result - eventually, astoundingly, and all too briefly - in you.

    I want to participate in "life's quest of delivering a tiny charge of genetic material" too. But today I'm centered enough to realize that it's miracle enough that I'm even here, and that my desires are tiny on the scale of the cosmos.

    And no more The Cure for a while.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:24 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    June 27, 2008

    MY INNER DANTE HICKS

    I havenít been writing about how Iím doing because 1) most of the time Iím doing fine and 2) I feel self-conscious about the hint I've gotten that I need to get over myself. But writing is my way of processing things, so today I could use that therapy.

    When I was pregnant, I ordered more contact lenses. I hadnít been in to pick them up yet. So while I was on my way over there, I was rehearsing in my mind what Iíd say. I got a feel for the words before I got to the shop. But when I got up to the counter and the girl asked me why I wanted a refund, the words wouldnít come out. They were replaced by a lump in the back of my throat.

    Just say it. You can do it. Just say, ďI ordered these while I was pregnant, but since I lost the pregnancy, my consolation prize is gonna be lasik surgery. Ha ha ha.Ē Just say it. Ha ha ha.

    I think the girl sensed that something was wrong, because she said, ďIíll just check the box for Ďbought too many boxes.íĒ Yep, one box, thatís too many. Then I felt awkward for making the situation awkward and thought Iíd better explain before she thinks Iím a freak. But still the words wouldnít come.

    Most of the time Iím fine, until I have to say the words out loud.

    I went to a support group meeting on post the other night, a child loss group. I havenít been sleeping well since my mom left, and if it worked for Tyler Durden, I thought maybe it might work for me. The ladies in the group were really nice and made me feel entirely welcomed, but I think in some ways it made me feel worse. These are ladies who birthed severely premature babies, but babies nonetheless. They had faces and names and lived for a week on machines. They had funerals and were buried in gowns that people I knit with had made and donated. I just felt stupid mourning the little gummy bear that I lost.

    I am Joeís heaping tablespoon of Perspective.

    So most of the time, Iím fine. But every once in a while I get not fine, like when I do something that I wouldnít be doing if I were pregnant, like mowing the yardÖor drinking wine. And I try to resist those feelings inside of me. I try to suppress my inner Dante Hicks, try not to feel like Iím not even supposed to be here, try not to live in this alternate reality where Iím pregnant and happy and shouldnít be mowing. But itís hard, because thatís the parallel universe I want to be living in.

    I donít want to be getting lasik, even though Iíve waited two years to do it.

    Maybe I'll just start a fight club.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:01 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    June 19, 2008

    BRUISED ORANGE

    I've been quoting John Prine a lot these days, haven't I?

    You can gaze out the window get mad and get madder,
    throw your hands in the air, say "What does it matter?"
    but it don't do no good to get angry,
    so help me I know

    For a heart stained in anger grows weak and grows bitter.
    You become your own prisoner as you watch yourself sit there
    wrapped up in a trap of your very own
    chain of sorrow.

    Last miscarriage, I was angry. This time I just feel numb. And defeated. Reality is starting to sink in, and I'm sad. My husband said it best: Now we're just that much further from meeting our son or daughter, the child whose name we picked out during the Clinton administration and who won't be born until well into the next administration. So much time, wasted.

    I feel like the last year and a half has been an hourglass, and I keep watching the sand slip through but there's nothing I can do to stop it.

    I am Joe's ticking biological clock.

    Last week when I dropped my mother off at the airport, I felt sad that she might not get to spend enough time with her grandchild. This week, I choked up because there is no grandchild anymore. What a difference a week makes.

    Another week I can't put back into the hourglass.

    And you carry those bruises
    to remind you wherever you go.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:55 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    June 18, 2008

    OK, A COUPLE MORE "FEELINGS"

    I saw an ad the other day: 50% all buttons. So I went, of course, my first trip out of the house in days. I was standing there with about ten cards of buttons in my hands when a mother and probably 3-year-old daughter walked up. The mother told her daughter that she could pick out one card of buttons. The little girl ooohed and aaahed, asked "Ich unn you like, Mommy?" and got super-excited about picking out her buttons. I watched with a big smile, and finally said to the mother, "You know, someday she's going to be like me, doing the same thing when she's 30."

    And I thought, maybe having a little girl wouldn't be so bad. Maybe she'd love buttons too.

    I'm doing OK. I have one hang-up though: I don't want to stop wearing maternity clothes. I picked out so many nice things, and comfortable things. I want to wear them. I want to grow into them. But I won't. And I don't want to take them off. Like my heart panics when I think about going back to wearing regular clothes.

    I'm starting a trend: non-pregnant crazy ladies who wear maternity shirts.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 16, 2008

    IN-LAWS

    I wanted to give a shout-out to my poor in-laws too. Last December, my Christmas present was supposed to be maternity clothes and baby stuff. My poor mother-in-law had to go out at the last minute and re-shop for me after the miscarriage. And this week, she sent a big box to me for our wedding anniversary...of maternity clothes and baby stuff. She put it in the mail before we got the bad news, so she felt terrible that that's what she had sent.

    At least she didn't send a dead bird!

    I taught my mother-in-law to knit about the same time we started trying to have a baby, so she has been making little baby things all along. She started a blanket for Baby #1 and then stopped abruptly and put it away. When Baby #2 had a heartbeat, she pulled it back out and finished it. And mailed it to me this week. I know she probably thinks it's a burden to me, but it really is quite lovely and I'm happy to have it.

    And we'll put a baby in it someday, I promise.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    DON'T FEEL GUILTY

    OK, I knew my previous post was gonna make everyone feel guilty for not checking on me. But I wrote it anyway, because I'm a sucker for a brutally honest post. So don't feel guilty. And don't feel like you have to hurry up and email me, or get a post up on your blog about me (sniff, though it is quite touching), or call me from Middle of Nowhere, Nebraska, where your cell phone keeps cutting out (hi, AWTM!) just so I feel loved. I know I'm loved. It's OK. Call me after Thursday, when my mom leaves and it's just me.

    Just me and that old pup. He can be our baby.

    bathrobe.jpg

    Maybe I could put those little girl scrunchies on his head. Heh.

    (My apologies to Homefront 6, who gave me a darling bathrobe as a gift for my baby. Which I just put on my dog.)

    Posted by Sarah at 12:47 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    THE MOST UNLIKELY PERSON OF ALL

    The house has been eerily quiet all weekend. During the last miscarriage, I couldn't tear my ear away from the phone. Everyone called constantly to check on me, to cry with me, and to reassure me that everything was going to work out next time.

    Maybe they're embarrassed that they were so confident. Because they're not calling this time.

    At first I was grouchy. I thought about how last December, neither Erin nor CaliValleyGirl had their babies yet. They had more time for me. But then I realized I was just being dumb. That wasn't the reason they weren't calling, though feeling sorry for myself that way helped for a few minutes.

    My mother told me that I had made it clear that I think people always say the wrong thing, so I'd probably scared my friends away. Ha, my mother never shies away from telling me when I've been too honest! But I hope she's not right; I hope people aren't avoiding me because I've pushed them away.

    I sat down and penned The Wrong Thing Is Better Than Nothing At All, just in case.

    Andi said that she was just afraid of calling me right in the grossest and most horrific moment of the miscarriage. That's understandable. I hope that's why people haven't called. I also understand that it's easy to comfort someone after the first miscarriage and reassure her that everything will be OK, that many people have miscarriages, and that she will go on to have a slew of babies in the future. That's a little harder to do after miscarriage #2. I bet my friends feel about as much optimism as I do right now, and they're afraid of being a downer when they call.

    So anyway, I spent the weekend feeling a little lonely. But I knew one person was there in presence, one person I felt was sitting holding her breath for me. One person kept emailing me and commenting here, reminding me that she was with me all day long. The most unlikely person of all.

    If you've been reading for a while, you might remember the falling out I had with Allicadem. If you don't, it's not worth digging back up. We reconciled. But this weekend pulled the scab off for her.

    I feel like it's my fault for her suffering. I am the reason that her pregnancies aren't working -- because I was bitter and wished her anguish. She was too care-free about pregnancy and I wanted her to feel how horrible it can be. And now I suffer, again, because I am re-living all of the fucking shit that she's going through.
    ...
    And even as I post this, I am sobbing and holding my head. I can't believe that ... I wished you would know how bad it felt. To have problems getting pregnant. I couldn't be a bigger asshole.

    Her blog post was so raw and so honest that I don't even know what to say.

    In the beginning of our pregnancies, CaliValleyGirl and I had very different approaches. I had waited so long to get pregnant that I wanted to dive right in on the first day and tell everyone I'd ever met: my co-workers, random people at the grocery store, my high school track coach. CVG was more cautious, waiting the full 12 weeks before she told anyone but her parents. Heck, she didn't even blog about being pregnant until after the baby was born! But even with my optimistic attitude, it was I, not she, who feared that something might happen to one of us. I thought it was just too good to be true, both of us being pregnant at the exact same time. I had a horrible feeling that it wasn't destined to last, and I remember vividly one day thinking how guilty I would feel if something happened to her baby. I also remember later almost being relieved that my baby died instead of hers, because I had been jealous of her and had thought she didn't deserve to be happy so quickly. I thought she should've had to have taken at least one negative pregnancy test in her life, to be able to understand that I had taken nine of them.

    And if her baby had died, I would've felt like I caused it too.

    I know what it's like to struggle with your dark side. I have another friend who wants to start trying to have a baby in the near future. And I want her to be successful. I really do. But I also can't help but think that, if she is quickly successful, she will have a baby before I do, when I started trying two full years before she did. The unfairness of that is overwhelming at times. I can't bear the thought of her being successful before I am, even though I don't want her to suffer the way I have.

    I'm just tired of watching everyone else get to the finish line before I do. Especially people who weren't even in the race until long after I starting running.

    I did start out as carefree about pregnancy. I thought that it would happen for me relatively quickly, as it had for most of the people I knew. And carefree is a good way to be. I don't ever want to take that away from people. I don't want my friend to be bogged down with fear and pessimism when she starts trying to have a baby because she sees how crappy my experience has been. I absolutely want her to be carefree. Because the alternative -- where I'm at right now, where the next baby could have a heart stronger than Lance Armstrong's and I'll still expect it to die -- is no fun at all.

    And I was carefree during this pregnancy too, more carefree than someone with a history of miscarriage probably should be. But when we saw that strong heartbeat and I learned that our odds were better than 95%, I dove right in. And yes, I bought baby clothes and a bouncy seat, and even a backpack carrier at a garage sale. Maybe that was a stupid thing to do when baby was only 8 weeks along, but I felt confident and happy. I wanted to celebrate.

    So now I have a set of summer maternity clothes from the first baby and a set of winter maternity from the second. I have all the seasons covered for next time, so third baby is set no matter when he shows up.

    And I don't want to lose that confidence. So yesterday when I went out with my mom, I bought a baby outfit. And my mom looked at me with tears in her eyes like she was so proud, so proud that I haven't given up hope, that I still know that somehow, someway, somefreakingday, we will have a baby in the house. A baby who will wear little shorts with funny monkeys all over them, shorts that were bought when hope seemed at its ebb and the future seemed so far away.

    Allicadem, you didn't cause anything bad to happen to me. Remember this?

    All that we are is determined by our thoughts. It begins where our thoughts begin, it moves where our thoughts move, it ends where our thoughts end. If we think thoughts like he hurt me, he stole from me, he is my enemy, our life and our destiny will follow that thought as the wheel follows the axle. And if we think thoughts like he cannot hurt me, only I can hurt myself, he cannot steal from me, he cannot be my enemy, only I can be my enemy, then our life and our destiny will follow those thoughts.

    You and I just both need to write that down and read it often.

    I have forgiven you for everything. I feel no ill-will or negative waves. I felt you worrying and waiting with me all day Sunday, and I appreciate it.

    As Pete Townshend beautifully sings in my favorite line from "A Quick One While He's Away"...you are forgiven.

    Tink's right; it's time for you to forgive yourself too.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:31 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    June 15, 2008

    MY DAD

    sarahanddad.jpg

    I look all squinty and goofy in this picture, but my dad looks great.

    My dad is not the most emotional guy, but he's been very sweet these past few days. My mom has kept him updated on what's going on, and he's been loving and nice. When I talked to him today, I ended the conversation by saying, "OK, well have a good day!" and he made sure to interject with an "I love you" before I hung up the phone. That's not my dad's normal instinct, so it was very sweet. I know he loves me; he just doesn't say it all the time. But it was nice to hear today.

    Happy Father's Day, Dad. Sorry I kept Mom away from home today.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    LEFT ALONE

    When I woke up, I had in mind all these reasons that today would suck. But today is half over, and it's not turning out half bad. I don't feel that sucky. I feel at peace.

    The miscarriage is over. I took the medicine yesterday morning after I wrote that blog post, and I miscarried the baby in the early afternoon. Stacy, who's been through this before, warned me that I might not want to look. But as soon as he came out (yes, I took to calling him a "he," even though it was far too early to tell), I knew that wasn't the right choice for me. I held my little baby in my hand and was able to look at him and love him. I marveled over the little buds where his arms would grow and the tiny umbilical cord, as thin as thread. And I didn't want to let him go. But I had to say goodbye, and so I did.

    It was the closure I needed; it was the closure I didn't get with the D&C. It was a little funeral, a ritual, a passage I needed to go through. I am very glad I had to do it this way.

    And so he's gone. And I'm OK.

    What I mourn right now is my future. My deployment was going to be filled with baby milestones and a growing belly to mark time. Now it seems empty. There will be no joy to fill the next seven months, no baby to keep me company, and no new definition of family to look forward to when my husband returns.

    It's just me, in the house, alone. And that's part of the reason that, even though the baby was dead, I didn't want to let him go. I didn't want to be left alone.

    I didn't want to give up my future. Because now the future is uncertain again.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:42 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    TODAY

    Today is our sixth wedding anniversary.
    Today is the original due date for our first lost baby.
    Today would've been my husband's first Father's Day.
    Today kinda sucks.

    And, Marc, know that I am thinking of you today too...

    Posted by Sarah at 08:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 14, 2008

    HAVING SOME HELP

    Overall, today was not as painful as I thought it would be. I am sure the percocet makes the difference though. The pain is manageable.

    When my mother went to extend her plane ticket, the only choice was a week later. I didn't really think I wanted or needed her here another full week. I thought I could do this on my own. I don't like when people see me in pain, or see me cry, or see me struggle. But my mother insisted that she was staying a week.

    I am really glad she did.

    She was a big help today, especially when the going got tough. And it got pretty tough a couple of times. But she was here, and she was right on the same wavelength as I was. It was nice.

    I am glad I didn't go this alone.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:57 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    A PEPPER & A PEAR

    Let's celebrate life.

    pepper.jpg

    These are growing in my backyard.

    pear.jpg

    We can have a miniature dinner.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    MEDICINE

    I wrote over at SpouseBUZZ about the headache of trying to reach my doctor yesterday. One thing I forgot to mention was that, when the doctor was advising me on whether to have another D&C or to use the medicine, he said something to the effect of, "One thing is that surgeries are expensive, not to you but to the taxpayer, if that's of any concern to you." Now there's a man after my own heart!

    As I sit here in agony today, I will keep reminding myself that I am saving the taxpayers money. I know that probably sounds like sarcasm, but I mean it in all seriousness. Every little bit helps.

    And to call this "medicine" seems odd to me. It's more like poison. You put it in your body, and your body says, "Oh no no no, we need to get this out." It twists and contorts and ravages you.

    Abortions are D&Cs and not this medicine, right? I wager we'd see less abortions if people were forced to go through this.

    And I've only just begun.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:53 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    MY POWER

    When I was in college, I had a pet goldfish that I loved. And the inevitable happened, as it always does. One day he started doing that dance with death: float to the top, sink to the bottom, turrrrn slowly onto his back, right himself forcefully, over and over. I couldn't watch it anymore, and I knew I needed to put him out of his misery. I took him out of the water and held him in my hands as he lived his last few minutes. And it took all my willpower, everything I had, not to put him right back in the water.

    This is the stupidest analogy in the world, but it's all I can think of this morning. That poor fish, struggling in my hands as I sobbed. And the awful, frightening feeling I had knowing that I wielded so much power. And that I also had the power not to do it. I could put him back in the water and wait for nature to take its course, or lightning to strike him, or anything that would take the decision out of my hands.

    My baby is already dead, but this morning I have to take a pill that will make the baby come out of me. I have to do it. My power. The D&C was passive -- the doctors did all the work -- but this time, I have to make a conscious choice to begin the process. And I'm immobilized.

    I don't want to do this.

    I want to throw the fish back in the water, save the decision for another day.

    But I can't.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:33 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    June 13, 2008

    CAN I GET THESE ODDS IN VEGAS?

    My husband and I should play the lottery.

    • In general, with no past history of miscarriage, your odds of having one are about 12%.
    • More than 90% of women who miscarry once will go on to have successful pregnancies.
    • The American Pregnancy Association claims that 1% of all couples have multiple losses.

    And remember this lovely statistic?

    • A visible heartbeat could be seen and detectable by pulsed doppler ultrasound by about 6 weeks and is usually clearly depictable by 7 weeks. If this is observed, the probability of a continued pregnancy is better than 95 percent.

    1% and 5%. I seriously need to go out and buy a jackpot ticket.

    I feel sorry for my husband. He is all alone 6000 miles away, with no friends, no roommate, no one to distract him from his thoughts.

    Though the loneliness strikes like an enemy shell
    I pray for my home but still sit here in hell.

    And I sent him his first Father's Day card, complete with the happy ultrasound picture. He got it yesterday. Maybe in the next package I could send him a razor blade, a lemon, and some salt.

    Go to the grind it's all that I have
    Work on and on with nothing to show
    But a graying face in this dying place
    That's a lock in my solitude

    I went in yesterday because I saw the tiniest tinge of pinkish mucus. I felt foolish for wasting everyone's time. The only reason I even considered calling the advice nurse was because we had been sick. The resident I saw thought that the food poisoning and the mucus were unrelated and no harm to the baby. I practically stood up to leave, but he wanted to confer with the doctor. The doctor thought we might as well do an ultrasound.

    Last December, when we sat in the emergency room for three hours, the only thing that kept me there was the thought that we would get to see our baby for the first time. Yesterday I had the same thought, that I'll never turn down a chance to see the little tiny baby again. If you want to do an ultrasound, who am I to say no? How exciting; he should look like a gummy bear by now, you say?

    And then it was the same song and dance: no movement, no heartbeat, and a doctor in agony, asking again "how far along did you say you're supposed to be?"

    The baby showed us a nice strong heartbeat two weeks ago, and then died a couple days later.

    And since multiple D&C procedures can hinder your chances of getting pregnant in the future, we don't get to go the nice, tidy route this time. We get to go the horrific, painful, in-your-face route. Fantastic.

    Yeah, life sucks.

    But you know what else happened yesterday? My brother called my mother's cell phone, saying he had really bad news: his friend's wife, a girl I went to high school with died of cancer at 29. My mom replied that she also had bad news.

    And you know what? My brother's news was worse.

    So that is how I choose to deal with this. It can always be worse.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:12 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    June 12, 2008

    UGH

    Well, shit.
    This baby died too.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:10 PM | Comments (43) | TrackBack

    CHANGE OF PLANS

    Last night I dreamt I was learning to nurse. I sat on the sofa next to my husband, with a baby boy in my arms, and we watched David Spade's Showbiz Show on TV. Now that's the life! (Also, I told you my dreams were boring.)

    My mom and I decided we weren't going to do anything this morning, just stay in our jammies until she has to go back to the airport. But nature had other plans for me. I have a little bit of bleeding this morning, and what with being sick and all, I thought it best to get checked out. So we're headed to the hospital again.

    The nurse asked me all sorts of questions on the phone, including whether I'd had intercourse in the last 24 hours. "Not even in the last 24 days!" I joked.

    Off to get checked out. I'm not too nervous, but then again, I wasn't nervous the last time I sat for three hours in the emergency room, and that one didn't turn out so great.

    We'll see. I'll update you later, hopefully before I drive the 164 miles again this evening.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:14 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    June 11, 2008

    GOODBYE

    As my mother and I drove to the airport tonight, we made a joke about an annoying thing my grandma used to do. My mom chuckled and then said, "You know, I wish I hadn't let little things like that bug me so much. I don't know, maybe that doesn't make sense." But it does make sense to me. My mom and I haven't always had the easiest time getting along. We have different personalities and lifestyles, and I have my dad's impatience. But in recent years we've learned to do OK together and get along on our trips.

    I said goodbye to her at the security gate and then started to walk away. And by the time I got to the car, I was crying. My mom is getting older, and I get nervous sometimes that when we say goodbye, it could be the last time. Her health isn't the best, and our trips are infrequent.

    My neighbor in Germany, her mother died while she was pregnant. That bothers me. I think about it often and worry, worry that my parents are old and might not have as much time as I'd like with their grandchildren. And we live 900 miles away from them.

    It weighs on me at times. And I cried when I said goodbye.

    I cried when I dropped my mother off at the airport but not when I dropped my husband off for deployment. How's that for a special kind of crazy?

    **************

    I drove 82 miles to drop her off and composed this blog post in my mind on the 82 miles back. And as I pulled into the driveway, I got a call on my phone that her flight has been cancelled due to weather and she can't leave until tomorrow night. I'm headed back out to the car for another 160 miles. Ick.

    I mean, gosh, I didn't hate to say goodbye THAT much!

    UPDATE:

    Recommended reading: Val's post

    Posted by Sarah at 07:52 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    A NINE-MONTH LEARNING EXPERIENCE

    Unhappy, Unhappy...
    You have no complaint
    You are what you are and you ain't what you ain't
    So listen up, Buster, and listen up good
    Stop wishing for bad luck and knocking on wood
       ---John Prine

    This has been such a huge part of my emotional well-being for a very long time, but I couldn't say anything out of respect for my friend's privacy. But now that CaliValleyGirl has given birth, I can write about it.

    Back in January 2007, I told her that we'd decided to start a family. She said, "Hey, maybe we can be pregnant together!" I laughed appreciatively, but in my head I was thinking, "What on earth is she talking about? She doesn't get married for another eight months; I'll practically be finished by then!"

    Little did I know that she would beat me to every single punch.

    When she told me that she had gotten pregnant on her wedding night -- on her very first day of ever trying, when I'd been trying for nine months -- she destroyed my heart. Destroyed it. It took a lot of self-convincing to let go of my bitterness and to decide to be happy for her. It took every last drop of my might to even talk to her.

    About a week later, I found out I was pregnant too.

    We spent three months having so much fun: comparing notes, discussing morning sickness, and being pregnant together. So when I had the miscarriage, I lost more than just the baby; I lost my battle buddy. My world stopped but hers kept going. The day they took my dead baby out of me, she had her first ultrasound and found out the sex. Every additional day of her pregnancy was a reminder of where I would've been if my baby had lived.

    And for a long time, I hated her again.

    Eventally I learned to be apathetic about her pregnancy. I could listen to her stories of the baby kicking and the ultrasounds and how her clothes didn't fit, but always with detachment. I had to shut my heart off in order to do the normal things that friends do, like be excited for a pregnancy.

    But apathy is not the same thing as happiness. It took me a long time to be genuinely happy for her. Until I ended up pregnant again, with a thankfully-still-alive baby, I still had a very hard time with it.

    And don't freak out: she knows all of this. She's been wonderful in letting me be honest.

    I'm glad they had a baby; if a baby has to be born in this world and it can't be mine, hers is an excellent household to join. But it's also a horrifying reminder that I would be giving birth right now too. And I can't help but be jealous that something I worked so hard for, for so long, came so easily to her. I've tried hard to stamp out that jealousy, but it never quite extinguishes.

    I tried hard to choose to be happy for her. I knitted for her baby and tried to trick myself into being happy. But the trick didn't seem to be working very well.

    Then one day, I had this revelation about myself. I recognized what I wanted to feel when I was listening to a lecture on the history of ethics, in a discussion of the Socratic revolution. (Yes, I'm a dork; I listen to lectures on ethics for fun. Stick with me here.)

    Socrates answer to Apollo's question "know thyself" is that the self is the soul, the inner self, the personality, the character. That's why no evil can ever happen to you, why bad people can't harm good people. Evil that happens to you comes from outside and can harm only your body. The only evil that can harm your very self comes from you: folly and vice. No one else can make you foolish or vicious, and no one else can make you wise or virtuous. Not society but you are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul.
    [...]
    So "know thyself" is the key that explains the paradox of evil. Evil cannot just happen to the true self; it can only be freely chosen by the self. And if happiness comes from goodness, from having a good self, then happiness cannot just happen either. It is chosen. We are responsible for our own happiness. And that's why no evil, or good for that matter, can just happen to a good man. Because the man equals the soul.

    And to this day, I just have to keep reminding myself that I am what I am and I ain't what I ain't. Happiness is a conscious choice. But it's a hard thing to choose every day when you feel like your happiness is so fragile and other people's happiness is coming more easily to them than it comes to you.

    But I just need to keep remembering another part of the lecture:

    The first line of the most popular book in Buddhism, The Dhammapata, goes something like this: All that we are is determined by our thoughts. It begins where our thoughts begin, it moves where our thoughts move, it ends where our thoughts end. If we think thoughts like he hurt me, he stole from me, he is my enemy, our life and our destiny will follow that thought as the wheel follows the axle. And if we think thoughts like he cannot hurt me, only I can hurt myself, he cannot steal from me, he cannot be my enemy, only I can be my enemy, then our life and our destiny will follow those thoughts.

    It's hard not to envy others' happiness. I have to work on it every day. It's gotten easier since I got pregnant, but that's not entirely satisfying. I don't want to be happy for her only because I now too am happy. That's crap.

    Frankly, I'd say that the worst thing about it taking me a year and a half to get pregnant was that I had to confront all these horrible parts of my personality that had been hidden. I had to see how ugly I could get. I hate that, I hate that I had to see it. And I hate that I couldn't ever 100% make it go away. I worked hard on it, but I don't think I ever conquered it. I just got pregnant in the meantime and the thoughts went away. That's not satisfying.

    Most people say that life's challenges made them a better person, that if they had to do it all over again, they would. I wouldn't. I have honestly hated the last year and a half of my life and would never choose to do it again. I think it made me a worse person. I was already judgmental about pregnancy and motherhood; this has made me ten times worse. I had strong opinions about who was fit to be parents two years ago, but now...watch out. You got pregnant accidentally? Get out of my face. You don't want to be pregnant? Shut up. You can't provide for your child? You're a disgrace.

    And yes, even You got pregnant on your first night of marriage, after I'd been trying everything I could think of for nine months? And you get to keep your easy-as-pie baby while mine has to die? Go away for a while, please.

    I'm a bitter, judgmental jerk. I had to learn this because I couldn't get pregnant.

    I am my own worst enemy.

    Conversely, I must sing the praises of my dear friend CaliValleyGirl. She missed out on a good part of pregnancy: sharing it with your friend. She was protective of my feelings and guarded with her stories because she didn't want to put any salt on my wounds. And she let me bitch and moan and say that I deserved to have a baby more than she did.

    She was perfect, and if she's half as patient and understanding with this kid as she was with me, she's going to be an awesome mother.

    So that's my 9-month learning experience. I would be giving birth this week if our original baby had stuck around, and CaliValleyGirl and I would be embarking on a new journey together. But now, instead, she goes before me.

    I had to learn the pregnancy lessons the hard way. But at least CaliValleyGirl can learn the parenting lessons the hard way and then have good advice for me once I finally get to motherhood too.

    Congrats to my friends, the new parents.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:10 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    June 10, 2008

    CHOKE AND PUKE

    Yesterday my mom, my friend, and I went on an outing and we stopped at a mom-and-pop restaurant that was a bit of a dive. I jokingly referred to it as a Choke and Puke, one of my favorite Smokey and the Bandit lines. We all three got the same thing, and the food was pretty good.

    Yeah, we're all paying for it today. Choke and Puke, indeed.

    I thought it was morning sickness at first, that karma had come around and hit me good for writing a blog post about how great I felt. But then my mom got sick. And a call to my friend revealed that she was no better off than we were.

    Food-related sickness is no fun. And really no fun when you're pregnant and can't take anything for it.

    I just hope it clears up by the time we have to drive to the airport tomorrow.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    June 08, 2008

    YABBERING

    I can't sleep.
    Which is a bad thing, because I have to get up early tomorrow.

    Um, question: How are you supposed to remember how pregnant you are? I keep forgetting. People ask me what week I'm in, and I stutter. I have to keep looking at the calendar and counting. This is a helpful site.

    Apparently tomorrow I start Week 9. Somebody help me remember that.

    I think I can't sleep because I have a hundred things I want to talk about with my husband. I wrote him a long email about it all, but that's not the same thing as lying in bed griping and laughing together. I miss that tonight.

    Also I have no morning sickness whatsoever. Last time it was mild, but it was something: food aversion and queasiness due to smells. This time, I wouldn't know I was pregnant if I didn't have the ultrasound pic on the fridge. No symptoms at all. That would make me nervous if I hadn't been morning sick while carrying a dead baby last year. Maybe my body reacts in the opposite way. Or the logical way, depending on how you look at it: dead baby = sick, live baby = fine.

    Please, brain, knock it off. It's bedtime.

    My husband sent a photo of his room in Iraq the other day. He's fast asleep right now, and I love that I can picture where he's sleeping. CaliValleyGirl told a story the other day about a guy getting his chest waxed (it's funny), and all of a sudden I thought, "Awww, my husband's chest..." and I missed him. I hadn't really taken the time yet to miss his physical presence, but just like that, I wanted to lay my head on his chest.

    He's my Rushmore.

    Oh geez, I feel like I'm channelling Sis B.
    And now I seriously need to try to sleep.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:21 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    ONE MONTH

    My mother and I have been jam-packing our days. Last night we were up late, so as I was lying in bed to go to sleep, I had a thought. I looked at the clock: 12:58. One month ago exactly, I was dropping my husband off to leave for deployment.

    I can't believe it's been a month.

    Time probably doesn't seem to have passed so quickly for him, but with finding out I was pregnant, learning the baby might not make it, driving to western New York and back, having an ultrasound, and gardening and nesting with my mother...I've been pretty preoccupied.

    My mother leaves this week, so I am sure life will slow down to a snail's pace and I will start to get lonely. But I sure went full-steam-ahead through this first month. Pretty cool.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:18 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 05, 2008

    SHOPPING

    My husband will probably be mighty glad when my mom leaves because we've been spending money like a pimp with a week to live. In addition to gardening stuff, we've been buying baby things and maternity clothes.

    And boy howdy, did I pick the right era to get pregnant in. Maternity clearance rack: $14.95. OK, let me just walk across the aisle to the juniors section. Shirts that look exactly like maternity: $4.97. This wacky style right now is perfect for chicks who want cheap maternity shirts. They're everywhere these days.

    And we walked through the dresses section; man, I wish I'd had a camera on me. What in the holy heck is going on with dresses? It looked like the costume rack from Laugh In. Funky psychedelic nightmares on empire-waisted dresses that would barely cover your butt. Seriously, Twiggy's clothes are back in style. And half the patterns looked like something Mrs. Roper would wear.

    My mom joked that I've bought more clothes for myself this week than I have since I got married. And she's probably right, considering the shirt I wore out to the store was something I got in 1998.

    Husband, don't look at the credit card this week. Between the emergency trip to the vet and my shopping spree...well, it's a good thing you get your deployment benefits this month.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    June 04, 2008

    CARRYING THE WEIGHT

    I haven't been blogging because I've been so busy. My mother and I have been gardening like crazy. Or, I should say she has, because I am not allowed to lift anything heavier than 20 lbs. She is a stickler about this. So my poor 61-year-old mama has been dragging around bags of mulch and soil all week.

    But I did carry something today that was a little heavier than 20 lbs. Charlie Pup had to go to the doggy emergency room. We think he got bit by a spider or bee or something, because his paw was all swollen and he was limping all day. They knocked him out and gave him meds and an IV. The vet was awesome, but our poor pup is still woozy and melancholy. Luckily he just got shaved down the other day, so checking his paws was a little easier.

    sickpup.jpg

    I had a doctor visit this morning, and I told my husband about it in an email. Then I emailed about the dog. He immediately called home and wanted to know all about the pup's health. You see where the priorities lie, right? Heh.

    Husband, the pup is doing fine. Watching a dog wake up from anesthesia is hilarious too.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:57 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    June 03, 2008

    TO MY FRIEND

    Dear Bunker,

    I can't believe it's been three years. I still miss your voice and wisdom, miss seeing you as my first comment of the day.

    I was going to come see you for a round of golf. You let me off the hook golf-wise, but I am still coming. I plan to visit you this fall when SpouseBUZZ Live comes to San Antonio. I will be there to finally meet you for the first time.

    I think you'd get a big kick out of my being pregnant. I know you'd be my biggest fan.

    I miss you. None of us have forgotten you.

    Love,
    Sarah

    Posted by Sarah at 08:42 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 01, 2008

    PUPDATE

    Dear Husband,

    As you know, Charlie and I spent Memorial weekend with my father's family. In attendance were ten children under the age of ten. They were all dog owners, so they know how to behave around dogs, but they all own big dogs. So Charlie was a novelty to them; here was a dog they could pick up and carry everywhere. They dragged him all over the place, pulling him into the recliner with them and carrying him around the yard. And he took it, with no fussing whatsoever.

    Not even when the girls dressed him up.

    charliesweater.jpg

    Yes, that's right: little girls put humiliating clothes and hats on your dog. And treated him like a baby doll.

    This picture just screams "You gotta be kidding me."

    charliecrib.jpg

    But he took it like a man all weekend. I was so proud of him. A few times he tried to hide from the kids under the end table, but they grabbed him and dragged him back out.

    And my one cousin brought her new 6-week-old baby to the house. She set his seat up in a room off the living room. Whenever the new baby would fuss, Charlie would get up and go over to him to make sure everything was OK. He'd come back to the middle of the living room like Lassie, as if to tell us, "Didn't you hear that baby? He needs help!"

    I think he's going to do just fine with a new baby in our house.

    Love,
    Sarah

    Posted by Sarah at 10:06 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    May 29, 2008

    BETTER ODDS

    "Are you nervous?" my mother asked as we drove to the hospital this morning. "No," I said, "I just want to know the answer either way." I was prepared for both answers; I just wanted one of them.

    When we finally got situated, which felt like it took forever, the nurse pulled up the ultrasound on a big screen.

    "This is the gestational sac, where the baby lives," the nurse said. My mother got giddy and clapped her hands together like a little girl. "Hold your horses," I said wryly. "We had one of those last time, but there was nothing in it."

    "This is the yolk sac, which will provide nourishment to the baby until the placenta forms," she continued.

    "And this right here, this little grain of rice that's half a centimeter long, this is your baby." She zoomed in, and like magic we saw a rapidly beating heart. "That's the heart, right?" I cautiously asked.

    It was. Beating 160 beats per minute. Going to town.

    Everything looks good for where we're supposed to be. And happily, this is further than we got the last time.

    I was kind of stunned. And so was my husband when I told him. He expected to be comforting me while I cried today; instead, I told him to get ready for his first Father's Day.

    I was disappointed when she turned off the machine and made me go home; I could've watched that heartbeat all day long.

    And just now I found the most wonderful sentence I've ever read on the internet:

    A visible heartbeat could be seen and detectable by pulsed doppler ultrasound by about 6 weeks and is usually clearly depictable by 7 weeks. If this is observed, the probability of a continued pregnancy is better than 95 percent.

    We still have a ways to go before we're out of the woods, but this is a heck of a good start.

    Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Now that this is off my shoulders, I can get back to our regularly scheduled programming of ranting about 20 year old movies and dating advice on MSN.

    And knitting. Lots of little knitting.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:48 PM | Comments (53) | TrackBack

    May 28, 2008

    CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE

    I'm home from my vacation. I head to the hospital in the morning for an ultrasound to hopefully get an idea of what's going on. Tomorrow morning, something will happen that will drastically change my life, either for better or for worse.

    I can't help but think that my life feels like a Choose Your Own Adventure right now.

    In one storyline, we find out that the baby is dead. We have to figure out what to do next. Maybe I have to have another D&C. I'll have to find someone to go with me to the hospital if I do. And then I have to wait months to not be pregnant again. And then perhaps continue with the fertility treatments as planned. Or not, depending on whether this second failed pregnancy is another fluke or a symptom of a bigger problem. I see months of looming questions.

    In the other storyline, we see a heartbeat tomorrow morning and realize all seems to be going well, despite the odds. I get excited. I take photos of myself getting bigger and fatter to send to my husband in Iraq. I write letters about kicking and ultrasounds. I sweat it out at the end of the pregnancy, hoping my husband will make it home before the baby arrives. And he returns to a new family and a lot of happiness.

    I have already lived both scenarios in my mind over the past few days, and I think I've already felt all the possible emotions. I lie in bed and feel my heart racing when I start to think about it too much. One of these things is going to happen to me tomorrow.

    I just don't know which one.

    And honestly, the scariest thought is that something in between will happen. They won't be able to tell. The ultrasound won't be conclusive. We'll have to wait another week to know for sure. The agony of unknowing will drag on.

    I don't know when I'll tell you the results. As usual, I want my husband to know before I put it on the internet, which means waiting for him to be able to contact me from Iraq. Don't call me tomorrow, because I won't answer the phone until I've talked to my husband.

    One of these adventures is going to be my own tomorrow.
    Sadly, I don't get much of a choice in the matter.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:10 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

    May 22, 2008

    GRRR

    Dear Husband,

    Something is fishy with my grandma's internet. Every time I try to email you, it gets an "internal error" and shuts down. So I can't write to you, but you could write to me. I can still read email, just not send it.

    And you can always call (wink wink).

    I love you,
    Sarah

    Posted by Sarah at 08:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    GRRR

    Husband,

    I hope you read this. I am at my grandma's house on her dial-up, but every time I try to send you an email, the computer gets an "internal error" and kicks me off the internet. So I can't write to you, but if you write to me, I can read emails. Just not write them. I don't get it either.

    And you can always call (wink wink).

    I love you,
    Sarah

    Posted by Sarah at 08:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 21, 2008

    INITIATING RADIO SILENCE

    I am heading to my grandparents' for the long weekend. I am leaving my warm weather and heading north. Too north. I am also leaving my internet connection, so I doubt there will be much posting for the next week. Hopefully there will at least be sustained contact with the husband.

    As always, don't have too much fun without me.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:31 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    May 19, 2008

    BASKET CASE

    Do you have the time
    To listen to me whine
    About nothing and everything
    All at once
    I am one of those
    Melodramatic fools
    Neurotic to the bone
    No doubt about it

    Well, we're still pretty much in the same boat. My levels rose but didn't come anywhere near double.
    So they're not falling, but they're not exactly conclusively good.
    Now we just wait until the ultrasound on the 29th to see if we see a heartbeat.
    I don't know if I should be happy or sad, honestly.
    I have no idea what's going on.
    We have a 15% chance for a successful pregnancy.
    Maybe worse, considering the fate of our last pregnancy.
    This may be the longest ten days of my life.
    I also look like a heroin addict with bruises and needle marks from giving too many vials of blood.

    Sometimes I give myself the creeps
    Sometimes my mind plays tricks on me
    It all keeps adding up
    I think I'm cracking up
    Am I just paranoid?
    Or am I pregnant...

    Posted by Sarah at 11:17 AM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

    May 17, 2008

    BECAUSE I NEED TO DO THIS TODAY

    More Things I Love

    Hot Fuzz (We did watch it last night)
    these otters
    the end of "A Quick One While He's Away" when she is forgiven
    Barry Pepper
    saltimboca alla romana
    the music video for the Green Day song "Warning"
    bourbon slush
    writing letters
    the beginning of Idiocracy
    meeting a blogger for the first time
    Henry Knox
    the internet funeral on My Name Is Earl
    the fact that my husband is loving (and excelling at) his job in Iraq so far

    (original list here)

    Posted by Sarah at 02:13 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    UPDATE

    I posted yesterday at 4:15; the nurse finally ended up calling me at, no joke, 4:29.
    The news is bad.
    Bad enough that I have to go to the emergency clinic on Sunday to get tested again.
    Bad enough that she told me to expect bleeding at any time.
    We could use a miracle right about now.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:35 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

    May 16, 2008

    LIVID

    No one answered my calls today or called me back.
    I don't know my test results.
    And now it's the weekend.
    I am livid.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:15 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    MY BRAIN IS MY OWN WORST ENEMY

    Time is moving like molasses this morning.

    I have to wait until noon again to get my bloodwork done. I hear the clock ticking in the silent house and I can't concentrate on anything else.

    Will the numbers be high enough? Will they not? I thought I could handle another dead baby, since I've done it once before, but until yesterday I didn't realize just how devastating that would feel again.

    I don't feel pregnant this morning. I feel like my body has already given up.

    Last night I went out and bought baby clothes, just to try to feel normal.

    I am going to the hospital and then I'm not coming home. My dear friend has invited Charlie and me to spend the night at her family's house. A sleepover of sorts. It seems so silly, but she insisted that I not be alone.

    She loves Hot Fuzz; me too. Maybe we can watch.

    Please don't let the baby be dead.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:29 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    May 15, 2008

    PANIC

    Yesterday I was supposed to go in and get more labwork done to make sure that the pregnancy is progressing. I was supposed to show up at lunchtime to do it. When I got there, I found that the nurse had forgotten to order the bloodwork. Naturally, it was lunchtime, so no one was around. I sat for half an hour until they got back from lunch to put the request in the computer system. I ended up getting the test done at about 1:15. When I called for the results, they told me that because I had gotten it done after 1:00, the results wouldn't be ready until tomorrow. Yeah, totally their fault.

    I have been calling for the past two and a half hours this morning, and no one is answering the phone.

    You know, I said I'm optimistic about the pregnancy, but I've realized what a panic I'm in that I can't get these results. It's like this time I need proof that the baby is not dead, since I carried a dead one around for seven weeks last time.

    Someone answer the &%$# phone.

    UPDATE:

    She finally returned my voicemail, two hours after I left it. My results don't look that great. Not dire, but not perfect. I won't know anything more until they can do an ultrasound in two weeks.

    Two weeks of agonizing. How nice.

    UPDATE AGAIN:

    Sorry for the confusion. It's not that they can't get me in for two weeks; it's that ultrasounds are useless until the baby's at least seven weeks along. There's nothing they can know for sure until the heart starts beating. So we have to wait until then, which is two weeks from now.

    UPDATE AGAIN:

    I worked up the nerve to call back and mentioned that my husband is deployed and I'm sitting alone in the house working myself into a tizzy over this. The nurse reluctantly agreed to let me get my levels tested again tomorrow, but she said flat out that it was pretty pointless. Ewww. And this is a fertility clinic nurse, someone who should know better. All her patients are fragile and freaked out, and she acted all exasperated that I am nervous because she made me feel uneasy about my results. But how are you supposed to feel when someone reads you your numbers and then says, "Oh. Hmm. Have you had a miscarriage before? Oh." and gives you one-word answers to the questions that you're managing to choke out through tears? I mean, for goodness' sake. Nice bedside manner, lady.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:55 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    May 13, 2008

    HINDSIGHT

    It's amazing how different everything looks in hindsight.

    We tried for nine months to get pregnant, lost that baby, and tried six more months to get pregnant a second time.

    That doesn't even sound like infertility, just substandard fertility. But it only feels like that in hindsight; it was agony to live through.

    I read a few weeks ago a blog post at A Little Pregnant that hurt my heart. Readers were upset that Julie still dares to act like an infertility blog when she is pregnant with her second child. Nevermind that the first was the result of IVF and barely lived, and the second has been conceived with donor eggs. Clearly she doesn't understand how fragile some of her readers are and how it hurts them to be confronted by a pregnant infertile.

    I only recently found the A Little Pregnant blog, and I do remember a twinge of irony: Geez, even the infertility bloggers are pregnant. But no matter how bummed I felt about my situation, I can't even compare myself to couples with Real Problems. Donor eggs? Ouch. How could anyone begrudge Julie her happiness? How could they think she hasn't suffered enough?

    Shoot, looking back, I think I didn't even suffer enough. I feel almost embarrassed that I never made it into the fertility treatments, as if I broke the rules or something. I don't even rate when it comes to fertility woe.

    But that's not how it felt while it was my reality.

    I understand where these broken women are coming from. I have felt more anger and bitterness in the past year and a half than I thought I was capable of. I had to deal with a lot of ugliness in my personality.

    But it's amazing how all of that washes away when you find happiness.

    Washes away, but doesn't completely disappear. I will never forget what it felt like to dispair, to not get pregnant, to sob at night in bed because you just want to be like everyone else. And I will always empathize with people who are going through it.

    As does Julie.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:04 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    THERE IS A SOLITUDE OF SPACE

    My husband's buddy also mentioned that he was a little worried about me, that too much solitude was going to make me batty. He joked that I'd better not turn into Emily Dickinson.

    And while there is no frigate like a book, I too worry about having so much alone time.

    But if my solitude could get me anywhere near writing something like this, it would be worth it.

    My life closed twice before its close;
    It yet remains to see
    If Immortality unveil
    A third event to me,

    So huge, so hopeless to conceive,
    As these that twice befell.
    Parting is all we know of heaven,
    And all we need of hell.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 12, 2008

    BUTTON LOVE

    It's funny the things that strike you about a person.
    And it's nice when they don't label you as teh crazy.

    Yeah, my button love. I started collecting them when my mother gave me a jar of buttons that were my great grandmother's. Now I have thousands, all over the house. I have buttons filling lamps and buttons in vases and in jars tucked all over the place.

    My relatives even threw me a button bridal shower and collected buttons from anyone who had them. That's how I was able to make this:

    lamp.jpg

    The funniest button story I have was when I expressed my love for buttons while living in Sweden. My friend's mother took me to her work so I could sift through all the buttons I wanted. Sadly, she worked at a sort of daycare for mentally handicapped adults. I don't know what that says about me, that I want to play with the same things they do.

    So when Sis B and I turned the corner in the yarn shop, I walked open-mouthed to the button rack. And these are high-end buttons, which you buy individually, not the card kind you get at any old store. I ooohed and aaahed, and she was a good sport and pointed nice ones out with me.

    The button love is intense in our house.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:37 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    PARKING SPACES

    After our fateful trip to the emergency room in December, I had to go see the doctor the next day to schedule my D&C. I pulled into an extremely packed parking lot, save for an empty row of Expectant Mother spots right by the front. I broke down sobbing in my regular person parking space, far from the front door. It was another reminder that I had lost my chance to use those spaces.

    So today as I drove up to the hospital to get my bloodwork done, I got a grin on my face thinking that I could park in one of those spaces! And wouldn't you know, they were all full.

    But next time, next time I will be able to.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:02 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    SHAME CLEANING

    My husband's two friends from Farsi class share an apartment (because we've all seen the state of the barracks around here). They come over often for dinner, but we had never been to their place. My husband goes over there one day and comes home and, on a stack of Bibles, says, "Man, their house is clean! And so tidy! Not like ours." Heh. That gem of a compliment was made to me on Valentine's Day, no less.

    So the first time I go to their apartment for shooting day, I nearly have a heart attack. Three single junior enlisted soldiers live there, and I swear to you I would've eaten off the floor. It was immaculate.

    And all of a sudden I felt mighty ashamed of all the times they'd been in my grubby house.

    Two of the roommates deployed last weekend, so my husband's buddy is all alone, just like I am. My husband told him that we should hang out while they're away, and he promised his friend that he didn't have to fear him Marsellus-Wallace-style. And that I wouldn't snort heroin up my nose and have to be jabbed in the heart with a syringe.

    So his buddy is coming over for dinner tonight while the gettin's still good, while I can still cook before morning sickness sets in. I'm making him my favorite: saltimbocca alla Romana. Then I thought we could watch the "Fun With Veal" South Park.

    Thus I've spent the entire morning on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. And cleaning windowsills. And vacuuming. And doing everything I can to hide the fact that a full-time soldier keeps his place cleaner than a full-time wife does.

    Seriously, they make me look like a slob.

    Back to work.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:37 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    PLEASE, CAN THE SECOND TIME BE THE CHARM?

    I took a pregnancy test before my husband left, and it was negative. We smiled wryly, as we have learned to do, and decided that it really was for the best. We had already paid all the money to do the fertility treatments, and any baby conceived at this point would be due right at the same time as my husband's return from Iraq. Next month was better, next month would let him come home in time to see baby born.

    Plus, how do you call the fertility clinic and tell them, "Nevermind, we did it on our own"? Embarrassing. We laughed and said that we were totally OK with not being pregnant this month, the first time we've thought that since we started this whole process.

    You know where I'm going with this, right?

    In order to start fertility treatments, you have to start a new cycle. So I kept waiting and waiting. Everyone kept saying that I might be pregnant, but I said that I had already taken a negative test. And I didn't feel pregnant, not like I did last October. And a long-ish cycle is normal for me, so I just kept waiting.

    Last month, I was so certain that I was pregnant that I took three tests because I didn't believe the negative results. This weekend, I took two tests because I didn't believe the positive results of the first one. I even took one of those ones that spells it all out.

    But we have proof.

    I think it's a darn shame that my husband wasn't home a few more days to see the positive test, but I hope to goodness he's home in time for the birth. And naturally this happened on the day after he told me he'd be out of the loop for a while (i.e. traveling from Kuwait to his final destination). I couldn't tell anyone else before I told him, but the only way I could manage to keep my mouth shut was to ignore phone calls from anyone I'd be tempted to blab to. An eternity passed between taking that test and my husband's phone call.

    So now I have to go call the fertility clinic and sheepishly tell them that I won't be needing their services. Yet. Hang on to the...ahem...stuff my husband left behind, just in case. We still have the emotional scars from last time to be too optimistic just yet.

    But I'm surprisingly cheery about the whole thing. Right after the miscarriage, I thought I'd be a nervous wreck if I got pregnant again. But enough time has passed that I am only filled with joy and hope.

    And of course this baby is going to stick; it's the least convenient time we could've managed. And we paid money for tests and cryogenics that we didn't end up needing. Bad timing and wasted money, that's a sure sign it will work out, right?

    Here's to everything I loathe: an unexpected, poorly-timed, and "surprise" pregnancy!

    Posted by Sarah at 01:18 AM | Comments (40) | TrackBack

    May 09, 2008

    MILESTONES

    When we started trying to have a baby a year and a half ago, my husband was dismayed that he hadn't reached two goals yet: he wanted to have X amount of net worth, and he wanted to be finished with his MBA. But that was our safe year, so we had to take advantage of his non-deployable status.

    Well, last month we hit that X amount of money, and now I'm happy to announce that my husband passed his last two classes right before he deployed and finished his MBA program.

    So anyway...Hey, baby, any time you feel like finally joining our family, feel free. Everything's squared away for your arrival. We've got fun knitted animals for you to play with, you've got a dresser full of clothes that the SpouseBUZZers bought for you, and now your screaming won't bother your father while he's trying to do homework.

    Anytime now...

    Posted by Sarah at 07:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 30, 2008

    DUMB DREAMS

    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.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:11 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 18, 2008

    I LOVE THAT OL' PUP

    Today is our stinker's 3rd birthday.

    charlie3yrsold.jpg

    His birthday kinda snuck up on us this year, so he doesn't get the same treatment he got for his 1st or 2nd. But he is getting steak for dinner. And he loves his birthday present: a stuffed beaver.

    Here's to many more, Chuck.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:46 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    INTO MORDOR

    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.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:55 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    April 16, 2008

    CHARLIE HEARTS KITTEHS

    These LOL Cats are hilarious (via Mare). I crack up at this kind of stuff, but I'm easily amused. A simple "teh" can make me want to wet my pants.

    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.

    kitteh.jpg

    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.

    hitlercat.jpg

    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.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    April 02, 2008

    NO REPEATS

    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.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:21 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 01, 2008

    MIND GAMES

    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.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:52 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    March 29, 2008

    TIBET

    Charlie thinks that you should read this article about the oppression of his people: Why Do Palestinians Get Much More Attention than Tibetans?

    He also thinks the Tibetan people could learn from the Tibetan terriers, such as how to hide.

    charlie_and_rug_2.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 11:13 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    MY BRAIN HAS ROTTED

    Knitters watch a lot of TV. And since I've been cranking out baby gifts and scarves for my mama and squares for HCC, I watch a lot of TV during the day. Oh hooey, I won't even blame it on the knitting; I like watching TV. And I try to watch interesting things on the National Geographic channel, but they take more concentration than reruns of cop dramas, and I need that concentration for the knitting.

    But I've discovered a funny side-effect of all this TV: I am starting to dream about TV characters as if they're people in my life, or as if I'm in an episode of their show. About a week ago, I dreamt about Calleigh Duquesne and Eric Delko. I just thought it was funny when I woke up. But two days later, I was solving a murder with Goren and Eames. The next night, I hung out with Wash from Firefly, and then last night I was a high schooler sitting next to Sam Weir. It's starting to creep me out.

    I am turning into Mike TV.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 26, 2008

    A FRIEND FOR A NIGHT

    As I was leaving my house tonight to have dinner with friends, I noticed a dog wandering on my street. I started to drive away since I was already a few minutes late, but I changed my mind and called the dog over to me. He had tags, but nothing that indicated where he belonged.

    (Incidentally, what is up with that? We get dogs roaming our neighborhood all the time, and none of them ever have a tag with their address or phone number on it. What is wrong with people?)

    He did have a tag noting that he was chipped, with a 1-800 number. I took him home -- he followed quite willingly -- and called the people. They tracked him down and called the owners; no answer. They left a message saying I had their dog and to call me. I left this dog in our backyard while I went to dinner.

    I should've remembered Mare's warning. He was a beautiful husky mix, just so handsome. He also apparently had the husky's digging fetish. I got home from dinner and he was gone, leaving me with a major hole under the fence. Now I know how he disappeared from his owner's house.

    I hope he's OK and found his way home.
    I'm kind of sad; Charlie wanted to keep him.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    March 25, 2008

    REPRIMANDING MYSELF

    Must...stop...fingers from typing.

    Stop talking about not having a baby.

    Just stop.

    No one wants to hear it. No one cares. I mean, they do care, but they don't need to hear about it every day.

    Just talk about something else. What's Obama doing? Talk about that guy who died and came back to life. Something, anything else.

    But all I can do is sit here and think about how it wasn't supposed to be like this. Having a baby was supposed to be happy, fun, natural. I never envisioned this for myself.

    Oh lord, I'm Dante Hicks.

    Just, bleh. Talk about something else. Don't write about this anymore. The more you write about it, the more people comment and send you emails, which means the more you think about it, which means the more depressed you get.

    Duh. Stop it.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:46 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

    TRYING

    LauraB asks a pertinent question in the comments section:

    So for those people who cannot/have not/may never conceive - isn't there a point at which you just have to surrender to it and live your lives together even if it is childless?

    I have thought a lot about this too over the past year.

    Look, I am an obsessive type person. I think that if you're going to do something, you do it wholeheartedly. So when we weren't quite ready for children, we were actively preventing the possibility. Every single time, no exceptions, for many years. So when we decided it was time for a family, it just wasn't in our nature to take the whatever-happens-happens approach. I am an all-or-nothing gal; I immediately started maximizing chances for baby to happen. I read books, websites, sought tips, everything. I began charting immediately. It was the exact opposite of the diligence with which we had previously prevented pregnancy.

    My ultimate fear isn't necessarily that we might not be able to have kids. It's that I might not be able to "switch off" this diligence. We are trying to have a baby; at what point do we give up? When do you give up hope? Because, really, it's the hope that kills you. It's the hope, every month, that you might've gotten what you wanted.

    If a doctor told me tomorrow that I would never have kids, that there was no chance of it happening, I could mourn and then move on. And I would recover and go on to lead a happy and normal life. Because I wouldn't be trying anymore.

    And I was never one of those women who loves babies or wanted to be a kindergarten teacher her whole life. This may sound terrible, but there's a part of me that's ready to throw in the towel because the more elusive it gets, the less important it feels. The less emotional it feels. I think human beings ought to procreate, and I think that people with stable, loving homes like ours are a good place for kids. (And Mark Steyn makes me think I need to have ten of them, to shore up our numbers.) I was always fairly matter-of-fact about having a baby anyway, and this year of over-thinking it hasn't helped any. My husband re-convinces me every day to keep trying, because I'd love to abandon hope and forget about it.

    It's the trying, the hope, that's beating me down.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:30 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    March 20, 2008

    PERFECT GENTLEMAN

    Oh look, another chance to rave about my husband!

    I already wrote about how my husband and I ended up together:

    When I realized that my friendship with my husband was turning into something more than friendship, I knew I didn't want to make the same mistake twice. So I flat out told him one night, told him that I really liked him and that I was starting to think about him all the time, and asked him how he felt. He was quite taken aback, and that's when he gave his famous "well, I like you, but I'm not going to marry you or anything" line. He wasn't quite sure what to think, but he slept on it (for two weeks!) and finally told me that he wanted to be with me too.

    Dr. Melissa Clouthier did a follow-up post and wrote about dating rules for men. One of the things that so impressed me about my husband was that, while he was taking his time deciding whether he wanted us to be together, he never abused his position in the relationship. He could've used the info to try to get me to go home with him, or strung me along, or whatever. But he was a perfect gentleman. Just perfect.

    And I complimented his mother on his behavior later on.

    I really liked this part of Melissa's post:

    Another aside: I think men are more romantic than women, not less. A man will fall in love and be in love and stay in love with a woman and he just knows. It's often very cut and dried for him. Women are often more needing of proof and evidence. Now, I realize this is a generalization, but I believe it to be true.

    My husband is very cut and dried. He just fell in love with me and never stopped, and never considered not being in love with me. It's so simple and so wonderful. Granted, sometimes he could work on his delivery: for example, we are attending a military ball tonight, and when I tried on my new dress to show him the other day, he barely looked up from playing with the dog. He takes it for granted that I know he thinks I'm pretty, which is actually quite cute. He also thinks the height of romance is funding my IRA. He says things like, "See how much I love you; I put money in an account that I would never be able to touch if you divorced me." That's true love for my husband.

    And I've been meaning to tell this story for a while now. We were watching highlights of a slam-dunk contest on ESPN a few weeks back, and I asked my husband if he can dunk. He got the cutest look on his face and said, "No, absolutely not, but I think it is such a compliment that you even remotely thought I might be able to."

    One of my cherished readers reminded me in an email that, despite the fact that we have encountered roadblocks trying to get pregnant, I have many things to be thankful for. She said that many people would give anything to have the marriage I have, let alone kids. And she's right. Since then, I tell my husband often that I'd rather have zero babies with him than five babies with anyone else.

    I am lucky and happy, and I know it.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:59 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    March 07, 2008

    FEELING LONELY

    Angie posted a link about large families (4+ kids). I knew I shouldn't read it, I just knew it. But I went anyway. Ouch, does it hurt to read comment after comment from people who had all of these accidental kids. Pregnant while on birth control, pregnant after having tubes tied (!), etc. It's so hard to hear about all these surprises when we'd give anything to get the one mega-planned-for baby we've been working on for 13 months.

    I have begun to feel discouraged again. It's been three months since the miscarriage and, despite the fact that friends and family all assured me I'd be pregnant again by now, no such luck. And I'm starting to wish that I just had someone to go through this with me. I know several people who had trouble getting pregnant, but, happily for them, they have all gone on to start families. They completely understand what I'm going through, but since they're all past that stage of their lives, it's not the same thing; they know that life eventually works out for them, but I don't have that guarantee yet. So while it's reassuring to me that everyone has gone on to have a baby, either by adoption or IVF, I don't know anyone in the same situation as I am right now: trying unsuccessfully to have her first child. Do any of you readers know of someone currently going through this stage of her life? I'd really like to find a comrade in this struggle.

    Because it's rough knowing that people who got pregnant five months after I started trying are getting ready to give birth...

    Posted by Sarah at 06:20 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    February 29, 2008

    HAIR WOES

    John Hawkins scoffs at arm hair woes. Trust this hirsute chick, it can be a worry. Excessive hair anywhere is a nightmare. I lucked out and inherited my dad's genes, so I get to fuss with hairy knuckles, a lady mustache, and eyebrows that would make Oscar the Grouch cringe. And I do the best I can, but apparently the problem is bad enough that my husband's uncle gave me a mustache trimmer for Christmas this year. (Yeah, ouch. That's like getting punched in the stomach for Christmas.) So John Hawkins might not get it, but I do.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:29 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    February 28, 2008

    SCARING SARAH

    I've decided it's Scare Sarah week on the internet. Parents seem to be posting horror stories about their kids in an effort to dissuade me from wanting them.

    First it was Army Blogger Wife, compiling all the creatively bad things her daughter did.

    Which reminded me of the time AWTM's kids got into plaster of paris while her washing machine was broken.

    Then Pink Ninja took a ride on the garage door.

    Then Erin told me on the phone that the honeymoon is over with Tucker and that she's frazzled and exhausted. She said all of this on the phone while she was planting spring flowers, because she didn't have enough time in the day in between Tucker's screaming to both talk to a friend and work in the garden.

    Then today AWTM posted some Bill Cosby comedy about the maddening things kids do.

    You guys are conspiring to freak me out, right? That's the awful thing about trying for more than a year to get pregnant: there's too much time to think about it! Time to think about whether you really want to sing Barney songs while cleaning an overflowed toilet. Or reprimand your son for playing with himself in public. Or pull your kid out of a grave.

    This needs to happen quick before I lose my nerve...

    Posted by Sarah at 08:36 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    WATCHING A BOOK

    Last night we watched The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. One Rotten Tomatoes reviewer said it was like "watching a book on tape." If that seems like your bag, this is the movie for you. I really enjoyed it, but I don't mind things that take their sweet time. I thought it was lovely and thoughtprovoking.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 21, 2008

    DUELING DOGGIES

    I don't know...CaliValleyGirl's new puppy is awful cute, but my loyalties lie with ol' Charles here.

    charlespup.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 01:21 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 20, 2008

    WESTMINSTER

    Heidi asked for a Charlie update, but there's not much to say. Here's a funny picture (please disregard the utter pigsty that is our TV room) of Charlie watching the Tibetan terrier take fourth place in group at Westminster.

    dogshow.jpg

    We got the camera out while Charlie was standing right in front of the TV, staring at the dogs. He circled and laid down on the floor right when we got the camera ready, so the picture sucks. But it was hilarious to see Charlie watching his own kind on a dog show.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2008

    LETTERS

    Lorie Byrd posted a touching story of finding old Valentines in her grandmother's belongings. I have had a similar experience. I came across some letters last year that my grandmother wrote to me when I left for college. She passed away in 2003 after a long battle with dementia, so it had been a long time since I'd seen my grandmother's true personality. Reading those letters brought back memories of what my grandmother had once been like and helped me remember her as a fiesty lady instead of the frail shell she was at the end of her life. I was so glad that I had those old letters from her.

    Despite how attached I am to the internet age, I am still a fan of writing letters. I love old fashioned correspondence. And those letters from my grandmother are cherished.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:57 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    February 13, 2008

    THE OLD AND THE NEW

    My friend here has a 19 year old son. I was alone with him for a while at their house yesterday and, not knowing what else to talk about, I asked him about music. We began trading favorite songs and bands. He knows all the new stuff -- he knew of Weezer because of "Beverly Hills" but didn't know the blue album, for heaven's sake -- and none of the old. Shoot, he was born in 1989; I loved hearing the question, "What is Styx?" (In all fairness, my husband reminded me that Styx is even before my time; I have my dad to thank.) He taught me some new bands and I filled him in on some old and some esoteric; he now knows what alt-country is (he liked the Jayhawks and Wilco, but Uncle Tupelo was "too twangy" for him). And I confessed that I had indeed been to a Snoop Dogg concert; I think that solidified my coolness.

    You know, my new cell phone is also a music player, but I have no idea how to use it yet. I also don't listen to music like I used to. When I was in France, I practically wore out my cassette walkman. Riding the bus all over that town, I was constantly in my own little world of music. I don't do that anymore, I don't walk through the world with headphones on.

    But talking to this kid yesterday, I have taken a second look at my CD collection with fresh eyes. I have pulled out stuff I haven't listened to in years. And it takes me back...

    It also makes me want to spend more time with this kid. I could show him Seu Jorge and Jude. And let him listen to "Come Sail Away."

    Man, I remember vividly the first time I listened to "Come Sail Away."

    Posted by Sarah at 02:23 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 03, 2008

    NOT SO SUPER BOWL

    One year ago today, I assumed I was in the process of getting pregnant. I could barely concentrate on the Super Bowl because I thought there were miraculous changes going on inside my body. If you had told me then that I would be watching the next Super Bowl unpregnant and without a baby, I think you could've knocked me over with a feather. I can't believe we've been running in place for a year.

    I know some people think I was incredibly naive when I went into this process. And apparently I was. I did not know that people had to try to get pregnant. Sure, I had friends with actual medical conditions -- endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome -- and I knew some people tried for years to get pregnant and then had to have fertility help, but I thought that if you didn't have Major Medical Problems, you just got pregnant. I know people who got pregnant by forgetting to take one day of their birth control pill. I know a lot of R&R babies, which means people managed a one-shot-one-kill tactic in the random two weeks their husbands were on leave from deployment. And within three months of the husbands' return from Iraq, our entire street in Germany was pregnant. I know of so many people who got accidentally or immediately pregnant that I thought that the female body was dying to procreate the first chance it could get. I honestly thought that all you had to do to get pregnant was not prevent it from happening.

    And here we are.

    The sad thing for me is that I now feel smothered by a blanket of apathy. Where last year I fretted and fussed over temperatures and charts, now I just don't care anymore. I don't feel excited about getting pregnant, and once I do finally get pregnant again, I know I will feel nervous and detached. I am not going to enjoy it the way I should, which frustrates me beyond belief.

    So this Super Bowl is a "grim milestone" of sorts for me. And tomorrow when my husband takes his DLPT, our Safe Year officially ends. And we have absolutely nothing to show for it.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:34 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 25, 2008

    CONGRATS

    Pictures of Tucker!

    I realized I am freaking out like no one has ever had a baby before, but Erin is honestly my very first close friend to ever have a baby. That seems so funny to say, but it's true. I couldn't be happier if it were my own.

    And I realized, as I typed that last sentence, that it is true.

    UPDATE:

    I realized I ought to clarify this post, lest I hurt the feelings of everyone else in my life who's ever had a baby. Many of my friends already had their kids when we met. Some of them had babies in the meantime, but usually after we'd PCSed away from each other and weren't in constant contact. None of my or my husband's siblings have ever had children, and I don't live near my aunts and cousins.

    But Erin called me repeatedly from the hospital, and called me before she even called her dad to tell him the news. I am so honored that she shared her special day with me.

    Also, I want to say how strong she's been. Her husband deploys in the next few weeks or so, but I haven't yet heard her complain at all. Heck, he leaves tomorrow for a week of training, and she is taking it in stride.

    She has fully grokked how special it is that she now has a little baby to call her own. Nothing else matters, and nothing else is worth complaining about.

    I hope someday I can be as mature as she is.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 21, 2008

    HELLO, SPIDER

    We had one day to spend in the nation's capital. We went out to a celebratory breakfast for AirForceSon's birthday and then took him to the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum. We got to see the Enola Gay, which is much bigger than I imagined, for some reason. I guess it makes sense -- Little Boy was pretty darned big -- but for some dumb reason, I always imagined the Enola Gay to be the size of the Spirit of St. Louis!

    Afterwards, my husband and I made the two hour trip (ugh) into downtown. We went to see the WWII memorial (which hadn't been built the last time we were in town, for our honeymoon), took those ridiculous pictures, and then hoofed it to the opposite end of the mall to go to the, um, Air and Space Museum. AirForceGuy looked at us incredulously when we returned, saying, "You mean you didn't get enough Air and Space this morning?"

    There is no such thing as too much Air and Space.

    What we didn't know was that the Smithsonians close at 1730, and we arrived brokenhearted at 1710. There was only enough time to run and see the one thing that made it all worthwhile.

    LEM.jpg

    And then we turned around and returned to AirForceHouse for pizza and birthday cupcakes.

    One day in DC is highly inadequate, but at least I got to see some of the coolest stuff, like the lunar module and Jay Irwin's spacesuit covered in moon dust. I didn't make it to Arlington to pay respects to Grissom and Chaffee, but I guess that just means I'll have to go back.

    Now, if I could just go to the moon itself...

    Posted by Sarah at 09:08 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 20, 2008

    A REAL CONVERSATION THAT TOOK PLACE ON THE MALL

    Husband, let's try to take a picture of ourselves with the Washington Monument in the background.

    dc1.jpg

    Oh, hmm, I have really bad hat hair and you are not smiling at all. OK, um, let's try another one.

    dc2.jpg

    Well, that's better, but can we try to take one where the Washington Monument isn't sticking out of the top of my head?

    dc3.jpg

    Eh, still sticking out of my head.

    dc4.jpg

    Um, no, honey...like can you angle it so that the monument is over to the side of us?

    dc5.jpg

    Can't you just be satisfied with that one, Sarah?

    dc6.jpg

    No, honey, now you're angling the camera the wrong direction.
    Woman, I am going to choke you.

    dc7.jpg

    That's perfect! That's exactly what I want. But, um, you look like you'd rather be single. Can we do that exact same thing again, but this time with you smiling?

    dc8.jpg

    Derp!

    dc9.jpg

    DERP!

    dc10.jpg

    OK, I am going to pee my pants! Just do it right!
    Woman, I am going to kill you.

    dc11.jpg

    HAHAHAHA! No, that's totally wrong! Now it's coming out of your head! And I have a flag coming out of mine!

    dc12.jpg

    You are the worst picture taker ever!
    Well, why don't you do it, woman?
    My arm isn't long enough to hold the camera. Come on, do it again.
    Grrrrrrr.....

    dc13.jpg

    Yeah, yeah, yeah! Great angle, except, um, you chopped the top of the...
    Aw, screw it.

    This is so going on the blog.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:40 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    OUR TRIP TO SEE AIRFORCEFAMILY

    If you were placing money on who'd be the biggest troublemaker of the weekend, who would you choose: the pit bull who got rescued from a life of dogfighting or the fluffy, angelic Tibetan terrier?

    vicious.jpg

    I mean really. I felt sorry for AirForceDog; Charlie was egging him on the entire time. Poor AirForceDog kept looking up at his owners all weekend with a look on his face like "I promise I am trying to be good!"

    Charlie also went after AirForceKid like she was made of ham.

    airforcekid.jpg

    The dogs got along great, the kids were really good, and we adults had a blast. Oh, and AirForceWife can knit socks now.

    Good weekend.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:03 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 16, 2008

    TOP BREED, FOR SURE

    Seriously, how could Charlie not make the list of top dog breeds? How can you deny this face?

    cutestdoggyever.jpg

    We are heading on a roadtrip this weekend to visit AirForceFamily, where Charlie will meet his first pit bull. We keep telling him he'd better behave, because a pit bull ain't nothin' to mess around with. I wanna see AirForceDog lay a smackdown on Charlie. Heh.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:46 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    January 14, 2008

    DONE

    Erin's baby present is now in the mail.

    A couple of people have acted a little shocked that I would wrap yarn around needles for 36 hours when there's a chance that the adoption could still fall through. But Erin and I discussed this a long time ago, right when they found out that getting this baby would be a possibility. I told her that I wasn't going to treat her any differently than if the baby were in her tummy, because nobody looks you in the face when you're pregnant and says, "I'm not going to invest my time or money until the baby pops out and is real." I said I'd treat her the same way I would be treated as a pregnant lady, which in hindsight seems ironic, since her baby is more real than mine was. But I never wanted her to feel different about being an adoptive mommy.

    And I had a couple of people sock me in the gut with an I-told-you-so attitude, like I was some halfwit who had never considered a miscarriage but somehow they had glorious wisdom all along that it could happen to me. Those people are lucky we weren't in the same room when they mouthed off. If anything bad happens to Erin and something falls through, anyone who says anything even remotely condescending is going to have to answer to me. I will straight up punch them in the larynx.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:25 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    January 10, 2008

    HEY, GREEN, LOOK WHAT I DID!

    I took some before and after pictures, but Charlie was definitely not cooperating. And let's face it, I'm just not so good at taking a picture of myself and the dog with the tripod and timer.

    hair-before.jpg

    And afterwards, well, I just smelled like eyebrow wax. Which to a dog is quite a curious thing.

    hair-after.jpg

    I was able to donate 13 1/2 inches, and since the hair salon I went to was a partnered up with Locks of Love, the haircut was free!

    And the husband approves. He says it makes me look 30, which I will take as a compliment.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:36 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

    January 08, 2008

    I'M A FUNNY GIRL

    Earlier tonight, I mentioned to my husband how lucky we are that we have nearly the same taste in movies, music, and TV. I asked him, "When's the last time I dragged you to a chick movie?" He couldn't think of anything, until I laughed and said that, ironically, I'm usually the one saying, "Can we please see Die Hard/Terminator/Rambo?" and he's the one who reluctantly agrees. I like westerns, kung fu, and action movies probably a little more than he does.

    I got my husband Street Fighter and Return of Street Fighter for Christmas, mostly so I could watch them. I'm a funny girl.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 06, 2008

    IT GOES THE OTHER WAY TOO

    Kayt sent me a very touching article today: The Blank Space in our Family Album

    We just finished watching True Romance, one of my favorite movies of all time. And one of the beginning lines held new meaning for me during this viewing:

    I kept asking Clarence why our world seemed to be collapsing and everything seemed so shitty. And he'd say, "That's the way it goes, but don't forget, it goes the other way too."

    Here's to hope that it goes the other way too...

    Posted by Sarah at 09:13 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 03, 2008

    CRUEL

    I'm sure you've heard the joke that there's no such thing as being "a little bit pregnant," but it's not true. I have been returning weekly to the hospital to get my hormone levels checked, and my body is taking its sweet time. Despite the fact that it's been a month since the D&C, my body still recognizes itself as being "a little bit pregnant." And until it stops, there's nothing we can do to try to get a whole lot pregnant.

    I find it a cruel trick of nature that, by the time I went to the health clinic to prove I was pregnant and get an appointment, our baby was already dead. The baby that only lived three weeks has taken an additional 12 weeks to finally let go.

    And the sad thing is that we thought my husband was deploying this year; his orders not to go didn't get amended until the day we PCSed. We thought he'd be gone for a year and then come home and we'd start a family. Instead he went into Civil Affairs training and we decided to make good use of his time at home. And now here we are, just shy of one year from the day we decided to start a family, with nothing to show for it. According to the original plan, he'd be returning from deployment right now and we'd be starting the journey towards having a baby...just like we're doing right now anyway. Only if he had just come home, he'd've lined his pockets with deployment money, and we'd just be beginning our safe year, not ending it.

    Cruel. It just feels so cruel. And we don't even have real infertility problems. It could be so much worse.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:31 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    January 02, 2008

    MY JEOPARDY STORY

    Carren Z wrote that she hit a deer yesterday. Luckily no one was hurt, and she didn't mention massive damage to her car, so that is good news too. I started writing in the comments section about my experience with hitting a deer, but the story is just too much for a comments section.

    Last night the husband and I were trying to decide what cheesy little story we'd tell Alex Trebek if we were on Jeopardy. My husband wants to use the time they found the dead insurgent's body they were looking for when his cell phone went off. We laughed that he'd freak the bejesus out of the Canadian ponce. But today, after I read Carren's post, I told my husband that my Jeopardy story would have to involve the deer.

    It's Halloween 1997, and I call my boyfriend at his college in Iowa to break up with him. He is stunned that I would break up with him over the phone and insists that I drive up to see him and talk it out in person. Nevermind that it's 11 PM; apparently I feel guilty enough about breaking up to think this is a rational idea. And it's Friday, so I suppose I could go.

    I set out for the three-hour drive to his school. I am exhausted already when I start driving in the rain, so I stop and buy a soda and a bag of Sun Chips. There is no one on the road so late at night, so I'm cruising along. And this was before I became a fuddy-duddy who never speeds; I was flying.

    All of a sudden out of the corner of my left eye, I see a unicorn. No, for real, that's what it looked like. The lights of my car reflecting off the deer made him look white. And the split second I see him, I crush into him. I didn't even have time to react: all of a sudden the car comes to a nasty halt, and Sun Chips go flying everywhere.

    I get out and look around, but it's so dark that I can't even see the deer. I start screaming incoherently at the deer, something about how he better be dead because if I find him, I'll kill him. The car looks like hell, but it still works and I pull in to a gas station at the next exit. I asked some rednecks in the store, with hope in my voice, if I can still drive the car. They look at me like I'm insane and say that it will blow up if I keep going. And then they take off to go find the deer carcass.

    I have to call the police, who show up and yell at me for leaving the scene of the accident. I explained to them that the deer was already gone and that -- this being the era before cell phones -- how on earth was I supposed to call in the accident if I was still sitting back at the side of the road?

    And then I had to call my parents.
    Oh lord.

    This was also the era before Mr. T pitied the fool who didn't use 1-800-COLLECT. I just made a regular old collect call to wake my parents up and tell them that I was stuck somewhere in podunk Iowa with the totalled car that they'd paid for. Then I called the ex-boyfriend and told him, through my teeth, that now he had to find a way to come get me.

    You know how girls love that Alanis Morissette song, how they get righteously angry over break-ups because of "You Oughta Know"? Yeah, well, that song came on the radio as I was riding in the car in silence, in the middle of the night, through Iowa with the boyfriend I had just dumped over the phone. That's his break up song for me.

    And then I spent my weekend imitating Huis Clos: I was stuck in a dorm room with no car with the boyfriend I had just dumped.

    It was agony.

    I also was a moron and didn't know anyone's phone number from my college. I remembered one person's number who lived down the hall from me, and called him. He wasn't home, and in tears I begged his roommate to go find one of my friends to call me back, someone who would come save me from the weekend from hell.

    Incidentally, that is why I immediately bought a Casio Databank Watch, so I would always have people's phone numbers handy the next time I am trapped in a dorm room in Iowa with an angry ex.

    There are no buses out of this town in Iowa. There are no trains. There was no way to get home except to bribe someone to drive up and get me.

    Meanwhile, I'm still breaking up with the boyfriend, who does not at all want to be broken up with and sees this weekend as his chance to talk me out of it.

    Yeah, Huis Clos.

    Damage to the car: $4500
    That five minute collect call to my parents: $80

    And the priceless part about the story is that, a week before the deer incident, I got my fishing license violation. My friends all decided that I was a menace to the environment. I would come home every other day to find cartoon drawings of dead deer and articles about the mating season taped to my dorm door. And of course when a Pennsylvania man made the news a month or two later for beating a deer to death with his bare hands...well, I never lived that down.

    Having a story to tell Alex Trebek: priceless

    Posted by Sarah at 02:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 31, 2007

    UPDATE

    The more I look at that other post, the more whiny it seems.

    We have many things to be thankful for this year: the husband being home and with a regular work schedule, lots of fun trips with my blog friends, and, as Butterfly Wife said, a knit octopus...and rhinoceros, lion, and wombat.

    Life could be a lot worse.

    Here's a good New Year's resolution: a sunnier outlook.

    My other resolution is to buy less stationery. I'm not sure which one will be harder for me!

    Posted by Sarah at 09:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    IS IT 2010 YET?

    Well, it's the end of what feels like the most emotionally draining year of my life. Way harder than deployment. Way harder.

    And hey, in 2008 we have both conception and deployment to look forward to. Whoopity doo. Should be an especially fun year.

    Who me, grumpy?

    Posted by Sarah at 02:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 25, 2007

    SELFLESS

    Erin was the first person to call me this Christmas morning.
    She is still making my Christmases special.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:58 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    HOPE

    I was able to find joy in the smallest things on Christmases past, be it not having a tree (2006), having a husband in the same room (2005), hitting a milestone during the deployment (2004), or not being able to even write because we had no computer access (2003). So let's see if I can muster that joy this year.

    Admittedly, it's been a pretty crappy month in our household. On the day I planned to put up the tree, we instead went to the emergency room and had our hopes and dreams crash down on our heads. Not a great way to start the season.

    But we have hope.

    Shoot, we don't have anything else to show for the past year. Except a sliver of hope that by next Christmas we will have the prospect of spending future Christmases surrounded by children and grandchildren.

    But we have that hope to hang on to, and that's what keeps us smiling through the Christmas season this year.

    Maybe we just need to move to Utah.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 18, 2007

    IT'S GOOFY, BUT IT'S OURS

    An ode to my Christmas tree at SpouseBUZZ...

    Posted by Sarah at 03:19 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    INANE CHIT-CHAT

    At night in bed when I'm trying to fall asleep, I think about knitting. It's a soothing exercise for an insomniac; it keeps me from obsessing about what some jerk said at work and other things that my womanly mind fixates on when silence abounds. Knitting keeps my mind from wandering and focuses my brain on something peaceful. I think about finishing the projects I have started, starting the exciting new ones, or designing the next preemie hat.

    And I swear, for a moment last night, my brain started mapping out that intarsia Abraham Lincoln. Bad, bad Sarah. A google search this morning turns up evidence of a pattern for a knitted Lincoln doll. No photo, but you can see the knitted Borat and Amy Winehouse. Heh.

    Scolded away from intarsia Lincoln, my thoughts turned to my hair. To quote the Mad Hatter, my hair wants cutting. Last time I had to go quite short in order to donate the full 18 inches to Locks of Love, but this time I have grown weary of my hair faster. In fact, I never really planned on donating again; it just happened. It's because I have no idea how to maintain a haircut. I've never done it before. My life has been a series of chopping it to my chin and then letting it grow for years. I don't have any idea how to pick a hairstyle and stay at it. I haven't been to a barber in at least two years, not even for a trim. (Man, that sounds bad when I actually type it; I promise I don't have four inches of split ends.) But I think I might be ready to try an actual hairstyle. Maybe. I do know for sure that I can't wait to get rid of 10 inches.

    OK, enough of my inane chit-chat nonsense. Please switch your brains back on and go read this monster tome: Mormons, Muslims, and Multiculturalism

    Posted by Sarah at 08:31 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    December 06, 2007

    HALF AN INCH OF WATER

    Life is conspiring to make me a stronger person today.

    We got to the hospital this morning and had to wait in the waiting room for a while. At one point, a nurse came in and decided to turn on the TV. After the commerical break, we returned to Dr. Phil, who said -- I am not kidding -- "Today we're talking with women who are desperate to get pregnant."

    Of all the things to watch on TV when you're waiting for a D&C. My husband and I just burst out laughing.

    Then I got into the pre-operating room, and the assisting doctor came to get me settled. The very pregnant assisting doctor.

    I mean, at this point it's like someone is just trying to make things awkward, right?

    But everything went well, and, um, now we don't have a baby anymore.

    I've been thinking a lot about the John Prine lyrics I posted the other day. In the grand scheme of things, this really is only half an inch of water. And I did feel like I was going to drown earlier this week, but unfortunately I've gotten way too good at The Perspective Game for my own good.

    The women on Dr. Phil had major problems. They only ovulated three times a year. They had tried numerous in-vitros. My husband and I look lucky in comparison to that.

    The friend I wrote about a while back who had the miscarriage, her baby was further along than ours was. Hers looked like a real baby instead of the tadpole striking a Rosie the Riveter pose like ours was. It would've been a lot harder for me if our baby had looked more like a baby.

    When I woke up from the surgery, I hurt. I am a big wimp, and I was in pain. And I lay there thinking about GBear's son, a 13-year-old boy whose body was ravaged by cancer and who has to repeatedly endure painful limb lengthening surgeries. If he can deal with massive metal pins pulling his femur apart, I can surely deal with some cramping.

    I've taken a deep breath this week and realized that things could be a lot worse than they really are. This half an inch of water will not drown me; it will make me a better swimmer.

    So this chapter of my life is over, and now we're on to the next.

    And I now return this blog to the regularly scheduled programming of attempts at grokking.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:21 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    December 04, 2007

    STILL INSIDE OF ME

    Saturday night the SpouseBUZZ authors surprised me with an unexpected baby shower. We oohed and ahhed over onesies and baby lotion and cute little socks. I was touched that they had conspired behind my back to throw me a shower, and it was so fun to imagine my little baby in sleepers covered in ducks and snails.

    But today my husband and I spent six hours in the emergency room finding out that our 12-week pregnancy stopped somewhere around week 5. Our baby is no longer a baby. It never even had a heartbeat.

    That's the way that the world goes 'round.
    You're up one day and the next you're down.
    It's half an inch of water and you think you're gonna drown.
    That's the way that the world goes 'round.

    We got sad. Then we wanted to puke. Then we got angry and frustrated. Then we made crass jokes. And then it was back to sad. We've been through every emotion that exists today, and there's nothing else left to feel.

    But what I feel most of all, what is weighing most heavily on me tonight, is time. We don't have time for a blighted ovum, as this condition apparently is called. We were racing against the deployment clock as it was, and now all I can think about is how we have to start over. Back to basal temperatures and the rollercoaster months. Only there aren't that many months left.

    And this baby, this baby is still inside of me.


    ****************

    I think I had more perspective when I wrote my SpouseBUZZ post.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:41 AM | Comments (37) | TrackBack

    November 16, 2007

    BABIES EVERYWHERE

    I've been fascinated by websites like this that chronicle my baby's growth. I can't believe he/she already has toes and fingers and fingerprints! Better not commit any crimes or Grissom'll get ya, baby.

    But as amazed as I am about this wiggling baby inside me that I haven't yet seen or heard, I was blown away at the pictures on Erin's blog. She and her husband are adopting, and their baby gave them a perfect first photo.

    I am so excited for them.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:35 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    October 29, 2007

    MY FATHER MAKES ME CRY

    OK, I'm already breaking my promise: one more pregnancy post. I am so weepy. I don't know, these are things that would probably normally make me cry, but now I just can't control myself. Went over to AWTM to watch Life Aquatic clips and couldn't even see the screen through my tears. "In 12 years he'll be 11 and a half..." I lost it.

    And the other night, on the way to the party, we passed an accident. I think normally this would've gotten to me anyway, because it became obvious as we passed that a very distraught woman had just hit someone's dog. The poor little white doggy was lying in the road. We had to sit in the car for several minutes before going into the party so I could get my sobs under control.

    But this one might not normally have made me cry, except for the fact that it reminded me what lies in my future. My mom and I have a good friendship and talk often, but my dad is much more reserved. He and I get along perfectly, but we rarely talk because he is definitely a Man's Man, and they don't do things like chat on the phone. But I know he loves me, because he shows it in little ways that mean so much.

    When we went to my grandparents' house last week, I forgot to pack my glasses. I had my contacts in, of course, but I'm blind as a bat once I take them out. So is my father; we have the same prescription. When I realized that I had forgotten my glasses, my dad immediately handed me his and let me borrow them for the entire week. It might not seem like much, but it is if you're as blind as we are. My dad sacrificed his vision so his daughter could see. Shoot, I can't imagine myself lending my glasses to anyone, much less some dummy who has a perfectly good pair she stupidly left at home. In no way did I ever expect him to hand his glasses over to me. But my dad did it without even thinking.

    He sacrificed for his child.

    He made a pretty big sacrifice this past weekend as well. Crazy Aunt Purl was going to be in my hometown for a book signing, and I begged my mom to go meet her and get books signed for me and The Girl. My mom assured me she would, but business came up and she needed to be out of town. She got my father to go downtown to the Women's Lifestyle Show and ask a knit-blogger for an autograph.

    What a man.

    My dad made me cry a lot this week thinking about what it means to be a parent. It means doing a lot of crap you don't really want to do, like braving the estrogen-filled halls of the convention center to make your child happy. It means giving up something you need so your child can have it, like your eyesight.

    Even when your child is 30.

    In 12 years, my child will almost be 11 and a half. I hope I am as selfless as my father is.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:13 PM | Comments (22) | TrackBack

    October 28, 2007

    THE ONE AND ONLY MORNING SICKNESS POST

    I promised myself that this blog wouldn't turn into Trying to Grok Morning Sickness, but I will make a comment or two. First of all, I have no idea how any woman musters up the strength to continue a full-time job feeling like this. I could barely manage four hours at the Michaels yesterday; while copious amounts of Christmas potpourri and candles is enough to make anyone want to barf, it made me spend a lot of the day dry heaving over the public toilet. In the bathroom that also smelled like air freshener. Ugh. I also have lost all interest in eating. I don't usually get sick, but nothing sounds good either. I feel hungry but then have to force myself to ingest whatever it is we're having. Oh, and salmon was not a good choice the other day; the fish smell lingering in the house the rest of the evening and next morning was about unbearable.

    So that's that. The girl who loves cooking and knitting can barely bring herself to enter the kitchen or muster the strength to lift the needles. It's a sad state of affairs in this house.

    But it's exactly what I wanted, right? At least I keep reminding myself of that as I run to the bathroom.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:22 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

    October 27, 2007

    HALLOWEEN

    The husband and I have been invited to a Halloween party tonight. A few days ago, we still didn't have a costume idea. I really wanted to go as Team Zissou, but he insisted that no one would have any idea what we were talking about. So we had to come up with an idea quickly that was cheap, easy, accessible, and something that made it look like we'd put some effort in without looking like we wanted to win a prize or something. We came up with an idea, and I had two days to knit our way to an easy costume. Can you guess who we're going as?

    southparkhats.jpg

    Posted by Sarah at 11:05 AM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    October 20, 2007

    THE SALAD DAYS

    These were the happy days, the salad days as they say, and Ed felt that having a critter was the next logical step. It was all she thought about. Her point was that there was too much love and beauty for just the two of us and every day we kept a child out of the world was a day he might later regret having missed.

    So we worked at it on the days we calculated most likely to be fruitful, and we worked at it most other days just to be sure. Seemed like nothing could stand in our way now. My lawless years were behind me; our child rearin' years lay ahead. But biology and the prejudices of others conspired to keep us childless.

    Our love for each other was stronger than ever, but I preminisced no return of the salad days.

    I've been itchin' to watch Raising Arizona again, it being one of my favorite movies of all time, but I just didn't think I could bear watching a movie about a couple who can't have a baby. For nine months, I touched it lovingly on the shelf but knew I wouldn't be able to watch it. It makes me cry on regular days; there's no way I could watch it when I too thought my womb might be a rocky place where a seed could find no home.

    We've even joked about stealing one of the Dente boys, since they too have more than they can handle.

    The past nine months have been a valued experience for me. I thought I'd be going into labor by now, but instead I've been forced to examine why I wanted a baby in the first place and what is really important in this world. Nine months ago, I thought it mattered what month the baby would be born, or what time of year would be best to be pregnant, or whether I wanted a boy or girl. Now...none of those things matter anymore. I've let go of caring about anything, save that a healthy child blesses our household.

    I've woken up and taken my temperature 234 times, each time a depressing reminder that I wasn't yet pregnant. I've been forced to watch others around me get pregnant and to learn that life isn't fair and how hard you try really plays no role. I've confronted myself, thrown temper tantrums, and learned to get over myself in the process. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn't trade these nine months for anything. I learned a lot about myself and about life in the process.

    So when I took that pregnancy test last weekend and saw the little pink plus sign appear, I knew we were ready. And I hollered at my husband to get Raising Arizona out.

    We were finally going to watch it.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:42 PM | Comments (42) | TrackBack

    October 17, 2007

    BYE FOR NOW

    I'm leaving today to visit my grandparents, whom I haven't seen since before we moved to Germany. It should be a really nice trip, but I can't say how much blogging I will do. I doubt they have wireless access...

    UPDATE:

    Uh, yeah. Dial up. It took me ages to just check my email last night.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 11, 2007

    I BORE ARMS TODAY

    My husband organized a surprise for my birthday. He'd been cooking it up since July, and although I was really curious about what he was planning, I didn't really try to guess it. And he managed to make it a real surprise in the end.

    He took me to exercise my rights.

    target.jpg

    We have been talking about purchasing a firearm since we got back from Germany. So when we drove up to the place, I figured we were going shopping. That's when he told me that this place had its own firing range. I'm sure my face looked like most women would look if they were offered a shoe shopping spree. Better, in fact.

    I had never fired a weapon before. I'd never even been around firearms before; the first time I ever saw one up close was the day my husband deployed. (Seriously, I was so retarded that when my husband gave me tips, a few times I thought "Hey, I know that from CSI:Miami.") I must admit it was a bit intimidating. I had to keep reminding myself that bullets can't just explode on their own, and a revolver with the cylinder open can't really hurt you. That may sound silly to experienced marksmen, but it's an unsettling feeling for a novice. Someone who's accomplished with firearms handles them with confidence and ease, while an idiot like me wanted to hold it like it was an egg and hide behind the partition while my husband was loading it.

    We rented a Smith & Wesson revolver and an XD 9mm. My husband gave me some pointers and showed me how to handle the revolver first. As I aimed for the target's chest, I savored the moment of taking my first shot. And didn't really hit the chest. I am not very good at aiming yet, and I wasn't expecting the spark of flame that accompanies the shot. And the noise. But I improved a little as we made our way through the box of ammo and became a bit more confident.

    The 9mm was a different story though. My husband originally said that we might want to consider buying a revolver. In my stupid mind, I thought that a revolver wasn't sexy enough. Who wants a revolver when they could have a 9mm? Um, I do. Holy crap, the kick on that thing was absurd. Apparently knitting muscles are not the same ones as firearm muscles! I had the hardest time keeping the danged thing from jumping four inches every time I fired it. I could barely even aim the thing, just hope for the best that I was at least hitting the silhouette somewhere.

    We didin't buy anything tonight, but I think I'm leaning towards a revolver. Maybe I'll graduate to that 9mm once I have more practice.

    So my husband, who barely remembers to get me a birthday card most years, came through with flying colors. It was a genuine surprise, and one that made me feel giddy inside to be an American. Especially since I just read Bill Whittle's Freedom again the other day:

    Once the Second Amendment goes, the First will soon follow, because if some unelected elite determines that the people can't be trusted with dangerous guns, then it's just a matter of time until they decide they can't be trusted with dangerous ideas, either. Dangerous ideas have killed many millions more people than dangerous handguns -- listen to the voices from the Gulag, the death camps, and all the blood-soaked killing fields through history.

    The Framers, in their wisdom, put the 2nd Amendment there to give teeth to the revolutionary, unheard-of idea that the power rests with We The People. They did not depend on good will or promises. They made sure that when push came to shove, we'd be the ones doing the pushing and shoving, not the folks in Washington.

    However, as we arrived and walked towards the range, I got a funny smile on my face. I told a lot of people that my husband had a surprise for me today. My friend from Sweden. My aunt. The little old ladies from my knitting circle. Are they going to all freak out if I tell them the truth about what my husband organized for my birthday? It's even more intense than that year he introduced me to his tank.

    So I made the leap to Grown Up today. And I also made the leap to 2nd Amendment practitioner. Big day.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:45 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

    30 GOING ON 13

    braids.jpg

    I swear, the older I get, the less I look my age.

    The most vivid birthday I remember from my past was turning 13. I was so excited, because I was going to be a Teenager, by golly. I had made it to another stage of my life.

    Today I also feel like I'm hitting a new stage. I'm a Grown Up today.

    Somebody needs to tell my hair...

    Posted by Sarah at 09:09 AM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

    October 06, 2007

    THE HARSH TRUTH

    And now I'm back down to knowing ten people who are pregnant: one of the girls I know had a miscarriage.

    Nothing like a healthy dose of perspective.

    That's the harsh truth and crappy part about this process: no one is safe. Nothing says that once we finally get pregnant, we're in the clear. Nothing says that once you give birth, you get more than a day with your baby, as this story over at Fiberlicious always reminds me. And nothing guarantees that the precious child you've raised and loved won't die when he's 17, and then your heart won't be broken by the pregnant women around you but by the flood of his peers' high school graduation announcements.

    If I've learned anything in the past nine months, it's that this whole process sucks. Opening your heart up to having a child means opening your heart to a world of pain like you've never known.

    And I'm far from the only person who's ever been hurt by the process, so I think I'll stop talking about it.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:59 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    October 05, 2007

    REVISION

    Make that eleven. Eleven people I know who are pregnant.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:34 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 04, 2007

    WHAT TO SAY

    So, do you have any kids?

    I used to know how to answer that question, with an assured and confident negative. When pressed, I was able to justify our childless marriage by saying that there was no way on earth I was going to have a baby in Germany and that we needed to wait until we were stationed in one place for longer than nine months before we even considered it.

    Now that we've been trying to have a baby, I no longer know how to answer this question. I've been asked it frequently lately, and a simple No doesn't really seem to capture our situation.

    But it's not really appropriate to launch into a sob story of how long we've been trying and that we would be having a baby next month if my body had worked properly from the beginning. Or that I'm not almost 30 and childless on purpose. My husband said that if he's learned anything from this process, it's that he'll never again assume that people are childless by design.

    I know eight women who are pregnant right now, eight women who've all gotten pregnant after we started trying. A few of them didn't even want their pregnancies.

    I hate the word "unfair," but I find myself thinking it more and more often.

    Is that an answer to the question?
    "Do you have any kids?"
    "Life's unfair."

    Posted by Sarah at 09:29 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    September 27, 2007

    THE BEACH

    Why do I hate the beach, you ask. Well, it combines three things I hate independently: water, sand, and sun. I like to look at the beach, and an hour there would be nice, but after several hours I was ready to get the heck out. I'd rather spend time in a salvage yard. And I just really hate the feeling of baking in the sun. You could put a chicken breast in the oven at 100 degrees, and in a couple of hours it'd be cooked. That's what you're doing to your skin, people! The thought of it entirely creeps me out; I feel myself baking like a chicken in the oven. Gives me the willies.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:09 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    September 26, 2007

    MY TRIP TO HAWAII

    I got up at 0300 on Wednesday and left the house late. So I sped the hour and a half to the airport, and by "sped" I mean "drove three miles over the speed limit." I was so freaked out that I would miss my plane, but I'm even more scared of getting a ticket.

    I made it in time.

    On my second flight, some girl in front of me tattled to the stewardess that she didn't like the way I stowed my bag in the overhead compartment. Instead of asking me to shuffle some stuff around, she went and told on me. So they made me check my bag through. So silly.

    I crocheted the entire way to Honolulu, much to the hilarity of my rowmates. They looked at me like I was the biggest dork ever, but I got six more squares made for charity. I crocheted for six hours straight.

    Honolulu made me laugh. The entire place looks like a joke, like someone set up a movie set for me to walk through. It's so Hawaii that it looks absurd. Also I love that these are the restroom signs:

    restroom_hawaii.jpg

    Both my bag and I made it to Kauai, where CaliValleyGirl picked me up and took me around to meet people until I couldn't keep my eyes open. The next morning, I awoke to what can only be described as screams from zombie victims. I later learned it was roosters. I have never heard such a sound in my life. That island is filled with roosters, gangs of them roaming the streets and howling at 0430 every morning. Unreal. Roosters are to Kauai what squirrels are to normal cities.

    Thursday was the rehearsal and dinner. We did the shopping for food and booze in the morning; I had never seen $1200 worth of groceries before! I put together shish kebabs while CaliValleyGirl and company were at the church. We crashed after a fun night and I promised not to keep her awake. Because really, the best part of the trip was that Cali let me share a room with her while I was there. I was the last person to share a bed with single Cali. It was like giving her away! I thought that was a pretty good honor, and I told anyone who would listen. They probably all think I'm a lesbian now.

    Friday was wedding day. While the wedding party was getting hair and makeup done, a nice German boy escorted me around the island so I could actually get some photos of Hawaii.

    kilauea.jpg

    I returned to the house to do one more chore before the wedding: refill the lighter fluid in the tiki torches around the reception tent. Yeah, the problem is that used tiki torches are covered in soot. Thirty minutes before the wedding, I was black up to my elbows. I looked like a car mechanic the whole rest of the day.

    I made it to the wedding ceremony only to sit behind the tallest guest in the joint. I barely saw anything of the ceremony, but I was so glad to snap this photo as the happy couple made their way to the limo.

    weddinghawaii.jpg

    We went back to the reception tent, where Cali's good decorating taste really shined through:

    tent.jpg

    Another huge thrill was that I got to sit at the head table! Imaginary friend, my butt; I rated tip top! Too cool. Dinner was delicious, the entertainment was awesome -- I learned I really, really like traditional Hawaiian music -- and the evening passed into night. Everyone became really surprised that Sarah can actually dance. We lingering few put the happy couple in the limo again and went to crash.

    Saturday I spent my last day in Hawaii at the beach. I don't care how beautiful it is, I still hate the beach. I can't stand it. But luckily neither can one of Cali's cousins, so he and I sat and chatted while I knitted. I took a lot of crap for sitting under a tree in Hawaii knitting, but I coined a new saying: "I'd rather go home with a sock than a sunburn." After the beach, I said my goodbyes and made my way to the airport for my 2340 red-eye flight.

    The way home was uneventful, save the incident at dinner. I bought a hamburger and fries at some airport fast food place, and a pilot in line behind me bought two burgers and fries. The cooks called his number first, so he took the bag and offered me a fry while I waited. He munched on some fries and then started digging in the bag and realized there was only one burger in there. Um, oops. The dumb cooks had handed him my order. So this pilot, who was super nice and really not to blame, manhandled my burger and fries...and the cooks said, "Oh, sir, we're so sorry for the mix-up." They apologized to him! I couldn't decide if I was really ticked off or just too awestruck by the gall of it to be mad.

    My last flight was two hours late in taking off, which is never fun at the end of a 22-hour journey. But I made it home in one piece and slept in late with no roosters to disturb me.

    Hawaii was lovely. I didn't think I'd care one way or the other, but I did think it was beautiful. However, now that I'm home, I'm back to thinking that the grass is greener in my own backyard.

    And we don't even have grass. Just weeds and dirt.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:58 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    September 25, 2007

    WAITING

    I know some of you are anxiously waiting for a long post on Hawaii, but I just haven't found the time yet. I have had knitting classes and trips to the grocery store and toilets to clean and my little brother passing through town tonight. And tomorrow I will be gone all day too, which will be a future blog post. I just wanted to let you know why you're still waiting.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 24, 2007

    I'M BACK

    palmtree.jpg

    More later...

    Posted by Sarah at 11:15 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 20, 2007

    HI FROM HI

    I had really forgotten how nervewracking one's own wedding is.

    CaliValleyGirl and fiance are hanging in there, both a tad frazzled about the whole event tomorrow. Most of their friends here are single, so I don't quite think anyone understands why they're so stressed. But I remember it well: wanting to puke for two days and feeling like nothing was going to get done on time. But it all magically does.

    Hawaii is beautiful. But I sure didn't expect to wake up to a cacophony of roosters this morning. So odd.

    More later...

    Posted by Sarah at 09:17 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 18, 2007

    LEAVING ON FOUR JET PLANES

    My neighbor told me that all she had to do to finally get pregnant was take a nice, relaxing trip to Hawaii.

    Plane ticket to awe-inspiring places like this? Check.
    Romantic weekend of nuptials? Check.
    Husband? Oh wait, crap.

    Somehow I don't think this is going to work out for me...

    Anyway, I'll be gone for a while, but I'll return with stories and photos and tales of changing planes four times in one day.

    And here's a little tidbit for people in the travel-size industry: Will you please consider making products that one can actually take on an airplane? It's been over a year, so you'd think the market would've dictated 1.7 oz bottles. But no. Apparently I don't get to take contact solution or sunscreen to Hawaii. Thanks a ton. Big pointy metal knitting needles are fine, but not my sunscreen.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 17, 2007

    MOST OF MY LIFE IS GONE

    You know how you're supposed to back up your files in case something ever happens to your computer? I have always been pretty good about this. A few years ago when we had to wipe out the desktop and start over, I burned everything to CDs. We didn't lose anything. But a few weeks ago, my mom asked me about a paper I wrote in college. I went to my back-up CDs to get the paper.

    What happens when your back-up CD turns up broken?

    I have no idea how this happened. It broke from the center hole outward, three inch-long cracks. And it was in a jewel case too. I just have no idea how it could've broken like that.

    Everything's gone. All the papers I wrote in college and grad school. The poem I wrote that won a national contest. The 40,000 word journal I kept from my year in France. And probably many other things that I will gradually come to remember and mourn.

    Is there any way to save data from a cracked CD? I doubt it, but some of you are more computer savvy than I.

    Sniff.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:13 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    September 03, 2007

    THAT'S MY BOY

    We just happened to find some show called Fast Money MBA Challenge, which was like Jeopardy for business students. We watched the first two rounds with students from MIT, Texas, NYU, and Columbia. My husband kicked their butts. It was so hot. He only got a couple of questions wrong and usually answered faster than the contestants.

    And three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: You're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:06 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 27, 2007

    ME TO A T

    Are You Too Sensitive?
    I bet you're not the least bit surprised that I clicked on that link.

    I have no idea if I was a "fretful toddler" -- I always figured that my oversensitivity stemmed from an overly-controlling former boyfriend -- but I sure nodded at this part:

    Cruelty, at least, is a malady that rarely strikes the sensitive. And, in fact, while it's easy to dwell on the downside of being thin-skinned, the pluses are many and varied. "Sensitive people encourage others to feel that their opinions matter, they're usually good listeners and they're naturally empathetic," Dr. Jacobson says. "And because they are so acutely aware of their own imperfections, they tend to be patient with the imperfections of others."
    ...
    But the pendulum can easily swing the other way, too -- where, like the princess and the pea, you feel every tiny bump so intensely that you suffer more than is reasonable. The key, as with so much else in life, is keeping things in perspective.

    Been working on that perspective for about four years now. Don't know I've made much progress though.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:32 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    August 16, 2007

    NOT GOOD WITH THE CHANGES

    I'm a woman who likes her routine. I've pretty much done the same thing every day since we moved into this house. In fact, on days that I have a dentist appointment or a knitting class, I often feel really thrown off and have to start mentally preparing myself a few days prior for the change in routine.

    Yeah, my mom can't wait to see me saddled with kids. She'll laugh herself silly.

    Anyway, I'm all thrown off right now because my husband's Farsi course is running on second shift. For some unknown and odd reason, they're meeting from 2:00-9:00PM every day. That throws us way for a loop, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around my new schedule. We're eating dinner for lunch and sandwiches for dinner, and last night felt more like he was in the field than at work. This morning we kept looking at each other wondering what we're supposed to do with each other at 11AM. Every day feels like Saturday.

    It also throws our computer time way out of whack, so I haven't quite figured out how to arrange my blog reading and writing into this new schedule. Normally it's the first thing I do after he leaves in the morning, but now he doesn't leave until after lunch. Er, dinner. Bear with me as we adjust to this. I haven't read a blog or article in days.

    But the husband's already thriving in his class. It's only the second day and he's already memorized all his flashcards for the free-standing alphabet (the initial and medial forms are another story.) And we've been singing our Alef Be Pe's all morning!

    Posted by Sarah at 02:04 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    August 14, 2007

    FARSI BEGINS

    My husband starts his Farsi training today. Things should get interesting around here. It's hard for me to imagine learning a whole language in six months, but I guess if you're at it for eight hours a day, it's a little different than the three hours per week deal I did all through college. And apparently the Army is wising up to how badly they need competent speakers, so they've changed the final test from all multiple choice (sheesh) to reading and aural comprehension. My husband is determined to clobber this puppy and get the highest score ever.

    It's funny the reactions you get when you tell civilians that you're going to start learning Farsi. There are two main choices: "What's Farsi?" and "Are we invading Iran?"

    Our old neighbors from when we first got married are Iranian, and we got to meet up with them last week. They were just tickled pink hearing what my husband has already managed to learn on his own via the Rosetta Stone program. They about fell over when their daughter toddled into the living room and my husband said, "The girl has on a shirt but no pants." And he just floors them with his knowledge of the region, such as when he found out what city the wife is from and said, "Oh, so you're Azeri and not Persian?" Most of the people they meet in the US can't tell Iraq from Iran, but my husband knows the different Iranian ethnic groups and their corresponding geography.

    Can you tell how much this man amazes me too?

    Everyone asks if I am going to try to learn Farsi alongside him, and I haven't really decided yet. I can count to ten and nearly recite the alphabet, but maybe I will try to glean more than that.

    And when our friends asked, "So are you going to invade Iran?", you could tell they were half-joking, but you could also hear some wistfulness in their words.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:42 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    August 06, 2007

    DRIVING WOES

    I'm back! Well, sort of. We're still on vacation, but at least now we have computer access. And you don't know how wonderful it feels to hear my internet friends miss me. ArmyWifeToddlerMom called me on my second day gone and asked, "Is your vacation over yet?" It's good to be loved.

    We're having fun, but if I never get in the car again I will be thrilled. We'll need another oil change the minute we get home. 9 hours the first day, 9 hours the second, 8 hours yesterday, 4 today, 4 tomorrow, and then another 15 on the way back home at the end of the week.

    And it's not quite barfing all the way to Georgia, but we've had a heck of a time in all these car rides too. The first morning we had to go to three separate gas stations before we could find a working air pump for our tires. Then we decided to take the long-cut around Winston-Salem. We were nearly divorced or a double homicide by 9 AM. The second day, as we were chugging along making great time at 5 AM, we hit a crow. Seriously. All I could think about was Lomborg's stat that 250,000 birds die hitting windows every day. Well, we popped one in Louisville. Took out our driver's side mirror. Personally, I wanted my husband to back up and run over that crow a couple more times just to make sure it understood how ticked I was. Not easy to drive without that mirror. Also not cheap to get it fixed.

    So then yesterday we start out with no problems. At the first rest stop, we get Charlie out of the car and notice he's covered in poop. Apparently he must've rolled in a nice pile before we left. We manage to give him a cursory cleaning and then let him roll around in the grass to dry off. He comes back covered in sticker burrs. Mind you, we're on our way to stop for lunch at a friend's house, a buddy from high school. I haven't spent any time with him in ten years, and I'm supposed to show up at his home with a dog covered in burrs and poop. Not cool.

    Oh, and when we get there, Charlie lifts his leg on their sofa.

    Please let us make it through the rest of the trip without any stories to tell.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:33 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 25, 2007

    WHEW

    I blogged over at SpouseBUZZ about how we suddenly got our leave yanked away from us. I spent the past two weeks on pins and needles, waiting to hear if we really would get to make this trek back to the Midwest. And in the end, it was those danged baseball tickets that saved our hide. The unit decided that since we'd made a financial obligation, we could go on leave. Thanks a heap, especially since the husband has a week of use-or-lose vacation that would've been lost if we couldn't go.

    My husband should be eternally grateful that my knitting excursion is the only reason he gets a two-week break. I deserve to buy more yarn.

    So I guess I'd better pack a suitcase or something. We leave in three days on a 17-hour car ride.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:07 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    July 22, 2007

    SOME THINGS JUST AREN'T THAT IMPORTANT

    I do all of the dishes all of the time. I can't think of the last time my husband washed dishes. He doesn't even do them when I'm out of town; he just leaves a lovely little pile. Regardless, we have one of the best marriages I know of. How could that possibly be? /eye rolling

    And don't even get me started on "great sex." I can't believe it polls that high. If that's the most important thing that's keeping your marriage together, I feel sorry for you.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:00 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 21, 2007

    GOOD KIDS

    A friend of mine from high school was stationed here, and the husband and I went to his going-away picnic before he deployed. His parents were there, and his father paraded me around the unit, telling anyone who would listen about what an upstanding young lady I am. He insisted on telling everyone about what good kids we were in high school and how we never got in trouble and never were involved in any "hanky panky." I'm sure by the end of the night the entire unit was laughing about what dorks we were. But his dad was right; we really were good wholesome kids.

    AWTM writes about her first love...and how it ended. I used to think I had a standard adolescence, but the more people I talk to, the more I realize that maybe I didn't. My early boyfriends were perfect. And no one ever asked me to have sex until I got to college. How quant: I never experienced pressure to have sex until I was 20 years old. I never thought much about it growing up, but now I look back and realize what lovely people I associated with as a teen.

    My friend's father was right to be proud of us. We were good kids.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 20, 2007

    I HEART WALMART

    I have a pro-Walmart story I thought I'd share since all we usually hear is bad stuff about them.

    A few weeks ago I noticed my car was leaking oil. I had gotten my last oil change done at Walmart, but it had almost been three months since, so I didn't think that was the source of the problem. I took the car in to the dealership, and they deduced that Walmart had destroyed the oil filter housing. It cost us $80 to sort it all out.

    We went to Walmart and explained what had happened, and they asked us why we hadn't brought the car back to them when we noticed the oil leak. We explained that the car was new and still under warranty, and that we hadn't put 2-and-2 together because the oil change had been done so long ago. But they took care of it anyway and gave us the full amount we'd paid at the dealership. In cash, without filing any forms or waiting for a check to show up.

    This is the second time a Walmart manager has handed me cash. The first time was a few years ago when an incompetent employee sold me the wrong fishing license and got me saddled with a $100 conservation fine. (I still can't believe the conservation officers didn't let me off with a warning. I had to go to court and argue my case to the judge; I made for a funny sight, sitting there in a little plaid dress next to a bunch of men in orange jumpsuits.) Anyway, Walmart listened to my sob story about how their guy never asked me what state I was from when he sold me the license, then and split the difference for the blame and handed me half of the money.

    Walmart sure keeps me happy with their handing-out-cash policy.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    July 10, 2007

    PLAYING BIG SISTER

    My baby brother shows up today for a visit. And by baby, I mean he's 25. But in our family, he'll always be the baby.

    brother007.jpg

    This will be the first time we've really spent any time together since I got married. I have him all to myself for a week.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:53 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 02, 2007

    OUR DIMPLED CHAD

    Over the weekend, we were very optimistic about taking a pregnancy test. We thought the fifth month just might be the charm. But if our pregnancy test had been an election ballot, we would've been looking at a dimpled chad.

    pregnant.JPG

    That photo is not staged; that's my husband trying to figure out what in the heck was going on. One line means no, two lines means yes, but what does one dark line and one line that's barely perceptible to the naked eye mean? We wanted to find out if we were having a baby or not, and instead we got "Pat Buchanan."

    Incidentally, if something is advertised as 99% effective, why does it need to be sold in two packs?

    Another test and two more days later, and we're pretty sure we're not pregnant. I was on the phone with my mother, sniveling about how every month that passes brings more likelihood that my husband will deploy before this baby ever shows up, and my mother said the most perfect thing she could've said in this situation: She said that she would obviously do whatever she could to help me if my husband is gone when this baby comes, but that she wanted us to know how proud she is of us, that we've chosen a very difficult lifestyle and that she admires and respects us for making this family sacrifice for our country.

    I thought about what she said later in the day, and I thought about the book report I wrote for SpouseBUZZ that morning, and I realized that she's right. We've chosen this life, and we can un-choose it any time we wish. But what we can't do is stick with this choice and then complain about it. Would I want to get out of the Army in order to have my husband here next year? No. So that's our choice. It's important to us to be in the Army, so it has to be important enough to stop complaining about the situation.

    So if he's here, he's here, and if he's not, he's not. That's the way it has to be, and there's no sense in talking about it or dwelling on our so-called bad luck.

    But can we at least get some better luck in reading those danged home tests?

    Posted by Sarah at 09:13 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    June 16, 2007

    NOT A TEEN

    Those of you who've met me in real life met me in situations where I was Trying To Look Grown-Up, like at conferences and stuff. Even then I generally feel like a kid at the big table, but at least I try. On normal days, I don't do much for myself. I usually have comfortable basic clothes on and spend most of my time in a ponytail. Sometimes I look with envy at really put-together women, but never enough to put effort into my own appearance for just going to the store or around town.

    Today at the library I was looking with interest at a display for a teen crafts class. The girl librarian, who must've been around my age, saw me looking and told me I should sign up. I said I'd love to but that it says it's for teens. "Oh, well, how old are you?" she asked, in a way that suggested she'd fudge a little for me if I was 20. "Um, like 30," I said.

    Think I need to update my look?

    This story killed my husband. He mused that the target age group when the library organizes something for "teens" is like 13-16. He said, "You look young, but no offense, you clearly don't look half your age."

    At least I don't look as young as my Swedish friend, who got offered a coloring book on an airplane when she was 20.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    June 15, 2007

    TWO YEARS

    Today is actually another anniversary for our little family. Two years ago we brought a little Tibetan terrier home with us.

    eightweeks.JPG

    Happy Pupversary, Charlie.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:11 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    FIVE YEARS

    Five years ago today, I was trying not to barf. I was so nervous that morning, for no good reason at all. People were a tad concerned that I was having cold feet, but I told my husband on the phone that no matter how sick and nervous I looked, it had nothing to do with doubts about marrying him. Once I headed down that aisle, I was fine, and I was even better when it was over.

    Greatest thing I ever did.

    weddingkiss.gif

    We had such high hopes to return to D.C. today and relive our honeymoon. But as we waited to see how much homework he'd have this weekend, we ran into snags for a dogsitter. The trip back to D.C. will have to wait a little bit. I was quite disappointed at first, but then I finally came to my senses and told my husband that it doesn't matter where we are or what we're doing, we're just so lucky to be spending the day together.

    And adding another photo to our collection.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:24 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

    May 31, 2007

    STILL OUCH

    The flippant deal is still bothering me a bit. I don't think I've ever heard the words "Sarah" and "flippant" used in the same sentence in my life, so I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. I think that's the worst insult she could've given me, considering how seriously I take motherhood. I went to her site and did a search on the word pregnancy, and I read about her miscarriage. It sounds awful, and I am deeply sorry that she had to go through this. But can't she have any sympathy for me? I'm almost 30 and I don't have any children, and I want one. She has children; can't she understand why I would be sad that I am not pregnant? And how could she possibly accuse me of being "flippant" about pregnancy when she wrote this post about being pregnant?

    The only person who has moral authority over this blog is Heidi Sims. The other day I wrote a post about how great my husband is; you think that makes her feel good to read that? But she didn't feel the need to comment and say what a jerk I am. Trust me, I think about her every time I post about my so-called troubles, ever since the day when I was moaning about my husband being the last one home from Iraq, she was there to give me an attagirl. Carren Ziegenfuss always says that every person's life is different and you are only responsible for dealing with the troubles you have; you don't have to constantly feel bad that your husband has all ten fingers. I do constantly feel bad about those things, and I feel it in this situation too. I feel for people who really do have infertility issues. I feel for people who have lost children. I don't need a commenter to point out what a jerk I am for not prefacing posts about my life with disclaimers that I know my problems aren't real problems. I am already well aware of that, thankyouverymuch. But they're the problems on my plate, and this is where I deal with them.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:32 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

    HARDLY FLIPPANT

    Flippant? I got called "flippant" in my attitude towards having a baby. Ouch.

    I poured my heart into that post. I cried the whole time I wrote it. I think I'm anything but flippant about having a baby.

    How many times have I called my mother, ArmyWifeToddlerMom, Angie, Erin, Kelly, Erin, and many others to ask questions about motherhood? To talk about how scared I am about taking this step in our life? How many conversations have CaliValleyGirl and I had about our own childhoods and which lessons we want to pass on to our future children?

    This is practically the only topic my husband and I discuss anymore: how to foster upstanding human beings. We waited five years to get to this point, to make sure we were absolutely ready. And every day we get excited and extremely nervous about what the future holds. We know we don't have all the answers. But we're at the point where we're ready to try.

    Cut me some freaking slack that now that we're ready, I want it to happen.

    I sometimes forget that things don't always come off perfectly in written form. I forget that people who know me from the internet don't always really know me. But that comment came from someone whose blog I really liked, whose thoughts and ideas I always appreciated even if I didn't agree with them. That comment really, really stung.

    Yes, I know that not getting pregnant for four months is not the worst thing that can happen to someone. Duh, I could write the book on Perspective. Every month as I cry, my husband reminds me that everything is OK and that we still have room for hope. I constantly think of people like my friend Kelly who have no hope and I ache inside. Trying to get pregnant and failing is the most humbling experience I've ever had, because it makes me really put my self in some painful shoes. I can't imagine doing this for years.

    I'm sorry if I offended you with my "flippant" attitude towards the most important thing I've ever done in my entire life. I have no idea how that came across. But I do wish you'd kept your mouth shut, because I don't think you know me very well.

    (Update here.)

    Posted by Sarah at 08:04 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    May 29, 2007

    UGH

    Tonight while cleaning up after dinner, I knocked over and broke a wine glass and one of my nice plates, and then less than two minutes later I put a steak knife into my finger.

    Not a good day.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    OUT OF TIME

    A while back I wrote on SpouseBUZZ about the agony of trying to have a baby when you're in a race against deployments.

    We've now officially missed our window.

    Funny how when I was growing up I was led to believe that sex leads to pregnancy. Young girls are reminded over and over of teen pregnancy, thus I have been a birth control nazi from day one. And now I've seen this myth crumbling before my eyes, as I've just spent the last four months charting my temperature and counting days and worrying about egg-white mucus and absolutely failing at making a baby. All the horror stories about getting pregnant from a toilet seat, for pete's sake, feel pretty freaking absurd when you can't even do it when you're trying your hardest.

    Every 28 days I feel like the world's biggest loser.

    Today we've learned again that we've been unsuccessful, but I guess now the pressure of the race against time is off: my husband becomes deployable again in nine months. Barring a wonderful surprise, we now are pretty much guaranteed he won't be here for the birth of our baby. Hell, that's assuming we will ever be successful. At this point I'm so frustrated that I don't know what to think anymore.

    My mom, bless her heart, keeps telling me to relax, that stress can prevent you from getting pregnant. I know she's got a point, but making a baby is pretty darned scientific too. Way more scientific than I was ever led to believe during sex ed classes. I've learned a lot about my body over the past few months, knowledge I wouldn't have if I'd gotten pregnant right away, for which I am indeed thankful. But with this knowledge comes the annoyed feeling that if we're doing everything right on the right days, why isn't this working?

    Now I guess we can just throw up our hands and relax. It doesn't make a whit of difference whether I have a baby on my husband's third month of deployment or his sixth. Either way, we've missed out on something very important to me: his presence by my side in the hospital.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:53 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    May 23, 2007

    REASON #__ WHY MY HUSBAND RULES

    My husband is so smart it's scary. I'm fairly certain he'd choose dinner with Benajmin Netanyahu over Superbowl tickets any day of the week. The thicker and more boring the book, the more excited he is to read it. He never ceases to frighten me with his knowledge.

    My husband's brain is like a sponge, and he completely absorbs anything he thinks is important enough to notice. Several years ago, he realized that understanding this Islam Stuff was important, so he set to work learning what he could about Muslims and Arabs. Someone like me can hold her own with names like Sadr and Zawahiri and can handle basic conversations about the region, but my understanding of Islam and the War on Terror is positively pedestrian compared to my husband's. He set out to learn this stuff, and I'll be goldarned if he didn't learn it.

    The Army hires college professors to teach the history and culture portions of Civil Affairs training. The other day in class, the professor admitted that my husband knows Islamic history better than he does, after my husband gently corrected him on a couple of historical points.

    Because my husband thinks this knowledge is crucial, he doesn't slack off. He knows names and dates and Mohammed's lineage and tidbits I can't even begin to fathom. He knows more about Tajikistan than anyone from Missouri should ever need to know, and he's already speaking basic Farsi sentences despite the fact his language course doesn't start until September. The man is phenomenal.

    Our fifth wedding anniversary is a couple weeks away, and I can't help but think about the time I heard Neal Boortz say that you don't even know what love is until you've been married for five years. I think he's right. The qualities that made me fall in love with my husband back in 1999 -- the fact that he wanted to talk about Sartre and Charlemagne at frat parties and that he was captain of the College Bowl team -- have only grown more pronounced over the past five years.

    Love is knowing how truly lucky you are to have such a person in your life.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    May 16, 2007

    STILL UP

    Jetlag rears its ugly head. I'm back home, but my sleep cycle still thinks it's in L.A. Not good.

    Back when I first started blogging, I cared a lot more about trackbacks and cross-linking than I do now. I think the novelty wore off for me over time, and conversely I haven't had a trackback in nearly a year now. But I was excited to get an email from a blogger saying he too has written about the professor who forwarded George Washington's speech. Hooray for cross-linking, I say. It's been harder and harder for me to break out of my blog coterie, and I welcome other bloggers sending me links to stuff they've written. It's a good way to find new blog friends.

    Check out the rest of the Lamplighter blog when you have time.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:59 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 12, 2007

    STINGY

    I'm the stingiest person I know besides my husband. I'm always amazed at the amount of money people think it's normal to spend. The worst is those Mastercard commercials. $6000 engagement ring? Please. $96 for peep toe pumps? I agonized for days last month over a $13 pair of Walmart sandals, and that chick bought shoes to match her toenail polish? Good lord.

    Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I'm a fan of the Fair Tax. Our family would come out waaay ahead if we only got taxed when we spent money!

    Last weekend at the Milblogs Conference I nearly had conniption fits spending money. We simply don't do it around here. Popcorn and cokes at the movies? Forget about it. A taxi? Get real. A hotel with a flat screen TV? Gulp. I wonder if CaliValleyGirl noticed the pain on my face as I bought $6 beers. That buys a case of beer around here.

    So what I did Thursday is mighty out-of-character for ol' Sarah. But I did it anyway. Money is just money, right? There are times when it should be saved and times when it should be spent. So I spent. I bought a plane ticket to Hawaii for the event of the year, my blog friend's wedding.

    She's worth it.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:02 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    May 11, 2007

    ANOTHER WEEKEND, ANOTHER COAST

    I'm on my way to the airport, heading to SpouseBUZZ Live San Diego, which should prove extremely rewarding. And then I'll spend a few more days hanging out in L.A. with my CaliValleyGirl. Since it's my first time to California, I fully expect to get the grand tour of L.A., including must-see spots like Mr. Miyagi's house and CTU. And migrant workers standing on the corner. I've never seen that before.

    Blogging will be...whatever I can get over the weekend. I am going to try to blog from CaliValleyGirl's house, despite the fact that it must have some sort of blogging force field or something. Why else would she leave us hanging for weeks on end, right?

    More to come...

    Posted by Sarah at 05:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 18, 2007

    I'M TWO TODAY!

    I met a very shrewd homeless man yesterday. He was camped out in front of the doggy bakery. What a clever idea: nothing says "I have extra cash" like a lady buying sweets for her pup. I had to give him my change after that display of decadence.

    2ndbirthday.JPG

    Today is Charlie's 2nd birthday. It seems like an eternity since we celebrated his 1st. This year he doesn't have any friends to invite over, but we're working on it. I think I may have found a rottweiler for him to be friends with.

    Charlie's come a long way from impersonating a sweet potato.

    11dayold.JPG

    He's a good dog. Mostly.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    April 13, 2007

    THE RIGHT BOYS

    I got my first kiss while I was wearing a tuxedo.

    It was a friend's 13th birthday party, which was the same night as the Morton Pumpkin Festival. (Yeah, that's not a joke. I love the Midwest.) We would attend the party for a while, and then my friend and I would rush to the festival where we were performing a lip sync of "The Chapel of Love." (This story didn't feel that ridiculous until I started writing it down.) Anyway, I was the groom in this dance number, so halfway through the birthday party, I went off to change into my tux. I came back to say goodbye, and my darling boyfriend took me over by the window and gave me my first kiss under the moonlight.

    I was reminded of how wonderful that moment was when I read this paragraph in a long letter to surly teenage boys:

    Look all people in the eye, even the haggard mother-types. Women like me, the ones who buy baby wipes and supersize tampons and organic milk and a guilty 24-inch Slim Jim and Us Weekly? We remember you. We remember you well. Not you in particular, but we remember how those of your age and species treated us at an early and difficult age, and it mattered. It mattered more than you knew at the time, more than we knew at the time. What you do now, how you treat the young women in your life after your shift at Big Y? I am here to tell you that it matters very much.

    I am a lucky woman. I am lucky because I somehow managed to associate with boys who treated me well at the age when it mattered.

    This boy from the birthday party, he was a dream. He still is. He is still one of the nicest men I have ever met, and I try to remind his parents of it every time I see them. He was a hopeless romantic, constantly writing me love letters and bringing me potted violets to the school dance. He was adorable and thoughtful and wonderful, and when I went to my high school reunion, my husband jokingly reminded me not to go home with this guy when it was over. He is the exact perfect first boyfriend anyone could ever want for her daughter. I was so lucky.

    The second boyfriend was also a perfect gentleman. He was darling and nice and sweet and we could kiss until the cows came home. Oh, how we kissed. I can't tell you how many movies I was supposed to have seen in 1991 that I completely missed because I could sit lip-locked with this boy for hours on end. It makes me giggle to think about how naive and sweet we were together, just holding hands and kissing endlessly. And he too has turned into a wonderful adult. He's a C-17 pilot, and in fact I saw him a few weeks ago as he passed through town after shuttling soldiers to Iraq.

    My third boyfriend never got the chance to turn into a wonderful adult. He was killed in a car accident when we were 16, so in my mind he'll always be the eccentric 8th grader who was really into Canned Heat and The Doors at a time when everyone else was out buying Vanilla Ice. I told him I loved him after we watched Pink Floyd's The Wall, and he broke his nose trying to sneak over to my house in the middle of the night. He's been gone for half my life, and I still miss him and wish I could've seen him grow up.

    I had other boyfriends in my life, and some were better choices than others. But no one -- save my husband -- can top these three, the three who perfectly capture how teenage boys should treat girls. During middle school, when so many kids have a rough time, I met some of the best men I've ever known. I love these boys and always will. If I have a daughter, she will know these stories; if I have a son, he will have big shoes to fill.

    I remember exactly how I was treated at 13. I was blessed.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:37 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 04, 2007

    EMPTY BRAIN

    I have been sitting here for about two hours trying to come up with something interesting to say. I have decided to give up and post a photo of the dog instead.

    almosttwo.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 08:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    March 26, 2007

    UPDATE

    My in-laws have been visiting, so I've been away from the computer. We've seen all the military museums in the area, as one is wont to do in these sorts of towns, and we even managed to be surprised by our visit downtown: in one shop we were treated to a right-wing rant wherein the shopkeeper will shoot Hilary Clinton if she becomes president, and in the next shop we met a gay jeweler who spends his free time either jetting to London or running the local indy theater with his partner. If I were Lileks, I'm sure I could write something really cool about that juxtaposition, but I'm not Lileks, so I'll just have to point out that it takes all kinds in this world, don't it?

    Anyway, the husband just found out he's been assigned to be a Farsi speaker. He is ecstatic. Life is good around here.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 14, 2007

    FOR ME?

    Did somebody out there buy us a really nice gift? We received a copy of America's Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between America and its Enemies in the mail today, and neither my husband nor I ordered it. And there's no receipt inside the package, so I can't even figure out if it was supposed to go to some other Amazon buyer or something. Anyway, it seemed blog-related, so I wanted to check and make sure none of you sent me a special gift while I try to track down who really was supposed to get this book.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:32 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    March 08, 2007

    THEY WILL BE FUN

    Lileks on parenting:

    We stood in the driveway and hacked at the ice with our heels until a yard of rubble cluttered the pavement. I thought of this today while listening to a Medved show about a WaPo piece on marriage; seems only the well-off can marry these days, and the poor decline the opportunity. A caller Ė male, age 31 Ė noted how he didnít want to marry, and didnít want kids, because they would ruin his freedom. Medved gently pointed out how things change, and gave the fellow a useful piece of news: kids are fun. You never consider that when youíre fancy-free and unburdened with diaper-filling squall-o-matic obligation units, but theyíre fun, in ways you can never predict. You fill your day with all sorts of important tasks, but in the end nothing beats standing in the drive way in the wan March light, laughing and cracking the ice. That's the stuff you remember on your deathbed, I'll bet. That's the stuff you remember when you leave the building and strap on the wings.

    I made a baby blanket. Now we just have to make the baby.
    But I've found a new motto: If at first you don't succeed, drink boatloads of margaritas for 5-7 days and try again.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    February 08, 2007

    BABYSITTING

    Yesterday I babysat our neighbors' four year old while they were in the hospital delivering their second. All in all, I think I did pretty well, in spite of the fact that I have no idea how much a four year old eats, how fast he can walk, how long he should nap, and how often I should reply to the incoherent strings of speech flowing nonstop from his mouth. I went in pretty blind, but we managed to get along. The only headache all day was this kid's bipolar spastic attitude towards the dog. "Charlie, come here!" he'd screech at the top of his lungs. Five seconds later: "Charlie, go away!" We had a couple close calls where the kid would dangle a toy at Charlie's nose and then yell at him if he took it, or where he thought it was great fun to keep tapping Charlie in the face with his bare foot, but thank heavens Charlie supressed all his normal dog instincts and just went with the flow. And I realized what a blessing it will be that our child will just grow up alongside Charlie so he won't be such a novelty.

    So I managed to handle a kid for 12 hours...with the extreme help of Lightning McQueen, Mike Wazowski, and Willie Wonka. And I realized how much I should cherish the absolute silence of our home for as long as is still possible; it will never be that way again.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    January 31, 2007

    MY JOBS

    I haven't written about my jobs yet because there hasn't been much to say yet. My first job is that I will be the new installation ambassador for Military.com. Basically, it will be my job to promote the website and their services in this area. Since my job boils down to getting more eyeballs on their website, maybe you could take a minute to check it out? Maybe read some opinions or watch some Shock and Awe videos or read SpouseBUZZ? And if you're a veteran or a spouse looking for a job, they have a great employment tool.

    My second job starts this weekend, and I haven't said anything yet because I thought if I said it out loud, I would jinx it. I am going to start teaching the knitting classes at our local Michael's. A knitting job...how can it get any better? And part of my job description is that I have to promote the class by knitting in the Michael's and answering customer questions. So I get paid to go sit in Michael's and knit. I've been in a perpetual Michael Moore "Was it all just a dream?" fog about this job. I can't wait to get started.

    So, life is pretty sweet right now. Except for the dead fish.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    FISH UPDATE

    One more fish down, the remaining two are hovering near the surface and covered in a mold-like fuzz. Don't expect them to last long. Sigh.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 29, 2007

    IS IT TOMORROW YET?

    We set up an aquarium when we lived in Missouri, and we loved watching our fish. We skipped the aquarium in Germany because I don't know what I would've done if the fish had lived longer than our stay there. And now that we're staying put for a while, we started the aquarium up again. We bought nine tropical fish, three of each type of tetra, and named them 1st, 2nd, and 3rd squad of our "tank" platoon (hardy har). And we loved them dearly...for eight days.

    Yesterday, our tank turned into Lord of the Flies.

    It started as a silly joke: "Man down in 2nd squad! Medic!" But the joke stopped being funny when the fish wouldn't stop dying. We lost six of them in 24 hours, including one who died during the night and was reduced to a pulpy spine by morning. Today, the fish who had been so happily schooling together for a week were all spread out around the tank, eyeing each other warily.

    I went back to the store with all the corpses to ask which circle of hell my aquarium had morphed into. The girl told me that we had way too many fish in the aquarium, which sucks because it's the exact opposite information that a different girl told me when we came in to pick them out. I will go back tomorrow with a water sample to test it out, and if all checks out, I will buy two more fish. Five instead of nine. No more squads, but I guess that's OK.

    Oh, and I bought the fish on my credit card, so I had a great sob story for the checkout girl: Not only did five of my fish die, but I bought them on a credit card that's now been cancelled for fraud. And how has your day been?

    Posted by Sarah at 02:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    January 27, 2007

    NEW COAT

    Charlie got his hair cut on Thursday, and man, did he get it cut short! He's been walking around the house shivering for two days. I spent all day Friday looking for a doggy coat for him, but the only ones I could find were ones my husband would kill me for putting on the dog. So I found this website with a Free Resizable Pet Clothing Pattern. I gave it a shot, and for $5 Charlie now has a handsome reversible coat to keep him warm.

    newcoat.JPG

    I'm pretty danged proud of myself. And Charlie's only tried to tear it off once.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:38 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 25, 2007

    ARE PLANS REALLY SO STRANGE?

    I went to the doctor on Wednesday to ask some questions about prenatal care. I figure if we're going to do this, we need all the info before we dive in. The doctor was incredibly sweet and very encouraging, but she seemed almost surprised that I would bother asking her these questions. She said something like, "So, that's neat that you're planning everything in advance."

    I realize that I'm overly anal, but is it really that shocking in 2007 that someone would plan for a baby?

    I've been reading What to Expect When You're Expecting. (Remember when I bought it and had to sheepishly explain to the pregnant salesgirl that I wasn't pregnant or even thinking of being pregnant yet?) I was shocked to open the book and find the first chapter was "Are You Pregnant?" Huh? Chapter 21 is called "Preparing for the Next Baby" and starts out with:

    In the best of all possible worlds, we would be able to plan life to our precise specifications. In the real world, where most of us live, the best-laid plans often give way to the unexpected twists and turns of fate over which we have precious little control, leaving us to accept, and to make the best of, what comes our way.
    To assure the best of all possible pregnancies, we would know in advance when we will be conceiving -- and before we did we'd make all the changes and adjustments in our lifestyle necessary to help ensure the best possible outcome. But such advance planning is a luxury many women -- because of menstrual irregularity and/or the fallibility of contraception (or that of a couple winging it) -- may never be able to indulge in.

    If I'm going to do this, I'm going to do it right and "assure the best of all possible pregnancies." I accept the fact that I might not get pregnant the instant I start trying, but I do not accept the fact that I would get pregnant earlier than expected. My husband and I have gone above and beyond to be sure there have never been any oopsies; is that really that strange?

    This is the single most important thing I will ever do with my life. Doesn't it make sense to plan for it?

    I guess I've just been surprised that a very modern and updated book -- one that even makes sure to include a section about the effects of doing cocaine before you know you've conceived -- assumes that people still don't know where babies come from or how to prevent them. The book that repeatedly makes assurances that you can still get pregnant despite multiple abortions for some reason also assumes that women don't know anything about their own bodies. You have the right to choose, obviously, because it's your body, but heaven forbid you learn enough about your body to prevent all those danged abortions in the first place. Planning for a pregnancy? That's absurd. We'll shove it into chapter 21. But let's make sure to address previous abortions on page 21.

    How out of whack are our priorities...

    Posted by Sarah at 09:48 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    January 16, 2007

    SEEKING ADVICE

    "The time has come," my mother said,
    "To talk of many things:
    Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
    Of cabbages--and kings--
    And how you need to get pregnant this year while your husband is in a non-deployable state instead of waiting until this arbitrary date in the future that you picked out years ago which you know darn well coincides with when he will start galavanting all over creation."

    I'm scared to death of raising a child. I know it's something I want to do, but I wanted to keep it in the vague future. Someday I would be a mother. But someday is upon us, and my mother is right: I need to start thinking about specifics if we're really going to have a family.

    I called a friend of mine from Germany, the least-likely mommy I know. This is the couple who hated being around children and always said there's no way they were up for parenthood. So when they decided to get pregnant, I wasn't sure how they'd fare. They PCSed, so I never saw her pregnant or anything. I knew that she was the one to ask the tough questions about babies, instead of constantly talking to Angie (pbuh), who would come raise my babies for me if I'd let her. I called her to ask her how motherhood is treating her and to get the Real Scoop on things.

    She loves it.

    I was shocked that this girl has taken to motherhood, and she said that knowing what she knows now, she wouldn't have waited so long; she would've done it years ago. I was just floored. So I figure if they can love it -- the least gung-ho parents I know -- then I can love it too.

    Nothing's happening today, dear readers, but inshallah we'll be on the road to parenthood by the end of the year.

    My friend called me back today and gave me some tips on things she wished someone had told her. She mentioned back-strengthening exercises, something I never would've thought of on my own. And it made me think that others might have some good advice for me as we start this journey.

    So what advice do you have for someone who is thinking of getting pregnant?

    Posted by Sarah at 10:36 AM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

    LETTING GO

    I don't do spontaneous. Everything in my life must be planned out and written on the calendar or it's not going to happen. Saturday night we got a phone call from a college friend saying that he had planned to fly to Virginia and surprise us by renting a car and driving down, but that his flight out of the Midwest had been seriously delayed and could we possibly drive up to see him instead? We had absolutely no reason not to go, but making plans the night before to take a trip to another state is so not something we do.

    We did it. And it was wonderful.

    We stayed in a historical hotel that one of our other friends from college runs. He comped us a majorly expensive room and let the dog come too. I had no idea I had friends in high places.

    Immigrant friends.

    As I watched these two buddies of ours, I was so danged proud of them. They both had come to the US ten years ago with nothing, just the Indian dream of making it big in computer science. And now they're our two most successful friends. I have a hard time feeling sorry for Generation Broke when I think of all these guys have had to overcome. And their visas are always in limbo because they come from a country with too many qualified immigrants. So unfair.

    We watched the football, and the 24, and then talked for hours about Kashmir and Iraq. Thank heavens we didn't let our organization obsession get in the way of the most wonderful weekend we've had in a long time.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    January 11, 2007

    PUPDATE

    I can't really think of any great recent Charlie stories, but we've been setting up the aquarium and he's been extremely interested in the equipment. Maybe there's a lingering fish smell, but he's constantly making off with the net. And the other day I was on the phone with my mom and walked into the living room to find the fishtank rocks completely covering the floor. No sign of them coming out the other end yet, thank goodness. I told my mom what had happened and she said, "I hope you keep a closer eye on your babies than you do on that dog." With my luck, this crafty stinker will figure out a way to teach my babies to eat rocks.

    charlieloveseat.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 08:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    January 10, 2007

    HAPPY

    A while back, AWTM was asking for contributions to the most depressing songs. I suggested Harry Chapin's "Mr. Tanner" and Jude's "I Do." But tonight as I was dancing around the kitchen with the dog to some Tom Jones, I wondered about the flipside to that question. What songs bring a smile to your face no matter what? I mentioned before that I can't but grin when I hear Elvis' "Burning Love" or that detestably cheerful "Mmmbop." I also can't help but feel happy when I hear The Proclaimers' "I'm Gonna Be." (Go ahead, you know you want to listen to it.) I love it so much that we played it to close out our wedding, as we kissed and walked back down the aisle. We thought it was a tribute to all the miles we lived apart while we were dating; little did we know how often we'd live apart for the rest of our lives. I love that song, it's a true love song.

    So what songs make you happy?

    Posted by Sarah at 05:57 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    December 30, 2006

    A CAKE FIT FOR A DICTATOR

    saddamdeadcake.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 02:46 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    December 21, 2006

    CHRISTMAS

    I can't believe it's almost Christmas.

    This holiday season really got lost in the move. I chuckled yesterday when I was unpacking boxed that hadn't been opened since Germany and I thought, "Wow, it's just like Christmas! Oh wait..." In the rush to buy a washer and dryer, a fridge, a sofa, two armoires, new brakes, and a host of other house needs (still no blinds -- that's today), I haven't even thought about Christmas. Not to mention that it's warm here, so how can my brain process it when a store clerk wishes me a merry Christmas and I'm wearing short sleeves? Does not compute.

    Also my husband's present is lost somewhere in the house. I had hidden it in the computer room in the apartment, but I've opened all the computer room boxes here and it's nowhere to be found. I came across his present to me, which he had hidden in his underpants drawer. I told him that was maybe not the best place to hide it considering it was laundry day. Thankfully I didn't really see what it was, because I had an a-ha moment that maybe I shouldn't investigate further.

    I have to shop for Christmas dinner. But first I have to clear away eight thousand glasses and dishes and bowls and tupperwares off the countertops.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:21 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 20, 2006

    PHONES

    After six months in billeting at OBC, three years in Germany, and six months of just cell phones, we have our first home phone in a very long time. We've had it three days, and already I'm sick of the telemarketers. We've gotten so many pre-recorded phone calls that I can't even believe it. How freaking annoying.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    December 19, 2006

    HOUSE

    So here's the latest. The showers had some sort of child-proof anti-scalding contraption, but someone went way overboard with it. So instead of anti-scalding, it became anti-warm. Plumber came out and it's fixed; thank heavens because it was my third day without a shower! Dishwasher is fixed too, so now we can start washing all these dishes that have been in boxes since Germany. I'm still sitting on a folding chair in front of the TV, but we should find a solution to that today. Oh, and the brakes went out on our car, so that was another fun activity to pass the time.

    All in all, I can't complain. Except for the fact that we spent about a thousand dollars today. And we still have bedsheets tacked over the windows.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    December 17, 2006

    UPDATE

    We're here.

    We're a day late on internet connection due to a busted ethernet card, but now we're back in the saddle. Oh, and we've also discovered that our dishwasher is somehow not hooked up to any sort of water supply, and our shower doesn't have any hot water. And none of our furniture can fit through the doorway into our rec room. It's been a busy and fairly annoying two days.

    But it's eight days before Christmas and the temps are still in the 70s. So we're lovin' that.

    Also Charlie is completely freaked out by the move. He won't leave our side, which is unusual for the dog who hates to be touched. But he spent the first day walking around the house crying, so at least we're past that.

    Five moves in four and a half years of marriage. Sheesh.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    December 05, 2006

    63 MORE THINGS

    When I wrote my 100 Things post, some guy commented that I was narcissistic for talking about myself so much. I cracked up, because isn't that the very point of a 100 Things post? I found a post on Keeping the Faith at Fort Carson called 63 Things You Never Cared to Know About Me. If you really don't care, skip it. If you want, read the extended entry.

    1) How old do you wish you were? 30. I can't wait to turn 30.

    2) Where were you when 9-11 happened? Getting ready for school. I really didn't pay any attention to the TV because I didn't want to miss my bus.

    3) What do you do when vending machines steal your money? I hardly ever use vending machines. I can't justify spending as much for one Coke or Snickers as I would for an entire box.

    4) Do you consider yourself kind? Not as much as I used to. I guess I'm still fairly kind, but I am not very empathetic at all.

    5) If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be? Why would I ever have to get a tattoo? I don't have one and I don't ever plan to get one.

    6) If you could be fluent in any other language what would it be? Arabic, so I could get a job helping my country.

    7) Do you know your neighbors? I've chatted with the lady upstairs. Their dog goes on the balcony and barks, and Charlie goes out on our porch and tries to figure out where the noise is coming from. It's hilarious.

    8) What do you consider a vacation? Having my husband be both on leave and on break from his MBA program.

    9) Do you follow your horoscope? No. It's like cold reading: dumb.

    10) Would you move for the person you loved? Sure. How 'bout next week?

    11) Are you touchy feely? I was in high school, but I've slowly grown less touchy feely. I like a nice handshake, and maybe a goodbye hug.

    12) Do you believe that opposites attract? Not for me personally. I want to have the most stuff possible in common with my friends and loved ones.

    13) Dream job? A specialist in the Army, working for my husband. We used to talk about this a lot in Germany, that I could manage all his paperwork and organize his schedule for him. And call him Sir...tee hee.

    14) Favorite channel(s)? Food Network, National Geographic, TNT

    15) Favorite place to go on weekends? See #8

    16) Showers or Baths? Ugh. I hate all water, especially baths. Sometimes I think maybe I'll grow into them, and I pour a bunch of bubble bath in and get in. And in about five minutes, I am hating it and wanting to get out. I hate showers too, but a girl's gotta wash somehow.

    17) Do you paint your nails? Sometimes.

    18) Do you trust people easily? In some ways. Once I lent a boy at my college something like $900. I knew he was good for it. My parents nearly died.

    19) What are your phobias? I don't know. I'm sure I could think of something if I wasted more time on it.

    20) Do you want kids? Sure, in 2008.

    21) Do you keep a handwritten journal? I used to write all the time before I started blogging. Now I still keep these books where I make my own calendars and organizers. Sometimes I write thoughts in there, or like glue in a picture of a cool quilt from a magazine, and other things like that. I have a ton of old journals that freak me out: I want to get rid of them because I don't want anyone to ever read them, especially pre-husband crap that was all needy and obsessive about stupid boys I hate now, but it seems silly to throw away something that was obviously important for me to write at the time. So I want to write in journals, but I never want to read them again.

    22) Where would you rather be right now? In our new house instead of typing on a TV tray in a completely empty room.

    23) What makes you feel warm and safe? Snuggling up next to my husband at night.

    24) Heavy or light sleeper? Light. Once in Germany I woke up when my cell phone battery died and it beeped. It was in my purse downstairs.

    25) Are you paranoid? No, not really.

    26) Are you impatient? Not as bad as my husband. I wouldn't say I'm impatient, but I am definitely inflexible. If we say we're leaving at noon, we'd better be out the door at 12:00 or I'll start getting panicky.

    27) Who can you relate to? CaliValleyGirl. Lately I've been emailing her a lot when stuff bugs me and I need someone to vent to.

    28) How do you feel about interracial couples? What an odd question to be thrown in between 27 and 29. Um, they're fine. I don't care.

    29) Have you been burned by love? What a high-schoolish question. Burned as in fallen in love with someone who was a complete jackass? Then yes. But looking back, it wasn't even love anyway. It's not love if you're both not happy. So no burning.

    30) What's your life motto? My friend embroidered a Joe Dirt shirt for me for last Christmas that says "You can't have no in your heart." I love that shirt.

    31) What's your main ringtone on your mobile? Some free choice preprogrammed into Verizon. I never did get my Dallas theme song...

    32) What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping on a mattress for the last time in the next two weeks.

    33) Who was your last text message from? Erin. It's been my only text message since getting to the US.

    34) Whose bed did you sleep in last night? This is a very collegeish question. My own. Duh.

    35) What color shirt are you wearing? oatmeal

    36) What are you listening to right now? Absolutely nothing. Empty house, remember?

    37) Name three things you have on you at all times? shirt, pants, underpants

    38) What color are your bed sheets? Man, I have more sets of sheets than you can shake a stick at. My favorites are my cowboy sheets.

    39) How much cash do you have on you right now? My purse is in the other room and I'm way too lazy to go check. Something like $40.

    40) What is your favorite part of the chicken? Remember when Cartman ate all the skin out of the bucket of KFC? Awesome.

    41) What's your fav city/place? San Antonio

    42) I can't wait till . . . we move into our house.

    43) Who got you to set up a blog? I wrote an email to Den Beste about something I saw in a college class, and it got so much traffic that I finally kicked off a blog to cash in on the glory myself.

    44) What did you have for dinner last night? A filet mignon sandwich. Not as yummy as I would've hoped.

    46) Have you ever smoked? not even once

    47) Do you own a gun? not yet, but soon

    48) Tea or Coffee? I'm ambivalent about both.

    49) What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex? Don't act "like a damn woman"? That's why my husband's here.

    50) Do you have A.D.D.? No. But you might want to mark me down under OCD.

    51) What time did you wake up today? 6:45, bright and early for the movers. They rolled in at 9:00.

    52) Current worry? Someone will steal my husband's bike during the PCS.

    53) Current want? Last week's warm weather.

    54) Favorite place to be? at home

    55) Where would you like to travel in the future? Anywhere in the US

    56) Where do you think you'll be in 10 yrs? No idea. At our next duty station so we don't have to PCS again? Yeah, right.

    57) Last thing you ate? Pizza Hut

    58) What songs do you sing in the shower? I don't.

    59) Last person that made you laugh? One of the movers, some guy they called Lemon.

    60) Worst injury you've ever had? Minor stuff.

    61) Does someone have a crush on you? Doubtful

    62) What is your favorite candy? anything but licorice

    63) What song do you want played at your funeral? "The Fairest of the Seasons" by Nico and "Please Don't Bury Me" by John Prine

    Posted by Sarah at 04:12 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    December 04, 2006

    WAITING

    I'm sitting here waiting for the movers to show up. Back in April, I was so stressed about the move that I started planning and packing about six weeks in advance. This time, I was so loath to go through the process again that I started packing on Saturday. Whoops. But I guess we're ready to go, as soon as the guys get here.

    And I just found out that Conservative Grapevine is back in business! I loved this site because it was a great way to read blogs I'd never seen before. Check it out if you're looking for a directory of interesting blog posts.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:51 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    December 01, 2006

    BAMBOOZLED

    AWTM is collecting holiday cookie recipes. I have a story to go with my favorites...

    I sent lots of cookies to my boys during the deployment. Usually I'd buy those bags of pre-measured stuff and send cookies down to my husband and his platoon, and also to Red6 and his guys. But one time I had to make "real" cookies for an event back home, so I set aside a few and sent a little baggie to my husband and to Red6. And I got the following letter back from Red6:

    I used to be bamboozled by the Terminator paradox...you know, Reese being the father of John Connor but also being sent back by John Connor? Well, now I'm bamboozled by your cookies. How the heck did you make those? They were incredible. I couldn't figure 3 cookies 16 ways, so I ate 'em all myself.

    So now we lovingly refer to these as The Terminator Cookies.

    2 sticks butter, softened
    1 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 cup light brown sugar
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1 tsp. vanilla
    3 Ĺ cups all purpose flour (sifted)
    1 tsp. baking soda
    Ĺ tsp. salt
    1 package Dove candies

    Combine the butter, peanut butter, and sugars using a mixer on a medium to low speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Then mix in flour, salt, and baking soda. Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours. Unwrap all the candies. Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide into 1 Tbsp balls and flatten. Place a candy in the center of each piece of dough and form the dough into a ball around the candy. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 300į F for 15-17 minutes or until tops of cookies start to crack. Let cookies cool on a baking rack or waxed paper.

    Enjoy the bamboozling deliciousness.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:47 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    November 30, 2006

    AWESOME DAY

    Charlie was beside himself with excitement yesterday because the house was full of people and puppies. Guess who he got to play with? The sweetest puppy on the planet...

    pattispup.JPG

    Tim is in town for job training, so Patti came over to hang out all day yesterday and brought their brand new puppy. Charlie had so much fun, and we had fun watching them. Charlie would pounce on the puppy and then roll over on his back and pull the puppy on top of him. Hilarious. Also, he'd steal a toy from the puppy and run away with it, and then walk back up to the puppy and let her steal the toy back from him. They were too cute. And the puppy was drenched by the end of the night because Charlie kept licking her head.

    And Patti learned to knit! I love teaching people to knit, especially people who get all gung-ho about it. She was very excited and plans to crank out a baby blanket before Christmas!

    It was so nice to have friends over. I've been a tad lonely here since I don't have any human contact except with my husband. Patti kept apologizing for monopolizing my afternoon, as if I were pining for my normal afternoon of Law & Order reruns. It was great to have someone to hang out with, and even better to have Tim and Patti for dinner. How fun to have your dinner guest begin the meal with "So, what do you think of Amadinejad's letter?"

    I wish we were moving southwesterly instead of northeasterly, because our move will only take us further from these good friends.

    Whose head will Charlie lick when we leave?

    Posted by Sarah at 08:08 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    November 24, 2006

    THANKS

    Yesterday we did the whole shebang, a turkey and all the fixins, for just the two of us. On one hand it seemed sad not to have a real Thanksgiving, but on the other hand it felt a bit silly to do the whole deal just for two. In the end, it was really nice. Three years ago I got scolded in my comments section for complaining about slaving over an entire dinner for six people. Last year was wonderful fun, but I think we made entirely too much food and stressed ourselves out a bit getting everything coordinated in the oven. But this year was nice in its own way. We cooked everything as time permitted, and it didn't matter if half the pecan goo spilled over the edge of the pie or the turkey took longer than expected. There was no one to impress, nor was there anyone asking when it would be done. We just ate when we were ready. It was very relaxing and nice.

    And Charlie took an extreme liking to turkey. He followed us everywhere and cried all evening long as he tried desperately to knock over the trash can and get at the carcass.

    thanksgiving2006.JPG

    (image cropped so you can't see the messy kitchen and laundry room)

    Posted by Sarah at 01:14 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    November 22, 2006

    THANKFUL

    The fur and the wet nose, and the dimples and the freckles.
    This is what I'm thankful for.

    thanksgiving2.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 08:19 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    November 21, 2006

    ALL IS WELL

    For those of you who used to follow the adventures at Armor Geddon, I thought I'd let you know that Red6 and his wife are home safe from their year in Iraq.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:00 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 17, 2006

    WASTING TIME WHILE HUBBY'S IN THE FIELD

    I was messing around over at Tammi's World and decided I wanted to do part of her About Me:

    * I AM: the Household 7. Most wives say they're the 6, but I work for a living!
    * I WANT: my husband to be as happy as I am
    * I HAVE: nine big plastic tubs of yarn, waiting to be used
    * I WISH: my body didn't require sleep; I think sleep is a waste of time
    * I HATE: disagreeing with people
    * I FEAR: losing my husband to a car accident
    * I HEAR: Charlie barking his fool head off as kids leave for school
    * I SEARCH: for Charlie's kong toy; we threw it down the hall a year ago and never saw it again
    * I WONDER: how long we'll be at our next duty station
    * I REGRET: not meeting Bunker before he died
    * I LOVE: the Apollo program
    * I ALWAYS: knit while I watch TV; I don't know how to just watch TV
    * I AM NOT: a feminist, by any stretch of the term
    * I DANCE: to Elvis with the dog sometimes
    * I SING: Swedish showtunes when I feel like belting it out; somehow my singing voice sounds awesome when it's not in English
    * I CRY: at the end of Raising Arizona and most episodes of Cold Case

    DO YOU:

    * HAVE A CRUSH: Yes, on every man I've ever met named Fred, which is my favorite name in the whole wide world. I have no idea why I'm hooked on that name, but I get giddy around every Fred I've ever met. I remember the day we met Angie's husband, and my husband went "oh lord, here we go" when we found out his name. Angie's Fred, on the other hand, has no idea who I am even though we've met several times, which obviously points to how cool I am. (By the way, just so I don't look like the only crazy one, my husband has a crush on one of my friends from college; he schemes for her to get divorced and then marry his best friend from high school.)
    * WANT TO GET MARRIED: I'd sooner die than be at a point in my life where that'd be possible.
    * GET MOTION SICKNESS: not really
    * THINK YOU'RE A HEALTH FREAK: ha, I wish
    * CURRENT HAIR COLOR: brown, same as it's ever been. It always makes me laugh when someone says I've changed my hair color, because I've never dyed it or gotten highlights or anything.
    * EYE COLOR: blue or something. I've worn contacts so long that I can touch my bare eyeball with my finger and not flinch, which makes my husband want to puke.
    * BIRTHPLACE: I am way too proud of being an Okie.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:50 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    November 16, 2006

    BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS

    I just had to fill out the papers for our next move, and I got to do the fun one where you tally up all your beds and desks and sewing machines and get an estimate of your moving weight. In the blank where you can say what other heavy stuff you have that's not listed, I put "books -- at least 1000", which if you think about it is heavier than all our desks combined.

    My mother-in-law read that I was a US history dummy and mailed us some history books. She asked my husband if I had had a chance to read them yet, and he snorted and said that I had a lot on my plate right now. Here's my birthday jackpot, thanks to my husband, Oda Mae, and CaliValleyGirl.

    birthdaybooks.JPG

    And that doesn't include the stash of cookbooks from my mom and mother-in-law. Nor the twelve paperbacks I got at Goodwill yesterday, nearly rounding out my Michael Crichton collection. (I swear I'd buy his grocery list if he published it.) Life is good.

    I just finished reading Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader. I completely recommend it for anyone my age, we who were too young to really appreciate Reagan as a president. That man was fantastic. I just started Island, and after about 100 pages, I'm still at that feeling where I can't decide if I'm liking it or not. I guess I'm not disliking it, but it's not what I expected.

    My husband said I need to stop buying books and start seriously hoarding that money to buy, oh, a refrigerator, washer, dryer, sofa, and backyard fence. I told him that my books cost less than his beer, and last much longer. And that he's lucky his wife's Day of Splurging means spending seven bucks on paperbacks at Goodwill.

    But I promised: no more books until after we move.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    November 12, 2006

    HOUSE

    We bought a house yesterday. Let me tell you, that was way more stressful than I thought it would be. Sometimes people get stuck because they can't find a good house, but we had the opposite luck: there were too many to choose from. And houses are not an apples to apples comparison. This one's a couple thousand more, but it has more square footage. But it's a longer commute to post. And this other has a better school district but hideous wallpaper throughout. This one has nice landscaping, a long commute, and costs more. And so on. My mom thought that I'd get a gut feeling about one house and just know I had to have it, but I didn't. Or, I kind of did, but that house was entirely too far from post, so it wasn't perfect either.

    We picked one, and have spent the past two days alternating between ecstasy and trepidation. I guess there's no way to know if we made the absolute right choice, but at least we made it.

    So now the moving begins! Man, I can't believe we just did this six months ago.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:40 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    November 06, 2006

    THINGS I LOVE

    Alton Brown
    speaking Swedish
    the Crunchwrap (CaliValley even got a comment from the creator of the Crunchwrap)
    the cast of The Magnificent Seven
    anything that comes out of Butters' mouth
    the stupid grin I get when I hear "Burning Love" or "Mmmbop"
    Robertson Davies
    chocolate iced rings from Dunkin Donuts
    opening a jar of new peanut butter
    Wes Anderson
    Mormons
    knitting for babies
    Old 97s
    Lolita
    the very first and very last discs of episodes of Futurama
    Jimmy Stewart
    John Doe
    When Lileks told Salam Pax "F**k you"
    the squirrel in the Hoodwinked! trailer who says dee-na-meee-tay
    buying postage stamps
    high and tight haircuts

    Most of the time, this blog feels like it's just me and Will. I noticed that AWTM asked her lurking readers to de-lurk and comment once on one post. (She got 25 people to chime in, but she has more readers than I do.) I thought that was such a fun idea that I'd like to do the same. Tell me something you love too.

    (This post inspired by trying the opposite of a Piece of Crap List. I'll do one of those one day too.)

    Posted by Sarah at 01:41 PM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

    November 04, 2006

    HEARTACHE

    The Girl has been knitting for nine months in preparation for her new niece. But in all the joys of waiting, she never anticipated the baby to be so sick when she was born. No baby should ever have to look like this.

    sickbaby.jpg

    It hurts my heart so much to look at this picture. Please go over and send your strongest thoughts to The Girl's brother and his wife.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    October 23, 2006

    PUPDATE

    I was asked for a pupdate, which is something I will always oblige. So here the stinker is, cute as can be, snuggled up with his squeeky toy. And it's a good thing he's cute, because yesterday he ate through the apartment mini-blinds like they were made of ham.

    pup-Oct.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 11:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    October 21, 2006

    RED, WHITE & AWESOME

    Today rivals our 4th of July for Americanness. We voted (absentee), went to the State Fair and ate our weight in okra and deep fried Snickers, and now we're drinking beer and watching the World Series. Take that, Mellencamp: this is our country.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:40 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    October 11, 2006

    GOOD MEMORY

    Wow, Victor remembered something that I completely forgot: I posted my birthday in a comments section three months ago. It was in reference to a poem he posted that I really liked and that's appropriate for me today...

    Eighteen years old, October eleventh

    Drunk for the first time in her life,
    she tossed her head in a horsey laugh
    and that new opal gift sailed off her sore earlobe,
    in a graceful parabola,
    pinged twice on the stone porch floor,
    and rolled off to hide behind the rose bushes.

    click to keep reading

    Thanks, Victor, for having such a good memory and remembering to swing by here today. Some of my best friends didn't even remember it's my birthday!

    Man, I love the blogosphere.

    Posted by Sarah at 06:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    SAD

    I actually watched Rolie Polie Olie a few times in the mornings in Germany, simply because I knew Lileks liked it. It wasn't a bad show, as far as kids' stuff is concerned, and that's saying a lot because I didn't even have a kid sitting next to me while I watched it. Too bad my future kids won't get to see it.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    ALMOST THERE

    Finally the countdown to 30 can begin; today I'm officially only one year away.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:21 AM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

    September 27, 2006

    LONG WAY TO GO

    Well, we're eastbound and down, loaded up and truckin' this morning. More when I get back where it's warm.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:26 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 10, 2006

    GRADUATION

    Charlie graduated from doggy school today. Overall, I'd say he's improved a lot in the past two months. We need more work getting him to stop jumping on people, but once we master that, I think he'll be a pretty darn good dog.

    graduation.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 08:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    September 09, 2006

    MY ALTON

    Man, how come I find someone I want to be friends with and she lives in a different state? Yesterday I found an Army wife knitter who loves Alton Brown.

    I've had a couple glasses of wine, so bear with my crush here. But I love Alton Brown. Numerous times I've asked my husband if we can marry Alton Brown. I can't get enough of Good Eats, and I tear up every time I watch Feasting on Asphalt. I often toy with the idea of driving to Marietta, GA, and just camping out at grocery stores until I see him.

    Seriously, if you haven't seen Feasting on Asphalt, you should. No one breaks down the charm of America like Alton Brown.

    I think celebrity crushes are ridiculous, but I swoon every time Alton is on TV.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:37 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    September 07, 2006

    PARENTING SUCKS

    You know what's scary about parenting? I think sometimes you can do everything you're supposed to do, and things still don't turn out the way you want.

    I've spent the last month playing Gregory House to our dog. When we moved here, we decided he was old enough to start trying to sleep out of his crate. He loves being under our bed, so we started letting him sleep there. He began throwing up occasionally in the middle of the night, but I read online that this can be normal if it's not too frequent. I didn't think too much of it until I started feeling like it was happening too often, so I started marking the calendar every time he threw up. Turns out it was happening every other day. Our dog trainer suggested switching to a sensitive tummy food, but that didn't do any good. Finally I made a vet appointment, but the earliest we could get in was in a week. We decided we were tired of getting up at 0400 to clean up puke, so we put him back in his crate. No barf for a week.

    Today was our vet appointment, and though the vet was super-nice and super-cheap, I don't feel good about the visit. I wanted tests run and MRIs and sonograms and pushing 100 cc's of something. Instead, the only thing we can come up with is that we crate trained Charlie so well that he is neurotic about sleeping elsewhere.

    I really think I did a Houseworthy job of diagnosing the pup. He can't be allergic to the carpet because he naps on it all day and only throws up at night. I know he's not getting into anything because we sleep with all the doors shut, and anyway I'm such a light sleeper that I wake up every time he rolls over and his collar jingles. It doesn't seem likely that he has acid reflux or something that only affects him at night because he would've gotten sick at least once in his crate. So that leaves us with two possibilities. One, he's allergic to something or has a stomach condition, but there's no way to figure out what it is without a major investigation that the vet didn't seem to think was necessary, and so he can't sleep with us. Two, we turned our dog into a nervous wreck and now he can never sleep with us. Either way, I don't like the way this turned out.

    We did everything we were supposed to do. You're supposed to make the crate a happy place for your dog. You're supposed to crate train them until they're responsible enough to be left alone. And now that we want to feel close to our dog and let him sleep with us, he yaks every night. How utterly sad.

    How could we not want to sleep with this stinker?

    pillow.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 03:07 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    September 06, 2006

    LESSONS

    Powerline writes about a Connecticut sports committee decision to suspend high school football coaches who win by more than 50 points. He then links to another article called Rising when we fall and learning when we lose:

    I reminisced about this last week with my son, now a college sophomore. What was the greatest memory of his sports career? His answer was prompt: the soccer team his junior year in high school. I was astounded. Their record was a dismal 0-15.

    Usually it's not the winning that sticks with you. When we were home on leave in May, I visited my track coaches after ten years of being away. Their memory of my team is a special one for them, one they discuss frequently, because they were embiggened by a decision we girls made.

    There was a girl on my team who was a phenomenal athlete. She could run faster than anyone we'd ever seen and barely break a sweat; in fact, the first time she ever ran the 400m, she qualified for State. But with her incredible talent came a personality that was truly the pits: she made teen-movie witches seem like Pollyana. She was arrogant, spiteful, and mean, and she believed that the only purpose of the rest of the team was to help her win.

    In her senior year, she was awarded a college scholarship in basketball, her favorite sport. As soon as she was certain of the scholarship, she quit our track team, right in the middle of the season. Unfortunately for her, her new college coach found out about it and was not impressed. He didn't want someone who lacked commitment on the team and told her she needed to rejoin.

    Our coaches held a team meeting so everyone could discuss what we wanted to do; the choice to let her back on the team was now up to us. Few of the young girls wanted to say anything; heck, most of us were scared of this girl. But those of us who had already been running with this monster for three years knew what we had to do.

    We didn't want her anymore.

    We knew it would mean that we wouldn't win as many meets, and that we'd have to work harder to make up for the enormous advantage her talent had given us, but we didn't care. Winning wasn't as important to us as being a team was, and now that she was gone, we were a team instead of one star. We politely declined to accept her back, and that was that.

    The coaches are impressed to this day that we chose the quality of our team over the ability to win. I'm sure a part of them wanted to keep her and keep winning. But it was a no-brainer to us; we had learned the lessons our coaches had taught us. Why did we have t-shirts that said "Winners make a commitment" and signs that said "Winning isn't everything...the effort is" if we weren't going to take it seriously?

    And so high school track taught us more than winning. Ten years and bad knees later, all I care about are the bigger lessons I took with me.

    But I still think that a football team should be allowed to kick someone's tail by 50 points if they can.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 28, 2006

    HEALTH CARE

    It's usually pretty easy to gripe about the military health care system, so I wanted to write and say that I had the most wonderful visit this morning. My doctor was so helpful and scheduled me for all sorts of follow-ups and treatments for various things. The whole thing -- from appointment to lab work to pharmacy -- took one hour. It was amazing. Yay for the people here at our hospital!

    And I've lost ten pounds since I moved here too!

    Posted by Sarah at 11:09 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    August 26, 2006

    BE PREPARED

    Yesterday I stopped in at Goodwill to check out their book section. I left with tons of books, including fifty cent copies of What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect the First Year. I've heard these are popular books for pregnancy reading, and I didn't want to pass up such a good deal when I know I'll want them someday. Anyway, they caught the eye of the girls working the checkout counter, who got really excited for me. I realized it's a tad embarrassing to be explain that you're not pregnant but you're buying books about pregnancy.

    Of course, anyone who knows me well is probably laughing, because they know there's no way on earth I'll get pregnant until I've read both books cover to cover and used different highlighters to color-code important information within. My husband and I are the ultimate planners. We spent months researching the type of dog we wanted, for pete's sake. My husband did so much research on our Mazda5 that he knew more about it than the salesman (an advantage which helped him get it at invoice). Right now he's been spending all his free time making intricate spreadsheets comparing different mortgages and the time value of our money to see how we can save $300 over the next five years. We're pretty intense people when it comes to Decisions That Affect Our Future, but heck, we even consult Consumer Reports to decide which dishwasher soap to buy. So while it might've seemed funny to the girls at Goodwill, those who know us aren't shocked that I bought pregnancy books for the baby we'll probably have in 2008.

    Which is actually starting to freak me out a little. In Germany we always said that we'd wait until our next duty station. That was two PCSes away, so it seemed safe. But now we move in just over three months, and the reality of "we're buying the house where we'll have our first baby" is starting to freak me out. It's not going to be anywhere near Angie, and she's supposed to be my nanny!

    I better start reading those books soon...

    Posted by Sarah at 09:42 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

    August 23, 2006

    SMELLS

    I've heard that the best human sense for recall is not sight but smell. I got a new air freshener for the car today that was supposed to smell like "fresh cotton." Either I was misinformed as to what cotton smells like, or this air freshener should've been labeled "old timey bottle of Bayer." I instantly thought of my MuMu. She always kept aspirin and Mentholatum by her bed. What's interesting about the nose is that I didn't really remember that my grandma smelled like aspirin until I smelled that air freshener. And though Bayer is not the best smell for the car, I think I will keep it. And think of her when I drive.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 22, 2006

    SOS

    Oda Mae --
    I don't know if my emails aren't reaching you. At least one got kicked back. Anyway, I need your address to send your bear to you. See if you can email it to me.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    August 19, 2006

    LAME

    Let me just say that I loathe myself for falling into that age-old trap of trying to lose weight a month before your high school reunion. I can't believe I'm playing that dumb game, but I am. I'd like to consider it Incentive, since I know I need to get better at exercising anyway, but I feel like it's more like Panic than Incentive. So I've been working out, probably my second least favorite thing to do behind getting a sonogram.

    Don't you hate when you go to the gym and get on the machine next to SuperWoman? It's happened to me two weekends in a row. I'm not sure men care so much, but the first thing a woman will do is look at her neighbor's screen and compare. And the girl next to me goes harder, longer, and farther than me. By a long shot. I feel like Rocky Balboa if I can do 30 min, but this girl does an hour at a faster pace. And it's all I can think about the whole time I'm exercising: all the excuses for why I haven't decided to deal with the 20 lbs I've gained since high school until a month before it matters.

    Plus I'm a liar. It's probably more like 25.
    God, I hate exercising.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:01 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    August 18, 2006

    BASTARD

    Yes, death penalty, please.
    Hershel Morgan can rot in hell.
    Jessica Curless was my brother's good friend.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:28 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 16, 2006

    WHEW

    Mom and brother are fine, of course.
    More tomorrow; we have House to watch.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 09, 2006

    WHEEZIE

    My husband's family's cat passed away today. I am not a cat person at all, but I loved this little critter. She had spunk and major personality. They named her Wheezie because of the funny way she breathed, but no animal could ever have acted more of Wheezie Jefferson. This cat had attitude.

    wheezie.JPG

    We'll miss you, Wheezie.
    Best. Cat. Ever.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:50 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 02, 2006

    HOORAY

    Conversation heard in our house this morning:

    Husband: I'm gonna sip Bacardi like it's my birthday. Hey, do we have any Bacardi?
    Me: I don't give a f*k; it's not my birthday.
    [Much laughter]

    The husband's now officially closer to 30 than to 20. We're celebrating at Dollar Hot Dog Night at the ballgame.

    He's still as cute as he was at 19. Still fits in the same pants too. Jerk.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:59 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    July 26, 2006

    AWESOME

    My dad fishes every single day he can. Christmas too. But he got his biggest catch ever over the weekend: a 22-pounder!

    dadsfish.JPG

    Now he just has to catch one as big as Kelly's dad's fish.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    REUNION

    Lileks attended his high school reunion this weekend; I recently bought a plane ticket to my own. It was really hard to fill out the survey about what you've been doing since. When you know you're moving two months after the reunion, what do you put for address and phone number? What do you say your job is, what you did before or what you hope to do next? And when they ask how many places you've lived since high school, it's surreal to write 9.

    I'm excited to go see people I haven't seen in at least six years, but the impending reunion has made it hard to get high school off my mind; I keep replaying stuff from school and wondering how I'd do it differently. I wouldn't want my life to turn out any differently now, but sometimes I wish I'd taken a different path to get here.

    My school even has a reunion website. You can see me dead center, my eyes peeking out over the word "going". The bearded guy directly below me is now a Special Forces soldier; my husband and I are going to Bragg to visit him next weekend before he deploys again. And the girl up in the far left corner surprised my brother by being his doctor last year. It will be interesting to find out what everyone else has been up to.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 17, 2006

    PUPDATE

    Let's have some pupblogging to get our minds off the news, shall we? Charlie has graduated to sleeping outside of his crate most nights. He dives under the bed while we're brushing our teeth and stays there until I get out of bed in the morning and coax him out into the world. There's nothing cuter than seeing him emerge yawning and stretching...except for when he doesn't quite make it all under the bed in the first place. Every once in a while, this is what we find peeking out from under the bed:

    piggies.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 10:44 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    July 14, 2006

    OLD

    Dear Will,
    OK, then by your definition, I'm old. I don't ever "pretend to get wild," and I honestly don't care whether the shows I watch or the music I listen to is cool. I have no intention of ever going to a club again in my life, and I can't ever remember what I liked about them in the first place. I'm far happier reading in bed at 9:30 than most club-goers and drug-takers are when they're out on the town. And it makes me snicker that you think I've let something "slip away": I am so looking forward to turning 30 that it'd make your skin crawl. But you have fun with your piggyback rides and drugs; I'll just sit here in my home with my maxed-out Roth and the teddy bear I'm knitting for charity and enjoy being old.

    Oh, and I never drink Heineken, just Budweiser from the can.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:51 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    July 11, 2006

    SADNESS

    One of our best friends from college is from India, and he's in Mumbai right now. I hope he's OK. I feel something special in my heart for India as a country, and I hate that this has happened.

    And I guess I missed the memo that we were all going to start calling it Mumbai instead of Bombay. When did that happen? I guess at the same time we started calling Qatar "Cutter". Let me know when we're supposed to start calling Japan Nihon.

    Posted by Sarah at 12:26 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 06, 2006

    WASTEFUL

    I've been making my way through boxes all day. I just can't stand to have the house like this, so I'm working myself to the bone trying to get it all organized. Before we left Germany, I was too overwhelmed to go through our closets and get rid of stuff that doesn't fit or that we've had for ten years. I started doing that today, and the more boxes I open, the worse I feel. I have so much junk. We lived for two months out of a suitcase; I had something like seven shirts and five pair of pants, and that clothed me every single day. Now that I have boxes and boxes of clothes, I just feel wasteful and ridiculous. Why on earth do I have 14 pairs of flip flops? I've already re-boxed four boxes of stuff to send to Goodwill, and I'm trying to figure out what else I can get rid of. And I also realized that I've knitted myself to a very full closet; I have more sweaters and scarves/hats than I know what to do with. I need to do some give-away knitting for a while...

    Posted by Sarah at 05:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    July 05, 2006

    FIRST DAY DONE

    Well, it's been one day and I've already got the CD cabinets alphabetized. The house is shaping up, sort of. There's still a lot to do, but at least we have the microwave out; leftovers have never felt so easy. We also spent a month watching a 14 inch TV, so now our 28 incher feels like the front row at the movie theater! And I am so looking forward to sleeping on a bed for the first time in a month...

    Posted by Sarah at 07:38 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    BUSY

    Our house is stuffed to the gills right now; our household goods finally showed up this morning. I have never been so excited to sit on a sofa!

    Posted by Sarah at 03:26 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    July 04, 2006

    HOME FOR THE 4th

    Today was a special day because our pup became an American. Since Charlie was born and raised in Germany, we have been joking since we got home that we should officially make him a citizen. So we chose today to have his naturalization ceremony. He raised his right hand and swore an oath of citizenship, which was uproariously funny at the time.

    naturalization.JPG

    And because it was such a special day for him, we let him eat with us. Charlie got to eat a waffle and a hamburger! What a day...

    waffle and burger.JPG

    And then this evening my husband and I did the most American thing we know: we went to a baseball game. The Blowfish played a great game, and then they had fireworks over the stadium. I know we had fireworks on post in Germany, but these were close enough to smell! And it just felt so good to be in a stadium full of people wearing red, white, and blue and listening to Lee Greenwood. I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off my face the whole fireworks display.

    4th of july.JPG

    It's so good to be home...

    Posted by Sarah at 10:20 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    ANTICIPATION

    This is my first 4th of July in the United States in three years. I thought I'd write something this morning about how it feels, but I think I'd rather write at the end of the day. We have big plans to do the most American things we can...

    Posted by Sarah at 08:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 18, 2006

    DAD

    I wish our household goods were here so I could post my favorite photo of my dad. But it will have to wait until the end of the month for his birthday (our stuff better be here by then!) He said if the weather was nice he'd go fishing but if it rained he'd go to the office. Hope he went fishing...

    Posted by Sarah at 06:42 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    June 16, 2006

    FOUR YEARS

    When we got married, we had extra space in the back of our wedding album, so we decided to take an anniversary photo every year to keep the album going throughout our marriage. Our four years include moving into our new house in Germany, being apart during Iraq, getting a new puppy, and sitting in an empty apartment waiting for our household goods. Have we aged at all? I don't think so, but I can't wait to look back on these four photos in about 20 years!

    anniversary1.JPG

    anniversary2.JPG

    anniversary3.JPG

    anniversary4.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 08:28 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    June 15, 2006

    TODAY

    The best decision I ever made was to tell that boy across the hall from me that I had a crush on him. If I hadn't, I probably wouldn't have been standing across from him four years ago today. And then we wouldn't have added that silly puppy to our family one year ago!

    We're celebrating our anniversary by going to the port and picking up our car, which has made its way across the Atlantic. And hopefully we can stop at The Bell along the way.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:25 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    June 13, 2006

    PUPDATE

    The blog is due for a pupdate! I haven't written about Charlie's experiences in the US yet...

    I was concerned that Charlie might be overwhelmed by flying alone and staying at my in-laws' house without us. We thought he'd be overjoyed to see us, but when we got there, he gave us a cursory lick and then ran back outside. He loved their doggie door and playing with their dog and two cats. He wrestled one cat constantly, which was hilarious. And he learned about chasing birds and squirrels too.

    He then made the trip from Kansas City to Illinois via the new Busch stadium, which he christened with a big fat dump on the sidewalk. He did fine at my parents' house too, except for the fact that my parents' dog didn't really want to have anything to do with him. He spent the two weeks baiting their dog, pushing him with his nose and pouncing, hoping he'd want to play back.

    Moving appeared to be a maturing process; we were able to leave him out of the crate most of the time because he had other animals to occupy him. He had one ridiculous lapse in judgement that nearly got him strangled though: on the last night at my parents' house he ate my brand new $27 hank of beautiful wool. It was sitting next to a $2 skein that I had gotten on sale, but naturally he didn't want that one. Other than that near-fatal mistake, he was very good on his vacation.

    He made the 15-hour car ride with us out to our new post. He did surprisingly well in his crate the whole way, until we got about two hours out. At that point, he completely wigged out and started banging his head on the bars and yelping. I let him sit in my lap the rest of the way.

    He did fine in the Army hotel, considering we were in the "pet section" and there were barking dogs all around us. He didn't like the constant come-and-go of the cleaning crew, but overall he did OK. He's been pretty good in the new apartment as well. It's funny that none of our furniture is here, and we have tan carpet and walls; I can never find him because he camouflages so well into his surroundings! He took up a fascination last night with those springy door stop things: he constantly boings it, and he's already eaten the rubber stopper off.

    But most of the time he's content right here at the patio door.

    patio.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 03:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    June 04, 2006

    YUMMY

    I took this photo before we left my parents' house. My collection of cookbooks doubled when I hit the ground a month ago...

    books.JPG

    It's a wonder we fit everything in the car...now we just have to fit it all in 500 less square feet!

    We made it. The place is nice, if just a tad small. But we'll live for six months. We're still getting settled; our unaccompanied baggage gets delivered on Tuesday, so we should be on the internet within a day or two. Can't wait to be connected again.

    And can't wait to start cooking!

    Posted by Sarah at 10:54 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    May 29, 2006

    MEMORIAL DAY

    Today my family went to one of the oldest cemeteries in our city. There's a section called Soldier's Hill that is the resting place for veterans as far back as the War of 1812. It was humbling to be there today.

    soldiershill.JPG

    As we were driving towards the gates, my mother's eagle eye spotted a lone marker at the edge of the cemetery. Out of the thousands of gravestones in that cemetery, I was honored to have found this one...

    chip.JPG

    Chip Chan went to my high school. I barely knew him, but like everyone else I heard the news that he had been working for Cantor Fitzgerald in the WTC and was lost on September 11. I was so touched that we found his beautiful gravestone today.

    We'll grill out tonight like everyone else does, but I'm glad we spent our Memorial Day the way it really should be spent.

    Tomorrow morning we pile into the car and make our way across half of the country. By the time we finally get there, our brand new car will already have 3000 miles on it. But we're ready for the adventure...

    Posted by Sarah at 12:21 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    May 28, 2006

    FINALLY

    We saw X-Men today. Some of the dialogue was cheesy, but you know I'm a sucker for anything Marvel. Now I just can't wait for Superman...

    Posted by Sarah at 03:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 23, 2006

    COACH

    Tonight I went to see my old track coach. I graduated from high school ten years ago yesterday, so I wondered what it would be like to be hanging out with him at 28 instead of at 18. But he's still the same wonderful man I remember.

    Actually, many at my high school would debate the "wonderful" part. He was rough, the Bobby Knight of high school girls track. He yelled, turned red, and kicked girls off the team. But he was fair too: if you gave track your all, he'd support you to the end. He ran our team a lot like the military, with a strict hierarchy, rigid uniform requirements, and a lot of yelling. That man put so much energy into track that he collapsed at last year's state meet. He's retired now and is just back helping for fun. He's a lot more relaxed now, but I wouldn't have traded what his previous intensity taught me. He taught me dedication and commitment to your team and to your goals. He taught me a lasting respect for my elders. And he taught me to push when I thought I didn't have anything left. And I love him for it.

    While I was out on the field talking to my coach, my husband ran into my cousin; she had run track for another high school a few years behind me. She asked what on earth he was doing at a track meet, and he said that I was back visiting my old coach. My cousin was flabbergasted: "That man is a psycho!" Yes, he is, but he's my psycho.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    May 20, 2006

    UPDATE

    OK, so here's the deal. We got to my parents' house on Tuesday, only to find that their internet provider can't read mu.nu blogs. My mom has been telling me for months that she can't access my site, and I've been rolling my eyes and thinking that she just doesn't know how to use a computer. But it's actually true! I contacted Pixy Misa and he said that for whatever reason, Insight Broadband can't read anything mu.nu. So I can't post anything or read any of my comments. Needless to say, it's been frustrating. And I'm at my parents' for another ten days...

    But right now we're in Des Moines visiting an old friend from college. He was my husband's friend first and mine by default, but he's a really great guy. He's Indian, and it's been interesting hearing the way the pending immigration bill affects his life. He's in the last stages of getting his green card, and if anyone deserves it, it's this guy. Last night my husband threw out some random joke about John Snow, and our buddy not only knew he was the Secretary of Treasury, but also knew who the previous one was! It's wonderful to watch my husband meet his match in global awareness. I wish these two could spend more time together.

    Nothing else as exciting as cockfighting to report. I've been spending my time buying yarn and cookbooks. Both stashes have doubled since we arrived. Now I'm starting to panic because we have to fit everything in the car and we've wasted so much space buying warm clothes! Luckily the weather has turned in the Midwest (knock on wood) and we can at least venture into short sleeves.

    Forgive me if I can't blog for a while. It's not that I'm holding back! Maybe if something good comes up I can have Erin post it for me again. I think I'll try to call Insight's tech support and see if I can get to the bottom of this mess.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:28 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    May 11, 2006

    HOME SWEET HOME

    Right before we left Germany, we ate at a new Chinese restaurant near post. The food was really good, but two entrees and drinks was $30. We just got to Kirksville and ate at our favorite all-you-can-eat buffet for ten bucks. Man, I love this country.

    Our college looks pretty much the same. The students all look like they did before, except they're all talking on cell phones. Husband and I never owned a cell until we got married! But everyone here is gabbing up a storm while they walk through campus.

    It's good to hear that the local ROTC program is going strong. We got to say hi to our favorite Major. And now we're off to see our old Iranian neighbors. It'll be interesting to hear what they think of old crazy pants.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    May 10, 2006

    UPDATE

    Last night we went to a very exciting KC Royals baseball game. They have a fabulous military deal: free admission for the soldier and three family members. We had great seats and a heck of a game.

    We've been back to Walmart too.

    My mother-in-law also told a good story. My husband and I were out yesterday and she ran out to the drugstore. She was chatting in line when she suddenly remembered that she hadn't put Charlie in his crate. She said out loud, "Oh no, I left Charlie in the backyard! He's only one, but he should be OK since I haven't been gone very long." The store manager almost called the cops until she realized that Charlie was a puppy and not a kid!

    Tomorrow we're traveling to Kirksville for the day to visit our alma mater. It'll be interesting to see how it's changed.

    And I'm dying to buy a cell phone. This ringtone thing is out of control. I've already got my sights on the Dallas theme song...

    Posted by Sarah at 08:33 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    May 04, 2006

    HOME

    We made it!

    Our flight was long, but it was impossible to feel bummed when we knew we were on a one-way ticket! Even when our little headrest TV screens didn't work, nothing could get us down. I managed to knit most of a sock on the way back. At one point I thought the stewardess was going to reprimand me, and I was all set to pull out the FAA regs and then narc on the lady crocheting behind me, but then I realized all the stewardess had said was "Is that a sock or a glove?"

    Within 24 hours of being on the ground, we bought a car. My husband had been doing months of research, and we knew exactly what we wanted. As long as it was close to what we imagined it would be, we knew we'd be happy. A test drive later, my husband was ready to talk business. And now we're the proud owners of a Mazda5.

    I've adjusted my sleeping schedule fairly well, but my husband is still waking up at an ungodly hour. Light switches seem weird and I keep forgetting how to dial the phone. Charlie is having the time of his life chasing squirrels and birds in my in-laws' backyard. He barely missed us.

    I'll try to write more soon. However, my in-laws only have dial-up, so I don't imagine I'll be online much for a while. And having more than eight TV channels is still too overwhelming for me at this point.

    Life is good.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:28 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    April 29, 2006

    WORN OUT

    Note to those who are moving: When they say that your unaccompanied baggage will be picked up any time between 0700 and 2100, they ain't lyin'. Nothing like giving you a 14 hour time window to sit in an empty house. Our guys showed up at 1800.

    Second note to those who are moving: The vehicle registration office closes at noon the last business day of the month for inventory. That info would've been nice to know when we set up our car shipping appointment for the last business day of the month. They're also closed on German holidays (Monday's Communism Day, I mean May Day), so if we hadn't raced to get there at 1120, we would've been out of luck for clearing.

    Third note to those who are moving: Don't get a billeting room with a kitchen when you're outprocessing. Your TLA is double! Woo-hoo. That will offset the money my husband had to shell out to CIF.

    Thank goodness this week is over.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:35 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 26, 2006

    DONE

    Well, the house is packed. The movers said they had never spent four hours packing a kitchen before. I guess fourteen boxes of dishes and kitchen stuff is a bit much. Our household goods are mostly dishes, yarn, and books.

    I noticed one thing today. You'd think that people who design military housing would make it conducive to moving. Since people are always moving in and out, maybe twisty staircases and right angles in the hallways are not a good idea. I watched the movers bang my stuff a million times while they were trying to maneuver out the front door and down the huge step. These houses should have ramps!

    Posted by Sarah at 04:59 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    April 24, 2006

    AFN RULES

    Charlie Puppy made it off OK this morning. I think. He was crying up a storm when we had to leave him, but I think he was only crying slightly harder than I was. He still has another 11 hours until he gets to the Midwest.

    We're getting ready to take apart the computer. It goes in unaccompanied baggage, along with ma games and trophies. (There's a little AFN humor for ya.) We're staying with Erin for two nights, so I might find the time to hop online at some point before we go.

    Now I'm off to organize our school clothes, and maybe a winter coat.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:52 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    April 22, 2006

    CUTE

    Charlie just loves that big bear that his friend Lewis gave him. He drags it around everywhere with him, apparently even when he has to pee. Just a minute ago I heard my husband downstairs say, "Charlie, you cannot take that thing outside."

    Tomorrow starts the big moving process. We take Charlie to the airport at the crack of dawn on Monday. Our phone and internet gets shut off on Tuesday, which is when the movers come, so I will probably be out of the blogging loop for a while.

    Only nine more days until Dairy Queen.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:58 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    April 19, 2006

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHARLIE!

    Yesterday was Charlie's first birthday. He invited six of his closest friends over to the house. They had Beef Bacon Cheddar cake and Charlie got lots of toys and treats as gifts. And all his friends went home with party favors as well.

    The party went much better than you might expect for inviting multiple dogs into your home. We videotaped the event, and this was the one screen shot where we could get all seven dogs in the picture. So here's Charlie being the center of attention...

    birthday.JPG

    And here's Charlie, worn out at the end of the night, playing with his new birthday bear...

    birthday2.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 07:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    April 18, 2006

    DANG

    Charlie likes to sit on our bed and look out the window. Here's an old pre-haircut photo of him doing it.

    window.JPG

    Two minutes ago he was sitting on our bed like this and caught sight of our neighbor going out to her car. He barked once and then leapt towards the window, crashing into the glass, nearly impaling himself on the window handle, and falling to the ground.

    Sometimes I think he's brilliant, and other days I'm not so sure.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    April 16, 2006

    BAH HUMBUG FOR EASTER

    Erin asked me if I was going to write a post about Easter today. My day started out great, with the last Sunday Knitting Club at my house. But it was all downhill from there. My husband needs a military vehicle early tomorrow morning, and we spent over two hours driving all over Bavaria trying to find the soldier who has the TMP keys in his pocket. At that point we were both already quite grumpy, so after dinner we sat down to watch a movie and relax. Of course it didn't help our mood when the disk started skipping and we had to restart the DVD player five times. And then Charlie nipped my husband's hand while they were playing and got him pretty hard on the finger, and I cut my hand on the medicine cabinet and started bleeding myself. We gave up and came upstairs to go to bed and forget about today.

    But Happy Easter anyway.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    April 06, 2006

    BOOKS

    Found this on a knit blog and immediately wanted to do it.

    Name 5 of your favorite books:
    Alas Babylon
    The Cornish Trilogy
    Lolita
    The Power of One
    Contact

    What was the last book you bought?:
    The First Three Minutes

    What were the last 3 books you read?:
    War of the Worlds
    Just a Couple of Days
    Gates of Fire

    List 5 books that have been particularly meaningful to you:
    Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
    Atlas Shrugged
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Stranger in a Strange Land
    Skinny Legs and All

    Name 3 books you've been dying to read but just haven't gotten around to:
    Taking Science to the Moon
    Up From Slavery
    The Soul of Battle

    My husband and I did some final unpacking from Iraq last weekend. His tattered, dirty, torn copy of Atlas Shrugged fell out. I had promised it to Erin since Amritas gifted me a nice new copy, but when I saw it and thought of how it had kept my husband company for so many hours out at that stupid bridge over the Tigris, well, I just couldn't part with it. I'm buying Erin her own copy.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:45 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

    QUILT

    When my husband left for Iraq, I started a patchwork quilt. That was two years ago. Sewing it all together was fun and easy, but as soon as it came time to actually quilt it, I thought it was too hard. The quilt sat on a shelf for over a year, but I knew I had to finish it before we moved. I finally finished this week; it really wasn't as hard as I thought, though of course there are all sorts of mistakes that I just whatevered and kept going. I tried to take a photo of the finished product today. Naturally, everything in this house belongs to Charlie, so he grabbed it and ran down the hall with it.

    quilt.JPG

    Charlie has chewed on some valuable stuff in his lifetime, but this might take the cake. Unless you count the envelope of $300 I wrestled away from him on Monday.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:19 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    March 31, 2006

    BABY BOOM

    There was something in the water in our neighborhood nine months ago...
    Baby #1
    Baby #2
    Baby #3
    And unfortunately we'll be moving before I get to meet Baby #4.

    You all are amazing. A dog is too much work for me.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:01 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    March 29, 2006

    FINALLY

    We've got orders and plane tickets. We move in 34 days...

    Posted by Sarah at 06:44 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    March 28, 2006

    NOT NOW

    Now is not the time to get sick.

    My husband was promised that his orders would be ready today. And not a moment too soon, since we're leaving in about four weeks. That means there's a ton to get done, and since I'm scheduled to work tomorrow and Thursday is Sergeant's Time, everything needs to get done today: final out, household goods, plane tickets, etc.

    And I feel like I've been run over by a truck.

    UPDATE:

    I guess it doesn't matter anyhow, since the husband didn't get orders today anyway. I normally try not to complain, but they've been telling him every day for two weeks now that his orders will be done "tomorrow." It's getting a bit frustrating.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:05 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    March 25, 2006

    PUPDATE

    The Girl sent me this link with Charlie in mind: Game of fetch turns ugly
    I don't know if Charlie could swallow a whole stick, but he appears to be working himself up to the challenge: two days ago he threw up a couple of pieces of tree bark.

    In other Charlie news, he's gotten too smart for this house. Our kitchen pantry has a flimsy folding door, and Charlie has taught himself to open it and feast on the garbage. He bites the wooden slats and pulls! So now we have to have something constantly blocking the door, which makes my life annoying because I have to move a gigantic space heater every time I need to get food or throw something away.

    I took some photos of the husband and the pup wrestling on Ace Ventura night. This one turned out hilarious:

    wrestle.JPG

    Stay tuned for photos of Charlie's birthday party in April; he's inviting six of his closest friends over for cake...

    Posted by Sarah at 06:34 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    March 10, 2006

    WISTFUL

    I just had a wistful moment at my new job. We recycle old used folders when a new client comes in, and today the folder that was on top to use was Heidi Sims'. It was sad for me to stick a new label on that folder. But at least I'm excited that Heidi will be visiting next week! I can't wait to spend some time with her now that I've gotten to know her better.

    Posted by Sarah at 02:04 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    March 09, 2006

    ALL THAT BEAUTIFUL FUR...

    After the Incident, I knew we had to get a professional involved. Charlie's hair has been steadily getting more tangled. I handed over one big mess of hair to the dog groomer today...

    haircut1.JPG

    and this is what they handed me back...

    haircut2.JPG

    He doesn't even look like the same dog! But I'm sure this hair situation, although a bit chilly for our snow, will be much better for summer in South Carolina.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:38 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    COOL

    Colby Buzzell has another article out in the March issue of Esquire. Personally, Buzzell is a bit too existentialist for my taste, but this article features our friend LT A who was injured in Mosul. I can't believe LT A remembers pushing his own intestines back into his stomach...

    Posted by Sarah at 08:57 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    February 21, 2006

    BISCUITS

    As you know, I've been feeling guilty about Charlie's accident. I've never even had stitches, but I made my dog have to get them! So I've been spoiling him rotten for the last few days. Today I decided to make him some homemade dog biscuits. The recipe said it would make three dozen, so I decided to double it. Would someone mind telling me when three dozen turned into 100? I've got 200+ dog biscuits here now! So everyone's getting some: Winston, Lewis, Elway, and any other dog I can think of. They seem to be a hit; the whole time I was baking, Charlie was doing this:

    biscuits1.JPG

    Don't be fooled by the silence of your computer; he's howling his fool head off in this photo. That's all he did for two hours. Except of course when he was trying to think of a better way to get at the biscuits:

    biscuits2.JPG

    That dog is just too dang much.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:38 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

    February 15, 2006

    13 THINGS

    I saw this on MQ's site: 13 Things You Wouldn't Guess By Looking At Me. I don't know if I can come up with 13, but I'll try.

    Hmm, I am anal and compulsive. I bet I could come up with 13 ways my best friends make fun of me for it.

    1. I measure everything when I cook. I can't do pinches and handfuls and dabs. I measure everything out perfectly, even if it's something I've made ten times.
    2. I researched and read books for months before we got a dog. I panic every time he does something out of the ordinary; both Erin and Kelly have gotten frantic calls about all sort of bodily functions.
    3. I also write everything on the calendar: when Charlie had his last bath, when I cleaned his ears. I obsess about this dog so much that I know there's no way I'm ready to have a kid.
    4. All of our movies and music are alphabetized. So are our books. I used to have them alphabetized within categories (e.g. fiction, travel, etc), but that became too difficult to maintain.
    5. I even organized all my husband's field manuals. That was before I realized he's never once looked in one.
    6. I also organize greeting cards into a file folder by event.
    7. My friends tease me that I was even anal about my relationship: six years ago today my husband and I sat down and decided to be a couple. No spontaneity here.
    8. But here's a few they might not know yet: I only turn the TV volume to an even number.
    9. Also I color coordinate my shampoo and body lotion with what I'm wearing that day.
    10. And I coordinate different detergents and fabric softeners with different loads of laundry.
    11. I also coordinate my dishes with the food we're having. I guess that's why I have five place settings.
    12. My old roommate and I used to share expenses in our apartment down to the last cent. If one of us bought a roll of paper towels, the other would hand over a quarter.
    13. And as all of you already know, I stress out about using up spices, canned goods, and beauty products before we move. I lie in bed and fret about the bottle of Worcestershire sauce that will never be used. And it cost one dollar.

    There. 13 things that might make you want to reconsider getting too close to me.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:53 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    February 14, 2006

    TRADITION

    As I sing to my husband every year:

    I was working in the lab late one night
    When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
    For my monster from his slab began to rise
    And suddenly to my surprise

    He did the mash
    He did the monster mash
    The monster mash
    It was a graveyard smash
    He did the mash
    It caught on in a flash
    He did the mash
    He did the monster mash

    I choo-choo-choose you.

    Posted by Sarah at 01:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 10, 2006

    OVERNIGHT

    Well, we got dumped on this morning. We seem to have gotten about seven inches of snow overnight, so the most logical thing to do was to send Charlie out in it.

    Febsnow.JPG

    He had a blast, but then when we came in we noticed that he wasn't obeying his sit command. Maybe it had something to do with this...

    snowlegs.JPG

    Poor puppy. But after a quick rinse in the tub, he was good as new.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:32 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    February 06, 2006

    EXHAUSTED

    The Superbowl didn't start here until after midnight, but my husband and Charlie stayed up for the whole thing. And now Charlie has been a complete wreck: he hasn't eaten a single thing all day and he didn't even pee until 1900! His system is a mess. Apparently our pup needs a strict bedtime...

    exhaustedpup.JPG

    (Our exhausted pup, snuggling with his stuffed moose)

    Posted by Sarah at 08:33 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    February 03, 2006

    NOT TAGGED

    Nobody tagged me, but I'm gonna do this one anyway...

    4 Jobs You Have Had in Your Life
    1. paperboy
    2. jewelry salesperson
    3. English teacher
    4. The Girl's secretary :)

    4 Movies You Would Watch Over and Over
    1. The Royal Tenenbaums
    2. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
    3. True Romance
    4. Raising Arizona

    4 Places You Have Lived
    1. Germany
    2. France
    3. Sweden
    4. Texas

    4 TV Shows You Love to Watch
    1. Smallville
    2. Alias
    3. Futurama
    4. Numbers

    4 Places You Have Been on Vacation
    1. Wyatt Earp's house
    2. The Alamo
    3. Bolzano, Italy to visit the Iceman
    4. Cuba, NY

    4 Web- sites You Visit Daily
    1. LGF
    2. After that I bounce around a lot
    3.
    4.

    4 Favorite Foods
    1. steak
    2. peas
    3. turkey cutlets with rosemary-tomato sauce
    4. broccoli-rice-cheese casserole

    4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
    1. Las Vegas
    2. In my husband's office
    3. Talking with Bunker
    4. Anywhere in the USA

    Posted by Sarah at 07:54 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    January 15, 2006

    LONG TIME NO BLOG

    I haven't written because my mother arrived here in Germany on Wednesday. We've already had many adventures -- from having to unexpectedly buy new tires to trying to get a train schedule in Poland -- and I'm sure there's more to come.

    In the meantime, two things have happened. For one, I got to participate in solving The Mystery of the Christmas Box. And secondly, I learned a valuable lesson:

    If someone contacts you via your blog and says she's moving to your town, be nice to her. She might eventually become the employment coordinator for your post, and then one day she'll find out she can hire a secretary and she'll give you a job. That's how I just got a new job working for The Girl.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:15 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    January 06, 2006

    SECRETS

    I've been reading the thrilling book In Cold Blood, and apparently it's really gotten into my head: last night I dreamt a man with a shotgun tied up my brothers and me. I think it's superbly written, and I can't put it down.

    In the chapters I read last night, a detective read through the daughter's diary, hoping to find clues as to who had murdered the family. I started thinking about people going through stuff that I own. If something happened to the husband and me, there are a few things that would embarrass me, even after I'm dead. For example, I've kept a journal for years. I haven't written in it as often since I've started blogging, but I used to write in it every day, and I still have journals from years before I met my husband. Would I want my mom reading that stuff? How about the 215 letters I sent to my husband while he was in Iraq? I want to keep those things, but I'm not sure I want anyone else reading some of the more intimate ones! Would I want my mom going through my underpants drawer? Aggh! I suppose all of it is moot if I'm dead, but still. Everyone has secret aspects of his personality, and I'm not sure I want anyone knowing about mine.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:53 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 31, 2005

    2005

    2005 brought my husband home from Iraq. If he has any say in it, this won't be the end of our family's involvement in the miraculous changes taking place in the Middle East. I'm glad to have him with me whenever I can, but I'm proud of him no matter where he is in the world.

    2005 also brought Charlie into our life. We have good days and bad, but every day he gets a little better, and there's nothing like realizing the dog just stole an Italian sausage link out of the fridge to make you laugh.

    2005 brought the hope that I might be published. I'm not holding my breath just yet, but it's exciting just to be asked to join in Blackfive's Milblogs book.

    But 2005 also took something from me, something I miss every day. It's been six months since Bunker's passing, and I still think about him all the time. His absence is a big void in my blogosphere.

    2006 will bring two PCS moves and a return to the US for our family. I'm anxious to get the adventures of this coming year started.

    So long, 2005...

    Posted by Sarah at 08:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 25, 2005

    CHRISTMAS MORN

    Last year I felt a little lame opening presents under the tree by myself, so this year was much more fun. We all had a merry Christmas...especially Charlie, who ate the nose off his brand new toy in under a minute.

    nonose.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 11:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 24, 2005

    DISAPPOINTMENT

    We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.

    I've been having a nagging feeling lately that I wasted my education chances. I had excellent grades in high school, and I got a full ride to college. I could've done anything with my four years that I wanted to, and I had two paths I could've followed. I could've studied French, which was easy for me and fun. Or I could've studied physics, which I found extremely interesting but took more work and application of my brain. I chose French.

    As I sit in Germany with no job, I realize that neither degree would've done me much good here. I only use French to write Christmas cards to my elderly French relatives. By the time we move to our next duty station, it will be time to start discussing plans for children, so I'll never have much going for me in the way of a career. I can't help but feel that if my degree is only going to end up being for my personal enrichment, then I made the wrong choice.

    I always thought it was strange that European youngsters are pigeonholed into careers far earlier than we Americans are. There's really no such thing as an "undecided major" in Europe. But even though I waited until the ripe old age of 19 to decide my major, I still feel now at 28 that I should've chosen wiser. I chose French because it came so easily to me, and because it was the smallest major at my college, which would afford me more electives to play around with. I looked into the physics minor, but it turned out to be more hours than the French major, impossible if I studied abroad. So I let it go, and now I'm disappointed in myself.

    28-year-old Sarah can't get President Kennedy out of her mind. I wish I'd chosen physics because it was hard. I should've worked and stretched my brain and forced myself to acquire new skills. I should've tried to do something I really wanted to do instead of taking the lazy route.

    I should be an out-of-work physicist instead of an out-of-work French speaker.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:48 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

    December 23, 2005

    TRAILER

    I watched the Superman Returns trailer. OK. I'm too big of a fan of the originals to know how I'm going to react to the new movie. It looks too...um...good for me. I want my Superman in a technicolor suit, not a murkier gotham-city getup. I want my Clark Kent bumbling and my Lois Lane snotty. But we'll see; you know I'm gonna see it anyway. And if luck is on my side, we'll see it in the USA.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    December 22, 2005

    WORD CHOICE

    I've been working on my relationship with Heidi for a year now. I've felt uncomfortable with the fact that the reason we became friends is because her husband was killed. I'm slowly getting over that, but today I was once again struck by how much I hate that our relationship is littered with eggshells.

    I was writing something to her, and I wrote, "I am scared to death of" before I stopped and realized I had chosen my words poorly. Every time I write to her, I find myself backspacing over all sorts of stupid expressions: "I could've just died when I said", "that joke killed me", "I love her to death." I feel like some dumb sitcom character who stutters like an idiot because he just asked a blind girl if she saw something. When do you get over that? When will I stop having to police myself so I don't say something stupid? When will our friendship just feel normal?

    Posted by Sarah at 11:14 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    December 04, 2005

    CHARLIE AND ELWAY

    Remember those puppies who were born about two months ago? Well, Charlie got to meet little Elway this weekend. We managed to take a funny series of photos called Charlie Bullies the Newborn:

    Scene 1: After several minutes of being oblivious, Charlie notices Elway has his bone

    elway1.JPG

    Scene 2: Charlie comes to see what he can do about it

    elway2.JPG

    Scene 3: Despite Elway's best efforts, Charlie gently pulls the bone away

    elway3.JPG

    Scene 4: Elway stands by dejectedly as Charlie reclaims his bone

    elway4.JPG

    Scene 5: Charlie is a victorious jerk

    elway5.JPG

    Despite the fact that Elway holds his own with my friend's 120 lb. dog, he was a bit timid around Charlie. We're hoping that they might do better together in a few more weeks, but from the look of things they may turn out to be friends after all...

    elway6.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 09:15 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    December 01, 2005

    YAY

    Congrats to Erin's husband on his promotion today!

    Posted by Sarah at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 29, 2005

    PUPDATE

    We've got a problem: Charlie loves snow. So much that I can't get him out of it. And he's become a huge faker, ringing the bell that he has to go to the bathroom just so he can go outside and play. Ugh. I think I took him outside six times already today! He likes to burrow in the snow, flip it up in the air with his nose, and then eat it.

    What a weirdo.

    Posted by Sarah at 05:25 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    November 27, 2005

    PUPDATE

    Several people have asked about Charlie's Thanksgiving. We're not much for giving him table scraps, but he did hang out in the kitchen most of the day while we were preparing the food, scrounging what fell on the floor -- a bit of ham here, a crumb of bread there. But when we all sat down at the table, we heard an ominous noise from the living room. The husband remembered that our platter of summer sausage and cheese was still on the coffee table. I raced in to find Charlie wolfing down as much as he could before we caught him.

    About an hour later, Kelly's son came in the kitchen and whispered, "Um, Charlie threw up." We all had a good laugh at the pile on the dining room floor: three un-chewed pieces of cheese and two un-chewed slices of sausage. No time for chewing when you have to eat as much as you can before someone finds you, right?

    Because we had a full house, Charlie didn't get any naps that day. When everyone left after dinner, he crashed for the night. I think he had a pretty exciting Thanksgiving.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 24, 2005

    STUFFED

    We cooked for six hours, and our knees and feet are killing us. And so are our stomachs! But it was worth every minute...

    thanksgiving.JPG

    I like what Lileks said about Thanksgiving:

    It’s a day that stands aside from the rest, a day on which the simplest and most essential things are revealed as gifts of indescribable worth. And then there’s pie.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:19 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    November 23, 2005

    CONFLICTING EMOTIONS

    Yesterday I wrote a post that I wanted to put up right before Thanksgiving; today it seems absurd to post something so uplifting when I feel so hopeless. Two horrible things happened today to shake my faith in humanity. Sometimes I hate human beings so much, and I fear I'll never be able to grok what makes people do the things they do. I'd never make a good pacifist: some people deserve extinction.

    Nothing like heading into Thanksgiving in despair...

    But I wrote this cheery post, and I want to still use it. I want to remember that though there are awful, evil people in this world, some people make up for it. And if anyone can make up for it, it's these two.

    **********************************************************

    Two years ago, I was very frustrated that I was losing all my college friends because of my blog. I went through a very rough patch where numerous friends emailed and said they didn't like me anymore because of my views. When my grandmother died, I learned a hard lesson:

    I wish I had friends that I could talk to about how I feel about the world. I have my husband and my mother, and that is basically it...and my mother lives an ocean away and my husband will be gone for a year. We're new to our post here in Germany so I don't have any strong relationships yet, and despite my efforts, I don't hear from my old friends that often. When my grandmother died, I called my mom's best friend to talk about it, and I realized how pathetic I am that I don't have anyone I can count on anymore. And the few relationships I've been trying to hang on to really disappointed me this past week.

    But I've been thinking about something lately, something that always makes me smile and know that now, two years later, I do have friends who care.

    I met Erin in recycling class here. (Seriously, it's so intense we have to attend a class.) She and I were the only ones who showed up that day, and she gave me a ride home afterwards. We didn't really become friends so much as we became two people who really enjoyed running into each other on accident. When she started working at the commissary, I always was excited to go grocery shopping because I knew I could get in Erin's lane and talk to her for at least a couple of minutes.

    I went to the commissary the day after my grandmother died, and when Erin asked how I was doing, for some reason I opened up and told her instead of just saying that I was fine. Erin looked at me and tears started welling up in her eyes. She said how sorry she was and how bad she felt for me. It was so touching because she was just someone I ran into in the grocery line, while friends I'd known for years had failed me. I knew that day that there was something special about Erin.

    When the deployment started, Erin got a new and much better job working with a girl named Kelly. Kelly had the morning shift and Erin the afternoon, so when I got off work I would always pop next door for the last half hour of Erin's shift. One evening I stopped by to show off my newly knitted sweater, and it was Kelly in the office instead of Erin. I remember her being friendly but shy, and later Erin told me that Kelly had been so nervous to meet me that she didn't even say anything about the beautiful sweater I was wearing! Hilarious, since that was the reason I was looking for Erin in the first place.

    During the deployment, I spent a lot of time popping in and out of their work. I taught them to knit and they taught me to quilt, though they've been much more prolific at their new craft than I have. I shared Thanksgiving with Kelly and Christmas with Erin, which was so generous because Erin's husband came home for R&R on Christmas morning: they opened their home to me on the day of their reunion.

    The most exciting day was early in our budding friendship when Erin casually said something like, "I don't know what your views are, but I support the President and the War on Terror." You could hear my heart jumping out of my chest. We began to talk politics, longwindedly and often, and I learned that Erin and Kelly are basically South Park Republicans like me. Kelly and I bought Erin a W t-shirt for her birthday, and I've shared many a Larry Elder and Dinesh D'Souza book with them. Finally I had friends in my life, right here in the flesh and not just in cyber-land, who shared my worldview. And so I opened myself up and shared my blog address with them.

    When Bunker died, I went right to Kelly's house. When I read an article that makes me so mad I could spit, I call Erin. Any time my heart hurts, any time I feel happy or sad, any time the dog does something to make me want to strangle him, I call their office. They trade shifts often, but most of the time I don't even care which one of them answers the phone, as long as Erin or Kelly is there to listen to me.

    This Thanksgiving, I'm so grateful for my two best friends. I'm grateful that I met Erin, the wonderful girl who cried until Kelly and I let her take home a wounded stray dog, only to find that she's now mothering four unexpected puppies. I'm grateful that Erin introduced me to Kelly, a mother whose heart is so big that she's offered to adopt a relative's children in their time of need. Both of them are such bigger people than I am, and every day I thank heavens that I met them and wonder how on earth I'm going to part from them next year. But for today, I'm simply happy that all three of our families will sit down at the table together and share a fabulous Thanksgiving meal. (And it will be fabulous. We're making everything from scratch, and we even bought matching aprons for the occasion!)

    Thank you, Erin and Kelly, for showing me that it is possible to have friends I can completely be myself around, even if Erin does make fun of my Richard Simmons exercise regime.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:18 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

    November 22, 2005

    ANNIVERSARY

    A couple weeks ago I made a note to send my parents an anniversary card. Then I did the mental math and realized that this was their 30th. Yikes, I had to do better than a card! Anyway, I hope you two like what we sent. Congrats on making it to 30, especially in this day and age. I love you...

    Posted by Sarah at 04:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 21, 2005

    PUPDATE

    Today Charlie experienced his first snow. At first, he wouldn't even leave the sidewalk, but once I stepped into the snow and he saw that it would clump up and he could eat it...well, it was on. He was having the greatest time, which was cute, but unfortunately it made forcing him to go to the bathroom nearly impossible. He had a blast romping around, and he's awful cute with a pile of snow on his nose.

    snow.JPG

    I know I rag on Charlie a lot, but he's been getting much better. This past week has been surprisingly uneventful: he didn't eat anything he wasn't supposed to, save one more knitting needle (I'm just going to have to start putting my projects away while I'm not working on them.) He's been sleeping ten to eleven hours at night, and he no longer fusses in the morning to get out of his crate. He's also getting more attached to us and wants to follow us around the house rather than sneak off and chew on stuff. He keeps improving every day.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:27 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    November 16, 2005

    FAREWELL, RED6

    Yesterday we said good-bye to Red6. Today he moved on to his next duty station, where he will try to get back to Iraq as fast as he can. His wife deploys next week, and he's hoping to end up with her downrange. I'm so glad that he gets to finally be with his wife, but I'm terribly sad to see him go.

    I still remember the first time I met him. My husband came home one night at OBC and asked if he could invite someone over to dinner. Since my husband does not make friends lightly, I knew this guy must be someone special. As they sat and cracked up together over The Simpsons, I knew they were going to be friends.

    We moved here to Germany while Red6 was still at Ranger school. Once my husband realized that this duty station was pretty good for a 12A, he called Red6 and suggested he try to get switched to come here. A day later it was done, and Red6 was on his way. He showed up while the unit was at gunnery, so I helped him get settled while the husband was in the field.

    My husband's company had a strange mission in Iraq, so for the first six months of his deployment, he didn't even have a "home base": they bounced from FOB to FOB to Najaf and back. But Red6 was stationary, and since he had an internet connection in his room, he really helped me through the deployment while my husband was out of communication. We'd chat about TV and tell our spouses' embarrassing college stories and other silly nonsense. We'd try to work as many Futurama references into our conversations as possible. He was a lifesaver for me when I had no way of hearing from my husband, and I am so grateful that he was such a good friend to me.

    I'm really going to miss listening to my husband and Red6 talk shop at the dinner table. Most people might find that really boring, but that's how I've learned most of my information about the Army and deployment: I loved being a fly on the wall while they talked about things that either pumped them up or burned them up. The two of them seemed to agree on most things -- the good and bad about the Army and armor and Iraq -- and they just got along so well. We're really going to miss him.

    I know we're going to keep in touch, but I hope we run into each other again someday. I'm glad that he and his wife are finally together again, and I hope they kick butt together in Iraq.

    So long, Red6.


    I have to say goodbye now. There ain't no turtles where daddy's a-going...

    Posted by Sarah at 03:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    November 09, 2005

    PUPDATE

    Things Charlie has eaten recently:
    a #2 pencil
    a Simpsons calendar
    another knitting needle, this one wooden
    the cover letter to my life insurance policy (whew, only the first page)
    the handle of his hairbrush
    the handle of his rubbermaid toy box
    a chapstick
    four coasters
    the cordless telephone

    And as I was typing this, I realized he was eating a linguistics book.

    If you look at a Tibetan terrier from the profile, you can clearly see that his back legs are much longer than his front; Charlie is built like a dune buggy. That gives them great jumping abilities, since their legs are like a kangaroo or a rabbit. I began to get nervous about Charlie's jumping when I first saw him jump from a standstill onto our bed (3 ft). Two weekends ago I was downstairs mopping and the husband was watching Charlie upstairs; he jumped over the baby gate at the top of the stairs to get to me. But last week he wowed us all when a 25 lb dog jumped onto our dining room table to get to Red 6's fries.

    This dog will be the death of me.

    leaves.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 02:47 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    November 08, 2005

    STUPID DREAM

    Andy Schliepsiek was in my dream last night. I was in a church and he was at the other end of the pew. We didn't speak, but he looked worried and sad. If he had looked happy or content, this might've been a good dream, but I can't shake the awful feeling I have about the look on his face.

    I know I must've dreamed about him because my mom and I were just talking about the trial. Sentencing just came down: the airman who brutally stabbed to death a couple from my high school just got the death penalty.

    Maybe Andy was sad in my mind because I can't shake the horror of what happened to him. They were nice to a guy who didn't have many friends, and he came into their home and killed them. The account of their death reads like a horror movie, only it's a sick scenario that could happen to anyone who crosses the wrong person.

    I don't like the fact that he was worried in my dream. I'm glad the killer will fry. I even mentioned to my mom that it seems kind of a small blessing that Andy didn't survive after watching some madman repeatedly stab his wife; I'm not sure I could live with that in my mind. If someone murdered my husband, I'd rather go with him. All in all, the Andy in my head shouldn't be sad. So why was he?

    I hate dreams.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    November 04, 2005

    SLEEPY

    I swear, if I have another night of insomnia, I'm starting a fight club...

    Posted by Sarah at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 26, 2005

    BEDTIME

    Ever since I wrote about my school dreams, I haven't had any. I have, however, participated in a plane crash, a bizarre conversation with a girl from my Brownie troop, and a Chinook ride to Taco Bell with my husband and Mike Penca. (RHS alums: I have no idea why Mike was with us. Haven't thought about him in nearly ten years.)

    I've always hated bedtime. When I was a kid, I could never fall asleep. I'd read entire books, play games with a flashlight, and count up into the thousands. I was always that kid who was the last one awake at slumber parties. My husband and my best friend from college had a good laugh when they shared stories about how I could talk for hours on end at night. They've both fallen to sleep as I've droned on and on.

    Lately I've been having trouble sleeping again, and nothing can help me. I took some NyQuil for my cold at about 7PM the other night and then got up again at 11 and took another dose. Even that can't put me out! And then when I finally do sleep, I have these ridiculous dreams that stress me out, like plane crashes.

    My husband thinks I'm insane. The best part of his day is when he puts his head on that pillow. But I wish there were some sort of pill I could take to make 8 hours disappear and make myself feel rested without actually getting into bed.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:47 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    October 21, 2005

    NIGHTMARES

    Besides the dog, who drives me absolutely batty with his chewing and barking at construction workers outside our house, I don't really have any personal stress in my life right now. I don't have a job, I don't have any kids, and my only responsibility is to make a nice dinner and keep the house tidy. So why do I keep having the most stressful dreams?

    Practically every single night since the beginning of September I have dreamed about school. Last year while I was subbing I used to have the Sub Nightmares all the time, and they started again about a week before I subbed in September. (Those are the ones where you show up and the teacher hasn't left you any instructions and you have to come up with something to teach all day.) But even after I quit subbing and haven't gotten called in a month, I have continued to have the nightmares. Sometimes I'm the sub, sometimes I'm a student, and once I was college roommates with one of the high school girls I abhored. Two nights ago I was back in high school: I forgot my locker combination and was late to physics. (For some reason, it's always physics when I'm the student, but at least I get to see all my high school buds and even Action Bruce -- jealous, Curt?) Last night I was a teacher trying to teach Moby Dick. No idea why. A few weeks ago I had to teach refraction of light through a prism.

    So if I don't have any real stress in my life, why do I keep wigging out in my dreams? Why the constant forgot-to-do-my-homework panic when I don't have anything like that going on in my real life? I don't think that all dreams need to mean something, but I'm in class nearly every single night these days. I wake up all agitated, and I have this Reverse Reality thing going on where I have to calm myself down in the morning and remind myself that my real life is much less stressful than my sleep. What's the deal?

    Sheesh, why can't I just build a go-cart with my ex-landlord?

    Posted by Sarah at 10:35 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 18, 2005

    WOW

    Albert Pujols + bottom of the ninth = ecstatic husband and grumpy Deskmerc

    Posted by Sarah at 08:01 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    October 16, 2005

    NEVER FAR FROM MY THOUGHTS

    Dear Bunker,

    Mrs. Sims believes her husband sends her signs from above that he is watching down over her. I was thinking about these signs the other day when I opened my email junk folder and found an email from "Mike" with the subject line "hello". I knew it was spam, but for a minute I had a warm feeling that you were sending me a sign, just to say hi.

    I've been reading The Federalist Papers, just like we discussed. Boy, do I wish you were here to urge me on. Would you mind too terribly if I skipped ahead a bit? I'm wading through the letters about the Articles of Confederation, but I'd rather be reading about the Constitution. Is it cheating to hop ahead to the good stuff?

    A few days ago, the husband and I were naming all the places we want to visit once we get back to the US. Coming to pay our respects to you is close to the top of the list.

    I miss you.
    Sarah

    P.S. John misses you too. We had a good talk about it recently. You touched so many of us...

    Posted by Sarah at 11:20 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    October 13, 2005

    DONE

    In a way, I'm a little sad that Charlie won't be able to father any puppies. He's so darn cute himself that I know his offspring would be adorable as well. But what's done is done now.

    neuter.JPG

    Poor fella.

    Posted by Sarah at 08:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    October 11, 2005

    BORN

    Last night I got to participate in The Miracle of Life: my friend's dog had puppies. My husband and I had never seen anything get born before, so we raced over to her house as soon as she called. One pup was on the way out, and three more were to come.

    The whole thing was amazing, gross, beautiful, and eerie all at the same time. I got to see animals come to life! We all held our breath when one of them was stuck in his placenta for way too long, and we cheered when he finally broke through. We felt helpless when the pups couldn't find mom's tummy to nurse; it would've been so easy to just pick one up and position him! We laughed, we gagged, and we oohed and aahed.

    It was remarkable.

    foxy.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 01:20 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    October 04, 2005

    CARDS ARE ON

    Reggie Sanders + grand slam = very happy husband

    Posted by Sarah at 08:42 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    October 03, 2005

    BIRTHDAY

    Charlie turned six months old today. He celebrated by losing two more canine teeth. Only one more to go and then I'm free from puppy bites.

    It's not fair that I expect him to be perfect already. I get so frustrated when he grabs the end of the toilet paper and runs under the bed with it, or when he eats a hole through the carpet, or when he barks at 0600 because he wants to play. It's easy to forget that he's made lots of progress: he can ring a bell to let us know when he wants to go outside, and he gets in his crate at night all by himself.

    And he's always good for a laugh. The other day we were chasing each other around the house and he tried to jump out a window. A closed window.

    He's a keeper...

    sixmonths.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 07:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    September 22, 2005

    WORRYING

    We all know that the Worry Center in my brain works overtime. Yesterday, when my husband asked me why I had bought batteries and put them in a big flashlight, I told him that when I was lying in bed I realized that we didn't have a working flashlight in the house and that we might need one in case the electricity went out or something. He chuckled and said, "So this is what you think about after I've fallen asleep."

    So when the dog gets sick, my worry mode goes to eleven. Charlie has been losing it from both ends, so to speak, and I've become a nervous wreck. I've been watching him and fretting all day, and calling my two best friends constantly to ask their advice, since they both have much more dog experience than I do.

    Maybe worrywarts shouldn't be responsible for another living being...

    underbed.JPG

    [Charlie's developed a taste for solitude under our bed.]

    Posted by Sarah at 03:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 16, 2005

    OBSESSED

    From Lileks, waiting to be called for jury duty:

    We all sign in, which means a long queue of people in various moods from sullen to disengaged to temporarily-not-knitting-but-happy-to-know-that-knitting-will-soon-be-resumed.

    Boy, do I know that feeling. I'm back on the wagon (off the wagon? I never remember which way that goes...); I've made a hat or scarf every night this week.

    I'm starting to get this panic attacks about moving. My husband was barking at me last night to knock it off, but when you're an Unemployed Obsessive Planner, you have to throw your energies into something. I try to channel it into knitting and dinner, but for some reason I've been starting to freak out about moving.

    We don't move for another nine months, you know.

    I've started obsessively whittling down our collection of canned foods. Can't buy more than what I need now, because what if we don't use it up? So what if this is on sale, we may not get to it in time. And what to do about that huge bottle of shampoo: the future looked so bright when I had hair to my waist, but now the meniscus has barely moved. And the dog food, oh the dog food. Charlie will be making the switch from puppy to adult around the time we move, so what if we end up with too much puppy food left over? Or we buy some adult food and don't make it through the whole bag? We can't just throw it away.

    Or actually we can, my husband says as he stares at me in horror. It costs $7.50, so it's not the end of the world.

    Of course, last time we moved, I shoved a whole bunch of foodstuffs into my suitcase because I couldn't bear to throw it all out and buy the exact same thing over again when we got to Germany. I guess it serves me right that I ended up with sesame oil all over my entire wardrobe.

    You see why I knit now, right? It occupies my mind. It keeps me from worrying that I've just bought a new bottle of tarragon and there's no way we can get through the whole thing before we move.

    I'm just happy to know that knitting will soon be resumed.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:49 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

    SIGH

    Those two students who cussed at me? Nothing happened to them. No punishment.
    So I found a solution: I'm no longer a sub.

    Posted by Sarah at 10:23 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

    September 14, 2005

    POETRY WEDNESDAY

    Annika singled me out as a poetry lover, so I gotta do something for Wednesday. Go read the first page of my favorite book of poems, This Is My Beloved by Walter Benton.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

    September 13, 2005

    UNRULY

    I went to high school with a girl who had never been in trouble but had always been curious about what went on in the Dean's office. Finally, in her last week as a senior, she asked the English teacher what one would have to do to get sent to the Dean. Cussing brought ten demerits for every letter of the swear word, so this girl giggled and then triumphantly announced the shortest swear word she knew; the teacher sent her down to the Dean to collect her thirty demerits. That's the only instance I can think of in all my years of schooling where someone cussed in class.

    So far I've been cussed at twice as a substitute.

    If you're reading this and you're a parent, I hope your kids know better than to swear in class, both directly to the teacher or to other students (I heard the m-f word yesterday from across the room.) Or that they know the proper way to ask to use the restroom (hint: it's not "hey, lady, I gotta pee.") Or that they don't start fistfights in the classroom (I broke two of those up today.)

    I never would've dreamed of acting this unruly, even with some of our most hated subs. I don't know what the deal is with kids today, but I'm not optimistic about my desire to create one of these beasts.

    Posted by Sarah at 03:35 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

    September 03, 2005

    QUESTIONS

    Found a set of questions via a knit blog, Zibibbo is Good. She's a knitter who reads LGF, and she'd like to make buttons that say Knitters Against Global Jihad but thinks that no one would buy them. Uh, hello? I've got three customers right here in Germany (my two best friends and I) who'd take them in a heartbeat.

    10 years ago I was starting my senior year of high school. I thought I knew everything, and I thought that talking on the phone to my boyfriend was more important than calculus. That's why my husband sat down and did a calc problem cold yesterday and I stared at him blankly.

    5 years ago I was starting my first year of grad school, dating my husband long distance and realizing that most people, myself included, don't know the first thing about real learning.

    1 year ago I was traveling to France with my mother, breaking my vow to never return to that country.

    Yesterday I watched "We Interrupt This Program" in From the Earth to the Moon with my husband, and then we had pie and talked about it. "It's just when I see a really good movie I really like to go out and get some pie and talk about it."

    Posted by Sarah at 09:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    September 01, 2005

    PUPDATE

    The other day, I noticed something...unusual...in Charlie's poop. I could not figure out what it was or where he had gotten it. Until today. I put it all together five minutes ago when I remembered that in one of his frantic runs down the hall, he knocked over our American flag (we keep it inside during dark and rain). What I saw in his poop was the wing of the eagle that tops our flagpole. Good heavens, that must've hurt on the way out.

    charlieflag.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 03:58 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 26, 2005

    SIGH OF RELIEF

    The dog was acting really ornery, so I decided he needed some time outside. He was so hyper, and we were playing and having fun when he made a sudden jerk and pulled the leash out of my hands...and ran into the street in front of a car. I nearly had a heart attack. Luckily the car slowed down and I managed to chase Charlie back to the grass and grab him. We're never going outside again.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    August 17, 2005

    PUPDATE

    Our lazy, lazy puppy.

    lazy.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 07:45 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

    August 14, 2005

    WHEW

    What a week! Two dogs peeing in the house, causing a ruckus, and breaking things while they wrestle. I'm glad that's over. But at least some good came from all the action: Charlie lost his front two teeth. Thank heavens we're on the way to adult teeth; those puppy teeth hurt.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:46 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 08, 2005

    SLEEPY

    We're dogsitting this week, so with two puppies in the house, I know I won't make it to the computer much. I don't think we'll be sleeping much either, if the last two nights are any indication.

    Posted by Sarah at 11:03 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    August 02, 2005

    AUGUST 2

    On this day in 1880, Greenwich Mean Time was adopted. In 1921, the eight White Sox players were acquitted of throwing the World Series. In 1971, the astronauts of Apollo 15 were driving around on the moon. And on this day in 1980, my mother-in-law was giving birth to the most wonderful man in the world. Happy birthday, husband.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 31, 2005

    HAIR

    I've only donated blood once. I was in college and it was quite an ordeal. First, they said I was borderline anemic, so they had to run some tests to see if they even wanted my blood. Turns out it was OK, so they hooked me up to the bag and started draining my arm. I guess they need the bag and also three little vials of blood; on the third vial, somehow the needle popped out of my arm and blood squirted everywhere. After that unique experience, I was leery about giving blood, and then I started hopping back and forth to Europe every year or so, so it was never an issue. So I don't really donate blood.

    But I can donate hair.

    When I had been dating my husband for a week, I cut my hair short. Like short short. After the look on his face, I didn't cut my hair again for five years. At first it became a Lord of the Rings joke: I was going to look like an elf. After Return of the King was over, I turned to him and said, "Now what?" I guess I had grown so attached to the hair that it scared me to cut it.

    I had always intended to donate my hair, but then it became a quest to donate as much as I could. It grew and grew, and the more it grew, the more annoyed my husband and I grew towards it. It was always in our mouths, getting pulled, clogging the drains and the vacuum, and driving us nuts. In May I decided I was ready for a cut, but I told myself to wait a month and see if I was still ready. A month passed and I got cold feet, so I let another month go by. And I knew I was ready.

    the_cut.JPG

    We chopped 18 inches off, and bagged it to send to Locks of Love. I hope some little girl gets a beautiful wig from it.

    Everyone keeps asking me if I'm going to start all over again. I don't know; I'm really enjoying the short hair:

    1. no more marathon blowdrying
    2. no more sitting on the hair
    3. no more rolling over in bed and suffocating
    4. Charlie was biting and tugging on it when it was long
    5. less money spent on Draino

    But since my hair grows so fast, maybe I'll get to another wig. We'll see. The husband likes it short, so for now I'm happy.

    And now that I've kept you in suspense for long enough...here's the new and improved Sarah. And the getting-too-big-to-cuddle Charlie.

    sarah_charlie.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 08:28 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    July 28, 2005

    FISH TALES

    Gnat got fish. When I was her age, I had two fish named Bert and Ernie, and I helped out by feeding them one day. Unfortunately, I fed them an entire can of fishfood on the day my father had just cleaned the aquarium. Whoops.

    I've always been interested in pet fish; the husband and I registered for an aquarium when we got married and bought three fish (well, five if you count Milhouse I and Milhouse II, may they rest in peace). Then we bought a plecostomus to help keep things clean, and we noticed that when the shopkeeper scooped him up, we ended up with a snail too. Into the tank he went. A few days later, I did a doubletake when I realized there were two snails. Upon closer inspection, I found we had been visited by the snail stork thirteen times. Note to self: snails reproduce asexually.

    The fish are still living with my mom, and we may inherit them back if they live another year. I'm anxious to move back to the US so we can get our aquarium back out of the box and get some more fish. The pet department is where I really find myself homesick lately. Here we have but one shelf in the PX for pet supplies; I'd give anything to go to PetSmart these days.

    Posted by Sarah at 07:26 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

    July 27, 2005

    HAIRCUT

    Look what I did today...

    haircut.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 08:00 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

    July 12, 2005

    MEETING

    Today I was trying to remember when I first read Bunker Mulligan. I was happy, and tearful, to find that I had documented the occasion:

    The sphere grows every day. You write a post. Maybe someone notices it. Oh, look, a comment. And they've left a link to their own blog. And then you go there and realize that you now have yet another blog you'd like to read every day and you're running out of time in the day.

    Shoot. That just happened to me.

    Mike left a comment, so I went to his blog and found an amazing post on intelligence. There's so much there, but one tidbit is

    To truly be "smart," you must have knowledge and experience. And those must both be broad and eclectic. Knowledge can come from books, but experience only comes from doing something other than reading and writing. Unfortunately, many people feel they can get by with one or the other. I've known some very intelligent people with loads of knowledge who cannot judge distance, hammer a nail, or relate an allegory to anything in their lives. I've known people with years of experience doing things who cannot understand theoretical concepts well enough to capitalize on that experience. The "intellectual elite" fall into the former category.


    I started reading his site again from the beginning, and I found one bit that made me smile:

    Like Twain, I shy away from organized churches. I've found a better relationship with God on my own. My cathedral has 18 holes, bunkers, tee boxes, water hazards, and greens. I'm closer to God on the golf course than I am sitting in a pew surrounded by people who believe almost the way I do.

    If there's a heaven, Bunker's playing golf there every day.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

    PUP-DATE

    Charlie celebrated his three month birthday yesterday...

    twelveweeks.JPG


    Posted by Sarah at 09:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

    July 06, 2005

    HEH

    Our dog is hilarious. He's such a couch potato that when I tried to take him for a walk today, he starting crying and trying to climb up my leg so I would carry him. We barely made it across the street before I gave up on the walk altogether. What a bum!

    Posted by Sarah at 12:44 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

    June 30, 2005

    SWEET

    Now here's some destructive puppy behavior that we fully support!

    charlie saddam.JPG

    (Saddam chew toy via Political Pet Toys. We get a real thrill out of seeing the dog attack that scumbag.)

    Posted by Sarah at 03:00 PM | Comments (4)

    June 29, 2005

    CHARLIE UPDATE

    Dog rearing is moving along nicely. Over the weekend Charlie met his "cousin" (my husband's brother's dog) and managed to hold his own despite being a fourth of his size.

    charliemurphy.JPG

    Last night we hit a milestone: Charlie slept his first full night! But both my boys were exhausted after PT...

    sleepy.JPG

    And we just can't stop taking pictures of him.

    It's funny that we wanted the Tibetan breed because we wanted a couch potato dog, but Charlie takes it to extremes! He's the only dog I've ever heard of who hates going on walks. When he sees the leash, he hides. When I try to get him out the door, he plants his feet and resists. What a hoot he is.

    Posted by Sarah at 09:00 AM | Comments (5)

    June 22, 2005

    SWIMMINGLY

    A Charlie update: He's now lived with us for a week and is doing much better. Most of the crying has stopped, and he sleeps through the night (except for when we take him outside). He went on his first walk yesterday and after he finally stopped imprinting on me, he had a blast! We started working on "sit", which he enjoys because he gets a treat when he does it. I don't guess I'll throw him out the window after all...

    Posted by Sarah at 06:28 AM | Comments (3)

    June 19, 2005

    SIGH

    Our dog is driving us a little batty. We're trying to crate train him, which means we're getting very little sleep. Charlie, on the other hand, apparently doesn't need any sleep at night and instead prefers to pass the time howling and yelping. He keeps pooping in the neighbors' yard instead of ours, he has destroyed the boxes we put in to make his crate smaller, and he thinks that moss and weeds are the best food around.

    It's a good thing he's cute, 'cause he's about to get thrown out the window!

    Posted by Sarah at 08:49 AM | Comments (13)

    June 16, 2005

    PUPPY

    We got our puppy yesterday! So far he's doing really well: he's learning his name and has already gotten the hang of "come". And even though we only got about three non-consecutive hours of sleep last night from all the whining, we still love him to death.

    Now Charlie and I are off to practice crate training...

    charlie.JPG

    Posted by Sarah at 07:27 AM | Comments (10)

    June 15, 2005

    THREE YEARS

    Two years ago we had just moved to Germany. We had no house and no car, and since we'd gotten "lost in the system", we had no income for two and a half months. Last year we were thousands of miles apart. Here's hoping that our third anniversary works out a little better than the previous two!

    Posted by Sarah at 06:16 AM | Comments (8)

    June 02, 2005

    WASTE

    You know what blogs are good for? Griping. So here goes.

    My parents opened a bank account for me when I was a baby. They couldn't afford to sock away much, but all three of us kids had accounts that were to be used for college. Since I didn't need it for college, I got it as a wedding present, so I withdrew the majority of the money three years ago when I got married.

    Guess what I found out today? That account, which has been open for like 25 years, went under "new management" in 2001. They charge an inactive fee when the account doesn't have any activity for a year. And guess who hasn't accessed her account since 2002? Guess who just found out she lost $240 to bank fees?

    I'm so mad I could scream, but there's no one to scream at. I've never touched that account before my wedding, and I don't even get balance statements for it. It's a fluke I even found out about it now. I thought about emptying all the money out when I got married, but my parents thought it would be good to keep the account open. They didn't know anything about this new inactive fee; they've had an account there for decades too! The girl on the phone sounded sorry for me, but she said there was nothing she could do about it. I'd better go warn my brothers to check on their accounts.

    So there goes lots of money down the toilet. Fantastic. You know what's the biggest load of bullcrap ever? A savings account where you lose money because you don't touch it. Don't ever open one of those for your kids.

    Posted by Sarah at 04:19 PM | Comments (11)

    DOGGY UPDATE

    Only two weeks until we get to bring him home...