May 31, 2007


CaliValleyGirl said she often wants to run off and start her own country. Here's another reason to join her:

Presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton outlined a broad economic vision Tuesday, saying it's time to replace an "on your own" society with one based on shared responsibility and prosperity.

The Democratic senator said what the Bush administration touts as an ownership society really is an "on your own" society that has widened the gap between rich and poor.

"I prefer a 'we're all in it together' society," she said. "I believe our government can once again work for all Americans. It can promote the great American tradition of opportunity for all and special privileges for none."

That means pairing growth with fairness, she said, to ensure that the middle-class succeeds in the global economy, not just corporate CEOs.

"There is no greater force for economic growth than free markets. But markets work best with rules that promote our values, protect our workers and give all people a chance to succeed," she said. "Fairness doesn't just happen. It requires the right government policies.

Great googily moogily. That's an extremely scary worldview.

Of course "fairness doesn't just happen," because what people like Clinton want is fairness of result. And that requires that the government rig the system so that overachievers can't get rich and dumb people don't get poor. What's "fair" about the United States is that anyone who works hard can get rich, or at least move up the economic scale. Just ask the Combodian donut makers, who own upwards of 90% of donut shops in California. They came to this country, invested in a business where they could be successful, and work their tails off:

“It’s not easy work at all. As a family we are working seven days a week, the store is open 24 hours, and we have no family time. It’s tiring,” said a 26-year-old Chinese American who requested anonymity.

No one offered to make things more fair for these people. They came to the US and worked, instead of expecting the government to help them live. And they did it "on their own." I know several people from countries like Poland and Bulgaria who came to the US with the money in their pockets and worked like the dickens to earn every cent they have. If they can do it, anyone can. On their own.

They tried the "'we're all in it together' society" before; it was called the U.S.S.R. And it failed miserably because not everyone wants to work as hard as a Cambodian donut cutter. Is Hilary Clinton really silly-brained enough to think that this is the direction the US should take?

Hey, Cali, if we start this new country, I want the Cambodians to come with us.
Donuts rule.

Posted by Sarah at 05:56 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


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


Some people are just complete and utter freaks. Wendy's manager shot over chili sauce
What on earth is wrong with people?

Posted by Sarah at 09:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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


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


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


Peter Collier at OpinionJournal writes

The New York Times, which featured Abu Ghraib on its front page for 32 consecutive days, put the story of Dunham's Medal of Honor on the third page of section B.

He goes on to share with us some of the stories of past Medal of Honor recipients. Even if you've never followed a single link I've ever posted here, I want you to go read this article.

A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man, indeed.

Posted by Sarah at 01:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 28, 2007


This evening we went to a nice local Memorial Day service. Actually, we almost didn't make it. I thought I knew which park it was at, but I was mistaken. We drove around for a long time trying to figure out where it was in town. I nearly gave up, but the last place we looked was correct. My husband teased me that I was ready to cut and run.

The ceremony was simple but nice. A local 8th grader read a lovely essay he wrote for the VFW's Patriot's Pen essay contest. And there's something completely humbling about being in the presence of POWs. I got choked up every time I looked at their group.

This year I don't quite have anything poetic to say about Memorial Day. But that doesn't mean that certain families haven't been on my mind all day long. This year I'll leave the poetry to PFC Becker:

We are soldiers.
We are soldiers in the United States Army.
We are trained to be all we can be.

We fight for the freedom of many citizens of the United States.
We are all ready to meet our fates.

We all volunteer to defend the red, white and blue.
Not only the flag, but for the citizens of our great country too.

Since our country's birth for all these years,
we have been trained to be the best on Earth.

Many times we have went to war.
We will be involved in many more.

Generation by generation soldiers continue to enlist.
Some of us will got to war and definitely be missed.

Some soldiers will return and some won't.
Those who do not, we won't forget and we hope you don't.

Many of us are going to Iraq.
Some of us won't be coming back.

We have loved ones we are leaving behind.
They will always be in our prayers, hearts and mind.

If we don't make it home safely at the end of the war,
just remember we died defending the beliefs of those of many more.

---PFC Gunnar Becker, November 2003

Posted by Sarah at 06:34 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack


I think MSN did a pretty good job on this comprehensive article on military pay and benefits.

Posted by Sarah at 07:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2007


I found a new blog today called The Shield of Achilles. He had a link to the story behind his blog's name, which comes from the design on Achilles' shield in The Illiad:

The engravings include two cities, one at peace and one at war. In the city at Peace, a man had been murdered, and an argument was ensuing over payment of blood-money. In the city at war, besiegers were divided over either sacking the city, or allowing it to pay a tribute for peace. Among other messages, one was clear: Times of War and Peace are both filled with conflict. Moreover, wartime is not always evil and peacetime is not always virtuous; while there is suffering in War, there is also courage, heroism and honor, and during times of Peace there is still murder, cowardice, and greed. Even people negotiating Peace sometimes have self-serving aims.

This is just genius. What a fabulous name for a blog.

One thing that has always frustrated me is the naive idea people have that war is the opposite of peace. All the people who want to Bring the Troops Home Now seem to think that if there's not officially a war going on, then there will be peace. But peace for whom? Before we went into Iraq in 2003, there was not peace in Iraq. There was no peace for Adnan Abdul Karim Enad, the man who tried to climb in Hans Blix's car to escape Iraq. There was no peace for the children who filled jails or the folks who went through a plastic shredder. There was no peace for the women raped by Uday or the families gassed by Saddam. Just because we weren't there, it doesn't mean everyone was flying kites and eating gumdrops.

Conversely, there's no "war" going on in North Korea or Zimbabwe, but I'm not sure I'd want to live in their "peace" either. France is at peace, but that doesn't help you if your car is set on fire during the night. And peace didn't do much for Pim Fortuyn either.

There will always be terrible, awful, inhumane, horrific things going on in the world. Most of them don't fall neatly under the bumper-sticker label of war. There is no such thing as peace; there's just calms between the storms.

Posted by Sarah at 10:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 26, 2007


Good article written by a Muslim: How to end 'Islamophobia'

Islamophobia could end when masses of Muslims demonstrate in the streets against videos displaying innocent people being beheaded with the same vigor we employ against airlines, Israel and cartoons of Muhammad.

Posted by Sarah at 10:02 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 25, 2007


Once I got on a roll crocheting borders on my colored squares, I really got into it. I sewed the squares together as I went, so I could avoid having to do all the sewing at the end. Et voilà. I am really happy with how this project turned out. Charlie agreed to model the blanket, since he did such a good job last time. He's so funny the way he averts his eyes any time we hold up the camera. He hates looking directly at it and will rotate his head any which way to avoid it.


Now if we just had a baby to wrap in the blanket...

Posted by Sarah at 01:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 24, 2007


This article on illegal immigration is excellent: The Promise of Home

Posted by Sarah at 10:22 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 23, 2007


At the Milblogs Conference, Andi decided to kill me with her first question. I was expecting softballs, and instead I got a fastball at the head. She quoted an old blog post back to me, and I swear that for the first ten seconds of her speaking, I had no idea what she was talking about. I didn't recognize the writing as my own, and I completely panicked. As she read the very end of the post, I finally figured out what I had written, and then I had two seconds to react. I think I reacted poorly, so I'd like to revisit the question here.

Andi wanted to know what was going through my head when I wrote about this:

My husband's visible discomfort that he might not have another opportunity to put to use all he learned in Iraq, all he has digested and mulled over for two years, stands in stark contrast to the Iraqi quoted in this article:

“What was I going to wait for that would keep me on the force?” said Mohammed Humadi, a police captain who quit in August after one of his commanders was killed and beheaded. “Nothing was going to get any better. I have children, and if I were to sacrifice myself, it wouldn’t change anything.”

I struggle daily with the two opposing camps of the War in Iraq: those who say that the US has no business trying to set up a utopia halfway across the world, and those whose idealism bubbles over into dreams of playing Iraq in the World Cup. But the one thing I do know is that it's a knife in my heart that my husband would give his life for Iraq while this Iraqi would not.

I've had this feeling several times over the years, most notably one year after Saddam's statue came down. I wrote about the knife in my heart much more eloquently that year:

One year ago today, I was so happy for the Iraqis. I sat on the sofa at Fort Knox and cheered wildly as they tore that statue down. I wept for the Iraqis and their newfound freedom; now I weep for their newfound vengeance.

If you remember, the statue of Saddam wasn't the only thing to come down from that pedestal last year. The American flag an overzealous soldier hung up there was quickly taken down, lest the world think we came as conquerors. We were there to give Iraq to the Iraqis, and they've repaid us by burning our dead and hanging them from a bridge.

I felt the knife again when I saw protestors in Pakistan carrying a sign saying "Our religion does not allow unconditional freedom of speech."

The past five years have been a cycle of conviction and doubt.

I read this comments section today at Standing By, and I don't know what to say. I don't want to argue for or against the war anymore; it's just my job to help my husband as he fights it. The fact that he still wants to fight it speaks volumes to me. He's the one who's worked with Iraqis. He's the one who's been to Najaf. He's the one who has to work on cultural cross-breeding. I will defer to his opinion on this matter in nearly every case.

But the knife in the heart comes in the cold sweat of realizing that his convictions could someday take his life. The perspective comes when I realize that it's better to lose his life to convictions than to cancer, car crashes, or crap.

I struggle. I think that's jarring for some people because they want me to remain this caricature of a warmonger. The times when I express doubt about the war are the times I get the most comments from anti-war types, chipping away at my armor or jeering me for setting down my flag when my arms get tired of waving. But I'm a normal human being who thinks about issues, not just some automaton who does whatever Karl Rove says. I actually think about this war, and some days I feel stronger than others.

I assume the Iraqis do too, which is why it's not always fair to cherry-pick things to doubt.

I figure I may never know the lasting effect of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I could be long gone before we really know the legacy of the War on Terror. But I can hope, hope my husband's work will bear fruit.

And doubt some days too.

Posted by Sarah at 10:47 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


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 22, 2007


The heavy lifting is done.


But the perfect method I had concocted for how to put all the squares together ended up looking like absolute crap. I thought I could just crochet the squares together, forming a nice border between each one. I didn't count on it looking like garbage. So we're at a standstill, and I've moved on to another project to calm down a bit.

I think what I will end up doing is crocheting a border around each square and then sewing them together. Not something I am looking forward to doing, but oh well.


Posted by Sarah at 10:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Bill Whittle's newest is finally up: You Are Not Alone

Posted by Sarah at 09:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 20, 2007


Annika, who will quit blogging in exactly six and a half hours, isn't going out with Miss America waves and reruns. She managed to find these hilarious quotes from rockers who are wising up to the fact that their benefit concerts don't really help much of anything.

Annika, you will be missed.

Posted by Sarah at 09:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I almost didn't want to go see Spiderman 3 because of the crappy behavior of the lead actors. Nothing says "hype our movie" like the actors talking about how much they resented having to make a third one. God forbid you have to be in a movie that people actually want to go see. How tragic. Sheesh, I was almost too annoyed to go. The older I get, the less I can stomach celebrities.

But we were treated to a real class act when Billy Blanks showed up at SpouseBUZZ Live. He acted like the military spouse audience was the celebrity, which was downright touching. He was super-nice, and I hope he knows how much we appreciated his visit.

Posted by Sarah at 11:59 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


Last night we watched The Last King of Scotland, and I was so disgusted at the end of the movie that I lost sleep over it. Yes, I know the story portrayed is fiction, but Idi Amin was most certainly real.

What disgusts me the most is that there are rulers out there like Amin, yet people persist in calling President Bush evil. Have we no sense of evil? People in North Korea are eating children, but some American citizens can't stand to be associated with the American flag.

Google gets 1,850,000 hits for "George Bush evil" but only 178,000 for "Idi Amin evil." 65,700 for Arafat; 623,000 for Kim Jong-Il; and 264,000 for Mugabe.

We make me sick.

Posted by Sarah at 11:23 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 19, 2007


I don't understand the illegal immigrant issue.

Who is it who's arguing for illegals to stay here and get citizenship? And why do they matter? What does amnesty do for the US? Does it improve our relationship with Mexico? If so, why do we care? Does it improve our relationship with legal Hispanics? I thought many of them poll against amnesty.

What is the reason we haven't built that fence yet and that we've got an amnesty bill in Congress right now?

I'm serious here; I really don't grok.

Neal Boortz says it's the votes, stupid. He thinks that both parties are racing to be the one who helps illegals so that when they can vote, they'll vote for the party that got them in. Boortz is an awful cynical guy, but is that right? Is that the reason our elected officials are acting like fools?

I don't think the American public as a whole supports amnesty. John Hawkins found out that a mayor in Pennsylvania who's running on a strict anti-illegal platform won both the Republican nomination and the Democrat write-in! He got 94% of the Republican vote. I think the American people want that fence built and they want our existing laws to be upheld.

So what's the deal with our politicians then?

Posted by Sarah at 10:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 18, 2007


My husband and I have been discussing parenting constantly since we decided to start a family. Our philosophy is that our job as parents is to turn babies into adults. Our child will be a child for about 1/5th of his life, so the real goal is to mold him into a good adult. Thus we constantly discuss which ways we think we can best achieve this goal.

One thing that does worry me is handing the kid over to a school. I know enough Neal Boortz and John Stossel to be completely disillusioned with public schools. But we also don't want to homeschool, so we generally discuss ways we can supplement our future child's education.

This story about elementary school kids using calculators is just sad. I think technology is great, but it's also taken us far away from the fundamentals. I remember getting a pizza one night and the cash register girl accidentally typed in $200 instead of $20. She couldn't for the life of her figure out how much change to give us without the cash register doing it for her; she had to hunt around for a calculator to do the math. Of course, at my job in college I also saw one girl count on her fingers how many hours her 12-8 work shift was. Sigh.

It's not only a problem with math though. Spell Check has killed our ability to bother looking words up. I had another blogger ask me how I could stand Movable Type since it doesn't have spell check, but if I'm unsure about a word, it only takes ten seconds to open and look it up. That's way better than Back In The Olden Days when I actually had to do my homework sitting with a dictionary and a thesaurus. When I was teaching college English, I was just happy if students' papers didn't look like they'd text messaged them to me! Yeah, LOL is not appropriate for a college paper, folks.

We have so much power at our fingertips these days -- to be able to find cosines, definitions, and historical figures with a touch of a button -- but as wonderful as this technology is, I can't help but think sometimes that we're losing our grasp on basic smarts.

Of course, this is coming from the girl who patted herself on the back repeatedly a few weeks ago because she used the Pythagorean Theorem instead of a tape measure to figure out how big her knitting project would be. Look at me, I'm a flippin' math genius.

Posted by Sarah at 01:20 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


A couple of really kind people came up to me at the Milblogs Conference to tell me I was articulate. (Sadly, no one thought to comment on how clean I am.) But I just watched the video interview Mary Katherine Ham put together, and I must say I don't see it. I seriously think I need some botox to stop the horrible contortions my face makes when I speak. Ugh, I look ridiculous. Do I look like that all the time when I talk?

Posted by Sarah at 11:04 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Over the weekend at SpouseBUZZ Live, I sat in on a seminar on how to start your own blog. One of the wives asked if it was possible to set her new blog to private so only her friends and family could see it. We bloggers all paused: of course it's possible to do that, but as I sat in the audience surrounded by ArmyWifeToddlerMom, airforcewife and her husband, and with CaliValleyGirl glued to my hip, we all wondered why on earth you'd want to.

When I have childrearing questions, do you think I call people from my real life? Nope, I call ArmyWifeToddlerMom. When I had military questions during deployment, Bunker Mulligan was my man. Amritas helps with linguistics, Deskmerc helps with physics, and Annika is the go-to for all things Goldie Hawn.

It is so strange, this my need of you.

CaliValleyGirl told this wife in the audience that setting her blog to private would effectively cut off her chances of finding a best friend. The thing is, we know more about our blog friends than we usually do about people in our real lives. I follow ArmyWifeToddlerMom's parenting life far more closely than even my neighbors'. I know my blog friends' likes and dislikes before we've ever met in person. When The Girl showed up in Germany, she knew everything about me before I ever picked her up at her hotel. When I asked CaliValleyGirl at the Milblogs Conference if she was surprised we were getting along so well, she shrugged and replied that she was not surprised at all because she already knew she liked me.

I thought about this weekend's conversation a lot this week as I read about the Lileks family's trip to Disneyworld. I have read The Bleat nearly every single day since Jan. 23, 2004. I know everything that's happened to him over the past three years, and I know far more about his life than any of my real world friends' lives. He is my friend, whether he knows it or not, and if he ever set his blog to private I would weep like a baby.

Posted by Sarah at 08:59 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 17, 2007


Yesterday I read about how Prince Harry will not be deploying to Iraq, and I really felt bad for the guy. He's trained and prepared with his unit, and now he has to watch his unit leave without him. Any true soldier would find that heartbreaking.

But today I heard that other British families are ticked off about the revelation, saying that Harry is no more indespensible than their sons are.

I too have come to this conclusion, that my husband's life is no more valuable than anyone else's in the military. If I believe this war needs to be fought, I cannot in good faith keep my husband from the battlefield. If he doesn't go, someone else will be sent in his place; just because that person doesn't share my bed doesn't mean he doesn't share a bed with someone else whose heart breaks to see him go.

That said, I think the Prince Harry situation is an entirely different issue altogether. To my understanding, no one is saying that Prince Harry's life is more valuable than any other soldier's. What they are saying is that Prince Harry puts his unit in danger. Apparently they've determined there's a $678,000 bounty on Harry's head. He's so high profile that he endangers the soldiers around him, a fact which is not lost on jokesters who've bought the I'm Harry t-shirt. If my husband could somehow put his soldiers' lives in jeopardy, then and only then would I say he shouldn't deploy.

Harry appears ready to sacrifice for his country. But right now the biggest sacrifice he can make is to stand aside and let his unit deploy without him. The Brits should try to understand this.


Tammi has thoughts on Harry too.

Posted by Sarah at 04:09 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 16, 2007


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 14, 2007


I enjoyed Annika's gun interview. I will miss her when she stops blogging in a week. And my husband and I really need to buckle down and do some firearms research soon. We've been talking about it since we returned from Germany, but we haven't done anything about it yet. And it needs to get done before he deploys.

Posted by Sarah at 03:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


I too need to be reminded of these moments: The President Bush You Like

Posted by Sarah at 02:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The SpouseBUZZ Live went well, in my opinion. You can read the liveblogs of the panels over at SpouseBUZZ to see what we touched on. The event was really high-class and impressive; and USAA went all out for us.

After the panels, I was approached to do an interview for a local news affiliate. How bad could it be, right?

When I said at the Milblogs Conference that I had no bad experience with the press, I suppose I spoke too soon. I just didn't have any personal experience to speak of. So far I'd never been in any articles or newscasts.

For some reason, the local affiliate only wanted to talk about this blog. Why did they come to SpouseBUZZ Live and then start asking dumb questions about my personal site? And I was not savvy enough to see where this line of questioning was heading; I thought they'd ask me how I started blogging and then segue into SpouseBUZZ. Instead we segued into what I think about deployments and politics. Ugh. In hindsight, I wish I'd asked to start over or told the man I really only wanted to talk about SpouseBUZZ. But I was inexperienced and thought his questions would get more appropriate as we progressed.

As he shut down his camera, he decided to ask me off-the-record what I think about the war and if I think we're winning. Ugh again. I answered with some vague nonsense I can't even remember, but at some point I mentioned that my husband was learning Farsi. This guy's eyes got an a-ha twinkle as he said, "Waaait, that means Iran, right?" as if the fact that my husband is learning Farsi is some indicator that Bushitler is indeed planning to invade Iran. Thank heavens we weren't still on camera, because I wouldn't be surprised if he'd used the word Farsi as a way to speculate about Ahmadinejad. He acted as if he'd uncovered an Army plot to invade Iran.

Remind me not to do any more interviews in the future.

Posted by Sarah at 12:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 13, 2007


I arrived in L.A. on Friday and after a lovely lunch with CaliValleyGirl's family, we were off to San Diego. The Garmin said it was 110 miles. "Cool, we'll be there plenty early," I thought.

I never used to understand Crazy Aunt Purl's blog posts about traffic. Now I do. I have never seen anything like this in my life. Where I come from, miles and minutes are easily linked; here there is no such connection, save the fact that miles equal a boatload of minutes.

110 miles took us four hours. Seriously.
I now can crack up at all these posts about L.A. traffic.

Posted by Sarah at 05:49 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 12, 2007


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


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

May 10, 2007


At the Milblogs Conference, a gentleman from Free Republic told the story of standing outside the White House Correspondents' Dinner with a posterboard showing Cindy Sheehan and SFC Paul Smith. Everyone could place Sheehan, but only one journalist knew who in the heck Paul Smith was.

We have different priorities in the milblog community. We know who Paul Smith is. We know who Jason Dunham is. And we all know who Robert Stokley is.

Several bloggers have written about meeting Mr. Stokley this weekend, and it seems most of the exchanges went like this:

AWTM: "I am so sorry for the loss of your Son."

And I stood in front of Mr. Stokley with tears in my eyes. And much to my amazement, he grabs my hand.

Robert Stokely: "I need to thank all of you bloggers for giving me my life back, I have to be strong for my family, I need to be the rock, and you folks have given me a place where I can talk about Mike, and I do not have to be that rock...."

And I stood there in tears in front of Mr. Stokely absolutely at a loss, and feeling ashamed of them.

AWTM: "I need to thank you, because Mike gave all, and your family has really sacrificed more than most of us will ever feel."

Robert Stokely, then wrapped his arms around me and gave me a huge hug.

Milbloggers all know who Robert and Mike Stokley are; I wish everyone knew.

I spoke on my panel this weekend about an article I saw in our local paper. It turns out that one soldier who's been killed in Iraq was a high school friend of a local reporter. So this soldier was front page news, complete with high school photos and a glowing report of his life. I told the audience that every soldier -- fallen or still with us -- deserves the same pedestal. I don't want the war to only hit home when a journalist loses a friend; they all are front page news. Everyone should names like Smith, Dunham and Stokley.

Please take a few minutes to listen to what Mr. Stokley had to say at the Milblogs Conference. It will take your breath away. And if you don't know much about Paul Smith or Jason Dunham, make sure you read about them too. If there's anything the milblog community can do and do well, it's educating the general public about Someone You Should Know. We want names like Smith, Dunham, and Stokley to replace names like Hilton, Spears, and Lohan. Pass the word.

Posted by Sarah at 08:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 09, 2007


After the conference Saturday night, CVG and I went to see Americanizing Shelley, a movie I had learned about through Andi's World. It was a cutesy little movie, at times a bit corny and formulaic, but I've never been one for romantic comedies anyway. Plus, this formula is no different than The Girl Next Door or Maid in Manhattan, and those are blockbusters, right? I did like a lot of the jokes because my husband and I have many Indian friends, so I felt like I was part of the in-group for the humor. It was just a nice little movie.

But apparently they had a heck of a time getting anyone to buy it. I bet you don't even need three guesses as to why:

One "well-known producer," Miss Gujral says, watched a short work-up of the movie and liked it — for the most part. There was that pro-American element: Must Shelley, the titular foreigner, lose her anti-American stance by movie's end? The producer, shaking his head, said, "Some people never learn."

Another producer, a female, reacted this way to the short film's dedication to "our troops who laid their lives on the line for our freedom": "We can't have that; that's ridiculous. In this climate" — Iraq was going south, the Abu Ghraib prison scandal had erupted — "I'm ashamed to be an American."

I had read this article before I saw the movie, and the entire time all that kept running through my brain is "This, THIS, is what they consider nutty American propaganda?" An Indian girl doesn't like Americans until she gets to the US and finds out we're not all that bad. Sheesh, I've lived that scenario more times than I can count with people from France, Switzerland, etc. I can't tell you how ridiculous it sounds when someone says, "All Americans are X, well, except you...and him...and all the students here in our group." So all Americans are greedy/rude/stupid, except for every single American you've ever met? Riiight. Americanizing Shelley captured that reality perfectly, and that's considering Red State Advertising?

The main character didn't end up hating the US, so the movie pitchers had to "pull a Mel Gibson" and start their own film company. Is every movie supposed to be flippin' Syriana these days? You can't say anything good about Americans without having to resort to selling your own movie?

Even if this movie sucked, I'd tell you to go see it because I want American Pride Films Group to make money. We should all want them to make money so we can at least take steps toward loosening the stranglehold liberalism has on Hollywood. But the movie didn't suck; it was just a decent romantic comedy. With one line about how Americans aren't really so bad. The rest of it is jokes at the expense of white and brown people and everyday ridiculous romantic comedy scenarios. I can't even believe this movie is supposed to stand out for being too kind to America.

I swear, Crocodile Dundee couldn't even get made today.

Posted by Sarah at 11:27 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Professor Forced Out for Citing George Washington:

A tenured college professor is set to be fired for simply sending out an e-mail to colleagues containing George Washington’s "Thanksgiving Day Proclamation of 1789.”

Already professor Walter Kehowski at Glendale Community College in Arizona has been placed on forced administrative leave and the school’s chief has recommended his termination.

I can relate to this story. In the days after 9/11, I made the naive mistake of forwarding Gordon Sinclair's "The Americans" to my grad school email list. Yeah, not such a good idea on a college campus. While I didn't have a job to lose over it, I sure did bring the heat. One student went off-her-rocker mad, saying I was a racist and disrespectful for sending such garbage around. I was lucky that a couple of other students came to my defense. And, as I've written about before, my favorite professor took me aside and taught me a valuable lesson: "The last place it's OK to be American is in an American university."

What in the hell have we come to when quoting George Washington is now considered "'hostile' and 'derogatory'”?

Posted by Sarah at 10:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 08, 2007


This was so awesome. AWTM pointed out that there's footage online from last year's Milblogs Conference. I loved watching this: Talking to Somebody Without Talking to Anybody

Posted by Sarah at 03:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


When I arrived at the hotel on Friday, I had to wait because our room was in CaliValleyGirl's name and she wasn't in DC yet. I sat in the lobby and soon became surrounded by folks I learned were also there for the conference. Turns out they were all Soldiers' Angels.

Over the course of the weekend, I learned more about this organization than I'd known before. Sure, I'd participated in some healthy inter-service rivalry for Valour-IT, but I really didn't know a whole lot about the people involved. Holy cow, are these people amazing.

I have one soldier to take care of; these people take care of all of the rest of them. The extent of their service to others is just staggering. I have to take care of my husband, but these people take care of hundreds of troops they've never met. Unreal.

I was so excited to see a Soldiers' Angels pin in my goody bag for the weekend. And today I went and signed up to be on the Cards Plus Team. Writing cards, now that seems like something I'd be pretty good at (see previous post)!

Also, I was terribly excited to hear that Soldiers' Angels and Sew Much Comfort will soon be available on the Combined Federal Campaign list. I can't wait to make donating to these guys a monthly no-brainer.

A lot of you might be like I was: naturally I had heard of Soldiers' Angels and knew they were doing great work, but until I saw them in action, heard Chuck Z talk about how they changed his life, and shook hands with these selfless folks, I didn't fully grok what they do. Maybe I can transfer some of my enlightenment to you. Please, please at least hit 'em up with five bucks. They truly deserve it.

Posted by Sarah at 01:24 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


I had a moment yesterday where I was confronted with the fact that I am indeed a crazy person. Some of you know how obsessed I am with thank you cards, but to me it seems like completely normal behavior to thank a person who's done something nice for you. And I promise you I didn't think anything of it until my husband cracked up at me for walking towards the mailbox with a thank you card for President Bush. He was nice enough to send us a DVD speech, so he deserves a thank you, right? That doesn't seem normal to you? The look on my husband's face was priceless.

I swear I never even stopped to think about whether I should send him a card or not. The only hard decision was choosing which stationery seemed the most...presidential. Yep, I'm nuts.

Posted by Sarah at 09:00 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 07, 2007


I wasn't exactly sure what we should expect as panel speakers, so in typical plan-ahead fashion, I wrote up something to say in case I needed to explain why family blogging is important. I didn't give this speech per se, but I did manage to work most of these points into my time on the panel. I thought I'd share my planned speech with you in case you're interested.

Hi, my name is Sarah and I write at trying to grok. I have a hate site dedicated to me, a guy who pokes fun at me for being the #1 War Cheerleader. At first I was not so pleased about this site, but eventually I realized that my role here is indeed war cheerleader, so I may as well be #1, right?

I think in some ways a being a war cheerleader is harder than being a soldier. The military wife faces her husband’s mortality on a daily basis. I came to terms with the thought of my own death long ago, and it’s far easier to face than the death of my husband. I’d rather go to war myself than send my husband, even though I can’t run 2 miles in under 6 days and about the most discomfort I can handle is banging my funny bone.

A few weeks ago, a buddy of mine from high school returned from a Special Forces deployment. Once he was safely home, I breathed a sigh of relief and mentioned to my husband that every time I emailed my buddy in the final days of his deployment to make plans for dinner when he returned, I felt a tinge of dread, that feeling of “what if he doesn’t come home to eat this chicken parmesan”, as if the mere act of making plans for his return would invoke The Power of the Jinx, as milblogger Tim elegantly described when CPT Patti was in Baghdad. My husband looked at me incredulously and said, “Did you really worry he might not come home?” as if the thought had never occurred to him.

I pointed out to my husband something that every servicemember needs to remember when he thinks of his family back home. We’ve never been to Iraq or Afghanistan. We don’t know what it’s like. We imagine the worst, and our mental war zone would probably seem cartoonish to you. But we simply can’t fully grasp what war is like. And while you know when you’re safe or bored or having a slow day, we don’t. Many times you can see danger coming if you have to go on a mission and you can emotionally prepare yourself to let slip the dogs of war; we have to stay emotionally prepared for the entire deployment, never sure of when your mortality is on the line. Your deployment is filled with the ebb and flow of adrenaline; your life is monotonous days punctuated by moments of anxiety or excitement; our adrenaline is always half-on, since every moment that we’re not on the phone with you is a moment when you’re possibly in danger. Such is the life for those on the homefront, those who stand and wait. Such is the life my husband can’t begin to understand, any more than I can really understand his.

So I’ve decided I’m taking the insult back. I wear the title of #1 War Cheerleader with pride, for it’s one of the toughest jobs in the Army.

Posted by Sarah at 11:00 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack


I am so excited about Sarkozy's win in France yesterday. I loved this roundup of photos and ideas at Publius Pundit. But despite the surge of energy I felt yesterday, PowerLine left me feeling nervous today:

The U.S. has now seen the leadership of both France and Germany pass to figures who believe, as a general matter, that American power is a force for good in the world, and not something that needs persistently to be constrained. Let's hope that in 2009 the U.S. still has a leader who concurs.

Oh yeah, crap. Please let us weather 2008.

Posted by Sarah at 10:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


In case mine is the only milblog you read, I too will sum up the Milblogs Conference. We started with a very special guest speaker to address the gathering of milbloggers. Yep, President Bush sent a pre-recorded statement for us. The crowd went wild and everyone was snapping photos of the big screen. You can see W's speech to milbloggers here. Next we got to VTC with Admiral Fox in Iraq, Blackfive read an email from General Petraeus and a letter from Senators Coleman, Coburn, and DeMint, and the conference was underway. Never let it be said that bloggers don't matter.

I can't even begin to sum up all that was said on the panels. RedState has a great liveblog you should read to get the gist. I did try to make mental notes of topics I'd like to address further, and I plan to work on those posts over the next few days. I also plan to work on tidying up a few things I said on my panel. As I joked over the weekend, we bloggers deal in print, and there were a few times on the panel that I really wished I had my backspace key. I think I flubbed some points along the way, so I'd like to write a few posts clearing up some things I said when my mouth was moving faster than my brain.

The highlight of the weekend was meeting people I've known for years. SGT Hook was nothing like I expected, but I'll be darned if he's not better than I could've hoped for. I am trying to figure out how to arrange a play-date for Hook and Tim, since I think they'd get along swimmingly. It was so exciting to meet people like Teresa and Tammi, two awesome ladies who definitely ate their veggies growing up. And I think I've developed a major blog crush on Mary Katherine Ham. Chuck Z is nuts, Patti Patton-Bader is the warmest person on the planet, and Blackfive is more than just the talking head who's constantly on my TV these days. I also loved meeting the Lurkers, and it was jawdropping that a non-blogger would fly from Arizona just to meet all us buffoons.

And I have to say a little something about my darling bunkmate. I had met CaliValleyGirl in person before, but only briefly. Nonetheless, we settled in like we'd been friends for years. And hell, I guess we have. But she's even more perfect in person than she is on the phone, and I marveled at my Alabama Worley feeling all weekend, "that 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 09:59 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 06, 2007


I'm home from DC, exhausted and full of stuff to say. I promise to say it all tomorrow.

One of my awesome Lurkers (thanks for breakfast!) suggested that I put up a sort of "Best Of" list with some links to typical grok posts in case I have any new readers after the conference. I invite anyone who's here for the first time to check out my In a Nutshell post on the sidebar to learn more about me. If you want more, may I suggest scrolling down the sidebar to my "Tooting My Own Horn" list for a handful of older posts.

Oh, and if you're still confused about the title of my blog, see here.

Posted by Sarah at 06:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 04, 2007


I'm leaving for Washington DC in a couple of hours. I have no idea what my blogging capabilities will be this weekend because, despite the fact that the whole weekend will be dedicated to blogging, I remain possibly the only milblogger who doesn't own a laptop. But I'm sure I will return with stories and photos.

CaliValleyGirl said she's been having a hard time explaining to non-internet-obsessed people what the Milblogs Conference exactly is. She said she told them to imagine a Beanie Babies collectors convention, a gathering of folks with an esoteric hobby. I say it feels like a high school reunion of people you didn't go to high school with. Either way, I expect it to be awesome.

If you're so inclined, you can find info on the webcast and liveblogging here.

Posted by Sarah at 08:03 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I turned on the radio yesterday and heard the very tail end of a news report that included a quote from Gene Cernan. I wondered what he could be giving a quote for, but I soon forgot about it. This morning I realized what I had missed: Wally Schirra passed away. Lileks gives a fitting tribute and a lesson in courage.

He's already been to heaven three times, so finding his way now shouldn't be a problem. Godspeed, Mr. Schirra.


Posted by Sarah at 07:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 02, 2007


Read this interview with Sandmonkey and be depressed.

Posted by Sarah at 08:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 01, 2007


If you look up "turn of phrase" in the dictionary, you should see Mark Steyn's picture. Holy crap, can this man write.

So I don't believe the nightly plume of smoke over Baghdad on the evening news explains the national disenchantment. Rather, the mission as framed by the president -- help the Iraqi people build a free and stable Iraq -- is simply not accepted by the American people. On the right, between the unrealpolitik "realists" and the "rubble doesn't cause trouble" isolationists and the hit-'em-harder-faster crowd, the president has fewer and fewer takers for a hunkered-down, defensive, thankless semi-colonial policing operation. Regardless of how it works on the ground, it has limited appeal at home. Meanwhile, the leftists don't accept it because, while they're fond of "causes," they dislike those that require meaningful action: Ask Tibetans about how effective half a century of America's "Free Tibet" campaign has been; or ask Darfuris, assuming you can find one still breathing, how the left's latest fetishization is going from their perspective:

"On Sunday, April 29, Salt Lake Saves Darfur invites the greater Salt Lake community of compassion to join with us as we honor the fallen and suffering Darfuris in a day of films, discussion and dance with a Sudanese dance troupe."

Marvelous. I hope as the "Salt Lake Saves Darfur" campaign intensifies in the decades ahead there'll be enough Darfuris to man the dance troupe.

Posted by Sarah at 12:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack