February 29, 2008


I was just watching an old rerun of Law & Order, and the detective said that a suspect had an "arsenal registered in his name." Turns out he had five guns. An arsenal! Shoot, they should meet some of the people we know. One of my husband's buddies used his entire PCS weight allowance for ammunition. No joke. Five firearms is nothing.

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Victor Davis Hanson rips on Europe in an interview:

JF: What is it that makes the U.S. and Europe so different from each other? From the outside, the two are often perceived as a monolithic unit: the West. Does this unity really exist, or are we talking about two separate worlds? Do you think the alliance between the U.S. and Europe is made to last, or is it no more than an illusion?

VDH: We have a common legacy, as the elections in France and Germany remind us. And we coalesce when faced by a common illiberal enemy — whether against the Soviet empire or radical Islam.

But after the fall of the Soviet Union, you diverged onto a secularized, affluent, leisured, socialist, and pacifist path, where in the pride and arrogance of the Enlightenment you were convinced you could make heaven on earth — and would demonize as retrograde anyone who begged to differ.

Now you are living with the results of your arrogance: while you brand the U.S. illiberal, it grows its population, diversifies and assimilates, and offers economic opportunity and jobs; although, for a time you’ve become wealthy — given your lack of defense spending, commercial unity, and protectionism — but only up to a point: soon the bill comes due as you age, face a demographic crisis, become imprisoned by secular appetites and ever growing entitlements. Once one insists on an equality of result, not one of mere opportunity, then, as Plato warned, there is no logical end to what the government will think up and the people will demand.

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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.

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The Girl sent me a depressing study called Still At Risk: What Students Don't Know, Even Now. Seventeen year olds were asked basic questions about history and literature; guess how they fared.

What I thought was quite interesting was that the questions the students did best on were the "I Have a Dream" speech and Uncle Tom's Cabin. So Black History Month is achieving its goals. But I think we need a White History Month to even things out, since only 74% of kids knew which century Columbus sailed to the New World and only 52% knew what the book 1984 was about (apparently 18% thought it was about time travel, backwards!) Kids don't know what JFK said in his speeches, but they know what MLK said.

My kids are going to have to read, at gunpoint if necessary.

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February 28, 2008


The husband and I just spent the last hour laughing hysterically at a website John Hawkins found: Stuff White People Like.


This is the most hilarious blog ever. It covers all the stuff I freaking hate (note: travelling / study abroad and making you feel bad about not going outside are just better-written versions of my hatred for travel and doing stuff).

Seriously, I can't even say which one is my favorite -- not having a TV, expensive sandwiches, The Daily Show, having two last names -- they're all spot on. This site captures perfectly all the douchy things that people do. I love it.

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I've been seeing Subway commercials about how Jared has kept the weight off for ten years. Dang, there are kids out there who have never known a world without Jared.

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Oh man, I just got laid off! It's a corporate decision to stop offering classes, so there's the end of the greatest job ever. I will really miss those knitting classes. It was fun while it lasted.

But how on earth will we ever live without the $900 I made last year? Heh.

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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...

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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.

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February 26, 2008


Yep, we're invested.

Sitting on a bunk in Bravo Company's outpost, Staff Sgt. Corey Hollister noted the irony that, even as the debate in America remained bizarrely unaffected by the reality around him, "It's really military personnel and their families who don't want [the Army] to leave Iraq."

My husband is frustrated that he could've spent six months learning Farsi only to deploy to Iraq (where no one speaks Farsi). He would've rather learned Arabic then. He wants to be able to communicate with the people, wants to read as many books as he can about Sunnis and Shiites and Arab culture, wants to get another chance to participate in this war. Not for the killing but for the cultural cross-pollination.

And indeed, there's cross-pollination:

Officers in the Grand Army of the Tigris, as one of its senior officers calls the American force, dine with local elders at "goat grabs," greet them with "man-kisses," and routinely punctuate their own conversations with the casual "insha'allah." The vernacular has even followed the Army home: In the halls of the Pentagon, where nearly every Army officer has served at least two tours in Iraq, officers ask whether this or that official has "wasta"—Iraqi shorthand for "influence" or "pull," though with a slightly more corrupt tinge.

It's the military families that don't want to leave Iraq because they are the ones who've become invested. They're the ones who are getting steeped in this culture and looking for ways to make it compatible with ours. And they're the ones who understand the little picture as well as the big one.

My husband has always said that Iraq has way more than a problem between Sunnis and Shiites, because even in all-Shiite villages, there are still feuds. Between this group and that, this clan and that, this cousin's branch and that, this side of the street and that. Put two Iraqis in a room together, and they'll find something to divide them. So I got a kick out of this:

This much was evident at a gathering of 20 local elders, where a young captain named Palmer Phillips cajoled and corralled sheiks three times his age. "Hey," Phillips admonished the feuding tribal leaders, "There can't be anymore of this Dulaimi versus Assawi action going on."

The soldiers on the ground are working with the nuances and getting physically and emotionally invested in the outcome. Really, really invested. And they don't want to fail. But most of all they don't want to be sent home before they have a chance to succeed.

Read the whole article.


Also read Gordon Alanko's Reconstructing Relationships. "Juggling kittens" indeed.

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My husband and I both want a boy. We want a boy really badly. We always have imagined ourselves with a son. And so we laugh that when we finally, finally get pregnant again someday, we will probably definitely have a girl. Such has been our humbling experience with conception woes.

But no matter how much I'd like to have a boy, now that we've worked so hard to have a baby, any baby, this article -- "Sexual Satisfaction: Abortion and your right to accurate sex selection" -- makes me sick. There are so many people out there who would give anything to have a baby, boy or girl, and others are aborting because some stick they peed on gave them pink instead of blue? Some dubiously accurate stick at that? And then they're suing the company because they had a girl instead of a boy.

People never cease to horrify me.

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February 25, 2008


I spent four hours today sewing toes to feet and making up the monkey face. He's done, and he's pretty cute. Too bad he's not going to fetch $200.


Remind me to never knit stuffed animals for strangers.

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I just finished reading the book Assassination Vacation. I have never encountered a book that I so thoroughly loved and hated simultaneously.

Some of the negative reviews on Amazon say that Sarah Vowell's writing is self-absorbed. As a blogger, heh, I live self-absorbed. I assume that people are going to want to listen to my talk of knitted monkey toes and reproductive health. So that didn't bother me at all; I found her voice charming and her style to be engaging. I also loved learning about the Lincoln, Garfield, and McKinley assassinations. There were so many great tidbits in this book, and I came away knowing a lot more about the life and death of those three presidents. I also learned touching info like the fact that Ida McKinley sewed a picture of her dead husband into her knitting bag, a bag which is on display in the McKinley museum in Canton, Ohio. Now that I can relate to, that brought Ida McKinley to life for me.

I loved this book, save for the fact that Sarah Vowell has the worst case of Bush Derangement Syndrome I've seen in a long time. She can't talk about any of these assassinations without mentioning Guantanamo Bay, Rumsfeld, Abu Ghraib, etc. These tangential rants were a huge distraction in an otherwise charming book. And I mean a huge distraction. She starts out the book by sympathizing with the assassins themselves because she hates Bush so much, but quickly says that she doesn't want Bush assassinated because that would turn him into a saint. My lord. She also manages to claim that these three assassinated presidents pretty much got what was coming to them because they were Republicans. No word on JFK though.

I mean, seriously, what are you supposed to do when you come across the idea that the author feels sorry for Bill Brady but not for Ronald Reagan? Ouch.

The book could've been the perfect story of one woman's obsession with following in the footsteps of slain presidents, visiting the historical sites and marveling at the relics. Instead she turns a perfectly good book into a dated rant about the Iraq war. She made her own book irrelevant by forever linking it to 2004. It's her right to ruin her book like that, but dang. Does anyone really want to hear her liken Teddy Roosevelt to Paul Wolfowitz? Or compare Dr. Mudd's prison sentence to Gitmo? Sheesh, give it a rest.

So I don't know what I think of this book. I loved the pages where she managed to restrict her thoughts to the 19th century. But when she wandered, boy howdy did she wander. Blech.

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February 24, 2008


I had a black roommate in college who would not walk across campus alone for fear of being lynched. One time I invited her and her boyfriend to a party, and afterwards she raved about how nice and accepting my friends were. She said she was surprised she felt so welcomed among the white kids, as if she expected the record to skip and the whole room to stop and stare when she walked in. I said that it really wasn't that big of a deal to the people I know. And that's when she revealed that the converse was not true: "There's no way I could take you to one of my parties because the black students simply would not accept you." Nice.

I knew an Eastern European foreign exchange student who thought he identified with black American culture more than white American culture, so he wanted to hang out with the black students. The first time he tried to go to a black party, they rudely asked him to leave. You have to admire his persistence though; he continued to attend their parties for weeks, being ostracized each time. Finally, a girl who was in one of his classes came up to him at his fifth or sixth party and asked him why in the heck he kept coming back when it was obvious he didn't belong. After many weeks of "proving himself," he finally made some headway, and the black students would say hello on campus and talk to him as if he were a friend.

I know these are just anecdotes, but my experience on a very predominantly white campus was that the black students self-segregated and imagined that they were being oppressed. No one even noticed when my roommate showed up at our "white" party. It was no big deal for me to include her, but she'd be going out on a major limb to bring me into her world. That's not the white students' fault; that's the black students' fault for closing themselves off.

I was reminded of these experiences when I read about Michelle Obama's thesis on race relations (via LGF).

"My experiences at Princeton have made me far more aware of my 'blackness' than ever before," the future Mrs. Obama wrote in her thesis introduction. "I have found that at Princeton, no matter how liberal and open-minded some of my white professors and classmates try to be toward me, I sometimes feel like a visitor on campus; as if I really don't belong. Regardless of the circumstances underwhich I interact with whites at Princeton, it often seems as if, to them, I will always be black first and a student second."

I can't speak for Princeton in the 80s, but this was certainly not the case at my school in 1999. And I wonder if my old roommate ever learned to relax around people, all people of all colors, and just be herself. I hope to goodness she doesn't still think she's going to get lynched.

This part of Peggy Noonan's editorial stuck with me too:

Michelle Obama seems keenly aware of her struggles, of what it took to rise so high as a black woman in a white country. Fair enough. But I have wondered if it is hard for young African-Americans of her generation, having been drilled in America's sad racial history, having been told about it every day of their lives, to fully apprehend the struggles of others. I wonder if she knows that some people look at her and think "Man, she got it all." Intelligent, strong, tall, beautiful, Princeton, Harvard, black at a time when America was trying to make up for its sins and be helpful, and from a working-class family with two functioning parents who made sure she got to school.

If Michelle Obama doesn't realize that she made it, that her life is not one "on the periphery," well, that's a damn shame. But it's not white people's fault.

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February 23, 2008


The new swear word around our house is "monkey toes."


I'm still working on the spider monkey I started back in November, a project which has been sitting in pieces on my coffee table, mocking me for months. The hitch? Individually knitted toes. Twenty of 'em. Individually sewn on to individual feet. A nightmare of sewing and weaving in ends.

But now the twenty toes are made, and it's time to buckle down and stuff them (eek) and start sewing them to the feet. And sewing the feet to the legs.

Time to get this monkey off my back. Hardy har.

(And yes, I know that the toes look like, ahem, swimmers all lined up like that. Or feminine products. That wasn't the look I was going for when I took the picture.)

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I got Fredstruck this year and forgot my love for ol' George W. This video of his whiteboy dancing reminded me of how charming I think he is. He deserves to party like a rock star for a day.

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From the comments section of a Dr. Helen post:

I think the problem is that young men come to the realization that they are not really needed. Boys grow up instinctively wanting to be heroes, but the irony is that successive generations of male heroics have made the world safe enough that women no longer need heroes in their lives; they want "partners." It comes out sounding more like a business proposition, and a rather bland one at that.

My husband is the man of the house. He lifts the heavy things, handles the money, deals with car maintenance, watches baseball, and drinks beer. He also goes to war. He doesn't cry and he doesn't complain about having to work so hard. He is my hero, and I chose him because he is a man's man. I most certainly do need heroes like him in my life.

Sorry, but reading Dr. Helen's columns and comments is a depressing activity. I felt the need to defend my husband after all that reading.

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February 22, 2008


Along with registering my gripes with travel, I hereby register my gripes with Doing Stuff. Apparently a completely fulfilling life of staying in your cozy home watching movies that have been deposited in your mailbox is "uncool." We have to Go Somewhere and Do Stuff in order to be having A Good Time.

Lileks, of course:

But in the great middle expanse of your life, you not only want to spread out, you want to be left alone, and this is taking on the characteristic of an anti-social sentiment. You should be walking around the dense neighborhood window-shopping and eating at small fusion restaurants. You should be engaged. If you want to watch a quality foreign film, good, but you should not watch it home; you should walk down to the corner theater and see it in a room full of other people, and nevermind that the start time is inconvenient and you can’t pause it to go pee and the fellow in the row behind you is aerating the atmosphere with tubercular sputum. This is how they do things in New York.

Apparently there's a movie theater in town where you can see a movie over dinner and drinks; you sit at tables and they serve you food while the movie is playing. Or something like that, I've never been. But another hip young couple here is always telling us that we should be Doing Things like going to this innovative movie theater, or schlepping to the big city to go out to dinner, or heading to the beach to surf, or doing yoga, or whatever else they do with all their free time. People look at us like we're freaks when we say we've never been to the big city that's an hour away, that we've never been to the beach, that we don't eat out in restaurants. Apparently we'd have "so much fun, and it'd be romantic too" spending fifty bucks for a dinner I can make at home. And what knitter wants to watch a movie whilst eating food? Movies were invented to help knitters feel less idle; I've gotten good enough that I can watch a movie with subtitles while knitting from a chart, but I still can't do much in the darkness of a movie theater. And certainly not with a plate of food in front of me.

Nevermind that we own French, Swedish, Korean, and Serbian movies and have animated discussions about Obama and deficit spending over our homecooked meals; life is not fulfilling unless you leave the house. The looks I get from people my age indicated that we're simply not cool if we don't Go Do Things.

Call me uncool then.

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February 21, 2008


John Hawkins has a good post up today called Conservatism: Principles and Power. One section that caught my eye was this:

We've also gotten way off the tracks on the "purity" issue. There's this sense that if conservatism gets more pure, if we can just get rid of the RINOS, we can dominate again -- but that's not true. When a political party is losing, they need to find ways to draw more people into the tent, not throw people out.

I've been reading many comments sections these days, so I'm sorry that I can't remember where I read this. But someone was complaining that the Religious Right gets all the focus as the base of the Republican Party. He said (paraphrase), "As a fiscal conservative, when will I finally be accepted as part of 'the base'?" I completely relate to this. I want to know when my worries about spending will matter as much as others' worries about the sanctity of marriage. Pres. Bush (pbuh) has been running around like a teen with his dad's credit card, but all the questions at the YouTube debate were about which parts of the Bible the candidates take literally. I just don't freaking care.

In another comment thread the other day (sorry, don't remember where I saw this either), Democrats kept saying that the reason they need to defeat John McCain is so he won't overturn Roe v Wade. Honestly, that is so far from my mind right now that it made me snicker. I would prefer that abortion be left up to the states, but this issue is not at all a priority for me in voting. I am worried about the war and about spending. Period.

Hawkins is right when he goes on to say:

We should always be asking ourselves, "How can we reach out to more Americans?" How can we apply our principles in different areas to reach larger blocks of voters? What new solutions can we come up with to the problems that the American people are concerned about? In some of these areas, we've done a good job. In others, we haven't.

Solutions. We need real ideas, and realistic ideas, especially on spending. I remember how thrilled I was when Pres. Bush was talking about reforming social security back in 2004. I was beside myself with excitement at the time, but it went nowhere. And I think the Democrats are deluding themselves over health care the same way we did over social security four years ago; it's just not going to happen. Or at least it's not going to happen the way they want it to.

I remember hearing John McCain in one of the first debates getting hammered for the immigration bill, and he got an exasperated look on his face and tried to explain that it wasn't a perfect bill, it wasn't even something that he personally was all that thrilled about, but that you have to make concessions and compromises in order to get anything done in Congress. And I felt for him in that moment. It's so easy for those of us on the outside to point fingers at Congress about what they should and shouldn't be doing, but we don't have to sit in the same room as Nancy Pelosi and try to hammer out solutions. Can we even have any idea how hard that must be?

Most people don't like McCain because he is too willing to work with the other side, but that's how you get more people in the tent. And I quoted Lileks yesterday on compromise; I do believe that it's folly to compromise on your major principles. But if Congress is at a roughly 50/50 split, there's no way a MoveOn.org idea nor a Pon Raul idea is going to pass the vote. The solutions will have to be somewhere in the middle.

Which is why I think that the most important thing is for Republicans to get seriously better at explaining how their positions help people. Read a Thomas Sowell book and you have all the info you need, in layman's terms, to show people how economic ideas that are typically labeled "Republican" are the better choice. So why don't our Republican politicians do this? Steal from Sowell if you must; I bet he wouldn't mind! But make people realize that all these feel-good ideas the Dems come up with -- everything for everyone, free! -- are nonsense. Help people think beyond stage one. Show them that a clean environment is good but Kyoto will cripple us, that more affordable health care is within our reach if we let the free market take its course, or that a higher minimum wage means we get our hours cut. Arm the voters with knowledge and the tides will shift, and when Congress tips in our favor, we have to make less concessions and compromises.

We need to stop letting Democrats get away with "stage one thinking" and start pulling more people into our tent. Why are the same people thrilled that Lieberman moved slightly right of center but appalled over John McCain? There should be plenty of room on our side for both of them, for everyone.

Micklethwait and Wooldridge said that our country is steadily getting more conservative. I'd really like to believe that. But I think we could give it a little push if we got better at explaining our solutions.

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I don't know...CaliValleyGirl's new puppy is awful cute, but my loyalties lie with ol' Charles here.


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Not enough stress in your life? Watch this video by Dave Walker from the Government Accountability Office.

Then, if you're not freaked enough, watch Ha Ha America. It's like a train wreck; I can't look away.

(via Kim du Toit)

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February 20, 2008


Lots of people agree that Obama is low on substance. But no one can phrase it like Lileks:

On the radio today Medved and Hewitt both asked Obama supporters to call and say why they were supporting their man. Specifics, please. The replies were rather indistinct. He would end the division and bring us together by encouraging us all to talk about common problems, after which we would compromise. He will give us hope by giving us hope: for many, the appeal has the magical perfect logic of a tautology. It's a nice dream. But compromise is impossible when you have a fundamental differences about the proper way to solve a problem. I believe we can achieve a fair society by taking away your house and giving it to someone else. I disagree. It is my house. Then let us agree to give away half of your house. Compromise! But that is not a compromise. You have taken half my house. We have compromised on your behalf with those who would have taken it all. Let us not return to the politics of division. There are strangers living in my spare bedroom. Then we have truly come together. Look, this isn’t a matter on which we can compromise, because we have conflicting premises. You’re pretending matter and anti-matter have the same relationship as Coke and Pepsi. They don’t.

He goes on with more awesomeness. My pal Amritas once said that Lileks is the Mark Twain of our time. I love that. I just love how Lileks writes.

(You did say that, right, Amritas? Did I mix you up with Bunker?)

Posted by Sarah at 01:36 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


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.


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.

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Links found via CG today:

a hilarious Hitler cartoon
Mark Steyn's So what would it take to alarm you?

Also, Rachel Lucas goes off, and it is good.

Posted by Sarah at 09:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 19, 2008


I heard this morning on the radio that John McCain wanted to use the song "Take a Chance On Me" for his campaign, but ABBA put the kibosh on it. I just told my husband that, and he said, "I wouldn't use a song written by Swedes. What he needs is some AC/DC, maybe 'Highway to Hell.' No, wait, 'Hells Bells" and John McCain can say 'I'll come and choke you if you don't vote for me.'" Hahaha.

Posted by Sarah at 07:53 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


My husband saw Castro's face on Drudge this morning, adorned with the phrase "The End," and got super-excited for cake. Sadly, there is no baking yet for Castro. But just you wait.

Past delicious cakes include:
Saddam's broken neck
Zarqawi in smithereens
Milosevic burns in hell
Bush wins and Arafat croaks
Saddam being dragged from that nasty hole
Uday and Qsay get what's coming to 'em (before I blogged)

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February 18, 2008


I made a list of things to say
But all I really want to say
All I really want to say is
Hold her and keep her strong
While I'm away from here
    --R.E.M. Green Album

The other day, my husband asked me how I think I'll feel when the next deployment rolls around. And I wondered why he'd asked; he said softly, "Well, you know, nothing's been the same since Sean Sims." And he's right.

I've given up with the pretending too. When I'm quiet for too long and he asks me what I'm thinking, I've given up lying. "I'm thinking about what happens if you die," I now answer. And it's awful how often the thoughts creep in. It is so sick, this anticipatory grief. He's right here beside me, and it's weird that sometimes I can't even enjoy him because I'm planning for some imaginary future that I hope never comes.

And I wasn't like this before. He's right; nothing's been the same.
Sacrifice is no longer theoretical when you've watched someone live with it for years.

Posted by Sarah at 09:34 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


Lileks is right; let's not talk about the NIU killer. Let's not look for root causes and make excuses and find a way for this to make sense. Instead, click on Lileks' link to the victim's story.

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


It absolutely cracks me up when my husband uses my blog against me. He asked a little while ago if I'd like to take the dog for a walk, and I balked and complained until he said, "Don't cry to me because you're uncultured and hate travel." It cracked me up. He also calls me flippant a lot, and he used to call me clueless f*cktard dumb. Somehow it's endearing when he turns the tables on me.

Also, this is the man who likes to joke that he only wants to travel when he gets to go armed. Uncultured, indeed.

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From an interview with Tyler Cowen:

My colleague and co-blogger Alex Tabarrok makes an interesting point. If you knew your life were much shorter you would travel to those places you always wanted to see. If you knew your life were to be much longer you would have more time to travel; again you would travel more. So, are you trying to tell me that your expected lifespan is just at that length where you shouldn't travel more? I don't buy it.

In case I haven't solidified my weirdo credentials enough on this blog, I will add more fuel to the fire: I don't really like to travel, and I'm not convinced I'd do more of it if my life were shorter or longer.

Maybe I'm just traveled out; I have been a lot of places. Or maybe I don't like the opportunity costs; I seemed just fine with travel when my parents or my college scholarship were footing the bill. I traveled the world on someone else's dime with nary a peep. But now that it's my money where my mouth is, it's suddenly not so important. I am sure that if we ever have kids, it will become more important to us, to help them see the world. It might be worth the cost then. But for now, we are oh-so-content to spend free moments in our own house.

There's no place like home, right?

I've also never been able to let go of something Paul Theroux said, that "travel is an expensive kind of laziness." You take pictures of stuff you know nothing about, just so you can show other people that you've been somewhere cool. And then speak with authority about the place. God, I hate the authority in travelers' voices. Spending the weekend in Venice does not mean you understand Italians or their way of life. I lived with a Swedish family for two and a half months, and all I can really say is that I understand that particular Swedish family. I don't delude myself that I now grok what it is to be Swedish.

I also know that one bad experience (or conversely, one good one) can change the way you feel about an entire country. I hated every aspect about living in France, but I'm self-aware enough to know that I lived a series of unfortunate events that molded my opinion. If I'd lived somewhere else with different people, like my distant relatives, I might view the entire country differently, and I probably would've continued my French career path. My bad experiences in France contributed enormously to who I am today: I discovered anti-Americanism and spent months defending my country to prejudiced Europeans. The irony is that I wouldn't be as American as I am today if I hadn't spent time in other countries, arguing why the United States is not the Great Satan.

The thing about this "expensive kind of laziness" is that travel is emotional while educating yourself is dry. My feelings about France are gut not brain, and quite separate from any knowledge I gained in my ten years of French study. My husband has never been to Iran, but I'd wager he knows more about Iranian history than many Iranians do. Because he reads books and learns facts. Sure, he doesn't have the glossy tourist photos to prove he knows Iran, but ask him about the Iranian Revolution and he starts a hundred years ago with names and dates. That's more valuable than a picture of us smiling in Tehran ever could be.

All in all, I think travel is overrated as a means of learning about the world. If you want to go see some place that you've studied and explored intellectually, I think that's fabulous. The most rewarding trips I took in Europe were to see things I'd studied: my visit to see the Iceman and my quest through the streets of Paris to find where Jean-Paul Marat was killed. But a picture of me in front of the Sphinx is no substitute for reading a book.

And I guess I'd rather read the books in the comfort of my own home than travel somewhere to get the photo taken.

Posted by Sarah at 10:28 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack


I thought this concept was wild:

The notion of “ecoanxiety” has crept into the culture here. It was the subject of a recent cover story in San Francisco magazine that quotes a Berkeley mother so stressed out about the extravagance of her nightly baths that she started to reuse her daughter’s bath water.

My husband and I have ecoanxiety, but our eco- is for economics. I get so excited when I find balls of yarn on sale for a dollar, but I stress too because it's an extravagance I don't need. We could be saving that dollar. I wrestle with myself in stores all over town because even though we save plenty, there's no such thing as saving too much for the future. So I guess I understand the feeling, even if I don't understand tying oneself in knots over the environment.

Posted by Sarah at 09:16 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 16, 2008


I was reading about Obamamania today and came across this tangential comment by "a thirty-something, African-American female":

And finally, after Iowa something changed. I am what you might now call an Obamamaniac and am 'emotionally involved' as you say. But it's not because I think he is some Messiah. I haven't fallen in love with him. His campaign has made me fall in love with this country. His campaign has made me rethink assumptions I had made about huge swaths of this country. My only thought of North Dakota was a place not to go because of the color of my skin. Now, after Iowa, I realize my own small-mindedness and my own cynicism. Sure, some people out there will not want me around but I'll wait until they make that clear to me.

And that is just really, really cool.

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

February 15, 2008


Geeky valentines.
My favorite is the Avogadro one.
(And the comments are hilarious too.)

Also, I still think that this is romantic, but I am a dork at heart.

(Thanks to C.G. for the link.)

Posted by Sarah at 03:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


The husband and I have been watching the show Sleeper Cell lately. I remember reading reviews when this show came out that it seemed too PC because the members of the terrorist cell were all white. But AirForceWife recommended the show, and I know she wouldn't give it her stamp of approval if it were too hokey or actually-America-is-the-bad-guy feeling.

We have watched several episodes so far, and I really like how nuanced the show is. It shows all the different types of Muslims: the "jihad means inner struggle, Islam is a religion of peace" type, the "jihad means killing every single American" type, the "we should kill soldiers in Iraq, not plot terror attacks on innocent Americans" type, the conflicted "others are hijacking my religion" type, and even the goofy white kid who becomes a Muslim to tick his mother off. Plus it shows white people who mean well but who just don't get how hard it is to be a non-psycho Muslim today. I think it's really well done; it lures you into feeling sorry for some of the characters, and then you have to shake yourself and remind yourself that they're murdering a-holes. It's complex, and I like that.

I give it my stamp of approval too.

Posted by Sarah at 03:31 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


An update (er, kinda non-update) on our family's current military situation over at SpouseBUZZ.

Posted by Sarah at 03:20 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 14, 2008


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


My husband found a link: Homeless: Can you build a life from $25?: "In a test of the American Dream, Adam Shepard started life from scratch with the clothes on his back and twenty-five dollars. Ten months later, he had an apartment, a car, and a small savings."

I just love this. I thought Spurlock was full of baloney. Actually he was full of baloney, as he had his employer intentionally lower his wage to make his point.

Good for you, Adam Shepard.

Posted by Sarah at 03:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


MSN rated the top 10 movie kisses. They went with Brokeback, of course. But if they had to choose a guy-to-guy kiss, why not Parker and Stone in BASEketball? Heh.

Posted by Sarah at 09:50 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


(This is my favorite Valentine's Day tradition; I now think this is one of the most romantic songs ever. See here if you don't get the joke. And yes, I know I'm weird.)

See also: another favorite Valentine's Day tradition.

Posted by Sarah at 08:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 13, 2008


Chuck Z is on the warpath...

Posted by Sarah at 06:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


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


Most bloggers talk about current events; I, on the other hand, like to discuss movies that are ten to sixty years old. That's how I make sure I'm not saying the same thing as everyone else. I talk about the outdated stuff.

At any rate, the husband and I watched the movie The Boondock Saints last night, and it got me thinking about vigilantism. Many of our modern heroes are actually vigilantes: Batman, Spiderman, Jack Bauer, Dexter. They right the wrongs that slip through our justice system.

But, I mean, why are there so many wrongs to right?

I re-read last night Bill Whittle's section of Responsibility dealing with prairie justice. He's right that if you read that section to someone from 1880's America, they wouldn't get it.

The idea of punishing the property owner while rewarding the thief would so violate their common sense, their keenly developed sense of responsibility, that they simply could not believe what they were hearing, and that is because for those people, cold, hard reality stalked them right outside their front door, and moronic inversions of cause and effect would quite simply get you killed. That’s why it was called common sense…it was the Minimum Daily Requirement of intelligence and logic that one needed to survive on a daily basis. Those who didn’t have it were too stupid to live, and had been eaten by wolves or prairie dogs, depending on just how stupid they were.

Reality has receded far from the front porch in modern America, and in those isolated towers of law offices, bureaucracies and faculty lounges, all manners of thought inversions can grow and prosper. I recently heard of a woman who sued a car dealership. It seems her son had stolen a car from said dealership, gone on a joy ride -– drunk, of course -– and gotten himself killed. The woman claimed that if the dealership had maintained adequate security, her son would not have been able to steal the car and he’d be alive today.

This is madness.

What has happened in the last 100 years that has made us, as Whittle puts it, lose sight of "the difference between perpetrator and victim"? How did we get from Jack McCall to OJ Simpson?

We watch these vigilantes on TV and we cheer them on for doing the job that our police and courts cannot do. But isn't there something inherently awful about that? Why do criminals slip so easily through the cracks?

I think the best part of The Boondock Saints was the very end where they interview folks on the street for a documentary about the making of the movie (here on YouTube, at 2:30). The opinions were split on whether the brothers' vigilantism was moral or immoral. That end segment made the movie.

Prairie justice was harsh, but I'm not sure we're always better off these days. Sometimes I just want Dexter to go chop up some bad guys.

Posted by Sarah at 01:43 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 11, 2008


American Princess writes about why feminists don't stand up for women in the Middle East. Well said.

Posted by Sarah at 09:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 10, 2008


Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness. That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.
       --Bradford Wiles, quoted by Glenn Reynolds

The other night when we were out walking Charlie, the neighborhood watch guy was out. He warned us that they were looking for two stray dogs, a pit bull and a rottweiler, who had been roaming the neighborhood. These dogs had already mauled and killed another dog, right in front of his owner on her front lawn. Animal control had been out and set a trap, but they weren't having any luck luring the dogs. He told us to be careful.

We just got back from a walk again today, and as we rounded a corner in the neighborhood, I spotted the rottweiler coming slowly from between two houses. We immediately turned, and I don't think the dog ever saw us. But it certainly was unnerving to walk the rest ofthe way home with our backs to where we'd last seen a dangerous dog. I couldn't help but wish we had some way to defend ourselves. I remembered reading Glenn Reynolds' article again the other day, and I felt Bradford Wiles' sense of helplessness.

And my husband is now uneasy that we're safe in our home while danger lurks outside. He's a sheepdog, and he feels awful about letting the wolf roam free. But we don't know anything about the legal ramifications of the situation; can one just go outside with a pistol and Atticus Finch a dangerous dog? Animal control has tried and failed to catch this dog, so the whole neighborhood is at his mercy.

I also worry about the many dogs in the neighborhood who are tied up outside. A vicious dog could come attack them in their own yards, and they'd be at a serious disadvantage if they're on a ten-foot leash.

And I worry about taking Charlie on another walk tomorrow.

Posted by Sarah at 01:46 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


MSNBC is always good for blog fodder.

Article #1: The best-kept secret to home-heating savings

Solar panels look bold on a rooftop, and a Toyota Prius looks hip in the driveway. Geothermal heating and cooling has none of that sex appeal, yet perhaps unlike the others, it can clearly save you money -- and a lot of it.

"The problem is that we don't have some big, fancy piece of equipment outside," says John Kelly, head of a Washington trade group for geothermal companies.

This is just too rich. You know there are people out there who are dying to go green, but only if it's ostentatious. You mean geothermal is the way to go, but my friends and neighbors won't be able to tell I'm doing anything? Nevermind. What a riot -- it's good for the environment, but they're having a hard time marketing to ecotards who only want solutions that shout "Look at me, I'm saving the planet!"

Article #2: Smoky bar triggered fatal asthma attack

The secondary title on this one was "First case of secondhand smoke causing an immediate death, study says." You know they couldn't wait to print this one. A girl goes to work in a bar and dies from an asthma attack. Smokers killed someone! Smokers killed someone!

But she wasn't exactly winning any Healthy Teen awards:

Rosenman said the woman had asthma since age 2. Her asthma was poorly controlled. She had made four visits to her doctor in the year before her death for flare-ups, and had been treated in a hospital emergency department two to three times that year.

Although she had prescriptions for an assortment of drugs to prevent and treat asthma attacks, she was reported to only use them when she was having breathing difficulty.

On the evening of her death, she had no inhaler with her.

Maybe the headline should instead read that secondhand smoke triggered a totally unnecessary death. It's a shame that she didn't take her life-long asthma seriously enough to be properly prepared for an attack. That's not smoke's fault; she could've walked by a lady with massive perfume overload and had the same result. And don't work in a smoky bar if you have asthma, for heaven's sake. Smoking is gross, but this hysterical secondhand smoke nonsense is too much for me. And now we have some study that says that a teen with asthma just walked into a bar and straight-up died because of the smoke in the air. What a boon that will be for the End Smoking Everywhere types.

Posted by Sarah at 09:12 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 09, 2008


I felt an a-ha moment when I saw today that Crash made the list of Worst Oscars Ever. I guess I wasn't the only one who thought it was an overrated piece of garbage. And I disliked it for the same reasons that I disliked Brokeback Mountain: it was all agony and no hope. It was depressing for the sake of being depressing. I couldn't stomach a straight love story with that message.

And now I just spent twenty minutes looking for an old quote I read about Transformers so I could tie this blog post up with a pretty bow, but I can't find it so I am giving up. No poignant ending.

Posted by Sarah at 01:02 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


My husband found this this morning, and we're just fascinated by it: The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough

Posted by Sarah at 10:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


I missed a day of Lileks, and it was a good one. Recommended reading: Thursday's Bleat, in which Lileks channels Hate America Firsters.

Nations are bad enough, but we’re something else: the only nation that has ever fought a war, acted in self-interest, had a good opinion of itself, permitted slavery, elected leaders who lacked a certain Olympian quality, had a popular culture that included simple catchy melodies and bright pictures, harbored racist attitudes, had a strong religious element, and contained a sizable amount of stupid people.

And scroll through the slogans. And be sad.
But enjoy #218. And laugh at #486.

Posted by Sarah at 10:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 08, 2008


Yes, we're still feeling the effects of our lovely OCONUS move.

We paid off our first car while my husband was in Iraq. The lienholder mailed us a letter saying to complete the title, we needed to go to our local DMV. Um, our local DMV was a bunch of Germans working on post in the pseudo-licensing office. The German lady looked at my documents and shrugged. I think I remember her saying at the time that we might run into problems later down the road.

We sure did. But that was nearly four years ago, and I didn't think much of it.

We moved back to the US and reregistered our cars in our state of record. By mail. That car has not been back in Missouri since we bought it back in 2002. Which meant the problem was never noticed...until today. We went to register our cars in our new state, and our lien was never shown as lifted.

So now what? How do I undo a problem that was created four years ago, and 1000 miles away? And through the fricking DMV, of all headaches.

What an unnecessary pain in the neck it was to live in Germany.

Posted by Sarah at 11:59 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 07, 2008


I want to go on the record as agreeing with Rachel Lucas. She has apparently been taking a ton of heat for saying that conservatives ought to vote for McCain in November if they don't want someone worse. I said it in a short version recently, but she lays it out in far more detail than I did. If you want to follow her argument, which I think is completely sound, here are the relevant posts:

Dear People, You have lost your minds. Love, Rachel.
I feel like I've been at an illegal cockfight for 2 days
I can stand the heat so I’m staying in the kitchen. (But I will not make you a sandwich.)
This debate is like crack

Posted by Sarah at 10:08 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


The husband and I watched Casablanca tonight. He had never seen it and I hadn't seen it since high school. And the movie meant a whole lot more to me now than it did back then.

My husband remarked how absurd it would seem to modern viewers to have a woman leave the man she loves to stand for a cause. Nowadays, you'd never break up true love at the end of a movie, especially not for war aims. Rick makes Ilsa go because "the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world." Few people talk like that these days. Fewer still think like that.

But Casablanca came out in 1942, long before the outcome of the war was certain. It was a beautiful story of sacrifice in difficult times. Rick and Ilsa gave up love for the greater good.

Posted by Sarah at 09:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


I'm officially too old for my new cell phone.

I went to set the ringtones, and absolutely none of them are appropriate for my age group. This one's techno. This one's gangsta. Eww, this one sounds like s-e-x. The "oriental" one, that's just racist. I have it set on just plain ringing like a phone because I cannot imagine using any of the provided files.

I am a fogey...

Posted by Sarah at 05:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


OK, I'm irritable. Our state primary isn't until May. May, for pete's sake. Nothin' like having zero say at all in the primary process. I imagine my choices will be McCain and Pon Raul. Gee, thanks.

So in theory, Michigan was right. Even though they forfeited their delegates, they still got to influence the outcome. They get no votes later, but at least they got the media reaction. Meanwhile, states like mine get nothing at all, no influence, no delegates that matter.

So we still have about 20 states left, and it's done. And my candidate was out after only six states. Maybe if the primaries weren't spread out over five freaking months, he might've had a better chance. Or someone would've had a better chance. More importantly, people would've voted for the candidate they agreed with, not the candidate that the media steered them towards by telling them their first choice had no shot.

Not happy.

Posted by Sarah at 05:41 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 06, 2008


The Flag has to come first
if freedom is to survive.
--Col Steven Arrington--

Every once in a while, something on the internet takes my breath away.

Over Our Dead Bodies

This is something I don't like to talk about because it makes me seem cold and cruel. I also think it makes me somewhat out-of-the-ordinary. And some will think I'm plain psycho for even thinking such things. But I believe in the premise of this article, that man is dispensible for the greater cause.

My husband is one of those dispensible men.

I have tried to come to terms with exactly how that makes me feel. And Lord knows I don't ever want to have to put my convictions to the test. But should I have to, I will come back and read that article again and find solace, and I will try very hard to remember in my grief what I knew to be true before grief struck.

I have thought about this a lot over the past years, as you must when your husband's job is war. But I've thought about it in other scenarios too. There was an episode of 24 where terrorists hold a wife and kid hostage and send dad out to provide a detonator to the man holding a nuke. Dad would do anything to save his family, even enable a nuclear weapon.

No way.

I put myself in those shoes, and I just couldn't do it. There's no way I could kill 20,000 to save my 2. I'm not going to go Keyser Soze on my family, but there's no way I will cooperate in arming a nuclear device just to save my husband.

He and I have also talked about this in regards to Jill Carroll and the Brit hostages. I will not beg and grovel, I will not trade his life for the lives of others, and I will remember in my heart the brave Fabrizio Quattrocchi as I do the hardest thing that could ever be asked of a person.

My husband is dispensible.

I do not say that lightly. Not at all. The moment I typed the words, I felt the beginning of tears.

But my personal happiness is not more important than my country. I will do my best to remember this, even when I often think that the Middle East is not worthy of my husband. I will remember that surely there were wives who thought that their husbands' lives were not worth taxation without representation, the end of slavery in far away states, or fear of the domino effect. Yet they sacrificed their husbands, and I would do the same.

That is our profession. Harooh.

I think the movie 300 took people by surprise. The Spartans were not a perfect society, not by a long shot, but they lived by the credo that men are dispensible for Sparta. And the movie resonated with people because they still want to believe that such men are out there. They want to believe that 300 would step up and defend our country too, risking all.

But I think they're afraid that those 300 don't exist. Most of the moviegoers don't number among them.

Some have asked me how I'd feel to get pregnant before my husband deploys. The thought makes me sick to my stomach. I want to raise a child with my husband or not at all. But I asked him while I was pregnant if it made him feel better or worse that he would leave a child behind should something happen to him. He said he did find comfort in thinking like the Spartans, that only men with progeny should be sent to battle. Thus I pray we get pregnant before he leaves again soon, so he has the peace of knowing that his legacy lives on.

And as hard as it is for me to think of my husband as dispensible, it will be all the harder to think of that child as dispensible too.

But the flag comes first.

(Thanks to Kim du Toit for the article and for writing "Not all of us are at the mall. We are with you as surely is if we’re going out on patrol with you, or standing next to you in the chow line back at camp.")


I sat on this one for a while, mulling it over. And in the meantime, I came across an article that Baldilocks' father wrote.

If you are so convinced that an ideal is vital for your society, then shouldn’t you make it your duty to live long enough to help your society to realise it? Once you are dead, of what use are you?
But, clearly, a soldier is much more important than a tool. That is why the law on self-preservation is even more significant to humans. Sure, a good soldier fights bravely in battle. But his bravery must include every stratagem that helps him to return to base unharmed.

Only then can he be available for another battle. Hence the saying: Live for your country: never deliberately die for it.

Trust me when I say that we also know this to be true. No one was more diligent about not dying needlessly than my husband was the last time he was in Iraq. (That's why he put two soldiers in jail when they failed to ensure the safety of the other men.)

My husband is the last man to promote swashbuckling or chest-thumping. But some must go to fight the Dragons, and those men must be ready to be dispensible.

Posted by Sarah at 08:47 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack


How do I love my pal Erin? Let me count the ways...


Erin's first knitting project was this baby sweater, intended for a pregnant friend. But I wasn't there when she started it, so she didn't know that she could float the yarn up the side of the work instead of cutting at every color change. When she finished all the pieces and saw the tangle of mess she had to contend with, she picked the whole thing up and placed it in the garbage can.

Luckily, I was there at that moment, and knitting -- no matter how heinous -- does not belong in the garbage. I took it home and dumped it in a box of yarn, where it sat for three years.

And if Erin had adopted a girl, it would've sat there until eternity.
But Erin had a boy, and I had work to do.


I cursed those tails as I wove them in, but I did it because I couldn't wait to hear the awe in Erin's voice when she realized that the first knitting project she ever made would actually be worn by her new baby.

And it was totally worth it.

"Tucker, look what your mommy and Aunt Sarah made for you," I heard her whisper over the phone.

Yep, totally worth it.

Posted by Sarah at 08:03 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

February 05, 2008


toothpaste for dinner

Our cell phone contract is almost up, which means we're eligible for phone upgrades and such. We went in today to find out about fancy-pants phones like Blackberries. And the sales lady looked at us like we were the freaks for not wanting to pay $140 a month towards cell phones. Um, nope.

And if that weren't enough, we spent the rest of the day at the DMV.

Posted by Sarah at 07:25 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 04, 2008


CaliValleyGirl once said that the reason she started blogging was so I would notice her and be her friend. Now that I am her friend, she sends me enormous emails about her thoughts but doesn't blog anymore.

So I hereby announce that I am no longer certain that I want to be friends with her. Heh. Maybe that'll get her to post again.

P.S. Why didn't anyone tell me that Annika was blogging again? For pete's sake, she's been at it for months and I had no idea. Also she wrote about Tom Petty last month, which brings me full circle today. Also I want to hear more about The Karate Kid. Incidentally, I had to bite my tongue hard not to ask CaliValleyGirl to take me to Reseda or the Golf n Stuff when I was in L.A.

And now I'm full circle within this post.

Posted by Sarah at 09:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack


The husband hated the last season of 24. I was not ready to let go just yet. But somehow, I think I might be able to stop watching now. Also, Butterfly Wife might need a new name for her hubs; seems Jack Bauer is going wuss on us.

On May 31, the show’s head writers went in for a meeting at the studio to present their first big idea: sending Jack to Africa. In various incarnations, Jack would begin the season digging ditches, building houses, tending to orphans, providing security for an embassy or escorting around a visiting dignitary. “One of the themes we discussed was penance, that Africa was a place Jack had gone to seek some kind of penance. Some sanctuary too, but also penance for things he’s done in his life,” Mr. Gordon says.

You know what would make 24 even better? They could feature a big gay pile to stop terrorism.

AirForceWife lent us Sleeper Cell; looks like we'll watch that instead. And I could use more Deadwood when they make it.

Posted by Sarah at 09:08 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack


I loved this exchange between mom and teen about the Tom Petty halftime show.

We were surprised that they chose Tom Petty. Pleasantly surprised, but surprised nonetheless. I half expected 50 Cent to come out halfway through and start doing a rap version, followed by Marilyn Manson screeching "Mary Jane's Last Dance" with Faith Hill on backup or something. Looks like they've maybe given up on the "get artists from all different walks of life and make them sing a song together" idea. "Also, make one of them wear a sweat sock on their arm. That will appeal to the youngsters." Blech.

Posted by Sarah at 08:53 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 03, 2008


Liveblogging the Super Bowl...no, just kidding. But I thought the Declaration of Independence segment was touching. Makes me feel so proud and embiggened.

And I am about to burst, I ate so much junk. Yum.

FYI, Super Bowl knitting includes another SWS Danica for Love My Tanker and a dishrag for my brothers' new apartment.

Posted by Sarah at 07:01 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack


Mmm, only an hour left until I get to start eating foods that are terrible for me! We're having beefy cheese dip, basil-pesto cracker spread, and Paula Deen's version of pigs in a blanket. Oh yeah, and there's some football or something, whatever. We ate salad for lunch so we can gorge ourselves in front of the TV.

Also, I had a laugh today when CaliValleyGirl asked me how we pay such low taxes. Um, that's what happens when one of you has a job with an annual salary of $900. Knitting teacher doesn't exactly pay the bills.

Posted by Sarah at 04:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


The husband did our taxes this weekend and somehow, against all odds of us trying to contribute the bare minimum, we are still getting a refund. The husband just said, "Sweet, the government is hooking us up!" And I feigned horror and said, "Do not ever say anything of the sort again. They are not 'hooking us up'; they are merely only keeping $7000 of our money instead of $9000."

If everyone looked at taxes that way, maybe we could get some reform.

And as I was digging around for receipts on charitable contributions and my husband was trying to figure out how much state sales tax we could deduct, we kept muttering how nice the Fair Tax would be.

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


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

February 02, 2008


Yay, the hat I made for Tucker fits!
(I am used to making preemie stuff, so newborn stuff looks gigantic to me.)

Posted by Sarah at 11:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack


We watched Ratatouille last night. What was the deal with all the guns? Doddering old grannies in France do not keep shotguns in the living room, nor do quarreling couples go at each other with pistols. It was France, for pete's sake. France does not have a gun culture.

Other than that, it was good. But the gun thing was mighty weird.

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

February 01, 2008


This Chicago Boyz article is really good but also really painful for me to read because I know I am "educated beyond [my] intelligence." But at least I know and can admit it, right?

Yeah, reading that post made me want to puke.

(Gee thanks, David...)

Posted by Sarah at 04:10 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack


I'm just kind of flabbergasted that it looks like the Republican candidate might be McCain. Six months ago there was no way on earth it'd be McCain. Shoot, one month ago in Iowa he got slightly less delegates than Fred. I don't know about you, but I sure as heck didn't see this coming.

John Hawkins lays out some good points in his new article, "Why You're Going To Vote For John McCain In November And Like It!" There are some on teh internets who say that they'd rather stay home than vote for McCain, or that we deserve four years of Hillary to wake us up to just how bad it can get.

I told that last one to my husband, who replied that stupid, stubborn Republican voters will indeed deserve Hillary if they can't hold their nose at the polls and punch a chad for McCain, but that our military doesn't deserve Hillary. Our troops don't deserve a fate of fleeing Baghdad à la Saigon. Our troops don't deserve to be told again that they fought and died for nothing.

So hold your nose, throw up in your mouth a little, whatever it takes, but vote for McCain if he's our guy. There may not be a huge difference between him and the Dems, but there certainly is a difference when it comes to the GWOT.

Posted by Sarah at 10:15 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack