Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Counter protest, anyone?

Cindy Sheehan to protest at Landstuhl.

Household6 has the details.


(I would post photos, but something seems to be wrong with my blogger...so I will have to wait on that.)

To say I was nervous is an understatement.

I drove out to the base to meet with someone who was going to sign me on post. And they dropped me off at the reception tent. I got there around 1:30pm, and the ceremony was supposed to start at 2pm. However, the guys were late. But we got constant updates of their status. On their way. 20 minutes away. When the announcement came that the bus was on post, the reception tent echoed with applause. And shortly after 3pm we got news that they were on the other side of the curtain.

I was so nervous I wasn't even smiling. The whole day I was rushing around doing last minute things, forgetting to even eat. I think the sense of anticipation and apprehension was similar to how I have heard people feel before they get married.

I wasn't the only one. A child in the front row was so excited about seeing her daddy again, she actually puked. Right as the curtain pulled back. Poor thing.

I searched the formation and saw my soldier immediately: he had the biggest smile plastered on his face. Well, as smiley as one can get in formation. It kind of surprised me, because my boyfriend isn't the smiley type. I am the smiley type. He is the reserved shy guy. But he had this HUGE smile on his face. And his eyes would flick over to where I was and twinkle, and then return to the straight forward stare of formation.

The chaplain came to the podium and said a prayer.

Then someone sang the national anthem.

Then a colonel made a very short speech, which no one at all was listening to, but I caught the words “the American people and freedom loving people all over the world thank you” and almost smirked, because the words sounded so trite in the monotonous tone they were being recited in.

And then the colonel said that the formation leader could release his soldiers.

And then about 5 seconds later I was hugging my soldier. And all apprehension disappeared.

And it's true...after the whole hoopla, you get home, sit on the sofa and chit chat about the most normal things, and realize that nothing has changed. It was like he never left.

Except that it's different now, because there isn't a deployment looming in front of us.

It's all finally behind us!

Monday, February 27, 2006


Dear Jenny,

Last year, in the hours before being reunited with her husband, Sarah wrote me a post expressing her feelings in those last hours of the deployment. I was only two weeks into my own deployment, and still hadn't found my deployment normalcy. Her excitement made me excited about all that I could expect when I, too, was approaching the finish line. It made me want to go through the hardships of the deployment so I could feel the highs, the excitement, the sense of pride and accomplishment that she was feeling.

And here I am, at that point I could only dream about all those months ago. And I am so excited. But I am thinking of you.

I think of you, Jenny, because you have accompanied me on this trip, almost the whole way. Since we “met” over nice months ago, hardly a day has gone by the we haven't been a part of each other's day. Being a military girlfriend presents challenges of its own, and I don't think I will ever be able to properly express how thankful I am to have you as a sister-in-arms. And somehow I feel incredibly guilty that after sharing so many deployment experiences with you, going through so many ups and downs, that I am able to welcome my soldier while you still have some weeks to go. I wish your soldier would come home now too, so that we could hold cyber-hands through this experience too.

So before I am reunited with my boyfriend I just wanted to give you a peek at the end of the deployment experience book.

In a few hours I will walk into the reception tent. And wait for my soldier to walk in, and catch sight of that sweet and shy smile of his. I am so excited about running up to him, and touching him. It seems so silly now, how I would put a finger onto my computer screen to “stroke” the image of his face sent over the webcam, but it was all I had then.

I can't wait to grab a hold of him, and squeeze...and not let go.

I can't wait to sit and watch him, and be reminded of all the tiny things I forgot about him. The wrinkles, the scars, the shape of his ears, the scent of in the crook of his neck. And “that” look...that smirk that just makes me dissolve me into giggles.

I can't wait to just be able to open my eyes, and see him in front of me. No more emailing, phoning, Skyping and IMing.

I can't wait to play the little games we play, like while sitting together on the sofa, turning to stare at the other's profile, but turning away, as soon as the other person turns to meet our gaze, and pretending we never even looked in the other's direction in the first place. Immature flirting techniques, but oh so much fun.

It seems so surreal to me that right now, my boyfriend is already in Germany. Even though I am excited to see him, there is also an element of nervousness. We have been apart longer than we had known each other before he deployed, and a part of me is afraid that my imagination went into overdrive this past year, and imagined a relationship that doesn't really exist. Attributed characteristics that were easy to assume when a relationship is only conducted through telephone lines and online chats. And now over the next few months will be the time of truth. And that fills me with a sense of trepidation. But another part of me knows that is ridiculous. Knows that this past year apart has done more for our relationship than would have been accomplished being together for the same amount of time.

So I am excited. I am excited at to see and feel how our relationship is now. Since he has been gone the dynamics of our relationship have completely changed. Our communication has improved. Our understanding in each other. Our trust in one another. And I can't wait to “road test” this “new and improved” physically present relationship.

And above all I am proud. I am proud of my soldier for making such a sacrifice and rarely complaining.

I am proud that I have gone through this past year of trials so that it is perfectly clear in my head, how much this man is worth to me. Perhaps I wouldn't have cherished his company as much, would he not have been removed from my daily life for a year.

I am proud and thankful for my good friends and my amazing family who rallied around me this year, making sure that I was never really alone.

I am proud that you and I, Jenny, made it through, albeit kicking and screaming and often complaining. No matter how difficult this past year, and how crappy it sometimes was, I will always be thankful, because I met you. Were it not for the deployment, I would never have met the amazing woman you are.

And I am excited to to gush to you about the minutiae of my reunion with my boyfriend, and look forward to hearing about yours.

So once again, Jenny...thank you for holding my hand.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Houston...we just might have lift-off!

Nicole, I am busting out the Fantastic.

Sarah, Taco Bell is one day closer...

My soldier is coming home tomorrow!

Saturday, February 25, 2006


I love Oh No, They Didn't...it's this blogging collective, where people can post the newest celebrity rumors...I have no need to buy Star, The National Enquirer or Us Weekly anymore...ONTD has it covered.

Yesterday I found two interesting stories posted there, which were more of a cultural-political nature, than gossipy.

Firstly, pirated copies of Brokeback Mountain have hit the Turkish blackmarket. How have they translated the title of the movie? Try Faggot Cowboys. No mincing with words there. This is probably not the title it will have when it hits the Turkish cinemas, this is just a creation of the DVD pirators...but then again, maybe it will never make it into Turkish cinemas. However, the fact that this DVD is even available on the blackmarket there, shows that there is interest, so I guess, we have to look at the bright side.

The second story was about Deeyah, a.ka. the Muslim Madonna, whose newest music video is apparently cause for uproar in the Muslim community:

Asian music TV network B4U TV dropped the video after receiving complaints."We played the video a couple of times and then did not play it again. We had threats which we were forced to take very seriously. These things are sensitive issues," an employee said.

What issues make this video so sensitive you ask?:

(...)the video What will be? deals with Muslim women's rights and female empowerment, as it also features Muslim women who have fought for freedom of expression.

Okay...so she does strip off a burka to reveal her bikini-clad body. My bad for trying to twist the facts. So now she belongs to that exclusive (but now becoming less and less exclusive) group of critics of Muslim fanatism with death threats:

The singer, who was born in Norway but moved to the UK after her act alienated her from the Muslim community, has been forced to cancel performances and hire a team of bodyguards after inciting anger from British Muslims as well."I can't walk around without bodyguards. I would be lying if I said abuse from religious fanatics did not upset or scare me," the 28-year-old, dubbed as the 'Muslim Madonna' was quoted by Contactmusic, as saying.

You can see the video here.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Now it is almost comical...

So he was supposed to come home tomorrow.

And although he was supposed to have already come home on a few other dates for the past week or so, I actually kind of held onto this one...let me put it this way: I vacuumed.

And I finally finished some translating work that had been eating up my time.

And I planted some seeds that I had been meaning on doing this last week, to prepare for his balcony cases in spring.

And I didn't even watch one episode of CSI.

I was actually productive.

I was so convinced he might be back tomorrow, I emailed his family, and got them all worked up too. And I got an email back from his mother saying she was so excited she was weepy...

And then I got an email from my boyfriend, and although I am usually happy to get an email from him, the sight of it in my inbox made my stomach fall...if he was emailing me, that meant he wasn't waiting to fly out of there just yet:

"Sorry, babe, dates changed again. "

So, Plan B for Friday night: Caiparihnas and an evening with Nick Stokes and Gil Grissom. Last chances for my secret single behavior!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Getting excited again

Yesterday I was in a foul mood. Grumpiness had replaced my excitement about my boyfriend coming home.

I was (and am) still recovering from the flu, and was feeling a little sorry for myself...waiting alone in my boyfriend's apartment. I was cursing myself for coming down here so soon, without being sure of his arrival date. The result being that I have been in waiting mode for the last 9 days. His earlier arrival dates were only tentative, and after a few days being down here, I realized that he wouldn't be back when I expected him to be. So the waiting begins. And the waiting was different from the waiting I have been doing the rest of the deployment.

I have compared it to waiting for someone's arrival for weeks, then getting into the car and driving to the airport and waiting at the gate, and then being told the plane will be delayed for an unseen amount of time. Even if that time that you spend waiting for them at the gate is minimal compared to the total amount you have waited for their return, you start getting really frustrated, because you are in this waiting limbo. You can't really make any plans, because they could be arriving any day, but you have no particular date to be excited about, because up until the last minute a flight can be canceled.

And I so regret being ticked off. I mean, a week ago, I was so excited. I was trying to figure out what I was going to wear to his homecoming. I was excited about buying his favorite beers, and favorite foods, preparing the apartment for his arrival. But suddenly, I was just moping.

What is wrong with me? I am lacking some perspective. Firstly, he IS coming home. No matter how much I am moping about the delays here, I can't forget that there are five families in our unit who wished that all they had to complain about was the redeployment taking so long. Instead, their soldiers came home early and it was the opposite of the joyous event our homecoming will be. Secondly, he has yet to be gone for a whole year, that anniversary being tomorrow. It's not as if I can claim that he has been deployed for longer than I had mentally prepared for. And really, a few days, after 360+ days are really nothing.

So today I vow to have a better attitude, to see the silver lining, and to start getting excited again.

Monday, February 20, 2006

In Limbo and the Dangers of Percoten

Well, this will be no surprise to deployment veterans, but the redeployment is taking longer than expected.

So far two possible dates for my boyfriend's homecoming have come and passed, and now I am waiting for another date to be mentioned...

I managed to get a nasty case of the flu, and was flat on my back most of yesterday. It had to have been one of the worst fevers I have ever had. And because I don't have any meds here I was treating it with whiskey and hot toddies...which are good, but no replacement for the likes of NyQuil or Contact.

This morning I woke up still achey, but the "please put me out of my misery fever" was gone. And toodling around my boyfriend's apartment, I found hidden in plain sight a bottle of Percoten. Putting aside all common sense of the dangers of taking medicine prescribed for other people, and looked at the label, and read the instructions: take 2 every 4 hours...hmmm...well, I thought I would take one and see if that made me feel any better.

I did this while talking to a German friend of mine on the phone. She wasn't too impressed with my self-medicating and said: well, tell me the name of the drug so I can tell the paramedics when they are trying to re-animate you.

So down went one Percoten. And I started to chat online, when all of the sudden my hands started tingling, I was getting dizzy, couldn't see straight, couldn't think straight. And the smartest thing seemed to be getting into bed and sleeping it off, with the hopes that I would eventually wake up again. I sure was glad that I had the sense to only take 1 of those things.

But man, if my arm ever falls off, or I manage to cut off a finger while chopping food in the kitchen, I will be glad of the remaining Percoten. Actually, come to think of it, if my boyfriend's homecoming takes much longer I might get creative with some Percoten-Wishing-Waiting cocktails. Just kidding...but it is a thought.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Got 2 minutes you want to procrastinate away with some right-wing humor? (Have to protect my more liberal readers from unnecessary clickage) Check out Blog Shmog's Interview with Cyndi Lauper.

Okay, I am officially going nuts.

I am sitting in my boyfriend's kitchen typing these words on my laptop. It is quite surreal to me to think of all that has changed in this last year.

Next to me is work I am supposed to be doing (I am a great procrastinator), and it seems like the most normal thing in the world for me to be alone in this otherwise empty apartment. I have often come down here with friends, but have often been alone here too.

The first time I came here after he left, it felt wrong. It felt wrong to be unlocking his apartment and waltzing in. I got a lump into my throat when I walked into the bathroom and saw in the laundry basket the shirt he had been wearing the night I left.

I remember picking it up, and hoping I could make out his scent. I opened the bathroom cabinet and there was his bottle of cologne. I later sprayed it on an undershirt of his, and took it back with me to my place, and slept in it occasionally.

I kept that t-shirt in my top drawer. A few months ago, I found that t-shirt, but didn't recognize it, because it had completely lost its scent. It no longer smelled like my boyfriend. It was just a plain t-shirt.

And his apartment has become that way too. For the last year I have come to this apartment, and he hasn't been here. I have since washed the clothes he left in the laundry basket. I have spent endless hours watching DVDs, movies, and Tv sitting on the couch, and can hardly even remember the last time I spent on the sofa with him, those memories having been replaced by all the more recent memories of drinking a morning coffee and reading trashy magazines with one of my best friends.

The first few times I was here, I would sit on the couch, and remember how it sounded like to be in the living room and hearing his keys in the door, the door opening, and him walking in his boots, and striding down the hallway to check on me. I would almost expect to hear it and would miss it. It would be weird to be in his apartment for a while 24 hours and not see or hear him. I had acute boyfriend withdrawal symptoms.

In his kitchen cabinets, his groceries have since been replaced by my groceries and spices. The fridge that he emptied and unplugged when he left, is now full of foods that aren't his favorites, but mine.

Even the sheets on the bed are new...and the pillow and comforter. I didn't like his, so I brought my spare set down here.

And since I long used up his American brand laundry detergent, the sheets and towels don't even smell how they are “supposed” too.

There is a small sliver of his soap left in the shower, that I will occasionally use, but otherwise it seems like through one year's worth of visits to his apartment, I have managed to almost erase most signs that he was ever here. (Except for all his material possessions).

Today I found this funny post at Household 6 about trying to figure out when her husband will be back in Germany:

It's 34 days from the BOG date which incidentally stands for Big Orange Pumpkin, but it will probably be something more like 23.4 days plus or 1.7 days based on the meteorological algorithm but that has to be converted to Greenwich Mean Time and adjusted for the Borealis effect. Throw in 3.2 days for customs inspections pre-flight briefings and time reserved for the Air Force Pax terminal workers to smile smugly and piss you off then subtract 2.1 days if you happen to have an Air Force O5 or above flying with you on Space A. Of course this doesn't include the mandatory .375 phases of the moon wait at that Purgatory in K'stan and all of this is subject to the whim of the Evil Flight Planning Voo Doo Witch Doctor.

It made me crack up so much, because anyone who has ever waited for a soldier to come home from a deployment or for R&R tries to find some logical calculation of when their soldier will be home. It's the randomness that drives everyone so nuts.

Today the first two flights of soldiers from our unit arrived back in Germany. It makes me giddy to think that sometimes in the next week I will also make the trek to the base to stand there, and wait for my soldier to walk in.

And I can't wait until he comes back and refreshes my memory! I can't wait to open the freezer and see Eggos, and open the fridge and see Velveeta. I can't wait for him to buy Tide liquid detergent, and Downey softener sheets. I just can't wait.

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

13 things about me that you might not know just by looking at me

Nicole tagged me!

I think I am pretty transparent sometimes, so I might be saying things that are pretty obvious.

  1. I am messy. So very messy. Housekeeping is not my strong spot. My future husband will have it easy (unless he is a clean freak, and in that case marriage to me will be torture) because I think that the middle of the living room is a perfectly appropriate place to leave socks and shoes. And scarves? They belong draped over the side of the couch. Oh, what couch? The one hidden under that pile of clothes. Also, dust bunnies are special creatures, and they have names at my place...whole colonies...I almost feel bad when I vacuum.
  2. But I can cook. And bake. Baking and cooking are a total passion for me. When I taste something, I try to figure out what is in it, and how it was made. I can taste something as a sum of its parts. It's like, I am Neo, and try to see that the Cooking Matrix.
  3. I am not modest...at all. You probably figured that one out by now.
  4. I am getting my masters in history, but want to drop a potentially lucrative career in academics (heavy sarcasm) to become a baker.
  5. I collect fridge magnets (and my friends and family have picked up on it, and give me magnets too)...and I have no room on my fridge anymore, and the door is probably in danger of falling off from all the additional weight. Which means that my boyfriend's fridge has its own burgeoning collection: Ballet Barbie and Food Poetry.
  6. I have a brown thumb. But won't give up the hope, and constantly have new specimens to try my luck on. My mother gets so upset with the way I treat my plants, you would think they were animals.
  7. I'm a Trekkie. Okay, not a big time Trekkie, but back in the day I was. I even went to one of those conventions. I am not kidding. I even had a Star Trek fan club membership card. Yeah...I was sooo cool, back in the day.
  8. I have dyed my hair all colors known to man...okay, that is a slight exaggeration, but here's a list: purple, green, fuschia (which was so rocking, I would consider doing that again, but I think my bf wouldn't approve), red, orangy red, dark brown and black. But I was in no way a punk. I was just curious. Turns out I look best in my “natural” hair color...blonde.
  9. I was 25 when I got my ears pierced. And one of my best friends had to come hold my hand. After the first hole, I nearly backed out of getting the second one. No, it didn't hurt...but my heart was racing, and it was so stressful. I love having pierced ears. Glad I waited so long.
  10. I met my boyfriend online. We are both from America, but met in Germany...online. Did I mention we met online? Hot or Not, by the way...and yes, he IS hot! Very. *Sigh*
  11. I tease my boyfriend a lot. Too much. It's like I revert to 2nd grade flirting techniques with him. He just does that to me...*double sigh*.
  12. I have lived longer in Germany, than in California...but still consider myself a Valley Girl...like, fer sure!
  13. I am tone deaf. I mean, you do not want me on your team for a game of “what's the song I am humming?” Might as well, pack up and go home, 'cos we WILL lose. And I can't dance. However, alcohol makes me think I CAN dance. But luckily it doesn't give me any bright ideas about singing.

This is fun...so people, do it too! And I look forward to reading your answers.

So frickin' exciting!!!!!

Okay...so I don't know yet when my boyfriend will be back...all I know is soon. But soon has a changing definition.

The whole unit won't be coming back as a whole, but in smaller groups...I was kind of disappointed that we wouldn't have this huge homecoming...but I mean, homecoming is homecoming, whether in a smaller group or a larger group. However, I can't help but feel that the whole ordeal isn't over until the last group arrives.

I digress, earlier today I was with a wife of a soldier in my boyfriend's unit when she got the official call telling her when her hubs would be home. He is in one of the earlier groups.

And suddenly it all became real.

It's happening, the boulder is getting faster and faster: they are coming home!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

My boyfriend's landlords...

...are the nicest people evah!

They have sent my boyfriend 3 care packages since he has been deployed. I know soldiers who get less from their own families.

As a courtesy, so they don't worry when they suddenly hear noises coming from upstairs, I will call them ahead of time, to tell them I will be arriving. When I got into the apartment, it was toasty warm, because they had turned on the heating in anticipation of my coming.

After I arrived, their son, who lives upstairs with his family, came downstairs to show me how the new internet TV works (they have hooked my boyfriend up with cable access, which they have now upgraded to some super system).

Then he asked me if I wanted him to hook my laptop up to the local area network. Yes, please!

And this afternoon the doorbell rang, and I dragged my butt up from a lazy afternoon watching CSI. I opened the door to the landlords standing there with a bouquet of flowers wishing me a Happy Valentine's Day. I could almost cry...

I then told them the news about my boyfriend's imminent arrival, and the the landlord declared he would have to uncover my boyfriend's truck (which the landlord, not my boyfriend, covered with a dust tarp after my bf deployed), wash it, and charge up the battery, because it was surely empty after standing for so long.

They are truly sweethearts.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006


It was snowing when he left last year. Well, it had been snowing. At the time, I found the snow gloomy and depressing. It is darker when it snows. Also, it is incredibly quiet. It muffles all noise. It was also pretty quiet around my boyfriend's apartment. We were both optimistic about our upcoming separation, but the silence spoke volumes. In it were our unspoken worries about the upcoming deployment.

We would cuddle and say how much we were going to miss each other, but I think we both knew the very real possibility existed that we wouldn't be together in his apartment again. Not just because of the life threatening dangers of a deployment, but also because of the strains it puts on a relationship, especially a burgeoning relationship.

And the snow was everywhere. And it made everything seem colder.

After he left, I couldn't wait for spring to come, for winter to be over. Time just couldn't move along fast enough. Finally the snow melted and gave way to spring.

As happy as I was to see the grass shoots appear last spring, I was even happier to see the snow again this year. It means we have nearly come full-circle. He will soon be home again!

And now I find the snow beautiful. It blankets the whole countryside. When I was jogging this afternoon I had to squint, and cursed myself for not wearing my sunglasses, because it was so bright, the sunlight being reflected off thousands of tiny snow crystals. It was almost metaphorical: the future is so bright now!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Exercising My Freedom of Speech

Yesterday morning I was chatting with an American friend of mine online and he brought up the Mohammad cartoons:

I kinda don't like how being ridiculously offensive is now a freedom of speech issue that is costing lives. On the small scale, it's like calling someone's mom a whore and then getting pissed when they punch you.

Oh man, I got so riled up when he said that.

Firstly, let me state, I would definitely agree that the cartoons are ridiculously offensive.

Just as offensive as lets say flag burning. Seeing Old Glory being burned in another country does put a knife through my heart, however that right is even granted to Americans. Supreme Court rulings have upheld that peaceful flag desecration is a form of political speech that should be protected by our Constitution, and definitely should continue to be. I am completely against any amendment to the Constitution banning flag burning, no matter how insulting it may be, because I believe that freedom of speech is of the utmost importance in a democracy.

I personally find the Ku Klux Klan way more offensive, but in America we believe that no matter how extreme, immoral and debased someone's beliefs are, they are just that, their beliefs, and they have a right to believe that.

In Europe they take a slightly different tact. There is a free speech right, however, because of the atrocities committed towards Jews during WWII there are many hate laws restricting free speech with regards to Jews. For example in Germany it is illegal to deny the Holocaust happened.

I think this is a wrong tact, but it is Germany's way of dealing with a very its past and I hope it will change in the future. I believe Holland, Belgium and Austria have similar laws, too.

But no matter how offensive denying the Holocaust, preaching White Supremacy and burning the flag is, these are all rights protected under the US Constitution.

So that is what angered me so much when my friend suggested that the violent protests in the Muslim world were almost justified.

So the US Constitution is obviously not law for all around the world. But similar laws protecting free speech exist in Denmark and the rest of Europe. These laws might not exist in many other countries, but that doesn't mean that other countries may dictate how we are to behave.

Another right that we take for granted is the freedom of religion. It means that everyone is allowed to follow their chosen beliefs, and they are not forced to follow another person's religion. Which means that just because there are many Muslims living in Germany, and I encounter them everyday, I do not have to cover myself up, even if seeing my hair and arms and legs may be offensive to them. It also should follow that the Muslim religious decree that Mohammad's image may never be depicted is something for Muslims and does not apply to non-Muslims. Certainly, I believe we should respect other religions, however, I hardly believe that violence is the response to this.

Salon recently published this interview with Hirsi Ali:

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a member of the Dutch Parliament, is one of the most sharp- tongued critics of political Islam -- and a target of Islamic fanatics. Her provocative film "Submission" led to the assassination of director Theo van Gogh in November 2004. The murderer left a death threat against Hirsi Ali pinned to van Gogh's corpse with a knife. [...]

Why have the protests escalated to such an extent?

There is no freedom of speech in those Arab countries where the demonstrations and public outrage are being staged. The reason many people flee to Europe from these places is precisely because they have criticized religion, the political establishment and society. Totalitarian Islamic regimes are in a deep crisis. Globalization means that they're exposed to considerable change, and they also fear the reformist forces developing among émigrés in the West. They'll use threatening gestures against the West, and the success they achieve with their threats, to intimidate these people.

Was apologizing for the cartoons the wrong thing to do?

Once again, the West pursued the principle of first turning one cheek, then the other. In fact, it's already a tradition. In 1980, privately owned British broadcaster ITV aired a documentary about the stoning of a Saudi Arabian princess who had allegedly committed adultery. The government in Riyadh intervened and the British government issued an apology. We saw the same kowtowing response in 1987 when [Dutch comedian] Rudi Carrell derided [the Iranian leader] Ayatollah Khomeini in a comedy skit. In 2000, a play about the youngest wife of the prophet Mohammed, titled "Aisha," was canceled before it ever opened in Rotterdam. Then there was the van Gogh murder and now the cartoons. We are constantly apologizing, and we don't notice how much abuse we're taking. Meanwhile, the other side doesn't give an inch.


But shouldn't Muslims, like any religious community, also be able to protect themselves against slander and insult?

That's exactly the reflex I was just talking about: offering the other cheek. Not a day passes, in Europe and elsewhere, when radical imams aren't preaching hatred in their mosques. They call Jews and Christians inferior, and we say they're just exercising their freedom of speech. When will the Europeans realize that the Islamists don't allow their critics the same right? After the West prostrates itself, they'll be more than happy to say that Allah has made the infidels spineless.

I bet the creators of “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” are a little worried now. We consider Monty Python funny, and a good example of freedom of speech. Come on, who hasn't sung the “every sperm is sacred” song?

And the thing that further ruffled my feathers about my friend's comment was the idea that it is acceptable and expected for Muslims to have violent protests in reaction to the cartoons. And I guess he is right.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Firepower Forward is on his way home

For the last year I have been reading FF's posts, gleaning some insight into what it must be like for my boyfriend during his deployment. His posts have often left me in tears or at least with a lump in my throat. And although this paragraph might seem innocuous to many readers, it was no exception:

Last night, our C-17 turned onto the end of the Bagram, the cabin lights went dark, and then with brakes holding us fast, the massive engines roared up to full throttle. Suddenly the brakes were released and I was jolted back in my seat as the mammoth aircraft lurched down the runway. A moment later we rotated into I am sure was a space shuttle like trajectory, and at 14:45 Dublin Pub Time I left Afghanistan soil for the last time.

I can't wait until my boyfriend gets on that plane too. Part of me will be with him, as I have been this past year. And I can't wait for him to come home again, so I can feel whole again.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

How juvenile...

I had to smirk when I read this:

A prominent Iranian newspaper said Tuesday it would hold a competition for cartoons on the Holocaust to test whether the West extends the principle of freedom of expression to the Nazi genocide as it did to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

Um, well, I am sure there won't be burning fires in front of Iranian embassies, if that is what they expect.

It's not like this is going to ramp things up, because Iran was already upping the ante with this ditty:

Iran said last month it would sponsor a conference to examine the scientific evidence supporting the Holocaust, an apparent attempt to give voice to Holocaust deniers.

I am very much against Germany and Austria's stance on the Holocaust. There is zero tolerance, and anyone saying the Holocaust didn't happen and spouting Nazi sentiments can be prosecuted for hate crimes. So I wonder how the German government will react to this, but for sure there will be no rioting.

But basically, game on, Iran!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Short Final

Hookerpilot, a Big Windy pilot, has a really moving post, discussing the varying emotions towards the end of his deployment in Afghanistan.

In awe

I always read touching stories of kindess on blogs, in magazines, or see them on see TV. But rarely do I actually "know" someone who has done something, gone above and beyond the call of duty, for someone else....especially someone who is almost a complete stranger. But Shayna has. I really had tears in my eyes reading her post, just in complete utter awe of how she got in gear and did something for Eugene, who was soon to be homeless after the vets' home he was living in was going to close.

There are some good people out there, and they inspire me to try to emulate them. Thank you, Shayna.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Superbowl, Shmooperbowl

For a few hours yesterday my excitement about my boyfriend coming home soon was eclipsed. Yes...incredible I know.

But I got tickets to the soccer World Cup this summer here in Germany!

Whoo hoo!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Capt. Dan meets Lt. Gen. "Don't get stuck on stupid" Honore

Apparently the Lt. Gen. of Katrina fame was in the 'stan.

Thursday, February 02, 2006


There are many milestones in a one year deployment:

  1. The first week.
  2. The first month.
  3. 100 days.
  4. Halfway point.
  5. R&R, whenever that may be.
  6. 265 days gone by, and we turn into “double-digit midgets” since the time remaining is under 100 days.
  7. 300 days gone by.
  8. The point where we are informed we should no longer send mail downrange.
  9. A forward group of soldiers from our unit redeploys home.
  10. The advanced group for the replacements arrive.
  11. The main group of the replacements arrive.
  12. After a short overlapping period, redeployment begins in earnest.

Going through a deployment is like pushing a boulder up a hill. Eventually you get to the top and the boulder slowly starts rolling down the other side, picking up momentum along the way.
Yesterday in an email, my boyfriend's commander wrote:

“the advance party of our replacement unit has arrived. They started their integration into the daily flow with in-processing and classes.”

The boulder is picking up momentum!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Last night I was chatting with my boyfriend. He sent me a presentation that is due for an online class so that I may proof-read. I read it, and made a few suggestions, and then emailed him his works cited page, which I had offered to do, to lighten his load a bit. We also discussed our plans for an upcoming vacation.

And it struck me, how routine this was. How “normal”. Other than the fact that we were separated by thousands of miles, we were having a perfectly normal conversation. A conversation that wouldn't have been much different would he have been physically present. We have settled into such a routine since he deployed. Our conversations aren't the desperate rambling events they used to be, back in the days of the 15 minute phone call, every few days.

No, now they are normal everyday conversations.

I am so lucky. In fact so lucky, it's almost embarrassing for me to admit it. Yes, I have gone through this whole deployment with my boyfriend, and yes, it has been very difficult. However, I have been able to communicate with him very often.

I can grumble all I want, and scrunch up up my face and cry and moan about this separation...however, I can chat, webcam and internet telephone with my boyfriend on a regular basis. In fact, every day. We don't always, but the fact is, we can.

That is one of the benefits of being together with a pilot. Logistically, they have to be in the same place, and not at a remote base. Aircraft need to be maintained, fueled-up, etc. So there are no long stretches at a forward operating base for him.

He also has private quarters, where he has his laptop, which he can leave running all day long online. So I can leave him messages in IM, and simply the sight of his icon in IM is a sign of life for me.

Yes, this deployment is hard. But I can't imagine how much harder it could have been for me – what it is like for the spouses and significant others of soldiers who are out of contact for longer periods of time, who don't have the access to communication like my boyfriend does. The wives of infantry soldiers, of Marines, special forces, Navy Seals, etc. I just can't imagine how that must be. And I am in complete awe of them and their strength, and so very very thankful for how “easy” I have it.