Thursday, May 31, 2007


The story about the guy who traveled despite having TB and exposing and possibly infecting fellow travelers reminds me of something that happened when I was 19 years old, when I had a part-time job in a café.

One Sunday evening I started feeling feverish, so I thought a flu or a cold was coming on. I took a hot bath, and went to bed. The next morning I woke up fine, so I assumed it was just a freak fever. That afternoon I decided to go jean shopping. So I tried on a pair of jeans, and then I looked at myself in the mirror and thought…weird: there are loads of little red spots on my belly. And then I noticed they were all over my chest. And instantly I knew what it was: chicken pox. I had never got the chicken pox as a child. Even thought I was exposed to them over and over. I mean, my brothers had them, kids in my class had them…everyone, but me. So finally I got them at age 19. Luckily, it was a very mild form, which is strange, because chicken pox in adulthood is usually pretty bad.

So I went to the doctor who confirmed my diagnosis. Now, bear in mind, I felt absolutely fine. Other than the weird dots all over me, I wasn’t feeling sicky or anything. But the doctor told me: okay, well right now, you are highly contagious. So you should just stay home until they crust over.

So I go home and called my manager at the sandwich shop and told her I wouldn’t be coming in that week, explaining that I had the chicken pox. And she seriously, said: well, are you sure you can’t come in, if you are feeling alright?

I remember saying, hello, I work in the food service industry. No way am I going to be serving customers a bagel with a side of chicken pox. I am highly contagious.

I mean, it's not just like I was doing data entry or something, I was making a product that people were going to ingest. That is definitely a job where you don't want a sick employee. I was so shocked. But some people really don’t care.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Blame everyone except your son

So your son is drunk and has a fatal car accident:

Authorities said the 29-year pitcher had a blood content of nearly twice the legal limit for alcohol in his system when he crashed into the back of the tow truck. He was also speeding, using a cell phone and wasn't wearing a seat belt, Police Chief Joe Mokwa said after the accident. Marijuana also was found in the SUV.

And so you are now going to sue the bar he was drinking at before hand, the tow truck he crashed into, and the stalled vehicle on the highway who was being helped by the tow truck driver? Why don't you also sue the girlfriend of the stalled car's driver, because she made him go out for milk, and if not for her, he would have been on the road that night. (The last bit is my ficticious creation).

Let's take another scenario: if the son had killed some other people, but survived, would the dad still be suing the bar for giving his son too much to drink?

What is it with our country and people not wanting to take personal responsibility...everyone is a victim!

So sad...want to go start my own country now....more and more often...

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Bride versus the Wedding Registry

My fiancé and I have both been living on our own for many years, and have thus accumulated enough dishes, plates, knives, forks, glasses, towels etc over the years. Now we have double everything, and granted it doesn't all match, but I can't stand to throw anything away. Not only for all the memories associated with everything, but just because "if it ain't broke, why fix it, or why throw it away?"

We will be getting married on Kauai, and many friends are going to make the trip to attend. I am so grateful, and am adamant about not wanting a gift registry. Firstly, we just don't need new stuff, and secondly, people are already spending so much money to make the trip and that brings us more joy than a material gift.

However, when I announced this to my fiancé back in January, he said: "that's a great idea, but I am going to tell you, people are going to be unhappy." And I replied: "perhaps, but they won't be my friends or will be from your side." And sure enough, there are grumblers.

His sister is throwing us a "couple's shower". My father said: "that's sounds dirty...and everyone is invited? Interesting..." Dirty birdie. My fiancé said: "Hey, I am feeling really guilty about the no registry thing, people want to get us stuff."

And now I am feeling even more guilty, because people are giving us presents there, and then presents again at our wedding? Man...

Anyhoo....yesterday, I talked to my fiancé and he says: "I did a bad thing." Oh, really? What? "I registered." I asked where. "Home Depot." Oh...okay. Cool. "And Lowes."

And I checked out the registry and just laughed. It's all nuts and bolts, wrenches, saw horses ( you even have a saw?)

Today he announced that he had also registered at Sears. Oh, my. He had registered for a saw there.

And then I, he is really into this. He is giddy. Not quite a groomzilla, but I think this is as excited as I have seen him about the whole wedding preparation. I mean, there is no talk about what thread count our sheets will be, but rather table clamps, a work cabinet for the garage, etc.

The list oozes testosterone. It's pretty funny.

Anyway, I have given in and everyone wins. The guests who want to get us things, can. My fiancé is happy, because he can create this huge manly wish-list. And I am happy, because watching him create this wish-list is like seeing a five-year old at Toys'R Us and giving them a shopping spree.

Update: I don't want this to seem like I am ungrateful for a shower...I love parties...and this one looks like it is going to be fun...and the food tasty!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Milblogging Convention Revelation

I went to the MilBlogger Convention in Arlington, VA this last weekend. I had been looking forward to it forever. In fact, I had wanted to attend last year, but it just wasn’t possible.

So me and Sarah made plans to attend together: she as a panel speaker, and me as a milblogger/milblogger-groupie.

I was giddy with the excitement of meeting up in person with all these people I had met online. I was looking forward to a weekend of partying with like-minded people in our nation’s capital, punctuated with the occasional panel discussion. I joked to Sarah that it was like going to a Beanie Baby convention or something (for the record I don’t collect Beanie Babies), I thought there was just going to be gushing, and hugging and laughing. However, I was in for a surprise: I certainly didn’t expect to be as moved and inspired as I was.

It was a shot in the arm. Since my boyfriend/fiancé has returned, I have distanced myself from the Milblogging community. Not really on purpose, but just because once my soldier returned I wanted to celebrate his being home, act like we were a “normal” couple, doing normal couple things: like renting movies, eating popcorn, shopping for patio furniture, digging weeds in the backyard and drinking cold beers, all those things we had both yearned to do while he was away.

When he was deployed I knew everything that was going on, the names of operations, the areas of operations, how things were going in these areas. I would check the names of fallen soldiers and read about their lives. I read milblogs religiously. I sought out new connections, searching for degrees of separation. I lived and breathed the war on terror. And I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that other people didn’t share my fervor in following all things combat related.

I often complain that war is too distant from the general public. Because of the deployments, soldiers clock-in and then clock-out of the war. They aren’t in war mode the whole time. And consequently their families aren’t in war mode. I complain about the general public lacking the passion to fight this war, but I realize that I am just as much part of that problem. As soon as my boyfriend came back, I clocked-out.

My boyfriend’s unit is non-deployable. That doesn’t mean he won’t deploy, it just means that the unit as a whole won’t deploy. But it is also pretty unlikely that he will deploy. So for the next 2 and half years I can be pretty secure in the knowledge that he will be home. And that has led to some complacency on my part.

I had sort of resigned myself to this war being lost by America. That even if we won military battles, we could still lose the war, because in the eyes of the public this war is already lost. Since I was only reading the newspaper and watching TV, I hadn’t been getting “from the front” news, and I started to really think that no matter what we did, it didn’t really matter.

Over the weekend, I realized that if you aren’t a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem. I had subconsciously become one of those people who lives as if we aren’t at war. And part of me thought that in 2 ½ years things might be over in Iraq and Afghanistan, and my fiancé won’t be deploying again. That this war doesn’t really directly affect me anymore. Over the weekend I realized that I hope my fiancé deploys again in 2 ½ years. Because if he doesn’t deploy, it means that we have given up.

The Soldiers Angels and other groups who selflessly devote their time and efforts to supporting soldiers and getting good news out almost shamed me. I feel like I should be doing more, although I know there is a balance to be struck: Enjoying the eye of the storm, the time when ones soldier is home and not thinking about when they will be gone again, while at the same time also remaining supportive of the cause. Clocking out, but still being a company person. I will attempt to find that balance over the next few months: enjoying the precious time that we will have starting our journey together as a married couple, but also remaining cognizant that there is a war still going on, even if we aren’t directly in the middle of it.

Note to my wonderful lurker Jean: I only saw 2 (!) soldiers in Dallas Fort Worth, and they were high-tailing it to a flight. I even went to Terminal B and loitered around the USO lounge, waiting for some poor unsuspecting soldier to come out so I could pounce on them. No such luck…