Saturday, September 29, 2007

Atkinson - IED alert

Rick Atkinson at the Washington Post is one of my favorite traditional media embeds- I have admired his objectivity. He wrote a feature, being published in a series starting today, about IEDs in Iraq, Afghanistan, and historically (which I thought was pretty cool). It is definitely worth checking out the reading- partly because it supports an awesome job by a reporter, which means that maybe the MSM will start realizing that bias is NOT a good thing, and also because there is a lot of information in the writing.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Okay, that may have been a little harsh. Not all spouses are mean, some of the are actually pretty awesome. However, there are enough of them that look down their noses at me (and I fully admit that I tend to be over-sensitive), that they are the primary reason that I wear a ring on my finger to avoid questions and never ever volunteer the information that I am a Ranger Girlfriend. But- I do want to make it clear that I do not feel animosity towards all wives, it is more a trepidation type of feeling towards those that I either don't know, or that don't know about Ranger Man.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

"The Club"

Why is it that Army (or Navy, or whatever) wives are so uppity about girlfriends? Why is there this club that they think that are better than us because they have more rings than I do?

Granted, I have not walked down the aisle- but there are some very specific, very good reasons for that. My man doesn't want me to screw up school just to be closer to him (which is a wish that is very hard to comply with sometimes!), and my school and his job just never seem to be in the same place at the same time. At this point, we don't see a need to say "I do" and then get on separate planes and fly to separate parts of the country for months at a time so that his career can proceed and I can get my MA in something I feel is worthwhile. He told me the other day, "Babe, you're getting As on graduate level papers- I'm not your first priority right now, and that's okay." I don't honestly know if that is true, I mean yes - I did choose to go to school on an Island, but I also chose to be with the man that will always treat me the way I deserve to be treated, and I do everything in hopes of one day having a life together that is not only together, but mutually fulfilling. If I am miserable because I can't get a job that is decent because I didn't finish school, what kind of a relationship would we have? Same thing with him, if I had stayed, and not come here, I would not have wanted him to give up where he is right now in order to be around me a little more- that just doesn't make sense to me.

So I go through the deployments, and there are many for Ranger-Men... and I do everything that they do, only I don't actually get to say goodbye right before he gets on the plane. I have to do it over the phone. I don't get the support of an FRG, and I do it with the knowledge that I might hear about it on the news first if something bad happens to him. I do it without Health Insurance, and he does it without BAH. I don't think it matters as much to him- being married or single is just a box to check for him, but for me it is so much different. It is being ostracized, and looked down upon by people that were once in my very same position. If that's the way you have to act to be in "the club," I don't know that I want it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Not fun.

Mr. Ranger Man leaving tonight for some super-secret Army schooling for the next five or so months. And then after that, he's PCSing to somewhere else Ranger-like... and it is absolutely killing me that I can't be there to help him and be with him for all of this. At school, as he told me last night, he not "authorized to have a family," so that's not too much different than now- except that he didn't have a home to leave all his stuff at- he's going from one barracks room to another to another, and darn it, my man needs a home! I knew that this part, him being on the mainland and me being here was going to be hard- but honestly, I don't know if I can do this- I want to be there for him, and I can't be if I'm going to school. I feel like this is ripping me apart.

Monday, September 24, 2007

?? I smell something fishy...

If you haven't read The Kite Runner, this is your official spoiler alert... Don't read if you want to be surprised be the book!

Okay, I smell something fishy in this article. Someone is being less than honest. Either this Afghan family is looking for a free ride out of Afghanistan along with their $10,000 paycheck, or there is someone that is seriously sick at the studio- There would be absolutely no way to take the rape scene out of the plot, it is the pivotal point in the story! Everything revolves around what happens after that point, so how in the world would they be able to take it out? I am not going to point fingers one way or the other, because I have no idea what the contract said, or whether the claim of not being allowed access to the story line beforehand is accurate- but still...

A happy sigh.

Although I try to be aware of it all the time, every once in a while it strikes me just how wonderful Mr. Ranger Man is...

I mean, really- I made a conscious decision to head off to grad school on an Island for two years- where I was 99% certain he was not going to be- Granted, he has no idea where he's going to be in the next two years either- but I was the one who made the more permanent, farther away, decision. And he is the most supportive person ever. What a guy. He is totally fine with the fact that I am living with 2 male housemates (or maybe the Big Bad Ranger Man doesn't feel he needs to be threatened by sailors... ), and I am surrounded by military guys not only physically (living right by MCBH), but also in class and just the fact that they are everywhere (and he knows my weakness for men in uniform), but he is okay with everything.

And that's not even coming close to mentioning how wonderfully patient he is with me. The relationships I've been in previously haven't exactly left me without baggage, and he waits patiently for me to figure out that he's different, and that is the conclusion that I always come to... I am constantly amazed.

How many guys out there would enter into a serious relationship, knowing full well that for at least the next two years actual physical proximity would be sporadic and uncertain at best- and still make me a promise to not leave and not cheat? I truly think that he is wondeful.

Girlfriends are Vapor. Or Worse.

Sometimes, it feels to me like I'm vapor. I do not exist.

That is, as far as the Army is concerned, I might as well not be living and breathing, because they don't care. Why? Because I am "only a girlfriend." I am not a wife... which means if something happens to the love of my life... instead of the certain knowledge that someone will show up on my doorstep to tell me, I am instead faced with the possibility that if they get around to it, someone might call me and tell me. Is it any wonder that when Ranger Man was gone I compulsively checked the DOD casualty news releases?

On the other hand, I rarely volunteer the information to people that I meet that I am an Army girlfriend, and I NEVER volunteer that I am a Ranger Girlfriend. There is something in society that lets people sympathize with wives, and associate a sense of sacrifice and almost heroism (by association of the soldier-husband?) with the wife, but girlfriends- maybe because we haven't "closed the deal?"- are merely the barracks whores. And Ranger girlfriends... well, let's say that people think that I should come complete with my own stripper pole...

I hate being a girlfriend! So- does that mean that I should rush into a marriage, knowing full well that I won't be able to live with my husband for at least two years, in order to sooth my mind? Or should I wait, patiently, losing more and more of my mind with each deployment and becoming more and more of a recluse as I am unable to share this huge portion of my life with people for fear of the "looks." I feel like I want to get married, because I don't think that you can impose civilian ideas of conventionality onto Military marriages, but I also would really like to be able to live with my husband once we're married. Being together and being separated is really hard!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Pillow Shopping

Mr. Ranger Man has the most pathetic pillow I have ever seen. It is not much thicker than if he were to take his sheet and fold it in half a couple times, that would be about the thickness of this pillow. So he's depressed because even though he's back in the US, we're still not actually together, so when he goes to bed at night, all he has is this little pillow which is depressing anyways. So for about three weeks, I've been trying to convince him to get a new one, trying to tell him that it will help him feel better to be a little bit comfortable in his lonely bed in the barracks if he will just have a pillow that isn't depressing in and of itself.

The argument that I had to use was this: He's not buying a pillow for him, he's buying a pillow for us. I'm going to send him one of my pillow cases sprayed with my perfume, so it will smell like me, and it will be OUR pillow. And I told him to call me when he was at the store (I'm assuming he went to the PX) picking it out, so we could pick out OUR pillow together.

What an ordeal! He called me and just by the way that he answered the phone I could tell that something was wrong, he was all sorts of bumming about having to buy a pillow for himself, and trying to get him to describe the pillows to me was like pulling teeth ("they look like pillows" is not helpful!) Anyways, somehow "we" managed to pick one out... so Mr. Ranger Man now has a new pillow. I'm hoping that being comfortable at night will help him to feel better about being by himself. Although, we've never really actually been together, so I have a hard time determining what the problem is- sure, we've spent a weekend together here and there, but never for any protracted length of time... so this should be what we're used to, right? He just wants to be with me as much as he can, and I can't say that I blame him for that, I miss him too!

Yay, a Knit-along!

I'm participating in a knit-along, I'm very excited about it... It helps to hear from someone every once in a while who doesn't think you're "just a girlfriend," and especially not just a Ranger girlfriend... which apparently are usually strippers. (Ranger Man pointed out the other night that I would have absolutely no clue what to do with a stripper pole... made me want to learn just to prove him wrong!)
Anyways.... I am totally stoked about the knit-along, and I can't wait to get started. I am forcing myself to finish my paper that is due today with the reward system... as soon as I finish writing about the archaic international treatise on international law, then I can go to the yarn store and get my yarn... I will not let Huig van Gruit keep me from my knitting!!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Sleeping is Difficult

Bad dreams suck. I've had PTSD-type dreams my entire life... which I suppose as a statement would merit some explanation.

I've never had, like most people do, a defining moment or incident which has given me these dreams. They are about several different things, not just one thing and (thank God) usually nothing that has too much basis in reality. But, seriously, how does one motivate oneself to go to sleep if one knows that they will have to watch someone they know about die every night? Yes, I have some meds- but they don't actually stop the dreams, they just help me go to sleep initially and help me stay disassociated from what is going on in these depraved manifestations of the worst case scenarios. On the other hand, on the pills I'm not fully realizing the full extent of my dreams- what normally happens is something bad happens (think your younger brother dies in your arms and you can't help him), and then traditionally I start to exact some revenge on the perpetrators, which is when the real violence and gore begins. But on the meds, I'm not even following it through to the death part. The pre-death, where the cause of death occurs, is more vivid, but I don't have any sort of resolution, and without taking it out on the 'bad guys,' I don't get any sense of resolution, I only get the helpless feeling night after night after night. So I'm thinking about going off my meds... at least for a little while and see if I can break this cycle of dreams... because I hate it when I am afraid to go to sleep! I miss having Mr. Ranger Man around!

Chalk one up to the Island

Today the Island won... the tentative truce of yesterday was flagrantly violated multiple times.

My work schedule had me scheduled to start work at seven this morning. My boss called last night to confirm, and the message he left me said seven thirty. As it was after-hours, and I couldn't call and confirm, I went with the most recent set of information that he had given me and aimed to be there at seven thirty. Of course, the bus was late, so I clocked in at seven thirty four, which I admit was late. However it was really late if one didn't recall telling me to come in at seven thirty, I was really late. And of course it's my fault.
And then I'm driving this ginormous van thingy, which granted isn't really that ginormous, except that I'm used to driving an Accent, which is a teeny tiny commuter car... and the way to the Kis all twisty and windy... but I didn't drive fast enough of course.
Then- taking the clients back to the 'Kis... one of the women is pregnant, with morning sickness... so she is literally - not exaggerating- puking into a dry bag most of the way there. That was my welcome into driving to the 'Kis... Luckily I didn't have class today, because I wouldn't have gotten back in time, I probably would have been late- I tried to convey to my boss that I absolutely had to be back to the shop by five in order to make it to class on time, but he tried to feed me some line about how normally they make it back by quarter till blah blah blah- and I tried to tell him it was because of construction- whatever, hopefully he's right.

On the bright side... Mr. Ranger Man is starting to be back to normal after his vacation. It wasn't that he was mean or volatile or anything- but he was acting a whole lot more like a stupid boy than he normally did- I could tell that he had spent too much time holed up with a bunch of other dudes without enough female interaction... but today he was so wonderful- like normal... I sure wish that he didn't have to just be wonderful over the phone!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Indignity of Tuna Fish.

Let me lay out several points which may help to make this rant more coherent.

1. I hate anything fishy- I don't eat fish or shellfish or anything that normally live in water- I just don't like it.
2. This Island is out to get me; it is trying to bring me down in any way possible, and it has now resorted to playing dirty.

Okay... To continue. I am once again a poor college student. Not only that, I am a poor college student in this horrible place where the cost of groceries is astronomically high, so I can't actually afford to eat meat. All I can afford is, well.... cans of tuna- which is highly reprehensible because I hate the stuff, but it's all I can afford, so I drown the tuna in mayonnaise and relish in order to try not to taste it.

I'm normally a pretty healthy eater. In fact Mr. Ranger Man was just today teasing me because I was coming home from my job at the Kayak shop, wearing tie-dye and eating granola... well, you get the picture. My roommates eat stuff like Velveeta and other really processed stuff, and I just can't brin myself to do it. Back home I'm all about the farmer's markets and as fresh as possible.

So today, when I am opening my horrid can of tuna, right on the top where I can't miss it is this reproaching taunt I am sure straight from this awful Island... my tuna in a can would be good until 2011. That is what, four years from now? yuck. Just thinking about the preservatives or whatever the heck they did to that fish that would let it keep (unrefrigerated) in a can for four years made me queasy... Not only is it bad enough that I have to eat the stuff almost every day, now it's going to make fun of me too, and draw attention to the fact that it is an awful food that will never go bad?

But - I did not let this stinkin' Island get me down... I said to the Island- "you know what, Island? This may not be normal for me, but it's what I've got now and I'm going to deal with it, so you're going to have to deal with me. So bugger off and leave me alone!" And yes, this was out loud... and the day is only halfway over.