If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

This is why we can't leave, Cindy

Thanks to Jean for directing me to Iraq The Model. If W's dad hadn't caved we could have done this fifteen years ago.

Even though our family was directly involved in the sacrifice in the first Iraq invasion, no one came out and told us why we were pulling out. There was a vague rumor about how we couldn't take out Saddam because he was the only person strong enough to keep everyone else in the Middle East in place, and they didn't want to destabilize the whole region. The concern was that if Iraq fell, Iran would run all over everyone and then we'd have a real problem.

I didn't agree then, and I don't agree now. I still say we should have stayed and finished the job. I'd have been happy to take my mother-in-law and the other wives and moms of the deployed soldiers to kick Saddam's butt ourselves.

I'm still mad it him for taking my baby's father away from us for seven months, grateful as I am that he made it home safely to father our second baby. I still remember how angry I was when I saw the oil fields burning on CNN, and how frightened I was every time I heard a car pull up in my driveway. I spent seven months peering out the front window, terrified that it was a staff car with a chaplain.

The only thing that stopped the fear and worry enough that I could function was the act of mentally thinking through the worst-case scenarios and making contingency plans. What if I do get a staff car? I'll call Sandy and have her come get Alex; I won't be able to take care of him after I've gotten the news. When I can pull myself together, I'm going to ask my commander for a discharge, sell everything except what's most precious, and move back to Michigan. If need be, I'll camp in Mom's back yard until I can buy a little house. I'll have enough family close-by to babysit while I'm at work.

That's how military wives get through the night when we're afraid that our men won't come home, but after reading what Mohammed had to say, I say we're better off than the Iraqi women who got through the night by making contingency plans about what they'd do if their husbands didn't come home from work, or if the police broke down the door and took her husband and sons from the dinner table. For us, the threat is personal. For them, it was personal and imminent.

Thursday, August 11, 2005


The server has been built and Frontpage installed. We need a static IP address and some other technical stuff I won't pretend to understand, but Dragonsroost is on the way to being rebuilt. If you have suggestions for things you'd like to see, leave me a comment. I plan to leave the blog here with a link on Dragonsroost for new people. It will be simpler in the long run.

I think I promised Rendezvous pictures, so here are a couple of the kids. Somehow I managed to get no pictures of me or Linda, and only one of Dad. I think I was in teacher mode when I had the camera out. I wanted pictures to show to Eric, but also to document our week of history classes! BTW, if you look to Vicky's right (left to you) about hip level, you'll see my dulcimer. I played when I was about 10 and Dad had it all these years. I'm glad to have it back, but I've discovered it's far more complicated than I remember. I had no idea that there are at least six different ways to tune a dulcimer, depending on what you're playing and how you want it to sound. It's never simple.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Good old-fashioned justice!

Eric just sent this to me in an e-mail. Joe Arpaio is the Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, and he keeps getting elected over and over.


He created the "tent city jail". Yes, tents in the Arizona Desert. With temperatures being even hotter than usual in Phoenix (116 degrees just set a new record), the Associated Press reports: About 2,000 inmates living in a barbed-wire-surrounded tent encampment at the Maricopa County Jail have been given permission to strip down to their government-issued pink boxer shorts. Hundreds of men wearing boxers were either curled up on their bunk beds or chatted in the tents, which reached 138* inside the week before. Many were also swathed in wet, pink towels as sweat collected on their chests and dripped down to their pink socks.

"It feels like we are in a furnace," said James Zanzot, an inmate who has lived in the tents for a year. "It's inhumane."

Sheriff Arpaio is not one bit sympathetic. He told all of the inmates: "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents too, and they have to wear full battle gear, but they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your damned mouths!"

He has jail meals down to 20 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them.

He took away cigarettes, porn, weights, and all but "G" movies.

He started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects. Then he started chain gangs for women so he wouldn't get sued for discrimination.

He took away cable TV until he found out there was a federal court order that required cable TV for jails. So he hooked up the cable TV again but only let in the Disney Channel and The Weather Channel. When asked why The Weather Channel he replied, “So they will know how hot it's gonna be while they are working on my chain gangs.”

He cut off coffee since it has zero nutritional value. When the inmates complained, he told them, "This isn't the Ritz/Carlton. If you don't like it, don't come back."

He bought Newt Gingrich's lecture series on videotape that he pipes into the jails. When asked by a reporter if he had any lecture series by a Democrat, he replied that a democratic lecture series might explain why a lot of the inmates were in his jails in the first place.

Folks, this guy has the right idea, and the citizens of Maricopa County are doing right by re-electing him. Eric said in his e-mail that we gotta love this guy, but I say we have to clone him! Criminals should not be allowed to serve their sentences in comfort. I did go to the Maricopa County Sheriff website to verify that all of this is true and to see if they had any statistics on repeat offenders. I didn't find the latter, but I would imagine that after serving a sentence in a tent in the desert, most people would be smart enough to avoid Maricopa County if they're going to continue to commit crimes! If they aren't, they deserve a return trip.

I know there will be some bleeding hearts crying that it's cruel and unusual punishment. Let me just point out that these prisoners are fed, housed, and clothed. They have access to movies and TV, and are providing a valuable community service. The punishment is unorthodox, certainly, and maybe a little unusual, but if the person living in that tent had murdered your child, would you consider it cruel?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Indoor plumbing is my friend!

I know that should be obvious, but after a week of portajohns I figured I'd just point that out. Sleeping in my own bed was very nice, too. The air bed I was sleeping on in camp held out great until the last night, when I discovered that the center support tube in the metal frame was in the exact same spot as my hip. Good thing I can sleep on my back; there's more padding there.
So at this point you're thinking I had an awful trip, right? Well, there were a lot of flies, and more than half the week was oppressively hot. We were in 18th century clothing--long chemises, petticoats, you get the picture. I'm sure I don't have to point out that they didn't have air conditioning in the 18th century. The weather did break Wednesday night; it rained all night, and after that the days were cooler. So were the nights. My walking talking space heater was still here at home, pining for me!

Now, lest you think I'm swearing off Rendezvous forever, think again. I love history. It was my favorite subject in school and it's my favorite subject to teach. I learned a lot last week, and I soaked it all in. We did lots of demonstrations and weekend camping when I was a kid, so camping in costume was not new to me. Camping in costume in a tent for a week was new. When I was a kid we had a little camper with a gas stove and fridge and a little portapottie in a closet. The bathroom was two steps from my bed. It sure wasn't last week!

Anyway, I highlighted the downside, so let me hit the high points. Alex learned how to throw tomahawk and knife. He's a natural, just as I thought he would be. Vicky and I learned to do beading (like you would see on Indian clothing). Linda baked a birthday cake for Alex in the camp fire, we had s'mores a few nights, and we all made new friends. I met a couple who lives half an hour from me. I got to listen to live Bluegrass music; some of it was rather rude, such as the version of Scotland The Brave that made reference to needing "a sheep to keep me warm through the night." When the kids started bickering we sent them to fetch water, and if they balked I sang my modified "Water Buffalo Song." If they really gave me a hard time, I sang louder and threatened to follow them all the way to the water buffalo! (If you have no idea what I talking about, look here.) And, of course, we had lots of time to hang out with Dad and Linda.

Next year, the Midwest Rendezvous is in Iowa. Lots closer to home! Eric has agreed to give it a shot, so I guess I'm going to have to get some patterns and make him some clothes.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

No phone, no lights, no motor car

I'm back! My reset button was pushed and I feel stress-free and tired from the long drive. I was completely unplugged for a week; I didn't even have a cell phone signal. I didn't miss e-mail until sometime around Friday. Primitive camping has a way of so completely disrupting your routines that you either miss everything or nothing of your normal. I missed Eric, but that was just about it.

I'll post details and maybe some pictures in a day or two. I just wanted to let you know I'm home so you'll stop worrying. :)