Fellow Bloggers

One of my job duties at work is to create bibliographies of sources that students can use when researching (mostly different battles).  I was working on a recent battle from 2009 in Afghanistan, and obviously there’s not a ton out there yet since it was so recent.  Surprisingly, the most valuable sources of information were mil bloggers who were present during the attack.

I was super excited!  This community is fantastic, and I’m so proud and in awe of the great things we can accomplish scattered around the world in constant transit.  I loved seeing  social media used for something positive rather than only hearing about yet another OPSEC violation on Facebook.

It also got me thinking of how it’s changing scholarship.  I wasn’t quite sure how to cite a blogger, especially an anonymous one.  Anonymity sort of goes against the core of historical research, and blogging is so informal that in my gut I don’t feel like it’s a trustworthy source.  Yet what is more accurate and valuable to the historical record than a person writing exactly where they were, what they thought, and what they felt while getting attacked by RPGs?

I’m so conflicted yet so excited for being apart of this change as a blogger but, more importantly, as a scholar.  Geeze, I’m such a nerd.

The First Few Days

The man is home…and currently on his 14th hour of sleep.

The massages have been scheduled.  It’s something my family always does for our Soldiers (we have several) when they come home after a long absence.  They all love it.  Couples massages are great too.  We love it as a way to reconnect and have quiet time together.  Plus it’s like a huge reward and treat for all the hard work you did while you were apart.  It’s stressful whether you think it was or not.

Only two duffles, an assault pack, and his kit this time.  Laundry might be done by next weekend.  Whoo hoo!

Next up is the grocery list.  He’s always craving something when he gets back, and geographical bachelorette refrigerators just don’t fly with my carnivore husband.

The routine is kinda nice.

Mean Census

Did anyone else just get a census supplement in the mail?

It says right on it that my address was chosen and not me, but it sure seems like every place I’ve lived I end up being “randomly chosen.”  And is it just me or are these census questionnaires really personal?  They want to know how much I paid last month for electricity and what time I left for work yesterday.  I don’t know these things!

But these census questions really bum me out because right on the front it says “do not include anyone who is living somewhere else for more than 2 months, such as…someone in the Armed Forces on deployment.”  Oooo…ouch.  Poke a gal while she’s down why don’t ya.  I understand that most of the questions don’t apply if the person isn’t home, but this is his home.  I want to count him as part of my total number of living at this address.  And 2 months for a military family isn’t very long.  He doesn’t have to be deployed to be gone 2 months.  He could be off training somewhere.  DH is gone now for what looks like 6ish weeks, and that’s prior a regular ol’ deployment that’s creeping up on us.

I guess it’s good that military families can document what their households look like and how they run, but geez, it reminds us how lonely they look like too.

Love And Black Elephants During Wartime

Over the holidays I finished one of the new books from University of Nebraska Press.  Black Elephants by Karol Nielsen was a quick pleasure to read.  The book is Nielsen’s memoir of falling in love and the evolution of her relationship with an Israeli man during the first Gulf War.

I was drawn to the book because it was a different kind of war story.  I’m used to reading war history, but I live war in a certain way.  I wanted to read something that described the “invisible casualties” like I feel and deal with when I live war.

I love how Nielsen describes in the book how much war does affect people without them realizing it.  She lived in Israel during the Gulf War, but the mental ramifications of the conflict haunt her relationship forever.  People cannot be left untouched by war regardless of their role in it, and the full extent to which they are changed comes out slowly.  It’s a cautionary tale as much as it is a personal memoir.

I really identify with Nielsen and her struggles even though I haven’t lived war or attempted to assimilate into a different culture like she did.  She wrestles with how much of herself to let go into this new relationship, especially when the war is changing what exactly that is to begin with.  She wrestles with loving and living with a person who is equally traumatized by war.  She wrestles with wanting something badly but knowing that something is wrong at the same time.  She describes a very human experience that I think most can relate to even if war has never touched their lives.  She really wants to save someone, but that someone ends up being herself.

The book is a very quick read because Nielsen’s writing is effortless.  Much as I’m sure she does, readers are left wishing for a different outcome at the end but knowing that it could not have been different.  As lonely as Nielsen made the war and surviving it seem, the less alone it made me feel for butting heads with the effects of war in my own home.

Baby 4.5

So much to catch up on and so little time!  I’m going to make an effort to get some stuff down here soon.  I’ll limit this to a mostly beebs update.

Beebs is doing good. … So yeah, not much to report really.  I’m growing like nobody’s business.  I’m full maternity clothes and the whole shebang.  I’ve started feeling him wiggle around here within the last two weeks.  We have an ultrasound coming up, and I’m really excited to see how much bigger he’s gotten.

As it looks now, it doesn’t look promising that DH will be in town for the birth, and I’m totally devastated.  I know it’s not for sure, but I’m completely broken up by the thought that he might miss it.  It’s a memory and feeling that cannot be recreated, and I think it’s absolutely unfair that it could get taken from us.  I feel so angry at the Army.  I know and accept that birthdays and holidays will be missed, but I cannot be ok with getting robbed of this to.  I cannot fathom how I will be able to do this with anyone but him even though I think everyone we know has volunteered.  It’s just not the same.  As always, we’ll wait and see.

My sister-in-law is coming to visit us for the first time here at this house, so we’ve been cleaning and prepping for that.  I hoped to get curtains made for the guest room by then, but really, after two years curtains are a bit superfluous don’t ya think?  I want to maybe try my hand at a process post with those, so it all works out.

I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend.  If you’re lucky enough to be with people you love, enjoy the memories.  If you’re unlucky enough to be stuck with family, well, I feel for ya.  My sister-in-law is having a small case of baby fever, and I’m afraid for my bulging gut.  Good luck out there.

Yay!

Unfortunately, I don’t have the patience, attention span, or will to write something very inspiring right now, but I did want to say how extremely excited I was that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is officially off the books!  I am so happy for those out there who are affected by this and who have one less obstacle in their way to feeling accepted and proud of who they are.  There is, as always, more work to be done.  DEERS doesn’t yet recognize the new changes to possible dependents, and units will have to work through this at their own pace.  It’s a growing period for sure.  But this is a time for celebration, and I most definitely have on my party hat!

Meetings

I’ve started back with a new therapist, and I really like her.  We’ve met a few times already, I’ve been meaning to post an update on how the appointment went but things come up–as usual.

Anyhoo… she seems like a super cool lady.  She’s young-ish, which I think I like better.  I’m not ageist or anything, but the last time I tried meeting with an older lady I got a lot of “well, in my 30+ years of practicing…” and that didn’t sit well with me.  We’re both learning about my messed up insides together.  She works a lot with families, so her office has comfy chairs and toys and just feels homey rather than office like.  And because of her emphasis she likes to work in spouses into therapy whenever it’s helpful.  I’ve always felt things would be so much easier if DH could listen in on my meetings, so that sat well.  She works a lot with military families too, so that’s nice.

I guess it’s hard to quantify, but really, I just got good vibe from her.  She seems like someone I can talk to you, which is the whole point really.  I’ve had to fight incredibly hard to work through the insurance process, which I think is actually half the hospital’s fault, so I’m happy to finally make it to a live person at the other end.  It really shouldn’t be this hard to get help, and it makes me sick at how many people don’t end up getting any because they can’t make it through all the crap in the way.  It sends a huge mixed message to military families when more mental health screenings and awareness are being pushed on us from deployments but then it’s so difficult to see someone.  The amount of time I’ve had to take off work and the long line of people I’ve had to re-describe my issues to so I could simply get an appointment to start really talking about what matters is appalling.  Why is it this hard when getting a referral for a heart of stomach doctor is a routine phone call?  Arg!!

So yeah, to end on a happy note (I’m trying to say at least one thing positive when I get on a negative rant), my lady is awesome and I’m super, super optimistic about our work together.  I’m hopeful that I can regain my sense of calm and control and put some sense to the tangled mess my insides feel like right now.

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