Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Book review - Home Fires Burning

Home Fires Burning by Karen Houppert is not your usual military spouse rah rah rah book. It's sold as a book about the military family. The author is an Air Force brat who lost her father to a flying accident while he was on duty, but she is not a military spouse. I want to say she is objective only because it's NOT like some of the god awful books by other mil spouses that I've read about military life, but every once in a while I think she leans a little left and it takes away from her arguments. For example she lauds the military health care system when describing the many benefits military familes receive and uses it as a rebuttal to conservatives who bemoan the the potential dangers of socialized medicine. "Even as conservative insist that a system of socialized medicine would mean inferior care for all, and that we would have to ration resources, the military mini-state has gone about quietly developing just such a system to serve its 1.3 million active-duty soldiers and their 2 million family members. " I have two words in response: Walter Reed. It highlighted a lot of problems that I think are seen throughout the military health care system. Don't you wait forever to get appointments? Have to drive long distances because there are no MTFs nearby, or all of the physicians are busy taking care of soldiers? When Terry was deployed I was fortunate to continue seeing my civilian provider because his civ employer (federal gov't) paid for one year of premiums while he was on active duty. My mil friends said I was "lucky."

She brings up some good points that I don't think are mentioned enough. For example, the military’s unwillingness to acknowledge and more accurately define domestic violence is behind the public curve. Houppert states the DV rates are “2-5 times higher than among civilians depending on which study is consulted” and that the military defines domestic violence as limited to actions against a current legal spouse, rather than how we all know it - betwen any domestic partners.

Houppert quotes extensively from Nancy Shea’s, “The Army Wife,” which scared the hell out of me. I can’t believe this “guidebook” was THE book on how to be a good army wife. The military may have been the first desegregated place in America (according to Colin Powell) but it is the final frontier for feminism in a lot of ways - at least for the spouses.

Overall I thought it was a good book because it balances out the other military life literature that is out there. I say give it a read.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!

I'm going to tell you a little secret. I've been asked to write a book about surviving deployment. No big publisher, just a start up, and truthfully I don't think it will get anywhere far, but I can't say yes, and I can't say no. They say you should do the thing that terrifies you, well, this terrifies me. The time, the committment, I just don't know if I'm up for it. I basically feel like a failure right now, so that doesn't help. I dropped my marathon training, I haven't published anything in over a month, and my 30th birthday is around the corner. I just want to feel that energy I felt when I was in college. (Hey, it wasn't THAT long ago.) I could make my mind possess my legs to get out of bed as early as I needed to, to run or study or whatever, and honey, I ain't got it anymore. Sigh. So, I spend most of my days working, researching, writing drafts that never get off my desktop and wondering what will finally light the fire beneath me. Is this just a phase that everyone goes through because I'm a)turning 30 b) still getting back to normal after a deployment or c)always like this, life just never slowed down enough for me to see it?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

You know, just because I don't take the time to write anything cool doesn't mean I'm gone :) In fact, I've written three posts that never made it to "live." I thought it would help to tell you about what my days are like.

Gabe started soccer and is in the middle of TKD tournaments. He ROCKS at sparring. Seriously he is amazing. He was MVP for the meet last time. But soccer is another story. We went to his first practice and he was on the verge of tears. "I feel like I'm the worst player," he sniffed. But he didn't want to quit, so I was really proud of him. He is focusing on having fun at the games, but I have to admit that I am nervous for him. The other boys really are good and I just don't want him to feel badly about himself. So, those activities take about 4-5 nights a week.

Then, I have my freelance writing gig. I'm writing monthly for a magazine that some of you mil spouses are familiar with I hope! It's pretty exciting and I'm learning about a lot of other mil spouses who write as well (and get paid!). That, in addition to working, takes most of my time.

Weekends have proven to be rarely relaxing, but always fun. Last weekend we went to a wine tasting at a friends' house where we got into, what else, politics and the war. Me, my husband and a surprisingly articulate 24 year old kid monopolized the conversation, which I normally don't do because I hate talking about politics when I'm trying to have fun and forget. But this time I found myself drawn in. I didn't realize how much I know about the war until my husband turned to me surprised and was like, you're really getting into this! I wasn't "into it" I just can't hold my tongue. So, anyway, it's night with friends, then church, then household chores. This Saturday Gabe has TKD tourney at 1, soccer at 3, then I'm off to a party at 7.

Meanwhile Terry is back at school, pursuing an LLM, working and delusional to think he is going to run the MCM. Fridays roll around like pennies in those funnels you see in the mall. I'm probably the only person who enjoys Mondays. That's when I don't work and Asher and I get to spend some real quality time together.

I hope you are all well, I check all your blogs often :). I will eventually go private, so if you want to have permission to read please write me.