Monday, July 8, 2013

It’s Good to Be Back

I’m back from my three-week hiatus, which wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped but not nearly as unproductive as I’d feared, so overall I won’t complain.

For example, I didn’t finish my book (sigh), but I did manage to write several chapters. The title of the book is Stinky Stew™, and you can read a draft of the chapter titled “Is This Book for You?” here.

At times, I suspected that I’d picked the very worst weeks to stop blogging, as there was so much to blog about, from Paula Deen, a Southern cook who really does know how to put her foot in it, to Senator Elbert Guillory, a black Democrat turned Republican now criticizing the party as “a party of overseers,” to the controversy surrounding the show Devious Maids (I’m a huge fan already—juicy!), to the "dirty old man" who told Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer that she “looks attractive,” to stories about brides who’ve taken incivility to a whole new level by publicly criticizing their guests' choice of wedding gifts (are you kidding me?), to Aaron Hernandez, who proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that even forty million dollars can’t incentivize a thug to turn from his thuggish ways.

As I said, it’s good to be back.

And I’m not just back to blogging, I’m also back in Philadelphia after spending the better part of last week in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri to attend my oldest son's graduation from basic training.

Visiting an army base was certainly an experience. It occurred to me while there that life in the armed services really is a contradiction. On the one hand, serving one’s country in the military is touted as the highest level of sacrifice one can make—the most American thing an American can do. On the other hand, the sacrifice is achieved by doing the most un-American thing one can do, which is to completely submerge one’s individuality. (You know how Americans are about their individuality).

What also struck me is how young most of the recruits appeared to be. I mean, these were babies. At twenty-four, Christian was probably one of the oldest recruits there. That made me a little sad.

In the hotel room the day after graduation, we saw a news feature about a young Marine who took two bullets in the head while in Afghanistan. He survived but certainly was no longer his former self. His mom sat next to him (he was in a wheelchair) and described how she learned of his injury, the doctors’ prognosis, his treatment, what life is like now, and so on. She held it together pretty well throughout but did cry a bit at the end.

I said, “That’s it. You’re going AWOL, Christian. We’re not taking you back to that base.” Christian didn’t respond, and my husband said, “I don’t think he heard you,” which is probably just as well, actually. So we took him back to the base, and now he’s in Mississippi for additional training. In the fall, he’ll get his deployment orders.

Until then I’m going to try and not worry and get back to my house projects, my book, my clients, and my blog. Because, what else is there to do?

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