"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." ~ Benjamin Franklin

New Year's Eve and the Day That Follows

>> Thursday, December 29, 2005

My mother is trying to get herself nominated for "Grandmother of the Year" this weekend. She volunteered to watch not one, not two, but four little beasties while their parents (her children and their spouses) go out for the evening. Their ages? Four, three, two and one. Yep, she may need an entire bottle of wine after the last ones go to bed!

Doug and I, accompanied by by youngest brother and his wife, will be taking in a hockey game. Should be home by 11pm. Yep, we're animals. I looked in to a late movie but nothing starts after 10:25pm. WTF? It's New Year's Eve, people. Keep kids safe and all that PC stuff.

It's actually a good thing that there are no late movies, though. First off, I'm old. I have a hard time staying up past 11pm. And B, (don't you have it when people switch between numbers and letters when they list things? Yeah, me too) we are having our open house/New Year's Brunch the following day. Considering that it is a New Year's Brunch it only makes sense. Mimosas, Bloody Marys, breakfast-y foods that I am making myself, bagels that I am not... Should be a good time.

I just hope that the people who didn't bother to RSVP don't "surprise" us by showing up. I hate that. I request and RSVP for a reason, people. Just respond to the Evite, for crying out loud. It's not that friggin' difficult.

Ahem, soory about that little outburst. It's just one of my pet peeves. Especially since there are food and beverages to be purchased. If I don't have enough I'll feel bad (and my sister tells me that I can't tell people that they can't eat if they didn't RSVP) and if I have too much... Well, can you ever have too much champagne?

We bought new household furnishings this evening. Bar stools for the bar downstairs and a kitchen table and chairs because the deal was too good to pass up. Doug is constructing bar stools as I type. I would help but we read instructions differently. It's just best that I stay away.

Which is alright as I have laundry to fold. Or dishes to wash. Or some other "woman's work" that I'm sure needs to be completed.


Very Random Thoughts

>> Wednesday, December 28, 2005

I am trying to get into a new "schedule" before the new year... My alarm - an actual alarm, not Brenna - goes off at 6am so I can try to get a few things done before the lovely one wakes for the day. I'm not really sure it's enough time, but it will have to do.

The screen on my cell phone is warping and my plan doesn't "replace" phones for 2 years. Which means I have at least 9 months to go. HA! I'm a tech junkie and have been jonesing for a new phone. I've held off because cell phones are Brenna's favorite toy. Which is probably what's wrong with mine. She used it as a chew toy a few times and the innards got a bit, well, soaked.

One of Doug's grandmothers went into the hospital the day after Christmas. We found out Tuesday but were led to believe it was just another of her "spells". Doug spoke with her yesterday and said that she sounded awful and had possibly had a mini stroke. He would have headed up after work but it was so foggy last night... We will probably trek up there this afternoon.

My youngest nephew, Ethan, had his 3-year Well Visit to the Dr. yesterday so his brother stayed here while Jen took him. It's so much easier for Jen that way. Ethan was not very happy about it, he wanted to "Stay and play in Jody's big house." When the Dr visit was over they came in and Jen watched all the kids while I took a shower. Almost like having a nanny.

Brenna and I are going to do a Mom & Tot class at a local gymnastics center beginning in January. It's basically like an "open gym" time and will get Brenna some interaction with other people on a weekly basis. I think she is getting a bit bored with me. sigh I can feel the apron strings stretching already.

Wow, I'm really rambling this morning. If you've made it this far, thank you. If you haven't, well, it doesn't matter what I say as you aren't here to read it. :)


Christmas Is Over- For Another Year

>> Monday, December 26, 2005

We hope all our blogging friends had a very Merry Christmas. We were very busy for the two days leading up to Christmas and Christmas day itself.

Friday we spent the day visiting Doug's grandmothers. We had lunch with one and dinner with the other (plus the extended family). Brenna was very charming and well behaved. She had new shoes with a hard sole that made "clip clop" noises. She figured out just where she needed to be to "clip clop" and spent a lot of time doing just that!

Saturday we ventured from the center of Iowa to the southwestern corner for lunch with my grandmother, my father and siblings. The highlight of the event was that my stepmother didn't come. (She has endured yet another back surgery and is not feeling up to travel). We unfortunately had to leave early as I caught some sort of cold and hit a wall. I felt miserable. We got home, Doug cared for Brenna and I took a hot bath with vapor bath. Mmmmm..... Vapor bath.

Christmas day dawned as usual. Brenna woke me and I fed her breakfast. We lolled around waiting for daddy to wake up. Well, not really. I sent Brenna into our room for a diaper change. After Brenna's diaper change Doug made his way to the living room and asked if we should go downstairs and open presents.

"Don't you want some coffee?"
"Not really."
"Are you sure you don't want any coffee? I asked again, motioning toward the kitchen.
"I have some Mt Dew downstairs."
I try one more time, with emphasis, "I really think you want some coffee."
Finally he gets it: this is sitting on the counter. Very lovely in chrome and black. Needless to say, he made some coffee.

Finally we venture downstairs. Brenna sees her unwrapped gift:

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She climbs right in. And wants nothing else. Here she is pushing away her gift from Santa:

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We get her to open it (kind of):

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And her "big gift":

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It clicks and clacks, plays music and lights up. She got a couple of dresses from grandparents, books and puzzles. But her favorite is still the sled.

I want to include this, for TKW who mourns her Texas home:

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Our gift from Doug's mom. His family is in Texas. We will never live near them. It's just not my idea of paradise. (Sorry TKW!)

Later on my sibs, their families and my mom joined us. Chaos abounded. Lots of food was eaten. Three and a half bottles of champagne were consumed (along with beer and wine). Gifts were opened and strewn about. All Brenna's cousins pulled her around the family room on her sled (as they should). Fun was had by all.

Until, of course, they had to leave and my nephew, Carter, who was playing with the noisy clicky-clacky toy uttered these words: "We don't have this many toys at home." Because he is, of course, horribly underprivileged. All he got this year was a battery-operated-ride-in Chevy Sliverado... And other assorted boy toys. Poor, poor child.

And now, as Christmas is through, I must begin planning for my New Year's Brunch. At least one case of champagne is on order... Anyone gonna be in the neighborhood?


Merry Christmas

>> Thursday, December 22, 2005

We went to 'them all' (the mall to you adults out there) to see Santa and ride the train last night. Ethan fell asleep on the way, so he looks a little out of it. Ethan told Santa he wants "a BIG present" and Carter wants a white space shuttle. I am pretty sure Santa is not bringing a space shuttle, but there is a BIG present in their future.

At one store, my husband said the clerk said "Merry Christmas, er, I mean Happy Holidays". Jon said, "I would prefer Merry Christmas, and Merry Christmas to you, too."

So Merry Christmas to all you bloggers out there! Hope Santa brings you all what you asked for!


I thought today was Wednesday...

>> Wednesday, December 21, 2005

but my morning began and I was sure that today had to be Monday.

I have been having a pretty severe acne problem since I quit nursing Brenna and my hormones went completely berserk. So I went in the local esthetics school for a deluxe- clean- out-the- zits facial. And was talked into trying microdermabrasion. Which really seemed to help. So, with the exception of when I was in Ireland and when we moved, I have been doing it every week.

Today I arranged for my sister to watch Brenna so I could go in. I arrive for my appointment early so I'm not really worried when my esthetician doesn't come out right away. But as they keep calling her I begin to get apprehensive.

Sure enough I am told that the student I am scheduled with is not there- and they aren't sure she'll show up. And, of course, she is the only one available for that treatment. Well, crap. No facial sandblasting today. The school did give me a free microderm session for my troubles. Hey, that's $65- I won't complain.

Since I would be back to get Brenna earlier than I planned I decided to wash the truck. Pull into the wash, two lines; one with one car, one with two. I pull into the line with one car. Wrong choice. Either this guy didn't know how to run the computer that inputs your wash selection or the car wash broke right then. All I know is that a red light began to flash and the attendant came out and waved us all to back up. And the people behind me got into the other line. In front of me- who had been waiting longest. Rude A-holes. Needless to say, my truck is still dirty.

I picked up Brenna & came home, afraid that anything else I tried to do would fail miserably. I spent the remainder of the day cleaning and organizing the house, amusing Brenna & not expecting too much.

Now I am prining photos from Ireland in preparation of beginning to scrapbook our trip. It's a project that may take weeks. So far my printer is working fine. So far...


Christmas Ritual

>> Tuesday, December 20, 2005

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Yep, we trekked to the mall and saw Santa. He had a book so Brenna just hopped right up and listened to his story. I tell ya, the child doesn't know a stranger.

The photographer kept asking if I wanted Brenna looking at the camera. "No, I don't. I want her looking at Santa- that's who she's here to see. She looks at me all the time."

I like the way it turned out. It looks like Brenna is chattering away, telling Santa what she wants for Christmas. Perfect.



>> Monday, December 19, 2005

My oldest son was wearing long johns. At breakfast, he noticed something...."hey, Mommy, these pajamas have a pocket". Yeah, you know.


Heimlich, anyone?

Ethan's birthday party was yesterday. After cake & ice cream, we were all sitting around visiting. Ethan asked if he could have a Life Saver, so I gave him one. A few minutes later, he started walking toward me with a really strange expression on his face. I could tell he wasn't breathing right and he was gagging.

I tried thumping him on the back a couple of times, but it didn't help. Then I flipped him around and gave 2 little Heimlich Maneuver thrusts. Out popped the Life Saver. The little squirt didn't even realize the extreme situation he had been in. The first thing he wanted was another Life Saver. The answer was "NO".


The Homestretch

One week remains until Christmas. Our "festivities" actually begin on Friday evening at Doug's grandmother's house.

  • Gifts- check
  • Hotel room- check (We're not driving back after the last time)
  • Food for pot luck that I can make that morning & will travel well- unchecked
Then we will wake early Saturday to venture to the far southern part of Iowa to enjoy dinner (lunch to those non-farm folks reading this) at my grandmother's. I completed my Christmas ritual of sending flowers to her today. They should arrive tomorrow. I used ProFlowers so they should still be nice & fresh on Saturday.

After stuffing ourselves we will make our way home for a relaxing Christmas eve and a fun Christmas morning. Later that day my immediate family (sibs, mom, nephews) will converge on my house for dinner (which is actually dinner as we're townies), gifts and pandemonium.

I've got shopping lists to make, a few small gifts yet to buy, Santa to visit and a few more boxes to unpack. Luckily my family isn't too picky and my house doesn't have to be spotless.


Happy 3rd Birthday, Ethan!

>> Friday, December 16, 2005

Three years ago, we had been at a family Christmas gathering all day (the 15th). I was a little over a week past my due date with the little guy. I had been having steady contractions all day long...short in duration and 1/2 hour apart. I was not too worried about anything happening. At that point, I though he or she was taking up permanent residence.

My in-laws were scheduled to fly back to Florida around noon the 16th. Around 10 PM, the contractions were getting sronger. We called my doctor who told me to take a bath, drink some water & relax. He thought the contractions were from dehydration. The bath was nice & all, but my contractions kept getting stronger and at times they were about 10 minutes apart. We reluctantly called the doctor again. He sighed heavily, asked which hospital I was going to, and said he'd meet us there.

I was dilated to 6 cm when I arrived at the hospital. Yippee! Everything progressed nicely with little discomfort (as my water had not yet broken). I was asked whether or not I wanted an epidural to numb the pain. I declined because I wasn't really too uncomfortable. Until the doctor broke my water at 9 cm. Boy, then I was in some pain. 45 minutes later, at 3:00 AM, Ethan James was born. My in-laws got to see him briefly before they had to fly home. He was their Christmas present that year!



The damn thieves on the internet are getting smarter. In the past they have sent emails that actually look generic, but today they got me.

I reveived an email from "PayPal" saying that they had processed my payment of $370 for an iPod. It looked real- it used my name. I hit the link to stop the transaction. I input my password (which contains symbols, numbers and letters) which was rejected.

Then I really panicked. I closed the page, pulled up the real PayPal, changed my password, forwarded the spoof & called to make sure I did it all quickly enough.

I was told that the iPod email is making the rounds. I tried to copy the one I got but it wouldn't copy. I do remember that the zip code listed for me was wrong and the shipping was from Houston, TX. And, not to offend anyone, the "seller" had a middle eastern sounding name.

So.... The moral of this story is: Use symbols, caps & lower letters AND numbers in your passwords. If you get an email reporting payment for something you didn't purchase DO NOT click any links. Load a new page and input the web address you use to access your account. Report the spoof immediately. And then let the rest of us know.

This concludes your public service announcement for today.

But, on a funny note, the account my PayPal is tied to has no money in it. I only keep enough in it for the small purchases I make. They wouldn't have gotten any money anyway. :) Thank God.


Brenna the Artist

>> Thursday, December 15, 2005

First let me say "Yea!!" Our internet is finally up and running. Now if I could just get the boxes cleared out of the house & the Christmas decorations up in time for Christmas!

Now, let me tell you a little story. About 16 months ago Doug & I were at IKEA buying necessary items in anticipation to Miss Brenna's arrival. Closet storage... Dresser... Shelving... An easel...

Yep, not one to pass up a good deal Doug bought this easel ($20) which has a big roll of paper, a white board and a chalkboard. Brenna is finally "big enough" to use it- if she has something to stand on.

Only one big, fat crayon at a time, though. And only under close supervision.

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I bought the bunny slippers last week at Old Navy. Couldn't resist them. :) And don't get me started on how adorable she looks in her waffle weave PJs. Honestly, she can make me insane... But then she just looks at me with those HUGE eyes and grins. Momma's a softie.


Generations Photo

>> Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I asked my husband to take a picture of me with Carter and Ethan, my mother and my grandparents at our family Christmas gathering last weekend. I think this one turned out really well. I used my photo software to change it to an antique color scheme.

I feel very fortunate to be able to enjoy time with my grandparents and my children. My Grandpa tells some of the funniest stories. When he gets on a roll you never know what you might hear. And Grandma keeps up with technology and current events. She e-mails to keep in touch and plays on the internet. They are just so fun to be around!


The Christmas Card

Following is the photo I took of Brenna for Christmas cards this year. It didn't turn out quite as planned...

Right before we left for Ireland I bought the gorgeous beaded slippers you see gracing her feet. I couldn't resist them. So I scoured eBay until I found the perfect dress to match: pink velvet with a floaty tulle skirt and ribbon flowers at the waist. Excellent! I persuaded the seller to end her auction early and sell me the dress directly. I paid more than she probably would have gotten through auction- but much less than buying a new dress.

So, a few days after we moved I decided I should get on the ball if I wanted to use a picture on my cards.

I got her dressed and set her in the chair.
She kicked off her shoes.
I put the shoes back on.
She kicked them off and ran.
Repeat steps three and four. Multiple times. (I'm a slow learner)
Finally I gave her my cell phone- and there you have it: The Christmas Photo.

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I call it: Hello? Merry Christmas!


I Miss...

>> Sunday, December 11, 2005

I miss my own internet. Not that I dislike Panera but you MUST get some goodies whilst you are here (today it's the hot chicken & bacon panini) and that is eating into my allowance and not doing good things for my waistline. (Internet ETA is Wednesday. I'm just not sure I will survive until then!)

I miss blog surfing. I haven't visited anyone in so long! I promise that I haven't forgotten any of you. My list of favorites mocks me everytime I check in. Come Wednesday- watch out!! I've got so much pent up commenting....

I miss my friends in Minnesota. We had Christmas traditions that included presents, alcohol and lots of food.

I miss Brenna cuddling before bed. Now we sit down, read a book, begin to cuddle... Then she stretches her arms toward her bed, I lay her down and that's it.

And speaking of Brenna: Warning!!! Poop story ahead

Brenna has been having up to three poopy diapers a day; not diarrhea but not solid. I was performing the third change the other day when, after I cleaned her but before I put on the new diaper, she rolled away and started streaking around her bedroom. No big deal; she'd done that dozens of times. What she hadn't done before was.....

Wait for it...

Are you ready?

Squat in the corner and poop on the floor!

She was so proud of herself. As I would have been had there been a toilet underneath her!

And that's your geek update for today. I'll check back soon!


Short Note

>> Wednesday, December 07, 2005

We still have no internet at the house so I am coming to you from Panera. Brenna is across from me alternately eating an apple cream cheese pastry and dipping her fork in my cocoa.

The house is coming together. It is quite a bit larger than the old house and I am having trouble figuring out where everything should go. All new houses take a little getting used to, but I really like it; it has a very open, airy feeling to it. I am very reluctant to clutter it too much. I forsee a large garage sale in the spring. :)

I had hoped to get some errands done this afternoon but Brenna is fussier than normal- way too much going on in her life- so I think I shall sign off and take her home for a nap. WalMart is open 24 hours- I can go tonight...


It's Happening

>> Thursday, December 01, 2005

Well, all has been sorted out and we close in an hour and a half. I just finished the walk through. I do really like this house; Brenna ran around the rooms, giggling, climbing stairs, enjoying all the space.

Tomorrow the moving guys come. I'm not sure when we will have the wireless network set up so I'm not sure when I will be back. It may be a few days. I'm sure I'll have lots of news... And a picture of the new coat for TKW. We're visiting the Amana Colonies this weekend for Prelude to Christmas.


Good news, bad news

>> Wednesday, November 30, 2005

I heard from a friend today that I may have another primary challenger for Iowa Senate District XX next fall.

However, I missed a story last week that Maggie is dropping from the race because her husband is being transferred out of the district.

It seems my new primary challenger is a retired Iowa State Patrol officer with the rank of major in 2001. Public safety, health care and tax relief will be his focus, according to the Press Citizen.

Net result is still one primary challenger, but one with a much stronger bio. Let's see what I can do...


Frank Rich's War

I haven't had a lot of time lately to do much reading, but I did see this article and thought it is worth sharing.
From the NY Sun - Frank Rich's War

UPDATE: In a related story, a former member of the Iraq Survey Group tells his story


Is Today Over Yet?

The Exploder is home. I must say that they did a good job... No deer parts to be found.

The rest of the day has not fared so well.

I ran to our insurance agent's office this morning to pick up the binder that the loan officer was freaking out about- only to be told that he already had it. Then we find out that the loan we thought we were getting isn't actually the one we got and now there are fees involved- to the tune of $18,000.

WHOA! Stop the train. We are supposed to close tomorrow. This just isn't gonna play.

So, now we are looking at other financing options and, most likely, postponing the closing. Ugh! Wish us luck.


Ruby Tuesday?

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I wish I had some rose-colored glasses...

The weather outside is frightful.... Well, windy & cold with snow flurries. We at Casa Geek are fighting a cold. I still don't have the truck back & haven't heard from the body shop today.

I did get all services (electricity, water, garbage, TV, etc) switched to the new address without too much hassle. And laundry is caught up.

So today will just involve wiping runny noses, administering cough syrup & packing more boxes. My house is upside down and, therefore, I feel like I am, too. I hate that feeling.

On a happy note, I got a new winter coat last night. An Anne Klein wool & cashmere 3/4 length. At Burlington Coat Factory. For a steal. Now I need gloves, a scarf & a hat. :)


Monday, Monday

>> Monday, November 28, 2005

Ah, what will today bring? Well, I can tell you that it won't bring the Exploder back from the body shop. Nope, they are awaiting a sensor for the airbags. Tomorrow, they say.

I do know, however, that today will bring:
At least one phone call from our insurance agent- we need to get insurance on the new house.
At least 3 calls to rental truck locations- I need a truck to move the entertainment center to mom's house.
At least 2 loads of laundry- I have no clean jeans.
One trip to the grocery store- they have a coupon for 20 cents off per gallon of gas if you spend $50 at the grocery. And since I need both groceries and gas I will go.
Multiple boxes of packed items. We finished most of the house on Saturday (with my mom's help). There are still some things that can be boxed before the big day.
Dozens of Puffs through my hands. Brenna and I have icky colds.
Hopefully a nap. Then, maybe, I can stay up later than 8pm.


Pictures From Ireland

>> Friday, November 25, 2005

I have made many of the pictures from our trip to Ireland available here. I still have to get the pictures from Dublin compressed, so the links for the 18th and 19th are empty. Jody and I will be adding comments when we can so check back!


Black Friday

Yep, the second busiest shopping day of the year, outdone only by Christmas Eve afternoon. Poor fools.

I was actually awake early enough to join the frenzied crowds. And I did shop... Online; from the warmth of my home, the comfort of my chair, with hot cocoa beside me. I plan to do all of my holiday shopping this way.

Yes, every morning since returning from Ireland I have been up at some insane time. Today it was 4:30am. In my defense, Brenna was asleep by 5:30pm last night and I went to bed by 7 anticipating her waking in the middle of the night. It didn't happen. She slept through until almost 6am.

So, what does today hold? Packing. Laundry. A nap. A quick run to the market for milk. A stop at Target to pick up pictures from Ireland. And scrapbooking tonight. Good times.


Home Sweet Home... For Another Week

>> Wednesday, November 23, 2005

All major mishaps aside we will be moving next week. The closing is currently set for Thursday the 1st and I have the movers coming on Friday. Thankfully we have noone coming in to the house and the buyers are giving us until the 5th to complete the move. I don't know that I could have it done in one day.

I spent yesterday doing laundry- a never ending task, it seems- packing boxes with items we can do without for a couple of weeks and hanging out with Brenna. She has a bit of a cough and runny nose, probably picked up on the flight home. Yesterday was the "day of no naps" so we were both exhausted at 7pm. She went right to sleep for daddy, I stayed up an hour longer to finish a bit of laundry. Well, to be honest, Doug & I were watching a travel show and I fell asleep on the couch until the buzzer on the drier woke me.

And, since I was asleep early, I am awake early. Yep, 4am. My body still thinks it's 10am.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I had originally planned to stay home, eat frozen pizza and pack boxes. My SIL put a stop to that, so today I am going to The Cheesecake Factory to get a Pumpkin Cheesecake. Have you experienced one of these? Oh, ecstacy! Yum, yum yum!!! My mom asked why I didn't just make it myself. Well... 1) I just don't have time this week and 2) It just isn't the same.

And, after dinner, we are obligated to visit my father's wife's daughter, who is in town for the first time in eons. Ugh. I won't rant again... I say obligated because we are using my father's wife's car while the Exploder is being fixed from the deer incident (I still can't believe it's being fixed!)

And then a whole weekend of packing fun! Anyone want to help? I am offering a bribe of alcohol and food. Maybe some leftover pumpkin cheesecake...


We're Back

>> Monday, November 21, 2005

After 12 hours of flying- OK, it was only 9 hours of flying, but a 3 hour layover in Chicago- we made it home; weary and happy for our own beds.

We had an amazing time in Ireland and are already talking about going back. Anyone interested?

I do have to admit that we really didn't like Dublin. Except for a few ancient churches we could have been in Boston or Philadelphia... or any other large city with lots of history. I'm sure we would have enjoyed it more if it had only been Doug & I. Other than the large, very beautiful parks and the zoo, Dublin is not a place to take young children. Brenna was not impressed by the museum (I did get to see the Tara Brooch) so we didn't even try the National Gallery or Trinity College (to see the Book of Kells). And the lines for everything! Ugh! We were off season so we didn't encounter them anywhere else we visited.

Another very funny thing in Dublin: It was full of tourists and I guess we must have looked like we belonged because we were asked for directions more than once.

Doug is going to assemble all of the pictures we took- and maybe some of the videos- on a website. I'll be sure to let you know when they are up. Now I have to figure out what- on my laundry list of things that must be done- must be done first.


Today in Ireland

>> Friday, November 18, 2005

We spent much of our time trying to learn our way around Dublin. Nothing is labeled very well and we had to use 3 maps, together, to really get our bearings. We spent much of the day at the Dublin Zoo. We were there around feeding time so the animals were very active. I tried shopping, but just couldn't find anything. How depressing. Ah well... There's always tomorrow.

I leave you with this photo of Brenna & Doug at the zoo...

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More From Ireland

>> Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hi all! Just checking in from Dublin with a few photos from the past couple of days. I'm sure I'll have a very thick scrapbook from this trip! The B&B we are at has internet so we'll probably check in after Brenna goes to bed.

Here are Brenna & I at O'Brien's Tower at the Cliffs of Moher.
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And here is a view of the Cliffs themselves. Lots of stuff going on at the cliffs... a new tourist office and viewing site to be open by 2006.
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Here are Doug & Brenna in the Dining Hall at Cahir Castle.
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Through a window at the Rock of Cashel.
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The Rock of Cashel as viewed from below.
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Hore Abbey as viewed from the Rock of Cashel.
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As you can see, the weather has been very cooperative since we've been here, mostly sunny & brisk. Better than back at home.


Every day is different....

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Welcome to Iowa, where every day is a new weather adventure. Saturday night we had 8 or 9 (depending who you listen to) tornadoes tear through central Iowa. The day was partly cloudy with some short periods of light rain and temperatures in the 60's.

Today, my thermometer has fluctuated between 33 and 37 degrees with periods of light rain mixed with HUGE snowflakes. And the snow seems to be sticking, folks! Today's weather is certainly what we are accustomed to seeing this time of year, though not entirely welcome.

Here's a picture of my house with the snow.


Ireland Day 1

>> Monday, November 14, 2005

We have arrived safely and soundly. Brenna was great for most of the trip except for two times when she was sooooo tired that sleep wasn't an option. At least on purpose. Taking off and landing were not a problem for our little daredevil and making friends with everyone in visual range is just a matter of course. The Princess got to dance and parade and bounce for a crowd and she enjoyed it immensely. Everyone we have met so far has been extremely friendly and smile readily.

Our first night in Ireland is with the Bunratty Meadows Bed and Breakfast. I highly recommend them. The couple running it treat you like family…that you like. They let us check in early so we can all nap before exploring Bunratty Castle and surrounding village.

We dined at the neighborhood pub and returned to organize, decide what we want to do tomorrow and catch up on our sleep.

View from Bunratty Meadows.

Bunratty Castle.


Brenna shopping in her new cape.

The simple joys of a swing.

Seeing this country through the eyes of a child is wonderous.



>> Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ta-Ta for now.

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A couple of our B&Bs have WiFi...

Maybe we'll drop a note...with pictures!


To Our Great Veterans

>> Friday, November 11, 2005

I heard the story of how Francis Scott Key came to write the Star Spangled Banner today. As a small token of thanks to all who have served our country with bravery, who have fought for our freedoms, who have made sacrifices both great and small, I invite everyone to spend a bit of time at this site:The Star Spangled Banner at Fort McHenry.

This is a site for school children... but I think we can all gain from a review. Go... Learn something you may have forgotten. And be sure to thank a veteran today.


An Eventful Day

>> Thursday, November 10, 2005

This morning I, having decided to take a relaxing bath while Brenna napped, and Brenna, deciding that a nap was not her idea of a good time, had to compromise. So I took a short, and not relaxing bubble bath & Brenna played with the bubbles.

All was going swimmingly (HA!) until I got out and began to let the water drain. The bubbles were sinking lower & lower and Brenna, still intrigued by them, was leaning over the edge of the tub until.... KERPLUNK! In she went, face first.

I was right there, having anticipated the possibility of such an occurrence. She was a little freaked out; eyes squeezed closed, lips tight together & holding her breath, little body stiff as a board.

But she was mostly angry. And she screamed and screamed as I wiped the bubbles from her face, took off her onesie and wrapped her in a towel.

Hopefully this won't affect her love of baths. :)

Happily, this afternoon was a better experience. We walked to the park and had a bit of a swing. This was her second time swinging; the first time I didn't have the camera along. She loves it! (I undid her hat so you could see her big smile!)

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Hockey Talk

>> Tuesday, November 08, 2005

We took in an Iowa Stars game tonight. Which led to a post for the DesMoinesRegister.com. An open letter, if you will, to the Stars management & Wells Fargo Arena. Go, take a gander.


No F**king Way!!!

This damn truck won't f**king die!!! According to the appraiser it can be fixed. I can't quite believe it.

As promised, here are the pictures...

That would be radiator fluid still dripping.
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Bits of deer in the headlights...
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And in the tire...
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Man, I just can't believe this will cost less than $10,000 to fix. Just can't believe it...


Sunday Can't Come Soon Enough

Yesterday was spent on the phone with insurance type persons, running errands and trying to get things squared away. I'm glad it's over.

The auto claims adjuster said that, to his best guess, the truck is totaled. They are sending a damage appraiser out and we should know for sure by the end of the week. I was advised to get a new car seat for Brenna, insurance will reimburse me if I bring in the one we were using to be destroyed. I got right on that; don't want to take any chances.

I will be going out to see the truck in the light of day & get anything we might have left in it later on today. I will also be visiting the bank we are working with on the home loan. They need more information... of course.

Along with everything else that I am sure needs to be done this is shaping up to be a very hectic week. I still need to get everything we need for our trip, do laundry, clean the house for the big push the agents are going to do on it while we're gone, gather info for my mom & sister so they can find us in case of emergency...

Ugh. I'm getting a headache just looking at the list. I suppose I should get started... HA!! As if I ever stop.

Photos of the truck later!



>> Sunday, November 06, 2005

Let me begin by saying that we are uninjured...

Today began ever so lovely. Doug & I stayed at Summerset Winery B&B last night courtesy of my mother (last year's Christmas gift). We worked a bit on expanding the family unit and relaxed in a way that is impossible with a one-year-old.

This afternoon we traveled northwest for a family gathering- November birthdays (mine is tomorrow :). We left shortly after 6pm; Brenna was getting tired and a bit cranky. It was a beautiful fall night: crisp air, a bright moon and clouds floating lazily across the sky.

I said to Doug, "Keep an eye out for deer, they'll be moving tonight." And we saw quite a few out in fields. We were in the homestretch, maybe half an hour from home, traveling in the right lane of a 4-lane divided highway slightly behind a pack of cars when WHAM!!

A huge buck ran right into the truck.

It's amazing how things like that happen in slow motion. He had to come up beside us, right in our blind spot, because neither of us saw him until the moment before we hit him. He was tall; he hit high on the truck taking out the front left quarterpanel, radiator and grill. The airbags deployed. I must say that I didn't feel a thing, although my shoulders are beginning to get a bit stiff.

Brenna woke abruptly from her sleep and began to cry. I don't know if it was the impact or the noise of the airbags that woke her. Doug says that I didn't scream, so I didn't wake her.

We pulled to the side of the road and the car that was behind us stopped to see if we needed help. They didn't see the deer, either, until he was on us. We were all just fine & had our cell phones, so they went on their way~ probably a bit more cautiously than before.

My first call was to my sister to come & get us. My second call was to AAA for roadside assistance. Our third call was to Doug's cousins who were driving home as well, just as a precaution.

I know that I have bitched about that truck in the past, but I am so glad we were driving it and not the car. That buck would have slid up the hood & come through the window of the car. I probably wouldn't be typing this right now. And, boy, that would have screwed up my vacation.

I'm also very glad that I wasn't sitting, as I often do, with my feet on the dash. But, you see, I had a feeling we would have some sort of deer encounter this evening.

So... My sister came & we loaded her car with our belongings. The State Patrol came and wrote a report (I asked if he stated that we had the right of way and the deer was crossing at an unmarked location). The tow truck drivers came and took the truck away.

And, as we were leaving, a deer came out of the ditch and tried to take out my sister's car. Yep, we were magnets tonight.


Checkin' In

>> Thursday, November 03, 2005

We have been crazy busy here at Casa Geek. Doug has been out every night collecting signatures and I have been keeping the house as spotless as possible with a one year old and a big, fuzzy dog. We had a realtor through yesterday and two scheduled for today. My realtor is hoping for a full-price sale so the sellers of the house we are buying don't have to buy this. If you follow that...

I had microdermabrasion done on Tuesday at the local esthetics school. It was cool. It's kind of like sandblasting for your face. I can really notice a difference. I'm not sure yet if I prefer it over a facial. But, since my skin needs the help, I'm sure I'll be back for both treatments. And, since it's at a school, I pay a fraction of what it would cost in a salon or dermatologist's office.

Today is the inspection on the new house. I am hoping that my brother Jarod remembers. He is supposed to come and inspect the inspector. And I can decide how to decorate the house & what we need to get rid of. *smirk*

Which leads me to everything else that needs done but is not getting done because I am so busy doing other things. Oh well. If I wasn't this busy I'm sure I would be sitting on the couch, eating bon-bons and watching reruns of Law & Order (I'm not a soap opera type girl).

So, I'm off... My list isn't getting any shorter.


Halloween Fun

>> Monday, October 31, 2005

We took Brenna out last night for trick or treating. In all the hand-me-downs I received was a bunny costume. Isn't she just adorable?

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She wasn't really sure what to think at the first house. Sure, she took the candy that was handed to her, but she dropped it again almost immediately. And not in her bucket.
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By the second house she had the idea...
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And by the end she was inspecting the candy very thoroughly.
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It was funny; she would take a piece and put it in her bucket, then she would take a piece out of her bucket and hand it to the person giving her candy. She's such a good sharer. :) So many people commented on how adorable she is... We agreed, of course!



>> Sunday, October 30, 2005

My sincerest apologies to everyone I haven't visited in a while. Somehow my life has become very, very, very, very busy.

The holiday season begins today, in my mind, as it is Beggar's Night, a lovely little made-up night so kids aren't actually out on Halloween. Weird. But, ever so quickly, Thanksgiving will be upon us- with it's multiple invitations for dinner- and Christmas shortly after with New Year's Eve hot on it's heels.

In between all the fun and frolic we are working on Doug's senate campaign. Right now Brenna & I are canvassing neighborhoods for necessary signatures. Doug has been speaking with "people in the know" and developing his website (where you may all contribute to his campaign dreams).

We leave for Ireland in 2 weeks. I packed necessary items (diapers, wipes, fruit cups, disposable sippy cups, snack size bowls & travel containers) to mail ahead (to the first B&B we are staying at). No sense schlepping them along on the plane.

I've also been packing for our move. Yep, we're "movin' on up", as it were. Right now our closing date is December 1. So much to do & such a short time to do it in.

I also have two "pet projects" of my own going on right now. One is a website & the other is a children's book.

And, of course, my daily job- being a mommy. Which is calling me away now. It's time for a snack & I should start dinner so we can begin trick or treat on time.

So, I hope you will excuse the fact that I haven't been by lately. I haven't forgotten any of you... I'll be back soon!


All Is Well, Baby

>> Thursday, October 27, 2005

Brenna had her 1-year well baby visit today. Here are the stats:
Height: 29 1/4 inches
Weight: 20 lbs 7 oz

So she is officially big enough to sit in her car seat and face forward!! Woo Hoo!!

And, in what will be the final bit of "she's one" news, we went to Build A Bear last night. Brenna cuddled up to a fuzzy puppy that we named "Gupp".

Here is Gupp getting a "bath":

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And then we enjoyed some cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory. They gave Brenna her own sundae and sang "Happy Birthday" to her. She loved being the center of attantion!

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Meritt's youngest daughter joined us for the festivities. She gave me the best compliment on the way home. She said that usually she's shy and quiet when she goes anywhere with her mom's friends, but she didn't feel that way with me, probably because I act like her mom. What a great kid. If she lived closer I'd have her over every day to watch Brenna. When I told her that she said thet she would probably flunk school- because she would be thinking about going to see Brenna & not about her schoolwork!


Utilities and competition

>> Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I am going to stay with the 'Government should not compete against citizens' theme for a moment. State29 has a post up about the status of three municipal utility companies. The three that are bleeding the most cash.

The fact that they are losing money is not a surprise. Decisions are made based on what's good politically, not what makes sense operationally. But more importantly, why are local governments competing against other utilities? Competetors can't compete against someone who can cut utility rates and make up the difference from taxes.

Sell the utilities for cash and assumption of debt. Then the taxpayers that have been forced to support this would actually get something out of their investment. It looks like they were playing the bait and switch game, lower utility bills for higher taxes. Most likely their utility bills would increase, but their tax burden will decrease.


Protect Their Feelings at All Costs

For years now Doug has had only catastrophic health coverage, meaning that unless he's on death's door he pays for everything. Luckily he has been healthy. But now, with Brenna, I have decided that he needs actual coverage.

We pay our own health insurance. With Doug on the policy it will be close to $500 per month. Yes, that seems like a lot. But, God forbid, if something happens that $500 a month will seem like a damn good investment.

Anyway, my point.

Before Blue Cross will add Doug to my policy I have to sign an amendment. This amendment reads as follows:

I consent and agree that the health care coverage contract issued by Wellmark, if any, shall not cover and will not provide benefits in connection with any treatment sought for weight reduction including, but not limited to, any surgical operation, reoperation, or revision of a surgical procedure....

Now what this tells me is that Blue Cross is getting nailed with enormous costs relating to gastric bypass surgeries and/or malpractice type lawsuits for gastric bypass.

Because, heaven forbid, doctors tell their patients to eat right and exercise. Why would they do that in this "I want it now" world? Besides, you might hurt someone's feelings if you said that they were overweight... Even if it were in their best interest healthwise.


Happy Birthday, Baby!

It seems like we have been celebrating Brenna's birthday all month but today is the actual day. Today my baby turns 1. It doesn't seem possible. Some days it feels like just yesterday that she was a tiny baby, wrapped like a burrito, and laying in my arms. Then I look across the room and see her toddling everywhere on her own little feet or climbing the stairs with a huge grin on her face.

Here is the post Doug did right after she was born

And here is the post I did when I arrived home

Happy Birthday, Brenna Clare. You've made the last year of our lives absolutely amazing. Mommy & Daddy love you to the moon and back.


Value Iowa

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2005

This essay is a work in progress and I am asking you to help me edit it. Comments and questions are, of course, welcome, as well as help with structure, grammer and spelling. Challenge me on points that you think are weak or need further discussion.

For those wishing to work in MS Word, right mouse click on this link and select "Save Target As..." Once you are done, email it back to me.

I present to you "Value Iowa"
Governmental agencies should not compete against their own citizens. Government also should not treat any single company or individual any differently than everyone else. For example, Iowa has a lot of seed companies and they all should be treated the same throughout the entire state. One particular seed company shouldn't receive additional state funds at the expense of every other seed company.

There are people that make their living by investing in start-up companies and other high-risk ventures. They expect to lose money on a portion of their portfolio; however, they also expect to make it "big" with others. They are evaluating proposals every week. Studying the marketplace and identifying risks is their full-time job. Even with all of this experience and expertise, they don't always get it right and can lose their entire portfolio to a bad investment. That's one of the risks they accepted when first starting to do business as a venture capitalist (VC).

Now the State of Iowa steps in with bags of cash and a plan. However, the plan isn't the long-term goal of creating a company that can stand the test of time and market, but a short-term goal of creating jobs in Iowa. This is a lofty idea on paper, but let's look at the practical aspects.

First, small businesses create more jobs faster than big businesses. Most small businesses only need a handful of employees and relatively small start-up capital. This is not good politically, because a single grant "creating" hundreds of jobs looks better in the newspaper than a small grant "creating" two jobs. However, spending the $800,000,000 Iowa Values Fund by writing a $10,000 check to 80,000 small businesses probably would have given our state's entrepreneurs [Note: government doesn't create jobs any more than a mouse creates cheese] the capital leeway to generate tens of thousands of new jobs.

This leads to issue number two, why fund one particular company over everyone else? Why play favorites? Shouldn't we treat every company equally? The competition for consumers typically leads companies to offer better products at a lower price. Handing a bag of cash to one particular company doesn't necessarily make them successful and it actually reduces the amount of investment money they might have received had the government not gotten involved.

Third, government funding stifles growth and competition. Who can compete against a company that just received a bag of cash with few strings attached? Here's a real life example, a hotel wants to add a water park with slides and rides and such. Guests can get in as a part of their room rate, while non-guests can pay a fee to get in and play. During the planning phase it was discovered that a water park was going to be built close by using government funding. The hotel couldn't compete against it so decided not to pursue the water park idea. Why should the government provide entertainment to the detriment of private enterprise? The hotel would have added to their property value, thus increasing property taxes and they would have generated more income from the facility, thus generating more tax income. Instead, tax money is being spent to provide the same service.

Fourth, typical VCs want to be on the board of directors, they want to see numbers and they want to see results. VCs are willing to jump in and provide leadership if things go wrong. The Iowa Values Fund administrators want to see the expectations up front, but don't follow through to see if the results match and cannot provide leadership. Leadership and expertise is more important to a start-up enterprise than money.

Lastly, this fund's goal was to increase economic activity with the extra $800,000,000 that was languishing in the State's treasury: $320 per Iowan. For a family of 4, that comes to $1,280. Why not refund taxpayers this excess? Most families would have spent it on school supplies, home improvements, vehicles and the like. Wouldn't that also stimulate economic activity? Why yes it would.

Iowa is last on the list of states friendly to start-up businesses. The Iowa Values Fund is one of the causes. A smarter policy to pursue would be tax reform. A simpler tax code and lower tax rate make Iowa competitive against other states. Allow consumers to decide which companies survive and which fail, not politicians. Government policy and regulation is a drain on business. Let's make sure we do the smart thing.


I Really Meant to Do This Earlier

>> Monday, October 24, 2005

But with everything that is going on I just didn't get around to it. So, here it is, better late than never.

Two years ago you gave me something I never realized I wanted: a husband.

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You let me have the wedding I wanted: private, just us, the minister and two witnesses.

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You've given me more than I ever imagined: unconditional love & support.

I love you.


It Was A Party

>> Sunday, October 23, 2005

Yesterday was Brenna's big 1st birthday party. I think it was a success. Our haose was full of people, including grandparents & great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends and Meritt & her little Peanut from Coffee Talking.

Brenna received toys, mostly educational (YEA!), sooo many cute outfits (she will be stylin'), and books (always a hit in this house). I won't bore you with all those pictures!

As some of you may recall, I planned to make the cake. Well, it turned out to be a family event as the first 2 tries at baking resulted in the first cake breaking (mine) and the second not completely cooking (my mom). Third time's a charm, I guess. (Thanks, mom!) Decorating was also a team event as I am still having trouble with my hand. My sister did the detail work. I made the fairy wings the night before at our monthly scrapbooking night.

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She turned out quite nicely, no?

Brenna had a personal cupcake to eat, but here she is with her fairy cake:

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Mommy & Daddy help blow out the candle:

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YUM! Good cake!

Want some?

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We ended up having to cut thigs a little short as Doug & I had a political dinner to attend. My apologies to everyone for that! Some things can not be avoided.


Spending Restraint

>> Friday, October 21, 2005

Spending restraint? We don't need no stinking spending restraint!

After reading this article today, all I could think to say is "what?!?" Congress wants to take your and my money and spend it so people's TV sets work? A television is not required to live in America, or anywhere else for that matter. What's the point of forcing broadcasters to go entirely digital and then paying to make consumers' TV sets backward compatible? Is there a national security requirement that US citizens consume their entertainment in digital format? If not, why legislate something that the market will demand on its own? If people don't want a service, they will stop paying for it. If enough people stop buying it, then it will cease to exist. Let the people decide for themselves what they want to purchase. The really sad thing is that a Republican introduced this measure.

Segue here
Senator Stevens (Alaska) also figures into the next article about the lack of spending restraint.

Senator Cogburn (R-OK) introduced an opportunity to exercise spending restraint. It's gone now. Senator Stevens indicated that he would resign if the Senate actually spent money in some kind of coherent manner. That's two victories for the price of one. However, only those senators seeking the presidential nomination voted in a sound fiscal manner. Iowa Senators Harkin and Grassley voted to keep the pork. Strangely, the Senators from Louisiana and Mississippi also voted to keep the pork rather than spend it on rebuilding from the damage inflicted by hurricane Katrina.


Musings of a Crazed Insomniac

Let's see... it's 3:18am. Well, let's look at it this way: it's 9:18am in Ireland and since that seems to be where at least part of my mind is I'll pretend to be there. It makes being awake not quite so painful.

Why is part of my mind in Ireland? I picked up all of our travel goodies yesterday. Brendan Tours really hooks you up: two books full of places to stay, coupons for discounts at dozens of locations, Ireland Heritage book with more discounts, driving map... I "read" myself to sleep with the B&B books. Ahhh, where to stay? Where to go? What should we do?

The last time I was there I just meandered about the southwest. With Brenna we have to plan a bit; and since we fly out of Dublin I would like 3 days around there. As with the last trip I just won't have time to do as much as I would like. sigh I guess it just gives me a reason to return...

So, inquiring minds want to know where the rest of my mind is at? Firmly planted here at home. Miss Brenna's BIG first birthday party is Saturday. Today I need to make the cake & cupcakes and get stuff for goodie bags for the little kids so they don't try to ambush Brenna's gifts. I love the Dollar Store for things like that.

I also have an oil change this morning and a lunch date with Doug & my brother Justin.

Oh, and the sellers of the house we have the offer on are coming to see our house. There is a chance that they might buy our house. Strange, you say? Well, yes. Let me explain.

The people who are selling the house we want to buy have had no offers other than ours, which is contingent on the sale of our house. They have built a new house outside of town that they are ready to move in to. We have had no offers on our house (which still surprises me. Our house is nice: look) Three bedrooms, 2 1/2 bath, big lot, one block from an elemantary school, on a bike path. The problem is the amount of new housing in the area- there are almost 200 homes for sale in our town in the same price range as ours, half of them new.

So, our agents are trying to finagle a deal where we buy their house and they buy ours to resell. I suppose that it helps that the seller is a big-wig at a local bank...

I'm at the point where I don't care. I'm just tired of keeping my house in "show" condition. I have a baby & a big dog. That involves a lot of work.

Oh, girl's night out to scrapbook is tonight, as well. My sister, SIL & GFIL all gather at Archivers for 6 hours of scrapbooking. Yes, it is possible. And the only time I get to actually do it without any interruptions.

So, now it's 4 am; 10 in Ireland. I'm still wide awake. I need to be up in 2 hours. I wonder if I'll get back to sleep tonight...


As Close to Schmoopy as I Can Get...

>> Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Here's a little something I received from Doug before Jon & I were married. My husband & Doug have been friends since high school.

I am really not crazy, just around Jon. I am so glad he found someone like
you. He seems happy. I will talk you into moving to Dallas. There are too
many opportunities to be had. Just pluck one off of the vine and eat it.

And here's one from my husband

I was just reading for awhile – a book by S. King – and I had a thought. All the time he writes about people being able to read something in others’ words or see something in others’ eyes.
I don’t know if this is possible or not. I don’t know that I see more or read more than you show me. But I get a very warm feeling all over when I think of you. I feel warm right now. I try to express it, and make a fool of myself (at least I think I do) or repeat the same old “I love you” or “I really love you”. I hope you have read in my words or my eyes that I mean so much more. You don’t even need to be around me for me to feel happy – no words, so happy will have to cover – and warm inside.
What can I say?
I am holding back tears right now. You think I am loony, right? Anyway, if I could say anything to you to express how I feel about you, I would. I’m no master of the language, and I’m no poet. When I am with you, I wish I were both.
But more than that, I’m just glad you’re in my life.

So there you go. Hope you enjoyed it. And don't tell my husband I published this or you may see no more of me!


Schmoopy Post

Yankee Bob proposed the idea of Schmoopy Post Day, and I promised to join in the fun.

I couldn't really think of just one incident or experience to fit this catergory, so I will take you through some past posts on this blog that may have made you say "Gack!"

Now this first bit comes to you from a post I did waaaayyyy back in September 2004 about childbirth classes. I offer Doug's comment to that post:

I love you Jody. You're the strongest woman I know. Just think of the end result and hope for the best. As to the pain, we can deal with it as it comes and you can make decisions then. Whatever is best for you and baby Brenna.

Repeat after me, "I am so lucky." Oh wait, that's your sister's line. How about "I am so loved." Because you are.

Here's another post from that same month which included this classic:

"Oh, cruel mistress! What harsh punishments doth thou inflict! Let thy word be so accomplished, for I am but a loving servant..."

Here's the post I did for our first anniversary and the schmoopy comment Doug left:

I got up at the crack of 10:15 and Jody, hearing me rumble around upstairs, has started breakfast. I am such a lucky man. She gave me such a great card too! Me, I want to give her the world. Here's to a lifetime's worth of anniversaries.

And the classic schmmopy post: Meet Brenna Clare.

And, with that, I must end as I hear little miss screaming through the monitor, telling me that her nap is through.


Do I Really Need A Title?

>> Tuesday, October 18, 2005

With Daddy Geek's political aspirations coming to a head I am thinking that I may need to vacate this blog and begin one of my own. Heaven forbid someone comes here for political commentary and reads the drivel I leave behind!

So, I woke up, for no apparent reason, at 5:30 this morning. Brenna is still sleeping so I thought I would try to catch up on blogs that I just haven't had time to read in the past few days (which is most of my favorites). Anyway, I was visiting Momma of 2's blog post about Baby Girl's birthday when I immediately thought of my father's wife.

Now, if you visit my brother's site you will have seen this post about some of our experiences with her.

She has a daughter that moved to Washington state to live with her father (no suprise there- I'd get far away from that woman, too) and ended up marrying a friend of his. As far as I'm aware she hasn't been back to Iowa since she moved. Until now. Yep, she's coming to visit and one would think that it's the queen. I barely know this girl and my dad's wife is acting like I and my siblings should be soooo excited and falling all over ourselves to see her.

Did I mention that she'll be here when we get back from Ireland which will also be the week we will be closing on the new house (if all goes well) and moving? Yep, the busiest week of my year and I have to make sure I see someone I don't really even know.

I really can't help it; I try to be civil to the woman and I know that it hurts my dad's feelings that I don't like her. But honestly, if you've done something she's done it better; if you've been sick she's been on death's door (apparently he doesn't want her, either); the attention must always shift to her.

And this weekend we get the pleasure of her company again and I'll have to acknowledge her because I'm the hostess. Yep, Brenna's second first birthday party is this weekend.

Here's hoping I don't attack that woman with the cake server.


Policy posts

>> Monday, October 17, 2005

UPDATE: Here are new the policy posts. Please help me edit them. Challenge me on points that you think are weak or need further discussion.

10/25/2005: Value Iowa

Here are a few posts I've done concerning state policy matters. This is a start of the "getting to know me" phase of the campaign. I will be laying out more specific policy statements in the near future.

The day our daughter came into our life
"Getting to know you" viral post

Meeting VP Cheney

Healthcare, part I
Healthcare, part II
Drugs from Canada (remember that one?)
Allow the free market to work

Iowa Values Fund
Iowa Values Fund Redux


Jobs, outsourcing and income taxes
Keep the minimum wage the same
Economic numbers

List of domestic policy items I support (just a list, no commentary)

Cognitive Disconnect

Biased story about military job satisfaction

Armed self-defense

Computer security

My thoughts on cuts at a national level

Blogging, the new media

Delay and more cuts

Social Security

I have several posts about the presidential election, my time in the US Army and the war on Islamic terrorists. Go through the archives if you are interested in reading them, or, if enough people want I can do a roundup of those posts too.


An Announcement

>> Sunday, October 16, 2005

For those expecting a follow-up to Jody's rabbit post, you will be disappointed to learn that this is not about rabbits.

It is, however, about an opportunity. Jeff Lamberti is the State Senator for our district. He has announced his intention to run against Leonard Boswell for US Congress, thus leaving his state senate seat open. I am beginning the process to put my name on the ballot. I need help.

First thing, first; I need signatures, which means I need people to help me get signatures. I need paper, printer ink, pens and peoples' time. I will eventually need envelopes, stamps, graphic design work... and the list goes on and on.

I will try to meet up with Lamberti sometime soon; he is cris-crossing the Iowa's 3rd Congressional District (Boswell's seat) this week so it may be hard to get some time with him.

I have reserved domain name space, but don't have an election site up yet. One of the things I need to do is deliver a policy statement. I usually comment on national issues here, but I think I have made my opposition to the Iowa Values Fund (corporate welfare as State29 says) and the Iowa Pork Forest...err...I mean Iowa Rain Forest evident.

Who would like to help me get signatures from Polk county, north of I80, including the following towns?

  • Alleman
  • Ankeny
  • Bondurant
  • Elkhart
  • Grimes
  • Johnston
  • Polk City
  • Saylorville
  • Sheldahl (south side)

Please help if you can...or click on the PayPal tip jar over at the right.

UPDATE on 10/17/2005 8:00pm: Here is a roundup of many of my posts on state level policy. I've excluded national election posts and most posts about my military experience.


Punkin Patch

Warning: Many photos ahead!

Yesterday my family took the kids and visited Center Grove Orchard in Cambridge. There were lots of activities; Brenna was too little to appreciate many of them. *sigh* And it was warm out so the bugs were thick (they can't spray for bugs as it would affect their honey bees). But we had fun, anyway. We brought home 2 small pumpkins and 3 gourds.

OK, so we have to play "patty cake" to get this pose, because we finish with "Yea, Brenna" and she raises her arms to the sky.
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She seems to be asking, "Just what do I do in here?"
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The necessary family picture on bales of straw.
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28 inches...so big!
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We tried to get a picture of all the kids in the pumpkins... This is the best I got.
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Brenna Punkin....
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