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

Iowa Bloggers Unite!- the aftermath

>> Sunday, February 27, 2005

Here’s the liveblog from Wellman’s Pub. Okay not technically a liveblog in that I’m posting this after the fact, but you get the drift. Be prepared as I’m going to pass a laptop around the rather large table of people and get their reactions to putting a face to the blogger…

So, Princess Brenna is at Merrit’s. Her first real babysitter. So far I’m handling it well.

So, again, the laptop will traverse the very long table of Iowa Bloggers so everyone can say “hello” to our audience. (We did this once and Blogger reverted to the WiFi homepage. Not sure who to blame for that? Anyway, we'll be in Word this time)

Love do-overs… Hi from Brett, having a reat time meeting everyone and talking to new folks… we need to do this more often. And as the drink continues, I’ll have the pictures to use for fun and profit later,

Hi from Don of Tusk and Talon
This is from Blogspot where nothing can possibly go wnogr.

Greetings from Kris of Anywhere But Here, wearing my Nuke The Moon shirt and enjoying the company of all these weird Iowa types.

This is Joe from the Tax Update (www.rothcpa.com/taxupdates.com). I will use this festive occasion to announce that you can now reach the blog from the user-friendly www.taxupdatesblog.com. Almost all of my heroes are here (but for 29), and some new ones. Thanks, Jeff!

Jeff is the monster stud of blogger get togethers. Hi from David Hogberg of Hog Haven. Drove from D.C. to get here. Bit of advice: Do not leave Iowa to go to D.C. I don’t want the competition.

Hey this is red fish from purplefishguts (http://purplefishguts.blogspot.com ). I win the contest for the strangest blog name. Lots of laughs…and not all at my expense!

Hello. Jeff from Tusk and Talon. Great to see everyone here. It’s great being able to put some faces with the names.

Until blogger lost my first post I had the wittiest comments. Damn. Chad (http://www.tuskandtalon.blogspot.com)

[Iowa Libertarian:] We’re talking about meth production now. Things have taken an ugly turn. I’ve been accused of being a Clorox junkie. And it’s only 7:45. Whoo-ha!

Kris from Random Mentality – I’ve already decided the blogger barclose mantra (best said with a pronounced slur: “I’ll link you in the morning!” Nelle says hi, too. We’ve already started debating politics. Woo-hoo!

Jarod from One Brick Shy-Wow, quite a little showing we got here, putting some faces to the blogs. I’m trying to break 500, always seem to want to change settings to keep people on my feet. Check back often, should be somewhat entertaining! Yay me!

Stefanie from Bob I’m the only lib that showed up. I’m drowning is a sea of right-wingers. Someone help me.
BTW, no hot young single guys here. Crap.

Kris from Random Mentality has been elected to host the next Bash in Iowa City. She read it here first!

Yes, I am late in posting this. I was up way past my bedtime. And we spent some time at Merrit's picking Brenna up. Who was, we were told, an angel (of course) and that they all love her. Little Peanut helped change the diaper and Dear Son actually put her to sleep!

But now I am running out the door to a family function... it's too early for this!


Iowa Bloggers Unite!

>> Friday, February 25, 2005

Tomorrow, February 26, 6pm, Wellman's Pub, Downtown Des Moines.

Brenna is helping me blog (yeah, right!) so I am going to turn this over to her before I sign off.


OK, I guess she's not too talkative. Have a great Friday!


My Material Girl

>> Thursday, February 24, 2005

Doug had cashed a check that came in for us and got some cash while he was at it. When he took the cash out of his wallet Brenna grabbed it. Yep, she's my daughter!

Here's A Girl Who Knows What She Wants!


Ham, Spinach, and Sun-Dried Tomato Calzones

>> Tuesday, February 22, 2005

I made these for Doug & I. They were actually quite easy and very tasty.

From Cooking Light (I should give them credit since you're supposed to actually buy the magazine to get this...

Refrigerated pizza dough makes this easy to put together. Spoon warmed bottled marinara sauce over the calzones before serving, or serve sauce on the side.

1 cup part-skim ricotta
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon fennel seed, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
3 ounces lean ham, chopped
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, drained and chopped
1 (13.8-ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 450°.
Combine first 9 ingredients.

Divide dough evenly into 5 pieces; pat each dough piece into a 5-inch circle. Spoon about 1/2 cup spinach mixture onto half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold dough over filling until edges almost meet. Bring bottom edge over top edge; crimp edges of dough with fingers to form a rim. Place calzones on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until browned.

Yield: 5 servings (serving size: 1 calzone)

CALORIES 356(32% from fat); FAT 12.5g(sat 5.6g,mono 4g,poly 1.5g); PROTEIN 25.2g; CHOLESTEROL 37mg; CALCIUM 497mg; SODIUM 967mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 3.6mg; CARBOHYDRATE 44.3g

Now, a couple of notes:
1) Stretching pizza dough looks so easy on TV. Not so. Be patient, stretch it slowly.
2) I had extra filling. I baked it in a small oven safe dish. The pizza dough I used had 160 calories per serving (if you're keeping track of that sort of thing). So 1/2 cup of filling only has 196 calories. It will make a nice dip or I'll have it on garlic bread.
3) I had dried sun-dried tomato bits on hand. If this is all you can find just soak them in water to soften them. Then drain, chop & use.



Brit media gets it

Freddy thought that I would like the following article from the Guardian, Bloggers will rescue the right

For decades the national conversation in most western countries has been directed by a few talking heads. Newspapers play important roles but all the evidence suggests that broadcasters have possessed the greatest potential to frame public debate. British politicians have known that communicating their message depends upon getting the nod from a small number of powerful figures in the broadcast media.

Exactly. Think back through the past 40 years of media newscasting. Notice anything? For the most part, Democratic presidents can do no wrong and Republican presidents can do no right. Reagan got the most scorching editorials of his political life while winning the Cold War, reducing taxes, spending more on AIDS research than every other country combined, and putting people to work.

We had to take it too. The bar to entry was raised and only liberals need apply. Republicans and conservatives were relegated to small advisarial roles used by the editorial board as examples of "what not to do".

The Guardian article gives a couple of examples where bloggers have had their way over major media news outlets. There are quite a few to pick from, so he only used the biggest names, Dan Rather and Jordan Easton.

Oh wait, here's the gem of the article:
You would also expect this electronic revolution to be good for the Democrats, but the American left's relationship with the internet has been disastrous. The internet has sunk a knife into Bill Clinton's moderate Democratic party. Mainstream business people were Clinton's principal funders, simultaneously approving and driving his centrism. But the Democrats' new paymasters are the 600,000 computer users who, in 2004, supported Howard Dean's bid for his party's presidential nomination. Dean energised an unrepresentative group of voters with a stridently anti-war message. Electronic money powered Dean's campaign, and all of the other contenders for the Democratic crown soon pandered to his base.

So Republicans use the Internet to debate, spread the word and get out the dedicated, while Democrats were pulled further to the left by a handful of Internet users. Okay 600,000 is more than a handful, but it's still the slimest of minorities compared to the 50+ million people that closed their eyes and voted for Kerry.

Okay, one last quote from the article, I promise this is it...
All this should put the fear of God into the metropolitan elites. For years there have been widening gaps between the governing class and the governed and between the publicly funded broadcasters and the broadcasted to.

Until now voters, viewers and service users have not had easy mechanisms by which to expose officialdom's errors and inefficiencies. But, because of the internet, the masses beyond the metropolitan fringe will soon be on the move. They will expose the lazy journalists who reduce every important public policy issue to how it affects opinion-poll ratings.

What we have is a large group of people posting on every topic imaginable, not for money or fame. Or at least, not entirely for fame or trackbacks and I certainly don't expect to be able to pay my bills based on my blogging abilities. So why do we do it? Because we want to make a difference and because we can. I don't know which one is more important, but the end result is that being able to communicate this way can influence other, more established, sources. Don't expect the reporters to like it though.


Where's the Kitty?

We outfitted my office with a new shelf to provide lots of storage for my various projects and interests. Our cat, Chelsea, found herself a comfy spot to sleep.

Where's the kitty?

Do you see her?

Look closely...

Cat in the Box

Doug pointed her out to me last night. No accounting for comfortable choices, I guess.


He Said WHAT?!?!?

I know I should watch what I say in front of my children, and I think I do a pretty good job most of the time. There are times I slip, and I always get caught.

This morning, while I was packing the diaper bag for our trip to the Y, I overheard my 3 year old telling the 2 year old "I don't know why the hell Mommy did that". I believe what I did was shut off their cartoons. I am quite sure that little treasure is all my fault!

I sat down on the couch with the boys and told them "We shouldn't say 'why the hell' because it's naughty. Mommy shouldn't say it, either. I'm sorry I said that." He said "Oh, OK Mommy. I'm sorry." So sweet!


Mommy Madness

>> Monday, February 21, 2005

This is a long article, straight from the pages of Newsweek. And it set me OFF! What bothered me most about it is that the author seemed to be contradicting herself. And blaming motherhood for women's "less than" complexes. Or, as she says, "women who had surrendered their better selves—and their sanity—to motherhood."

Motherhood, like anything else, takes balance. Is everything equal? No, never. Something always gives. But that something shouldn't always be mommy.

Here's another doozy:

I read that 70 percent of American moms say they find motherhood today "incredibly stressful." Thirty percent of mothers of young children reportedly suffer from depression. Nine hundred and nine women in Texas recently told researchers they find taking care of their kids about as much fun as cleaning their house, slightly less pleasurable than cooking, and a whole lot less enjoyable than watching TV.

My question: How may women in Texas were interviewed? 909 out of how many? Give me facts when you spot off like this.

This article is simply too long for me to elaborate fully, and I hope you mommies out there will take the time to peruse it and let me know what you think.

My personal take is that these "super parents" are simply overscheduling their children. If my child's calendar has more activities than mine there is a definate problem. Does your child really need to go to Gymboree and tumbling? Soccer and t-ball? Dance and swim? When did childhood become so scheduled? What happened to being a kid?

And so, they don't get fired up about our country's lack of affordable, top-quality child care. (In many parts of the country, decent child care costs more than state college tuition, and the quality of the care that most families can afford is abysmal.) Nor about the fact that middle class life is now so damn expensive that in most families both parents must work gruelingly long hours just to make ends meet. (With fathers averaging 51 hours per week and mothers clocking in at an average of 41, the U.S. workweek is now the longest in the world.) Nor about the fact that in many districts the public schools are so bad that you can't, if you want your child to be reasonably well-educated, sit back and simply let the teachers do their jobs, and must instead supplement the school day with a panoply of expensive and inconvenient "activities" so that your kid will have some exposure to music, art and sports.

I'm most frustrated by her statement that middle class life is so damn expensive. In my mind it is only as expensive as you make it. Want to stay home with the kids? Don't get a new car, make due with the old one. Don't eat out so much. Forget keeping up with the Jones'. When we decided to have Brenna it was important to both Doug & I that I stay home. So we made sacrifices. My car is 4 years old. I haven't bought new clothes in I don't know how long. Many of Brenna's toys and clothes are hand-me-downs. You do what you need to do to make it work.

Here are the author's solutions:
We need incentives like tax subsidies to encourage corporations to adopt family-friendly policies.

We need government-mandated child care standards and quality controls that can remove the fear and dread many working mothers feel when they leave their children with others.

We need flexible, affordable, locally available, high-quality part-time day care so that stay-at-home moms can get a life of their own. This shouldn't, these days, be such a pipe dream. After all, in his State of the Union message, President Bush reaffirmed his support of (which, one assumes, includes support of funding for) "faith-based and community groups." I lived in France before moving to Washington, and there, my elder daughter attended two wonderful, affordable, top-quality part-time pre-schools, which were essentially meant to give stay-at-home moms a helping hand. One was run by a neighborhood co-op and the other by a Catholic organization. Government subsidies kept tuition rates low. A sliding scale of fees brought some diversity. Government standards meant that the staffers were all trained in the proper care of young children. My then 18-month-old daughter painted and heard stories and ate cookies for the sum total in fees of about $150 a month. (This solution may be French—but do we have to bash it?)

We need new initiatives to make it possible for mothers to work part-time (something most mothers say they want to do) by creating vouchers or bigger tax credits to make child care more affordable, by making health insurance available and affordable for part-time workers and by generally making life less expensive and stressful for middle-class families so that mothers (and fathers) could work less without risking their children's financial future. Or even, if they felt the need, could stay home with their children for a while.

In general, we need to alleviate the economic pressures that currently make so many families' lives so high-pressured, through progressive tax policies that would transfer our nation's wealth back to the middle class. So that mothers and fathers could stop running like lunatics, and start spending real quality—and quantity—time with their children. And so that motherhood could stop being the awful burden it is for so many women today and instead become something more like a joy.

1) We have government standards for child care. The state already does that.
2) Why is the lack of child care a government problem?
3) The economic pressures that make lives high pressured are mostly created by the individual. It just seems to me that this author is playing a blame game.

But then she ends with this:
We are simply beating ourselves black and blue. So let's take a breather. Throw out the schedules, turn off the cell phone, cancel the tutors (fire the OT!). Let's spend some real quality time with our families, just talking, hanging out, not doing anything for once. And let ourselves be.

Seriously, did you write the rest of that tripe? Because this is so far from everything else I read. And this is the only part of the article that really rings true to me.

I would really like feedback from other mommies- and daddies- about this article. Am I way off base?


Class Reunion

My 15 year high school reunion is fast approaching, and I have received the first of what I assume will be several communications from former classmates. I live relatively close to my old hometown, and many of my classmates live and work in Des Moines. I have kept in close touch with few of my classmates. Those that I really want to see, that is. I even worked with a few before I decided to stay at home.

The truth is I had quite a few friends, and I managed to cross many cliques. But I never really felt like I could be myself with a lot of the people I went to high school with. There was one group of girls who were particularly well-off and snobbish. While they were 'nice' to you, you could never really be 'in' with them. For some reason, time has not made this fact any easier for me to get past. I am feeling a little dread about the get-together even though I had a lot of fun at the last reunion.

I am sure I will go, but I will probably make myself sick thinking about it. Nothing like those old feelings of inadequacy resurfacing after 15 years....


Getting to know... ME

>> Friday, February 18, 2005

OK, so I have an article about Mommy Madness that I really wanted to blog on, but with the weekend here I thought I would wait until Monday. So, here's some fluff for you.

1. What time do you get up? Between 6:30 & 7. Brenna decides.

2. If you could eat lunch with one person, who would it be? Living or dead? Living- Osama bin Laden, because then the Army could capture him over kabobs. Dead- Anne Boelyn, just to ask if it was really worth dying for

3. Gold or silver? Gold

4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Ohh, la-di-da, a cinema. Umm, well, it’s been such a long time, I really can’t remember.

5. What is your favorite TV show? Hmmm, either Law & Order SVU or Medium

6. What do you have for breakfast? Half a wheat bagel with cream cheese and hot cocoa

7. Who would you hate to be stuck in a room with? Paris Hilton

8. What/who inspires you? My husband. My daughter.

9. What is your middle name? Lynn

10. Beach, city, or country? Country

11. Favorite ice cream? Ice cream…yum.

12. Butter, plain, or salted popcorn? Butter and salt- or whatever that oily yellow stuff is that they use at the “cinema”. So, butter flavored oily stuff & salt.

13. Favorite color? Don’t know that I have one. Happy colors- pink, purple, yellow, spring green

14. What kind of car do you drive? Chrysler 300M… my mommy car

15. What characteristic do you despise? Ignorance

16. Favorite flower? Again, something I don’t really have. How about anything that is in the ground & won’t die in a week.

17. If you could go anywhere in the world on a vacation, where would you go? Ireland

18. What color is your bathroom? Cream. I’m sure we’ll be painting it soon.

19. Where would you retire to? See #17

20. Favorite day of the week? Any sunny day we can be outside

21. What did you do for your last birthday? Let’s see…Brenna was almost 2 weeks old and I wasn’t allowed to do anything due to the c-section, so I’ll say I stayed home with Doug and sat on the couch staring at Brenna

22. Where were you born? Mt. Ayr, Iowa. Never heard of it? Try to find it on a map!

23. Favorite sport to watch? Hockey!!

24 Person you least expect to send this back to you? I suppose this isn't relevant...

25. Person you expect to send it back first? Or this...

26. What laundry detergent do you use? ALL free & clear

27. Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi (Edge)

28. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Morning person. Bedtime by 10- at the latest!

29. What is your shoe size? 9

30. Do you have any pets? Yes, 1 (horse)dog & 2 cats

31. What is the title of the last book you read? I am currently reading “To the Best of My Ability” which is a summary of all the Presidents, “A Woman’s Book of Strength” because my sister & I are going to start a torture program, and “What to Expect the First Year” so I know what to expect…


Vietnam War History

>> Thursday, February 17, 2005

Dan at NE Republicans gives us the history of our involvement in Vietnam [UPDATED LIST]

  1. Nam, troops start to go in
  2. Gulf of Tonkin, August 2 - 4, 1964
  3. Operation Rolling Thunder
  4. Troops, Troops and More Troops
  5. Mid 60's
  6. Finally McNamara is Replaced
  7. Relationship Between Khesanh and Tet

  8. UPDATE 2/17/2005: Famous Photograph

  9. UPDATE 2/18/2005: Slaughter of Tet


It's February... in Iowa

>> Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Today dawned bright. Sun shining, blue skies. So deceiving. The high today was about 38 degrees (yep, 6 degrees above freezing). Brenna and I had planned to visit Great Grandma & Grandpa's farm today but GG has a cold. Then I thought we would visit the the Botanical Center but errands took longer than I planned.

So we bundled up, loaded up in the stroller and out we went.

Bundled Up

This little pink blanket outfit was one I wore as a baby.

Goin' Outside!

Today was the first time Brenna has worn it. And the last, as my chunky little monkey was pretty snug inside it.

It has the cuffs that fold over to cover the fingers. Brenna was a bit confused about the missing fingers.

Where are my fingers?

Anyway, my little darling is now awake and from the smile and giggle I'm pretty sure there is a diaper change in the very near future. Like now.


Campus support for terrorists

Former lefty and now ardent conservative, David Horowitz details campus support for terrorists. Actually, he details campus support for anyone/anything anti-American. This is not to say that every campus and every professor is espousing socialist beliefs, however, it is too prevalent to ignore.


Our Valentine's Date

>> Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The evening began as planned. Brenna and Doug enjoyed Sesame Street (brought to you by the letter "G" and the number "20") while Brenna had her evening bottle and I created a wonderful dinner.

Brenna cooperated fully by falling asleep precisely at 7pm. Seriously, it's like a light switch being turned off.

We began with a lovely Fresh Herb Fondue served with Summer Sausage and French Bread. Don't make fun of the fondue. Seriously good stuff. Which is a good thing as the Guyere cheese is $10/lb. But worth it. I used a Sauvignon Blanc in the fondue and it was a great compliment. I'm not a wine drinker but I can recommend the Barefoot California Sauvignon Blanc. Great with cheese. Tastes like champagne without the bubbles.

Appetizer: Herb Fondue with Summer Sausage and French Bread

Next, for our entree, I made Filet Mignon with Creamy Risotto. Seriously easy. (Lars, Carrie- let me know if you want the recipe) And the filet was so tender you could cut it with a butter knife. Yum!

Entree: Filet Mignon with Creamy Risotto

We finished with a lovely cheesecake with coconut. Perfectly creamy. My favorite dessert. Well, maybe Creme Brulee is better, but I don't have a torch.

Dessert: Cheesecake with Coconut

To set the complete mood I used our china and lit candles. Doug turned on some soft jazz. It was a lovely evening. Absolutely perfect.


Happy Valentine's Day

>> Monday, February 14, 2005

Pretty in Pink

Brenna & I created a photo collage for Daddy for V-Day. The above photo is my favorite. She's such a happy baby. We are blessed.

We'll be staying in tonight. We went out last year. I had made reservations well in advance at an Italian restaurant neither of us had been to in about 10 years but we both remembered as quite good. To make the story short I will just say that we probably won't go back for at least another 10 years. Terrible service and the food, though OK, was below the standard I had remembered.

I won't be giving away my evening menu-I want it to be a suprise- but I will tell you that Brenna will be having milk. :)

In fact, it was only a couple of days past the 14th of last year that we found out I was pregnant. No great suprises this year, but lots to do to prepare. Happy hearts and flowers to all of you.


Good comeback

And Rightly So found an interview between a Marine Corp general and an NPR broadcaster.


Link Roundup

>> Friday, February 11, 2005

I don't have to do one today, NE Republican has done the hard work already

Lot's of good ones, check it out.


Please Visit

>> Thursday, February 10, 2005

Miss Brenna is down for the night and I am keeping dinner warm and waiting for Doug to get home. I'm a good wife.

Anyway, blog news to share. Ian is off hiatus and back: The Hard Word

And my brother has a blog. He's a funny guy. You've probably laughed at his comments on our posts. So head over, say hi & tell him we sent you: One Brick Shy

Both of these will be listed in my favorites as soon as Doug can get it done (hint, hint).


Daily Roundup

Varifrank - John Has A Long Moustache

Thomas Sowell - Ending slavery

Betsy Newmark on the Social Security Debate

What would you do if you found a money bag filled with $850,000?

Thomas Lipscomb - Drowning in Cambodia

"Depressed" terrorist set free

Terrorists target journalists. Does anyone remember Daniel Pearle?


Uh oh

>> Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Security Exploit

A newly uncovered vulnerability in most browsers can allow hackers to spoof the URL displayed in the address bar and the SSL certificate, a security firm warned Monday. The one exception? Microsoft’s Internet Explorer.
Danish security company Secunia posted an alert describing the vulnerability – which affects Mozilla, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Konqueror – as a “moderately critical” problem.

If you build it, the hackers will come...


TiVo for Brenna

For the second day in a row the lovely Miss Brenna has decided to nap in her toy tunnel. Insert thumb in mouth, close eyes, fall asleep. This happens right before Sesame Street.

Now, Doug & I aren't big TV watchers. There are maybe 3 shows that we (I) watch religiously: Medium, Law & Order SVU and Law & Order. But what we really enjoy the TiVo for are shows on the History Channel and the Travel Channel. Oh, and Queer Eye. :) Everything I want to see is either on while I'm busy with Brenna & the whole business of being "mommy" or way past my bedtime (9 pm).

Anyway, back to my story. Brenna is sleeping through Sesame Street which is really the only TV she sees. And even though she doesn't understand it she seems to enjoy it. She giggles and bounces when she sees Grover and she "talks" to Cookie Monster. And it's full of colors and songs. Plus education. I like for her to see it. So Brenna now has a "Season Pass" for Sesame Street. I think I'll try playing it during the afternoon- a little downtime for us both.

And now, for a restaurant review. Last night we had dinner at PF Chang's. We received a gift certificate as a Christmas gift otherwise, I can honestly say, we wouldn't have gone. We have both been to this restaurant in other cities and, myself, I wasn't impressed. So, here's my review of the West Des Moines location:

The service and hospitality are top notch. Really. And the food is good. Not fabulous, which it really should be for what they charge. We began with a Steamed Shrimp Dumpling. Quite good. And large, which was nice. For our main courses we chose Cantonese Scallops and Kung Pao Shrimp. Both were good but would have been better if the scallops had been Kung Pao and the shrimp Cantonese (which is an option). We finished with a (ginormous) piece the Great Wall of Chocolate. 6 layers of chocolate. We brought half of it home. OK, the cake was wonderful.

The worst thing about the place is that the tables are shoved so close together. I'm all for maximizing space but this was rediculous. When we were leaving a waitress was boxing up leftovers for a table along the main walk-way. And the tables were so close together that it was almost impossible for us to exit another way without beaning someone with Brenna's carrier. But that is what we had to do. I don't think there was any permanent damage done.

Will we go there again? Nope, not unless we are given a gift certificate. There is a Chinese place around the corner from us. Family owned, by people who speak Chinese, frequented by Chinese people, and who charge half as much as PF Chang's for food that is much better.


Daily Roundup

>> Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Omar compares the election in Iraq to the election in Syria

Free speech for all artists, or only some?

More bad news for Democrats, but very good for Iraq and America

Khaled's editorial about the future of Iraq.

Ali has a complaint

I was sent to this post about Smikl's experience as an Iraqi-American being sent to Iraq. But I want you all to visit his site and read the archives. Good stuff.


Welcome Home, Here's your Summons

While I was going through my piles of mail from a week in Vegas, I found that I have been selected to serve jury duty for 1 week or 1 trial, whichever is greater. Lucky me! On the summons, there is a little survey asking all kinds of questions like "Can you read, write, speak & UNDERSTAND English?" Darn it, I can. "Have you, a close friend or family member had serious crimes committed against you (them)?" No. "Do you have children at home and what are their ages." I do! 2 and 3.

At the bottom, there is a place where you can ask to be excused from jury duty, which I did. I stated that I am a stay-at-home Mother with a 2 and 3 year old, therefore I have no day care. I received a short letter today stating the judge had denied my request to be excused, but he would grant a deferral of up to 3 months. Apparently you can be excused if you are nursing or if you care for a mentally incapacitated adult. WHAT???!!! Like toddlers are easier to care for or to find day care for?

So, I left a very crabby little message for the jury clerk that I would be more than happy to bring the kids along since I don't have daytime child care, nor do I intend to pay $400 for child care for the week of service they insist I provide. I almost felt sorry for the woman who had to call me back. I was THRILLED that the kids decided to scream & cry when she called me. She pushed my required week back to May 23, to allow me time to find child care.

Here's the kicker...they pay you a whopping $10 per day for this all important service. So, if my saint of a sister didn't say she would help me out AGAIN, I would be -$350 for the week. I agree that this is a duty that should not be taken lightly, but REALLY there are TONS of people who DO have child care who would probably like to get out of work for a week (or do not have children that need day care). Honestly, couldn't they have drawn my number before I had kids?

It's not that I don't want to do my duty, but my husband is starting a new job 2/21 and he can't take any time off right away. I don't think employers have to allow you to take time off so your spouse can perform jury duty.

I am pretty sure they won't want me for a jury, anyway. I am VERY conservative. I think Iowa should have capital punishment, and it should be used liberally for murderers and drug offenders. I read the news and listen to the radio. I usually know what's going on in my neck of the woods. I just hope it's one week (or less).

Sorry...my rant is over.


Nap Time

Brenna naps

You are viewing an amazing photo. My daughter has just fallen asleep, in her toy tunnel. As my family can attest Brenna does not like to nap. I makes her very angry. Maybe she thinks she's missing something? But, here it is, 8:40 am, and she's napping. Early, too. She only got out of bed at 7am.

Brenna has been sleeping through the night for about a month. Which my sister says is amazing because breat fed babies usually don't. And she gets a good 11 hours in- 8pm to 7am. I'm sure she wakes up in the night and plays with her fingers.

But, back to my tale. Anytime I put her down for a nap she gets very angry. Let her cry it out, you say? Tried that. She will scream 30 minutes straight, at the top of her lungs until you are sure she will make herself sick. Pick her up and she stops. Lull her to sleep and then place her in her crib? Done that. She wakes up mere moments later and quite pissed of.

But she goes to bed very easily and sleeps all night. So should I count my blessings for that & just let her set her own schedule for sleep? Or should I really try to get her on some sort of napping schedule? Or will she become more tired during the day when she gets more active? (Which shouldn't be long as we have begun to roll over a little.)

I really want to shower but I don't want to move her...lest I wake the beast. :)



>> Monday, February 07, 2005

When I'm sick, like today, my brain turns a little mushy. Jody says that I'm sick "like a man" and not in a good way.

Anyway, it usually takes quite a bit to get something through the molasses. However, I found my way to this article from the Weekly Standard about the Democrat's week from Hell. I agree, it is like the stars of the Democratic Party are doing their level best to alienate America.


Just Another Mommy Monday

Brenna is watching Sesame Street and I have a few minutes to sit down. Super Grover is teaching SuperHero School and they saved a letter H from being stomped by a huge elephant. Brenna is singing along with the TV and bouncing in her chair. So cute.

Daddy Geek is sick today. I think he has what I had last weekend. I actually told him to stay home from work today- and he did. He must be feeling bad.

My brother Jarod & his girlfriend joined us for the Super Bowl last night. To be honest they joined us for the commercials and we kind of watched football.

Kinkos had a great spot in the first quarter: FedEx/Kinko's, "Top 10" Fedex and Kinkos get together and produce a Top 10 list that every successful commercial must have. Burt Reynolds getting kicked in the groin by, a bear no less, which is always funny, highlighted the list. Might have the lasting power to be the best of the night. Ameriquest's "Costly Mistake" was good physical humor.

In my opinion the second quarter didn't have much to amuse me. Half time kind of sucked, too. Ford had it's "Frozen Mustang" commercial. They showed it half a dozen times before, during & after the game. Loads of cash to promote the car.

The third quarter was by far the best. First Anheiser Busch had it's "Honoring Our Troops" spot. Touching. I shed a few tears. And there was the best commercial of the bunch: Ameriquest's "Bad Kitty". You must see this one (use the commercials link above). Spaghetti sauce, white cat & knife. Funny stuff. Actually replayed it- thank you TiVo!

And the fourth quarter was kind of a bust. Over all I was disappointed in the commercial offerings. At least our munchies were tasty.

Sesame street is brought to you today by the number 13 and the letter H.

I am "modeling" today at the local cosmetology school. They have a guest instructor in from Quebec and she is going to be demonstrating product use and technique on me. On my face. Yep, I get a facial. I am so psyched about this. I love spa services.

Elmo's World just came on. As this tends to bore Brenna (she much prefers Cookie Monster) I should do some laundry before she demands my attention.


That's some good driving

>> Saturday, February 05, 2005

The Dukes move to LA

and then get busted


They put themselves there.

>> Friday, February 04, 2005

It was their choice to push failure and malaise...


Here's Your Sign

A hat tip to Bill Engvall.

I had bunches of errands to do today as nothing got done while I had 3 kids. I had to make a quick stop at the fabric store to pick up boning to fix Brenna's tunnel gym. Since that was all I had to get I didn't bother with a cart, just toted her carrier around the store.

I swing through the front of the store, grab the boning, schlepp to the rear of the store to get a yard cut, then back to the front to pay. I get to the register and sit the carrier on the floor. The woman at the register in front of me looks at me, looks at the carrier and says... get ready for it...

"You got a baby in there?"

"Nope, bricks. I'm trying to get mommy arms without actually being a mommy. Here's your sign."


Humour for your Friday

>> Thursday, February 03, 2005

Kooks of Hazzard.

Bra shopping - do not open at work or around males younger than 30.

Go Sox!

Man's Favorite Tool, I promise it's work safe.

Karate Bear

An American tourist in London decides to skip his tour group and explore the city on his own.

He wanders around, seeing the sights, and occasionally stopping at a quaint pub to soak up the local culture, chat with the lads, and have a pint of Guinness.

After a while, he finds himself in a very high-class area...big, stately residences... no pubs, no shops, no restaurants, and worst of all... NO PUBLIC TOILETS.

He really, really has to go, after all those pints of Guinness. He finds a narrow side street, with high walls surrounding the adjacent buildings and decides to use the wall to solve his problem.

As he is unzipping, he is tapped on the shoulder by a London Bobbie, who says, "I say, my good fellow, you simply cannot do that here, you know."

"I'm very sorry, officer," replies the American, "but I really, really HAVE TO GO, and I just can't find a public toilet."

"Ah, yes," said the Bobbie, "Just follow me".

He leads him to a back delivery alley, then along a wall to a gate, which he opens.

"In there," points the Bobbie. "Whiz away Sir, anywhere you want."

The fellow enters and finds himself in the most beautiful garden he has ever seen. Manicured grass lawns, statuary, fountains, sculptured hedges, and huge beds of gorgeous flowers, all in perfect bloom.

Since he has the cop's blessing, he unburdens himself and is greatly relieved. As he goes back through the gate, he says to the Bobbie "That was really decent of you... is that what you call "British Hospitality?"

"No sir", replied the Bobbie, "that is what we call the French Embassy."


Carnival of Commies

Tiger has read the left so you don't have to.


Wide Awake

My latest at the Wide Awakes, A good month for America and Laying it down


I'm not going to do it

Via Blackfive: a Skydiver showing off


Iraqi Hero

>> Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Iraqi policeman gives his life to protect young democracy
An Iraqi police officer spotted a suicide bomber, grabbed him and drug him away from the line of people waiting to vote when the bomb went off. He used his body to shield voters from the blast, giving his life for democracy. Voters requeued and the line increased after the blast.

It is easy to take our rights in the US for granted, Iraq has never had that luxury.


American Soldier Captured

This just in: a soldier nicknamed GI Joe was kidnapped in Iraq. No word yet as to whether COBRA was involved.

WHEW! UPDATE! Captive U.S. Soldier Doll Rescued by Bush Doll. Wow, that was a close one.

UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE! While Bush was overseas rescuing Joe, he captured Osama! Photo proof!


Three Kids

>> Tuesday, February 01, 2005

This week my sister and her husband are enjoying a much needed vacation in Las Vegas. After this week I, too, will deserve a vacation. You see, I am caring for their two boys during the day. My mother has the over-night shift. My shift is harder. They sleep through most of hers.

Don't get me wrong, I love my nephews. They are incredible boys. But boys will be boys. And boys ages 2 and 3 will be excitable, energized, loud, crazy boys.

Her eldest is potty training now. And he's doing quite a good job. Unfortunately he seems to need to "pee pee on the potty" about 10 minutes after I start feeding Brenna. Some things can't be done one handed. Helping a boy undress himself & getting him on to the toilet while nursing a baby is impossible. Just trust me about that. (I did find, however, that I can stand at the table and cut chicken nuggets into pieces while nursing.)

Because I am watching the boys at their house- which makes the most sense as I have no trucks or trains- Brenna is off schedule. You try taking your morning nap with the running, dancing and screaming that goes on. By noon she's exhausted and by 1pm, when they go down for naps she's over-tired and so ready for sleep. And so am I. How does my sister do it?

Also, because I am at my sister's house, I do not have access to my computer. And, to be honest, I wouldn't have the time anyway. So this is probably all you will get from me this week. If you see that I have visited your site but not left a comment please don't be offended. It's not that I don't want to comment, it's that I can't. Typing this has taken too much. I'm melting... melting... m e l t i n g... d o w n....


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