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

One Hour

>> Thursday, April 28, 2005

That is how long it took for Brenna to fall asleep.

If my windows had been open I am sure the cops would have been at my door to find out why my child was screaming like she was being abused.

Right now she is sleeping on her tummy, big sniffles still escaping every few minutes.

How freakin' heartbreaking. I really hope we don't have to go through this too many more times.



>> Wednesday, April 27, 2005

When you're an adult naps are a luxury.

When you are my daughter naps are something to be avoided at all costs.

Just when I think I have figured out how to get her to nap she changes up. Let's compare yesterday & today.

Yesterday I began preparing her to nap when I fed her at noon. We went to her room, I fed her, she relaxed. I put her in her crib and she happily rolled over to play with her soothing aquarium. About 20 minutes later she began to fuss. After listening to that for 15 minutes or so I moved her to the swing. Again, 20 minutes of peace then fussing for another 15-20 minutes. Back to rocking; with her screaming and crying. After about 30 minutes of that I nursed her a bit more. She fell asleep so I placed her in her crib. And she promptly woke up, rolled to her tummy and picked up the screaming, again. I rubbed her back and shoulders until she dozed off.

So today I thought the same tricks would work. Nope. Not one of them. Not even a little bit. So, today, no nap.

I've tried everything.
I've put her in her crib before she is tired.
I've put her in her crib almost asleep.
I've put her in her crib with a full tummy.
I've put her in her crib half an hour after she's eaten.
I've let her "cry it out"- only it didn't end. She can keep up the "death scream" for 45 minutes straight.
I've tried putting her in our room to nap because it is darker.
I've tried laying down beside her.

I just don't know what to do about this. She is going to bed early in the evening- around 6:30. And she is sleeping until 6 in the morning. She is quite active during the day; she plays in her exersaucer and we play together on the floor. Lately she has been nodding off when we feed her dinner.

How can I get her to nap? Seriously, I am beginning to need that downtime in the afternoon. Any advice will be most appreciated.


Doing some leg work

John Tierney from the NY Times had the audacity to go to Chile to compare their pension system to our Social Security scam...er...plan. Actually doing leg work for a story isn't all that common for the Times, I hope they do more of it.


As Promised

>> Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Ah, I see my evil plan has worked! (Insert evil laugh here) And I am thankful for it as I didn't want Lars to be proven right. You all know that I can't resist sharing my darling daughter's photos.

Without further ado...


Daddy was sitting close and I was by the camera singing "Patty Cake". For some reason that little ditty makes her smile and laugh. Just look at those toes!


I just think this is a perfect spring photo. I found the dress at Baby Gap; on sale, of course. Can't afford anything full price from there... How do people justify the cost when they grow so quickly?


This is, by far, my favorite photo. Brenna is fascinated by her toes. She can play with toes and clothes for quite a while. And I love this little outfit. All Old Navy; all on clearance. What can I say, it was a good shopping day.

Brenna was an absolute joy for this photo session. You get to choose 6 poses. We took 7 shots. I nixed one only because she was tipped and looked to be falling over. I think the photographer felt like she didn't work hard enough because she wanted to take a couple of Brenna & I together. As you can see, that didn't happen. The photographer wanted a photo of us looking at eachother. Brenna is such a photo ham that she would only look at the camera.


Guest Map

Look directly to the right of this post. There is a small box that says "view my guestmap" and "place your pin". Amuse me; place your pin.

Heck, I'll bribe you. I currently have 11 pins. If I get 5 more I will share a couple of Brenna's 6-month photos that we had taken on Saturday. They're really good...

Brenna is 6 months old today! Happy 1/2 birthday, Little Princess!


Best American Cities for Me

Overall I like this list. I did ask for 4 seasons and I'm not sure that Austin really fits the bill. And I said that low crime and fresh air were very important, so I have no idea how I got DC and NYC. Must have been the request for public transport & universities...

American Cities That Best Fit You:

55% Austin

55% Boston

50% Chicago

50% New York City

50% Washington, DC


Underreported stories from Iraq

>> Monday, April 25, 2005

Arthur has done a yeoman's work yet again. Be sure to read about the BBC possibly, maybe, sort of catching a clue.


Forgive Me

>> Sunday, April 24, 2005

Thing have been quite busy around the Geek household with my brother and his family visiting from DC. People have been in and out of my house so much that it is feeling a bit like we have a rotating door.

Not that I am complaining; we love having people visit. It just doesn't leave much time for any of my normal activities. Like blogging.

But I did carve out the time to make this cake for my nephew's first birthday. Technically his birthday was 6 weeks ago. We had a small party for him yesterday.

Train Cake

Inside tip: If a recipe ever tells you to use Cool Whip as frosting DON'T DO IT!!! It melts and creates more stress and mess than it is worth.

Another angle

Overall it turned out quite cute; I got lots of compliments. And although I think it could have been better (it's the perfectionist in me), I was pleased with the way it looked.


Now this is cool

>> Friday, April 22, 2005

WiFi for your car. Use while traveling or at home, have WiFi where ever you go.


Only Mom

>> Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Today is the final day I will leave to go to work when my husband arrives home. I have worked part-time since I left my 'real' job three + years ago (working only 3 evenings a week). I have enjoyed having scheduled time away from my children. I have enjoyed bringing home a small amount of money. I have enjoyed a very casual atmosphere, where I could pretty much wear whatever I please. I have enjoyed a workplace that worked around my limited availability.

I have not enjoyed giving up one Saturday a month to work with people who are always late and who don't care what kind of job they do. I have not enjoyed the inability to really use my brain (this job take little thought). I have not enjoyed making 1/2 of the wages per hour that I was used to making before. I have not enjoyed arriving home at 10:30 PM wide awake, getting to sleep around midnight, and waking at 6:30 AM with my boys (not nearly enough sleep).

For now, I am going to enjoy spending time with my husband and kids together in the evenings. I am going to go to the park whenever the kids want to go because I won't have to leave for work. I am going to take the boys to see their great-grandparents to see the new calves on the farm more often. I am going to try to relax the schedule a bit & let things happen as they will.


Why God Created Children

I'm not sure how much blogging I will be doing over the next few days. I have a day trip to Minneapolis tomorrow (business) and my brother & his family are in town for a few days.

To hold you over until my return I offer this:


To those of us who have children in our lives,
whether they are our own,
or students...
here is something to make you chuckle.

Whenever your children are out of control,
you can take comfort from the thought that
even God's omnipotence did not extend
to His own children.

After creating heaven and earth,
God created Adam and Eve.

And the first thing he said was

"Don't what?"
Adam replied.

"Don't eat the forbidden fruit."
God said.

"Forbidden fruit?
We have forbidden fruit?
Hey Eve..we have forbidden fruit!"

"No Way!"

"Yes way!"

"Do NOT eat the fruit! "
said God.


"Because I am your Father and I said so! "

God replied,
wondering why He hadn't stopped
creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later,
God saw His children having an apple break
and He was ticked!

"Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit? "
God asked.

"Uh huh,"
Adam replied.

"Then why did you? "
said the Father.

"I don't know,"
said Eve.

"She started it! "
Adam said.

"Did not! "

"Did too! "


Having had it with the two of them,
God's punishment was that Adam and Eve
should have children of their own.

Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed.


If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven't taken it,
don't be hard on yourself.

If God had trouble raising children,
what makes you think it would be
a piece of cake for you?


1. You spend the first two years of their life
teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend
the next sixteen telling them to sit down and shut up.

2. Grandchildren are God's reward
for not killing your own children.

3. Mothers of teens now know why
some animals eat their young.

4. Children seldom misquote you.

In fact,
they usually repeat word for word
what you shouldn't have said.

5. The main purpose of holding children's parties
is to remind yourself that there are children
more awful than your own.

6. We childproofed our homes,
but they are still getting in.


Be nice to your kids.
They will choose your
nursing home one day.






From Carnival of Education:

Free speech for me, but not for you; only one side of the gay culture debate is allowed to be presented in a high school in Connecticut.


Environmental Indicators

2004 had the lowest ozone pollution on record since records started being kept in 1975. The report also indicates that several other indicators are much lower too, though their official numbers haven't come out yet.

Be sure to check their main page for the numbers when they are released


The Good News and the Very Bad

The good news is that the new Pope wrote a letter against John Kerry during the election campaign. At least someone in Germany recognized how bad a president Kerry could have been.

The very, very bad news is that the DIA thinks they've tracked a nuclear weapon going to al Qaeda. Plenty of places to get them, Chechnya, Iran, Pakistan, North Korea, Iraq, and possibly Syria, as the probable resting place for many of Saddam's WMDs.


Parental Duties Call

>> Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I have been very busy lately with a very important job. I am the Lead Potty-Trainer in residence. My 3 year old is deathly afraid of p.o.o.p.i.n.g on the potty. He has decided he WILL NOT go in his pull-up anymore. GREAT! He also doesn't want to go on the potty. Because it HURTS. He waits until he absolutely CANNOT hold it any longer, then he cries the entire time. I have tried plying him with graham crackers, fresh fruit, prune juice...he's a picky little guy & refuses most of the time.

This morning, he was whining and walking bow-legged at the Y. The childrens' room ladies said he had done this off & on for the hour he was there. I knew immediately what the problem was. We arrived home at 10:30 AM, and he told me he needed to go potty. We went & sat for about 15 minutes, and he refused to do the duty (he did p.e.e., however). Repeat this every 10 minutes until 12:45 PM. FINALLY!

I don't mean to complain, but I would prefer to be cleaning or doing laundry instead of sitting with my crying 3 year old in the bathroom. He declared it did not hurt this time, so I am hoping we have crossed over the bridge. Time will tell.

He was very proud of himself, and he loves to tell people what he's learning. We called Daddy at work for some more praise. We'll continue with the praising for a job well done, and keep our fingers crossed.

If I am absent for long periods, just know I am working hard!


Are Blogs Bad?

I'm pressed for time today- still much to do before my brother & his family arrive. I found this piece over at Bubbi's. Go over and check it out.

Tell her "the Geeks" sent you!


So much to do

>> Monday, April 18, 2005

My brother and his family are coming to visit for an entire week. He has been stationed in DC since his return from Iraq and his little family has joined him there. We haven't seen them since Christmas, so you can bet this is a special occasion. Especially since my adorable nephew had his first birthday a month and a half ago. We will be making up for missing that!

Since they will be staying with us I have been running like a crazy person; cleaning, arranging a family gathering and general "people will be staying" stuff, as well as the normal, everyday insanity that is my life.

I have taken you on the above round-about description to tell you about vacuum cleaner bags. Yep, you read it right, vacuum cleaner bags.

We have 3 vacuums; one for each floor. I keep the Roomba on the upper floor. As the bedrooms are there the floor doesn't get as dirty as the rest of the house.

In the basement is my old Dirt Devil Vision. This thing has seen better days. It works well on the tight-woven carpet down there and it's handy.

But, for the main floor, the floor that gets everything from grass to dirt to dog hair, for this level we have the Kirby.

Doug had the Kirby before I came into the picture. It is a serious vacuum. This is the vacuum you buy when you never want to buy another vacuum.

I hate the Kirby. Don't get me wrong, it does an amazing job on the floors. It's just heavy and unwieldy and so difficult to use on stairs. And, it uses bags. GASP! I thought vacuums with bags went the way of the dinosaurs. They may as well for it is difficult to get said bags when you live where I do...

There are 3 logical places for me to purchase said bags. 1)Online. Oops, correction, I can look online but I must call a toll free number. Wow, this company is a dinosaur. 2) Drive to Des Moines, approximately 30 miles. 3) Drive to Ames, again 30 miles.

So, I drove to Ames. For vacuum bags. Since I was there I decided to stock up. 3 packages. 3 bags per package. $13 each. WHAT!? Holy cow! $40 on vacuum bags. But it wasn't a total loss, I got to hear all about the advantages of the Kirby over anything else on the market. Plus the guy declared that the Kirby will outlive me. Oh, goodie.

While in Ames I also filled the truck with E85. Yep, our Explorer is a Flexible Fuel Vehicle. WooHoo! I love when I can practice what I preach! Anyway, the E85 is $.28 cheaper than the 15% ethanol blend I normally use. Now I just have to check the difference in gas mileage. The full report to follow soon...

And now, back to my cleaning. Bathrooms are next on my list. I may have to tell you all about disposable toilet bowl brushes sometime...


Global cooling....er....warming!

See my new post on the Wide Awakes!


Follow up to the gas conversation

>> Friday, April 15, 2005

I had meant to make these two points and somehow forget. Gee, maybe the screaming child distracted me...

Anyway, here in Iowa all the state owned vehicles run on 100% ethanol (It says so on their bumper stickers).

Why isn't that an option for the rest of us? We certainly don't have a corn shortage. Wouldn't that just help our state?

And second: Biodiesel. I know that there was a recent government grant for this that makes biodiesel about $1.50/gallon. Why aren't more people using this? Are we afraid of running out of soybeans?

It seems to me that the technology is in place for our country to move away from a dependence on oil. Renewable resources are an option. Why aren't they more readily available?


Buying Gas

>> Thursday, April 14, 2005

I am so stupidly excited about this: today I saved $.20 per gallon on gas. And how did I do that, you may ask. The local Hy Vee store has a gas station. When you shop there and go to their gas station you save a set amount per gallon of gas by showing your receipt. For someone used to paying at the pump it is a bit of a hassle, but so worth it today.

Because today the savings per gallon was $.10. Cool. So how did I save double that? Well, they were running a "noon special", double the savings. WooHoo!! I saved $3.70. Yep, the amount is kind of a let-down after that build-up, I know. But still, that brought it down to $1.85/gallon.

I was listening to Ron Insana the other day. The discussion was about the price of gas. I don't understand the whining about gas. Honestly. If we, as a country, were really worried about it wouldn't we, as a country, take some sort of action?

I mean an action other than buying a Hummer or F150.

When I visited Ireland the largest car I saw was a VW station wagon. And no semis- which was nice. And in London Smart cars were everywhere. And, of course, you have Eurail. And let us not forget that gas there sells by the litre. Currently averaging $5.94 per gallon. Perspective, please.

I am, personally, for drilling in Alaska. But I'm also for wind and solar power, hybrid and electric cars and light rail. If Des Moines had a light rail system I would use it to go to the mall or the Farmer's Market in the summer. Heck, I might go more often. And Doug & I have discussed buying a hybrid SUV when the time comes to replace the one we have. (We have to have an SUV for our land in the Ozarks. I'll tell you about it some other time.)

I guess that it seems, to me, that if change is going to happen we, the people, must make it happen. Whining won't do it. Actions will. And if you don't take action I don't want to hear you bitch.


Happiness is:

Sesame Street! Brenna loves it, as you can see. It is the only show she enjoys. I really don't let her watch much TV but my sister-in-law asked me to record some shows for my nephew to watch on their trip home. So I recorded Boohbah(YIKES! What kind of drugs are these people on?!?), The Doodlebops (completely hideous!), The Wiggles (which I really don't mind), and a few others. Brenna wasn't too excited about any of these. Which is good, in my mind. I know TV watching is inevitable, but I hope to keep it to a minimum.

Happiness is Sesame Street

And, for those of you who may be appauled at my little girl wearing a black shirt, here's a close up. I got it at Hot Topic. At the very bottom it says World Tour 1979. How cool is that?

Ozcar Rulez

And, speaking of Oscar, he has a new spot: Grouch Eye for the Nice Guy. He and his buddies are The Drab 5. They got Bob today. It made him angry but then Bob decided it was quite freeing to be a grouch and let out your grouchy feelings. Which made him happy, thereby ruining the makeover. Good stuff! Is it wrong that I get so much enjoyment from this show?

And, as an aside for Mr. Beamish, Snuffy has been on alot lately. Today he was dancing ballet. Too bad he didn't squish Elmo...


By request, Tom Delay

>> Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Like a cover band, I'm now doing requests. Bubbi asked for my take on the Tom Delay "scandal", so here it goes.

I want to start with the reality of how business is conducted around the world. When I was a manager at Columbia/HCA, I hired employees & consultants and bought hardware. I was given food baskets, tickets to the Mavericks and Stars and invites to cocktail hours around Dallas from a lot of different sources. It was both a "thank you" and incentive for me to continue using them as a vendor. I'm sure if you ask anyone with any amount of purchasing authority, they will tell you how they got something "free" from a vendor, even if it's just a t-shirt or coffee mug. Now, take that up a step and examine the board of directors and the executive staff. Would you consider it unusual for business to be conducted on the golf course, totally paid for by one party? Or on a yacht cruise? How about if Company A decides that the best way to get business from Company B is to fly the board of directors to a corporate retreat where discussions can occur in a private and leisurely fashion? No, it's not unusual. It's how business gets done around the world.

However it is bad for people who get their paychecks from the government, especially if they make policy for the rest of us. The problem is that there are very few members of Congress or the Senate that aren't guilty of getting a paid trip to XXX from some company trying to do business with the government or looking to pass/stop a piece of legislation. It's also common for the spouses of said members to be in lobbyist/legal/sales positions. Why? Because you can make a LOT of money being Mrs. Tom Harkin. The target is on Delay's back right now because he was instrumental in getting Texas redistricted, and that put 5 more Republicans in Congress. Another reason is that he is a conservative Republican, which automatically gives the MSM open season on this strange creature they don't understand. Moreover, he's wanted because he is the Majority Leader. Say it with me slow; he is the Republican Majority Leader. Ahhhh, much better. Anyone here remember a fellow from South Dakota named Daschle? I'm sure he used to be big in Democratic leadership, but I'm having trouble remembering what….Oh well, I'm sure the Democrats haven't forgotten.

My beef with the way Congress has been run for the past 70 years or so is that they are in session for so much of the year. Why? Do 5,000 new laws need to be voted on EVERY year? If so, why? Isn't it a sign that you're not doing something right if you have to keep doing it over and over and over?

Other points to consider: Members of Congress (See section " Current Staffing and Administrative Environment") are allocated a 'clerk-hire' allowance of $557,400 annually. Multiply that by 440 (includes non-voting members from the territories) and you come up with $245,256,000 for staff expenses alone.

For the Senate I find that "Since Fiscal Year 1992, the amount appropriated by the Senate for the personnel and office expenses account has remained at $185.8 million, providing an 'average' Senator with salary and expense funds of approximately $1.85 million annually."

This gives us a grand total of $431,056,000 in office expenses for the two houses. Half a billion dollars is a lot of change.

  • I suggest giving each Member $100,000 for the purpose of hiring a staff member or two in their home district for the purpose of answering mail/phones/faxes from constituents.

  • I suggest lowering both the amount of time Congress is in session and the amount each Member is paid.

  • I propose that laws should be written in everyday English. Because it doesn't resort to legalese, the Constitution can be understood in a single reading, even with the changes in language during the past 218 years.

  • The tax code should be a single page document.

  • If it doesn't effect/affect everyone in the nation, it shouldn't be Congress' business.

  • Riders on bills should be the exception rather than the rule. If something can't get passed on its own merits, why pass it at all?

Now I read somewhere that only 60% of all money spent on education is actually used to educate students. The rest is spent on the monstrous Federal and States' bureaucracies. There's an opportunity to save money and actually provide better education at the same time. Maybe even raise teacher salaries too. Too bad the NEA wouldn't like that...


For Merrit

We are recouperating here in the Geek household. Upon Merrit's request I am posting a new photo of Miss Brenna. I took this when we were in Houston. I thought she looked so nice sitting in the big sunny window, looking down over her lands and subjects... as any princess would.

Sitting Pretty

When I took the picture I was actually envisioning it in B&W. I haven't decided which one I like better. You decide...

In B&W

PS- We added a guest map on the right hand side. Go on in, add your pin & say hello.


Privatization of Social Security

I've wanted to post on Social Security for a while now. I think that that the only problem with the partial privatization of Social Security is that it doesn't go far enough. The number I consistently see bandied about is 4%. I don't know if that is 4% of your contribution or 4% of your income. Either way, big whoop. I say let me invest 50% of my contribution or even 75%. The problem is that every administration and congress since Johnson has raided the funds in Social Security to cover budget deficits. It's how Clinton was able to "balance" the budget too.

There are 20 countries that have either switched to a privatized model or are in the process of switching. Take a look at the Chilean model.

See Dave for more on Social Security.

The other thing I would like to point out is that Federal employees and many state and county employees can opt out of Social Security and privatize, much like the plan being proposed for the entire country. It has been very successful. Almost too successful as CalPers occationally has trouble finding companies to invest in that don't have contracts with the State of California. Why is the plan good enough for some and not all?

Let's sum up. Privatization keeps Congress from robbing from my retirement account, I'll earn a higher return, and I can take some control. It's been proven to work here in the US or else Federal employees wouldn't be using it. The ONLY downside is that Congress will be forced to stop pulling money out of the Social Security piggy bank.

For those of you that want to say that any investment is risky, I'll respond now by saying that the current plan is up to the whims of Congress. If they decide to pull the plug, the program is over. If they decide to raise the age benefits start paying, you lose. If they decide to lower the amount paid or not raise for cost of living adjustments, you lose. I don't know about you, but my personal retirement plan made 11% during the bear year 3 years ago and has been getting over 20% the past couple of years. Is that an indicator of what I'll earn next year? No, but I stand a better chance of earning it than not. And it's certainly a better return than Social Security as it stands now, which is a negative percentage.


Book Review

I just finished reading Dear Senator : A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond.

I honestly didn't know much about the Senator from South Carolina. Well, unless you count his ill-fated Presidential bid, his record as the longest serving Senator and that whole Trent Lott debacle.

This book, written by his illegitimate daughter, takes you through her life; her first meeting with the man who was her father, her pride, and disappointments, in him, and finally her peace with the legacy that is Strom Thurmond.

I highly recommend this book- even if you're not a history geek like me.


Not really surprising

>> Monday, April 11, 2005

It's not really surprising that the New York Times is fishing for anti-Republican op-ed pieces is it?


First hand accounts

>> Sunday, April 10, 2005

Roger L Simon found a new Iraqi blog. Neurotic Iraqi Housewife has posts covering much of the war and what's going on today. Good stuff from someone who is there.


It Got Me

I'm not sure if I've developed a spring cold or a tiny bit of allergies but, whatever it is, it got me. I'm feeling draggy and my nose is dripping like a faucet. Yep, I bet you really wanted to know that!

The lovely Brenna seems to be fine. Since she is still nursing I am hoping she is getting all the necessary antibodies to keep her well. Right now she is determined to pull the tail off the rhinosaurus in her ExerSaucer. What a fun game!

Being 'under the weather' when the weather has finally decided to shape up is possibly the most depressing thing that can happen on a fine spring day. I've taken decongestants, which is all I'm allowed due to the fact that I am still nursing. Let me tell you- they don't do much to help the situation. Sigh.

Puffs- check.
Purell- check.
Something to keep Brenna entertained all afternoon- ummm, is there such a thing?

Final thought: Why do they say that your nose runs? It's not like it's going anywhere. COme to think of it, mine could take a jog somewhere else right about now. I really don't think I'd miss it.


This totally rocks!

>> Friday, April 08, 2005

Thanks to Bubbi for letting me know about this.

Her blog (linked above) got a mention in Slate. And my comment was quoted! Don't believe me? See for yourself! It's clear down at the bottom, second to last paragraph.

Now, seriously, how cool is that?

To see the actual blog & comments GO HERE.


Geek mowing the lawn

>> Thursday, April 07, 2005

Friends, family and especially Jody will tell you that I am a geek. I'm good with that assessment. In fact I embrace my inner-geekness. I get to have lots of toys this way.

As a demonstration, compare the difference between our lawn mower and our neighbor's.

Yes, my lawn is being mown as I type this post....

Here's what a clean one looks like


Baby Geek!

I suppose it was destined that our baby would be a Geek In Training from an early age. She is fascinated by all things geek- computers, my cell phone (especially when the speaker is on!), the TiVo remote.

I love this picture because it looks like she is caught in the act. A look I'm sure I'll be seeing more of as time goes on.



How to be a Baby: An Insider's Guide

1) There's no point in waking up before 2 or 3 in the morning, when there are few distractions and your parents will be able to devote their full attantion to you, you, you.

2) Save the monster poops for the times when they try to make you wear one of those brand new frilly and rediculous looking outfits.

3) Rule of thumb: The more your parents paid for the toy, the less fun it is to play with.

4) If you have trouble telling the difference between your parents, remember that the one with the scratchy face is generally more fun, but the one with the breasts tastes better.

5) General truth: No one over the age of 7 has any sense of humor.

6) All you need to know about geography can be reduced to this: near Mom and Dad, good; not near Mom and Dad, very, very bad.

7) Fun challenge: See how many of your fingers an toes you can wedge into your mouth at the same time.

8) If you don't want to eat what they feed you, simply spit it all over them. If that fails to discourage them, wait an hour, then spit it all over their car.

9) When your mom or dad leaves you for 5 minutes to take a shower, scream at the top of your lungs. There's no more amusing site than a wet, naked, soapy adult running down the hall at top speed!

10) Face facts: You're small, you're weak, you can't walk or talk. Cute is the only thing you do well. Work it, baby!

Brenna has been keeping me busy here. Busier every day as she learns new tricks- like rolling all over the house. And busier as she demands more interaction. At least Sesame Street still keeps her attention. As it has just come on I can do laundry!


The Pope

>> Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Thank God for John Paul's 'polarizing papacy'. How would the 80's have been different if Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II weren't the leaders they were? Well, if Carter were to have been re-elected, he would have written off Central and South America, would have signed every agreement the Politburo wanted and would have moaned how we were inferior to the great Soviet experiment. Everyone in the Western World should thank their deity of choice that Carter was booted, the Brits stuck with Thatcher and the Cardinals chose a relatively unknown Cardinal from a country in which practicing religion could get you executed.

There was some talk about the Pope's secret Cardinal and some guessing as to where he might be. There are large numbers of Christians in Hong Kong and Shanghai. So my personal guess is China, another country were practicing religion is a capital crime.


Terrorists attack and the media doesn't care?

Greyhawk notes that there were a spate of attacks in Iraq this past week. Coalition forces uniformly killed or captured the terrorists before they could accomplish any of their objectives. That's not news. What is news, is that those cheerleading the terrorists are quiet. Couple that with a newly minted Iraqi President of Kurdish descent and you have the makings of country assembling itself in the desert.

NOTE: Also see Defining Victory in the War on Terror: A view from the Middle East


Required reading for the day

>> Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Canandians who stood to profit from Saddam staying in power. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

oops, they've been noticed by Fox News. Is that why Canada tried to block Fox?


The Magic #2

>> Monday, April 04, 2005

At first this post was going to be about the appearance of Brenna's second tooth. It is causing a bit of frustration for her. Especially at bedtime. When she nods off and quits chewing on whatever she has ahold of (me), her gums begin to ache and she wakes up and cries. And the circle begins again. Chew on mommy, nod off, ache, cry, chew, nod, ache, cry. She was almost 3 hours late going to sleep last night.

I thought that, maybe, she would sleep through the night.


Two is also the number of times I woke up last night. The first time I was dreaming that Brenna was in bed with us and we were smothering her. To be honest, I've had this dream almost every night for the past month. I've even, in a half-awake state, woken Doug as I am trying to find her. He has become used to it, I think, and will mumble something about her being in her own bed. Which usually sends me to her room to check on her. The second time I woke was due to Brenna's cry. She had rolled onto her tummy and was not happy about it. This requires nursing and rocking. Which I don't honestly mind as I'm sure the cuddling will end all too soon.

And now, for the final "2" of the day: Two is the number of times Brenna activated her Daddy's gag reflex in the last 2 days. Yep, the monster of all poos happened yesterday morning as I was trying to get my house ready for a family invasion. I pulled Brenna out of her ExerSaucer and there it was- from head to foot. Poor Doug was pulling out wipes and I'm yelling "Put those away and start the bath!" Honestly, no amount of wipes could have cleaned up all that poo.

I didn't know, until Doug admitted it, that he almost hurled. Oh, what a nasty chain reaction that could have been!

And then there was this morning: Before Doug left for work he was holding the lovely Brenna. She let 'er rip. Up her back, down her legs and through her outfit on to Doug's. Kudos to Doug, though. He cleaned her up and made no mess himself. I was handed a poopy outfit and a baby in a diaper.

Someday I'll teach him how to clean the mess out of her clothes! But for now I'll just be happy that he didn't add to it.


Families & Death

My husband's second cousins' (husband & wife) funeral is today. We went to the double visitation last night. It was probably the most upbeat funeral visitation I have ever experienced. Both would have been 87 years old this year. They would have celebrated 66 glorious years together this year. Both had steadlily declining health due to Alzheimer's and senility.

They moved into a nursing home a week ago because they needed constant care the family could no longer provide. The wife was playing piano in the nursing home a week ago. Wednesday she passed quickly and painlessly in the hospital. The husband, whose days have become less and less lucid because of Alzheimer's, went into the hospital Wednesday. He passed Saturday. The last clear statement he made to his son was this; "Mom (his wife) & Myra (his sister) are gone, aren't they?" His son answered "Yes", and the husband passed soon after. It only seems appropriate that they be together in death after living a long life together. His daughter told me last night "He wouldn't have wanted to live without her". God rest their souls...together.


Medal of Honor for SFC Smith

>> Saturday, April 02, 2005

SFC Smith will be awarded the Medal of Honor on April 4th. It is because of soldiers like him that we are so successfull on the battlefield. On the 4th, I plan on saying a prayor of thanks and of respect. Because of SFC Smith and those like him, my family can sleep a little safer. To his wife and two children, I know he can never be replaced, but I hope that the kids grow up proud of their father and the elite company of soldiers he now belongs in.


Sandy Burglar...er Berger

Finally, Sandy Berger admits he intentionally stole documents from the National Archives and cut them up with scissors.

I can't believe he only has to give up his security clearance for three years. How about FOREVER? Fool me once, shame on you....fool me twice, well you know. How stupid are the judges and bureaucrats in this country?

Read the story here.


Pope John Paul II

>> Friday, April 01, 2005

Jarod very briefly touched on this over at his blog. I kind of want to expand.

Like Jarod, he's the only Pope I've ever known and his imminent death saddens me. I can vaguely remember his election to the Papacy and his world-wide trip shortly thereafter. He visited Iowa. I was 8. Many of my Catholic schoolmates saw him on that visit. Not being Catholic- or overly religious- my family did not. I wish we had.

The coverage of this reminds me of the coverage following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. Even with nothing new to say the coverage doesn't break. It is close to 4am in Vatican City and St. Peters Square is swarming with people. I think this is very telling. This was a Pope that people loved, Catholics and non-Catholics alike. He touched many people.

As I think about what to write I have been reading other blogs. Merrit wrote a very eloquent piece.

The steps the Vatican will follow after the Pontiff's death will be carried out as it has for hundreds of years. As a history geek I have read quite a bit about the ceremonies and hope the coverage will continue to be thorough.

My prayers go out to him for a peaceful passage.


Some People Don't Deserve to Live

Last night, an armed man broke into my friend's mother's house and brutally attacked her after stealing her purse and ransacking her home. He had a loaded gun, which he used to hit her repeatedly. He also punched her, shoved her down a flight of stairs, and tore out clumps of her hair. This bastard hit her so hard in the mouth that he knocked her dentures into her throat. Doctors had to remove them. Thank God she is alive. He had recently been released from PRISON (3 1/2 years) on an armed robbery charge.

I ask you, what kind of person could do this to a middle-aged woman? Some people don't deserve to live.

She has been released from the hospital, but cannot return to her home as it's a crime scene. I wouldn't want to be home alone....ever.

Read the story in the Omaha World Herald by clicking here.

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