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

I'm a Liar

>> Thursday, June 30, 2005

After I left the comment that nothing happened on our side of town, we noticed our roof has some shingles missing. Yippee. This will be the first insurance claim we have ever filed since we've been together. Hopefully the last, too.


A Bit of Destruction

We had quite the little storm blow through last night. About 9:30pm or so Doug & I were sitting on the couch when it blew in. A couple of minutes later the lightning started. It was close enough that Brenna's battery powered toys began playing and Toby's invisible fence collar started to beep.

And behind that came the wind. Hard enough that it rattled the chimney of our fireplace and caused the edging to crack and break.

These are a few of the sights that greeted me this morning (thankfully all neighbors. We had our trees trimmed a few weeks ago. Luckily.)

This first photo is across 18th street. They have many mature trees, most of which littered their yard with large branches.

The second one is across the street to the east. Just snapped that tree like a twig.

Back across 18th street for this 3rd photo. That was a big branch that came off there...

And, finally, the house across the street to the south of us. I'm guessing they won't be going to work today. "Ummm, I can't make it in, there is a tree blocking my garage."


Hey Look!

>> Tuesday, June 28, 2005

My mom is posting again! Good thing, too, as I was getting ready to remove her!


"Family" Outing

I have two teenagers in my house this week. Yes, Chris is still here. And we have been joined by Tim, the 18-year-old son of some friends. Having Tim here is a blessing. He is very well mannered and polite. And Chris tries to emulate him. He is a very good influence. Tim is really good about spending time with Chris- which makes everything easier on me.

Today I packed up my "family" and we went to the Science Center of Iowa. What a great place! First we went to the IMAX and watched The Living Sea. Brenna and I lounged in a seat for a while then, when Brenna got restless, we moved to the floor. Very cool.

The Science Center has Experience Platforms: hands on science. Robots, levers & pulleys, gears... all sorts of things. And a toddler play & learn area. And upstairs is the Star Theater, a dome screened room with bean bags and chairs. It is connected to the "Why the Sky" exhibit and you can see astronomy and, today, a movie about the Egyptian Pharoahs. So relaxing. I could have vegged there for an hour.

Tim's friend Doug met us at the Science Center. All three boys are now at the mall. I'm not sure that Tim & Doug intended to take Chris but they didn't kick him out of the car. So Brenna & I have our house to ourselves.

I should probably do laundry... unload the dishwasher... vacuum... Who was it that commented on my post and said something about Oprah & bon-bons? I wish!


Monday, Monday

>> Monday, June 27, 2005

The day has dawned hot & humid...again. Brenna & I went for a bike ride early this morning. Riding along didn't feel too bad. But stopping was a mistake. Needless to say, it was a short ride.

A bit later Jen called to take me up on the offer of meeting at the local splash park. I outfitted Miss Brenna in her new swimmy suit and off we went.

We planted ourselves under a shady tarp and downwind from the water. Every so often we received a nice cooling mist. Which did wonders for Brenna's hair.

Patriotic Baby

Carter & Ethan had a rollicking good time...

Splish Splash

Who knew that buckets were so much fun???

Some of the women from the playgroup Jen takes the boys to were there. They came over to join us under our tarp. Here are a couple of snippets of the conversation (these play back through my mind in a Thurson Howell the 3rd type voice, names have been altered for my enjoyment):

Buffy, have you chosen a country club yet?
No, Muffy, we haven't. Maybe next year. Right now we are too busy (living our terribly important lives) to really look at which one would (have the hottest cabana boys and golf cart beverage girls) be best for us.

I really should tell Cookie that noone takes their kids to Gymboree in the summer. (As if...)

When I was nine months pregnant I had a bikini wax. I probably looked like a bushman.
Yeah, like bushmen have bikinis....


What are Little Kidz Made of???

Go visit this week's Karnival of Kidz to find out!!!

Hosted by Prochein Amy, who did a fabulous job!


He looks lighter than he is...apparently

>> Sunday, June 26, 2005

My husband snapped this picture after my cousin's wedding a couple of weeks ago. The bench seat is totally warped, so he thought it would be funny to make Carter sit on it for a picture. Ethan is looking at him like "Wow, man, lay off the brownies already".

Funny captions, anyone?

Dude, you must weigh a ton! Posted by Hello


Waskelely Wabbits!

A couple of weeks ago my brother, Jarod, came over and helped us with some physical labor and other household stuff. One of the things he did was remove a couple of bushes and trim a couple of trees. He then bound the branches and stacked them in the yard.

Fast forward to yesterday. We- finally- borrow my dad's truck to remove the refuse and what does Doug find beneath the branches?

A nest of bunnies!!

Six of the fuzzy little guys. After taking the pictures I covered them back up and proceeded to wonder if mama bunny would come back.

Mama comes home

A closer look

If you look very closely you can see the babies nursing. (No, she is not possessed...red eye only works so well...) It was really humid yesterday and my lense kept fogging up, hence the weird "fog" on the second picture of Mama.

I was suprised that she didn't move them. And, as it looked-and sounded- like a storm was coming in and we had removed all their shelter, I trimmed a couple of bushes and set up a little branch teepee.

Mama returned again during the night because the brances were moved this morning. But the bunnies were still nestled together. Alas, when we returned from our family reunion this afternoon they were gone. I guess Mama didn't like me peeking in on her babies. *sigh*


Brenna Locked Up!

>> Saturday, June 25, 2005

Dear Judge, umm, Mommy-

I am truly innocent of the charge of "Wanting a Nap". I did not, in any way, show anyone that I was tired or cranky. I have not, nor do I plan to, nap at any time this morning. If you would be so kind as to release me, with time served, and allow me to resume my very busy schedule of playing, watching Sesame Street, and pulling Toby's hair I, in turn, will not scream, cry or whine. Right now, anyway.

Where's My Tin Cup?

Proof that it really isn't so bad:

Jail Break!


Take a Minute

>> Friday, June 24, 2005

I am continuing to send everyone over to my brother Justin's blog.

What is it this time? An excellent photo of my very handsome brother and his too-cute-for-words son.

And, just to give equal time, go visit my other very attractive brother, Jarod. For a very funny read this post about the family.


Self Portrait Friday

Katy at The Grass Isn't Greener is the head of this lovely game. This week is all about showing leg. Well, on me you get calf, ankle & new shoes. :) (I don't show my knees- too many years of cycling... they are not pretty.)

A Little Leg


I Must Be the Aunt From Hell

>> Thursday, June 23, 2005

Or I certainly feel like it.

Doug's nephew came home with him Sunday. He has been here 4 days. Honestly, I am ready for him to be gone. (Doug knows this so it will come as no big surprise when he reads this. I hope.)

It's not that Chris is a bad kid. He is just not used to our house and the expectations that I have. I do remember being a teenager (Chris turns 13 in a month). I don't tell him when to go to bed or when to get up. I don't tell him when or what to eat. I really don't demand much from him at all.

Yesterday he spent the day at Adventureland, a local amusement park. Because he arrived with no money I asked him to mow a few portions of the yard the day before to "earn" the money for his outing. (Not a cheap outing, either.)

I didn't ask him to do anything that I haven't done myself. And I didn't ask him to do the whole yard. I showed him the areas I wanted done; even showed him how to use the mower. And I went in to feed Brenna.

Now, it takes me about 20 minutes to nurse the Princess. About the time I finished, Chris came in announcing that he was done. Knowing that when I mow those sections each takes about 30 minutes (to do right) I was skeptical. As I had every reason to be. I really didn't see that he had done anything. So I showed him again where to mow and how to do it. Another 10 minutes and he announced that he had "finished". I left it at that, called Doug, and told him that he would have to explain to Chris that it really wasn't "done". I then told Chris that Doug would be checking it and, he, being much more picky than myself, would have the final say.

I'm sure that I don't need to tell you that Doug & Chris worked in the yard that evening.

Yesterday when I took Chris & his cousin to Adventureland I handed him $50 for his day. Not even a thank you. Man, if someone had handed me $50 when I was 13 I probably would have kissed their feet...

And today. Again, I don't tell him when to eat or what to eat. There are fixins for sandwiches, hot dogs, microwave mac & cheese, lettuce, fruits, chips, etc. in my kitchen. I did, however, tell the boys (Chris' cousin spent the night) that I want them to eat before Chris' grandmother gets here. I tell them this at 1pm, an hour after Brenna & I had lunch and after I offered them some of the mac & cheese with cut-up hotdogs that we had (yes, folks, Brenna had hot dog today!). The reply I got was, "We'll eat whatever you make us."

Oh hell no! I said that I wasn't their chef, that they knew where the food was.

So, my question to my faithful readers who have young teens: What should I do? We have arrangements to return Chris to his family on July 7. Any tips for keeping my sanity until then?

Man, I just know that he is gonna tell his grandmother how I wouldn't feed him today...


Brenna's Big Day

>> Tuesday, June 21, 2005

It was a milestone day here at Casa Geek. As you can see below, Brenna fed herself today. To be honest she has been navigating Cheerios and Gerber Puffs to her mouth for some time. But today I let her feed herself some lunch: macaroni & cheese. Not the easiest thing to grasp...

Feeding myself

I actually had the macaroni in a plastic dish. I found out quite quickly that the dish was going to become a frisbee much to soon so I just put the mac & cheese on her tray. Which meant the tray had to be cleaned. Luckily we have an in-house dishwasher:

Toby Cleans Up

Yes, I washed the tray after Toby finished. (My sister actually asked me that question.)

Now, before you become too impressed with Brenna's amazing feat, there's more. She also learned to sit herself up today. Yep, she can now go from laying on the floor to sitting. The first time she did it I was in the kitchen. I had left her laying on the floor while I let Toby in. I went back to the living room and she was sitting up about 2 feet from where I left her. She later performed her new trick in front of a live audience; ie: Mommy & Daddy.

Now you may be impressed and applaud.

As you can imagine, after such a big day, she was exhausted. Bath time and bed couldn't come quickly enough and she fell quickly to sleep, no doubt to dream of what she will amaze me with tomorrow.


Justin is Back!

I want to thank everyone for visiting my brother's blog when he first began... and then didn't post for about 5 days. He has a couple of photos up from his time in Iraq and a few thoughts to go with them.

His little family should be busy packing as they begin the drive home next Monday. Stop by and wish them a safe journey.


It's All About the Bra

>> Monday, June 20, 2005

Maybe I watch too much What Not to Wear because I find my self really considering my clothes lately. (I do think Stacey would LOVE my shoes.)

Anyway, after seeing so many episodes with women who are, ummm, let's say 'well endowed' and hearing the mantra of "a good bra" I decided to suck it up and go get sized.

I went first to Younkers, a local 'upper scale' department store. I got measured. The woman said you can wear a 34, or a 36 if you need to. Then she counts the number of inches between my rib measurement and the largest part of my breasts. Then she looks me straight in the eye and says "The largest we have in that size is DDD. You can try them but I don't think they will be large enough".

I wanted to cry. And, of course everything in that size may as well be used to carry bowling balls; they are so ugly and matronly. So I did what any sad girl would; I bought a purse to match my new shoes.

So, it was with a sinking feeling in my stomach and a heavy heart that I sought out a store that specializes in bras. I got measured. 36 G.. Yes, G... as in god-damned big. Happily enough the bras they carry, though some "servicable" many were lovely and lacey. I bought two. And spent $128. On two bras!! How wrong is that?!? I suppose the aerospace engineers that designed them don't come cheap. But "the girls" are now back up where they belong.

So I happily put on one of my new girly shirts and joined my family for dinner to celebrate Father's Day.

Posing for the camera

Which leads me to another story. A short one, I promise.

We had planned to take my dad to a seafood restaurant that he enjoys. But they don't have a children's menu. A change of venue was necessary. Buca de Beppo was suggested; my step-mother apparently vetoed that because "I don't like the food there". My response (to my sister): "Who cares? It's not bitchy-step-mother day."
For more about our step-monster visit Jarod, complete with comments from the rest of us.


What's up with the American Left?

Jewish Democrats against Israel

Mark Steyn's response, Part I and Part II


Karnival of the Kidz

Karnival of Kidz is up!

Hosted by Bora at Science and Politics. Stop over & see!


Sweet things

>> Sunday, June 19, 2005

Here's a short list of things my kids say that just melt my heart...

I love you, Mommy
You're my best friend
Daddy is my best friend
Pupper Dog (a gift from Aunt Jody) is my best friend
I want to carry you (translation: I want you to carry me)
I need you
I give you all the kisses (kisses all over your face)
I'm happy
French toast is my favorite
I want to talk to you
I want you sleep in my bed...no, you sleep you own bed (after I climb in)

This is a funny new one:
If you don't let me play a video game, you're fired

And at the wedding of my very young cousin yesterday, Carter blurted out "Hey, what's wrong with you guys over there?" at the groom during his speech. And the guests all had a good laugh. It was an appropriate question.


IKEA Bench

Last week, Jody posted about how we went to IKEA. Well, I finally finished the bench (it was raw pine). It looks great, and it hides the jumble of shoes that lives near the door nicely. It also doubles as a 'time out' bench for when the kids are NAUGHTY.

IKEA Bench- finished Posted by Hello

What the bench is for. Posted by Hello


Ahhh, Retail Therapy

>> Saturday, June 18, 2005

Most times shopping just makes me more depressed. Especially now since my boobs are even more huge and unwieldy than normal and my hips are still a couple of sizes larger than I want them to be. But yesterday the gods of retail were on my side.

Buying tops is the bane of my existence. Especially cute tops. Usually I find tops that fit my boobs but look like I am wearing a tent. That is especially attractive. Or I find tops that fit my torso but don't come close to covering my boobs. Yesterday I found four- yes four- tops that fit and flattered me! Huzzah! My sister asked where I planned to wear them as two are satiny with beading. I'll wear them at home. I'm so sick of t-shirts every day. I want to feel pretty once in a while.

Girly tops

I really just went looking for a pink button-down to wear to my grandparent's house tomorrow. I know we will be outside so I wanted a shirt to wear with my pink floppy hat. (Which you can kind of see on top of my dresser.) The other shirts just fit so nicely- it happens so rarely- that I had to buy them.

But my favorite buy of the day were these shoes! I absolutely LOVE them!
Great shoes!!

Obviously they can't be worn with everything, but who cares! These are, quite possibly, the happiest shoes I own right now. They make me smile and I can't wait to wear them! (Which makes me wonder about Mama Duck... did she get new shoes?)


Hmmm, I Don't Recall This in My Newspaper...

First gallantry award since WW2 for US woman GI

Sad, isn't it, how we have to read a Scottish newspaper to hear good news about our soldiers...


Friday Thoughts

>> Friday, June 17, 2005

I am sitting in my big, comfy leather chair, feet kicked up, writing my second "real" post of the week. I have a cup of Irish tea beside me (loose leaf, never bags) and some Walkers Shortbread Cookies for snacking. Truly sinful cookies; I have to limit them by only consuming them with tea. Not that the rule holds true very often. sigh

Brenna has just risen from her nap and is consumed, for the time being, by Sesame Street and crawling practice. I think she may have it by the end of this weekend.

Doug departed early this morning for our land in the Ozarks. He will be meeting his father, brother & nephew for their second annual Father's Day camping trip. Never mind that it is Doug's first Father's Day and he won't be back early enough to see Brenna that day.

OK, I am a bit frustrated by this. The original plans had my father & brother Jarod joining him and Brenna & I meeting Doug's step-mother and lounging by a pool somewhere. Then my cousin had to schedule her shotgun wedding for Saturday so my father & brother are going to that. Then Doug's step-mother decided not to go. And I really didn't want to travel 8 hours with Brenna to only sit in a hotel. So, here we stay. And I'm still not going to that wedding.

Doug will be bringing his 13-year-old nephew back with him. He will be staying just over a week. Which upsets him. We had thought to have him stay 2-3 weeks but the difficulty in getting him home has led to his shorter stay.

Initially he had said that he could fly home but he is still too young to fly unaccompanied and the prices are insane right now. (And if we can't spend over $300 for me to fly out to see my brother we darn well aren't going to pay more than that for him to fly home.)

Then we thought that we could meet someone in Oklahoma when we trek southward for a weekend in Kansas City. Of course that won't work for anyone else.

So, since Doug's mom will be up the 23rd thru the 27th, that is when Christopher will head home. It just makes sense. To everyone but Christopher, that is.

The reason this has turned in to such a big deal is because Christopher stayed with us two summers ago for close to 6 weeks. About 2 weeks into it he began telling us that he wanted to go home. He was too young to fly and noone could coordinate to meet us. And we couldn't drive all the way to Texas at the drop of a hat. It made for an exceptionally long visit. So I said that before Christopher came up this summer his trip back home HAD TO BE ARRANGED. I was kind of a bitch about it.

And while we are on the subject of his family & me being a bitch; I mentioned that his mom will be up next week. We weren't expecting her until July. Both of us remember her saying that she would be up in July when we stayed with them in March. The change of plans wouldn't bother me so much except that my family has a big reunion every year on the last Sunday of June. But, this year, his family has scheduled a reunion for that day. And because his mother has really only seen Brenna a couple of times that takes presidence. This upsets me mostly because it is the only time I get to see my great-aunts. My great-aunt Francis recently lost her husband (while we were in Texas in March) and is not doing so well. Anyway...

Tonight my mom is coming over and we will take Brenna for a bike ride. Mom is staying the night and we will go to the Farmer's Market in the morning. Then, sometime tomorrow, I need to go to Sharper Image for Doug's Father's Day gift (and a new shirt for me). And Sunday Brenna & I will head down to my grandparent's farm for a suprise Father's Day gathering for my grandfather. Someday I will have to tell you all about him. He was the first man in my life; mom & I lived with them from the time I was born. I love my grandpa.

I suppose that is more than enough rambling for now. I need to start some laundry, feed Brenna & get ready to watch Jen's boys.... I need a vacation.


Baby Poop IS Funny!

>> Thursday, June 16, 2005

Yes, this is a post about baby poop. So if you don't find it amusing please stop reading now.

Last December, Friday the 10th to be exact, Brenna bestowed on me a great gift: flying liquid poop. Fortunately for all of you, the camera was not available at that time for photos.

However, Mama Duck has rectified that. Peanut is ready to take Brenna's title. (Doug says that a wall got in the way & Brenna wants a rematch. I say that Doug will have to deal with that.)

Brenna, however, gives Peanut high marks in both distance and coverage. She will be sure to keep Peanut's information on file and as soon as the Olympic committee responds to our request to include "Pooing for Distance" as an Olympic event we will begin training. We are hoping for sponsorship from Sunsweet Prunes.



>> Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I have been stressing over potty training with Carter (3 1/2) for a while now. He has been wearing training underwear exclusively for almost a week. He has been dry for the last 3 days straight. Even naps and overnight!!! And he has been using the potty for #2 for the past 2 months with no accidents. WOO HOO!

We took our first outing (other than the Y) this morning. We drove 35 minutes to playgroup (outside at a park). Then we picked Daddy up for lunch at the cheeseburger store. We went potty twice at playgroup and once at lunch with Daddy. He's really there, I think. I expect a few setbacks, but I think the worst is over.

Now I have to get started on Ethan......


So... Where Have I Been?

Not much from me lately except for quickie posts. Sorry for that. But, for the moment, I am stuck on the couch, icepacks on my ankle and knee. Tied down. So, instead of finding yet another project to tackle, I have a few minues to say hello.

It was a busy weekend here en casa. Saturday my sister, Brenna & I took a day trip to the Mall of America & IKEA. Jen had a few specific items she wanted at IKEA and the mall is right across the street- with better food.

We had a successful shopping day; Jen found exactly what she was looking for (and then some) and Brenna got new clothes and some lovely pink storage boxes for her window bench (not that she really cares about either).

Sunday was busy from 7 am (for me) until 10pm. My goal for the day was to clean the garage and remove a couple of large bushes from our front yard. Of course I didn't plan to do it alone. I forced Doug out of bed and called in my brother Jarod for hard labor. (Seriously, if you live close to Des Moines and need anything done around your house Jarod is the man.) Luckily Jarod brought his girlfriend Amanda- child care expert extradannaire- along to keep Miss Brenna entertained.

Much was accomplished Sunday: garage cleaned, storage shelves hung, bushes pulled, other bushes trimmed, trees pruned, drywall put in ceiling of half bath (it's only had a hole in it since this happened.) Of course we paid Jarod for all his hard work. Amanda may have gotten gyped.

Monday was spent cleaning the messes made the day before and preparing my living room & dining room for the carpet cleaning the next day. And caring for Miss Brenna which is seeming to take more time now that she is slightly mobile. And a bit fussy with two top teeth coming in.

And Tuesday... hmm... I had the carpets cleaned. The groomer came to give Toby a bath. I did laundry. Lots of Brenna time. Hmmm, not really sure where yesterday went.

But today is a new day with a whole list of things to do. First on the list is to go through the camping stuff so Doug can be prepared for his Father's Day camping trip with his dad, brother & nephew.

*sigh* I suppose I have lingered with my ice long enough.


How's the economy doing anyway?

>> Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Pretty good. But you should already know that. Just pay attention while you're driving around town...


Weak minded senators

and the DOD response

It's okay to question their patriotism

Yes, there are gulags in Cuba Note: not for a weak stomach. It describes the abuse at the gulag in Cuba. Also, there is some adult language


New Blog

For those of you who don't check out blogroll of my favorites I would like to direct you all to Justinman. My baby brother, just finishing his 18 months of active duty and coming home in a week and a half.

Make him welcome. Thanks!


Karnival of the Kidz is UP!!

>> Monday, June 13, 2005

Karnival of Kidz 8

VW Bug has done a very wonderful- and creative- job hosting this week's karnival. Go over and check it out!


Look at Me!

UPDATE: I've finally converted our camera's Quicktime format to MPG. Everyone who uses Macs or Windows computers should be able to to watch this. -Doug

Brenna was working hard all day trying to stand on her own. By the end of the day she had it down.

Here you can see her slowly lifting her tukkis off the mattress.

Up I Go

And here she is: all the way up!

OK, I'm Up

Deciding to be truly adventurous she tries this maneuver:

Watch Me Go!

That last one resulted in a "kerplunk". Mommy cried when she stood all by herself- and on command. We have video; I'll be after Doug to get it added, so check back.

We are also getting our two top teeth this week. And we waved "bye bye" to Daddy this morning when he left for work!

Whew! It's been a BIG week!


Bathing Beauties

>> Friday, June 10, 2005

Bathtub Posted by Hello

I love this picture because the boys are totally acting like themselves. They are crazy kids...even without sugar. Someday I am sure they will not like me for putting pictures like this in their albums. I don't care. I'm the Mom, and I think it's CUTE!


A Response from Senator Harkin

A few weeks ago I wrote to Senator Harkin (D) asking for his stance on illegal immigration and the millions of dollars spent to provide medical care, welfare, jail space and attorneys to said "immigrants". Here is the response he sent me (approximately 6 weeks later):

June 10, 2005

Mrs. Jody (last name removed) (city), IA 50021

Dear Jody:

Thank you for contacting me. I am always glad to hear from you.

I appreciate knowing your views on the need to reform our immigration laws. My mother was an immigrant to this country, and I am proud to be a first generation American. Each generation of immigrants has enriched our nation both culturally and economically.

The United States has always been a beacon of hope for many around the world seeking refuge from oppressive regimes, and so I support the traditional U.S. policy of providing political asylum to those fleeing such regimes. Additionally, I am supportive of immigration reform proposals that would bring just and meaningful change to current immigration laws.

In early 2004, President Bush proposed changes to current immigration laws. I commend the President for taking up this important issue, but his proposal falls short of addressing the needs of our citizens. The Administration's plan, which has yet to be formally introduced in Congress, creates a new temporary worker program that will, in my view, fail to meet the plan's stated goal – to reduce the number of undocumented workers. The plan does not provide details on sufficient workplace protections for foreign workers participating in the new program. Nor does it provide strong labor protections for U.S. workers potentially affected by the new plan. Finally, the President's proposal contains no comprehensive way for our immigration services to deal with the 5.5 million people who are currently experiencing long delays in receiving their legally entitled immigration benefits.

Additionally, the White House has blocked other immigration reform measures that enjoy vast bipartisan Congressional support, as well as backing from labor and business organizations. Most notably are the DREAM Act and the AgJobs bill, which allow for a path to citizenship provided that immigrants adhere to U.S. laws and contribute to society by either working in agriculture, serving in the armed forces, or furthering their education. Passage of these two bills would be an important step toward much needed immigration reform. I am hopeful that President Bush will review his current position and support legislation that lives up to his promise to make immigration reform more "rationale and humane."

Again, thanks for sharing your views with me. Please don't hesitate to let me know how you feel on any issue that concerns you.


Tom Harkin
United States Senator

I don't know about you, but I don't feel like he really answered my questions.

So, here is the response I sent:

Dear Senator:

While I appreciate your reply to my inquiry concerning illegal immigration I would respectfully like to point out that you did not answer my question. Your response focused on those immigrants entering the United States legally. I would like to know your status on illegal immigrants.

Millions upon millions of tax dollars are spent providing health care, welfare, jail space and attorneys fees to non-citizens; many who cross our borders on foot hoping not to get caught. This is where my concern lies.

I would like to know your views on strengthening our borders. I want your thoughts on removing illegal immigrants from the United States. I would like to understand why these people have almost more freedoms in the United States than actual citizens.

While I have nothing but the utmost respect for those entering the United States after having endured the tedious process of filing the mountains of paperwork required to enter this country legally I can not really say the same for those who crawl through a hole in an unguarded fence.


Jody L. (last name removed)
(city), IA

Maybe I'll send the same questions to our other Senator and see what kind of response I get...


Michelle Malkin

>> Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Somewhat related...
The journalists who love a North Vietnamese spy

More leftist lack of reality


Happiness and Caffeinated Joy

>> Tuesday, June 07, 2005

I'm a Pepsi drinker. Have been for years. If I am at a restaurant where Coke is the only soda, I will drink water. I just don't like the taste of Coke.

Being constantly watchful of losing the baby weight that nursing Brenna has not yet removed from my body I was truly overjoyed when Pepsi Edge was introduced.

Yea! A lower calorie option that tastes so much like my beloved Pepsi! With no weird aftertaste like diet sodas! And no aspartame; too many horror stories about it causing Alzheimer's. EDGE has Splenda which, so far, is safe.

But slowly EDGE bacame more difficult to find. Suddenly I couldn't purchase it at the convenience stores. And then, one day, it was nowhere to be found in the grocery aisle. AAARRRGGGHHH!!! What was I to do?

I did what I always do when I am curious about something, I wrote a letter. I must say that Pepsi was quite quick to answer. (Much quicker than our Senator Harkin who has yet to respond to my inqury about what he plans to do about illegal immigration and the tax dollars the care of said immigrants costs the taxpayers each year. I have yet to hear back from him; it's only been 6 weeks. I'm sure he's much too busy calling the President names to respond to a constituent.)

Anyway, Pepsi responded straight away with this email:

A Message from Consumer Relations 010459737A

Dear Jody,

Thank you so much for taking the time to contact us here at the Pepsi-Cola Company. It's always a pleasure to hear from our loyal consumers.

Here at Pepsi, we work hard to insure that our products reach the highest possible standards of quality, taste and enjoyment. Receiving recognition from friends like you truly makes it all worthwhile.

As you may know, we have stopped producing Pepsi Edge. In the past, Pepsi has distributed this flavor in several markets, however it did not sell as well as we had hoped. At this point, there are no immediate plans to reintroduce this product; however, you can be assured that I will forward your comments to the appropriate individuals at Pepsi.

You may be interested in knowing that we have recently reformulated Pepsi One with a blend of Splenda and Ace-K. This product is one of our popular brands and in response to the overwhelming consumer request for a beverage made with Splenda, Pepsi One continues to deliver Great Cola Taste with only One Calorie. In consumer focus groups, this new formula was preferred.

For further information on Pepsi One, please visit our website at:


Again, many thanks for taking the time to contact us. We appreciate your friendship and support.

Suzanne Gooley
Consumer Relations Representative

OK, OK. I am sure you are wondering just where this post is heading.

"Where is the happiness and joy?" you ask.

Well, here it is. I was in Target today buying a few necessary- and a few not so necessary- items. I turned down the soda aisle to purchase Pepsi One and hope it would not taste like utter crap.

And there they were. Two, yes two, fridge packs of Pepsi Edge! Probably the last Pepsi Edge in the county, in the state, in the entire region! And they are mine! All mine! I'm so happy.

And they were on sale. *sigh* What a lovely day. (Yes, I know I will have to try the other stuff soon. Don't bring me down. No, no, no, no, no. WooHooHoo.)


Splash Park

Yesterday my neighbor & I took our kids to the Splash Park in town (Jody & Brenna joined us a bit later). What a GREAT idea for young kids! There are all kinds of sprinklers and fountains set on a huge cement slab for little ones to run through. I wish I had taken my camera, and I will next time so you all can see what I am talking about!

There was a circle of fountains about 3 feet across. Every couple of minutes, the fountain would stop, and the kids would get their faces close to the ground. My little one kept saying "Where are you, water?". Needless to say, he got sprayed in the face several times. We were there for an hour and a half, and the kids wanted to play more.

What a great alternative to the city pool, where you have to constantly watch to make sure they don't fall into the pool! Never mind it's so overcrowded it's ridiculous! And it was only a dollar each to get in. It's open at 10 AM, too, so you can still have afternoon naps. I wish they had a season pass, but at $3.00 a visit it's a bargain!


The Death of Common Sense

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Mr. Common Sense.

Mr. Sense had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such value lessons as knowing when to come in out of the rain, why the early bird gets the worm and that life isn't always fair. Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable parenting strategies (adults, not kids, are in charge).

His health began to rapidly deteriorate when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a six-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition. Mr. Sense declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer aspirin to a student; but, could not inform the parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Finally, Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten Commandments became contraband; churches became businesses; and criminals receivedbetter treatment than their victims.

Common Sense finally gave up the ghost after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, she spilled a bit in her lap, and was awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason. He is survived by two stepbrothers; My Rights and Ima Whiner.

Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

I know that I miss him. We could really use him in our local, state & national governments...


Karnival of the Kidz

>> Monday, June 06, 2005

Welcome to Iowa Geek and this week's Karnival of the Kidz. Below you will see the good, the bad and the ugly... WooHoo! Can't wait to get started; let's go!

As with any good beginning there should be rules . Straight from The Common Room. I can't believe we never tried this!

And, from Stemily, a rule that I think could be added to the list above: I told you so.

Another rule that holds true-for me, at least- from Tinker: don't eat the peas!

Lots of "oldies-but-goodies" sent in this week:
From Oddybobo comes a reminder about being the older sibling.
Harvey makes me wonder just what he has been photographing.
PrimoDonna sent in a lovely family photo circa 1977.
And from Practical Penumbra, a boy in a dress. I personally think the cat took a fine photo.

From the past to the present: ProcheinAmy shows us the unattended makeover. She's absolutely adorable, no matter what.
Army Wife Toddler Mom give us a lesson in anatomy. I think it explains alot!
Boudicca reminds us that children repeat everything; even if they don't really know what they are saying.
Jennifer shares photos of her beautiful children. Look at those grins! She is going to have her hands full as they get older!
Speaking of having full hands, Jen H here at Iowa Geek tell us us about taking her boys out to dinner.
And, if you haven't seen enough cuties cruise on over to One Happy Dog Speaks to see a couple of the cutest boys on earth.

And now something for those of you who are having baby cravings right about now. This might cure you. I begged Mama Duck to send this in. Ahh, cute yet volatile. Which leads perfectly in to my own submission so teasingly titled pooing for distance. Maybe I should have posted a warning on those last two? :)


Dinner Out

>> Sunday, June 05, 2005

We worked all day on the yard stuff again today. It's done and it looks pretty good.

I had something planned for dinner, but I didn't feel like cooking. We took the kids out to eat. What a trip! I can't remember life before this...we have to remind the kids to: use indoor voices in the restaurant, don't kick in your seat, don't take your brother's crayons, sit on your bottom, please don't make noise just to make noise...you get the picture.

They won't be this way forever. I'm glad, but in a way it's sad. They are so cute just the way they are!

Boys at(town) Maintenance open house Posted by Hello
Boys at (town) Maintenance open house Posted by Hello



>> Saturday, June 04, 2005

The UN has always maintained that Saddam had weapons of mass distruction. Since Saddam used them on his several groups of people, it wasn't a difficult position to take. Why do you think there were 17 resolutions between Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom? It was very ironic, indeed sickening, to listen to UN minions go on about how "wrong" President Bush was when it was the UN that was comprimised (cough...cough...Oil for Food contracts).

Now, it seems that, yes Saddam had at least 109 places to whip up WMDs.



Yard Work

Man, I hate spending money and time on landscaping. I know, I know. It improves the look of the yard. It can increase the resale value of your home.

We spent the morning at Menard's hauling edgers home. Three carloads (we don't own a truck). We will be replacing the plastic crap edging around our 15 x 19 deck, 2 flower beds and the mailbox post in the front yard. I know it will look nice when it's finished, but it's going to take a lot of work. Not just by the husband, but by me. CRAP. Better get to it!


C'Mon, everybody is doin' it

>> Friday, June 03, 2005

Monday is my turn to host Karnival of Kidz. Send the link for your kidz post to karnival(dot)kidz(at)gmail(dot)com. Or just go to the Carnival Submit Form and do it the easy way.

Be sure to get submissions in by Sunday at midnight! And then visit me Monday morning for links to make your Monday bearable!



I went garage-shopping this morning. I was going to say garage-saling, saleing, sailing... but didn't, for how do you spell it? Can you even add "ing" to sale? OK, beyond what to call it, I did wonderfully.

I only went to one sale; it advertised "Loads of baby stuff". I'm there. I arrived shortly after 8am, so I could get the good stuff. As I pulled up I wondered, "Hmmm, I wonder how much I can buy for $11." This is because I had $11 in my wallet. I forgot to stop for cash. (It's just crazy how organized I used to be. *sigh* No longer.

Now, when I thought of the "how much can I get" question I instantly thought of Marie over at PractiGal who plays the $20 game like a master.

Well, I spent $10.10. And here is what I got (all for Brenna, of course): 3 pair Baby Gap socks, 2 Baby Place fuzzy footie sleepers for winter, 1 two-piece hoodie sweater/pants outfit for winter, a hoodie shorts outfit from Baby Place, 2 Baby Place two-piece shorts outfits, a new-in-package Spongebob Squarepants message pad with pen (this is actually for my BIL) and one new-in-box three-shelf with wicker baskets storage unit for Brenna's room. (It still had it's original tag- $40. I got it for $6) Since it was new-in-the-box I had to assemble it. But who cares?!?! I got it for $6!!

A Bargain

Watch out, Marie!


Magnetic Ribbons

You can get a magnetic ribbon to support any cause, it seems. And, while this post is poking fun, I do want it to be known that my truck sports a "Support our Troops" ribbon and a "Freedom isn't Free" ribbon. Well, it did have 2 ribbons. Until yesterday. My "Freedom" ribbon seems to be missing.

Anyway, a quick check of eBay shows 161 items found under the search for "magnetic ribbons".

You can, of course, support the troops as well as individual branches of the military: the Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force.

You can honor Gulf War Vets and POW/MIAs.

You can show your support for Law Enforcement, American Firefighters and your local EMS.

Or you can call awareness to Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Breast Cancer, Adoption, and Organ Donation.

You can let people know you are aDomestic Violence Survivor or that you Support Greyhound Adoption.

You can tell everyone that you "heart" Football, Soccer and Basketball.

Or you can support your favorite team.

You can even choose to put Pope John Paul II ribbons on your car. Hmmm, WWJD?

You can, of course, choose to Support Yourself. Or ask Why Do You Care?.

But my favorite, by far, supports Magnetic Ribbons. I fell prey to the marketing and ordered a few of these. I just couldn't help myself. Because, honestly, that is who you are supporting with every purchase. (Jarod- I got one for you. To help hold the Cavalier together; along with the evil.)

This just proves, once again, that you really can find anything on eBay.


The Boston Globe

>> Thursday, June 02, 2005

Every once in a while the Boston Globe surprises me. Be sure to read the last 2 paragraphs.


For Mama Duck & Stemily

>> Wednesday, June 01, 2005

I remember how confused I was about Karnival of (insert topic here). Turns out it's pretty easy to join in.

For Karnival of the Kidz go here. You can submit in two very easy ways... by email or by using the handy Carnival Submission Form.

All you have to do is submit the blog post link by Sunday evening. Then, magically, on Monday your link will show up on someone's blog (next week it's mine) with a (hopefully) cute introduction to entice people to visit you and see your cute kidz, read your wonderful post, laugh at your great humor, shudder when they realize what may come their way... You get the drift.

If you go back to the Karnival of the Kidz site you can visit past Karnivals and get an idea of just what happens.

Give it a try. Just get your link in by Sunday- really, it's easy!- and I will do my best by you!


Scottish Judge Rules for Common Sense

Taken from The Scotsman.

A SCOTTISH judge yesterday dealt a devastating blow to the anti-smoking movement after dismissing a widow’s claim that a cigarette company was responsible for her husband’s death from lung cancer.

He added that Alfred McTear, a 60-a-day man who died aged 48 in 1993, had known, like the rest of the general public, of the health risks associated with smoking, but had chosen to ignore them.

Lord Nimmo Smith stated: "There is no breach of a duty of care on the part of a manufacturer if a consumer of the manufacturer’s product is harmed by the product, but the consumer knew of the product’s potential for causing harm prior to consumption of it.

"The individual is well enough served if he is given such information as a normally intelligent person would include in his assessment of how he wishes to conduct his life, thus putting him in the position of making an informed choice."

The article makes mention of recent lawsuits against the tobacco industry which have been won in the US and in Italy.

Although the article goes on and pinpoints other aspects of the case I think that the above statements are, finally, putting personal responsibility where it belongs; on the person. And I applaud the judge who made this ruling.

Anyone who has seen a pack of cigarettes is aware of the dangers of smoking. I feel that if you choose to smoke- knowing the risks- then the consequences are on you. You have made an informed decision; suck it up and live with it.

And now I will step down from my soapbox.

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