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

Halloween Fun

>> Monday, October 31, 2005

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

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



>> Sunday, October 30, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


All Is Well, Baby

>> Thursday, October 27, 2005

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

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

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

Here is Gupp getting a "bath":

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

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


Utilities and competition

>> Wednesday, October 26, 2005

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

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

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


Protect Their Feelings at All Costs

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

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

Anyway, my point.

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

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

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

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


Happy Birthday, Baby!

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

Here is the post Doug did right after she was born

And here is the post I did when I arrived home

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


Value Iowa

>> Tuesday, October 25, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


I Really Meant to Do This Earlier

>> Monday, October 24, 2005

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

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

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

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

I love you.


It Was A Party

>> Sunday, October 23, 2005

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

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

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

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She turned out quite nicely, no?

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

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Mommy & Daddy help blow out the candle:

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YUM! Good cake!

Want some?

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


Spending Restraint

>> Friday, October 21, 2005

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

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

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

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


Musings of a Crazed Insomniac

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


As Close to Schmoopy as I Can Get...

>> Wednesday, October 19, 2005

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

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

And here's one from my husband

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

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


Schmoopy Post

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the classic schmmopy post: Meet Brenna Clare.

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


Do I Really Need A Title?

>> Tuesday, October 18, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Policy posts

>> Monday, October 17, 2005

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

10/25/2005: Value Iowa

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

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

Meeting VP Cheney

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

Iowa Values Fund
Iowa Values Fund Redux


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

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

Cognitive Disconnect

Biased story about military job satisfaction

Armed self-defense

Computer security

My thoughts on cuts at a national level

Blogging, the new media

Delay and more cuts

Social Security

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


An Announcement

>> Sunday, October 16, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Punkin Patch

Warning: Many photos ahead!

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

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

>> Saturday, October 15, 2005

On this day four years ago, after many hours of labor, we were blessed with our first baby boy. Today he's such a grown up little guy!

We're off to do birthday things. Have a wonderful day!


Via Powerlineblog

>> Thursday, October 13, 2005

The case against Delay looks like this...


It aint about the war

Gold Falcon tells us about when "he got it"


Kerry Unfit

The after action review of Kerry vs. the SwiftVets


Did I Mention?

>> Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Have I shared the fact that Brenna is walking? No? Where was my head?

Yep, the weekend we were away with family, while Mommy was in town, Brenna stood and walked 3 feet or so to get a toy truck that her cousin had been playing with. None of this 2 or 3 steps stuff... noooo, not my daughter.

However I don't think that she really knew that she did it for we can't get a repeat performance. Oh, she'll walk everywhere holding fingers or with her hippo. Today she even walked while holding a toy truck up, but she must be holding something.

I packed away the bottles last night. Sippy cups all the way, now. Man, she's so big...

Here's a fun fact:

The phrase, "The rabbit died," came to be a euphemism for a positive pregnancy test in the late 1920 and early 1930s. Around 1927 it was discovered that if you injected the urine of a pregnant woman into a rabbit, there would be corpora hemorrhagica in the ovaries of the rabbit. These bulging masses on the ovaries could not be seen with out killing the rabbit to inspect the ovaries, so invariably, every rabbit died, even if the woman wasn't pregnant.

Just a bit of trivia in case that phrase pops up in the future. However no rabbits will be harmed (not to worry Mama Duck).


I Wondered When This Would Happen

My grocery store recently remodeled and added a Starbucks.

Today I saw that some of the shopping carts have cup holders.

I wondered when that would happen.


$100,000 Reward- Part 2

>> Tuesday, October 11, 2005

An Update: Within 48 hours of last week's show (my summary here)two accused child molesters had been turned in to the FBI. One was in Belize. Oprah has a long reach. She has photos on her site of child molesters at large; those who have posted bond but not shown up for trial and are not on any registry. Do you recognize any of these men?

Des Moines has expanded the areas where sex offenders can't live. While I applaud the thoughts behind this I just don't see it working the way the council envisions. These scum can still visit the restricted areas. Nothing can stop them from using the parks, trails or pools. Tougher jail sentences; punish these people. This is a nuisance, nothing more.


Brenna's First First Birthday

>> Monday, October 10, 2005

No, that is not a typo. Brenna is having two birthday parties. Sunday was the first one.

As I have mentioned before, one side of Doug's family gathers monthly to celebrate birthdays. As we have 2 birthdays in our house this month, we hosted.

Brenna raked in lots of adorable clothes- and no toys! Yea!

Make A Wish

Mmmm... frosting
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Just in case you're wondering, we had multi-hued poo today. It was lovely. C'mon, I know all you moms out there were wondering.

OK, this has nothing to do with her birthday. Here is my one-socked wonder & her faithful dog, Toby.
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Sick of Hockey Talk?

If not go visit my newest post about season ticket options.

If you are give me some time & I'll have pictures up of Brenna eating birthday cake!



>> Saturday, October 08, 2005

Just a quick post as I dash about.

We had a big garage sale today here at Casa Geek. Much of Friday was spent preparing; today was spent having. It began at 8, we were trying to set things up about 7:15 and people were waiting as we brought out boxes. We made about $400 between the 4 families, not too shabby.

Tomorrow is a big birthday bash here for the September & October birthdays on Doug's mother's side of the family. It's a tradition. Everyone gathers about once a month to celebrate all the birthdays of that month. There are 5 tomorrow- including Brenna's first birthday & Doug's. Hence, the celebration is here. I am making a big dinner. I have no idea how many people to actually expect. UGH!

I am exhausted. I think I'm going to turn my brain off and watch mind-numbing TV until I fall asleep. Up early tomorrow to hit the market.


Stars On Ice

>> Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lest you think the title refers to ice dancing or something else lame like that go and check out my second post for the Des Moines Register.

Hey! Look at the front page of the Des Moines Register Online. My name.... HeeHeeHee! "Jody's blog post..."


I just got an email from my contact at the Register:

Thought you might be interested in this nugget:

Today's 15 most-viewed article pages at DesMoinesRegister.com as of 2 p.m.

1. Library official lauded for role in rescue
2. ISU kicking game is in good hands
3. Iowa tries to get grip on Purdue 'D'
4. Realtor on trial blames case on ex-worker
5. Train your brain with Brain Gym techniques
6. Right's attacks on nominee 'despicable,' Harkin says
7. Update: Amber alert issued for Ottumwa girl
8. Iowa's 'ice age' arrives as Stars make history downtown
9. Dateline Iowa
10. Iowa Stars hockey blog

Thanks again!

Randy B.

I'm sure it has nothing at all to do with my friends stopping by to check it out... Thanks, everyone!!!


Happy Birthday, Daddy Geek!

Break out the wine & stack the presents, it's Doug's birthday!

The beautiful Brenna made a card (with Mommy's help) that he took to work and I gave him one that he had to leave at home (content not appropriate for public viewing).

Help yourself to some cake, drink some wine & don't forget to wish Doug a Happy Birthday!


$100,000 Reward

For those of you who didn't catch Oprah the other day, she did a show about child abduction, molestation and murder. At the end of the program she offered a $100,000 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest of fugitive child molesters.

I understand her passion about this, I think we all do. Especially after what recently happened here in Des Moines.

In my mind no punishment is too harsh for those who hurt a child. Recently Florida passed the Jessica Lunsford Act which gives a mandatory sentence of 25 years to life to convicted child molesters and, if the piece of scum (my words, not Florida's) doesn't die in jail, upon release he (or she, heaven forbid I be sexist) is required to wear a tracking device for the remainder of his life. I just read that Iowa will be doing this, too.

I remember people being up in arms about this law, saying that it violated the civil rights of the felon. Hmmm, what about the rights of the child who was raped, tortured and killed? It seems like victims have no rights in the eyes of the law, or many fewer than the felons. These children are scarred for life... if they are allowed to live. In my mind, after you take the life of someone you give up yours. Literally or figuratively, I don't care. But you should not be allowed to breathe free air again. Ever.

Washington State has McNeil Island,a psychiatric facility where violent predators who are likely to reoffend are sent after their prison terms are completed. This facility is, of course, constantly under fire for violating the civil rights of released prisoners. Now, again, these are people who are likely to reoffend. Do you want them out in your neighborhoods? Let's put them in the neighborhoods of the lawyers who are so worried about their rights.

Child rapists and murderers don't deserve three strikes. One is too many. Restrictions on where these people should be allowed to live is not the answer; they can easily walk, drive, or take a bus to anyplace they choose. I'm not even sure a monitor (via the state of Florida) is the answer: What happens when that felon moves out of Florida? Yes, they have to register on their new state's list, fat lot of good that does. Many states don't have the resources to keep track of all these people. And more money won't fix the problem; it never does.

Let's just do this right the first time: Hurt a child- go to jail. Period. For no less than 25 years; life if the child was killed. (Florida got that part right) In general population. It's funny, but prison has a hierarchy and child molesters are at the bottom. Even the most heinous criminals find child molesters repugnant. Anyone remember what happened to Jeffrey Dahmer when he was put into general population? No less than he deserved, in my mind. No less than any of them deserve...


What A Weekend

>> Wednesday, October 05, 2005

We all survived the weekend. 12 people, 1 house, 3 bathrooms (plus 1 half bath) and a big kitchen.

Everyone arrived Friday evening and settled in; set up the pack & plays for the babies, inflatable beds for Jen's boys, ate pizza.

The guys built a fire and we sat around it, talking and enjoying a few adult beverages. Until the owner of the red wagon (that would be me) had a thought... "Who is drunk enough to ride in the wagon down the hill?"

Turns out drunkenness wasn't necessary and my sister jumped into the wagon & down the hill she went! Fun ensued... until the wheels got stuck in a hole and bent. Luckily they were able to be bent back into place. But no more wagon rides for the big kiddies.

Our paternal grandmother came out and spent much of Saturday with us. My SIL &GFIL went in to town (big town, one flashing light...). We had a great time in an antique/consignment store, and a riot in the Dollar General buying cheapie toys for the boys... and the children. Light-up spinners, slingshot airplanes, punch-balloons.

We grilled meat over fire for dinner and played games that evening as it was beginning to rain, which really negates sitting by the fire drinking.

Big breakfast on Sunday; pancakes (buttermilk & pumpkin), eggs & bacon. YUM! Back in to town to meat our other grandparents for lunch & then home. To rest.

It's amazing how exhausting "getting away" can be!

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The first wagon ride. Doesn't it look like we've lit her on fire? TeeHee!!

Saturday sunrise.

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Saturday sunset overlooking the church at Lesanville.


A Few Changes

>> Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Last week we got a very disgusting comment on a post of the Princess's shopping. It was enough to cause me to make a few changes. I had Doug remove our last name & location from the blog, and I have removed my email and profile. If anyone wants to contact me and doesn't have my email just leave a message in the comments & I'll get back to you.

I'm sure it was just a random asshole, but it was enough to freak me out a bit. Unfortunately Haloscan doesn't have a way to block anonymous messages. We got his IP... if he comes back we'll be able to track him down. Don't f**k with a geek, loser.

I'll continue to post photos of the Princess...I know that many of you need them to get through your week.


Iowa Ice Pigs?

>> Monday, October 03, 2005

OK, all, here is my first post for the Des Moines Register Iowa Stars Hockey blog. Go. Enjoy. Laugh a little.

It's late. I'm going to bed. Where did my day go?


The Bad Uncle Hosts KOK

And this may be the last one. Go here, have a laugh, and enjoy the kiddos.

And if you have the time to devote to the Karnival, let VW know by email at onehappydog (at)gmail (dot)com. I wish I could, but I barely have time for my own blog...


Sometimes It's What You Say

>> Sunday, October 02, 2005

Too funny not to share:

Lars tagged me for this. One of the questions was Five Greatest Joys. I said hockey because I have front row tickets to opening night for the new Iowa Stars.

Today, long after we got home, unpacked, bathed Brenna & put her to bed, I checked my email and found this:

Hi Jody,

This is Randy Brubaker. I work for the Des Moines Register and handle the news operations for DesMoinesRegister.com.

I was trolling the web the Friday night, searching for blogs written by Iowans, just to see what's out there. And I stumbled across your family blog and was intrigued by your "five greatest joys" list -- specifically the fact that it included your visit to the Iowa Stars game this week.

Which leads me to an offer: We have a handful of blogs that have launched at the Register site in the past month, and one of them is an Iowa Stars blog.
You can check them out at:


We're looking for community members to blog for us, in addition to Register staffers. Our books blog is written by a woman in NE Iowa who doesn't work for the paper, for example. With the sports blogs, however, we've unconventionally rotated the bloggers during each week. You can see on the Iowa and ISU football blogs how that works.

I wondered if you'd be interested in writing for the Iowa Stars hockey blog a couple of times this week? Specifically, once on Tuesday, writing about what you're looking forward to and why? Then posting again on Friday after the game with your "review" of the game, the team, the arena. It wouldn't matter whether it's about hockey per se, or about the experience at large.
We're really just looking for someone who is going to the game and articulate to share their insights.

I realize this is a bit of a random request. I'd be happy to talk to you on Monday if you have questions or "talk" by email if that works better, too.

Thanks for considering.

Randy Brubaker
Assistant managing editor/online

Sure, I can do that. Stay tuned. We'll see if I thank Lars or not...

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