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

Good news, bad news

>> Wednesday, November 30, 2005

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

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

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

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


Frank Rich's War

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

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


Is Today Over Yet?

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

The rest of the day has not fared so well.

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

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

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


Ruby Tuesday?

>> Tuesday, November 29, 2005

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, Monday

>> Monday, November 28, 2005

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

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


Pictures From Ireland

>> Friday, November 25, 2005

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


Black Friday

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

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

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

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


Home Sweet Home... For Another Week

>> Wednesday, November 23, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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


We're Back

>> Monday, November 21, 2005

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

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

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

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

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


Today in Ireland

>> Friday, November 18, 2005

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

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

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More From Ireland

>> Thursday, November 17, 2005

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

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


Every day is different....

>> Tuesday, November 15, 2005

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

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

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


Ireland Day 1

>> Monday, November 14, 2005

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

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

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

View from Bunratty Meadows.

Bunratty Castle.


Brenna shopping in her new cape.

The simple joys of a swing.

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



>> Saturday, November 12, 2005

Ta-Ta for now.

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

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


To Our Great Veterans

>> Friday, November 11, 2005

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

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


An Eventful Day

>> Thursday, November 10, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hockey Talk

>> Tuesday, November 08, 2005

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


No F**king Way!!!

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

As promised, here are the pictures...

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


Sunday Can't Come Soon Enough

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

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

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

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

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

Photos of the truck later!



>> Sunday, November 06, 2005

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

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

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

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

A huge buck ran right into the truck.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Checkin' In

>> Thursday, November 03, 2005

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

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

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

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

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

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