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

How to Spend a Rainy, Chilly Saturday: by Brenna

>> Saturday, April 29, 2006

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'Nuff said.


A Day Without Who?

>> Friday, April 28, 2006

I anyone else almost completely nuts over this illegal immigrant quagmire?

The state of Iowa has received notice of 40 businesses that will be closed Monday to honor National Day Without Immigrants.

I have two problems with the above statement. One: why isn't it being called what it really is- National Day Without Illegal Immigrants- and two: honor? What honor is there in breaking the law? Because if you are here illegally you are breaking the law. And if you employ illegal immigrants you are breaking the law. Where is the honor in either of those?

The California state senate has issued support for the walkout. I saw a quote in the article that really bothered me:

"It's one day ... for immigrants to tell the country peacefully, 'We matter ... (we're) not invisible,'" said Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, the resolution's chief author. She said immigrants make up a third of California's labor force and a quarter of its residents.

Now, that leads me to the question: are one quarter of California's labor force illegal? Or have some of them gone through the long and often tedious process of becoming citizens? I think the lines between illegal and legal immigrants are intentionally being blurred.

I personally don't think that the problem people have is with the immigrants themselves. We live in a great country with many opportunities and freedoms that we take for granted because we have always had them. Of course people want to come here!

I think that the problem the majority of Americans have with this is that our laws are being intentionally broken and the people who break them are being supported not only by those we depend on to uphold our laws but also by our tax dollars.

Laws are created for a reason and it is important that they be upheld. Period.

I can't get in to another country- including Mexico- without showing proper ID or passport and stating how long I plan to stay. If I were to overstay my visa I would surely be sent home the minute I was found. If I were to sneak across the southern border of the US I would be jailed immediately and I'm sure I wouldn't be offered any sort of welfare.

Why the double standard? Because we are Americans and should feel guilty for our freedoms and accomplishments? I believe people worked hard, risked their lives and died (and still do) for our country to be what it is. I know my ancestors did. Doug's did, too. What our country is was not free. Freedom isn't free. And if we, as a nation, are not careful, we will divide as we did 150 years ago and be facing another civil war.

It is important that we be Americans first and foremost.


Really, She Did!

>> Thursday, April 27, 2006

I swear Brenna just held up a ball, looked at me and said, "I've got this."

Now if she could just learn "I need to go potty."


A Necessary Day Away

Brenna and I took a much needed day away from home to visit my grandparent's farm in southwest Iowa. It's calving season and they had a new born in the barn. It didn't do much so Brenna's interest was short. Same with the pig. But she really liked the bigger cows in the pen. Her tiny stature spooked the cows and made them run and "moo". To which Brenna replied "boooo" and clapped her hands.

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We had great fun looking at animals and picking flowers with great-grandma. Unfortunately great-grandpa scared Brenna and she was leery of him for the entire visit. Not even a bowl of ice cream helped.

On the way home we stopped at DSW because I needed a pair of shoes for an event this Saturday. I also picked up a pair of cute, cute, cute go-with-anything sandals. I planned to wear them today and was a bit sad when Brenna wore them first.

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Is this a preview of things to come? If so we'll have a huge shoe collection. Poor Doug.


CIA Leakage

>> Wednesday, April 26, 2006

If you want to know more about the CIA leaker Mary McCarthy, this flow chart will give you a very good idea of what went on.

MajorChaz has already updated his flow chart.


Tuesday Blahs

>> Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Today has dawned cold and wet. After the warm and sunny weekend I feel like I need to pull out a sweater.

In perfect accordance with the day Brenna and I have no plans. We may stay in our lounging PJs all day long. Yep, I'm thinking TiVo'd episodes of Oprah, tea and shortbread cookies. Wait, I don't have any shortbread. Well, then, it will be bug shaped graham crackers.

Oh, and laundry, a phone call about an NRA questionnaire, laying ground plans for a house party, listing crap to sell on eBay, maybe I can get inspired to work on the as-yet-unfinshed scrapbook from our trip to Ireland.

We had "official" photos done for Doug's campaign.. Here are the two I chose:

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Luckily Brenna is cute...



Another Busy Weekend

>> Monday, April 24, 2006

Brenna has learned how to climb almost everything in the house- including our tall barstool type kitchen chairs. Nothing is safe from her little hands now. She tried to climb a heavy wood TV tray-type table on Saturday and pulled it over on top of her. She is sporting a bruise on her cheek. Luckily she's a tough little cookie and the tears lasted only for a few minutes.

Another mass mailing is on it's way out. Hours were spent addressing, folding, stuffing & stamping. And it's not quite finished. Our assistants- my family- were rewarded with grilled goodies, beverages and outdoor frolic. I'm not sure who had more fun- the kids playing or the adult boys hitting balls onto the roof of the house. And getting them stuck.

It's garage sale season. Brenna and I hit quite a few on Friday morning. Unfortunately I only found two outfits for her. We were "off season" for the sizes we wanted. The 18 month sizes were winter and the 24 month sizes were summer. We need just the opposite.

My sister, Jen, told me that she and her boys were talking about the new baby cousin they will have this fall. Jen told Carter that she thinks the baby is a boy. He told her that, "No, it's a girl." He is very adamant about it. I suppose we will see who is right in a few weeks. I imagine I will have another ultrasound around the beginning of June.

"Can you point your fingers and do the twist?" Gack! The Wiggles have permeated my mind! It is officially time to begin the day. Much to do... Places to go...


I Need Feedback!

>> Thursday, April 20, 2006

This morning's schedule included an event that was listed in the paper as "The Polk County Supervisor will meet with constituents over coffee at Hy Vee in (town) from 7:30-9 am".

OK, the way I understood that was: The public is welcome to come and speak with the county supervisor; ask question, raise issues, that sort of thing, between 7:30 and 9 am.

We arrived shortly after 8 as Brenna slept in today. (I, of course, was up early as Murphy's Law rules in this house)

What we found was this: A table filled with what felt like the "Ol' Boys Network" where myself and my adorable munchkin weren't really included. The supervisor had what appeared to be an agenda of what he wanted to talk about in front of him. There wasn't anyone there who wasn't in a suit (except us).

It felt like a board meeting and we were tardy. Again, not at all what I expected. If Doug hadn't already known the county supervisor I wouldn't have dared to approach that table because it felt so closed to "outsiders".

Which made me wonder if that is how most people under 50 feel about politics? Do you feel shut out or like you are not made to belong? Would you like to be more involved but you don't feel included when you try? Do you feel like "their" issues aren't "your" issues?

I actually addressed the age issue in Doug's latest mailing:

Interestingly enough my age has been a topic of conversation. Both my Republican Primary challenger and the Democratic candidate are quite a bit older than I am. Most comments have been positive and many people are excited to see someone younger with a desire to serve. I have, however, heard, “With age comes experience”. My response to that is, “With experience comes experience”.

If you have visited my website you already know that I spent 10 years in the military. I enlisted in the Iowa National Guard at age 17. In 1989 I transferred to the Active Duty Army and was stationed with the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. I served in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq during Desert Storm and was honored to be selected Soldier of the Year in 1991. In 1994 I was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, E Company/ 52nd Infantry (Airborne)(Long Range Surveillance) where I became the Company Training Noncommissioned Officer (NCO).

When I left the Army I was able to step into a good civilian job in Dallas, Texas. Upon returning to Iowa I started my own consulting business and have designed computer programs for many companies in a variety of industries around Des Moines. It is a job that I love. I figure things out, solve problems, build the solution and make peoples' jobs easier and more profitable.

The experiences I have had in my life have proven invaluable. The Army taught me to become a leader, learning from those more experienced than I. My job in consulting has taught me to solve problems and create the best possible solutions. Everything that I have learned has prepared me for this next step- being elected to the State Senate.

(If you would like to read the letter in it's entirety let me know. I'll be happy to send it out via email or post)

Any thoughts on this? I surely can't be the only one who feels this way. What can we do to get more people involved and to make ourselves heard as well?

If you don't want to comment on the blog please email me. I really want to know what you think!


One Big Mistake- And Lots of Photos

>> Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I had planned to post Easter photos yesterday but as I was finishing some campaign work I made a terrible mistake. Practically unforgivable in my mind.

You see, I was working on two files: one was our master mailing/donation list and the other was a "points" system the party uses to keep track of what you are doing. I finished the mailing list, closed and saved. Then I finished the "points" list, clicked and saved it... as the mailing list.

There was NO WAY TO FIX WHAT I DID! I really screwed it up. So I had to call the bank to get all my deposit information and reconstruct my mailing list from the partial archives we had saved and from the saved merged mailing documents we had.

I've got it back to as close to correct as I can. And you can be sure that I will not be making that mistake again. No more multitasking on campaign stuff.

Speaking of multitasking...

I used any method available to keep Brenna on the potty. One day I attempted to file her toenails. She wasn't too impressed with my attempt but she enjoys doing it herself. Anything to keep her sitting...

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We are still working on potty training. Once she gets her mind around it we will be set. She is stubborn that way. Right now she will bring me clean pants when she is wet or dirty. Now we just have to get to the potty before the messy stuff happens.

And now Easter goodies. An outfit, complete with Easter bonnet, puzzles, egg shaped sidewalk chalk and a small, hollow chocolate bunny.
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Ummm, what am I supposed to do now?
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This looks like fun!
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Hunting eggs at grandma's.
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I got some Wonka Zero Gravity eggs. See the orange thing on the bird feeder? Brenna saw it- but couldn't reach it.
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Look at that cute basket. It's collapsible. Pretty cool, huh?
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Brenna came home with plenty of goodies.... Chocolate, jelly beans, gummy things... Oh my!


Happy Easter!

>> Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter!!!

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From the Brenna Bunny


Brenna's Big Day

>> Thursday, April 13, 2006

Des Moines has a small zoo. They are trying to make it bigger and better but, right now, it is a small zoo. Which makes it perfect for Brenna to walk through- no stroller necessary.

The wallabys and emus are in a walk-through habitat. Which is cool- if you can keep kids on the path. There is a spot with a bench that is 3/4 enclosed. Here you see Brenna looking at the critters.
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And here she is running down the path. Freedom!!! It was gorgeous and sunny, hence the hat. It didn't last, though. Thank goodness for Water Babies sunscreen in a stick!
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We are, after all, in Iowa, so we must have a farm type petting zoo. The pygmy goats were roaming and they were just the right size. Brenna walked right up to them and petted. She was much more brave than some of the bigger kids we saw there.
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Here she is climbing the steps to view the sea lions and the leopard seal. We got to see the sea lion feeding. Brenna clapped when they splashed in the water and swam in front of us.
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Here we are on the same level as the giraffe. I think she was more impressed with the steps she had to climb than the giraffe.
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But by far her favorite thing to do was to climb the benches. It's not easy when they are 3/4 of your height.
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After the zoo we met daddy for lunch at McDonalds. (Just a side note: skip the salads. I try to be good but the wilted lettuce just doesn't appeal to me.) Then a loooooong nap.



Big Announcement!!!

>> Wednesday, April 12, 2006

If you are in the vicinity of Des Moines tomorrow around 3pm tune in to Mac's World during the 3 o'clock hour. Doug will be on discussing, well, political stuff. I'm sure he will be taking calls: 515-312-0983 or 866-908-talk (8255).


Let's Just Say I'm Frugal

>> Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The majority of my maternity clothes were loaned to me by my sister. And, let me tell you, I am grateful. The cost of maternity clothes is outrageous. I am having trouble wrapping my mind around spending loads of money on clothing that will only fit for 6 months. Or, in the case of summer clothes, 3 months.

Unfortunately I am finding that the clothes that it me at this stage last pregnancy do not fit the same this time. Silly me, I didn't know that I would show more quickly the second time around.

The last time I was pregnant Doug was very active with the Republican party and the 2004 elections. I accompanied him to a few events but nothing like we are attending now. Which means that the very casual maternity wardrobe I have is a bit too casual for many outings. Which means, obviously, that I need new clothes.

And, though I love shopping for shoes, bags and accessories, I despise clothes shopping. Unfortunately I don't have much choice in the matter. A-shopping-I-will-go, A-shopping-I-will-go, To-the-store-to-spend-galore, A-shopping-I-will-go.


Not Much to Report

>> Monday, April 10, 2006

I was awake at 4am with a headache and an active mind. That sucks. What was on my mind, you ask? Well, since there is nothing to report I will tell you.

The campaign is always on my mind. I am overwhelmed by everything that I need to try to do. There just isn't enough time for me to do what needs done. In all honesty I think that elections and the money necessary is out of control. I have nixed quite a few things we would like to have in favor of yard signs. I ordered Doug out to door knock every free moment possible for face time as we are going to be greatly outspent by our primary opponent. Which cuts family time. Brenna goes with sometimes but she is in no way good for more than a couple of hours.

Another thing on my mind was a park that Brenna & I walk to. It is across a street with a 40 mph speed limit and no marked crosswalk. With the growth of our town there are two large housing developments on the west side of the street and the park is on the east. More and more families are moving in and I think a speed limit change and a crosswalk are needed. So I was thinking about that... Do I need to contact city hall? Do I have to make a request of the city council?

And then my mind went back to the campaign...

About 5:43am Brenna began to babble and laugh to herself. As I was falling asleep she began coughing, no doubt because we played outside yesterday and she was a bit stuffy. I was. Doug brought her downstairs and she snuggled in beside me.

And for a few minutes all was right with the world. Until the alarm went off- the coffee maker began grinding beans- and it was officially time to wake up.



>> Friday, April 07, 2006

Honestly, can the IRS be any more A) confusing B) un-helpful C) unknowing of their jobs?

I called the IRS to get an EIN number. The first person I spoke to, although she could "give me no advice" was giving me advice and wouldn't let me name the "entity" what I wanted to name it and transferred me.

The second person I spoke to said that I should be able to name it whatever I wanted to and transferred me again to technical support.

The tech guy- who was rude- said that he didn't handle my problem and has transferred me again.

So now I am waiting... waiting... waiting...

Hey, the fourth person I spoke to told me that I can do this online and get the number immediately. Now why didn't anyone else bother to tell me that?

I hope I do this right....


Need a Brenna Buzz?

Today dawned so bright and spring-like that when Brenna picked out her new pink slip-ons I dressed her to match the shoes. Now the day is turning grey but we are perky and dressed for happiness. She is even wearing a clippie in her hair. Awww....

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Brenna has graduated to her "big girl bed". She has spent the last two nights sleeping in it without incident. Yea, big girl!!!

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And what fun is a "big girl bed" if you can't hop in it? (Click photo below for video)

Yes, I know I should teach her not to hop on her bed but, honestly, it's so cute!



>> Thursday, April 06, 2006

Massachusetts has just shot themselves in the foot. Romney had presidential ambitions, but I'm sure we can kiss that goodbye after this boondoggle.


I Have Returned

It's been a busy few days. And I won't lie- without my laptop I really don't like being on the computer. It's all what you get used to, I guess, and the desktop keyboards are just different enough that I can't type quickly or well.

I've been working on Doug's hand-out for door-to-door introductions and making calls to get him in front of "major donors". Funny story: I was calling and a "major donor" in our town owns a rather large car dealership. I'll just say that the dealership uses his first name, which begins with a "K" and sells vehicles that are "Like A Rock".I identified myself to the receptionist and was transferred and heard a very gruff "Hello" and I got out "Hi, this is Jody with **** for Senate..." and he hung up on me. How freakin rude! At least have the decency to blow me off!

Yesterday began on a sad note, though, as I had to have my cat Chelsea put down. We knew it was coming, she had been sick for a few months and was losing weight rapidly though she ate like a small horse. I have had animals put down before and it is usually a bit traumatic, so I really like what this vet did: they sedated her first so she fell peacefully to sleep and then gave her the euthanizing drugs. And they made a clay pawprint for me to bring home. Thoughtful.

On our run across town to pick up my computer we met Merrit at World Market- both of us killing time. Brenna played shy for a few minutes and we wandered the store wishing we had large disposable incomes.

As for today, I have calls to make and I have to set a time with Mac at 98.3 WOW FM for Doug to be on the show. He has promised us half an hour. I'll be sure to let you all know when the big day will be.

And tonight Brenna gets to hang with her cousins while Doug & I enjoy a benefit dinner at the Tournament Club in Polk City. I hope we don't have to eat rubber chicken...


Right Brothers on the Radio

>> Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Mac from "Mac's World" on WOW 98.3 wants to air some of "The Right Brothers" material a little after 3pm today. If you are in central Iowa, be sure to tune in 98.3!


The Right Brothers

>> Monday, April 03, 2006

You have to see this

I have ordered the full set. You should too.


April Fools (Mon)Day

Oh, lord.

It all began Saturday, April 1. I was set and ready to begin the big project for the day- a mass mailing to beg for campaign $$. I open my laptop to... the BLUE SCREEN OF DEATH! AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!! I try turning it off, removing the battery, rebooting; all to no avail. So Brenna and I are off to visit the Geek Squad at Best Buy. (Side note: people line up outside Best Buy on Saturday mornings. Why?) The Geek starts the computer, does some fancy finger work and determines that something is running in the background and not letting the computer run. Thanks, genius, I knew that. Then I am told that it will be 4 days for them to do the check. Four days. I would have taken it somewhere else but I have a warranty thru Best Buy and if it is a hardware problem they fix it free. I really hope it is some stupid virus that Norton didn't catch because I hadn't backed up my photos and a couple other things to the external since January.

So everything had to be done from the bar computer and the 3 computers on Doug's desk. Yes, three. Well, two monitors are hooked up to the same CPU, but still. So my "good" printer had to be loaded to the network, printing had to be done, envelopes had to be labeled (by hand because it is more "personal"), stuffed and stamped. Jen, Jarod & Amanda came over and lended a hand (literally) and it was done by 6pm. Whew!

Sunday was "off" because of Daylight Savings. I'm not sure why we still have DST. When most of the country was farming it made sense, now it just doesn't make so much sense. We all gathered in the evening for my father's birthday at The Machine Shed. Thru wind and rain and tornado warning we ventured out. Yep, not much stops us from eating.

And today. I had an appointment with my OB. My mom was going to meet me there as Doug is teaching today and couldn't join me to watch Brenna. That all fell apart when Doug tried to leave and the car made an awful sound- and smell. So he took the truck and I had the mechanic come get the car. Now, how do I get to my appointment? I call my mom and ask if she can take us. She can't get the carseat in her car as it is full of chairs for my aunt, but she can come out and watch Brenna & I can take her car to the Dr. Whew! Thanks, Mom!

And now, if you have stuck through all that, I will thank you by sharing the good news from the OB. My test results for Downs Syndrome and T18 show a 0.02% chance of either problem. Much less than "normal" for my age group. I gained 7 lbs this past month, which is good since I didn't gain much the first trimester due to nausea.

Here's hoping that the run of bad luck ended at two and the rest of the week will be uneventful!

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