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

Oh, This Is Good

>> Tuesday, January 31, 2006

If you haven't visited my brother at One Brick Shy you should go there for this.

I suppose it really is all about perspective.


Manny the Feet

>> Monday, January 30, 2006

Sounds like a mobster, right? Nope, that's my youngest trying to say Nanny McPhee; as in the new movie. "Wook, Mommy, it's Manny the Feet". I tried to correct him, but to no avail.

Five of us give Manny the Feet 10 thumbs up! It was a very entertaining family movie!


$2 Bill

I got this from my grandmother. The email says that the story is true. Even if it's not it is funny!

The $2 Bill. Everyone should start carrying them!

Many of today`s youth are terribly challenged without a computer to tell them what to do!! The story is funny.
Lack of education is not funny!! But, how many youth have seen a $2 bill?

On my way home from work, I stopped at Taco Bell for a quick bite to eat. In my billfold are a $50 bill and a $2 bill. I figure that with a $2 bill, I can get something to eat and not have to worry about anyone getting irritated at me for trying to break a $50 bill.

Me: "Hi, I'd like one seven-layer burrito please, to go."

Server: "That'll be $1.04. Eat in?"

Me: "No, it's to go." At this point, I open my billfold and hand him the $2 bill. He looks at it kind of funny.

Server: "Uh, hang on a sec, I'll be right back."

He goes to talk to his manager,who is still within my earshot.

The following conversation occurs between the two of them: Server:
"Hey,you ever see a $2 bill?"

Manager: "No. A what?"

Server:"A $2 bill.This guy just gave it to me."

Manager: "Ask for something else. There's no such thing as a $2 bill."

Server: "Yeah, thought so"

He comes back to me and says, "We don't take these. Do you have anything else?"

Me:"Just this fifty.You don't take $2 bills? Why?"

Server: "I don't know."

Me: "See here where it says legal tender?"

Server: "Yeah."

Me: "So, why won't you take it?"

Server: "Well, hang on a sec."

He goes back to his manager, who has been watching me like I'm a shoplifter, and says to him, "He says I have to take it."

Manager: "Doesn't he have anything else?"

Server: "Yeah, a fifty. I'll get it and you can open the safe and get change "

Manager: "I'm not opening the safe with him in here."

Server: "What should I do?"

Manager: "Tell him to come back later when he has real money."

Server: "I can't tell him that! You tell him."

Manager: "Just tell him."

Server: "No way! This is weird. I'm going in back."

The manager approaches me and says, "I'm sorry, but we don't take big bills this time of night."

Me: "It's only seven o'clock! Well then, here's a two dollar bill."

Manager: "We don't take those, either."

Me: "Why not?"

Manager: "I think you know why."

Me: "No really, tell me why."

Manager:"Please leave before I call mall security."

Me: "Excuse me?"

Manager: "Please leave before I call mall security."

Me: "What on earth for?"

Manager: "Please, sir."

Me: "Uh, go ahead, call them."

Manager: "Would you please just leave?"

Me: "No."

Manager: "Fine -- have it your way then."

Me: "Hey, that's Burger King, isn't it?"

At this point, he backs away from me and calls mall security on the phone around the corner. I have two people staring at me from the dining area, and I begin laughing out loud, just for effect. A few minutes later this 45-year-oldish guy comes in.

Guard: "Yeah, Mike, what's up?"

Manager (whispering): "This guy is trying to give me some (pause) funny money."

Guard: "No kidding! What?"

Manager: "Get this .. a two dollar bill."

Guard (incredulous): "Why would a guy fake a two dollar bill?"

Manager: "I don't know. He's kinda weird. He says the only other thing he has is a fifty."

Guard: "Oh, so the fifty's fake!"

Manager: "No, the two dollar bill is."

Guard: "Why would he fake a two dollar bill?"

Manager: "I don't know! Can you talk to him, and get him out of here?"

Guard: "Yeah."

Security Guard walks over to me and......

Guard: "Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you're trying to use"

Me: "Uh, no."

Guard: "Lemme see 'em."

Me: "Why?"

Guard: "Do you want me to get the cops in here?"

At this point I am ready to say, "Sure, please!" but I want to eat, so I say "I'm just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this two dollar bill.

I put the bill up near his face, and he flinches like I'm taking a swing at him. He takes the bill, turns it over a few times in his hands, and says, Hey, Mike, what's wrong with this bill?"

Manager: "It's fake."

Guard: "It doesn't look fake to me."

Manager: "But it's a two dollar bill."

Guard: "Yeah?"

Manager:"Well, there's no such thing,is there?"

The security guard and I both look at him like he's an idiot, and it dawns on the guy that he has no clue.

So, it turns out that my burrito was free, and he threw in a small drink and some of those cinnamon thingies, too.

Made me want to get a whole stack of two dollar bills just to see what happens when I try to buy stuff. If I got the right group of people, I could probably end up in jail. You get free food there, too!


Completely, Wonderfully Average

>> Friday, January 27, 2006

On the growth chart, anyway. Brenna's 15 month well baby visit was today and she is right on target. 22 lbs 4 oz; 30 1/2 inches tall and a head circumference of 18 inches. All directly on the 50th percentile of the growth chart.

Of course she excels at everything else. :)

She is currently working on jumping. She can bend the legs and push herself up, up, up. But the feet don't really quite leave the ground.

Running is almost mastered. Sometimes her feet tangle together and she falls down. She will sit up and look quizzically at her feet, expecting them to tell her what happened. When they refuse to answer she is back up and on the move again.

Stacking blocks is a fun new pasttime but maybe not so fun as pushing them over.

Favorite nighttime games include turning light switches on and off and putting change in her piggy bank. Mommy & Daddy clap and say "Yea Brenna!" which always gets a laugh from her.


So... What Does an Editor Do?

>> Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm actually beginning to wonder.

As many of you recall I had a bit of an issue last week with the misspelling of our name in the article about Doug running for state senate.

I cooled down relatively quickly (for me) and was able to laugh about today's screw up.

Oh, there was a correction in today's paper; it was even at the top of the front page. Today's screw up comes courtesy of the same company but different paper. Today Doug's announcement was listed twice. Once on page 6 and once on page 12. Correctly on page 6 and incorrectly on page 12.

Complete incompetence on the editor's part.

Not one to let things go- and with my sister's prodding (her best friend's husband, BTW, is the publisher of these papers)- I called the paper to report the error. And what I found out was this:

The incorrect article was sent over by the other paper. When I sent in the correct information a new article was created. And the old article was left in.

Now I don't know about you but shouldn't an editor notice that?

Ah, well. Any publicity is good publicity (as Bubbi says).


More Pilates

>> Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Let me just say that my abs feel a bit warm.

Now, this is called the disk bend...
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And this, despite what your esteemed yoga instructors have taught you, is "Child's Pose"
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Ignore the date, I was too lazy to set my camera.

This concludes your pilates class for today.


My New Pilates Partner

>> Monday, January 23, 2006

In my effort at exercise I popped in a pilates DVD this morning. It has 5 different workouts- abs, arms, legs & buns, flexability and "burn"- each 10 minutes long. I like the premise of this, do as much or as little as you want.

So this morning I lay out my purple yog mat, supply Brenna with milk & apple-cinnamon Cheerios and in goes the DVD.

I lay down on the mat and begin my stretching.

Brenna, seeing "Mommy down", walkes toward me, turns, backs up and sits on my stomach. Oooff!

The 10 minutes of workout probably resulted in 5 minutes of actual exercise. I stretch, she pulls. I lift & lower my legs, she thinks it looks like a fun ride. I twist, she hangs on. But I figure that with the added Brenna weight I got a full workout.

I can just see it: Baby & Me Pilates. It's gotta be coming.


Calmer Today

>> Thursday, January 19, 2006

I had actually toyed with taking down yesterday's post, but since State 29 so kindly linked to it, I'm leaving it up.

Today was Thursday; play day at the local gymnastics school. I took the camera along and want to share a bit of the fun.

Just look at all the fun stuff to crawl on! And if you fall the floor is cushioned! Yea!
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Taking a little break in the "pool" of balls. Actually, Brenna was sad; she couldn't go to the other side of the gym and play with the "big girls".
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Here's the fun stuff on the other side of the gym.
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And here is what we played with for the last 20 minutes.
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Nothin' says fun like stacking orange cones. Brenna has a bright future as a highway worker.
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Just a Mistake?

>> Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Two weeks ago I emailed the editor of the A(city) Press Citizen information about Doug's announcement to run for senate. Emailed. I emailed a picture and a bio. Here is the bio:

Douglas (last name removed) lives in (city) with his wife, Jody, and daughter, Brenna. He is a software developer currently working in the health care industry.

Douglas was born in 1968 in El Paso, TX while his father was stationed at Fort Bliss. His family moved back to Iowa before Douglas began school and his formative years were spent in Iowa's rural communities. When he was 17 Douglas enlisted in the Iowa National Guard and between his junior and senior years of high school completed boot camp.

In 1989 he went on active duty and was stationed with the First Infantry Division at Fort Riley, KS. He was deployed to Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait during Desert Storm and was selected Soldier of the Year in 1991, while still in Saudi Arabia.

Douglas left the Army in 1996 with an honorable discharge. As his parents were in Texas he settled there, accepting a civilian job and quickly earning promotions to a management position.

In 1998 Douglas moved back to Iowa, settling in (city), and began working as a computer consultant for many Des Moines companies. It is a job that he enjoys; figuring things out, solving problems, building the solution, making jobs easier and more profitable.

These are the same skills Douglas will bring to the state senate. By solving the state's problems and working toward solutions to ensure an equal playing field for all Iowans.

Apparently the editor felt the need to change a few things because what appeared in the paper was not what I sent in. The most obvious error? They misspelled our last name. Not just once, but every time it was listed. Including the headline.

I am pissed beyond all belief. All he had to do was copy and paste. Did the guy think I can't spell my own name? Is he a Democrat and wanted to take a little stab at a Republican? Did he spell-check and take a recommendation? Honestly, there is just no excuse for this.

I have calls in to the publisher, the editor and anyone else I can complain to. It's gonna take more than a little blurb on page 11 to make this right.

Anyone want to join me on this bandwagon of complaint? Email the editor from this page. Let him know how annoyed you are that he can't deliver reliable news.


New info:

I just spoke with the publisher who,it appears,has absolutely no power. My understanding is that they are going to print a small notation on the front page next week indicating the error. No amount of arguing would change his mind. I am just not satisified with this. Please, please, please, email the editor, let him know you are not satisified with this shoddy news reporting. According to the publisher the editor "thought he misspelled the name so he went through and changed it". When I asked why he didn't check against the info I sent I got the inane answer "if we checked things more we wouldn't have mistakes".

Well,duh. I thought that was the point; to NOT have mistakes.


Stolen from Meritt

Ten Top Trivia Tips about Jen!

  1. Ideally, Jen should be stored on her side at a temperature of 55 degrees!
  2. Jen has three eyelids.
  3. Reindeer like to eat Jen.
  4. Bees visit over three million flowers to make a single kilogram of Jen!
  5. You can tell if Jen has been hard-boiled by spinning her. If she stands up, she is hard-boiled.
  6. If you break Jen, you will get seven years of bad luck!
  7. An average beaver can cut down Jen every year!
  8. Astronauts get taller when they are in Jen.
  9. Jen once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest!
  10. Jen can be found on a Cluedo board between the Library and the Conservatory!
I am interested in - do tell me about


What Do You Think?

>> Friday, January 13, 2006

As many of you know, Doug is running for Senate. One of his issues is education.

Go here to see his thoughts.

Then go here to read some thoughts from the other side.

What do you think?


New Fun on Thursdays

>> Thursday, January 12, 2006

My daughter is bored with me. There, I've admitted it. She is tired of mommy, mommy, mommy, day in and day out. So today we did something new. We went to the local gymnastics school for Mom & Tots Time and, for a mere $3, we got to play for an hour on their trampolines, in the "pool" of foam squares, ball pit and other fun, fun, fun things. And there were lots of kids there!

No photos today, I'll ask next week as this is an every Thursday thing. But there are photos on the link above if you want to get an idea.

Imagine, a couple dozen kids under 4, plus parents, running amok in a large room with trampolines built into the floors, floors covered in cushy foam and gym mats with ramps and foam blocks. Chaos. And big smiles, shrieks of joy and laughter.

Good times. Now if the lovely one would just nap. I've been listening to her not nap for an hour now. Lay your little head down child and sleep. Please!


Here it comes

>> Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I know I haven't posted seriously for some time. I am sorry for keeping you out of the loop, but I have so little to do and so much time to do it. Wait a moment. Scratch that and reverse it. It seems that when one client wants something, they all want something. It is good for the pocketbook, but bad for posting.

I have also been busy with a new IowaGeek portal. Portal is a fancy word for Blog...with other stuff.

More importantly, I've been working on the campaign web site. You will notice a lot of similarities between the the two. What can I say, I like the look.

Why the sudden burst of speed? Cue the trumpets! I am going to be on "Mac's World" on WOW 98.3 on Thursday, January 12th, sometime after 3pm. Ta Da! Jody has lined up the Press Citizen announcement for next Wednesday. Wish me luck!


Iowa Blogger Bash

>> Monday, January 09, 2006

See Brent for details on the Iowa Blogger Bash!


All About the Hair

>> Sunday, January 08, 2006

I'm not one of those people who is attached to to her hair. I usually cut it shorter in the winter due to low humidity and those nasty fly-aways and grow it long again in the summer. My hair grows very fast and, though I tend to be vain, I don't think I've ever defined myself by my hair.

And, I'll admit, women who cry and whine and refuse to cut their long hair (when it is stringy and nasty and will obviously look better shorter) make me a bit homicidal. It's hair for god's sake, not your arm!

Ahem. Anyway, I finally had it with Brenna's "baby mullet" (kudos to Mama Duck) and gave her a haircut.

I actually, in my many incarnations, have been a children's hairstylist. Probably my most favorite job. Sometimes I wish I could open my own, small, shop just for kids haircuts. No perms, no color, just haircuts for little kids.

So, here follows a photojournal of Brenna's First Haircut:

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The back, before
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What are you doing?
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So cute!
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A nice little wedge. No tears, no tantrums. And we might just put in a few curls to visit Gramma today.


A Year of Bad Luck?

>> Friday, January 06, 2006

Today is Twelfth Night, or the Christian feast of the Epiphany. If you haven't taken your Christmas decorations down yet, do it now or risk bad luck for the rest of the year!

This was the last hold out of holiday decorating in my house. I had left it up for the brunch but I just can't justify leaving it up until we reschedule. Especially if it means a year of bad luck.

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PS: This short but sweet post comes from the computer at the bar. Brenna's toys are on the "dance floor", right beside the bar. If we were in the office she would be "cleaning" the bookshelves (ie, bringing books to me to put back later).


I Offer More Proof

>> Thursday, January 05, 2006

One night, not so long ago, I was talking to my sister-in-law and said called Doug a geek. This is something I do fairly often, and quite often to his face. It is more a term of endearment than anything else.

"Doesn't Doug get upset when you call him a geek? she asked.
"No, why should he? He is a geek. He calls himself a geek."
"I know, but it just doesn't seem very nice," she replied.

Hmmm. I really hadn't thought about how anyone outside our relationship might interpret my calling him a geek. Maybe I should stop.

But, I do have more proof (as if any were needed!).

Our new home has a wet bar in the basement. We recently purchased bar stools. Seating is quite comfortable. Doug installed a computer, complete with internet connection, at the end of the bar. You know, just in case drunken facts must be confirmed. Or maybe a hot game of Scrabble has broken out and spelling of a word must be checked. Or for drunken blogging.

Oh, yeah. He's a geek.


The Big, Red BullsEye

>> Wednesday, January 04, 2006

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Hello. I am a Target addict. I have been addicted for 12 years. The most difficult part of my addiction is passing "The Dollar Spot".

Have any of you been pulled into this amazing little nook at the entrance? So many little goodies for only a dollar. The items have just been changed at my local Target and the theme is Valentine's Day. Last night I "scored" scrapbooking supplies: a package of 10 patterned pages, 4 packages of puffy alphabet stickers and two card-making kits with glitter, bows, stickers... What I didn't get, and will probably go back for, are heart-shaped placemats with matching plates, bowls, cups and utensils for Brenna. One dollar each, people. How can you go wrong? You can't!

I have tried to control my Target addiction and shop at WalMart. Their prices are lower on much of the stuff I need fairly regularly (read: diapers) but WalMart just isn't the same. Sure, you can find everything you need. But Target has better lighting and is just, well, friendlier. There is a different feeling between the stores. Though the stores are actually loctaed across the street from eachother the divide feels as wide as the distance between Minneapolis (the birthplace of Target) and Bentonville, Arkansas (WalMart's home). It's as if the poeple themselves are different.

Has anyone else noticed this phenom? It's there, honestly. I'll just go out on record and say it: the people in Target seem more attractive. Is it the lighting? Their uniforms? Their attitudes? I really don't know. The WalMart employees just seem dreary. Schlumpy. Unkempt. And tired.

It's got to be the lighting.


Is It OK to....

>> Monday, January 02, 2006

be sad about something that may not have actually been?

My cycles have always been 28 days. No more, no less, right on the money. I can time my period down to the hour. I can feel myself ovulate. I know my body.

And today, one week before I am due for my monthly "visit"- BAM!

And this isn't a normal, run of the mill monthly. I am having cramps like I have never felt. I don't have cramps. Ever. And everything is just wierd; wrong. Ladies, you all know what I mean, right?

Although there is no way to know for sure, I'm pretty positive that I was pregnant- if only for 10 days.

At first it was just a small spot. I spotted with Brenna at first so I wasn't worried. Then it became bigger, and more painful, and I knew that if I was I wasn't anymore.

Which makes me sad.


How You Doin'?

We've gotten through the worst of it. Just a bit weak and tired. Poor Grandma got the bug. She's at home alone. If I felt better I'd drive out and help. But I probably shouldn't be behind the wheel of a car when I can't stand for more than 10 minutes without feeling dizzy.

Brenna is napping, Doug is watching Star Wars: Episode 1 with the director commentary (Man, the guy is a geek!) and I am beginning to scrapbook our Ireland trip and do laundry. No rest for the mommy.

Hopefully life will be back to normal for all of us- and our stomachs- tomorrow.


Out With the Old... In With the Gatorade

>> Sunday, January 01, 2006

Our New Year's Eve plans were completely obliterated when I was hit by nausea at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon. I thought it would pass but by 4 I was curled on the floor being fed crackers by Brenna. Who, by the way, gave her mommy this nasty bug. But Brenna had a flu shot. I didn't as they don't recommend it when you are trying to get all knocked up.

But back to my story. By 5 I was permanently implanted in the bathroom with a trash can in front of me. Both the commode and the trash can were put into service. Multiple times. Ugh.

As my mom was here watching kids I stayed locked in my bedroom so as not to infect anyone else. I sent Doug out with my brother and sister-in-law for dinner and hockey. Doug returned home with two litres of Gatorade. Which is good as he needs one for himself. Yep, it hit him sometime after midnight.

So our house is contaminated and under quarentine. I have contacted everyone who said they were coming today and told them to stay away. Luckliy most of the stuff we had for the party can be kept until needed. Except the 4 gallons of OJ and the smoked, spiral cut ham. And the cream cheese dip, tomato juice, celery... Luckily I hadn't bought the bagels yet.

So I am beginning 2006 with a completely purged system. On to my New Years Resolutions.

1) Everyone's list has "lose weight" somewhere on it. My resolution is to gain weight. About 30 lbs. No losing weight if you're preggers. Which we are working on.

2) Exercise also tops the list. The worst thing about being knocked up is the inability to bicycle. I love to bike in the summer. So that leaves lots of walking, light weight lifting and pre-natal yoga.

3) Eat more fish. This is something I really need to work on. We don't eat much fish here. Probably because we are in the middle of the country and it's really difficult to get good fish. I'm a fish snob. And, unfortunately, I don't think fish & chips should really count toward my fishy quota. So, fish once a week. Any good fishy recipes welcome.

4) Finish my website. I have been working on a site filled with personal experience of traveling with little ones. I've been too busy to work with it lately and I really want to get it up and running.

And now... I got nuthin' else. I want to curl up on my heating pad and die. I hope my mommy will stay to watch Brenna...

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