Thursday, January 29, 2009

Before, After...and After

(I like playing "I spy" with the first picture..."I spy...a coin bank, Fabreeze, a roll of TP...a Christmas cup, a tax folder, and a picture just for me!")

Did I mention how freeeeezing cold it is here?

Good thing I'm easily amused.

P.S. Take a pic of your "catchall corner/counter" before and after (no fair spiffying it up before...just run over and take a pic AS IS). It's nice to feel like you've gotten something done!

P.P.S. I let my hubs go to the grocery store. He spent almost exactly twice as much as I would have on the groceries (bargain shopping isn't his deal) but he bought me those flowers, so he made up for it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All The Buzz

Now that I've got your attention using a cute, fat baby:

h/t Shelly and everyone else who is paying attention even while trying to keep bread on the table and to keep their jobs.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Working Hard On Our Winter Layer...

...of chubbyblubber. Don't these pictures of Mr. Potato Head just make you want to grab a handful and just eat it for dinner?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Can't Go

We wanted to go to the rally at the Capital today. There's a service at the cathedral every year then a march down to the capital. It's so uplifting and nice. It's doubly great during the week because the legislators come out and speak. Mari woke up with a croupy cough (been going around here), and my stomach isn't so great so it looks like we'll have to miss it this year. I just heard this on the radio (100.3 ktlk):

An SUV crashes into Planned Parenthood Offices in St.Paul
(St. Paul-) Police are at the Planned Parenthood offices on Ford Parkway in St. Paul, where an S-U-V crashed into the building just minutes ago. Planned Parenthood tells K-TALK this was no accident, that they were clearly targeted. We're still waiting official confirmation from St. Paul Police. No one was hurt. This is the anniversary of the Roe V. Wade decision that legalized abortion. A rally by thousands opposed to abortion is scheduled for today at the state capitol in St. Paul.

(KTLK News)

Horrible. What a phenomenally BAD idea. The whole movement is about LIFE. I somehow don't think that any right-minded person would imagine inflicting bodily harm on anyone in pursuit of...SAVING AND PROTECTING LIFE!!! I imagine it was a very desperate person but more facts will come out soon. Really, the news just broke minutes ago so I don't know the whole story. I'm glad nobody got hurt (maybe the only thing hurt would be the reputation of the millions of very wonderful, peaceful protesters that get out there EVERY DAY to pray and protest the slaughter of innocents.).

I will pray that they have a good day at the protest.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Set Them Free UPDATE!

Better than nothing, but they should have been fully pardoned. God bless them.

(This was an email note from Laura Ingraham, you can sign up for her e-blast on her website. After that, there's a transcript from a House record of a Rep. Jones R-NC that is interesting. I can't imagine my neighbor, who is a police officer, being in jail and being kept from his two children and wife, for doing his JOB! Please pray for these two men and their families.)

Laura's E-Blast
January 16, 2009

Like every history-conscious president before him, President Bush has spent his final weeks in office shaping what he hopes to be his legacy. In short, he wants to be remembered for advancing America's security. In last night's final primetime national address, he described how after al Qaeda attacked America, "most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before Nine-Eleven. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our Nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe." He's taken this message of protecting Americans to interviews with Mike Wallace, Brit Hume, and Sean Hannity.

He even sat down with Larry King.

Yet there's one thing he's still not done: Commute the sentences of U.S. Border Patrol Agents Ignacio "Nacho" Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean.

As Laura Ingraham Show listeners already know, Ramos & Compean were arrested and jailed after shooting an illegal alien along the El Paso border in 2005. The victim, not that he deserves such a label, was a drug smuggler fleeing for Mexico. He wasn't badly hurt, yet after a problem-riddled trial, the agents received 11- and 12-year sentences. (By comparison, radical attorney Lynne Stewart received 28 months for providing material support to anti-American terrorists.) Since then, Ramos & Compean have been locked up in solitary confinement; Ramos has been beaten by fellow inmates, his home has been burglarized and vandalized; both agents' children are being raised without a father, and their wives have been deprived of their husbands.

Again, all of this comes as payment for their attempts at securing America. Commuting Ramos and Compean's sentences would hardly be partisan or even controversial.

Democrats like Reps. Bill Delahunt (D-Ma.), Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) support commutation, as do all but three of Texas's 34 congressmen. Even Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney who tried the case, has said the decade-plus sentences are excessively harsh.

Last night President Bush acknowledged the importance of immigration and border control (homeland security) to American security: "America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe - law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States Armed Forces."

President Bush has shown, time and again, his reservoir of compassion for U.S. troops is bottomless. Yet the Border Patrol is no less deserving. Already Ramos and Compean have served three years behind bars. Before departing, Bush must right this grave wrong - by issuing a final reminder that he always stood behind those serving on behalf of America's security.

(Mr. Walter Jones, R-NC)
Mr. Speaker, tonight I won't take nearly the 5 minutes that I have allotted, but I and many Members of the House have been trying to help two border agents, Border Agent Campean, and Border Agent Ramos, who are now serving 1 to 11 years in Federal prison, the other for 12 years in Federal prison for shooting a drug smuggler.

What makes this so sad, quite frankly, Mr. Speaker, is these men have had a wonderful record of serving the American people on the borders of this country, trying to help defend America from those who want to come to this country illegally, and especially those who have drugs or may be terrorists, quite frankly.

But these two men were found guilty in a Federal court, and I am afraid that all the information that could have been used to help these two men not go to prison was under seal. That is a legal issue, and I won't speak to that, but I will say that I want the people to know tonight, my colleagues here in the House, that the drug smuggler who had a record of smuggling drugs from Mexico to America was the one that they shot when he was trying to escape after his van crashed with 743 pounds of marijuana. These men thought they were doing their duty for this country, and therefore they shot at this drug smuggler as he was leaving. The bullet actually went through the buttocks and went out, and according to the medical examiner that meant that he was turned like he was going to face them and possibly, if he had a weapon, fire at them. They thought he had a weapon.

Mr. Speaker, the sad thing is that Agent Ramos 2 weeks ago was beaten in a Federal prison. These men, their lives are at stake, and we call upon the White House to look seriously at this case.

We think there are legal questions as to the indictment and to the process itself. We would like for the White House and the Attorney General's office to look seriously at whether these men should at least be given some type of pardon while their hearings are being heard. But we are calling on the White House to please look seriously at giving these two men an opportunity for pardon, because I do not know how we can say to the American people that our law enforcement, who are trying to protect this country from those who are invading this country, whether they be from Canada and Mexico, and yet with our border agents do the best job they can under very, very difficult situations, then they end up spending 11 and 12 years in Federal prison.

Again, in closing, and I will be closing, we are asking the administration to look carefully at the possibility of a pardon. There are many Members of the House, both Republican and Democrat, that are concerned about this case.

In fact, today, Senator Feinstein from California, a Democrat, called upon Mr. Leahy, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, to look into this case.

Mr. Speaker, with that, I will close by asking the President to please show the families of Mr. Compean and Mr. Ramos that justice does prevail in America if you are trying to defend the Constitution and defend the people of America.

(this just found in the news...horrible)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Leave My Christmas Lights Up On the Front Porch All Year Long

Well, that's not entirely true. I didn't have time to put them up this year, but the decorations above the door will represent the Christmas season for quite a while and get very dusty by May. I just realized yesterday that I forgot to post pictures of our Christmas party this year! I got occupied with other subjects and rants... It's a tense time in the country right now. I almost can't listen to talk radio but I feel it's my civic duty so I have to. It's a sacrifice.
The kids were talking in the van the other day and they remarked that they couldn't wait until Lent because then they wouldn't have to listen to talk radio (I gave it up last year for Lent). Haha on THEM! I told them that this year, it would actually be a sacrifice to listen so they were out of luck.

This year, Anna emailed Trine and I to tell us her idea for a theme (every year we have a theme for our Christmas Eve party which rotates houses depending on who it's most convenient for that year). We did "A Very Cliche' Christmas" and we proposed an "ugly Christmas sweater contest". It was AWESOME. The beautiful, awful selection were astounding! We each brought a 25 dollar gift card (had to be a "datenight" giftcard) per couple and 1 "regift" (white elephant). After we ate and the kids ripped open their godparent gifts (one for each! we like to use family for godparents so nearly each of the 18 grandkids are covered), the kids judged the contest and it was hilarious. I would have to say that it was really

The Best Christmas, Ever!

Here are just a very few pictures from the night:

Anna sporting her infamous, and FABULOUS "Christmas dickie" (oh yes, girls, they DO exist!) She called us and absolutely squealed with delight when she found this rare gem at the thrift shoppe:

Nothing goes with Christmas dickies, appliqued sweaters and denim vests, quite like some good, old fashioned, classic cut, and 0h-so-flattering, colored momjeans (you don't even have to be an actual mom to enjoy the momjean. It's all in the attitude and spirit of the evidenced by the birthday girl on the right):

The participants in this year's contest:

Even Tommy got to wear a sweater...and got the girls because of it, I'm sure!:
My brother Nick was so antsy all night long saying things like "so, when are we gonna do this thing?" meaning the sweater contest. I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't just take his coat off already until he did the final unveiling...

(you may have to click on the pic to get the full effect)

Yes, folks...I think we have a winner!:

Even better, my other bro's re-gift was this funny patch of fake chest hair (not that he needed it) that added just the right touch to Nick's sweater, don't you think?:

We had sequins, applique, jingle bells, ALL twelve days of Christmas symbols represented, beads, and baubles, cartoony characters, and tufted/furry yarn galore. At the end of the night when just a few of my sibs were left, Anna pointed out a thing on the bottom of MY sweater that said "push" and Lo and Behold...a tinkling song started emanating from my sweater. It was then that I realized I had a SINGING SWEATER THE WHOLE, ENTIRE TIME AND DIDN'T KNOW IT...oh yes oh YES it truly was

A Christmas Miracle*

(I surely would have won much earlier had that particular feature been observed by the kids.)

We all got along and everyone left happy (I think!). I felt full of joy to have everyone over and know that my house was very clean to have Butch's mom and dad over the next day. It was also nice to have a quiet afternoon with his parents and they played our new game "Would You Rather" with us. I think the lack of fundage on everyone's part played a big part of why we all appreciated each other a lot more this year. It was all about family. I just love my family!

*Every Christmas for the last few years, my sisters and I have said (at one point or another during the Advent season) "It's a Christmas Miracle." in a monotone, ironic sounding voice every time something not-so-great happens. For instance, this year my dishwasher broke a couple of days before Christmas Eve and I said it to my sister on the phone.

We KNOW it's from a movie (in which the main Character says it in that crabby way) but we CAN NOT remember which movie it comes from. If you can think of it and we think that's for sure where we heard it, I'll send you a little prize.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Did It. But Only Because I Love Her.

My very dear and close friend (with red hair, sassy attitude, and crazy laugh) just allowed herself to be interviewed, and I asked her to interview me.Instructions:

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me".
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions).
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

So, here are the 5 questions with my answers...

1. Do you routinely get lost when driving somewhere you have been before?

ALWAYS. Because I see things in pictures, I feel so confident when I see landmarks that I just guess on the direction. My first, gut reaction is ALWAYS wrong. "Let's see, I think I turned LEFT last time (nope), hmmm, I don't remember THAT farmhouse!..."

When I was in the boonies, in WI last year for a girl's weekend, I went for a run and almost became a statistic. All I had to do was take ONE right and back track for a 4 mile run. I ended up running about 8 miles by the time I figured out where I went wrong. The other girls met me on their run and were relieved that they didn't have to send a search party.

Usually, it takes me about 5 times of going someplace before I know it by heart and don't get lost anymore...but that's no guarantee, either.

2. Why do you give your children and other family members nicknames?

I don't. That's the hubs' dealio. I think it's because he's been called "Butch" (not his given name) from pretty much birth. I think he doesn't like to be the only one. He gave all his friends nicknames. When I first met his friends, it was the longest time before I knew them by their REAL names...some examples?: Butta (boy), Fag (a girl), Hymen (boy), Leatherback (not to her face), Biddy, Shiner, Abby (boy), Mad Dog, Gorillahog...I'm sure there were more but you get the idea.

I did call my little sister "booger" when she was very little. I think she would not like that anymore.

3. What is your favorite thing about the Catholic faith?
Ooooo, good one! I think it would be the whole "you can be a complete ahole your whole life then repent and go to heaven at the last second" thing.

Just kidding. I love that it's the TRUTH. I'm into absolutes.

4. How loyal are you?

On a scale of 1-10, I'd say around a 9. For instance, if someone said, "Don't EVER tell anyone this, but..." then went and did something dangerous to themselves or another person, I would narc.

I love my friends and family but I do crazy things when I get betrayed. I think I have very high expectations for their loyalty (maybe too high, and not fair?). I've been known to fly off the handle and say mean things when I feel I've been "wronged". Also, I get very snipey and rude when I drink. I try not to drink more than one glass of wine unless I'm around people who understand that and love me anyway.

5. How has homeschooling changed you and your family?

Well, since we've never done anything else, I guess it hasn't changed a bit. It might have changed my bigger family (brothers, sisters, cousins) to understand that it's a possible option and not only freaks homeschool!) and given them a sort of "permission" to seek different ways of educating their children. It's maybe changed the way we WOULD have lived had we just sent them to school. I really think it's made me a more responsible person. I have to be accountable for what I neglect to teach them but I get the HUGE REWARDS and benefits much more often and in bigger quantities when what I do to teach them turns out right. Today, we are home with Daddy, playing Wii Outdoor Challenge for gym class (after schoolwork is done, which he helped with) and I can't imagine how boring it would be to be at school today! They would miss this time (precious thing) with their dad!

Whew, now you know more than you ever thought you wanted to know. If you want ME to interview YOU, go ahead and put "interview me" in the comments to this post and I'll email you some questions...
It's winter, it's boring, it's fortyfrickenbelow outside, you've got nothing better to do...right?

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Crazy Idea That Just Might Work

This morning I was chatting with Paula about my Big Plan. It all came to me like a light bulb over my head when Regina sent me an IM link to this site. What a great cause, right? I was thinking it might be neat to do a benefit run like that but I don't really have the money to travel (I could stay for free with Regina, right? I'll kick Tug outta the bed and we can have a good, old fashioned sleepover. I'll bring the pink toenail polish and hairbrush/microphones.).

So, my big plan is to raise enough money (beg, borrow, steal...okay, maybe not borrow) for two plane tickets (Trina could maybe visit with her best friend online, Amy C's daughter. It's Trina's 15th birthday on Sept. 18th so it could be her bday present this year) and try to raise at least another 400 dollars for the benefit. I could run in the 10k (I'll be all trained up from the marathon!) and have a cheering section (Regina, Tug, their kids, Amy Caroline, Becca, Trina, and PAULA!). I'd really like to win for my age group so I would train my pants off (literally, when I really start to run, my butt disappears) and do you all so proud.

I realize that this is sort of a selfish thing to raise money for, but if you really think about it, it's only a HALF selfish thing because I would be giving half the money to the ultrasound fund, and half of it would be for the plane tickets (unless I somehow collect more than that, the extra would go to the fund, of course). If I don't collect enough for the plane tickets (400-600 bucks) then all the money I've collected would just go right to the benefit or some other local benefit. Speaking of that, shoot a little prayer off for Michael Talley, would ya? He is going to Rochester to see if they can do some good for him. He's had a pretty rough winter so far and I'm sure the family would appreciate the prayers.

So, what do you think of my idea?
Wow, I don't ask people's opinion very much so take advantage while you can!
Also, please vote on my poll on the sidebar.
Wow, when did I get so self-doubtful?
THAT doesn't happen very often. I must be hitting middleagecrazy or something.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

First Gripe of the New Year! UPDATE*

(*Thank you to the guy who suggested to go HERE to do something about all this. It may not be much, but it just might work, and there is more info there too.)

Aren't you just so excited to find out what it's all about?

First, go here.

Okay, now that you are fully informed, I can start with the griping.

I am so mad about this every time I talk about it, that I start shaking.

My beloved, manly, wonderful, sexy husband has had asthma since birth. It's allergy induced (and sometimes exercise) but he's tried to control it and not let it get in the way of his ADLs. He was very active in sports in high school, partied hard in college, and works hard doing physical labor for a living now. PLUS, he throws the ball around with the kids and wrestles in the living room. OH, and even though he's allergic to grasses/pollens/outside stuff in general, he loves to do yard work and make the lawn look nice.

(He's also cool enough to make fun of himself for Halloween picture purposes. Aren't you all jealous?)

So, to keep from using his inhaler too much, he's been using Advair (which is very expensive) every day as a preventative. He still uses his rescue inhaler about 4+ times a day. If he runs out of the Advair or forgets to take it, he's using his inhaler about twice that amount. In the winter, it's very many more times than that because he's outside and the wind is very hard on his lungs.If I were in charge of the world, I would reach my hand out to the idiots who thought that "cutting CFCs out of asthma inhalers" was a good idea and WRING THEIR EVER LOVIN NECKS. Then THEY could feel what it's like not to breathe. You see, I know it might be a really difficult concept for people who desire to save the earth from "depleted ozone layers" and "changing climate" (God forbid we have more warmer days, I just love the cold oh so much), but human beings actually need to respirate to live. I KNOW! WEIRD, HUH?

Now, I'm not a doctor (I only play one at my home when someone is sick), and I haven't done any specific, peer reviewed studies or anything (I did ask the pharmacist about it and they all say that patients who use the new inhalers hate them)...but I am a wife of an chronic asthmatic and I can tell you that these new inhalers suck eggs.

Here's the explanation of WHY this has happened:

"The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) is a landmark international agreement designed to protect the ozone layer. As a Party to the Montreal Protocol, the United States has committed to phasing out and eventually eliminating substances that deplete the ozone layer, including CFCs. It is estimated that actions to protect and restore the ozone layer will save an estimated 6.3 million U.S. lives that would have otherwise been lost to skin cancer."

Okayyyyyy, so a bunch of people MIGHT have died from MAYBE getting skin cancer, possibly if we MAYBE got rid of stuff that MIGHT possibly deplete the ozone layer? Soooooo, a huge, belching factory in some third world country that has been shooting ozone depleting junk into the atmosphere for years and years may EVENTUALLY be gotten to and forced to comply with the "protocol" ( least according to the the geese, by the way...they produce more ozone depleting waste into our ponds and on our sidewalks in one day than all the inhalers put together! Okay, that's not scientific, but I bet it's true!) but hey, you'd better get all those patients who shoot a teeny amount of propelled medication into their lungs to BREATHE on a daily basis? I've got some news for you. You can cover up your skin but you can't breathe if you can't breathe. I could save everyone a whole ton of trouble by telling everyone "Hey, if you don't want to get skin cancer (not even sure the sun causes it) cover your skin with some clothes and limit your exposure, m'kay?" instead of putting this inferior product on the market for millions of people who will now have to shell out more money, use MORE of it, and suffer more EVERY DAY. Hey, I'm not one to turn away a little suffering but COME ONNNNNNNNN. What about all the little kids who don't understand why their medicine doesn't work right? What about people like my husband who work outside and when their rescue inhaler dies about 2 months before it should can't get to a pharmacy or doctor in a reasonable amount of time and may have to spend thousands of dollars to visit the emergency room? "Hey, why not keep several of them on hand so you don't have to worry about running out?". Yeah, the thing is, it's a controlled prescription and you need to visit a doctor to get one more than once every few weeks. If we've lost one or ran out before the "designated time", we are SOL and have to visit the doctor again or get one by "illegal means". I love feeling like a criminal for having asthma (I have seasonal asthma and need inhalers in the fall and spring or when I'm pregnant.).

I can't believe that they made me give up my Rave aerosol hairspray, and now this. How super funny ironic that they are trying to make the "environment" more "safe" for, you know BREATHING and they are taking away the very thing that makes it possible TO BREATHE (in some people).

All kidding aside (was I kidding?), the new inhalers were phased in starting about two years ago and I at least thought that the old kind would be available if the new ones weren't effective. OH NO! The Environment Nazis have complete and total control here and the old, evilly propelled medicine is now defunct as of the First of this year. Nice. So, all those old inhalers? Where are they? Are they being destroyed in an environmentally friendly way? Are they being put in a jet and rocketed into outer space? Do alien beings in outer space have breathing difficulties on their planets? If so, I hope they can put all those inhalers to good use. Are the old inhalers being sold in the underground, inhaler black market? FOR SHAME! Can you imagine how maligned a doctor could be if it was found out that he was distributing free samples of leftover non-CFC-free inhalers? They could be sent to jail for doing something nice for a patient. It IS breaking the law, after all.

Here is the EPA's "explanation" of "what is happening with the CFC inhalers":

"What is happening with CFC-albuterol MDIs?
EPA coordinates with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to determine which CFC MDIs continue to be essential for public health as alternatives penetrate the market. In 2005, FDA removed the essential use designation for albuterol used in oral pressurized MDIs as of December 31, 2008
FDA rulemaking (PDF) (26, pp., 212 kb, About PDF). Therefore, after December 31, 2008, CFC-albuterol MDIs cannot be sold, distributed or offered for sale or distribution in interstate commerce pursuant to Section 610 of the Clean Air Act (information on nonessential products ban). The term "interstate commerce" refers to the product’s entire distribution chain up to, and including, the point of sale to the ultimate consumer."

Yeah...Wowie, I don't know about you, but now I understand it perfectly. Hey!..."pursuant"...THAT's fun to say!

What a silly joke this has all become. I'm laughing and crying at the same time. Powerlessness does that to me.

If you work for the EPA, you'd better not come within an inhalers puff reach of me right now, I'm likely to light a match in front of my old CFCfull inhaler and blow you away.

Friday, January 02, 2009

First Post Of The New Year

...Will be a review!

I just received the free box of toffee that I got from Toffee Anytime (thanks Ron!) and it was yummylicious! I also got an email from him today about a free toffee givaway at this site if you want to check it out (I already got a free box, so I didn't think it was fair to just go right ahead and don't even feel guilty about it.).

Oh my goodness, it was so tempting and delicious. Toffee is one of my favorite kinds of candy so I was all about this deal. I will very likely order some in the future for myself or gifts for people (Who DOESN'T like toffee? Probably very unhappy crazypersons somewhere in bizarro land don't like toffee...them, and Butch. He did try it but said he didn't like it. I think he just likes to be contrary.) Bocker wanted thirds. Mari gave it a shot but I think the dark chocolate was a little too much for her and she gave me the rest of her chunk (darn, I just HAD to eat it). Trina gobbled it up (even with braces), Matty is allergic to nuts (darn, more for me), Weazy wasn't home to try it (again, darn!), and I am hoarding the rest for me.

In the name of all honesty, I really would have liked there to be more toffee and less chocolate. It's really hard to do dark chocolate perfectly and this is GOOD but not perfect. The nuts were really good and added to the flavor rather than being some annoying thing that you have to pick off (I'm not usually a fan of nuts mixed with other stuff, especially when they're smooshy and baked, but that's another story for another time.)

P.S. I did not get paid for my endorsement of this product. I'm trying to review things that I like or that I try without any reimbursement. Although, I wouldn't turn away a free offering of MORE of this stuff...just sayin'...

P.P.S. Tommy did not actually eat any of the toffee. He just liked the little ad that came with it. Also, the picture on that ad is pretty lifelike and true to how the toffee actually looks right out of the box, before it disappeared down my throat...the baby is much cuter in real life.