Saturday, December 31, 2005

Nice is Good

Thursday, at Houston National Cemetery, Earl Loggins was laid to rest. His coffin was flag-draped and he was the fine old age of 82. He was a native Houstonian, World War II vet, Booker T. Washington High School graduate, attended the University of Houston earning a certificate in human relations. From Cornell University, he earned a certificate in supervisory management and techniques. He worked his way from maitre d' to being named one of Houston's most influential personalities by Houston City magazine. He was a fixture of the Houston Club for 44 years and his life was profiled by PBS in a tv special in 2004.

Thursday, just before the memorial service began, a black SUV pulled up and four men in blue blazers emerged. They were followed by former President Bush, who took his seat among the other mourners. "I loved the guy", he said. Former President Bush referred to Mr. Loggins as a "gentle giant."

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee referred to him as an early mentor for her political career. President Bush met Mr. Loggins in 1959 at the Houston Club. Along with Loggins' sense of humor and zest for life, Bush admired him for his commitment to Houston's black community. And for his golf game.

Margaret Loggins, the widow, was not surprised to see the former President at her husband's service. "He's been a part of Earl's success story for 32 years, " she said and noted that the two men had been friends over the years and that President Bush often attended events organized by Mr. Loggins. Bush lingered after the service to visit with Mrs. Loggins and other family and friends.

His life's motto was: "It's always nice to be important, but it's very important to be nice." Words we would all do well to live by, I think. A good New Year's goal.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody".
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Happy New Year's to everyone. I'll raise a glass of cheer to that.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Tying Up Loose Ends

I am breaking in a new pair of glasses. Son and I picked up new glasses yesterday afternoon. Talk about an easy way to spend a chunk of change. We also got perscription sunglasses. My lenses are progressive bi-focals so they are always higher in cost.

This afternoon I am taking Son for a flu shot. We usually get him one each fall season and this year got behind schedule as he was sick with a cold the last time he was at the doctor's office. So they say they still have some vaccine available and it is not too late to get one. Better late than never, I guess.

Such a quiet few days around here. So relaxing. I could get used to this.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy Chanukah

It is the season of Chanukah. For the first time in many years, the holidays of Christmas and Chanukah fell on the same day this year. I am drinking my morning coffee out of a very ample mug decorated with the Star of David, symbol of Judiasm.

My lineage contains some Jewish history. My grandfather, on my paternal side, was Jewish. He lived in St. Louis, Missouri and was the owner of a nightclub. Apparently he was quite the dandy. My grandparents were divorced early in the life of my father and his sister and my grandmother moved them to southern Indiana where she opened up her own dress shop. She was raised as a Catholic, of German and English descent, and was returning to family.

My grandmother, as it turns out, was a woman well ahead of her time. She was a business owner and a divorcee, both subjects of small town gossip in her day. She would have been approaching 100 years of age if she were still alive today. She was a working woman until the age of 70 when she finally retired from office management with a small company . She always looked younger than her true age and used that fact as a way to stay in the working world. She routinely claimed to be 10 years younger than she really was and, therefore, employed.

My son requested the purchase of the mug a couple of years ago. He is blessed with a strong sense of curiousity and has studied the religions of the world since he was a young child. He buys books on the subjects and studies on his own. When he learned of his Jewish ancestry, he was fascinated and learned as much as he could. We did a make-it-yourself menorrah and he thought the whole thing was very cool. I do, too.

I was raised as a WASP, in the deep South, in the Presbyterian church. Quite boring and bland. Religions, like Judiasm, with the elaborate ceremonies and traditions are so interesting to those of us raised differently. I'm glad my son thinks so, too.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Back To Normal

Our house is getting back to normal this morning. MIL was off quite early. I put her in a taxi and tipped the driver generously to treat her well. It was dark and chilly this morning and now I don't have to deal with morning rush traffic after dropping her off at the airport.

Son got out of bed to say goodbye to Grandma, after I made him, so that was taken care of for the goodbyes.

I don't mind visitors staying in the house but it sure is good to get the house back. A charity truck is scheduled to come by on the 30th so I am planning to clean out some closets and put what we don't need anymore to good use. Two birds with one stone, you know.

We went to see "The Producers" yesterday afternoon. It was so funny and we all enjoyed it. We set out to see "The Geisha" but it was sold out. I never realized so many people went to the movies on Christmas Day. It was the first time I ever had and it was amazing with the crowds. Who knew?!

My small standing rib roast came out really well. Surprised me! A little rare on the inside like MIL and son like it and well done on the ends like I like it. No complaints. Served steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots with it and it was plenty. Ice cream with toppings for dessert. Keepin' it simple.

And now I have some laundry to catch up on. :)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas, Y'all

Merry, Merry Christmas to all! A little chilly this morning but the weather this holiday is beautiful. The temps are in the mid 70's and the sun is shining. Feels good.

Hubby e-mails of a white Christmas in the "Stan" country. Not surprised there! Much coldness there.

I believe we started a new family tradition last night. Son, MIL, and I joined an old friend and her son at a local dinner theatre for dinner and the Christmas musical extravaganza. It was truly wonderful. They began with 40's music, which was right up MIL's alley - think Bing Crosby and Gershwin music - then they did a salute to the military. They did songs for each of the 4 branches of the military and asked the veterans to stand and be acknowledged. Then the finale was all Christmas music. It was a fun mix and just really fun. Good company and good fun with good entertainment. No complaints.

Son and MIL loved "King Kong" big time. We may go to a movie later today. I am cooking a small standing rib roast for our Christmas meal, then we may feel like going out. MIL leaves early in the morning so I'll be hitting the hay early myself.

I wish all the best to all of you. Onward to a great New Year!

"This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him."
1 John 4:9 NIV This is the Christmas thought on the Christmas cards I sent out this year.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Airport Not So Good

So, MIL arrived just fine yesterday afternoon. The trip to the airport from our house went well, not too much traffic or any delays. The plane arrived early. Son and I thought we were at the correct terminal baggage area to meet her. No. We went back and forth on the terminal shuttle train twice before we figured out the right way. Then to add to the adventure, we couldn't figure out the right parking lot to retreive the car. It was unbelievable. The airport has 5 terminals now, up from 4, to squeeze in as much humanity as possible. Not a fun time. Hubby got a kick out of the story when he checked in last night. He, of course, knows all the horror stories with his travels worldwide. He's a sick man.

Today son and grandma will go to "King Kong" and then we'll go to dinner. I have decided to drop them off and come back home for a final wrapping session. Then I'll pick them up and we'll eat. MIL and I have had a relaxing morning visiting and catching up. She gave me my Christmas gift early - an old slide bracelet she had made for herself in her younger years and she no longer wears regularly. It is lovely and I plan on wearing it often. A fob hangs from the end of it that was once a part of a piece of jewelry owned by her father. She collected the charms over the years before she had enough to have a bracelet made.

Not much else this morning. Keeping it really calm and quiet around here. That's how I like it!

Merry, Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

As Clean As It Gets

OK, the house is as clean and as organized as it is going to get this holiday. Fortunately my MIL isn't a clean freak or critical of clutter. Son was helpful yesterday as I was stressing about everything I wanted to finish. I still have to wrap presents, though. That can be done any time when son is distracted!

MIL suggested yesterday, when we checked in on her, that she and son go see "King Kong" Friday. He's looking forward to that extravaganza. I plan to see something else with the same show times, though. Something more my cup of tea.

I love reading comments from readers and I so enjoy all the new people I have met since I began this blog. I have been thinking about blessings and blog friends are one.

Not looking forward to the drive to the airport later today. It is always a zoo to do parking and getting to the terminal. She leaves on Monday and I plan to put her in a taxi for that. It's an early morning flight and I know it will be crazy.

Hope everyone is staying calm and moving forward. Stay warm.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


So, the big countdown is on. Pressure, pressure. Finishing up cleaning up the house as MIL arrives tomorrow. Doing the obvious stuff. The house won't be clean clean but such is life. These antibiotics I am taking kick my butt and the colder weather aren't helping me get out of bed.

I survived the trip to the Galleria Sunday afternoon. It was great to see old friends and have a good lunch visit with them. The reason for the trip was it planned by a 16 year old girl! My son and the other guy who were planning the get together with her didn't have anything better to offer as a suggestion. Kids. The family that moved to Australia was happy to see everybody. The mom sent out the coolest Christmas cards made by the Austrailian Red Cross as a thank you note. Four of us moms had lunch together and I picked up the check. No biggie, it was only Chili's! Since it was the time it was on a Sunday afternoon, the drive was relatively ok as was the drive home. My son and one of the other guys remarked that neither of them had been there since the 4th grade ice skating field trip they had at their old school!

Got my hair done yesterday so that puts a little zip in my step. Lots more highlights and good cut. My hair is getting lighter and lighter...

Not much more for me to say now. Just trying not to spaz out and continue on. My son's XBOX 360 came in the mail, remember I shop online as much as humanly possible. I went ahead and let him have it. Since it is just me and him and he is on school break, I thought why not. He picked out the stuff to order anyway so it wasn't a surprise. He'll have other stuff to open on Christmas Day and his stocking. I still do a stocking for him. And Easter basket, too. Can't help myself. A perk as an only child, I suppose.

Today's Christmas cd: "Christmas Rocks!", a mix of everyone from Elton John, Chuck Berry, to B.B.King, and Elvin Bishop. Keepin' it lively today!

Everyone stay safe and warm.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


I am stoking up with caffeine - the last of the Community brand dark roast laced with CoffeeMate's Toffee Nut creamer - and about to prepare Belgian waffles for the boy and myself. I am hoping that enough caffeine and sugar will bode well with the rest of the day. This afternoon son and I are to meet some friend at The Galleria. The Galleria, a hugh rather upscale complex of shopping hell. The only way I would agree to such a dismal way to spend the Sunday before Christmas, for me anyway, is because some old friends, now living in Australia, are in town and we want to see them. Son is meeting up with a conglomerate of pals to visit with the son in the family and I am meeting the mom for lunch and talk.

I am not a mall person. Have not been in ages and hope to continue on as so. Malls are boring. Cookie cutter stores with overpriced merchandise so that the franchises can pay overpriced rents within a totally artificial setting. Not my idea of a fun time. This place we are heading out to is know for its skating rink - a novelty in hot, humid Houston, and for premier stores like Neiman Marcus - Nirvana to Texans.

Time Magazine made interesting choices for Person of the Year, don't you think? Bono, my man, deserves the honor, no doubt. I love his passion. But Bill and Melinda Gates? Huh? Honor him for giving away his money but never for the way he changed the world with the personal computer? And Melinda, what, because she married Bill? So, the libs who love to speak with disdain of capitalism now honor it when the person is giving away said dollars made thru raw capitalism? Hmm. Interesting.

Hubby called from the neighboring country with Russia last night. He is fine and working. Trying to stay warm, no easy task. He is searching for a fine, warm Russian style hat. Son put in his request for one, too. The phone connection was especially poor but it's always good to hear from him when he is gone. I am grateful to be married to a man who is so good about calling home whenever the opportunity presents itself.

To The Galleria. Onward.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Gitalong Home, Cindy, Cindy

Wow. Cindy Sheehan led a protest in front of the American Embassy in Madrid, Spain and only 100 people showed for it. The protest was also to memorialize Jose Couso, a Spanish television journalist killed in Baghdad in April, 2003. Is Cindy losing her star appeal? Even the Europeans, supposed to be so anti-American foreign policy, aren't flocking to Cindy's side? Wow.

Checked in with my doctor for the results of yesterday's bloodwork. All looks good. She thinks my body is fighting off a bacterial infection and is prescribing anti-biotics. All righty then.

It is cold and damp here. Rain seems to passed through now. Max the dog is pleased.

Off to get the drugs.

It's Raining, It's Pouring, The Teenager Is Snoring!

Quite a wet morning out there today. Son's Boy Scout project has been postponed until next month. The troop was to plant 15 live oak trees as a service project this morning at the church that sponsors the troop. And since it is 39 degrees with the rain, not so much interest with the adult leaders. I let Max the dog out at 5:30, as usual but now he has to cross his legs for a while.

Today's morning treat is pepperridge farms' cinnamon swirl bread, toasted, along with the mandatory mugs of java. I can't believe we still have a couple of Christmas mugs, penguins of course, that have made it through all these years. I bought them in 1985 in Dallas when hubby and I were living there - during the oil crash of the mid 80's- and I picked them up at a Fitz and Floyd's warehouse sale. I love Fitz and Floyd's stuff. They have a new outlet not far from me and I am very excited about that.

I am looking forward to seeing "60 Minutes" this Sunday. Not normally a thought I have but I saw a blurb in yesterday's newspaper from Morgan Freeman, a fine actor and native of Mississippi, that intrigued me. He says the concept of a black history month is "ridiculous". He says black history is American history and can not be relagated to a single month. He rocks my world. He says there is no white history month and the only way to get rid of racism is to "stop talking about it". Amen.

How many times have I, as a white woman raised in the deep south, rolled my eyes at the charge of racism being slung, no matter what the real or imagined transgression? Overuse of the charge leads to complete ineffectiveness. Even acts of mother nature this past year have been blamed on our white president. Remember Kenye West's charge at the telethon that George Bush hates black people. What a truly moronic thing to say but of course he is up for a grammy award now. The moonbats in charge of the entertainment industry loved it. Average Americans didn't and they are the ones buying the products but, hey, don't worry about that.

I have lived in the deep south and I have lived in the Midwest and I have traveled this country. I have encountered many more instances of blatant racism in the northern regions of this country then in the south. And in the Northeast where all the intellectuals dwell? Please.

I already admired Morgan Freeman because, as a native of Mississippi, he has opened a restaurant in his hometown and supports the community. Giving back. He could be bitter and loud about the segregated south in which he grew up but instead goes the other route.

Bless him.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Such a Prick

Well, now that I have your attention, the prick was from the end of a needle drawing blood from my arm this morning for blood work. My doctor thinks I may have some sort of bacterial thing going on that is making me feel lousy. I'll know tomorrow when I call for the results. I would just like some drugs to take and be done with it. I have a house to make ready for Christmas visitors.

After starting off the day with a needle shoved in my arm I felt entitled to a Starbucks treat, specifically my fave Peppermint Mocha Latte. Love it, love it, love it. Also purchased a 16 oz bag o' beans, the official Christmas Blend. The last bag in stock at this location. I dearly love the stuff. I grind beans myself and it is a heavenly aroma.

The Senate has failed to extend the Patriot Act for now. Bed wetters rejoice! How superior are you going to feel when the inevitable next major attack strikes this country and once again you are on the wrong side of history? Sleep well tonight.

More than 11 million people voted in Iraq. Any big stories on the front page of the New York Times? No, but fortunately James Risen, a writer for the paper has a new book coming out and was able to make front pages news with a leaked story crying foul with the National Security Agency. Lots of big claims about "secret" measures taken invading privacy in this country. Only towards the end of the article does it mention that judges, Senators and Congress folk were informed all along the process to track the bad guys. Don't worry, I'm sure in the next few days lots of railing will be heard about the evil administration. Did I mention James Risen has a new book coming out?

Today's cd for Christmas music listening pleasure: The World's Greatest Christmas Songs. A mix of artists from Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra to Patti Labelle and Mahalia Jackson.
I do so love the bargain bins for music.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

That's Victory

What is the definition of victory in Iraq? Lots and lots of purple fingers, that's the definition of victory in Iraq. It is so incredibly moving to watch the Iraqi people lining up to vote in a true election for the first time in decades and how proud and courageous the people are to be risking their lives to do so. For all the naysayers, and those truly hoping deep down for failure in the region, due to misguided raw political ambitions, just step back for a moment, open your eyes and your hearts, and look at the pictures. How could you be so black hearted as to not be optimistic? So selfish not to root for the good in this world and freedom for those other than yourself? I just don't understand it and I hope I never do.

Record numbers of Sunni voters came to the polls. The Sunni leaders got the lesson that if you do not participate in democracy, in free elections, you do not have a voice. Temper tantrums and not voting to spite others is only counter productive in the end. A good lesson to learn, if you ask me. I think the dour looks on many gutless wonders disguising themselves as politicians while doing everything possible to discredit this country's administration to the world wide press say it all. Iraq is well on its way to a new beginning despite their favorite expression of "I support the troops, but not the war". Such a stupid expression.

My friend has received a phone call from her husband and all is well with him. He is in country and doing his work.

Christmas break begins for my son at noon today. Looking forward to the break. Over the break he will be working on a project for his AP English class which involves the use of family photos. Sounds like a really fun kind of project.

Read any of the e-mails released by the governor of Louisiana's office? Seems she and her staff were overly concerned about her wardrobe choices like they were heard to criticize Michael Brown of FEMA. She continues to be a source of embarrassment. She was on C-Span yesterday demanding $230 billion from the federal government - that's your tax money - to rebuild the New Orleans area. The governor of Mississippi, dealing with the complete destruction of many small towns and the city of Biloxi, asked for $30 billions dollars. Quite a difference in attitude, don't you think? He was explaining that Mississippi doesn't expect the federal government to be responsible for all the problem solving.

Most of New Orleans is still standing and slowly opening back up. The lower ninth ward, hit the worst by breaking levees, is the source of debates as to if it should be rebuilt. The governor of Louisiana blames breaking levees for the flooding of New Orleans. Well, yeah. But where does the blame lay that over the period of several decades these levees were not properly maintained or repaired with the federal money sent to the state for such maintenance and repairs? Is it the entire country's responsibility to rebuild a city wrought with political corruption? This corruption relies on the very people displaced by Hurricane Katrina from the poorest section of the city to continue the status quo.

Where does government responsibility end and personal responsibility begin? If the cycle of generational poverty has a chance to be broken, is it not the responsibility of elected officials to block personal political ambitions and strive to do everything possible to break the cycle? The lower ninth ward in New Orleans was government housing. All the usual problems of poverty were present: high out of wedlock births, high drop out rates in schools, joblessness due to lack of training and ambition. These were the same voters being bussed to election polling sites, given a few dollars, and told how to vote. This has been the process for generations.

If the government is going to house, give food stamps to, and keep you on the dole, why should you strive for better? How do you learn to take care of yourself and your family?

The City of Houston is full. That was the word of our mayor yesterday. As of yesterday, the vouchers issued by the city to evacuees providing 12 months of free rent and utilities are no longer being given out. That's right, a full year of free rent and utilities. People are being tracked coming here from the other areas they evacuated to as the word gets out about the sweet deal in Houston. Our city services are struggling to accomodate the new surge in population. Our city, the fourth largest in the nation, is known as a generous and welcoming city. We are proud to be so. However at times our good will is tested. This is such a time.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Wet Wednesday

Today is warm, wet and humid. Yuk. I am striving for a positive attitude nonetheless.

Last night I met an old friend, the one from my elementary school days in Louisiana, for a bite and visit after she finished her work day. We met at a Tex-Mex restaurant and enjoyed a Margarita together as we caught up on each others' lives. Then we split a large order of quesidillas and guacomole salad. Tasty.

I am concerned for my friend as she has some unverifiable, at this time, worries of her husband's current journey back into Iraq. He is non-military and that is all I will say for now. I don't want to acknowledge the potential concerns any further than we have to for now. If you are inclined to pray, it would be appreciated if he was added to your list of people you are praying for at this time.

Got home in time to catch the last hour of the two hour grand finale of the Amazing Race. I still love the show even though I never could get excited about this season's format with the families. Next race begins in February. I'll be waiting.

This from an Iraqi voter yesterday, in Michigan, I believe:
"Anybody who doesn't appreciate what America has done, and President Bush, let them go to hell!". - Betty Dawisha

Go, Betty.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tuesday Thoughts

Today's brew: Community Coffee Dark Roast with Toasted Almond CoffeeMate creamer.
Fixed Son a fried egg sandwich for breakfast, as opposed to the standard cold cereal, to give him a little extra brain power for final exams today. He washed it down with a little chocolate soy milk.

I saw a program Sunday night that I thought I would share. It was about the positive events happening in Iraq, in contrast to the usual if-it-bleeds-it-leads stuff normally reported. This reporter went out of the Green Zone into all three distinctly different regions of Iraq and spoke about them to the audience. Here are some thoughts I found interesting:

There is a thriving retail business for electrical household appliances! Electricity is free in the country to its citizens. Shortages of electricity sometimes occur due to overusages. Like our big city brown outs. Electricity is coming to most of the country and engineers are working on it every day for the rest of the areas in the country. For most of the country, pre-war, electricity was always spotty. My husband saw that during his travels in Iraq before the war.

Future oil profits will be distributed to each citizen.

The stock market of Iraq is thriving. Yes, a stock market. That is a true sign of optimism by the people of Iraq.

Workers are doing 30% better now in salary comparisons. In the next few years, according to The Brookings Institute, the prediction is continued rise in salaries.

Weddings are booming. Especially in Baghdad.

Iraqi is awash in new media freedom. Scores of newspapers are being published. Satellite dishes are a common roofside sight. They even have a very popular reality style show on tv. It is called "Labor and Materials" and it shows home makeovers! Another popular show is all about video taped confessions of terrorists. I guess it would be along the lines of shows like America's Most Wanted. The producer of the show is continually threatened by the bad guys but he is determined to show what cowards the terrorists are as he stated in his interview. This is a man who is missing a hand due to tortue from Saddam. He was one of the Iraqi men brought to Houston to receive artificial hands, courtesy of the genorousity of Houston surgeons, and then these men were brought to the White House to meet President Bush.

Northern Kurdistan has a booming resort area on a lake that receives tourists from surrounding countries. It is a family style resort featuring fun and sun on the beach. The program showed men enjoying a beer while the women and children were splashing around in the water.

So, in just a scant 23 months, the country of Iraq has written a constitution and brought about a national government while addressing the needs of three distinct regions of the country. The Sunni population, once diehard Saddam supporters with the most to lose if he is not running the place, have now realized boycotting elections gets them nowhere fast. They have Imans in the mosques telling them to vote this time around so they can have a voice in the governing of their country. Good lesson to learn.

Despite all the naysayers, it is turning around, this battle for freedom in Iraq. Voting has begun for Iraqis not living in country and even with prisoners not yet convicted of a crime. Ballots are being distributed in hospitals. This is the third time the Iraqis have risen to the occasion and excercised the right to vote at great personal peril.

If the people of Iraq are optimistic about the future of their country, why wouldn't I be?

Some everyday Iraqis mentioned the greatest freedom to date has been the freedom of speech in the country. My husband had mentioned the problem of people being afraid to speak in public before the war. He stayed in a hotel in Baghdad and word spread like wildfire among the hotel workers that an American was a guest. They were cordial to him but that was all. Spies for Saddam were commonplace throughout the country and neighbors turning in neighbors for alleged crimes against Saddam, like a satellite dish bringing in tv, if they could afford a tv in the first place. Conversation on the street were not allowed.

I read an article in today's Wall Street Journal about Bernard Lewis, an 88 year old British-born Princeton University historian. He has been used as a consultant to the Bush administration about the Iraq policy and he was quoted : "If Churchill and his team had to face the same sort of opposition as does President Bush, Hitler might well have won the war."

Food for thought.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Staying Warm, Inside and Out

Son is wearing a Santa Cap around the house. It was purchased yesterday when he accompanied me to the grocery store. The cap is a nice one with white "fur" trim and a white "fur" pom pom at the cap's end. The clincher, though, for him is the Texas A & M University logo! That's my boy.

Son doesn't care that much about wearing regular baseball style caps worn by the guys. He has many with all different logos on them, from school names to sports teams names. He marches to a different drummer. When he went to the local downtown aquarium he chose a hat as a souvenir. This aquarium showcases three white tigers. I don't know why, but it does. Son came home with a hat with the white tiger stripe design. He calls it his pimp hat!

We have quite a collection of Christmas cd's in this house. I count 17 in the pile I choose from to listen to as I putter around the house. Currently in the cd player is Luther Vandross. What a smooth, velvety voice that man had. Next up - Elvis Presley, Blue Christmas. I like variety!

Hubby packing for trip tomorrow. He is packing his own Santa cap to celebrate Christmas as the day comes there. Lucky for him that Russia celebrates Christmas, too.

Arnold, make the decision about Tookie Williams already. Enough. Everyone and his brother is on tv waxing poetic on the whole thing. Now the LA police are worried about riots if he doesn't grant clemency.

Stay warm, y'all. I have Belgian waffles to make and a house to clean.

Friday, December 09, 2005

This Year

"This year Santa Claus is wearing camoflague fatigues and boots and delivering freedom to Iraq".
_Sgt Josh Howard, reporting from Iraq

Well said, Sgt Howard.

Happy Friday, Y'all

The wind blowing is minimal today, thank goodness. It was so cold here yesterday, the damp and dreary kind of cold, and the wind was blowing so much that it felt much colder than the 38 degrees it was. Today is to be a bit warmer, more into the upper 40's, so a warm up has begun. Yesterday was just plain miserable. I stopped to fill up my gas tank and the wind blowing made the cold air chill me to the bone. Gas price here: $1.96/gallon.

Living most of my life in the deep South, I have an expectation of mild winters. As a child in Louisiana, even living way up north in Shreveport, I was in shorts on Christmas eve. Did those of you in south Louisiana just smile? "Way up north" is what the Cajuns say about the Shreveport area of the state. The most snow we ever saw was maybe a dusting once or twice. As a child, I was sure we were missing out on great fun being deprived of a decent snowfall, you know. As an adult, I have come to my senses.

For about 8 years or so, I lived in the midwest and I have had all the snow and ice I will ever need again. Snow is a beautiful thing for about the first hour when it is still clean and white. After that it is just nasty and dangerous to the driving public. Or the walking public for that matter. I have busted my ass on ice more times than I care to remember.

I'm spoiled about warm weather and I know it. Last year we received about 1/2" of snow on Christmas eve and I took photos of it to document the snowfall! My son was not impressed. When my son was in kindergarten I took him to Montana for Mardi Gras week vacation to see snow and mountains. We were living in Lafayette, Louisiana and the school kids get time off for Mardi Gras. Lafayette has become increasingly popular with tourists as a family-friendly alternative to New Orleans to celebrate Mardi Gras. The Cajun culture in Lafayette celebrates Mardi Gras in unique ways. Anyway, to escape some of the extra congestion brought to the city by extra tourism, he and I went to visit my sister and her family in Montana. It was time for my son to experience snow.

We had a great time. My sister bought him a pair of snow boots before we arrived. He had his first heavy duty parka and gloves with him. His cousins, one the same age as him, enjoyed seeing him. We went to a local skiing area about 20 minutes from my sister's home and my son got up close and personal with a mountain for the first time! Snowball fights followed and watching skiers go up on the ski lifts was entertaining, too.

New adventures, viewed through the eyes of a child. Doesn't get any better than that.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I Forgot to Mention

I forgot to mention the one good thing about this cold morning. I get to wear the 100% alpaca sweater that my hubby brought back for me from his trip to New Zealand a couple of years ago. Only been worn a couple of times so it's still like new. Sweet.

The Heat Is On

Holy crap. It is so cold this morning I can't believe it. Icy roads in outlying towns. Even colder tonight. Son left his jacket, the new one, in the scout meeting room last night so we were digging through the coat closet for the older version. And the new neighbor, the woman of the pair, was too chipper with her good morning greeting, if you ask me. Bah, humbug.

I am so over the discussion of the decision of the air marshall to take out the potential bomber at Miami's airport yesterday. I think it is amazing that this is the first time marshalls have used their weapons since the ramped up program took effect after 9/11. I am sorry the guy was off his meds and it all happened but I applaud the marshall for using his training and doing his job.

Last night's holiday show was the White House holiday show with a glimpse into preparations for the season. The decorations are so unbelievably over the top beautiful, I was in awe watching these super busy people getting the job done. I would love to see it all up close and personal sometime.

Too many things to do to be sitting in front of this computer, but I can't help myself. It's so nice and warm in this spot. Even Max the dog isn't interested in going outside this morning. When I first let him out at the usual 5:15AM time today, I think he set a record for shortest time taken to pee. A personal best for him.

I don't like eggnog. Spiked or not spiked. It just doesn't taste good to me.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

Did you hear the one about the 3 point buck loose along the freeway in Houston during morning rush hour? The police rounded him up and tied him to a wrecker truck. Fish and Wildlife agency is on the way now as I type. I sure hope it wasn't Dasher checking out the lay of the land before the big night.

I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas presentation last night. I love the innocence and sweetness after all these years. Too little of it in today's world. Then I watched Amazing Race. Next week is the big 2 hour finale. It's still one of my favorite shows though I haven't enjoyed the family team format as much as the normal two person format of past races.

Sister in law just told me she has sent MIL's Christmas gift to our house so she can open it here. Turns out she is gifting MIL with the same thing we are. MIL loves big tote bags so I ordered her one from Land's End in the leopard print she favors. Sister in law ordered MIL one from LL Bean, as it turns out. Great minds think alike, I suppose.

Hubby's trip moved to him leaving Monday instead of this Friday. Not unusual in his world. So, now he'll miss New Year's Eve besides Christmas. Poor guy. Hopefully he'll be back by his birthday on Jan 8th......

Off to do some errands. Have to stock up on AA batteries for son's stuff and find a battery for my camera. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

On a Lighter Note

Tonight will mark the 40th anniversary of the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Enjoy it with me, won't you?

The Sedition Act of 1918

Yeah, I heard all those mice clicking off this site after reading the header just now but I have to say it again. My little brain is like a pressure cooker, after a certain level is reached, I have to let the steam out or I explode. And that's just not pretty, people.

The Sedition Act of 1918, as defined by Wikipedia, was an amendment to the Espionage Act of 1917. "The Sedition Act forbade an American to use disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the United States government, flag, or armed forces. The act also allowed the Postmaster General to deny mail delivery to dissenters". The Espionage Act and the Sedition Act were both repealed in 1921.

In today's political atmosphere, the level of discourse has reached record levels of bitterness. The war in Iraq, in conjunction with the war on terror, has brought this country to a level of ugliness never before seen. Suddenly, it is perfectly acceptable to make speeches on foreign soil and around this country calling the president, commander-in-chief, a liar without the media or journalists calling into question the validity of the charge. While the American military is on the battlefield, in harm's way, is it really just excercising free speech to say this war will not be won? While the American military is on the battlefield, in harm's way, is it really just excercising free speech to say the president picked the intelligence reports he agreed with and sent the armed forces into war for the satisfaction of his personal agenda? While the American military is on the battlefield, in harm's way, is it really just excercising free speech to say our soldiers are terrorizing Iraqi women and children? While the American military is on the battlefield, in harm's way, is it really just excercising free speech to say our military is broken and living hand to mouth? While the American military is on the battlefield, in harm's way, is it really just excercising free speech to walk an anti-war line outside Walter Reed Hospital while injured soldiers are trying to mend their broken bodies while buffeting their spirits?

It seems to me that a wing of an American political party so hell-bent on the acquisition of power as to wish for the defeat of America in Iraq is truly in need of a swift kick in the ass. It seems to me that a political agenda being pushed by the media in this country at the expense of the American military during a time of war is inexcusable.

The lesson learned from the Vietnam War by our enemies was that given enough carping by opposite political parties, Americans will lose the will to finish the mission. This does nothing to honor lives lost in the pursuit of the mission, nor does it make our country any safer at home. The enemy celebrates our weakness and continues to pursue their vision of the world.

We are not Republicans or Democrats in this war. We are Americans.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Thank You, Jack Frost

Finally, a cold morning. It was in the mid 40's this morning as I was sprinting out to warm up the car before taking son to school. Being Monday, I am usually racing the clock to get the day going. The sun is shining and I have hung a pair of hubby's jeans outside to dry. It's all good.

I indulged in my favorite guilty pleasure this morning by watching some C-Span. Saw an interesting Q & A with Rumsfeld before an audience at Johns Hopkins University. Then watched some of the final gathering of the 9/ll Commission before the press and families for questions and reporting on their final report card. They have broken down their recommendations to the governing bodies and how the changes have been implimented, or if they have at all, into report card format. Much more work needs to be done, of course, but I was getting the feeling the members of the commission are a bit too impressed with themselves.

Hubby leaves Friday for the former Soviet Union country. I think the only thing left to prepare for the cold weather is to double check his supply of longjohns! Yeah, that would be an important item in the suitcase.

Y'all have a good one.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sunny Saturday

I am happy to tell you that the large, ugly inflatable Eagle's fan is now gone from the yard across the street. Nothing says Merry Christmas like an ugly inflatable Eagle's fan.

My air conditioning is running today. For the past two weeks, the tv weather guesser has been saying a cold front is coming through. Still waiting. Son and I were in two different places today with Starbucks in them and it was too hot to think about indulging in the seasonal peppermint mocha. Disgusting. It was a pretty day, just too dang hot for December.

This morning I slept late and that threw me off all day. I was up past my bedtime last night and then needed extra sleep this morning. Some nights I am putzing around and the next thing I know it is 1:00 A.M. and I have to hit the hay.

Hubby got his Christmas/Birthday present early as he will be missing Christmas here this year. It's some fancy pants GPS thingy that he ordered for himself to get the one he wanted. So, since it is pricey it became a dual Christmas/Birthday gift. His birthday is January 8 so it's a twofer. He was up bright and early to play with it. Boys and their toys. This one is like the third one he has had, they just keep getting more expensive with more bells and whistles.

Tonight another one of those alleged cold fronts is suppose to move in. I'm waiting.

The Eagle Has Landed, But Why?

The house across the street from us was vacant and on the market for about two years. Finally, after it had some major renovations done, a young couple bought it and recently moved in after being married. Today, as I was walking to the driveway to head out to pick up son from school, I glanced over to their front yard as I made my way across mine. Something caught my eye and I did a double take. What the hell? Something very large and green and inflated was anchored in their front yard. Turns out to be an Eagles football player inflatable thing. Yeah, that'll coordinate nicely with our light up candy canes by our front walkway. Bless their hearts.

I baked a devil's food cake today and frosted it with vanilla buttercream that I laced with some peppermint extract. Yummy. Next time I frost a cake, my son suggests I use chocolate icing with peanut butter mixed in. That's my boy!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Friday Flashes

No, I don't know where the title of this comes from, my brain is still foggy and it is almost lunch time. One of those days for my old feeble mind. Need more caffeine, I suppose.

Christmas is closing in on me. Everything is under control, gift buying-wise, just that it'll be here before I'm ready. Too many chores to get done and I'm feeling the pressure. I have decided we'll be eating out as much as possible while MIL is here as it will only be the three of us with husband gone and I won't have to worry about that. I'll still do the Christmas meal, though.

Now that I am working on the Christmas cards, I have learned of any interesting project to voice my opinion ( you know how bashful I am, don't you?!) about the hubbub over the taking Christ out of Christmas thing. I'll be sending a card to the ACLU for the "Wishing You Merry Christmas" project. You can do the same:

"Wishing You Merry Christmas"
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004

I cannot believe Hollywood has made a remake of "Yours, Mine and Ours." One of my all time favorite movies. Does it get any better than Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball? I am a huge Lucy fan anyway. If this movie is crap I will be upset.

I am having my first Starbucks peppermint mocha of the season this afternoon when I pick up son from school. I'm treating us for making it through the long week. And I have had the peppermint mocha on my brain for several days now. I love it so.

I am pro-choice and pro death penalty. Surprised?

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Today's Ramble

Let's see, what to talk about today. I just replied on behalf of my son to a school that looks interesting among all the college literature he is being bombarded with these days. He is a sophomore this year and sending off for literature from lots of colleges and universities. I hate the thought he is only here for two more years. It'll be over in a flash, I know.

Hubby is driving my car today as he is getting it inspected and changing the oil for me. He has a place by his office he trusts so I am driving his pimp mobile today. That's what son and I call his car. It is an older Olds that is maroon with maroon fabric upholstery. Gah. Good sound system, though.

I'm seeing all these places with all the heavy snow fall this early in the season and remembering days when I went out early to get the car scrapped off and the heater blasting. Give me the Gulf coast any day. Hurricanes and all. It's the trade off.

Made some chocolate chip muffins for a treat for son this morning. He'll have them this afternoon. They are one of his fave treats and so easy. Open the mix, add the milk and bake! Mahhahaha! I put them on the glass platter with the Christmas cats design. Dragging all that stuff out for the month. Of course I have many penguin motif items in festive attire.

The current fad of political campaigning via taped telephone messages is so irritating I could scream. The last thing I want to hear when I am interrupted by a ringing telephone is a recorded message for a political candidate.

Looks like husband will miss out on Christmas at home after all. He is scheduled to leave the 8th and expected to be out for 20 days. I did the math. Looks like just me, son and MIL. We have been lucky in recent years, he has been home for most of the recent past Christmases. So, instead of the big leg of lamb I have in the freezer to cook for Christmas dinner, I'll save it for New Years Eve. Such is our life. When I introduced my future husband to my old college roommate, she had the classic line to offer as her pearl of wisdom: "Life will never be boring." Well said and true.

So many books to read, so little reading time. Every day I see another book I think sounds good. My stack of "to read" books is too high already to justify picking up more. It's a vicious cycle with me. My husband has switched to books on tape style of reading with his travels. He just sticks in the earplug and he's good to go. His PDA hooks up with the computer and he downloads from a site called and gets his fix. I don't know the process but it's what he does.

The press is having a field day with the memos being released from previous decisions made by Samuel Alito, the president's nominee to the Supreme Court. Doing the work of the opposition party, they are feigning surprise that this conservative, Republican president has nominated a conservative, Republican lawyer to the Supreme Court. I'm shocked by this choice, I'll tell you. And it appears he is personally pro-life, too. Wow. Surprising. Idiots.

Tookie Williams, founder of the Crips gang in southern California, has been denied by the California state Supreme Court a stay in his date with the death penalty again. That the governor of California is seriously considering a decision otherwise is revolting. Because he wrote a childrens book denouncing gang activity? He was in solitary confinement all this time as he was too violent in the general population when he was first incarcerated, what with physically fighting and raping fellow prisoners and all. But he wrote a childrens book.

I wonder, can you be pro-choice and anti death penalty? I mean with a straight face.