Monday, July 31, 2006


Last night, just before turning in,I checked my email and found a very sweetly written message from my hubby wishing me a happy anniversary. I sent him one earlier in the day and so he was replying. Very thoughtful and mushy, just like I like it. Then, in my normal way, I responded by asking him who he paid to compose it! Well, that's my nature. He expected no less from me and his next response was that it was all his creation, otherwise the grammar and spelling would have been better. He is known for neither so that was a little inside joke, you see.

And so it goes.

Today is the birthday of my baby sister. I called and wished her a good one. She is living in southern Indiana and seriously thinking of moving here. Her husband is thinking of changing jobs and she would be close to us here. I have mixed feelings about the potential move, I admit. We get along great now that she's all grown up and responsible, which took her a good 36 or so years to do, and sometimes distance is good for family relationships. She is 7 years younger than me so we don't have so many years of growing up in the same house and all that encompasses, as say, my other sister who is just 16 months younger than me. She is a whole different story now, though, and it is good she lives in Montana. We grew up being extremely close and remained so up until a couple of years ago. Sometimes the differences in life choices overcomes her and after her last visit here, it was directed at me. So, that's that for her. At least for the foreseeable future. C'est la vie.

Siblings. You love 'em, you hate 'em. Can't live with them, can't kill them.

My husband brings only one sibling into the mix. His younger brother lives in Washington state, a ferry's ride from Seattle, and is a musician. There is a 5 year age difference between them. My husband and he are like night and day. He's a nice man, stuck in the 60's and that's all I'm saying.

All four of us had babies the same year. All boy babies. Wild, eh? The brother in law and husband each only have one son and they are 9 weeks apart.

Life is strange, I tell you.

Baby sister's youngest child is only 4 weeks older than our my son. Other sister's firstborn son is a few months younger.

Life couldn't be planned that well.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Year 23

Today marks the 23rd anniversary of our wedding. Twenty three years ago, on a brutally hot day in Bloomington, Indiana, I walked down the aisle into a diferent life. What began as a blind date, yes, a blind date, turned into a small, rather casual wedding ceremony joining us in holy matrimony.

I was 27 years old and he was 34 years old in the summer of 1982. He was living in New Orleans and working in the oil drilling industry both in the Gulf of Mexico and overseas. I lived in Bloomington, Indiana and worked in an office. He was born and raised in Bloomington, choosing to move south to begin a new life after the death of his first wife and their brief marriage. I was born and raised in the deep South but with bona fide Yankee parents, Hoosiers, more specifically. After the death of my father, my mother moved back to her hometown to be with her siblings and my sisters and I moved with her. I was there for long enough by then to know I wanted to move back down south when it was possible. I was enjoying my life as a young, working woman. My future husband was enjoying his life as a 30 something bachelor in the Big Easy. He was living in the Uptown section of New Orleans.

Our mothers were working together in the antique business. They each owned their own shops and would join together on weekends to travel out of town to do antique shows in the midwest and the south. My future mother in law, thinking it was time for her older son to settle back down, gave him my phone number and told him to call me. He did. So, in the summer of 1982, we met for lunch at a hamburger joint in the vicinity of the Indiana University campus while he was home visiting his parents.

We have been together since.

We were married in a Saturday afternoon ceremony in the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Bloomington by a lovely lady minister by the name of Laurel. I think that is quite a pretty name. We attended that church, even though we were both raised in the Presbyterian church. We just liked it. And Laurel. We paid for our own wedding and have been doing things on our own ever since. Not a bad way to go.

In our now twenty three years of marriage we have lived in a few places together. Upon meeting my future husband an old college roommate told me that my life would never be boring. She was right. She also now shares a birthday with our son. Life is wierd like that.

We moved from Bloomington to Lafayette, Louisiana. See, I told you the south was in my future. We thought Lafayette would be a better place than New Orleans to raise a family. We like being closer in to a city than to be in a suburb outside a city and at that time New Orleans was not a very family friendly kind of town. It was experiencing a downturn economically, mostly due to oil company downturns, and Lafayette offered a better way of life. We purchased our first home together in December 1985. Three months later we were moving to Dallas. The downturn of the oil industry of the mid 80's hit us and we had to move for hubby to get a job. My uncle there got him something to keep us afloat. We kept the house in Lafayette with the intention of moving back as soon as we could. We did two years later. We lived there for 10 years with a brief intermission of a move to Venezuela. Hubby was there about a year, baby son and I were there about 6 months. We purchased our second home in Lafayette and life was good. Another oil industry downturn in the mid 90's and we moved to Houston. First to a suburb north of the city for one year then into the city. We purchased this house in 1999 and have been here since.

Life is not boring.

Our son was born in September 1989 in Lafayette. He is proud to say he is a native of Cajun country. He was my inspiration to get involved with three women in Lafayette trying to open a Children's Museum. After working with them on a volunteer basis for 3 years, the museum was opened and I was on the original museum staff.

A fact of life within my marriage is that my husband is gone at least half of the time. Living in Houston, and in Lafayette for that matter, my life is no different than many other families that we know. Our lifestyle, while unusual to those not sharing it, is not odd to us. I look at it this way - I have the best of both worlds. I have always been a very independent sort of gal and it works for us.

Today, on our anniversary, hubby is out of the country. He has missed more anniversaries, birthdays and holidays than he has been home for. I'll open a bottle of champagne chilling in the fridge and be quite content.

It's all good.

"Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence." - Oscar Wilde

Saturday, July 29, 2006


It is so quiet this morning. I got up at the usual time to let Max out, no swim this morning, and then went back to bed for a while. No one mowing yards or even much traffic moving. I think the heat wears everyone out.

Got an email from hubby. He is doing the assignment in Kazakhstan for a French-owned company and most of the workers on the drilling rig are French. The first line of the email said, in bold letters, that he didn't want to hear any French for at least a month! Not the easiest of fellows to work with!

You know, yesterday I was talking to myself a bit that I shouldn't be so paranoid about this time in the world. I was expressing my relief that our son was finishing up at the summer school he attended this month. A private Jewish school. I was comforted that it is tucked back out of the way and it does have on site security and a gated driveway leading in and out of the school property. Well, I guess my first instinct was right, as it often is with humans, isn't it? Last night I learned of an attack by a Muslim American who walked into the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle, pulled a gun and opened fire. He shot after yelling that he was angry at Israel and the conflict with Lebanon. He shot 5 women, killing 1 and hospitalizing 4, including one woman who is 17 weeks pregnant. They ranged in age from 40's to 20's. The man is said to be from Pakistan. The FBI did the usual song and dance that it wasn't terror related. Huh?

A little update on Houston's entry into the Meow Mix House competition in New York City - Molly won't be named feline vice-president of research and development, according to an article in the newspaper yesterday. She represented our city proudly for 10 days and was living with nine other shelter cats from around the country. It is an online reality style of experience raising awareness of homeless animals. Awww. Who doesn't love that? Molly liked to sleep in the storefront window of the cathouse built in Manhattan for the competition and she was a bit of a ham for the passersby. She was the youngest of the competitors and the loudest meower. She is now at home with a woman here in Houston and she won a year's supply of Meow Mix. Too cute.

And to end on a note of the wacky, a member of the Cindy Sheehan possee who is a legal sort has purchased 5 acres of land about 7 miles from the president's ranch in Crawford with Cindy's insurance money from her son's death so that the gang can have their own spot this summer for protesting while the president is there in August. He'll be there for 2 weeks. Cindy paid about $56,000 for the land, according to reports. It's Cindy's land, in her name, don't get me wrong. She just didn't want to do the transaction herself as she knew she wasn't welcome in town, you know, by those regular people she claims she speaks for in her protests. So her fellow moonbat was used as an agent for her. Since she isn't paying federal taxes as a protest of the war, wonder if she'll pay what she will owe to Crawford and the county? Just a thought.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Final Friday

Sipping my coffee, easing into the day. Today is the last day of summer school for son's math class. Today they will have the final exam and he's out of there. Looks like he'll keep his A average in the course, barring anything squirrelly happening today. He is at a private school for the class, a private Jewish school, and I am happy it is tucked away out of traffic and public view, I must admit, given the events happening in the world today. As I've said before, Houston has one of the largest Muslim populations in the country, as with populations of other faiths due to our sheer number of people living here and the diversity factor Houston is famous for encouraging. As long as everyone plays nice, I have no problem.

I watched a group of women playing accordions on the morning chat show today. My sister-in-law, in the Seattle area, would have enjoyed watching them. She plays accordian. She calls herself a "vampire" during working hours as she draws blood in the hospital lab but she has varied interests. She is also big in hula dancing locally. My brother-in-law is a musician.

Fool of the Week: Mary Rose Oakar, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. This group filed a federal lawsuit on July 24 against Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld claiming these two did not fulfull their constitutional duties or professional obligations to protect U.S. citizens in time of crisis or time of war. They claim Secretary Rice and Rumsfeld placed U.S. citizens "in peril" by not taking possible steps to keep them safe in Lebanon. They demand a ceasefire to be issued and to stop the U.S. from shipping weapons or any other military support to Israel.

Now you get the picture. This isn't about Lebanese Americans getting out of Lebanon. This is all about publicity for this groups political agenda. Did I say the lawsuit was filed in federal court in Michigan? Michigan, known for Arab American political activism. Ms. Oakar is a former Ohio congresswoman, so she is no stranger to using the press and tv cameras to get her message out. She knows full well that the U.S. government, or its secretaries, are not under obligation to launch any evacuation efforts, legally speaking, in light of the State Department's repeated travel warnings concerning Lebanon. Four strong warnings against traveling to Lebanon have been issued by the State Department in the past two years alone. Morally speaking, of course the U.S. got the Americans out who wanted to leave. We also evacuated non-Americans at no expense during operations.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee is an extremely well-funded organization. I'm sure they have lots of cash on hand to burn up in frivolous lawsuits. This won't even make it out of the initial filing but the goal of publicity has been accomplished.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Max Swims

This morning's brew: Starbuck's French Roast, extra bold. Good thing about the extra bold part as I sure needed it. Max, the dog, was let out into the back yard for his first trip out after waking this morning. Everything as is routine around here - I got up, let him out the sliding glass doors, he begins his usual path around the perimeter of the yard and then, I'm assuming after he tinkles as I didn't see, I was going into the kitchen to get his treats, I hear a loud splash sound. What? I looked and it wasn't Oreo, the cat, as he was looking back at me from across the room. I move somewhat quickly, it is 5:00 in the morning after all, and there's Max in the swimming pool. Good Lord. I'm hitting on a few more cylinders now. Max is dog paddling around the shallow end of the pool, then tries to hoist himself out on the side. The side without the steps. No luck. He starts back around to the side and I fear he is going to get tangled up in the cleaning thingy with the hose that's attached to that side. I start telling him to come while I stand by the steps on the opposite side. He finally gets the message and paddles over, comes up the steps and begins to thank me by shaking off all over me. Bless his heart. He must have slipped on the wet stones that surround the pool. I got him mostly dry after going through 2 heavy bath towels and got his collar off so his neck and it could dry.

He tried to give me that "I meant to do that" attitude but we both knew better. He is the sweetest dog ever but bright? No so much.

It's a zoo around here.

So, yeah, as expected there's Rusty Yates on all the morning chat shows. It's all about him. Andrea's back in court this morning to be formally discharged by the judge into a mental health facility. Rusty can go on with his new marriage. And the talk show circuit.

Dan Gillerman is my new hero. He is the Israeli ambassador to the U.N. What a class act. His voice remains completely calm and steady as he makes his points on tv. He responded to the statement of Kofi Annan, who was under the impression that Israel deliberately sent a missile to kill the U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon, with dignity and reason.

Kofi Annan. It is time to say goodbye and good luck to him. Under his "leadership" of the U.N., millions have been killed due to genocide from Rawanda to Bosnia to Afghanistan to Iraq to the Congo, and Darfur, on and on, and what does he do? It is documented that Hezbollah was using the U.N. post on the border of Lebanon and Israel as a shield. Why is it that "peacekeepers" are there anyway? There's a military operation going on, guys. They sat by and let 13,000 missiles come into the hands of Hezbollah as they have been building up to this for the past 6 years. Good work. The U.N. peacekeepers have raped young girls, smoked cigars and drank expensive liquor, and turned a blind eye to atrocities around the world but keep the peace anywhere? Um. No.

The only hope for any kind of support in the U.N. is John Bolton on behalf of the U.S. Bolton has been successful in blocking votes concerning ceasefire and other statements from the anti-Semites at the U.N. For Kofi Annan to publicly voice his anti-semitic opinion concerning Israel, a member state, is beyond the pale. No condemnation of Hezbollah and the practice of using human civilain shields though.

Poor Howard Dean can't get any love from Capitol Hill. He made a statement in Miami that even the Democrats are not supporting. He told an audience there that the Iraqi Prime Minister, al Miliki is an anti-Semite. He didn't like that al-Miliki doesn't strongly condemn Hezbollah publicly and stand up for Israel. Well, Howie, it was Saddam who was the anti-Semite. He was the one who was paying $20,000 for each suicide bomber going into Israel to blow up innocent civilians. I know Howie doesn't think there was anything wrong with the isolationist policy that put into play the sitting dictators in the region. As long as we keep everything status quo, everything is ok, right? Wrong. Israel has been under attack since the U.N. established its charter in 1948 and its neighbors will not stop until they kill all the Jews. That's their stated objective. The audience applauded Dean's ridiculous statement. Why? Because liberal American Jews are Israel's worst enemy. It is someone like George W. Bush, a Christian, who is Israel's biggest supporter.

Maybe if Howard Dean and his minions on the far fringes of the left, like Chuckie Schumer and Barbara Boxer who didn't bother to be respectful enough to al-Miliki to go to his appearance yesterday in a joint session of Congress, were honest enough as Americans and not wallowing around in the worst of partisanship they would understand that al-Miliki is a Shiite Arab who was in exile in Syria for more than 20 years during Saddam's reign of terror. He is doing everything he can to get Iraq under control and on its way. Will we always agree with everything the man does and says? Of course not. Give the man a break.

And finally to the Code Pink brigade. Yesterday during al-Maliki's address to Congress, one of the members of Code Pink disrupted the speech. She is the founder of the organization and the one who leads the protesting of the war in front of Walter Reed Hospital. She's one classy broad, that one. Then today during the hearing for John Bolton's permanent position as U.N. ambassador, one of the members jumped up to scream her opinion about him. One word for these women - makeover. New wardrobe and a little personal grooming would be good. The 60's are over. And take Mama Sheehan with you. She doesn't look good in your t-shirt either.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Let's Just Say It

The verdict is in. Andrea Yates is not guilty by reason of insanity. This was a horrible local story and the original trial in 2002 was a zoo.

Let's just say it, shall we? Rusty Yates is just as guilty as Andrea of responsibility in the death of those 5 young, innocent children. Baby Mary, the only girl was only 6 months old. The oldest was 7.

Rusty is guilty of negligence concerning Andrea's mental health treatments. This was a battle of many years and Andrea was never able to remain a functioning woman. They had been advised not to have more children.

This was senseless and completely avoidable. The mother in law would try to help out during the days leading up to the drownings so that tells me she and her son knew how desperately Andrea needed help. Andrea's close friend is quoted in newspaper interviews as claiming Andrea wasn't bathing, combing her hair, even brushing her teeth. She was walking around without speaking and walking in circles.

Rusty Yates is now re-married. He has been interviewed numerous times. He claims he'd like more children. More children? Today after the verdict was given, he told reporters he's the victim and is happy Andrea will now be in a facility and get help. You gotta love the victim claim, don't you?

Good luck to the new wife.

OK, I'm Game

This morning SuZan and Sheri at Celebrating Women tagged me. I'll play.

When did you first start blogging and why?

I was under the impression that if I forced myself to write on a daily or near daily basis my writing abilities would improve. I began a year ago with my blog and I'll let others be the judge.

What don't you talk about?

I don't use the names of my husband or son on the blog or our family name. I use my first name and the names of our dog and cat! I try not to get too personal with blogging about our lives. I prefer to stick to my passions of politics and current events.

Are you and your blogging persona the same person?

One and the same.

How do you use blogging to build friendships?

I didn't begin with my blog to establish friends. However, I am the first to say it is a wonderful bonus to the whole process. I like to think I have a circle of friends now through the blogosphere and I look forward to checking in with them on a daily basis.

How would you describe your writing style?

I try to write in a casual, almost conversational style. I am talking to friends in my mind as I type. Since a lot of my posts have to do with politics I do try not to preach or condescend. I fail a lot of times but I do try. Everyone is entitled to my opinion!

Thanks, ladies. I like being included in the Houston connection!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lipstick on a Pig

That slogan keeps going around in my brain. So many tidbits in the news yesterday made it a natural thought for me.

Hillary Clinton, thinking she'll follow her husband back into the White House in 2008, has shelled out major bucks for makeovers and hairdos in anticipation of major campaigning. She has used Christophe for years, as has John Kerry, and now she has used re-election funds for a makeup makeover, according to the New York Post. She has used a woman named Barbara Lacy who is a Hollywood makeup artist and paid up to $1600 a session. But, please, she's just a woman of the people. She and Bill are just ordinary working folks.

We see the theme of her upcoming presidential bid playing out. She's gonna make it all about the middle class. Again. Worked for Bill, and she is nothing if not an extraordinary mimic of her husband, without whom she would just be another screeching moonbat. That whole victim thing got her elected and now she is queen. She doesn't mention that minority home ownership is at an all time high, especially single black moms, that the spending on education is at an all time high, that teen pregnancy is down. And, yes, a war to protect this country costs a lot of money. Maybe if her husband had accepted one of the three offers he got for bin Laden's capture instead of pleasuring himself in the Oval Office with college girls, some of this could have been avoided.

Clinton has spent over $285,000 for political polling, $650,000 for direct mail and $200,000 for postage so far this campaigning year. Hillary never met a spending bill she didn't endorse but likes calling the kettle black for the sound bites.

John Kerry thinks if he was president we wouldn't witness what is happening in the middle east right now. Of course, he's the only one envisioning himself for president. He just can't let it go, bless his heart. Of course he told all this to an audience in Detroit, home of a huge Arab population. And he was there to campaign for the current governor of Michigan running for re-election, behind in the polls. Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Canadian, must be really desperate. Maybe she wants the right to use the famous Kerry/Edwards campaign slogan "We have better hair", as it was truly inspiring. That John Kerry, he's a serious guy. And then for G.W. Bush to turn up with better college grades on his transcript. Darn, foiled again.

And, to the shirt vendor, Dan Frazier of Flagstaff, Arizona. He refuses to remove the name of a soldier murdered in Iraq by Islamo Facists, though his mother asked Frazier to do so, from a t shirt being sold by him with the oh so original thought, "Bush lied and then on the back "They died". Making a buck using the names of dead soldiers. Quite the patriot, that Dan Frazier. Nevermind those pesky grieving moms who raised good, strong kids trying to make a difference in the world.

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on." - Robert Frost

Monday, July 24, 2006

Monday Morsels

So, today I am moving slowly and pacing myself entering into the new week. I did, however make it to the grocery store and run into my old friend, Martha White, who alerted me to the fact that her brownie mix was on sale. I didn't want to insult the old girl so I purchased a mix and have since baked it. The brownies are cooling as I type. May be just the cure for today's slow moving pace.

The dog show has left town now. They did an interesting thing with the Best of Show awards: they gave one each day instead of one overall award for the whole show. For Friday, the winner was a cocker spaniel, Saturday was a golden retriever and Sunday was a boxer. Should you need that bit of trivia, now you are set. Break ice at a gathering all you want.

In today's lifestyle section of the newspaper is a very large photo of a Texan who is doing very well in a tv competition called "Rock Star: Supernova". I haven't seen it but did hear an interview with this young woman on the radio last week. Her name is Dilana and I see she is all tatooed up and lots of piercing on her face. I must confess, I just don't get it. All I can think about is what will they do as old people all wrinkly? Long after the fads pass and they are stuck with permanent ink markings and holes in their bodies, that's what concerns me. I have double pierced ears, that's the extent of my indulgence. No tatoos. The first set of holes made when I was 16, much to the horror of my parents who thought only trashy girls pierced their ears, and then the second set of ear holes made when I celebrated my 30th birthday. I usually wear diamond studs or pearls in the second holes.

My husband has a small tatoo on a part of his body not exposed to anyone but me, or maybe his personal doctor, and that was from a very drunken night in New Orleans, as the story goes. With his usual partaking of said alcohol, particularly while living in New Orleans all those years as a single guy, it's a wonder he had sense enough to be discreet with the tatoo at all.

That's all I've got today. Later, gators.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

All's Quiet on the Homefront

Is there anything better than that first sip of coffee in the morning, all freshly brewed and hot? Another e-mail from hubby informing he is on the drilling rig and doing ok. Very slow internet connection, as you can imagine.

Movie watching was fun yesterday. I watched lots all over again, something I have the complete freedom to do if hubby is out of town (or country) and I take full advantage. The line-up was:
"You've Got Mail", "Bridget Jones-Age of Reason", "The Love Letter" and "Baby Boom". All fun chick kind of movies. And happy endings.

A huge dog show is going on this weekend, billed as "Reliant Park World Series of Dog Shows". Our Max has been shown the photos in the newspaper but he is not much interested in fussy dogs. I did tell him about a great heart-tugger from the article yesterday in the newspaper, the method of fundraising being used at the show. Donation dogs. Several rescue type of organizations have let the dogs be the fundraisers, begging, er, soliciting donations on the floor of the show. The crowds are responding generously, as I know I would, to seeing dog rescued from pounds or shelters. Two Labrador Retrievers and one Golden Retriever were highlighted in photos. Our Max is half Lab, half Beagle.

These dogs walk around the dog show floor with their humans and show off jackets with pockets for money stuffing and the names of the groups they represent. Both of the types of dogs highlighted were from rescue organizations and veterans of this task. So cute.

Looks like the last of those wanting to leave Lebanon will do so today. The evacuation has been a monumental task requiring many factions to coordinate. I found it interesting that now the other countries of the folks wanting out are complimenting the U.S. on the level of competence and success of it operation. Did you know the U.S. is also paying for nationals of other countries to leave? Yep, don't even need to be a U.S. citizen. Your tax dollars at work. So, after 4 warnings from the State Dept in the past 2 years about the dangers of traveling to Lebanon by those with an American passport (most of these people also have a Lebanese passport as that is the country of their families origin, hardly innocents caught by surprise), and asked not to go, they did and now don't even have to worry about the cost of evacuation. Once our ships were allowed to dock there, not the case previously, those evacuating were on luxury cruise liners and able to have a hot shower and food and cold drinks. Even mixed drinks, according to some relaying their experience. Those freighters sent for the very first of the evacuations were foreign and those Americans on them should not be surprised that other countries do things differently.

I read a really good accounting from a woman writing for the Jewish World Review,, and her vacation to the northern part of Israel. That's a view we aren't getting here. Her name is Caroline B. Glick, according to the by-line of the article. She gives an easy to understand background as to how the current events are playing out.

"I wanted it to be you. I wanted it so badly." - Shopgirl to NY152.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Coffee Thoughts

Today's Brew: Community Coffee, Hazelnut flavored. It is a full-bodied coffee with just a hint of flavor. We aren't really the flavored coffee kind of drinkers around here. Works well with the hazelnut creamer. Using my "got penguins?" mug, a parody of the "got milk?" campaign.

Last night I watched "Something's Gotta Give" and loved it, again. I have now seen it many times and it always makes me laugh. Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton are an excellent pairing and both are natural comics, I think. I see "You've Got Mail" is on later this afternoon. I'll be there. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Another great pairing from Hollywood. Still love it every time I watch it. First today, though it's "Pay It Forward", as I haven't seen that yet.

Miss Lebanon and Miss Israel are great friends at the Miss Universe pagaent. They both have extra tight security around them for tonight's competition as both have received numerous threats for being friends. It's the world in which we live.

Hubby should be on the oil drilling rig in Kazakhstan by now. Waiting to hear from him as to what kind of communication ability to the outside world he will have. That's the biggest drawback to some of the places he travels to work, the communication is often shaky at best. I am blessed with a husband who keeps as frequent contact with me as possible.

I have been wearing a new shirt lately, a seersucker shirt with thin blue and white stripes, and it makes we ask why did I forget how comfy seersucker is in this heat? I haven't worn the fabric in years and I have seen the error of my ways.

Also increasing my comfy level? My Birkenstocks'. I have several pair and my newest are too cute. The brand is excellent for my flat feet and I love them.

One more week of summer school and son is done. Regular school begins in less than a month. Too fast.

I bought a panini maker and plan to learn how to make pressed sandwiches with it. I want to try those Cuban style sandwiches I see being made on the cooking shows. But first, for breakfast I am doing Belgian waffles.

I love Joyce Meyers:
"I found out...that my personal joy is not somebody else's responsibility. It's my responsibility." She is able to make her sermons into the conversational style I prefer and reminds us of basic messages. And, she maintains a positive, uplifting style.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Son Strikes Again

Son, holding a long handled electronic bug zapper in his hand, comes into the great room as I am reading. Did I see it? What? He zapped a bug and it combusted as he did so a spark shot out as if it caught fire.

"I love this thing!"

Boys. A bunch of pyros.

Fiesty Friday

Feeling a little full of it for some reason today. I'll just go with it.

First, of course, is the Fool of the Week: This week, hands down, George Voinovich.

The Senator from Ohio who felt it was his moral obligation to oppose President Bush's nominee to the U.N. because he didn't bother to go to the hearings of the nomination or do the homework on John Bolton's history/career as a civil servant. He just showed up at the last committee meeting and took the word of the democrats on the committee who has already decided to oppose the nominaton, en masse. John Bolton was too strident, had bogus harrassment charges against him by a former employee, that were disproved (she was a democrat party operative, shocking, I know), and he might be mean on the upper East side of Manhattan. Senator Voinovich went to the floor of the Senate and had the famous crying jag over his decision to vote no and thus torpedo the President's pick for U.N. ambassador. He put on quite the show for someone so worried about how someone else would act in public.

So, this week comes the statement from Voinovich : "I believe Bolton has been tempered and focused on speaking for the administration. He has referred regularly to "my instructions" from Washington, whle also displaying his own clear and strong grasp of the issues and the way forward within the Security Council. He has stood many times side by side with collegues from Japan, Britain, Canada and other countries, showing a commitment to cooperation within the United Nations..." "Should the president choose to renominate him, I cannot imagine a worse message to send to the terrorists--and to other nations deciding whether to engage in this effort--than to drag out a possible renomination process or even replace the person our president has entrusted to lead our nation at the United Nations at a time when we are working on these historic objectives. For me or my colleagues in the Senate ot now question a possible renomination would jeopardize our influence in the United Nations and encourage those who oppose the United States to make Bolton the issue, thereby undermining our policies and agenda."

Yeah, ya think, Senator? Too bad you decided to let a little theatre of the absurd take over and not stand up for the nomination in the first place. Your ball-dropping on this has tainted your reputation, not enhanced it as some principled stand as you had hoped. You look foolish at the present time when Ambassador Bolton's strong professionalism is shining through with all that is happening in the world. He is a strong voice of reason and the free world agrees, even those not willing to publicly support us. You are a very small man, Senator.

Need a hankie now?

The good people of Ohio need a Republican not willing to take marching orders from Chuckie Schumer and Patrick Leahy on that committee. They deserve much better than they got.

This week also brought the following blurbs that made me wonder if I had fallen throught the looking glass: Bill Maher applauds President Bush and calls him heroic for his strong, continued stand with Israel. Again, where ya been, Bill? That 's the same reason you hate President Bush - he remains steadfast on his core values and principles, not looking at the current polling results. The other way of governing got us in this mess in the first place.

CNN showed the piece about baby Logan I talked about a day or two ago who is now able to leave Lebanon with his new Mom from New Hampshire. Wow, an actual good news story from the region. The reporter did, however, convienently leave out the fact it was a talk show host from Fox News and his bringing in the local politicans that got the family on the way to reuniting after getting Homeland Security to green light the new baby American's papers. CNN doesn't do that kind of thing. That would get in the way of their personal opinion reporting.

And finally, Oliver Stone seems to have made a movie I may actually watch. The new movie about 9/11, "World Trade Center" is getting good reviews from all sides. Stone doesn't bash President Bush, doesn't claim it was all a conspiracy from Israel, doesn't make fun of Christians, or bash America. Wow.

I'm happy to say I watched Anderson Cooper for a while last night and he had on a different shirt.

Now I look forward to watching some movies, enjoying the Saturday morning cooking shows and catching up on laundry. All stuff that lets my brain switch off and relax for a while.

Hubby e-mailed this morning and is safely in Kazakhstan. He'll be on the drilling rig tomorrow. The weather is great. No 40 degree below temps this time around.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tidbits From This End

I am so looking forward to watching movies this weekend and turning off the 24 hour cable news for a while. I can't take the highlighting of the whining by the dinosaur media in this country. It was refreshing to see Gov. Erlich, Republican in Maryland, speaking about his state's role in accepting the evacuees coming back to the States. He is making sure they are fed, sheltered, if necessary, and whatever they need is available. No political point making, no bashing and not worrying about re-imbursement. He said they are doing the right thing and will worry about the money later. Good on him. That's what Houston did during Katrina. Using Katrina as an example by the whiners and nutcases like Nancy Pelosi is totally absurd.

I was watching Anderson Cooper on CNN again last night. He's a cute guy and he is professional enough not to ram any opinions he may have down the viewer's throat, unlike most on that network, and I have one question - Did he only bring one shirt to the war? I think he's worn the same shirt every day so far. Or else he has many in the same color and style. You'd think with a mother who is Gloria Vanderbilt he would have access to clothes, wouldn't you? I can't look at him covering the news in the field without thinking of the Kathy Griffin joke she does about Anderson covering Katrina, in Prada! She cracks me up. And Anderson rejected the comparisons to Katrina evacuations, as hard as Wolfie tried to get him to say otherwise.

Mike Tobin of Fox News is another example of unbiased reporting. I remember him when he was starting out as a reporter in the Lafayette/Baton Rouge area when we lived there.

My girlfriend that I had lunch with last weekend has a friend who is caught in the Lebanon crisis. She and her son are working their way back. They were visiting relatives, as all the others trying to get back were, except a few of the students. To assume all these people were only vacationing and ignorant of the danger that may lurk is wrong. Did you know as an American you were not allowed to enter Lebanon with only an American passport until 1997? You would have had to produce a Lebanese passport, too. Not to mention those pesky embassy bombings and warnings from the State Department about traveling there. George Bush had nothing to do with any of this and this is very depressing to many bashers. Silly, short-sighted people.

President Bush is speaking to the NAACP meeting today. Let the hate speech from the membership and leaders begin. He has a long standing relationship with Bruce Gordon, the leader now, so he accepted the invitation. It won't be good enough. His cabinent has more minorities than any in history, minority home ownership is at record levels, more aid to Africa than ever before, faith-based outreach in poor urban areas, trying to revamp the educational system in this country, but none of that will matter. Remember the Coretta Scott King funeral? He honored her in D.C., too, along with Rosa Parks, but that doesn't matter. Sheep.

The best line I have heard from a press secretary ever:

"Thank you for the Hezbollah view." - Tony Snow to Helen Thomas

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Second Attempt

That's what this post is, the second attempt made today. This morning's was not published by blogger so I've been too busy to get back to try to do another post. Here it is early evening and I will try again.

All day I have been thinking about my frustration with the people evacuating from Lebanon to Cyprus. The media has a knack for picking out the most disgruntled of people and playing up their complaints. It is disgusting. One student complained about no decent surroundings on the freighter she was evacuated on - that no food or water was available. It was a Swedish vessel so her complaints of the U.S. were bogus. She didn't bother to say that the Navy Seals went out to the vessel and sent chicken sandwiches to the Americans on board. She merely complained that not everyone else got food. You would think the trip to Cyprus took a week or something, not a matter of hours. Plus she had to get her dig in about why should she expect to be evacuated quickly after seeing the response to Katrina. What a waste of space she is. Spoiled little American girl waiting to be taken care of and then complain when she is.

And she had complaints about the conditions on the vessel - mind you this is a Swedish freighter, not a luxury cruise ship, - that there were flies and towards the end it resembled a "refugee" ship. Well, yeah. That education she's receiving at the university isn't making her too sharp. And I would love to know if she's there on a government grant.

How about a simple thank you? The fee has been waived and they don't even have to reimburse the government the measly fee of $150 that they were required to pay, by law, and the island of Cyprus is held by many to be a vacation resort island. Don't you feel sorry for her?

Contrast that with a story I just heard that restores my faith a bit: An American woman and her in-laws were in Lebanon to pick up the baby the American was adopting. Her husband is waiting for their return at their home in New Hampshire. He works in Massachusetts. They chose Lebanon to adopt from as he is 3 generation Lebanese. With the help of a cable tv show host, the senators from N.H. and a congressman from Massachusetts and Ted Kennedy, working with ICE and Homeland Security, they now have the green light to get on a ship tomorrow from Beirut. Americans pulling together. She was on tv tonight thanking everyone for the help and thanking the politicans. Then she and her husband both said God Bless America. Nice touch.

When Americans make the choice to travel and live in foreign lands, especially dangerous spots like the middle east, they must take full responsibility for how events play out. Good or bad. They are not forced to go to school there, work there or vacation there. As Americans we feel entitled to travel the world and assume all will be well. It is a naive way of thinking in today's world.

That's one lucky little Lebanese baby. His name in now Logan. I think he'll like it in New Hampshire.

Yesterday after my post I was playing around and found something fun from a couple of blogs I enjoy reading. So I had son help me post my results... Hence, the soul entry.

Good times.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

What Your Soul Really Looks Like
You are a warm hearted and open minded person. It's easy for you to forgive and forget.
You are a very grounded, responsible, and realistic person. People may not want to hear the truth from you, but they're going to get it.
You believe that people see you as larger than life and important. While this is true, they also think you're a bit full of yourself.
Your near future is calm, relaxing, and pretty much what you want. And it's something you've been anticipating for a while now.
For you, love is all about caring and comfort. You couldn't fall in love with someone you didn't trust.

"Oh, I Don't Leave Until Tomorrow".

That's what my on-the-ball husband said to me this morning as I was getting ready to take son to class. Everything was ready for packing, bags on bed to pack clothes, time set for when to reserve car service to airport, then Mr. Engineer Man looks at his itinerary. Alas, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines isn't expecting him until tomorrow afternoon. Then he will fly non-stop Houston to Amsterdam, then Amsterdam to Atyrau, Kazakhstan. A mere 7,000 plus miles of travel. So, to say it is impossible to plan around here, well, it's an understatement. I guess he'll be home for dinner after all.

Last night on the local 10:00 news, a protest was shown from in front of the Israeli embassy by the pro-Palestine folks. About a dozen or so were there for the camera, holding placards and voicing contempt for the notion of Israel defending herself. Then the newscast did a blurb from the Israeli diplomat here. What, in the whole big city of Houston, were there no pro-Israel rallies? We'll never know, I can guarantee you that for a fact.

Houston is a hugely diverse city. I would venture to say the most diversified, after NYC. We are the fourth largest city in this country, as the Chamber of Commerce reminds us at every opportunity, and you would be hard pressed to name a country or territory on planet earth not represented here. A favorite section of town here for me is a section populated by Asians and the street signs are in Vietnamese or Chinese, besides English. Great food and fun shopping there. The Hong Kong Grocery is a favorite for lots of people I know.

This is why I continue to be a little on the cynical side of local press coverage of world events. To blatantly slant one way or another is a disservice to the city in general. The Houston Chronicle has a website and a new addition is a section for reader blogs. Readers are invited to submit samples of their blog and if a slot is open in a vast number of categories, you will be considered for addition. I read the politics section. Shocking, I know. Anyway, it was interesting for a while. One liberal blog, one somewhat moderate with liberal leanings blog, then a conservative blog. I already was a reader of the conservative blogger, a local gal I stumbled upon about a year ago, so I tuned in. All was good until I noticed yesterday the moderate was gone. There were 2 liberal blogs and the one conservative. Then today there are two liberal blogs, one conservative and a new one. A blog by a Palestinean guy who was raised in Mississippi and Louisiana. He felt the need to go to Gaza and blog from there the "real" story of the people of Palestine. Yeah, thanks Houston Chronicle. That's just what we needed. How's that agenda thing working out for you? I understand subscriptions are down again.

I saw, via another blog I read, a rally held in support of Israel in NYC. In attendance were Elie Wiesel, the Pulitzer Prize winner for his book, "Night" about the Halocaust experience from his first person view, and also good old Hillary Clinton. She must have fought the urge to scream when Mr. Wiesel told the crowd he thanked God that George W. Bush is president. Hillary voiced her support of Israel to defend herself. Kiss the cheek of Sula Arafat one day, pledge support to Israel the next. The Clinton version of support. Ask Joe Lieberman about Hillary's loyality.

The glimmer of hope in the current middle eastern crisis is that Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and some Persian Gulf countries have voiced displeasure with Hezbollah. That's a start. The only way for any hope of peace is to eliminate Hezbollah and then Hamas.

The Americans are being evacuated now. I am sure we will continue to hear the griping about the perceived slowness of the evacuation. Wouldn't want the war going on to get in the way of anyone's vacation plans. Have you noticed all those complaining are visiting family there and are speaking with heavy accents? Are we to believe they were caught by complete surprise by the situation? They are expected to pay for their evacuation costs, pledging to pay later if they can't now, and I am waiting for the chorus of complaining about that next. The ones not complaining and simply waiting for time to come for exiting Lebanon are people like the students being interviewed. Their parents must be proud.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Continued Hotness

Here we are in the fun part of the summer. Continuing days of ridiculous heat and growing humidity. Not unexpected, it's the same every year, but that doesn't make it any more comfortable. That's all I'm saying.

My dog has lost his mind. I just let him out into the backyard, thinking he would do his usual patrol walk around the swimming pool, but no. Max took two steps and layed down on the concrete surrounding the pool. He'll be re-thinking that decision any time now.

The space shuttle made a perfect landing this morning. I heard it on the radio coming back from driving son to class. It's a magnificent thing when it all goes well. I can't relate to folks who don't accept the wisdom of a space program. And don't even get my husband started...

Some things just make a person shake her head. I was speaking with the woman who works as secretary in the engineering section at hubby's workplace Friday morning. At first I didn't think too much about the questions I was helping her with concerning hubby's visa for his trip to Kazakhstan but later I did. One question in particular caused the head shaking motion. She got to the nationality box on the form. Thinking she knew the answer I remained silent waiting for the next question. No, I hear her say "Anglo Saxon". What? No, I say in a calm tone. He is American. That is his nationality. Oh, ok she says. You know, some of the questions were not unusual that I would need to answer for her - college? Purdue University. Degree program? Electrical Engineering. Location of Purdue University? W. Lafayette, Indiana. Ok. No big deal. But it sure makes me wonder how many visas she's filled out for Americans with the description of Anglo Saxon in the nationality box.

Bless her heart.

"A life employed in the pursuit of useful knowledge, in honourable actions and the practice of virtue...yields an unspeakable comfort to the soul." - Cicero

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sunday Quiet

Coffee's on, the banana walnut muffins are fresh from the oven, life is good this morning. I'm enjoying a hot mug of Seattle's Best with vanilla nut creamer. The muffins are cooling.

Yesterday's lunch with my friend was excellent. Great girl time. We met at a favorite seafood restaurant and had a nice roomy booth to ourselves. We started with an appetizer of fried green tomatoes with our iced tea. They were the best I have ever eaten, right up there with the one's my mother in law has made in the past. Then I had the fried shrimp as this place makes the best fried shrimp in town, hands down. My friend enjoyed the crabmeat enchiladas.

My friend is much like me after all these years. As soon as we were seated in our booth she asked the wonderful little waitress we were blessed with to ask the bartender over at the sports bar section to switch one of the tv monitors to CNN! We were interested in glancing over to keep up with all the developments in the middle east. Her husband is working in Iraq, Baghdad to be specific, non-military. She speaks to him daily anyway and now with current developments in the region, he keeps her up to date about what he is hearing on the ground there. So, we kept an occasional eye on the monitor while stuffing our faces and catching up on the latest stories and gossip we had for each other. Does it get any better?

The situation is so bad in the middle east. Those who are encouraging Israel to answer attacks in a restrained way, like the European appeasement monkeys, are shown again to be on the wrong side of history. Germany, by the way, is on our wavelength in this one. They have new leadership, a very smart woman leader now and it shows. Our Marines, called upon once again, are beginning to evacuate people stranded in Lebanon. I have heard from two different types of Americans stranded there via the news. One was a woman who was there on vacation with three other women. She was all torqued off that the American embassy there had not evacuated her by now. She was irritated that the embassy took her name and told her they would call when plans were firm. What an idiot, expecting the embassy to get her spoiled ass out of there. The embassies are set up to register people and know who is there and where they are and to keep them informed. Not to actually rescue them. I guarantee you she will be on all the chat shows here when she is back home complaining about the administration as if it is yet another thing to blame on the president. The other side was an American student at the American University in Beirut on a summer study program, who was speaking from a dorm. She was totally calm and said she was kept current on plans for evacuation and all was calm there. She is there with Lebanese students as well as American.

When Americans travel abroad, especially to troubled regions in the world, most completely understand it can be risky. If you are not willing to accept responsibility for yourself and your personal travel, then stay home. If an American is working overseas his or her employer will usually provide for evacuation strategies. This was the case when my husband was evacuated from the drilling rig site in Bolivia a few months back. Do you think my husband would show up at an American embassy in a foreign country and expect them to be responsible for his safety? The answer is no.

It is good to see most talking heads in this country, from both sides of the aisle, speaking in one voice. Israel has the right to respond to attack. This is not a partsian issue. This is an American issue. I truly hope Israel can get the job down now and take out Hezbollah. That would be a step in the right direction. Lebanon was seeing the beginning of a fledgling form of democracy under new leadership after Hezbollah was kicked out two years ago. They are riddled with massive debt and it will take time.

We enjoyed the night at the community theatre last night. That place is a wonderful showcase for local talent. We were treated to lots of local talent in "Dreamgirls". My guys, who initially kind of poo-pooed it as a chick show, were pleasantly surprised and just as happy as I was about the show. Sitting behind us were parents of a girl in the cast and next to them was a man from New Orleans who was here for the weekend to catch his friend's performance. That man has returned to New Orleans after evacuating for Katrina and is giving the city one more year to get it together. He is in the entertainment community there, a theatre director mainly, and is also a teacher with many years experience. He is teaching at a KIPP charter school this year, he said. KIPP is an excellent program, it is here in Houston with a couple of schools and began in New York City and then to Washington D.C. before coming here. It is heartening to hear New Orleans will gets her foot in the door with this school. The city sure needs it.

I'm ready for a muffin.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Lunch and a Show

Happy Saturday, y'all! Hubby is home and survived two days of drowning and one day of fire fighting. Not bad for an old guy. He leaves Tuesday for Kazakhstan and will be gone for about a month, he thinks. At least now it will not be a frozen tundra. When he was there in December/January, they were experiencing the coldest winter in modern history with temps around 40 below. Yikes.

Today I'm meeting my old childhood friend for our monthly lunch together. Love it. Then tonight my guys and I are going to see "Dreamgirls" at the Country Playhouse. I love Motown, still, after all these years so I look forward to this story which is based loosely on the story of The Supremes. I know my guys are looking forward to it as much as me but that's the breaks.

In this political season, the fun continues. Yesterday proven fibber Joe Wilson and his not covert spy wife Valerie Plame trotted out before the National Press Club luncheon and declared they were filing a lawsuit to avenge the injustices they have suffered at the hands of our current administration. Even Wilson had to admit it will be an unhill battle. The special prosecutor has wrapped up the investigation and no indictments were handed down by the grand jury, except for Scooter Libby, who they claim perjured himself in testimony. Most believe it is just the mistaken recollection of events and not deliberate misstating of the truth. Hey, I don't remember what all happened step by step last week, much less 3 years ago. The Wilsons have been exposed for the fraudulent political operatives they are and now they want to cry. They are the toast of the Democrat's social scene in D.C. and their twin boys have been spotted running around airports stating their mom is a spy and their dad is an important man. Alrighty then. They have a new book deal, after Val's 2.5 million dollar deal collasped under the no-Rove-indictment spotlight, so now we must hear of their woe again in the name of book publicity. The 9/11 Commission is on record exposing Joey as a liar and the truth of Val's CIA career. This lawsuit will be thrown out of court before it is allowed to proceed but these two will press on. For people who just wanted their privacy, they sure do enjoy being celebrities. At anyone's expense who dares get in the way of their agenda. Lie down with Chuckie Schumer and gang, arise with fleas.

FYI - the new Snapple White Tea? Yummy.

Friday, July 14, 2006


Finally Friday. Son only had a short class time today due to his first semester final this morning being the focus of the class. Two weeks down, two to go.

Hubby will be home this evening. More drowning practice this morning.

The Fool of the Week is a part-time lecturer at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. His name is Kevin Barrett and he is to teach a course called " Islam: Religion and Culture" during the fall semester. He is not a professor, only a lecturer, but his topic of teaching is troubling, to say the least. University of Wisconsin - Madison is a public university, paid for by the tax dollar.

Barrett is a self-described "Islamologist and Arabist", whatever that means. The troubling part begins when you understand the premise of his lecturing. He will be teaching "alternative" theories of how the twin towers came to collaspe on 9/11. He may teach his point of view as long as he teaches "other viewpoints", according to the university. Barrett claims that the Twin Towers came down as part of an inside job by the government. He thinks the government needed a reason to begin a war against Muslims and this was their ticket.

Barrett is not an engineer, a scientist or an aviation specialist. We all know the history of events of 9/11 during the attacks in this country. Two 767's, fully loaded with fuel, slammed into the two buildings at more than 500 miles an hour. The sheer heat and power of the fuel weakened the weight bearing support beams and the building pancaked down. Fairly basic logic, right?

Au contraire, mes amis, according to Barrett. He heads up a group of like-minded fantasy dwellers and they protest whenever the spirit moves them with banners held high. They believe the government planted explosives in the towers and carried out the disaster. I don't know how they explain the eye witnesses to the jets crashing into the buildings. I don't know how they explain the phone calls to loved ones the victims made describing the jets approaching, as seen out of their windows, or any of that aftermath.

Again, another bit of not letting facts get in the way of telling history in an American university.

By chance, today I was reading an interview on an internet magazine with the Verizon Airfone call center supervisor in Illinois, Lisa Jefferson, who took the call from Todd Beamer on Flight 93 on 9/11 as they were hijacked over Pennsylvania. She is a woman with a lot of faith and believes that God put her there at that time for a reason. I don't think she subscribes to Mr. Barrett's conspiracy fantasies.

The students at the university deserve better.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday Thoughts

Hubby is still in Lafayette and will be back tomorrow. He survived the drowning segment of the emergency survival training and claims to have had water in spots he didn't know he had. He went a bit beyond the requirement and did the bit for the certificate for the Gulf of Mexico, too. He's good to go anywhere now, I suppose. He gets to meet an old friend for dinner tonight so maybe he won't be so lonesome tonight. He called to chat 4 times between 4:30 and 9:00 last night. Bless his heart.

I watched a bit of Dan Rather's pity party on Larry King Live last night. I could only take a bit, though. Larry of course was fawning over him but he's still the despicable human he was before CBS canned him. And he still stands by his fraudulent story of the President's National Guard service. He never was one to let facts get in the way of reporting a story.

One of our Senators from Texas sponsored an amendment to end "catch and release" policy in a homeland security funding bill which would have specifically dealt with the loophole in the law concerning illegal immigration from El Salvador. Salvadorans now are the largest group, other than Mexicans, here illegally. This amendment was not brought up for vote, however, thanks to Harry Reid from Nevada and the Minority Leader in the Senate. He used a point of order to prevent the vote of Senator Cornyn's amendment. Yeah, and then good old Harry is shown accusing the Senate of having a "do nothing" Republican leadership. You gotta love an election year, don't you?

And speaking of an election year, the new ad put forth by the DCCSC, under the leadership of Rahm Emmanuel a member of the House of Reps from Illinois, and a former member of the Clinton administration, uses coffins and an unflattering photo of Tom DeLay, as well as video from 9/11 to bash the opposition. Classy, huh? Well I guess ole Rahm didn't expect the backlash. The Clinton's brought a whole new level of disgusting political gamesmanship to D.C. and Rahm keeps on keeping on. He's a vicious little former ballet dancer. They still haven't learned you have to give the voters something to vote for. Simply bashing President Bush isn't going to cut it this time around. The president isn't running anymore. He's not on the ballot. Maybe they could take some of that cash raised by and buy a clue.

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas." - George Bernard Shaw

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

In No Particular Order

Lot's of subjects on the mind this morning and none intensely so this is a a scattered post. If I jump around blame hormone brain or something.

Who holds the title as the oldest singer in this country with a number one hit? I'll let you think on that while I continue on.

Some good news: The production level of oil in Iraq now exceeds pre-war levels. For over a month now. Seen lots of smiling newsreaders on tv telling that story? And the deficit is plummeting down a year sooner than originally predicted by the administration, thanks to tax cuts. And the response from the usual suspects? Well, we shouldn't have a deficit at all. Oh, ok. We'll go back in the time machine and take the onset of the Clinton recession because we had a balanced budget then. I'll remind you that it was the congress that insisted that Clinton operate under a balanced budget, which he rejected initially then accepted to get re-elected. And, I'll remind you, we are a nation at war. Every 20 years or so we must re-learn that tax cuts stimulate the national economy. JFK knew it, Ronald Reagan knew it and President Bush knows it. The economy is booming according to all indications and yet the press and the far left continue to talk it down. The lowest unemployment in history, production at record levels, home ownership at record levels, particularly with minorities, and record job creation. The sky is falling.

When did Bombay get re-named? Mumbai? I missed that one.

We grew blueberries in Lafayette. A both homes we owned there. It was wonderful. Now it's irritating to have to buy them at the grocery store.

From Hamid Karzai's speech yesterday during the visit by Donald Rumsfeld: "Without the United States, Afghanistan would have not been a free country today. Without the United States, Afghanistan would even now be ruled by Al-Qaeda and terrorism. Our children would have not been in school, there would not be a democracy here, we would have not had a parliament, not have free press, and all the other associated accomplishments with them. I was in a province in the Northeastern part of the country the other day, and I saw that it has within less that 20 kilometers there were three newly-built schools...Without the U.S., these accomplishments would have been living a miserable life here."

And he is still a very spiffy dresser, that man.

If the N.Y.Times is so firm in its conviction that its decision to publish secret programs in the war on terrorism, why do the Op-Ed pieces continue to spring up in newspapers? Why the continued justification? How much more does readership have to slip before they realize their terminal case of Bush Derangement Syndrome is out of control? No one hopes for failure in Iraq more than Bill Keller and "Pinch" Sultzberger.

How much weight do you think Cindy Sheehan will gain on her hunger fast? She is traveling overseas and rationalizes that the stress of traveling requires her to drink ice cream milkshakes and smoothies with protein supplements. And lots of fruit juice. Whatever happened to the hunger fasts that were really hunger fasts? Just water. Then if you were weak you stretched out on your bed. You know, actual sacrifice for your beliefs. Silly me.

Ok, the answer to the opening question is: Louis Armstrong. The song is "Hello, Dolly". I heard this on the radio this morning and I didn't have a clue.

"A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others." - The Wizard to the Tin Man

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Psychologists Gone Wild

Good Morning. Today's brew: Seattle's Best, Post Alley Blend. A little vanilla caramel creamer and life is good.

Hubby is getting ready to head over to Lafayette for a 3 day intensive course on emergency survival preparedness. He takes the course every so often to keep certified. He needs the refresher before going to Kazakhstan again. They'll try to drown him in a pool and expect him to put out fires with fireman's equipment, things like that. Ah, good times.

Did you read about that 62 year old psychologist who gave birth? The article mentioned it was by artificial insemination. Yeah, no kidding. Her husband is 60 years old and she wanted him to have a child. I am absolutely stunned by this insanity.

And what about the University of Arizona psychology professor who had to resign her job before getting fired after her blogging insanity became public knowledge? She got into a back and forth with Jeff Goldstein who does the blog called Protein Wisdom. Goldstein is a conservative guy and the professor, Deborah Frisch, is a supporter of Ward Churchill, the professor in Colorado who claimed the World Trade Center victims had it coming. Anyway, she went so far as to threaten Goldstein's 2 year old child with sexual attack and mentioned she hoped the toddler wasn't "Jon Benet Ramseyed". Yeah, Goldstein lives in Colorado. Goldstein's site was crashed and down for 2 days due to attacks. Yeah, she's a piece of work.

Psychologists gone wild.

Monday, July 10, 2006

"I thought y'all were trained in this stuff"

My watch battery gave out this morning at 7:20. It's Monday.

Yesterday afternoon the husband and I just sucked it up and purchased a new mattress set for our king size bed. Yeah, good times. I have to say though I slept really good last night. It was delivered about 2 hours after said purchasing experience so I can't complain. Plus they hauled off the old set so it's all good.

In the Sunday paper was an article by Harvey Rice of the Houston Chronicle concerning a recent incident at Hobby Airport. As a little background, Hobby Airport is a small, regional style airport here in Houston. It is not Bush Intercontinental Airport. Hobby Airport is the "home" airport for Southwest Airlines, though. Delta and others also fly into it. Anyway, last week there seems to have been an incident of screening by TSA and the Houston Police. The report says a man with a middle eastern name and a Delta ticket to Atlanta was asked by screeners if he had a laptop computer in his baggage. He shook his head but the X-ray machine operator detected a laptop. His baggage was searched. This search produced a clock with a 9-volt battery taped to it and a Quran. The screener examined the man's shoes and the "entire soles of both shoes were gutted out." No explosive material was detected.

So, a police officer was called over to the screening area and he questioned the man, examined his id, shoes and the clock. THEN HE WAS CLEARED FOR TRAVEL. The TSA agent didn't agree with the officer's conclusion. The officer said, "I thought y'all were trained in this stuff." The report says the TSA screener notified Delta, talked again with the officer and was told by the officer that he was unable to check the passenger's criminal background because of computer problems, according to the article.

The FBI was asked to investigate the incident by upper levels of the TSA and TSA issued a statement saying its screeners "acted in accordance with their training and protocols." The FBI characterizes it as an "non-event". Back at Houston Police, the officer involved has been transferred to a desk job. According to the Houston Police Officers Union attorney, the officer doesn't understand why he was transferred "when it seems clear from the onset of the investigation that he didn't have probable cause to detain anybody and that his actions were consistent with the law and HPD policy." NO PROBABLE CAUSE? What would it take to have probable cause is my question.

Or is it just another pre-9/11 case of let's not offend anyone? Either this passenger was a complete idiot or else he was testing the screening capabilities at Hobby Airport. Houston has a very large Muslim population. Houston is always on the list of targeted cities for terrorism.

But, hey, I wouldn't want to offend anyone.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Panda Monium

Today's brew: Starbuck's French Roast. The last of the bag.

This morning instead of more Belgian waffles, as hubby thought of having, we settled on eggs and grits. The usual around here for Sunday morning. Son slept in and had cereal. His usual.

Happy Birthday to Tai Shan! Who is Tai Shan? He is the adorable panda cub at the National Zoo in Washington, DC. This is a huge hit on the zoo's website: To celebrate his first birthday he was treated to a fruitsicle. He loves them, according to the zookeepers. His birth a year ago was the culmination of a huge effort by the zoo to produce a cub. Decades of dashed hopes as panda pregnancies ended in failure. Today he is a healthy, bouncy 56 pound bundle of entertainment to people from all over the world.

Too cute.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I Need To Give My Son the Freaking Computer

That's what happens when I ask my son for a title suggestion for today's post. A 16 year old and his mouth. But I have trained him to put the toilet seat back down and wash his hands after a visit to the bathroom. One day my future daughter in law will thank me.

It wasn't raining when I went to run errands this morning. I made Belgian waffles for hubby and myself this morning at his request. He wanted whipped cream on it so I made some - he's not a syrup kind of guy. Making it fresh from heavy whipping cream tastes so much better than Cool Whip. I added some Mexican vanilla extract I bought in San Antonio a few months back. Then after the errands it was time to make lunch. Made buffalo chicken wings. My son would eat wings every day if he could. Hubby started out to walk Max while enjoying a cigar and it started to rain. Poor Max. At least they had a nice walk earlier this morning. I've got eggs boiling for egg salad sandwiches tomorrow. Tonight it's pork chops on the George Foreman and stir fry veggies with bean sprouts. Some days I just like to cook a bit.

Continue with food thoughts - I was reading the dreaded O Magazine and I read a wonderfully simple piece about tomato sandwiches. The title is "Is There Anything Better Than a Tomato Sandwich?" The author, Celia Barbour, talks about her passion for them and her summers at a family place in New Hampshire where her in-laws grow tomatoes and the whole family makes the sandwiches for lunch. She goes back to her childhood in Indiana and that she was a teenager before having her first tomato sandwich. I remembered mine - I was newly married to hubby and his mother in Indiana was growing tomatoes in containers on the patio. That summer the tomatoes were the best I have ever eaten, bar none. She taught me the art of making the sandwich - lots of mayo on white bread and only salt and pepper on the tomato slices. Oh, Lord, it was the best.

Tomatoes don't much taste like tomatoes anymore. I find we don't eat many just sliced anymore. Mostly I roast them in the oven with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. And I mostly use cherry or grape tomatoes.

Been watching older movies lately. Watched "Murphy's Romance" a couple of nights ago. I like Sally Field and I love James Gardner. I do enjoy a happy ending. Tonight on HBO I'll watch "40 Year Old Virgin" as I haven't seen it and I hear it's funny. Yesterday I was switching channels around trying to find something interesting and saw Joan Rivers hawking her stuff on QVC. She was swearing and it was so odd. On QVC? The host was so embarrassed. Joan first said "damn" which was odd but not a huge deal but then when the host joked with her and mentioned the language, Joan used the G word in front of it and said "damn" again. First time for everything, I guess.

That's all I have today. Food, movies and reading. Yeah, it's the weekend.

And now my son would like the computer...

Friday, July 07, 2006

Good Day Sunshine

That's The Beatles tune the astronauts were treated to when awakened by NASA today. Gotta love old Beatles songs.

The Fool of the Week is Larry King. Is Larry King alive, I ask you? Could his interview with George W. Bush and Laura Bush been any more of a waste of time? I think not. Not only did he ask the same question over and over again, I guess thinking he was interviewing John Kerry known for multiple answers to questions, but if you were interviewing the leader of the free world would you waste time asking if he wanted to be popular? If he felt bad if his poll numbers were low? Are you kidding me? This is CNN's highest rated show? I realize Larry's fortune has been made by drooling over the public figure du jour but this has apparently turned his mind into mush. Maybe he was channeling Oprah for tips on questions. Or his bosom buddy, Barbara Walters. If you were a tree what would you be, Larry?

Senator Joe Biden from the state of Delaware and potential candidate for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008 has made a racial slur towards Indians and 7/ll stores. And Dunkin Donuts places. Heard any apologies since it was captured on tape and played on tv? Any outcries for him to resign as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee? Any screaming charges of racism? No, of course not. He's a Democrat. His attempt to be the nominee in 2008 will go down in flames again as it always does. He is not a good man. Last time out, he had to drop out of the presidential bid for plagerism. Multiple charges of plagerism. Biden brings a whole new dimension to the term of arrogance.

Character does matter.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Here Comes The Sun

Yes, the sun is trying to come out but I'm whispering it as I don't want to jinx the whole thing. The sun was out a bit yesterday afternoon and I was a happy woman.

Son and I have agreed to watch "Team America" this weekend again in honor of the nutbag in North Korea. Hey, it's the least we can do.

Updating previous posts on the former spokesman for the Taliban in Afghanistan turned Yale student : He has been denied admission into the degree-granting program. Finally. He can continue to take courses as an untraditional student in a non-degree program just as he has the past year. The 27 year old Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi is currently visiting family in Pakistan and it is not clear if he will return to Yale as of yet. Good riddance.

I saw an amazing q & a yesterday. On MSNBC's Hardball, Norah O'Donnell actually challenged Mother Sheehan on her ridiculous statements concerning President Bush on this soil and overseas. And, she asked Sheehan if she would really prefer to live under Hugo Chavez of Venezuela instead of the President. Of course she said yes to that so I think it's time to send her the one way ticket. It is so embarrassing to think that some Americans are so ignorant of the world and its leaders. I promise she would not live to protest Chavez as she does President Bush. And for such a peace loving woman, how does she feel seeing the police/military toting uzis as freely as pistols? She's all about the common person yet no mention of Chavez's land grab from regular citizens to dole out to the poor at his discretion. If she actually traveled outside of the good parts of Caracus, she'd probably mouth off a little differently. And that is why she looks so stupid.

When our son was 17 months old, he and I went to Venezuela to join my husband. We were to live there with him as he completed an assignment. Our son and I were there for 6 months and I can assure you I will not be going back in this lifetime. Chavez was not in office then. Sure, the resorts in Caracus are good and tourists flock to them. I enjoyed an overnight stay at one going both ways. But we lived in country in a regular town. We were in the "penthouse" of an apartment building. The typical American definition of penthouse is completely different than the reality of a penthouse in a third world country. Electricity is regularly off and on daily. Water from the tap is not drinkable. The people are wonderful and welcoming and we became friends with neighbors who had gone to college in San Francisco. They hoped to come back to America sometime.

Travel is the best education. Travel to a third world country will quickly make an American realize how spoiled and lucky we are to be here and not somewhere else.

Unless you are so demented by Bush Derangement Syndrome that it clouds common sense and good judgement.

On another front, has the mainstream media covered the fact that oil production is up over pre-war levels in Iraq now? Maybe I just missed that good news.

Go get your gas tank filled before the weekend comes. With the surge in crude oil prices yesterday on Wall Street, the "experts" say the price will go up by week's end. I filled mine up this morning on the way home from taking son to class.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.

"We need to have a mindset of letting God use us to make somebody else's life better. When we do that, then there's a joy released in us that we're not ever going to get anywhere else." - Joyce Meyer

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fireworks and Missile Launches

Today's brew: Starbucks French Roast. It's still raining here. The morning began as if it was a Monday - the sound of thunder announcing approaching rain shower when I awoke at 5:oo. I ran out into the front yard in my nightgown to fetch the newspapers before the rain started. After a couple of mugs of coffee, hubby proceeds out to the driveway to head out for work. His battery is dead. He drags son out to watch, in the rain, as he puts the charger on the battery. Then, to frost the cake, locks the keys in the car as it is charging. His car does this self-locking thing when you close the door sometimes. The mad scramble to find the extra set of his car keys ensues. All this while son is antsy to get going and not be late for his class. And the rain continues. Hubby's car charged up and extra keys were found and son got to class at 8:00 sharp. All is well.

It's still raining.

The celebration of our Independence Day yesterday may have been taken a little too far with the launching of missiles by the wild and crazy Kim Jong-Il. The long range missile that is suppose to take out Alaska or California was a dud but apparently some of the short range scuds made the Japanese and Russians soil their collective britches. More are scheduled to launch today. That wacky guy with the unruly hair and a penchant for jumpsuits is like a spoiled child demanding attention. Be careful what you wish for, Kim baby.

The fun part is Madeleine Albright - not so bright- on the Larry King Show criticizing the Bush administration's diplomacy with N. Korea. What a joke she is. She is the reason we are in the situation we are in today. Her brilliant powers of diplomacy with this government consisted of an intense 2 day conference during the 55th anniversary of the Communist Party in North Korea and culminated with a champagne toast during the parade honoring the anniversary. She thought she could trust the little madman. She was an idiot then and is an idiot now. She and her ilk were the first to criticize our administration for not being able to get a broader international coalition for the Iraq war and now screams for unilateral diplomacy for North Korea. Again, it was her party with Kim Jong-Il in October 2002 that got us where we are today. Trusting mad commies? Not so bright. Her and Larry King are quite the stimulating intellectuals. The rest of the bi-partisan panel were very deliberate to state it is not the fault of President Bush that Kim Jong-Il is nuts. A nut with nuclear capibility? Albright's administration's fault.

Now that the countries involved with multi-lateral diplomacy with North Korea are calling for a U.N. resolution and possible military action, we'll get to see yet again how ineffective this building of blue hats is on the world stage.

Time to watch that South Park movie again with the Kim Jong-Il character singing "I'm So Ronely". Too funny.

Did I mention it's raining?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Independence Day

Happy 4th of July, y'all! It is about to rain here. Again. I heard the thunder to warn us a few minutes ago. We're hanging out around the house today, taking a break. We are waiting for NASA to "light the candle" as my husband says. How cool to launch on the 4th. The astronauts area brave, risk taking humans and my scientist/engineer husband would love to be going up with them.

Our subdivision has lots of flags waving today. The realtors usually place little flags on the curbside of each homes and that looks good. Our flag is mounted on the front of the house, next to a picture window. One of our neighbors has a flagpole, but I think that's a bit much for our lot sizes here in the city. To each his own.

I am proud that I am related to some of the founding fathers that signed the original document declaring our independence. One of my cousins has traced my mother's side of the family back to Great Britian. Good stuff.

I have a flag that flew over a military base in Afghanistan. It is folded and put up for future generations. It'll go to my son when he is off on his own and begins the next generation of our family. A certificate is with it proclaiming my son as the flag's owner and signed by the officer that flew it. I was able to receive the flag as a winner of a lottery drawing that the site Books for did almost 2 years ago. As the first front of the war on terrorism began in Afghanistan I was looking for a way to show support to the troops performing so admirably in such miserable terrain. Through the site I was able to connect with a soldier and send her packages of goodies and books and magazines. I chose a female deliberately as I figured women needed things a little different than the men needed. Girl stuff. Good soap, lotion, Crystal Light mix, herbal tea bags, items along that line. This soldier requested some of the magazines you see at the checkout counter in the grocery store. She sent me some great postcards from Afghanistan and some digital photos from the base and Kabul. She sent photos from a local open air market and of local children. It was a great experience. She's back home now with her husband and three children.

Thanks to the bravery and sacrifices of our military in the past and present, people like Cindy Sheehan and Susan Sarandon are free today to launch their hunger strike which is their vehicle of dissent to our country's war on terror. While they do not show the full level of conviction that our military does, they are doing a "rolling" hunger strike. The celebs like Danny Glover and Sean Penn are not eating for 24 hours to show their anti-war sentiments. I'll take the character of our voluntary military over the pompous jet set anyday. The military shows how silly a 24 hour committment truly is.

Pass the chicken.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Muddy Monday

Rain is in the forecast all week here. Blech. At least the traffic was light this morning when I took son to his class. It's an hour round trip so that's two hours out of my day all this month.

I watched a little of "Breaking Away" over the weekend. I haven't watched that movie in a while. My mother in law is an extra in it; it was filmed in hubby's hometown as it is where the race takes place. My mother in law is an actress. At one time she had a local cooking show long before cooking shows were cool. She's done lots of theatre and been in movies. Now she mostly does commercials. She is still doing her real estate work, too. She retired briefly from the real estate working world a few months ago but was too bored. Did I mention she's 83 years old?

Between hubby's work schedule and son's class schedule this summer, we won't be going anywhere for vacation. We're planning on Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations now. Son usually gets all of Thanksgiving week off from school and at Christmas they always get a good 2 weeks off. Son and I are leaning to going to NYC and seeing plays and the sites. Hubby wants to go to Las Vegas. All of us want to get to the Grand Canyon. And there's Ireland. So I am having big fun researching and dreaming about all this. Nothing definite yet. I think we may wait for the Grand Canyon until next spring break, though. Researching and planning are a big part of the fun of vacations for me. I love to do it.

Meatloaf tonight with roasted potatoes and carrots, sliced tomatoes. I think I'll make some brownies, too. This dreary weather calls for some old fashion comfort food.


Saturday, July 01, 2006


I am trying to stay dry today. Like a fool I went to the grocery store in search of some fine steaks for dinner tonight, at the request of hubby. It's been raining since mid morning here so I went during a lighter shower. It was pouring, of course, as I made my way out of the store. Then, son needed to be driven to meet ex-girlfriend for a visit at Starbucks. I'll have to pick him up in a couple of hours. I suggested maybe a rain check but she's leaving with her family for Disney World and so it's a now or not till much later deal.

No NASA launch today. Bummer. Hubby was all excited, watching on tv as the time progressed. He's all about the space program. We've been to NASA several times since moving here to Houston and it's always a favorite destination with friends and relatives coming to visit. They do a decent tourist's tour there.

Looks as though hubby's working trip to Kazakhstan will be postponed about a month. During that time he has to go over to Lafayette for a survival training course to update his previous training. Just a 4 day thing. First the visa delay, now the safety certificate.

Son starts summer school Monday for his math course. It's aggravating that he begins Monday and then off Tuesday for the 4th. Who's the fool that set the calendar for this session? So, I'll be up and in morning rush hour traffic. The class is 8:00 to 1:00 and is a good haul across town from our house. The class is for four weeks then he has the credit.

Hey, how many childhoods did Hillary Clinton have anyway? She told an audience of 600 adults and children attending the Sojourners Covenant for a New America conference that as a child she would babysit the children of migrant workers during Sunday School so that their older siblings could join their parents at work. Huh? She grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois, a wealthy suburb of Chicago. Even as late as the 2000 census it had a 95.4% white population with a median income of $90,000. Do you really think she wanted those audience members to think she was involved with migrant workers children at her church? Kinda like when she tried to tell audiences her mother named her Hillary after Sir Edmond Hillary, the mountain climber as she admired him. However, Sir Edmond didn't have the publicity about his record setting climbs until well after Hillary was born. Oh well, makes a good story, I guess. She seems to be able to new autobiography fairly easily.

"The measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation." - Corrie Ten Boom