Friday, June 29, 2007
Happy Birthday!
Tomorrow is Christina's Birthday.

She is the most epitome of gracious femininity. She is an amazing mother and a wonderful cook. She is also an excellent friend.

Go wish her a Happy Birthday!


posted by Phoenix | 8:35 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, June 28, 2007
Stroke the Ego

That makes a girl feel good!

I just had a very happy client offer to buy me a Range Rover - he was so giddy! Then he asked if I would marry him. Of course, I had to turn him down on both offers. I told him my husband would disapprove. He then asked if I was happily married and I assured him that I was.

"You sound cute."

"My husband thinks I am."

"oh well then."

But, it makes a girl feel good to know that there's a millionaire in California who would put up with my crap!

(Of course, we have this conversation every 8 months or so and I have to explain that yes, I'm still married.)
posted by Phoenix | 2:37 PM | 0 comments

I'm late with this news, but I thought I'd bring it up in case you've been under a rock all morning.

The Amnesty Bill is dead...again. The cloture vote failed 53-46. Read this post by Ace and the coverage by Michelle Malkin.

The Shamnesty advocates were calling the Anti-Amnesty folks racists. Mighty nice, the level of discourse in our nation's capitol, eh?

Look, at least for me, this wasn't about race. This is about the fact that the last Amnesty failed miserably and we don't need to repeat our mistakes. This is about the fact that waving a pen and suddenly eliminating the criminality of actions taken by many illegal aliens no longer criminal, doesn't eliminate the victims or the simple fact that these actions were wrong on their faces. This was about the fact that there was no enforcement measures to speak of in the bill. This was about the fact that THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WERE AGAINST THE BILL. And that, I'm afraid, is the most important thing. And, of course, this is about the way this bill was practically force-fed to us. They don't want to discuss it, a small number of people crafted it secretly behind closed doors, and then they didn't even make the text available in a timely fashion so that the other Senators could read it before voting. That's not the way the system is supposed to work. In fact, it is a snakeoil salesman's technique and it sucks.

Your Senators and Representatives to Congress work for you. They are your employees. At the end of the day, they might try to make the case a different way, but they are supposed to act in the interests of their constituents or face their own dismissal at their bosses hands. This is the way representative democracy works. It turns out that some of those Senators decided to wake up and listen to the flood of phone calls and vote the way their constituents wanted instead of pushing through the bill that was almost universally hated.

I am glad the bill is dead and I am grateful to the leaders of the opposition who stuck to their guns. I am glad that the nay votes for cloture saw the writing on the wall too.

But, at the end of the day, we still have a problem with illegal immigration. The bill was bad, no question, but something still needs to be done. We need more enforcement - both for the country's financial well-being and for security. We need to assert our sovereignty. We need to take our country back.

And I'm serious about that.

What else do you call it when 12-19 million people invade a country? It is an attack on our sovereignty and it is our job to do the hard work of dealing with it. Like it or not, the illegal immigration problem puts significant stress in terms of logistics on small communities.

And, my sense of fairness dictates that the people who are waiting patiently in line peaceably and lawfully should be given preference to the lawbreakers who are trying to cut in line.

Anyway, Yippee!


posted by Phoenix | 12:09 PM | 1 comments

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Retail Therapy Update
Did I mention that my new Michael Kors handbag came yesterday?

I'm in love! I love this bag. SpySistah, if you even remotely like it, you should get one. It is adorable! The quality is excellent!

The leather is supple and of an excellent quality. The woven part is tight and yet soft. The brass latch and chain of the handle are heavy and very secure. I am pleased as punch.

Okay. I'll stop bragging now.
posted by Phoenix | 12:44 PM | 1 comments

Anger Management

This excellent Cox&Forkum cartoon seemed apropos today.

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posted by Phoenix | 11:42 AM | 0 comments

The Silence is Deafening
Here we are, nearly 6 years after the horror of September 11, and I find many of my opinions have changed in relation to Islam and Islamic Extremism and Wahhabism and Islamofascism.

I used to tell myself that Islam wasn't the enemy, that there are a large number of moderate muslims who do not subscribe to bin Laden's export of violence and death-to-innocents party line. I thought that those moderate muslims would step forward and be heard, defend themselves and their faith, arguing that they aren't like that.

But you know what? I'm sick and tired of waiting for the moderate muslims to step forward and be heard. Where are the muslims who denounce bin Laden? Where are the muslims who will call him a murderous bastard who has co-opted the faith and perverted it? Where are all the reasonable voices?

I have to tell you, the silence is deafening.

I flat-out don't hear those people coming forward. In fact, the only people I hear defending the Islamic faith are Christians who are preaching tolerance and patience and understanding. And the only Muslim voices are the ones issuing fatwas and calling for suicide bombers to strike at certain targets over perceived insults.

The silence is deafening from the moderate muslims. Have they nothing to say? This is what has been bothering me, bubbling in the back of my mind like a pot left to boil far too long.

I can only come up with two possible reasons for this vacuum.

One: They are afraid to speak, fearing a fatwah calling for their own heads

Afraid to be lumped in with the rest of the infidels, they keep silent. They know full well about the swift sword of Islamic extremism and how easily it beheads those who disagree with it. In cowardice, they keep their tongues behind their teeth and refuse to disavow the murderers and their goal of a global caliphate. The problem is, that in the minds of many, their failure to disavow the murderous criminal and his gang of villains is tantamount to complicity. Which brings me to the next theory.

Two: They see nothing wrong with the fatwahs over cartoons and "insults to Islam" or bin Laden's endgame, nay - they support him, if passively.

They don't speak up because they have no desire to argue against that with which they agree. They may call themselves moderate muslims, but in fact, they seek the same goals as the extremists and therefore are not as moderate as they claim. In which case, they too are the enemy.

Look, it is like this: there is no muslim voice out there denouncing bin Laden. None that I've ever heard anyway. And to my mind, there has to be a reason for that. (And don't even bring up CAIR - they're nothing but a bunch of terrorist apologists.)

Let's look at it another way. Suppose a prominent American, let's just say Rosie O'Donnell for the sake of example, were out there advocating the extermination of Norway. Suppose she took it further and said that they are corrupt and lead dirty fishy lives, and then said that all the Scandinavian countries must go, their children's bones ground to make bread. Let us further suppose that as an act to further these goals, she organized, trained, and funded an army to destroy 400 fishing boats and a port. She hasn't done so and this example is nothing more than an example, but just suppose.

Do you not think that millions of Americans would denounce her for this? Of course we would. She'd be persona non grata and Public Enemy #1. We would do our absolute damnedest to make sure that the Norwegian got satisfaction from her for these murders.

So, I ask again, what's with the deafening silence?

What do you have to do to get a moderate muslim to speak up? Hello? HELLO? Is this thing on...?

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posted by Phoenix | 10:23 AM | 0 comments

Tony Blair is no longer the prime minister of Great Britain. Gordon Brown has been confirmed by The Queen and he's the new sheriff in town. Which is all well and good as far as I'm concerned. Great Britain's leadership is her business, not mine.

But I'd like to take a minute and just say thank you to Tony Blair. He was a faithful friend and an excellent ally in the face of a heck of a lot of criticism. A weaker man would have folded under that sort of pressure.

So, Thank You Tony for being an excellent partner in the Global War on Terror. We really do appreciate all that you have done.
posted by Phoenix | 10:10 AM | 0 comments

It's going to be one of those days
I just took a phone call from a guy who is really confused.

The call began oddly, with him asking me for information, but only at 9:35 a.m. (Ordinarily people call and get real-time information.) Since it was only 9:28, a fact that I shared with him, I asked him if he wanted to hold until 9:35. He decided to get the current information.


Then, we talk a little bit more and he asks me "What day is it?"

Perplexed, I answer, "Wednesday?"

"And the number?"

My right eyebrow reached for the sky. "The number? Do you mean the date?"


"It is the 27th of June."

Now he's exacerbated. "I know what month it is!"

Okay. But usually people don't call here and ask for things like the day and the date. It isn't like he's standing at my cash register filling out a check. Strangely enough, people don't call her for the weather either. Or bus schedules. Or the sale price on mangoes. Although that last one does get you closer...

Turns out, somebody's having a more confusing day than I am!


posted by Phoenix | 9:53 AM | 0 comments

Tuesday, June 26, 2007
On Amnesty or Shamnesty or That Bill Everyone's Talking About
Here's my bitch with the Illegal Immigration Amnesty Bill currently before the Senate: It it fundamentally unfair and unlikely to actually solve the problem of illegal immigration.

First, citizenship in this country, the finest country in the world, is a treasure and a privilege and not the fucking prize at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box. And, for absofuckinglutely certain, it should not be granted because we are being held hostage. Granting preference to the immigrants who came here illegally by sneaking in on foot (or otherwise over our very porous borders) does a huge disservice to the people who have been waiting overseas to come to the US for years. Basically, the way I see it, this Amnesty forgives the people who don't respect our laws and punishes those that do. How the fuck is that right?!?

Moreover, if this Amnesty passes, all it does is encourage more illegal immigration. How, you ask? Simple. The Amnesty passed during the 1980's gave us another 12-15 million more illegal aliens. Do you think that passing another Amnesty isn't going to do the same? Of course it is! Another 12-30 million people will sneak in and wait 20-some odd years for the next fucking Amnesty. In the meantime, not only does this bill not deal with the problems, it seems to turn a blind eye to them.

There is no attempt to work harder on enforcement of the laws currently on the books. There are no real increased provisions for border security. And, there is no reason to believe that this bill makes us any safer as a nation. Basically, it is FUBAR. Worse, it is unfair, thoroughly un-American in its blatant disregard for the rule of law, and despite overwhelming public disapproval, The Senate doesn't fucking care.

The Senate doesn't seem to give a shit that over 70% (according to polls) of the public is against this Amnesty. Those sunzabitches are gonna pass it anyway. They know better than you or I (or their pockets are getting fat at our expense).

I won't discuss the bigger social issues and costs in terms of education, medical attention, and assimilation issues that are brought to bear by the unforeseen (by The Senate) consequences of another Amnesty. Instead, I'd like to bring up what I fear will be another ugly repercussion.

Here you have an overwhelming majority of Americans against an action. And, like it or not, this particular bill, while it will impact a large number of illegal immigrants across numerous ethnicities, is largely aimed at one particular group: Hispanics.

My fear is that because the action is so overwhelmingly opposed by Americans, that a new type of racism will rear its ugly head. Racism that will see people lashing out and seeking to undermine the rights of a group as retaliation. It won't be right. It will be very ugly indeed. This is my fear. That rather than doing a good thing, it will drive a wedge between society's haves and have-nots. I don't think this sort of thing is in the nation's best interests.

Moreover, I am largely concerned with the message we are sending when we don't make people earn citizenship. If you just hand it over, what is it worth? And then, there is this troubling aspect of people who are inclined to break one law being disinclined necessarily to follow all the others.

Just take this for example...Are you aware that it is apparently a culturally acceptable practice to drink and drive across the border to the South? Are you aware of how many DUI victims have died because of some illegal aliens' predilictions to turn their cars into deadly weapons because they can't so "no" to the cerveza and tequila? Absolutely, not all illegal immigrants are DUI's waiting to happen. But, certainly there are other concerns as well. There are gangs of violent latino males in some Southwestern towns and cities running rampant and causing trouble. Do we really need this sort of borrowed trouble? I don't think so.

I don't care who you are or where you come from. If you want to be a citizen of the United States you ought to damn well be willing to work for it. And, if you want to be here, show some fucking respect for the law of the land and the other citizens of this country. That, really, is not too much to ask.


posted by Phoenix | 10:42 AM | 0 comments

Monday, June 25, 2007
In my head
My momma told me
If I was good-e
That she would buy me
A rubber dolly

My auntie told her
I kissed a soldier
Now she won't buy me
A rubber dolly...
posted by Phoenix | 11:27 AM | 0 comments

Busy Bee
This weekend began a new era in our cozy little castle. As of today, Prince Charming is working normal human hours instead of the hours normally kept by vampires and all things nocturnal. It is going to be a big change for us, might even test our marriage. Why? Simply put, we are going to have a lot more time together.

Oh, it won't be much more time during the week, maybe another hour each day. But the weekends? Doubled or tripled. As a matter of fact, this past weekend gave us a taste of just that. For once, instead of the weekend feeling like it was 18 hours long, it seemed like a real weekend. It was lovely, if a bit weird.

Prince Charming is trying to transition his sleeping pattern over to normal, so he was doing his best to stay awake. For example, he go to bed like normal at 11 am on Friday. Instead, he stayed up all day puttering around the house. I arrived home and we had supper. Everything was cleaned up, baby bathed, and both baby and daddy asleep by 6:30 p.m. We lead an exciting life here in Wisconsin.

So, what's a girl to do with all of that free time?

I did the rest of the dishes and then jumped on the computer. I plugged and chugged away at one of those websites for 5 hours and then went to bed. Inconveniently, it was as I was walking up the stairs that the baby woke up. She was very unhappy. I spent another 2 hours up with her (she has a cold) before Prince Charming took pity on me and took her so that I could get some sleep.

Saturday was very nice and we left the widows open all day long. I went grocery shopping, of course, and then spent the rest of the day cleaning up the office. It was long overdue. Long, long, looooong overdue. But, at least now it is a more inviting environment and I won't mind staying in there when I'm working on those websites. Saturday evening was no different, with both baby and husband in bed by 8 pm, so I finished up the project in the office and then watched some NCIS on DVD.

And then, to top off the accomplishments, I baked two pies on Sunday: peach and apple. The pie crust is absolutely perfect this time, flaky and light. My apple pie filling still needs some work, however.

All in all, it was a great weekend. I'm going to start giving the rest of the house similar treatment, maybe stockpile a bunch of stuff for a garage sale or something.
posted by Phoenix | 10:19 AM | 0 comments

Saturday, June 23, 2007
Somebody explain this to me...
This is just a random thing that I have never quite understood about the generally accepted positions of the Democratic party.

I think we'd all agree that the Democratic party is all about a woman's right to choose and avoiding having anybody tell a woman what she has to do with her body. Right? Admirable position. I agree with it, actually.

So, how does this mesh with their grand plan of universal government-run health care? See, either they are pie-eyed optimists and think government is pure and wonderful, or they haven't thought things through to the natural conclusion.

If government is in charge of everybody's health care, they are going to do everything they can to cut costs. Right? We know this is true. In England, they are telling people to quit smoking if you want surgery. Why? Because smokers recover from surgery more slowly than non-smokers, apparently. This extra time to recovery keeps beds full and increases costs for the national medical system. So, the government is telling people to quit smoking if they want surgery, else they'll be put at the end of the line.

So, why would a party that believes in personal choice when it comes to the body be pushing for a governmental body to be able to dictate what you can or can't do if you want medical care? I'm confused. There is probably an answer in there somewhere, but I don't know what it is.
posted by Phoenix | 10:26 PM | 0 comments

That Family of Mine
I have an onery streak about two-miles wide. I come by it quite naturally - I got the onery and the curly hair from my father. My father is gearing up for the most important time of the year for him. Wheat harvest is probably either just started or hours away.

Wheat harvest, or any crop's harvest really, is a very stressful time for the farmer. My family takes that to the next level because we don't just bring the crop in, there's about a million other details to chase because we are in the seed business. We grow the seed that other farmers plant. That's just what we do.

Anyway, imagine if the culmination of a year's worth of sweat, work, and worry all came down to the success of 10 to 14 days' work. And I'm not talking 8 hour days. I'm talking about 10-14 days of 6 am to midnight or 1 am work. It is exhausting in a million different ways. It is difficult to explain to someone who has never been through it, but let's just say that it is serious work. And, nobody looks their best at harvest. It is impossible. You are covered in your own personal crop of grime.

For me, the first layer was sunscreen. Then came the windex mist of washing windows on equipment each morning. Then, there's always the diesel fuel fumes and motor oil from servicing trucks for the day's work. Fortunately, this all takes place before 10 am, so there's no sweating. But, Southwestern Kansas in June isn't exactly Wisconsin. It begins to warm up fast and the combines and trucks hit the field just as soon as the dew is off. By noon, dew is a novelty you wonder at because the temperature has reached the upper 90's or higher. The only good aspect of the heat is that it is a dry heat so you can do 102 degrees and it only feels like 97. The flies are out and biting. They are always there. As the heat rises the wind picks up on the high plains and before you know it, you are sweating and the wheat chaff is sticking to your skin like flour on a baker's wet hand. And, you get to sit in this state until the next time your truck is full and you can wash up at the house. It might be 15 minutes if you are the only truck driver. Or, if there is a breakdown in the field, it could be 3 hours.

Imagine how charming this story might be if I gave you all of the details of searching for a place to relieve your bladder out there in the wind and the sun and the no-place-to-hide. Because Kansas is pretty darn flat and as my husband never ceases to point out, there are not a lot of randomly growing trees. No cover for the daintiest of behinds to squat behind.

But I digress.

So, you are tired and nasty dirty and thristy and looking forward to a good two weeks of this. Now here's where the ornery part comes in.

One year, it was the middle of harvest and we'd been rained out of the field. This is both a blessing and a curse. Yay! You get to call it a night early for once and sleep a good 8 hours. But, it means that there'll probably be at least one more day of harvest. Anyway, on this particular day we all came in from the field and were informed that there were visitors on the farm. Visitors as in some distant relations of my Aunt who had chosen the absolute worst time to show up and gawk at the rednecks. Visitors in Bermuda shorts and tall socks and fanny packs. It was like we were a tourist attraction, I kid you not.

My father, the great ornery one, did not view kindly the "city folk come to look at the rurals in their natural habitat." He decided to put on a show for the tourists, one they'd not soon forget.

Now, as a sidepoint, you should know that this is a grain farm, a seed farm. Grain is a big draw for 4-legged rodents of the mousy sort, so there are always lots of barn cats around the farm. My father instructed my sister and I to round up the cats. When we got back, he had his boot off and his pocket knife out.

And I swear to you, those visitors got to see cat castrations. I think that put them off the romanticism of the big visit.

(Just in case you were wondering - the cat is pushed into the boot head-first with the back legs remaining outside. These are held open and then the job is accomplished quite easily and quickly. No muss, no fuss. The matter is done before the cat's had time to wonder what's going on. And, before my sensitive animal-lover readers start sending me hatemail, you have to castrate the males to keep them on the farm. A tom cat goes out tomcatting and you can't count on him. And sometimes they get very aggressive and mean and start killing kittens for sport. See, don't send me hatemail. I've lived on the farm. The realities are not going to mesh well with the romantic images some of you have conjured in your heads.)

Anyway, it has always been sort of a joke in the family. Not looking forward to your dinner guests? My sister would offer to go get the boot. I'd offer to round up the cats.

Someone acting up? I'll go get the boot.

Husband straying? Go get the boot.


posted by Phoenix | 9:53 PM | 0 comments

Friday, June 22, 2007
Retail Therapy of the Handbag Type
Despite the title of this post, I don't actually go in for retail therapy. I am not a shopaholic. Frankly, I have neither the time nor the energy for that sort of thing. I do the majority of my personal shopping online. I receive a veritable cornucopia of catalogs in the mail and this serves to bring items to my attention.

Most of the time, however, I'd rather be doing something else. And the reason for this is that I am difficult to please. I just expect quite a bit from my purchases - that is to say, I expect them to fulfill my needs. I am not one who buys just to buy and have something new.

Let's take handbags for instance. I have posted before on my penchant for buying upscale leather. I've discussed the whys and the wherefores. What I may not have discussed is how difficult it is to find a bag that I'm willing to shell out $300 (or more) for the pleasure. Simply put, I have to LOVE the bag. If I don't love it, if it isn't perfect, it is easier to keep on walking than it is to retrieve the plastic.

And lately, this has been the case. The current fashion in handbags lately (and yes, there are fashion trends even in handbags) hasn't agreed with me. Mostly, I believe, because the majority of handbag designers are reminiscing about things that I'm not particularly nostalgic about. Of course, the same is true of fashion designers in general these days.

The current crop of handbags leaves much to be desired by me because they are rehashings of the designs from the sixties and seventies. This, in my opinion, was a decade without taste or sense or even reason. Bell bottoms, hip-huggers, peasant shirts, tube tops, platform shoes? Keep it all. It disgusts me. I don't care for the look, nor the way it looks on the great majority of people. If you want to bring a decade back, in my opinion, you'd do better with the 20's, 30's, 40's, or even the 50's, where the designs were about fit and clean lines and elegance.

Anyway, back to handbags...

There appear to be two dominate thoughts on handbag design these days:

1) Groovy hippy chick got cash

2) Guido's Studio 54-going Jersey gun moll got a gun in her handbag

The first category is all overpriced macramé crap with sloppy lines. It isn't elegant or even attractive. The second category is all tacky glimmer, flash, and jangle. They look so stereotypical, you'd think they were hanging in a museum sample case. They just don't appeal.

I told you all of that so as to explain the following story.

The other day in the mail I received a Bloomingdales sale catalog. On the back cover of the catalog was this handbag, only it was in red. It is a Michael Kors Santorini clutch.
And, more importantly, it appealed to me. It was on sale for $100 and I decided that wasn't a bad price for a summer handbag. But, I was still undecided until I got online and found out that there was a special sale going on that offered another 40% off. Finding out that the bag was now only $60 was a delightful way to push me into the decision. So, I placed the order, eventually settling on the chocolate instead of the red or white.
A few days later, I check to see the status of the order and find out that Bloomingdales has canceled my order. To put it nicely, I was dismayed. (Please understand that this is a gross misunderstatement.) I called the nice people at Bloomingdales to get the skinny on my bag. The gentleman was apologetic, but it seemed that the merchandise had been discontinued.
Unfortunately for him, I'm no sucker.
"I beg your pardon?" I said.
"We are no longer stocking that bag, ma'am. The order was canceled." Helpful Customer Service guy said.
"I don't dispute it. However, you might be interested in the fact that I just checked and the item is still online for sale, except now the special sale is over and the price has moved back up. If you don't have any more bags, why are they still for sale online. And, more importantly, why was the bag featured on the back cover of the catalog I received the day before I placed the order? Are you in the habit of wasting some of your most expensive ad space on items you no longer stock?"
"One moment please." I hear the tapping of keyboard keys and he is clearly confirming the truth of my words. "Oh, I see. Ma'am, it appears that only the chocolate has been discontinued. We still have it in the red."
"I see. Well, that is better. Can you tell me why nobody in customer service contacted me to make me aware of the problem and offer me the other color? Seems to me that would be a reasonable way not to piss off your customers and potentially salvage a sale. Because, as it is, I wouldn't even have known that the order was canceled had I not checked it on a whim today."
"Yes, Ma'am. I see your point."
"You might want to take that up with your superiors."
"Yes, Ma'am."
"So, you can sell me the red bag?"
"Yes, Ma'am."
"Can you honor the sale price that I had on my original order?" I asked, expecting the answer no.
"Of course, Ma'am."
I was shocked. "Delightful! Let's do it!"
So, my new red Santorini clutch is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday. It is going to be very sexxxy and I can't wait.
But, my argument over the whole deal still stands. They should have contacted me to let me know that they couldn't fill the order. And, as a matter of course, they should have offered me a replacement item (the red one) at the same price instead of me having to chase down all of the details.
But, this just plays to my argument about the culture that I identify by region in customer service at the nation's department stores.
My opinion? The best place in the world to shop is Texas. The sales people there are genuinely eager to help you. They want to make a sale. You aren't imposing on them by approaching their counter. You aren't disturbing their conversation or anything else. There are exceptions to every rule of course, but I'd rather shop in Texas than Chicago, for example.
The lovely people at Dillards are much better than the sales staff at most other places. I don't know. Maybe it is a corporate culture thing that some stores are better at than others. I can tell you that the sales people at Marshall Fields were better to the customer before they became Macy's, but that could just be because of the changes.
Even so, I really hate it when I have to do most of the work of making a sale when I'm the buyer.
But, yay! about the new bag.


posted by Phoenix | 9:26 AM | 2 comments

Thursday, June 21, 2007
Linky Loo
Found these little gems in my morning surf. Check 'em out!

1. It looks like corruption and bribery run in that family. Do you think he has an upright or a chest freezer for his cash? via the New & Improved Michelle Malkin

2. Hilarious photoshop for one commie-loving "documentary filmmaker"

3. Our Marines want to know that we support them. Send them an email! the address is

Come on! It is the least you can do to jot them a note of appreciation and support.

4. Who is surprised? An overwhelming majority of MSM-types give money to Democrats. Bias? What bias?

5. Global Warming? Global Cooling? Just freakin' read it.
posted by Phoenix | 9:45 AM | 0 comments

Step Away From the Computer
I received a big flashing warning sign last night in the form of a dream. It may be time to step away from the computer for a while.

You see, I've been spending all of my free time for the last 2 weeks designing and setting up a couple of websites. As a matter of course, I drew up flow charts to help me "see" the plan of the design.

Last night, I dreamt that this is what my daughter looked like:

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posted by Phoenix | 9:04 AM | 1 comments

Wednesday, June 20, 2007
I have topics to post, but no time.

Whatcha gonna do?
posted by Phoenix | 2:56 PM | 0 comments

Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Working on a website design.

Writing posts in my head.

More later.
posted by Phoenix | 3:35 PM | 0 comments

Monday, June 18, 2007
Let's Play Pretend
Bunny Boop played pretend for the first time I've been aware of over the weekend.

I don't know how else to describe it. She was pretending to be Finn, my sister's chocolate lab. She would grab the ball with her mouth (while on her hands and knees) and then bring me the ball. When I tried to reach for it, she would pull back and shake her head, just like I've seen dogs (and Finn) do. When she would let go of the ball, she wanted you to throw it so that she could fetch it back in her mouth.

I find this greatly amusing for two reasons:

1. It totally freaked my mother-in-law out.

2. Seems an early sign of an active imagination in my child.

It is like double-coupon day!


posted by Phoenix | 11:13 AM | 0 comments

The Weekend from Hell
Despite an early start on Friday, the weekend sucked. It sucked hard.

Saturday morning we were up and at 'em at 5 a.m. We got everybody in and out of the shower and packed our clothes for the wedding we would be attending later that day. We piled into the Jeep and headed toward the river. Bunny Boop was out of sorts that morning and we had to bribe her with a handful of m&m's mid-way through the trip to stop the screaming. Lovely. Five m&m's later, she was asleep and peace had been restored. Which was good, because Prince Charming was moments away from turning the car around and going home.

In retrospect, it would have been better if he had done so.

We got down to Prince Charming's parents' house and it was insufferably hot. Well, it wasn't really the heat that was the problem, but the humidity. It was just wretched. My little family was terribly uncomfortable. There was no a/c on in the house and there was no breeze outside. I felt like it was high noon at the OK corral and I was about to be gunned down. It was stifling, miserable, and thinking caused the sweat to pour. Which, you should know, made the prospect of getting into wedding clothes all that much more onerous. And yet, we did it. We even got dressed early so as to have an excuse to climb into the Jeep and get air conditioned before the wedding.

Bunny Boop was still irritable, though at this time I was blaming it on the heat and humidity. We got to the wedding and blissfully, the church felt like a refrigerator. So, that part was nice. Of course, it was a Catholic wedding, so it took considerable time. And, Bunny Boop, being a toddler with a mind of her own, wasn't keen on sitting through the service. So, Prince Charming and I took turns playing with her outside. Yep. Sweating in dress clothes. Delightful. After the church service, we again retreated to the Jeep and made our way to the bar. Because it is local custom to have a 2-4 hour break between the wedding and the reception. Of all the things that irritate me, this ranks right up there. They do this so that the photographer can take the wedding photos. Why this can't be done before the ceremony, or why they can't start the reception before the photos are done, I don't know. But that 4 hour intermission really sucks for people who have traveled to the wedding from out of town.

Anyway, we wasted some time at the bar and then made our way to the reception hall which was brand new and very nice. I only had two complaints: first, for all the money they spent, they could have put a changing table in the ladies room and second, all those windows need window coverings.

Bunny Boop went down for a nap and I had a drink. We had a decent meal at the reception (typical of these types of things - not great, but not horrible - standard buffet fair) but that brought up another complaint. Why do they not instruct people to wait until all of the children go through the line first? Geez, Louise. Anyway, we didn't stick around after the meal. Bunny Boop had had enough, as had her father and I.

We drive home to his parents' house and discover that in our absence it has turned into an oven. Thankfully, Prince Charming's father had instructed us to turn on the a/c when we got home. So, I'm standing in the kitchen, holding Bunny and trying to remove her shoes when she vomits on me. It caught me quite by surprise. I called to my husband, not wanting to get vomit all over his mother's home. She vomited again. I called to him again, getting more desperate. She vomited again, I shouted. She vomited again, I screamed. By this time, I have a giant pool of vomit soaking through my blouse, all down my front, on the floor by my bare feet, and all over Bunny. We are a vomit-soaked miserable mess. Finally, Prince Charming comes back to the kitchen from turning on the a/c in the basement.

"Your daughter is sick. I need your help, I'm covered in vomit and don't want to get it all over the house."

"Oh. Is that what you were shouting about?"

"Yes. Can you help me out here?"

So, we stripped naked, Bunny and I, in the driveway and made our way to the shower. She was still feeling punky. I could tell because she was clinging to me in the shower. We cleaned up and cooled down and I gave her some milk. She drank it down and was about to fall asleep when Prince Charming decided she needed a little cough medicine before bed. He administered the medicine and vwch! More vomit. I am covered in vomit again. Again with the vomit stink. Bigger problem? I'm now out of non-vomit soaked clothes. We clean up Bunny again who is now wide awake and feeling much better. She wants to play! So we let her. Grandma comes home at this point and is greatly disturbed to find the a/c on.

Prince Charming explains that Bunny is sick and that the a/c is necessary and "Dad said to turn it on." She wasn't pleased. She was convinced that Bunny wasn't really sick. All that vomit would suggest otherwise, but whatever. I'm sure it is just a case of my being a horrible mother. I'm thoroughly convinced that she was either coming down with the flu or the heat of the day disagreed with her. She finally settled down again around midnight (after about 2 hours of pretend playing that she was Finn, retrieving the ball - Finn is a dog). At this point, she led me to the fridge and pointed to the milk, so we tried again. She drank some milk and then went to sleep.

I went to bed in Prince Charming's dirty shirt which at least was vomit free. We got up the next morning and departed early and headed home. Bunny got a bath when we got home to get the last of the vomit stink off of her (she didn't get a second bath the night before, just a wipe down). A few hours later she was running a fever. I let her sleep and dosed her with Tylenol, the whole time worrying myself into a dither. She had a fever all through the night and it finally broke around 3 am this morning.

So, to sum up my weekend, it goes like this:

hot, hot, hot, humidhot, humidhot, sweaty icky, sweaty icky, sweaty icky hothumid, vomit, vomit, vomit!, vomit! cleanup, vomit! home, fever worry, fever worry, no sleep, fever worry, no sleep, fever worry, no sleep, fever worry, no sleep, fever worry, shower (and the end of the vomit stench on me), work.

So, yeah, I'm irritable. What of it?
posted by Phoenix | 8:48 AM | 3 comments

Friday, June 15, 2007
Personal Meme
Got this one from Oddybobo.

1. Are you named after anyone? Yes. When my father was in college, there was a woman in the female version of ROTC whom he admired. He always liked her name and I got it because of that.

2. When was the last time you cried? I am having a hard time remembering. I think it was a few weeks ago when the "bad mother!" stuff started to wear on me.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes, actually I do.

4. What is your favorite lunchmeat? Roast Beast. Mmmm.

5. Do you have kids? One. A little princess I call Bunny Boop.

6. If you were someone else, would you be friends with you? I like to think so. But then, I'm not sure I'd like someone as opinionated as me!

7. Do you use sarcasm a lot? I used to use it more. I'm out of the habit.

8. Do you still have your tonsils? Yes. The only organ I'm missing is my gall bladder.

9. Would you bungee jump? Not in a million years.

10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Not my sandals...

11. Do you think you are strong? Emotionally? Yes. Physically? Only on adrenaline.

12. What is your favorite ice cream? Gold Medal Ribbon from Baskin Robbins, but it has been years. In the meantime, I really like Haagen Daz Strawberry sorbet. I don't feel as guilty afterwards.

13. What is the first thing you notice about people? The smile.

14. Red or Pink? Pink. Gotta be pink.

15. Least favorite thing about yourself? My thighs.

16. Who do you miss the most? My sister.

17. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? I'm wearing black sandals and cream chino-colored shorts.

18. What is the last thing you ate? a bag of m&m's, which I sort by color before eating. I eat the red and browns first, then the orange, then the blue, yellow, and finally the green. Look, I can't go into the details, but sometimes I'm a bit of a freak.

19. What are you listening to right now? The air conditioning and a conference call.

20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Pink.

21. Favorite smells? My husband's sweat, Coco by Chanel, fresh-baked apple crisp.

22. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone? a client.

23. Favorite sports to watch? On television - college football. In person? High school basketball.

24. Hair color? Brown

25. Eye color? Brown - like caramel.

26. Do you wear contacts? Nope. Glasses.

27. Favorite Food? Wow. That's a tough question. I guess it would be Crab Legs at Fish Tales.

28. Scary movies or Happy Endings? Happy Endings.

29. Last movie you watched? The Holiday

30. What color shirt are you wearing? Black baby tee by DKNY

31. Summer or Winter? I prefer Fall, where I can have snow and Indian Summer.

32. Hugs or Kisses? Kisses.

33. Favorite Dessert? Too hard! But, cheesecake is one of my favorites.

34. What book are you reading now? Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich

35. What is on your mouse pad? Nothing. It is all black.

36. What did you watch on TV last night? The Starter Wife.

37. Favorite sounds? My baby snoring, or talking, or playing.

38. Rolling Stones or Beatles? Blech to both.

39. What is the farthest you have been from home? Hawaii and Germany.

40. Do you have a special talent? We aren't close enough friends for me to tell you about some things.

41. Where were you born? Elkhart, KS.


posted by Phoenix | 1:21 PM | 0 comments

I'm Not Even Embarrassed
It may make me a geek, but I don't care.

I totally must see the Nancy Drew movie!

I am all about Nancy, Ned, George and Bess.

This does not make me a geek.
posted by Phoenix | 12:55 PM | 2 comments

Incidentally, Christina mentioned in our conversation last night that a few of you (CTG, Oddy, and Richmond) may desire a copy of my cookbook. Email me your mailing address and I'll send you a copy.

Just don't laugh too hard when you see it.
posted by Phoenix | 9:08 AM | 2 comments

Make My Day
Okay, so the title of this post is a bit misleading, but I like it and that's what counts.

I have this friend who by virtue of being herself, makes me happy. She called yesterday afternoon and it made my day. I always enjoy talking to her, even if sometimes I have to put her on hold long enough to reprimand the smallest member of our family. It is odd, but she is one of the few people I know whose calls I always take. Isn't that bizarre? I always take calls from my sister and parents, a few other close friends, but I also am unavailable to a large assortment of people most of the time. But I enjoy Christina and our conversations. She is a delight, supremely charming with an edge, and quite possibly the sweetest person I know.

I wish she wasn't so far away so that we could talk more. But, I keep telling myself that one of these days I'll get my husband back to Texas and we'll pop in on Christina and her family. Maybe stay for a meal. (I hear the food is amazing!)

Anyway, I have a lovely friend who by virtue of doing nothing but being herself makes me feel special. I bask in her glow folks, that's all.
posted by Phoenix | 8:59 AM | 3 comments

Thursday, June 14, 2007
I've got a serious case of the blog blahs.

I could rail about Palestine, perhaps. About how it is difficult to feel sorry for a group of people who are desperately trying to kill each other over the control of security in that hell hole. But, I really can't bring myself to do it. It seems to me that all these people were a lot safer when they were "occupied." It is really sad when you fondly remember the days when you were under the thumb of a bunch of "dirty Jews", eh? Seriously. These people are just hopeless.

Libby is getting screwed again. No justice for him, it seems. He's going to do time for not committing a crime while Sandy the Burgler got a slap on the hand for stealing and destroying official historical documents that rightly belonged to you and I. Something is seriously wrong with this picture.

Paris Hilton is still in jail. Lindsay Lohan is still in rehab. Angelina Jolie is still kinda not as nice as she'd like everybody to believe.

Me? I'm tired. Bunny Boop got me up at 4:30 this morning and I'm feeling a bit wimpy.
posted by Phoenix | 1:25 PM | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Not Enough Time in the Day
Do you know what I need? More time. That's it. More time.

Work is hectic these days, offering little time for posting. And then, there's always the joy of dealing with people who are disorganized and unconcerned with deadlines and things like that. Grrrrr.

My house is cleanish, true enough. But, by the time I get home, water the plants, feed the child, bathe the child, make supper and feed the husband, I am exhausted. It leaves me completely sapped to the point that I have to force myself to do anything else, and that includes dishes, laundry, or working out.

Maybe I'm doing something wrong. I don't know. I'm trying. I'm trying to stay on top of things without neglecting my child or my husband. I'm not sure I'm succeeding, however, because at some point my brain shuts down and just needs to recharge, you know?

Bah. Talking about it isn't helping.
posted by Phoenix | 10:33 AM | 0 comments

Monday, June 11, 2007
That Feeling of Accomplishment
This weekend was one of accomplishments. I cleaned house (and boy, did it ever need it!) and did laundry, paid bills, went grocery shopping, and began serious potty training.

Results? The house is much improved. The clothes are clean. Bills are paid. Pantry is stocked. Potty Training? Slow going. She is very excited about the m&m's, but so far, that's about it.

Prince Charming and I hired a sitter for Saturday night and went to The Dells to see Ron White's performance. It was great! But, staying up that late meant I was worthless on Sunday.
posted by Phoenix | 12:01 PM | 2 comments

Friday, June 08, 2007
Jericho Saved!
The protest worked! We now have official word from the President of CBS Entertainment, via this message posted to their press website:

To the Fans of Jericho:


Over the past few weeks you have put forth an impressive and probably unprecedented display of passion in support of a prime time television series. You got our attention; your emails and collective voice have been heard.

As a result, CBS has ordered seven episodes of "Jericho" for mid-season next year. In success, there is the potential for more. But, for there to be more "Jericho," we will need more viewers.

A loyal and passionate community has clearly formed around the show. But that community needs to grow. It needs to grow on the CBS Television Network, as well as on the many digital platforms where we make the show available.

We will count on you to rally around the show, to recruit new viewers with the same grass-roots energy, intensity and volume you have displayed in recent weeks.

At this time, I cannot tell you the specific date or time period that "Jericho" will return to our schedule. However, in the interim, we are working on several initiatives to help introduce the show to new audiences. This includes re-broadcasting "Jericho" on CBS this summer, streaming episodes and clips from these episodes across the CBS Audience Network (online), releasing the first season DVD on September 25 and continuing the story of Jericho in the digital world until the new episodes return. We will let you know specifics when we have them so you can pass them on.

On behalf of everyone at CBS, thank you for expressing your support of "Jericho" in such an extraordinary manner. Your protest was creative, sustained and very thoughtful and respectful in tone. You made a difference.


Nina Tassler

President, CBS Entertainment

P.S. Please stop sending us nuts : )

I gotta tell you, this totally makes me laugh. The idea of those network Execs signing for 50,000 lbs of peanuts. The image makes me giggle!


posted by Phoenix | 8:53 AM | 0 comments

Insert Maniacal Hysterical Laughing
BREAKING NEWS: US to Temporarily Relax New Passport Rules in Face of Processing Backlog

I am astounded.

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration on Friday suspended some of its new, post-Sept. 11 requirements for traveling abroad, hoping to placate Congress and irate summer travelers whose vacations have been thwarted by delays in processing their passports.

The proposal would temporarily lift a requirement that U.S. passports be used for citizens flying to and from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

The suspension should allow the State Department to catch up with a massive surge in applications that has overwhelmed passport processing centers since the rule took effect this year. The resulting backlog has caused up to three-month delays for passports and ruined or delayed the travel plans of thousands of Americans.

Until the end of September, travelers will be allowed to fly without a passport if they present a State Department receipt, showing they had applied for a passport, and government-issued identification, such as a driver’s license.

Those without passports would receive additional security scrutiny, which could include extra questioning or bag checks.


Homeland Security signed off on the proposal Thursday after consultations
with the State Department, the White House and members of Congress, who have been deluged with calls from angry constituents seeking help with their passports.

Rep. Thomas Reynolds, R-N.Y., whose district lies near the Canadian border, said White House officials had been on Capitol Hill trying to work out a compromise amid what he called a “turf war” between State and Homeland Security.

Reynolds faulted “arrogant” officials for failing to get the system working properly, and said he was worried about even more headaches next year when passports will be required to drive into Canada or Mexico.

Lawmakers had been pushing for a change for weeks.

“To say people must have a passport to travel and not give people a passport is right up there in the stupid column,” said Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., who urged the State Department to lift the rule last month.

The application surge is the result of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative that since January has required U.S. citizens to use passports when entering the United States from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean by air. It is part of a broader package of immigration rules enacted after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Between March and May, the department issued more than 4.5 million passports. It has millions more to process, according to consular affairs officials.

Wilson’s office took more than 500 calls from frustrated travelers seeking help in May alone. The problem has since spread from border states to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Colorado and elsewhere.


posted by Phoenix | 8:45 AM | 0 comments

Wednesday, June 06, 2007
I never do this
You know me. I never do this. I never tell you to send money here or support this cause or this disease. I just don't do it. I don't feel that I should, that this isn't the right venue. I wouldn't even ask you to buy girl scout cookies in this venue.

So, perhaps then, it will be all the more striking when you see that I am going to put up a widget to raise funds for Fred Thompson. I'm with Fred. He's the guy I want at the desk while my family sleeps. So, if after very careful consideration you agree with me, I would be happy if you decided to support Fred.

I have carefully considered my options, on both sides of the field, and find them all lacking or loathsome. Fred is the only guy that I trust, it is as simple as that. I don't care that he's an actor, I don't care that he's divorced, I don't even care that he didn't seek reelection when his term in the Senate expired.

What I care about is his stance on the Global War on Terror, Immigration, Israel, and a dozen other issues.

I like that he's the kind of guy that will act. He's the kind of guy who draws a line in the sand and says cross it and you will be treated to with all necessary force. He's the kind of guy who loves this country and won't sell it out to special interests or muck her up with a bunch of nanny-state bullshit.

The guy is all class. I want him to run for President because he will force the other candidates to get honest.

So, as CTG says, Run, Fred, Run!

Update: Okay. Not gonna do the widget thing as it broadcasts my personal information to anybody who clicks on it. But, go ahead and do this on your own at I'm With Fred.


posted by Phoenix | 8:59 AM | 0 comments

What a beautiful day!
The sun is shining. There is a slight crisp breeze ruffling the leaves on the trees. It carries to my nostrils the happy smells of growing things, of grass, and trees, and flowers and leaves.

The sky is blue with a few wispy clouds.

And, Paris Hilton is in jail.

All seems right with the world...
posted by Phoenix | 8:56 AM | 0 comments

Jericho May Yet Be Saved
I've certainly criticized CBS's Jericho for the bizarre way the writer's bent the rules of probability, but I did watch the show. I reveled in each new ridiculous episode. I enjoyed it because it made me think.

But then, CBS announced that the show had been canceled. Rabid fans took to protesting this action and even sent 50,000 pounds of nuts to CBS to push their point.

This article seems to suggest that the protest may have worked.
The network apparently has been impressed by the display of viewer passion,which included the delivery of 50,000 pounds of peanuts to its New York offices.

In the season finale, a character replies “Nuts!” to a demand that the beleaguered town of Jericho surrender.

That’s the same response that a U.S. general in World War II made to a German demand for surrender at the Battle of the Bulge.

There’s already been one positive outcome: CBS is donating the protest peanuts to charities, including one that sends care packages to troops overseas.

I really just like the idea that the viewers might save the show. I, too, am tired of really good shows being canceled - like Alias, The Embassy, Close to Home, and lots of others.


posted by Phoenix | 8:49 AM | 0 comments

Monday, June 04, 2007
Congressman William Jefferson (D - LA), he of the cash-in-the-freezer fame, has been indicted on 16 counts.
WASHINGTON - Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., was indicted Monday, accused of soliciting bribes for himself and his family, and of bribing an official of the Nigerian government.

The 16-count indictment was handed up in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. A press conference was scheduled for 3:30 p.m. ET to discuss the case.

A Justice Department official familiar with the case said the indictment outlining the evidence against Jefferson is more than an inch thick and charges the Congressman with crimes that could keep him in prison for up to 200 years. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

Almost two years ago, in August 2005, investigators raided Jefferson’s home in Louisiana and found $90,000 in cash stuffed into a box in his freezer.

Jefferson, 63, whose Louisiana district includes New Orleans, has said little about the case publicly but has maintained his innocence. He was re-elected last year despite the looming investigation.

Jefferson, in Louisiana on Monday, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Two of Jefferson’s associates have already struck plea bargains with prosecutors and have been sentenced.

Brett Pfeffer, a former congressional aide, admitted soliciting bribes on Jefferson’s behalf and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Another Jefferson associate, Louisville, Ky., telecommunications executive Vernon Jackson, pleaded guilty to paying between $400,000 and $1 million in bribes to Jefferson in exchange for his assistance securing business deals in Nigeria and other African nations. Jackson was sentenced to more than seven years in prison.

Both Pfeffer and Jackson agreed to cooperate in the case against Jefferson in exchanges for their pleas.

The impact of the case has stretched across continents and even roiled presidential politics in Nigeria. According to court records, Jefferson told associates that he needed cash to pay bribes to the country’s vice president, Atiku Abubakar.

Abubakar denied the allegations, which figured prominently in that country’s presidential elections in April. Abubakar ran for the presidency and finished third.

Good to see that the Democrats have clean noses, ya know? Pelosi & Reid bitched about a "culture of corruption." Looks like they knew that of which they spoke.


posted by Phoenix | 1:06 PM | 0 comments

The Weekend
Monday has arrived again. My Super Secret Work Week Elimination Device is still not out of product development. Hell, I can't even seem to get a successful test out of the do-hickey. Anyway, despite what is coming to resemble a biblical amount of rainfall, all is good here.

On Friday afternoon, I went home and everything went screwy. Prince Charming was supposed to get up and grill steaks, but he failed to heed the wake-up call. And, as it was, I was a tad preoccupied. Bunny Boop was a cranky girl when we got home and needed some mothering of the sort that required a bit of milk, a bit of snuggle, and lots of love. She fell asleep in my arms. I held her for 30 minutes, thinking I'd wake her and she'd eat supper. However, she refused to wake on my schedule. In fact, once she hadn't stirred by 7 pm, I gathered that she was down for the count and put her in bed. While she was napping and Prince Charming was sawing logs, I watched The Holiday on On Demand.

So, what follows is a brief movie review. First off? It was a nice story and a good way to pass 2 hours. I could have done without Cameron Diaz (she irks me), but Kate Winslet was terrific. She was very real. Jude Law? Blech. Jack Black? Ho-hum. The feisty old man who befriended Winslet's character? Stole the Show. He was terrific. As a matter of fact, I would have liked a whole movie that featured just these two characters. Their interactions were magical and I looked forward to their scenes. In fact, it was their part of the movie that brought me to tears. Still, I enjoyed it and would recommend it as a decent way to pass a rainy afternoon while the rest of the family catches some z's.

Saturday was a lazy day for us. We didn't do much and really enjoyed it. Saturday night I went through my sock and panty storage and jettisoned what was no longer in good shape. I picked up around the house a bit (again while the rest of the family slept). We are such crazy people! By 7:45 each night, 2/3 of the family is abed. I watched Dante's Peak on Saturday night while I was sorting socks and dusting. I like that film quite a bit. But then, I also like Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones.

Sunday I did a bit of vacuuming and lots of laundry. Bunny and I went to the park for a while and played in the yard. I should say, she played while I weeded the flower bed. She just loves to be outside. It is very cute.

And now? I'm back at work. Another busy day, I'm afraid. I'm really looking forward to getting out of the office at lunch.
posted by Phoenix | 12:17 PM | 0 comments


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