Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's Only Tuesday??!??

So far this week, I've:

Managed to avoid finishing the bathroom painting project

Tripped over our stupid Dog With Jealousy Issues

Convinced at least two of my son's friends that I'm a complete lunatic

Drank over 12 cups of coffee

Missed, narrowly, a car collision with the local school principal (her fault)

Changed countless poopy diapers in 3 sizes

Considered taking up smoking to deal with Politically-Induced Stress

Thanked God I'm not a teenager any more

Pondered how much food we need to survive a National Crisis (definition open)

Called and emailed Senators and Representatives to speak my mind

Paid way to much for gasoline

Defended my reasons for not voting Republican or Democrat

Been informed that someone can hardly wait until he's 18

Wished I could take a vacation

It's been a long week.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Toss 'Em Overboard!

I am so stinkin' mad I could just scream!!

The "honorable" Senator Sherrod Brown said nothing to make me want him to stay in office. (As if I wanted him there to begin with!)
Thank you for expressing your concerns with the problems in the financial sector and proposals to address them.

A lot of Ohioans, including me, are angry at the thought of bailing out people who made a lot of money making bad business decisions that created problems in neighborhoods across Ohio.
I agree that we need to avoid rewarding excessive risk taking. These institutions made unwise decisions, and taxpayers should not be expected to simply cover their losses.

Treasury Secretary Paulson this weekend sent a proposal to Congress that would give him almost unfettered authority to spend $700 billion purchasing troubled assets from financial institutions. On Tuesday, my colleagues on the Banking Committee and I held a hearing at which Secretary Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke, and others testified.

They made a strong case for the need to act quickly to prevent further damage to our economy. The turmoil in the credit markets has the potential to do great damage to a lot of innocent bystanders. I am afraid that if we do not act, the economic instability could affect thousands of American jobs and the savings of countless middle class families.

But Secretary Paulson’s proposal is not the right answer. No Secretary should be given a $700 billion blank check. Taxpayers must be given an opportunity to recover their money, and assurances their tax dollars will not fund lavish pay and golden parachutes. We need strong rules to guard against abuse, and to ensure all types of institutions and regions are helped.

In the days ahead, we need to focus on containing the damage to middle class families and local businesses as much as possible. In the months ahead, we need to take a hard look at how financial markets are regulated so we never find ourselves in this situation again.

Thank you again for contacting me. I will certainly keep your views in mind as the Senate debates ways to help restore strength to our economy.
Sherrod Brown

HA! And to think I once met this man! Fat lot of positive influence I was!! Ba-humbug!

So sorry about all the poor middle class saps and local business owners. Better luck next time. Maybe the actual perpetrators will have to pay next time. (And no, I'm not into paranormal activity, if you're wondering. Hey! Maybe that's Washington's problem!!)

If you have not yet done so, please call your Senators and Representatives
and tell them to vote NO on any bailout scheme for the mortgage and banking industry. A recent poll indicates a mere 7% approval of a government (read that: TAXPAYER - you and I) funded solution to our economic crises. It's no solution - it's just more of the same!

We have to get these stupid criminals out of Washington! McCain and Obama aren't going to fix any monetary problems our country has. They helped create the problems! Don't vote for them! There are other choices on the ballot. Don't vote for someone that you don't want in office. And if there isn't anyone on the ballot that you DO want, then don't vote at all! Don't vote for senators and representatives in your state if they aren't doing what you want them to do. I highly doubt if too many people actually want to give banking executives bonuses for running their companies into the ground, but that's what your lawmakers are doing!

Apparently, the President no longer wants a bucket to bail the problem. Now he refers to it as a rescue, so the proper term would be a lifesaver. Ron Paul wasn't impressed with that, either. If you haven't yet signed up to get updates from him, you can do that here. The Campaign for Liberty website will keep you current with what's currently happening, from a truthful perspective.

I've used up my quota of quotation marks, and my blood pressure needs to return to a medically acceptable reading, so I'll shut up for now. But I'm still mad.

And I'm not voting for THIEVES in November, either!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'll Take a Bald Win

So life's been a little crazy around here lately. I've lost touch with reality.
Ok, not reality, (actually some people would tell you that happened a loooooong time ago!) but maybe a few things I should have kept up on.

The short list:

1. Healthy eating - with 2 babies in my house, I'm lucky to get stale Cheerios and a
PBJ by 2PM. Thank goodness coffee is quick and easy to make!

2. Thin(ner) hips - see #1.

3. Showers that last longer than 37 seconds - again, the babies...

4. Semi-regular dates with Tom - this is sounding like a broken record!

5. Politics - but I know for whom I'm voting.

My van still says "We like Ron Paul". We still get comments about that from people. I don't intend to change it any time soon. Even if the white shoe polish would come off easily, I'd leave it there on principle. Besides, I don't think I can fit www.campaignforliberty.com across the front of my windshield.

Since Ron Paul ended his campaign for presidency, I've been doing bits and pieces of research, in what little time I've had, to see who should get my vote in November. McCain and Obama are definitely out. I had a couple people ask me, when McCain picked Sarah Palin, what I thought of her, or if I would vote for that ticket now.

Where is a billboard? A Really Big Billboard? A HUGE GIANTGONDO BILLBOARD???!!???

NO! Deanna will NOT be voting for McCain. Sarah Palin isn't going to save the country!

So I briefly looked at Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate. I do believe that Mr. Barr voted for the Patriot Act. Next.

Nader, McKinney...did someone say Ross Perot is still alive and listening? - Moving on...

I had read some of Chuck Baldwin's articles, and he seemed pretty decent. He's the
Constitutional candidate. I like the Constitution. I was leaning toward casting a vote for him. And then...

Voila! Ron Paul likes him too!!! If you're into the "Government shouldn't tell me what to do, I'm this kid's parent and I can raise him myself, I obey the law and Washington should too, Why am I paying for other people's mortgages when I can barely afford to fill my gas tank, Somebody Put the Brakes on Here!!" mentality, you just might like him yourself.

Now I won't have to write in my own name!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It Should Be Razzberries

Why in the world should I trust a man who doesn't know the difference between fruit and technology? Why does he not comprehend that yet another over funded and completely unnecessary commission really isn't needed to explain the debacle he and his cohorts in Washington have created? I will give him credit, though - he's a smart cookie for pickin' Gov. Palin. At least now, Christians can justify voting for evil because she's pro-life. Never mind that she's pro-war. Oh well...

I'll slink back to my independent-thinking corner now.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Creative Torture Correction

*** Update since original post***
The accompanying video is no longer available on youtube - all the hits musta done 'em in. Sorry 'bout yer luck, but I could probably direct you to a church or two from my childhood that could show you similar talent, minus any reference to dancing, which was of the devil, of course. That is, if yer innerested.

Growing up in a legalistic - oops, I meant conservative holiness - environment, the music choices that were allowed to reach our impressionable ears were a wee bit limited. We had copies of our church hymnal on our piano. We could tune in to the classical radio station if we were inclined. In Michigan, we could listen to Family Life Radio, which was mostly programs like Focus on the Family and Back to the Bible. In Ohio, we could usually listen to WPOS. WPOS was southern gospel. The Cathedrals, Gold City Quartet, Kingsmen - you haven't lived till you've sat on the front row of a Cathedrals concert, let me tell ya! Boy, when ol' George Younce rared back with his throat growling those low notes on Beulahland - you felt like you got your $5 worth!

(You might think I'm being my typical sarcastic self here, and while you're correct, I actually do have a soft spot in my heart for a few southern gospel groups, including the Cathedrals. Every once in a while, I'll listen to a song or two, if only to remind myself of some of the hilarious days my best friend Annette and I had in high school.)

My music tastes have evolved over the past twenty or so years, and while Jesus Christ doesn't change, the style in which I prefer to celebrate His constant presence in my life most assuredly has taken a different direction.

Anyone who knows me in the smallest way most likely is aware of my intense dislike of emotionally-charged religious experiences, including crummy church signs and pithy lyrics to Christian songs. I just have a horrible time tolerating these two issues, for some reason. They bring out the worst in me - they blind me when I'm driving - they cause me to yell unkind words at the inhuman object, which most people refer to as a radio, in my dashboard - they make my kids howl with devious laughter if they hear an inane song or view an unacceptable sign before I do, because they know it's going to cause me to look for the nearest cliff and ponder jumping. (We live in Northwest Ohio - I haven't been successful with the cliff thing yet.)


Every once in a while, Tom and I will make use of our local southern gospel radio station. (He more than I, because it isn't good for my blood pressure to be listening very often to somebody wailing' about Recalling the Dinner Bell Mama Used to Call Them for Supper as it Relates to Being Called to Glory in the Great Beyond Someday GloryHallelujahPraisetheNameofGuawwwdD.) This station isn't WPOS. WPOS was at least the Upper Class of southern gospel. When this station says "local", they mean "local". It's Bro. Hardy and Sis. Hicks. It's whiny. It's twangy. It's bad country music, on steroids. It's anyone who has an acoustic guitar, a pin-striped suit, a bad haircut and Jesus. And it works wonders for convincing your kids that you've done gone and lost your ever-lovin' mind!

One of our children - and we'll mention no names - had an attitude problem one day. S/He had to take a ride with Dad, in Dad's poor little tri-toned, dented, bumper-stickered Ford Festiva. When Dad and said child returned home, Dad said "I made him/her listen to the southern gospel station full blast the whole time." This station is so southern gospel, I even felt sorry for the little mite.


Today, I found an even better way to let our light shine! After happening upon this little gem, I shared it with Tom. We then shared it with Bucky. The three of us then shared it with Preston and Savannah. In all seriousness, we told them that we had received an email from our pastor saying that our praise and worship team at church was going to be changing the format of our services, and we would now be participating in this type of song programming. Our friend Mark would be the leader. The pastor was inviting us to attend a seminar to learn how to perform. We were convincing enough that Savannah declared an instant demand to relocate to another church, and Preston just gaped at us..."WWWHHHYYYYY???!!??" followed by "I'll walk to Mars before MARK would ever do that!!"

So it is without further ado, that I present to you - a concept I learned of via a Crummy Church Signs link to Ragamuffin Soul. (For further interesting reading, google The Way International - I'll stick with my church, thank you!)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No, I Can Not

So today, I got a call from our case worker at Job and Family Services. She was calling to tell me that she needs to schedule a 6 month review of D.'s case plan with all the various people involved. Naturally being his foster parents we are involved. Her comment to me, when I said "Wow! Already?!?" was "Yes. Can you imagine missing out on 6 months of your children's lives?"

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Miss Brutus

This is the time of year when I find myself having to exhibit more self-control that I really care to.

Fall is my favorite season. I love the smell in the air, the colors on the trees, the coolness of the mornings and the warmth of the late afternoon sun.

My love of baking always kicks into high gear during the fall season. There's so many tasty things you can bake with apples, cinnamon, pumpkin, zucchini, and chocolate!

Something else that returns is football season. Sigh. I love football. I understand football. Two years ago, I could tell you nearly anything you wanted to know about Troy Smith and his Buckeye teammates. I watched the Draft, for Pete's sake! I was furious that Troy was a 5th round pick! I love the Colts. I love the Packers. (well, the whole Brett Favre thing was a little dramatic even for me, but still...)

I didn't grow up watching football. Actually I didn't grow up watching anything, because we didn't have a television when I was a child. I don't mean we didn't have an antenna on our home. I mean, we did not own a television set. Television was the enemy. Anyone in our circle of influence - private Christian school and conservative church - who had a TV was accused of heading down the slippery slope at best, and shunned by the ultra-conservatives of the pack at worst.

The first experience with football that I recall was when I was about 12 or 13. My parents were divorcing, my mom was working full time, and it was Thanksgiving. My older sister and her husband were going to spend the holiday with his parents, so they took my little sister and I along for the weekend. We packed up my brother-in-law's little diesel Rabbit, crammed the four of us in tightly, and off we went to Cincinnati.

We spent Thanksgiving day at Grandma Bea's home, perched on a steep hill in some holler in southern Ohio. I barely remember what the house looked like, but it seems like it was small, and the living room where the TV was located was dark paneling and slightly claustrophobic. The meal was superb. It was the first time I'd ever had dumplings with Thanksgiving dinner. I thought that was weird, but it tasted good!

Grandma Bea was married to a man named Forrest. Forrest and my brother-in-law watched football on a small TV set with a grainy picture. It might have even been black and white. I sat and watched with them, mostly out of boredom, but it planted a seed. 4 hours away, unbeknownst to me, my future husband was probably doing the same thing. His family had only recently become football fans also, due to he and his siblings having the mumps and being unable to leave home for a while, yet needing entertainment. Little did we know at that age!

Fast forward almost 30 years. I now have 6 children in my home. Where in the world would I find the time to watch football? We're always playing catch-up with something, but we're never finished. I'm not the type of person who can turn on the TV and keep it playing in the background while I do other chores. If I'm watching a show, I don't want to miss one word. If I'm watching a game, how can I effectively cheer or scream about a bad play if the game doesn't have my full attention?

I know myself. If we had our television hooked up, or had our DISH reinstalled, I would sit down on Saturday at noon, and wouldn't get back up until time to go to bed Monday night. I would waste Thursday evening in the same fashion. I would create high blood pressure for myself, and I would embarrass my children when their friends are over because I would be screaming at the television. I would traumatize my 2 year old, and terrorize my baby by coaching from the couch.

I've mentioned before what lengths we have to go to, to be able to watch the Michigan/Ohio State game. We can't miss that! And our church usually has a Superbowl party, so we're safe there.But for the remainder of the season, I just have to pretend like I'm all feminine and ladylike and cultured enough to simply be appalled that grown men beat themselves up like that. (I won't even begin to discuss my fetish with professional wrestling!)

So we don't have TV. Oh, we have TVs in our home. Probably 5 or 6. Some are in closets. Some are in the kids rooms with VCRs. But we don't have outside influence. It isn't good for my health. And it's the only way I get anything done from September to February.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Is This Hereditary?

I highly doubt that my mother-in-law has ever been accused of being obsessed with Current Trends, Popular Fashion, or Keeping Up with the Joneses. She's happy to shop at garage sales and does not care that double knit hasn't yet made it's comeback. The first Thanksgiving that Tom and I were married, we had dinner at his parent's home. They used the good dishes. I would stash those dishes in the Rubbermaid camping supplies tub. She knows when Kmart discounts the almost-expired milk. She's thrifty, and pays cash for everything.

Shortly after we got married, I remember Tom telling me about a conversation he'd had with his mom. She was lamenting how automatic our society had become. This was in 1991 or 92. She said, "Pretty soon, you won't even need to talk to a real person at the bank. You'll just talk to a machine."

"Uh, Mom - they've had them for years. They're called ATM's. Automated Teller Machines."

She doesn't get out of the house nearly as much as we'd like for her to. One of the highlights of her week is to go with Tom and the boys to clean one of our churches. She always brings some kind of snack for the boys, usually a Little Debbie-type piece of junk food, sometimes a banana, maybe a candy cane. If she's been to the local business and industry show, or county fair, she'll bring pencils and writing tablets, rulers, and a flyswatter, along with every coloring book that every safety agency produces. During the 1/2 hour drive, the boys learn what meats are on sale at Chief, how Aunt Norma Jean is progressing with her chemo, how Aunt (name changed to protect the guilty) is wearing Uncle (name changed to protect the worn-out) out, what rebates Menards is offering, how mad Grandpa made her that week, and just how much she detests hearing what great sports scores various other relatives' grandkids are achieving.

Bucky likes to drink energy drinks, but if he does so, it's done in disobedience and stupidity. He learned the hard way that drinking a Monster at 9:00 pm is a great way to get a buzz that won't let you close your eyes all night. Making the trip to clean with Grandma and Dad one day, for some reason the conversation turned to caffeine and staying awake. Bucky said, "The only thing that keeps me awake at night is Monsters."

Grandma was very concerned. "Bucky! Do you have nightmares???"

Grandma couldn't be more proud of her grandkids. She gets irritated with Preston and Bucky, usually because they're trying to irritate her with stories of resisting the authorities, getting tattoos, or piercing their ears. But she thinks they're all that and a bag of chips, although she wouldn't have a clue what I just said! And she grew them a great Dad.

About the closest thing to being Hip that Grandma will ever be is that she has them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin

Dear Mrs. Gov. Palin: (Or is that Gov. Mrs. Palin?)

You look like a pleasant lady. You have nice hair. I'm not upset with you that your 17 year old daughter is pregnant. Congratulations on becoming a grandmother. If you played a role in firing someone because someone else hurt your sister, I can sympathize, on an elementary level. When I was in 4th grade, I bonked my teacher's grandson on the head with my fist because he was picking on my little sister. I promptly reported myself to my teacher and told her I would do it again if he did it again. He never did, so I didn't have to uphold my promise. In high school, he and I were great friends. I had a crush on his brother in 6th grade. He bought me some Sweet Honesty Avon perfume for Christmas, and I hid it from my mother for 7 months, because I feared she would be angry that I knew boys existed. Sadly, that brother was killed while riding a bicycle on a poorly lit country road a few years ago. My mother had nothing to do with the accident. I would still hurt anyone who hurts my little sister.

I think we share some things in common. I hear you have a special needs infant. From this point forward, your life will never be what you pictured. You will have many questions. You will never get the answers you want to some of those questions. You will be angry. You will wish things were different. You will watch your other children accomplish goals in life, and be sad that maybe this child will never have those same experiences.

You will need to lean on God for strength, because you will not have enough on your own power. Your faith will be tested, and you may be angry with God. That is ok. You can get through this.

Your child needs you to advocate for him. Every day. Every where. No one will ever love him like you will. He needs you.

Our country does not need you to be our vice-president. And just between you, me and the newswire fencepost, I think your theology and basic life philosophy is a little mixed up. I'm stepping out on a limb here, but I don't think the Iraq war is a task from God. Call me crazy and all, but I think maybe Mr. Bush might have pulled the wool over your eyes.

Please go home. Stay there. Take care of your baby. Come out when your brain unfreezes from the Great Alaskan Frigid Air. I think maybe we could be friends then.

Thank you.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Conveniences, Lavatories, and Matrimonial Bliss

I suppose in a 3rd World country, a real mattress is considered a Modern Convenience, but in these parts, it's a necessity.

When our boys were little, we never took them camping until they were about 6. While I am sure we had opportunity to do so, for some reason, we just never did.

It was a logical, if subliminally induced, choice. A choice which we abandoned this past week, in an apparent attempt to prove we could successfully combine teenagers, infants, toddlers, rain, sandy blankets, the desire to escape hammers and dust, Smores, and restrooms with questionable cleaning routines. Throw in the fact that one of the friends that one of the children invited MEANT it when he said he didn't like camping, along with a healthy dose of Baby Who Slept All Day And Played All Night and just for good measure toss in the obligatory Teenage Girl Campers Who Think Your Sons Are Hot and you've got a prescription for what amounts to a possible mutiny of gargantuan proportions! A self-mutiny!

I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE to camp. We look forward each year to our camping trips, and over the past decade, we've managed to fine tune our techniques to the point of it being something we could see ourselves doing for an entire summer in the future. Never let it be said, however, that camping is a luxury trip. It is work. When you have a 2 year old who doesn't sit still or shut his mouth, and when you have a baby who still isn't sleeping longer than five or six hours at night, it isn't work.

It's insanity!

After 5 nights, this woman's back had just plain had enough of an under-inflated air mattress and when Tom looked sympathetically at me on Friday morning and said "You just wanna go home, don't you?" I didn't bother to be demure, coy, or understanding.


("YES!!" she groaned in a very un-When Harry Met Sally way.)


It was a bittersweet moment for me, as I do really enjoy camping. The negativity I speak with concerning this particular trip is stated with a disclaimer: I did have a fun time being with my family. But our lives have been a wee bit screwy over the past week, due to the bathroom project, trying to arrange for Gabe's care, maintaining our cleaning business, and oh, I forgot to mention - the camping excursion started out with a bang before we left our street. Tom's car decided to be un-cooperative, so after spending hours getting the poor little horse loaded down with supplies, it rebelled by pretending to have inhaled twenty cartons of Marlboros. We promptly had to ditch our organizational skills and repack the bare necessities into one vehicle and make two trips to transport 10 people.

Our 2 year old had a great time, and we had many opportunities to observe his highly imaginative mind at work in his new surroundings, which is always a riot, so I am happy that we didn't cancel our trip completely without trying the experiment. But future camping trips will be for persons of a certain age - we're thinking six still sounds like a good solid figure, for some reason.

Now about the bathroom - the construction is finished, the contractors are gone and they even took the majority of their dust with them. We have a spacious handicap-accessible bathroom. There are still some minor adjustments to be completed, and then we can paint and call it a done deal. I'm pleased that our laundry facilities will soon be located where I don't have to scan for bats prior to starting the day's chores.

This past Saturday, Tom and I celebrated our 17th wedding anniversary. Being as how (what a strange phrase!) we were supposed to be camping with our children, we had not made arrangements to be able to spend time together without kids or have a date, so our kids got to participate in our dinner and a movie.

Only it was dinner from my childhood


one of my favorite places to go when I was growing up.

I need to snag some photos from my mother's stash, because I bet she's got some pictures of me pretty similar to this one! Minus the braces, of course.

We didn't realize until we drove into the park that there was a Labor Day festival happening, so the fireworks show was a cool surprise. This is the third time this summer that D. has been able to watch fireworks, and it is so funny to watch him and the expressions he gets on his face. Alas, once again, I have myriad photos of those expressions, but I'm not allowed to let ya see them at this point.

I've been so swamped I haven't even had time to rant about church signs, politics, or foster parenting issues! Whew!

So there you have it ladies and gentlemen - that's how my last week went. Love, Dirt, and the Whole Shebang.

Happy Trails to you - dust trails, that is.