Monday, August 30, 2004

One Ring to Rule Them All

Well, I took a semi-break from reading the news last week since I was pre-occupied with family stuff but I'm gradually getting the old anger-meter up and running again. I know it's totally old news by now but can I just say to the Swift Boat Vets: GET OVER IT. If you really had that much of a problem with Kerry 30 years ago, you would have said something about it thirty years ago. Are we really at the point now where it's okay to attack war veterans? Or better yet- war veterans attacking other war veterans because they think the other guy DIDN'T BLEED ENOUGH? (Yes, I'm looking at you Bob Dole.) I think our friend Chad stated it nicely this past weekend when he said it didn't matter to him if Kerry went to Vietnam and cried in a ditch because at least he went. On the other hand though, what is up with Kerry just sitting back and taking it? I know he wants to take the high road and blah blah blah with the civilized campaign and all that but isn't it about time he spoke up and got really angry like the rest of us? I may have the man's banner on my site, but make no mistake, I'm definitely fueled more by Bush-Hate than Kerry-Love. Isn't that what really makes up his so-called base? It's going to take enough people getting fed up and all out MAD with the administration to get him out of there- not the mushy undecided soccer moms or NASCAR dads or "Sex and the City" single women voters (don't even get me started on that one). I'm so incredibly excited about the election but completely scared at the same time that I may have to seriously consider moving to New Zealand next year. The thought of four more years of the Bush Dynasty is making that Hobbit Hole look very appealing.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Birthday Weekend a Success: Must. Sleep. Now.

"Mommy will you open this? Mommy can I play with this? How does this toy work? Will you play this game with me? Mommy can I ride my bike? No wait, can I fingerpaint? Oh, I changed my mind- can we look for bugs outside? Or maybe we should draw with my new markers? Oh yeah, I need my new markers opened! And my watercolors and my lip gloss and my new Kelly doll. Can you please help me?? What's wrong with you, Mom???"

God, I love this girl but I am BEAT. Thanks to all who helped make the birthday party a success. I always feel a bit on edge around large groups of people and this was the largest amount of people I'd ever had inside my house (yeah, thanks a lot GOD for all the RAIN), so I apologize now if I didn't get a chance to chat with anyone in particular for very long. Hopefully nobody hates me too much. :-) Even though I'm exhausted I feel incredibly happy and very lucky right now to have the life that I do. Mish mish mush, I know. I don't know what I ever did to deserve the big slice of karmic chocolate cake I've gotten but I'm definitely not taking it for granted.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Where A Kid Can Be A Kid

Note to Rockford: Another reason why I don't like you= your Chuck E. Cheese restaurant is G-H-E-T-T-O. You ain't got nothin' on Streamwood's digs. I don't care how many birthday parties I attended there back in the day- the Rockford joint is a run-down, dirty, overcrowded MESS compared to ours. Of course it probably helped that we went out on a Thursday night rather than the weekend but still I was very impressed by the how clean and shiny the place was- and oh, did I mention that all the games worked??? I had forgotten how much I used to love playing Skee-Ball (and I'm not too shabby at it either.) All in all, a night well spent. Today I've just been preparing for our big par-tay tomorrow. Gonna watch some Bill Maher in a bit and do a little stretching and Pilates. God, I ate an absurd amount of pizza and breadsticks last night.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


I just found out that Jason and I share our wedding anniversary (although five years apart) with the Dooce and her husband. I suddenly feel much cooler than I did five minutes ago.

Happy 7th Anniversary Day!!

Monday, August 23, 2004

"How A Movie Can Move the Voting Public"

More stuff that makes me smile! Just a few of the dozens of emails posted on Michael Moore's website:

�I have been a dedicated Republican for all of my life. Never really depended what they supported. I would vote because they were Republican. I saw �F/911 today.� I was moved beyond words. I had to write and simply say thank you. Because of this movie, this year I will not vote Republican for the first time in my life.� �J.W.

�I have been so positively shaken by your documentary. I haven't felt this inspired since...well...actually...I don't think I have ever been this inspired!

I have seen your movie TWICE in 24 hours. I even brought my 55 year old, Born-Again, Bush LOVING :), Republican-since-the-day-she-was-conceived Mother to the film. She walked in swearing that you were a �Commie� and out to criticize our nations �fine� Christian leader. She walked out a completely different was a an actual miracle. She came out disgusted at all the lies that she has been supporting. She loves human life and will never vote for Bush ever again.

That was the best 25 bucks I have ever spent in my life.� �N.N., Minneapolis, MN

�As a republican I reluctantly went to the movie, with preconceived ideas and expecting to dismiss the movie as left wing drivel. The movie, to my total and utter dismay has convinced me that I cannot with good conscience vote for Bush. Although my personal best interests would be better served with a republican in power, and I have concerns with Kerry's VP choice, I still feel that my vote has to be against Bush. I went to the movie with another hardcore republican and he feels the same way!

Excellent job.

If you do publish this letter, please do so anonymously.� ��Shocked Republican�

�I have to tell you that for the longest time I believed in Bush and what he was doing; I believed we were doing the right thing in Iraq�and I'm married to a Palestinian! Imagine the push and pull that has occurred in my marriage and with my in-laws ever since 9/11.

So my wife went to see your film the day it opened and I chided her; I said, �Why are you putting money in that $#**!'s pocket?� She said she wanted to see for herself. Of course she came back stunned; couldn't say enough about it.

So I went, expecting to get angry, just as I did when I read Stupid White Men�or at least, at sections of it.

Well guess what? I came home and told [D.], �Bush has to go�TODAY. NOW.�

So strongly was I moved and so significant was my paradigm shift (I HATE being lied to, and Bush has lied in the most Machiavellian sense) that when I heard Mike Gallagher (Dallas/FW conservative mouthpiece filling in for Sean Hannity this past Friday, July 2nd) I called and got into it with him. Now, down here in the DFW area anyway, most callers to shows like his either agree with the microphone or they cower under pressure of being on the air. But I'm a professional writer, teacher and theater director, so guys like him don't faze me a bit. So shaken was Gallagher that he began shouting me down, interrupting me, screamed that I was a LIAR because I said that I was a former Bush supporter who no longer has any faith in the man and will NOT vote for him under any circumstances, and, when Mike couldn't get me to buckle, he cut me off in mid-sentence.

I've seen the film twice here in Grapevine (near Fort Worth), and even though this is Bush country, the theater was packed both times, and both times people laughed, cried and broke into spontaneous applause.

I hated your politics at one time, Michael, and I don't always agree with you; but in this case you turned on the light and have sent the rats and roaches scurrying. God bless the First Amendment!� �H.J., Keller, Texas

�Saw Fahrenheit last night.

Thank you.

I registered to vote today.� �T.W.

Friday, August 20, 2004

This Made My Day

Hee Hee.


You'd think since I stay at home with my kids that I'd actually have time to get a lot of things done every day, but it seems like my to-do list is constantly growing and I never get ahead. Of course the fact that I've crashed out on the couch every night this past week starting at 7 to watch gymnastics probably hasn't helped. (Yes, I like gymnastics and I will defend it so don't give me any crap.) Anyway, this is my attempt to organize my brain:

1. Juli's birthday party is next weekend and I still have to figure out when I'm going to go buy her present because she's big enough now where I can't exactly buy something for her and keep it a secret when she comes with me everywhere! Hopefully I get a chance to go out by myself this weekend.

2. I'm still trying to slowly prepare Juli and Maddie's artwork for their upcoming show in October. Jason found a bunch of frames in the basement and I had some plexi glass cut for them the other day. Now I just have to cut the photos and drawings to fit. I think I'm going to shoot photos of the drawings and use them so I don't have to part with Juli's original drawings. This is of course assuming that people will be in fact willing to purchase a three year old's artwork but come on! Why wouldn't you buy a drawing of a princess holding a balloon??

3. We should be shooting the intro for Juliana's birthday video this weekend. The title sequence will involve a time lapse of chalk writing on the driveway.

Ok enough kid stuff, now for me:

4. We've decided to put in hardwood floor in the living room (YAY!), so on Saturday we'll be going back to the lumber liquidators to get some more samples. Bye bye stinky carpet!

5. I've decided my body just doesn't work at 5:30 in the morning. I tried for a couple of days to get up and do yoga but instead of feeling energized I just was tired from getting up too early. I'll have to go back to doing it in the evening. I wish I was one of those people who could get up at the crack of dawn and go running. *Sigh*

6. I need to have a garage sale. Seriously. Even though I regularly donate to the local veterans groups we still have just tons and tons of crap. It seems that whenever we move to a larger home we look at all the extra space and think," This is unacceptable! Must fill with garbage!" Really, spending an entire Saturday sitting in my garage doesn't sound like fun (I'd much rather be out at other people's garage sales but that's probably how I acquired so much junk in the first place) but I have so much baby stuff that I really need to get rid of and I should be able to get a decent amount of money for it. I'll just have to suck it up and do it before it starts getting cold. Is it really almost September?

More later. I am needed elsewhere.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Phooey on Fox, Yay Olympics!

Well, I've calmed down since the other night when I was absolutely seething and speechless with anger. Jason and I finally watched the movie, Outfoxed, and after not having such a great day to begin with, let's just say that this was probably not the movie to watch if you want to kick back and relax. The funny thing is, I wasn't as angry about the facts in the move (since I already knew most of it) as I was about the fact that most of the people in the country that probably need to see this movie either won't have the chance to see it, refuse to see it, or just won't care either way. Bah.

Completely unrelated though: Yahoo for the Olympic Games! Juli and I are looking forward to watching the opening ceremonies tonight and she especially wants to see the 'nastics (her term) and the diving. She basically just likes to see people flip around in the air I think. The past couple of weeks I have been enjoying watching documentaries on ESPN Classic about past Olympic games so I'm all primed and ready. There's something about sitting on your butt while watching people perform amazing athletic feats that makes one feel like kind of a blob though. Maybe if I drink water and do crunches while staring at the television I won't feel so bad? We'll see.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Return of the Poop-Head Crown

steffke crown

This post is for Steph. I am once again stepping up and performing my best friend duties. In the words of G.W.: "Fool me once, shame on---you. Fool me... Can't get fooled again."


Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Tom Waits is releasing a new album in October!! Me=Very Happy. Also, Jason dowloaded the "Future Soundtrack of America" album put out by, which also has a Tom Wait's song on it in which he mentions missing good old Rockford, just south of the Wisconsin border. Whaaa? I am very amused at this nice, yet puzzling, shout out. Although right now I technically posess the MoveOn album illegally, I do intend to purchase a real copy just because I like those guys so darn much.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

I Want I Want I Want (What Else is New?)

I really think movie theatres would clean up if they offered on-site babysitting services so parents could see a flick without having to drive an hour to Rockford where their only babysitters are. (Ok, that example was kind of specific but you get what I mean.) I really really want to see the following movies but I'm afraid I might just have to wait until they come out on dvd, which sucks. Not that I have anything against dvds (evident in my out of control dvd collection), I just miss being able to go out to the movies on a regular basis.

Garden State
We Don't Live Here Anymore
Vanity Fair

I am happy, though, that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind will be coming out on dvd next month. I can't wait! I'm also looking forward to introducing Juliana to the comic genius of Will Ferrell when Elf comes out on dvd in November.

Friday, August 6, 2004

Give Me A Break!!

The above phrase is what my almost-four-year-old daughter chooses to say to me on a daily basis, multiple times a day. A break from WHAT? From pre-school and coloring and kiddie pools and hopscotch and the cartoon network? From library trips and computer games and painting and playing with her baby sister? Yes folks, I am the one who desperately needs a break. I tried to get up at 6 am this morning to do some yoga but even that wasn't early enough to beat my girls to the punch. Ava heard my alarm and promply started shrieking (although adorably so) for attention. Juli has been staying up until 9pm this summer and since I usually pass out at around 10:30 after watching the Daily Show that gives me exactly an hour and a half a day to myself. I really want to try to start a yoga routine in the mornings but it looks like I will have to either get up at 5 in the morning or put my alarm clock under my pillow so she-of-the-ultra-heightened-canine-hearing-sense can't hear it and thwart me again. I still do Pilates every day but yoga takes a certain amount of concentration that cannot be achieved with the sounds of Blue's Clues in the background or "Mommy can I have this/do this/eat this/watch this" every thirty seconds. I also need a vacation. I don't care if it's only for one day. Just twenty-four hours of freedom, peace, and quiet. And margaritas. Or possibly martinis. I don't really care.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

All For My Puddin' Face

Here is one of the reason's why I get so worked up all the time. I would love for my girls to inherit a better world than the one we live in now- rather than the other way around. A world where we can sit and enjoy our Scooby Doo Pudding Packs without any worries.

Well, it's a beautiful day outside today so no more complaining!

Role Reversal

I've been thinking about a number of "What If's" lately. For example:

What if instead of Bush, it was Bill Clinton who led us into war with Iraq based on the false accusation of Saddam Hussein posessing WMD's?

What if Clinton claimed the intelligence failures surrounding 9/11 and Iraq had nothing to do with his administration? What if he blamed his actions on faulty information he received?

What if it was the Clinton family instead of the Bushes that had financial links to the Saudi royal family?

What if Clinton had sat in that Florida classroom for seven minutes with a dazed and confused look on his face after being informed that New York City was untder attack?

What if the Abu Ghraib prison scandal happened under Clinton's watch?

What if Clinton had fought the formation of the 9/11 Commission every step of the way and then refused to testify under oath or have his interview transcribed?

Would the republicans argue on his behalf? Would they say we need to remain strong behind our Commander in Chief? I know that I would not give Clinton a pass on all of these things- just like I don't give one to Bush. I know that on the whole it doesn't do a lot of good to argue "what if" but I wonder if some Bush supporters would be able to see how ludicrous they sound sometimes if they would just swap out the words "President Bush" for "President Clinton".

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 Debuts in Crawford, TX

"After the film, on the field where everyone had gathered, a particularly heated discussion ensued between detractors and supporters of the film. Aside from some finger pointing, raised voices and the occasional insult, everyone was respectful.

Read the whole article here.

This is what I'm talking about. How can you possibly come to an informed decision if you don't open yourself up to all points of view? This is why I grudgingly listen to the likes of Limbaugh, O'Reilly and the like. I wouldn't trust my own judgement if I only fed my brain bowls full of Al-Franken-Berries day in and day out (as funny as that may very well be!) Everyone has a bias but if you willingly deprive yourself of opposing points of view, it only makes you weaker.

Case in point: Rep. David Dreir on Real Time With Bill Maher last Sunday telling Moore that although he hadn't seen the movie, he had seen enough of it on cable news to know it was a basically piece of garbage.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

It's Ernie! (Well, sort of.)

I'm happy to see that my terror alert button below has been updated to reflect the orange level warning in New York and D.C. However, is the warning level change really necessary or is it just a politically motivated ploy to keep the widespread fear in our country running high? I don't know. Will we ever know? Also, will we ever see the day where we're at a mildly-comfortable-yet-still-vigilant Cookie-Monster-blue or almost-sort-of-completely-safe-Oscar-the-Grouch-green level of alert?

Monday, August 2, 2004

Are You Sick of Me Yet?

Ok, one more factoid and I'll be done for now. I was disappointed to hear a while back that Kerry had one of the lowest voting percentages in the Senate. However, I see now that over the past four years he participated in 95-99% of the votes, dropping to 36% in 2003 (obviously the start of the presidential campaign, where Lieberman and Gephardt's numbers also took a dive.) While I don't like how politicians abandon serving the people they represent in order to campaign, I also find the claim that he hardly ever shows up to vote a bit disingenuous. I mean look at Dennis Hastert's consistent turnout rate of a whopping 12%! (Of course, out of that 12% at least he's dedicated enough to agree with the president 100% of the time.) I only wish Kerry had filled out the National Political Awareness Test on the site. I don't like that at all.

Project Vote Smart

I discovered a very useful site today that lists the voting records of all elected officials and is also very easy to nagivate and to understand. Thumbs up to user-friendly government records! The site is

Interesting fact about a representative from my old hometown of Rockford, IL: Apparently Don Manzullo would eliminate all federal funding for the arts. Nice one, Don. Almost makes me wish I lived there again just so I could vote against you. I will, however, experience the pleasure of being able to vote againt Henry Hyde this election. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, my love for Senator Dick Durbin continues to grow and flourish.

Feeding My Brain

Jason is starting his new job today! I'm so excited for him. Plus, I get to reclaim the basement once again after a year of him working from home, which is nice considering my laptop has died so I no longer have a computer to use upstairs. Today I'm going to hopefully do a little bit of work on Juliana's birthday video as well as start on her party invitiations. Also, while she's at pre-school I'm going to do a little research on the Senate voting records of Kerry and Edwards as well as Durbin and Fitzgerald from Illinois. Jason gave me a link to a good site to start this quest. I've been hearing the Republican's talking point all weekend about Kerry's "19 years in the Senate with no major accomplishments" so I'm interested to to a little actual digging about this claim. I find it so hard to believe either party when they make allegations about someone's voting record because the facts about which bills are voted for or against and why become so twisted to fit each party's agenda. I mean, someone could vote against a bill to increase funding to schools becuase of a rider attached that has absolutely nothing to do with the proposed bill. You'll never hear about the real reason they voted against it because they'll be so busy screaming "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?? HOW CAN YOU VOTE AGAINST THE CHILDREN??" You also hardly ever hear about all the bills that are squashed in committee by others who have more power or the legislations that end up being delayed or obstructed by a filibuster. It is for this reason that I am going to make a conscious effort to seek out the details behind all the talking points and statistics that are thrown out at us. I refuse to have my intelligence insulted.

Completely unrelated (also posted on the Gessner Girl's Blog: A picture of Juliana hitting the "Booziata" at Jeff and Kim Linden's home yesterday. Yes, I said Booziata. No, my daughter did not patake of the booze.