Thursday, February 28, 2008

No Complaints Here

I haven’t been the best blogger lately. I’ve done a lot of complaining. Complaints about being sick, complaints about being old, complaints about this everlasting winter, complaints about work. I’ve been such a downer!

But not today, readers! I am cheerful (and maybe a bit manic) today.

Why? Well, pull up a chair and let me tell you:
  • Last night I was driving Bumblebee to her religion class when I realized that it was still very light out at 6 p.m. Then, this morning, as I was driving into work at 6:50, it was also light out. Do you know what this means? Seriously, do you know what this means??? It means that the days are getting longer and with longer days comes warmth. The warmth may not be here yet, but it can’t be far off.
  • Another good mood inducer this morning was the fact that I took a deep breath and it didn’t cause me to cough for 10 minutes. I do NOT have a headache. I do NOT have a sore throat. Mr. Nastass appears to have left the building. Good riddance. Bumblebee is much better too, thank goodness. It took her a few days to adjust to a full day schedule without a long nap, but she’s happy and healthy now too.
  • Tomorrow night we are taking the kids to a water park hotel and spending the night and much of Saturday splashing in the water and having lots of fun. The great thing about indoor water parks is that it’s always 80 degrees and summer-like. I can’t wait. I’m going to forget about my pasty white legs poking out of the bottom of my bathing suit. I’m also going to forget the fact that the pasty white legs are also, um, wobbly. Because the kids won’t care.
  • I’ve lost 3 pounds! Being sick helped, but I’m also trying to watch what I eat too. Hopefully I can lose another 7 minimum (12 would be great!) by the time I have to wear warm weather clothes.
  • And, finally, I had a lovely birthday:
The Husband got me a giant and obnoxious (but very cool and exactly what I wanted) gas grill. He spent most of the night Saturday assembling it. I am a bit concerned about the left over pieces, but it does seem to be operating properly. I fired that baby up on Sunday afternoon and made brats and grilled veggies. YUM.

The kids made me some amazing birthday cards. Hollywood’s card pointed out that I’ll always be younger than The Husband. Hee. The Boy’s card said I’m the best mom that ever was. Doesn’t get any better than that! Bumblebee made me about twelve pictures of birthday cakes, and they were all very creative.

The older kids were home for a snow day, so they spent a good part of that day cleaning up the house. It was so tidy when I got home from work! Hollywood said she was going to make me snickerdoodles, but she couldn’t find any shortening in the house, so she cleaned up my bedroom instead. Anyone who knows what my bedroom looks like can understand that this is an AWESOME birthday present. It had to have taken her a few hours to clean. And luckily, a clean bedroom will not give me a larger ass. So I’m glad we were out of shortening, because Hollywood’s snickerdoodles are to die for.

I have such a great family – I got lots of phone calls and my Dad and his wife called and sang happy birthday to me. It made me smile. My grandma sent me a homemade card that has a photo on the front of it from some Christmas circa 1978. It had me standing in front of a tree with a large doll, my brother E was to my right and my brother S was on a rocking horse to my left. Very cute picture, and she did a great job making the card for me.

Aren’t birthdays great? The Husband doesn’t understand why I always make a big deal out of my birthday. I guess I always have been excited about that day. Growing up in a large family, birthdays were a way to get individual attention and to feel singled out and special. Nothing wrong with that!

Today it’s mom in scrubs’ turn to become a 35 year old. Happy Birthday, G!! I used to relish the fact that I was 2 days older than you. I got my license earlier, after all. But, I got all sorts of other things earlier too. Gray hair, for one. But I blame that on the fact that my dark hair actually shows gray while your blondeness disguises gray hairs as shimmery highlights. Yeah, that’s it. Anyway, hope today is great!

I could write more, but I have to get some work done. I’m still pretty buried from being out of the office last week. Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mr. Nastyass

It has not beaten me. I will not let it win. I swear to all that is good and holy that it will not defeat me. After reading that sentence, I'm worried that it might have turned me into my mother. Egad. Oh no! There it goes again – that’s totally ‘mom’ talk! Somebody stop it, FFS! There. That lovely obscenity disguised as an acronym is all me. Good. I feel better.

Not that turning into my mother would be a bad thing. Really. I’m just all about individuality.

This craptastic flu bug has still got a grip on me. Point for me: I have no fever. Point for the nastyassflu: I still have a cough. Point for me: the headache that I keep waking up with is no longer begging me to drive an ice pick into my temple. Point for nastyassflu: (Wait. I just realized that the term ‘nastyass’ might infer that it was an intestinal bug. Not so.) My throat hurts very much when I swallow until Advil kicks in. Point for me: I can go all day without a nap again. Point for nastyassflu: I keep hawking up these nasty gelatinous nuggets. I started coughing at the baby sitter's house this morning and ended up with a surprise mouthful of this stuff. I wasn’t about to swallow it, so I delicately spat on the ground. That’s when I noticed that my baby sitter’s neighbor was getting something out of her car and she witnessed my ladylike behavior. Neat.

I still think I’m winning this battle. Soon, Mr. Nastyassflu will be nothing but a memory – and the residue left on the shopping cart I used at Target last night. An unseen gift for the next poor soul who uses that cart. Until then, I’m tired, blechy, have no motivation, and am grouchy.

Don’t even get me started on the weather.

Somebody has a birthday today. I’m not saying who. She’s old, though. Bumblebee guessed that she was 45. Which is an overshot by 10 years. No need to hurry up this aging thing.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I am Not Dead

I am not dead.

Pinches arm. Ouch. Still have feeling in my skin. That’s good.

I am still not particularly lively, but I’m not dead. And this is good.

Today is day five of a fever, and I honestly don’t think I have ever had a fever for five straight days. I’ve been the whiniest, most pitiful ball of useless crud for the past week. My poor family. The only one who hasn’t suffered from my inutile blobness is Bumblebee because she’s been in the sickness trenches with me. In fact, she’s hacking up a lung while she’s leaning on my lap as I type this. Poor kid. Poor me. It’s kind of distracting. And I hope she doesn’t get sputum on my laptop screen. (ew. sputum is a vile word, but it has rather an onomatopoeic quality, doesn’t it?)

The older kids and The Husband have been doing an awesome job of keeping the house going while I’ve been indisposed. Which is proof positive that they would survive if I got hit by a bus someday.

From that morbid thought to another... Yesterday, as I lay in my bed, drenching through the third or fourth outfit of the day (this sweating is horrible!) I started to think about how abjectly horrible it must have been to be living in the times of plague and pestilence when you started seeing the symptoms of the incurable illness in your children, and then maybe in yourself. Can you imagine how it would have been to lay there with your sick brood and pray that you die before them, but only by a few minutes, and while they’re sleeping, so that they don’t suffer? I just can’t imagine going through this, knowing that it would likely end in death for most of your family. How awful must that have been for those people?

This is how my mind wanders while I’m under the weather. Not so pleasant, eh?

Mom in Scrubs and Debbielou, I saw the awards you bestowed upon me and am honored. I will do a write-up on them at some point in the near future.

Monday, February 18, 2008


See this picture? It’s a photo of Karma biting my larger-than-it-should-be ass.

Remember last Monday when I took a ‘mental health day?’ Well. This weekend, I got hit by the influenza truck. And so did Bumblebee. And let me tell you, it sucks. We spent all day yesterday and today in bed. Bumblebee said it best when she told me that her brain hurts. It does. This nasty bug brings a deep and painful cough, sore throat, runny nose, and the MOTHER of all headaches.

This afternoon, we went to the doctor, who very nicely told us that it sucks, but there’s not a damn thing that she can give us to make it go away faster. But did you know that chicken soup has been proven to be a better cough suppressant than actual cough medicine in children? Who knew?

So I mumbled that maybe we should have gotten our flu shots this year, and she said, “Oh, well, this year’s shots are only covering about 40% of the influenza cases, so it may not have helped you.” Which is exactly why I don’t do flu shots.

The Boy seems to be doing much better, but he was diagnosed (by a different doctor) with a sinus infection and an ear infection. So he got to have some antibiotics. His cough is still sticking around, but the fever's gone. I totally understand why you can't give antibiotics for viral infections, but man. The placebo effect alone would help me out with this one, I just know it.

Hollywood swears that she won't get what we have because she 'never gets sick.' And that's mostly true - she's a very healthy kid. I hope she and The Husband are spared this nasty bug.

My brain hurts too. So I’m off to take my seventh nap of the day.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weird Mail

I got the weirdest letter in the mail this week. It was hand addressed to me by someone named Izzy who lives in Sioux City. (Hey, that rhymes. And it's kind of fun to say out loud a few times: Izzy from Sioux City, Izzy from Sioux City, Izzy from... well, you get the point. Fun, isn't it?) I don't know anyone in Sioux City, least of all an Izzy. Izzy reminds me of a lizard. Mom in scrubs, was your lizard named Izzy? Or was it Squeak? My memory sucks. Anyway, here's a photo of the inside of the card. The outside was blank. It reads: "Congratulations. On Sept. 25, 2003 one of the happiest days of your life, your home was paid for."

So I blanked out Izzy's last name, and his full phone number. Not sure why I'm protecting the privacy of some dude who randomly sends congratulatory cards to people who pay off their mortgages. But it seems the prudent thing to do. And you know me - I'm all about prudence.

Um, funny thing, though... My home isn't "paid for." We still owe the bank mucho dinero on our palatial abode. (side note: why in the HELL is the word palatial spelled with a 't' instead of a 'c'??? The root of the damn word uses the 'c', so it makes no sense to throw a 't' in there when a 'c' can also make the 'sh' sound when preceding an 'i'. Gah. Rant over.)

On "one of the best days of my life" mentioned in the photo above, we sold our old house. While it was a good day, because it meant we didn't have to pay two house payments anymore (we moved into our current house before we sold the old one) it doesn't rank up there as one of the best. Not even top fifty.

So why would this guy send me a random, weird letter, four and a half years later? And why is the word home underlined? I know there has to be meaning behind the emphasis on the word. But I can't figure out what it could mean. It's all very confusing to me. I could research this person. I could call the number on the card. But I think I'll just blog about the weirdness of it instead. What an odd piece of mail.

At least it wasn't a bill.

In other news, we're supposed to get a winter storm tonight and tomorrow. Up to 1/2 inch thick ice followed by 5 -8 inches of snow. Bring it on. This is really getting quite boring, the same repetition over and over again. Hello, Springtime? It's me. Could you please come to work before your usual shift begins? I'll pay you overtime.

The Boy was sick the past few days. What a sweetie pie. I came home from work on Thursday night and he looked horrible. His cheeks and ears were flushed, he had glassy eyes... "Oh Buddy, you look like you feel awful!" I said. He started to cry. I felt his head - he was burning up. Said he felt bad all day, but didn't want to go to the nurse because he had basic skills tests that day. My poor, conscientious little man.

I stayed home with him yesterday and took him into the clinic where 2/3 of the residents of Iowa were waiting to see the doctor. After an hour and a half wait, we saw the doc and he diagnosed The Boy with a 'whopper of a sinus infection along with an ear infection.' We gave him his antibiotic and this morning he was a new guy. Much better. Man, I love amoxicillin. I'm glad to see him better - he was in pretty bad shape.

I'm going to leave you with this awesome picture of Bumblebee. She's wearing a reindeer headband, a feather boa, and some sunglasses. Stylin'. We're off to watch What Not To Wear together, which is usually a Friday night ritual, but thanks to the TiVo gods, we can do on a Saturday too. She honestly loves to watch it with me. One day, in an attempt to convince me to let her wear a skirt on a five degree day, she said, "Momma. I don't think Stacey and Clinton would like these jeans." Reason number 4,334 why I love that kid.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My Guy

So The Husband might make me totally crazy some half much of the time, but he sure is easy on the eyes, ain't he?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mental Health Day

**Please, oh please, sign the petition to save Friday Night Lights. See my right sidebar. Even if you don't watch it, it takes five seconds to sign it. I'll love you forever if you do!!**

I took a mental health day yesterday. I admit it, I called in sick when I wasn't really sick. Blamed it on ‘stomach issues’. Which was sort of true, since I had cramps, but they weren't debilitating. 'Stomach issues' is the best excuse ever, because nobody wants to dig into it further… It could be cramps, nausea, or diarrhea. Nobody asks you anything further about it. But if you say you have a sore throat, you come back to work and people are like, "How's your throat?" and if you're a terrible liar like me, you forget that you said you had a sore throat, and you say something brilliant like, "Huh? Whatchootalkinaboutwillis?" People don't ask about 'stomach issues'. They just don't. So that's how I got my mental health day and boy oh boy was I productive. I didn’t even get a nap in!

First, The Husband had to follow me to the body shop. They’re fixing the damages caused by the deer this week. When I got home, I checked email for a few minutes and then slapped my hands away. I took PTO for this, dammit, and I’m not going to work!!! So… I cleaned out my closet. I created piles like they do on Tim Gunn’s show. I created a donate pile, a throw away pile, a mend pile, and a keep pile. I kept way more than they do on that show, but managed to put a lot of my unflattering or outdated clothes into the donate pile. The mend pile includes clothes that need ironing. As a rule, I rarely buy these kinds of clothes because I hate ironing. I mean really, who has the damn time to iron? But I have two really cute blouses (hee, webgal hates that word!) that I could wear to work if they were ironed. So I put them in the mending pile. Because ironing is almost as painful as patching the hole in my black cardigan.

Then, after I cleaned out my closet, I played computer games with Bumblebee. I made her lunch and took her to preschool. Then I went to Menard’s, TJ Maxx, and Target. My checking account doesn’t like when I take mental health days. But I got some cool stuff. I bought The Boy a new Bionicle, ‘just because’ and got Bumblebee a new Littlest Pet Shop toy. I couldn’t find anything small for Hollywood, but I just bought her new guitar strings (those things are pricey!!) so I felt ok with the preferential treatment of the young’ns.

I came home and replaced the front door’s horrible door handle that has been giving us fits since we moved in. The Husband seemed impressed by this, but it was really a very easy installation. All it required was a screwdriver and the patience to find the English version of the instructions in between the Spanish and French text of the manual.

Then, I wrote letters on each of the new laundry basket’s I’d purchased. W for whites, L for light colors, D for dark colors, and T for towels. I lined them up neatly in the laundry room and then organized the area. I hung up a bunch of little hooks on the wall so that The Husband’s baseball caps can be neatly hung on the wall instead of tossed here and there.

Then I ran three miles. Well, I did have to stop to walk in the middle. Because I’m out of shape. But I mostly ran three miles. And it felt great.

I made dinner for the fam, and took Hollywood to her guitar lesson. It’s the first lesson in about a year. (We had to stop due to her crazy schedule. The schedule hasn’t calmed down any, she just incessantly wheedled me until I agreed to find the last half hour of free time in the week and commit ourselves to three months of guitar lessons during that time.) She was very excited. I sat in the car and read my book. So it wasn't so bad!

After we got home, I flopped into bed with Bumblebee at 8:30. I was zonked.

Today I feel almost rejuvenated. I only have one meeting on my calendar - which is amazing – so (after I write this blog entry, of course) I’ll actually have time to do real work. And getting caught up should improve my mood as well.

Life’s good. Except for the damn snow we got last night (again! For the bazillionth time this winter) that I had to drive through this morning. Blasted winter. Go away already!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thought-Provoking Thursday

I’m reading a fascinating book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali called Infidel. It’s her autobiography of growing up Muslim, and how as an adult after 9/11, she spoke out about the culture of Islamic clans and how they are taught to hate non-Muslims. She now has a large target on her back and is sought after by many terrorists for her outspoken anti-Islam views. It’s very interesting, and I’m almost to the end of the book. But it brings up some fairly complex questions.

I like to think of myself as an open minded person. When there was initial backlash against the Islamic faith after 9/11, I sided with the liberal camp, thinking that only a few of these people must be crazy. I thought that just like we have our own extreme ‘Christian’ freakazoids, they have theirs, and we must not condemn an entire religion – a third of the world’s population no less. I’ve met a few Muslims, though I’ll admit, they’re hard to find here in rural Iowa. After 9/11, I had some very interesting conversations with my friend from Bosnia who loosely follows Islam. She clearly doesn’t hate Westerners. She and her husband came to the US, immediately learned English, got their degrees, and made quite a life for themselves. I (maybe naively) thought that she was like most Muslims. I still want to believe that.

But Hirsi Ali’s book contends that it’s not just a small portion of Muslims who are radical and want to convert the world to their faith or get rid of the non-believers. Her view is that this hatred of the Jews and Christians is taught in the Quran and is as fundamental as their oppression of women (which is a whole other post, but I won't go there). I don’t want to believe this, but I have to admit, she was exposed to this her entire life, and she writes very convincingly about it.

So how do I bridge the gap between what I still want very much to believe and what I read in this book? What is the answer here? Do any of you have any experiences or opinions on this to share?

Lent update: I survived my first day without chocolate. One day down, 39 more to go. Are there really 40 days in Lent? I've never counted...

Get moving update: I also did Tae-Bo with the kids last night and ran afterwards. So my Get Moving campaign is revived.

Winter in Iowa sucks update: We got 9 inches of snow Tuesday night and a snow day for the kids yesterday. Working from home with three cooped up kids is not as much fun as it sounds.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lent Me an Ear

I've never been a big fan of Lent. My family was pretty strict about the fasting rules. I remember one Friday during Lent when I was about 13, I won a cake at the Fun Night cake walk, but wasn't allowed to eat it since back then, we didn't eat between meals on Fridays during Lent. I had a friend spend the night and we sneaked it down to my basement bedroom and scarfed it down in secret.

I'm still a practicing Catholic, but I have always questioned the no meat on Fridays during lent thing (it's just so random!), and the giving up of something you like. I understand the sacrifice concept, but to me, having fish, shrimp, or tuna for dinner instead of hamburger isn't a sacrifice at all.

Usually I fail miserably at the no meat on Fridays thing. My kids will remind me halfway through making a chicken dinner that we 'can't' have it because it's Friday. Oops. Last year I did marginally better than in years past. This year, I intend to be a successful Lenten Catholic.

Not necessarily because I believe God wants me to eat fish on Fridays, but because I want to prove to myself that I can actually abstain from something for a set amount of time. And since The Boy and Hollywood are giving something up for their religion class, I feel like I should set a good example. I've been having food issues this winter, so I need to test out my will power, which is why I chose to give up something that I adore, instead of exercise or baked beans. So, maybe it's not for all the 'right' reasons, but I'm actually focusing on the part of Lent that I've ignored in year's past. I'm giving up something that is near and dear to my heart.

And that 'something' is....


I know! I'm crazy! I'm going to give up chocolate during the earliest Lenten season in a bazillion years, when Valentine's Day is right smack in the middle of Lent. So no chocolate truffles, no chocolate cake, no brownies, no chocolate chip cookies, no mochas, nothing. I'm giving it up.

Starting today.

Wish me luck.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Middle Name Meme

Who else thinks of Rent when they read the word 'Meme'? I do!

Debbielou at One Day Closer Until… tagged me with a Middle Name Meme. Since I have always disliked my middle name (I actually don’t mind the name itself, but the three syllables of ‘Melanie’ added to the three syllables of my first name, along with the alliteration, just seems like a mouthful...) I decided that I’d turn the meme around and make it about things that I’m not instead of things that I am. However, here’s the fascinating twist… All but one of these things is a lie. Can you guess which one is an actual fact about me right now at this very moment in time?

M – Meticulous
E – Exhausted
L – Left-handed
A – Atheist
N – Naked
I – Illegitimate
E – Even-tempered

I'm supposed to tag some people, but I'm too lazy. Do the meme if you'd like and I'll link to you afterwards.

Meandering Monday and My Political Identity Crisis

If you're in the mood, take a walk through my meandering thoughts this frozen Monday morning...

First of all, what a Super Bowl last night!! That was amazing – the first time I can remember (excluding the Packers Super Bowls, of course) when the game overshadowed the commercials. That amazing play by Eli Manning where he houdinied his way out of the grip of five or six defensive players to lob the ball up and have it caught one handed against his helmet by David Tyree. Wow. Good football. And who doesn't love to cheer for the underdog?? The commercials were flat this year, I thought. If I had to choose, I’d say I liked either the Doritos giant mouse commercial or the Pepsi “What is Love” commercial.

This was a busy weekend for us. Friday was a crazy, meeting filled work day. I ducked out early to take my car in for an estimate on the deer damage. $1500 – so of course I had to deal with the insurance folks as well. Fun. By the time Friday night rolled around, I was exhausted, so I parked my badonkadonk on the couch in front of the fireplace and pretended to read a book while I snoozed. It was great.

Saturday, after hearing that the dumb old groundhog saw his shadow (the bastard!), we went to The Boy’s Pinewood Derby for Cub Scouts. The Pinewood Derby is where cub scouts make a car out of a block of pine and they spend what seems like forever racing everyone in the Pack. Each year, the Boy and The Husband have such a good time together making the car. It’s fun to watch them work on it, and I know The Boy will have great memories of this time spent with his dad. Last year, The Boy got fourth in the Pack. So his goal was to do even better this year. There were a lot more kids to compete against on Saturday because the pack exploded with little kids this year. He ended getting fourth overall again, and was kind of bummed about it. But later on, he must have had an epiphany, because he excitedly said to me, “Mom! I actually did better than last year because I got fourth out of a lot more people!” That kid has such a great attitude.

Sunday after church we went to my brother’s house. Hollywood is trying to earn money. She’s got no spending cash and still owes me for the giant cell phone bill last month. So my brother called her and offered her $40 to do ‘some chores’ around his house. I drove the kids over there and The Boy played Guitar Hero while Hollywood earned that $40 the hard way. She cleaned up dog poop out of my brother’s yard. Almost a year’s worth of big german shepherd dog poo. It was frozen, and she had to dig some of it out of the frozen ground. I think that's better than it being all warm and steamy, but still... She had to give $20 of her hard earned money to me (to help pay for the texting charges) and she got to keep the other $20 for herself. Yowza. I wonder if she’ll think about the dog poop the next time she gets the urge to text “OMG. RU 4 Real?" to her friend who is sitting across the bus from her.

Tomorrow is Super Tuesday – the primaries for a huge slew of states. I am so excited for tomorrow, it’s weird. I’m all geeked out, waiting for the political commentary and the real time play by play. I’ll likely have it bouncing between CNN and Fox News, because I like seeing the differences in how they report the political news. I wonder how many other people are like me. Four years ago, I listened with half an ear about the process, but wasn’t glued to the tv and the news articles about it like I am now. This year, though, there’s so much at stake, so many issues that need immediate attention. There was an interesting article on msnbc this morning about how families are split – particularly between Clinton and Obama. You can check out the article here if you’re inclined to do so. The article states the following: “In any election, members of the same families choose competing candidates. But while some primaries hinge on policy differences, this one also turns on the deep, perennial disagreements between parents and children, husbands and wives. Older family members argue with younger ones about experience versus freshness. Men and women question whether they operate on a level playing field. And when husbands and wives discuss the Clinton marriage, they often touch on raw issues within their own.”

It’s true that these kinds of debates can create issues among families. My own family is a good example. My mother-in-law is a very active and involved liberal. Two of her sons (The Husband being one of them) are about as far right as you can get on the political spectrum. Neither side has been shy about voicing their own opinions. We’ve had many heated discussions about politics around our dinner tables. Of course nobody is successful at changing the other’s opinion, but it’s fun to watch the debates. I’ve usually taken a listener role in these discussions, but recently I’ve found myself right in the heat of them. I think my brother-in-law and I went round and round about our difference in foreign policy opinion for at least forty minutes on New Year’s Eve.

My mom and I recently had a discussion on our political identities. Here’s some of what I said to her:

I'm having a bit of an identity crisis these days. I totally oppose some of the positions on both sides, and have certain degrees of agreement on other issues. If it came down to the number of things I opposed, I still fall into the Republican camp. But you have to weight the importance of each issue, so strictly taking the number of issues doesn’t work out very well.

I think things are different in this election because for me, the primary issues to focus on at the moment are the war (or, more generally - our overarching national defense strategy) and the economy, with the war being the most important. I don't think the Republicans have the right idea on either of these two issues, and for now they seem the most pressing. And I think the person who wins the presidency needs to be someone who can perform the best on the job. For me, the question is who can get both sides to work together to make things happen? We need someone with enthusiasm and vigor without the sleazy politician connections. In this case I think Obama's relative lack of political experience is a refreshing advantage. It seems to me that the only candidate out there who has a chance to really bring people together to affect change - based on what I've seen anyway - is Obama. (Sheesh - do I sound like a commercial or what?)

Having said that, the president will also be appointing any open Supreme Court justices, and there is a tremendous amount of power there. You have to assume that they choose people who fall into their party's way of thinking. So it isn't just as easy as focusing on the hot issues of the moment since a president's power reaches out as long as those justices live (or at least until they retire...).

I'm talking myself in circles here...I find it astonishing that some people fall completely to one side or the other - seems like most people would be like us - in the middle. How can you just naturally believe along the party line? And there are some points that I simply can't wrap my brain around - like how can you have respect for the 'sanctity of human life' but be pro death penalty?

I guess I'm what they call a waffler - but I'm ok with that. Waffles are tasty. :)

So what about you all – anyone else having a similar identity crisis?