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Two mornings ago, Turtle woke up and declared that there was a goat in his room (except he pronounces it “goak”.  I thought he was dreaming, and brought him into bed with us.

Well, he woke up more fully and told me he was going to go visit his goat.  I thought he was still dreaming.  I followed him into his room, where he pulled up next to a firm pillow covered in a blue flannel pillowcase on the glider.  “Goak!” He declared, firmly.  “Mama, goak!”

He then petted the goak, gave it hugs, and found his water bottle so the goak could have some water, holding the camelback straw close to where he assumes the mouth of the pillow/goak is.  He talked to the goak, telling it all about the cars outside, and hugged it some more.

He even had me believing in Goak.

The second day, Mr. Goak was even the one thing he prayed about.  “Lord, thank you for the goak and the ceiling fan.  Amen.”  (To be fair, a few nights ago he was thankful for “grandma, grandpa, amen.”  Simple prayers.)

He did this for two days.  Tonight, I asked him if he’d say goodnight to the goak, and he did – offered some water, some imaginary food from his hand, gave Goak a big hug.

I keep waiting for Goak to become a pillow again.  Until then, I find this absolutely adorable.

There are many giveaways right now, and all of you should consider entering them.

First, for a shiny new Dyson.  I do not have to tell you how excited about this thing I am, because I am the world’s most enthusiastic, unrequited champion of the Dyson vacuum.  You most certainly want one, too.  You can win one from Jill at Baby Rabies (www.babyrabies.com).

Second, for shiny new HP TouchSmart computers.  There are two places you can enter to win one of these:

Totally Together Reviews:  http://totallytogetherreviews.blogspot.com/

MckGiveaways:  http://mckgiveaways.blogspot.com/

So…go enter!!  And win!

(sorry I never update this any more…things have been busy, and I’ve been otherwise occupied!)

How’s that for a title?

So hey! Have you heard?

The President is going to indoctrinate brainwash talk to the many small children of our great nation on Tuesday! During school hours!

That’s right! There will be some minutes spent on such appalling and morally questionable topics like, “staying in school” and “school is great!” and “education is important” and, the worst one of all – “don’t drop out”.

I know, I am horrified, too. To think. The FULLY DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED PRESIDENT of our COUNTRY might OPEN HIS MOUTH and TALK. To OUR KIDS!

I mean, think about the possible consequences:

–They could spontaneously start singing creepily, like the Von Trapp family or small children clad in t-shirts with the word “HOPE” splashed across them

–They could question why Jimmy’s family doesn’t have health insurance, but their family does

–They could want to stay in school until they are 18, rather than drop out and hopefully work in a minimum-wage job

–They could decide that they want to grow up to be the President, too

–They might hear the words “civic responsibility”

–The words Obama uses might become permanently seared into their very impressionable, but-immediately-hardened-upon-hearing-Obama-language, brains. Like, he could say, “It is every American’s responsibility to pay Lots and Lots of money to me, so that I can make sure I make every rich person very poor and every poor person very rich,” children will grow up to believe that there is only One Way to structure taxes, and they will be incapable of analyzing the impact of such questionable public policies, because once they hear it from Obama, there’s no going back.

I’m having trouble coming with any others. Anyone?

Because the fact of the matter is, *none* of that is remotely concerning to me. I mean, according to CNN, Reagan gave a similarly-oriented, but more politically-slanted speech to school kids in 1988, calling taxes “such a penalty on people that there’s no incentive for them to prosper … because they have to give so much to the government.” And frankly, I was 11 in 1988, and I have no doubt (?) that I heard that, and I think that is one of the most idiotic statements I’ve ever heard.

See? It didn’t permanently damage me. It surely wasn’t my parents’ opinion, and yes, there was a time when I completely disagreed with their political opinion: it’s called ADOLESCENCE, and hopefully all children will question their parents’ political (and other) wisdom at some soul-searching point, too, regardless of whether the President talks to them during one school day.

At any rate, my point is that Reagan’s statement was actually a *debatable* one, and *it* didn’t leave any permanent, indelible mark on my brain. Do we really want to debate the merits of staying in school versus dropping out?

Someone on Facebook posted a status response that was something like – “if it was Bush or Cheney, I’m sure you’d be upset, too.”

Well, actually, I’ll tell you what I would do, if it were Bush (or Cheney, if Cheney had ever actually been elected President):

A) I would send my kids to school, anyway, because a) it’s school, b) he is the PRESIDENT, and c) we can discuss how Bush is an idiot (or other, more cerebral policy critiques) later that day, over dinner, and

B) I would pray like heck that Bush didn’t use the word “nuclear”, because man, it WOULD be tough to explain to my child why our President cannot pronounce the word “nuclear”.

Fortunately for us, Obama is a well-educated guy who can, in fact, accurately pronounce all of the words he employs in his speeches. After 8 years of a guy who gave speeches that were really worthy of many a drinking game, I have to say that Obama is both a breath of fresh air and somewhat of a let-down….there are not nearly so many fun rules for drinking when Obama is speaking.

Not that anyone should be drinking during a speech to school kids! Obviously.

I honestly don’t understand the issue.

Moreover, I really do not understand why, in fact, we are so up in arms over this in this country anyway. People are DYING in Afghanistan. People are DYING in America. People are LIVING IN THE STREETS here. We just had dinner with some Australian friends who had moved here from Mozambique – yes, people, MOZAMBIQUE, where people really are dying, and living in dire, dire, dire poverty – and they were *shocked* that they saw homeless people on the streets of America.

They said, “I would expect that in Mozambique, but not in America.”

Who can say, “misplaced outrage”? Anyone? Anyone???

Because here’s the thing:

This country? This very country? The let-freedom-ring country? Was already pretty darn socialist before Obama ever stepped foot in office.

Let me say that again: WE ARE NOT A CAPITALIST COUNTRY.

I’ll give you a few examples, just off the top of my (very tired) head:

Poverty alleviation: In 1986, President Reagan (yes, that President Reagan…the father and stalwart of the conservative cause) expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit. There is, in fact, only one way to receive a bigger tax refund than what was originally owed (ie: profit from taxes), and that is through the EITC. The EITC was designed for families living in poverty, as a way to augment their low wages. It enjoys bipartisan support and has been hailed as one of the most effective anti-poverty interventions in recent history. The Heritage Foundation (a staunchly conservative thinktank) supported the expansion of EITC when Reagan proposed it in 1986.

The EITC is a Robin-Hood-esque intervention: take from the rich [who pay taxes], and give to the poor [who need the help].

Sound like the claims made recently about Obama’s “socialism”, right?

And yet the socialism continues, unabated. In fact, it’s celebrated. On *both* sides of the aisle.

Agriculture: Why do you think we have such a love affair with high-fructose corn syrup? Is it because it is delicious? Is it because it is better than sugar at sweetening carbonated drinks?

Try: it’s cheaper. And also, the government pays people to make corn, so we have a surplus, so….hey, let’s use it to make something that is sort of like sugar! Between 1995 and 2006, the U.S. government paid $56 billion to subsidize the production of corn, depressing prices worldwide and screwing farmers in Africa, who cannot get a reasonable price for corn because the American farmers need to sell it so cheaply, given the flooded market.

So, let’s review: The government decides what crops we need to produce and what we don’t need to produce. The government then PAYS people to produce them. The crops are then in excess, which floods a pseudo-market economy (but for the whole managed-market thing, or the extraordinary barriers to entry, such as tariffs for incoming produce and quotas for subsidized stock) and depresses the price point to the point where no one would want to enter the market, anyway. So we have too much corn.

So we make corn syrup, which goes swimmingly until people start getting obese, and we realize that, perhaps, corn syrup isn’t all that awesome, but by that point, we can’t stop paying people to produce corn, because WHAT would the farmers DO with all this LAND that they’ve been using to produce our nation’s Most Very Valuable corn/wheat/soy?  [*Answer:  Start their own PR campaign, of course.]

(Side note: Time magazine wrote a similar article critiquing the state of the food industry in their August 21st issue. Totally fascinating, if you’re into looking at where our food comes from.)

These subsidies began in 1965, under LBJ, but were expanded in 1970, under Nixon.

Yes, that’s right. Under yet another Republican president.  Renewed multiple times in the last 39 years under both Republican and Democrat administrations.

Have I made my point yet?

We *are* a country guided by some very basic socialist-sounding notions. For the most part, we believe in government control of many, many things. We like the government to fix our roads, fund our police stations, and ensure we are not hit by a nuclear (that’s nu-CLEEEEE-ar) bomb. We rely on the government to protect our crops from foreign germs brought in with travelers, and many of us choose to send our children to schools that are, in fact, funded by government dollars.

Does that mean we have no input on roads, schools, or police activity? No, of course not.

But can you imagine if the government just said, “Nope, sorry! We’re going to allow the FREE MARKET to dictate the condition of your roads now. So if you care enough about your road, you can pay for that pothole to be fixed*. If you’re out on a remote country road, I guess it’s up to you, Joe Shmoe who lives down that country road, to fix it. If you want it/”need” it badly enough, you’ll find a way to pay for it.”

Of COURSE not. THAT would be ridiculous. I think it is safe to say that all of us believe in the value of the non-potholed-road. That it is a necessity, not a luxury.

*Note: if you live in a desert, you will not understand the importance of the pot-hole-fixing component of road repair (maybe?) In places with crazy temperature fluctuations, the concrete in the road cracks, resulting in big, car-eating potholes.

But it turns out, that is *exactly* what we seem to believe about healthcare. And we seem to have this crazy fear that we are in the process of making a left-hand turn off of Conservative Court, careening down Socialism Street, when we’ve been cruising down Socialism Street for the last 80 years like it’s a lazy Sunday drive.

I mean, really. *I* don’t drive down Joe Schmoe’s rural road EVER. I live in a large, bustling, urban area. But I’m perfectly happy with the fact that my tax dollars go to pay for his road’s maintenance. I don’t have kids yet, either, and I’m fine with the fact that my property taxes fund our public school system.

Likewise, I am perfectly okay with the concept that my tax dollars will go to fund health insurance access for others who are not as fortunate as us. (As a side note, just to let you all know, you are ALL subsidizing DB’s and my health care. Thank you. We totally appreciate it and we are beyond grateful, and also? We love our government-run health care.)

All I am saying is this: If Obama wants to tell the kids of this country that he thinks they should work hard and stay in school, I think that’s awesome. I think that message is awesome coming from anyone, but I think it is particularly valuable coming from someone who really *did* work hard, really *did* achieve a lot, and really *didn’t* have a ton of privileges – white, financial, social, or otherwise – thrown his way.

And if he says something as political as Reagan said, like something about taxes, so help him, God. Then people can rise up in fury and pray fervently that their children did not hear something so blasphemous as, “every family should have access to health care.”

There are so many more important things to fight about. Let’s pick something else. This speech is a non-issue, and I am kind of embarrassed that it is *this* type of thing, and not something *actually* important, that gets Americans all riled up.

I guess it’s been a while since I’ve written here.

I don’t have a lot of words these days.

I’m studying for the MCAT, now, since I did well enough in bio and physics to justify continuing on this quest.  I have a lot of studying to do.  It seems that my head *still* resembles a sieve, and whatever physics I learned a few short months ago has left my brain.

Argh.

We are in the process of ditching cable and setting up DVR in another way, using either TiVo or a computer-based DVR and HD-TV over the air.  I realize many people do this already, and we are late to the game, and I also realize that many people think we’re insane for doing this.  It’s been quite a bone of contention between DB and I how to proceed, for reasons I don’t entirely understand…anyway, has anyone done this?  The ditching cable, setting-up-some-other-DVR-thing-using-an-antenna, I mean?  Any thoughts or suggestions?

Otherwise, life is in a weird, sort of apathetic holding pattern.  In rare form, I have almost nothing to say.

How are you all doing?

I just found out that my body is clear of hCG (pregnancy hormone) – finally, or already, depending on how you look at it.  It took 10 weeks from the D&C.

This is Very Exciting News, because it means my body was able to expel the trophoblastic material (what was part of the placenta) on its own.  There are molar pregnancies in which this does not happen, and those women need to have chemo.

After this point, for anyone who is curious, I need two more weekly tests that are negative, 3 more monthly tests, and then we are free to try to conceive, if we decide to do that.

Thanks for your prayers – this has not been a fun process at. all.

P.S.  I will publish the update to the toddler/3-year old post soon.  In the middle of finals now…but I haven’t forgotten.

Cheers!

I have a lot to say about 2009 H1N1 virus. I call it “pig flu”.  Because I’m funny really original like that.  Hee hee.

However, I thought the best thing would just be to post this link.  Go ahead, click it:

Do I Have Swine Flu?

That way, you can decide whether to go to work/take an airplane/sit in class/stay in a home-cave with a mask for emergency grocery store trips.

In all honesty, I do hope and pray that this flu is not a repeat of 1918.  In my (fairly worthless) opinion, I do believe it is a bit overblown at this point, and I hope I am right.  I *do* think that, should it spread to high-density areas of the world that are completely ill-equipped to deal with a virus, it might be devastating.  But so far, given the slow spread of cases (and the very low death rate – 0% in this country, discounting the toddler in Texas who died after being brought to Brownsville from Mexico), I am dubious.

I feel very terrible for the pig farmers in Egypt.  I think that is one of the most tragic stories of this flu.  What a senseless loss.

OK, very quickly –

is it me, or is this phrase being thrown around a WHOLE LOT these days?!?

I am mildly obsessed with the Craigslist killer story.  I will admit: I rarely get super obsessed with a news story, but when I do, man, I. AM. OBSESSED.

And the latest news from the CK is that the guy was in “serious debt” (Anderson Cooper, CNN) with “$130K” in student loan debt.

Which is why he stole $800 from a prostitute?  (Or three?)

Um, the math really doesn’t add up.

A)  All psychology aside (and all psychology would suggest that the guy stole money in order to have some power and control and exercise dominion over these women), um, $800?  Is not going to get him very far on that debt.  Really?  It isn’t going to do anything other than terrorize a woman and MAYBE get him some playing time at the casino.

B)  $130K is a lot of money, yes, but it isn’t RARE, is it?

We have…well, we have a lot of student loan debt.  A LOT.  So much so that $130K doesn’t really make me blink.  Almost all of our friends have debt loads in that category (between 70 – 150K…+).  I’m not saying that is a great thing, but it is the reality of higher education….isn’t it?  Tuition is roughly $50K/year for many graduate programs and private undergraduate institutions.  DB and I have three graduate degrees between us.  We have gotten some financial aid, but…

Let’s just say that $130K isn’t out of line, and it is the nonstory here.   And I wouldn’t call it “serious debt”, no matter how much it resembles a mortgage in the midwest.

The other day, when Obama was announcing his plan for restructuring the student loan program, CNN decided to put on a student who was “buried” under student loan debt (to give her personal experience, I guess).

Her debt load?

$15,000.

I mean, seriously?  Is CNN completely in denial about the reality of student loans today?!?

(Because I would be freaking REJOICING if our – or even MY PERSONAL – student debt load was $15K.)

(Just saying.)

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Yes, I am on vacation and blogging about this.  It takes 4 minutes and I just discovered (or rediscovered) that I am *still* competitive, even for things that I am ONLY PERIPHERALLY RELATED TO (!!).

DB’s friend from law school – or at least, that’s where he knows her from; the details are kind of sketchy to me but only because I haven’t paid much attention – OK, the POINT – she is getting married.  In San Francisco.  In October.

Anyway, SF weddings are expensive, and I guess she entered this contest to win a free wedding for April, and she was kicking butt, but NOW she is SLIPPING.

So here is what you need to do:

Click here:

http://www.star1013fm.com/pages/wiawvoting.html?feed=335890&article=5185658

And vote for “”.

I think there was some early fraud in the contest (this has been going on for a WEEK, and people, I have VOTED EVERY DAY for the last WEEK!  Because I am a TOTAL LOSER!) and now you need to put in an email address and then verify your vote.  After voting all week, I can guarantee that you will not receive any junk mail whatsoever from this.

And the background – their wedding is reserved for two weeks after I was due.  It is really hard for me to still think about the “what ifs” – I’ve had some difficult days on this trip watching little kids and whatever.  She is a very close friend of DB’s and we really cannot AVOID this wedding, but if she gets married through this radio thing, the wedding will be in a week (hence the contest – this sounds like hell to me, but she is very excited) and she will hold a party in OUR city in October instead.

So it saves her a ton of money, it saves US a ton of money, and, um, it would make me feel like I sorta won something.  Kinda.

I am a total dork.

So, vote!!  Please?  Vote!

P.S.  Vacation – we have done what we planned to do 🙂  although it was adjusted to account for vertigo.  Oh, vertigo, how you suck.  Thankfully the vertigo is almost gone (as of yesterday) and we drove out to the Grand Canyon (yes, insanity) and managed to actually hike some of it.  A small hike.  There are ledges that seem to be kind of dangerous if you, um, get dizzy, and I can trigger the vertigo just by looking down.

I’ll leave you to imagine the funniness (?) that might ensue on a rocky trail.

We leave to drive back to LA today.

We are going through hell at the moment.  Almost all of the posts from here until later will be password-protected.
If you would like the password, please ask.  I am not stingy about giving it out.

Eventually, I will unprotect these, because I think it will probably help someone.  Eventually.  I do believe that, because I’ve spent hours scouring the web and have found nothing.

But right now, I am relying on the PW.

If I have no idea who you are, you will need to explain how you found this, etc…

Thanks.

I realized after last night that perhaps I need to screen a little bit more of what I write.  If you have misplaced the password or need it, email me or leave a comment here.

Someday I will write a whole PAGE that says this, but for now, I will keep on writing these short posts.

Thank you for all of your support, again.  It means the world to us.

No one told me what an addictive, addictive website that Etsy is.

Holy cow.

There are even things to decorate the lame little closet that will be Little Sqirmy’s room.

SUCH. CUTE. THINGS.

And because I am very in love with gender-neutral things, I can procrastinate SO EFFECTIVELY now.

where “nuclear” is restored to “nu-clear”, not “nuke-you-lar”!

Hallelujah!

(It does ruin the event as a drinking game, however.)

FYI

This blog represents my personal views of a wide variety of topics. Aside from my connection through marriage, I am absolutely in no way affiliated with, informed by, or directed by the FBI, and, as such, the FBI bears no responsibility or affiliation with this blog.

Because I am not affiliated with the FBI, all information in this blog is second-hand information, and is therefore subject to inaccuracies. (Of course, I would never publish something that I believed to be a lie; however, there is always a chance that I will inadvertently misrepresent something.)

Finally, despite what you might expect given my husband's occupation, I am what most people would call a "(flaming, or insert other word) liberal". I gleefully mock the policies and practices of the USG that I consider worthy of mocking. In doing so, I am exercising a fundamental Constitutional freedom. Of course, you are always welcome to disagree (and exercise your Constitutional rights).

I welcome comments and emails.

Thanks!

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