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December 31, 2011

Over Here

You can find me here.

Posted by Beth at 06:54 PM
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November 22, 2010

2002 - 2010

Guess it's time to call it done around here. Typing that makes me a little sad. I started this blog 8 years ago. And a long, crazy, life-filled, 8 years it's been.

But, they're right, having a kid changes everything. So, I've moved on to blogging over at 2 Bad Moms with Nerdstar.

I actually put all of this blog into a Word document and am going to start printing it out soon. It's about 1500 pages. Won't be as easy to go through as the archives here, but oh well.

One thing that makes me happy is all the people I still keep up with, even if it's just through FB or their blogs, that were with me from the beginning around here.

I'll probably keep the site running for another year because I just renewed the domain name. But this will be the last update.

Posted by Beth at 02:31 PM
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September 11, 2010

9 Years Later

9/11 was what got me, and so many others into reading and writing blogs. Because I haven't totally shut this site down, guess I'll put up a few thoughts on this 9th anniversary.

I told Nerdstar last night that it'll probably be the 20th anniversary when we can sit with Noah and show him the documentaries I bought and really explain it all to him. My prayer in the weeks after 9/11 were for my nephew and that he'd never go through a day like that. My prayer today is the same for Noah. I know there are bad days in every life, but I'd give anything for him to not go through one like that.

I'm still as moved to tears by thoughts and images of that day as ever. Something in me broke that day, and ever since tears have flowed much, much more easily. I guess I prefer that to the opposite.

Maybe more than anything I'm still angry. I still think You Bastards when I think of 9/11. I'm pissed that we didn't build the towers back, and have the whole project done by now. I don't even care anymore what they're building on that site - it's a damn disgrace how long it's taken.

My past 9/11 anniversary posts:

2003

2004

2006

2007

2008

Funny how they all are pretty much the same.

Posted by Beth at 10:55 AM
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July 17, 2010

Fantasy Cabinet

This became our lunch conversation - who I'd appoint to what cabinet positions. Nerdstar came up with the idea of fantasy cabinet, you know, like fantasy football.

I started off talking about Newt, and how he always plays coy with running for president. As they say, either shit or get off the pot. But even he knows he'd never win. Which led me to say I'd put him in charge of education and give him free reign. Abolish the DOE, find a way to really make schools competitive, and insure school choice.

Then we talked about how no GOP president would take that chance, because of Newt were really successful in overhauling education, then people would wonder what the president had achieved, and then Newt would be better positioned to run for president.

But I'd seriously be willing to risk being one term to see the schools in this country finally be all they can and should be.

Then I said I'd absolutely put Larry Kuldow in at Treasury and let him pick who'd be in charge of the IRS and budget stuff. We'd abolish the IRS, scrap the tax code and go to a true flat tax.

Now, I'm aware that those two moves alone would leave quite a few people unemployed. So I figure, take the total 3 year budgets of DOE and IRS and simply distribute them to all employees based on years of service as a pretty damn good severance. It'd still be cheaper in the long run.

I think I'd put Andy McCarthy in at state, unless he knew of someone who'd be better.

Charles Krauthammer would be special adviser to the WH.

As for DOD, I'm not really sure. But I'd get DOD and State together to hold a fire sale of all our older/unnecessary equipment to newly developing democracies. The proceeds would go straight to cutting the deficit.

I think it'd be cool to have Tammy Bruce as Press Secretary/PR. It'd just be fun.

I asked Nerdstar what her initiative as First Lady would be - she's not sure yet. I'm pretty sure it would involve food - but not in a nanny state way.

As I've learned from O's first 18 months. I'll just do whatever the hell I want, regardless of polls and whatnot, and see where it all ends up.

So, yeah. This is what we talk about over lunch.

Posted by Beth at 06:29 PM
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April 20, 2010

On Being Gay and Christian

Probably the only topic that can piss people off and cause fights more than politics is religion. As they say, fools rush in...

(There's a link over there on the right - religion - that has a lot of my thoughts and personal history on this topic.)

Two articles that have been brought to my attention in the past week are leading to this post.

There are two about Jennifer Knapp, a Christian recording artist who's been off the radar for a few years, recently came out with a new album, and as a lesbian. Article one and two.

This is the quote that most gets to me, it's from Joe Carter, online editor at First Things: "It's one thing for a non-believer to struggle with letting go of their sin in order to embrace Christ. It is quite another for believer to decide that they no longer need to struggle but can have their sin and Christ too."

What is it that makes homosexuality such a different sin from every other? Are we not all sinners saved by grace? Are we all not working out our faith with fear and trembling? It seems that being gay is it's own special type of perpetual sin.

I just don't believe in a hierarchy of sins. If I did I'd probably put judging others at the top. The often accompanying hypocrisy makes it that much worse.

But I can't tell you how many Christian friends I lost when I "gave myself over to being gay." That was all many, many years ago. But some days it still hurts. I've never understood how you can show someone God's love or His ways when you don't speak to them anymore.

The other side of all this seems to be in a new book "Love is an Orientation” by Andrew Marin reviewed here.

Those many years ago when I left church and lost my Christian friends, I knew that I had to get to a place with God that was a blank slate. I had to let go of the hurts and depression and wrong ideas about God and start at a very simple place with Him. Growing up in church as I did, and having the probably extreme religious life I had in college and shortly thereafter, it's impossible for me not to question the whole possibility of being gay keeping me from being closer to God. My only prayer for many years was "I'm still here, and I have no idea what to say." That was it.

Honestly, it's been the existence of Noah Maxx that has truly helped me relax and trust God and his goodness.

Also, through this dude, Kim Clement, I'm learning a lot about God and how He sees people - His most beloved creation, His destiny.

Am I a sinner? Of course. We all are. Will being gay keep me from fulfilling God's destiny in my life? Maybe, maybe not. I think God's bigger than that.

Will the words and actions of the mainstream Christian church lead my any closer to it or God - absolutely not.

Posted by Beth at 01:46 PM
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April 10, 2010

Battle of Ideas

I'm finally getting around to reading Amity Shales' The Forgotten Man. It's a new look at the 20s and the depression era. I read a book many years ago about the 1920s and have often heard them compared to the 1990s, so I guess it doesn't seem too off the mark that 2000-2009 ended a little like the 30s. (No, I don't think the past two or three years even come close to a depression, but I know it's not all roses out there.)

Anyway. As I often find when I read history, humans never really learn from history. The same arguments we're having now on free market vs socialism, progressiveness vs conservatism, ect., are the same ones we were having back in the 20s and 30s.

But here's what frustrates me. Apparently a lot of those in charge these days seem content to ignore the entire history of failure of socialism, communism, and progressiveness. They seem to really think that they're smarter than every other set of people who've tried it and can make it work this time.

Unfortunately, they have a hell of a country's resources to blow through before it all once again fails miserably.

Posted by Beth at 10:26 PM
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The FDA Thinks You're Stupid

I'm pretty sure this hasn't gotten much attention, but it caught mine and I'm in the mood to write about it.

Here's the money quote:

"However, FDA's research has found that with FOP (front of package) labeling, people are less likely to check the Nutrition Facts label on the information panel of foods (usually, the back or side of the package). It is thus essential that both the criteria and symbols used in front-of-package and shelf-labeling systems be nutritionally sound, well-designed to help consumers make informed and healthy food choices, and not be false or misleading."

I know that sounds all well and good. But it's a little paternalistic for my taste. It's not that the nutritional info ins't on the package, they've just decided the information on the front of packages is too hard to understand and/or too misleading. And stupid consumers can't manage to turn a package over and read the fine print.

I'm sure the entire packaging industry is about ready to quit.

"We also intend to continue to improve our understanding of how consumers view and use such labels. Research suggests that the proliferation of divergent FOP approaches is likely to be confusing to consumers and ultimately counter-productive."

See, they still think you're stupid.


Here's the whole Guidance for Industry Letter.

Posted by Beth at 10:12 PM
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March 28, 2010

Life The Universe and Everything

I'm now in the year of the answer to life, the universe and everything!

We had a pretty good birthday this year. My brother's birthday is four days after mine, and now Nerdstar's is two days after mine. So, I've always liked sharing. With Nerdstar it helps to make it more of an event. It gives us an excuse to go out of town or do something fun. I also realized that I like sharing because I don't really want all the attention myself.

Last night we got together with a bunch of friends and had dinner at a Chinese duck place, Peking Gourmet Inn. Back in Houston, for special occasions her and her family used to go have duck at this certain place. Now that her grandparents have passed, that won't happen anymore. So, we're glad we found this place around here that's similar.

Other than that life is just rolling along. We had Pinhead's monthly checkup the other day. He's right on target. Wednesday starts week 24. We/I spend a lot of time with my hand on her belly feeling him wiggle around. We think he's in tune with her eating schedule because he tends to start kicking when it's time to eat! Then we keep joking that she always puts him into food comas. At least he's gotten a taste of almost every type of food out there.

Next month we're going to start getting his room and stuff ready.

Mostly we just can't wait to see him.

I'm still working about one day a week or so at the doctor's office. It's going to be weird when I give notice because at that point there's no telling when or where I'll work again. I'm sure I will work again in the future, but the rest is completely unknown.

I'm also doing the work from home scoring standardized test essays. There are three or four projects a year I work on, and they last a couple of weeks. It's not a lot, but it's good money for the time spent.

Posted by Beth at 12:45 PM
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March 15, 2010

3 Strange Days

I'm not sure I could accurately tell you the day or time or maybe even where exactly I am right now.

The alarm went off at 3 a.m. Saturday morning for our 6 a.m. flight to Houston. It takes us about 50 minutes to get out the door, about an hour to drive to the airport and park, then the adventure through security and to the gate. I don't think that's so bad.

We landed in Houston about 8:30 a.m. and Nerdstar's sister picked us up from the airport. They wanted an "asian" breakfast; I was holding out for Whataburger at 11. So we headed to some little asian place and they got something - Nerdstar will have to tell you about that.

Around 10:30 her sister's boyfriend met up with us and we headed out for Whataburger. Yummy.

Then it was off to the Houston Rodeo and Livestock show. There was a pretty big carnival and lots and lots and lots of cowboy stuff for sale. We were still too full to eat all the bad for us stuff, so that's probably good.

The rodeo was really cool. It was all of the events instead of just bull riding like the PBR, although those PBR dudes are crazy good at riding bulls. The only downside was that the volume of the speakers in that place was deafening. It gave me a horrible headache. Nerdstar's sister had never been to the rodeo, so it was all really cool.

We decided to leave around 7 to go get a yummy dinner. That's when the fun started. Her sister's car had been hit in the parking lot sometime while we were in there. Wow. As we were walking up all I thought was that someone had better had left some info on the windshield. Yep, the park police had talked to the man and gotten all his info - except of course he doesn't have insurance.

So, she called her insurance and arranged a tow truck. The car wasn't horribly damaged, but half of the front bumper was knocked totally off and was on the pavement. We couldn't get the rest of the bumper off so we could just drive it home. It didn't take the tow truck too long to show up, about an hour. Then another 45 minutes or so later her friend gave us a ride back to the house.

Sad part was no yummy dinner. We went to a Taiwanese place that was too cool for it's own good and the food was just so-so.

Sunday we got up and headed to Rudy's for lunch. Man did that hit the spot. I even got a little blue bell vanilla ice cream sandwich afterward!

Then we headed to a Chinese grocery store for Nerdstar to pick up some stuff to bring home AND a better Taiwanese restaurant, also for things to bring home. We bought a couple of glass containers with good lids for the soup dish and noodle dish. The TSA agent in Houston just smiled as Nerdstar explained it was just a duffel bag full of Chinese food, and thankfully let it all through!

Unfortunately, the bad luck continued for us.

We had a 5:30 flight out of Houston to Chicago then on to DC, getting us home about 2 a.m. It was going to be a long day. We got to the airport about 3:30 and at 4:30 were told the flight would be delayed until 7:30. That meant missing our connection. Over to the customer service desk. Apparently it's harder to travel during spring break than it is Christmas. There were 0 seats available from Houston to DC all day Monday. We didn't think standby would happen. So we were told there was a 4:30 flight Monday afternoon from Chicago to DC they could book us on. Great.

We made it into Chicago at 10:15. Our connecting flight left at 10:19. Nope, no hope of them holding the flight for us.

Finally, at almost midnight we left the terminal with a voucher for a hotel room and a post-it with the 4:30 flight #. That's it. No boarding passes, nothing absolutely stating we were on the flight.

Things got a little better once we wandered around and finally found where to catch the shuttle to the hotel - it was the Crown Plaza in Chicago. The room was super nice and had the best hotel bed I've slept on. I like 'em soft!

We got a good night's sleep and our food vouchers covered a great breakfast buffet at the hotel.

We hit the airport again at 10:30 this morning. An hour later we had boarding passes for the 4:30 flight. I got to looking at them and saw the word "business" - but no actual seat numbers. We went ahead and went through security and asked at the gate. Someone had put us in business class, so she assigned us seats and printed new boarding passes. We were so very happy!

That was the bestest flight ever. Except it was only about an hour and a half. When we do international flights in the future we'll have to sell our kidneys or something to make sure we get business class seats!!

We finally pulled into the driveway at 8:30 tonight. Poor Ramen has to spend another night at the kennel. But that cats are ok with that!!

Posted by Beth at 09:41 PM
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March 05, 2010

Done?

I was talking with Nerdstar about this last night. I'm feeling like I'm pretty done with this blog. Just typing that makes me a little sad.

I've been working on cleaning up an exported version I put into Word so I can eventually print it. I'm just over halfway done and it looks like it's going to be about 1300 pages. I mostly enjoy going back and reading about the past eight or so years of our lives. There were a lot of hard times, but a lot of fun, too. And I'm so glad I have this blog where it's all documented.

For some reason I've never been great at keeping a personal journal. I have horrible handwriting, so paper is usually out. It never recovered from all the note taking in college. (I'm always sad there weren't laptops back then I could have taken notes on instead!) I also tend to write more dark and sad in a journal. I guess I find it harder to write the "what's happening" stuff just for me because, well, I know what's happening. Except, that's the thing, I won't know years from now. There are so many little things I would have completely forgotten if not for this blog.

Another thing is that in some ways I feel like facebook has replaced this blog. I like that I can get more comments and interaction there than I have here for a while now. When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place I could put my crazy thoughts and ideas about the world out there and have conversations about them with anybody, anywhere. That never happened as much as I hoped. Although, I was also telling Nerdstar how great it is that there are still a handful of people who I've been reading from day one and still at least keep up with one way or another online.

That said, reading back on the time Nerdstar was in Iraq, this blog and the people who read and commented really helped me a lot. That still means a lot to me.

I also know that with all the changes and moves and such Nerdstar and I have been through, we're in the biggest transition of our lives right now - pregnancy. And I have no idea how much I'm going to want to keep blogging after the baby is born. And if I do, I think it would be over on 2 Bad Moms and not here. But does the world really need any more "mommy bloggers?"

Maybe I'll get better at a personal journal if I'm writing it for the baby.

Anyway. I'm not shutting the blog down. I just don't know when I'll be updating it again.

Posted by Beth at 10:03 AM
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