Weirdness, and other things my children have inherited from me

Um-kay. Lord knows that I can be kinda out there. In high school I reveled in my ability to be likably strange. I wore hand-painted nurse's shoes, argyle socks, dresses from the Goodwill, men's ties, 100% polyester plaid pants and my hair was rarely the same color for long. I was a drama-kid. (Of course.) I listened to the Violent Femmes, Naughty By Nature, Foxy Brown, Smashing Pumpkins and Ugly Kid Joe, Miles Davis, Primus, Dusty Springfield, the Cranberries and Outkast. (As an aside, I'm going to brag here: I still know all of the words to "Pretty Fly" and "Whoomp there it is.")

For your enjoyment!



Oh - the memories!





These days, I still lay claim to an off-beat sense of humor, and eclectic taste in music - but my look is less "trying-to-piss-off-Mom" and more "I-kinda-look-like-my-mom."



My three year old doesn't care at all about what her clothes look like- because she's torn them all off already. "Be-e-ell-yyyy" she will emote at me, so that I can (hopefully) recognize the extreme blessed freedom there seems to be in letting the belly out to play. She has tried to get me to let my belly out on several occasions. I think that's not a terribly good idea. blob





It's hardly the only funky thing she has going on - like her obsession with licking her hands and wiping the spit on mirrors, computer and TV screens, windows, etc. Last night her chicken nuggets went into battle. I know because of the gruesome sound effects that accompanied the various dance moves she directed. She thanks me in Chinese, insists that she is a baby, and this somehow requires squealing the word "baby" over and over. She dances in the aisle at church. She rolls around on the floor during cherub choir, but sings every word here at the house. She loves to "exercise" but hates it when I do. She completely ignores her brother unless no one else is watching, and then she lectures him about proper play etiquette. I never did any of this stuff when I was her age. (I was much, much worse!)
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We've got a winnah!

Holy Moly! I had 95 entries in my 'lil giveaway! Um, yeah....95. That's right folks. I am thrilled and so very happy for my winner of the $20 gift certificate to Smart Mom, maker of Teething Bling.


hooray




I even won a giveaway, myself! Jaci Burton randomly chose my comment to win one of her giveaways: 2 of her books, and a $25 Amazon gift certificate. (Can you hear DH groaning?) I've really got to get on with the picking of the books, so I'll get back to you all later.



hooray


Oh, what? You want to know who won? Oh, all right ... if you insist.



Congrat-u-la-tions go to Commenter #58, Heather of Cool Zebras; for whom this is fortuitously timed, as she's got a new baby due in just a few weeks. GL & GB, woman!





Now - if for some reason Heather is unable to fulfill her duties as a winner, a new winner will be chosen in err, uh, how about 72 hours? (That would be Thursday morning.) 'K.



Thank you all so much for coming by and joining in on my giveaway. Thank you chilihead (Melanie) over at Don't Try This At Home for hosting the carnival.


Ya'll come back now! (I am so going to do this again!)
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Blog-love

OMG! The Bloggy Giveaway Carnival has officially blown my mind. I got way, way, way more comments than I could have imagined (but please, keep 'em coming!) and I entered tons of giveaways.
crossed fingers(fingers crossed) I just hope I get a lil' something, too!

I did however get introduced to so many new (to me) blogs that I felt I should share. Lord knows I might just burn out my feed-reader!

Sooo - here are a sampling of my fab finds:


Sarcastic Mom and she so is, last post: You may now peer into my uterus

Clutter Cubed she's trying to get her act together too, last post: Find Your Organizational Muse

Looking Towards Heaven a girl after my own heart, last post: Another muffin update - The fitness quest revisited

Mommy Snacks it's not all food over there! last post: Diet & Fitness Snack: Fat Burnin' Friday


Ministry So Fabulous! it's like Godly & girly; last post: I can’t believe I’m telling you this. Especially the last part.

Marni's Organized Mess is a funny one. last post: Ramble Ramble Ramble Part 2


After a Cup of Coffee...Or Two oh, but I can relate. last post: I Can’t Believe Some of Ya’ll Actually Enjoy This

Darci's World doesn't seem all that far away! last post: Miss B

Fizzledink her description of her faith really hits it on the head; last post: First comes the carnival, then comes…


Fried Okra intelligent southern humor. I love it! last post: While I Sit Here Taping the Head Back on this Paperdoll, People I Love are Doin' Other Stuff that Really Matters

Get the lead out!!!! great title. last post: Strike a pose

Give It Away all about 'er giving it away (for the right reasons, of course!) last post: How do you eat an elephant?

Heart and Home a real sweetheart; last post: I clearly have some home decorating issues

Good for the Kids Blog which is an incredibly accurate name! last post: BPA Free Cups and Bottles Giveaway

I'm an Organizing Junkie but in a fun way. last post: We are not our children’s slaves….

Out With The Kids and she really seems to be! last post: Winners, Winners! We have Winners!

She Just Had To Say It I genuinely want to know this woman! last post: I Can Do (sob)… All Things (sob)…


There were even more, but my head hurts from all this typing! Can't wait to find out who's gonna win my giveaway of a SmartMom jewelry $20 gift certificate! You've got until midnight of the 28th to enter! So get on over there!

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Shameless

This me trying shamelessly to win free stuff, too. Check out yesterday's post titled It's Carnival for my own giveaway of a $20 gift certificate to SmartMom Jewelry.


Some bloggers (like me) ask for linkbacks - well here I go:



Boasting in My Weakness is giving away two prizes, a gorgeous tutu and some bath & body stuff for those without a little twirler of their own. You can catch more of her stuff at her Etsy store Zoe's Couture Boutique.




From Melissa's Desk is sponsoring another goodie, a $25 gift certificate to Barnes & Noble, open only to Mommy Bloggers. (Hey, that's me!)

weirdstuffinmydesk is offering a custom perfume blend to one lucky winner, courtesy of her store, Fragrant Soul.


Okay - that's all folks - I cannot enter any more giveaway's, my children miss me. Have fun, Don't forget to enter mine, Good Luck & God Bless!

(Look for my list of cool new blogs that I found during the carnival in the next few days...)

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It's Carnival!

Sorry All - This Baby Is Ovah! (over, as in closed, done, complete...)

It's Bloggy Giveaway Carnival time! Today is the first day in a weeklong super-blogger freebie love-fest. Woo-hoo! Go there and check out the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of giveaways.

I've participated in the carnival before - but this will be the first time that I've ever joined in the actual giveaways! I am so stoked!


I thought long and hard about it, as the suggested giveaway prize is something that represents you, or rather, me. As a mom of two little ones I spend a lot of time with a child on my hip. Said child is forever grabbing at something I generally prefer not to be grabbed, you know? Then DH bought me a Teething Bling set from Smart Mom Jewelry. I loved it! My teething baby boy loved it. My three yr. old daughter loved it. I gotta call it a hit around here. Best part? I received compliments from women that I consider to be incredibly well-put together, (something I'm really not) fashion accessory-wise. I've talked about my love for Teething Bling before, in a post titled Friday Already? I've got the Onyx Donut set, and it really goes with just about everything. Though I see that they are coming out with new colors and now patterns! What's a girl to do?


All that brings me to this:




The winner of this giveaway will receive a twenty dollar gift certificate to SmartMomJewelry.com


Now, for the rules:


US residents only (sorry, next time around I promise!) are welcome to enter per the rules below.


You can enter twice, and here's how:


Uno: by leaving a regular old comment on this post (please include contact info) by midnight, April 27, 2008.



Dos: Link to this entry from your blog, referring to this giveaway and then leave a second comment with the link. Now - you'll have to do this seperately, so that if you wish to take me up on this option, you'll have two comments - got it? (Also needs to be posted by midnight, April 27th)


A winner will be chosen on April 28th using a random generator. I'll contact the winner via e-mail and will also post here on O'Joy of my life... I'll ship the certificate out as soon as I make contact with the winner! Good luck all - I can't wait!
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This is so cool, but not easy...

Mother's Day is coming. It's 4 weeks away! Since my mom and mother-in-law live in California, I have to get the gifting done and soon. Of the two, I'd rather shop for DH's mom. She has very distinct preferences, and doesn't mind having a lot of any specific item. For example, her favorite color is green. Now, to you and I this would mean she prefers green tops, or bedding or some such. For my MIL, it means that everything is green. Carpet, tile, car, curtains, 95% of her clothing and jewelry. She also loves appleware. If it's got an apple on it, she may already have it. Also, she loves her some Jesus. Now between those three things, it's hard not to find something she'll really like. In past years I've gotten her ('cause DH never does mom-shopping) a silver and jade bracelet, mother's birthstone heart/cross necklace from Limoges Jewelry, apple shaped doodads - you get the idea, right?

This year I'm looking at a pair of pretty silver and peridot (her birthstone) earrings from The Hunger Site which, when purchased will also provide 25 cups of food. (Quick aside, I keep this site as one of my homepage tabs, so that I remember to click every day, as each click provides food for the hungry.)
The tricky stuff comes when the gift is for my Ma. There are lots of us kids, and between us, the poor woman doesn't have room for even one more sentimental knick-knack. She only wears gold hoop earrings, so for the last couple of years I've tried to buy souped-up versions of her old standby. No surprise, she never wears them.

One year I bought her wine with personalized labels. They were so nice she refused to drink the wine. (So they become yet another dustcatcher. Snap.) You can order just the labels from Wine Etc. for about 5 dollars each or have them added to any bottle you like. If you're purchasing for a non-imbiber, consider sparkling water or other favorite beverage, and look to Bottle Your Brand for custom sizing and a page of 10 for $9.99.

Right now I'm thinking about ordering a set of notepads from a neat stationary website, Design-Her Gals. My pal Meggie ordered me the absolute best apron from them last year for my birthday, and I wear it nearly every night. The variety of print choices is so cool, like calling cards (pictured right), to-do lists, greeting cards, stickers, tee-shirts, etc. You custom-make your own gals and (to be honest) I just like to play around in the dressing room. The ladies behind the company set it up to be so much fun that it's like clothes shopping, but waaaay better. (No bad lighting or unforgiving mirrors!) You get to save nine "gals" (who can have companions of the male, pet and child varieties) and I made a scorching good likeness of my mom. She's a note scribbler, and maybe she'd dig the artistic rendering of herself. I mean, I rarely get her something she'll actually use, so this may be my only shot!
As for myself - I've got my eye on the pretty Grey Skies Are Gonna Clear Up necklace from Eclectic Eccentricity. Now - I just gotta make sure that DH sees this post, lol.
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The Dinner Dash

So - I'm always telling DH that this week I'll be getting my act together. (You may already have guessed that such a thing has just not happened yet.) I've discussed our tight budget in an earlier post titled Eco-Whatever so you may know already that the military income isn't exactly lavish. This means that I cut a lot of corners grocery-wise. I should also mention that I get bored easily, so I can't stand to make the same meals over and over again, (with a few notable exceptions, like spaghetti & DH's fave pork chops.)

One thing I do have a handle on is dinner. I've got lots of cookbooks and a subscription to Rachael Ray mag, as well as a few online resources that I'd like to share with you.

Uno: Menus 4 Moms sends out a weekly e-mail with a five-day dinner plan including recipes and shopping list. Started by Mary Ann Kelley, a home-schooling mom who thought there might just be other women out there who could use a little time-management help, it's really a great resource. Though I don't always follow to the letter, I never fail to include at least one meal idea into my week, and her tips for stretching those meals (like chopping twice the number of onions you need and freezing the unused portion for later use) are invaluable.
What makes this service so great? It's free! Also - it's got a specific bent toward the budget-minded. Thanks Mary Ann! (and the other ladies, too!)

Dos: Menu Planning Central is another meal planning service. This is a paid service, but it is absolutely worth the $19.97/month fee. Created by Christine Steendahl known as "The Menu Mom", it's an all-inclusive service, and that means that not only do you receive four weeks of menus, recipes and shopping lists, but you can choose which kind of meals you prefer. With options like Family-Friendly, Vegetarian, and Healthy you'd be hard-pressed not to find something to satisfy even the pickiest eaters! There's even an place to customize your menu called "My Menu Maker."
What makes this service so great? The bonuses! The site is packed with member benefits like seasonal tips, e-books & party planners.

Tres: Let's Dish is an experience, to say the least! You sign up online, (and quick, honey - 'cause the sessions fill up fast) go to the store and pre-make up to twelve dinners meant to be frozen (or refrigerated) until you need them. The prep is already done for you, (veggies pre-chopped, chicken already shredded - that kind of thing) so all you have to do is meal assembly. Think about how much time and money you'll save if you don't have to shop for groceries or do your own prep. Here's the lowdown on price for the store closest to me: 12 Dishes=$235. That's $19.58 per dish, or at 6 servings each, $3.26 per serving. Best of all? No clean-up! You even have the option to pick up some ready-made dishes for those lazy, err - busy types. With dinners like Raspberry Chicken with Mango Rice, Shrimp Fajitas, Manicotti with Homemade Tomato Sauce, and BBQ Chicken Pizza - I promise that you'll love the meals you bring home.
What makes this service so great? It's really, really fun! I took a friend along and we had such a blast we immediately signed up for another session. You can make a girl's night out of it by booking a private session for you and your ladies - and Let's Dish even provides the coffee and cookies!

So now you've got some of my secrets. I'll add just one more, the recipe for the pork chops DH loves so much.

4 - 6 pork chops (bone in or out is up to you!) rinsed and dried with paper towel
2 tbs olive oil
Worcestershire Sauce
McCormick Grill-Mates Montreal Chicken Seasoning (or similar)
2 cloves minced garlic (optional)
14.5 oz low-sodium chicken broth

"To taste" rub worcestershire sauce into chops, followed by grill seasoning. Allow to sit for five minutes or so. Warm large pan over med-high heat. Add olive oil. When oil is hot, add seasoned chops to pan. Sear on both sides, approximately 3 minutes per side. Add garlic to pan, allow to cook (but not burn!) for about one minute, then add chicken broth to pan. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer on low heat for 20 - 30 minutes. Serve, ladle broth over chops. (Excellent over roasted or mashed potatoes, too!)

Tip: I prefer to use the boxed broth, because if I happen to have extra thick chops I can add more broth, enough to come halfway up the side of the chop.
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A little self-love (no, not that kind!)

It's another Monday. Another weekend has ended and my accomplishments are glaringly minute. Um, I did manage to scrub the tub (right before I put my daughter in it, so it was totally clean for @ 3 minutes.) Oh, and I switched out the rug in my son's room. ('Course, I bought the new one two months ago.) I even managed to take all of the kid's new toys they received for Easter out of the gift bags they were given in. (Yeah.)


I also played catch with DH and Liv in the back-yard, and read a story to my son on a blanket in the grass. I spent nearly an hour talking with my sister-in-law about the difficult time she's having breast-feeding her newborn. I watched my 9 month old cruise around the ottoman for the first time. DH and I had a serious discussion about faith, and no one felt wronged or misunderstood.

What I mean to say is that sometimes (alright, most-times) I neglect the house stuff so that I can put good time in on the people-stuff. I have a seriously mean conscience, so I spend a lot of time self-lambasting. (You screw-up, look at what you've done now; type of stuff.) Avoid with me, if you can, the obvious psycho-analysis. Today - I'm going to administer a little self-love. Yay, me. I was a good mom, wife, Christian, and friend this weekend. That's fine work!

And I promise to do something about the piles of laundry, today - I swear.
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Seven More Things...







I really love right now:

(not me, sorry)









Uno: My bud, April. Okay - I really love her all the time, but especially right now. She's beautiful, brilliant, funny, flippant, and brave. So, so brave. She's living the life I thought I was going to (minus the apartment mice; no one ever fantasizes about apartment mice.) Reason for this ode? She's participating in National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. Never mind the fact that she's always been a prolific writer and featured in several poetry slam tournaments, a poem a day for thirty days is hard, people! You can check out her submissions via her blog, could it be? You could join the movement too, by carrying a "Poem in Your Pocket" on April 17th. Hey, just try it, will ya?

(One more thing: her work is represented in Fighting Words, a poetry slam/Rocky movie released about a year ago, now available on DVD. Here's the 'scrip: One of the most soulful poets in Los Angeles, April Jones has stolen the hearts of audiences with her descriptions of love, loss and other four letter words. April is an established poetry slam veteran whose passion strikes like lightning from the stage. April has appeared at various venues in LA including the Bourgeois Pig and Da Poetry Lounge. ) Yeah - I totally love this girl.

Dos: Jonathan Knight is still a hottie. Alright, I'll admit to NKOTB fanhood in my pre-teen years. I've mentioned that before, and I'm not ashamed to say it again. The fact that he is still so darn good-lookin' makes me feel better about the major crush I had, and the fact that I still know all the words to Hangin' Tough. As of April 2nd, NKOTB.com is a fully functional fan site, complete with blog, news updates, photos, and desktop wallpaper downloads. Ahhh, brings me right back to my awkward years.

Tres: PBSkids. Thank you for an entire hour of not-lameness that allows me to update this here blog . Err, I mean thanks for commercial free programming and educational edification. Love Ya!

Quattro: Blueberries. Particularly the genius who realized that freezing them makes them available year-round. My three-year old and I thank you. Also, Spray-n-Wash thanks you, 'cause I'm spending a fortune fighting that tell-tale purple all over her clothes. Still, they taste awesome and make my fiberlicious cereal palatable.

Cinco: Downtown Diane. B'more residents and visitors know that she's got her ear to the wall and can reliably fill us in on "What's Hot in Baltimore". Like the Beer, Bourbon and BBQ Festival in Timonium, or Peter Max exhibit at the Light Street Pavilion, or even The First Ever Green Gala at The National Aquarium. Sign up for her newsletter for weekly updates, and get a shot at free tix to some of the great happenings around town. I won passes to The Baltimore Zoo's Reggae and Brew Festival last year. I can't tell you if it was any good, 'cause my kids decided to be very sick that day, continuing the tradition of my not ever being able to use tix I've won for some strange reason. (Included in that list are Jane's Addiction, Lenny Kravitz, Jingle Ball, and The Nutcracker.)

Seis: Airfare wars. This is when competing airlines try to out-cheap each other on domestic flights. Current participants are American and Southwest. SmarterTravel's Jessica Labrencis has written an article detailing the latest one. Hurry, though. Booking has to be made by April 17th. My sis-in-law just had a beautiful baby boy, so we'll likely be taking advantage of those cheap flight options this summer.

air plane






and Siete: Scribbit. My new fave blog. Written by Michelle Mitchell, a native Alaskan with great taste in both literature and music. (Any fan of Ella is alright with me.) I like her writing style, and I wish I'd found her sooner. She hosts a monthly "write-away" contest that I think I'm going to try to get in on. April's theme is going home, and Lord knows, I've got all kinds of feelings about that. So far I've only haunted her site, (I feel geeky writing comments, which I know is pretty lame, but hey, these are my feelings) but my personal fave post is titled "Ways you can die in Australia". Yeah, she's cool.
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Is there a Toddler Whisperer out there?

Some days all I want to do is lay my weary self down. My daughter is going through a "stage". You may have heard of it - we call it being difficult, but really she's just trying to dominate me. Her recent attempts include raising her voice, giving commands, ignoring my requests, whining and sobbing hysterically when she hears the word "No". (In my defense, I'm not putting up with it - but I am tired.) I need the Dog Whisperer to come over and teach me how to be top-dog in my home.

dog trainer and dog photo courtesy of Photobucket.com


Which leads me to this week's This is So Cool:

I was checking out Cesar Millan's site, and he lists some tips for "Calming a Hyperactive Dog" and I'm thinking of trying them out...on my toddler.

Ignore the behavior! Okay - we've tried this, but not super-consistantly. By not reinforcing bad behavior with attention, she may eventually cut it out.
Give your dog (or child) a job! She genuinely loves to help me cook and sweep - I really need to incorporate her into my routine some more.
Go for a walk! Hmmm, I had promised to walk every day with the kiddos and then we had a nasty cold influx, not to mention the wet and chilly weather. With Spring finally here, no more excuses! Plus, hello - I'm still carrying around all that baby weight, and he's nine months old. Ugh.
Check your own energy! Okay - good point Cesar. If I'm feeling cranky, then it stands to reason that she'd start acting out.
Try out aromatherapy! Um - if you say so...Okay - I've got it. Nothing brings a smile on like the smell of fresh baked cookies, and I just happen to have a great low-sugar, low-fat jam thumbprint recipe from About.com that Liv and I love. We use blueberry preserves, and they are soft and delish.(Thanks Fiona Hayes.)

Cesar's philosphy about balance (you gotta check it out for yourself so I don't infringe on any copyrights) makes sense, even for human packs. Now - I hope this post doesn't actually upset anyone, but if it does, well to be honest I'm thinking you may have bigger problems than I do. Good luck with that.

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In like a Lion, and out like a Seven-footer

DH’s best friend just left after a week-long visit. Whew. They laugh at the same things; have secret code words and in-jokes. They share a childhood, and a love of basketball. Also, they are unequivocably a pain in the ass when together. Oh, hardy-har, boys.
Truth, I am super fond of Phil - I think he's a great guy, and I hope that some day he meets a girl who can appreciate him for who he is. That being said - can I complain a little?


NCAA Basketball
NCAA Basketball, hallowed be thy name, now be over already! Oh, March Madness, that you should extend into April - why, oh why must I be tortured so?
DH's team made it into the final four, oh pardon, the Final Four. However, it appears that when two old friends who share this all-consuming passion for basketball get together, it is the only
thing we are allowed to watch.
ucla basketball
They spent hours on the phone in the weeks leading up to the visit discussing basketball. Couldn't they have worked it out then?
I know, I practically speak heresy here. I'm sorry. But I've got a three year old daughter who is obsessed with Ni Hao, Kai Lan a crawling nine month old, piles of laundry after an Easter visit to my grandparents and an injured ankle. In other words - give over, I want to watch The Food Network!
ni hao kai lan

If you are clueless about March Madness, smarter people than I can give you the answer.

How Stuff Works has a good explanation, check it out here.
There's an interesting story about two math majors making a prediction about the outcome of the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. Neil Goodson and Colin Stevenson, students at The College of Charleston are doing a class project about it. You can listen to the interview with Robert Seigal of NPR.
Also Barbara Barker writing for Newsday actually laments that her hubby is not a fan. She's written an amusing and informative article for "basketball dummies."

So, now that I've complained, I actually feel a little better. Thanks for listening!

All images today courtesy of photobucket.
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Something to Talk About...


Hmmm... let's discuss uh, discussing. I love to talk. Love it, love it! I especially like to expound. DH often has to remind me that being up on my soapbox all the time can be tiring for those people I've managed to corral, (specifically him).

I love talking about all the no-no's like politics, religion and how people are screwing up their kids. Oh, yes - I've told complete strangers not just what they are doing wrong, but also how to make it right. I know that it's considered taboo, but I just can't help it. If your kid is acting up in a public place, it's because they need attention. Not a screaming idiot - but some good-old fashioned attention! Gah!
When I was a child - my adult supervision was kind of superficial. When there was one around, they were in charge. (I had many, many honorary aunts and uncles.) In other words, if a woman down the street thought we were misbehaving, she'd tell us to knock it off, and that was it. If I'd ever tried that "You ain't my mother" crap - I'd have gotten my head knocked off, twice! (First for talking back and second for the poor grammer.)

Religion is another subject protected by social niceties. I've had some real barnstormers over that one, let me tell'ya. DH comes from extremely conservative stock, and my family tends to vote democrat down the line. Add to that my natural inclination to stir the pot, and you've got super fun family dinners! Bring on gay marriage and let go the fireworks!

But politics, oh, how a good political debate can turn into a nasty free-for-all. Invigorating! Right now I'm leaning toward Senator Obama, and as I have mentioned in an earlier post, the in-laws are really upset about it. You wouldn't believe some of the e-mails I've gotten. Woo-ee. Something about him really gets under the skin of ultra-conservative types, and that suits me right down to the ground. For those like me, check out smallplanet, I think you'll like the site.

My point is that if you want to talk about it - even if you disagree, (especially if you disagree,) look me up! I'm willing, able and even anxious!


Oh, yeah one last thing. It's my brother's birthday today, April Fool's Anth!
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