Saturday, April 30, 2005

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My socks, my chair, my trashcan. This is Pepper's corner of the backyard and where she carrys her treasures off to. She has a fondness for tennis shoes as well as socks.  Posted by Hello


Beach drops Speedo ban

By John Curran

April 30, 2005 CAPE MAY, N.J. (AP)Come on in, Speedo wearers, the water's fine: Your skimpy little swimsuits are legal now. For more than 30 years, this quaint little Victorian-themed resort at the southern tip of New Jersey said no to "skintight, formfitting or bikini type'' bathing attire on males over the age of 12.

It was so comforting to know there was one place in the United States that was safe from Speedos. I broke up with a boy in high school for wearing one of those out in public after I specifically told him that I wouldn't be seen with him in one. The horrors of Speedos are just too numerous to mention, and I need to go bleach my memory now. ICH.

Middle Class

Yesterday I finally saw the disconnect between red states and blue states as something that is more than what is read, or accents or what kind of coffee one buys and drinks. It is economic as well. Atrios had a series of post up about what it being middle class "is" and the number that was continually returned to was 90 thousand dollars a year for a family of 4. Now, it was granted in some cities this might not be enough and others could chose lifestyle changes and be happy on less; but that 90 k was about what it took to achieve middle class status: "There are still many parts of Philly metro area in which "upper middle class" is certainly achievable for $90,000 in household income. Not true for SoCal, or NY, or Boston, or SF,a stretch for Chicago, etc. In much of America 90,000 is more than enough, of course." This was said as a concession, 90 k was originally what it took to live a middle class lifestyle.

Living in the Texas, home of the deep fried wages I gasped. First, I am a social worker. Second, I work for a county government. So y'all now know I must be one of the most underpaid, over-educated human beings on the planet. In Texas, our District Judges only get paid 109,000 thousand dollars a year; the ledg is thinking about giving them a raise, but it is doubtful. 90 k is enough to put you in the upper echelons of the middle class around here, even in our big cities. Now, it won't make you wealthy but it does mean you are well off. Middle class is about 2/3rds of that, no joke, and you can live decently, not high on the hog of course; but a nice enough home three bedrooms not four, two cars, two kids, and one vacation.

The disconnect between the red and the blue states was never so apparent as yesterday, when Atrios posted that discussion. While one day I might hit a combined wage of 90k; I will never do it alone. Because, I will always work in the South. If I do hit that combined wage I will feel wealthy, because of the things it will mean I can purchase down here. But, if I moved up north? Making that kind of money would just barely put me where I am now. The value of the dollar is different. How we talk about money is different and see that money is different, and what is middle class is different.

Friday, April 29, 2005

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Curly blogging postponed

Jeffraham has had to postpone Curly cat blogging this week because he is desperately looking for work during the Bush Boom years. I know some of you know that my 4 year old is addicted to Friday cat blogging and she has a bit of love affair with Sam over at NTodd's Dohiyi Mir going on. She must look for Sam pictures daily(there hasn't been one since Monday by the way). That said she loves Curly movies, and looks forward to them on Fridays. The good news you can help out Jeffraham and have a Curly DVD to put in the DVD player anyday of the week. The bad news is that we still may not have Curly blogging this week and Jeffraham may not have electricity next month. Check it out, help out a fellow blogger and watch kitty porn anyday of the week.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

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News Conference

I turned on the TV and yes began to watch the Presidential News Conference. My 4 year old walks in the living room and I asked her who that was on TV she tells me "that's Bush; he's lying." There are moments you realize your children really do hear you.

Light blogging

For those of you still stopping by I have not given up blogging about politics. It just seems that going back to work after surgery and then Doctor appointments that are 5 hours away and then 5 hours home again seem to take the blog right out of a girl. I do have these lovely hand written posts for y'all, I hope to get them up sometime this weekend, but the drive across Texas for a 20 minute doctor appointment has worn me out.

Night John Boy....

And if you aren't old enough to remember The Waltons ask someone who is.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

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Be Fruitful and Cipher

Before I begin to wax philosophical with all its attendant clichés, I had to pass this story on. Although it may be apocryphal, the event was supposed to have happened within the last few days at the university where I teach. One of our young scholars managed to wander to the library to try to find a book. When he could not find the book he was looking for, he asked a librarian to help him in his fruitless effort to locate a volume called The Orange and Peaches by a man named Durwen. The librarian tried mightily to find the book, but had no luck. The student became somewhat upset, if not indignant, and insisted that the librarian keep trying. Finally, the poor laborer in the vineyards realized that the young scholar was looking for The Origin of Species.

Things a man should never say:

Today on the way to work/school my adorable beloved 4 year old is in the back seat suffering from verbal vomit carseatitis. If you are a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle or anyone who has spent time with a child in a carseat you know this is what happens to a child when you buckle them into their carseat. You turn on their non-stop talk button. Well my daughter decides today to discuss plays and what part she wants to play in them! Wonderful, she wants to be Mary in the birth of baby Jesus. Okay, that is great. Daddy will be the donkey. Daddy doesn't look thrilled at this prospect but he goes along and then he gets the bright idea to open his mouth. He says and I quote: "If I am the Donkey can Mommy be the Cow?". Mommy is not happy. Daddy sees this and keeps the joke going, figuring and I quote again "Sometimes you have dug a hole so deep you might as well keep digging 'till you get to China."

These are things a man should never say.

I am expecting papers or flowers soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

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To everything there is a purpose

Having been an editor for many years and having taught students how to edit on a computer, I always back up what I have written. Rugo may now rest for the remainder of the day.

School Days

Next week is the last one of the semester and the end of my penultimate year of teaching. Right now, I am on what my university euphemistically calls, “voluntary phased retirement.” That is to say, I have “voluntarily” chosen to ease myself out of what has been my professional life for over forty years. But my decision was not exactly voluntary.

My enthusiasm waned, my interest flagged, and the voice of creeping old age became louder. I was becoming weary with teaching and all its attendant ills. Classes became far too large; reports and meetings, far too numerous; and rewards, much too few. What I do now is greatly different from what I did when I started.

With a stanza from one of Dorothy Parker’s poems, “The Little Old Lady in Lavender Silk,” in mind, this is what I propose to do for the next several months:

When it comes to this time of abatement,
To this passing from summer to fall,
It is manners to issue a statement
As to what you got out of it all.

I hope that I can do this with at least some of the art, humor, and irony of Dorothy Parker, without perhaps the bitterness that lies just below the surface of her light verse.

Blogger was hungry

I was working on a post. I decided I didn't care for it so I deleted it..blogger thought it would take it and the two next to it. I know now why blogger became bloggered.

My apologies to Pasquin, whose post was deleted. Mayhaps the blogger monster is well fed now, it was a well written post.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

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This week in Iraq

The violence has continued to escalate. I am not a foreign policy wonk I don't pretend to be and I don't want to be,that is what Juan Cole is for: Foreign Policy. It is just becoming apparent that the violence is getting worse and worse each week, more and more Iraqis are dying and yet the attitude here at home from most Americans is that we are winning this war. We are doing something wrong if most American's think we are winning a war where people are dying everyday at the hands of the opposition. Just because the American body count isn't going up by the hundreds this week does not mean this war is going well. The disconnect the American people have demonstrated with this war seems completely in line with the disconnect it must have taken 51% of them to vote for its architects though.

American History

In Pictures Rising Hegemon has an great post up, I highly recommend just going and looking as it is just picutures and captions.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

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But I Write the Queen's English

Your Linguistic Profile:

55% General American English

30% Dixie

5% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

5% Yankee

What kind of English do you speak

Your Linguistic Profile:

65% General American English

25% Dixie

10% Upper Midwestern

0% Midwestern

0% Yankee

Well this is really not all that surprising I guess, except for the Upper Midwestern part. I have lived my entire life in Texas and Pasquin is from Texas; I guess we are going to have to blame this on the fact he married a yank from Missouri.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

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If you're ever on a jury...

Really if it ever happens...I know it is doubtful for good liberals, but if it happens(a criminal jury that is), and the defendant takes stand and confesses to the crime don't acquit them. Thank you.

A new Pope

So I am a lasped Catholic but I am convinced now that the Church doesn't want me back. They have elected a new Pope... so he is conservative; I could have lived with that, what I can't stomach was that he was part of the of the Hitler Youth. I don't care how enthusiastic he was or not. When Pasquin went to the Anne Frank House, he saw page upon page of people who shared our name who died in Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz and they weren't enthusiastic about of that it I am sure. For the Church to choose even a nominal member of the Nazi party as the Pope says a great deal about it, all of ugly. I am saddened beyond measure by this choice.

A calming effect

Found via Trish Wilson

When it all gets too much it is time for Intermission

Monday, April 18, 2005

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Back to Work

Well I returned to work today. It was hectic and my body is tired and rebelled a bit by the end of the day. Of course, it didn't help that we went to trial today so I went to work and began to run the courthouse steps, in heels.

I did come home to check on the news and see if anything of great importance had happened. It seems there isn't a new Pope I suspect getting a majority of 117 Cardinals to agree is at least as difficult as getting 12 jurors agree. Who knew Little Red Birds could be so difficult?

In Iraq they still haven't appointed a Cabinet because it is still a disaster, some things will probably never change, unfortunately.

Michael Jackson is still on trial, and I am not linking to it because well I am not, so there.

I am tired and my chest hurts.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

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NTodd tagged me for the eyes meme so here are my eyes. I tag Bryan of Why Now, Mustang Bobby of Bark Bark Woof Woof, when he gets back of course and Wanda of Words on a Page.  Posted by Hello

"The Constitution in Exile"

From the NY Times Magazine, it sounds like what liberals think we are going through today, but it isn't. It is a Constitutional school of thought that makes originalism appear liberal. Basically, this school of thought wants to return the Constitution to the Gilded Age, prior to the New Deal decisions of the court that allowed for federal regulation of child labor, minimum wages, Social Security, ect. Mr. Justice Clarence Thomas gleans from this school of thought, which was one of the problems with his nomination. Yes, the Senate did have more problems with him than Anita Hill, it is just that it is easier for the press to remember the pubic hair on a coke than that the ABA gave him a poor rating, and he had published his agreement with these extreme views. Why is this important now, well even with Mr. Justice Thomas on the Court there really hasn't been the Judicial revolution that the "Constitution in Exile" school had hoped for, but many of W's nominations to the federal bench and his renominations do come from this school of thought. So while the religious extremists are getting our attention with their bells, whistles, fire and brimstone Bush and Co. may very well be attempting to pack the federal bench with Judges just as dangerous as the anti-choice extremists and we aren't paying attention.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

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Dumber than Home-made Soap

Joe Scarborough “never deviates into sense.” His latest screed for msnbc soars well beyond the stratosphere of stupidity to the cold, dark vacuum of absolute inanity. Apparently, everything that happens in Iraq will redound to the glory of George W. Bush. If we have peace, peace will make Bush stronger; if we have war, war will make Bush stronger; if terrorist attacks continue, Bush will be stronger. The apotheosis of Bush is at hand, and old Joe S. can slouch toward Washington to be born.

Nothing can justify an assertion such as “Kidnappings, beheadings, car bombings are nothing more than sound and fury signifying nothing.” Such an assertion is, however, a “tale told by an idiot.” I suspect that if old Joe were kidnapped, beheaded, or bombed he would, if he could, have a different take on the matter. But no matter, for he believes these things make Bush stronger. “How 2004,” he blithely asserts, “Eighteen civilians were blown up yesterday and the world hardly noticed.” But all is well; Bush is stronger. And we should not worry, for the insurgents “are subhuman beasts who deserve killing.” Unfortunately, the eighteen civilians who died are hardly noticed. But because they are unnoticed, thank God, for this makes Bush stronger.

One really has to digest the whole mess to become truly sick.

I am now going to go barf.

The Judiciary, Academia, and the Arts oh my!

Digby has an amazing post up about how the right managed to co-op America, her politics, media and people, to some extent, with the exceptions of the judiciary, academia and the entertainment industry. Please read the entire post in it though he points out that:

We are definitely seeing a frontal assault on the remaining spheres of social influence that are not organized around or willingly complicit with the Republican agenda. This is not an accident. They, of course, see all obstacles as "liberal" which in the classical sense, I suppose they are. But these social influences of the judiciary, academia and popular culture are not explicitly partisan. In fact, they are largely independent spheres that resist co-option by partisan politics.

Tomorrow night Frist and Company are going to take to the airwaves and claim that the left, please read Democrats, do not believe that religion has any place in the "public square". That is the jest of the poster below. That fortunately/unfortunately is not true. As Democrats our religious beliefs, whatever they are, can and do lead us to make political decisions on a daily basis; they cannot on the other hand lead us to make legal decisions. Once a law has been written, the Judiciary cannot turn a blind eye to it because it offends their religious belief. If that were the case then Mr. Justice Scalia would be staunchly anti-death penalty as his religion requires(He could even find a way to do this constitutionally as Mr. Justice Marshall did but he refuses to do so).

The Republican Party, the rabid religious wing, is going to attempt this bait and switch tomorrow night and we need to be ready to point out that while we strongly support the right of people to express their religious views when it comes to the making of law, because the making of law is moralistic; when it comes to the interpretation of law, that must be as impartial as possible, and done with an eye toward the intention of the law not the intention of the Judge's personal God. (Because that Judge's God might not be the same as your God).

I signed what law?

Bush signed a law last December that requires the showing of Passports at the Canadian and Mexican borders. Opps, apparently he didn't realize it. He is now worried that it will disrupt the flow of daily traffic. What a duffus. I really hope someone else is in charge up there.

Wanders off fingers crossed.

"Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's." Keep the two separate as the bible says, and he won't have to choose! Posted by Hello

Friday, April 15, 2005

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Friday Guinea Pig blogging. She will sit here all day and never move. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

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My Unitarian Jihad Name

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Main Gauche of Reasoned Discussion.

Get yours.

Sounds about right to me.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

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Unitarian Jihad Name

Everyone decided to clean house today(including my brother-in-law a faint worthy occassion) so now I am really bored. So via to Culture Ghost I found my Unitarian Jihad Name. It is....
Sister Shotgun of Sweet Reason


Let's talk about sex shall we? All the big boys and girls are talking about it! I could link to them, but we all know how to get to Matt, Atrios, Steve, Digby and Amy. Most of this is pure foolishness because those values voters...they aren't gonna cross over and vote for our guy. I know this because I am related to a values voter. It can be annoying because if anyone is more convinced they are right about the state of the world than a liberal, it is a values voter; and unlike a liberal they will tell you over and over and over how right they are. But what they won't do, is tell their kid about sex, or let their kid see anything that resembles sex on TV, or want your kid to see anything that resembles sex on TV, and they don't want your kid to tell their kid about sex either because well see sex is something you do with the lights off and never talk about. Sexual bodyparts are not to be mentioned even by adults. So of course they want the government to control what is on TV so that they don't have to worry that you might let your kid watch something they don't approve of, like Rugrats, or Law and Order(someone tell me how you avoid letting your kid watch this anymore?) They aren't going to cross over and vote for our guy. Admit it we like sex too much or at least the values voter thinks we do, they are pretty certain that our guys are out there doing it with anything that moves! And yes, if you listen closely enough, the values voter will tell you that over and over and over again too.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

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In defense of Judicial Activism

Catchy title huh?
So apparently last week in Oklahoma, there was a meeting of extremists that called for the impaling of judges, Stalinistic extermination solutions, and yes a more legal Bill that requires judges to acknowledge"God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," . (Excuse me while I revert to my teenage years um gag me with a spoon!)
You can read the entire article in The Nation.

Now that I am done gagging, I am still shuddering though. I want to point a few things out to these idjits, not that they will read this but my ire is up.
First anytime any judge makes a decision he INTERPRETS the LAW, and therefore frequently makes law. If it is a new law, guess what? A district judge makes NEW LAW. The judges decision will be challaged and taken to higher courts where guess fucking what? Those esteemed judges will INTERPRET and MAKE LAW. It is the way it works. It was the way it is intended to work, go read Marbury v. Madison.

All courts are activist in the sense that all decisions make law one way or another. The Constitution created 3 separate branches of government to balance and check one another. We currently have 2 branches running amok unchecked all over the world, not just the United States, and they are attempting to hijack the third branch of government by calling it activist, as though that were a bad thing. I say three cheers for the Constitution and a Judicial System that is activist in the way it was intended to be.

Monday, April 11, 2005

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An Impossible Book Meme

All these are hard choices for me. So many books, so few people, so little time. I'll give it my best, however.

You are stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book would you be?

The Complete Poetry and Letters
of John Keats. "A thing of beauty . . ." you know. Such rapidly developing talent, so much courage, so little time. I can't imagine a world without Keats's works.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Sophia in Tom Jones by Henry Fielding. Perceptive, charming, beautiful, headstrong, and witty. What's not to love?

What is the last book you bought?

I am given books so often that I rarely have to buy one. The last one I remember buying on my own was Christopher Dickey's Summer of Deliverance. I don't know Christopher Dickey, but I knew his father. I admire Christopher Dickey's reporting for Newsweek. I know they had a very strained relationship, but on the several occasions that I was with Jim, he always talked with much affection for his son. I wanted to read about their relationship from Christopher's viewpoint.

What are you currently reading?

On my own, I am reading Franklin and Winston by Jon Meacham. I love history and am fascinated by World War II. One of my first memories is of the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, and I remember well the glorious celebrations when the Germans and the Japanese surrendered. For my class in World Literature, I am reading Dante, The Inferno and have just finished Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. For light reading, I enjoy mystery novels. I am a big fan of Rex Stout and also like Patricia Cornwell.

Five books for your desert island cruise (deserted island) package.

The Life of Samuel Johnson by James Boswell. Pick it up anytime, open it anywhere, and read anything. You are in the presence of one of the most original, eclectic minds in history. Scintillating conversation punctuated with brilliant insight and odd meanderings.

Joseph Andrews by Henry Fielding. Parson Adams is truly an original. Besides if anyone ever needed a parson with him, it is I.

Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift. In case I ever get back from the island, I want to remember how to be savagely indignant.

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. In case I need to remember how glorious it is to choose to go to Hell rather than betray a friend.

A very good and large anthology of modern (not contemporary) poetry. I could not last long without Yeats, Frost, Auden, Eliot, Wilbur, and countless other late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century poets.

I have no idea to whom to pass this, but I should like to see the lists compiled by Thomas Jefferson, John Kennedy, and Richard Wilbur (whose poetry and translations of Molière I much admire). I'll let Rugo choose for me.

Rugo will just pick just one more: NTodd.

The New Iraqi President

Values life, even Saddam's life. I bet that is really gonna stick in W's craw.
Translation from Texan to English: Ohhh that's gonna piss him off.

Who knew that the new government in Iraq might end up even more enlightened than we ourselves? Irony.

Faith Based Prison in Texas

You can read about it here Prayerful Prisons
I just want to make a few points about why I think this is happening in Tom Green County.
The county has not one elected Democrat, not one from the JP's to the Commissioners to the County Judge quoted in this article they are all good Republicans. The District Judges? Republican. The District Attorney? Republican both(Tom Green County actually has two). The Sheriff? Republican. The County Attorney? Republican.
Do you see a pattern here? Could this happen in a county without single party rule?

A county where there is actual debate over something other than the budget might put up a fuss about this, but in a county such as Tom Green that wants to bring in revenue without raising taxes or wages, a Christian faith based prison is a gimmie. No one will argue against it out in Protestant West Texas.

The men who enter into this prison, will get services that are not available to the inmates in general population, because they will agree to be proselytized to 24/7 for the last 2 years of their incarceration. That is not quite equal treatment under the law. In addition, it says nothing about separation of church and state, and where are the Muslim prisons? Many individuals convert to Islam during incarceration, surely they would appreciate the opportunity to serve out the last two years of their sentence at a Muslim facility. Do you think that Republican Tom Green County would consider a Muslim prison as well?

Not yet 12...I may be in a bit of trouble... Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

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Blueblonnet blogging! Posted by Hello

Book meme

Bryan at Why Now has tagged me for the Book goes!

You are stuck inside Fahrenheit 451. Which book would you be?
[Note: In the novel to save the content of books people memorized one in order to pass the content on to others

Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Yes, I grew up in the South remember? I have read Gone with the Wind more times than I like to admit(really at least 5) and as a young girl of 12-14 had a terrible crush on Rhett.

What is the last book you bought?
Me personally, well that would have been America by Jon Stewart, and The Price of Loyalty by Paul O'Neill. (Someone else usually buys what I am about to confess to below)

What are you currently reading?

Vampire novels! I read vampire novels and supernatural novels of all shapes and sizes. I trade them with an attorney I work with, he usually buys them and lets me borrow them, but sometimes I get ahead of him in a series and have to send someone to the book store to buy the next book in the series and then the attorney borrows the book from me.
Yes, Lauren Hamilton type books, I have read them all! The next one is due out in June. I have just finished Kelley Armstrong's Industrial Magic

To protect my brain from supernatural rot I am also currently reading: Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke, prior to my surgery I had read Buckley v. Valeo.
Five books for your desert island cruise package.

My copy of the complete works of T.S. Eliot.
St. Augustine's Confessions
Plato's The Republic
The complete works of John Locke.
Braum Stroker's Dracula(I want the mother of all vampire novels!)

Who are you going to pass this book meme baton to and why? (only three people)

Pasquin if he will do it and it is allowed, because he has actually read more than I will ever dream of and is a walking book.

OldWhiteLady at It's Morning Somewhere because she has pink flamingos in her yard and that speaks volumes for her sense of humor.

Jeffraham at Adidas in Heat, he has such eclectic taste in music his taste in books must be equally unusual.

UPDATE OWL and Jeffraham have their book meme up I was right!

Pasquin? Well I don't know if he will do it or not. I will tell you that he is walking collection of books and poetry. I am curious to see what one book he would choose to be, because he has so many in his memory.

Update II Aquaria at Rampaing PMS has pointed at me as well. I just wanted her to see my post, and say welcome back! *Wanders off singing the theme to Welcome Back Carter*.

Friday, April 08, 2005

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Rugo Joins the Gaggle

I see Rugo has now joined the legion of Friday polecat bloggers. She is still in some pain, but feeling a bit better I hear.

How is this NOT the most hated man in America? Just look at that inhibits healing.  Posted by Hello

Monday, April 04, 2005

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I am supposed to get to go home today *fingers crossed*! I would tell you if my neck felt better but my chest hurts too damn bad still.

Friday, April 01, 2005

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Surgery Over

For those who might be interested, Rugo's surgery went very well; she is out of recovery and back in her own room. Her perkiness, however, did not send a picture.