Monthly Archives: December 2010

Happy New Years!!!

So do you have a New Year’s resolution?  I quit making those things years ago because I never kept them.  What’s the point if you never keep them and you KNOW you’re not going to keep them?  I thought about making some this year but I really don’t have time to get ready for them.  You see, you have to do your prep work before you make a resolution otherwise you won’t keep it, guaranteed.  If you want to be serious about it, you have to start preparing, sometimes months earlier.  Ummmm, let’s see if I can give you an example or two.

If you smoke and want to quit, you can’t just wake up after a night of partying and not light up first thing.  You need to start working on quitting at least a month earlier, no matter the method you want to use.  That way, on New Year’s Eve, you can smoke all you want and, because you have been cutting back all month, it will totally make you sick to your stomach and, the next morning, you will SWEAR you’ll never smoke again.  Of course, it might have been the combination of alcohol, smoke, and way too much fun that made you sick but you can mentally tell yourself that it was the smoking and it’s so much easier to quit when you wake up on New Year’s Afternoon.

Say you vow not to miss all the important dates in the coming year, like your spouse’s birthday, your anniversary, your mom’s birthday, Valentine’s Day.  You’d better invest in a calendar program that will automatically send you emails, text messages on your cell, and/or voicemail messages, plus it should sync all of your calendars, no matter where they are; your cell phone, all of your email accounts, your office calendar, etc.  But you’d better also find one that will send multiple reminders and alerts.  The first alert should be at least 6 weeks before the date, so you have time to order something personalized and it won’t be late.  The next alert should be at least 1 week prior, so that you have time to get gift wrapping gear and a card.  The third alert should be the day before, just in case you totally forgot something.  The last alert should be 30 minutes before you the celebration, so that you can get everything set up just right and impress the heck out of everyone who is used to seeing your guilty look.  Setting all this up will take at least a few weeks to a month.  If any of those dates are in January or early February, it’s too late now to start on it.  What’s the point of having a resolution that you are going to break in the first month?

I thought this year of making a few resolutions.  The first one would be to handle my mom’s death a little better than I am.  Fortunately, the holidays are almost over and I know that I will grieve less in time.  I just can’t prep for that one!  I need to do more on getting Nonnie’s clothes out of her bedroom so that Drake will have a place to put his clothes when he moves in.  I think that opening a drawer and seeing his grandmother’s slips, undies, and pajamas would just be a little disturbing for him, so I really need to get my butt in gear on that one.  The only prep needed is to grit my teeth and do it and I know it will be easier after the holidays.  But these really aren’t resolutions to me.  These are things that need to be done and they will be accomplished in time and I’m okay with that.

I have become somewhat of a hermit these past few months so my resolution probably should be to get out of Argyle more and to see my friends and family more often.  But I started on this the first of December so is this really a New Year’s Resolution?  I don’t think so. 

I know!!!  My New Year’s Resolution will be to not allow myself to stagnate and I have already been preparing for that.  I have had two lunches with business buddies, breakfast with my best friend and her husband, one lunch and all-afternoon social with The Good Ol’ Girls Club and another one scheduled for January.  I have started taking singing lessons every Monday so that I can learn how to sing better and to extend my vocal range.  I am learning lots of new information but I have to tell you, singing a scale is BORING!!!  Not only that, my voice is absolutely horrible on the high notes.  I’ve always been a very low alto but this teacher has me singing all the way up to E, an octave ABOVE middle C.  Well, he calls it singing or practicing or some such; I call it torture.  Ed keeps asking when he can listen to me practice.  Hah!  If the dogs come running, sit and stare up at me when I do those high notes, I don’t think I’m ready for an audience quite yet, nor do I believe any human would want to sit through it.

Ok, I have one New Year’s Resolution and I’ve started the prep work for it.  So do you have a resolution this year?  If so, what will you be working on?  Maybe it is something that we can work together on?

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Federal vs. The People

Today, being a U.S. legislator is not as easy as it once was.  Today, we have lobbyists who campaign for their issues and interests, just as our legislators campaign for election.  Today, there are PACs, Political Action Committees, who can  not only campaign for their issues and interests, they can donate massive amounts of funds, called soft money contributions, for specific causes that are not tied to specific candidates.  Voters cannot donate as much cold hard cash as they want, but the PACs are allowed to.  The last I read, there are over 4,600 business, labor and special-interest PACs.  I can’t find one but I wonder if the state of Texas has a PAC?  San Diego has a PAC.  Does Texas have one?  If a single city has the need for a PAC, does a single state have a need for one, especially since senators are no longer appointed by the state governors?

Just how are the two sides of Congress different in the power they wield?  They share many powers because they looked at issues differently in the beginning.  The House members wanted to make sure they were re-elected by the people.  The Senate members wanted to make sure they were re-appointed by their respective states.  But there are some differences and in most cases, they must work together.

The House is the only side that can initiate revenue bills.  It takes both sides to pass the same bill to send it to the President but only the House can actually create a new revenue bill.  The House is the only body that can impeach a President, but the Senate is the body that actually tries a President for impeachment.  So, the people’s representatives can decide to impeach a sitting President but the state’s representatives decide whether to convict or not, and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court runs the impeachment trial.  At least that was what the founding fathers intended.  Checks and balances; no longer available in this instance.

So what can the states do that Congress can’t?  Basically, the states have the authority to do anything that the federal government is not specifically charged with doing and anything that the states are not prohibited of doing.  In other words, anything that’s not specifically given to the Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of government and is not specifically prohibited to the states in the Constitution is up to the states and the people.  Sounds great, doesn’t it?  However, section 8, clause 18, of Article One of the Constitution, called the Necessary and Proper Clause, is commonly used to give Congress expanded powers by both the Congress and the Supreme Court. 

The Congress shall have Power – To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

Ooookayyyyy.  So what does that mean for the states?  Have the Congress and the Supreme Court totally usurped our state’s rights?  To a great extent, I think they have because legislation at the federal level now seems to have become more about the power the federal government wields rather than the rights of the people.  Are there abuses nowadays?  Sure.  Were there abuses before the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913?  Definitely.  There will always be abuses if the people allow it.  Are there checks and balances today between the federal government and our state governments?  Not really.   For example:

  • The states regulate intrastate commerce and the federal government regulates interstate and international commerce; e.g. the feds can regulate what comes into the country but the states regulate where it goes once it is here.  Come on, once an item has been imported to a state, do you honestly believe that the people can’t get it, no matter where it is in the state?   That just feeds a black market for that item.
  • The federal government can print money, both bills and coins, and the state cannot; a national currency that is used all across the U.S.  That’s good.  Yet if more money is created, the states are definitely impacted and they don’t seem to have a say as to whether or when that money is created. 
  • The states provide for public health and safety, yet the federal government now has a federal health bill.  I can’t find anywhere that the U.S. Government has the authority to provide for my health. 

Ahhh, that good ol’ Necessary and Proper Clause strikes again!  Or maybe it’s the Commerce Clause?  Who knows but it’s in there somewhere.

Alright, you are probably thinking that I’m a Tea Party Member.  You are wrong.  I am not.  I am just a citizen who is pissed off that the feds are taking more and more of the power and leaving us, the people, with less and less.  And that’s what all of this seems to be about … power.  Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  I do NOT want to see the federal government have absolute power over the states, the districts, and the cities of this nation.  I do NOT want to see the federal government have absolute power over me. 

Back off, bub!

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Merry Christmas to everyone!

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

Federal vs. State

What is the difference between the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives?  If the people have the power to elect them, where do our state governors go to make their voice heard?  Is it up to the people to elect state and federal representatives with the same values and concerns or do states have any authority when it deals with the federal government? 

Let’s look at the basics first.  There are 435 U.S. congressmen and 100 senators.  In Texas, there are 150 members of the Texas House and 31 members of the Texas Senate.  Those are our state and federal representatives only and it doesn’t even touch on our city and county representatives. Thankfully, each of us only needs to vote on one U.S. senator, one U.S. congressman, one state senator, and one state congressman, so it shouldn’t be difficult to research four people at most after an election and know what they believe in.  Yet how many people can name all four of their representatives?

Ok, we can elect them but how are they supposed to work together?  It’s fairly easy to see how the federal representatives work (or not) together and how the state representatives work (or not) together.  We have seen recently that the federal government has sued Arizona, but can a state sue the federal government to make sure that the federal government is doing what the state needs?  The simple answer is no.  The federal government has sovereign immunity and can’t be sued UNLESS it waives this immunity.  Good luck with that!

Effectively, there are no checks and balances for our states and federal representatives.  I found an Office of State-Federal Relations in Texas, but it doesn’t seem to have any explicit authority.  All it does is funnel information from the federal government to the Texas governor and legislative representatives.  Obviously, the state receives funding from the federal government and administrates federal programs here within the state but I can’t find anywhere on the state level where we can hold the federal government accountable to the states.  Seriously???

Originally the U.S. Congress was elected by the people and the U.S. Senate was appointed by the individual state governments, therefore the congressmen were accountable to the people and the senators were accountable to their states to do what their states needed and wanted.   What it boiled down to was that the larger states, ones with large populations, had the most congressmen and all of the people were represented equally, yet all states had only 2 senators and therefore all states were represented equally within the federal government.  The Seventeenth Amendment changed this and our U.S. Senate was then elected by popular vote in the states.

In one respect, this was good, in that the senators had to be concerned with public opinion and not state opinion, politics and the Good Ol’ Boys network.  Yet it also undermined the authority of our state governments.  Now the state has no one in Washington, D.C. who is accountable to our state legislatures.  The state governors have banded together into the National Governor’s Association, which helps a little but it tends to help states in general, not states in particular.

So what is the difference between the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate? 

To Be Continued…

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Christmas Cards for Nonnie

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I’ve been receiving Christmas cards addressed to Nonnie. Some are from out-of-town friends who were not contacted in July. I have been sending return Christmas cards from me, informing them of what has happened this year. That has been difficult because I’m never sure how to start the message. How do you tell someone who obviously loved Nonnie that she isn’t here anymore and we didn’t contact them back in July. Continue reading

I’m So Excited! I Can’t Sleep!

“So do you think that you will have more fun at lunch if you get no sleep tonight?”

“I’M SO EXCITED!  I CAN’T SLEEP!”

Friday night, I couldn’t go to sleep.  The Good Ol’ Girls Club was having their first meeting on Saturday for lunch and I couldn’t wait.  I wasn’t the only one, either.  All of us were excited to be doing something just for us. 

It is absolutely amazing what the three of us have in common.  We are all Leo’s.  We all wear glasses.  We all love coffee.  And that’s just the beginning.  Of course, we all have differences also but that just makes our friendship more interesting.

We arrived at Abuelo’s around noon.  We all started with coffee and then with margarita’s (all different styles), lunch, and finished with Christmas presents.  We just couldn’t stop talking.  It was almost like we had saved up years of conversation.  Even Christmas presents had to take a backseat to us getting to know each other better.  Some things were funny, some sad, some emotional, and some absolutely hilarious, but all were interesting.

For me, it was a very special bonding with two very special people in my life; my sister and the mother of two of my kids. Hahaha.  It does sound funny when you say it that way but it is very true.  Jen became my best friend, my sister, and my neighbor in 1980.  Geez, has it really been that long ago???  Donni is my husband’s ex-wife and mother of Kim and Lee.  I have Drake and I love him dearly but I’ve always felt that I have 3 kids.  I may not have given birth to 2 of them, but they are mine just the same.  That was solidified, at least for me, Saturday when Donni said one of them was “your kid.”  No, children, I’m not saying which one, so don’t even ask! 

By the time we all were starting to get tired and not talking quite so much, it was almost 3:30 in the afternoon.  Abuelo’s was a great meeting place; the waiter never bugged us to leave or to order or to free up the table.  Because I had picked up Jen on the way to lunch, it was over 4 hours, I swear, of non-stop talking.  I wore out my vocal chords!!!  Seriously!  My voice was hoarse when I got home about 5:30.  No, it didn’t take me 2 hours to drive from Hurst to Argyle.  I couldn’t just drop Jen off when I got to her house.  I hadn’t seen Roger in quite a while so I had to go in and see Roger, along with their new house and their 2 little Maltese angels and, of course, talk some more.  Then Ed wanted to hear how much fun we had, so I talked even more when I got home. 

I haven’t talked this much in over a year and I really did need it.  I have turned into somewhat of a hermit and have lost my conversational skills this year.  I get distracted in the middle of a sentence and go off on a different tangent, which can be very distracting for everyone, but then I totally forget what I was saying, so I have difficulty getting my train of thought going again.  I think they call that a “senior moment.”  Hmmm.  I have a lot of those nowadays.

Yeah, I’d better keep my mouth shut today, just to let the voice rest up for next week.  I don’t think that will be a problem because I seem to be spending a lot of time just thinking about yesterday and smiling.  Saturday was a very good day and I look forward to many more, at least once a month, when I can practice my conversation skills with 2 people I love dearly…my best friends.

Next month, assuming the weather is good, we’ll meet in Southlake.  I’m so excited!  I can’t wait!!!

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They Found Her!

They apparently staged an accident with her car and, when she stopped, two of them somehow got her to let them in the car. They forced her to go to three different ATMs and withdraw about $900 in total. You can see the fear on her face in the ATM video. Then they stuck her in the trunk of the car for 14 hours and drove to New Mexico. Just across the state line, they released her for some reason and she started driving back to Texas, where the police recognized the car. Continue reading