Normal Is Chaos

Oh, by the way- we’re in Austin. We moved into our new home on Halloween, spent the night checking out the kiddo’s costumes at the B’s, then grabbed a plane at the crack of dawn. MK wouldn’t let me party style announce our trip because apparently we had so much to do – I think that was mostly he wanted to be in peace while he had his Rudy’s, Taco Cabana, and Rudy’s breakfast tacos. And Brick Oven, and more Rudy’s.

We did accomplish going through all our things and I now have nothing to whine about missing besides my desk. It at first felt depressing but I can remind myself better now than I did years ago that it’s all an adventure some people wish for. PH was hilariously thinking it was a dream come true without any drama, setting her straight on our virtual eviction from paradise was fun. Also letting the H’s know if they don’t visit us in Winter Wonderland they are dead to us was hopefully productive – and hilarious.

Important to note is that it is November. If you feel like perusing- here’s last November. For the last two years I wrote books with NaNoWriMo in November. Last year I also blogged every day for NaBloPoMo. This year, I am going to focus on publishing a book instead of starting another one. And this bog clearly didn’t make the first week, so I’m going to keep it normal around here this month. That’s plenty.

Most importantly, there was this election- maybe you heard about it. It meant something very meaningful to me. MK and I got to take his mother to vote for the first time in her life. Regardless of the outcome – you know I’m not going to fight with you about that here – moments like that make a statement too. It was fun to watch the news into the night with her and hear MK answer all her questions.

We’ll be back in Park City soon – apparently we already missed the first snowfall. But I’m not too worried – something tells me there will be more.

Fighting Over Seals, Part Two: Current Dilemma

Today, if you go to see the seals you might wander into a different scenario depending on the day. The failure of the city to resolve the issue is causing people to take unimaginable actions.

Some days the seals are left to themselves. People walk the seawall and enjoy the view of the beach and the ocean. Children smile and point and get excited to see the animals. Tourists are taking pictures. Chances are good it’s a cloudy day. There will be a small table staffed by a volunteer selling “We just need one beach” t-shirts supporting the seals.

On a sunny day, weekend, or holiday there might be a different scene. The seals will be out in the water looking for a rock or ledge to rest on. Recently some snorkelers have gone so far as to hire private security and put signs up proclaiming their right to use the beach. Families unaware of the small signs warning of the unsafe fecal bacteria levels will allow their children to use the beach and swim in the water. Cops are now trolling the area more regularly.

People not paying attention are finding their pictures on the web and on the local news – they will be found and ticketed with a heavy fine for breaking the Marine Mammal Protection Act that tells them they must stay a certain distance away from the seals. Recently a man was even sentenced for threating the seal activists.

The stress this must be causing the animals is hard to imagine. The fear of disease is a concern of the locals. The problem is clear – the situation needs to be resolved once and for all. All the back and forth is just making the place harder to visit and enjoy. To dredge the sand will cost over $500,000, with $50,000 in annual maintenance going forward. The seals last hope may be the Navy, who have the ability to say that dredging could change the California coast too dramatically and may damage the other landscape. Whether or not the seals are allowed to stay, I certainly hope to see the resolution of the issue while I live here.

Fighting Over Seals, Part One: Background

Here in La Jolla, there is a Children’s Pool that was trusted to the city ages ago (1931) by Ellen Browning Scripps. It consists mainly of a sea wall. The idea was to have a safe place for the kiddos to swim. Over time, seals started hanging out on the beachy part on breaks from their adventures. Over more time, they began to birth their pups there annually – the only place of it’s kind in Southern California. This pool has now become famous in its own right – the number one tourist attraction for La Jolla.

In 2007, some mean spirited lady named Valerie O’Sullivan sued the city for not keeping the conditions of the trust. Mainly, she wanted the sand that had accumulated dredged so the seals would leave and kids could swim there again.

On the one hand is the trust. The city is supposed to do with what you give it exactly as you wish.

On the other hand is the change in time since that trust. There are dozens of other safe beaches and pools for children that weren’t previously established. Not to mention EBS wanted kids to enjoy the pool, arguably they enjoy watching the seals (more of that in Part Two).

The city is slightly on the side of the seals, trying to find ways to hide behind marine mammal protection laws in order to avoid pushing them out. In addition, they’ve tried to find that the water would be bacterially unfit for years to come. Unfortunately they seem unable to find a convincing argument for the seals. It has been two years of heated debate back and forth over what to do. I’m currently reading the entire history through the court briefing (if you’re crazy it’s right here).

Here’s the link to the Friends of the Seals.

Here’s the link to the Friends of Mean Spirited Monsters of the Law.

In Part Two I’ll tell you about the recent escalation of the situation and the pros and cons of change.

State Of The Union Drinking Game 2008

Stolen utterly completely, but full of laughs and worth sharing.
Link to original post.

President George W. (Dubya) Bush will be delivering his State of the Union Address this Monday Night, January 28th, 2008 at 9pm EST.Unlike last year, there is some cause for celebration as this will be the last address Dubya will deliver as President. Still, he has plenty of time to muck things up, so with equal parts fear and joy, the only way to get through this is to drink up!Those who got drunk with me last year will notice a return of many of last year’s favorite rules, but stay focused, there’s much CHANGE from last year, and remember, folks, we all love the buzzword of CHANGE!

Here are the rules for
The State of the Union Drinking Game, version 2008, Last Year of the Dubya:

Drink Every Time:

-Dubya mentions “The Surge” and how it’s working in Iraq.

-Dubya mentions the need to keep long-term military operations in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.

-Dubya mentions Iran, Pakistan, or North Korea in or out of the context of talking about “nukes”.

-Dubya announces a new PC-term his aides have created for “The War on Terror” or simply mentions the “The War on Terror” or mentions “9/11″.

-Dubya talks about the “Stimulus Package” that will help keep the economy from slipping into recession.

-Dubya talks about the current Presidential Primaries, the upcoming Presidential Election, or CHANGE.

-Dubya squints really hard, furrows his brow, purses his lips, and looks like a chimpanzee.

-Dubya butchers the English language with the mispronunciation of a big word, the missuse of a commonly used word, or the creation of a word that did not previously exist.

-They cut to a shot of Hillary Clinton folding her arms, looking constipated, and even more pissed than when Bill said, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.”

-They cut to a shot of Barack Obama looking thoughtful, pensive, and confident.

-They cut to a shot of Condaleeza Rice clapping like the lap dog she is.

-Nancy Pelosi (in the background sitting behind the President) looks very stiff and bug-eyed as she tries to hold back a massive attack of “head shaking” and “oh, no he didn’t” gazes.

-Nancy Pelosi blinks. (You’ll be drunk before Dubya even opens his mouth.)

-Dick Cheney (also in his place sitting behind the President) appears to be leaning too far to one side and is about to topple over in a heart attack or strain from an evil grimace.

-The Republican (and still minority) side of the House gives Dubya a completely unwarranted standing ovation.

*Surgeon General’s Warning: If you drink too much, you may find yourself in a coma and not awake until 2009 when a Democrat is back in the White House.

Didn’t Even Use My AK

So one event in our super duper fun week was that we went and shot guns. They actually have ‘Ladies Night’ over at Wade’s Shooting Range… all that sounded to me was unsafe.

(Tangent – Wade’s? In TX, it was Red’s. Are all gun ranges owned by guys with cool hilarious first names?)

I had never ever shot a gun before. As opposed to the people we went with, that brought their own. Fancy guns too. We had Thai for dinner first. That’ll rev you up- or something.

The guys there basically showed me how to load and cock the thing. And the rest, well, I was supposed to figure out myself. That was a little strange to me. MK and NN and MP were all there to guide me, but the first 9mm that I shot scared the crap out of me. Then the second time, the shell fell down my shirt. Those are hot. I also realized I kept closing my eyes and freaking out a little. So I stopped. I felt like a giant wuss. MK went to get me a smaller caliber gun. NN decided to let me shoot a bigger gun. I did it. It was hilarious to see MK come back with a .22 (smaller gun) and I’m in there shooting a .45 (bigger gun). He was confused.

For whatever reason, the .45 was much easier to shoot. Less kickback or something. The best part was getting the body target. NN drew a mean face and made it so the ‘body’ was giving us the finger, so I would hit it. I actually got the guy right in the heart, over and over…and over. I was a pretty good shot with the little gun.

Other than that, what I learned was that every woman (and man for that matter) should go shoot a gun, in case they might ever need to, so they don’t freak out in a real life situation. I kept imagining real life situations where I’d be shooting – much to the dismay of the hardcore mean chick that kept rolling her eyes at me. She apparently shoots for ‘recreation’. Whatever. I shoot to LIVE lady.

This is me shooting:


This is the other big gun I shot:


This is the giant gun I did NOT shoot:


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