Michelle Smiles

Teaching my children to question authority, except mine.



Two things that I read on line this weekend have been taking up some of my thoughts off line. (Getting all political on a Monday morning…might want to sit down.)

The first is the shitstorm Johnson & Johnson created when they tried to do something nice for some mommy bloggers. Unfortunately, they didn’t execute the idea so well. Who invites mommy bloggers for 3 weekdays of pampering with no kids allowed? Not a lot of moms can get away from their kids and/or jobs for 3 weekdays. And due to some misunderstandings they dis-invited a few bloggers. But a very nice thought on their part…perhaps next time they will ask some mommy bloggers to help with the planning so they can avoid a nice thing turning into bad PR. For some reason, this little train wreck fascinated me a little.

The second was a situation on a message board I sometimes visit. It tends to be a support, warm and fuzzy place. As is true in the real world, I find that my beliefs don’t always align with others on the board but differences make the world more interesting. There was a thread that started with a discussion of a psychological study recently published. Certainly no one was casting any opinions about the validity of the study – just discussing general thoughts about the findings. One person expressed her disdain for psychology and psychologists, stated that only Christians should attempt to counsel people, and cited both Rush and Dr. Laura. She also used descriptives such as liberal (check), divorced (check), studied psychology (check), and lesbian (okay so no check here – not that there is anything wrong with that) as negatives. Anyone who knows me in real life, probably could guess that invoking the name of Rush or Dr. Laura (you all know she isn’t a doctor of anything right? Her degree is in physiology and isn’t a PhD) is like waving a red cape at a bull – using both could induce an aneurysm. I didn’t start a debate with the person for a variety of reasons: I like and respect the woman who runs the board, I’m not likely to change anyone’s mind, and she didn’t seem open to the opinions of others.

The point of all of that is this: I wonder sometimes if I am in the minority. I believe strongly in many things. I am not likely to change my views on those things. But I can usually see where the other side is coming from even if I disagree with them. I find that so many people dismiss those who disagree with them as ignorant. After hearing why people believe things I sometimes think that – but it is their reasoning, not their belief that leads me to that conclusion. Others feel that people who disagree on fundamental issues must be inherently bad or morally corrupt – they just can’t fathom that viewing the world from a different perspective doesn’t make someone bad or immoral. Differences keep the world interesting.

I am 100% pro-choice – despite the joy adoption has brought to my life. Always have been, always will be. I understand the argument of the other side – I can totally see where they are coming from. I just don’t agree with the premise that the government can or should legislate personal issues like that one. I don’t think people who disagree are ignorant (well except maybe W…but for very different reasons).

I am 100% anti-death penalty. Do I lose sleep when someone like Ted Bundy is executed? Not really. But I believe it is wrong for several basic reasons. 1) Practically speaking, it costs more to try a death penalty case and execute a prisoner than to keep him alive in prison for the rest of his life. 2) State mandated murder sends the wrong message. 3) It doesn’t deter violent crime. An eye for an eye doesn’t work. Countries and states which has abolished the death penalty have not seen a rise in violent crime. 4) No take-backsies. If someone screws up, you can’t undo it. BUT I can see where the other side is coming from emotionally. I just disagree. I don’t think people who believe in the death penalty are evil (well except maybe W…but for very different reasons).

I believe gay marriage should be legal. I have 2 issues with the argument against making it legal. The first is the religious side. The God/Higher Power I believe in celebrates love and joy – in all of its forms. The second is legal. We have a mandated separation of church and state in this country. I don’t argue that religion should sanction gay marriage so much as I argue that there is no legal reason that marriage must be defined as between a man and a woman. This is religion influencing where it shouldn’t. This is the government trying to legislate what it views as morality – which is not the job of the government. I understand why people want to do this but have a harder time sympathizing here. (And W is still an evil moron…and this is one of the reasons – a constitutional amendment?!?)

Anyway, the point of this rambling post was to talk about tolerance. I know the majority of my readers will disagree with each and every one of my opinions on those political issues. I’ve heard your slightly right leanings out there – but I love you anyway. We’ve all gotten along for this long…can’t we celebrate differences and enjoy the expanding of our horizons? Doesn’t it make life more interesting?

Are you able to see the other side of hot button issues or do you feel blinded by your complete belief in something that you have trouble appreciating the other side of things?

As always, respectful debate is welcome.

posted under political | 51 Comments »

Home again


I am writing this on my very own laptop.  My very own laptop devoid of any of the information I’ve spent years accumulating – but still my own laptop.  Unless you’ve emailed me (or commented here and left your email) in the past 2 weeks, I no longer have your email address – my address book was one of the things lost forever.  Also, if I haven’t commented on your blog in awhile, I may well have lost the address.  All of my bookmarks went bye-bye as well.  Only the blogs on my feed reader or in my blog roll are still known to me.  Also, if I forget your birthday this year – sorry about that.  My Outlook calendar also went *poof*.

My advice to everyone?  When you back up your information, which I did daily onto an external drive, make sure you include your Outlook calendar and address book as well as your favorites folder in your browser.  And while you are at it? 80% of you who visit me still use Internet Explorer – check out Firefox.  It is a free download and so much more wonderful than IE.  I’m resistant to change (hence my cursing Picasa this evening because my normal photo editing software hasn’t been reinstalled yet – it works fine I just can’t figure out a few things that I know how to do with my normal program) but Firefox is easy to love.

My sister in law is arriving tonight to visit for a couple of days and a friend from blogland is in town so we are hoping to visit with her before she leaves.  Sounds like a good week to come!

posted under Misc. | 3 Comments »

Because I am shocked


by how many of you aren’t familiar with that use of the word “tony”, I’ve looked it up on Dictionary.com to provide proof.

ton·y–adjective, ton·i·er, ton·i·est. Informal. high-toned; stylish: a tony nightclub.

Origin: 1875–80, Americanism

And Amy, I stole that Ranger Rick magazine from a doctor’s office to prove the existence of flying squirrels to you years ago.  If we had had google back in those days, I could have avoided the petty larceny.


posted under Misc. | 9 Comments »

Grass is always greener


Sabrina spent the entire morning yesterday longing to be outside.  It was a lovely day and we ran errands for the majority of the afternoon – but she couldn’t wait to get going.

Please momma, can we go now?


How come the puppy gets to be outside and I’m stuck in here?


Okay, I have your purse, you get the keys.  Let’s go.


Today we also ran around a bit.  We happened upon a yard sale in a tony section of town. (Does everyone use the word tony to mean upscale?  My husband swears I’ve made it up and decided it was because there was a rich guy named Tony in my neighborhood as a kid so our neighborhood started using the term.  I tell him it just never made it into Pittsburghese.)  Apparently the well-to-do don’t have yard sales like the rest of us.  The least expensive item was $25.  I’m sure the items were expensive and of good quality but when I stop at a yard sale, I am looking for deals.  I’ve been shopping for a dresser for the baby – the dresser there was $475.  Not much of a deal.  There was a small Longaberger basket for $45.  Striking out in the bargain hunting arena…perhaps I should just stay home and pack the crap I already own.

posted under nashville | 21 Comments »

Ignorance is bliss?


I’ve discovered ignorance is only blissful when it is your ignorance…not when you are dealing with the ignorance of others.

I spent 10 minutes on the phone this morning trying to explain to our new property management company representative why I would not be changing the utilities to our name tomorrow when we sign our lease. Our lease doesn’t begin for a little over 2 weeks. I’m not paying for 2 weeks of utilities on a property I am not responsible for or living in. She was very confused. Of course, she was also confused by the fact that we wanted to sign the lease tomorrow but didn’t want the lease to begin for 2 weeks. I’m guessing that she is also flummoxed by the whole push/pull dilemma when opening a door.



Sabrina woke me up about 45 minutes earlier than normal this morning (and no, I won’t tell you what time that was because there are those of you getting up while it is dark). She was laughing and playing in her crib. I dragged myself out of bed and jumped in the shower. I threw on some clothes and went to get Sabrina. What did I find? She had fallen back to sleep. Little shit.

posted under nashville | 15 Comments »

Still shaking


Internet down almost all day.  Sitting in the corner rocking.  Will take time to recover.

posted under Misc. | 10 Comments »

Geek Squad sucks


I whined talked about my laptop woes a couple of weeks ago. We took it to the Geek Squad because it was still under warranty. Steve told them (because I would have said “its broke”) that he felt it was the video card due to x, y, and z.

They called Friday to say it was ready to pick up. Hooray! I happily went to pick it up. The tech told me that they cleaned the lens on the DVD drive and ran diagnostics – nothing else. They claimed it was a software problem (not covered by warranty) not a hardware problem. Bottom line? Still broken. Steve wiped out everything on my laptop and tried to do a factory restore (no idea what that means other than I lost everything). It took my husband all of 30 minutes to be sure there was indeed a hardware issue not a corrupt operating system. We took it back to the Geek Squad and the tech offered to send a “harshly worded note” to the geek behind the curtain who would be working on it.


Pregnancy brings strangely vivid dreams. My dreams are usually rather dull. I had a dream a few weeks ago about standing in line at a bank to get 2 documents notarized. That was it – standing in line and signing 2 papers. But last night, I had one so disturbing that when I told Steve about it he claimed he would have nightmares about it. I’ve been up since 5am because I couldn’t get it out of my head.


Anyone who uses WordPress…how can I delete draft posts?  I can’t seem to get rid of them.

posted under Misc. | 11 Comments »

Happy Easter


or day of the chocolate eggs – whatever you celebrate.



posted under family | 13 Comments »

We won’t be homeless or riding the bus


We accomplished 2 big things today and it feels good to know they are taken care of now.  First, the lease on my car was up so we turned it in and leased a new one.  They were running a nice lease special so we got something a little bigger since we will soon be adding a second car seat to the back seat.  I made Steve promise he would never make me drive a mini-van so we got a cross over – part car, part mini-van, part SUV.  It gets decent gas mileage and will be big enough to have 2 car seats and luggage when we head north to visit home.   My new Nissan Rogue in sunset red:


Sigh…just 3 short years ago I was driving a red convertible.

The second thing we did was finally find a house we could both agree to rent.  We’ve looked at 8 houses.  Steve hated something about all of them.  I could have lived with any of them because I figure we aren’t buying it, just borrowing.  Today, we found one that should be great for our family.  It even has a fenced in back yard for the dog – bonus!  And the neighborhood has sidewalks which is something we both love for evening walks with Sabrina.  So in just over a month, we will be calling this place home:


Anyone want to come and pack boxes?  Hehe.

posted under nashville | 20 Comments »

My Day of Many Mistakes


Yesterday was a lovely day in Nashville – sunny, not too chilly, and very spring-like.  It seems that almost overnight the Bradford pears and forsythia and daffodils are all blooming and everything is suddenly green again.


Taken while driving so forgive the weird angle.

Sabrina and I did a drive-by of a possible rental house.  On the way home, I decided to stop at the mall.  It has been ages since I’ve been in the mall – I thought it would be nice to wander around.  It is apparently spring break and every child between the ages of 6 months and17 years was at the mall yesterday.  They all seemed to either be screaming or making out.

Sabrina doesn’t get much sugar.  I give her a cookie a couple of times a week with her afternoon milk but that is really the only sugar she eats.  Yesterday at the mall, she had a few M&Ms, chocolate milk, and ice cream – on top of only getting a 15 minute cat nap in the car earlier.  The child was vibrating.  It resulted in a 20 minute crash in the car on the way home.


We returned home too late in the day to attempt a real nap.  Steve heard how whiny Sabrina was and contemplated manufacturing errands to keep him out of the house until bedtime.  It wasn’t pretty.

Over-stimulation at the over crowded mall + sugar + no nap = meltdowns of nuclear proportions.


posted under parenting | 12 Comments »
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