Friday, August 30, 2013

Liberty in America: A Political Theory

I've been meaning to sit down and write this post for a while now. It just so happens that, today, I am sitting here at the office twiddling my thumbs doing nothing since today is "moving day" and we can't do any productive work since everything is boxed up and shut down. Everything but my trusty iPad that is.

Anyway, let's talk about freedom and liberty for a bit. I am going to try to avoid using terms that come too heavily "loaded" with excess baggage, but I want to take a second here to give a couple of definitions to set up a common frame of reference for the rest of the discussion.

First, let's look at the definition of "liberty" from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary:


1: the quality or state of being free:
a : the power to do as one pleases
b : freedom from physical restraint
c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control
d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges
e : the power of choice

When I talk about liberty here, I am mainly focusing on the first part of the definition above. Specifically, I believe liberty, true liberty, is the state of being free and having the power to do as one pleases (within certain easily definable boundaries...i.e. your freedom of action ends when it interferes with the freedom of action, health or welfare of another). The other aspects of liberty mentioned in the definition are part and parcel with that in my humble opinion. It's hard to do as one pleases when under physical restraint for instance.

Moving along, let's look at the definition for "freedom" (same source):


1: the quality or state of being free: as
a : the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action
b : liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another : independence
c : the quality or state of being exempt or released usually from something onerous
d : ease, facility
e : the quality of being frank, open, or outspoken
f : improper familiarity
g : boldness of conception or execution
h : unrestricted use

a : a political right
b : franchise, privilege

As you can see, the definitions of freedom and liberty are very closely related; and, in my opinion, one cannot exist without the other. There are a couple of concepts buried in the definition of freedom that should be emphasized though. Those are: independence and privilege. Freedom IS a privilege. It is one that must be guarded and protected. Freedom also requires independence. Once independence is lost and the majority slide into dependence, freedom is gone as well. Keep your thumb here or highlight it or something. We'll be coming back to this concept in a minute.

Finally, for purposes of this discussion, political terms such as right/left, Republican/Democrat, liberal (or progressive if you prefer)/conservative, etc. will be used in the manner consistent with common usage as of this writing as opposed to any historical or rhetorical connotations that may rightly or wrongly apply.

Moving along, let's get into the back story leading to the formation of my theory. I don't recall exactly where or when I read it; however, there was a blog article a while back making the argument that Americans have been duped into thinking that the government has to take a side on any given issue (gay marriage in the case of this particular article but the author later generalized the point to apply to all issues). The writer went on to argue that, in reality, both sides of any given argument were shooting themselves in the foot by insisting that the government get involved in something that was NONE OF ITS BUSINESS.

Think about that for a moment. Take, for example, the issue identified by that article. Where in the Constitution does it say that gay marriage (or straight marriage for that matter) is any of the government's business? I'll help you with this answer: NOWHERE! And, yet, here we have people on both sides of the issue yielding their independence by depending on the Government to take a stand by denying the liberty and freedom of people on the other side of the issue by enforcing one side the views of one over another. How absurd is that?

Whichever side the government takes regardless of the issue, there is corresponding legislation, regulation and government bureaucracy necessary to enforce that position. Look no further than the news regarding the implementation of Obamacare (I am using the popular term here because I am too lazy to write out the full name of the bill not for any pejorative connotations the term may have) and all the rules and regs and people needed to sort that out.

Even Starbucks is smart enough to stay out of issues that are none of its business. Starbucks is in the business of selling coffee, and they have wisely decided that their views on the Second Amendment, whatever they may be, have nothing to do with the business of selling coffee. They gain absolutely no benefit from taking a stand one way other the other; and, in fact, they risk alienating a significant percentage of their customer base BY taking a stand. 

To be fair, that's an overly simplistic and non-analogous comparison; but, the point remains that there are things defined by the Constitution that ARE the government's business and things, thanks to the Tenth Amendment of the Constitution, that ARE NOT the government's business.

Quick refresher for those who have not read the Constitution lately:

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Now, let's back up a bit for some history leading up to the Constitution. I'm sourcing heavily from Wikipedia for this next bit (again, because I am lazy as opposed to any endorsement or condemnation of Wikipedia's greatness).

Prior to the War for American Independence or Revolutionary War (depending on which history book you read), there was a shift in political philosophy thanks to the Enlightenment. In particular, the long held belief in the divine right of monarchies to rule over subjects started suffering from some serious setbacks starting with the notable regicide incident in England during that little dispute between Oliver Cromwell and Charles I.

One philosopher in particular, John Locke, had a huge influence in this area of thought. To quote from Wikipedia:

"John Locke's (16321704) ideas on liberty greatly influenced the political thinking behind the revolution, especially through his indirect influence on English writers.[clarification needed] He is often referred to as "the philosopher of the American Revolution," and is credited with leading Americans to the critical concepts of social contract, natural rights, and "born free and equal."[6] Locke's Two Treatises of Government, published in 1689, was especially influential; Locke in turn was influenced by Protestant theology.[7] He argued that, as all humans were created equally free, governments needed the consent of the governed.[8] Both Lockean concepts were central to the United States Declaration of Independence, which deduced human equality, "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" from the biblical belief in creation: "All men are created equal, ... they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."

As we continue rolling forward in history to the revolution itself, we find the rhetoric of the time rooted in freedom and liberty. Notably, Patrick Henry did not say "Give me Democracy or give me death." He said, "Give me LIBERTY or give me death." Even The Declaration of Independence, based on the ideas and philosophy of John Locke says, makes a strong argument for liberty with the line "...the pursuit of life, LIBERTY and the pursuit of happiness."

Once the war was one and the leaders of the new nation came together to hammer out a social contract based on Locke's ideas. We see this codified in the Preamble of US Constitution:

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." [emphasis mine]

So, why did I go through all of that, and what do I think it means as far as a political theory goes?

Think of the political spectrum as a bell curve. There are relatively few radicals on either side of any given issue while the vast majority reside somewhere in the middle. Call it 10/80/10 or 20/60/20. It is my theory that the vast majority in the middle of the bell curve just want to be left alone to live their lives as they see fit while it is the outliers on either side of the curve that see it as, not only their right, their mission in life to make everyone else live the way they think they should.

By doing so, by insisting that the government pick a side where it has no business being in the first place, these radicals on either side have yielded their independence, their freedom and liberty if you will, in favor of dependence upon the government to define their lives.

If a politician wants to really shake things up, it is my belief that they should not promise to take a stand on this or that side of an issue. Instead, they should promise to leave everyone alone and stick to the things defined by the Constitution as the government's business.

Unfortunately, I don't see that happening anytime soon with the way things are going now.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Proto Blog

I'm on the road again today for what I hope will be a day trip to Houston. So, in lieu of actually thinking while trying to wake up at an obscene predawn hour, I'm going to set the way back machine to a time before there was a blog named Preachers and Horse Thieves. About three or four years before I started this mess, I kept a journal of sorts collecting miscellaneous thoughts, silly comments, failed attempts at poetry and other stupidity. I will now share some of those gems with you. Not the failed poetry though. There are limits to what I will inflict upon you. 

Where's my mind? I don't know. I didn't follow it. 

If horizontal stripes make you look fat and vertical stripes make you look thin, does plaid bend the laws of physics?

The only casualty was a rabbit that thought it was a speed bump.

He had a gun collection larger than some gun stores or third world countries. 

Did you hear about the bishop arrested for selling relics of dearly deceased pontifs? It was a clear case of pope dealing. 

How can things be new AND improved? It's either all new or it's been recently improved. 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Game Over

As the perceptive ones among you may have already noticed, my challenge to myself to post something everyday this month crashed and burned in a steaming pile of fail over the weekend. I would say that it all started when I fell asleep in the new patio furniture Friday night after the judicious application of a slice of Cheesecake Factory Godiva chocolate cheesecake, but that's not entirely true. 

The simple matter of fact is that I just couldn't kick start my give a flip to write anything over the weekend. So, having failed my self imposed test, it is back to my irregularly scheduled programming. 

In other news, I got to see my new office today for the first time since they finished installing the furniture. Allow me to back up just a second. In my entire 20 something year career in the insurance industry, I have thus far managed to escape the dreaded office move. My first job, the owners of the company owned the building and weren't going anywhere. My second job had just finished an office move about a year before I came on board. The third company did a move about a year after I left. The last company before this one just opted to let everyone go work from home. 

So, I arrive at a company that has been in the same office space for 25 years. One thing and another (you increased crime, one of the male employees being propositioned by a prostitute in the parking garage, the building going through a major remodel, etc.), and it was time to move. 

All things considered including the horror stories I've heard of office moves, things have been going remarkably smoothly in the run up to the move. We officially open for business in the new space on September 3, but I've had several opportunities to go up to the new space while it's been under construction. It's been fascinating to me to watch the transformation. 

So, without further adieu, here's what my new digs look like:

The new desk will have three monitors and electically operated sit/stand options with memory presets. 

Strictly speaking, it's not a corner office, but I do have a little bit of a side view to work with looking east. My main view looks north. In fact, I can see the neighborhood I grew up in from my office window. 

The new space is close to the same size as my current office, but it feels much bigger thanks to a better layout of the furniture. 

There are a couple of minor downsides to the new office. 1) it's six miles further north than the current office which means another 15 minutes or so in traffic both ways depending on what day of the week it is. 2) it's very close to the reception area and the main conference room as well as being the main route for most of the company big wigs to get to the CEO's office meaning my anonymous nose picking days are over. 

Overall, I'm still happy. The lunch time restaurant selection is greatly improved. We plan on selling Castle Erickson and finding something a bit closer to the new office (considering we are on the south side of the DFW metroplex with downtown in between us and the office). If the economy will allow us to sell. 

Know anybody looking to buy a 2200 square foot house on one acre with a 100 square foot shop in southern DFW? Let me know. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

More Advice For M&M

It's been a while since I've posted some advice for M&M. So, what's a Daddy Hawk to do?

1. Never rush a miracle. You're liable to wind up with a rotten miracle.

I'm loosely paraphrasing the Miracle Max line from The Princess Bride here. The essence of the idea is that we all, from time to time, look for or desperately need a miracle in our lives. When you're busy storming the castle, it's hard not to try and rush the miracle. The truth is that you can't rush a miracle. You have to be patient and wait for it. It'll get there in it's own good time. Besides, if it came on demand, it wouldn't really be a miracle would it?

2. K.I.S.S. (keep it simple stupid)

Don't make things overly complicated. Life is difficult enough without turning it into a Rube Goldberg device.

3. Learn how to "shave" with Occam's Razor.

In general, the simplest explanation that accounts for the facts of a given situation is most likely the correct explanation.

4. Always address your elders or those in positions of authority with respect (even when they don't necessarily deserve it).

You can learn a lot from your elders if you'll be polite, shut up and listen. Also, police officers and other authority figures tend to respond to disrespectful behavior in unpleasant ways.

5. Never smart off to your flight instructor.

They already think you are trying to kill them, and they are looking for an excuse to return the favor.

6. First and foremost, fly the plane.

I learned to fly at the same time I learned to drive. One of the first things I was taught was that taking care of the really important things like keeping the plane in the air took priority over less important things like talking on the radio or picking my nose.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy Anniversary... me.

Four years ago, I acquiesced to The Queen's suggestions and decided to do something about my itch to write something. This is the result.

I had thought about writing something witty or profound today; but, then, I realized that it's my anniversary and your supposed to receive gifts not give them. So, what do I want for my anniversary? I want you all to fill up my comments with whatever you want. Something witty or profound. A non-sequitur. Poetry. A riddle. Your favorite topics, past posts, etc.

Get busy.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fun With Travel

I am winging my way north to Minneapolis as I type this. On an iPad using wifi at 30,000 feet. Isn't modern technology fun? It reminds me of an old Bloom County comic strip from back in the day (that'd be the early 1980s when Apple made its first assault on the computing public).

Now, it seems like people go into withdrawals if they can't catch up with the latest things via Facebook via their iPhone while sitting on the pot. On the other hand, proctologists are probably doing a booming business lancing hemorrhoids from everyone cutting off blood flow to their derrière. 

Anyway, I showed you and told you that to lead into this:

The latest in carry on luggage:

It walks itself onto the plane. 

But, wait, there's more...

When you get static at the rental car counter or get pulled over by the state police in unfriendly places because of little misunderstandings like waving guns at rude drivers....

...just whip out The Cutest Baby in the World (TM). Guaranteed to get you a warning (or at least reduced bond) or your money back. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

Traveler Bonus Edition

You know your are REALLY tired when you are sitting on the can tapping your toes to the musack version of "When I'm 64" by the Beatles. 

Daddy Hawk is Punch Drunk

Today has been a long *$$ day. 

It started at 3:45 AM after getting to bed just after 10:00 PM and not sleeping very well at all. That's never a good combination. If you have not tried it yet, there's not much I can say to recommend it. 

The reason for the early wake up call was the need to be in Houston by 8:00 AM to attend a mock trial in the biggest case I have pending at work. In fact, it's probably the single biggest case in terms of overall exposure, dollars spent to date, etc. that I can think of in my career to date. It involves a fatality, multiple other parties, whacked out coverage issues, bad faith, errors and omissions and a host of other issues. The purpose of today's exercise was to help the excess carrier, based in London, get a handle on the potential exposure. 

I can't give any other details right now; but, eventually, this case will be a case study within our company. And not in a particularly good way either. It's been handled properly from our side of things, but the complexity of the issues have turned it into a nightmare. 

I will say that today was very educational for me as I've never served on a jury, mock or otherwise, and, to be able to watch the mock jury deliberations from behind mirrored glass was very instructive. It reminded me that I've been doing this job entirely too long, and the things I think are important in a case are not necessarily the things a jury will find important. 

Any way, now I am back at the airport waiting on dinner to arrive so that I can scarf down something resembling food before boarding my flight to arrive home at roughly 10:00 PM just in time to collapse into bed so that I can catch some shut eye before M&M wakes me up at 7:30 AM and I while away the hours before my 2:45 PM departure tomorrow afternoon for Minneapolis. 

It's the crazy time of year for travel for me. 

Next week will probably find me back in Houston unless I can delegate or deflect. 

I'm so not looking forward to that. Houston traffic sucks. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Sorry, the patio slab looks like garbage since it used to be the foundation for a garden shed with bad linoleum flooring. That stuff is tenacious. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Some Assembly Required

The Queen decreed that there shall be patio furniture a while back. So, being the dutiful subject, Daddy Hawk located suitable patio furniture of which The Queen approved. It was delivered this week by The Queen's brother who had a truck big enough.

It came in a box. A big freakin' box. In let's of little pieces. 

10 piece set the box says. 

Some assembly required. 

So, guess what I've been doing all night since we got home. 

Friday, August 9, 2013

It's Friday...

..., and I got nothing. The free ice cream machine is empty. How some of you manage to post everyday, I got no clue. Because it's hard to be consistent and come up with worthy content everyday.

I mean, I COULD resort to commenting on the "news" that CNN has been bought and paid for by the current anybody was REALLY surprised by that. Personally, I'd rather go shoot fish in a barrel than waste my time and yours on that.

One of these days, I will get around to posting something more insightful about our current political situation, our possible future(s), and what I think should happen. But, that day is not today.

One of these days, I might get around to starting work on some fiction for fun and potential profit. But, that day is not today.

One of these days, I might get around to writing a review for The Toy Box of the pocket knife I bought for myself as an anniversary present last year. Yep, you guessed it. That day is not today.

Well, without further adieu, I hear traffic calling me obscene names and I must go to battle dragons and exhaust fumes to connect up with my wife and daughter for a quiet evening of rest, refreshment and little girl snuggles.

Bye for now, y'all. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Not Feeling It Today...

...; and, yet, I promised to post content everyday this month.


I think I will leave you with this pearl of wisdom from the CEO of my company:

At a certain age, you never pass up a bathroom and never trust a fart. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

More Thoughts From The Road

Last night was probably not the worst night I've ever spent in a hotel room; however, I certainly made the top five. Possibly the top three.

So, what made it so unpleasant? Apparently, the Girls Under 12 Softball World Series has been in town this week. It's worse than the circus. What is it about being out of town for a kids sporting event that makes people lose their ever loving minds? Seriously. Common courtesy? Out the window. Consideration for others trying to sleep? What's that? Indoor voices? Never heard of it. Control over ones children? Are you kidding me?

To make matters worse, I was stuck with the room on the first floor right next to the elevator. So, well passed midnight, I am still wide awake in my room, gritting my teeth as yet another herd of pygmy rhinos tromp through the lobby to the elevators, talking loudly, banging on walls, etc. When I checked out this morning, I let the front desk know that I was not amused. The desk agent gave me her sympathy and indicated that they had been there all week and were slated to be there through tonight. She also said that they had already had to call the authorities a couple of times as they had no other way to control them.

I disagree. There is a simple way to control them: "Excuse me, sir/ma'am? What room are you in? Room #X$? Thank you. We will go gather your bags. You've been checked out of this hotel and blacklisted from every staying in one of our properties again. Have a nice trip."

In other news, I never knew that Alexandria, LA was home to the Cajun Pawn Stars store. You learn something new every day.

I have to give a 45 minute presentation. Right after lunch. I've warned everyone that food comas will be dealt without mercy. I have Sharpies, and I am not afraid to use them.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Where's Waldo?

Daddy Hawk is laying his head in Alexandria, LA tonight out of town on a quick overnighter for business. I miss my girls already, and I know I will be home tomorrow night.

The pilot on the flight in said it was six degrees cooler here than in Dallas. I wouldn't have guessed that stepping off the plane into the jetway/sauna. I did enjoy the gate guards outside the airport which is a former air base though. An F-105, an A-10, an F-86 and a couple of others that I didn't get a good enough look at to ID in five seconds or less. The there was the F-104 Starfighter outside the credit union in town. Sweet. I'll try to get photos tomorrow if possible.

A quick note on dinner. If you can find the place, Tunk's Cypress Inn grills up a mean ribeye. The decor and atmosphere is not up to Zagat standards, but who really cares about that.

That's all for now. G'night y'all.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Wide Awake Cuteness

Yesterday, you got to see The Cutest Baby In The World (TM) demonstrating how to properly rest anywhere, anytime, anyway. So, today, you get to see her in all her wide awake glory.

Would you believe that Needless Markup wants $155 for that little thing??

M&M Loves to stand on the counter while she gets her teeth brushed.

M&M modeling Mimi's sunglasses.

Left to Right: Niece I Do It!, Mimi, M&M and Niece Twig

You are powerless to resist my charms. Give me all your money or I release the sharks.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A Day of Rest

As I've mentioned in the past, The Queen and I are Sabbath keepers. So, in honor of the Sabbath which is the God ordained day of rest, I thought I would schedule a post with pictures of The Cutest Baby In The World (TM) in all her restful glory. Enjoy.

I can't help it. She's just too darn cute not to photograph when she's sleeping. If you will pardon me, I hear a recliner calling mine and M&M's names.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Mouse Hunt

In a little over two weeks, I will be celebrating my four year blogging anniversary. Yay, me...ouch...hurt my shoulder patting myself on the back., in an effort to step up my game here, I am setting myself a goal to try and provide new content every day this month.

On with the show...

Not quite two weeks ago, The Queen and I made a late evening discovery at Castle Erickson upon arriving home from a movie. That discovery came in the form of something small crashing off the top of the refrigerator to the kitchen counter before scampering behind the stove. The Queen and I looked at each other wide eyed.

The Queen: Did you see that?

Me: Yeah.

The Queen: Was that a mouse?

Me: Yeah, I think so.

It's frikkin' 12:30 at night, and we set about tearing apart the kitchen looking for the mouse. We started with pulling out the stove. That was gross. There was mouse poo and lot's off it behind there. Ewww.

But, no mouse, and no apparent places for it to use as a means of escape either.

So, I slowly and gently pulled out the storage drawer from the bottom of the stove (because, really, who wants to scare the crap out of a mouse causing it to jump straight up at you and give you a heart attack when you should be in bed snoring) while The Queen and Spanky McCloud (the cat) watched intently at my side. Nothing small and furry made a break for it meaning it was still there somewhere.

After pulling the drawer out, I looked behind it using a flashlight. Nothing but more mouse turds. Hmmm...that means....

Yes, Sherlock. The mouse is in the drawer somewhere.

Upon careful examination, I spotted a pink nose and some whiskers poking out from beneath the edge of the broiler pan. I took my eyes off it for just a second to turn to The Queen and ask her to get something to catch it with. Unfortunately, ninja mouse took that opportunity to dash from cover out of the drawer and back under the stove where it proceeded to take up residence in the insulation of the stove's side wall.

There was nothing left to do but start cleaning up some of the mess and get to bed. After sweeping up a bunch of mouse fertilizer and mopping up some mouse pee, we called it a night at the unprintable hour of 2:30 AM. Daddy Hawk was not a happy camper as my alarm normally goes off at 5:30 AM so I can get ready for work.

The next day (same day really...just later when the sun was actually up and people were supposed to be awake) after work, I stopped off at Home Depot to purchase mouse hunting supplies. I was tempted to resort to sitting in the kitchen with a flashlight and my shotgun all night, but even I knew that the neighbors would not appreciate (much less The Queen and M&M) a 12 gauge wake up call at 3:00 AM.

We started off with a pair of Victor "humane" traps situated in the most likely spots for a mouse hidden in the stove to go.

We baited it with peanut butter, cheese and apple. In hindsight, I suspect that the mouse (who some may actually accuse of being a rat) decided it was too much work to squeeze its huge butt into the trap to get at the bait.

So, after a couple of nights of no mice/rats in the traps, we brought out the less humane variety.

Success continued to elude us. Not a nibble on the cheese. Not even a stolen piece of bait. Had we found the only mouse/rat in the world that was lactose intolerant? Perhaps.

After a few days of this, we resorted to our inner Wile E. Coyote/Redneck and came up with these intelligent designs.

My Internet Inspired Bucket Trap

The Queen's Vase Trap Complete with Reading Material for the Mouse

The Queen's Attempt at a Box Trap

It was quite amusing watching us try and come up with various ideas actually. Too bad there is no video.

So, The Queen and I went to bed that night hopeful that we at least had a one in five chance of outsmarting a mouse.

Heh. Yeah, not so much.

5:45 AM the next morning, I hear a bang and crash in the kitchen. I jump out of bed hoping to find a trapped mouse.

Nope. Not so much.

I flipped on the light switch to find Spanky McCloud finally getting his fluffy grey hide off the bench by trying to "play" the mouse...okay, it's more of a rat. You'll see in a minute. The rat was expressing its views of being played with by the cat in no uncertain terms. I had never heard a rat call before. It's something like a combination of a squirrel, chipmunk and rabbit. Very strange.

Anyway, Spanky was not doing anything to actually catch the rat. So, I tried to bend down to catch the rat. I actually got a hand on the little bugger before it decided that now was a good time to freak out and make a beeline for the master bedroom with Spanky in pursuit.

Well, that just won't do.

I retreated to the kitchen momentarily to retrieve a large (32 ounce) plastic cup and a flashlight before returning to the bedroom in search of the infiltrator. What I found after a couple of seconds of searching was a rat sitting tensely on my house shoes giving Spanky the evil eye stare down. Spanky looked up at me sort of like..."What is it? What do I do now?"

Fortunately, rats have a reputation for poor eyesight. I gently lowered the cup of the rat who didn't realize what was happening until its tail was caught between the floor and the cup. I slid a magazine under the lip of the cup ending the great mouse rat hunt.

That's about 4 inches of body and 7 to 8 inches of tail. I think it was a she, but I never really got a good enough look at its private parts to get confirmation. She was taken down the street and released next to a sewer drain.

If she comes back, I won't be as forgiving.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

I Have The BEST Readers

No, really. It's true. I may not have a legion of followers do or get millions of pageviews like some bloggers; but, what I lack in volume, I make up for in quality.

Case in point. You guys and gals have been phenomenally supportive of The Queen, M&M and I throughout the whole fostering/adopting process. Your words of encouragement really meant a lot to me. Some people, though, were not satisfied with mere words.

First, there was the cute tote bag embroidered with M&M's name sent by one of my former high school classmates and blog readers, Tena (who is also a blogger...who really needs to put up some fresh content...just sayin'). I would show you a picture, but I don't have one that's edited to block out M&M's name. Trust me. It's awesome, and we get a lot of use out of it.

Then, yesterday, I arrived home to find a box on my doorstep. It was light weight, and it wasn't ticking. So, we were off to a good start. The return address indicated it was from Candance at Crazy Texas Mommy. Candance had given me the heads up that it was on its way. So, I sort of knew what to expect when I opened the box.

Okay. Not really. Candance DOES have a reputation for craziness.

What I found in the box was this (pardon the crappy cell phone photography...lack of sleep):

That there is two, count them, two hand made, crocheted purses for little Miss M&M. Let's untie that bundle and get a better look (more or less...crappy cell phones and lack of sleep...).

I'm telling you, these are the cutest little purses EVER!!! I promise to get photos of M&M using them as soon as possible.

To Tena and Candance, thank you so much. It's very sweet of you both to do that for my little girl.