Day 3

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state-flag-oklahomaYesterday was Day 2 of Special Session….Today is Day 3.  Yes, I am counting!

I’m also just pretending the Senator is on vacation this week because that is pretty much what it’s like when he’s at the Capitol for session. Gone. Gone. Gone.

But, I digress.  This week during special session Day 1 & 2 (Tuesday and Wednesday) were spent on procedural business like the first and second reading of the bills.  Today, Day 3 is the third reading which means these pieces of legislation have gone through the committee process and the time to offer amendments has expired… at 3:00 pm yesterday to be exact.  Confused yet? Cause I am. I’m also thinking that moved much faster than normal. Again…just saying…

Hence, the fireworks, if there are to be any -will soon be underway as the debate process begins.   And, that is where I think it gets fun, hearing some of the debate over pieces of legislation. You wouldn’t believe some of the stuff that is said on the floor!  However, in this particular session it seems these bills are a slam dunk to sail through…In fact, there’s a rumor going around about how they could be done tomorrow!  Now, that would be grand.  And, a grand savings for the taxpayers considering each day of this special session comes with a price tag of $30K.

Now, that is the real story I think.  The cost.

Logrolling into Special Session

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DSC_0736My man is back at the Capitol this week!

The Governor of my state has called for a special session of the Legislature which is not exactly the norm around these parts.  In fact, I think my Senator has only experienced one special session in the almost twelve years he has served?  I remember that one having to do with budgetary issues….

This time it’s because the State Supreme Court overturned a 2009 lawsuit reform bill.  The court said it was unconstitutional on the basis of “logrolling.” Seriously, who knew there was a political term for such a thing or that it was even in our state’s constitution? When I think of logrolling, images of Paul Bunyon come to mind….But, in this case the term means a bunch of bills (bills having to do with lawsuit reform) were “rolled” into one piece of legislation….or something like that.

Anyway, the Governor and legislative leaders felt they could reconvene and pass the pieces of legislation that were log-rolled – individually.  I’m sure the rush to get this done has to do with the fact these laws have been on the books since 2009, and to just pretend they were never there…well, that would affect numerous people and businesses who have been operating under them.  You get the picture! So, the legislature is logrolling it into a special session this week to rectify the situation.

No doubt this will be interesting.  The lawsuit reform bill in question was passed with a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion and a Republican controlled legislature. And while the bill had bi-partisan support, it did not come easy.  Advocates for and against the bill took to the airways attempting to garner the people’s support for their side….which is a nice way of saying… it got dirty!

Considering the dynamics are a little different this time around with Republicans in control of the legislature and the governor’s mansion, it’ll be fun to see how this all shakes down!

Just watching from the sidelines today….

Angels Among Us

imagesI met a girl named Lisa yesterday.  Well, I didn’t actually officially meet her, we just happened to be sitting next to each other at the salon while we were getting our nails done.  Yes. That was my me time for the month and I’ll be honest – I really just wanted to check out and relax in the little massage chair and not have to talk to anyone.  But Lisa, she was on the phone….the whole time. And Lisa had a strong voice.  You know, the kind that says, ‘I get things done.’

It was hard not to hear her conversation either…it went something like this:

“Hi, my name is Lisa and this morning I found a homeless woman and her three year old daughter by the side of the road and I am looking for a shelter to house them, do you have any availability?”

While we sat there, Lisa continued to call.  Shelter after shelter after shelter.  She had a long list and refused to quit.

In between calls, she gave us the back story.  The young girl, who was somewhere between 25 and 35 years old, had a rough past, but managed to complete paralegal school and has been living in a hotel with her 3 year old daughter.  It costs her $60 a day to keep that roof over her head, and today, she was out by the side of the road.

Lisa saw her while driving down the Interstate and pulled over out of concern for the child.

“It was hot out,” Lisa said.   “And, when I pulled over to ask if they needed help, the little girl, who seemed happy, asked for a drink. So, I gave her my daughter’s sippy cup of juice from the back seat because I figured we were well past sharing germs at that point.”

Lisa listened to the young mom’s story and then took her to a hotel.  She even paid for a two night stay.  Then, Lisa spent the rest of her afternoon, one that she had planned to enjoy a little “me time” at the salon- to help a stranger. Oh, Lisa also has a job and a baby.

I was stunned at her random act of kindness and tried to help.  I mean, she was on the phone trying to save someone’s life and I was just sitting there.  Talk about feeling helpless and stupid..really, really stupid.  I had volunteered at the City Rescue Mission, a local shelter with a successful program to help get people back on their feet (she had already left them a message) but I told her to keep calling them until she got a live voice because I knew they took women with children.  Some shelters only take men, some only take women, some only take those with substance abuse issues, others were full and not taking anyone. I learned a great deal about the services available to the homeless in my community and the long waiting lists.  Every one of them has a long waiting list. Then, I called the Senator, because he knows of all the local resources out there to help women in this kind of situation, and surely there were more of them…but Lisa had already called them all.

When Lisa’s nails were done and she left, I sat there wondering what would happen to the young mom and her daughter.  Were they at the hotel when Lisa checked on them later that day?  Was she able to find a place for them to stay? How did this situation end…or, was it really just beginning?  I sat there wondering would I have done the same thing? Would I have pulled over like Lisa to ask a stranger if she and her child needed help? Would I have taken her to a shelter? Or, paid for a hotel?  Would I have spent an hour and a half on the phone trying to secure a safe place for a homeless woman…especially one with this kind of troubled background?  I don’t know.  Would you?

Lisa did.

First Day

Today was the first day of school for our kiddos.  The tall guy on the right is a senior. He is my first born and this is not easy, knowing he will leave the nest soon.

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But, hey.  At least we know that shoe polishing cars is still in style.

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I’m wondering how long this will be on his truck.  I mean…”Sexy” and “Hawt” sound pretty good if you’re seventeen and single.  Oh my goodness! Shaping up to be a fun Fall folks!

Chicago

The Senator and I just returned from a quick trip to the Windy City for a legislative conference and man was it fun!

We have been to this particular meeting before and it is always packed.  Packed with people and speakers and meetings and events and usually in a fun city with lots of things for the un-elected, un-official “guests” to do….like shop, dine and sight see.

The first year the Senator was in office, this meeting was held in none other than Washington DC, so you can only imagine how much I enjoyed his participation.  In fact, that year we even took the kids with us, because it seemed like a good opportunity to show them our nation’s Capitol.  We even road tripped it down to Monticello and Williamsburg because I am a sucker like that for history!

cs9This year, it was just me and my man attending because our kids had their own activities and events going on at home. It happens.  But, I didn’t feel so bad considering they have been with us to Chicago for this very same meeting a few years back.

DSCN0851 DSCN0834They really didn’t miss all that much…well, except the protestors.  Yes, there were protestors at this meeting protesting and there were lots of police keeping them in line.

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That was the only photo I managed to swipe but boy do I wish I had gotten a few shots of their signs….they were, uh, interesting to say the least.

Anyway, my Senator went to meetings and I shopped and walked and walked and shopped and we met some of our favorite people at some fabulous places with great views of the city and some incredible food!  And, for that, and really for all of these experiences, I am thankful!

photo photoThankful to be home too!

Summer.

This summer has flown by much to quickly.  When the roofers showed up at dawn this morning (because our poor roof has been pummeled repeatedly by recent hail storms), it reminded me of just how early my day begins when the school bell rings. I have become rather accustomed to NOT having to wake up so bright and early. No, let me just be really honest and admit that I love being able to sleep in a bit, and I really love it when my kids get to sleep in…a bit. Or, more than a bit.  My 13-year-old will sleep  any chance she gets. My 17 year old sleeps in because he keeps late hours-a topic for a completely different conversation! But, the quiet morning time for me that I have discovered is soon coming to an end.  Enter, the dark thirty wake up, run two miles, figure out breakfast, make sure everyone is up and moving, fed, back packs in order, homework done and ready to go, off to school on time etc…. you know the drill.

Summer is almost over and I have this sinking feeling inside…and not just for the early alarm clock to come, but really, because we have had a seriously terrific last couple of months.

Here are some of the highlights that I will cherish and savor. Especially, on those mornings where everyone is grumpy and dragging their feet and I am longing for my happy place!

Ahhh, Florida.  How I love you so!

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Or, my new happy place…discovered with some seriously special friends!

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I could live here…. really, I could!

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Or here, at our annual 4th of July happy place….

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With our happy friends.

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And kids who are growing up faster than I want to think about….

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In fact,  that big boy in blue had the audacity to go to summer school at my alma mater…an old, happy place!

This was hard…really hard….to let him pretend he is in college already.  Even though I know he’s on deck to find that happy place of his own soon.

photoIn fact, this next year is going to fly right on by!

My parents will attest to that since we just capped off the summer celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary… in their ‘happy place.’

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Northern New Mexico is truly beautiful…

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And the perfect place to celebrate two very special people.

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Or, the perfect way to wind down the past couple of wonderful months…
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On deck…a legislative conference in Chicago. Fun, because it is just me and my Senator….but, certainly a reality check that summer is coming to a close.

Hope your summer was full of fun memories and happy places!