Sep 30, 2008

Me and Austin: Red, Blue or Purple?

I've always described Austin as the island of blue in the big red sea. That's why my college friends accepted it as a reasonable place to live. I hold that we are the bluest city still but does that mean we're actually kinda purple? And might I be more purple than blue myself?

While watching ABC News tonight here in Austin I learned that several African-American leaders in town are challenging the fire department. Apparently AFD does not employ a number of black firefighters that is proportionate to the black population. AFD responded by saying they take the highest scoring candidates on the firefighter exam but were looking for flexibility. LOOKING FOR FLEXIBILITY?! You want the option to hire lower scoring applicants? Because of a race issue? I could understand if there were objections to the testing style, much as there is with the SAT or TAKS test. Just because you can answer questions correctly doesn't mean you can apply it. That would be fair. But there was no mention of that. This is purely to meet proportions. How ridiculous! I'm in favor of everyone having an equal opportunity at education and jobs. An overly subjective interview process yielding the same results would be fairly questioned. But a test? An electronic test doesn't know white from black or any other color for that matter. AFD as a citizen potentially receiving your services and as the fiance of a soon to be firefighter, I hope you continue to hire the most qualified candidates, regardless of race.

See this is why I think I might be a little purple. Affirmative action and program such as the one at AFD are typically associated with Democrats yet this particular situation enrages me. I've not gone completely red though as is clear by this reaction to not teaching evolution in our schools, also a story I saw on this evening's news.

Members of the state school board want to teach "supernatural" causes for the creation of the universe. And if the state board gets its way, this could be taught for the next ten years. TEN YEARS! That's our kids! Ross and I discussed - it's either teaching the kids evolution at home or if our big high paying public service jobs allow it, private evolution teaching schools!

Sep 26, 2008

Stream of Consciousness

I'm pretty pumped folks. This week I got two newspaper clips regarding our new fund raiser, S'more Soiree. One was a captioned photo of two committee members in the Westlake Picayune. The OTHER was a front page story with two color images about the event and focusing on the committee chairperson in the West Austin News.

But what I was really thinking about when I turned on my laptop to blog was not my super cool news clips. However then I got an email from Stephanie about the captioned photo and got excited and distracted. Thus you got to hear about that but we must move on to the original musing.

Now not to be a Debbie Downer, but I just came from a very therapeutic venting session of a lunch with Nikki. We're both overall happy with our lives but sometimes we hit the point of "argh - why is it so hard." And while you always want your friends' lives to be perfect and blissful, there is some relief to hearing that someone else wonders why its tough sometimes too. It's like "Whew! I thought it was just me!" But even if we hit a tough spot or two and wonder why it isn't all sunshine and butterflies, it'll be just fine.

It's like a conversation Ross and I had last night regarding our faith. I may not be the most spiritual person (understatement) but I do believe things that can only be explained by a higher power. For example, as I told Ross, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and we won't be given a burden we can't endure.

So back to my conversation with Nikki, if sometimes we feel a little poor now or are frustrated with our jobs, there has to be a good reason for it. Maybe the reason is just so that when something changes we are all the more happy for it. Or maybe its to ensure we're in the right spot at the right time. It's tempting to try to figure it out but sometimes, maybe its just best not to. As long as we keep on truckin', it'll work itself out and the rough spots will make the sweet spots that much sweeter.

Sep 19, 2008


Val's on her way here! She'll be here in about an hour! I am super super super excited.

Tomorrow we are going on a wine tasting adventure in Driftwood. I think we're also going to go out for dinner. At some point we are going to get her sized for her bridesmaid's dress. A little early yes, but they don't have Alfred Angelo shops in D.C. so the best plan is to have her measured at a shop here so when we order the dress, they already have her size. And with any luck we'll grab dinner together this week since she is here for several days on business.

I love Val! Yay!

Sep 15, 2008

Its Lookin' Sunny Again

Yesterday Dad headed back to Houston. Of the 5 houses in our family (grandma, uncle, etc) that we've been able to get to, all are still standing and with minimal property damage.

We haven't been to our house yet because they (the city?) had the neighborhood blocked off. However, Melissa went by this evening and was able to drive through the neighborhood. The house is still standing! Woohoo! She said there aren't even obvious signs of flooding - quite the relief as you can imagine. As far as she could tell, the only damage was to the fence. But like Mom said, it needed replacing anyways.

It also started to look sunny again yesterday when Mom and Grandma went with me for distraction from the doom-n-gloom of Hurricane Ike. We went to Alfred Angelo and met Nikki to purchase my wedding dress. We got my dress, a comb for my hair, the blusher part of my veil and a fancy garment bag for my dress. As if that isn't exciting enough, they were having the biggest sale of the year (we didn't even realize it!) and we got it all for a steal of a deal. It would be tacky to say how much of course, but suffice it to say, I feel like a darn smart, sly, thrifty bride.

And I can't tell you how fabulous it was to have Nikki's help. Besides just loving to have a girlfriend there to gush with me, she's so good at her job. Pinning the dress, making sizing suggestions, finding the perfect comb, promising to take care of my every need, and even offering to be my personal dresser for the wedding. I could not have asked for a more competent friend when it comes to the world of bridal wear.

Finally, we have a cold front here this week. Meaning the highs are 81 and 82 instead of 95 and 96. We have the AC off and the windows open. I can feel my electric bill (and bank account) smiling down on us.

Sep 13, 2008

A photo's worth 1000 words

So here's several thousand word's worth of photos.

Hurricane Party!!

Talk about a party!

On Thursday morning I talked to my mom and they were headed to the Memorial area to stay with my aunt and uncle while Hurricane Ike ate Seabrook for breakfast. Well I got out of my morning meeting and had a voicemail that no, they were not staying in Houston any more but were now on their way to Austin. By they I mean Mom, Dad, Grandma, 2 dogs and a cat. Oh and could they stay with Nancy and Jack.

And that my friend is when it all began. We have 4 parents, 2 grandmas, 5 dogs and a cat all living under one roof this weekend. Ross and I are entertaining and caring for people/pets as much as possible. The level of ridiculousness is just out of control.

Fortunately everyone, except the dogs, are getting along. Ross' dog, Russell, and my dog, Boopie, are not friends. They have to be separated all the time. As a result we are playing musical dogs and Gramma's room has become a dog holding cell.

Meanwhile, my Grandma tripped and bumped her head within 5 minutes of arriving in Austin. She's fine but was understandably a little frazzled and embarrassed. Dad is glued to The Weather Channel with Boopie at his feet on a leash (the security of a leash somehow actually keeps her calmer). Russell was so excited he's been shaking and panting...the amount of slobber coming out of his mouth rivals the rainfall in Seabrook. Quaid, Ross' other dog, God bless him, is too dumb to realize there are other dogs on his turf. He's happy as a clam. Mom's staying calm but I think she's secretly saying to herself "never in a thousand years did I think..." Nancy and Jack are teaching classes and Gramma is potentially leaving for Tennessee tomorrow. Ross and I are pouring the drinks and trying to keep the chatter flowing.

All the in-laws in one house is just too much. I'm glad the option was there for my parents and Jack and Nancy have been fantastic hosts but if we're never in this boat again, that'll be alright with me.

Until then though...back to the hurricane party!

Sep 9, 2008


I just got my hair cut and it looks sassy. I also touched up my highlights. Apart from the minute where my stylist shed a tear after seeing how AWFUL my roots were, it was a very happy appointment. In summary: I have short well-highlighted hair now. God bless it.

Sep 2, 2008

I'm Trying So Hard

I am trying so very hard to be open-minded about our presidential choices. So very hard. So hard that I am watching the RNC and reading John McCain's stance on the issues.

I've gotten through one of his twelve issues areas, "Human Life & Dignity," and I am already violently opposed on three issues.

Pro Life v Pro ChoiceI feel this is the issue that I am the most compassionate to the Republican cause on. I agree: murder is wrong. But we disagree on the science of it. I don't think a fertilized egg is really a baby in the first tri-mester. Maybe not even in the first 4 months. I don't think a woman who is raped should have to bring the baby to term. Why should she be reminded everyday by her growing belly of the terrible thing that happened to her? I will say though that I'm on board for discouraging abortion as a form of birth control. We should offer potential mothers who choose abortion free counseling. Perhaps we should require it. Perhaps persons under the age of 16 should need parental consent... perhaps not though as this may make it unavailable to some of the most needy. I'm not 100% sure on exactly what our plan should be but I do think we should discourage abortion in the case of irresponsible behavior by an adult while permit it for those who did not choose sexual activity or those who truly cannot care for a child.

Same Sex MarriageThis is where I get passionate. How dare one adult tell another that they cannot marry. How ridiculous! First, nobody cannot make that decision for two other people. Aren't Republicans supposed to embrace the idea of small government and letting people live their lives with as little government interference as possible? How does this reflect that value? That violates basic rights! Second, I believe it is discrimination. And I believe in 10 or 15 years those who discriminate against gay and lesbian couples will be ashamed of themselves. I hear people say "that's not how people are supposed to be." Well then is it a disability? People aren't supposed to be blind but imagine if we told blind people they couldn't marry or couldn't go to school. People would be outraged! As we should be outraged by telling two people they cannot legally commit to one another. And third, to the argument that a mother and father are both needed in the traditional family: sure. A child needs two parents. It takes two involved parents to raise a child because raising children is challenging. Instead of telling two loving and capable people that because they prefer a partner of the same sex that they cannot have children, why don't we tell fathers to stay around? Why don't we crack down on deadbeat dads? Why don't we frown on mothers who abandon their children? Wouldn't it be better for children to have two loving intelligent same-sex parents than one parent in any situation?

Stem Cell Research
I'm not a science person. But I have no problem developing human stem cells for the purpose of research. If it will help cure diseases like Alzheimer's then I am on board. Plain and simple.

In all fairness to John McCain, Sarah Palin and the Republican Party though, I will tell you which issues from that same issue section, "Human Dignity and Life," that I do agree with.

Promoting Adoption The idea of two people who desperately want to be and can be good parents adopting a child with few options is beautiful. We should encourage it and open the opportunity to as many willing and capable parents as possible. Women with unwanted pregnancies should have this option presented and we should help them, as much as reasonably possible, make adoption a reality for their baby.

Protecting Children from Internet Porn and Predators
Not very much else needs to be said. All in favor say "aye." AYE.

I told, you, I am trying very very hard to be fair and open minded.

Sep 1, 2008


Princess Dress
Originally uploaded by cheryl_lynn425.
I think I tried on 25 dresses between Friday and Saturday. This is one of my favorites but one we ultimately decided was not for me. I love the full lace overlay and the scalloped bottom. What held me back though was the weight of the dress and the petticoats. I started to "glisten" just standing in the shop! Not even walking around. We're having an outdoor wedding so glistening in AC does not bode well for the actual wedding.

I'm also very conscious of looking like an oversized marshmallow. Don't laugh! I feel like some brides can wear a very full skirt and look like a super glam princess. I don't think I am that bride. As much as I loved looking at this dress in the mirror, I think the photos make me look like the Michelin man. I don't want to look at my wedding photos for the rest of my life and think "grab a hershey bar and graham crackers! S'more time!"

I did find two dresses that I really liked. Very different from each other but both very pretty. I think I have one of them picked out but it just seems like such a big decision. Your wedding is the day that you get to wear the most beautiful gown of your life. How many wedding barbies did we all see growing up? Once you buy that dress, its done. That's it. That dress will forever be your wedding dress. Oh the pressure!

On another clothing note, mom and I had dinner with Ross' family post dress-a-palooza and Nancy started to tell us about the items necessary for Ross' ensemble. Dang. This is one wedding where the groom's attire is more complicated than the bride's. I kid you not, I think the kilt-tuxedo combo has 6-8 pieces for it. I have one: a dress.