Oct 31, 2010

My 1st Halloween

Preface: I'm not a big Halloween person. I used to fake it but last year when I managed to be out of the country for Halloween I decided to quit faking it and just own up to not being into costumes, gothic stuff and or fake serial killers. I am, however, really into cute kids in fun costumes and really into candy. Especially candy.

Tonight was my first Halloween as a homeowner. Opening my door to creatively costumed kiddos from my neighborhood. I learned several important Halloween homeowner lessons.
  1. Sitting on the front porch with a glass of wine is absolutely the best way to give out candy. First, you have a glass of wine. Second, you do not have the puppy-and-door dance every four minutes. Definite winner.
  2. Five bags of candy isn't as much as it sounds like. When you live in a starter-neighborhood in suburbia USA, consider purchasing 6-7 bags. Everyone has kids here! Oh and lots of chocolate. Ross is the only person in the world who doesn't want the chocolate candy. Everyone else goes for that first.
  3. Big kids are punks. Besides some pretty lame costumes (hello your pink button-down with jeans is not a costume. Heck, even your little league jersey with jeans is not a costume), big kids can be greedy. At 7:20 I had only seen little kids, all accompanied by very loving, watchful parents. I took the liberty to run inside for a potty break -God forbid- and to close the blinds to help calm Lexi. I swear on a stack of Girl Scout Cookies I was not inside a second longer than four minutes. During that four minutes someone (ie big kids) practically emptied out my entirely full bowl of candy. Now that is just mean. First, Halloween is not meant for you and your lame costumes, big kids. Second, that is greedy. Third, you are abusing someone's kindness. Fourth, you really ticked me off. I called Mom furious that by 7:27 I had given out the 10 pieces of candy those punks left me and my dream of greeting trick-or-treaters in front of my first home had been crushed. Mom told me to get in my car and drive the mile to HEB for more candy. I did and it was good advice. I purchased two bags and it provided me another 25 minutes of Halloween bliss. (Even at 1 piece per kid, that stuff flew outta my bowl.)
I ended up with nearly 90 minutes of candy-distribution time (including the HEB trip) and enjoyed most of it (I did not enjoy the 15 minutes following the candy-thieving that caused me to restock. Do you think I can file a claim with my homeowner's insurance for this robbery??).

Next Halloween I will...
  1. Buy more candy.
  2. Never leave it unguarded.
  3. Continue to sit on the porch with a glass of wine and fun magazine. Perhaps add queso to the mix.
  4. Give the best candy to the cute kids in the most creative costumes and buy cheapo bubble gum for the lame-o big kids who show up in jeans.
  5. Go costume crazy myself with something like antennae or devil-horned headband. I told you this wasn't my holiday but I suppose since I wore a headband tonight anyways, it could have had horns.
  6. Possibly invest in a spooky soundtrack to add to the festivities.
Happy Halloween!

Oct 30, 2010

Tortillas Locas

DSC00713Yesterday we had an amazingly funny Lexi situation.

While outside on the porch, we discovered Lexi had pulled down the package of tortillas from off the counter and brought them into the backyard. Of course she ate many but this was like a jumbo package. Ross picked up the left overs and started throwing them at her frisbee style, just being silly and making a mess really.

And then Lexi started to fetch and return tortilla frisbees!!

Apparently she had eaten so many that eating them no longer appealed to her. But a game of tortilla frisbee? Oh yeah. Awesome.

P.S. I had another photo but I accidentally canceled the upload midway, thus deleting it and of course had already deleted it from the camera. Silly Cheryl. And also yes, it is fairly normal for us to have tortillas on the kitchen counter. This is Texas. Tortillas are in the same food group as queso, chips and margaritas. And it is the largest, most important and certainly most consumed area on the food pyramid.

Oct 29, 2010

Happy Marriage Conquers Bad Day

Sounds like a newspaper headline doesn't it?

Yesterday my hubby and I both had bad days. I went to work and had a more than challenging grant to write. It made me exceptionally grouchy. He had the day off and from getting cut off in traffic to purchases being too expensive, just had nothing go right. So we were in bad moods.

When I got home, we did dishes together (his idea. wonderfully strange) and then he hung out in the kitchen with me while I cooked. We discussed his newest interest, wood working. Ate dinner and then went out to watch the World Series at a bar where a friend works and met up with other friends.

And when we got home at 11ish, we weren't in bad moods any more. Hanging out, doing something together...and maybe a cocktail or two, completely flipped our frowns upside down. I'm so happy that we like each other so much that even when we're both in a bad mood, we can put each other into good moods. Hurray!

Oct 27, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay

I think it was like two months ago I promised you a review of Mockingjay, the third and final book in the Hunger Games series. This is definitely a series written for teens, but what of it? It was a good, engaging read and I stand by my many hours on the couch reading something aimed at 14 year olds.

Let's play catch up. The Hunger Games series is based on North America in the future, ie Panem. The capitol city suppresses the districts (city-states if you will) through the Hunger Games, an annual Olympic/Gladiator event with a lot more violence as it is based on teenagers fighting to the death. Needless to say, this upsets quite a few people as they send their teens to nearly certain death. The heroine is Katniss and Peeta is her star-crossed lover.

I'll try to review this last book without totally giving away the glory of the first two. I might fail but I'll try.

In Mockingjay Katniss has become a symbol for rebellion, well, she and her pin of a mutant bird, the mockingjay. Though looking for a utopia she discovers much of the oppresion and manipulation used by the capitol is also used by the rebellions. Throughout the rebellion she is torn between the commanders' desire for her to be a figurehead and her own desire to lead battles. Throw in a love triangle and this girl's world is a mess.

Mockingjay maintains much of the futuristic, sci-fi elements of the first two as well as the character development, emotional appeals and political savvy. There is a fairly subtle underlying philosophical message, one that at the end of the story, you can't really argue with.

Suspense, love, creativity, loyalty and drama. Verdit: Definitely complete this series.

Oct 25, 2010

Happy Anniversary Us!

iphone_piciphone_picToday is our first wedding anniversary! Yippee!
Ross came home from GFD this morning and greeted me with a dozen roses. Yellow, my fav. And then, just now, we received an Edible Arrangement from his parents. Perfect since we have cake for later but Ross doesn't really eat cake. Now at least he'll be eating something while I bury my face in chocolate cake.

I gifted Ross with two books, one about MLB umpiring (he's looking to maybe umpire Little League locally) and one about zombies (because he really likes zombies and what says romance like a zombie book). And as you know, a couple weeks ago, he gifted me with a beautiful diamond necklace. And on Saturday we received the Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook from my parents. Of course, Lexi couldn't be left out of all the fun so today I bought her a new puppy tag (as in she really needed one with both our phone numbers on it and I just got around to it today). It's been like Christmas around here!

Today we have exceptional anniversary plans if I do say so myself. At 1:30 we have a couples massage. We really wanted to do this on our honeymoon but with having just bought the house were too jumpy about money to spend any. Thus, I'm very pleased we're doing it now. Later tonight, Ross made us dinner reservations at Ruth Chris Steakhouse. And I am wearing my fantastic orange dress that hits all the right curves and hides all the wrong ones. Woohoo!

Happy first anniversary to us!

Oct 24, 2010

In the Navy

Kevin at our wedding last year

Today my brother, Kevin, started his career with the US Navy. At 3 this afternoon, our parents dropped him off at the Navy office in Houston. With him he has the clothes on his back, contact case and I think a travel size contact solution bottle. He's great at packing light.

Tonight he's doing some paperwork type stuff, being put up in a hotel by the Navy and early tomorrow he'll fly to Illinois for boot camp. He's there for about eight weeks and will then start "A School" in Pensacola, ie the technical training part.

We're really hoping he can be in Houston for Christmas. With the holidays being so close, timing is a little funny. The eight weeks of boot camp take us up right to Christmas Eve but he's been told that usually they wrap up a few days early since everyone is eager to celebrate the holidays. Then he has to go to Pensacola immediately but again, we've been told that usually at this close to the holidays once he checks in, he'll be given a week-ish off and then come back first thing in the new year.

These are all "usually" things or "most likely" and I don't think we'll know for a while if they apply to him or not. I'm really hoping they do.

I'm very proud of him for this new direction. I think he's going to excel. I don't know whether he'll make a full career out of the Navy or if it will be just a four year commitment for him. Either way, I think its great. I'm sure once he's done in Pensacola and stationed somewhere I might worry about him. But for now, he just has the cold of Chicago to deal with and an undoubtedly loud drill sargeant. He's a tough kid; he can handle it.

Good job Kev! I'm so proud that you are in the Navy now!

Oct 23, 2010

Paper to Pizza

Monday is our one year wedding anniversary! Yay!

My family kicked off the celebration today by sending us an anniversary gift. Sticking to traditions, it was paper. As in the paper pages of the Top Chef Quickfire Cookbook. AMAZING. I've already gone through the whole thing and flagged the recipes I'm eager to try. Ross is reading right now while he takes a bubble bath. (Yup, my hubby takes bubble baths.)

Tonight I tried out the first recipe from the book: deep dish pizza with prosciutto and arugula. Since I lack a deep dish pizza pan and the prosciutto was outrageously expensive, it is more accurate to say that my dinner was inspired by the cookbook. Here's what I was trying to make:

And here is what I ended up with


Besides lacking the obvious pro chef, pro photographer and shiny cookbook look, it was fairly close. It was the thin crust version. As the recipe called for, it included cooked tomatoes, sauteed garlic, wilted arugula, fantina and mozzarella cheese and a little thyme. I substituted prosciutto with Canadian bacon and added onions, mushrooms and a red bell pepper. Oh and I forgot to add a little salt (which I really should do next time).

We don't make homemade pizza very often but I think this was one of the most successful rounds. Way to go us!

Thanks Mom, Dad & Kevin for this great gift! We love Top Chef and are so glad we can finally actually try some of the recipes instead of just drooling in front of the TV every week.

Oct 22, 2010

A Travesty I Say!

Self-proclaimed travel junkie and beach bunny has not seen America's Best Coastal Views! A travesty I say! So much is wrong with this. I've been to Santa Monica, but not really done PCH. Been to Rhode Island but not really done Newport (Mom and Dad have though!). And of course, I've been to the Cape tons but I don't seem to recall Brewster. If only they could have said "Dennis" and then I could have really checked one off.

Hence, my new life's to-do list: http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-35617389

$$ Tips From Us

First, yes I realize the irony that the last blog post was about a surprise credit card bill which maybe doesn't position me as a leader in finances. But just hear me out.

Amanda was shocked to hear me describe Ross as "cheap." She and most my college friends always accused me of being cheap so for the cheapskate to call someone cheap, just, wow. Let that be the preface here: Ross and I are both cheap and both very involved in our finances.

With very nearly a year of marriage and 18 months of fully combined finances under our belts, here are the things we've done/learned that have worked really well for us. (Thanks Emal for inspiring an advice column.)
From  howstuffworks.com

  • Combine finances. For us, this works great. Before we combined our dollars I think we were both guilty of assuming the other had money, even if we didn't. This would mean we maybe spent ours a little more frivolously and volunteered the other one to run errands like picking up milk. Combining our finances made us more aware of how much we really did or did not have as a team. It also facilitated many conversations about our financial goals and how we could work together to achieve them. And it helped us accept each other more, which sounds corny, but for example it made my loans more of a reality to him and once they became a part of his world too, were easier to just accept (even if he still doesn't like it). For me since he was working for tips at the time, it helped me adjust to that pay schedule, which I've never had. Combined bank accounts created a stronger "team" feeling, improved our fiscal awareness and facilitated more communication. From my experiences, I recommend combined finances to every couple.
  • Talk. Pretty self explanatory but we talk about our finances constantly now. Probably 5-6 days a week. Because we do it so often, it's usually very casual. "The electric bill was $X" or "I want to put $X into savings this month" or, in fairness the least fun, "I'm going shopping. Think we can afford for me to spend $X" which is usually followed by "$X!? No, try "$x." I like that it makes us very honest with each other, very informed and I think both of those things are why we rarely, if ever, argue about money.
  • Pay yourself first. I know this isn't a novel idea but when we started saving for the house we very purposefully did this and it works so well. As I kinda mentioned in my last post, now when we have an unexpected expense it is our fun money that takes the hit, not our savings.
  • Create an imaginary line. When we combined our checking accounts (warning: about to share money details, possibly tacky) we had $3000 in our first combined checking account. Our goal immediately was to never let it fall below that because then we knew we'd be spending more than we made. This worked great! With that magic minimum in mind we've rarely if ever spent outside of our means, never overdrafted our account and always had enough money readily available for life's curveballs, be it plane tickets or new tires. Remember, its not "if" you have emergency expenses, it's when.
  • Get rid of debt. Duh right? We've accepted some of our debt as long term, specifically my school loans and our house, but otherwise, if we have debt and we come into a little money (like a tax refund for example), we pay that sucker off. It saves us money on interest and means we always have an honest picture of our debt to income ratio.
  • Protect your $ from yourself. We just did this most recently. In July we put about 3/4 of our savings account into a CD. The interest rate is crap. But it's in a two year CD so we can't spend it. When we want to buy our forever home in a few years, the bulk of the downpayment will already be saved and accessible. And if for some reason we have to tap into that, let's be honest, it would be such a big emergency in our lives that a) the penalty for pulling out early won't matter and b) we have bigger problems than the downpayment on a dream home.
That's it. That is all the wisdom on money that I have. I'm very enthusiastic about people having financial independence so if I develop more wisdom, I'll share it with you. And we can be financially independent together.

Oct 19, 2010

Why I Hate Credit Cards

We are not credit card people. I can probably count the credit card purchases we've made on my fingers: honeymoon, plane tickets to Gramma's funeral, my new laptop.

It is this last one that is why I hate credit cards. Because we use them sooooo infrequently, I always forget when we have a balance. I checked our statement two weeks ago to pay off the plane tickets and my laptop. Plane tickets were there, laptop was not. So I paid off the plane tickets.

Fast forward to 10:45 p.m. tonight. I suddenly sat straight up in bed and said "crap." It just dawned on me that I never paid off the laptop. So maybe that small shopping spree I took on Monday wasn't so wise. Maybe we weren't actually in high cotton so to speak. Even more awesome, the bill was due YESTERDAY so we were charged interest for one purchase made less than three weeks ago. Yeah, I totally hate credit cards.

On a happy note (but don't misunderstand, this is not a reason to start liking credit cards), because we thought our finances just simply rocked, we put more money into savings last week than anticipated. So at least now it's just our fun play money that will get the short end of the stick, not our savings. I sure prefer fun things taking the hit and not savings. Silver lining? Yeah, I guess so.

(I better have a butt-load of airline miles after all this.)

Oct 18, 2010


OMG I've been waiting days to post this.

S'more Soiree set records for both the number of participants (sold out!) and revenue dollars!

Woohoo! I couldn't tell you sooner, dear blog reader, because this feeds into my Facebook and I wanted to tell my committee members in person at this evening's meeting. But we've had the meeting, we drank the champagne and now I can announce.

We sold out with 150 participants and set a new revenue record by having $64,000+ thus far. I'm hopeful that afer the event next month we'll reach $66,000 or $67,000.

True to a good fundraiser, it was the committee that made the difference. They are great! Three are professional fundraisers, three are Girl Scout moms and two were cherry-picked for their particular role. Fabulous.

I am pretty jazzed about writing all this in my October monthly report.

Oct 17, 2010

Yo Homes, Pizza on SoCo

First, I must tell you how we ended up down on South Congress. Our friend's dad lives at the State School for the Deaf and is their facilities manager. Never have I watched a football game, grilled and drank adult beverages at a middle/high school campus for special needs kids. Besides the set up in the yard being really cool (covered deck with candle chandelier and hanging TV), it was super cool to hear about how Roy grew up on site, learning about deafness and learning sign language. Super cool.

From Orthogonalthought.com
Anyways, post football we went across the street to Homeslice Pizza on South Congress. I've heard people rave about this place. Best pizza in Austin they say. Winner of many "Best of" Awards by The Austin Chronicle. Needless to say I had high expectations.

The atmosphere was great. Very Austin, funky, unique, laid back. Outside picnic tables and twinkly lights along the patio. But the pizza...eh. It was good, sure. But I'm not calling you saying "OMG you have to come visit so we can go to this pizza place!" Ross, Jon and Erin loved loved loved it. So I'm thinking my lukewarm reception can be credited to two things
  1. It is thin crust pizza. I like thicker crust significantly more.
  2. We had pepperoni and mushroom which I'm lukewarm about. I prefer a supreme pizza with sausage, peppers, mushroom, olives, maybe even artichoke. It's all about the toppings.
But if you are a thin crust lover then... OMG you have to come visit so we can go to this pizza place!

On another food related note, today I am baking my first loaves of pumpkin bread for the season. Woohoo!

P.S., 8:24 p.m.
The pumpkin bread is as amazing as I remembered!

Oct 15, 2010

Rick Perry, You're Wrong

I can't help another political post. It's election season.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is not my best bud. We disagree. He has a re-election ad out right now and most of it I think is accurate. Or at least if it isn't, I don't know about it. But the last part of it just kills me. He says Texas has strong public schools.

Rick - you're wrong! In what world is Texas hailed for its public schools?? Rural and urban schools are both in states of distress, for extremely different reasons. Some suburban schools are fine, a few are really good, but a few are really crummy too.

Less than 70% of Texas high school students graduate, ranking us 35th in the nation. In my mind, this is one of the key indicators of how good your schools are. So if we're 35 of 50...how is that good?

I wasn't going to vote for Rick Perry anyways. (Go Bill White!) But it kills me that he is promoting himself on a pretense that just isn't accurate. I hope most voters are aware of the reality of our schools and recognize that this credit touted by Rick Perry is actually a falsehood.

Oct 12, 2010

Things Lexi Barks At

Specifically on TV
  • Other dogs. Duh.
  • Horses. Geez nothing throws her into a barking fit like horses.
  • In fairness, most animals.
  • The Fox NFL football robot transformer thing.
  • The elf that comes on after an episode of Top Chef.
  • Aflac duck.
  • The karate kicking guy in the Oceanspray cranberry juice commercial.
  • Sometimes, small children.
  • And apparently the Kleenex commercial that starts with a sled of tissue boxes being pulled across the screen. That really upset her just now.

Oct 11, 2010

The Aftermath

On Saturday, my new laptop arrived. Hurray! I think this one is actually even a little fancier than the one I had stolen. (Note: do not come steal my laptop. We will not be friends anymore. And, and, and because I have taught it how to karate chop your ass if you try to steal it. Yeah, that's right, self-defense built in!)

I'm jazzed about my new laptop. I don't want to confuse anyone about that.

But (you knew there was one) I imagine the other feelings I have are fairly normal whenever you have to keep being reminded of something crappy. Now that I have my new laptop, I need to do all these little things. Like download iTunes. And try to convince Apple to let me have my previously purchased music back.

I'm optimistic that this can be done and the other things I want to have on here are all very do-able. But the searching through email or work accounts to find old files just reminds me that I don't have them because of a loser-jerk-butthead. And I have to be honest, it makes me hate that person or people even more.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I curse this person with each of these tasks but it kinda does surprise me anyways. For example I was so excited to go to Tiffany's Saturday and actually be able to make a purchase. I've never done that before. Well I have to say, that person took all the fun out of Tiffany's. It wasn't nearly as much fun as I hoped it would be. It just reminded me that I was replacing something and then when I got home, that I didn't even have a box to keep the replacement piece of jewelry in. Grrrr. It ticks me off.

But being angry doesn't do me or anyone else any good so now that I have vented, I am going to try really really hard not to be bugged by it and to enjoy that at least I have a new laptop to be uploading these things on to. And that it's pink, because that is pretty fun too.

From Home to Home

Sunday we left home and drove home, Austin to Houston that is.

Pic Mom shared of Kev last week
with his big catch
Kevin leaves for Navy boot camp on October 24 so we took this weekend to visit with him and wish him good luck. (If I hadn't already told you, Kevin announced in April or May that he was enlisting.) We had a nice quiet weekend in Houston visiting with Kev, Mom, Dad, Bry and Grandma. Oh and we ate the delicious red snapper Kev caught while deep sea fishing with Dad last weekend. Yum! It was just a night so I didn't even call the high school friends - sorry y'all but it was just too quick of a trip to do much.

Boot camp for Kevin will be outside of Chicago and will last until right before Christmas. Then he'll go check into his Navy technical training program, known as A School, down in Pensacola. With any luck they'll tell him to take the next week off and report for training after the new year. We won't know any of this until we're in the moment but we, especially Kevin, are optimistic. I sure hope he's home for Christmas!

In other, albeit much less momentous, news our wedding announcement showed up in the fall edition of  COMtalk, the BU College of Communication alumni magazine. It was so fun to see it listed and to have all the BU folks who attended included. Jess, Anna, Jane, Rae, Lindsay, Emo, Kim...others who are engaged and I likely forgot, remember to submit it. It's way fun! (Btw - hello weddings! I mean I know we're "at that age" but goodness, that's a lot of upcoming weddings.)

It isn't showing up online but normally you see alumni Class Notes on the web. And you can submit your own Class Note via that link too.

Oh! And I have a new computer (yay!) so I need your blog address again. Yes you. I need yours specifically.

Oct 8, 2010

Yuppie of the Year

I would like to nominate myself for Yuppie of the Year based on this week's activities...
  • Monday, lunch Ladies who lunch! Had a lunch date downtown with former co-board member for YNPN Austin, Narissa. Pieced together all of the npo gossip in Austin.
  • Monday, exercise I began my exercise with a mid-day power walk around the lake with Nichole and ended it with a weight-lifting class at the gym
  • Thursday, lunch Ladies who lunch part 2! Had a lunch date with Andrea, a TriDelta from Baylor at the Domain (read: extremely yuppie, expensive and mildly generic shopping center in north Austin. Home to Austin's only Neiman Marcus, a Tiffany's, Marc Jacobs, Coach, Cache, etc). Her MIL is friends with my MIL and about 6 months ago, our MILs set us up on a date. It was grand and finally after six months, we repeated said date. The initial intro was because she just joined the Junior League in town and I am wicked interested. I think she might be one of my sponsors so I can join this winter.
  • Thursday, bling I came home from work and my hubby surprised me with new diamond bling! It was meant to be an anniversary gift (10/25) but after he bought it he got too excited and just couldn't wait. White gold and diamond lovers' knot necklace. Perfect! Very good selection on his part.
  • Today, dog park We took Lexi to Red Bud Isle, one of the best views in town, reserved exclusively for pooches. And she even got in the water! Chest deep! This was a big accomplishment. If you could see the views of the hills and the city...you would also be amazed that this is a dog park and not the home of some exclusive resort.
  • Today, dinner at the Club. As in Lost Creek Country Club with my in-laws. Lovely. Glass of wine and shrimp scampi on the veranda (that is just a fancy word for patio right?).
  • Tomorrow, lunch Ladies who lunch part 3! Heading down to Apothecary for lunch with Mer while we sort out YNPN Austin things.
  • Tomorrow, Tiffany's Heading back to the Domain to shop at Tiffany's. Must replace my earrings.
  • Tomorrow, evening Wine with Brittany.
I'm not normally a lady of such high-falutin' taste but this has been an extraordinary week in terms of yuppie-ness. I'm not sure I have the energy to do it every week, by my goodness, it's been fun!

NYC Addresses a Pet Peeve

Disclaimer: this post is political in nature and my beliefs may not be very popular (or maybe they will be, who knows).

One of my pet peeves is standing in line at the grocery store, behind someone who buys junk junk and more junk and then realizing they are paying for it with government assistance. This drives me crazy!
  1. Junk is more expensive and thus you are not being resourceful with my tax dollars.
  2. Junk food causes poor health which will cause either health insurance premiums, state funded healthcare or both to be more expensive. Now you've cost me even more money.
Enormous pet peeve of mine. Especially as I've read the calories and price per unit on so many of my purchases so as to promote good health and fiscal responsibility in my family and with my hard earned money. It makes me feel like since I am helping buy that person's groceries, it is the least they can do to do the same.

Well last night on ABCNews with Diane Sawyer (love her) I saw that in New York City they are trying to limit what foods can be purchased using food stamps. I think this is great! Anyone who would listen to me rant has heard my strong belief in this for at least the past two years. The story and the proposed measure specifically addressed the purchase of sodas. I even more strongly agree with banning this product as it has absolutely no nutritional value, does not quench thirst due to all the sugar and is expensive.

Another Diane Sawyer story a couple years ago, actually a whole 20/20 episode, about families in Appalachia strengthen my crusade against soda. That story showed how some parents, unaware of the negative consequences, give their small children Mountain Dew in their sippy cups, causing years of tooth decay. I knew soda was bad for you but that story reminded me of just how bad it can be for you when consumed to extreme measures. So yes, I especially agree with banning the purchase of soda using taxpayer dollars.

It hasn't been passed yet but I sure hope it is soon. And I hope other cities and states will follow in NYC and Mayor Bloomberg's example. What do you think about the proposed law? Other ideas?

Oct 6, 2010

Humanity v the Constitution

Sounds like a pretty heavy blog title huh?

I'm up early watching the news today and I saw the most horrifying story.

Anti-something people protesting at funerals, specifically military funerals.

I've seen this story before and every time I see it, I'm disgusted. In this morning's particular story it is a church protesting military funerals because there are homosexuals in America and soldiers defend America. They aren't even protesting the funerals of homosexuals, just any soldier. The families who are suffering at their hands aren't even families for their target! It's more widespread and in my mind, therefore more horrifying than that.

I disagree with their beliefs but what I disagree with even more is the basic loss of humanity. No matter why someone died, let their family grieve in peace. I'll even go as far to say it would be inappropriate to protest the funeral of a murderer. Yes, that person was terrible and did terrible things but once they are dead you are hurting the family who frankly has been hurt enough.

What is just...dumbfounding though is I'm not sure the Supreme Court can stop this breach in humanity. Freedom of speech probably protects it. I'm a big fan of freedom of speech but I'm also fairly confident that Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, et al did not mean for it to be used against grieving families, especially families of soldiers defending our country (whether or not we agree with the war).

I'll admit I'm no constitutional law scholar. This is just my gut reaction: that its wrong but that the Constitution might protect it (though would never intend it). Do you think that's correct? I mean, is my understanding accurate? Is there a loophole I'm not thinking of? Or are families, again especially military families, just susceptible to this kind of torture in the worst moment of their lives?

Oct 4, 2010

Things the Northeast Does Wicked Well

Anna blogs all the time about the Secret Society of List Addicts so as a person who loves to-do lists and "seen it" travel check lists and...well you get the picture. I thought I would check it out.

Verdict: pretty darn funny.

I'm going to piggy back on their recent post "Things the Northeast Does Wicked Well"
  • Higher education. Hello Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Boston University. Then there's that Boston College place. Way to bring down the IQ guys.
  • Hockey. Not to offend the Canadians but New Englanders also do this pretty good. But with 9 months of winter, they ought to.
  • Forget the middle of the country. I don't mean for this to be mean. In college I once heard a Midwesterner complain that East Coasters have the east coast, California and Chicago. And I have to admit, after I heard it, I agreed. I too regularly forget about states like Iowa, Kentucky and North Dakota (tell me, when was the last time you thought about any of those?). I'm sure their residents do not appreciate this. Sorry y'all. I inherited this trait from New England.
  • S8000576.JPGVote Democrat. Good job everyone! Keep it up!
  • The colors black, gray and brown. East coast people rock these colors all the time. I tried to introduce pink when I lived there but my success was very limited. On the same note, Texans really rock bright colors, especially burnt orange and turquoise. What is it with the ladies all wearing turquoise in small Texas towns?
  • Public transportation. I was trying not to repeat from the original post but they do this really well and its one of my very fav things about the east coast. It is deserving of repetitive posting. And while we're on it, let me vocalize my love: I love the subway! I would ride it every day and ditch my car in a second. Woohoo subway!
BU TriDeltas and other New Englanders - what did I miss?

Oct 3, 2010

Drive Up a Mountain

If I've ever emailed you from my personal account, then you've seen this quote in my signature:

Once you drive up a mountain, you can't back down.

Once in the past few years, I was lovingly teased about this by an old high school friend. She recognized it because its a line from our senior musical, Footloose (of course I suppose Footloose was something before it was the CLHS class of 2003 musical).

I started blogging about something else today and it made me think of that quote so instead I thought I would explain it.

Like I said, that was a line, a chorus really, from Footloose. And that year I took the hardest damn English class ever. Senior AP English with Mr. Parks. I actually got an 8 on one of his tests; I never have reconciled with The Canterbury Tales. Despite having always taken PreAP or AP English, I really considered downgrading to regular English after that less than stellar grade.

But I didn't. I don't remember why but I'm guessing it wasn't some noble, admirable reason like wanting to meet the challenge. It was probably too much paperwork or would have interfered with my off periods or something like that.

Stuck in this impossible class - the man had "Abandon hope all ye who enter" tacked above the door - I needed motivation. Large doses of motivation. When rehearsals began and the boys sang "Mama Says" with some of the most provocative dance this 17 year old had ever seen, I started paying attention and quickly learned the words, including the line "once you drive up a mountain, you can't back down."

It resonated. I had gone three years and something months of AP English, damn it. I was on the other side of the proverbial mountain top. I could not back down. Maybe it sounds a little dramatic but that piece of advice from someone's not-entirely-there-upstairs fictional mother made me determined to finish out my high school years of AP English.

(I feel it necessary to interject here that Mr. Parks turned out to be one of the best teachers I ever had, partly because he was hard as hell, and I really liked him. He had multiple masters degrees and still taught public school English. In addition to the "abandon hope all ye who enter" above the classroom door, he had notes tacked to the ceiling that said "you aren't listening" that brought you back to reality every time you spaced out. He challenged the crap outta us...until about the end of February. He knew after that would be spring break and college acceptance letters and none of us would care about anything besides prom dresses. He crammed all the work he wanted from us into August-February. And then he read Hank the Cowdog to us for the remainder of the year. God bless him.)

Now whenever I'm in something sticky I tell myself "you've gotten this far" and that it is no time to start backing down the mountain. It isn't the Dali Lama or George Washington, but for seven or eight years now it has been my inspirational quote.

I hope next time I email you and you see that fun quote you think
  1. "I can do it!"
  2. and tonight I gotta cut loose, footloose. Kick off your Sunday shoes...

Oct 2, 2010

Misc Collection of Updates

Is it odd that despite blogging for something like 23 days of September, I still managed to feel like I missed somethings? Here's the updates in a nutshell.

  • Last weekend when having dinner with my in-laws, we received the flag from Gramma's funeral. Its home is now a place of honor in our living room on the shelves that Spike built. It's really nice.
  • Brittney's blog reminded me that I never told you which of the many avenues of involvement I had selected. Selection isn't complete but I did join the 2011 Cattle Baron's Ball committee (American Cancer Society fundraising gala). I'm helping with the Children's Art Project.
  • Thank God that Anna peer pressured Emal into starting a blog. I basically consider that I have about six friends from college to whom I was fairly attached at the hip and still remain relatively attached...by some very long stretched out triangle shaped cord. Well Amanda, Val, Anna, Jane and Jess are all blogging but (Kristin) Emal was holding out. But haha! She succumbed to the peer pressure of Anna. Nicely done Anna, nicely done.
  • Still on the same note of girlfriends and blogs, I really enjoy reading how we've all...I dunno, grown. For example, when we were roomies, I never knew Amanda to be religious. Since then she's converted (kinda) from Polish Catholic to Roman Catholic, married in the church with a full mass, goes with her family to church every Sunday and caters the annual church kick-off dinner. Or Val, she's gone mostly veggie and moved to the West Coast, a complimentary pair if I do say so myself. In about a year Jane will go from Ms. Harries to Dr. Theriault (I mean I guess, assuming she takes his name). Jess and Anna have both found themselves attached to the south and Emal has become the Jersey girl. Who woulda guessed it all!
  • October is here! (OK you probably realized this already.) That means we're going to celebrate our first wedding anniversary this month. It also means the lovely weather that is Texas in the fall is very much present.
  • Blog for your breasts! Yesterday as the beginning of breast cancer awareness month was the official "blog for your breasts" day. The day got away from me and I totally didn't do it. So I'm making up for it today by saying I SUPPORT THE FIGHT AGAINST BREAST CANCER and this YouTube video about research to do such is pretty cool too.