Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Two Odd Things in 20 Minutes

The first was a woman selling proteas on a frosty hillside near Seattle. Protea flowers are native to South Africa, and I'm used to seeing them in that sunny setting half way around the world. I know people grow them in this country, but it still came as a huge surprise to drive by and see them on that hillside. It definitely made me smile.

The second thing was confusing, surprising, and perhaps a bit funny. As we drove into Bellevue we ended up following a very nice late model BMW M3. The car turned into the driveway and we could see that it was a pizza delivery car! We imagined all sorts of possible scenarios to explain this, but our favorite was the idea that parents bought the car but expected the kid to pay the insurance.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wedding Spending

I am starting to understand why the average American wedding costs $16k-$25k. That amount sounds completely insane for a one day party, but if you just bought everything that "they" suggest, things could get away from you very quickly. Everyone knows you need a dress, but then they also hit you up for shoes, veil, tiara, clips, garters, undergarments, crinolines, garment bag, and a gown preservation kit. You are still feeling light-headed from all the gown trying, that you may become weak and cave to it all.

At every turn, "they" try to tell you that you have to buy "one of these," and you have to buy the best one you can afford because this is the ONLY chance you will ever have to get one. Do you want to look back on your wedding and think "oh those cocktail napkins were so cheap and nasty! If only I'd splurged on the really good cocktail napkins then my day would have been perfect!" Actually, when I look back on my special day what I want AVOID is feeing like a chump. Contrary to popular belief (or at least what "they" are trying to sell) the lavishness of your wedding DOES NOT equate to the quality of your marriage.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Birthday!

Happy birthday to my dear M who means more to me than I can say. Hopefully the next year will be very full of good thing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Gown!

I found a gown! I found a gown! After going on SEVEN gown hunting missions with my ever-patient mom, I found a gown that I really love. Okay, so it's not quite what I thought I wanted when I first went out, but it is beautiful and very wedding-y, if you know what I mean. Of course, I can't tell anything about it because M reads this blog. I keep telling him that it is pink and green polka dots with lots of frothy orange lace.

Now I still need to shop for a veil, shoes, and various other bits and pieces. The veil they wanted to sell me at the bridal salon cost more than the dress! It was a lovely veil, but MORE THAN THE DRESS! I don't know if I can cope. They also kept trying to give me a tiara every time I tried on a veil, and I just kept taking it off again. How many times do I have to say NO TIARAS! Who do you think I am? The princess of Andorra?! Why do brides feel the need to pretend at royalty? You're the bride for goodness sake! You are already the center of attention!

Polka dots and tiaras aside, it was fun searching for just the right gown. I am quite happy with the one I finally bought, and I am looking forward to wearing it when the time is right. Let the alterations begin!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bad Dreams

The other night I had the second of my wedding anxiety dreams. This is odd because I don't "think" I have a lot of stress about the wedding. The first dream was just about heading to the wedding, being late, and never seeming to get there. It was really more annoying than anything lese. This second one, however, was much more detailed.

The first thing I noticed was that we seemed to be just about to get married in a church. That struck me as odd, but I decided that there must not have been any other venues available. I decided I could just speak to the minister about having a god and obedience-free ceremony. Next I realized that I'd forgotten all the flowers, but that was okay because my brothers could head to Safeway (ooo Safeway flowers would be lovely) Then I'd forgotten even to brush my hair. I decided that this too would be okay because no one would be able to see it under the veil. That brings me to the veil. It was edged in Barbie-pink ribbon. That was the final straw. I woke up in a sweat. The pressure (that I didn't know was there) must be getting to me. I'm definitely cracking up.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Emerson on Success

We are forever doing snippets of poetry in my LA class. I have this belief that students should be exposed to lots of poetry because that's the only way they can find poems they really love. I also have this theory that poetry, like art and music, is entirely in the mind of the beholder, and that just because I like a poem does not mean you will. I tell the kids that probably 80% of the poetry they hear will not mean anything to them. Another 5% or 15% will be actively distasteful, and then a small, small portion will really strike a chord. It's a lot of work to find meaningful ones, but once you do, they sort of stick with you forever. Here is, in my opinion, a "good" one.


What Is Success?
By: Ralph Waldo Emerson
What is success?
To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty;
To find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived;
This is to have succeeded.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Minor Complaint

Okay, I know this is completely unimportant, but I just can't resist whining every once in a while.

Why, oh way, must "they" do such horrible things with women's fashion? I'm not talking about the ridiculous things they get up to on the runways; we all know those are stupid and un-wearable. What I'm talking about is regular everyday stuff that you (many of you anyway) and I are supposed to buy and wear on a daily basis. Everywhere you go you find things that are silly, inconvenient, poorly made, and downright embarrassing.

Several times now, I've gone out looking for reasonably priced sweaters in natural fibers. In the men’s department you can find any number of nice, simple, inexpensive (often $20-$30) wool and cotton options. Unfortunately, these are cut for men (boxes) and the sizes tend to run large (go figure). Therefore, a person is left with the schlock they call "separates" in the ladies department.

First of all are the fibers. Oh the horror of a purple knit item made from something called "tricot." Every single ridge of a person's fingerprint catches on this nasty stuff and creates (at least for me) that awful nails-on-chalkboard sensation. Don't get me wrong, I don't object to human-made fibers in principle, I love my fleece after all, but I just can't stand some of the textures.

Next, is the annoying tendency to create sweaters that wrap, tie, ruche, hook, belt, gather, or (god forbid) lace. It turns out that sweaters stay on just fine without ANY of these extra details. Not once, in my entire sweater wearing career, has a sweater gone flying off willy-nilly! I am willing to accept a decent cardigan or two, but that is about it.

Last, and perhaps most horrifying, is what passes as sweater decoration. As it turns out, I am a grown-up, and I do not need or want any type of characters on my clothing. This includes all Disney images, Hello Kitty, and every other cutsie-poo animal motif. Same goes for flags, most flowers, butterflies, hearts, and clever sayings as well. Leave off the weird collars, fuzzy do-dads, odd buttons, huge buttons, appliqu├ęs, and all the other horrible stuff. What is so hard about making plain, simple sweaters in nice shapes and pretty colors?

Yes, yes, I know I could find what I am looking for a J. Crew, L.L. Beane, or Eddie Bauer, but that is the yuppie solution. On top of everything else, I do not wish to spend $80-$120 on a single item. Also, I like to be able to try things on before I buy, so the internet is not really an option. The search continues...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tasting for the Future

Last night, M and I went and had a tasting at the Ravishing Radish Catering Company. These people were recommended by a friend of mine, and we were certainly not disappointed by what we had. This was a monthly tasting, not just for us, so there were many different types of food laid out for people to try. I had at least one helping (and sometimes TWO!) of each of the vegetarian items. Everything from the salad to the vegetable tort was very tasty, and M reported that the fish was quite good as well.

On the whole, we were quite impressed with the food, the ambiance (they will be setting the tables and doing some of the decorations), and the professionalism of the people. The owner and the chef both came over to speak to us about our event, and they really did go beyond the smile and wave and "thanks for coming." The Chef seemed a little taken a back when we said we were not providing a meat option (sorry meat-eaters, you'll have to make do with fish!), but she quickly turned to discussing the various seasonal vegetarian options. Unless something changes, I would think our wedding guests can look forward to yummy food catered by The Ravishing Radish! Whew! One more choice made, and it feels so good!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

WA State Election Picks 2007

Warning, Washington State Election information to follow. If you can't or won't be voting in the election, this probably will be a very boring post and you might want to give it a pass.

Some people don't get interested or excited about elections unless there is a president, governor, or at least a senator involved. None of those positions are up for election this time, but it turns out to still be a fairly interesting ballot. We have an array of interesting initiatives and referendums on the list, and we also have a number of local positions to fill. I've read the voters' pamphlet and done a modest bit of research on my own, but I do not claim to be an in-depth expert on any of these issues. Feel free to comment if you have any constructive input on any of these issues. Without further ado, here are my Washington State elections picks for 2007:

1. Initiative 960 (aka the 2/3 majority requirement for tax increases)---> NO
The logic here? If Eyman is for it, than it must be bad. Sure enough, upon further inspection, this initiative would make it very difficult for the state government to authorize even the most important increases. As a teacher I feel that simple majority is the way to go.

2. Referendum 67 (aka the insurance fair conduct bill) ---> Yes
The short version, as I read it anyway, is that insurance companies are currently able to deny reasonable claims in the hopes that the patient will just accept the denial and go away. In other states, this practice is illegal, and any patient who finds there reasonable claim denied may sue the insurer. I've had this one happen to me (denial of a reasonable claim) and it sucks. Let's nail them to the proverbial wall.

3. Resolution 8206 (aka the rainy day fund) ---> Yes
My logic for this one is very short. Oregon has a rainy day fund, and it has proven to be a major asset when economics take a downturn or natural disasters hit. Washington needs one of these too.

4. Resolution 8212 (aka The Prison Work Program) ---> Yes
I admit that this one was very tough to work out. It changes the way prison labor is allocated, and it has a provision preventing certain types of competition with outside business. In the end, I narrowly decided for support because some of my research indicated that there would be better employment for inmates under the changes. Like I said though, this is one of the ones I feel least confident about.

5. Resolution 4204 (aka eliminates the supermajority requirement for increases in educational funding) ---> Yes
This one is a no-brainer. For the same reasons that I can't approve #1, I am in support of this one. The idea of requiring supermajorities for this kind of thing seems antithetical to democratic principles.

6. Resolution 4215 (aka Investment of higher education funds) ---> Yes
This one was also quite tricky for me to decide on at first, but then my union stepped in. It seems that this proposal gives greater flexibility in investing certain types of education funding.

7. King County Initiative 25 (aka county director of elections) ---> No
After some research, I am convinced that this office is unnecessary. There are already a number of good checks and balances on our elections, so I really don't think this is required. It seems to me like a potshot by Republicans who are still smarting over Gregoire. I also do not want to politicize this type of position.

8. King County Proposition 1 (aka EMT renewal of services) ---> Yes
I like the idea that someone will come REALLY QUICKLY to my house if I need them. I am willing to pay for this service.

9. Regional Transportation Investment District Proposition 1 (aka transit tax) --> Yes
This one was also tough. I would like to see more traffic relief for roads. However, I think I would probably vote for this thing even if it included NO traffic relief. We are in desperate need of mass transit in this area, and the longer we delay, the worse things will get. At no point will any of these proposals get any cheaper either. Given the current price of gas, this proposal seems all the more timely.

Sorry, I've run out of time for now. If I have more to spare tomorrow, I might delve into people. Do feel free to comment if you have additional information.