Saturday, November 29, 2008

Yay, 200 posts!!!

Not that I've said anything all that important or impressive in that time, but yay 200. Seems momentous.

I'll get this out of the way right now. After my diatribe regarding Continental in my last post, do you want to take a wild guess who I'm flying out to Annapolis on Monday?! Continental. Yup. Luckily, I have three free drink tickets we earned by having a two hour delay on the way to Seattle, so I will make sure to use those! But I'm excited about the trip -- as of Monday I'll be an employed member of society again and I think that's really cool. Not to mention the renovations on the garage will now be the renovations on my home office, therefore tax deductible. Paul brought over a ten foot long slab of counter that I plan to use for a long counter atop lots of cabinets. Eeks, can't wait to get working in there! In more ways than one, lol.

Thanksgiving was good, traveled over to Baton Rouge to see the crew. The kids are getting so cute and Max and Anna were particularly adorable. It's also exciting to be thinking about my little Aunt Margaret's wedding. She was born when I was like six or seven (and she has another younger sister and they make up my "pocket aunts"). It means we're all pretty much officially grown up too. The kids are all in their 30's with kids of their own and the babies are in their 20's and getting married and graduating college. Crazy. Here are some of my fave shots from the week:

Max (almost cute enough to make me breed, but not quite):

2008-11-27 Thankx LA (6)

Margaret and her awesome fiancee, Simon (both are CatchPhrase champs, fyi):

2008-11-27 Thankx LA (15)

Anna Banana:

2008-11-27 Thankx LA (26)

What's that face?

2008-11-27 Thankx LA (28)

Mary entertaining Max:

2008-11-27 Thankx LA (56)

And a bad pic of my bad ass Aunt Diane who is looking SO FAB these days, and I want to call and tell her every day!

2008-11-27 Thankx LA (13)

I always love going out to Paw Paw and Ms. Gussie's -- the food and the company are great. Everyone's a laugh riot even when TMI is taking over (and TMI is always the topic of conversation!) Played lots of games even though there were some super whiners over Apples and Apples. It was a bummer to miss out on seeing Andrea and Chad, but I do love a trip to Louisiana. I was easily convinced that I needed to come back in Jan, for Mardi Gras and for various other dates.

Hope you had a great turkey day. I meant to run today and get back on some program since I am expanding as the days pass, but it was a major relax day. Knowing I got home home at ten last night and I have to pack again tomorrow kinda sucks =( The kind of problem I'm happy to have though...grateful for the opportunity...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Dear Continental...

Hi. It's me, Brandy. You know me, I usually fly with you. Not a ton, but loyally. Til now. You know, you used to really have me convinced you were all about customer service. That you were the best out there.

Eff you, Continental. Eff you and your whole fleet. Let's talk about the things that have angered me this week, a week when gas prices are lower than they've been in literally years before you even march that excuse out for the insane number of fees you've added on to my travel experience. First of all, I noticed you no longer have much in the way of employees, simply a skeleton crew of older people who linger around kiosks where I am in charge of my entire experience. That sure sucked, but I was making it through printing passes for my three person brigade. We get to the frickin charges on luggage. Now I'm doing all the work myself and you're screwing me out of more money. Lovely. $15 for the first, $25 for the second. We're gone for a week so that's $40 for the adults and then $15 for Dylan's stuff. I ask someone over because I assume I've already paid for Dylan's because a $15 charge was already on my credit card. She lets me know that's because I called to make that reservation instead of doing it online. Talking to a person = $15. I comment to her that my bum bum hurts because I'm pretty sure that Continental is committing unmentionable acts without lubrication or kindness to my bum bum and walk away. Of course our flight has a two hour delay which I enjoy the heck out of, I pay $2 for headphones that never work and I finally use my iPod ones to watch X-Files. Thank goodness for David Duchovny, he rescued my spirits. Final charge for "extras" on trip to Seattle: $72

On the way back...first of all, check in at Seattle is even more ridiculous. Two elderly ladies badgering me as to whether I've got my tickets ready yet. Beyotch, I'm still printing them. This is hard work, you'd know if you were doing it. But I am so go decay somewhere else. Suddenly one of our suitcases has gained 20 lbs and it oversized. It by itself is now $65. Fan.Tas.Tic. I get charged $15 for the other and decide to go rogue with the third piece. Will anyone notice if I carry on three? I decide they will not. Also unfortunate is the lack of consistent experience with these guys. The first flight had these awesome TV's on the back of each seat and you could pick your own movies. Awesome. Way back, old school with the one screen five seats ahead and it is a frickin Brendan Frasier movie. Unless it is the one with Pauly Shore, I don't know it and I don't care. Not to mention that pilot nearly killed us upon landing. So trip back - $80 and a total of $152 that we normally wouldn't have been charged. Eff you. I bet you go to the government, hand out, next week and ask for a bailout. Just use lube next time you rape me, Continental. You are dead to least until the next time some business flight is made with you outside of my control.

Yours truly,


Other than that, I went to Seattle and had an okay time. Too long, Sun through Sun, but still cool. But Heather, I don't think that place is nearly as cool as you do. And that's with four trips to Pacific Center, four space needle trips, five Seattle Center visits, six monorail trips, Experience Music Project tour, Science Fiction Museum, a Children's Museum visit and Pike Place Market all under my belt. Oh, and daily trips to Barnes and Noble where I read Michael Ian Blacks My Custom Van and Chelsea Handler's Are you there Vodka, it's me Chelsea for free while Dylan played the trains. There is no nightlife available other than hobo huddling, so it was mostly Barnes and Noble and the ordering of pizza. Glad I went once, will prolly never go again. But here's some cute stuff -- though Karen Russell ain't lying when she says your pics will be crap for awhile after her class. It's a lot to digest (and apply properly...)

2008-11-17 Seattle (19)

lookie, they have AUTUMN there...

2008-11-17 Seattle (23)

just a cute darn pic of these two...

2008-11-20 Seattle (24)

the Space Needle at night...

2008-11-20 Seattle (26)

from the Sci Fi museum...

2008-11-21 Seattle (21)

at the Pacific Center which is like a kiddie sci museum...

2008-11-21 Seattle (22)

2008-11-21 Seattle (64)

the original Starbucks...

2008-11-21 Seattle (68)

and a nice blurry pic of where we were staying from atop the needle at night...

2008-11-21 Seattle (79)


And if you're still with me, this is where the story gets GOOD. There was a store called Utilikilts which is pretty much what you think -- lotsa kilts. Cargo kilts. Really cool kilts. If they cost like $100 Jason would have them now, but unfortch they were like $300. They promise a Black Friday sale, and I will be calling. There is something oddly hot about these things. I think it is the confidence it takes to pull it off, not to mention it is a perfect twist on those little schoolgirl fantasies. Except with a huge hairy man. Like I said, oddly hot. The part where they guy (who looks and talks like Seth Rogen) makes Jason drop his drawers in the middle of the store is priceless. Jason asked the guy if you wear underwear and he said it was up to you. I asked if he wore underwear and he simply said he wore socks and shoes. I guess wash before you borrow a friend's kilt...

2008-11-21 Seattle (42)

2008-11-21 Seattle (43)

2008-11-21 Seattle (44)

Priceless, indeed. I am collecting if anyone wants to donate to the "Jason needs that Cargo Kilt" collection.

Oh, and really if you're still reading now you're a hero, I got the job. Hurray!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Equality, rant.

If you haven't seen this comment by Keith Olbermann on the passage of Prop 8, I'll start with it because it says what I could never so succintly do:

I took that in mind along with my gut feelings of morality and joined all the rallies of this Saturday in favor of LGBT marriages by attending the Houston one at City Hall. I was completely inspired by the people I saw there. I know that people think of the gay community and think if our Houston pride parades with eight foot tall drag queens and outlandish party floats and I adore that. It's fun and great, but it wasn't at all what today was about. Today was about couples who had been together a million years and families and a real sense of inequality. I stood next to a family with two moms and six foster children, including a down syndrome little boy. They deserved a medal, not second class status. Arkansas doesn't even allow gays to be foster parents anymore. That was the point of being there today, supporting people who just want to be recognized as normal citizens with normal rights.

First the lovely pics, then the lovely rant:

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (2)

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (14)

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (32)

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (12)

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (34)

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (15)

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (11)

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (47)

and my fellow protester, Cate who had the quote of the day "I think my three month marriage destroyed the sanctity of marriage more than any of these people here will." Forgive me for repeating that, Cate, but right on sister.

2008-11-15 Prop H8 Rally (6)

Rant (read the whole thing before you get mad): I'll tread lightly here because I don't want to offend anyone involved in a specific church or religious sect that has dumped money into this cause (and they are varied and not limited to one, though one in particular is said to have dumped up to 77% of the funds into the campaign to pass this, mostly through dishonest ad campaigns in CA). BUT let me say that I fully support the grassroot effort to try and encourage government to take away the 501(c)(3) status these churches hold. That status gives churches a non profit status and prevents them from being taxes, but one of the conditions is that (and this is from the IRS verbiage):

"Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. "

Take it away! I'd love to take all the money these churches rake in and send it to where we need it -- the American economy. Not that it will ever happen, but one can dream. I mean, South Carolina Catholic priest Jay Scott Newman isn't giving communion wafers to parishioners who voted for Obama who don't ask for redemption because it was a vote for evil. That church should be ashamed of these actions and they need to give up their tax exempt status if they cross that line. They have freedom of speech, yes, but they are bound by the rules of their 501(c)(3) status. And sorry Mormon church, but $20 million in donations (according to ABC, Utah) means y'all need to pay your taxes too. Freedom of belief, freedom of speech, all for it but rules are rules. Shut up or Pay up.

Friday, November 14, 2008

You take the good, you take the bad... take them both and there you have
The Facts of Life, the Facts of Life -- go 80's theme music!

Fact of life right now that is good...Dylan is cute and I learned a lot at the Karen Russell photography class of last week. It wasn't a fun class (as in we didn't giggle and throw glitter everywhere) but it was like a Sprague class where it is hard work, but you get back everything you put into it. I'm still learning and still referring to my handouts, but I am getting there. Got this cute pic of Dylan today while fiddling (and I know it isn't a technically good one, but at least I got that cool angle down)


Fact of life that is bad...unemployment. I am actually having to worry about my loved ones, and not just the cracked out one. Just got word of another family member laid off and another was laid off earlier this year and has not much of a prospect. I'm actually worried in a way that makes me hopeful to get this job (ps, had another phone interview with them today) just in case I need to help out with anyone's bills. It is going to be a different Christmas, that's for sure.

And I'll consider that a "both" -- I don't like all the buying and silliness of Christmas. I would love to just be with my family and enjoy their company and it looks like that might be the reality. I'm already planning out the limits or the bans that need to be imposed on each member of the family.

Here's where I plan to be tomorrow:
fight h8

If anyone saw the great Keith Olbermann clip going around this week, that's basically a summary of why I'll be there. It's not a matter of me knowing anyone affected by this (thought I do) or me wanting to marry another woman -- it is a matter of fairness. I don't think that only those personally affected by this should have to fight alone and so I plan to be there with my pal Cate who has the same intentions as me. I don't know what Dylan's path will be in life, but if I can do something meaningful to make it so he grows up in a nation of equality and respect, then I will. If you are in the area, please plan to join me and if you live elsewhere, there are protests going on in nearly every single town tomorrow so please check into it.

Other fun stuff:

Joined Dylan and Kolby along with Shana on the boys' field trip to the Fire Museum and Discovery Green

2008-11-05 Field Trip (47)

2008-11-05 Field Trip (68)

and of course the cutest thing, Halloween!! Here's Dylan along with Shana's - Kolby and Madeline!

2008-10-31 Halloween Bridges

2008-10-31 Halloween at School (22)

2008-10-31 Halloween at School (29)

(that witchy tutu was the result of a craft night in the new room, yay room!)

Other than that, not much to report, but stay tuned...

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thank you.

Our internet has been down since election night (great timing, I know) and I am finally back on or else this post would have already happened.

Thank you, America. All of America, for paying attention this time and getting out to vote in record numbers. Special thanks, of course, to the majority of whom voted for my guy, Barack Obama.

Now I have to be honest, I was scared election night. People are crazy. I went ahead and took down my Obama yard signs because I didn't know if people were going to respond in some riotous way if he won. Plus, they had already done their job. I started to watch the coverage, but watching CNN speculate with 1% of Florida reporting sounded insane. So I scrapped. Came back. Scrapped and the internet went down. While Jason was on the phone with AT&T (who would not restore our service because Jason could not remember what the name of his favorite restaurant was, seriously, and that was for two days now without service), magic happened. I suddenly looked up and McCain was in the 140's and Obama was over 270. We blinked when we saw this:

2008-11-04 E Night (6)

and this:

2008-11-04 E Night (1)

and this

2008-11-04 E Night (4)

Suffice to say, my confidence in humanity was refreshed and I cried a lot. Unfortch, there are still a lot of people who are disappointed by the results and some people are choosing to say awful, disgusting things that remind me of why I have no faith in humanity to begin with. Oh well, he's Prez elect, whoo hoo!!!

**And I'd like to mention I'm so disappointed by the decisions of CA residents to ban gay marriage. Mind your beeswax! Why is it even our call? So odd to take one step forward and one step back in the same night. Sad. I saw this and it perfectly captures how I feel about this issue:


But impressively enough, marijuana was decriminalized in Massachusetts and Oregon scored their first transgender mayor. It's an interesting time in history to say the least, but I eat it up.

But Obama was the perfect end to a great day with Heather and Meg. I got to make cards and the kids played and they make such an adorable couple...

2008-11-04 E Day antics (13)

Now I think we just heard gunshots, gotta cut this short. Living in the hood, grrr. Thanks again, nation!