Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama Rama!!!!

Last few days before the big day!!!! And by big day I mean the election in America, naturally (smile).

I am taking my father to the DMV tomorrow, for early voting. They are calling for very long lines here in Virginia on election Tuesday. The Governor is considering extending voting hours, which I think is a good idea.

We, Virginia, use to be a swing state, but lately in polling maps we are no longer yellow but light blue so I guess most of the news agencies have Virginia going for Obama. I am working hard this week to insure that this happens!

On Sunday I manned the local Farmer's Market table. Had an unusual experience, I was outside of the tent, handing out flyers and my co-volunteer was inside talking to interested voters. This lady comes up to my co-worker and starts screaming her, "how can you work for a baby-killer?" "Do you know Obama supports abortions, abortions kill babies?" "How can you sleep at night?" It was scary, I wanted to deck this lady but my co-worker calmly looked at her and said, "thank you, have a nice day." Weird.

This week I have been papering the commuter parking lots with Obama material - I got caught by VDOT on Wednesday; but thankfully the guy who caught me is an Obama supporter and let me leave up the handbills I had inserted (instead of making me walk back around to all of the cars and take them out, which would have sucked).

Despite working very hard to make this election go our way, I think we Democrats are still very nervous that something bad will happen with this election. I mean can you blame us (see 2000 presidental election)?

More work continues this weekend (waves, papering mosque parking lot), leading up to Tuesday with a full day of volunteering at a polling place - all for an Obama win.

Please remember to go out and VOTE!!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friends' Weddings

I attend two weddings in October. Both of the events for good college friends of mine and the bride's both did an October theme.

Picture's above are from the first wedding, held at a historic home of George Mason right off the Potomac River. I thought everything was just so elegant! If you can see, each of the tables were named after a historic presidential home (taking into account both the bride and groom's interest in history). Flowers were in a pumpkin, a string quartet played, food was traditional and the wedding favors - Mt. Vernon cider (Mt. Vernon was George Washington's home right here in Northern Virginia).

The photos below are from the second wedding - a very different setting, but just as fun! This was held in a barn, but the way the bride had decorated it, it was more like a Martha Stewart barn. I thought the view of the Shenandoah Valley behind the head table was just breath-taking (and it was also where the bride and groom took their vows, because of rain, wedding was moved inside). Everything was just done so beautifully, again an autumn theme, the food was classic southern, including a variety of pie choices for dessert and the give away was homemade jam!

Both weddings were done so well - right out of a magazine! I had a fabulous time (and isn't that the most important thing?!). Hope the pictures do them justice!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Modern Day Slavery

I can't figure out why the pictures are not loading, even I can't seem them now anymore; maddeningly frustrating! Simply imagine fun photos of the Big Apple (its like the game I play with toddlers, use your imagination).

On a wholly unrelated subject, I just finished reading this gripping book, "A Crime so Monstrous..." by Benjamin Skinner. It is about modern day slavery and I highly recommend picking this up; but I'll be upfront it is not an easy read, not just because of the horrific stories but because Skinner does get mired down, on occasion, of political explanations for the causes of slavery. If you overlook or skip those paragraphs, the book is very good. It exposes a subject in today's world that is so often overlooked.

The definition of slavery is those people who are forced to work, not of their own free will, for mere sustenance (food, shelter). Skinner tells stories of Haitian children sold into child servitude, Moldovian villages completely wiped out of their young females between the ages of 17 to 35, who are forced into the sex trade, southern Sudanese women and children shackled to slave trains for northern noble families and poor Indian villagers who are locked through the caste system and old family debts to work for large mine and landowners. All of these tales break your heart and in my case, baffle your mind by how this is allowed to happen. In most instances it is complaciant countries and corrupt police officials that make the work so easy. But the key culprit is poverty (and in many cases, war).

I do also wonder about the people who perputate these systems, the pimps, the guys who sell the children, the mean and violent landowner - what is wrong with these people?! How do they justify their actions? How can a person be so cruel and heartless? Is it the culture you are raised in, maybe without religion or a true family structure? Perhaps if all your life you were raised around thieves and rapists, you become one? Or don't think there is anything wrong in being one?

Either way there is no ready solution - the author suggests writing our congress members, yet esentially this topic needs more coverage, people, including myself are unaware of how prevalent slavery is in today's world. If the book had not been featured on NPR, I would never have heard of it - and that is a shame!

Here is a link to the book and a review.

Do please try to read, even a chapter or two.

New York City!


Sorry for the delay in posting - I went with my sister and our two friends (who also happen to be sisters) to NYC for a girl's weekend. It was so much fun!!!

We went bargain shopping in Chinatown and the wholesale district, we walked around a fair in Greenwich village (more liberal than San Francisco I think) and a flea market near Central Park, took in a Broadway show (Eqqus starring Daniel Radcliffe) and sampled many different food types (going to not one single chain restaurant!). We ate pizza, Greek, Japanese and even traditional diner food. After the Broadway show we went to Serendipity for delicious ice cream, yum! I was finally able to navigate properly the NYC Subway and the hotel we stayed in (upper west side) was decidedly posh!

Enjoy some pictures of the trip - as I like to say, a good time was had by all!

Times Square, busy on a Friday night, when we arrived.

The pizza place we ate at was a converted church!

We had to visit Rockefeller Center because of the girl's is a huge 30 Rock fan.

A little stuffed furry friend who enjoyed Equus with us!

Our ice cream at Serendipity when it first arrived - so yummy!!

The aftermath!

Our hotel room had a second television in the bathroom!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Plastic Bags

This is my story for the local Democratic Womens newsletter....enjoy!

It's thin and flimsy, great for holding things, available at everRecycley store and will live for more than 100 years in a landfill; the plastic bag.

It is the epitome of Western Capitalization, according to The Wall Street Journal. The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. These bags do not biodegrade. They sit in landfills and break down, spilling their toxins into the land and water around them. Often these plastic bags end up in the ocean and can be ingested by sea animals where hundreds of whales, turtles and other marine life die from eating these bags.

There are a number of solutions to this exploding problem. As the website says, "each high quality reusable shopping bag you use has the potential to eliminate hundreds, if not thousands, of plastic bags over its lifetime."

Also you can recycle plastic bags by bringing them to local grocery stores or other plastic bag recycling locations. Remember the bags should be clean, dry and empty.

Finally, the next time you are shopping, think before getting the item bagged. Does the one box of cereal need its own bag? Getting just two books from the bookstore, can't they be held in your hand? Going to multiple stores, try to double up on bags, don't get a bag from each store, put items in just one bag.

At the end of the day, it is time to break this non-environmental practice!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Book Memo

Sorry for the delay, I am finally taking Darla D's book memo - this was a nice trip down my reading lane.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
It was definitely as a child, I don't remember this exact kismat moment, but some of my best childhood memories comes from reading, just seems like it was always in my life. I know that there must be something genetically pre-disposed in me, as my grandfather was an English professor and he and I share a deep passion for reading.

What are some books you read as a child? The Secret Garden, James and the Giant Peach, A Cricket in Times Square, Babysitter's Club, Sweet Valley Twins, Nancy Drew, and of course EVERYTHING by Enid Blyton (precursur to JK Rowling, fabulous writer!).

What is your favorite genre? Historical fiction, romance (a combination of both is my especial joy!).

Do you have a favorite novel? Well as everyone should know by now, my absolute favorite book is James and the Giant Peach, I also have repeatedly re-read Night by Eli Weisel, Northhanger Abbey by Jane Austen and My Story by Sarah Ferguseon, the Duchess of York, but I have a long list of books I love to re-read over and over again.

When do you usually read? Whenever I have a free moment, or I'm waiting somewhere.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time? Usually, something educational and edifying to the mind and something frivolous, aka romance novel.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction? Nope.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library? See previous post about me being dirt poor, I check everything out at the library - besides I love the library, great selection and if I check out a book I don't like, I can always return it : )

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them? See question above.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child? No kids, but God-willing I will and I absolutely want to share with them the books I loved as well as some of the new stuff, like those If you Give a Moose a Muffin books and the Magic Treehouse series.

What are you reading now? Murder Most Royal, by Jean Plaidy about Henry the Eighth, Anne Boleyn and Catharine Howard, and some trashy romance novel.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list? Yes. It's so long it's embarrassing. I doubt I'll live long enough to read all the books on there, unless maybe I stop adding new ones and live to be very, very old. Oh, well - it's all about the journey, isn't it? This is Darla D's sentinments and I completely echo them!

What’s next? I will next be reading Three Cups of Tea, you know the one on the best-seller list about setting up schools in Afghanistan.

What books would you like to reread? If it is a book I like, most of the time I have already re-read it. I wouldn't mind re-reading all the books about the last Czar of Russia and what happened to his family (Russian royalty being very interesting to me!).

Who are your favorite authors? Roald Dahl, Jane Austen, JK Rowling, Stephanie Meyer, Anne Perry, Janet Evanovitch, Phillpa Gregory, Judith McKnaught, Sophia Kinsella, Maeve Binchy, Alison Weir.

Now if you liked the questions and came up with some ready answers yourself, please play along and post this memo, with your answers, on your blog (as I've seen some of you already have done, Pax, Mommanator, Molly).

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Random Thoughts All starting with W

Working retail right now, just to make ends meet. God, there is nothing like working retail to remind you how much better an office job is - what is it with managers in retail? Why do they generally have bad management skills, i.e. micromanagement, always scolding, never praising? I'm just trying to keep my head low and hoping to soon be out of this maelstrom.

Went to the library today, it happens when you are dirt poor as the library provides free entertainment (books full of adventure, romance, excitement, all currently lacking in my life). I found it fascinating that in the library parking lot there were four cars with Obama bumper stickers and no McCain stickers. Library patrons are educated (they like to read), hence the natural choice for president is Obama. Educated people go for the educated choice, duh.

Whipping past a church last night and they had this sign up, "Life is Fragile, handle with Prayer." I like the sentiment - though often times I wonder if God is listening to me when I ask stuff for myself (like could I get a job? get married?).

Where is Canadian friend, LostWorld? She was blogging a while ago but has recently disappeared. Do come back Lost, I miss you!

Waiting, with much eagerness for my dear friend S's wedding this weekend. I know its going to be beautiful and I couldn't be more happy for her. She has truly found a great guy, they are PERFECT for each other and I am elated that they are sharing this special occasion with me. Plus this wedding will bring a bunch of us good friends together and that is always a recipe for positive vibes for Virginia Gal!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Kids on the Block Concert!!!

I am in love!! Guess where I went Thursday night????

The Washington DC New Kids On The Block (now NKOTB) concert. It was amazing!!!!! I screamed so much, I've lost my voice Friday and Saturday. My friend got us the tickets and were on the floor (section 3, row S), so close I could see Joey's sweat on his face!!

They did a really fabulous show, it wasn't too teeny-bopper or boring. Clearly they realized their fan base has grown up and they catered to that, the stage was done really classy, with long white sheer curtains and big hi-tech screens - it was spectacular, a nice mix of their old songs and new stuff. I think what I loved best is how visibly appreciative they were of their fans, they thanked us for five minutes and Donnie and Joey even got a little teary-eyed.

Also, of course they all looked hot, at one point Jordan is singing along, and he has his shirt open and I looked around at the sold-out Verizon Center (50,000 screaming women) and felt like I was in a big Chip and Dales, ha ha!

Ok, so now I am freshly energized and now want to stalk the guys. I wanna meet Joey or Donnie, or heck Danny or Jonathan!!! No just kidding, I am a tad big more mature than my 14-year old self : )

ps - there last song was Hangin Tough and the video montage was all Boston teams (Sox, Bruins, Patriots), and the guys came out in Celtic's jersey's.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Library Overnight

An image from Kings Square in Copenhagen, you know right in front of where I lived from mid-January to mid-May. I am feeling depressed of late and missing my absolutely fabulous life in Copenhagen. I know, I know, it was but a fantasy time; yet I am not alone in this thinking. Many of my fellow exchange students are making the same "missing Denmark" lament.

Enough! This post is not about my mindless whining but instead about this announcement I saw in our local library monthly newsletter (yes I am a geek, I get the newsletter).

Halloween Library Lock-Up
Now is your chance to fulfill that dream of spending a night in a haunted library.

There will be electronic games, board games, crafts, hauntings, and breakfast, to name but a
few of the things going on.
Friday, October 31, 9:00 p.m.–Saturday, November 1, 7:00 a.m. Grades 6–8 (middle school)

At first glance I was super excited - a library lock-up! Oh how thrilling, I wanted to join. Than I noticed the pesky note about it being only for kids from grades 6 to 8. How annoying! You know that book, 1000 places to See Before You Die, well if they altered that title a little to 1000 things to Do Before You Die, one of my wishes would be to spend the night at the library. I would have access to all those books!! I would stay up all night just re-reading my favorite parts of my favorite books (mostly books on royalty and romance novels). I would go through magazines that I had always wanted to pour over but never had the time. I would hang out in the teen section and not be ashamed of being there, only going through the good parts. And if I didn't like a book, no worries, just put it away. I think the most fun for me is that I would have the place to myself, I could sit in the middle of the aisle, hell I could lay down and read to my heart's content. Sigh, dreamy....