Friday, September 26, 2008

What Moving In Looked Like

Here are some delayed pictures of what the living room in our apartment looked like just a few short weeks ago. I will unveil pictures of the finished and put together living room after we complete it with its two final components - the two Crate and Barrel bookshelves that we are picking up tomorrow. After our West Elm and Pottery Barn deliveries, we are almost done! And yes, I realize what Yuppies that makes us.

The pile of papers that our things were wrapped in took a good solid three weeks for me to finally clear out of the apartment and put in recycling. So much paper. At least I know that we were keeping my dad's paper company in business during tough economic times.

I was wrong, thankfully...

It doesn't appear to be the Democrats that are mucking it up in Washington with the bailout right now...rather the House Republicans.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

That Recessionary Feeling

I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that I cannot shake. I am known for developing anxiety over all sorts of issues that are only peripherally related to my well-being. However, I think all Americans are anxious when it comes to the economy these days. And although I am not sure of my own personal feelings regarding a bailout for Wall Street, I feel very strongly that Washington needs to do something immediately. Congress has access to far greater economic experts than I do. But here is where the sick feeling comes in. I hope that I am wrong. I really, really hope that I am wrong. But here is what I am feeling like - that Democrats are not in any rush to come up with any sort of plan for Wall Street, because they are benefiting politically from Americans' anxieties. They feel like that President Bush and the Republicans will get blamed by the American people which can only help their cause politically in November. And this is what frightens me - that people will put their own political fortunes before what is good for America. They see Barack Obama benefiting from people's economic concerns, and maybe they don't want to fix the economy, because that will persuade more people to vote for him in November. And I fear that they are willing to roll the dice with the economic well-being of Americans to do this. That scares me.

I consider myself a Democrat. So some might question, why do I think that the Democrats will be the ones to stymie any sort of plan for Wall Street and not the Republicans? Well, I think the Republicans, for their own political reasons, are extremely persuaded to do something for the economy right now. They know the writing is on the wall, so they need to do something.

Note: I am not concerned about any sort of discussion of fault right now. There is plenty of time for that discussion later, when we get the economy out of this precarious position. We then can decide who to blame for what is going on right now. What I am more concerned about right now is solutions and action to keep this country out of a repeat of the Great Depression. To be perfectly honest, I don't think EITHER presidential candidate has the leadership skills or the knowledge required to dig us out of that, so I don't think this is something that can be delayed with the idea that the next president can fix either bigger problems.

Sigh. I miss Hillary.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No snowmobiles in Yellowstone again!

It looks like Yellowstone may be protected from snowmobiles again!

Yay for the court!

Read the full decision (from the DC District Court) stating that the Bush administration forgot that their main purpose in managing national parks is to actually protect them from environmental degredation.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike and Tina

I am a child of the Gulf Coast, a place where 1 in 12 Atlantic Basin hurricanes came ashore. I remember reading that statistic, referring to the Florida panhandle, at some point in my adolescence. I viewed it as a badge of importance at a time when I carefully plotted out the track of threatening storms and watched the Weather Channel three hours a day for six months of the year. However, for most of my childhood, the hurricanes stayed away. The year we lived in North Carolina, one came close to Pensacola, but I wasn't there. There were a few other close calls and near misses, but I never actually experienced the full force of a hurricane until Erin rolled ashore a couple of weeks before I was due to begin my senior year of high school. Huddled into the living room of my house, listening to the trees cracking outside, I couldn't help but feel like the hurricane was sent to punish me for my selfish behavior. By the time Opal rolled through town a month later, I was convinced that I must be a very wicked creature and that once again, I was singularly responsible for the potential devastation of a hundred thousand human lives.

Hurricanes are like that. We personify them, so we have irrational relationships to them. They become part of our identity. I have been obsessed with natural disasters of all kinds, earthquakes, volcanoes, or tsunamis, for most of my life. Perhaps in some strange way, the ultimate power of nature gives me comfort in knowing that the self-invented stresses of my own life bear less relevance. But something about hurricanes, we who have known them, relate to them in an entirely more personal way. We treat them as we would an abusive lover. We write them Dear John letters plastered to the plywood boards of our abandoned homes - "Katrina - Go Away..." Yet, we are the ones that flee them, taking only our most essential possessions. Naturally, as any abusive lover would be, they are angry that we have left them. They retaliate against us, by taking our most treasured possessions, the things that we believed gave us our identity. We are sad that they took so much from us. We feel lost and alone. We don't know how to rebuild again. We are frightened that if we do rebuild, then another one will come and take it all away again.

I tried to explain this once several years ago to a boy that I dated in college. One night, after a French film, I remember crying as I related what hurricanes meant to me, as if I was recounting some tumultuous relationship from the past. Being from the West, he was caught off guard by this reaction that I had to a simple weather phenomenon. He tried to comfort me, unsure of what to say.

Now, even though I have been far removed from the Gulf Coast for some time, I still have this emotional tie to storms. Yes, I sometimes have family and friends in harms way. Fortunately, my sister Melissa just made it through Ike with no detrimental effects. Even more for me in times when I do not have a family member who may specifically be harmed, it is a love for place. I no longer physically reside in the Gulf Coast, but I love the place that made me who I am. I defy any person or storm who threatens to change it, who taunts my sense of home. I said earlier that we grow angry with a storm that takes our possessions as their act of defiance, feeling that they have taken away our identity. That actually isn't the case. It isn't our belongings that we ultimately care so passionately about. It is that sense of home, of recognition of place. That is what we fear is destroyed. And in regard to our identity, we find that we didn't lose it when our material possessions, our old pictures get washed away in the storm surge, but rather, that we find it in how we react and confront the personal devastation that we may feel in that moment.

And that is what it always has been for me. Those moments of devastation are the moments of when I am reminded of who I am and what I can overcome. And sometimes, even just that reminder, from a thousand miles away is enough.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Donald doesn't forgive me...

I have been really negligent of the blog lately. I haven't posted anything about my actual move to D.C. I have been very busy moving in and adjusting to my new job. Things are going very well with D.C. and my job. Georgetown is a great place.

I will be better about blogging now that I am starting to feel more organized.

I do have to say this today, though. Last night David and I had our friends Suzanne and Drew over for dinner. For the first time ever in my life, I cooked a duck. To be precise I made Duck A L'Orange, but I combined a couple of different recipes, because I was nervous about cooking a duck. I read all of these warnings about how challenging it could be to roast a duck just right, and I ended up, based off of the advice of America's Test Kitchen and Julia Child, steaming the duck first to melt alot of the fat before roasting and glazing it in the oven.

My menu for my first dinner party in DC:

Salade Nicoise

Duck a l'orange
Vichy carrots
Gratin Dauphinois

Apple Pandowdy with Vanilla Icecream

Thanks to Suz and Drew for being such willing guinea pigs in trying out this first attempt.