Thursday, May 28, 2009

Contemplating a Different Kind of Wedding Dress

The first weekend in August, we are going to California to go to the wedding of Lauren and Carl. For your typical wedding reception, I will pull a dress out of my closet and not think twice about it. The last wedding I went to was my sister's, and I did obsess about finding a good dress for it, but not at all to the extent to which I am obsessing now.

Why the obsession? I don't know. Maybe I haven't been feeling so pretty lately so I want a lovely dress to cheer me up. Maybe it is because I only want to buy dresses anymore, so finding the right dress that is even more special and appropriate for a wedding is all the more difficult, because most dresses seem like I would wear them every day. Maybe it is because the wedding is in Southern California, and it is hard to find a good dress that is both beautiful and something that a 30 year old Mormon girl can get away with and still look hot.

The most beautiful dresses that I have found so far are slightly above my price range. My birthday is coming up, but I think these would require being the combined birthday present for my next few birthdays.

But for a moment, let me just think how lovely it would be to walk in wearing one of the following:

This one is my favorite from Proenza Schouler, there are many things that I probably would do for this dress -

And then there is this lovely little Narciso Rodriguez number -

Of course, there always has to be a Zac Posen making the short list as well -

The last dress is a Burberry dress that might actually be on the edge of affordability, and I might consider its delicate folds and lovely color -

Sigh. There is my permitted wandering into the realm of materialism for the week.

A continued Pensacola History Lesson...

Remember Pensacola

This year, Pensacola is celebrating its 450th anniversary of the first European Settlement in what is now the United States. Yep, it is older than Jamestown. It is older than St. Augustine too, thanks for asking. To commemorate the anniversary, a number of events are taking place throughout the year. I will be missing all of those events. I am particularly sad that I have already missed the Reenactment of the Battle of Pensacola, from the Revolutionary War, staged by the Sons of the American Revolution (That resulted in the surrender of British Florida, for those of you who, unlike me, didn't spend your high school years volunteering for Historic Pensacola). I am going to Pensacola with my Mom and Dad when I go to visit them in a couple of weeks, but we will just miss seeing the third largest tall ship in the world visit the Port of Pensacola. But here is something crazy that I didn't even know I was missing at the time. In February, His Majesty King Juan Carlos I and Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain visited Pensacola. Apparently, the Spanish monarchy just doesn't get the media play that the British monarchy does when they visit America to commemorate that not as old of a settlement known as Jamestown.

I miss you Pensacola.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Beautiful Places and Beautiful Faces

Let me take a break from pointing out something else wrong with the world and comment on the beauty of this place that we visited - the National Arboretum. (Yes, there is more in Northeast D.C. than Trinidad and gun violence.)
We visited it in honor of Sarah's visit to DC.
Even on a day when the skies were threatening an early summer afternoon thunderstorm, the Dogwoods were beautiful.
Even Knightley was enraptured.
And David and I were able to take a picture of our little family.

Before Knightley completely decided to jump into the fountain of water cascading past us in front of the old columns of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Thanks for coming to visit Sarah! And here is to finally living within a reasonable driving distance to my sister!

Friday, May 15, 2009

I dream of Hot Chicken

Someday, I will go to Prince's Hot Chicken in Nashville.

In the meantime, I can live vicariously through Brigham's (NYC Brigham, not DC Brigham) excellent blog post about his recent trip to this establishment.

I recently went to the Potlikker Film Festival in DC and watched the short documentary "Hot Chicken." If you watch this, you will want to try that chicken too.

Note: the link for the film above works best in Firefox. Not so well in Explorer.

While you are at it - watch "Eat or We Both Starve." You will crave a good fish fry after that.

What I could go for right now...

After a long, hot day, a real woman needs a strong drink.
Coca-Cola, why do you insist on not allowing this delicious drink to be brought to America? On the upside - the reluctance of Coke to bring this to America means that there is always a reason to pay the money to visit the World of Coke in Atlanta and Las Vegas, where it is always on the tap. The promise of a cold, or even tepid Stoney Tangawizi is reason enough to shell out $15.00.

Well-Worded Washington Post Editorial of the Day

The Washington Post has an excellent editorial today on what lies ahead for GM if they are forced to follow Chrysler's lead into bankruptcy. It doesn't bode well for them, or rather, their private investors. Last year, I bought a GM car because I wanted to help US Automakers out. If GM follows Chrysler's lead in running roughshod over the rights of private investors to prop up the politically favored union, then you better believe that the only car I will ever purchase from a US automaker in the future will be a Ford, that so far, has steered clear of this kind of government involvement.

Best part of the editorial is the summation:

But the spectacle of creditors being stripped of their legal rights in favor of a labor union with which the president is politically aligned does little to attract private capital at a time when the government and many companies need these investors the most. Investors' fears will only be compounded if the administration follows a similar blueprint with GM.

I don't know why the Obama Administration has declared war on private investors in America, considering the fact that a majority of Americans are private investors of some sort, be it through direct investment in stocks or participation in retirement plans and funds. Perhaps we are returning to the days when the only sound investment of funds is in a well-appointed mattress you sleep on at night.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Are you keeping up with your British Kenyan aristocrats?

I know that I am not the only one out there who has been following the case of Hugh Cholmondeley, recently convicted of the manslaughter of a Kenyan poacher on his property. Kenya waited today on baited breath to see what his sentence would be. Mr. Cholmondeley will someday be Lord Delamere. His great-grandfather was the famed Lord Delamere, early settler of Kenya.

His sentence - eight months. This has caused massive Masai protests in Kenya. However, the wife of the victim has stated that she has forgiven him. Everyone can agree that this case has certainly unearthed emotions regarding large landowners and what many see as the inequitable remnants of colonialism.

You can watch the sentencing here -

Or you can watch this news report about the verdict if you are up on your Swahili -

My thoughts about this? Conflicted. For many reasons.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Let's take a moment to review some etiquette

Please America, learn some wedding etiquette. I plead with you. And if you are a bride who has poor wedding etiquette, please don't abuse my friends. Because I will mock you on my blog. Granted, that might not seem like much of a threat since probably 4 people in America read my blog, but it is the worst that I can do.

So please don't do any of the following:

1. Give your guest an itinerary of errands to run related to your wedding when the guest had no prior notice that you were going to be demanding such tasks and the guest showed up actually just to attend your wedding.

2. Ask a scientist to arrange your flowers for you and demand that the task be performed to some exacting standard.

3. Ask someone to give a speech at your reception who isn't really too thrilled about the marriage to begin with.

4. Be a jerk and assume that every person exists to cater to your whims on your wedding day. Unless, that is, you want to make sure your wedding is painfully remembered by all, not as a day of happiness, but the last day that you ever had particular friends.

5. Tell someone that you are getting married in Washington DC, but in reality are having your wedding reception in northern Maryland, on the border of Pennsylvania. The DC metropolitan area does not extend that far.

There was a wedding held recently, NOT in the DC metropolitan area, where the bride committed all of these faux pas. She's lucky she doesn't know me. I might have had to refer her to Emily Post; and then I would unleash a tirade of my own, not-so-polite, language.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Everyone is a Scientist...OR Not

Jenny McCarthy, former Playboy playmate turned autism activist believes that vaccines play a causal role in children developing autism. She has been on this crusade for quite some time, taking on actual scientists. The bizarre thing is that with no scientific evidence on her side, she has commanded media attention enough to spout off her ridiculously unsubstantiated opinion. In fact, now, apparently Oprah herself is giving little bunny Jenny the forum to continue her rant. Because of this kind of unsubstantiated rant, now rich people across Southern California are refusing to vaccinate their children. The paranoia is so extreme that people would rather risk their children, and others with whom they come into contact, contracting serious preventable diseases because of this ridiculous PR campaign where some celebrity links autism with vaccinations.

I passed some homeless guy on the street the other day who was raving mad that the DC Council had voted to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states. He was screaming that now that DC has approved this, people wouldn't have babies anymore. It is too bad he isn't a former Playboy Playmate. He might get some Larry King facetime to express this view over the public airwaves and cause more hysteria.

My point is this, the supposed "educated" classes of people are constantly making fun of say, the Bush Administration, and those people who voted that administration into office for declaring a "war on science." I agree with them. A war on science is bad. So why do these same types of elites think that it is okay to turn around and refute actual scientific evidence when they don't agree with it? Is it only a selective war on science that they are concerned about?

I am not a scientist. I wish I was sometimes. I wanted to be a virologist. Or a geneticist. But the fact is, I didn't want to take organic chemistry. I was lazy. However, my sisters are harder workers than I am and did brave Organic Chemistry to be card carrying members of the scientific community. I know how brilliant they are. Therefore, I will trust their opinions, and those who completed actual schooling like they did, above Jenny McCarthy's anyday. If only Oprah FREAKING Winfrey would do the same, since she has the ear of America, as I do not.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Africa Summer Reading List

Still feeling worked up over my last post about Darfur, I recently contemplated what books I wanted to add to my summer reading list. I have a few good reading opportunities coming up, including my weeklong trip to Mississippi in June, and I want to make sure that I have some substantive books to take advantage of during that time. I haven't been reading too many non-fiction books about Africa lately, which is a very unusual occurance for me. So to make up for this shortcoming, I ordered the following three books:

Race, Revolution, and the Struggle for Human Rights in Zanzibar, G. Thomas Burgess. I know this author as Gary. He was my Swahili Professor at BYU and the professor that accompanined Suzanne and I on our trip to Tanzania in 1998. During the course of that trip, we had the rare opportunity to meet Ali Sultan Issa, one of the two persons that this book is about. Ali Sultani, as we knew him, was quite the character. He drove us around the narrow streets of Stonetown in his French car, waving hellos to every other person that we passed on the street. He had the wave of a triumphant politician. The shouts of "Ali!" rang from the lips of the passersby on the street. I had the distinct feeling that I was in the company of someone quite celebrated. His stories were legendary. He also had an eleven year old daughter, named Natasha, after a Soviet Revolutionary. Natasha was identifiable after her afternoons at Koranic School by her flourescent green platform sandles sticking out from underneath her long black veil. She had every ounce of the revolutionary fervor that made her father an integral part of the Zanzibari Revolution and no one of the most successful land developers in Stone Town. On a trip to Changuu Island, Natasha accompanied us, walking around as if she owned the former leper colony turned tourist day trip locale. I have been waiting for the opportunity to read this book, filled with Ali's memoirs, since 1998, when I knew that Gary was planning such a monograph. I am thrilled that the opportunity to read it is finally here. The only downside is that this book is sure to make me long for a return trip to Zanzibar much sooner than I actually can go.

The Challenge for Africa, by Wangari Maathai. I cannot state strongly enough just how much I admire Kenyan environmentalist and activist Wangari Maathai. I cannot. I cannot state strongly enough how brave and beautiful I think she is. I cannot state strongly enough how much I loved to hear this Nobel Laureate speak and how much reading her words hit me on a gut level. All I can do is continue to read those words and hope that they can inspire me enough to do something more useful than simply being touched by her wonderful spirit.

The Translator, Leila Aboulela - This book isn't nonfiction. It is my token fiction book on my list. However, the setting for the book is Sudan and the UK, and I am very, very excited to read its themes of cultural alienation, loss and love.