Monday, February 28, 2011

heavy. sigh.

The Background/Overview (12.5 minutes):

How we know this is NOT about money (7 minutes):

Sh*t that has already been given up, but is being ignored by union-busters (3 minutes):

show me what democracy looks like THIS IS WHAT DEMOCRACY LOOKS LIKE

I knew my telemarketing experience was useful before, but...I never knew HOW useful it would be. I can handle angry voters better than any of the experienced organizers out here. The first night I was here, I was calling people who had signed in with us at a town meeting. The last person I dialed, though, apparently signed the wrong sheet. Because he was very much not a supporter. And he berated me for almost 15 minutes. Did he make his views known in the town meeting? No. Because, according to him, that would've been suicide. But screaming at a person he doesn't know over the phone? That's totally fine. And absolutely effective. All I could do was to encourage him to take an active role in democracy, that is when I could get a word in edgewise. And if I hadn't had the experience of cold-calling credit card leads, and their very. mean. rejections. it would've been rough.

So thanks, telemarketing. You just accidentally backed the fight to keep collective bargaining rights. I bet you're thrilled.

Friday, February 25, 2011

best protest EVER

Greetings from the Fighting 17th! I am in Madison, Wisconsin working with other SEIU employees and locals and different unions to fight against Governor Walker's plan to do away with collective bargaining. If you haven't been following this, you can read this article explaining the situation, or this one that discusses how even other conservatives don't want to support Walker, or listen to the first 10 minutes of a phone conversation that he thought he was having with an uber-conservative, mega-contributor, about his plans to crush the unions (spoiler alert: he wasn't).

I got in Wednesday evening and went straight to phone banking to get supporters to attend a rally on Thursday. Afterward, one of the other SEIU people and I were walking to his car so he could drop me off at my hotel, and he told me that he was probably going to sleep at the capitol building that night. I asked if he knew that hotels were being paid for, but he said, "Yeah, and I go there in the mornings and that's where my stuff is, but I've mostly been sleeping at the capitol."

Turns out that union members and supporters have occupied the capitol building. He (Ben, btw) took me there, and as we walked up to the building we could see the Senators through one of the windows, in professional-looking outfits, walking around an ornate room...but then we started to hear the drums.

There's a frigging drum circle going almost 24 hours per day in the middle of the capitol building. It's maybe the coolest thing I've ever seen. I took these pictures on my iPhone, and they're not that good. But you'll survive. I think.

The crowd in the center of the rotunda. You can kiiiind of see the drum circle.

Looking up at the balcony from the 1st floor rotunda.
Standing on the balcony above the rotunda.

2nd floor signs.

Drum circle! They're so good. And so loud. And so so so good!! I love drum circles.
The senators are in session while all this is going on outside their locked room. Apparently all these protesters showed up and just set up camp in the building...and no one's thrown them out. The police are on the protesters' side, so they monitor but don't jettison, and apparently the senators considered calling the National Guard in, but didn't want to go through the trouble and also knew they'd just look like jerks in the end. So we stay! Tonight is actually the official SEIU sleepover night. I don't have a sleeping bag here, so hopefully the hotel doesn't mind if I take all the pillows and blankets from my room for a while...

Yesterday I went with longtime political organizer Ryan to Richland Center, which is a small town about an hour west of Madison, and is where I'm going to be focusing my efforts while I'm here. A republican senator (Dale Schultz) lives in the town, so the residents have been trying to get his attention. He's historically sided with unions, so we're trying to make sure that he follows through on this one. We made signs, headed west, and met up with some teachers and students and union supporters to picket outside of M&I Bank (a company that was bailed out via 1.7billion taxpayer dollars, but then contributed over $100k to Governor Walker's campaign, and is anticipated to leave Wisconsin soon, so they're going to take away jobs, too. Super awesome!).

The things these teachers have been dealing with is just ridiculous. One woman has been going to the senator's house every morning for an hour before work, with her picketing sign, and peacefully protesting. For over a week or so now. And the senator's neighbors have been berating her every day. And telling her that she's disturbing the peace and she should be arrested. Another teacher posted something to her facebook wall (at night, after doing her hours of on-top-of-the-school-day duties), and a parent responded that she should get back to work and earn the salary he's paying. Most of the people who passed by waved or were friendly. There were only a couple who shook their heads at us or tried to argue (with the Teamster who was there. Word of caution: if you're opposed to unions, don't try to argue with a Teamster. You'll lose.).

Tonight I'm going back out to Richland Center with a woman I just met today, who works for the teachers' union. We're going to brainstorm with the locals to come up with ways to raise awareness and get more outspoken supporters in the community. Also there will be chips and salsa. No big deal or anything. Just my most favoritest meal on the planet.

Saturday we're organizing buses to bring supporters from other towns in the 17th District to converge on Madison. If they think the capitol building is a madhouse now? Just wait. I. am. so. pumped.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


On the other hand, there are probably worse things in life than having a varied, involved, awesome community of people who want to support you on the happiest day of your life. I GUESS.

Monday, February 21, 2011


Guests lists are the hardest component of wedding-planning, hands down. And not just the day of guest list, but all the pre-wedding events, too. It is STRESSFUL.

Between the 2 of us, we have 6 "regular" sisters, 1 sort-of-adopted sister, 1 sister-in-law, 3 brothers, 3 parents, and all of the assorted significant others. 3 of the sisters will be minors as of this summer/fall, as will one of the brothers. Who do you we at the head table at the reception? Us + the immediate families, including partners = 19 people. We've already eliminated the use of bridal parties, but we do still want to recognize our closest friends in some way. And the Foliage's checkered upbringing has made various non-immediate-family members as close as immediate family, who will expect to be recognized (because they always have been before). What do we do?

For example, I want to invite all of the [various types of] sisters to my bachelorette party, but I don't want the 3 minors to feel excluded. Plus, at least 2 of mine will be unable to come into town for it. So that leaves 1 of my sisters able to attend, and she doesn't even drink. That means that out of my 5 sisters, none of them are going to be available, legally able, and 100% happy to attend. And no matter where it is* SOMEone is going to have to travel, which makes me feel guilty. I know. People choose to travel for weddings of their own accord, and it's expected, and I don't have any reason to feel badly. Only I do. Because I'm like a professional guilt-feeler.

Ultimately, I think it's us needing to "leave [our families] and be united to [each other]" (Mark 10:7, New International Version). The original passage references leaving one's parents, but...we can make decisions independent of our parents any time. We've unceasingly felt responsible to our siblings for our whole lives, though. As the eldest siblings of Big Bunches o' Kids** we're both constantly pulled to make sure our younger brothers and sisters are happy with us, and to make everything as awesome for them as possible.

But each of these pre-parties are like these symbolic, "I AM NOT GOING TO BE 'ONE OF THE [Last Name] KIDS' ANYMORE" get-togethers. They're suddenly A Big Deal. Maybe I'm projecting and assuming my sisters feel this way when they don't. Maybe it's really just me. But I'm picturing my sister-who-cries-more-readily-than-the-rest-of-us having a near-breakdown the Friday before the wedding, when it isn't just the Power 6*** and there's no time for just us to hang out. I already know one of my future sisters-in-law is having trouble with this change, and wishing she could find an opportunity for the 6 of them to hang out as JUST the 6 of them again. But the opportunity never comes. It's just not that easy anymore.

So I'm having a friends-only bachelorette party. And a few sisters will have to miss the bridal shower. And the Friday before the wedding, my sisters (inclusive), my mom, and my sisters-in-law will spend the evening together. Because that's how it is now. I'm going to have 8 sisters, 3 brothers, and bunch of really confusing family-ties-in-law. And we're always going to feel obligated to include everyone, but you gotta draw the line somewhere, I guess. The line might as well start with booze and general debauchery.

*I've decided on the location and the date, but I'm not announcing it here yet, since it's such a limited guest list. As you may have heard.
**When I was little, my parents utilized 2 nurseries/daycares. I referred to them as "Little Bunch o' Kids" and "Big Bunch o' Kids." I much preferred Big Bunch. At Little Bunch, I had nightmares at naptime. I was a really annoying kid.
***My very most immediate family. Including me. According to the sister-who-cries, we're further broken down into some core 3 something-or-other and "The Outer Crust Trio" which is just crap. It's the Power 6, all together, or it's nothing, JERK****.
****Guess who was assigned to the Outer Crust without being consulted. Pfffft.

Friday, February 18, 2011

let me tell you somethin' 'bout my beeeest frieeeeeend

February is the month of my best friendaversary with 2 of my 3 best friends. And since I can't remember exactly when the one other became a BFF, I'm just going to recognize all of them today. In chronological order-of-friendship:

A-Train and I met in high school. In junior year. When I had only lived in Delaware for about 3 months. And we were both in the school play. And my family's house was walking distance from the school. So I'd walked to play practice, into the hall full of kids that I didn't know yet, and all of a sudden I heard a voice from the direction of the floor. And it said, "Hey! Hey you!"

I turned to look, and there was A-Train, laying on the floor with his head in somebody's lap, looking up at me. "Yeah, you," he said. "Socks and sandals went out with the '80s. Kgr8thxbai."

Yes, he actually talked like that. And yes, I had worn the most egregious of footwear combinations into the lion's den. But I was just going to slip off the sandals! There was no point in bothering with non-slip on shoes for a 2 minute walk! Ugh.

We weren't friends right away. He had a habit of deciding he hated people and then starting "I Hate [Your Name Here]" clubs, which really consisted of grabbing unsuspecting hands and writing "IH[Initial]" on them. And BAM you were in the club, and were displaying the fact that you hated someone. Apparently. Then one time after we were friends, in his eagerness to buy cigarettes, he drove over a curb and blew out a tire, which I changed. After I dug the spare out from under a pile of Britney Spears paraphernalia. Then I told him to tighten the nuts while I put everything else away, and he didn't, and the wheel almost flew off during the remainder of the drive to the mall. He's gotten better at following directions since then.

We've been through a lot of stuff together. A lot of big, important, terrifying stuff. And I don't know when he became a best friend, but one day, after some Important Stuff, he just was. And always will be.

My Best Friend Who Reads (MBFWR going forward) and I were in a writing group together, which had been organized by a mutual friend. On the first night, there were 5 of us in the room, and one of the prompts was to write a single sentence about one other person in attendance. We were the only 2 who wrote about each other. I thought for sure she wouldn't come back, because she looked too put-together to associate with dorky writer types like the rest of us. Turns out she is a WAY bigger dorky writer type than ANY of the rest of us. At the next meeting (in February of 2007), she grabbed my phone out of my hands without asking. Also one of the other members of the group wrote consistently depressing pieces, and we giggled about it. These 2 things seal the deal for friendship in my mind. Loyalty? Similar values? Puh-shaw! I just want them to take my stuff and laugh at people with me!

One time she was determined to win a goldfish at a carnival, and she did, but then we took it to my house so we wouldn't have to carry it, and it totally committed suicide. It was a carnival OF EMOTIONS for her. I just laughed. Which did not make her feel better. Sometimes I'm a crappy friend. But she keeps coming back for more. It's probably because sometimes I make her Italian food, and homegirl canNOT say "no" to eggplant parmigiana. Seriously. It's kind of ridiculous.

My Ship and I were also introduced by a mutual friend (in February of 2008). She was new to the area, and our mutual friend suggested she ask me if I wanted to go out one night. We got drunk and danced and took pictures and fell in friendlove. In one email, she said (and I'm paraphrasing here), "We're like 2 sexy ships passing in the sexy night. Sexily." I have no idea why. At the time I guess it made sense. But now we are Ships, and I say it a lot when I'm drunk, which is probably mostly annoying to other people. But if they had a ship they'd understand.

Sometimes I get drunk at her house and knock soy sauce onto her white carpet and start saying math stuff in my sleep. Reading these 2 paragraphs makes me think I have some alcohol issues. Ironically, she gave up alcohol for Lent last year and she was M I S E R A B L E. I'm sure Jesus was happy about it, though. Tonight I'm going to meet up with her for...a drink...but tomorrow we're coordinating a wedding! Where we will NOT be drinking! So you can wipe that judgy look right off your face.

Ta da! Happy Friendaversary, best friends!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

like oh my gawd

I love the days at work when I feel like things "click" and I have the sense that just MAYBE I actually know what I'm doing. They're rare these days. Unions use an entirely different language, in addition to using the other-language-ish procedures of governmental accounting. Not to mention the fact that this is a HUGE organization, and I've only ever worked on teams of 25 or less before. So tracking things down in a place with so many working parts is something of a challenge.

But today's a good day.

And later I'm going to my first ever spin class. Which is pretty terrifying, and may ruin my good mood completely. Fingers crossed that I don't die!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

taffeta, darling!

I'm not that impressed with BHLDN. Yeah, I said it! I love Anthropologie, and Urban Outfitters, and good LORD I love Terrain. They're some of my favorite places for inspiration. So my hopes for the bridal line were pretty high, and I just don't feel like it really delivered. As usual, their presentation is impeccable, and some stuff is nice. But overall I had that feeling of they're-trying-too-hard like I do when I look through their other stores' wares sometimes. We GET it. You're DIFFERENT. But you're different in really unimpressive ways. And also, in keeping with their other stores, it costs way too much for what it is.

But the wedding industry is just CUH-RAZY about it, and every. single. event planning blog I follow has been showing the same teaser images over and over for weeks, and now that it's actually debuted, they're showing the same website images over and over. And, you know, they can post whatever they want to. It's not really my concern. I just feel like I'm missing something. Is the line really THAT amazing? Or is everyone telling themselves they're amazed, because they expected to be, based on the parent company's reputation? Thoughts?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


On one hand, my tongue is burnt from eating too-hot coq a vin last night, and having a burnt tongue is super annoying.

On the other hand, holy sh*t, I made coq a vin! On a school night! With stuff I mostly already had! And it tasted awesome!

Every time I take a bite of food today, I simultaneously cringe and smile victoriously. I'm sure it looks really. attractive. Good thing I'm in a cubicle that faces an inside corner. Which is a lot less depressing than it sounds, I promise.

Why are the women in romantic comedies always horrible chefs? When I was younger, it made me feel like I wasn't strong enough somehow, because I know my way around the kitchen. Like I was a weaker version of a self-assured woman. Which is just crap. Yeah, yeah, yeah it's super endearing that you can't boil water WHATEVER.

So maybe I take books/plays/movies way too personally sometimes. At least I have delicious homemadeness to comfort me while I rant at the screen.

Monday, February 14, 2011

practice makes perfect

At the end of last week, The Foliage and I were preparing for our engagement shoot (which took place this Saturday and was AWESOME) which really consisted of kissing. We figured we should make out as much as possible so we wouldn't be awkward when doing so on camera. We'd spontaneously kiss one another, and then confirm that it was, in fact, just practice.

So Saturday afternoon, while we were killing time before the shoot, I leaned over and gave my betrothed a kiss. He said, "Practicing?" I responded, "Nah. My nose was running."

And then I laughed hysterically to myself for about 5 minutes while he regretted every decision he'd made in the past 3 years. Best. Fiance. Ever.

Friday, February 11, 2011

now i need to learn to make pan bread

Over 2 or 3 train rides this week, I read the book Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. I've had this book for YEARS, but every time I've opened it, I've found it to be too poetic. It was just daunting, even though it's very short. I just couldn't bring myself to sit down with it.

I'd received it as a gift from my Great Uncle Arthur (who is not just great in title, but totes rulez as a human being). He'd sent me something I can't remember - probably money - for my high school graduation*, and in my thank you card, apparently I referred to myself as a spaz. Twice. Because that's how I roll. He wrote me a very sweet note, urging me to read the passage on a particular page, which said:

"Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours"

Which, to an 18 year-old, is just maddeningly cryptic. I got it but I didn't really GET it. But I finished the last of my "new" books last week, and I need SOMEthing for the metro. So I finally picked it up. And oh man. OH man. I am so glad it took me this long to read it, because it would've been wasted on me any earlier. Which is, like, so the point of the book. Again, cryptic! I'm sorry. But that's totally how the book rolls.

Here are some gems:

"Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully."

"Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect.
Then be sure of one thing:
The IS has imagined it quite a bit better than you have.
The original sin is to limit the IS.

It's not the best-written thing I've ever read in my life, but so timely and so...right. Also, FYI, the book isn't entirely made of these maxims; there's an actual story. These are just incorporated at appropriate plot points.

*OMG high school! I know!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

oh you fancy huh

In a direct competition for my affection between my ring and this ring I came across last night on Etsy, my ring would still win, but...


 This guy would have given me SERIOUS pause. Wow.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

thay'll be no toymakuhs to ze king

So my hair today? It looks like Jessica's in "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," one of my all-time hair heroes (Miss Jessica if you're nasty). Yeah, I know she's a wooden puppet but WHATEVER. I've always held my hair to a higher standard. A lack of reality is a negligible hurdle for my tresses.

 It is way harder to find a picture of that broad than it should be. Anyway. French twist with mad of them volume, and face-framing sections. It's much less Patsy than it sounds. I was so annoyed when she let her hair down later in the movie. It looked stupid. If your hair is AWESOME, then don't mess with a good thing! Puppets are dumb sometimes. I totally want to post a picture of my own hair, but I can't, because I'm at work and I don't have enough privacy for a MySpacey photo session.

Other unrealistic hair love of my childhood (and beyond): Ariel

I wanted the bangs so badly! How did they stay up and out so far?! I was placated when I remembered that when I took baths and laid down in the tub, my hair was floaty and did things that weren't possible when I was walking around on my (whaddya call 'em?) feet. But then she totally gets out of the sea and her hair looks the same. Jerk.

The only times in my life I haven't liked my hair has been when I've cut it too short. This happened when I was 7 (thanks a lot, 1990s, with your weirdly favored bowl-cuts-for-girls) and when I was 23. So, 2 years ago. Right. I thought my cheekbones could handle it, but I was wrong. So, so wrong. I'm still growing out that mistake. Although it did look good the day I left the salon.

For the rest of my life, my hair and I have been in a passionate love affair. In high school, when my girl friends would complain about their coifs, I would swing mine around and say, "You should FEEL mine! It is so. soft." Which I now realize is extraordinarily toolish.

But seriously, you should feel my hair. It's ridiculous how soft it is.

This Saturday we're driving to New York City for our engagement shoot with the incomparable Kelly Prizel, and I am sooooo excited! I trust my hair (obviously) to be amazing, but my makeup, not so much. I think I look great on a daily basis, I just don't feel confident making myself photo-ready, so I researched stylists in the area, and ended up booking Annamarie Tendler, which I am pretty pumped about. Her work is amazing, and her prices are totally reasonable. hair and I will get the photographic attention we deserve...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

i got a feelin'

Something I ate during the Superbowl didn't agree with me. I wasn't hungry all day yesterday. For the 9 hours I was at work, here's what I ate: carrots and a small container of Greek yogurt. Both of which I forced upon myself because I knew I needed to eat SOMEthing, and I figured the probiotics in the yogurt might help. Today, my stomach was still going nuts, so I got soup from Panera and drank some ginger tea. For the past 48 hours, every food I've imagined has made me feel nauseated. It wasn't until the train ride home tonight that I actually desired food again.

I blame Fergie.

i've been workin' on the railroad

When I accepted the offer of my current job, at a huge labor union, I had no idea I was opening myself up to the unabashed rage of anti-union people. I guess I knew unions were a polarizing subject, but MAN. These people act like I came up with the whole idea, and am personally responsible for every foible every labor union has ever had ever. And probably also Chernobyl.

Recently, while drinking [heavily] at The Foliage's company's annual winter gala, one of his coworkers wanted to "discuss" the subject. Read: he hates labor unions. A lot. And was determined to convince me that they suck. Oh, and here's an interesting tidbit: he's pretty much straight-off-the-boat from Russia. And my organization is alllllll over immigration reform. So weird. I kept trying to laugh it off and change the subject and remind him that I was dee-runk, and not really in the position to be having that conversation. But he wouldn't let up.

Even if I'd been sober, though, it would've been pointless. It boggles my mind that people are actually anti-union. It makes no sense to me. I understand that it has the potential to cause huge hassles and time-sucks for employers, but come on...the rules enforced by the union are just things that you, as the employer, should be doing anyway. Safe working conditions? Fair hours and compensation? Any good employer knows that their greatest asset is their employees, and are already providing these things.

Unfortunately, there are a LOT of not-good employers. And unions are trying to look out for the common man. You know the middle class? Unions created that. No big deal or anything. Just the largest economic class in our country. Obviously, nothing I write here will convince anybody who hates unions to change their minds, just like that guy at the gala had no chance of changing mine. But feel free to explain why you're anti-union, if that's the case, because really I can't even fathom why anyone would be. I'm genuinely curious. But please don't yell at me or expect me to change my mind.

Monday, February 7, 2011

the floor is my friend

I haven't felt this hung over at work since the last time I was actually hung over at work. Which was, like, 3 or 4 years ago. And was the worst decision ever*. But I wasn't even drinking last night! Thanks a lot, Superbowl food.

*I'm super stingy with my time off from work, and at that particular job, it was all lumped together. No vacation, sick, etc. It was all just "personal time" which was AWESOME. It's so stupid that you end up with extra sick days usually, and then have to lie to take the day off. This was a much better policy. But it meant that I came in sick all. the. time. Or at least every time I was sick. I should've just called out this particular morning, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead I showed up late and then ran to the bathroom (which was right next to our office, so they could tooootally hear me) at least 7 times. That's what I like to call the perfect cross-section of professionalism and class. I hope you're taking notes on this.

Friday, February 4, 2011

wrinkling time

I time travel a lot in my mind. Which is a lot less psychotic than it sounds. I just imagine that I go back in time to my younger, smellier, awkwarder self and tell her that she's going to grow up to have the most a-mah-zing boobs ever and to PLEASE not tell that popular girl who rides the bus that she's got a hairy lip. And not to feel guilty about the end of every.single.relationship. she ever has.

But clearly I never figure out how, because I would remember that super bizarre - but crazy helpful - event happening during my childhood.

Conversely, I also imagine moving forward in time. I'll often stop myself in the middle of doing something that could only be done now. In this day and age. Like watching HD television. Or deactivating my phone from halfway around the world. Or eating healthy food out of a can. I imagine someone experiencing these things all of a sudden, after not having them. Without any frame of reference. But I don't imagine that little kid me has come to 2011.

I imagine Laura Ingalls Wilder has.

Do not ask me why. I have no idea. I've done this for as long as I can remember; even when I was still my younger, smellier, awkwarder self. I'd imagine that she was sitting next to me her in calico dress watching Captain Planet, and I'd have to explain to her what was going on, while simultaneously calming her down so she wouldn't draw too much attention.*

When I'm standing on the dimly-lit metro platform, and hear the low rumble, and feel the vibration in the floor, and see the tunnel gradually being illuminated, and feel the rush of wind...I wonder what the eff she would think was going on. I imagine she'd think a wall of fire was roaring through the tunnel, and coming to engulf us all. And with no escape, since the whole place is enclosed and perfectly-shaped for being consumed by flame, and the escalators are too crowded to get up quickly, she'd be terrified. I'd NEVER be able to talk her down from that ish.

*FYI I was only imagining this, not doing it out loud. I wasn't THAT awkwarder.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

something you definitely need to know

Here's what my PMS symptoms have been for the past, oh, 10 years:
-Not liking my body as much as usual
-A sore throat/feeling like I'm catching a cold

So imagine my surprise when BAM I woke up with horrible cramps the other day. A day that followed a cold-symptom-free and liking-what's-in-the-mirror week.

Then I started piecing things together.

For the week prior, I had been furious with The Foliage for approximately 60% of every day. Like, plotting his painful demise in extreme detail level furious.

But then release came, and I was exhausted and in pain, but not angry.

Here's the thing: I hope this isn't going to be status quo from now on, but just in case it is, I'm researching large pay-out life insurance policies for ye olde fiance. Any recommendations?