December 2008


Just had to say……….what a show! It was a terrific entertaining event honoring some of my most amazing performers! Coming from a dance background myself,  I really loved Twyla Tharp and the tribute to her work. Of course being a designer who tends to look at everything from a different twist,  I  really love the concept of thinking outside the box and Twyla’s  amazing creative twist on music & dance and movement.

The tribute to Roger Daltrey & Pete Townshend of The Who was a great reminder of an era of music that had passion.     Bettye LaVette who sang a tribute to them was R & B to the bone,  and gave everyone chills, wow what passion! 🙂 http://www.bettyelavette.com

Rob Thomas was terrific in his great performance along with the appearance of the New York Fire Department which made me weep and brought back every sorry memory of 9/11 ! But it renewed my passion and gave me promise of the possibilities that our future can hold.

The performance of BB King for the to tribute Morgan Freeman was so entertaining and really touching…awesome 🙂

Barbara Streisand was another honoree and what can you say about her “ability..sing..act..produce…and lead”..in the words of Queen Latifah.  🙂 and Beyonce has the velvet smooth  voice to carry the tribute  performance off .

If you missed this performance I hope it will replay on cable or become available on dvd..you will love it and I’m sorry if you missed it. I just hope the next  generations of musicans & performers, and ( let’s not forget the firefighters)  will give us  as much passion, heart, & soul, as these performers did!  I love passion &  the arts!

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S.2753 Credit Card Reform Act… is the Credit Card Reform Act of 2008 good or bad for consumers?

The following summary was written by the Congressional Research Service, a well-respected nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress. GovTrack did not write and has no control over these summaries.

GovTrack.us. S. 2753–110th Congress (2008): Credit Card Reform Act of 2008, GovTrack.us (database of federal legislation) <http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s110-2753&tab=summary&gt; (accessed Dec 30, 2008)

03/12/2008–Introduced.

Credit Card Reform Act of 2008 – Amends the Fair Credit Reporting Act to permit a consumer reporting agency to furnish a consumer report in connection with any credit or insurance transaction that is not initiated by the consumer only if the report indicates that the consumer is age 21 or older. Allows 18-year olds to elect to have their name and address included in any agency list.
Amends the Truth in Lending Act to prohibit a credit card issuer from changing the terms of a credit card under an open end consumer credit plan: (1) before the scheduled contract expiration or renewal date; and (2) until the issuer has published all contract changes in any mandatory disclosures.
Establishes a cardholder right to repay all existing balances on a terminated or expired credit card account under the terms of the account in effect before the termination or expiration.
Imposes limits upon increases of interest rates and finance charges on a credit card account before its scheduled renewal date.
Permits an increase in the annual percentage rate (APR) as a penalty only for specific, material contract violations of a consumer directly related to the account that are specified in the contract as grounds for an increase.
Bans retroactive rate increases.
Prohibits a credit card issuer from imposing adverse consequences for late payment if the cardholder’s payment is postmarked or initiated by electronic funds transfer on or before the required postmark date.
Requires a credit card issuer to verify, when the account is opened or the credit limit increased, that the consumer will be able to make the scheduled payments, based on a consideration of current and expected income, current obligations, and employment status.

My thoughts:

Credit card debt is up, housing is down, and so Congress decides to go after the evil credit card companies? I’ve heard it said that the responsibility lies with the consumer who spends every dime he makes plus another 30% or so and I actually agree with this.

So the question is should fraudulent and deceptive practices of the banking industry be targeted? It’s a tough question.
In this crazy financial upheaval,  I have talked to so many people,  all with the same stories, the banks calling their lines of credit & loans due, credit card companies raising the interest from  9% to 32 % , the list goes on & on. I own a small business, and I extend credit to all of many of my clients, but in order to do so, I have a line of credit and I depend upon it.

For example, I have to purchase and place my Valentines order for roses in December, I have to pay up front, look into my crystal ball, & guess how much I am going to sell, and prepay for it in December, it amounts to many thousands of dollars in purchases, all on an estimate of how many roses I think my customers are going to buy.It requires credit to keep the ebb & flow going, which doesn’t necessarily mean DEBT, it just means managing accounts receivable against payables. I won’t get that money back until March 1st, at the earliest. And I do have to continue to eat! 🙂

When the banking industry suddenly has a crisis and decides to call due all of the lines of credit it’s a bit difficult. I understand, and I don’t have a problem with it, except that it makes it tough all the way down the chain. What I do have a problem with is the credit card company that decides to raise their interest from 9% to 32% for no reason other than the fact that they can!

I personally don’t think this is any different than extortion, and this could be the reasoning behind this new credit card act now in the senate. I’m sure that it is like everything else in government, it will have a bad side to it, but I think something needs to be done to stop these bad practices.

My New Years wish….I wish for someone to give me a million dollars with no strings attached, except to take care of myself and make myself richer.  🙂 Hey it worked for the bankers, why can’t it work for me? I’m only asking for a tiny million and it never hurts to ask right?

While color preferences tend to change with the seasons you can look for the big tropical color scheme to become hot in the spring of 2009. Think about the blue of the Caribbean ocean, you can plan to see bright lemon yellow and turquoise shades, palace blue and bright oranges emerging as the hot color trends for the next season.

You can mix a combination of these colors,  or better yet, plan a bold & daring orange ceremony. Certainly in the coming year you’ll be planning a bold, bright, full-of-color, wedding!  Gone are the days of muted flowers; soft pastels, brides are not afraid of color or for example mixing purple & orange, extreme color combos are the hot new thing, they are energizing, bright, & high in contrast and they make you feel good! We are even seeing a trend towards  veggies, herbs, & fruit being added, creating a fun & playful approach to floral design.

the-ring-on-the-lavender-alisia

One of a kind, identical arrangements on every table is giving way to a more dynamic style. Brides are using different containers on each table, varying the heights and also using groupings of flowers clustered together as centerpieces for a simple classic look.

While there are no longer any hard & fast rules that dictate what makes a good flower arrangement, they do provide us a design foundation, so that we know what rules we can break. For example an old rule of design, where the vase should occupy one third of the arrangement and the flowers two thirds to create balance, has gone by the wayside and given way to a new trend in design where more is on the bottom and less on the top, or even creating flower designs under glass and just barely peeking out of the top of the vase. The effect is fun & very charming.

What ever artistic vision you are going for, remember that your wedding day is a memorable moment & your flowers will be in all of your photos so I always suggest you hire a professional florist to design your flowers.:-)

So I’m a true North Westerner….  I can handle the rain just fine…I can even handle the snow that we get once or twice a season…but winter hasn’t even officially started and I am already tired of it.  I actually love the snow, but it’s one of those things that I like to choose to go visit, by taking a trip to the mountains.   :>)  True to my nature, I’ve  begun making my spring garden plans already, hopefully I can move winter along!

Wow, this is a rough start to the winter season, a foot of snow is a lot of snow for the  entire winter season in our area, let alone a foot of snow in one day.  The roads are a mess, and I don’t think the 14 degrees F, which was last nights temperature,  is going to help my commute  in the morning either.  Seattle is known for it’s hills,  so you can forget driving any where if it’s icy.  We’re just not very good at it!  The hottest selling item around here right now are Yaktrax walkers , which are a device that straps on the bottom of your shoes so you can walk on ice!  You can buy them at REI, which is one of my favorite stores to go shopping at.

yaktrax1

Now I’m looking for the flashlights, the candles, the firewood,the matches,  & getting ready for the 60 mph winds that are supposed to be coming down through the Cascade foothills to blast us with power outages and more snow…remind me again, when does winter officially start?

So I wanted to share my plans as to how I plan to  occupy myself when the power goes off.  I plan on making fudge for Santa!  Yep, traditional Christmas fudge, and I hope he eats it all.  Luckily I have a gas range and it works when the power it out.  So here is my Traditional Christmas Fudge recipe:

This makes 2 lbs

2 T butter

2/3 cup undiluted evaporated can milk

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups mini marshmallows

1 1/2 cups (9  oz) semi sweet chocolate chips

1/2 cup chopped nuts

1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the butter, milk, sugar, & salt, bring to a boil & cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat add the marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, & vanilla.

Pour in an 8″ square pan and chill until firm.

It’s easy to make  and I’m sure the kids & Santa will enjoy it!  Enjoy the winter weather, which BTW actually started today  :>)  I can’t wait to see what winter weather will be bringing me for Christmas!

I purchased a Meyers Lemon tree about 2 years ago,  it’s about 2 feet tall and in a large ceramic pot. I keep it outside in the summer and move it inside in the winter. Even though it is a hardy little plant it can’t handle temperatures below 23 F (-5 C ).  It can tolerate partial shade but it really prefers full sun, so find a sunny bright spot to keep it.

They plants are easy to start from cuttings, they grow quickly, and usually will bear fruit within a year or two. Keep in mind that even hybrid citrus seeds bear true to the parent.  Lemons  need plenty of moisture but make sure that the pot that you have it in is well drained, because the plant doesn’t like to sit in a puddle of water.  Set your lemon tree in full sun from a south exposure, which is especially important in the winter since the plant needs 12 hours of light.

There is nothing better than picking a lemon off your own tree. You can tell that they are ready to pick when they start to turn almost orange in color, and they start to get a little soft to the touch. They taste a little bit sweet & a little bit tart at the same time.  They make the best pies, that taste just as good as key lime pies! Enjoy!

The history behind the  Meyer lemon is interesting, it was first imported to the US from China by botanist Frank Meyer in 1908.  He was an interesting man you can read about him and other botanists at http://www.plantexplorers.com

The Meyers lemon is a cross between a lemon ( citrus limon ) and a mandarin ( C. reticulata or a C.sinensis ), it is sweeter and smaller than a regular lemon. The thin orange skin is so mellow you can even eat it.  The botanical name is citrus meyeri,  but it is commonly called a chinese dwarf lemon, or the improved meyers lemon.  It has small white blossoms that are wonderfully fragrant & very lovely. Mine is blooming like crazy right now since I brought it back in the house.  If you can grow the tree outside it is a small tree that gets anywhere between 6-10 feet in height.  But this pretty little tree is well suited to growing indoors in a container.

In my previous post on the lemon tree story, I was talking about how slow lemons  grow, I have since found out that lemons go dormant if they are kept below 54 degrees.  I checked the temperature where I was growing the seedlings ( see my previous lemon tree story post for a picture ) and it is 52 degrees in the garden window.  Brrrr….. so I moved the seedling up to the upper shelf which is warmer by 4 degrees, and to my dismay, my seedlings have new leaves this week.  I guess they grow slow enough without me placing them in a dormant state too!  Of course now it’s so cold here, I may have to move them to some where warmer than the garden window.  The challenges of gardening in the Pacific Northwest :>)

tis the season…and while it’s not snowing here yet, I decided to make it snow! :>)  and of course my new blog appearance has my favorite color…. GREEEN!   :>)  I like this cool new little feature of the snow, and I guess unlike here in  the northwest, the snow will disappear by January 4th.

This is so exciting…can you imagine a mass produced solar car for $18,000? In light of the GM & Chrysler predicament, they should be listening to this guy Louis Palmer who made a 32,000 mile trip around the globe without using a drop of oil!  If the carmakers in this country would take a lesson from Palmer who says there is no reason that car companies couldn’t make a much better version of his solar powered car if they really put their minds to it,  we could change the world!  The car travels at  55 mph and can go 185 miles on a fully charged battery.  You can read more about it at http://www.solartaxi.com    Palmer took the car to the UN climate change conference to prove that the world can develop a car that doesn’t burn any polluting fossil fuels, a car that meets all the safety standards in Switzerland, and one that is ecological.

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