since then.

Hello and welcome to this millennium’s episode of Catching Up With Tess.  Things have been non-stop crazy since we got back, of course, so I’m only going to be able to remember a few things we’ve done.  But I will dress it up with some pretty things and some links, and we’ll be all caught up.  Mmmkay?

oh hello. richmond by milan, via brandi.

My gosh, I missed this town while I was gone.  In fact, I still feel like I miss it since I haven’t been away from my desk much since we’ve been back.  The quickly-thinning calendar plucked us out of the airplane and spun me right to work with:

  • Name-changing. Nothing says “I was supposed to rest these couple of days but I’m running errands instead” better than running errands.  Name-change errands, to be specific.  How I long for a day when errands will not need to be run in person, and everything can be done online in 5 minutes, freeing up the extra hour you would have spent in the DMV for activities such as croquet, video games, or learning Greek.  Anyway, henceforth I shall be known as “Mrs. Daniel Shebaylo,” or “Mrs. Shebaylo,” or “Tess Shebaylo.”  So far so good, though the signature is probably hard to get used to for any person getting a new name when they’re almost 30.  Luckily, for those of you who bristle at the first sign of change (I sympathize because I am one of you, usually cat-like in my hatred of a change to my routine), “Tess” still works too.  And “Dixon” still works if you’re Kathryn.
  • Halloween.

    oh mr. todd / i'm so happy / i could eat you up / i really could

    When we landed in Richmond we had less than three days to come up with this.  And of course, being the Halloween lover that I am, I was acutely aware of this fact and it was stressing me out.  Thankfully everything came together effortlessly, Sweeney Todd with his razor and Mrs. Lovett with her meat pie.  The usual Oregon Hill festivities took place, and we ended the evening with an amazing party at Dave and Kristin’s, where Phil owned everybody with his Robot E. Lee costume.

  • Work. They say that going on vacation doesn’t really help to make a person feel rested, because when they get back from vacation they have to work twice as hard to catch up.  This is true.  I have only just now gotten caught up with my responsibilities at work, but luckily the folks at the temple are sweethearts and the most gracious co-workers in the universe, and they probably figured it would take me a while to dig myself out of the confusion.  And now my desk is clear, I’m keeping up with things, and ready to take it all on again.
  • Thank-you notes. I addressed and stamped all the necessary envelopes, and then chipped away at the pile of thank-yous to be written.  It took a few days, and Dan did help out a lot, and it felt so good to be done with the last official wedding to-do.  Things look pretty good on the other side of the wedding…there are a lot of things I can’t wait to get back to…
  • Chores. You turn your back for five minutes, and things get gross.  I think our cats are determined to get little pieces of broken kibble into every crevice of our old, splintery house.  We have one of those old houses that never really looks clean, no matter how hard you scrub it.  So I settle for EXTREME ORGANIZATION.  Which always wins.  Still, it takes a lot of time.  When I’m doing chores, I’m stressing that I’m not writing or hot-gluing.
  • RVANews. It takes me forever to get the articles I write for RVANews done, but it’s because of being a slacker and a procrastinator…once I get rolling, of course, they come very quickly.  Anyway, since it’s hard to battle writer’s block at the last minute, I try to stay ahead on my articles.  I’ve been VERY behind lately, though, so I spent several days’ free-time on that stuff last week and now I’m at least caught up.  Look for more of the same Richmond Proper goodness, as well as an upcoming holiday Etsy guide!
  • Soup. I love fall vegetables and couldn’t wait to start cooking with them again.  And I also love making a big pot of soup and eating it for lunch for the next two weeks.  So I made a delicious acorn squash and pumpkin soup the other night and we all loved it, and now I’m armed for the cold with my containers full of soup.  Except that today it’s 70 degrees.  FAIL.
  • Metropolis.

    o hai C-3PO!

    We finally watched the movie Metropolis, which is a silent film classic.  It was very good, and made us go “what the HECK?!” a million times, like all almost-a-century-old films should.

the REAL question

This weekend: New Moon and my 10-year high school reunion.  And maybe Megadeth (fingers SO crossed) if we get out of there early enough.  I am one happy girl.  Although I do live in fear that if we miss Megadeth, a certain redhead will show up at my door in the middle of the night, demanding my Biggest Fan card back.  The horror!

'ello guv'nah.

Some long-lost links…

  • Guys, really.  TIGHTS ARE NOT PANTS.
  • Zounds, I’ve been INTERVIEWED!
  • Spats: it seems wrong that I still don’t have them, doesn’t it?
  • Adoring these font-lovers’ note cards.
  • I’ve been watching a lot of Enter Kazoo Man.  No big deal.
  • I knew it.
  • I agree with Phil.  I like life’s simple pleasures.
  • Interesting to hear a different perspective on “fair trade.”
  • Hooray for personal style!  I don’t believe that everybody should dress like me, but that they should dress in a way that uniquely reflects their personality, or their story, as this article puts it.  Down with the mass-produced uniform!
  • Congrats to my girl Casey for making it into Style’s Top 40 Under 40.
  • LBH: some of these bachelor/bachelorette party ideas are lame, but most are cool, and you can at least save yourself the embarrassment with not being able to come up with something less trashy than the usual.  Plus, being productive and learning a new skill never hurt anyone.
  • Colonial Williamsburg’s photo collection: now online.  Go forth, and never be bored again, fellow historyphiles.  I’m sure I’ll be mentioning more about this later.
  • Oops, I just blogged about Star Wars twice in one go.  At least it was for a good cause.
  • I have a pack of unused doilies and am feeling inspired by Courtney’s post…

wintry.

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9 thoughts on “since then.

  1. Weird. The fair trade article seems to completely ignore the other things (besides fair prices) that go along with being fair trade certified. The article implies that higher prices are paid simply as charity and that this traps the producer into this crop. (“This is, in short, unprofitable work, and subsidizing unprofitable and undiversified economies is the surest recipe for ensuring that those economies remain dependent on that subsidy.”)

    But I don’t buy fair trade products out of charity, I buy them because I don’t think it is right to drink coffee brought to me through child and slave labor. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia that helps explain the process in broad terms: “Fairtrade certification guarantees not only fair prices, but also the principles of ethical purchasing. These principles include adherence to ILO agreements such as those banning child and slave labour, guaranteeing a safe workplace and the right to unionise, adherence to the United Nations charter of human rights, a fair price that covers the cost of production and facilitates social development, and protection and conservation of the environment. The Fairtrade certification system also promotes long-term business relationships between buyers and sellers, crop prefinancing, and greater transparency throughout the supply chain and more.”

    I realize that Wikipedia is not necessarily the most authoritative site, but it sums up the intent nicely I think, which the article does not even touch. Shouldn’t the author have tried using Wikipedia as well and at least addressed the content?

    I would be shocked if there were not major faults in the fair trade process and things that should be done differently and better, but the analysis presented in that article seems to miss the point altogether.

    Thanks for sharing it though!

  2. If you think that leggings, biker shorts, and other lycra or spandex legwear items are different than tights and therefore different rules apply, then you need to know that all of those things are also NOT PANTS, especially for people who weigh more than 130 lbs…leggings are for under skirts and dresses and for those same recreational activities mentioned above. They are also okay for biking but not if you get off your bike and enter say – a coffee shop?
    So, those are the rules. Let’s stick to ’em.

    Just sayin’

  3. First, my preferred answer to THE question of the raven and writing desk is this- Poe wrote on both. The author himself swears there is no correct answer, but I am pretty fond of the Poe option.

    Second, OMGNEWMOON…give me a moment to be OVERLY EXCITED.
    *fans self* Yes I am dressing up as Alice. Yes I am completely ridiculous.

    Also, you and Dan on Halloween…possibly the most adorable thing I have ever seen. I debated doing Mrs. Lovett too, but I was not doing anything particularly exciting for Halloween and I had to work *sigh* so I didn’t get to go all-out. I wanted to do the striped dress. Next year I think you need to be Remus and Tonks, hehe.

    Also, I saw those spats on Etsy. Guh I love them.

  4. Kathryn — foreal! Now nobody can say we weren’t specific enough.

    Kayla — Anytime there’s a Poe option, it’s the right option. Dude, Dan and I have never done an HP costume before, and I’m sure it’s imminent. Remus and Tonks would be a good idea. About the spats…I’m at this point (which I’ve worked very hard to get to) where I just don’t care very much about stuff and getting more of it. I can flip through all the magazines and catalogs I used to drool over, and feel kind of “eh” about them. That’s why I know that if something does make my heart sing, it’s real. And those spats make my heart sing.

  5. Michael — This is why I love the blogosphere. It gives people a chance to criticize widely-accepted institutions without censorship, and to make their own decisions about them. We live in an exciting time! I think this guy is applauding the charitable impulse to seek out and reward companies for declaring humane methods, but also venturing to say that throwing money at the problem just treats the symptoms, not the causes. Just something interesting to think about. For example, I hate how we do a lot of things automatically and trustingly without really looking into it…for example, if two things cost the same at the store, I’ll buy the thing that has “green” packaging, with green-colored wording and maybe a picture of a leaf on it or something. And then I get it home and happen to glance at the ingredients and realize it’s not truly green or healthy or organic or whatever I thought it was at all; I’ve just been duped into choosing it because green-looking things are so hot right now, and oh so marketable. Thinking and buying don’t always go hand in hand for me, so that’s something I’ve been working on and thinking about lately.

  6. I get what you are saying, but that’s the thing… fair trade isn’t about throwing *money* at the problem, it is about the *principles* behind ethical business and ethical trading. why do we have labor laws in the US? is it because we care how people are treated who are making this stuff/services for us? do we only care about them if they work here in the US, or should we also care if they work outside the US? that’s the thing about fair trade, is it gives you a chance to care about how your consumption affects other people in the world, not in *charity* but in *ethical treatment*. of course i appreciate that the author can express any opinion he likes, i just found it irresponsible to focus on “charity” and ignore the actual purpose in having standards. if his argument is to hold then we should not be buying US made products at all, after-all the money we are spending on those products has been inflated by pesky labor laws like minimum wage, the cost of maintaining safe workplaces and the such, etc. as if to say throwing money at US workers blue-collar is just gonna teach them they can live that way and really isn’t doing them any favors at all. to me, the article’s arguments are unfair, irresponsible, and not well thought out. so while the person has every right to write it, i just wanted to take a moment to respond, at least for you.

    and yes i hear your point about green marketing, but the actualities of what fair trade are, are quite different…

  7. Actually I don’t necessarily agree or disagree, I just posted the link, as I said in the post, because it’s always interesting for me to hear a different perspective. I think you should email the author, because he might have more info or be able to dialog with you better than someone who knows nothing about this stuff and doesn’t have much of an opinion on it! Ha. I don’t claim to know anything about what really happens at any company I buy stuff from. I’d venture to say it’s not always what I would assume. But like I said, I don’t have any way of knowing for sure, beyond the shadow of a doubt, what it’s better to spend extra on — for example, choosing between buying $15-a-pound coffee or buying $3-a-pound coffee and donating $12 to microfinance or something (btw I don’t buy coffee at all and have no idea how much it’s supposed to cost). It is all mind-boggling to me. And I know the green issue isn’t the same thing; I was using it as an example of how I’ve noticed myself falling blindly into things without thinking about them. Anyway, good game! 🙂

  8. I just wanted to comment on it for you and anyone else who might be led from your blog, but I might drop the author a note also, thanks for the link. I didn’t expect you to defend or discuss or agree or disagree; I just wanted to share my gut reaction/opinion.

    I know you’re just spit-balling here with the example/prices and all, and obviously I don’t have all the info either, but I really think the point is that fair trade and the like are actually ‘certified’ by people who do the research for you, so that you KNOW when you get fair trade that you’re not supporting slave/child/unsafe labor. I can’t speak to your example of microfinancing other than a basic understanding of the concept, but I just thought it was important to note that there is a huge difference between ‘free money’ type aid in the article and having a system for making sure the people you are buying stuff from are not abusing their workers/the system. While I don’t necessarily know specifically what your donation might do, if I believe I’m contributing and sustaining harm to children and others by buying the cheap coffee I’ll go ahead and pony up a couple extra bucks to get the stuff that has standards on how people are treated. Coffee is a luxury item, its not like my life will be hurt in anyway without it, so I believe I should be responsible when I purchase it. I try to make my decisions that way as much as possible. Of course we could find many ways that I do just the opposite I’m sure, but this is just one way of trying to be conscious of my affect on the world.

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