Soap Box

My very own cute little soap box!

Archive for November, 2008


Posted by eemilla on November 27, 2008

In the tradition of Thanksgiving, I want to put it out there.  

I love my husband and the almost ten years that we have been together.  We met young, and we have evolved; I could not be so happy without him.  I look forward to the next fifty years together, traveling and having a merry time.  He has expanded my tastes in food, and he patiently taught how to ski.

Thanks to my wonderful four legged fam for all the wet noses and furry head-butts.




Millie & Mr

Millie & Mr







My hereditary people fam aren’t too bad either; our wedding was met with such joy, love, and support. and wow, the cake was delicious.


Amaretto Cream Cake

Amaretto Cream Cake



Blessed be, Brother Otis.  Although I only embeded the part of the festival that made me fall in love with Otis Redding, I recommend watching all three videos in the series; better yet, you should purchase the entire recorded performance.  I have to give credit to VH1 for airing the entire recorded performance sometime in 1999-2000 which turned me on to Brother Otis.  

I cannot think what my life would have been like without the music that I sing when I am pissed or happy.  I have tried to include a good groove like a good mixed tape to put you in the right mood.  This is a somewhat random pick of my favorites, but I cannot claim it is comprehensive in any sense of the word.

Screenwriter’s Blues

Subterranean Homesick Blues

Freddie Freeloader

Gloria (as performed by Patti Smith)

Devil Woman

Half Moon

Fortified Live


Lawdy Mama

Got to Give It Up 

Professor Booty

A Day in the Life


Small Axe

What A Diff’rence A Day Made

Rock the House

Down by the Seaside

Power of Love

We A Rockers

Police and Thieves

Split Open and Melt

Does Everyone Stare

Street Talkin’


Apache Rose Peacock

Happy Phantom

Dance Lesson Number Two

I know I am leaving off a bunch (Billie Holiday, Grateful Dead, Erykah Badu, Laura Reed) as I am so bad at picking favorites.

Here’s to having a lovely, snowy winter.  I am looking forward to lots of good, southeast skiing and plenty of fires in the fireplace.

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Pre Thanksgiving Snow

Posted by eemilla on November 23, 2008

pre-Thanksgiving SnowSo far, so far good with the snow events; they are resulting in more accumulation each time, and hopefully they will increase in frequency.  Say it with me again “twelve 12 inch snow events!”  Remember the water table desperately needs it.

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Gnocchi with Butternut Squash and Sage

Posted by eemilla on November 23, 2008

I made dinner last night based on my cravings and what was on hand, and for the first time that I can recall it turned out tasty.  I took some photos, and they are woefully amateur unlike the best food blog I’ve found,  Also the gnocchi wasn’t much better than frozen gnocchi, and it is certainly much more labor intensive than pulling it out of the freezer and dumping it into water.  However, with less than six ingredients that most households have on hand and that are cheap, I think the trick to gnocchi is making it in large batches and freezing the leftovers because the store bought stuff is not cheap.  I used the gnocchi recipe from The Joy of Cooking; we had too many walnuts and butternut squash so I picked the sage from Mom’s, and voila! a tasty fall meal.  I didn’t get a photo of the finished product because the camera’s battery hadn’t been charged in a while, but maybe next time after I get the food mill or try the grater version from SmittenKitchen.

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Public Transit

Posted by eemilla on November 22, 2008

This morning over at Ashvegas, another rider of the local transit system lamented the lack of information and the missing frequency.  

After my post last week regarding the absent weather shelters or even sidewalks, I emailed the photos to several commissioners (I live on the other side of the city boundary, but I included Brownie Newman due to this being one of his major issues), which were forwarded to city staffers.  The response from the elected officials was sympathetic, and the city staffers bemoaned the lack of funding or cited future plans for improvements.  The problem I have with the funding issue is the chicken and the egg; if the service sucks then there will not be ridership which means the system cannot become closer to self sufficiency.  Therefore, the investment has to take place, but the investment does not have to be purely public.  Not that I wish to see anymore ads, but business sponsorship should be solicited.  Businesses could pay for space on the bus stop shelters, benches, schedules, bus exteriors and interiors.  I guess I should be writing Representative Shuler, Senator Burr, and Senator Elect Hagan to see if our local government can get some bacon from the big banker bailout.

Below are the responses from those who bothered to respond to my email decrying the state of South Asheville transit infrastructure.

Kathy Hughes, county clerk, responded first:

I have forwarded your concern to our contacts with Asheville Transit who are in process of assessing the whole transit system.  Thanks so much for taking the time to send in your concerns.  These stops definitely
need shelters, your pictures are very convincing!

From David Gantt, chariman-elect (via Gary Jackson, city manager)

Thanks for taking time to write me about our local transportation situation.  You are right about the need to encourage folks to reduce fossil fuels by using public transportation.  I was embarrassed by the photos.  Surely, local government can do better than this.  I will pass this along to the County and City managers, who I believe will respond favorably.  We have to make it easy to use public transportation if we expect any changes in usage.  Thank you for writing.

David Gantt

From Gary Jackson, city manager:

Thank you for bringing this location to our attention. As you may have noticed, in recent years there have been many bus shelters and other improvements installed along our city bus routes. The improvements are installed with the help of volunteers upon easements being granted by the NC department of Transportaion. I’m asking our Transit Manager Mariate Echeverry to review the location and determine when and how the identified location may be incorporated into the improvement schedule.

Thanks for your commitment to reducing dependence on fossil fuel.




From Brownie Newman, City Council:

Thanks for taking time to write. I agree with you. We have made a lot of progress over the past couple of years getting a lot more bus shelters and benches put up around the city, but there is so much more that needs to be done. 

I agree with you that now is a good time for us to focus on infrastructure improvements as a way to improve quality of life, support economic development and create much needed jobs at the same time. 

I will work to expand creation of bus shelters, sidewalks and other basic infrastructure a higher priority. 




From Mariate Echeverry, interim transit manager (via Gary Jackson, city manager) 


I will attend the meeting on Friday. 

Route 6 goes to the Airport, mostly through Hendersonville Road.  We have finished the inventory on this route, and [eemilla] is right, there is only one shelter that I remember now, at the Vanderbilt Park
. There are some benches closer to downtown.  We have proposed nine shelters along that route, this number will vary according to the on-site conditions (right of way, utilities, sidewalk,
etc). Funding is also a constraint.  We have also identified 29 possible locations for benches, and
installation will require the on-site verification. In this case we have some benches in storage, and we could install first high priority locations. 
The criteria to determine if the stop requires a bench, shelter or single stop is based mainly on ridership and on-site conditions.  Some of the stops will be relocated, including the ones she is concerned
about. We want to provide a safe and comfortable environment to the riders, and at least the stop must be in a clean and safe place.  And if it is useful, we will be installing a shelter at Mills Gap Road
in the next weeks.  We are using CDBG funds for this one.

Please let me know if you have any questions or require additional information.



Mariate Echeverry

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Update to Big Three Bailout

Posted by eemilla on November 22, 2008

Although I am far from a fan of Ashton Kutcher, he proposed a very appropriate solution to the Big Three’s economic woes last week on his appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher.   His comment is about 2:55 in.



After watching their House hearing, I find it hard to want to help.  As a few representatives hinted at, Detroit has been declining for years, but the Big Three executives placed the blame solely on the recent credit crisis.

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Big Three Bailout?

Posted by eemilla on November 14, 2008

While I cannot imagine anyone who would argue that failure from the Big Three US auto makers would be devastating to our slumping economy, I am enraged that anyone is even suggesting that Detroit deserves a bailout.  The financial industry has been overly greedy, and no, I don’t believe they deserved a bail out; however, Detroit has been in jeopardy since the eighties.  I watched Roger and Me over ten years ago.  Since the Big Three seem to blame all of their financial woes on their pensions and the credit crunch, it seems to me that they should’ve gotten behind universal healthcare years ago.  However, I think we should be realistic and place the blame where it truly belongs: greedy short sightedness.  Detroit should not have stood in the way of producing higher fuel efficiency vehicles for the past twenty years; they should have gotten behind universal healthcare.  Research and development money should have been spent on more fuel options not more cup holders and DVD players. 

It is outrageous that this bailout was passed in the first place, and who is going to be brave enough to stand up and say enough is enough?

I am not an economist, but I want the bailout to stop going to corporations that have been exacerbating the gap between the classes in this country; I am angry that although the banks have been given the cash injection, they still don’t want to lend.  It disgusts me that Congress has no problem writing checks to major corporations with huge accounting departments that should know better, but there is never enough money for healthcare.  There is never enough money for a public transportation initiative, and even after the August 2007 bridge collapse which followed the 2005 levy failure, there isn’t enough money to maintain the existing infrastructure of this country.

Enough with excessive and reckless corporate welfare; help the unemployment and underemployment problem by putting people to work on both our aging infrastructure and the infrastructure of new energy.  Follow Senator Clinton’s plan to give funds to cities and local governments so they can purchase foreclosed homes, and help homeowner’s get their stupid and reckless loans refinanced; if taxpayers have to help out people that made bad decisions and should have known better, I would rather help out those that don’t have finance degrees over those that do.  Assistance should go to actual citizens not corporations.

Not that I do not enjoy a lump sum payment from out of nowhere, but I think it would be pandering and ill advised to dole out another economic stimulus payment to the general public.  I don’t recall exactly where I heard this, but someone said that a repeat of the recent payments would be a nice boon to China and Mall Wart as everyone would rush to buy another big ticket television or maybe just more cheap, plastic crap.  Besides, spending too much is part of what created this nasty mess.

Sacrifice and conservation are on the menu for the foreseeable future, and I hope we can take this opportunity to improve our country and economy.

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Rainy Day Bus Stop

Posted by eemilla on November 14, 2008

Please do not think I am complaining about the rain; since we are in the midst of a multi year drought, I refuse to complain about the rain.  I am, however, complaining about the city expecting it not to rain.  At least we have the bus service, but I do not believe there is a single covered bus stop on the entire route six.  As the two examples below show, not only is there no shelter, trash can, or bench, but one cannot even avoid the deep mud puddles when getting on the bus.  Please either provide more service or show some love to the existing riders on the especially unloved route six.  I must note that I am not a dedicated bus rider, and I am fortunate enough to have the car for inclement weather commuting days.

* I would like to note that we are just passed the eleven week mark as a one car household in spite of the less than ideal alternative transportation options.

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President Barack Hussein Obama

Posted by eemilla on November 6, 2008

Whoo-hoo!  After waking up at 5:20am on Election Day to spend most of fifteen hours handing out ballots, my trepidation and hope carried me through until I heard that Senator Obama had won the election by a good healthy margin that cannot be stolen.  After I tried to watch my local races, I passed out and had to helped into bed sometime after eleven.  

When I arrived at work the reality of the world hit me and deflated my elation.  I work with two ultra conservatives (in a three person office), and they seem to be looking forward to a failed Obama presidency.  However, I will not be cowed, and I am still joyous and proud of this country.  I am thankful that I was able to finally vote for a candidate who was not the lesser of two evils.  I truly believe that President-elect Obama will be a fearless leader who will give this country his all to raise us out of the mess we are in.  He will remind our elected officials that they work for the people not the lobbyists, and he will remind us, the people, that prosperity and happiness have to be earned with hard work not purchased on credit.

I hope to see a major transition from old school energy to new renewable and safe energy.  I can’t wait to see increased public transportation options; I want everything from bike lanes, sidewalks, bus stops, more buses, and light rail for longer travels.  

I look forward to living in a country where health care is a right not a privilege.  I am excited to think that prevention will take precedence over reactive surgery and drug abuse.  I cannot wait for the boom in the health care industry due to the new insureds as they will be even more stable, well paying jobs.

The thought of the wealth being spread not to major, multinational, multi-billion dollar corporations, but to hard-working families and small businesses is so energizing, and I cannot wait to do my part in stopping corporate welfare.

I love my country, and its ideals.  I am genuinely proud to be an American today, and I think is the first time I have been so proud.  I say this because I love this country, but it is the love of a parent for a child.  I am not blind to the blunders, and I think I help the future more by being critical rather than fawning.

Although the road is long and seemingly never-ending, YES WE CAN!

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