Soap Box

My very own cute little soap box!

Archive for February, 2009

NC House Bill 88 (aka Senate 221, 2009 Healthy Youth Act )

Posted by eemilla on February 21, 2009

2009 Healthy Youth Act plans to change North Carolina’s sex-ed from abstinence only to an abstinence based comprehensive curriculum.  This is great news, and it needs vocal support against the usual suspects.  I fully support this change, but I wish there were some mention of masturbation as another option; what else kills the two birds of relieving sexual energy and providing 100% protection against pregnancy or disease?  Masturbation is the only middle road between partnered sex outside of a faithfully monogamous relationship and no sex.  I don’t necessarily envision instructors demonstrating techniques, but masturbation isn’t a dirty word or act.  Dr. Jocelyn Elders was ahead of her time fifteen years ago.  However, I suspect we will have to wait another fifteen or more years before masturbation can come out of the closet.  I didn’t catch this on my first reading, but this morning I had to laugh at: “a mutually faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship in the context of marriage is the best lifelong means of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS”; I guess not all mutually faithful monogamous relationships are safe.  Below is the email I sent to the House’s primary sponsors with my other state elected officials carbon copied.  Surprisingly I didn’t receive a reply.

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I hate PMI.

Posted by eemilla on February 20, 2009

I recently filled our taxes, and I was reminded about the tax deduction for PMI payments that we don’t qualify for because we purchased our house a year or so too early.  I hate Private Mortgage Insurance.  Especially in light of this economic meltdown, I am so angry that we have to pay this insurance to protect our mortgage company (which by the way was bought out by a larger bank that has now received bailout funds because they allowed even shadier folks than us to get loans without PMI) against our shady, risky selves, and before this mortgage meltdown I understood why the banks would want to protect themselves from borrowers who didn’t meet all of their underwriting guidelines.  Now that all of these sub-prime loans have gone belly up, why isn’t PMI saving the day?  One source says because not all sub-prime loans were required to carry it.  Well, I don’t want to carry it either!  Since we have to carry it, can’t we at least deduct its cost from our taxable income?

We got an appraisal after the two year mark, but we hadn’t appreciated enough to get rid of PMI.  We have been making improvements, and we will continue to make more as we are able squeeze extra money out of the budget.  However, with the housing prices staying steady or falling it looks like we will be stuck paying PMI until this mess is over.  I was hoping Tuesday’s announcement might offer some good news for our household, but it doesn’t seem so.  

On the bright side, I love this house and my neighborhood.  I just wish my PMI payments were knocking the principal down or being socked away to rip up this carpet.

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Chef’s Quarter

Posted by eemilla on February 19, 2009

****Update:  I had planned on going to Rezaz last week, but when I called to find out what their tasting menus were the hostess informed me the courses were as follows:  spinach and apple salad with warm bacon dressing followed by an eight ounce filet (didn’t catch the side) and finished with a chocolate mousse.  I questioned  how often the selections would change, but much to my dismay, the above is the only tasting menu Rezaz will use.  With the eight ounce filet it sounds like twenty-five dollars is a steal if you like beef, which my honey does so we will still probably end up dining there.  

Chef's Quarter flier

Chef's Quarter flier

 

 

Thanks to Hendersonville Epicurean and Ashvegas for bringing this awesome discount to my attention earlier this week.  

When Rezaz first opened several years back my husband and I were stoked; the food was awesome, the prices were reasonable, and wow what table service.  Rezaz was our go-to for special occassion dining, whether it was a romantic affair or  dinners with out-of-town guests; then it seemed like the menu stagnated, so we took a few years off.  Now the price is right to try it again, plus with our time away the menu will seem fresher even it really hasn’t changed.  

The Corner Kitchen became our spot because its menu changes every few days, even if some of the items seem to be anchors (e.g. the corn chowder and baked brie).  The prices are great here too, especially when considering the wine and beer list.  Due to our budget we haven’t been back since they received their full ABC permits, but with this special we are definitely going to be stopping in.

We stopped into Fig after it had been opened a few months; I believe it was during the summer on a weeknight.  The restaurant didn’t seem too busy, but we waited for somewhere between five or ten minutes without being spoken to by any staff after being seated.  Our perusal of the menu and the absent service made us exchange a look and leave without further ado.  However, with this special we will be returning for another shot.

I wish more Asheville restaurants were doing this.  In Vancouver, the restaurants reward the locals and the tourists visiting in their off season with Dine Out Vancouver.  A few years back when we were on our honeymoon, we ate at three high end restaurants using this special, spending much less than the normal menu prices; thus making trying a new place less of a risk.  Dine Out Vancouver has three tiers (this year it is $18, $28, and $38) with most of the restaurants offering a wine pairing upgrade.  Hopefully this will be such a smashing success that next year more participants will join.  Thanks to Chef’s Quarter for giving the locals some love!

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French Broad Chocolate Lounge

Posted by eemilla on February 15, 2009

French Broad Chocolate Lounge is one of the best reasons to eat downtown.  They have a variety of truffles and desserts, including a few non-chocolate selections; I love the single origin collection, but my favorites are the cafe au lait, French lavender, Kentucky bourbon, and hazelnut.  Being in Asheville, there is even an entire vegan collection.  They also serve beer and wine, and the lounge has large marble topped tables with overstuffed chairs for savoring your selection of truffles.  The hours are great for after dinner rendezvous or a relaxing indulgent afternoon; sometimes there is live music to help with the ambiance.  With their convenient location on South Lexington behind Pack Square, there is no reason not to end your downtown experience there.

 

Urban Spoon French Broad Chocolate Lounge

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Stimulus and Upcoming Bank Bailout Redux

Posted by eemilla on February 15, 2009

With all of the ongoing discussion about the economy and the soon to be signed stimulus bill, I wanted to throw my two cents into the mix.  

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Transit Survey deadline

Posted by eemilla on February 2, 2009

The survey closes noon this Wednesday so spend the five minutes it takes so provide your feedback.

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