Oh Avenue..why?

So, because I said I would, here is the e-mail I just sent to Avenue clothing store.

Dear Avenue: How in the world as a new customer am I supposed to know that the items you are selling are for plus-sized women when NONE of your models are actually plus-sized? And I don’t mean “model” plus-sized (which is what, a 10??) but real-world fat chicks. I wear a size 24. None of your models look ANYTHING like me. Why is that? You’re selling to people like ME – so hire models that look like ME, not the skinny chick next door. I cannot, in good conscience, buy from a store that obviously doesn’t LIKE how I look or think that someone my size would look good in your clothes. And I know that this is probably not something your store cares about (obviously, or you would have already fixed this) but I’ll be posting this e-mail on my facebook, blog, Pinterest and anything else I can think of to convince others to say the same things and shop elsewhere.

I am saddened by the fact that they expect us to spend our money there, but they don’t think people who wear their clothes are pretty enough to model them.  What an insult!!

Please, if you feel the same way, write them too.  Maybe they’ll wake up and change how they market their clothes if we all start saying something.

EDIT:

Oh, and I’d like to point out two other things about this:
1. This is not some store/site that sells to both “regular” and “plus-sized” women. They ONLY do size 14 & up. So its not like they need to worry about a skinny person not buying their clothes because they have fat people on their site. and
2. Even though I knew they did plus sizes, I was not aware they were solely plus size and kept looking for the tab for plus sizes, assuming that because they were smaller models, I must not be in the plus size “department” – so how is that even good advertising?

Library madness

I went to the library last night and was very disappointed in my experience.  I love going to the library and enjoy almost every visit there.  Yesterday, however, was a bummer.

First, it was HOT in there! Not “we’re saving money so our a/c is on low”  hot, but “the a/c is broken and we don’t care” kind of hot. It was 85° outside and probably the same inside, without the benefit of a breeze or fresh air.  I had to visit the Information desk and when I asked the librarian how long it had been hot in there she answered non-sarcastically “Since it started warming up outside.”  Really? Thanks for the non-info Information lady!

Second, while standing in line for the Information desk, I watched as one librarian helped a patron and another librarian sat at her computer clicking and typing away.  I assumed that both librarians were busy and if not, computer-using librarian would call me over to her side of the desk.  As I waited, and sweated, and waited, computer-using librarian never looked up, never said anything to me (even though I made sure I was in her line of sight) or to her co-worker.  After about 5 minutes, a kid walked up to computer-using librarian and started asking questions.  I figured if he could interrupt her, so could I and went to her side of the desk when he left.  I told her that I hadn’t wanted to interrupt whatever she was doing but since she had immediately stopped “working” on her computer, she must not have been as busy as I thought.  She looked at me and said “well that’s why I’m here” in a snotty tone like I was the one who had just ignored a patron for 5 minutes.  Jerk.

Maybe the heat was getting to us all.

BEWARE: I’m talking politics!

(FYI: I never talk about politics online, honestly, but this topic has been under my skin for a while. So, this started out as a tweet and it quickly expanded into a Facebook update, then into a note and is now a full-blown rant. You’ve been warned.)

Florida has passed a law that welfare applicants will no longer get welfare unless and until they pass a drug test.  I have a TON of problems with such a law.

First of all, let me give you some highlights of this genius law:

“Applicants for the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program who test positive for illicit substances won’t be eligible for the funds for a year, or until they undergo treatment.”

Who wants to bet that they have to pay for their own treatment to become eligible again? What happens to all the drug addicts already on welfare? They’re grandfathered in and never have to take the test? How does that do anything for the people who voted for this?

“If welfare candidates pass the drug screening, they’ll be reimbursed for the test.”

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?? How does that conversation go?  “Hi, yeah, I know you have no money.  But before we can give you money, can you please give US money to test your pee?  IF it comes back clean, we’ll pay you back…eventually…once you’ve filled out the proper forms.”

While I could go on and on about all the problems I have with this law, I’ll put it down to a few basic questions:

How do the children of drug addicts (and you KNOW they have kids) eat, survive, stay warm, get school supplies, get birthday presents, have a childhood of ANY kind when they have no money because mommy flunked the drug test? You explain that satisfactorily and I’ll vote for your “no money w/o a drug test” law.

Can you also explain how this is not unlawful search and seizure .  While you’re at it, please explain how a request for money from the government allows anyone access to someone’s bodily fluids especially when that may force them to incriminate themselves (a violation of the 5th Amendment).

They’re poor, but last I checked, that’s not a crime. You have to have probable cause to pull someone over for DUI, you have to have probable cause to accuse someone of a crime, you have to have a REASON to make someone pee in a cup other than “you’re poor, we assume you take drugs, take time out of your day to have someone watch you pee in this cup or you won’t be able to feed your children.”

Who is going to pay for the testing reimbursements? Drug kits at WalGreens are about $35.00 each (we could say the government would get a discount, but who are we kidding? Our government will pay $4000 for a toilet seat).  According to one Wall Street Journal article, there are approximately 520,000 welfare recipients in California alone.  So that’s $35 x 520,000 which equals $18,200,000. Let’s figure 1/2 of the tests come back negative and are to be reimbursed by the government.  That’s $9,100,000. Can any state really afford that extra $9.1 million? And if you’re thinking we’ll just pay for that with all that welfare money we save by not paying all these supposed druggies: remember that those druggies’ kids will now be in foster care, they’ll all need medical care (for malnourishment if nothing else) that they won’t be able to pay for (because they don’t have medical benefits OR welfare) and the state will have to cover that instead.

So much for the savings!

While we’re checking to make sure dad didn’t smoke a joint last weekend (or eat a poppy seed muffin on the way to the drug test), what rape kit is going to sit on a shelf for another year because there are all these urine tests that need to go through?  What drug test that will get someone off welfare and into a new job will have to wait? Even if private clinics take on the biggest amount of applicants, how many will go to a low cost or free clinic run/funded by the state or the county because they can’t pay for the test anywhere else?

How long is the backup in the lab going to be when they are flooded (pardon the term) with urinalyses that they have to run BEFORE the lights get shut off, BEFORE they run out of food, BEFORE they’re evicted because they can’t pay rent.

And before you think I’m some sap who thinks welfare is only given to the truly deserving Cinderella types, oh please.  I’m not an idiot.  There is rampant corruption and dysfunction within the welfare system.  Too many people abuse the system, take advantage of the processes and bureaucracy to get money and benefits they don’t deserve. But believe me when I say: for every mom with brand name clothes and a food stamps card, there is a newly divorced mom doing the best she can to support herself and her family while she gets an education and a job so she can pay taxes to pay it forward. Making both of those women take a drug test won’t stop those abuses from happening. Just because she has nice clothes doesn’t mean she’s using drugs that would prevent her from receiving welfare. So now what?

Things I should have learned when I turned 21

Okay, seriously embarrassed myself last night and I want to share – aren’t I weird?

First, a side note: I do NOT buy alcohol.

Ever.

Not that I wouldn’t, obviously, but I just have never had a need to go to the liquor store.  I’m 33 and I’ve been there once.

So, when I needed to buy alcohol as a gift, I took Ally into the store with me.  She asked if she should and I said sure, if you’re not supposed to be in there they’ll tell us.  There was no sign on the door about “No Minors”.  No one said anything when she walked in with me.  No one asked if she’s 21.  And I know she’s tall, but she sure as hell doesn’t look 21!!

We wander the store, we discuss different wine labels, laugh at the different types of rum, I asked the clerk a question…it was normal.  Still, no one said anything about her being there.

So I pick out the two things I’m there for, carry them up to the register and get into line.  While standing there I mention, hey those little bottles would be a cool way to try the expensive stuff.  So we look at the mini bottles of alcohol while standing in line.  I grab two and Ally grabs a bottle of Grey Goose and says “hey mom, I’ve heard of this, do you want to try it?”  I say sure, she hands it to me.  I know the clerk has been watching us and I assume its to make sure we’re not stealing anything so I don’t really care or notice.

Once its our turn to check out she asks for my ID, I hand it to her and then she asks for Ally’s.  Confused, I say  “she doesn’t have one.”  The woman gives me a look and says “and who is she?”

Me: “My daughter.”

Clerk: “Well she was handling the alcohol and if she doesn’t have an ID then I can’t sell to either of you.”

Me: “But she’s not going to drink the alcohol?!”

Clerk: “It doesn’t matter.  Our policy is that if she is old enough, she needs to stay in the car and if she comes in, she can’t touch the alcohol.”

Me: “Oh, okay, well if I send her out to the car and put that bottle back?”

Clerk: “No, I cannot sell to you.”

I wasn’t going to argue with her, I knew it wasn’t going to do me any good, and we were both mortified so we just left.

Now, after thinking about it, I’m PISSED.

There were no signs about minors.  Not one of the THREE clerks (one of whom asked if we needed help) said anything about an obvious minor in the store.  There was nothing to tell us we were doing anything wrong.  Considering the number of “policies” the woman listed off, you’d think TELL THE CUSTOMER would be one of them, but apparently not.

I’ve been called a lot of things…

Someone recently called me a photographer and I have to say it was one of the most wonderful things anyone has ever said to me.

I didn’t really react, just calmly listened to what else she had to say (because you know I’m paying rapt attention now)  but inside I’m going “did she really just call me that?? That is so freaking cool!!”

It wasn’t just that she called me a photographer, it was the way she said it: just casually as I got out my camera.  “Oh yeah! That’s right, you’re a photographer! Great camera.  Sarah, have you seen her pictures? She has a site and everything…”

So yeah, I’m a photographer.  Isn’t that the coolest thing ever?

Geography

I love maps. I don’t know why I love them, but I do. I don’t know why I think they’re so cool, so fascinating, but I do. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I like knowing where I am, where I’m going and where others are.

Maybe its because I’m so visual. I have some thing about me that makes me want to see and touch things. I’m not much on concepts or visualizing, I need something physical. Something to touch and to be able to trace the lines.  Its one thing to know you’re on 26th and south of you is 27th, but its another to know where 27th starts and where it goes and for how long.  Its nice to know multiple ways to get somewhere, and to know how connected we all are by the same streets and roads and bridges we all use.Computer maps aren’t good enough, although they’re fun – I need paper, which is odd considering my affinity for all things computerized.

I can sit for hours poring over maps, “finding” countries I didn’t know where they were before, testing myself to see if I know as much as I’d like to know, etc. I also love old maps, to see what others thought the world was like, knowing how much further they had to go to fill in all those blank spaces.

I wish I knew more, I wish I could tell you where Senegal is off the top of my head, or how to spell Philippines without having to wait for the spell checker to tell me it only has one L and two P’s. The cool part, to me at least, is that I’m learning and maybe someday I’ll even start with the capitals…I already know that Guinea-Bisseau’s is Bisseau, but that’s cheating.

In my office at home I am surrounded by technology, books and maps. Its my own personal knowledge center. Part of me is hoping that I’ll absorb some of the information I see every day but I’m also enjoying the learning process. Unfortunately there’s no one to show off for, no one really cares if I know where Mali, Mauritania and Moldava are. Not really.  Lately I have started taking geography quizzes online, just for fun, just to see if I really remember all the things I see.

I like find out how everything fits, where everything belongs. Maybe that’s what its about:  no matter how crazy lives, politics and wars are, for the most part the map is going to stay the same. The land is not going anywhere. Countries may change names and maybe even borders, but you know that Egypt will always be in Africa and Uruguay in South Africa. There’s not going to be some big shift and suddenly things have moved around. With everything else in my life constantly moving, changing and shifting, it’s comforting to know at least a majority of the world is staying put.