Saturday, January 31, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Best in Lynchburg

I recently visited Lynchburg, Virginia - a quaint town full of character set in the Blueridge Mountains. If you ever get the chance to stop by Lynchburg, here are a few of my favorites:

4. The Antique District

5. Starlight Cafe

10. Historic Neighborhoods such as the Garland Hill District


First we said goodbye to Blueprint. Then Cottage Living. And now, Domino

One word: sad! 

Several more words: I'm so glad I've saved every issue. Amen??

* Photo from

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Probably an Infringement

The halls of the non-public quarters in the White House were filled with recent pictures of the previous administration. The numerous pictures of the former President and First Lady in Africa were most striking. 

In one of the pictures below, you can see that Mrs. Bush was teaching a class somewhere in Africa. The chalkboard behind Mrs. Bush contained a 'compare and contrast' chart as to whether the local priest should be held liable for a certain crime -- she was teaching them to think, argue, and debate. Fascinating! 

The Duke of Edinburgh and Mrs. Laura Bush

Monday, January 26, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that you cannot establish standing to sue the federal government based on the fact that you are a taxpayer? Even though the government is funded by your money, that alone does not establish the requisite threshold for a court to entertain your claim (unless it is an Establishment Clause challenge ... and that's a discussion for another day). 

Last week I posted a communication about what President Bush accomplished during his eight year tenure as our President, so I thought it would be interesting to consider what recently-elected Obama has ordered and accomplished in his first week of office. 

Last Friday Obama struck down a rule that prohibits U.S. money from funding international family-planning clinics that promote abortion or provide counseling and, or, referrals about abortion services. (Read more about that here). So, even though you are a tax-paying citizen, despite the funding of abortions being against your conscience, you have no legal standing to officially request the government to stop spending money on abortions. Similarly, prior to Obama's order, if you were opposed to the Federal government's ban on funding of abortions, you had no legal standing to sue the government on the basis of being a tax-payer alone.

In an Executive Order Obama issued this past week closing Guantanamo Bay, he used "international concern" as a basis for decision-making. Historically, that's not been an authoritative basis and is one Supreme Court Justice Scalia (and me) has a beef with. However, Obama does desire a "legal bases" for detention of enemy combatants at Guantanamo. That sounds great .... and most people will be sufficed with that "desire." However, his admission in the Executive Order that discovery of "how" prosecution can take place is telling. The procedural aspect of prosecuting enemy combatants has been the hang-up since Day 1 of Guantanano .... and I suspect it still will be .... despite anyone's "desire." However, I wish our new President and his Attorney General all the best with carrying out the Executive Order as it will be a difficult task. 

For a review of original sources to learn about what our new President has accomplished, check out the new White House website. (The large pictures are a new addition-- has anyone else noticed that difference??).


A list:

1. Cool website: Favtape.
(but I'm still partial to Pandora)

2. I wore stilettos last week for the first time in over a year. And they were red. And they were uncomfortable. And I'm very happy wearing my flat boots with hiking socks everyday of the year ... even though they don't "elongate" my legs.

3. I sat in an immigration office/homeland security for over an hour on the afternoon of Inauguration Day. I was the only anglo-saxon in the room ... and also the only one in the room not in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. 'Twas a very interesting experience. We truly live in a unique country. 

4. I'm overwhelmed with work ... thus, my lack of interesting blog posts. Or, blog posts with pictures of me at the White House (driving up and parking at the White House) with zilch commentary. Short story: a very dear and lovely friend had a fabulous job for the former First Lady and had access to almost every inch of that famous house. Thus, I took advantage of her access the last weekend of the Bush administration -- and it was grand. Talk about stories to tell the grandkids -- these stories are so good, I can't even tell 'em on this blog for fear the secret service would be disappointed with our behavior. However, I commit to posting more pictures of the W.H. experience and sharing more stories -- because -- cool things did happen. For example, I took a picture of a picture of Abraham Lincoln. Did you know that there was even a picture in existence of Abe's inauguration??? I didn't know ... but it does exist. And it's at the While House. (Imagine!). 

That's all for now. I do hope you have a lovely and productive last week in January!


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Did You Know?

Yesterday on "Did You Know" I told you that starting next year all estate's exceeding $1,000,000 will be taxed by the Federal government (a big change from $3.5m). Well, did you know that the government's slice of all proceeds over $1m will be 45%? 

For example, if a couple passes away and leaves their home valued at $350,000, $100,000 cash in the bank, and each have life insurance valued at $300,000 (which is pretty low) .... then the $50,000 that exceeds the million-dollar mark is taxed at 45%. That's quite a chunk to turn over to the federal government. 

If this is all extremely nauseating to you, do take heart .... there are estate planning tools and techniques that can be utilized to minimize the massive tax consequences that lots of people will begin to face. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Did You Know?

Did you know that the Federal estate tax exemption in 2009 is $3,500,000 .... but in 2010 it is schedule to change to only $1,000,000? 

Monday, January 19, 2009


"One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar." - Helen Keller

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bidding Farewell

Leslie, Me, and Hil
Hanging out at the ole' Rose Garden

Parking at the White House (too cool)
Chillin' at the Personal Residence

~ and most importantly ~

Touching Things John Adams Touched. 


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Birthday Celebration with the Old Roomies

Heather, Jill, and Me

The weekend before last, the three of us got together for brunch at Ellendales to celebrate our birthdays. It's always so good to be with such wonderful friends. I miss you girls!

Official Declaration

I turned 26 yesterday. What's so amazing about the 26 year that I must make an official declaration? 

Well ....

I have owned the same car -- the same, exact car -- for precisely a decade now. And it still runs. 

This piece of news is a borderline miracle. 

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Zabars = Goodness

Gram made dinner for us last night, and oh man, was it good! My uncle recently visited us in Nashville and brought Gram a few treats from Zabars in Manhattan. Gram made yummy potato koogle, chicken, red cabbage, and broccoli and cauliflower. Plus, we knoshed on kasha and potato knishes all the way from the Upper West Side. YUM! While I'd love to be at 80th & Broad and make a personal visit, that likely is not in the near future... lucky for all of us who can't frequent NYC as often as we'd like, we can order all the goodies from Zabars online and have them delivered directly to our doorstep.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I'm a traveler. That's no secret. What is less known is that Homeland Security has a file on my comings and goings to America. But it's not just me ... they have files on you, too. Check it out here.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Frequent Flyer 2008

Aside from visiting my two hometowns -- Nashville and Edinburgh -- here is my 2008 in cities:

Tampa, Florida
Stirling, Scotland*
St. Andrews, Scotland
Barcelona, Spain
Lake District, England
Cotswolds, England
London, England
Perth, Scotland
New York City
Birmingham, Alabama*
Rosemary Beach, Florida
Memphis/Collierville, Tennessee
Glasgow, Scotland
North Berwick, Scotland
Dublin, Ireland
Pisa, Italy
Florence, Italy
Knoxville, Tennessee
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Fairhope/Daphne, Alabama
Mobile, Alabama

Cities marked with * were visited multiple times.

2008 was an amazing travel year! Here's to more globetrotting in 2009!
I hope your holiday season has been fabulous! Our time with family has been a blessing. Cheers to 2009!
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