Yea or nay--I'm going with nay

Last night, I got to see small town bureaucracy at work, firsthand. First of all, let me just say that--sweet Mother of God--it takes an awfully long time to get one thing done!

Last night was our town's Representative Town Meeting (RTM), and I wanted to go because A) I was invited, and B) they were discussing the town budget, of which the school budget falls into--with 2 children in public schools, and one on her way, I kind of have a vested interest.

Well, the first item on the agenda was not the town budget. It was a $2+ million dollar something or other (hey, it was a long meeting, and there were an awful lot of numbers involved. Bear with me here) that involved funding to update bathrooms at an elementary school, update a cafeteria at another elementary school, and paving, among (many, many, many) other things. Oh yeah, funding for a girl's softball field was lumped in there as well.

So, first things first: they opened the floor up for member comments. The final RTM comment was by a rep who felt this issue should be delayed until their next meeting (so she could gather more information). Problem was, things like asphalt paving, and school issues are time sensitive, and really can't wait another month. So, let's have some member comment on waiting.

Comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment.

OK, now let's have some public comment on waiting.

Comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment.

Now, we vote. Oh wait, it sounds too close; let's do a roll call vote. What's that? The roll call vote is too close? Ya know what? We should have a caucus about this. Cue all 50+ RTM members leaving the room to talk about it. 10 minutes later, they're back, voting again.

Lucky for us--I think--they voted not to wait. So let's talk about issue #1 of issue #1 (remember, it's bathrooms, cafeteria, paving, a bunch of other stuff, and softball fields). Since there were many young softball players at the meeting, and we're already an hour into a meeting that started at 8pm, that was issue #1 (of issue #1--are you following?).

RTM comments: Comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment (these are our reps making an argument for or against the proposed $400,000 field).

Public comment: Comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment x about 30. No kidding--people are really either vehemently for, or opposed to this field.

RTM comments about the public comments: Comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment, comment. The last comment actually ended with a poem the rep wrote while the public was making comments. Are you kidding me??!

OK, let's vote. Oh wait, let's do a roll call vote again. Permission to allocate $400,000 for a girl's softball field denied, 30-19.

Next issue: asphalt (issue #2 of issue #1).

OK, by now it's 10:30. It took 2.5 hours to go over this one issue. Now I'm pretty sure that people are not as passionate about paving as they are about softball, but I wasn't leaving that up to chance. I got up and left. And glad that I did--because according to sources, the whole shabang ended at 2AM.

So that's it; that's my foray into small town politics. I have no idea what happened with the town budget, I just hope that my being there (along with many, many other parents and educators) had an impact. Lord knows this meeting had an impact on me.


Happy Earth Day!

Here in Fairfield, we actually have an Earth Day Festival that takes place a few weeks after the actual, official Earth Day. I am on the festival's committee, and have been spending a lot of time recently putting together a guidebook of exhibitors, as well as "green" tips, recipes, and articles. Actually, I think it's rather appropriate that today is the day that the files are going to the printer.

In our little guidebook, there's a bunch of little factoids dispersed throughout. In honor of Earth Day, I thought I would share some with you. Many thanks to the talented Lauren Bove, who pulled all of this information together for me:

If the U.S. average miles per gallon of all automobiles was brought to 35 mpg, it would reduce global warming pollution and save more than 1.1 million barrels of oil each day or half of what the U.S. currently imports from the Persian Gulf.

Honda was rated the cleanest automaker by the biennial Automaker Rankings report from the Union of Concerned Scientists as of 8/27/08.

Chrysler was rated the dirtiest by the same agency.

Recycling saves energy: Creating a new aluminum can from scratch takes 95% more energy than making a can from recycled aluminum.

Energy Star notes that in the average home, 40% of all electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while the products are turned off. Across the US, this equals the annual output of 17 power plants.

Swapping 16 incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) saves emissions equivalent to taking a car off the road for a year.

Americans use about 385 million gallons of gasoline every day, which means more than a gallon of gasoline every day for every man, woman and child.

If every household in the United States replaced just one package of virgin fiber napkins with 100% recycled ones, we could save 1 million trees. (NRDC)

Since 1980, the earth has experienced 19 of its 20 hottest years on record, with 2005 and 1998 tied for the hottest and 2002 and 2003 coming in second and third. (NRDC)

The polar ice cap is now melting at the alarming rate of 9% per decade. NASA has reported Arctic ice thickness has almost halved since the 1960s.

Paper products are bleached to make them whiter and brighter. The chlorine used in many bleaching processes contributes to the formation of harmful chemicals that wind up in our air and water and are highly toxic to people and fish. (NRDC)

About one-sixth of the wood delivered to a construction site is never used. Instead, it's hauled to the landfill as wood waste scraps. (NRDC)

Half of the forests that originally covered 48% of the Earth's land surface are gone. Only 1/5th of the Earth's original forests remain pristine and undisturbed. (NRDC)

55% of our trash goes to landfills, 14% is burned, and 31% is recycled. (Energy Information Administration)

The U.S. uses nearly $1 million worth of energy every minute. (Energy Information Administration)

The removable roof rack on a car can reduce fuel economy by as much as 5%, states the EPA.

The National Recycling Coalition reports that recycling supports 1.1 million jobs in the U.S. (Energy Information Administration)

The average American generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day, which is almost twice the amount of trash the average American produced daily in 1960. (Energy Information Administration)

Some of these facts are just plain scary. I hope you join me in celebrating Earth Day today, by adopting some small changes to your everyday life that will hopefully, in the long run, make a difference. And if you're in or around Fairfield, CT on 5/9, stop by Fairfield Warde High School and join Fairfield's Earth Day Celebration!


Damn, those pants are square!

This commercial never ceases to make me smile, for many reasons. First of all, it's Baby Got Back. Whether you like the song or not, it should always, always put a smile on your face. Second? "Damn, those pants are square." Third, finally, is the end: Sir Mix a Lot sitting on the couch saying, "Booty is booty."

Brilliant. And a perfect Friday late afternoon pick me up.



So... if you're one of my five regular readers, you may have noticed a gap in posts. Yeah... sorry about that. This little thing called work kept me pretty busy. The good news? I have something to show for it!

First up, Healing Barsanti, launched just last week:

The interior design firm Healing Barsanti also operates 2 retail stores (HB Home, one in Westport, and one in Greenwich), they wanted a site to combine the retail aspect, along with their incredibly gorgeous interiors. Mission accomplished!

Second--just launched today--Greenwich Dance Studio. Kate Truesdell needed a site that was going to work with her growing studio. The black background adds quite a dramatic flair, no?

So, sorry for the lack of recent posts... I'm going to have lots more to share in the next few weeks--as a matter of fact, I think I might just be kissing sleep and my weekends goodbye... I'm certainly not complaining (not in this economy!), but ya know... sleep is good.


With a last name like Valentino...

...it's almost as though Eleanor feels has to live up to her lineage. What wasn't captured was just how enthusiastically she was stuffing her face.

Oh, yeah... these last two pics? Yeah, she's actually mopping up extra sauce with her bread. I'm not quite sure if she was sucking up to my inlaws, or what; but if that was her goal, she succeeded.


Twitter madness

Last week I was approached by my pal Dave of ConnCreatives, and asked if I wanted my Twitter feeds to appear on the site. Uhhh.... yes? Problem is, some of my tweets were kind of personal; ya know, stuff about the kids (what? I can't help it that they say and do totally adorable and funny things!), life, ski weekends... stuff like that. Since this site is a creative one, Dave suggested opening a different twitter account and keeping it more business related.

So I did. Problem is, my old Twitter handle was traciedesigns; which is the name of my business. Of course I want that name to be associated with my business. So here's what I did: I changed my old, "personal" account to tracietoo. My shiny new "business" account is traciedesigns.

So we'll see how it goes... I really like Twitter, a lot, so I don't foresee a problem with having 2 accounts... for now (See? This is what happens when I attend social media events... I become a social media monster!). The site is now up and running, check it out here. I think it'll be pretty cool. In the meantime, feel free to follow both accounts... I'm interesting like that.


Type Wednesday

This morning I went looking for another gorgeous font to post today (before all hell broke loose--you don't want to know) and naturally I came up empty (sometimes a good font just has to find you, I guess).

However, the Periodic Table of Typefaces just landed in my inbox, courtesy of The Type Studio... so on we go, with this week's theme of fonts and type.

Hint: click anywhere on the image to zoom in. Click again to zoom back out. If I was in any mood whatsoever to talk about technology, I'd say yipee! But I've had my fair share technical issues today (I'm good for a while, actually)--referenced above: all hell breaking loose.