Politics is More Interesting When You Play With Money

I'm very pleased that McCain won in Florida. Not only because I like him as a candidate, especially considering the alternatives, but because I'm playing CNN's Political Market. They give you $5,000 fake dollars to use to buy shares in various race outcomes. The term "market" is used because people express their opinions of what they think is going to happen by buying and selling stocks representing possible answers. A share which costs $10.00 means that most people predict the chance of that event happening is 10%. I bought shares of McCain at 45% and after tonight they are worth 100% so I made $55.00/share. Yay, my fake money is increasing. I must learn to separate what I want to happen and what most people think will happen though. I bought shares in O'Bama and they're worth $0 now. Oh well.


Vegas Plans or Lack Thereof

I wanted to do my typical travel plan of making a list of places to go, mapping it all out, printing out directions, show times, reservation info, etc. When I'm travelling by myself this works out well. I carry a small travel journal with key info like museum times, metro stops, and a folded walking map in it and then I set out first thing in the morning on the first day after a nice big breakfast. In Chile this worked out well the first day because I was by myself and I saw a lot of things. The next two days this didn't work out well because everybody else decided they wanted to tag along and make me tour guide because they thought they would get more out of it. You'll only get more out of this if having a plan and following it is a style of vacationing that works for you. If you lag behind the tour leader and the plan ends up going out the window she might not be happy. In the end I didn't see everything I planned to in Chile, but I had a lot of fun with friends and saw some things that were awesome and not part of the plan because I stayed flexible and just went with the flow. My plan came in handy though because whenever we were in an area I knew what restaurants were nearby, what times things were open and how to get back to the hotel from anywhere.

For Vegas I wanted to create my plan, make a list of available entertainment, times, etc. Hubby wants me to throw the plan out the window. Print out the flight and hotel confirmation codes, pack a variety of clothes with no specific outfits for Saturday, Sunday, Monday, pack a credit card and just go. He wants to have no plan, but to just go with the flow the whole time. This being Vegas and there being very few "must-see" things I may go against the very fiber of my being and go along with him. I usually end up having fun when I give up the plan. On the other hand I feel like I wasted so much time during my trip to Paris last year hanging out with people rather than seeing things. *sigh* Must fight retentiveness, must be cool, flexible, awesome wife who is just fun to be around. Wish me luck.


Think I Could Win Enough to Pay for Law School?

I'm sure the frugal law student would frown upon considering gambling as an alternative way of paying for law school, but if it worked for Matt Damon maybe it could work for me. I have a meeting this weekend in Vegas. Neither hubby or I had been and conveniently we had a $50.00 companion ticket so my trip is expensed and his is only $50.00. With Martin Luther King day on Monday we decided to extend the trip by a day and have a three day weekend in Vegas. I think I'll save my money for shows and food and leave the gambling to others. My problem is, I don't really know what to do in Vegas. My brother-in-law is a big poker player so he only has suggestions for which casinos are best. Unless bridge is a really big table game in Vegas I think I'll be out of luck. So for anybody out there who has some suggestions I'm looking for advice. If you had three days in Vegas for free and all you had to do is attend a 4 hour meeting. What would you do with the rest of your time?


Screaming Down the Bunny Hill

After reading all of the other holiday and New Years posts of the other bloggers I read, I realized that I haven't posted anything myself since before Christmas. We kept out Christmas low-key this year spending more effort into preparing Christmas dinner than in shopping. Little kids are more fun to shop for and watch their sheer delight. We don't have kids yet, so low key was great. All was as it should be. We went to Christmas Eve service as a family and as the bells tolled midnight we walked out over the glaciated parking lot to our cars, the crispness and newness of the evening air making the day seem more special. On Christmas day we had the traditional coffee cake and opened presents. After last year when I got my iPod and hubby received a very nice GPS among a big pile of other things we kept things much more simple this year. Fore awhile I was tempted to run out and grab a few more things just to make the pile under the tree larger and more exciting, but in the end our carefully thought out presents were far more meaningful. I got a few cds from his parents which I have wanted for awhile and my present from hubby was a pair of wonderful Ugg slippers which are just perfect.

After Christmas we hopped a flight down to my parent's house in Palmer. My brother is a cadet at West Point and invited us to the All Academies ball for all of the family and friends of cadets and midshipmen and the 5 service academies. It is always a bunch of mixed emotions when I see him and hubby dressed up to the 9s in their uniforms. They look so incredibly handsome and I am so proud of them, but sad at the same time. What really choked me up was the table for 1, which symbolizes the absent or killed soldiers who aren't with us for the occasion. The military has a lot of ceremonies and this one is present at every formal military ball. The photo of the soldier at the table for one was my cousin. I burst into tears when I saw it. Apparently his photo was taken for use in a Nascar add and they are still using it! The organizers were sent a copy of the poster by a recruiter, trimmed it down and edited it and used that as their photo. It is a good photo of him. Good thing I wore waterproof mascara. It's also a good thing we had our photo taken before that, because I still managed to wipe off and streak most of my foundation after I finished tearing up. It is our first family photo since I have been married, and I've been married 3 years now. For one reason or another one of us was always missing, so it was nice to have us all eight of us together and all dressed up.

The day after the ball my family decided they wanted to go skiing. Now falling is like my #1 fear so I was rather reluctant to go, but hubby decided he wanted to. Alaska has a really nice ski resort called Alyeska which is about an hour away from Anchorage. It is relatively unknown to the outside, mostly because it is almost all black diamond and double black diamond skiing with very little beginner or intermediate level slopes. It also doesn't have the typical shopping and restaurants surrounding the resort so it is mostly for serious skiers.

The year after I started college, the rest of my family got into skiing in a big way. Even my littlest sister who is 10 can ski quite well and all of the rest of my siblings could be ski instructors if they wanted to. So with great trepidation I let my little sister take me up the smallest lift. I signalled the guy in the booth to slow down the lift as we approached the top, which he obligingly did, assuming that I was signaling for the little kid sitting next to me, when in reality I was worried I would fall on my backside and have the next 4 chairs worth of people jumping over or on top of me. I made it off of the lift ok, bribing my sister with the promise of a Popsicle not to tell the rest of the family that I made the lift slow down. I shouldn't have bothered trying to save my dignity. I promptly screamed my head off and went careening into the nearest ditch. Skiing lesson #1, how to stand up after you've fallen down. This took approximately 20 minutes the first time. Ultimately it took, hubby and both of my sisters to get me down the easiest hill with a proper lift. An hour later I stumbled into the lodge sore and grumpy. My Mom said she could hear me all the way down. I was definitely the biggest baby on the mountain and ready to give up for the day.

Hubby in his infinite wisdom went and got me a lesson. Rather than starting on the easiest regular hill of the mountain my lesson started on the bunny hill. By the end of my two hour lesson I was the queen of the bunny hill. I could go, slow down, stop and turn. My confidence soared when my ski instructor pronounced me to be the best in my class of 5 and ready to progress to level 3. Level 3 is the hill which I almost killed myself going down in the morning so I was pleased. Teaching a fully grown adult to ski is like teaching them to swim. I know this from experience because I used to give adult swim lessons. Convincing a fully grown adult to put their face in water is like telling them they should jump out of a perfectly good airplane. It should not be done by a friend or family member or any frustration will come out as anger. It must be done by a 3rd party to get around the authority issue. Still it was hard for me to get over my fear of falling and realize that snow is for the most part a soft object or as my transportation engineer husband says, a good crash attenuator. He tried to make me feel better by pointing out that in winter less traffic accidents are fatalities because the snow acts as a cushion crash attenuator and its the same thing with skiing. Somehow his comments didn't help, but Angel my ski bum Latino ski instructor with his loud praise and infinite patience got me doing the impossible, enjoying skiing. It was the best $35.00 my husband has spent in a long time getting me that lesson. It will probably be awhile before I ski again, but I will hopefully remember enough to conquer the hill that had me screaming when next we meet.

Oh and for the person who asked, my LSAT score this time around was the exact same as last time. Very dissapointing. Actually I improved a lot in all categories except games, which I didn't finish.