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Archive for January, 2007

Wow.

Well. It’s amazing what a little link or two from places like Democratic Underground and Firedoglake will do for some blog stats, lemme tell ya. Holy crap.

And you folks are thorough. Those links were posted way, way, way down in the comments and you still found them and bothered to click through. I am impressed.

You don’t stop at thorough and impressive either. You’re also incredibly warm and sweet. I’ve had some of the nicest compliments from you that I’ve received in a good long time. Someone even called me a good writer, which is pretty much just making me sit here with a dumb smile on my face. I started blogging to get myself writing again, and so that was about the most perfect praise that you could have bestowed upon me. I hand you a humble, red-cheeked thank you.

This whole experience, combined with a kick-ass client meeting, has lit a match under that inner activist. Again. See, I’m 7 months into a corporate job—my first corporate job in a good long time. Before this, I was an environmental non-profit girl almost all the way. I happened into this job through a friend and without the directed intention to break into corporate America. Especially since I kind of hate corporate America a lot.

But, like I said here, working for a non-profit does not mean you feel good about the where you work or the work you’re doing, so it has turned into a big internal struggle for me. I love the company for whom I work. I love their philosophy, how they treat their employees, their policies and the fact that they do really care on so many levels. They have more of that talked-about, warm-fuzzy, feel-good non-profit environment than any non-profit that I’ve actually worked for has possessed. But I do miss my cause.

I felt that pull towards the cause again today as I sat across from my client for an hour-turned-two-and-a-half-hour meeting. This client is one of those good energy people. She just exudes positive, exuberant excitement. It’s rejuvenating to spend time in a room with her and I love working on her projects. She has all these ideas and they’re doing it all for this mission and this is how it comes together, and, and, and… And she made me miss it. Even though at the last non-profit I was missing the personal contact with the members and other activists, and I was craving a more community-based organization instead of the grand national scale, it felt really good to tell people what I did for a living and getting all passionate and on my soap box about the job and the cause. It felt right.

It’s This. This feeling of involvement. This feeling of being a part of something. This feeling of being proud on an entirely different level (because I am not ashamed of what I do for a living at all, don’t get me wrong) is what has been lacking since I’ve gotten away from the energy and passion of grassroots activism. This connectedness centered around a core idea or  philosophy or however you’d define it.

So maybe this is another layer to this past weekend’s lesson and eye-opening. Feed the pocket; feed the soul—someday, I am determined, I will make them one in the same. But, until then, they can coexist in my life.

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(Sorry for the crappy layout. I’m working on it…)

Friday night BF and I went to Hawk and Dove on Capital Hill for a blogger emptywheel is magicmeetup. Marcy Wheeler, aka emptywheel of The Next Hurrah and Firedoglake and who has temporarily moved from Michigan to Washington, D.C. to do real-time blogging of the Libby trial, was joining in on a Democratic Underground meetup for a book signing of her newly released Anatomy of Deceit: How the Bush Administration Used the Media to Sell the Iraq War and Out a Spy. The book is the result of her fervent, thorough, detailed, incredibly well-researched and up-to-the minute blogging about the outing of Valerie Plame and its ensuing cover up, roller coaster of drama, and revealed lies of the Bush Administration.

Her blogging, her book, her credibility led her to be invited to cover the Libby trial, from the media room and from the actual court room. With a team of bloggers, they have been providing real-time loose transcription of the Libby trial with legal analysis at the end of the day.

This is BF’s passion. I am what I describe as supportive, not submerged. Going to the meetup and the protest with those folks was a very, very eye-opening experience.

emptywheel captivates the crowdThe blogging world as a writer instead of lurker is a new forum and community for me. Seeing the real (though they’re termed as ‘virtual’) communities and friendships that have formed through and throughout these blogs was incredible. The excitement of the face-to-face meetings and the excitement and true respect of so many when meeting emptywheel was really inspirational, as was the grace, steadiness and sense of commitment with which she has met this evolving role as a hero to so many.

Bloggers for PeaceWe met up with a bunch of folks from Daily Kos (you know, that group wearing all the orange), as well as empytwheel, for the Anti-war Rally the next day. Again, the sense of community, solidarity as a core though opinions may vary, and respect from person to person was incredible. The intelligence with which these folks are all able to speak on the corruption of the Bush administration, his war-mongering ways, and what could be done differently was amazing. And yes, they had ideas of what and how to change things instead of just spouting off about what is wrong. It was so refreshing.

RenaRF Loves MarleyEstimates of numbers of people are no longer made officially, but I’ve read and heard everything from 100,000 to 600,000 people were there. My guess would be in the 400 – 600,000 range. It was so crowded. We brought Marley along, which was absolutely fantastic until we all started pushing forward to march. Then, her tail got stepped on and she got freaked by the throngs around her. So. Many. Legs! But damn, after yesterday, her “how much love I need in a day” quota is going to be absolutely unattainable by BF and I, with just four hands between us. She’s still sleeping off the fun and excitement of the yesterday.

Chicken BushLike other rallies I’ve attended, the excitement was contagious. The signs were amazing, poignant, and hard hitting. The energy of everyone around me fed me all day. It was filled with loud, strong emotion, but was not in any way ugly. It’s heartening and inspiring to know that you are NOT alone in your sentiment, distaste and disquiet of what is happening all around you and seemingly out of your Peace Signscontrol. Somehow, seeing the faces and hearing the voices of all those, the small fraction of those begging for the end to this corruption and injustice and screaming for change, who came out is physically energizing in a way that simply reading the words is not. Contagious energy to yell, raise up our arms, march, and then go home and share it all with our words. Inspiring, thought provoking, prodding for change, our words will tell everyone what we saw and maybe next time they will be inspired to come out, too.

Crowds in front of the Capital I saw representation from CA, WI, FL, KY, VT, MA, MO, NY… people took 28 hour bus rides and time off from work to be there. To speak up. To have a literal voice. There were bands, there was singing, there was chanting, and cheerleading. The sun smiled on us, bringing temperatures up near 60 on this January day, making me feel that the universe itself was with us, bringing more people out, making our one voice louder and louder.

For those of you who have not marched, do it. If only once, do it. You feel small, you feel huge, you feel empowered and you feel part of something. Something that maybe just could change the world. And then you feel hope.

Military Service People Killed in Iraq Wall

This wall extended on and on….

Military Service People Killed in Iraq Wall Close Up

Pach, of Firedoglake, emptywheel and RenaRF…

patch, emptywheel and RenaRF

So many people. So many signs. So much energy.

Throngs

The day we’re all waiting for:

End of an Error

And then maybe. Just maybe.

Peace

 

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The Wedding

Ok, I’ve been promising, so here goes… And it’s really long. Get a beer.

The Oprah Wedding with the Jerry Springer Heart

Friday
It’s the day I’m supposed to leave. I still have gotten nothing from the bride, my friend. You know, like where to be when. Whether I’d have a place to change. If there was a room to stay in. It was, pardon the saying, balls to the wall at work and I was freaking out. I IMed her, asking her to please respond to my email begging for specifics. She finally replied with a short, kind of rude, “I don’t have time to talk; I sent an email” type conversation that left me, well, livid. I know, I know, needing details like ‘Lunch is at noon on Saturday’ when it’s midday the day before and I’m 525 miles away is really just picky and unreasonable, but hey, that’s me.

I left the DC area at 8pm. I drove as far as Albany, a steering-wheel clutching, hand-cramping, 50 mph wind gusting ride, and crashed at a friend’s house.

Saturday
Slept about 5.5 hours, showered, and kept driving the last 2.5 hours north. In the crazy wind. And blowing, swirling snow. I arrived fashionably late, just as people were really sitting down for lunch. The billionaire sister and her husband were next to me. I had not met them before. I don’t think I want to again. The maybe millionaire brother was next to me. He was actually really human. Nice, even.

So billionaire sister starts asking why the wine she had ordered was not yet on the table. Well, because we had to fetch the bottle from the cellar. The cellar being the wine cellar. This was a 4-star “lodge” and just incredibly, rustically beautiful. “Have you NO full bottles of wine up here? By the time you get all the way downstairs and come back up lunch will be over, and then there will be no point of having wine now, will there? So what full bottles of wine do you have close by that can be here before the meal?” And then she told the amusing little story about the luggage door on their private jet getting frozen shut for the first time ever when they landed! Polite laughter followed. Right…

I apologized profusely to the server after lunch.

And then I went into town because I wanted to and because I had no idea what else to do between the end of lunch and the 5:30 wedding. I had asked around to see what people may need—batteries, playing cards for a big hearts tournament among the siblings later, that sort of thing. Sure. No problem. I mean, no problem after I go to the yarn store anyway…

This might be a good time to fill you in on the siblings. The bride has 3 siblings. Amongst the 4, there are 3 different dads, so she actually has 3 half siblings. And then there is her brother and sister’s sister, who is no relation to the bride at all. (Bride and sibs share mom, other sister and sibs share dad. Still got you?)

So while I’m downtown I get a panicked call from the bride that a child’s shoes don’t fit. Can I please find size 4 little girls’ dress shoes? Sure. And I did. No problem.

Did I mention that the bride has a daughter, the groom has a son and daughter, and then the bride and groom have an infant son who was born right around their year anniversary of dating? No? Ok. Well they do. And the groom’s ex wife is a raving psycho, so they couldn’t tell his kids they were getting married until they picked them up for the weekend. Surprise! Because the wife would have made it such that the kids couldn’t go. This I do truly belive. But wow.

So I get back to the Lodge, Bride is getting dressed, I’m asked to bring child, who happens to be in the suite where I’m staying, her shoes. Oh, and would I mind staying with the children until they need to be in the lobby for photos? It’s only an hour or so. Um, sure. No worries.

I got ready, kids stayed neat, and Ex Boyfriend showed up. Yay! Bride’s ex boyfriend and I go back further than bride and I, and I’m pretty happy to have someone to hang with. Oh, and ex boyfriend was almost bride’s daughter’s daddy, but he failed the paternity test. Moving on.

So, we all troop down to the lobby and photos are being snapped and families combined and disected and reconfigured. Flashes are popping, kids are everywhere, and then bride’s daughter’s daddy shows up with his new girlfriend. Hi first baby’s daddy! We go way back too, so it was good to see him in a really, really weird way.

Ex boyfriend keeps making Springer comments; bride calls out to first baby’s daddy that she needs him—apparently so he can take bride and groom’s infant son. Why first baby’s daddy? NO idea, but ex boyfriend said, “Wow. Just when we had it figured out who everyone was, you go and screw everyone up again!” Hilarious.

So bride and groom’s infant son starts to cry. He’s hungry. Bride, mother of bride and I head to their suite so bride can feed the baby. Breastfeeding in her wedding dress. It was actually really a lovely picture, despite the underlying bizarrness of it all. And then I calm baby while mom helps bride button back up. And then oh, can I just get him to sleep and bring him down to the ceremony? They were 20 minutes late already! Uh, sure…. I got him to sleep. I got him into his stroller. I got him to the door and paused for a while. I opened the door, wheeled him into the hall, closed the door and….BOINK. Eyes wide open and me with no key.

Well we wheeled down to the ceremony, and he was alert by quiet, so I chanced going in. Bride put the ring on groom’s finger. Baby started to scream. I made a hasty exit. And that’s all the wedding I saw.

Baby screams, people congratulate the bride and groom in the other room. Champagne is passed out, and then billionaire sister comes out, “Oh I’ll take him and calm him now… thank you SO much for all your help, but we’ll be fine from here…” Um, when did I become hired help? And I can’t tell you completely evilly happy it made me that she couldn’t calm him.

So cake is presented and cut, hors devoures are passed, and then the kids are to go to the suite with the babysitters while we all go to dinner. And oh, would I mind walking them down? Well gee, why not? But not after I got instructions from nice brother’s pretentious wife about what to tell the sitters for her!

Drop the kids, instruct the sitters who knew nothing of what to expect, go to dinner. Sit with groom’s parents and ex boyfriend, who are great. First baby’s daddy is just far enough away that I can’t really catch up, but it’s ok. Food is amazing. Really, a very good time. Champagne. Wine. Sambuca. Coffee. Port. After party! In billionaire sister’s room. Who, upon opening the door for me, with the cards I had bought for her in town and the bottle of wine I had brought from home, exclaims, “I didn’t intend for this to turn into a party here!”

They play hearts. Bride and groom show up and hang out. We drink some wine, then beer. Billionaire says it’s time for us to go. Bride’s other brother asks if we can bring the beer with us since they don’t drink. She says yes, but then gets upset because the other brother might need some and we’re taking too many. I make the faux pas of looking around and saying that I didn’t think he needed any—he had already left. “I don’t think YOU should be telling me what MY brother needs!” Alllllllllllllllllllll righty then. Bye bye!

Ex boyfriend and I went back to the suite, talked until who knows when over our well-won beers and passed out.

Sunday
Nagative 17 degrees out upon waking. Holy. Shit. Breakfast, where one brother apologized for his sister’s behavior, I was actually warmly and sincerely thanked by the bride and groom for making the drive and being there, and for all my help, and then I got the F*** on the road. Over n’ out. See ya.

So why did I go? Well, because she and I have been friends for 10 years. And, we’ve had a really rocky year, but I’m not ready to write her or our friendship off. And, in cases like this especially, I would much rather regret going than not going. So was it worth it? Yes. To know that I won’t, five years from now, be still feeling horrible for skipping one of my best friend’s wedding. For how happy it made her. For a chance to go to a town I would not have otherwise thought to visit and was really charming, beautiful (I love the mountains!) and quaint. And for the story! I mean, come on, when I have the sit com based on my life, this is at least 3 episodes right here.

May they live a long, happy, love-filled life.

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Lake Placid Yarn

Lake Placid YarnBehold! Look at those colors! Now that’s some incentive to get the last damn stocking hat done, huh? Well, that and thinking of how happy it will make the niece and nephews…Off to knit now! Cheerio!

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The Yarn Gods Smiled Upon Me

I went to a wedding this weekend and I. Forgot. My. Knitting. All of it. I don’t do that. Ever. In fact, I usually pack a ridiculous amount plus a wad of patterns in case I happen upon a yarn store because yarn is the best souvenir ever.

Well I cruised up to Lake Placid bolstering myself with, “There probably won’t be time for knitting anyway…” thoughts, missed my turn for the lodge, and found Adirondack Yarns. And the didn’t only sell yarn, THEY SOLD COFFEE TOO. Can you say heaven? Because after driving from 8pm to 2 am, sleeping for 5.5 hours, and then driving from 10am to 12:30pm, a yarn store that sold coffee seemed like the best thing ever. I never wanted to leave.

So one side was all yarn, the other side was the coffee counter, tables, plush chairs for sitting and knitting, and a whole row of books and patterns for purchase/reference/drooling upon. The women working were friendly and helpful, but let me stare glassily around for a good long time without pushing me to actually make a purchase. They let me browse and pet and circle for as long as I pleased, which was admittedly quite a while. I left with a Fleece Artist Merino Sock Yarn Kit in Jester, some dpns, and then some Cherry Tree Hill Supsersock Yarn in maybe Green Mountain Madness, but I’ll have to double check when I go home. The Fleece Artist was because it was just so yummy soft and gorgeous. The Cherry Tree Hill because it was as close to local as I was going to get, and also such a beautiful colorway. I’ll try to post pictures later. I can’t wait to play with them. (Um, after I finish the last stocking hat, of course.)

The wedding… well that story will have to wait until after work. It was somethin’ though, I’ll give you that.

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But do you like me

I’d like the title to actually be “But do you like me,” but WordPress won’t have it.

Anyway…

Last night we went to a local haunt with the beer club. The beer club is new to our little world, introduced to us by a friend of mine. Aside from a great excuse to A) leave the house, B) go to restaurants and bars we’d never muster up the gumption to leave the house and try out, and C) drink some damn good beer, the people just rock. They’re the type of people that are hard to find in these parts. You know, the kind that, despite being a well-established group, are still friendly, warm, and fun, AND smart, interesting and good hearted. It’s been hard finding those folks in the six point five years I’ve lived here. Really.

So BF and I got to talking with the writer of the group. We were doing the usual get to know you talk—how long you been here, what’s your job, do you enjoy it, how long you been married (his wife is also in the club), how’d you meet…

He told us how they met, ending with “…and three years later we were married!” While he was talking, he was stealing these warm glances at his wife and just smiling. The entire story was told with a smile at the corners of his lips and beaming from his eyes. The attitude, the message was look at her… how could you not love this woman? She’s funny, and silly, and quirky, and it’s so obvious that he truly appreciates those things about her. He likes her as well as loves her.

I know too many couples that seem to tolerate each other. Yes, they love each other. They can’t imagine being apart. But do they really like the other person? Who knows? The relationship has moved past the liking, beyond the loving and into complicity and, well, life. This is just life. It’s a little sad to me that it seems so rare that the individuals in a couple really appreciate each other—the quirks, the silliness, the faults, and the goodness, and that they also love each other deeply. It’s even more amazing to me that the love can exist so strongly without that sense of like. Isn’t that what draws you to a person in the first place?

It was heartening. It’s even more heartening that the number of married couples I know that really just dig each other (and love each other) seems to be growing. It used to just be my oldest sister and her husband. Then it was them and this one couple we know here. Now, it’s this other couple, my friend from home… Could people actually be starting to realize that marriage is a commitment that has nothing to do with ceremony, but everything to do with how you feel about the other person?

It really did my heart and soul good to see and hear him. His tone of voice, his warm, smiling gaze, his heart on his sleeve, his complete confidence in its placement, and the reciprocation. There’s a lot of good in this world, if I just stop and take it in.

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Restless

I’ve been feeling really restless lately. It’s hard to describe. It’s not a need to go and do, it’s more of a need for more. But, since I haven’t quite pinpointed what more means, it’s been hard to ease that underlying edginess.

Part of it is the new year. That’s always a clean out and clean up time for me. I don’t do resolutions, but, since we measure our lives in years lived, it’s always an assessment time. Plus, my birthday is in November, so from shock-of-being-yet-another-year-older day into the new year is a big time to take stock for me. And the stock count is high. The clutter and crap around  is driving me insane.

So I need to clean out and organize. I’ve been trying to do that for a long time. I’ve given bags upon bags of stuff to the thrift stores and emptied some of those boxes that were packed up in 2000 when the Great Years of Moving began and hadn’t been opened since. (Seriously? I had a collection of piggy banks? Where the hell did that come from?) There just never seems to be a noticeable outward difference.

Part of the restlessness, too, is that I just want to be doing more. I do want to learn to play my guitar. I do want to learn to use my new, oh-so-cool camera (and the fun software that goes with it, and then how to load my pics into galleries in pbase…), and I want to be knitting, and cooking, and baking (and how the hell do I store all of those patterns and recipes that I print out or rip out of magazines?) and exercising, and writing, and reading. I really miss reading. I have no idea how to prioritize that list. Obviously, I can’t do it all. How do I choose and not feel like I’m missing out on the others?

A big part of it is not wanting to live in this area anymore. We haven’t been anyplace that we’ve fallen in love with, and so we’re trying to do some research to figure out where we should visit. Eventually we’ll narrow down the options from ‘anyplace from PA to ME’ to a manageable list and then start job searches from there. What. A. Process. Oy. We’ve done a little traveling about to visit places we thought we’d like to live, but without decision-making results. We’re just finally in the position where moving is actually possible, and we’ll be here another year easy while we figure it all out.

And then when you start thinking about where you might want to move, you have to think about your job path. So what do I want to do next? Um, I have no idea. Really.

So I think the restlessness is a need to somehow feel like I’m making progress. Am I learning new things? Am I working towards goals? But then I get caught up in the tomorrow and forget to stop and enjoy today. So, even working towards goals, I’m feeling that sense of lack. That sense that I’m just not there. Where? Who knows! Sure makes it hard to get there, doesn’t it?

So what am I going to do? Right now, I’m going to stop pretending like I’m going to get any work done (yes, on a day off) and go exercise. Maybe I’ll be able to focus after that. In the big picture, I have no idea. Suggestions on creating balance greatly appreciated.

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