Sunday, November 30, 2008

Blast this Christmas music. It's joyful and triumphant.

The lights are now officially on the house. That part is downsized for sure. It was so simple, and the picture just doesn't do it justice...because it's very cute.

Christmas Prep 08 Part2 018

Christmas Prep--LC 002

Christmas Prep--LC 001

We cleared off the mantle to decorate yesterday morning and Emily just knew we did it for her.

Christmas Prep 08 Part2 024

And then I spent yesterday afternoon making something I'd read about in Better Homes and Gardens last week: a paper chain garland!

So kindergarten circa 1970!

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Christmas Prep 08 Part2 031

Christmas 08--paper chains 005

Christmas 08--paper chains 003

Other things I did during this long weekend:
  • Watched Season 2 of The West Wing.
  • Watched Hancock (which honestly I hated.)
  • went to Walgreens a dozen times.
  • Ate enough turkey to make me decide we're having beef tenderloin for Christmas.
  • Became addicted to Super Mario Galaxy, complements of my brother.
  • Watched a Christmas movie starring Randy Travis. No joke. And it's 2 hours of my life I'll never get back, for which I am sad. But what's done is done.
P.S. Again the title is from a Christmas movie. Guesses?

Advent Conspiracy

Day 2 of the Whine-Free experiment.

Mary at Owlhaven posted this video this morning and while I don't know much about the organization, the concept is quite powerful.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

No, Aunt Bethany, those are the Christmas lights

I've decided my blog, after reaching epic poor pitiful me levels on my last post, should really become a whine-free zone. I'm done playing the pity game. Over it. I promise. I need to continue to remember that everything, in the end, will be fine. And if it isn't? I'll make it be somehow.

As an old roommate of mine told me the other day (and told me often over the course of our friendship) 'it'll all come out in the wash'.


Let's talk Christmas!

We've had this tree, for a few years now. It used to be prelit. But then a huge section went out. And we couldn't find the precise cause. So instead of spending another $100 on a comparable tree (is it just me or are artificial trees more expensive this year?) we painstakingly removed the lights. Now it's a multicolored tree, something we've not had for several years.
Christmas Prep 08 006

Still no ornaments on it, we'll do that after visiting my aunt later tonight (oops, wrote that earlier and we are now yeah...still working on it).

Oh look, it's those stupid deer that EVERYONE has a set of!

Christmas Prep 08 011

My mom getting sloshed...again.

Christmas Prep 08 012

I kid, she handles her alcohol quite well.

My Thanksgiving plate:
Thanksgiving 044

Absent are things I don't touch like potato salad and sweet potato casserole. And things I couldn't fit on one plate.

Oh gluttony, my favorite of the 7 deadly sins.

Have you ever seen anyone pick a turkey carcass like this?

Thanksgiving 042

Yeah, me either.

Thanksgiving 043

But my Dad is nothing if not tedious.

The table setting was cute this year:

Thanksgiving 037

So cute that the chihuahua demanded a seat:

Thanksgiving 038

I wish I could tell you she didn't sit there for the remainder of the dinner...

And I'm happy to announce that I found a new tv for the parents. Say what you will about Walmart and Black Friday, and I know both are getting some pretty bad press right now, but we got one there yesterday. Easy and over in 15 minutes, took it home and hooked it up then went back out to pick up a few more deals. Like 20% off of our entire purchase at Half Price Books!

Used books! It's what everyone is getting for Christmas this year! haha

P.S. Do you know how hard it is to shop for soon to be 14 year old boys? Christmas is no fun at this age. Quick, somebody find me a baby...

P.P.S. What movie is the title of this post from? Easy question, but I've already watched it twice this season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How Awful Things Are

Let me count the ways:
  • My face is broke out
  • I need a haircut.
  • I haven't been able to find a borrower yet for next semester to cover the $178 in tuition plus whatever the cost of books are that isn't covered by my federal loan. All because the credit markets are frozen.
  • My data entry job just ended, so I need another job...soon.
  • My car is still broke down. I've still not traded it in. I do however continue to pay monthly payments and insurance on the piece of shit.
  • 4 years ago my Dad got a settlement on his worker's comp case, money he was owed for lost wages over a several year period. He called social security, cleared everything through lawyers and it was not to effect his SS at all. Guess what!? Social Security forgot all that, think they've overpaid him for the last four years and would now like around $20,000 back! Isn't that awesome!?
  • It's in the appeals process. But the whole not being able to pay the mortgage thing is weighing HEAVILY around these parts and has been for the last two months.
  • The truck needs new ball joints (whatever that means).
  • The van needs a complete tire alignment, balance and rotation and possibly some sort of joint issue of some sort taken care of.
  • I have a million things due in all of my classes.
  • My iPod died.
  • I haven't really bought anything in months and today I had to pick up something from Target. It was quite literally PAINFUL to walk past all of this junk that I just know would make me happy.
  • The library had none of the beautiful books I was coveting at Target.
  • Oh and finally.
  • Are you ready for this one?
  • Because it's a good one.
  • I got my first speeding ticket this morning.
  • 15 miles over.
  • And SOMEONE had forgotten to put the new insurance cards in the car so I also got cited for that. (which I know...can be taken care of, the kind officer explained this to me, but still MORE STRESS.)
  • And so just when I thought everything was pretty freaking awful this happened.
  • I give up.
At this point I'm mulling around three options: Cigarettes, Alcohol or Religion.

I might go for all three and then write a really awful country song about it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Andy Samberg as Rahm Emanuel

If you don't know Rahm by now you are living under a rock. Let me enlighten you.

He's Obama's Chief of Staff. He worked under the Clinton administration. He's Jewish, devoutly so. His brother is Ari Emanuel, the inspiration for Jeremy Piven's character on Entourage. He is a trained Ballet dancer. He's missing part of his middle finger from a butcher accident. He's a badass. Like, for serious.

"The best Rahm Emanuel story is not the one about the decomposing two-and-a-half-foot fish he sent to a pollster who displeased him. It is not about the time - the many times - that he hung up on political contributors in a Chicago mayor's race, saying he was embarrassed to accept their $5,000 checks because they were $25,000 kind of guys. No, the definitive Rahm Emanuel story takes place in Little Rock, Ark., in the heady days after Bill Clinton was first elected President.

It was there that Emanuel, then Clinton's chief fund-raiser, repaired with George Stephanopoulos, Mandy Grunwald and other aides to Doe's, the campaign hangout. Revenge was heavy in the air as the group discussed the enemies - Democrats, Republicans, members of the press - who wronged them during the 1992 campaign.

Suddenly Emanuel grabbed his steak knife and, as those who were there remember it, shouted out the name of another enemy, lifted the knife, then brought it down with full force into the table."

Rahm Facts, trust're gonna want to click that link.

Obama Roasts Rahm in 2005:

And finally, he's the real life inspiration for Josh Lyman's character on The West Wing. Further proving that Aaron Sorkin predicted EVERYTHING about this election.

I enjoy....

Cats who like to think they can fit in really small baskets.

emily 015

Seriously, it's the most adorable thing ever.

emily 020

I nearly brought home another cat from Feeders Supply this weekend. But I'm testing out this thing they call 'willpower'.

In addition to NOT bringing home cats I'm also testing my willpower by attempting to give up cokes again. Not to lose weight, but because I'm noticing I'm incredibly addicted to them. It doesn't matter if it's diet or regular, all of that phosphoric acid and junk cannot be good for my body.

But I'm notoriously bad at giving them up. We'll see how long I can go.

Anyways, know what else is cute?

Cats who like to play with Christmas ribbon.

emily 005

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Blue Lights, Thanksgiving and Chex Mix

I bought an 18 pound Butterball on Friday, for FOUR PEOPLE. I'll never stop pointing that out. The excess we go through each year for FOUR PEOPLE. I mean I guess I'll stop if it's ever more than FOUR PEOPLE. But until then...

And really we do enjoy the leftovers. A lot. I think I enjoy the cold stuff the day after more than the actual meal. Since by dinner time on Thanksgiving I'm usually too exhausted to really enjoy my plate. At any rate I've finished most of the shopping. Behold, the menu:

Pioneer Woman's Rolls
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Broccoli Casserole
Mashed Potatoes/Gravy
Cranberry Sauce
Pickled Beets
Deviled Eggs
(and anything else I've failed to list...which I'm sure is something)

Pumpkin Pie
Chocolate Pie
Pumpkin Cobbler

Today I strung blue Christmas lights for the first time ever. I must admit, there is something very retro and cool about them. Or nuts.'s all about perspective. I'm trying to stay positive.

And I made homemade Chex Mix. Which I still can't decide if I like or not.

Pre-Thanksgiving 004

Pre-Thanksgiving 008

I used corn and wheat chex, pretzel sticks, cheereos and Planter's Pecan Lover's Mix. And of course the recipe from the Chex site. I tried to make it once when I was like 12 or 13 in the microwave. Needless to say it was disgusting. So I was at least much more pleased this time.

And finally, have you heard the news? Apparently I've hobnobbed with the future Secretary of State!

Sure, she'll meet lots of important people over the next few years...but first? She had to meet me! ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Random Thoughts When I Should Be Working on a Paper Instead

In which I procrastinate:
  • I read Twilight and still don't get the phenomenon. To each his own. But I don't want to bite Robert Pattinson. At all. However it should be said: I enjoyed him as Cedric Diggory.
  • Blue Christmas. No joke. I'm covering the house in blue Christmas lights. Each year we try to compete with the neighbors across the street, and each year our neighbor gets more and more outrageous with the light stringing. So Mom says, 'hey...we can't compete with the sheer number of lights, I'm out of ideas'. And I said, 'we must go blue'. So we are. Just because blue lights are kind of nutty. Very Graceland circa 1968.
  • Did I mention I have a paper to write?
  • I do.
  • 3-4 pages of research on the Bubonic Plague. For a class on Shakespeare. Worst assignment ever.
  • I helped my mom pick out a guitar for my brother online this weekend. It arrived today. He has no idea what it is.
  • In picking up the blown out tv this weekend, despite having help, I somehow managed to pull the muscles underneath my shoulder blades. I'm avoiding the doctor and hoping it goes away soon. But I can't raise my arms and every time I yawn, sneeze, laugh or cough it hurts.
  • I think my Dad is diabetic.
  • He refuses to go get his sugar tested.
  • This is currently a point of contention between the two of us.
  • I forgot to mention weeks ago that I canceled my Netflix membership. Turns out it was not a successful experiment as I became the kind of Netflix user they must love. I'd get a few movies and keep them FOREVER. I had zero turnover. It was completely worthless. I guess if you are diligent enough to keep a steady flow of movies coming in and out then it is worth it, but I was not.
  • I'm thinking about brining the turkey this year. Have any of you ever brined a turkey? Delicious? Not delicious? You stay as far away as possible from any turkey cooking process? Yeah, I understand.
  • And finally, a question? How many potatoes are too many potatoes at the Thanksgiving dinner table? We're having an intense Potato Salad vs. PW's Mashed Potatoes vs. Hashbrown Casserole debate. For a FOUR PERSON MEAL. Okay, seriously. But some of us will only eat one of those potatoes, and some of us will eat all three.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Of Pizzas and Televisions

Another weekend, another experiment with yeast.

Believe it or not I've never made pizza dough from scratch. We've always bought those little packages that you mix up at home or frozen dough. Again, had to do with that whole 'fear of kneading' thing.

I used this recipe from Epicurious, which is becoming one of my go-to websites these days. One pizza I covered in pepperoni and green olives on one side, my mother covered another with her favorite toppings: mushrooms, onions, green peppers, and olives.

Final verdict: all delicious but I still need to play around with the thickness of the crust and just how done the bottoms of the crusts should be.

pizza 001

pizza 003

pizza 005

pizza 007

pizza 008

In unrelated news: the tv in the living room blew up this weekend. And by 'blew up' I mean it stopped working, made a horrible sound followed by a horrible smell. We knew it was coming since it's had this awful picture for about a year...but I come from a family of procrastinators. And tightwads.

It's made for some hilarious moments. Like last night when I just couldn't stop laughing about it while my brother moped around like it was the end of the world. Or this morning as I watched my Dad, reading glasses a top his 50 year old wrinkling face, as he pored over the paper ads muttering, 'what happened to tube tvs????'

So I guess we're on the market for a new...fancy television. I feel like a Clampett moving to California or something.

Anyone have a LCD tv brand that you just love and want to rave about? Or one that you'd like to tell me to stay far away from? Because I've got my parent's credit card and it's burning a hole in my proverbial pocket.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Photo of the Day: Post Crazy Edition

So I've been wondering all day how you follow up breaking the news to the world via your blog that you're crazy and made some seriously bad decisions once upon a time.

A) Do you ignore it and pretend it never happened?

B) Do you delete the post and pretend it never happened?

C) Do you vow to quit blogging because your disclosure level has reached epic levels and therefore you should really just stop?

D) Or do you post a Photo of the Day and call it a night?

I went with option D.

Sanibel 08--Jon's Camera 105
Jon starting one of several late nights of fishing in Sanibel this summer. This is one of many photos I just recently discovered existed, something about taking a 1000 pictures in a single trip made me forget to upload a ton. But I can't look at that hat and NOT laugh.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Getting things off of my chest, the annual purging of emotion and thoughts

I had to register for next semester's classes this week. Something about doing that sent my mood this week into a downward spiral. I feel so close, yet so far away from graduating. A few years ago in my college career I let myself get into a bit of a pickle. I was living in Lexington, feeling very alone, hating my roommate, hating everything about the way college was turning out. I stopped going to class very often and barely squeaked by with the grades I got. It was never that I wasn't capable, it was that depression had overcome my life and I could no longer function.

I remember walking around like a zombie that semester. And then that semester turned into the entire school year. Finally I made the hard decision to move home and not return back to living in Lexington the next fall. Last year was a bit of an experiment in how that would all work. I didn't take a terribly full workload since I wasn't sure how the commuting thing would go.

My life now is completely different, a total turnaround from that dark year. I've never been the type to need to be around people, but I did need to be around family. I was tired of cooking microwave meals and eating them alone. I can honestly say I am now a much happier person.

But I'm still feeling the effects of that dark year, and the subsequent adjustment period.

It is going to take me a little longer than I'd ever thought to finish my degree. And this year has been a bit of a challenge, not because of classes, but in overcoming this looming idea of timeframes and how my life should be and at what age.

I'm sharing this because this is what I deal with. These are the things that run through my brain on a daily basis. And I don't think I'm always upfront with myself, much less everyone else. I suffered from depression. I don't let a day go by without realizing how thankful I am for that low point in life to be over. But I still struggle with the feelings. And it's okay.

Anyways, I wanted to get this out there for my own cartharsis. Maybe if I say what I'm feeling I can confront it, right?! haha

I also wanted to share a few things that are bringing me great joy right now, and counteracting those crummy feelings I sometimes let myself get ahold of.

So my mother started collecting those Christmas Village houses this year. I'm still not quite sure why. Except she always gets on a kick of some sort with a new hobby every few months, and this month it's Christmas Villages. Ehh, whatever.

I initially rolled my eyes. Thought it was stupid. I think I even laughed at her a few times.

And then I went to Michaels and Garden Ridge, found the Lemax Villages on clearance and 50% off and well...I have a hobby, it's calling finding good deals and not being able to resist them:

lemax 003

Umm yeah, I bought all of these in ONE trip. And my Mom is the one laughing at me now.

The problem remains though, apparently the purpose of a Christmas Village is to put it on display. And I've now bought so many that we're going to have to buy a table, or stop eating at the one in the kitchen.

I also wanted take the time to point out that while I have been baking many things lately, many fattening things, I am not eating all of them. I threw away more than half of that monkey bread last night. Not because it wasn't good, it was quite delish. But because I've been the same weight for the last several years, and while I'm not doing anything to lose any of that weight, I don't want to do anything to make me gain 50 pounds on top of it.

That said, has anyone ever eaten chicken noodle soup served over top of mashed potatoes. Like this recipe here?

We don't do a lot of chicken soup around here, but I'm very intrigued with the over mashed potatoes part. It sounds like a lethal combination. And by lethal I mean...insanely delicious.

And finally, does anyone else watch, or did watch, or enjoy, The West Wing? I didn't while it was actually running on television. I always thought I'd like it though. And now...I'm obsessed. Where was I 10 years ago? Why wasn't I watching this piece of brilliance?

Prop H8T

Watch it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Movin' On Up to the Eastside

Hey, who wants to talk about my neighbors?

*Pick me, pick me!*

Alright so last I left off on the neighbor story I recall telling you all about the new people renting the house next door. The preacher who did live there moved on from his MW church to a mega church in Louisville, where he and his menagerie of children are now living near campus. Anyways, the new couple he found through said megachurch had sold their house and needed a rental until the one they are building is finished. how they are here.

So, I mentioned they are loaded.

Well let me tell you this. I simply did not emphasize that enough. Let me clarify:

They are LOADED, LOADED, LOADED. Like building a $600,000 home in a former Home-o-rama subdivision loaded.

Now the whole thing was odd to me from the get go. And since I'm both an expert spyer and google-er I was determined to get to the bottom of things. Say what you will about me, but I'm nothing if not determined.

First I sent in the operatives:

Sanibel 08 Day Two--Morning 027

The one on the left talks a lot and the one on the right is cute. And the same age as the new neighbor's children. So, you know...perfect.

Initial contact with new neighbors was sketchy. Despite murmers that the new couple were building a very large house I was somewhat dumbfounded when Operative #1 (the talkative one) reported back that according to Neighbor Wife, Neighbor Husband was a youth pastor.

Now, my cousin Tommy got himself a seminary school education a few years back. And surprise, surprise, he works as a youth minister at a fairly large sized Christian church nearby. While he provides for his family and they certainly do not do without by any means, they could not afford such an expensive home.

So I had my doubts. Neighbor Husband: Youth pastor or Colombian Drug Lord masquerading as Youth Pastor?

Really, was all in the air at this point.

The next phase of the mission was all up to Operative #2 (the cute and appropriately aged one). His goal: integrate seamlessly into Neighbor Kids' circle.

Reports flooded in about the neighbor kids. But it took several weeks to pin down an exact last name. 2 weekends ago I became fairly confident in both pronunciation and spelling of their last name.

Which is how I found not just their names, but that Neighbor Husband is a lot more than a modest youth pastor. Maybe he started out as one. Perhaps that's how he broke into the biz. But a simple google search led me to a TON of info about Neighbor Husband. Who happens to be a high ranking bigwig in the K*Y*B*A*P*T. something or other.

And then I nailed the subdivision down through two happenings: 1) we somehow ended up behind their car one evening on the way home from the store and saw them turning into it and 2) Operative #2 reported back that Neighbor Kids has talked about that specific neighborhood and the details of the house they are going to be living in.

With details like that is was easy to pinpoint the price point of the house.

And once I did that my jaw dropped to the floor, where it's been for the last several days.

Now I grew up in a VERY modest tract home filled neighborhood. Every house was the same, all the parents did the same things: factories, construction....McDonalds. You get the gist. Where I live now? A bit bigger, the houses are all different, BUT STILL MODEST. So this is new, this living next to well off people thing.

But alas, the conclusion is still the same as it was weeks ago: I should have gone to seminary school.


(this entire post was tongue in cheek, please don't be offended by my obvious objectification of A) the rich and B) the religious. I know not all preachers are rich and not all rich people are preachers. I also know I've never felt any calling to attend seminary school. Oh well.)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Monkeys and Butter

I dream of one day owning a camera worthy of creating fantastic photos of food. Because maybe then I could branch out and just have a food blog. That would be awesome.

You see, the thing about this stage in my life: 'Limbo' as I like to call it, is that not much is going on that is blog worthy. I could bore you with stories about my classes. But...they bore me and I'd rather not discuss them. I don't have children so I can't hop on the Mommy-Blog bus. I'm not married, don't have a mortgage. I can't even there goes that marketable blog niche.

Honestly, I'm no longer an interesting person.

I don't drink, so there are no wild and crazy parties to write about. I have no juicy love life. If I had been blogging my actual 'life' over the last several weeks it would have gone a little something like this:

I went to class today, stopped by the grocery, made dinner for MY PARENTS (loser), watched CNN and went to bed. (Also, wah....why is my life going nowhere? *insert whine, and tears here*)

The end.

But I bake a lot. I do a lot of cooking. That I can write about. That might actually be interesting. Except that little detail: all the interesting food blogs are interesting because the photos are good.

And my camera is a lovely piece of shit.

Heck, maybe if I had a decent camera I'd be a food AND photography blog. Omg....creative juices are FLOWING in my brain right now. (Must continue to hint at camera for Christmas. Not too old to resort to begging my parents.)

For now I will suck up my pride and share the shitty pictures. Because I made butter. And monkey bread.


So, I took a small carton of heavy whipping cream and poured it into a bowl with a tight lid. And...I began shaking. And shaking. And then I handed it to Jon and he shook it some more. After about 10 minutes or so of shaking you hear a solid part begin to form and a lot of sloshing going on:

homemade butter

The butter is beginning to form and the liquid is....*drumroll please*...Buttermilk (Go ahead, tell me I'm a genius). You can either pour off the buttermilk and save it for baking (or drinking if you are like my late grandfather who loved the stuff) or pour it down the drain like I did.

Secure the lid again and shaking some more, you want to really remove all the buttermilk. If not, this will cause the butter to go rancid faster.

homemade butter

Keep shaking, keep pouring.

Eventually little is left to pour off. At this point cover the butter with a splash of cold water. Begin to 'massage' (mix around in the water) the butter with a spatula. This will help really remove all of the buttermilk. Drain off the water and repeat the process until the water is clear.

homemade butter

Pour off all excess water and spoon the mixture into a ramekin or other storage device. Add a little salt if you prefer salted butter.

Monkey Bread

I made the butter because A) I've really got nothing better to do and B) I had made homemade yeast rolls to go with beef stew and homemade butter sounded heavenly.

But the yeast roll recipe (the one I shared before) makes A LOT OF ROLLS. And I didn't really need a lot of rolls. So, instead of putting the last of the rolled balls of yeast dough into muffin tins, I used the remainder to make monkey bread.

I rolled each ball into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Layered them haphazardly into a greased bundt pan and allowed them to double in size:

monkeybread 010

Then I mixed up 1 stick of butter and 1/2 cup of brown sugar and brought it to a boil on the stove. I poured that mixture over the risen yeast and baked it all at 350 for about 20 minutes.

monkeybread 015

After it was done cooking I immediately turned it out onto a plate. You don't want it to cool and stick to the pan.

monkeybread 024

And so then, as if there were not enough calories involved already I mixed up 4 ounces of cream cheese, half a stick of butter, 2 cups of powdered sugar and a tsp of vanilla to make cream cheese icing to dip the monkey bread in.

monkeybread 027

Sometime after that I stapled my mouth shut and burned my cookbooks.

The end.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Post Election Life

It's been hard entering post election life. You look forward to something for two years, then suddenly in the blink of a couple hundred electoral votes and a great speech on a stage in Chicago and it's all over.

But I'm trying to work it out.

Things I'm now doing to occupy my time:

Collecting all magazines with Obama on the cover.
post-election life 001
Which was accomplished in one trip to Walgreens. So umm, not exactly a practical way to fill up my time.

Getting in touch with my domestic side.
post-election life 002
Studying Martha and hooking up the sewing machine.

Purchasing Christmas fabric just because it's cute, but not really having a plan in mind to use it.
post-election life 003
I'm sure it'll all become nice pillows...or something.

Enjoying gas, while it lasts, for $1.96. Can we all agree that gas under $2 is a pretty enjoyable sight?! Yay recession! ;)

Watching 'The West Wing'.
But let's be honest, that's not really helping with the Post-Election weaning of political addiction.

Discovering the trainwreck that is 'The Real Housewives of Atlanta', and updating myself on all of the Duggar episodes so far. I'll be honest, I've missed catching up on all the trashy shows several nights a week.


And while these are all valiant efforts, I should confess: I still check several times per day, and catch up on all the Obama news on my Tumblr Dashboard. I just can't go cold turkey.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Photo of the Day

I woke up early, straightened by hair and applied makeup. Let it be noted: I don't apply makeup for just any occasion.

electionmorning 003

Jon woke up equally excited. He wanted an Obama sticker from my stash.

election afternoon 003

After I voted:

election afternoon 002

Jon came home and applied his stickers from the day to my poster of Jack and Bobby. He thinks they would approve.

Jon added his stickers to my Kennedy poster

And then we watched, and waited. And in the midst of the excitement and the crying I remembered to take a photo to capture the moment. Judging by other photos on the internet today, I was not the only one.


I have to tell you something about last night that I will remember forever. When the election was called and CNN was flipping through crowd shots of people crying and rejoicing all over, Grant Park in Chicago, Times Square, Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta (the home church of MLK Jr), my Dad began to cry too.

It's not the tears that got to me. My Dad is pretty in tune with emotion. But the reminder of the time he was born into. And the realization that people of his generation, who saw the things he did, might never have thought this was possible.

My father was born in 1958, he remembers sitting on his mother's lap at the age of 5 while she cried over Jack Kennedy. He was 10 when we lost Martin and Bobby. He was 18 when he helped a black soldier out of his car and away from a riot on Dixie Highway at the height of the busing situation. My Dad knows the troubles of this country. He knows racism and bigotry. He comes from a different time. And he's not perfect, because he's said things in the past that have sometimes made me cringe.

But last night he cried because the barriers of this country were broken. 'We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal.' It's not just some phrase in some old document. Barack Obama fulfilled Martin Luther King's dream: he was judged by the content of his character and NOT by the color of his skin.

I told my Dad, 'we did it' and he replied, 'no, God did it.'

And that moment, with tears streaming down his face and pride in his eyes, is a moment I will never forget.


To those who are upset with the election results today, all those who wanted John McCain to win, I want to take a moment to speak to you.

I understand how you are feeling. Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, I've been there on the other side of an election. I've had a President with an absolute opposite ideological view. I know what it is like to disagree with your commander in chief. But I also know that at the end of the day, whoever our President may be, they are people. They are fathers and husbands and sons. I may not have agreed with a majority of what George W. Bush has done over the last 8 years, somewhere within me I can find a small bit of like for Mr. Bush.

I'm rambling, but my point is this: you may not like Barack Obama. You might disagree with every policy he puts on the table. But at the end of the day he's Malia and Sasha's Dad and Michelle's husband. He is a person who thinks he can fix some of the problems our country is facing. The electorate has spoken and he has four years to show us what he'll do. And no matter what it is, we will be okay. Nobody truly pursues the highest office in the land if all they want to do is destroy it.

That said, dissent IS the highest form of patriotism. If you disagree with him for 4 years, if you dislike every single thing he tries to do and you want to express your opinion about it, GO RIGHT AHEAD. I will never call you unpatriotic. I will never submit to this 'with us or against us' mentality.

John McCain was incredibly gracious in defeat last night. I only wish we'd seen more of that John this election, not whatever his campaign spiraled out of control and into after the Palin pick. Senator McCain will always have my utmost respect and admiration for his service to this nation. And I think we all now know that John McCain is a REALLY funny guy...and I have a thing for funny guys.

So thank you, Senator McCain, for the laughs and for the kind words last night. May you pick yourself up, dust off your boots, get back to Washington and begin giving them all (Republicans and Democrats) hell again like you do best.


I knew that I would be proud at our win last night. I knew I'd probably cry. I knew the crowd in Chicago would be amazing. But what I didn't anticipate was the outpouring and pride and emotion across this country and across the globe. I have been overwhelmed in the past 24 hours with photos and clips of celebrations. But I think this video takes the cake for the one that stirred up the most emotion.

A spontaneous rendition of our National Anthem by a crowd at Union Square in New York City:


And so concludes this long election. Two years of caucuses, of debates, of barriers broken and glass ceilings cracked. It has been long. But it has been wonderful.

President-Elect Obama


And so it came to pass that on Nov. 4, 2008, shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern time, the American Civil War ended, as a black man — Barack Hussein Obama — won enough electoral votes to become president of the United States.
— Thomas Friedman, New York Times

I voted for John McCain because I admire him immensely as a person, and agree with him on many more issues than I do with Senator Obama. And I ask a rhetorical question: Can we McCain voters, without embarrassment, shed a tear of patriotic joy about the historic significance of what just happened? And I offer a short, rhetorical answer.

Yes, we can.
Mike Potemra, conservative blogger at National Review Online.

Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.
— Barack Obama, in his acceptance speech

Let every child and every citizen and every new immigrant know that from this day forward: Everything really is possible in America.
Thomas Friedman

I didn't go to sleep until around 2. I was up at 6:30.

We did it. We really freaking did it.

Monday, November 3, 2008

In Closing

Dear Senator Obama,

Over the course of the last several days I've attempted to write a rousing endorsement of your candidacy. A last statement on why I think my blog readers and friends should vote for you. But my efforts never really panned out. You've made the argument for yourself better than I ever could. I've called complete strangers for you, something I don't enjoy at all, because you inspired me in ways I can't quite articulate.

Eight years ago I had a neighbor who voted for George W. Bush. He couldn't understand why in the world my father would support Al Gore. 'Gore will take your guns away,' he would tell my Dad over and over. And again and again my Dad would remind him that no President, Republican or Democrat, would ever touch the constitution. And that the constitution protects his right to bear arms. But the Republican party got good at marginalizing the issues, everyone bought into the party line of 'God, Guns and Abortion'.

I have a point here. Because one day, during these mildly heated front porch exchanges my Dad turned the argument around on our neighbor. My Dad is a Union guy. He was the first person to lead the march off of the job site to picket in support of unionizing the county road department. He's always understood the plight of the American worker. Our neighbor worked at the local Ford plant, so my Dad turned to him and asked him how he could possibly vote against the union and against his job.

That was it. The end of the exchange. The two simply agreed to disagree.

I don't need to say how this story has ended eight years later, but I will anyway. Eight years of failed economic policies have left this guy with no job, no health insurance and barely hanging on to his house. His wife now works at McDonalds. They had to let their brand new Ford vehicles go and take their children out of private school.

But by God, they still have their guns!

(Yet women can still legally get an abortion in this country. Oops, I guess Bush forgot all of those pro-life promises.)


By the time this election season rolled around I was tired. And fed up. Tired and fed up with people letting the Conservatives in this country act like they owned patriotism and religion. Tired and fed up with these issues dividing us. Tired and fed up with this insistence that you are either 'with us or against us'. Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. I was at the highest level of dissent.

Mr. Obama, your campaign has been a breath of fresh air. And you said it best in your Closing Argument the other day:

"Yes, we can argue and debate our positions passionately, but all of us must summon the strength and grace to bridge our differences and unite in common effort -- black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American; Democrat, Republican; young, old; rich, poor, gay, straight; disabled or not. All of us have to come together.

Ohio, in this election, we cannot afford the same political games and tactics that are being used to pit us against one another, to make us afraid of one another. The stakes are too high to divide us by class and region and background; by who we are or what we believe. Because, despite what our opponents may claim, there are no real or fake parts of this country. There is no city or town that is more pro-America than anywhere else."

I am 15 minutes away from the end of this day. And I'm not planning on telling anyone on this blog to vote for you. I'm sure most of them have made up their minds, either way. I'm simply going to say this: if they still don't understand why I support Barack Obama then I'm not sure they'll ever get it. But I pray that someday they will. I'm proud of my candidate. I'm inspired. I'm hopeful about my future. And this ride, this election, has been an amazing one. I feel like I've been a part of history. And instead of feeling angry or hurt, I only feel sorry for anyone who hasn't felt it. Hope isn't just some buzzword, or something that can be made fun of. You reminded me of that,

"...Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better is waiting around the bend that insists there are better days ahead if we're willing to work for it; if we're willing to shed our fears and our doubts; if we're willing to reach deep down inside ourselves when we're tired, when we're worn out and we come back fighting harder."

I'm ready.

Hope Banner

Thank you for this election. Thank you for changing the way the political game is played in this country. Thank you for reminding us that there are no pro-America or anti-America parts of this country, and that education and intelligence are not things to be afraid of.

But most of all, thank you for giving me hope again. I was worried I'd lost it.



Tomorrow We Change The World

Don't forget to vote!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Photo of the Day

I spent a little while at the phone bank this morning making calls for Bruce Lunsford. After that I had a few hours to goof off a bit so I stopped by the used book store and perused the clearance racks. I figure I need something to occupy my time after this election is over.

reading 127

Baked this weekend:
Snickerdoodles: recipe from Martha Stewart. Martha is my new favorite person ever. I don't know why I never paid much attention to her before. She's fabulous.

Snickerdoodles: Recipe from Martha Stewart

I also made potato soup and vegetable soup, but photos.

And one last Barack-o-Lantern picture, just for fun.

halloween 08 009

And Jon's ghoul/phantom thing. Whatever. Mine's better. ;)