Monday, December 31, 2012

Good Bye 2012

At home, after a wonderful dinner of paella, toasting every time zone up to ours. When your family and most of your life-long friends are far and wide, it's become my favorite New Year's Eve pastime.

This fine year of 2012 is one I will remember fondly. It would be the year I turned 60. Last year at this time, I thought about making it really count. The main focus was Election Year. And re-electing President Obama was front and center, for SO many reasons.

I visited my Keara in Austin in February, and got to see a few friends in Houston. I do not miss Texas but I really miss my friends there. And I relearned that Texas in February is really really nice when you live in a cold snowy place. I could make a habit of that trip...

I ran for, and won, election as a National Delegate to the Democratic Convention in Charlotte. I will not underestimate myself ever again! I had never been to a National Convention, and I had never been to Charlotte. Both were fabulous.

I organized our Precinct Caucuses and County Convention, and went with a full complement of County delegates to the Congressional District Caucus and the State Convention. Our little band of Klickitat Democrats really gelled and even when I was out of town, they took care of business.

For my birthday in June, we played Tourist in our 'hood, and took an afternoon sternwheeler cruise on the Columbia from Cascade Locks. In the rain. It was fun. Really, it was. And the captain of the vessel was a young woman. It did this former seafarer good to see that.

Also in June, I traveled back to Boston for the 'Class of 70 Turns 60 Birthday Bash', reuniting with folks from my high school class. I'd been in touch with but a handful over the years. We started a Facebook Group in advance of the event, so that by the time we all met, we were not strangers.

July meant some family time...with my mom, brother, sisters, and Alina. And with Concord Cousins on the 4th of July. And with the Cape Cousins on the 7th of July, a big cookout planned at Dad's funeral back in Feb 2011, just like the old days...Pat even wore Uncle Jim's cookout hat and apron. I'm still smiling thinking about the big cousin bash. I am grateful that my daughters know their cousins, because cousins are really special. This trip I also got to spend a few days with the McKevitts in Chatham, with Alina. Another great Irish family in my life.

I was back in White Salmon in time for the Art and Wine Fusion and the 14th LD Picnic we organized at our city park, and for the fun of Jamba Marimba gigs. I do love my marimba band gals! We all need music in our lives.

Summer also means festival booths. My band of KD's took care of several in my absence, and we had a fine booth at the County Fair. And did I mention, I worked on Saturdays at Springhouse Cellar with the awesome Carolyn, with whom I discovered many connections (including fisheries and NOAA). I love it when new friends have 'old' connections. God, I've had so many lives! That's what happens when you are 60. BTW I'm back on Fridays now at the winery.

September's travels to Charlotte and Boston were off the charts. To spend almost a week in Charlotte with my fantastic delegation, and my old friend and mentor Susan from Ft. Bend, was a dream come true. Celebrating my mom's 85th birthday with both of my girls and most of my family was also very special. Then to top it off, I found out the end of the month that I had won the honor of a Magnussen Award for State Committeewoman of the Year! Can this get any better????

October was our 31st anniversary, and we FINALLY got to the coast. It was a perfect camping trip, perfect weather, perfect hiking with the most awesome dog ever, Brindle. Even at more than 14.5, she was up for long daily walks on the beach and a 5 mile hike thru the woods to Cape Lookout Point! On that trip I got word that we would be able to have a Dem HQ in downtown White Salmon. Seriously? Can this year get any better?????? And then all the days of manning the office, and phone banking (which I hate) paid off...with the best election night for me in a long time. I was flying from Boston to Portland on election night 2008. Found out Obama won as we touched down at PDX. This time we took over Los Reyes Mexican Restaurant in Bingen. A very good night indeed.

The weekend in Seattle for the Maggies was fabulous. And then, in November, my sister Mary called with the sad news that her husband had to be in Spokane, so there was a spare ticket to see Bruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball Tour stop in Vancouver BC on Nov. 26. Bad passport expired Sept 26, in the frenzy of the political I'd neglected to renew...but the passport office and PO came through. I got my passport renewed in 12 days (expedited). So off I went, driving to Blaine, staying with friends, and Bolt Busing to BC from Bellingham. It was worth every penny, and every mile of driving. Bruce and Mary-time. So good. Added bonus of Humphreys (and the Banff Film Festival).

So yeah, it was a great year. The downsides? Losing Brindle after Thanksgiving. I was in Blaine. But we'd said our goodbyes after her October stroke. She knew I loved her. She was the Best Dog Ever, and had a good long life. Losing my cousin PJ. after a long battle with Hepatitis C. She had that twinkle in her eye you thought could never be extinguished. I saw her in July, when she was waiting on the list for a liver. There was not enough time. There is never enough time, so we all need to use ours wisely. Not having Keara and Alina here at all for the holidays. But they were with family in Boston, and we'll do Xmas in March in Texas.

On the whole, 2012 will go down in the annals of Lorrie History as an excellent year. A very excellent year. Look out 2013, I still have a ton of positive energy rolling here...

PS: I hereby resolve to write more in 2013. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One for Each Decade

Three Cheers for the US Passport Office and the US Post Office! Today my expedited renewed passport arrived, a mere 12 days after I mailed it off in an overnight mail envelope with a return overnight mail envelope.

Now, this kind of service is not free. I could have saved myself $60 for the expediting fee, plus the overnight mail fees, had I paid attention to the expiration date on my 10 year old passport. But it's nice to know it can be bought!

When my sister called 2 weeks ago to tell me she had an extra ticket to see Bruce Springsteen Nov. 26th in Vancouver, BC, of course I say yes to a sister adventure!!! Until I checked my passport, which had expired on Sept. 23rd. There was no time to lose, especially with the Veterans Day Holiday and Thanksgiving in the mix.

However, without a passport number and expiration date, one cannot book a flight. That was OK, too expensive anyway. One cannot book Amtrak either. That was not OK, as I watched all the possible trains become sold out. Thanks to friends Tom and Leila, who live near the Canadian Border in Blaine, WA, who read of my plight on Facebook and offered a place to stay bookending the Canadian excursion, should I decide to drive. And thanks to the new Bolt Bus routes in the NW. I was able to snag a Bellingham/Vancouver round trip for a mere $10. Much cheaper than hotel parking fees.

So Sunday, I will be off on another adventure. Looking at my old passports today was a trip down memory lane. They may not be cheap, but they sure do open the door to the world!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Wrong Lesson Indeed

Yesterday's Oregonian had a mind boggling front page article on what Beaverton schools' budget cuts have done to the teachers and classrooms. It's a lesson in What Not To Do, lest you appear to be really really stupid.

Beaverton School District of 51 schools slashed its budget and cut 344 positions resulting in nearly 400 transfers to fill holes as the layoffs created a domino effect. In late July they laid off 204 teachers, and have since returned 106 to full or part time positions.  Important info here: the teachers union and district have no rules for transfers other than licensure. Competence, experience, grade level, or subject don't have to be considered. Say what?

Here's what some of the changes have wrought as "about 160 teachers were placed in significantly different positions":

  • A high school government, world history and economics teacher the last 5 years was moved to 7th grade math. She had never taught math before, nor middle school.
  • The top district librarian was moved to elementary school. She's since taken a leave and is subbing.
  • A high school language arts teacher moved to elementary English language development.
  • An elementary teacher to middle school science.
  • An elementary music teacher to English language development.
  • A middle school art teacher to 4th grade.
  • A German teacher to Spanish.
Teachers trained in IB and AP were moved to schools without these programs and teachers lacking IB and AP training were moved in, costing 1/3 of the district's training budget to get them up to speed.

Here's one of my favorites:
A teacher who was working with seriously ill students at their homes was laid off, and a high school math teacher was assigned the job. The first teacher was called back and put into the math teacher's position.
 The district wouldn't allow them to swap back because it would cause even more disruption in the classroom and cost the district two days of pay.
I think they've disrupted the classrooms past the point of reason.
Teachers had no choice in the moves, and principals had no say in who came and went. 
Some of the teachers have resigned or taken unpaid leaves of absence rather than be put in a position to fail the students.

Can we please have a discussion about treating teachers as PROFESSIONALS??????

Back to AB Normal

It took a while, but the house is pretty much cleaned up, almost all the Big Blue Box is packed up, signs are down, and the laundry is caught up. I think everyone was ready for election season to be done with. We had great participation from local Democrats, making our office, phone banking and signing successful. I hope they don't all disappear now until the next time around. We need to be channeling our energies into our pet issues, and keep on top of our elected officials to be mindful the will of the people they represent.

On Halloween Night, at the White Salmon downtown trick or treat event, our visitors included County Commissioner Dave Sauter and Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler. Both are Republicans. Commissioner Sauter is well known as a person who listens, considers the facts surrounding an issue, and who can work with people of all political persuasions. Congresswoman HB is a new face to us, after redistricting delivered our county into her hands from Doc Hastings. We stood on the side walk in front our our HQ and spoke about communities needing to work TOGETHER (emphasizing together) to solve our big problems. Sadly, she is one of the Congressional Representatives who has signed Grover Norquist's pledge. Taking something like taxes off the table is not the way to solve our problems together. So my first email/letter of the new season will go to Rep. Herrera Beutler. I tried email, but even though redistricting took effect many months ago, her website STILL doesn't recognize my zip code as being in her district. So she'll get a snail mail letter.

I'm not sure which issue I will focus on first. There are so many. But as a County Chair, I still have work to do by the end of the year. It's reorganization time!!! No rest for the weary.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ten Days...Make Them Count!

I needed a little perspective, so I turned to a trusty friend out in Spokane. Thanks, Val.

We have ten days. Ten. We need to make our time count. The house will be cleaned, the leaves raked, the garden pulled after November 6th. We can't have this time back to help re-elect President Obama.

Some people are really upset about the sign problem we are having. The disappearing signs are NOT important. Tracking down who is taking them is NOT important. Contacting voters IS important. Face to face, in our HQ, on the streets, in the grocery line, on the phone. We have to be sure every vote gets into the hands of the Auditor. Here at home and out in the rest of the country. This is all about VOTES.

She reminded me that every minute I waste trying to find more signs, I could have called a voter to remind them to mail their ballot. Remind them that the Governor's race 8 years ago (before my time) was won by 77 votes! So, 2 or 3 votes per county CAN and DOES make a difference. I do remember that Obama won Klickitat last time by 21 votes. That's less than one per precinct.

So, if you want to camp out and wait for someone to try and steal or deface your signs, set up under an EZ Up tent, with lots of signs, and make GOTV calls with your cell phones.

But really, you can do it from the warmth and dryness of your own home. Click here to get started.

To all my lady friends out there, there's a women's call tool on the Obama website. Click to get started!

For my local friends, we're generating call lists to remind our Klickitat folks to get those ballots back in! We're in a vote by mail state...NO EXCUSES!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

To Not Know You Is To 'LIKE' You

It feels like a good day for a Romney Rant. So fans of Mitt, I won't be offended if you skip this one.

I know I'm not the only one on Facebook who is annoyed at the ads on the side, especially when the Mitt Romney face is on top showing all my 'friends' who LIKE him. Really, I don't want to be reminded of that every day. I'm sure they feel the same way about Obama's face popping up on theirs, with my name on it. I just hope there are more people listed that they know than I see on the Rmoney face. But I have to wonder, WHY do they LIKE him?

Fortunately, I don't note any of my Massachusetts friends on there. They know better. My friends there who are teachers certainly won't be there, after his taking credit for the status of Massachusetts education. They still remember what happened to teachers when he became governor, enamored with austerity budgets that disproportionately affected public servants and the poor. I can always count on Caroline, my Boston artist friend of over 40 years, to come up with fuel for the fire- the stuff that makes me just go nuts on Mitt Romney. Usually I contain it. Somewhat. Not today. Granted, it's from a liberal source. But I can live with that.

What set me off was this gem. Let's shatter the myth that Mitt was a bipartisan marvel in Massachusetts as Governor.  One of Mitt's Many Myths.
“I figured out from Day 1 I had to get along, and I had to work across the aisle to get anything done." Mitt Romney in Debate 1.
Oh REALLY? That's why you vetoed 800 pieces of legislation. Because you got along so well.
Vetoes don’t scream bipartisanship, and Romney had so many of them that it’s obvious he was on bad terms with the legislators from both parties as Governor. All told, Romney issued 800 vetoes in his one term as Governor. 800. Nearly all of them were overridden – 707 to be exact.
And wow, a business man is just what we need in the White House, right? Where everyone in Congress will do what he says, just like when he was a CEO. It worked so well in MA.
A Republican state representative said that Romney had a tough time dealing with the legislature, especially in his first year, because he was used to giving orders as an executive, rather than working with people to reach a consensus. Republican George Peterson said, “He was used to being a top executive, ‘and this is where we’re going, and this is how we’re going to do it.’ And this animal [the state Legislature] doesn’t work that way. Not at all. Especially when it’s overwhelmingly ruled by one party.”
By the time he left office (he was MIA 212 days his last year), almost 2/3 of the people of the Commonwealth were happy to see him go. They didn't want him back, but they didn't want him to be President either. Then or now.
Obama is leading Romney by a wide margin in Massachusetts. Not since 1916 has a candidate lost his home state and won the White House. The only saving grace for Romney is that while he is also losing his other home states of Michigan (where he grew up) and California, he has had residences in several other states that he could ostensibly call home, although certainly the folks in Massachusetts and Michigan know him best. 
Still think you 'LIKE' Mitt Romney? He's all yours. Just don't make him ours.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Rolling Stone...Gonna buy 5 copies for my mother.

The Rolling Stone has joined the fray, with this unflattering piece on Romney and Bain. I know, it's the Rolling Stone. But I am in total fear for our democracy. Who knew we had so many truth challenged people in this country? People who will vote to elect to the highest office in our land, a man who is so comfortable lying he doesn't even know he's doing it any more.

Questions abound: Will messing with voters and voting machines be the hanging chads of 2012? And who keeps stealing all our Obama signs as fast as we can get them posted? It's enough to drive me to drink (as if I need an excuse).

There are glimmers of hope, like when the Salt Lake City Tribune endorses Obama:
In considering which candidate to endorse, The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board had hoped that Romney would exhibit the same talents for organization, pragmatic problem solving and inspired leadership that he displayed here more than a decade ago. Instead, we have watched him morph into a friend of the far right, then tack toward the center with breathtaking aplomb. Through a pair of presidential debates, Romney’s domestic agenda remains bereft of detail and worthy of mistrust.
Therefore, our endorsement must go to the incumbent, a competent leader who, against tough odds, has guided the country through catastrophe and set a course that, while rocky, is pointing toward a brighter day. The president has earned a second term. Romney, in whatever guise, does not deserve a first.
Followed by the Tampa Bay Times joining the Obama endorsement team:
Among the Group of 7 industrialized countries, only three economies have climbed above the peaks they hit before the recession: Canada, Germany and the United States. France, Japan, Britain and Italy are in worse shape. So are Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece. Obama's economic policies clearly had a positive impact.
The economic stimulus package, which Mitt Romney and his Republican allies deride as a failure, had its flaws but stopped the collapse. It preserved or created up to 3 million jobs, and it invested in smart projects such as expanding U.S. 19 in Pinellas County and connecting the Port of Tampa with Interstate 4 in Hillsborough County. The auto company bailout, which Romney opposed, preserved jobs and rejuvenated the industry. The Dodd-Frank financial regulations, which Romney would repeal, protect consumers and force banks to act more responsibly. Undoing those reforms would be a mistake and invite the abuses that contributed to the economic crisis.
Today, a few more swing state papers got on board. The Washington Post asked would a 'business man' do better? Historically, no. Very interesting read.

 David Stockman, Reagan's budget director, doesn't seem to be a fan.
Bain Capital is a product of the Great Deformation. It has garnered fabulous winnings through leveraged speculation in financial markets that have been perverted and deformed by decades of money printing and Wall Street coddling by the Fed. So Bain’s billions of profits were not rewards for capitalist creation; they were mainly windfalls collected from gambling in markets that were rigged to rise.
So much for Mitt building his way up from a small business. I have had it. Whenever he talks I imagine a Pinocchio nose growing. The ultimate fact checker. I need to find a magic lamp and ask the Genie for a wish. 
Every time that little box in the ad corner on my Facebook page pops up and I see names of people liking Mitt Romney, I feel so sad. So sad. I'm sure there are people who find him likeable...Ann does. But that's not enough to elect him President. Too many people are living in an alternate universe.
There's only one way to make Mitt go away. Ann says he won't run again if he loses. So, do whatever you can to Get Out The Vote in your communities. Speak Truth to RMoney. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Another Day, Another Debate

It seems like we are having a veritable tsunami of debates the last few weeks. Between the President and Mitt, the Joe and Paul show, and numerous governor's, senate and down ballot meet ups, mostly available online here in the fringe market, there's something to watch daily. Besides The Daily Show.
Which sadly should have shown last night's episode on Friday when it would have had more impact.

Tonight is another opportunity to gather friends and watch the show in the Center Ring of this year's big circus. The food and fellowship will be worth it, guaranteed. And who knows which Mitt Romney will show up? I am sure the Prez will be more energetic. The only way to go is up. But his message has been rock steady all along. But as for his opponent, confusion reigns. I am shocked, I tell you, shocked, that more people aren't questioning their support of this man with many faces.

This problem is troubling Margaret and Helen today. Margaret lives in Maine. Helen lives in Texas. They have been friends for 60 years and counting. And they love to talk politics. I love them so much, I get an email notification when they write something new. Today's post is worth a read. Go visit them now!

And before I forget, speaking of The Daily Show, the Prez is going to be on Thursday night. I might have to shut down the phone bank early so I can get home in time to watch!

Monday, October 15, 2012

I Want Candy

I know, it's bad for your teeth. Too much sugar. And a pretty awful song, recorded by the Strangeloves in 1965.

No, I'm talking about Candy Crowley, the CNN commentator chosen to host tomorrow's Town Hall forum debate. I've watched Candy for years. She's one of the top political women in business. She's got the chops, paid her dues and then some. So why are the campaigns all a twitter? They're afraid she might go rogue if the limited Town Hall format makes for a dull debate and focus on real questions? A la Martha Raddatz? Oh please, yes.

I personally was rather annoyed that she got the short straw on the Presidential Debate draw. I'd have given Jim Lehrer that slot. I know, hindsight. 

Candy, bring it! I'll be watching, and hosting a party with lots of other people watching.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Hating on Signs, A National Epidemic?

My friend Susan in Texas is not happy that a sign she help raise money for got vandalized. It is a very nice Obama sign, hurting no one. But somebody had a bee in their bonnet and took a can of red spray paint to it. You can see it here

I can sympathize with her. Within 24 hours of putting up this double panel of candidate signs on the Centerville Highway, the Obama signs on both sides were spray painted with red paint. Interestingly, the other candidate signs were left alone.

We debated what to do, decided to leave the signs defaced for a few days as a testament to intolerance.  When our sign guy went back to replace the Obama signs, the whole display was knocked down and beat up. The sheriff was called, they came out and filled out an incident report. The local paper covered it with a big article.

Meanwhile, back in White Salmon, a garden of 7 signs disappeared after less than a week in place. Police were called. Jokes were made about how if the owner of the signs was a Republican, the signs wouldn't disappear. Ha Ha.  Turns out the renter of the house thought someone put them up without permission so he took them down on trash day and put them out with the trash. The other renter on the property, who requested the signs and cleared it with the landlord, was not amused, and a letter to the editor was fired off, to go with the police report.

We are opening a small office for the 3 week crunch to election day, just down the street from the GOP's big  office. I sure hope people play nice. We have people on the east side of the county who are truly afraid to put up Obama signs.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Joltin' Joe Has NOT Left and Gone Away

hey hey hey, hey hey hey

I must say it was with great pleasure that I watched the VP debate tonight. I productively entered 6 sheets of phone banking data at the beginning. But it was compelling TV. I was actually sorry when it was over (unlike a debate last week). Kudos to Martha Raddatz. She did a great job.

My fellow DNC delegate and roomie Tanisha wrote after the debate:
5 years ago at Thanksgiving my family starting talking politics after dinner. Everybody was giving their opinion on Clinton, Edwards and Obama- trying to decide who was going to win. When I gave my opinion I said this: I don't know who is going to get the nomination, but I do know this. Whoever it is better choose Joe Biden as their running mate. After tonight all I have to say is God Bless Joe Biden. Obama made the right call!
 Indeed, Tanisha, indeed.You AND Obama made the right call.
Obama/Biden 2012!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Life has been fast and furious lately. Here's a quick snippet about the last day and a half! We drove up to Seattle on Saturday. We'd hoped to visit our old friends Dave and Nancy, but they were on the road. We had made arrangements to crash at their place, which was in walking distance (2 mi) of the Convention Center. I got all dressed up, down to hose and shoes (amazing). Silly me, Aerosoles that were comfy standing and short walking on flat surfaces were NOT good for walking 2 miles that included up and down steep hills. Let's just say there is no skin on my last two toes on each foot. Good thing we could take the bus home!

The Maggie Awards event was great. We started with an official photo session for award winners with former Rep. Dick Gephardt and retiring Rep. Norm Dicks (I'll share when we get the link) followed by the VIP reception area, where I had a lovely glass of a WA State Chard. Our fab man behind the camera Al Garmin documented the evening as well; he got some great shots posted on Flickr. Our dinner seats were with State Party Chair Dwight Pelz and his wife Beth. A video played with nominators telling stories about the nominees.

They'd asked us for 5 photos to summarize our lives. Wow. When you are 60 that's tough! I used this one of our fam (before Carol was born, but it kind of summarized early life). I love it. My Uncle Bill took it at their house in Concord at Christmas time. I'm the happy camper on the far right, with Linda, Mark, Annie, Mary and Janet in order to my right. Mom and Dad look a little weary.

Then I used this one, taken by John Dohrmann, a fisheries friend, when I was a Northeastern Coop student on a research cruise.We were on Georges Band aboard the Albatross IV out of Woods Hole. I worked for NMFS in Narragansett, RI from 1973 through 1981, then at the Galveston TX lab from 82-85. I didn't know this one existed until it appeared for the Albatross IV decommissioning last year.

I needed a Texas era photo, so I sent one of a defining moment of my emerging political life, when I was copilot to Marsha's pilot, driving Spanky around Sugar Land to shame Tom DeLay. Ben and Jerry's True Majority sent a Crown Vic and Spanky trailer around the country to highlight Tom DeLay's misdeeds. We even drove through Tom's neighborhood. I learned a lot from my friends at Fort Bend Democrats!

I added one of me playing marimba...of course. I needed to show my musical side, right? This was taken at Ruins Tuesday this past July.

 Finally, one of our family, after bottling wine last December. That's Alina, me, Keara and Lloyd with Springhouse Cellar's syrah. We are rarely all four together, with Keara in Austin, Alina in Boston, and us out in Washington.

Dwight did a very good job of making the narration humorous...I wouldn't want it any other way. We Dems in the Red Zone are required to have a funny bone. But I was honored and humbled to be in the company of the other award winners. Folks who live in hugely populated counties, working on a scale that blows me away!

I listened to Dick Gephardt and Norm Dicks talk about a Congress that actually worked together. I finished Ted Kennedy's autobiography on our camping trip this week. True Compass was a good read. While Gephardt lamented the lack of willingness to compromise to effect legislation for the good of the country, he talked about having majorities in the Senate and Congress making a difference. Kennedy, however, observed that congeniality broke down when Reps and Senators started leaving town every weekend, and didn't 'mix' after hours. Kennedy could work across the aisle, which used to be considered a 'good thing'. It is impossible to have compromise when half of the leaders refuse to engage, and actually RUN on the fact that they will not engage. Yet people elect them. Amazing.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

It's a Small World After All

What are the chances you'll run into a customer of the World's Most Dangerous Beauty Salon in Tillamook, OR? Pretty dang good, apparently. Wednesday we were celebrating our 31st anniversary. We took a 5 mile hike to Cape Lookout. We drove the scenic loop to Pacific City for lunch at the Pelican Brewery. Then we stopped in at the Dem Headquarters in Tillamook on the way back to the Cape Lookout State Park where we were camping. I introduced myself to the folks there as the Klickitat County WA chair, State Committeewoman, and National Delegate. Turns out they were having a debate watch right there at the HQ. And they had a National Delegate attending as well as another couple from our campground! We raced the 10 miles back to camp to feed the dog, who didn't get to enjoy the chowder, calamari and oyster po'boy we had. 

Got back a few minutes late, watched the debate already in progress, muttered a few cuss words, remembered that I was in the company of strangers and watched my language a bit better. Afterwards a guy comes up to me and introduces himself as Brian, the National Delegate from the Tillamook area. Then he says, "You're from White Salmon, do you know Fran? She was a National Delegate." Hmmm. Fran. Well, if you mean Fenway Fran, that's me! He was so met Fenway Fran, friend of Juanita Jean Herownself, proprietress of the WMDBS. Does that mean I'm almost famous??? HA!

Anyway, thanks to Brian and the Tillamook Democrats for a dandy evening. Pleased to meet you!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kidneys on My Mind

No, I didn't make chile with kidney beans. But kidneys have been a major topic lately.

My Jamba Marimba bandmate Dottie, who is in her 60s, recently donated a kidney to a childhood friend of her daughter. This surgery was scheduled much earlier this year but ended up postponed for many reasons, due to doctor, donor and recipient issues. There sure is a lot to coordinate with it comes to transplants. More than you want to know, and more than I ever knew!

My cousin PJ, in her late 50s, is in ICU at the Brigham in Boston. She has fought Hep C, was on a liver transplant list, and went into renal failure almost two weeks ago. She is fighting for her life right now. I know she's in the best place to deal with this. And that my angel sister Linda, who is an ER nurse at Beth Israel Hospital nearby, keeps an eye on things. And my Concord cousins are there on site, keeping us posted and channeling the prayers.

Another connection is the friend and coworker of my daughter, a 35 year young woman who has kidney disease and is on a transplant list because there is no family who can help her.

Recently I listened to this report on NPR. It made so much sense. The decisions about who gets an organ should be this logical.

Update: I didn't realize I didn't post this until I went to update. My cousin Patty Jo passed yesterday. She fought a massive infection for two weeks in ICU. My heart is with my Concord Cousins, my Auntie Marilyn, and PJ's husband John Barbadoro, who we love as a Sully. PJ, you will be missed. But we know you are on the other side with our dearly 'depahted' Sullys, who were there to meet you at the crossing.

A True Masshole

According the urban dictionary:
1. For residents of Massachusetts, it is an achieved title for driving faster, being reckless, cutting other drivers off often, and having no patience for other drivers on the road.

2. For non-residents of Massachusetts, it is a term of dislike for the people of Massachusetts that drive like an asshole.
   'I was such a masshole today when I went down route 128 at 98 mph.' 
   'Don't even think about cutting me off, you masshole!'
I personally think Scott Brown is a Masshole. It has nothing to do with how he drives his legendary pick up truck. It has to do with this.
 The man is the INCUMBENT. This is all he's got??? Run on your record, man. Oh, you can't.

Elizabeth Warren. Our next Senator from the great state of Massachusetts.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Long Day's Upload

If you'd like to see my slideshow of the Convention trip, including a few video clips of dance breaks and the grand finale, you can view it here. If you can't see it, let me know. It's the first time I've tried to use Picasa albums here. Now to finish my article for the papers, then off to the tasting room- I'm back on Fridays!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All Good Things Must Come to an End

The downside of Thursday night's speech was...the end of the convention. But not the end of the story. Tens of thousands of people in the arena, plus all those who were witness via TV and internet will now be channeling the positive energy we took away. I still needed a little energy to get out of Charlotte. My flight was at 11:30 am but we were alerted via USAirways email to arrive 3 hours early due to full planes of delegates exiting Charlotte.

After packing up with Tanisha, helping her get her bags down to her 3 am taxi to the airport, I hit the hay for a planned 3.5 hours of sleep before I had to make my exodus. Curtains were pulled tight to block out the parking lot security light. I foolishly did not call for a wake up, relying on my phone alarm as the phone sat charging right next to me on the night stand. I'm sure it went off at 6:30 as planned. Too bad I had it on vibrate. Whatever internal alarms we have in our heads went off abruptly, and I sat up in the darkened room in a panic. What time is it? Oh.My. 7:30 am. It could have been worse, I could have slept until 10. Good thing I had packed up the night before. I grabbed everything off the chargers and packed the electronics. Jumped into the shower. Threw on clothes. Ran downstairs in time to catch the 8 am DNC bus to the airport with several other delegates.

We sailed through check in and security. I got a huge cup of coffee, a banana and a small apple pastry, and settled in with my computer. A helpful and friendly TSA agent on her break showed me Air Force 1 parked in the high security area away from the regular gates. Eventually I noticed no planes taking off or landing. The big plane taxied away, and appeared a little while later on the runway, taking off in view of the window where I was sitting (near one of the few electrical outlets)! I didn't have enough time to get my camera back out, but I won't soon forget the sight of it taking off from my ringside seat. This of course delayed the next flights a bit.

My flight to Boston was full of Massachusetts delegates. Rep. Ed Markey was behind me on the jetway. Most of the other MA dignitaries had been on the earlier flight. It was a very quiet flight, with lots of snoozing going on. I caught up on the stack of newspapers I'd collected all week. And was very happy to see a text from Alina when I landed, that she was waiting in the cell lot to come pick me up. Time to switch into Sullivan Family mode. Considering the political temperments of my mother and brother, I ditched my Obama jewelry creations, and my pins. And tried very hard to keep my focus on the wonderful hospitality of the people of Charlotte. It was a grand time, and you all are to be congratulated on a job well done.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Thursday Night My BODY Needed Mending

I don't know how long it has been since I've slept so little and done so much.

Every morning we get up closer and closer to the 7 am breakfast meeting. Today we tried to decide whether or not to go to the Women's Caucus. When our breakfast meeting ended early, we gave green light. Tanisha got out earlier than I did on the bus (I took the light rail) and saved me a seat in the ballroom. Once again, a full room by the time the speakers began at 10, I'd say over 1,000. We were right up front, and had a great view for Lily Ledbetter, Ashley Judd, Jill Biden and Michelle Obama's presentations. This is the Year of the Woman, no doubt.

We got back to the hotel for a quick clean up and dress up for the BIG NIGHT. Tanisha had a fine hat her grandmother gave her to wear for the occasion. Her grandmother is a hat lady, and wanted her to have a proper hat. It was beautiful.

Karen Russel had on a fabulous Donkey Head Hat.

Format was a little different tonight. There were some warm up speakers. Then James Taylor held court, strode onto the stage, approached the chair waiting for him, and announced something like "I think I'll just SIT on this chair". He wooed the crowd with Carolina In My Mind, How Sweet It Is, You've Got a Friend...ah, JT. Then he told the diverse crowd of 20,000 "I'm an old white guy and I'm for Barack Obama". Excellent. Mary J. Blige rocked the house for her set, and Foo Fighters rounded out the music breaks.

Then we had the presentation of colors and National Anthem sung very well by Marc Anthony. But no pledge...hmmm....we'd heard a rumor about the pledge...they were saving it for prime time. For good reason. Gabby Giffords walked out under her own power, accompanied by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and recited the pledge along with a visibly moved crowd.

Massachusetts was well represented during the convention with Gov. Patrick, Joe Kennedy III and Elizabeth Warren last night. Tonight early on we had Mayor Menino (whose speech was unintelligible) and Barney Frank (whose wandering from his script caused the teleprompter to go black after about 30 seconds). Barney was definitely being Barney. Hey, he's retiring after long and outstanding service, he gets to go off script! The guy sitting next to me said, during "Mumbles" Menino's speech, "Aren't you from Boston? You don't talk like that." I told him I'd been away for a long time, but to rest assured that NO one in Boston talks like Menino. Later we had John Kerry, who is VERY understandable. He actually smiled. And made some jokes. And gave heartfelt thanks to our nation's soldiers and veterans, along with the entire arena.

There was a big focus tonight on veterans, the military, don't ask don't tell, marriage equality, more auto industry. And women, of course. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, running for Senate in Wisconsin, was one of the stars of the night. Also giving a barn burner speech was Gov. Jennifer Granholm of Michigan. And Caroline Kennedy, always wise and graceful.

The videos were excellent, as they had been all week. Heroes, Stronger Together, American Voices, all bringing the themes together. We also got to see the Fired Up, Ready to Go video again, that we'd seen at the Women's Caucus earlier. Edith S. Childs was sitting a few rows behind us, in her beautiful church hat, in the SC delegation. You have to watch this one. I just love it.

The Biden and Obama families were sitting right in front of us as time for Joe's and Barack's speeches were coming up, having moved down from the sky boxes behind us. We were so lucky to have such great seats. Then it was time to Fire It Up, Ready for Joe!

When Joe was done, we couldn't wait for President Obama to take the stage. FINALLY! His speech was very good. I hope everyone listened to it, and watched it, rather than depending on the talking heads and newspapers. I don't understand how anyone can doubt the intent and competency of this man. When the families joined Obama and Biden on the stage, we were buried in a storm of confetti. It was an incredible moment. A transcript and tape are here.

I'll post some video clips of the night when I get them edited.

The Time Warner Arena that night was crazy when we were leaving. I got separated from Tanisha, finally got her via phone, but decided it was too hard to find each other. She ended up in a sea of people heading to the buses, I ended up in a sea of people heading to the light rail. My claim to fame on the way home was walking to and through the Convention Center behind Ashley Judd. The clock hands passed into the new day as I got on the light rail.

Wednesday Morning Papers Didn't Come

Oh yes they DID! Fact Check on that title: Pants on Fire! Every morning there was a stack of them for us: Washington Post, Charlotte Chron, NYT, USA Today...we just didn't have time to read them all! I took them and saved the front sections for later. Here they are, all laid out on our ironing board. Our rally signs went in our window at the end of every day. Rather festive, eh?

Our Wednesday morning meeting ended up running long, included a group photo. I had scheduled a morning health care session but had to be there early and it wasn't possible. So we took it a little easy, knowing we'd have a busy and long night. My roommate Tanisha's camera crashed, and she needed a bag to tote stuff home in, so we walked to the nearby Costco and took care of that. Good thing I brought my card. Good deed for the day, Check.

We took the DNC bus to the event tonight, and got some seats that weren't directly in front of the Puerto Rico delegation, who talked to each other and on their phones nonstop during speeches. Had some wandering around time. Saw Michael Steele being interview, one of our delegation, Azziem The Dream Underwood being interviewed by Comedy Central Indecision 2012.

Then I walked over to the Texas section and found Don and Susan. Met their new State Chair Gilberto Hinojosa. Another small world moment. He told me his daughter Xochitl worked in WA for Hillary in 2008. Now that's a name I'll never forget! I was her area contact for the campaign and we spoke quite a bit during that year.

My favorite speakers early that night included our Sen. Patty Murray, Union leaders Richard Trumka (AFL-CIO) and Bob King (UAW)-our neighboring MI delegation went wild, Black Caucus Rep Al Green from TX, who I always enjoyed hearing when I lived there, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II from Missouri, the women of the Senate with Barbara Mikulski, Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood, Sister Simone Campbell from Nuns on the Bus, Kamala Harris-Atty Gen of CA- keep your eye on her, Dream Act Activist Benita Valiz, Sandra Fluke, and of course, Elizabeth Warren.

But we were all there to hear the Big Dog. Love him or hate him (or both), Bill Clinton is one of the most excellent orators of our generation. I heard him once before, in McMinnville OR with my sister Mary, during his stumping for Hillary. If you missed his speech, you should take the time to listen to it. He was off script for a good 2/3 of it and was obviously in the zone. That man loves an audience! If you are a Democrat, watch it, you'll love it. If you are a Republican, you should watch it. You'll hate it...he passed the fact checks. If you are an Independent, a disenchanted Democrat, or apolitical, you REALLY need to watch it.

When President Obama came out, the crowd went wild.

After ALL that we had Roll Call, where each state delegation declares their votes. It takes a while. Alabama started about 11:30. We didn't get to Washington until about an hour later. The arena was empty by the time we left, the light rail was done for the night, so we caught the late night bus shuttle back to the hotel, arriving at 2 am (when the bar closed). Oh well, that 6:30 wake up call comes early!

Tuesday Afternoon Is Neverending...

We got a whopping 5 hours sleep, and hit credentials at 6:30. Our prize of the day was a BNSF towel, and NARAL goodie bags. Our breakfast speakers included Sen. Patty Murray! Great way to start the day. Tanisha and I, and many others, headed out on the bus to the convention center to attend the Womens Caucus. What a line up! We heard from Nancy Pelosi, Stephanie Schriock from Emily's List, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Donna Brazile, Ashley Judd, Cecile Richards, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Valerie Jarrett, Nancy Keenan from NARAL, Kathleen Sebelius, and Sandra Fluke. Well worth the morning.

The big adventure of the day was getting to the Planned Parenthood rally. After a detour due to another (anti war) rally, we made it to the event a little bit late. We were harassed the whole way by chubby men with microphones telling us we were all going to hell, and surrounding us with their 'abortion porn'. All the Tshirts were gone (they were cool, I was disappointed). We got signs, and some condom packs for the girls that said Protect Yourself from Romney/Ryan. Lots of pink. Lots of women. In front of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. And near the Fox News stage. Nice.

After that drama, we light railed back to the hotel, ate some lunch, and geared up for the session. Or ungeared, as it turned out as I attempted to minimize my carry alongs and left my phone behind accidentally. And a pen. We took the DNC bus, for a change, and it was a good decision. We were dropped of right by the Time Warner Arena.

The Tuesday speakers were great, including Corey Booker, Deval Patrick, Tammy Duckworth. Joe Kennedy III introduced a fabulous video tribute to his Uncle Ted. Stacey Linh gave testimony to the importance of Obamacare as she spoke about her young daughter Zoe, who has needed heart surgeries since birth. They led us up to Joaquin Castro introducing his twin, Julian, mayor of San Antonio, the youngest mayor of a major US city. Joaquin is running for Congress. We will be served well by these two wonderful young men. Our young Democrats give me great hope for the future.

But the prize of the night went to Michelle Obama. What a First Lady we have! Bill and Hill were quite the first couple. But look out for Barack and Michelle. We are indeed lucky Americans to have them as our President and First Lady. By now you've all heard the speech or at least read about it. I wish everyone would listen to it.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Monday Monday

Note: It's Wednesday morning. Finally getting a chance to catch up.

Our first order of business for the day was picking up credentials and swag of the day before breakfast. Barack Obama, the Official Inaugural Book (I should have brought a bigger bag) and the Yes We Can music CD. I also bought our official delegation hat for $10. Very stylish.

Breakfast buffet was fabulous, former Speaker Tom Foley joined us, and our morning speakers included RT Ryback, Mayor of Minneapolis. Liked him. I had notes, but sadly they got wet. Oh well. Forward.

My roommate went off to the African American Caucus, while I stayed here a bit to finish my Sunday blog. I set off on my own, taking the oh so convenient light rail, in to the CarolinaFest and with high hopes of connecting with Juanita Jean and Bubba. I walked the festival area, taking in sights and sounds. Lots of people, happy people, and families with young kids, vendors galore. Food vendors, like Dan the Pig Man, groups like Girl Scouts and the health care bus. Even a water station where you could fill your water bottle. Hydration is important on a hot muggy day.

As I sat eating another frozen yogurt by the MSNBC stage, I got a text from Susan. They were at a TX delegation lunch at Whiskey River, on the second floor of the building by the MSNBC stage. Perfect! After a failed attempt to get me a credential to get in, and a security man who wouldn't let me near the door, I finally spotted them!

We had a cold drink in a Brueggers Bagels, then walked the festival back towards the Convention Center and bus area. It was such a blast. Don got interviewed by Fox News! What a hoot.

We found a spot to take a rest in the shade, but Susan didn't need much rest, what a trooper! She was like a kid at Disneyland. This week has been a Disneyland for political junkies, for sure.

Our delegation had a work crew on a house building project with Craftsman House United. Heroes at Home, Rebuilding Together, and NextGen Home/Champion Builders teamed up during both conventions to build a house for a military vet. Half of the house was built in Tampa, half in Charlotte. It will be put together Tuesday and located in Charlotte. We got to do a little painting, cleaning cabinets, siding, sweeping. I personally pulled painters tape off moulding and touch up corners with wall paint. As we finished, it poured. We stood under an EZ Up until it stopped. Everyone else headed back to the hotel to get ready for the BBQ event at 7.

I headed uptown again to hear James Taylor. Not a particularly good decision, but it added to the adventure.

Another big storm hit 4 songs into the set. I took a spot by an EZ Up where I could hear well and see a big screen, and as the sky opened up again, I was ready. Getting cozy with lots of Charlotte volunteers at the water station was fun. Then they canceled the music and told us to get inside because there was a tornado warning. Great. Got in to the EpiCenter without getting too drenched and waited it out. Met more nice people, including a city manager (who disclosed his job after I praised the city). Decided to make a run for the light rail station as the clock hit 6 pm...

The next part of the adventure included getting off at the stop nearest to Mac's Speed Shop, where our event was. I had no idea where to go so asked someone who got off there. First person was not from Charlotte and didn't know. A nice African American couple showed me where the street was, said turn right. I did, and kept walking, no BBQ. It started to rain. Then a car pulled up. It was the couple. They said, get in, we'll take you. So off we went. No BBQ. So I looked up the address in my program. It was in the opposite direction! They drove me to the door. More Charlotte Magic. I am enjoying this city.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sunday Adventures

 I apologize in advance for the awkward format. I was having trouble with the post. I figured I'd better let it go or I'll get too far behind.

I first looked at my watch at 6 am. Good, I can wake up at 6 am. But today I don't have to. I rolled over and the next thing I knew it was 10 am. Both Tanisha and I caught up on our lost sleep, and were ready to see Charlotte.

Too late for breakfast at the hotel, we decided to walk to the light rail station, which was supposed to be 'just a few blocks'. Long blocks. And it was hot. And muggy. The shuttle had gone to the airport. A cab came by and offered us a free lift but we thought we must be almost there...when the shuttle came by us and stopped, we got in. At the station, we got our week passes for $20, such a deal! And took the train in to Uptown (which is kinda like Downtown) Charlotte.

Right near the Convention stop was the MSNBC stage.

 And across from that, Frozen Yogurt. AH, breakfast, lunch and coldness all in one! It was the kind of place with many kinds of FroYo, you serve yourself, add toppings and pay by weight. I had dark chocolate, vanilla bean, pomegranate and watermelon, with almonds and blueberries. Delicious.

We noticed people with little paper fans, so headed in the direction they were coming from...we Discovered Myrtle Beach promo area with a big sand sculpture of President Obama. And met a sparkly lady named Loretta, from Las Vegas. She was a hoot! She had sequins everywhere, her shoes, her Obama tote, her hat, rhinestone pins galore, bedazzled from head to toe. Juanita Jean would love her!

A walk around the block led us to the giant bus station. We tried to make a loop around but there were barriers. We saw someone slide thru the barrier coming our way, so attempted to cross from our direction, but were politely stopped by a police officer. No riff raff from the bus station allowed in the security zone, so we had to walk around. So walk around we did, and ran into a 'man on the street' reporter with the Charlotte Observer, who interviewed us. We'll have to check out the paper tomorrow to see if we're in it!

It was getting to be time to head back for showers and to meet the bus for the welcome event, so we returned to the light rail platform.
A CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux walked by. Then we saw a woman in a bright blue dress with long very curly hair heading our way. We looked at each other and at the same time said: Is that Debbie Wasserman Schultz? It most certainly was. And we'd just packed away our cameras. Not to worry, though, she'll be at our breakfast meeting Tuesday! We'll get our pictures then. 

The hotel was a buzz as we all came to the lobby to await our chariot to the Levine Museum of the New South, where we were to party with OR, CO and AZ delegates. We waited...and waited...and ordered drinks from the bar...a bus!...chugged our drinks...false alarm, wrong bus...went back to finish the ice...bus!...false alarm...
Sat and talked with fellow delegate Karen Russell, from Seattle, for a while. She's worked for the Obama campaign from the start. We had Boston in common. She was born there, went to Harvard Law...oh, and her dad was a rather famous basketball player for the
Celtics...still no bus...

So being the resourceful people we are, had to go to plan B. Some jumped in cabs. The rest of us savvy light rail users headed back to the station. It was a joyful trainload of WA delegates finally on their way.

The museum was lovely, the food wonderful, drinks of all kinds, and a very loud band. I ate shrimp, smoked salmon, sweet potato fries.

Then  I had the most amazing grits with shrimp and Andouille sauce served in martini glasses. What a hit!

 The bus was waiting for us on schedule to go home. Apparently the earlier buses had gotten stuck in a huge traffic jam and couldn't get to the hotels.We had a little wind down in the hotel bar, and got to bed at a decent hour. Six AM rolls around fast!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

On the First Part of the Journey...

I started writing this last night but fell asleep at the keyboard.

Getting here was half the fun. Leaving White Salmon after dinner, I got myself settled in to the Ramada in time for the second half of Daily Show and all of Colbert. Tried to go to sleep but the neighbors came in after 11 and scared me out of a deep sleep. I thought someone had broken into our house, I was that asleep. Heart rate back down, slept til the alarm went off at 3:30 am. Shuttle at 4, and the nice man at the desk was actually from NC...had hit the 6 month mark in Portland and was homesick.

The flight went to Houston, there was NO fresh coffee because the plane did not have any coffee pots. Oh, United, what has become of you? A 5:55 am flight and NO COFFEE???? No hot breakfast for purchase either. Just a ham and cheese sandwich and some nasty snack packs. The flight attendants did the best they could, with humor. Was glad I pounded down a large coffee and a muffin at the Coffee People stand in PDX. Tstorms in Houston (big surprise) meant delays getting in, so had to RUN for the next terminal, with the gate at the far end of the universe (of course) to catch the little plane to Charlotte. But I made it. And the folks at Charlotte airport were waiting for us all, with signs, smiles, young men taking our bags, and showing us to our buses, where I met up with Valerie and a few other WA delegates. Stomach really rumbling by now...thank God Valerie had a banana she had no plans to eat.

Our bus driver was on his first run of the hotel loop. He was not from Charlotte. So we helped him navigate with phones, gps and printed directions. He was a really good sport. I hope we helped him for his next run!

The welcome at the hotel couldn't have been warmer. People are so excited to be hosting this event. I settled in to the room, then went downstairs with a fellow delegate I'd met on the bus for some salad and a glass of wine. That blueberry muffin was long gone...When Tanisha, my roommate, arrived, we went down for a late night glass of wine to unwind before bed. Then lights out! We were both asleep in minutes.