Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I'm sitting in my apartment, pondering the old and the new, the disappointments and excitements, writing a posting for this turning over of 2008 to 2009. I've been sitting here for an hour. Seriously.

All that diatribe comes down to is this little pearl of Moe thought.

You deserve happiness, fulfillment, respect, appreciation, empathy, friendship, and love. You deserve to receive back in abundance the love, kindness, generosity, and hope you've given to the world and those you love. Enough of this nonsense of just taking what you're given, of accepting that it's enough. Let's be honest with each other. You're a damn good person, and you deserve it.

I deserve it, too, damnit.

So, go enjoy a kickass 2009 and don't take any bullshit from anyone.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Political Cartoons

From South Africa's Mail & Guardian:

From the UK Guardian:

Got any more? Send them to me!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Want a Obama sticker

So, I ordered 50 Obama stickers. Couldn't just get 1...

If you want one, let me know and it's in the mail to you whenever I get them (5-6 weeks, just in time for the holiday rush!)

For a cool slideshow put together by Tim of both of our photos (wow, we took a lot!):

Friday, November 07, 2008

Another Nightline Clip and Obama Campaign photos

Here's another clip of Tim:

click on the "Yes We Can" link under "Last night's show"/Wednesday night's show

"the nightmare is over"--Tim, you speak for so many of us!

The Obama campaign posted a lot of cool photos on flickr:

I got teary at the one of Barack and Michelle voting with the girls...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tim on Nightline clip

Here's the Nightline clip. Tim starts around -4.32

The Rally Photographs

Electing and Celebrating Barack Obama

It's 1:12am. 19 hours ago I woke up and cast my vote like so many other Americans. Now, I sit here eating dinner (finally) and drinking water (better to not drink then to keep running to the port-a-potties) and trying not to cry.

President Elect Barack Obama.

Say it again with me, President Elect Barack Obama.

Oh, it feels good. Like an answered prayer. Like the Christmas present you aren't quite sure you'll get under the tree. Like turning on the radio in the morning and knowing that your brothers in the military are under the care of a Commander-in-Chief you trust.

This morning I checked my email, and there was a message from friends in South Africa wishing us good luck in our election. To all my friends abroad, thanks for having faith in me and my country when over the past 8 years our President has caused you to doubt. May President Elect Obama renew relationships that foster true conversation and peace.


So, what was it like today? Tense. Actually, everyone was tense Monday, and all weekend, and last week. Chicago police were out in force, walking streets, standing alert, answering questions as people tried to figure out where to go for the rally. Universities and businesses closed early so that people could get home or get to the rally. What would happen with so many people in Grant Park? Would Obama be safe when he took the stage? Yet, despite the tension, people were polite and excited all day, hoping that another 2000 election would not occur. People (including me) walked around taking photos of t-shirts, signage, anything and everything.

My students all came to class at 9am (what!?!), and I thought of my first election back in 1992 when as a freshman at university, like my students, I cast my first vote-Bill Clinton. What an exciting and tense day.

Then the evening came, and the gates to Grant Park opened. Once we passed through three security points and a bag search, the whole crowd seemed to pulse with certainty. I lost one group of friends but found another. Sitting in front of the screen, we could watch the CNN projections come in (wish we could have watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at times...). People danced and shouted and talked. When would we find out about Virginia? Florida? How many polls reported in Ohio? When would Obama come on? People in great t-shirts posing for photos. Children dancing or sleeping.

Then, the numbers started getting serious and BAM, totally unexpected, CNN projects Barack Obama the next President of the United States. There was a moment of shock, I think, when I felt like shaking my head to clear it from the fog. Really? So soon? It’s only 10:30pm. Are they sure? Then people started shouting and jumping and crying. This was really happening. I felt shock, awe, relief--so many things.

Then McCain came on the screen and the race ended. My first thought: thank goodness, no more Sarah Palin. Send her back to Alaska where she can watch Russia from her house.

The crowd danced some more, and sent furious text messages. The camera panned to Oprah in the crowd. Terry Moran (co-anchor for ABC News' Nightline) interviewed Tim about how he felt when he heard the news (they must have seen him jump for joy). Tim was right when he said that he found the faces of people amazing. So many people were crying tears of joy and hope and relief.

Then, Barack Obama came on and gave a speech that made me feel how lucky we are to have elected him, to have chosen him to try to fix messes not of his making. The crowd listened and responded and cried again. yes yes yes. Finally, hope and change and trust.

Then, the hundreds of thousands of us filed out and into the empty downtown streets. We walked up Michigan Avenue where people laughed and high-five'd each other. People sang songs and laid in the street smiling. Police sat on horses and walked the streets, and we just walked and took photos of our lovely city in its jubilation. We even had an Obama-mask man climb a light pole and wave to the crowds and a man sing "Goodbye Georgie Bush." Without much trouble, we caught a bus and sped right on home.

So, here I am. In August, I went to Springfield, and I stood with 30,000 people in the scorching heat while people grew crabby from heat and lack of water but still maintained their excitement for the Biden VP announcement. Tonight, on an unseasonably warm November Tuesday, I experienced the same sense of history as in August. However, tonight trumps it all in every way.

Here's to January 20, 2009 and an inauguration worth celebrating.

In peace and love,


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Barack the Rally

6am voted, 6:40am back to my apartment! Woo-hoo! There were already 20 people in line when I arrived, but I was thrilled to get in and get out so fast. Then I went to teach and all my students showed up. Good thing I brought bagels, coffee, and OJ for them!

I spent the afternoon walking all around the rally site hoping to find a place to perch later, since I didn't think I'd get a ticket. The streets are closed, barricades are up, and the police are everywhere. People in the streets are selling buttons and t-shirts. I haven't seen one McCain thing anywhere. It's an Obama city today.

Well, I've come up with a ticket to a rally thanks to a friend who asked to be nameless :)...

So, off I go. Photos and cheering later!


Monday, November 03, 2008

Chicago on Election Day

Wow! It's here...

Stay tuned for my election day photos and update on Obamaland (aka Chicago)!

The rally in Grant Park should start around 10pm, and I'll be out there somewhere to hear Barack give his victory speech (no room for doubt).

Busy "soothing away my pre-election tension" with an awesome mix of tunes. Thanks, Chris!

11:15pm in Chicago. At 6am I'll be at the polls...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Springfield, Illinois

I love how traveling abroad suddenly inspires me to travel locally. Yesterday I traveled down to Springfield, Illinois to see Barack Obama and his new running mate, Joe Biden. I decided late in the week that I wanted to be part of this event, and so I booked an Amtrak ticket leaving at 7am and returning at 11pm. Since Amtrak does not run with the precision of European trains, I somewhat expected that my train would be very late and I'd have to find another way of getting down there.

At 7am, on time, the train started moving and we were off. 187 people on that train were heading down to Springfield. I had my small bag all packed for the day: camera, batteries, hat, sunscreen, enough food for the day, journal and a few pens, and a book just in case. The train was full of excitement, except for the guy who sat down next to me and wanted to read his New Yorker the entire time (I was bursting to meet new people, which is why I went on my own). People were talking about Biden as the choice for VP, and someone said there was a hot debate in the cafe car line. At 10:15am we rolled into Springfield right on time (what? on time?).

The day already felt hot and sticky, so I applied my sunblock, sunglasses, and the dorky hat that's seen me through many adventures. Doors were opening at noon, so you had to join the line and wait. By the time I stepped in line at 10:30am, it already snaked up and down 5 blocks, and it soon curved behind me further than I could see. Campaign volunteers were walking up and down getting people to sign up for road trips to woo voters in swing states. People were walking around selling buttons and t-shirts. Even an Obama look-alike all dressed up in suit and tie and nice cufflinks was walking around taking photos with people (and inching his way up in the line so that we eventually saw him go through way at the begining). People were talking about their excitement and hope.

Then they opened the gate. After security where you had to dump all your water bottles, you could buy water for $2 in open cups and make your way (if you could fit) into the area around the old capital building to wait 2 hours for the event to begin. You can imagine the heat with people standing under the hot summer sun for two hours. People tried to move in and out of the area to buy water and bring it back. I happened to be standing right where the traffic seemed to be moving in and out, and the crowd of us in the situation had nowhere to move. Eventually, security were busy as people were passing out, getting dehydrated, caustrophobic, heat stroke, etc. I stood there overhearing everyone apologize for their crankiness to each other.

Then it was 1:45pm. The energy level of all the sun soaked crowed rose up a notch as Obama / Biden signs were passed around. Then campaign people took the stage and told us how we could volunteer. Then the Mayor of Springfield. Then a former Marine and father of a son lost in the Iraq war who said the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag draped from a building. Then a priest for the invocation (asking for the safety of the Obama and Biden families). Then the music.

As I held up my camera to catch Obama coming on stage, my eyes started to water then immediately to sting as the tears and sweat caught in sunblock. What an hour that followed. Obama gave a fantastic introduction to Biden and then Biden came onstage. For over a half hour, we listened to the two of them talk about what they plan to do and how they will succeed. People were taking photos and videos, shouting, and listening attentively (except when someone near them started to feel the effects of heat stroke). I think poor Obama is so used to hearing the phrase "the next President of the United States" that he found himself slipping and calling Biden "the next president." Not much I can say about their speeches that you can't read and watch yourselves, so I'll just give you the photos.

After the speech and many photos of the stage once I could get close to it, I made my way back to Amtrak to change my ticket for an earlier train. Sitting down in the station, I started talking with five women who met on the train that morning from Bloomington, Illinois. We all talked for over an hour about the day, our excitement, the heat, and our individual lives. Talking with them was a highlight of the day and fulfilled my hope of meeting interesting people. The train was 25 min late this time, but we were told it was because the tracks were shut down while Obama's motorcade crossed over. We all (except one) were taking the same train, so I sat in the car with them (and the conductor gave me some well-humored trouble about that, as Chicago passengers were supposed to be in front--oh what a rebel I am!). A few of them were sick during the speeches, so I showed them some photos and videos I took. When they left at Springfield, I was sad to see them go, having really enjoyed the conversation.

What a day! I can say I witnessed a part of history with the photos and videos to remind me when I forget.

Enjoy the photos! Barack the Vote!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Arhus, Denmark

July 27-31, 2008

Upon arriving in Denmark, we took a train straight west to Arhus, leaving Copenhagen for the end. We had a nice quiet 4 days in our little cottage. We went to a few museums, saw Peat Bog Man, went to the beach, canoed, ate peanut butter and sandwiches for lunch and great meals on the town in Arhus. A nicely balanced 4 days.

The white house with the red door. For us tall women, especially Claire, we had to watch out for the heads, but what a great way to wakeup every morning with flowers and a warm sun and breakfast in our little garden. Call me crazy, but that's vacation.

My birthday started with a trip to Den Gamble By, an outdoor museum of traditional Danish buildings--complete with people in costume acting their roles. He took his really seriously.

One of my artsy fartsy shots of a fountain. I have lots of artsy shots of benches and windows and architecture. My photographic tastes are fairly set in stone.

A bit of Chicago in Copenhagen (The Blues Brothers for those of you not in the know).

Canoeing in Silkeborg. Claire is hard at work while I sneak a photo. We had to find somewhere out of the strong current to eat lunch. So we sat in the canoe and ate our...pb & j sandwiches! Three hours to canoe one way and one hour to canoe back. That's a strong current. It was great to be out and about and doing something in nature, until these guys passed us with ease:

This is along the canal in Arhus, where we ate most of our dinners. A quiet, relaxing end to every evening.

Copenhagen, Denmark

July 31-August 3, 2008

After four days in Arhus, we made our way to Copenhagen for museums and lots of food (our lunches of peanut butter and jam sandwiches behind us). I really enjoyed Copenhagen, especially the double-decker bus tour and boat cruise. With only a few days to take in the city, we did a pretty good job going from here to there and sitting in gardens in between cultural excursions.

The view of Nyhavn right outside our door. We ate most of our lunches and dinners along this street, watching people and chatting. Copenhagen is not quiet Arhus.

We passed by her everyday. I can't put my finger on why we loved her so much, but we did.

A trip to Copenhagen must include a visit to The Little Mermiad. Since I adored the Disney film in my teens (Hans Christian Andersen? Who's he?), I especially liked this statue. Beheaded twice by pranksters. Truly worthy of a Brothers Grimm take on her story.

The street where we stayed, Nyhavn, from the canal tour.

mmmm... Mango Salad. What else do you need to know? Don't we look happy!

If you visit Copenhagen, not only should you go to the small but lovely Den Hirschsprungske Samling Museum, you should also go to the Frihedsmuseet (Danish Resistance Museum) about Denmark in World War II. The photo above is from outside the museum.

On our evening stroll through Christianhaven and Christiana, a couple invited us to see the communal courtyard. Another great traveling moment.

A city isn't a city withoug graffiti.

And Denmark isn't Denmark without a statue of Hans Christian Andersen.