Saturday, April 11, 2009

Hi Y'all!

So sorry I've been absent of late. School and work have kept me incredibly busy over the last few months, but I've finally come up for air. Last semester was only 8 weeks long, but it felt like an eternity! I've been killing two birds with one stone though. Johns Hopkins is allowing me to submit a grant proposal as my capstone project (masters thesis.) This works out great because Career Puppy is applying for a federal grant. So I've spent the last several months putting the grant together; a feat I do not wish on anyone! Do you know you have to learn an entirely NEW language just to write a federal grant?! Because no one speaks english they way they expect you to write this thing!! I'll spare you all of the gory details, but after much blood, sweat, and tears, we finally submitted it this past week. Ahhhhhhh..... What a gorilla off my back! Now we just have to wait 5 months to see if we got it.

This semester is going much better. I only need 6 credits to graduate in May, so I'm considered half-time at school. A breeze compared to the last few months. I'll be presenting my capstone to students and faculty on May 9th (send good vibes my way...) Graduation is just around the corner too on May 20th and 21st. I can't believe it is finally here. I look back to Jan. 06 and can't even fathom how much has passed through my life since then.

Oh yes, and if you happen to be anywhere near on Saturday, May 23rd, my lovely husband is having a graduation party for me that day. Come one, come all!! I'd love to celebrate with every one of you!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Historic Day

I'll get all the negative stuff out of the way... It was frigid, there were unreal lines to wait in, and I walked no less than 10 miles and did about 12 hours of aerobics (to keep warm!) But all of that paled in comparison to be a witness to history.

This all started last Saturday. I was editing video when I got a phone call. Caller I.D. said the call was from the U.S. Government. "Oh lawd! What has Gary done now?" I thought! I decided to answer and it was the congressional office of Steny Hoyer (our congressman) asking if we wanted 2 tickets for the inauguration. Uhhhh, no? DUUUHHH! OF COURSE!!! I know you are asking HOW on earth the phone call came to US? Right after Obama was declared the winner of the election, Gar called our senators and Hoyer's office and requested tickets. Hoyer's aide, Fallon told us w
e would have to go down to his DC office to pick them up Monday.

Our dear friend Laura had come up Saturday for a long weekend for a quick visit. She originally was going to leave Tuesday morning to go back home to Charleston. But after considering the historic events about to unfold, she told us she'd be staying for the inauguration. I told her we'd gotten tickets and she said she would just go to the un-ticketed area. Gary, being the King of Schmooze was somehow able to get Hoyer's aide to give us a third ticket!! So all three of us were able to get in the 'exclusive' Silver ticket area with the other 200,000 lucky ones.

The day started at 4 AM. We'd left the house by 5:15 and were on the Metro by 6 (click link for photo.) There were hardly any lines (YET!) Until we got off the Metro. We waited almost an hour to get out of the station. (Photo.) But everyone around us was excited about the day and when we emerged from the Metro, the Capitol building was beautiful. We walked about 2 miles to find our gate to enter, but then had to walk about 3 miles back from where we had come just to get to the end of the line. Oh well... By now it was 7:30. By 8 AM they'd opened the gates and we were moving. I think we got through security and had found a spot we were happy with by around 9:20. We were dead center of the Capitol steps about midway back in the reserved Silver section behind the reflecting pool. AND we had a great view of the Jumbo-tron. We were pretty far back, but closer than about 1.8 million other people. We got to know the people around us and the mood was absolutely jubilant! At 10 AM the music started and by this time we were popsicles! I'd brought lots of air activated hand and body warmers. They did get somewhat warm, but we all agreed that they did little to bring back the feeling in our frozen parts!

I won't describe the inauguration, because unless you were on Mars you likely saw it. I can only try to describe the thunder of gloved and mittened hands that echoed through the mall like a slow wave. The deep growling sound absolutely dwarfed the cannon's they fired after Obama took the oath of office. The crowd was so electrified that there was noise and whoops of excitement all throughout the day; except for when Yo Yo Ma and the quartet played 'Simple Gifts.' Everyone was completely mesmerized! The sun had just come out and the warmth on our faces and the sweetness of the music held everyone completely transfixed! You could have heard a pin drop! It was surreal!!

When Obama was sworn in, the crowd went absolutely wild. People were crying and laughing, hugging and kissing each other... It was like New Year's Eve, Superbowl, the Olympics, and the birth of a child all at once!!

We met people from Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, New York, California, Tennessee, Maryland, Michigan, D.C., Arizona, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama, Texas, Nebraska, Washington State, and even Spain, Holland, and Bermuda! We formed a bond with everyone we met and the people around us became my 'Inauguration Family.' But at the end, we shook hands, hugged, and said goodbye.

Getting out was crazy. You just had to go with the river of people. We had to part ways with Gary. The nut had to do a night shift, so he was going to make his way to the hospital and try to nap before his shift. He had to walk half way to the hospital before catching a cab the rest of the way. Laura and I made our way to the Metro, but we learned early on that they'd closed the station we'd come in to, so we had to head east to the next station over. By the time we arrived, the line was absolutely wicked! We found a Thai restaurant nearby and waited in line an hour to get in. By this time, I was beyond popsicle status. My feet, hands and face were completely frozen and in pain, by back hurt from standing for 8 hours straight, and every muscle hurt from all the walking, dancing, marching in place and other aerobics in my futile attempt to keep warm. Oh, but when we got in and sat down, joy of joys!! A warm seat, hot tea, and delicious lemongrass soup (some of the best I've ever had!!) An hour later, our bellies full, and skin partially thawed, we headed back out to walk about 100 yards back to the Metro. There was still a line, but not nearly as daunting as before. Mercifully, we were on the Metro within 15 minutes and back to our car within the hour.

We walked in the door at home at 5:20. I couldn't wait to get a hot shower and get into jammies and rewatch the festivities id recorded from TV. I think I was out cold by 9 PM and in bed by 10. I didn't even make it through the pre-inauguration yammering of talking heads and still have yet to view the swearing in on T.V. I'm completely in recovery today and feel like I did after my 14 hour surgery. I'm a little wind-burned, still a little dehydrated, a little sore and tired, but it was ALL worth it. I'd do it all over again tomorrow!!