Tuesday, January 27, 2009


"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea." (Isak Dinesen)

"The cure for anything is salt water - sweat (eww, only a litte), tears (tons and tons), the sea (with no sharks), rain, and SNOW." (Me)

Sorry Isak/Karen, but it's true. The first snowfall of the year has hit the Washington metro region hard today. "Hard" being a relative term, of course, as Northerners scoff at our cries of Snowmageddon in regards to a projected 2 to 4 inches. But this Carolina Girl takes what she can get when it comes to wintery goodness.

Did I take the long way to grab lunch so I could be out in it longer? Perhaps. Have I been impulsively sticking my tongue out to catch a few flakes? Oh yes. Have I not realized I was doing it a few times and got caught by a co-worker and curiously eyed at by a stranger? Duh, this is me, of course I did. Do I care? Hell no, it's snowing!

(I reserve the right to take 95% of this joy back should I fall on my ass tonite or tomorrow. And by "should I fall," I of course mean when I fall.)

But for now, it's beautiful and time to head back out in it. Hooray!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Inauguration Pictures

Finally, what you probably care about most, the pictures. Select to make them bigger.

The walk begins.

After hanging around the Capitol for about an hour, trying to get around, we decide to try a different route. Not by tunnel, however, like these poor people.

But through an empty field somewhere in Southeast/Southewestish DC. To bad there's no jumbotron here, it would have been perfect.

Abandoned building we later would realize is for sale. Score!

More people, left of the retaining wall.

The fire truck we ran in front of, oops.

The man selling pretzels. I didn't stop, a choice I would regret an hour later.

At least we know we're going the right way.

Hello Mr. Jefferson! A good sign, indeed.

The Monument, we're almost there!

Until we get stopped for a caravan of tour buses, the most tour buses I've ever seen.

We made it! Our spot beside the Monument.

Brave/stupid people on the porta-potties.

And in the trees.

And everywhere.

Finally, it's time!

Vice President Biden.

President Obama.

Speech time.

Crowd shot.

Done, walking back, through a tunnel, not scary at all today!

Random hill near L'enfant, we think.

It's been a long day.

And the picture journey ended. No shots of me walking half-hunched over on tip-toes because of my 80-year-old back and hips. No picture of us trying every restaurant on 8th street before ending up at Harris Teeter because they were all too full. No picture of me collapsing on my bed and sleeping like a baby for the next several hours. But still, a happy, happy day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Moment

*Note: I have taken great lengths in the past few months to mostly be neutral regarding politics. But this is my blog, my outlet. I am a writer and find great peace in words. Read it, skip it, your choice, I don't care.*

This is a picture of Barack Obama a second before he lifted his hand to take the oath. It's the last second of the Bush presidency.

CNN conducted a mass campaign to have those at the inauguration send in a picture of Obama as he took the oath. They called it "The Moment." The moment history was made. The moment the old guard passed to the new. The moment where you either soared with exultation, crumpled in desperation, or somewhere in between. Either way, the moment where something - inside you, outside you, all around you - shifted.

This is about the moment in between this picture, and the one at the end of this post.

The word "hope" has been bandied about a lot in this election, and for good reason. It's not trite or contrived, it's real. For the first time in a long time, there is something real. I witnessed the inauguration from a spot nearly in the bushes beside the Washington Monument. All around me, beyond what I could see, huddled an estimated 1.8 million people. Every gender, every race, every age, every religion, every class. How often does that happen?

I don't know how you begin to capture the joy and expectancy of those on the Mall. Of those in their living rooms and workplaces across the country and around the world. Those who finally feel that their voices are being heard. Those who know that it's not supposed to be about entitlement and secrecy and might. It's about this. The feeling that we are on the cusp of something big. The great hope of something new. The history of the day.

And this unity, this gathering, is history. And beyond that, as much as we may want to think otherwise, race still matters. It unites and divides and it matters. To quote UNC professor-emeritus Chuck Stone, "recognize the differences, but don't let them make a difference." Recognize that after more than 200 years of rule by the same class, gender, and race, it's time to acknowledge what this means. That no one, including Obama, can possibly speak for every one, but we are too big of a country to let the same people do so over and over again. That race influences who you become just as gender, class, and geography. But it's the voice, opinions, actions, and passion that you draw from all of those factors, that make people take notice. All of that is what made me take notice. All of that is what made people listen.

And I am so proud of my generation for listening, for finally waking up. (Though obviously we were just a tiny part in this outcome.) This is the same generation that brought school shootings, childhood obesity, and atrociously violent video games to the forefront of our national consciousness. And now we are also the generation that finally put our vote behind our over-active mouths. From the college students that waited in line to vote for six hours in Pennsylvania, to every person standing on a corner with a candidate's sign in hand begging you to listen. And I'm not referring just to Democrats, but to everyone who recognized this election was a crucible in the future of our country, even if the outcome isn't what they wanted.

And I hate that as I celebrate the day, there are many who see it as the dawning of a terrifying era. But that gives me patriotism more than anything else. We are free to disagree, and the balance of power can shift in a moment.

So I will remember the crowds and the cold and the sore back. I'll remember the 2 hours it took to get from my apartment to the Mall, instead of the usual 25. I'll remember daringly dodging fire trucks and men holding machine guns with a good friend

But I'll tell my kids about how I took a picture of the last second of the Bush presidency, when I felt the shift occur that changed things. And how a second later I took a picture of the beginning of President Obama, because it happens that fast. And suddenly it's the moment when you know it won't be easy, it won't be perfect, and that day by day that hope might fade away. But not yet. And hopefully not for a long time. It's the moment in between the two, where anything can still happen, I'll try to remember the most.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

An Open Letter

Inauguration post coming soon, promise. In the meantime, a brief open letter.

Dear practically every sports announcer in the country:

Hi, how are you? Sleep well? Enjoy your free dinner*?

I just wanted to write this quick note to let you all know that it is pronounced Hans-BRO, not Hans-BORO. No, really, it is that simple.

And while Tyler is such a good guy that he is probably just happy ya'll are saying his name at all, I'm not such a nice girl. As someone with an alarmingly easy last name that is routinely murdered, I get very defensive at what some may perceive as a cavalier attitude toward vowels and basic reading comprehension.

So please, just take that extra half second as you discuss last year's across-the-board National Player of the Year. Think twice about adding that extra syllable as you announce the name of the all-time leading scorer for one of the country's greatest college basketball powerhouses. You know, that same powerhouse where his jersey will soon hang in the rafters, reading HANSBROUGH, NOT HANSBOROUGH.

I write this to you not only as a fan of proper speech, but also, not surprisingly, as a devoted Tar Heel who has been listening to ya'll get it wrong for four years. "Tar Heel Dead" isn't just how we refer to ourselves in the afterlife; it's also what we can do to you if you repeatedly piss us off. (Yes, I'm looking at you, Vitale.)

Have a nice day!

Carolina Girl '06

P.S. - Just in case you were worried, there's a lot of other stuff ya'll do that angers me, but we won tonite, so I'm in a good mood.

*According to my reporting professor in journalism school: "There's no such thing as a free dinner in journalism. Unless you are a sports reporter."

Monday, January 19, 2009

One man come in the name of love

Given my last post, how I spent my Sunday is going to seem a bit hypocritical. For starters, my wardrobe consisted of: 3 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 3 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gloves, and 1 floppy ear hat.

So did I partake in ice fishing? Skiing? Dogsled racing? Not hardly. Especially as participation isn't exactly my thing, but being a spectator is. Which is why I spent the afternoon on the National Mall watching the We Are One concert.

As much I've been complaining about the people and hassle of this inauguration, I would be a liar and a tool if I tried to deny how amazing it is to be in the midst of it. The whole town is consumed, somewhat begrudgingly at times, but there is an irrepressible energy that is impossible to ignore.

Even more so when you have the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce, James Taylor, Garth Brooks, and, of course U2, performing just for you and several hundred thousand of your closest friends.

It started with the walk down 17th from the metro, where the presidential-elect motorcade sped by us, and I could see Michelle Obama in one of the limos! The people ahead of us identified the Bidens in another limo, but all I saw was Michelle. (Not her limo in the picture, though.)

We made our way through the throngs of people, and merchandise hockers by the dozen, to the security lines, flanked by porta potties and protestors. One protestor had a very Pit Preacher-esque placard describing different types of sinners. I, sadly, fell into several of the categories, including "sports watcher" and "drinker." To be fair, though, it is basketball season so I'm doing a lot more sports watching than usual, and thus there is a bit more drinking than I might usually do on a Wednesday night or Saturday afternoon.

Moving on, the roommate and I arrived about two hours before it started, and after walking beside the frozen reflecting pool for a bit searching for the perfect spot, we found one on enough of an incline that we could see over people's heads...to the jumbotron partially obscured by a tree limb. By the time it started, the cold had made its way through about 3/4 of my layers, but it's hard to care when you have a military band drumming and choirs singing and amazing act after amazing act performing for the crowd.

And by the time I couldn't feel my nose and my sore back was causing me to stoop like an old lady, the president-elect came out, and I finally, finally, got to hear him speak in person. And for a few minutes I forgot all the rest. And then I stopped being cheesy and he stopped talking, Beyonce came out and we started the long walk back to the apartment, made all the more difficult when you can't feel your toes.

Yep, just another Sunday.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Enough is enough

I've been saying for years that I should just pack my bags and move to Guam. This time, I really should. Plus, they have a city named Mongmong, and I approve approve.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Oh, U2

U2 Confirms Appearance at Inaugural Concert

This is going to make it really, really hard to maintain my plan of avoiding Tourists by not leaving my apartment this weekend. How do I balance my supreme love and utter devotion for all things U2, with my intense hatred of people? Which is of course amplified times ten when they are en masse. Yet another prime example of why I need to get my hands on a giant hamster ball.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And the winner is...

The Golden Globes make me seriously happy. I mean, probably more than a silly awards show should. But unlike the Oscars, where I get really into it and upset if the person I want to win doesn’t, I’m just too excited to see what happens next to care. In what other awards show do people randomly give their awards to others, are in the bathroom when their award is announced, or bring a drink on stage with them? Or, even better, give their speech when they’re drunk? None! At least not any of the ones I watch.

And, I think there should be a designated award-picker-upper for those who don't show up. Not surprisingly, I'd like to nominate myself for that position. I'd also like to be considered for the position of the person who hands the award to the celebrity to hand to the winner. I have a degree, I'm qualified.

Except, now on second thought, I'm sure there are some requirements. Like maintaining composure under lights while on camera and the ability to stand still without falling. Sadly, I'm not capable of either of those. Especially the last one. I fall off flat shoes like it's my job.