Friday, January 25, 2013

The Inauguration

Yes, I promised to write up about our trip to Obama's second inauguration and here goes.

First thing: GO TO AN INAUGURATION.  WoW!  That was fun! And we didn't actually attend the inauguration out on the lawn; we saw it in a warm and cozy office on an enormous, flat-screen TV with like-minded other folks.  But more on that later.  Let me tell you why I think you should go:  lots of energy and live events the public can go to; political celebrity sightings in close quarters; and just being part of what you know is history.

So here are the things I'd advise you to do.

1)  We stayed at a condo in DC.  My friend found one (through her magical ways) and six of us shared it (except an absence or two due to the flu).  At approximately one mile from the capitol, it was within walking distance to nearly everything we went to.  Last time, my friend has stayed in the 'burbs and did not have as much fun as this time.  So bring a group and stay in the city.

2)  You probably know folks who live in and around DC.  Another cool thing about going to DC is hooking up with friends in the area.  I got to see some of our UNC Charlotte I/O alumnae and feel especially cool hanging out with them.  (Our condo was in a trendy/transitional spot near where none of my friends live, so I am very grateful for them arriving by cab/metro/boyfriend to see me!)

3)  There are a TON of affordable events for the public (besides balls) in which you can meet and interact with like minded other folks.  They were a little pricey, but being the very cheap women that we were/are, we also had drinks and meals at them.  Our first reception was for the Council for a Livable World, where we met interesting folks and heard brief talks by Senators Martin Heinrich,  Angus King, Bernie Sanders, and Tammy Baldwin (!).  The really nifty thing is that this same group hosted viewing party the next day for the inauguration for which snacks were provided.  (I work at a university, you see.  We rarely get snacks and when we do, it's a big deal.  Hence my inordinate excitement for snacks at events)  We went to the 21st Century Democrats reception that night and, in one of those small world encounters, a) saw some of the same people from the morning reception and b) found out we have connections with them through our work.

4)  Visiting the memorials during an inauguration weekend is very moving.  We went to the new MLK memorial.  It was packed!!  We saw a swarm of people at the base of the memorial as we walked up and thought, Wow!  It must be very moving!!  Then we heard that Chris Tucker and Jamie Foxx were in the center of that swarm.  So, no, we didn't see them, but we saw the swarm of people around them and we saw their car as they drove off.  Nonetheless, we count that as our Hollywood Celebrity sighting. Generally, the MLK memorial is pretty awesome.  It was also cool seeing all his quotes and realizing that our church is founded on many of the same beliefs.  We also saw the Lincoln Memorial, WHICH IS HUGE, and the Vietnam Memorial which continues to be overwhelming.

5) You should generally be very careful walking around in fake Uggs (Fuggs) watching the little blue arrow move on your smart phone map as you navigate the sidewalks of DC.  Otherwise, unless you are more coordinated and graceful than I (WHICH IS NOT THAT HARD), you could trip and fall and injure your knees and hand.  I'm sure, however, that like me, you will not damage the phone you were holding. Just a word of caution, torn pants and bleeding knees does not make one feel particularly professional or "fancy" at a DC political reception.  Also, HOLY COW my hand still hurts. I had it xrayed on Wednesday and two doctors could not find a fracture, but OOOOOOWWWWWWW it hurts.  Anybody who has info on that should let me know.

So that is it, folks.  Go!  Make your own memories at an inauguration.  It's a pretty cool thing to do.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Playing A Crazy Eight

When Dave and I got engaged, we decided that each of us had four "Crazy Eights."  For us, this means that we can make a big(ish) decision on our own that the other person has to go along with--very much like changing the suit in the game of Crazy Eights.

So far, I used one to move from Los Angeles to Charlotte, NC.  Dave used one to go on a very, very expensive ski vacation with some guy friends of his.(So expensive that we've never spent that much money on a family vacation with all five of us).

This weekend, after 10 years of marriage and 12 years of being together, I played my second Crazy Eight:  We adopted 2 kittens from a local shelter.

We had been planning on getting kittens, but were hoping that our 20.5 year old grandmother cat would, um, "go to college" before we got any more animals.  But she is doing FANTASTIC, despite being absolutely in the midst of kitty dementia. She eats well, pees and poos in the right place, and purrs like an engine when we give her lovin's.  She howls at the shower, but she's had an issue with my bathing her whole life, so there may be some sort of deep rooted issue there.

In any case, she's not going anywhere soon.  And none of our children have ever been around a baby animal.    Well, yes, the chicks last year.  But they grew up so quickly!  And they don't really live in the house.  AND I MISS KITTENS.

So on Friday, a friend of mine liked a picture on Facebook.  This picture featured animals from a local shelter who were going to be euthanized on Tuesday (today, I'd like to add).  The first picture was a very cute grey tabby kitten.  I looked.

I saw that he had a very cute solid grey brother.  I really like adopting litter mates: They play together; they love on each other.  And I knew they were going to be euthanized in 4 da.ys.  It seemed like the stars were aligning for us to adopt these little kittens 

I called Dave.  We discussed.  He had said he was open to a kitten sometime in the future.  But I thought the time to act was now.  So I played my eight.

And now we have Fred and George Weasley!

Fred is the grey tabby and the fearless instigator.  He started purring the moment we picked him up in the shelter.  George is the solid grey one, who was quite shy in the shelter and for most of the first day home.

But by the time I took them in for their first vet check up today, they were both secure and frisky.  They were wrestling each other across the examination room floor while I was talking to vet about how things were going.  (Summary:  very well).

And I'm so glad the children get a chance to grow up with baby animals, too.  Already they have learned important information about cats.

1)  Cats get carsick and it is pretty smelly.  Also, the sound of a cat retching is distinct.
2)  When cats are happy and secure, their tails are up high in the air.  When they are scared, their tails go straight out and are flat.  The first time George's tail went up and the air and stayed up there was a moment of great celebration among the children.
3)  Purrs are beautiful.  Cat toots are not.
4)  Our dog Patches is a wonderfully smart dog who would not hurt other animals, despite being very jealous of them.  Also, giving the dog a treat every time you interact with a new animal?  GOOD IDEA!
5)  We could have had a Sophie's Choice moment at the shelter. Fred and George had a litter mate when we were looking through the pictures.  I told Conor about him and Conor wanted to know what would happen to him if we only adopted Fred and George.  I told Conor.  We both worried.  And we both cheered when we arrived at the shelter and the litter mate had already been adopted.  Discussions about the importance of spaying and neutering were also involved.
6) Nighttime cat snuggles are some of the best snuggles around.  And even with a family of 5 and the bedtime bingo that we play most nights with who sleeps where and with whom*, it's awfully nice to have a cuddly, furry, purr ball next to you when you go to sleep.

So there you go.  We are pretty excited to have the new additions to our family.  As I thought about it this morning, with a geriatric cat, a dog, an 8 year old, TWINS, and chickens, cats really don't take up much room.  And the effort to love ratio is pretty much in our favor.  YAY FOR US!

I think playing this Crazy Eight was worth it.

*That sounds a lot worse than it really is!