Due to lack of sleep, mild exhaustion, and preparing for the baby, I am taking a sabbatical from blogging. I might or might not return in the new year. Thanks for those of you who stopped by over the last couple of years or year? Take care and may all your blogging wishes come true!
Yes we did. This morning I woke up feeling like I moved into a new country and yet I did not change my zip code. I have regained my confidence in the U.S. and my fellow countrymen and women. I feared the the color of a man's skin might prevent a beautiful person lead our country back to greatness but the voters proved me wrong. And I am glad.
Yesterday morning, I awoke at 5:00 a.m. to prepare to be at my polling location to work as an Attorney Poll Watcher for Barack Obama's campaign. Typically, rising that early would put me in fits of grump and grumbling. Instead, I pulled myself from my bed knowing important work needed to be done. After showering and eating my steal cut oats, I left my house in the dark and began my few errands before arriving at the polling station at 6:30 a.m. Upon arriving, I noted all of the election officials either setting up or talking about the day to come. I met with my fellow poll watcher and we promptly began our duties making sure the Judge of Elections set up the voting machines appropriately and we verified everything was in working order. The Poll Observer, a NY attorney who came to my city to ensure that every who could vote did vote, arrived shortly thereafter. Our team was ready.
At 7:00 a.m., the doors opened for a line of anxious voters. One by one, they patiently moved toward the table, signed their names, and stood before the voting machines. The Judge of Elections made sure that after everyone voted that he or she received a sticker proclaiming that the person voted. I do not believe I have seen adults more exciting about receiving a sticker, but of course it was more. These voters knew they were making history.
The day did not produce the difficulties predicted. Some voters went to the wrong polling station and the Judge of Elections did a fantastic job ensuring that everyone found their correct place. As Poll Watchers, we addressed only a few concerns but focused on making sure that those at this polling district and those sent to others voted. It did not matter if the individual was a republican, democrat, independent or libertarian. We wanted every vote to count because honestly, true representation for all would validate the election, not challenges and hijinxs.
One fantastic aspect of this experience was seeing the number of new voters both young and old. Some felt so excited to vote that they kept asking me if they did have the right identification and if they really could vote. They wanted to take pictures after voting and share their experience with their young children. Most everyone left with smiles on their faces. I felt proud to share in this moment with them.
During a lull in the day, I left my location to vote at my polling place. As usual, I passed the small bake sale as I entered the building and the election workers, all older women, greeted me. We spoke about the events of the day as relayed by The Prof: a voting machine broke down in the morning. They remembered him and of course, said nice things about him. When they found out I was a Poll Watcher, they thanked me for participating in this important process. As I walked toward the voting machine, I felt as if I should pinch myself. Today finally arrived and I would be making one of the most significant votes of my life. I stood before the voting machine and carefully made my selections and then reviewed my screen. There was no way I would make a mistake. And then I did it: I pressed the button that would record my vote. The relief and pride I felt was unmistakable.
I returned to my poll watching location and did what I spent the majority of the day doing: making sure everyone voted and thanking each person for voting. Finally, eight o'clock arrived and the polls closed. The Judge of Elections began doing his work recording the votes and printing out the sheets. I waited anxiously, ready to record the tabulations on my sheets to be relayed to the campaign. After waiting for what felt like an eternity, the Judge handed the sheet over to us. Obama received 97% of the votes at this location. We finished up our last minute duties and then at 8:30, our long day at the polls came to a close.
As I drove to my friends' home to watch the election results, I felt an amazing rush but simultaneously, a bit of nervousness. I could not be sure that 2000 and 2004 would not be repeated but as the results rolled in, I knew that we would be fine. And when I looked at my iPhone and saw that MSNBC declared Obama the next president, I was speechless. We did it. Yes we did.
I drove home before The Prof because every part of me ached from the long day and I needed to spend a little time alone processing this amazing moment. I passed a group of individuals dancing and celebrating in the street. I rolled down my window and joined in the whooping and hollering. In my thirty-four years, I do not think I have ever experienced such joy in electing a president. This is a joy that seems to be shared by so many. And this joy continued as I listened o Obama give his beautiful speech which left me wanting to give and give some more. And when I woke up this morning I smiled knowing our baby would be born during Obama's Presidency.
Inspired by Noelle over at The Daily Tannebaum, I headed over to Yes We Carve and downloaded a few stencils. I cannot say I did the most professional job but I know now that if you use a pie pumpkin for carving, it's a lot more difficult than a carving pumpkin. The skin is too dark to see the outline and when you are rushing (yes, I was rushing with my little carving knives), one can make mistakes. Nonetheless, I'm happy that my pumpkin can show its support for hopefully the next president of the United States. So I give you the results, front and back with Zena, my fuzzy little friend who WAS NOT HELPFUL!
This Saturday, The Prof and I drove to a wedding for one of his former students and research assistants. We decided that prior to this trip we would take the baby name book and list of names so that we could work on it in the car. As you may recall, picking a name turned out to be a difficult endeavor. Once we knew we were having a boy, the choices narrowed down considerably. I sat down with the best baby naming book, The Baby Name Wizard, and came up with a relatively long list of boy's names I liked and gave The Prof the option to do the same. Interestingly enough, he trusts my judgment and did not ask to look at the book for other names. As we drove, I would say a name and it would get a yes, no, or okay. There were few yeses on both of our part, many okays, and only a few nos. I read the okays again and we actually eliminated all of them for various reasons. Names I originally thought I loved suddenly fell under the no list. Honestly, I love all three names. I feel like we can hold on to all of them and see what he is like when he's born. Well, basically make a snap judgment of what name fits him best and voila! He is named!
On another note, we are finishing up the registry and oh my, we are still a little befuddled. The Prof told me that I am better at this sort of thing and let me go to town. I think the choices overwhelmed him. We will be heading to Babies R' Us this weekend to look in person and try to finalize our choices. And then our heads will simultaneously explode. In order to be the best registering mother to be, I emailed five friends who are relatively new mothers to ask what items they thought we definitely needed and what items we should avoid. While I'm on the subject, if those of you who have children want to do the same, I would absolutely appreciate any help you can provide. As I said, we are amateurs at this whole parenting business and any friendly advice you wish to share will be appreciated.
When you make a robo-call, you might want to do your homework first. I realize desperate times call for desperate measures but honestly, if you looked up my husband and me in the voter database, you would see that we are registered Democrats, not republicans, not independents, DEMOCRATS. So when you make these calls, you might want reconsider leaving a message for us that calls us Elitist Democrats. How would you like it if I called you racist ignorant pigs? Hmmm? Not so nice, now is it? Or what about nationalist wackjobs? No? Well then, I think you might understand my position. And for the record, I do not support the excessive use of coal; therefore, leaving a recording within a recording of Senator Biden, a man I respect AND FOR WHOM I WILL VOTE (see, a little elitism in there using proper grammar) saying that coal is not the best source of energy does not win me over.
The one thing you did right was leave a telephone number for me to call and remove my number from your list, although I would have enjoyed explaining my feelings about this message to an actual person from the RNC.
At some point, I decided that I should start a baby registry and headed over to Big Box Baby Store. Sure there are hip alternative indie shops where I would to order cool clothes, organic beds, and free range toys (huh?) but I have to keep in mind that those shops tend to be spendy and most folks wouldn't have a clue where to look. And I know, it's not all about folks buying things for the baby but in reality, they want to so I must oblige AND make it easier.
I set up my account and cocked my head at the computer when it asked me what the theme of the baby's bedroom is. Wha? I don't know...a baby theme? I left that blank. And then I noticed that it had a suggestion for new parents so of course, being a new parent and more clueless than you would care to know, I clicked. DEAR GAH! The list seemed endless with different categories and items clearly I could not identify. And being the savvy consumer (well with the exception of seeing pretty red shoes on Zappos and ordering them without hesitation), I knew that Big Box Baby Store wanted me to BUY! BUY! BUY! and I knew I needed help. So what's a girl to do? Email Opposite Twin, my dear friend who recently had a beautiful baby boy and incidentally was the only one who guessed correctly that The Prof and I were having a boy.
Being even more consumer savvy than I, she directed me to the best book in the entire universe: Baby Bargains by Denise Fields. Amazon soon sent me this glorious book and I sat on the living room couch for two straight hours absorbing this great masterpiece. In fact, I didn't notice when the sun had gone down and I barely felt the need to turn on a light. The author provided insights on where to buy items, what manufacturers avoid, what I definitely need to purchase new, why I should avoid baby stores for certain items, and what I absolutely do not need to purchase. It was like the sky opened and Irish Wolfhound angels sang to me and all was right in the baby shopping world.
What does this all mean? First, I do not need to purchase every item on the the registry list just because it is suggested or strongly suggested by Big Box Baby Store. Second, research is key to being a smart consumer. Without helpful tips from experts and experienced friends, it is easy to become overwhelmed by the choices. Third, I can be creative when it comes to certain items like dressers, rockers, and book shelves. I don't need to buy a matching furniture set for someone who really could not care less. I can use antique dressers handed down by family, stain unfurnished bookshelves (or at least The Prof can) and look at rockers and gliders at regular furniture stores. Plus, the baby does not need every loud, shiny, blinky toy on the market. In fact, The Prof and I would rather he not have those types of toys. Our dear friends in Boston have a lovely boy nearing two years old and I admired the minimal amount of toys he had. Most of the toys were educational and his father made blocks for him with which he loves to play. And can I say that this little boy speaks better than some adults I've encountered. Finally, consult someone, and that is Opposite Twin, for advice on what she liked, didn't like, and what we will absolutely need.
So here are our goals: we plan on sticking to the basics and buying only what is absolutely necessary. There is no need to decorate with an elaborate theme with all the matching lamps, curtains, and bedding when we all know everyone will become sick of it. Being the hippy liberals we are: we plan on sticking with educational toys, books and I'm sure when he's old enough, many many chemistry sets. And of course, being hikers, we plan on introducing him to the wonderful world of the camping, hiking and eventually skiing. Hopefully our minimalistic vision will hold because not only is it good for our wallet, it is also the responsible thing to do for the earth.
Certainly not in my pocket. Perhaps under the bed? No, that's just a cat. As we watch the markets collapse, homeowners lose homes due to foreclosure, and retirement funds dwindling, it makes me wonder: will I have the energy to work UNTIL I AM 80??? I hope not. I really really hope not. But while The Prof and I have decent paying jobs, make all of our payments on time, and have just enough left to throw in savings, I still feel the belt tightening. And no, it's not my widening belly. What is happening? I think we are spending less. We try not to eat out too much. Rarely do I go shopping. What gives? Is food that much more expensive? Does the price of gas really hurt that much? What are we doing wrong???
If you will turn your attention to the right of this blog, you will note Bossy's Poverty Post badge! Because of my work, I completely support this endeavor. And because of my support, I will try to post my attempts to decrease debt, save money, and live a more modest lifestyle. That is something we all should probably be doing.