Sunday, January 25, 2009

First day of school

Let it be known that Tennyson wore pajamas on his first day of school. He really loves his "dinosaur jammies." It's true: our boy is that kid who wears pajamas to school.

And we know we may be partially to blame, since we're sending our 2-year-old to school. But how else is he going to get ahead and be better than your child?

Really though, it's just a playgroup. It's not real school - it's way too fun, and there are no chalkboards, books, or homework. Just toys. And snacks.

In any case, here are a couple obligatory shots of T's first day of school at the Capitol Hill Cooperative Playschool in the basement of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.


Inauguration 2009
My brother Jared flew into town a week ago to stay with us and attend the inauguration. Yes, he was one of the "lucky" ones and got 4 tickets through Senator Bennett's office. He gave one to me, one to my cousin Ryan who worked on Obama's campaign, and one to his friend Francis who currently attends Dixie State College but originally hails from northern Virginia. Jeremy volunteered to stay home with Tennyson and also babysat another boy from our ward so his parents could attend the inauguration. In the end, I think Jeremy got the good end of the deal.
Jared and I started the week by going downtown and checking out all the festivities.

We ate lunch at Eat First in Chinatown. It was fun to see my brother in my uber-urban environment.
Jared is the one near the center in the white hat. I had to get Obama on the jumbotron.
It was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and was a day of service.
Jared and the Prez.
Jared and me in front of the Treasury.
Jared standing near where the parade ended. The large white structure to the left is where Obama and his family sat.
Jared with the Washington Monument sticking out of his head.
Me on the mall, jumbotrons and all.
Now this is a great story. Sen. Bennett's office had many silver tickets left over. I guess there were not that many travelers from Utah who wanted to see the inauguration. So Bennett's office just started giving them away. Word got out and there was a huge crowd at their office. The tickets were gone in a matter of minutes. I was proud of them for being so practical about it.

We got to the blue gate area around 8 am. There were huge crowds and no one telling us where to go. Thousands of people were either wandering, or standing in a random line. We found what we thought was the line and waited. And waited. And waited. For HOURS, this is all I saw.
But I got to see a lot of great hats.
As time passed people started to realize that there was a chance that even though they had tickets, they were not going to witness the history they thought they would. Instead of witnessing the swearing-in ceremony of our first black president, we became witnesses and victims of Blue Gate. It was beyond dissappointing. The only thing that kept everyone from going raving mad at the situation was that in the back of everyone's mind was the fear of being trampled. The crowds were so huge, and so tight, that one wrong word could act like a spark to a powder keg. So we waited, patiently, in our pathetic, self-made lines that led nowhere. Eventually the ceremony began and we could not see or hear anything. So we improvised...
We listened on cell phones. This was the method of choice for Jared, Francis and me. We called my dad and he set his phone next to his TV. It was pathetic but all we had.
These lucky folks had a radio. In the end it was still amazing to be there. I could only gauge what was happening by the reaction of the crowds around me. So when everyone started crying, I realized Obama was president and then I started crying too.
Francis cried too. But not out of joy. Her dissappointment went way beyond mine for several reasons. One of which was the fact that she made significant sacrifices in money, and school work to be here. I walked a mile from my house.
We took pictures in front of the Capitol to make ourselves feel better.
And it helped.
On our way to the parade route we stopped on East Capitol Street and said good-bye to Bush.
Then we got to the parade route. The police would not let us through the barricades so we bi-passed them by going through the Russell Senate Office Building and coming out on the corner by where the parade started. People were everywhere and looking for the best seats they could.
On shoulders...
On lamp posts...
On railings...
We saw famous people and their ambulances. And that kind of made up for the fact that we missed the inauguration. This is Kennedy's ambulance. You may have to click on some of these pictures to really see them well.
Here is President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosslyn.
This is Cornell West. Francis got an interview with him. It was an important day for people . . .
and their hair.
and their dogs.
Finally! The parade started.
And he appeared! Yes we got to see Obama and Malia.
And you can see Sasha too.
Here is Biden.
On our way back through the Russell Senate Office Building I saw some things that made me think. One thing, is who on earth made these women work that day? They ought to be ashamed of themselves. I've just waved to Obama on the street and I come inside and these women are cleaning the building. Are you kidding me? I think that that is just plain wrong. And yet, they had such great attitudes!
The greatest irony of the day was the office I passed on my way out.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some kick

Around Christmas, I was enjoying a glass of eggnog (non-alcoholic) and Tennyson kept tugging my arm and asking for some, so I let him take a swig. Mid-swallow, he looked up at me with a look of shear terror. He's not accustomed to flavor in his drinks--Suzanne's the gatekeeper of all things that go in his mouth, and she doesn't approve of sugar, spice, or anything nice. Not wanting my son to hate me, I used my best child psychology to divert his shock: I smiled real big and said in my happiest voice, "That's got some kick!" It worked. He decided to go in for another try. This time he took a big gulp, smiled, and said, "Some kick!"

In the end, Tennyson won the psychological battle: I loved hearing him say that so much that throughout the holidays, every time I had a soda or eggnog or juice I would slip him some while Suzy wasn't looking, just to hear that sweet little exclamation, "Some kick!"

Well, about a week and a half ago, Suzanne took Tennyson up to Enterprise, UT (about 45 minute from St. George), to visit her grandparents. Within five minutes of arriving, Tennyson had broken into grandpa Terry's medications and chewed up an Alzheimer's pill. Suzy called poison control, and they told her to watch for a list of signs that something might be wrong. Five minutes later, poison control called back and had changed their collective mind: it was time for a quick ride to the ER. So, Suzanne jumped in the car and sped Tennyson to the St. George emergency room. He vomited for the first time while in triage. They strapped him to a gurney and started pumping black, sludge-like activated charcoal down his gullet. At first he took it like a man, but then it was just too much and he started screaming. When they finally stopped pumping, he coughed and spat to clear his mouth. With black, sticky goo running down his face, he looked up at Suzanne and said, "That's got some kick!"

That's my boy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday Bike Ride

I rode my bike to a little concert this afternoon while Suz and Tenny were napping. Half the nation was there.

Obama, Biden, and a lot of famous people are somewhere over there. You can pick out the Secret Service on the roof. Forest Gump was running through the pond.

It's fun being around the festivities, but I personally think inaugurations should be held in April. Or Miami.

I worked my way through the crowd but could only get as close as the Washington Monument. Luckily they had dozens of screens so that we could see the action almost as well as those watching it on TV in their warm homes.

Security's tight inside the Green Zone. And uptight. I had my bike inspected on two separate occasions. Seems to me that bags would be more of a threat, but whatever.

Obama fever is in full throttle.

They're just putting the finishing touches on these parade-viewing stands (built since the election in front of the White House). President to the left, media to the right.

All the buildings along the parade route are decked out. This is the Willard Intercontinental Hotel. It's hard to say which there are more of in this city right now: people, flags, or Port-A-Johns.

And finally, some good news: the parking situation should start improving around 2 am on Wednesday the 21st. It will still be horrible, but that's normal.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My favorite things

"Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows."
--Sextus Propertius - Elegies

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
--Thomas Haynes Bayly - Isle of Beauty

Come home Suzy and Tenny! I miss you.