What a day! First off, forgot to charge my Blackberry last night, so had just enough charge to get off one post earlier today and it died as I hit send. So my apologies for not posting all day after that.
Mike, Pam (my cousin), her daughter (6, what a doll!), Noodles, Malaika and I all stood in line with the other 240,000 people for almost 3 hours and finally got into the building. The Congressman's staff was gracious and sweet and accommodating and we had just a blast picking up the tickets. The ticket packet is amazingingly beautiful and tears ran down my face as I pulled it out. Think wedding invitation/graduation program with a tad of political rally and beyond anything you've ever seen in your life. It has beautiful inlays, pictures, a program, directions and instructions, and I will be taking pictures and posting them.
Wisconsin's Dave Obey threw a post-picking up your tickets party in the Rayburn Office building for all Wisconsinites connected enough or lucky enough to have a Golden Ticket (yes, Willy Wonka's been running through my head for days LOL). What a bash!!! The WI people know how to throw a party!
First a rundown of the celebrities in attendance while we were there (sorry Boris and Doris, to take your gig, but just have to this time). I spoke with, Ron Kind (who was just in the best mood, friendly excited, happy and even a bit cautious "We have a lot of work to do, what a mess he is stepping into!"), and we walked into the party with him as he stopped and took time to introduce himself to the girls.
As we walking into the party, the first person I in the packed room was none other than F. Jim Sensenbrenner! What a surprise that was! You have to give him credit. Dude represents everyone in his district and whether or not he agrees with the democrats he represents, it was really a classy move for him to be there! On top of that, he was really friendly and in a great mood and we had a genuine discussion about voting rights that was interesting and important and I appreciated him taking a moment to spend with me letting me know his thoughts. More on that in another post on another day. Thank Sensy for your graciousness today of all days. It was noticed.
Others I ran into included some cool union and progressive activist folk, and some politicians like Tom Barrett, Willie Hines, Dave Obey, Mike Sherman, Tammy Baldwin, Steve Kagen and his awesome wife Gayle, I missed Gwen Moore although know she was there and had dinner with her a a mutual friend's house the night before and a great conversation with her, so it was still okay. A few other notable names here and there, but really the most amazing thing about the event was that there were hundreds of people I didn't know there!!!
Congresspeople really only gave a very few tickets to a few people "in the know" and really did run what seems to me a fair and equitable lottery! This was the most awesome thing about the event! Kudos to all the Wisconsin Congresspeople! They made sure that the people got the tickets and I've never been so happy to go to a party and not know 90% of the hundreds of people there. My cousin meet a 62 year old woman from northwest Wisconsin who had never been to DC and was beaming about even coming here for the first time and over the top about the reason. People were beyond in a good mood. I have not met one cross, angry, frustrated or upset person since I hit the road for DC!!!
The love in this city is contagious, palatable, honest and real. I've never seen anything like this. Let me give you an example. We walked into a coffee shop to get the kids some sustenance before hitting the long lines we'd already scoped out. I was ordering, paying and collecting stuff, Pam was collecting stuff and Mike took a short break. The girls just went and sat down at a table and we paid no attention to them as it was a bit of a zoo in there. The chair backs were under a ledge and I didn't even think about the girls sitting down in an otherwise packed coffee house. I started dropping food on their table and the next thing I knew a woman smiled at me, a said to one of the girls, "Dear my coat is on your chair." I was horrified and began to apologize profusely. She stopped me and said, "Don't worry about it, its really fine." and walked to the other side of the coffee house and sat down at an empty table. 15 seconds later a guy did the exact same thing to the other girl's chair and again realizing the full scope of the fact that our children had basically stolen (however innocently) someone else's table in a packed room... Again, apologizing profusely again met with, "It's really not a problem, we're happy the children are comfortable." and walked away with a smile. I thanked them as we went out the door and again they smiled and said "No worries".
I imagine a totally different scenario where they yell at me, I gather my children and embarrassed run out of there, but not in Obama's DC. Not this weekend. I don't believe anything could rattle the mood in this city at this time. It's pure ecstasy.
We are truly honored to be experiencing the majesty of this week and to be able to share it with you. We have taken so many pictures, we will have to upload them all at once when we return because we have been hurrying up to wait since we got here and getting back to late to be able to upload them and sleep to be ready to hurry up and go the next day. If I don't get to bed soon, I won't be up at 4 AM to get to the ceremony and that's just not an option.
Our cell phones are in the chargers. We have our layers laid out to keep warm. We have a plan to get into the city and to get out. We are ready to watch history and more excited than ever in our lives!
Tomorrow, I'll be blogging again as it happens and hope you'll stop out to get my take!!!