Archive for January, 2009

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Living Life on Purpose

Religion and Philosophy Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally Posted at Generation Cedar}

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” (John Lennon)

Is it possible, in this noisiest-of-ever-century, that we hardly ever hear, hardly ever see anything much?

Have you ever noticed your world when the power goes off? It’s not just that you can’t check your email… it’s a deafening silence that might drive some crazy if it lasted long enough. All the hums and quiet roars are dead, and we are left with much less–or is it more?

I think if we don’t live on purpose, we won’t live at all. If we don’t see through the daily whir, and hear through the daily buzz, we might just miss the life we were intended to live.

If you’ve lived very long, you know that life isn’t that long. Can we say as someone did,

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.”

It’s not hard, really. It’s not sky-diving and Rocky-mountain climbing…

It’s another warm hug today; choosing to cast a gentle glance in the direction of one you love, rather than a day-worn scowl.

A walk outside, closing your eyes, and raising your face to the warmth of an autumn sky.  Saying out loud to your children…”Isn’t this world glorious–the one our Lord created?”

Curling up to read Dr. Seuss again, ending with a tickle.  Speaking words of life into someone’s heart.

All these smallish things, woven together over a lifetime make a life well-lived.

Ann Voskamp says it so beautifully…be sure to read the article:

“I mean, it’s curls of mozzarella and cheddar piled high in a golden pond of glorious day and I’m changing the settings to macro, increasing the ISO, and pulling in for a close-up frame. And a farming man walks in on me, one who’s fed 650 sows with one strong shouldered arm this morning, flicked on a welder and melded steel together, a barn maintenance project, then revved up the Magnum, filled up the spreader, and hauled several loads of manure to the field. Sheepishly, I look up, laugh awkwardly.

It’s quite possible that the fine art of an exquisite ring of shredded cheese may be lost on him….it is not.” Read more….What Will Be Magnified

Editor’s pick by Michele at Sparks and Butterflies.  Kelly is one of those blogs I read for encouragement, and admonishment.  A devout Chistian homeschooling wife and mom, Kelly is never afraid to say the Truth to you.  She doesn’t shy away from hard or controversial topics.  You know where she stands, and I really respect that about her. And here, another example, where she challenges.  Are you living life on purpose?  You can read her blog, or subscribe to her feed.

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S.M.A.R.T Goal Setting

{Originally posted on MizFitOnline}

First the tip (please to file under seriously does she think we’ve never heard this before? and then cross reference under no, People, but I am hoping to trigger an Ah Ha! moment in you).

Goal setting.

It’s that time of year my MizFit friends.

While many of us set fitness goals in January the greater number of us launch full fledged workout attacks/diet revamping & newer loftier fitness goals as bathing suit time approaches.

(brief aside. two things. first? MizFit does not condone this and actually adores the I dont give a crap care attitude. second? I actually overheard a conversation at a local park between two mothers where they were discussing dropping their carbs in anticipation of the community pool opening. Really, People, please to promise me that you shall never become that obsessed. It’s all about health: feeling better, living longer, living healthier.)

Whether your goal is rocking the tankini with confidence or running in your first race the most important things is setting S.M.A.R.T. goals (here’s where you hit print):

It’s really quite easy to do and, just as with our trunk stocking last week, sets you up for success with regards to goal achievement.

By way of example lets use my goal of incorporating more yoga/meditation time in my life.

S. Be sure your goal is specific. Quite. I will start doing my Rodney Yee yoga dvd 3 times a week at 715 pm whilst wearing my boxers and a tank top (yes, Im kidding, but you get the idea. details are key.)

M. Measurable. I will know my goal is accomplished when I do the above.

A. Attainable. The ole notion of setting ourselves up for success. For example, I shouldn’t plan to have a yoga studio opened by mid-April.

R. Realistic. The goal should be one you are both willing and able to work toward. In my mind it should also be something you believe you can achieve (hello Law of Attraction!).

T. Timely. Set a timeframe (please to see “R” above) so that you have a sense of urgency or, as I like to say, a fire lit under yer arse.

My goal would then look like: I will be doing my Rodney Yee yoga dvd a minimum of 3 times a week at 715 pm whilst wearing my boxers and a tank top starting April first going through the summer.

Easy? Yes, in theory. Hard? For sure—-to put into practice.

Make sense? Confused? Hit me up in the comments.

Now, before we go and get too serious, organized & goal-driven I must share with you my guilty pleasure.

Im turning myself in.

I HEART the Warner.

Her show Workout? Im obsessed with the drama, nicknames, the tear jerking, the client successes, the birthdaycakeicingthick make-up worn in the gym by the trainers no less, the dogs, the dating—all of it.

Love.

season three starts April 15 and I already have my DVR ready (and am stalking trying to secure an email interview with Jackie. Any six degrees of Warneration out there?).

Anyone else care to out themselves (*drums fingers on desk*)?

Proclaim your Jesse/Rebecca/Peeler love?

I’m waiting.

Editor’s Pick by Women’s Diet and Fitness.com. I have been a fan of MizFit for quite some time now and I have never read a posts of hers that didn’t either educate me or make me laugh or BOTH! Her posts are by far the best way to start out your morning! You can read her original post HERE and make sure to subscribe to her posts so that you’ll never miss out! I know I don’t want to!

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I Come From a Land Down Under

Personal Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally posted on Rimarama}

I’m short.

Not freakishly short, mind you, but short enough that I’ve contemplated disabling my driver’s side airbag, just in case.

During my tortuous school days (when I was short with a boy’s haircut, braces, glasses, a weird name, and plastic hoop earrings), it used to really get me down.

“Dear God, it’s me, Rimarama. Please let me get my period before Dawn Bachmeier, let T.J. Trumpower like me and, even if we don’t get married, please make it so that he asks me to the Howdy Dance. And Dear God, please let me grow at least four more inches in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

I’m a bit more comfortable in my skin these days, but every once in awhile somebody will come along and burst my bubble.

Like today at Jazzercise.

(I left the J-dog with my parents, in case anyone is interested.)

I was minding my own business before class got underway, practicing my deep breathing exercises and copying the warm-up stretches the lady in front of me was performing in a nonchalant “I do this all the time” kind of way, when I noticed the girlfriend to my left was checking me out.

At first I assumed she was coveting my totally kick-ass leopard print leotard and crazy stripe leg warmers, but after a time, she turned to me and said,

“How tall are you? Because you are NOT five feet tall!!!!”

(Fur bristles, talons release. Engage Rimarama fight mode.)

Because excuse me? Did I forget to take down the sign on my back? The one that sez I’m “FIVE FOOT FOUR AND FULL OF MUSCLE” ????

For what other earthly reason could this person be so interested in whether or not my stature reaches the highly esteemed five foot mark?

Rather than karate-chopping her a$$ according to my first instinct, I gingerly turned my head to face my attacker.

(Gingerly, because it’s almost Christmas and plus, I woke up with a touch of vertigo this morning. Word to the wise: vertigo and Jazzercise, not a winning combo. Post for another day, my friends.)

“Just barely and not quite, why do you ask?” I said brightly.

I sized her up and that’s when I saw it.

Girlfriend and I were at eye level. She was just as vertically challenged as yours truly, except bigger boned, if you will.

(But I knew I could take her down, if need be, ’cause I’m full of muscle.)

But no harm, no foul, my friends!

It turns out she was just happy to meet a fellow shortypants.

We bonded.

“How old were you when you finally got to ride Space Mountain? OhMahGah, me too!!!!

“I think Ann Taylor petites have changed their sizing scheme, the bastards.”

and

“Were you in love with Michael J. Fox?”

Now we’re Best Friends Forever.

Or at least for Jazzercise.

Editor’s pick by Loralee of Loralee’s Looney Tunes:  I first noticed Rimarama’s blog because of the pithy comments she kept leaving on my site. Let’s face it, if someone is funny in their comments, chances are good that their blog is funny as well.  I wasn’t wrong about this.  The woman has made me laugh a lot.

I knew I had to feature this post because it was the one that got me hooked on her blog and I loved how she took a life long body-image issue and turned it into something funny.  I am touchy about being a tall Amazon and so even though I am NOT short,  I related to her feelings regarding her height in a way that made me chuckle.  You should go have a few laughs over at her blog.  She’s groovy.

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Recession-Busting B2B MarCom Tip #4: Re-Energize Your E-Newsletter

Business Blog Nosh Magazine{Originally published on Dianna Huff’s B2B MarCom Writers Blog}

According to an October 2008 survey of 189 marketing professionals by Forrester Research (Making Social Media Work in B2B Marketing), B2B marketers continue to rely on traditional digital marketing methods to drive leads — including e-mail newsletters.

Yet, given the rise of blogs and other social media tactics — and overflowing e-mail inboxes — you might wonder if something as lowly as the e-newsletter is still a viable tactic.

The answer is: most definitely. Think about it. Despite the buzz about social media, email remains the #1 activity on the Internet. This means that all of us check email, read email, and respond to email constantly.

Plus, not everyone reads blogs or has a LinkedIn/Facebook account. I’ve had PR and marketing professionals tell me they never read blogs but they continue to read newsletters, something I realized based on my own experience.

Although I have this blog and Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts, I still have people subscribing to my e-newsletter every single day.

(But, just because people still subscribe to e-newsletters doesn’t mean they’re reading them. If I get tired of a company’s e-newsletter, for example, I don’t unsubscribe, I simply delete it without reading it.)

If you’re a marketer who has been putting out an e-newsletter for years, now is a great time to look it over to see how you can re-invigorate your publication, and your audience, too, with the following tips:

1. Look at your email stats for the last year.

2. Survey your readership.

Set up a simple survery using one of the free tools available, such as Zoomerang or Survey Monkey. Constant Contact now offers survey capabilities, too.

Keep the survey short and sweet so that you don’t waste people’s time. (I like to keep my surveys to ten easy questions that can be answered in two minutes or less.)

Ask your subscribers how often they want to receive the newsletter and what topics they want to read about. If you’re a larger company with multiple products or business units sending out one e-newsletter a month, ask your readers if they would like content written just for them.

3. Make your newsletter a priority.

Newsletters tend to fall through the cracks, I think, because they’re seen as “fluff” versus revenue generators.

For an e-newsletter to be successful — that is, to generate leads and ultimately sales — you have to make it a priority. This means you publish it on time all the time, that you continually develop new content for it (and not use warmed over press releases), and that you analyze your statistics in order to explain to management why the e-newsletter is a necessary marketing tactic.

Done right, B2B e-newsletters are a great way to stay top-of-mind with prospects not yet ready to buy and maintain relationships with current clients. It’s why I’m still publishing mine and have been doing so for the last eight years.

For additional information about email marketing, be sure to download the following reports and articles (which came to me via e-newsletters — ha!):

Exact Target: No Executive Left Behind: 10 Things Your C-Suite MUST KNOW About Email Now

SilverPop: Spam: What Customers Really Think

ClickZ: 10 Reasons to Be Thankful for E-mail by Karen Gedney

Are you a B2B marketer with an e-newsletter success story? If so, I’d love to feature it on this blog. Drop me an email at: info@dhcommunications.com

Editor’s Pick by Melissa at Breaking The Dress Code: Dianna Huff specializes in B2B marketing communications and search engine optimization (SEO) services. Her site B2B MarCom Writers Blog focus on issues and information specific to B2B marketing. This original post can be found on her site. Subscribe to the feed or follow her on Twitter.

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Remember

Family Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally published on The Extraordinary Ordinary.}

“You’re not going to remember any of it anyway,” was what she said. I felt like she had just socked me in the stomach. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but forgetting makes perfect sense. I do it all the time.

But this? I’m not going to remember this? I guess she would know, she’s been through it.

The sleepless nights, the loads of diapers and laundry, the tantrums, the baths, the food flung across the floor. Those are the things she was referring to, saying I’d forget all of that. She was meaning to encourage me. And yes, I don’t really mind that I’ll forget all of that. I will enjoy my hindsight rose colored glasses when they arrive years from now.

But I would gladly remember all of the stress and strain, fatigue and frustration vividly if it meant I would remember all the rest just the same.

PatacakeBecause it makes me sad to realize that I’m also bound to forget the beauty of these years. That fresh out of the bath smell. That toothy grin. The way Miles says ‘careful’ about five different ways, all of them hilarious. The wiggle of Asher’s shoulders as he does a little dance. The pudgy little fingers holding tight to that blankie. Those pouty little lips. That laugh. Oh, that laugh from the gut that surrounds me and makes me feel hugged. I will miss that. I don’t want to forget.

She said that even though she had pictures and videos, it wasn’t the same. She still couldn’t remember on her own. The pictures were reminders, but not experiences. The videos seemed to be of a child she no longer knows, because she can’t remember.

I suppose it’s like my own childhood memories, vague and a bit fuzzy around the edges. Some more vivid, but always fleeting. Like a dream you wake up from and try to get back to by quickly closing your eyes and willing yourself to remember. Most of the time you can’t. I suppose it’s like that.

I wish I was going to be able to remember it all. Miles and I running through puddles in a down pour at the Farmer’s Market, splashing and laughing. Miles a little unsure at first, then looking at me, reading my face and relaxing, letting himself have fun in the rain. His drenched hair and wide eyes. The slap-slap-slap of his shoes as he ran. The smell of rain, herbs and flowers in the air as I listened to the thunder and my son’s laughter. Oh, how I want to remember.

“You’re not going to remember it anyway.”

I thought about forgetting so much after this conversation. I thought my heart would break at the realization that I’m going to forget.

Then I thought about the future, pictured myself sitting there trying to remember. I imagined it and realized that the mom in that photo in my mind wasn’t sad. This Future Me wasn’t sad. Because these two boys were still there, making new memories with me. They were 6 and 8, or 16 and 18. They were 30 and 32. And I imagined how I will still be there, wanting to eat up every moment, pouring my love on them and watching their lives.

Even if I’m not going to remember it all, I want to live it all. There’s not a thing, good or bad, I want to miss.

Maybe I’ll be blessed with a good memory in this regard, maybe I won’t. But that will not stop me from living fully aware of the details and fine lines, the tones and the under-tones, the expressions and vivid moments full of life and laughter. The scrunched up nose and crocodile tears. The look in their eyes while they make new discoveries. The feel of their skin. The sound of their voices. Right now. Today.

I am living what I might forget. But I am still going to live it. As long as they are mine to hold in this life, I will live it with them. That makes all the sad thoughts of forgetting turn to happy thoughts of living, eyes turned toward today rather than yesterday. And a heart filled with joy in the expectancy of tomorrow.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t hope that I’ll remember.

Editor’s pick by MommyTime of Mommy’s Martini. Heather’s blog, The Extraordinary Ordinary, is a wonderful mix of stories about the day-to-day moments that make up our lives as parents and deep, beautiful sentiments like this one. She is someone I added to my reader almost instantly, as her writing never fails to lift my spirits. You can check out the original post and all her readers’ comments, or, better yet, subscribe now, so you won’t miss a single one of her funny or heart-warming stories.

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Election Day

Politics Blog Nosh Magazine {Originally published on Lesbian Dad}

I wake up before 6:00am, with the alarm. Dress fast, leave the house before the kids come to bed. I could count on two hands, maybe one, the number of times I’ve done that before.

Daylight savings time at least enables me to pull away from the house in the rosy-fingered dawn, and not the pitch-darkness.

I nab one of the last parking spots at the First Congregational Church, a good thing, since I don’t know where I’ll be going during the day, and there is precious little easy parking in town. Coffee and donuts arrayed on a table outside the church. A long line stretches outside for people who hadn’t attended the weekend Election Day GOTV trainings there. The rest of us go right up to the door, sign in. Name, cell phone number (to be contacted while out in the field, redeployed, what have you). Where would all this work be without the cell phone, one wants to know.

Folks of all sorts there. Young, old, men, women. All races, but mostly white. But this is Berkeley. I wonder what the other “hubs” look like. Across the room I see a man I met eighteen years ago at an LGBT youth activists’ training conference. Two thoughts: one, he’s aged well. Same mustache, even. Two: thank god he made it through the epidemic.

I’m sent off with two fresh-faced young men to a Presbyterian Church in a professorial neighborhood. It’s none of my business, but I think both of them are heterosexuals. It dawns on me: this is just a straight-up civil rights issue to the young people. Each of us has a grocery bag containing a sign, a stack of “palm cards” with No on 8 essentials on it to distribute (Opposed by: Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dianne Feinstein, and on down). Included is a small spool of stickers, should anyone want any.

I position myself exactly where the poll captain directs me, and over the course of several hours distribute a handful of cards. It’s quiet at my poll, and I’m grateful. Before 10:00am it’s clear that this battle knocked the wind out of me long before election day. I am there to help – really, have to be — but I have no spirit with which to do it. Many people smile on their way in. As many studiously avoid eye contact. But it feels like we’re tired of it all. Maybe I’m projecting.

One white-bearded man sporting a hippie-batik kufi cap chats with me at length while his wife remains inside voting. He tells about the vote he regretted, back in 1968. He chose not to vote at all. Humphrey vs. Nixon. “Johnson was supposed to end the war. We didn’t think Humphrey was clear enough anti-war. But he was a good man. In hindsight, we were wrong. We were crazy back then.” he says.

We share hope and budding confidence about Obama’s prospects, about how dearly we all need him in office. He volunteers that he hopes Proposition 8 is defeated. I tell him about the gay Bradley effect. About how typically, in these sorts of battles (and we have 29-odd battles to go by), preachers stir up a lot on the Sunday before election day, and a surge in Yes votes is not unexpected. Polls didn’t put us ahead by enough to counter both of those things.

“Still, I hope it fails,” he says. After a pause long enough to indicate that this kind of statement might still be new for him – the speaking openly of gay family members – he adds, “For the sake of my granddaughter and her partner.”

I’m solo in front of the church for about an hour, ’til the next “shift” arrives. I chat with the third Election Observer I’ve seen that morning. This one was taking a break for lunch, and felt at liberty to speak. Said she’d never volunteered for something like this before, but this election was different.

When I go back to the “hub” at the First Congregational Church, I ask whether there’s anything else I can do that doesn’t involve opening my mouth and trying to speak to anyone about this anymore. Like, can I get people sandwiches.

“They also serve who go and get sandwiches,” I say to Allie, one of the tireless No on 8 workers, and a longtime member of the church. She draws a blank. Riffs on Milton sonnets are unexpected adornments on a day like today.

Back at the hub after my deli run, eating my tuna on wheat, I learn that two of the four young people deploying and redeploying the raft of Berkeley volunteers are from out of state. One: New Orleans. The other: Massachusetts. (I can’t resist quipping to him, “Aha! Been there! Did that!”) This fight feels to them like the front line of social justice battles in the US right now, and that’s where they want to be. Can’t tell if either is straight or gay. Clearly it doesn’t matter.

A woman comes in and says she emailed to volunteer some weeks earlier, but was out of town when she was contacted back by the campaign. Wants to know whether there’s anything she can do today to help. She says it’s particularly important to her, as a Mormon. She goes on to speak quietly, confidently, about fellow Mormons who support marriage equality in particular (and LGBT civil rights in general). Several of us lean in to listen.

I slip home to vote. Our polling station is located in a small building on the grounds of our kids’ favorite local playground, a place I’ve spent countless hours, celebrated numerous birthdays. Once inside, I am so tired (so many late nights, so much lost sleep, so much stress) that I’m worried I’ll louse up my vote. I pull out the ballot, and first thing, carefully, deliberately, ink in my presidential choice. Then I flip the page and find and vote “no” on Proposition 8. Double and triple check it. In case I can’t keep my focus for anything further, I’ve done my job.

I nap in the car for a little before returning to the “hub” at the church. The sandwich has not revived me, and there are hours yet to go. I doubt I’ll be much good for anything, but can’t not keep trying to do what I can. It’s just that what I can keeps getting smaller and smaller.

I’m redeployed again, this time with a large group, to the university’s family and international student housing complex on the other side of town. Everyone but me goes off in a different car, since my childcare ends before the polls close, and I’ll need to leave early. En route to the poll, I see two women about my age with No on 8 signs taking up positions at a busy intersection. It’s coming on rush hour, and I decide to go AWOL and join them. The thought of saying more words to anyone is too daunting.

The women are thrilled to see me, and we agree I should take up the northwest corner of the intersection. I hold up my sign, hum quietly to myself, rock back and forth. I reposition myself to face oncoming cars in the north-south street first, then the east-west one crossing it, depending on the traffic light. Periodically people honk. I flash my fingers in a “V,” which feels to me more a peace sign than a victory sign. I hop from foot to foot as the light fades and the chill picks up.

Images of a 300-person melee at a Southern California intersection some days before come to me (a sea of Yes signs, energy befitting a drunken post-football game frat party; the reporter finally gave up reporting from the scene). I’m glad it’s just us here. This whole thing has been utterly insane.

I see the women on the other side of the intersection cheering and hopping up and down. Obama has Ohio now, and there is now no plausable scenario standing between him and victory.

The darker it gets, the easier the work becomes. I can no longer see the expressions on the faces of the drivers. Which is all just as well. This whole Proposition 8 battle began so long ago, and my own part in it – limited as it was by constraints on my time and on my emotional capacities – had now narrowed to a simple point. Months ago, the introduction of the issues. Then explanation, illustration, persuasion. An attempt to proliferate support. Earlier this election day, face-to-face reminders. A last opportunity to answer questions of confused or fence-sitting voters (we were expressly not not dispatched to hardcore Yes strongholds; no point today in wrangling with entrenched opposition). Now, in the late rush-hour dark, while state after state falls to Obama, my contribution is reduced to that of human sign. A mute reminder. Don’t forget about us.

The women on the other side of the street gesture me to come over. Rush hour traffic has died down, and they’re heading to a nearby poll. I wish them well, and head off to my originally assigned poll, where I find they haven’t missed me. Just what I wanted to hear. All I needed to do (and I needed to) was to have lasted twelve hours today. I’m pretty sure I didn’t change one person’s vote; probably didn’t even remind anyone who wasn’t going to vote anyway. But I had to do something.

Back home, elation downstairs amongst the brother-in-law’s family over the certain Obama victory. West Coast polls close in another hour, but they have the champagne out already. A friend of theirs is over, after coming up from a socialist party down the street. (”You know, not a Socialist Party, but a socialist party,” she deadpanned. The joke really had to be made.) I consent to a sip of champagne, but I am a wet blanket printed with “battle-weary Prop 8 pessimist” on it. It’s my only champagne of the night. The kids are wound up, the beloved is off at rehearsal ’til late. Fiddler opens in three days, and historic election or no, the show must go up.

Upstairs, I wait ’til the kids are in bed before turning on the television to watch the news. An old friend has come with pizza and a bottle of wine. I know that our new president is being announced as I sing to the girlchild in bed. I take my time. When I leave I’ll begin hearing news of how the state propositions fared.

I join my friend and turn on the television just as Obama is striding up to the podium at the Grant Park rally. Amidst the majesty of his victory speech – every note pitch-perfect, equal parts graciousness and sobriety and humility and vision, more eloquence than we’ve heard from a leader in more than a generation – the local election results crawl across the bottom of the screen.

“If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our Founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.”

Mayoral race results, state representative race results, all with the percentages listed.

“It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states; we are and always will be the United States of America.”

Proposition results now. 1A: high-speed rail. 2: humane treatment of farm animals. 3: children’s hospitals.

“It’s the answer that – that led those who’ve been told for so long by so many to be cynical and fearful and doubtful about what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.”

Proposition 4: abortion notification. 5: drug offenses. 6: criminal justice. The crawl goes so fast, and it takes a bit to figure out how to read it. The majority vote-getter is listed on top, whether Yes or No. Percentages listed to the right.

“It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.”

Proposition 7: renewable energy. Proposition 8: gay marriage ban. I think I read the results I dreaded, but then my mind plays tricks on me. They flash so fast on the screen. For one cycle of results crawls I’m not sure if I read right.

Back to the mellifluous voice of our new president, the footage of thousands crammed shoulder to shoulder to witness one of the finest moments in American history. Next time the proposition results crawl across the bottom of the screen, I confirm what I thought I saw. Yes votes leading 54% to 46%. Voters in California sucessfully write a ban on gay marriage into the constitution. The first time in the nation’s history that discrimination was written into, rather than out of a document whose chief purpose is to protect the fundamental rights of the minority against the whims of the majority.

I watch the remainder of Obama’s speech with a mixture of marvel and shock, my hand covering my mouth. My friend and I share only a few words about the scene, a note about one or another gracious or impressive remark. Then the crawl of the state and local results again.

My pizza grows cold.

The beloved calls from the theater; rehearsal was interrupted with the election results. She says she doesn’t want to know about 8 until she’s home. I’m glad. She says she relayed to the cast when Obama took Ohio (her brother texted her: “Game. Ohio. We have our next president.”). “But they’re high school students,” she says. “They’re waiting for the real drama. They want the official call.” They were rehearsing “Wonder of Wonder, Miracle of Miracles” when he was officially declared the President-elect. The music director wept as he played the piano.

The kids wanted to know the results of 8, too, though. Propositions 4 and 8 strike close to home for them, even though not a one is old enough yet to vote.  Their time will come soon.

Downtown Berkeley is a mob scene – a happy one – and the beloved has to take a circuitous route back home. The sounds – car horns honking, shouts and cheers, firecrackers – are audible from our front porch over a half mile away. New Year’s doesn’t sound that loud. The Big Game. Nothing has.

When the beloved walks in the door, she searches our faces for the answer on 8, and finds it right away.

The live coverage of Grant Park is done now, and footage of African American communities celebrating the Obama win are now cycling on the television. This is what drives home the Obama victory to me, bringing me first to my knees, then to tears. Our President-elect’s eloquence stirs, but these images pierce to the heart of his election. The media white-out, for all these months – the mutually agreed-upon avoidance of race talk – is belied in the hours following his victory by how powerfully the black response resonates, from coast to coast.

The beloved says her mother and her partner got in a car just to drive around town (Oakland) and mix with the jubilant crowds. It is impossible not to see the enormity of it all in the faces of the people.

A friend from New Jersey calls, desperate to know any Prop 8 news: his internet is down, and he’s stuck with local network news. He, like many other people far more heterosexual and far less Californian than I am, cared deeply about this. For the first time, my own voice cracks when I tell him that I don’t believe my father will live to see the day that this fight is over. My kids will for sure; I probably will. But my dad: no.

The beloved’s brother calls to say that the results we were seeing were those of inland counties, that Sacramento, LA, and San Francisco counties weren’t even in yet. Don’t give up hope yet, he says. I tell him, it’s a big gap to make up. I can’t afford to hope. He says he understands.

I call back my chum in New Jersey and update him. We exalt Obama and fulminate about constitutionally recognized civil rights going up for a popular vote. In one night, our democracy is burnished to a brilliant sheen it has never yet seen, and then dented. “Cue up the funeral dirge,” I say. “But I guess don’t drop the needle down on it ’til tomorrow morning.”

By midnight, I am spent. I turn in, barely saying goodnight to our old friend. I brush my teeth, and go look in on the kids one last time before bed. The whispery filaments of their eyelashes. Their relaxed bodies, fully trusting in sleep. Unaware of the import of the day’s events. Our daughter knew Obama won, before she went to sleep. That much was clear. She knew that was a very, very good thing.

We never really explained the other thing to her, though. What were we going to say? What are any of us going to say?

Editors pick by Mr Lady at Whiskey In My Sippy Cup: I first met Polly from Lesbian Dad at BlogHer 08, and her sheer passion for life knocked the wind out of me.  And then I read her blog.  And that changed my life a little.  Polly has much at stake in this election, being in a very happy, loving, committed lesbian marriage.  Her strength and endurance and bravery through this crucial and desperately trying time in her family’s life, in her nation’s history, has moved me personally to participate in my country’s political forum more than anything, or anyone, ever has before.  Read the original post, then peruse the rest of her amazing, inspiring blog.  You can also subscribe and have mind-numbingly profound beauty delivered right to your door.

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