Monday, June 30, 2008

Fundraising 101

I'm not going to pretend I am an expert in fundraising, although I have done some of it professionally for a political campaign and have also done some fundraising using my own business, but I do know that there are certain things you never do when trying to raise funds for your charity or political candidate. Probably the most important thing you should never do when asking someone to part with their money is to get into a pissing contest with them. For certain, you should never get into a pissing contest with me.

Here is an almost verbatim transcript of a fundraising call I received this evening:

Me: Hello?
Caller (with "private" showing up on the caller ID): Hello, Mrs. Gardner?
Me: Um, no. May I take a message.
Caller: Yes, please tell Mrs. Gardner that Robert Smith called.
Me: Okay, Mr. Smith, can I tell her what company you're with?
RS: Insight, we're a telecommunications company.
Me (thinking this call is about to end): Thank you Mr. Smith. We're on the Do Not Call Registry. Are you aware of that?
RS: I'm not trying to sell you anything. I'm calling to raise money for the Sick Kids Leukemia Fund.
Me (again, thinking this call is about to end): While I'm sure that's a worthy cause Mr. Smith, we only give money to St. Jude's Children's Research Center.
RS: Well, that's selfish! You're only giving to 1 hospital. Do you know how many kids have Leukemia? By giving to us, you're helping ALL the children. Not just the lucky ones who go to St. Jude.
Me: Mr. Smith, I appreciate your concern for the kids, but St. Jude is my choice because my cousin is the child in the silhouette logo for St. Jude's. So that's where my money goes. Thank you for calling.
RS: I don't think so. MY nephew was the ORIGINAL poster child for St. Jude's in the 70s and 80s. Where is your cousin now?
Me: Dead. And I don't think that trying to get into a pissing match with me is any way to get me to donate to your cause.
RS: I'm not trying to get into a pissing match with you. But your cousin is NOT that child in the St. Jude's logo.
Me: Mr. Smith, I was trying to be nice to you. But I never give money to anyone who just calls me out of the blue and asks for it. For all I know, you're a fraud. Take me off your GD calling list.

So what did Mr. Smith do wrong?
  1. He lied to me by saying he was with a "telecommunications" company rather than telling me upfront he was
  2. He insulted me by calling me "selfish" for giving money to one of the most respected children's research hospitals in the world, rather than to his unknown charity.
  3. Finally, he got into a pissing contest with me over who had the most sympathetic personal relationship to St. Jude's.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Who Would Have Thought?

Lou Pinella, the Cubs manager, is famous for his temper. He has no problem telling umps EXACTLY what he thinks and seems to not have the benefit of the filter that most people have that keep their inappropriate thoughts inside their heads.

Frequently, this gets Lou kicked out of baseball games.

But tonight, against the White Sox, in the second half of the Crosstown Classic, Lou blew his top in bottom of the second inning. Not convinced of a call on Joe Crede, Lou rushed out of the dugout and got in the face of home plate ump Rob Drake. Drake, appropriately, tossed Pinella out. Lou knows you can't argue balls and strikes.

I share this with you because this is the first game all season Lou has been thrown out. And I think that may be a record.

So congratulations Lou on holding your temper in for almost 3 months! But just cuz you're annoyed that the Cubs have gone 0-2 in this half of the Crosstown Classic, after sweeping the Sox last weekend, doesn't mean you get to act like a 2-year-old. My apologies to 2-year-olds.

UPDATE: The Cubs lost last night. They were swept this weekend by the Sox, after sweeping the Sox last weekend. So for this year, the Crosstown Classic ends in a tie. But it's ok because this is only the second time in 44 years the White Sox have swept the Cubs. But I think to decide the winner of the 2008 Crosstown Classic, we might have to play maybe another 7 games in late October. What do you think?

This loss represents the Cubs 6th straight loss while playing on the road (yes, playing at the Cell counts as on the road). Clearly the Cubs are unstoppable at home, but to hold onto their 1st place status, they must improve on the road. It also puts added pressure on the All-Star Game, which decides home-field advantage for the World Series.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Reunited and It Feels So Good!

Let's face it . . . you've missed me and I've missed all of you, my beloved readers, too. It's been a long 4 days since my last post. It's not that I haven't had anything to say or a lack of time to say it. I've actually had both. The truth is, I felt the need to step back for a few days and let your hearts grow fonder, which, according to the daily hits report from Feed Burner, they have.

But I'm back! From outer space!

And I've got plenty to say! In fact, at about 1:00am this morning, I was suddenly struck with a great topic to post about. Unfortunately, I can't post it until July 1st. It will be worth the wait. I promise.

But today's topic is Unity. Not only the fact that we are once again reunited, but also that the Democratic Party is finally uniting. Barack and Hillary are back together again, where they belong. The voters are beginning to rally and show their support for Obama. In fact, in a recent Newsweek poll, he is ahead of Bush McCain by 15 points! Yeah!

Now I'm all for unity, all-for-one and all that, but I'm not sure why they had to be matchy-matchy in their appearance on Friday in Unity, New Hampshire. I mean, we get it - they're BFF now. They don't hate each other anymore. All those nasty things they said about the other are water under the bridge. They were just kidding. But dressing alike? Really? Maybe it was a subliminal message that by uniting, we can all turn the Red States into Blue States.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Didn't Get Rich . . .

This whole George Carlin 7 Dirty Words routine reminded me of a funny story from when I was about 5, so I thought I'd share it this morning in hopes that you'd all think it was funny too.

When I was growing up, Jimmy Buffett was constantly on the record player (and for you kids who aren't familiar with these machines, click here) because my mom was an original Parrothead, not to be confused with a Deadhead. Jimmy's music is very singable, even for a 4 or 5 year old. One of my favorite albums then, and now, was A1A, which was released in 1974, when I was 3. We played it over and over and over again. And, of course, being the brilliant child that I was, I memorized all the lyrics.

One of the songs on A1A is called Door Number Three and is about this guy who is trying to make it big and believes his "whole world lies waiting behind Door Number Three" on Let's Make A Deal. He gets himself on the show and loses big. Crushed, after the show, he's walking backstage when he sees Monty Hall and says "No I didn't get rich you son of a bitch, I'll be back just wait and see." Of all the songs on A1A, Door Number Three was my favorite. I'm not quite sure why, given that A1A is full of Buffett classics - "Makin Music for Money," "Stories We Could Tell," "Life is Just A Tire Swing," and "A Pirate Looks At Forty" to name just a few.

But I LOVED this song. And I ran around the neighborhood singing it at the top of my lungs - especially that famous line "I didn't get rich you son of a bitch, I'll be back just wait and see!" I guess I have always been an optimist and believed that no matter what, I would always succeed, even if it took multiple tries.

Needless to say, my mother wasn't exactly pleased and as soon as she discovered that I was running around the neighborhood doing my best Jimmy Buffett impression, she informed me in no uncertain terms that we were no longer going to be listening to A1A and I couldn't sing that song. Something about dirty words in the song. I don't know, but I can't find ANY of the lyrics from "Door Number Three" on the list.

Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin's Famous Seven Word Routine - NSFW!!!!!

In case you've lived in a cave, as I apparently have, and have never seen nor heard George Carlin's famous Seven Dirty Words Routine, I've just ripped this off Boxer Rebellion's blog for your viewing pleasure.

But PLEASE DO NOT PLAY THIS AT WORK or around small children. Truly, it's not suitable for them.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sweep! Cubs Win Over White Sox!

The Cubs just swept the first half of the 2008 Crosstown Classic against the White Sox! So many things made this series special, but here's just a few . . .
  • The Cubs are currently the best team in the Major League at 47-28!
  • At home for the year, the Cubs are 32-8!
  • Tonight's 7-1 victory over the White Sox makes the 14th straight win at home for the Cubs, the longest streak since 1936!
  • The White Sox are also in 1st place in their division with a 41-33 record!
  • Going back to 1906, the Cubs have won 37 of 70 games against the White Sox, but that must not count the exhibition games the Cubs and Sox played for most of last century. I only remember those because I went to one in 1983 or 1984 at Comiskey Park with my family.
So I guess Ozzie Guillen has more reasons to hate Wrigley Field than just the "pig sized rats" in the outfield during batting practice!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hooray for Solar Attic Fans!

One of my least favorite things to do is climb up into the attic during the summer months. Historically, if it's 80 degrees outside, the attic is easily double that. I've always had an attic fan that I've never been convinced did anything other than suck up electricity and cost me more with Com Ed. Also, I believe there are monsters that live in the attic.

But today, I was forced to climb into the attic in search of one of my bins of summer clothes because I needed a cute outfit for a party tonight and couldn't find a skirt I wanted. Prepared for a lack of breathable air and monsters, I hesitatingly climbed the ladder. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it was relatively cool in the attic, despite it being over 80 and very sunny outside! The attic was so comfortable that I could have easily stayed up there and gone through old boxes of crap. I didn't, but I could have.

What's the difference you ask? Well, two weeks ago when Dave was in town, he installed a Solar Attic Fan for me. He sells and installs only Sunrise Solar Attic Fans because they use the most advanced solar panels to collect and deliver power directly from the sun to the highly efficient 12-volt DC motor inside the power vent. A Solar Attic Fan, just as its name implies, relies on the sun for its power, not electricity, as it sucks the heat out of your attic. To be honest, I hadn't really thought about the difference with the new Solar Attic Fan, except that since he installed it, I haven't turned on the air conditioning once!

I love that with my new Solar Attic Fan, I'm helping the environment and living more greenly, but I REALLY love the impact on my wallet! PLUS, there's a 30% tax credit available this year when I do my income taxes! Yeah! AND Dave's business offers a 5 year warranty, which is 4 years longer than Michigan Building Code requires and other companies provide!

Want one for yourself? Call Dave. That's what his new business - Crystal Solarlighting Solutions - does. He can be reached at 231-651-0214. And yes, he'll do installations in the Chicago Area, as well as Northern Michigan.

Oh, I also didn't find any monsters in the attic. That doesn't mean that they're not there. Just that they were sleeping.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Robert Lavender, 1970 - 1983

Today would be my cousin Robert Lavender's 38th birthday. I say "would be" because Robert died when he was 13. He was the first person I knew who died or at least he's the first person who died who's death resonated with me.

When Robert was 18 months old, he was diagnosed with Leukemia. Although his family lived in Roanoke, Virginia, his parents drove all night after the diagnosis to take him to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. At the time of his diagnosis in 1971, children didn't survive Leukemia for very long. In fact, his diagnosis wasn't good and the family was told he wouldn't live more than a couple of years.

St. Jude's was chosen as the place Robert would receive his treatments for a few reasons. First, it was the leading hospital in the country for children. Second, and probably most important, Robert's family lived in Roanoke, Virginia with no other family around. Our Great Aunt Mazie lived in Memphis and the entire maternal side of the family lived 60 miles south of Memphis in Batesville, Mississippi, and they would provide invaluable support over the years.

Over the course of his short life, Robert touched many people and was truly a miracle. He had one of the first bone marrow transplants in children. I remember him going in and out of remission over the years, but he never complained. He was one of the happiest people I knew. Despite his illness and inability to really go to school like other kids, Robert was a Boy Scout, which was one of the things his mom was so proud of.

Robert became so beloved at St. Jude that one year the St. Jude Christmas card featured his silhouette. Today, that silhouette is the St. Jude logo seen around the world.

When he died in 1983, many celebrities, including St. Jude Founder and Actor Danny Thomas attended his funeral.

You've probably heard of St. Jude's through their many fundraisers and television infomercials. One of the things I love about St. Jude's and that makes it truly unique is that they have never turned away any children because of the family's inability to pay. Every child accepted as a patient is treated and loved. Because of that and what they did for my family, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is one of my favorite charities

Surviving until he was 13 was truly a miracle for my cousin Robert. And today, on his birthday, I can't help but think of the lives he continues to touch because of the medical breakthroughs achieved during his treatments at St. Jude.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I've Changed My Mind . . . I'm Voting Republican

It was bound to happen. I mean, who among us is immune to the charms of the Grand Old Party with its Patriotism and High Moral Values?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cool Stuff Happening TODAY on My Birthday!

At 5:01pm PT, California will join Massachusetts as the second state in the country to legalize gay marriage. It's about damn time. For the record, only a handful of states allow civil unions of same sex couples. Illinois isn't one of them. The pic above is of my friends Tim and Tony at their civil union on August 15, 2004 in Vermont. To read their whole story, visit Our Big Gay Wedding. You'll laugh and you'll cry and you'll wish your relationship was as strong as theirs is.

The Cubs are playing in the final Hall of Fame baseball game today in Cooperstown. They have played in the Hall of Fame game seven times, including the first ever game back in 1940, which they won. UPDATE: Due to thunderstorms in central New York, the game was cancelled. That's okay, we don't want to risk an injury to the first place Cubbies

Former Vice President and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Al Gore is endorsing Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for President. Wow. That's a real Profile in Courage. With all due respect Vice President Gore, what were you afraid of? Bill and Hill can't do anything to you anymore. They can't take away the Nobel Peace Prize. What took you so long?

You Say It's Your Birthday? It's MY Birthday TOO!

37 years ago today, my mom woke up and packed a bag. No, she wasn't leaving my father after 14 months of marriage. She was about to give birth to ME!

As the story goes, my parents had visited the doctor for my mom's routine check-up on June 15th and the doctor told my mom that it would be another month before I was born. But having a mind of my own from early on, I decided to make an early appearance the next day. Mom awoke early that morning - at 2:00am because her water broke, cleaned the house, prepared Father's Day cards to be mailed to my grandfathers, packed her bag, and woke up my dad with "Come on, John, we need to go to the hospital." I'm sure my dad's first words that morning were something along the lines of "WTF?!? We were JUST there!" To which my mom replied, "Yes, but Jessica is coming TODAY!"

At 3:00 that afternoon, my parents became parents for the first time. I weighed in at 6 pounds, 10 ounces and just 20 inches long. Plus, I had a full head of hair and big blue eyes.

My mom knew I was a girl from early on in her pregnancy. I'm not sure how she knew, but she claims she did. No disputing a mother's intuition, I guess. So she named me Jessica Lynn before I was born and she talked to me all time during her commute to where she taught. Jessica for my maternal grandfather Jesse Paulk who passed away on my mom's 13th birthday. And Lynn for my mom's college roommate, sorority sister, and best friend, Lynn Ming.

I share my birthday with some noted celebrities including Katharine Graham, Laurie Metcalf, Joan Van Ark, Joyce Carol Oates, Stan Laurel, Kerry Wood, and Tupac Shakur.

In 1992, I celebrated my 21st birthday with the Bulls at their 2nd NBA Championship Rally. In 1996, the Chicago Bulls won the NBA Championship on my birthday. In 1998, together, the Bulls and I celebrated their 6th Championship on my birthday.

According to, this is my very special birthday horoscope:
Happy Birthday! The months ahead are likely to start with a hint of a fixation
on your financial situation: making extra cash shouldn’t be the sole focus of
July. August sees the possibility of a fabulous trip, while September may reveal
a revelation that bodes extremely well for your future. October brings a flighty
but fun mood; November brings some excellent career opportunities, while
December’s planets may create a little tension between your immediate family and
a romantic interest. The New Year could start with a flash of insight on where
you are going with your life. A platonic relationship in the early spring may
ignite your interest, but it isn’t likely to develop into anything more! This
could create very minor tensions until late April, when your feelings settle
UPDATE 7:30am: I always forget until it happens, but each year, the night before my birthday I get almost no sleep. I'm up and down all night and last night was no exception. I'm sure it's simply karmic payback for what I'm sure was a restless night for my mom.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day Dad!

You may not be able to hold me in your arms the way you could 36 years ago (for one more day, it's STILL 36 years!), but I'll always be your little girl.

I love you.

Note: That's my dad and me when I was an infant and when he had hair.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Tim Russert, 1950-2008

By now, you've heard the sad news about Tim Russert who died yesterday, doing what he loved - prepping for Sunday's Meet The Press.

I never knew Tim Russert personally, although we have spent almost every Sunday morning together for the last 17 years. For a political and news junkie like me, Meet the Press is required viewing. When I lived in DC, I survived working Sundays at Hogan because starting at noon, the local NPR station replayed all the Sunday morning political shows (Meet the Press, This Week with David Brinkley, Face the Nation, and the rest).
Tim Russert was the best of the best as far as political journalists go. His research on each guest was impeccable. Although he asked tough questions, he never entered the arena of "gotcha" questions. And he listened to the answers. Whatever his own personal political beliefs, you didn't know it when watching MTP.

And certainly, Election Nights were nothing without Tim. In fact, Tim Russert is credited with coining the phrases "Red State" and "Blue State." His goal was to explain complicated electoral politics to the Average Joe. We all remember his famous white board from the 2000 Election Night.

Of course, Tim is also known for what he's done for Father's Day. His love for his dad and his son were evident everyday of his life. And his book "Big Russ and Me" probably brought many fathers and sons closer.

I will miss Tim Russert deeply. No one holds a candle to him. And the 2008 Presidential Election will be poorer for his untimely death.

I have no idea how his shoes will be filled, although at least for tomorrow, Tom Brokaw will attempt to fill the void on Meet the Press.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Were They Hunting With That AK-47?

I simply don't understand this. As I've written about before, it's absurd that these semi-automatic rifles, used in war to kill people, are legal. What animal is so difficult to hunt that only an AK-47 will do?

I have to admit, when I first saw the headline below, I thought "How sad. Didn't Dick Cheney learn the first time?" But then, I realized it was a serious article and of course, gun violence is a serious issue.

Certainly I'm not trying to trivialize this tragedy. It is a tragedy. A horrible, horrible tragedy. The family is devestated forever. And, of course, a child's life was cut far too short.

Let me quote a very wise woman (me):

"It's NOT a violation of federal law to carry assault weapons. WTF????? Why not? Why does anyone need to carry assault weapons like AK-47s or M4s? These are not guns to hunt deer or squirrel or pheasant or whatever else hunters hunt. These are the weapons used in Iraq to kill people. The sole purpose of assault weapons is to hunt people. Why does anyone need these kinds of guns? . . . Can someone explain to me one legitimate reason why anyone needs to own AK47s or M4 assault weapons? And why the hell it's not illegal to own them?"

Teen Shot, Killed In Hunting Accident

Grandfather Says His Gun Accidentally Discharged
POSTED: 3:36 pm CDT June 12, 2008
UPDATED: 5:47 pm CDT June 12, 2008

LAVACA COUNTY, Texas -- A 14-year-old boy was accidentally shot and killed in a hunting accident by his grandfather, investigators said.

According to the Lavaca County Sheriff's Office, Taylor Michalec's grandfather said he was walking behind the teen when the trigger on his AK-47 assault rifle snagged a branch and discharged, striking the teen in the back. (emphasis mine)

The shooting happened Wednesday afternoon near County Road 290, about five miles west of Moulton, Texas, about 100 miles east of San Antonio.

Both his father and grandfather tried to administer CPR, but when EMS responders arrived, the teen was pronounced dead. Michalec had just completed his freshman year at Steele High School, where he was a member of the football team.

Lavaca County investigators said they will not file any charges on the boy's grandfather because the shooting appeared to be an accident.

Living Salad Bowl

While at Jewel today, I happened upon a nifty discovery . . . a Living Salad Bowl. It's a big round planter with 2 Green Leaf Lettuce plants, 2 Red Leaf Lettuce plants, 2 Spinach plants, 1 Parsley plant, and 1 Chive plant. The instructions say to simply stick the planter in the sun, water, grow, eat, and repeat. And I'll have fresh salad fixings all summer long! Plus, it was only $12! How cool is that?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fun Gifts for Me!

I'd like one of these for my birthday please . . . because not only do I only sleep with Democrats, but you'd better be a Cubs fan too!

What I'd REALLY like is a Barack Obama garter, but it appears they don't exist (yet). In the meantime, this will do . . .

But not this one please . . . I don't want a guy feeling like he can't live up to my "super" expectations!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Parking God ALWAYS Wins

Arlington Heights is notorious for its strict parking enforcement and ultra confusing signage. And parking is always almost impossible to find in the downtown area. I've gotten so many parking tickets, that I should have a short wing named for me in the new Village Hall (aka Taj Mahal). Street parking in the residential areas is also strictly enforced with no overnight parking allowed.

Last night, Dave and I both forgot that his truck was on the street and went to bed around 10. I woke up bright and early with my first thought being, "Oh shit! Dave got a parking ticket!" Away to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. (Oh, wait, wrong story, never mind.)

Anyway, I looked out the window and his truck was GONE. Dave doesn't leave in the morning until 7:30 and this was 6:45, so now my thought was "Oh shit! Dave's truck was TOWED!" I yelled for Dave, but it turned out he had left at 6:00 because he had a 6:30am meeting. When I finally reached him on his cell phone, he said he had not gotten a ticket. Glory! Hallelujah! I said I would offer up a sacrifice to the Parking God, but got busy and forgot.

Fast forward to this evening . . . Dave and I decided to go out for Thai food before he leaves in the morning. We drive around downtown Arlington Heights for nearly an eternity in search of parking, but finally found a spot about a block away in a public lot. Just as we were getting out of the car, we discovered a sign 90% blocked by shrubbery indicating we would be towed by parking in what the sign told us was a private lot.

We continued our search for any parking and found a spot near, but not in front of, the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. There was a sign that we both read "2 hour parking 6am-5pm" and then "no parking after 5pm on weekends." Since tonight is Tuesday, we parked and were off to fill his very loud and empty tummy.

Dinner was fantastic, but upon our return, Dave says "what's that on your car?" It was a ticket. The sign actually said "no parking after 5pm." Damn. Now I've parked there 1000 times and I'm certain the sign used to say "no parking after 5pm on weekends" and there's even a blank line below "5pm" that appears to have something covered. But I'm not disputing the ticket. I earned it fair and square.

After all, the Parking God always wins.

John McCain is Bad for Your Sex Life

I found this video on The Huffington Post this morning and couldn't help but love the idea that John McCain is bad for people's sex lives.

And yes, I only sleep with Democrats. Unless my mom is reading this. And then, I'm saving myself for marriage (to a Democrat).

If you want to read the whole HufPo article, click here.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I Know I Promised a Hillary Post And This Isn't It . . . Sorry

I know I promised a Hillary Clinton post before Monday and this isn't it. For that, I apologize. I only have one post in me tonight and I'm choosing to write about gardening rather than politics. Why gardening over politics? I'm sure you're eager to know. Well, writing about Hillary and her candidacy would require brain power and I am momentarily lacking that. (Note: For those of you who are thinking, "But Jessica, you NEVER have brain power" . . . keep that thought to yourself. You're not funny.)

Anyway, gardening requires zero brain power. Well, writing about it requires no brain power.

I spent my entire weekend in the garden and I'm so darn happy about that. Dawn until dusk, which came early thanks to daily thunderstorms. I got sweaty and dirty and I enjoyed it. I ache and it feels so good.

I am so proud to say that I have a gorgeous garden. For now, you'll have to take my word for it. I'll have pictures shortly. Honestly, there's not too much in bloom. The Irises have come and are on their way out, I think. What I'm really in love with about my garden is all the textures. And the overwhelming scent of Lavender.

As you'll recall, I started gardening this time last year for the first time. I planted almost exclusively all perennials plus some tomatoes. I can admit now that I was a bit disappointed with my garden last year. The plants remained small and I worried that they'd never grow.

But this year is a far different story. My Hastas are huge. Irises are fabulous - some yellow and some purple. The Lambs Ear spread so much I had to get rid of some of it. Two of the three Lavender bushes survived and flourished. The two Firewitch plants are amazing. The three Purple Sage bushes will be amazing. The Primrose plants are back and better than ever, as are the Day Lillies and Orchids. There are a few other returning plants that I've forgotten the names of.

New this year are: Bluebells, Yarrow and a Butterfly Bush. Plus another nameless plant. Additionally, the vegetable garden has grown significantly: 4 kinds of Tomatoes (Big Boy, Beefsteak, Roma, and Cherry), Banana Peppers, Garlic Chives, Peppermint, and Basil.

Weeding is still the bane of my existence, but I'm learning to become one with nature and have stopped freaking out about some bugs.

I think that I can finally say that my backyard is becoming the oasis I envisioned last year.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Obama! Obama! Obama!

Yes we did!

As I think everyone knows by now, Senator Barack Obama IS the presumptive Democratic candidate for President. Yes, I know that this actually happened 48 hours ago, but I couldn't write about it then. You see, then I was pissed and I'm not nearly as diplomatic or good with my poker face as Obama obviously is. We won't go into why I was pissed, except to say that it had something to do with a certain candidate not dropping out of the race on Tuesday (note to HRC: when you don't have enough delegates and the other guy left the finish line in the dust, there's nothing to "decide") and her lack of graciousness.

But in the light of morning - 2 days later - I'm able to rise above it and just be thrilled about this historic nomination. Tonight, we will celebrate my favorite things about this . . .

Barack's speech . . .

Cats for Obama . . . scroll down about 1/4 . . do you recognize any 2 cats? Yes! Betsey and Ross are famous! Clearly their endorsements made the difference for Obama. Now if only they can get me into the convention (they're dele-cats, you know) . . .

The Anderson Cooper "I wanna be your boo" moment (note to AC: You can be my boo!) . . .

Barack & Michelle Obama's "first bump" . . . How cute is that?

There were many many favorite moments on Tuesday night and I'm sure there will be many more between now and January 20, 2009.


Monday, June 2, 2008

Long Awaited Answers

I know you've been eagerly awaiting the correct answers to last week's meme about me. And finally, you can sleep in peace knowing you know all there is to know about me (hahaha - if only I was really this simple!).

While it appears that only Gourmet Goddess took interest in this meme and actually had the courage to answer on my blog, a few of you emailed me and you know who you are.

1. Where did we meet?
Yeah! Everyone got this correct.

2. Take a stab at my middle name.
No one even tried this and I'm disappointed. I was looking forward to your creativity. It's Lynn. Jessica Lynn Gardner. For those of you who don't know, I was named for my maternal grandfather, Jesse Paulk, who died suddenly on my mom's 13th birthday, and my mom's college roommate, Lynn Ming. UPDATE: I was wrong. One person attempted my middle name and did get it right. I apologize for my mistake.

3. Do I smoke?
The short answer is no. Although I've been known to grab a cigarette (but never pot) in a bar and did so far more in college and through my 20s, than I have in my 30s. I don't think I've done it in 3 or 4 years, partly do to the smoking bans, but more because I always hated it anyway. It was just something to do. Ya, I know. That's a dumb reason.

4. What color are my eyes?
When I was younger, my eyes were bright blue. I've aged (and I'm dealing with that) and my eyes now are more of a blue-green hazel, depending on what I'm wearing.

5. Do I have any siblings.
Seriously, if anyone had gotten this wrong, you'd need to go back to the beginning. I have a brother. Dave. He's the greatest. We are 3 years and 3 1/2 months apart, but I'm older. He's one of my best friends.

6. What is one of my favorite things to do?
The list is long: Garden (this frankly surprises me), follow and debate politics, write, listen to music, read, cook. I could go on. Everyone guessed one of these. Really, I write about all of this stuff, so how could you have gone wrong here?

7. What is my favorite kind of music?
Hint: Read the "About Me" section of my blog. Don't feel bad, no one got this correct. It's country. I also listen to lots of other things, which is why this may have been tough. Here's a list of music that speaks to my soul.

8. Am I shy or outgoing?
Truly this is complicated. The part of me you know best is the outgoing part. It's the part that allows me to work in sales. It's the part that allows me to get heavily involved in my community, my alumni association, and politics. But at the end of the day, I need quiet and alone time. When I hit overwhelm, I have to go be alone. It's why I live for my time at Watervale.

I always thought I was extroverted because I don't have any challenges speaking in public and usually can talk to anyone. But in a work program I was involved in probably 15 years ago, I learned that being introverted vs. extroverted has really more to do with where you get your energy or get renewed, rather than shy vs. outgoing. According to the speaker we had, extroverts get more energy and more renewed from others, while introverts go inward. I go inward. I am always exhausted after I've had to be "on" for too long.

9. Am I a rebel or do I follow the rules?
Truthfully, I've never been great at following the rules, especially if I think they're stupid. I don't kiss ass for the sake of it or to move ahead, which has sometimes been detrimental. That said, I do think rules like speed limits are important.

10. Do I have any special talents?
Yep. I do. ;)

11. How many children do I have?
Just two cat children, much to the chagrin of my parents. I think they'd like some grandkids and neither Dave nor I have given them any.

12. If you and I were stranded on a desert island, what's the one thing I'd bring?
No one is going to like this, but I'd bring my iPod so I could have some alone time.