Friday, January 23, 2009

The Day We All Made

I can't make a big entry today or even upload all the pictures I would want to, but I can say "Hurray"! Our new president, Barak Obama, is sworn into office -- and we were there to witness it. Tom, Sam, and I sat in the middle of the Capital lawn, and Rashid was off with a troop of his friends, and then there were those other 2 million people, but we all stood out in the cold and one way or another celebrated.

There is a lot to say about this momentous event, and that will have to wait until I am a bit more rested. But I can say that it is really something amazing to be a part of such an enormous group of joyous people. Real, sustained, infectious happiness on such a level of magnitude is a powerful thing. I can't help but think that that energy will do something else amazing for us all.

Thank you, President Obama, for bringing us together to make that!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Long Johns, Fuzzy Hats, and Porta-Potties

These are just a few of my favorite things. The big Inaugural countdown in DC is on, and this is pretty much what you hear people asking each other all day is:

How are you getting down to the mall?
When are leaving your house?
How many miles do you think you'll walk?
How long do you think you'll be standing out in the cold?

Here are the typical answers:
4 or 5 miles.
Six hours -- at least.

I realized yesterday, as I was begging the phone gal at Smart Bargains to expedite shipping on the Aerobed that I was hoping my husband and I would be sleeping on Monday night, that most of the nation does not get the kooky effect the Inaugural has had on our city, Washington DC. When I explained to Aerobed gal that there would be no mail service in DC on Monday or Tuesday, that streets would start closing here on Saturday, and that I NEEDED THAT AEROBED BY SATURDAY BY THE LATEST -- because I would be sleeping Monday night in a downtown office to get a jump on walking to the Mall on Tuesday -- well, she sounded like she was backing away from the phone as quietly as she could to call security. "Thank God," I could hear in her voice, "that this nut-job lady is not in the building with me."

But the powers-that-be at Smart Bargains got the Aerobed out of their warehouse (maybe to keep me from coming over there) and a UPS truck is at this minute driving it to my house. Then, the mobilization will begin. My husband, son, and I are actually sleeping in hubbie's office Monday night (with said Aerobed, space heater, food, and cameras in tow). This means that instead of having to walk out of our house (five miles from the Mall) in the predawn hours, we can "sleep in" until 6AM and still hit the security perimeter by 7AM. We figure it will take us an hour or two to walk the mile or so to the Capitol, where we have tickets to watch the swearing in. (OMG, I will see the first African American president in the U.S. be sworn in! Take that, all you rednecks I grew up with!) Then, we think we MIGHT be able to walk seven blocks in an hour to be able to get into position to see the parade. We might. If the gods smile on us and the crowd is one everyman-lovin', brisk-walkin' mass of communal bliss.

Okay, we'll be as lucky as hell if we make it three blocks and see the parade.

But, I don't care. I really don't. And what is even more amazing is that somewhere between 2 and 4 million people are just as fine as I am to put aside our creature comforts, freeze our fannies off, and get a few blisters so we can see Obama be sworn in. Other than a small bottle of water and my phone (no backpacks or purses allowed), I'll be carrying lots and lots of Kleenex for me and whoever is around me, because I figure after the great hurrah that will rise from the mall when Obama says "I do", we will crying all over each other -- as happy as DC clams can be.

Fun Fact: If the projected 4 million people DO actually come to the swearing in, that will be the equivalent of having the population of the Republic of Ireland standing on the Mall.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

This Will Actually Look Nice Someday

Now that blogger is back up and posting pictures....

From my nice studies of figs and branches and looking at dozens of fig pictures online, I designed this:

This just reinforces my appreciation for GPS devices, because if this were a street map of downtown DC, no one would ever find their way to the Inaugural.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Figs. Yeah, Right.

I'm working on a new window for my really wonderful, generous, and patient friends Hristos and Elena. It's an abstraction of fig tree branches -- in honor of their backyard full of fruit trees. Being Greek, they have a special place in their hearts for their fig tree, and so do I.

Fig trees grow fairly well here in DC in what-was-once-zone 6-but-is-now- zone 7-owing-to-global-warming. To get closer to the real thing in the design process, I took a lot of pictures of my friend Laurie's beautiful fig tree last October. Of course, I needed to eat some of that tree's figgy abundance as well, it being fig season and all. Just to get that fig thinking right.

The fig branches were so beautiful, that it wasn't hard to sketch out some nice designs. Of course, twisty-turny fig leaves don't exactly lend themselves to the smooth arcs in which glass likes to be cut, but, hey, have glass cutters/will risk cutting some extra pieces.

Blogger won't let me upload any more pictures, so I'll be back soon with the design itself which, like most stained glass designs, looks one part pretty/one part Dali representation of the shroud of Turin.