Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Phase 4: Sub 1

Creeping up on two weeks ago, I started a new job. This is the first real professional transition I've had since I began Phase Four of my life, AKA post-grad. My new job is still in a political vein, but now I'm working to raise money and for an issue-based organization and potential ballot measure campaign.

I spent close to two years working for a State Representative, Former Speaker of the House and House Democratic Leader (so many titles), and I must say I've emerged from the experience a different person than when I began. This is quite a relief for me, as I'd be concerned if I hadn't changed in the last two years. My worldview has expanded, and my network in Portland has ballooned. More than that, I've had opportunities to experience upclose democracy, government, politics on the state level. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing.

"Politician" has become a bit of a dirty word in today's culture. What comes to mind are not revered men and women of history and democracy like Abe Lincoln and Eleanore Roosevelt, but instead much more slimy and disliked public figures like Anthony Weiner, who should have never hit "send" on THAT text message, and the Sarah Palin/Michelle Bachmann talking heads that really just make a mockery of the whole thing. I can understand the disenchantment many have with government and their elected officials. It's not the most streamlined process in the world, and relatively fraught with red tape. Getting a bill passed in the Legislature takes time, multiple conversations and hearings, and certainly some deal-making. And most of the time, the bill won't even make it out of committee. Sometimes for legitimate reasons, and sometimes because there's one person in the capitol building with the right amount of power who can put the kabosh on the whole damn thing. But hey, this is the system our founders set up, right? If it was easy to get an idea ratified into law, I'd be worried, because in my opinion, democracy shouldn't be easy. It's supposed to be hard, and we are all supposed to participate.  But now I'm getting off subject...

The point, my friends, is that I'm starting a new sub-phase of Phase Four. The one where I take new jobs, negotiate a higher salary, and start gaining some sturdier footing in what I want to do with  my life. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Day that Defined Us

Sunday marked ten years since the morning that changed the face of our nation forever. The events that occurred on September 11, 2001 and the decade that has followed has shaped who we are as a people. It has defined my generation.

Like everyone else, I have my story of the moment I was told what happened. My mother walked into my room to wake me up for school and told me that a plan had hit one of the World Trade towers. What? Ok, Mom, I thought, I need five more minutes to sleep.

Before I got to school, I didn't understand the weight and significance of what has happening. I thought it was an accident--surely it couldn't have been on purpose. Who would do such a thing? And to America? I thought everyone loved America? At 14 years old and growing up in a suburb of Salem, OR, I didn't have a concept of the global landscape. Once I got to school, all we did was watch the news that day. I saw teachers and administrators crying, stunned, jarred by what they saw happening on the television screen. Slowly, I realized that what I was living. What we were experiencing would be the material my children studied in their American history class. These attacks were the most horrific thing to happen to our country in my lifetime. You know how our parents all know exactly where they were and what they were doing when they learned that President Kennedy had been shot? It's the kids will ask me where I was.

It's important to understand that for my generation, September 11, 2001 was the  first taste of how complex the world is. We grew up in a time of economic boom, jobs were aplenty, and going to college meant that you could get a great job and prosper and live the American Dream we hear so much about. We grew up in a world where the United States was at peace, where war was an antiquated thing of the past that our parents lived through, but not us.

The decade following 2001 has been rocky. There's been economic crisis, global and social upheaval, and political turmoil. Words like "terrorist" have become dirty ones, and our airports will never, ever be the same.

But above the pain, tradegy, and war, I hope we remain optimistic as individuals and as a nation. I hope we continue to remember the way we came together in a time of need. How people would all of a sudden let others cut in front of them on a highway, or stop to say hello to a neighbor they usually ignore. The wounds of 9/11 have not yet healed, and some of them never will...but we are closer than we were yesterday.

I will invoke our Presidents of today and in the past when I say, may God bless the United States of America.

My Friend is HIGH-larious

Laura Strahan is awesome. If you dont believe me, just read her blog: OR take a gander at the smattering of photos of the two of us I'm putting on this post. I just read the last couple posts over my morning coffee at work and nearly choked...twice...on the caffienated brew while reading her quips and anecdotes about life, love, and everything inbetween including reality television and elementary school hot lunches.

2008 - In Prague on the Charles Bridge. We spent some time abroad in college. Me in Ireland, Laura in London. We hurrahed in the Czech Republic!

2009 - Cutting our cake at our domestic partnership ceremony. Just kidding.
2007 - Tegucigalpa, Honduras. On a Habitat for Humanity trip over Spring Break.

She's also my roommate (and has been since 2006) and we've spent an inordinate amount of time together in the last about seven years of our life. Wait, really? Seven years? Did I count right? 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011...yep, that's right! Laura would understand that I couldn't fully depend on my mental math skills because one of our initial bonding moments was in our first week of our freshman year of college when we both FAILED the math placement exam. As a result, we had to take a class titled "Great Ideas in Math," where we learned about things like infinity, and mobius bands, etc. It was basically a remedial math class for students that really should never have to get within coughing distance of numbers, fractions, or anything else that requires the use of the left-side of the brain. We are more creative types, which is why for our final project, we teamed up and changed the words to "Love Shack" to talk about mobius bands and danced in class. The professor loved it, A's for us!
Senior Year - Christmas party. 'Nuff said.

Anyway, read her blog. It's friggin-awesome. And she can do backhandsprings. And she uses terms like "mega chump" in relation to Kim Kardashian's newly-minted husband, which I LOVE.

Over and out.