Panorama of my town

Panorama of my town

Friday, August 29, 2008

Thank you Cousin Debbie (and Cousin Everett)

My life has been changed by this visit. I am sure that, as I talk to friends and family over the weeks to come, that my perspective on what happened to me this week will evolve, but as I write this I am clear on one thing; I witnessed history and leave here with a renewed commitment to public service.

I am packing and preparing to leave this village in God's sky and am actually a little sad to be going so soon. I have a few people to thank for making this possible to me.

Thank you to new and old friends. I have met wonderful people including a kindred spirit in a book/art store dealer in Lyons (Nick) and in Stan and Gayle Brooks with whom we watched Hilary speak. And you won't believe this one, but I also 'refound' my high school sweet heart (Randy Gietzen) living just down the hill in Nederland. All good people and who helped to make this trip special on so many levels. I saw so many wonderful people from Atlanta and every state of the union who were a moved as I and who shared a special moment with me. I talked and laughed with people I never saw before and will never see again but we bonded immediatly and so deeply over this common experience.

Thank you to all my friends and family who read my blog and commented, sent emails and text messages the entire time I was here, encouraging me and enliving me. Your energy and support was full of play and enthusiasm and so very appreciated.

Thank you to Miki, my mother, for encouraging me to keep this journal and for her tears, but mostly for the foundation upon which I stand that gives me the strength and courage to offer myself humbly for public service.

Thank you, finally, to my wonderful, smart, politically correct Cousin Debbie Colburn, There is NO ONE in the world I would have rather spent this week with – you are my hero. Keep up the great work you do in Denver serving the underserved. You have always been an inspiration to me and spending this time with you has been one of my greatest joys.

Home now. Back to reality. But with a renewed faith in our political system and a joy that will fill my heart as I work on Jim Martin’s campaign knowing that I too can make a difference.

Hugs and Kisses to you for reading this and for joining me on my sojourn.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Cousin Debbie came through. Here is the schedule

Great music, great speeches, great people (John Lewis and tribute to MLK, Howard Dean, Al Gore - I can't take a deep breath I am so excited!)...and then our next President!!!

We are going to get there around 3PM so its gonna be a loooonng afternoon, but no complaints here. I am going to witness history.

The party atmosphere here has not overshadowed the clear weight of what is really happening. Miki called me in tears yesterday, and I so totally understood where she was coming from. How did it take so long for us to get here? and... How wonderful it is that we finally are!!! She was remembering all the people who aren't with us anymore and who deserved to see this day...Bud, for one. Papa has been very present for me while I have been here. There is a t-shirt sold on the street here that reads 'This is What a Feminist Looks Like', and I kept thinking that, if he were still with us, I would have bought one for him, and he would have worn it proudly.

Gotta leave this village in the sky for Denver go get the tickets and figure out how to get to the field. Look for me in the cheap seats!

What a wonderful world...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Quick update from Internet Cafe on Pennsylvania St In Denver

Working on about 4 hours of sleep because Cousin Deb and I partied with New Hampshire delegation until 1AM (she was a former State Legislator for 8 yrs in NH - did I mention that before?). Then drove 1 hour back to her cabin in the sky and then up at 5:30AM to drive back to Denver to crash the GA Delegation breakfast to hear Jimmy Carter speak. It was standing room only, but we found a couple seats and made ourself to home.

There have been 3 events so far this convention that moved me to tears - Unconventional Women's forum, Hilary's speech and now Carter's speech. I have goosebumps just remembering how gracious and unassuming he was at that podium, but so crystal clear that we must now unite as one party to make REAL change for those that need it most. A dear, wonderful man - the Pride of Georgia and a gift to our Nation.

Saw some wonderful old faces and new friends -Chad Brock from Jim Martin's campaign (who told me I had just missed Jim - damn!), Richard Ray and Lonnie Plott who I worked with when I was CEO of IBEW's Credit Union (Lonnie hired me - and today gave me a warm hug when he saw me), Kwanza Hall (got a great picture of him with President Carter).

Another long day ahead of me, but I think I'll have time to recap yesterday's and today's events tonight, in my next blog entry - and upload some more photos.

Kisses from the mile high city!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Conventation Day 1 - Its all about the Women!!

I am exhausted and my feet hurt. Up at 5:45AM. But, what a GREAT day!!! I am ready to run for public office! I am motivated. I want to be part of the solution! I listened to about 50 elected women from all over the country today. I am SO sold! I am SO pumped!

It was an estrogen fill day, let me tell you. Started with morning Roundtable discussion (see this article - today's policy discussion was on health and wellness. It is so clear to me just how behind the times my state is when it comes to implementing solid and sound preventative care policies in Georgia. We do so little to encourage good healthy life style and food choices to our children. We make so few walking trails. Colorado is a leader in this area. I learned a lot at this session. And have a new found respect for people running around in bicycle spandex.

My 2nd session was almost overwhelming to me. The UNconventional Women's Forum
(the list of all the women who spoke is to long for me to list here - see this article I was moved the most by Barbara Boxer. DO WATCH a recent documentary entitled '14 Women'. This is the year of women for the DNC.

By 3PM, the headiness of the day’s experience was so great I needed a drink. Cousin Debbie and I found a bar just down the street so I could have a rum and Coke and she a margarita. Whew! I could barely articulate where my head was while we were sitting there. I felt the weight of history. I felt the pressure of obligation. I have so much and feel an overwhelming draw to public service.

As if this was not enough, we crashed The NOW Reception at the University Club (which was being harassed by a barrage of anti-abortion protestor with those horrific photos of mutilated fetus’ – like that is going to do anything to improve the lives of women). Hung out with newly re-elected GA State Rep for 59th district, Margaret Kaiser and Atlanta’s own "Able Mable" Thomas and listened to 20 of the most incredible and intelligent women in Congress and State legislatures from all over the USA I have ever heard, and they were telling me that I need to run for public office. I AM READY – TAKE ME!!!!

Cousin Debbie did remind me that there were a few missing faces at our ‘all women’s day event’ – we didn’t see Hilary or Pelosi. And then I realized we didn’t see Shirley Franklin either (the USA’s most popular female Mayor). Hhmmm..

I did hear my first controversial rumor. ‘Don’t eat any food at the Pepsi Center because infiltrators have gotten into the Center and put animal feces in the food.’ Personally, I suspect this is one of those urban myths circulated by wanna-be infiltrators who couldn’t actually get inside.

BTW – did you notice I didn’t do any volunteering today….me, too. That’s because I lost my volunteer spot ‘cause I wanted to party too much and the volunteer coordinator wouldn’t work around my play schedule. The worst part of this all is I don't have tickets to see Obama on Thursday. Now I gotta find a good bar to watch the speech. So finding just the right bar is my new purpose in life.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Travel Day - 1st party - elevation (wow I'm way up there)

It's about 12:30Am ATL time - and I am ready to fall into bed. It's been a good, slow first day. Breakfast with my brothers (Bill, James and Joe - I made pancakes with blueberries to prove I am a good sister) to say my 'goodbyes' as I head the mountains and they head to the beach.

Plane flight was rough, but I saw (and hugged) Congressman John Lewis before we both boarded Delta flight 747 for Denver. The ride was bumpy in a few spots and at one point it was so bad that a few people were acting rather worried, and the flight attendants discontinued service. But I was confident that we would not go down in a firey ball because John Lewis was on this flight and I figured he had it in good with God and so there was nothing to worry about. So I read my book What Happened by Scott McClellan to get myself in the right frame of mind. I have to recommend this book for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is I have learned how valuable it is to get into the head and thought process of ‘the enemy’ if you want to be properly armed to beat them.

I sat across the aisle from the oldest delegate at the Convention - he is from South Carolina and he was reading his speech. He told me he was a Hilary delegate but he really liked Obama. Love this guy! He received visits from a few dignitaries including a former Governor from South Caroline from ‘79 to ‘87, Richard Riley, who spoke to him with great respect and deference. Nice. I love the south for our tradition of respect for our elders.

Cousin Deb met me at baggage claim. Then we were off to our first party of the week. You remember that I had been pressed into wearing my best cowgirl garb (sans the boots, because I just was not going to take them off at the airport! But I did get the handkerchief from Chris. Thanks, baby. I looked really cute.) A reception at a private home in a bedroom community called Arvata, about 15 miles outside Denver. Hostess was Dyan Alexander with Astra Zeneca. Yummy BBQ (considering we weren’t in the south) and a good band (I knew all the songs and sang along), Thanks Dyan, I had a lovely time!

Then Cousin Debbie and I headed through Boulder – GORGEOUS! and into Nederland, a small mining town turned locals' ski village, about 18 miles outside (and another 2,000 feet above) Denver. Still in transition to the altitude – good day to take it easy. Think we may go horseback riding tomorrow! WOW, photo op there, for sure.

Well, night, night. I am bushed…no, no that’s the wrong phrase to use here. I’m exhausted. Can't upload my pictures from my Blackberry 'cause I have to email them to myself, but there is no cell reception up here in God's sky. So photos will have to wait.

good night.... the morning brings promise of another day in political paradise.

Listen to this song

I have 5 minutes between the moments of frenzied insanity trying to gt out the door to post a quick note to ask you to listen to this wonderful protest song by my friend Bobby Don Bloodworth of Georgia. He has a message for Barack Obama, for us all, that will touch you - I promise. My mother (remember her? the one who made me do this blog) has donated space on her business web site for a link to Bobby’s song. Go here

Here is where I get serious for one moment. Change only happens when we ALL stand up and demand it. I am standing up. I invite you to stand up with me. I know you are busy - we all are. But we MUST stop this war and save the Planet for our children and their's to come. There are some great/brave people out there who want to help us do this but we MUST get them elected. Start locally, volunteer on someone’s campaign – Martin, Obama. Make calls, stuff envelopes, put out yard signs. It is the time for change. THIS is the moment when change can happen. Don't you feel the excitement in the air? Visualize a BLUE GEORGIA!!!! Stand up now.

See you in Denver!

Friday, August 22, 2008

We're off to see the wizard...the wonderful wizard of Oz....

I fly tomorrow baby!!!!! And SO much has happened over the last few days. Where to begin???
Ok 1st, I packed - that was a major accomplishment! And of course I am taking the BIG suitcase because I have 'work clothes' and then like a different outfit (shoes included) for each party occasion.

2nd I got my volunteer assignment is the reason I am going, after all (well that's my story and I'm sticking to it).

3rd I made arrangements for my kid and my dogs to be taken care of while I am out of small feat.

4th I have found like 5 or 6 more people I know who are going to convention, including Kwanza Hall, my City Council Rep, for one. I think ½ the city of Atlanta will be in Denver and the other half wants to be in Denver.

5th I got invited to a luncheon where one of the Clintons are suppose to make an appearance. No truly!! And if this happens I will wet my pants and Cousin Debbie will have to remind me to breathe so I don't hyperventilate and faint. I don’t even care which one shows up – I ADORE them both! (You know, as long as we are here, I never did understand that whole media fiasco around Bill getting a blow job in the Oval Office.)

6th and perhaps the most important, I arranged for a ride to and from airport so I don't have to pay for parking. (hurray!).

Brothers James and Bill arrive into Atlanta tonight at like 11:30PM and as I NEVER get to see them (they live in Manhattan), I suspect I will be up all night visiting and I'll be so excited about my trip I probably won't sleep and I’ll probably talk a million miles a minute and make no sense and I’ll repeat myself as I ramble on about the party plans and people I hope to see and I’ll have to sing at lease one chorus of…I’m off to see the Wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I hear he is a Wiz of a Wiz, if ever a Wiz there was….. – I promise, no comments about how much I’d like to see his ‘magic wand’ sitting in that powerful chair – OK?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Networking baby!!!!!!

I know you think that selecting a candidate to run on the Democratic ticket is like the most important thing that is going to happen in Denver next week, but I would disagree completely. You already know by now that I think the parties and receptions are what it’s all about, but I just got my invitation to THE party of the YEAR. I am going to the Diplomatic Corps and International Political Leaders Reception sponsored by Coca-Cola!

Ms. Anna Foote Copello

On the occasion of the 2008 Democratic National Convention
Madeleine Korbel Albright Tom Daschle
National Democratic Institute

Tom Farer
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
University of Denver

Richard N. Haass Robert E. Rubin
Council on Foreign Relations

request the pleasure of your company
at a reception
in honor of the

Diplomatic Corps


International Political Leaders

on Tuesday, August 26
5:00 - 7:00 p.m.

Denver Art Museum
Ponti Hall

I’m going to see Madeleine Albright and Tom Haschle! Someone pinch me, quick!!!
Well, how did I land this juicy invite you might ask (that even Tom Houke won’t be attending)? And well you should ask, because I am way too low on the Coca-Cola Corporate food chain to swing this on my own merits. Networking! My friend Doug Teper is the MASTER at networking – he is brilliant to watch. He knows everybody. I am convinced he only is 2 degrees of separation from the entire world. He makes networking into a fine art and by keen observation (and he’s cute, so this part is easy) I am learning some of his tricks.

So, I called my friend Kelly (a drinking buddy at Manuel’s Tavern and connected to Dekalb County Democrats) and he hooks me up with is buddy Oliver (who is 75, knows everyone in GA politics and is going to DNC too – of course!) and he in turn hooks me up with his dear friend Tami (lead lobbyist for Coca-Cola Corp, based out of Washington DC!) Tami, when she hears me drop Oliver’s name, practically swoons at the name of her mentor and dear old friend and (and learns I work at Coca-Cola) promises my anything! Next thing I know, I have this invitation in my inbox. I was brilliant – a true Teper protégé.

Now for the bad news: Tami made me pinky swear I would not take anyone with me to the reception, so Cousin Debbie can’t attend with me. I am so completely bummed that I have to ditch my own cousin and hostess and person who made all this possible [of course I am going to!]. She has let me off the hook, though, and even offered me the use of her car. I love Cousin Debbie, don’t you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What is With the Weather In Colorado?

According to Cousin Deb, who lives about an hour outside of Denver (in this precious ski village) it SNOWED! at her house this week. OK folks, it’s the middle of August! According to (if you are still using weather channel then check this site out) the temperature is like 82 during the day and 52 at night. What do I pack?? Its 100 degrees in Atlanta – all my cold weather stuff is still packed under my bed!

If you missed the August Birthday Party last Saturday at Sandra and Harlon’s house then you missed THE best Inman Park Party of the year. Among the about 100 people at the party was Atlanta’s own political pundant and long time family friend, Tom Houke, lamenting that he is going to miss most of the good parties, ‘cause he doesn’t get to Denver until Wednesday. Don’t worry Tom, I’ll party enough for the both of us. I’ll even agree to call your cell phone and tease you about it!

I have collected the names of at least 6 people from Atlanta who are going to DNC. Among them, Margaret Kaiser, State Rep for House District 59 (I think). Chad Brock from the Jim Martin for Senate campaign (yee ha!). Emily Schunior, President of Young Democrats of Atlanta – great group.
I think I am too old for this group… there like a ‘Middle Age Democrats of Atlanta’ group somewhere? – OH YES THERE IS!! They hang out at Manuel’s on Tuesday nights…..perhaps I'll join that group.

FOUR days and counting....

Friday, August 15, 2008

Musings on Political Heroes and 'Sheores'

Boyd Lewis is going to follow my blog - omg! I am so honored and rather intimidated –like to the point of distraction. I’m going to have to meditate and repeat a montra before I put finger nails to key board for my blog from now on. I am a HUGE Boyd fan! He has done shit I can only dream and plot about. He relayed his 1988 Democratic National Convention story to me in an email recently; “I did "The Democrats and Democracy" for WRFG at the 1988 convention using a big press badge i copied from an official White House badge I got when Reagan visited Atlanta. I got in everywhere except places where they knew just how
goddamn bogus my badge was.”
Now just how cool is THAT!!? He encouraged me to be original and creative – oh the pressure! Boyd is one of my heroes – so I’ll try not to let him down.

I have other political and practical heroes and ‘sheroes’ (a term my girlfriend Frani just gave me). They have inspired me all my life – literally. My parents are my first heroes (Bud, Miki and Ruth Anne [adored wicked step mom]). Many of you reading this blog know and love them, too. My folks have been involved in politics for over 50 years so it courses through my blood like the high cholesterol I also inherited. Raising money for Elis Arnold by cruising a local fundraiser in my cutest dress, big blue eyes and sand bucket with an Elis Arnold bumper sticker firmly affixed – how old was I Miki - 2? 3 yrs old? The songs of protest taught to me by my father – many written by him. The marching. The organizing. The fundraising. The campaigning. It’s as natural to me as breathing and as much a part of me as my freckles. I don’t think of it as ‘being political’- it’s just what you do.

Boyd knows all this about me. So he sets the bar high for me as I blog through this experience. Thank you Boyd for reminding me to include the fun and adventure and sense of wonder that Molly Worthington brought to the 1988 convention.

Here is Molly’s 1988 adventure as conveyed to me by Boyd: One of most popular features ["The Democrats and Democracy" for WRFG ] was a series of imaginary letters on the air by Molly Worthington who was a delegate from Hahaira, Ga. on her first trip to the big city. She satirized politicians, culture and the media with a razor sharp eye on the absurd irony of it all. The report that had the town rollicking for months was her wide-eyed visit to a lesbian bar on Cheshire Bridge Road, never really understanding where the small town girl had gotten herself into. A frikkin hoot!!
Molly is my new ‘shero’!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Parties!!!! Is there actually a convention?

Cousin Debbie read my blog last night. Then she laughed and reminded me that I have to wear my cowboy hat and cowboy boots on the plane because when she picks me up we are headed to our first 'theme' party! Seriously folks - it's one program/ party / 'unconvention'/ event after another and 'THE' actual convention is an incidental activity that happens at the Pepsi Auditorium. Okay - now for those of you know I work for Cola-Cola have GOT to see the irony in that!!! Seriously, I have to bring my own Coke Zero with me.

I occurs to me that at some point I am going to have to confess to my boss that I am going to be spending an entire week at the Pepsi Center. I wonder if I have to file a special request with Coca-Cola for permission to go inside a Pepsi facility?
(note to self..check into that) Think I'll have to go through a scrub down when I get back to work - or worse! a piss test to prove I didn't drink any Pepsi - God forbid!!! (Dan - promise, I will resist the temptation.)

I was talking about a cowboy hat and boots - which I don't own because I live in Atlanta, not Dallas. So I went to EBay and bought a $29.99 cowboy hat. Got it last week and I think I look kinda cute in it. My son disagrees but who listens to a 13 year old anyway?

Cowboy Boots? hhmmmm.... the flip flops I intended to wear on the plane are clearly out. Damn. You know how hard it is to take off and then put boots back on while you are standing in front of a hundred people trying to get through security at the airport? Of course you do! They are going stampede right over me. OK Cousin Debbie - I'll do if for you. This party better be good.

Gonna have to borrow a real cowboy looking bandana to make the outfit complete. Perhaps Chris will lend me one of his - he has like a hundred of them. He's from Texas after all.

What am I going to Denver for? ... oh yea, to make history.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Unconventional Women - sounds so like me!

here is a cool link
The home page reads:
Monday, August 25, 2008

8:00 am – 2:00 pm
Buell Theatre (near the Convention Center)
Denver, Colorado

Be part of a historic symposium uniting 3,000 women,
advancing their political leadership and participation

Politics without women like you is a recipe for injustice.

Cousin Debbie got us tickets - and the program looks awesome, filled with some fascinating women (even one Republican - perhaps she'll change teams and come over to the winning side! LOL) and great discussion topics.

Looks like my own Mayor (the Honorable Shirley Franklin) will be there. Perhaps I can fuss at her some more about how screwed up our City's budget is and she can tell me, again that it's all City Council's fault (but that is for a different blog). Where was I?

Oh yes!, so this is like the 3rd program / party that Cousin Deb has set up for us during that week. I am beginning to wonder if we are in fact going to be doing any real volunteering for poor Brook at all.

So, assuming we make it to this program I'll be following up here on my blog with all the details - who I saw, what I did and who I did it with!!!! Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I encourage you to be 'unconventional' too!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm going to Denver - DNC Watch Out!

It seems incredible to me that we are only 2 weeks from the Democratic National Convention and I AM GOING TO BE THERE. Cousin Deb got us a gig doing volunteer work for 'Brook' (Head of IT for the DNC - kind cool, huh?) who I don't know but already love! And we might actually get some work done in between the programs and side conference that she is getting tickets for us to attend!

So - I will be blogging as I prepare and then while I am there. Join me and Cousin Deb for a rowdy and fun filled time in Denver as we get 'Mile High and Down and Dirty at the DNC!!!'