Category Archives: personal

Reflections on an Inauguration

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes, into
Your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.

Maya Angelou – On the Pulse of the Morning

Angelou wrote those words sixteen years ago to celebrate Bill Clinton’s first inauguration, but I think she was a little bit ahead of her time back then. Those words beautifully sum up the feeling in Washington on inaugural weekend. I’ve never seen a city so full of smiling and happy people.

My journey started with my old friend Alicia (she’s not old, but our friendship is) who lives in DC. She was kind enough to host me and show me a wonderful time. My flight got in early Saturday morning, so after an attempted nap that was aborted by our excitement, we headed to Capitol Hill for lunch and to observe the goings-on around the Capitol. We wanted to view the preparations and feel the vibe of the city.

It was a good choice.

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Of course, the Capitol looked as majestic as it ever did, but there was something special about seeing it ready to go for January 20, 2009.

But the real story that day was the people who also gathered to check out the preparations. Ever single person was smiling. Huge smiles. Joyous smiles. Loving smiles. But they allĀ  had their different ways of expressing them.

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We walked up and down the National Mall that day, putting up with the cold and sore feet, enjoying the moment.

We ended up in Georgetown at Moveon.org’s Manifest Hope display of Obama-inspired art. It seemed like less of a gallery opening and more of a celebration of our country and where we are right now.

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It was the most joyful gallery experience I’ve ever had. It felt more like a party than anything else.

On Sunday, we attended the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Phenomenal. U2, Springsteen, Wonder, and others gave great performances, but I didn’t know how emotional I was about what was transpiring until the show began and a Naval band performed the “Star Spangled Banner.” I wept like a baby. It was some kind of strange catharsis for me, as I sobbed when they got to the “flag was still there” part. It seemed like such a great metaphor. Given all that the Bush administration put us through, we are still America.

We capped off the night with dinner at the home of one of Alicia’s friends who was hosting another friend of Alicia’s who popped into town from Rwanda as a guest of Nancy Pelosi’s. Odette (the friend from Rwanda) was delightful and her story of how she came to support Obama while speaking from Kigali with her son who was in Zanzibar was a great reminder about how much an Obama presidency means to the world.

Monday was a great day. We didn’t do much special but wander around the city in search of food and cocktails, but there are some pics from that day worth sharing.

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Tuesday, January, 20? What can I say?

When we left Alicia’s apartment at around 8:00 AM, we were a little panicked as CNN told us the National Mall was full. We went anyway and found nice real estate on by the Washington Monument. We were cold, but we were happy.

I must have said “good morning” to 1000 strangers that day. It was simply a matter of making eye contact and reciprocating those words. It was a joyful crowd.

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When I think about the inauguration, all I can think is that change happened because of us. We voted, we donated, we blogged, we canvassed, we spoke to our families and neighbors. We were the catalysts behind this beautiful moment.

President Obama will disappoint us. He’s human. But this is a moment that we will hold on to forever. We made change happen.

Boundaries

Over the weekend, I lost a former co-worker of mine. He was murdered in his home.

We don’t yet know the full story, but it appears to be a familiar one; it seems he may have tried to help someone he knew as a client a little bit too much by pulling him into his personal life, and the client snapped and killed him for some reason. There have been no arrests to date.

This comes on the heels of another former coworker of mine who had a client show up on her doorstep earlier this year and ask for a sandwich. She complied, fixed him the fucking sandwich, and then he used the knife she used to stab her multiple times. Thankfully, she made a full recovery.

When I get back to work tomorrow, the first thing I am going to do is inform my staff that if they allow the professional to cross over into the personal, they will be fired. I know that they are caring people, but some of their clients or their clients’ associates may be dangerous people. In good conscience, I cannot allow them to think that the professional and personal lines can be crossed.

I’m really sad and grieving, but also fucking pissed off that my former co-worker took that kind of a risk. It’s just too tragic of a loss.

If you work in the social services, especially where they deal with the homeless, mentally ill, or victims of abuse keep your private life private. Get an unlisted phone number. Don’t give rides to your clients unless it is on officially sanctioned business. Keep your private life to yourself.

If you want to give good care to your clients, you also have to take care of yourself. Mixing those two lives lessens your ability to assist your clients.

But most importantly, you must remain safe. Don’t take any stupid fucking risks that will remove you from the world and leave your friends, families, and co-workers behind suffering because of your loss.

More Light Blogging

I probably won’t be blogging much in the next week or so, as someone very close to me underwent emergency brain surgery today for a subdural hematoma.

It appears that he will be OK, but who knows what will happen?

Spending too much time in a hospital and comforting a loved one who is in pain can be really draining.

Priorities.