Friday, December 31, 2010



A great place to spend New Years Eve!!! There wasn't much on the schedule today, which to me was just perfect. We may or may not have payed a visit to my fast food weakness, Taco Bell. We may or may not have hangovers :-)


























I love. love. love. this Chandelier!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Oh My Goodness

and I really do mean GOODNESS. Last night we went shopping for the weekend and went to two of the most amazing places: Fleishers Meats and Adams Fairacres Farms. I am in love and not going back to Brooklyn!

Ok, so many of you might know that I have been toying with the idea of eating meat again and in doing so the lovely S has made a few meat dishes for me to try out. In most cases I will eat a bit of the meat portion of the dish as a way to reintroduce the protien to my diet, for everything but fish, it's been about 18 years. Now when it comes to what types of meat I will eat I hope to eat local, grass-fed, organic as much as I can. S found this butcher in Kingston, NY that specializes in just that...so we stocked up for the weekend! Brisket. Chicken. Sausage.

Now, if you know anything about me, I don't really do things half-asses or in any real progression, so it wasn't like I was going to reintroduce one meat at a time, though rest assured, I'm not mixing things just yet when it comes to foods :)

So there it was, New Year's Eve dinner will be Brisket, New Years Day, Chicken and in the am there will be Sausage. I am sure there will be posted about this in the posts that follow.

OK. Now, Adams Fairacre is the grocery store of my dreams. It is the cutest and has everything! If you are ever in Kingston, you must, must, must go!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Brigham Place

This afternoon I leave to head upstate for the New Year. We are headed to Lake Katrine, NY to an amazing little cabin. We are going to Brigham Place and I can wait. Apparently they have a fortune telling machine and other kitschy things about the house. One bedroom is cowboy themed and the other just amazing! # nights upstate to end the year = AMAZING!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Monday, December 27, 2010

A snow falls in Brooklyn

the News says it is the 6th worst snow fall in NYC. By the looks of the roads and the service shut downs in the subway, I'd have to agree. My train to get to work was shut down, so a snow day/working from home is how I spent my day!!! Below are pics from the fun part!!!


Awhile back I wanted Yak Traks, this was mostly when I was teaching Environmental Ed outside and really needed them. However, my mom bought them for me for Christmas this year and let me tell you, they have come in handy!!!











A little frolicking in the snow, no matter how old, it's always fun!




















Mandatory Snow Angel!



































Whatcho looking at snowman?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lady Oakley Magnolia


Rest in Peace pup. 12/3/99 - 12/26/10

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Hanging in Lancaster with the family. Love.

So the trick on my dad worked out perfectly!

So we wrapped a 5" black and white portable television and gave it to him. After he opened it and was disappointed I asked what was wrong, he asked for a 2.4 - a 3.2 screen and this one was 5 and it was hard to find. He then said, in his stern Tom Drinkwater voice, Erin, the email said 24 - 32 inch tv and then proceeded to try to look for the email on his blackberry. I told him that was impossible and all of us kids could not have possible made the same mistake. He was cranky for sure but we assured him the small tv was returnable. Then he got up to use the little boys room. At that point my brother went upstairs to get on the computer so dad could show us options. The rest of us went upstairs using the other stairway. My brother then called my dad upstairs, where the real 32" flat screen he asked for was waiting for him. He burst out in laughter, that chuckle that only he has. Merry Christmas dad!

My mom loved her scarf and blender - though I think she most liked the sweater my sister gave her, great job Kati - after many a bad gift of clothing given to my mom that she didn't like, we really got it right this year.

The gifts for the rest of my family were a hit too, but the best was Cailynn opening a Diego coloring book she got and saying "but i didn't ask for this, and I don't like it." Man I love my niece!

More soon. And I'll try to get some photos up too :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Dinner and Wyatt's Birthday

Christmas Eve was spent celebrating Wyatt and his birthday and enjoying a lovely dinner with S, and two friends.

The humans feasted on pumpkin soup, chicken skewers with a lovely marinade that included cinnamon and made them a holiday favorite, roasted garlic rosemary mashed potatoes, asparagus and red wine. for dessert there was chocolate and presents :)



Here is the birthday boy with his turkey cupcake with cream cheese frosting courtesy of S. Look at that happy little tongue, love it.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Last minute shopping

Of course, no matter how hard I try, there is always last minute shopping that needs to be done. I of course am not the only one, stores in NYC are packed today and I lasted about 20 minutes before calling it quits. I think I've got it all covered and am very excited to wrap these gifts up and give them and watch the smiles.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell















Friend Kerry Eleveld and Obama talk, Don't Ask Don't Tell

Obama: "Prepared to Implement"

ADVOCATE EXCLUSIVE OBAMA INTERVIEW: President Obama tells The Advocate the Pentagon is "prepared to implement" repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and it will take months not years. He also says he's “wrestling” with the issue of marriage equality.

By Kerry Eleveld
Official White House Photos by Pete Souza
Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is taking the implementation manual for repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” with him on vacation, President Obama told The Advocate during a wide-ranging interview late Tuesday afternoon—the first one-on-one interview of his presidency with an LGBT news outlet.

“My strong sense is [implementation] is a matter of months,” Obama said from the Oval Office. “Absolutely not years.”

The president added that he has also broached the topic with the General James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps, and that “he’s going to make it work.” Amos has been the most outspoken critic of repeal among the military’s service chiefs.

Obama also said that he is “incredibly proud” of following through on repealing the 1993 law and recalled a pledge he made to a service member while working a rope line in Afghanistan just a few weeks ago.

“A young woman in uniform was shaking my hand—it was a big crowd—she hugged me and she whispered in my ear, ‘Get ‘don't ask, don't tell’ done.’ And I said to her, ‘I promise you I will.’”

On the question of marriage equality, the president said his “attitudes are evolving.”

“Like a lot of people, I'm wrestling with this,” he said. "I've wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.”

The president also signaled that he and his lawyers are reviewing “a range of options” when it comes to the administration’s responsibility to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the courts, especially since repealing it over the next two years will be a nonstarter with a Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

“I have a whole bunch of really smart lawyers who are looking at a whole range of options. My preference wherever possible is to get things done legislatively,” Obama said, drawing a comparison with repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“That may not be possible in DOMA’s case,” he added. “That's something that I think we have to strategize on over the next several months.”

Read the full interview here:

The Advocate: Mr. President, you're on the verge of signing legislation that is arguably one of the greatest advances for LGBT civil rights. What does it mean to you personally? And if you were to put it on a continuum of your accomplishments as president, where do you think it will rank in the history books?
President Barack Obama: I am incredibly proud. And part of the reason I'm proud is because this is the culmination of a strategy that began the first week I was in office. When I met with Bob Gates and I met with Admiral Mullen, I said to them I have a job as commander-in-chief in making sure that we have the best military in the world and that we're taking care of our folks who make such enormous sacrifices for our safety. I also have an obligation as president to make sure that all Americans have the capacity to serve, and I think "don't ask, don't tell" is wrong. So I want you guys to understand that I want to work with the Pentagon, I want to figure out how to do this right, but I intend to have this policy.

And to have been able to work through all the complications of that, arrive at a point where the secretary of Defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, both of whom were appointed under Republican presidents, were willing to publicly testify and advocate for this repeal; to have engineered an attitudinal study that vindicated my strong belief that people in the military care about how somebody does their job, not their sexual orientation…

Did you anticipate that that survey would turn out like that?
I was confident about it because I talked to enough troops and I had a sense of the innate fairness of the American people when it comes to an issue like should people be able to serve their military and potentially die for their country, that military attitudes were not going to be wildly divergent from public attitudes. And then to see how that combination of Gates, Mullen, [and] the study break the logjam and essentially provide the space for people of goodwill of both parties to do the right thing was just really gratifying.

And things don't always go according to your plans, and so when they do—especially in this town—it’s pleasantly surprising. And when I think about the troops who I know are impacted by this—I visited Afghanistan just a few weeks ago. And while I was doing the rope line, a young woman in uniform was shaking my hand—it was a big crowd—she hugged me and she whispered in my ear, “Get ‘don't ask, don't tell’ done.” And I said to her, “I promise you I will.” And for me to be able to deliver that Christmas present to her and so many others is incredibly gratifying.

So I would say, look... we've done a lot this year and we did a lot the previous year, and so obviously saving the economy from depression, getting health care passed, and getting financial regulatory reform are all things that I'm very proud of. But this is one of those issues where you know individual people directly that are going to be impacted and you know it helps shift attitudes in a direction of greater fairness over the long term. I think when people look back 20 years from now they’ll say this was one of the more important things that I've gotten done since I've been president.

Well, no doubt I think a pivotal moment. And I know that so many people who voted for you, LGBT folks who voted for you, did so because they believe that you were a fierce supporter of equality. Given what you’ve just said, Mr. President, do you think it’s time that gays and lesbians should be entitled to full marriage rights?
Well, I spoke about this recently with some bloggers who were here…

Mr. Joe Sudbay.
Yes, and Joe asked me the same question. And since I've been making a lot of news over the last several weeks, I'm not going to make more news today. The sentiment I expressed then is still where I am—which is, like a lot of people, I'm wrestling with this. My attitudes are evolving on this. I have always firmly believed in having a robust civil union that provides the rights and benefits under the law that marriage does. I've wrestled with the fact that marriage traditionally has had a different connotation. But I also have a lot of very close friends who are married gay or lesbian couples.

And squaring that circle is something that I have not done yet, but I'm continually asking myself this question and I do think that—I will make this observation, that I notice there is a big generational difference. When you talk to people who are in their 20s, they don't understand what the holdup is on this, regardless of their own sexual orientation. And obviously when you talk to older folks, then there’s greater resistance.

And so this is an issue that I'm still wrestling with, others are still wrestling with. What I know is that at minimum, a baseline is that there has to be a strong, robust civil union available to all gay and lesbian couples.

Can you imagine a time when you would get there? I mean, you say “evolving,” and that sort of assumes that you get somewhere. Can you imagine a time of getting there?
I'm going to stick with my answer. [Laughter.]

OK. So, looking forward, I know that there are—many of your LGBT supporters would have wished for more in the first two years. And it’s never enough, of course…
I've found that. [Laughter.]

And especially like passing employment nondiscrimination…
And, in fairness, by the way, that is true of every single group of supporters that I have. I mean, there’s not a single constituency that doesn’t think we could be doing more.

And true of every civil rights movement.
Yes.

I know one of the things that people were interested [in]—especially gay and transgender Americans—was passing employment nondiscrimination protections. But looking forward, it looks like most legislation, pro-LGBT, will be stalled in Congress. So as you look to much of the action that’s going to be happening in the courts, do you think that gays and lesbians and transgender people should have a heightened scrutiny status?

Before I answer that question, let me just say there are still a lot of things we can do administratively even if we don’t pass things legislatively. So my ability to make sure that the federal government is an employer that treats gays and lesbians fairly, that’s something I can do, and sets a model for folks across the board. Our implementation…

But DOMA, of course, is one of the…
I understand. Our changes on hospital visitation is something that didn’t require legislation but has concrete impacts, making a difference in people’s lives as we speak.

So I want to continue to look for ways administratively, even if we’re not able to get something through the House of Representatives or the Senate, that advances the causes of equality.

With respect to the courts and heightened scrutiny, I think that if you look at where Justice Kennedy is moving, the kind of rational review that he applied in the Texas case was one that feels right to me and says that—even if he was calling it “rational review,” is one that recognizes that certain groups may be vulnerable to stereotypes, certain groups may be subject to discrimination, and that the court’s job historically is to pay attention to that.

And so I’m not going to engage in—I’m not going to put my constitutional lawyer hat on now, partly because I’m president and I’ve got to be careful about my role in the three branches of government here. But what I will say is that I think that the courts historically have played a critical role in making sure that all Americans are protected under the law. And there are certain groups that are in need of that protection; the court needs to make sure it’s there for them.

One quick follow-up. You’ve taken the oath of office, of course, to protect the Constitution.
This is true.

And so…
But that does not mean that in every interview I opine on constitutional law.

No, but in fact you’ve opined on very few constitutional [questions]—I think, in this particular case, I think this is something that LGBT people would be hungry to hear you weigh in on.
I’m sure they would be.

Yes, OK. Back to “don’t ask, don’t tell” real quick. How long do you anticipate the certification process [will be]?
I spoke to Admiral Mullen today. He said he’s taking the implementation manual that was a companion to the attitudinal survey off to vacation with him. He is prepared to implement. I spoke to other of the service chiefs, including, for example, General Amos. We saw that in the attitudinal surveys there was the most resistance in the Marine Corps. But Jim Amos said to me that he’s ready to implement and he’s going to make it work.

So my strong sense is this is a matter of months…

Not years?
Absolutely not years—and that we will get this done in a timely fashion, and the chiefs are confident that it will get done in a timely fashion. They understand this is not something that they’re going to be slow-walking.

Once it’s lifted, of course, there’s no nondiscrimination mandate as it stands. Is that something that you plan to work with the Department of Defense on, setting some internal regulations so that there is a nondiscrimination protection for gays and lesbians, or even issue an executive order?
I think there are a whole range of implementation issues that are going to be worked through in the coming weeks, and so I don’t want to get too far ahead of the process. I want to make sure it’s very deliberate. I want to make sure that these guys have time to answer these questions. But one of the things I’m confident about in the military is, once a decision is made by the commander-in-chief, it gets carried out and it gets carried out well.

And when you think about what happened in terms of racial integration in the Army or in our military, when you look at women’s inclusion in our military, I think the history has been that there are bumps along the road; new issues arise that weren’t always anticipated—partly, by the way, because it wasn’t done as systematically as we’re going to —as I think we’re going to be able to carry out here—but to a remarkable degree, our military is able to inculcate a strong sense that everybody has got to be treated the same. And I have confidence that that will be true here as well.

So I’m going to be getting recommendations from them partly from tracking what was in the implementation recommendations—about how to move forward to make sure that everybody from the private to the four-star general knows sexual orientation is not a criteria by which they are treating people in a discriminatory fashion in the military. And I’m confident it’s going to be carried out.

So there’s going to be some way of having a nondiscrimination mandate somehow?
I am going to look exactly at what the recommendations are, and we will be making decisions over the next series of weeks about what is necessary to implement not just the letter but the spirit of this repeal.

Big-picture question about LGBT people and where the movement is headed. You’re sitting in the midst of a time that's of great change. You’re not quite willing to go there on same-sex marriage yet. What do you see as something that moving forward would be one of the biggest possible advancements for LGBT people…
Well…

Potentially in the course of your presidency in the next two years?
Well, look, I would distinguish between things that should get done and I fully support but may still be stalled with a Republican-controlled Congress—or Republican-controlled House of Representatives that's not inclined to go there, versus things that can happen in society at large.

I have been struck—let me take the former—repealing DOMA, getting ENDA done, those are things that should be done. I think those are natural next steps legislatively. I’ll be frank with you, I think that's not going to get done in two years. I think that's—we’re on a three- or four-year time frame unless there’s a real transformation of attitudes within the Republican caucus.

Right. Will you use your bully pulpit to lobby for things like that?
Yes, well…

Because we didn't hear from you much on ENDA. We didn't hear from you much on DOMA.
Well, that's because we were focusing on “don't ask, don't tell.”

Okay.
And I’ve got a few other things on my plate.

I’ve heard of some of those.
Yes, exactly. So Congress is a complicated place with 535 people that you have to deal with in order to get anything done. And my belief was when I first came in, and it continues to be, that by getting “don't ask, don't tell” done, we sent a clear message about the direction, the trajectory of this country in favor of equality for LGBT persons. The next step I think would be legislatively to look at issues like DOMA and ENDA. And I’m going to continue to…

But I think people…
…strongly support them.

I think people wonder what can happen since legislatively that's probably not going to happen.
I understand, Kerry. But, Kerry, I’m trying to answer your question and you keep on coming back at me.

OK sorry.
So what I’m saying is that we’re probably not going—realistically, we’re probably not going to get those done in the next two years unless we see a substantial shift in attitudes within the Republican caucus.

As I said, though, that outside of legislative circles, attitudes are changing rapidly. They're changing in our culture. They're changing in our workplaces. One of the most important things I can do as president is to continually speak out about why it’s important to treat everyone as our brothers and sisters, as fellow Americans, as citizens.

And looking for constant opportunities to do that I think is going to be critically important because that helps set the tone and changes the ground beneath the feet of legislators so that they start feeling like, gosh, maybe we are behind the times here and we need to start moving forward. And so you chip away at these attitudes. It also continues to require effective advocacy from groups on the outside.

So I guess my general answer to your question is when it comes to legislation, it took us two years to get “don't ask, don't tell” done. I know that there are a whole bunch of folks who thought we could have gotten it done in two months. There were people who thought with a stroke of a pen it could get done. That, in fact, was not the case. But it got done.

And I’m confident that these other issues will get done. But what they require is a systematic strategy and constant pressure and a continuing change in attitudes. And as I said, there are things that we can continue to do administratively that I think will send a message that the federal government, as an employer, is going to constantly look for opportunities to make sure that we’re eliminating discrimination.

What about not defending DOMA?
As I said before, I have a whole bunch of really smart lawyers who are looking at a whole range of options. My preference wherever possible is to get things done legislatively because I think it—it gains a legitimacy, even among people who don't like the change, that is valuable.

So with “don't ask, don't tell,” I have such great confidence in the effective implementation of this law because it was repealed. We would have gotten to the same place if the court order had made it happen, but I think it would have engendered resistance. So I’m always looking for a way to get it done if possible through our elected representatives. That may not be possible in DOMA’s case. That's something that I think we have to strategize on over the next several months.




ABCs coverage

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter Solstice and Lunar Eclipse

Find out more here or here. Or read the Washington Post blog article here.









And two appropriate quotes:


"And if I don't come back; I mean, if I get sidetracked; It's only cause I wanted to; I'm keeping up with the moon on an all night avenue" ~Bright Eyes



"I wish I was the moon tonight" ~Neko Case

Friday, December 17, 2010

In 500 Billion Words, New Window on Culture

Read the below article today, simply amazing. i love what technology allows us to share these days!

December 16, 2010
In 500 Billion Words, New Window on Culture
By PATRICIA COHEN

With little fanfare, Google has made a mammoth database culled from nearly 5.2 million digitized books available to the public for free downloads and online searches, opening a new landscape of possibilities for research and education in the humanities.

The digital storehouse, which comprises words and short phrases as well as a year-by-year count of how often they appear, represents the first time a data set of this magnitude and searching tools are at the disposal of Ph.D.’s, middle school students and anyone else who likes to spend time in front of a small screen. It consists of the 500 billion words contained in books published between 1500 and 2008 in English, French, Spanish, German, Chinese and Russian.

The intended audience is scholarly, but a simple online tool allows anyone with a computer to plug in a string of up to five words and see a graph that charts the phrase’s use over time — a diversion that can quickly become as addictive as the habit-forming game Angry Birds.

With a click you can see that “women,” in comparison with “men,” is rarely mentioned until the early 1970s, when feminism gained a foothold. The lines eventually cross paths about 1986.

You can also learn that Mickey Mouse and Marilyn Monroe don’t get nearly as much attention in print as Jimmy Carter; compare the many more references in English than in Chinese to “Tiananmen Square” after 1989; or follow the ascent of “grilling” from the late 1990s until it outpaced “roasting” and “frying” in 2004.

“The goal is to give an 8-year-old the ability to browse cultural trends throughout history, as recorded in books,” said Erez Lieberman Aiden, a junior fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard. Mr. Lieberman Aiden and Jean-Baptiste Michel, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard, assembled the data set with Google and spearheaded a research project to demonstrate how vast digital databases can transform our understanding of language, culture and the flow of ideas.

Their study, to be published in the journal Science on Friday, offers a tantalizing taste of the rich buffet of research opportunities now open to literature, history and other liberal arts professors who may have previously avoided quantitative analysis. Science is taking the unusual step of making the paper available online to nonsubscribers.

“We wanted to show what becomes possible when you apply very high-turbo data analysis to questions in the humanities,” said Mr. Lieberman Aiden, whose expertise is in applied mathematics and genomics. He called the method “culturomics.”

The data set can be downloaded, and users can build their own search tools.

Working with a version of the data set that included Hebrew and started in 1800, the researchers measured the endurance of fame, finding that written references to celebrities faded twice as quickly in the mid-20th century as they did in the early 19th. “In the future everyone will be famous for 7.5 minutes,” they write.

Looking at inventions, they found technological advances took, on average, 66 years to be adopted by the larger culture in the early 1800s and only 27 years between 1880 and 1920.

They tracked the way eccentric English verbs that did not add “ed” at the end for past tense (i.e., “learnt”) evolved to conform to the common pattern (“learned”). They figured that the English lexicon has grown by 70 percent to more than a million words in the last 50 years and they demonstrated how dictionaries could be updated more rapidly by pinpointing newly popular words and obsolete ones.

Steven Pinker, a linguist at Harvard who collaborated on the Science paper’s section about language evolution, has been studying changes in grammar and past tense forms for 20 years.

“When I saw they had this database, I was quite energized,” he said. “There is so much ignorance. We’ve had to speculate what might have happened to the language.”

The information about verb changes “makes the results more convincing and more complete,” Mr. Pinker added. “What we report in this paper is just the beginning.”

Despite the frequent resistance to quantitative analysis in some corners of the humanities, Mr. Pinker said he was confident that the use of this and similar tools would “become universal.”

Reactions from humanities scholars who quickly reviewed the article were more muted. “In general it’s a great thing to have,” Louis Menand, an English professor at Harvard, said, particularly for linguists. But he warned that in the realm of cultural history, “obviously some of the claims are a little exaggerated.” He was also troubled that, among the paper’s 13 named authors, there was not a single humanist involved.

“There’s not even a historian of the book connected to the project,” Mr. Menand noted.

Alan Brinkley, the former provost at Columbia and a professor of American history, said it was too early to tell what the impact of word and phrase searches would be. “I could imagine lots of interesting uses, I just don’t know enough about what they’re trying to do statistically,” he said.

Aware of concerns raised by humanists that the essence of their art is a search for meaning, Mr. Michel and Mr. Lieberman Aiden emphasized that culturomics simply provided information. Interpretation remains essential.

“I don’t want humanists to accept any specific claims — we’re just throwing a lot of interesting pieces on the table,” Mr. Lieberman Aiden said. “The question is: Are you willing to examine this data?”

Mr. Michel and Mr. Lieberman Aiden first started their research in 2004 on irregular verbs. Google Books did not exist then, and they had to scrutinize stacks of Anglo-Saxon texts page by page. The process took 18 months.

“We were exhausted,” Mr. Lieberman Aiden said. That painstaking work “was a total Hail Mary pass; we could have collected this data set and proved nothing.”

Then they read about Google’s plan to create a digital library and store of every book ever published and recognized that it could revolutionize their research. They approached Peter Norvig, the director of research at Google, about using the collection to do statistical analyses.

“He realized this was a great opportunity for science and for Google,” Mr. Michel said. “We spent the next four years dealing with the many, many complicated issues that arose,” including legal complications and computational constraints. (A proposed class-action settlement pertaining to copyright and compensation brought by writers and publishers as a result of Google’s digitization plans is pending in the courts.) Google says the culturomics project raises no copyright issue because the books themselves, or even sections of them, cannot be read.

So far, Google has scanned more than 11 percent of the entire corpus of published books, about two trillion words. The data analyzed in the paper contains about 4 percent of the corpus.

The warehouse of words makes it possible to analyze cultural influences statistically in a way previously not possible. Cultural references tend to appear in print much less frequently than everyday words, said Mr. Michel, whose expertise is in applied math and systems biology. An accurate picture needs a huge sample. Checking if “sasquatch” has infiltrated the culture requires a supply of at least a billion words a year, he said.

As for culturomics? In 20 years, type the word into an updated version of the database and see what happens.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

With Christmas soon approaching I am definitely writing my list and checking it twice, I have some great gifts picked out for people this year. One disappointment with the arrival of a gift I ordered online - a lesson to us all. Be careful when shopping online! Anyway, it will work out, I've got some additional ideas. I am excited to give my mom a scarf that I think she will love, but more so I am excited to give her a hand blender for all her soups. S has one and swears by it, so I am excited to gift one to my mom, I think it will make her soups for dinner parties much easier. Us kids have a great trick for my father who asked for a new television for their new house. I will report on it if we pull it off :) Some others but can't go into details for fear of them reading and getting ideas :)

More soon. Happy Santa-ing

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Parties

Tonight is the Stonewall Dems of NYC's Holiday Party - a great little time to catch up with all my LGBT political geeks! Not gonna lie though, sorta just want to go home - it has been a crazy month and a hectic past few months. I cannot wait for some slow end of year days!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Timeplots = awesome

This was recently passed on to me, and I am sure glad it was. What a great project. I cant wait to order the Presidency and Supreme Court versions!!! I know it is hard to read, so you must, must, must follow the hyperlink!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ghenet

Ghenet is one of my favorite restaurants! I love Ethiopian food so much, I could eat it for days! One of my favorite things to do is to go here with S and devour a plate of yummy, yummy food. My other favorite things to do is to take out of town guests here! Tonight it was a me and S night, perfect.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I want a do over.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Tonight was S's birthday at The Whiskey Brooklyn, what a great bar in Williamsburg with a game room and all! Happy Birthday S, I hope you enjoyed every minute of your party! I definitely recommend this place!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Angels in America


Tonight, S and I saw Part II of Angels in America. (On November 16th we saw Part I). If you aren't familiar with the play, you should be. I remember hearing of the play ages ago, but I am not a theater buff, so while I knew it's impact, I was not overly concerned with it. That said I soon realized that I could rent the HBO miniseries on Netflix, so I did and I loved it! When I heard that the Signature Theater was producing a 20th Anniversary showing of the play, I had to get tickets. It turns out that tickets weren't that easy to come by, but luckily through a silent auction benefiting PFLAG NYC I was able to purchase tickets!

I thought both plays were phenomenal. Don't get me wrong, they were both long, and I'm a geek when it comes to political stuff, especially as it relates to the LGBT community, but I just thought the play was excellent. I missed Mary Louise Parker playing Harper Pitt (as she did in the HBO miniseries), but all of the actors were great! I'm not going to give you some big review on the piece because, like I said I'm not a theater junky, however, I can say that I completely enjoyed myself and am so, so glad that I was able to see the play.

One of my favorite quotes from the play: "This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all. And the dead will be commemorated, and we'll struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won't die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come." ~ Prior Walter

It was the "We will be citizens" part that gave me goosebumps.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I wish it were Friday. I know that shouldn't count as a post, but it is all I can muster. All the ideas in my head are wound too tight.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kati visits Brooklyn

Here is to my sister and her visit to Brooklyn. Meeting S and Stuart! S made us amazing chili and a cheese plate of yummy Greek cheeses. I definitely want Kati to come back when the weather is nice, I think she would love to take some photos around Brooklyn and she can bring the kids too!!! Was great to see my sister in Brooklyn!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Corinthians 13: 1-13

1 Corinthians 13:1-13

If I speak in the tongues of men and angels,
but have not love,
I have become sounding brass or a tinkling symbol.

And if I have prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains,
but have not love, I am nothing.

And if I dole out all my goods, and
if I deliver my body that I may boast
but have not love, nothing I am profited.

Love is long suffering,
love is kind,
it is not jealous,
love does not boast,
it is not inflated.

It is not discourteous,
it is not selfish,
it is not irritable,
it does not enumerate the evil.
It does not rejoice over the wrong, but rejoices in the truth


It covers all things,
it has faith for all things,
it hopes in all things,
it endures in all things.

Love never falls in ruins;
but whether prophecies, they will be abolished; or
tongues, they will cease; or
knowledge, it will be superseded.

For we know in part and we prophecy in part.

But when the perfect comes, the imperfect will be superseded.

When I was an infant,
I spoke as an infant,
I reckoned as an infant;

when I became [an adult],
I abolished the things of the infant.

For now we see through a mirror in an enigma, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know as also I was fully known.

But now remains
faith, hope, love,

these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Birthday S

There is nothing like celebrating a birthday with someone you love. Here's to a day of smiles...i hope :)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Deck the Halls


I love turning apartments and homes into winter wonderlands!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

“Love is the ultimate outlaw. It just won't adhere to any rules. The most any of us can do is to sign on as its accomplice. Instead of vowing to honor and obey, maybe we should swear to aid and abet. That would mean that security is out of the question. The words "make" and "stay" become inappropriate. My love for you has no strings attached. I love you for free.” ~Tom Robbins

Friday, December 3, 2010

Yay! Tonight I got to catch up with a friend who moved to Colorado! I'm jealous of all her outdoor stories, but boy would I miss Brooklyn. That said, I do think of leaving NYC, but who knows when...I mean I also think of doing things like hiking the AT.





Haven't had the picklebacks a Beast, but they are damn good little shots, whiskey and pickles, two favorites!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Matching Grant Awarded to the Pride Agenda


Today at work we received exciting news, Sean Eldridge, Political Director, Freedom to Marry & Chris Hughes, Co-Founder, Facebook, and Founder, Jumo committed to match every tax-deductible donation made to the Empire State Pride Agenda Foundation between now and the end of the year, up to $50,000! In a time when budgets are being slashed and there is so much work to be done to win equality and justice for all New Yorkers this is excellent news! If you are interested in making a donation, go here, remember that this is a matching grant, so you donate $25 and we actually get $50, plus your donation is completely tax deductible. These donations will further our education and advocacy work so that passing bills like the Marriage Equality bill and the Transgender Civil Rights bill become law in New York state.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

World AIDS Day

I cannot believe that it is already December, this year has flown by. Today is World AIDS Day. It is absolutely phenomenal the number of lives that HIV and AIDS continue to claim. Today I encourage you to play a role in changing this, contribute to HealthGAP or find another organization that is working to stop the spread of HIV and AIDS and to make the lives of those living with these diseases better.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday

Is it Friday yet?!?! I cannot believe that tomorrow is December, where did this year go? It really seems like just yesterday I was brand new at my job and going to PA to see my family for Christmas, now I'm about to do it again! I am looking forward to snow though...so, bring.it.on.

Monday, November 29, 2010

working

So one of the thing I like most about my job is meeting with groups to talk about the work that my organization does. It reminds me of all of the progress made in New York but all of the progress yet to be made. It makes coming back to work after a holiday weekend worth it. Here's to continuing that work!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

recovery and Harry Potter

since I've never seen all of the Harry Potter movies, or for that matter read the books, I decided it will be a good cold weather activity! Me and S will watch all the movies just in time for the latest to be released on DVD :-)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

i love my friends



tonight i got my friends together to celebrate my birthday. such good times, and hello 31!

Friday, November 26, 2010

so much love today on my birthday! wishes from friends and an amazing dinner cooked by S. now, be sure, this was not just dinner, she transformed her entire apartment into a Mexican restaurant and made me the most delicious meal.


the hallway into the apartment

the mirror

my favorite cookie

the menu

key lime pie, with a gummy E, mmm.

two kinds of homemade hot sauce!!! amazing!!!

so much homemade deliciousness, i could die! i love having a gf who loves to cook and spoil me!!! a birthday dinner to go down in the history books for sure!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Another lovely Thanksgiving with my family in Fort Valley, VA. I love their new house, nothing but nature and my family, a most perfect way to spend some time outside of the city.


view from the front porch out to the country


evening view from the front porch with fancy iphone lens from hipstamatic


the fireplace, with a fire built by yours truly.


One of the best things was that after a year +, I was able to share with my family all of my photos from my summer of 2009 Road trip. It was so great to see all those photos and revisit that trip. If you go here you can see my route and then follow the posts through the trip. I was able to blog a bit on the trip, but I took over 1000 photos so it was nice to revisit them.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

i love being outside of the city, spent the day surrounded by nature, warmed by a beautiful fire. PERFECT.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

the only bad thing about an impending vacation is making sure i get all of my work done before i leave...ugh! can't wait for some rest and relaxation in rural Virginia, where really there is nothing around but beautiful country and family :-)

Monday, November 22, 2010

a short week, but my goodness is it going to be long. so much work to do and things to prep before i leave to go to virginia. i am so looking forward to seeing my family, especially my niece and nephew!!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

another boozy brunch at Clover Club. I love all of their cocktails. this is definitely a place you want to visit for a Sunday brunch, be sure to save up the funds as these tasty drinks will cost you - - - but so so worth it!!!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

i love dance parties with EH! tonight i brought with me some moonshine whiskey, while i didn't care for the drink much, i loved the bottle...too bad I forgot to take a photo.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thank goodness it's Friday!

This week was tough, finding out that a family friend passed away. Peggy lost a battle with ALS. She was a wonderful and giving person and I am blessed to know both her and her husband (Bernie). Bernie passed away last year, but words that he spoke stick with me. I met Peggy and Bernie through my parents church and while church has not played a major role in my adult life, the lessons are carried with me daily. Peggy and I volunteered together in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

Bernie, a Deacon at my parents church and would often end mass by saying: "May the peace of the Lord bother you every day of your life." I always liked the way he used the word "bother". It always made me think.

Today, I remember Bernie and Peggy and the wonderful lives the led and love they shared.

I will allow their peace to bother me.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rebuilding Haiti

Today, I came across this article about the rebuilding of Haiti following the January 8, 2010 earthquake that killed upwards of 200,000 people, displaced millions and destroyed the infrastructure of much of the capital city and surrounding area. It's been 11 months since the earthquake and rebuilding is happening at a snail's pace. Cholera outbreaks are now occurring and it makes sense given the impact on infrastructure including water supplies and the large number of IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons). So why can't Haiti get it together?

Haiti has more NGOs per capita than anywhere in the world, it is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and there are decades old issues of governance and infrastructure. There is no easy answer, the UN has created the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, Bill Clinton serves as the U.N. special envoy, Paul Farmer (founder of Partners in Health, the U.N. deputy special envoy, yet, in 11 months, barely 5% of the debris has been removed.

There is no easy answer here - in the U.S. we see similar challenges in the rebuilding of Ground Zero and New Orleans, post-Katrina.

It breaks my heart that this country continues to struggle and that whatever the solution will take years to implement. The situation in Haiti highlights the relationship of NGOs, government, bureaucracy, sustainability and progress. It also demonstrates that solutions to international problems require a great deal of coordination but also an understanding of the resources available. I believe that there are ways to ensure progress, yes, they will take time and investment, but if done correctly will have lasting impacts on this country.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Influence of the Private Sector on Public Policy

Tonight, I attended a work event in which we launched an new initiative to get the private sector to explicitly and publicly support the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act and Marriage Equality in NY State. Throughout the country as well as state of New York, private business is ahead of public policy when it comes to workplace protections on the basis of gender expression and identity. Many companies include these in their EEO policies, yet at a National level there is no workplace protection and an individual can be fired based on their gender expression and identity. At the state level, 13 states and the District of Columbia offer protections with an additional 130+ local jurisdictions. Below is an adaptation of a portion of my remarks from last evening.

We know that our elected leaders respond to their constituencies: a single person, a non-profit agency providing social services, faith communities or the private sector, businesses.

It is not uncommon for public policy to be driven by the private sector – we see this in companies who with no legal obligation chose to include gender expression and identity in their EEO policies; companies such as Google and Barclay’s who will reimburse their LGBT employees for the healthcare benefit tax that they are subject to when accessing Domestic Partner benefits, unlike their married heterosexual coworkers. Companies are doing what they can to level the so called playing field for their LGBT employees by taking these steps. We also see companies go to Washington, DC to testify before Congressional Committees, like Pfizer on the Uniting American Families Act, recognizing how the inequalities in the law impact their LGBT employees and sign statements of support for bills such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Domestic Partner Benefits and Obligations Act because of the importance of these pieces of legislation. We know that the private sector supports our issues because in the instance of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act , many already include these in your EEO policy.

Private sector support for the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act will help to push our elected officials to support the legislation that will serve to eliminate the gaps in protection on the basis of gender identity and expression across New York State. Companies are already providing these protections, we just need to let our elected officials know where this support is. The same goes for Marriage Equality and while we know that a company cannot extend all the rights and responsibilities associated with marriage, we do know that employers recognize the unfair burden placed on same-sex couples when they are denied the right to marry and are doing what they can to lessen this burden.

As always, we continue to push for equality and justice for LGBT New Yorkers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

a day off

Today, I took the day off, with nothing planned. today, I was able to spend a quiet day watching movies, drinking tea and hanging with my favorite guy, stuart. It's been a busy couple of months at work and in my personal life with seemingly endless plans, so to hide out in my apartment is the perfect escape.

It's time for another purge, to go through my closets and get rid of some things, and it's really a perfect time because many organizations are currently looking for clothing donations as winter approaches. This Saturday at Excelsior, there will be a clothing drive for LGBTQ youth. If you are in the Park Slope neighborhood, you should consider dropping by.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Public Finance

Ok, so one of my favorite assignments in Graduate School was having to balance the New York State budget and writing a memo to the budget director outlining the rationale of my decisions - YES, geeky. Anyway, you can imagine my excitement with this NYTimes budget puzzle - again, YES, geeky!

The fact of the matter is that a simple tool or exercise like this has the potential to opening people's eyes who think that balancing a budget can simply be done through reducing spending or raising taxes. It is a puzzle, just like the title says. Some fixes provide short term relief but over time do little to reduce the overall deficit.

A few of my favorite ways to reduce the federal deficit:

eliminate earmarks!

Right, because eliminating less than 1% of the federal budget will have a HUGE impact. Sure, sure, there is the infamous Bridge to Nowhere project but earmarks are designed to bring much needed money back to congressional districts to fund projects such as infrastructure projects, social services, National Parks improvements and other necessary and important projects. We trust that our elected officials will use their best judgment to determine what exactly these projects are, and with new Democrat reforms tot he earmark process, it is easier than ever to see what projects a member has submitted for consideration by the Appropriations Committee, using this online tool. For example, in using this tool, I can find out that my former boss submitted a proposal for $400,000 to fund a 24/7 drop-in center for homeless LGBT youth. A worthy project. An underfunded project. $600,000 for a ferry dock landing for the Statue of Liberty. A National tourist spot that millions visit, without this type of funding, how are people going to get to the Statue? Oh, wait, let me guess - it is their personal responsibility? Ok. Right.

If you look at this tool, you will see some of the biggest expenditures come from military spending. But using the logic that was used to kill the

Saturday, November 13, 2010

the outlaw, being a little badass.a little staged photo in the park, I mean, what else is there to do on a Saturday?





















a favorite pic using Hipstamatic and the lovely fall.

Friday, November 12, 2010

day off
dinner at fish camp
= goodness!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

tonight my friend Jennifer Flynn was honored by having an award named after her, in her speech she referenced this quote:

"Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love."
— Martin Luther King Jr.

so powerful and really, words to take in and live and understand.

Jen founded this wonderful organization that I've had the pleasure to work with. She is a true inspiration.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

i started running again. we'll see how long i can keep it up. i do love running through the streets of brooklyn on a crisp fall night.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

i.must.write.more.

that is the reality. some days it is easier to post pictures with few words or sentiments but that was not the purpose of 181 days. remembering the doorway technique. the wallet list.

i make wishes on first seen stars, throw pennies into wells.
believe in things like promises and sunsets.
tracing memories back wondering how others store time.
pages. paintings. pictures.

181 meant no edits. just posting.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Last Thursday, I read this blog and thought, "good job mom." Well, in the past couple of days, it is all over the internet. Today, the Today show featured two moms whose sons like to play dress up. You can see the video below. I think that these conversations are important. And I still think the line that the mother used in her blog post is so true, ‎"...I am not worried that your son will grow up to be an actual ninja so back off." I mean, let's get real, if a 5 year old wants to dress up as his favorite Scooby-Doo character, Daphne, does not mean that he is going to grow up to be gay. Good for this mom for allowing her child to play dress-up, to play make-believe, to simply let this child be himself, gay, straight or otherwise.



Sunday, November 7, 2010

Another Sunday in the Park


Spent the day in the park with this little guy :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


a perfect impromptu Saturday. i wish everyday was Saturday.

Friday, November 5, 2010

makes me smile.


Find more artists like tristan prettyman at Myspace Music

Thursday, November 4, 2010

An open letter (plea) to all eligible voters nationwide...

A former graduate school classmate posted this today, and it is so much of what I have been thinking. Please read!!!

Dear Voters:

Recently, it has come to my attention that people are angry. As such, fringe groups on both sides of the "mainstream" aisle have made a number of inappropriate and appropriate claims about our elected officials, the system of governance, and the credibility of public service in this country. The rise of the republicans had less to do with any real anger and more to do with the politics that is played out every two years; thanks to sound bites and media coverage whipping the electorate into a frenzy of emotional passions that spill over at the polls or people choosing to stay home because our government "doesn't care" and even worse, there is no accountability for results. Face it, most of what voters discuss is directly linked to what they read or hear on the television.

If you watch msnbc you may quote Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, or Keith Olhbermann. If you watch fox, you may quote Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. If you are apathetic, you may quote what is in your local paper and op-ed pieces. But all of this information is coming from a 3rd party source, you haven't confirmed it, digested it, or really thought deeply about it. And what is the "it" for you?

I have a proposition for both sides. Turn off the television. Turn on your computer. Go online, find out who your elected officials are: city, county, state, and federal. Find out who your non-paid elected officials are (in the case of downstate NY - county committee members who represent your election district and your male/female district leaders). Then, once you have all those names, go and look up your elected official's voting record. Find out what they voted on, how they voted, or if they simply handed their vote over to the leadership (speaker, majority leader, minority leader, etc). Find out how often they missed their votes.

While you are at it, find out what pieces of legislation they co-signed, introduced, passed, or let go to the wayside. You don't necessarily have to read the whole thing, though I think its a good idea if you do, but since you are just starting out, just try reading the summary and impact (purpose) of said legislation.

And while you are researching and learning, find out about how and where your elected spent your tax dollars, these are called "Budget Appropriations" - you can google some of this too! And learn about "Member Items" while you are at it.

And if you are feeling really motivated, you can also find out who contributed to your elected official's campaign. Did they get their money from people such as yourself in the community in small amounts? The Unions? Businesses? Who contributed most often? Who contributed the highest amount?

See, as public servants, all this information is not only a matter of public record, you can actually access all of this; just takes a little time and some reading. The work of the voter starts the day after election day. We must hold ourselves accountable first for having the knowledge of who our candidates and elected officials are, what they stand for, and how they represent/wish to represent us. If we do not, then we cannot complain that they don't care. People do get the government they deserve and there is mutual accountability between those running for office and the ones who put them there.

In my opinion - voting in ignorance is equal to not voting at all. So if you really want to see changes in how your government works for you, make sure you are putting the right people in office.

Case in point: Election day was on November 2nd. The Republicans and Tea Party members were ushered into the House. On November 3rd, the US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to the newly elected stating that they wish to meet in January to discuss the concerns of their constituents. The US Chamber of Commerce supported republicans and tea party members alike (who were elected) because they were feeling the effects of the regulations that the Obama administration had begun to impose on them. That isn't something the voting public would feel. Within minutes of being announced Senator-elect, Rand Paul began the rhetoric of not taxing big businesses and rich people (find out how much the Chamber contributed to his campaign) - as I recall, these weren't the words coming out of most tea party supporters. Enough said. Rope a dope.

Don't get me wrong, there are corrupt politicians out there, we hear about them often. But there are some really hard working public servants who strive to do the right thing and public service is hard enough without having an ignorant voting public. We believe our elected officials owe us the best of themselves when representing us. That is correct. And in turn, we owe them the respect of providing (voting for) equally capable and competent colleagues to work with in doing the "people's business".

Voting in ignorance is equal to not voting at all. The electorate shares responsibility in this country's lack of accountability relative to governance. And yes, people really do get the government they deserve.

Peace.

Akilah Rosado McQueen

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A little thing call the mid-terms

History is a funny thing, especially when people forget it!!! You can check out the NYTimes coverage here. Below are results from midterm elections, all the way back to 1930, we see the party in power in the Executive lose a significant number of seats in the House (and in often cases the Senate). I only included large losses, demonstrating that while this is a big deal (Dems. losing the House), it is not something NEW, in fact it is to be expected. IN fact, since WWII we've had a divided government for at least two-thirds of that time, so the fact that we just came out of a Democrat controlled White House, Senate and House is the unusual bit of information.

2010 Barack Obama D-60 (still being determined due to close races)
2006 George W. Bush R-30
1994 Bill Clinton D-54
1982 Ronald Reagan R-26
1974 Gerald Ford R-48
1966 Lyndon B. Johnson D-48
1958 Dwight D Eisenhower R-48
1942 Franklin D. Roosevelt D-45
1938 Franklin D. Roosevelt D-72
1930 Herbert Hoover R-52

These midterms demonstrated the growing strength of the Tea Party Movement that was borne out of the major bank bail outs and the 2008 victory of Barack Obama.

So what does this all mean? Well, it means that the party of "no," the GOP (the Grand Old Party) aka the Republicans and the Democrats will have to start working together. I mean, this is assuming that we actually want to do anything to restore economic security to the country, decrease the amount of unemployment, increase education standards, pass legislation that would repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), and a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

More to come...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day


it is illegal for me to serve in the military; my government will not allow me to marry the person I love; I can be discriminated in employment, housing, credit and education, but you know what, I CAN VOTE (and I just did, on Row E).

Monday, November 1, 2010

A lil email to friends

Dear Friends:

Tomorrow, as I'm sure you've heard, is election day. If you've talked to me in the past few weeks (or ever), you know how passionate I am about elections (and voting) and particularly what is at stake in New York this cycle. I know that many of us live in districts that might not be "in play," but the reality is that we all can play a role in the outcome of tomorrow's election.

There are two statewide races in which neither candidate has the majority, the Attorney General's race and the Comptroller's race. I implore you to vote for Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General and Thomas DiNapoli for Comptroller. Votes for these candidates will be votes for government reform, economic justice, women's rights and LGBT equality.

You can learn more about Eric Schneiderman here and Thomas DiNapoli here

The New York State Senate has a slim democratic majority and while tomorrow's results might not see an increase in that majority, we will hopefully see victories for democrats who are better on issues such as marriage equality, if every one plays their part tomorrow same-sex couples could come 4 votes closer to winning this critical right.

In many cases, the most critical outcome of these elections will be the party in power will redraw district lines, which occurs after every census. There is a reason that Republicans had control of the NY State Senate for so many years, they drew their districts. The catch here, this year is that NY is likely going to lose at least 2 Congressional seats throughout the state, therefore the redistricting will also hugely impact our representation nationally. It is critical that democrats maintain control of the Senate, that we retain our super-majority in the Assembly and the Governorship.

Nationwide, New York is viewed as a beacon of progressive values, a conservative or tea-party victory across the state will give huge weight to these platforms and put us in quite a fight in 2012, more so than we are in presently. Mid-term elections always see losses at a national level - Clinton lost about 50 seats in the house, FDR somewhere near 70. It is estimated that tomorrow, the House will lose anywhere from 40-80 seats, and the Senate anywhere from 4 - 9. We've spent the last 2 years with a Democratic controlled White House, Senate and House of Representatives, tomorrow we could see that change.

Tomorrow's election results hold in the balance issues that I know are important to many of you. I know we are all very busy people, but please take the time to go vote tomorrow.

You can find your polling place here

Not sure who to vote for? Check out this tool or ask me!!!

I will be voting on Row E tomorrow, the Working Families Party line, I encourage you to do the same. But honestly, I'll be happy if you just get out and vote!

Here's to democracy and 4am mornings in its name.

Talk soon,

Erin

Sunday, October 31, 2010

so the costume ideas didn't work out this year, but a nice dinner with the gf and friends following some serious election work was a lovely trade-off. i'll tuck the brilliant costume idea in my back pocket for next year :) Expect some posts in the coming days regarding the election, and the importance of getting out and voting.

xoxoxo

Saturday, October 30, 2010

GOTV for Tony Avella


Working on a Saturday to make sure that Tony Avella wins in the New York State Senate!!! Get Out the Vote because this one is going to be close. GO TONY!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Why I'm Voting on Row E



But more importantly than Matt Damon wearing a Yankees hat, I support the Working Families Party and their platform.


You can still vote for your candidates, just do it on Row E. Don't know much about the Working Families Party? Well, check out their website. This party pays particular attention to the issues that impact, yup, you guessed it, working families. But beyond that, the issues that they focus on, impact all of us: affordable housing, green jobs, education, healthcare, infrastructure, good jobs, a living wage, equal rights and so much more!!! The more voters who vote on this line, the more candidates will pay attention to these issues! Your vote will still go to your candidate of choice, so don't worry about that. One thing to note: with NY's new paper ballots, only vote for your candidate of choice on one party line. DO NOT vote for a candidate on both Row A (Democrat) and Row E (Working Families Party), if you do this, your vote will not count. Only fill in ONE row!

Don't forget to vote on Nov. 2, 2010. If you aren't sure if you are registered to vote, go here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Early voting in NY

So today, I went to perform my civic duty and vote. I need to vote absentee because I will be working from 5:30am - 9:30pm on election day. The Board of Elections website clearly states the following:

Registered voters who cannot make it to the polls on Election Day because of occupation, business, studies, travel, imprisonment (other than a convicted felon), illness, disability and hospitalization or resident in a long term care facility, may vote by absentee ballot.

There are two options for New York City voters wishing to cast absentee ballots:

1. Voting in person at your Board of Elections office in your borough
2. By mail.

However, this is not entirely true. The reality is, is that I must be unable to make it to the polls because of occupation, business, studies, etc. BUT ALSO I must be absent from not only my county BUT ALSO the 5 boroughs of New York City.

I call BULLSHIT. This is just one of the many reasons why NY should have early voting! Check out all of the states that do have early voting.

More on this soon!

Monday, October 25, 2010

God's Love We Deliver


Tonight I attended the Golden Heart Awards Dinner for God's Love We Deliver, a favorite NYC organization.

The mission of God's Love We Deliver is to improve the health and well-being of men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses by alleviating hunger and malnutrition. We prepare and deliver nutritious, high-quality meals to people who, because of their illness, are unable to provide or prepare meals for themselves. We also provide illness-specific nutrition education and counseling to our clients, families, care providers and other service organizations. All of our services are provided free of charge without regard to income.

The staff at GLWD is simply phenomenal but their work would not be possible without their army of volunteers, they prepare and deliver close to 1 million meals a year and work hard to create nutritious and tasty meals for their clients. For the past 4 years, I've volunteered with them on Thanksgiving or Christmas to deliver clients their meals. It is truly a humbling experience and such a wonderful way to spend a few hours on these holidays. If you are in NYC during the holidays, you should consider volunteering with God's Love We Deliver.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

HealthGAP

Are you familiar with HealthGAP? If not, please check out their website to learn more!!! Last evening I attended Health GAP Global Health Justice Awards that Rachel Maddow headlined, along with Annie Lennox to honor the excellent work of Bob Lederer, John Riley, ACT UP Philadelphia and Treatment Action Campaign (South Africa). Hats off to Jennifer Flynn, Managing Director, for all of her hard work over the years and putting together this successful event!!!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

tonight we donned matching shoes, played dress up

Friday, October 22, 2010

day off

sometimes, there is nothing better than a day off to just catch up on life. didnt do much today, biggest thing off the check list, laundry. woo hoo. nothing like the smell of clean clothes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

too little?



for me, these are just words...

i'll feel better when:

Don't Ask, Don't Tell is fully and absolutely repealed
the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is passed
the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed
the Respect for Marriage Act is passed
the Uniting American Families Act is passed

but this of course is only a start...there is so much work to be done.

Dear Mr. President, you told me you were a fierce advocate, I don't know where that man is.

I want equality and justice for all LGBT Americans and their families to be a reality!

I don't want to be a second class citizen because of love.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

meetings.meetings.meetings. that is how i spent my day. i would rather be outside playing.playing.playing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

allergy mistaken red eye flights across barren fields
pulse racing not from anticipation but from wanting pause
blinking lights and traffic horns side swiping races from streets to the highest roof
fruit flies chasing nectar honeybees planting stingers
puzzles and unfinished sentences cross pages of incomplete cadence
cracked oils collect on pallets and summer turns to fall
blankets no longer keeping warm.

Monday, October 18, 2010

today's favorite photo



my 6 year old nephew, who loves having a camera in hand...so cute. love you, jeremy!

this is at the wright's brothers memorial.