Election Reflection

From Election Night 2008

I’m a bit delayed with this post. Then again, what better time to discuss the election outcome than on the day designed for the whole nation to take time to give thanks?

I vividly remember where I was when Barrack Obama first entered the national stage. It was just a couple days before my mom and I moved to Arizona to join my dad. We were in a neighbor’s living room to watch that night's Democratic National Convention speeches, and I was standing toward the back of the room. I remember being enraptured by his keynote speech, his presence on that stage. (Watch that speech in full here.) A year later, when Obama came to Tempe to stump for Senate candidate Jim Pederson, I knew I had to be there. The crowd seemed huge then (read my account here), but by the standards he set this past election, it was downright intimate, and I was able to press my way to the front to shake his hand and say, “Thank you for all your hard work, Senator.” Five years ago I wrote up a list of things I want to do before I die (a “bucket list” before they were called that), and near the top of the list is “Meet the President”. I’m half-tempted to check that off thanks to my fleeting connection with our now President-Elect, but I have a greater hope that our brief contact is only a foretaste of a future meeting.

A girl can hope, right?

From Election Night 2008

On election night, I had a few friends over to watch the results roll in. When the election was called in favor of Obama, I expected the tears to flow like they had when I watched Michelle Obama speak at this year’s convention, like they had when Barrack graciously accepted the nomination. But somehow the tears didn’t come this time. I think by then it felt so natural, he looked so Presidential, the tears seemed better fitting for Jesse Jackson and Oprah. The only thing that flowed at our watch party was the bubbly, and that was quite sufficient.

From Election Night 2008

In short, on this day of Thanksgiving, I add this to my list of things for which I am grateful:

I am thankful for the inspiration Barrack Obama has brought to our country.

PS - I'm also very thankful for my sister, Ally, whose birthday is today! Love ya, Sis!


Slowly catching up

I'm going to try to catch up over the next few days with pictures and thoughts from the past month or two. First, a couple pictures from Megan & Jon's visit:

Real men drink strawberry milkshakes
From Megan & Jon Visit Phoenix

From Megan & Jon Visit Phoenix

We had fun
From Megan & Jon Visit Phoenix



Best laughs of the day –scratch that– week came from this 10-minute video.


Recent snapshots

Megan and Jon get into town tomorrow (today, I guess). Hijinx will ensue. In the meantime, enjoy these pics from scattered events throughout the end of summer/beginning of fall.

Viviane might be up to something here...
From General Arizona Fun 2008

Melissa gets some lovin' from Max, the newest pup in town
From General Arizona Fun 2008

Trying to play with Max & Bandit. They were probably too busy nipping at each other to pay Viviane much attention.
From General Arizona Fun 2008

A client's kitty.
From General Arizona Fun 2008

I love this shot of Juma.
From General Arizona Fun 2008

Downtown Phoenix can be simply beautiful on the rare day that there's no brown cloud
From General Arizona Fun 2008

Juma again
From General Arizona Fun 2008


CoMo Photos

Finally, here's a few more pics from Columbia. Link to the albums is at the end. Enjoy!

Indulging in a Missouri staple: Toasted Ravioli!
From Return to Mizzou

I did a lot of walking in these shoes to, from and around campus. Gotta love a pair of comfy AND stylish kicks!
From Return to Mizzou

I spotted Margaret!
From Tiger Game Day (vs. Univ. Nevada)

Matt can't say no to classic stadium food
From Tiger Game Day (vs. Univ. Nevada)

Group shot
From Tiger Game Day (vs. Univ. Nevada)

From Tiger Game Day (vs. Univ. Nevada)

Return to Mizzou

Tiger Game Day (vs. Univ. Nevada)


Old Missouri, Fair Missouri

Here are a few more teaser pics. Hopefully Friday I'll get the rest uploaded to write out some captions. In the meantime, enjoy!

From Return to Mizzou

Shakey's! Please ignore the silly expression on my face. I was in frozen custard bliss right then.

From Return to Mizzou

Dan snaps a shot of Matt & Elise in one of the amazing new RJI rooms.

From Return to Mizzou

Trying to look cute. It's amazing how many practice shots it took until I got something decent.

From Return to Mizzou

This one's for Pat.

From Return to Mizzou

Good ol' Lee Hills Hall.

From Return to Mizzou

My freshman year dorm room. This is where it all began.

From Return to Mizzou

Dinner with the Daugherties!

From Return to Mizzou

The new Mizzou Arena


My visit to Missouri for the MU School of Journalism Centennial in Bullet Points

Thoughts, reactions and commentary in bite-sized chunks. Convergence-style! [picture album TK]

From Return to Mizzou

Signs I’d Arrived in Missouri/on the Mizzou Campus:
+ The potholes that were there when I left 4 years ago were still there…and had grown in size.
+ Rain lasted longer than 15 minutes.
+ Banners for Boulevard served as wallpaper in the local bars.
+ Half the business establishments had “Tiger” in their names.
+ Coeds were wearing flip-flops, jeans and t-shirts instead of high heels, miniskirts and tube tops on campus. [see: Arizona State campus]
+ The trees were tall! And green!
+ There was significantly more community support for the local Cardinals.

Terp talks about his fondest J-School memories

What’s Remained the Same:
+ You can’t cross campus without being diverted by construction blocking your path somewhere.
+ The J-School still enjoys patting itself on the back (and rightfully so, of course). =)
+ Nothing beats toasted ravioli as an appetizer.
+ The red washcloths used as napkins at Shakespeare’s Pizza are still way better than paper napkins.
+ The Shakey’s on the north side of town still has the “y” in their name!
+ The joy of rivalry when a communal roar erupted downtown CoMo (I still feel weird trying to call it The District) when South Florida made the field goal in the final seconds against kU.
+ Lee Hills Hall still smells like stressed students, newsprint and overworked computers, and the hallway that has the bathrooms at the Artisan still smells like the building where I went to dance class throughout my elementary years.
+ There are way more eager student journalists than there is news to cover.
+ Johnny’s presence is still felt in FARC.

3-minute tour of the Reynolds Journalism Institute. You've gotta check this place out!

What’s Changed:
+ They have Macs!
+ And flat-screen TVs! Everywhere on campus, but in particular in the J-School.
+ The new Reynolds Journalism Institute has a coffee and sandwich shop.
+ The main lecture hall in the RJI has two outlets and an Ethernet plugin for every seat, very comfy chairs and a skylight.
+ McDavid has A/C and conspicuously lacks a computer lab (who needs a lab when all the students have laptops?). Students enter their dorm rooms using a magnetic card rather than a metal key.
+ The national park-style signs outside each building on campus have been replaced with fancy metal ones.
+ “Save the Ground. Walk Around” signs on the Quad are missing!
+ Students oh-so-disrespectfully talk, laugh and shout while passing through the Memorial Union archway. Kids these days!
+ The Missourian newsroom is painted green and has a “Convergence” desk, the function of which was never really explained to Dan and me.
+ The J-School library looks like a hip place to hang out. However did they manage that?!?!
+ D@rwin Hindm@n still has big ears.

Don Ranly talks about his favorite J-School memories

Highlights from the Conference:
+ Truman rappelling from the ceiling of the Mizzou Arena during the opening ceremony.
+ “It’s hard to change. Change is a bitch.” –John Byrne of BusinessWeek.com
+ The big buzz words: aggregation, context, iPhone, crowd-sourcing, widgets, horizontal (as in content, advertising and planning), mobile, simplicity, loyalty.
+ Journalists/editors should think of themselves as the curator of news and information.
+ The tenants of journalism as outlined by the great Walter Williams in the Journalist's Creed aren’t what’s the matter with media today. Rather, the advertising model that has worked for over a century needs fixing.
+ The more specialized you are, the more protected you are from advertising cuts.
+ More and more journalism is going to be done by freelancers rather the news outlets themselves [see editor as curator above]. My concern is that if this is true, then the J-School needs to go beyond teaching students how to compile sources, write a great story and work with editors on fine-tuning their pieces. The school needs to start teaching their graduates how to write a winning pitch, handle their taxes, find health coverage and set up a personal 401(k).
+ Debate over the phrase: “Context, not content, is king.”
+ Dean Dean semi-jokingly extended Mayor Hindm@n the title of adjunct professor for all that he’s taught student reporters in his city government offices. Pay for his new position will be the same he’s been receiving. =)
+ Apparently there’s talk about phasing out the brand-new convergence sequence and instead incorporating the lessons taught in those classes into every sequence.
+ Overall excitement for all the opportunities now awaiting the media as technology grows in leaps and bounds…as long as the industry stalwarts don’t dwell on the past.


VOIP: Viviane Over Internet Protocol

Our family has had fun playing around with Skype, video chatting with Ally back in Manhattan. The other night, we had a full house with Melissa in town for interviews, and Brooke, Chris and Viviane over for dinner, so of course we had to involve Ally in it all. Viviane was fascinated with getting to see Ally on the computer screen. She especially liked making virtual faces.


Peace, Love and Ringo

Thursday I treated my mom to one of her lifetime dreams: seeing a Beatle in concert. And not just any Beatle, her favorite: Ringo. Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band was her first rock concert ever and I'm pretty sure she had a blast. At least, that's the impression I got from her gushing, "Oh wow. I can't believe I saw a Beatle! Oh wow. I just can't believe it!"


Family Fotos

I finally finished putting together my online album from last weekend's family reunion. Below are a few of my favorite pics, in addition to the ones in previous posts. There's an abbreviated version of the album if you follow this link.

Wade wanted to play cards with the big kids

Casey goes after the volleyball

We took a fun hike to Sprague Lake for a picnic

Amend cattle were once branded with the "UIU" brand. We "branded" the younger kids to show that they carry the Amend brand on their hearts.

View all the pictures here:
Amend Family Reunion 2008


Another preview

I've uploaded all my selected reunion pics, but I have yet to dedicate the time to write captions. Hopefully I'll get to that this weekend. In the meantime, here's another of my favorite shots from the weekend. It's a face you might recognize from this here blog.


Lather, rinse, repeat

Just in case you didn't get the point in my last post, I kinda like these folks. This pic is from my cousin Peter's camera. I have a similar shot in the album I'll be posting eventually, but mine's from the side and you can't quite see everyone's silly expressions. So I had to share this one. Also, I nearly lost a quart of bodily fluid drooling over his wide-angle lens.

These are some of my favorite people in the world

And I get to call them family. More pictures from the weekend TK.


Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Lots on my to-do list before I leave town tomorrow. Sorry these took a while to get posted!




One Year Later

Can it really have been one year ago today that I landed in London to kick off my round-the-world escapades? When I tell people that I traveled for 3 months on my own, I usually get reactions mixed with awe and respect. But three months seem like nothing compared to friends who have done 6, 12 or 18 months. And when I find myself having returned to the same yellow bedroom still bunking with my parents, I wonder how wide I really made my world. Was it all just a temporary broadening of my boarders?

On Another Note
I chopped my hair off. Pictures TK.



I decided this blog was in need of an update, folks. I'd been bummed that I couldn't post my pictures bigger, so I found a template that would work that way. If I'm going to take fun pictures with my new lens, by golly, I want to be able to show them off at their finest (see below).

This is Scoobie, the lucky guy I with whom I get to spend all of next week. This gig will wrap up 4 weeks straight of house / pet sitting. Whew.


Take Your Bandit to Work Day

Friday was Take Your Dog to Work Day. I put Bandit in charge of helping me pick out a sanserif font for a new project. He has a fabulous eye for typography.

Bandito and me, hard at work

Amanda and Bantos, the Boston Terrier



I am working hard to:

+ Sit up straighter
+ Not care that I can't be everyone's friend
+ Make my gym membership worth the nominal fee I pay
+ Go for a hike every month
+ Answer emails more promptly
+ Make plans to cross the border for a long weekend this summer/fall
+ Drink more water
+ Not get too emotional when emotion is unnecessary
+ Make time to see Sex and the City
+ Infuse my work with more feminine flair
+ Stick to my budget
+ Make excuses to take more pictures
+ Get more comfortable presenting in front of a group

On a related note...
I gave my first Toastmasters speech this Monday, wherein I had to basically just introduce myself to the assembled group. I got several laughs (yes!), and the biggest round of gasps and laughs came from this segment of my speech:

My mom was a teacher at a local middle school. Her subject? Sex ed. If I ever seem a bit odd to you, just attribute it to the scars of surviving my teen years despite memories of adolescent boys coming up to me in the hallway with the announcement, “Erica! Your mom talked about masturbation in class today!” True story.


The results are in: I have a personality

During my interview process for my new job, I had to go through a battery of personality tests, and I recently got the results. Apparently I am high in the "conscientiousness" factor. Also, I:

+ am a perfectionist
+ play by the rules
+ benefit from structure
+ can easily get consumed by details, tend to over-analyze issues
+ am easily rattled by rejection, but will respond well to critiques
+ often ask "how?"
+ am afraid of confrontation, and thus can give in too easily or can not make my own needs known
+ am very loyal

I was amazed at how spot on these results were, and I would be interested to see if anything would change, were I to take the test again in 3 years. A lot of these characteristics I could have probably told you about myself, but somehow this makes them feel "official". Kinda like a diagnosis. All I need now is a prescription to go along. "To treat your fear of confrontation, I'll have you take two deep breaths per conflict. And be sure to stock up on assertive supplements."

I guess that's what therapy's for, right?


Warning: Possible Viviane overload

To do my part to stimulate the economy (via ebay) I got a new zoom lens for my camera. (Thanks, W!) It arrived at work probably at about the moment my plane was touching ground in Kansas City to take me to my sister's graduation...where the ability to zoom in on her face in the crowd of graduates would have been handy. Of course.

Anyways. I had to put it to the test this weekend when Brooke, Chris and Viviane came over to celebrate Brooke's birthday. I went a bit overboard on the photo-taking (unusual, I know). I pared the 500+ pictures down to 42 to put in my Picasa album, and below are my very favorites. During dinner, Brooke and Chris related the newest favorite Viviane story:

The other night the three of them were putting together a puzzle when Viviane stood up all of a sudden and exclaimed, "You guys! I can't take living here anymore! [dramatic pause] I have to go to the bathroom!"

They say girls today are maturing faster, but who knew the teen years now start at age 3?!?!

Blowing bubbles with a fancy new bubble blower.

Viviane in our backyard

Would you believe me if I said that's her natural lip color?!?!

How sweet!

I love this shot of Brooke!

Paying attention to the conversation