Thanksgiving to World AIDS Day

Thank you. Thank you for acknowledging the power of a virus to ravage lives. Thank you for extending compassion to every human being, protec...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Fiscal Responsibility

Does the Wall Street CEO deserve a $10 million bonus when his company lost billions? Should taxpayer bail-out money include a clawback provision forcing executives to return some of the millions they took from Wall Street? Fair? Not fair? I choose not to waste a single thought on greed for greed’s sake. Instead, I’m inspired by the rich who steward their wealth intentional and directly toward leveling the playing field in meaningful and lasting ways.

I am impressed by individuals who continue to give generously even in these difficult times. I believe that the wealthy have a responsibility to invest in addressing inequity. This is especially true when the constraints on others are so great. Otherwise, we will come out of the economic downturn in a world that is even more unequal, with greater inequities in health and education, and fewer opportunities for people to improve their lives. There is no reason to accept that, when we know how to make huge gains over the long term." -Bill Gates

Ignore the headlines. Turn off the news and read the first Annual Letter from Bill Gates on the work of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Allow it to rekindle your faith that while business will always be business, it’s what we do with the resources we’ve been fortunate enough to acquire that counts.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lessons in Attitude

In hindsight, it was fitting to begin my Inauguration journey with a long-awaited visit with the oldest and wisest woman in my gene pool. My great-aunt Ida Mae will proudly tell you she’ll be 97 years old next month and “never has a pain”. I’ve long admired Idie’s spirit so it was no surprise to hear the answer she shares when asked the secret to her longevity - attitude.

Directly from that visit I landed at Washington Reagan Airport, took the Metro directly to Capitol Hill and stood in the first of numerous lines among the masses, in the cold, for our chance to witness history.

Idie’s wisdom was palpable in the crowd that would grow to millions and endure harsh conditions, yet the sense of euphoria did not fail. Inauguration Day in Washington, DC, left many overwhelming impressions on me but none as deeply as this – no hardship is greater than the positive attitude you bring to it.

This same attitude keeps me pedaling hours into a mountainous climb, keeps a lab scientist enthusiastic to try a new hypothesis after the last failure, causes you to give despite hard times, brings hope to a person with HIV and peace to one with AIDS. Whether we invoke a higher power, friend or family member for help, attitude is sometimes all we have the power to control and oh what power it has when called into action!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History Witnessed - Our 44th President

Might have noticed that network connections were completely jammed from roughly 9:30ET til I'd gotten far from the Capitol this afternoon. By the time the ceremony began, we'd moved to the west side of the frozen Reflecting Pool, at the top of the steps with a fairly good view of the jumbotron (few tall shoulders) and the podium (thru tree limbs).

Temps never rose above 31degrees and feeble attempts to march along with the Marine Band wouldn't budge our feet from numb. The crowd, however, remained diligent and grew more resilient as we spotted the motorcade arriving just to the right of our TV view.

Cheers rose from the crowd as dignitaries arrived on the scene - specifically cheering the Democrats and reserving a downright "boo" for only a few. As then-current President Bush was introduced, someone in our section began the chant, "nah, nah,nah, nah, hey, hey, goodbye" it picked up and wrapped around the entire section, ending only as it became clear the star of the show would come next. The music stopped and it became incredibly quiet amid more than 1million people.

Sound emitting from the speakers is slightly delayed as it travels the length of the Mall to the Lincoln Memorial so as Barack Obama took the oath of office, cheers could be heard blasting in echoing waves behind us for at least 30seconds. Tears of joy poured down the faces of many around me as we stood mesmerized by President Obama's call to "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and remake America".

Advance warning was given to choose in advance whether attending the Inauguration OR the parade as the crowd couldn't be accomodated moving from one to the other. Clearly that was the case as the mob made its way to the nearest Metro stop as a helicoptor flew the Bush family overhead and out of town. I later heard more than 866,000 people - new record expected - jammed Metro today. We walked about 3miles to reach a less crowded stop, finally reaching Dupont Circle at 2:30 for our first meal of the day since that half cup of coffee and yogurt at 5am.

Over Thai food, Marty, Barry and I sat, exhausted but in awe of the piece of history we'd just witnessed and exhilirated by the promise of a unified drive toward a brighter future.

Postscript: I'm watching the parade now, on TV, with a hot cup of tea, feet up with my generous hosts, Tim & Patrick. Funny thing is, my foot warmers only now got good and hot!

Barrier Broken

And the crowd advances. Chance of a jumbotron gllimpse now. Pic is the obstructed view of the podium if I were 6'

Ready, Set...

We're through security and have claimed our 2.5sq ft of ground in front of the Capitol just as the sun rises, hopefully raising the temp much higher than the current "feels like 9 degrees". More than 3hrs to go.
The 2nd pic is the view behind at the crowd filling the Mall

The Line-Up

(begun at. 6:10am) We're a block from the Silver security checkpoint that won't open for 2hrs. The Capitol looms ahead, brightly lit against a pre-dawn sky. It's below freezing but the air is calm as crowds huddle forward playfully shouting at line-cutters, "No, you can't".

The Day Begins

With a Metro ride...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Look Who Showed Up at the Party

The DC contingent of the NYCDC AIDS Ride for Research is hosting tonight's festivities. Among them, felllow riders and crew: Liz, Theresa, and Dr. Yuntao Wu.


And will be in the silver SRO section near the reflection pond tomorrow!!!

Do I Feel Lucky?

Thanks to Marty & Barry, my name is on 4 waitlists for a ticket to the SRO silver section. We're now waiting on a fine seat in the bowels of Congress to put our names in a lottery the New Jersey rep is holding for leftover tickets.

Across the hall, Marty spied some great cookies and asked WV Rep. Alan Mollohan to step aside so she could snap this pic. He gave her a cookie!


In a sea of humanity... This climb out of the Metro station to the Congressional offices where hoards of people are in long lines to pick up their tickets...or in my case, beg for extras.
Weather is bearable. Atmoshere is electric!

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Taking My "Front Row" Seat in History

This is where you'll find me 1-20-09

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mightily Blessed

On my mind just now is one of the last lucid conversations I had with my brother before his death more than a decade ago. We were deep in a pity party over how our vagabond upbringing had left us without a hometown, people we'd grown up with, any memory of how a spot might have looked in the old days or the chance to mourn all that was lost in its evolution. We reached the end of our pathetic litany and sat in silence for just a moment before saying, almost simultaneously, "oh but the things we'd have missed!"
There are still times I pine for the comfort of sameness but on nights like this one, when that inbred sense of adventure turns a long business trip into a memorable night with good friends in far away places, I know the greater blessing is in taking the road less travelled and can only wish Bret was around to share it.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Sun’ll Come Out Tomorrow

As I struggled with a password problem and a non-functioning phone, news forecasted a dry day and receding rivers that finally crested last night with record high marks. Sounded to me like an invitation to a much needed adventure!
Donning cold weather gear, I rode out for the valley's edge in the frosty air, passing high-schoolers waiting for the (2-hr delayed) bus, a month’s worth of missed recyclables piled high for pick-up and dirty remnants of last week’s melting mess. My Three Rivers Ride was expectedly cut short at the Springhetti Rd overlook into the valley. Note the difference between the springtime view and today’s waterway.

Two men in parked DOT trucks stood watch over the road, smartly suggesting I might not want to drop down into Snohomish today.

Expanding water holes and greens strewn with downed pine branches hadn’t swayed the steadfast Friday Kenwanda golfers and I wasn’t the only one out for a picture of Mother Nature’s latest gift.

Pausing on the valley rim, a Carhartt clad man stepped out of his Ford with a camera stating he needed a shot to compare to one taken in 1995 when he lived much closer to the river. He stood for a moment, having snapped his shot, and gazed wistfully down the waterlogged Snohomish River Valley. “I lost 105 horses that year” he said, “Now I live on a hill.”

Today marks 4 weeks, the longest stretch in nearly 4 years that I’ve been home without traveling on business or otherwise. In that time, Western Washington has endured a deep freeze and record-breaking snows followed by isolating floods. My next flight is Monday. The forecast calls for sun.
Free Clipart Picture of Smiley Face Sun. Click Here to Get Free Images at Clipart
More pics from Flood Ride 2009