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DNC08-Days 2 & 3 August 28, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in politics, Uncategorized.
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Day Two

Everyone, by now, knows that Hillary Clinton’s rallying call last night, to unite behind Obama is history, and that today the delegates will cast their official votes to select the democratic nominee for the Presidential election.

But back to last night for a bit. What viewers watching at home can’t see, is quite a spectacle. We were on the floor last night for the speeches, and after a day of other events that we needed to attend (along with the daily schelp to pick up our credentials), we arrived just in time to gain access to the floor before they realized that the were over capacity and closed the floor, regardless of credential level. (I imagine that key people, such as staff or press covering the event from the floor were still able to get in.) Being able to watch the event from the floor was exciting, but from the comfort-standpoint (and we were standing), sitting in the gallery as we were for Monday night was much better. We could see better, and, well … we were sitting. But it was still exciting to be in the “thick of it” even as we were all herded along to songs of “keep moving, folks, keep moving.”

Once the final benediction is given, and everyone leaves, the feeding frenzy starts. The staged media, with their “on location” sets have to do their post-mortem reporting. The “on the ground” media have to find delegates and members of the general public attending to interview. Camera crews film, or try to get back to their posts and catch up with their producers. And the political junkies swoop down like predators to carrion on the campaign signs that have been discarded and litter the floor and remain on the seats. They travel upstream, against the flow of traffic, nearly climbing over chairs, squatting on the floor to collect the very signs and slogans that you see being waved during the key moments when you’re watching on T.V.  Of course, many people keep the signs that they’re given, maybe grab one or two extras for the kids back home, or that loyal supporter/friend they have who couldn’t attend and said, “if you can get a Hillary-Obama-campaign-Michelle-whatever sign, bring me back one,” and then there are the crazy people — and believe me, there were lots. Being a political wife, I get the “celebrity” of politics, but I also know that these folks are just like us and put on their pants the same way. And, while I do share profound sentiments of admiration for many other professional public servants, I also try not to be that person, you know, that “fan” — the one who sees that you’re having dinner with your family, but decides that now is a perfect time to hover over you for longer than it takes to say, “hello _______” (insert title/honorific) and shake hands.

One of the amazing things are the people who are there, who just soak up being around political figures. (We actually had a tiny accident, because someone not with the people that we were traveling with learned that my husband’s a nominee and just wanted to talk and talk and talk. Which, in itself is not a problem, and my husband was being very gracious, despite the fact that we were trying to get a photo done in a space that was becoming increasingly crowded. To make a long story short, personal space was invaded, and my poor husband got knocked off of the chair that he was standing on (so taht I could get the photo), with such a commotion, that Katie Couric herself (who was behind us) turned around mid-broadcast to make sure that he was okay. (I turned all shades of red). The chatty one, bending my husband’s ear, didn’t quite realized that he’d caused the accident, and oddly enough, just watched instead of offering him a hand out from between the chairs. It was both the most personally embarrassing and comical moment of the trip. (So far anyway.)

Day Three

Yesterday was busy. We had morning and afternoon events to attend, as on the other days and made our way to the Pepsi Center around 6 p.m. after picking up our credentials. Security was tighter than the previous evenings, which we thought was because of protesters. Actually, when we were heading to our first event of the day, we had to cross a protest, where the police — fully outfitted in their swat gear — were ready for the first sign of trouble. (Not fun, having to cross that line.) Anyway, once again our credentials got us on the floor and briefly, were able to sit with the delegation, during Bill Clinton’s speech.  We watched the rest of the speeches from a different spot on the Floor. Inspiring is the best word that can be used to describe the day and evening.

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DNC08 Day 1: Personal Reactions August 26, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Uncategorized.
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My husband and I are in Denver at the DNC08 convention, traveling with the Michigan delgataion. This is my first Democratic Convention, and it has been simply amazing. The energy and excitement here is bubbling to say the least. With my husband, now the Democratic nominee for State Rep for our district, we are getting to spend time with memebers of the Michigan legislature who are here. The early parts of the day are filled with Michigan-related events, the convention in the evening, followed by more post-convention Michigan events. It’s very busy. And the “jump right into the pool” introduction to this level of politics is like nothing I could have ever imagined. In many ways, it’s a little surreal. I have to pause every now and then and step back to take it all in, a bit flabbergasted that we’re actually here.

Yesterday’s speeches at the convention were beyond moving, the highlights (for me anyway) hearing Jesse Jackson, Jr. speak and his eloquent reference to Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream speech” stating that he was certain that MLK was looking upon this convention and noting that it’s the first one in sight of a mountain top. Hearing and seeing Senator Kennedy (my former Senator, from when I was a Massachusetts resident)-lucid and sharp as ever, and seeing Michelle Obama deliver a very real, very human speech, not just about Barak, but about the tasks ahead of us between now and the general election and once he’s elected, the important work to be done as a nation. As a political wife and a mom, her sentiments resonated with me profoundly. Of course, I’m not alone in that … there are many of us in this position … upholding our husbands who are dedicated to public office, all the while raising and protecting our children, trying to maintain some sort of normalcy and managing our own careers outside of political life. It was indeed profound and affirming. So we’re on to day 2 now, and I can say with great confidence, that I’m looking forward to it.

The Smart One: A Blogstop Book Tour Book Review August 8, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in writing/editing/blogging.
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Relationships. At its core, that is what Ellen Meister’s The Smart One is about. Through non-stop action and descriptive language that not only puts you in the scenes physically, but emotionally, Meister unravels a spellbinding story with wit and panache. Starting in media res, living through protagonist Bev’s interview for a position that could take her out of life-long home of New York for a fresh start—away from the disappointments and distractions created from a lifetime of trying to live up to the labels and expectations of her parents, her sisters—and even herself. Bev, the middle child, was labeled as “the smart one,” nestled between Claire—”the pretty one” with the “perfect” life: wife, mother, Soccer Mom extraordinaire, and Joey—”the wild child”—a recovering addict and former one-hit-wonder rock star. All three sisters love each other tremendously, but cannot seem to escape the bounds of the labels created for them or the sibling rivalry.

A strange twist of fate that has Bev house sitting her childhood neighbors’ home while she awaits news about her new job also reconnects her with old neighborhood friend Kenny Waxman (and son of the same neighbors). Kenny and Bev have a history themselves, one which in itself is complicated, especially as Kenny struggles with his own family-expectations issues and adds yet another dimension to the connection between past, present and future.  Bev returning to her childhood home on Long Island serves to upset that strange balance of family (and neighborhood) dysfunction that many of us know all too well.  Kenny and Bev, back home for the same mission (to help sell Kenny’s parent’s home) leads to an accidental journey of discovery to unravel the mysteries hidden in an industrial drum found in the Waxman’s crawl space — mysteries that serve to disrupt the appearances that suburban life tries to maintain as a decaying pregnant corpse is revealed as the drum’s contents. Bev, her sisters and Kenny end up unraveling the secrets and mysteries of the quad’s own former lives, those of their families and sheds light on where each may be  heading as individuals.

Meister’s characters are strangely real — as if you’ve met them before, and the storyline moves well, urging you to turn the next page for more. The Smart One is a perfect read for the end of the summer, and one that’s certain to become among those that you pick up and read again … and again … and again.

The Smart One is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Booksense and Borders. To learn more about Ellen Meister and her previous work Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA, visit her Web site at www.EllenMeitser.com. The Smart One is published by Avon an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The Smart One
by Ellen Meister
NewYork: Avon/HarperCollins, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-06-112963-9

This book review is part of the BlogStop Book Tours book review series for The Smart One . Visit BlogStop Book Tours to learn more.

Future stops on The Smart One book tour are:

To read the reviews at the previous stops on The Smart One book tour, visit:


Brandana: A Discredit to Women in Politics August 1, 2008

Posted by emsgeiss in Business Issues, politics, writing/editing/blogging.
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As I watch (and live) the local campaign season, I find myself completely disappointed in one of the Democratic candidates in the race for State Representative for Michigan’s 22nd district, a seat made vacant by the term-limited Hoon Yung Hopgood.  In full disclosure, one of the candidates happens to be my husband, hence my statement about living the campaign season. There are two men vying for the seat and one woman. Sadly, it is the woman, Jill Brandana, who is proving to be a discredit to women in politics regardless of how large the arena is or how high the office. I would say this even if my husband were not one of her opponents. There are five reasons and indisputable facts why. (more…)