No matter which way the election went I knew it would be an emotional night. I was sick of the election. I had fulfilled my civic duty by voting, and I wanted to sleep through the results.
Instead, I got home, got sucked into reading blogs and tweets, and could not tear myself away.
When I saw the tweets that projected Barack Obama as the winner, I felt apprehensive. Could this be in error?
Then McCain gave his concession speech. Okay, this is real.
[Valley Girl accent] It's like Oh My God! Really!
There was a time that I would have voted for John McCain. I feel he is a good man and true American hero who makes an effort to reach across party lines, and I still believe that, but in the course of the election, I was turned off by ugly stories, the whole "Joe the Plumber" mess, and the insinuation that "Real Americans" don't look like me.
I'm a veteran who truly, madly, deeply-- fiercely-- loves America, and couldn't abide by that.
Also the "Obama is a terrorist" and the hate speech just turned me off--ugh.
So I voted Obama.
Please note that I don't believe that most McCain supporters were responsible for this nasty discourse, but enough to concern me, and I don't believe that the hate was was McCain was about.
McCain's concession speech was moving and classy. If only the campaign were run more that way. While they couldn't silence the hate speech and silliness, I think they could have done more to distance themselves from it and embrace the rest of America.
As I listened President-Elect Obama's speech and watched the audience, the significance of this historic moment started to creep in.
I imagined my family ghosts watching with me, my stoic grandmother crying; my grandfather in disbelief-- one of my aunt gossiping-- my mother cautiously optimistic. It was remarkable and moving.
This will be one of those "where were you when" moments.
While this election doesn't put any end to our issues with race relations (hoping no one thinks that); it is a watershed moment and history before our eyes.
The war and the sour economy are just some of the issues Obama will have to deal with in the coming months. While discussion, debate, and disagreement are part of healthy American discourse, fear, false rumors, and hatred only set us back.
Blessings to President-Elect Obama and his beautiful family.
At approximately 4 am on Friday morning, I was awakened by a very loud knock at the door. I had been dreaming that a van I rented had been badly damaged in a storm, and I didn't know what to do.
I ignored the knock, then heard footsteps, voices and another loud knock. I got on some clothes and yelled, "who is it?"
"You need to leave right now."
Looked through the peephole. A police officer was standing there. I opened the door.
"Ma'am, you need to leave right now. There's a fire on the other side of you. Is there anyone else here?"
Fire? What? Huh? I didn't see anything.
By then, the downstairs neighbors where filing out, and I put on some sandals, took my keys (the officer told me to leave my door unlocked) and followed.
As soon as I rounded the corner, I was greeted with an orange sky. the stairway of the apartments on the other side was on fire, flames were leaping out of the windows. The red lights of fire trucks and blue lights of police cars were flashing.
I smelled smoke, heard sirens and weeping; saw firefighters with axes and hoses; felt cold and afraid.
I walked over to my downstairs neighbors. I got a cell phone and tried to remember Patrick's work number, but went totally blanked and couldn't remember for a while.
The police officer came and took out names, apartment numbers, dates of birth, other occupants etc. I spied other firefighters going around the corner to my apartment; saw the couple who lived in the apartment where the fire started; felt so sad for them.
The firefighters put the flames out; finally got in touch with Patrick. I took a walk around the complex and counted the fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances. Can't remember how many.
Went to my car and got a sweater; took and blanket and crocheted shawl to the couple.
Saw Patrick. He snuck in the apartment and got some tops and hats for the guy.
We talked to them a bit, and finally went back out apartment (it was about 6 am, more or less) which was fine, but smoky. One of our neighbors said that the firefighters came in with heat imaging equipment and looked around. Patrick noticed his spinning wheel was knocked over.
I went to the computer and got on Twitter and tweeted the incident. Saw reports on the morning news.
Once the sun was up, I went out and took photos and tweeted those as well. I felt what I imagine to be a reporter's instinct kick in.
By this time only two fire trucks still around, but were wrapping things up. Noticed the electric meters taken off. The Red Cross had arrived and were talking to the families.
I went to work. I felt really weird wanting both to leave and remain. Seemed as if I smelled smoke all day long.
When I came home, a news truck was in front of the damaged building. I talked to the couple we I had given the blanket and shawl. They were moved into the building next door, and actually managed to salvage some belongings and furniture. She was cleaning and was covered in soot. They had friends helping them.
Everyone got out--one person jumped out a window, but wasn't hurt. Another went to the hospital for cuts and breathing problems but didn't stay long.
It truly could have been so much worse. The cause is under investigation.
I received a tweet from someone at the Red Cross who picked up on my tweets. They blogged about the power of Twitter to communicate breaking news.
Although I still feel rattled, seeing the couple and getting that tweet from the Red Cross made me feel better.
I also feel lucky and profoundly grateful.
Things happens so fast, like four seasons in one day.
I sat down and finished my Surrey Hat.
Pattern: Surrey Hat by Corrina Ferguson
Started/Finished: November 1/November 8. 2008
Yarn: Malabrigo Worsted Weight, Natural, one skein
Needles: Size 8, 16" cirs and dpns
Notes/Mods: Great pattern. While the honeycomb pattern is easy to memorize, I didn't pay attention and crossed a cable the wrong way and had to rip four rows back to correct it.
While in line on election day, dropped two stitches while doing a cable, didn't see my mistake until the next row, thought I had corrected it, but still was off a stitch when it was time to cable again, so I ripped down four rows of the problem eight stitch cable section and fixed it. Felt so proud. It smooth sailing for the rest of the hat.
I also added a stockinette row between some of the decrease rows and did an extra k2tog row to have 8 stitches at the end
It's a great pattern and a beautiful hat. The Malabrigo is perfect.
Even though it's really too warm for Charleston, I cannot give it away right now, it will forever be tied to the election and the fire.
Thanks for putting up with a longer than usual post.
Whatta week it was.