Thank you, President Obama

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Watching the President’s Farewell Address last night was like turning the page at the end of a chapter. I happily and gratefully and proudly voted for Barack Obama in 2008, knowing that not only was I getting a good and decent man who would be a great President, I was also making history, and I treated it as such.

As late as his election night speech was in 2008, we woke up our then-eleven year old to watch him live. We recorded it if I recall correctly. People would be talking about this for the rest of history. He will stand alongside George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and others who withstand the test of time.

When the Farewell Address began, I took the ear phones and tablets away from my younger kids, and made the television louder. We sat and ignored everyhting else around us for the near hour that he spoke, reminding us of the never ending (hopefully) and the ever constant responsibility we have to continue this American experiment. It is bigger than any one man (or woman).

Thank you.

Yes, We Can. And Yes, We Did.

We did on so many things, and it would be redundant to list them in my less polished way. Please watch the video and read the transcript. Remember what we accomplished together, through discourse and decency.

For the future, beginning in a little more than a week, I say: Fired up. Ready to go.

Full Transcript

The Red Apron

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​What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

From The Daily Post on WordPress

So many things that pop into my head with this question, this prompt.

The one thing I probably always, always, always use when I am cooking is my apron. I was never a fan of aprons. I thought they were old-fashioned and silly and ridiculous looking. They are also one size fits all, and one size almost never fits me. I would never wear an apron.

I think I’m conflating two or three Thanksgivings that we hosted. I picture different apartments, different guests, but I also seem to recall only cooking Thanksgiving on my own once. We moved away from our families, about two hundred fifty miles – lower cost of living, not as crowded, and while we usually returned home for some of the holidays, this one year we did not. 

I don’t know what made me buy the apron. In addition to it being one size fits all, it was red; my least favorite color.

A red apron. It was probably literally one of the last things I would ever own, let alone buy.

I first time I used it, it was smooth, and tied easily around my back. I adjusted the neck, and stuck my hands in the large double pockets in the front. I still thought I looked ridiculous, but hey, it was Thanksgiving – wasn’t I supposed to wear an apron as part of the festivities?

I began to cook. I don’t remember what we made other than a very huge turkey that barely fit in our small apartment sized oven. I’m sure there were mashed potatoes and a vegetable. There was probably a sweet potato pie – my favorite and this long ago I probably also followed the recipe more closely, so it was near perfect to my friend’s who taught it to me.

What I do remember is unconsciously wiping my dirty hands on my apron, and after two more times and some long minutes, I realized what I was doing, and I was never more grateful for a kitchen item in my life. That apron saved my clothes.

It was then that I realized that this one size fits all that never fits, actually went a little bit around my hips protecting my dark pants as well.

I nodded my head, and grinned, and I was really glad that I bought this red apron.

In the years since then, that apron gives me the illusion of being a cook. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am actually a good cook. I do food good. Breads. Sweet breads. Ginger cookies. I’m terrible at baking, which is why none of my kids get a homemade birthday cake except my middle guy – he loves cheesecake and asks for it every year, so that’s win-win for everyone.

I can’t remember how many times I’ve left my watch in the pocket; or my wedding rings from baking bread from scratch or my cell phone. The pockets are even big enough to hold my kindle that I use for some of the recipes.

I have actually brought that apron on vacation with me. I’ve brought it to my mother-in-law’s for Thanksgiving dinner to help out in the kitchen. I made three trips to visit friends – once to Denver and twice to Williamsburg, Virginia, and I brought it and used it both times. The first time I also brought frozen ginger snap cookie dough to make when I got there. After the last time, I wore it to polish silver for our special, fancy dinner, and it changed the color of my red apron in some places.

I was sad, but I can’t bear to get rid of it or replace it. After three years, it seems to have gained character from the stain.

The last time I wore it was probably Christmas dinner just a few weeks ago. Roast beef, butter, sticky marshmallows, and I think I spilled a soda.

I’m really glad I had that apron on.