Monday, February 25, 2008

Fried Stuff on a Stick

What a great time of year to go to Florida. It snows every other day here in Colorado, and it snows extra inches at our house, so by mid-February, I'm about over this winter thing.

It was great timing to hop on a plane and head to sunny Florida. My mom and I went to celebrate a bridal shower with Casey, my cousin, and the maid-of-honor in my wedding. Casey and T.C. are getting married in just over a month! So exciting!

Friday night we had a slumber party at Casey's house with all the cousins and four of Casey's sorority sisters. Saturday morning we were up early to get ready for the shower, which was held at the beautiful home of a friend of my Aunt Cathy's. The house had a beautiful view of the water and had lots of room for all the ladies.

Casey was gorgeous and gracious as always. I found myself watching Cathy a lot of the time to see how proud and excited she looked during the bridal shower.

After we got back to Casey's house, we locked Casey in her room with bubble bath and a fashion magazine and got to work turning her house into an explosion of pink in preparation for her bachelorette party. The night was great; we went to a super fancy club/bar in south Tampa. The beautiful people were out in full force.

But what I really want to tell you about occurred the next day. Because we couldn't help but get sucked in by my cousin Haley's amazing enthusiasm, we went to the Florida State Fair.

The only state fair I've ever been to was in Alaska, and it was nothing like this. Peter Rowan played though; that was fun.

Anyway, back to Florida. It was hot, I was not properly dressed, and I'll admit, I was feeling the effects of the bachelorette party. And a mean, nasty cold was on its way to kick my a**.

However, I did my best, and followed my family around the fair. First we went to CRACKER COUNTRY (it's seriously called that), and saw some bluegrass music, a really old one-room house, and watched Chet eat a lot of fried pig ears (or something like that).

Then we made our way to the main thoroughfare where all the food stands are located. This is when things got really interesting. I've never seen such food. Here's a sampling of my favorites.


And my personal favorite....

Don't worry, I didn't eat all of these things. In fact I didn't eat any of these things. I was too overwhelmed by the choices to actually make a decision. I tasted the corn dog though, that was good. (or "PRONTO PUP") as my mom called them in her childhood and proceeded to tell us was the best thing she'd ever tasted. And then she said "PRONTO PUP" a dozen more times in her excitement.
We wandered and ate and people-watched. Now, that's some good people-watching material there!
And then we worked our way to the main arena for..... wait for it.....the Elvis Impersonator convention! It was dark and cool, and there were seats, so I was happy. But, these performers were amazing! Each Elvis was from a different era of the real Elvis' career. And the spectators were wild! There were women trying to climb up on stage, and they were all screaming like it was a Beatles concert.

We ended on a great note when Haley arrived with some treats that we HAD to sample. Deep fried cookie dough and deep fried Oreos.

Now, I'm fan of cookie dough; Oreos, not so much. But these things deep fried equaled sheer PERFECTION! Oh my goodness! I've never tasted anything so good! Ooey gooey messy and delicious!
Thank goodness they don't have such delicacies in Colorado...I'd be doomed.

Mom was so excited about the fair that she's planning to vacation every year in Florida during this time. And I'm for it. Next time I'll be well-rested, hydrated, wearing proper footwear, and ready to fully experience that spectacle that is the Florida State Fair!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Note About Caucusing

At Rachel #2's suggestion, I'm now going to discuss my experience at the Douglas County Democratic Caucus last Tuesday evening.
caucus: a closed meeting of a group of persons belonging to the same political party or faction usually to select candidates or to decide on policy

In Colorado, we do not have "primary elections", we caucus. I don't know why we do this and other states hold primary elections. I for sure know that voting would have been much more convenient. I could have gone whenever I wanted to, I wouldn't have had to talk to anyone, and it would have taken much less than 2 hours of my freetime to accomplish. However, caucusing was a wonderful, educational experience and I am supremely happy that I took part in it. Caucusing is democracy at its most basic.

I gathered in my local high school gymnasium with at least a few hundred other people from my community. I found my precinct, based on my address, and chatted with 25 neighbors who live in very close proximity to me about politics. That pretty much never happens on a normal day....

Then a woman from just down the street, wearing a very patriotic American flag sweater, stood up and made the case for Hilary Clinton's presidential canidacy in front of all the precincts. Then an older woman wearing a sandwich board stood in front of us and made her case for Obama. And then she made us chant....that was fun.

After that, we elected a precinct chair and a precint secretary for the evening. We practiced voting for the president by raising our hands after our chosen candidate's name was announced. If there were any "uncommitted" votes, anyone in the precinct could stand and make the case to the "uncommitted" voters for his/her candidate of choice. After all this, we voted for real by raising our hands. Precinct delegates and alternates were chosen from our group, based on the votes each presidential candidate received. If these individuals stay involved with the County and State conventions, they have the chance to be delegates at the National Convention in August. We also voted for State senators, and a local official (can't remember much about that one).

Although no one in our precinct knew what they were doing, the system worked amazingly well. Towards the end of the evening, we had a chance to discuss new party platforms. This is the chance for new ideas for the democratic party to be introduced to the voters. Hypothetically, if someone's idea were presented at the local caucus, and it gained enough momentum and support at that level, and kept growing and gaining supporters, it could someday be a major platform for the national democratic party.

Keep in mind, that all this discussion, raising of hands, etc. was happening within each of approximately 20 other precints that were gathered in the gymnasium. Needless to say, it was a bit chaotic. But it was also very exciting to look around the room and see so many people from my neighborhood involved at a local level in something that will change the course of the entire country.

And I got a lot of knitting done when I wasn't raising my hand.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Decision Time

It wasn't an easy decision. I spent a lot of time reading articles, opinions, and looking over both democratic candidates' websites. I watched and re-watched some of the debate footage. I read endorsements from sources I trust. In the end, I asked myself the following questions in order to choose the candidate I want to support.
1. Who do I believe can make the changes we need?
2. Who can work across party lines?
3. Who can effectively cleanup the mess of the last 8 years?
4. Who can inspire the people of this country and mobilize us to start living a more mindful and responsible American life?

I will be caucusing tonight in support of Barack Obama at my local high school. If your state is voting today, please don't forget to get to the polls, and be sure to share this with anyone you know who might need some motivation to get out and vote. If you or anyone you know needs help, you can find it by clicking on your state here: