The photo above is the result of the art project our association sponsored for the children in our 'hood. We are intensely proud of it and were delighted to oblige when we were asked to bring it to the event since we had planned to bring it anyway. We are blessed to have as a member, one of the finest artists and instructors in the city and she ran an Art camp for the kids last summer. The main point of the project was to bring the kids together. Husbands and boyfriends were pressed into action to construct and transport it as it travelled (and is still travelling) the city and has been displayed everywhere -- including City Hall and the Mayor has requested it again. The kids developed the concept. I was only at a few of the classes (work intrudes) and I was amazed at how Lynda got them to brainstorm ideas for it and at the depth of their response. The heart at the side has the names of all those who contributed to the project and I am proud that my name is there although I really don't think I helped much.
The photo is fuzzy (someday I'll get Photoshop right) but this is our display table at the event. We also had a PowerPoint presentation about the 'hood that included some of my better photos of happenings.
These are works in progress of our current project. This time we're working with our teenagers. It's called "Canvas the Neighborhood" and it's in hope that we can give our kids focus and new vistas while bringing them together and keeping them out of the gangs. Lynda was creative in getting them involved. We took canvasses, easels and a boom box and set up over by the old high school and played loud music so of course they had to come by to see what was happenin' and talked to us. Lynda is magic with them and the result is above. We hope our efforts bear fruit as the word spreads. I think it is because the group is growing. I truly believe that art is therapy and that it can work wonders. We are proving that right in our own backyard.
My old friend and fellow officer, Diane, greets the handsome young man who I hope will be our next Congressman. A Democrat, John is Army Reserve and has done a tours in Iraq as a pilot. He gave the best speech of the evening and I heard a lot of people say, it clinched their vote. He was talking to the younguns who were helping me (who were obviously impressed with his smile) and I finally said, "John, talk to me -- I can vote!" He laughed and said, " I know -- and I want it!" I told him that he had it and he had one of his helpers get me a sign for my yard. Cool! And oh yeah, his opponent didn't show up. He just sent a minion with campaign lit. And no I'm not naming him. He has never returned a phone call to me so I am extending as much courtesy to him as he has to me. ANY politician who doesn't return my calls will never have my vote. I figure you should always return calls to the boss and that we-the-people are the boss as we pay their comfortable salaries.
My former councilman and friend, Richard (never Rick or Dick), left me smiling in the morning when I left the house because he put his sign for his campaign for State Representative in my yard. I was glad that he made a point of talking with me when he checked in and and laughed at the note on the box where I kept the candidates' badges that read 'Please recycle your badges' and I asked with a grin, "You can guess whose work that is, can't you?" He answered, "Uhhhh . . . Diane's?" Bingo! He is a Republican thus proving my status as a non-partisan and independent. We joke that he is the "greenest" Republican on the planet and he was the champion of our new curbside recycling program that looks to be working quite well. I am delighted to support him as he is a good and honest man.
We contacted everyone on the ballot and invited both the McCain and Obama campaigns to send a speaker. The Obama campaign called and sent a very personable and articulate young man to speak for him. McCain's people didn't send so much as a pit b . . . er, ah . . . regrets that they would not participate. He is losing ground in Ohio -- fast and I saw up close why. My take is if you're a politician, you lose if you miss an opportunity to meet the constituency and gaining votes 500 hundred or so at a time is how elections are won. Too bad, John.
I was disappointed that our association only took second place in the booth competition and it was kind of interesting that a lot of people from other associations asked if I thought it was rigged because the association that won hadn't anything nearly as impressive as we did and there were lots of others that were better than the 1st prize winner. I simply shrugged and said I couldn't say. But yeah, I think it was rigged against us because I've had the chutzpah to question our dicta . . . er, ah . . . chairman's ethics and practices and she chose the judges.
We were the first association to set up and everyone who came in after us asked, "How do we compete with that?" So the word was we'd win. Sigh. All was not skittles and beer and the meeting in two weeks is going to be a eye-opener for our chairman who will no doubt fall back, as she often does when challenged, call us racists despite that not all of us who disagree with her are white. Playing the race card with me is plain damn stupid as it is with most of us in our city. We achieved integration calmly and quietly long, long ago in our city and nobody really pays too much attention to a person's color -- especially those of us on Neighborhood Leadership Council.
(Sermon over -- say AMEN!)
At the end, I helped our gang tear down after cleaning my table with Scott and it was decided that we (and selected others) head over to The Desert Inn to chill out after a long day with excellent Middle Eastern snacks and beverages. It's lovely atmosphere and our wonderful waiter made it great! We promised we'd be back soon and meant it and told him to give my regards to the owner and his family who I've known seemingly forever. I hadn't been there in ages and I know that the next time I go and the owner is in he'll say: "Kay! Where in the hell have you been?" Such is life in my town. I hear that a lot as I've not been too social the past few years but that appears to be changing. We'll see how I like it.