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Goodbye Tala – Go Find Simba

I said goodbye to Tala a few hours ago. I am so incredibly lucky. I got Tala when she was 6 weeks old, when my aunt’s cat had kittens. I then got 19 incredible years with her. 19! I realize how lucky I am to have had such a long time with her, but it does make the loss harder in some ways; she has been with me for half of my life – nearly my entire adult life.

She and I took our big, brave, exciting road trip in 2004 moving to Colorado together, she had the center console and passenger side in that big yellow Penske truck. She was present for almost all of my relationships, and provided comfort for me when they ended. She was here when her sweet brother Simba came into our lives and was still here when he left it 15 years later. She outlived all of her siblings by many years, despite being the runt of her litter, and through it all never lost her sass.

Named after my dear friend, Wolf, Tala wasn’t much bigger than a large hamster when I brought her home and she remained tiny throughout her life. In her “chunky era”, she topped the scales at 8 pounds. Tala never could quite meow, something just wasn’t right with her vocal cords, so she would squeak at me – which gave her one of her nicknames, “Squeaks”. She was also sometimes known as “Little Lady” or “Little Miss” – small in stature, a giant in attitude and personality.

Being allergic to cats, I was 19 years old working at Target stocking the pharmacy department when I noticed that the allergy medication Claritin finally had a generic version! At last, something I could afford! I decided right then and there that I was going to get a cat. Tala ended up being that cat. I seemed to get more allergic as I got older, so I leveled up to two Zyrtec a day and long bamboo backscratchers all over my home, strategically placed so that I could give her (and Simba) a scratch behind the ears without having to run and wash my hands.

What a ride. What a sidekick. What a beautiful experience. What luck.

I have to give some very special thanks to Dr. Erica Rambus/Elysian Fields: In-Home Euthanasia for making this final experience a beautiful one. I did not know such a thing was an option when Simba passed, and I wish I had. Dr. Rambus took something so painful and distressing and guided it to being a peaceful, meaningful, and ultimately beautiful experience. Thank you, Dr. Rambus.

One of the last things Dr. Rambus said to Tala as she helped her on her journey was, “Go find Simba.” and that’s how I will leave this. Thank you Tala – go find Simba.

Resources That Helped Me

When The Moment Comes

The Biggest Mistake Pet Owners Make at the End

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Barack Obama’s National Day of Service

Immediately after arriving at our hosts’ home on Monday morning we all took showers (YES!) and got ready to head to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium for the National Day of Service that President-Elect Barack Obama called for.  We met up with our hosts Lori & Dallas, who have been amazing and have shared their home so generously with us.  The objective of the day was to create care packages for our military.  With thousands of volunteers there to put the packages together, our job was to keep the items stocked and the lines flowing.

Here some photos from the day, including our first ride on the Metro.  They don’t do the event justice, but there were thousands and thousands of people there putting toothpaste, sunscreen, energy drinks, pens & paper, etc. into bags for our military personnel around the world.  It was a phenomenal and inspirational event.

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Road Trippin’ To Hope!

Monday, January 19th, 8:00 AM EST – We Made It!  Gaithersburg, Maryland
Well, this update is coming several days late, but we did make it to our destination!  I drove the final 4 hours or so and we arrived at about 8:00 on Monday morning.

We Made It! 
We made it!

We Made It!

We’ve had a lot of great experiences since arriving on Monday and I will cover those in their own posts.  This post will be retired now that the drive is over.


Monday, January 19th, 4:30 AM EST – Beau Street, Pennsylvania
We’re currently in Pennsylvania after briefly traveling through West Virginia.  So far, so good.  The weather has calmed down and it’s clear and cold.  We happened to pass a Beau St., which I was very surprised to see.  We tried to get a photo, if any of them came out okay I’ll post it

I’m going to keep this post short because I’m about to get behind the wheel.  We have 200 miles to go, about 3 and a half hours!  We’re gonna make it!!!

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. day everyone.  One of my favorite days of the year, and I cannot imagine a better place and time to celebrate it than in D.C. for Barack Obama’s Inauguration!


Monday, January 19th, 1:00 AM EST – Columbus, Ohio
After lunch in St. Louis we hit the road with me behind the wheel again.  Everything was going splendidly: birds were singing, the car was handling well, and Huey, Dewey, and Louie were all sleeping peacefully.  Well, that didn’t last long.  It started raining in freezing temperatures and the Interstate turned into an ice rink.  It took me about a hundred yards to come to a stop when traffic in front of me stopped due to a car going into the ditch.  Within the same half mile stretch two others also went off the road, but we fortunately kept our tires on the road.

I woke Steve up and he took over driving until a few minutes ago when Matt jumped behind the wheel.  We’re currently at 389 miles remaining until our destination!  Woohoo!


Sunday, January 18th, 2:00 PM EST – St. Louis, Missouri
Great news; the laptop is back in action!  We finally stopped at RadioShack and found a power inverter that works, so blogging can resume and I can start loading up my pictures.

Lewis, Clark, Fido, Huey, Dewey, Louie and Beau
Lewis, Clark, Fido, Huey, Dewey, Louie and Beau

The arch was absolutely stunning and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  The museum was great and the scale of the arch from outside is just overwhelming, much less going inside and riding to the top.  Here are the photos I have from the amazing experience.

[nggallery id=4]


Sunday, January 18th, 9:36 AM EST – Danville, Missouri
Well, Matt made the right decision to relinquish his crown as driver; he was just too tired and the vehicle on the road was starting to behave eerily similar to a game of pong.  We pulled into this lovely rest area in Danville to make the swap.

Danville Rest Area
I’m pretty sure you forfeit your soul when you do something like this.

Danville Rest Area
Missouri is a pretty state.

Danville Rest Area
The tell-tale signs of the stresses of a never-ending road trip are starting to show.

I’ve been awake for 28 hours at this point but am feeling fine, so I’ll be taking over the driving from here.  We’re headed to St. Louis, this should be great!

Beau Behind The Wheel


Sunday, January 18th, 8:00 AM EST – Odessa, Missouri
So much for buying all of the geekware we needed to fix everything. I bought a $100 power cord for my laptop and Steve bought a $50 power inverter. Well, the computer takes too much juice and shuts off the inverter, so until we figure something out or can get to a RadioShack I’ll be blogging by phone. I’ll add pictures in later.

We’ve finally switched drivers, now Matt Hirsch is driving and Steve is getting some much needed rest. He was getting louder and crazier the longer he stayed awake, so this is a good move. Missouri is pretty so far, I’ll update when we get to the arch!

Matt's Driving!


Sunday, January 18th, 3:35 AM EST – Hayes, Kansas
Well, it wouldn’t be a road trip without a few bumps along the road. Very shortly after my first blog post my laptop battery died. I expected this, but we have a power inverter onboard so at our first pit stop (Hayes, Kansas) I took apart our delicately constructed mountain of luggage to get to my suitcase at the bottom.

Great Wall of Luggage

Problem: I apparently didn’t pack my power cord. PAUSE for momentary freak out.

What?!? Forgot the power cord, the number one item on my “Do Not Forget” list?!? Yes, that would appear to be the case. PAUSE for second freak out.

Problem 2: Amid my anger over my rookie mistake Matthew decided to charge his mp3 player. What’s wrong with that you ask? Oh nothing except the power inverter worked for a glorious two seconds.

Apparently Steve decided that it would be a good idea to try to use it to run a vacuum cleaner earlier today. It apparently only had moments of glory that time too. PAUSE for helpful tip of the post: Don’t do that!

Good News: My irritation at myself for forgetting the power cord is softened a bit by the knowledge that even with my power cord I’d be without a power source.

We’ll be stopping in the morning to stock up on necessary geek gear. Once that happens I will being adding photos to the posts.

Unrelated Unfortunate News: Steve decided to buy and rapidly consume a foot long super, mega, ultra, platinum edition convenience store burrito. Focus on the prize Beau, just focus on the prize.

God help us. usual.
Oblivion is bliss.


Sunday, January 18th, 12:53 AM EST – Bennett, Colorado
Well, our long journey to President Obama’s Inauguration in Washington D.C. is finally underway. I’m making the trek with my friends Matthew Farrell, Matt Hirschinger, and Steve Hulsberg! We all worked together on the campaign turning Arapahoe County, Colorado bright, bright blue!

We’re in Steve’s Hybrid Toyota Highlander and so far the trip is going well. Steve, the IT geek, set the car up to be it’s own WiFi Hotspot. I will post updates and pictures as we go!

Steve starting our trip!

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Protesting H8, Denver Style

This past Saturday, November 15th, people from across the nation nation came together at over 300 rallies to protest Proposition 8 in California, Florida’s Amendment 2, a similar ballot initiative in Arizona and the anti adoption amendment in Arkansas.

I was one of the Marshals for the event and it was an amazing time.  The Marshals arrived about an hour and a half before the rally and people started showing up not long after we did.  There were over 1,500 in attendance at the rally and about 1,200 of them marched with us down 16th street mall.

As a Marshal my responsibilities were primarily crowd control.  As the crowd grew at the rally, we ran out of space and people were starting to move into the street in front of the Denver City & County Building.  The street was still open to traffic, so we had to do out part to avoid accidents.

Once we started marching, we kept the group as together as we could.  The line was too long to be seen in its entirety, much to my surprise and excitement.  The Marshals would leapfrog and hold the traffic at the different intersections.  Understandably, there were a few pissed off commuters, but we had a permit to be there and I personally find my rights being denied to me a bit more inconvenient then being stuck at an intersection for a few minutes.

As Marshals, we also kept the crowd chanting.  I would walk up and down as much of the march as I could and lead them in chants.  I started losing my voice about halfway through and recruit fellow marchers to help me out:

“What do we want?”  “Equal rights!” “When do we want them?”  “Now!”



“Gay, straight, black, white – marriage is a civil right!”



“Love, Not Hate! Love, Not Hate! Love, Not Hate!



About three fourths of the way through the march, people were getting tired and my voice was all but gone, but we pushed forward and I reminded the marchers that as tired as we were, the opposition was far from tired of denying us our rights.

Most encouraging to me were the straight couples with their children who came out to support us.  They were scattered all over our rally and just as passionate about equality as the gay community.  I was also encouraged by the employees and customers of the different stores along 16th Street Mall that came out on to the sidewalk to cheer us on, some even joining us in our march.

We finally made it back to Civic Center Park, but the group did not disperse as I had expected.  People picked up and led their own chants, others just smiled with tear filled eyes amazed at the spectacle they were witnessing.  I finally climbed to the top of the nearby stairs and thanked everyone for coming, implored them not to let their passion and their work end here, to contact their elected officials and hold them accountable, vote in the future and stay involved in the movement.  A cheer went up, a group of High School students resumed their cheers, and we Marshals were surrounded by grateful marchers who hugged and thanked us for our work.

It was an inspirational experience that I don’t anticipate matching anytime soon.  After 4 months on the Obama campaign I was apprehensive and very slow to sign up to work this event, but I am thrilled that I ultimately did.

Equality will come, that much I know.



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DNC ’08

Well, I’ve finally found a few minutes to post my photo highlights from the final night of the DNC!  As most of you surely saw for yourself, his speech was amazing and the night was electric.


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Arapahoe County: Fired Up, Ready To Go!

This past Thursday evening I attended the Grand Opening of Barack Obama‘s Campaign for Change Campaign Office here in Arapahoe County.  There were well over 200 people in attendance, around 250 I would guess.  The crowd was as diverse a crowd as I’ve ever seen, and there was electricity in the air.  I met most of the staff, officially changed my registration to Democrat, and signed up to volunteer my time.

Saturday I attended a Volunteer Leaders conference which also had several hundred people in attendance.  We spent a little over 5 hours together training and organizing neighborhood teams with our campaign staff Field Organizers.  We will be meeting regularly to conduct voter registration drives, as well as phone banking.  I will probably end up as the Canvassing Coordinator or the Phone Banking Coordinator.  I have experience with both, so we’ll see.

These pictures are from the campaign office opening.  It was a fantastic evening!  Fired Up,  Ready To Go!