Well, we did it. Greenbuild 2008 is over, and it was a success! The Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is our annual green building industry trade show, and this year it was in Boston. It was my first visit to Boston. We got there Sunday afternoon and were there until Friday afternoon, and every day I was in the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center from as early as 4:30 a.m. to 7 or 8 p.m., but there was still a little time out on the town - mostly just for dinner and then early to bed. So I can't really say I've seen a lot of Boston, but what I did see was fantastic.
The U.S. Green Building Council (my employer) has hosted Greenbuild since 2002, when there were about 4,000 attendees. This year, we had more than 28,000. More than 850 companies and organizations exhibited on the HUGE expo floor, showing some of the coolest, latest and greatest in green building technologies and products. We had more than 100 educational sessions, an opening plenary session keynoted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, our first-ever Green Homebuilder's Day with Kevin O'Connor from This Old House and tons of excitement. Working a show is a lot different from attending one – I didn't actually get to see any of the education sessions or plenaries, though I will watch the plenaries online later – but I did get to hang out with Steve Thomas from Planet Green's Renovation Nation and help him find cool stuff to film for an upcoming episode. I saw the kids from Greensburg, the show about a small town in Kansas that was destroyed by a tornado and is now rebuilding the whole town green. I talked on the phone with Kevin O'Connor. :) I hung out in the press room and had some awesome dinners and had a blast with coworkers. Greenbuild is exhausting but really exciting.
I was too busy to even get any photos, so I had to steal a few from a coworker's Facebook. First, this gives you a tiny idea of what the exhibit floor looked like. Seriously, HUGE:
I've been wanting to post something as a palate cleanser from my non-stop blog explosion on Election Night, so that the entire front page of my blog wouldn't be all politics. (By the way, I know there are lots of people who visit this blog for when I post pictures of Hank and Roxy and the whole family. My Election Night rampage pushed my most recent round of picture posting onto the second page of the blog, so if you missed that post, be sure to click "Older Posts" at the bottom of this page.)
Anyway, I haven't seen the kids for a few weeks, but I found this really cute video of some kid I don't know. It's nice to see how imagination translates into any language! :)
On another note, I am off to Boston Sunday morning for Greenbuild, our big international conference/expo that we host every year. I'm going to be running around like a madman for the whole week, so don't expect any action on this blog for a while. But I plan to take pictures if anything exciting happens, and I'll fill you all in when I get back!
I wish you could be here with me on D.C.'s 18th Street tonight. This video does it little justice. Strangers hugging, strangers of different races and ages. There were people hanging out of windows, playing trombones. Taxis and buses and carsful of whites and blacks and Hispanics and Asians, honking, screaming, crying. Grown men, black and white, crying on the street. Hope is back in the nation's capital. Hope is back in the nation. My batteries died in my camera, as they always do. But trust me: The ultimate American story was told tonight, and I was here to watch it. So were you, wherever you live. I know that your candidate may not have won. I hope I'm not rubbing it in your face. I truly believe tonight was a win for American conservatism, which has suffered so much under the recent partisanship and nationalistic extremism. Tonight was a win for moderation. Tonight was a win for a humble international policy, a reasoned domestic policy, fiscal responsibility, cultural unity and the death of that ridiculous Bradley Effect. We will heal our environment. We will regain our position in the world. We will be that city on the hill again.
This is four years, four months in the making for me.
In July 2004, I saw Barack Obama give his speech at the Democratic National Convention. I wasn't excited about John Kerry. I was excited about Barack Obama.
For me, this is not a partisan issue. Yes, I tend to vote Democratic. Yes, I guess I'm politically liberal. But what does that mean anymore? I have cringed at the wasteful spending and the nation-building of President Bush, which really makes me politically conservative. Temperamentally, anyone who knows me will tell you I am pretty traditional and conservative.
I think more importantly, I am patriotic. I love America, and that love is based on hope and a belief that it always has something better to give than what it is giving. I saw Obama's 2004 speech, and I said, "This is a man who can bring us together. This is a man who can remind us that we are all Americans, we all have a common cause, we all are united behind the idea of a bill of freedoms that may currently be on shaky ground but will always be worth fighting for."
I knew Obama was the man who could remind us that we're all in this together. He will do that. I have been a little bummed to see the divisiveness that has come about in the last months of this campaign, and I know that there will be Americans who are not ready to accept this outcome. I am watching McCain supporters boo President-Elect Obama's name now. That is disappointing and leaves my constant optimism suffering a little. But the healing has to start somewhere, and I think it's starting now.
I have some very red-state people in my life whom I love dearly. I am so done with thinking in terms of red state and blue state. I think that what we are seeing tonight is proof that we will overcome that distinction. I am now hearing McCain supporters applauding the historic nature of America's first black president. The healing has to start somewhere.
Obama has 200 electoral votes. That doesn't include California's 55, Oregon's 7 or Washington's 11. The total there is 273, above the 270 needed to win. Plus Hawaii - his home state. Plus the possibilities of Iowa, Montana, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida. This could be a landslide. Our country could be more united behind this president than any president since Reagan. More later...
I never thought I'd see the day when I would be one of those people who has to post a MySpace bulletin/blog post/Facebook message asking for phone numbers. I've never broken or lost a phone before. But last night, in my rush to do laundry, I threw my pants in the washing machine with my phone still in them, and there was no rescuing it. So my new phone doesn't know your number. Please text, e-mail or call me so I can put you back in my phone - or in it for the first time, if I didn't have your number before. Or, if you don't want me to be able to contact you, enjoy this opportunity to be rid of me!
I've had these photos and videos sitting around for more than a month, since my mom's visit in mid-September, and I just keep forgetting to post them. Better late than never!
We spent much of the visit - including my birthday! - at Virginia Beach. It wasn't the best beach weather, but that just gave Hank a great opportunity to show off his slick slicker - and to do a little dancing in the rain! (Remember, you can click any photo and see it lots bigger.)
An indoor pool meant that the weather wouldn't stop Hank from getting a little swim time in.
Looks like if you ask Julie, this evening in the big rocking chairs was cold cold cold. If you ask Hank and my mom, it was pretty comfortable.
Roxy enjoyed relaxing on her first beach trip.
And we all had a blast riding this "bicycle" built for four to hear the Knack play live on the beach. (And don't believe any of the front-seaters if they tell you they mastered the art of backing up. It was all me!)
Heading back to Richmond...
...where we got to see Grandma and Grandpa again - and even play a little Rock Band with them!
Mom and Julie, we already know you look alike! You don't have to dress the same to prove it!
We learned that Hank is secretly a Twister whiz!
And pretty darn good at Guesstures, too!
Not to mention a really great big brother! (OK, this photo was actually from a visit I made a few weeks later back down to Richmond, but it fits in here nicely.)
Back home in D.C., my mom and I stumbled unexpectedly on this drum circle going on in Meridian Hill/Malcolm X Park.