Clinton prevailed and Sanders was a close second

Excitement and tension built as 284 people waited to see if the candidate they came out to support would take the majority number of delegates at the precinct.

McKinley Middle School hosted the democratic caucus for precinct 36 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Feb. 1. The precinct has seven delegates, which are divided up by the candidates that prove to be viable. A candidate needs to have 15% of the total number of people at the precinct to be viable.

Upon arrival parking is an issue because a large number of people are present to caucus. The best option is a parking spot I create in a vacant lot about a block away.

To enter the middle school there is a long line of people. It is now 6:30 and Iowans are lined up, standing outside in the 31 degree cold to caucus for their favorite candidate. Once inside the door it is clear that McKinley is scheduled to host precinct 26 as well. The congestion at the entrance is explained.

The line extended inside with the wind blowing in through the open door exposing the caucus-goers to the February chill. After the division of the precincts – precinct 36 to go downstairs to the cafeteria and precinct 26 to go upstairs to the auditorium – precinct 36 people are divided by registered and unregistered voters. Then the registered voters are separated by alphabet with the A-L people on the right and the M-Z people to the left.

While in line it offered an opportunity for people to communicate with neighbors about the candidates, their families and goings on in the neighborhood. A few of the neighbors I had a chance to talk with were all recognized by their dogs.

At 7:00 the lines were still exploding out the door. Any participant in line could still take part in the caucus. Once the line made it inside no more people were able to participate. By 7:30 people were still in the line and the doors were closed.

While waiting in line a third grader expressed to me her excitement to be at the caucus. She proudly attended with her mom in support of Clinton.

The check-in process consisted of telling the precinct volunteer your name, signing in and marking which candidate you plan to caucus for.

The space at McKinley did not easily hold the 284 people who showed up to caucus. At one point people were asked to give up their chairs for others who cannot stand for long periods of time.

The people who showed up to caucus at precinct 36 ended up being double the amount of people than expected. The event is chaotic with a lot of people and a lack of organization. But many people are expressing enthusiasm to be supporting their candidates.

In the adjoining room there are kids playing basketball, making it hard to hear what is taking place. I understand we are waiting for everyone to be checked in.

People are standing around chatting with neighbors, making friends and reconnecting with others.

284 people have checked in, which means each candidate will require 43 people to be viable. We are told to separate by the candidate we are supporting.

At 8:00 the registered voters in each area are counted. This process takes a while because the number needs to be precise. The number comes back with Clinton receiving 134, Sanders 134 and O’Malley 16. Since O’Malley did not attain enough votes to be viable, they are instructed to pick another candidate or their vote will not count. By 8:40 a decision will have to be made by the O’Malley camp.

The O’Malley supporters wanted stay with their candidate, but aren’t able to come up with enough people to be viable. The Clinton side offers a deal to the O’Malley group that both the Clinton and Sanders groups should each give the O’Malley side enough people so O’Malley can be viable.

Our precinct would then have one delegate for O’Malley, three for Clinton and three for Sanders. But the Sanders group will not agree to the deal so the O’Malley group decided to join the Clinton side. Everyone in the Clinton group cheered with delight with the news of the O’Malley group joining.

In the Clinton camp the final count is 144 and Sanders attained 140.

Sanders supporters initiate the need for a recount. The Clinton supporters agree to comply. The Sanders side erupts and the supporters are divided with the decision for a recount. A decision is eventually made that a recount is unnecessary and Clinton wins the precinct.

Every registered voter present is accounted for. Hillary Clinton took the majority vote, earning her four delegates from precinct 36. Sanders took three delegates from the precinct in second place. O’Malley supporters did not drum up enough support to become viable.




Perceiving a Poem

This year I will have one poem in Paha – Mount Mercy University’s literary magazine. I only submitted two poems for consideration by the deadline. I was busy with classes in the fall so I didn’t have much time to write independently. I am proud that my poem “Perceptions” was chose.

The poem is about the way I am perceived by others. This topic is something that I reflected on after a discussion with a professor and another student. It generated enough emotion in me that I felt compelled to pen a short poem.

I feel that I am a nice person but often I am not taking seriously because of that. This frustrates me immensely. It doesn’t make much sense. So, if I was an asshole I’d be treated better?

Here’s the poem:




The reason I am nice


is because I genuinely care

has to do with my beliefs

is for my good karma

is not for you to take advantage


You cannot take me seriously


because I am not mean

since I am a positive person

which has more to with you than me

because you are too jaded

I <3 TCR

TCR ushering Dec 15
Casey and I ushering at Theatre Cedar Rapids Dec 2015

My husband Casey and I volunteer usher at Theatre Cedar Rapids. When we volunteer at TCR, we get the opportunity to see the play for free. We’ve been taking part almost six years now. The experience that I have there is always enjoyable and positive.

It all began in the summer of 2010 when we heard that our favorite musical – RENT – was going to be performed at TCR. We got tickets right away. We had not been to a show at TCR in a large number of years, so going there also made us happy.

The date approached quickly.

The show did not disappoint, it was amazing. It had an astounding cast who took on the characters we were familiar with, with a sense of fulfillment we enjoyed. The music thrilled us! We couldn’t believe the talented performers and musicians Cedar Rapids has to offer.

The day after we saw the musical, Casey saw a post made on FACEBOOK by TCR announcing they were looking for volunteer ushers. I still remember what it said: “Do you want to see RENT for free?”

That hooked us. Of course we wanted to see the show again, and who doesn’t like getting things for free? We signed up right away.

RENT was scheduled to run for four weeks but added a fifth week because of popularity. Casey and I loved it so much that we signed up to usher every week remaining, so we saw it five times!

Our time ushering for RENT initiated our volunteering experience at TCR. RENT was the last show for the season, but when the new season began we started ushering at least once for every production.

Over the last six years we became professional ushers. Originally the role we learned as ushers only consisted of seating people and giving them a playbill. Then we started taking on other tasks including: selling merchandise, working coat check, selling raffle tickets, selling parking spots, greeting at the front door, working the will call window, and also ushering in the lower auditorium – the Grandon Studio.

Volunteering at TCR makes me feel good because I am giving back to the community. The theater benefits from the time Casey and I spend there and we benefit by seeing the plays.

Yes, I’m 38

With 2016 it brings a new year and a birthday for me right away. Of course, this has always been the case for me; I’ve always had a birthday two weeks into the start of a new year. This has frequently given me a lot of reflection during this time of the year.

Honestly, 38 feels pretty good. I feel like all of my experience in life has led me to the point I am at now, so I wouldn’t change a thing.

I love being a college student and getting mistaken for being traditionally aged. I don’t believe I look 22, but if you think so – thank you! No one ever thinks I’m my true age. I’m not sure if I should take it as a compliment or an insult. I’m going to go with compliment.

When people tell me I seem younger, I look at it as they believe I have an ability to relate to people of any age. I’m happy when I think about it that way because then I know I will be a great teacher. Teaching is all about relatability and learning from one another. It doesn’t matter the age, I believe everyone learns from others.

Aging is different for everyone. I think the perspective you take on aging has a lot to do with how well you accept it. As I reach 40 – and then 50 – and beyond – I want to be positive about the milestones and only look at as a natural progression of time. I’m happy with facing the process that takes me there.

The last few years of my life I have lived in a different way. My priorities have changed. I set goals and I am running towards them. Once I made the decision to return to school and take my life more seriously, it made my life more worthwhile. People say that in the process of going back to school that making the initial decision is the hardest. I concur – sticking it out is the most difficult.

I will graduate college before I turn 40. I’m a little late at taking my life seriously but I’m taking full advantage now.

My birthday 2016
My birthday

Snow and the Power it Brings

It’s snowing outside and I am happy. I am happy not because it snows and not because I love snow. I am happy because the snow offers a variation from the humdrum dreary January days we have been seeing as of late.

The snow is beautiful and I do love it, but that is not why I am happy to see it snow tonight. This is a new chance, a beginning of sorts. It adds a renewed tranquility inside me as I watch the snow fall.

The snow covers every inch of ground with a fresh blanket of fluffy pure joy. The snow demonstrates rebirth as it freezes to the ground. The white glow pressing forward exudes a sense of happiness. This is why I am happy it is snowing.

The power the snow has with many flakes coming together to create a winter wonderland is poetic. Every snowflake is unique, yet a countless number form together to accumulate. Each flake blends with the next the way each line in a poem fit together. The newly fallen snow suggests the white space that is imperative in poetry. In the way the white space is for reflection, the snow can give the same kind of consideration.

In a moment when I have feelings of defeat the snow helps me to be aware of the world as a whole. This makes me realize how minuscule my problems are. It also tells me to keep on going, inspiring me carry on. It gives me the feeling that I will conquer. I love the snow.

The snow reminds me of happy moments of building snowmen and sledding as a child. The falling snow also takes me back to a happy day about 10 years ago with my husband. That day we shopped for a Christmas tree and went to see RENT in the movie theater for the first time. Snow evokes many sweet emotions. I am happy it is snowing.

The like the way the snow rejuvenates me. I am happy the snow is falling.

A documentary that rings true to me

Our wedding day
Casey and I on our wedding day

In an effort to clean out my TiVo, last night I watched the documentary “The Case Against 8”. This is the story of two gay couples fighting for the right to marry in California. The documentary took place from 2008-2013 in California. It’s been on my view list for the last year and a half.

I enjoyed watching the stories of the couples and everything they went through. I did notice a similarity to the struggle that my husband and I went through here in Iowa in 2009 and the years preceding. Of course, we weren’t in the public eye, but we had to fight for our right to marry.

I’m happy Iowa became a pioneer in the same-sex marriage crusade. I’m proud to be from a state where my marriage was legally recognized years before the rest of the country.

Casey and I decided years before we were able to legally get married that we would if ever given the opportunity. So when we had the chance we took it.

On April 27, 2009 we were able to get our marriage license, and after the three day wait period, we were married on April 30, 2009. This year we are embarking on our seven year wedding anniversary and it still feels like we were just married. Being married isn’t that big of a deal to us; we were committed to one another for years before our union was made legal. But the right to marry is something we believe every person should have.

The couples in the movie were fighting for the same right. At the end of the documentary the two couples along with many more were married. Proposition 8 was struck down in California.

New Year, New Blog

January 5, 2016

I may love basset hounds but that is not all I will be writing about in 2016. I plan to cover any topic of interest for me at the time. It may have a lot to do with school, since that is my focus at the moment. Everything else takes a backseat to my goals.

I cannot believe it is already J-term. Fall semester flew by so fast! It was the busiest period I’ve ever had in my life. I want the full experience of college because I took so long to get here so I tend to spread myself too thin. I want to be involved as many places as I can but this can be difficult.

The stress level was off the charts for me this term. I took 16 credit hours, more than I have ever taken before. I also took on the position of campus editor of the Mount Mercy Times and officer positions in the English club and SISEA. Plus, I have off campus work study at Erskine Elementary.

Fall term may have been hard but it proved to be rewarding as well. I ended the semester with 3 A’s and 2 A-’s; my GPA for the term a 3.85. That made it all worth it for me. I know we aren’t supposed to focus on grades as students but it is hard not to with so much riding on the outcome. I believe I proved to be successful in my other roles as well.

Improvement is always needed but I am a work in progress. I cannot believe how far I have come. It was only a few short years ago that I was waiting tables with no goals or direction. My professional life was going nowhere and had been the same for many years. Success seemed bleak and unattainable. Now I’m ready for the future and I’m not scared anymore. Putting myself out there has only bred success. It is tough at times but I am prevailing.

This is now a new year and a new term at Mount Mercy University – J-term. Here’s to future challenges and achieving everything I set my sights on.