My Day at the Capitol

Yesterday was the first day of the legislative session and I decided to make a day of it down at the marble palace. Maybe, because I woke up feeling a little nostalgic knowing that our family embarked on this political adventure roughly ten years ago.

Ten years sounds like a long time.

A lot can happen in ten years….

I was skinny and young ten years ago!

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Maybe I caught a glimpse of the excitement from when I worked in Washington DC and the memories of those opening days of a congressional session. The anticipation, the proceedings, re-uniting with friends and acquaintances who only made appearances in ones life with the opening bell of a legislative session.

Maybe, I found myself remembering all those nights as our family ventured into the political arena ten years ago and the Senator was gone…. a lot. Gone for early meetings, receptions, ribbon cuttings, legislative dinners and long nights when the senate stayed in session way past our bedtimes. While I admired the dedication and the positive difference he was making, it’s safe to say, the kids and I spent a lot of quality time together. They were 3 and 7 and extremely proud of their daddy’s service, however his busy schedule made our time together a little more complicated.  They would invariably notice his absence at dinner time, because sitting down as a family foursome had been such a steady part of our routine. It always made them sad to see their dad’s empty chair at the table.  In fact, one time the kids set up a card table in our kitchen and informed me that on the nights daddy was working as a Senator, we would have our own special dinner at a three person table so we wouldn’t miss him.

Now, that they are teenagers, maybe they don’t look at his being gone in the same way. Or, maybe they do and we will be engaged in this conversation tonight as we talk about current events, what their dad is working on and reminisce about our infamous three person table! Regardless, I am most grateful that the Capitol is just a mere ten to twelve minutes away from our house and that the Senator gets see his children at some point every day.  For many of his colleagues, the distance is much further and the time away from their families much greater.

Which brings me back to yesterday and my day at the Capitol.

Typically, on this first day of session, the Governor addresses the state of the union state and yesterday was no different.  I decided to stick around and watch because my Senator had been asked to escort the Governor into the room which I thought was pretty cool stuff! While this is a traditional event marked with lots of photo-ops and pageantry, it also paints a fairly clear picture of what lies ahead for the upcoming legislative session.

Ahead of her speech, a Pastor from Southern Hills Baptist Church gave a rather lengthy, but relevant invocation. He prayed for many things, but his prayers included strength and peace for the marriages and children of those elected officials who spend so much time away from their families. I get that and I sincerely appreciated his words.

This time of year, even though it is full of excitement and anticipation of all the good one hopes can be accomplished, prayers for all are needed, indeed.

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Standing O

Friday night was the Speaker’s Ball and I am still reeling in what a knock it out of the ballpark event it was.  Flawless, Fabulous, Festive, Fun.  Seriously, FUN! And, not one detail was left undone! For starters, everyone was decked out to the nines!  So many pretty dresses and hair going on…. I think there is something about dressing up that inspires good behavior, even among adults!  The flowers, the flowers the flowers…oh my goodness.  A local florist, as in my neck of the woods florist, was responsible and did they turn a very large convention hall into an elegant ballroom.  Simply stunning.

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The program was short, sweet and uber appropriate for the occassion.  There were no long, political speeches, or politicians pontificating on their agenda or personal accomplishments…just a relevant, ringing of the opening bell for the next legislative session by a very skilled and humble incoming Speaker of the House.  These remarks, which followed a lovely dinner were met with such warm enthusiasm and a brief “intermission” while everyone grabbed a drink and place to watch the highlight of the evening…a concert by Diana Ross.

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I have no words to describe her performance other than to give it a standing ovation!  She looked and sounded the same as I remember her from…well, a long time ago.  She is ageless, and energetic and so kind and adoring to her crowd.  What a treat this was to experience. She even came back on stage in her sweats to say a final goodbye.  Gotta love that!

After the concert, we stuck around and talked to some of our favorite people that we have met during my Senator’s time at the legislature…..including this guy…

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…who is his Vice Chairman from Woodward on the Energy Committee. He also does a great immitation of my man which is what was going on in this picture! Let’s just say, I love being a fly on their wall from time to time as they certainly know how to work hard and play hard.  His wife is lovely too, which makes it fun!

The next morning, I found some notes I jotted down on the program in my purse, i.e. I was really caught up in the moment.  But love it when I do this cause it tends to capture what I was really thinking….So, here ya go!

Next time, find table location prior to entering ballroom.  Walking from one end of room to the other during the invocation is not optimal.

Fashions were elegant.  Nice mix of sophisticated and fancy…not the junior prom of the past.  I’m only one in a short dress.

I love it when people have their hair fixed….why didn’t I think of this???

Introductions so appropriate. Five prominent officials have mic and didn’t overstay their welcome.  How did that happen??!

Roses, hydrangeas, simple, elegant. creative display.

Love the lighted seating areas in the hall …

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…and the ice sculptures. Oh my goodness, how do people do that! These were actually done by someone my Senator knows and has known for a longtime…evidently, he did a restaurant lease with him back in 1986….but, I digress!

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Lauren Nelson… Miss America +National Anthem = perfection! 

Proud to be an Oklahoman! Our state’s people are its greatest resource. Incredibly honored to be here.

Love that last one! So true!

This week marks the beginning of another legislative session which means my Senator will be busy, stressed and gone…a lot.   Even so, his hard work and dedication to serve our great state has provided so many positive examples for our children. Just one of the many things I love about that man.  The big, dark glasses are another!

Opening Ceremony

I have been tinkering with so many ideas on how to gracefully pick this blog back up.  Really, I have crafted so many different thoughts,and disclaimers as to where the heck I have been since November in an attempt to capture all the chaos that has happened since then!  But, the fact is really….I have just been pre-occupied.  Busy with family, busy with this organization and obviously, too busy for clever excuses.  I do plan on filling in the gaps here and there as best I can, but for now, we’ll just go with the present.

Next week is the start of yet another legislative session and once again things are about to get interesting.  Tonight, in fact, is the Speaker’s Ball where the youngest Speaker of the House of Representatives ever in Oklahoma will be recognized.  This event is like the opening ceremony for the legislative session. It is great if you are into people watching and tiresome if you bore with political speeches. However, I happen to really admire this up and coming politician and can’t wait watch it all blow down.  Did I mention that Diana Ross is singing?  I’m gonna try to Tweet about it, so if you follow me on twitter, don’t freak out and think I’ve just risen from the dead.  Been a long time since I’ve posted over there too! Hopefully, I can make this as timeless as old friends, and we can pick right up where we left off!

In the meantime, here’s an old photo from a Speaker’s Ball a few years back….that one was fun, I think!

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The Morning After

Since my last post on polls a few days…weeks…ok,  months ago, I became really intrigued and engaged in this year’s presidential election. Big surprise, right! I have been fascinated by the semantics, the coverage, the demographics, the issues and the two men running for our nation’s highest office.  Last night was a late one at my house.

As a citizen, I have to admit that I’m appalled at the spending, the rhetoric, the lack of respect for differences and the increased role of government in our American experiment.  As a mother, I am concerned about the lessons we are inadvertently teaching our children…not just in tone and civility, but in economics, ethics and leadership.

However, my greatest challenge today is to create a positive environment for my children so they keep believing in America….because last night, their guy lost and losing at any age is never fun.

Polls

It’s no secret I live in a political environment, so naturally I’m engaged will all that’s happening amidst the current election cycle.

Lately, I’ve become obsessed with national polls and the various takes on the 2012 election from across the country.  I would love opinions from any of my political friends out there as to which polls they think are reliable- and by that, I mean where the process is more important than a desired outcome.

Let me explain where I am going with this…..Four years ago, I always felt like polls were being used to manipulate the direction of the election instead of presenting an accurate picture of popular sentiment. There were polls who way over-sampled certain demographics, polls that questioned only registered voters and those who used likely voters (those who actually have a voting record of participation).  There were even polls who completely ignored voter registration, which at the end of the day is a futile exercise if one is looking for reliable data.

Four years ago, most polling results were all over the place for a while, but in the last few months of the election cycle, seemed to show the same data and trends, regardless of their methodology.  It would seem that in the end, they all managed to predict the final results.

Today, I think what we are seeing in the polling data is not necessarily what is happening on the ground.  Most polls who use likely voters and don’t over sample, show a very close race….until another poll comes out presenting a completely different scenario.  Hmmmmmmm.

Once again, I find myself questioning the polling process and the data which the media uses on a daily basis to generate momentum for one candidate over another…… jury’s still out on that one!  So, I am conducting my own, not very scientific poll at all….just for the fun of it!  Enjoy!

Bringing It Up To Speed

So much has happened since my last post…back in, uh…. February.  Not in any particular order….

1. There is a new driver in our family. I can not describe the plethora of emotions I am feeling right now. I would love to hear the thoughts of all you parents out there who have experienced this life changing event. Oh my!

2. It’s an election year and I am consumed with the local and national political dialogues taking place. I am thinking it might be time for an intervention soon…

3. Finished my first year as President of this national non-profit which culminated in a fabulous event in Washington DC. I have one more year left to serve this organization and it consumes most of my free time and more space in my brain than I have to give.  But, I am so passionate about honoring and recognizing moms that I think it is worth it!

4.  Speaking of moms…  I officially became a ‘dance mom’ recently. Don’t ask.

5.  Continue to be engaged in the Presidential election process.  See #2.

6.  Went to our favorite beach for a family vacation.  I am ready to sell the house and re-locate immediately. This place brings me peace.

7.  My Senator’s 10th Legislative Session came and went which is probably why I am ready to re-locate to my happy place.  See # 6.

8.  Took the kids to camp.  They love camp and I love it that they love it and that we can provide them with this opportunity!  It goes without saying that the Senator and I enjoy camp too….but not for the same reasons!

9.  Last minute birthday trip to Canada with my Senator, our good friends and some new friends. I feel so fortunate to have some wonderful friends.  One of my favorite quotes of all time is from Maya Angelou, where she says something like ‘people won’t remember what you wore or what you said, but they will remember how they felt when they were with you.’   I LOVE being around these people for that very reason.

10.  Speaking of special people….we spent some fun time with dear family friends over spring break.  These little adventures have pretty much become a tradition of ours and once again, I feel so fortunate.

I found a bucket list the other day that my son had written up for a leadership class this past year.  I have never written up a “bucket list” before, but reading his inspired me to do the same.  We posted them up on our back door recently and they seem to remind us daily of what is important in life.  Keeping up a blog did not make my top ten…..but living in the moment did.  Maybe the two are related….or, maybe not.

Speaker’s Ball

I promised you a post about the Speaker’s Ball a few weeks back. Total fail. Both me and the actual event. What a weird experience. My, oh my goodness.

Let me back up a bit.

Ten years ago when the Senator and I attended our first Speaker’s Ball, it was a really fun experience. My Senator had just been elected and we promised each other we would attend as many events as possible…

The Speaker’s Ball was one of the first and resembled a high school reunion of sorts where everyone seemed to be excited to see each other for the first time in a long while. We were new to the game so we just watched, had a drink and tried to figure out who the real players were in the room.

People really dressed up, there was a reception, dinner and entertainment. No program really, other than the Speaker of the House took to the microphone and thanked everyone for coming as they ushered in a new legislative session. Looking back, it was really nice being the fly on that wall.

Fast forward a few years and the leadership in the House of Representatives changed….which meant the Speaker’s Ball fell into the hands of another party planner. Literally.

I’m not sure what they have been trying to do with this event, but every year since has been a different experience. One year, the party was dry, like prohibition.  Some years there has been a long program with speakers. More recently, the Speaker’s Ball resembled a high school prom or even a wedding reception.

Then, there was this year….

And this…

This lady greeted you as you entered the room and if you look closely, you can see the water that was spraying from her fingers like a fountain as she moved them to music. It was a pretty neat effect, really… if you were roaming around Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

I am still at a loss for words when it comes to the rest of this event so I think I’ll just leave it there.

And, besides… I am cooking and cleaning tonight because some of the Senator’s colleagues are coming over for dinner this week.  This is one of my favorite things that he does and I have written about it here.

More later – on all the above.  We are a good two weeks into session and things are just starting to get interesting! SW

Dragons, Dresses and Disney World

It has been a busy month around here.

I just returned from Las Vegas and a board meeting for this organization.  It was a very productive meeting and lots of fun hanging out with some of my all-time favorite people.  I get to see these ladies roughly three times a year, but consider them some of my very dearest friends even though we all live hundreds of miles apart. They are such accomplished women in their respective fields and amazing moms who inspire me on a daily basis.

The Senator came along too and bought us a few great dinners.

He’s a keeper.

And, before my meetings even started, the Senator planned a nice, romantic evening at a fantastic steak house followed by a front row table to watch the fountains at the Bellagio…a popular attraction in the city of lights.

I think I took a million photos that evening and sent them to everyone in my contact list.  Sorry about that people!

Vegas is definitely Disney World for adults.

And, just for the record, it is also the Year of the Dragon. This is a H-U-G-E celebratory event in Las Vegas. Every hotel, restaurant, casino lobby etc. was tricked out in Chinese red combined with dragon paraphernalia.

These are just a sampling….

Oh wait…now I have moved into window shopping and the gorgeous dresses….

Which were truly amazing…

And, rather timely for me seeing that the Speaker’s Ball is tonight and if you have read any of my previous posts on that, you know I struggle with the outfit.

Hmmm…

However, this year it specifies cocktail attire on the invitation which means short NOT long so I am done here. Thank you people for making this easy on me!

I promise to share some photos of the attire, it is always a treat.

Check back with me for more on the actual event, who was there, what the buzz is on the upcoming session and, of course what people were wearing. SW

This Lady

Today is my birthday.  I have never been one to want to celebrate getting older, although lately I have found myself celebrating life.  But, today…..

Today, I am going to celebrate this lady. My momma.

….because I entered the world weighing 10lbs and 2 ounces and she’s still nice to me!

Love you mom.  You are a a remarkable example of all things good in this world!

SW

Live Free or Die

So, the Senator and I had a mini-date night last night watching the New Hampshire primary returns and the victory speeches of the Republican Presidential candidates.

I know, we are weird like that.

Anyway, I quickly snatched the paper napkin out from under his cup and wrote down my thoughts at the time.

Here they are:

 

Ann Romney.  Wow. I like you.  You have MS.  You have five children.  After hearing your speech last night I’m convinced they need to get you out more often.

Ron Paul.  People support you because it is a cause.  People support Romney because they want to win.

Newt.  Brilliantly articulate. Visionary. I would have paid good money for a front row seat to watch you debate the president.  Had you stayed above the fray, you might have had that opportunity.

Huntsman.  I really wanted to like you.  You are balanced. Smart. Can work well with others… super gorgeous family. America likes that.  Maybe in 2016 you will have learned you can’t do this all by yourself. It takes an army of talent and volunteers to win a political campaign of this magnitude. Go find them….fast!

Santorum.  No disrespect, but I am at a loss for words.  I think my Senator likes you.  We were in a heated discussion about your politics during your speech so I have no notes. Not a big fan of the sweater vest, but I sincerely admire your wife for homeschooling seven children. The thought of that ages me.

And….that’s all she wrote…. until South Carolina, of course!  When is that one anyway?

SW

Hello World


Hi there.  I’d like to reintroduce myself to the blogosphere.  I am a Senator’s Wife.  I have two children and they keep my busy. I volunteer during my free time for this non-profit organization.  I used to enjoy blogging about politics and life and some of what I see being married to a public servant.  But life is hectic and busy and sometimes I just don’t like telling the world what it’s actually like in the fish bowl.  Politics is about perception and things aren’t always what they seem.

However, 2012 is an election year and I am glued to the tube when it comes to following this stuff.   Maybe it’s because football season is over? Maybe it is because I have started running in the wee hours of the morning and find myself following the political news cycle a little more closely.  Running on a treadmill is a dangerous thing unless you are completely sidetracked and entertained by exciting television.  Trust me on this one.  I am not a runner, nor have I EVER been…until now. After 40, those calories don’t go away like they used to….

Anyway… maybe because I have taken up running, or maybe because I really do have a passion for politics, or more likely because my Senator is term limited and I won’t worry so much about what I say being used against him in the political arena.  I am getting ready to take the protective shield down and tell you what its like from the inside because this is my story.

Thanks for letting me share that with you today – the Senator’s Wife

Peace

Can’t believe a month or more has passed since I last posted here.  Life is busy.  My children our busy.  The Senator is busier…especially since we are heading into the Legislative season soon.

We took a breather from the busy last month and hightailed it to New Mexico for Thanksgiving.  Such a beautiful place. Peaceful. Serene.

Wishing I could find the peace of that place right about now….