Wednesday, 12 August 2009

father's day at the white house

after a long blogging hiatus i am back. since it has been a few months, and lots has happened i will try and summarize the most significant moments.

the last week in april i crashed my bike going about 25 miles an hour. i got awesome road rash and jacked-up my shoulder. it meant that the 3 triathlons i had planned to do this summer got scratched. but after a couple months of physical therapy i am back in the pool and planning to race in the big lick the weekend before my b-day. so that should be fun.

i got a new boss. alexia kelley. she is fantastic. i feel like i have a whole new job. i am loving my life. the president, as in obama, has given my office four policy goals to work on:
  • strengthening the role of communities in the economic recovery
  • reducing unintended pregnancies, supporting maternal and child health, and reducing the need for abortion
  • promoting responsible fatherhood and strong communities and
  • fostering interreligious dialogue and cooperation at home and abroad
i am loving it! it is so great because this isn't just lipservice. the president is serious about doing these things. my office has added another goal which is to help communities and faith-orgs respond to H1N1 flu. i will let you know as our guidance on this is public.

at anyrate. i am loving my new office, my new work friends, my new work life. it is busy but super rewarding. so i thought my first post should be about one of the coolest events that i have ever been to in my life.

just a note, the day before this event my bianchi that i have used to race my first few triathlons and then to commute on was stolen while i was in a physical therapy appointment. it has been gone now for almost 2 months and i still miss her! i might have bought a new bike, but it won't really replace here. but i will be glad to get off the 56cm bike i am riding to commute on these days!

okay, now to the cool event...

president obama launched his "national discussion on fatherhood" the friday before father's day. what originally was just going to be an event for him to go see a organization that was supporting men in recovery grew into this huge event... this is abc news' summary of the events

i started my day meeting alexia at the white house and struggling to get in because for some reason our waives hadn't been cleared. we thought we were super late and we had been assigned to staff some of the "celebrity dads" who were part of the day's activities.

by the time we got into the white house we really had to potty
so here we are in the bathroom near the white house's diplomatic room

we then went to meet the men we were staffing. i was assigned bobby flay and michael strautmanis

here you can see some of the dad's
evan bayh, bobby flay, b.d. wong
more on these guys later

we all left the white house to get in our secret service driven vans to venues around the city
they were all service organizations that help engage young men or helped get dads on their feet
on the way to the vans tony hawk pulled a fast one
i am just behind him in this photo.
the best part of this was tony was so stoked
and obviously, so was max (the guy with the spikey hair to tony's left)

bobby and i were assigned to go to a "school" and talk to some "students". we were late because of a delay with the President. and Strautmanis was pulled from our car because he was needed somewhere else. when we got to the place i realized quick that i should have asked the age of the students. it was actually a place providing recovery and treatment services to homeless men.

here is bobby sharing his thoughts on fatherhood.
and answering some VERY tough questions
he did great and i think if he ever decides celebrity chef-ing is not his gig
he should run for public office.
he is the kind of guy who would do well and would represent!

we had some time to kill so . . .

alexia, bobby, bd, and i had an intense conversation about the gift of parenthood
and how your sexual orientation has no barring on your ability to parent. you can see some of bd's thoughts on the issue in this video

his journey to parenthood was not easy, but talking to him was inspiring and the love he has for his son is sweet and palpable. he wrote a book about his experience
Following Foo: (the electronic adventures of The Chestnut Man)

after the heavy convo ended bobby realized we could go out on the lawn
he wanted to check on the grill and stuff
we just wanted to go on the lawn

it is so obvious that this guy owns this show

it didn't take long for bd and i to loose attention on all of bobby's bbq accoutrement
and bd asked me to take a photo of him in front of the wh

i followed suit
this is one of those classic teabelly move for a number of reasons
  1. the head tilt... why do i always dork out in photos?
  2. why wasn't bd in the photo with me????
  3. i got a photo BY bd wong but not WITH bd wong -- smooth teabelly!
  4. also this is take two because he cracked up at my original dork move for the photo
then we snuck around the white house a bit
(don't tell anyone)
and then we retired to the east room

and after a couple of inspiring messages from the dad's on the stand
the President came in and gave a speech that made me cry

video from the events:

this has ZERO zoom

then somehow i ended up out on the lawn again
bobby had asked me to help him because i had some of his stuff in my bag
so i just went out on the lawn

this has a super story, but i think it is better left off the internet
but i can tell you sometime if you'd like. watch closely at :43 and then again at about 2:56 . . .

it was a super duper day. and i have to say, that it really assuaged the pain of not having my bike!