Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back to Work

by Annette Dashofy

A person can only take so much celebrating. I’m exhausted. First, the Pittsburgh Steelers won the AFC Championship on Sunday and is headed once again to the Super Bowl. The Steelers Nation had one day to celebrate before being overshadowed by a little thing called the inauguration.


Has there ever been such a day in this country? My 88 year-old mother says she never watched an entire inauguration before. I have, but I usually lose interest after the actual ceremony. Yesterday, I couldn’t tear myself away from the TV.

I remember when the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Yes, I’m giving away my age. I remember the screams of the girls in the audience that night. The screams of the crowds along the parade route yesterday reminded me of that.

I’m realistic enough to know it won’t last. Yesterday was about celebration. Today is about getting down to work. I hope President Obama is able to capitalize on the wave of love and approval to get something accomplished before the honeymoon is over.

It’s back to work for me, too. I accomplished very little yesterday. It’s hard to write while watching the country whooping it up on the television. So I’ll be playing catch-up all day while the President is busy putting the country back on track.

One thing has been playing on my mind this week and that’s the President’s call to service. There are so many worthwhile causes out there. I’ve always waged an internal battle about where to donate money. But time? That’s even more valuable.

Right now, of course, I’m volunteering a lot of time to Pennwriters to coordinate the 2009 Conference. But I don’t consider it as selfless service. More like selfish service. Want to network with New York agents and editors? Take on a writing conference. I have hopes of using some of those connections to boost my writing career.

In my mind, selfless service is something else. The only benefit you get is the feeling of helping others. So where should I donate my time?

My first thought is the Humane Society. I love animals. My Skye kitty came from our local shelter. But I’d probably weep over those poor homeless fur babies and I’d want to bring them all home. That would lead to divorce in the Dashofy household. Bad idea.

How about Habitat for Humanity? A wonderful cause and something I think I’d enjoy. However, I can’t hammer a nail to save my life. Unless it’s a thumbnail. I’m dangerous with power tools. But I’m a great go-fer.

Put Habitat on the “Maybe” list.

I have given serious consideration to volunteering at the local food bank. Also, our local library.

Lots of places can use help. What about you? Do you volunteer anywhere? If not, are you willing to consider it? Where do you think your particular skills would best fit in?

And if you feel a letdown after all the celebrating, remember the Super Bowl is only a week and a half away. Hopefully Pittsburgh will have something else to celebrate on February 1st.


Tory said...

I was really sorry to miss the inauguration yesterday. I was in the middle of a big staff meeting, and the question came up whether we could take a 10 minute break and watch the swearing in. Our fearless leader said that, like during the election, we had to be respectful of other people's points of view (meaning we weren't supposed to talk politics at work) and so didn't let us watch.

I have to say I disagree. During the election, who you were supporting was your opinion. Now, like it or not, Obama is president, and watching the inauguration is facing that reality.

And I, personally, wanted to take a moment out to celebrate.

martha reed said...

Annette, that's some inaugural picture. Wow. What an experience for you and an amazing and important historical moment for us.

I heard the call to service, too, in Obama's speech and am thinking along the same lines. I'll let you know what comes up. One thing, tonight, is an independent school tour here in Pittsburgh. This suddenly has new meaning.

And Troy Polamalu? He gets my vote as MVP (if a strong safety can be the MVP).

Annette said...

Tory, that is too bad. Yesterday wasn't about other people. It was about all of US. Together.

It occured to me at one point that after 9-11, the country and the world joined together in sorrow. YESTERDAY, the country and world joined in celebration of joy and hope. We both looked back and ahead. And it was a sweet thing. I doubt we'll ever experience another day like it.

Annette said...

Martha, maybe we can find out where Troy volunteers and sign up there!

Gina said...

Annette -
I got to watch the swearing in and Obama's speech -- a coworker had a small tv in his office. The color was a little off on his set, though, so instead of watching the first black president being sworn in, I watched the first green one -- Obama was a lovely shade of green. Seeing so many people on the mall, it looked as if the entire country had converged to celebrate.
Most of the volunteer work I've done recently has involved donating or trying to raise money, mostly by walking for causes -- raising money to fight stroke, MS, cancer, etc. That on-line peace group I participate in, the World Dreams Peace Bridge, has been raising funds to help Iraqi children overcome the trauma of war, providing soft toys and art supplies to an after school program and Iraqi refugee children in Jordan. We are now assisting an Iraqi family - mother, father & three little kids - who are in Turkey trying to get treatment for the mother's cancer. If anyone would like to donate, information is available on our website:

Anonymous said...

Annette -

You wrote exactly what I'm feeling today - almost a hangover but having nothing to do with booze or chemicals.

I read that President Obama (how cool is THAT?) was at his desk bright and early this morning.

I have such great hopes!

Oh, and I have great hopes for our Steelers too!


Dana King said...

My company is starting a program to help the families of servicemen deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, and I'm hoping to get in on that once it ramps up.

As for the Stillers, I'm jazzed. Nothing better than beating Baltimore three times in one season.

Annette said...

Kathy, I don't know how he did it. Long, cold day...parties and dancing all night...and still at work early. I want some of whatever coffee President Obama (yes, that is VERY cool) is drinking. All I did was sit glued to the TV all day and I'm wiped out!

I have to add, watching it in HD on my new television was INCREDIBLE. I'm sorry, Gina, that you had to watch our first GREEN president sworn into office.

Annette said...

Dana, I'm trying to be polite about the Ravens. I have several friends from Baltimore who were very gracious after the game, so I don't want to add salt to their wounds.

Having said that, GO STEELERS!!!

By the way, my word verification is ACHOU. Makes me want to type in GOD BLESS YOU.

Joyce said...

I watched a good bit of the inauguration yesterday, too. I watched on C-Span where there are no reporters commenting on what goes on. That way, you can hear bits and pieces of real conversations.

Did anyone else think the President looked really, really nervous while he was waiting in the hallway before the inauguration? He had that oh-crap-what-have-I-gotten-myself-into look. Once he was outside, though he was fine.

Weren't they just the cutest couple when they were dancing? I really hope Michelle was wearing good shoes all day. Just the thought of wearing heels for 16 hours makes my feet hurt.

I've thought for a long time about volunteering somewhere one day a week--either at our local community outreach center or driving cancer patients to treatment. I just have to decide which one.

Joyce said...

Oh, and number one son is back to work today at the Capitol. The building was closed since Saturday, and he had off so all the security details could be taken care of.

Donnell said...

Yeah, Steelers, good luck in the Superbowl! Yesterday, was indeed a historical day, and in my short life LOL I too have never seen anything like it. I love that President Obama (I can say that now, right)put the call out to us. I hope many were listening, because unfortunately too many see him as the man who can do everything. Don't get me wrong, I believe he can move a people and that's no small feat, but it is up to all of us. I too am like Annette and volunteer for a lot of my writing groups, I volunteer for my local sheriff's office, but I can do more -- and plan to. Great post, Annette!

Annette said...

Joyce, I know what you mean about the shoes. I watched her striding down that street during the parade thinking, if that was me, I'd twist an ankle in a pothole, fall, and break a leg.

But then again, you can't take me anywhere.

Yes, Donnell, it is President Obama now. Practice it, folks. President Obama, President Obama, President Obama...

Kathleen said...

Yesterday was glorious! The world is bursting with joy! WOW!

I was so blessed to be able to stay home to watch and weep ALL day.

I'm glad that you brought up the topic of service. I became a teacher to improve education, but that is also my job and I too need to be more service. Like you, I thought of the Humane Society and I was a foster mom for kittens this summer. I sometimes teach workshops as a Master Gardener and I'm on our township's Planning Commission, yet I've not found what I wnat to devote myself to. I know it will be an environmental cause, What? I don't know.

Isn't it wonderful that we are having this conversation and talking about serving the world? Yes. The world HAS changed and life IS good!