It's been a long time!
An update, and why I didn't post much in the past year:
A year ago this morning I sat in a meeting that resulted in the loss of my job. While it wasn't a surprise, it was the end of ten years of employment at the same place. I still treasure my time there, the people, and the things we accomplished. I landed on my feet - I had an interview a week later, and a job offer in three weeks - but the interim period was a scary, emotional time. Thankfully, the friends I've made in this community lifted me up at the very time I needed help. It's impossible to repay everyone, but the beauty of my friends in that moment was their genuine generosity. Those that helped me the most honestly did it out of love, with no expectation of an equivalent return. My commitment to them is a commitment to live a life of equivalent generosity and love for my community of friends.
In the intervening period between jobs, I booked gigs all summer with my band in order to make ends meet. I was blessed with a busy summer, great experiences in local watering holes, and a renewed appreciation for the working class in rural Wisconsin. Yes, most people still love to hear Mustang Sally on a Friday, and no, I really don't mind playing it either. My musicianship probably improved somewhere in there, but like all things, I realized just how much is controlled from within you - how well I played on a given night, how we interacted with the patrons, and how much I enjoyed myself were all up to me and my friends in the band.
Also, if I'm being honest, the results of the recall disappointed me. I met a lot of friends, and yes, we worked hard, but I think I became insular. It's fine to stick with your political group when you've got the numbers on your side. When you don't, you've got to change strategies, or you're going to lose. I really didn't think we'd lose. The good thing is, in November, I actually felt a sense of familiarity on the national level with the Karl Roves. He didn't think he'd lose either, and there he was. Because, like me, he only spoke with people who agreed with him, with no clue about how the other half of the electorate felt, or what they wanted.
Finally, the best news of all: My wife is due with a baby girl in May. We're really excited. We've even been doing the nesting thing, complete with a new house. We moved to the place we looked at for eight years, right across the street. Right now it's paradise, and both of us are overjoyed thinking about the new addition to the family. We're deciding what songs to sing to her and where the playhouse is going to be in the back yard. Our weekends are full with baby showers, the final gigs with the band before the big change, and the preparation of a new bathroom downstairs.
Anyway...enough about me!
In the coming weeks I'll be using this blog to endorse some candidates for local races. This isn't as official as a newspaper endorsement. These are friends of mine I've met over the years, or friends of friends, or community members that I know. It's really what I love most about local politics - beyond views on the national level, you want people who can think with a level head, who will make tough decisions based on the information available to them. I want people I can trust with my kids' education, or the tax levies, or the new projects in Eau Claire. I meet with one candidate tonight, and I've already met with several others. Expect to see base-level stories about trust, character, and shared philosophy.