Heather L. Barmore
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Heather L. Barmore
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Heather Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices

    Saturday
    Sep172005

    The Fifth Anniversary

    "A woman's place is in the house...and the Senate"-Bella Abzug

    I may have mentioned my love for politics; ooooh about 45 times already. But seriously, I love it. I have a thing for strong political discourse and a democracy where all can participate. My passion for politics is what led me to American University instead of lovely Ithaca, NY. I participated in American University’s Student Confederation (student government) for three years, did internships and all of that fun stuff. American is a place where everyone knows their member of congress and about 85% of the students have worked for their member. While drunk, American students have been known to have (heated) discussions on the state of the world and the US political process. Seriously, God forbid you’re a republican, because you would be just a tad bit out numbered.

    After being one of the few students of Guilderland High School who cared about politics, it was nice to attend a University where everyone cared. It was that important to me. My friends at AU, were also passionate, including best friend Liz (who from now on will be known as BFL). BFL and I are not only passionate about politics, but about women’s involvement in politics (although, I’m quite interested in African American women in politics). Thankfully at my alma mater, there is an institute, major and coursework devoted to the participation of women in politics.

    Wednesday was the fifth anniversary celebration of the Women and Politics Institute, headed by Dr. Karen O’Connor, a professor at AU and a former professor of mine as well. BFL has all but physically dragged me to all things WPI, including a weekend course last fall, their Young Women’s Leadership Board (I am a HUGE dork and totally excited for it), and their fifth anniversary party. It was like a women in politics lovefest. Susan Wood (who recently resigned from the FDA because of the Plan B pill), Elenor Clift, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Kim Gandy, Ellie Smeal and everyone and their mother.

    I didn’t just attend the event for the (free!) alcohol and the (very) powerful women, but also it was one of my first events since starting work (and guess who didn’t have business cards! IDIOT.) Most importantly all of my conversations went something like:

    “Where do you work?”
    “I work at XYX”
    “Oh wow what do you do there?”
    “I work for Mr. R”
    “Oh wow how do you like it?”
    “It’s great!”
    “Here’s my card. Let me talk to about Mr. R and what he should do about JKL”

    Interesting, because last I checked I'm not all that high on the totem pole and yes I'll pass that message a long right away, because I have clout (yeah right). But I will admit that it's (umm) 'different' that people want to talk to me after I tell them where I work-and let's not get into my lack of speaking ability, so really I just look like a bumbling idiot. Ok moving on now...

    The rest of the evening is kind of a blur (meeting one of my new favorite people, hanging out with this very awesome guy, lots of red wine and then my lovely hangover). But this isn't about me, so who cares, it's about celebrating the wonderful fifth anniversary of an organization devoted to getting women involved in politics and realizing how far women have come in politics, and me being thankful that I have the opportunity to get involved and do what I really want to do.

    So Happy Fifth Anniversary WPI. And Thanks.
    Friday
    Sep162005

    Registration Conundrum

    I feel like I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe. ~Author Unknown

    I have a car here in DC that was quite useful when I lived down the street from Maryland and a mile away from the metro. I used it for groceries, babysitting and for trips to Georgetown. Since I was in college the whole car thing-insurance, registration, inspections, accidents, random transmission leakage-was all covered by my parents. Then there was that event May 8th that we will not speak of, in which immediately after, I became obsolete to any insurance company I had up until that point. Including the wonderful car insurance people. I also had a car that needed to be driven to Albany that needed to be inspected.

    BS BS BS…fast forward to now.

    At my former apartment building, there was an outdoor parking lot with not enough spaces for every car in the building. So the times that I showed up late and didn’t get a parking spot at the building I had to park on the street. The thing about street parking is that you can only park on a certain side of the street during certain times of the day. Like if I were to park on the right side of Mass avenue headed downtown, I would have to move my car by 7AM. Twice I have forgotten to move my car by 7AM and then my car goes missing only to be found later with a lovely $100 ticket under the windshield wipers. (Side note, my car once got towed when I parked in the fire lane of my building. It was towed to South East DC, I lived in Upper NW. This is very very far. The people who towed it charged me $150 for storage fees. I never asked them to store it!)

    My new apartment is located downtown where there is plenty of street parking. The problem is that to park on the street requires a permit. I can’t get a permit until I move my insurance to under my name. Also getting a permit requires a DC license and inspection and a whole bunch of other stuff I don’t want to deal with. I also have a minor problem where I’ve managed to ‘misplace’ my birth certificate and social security card.

    Here’s the conundrum part: I don’t want to get a license in DC. If I do this, that means that I lose my NY license/identity/ability to vote in a real election for people who actually vote in congress. I don’t want to be a registered DC voter. Repeat: I WANT A VOTING MEMBER OF CONGRESS. While this may not be important to most normal 21 year olds, it is terribly important to me. I like having two real life Senators who actually VOTE. And a Governor. I like governors, and state legislatures and all that good stuff. I also don't want to be a permanent resident of anywhere yet. And if I stop voting in NY then go back to run for office I'll be labeled a carpet bagger, and that's not fun for anyone.

    So now I have a car parked 10 metro stops away from where I live and that I can only use during the weekends. And this arrangement will only work until mid-February when my parking permit at the former apartment building finally runs out. Then I am shit out of luck. But thankfully I can get a temporary permit for 6 months, but I’ll have to find my social security card and birth certificate.

    All of this hell just so I can keep voting in NY. Because I like to vote. Yay democracy and voting rights.

    Next up: watch me pay $150-$200 a month for a parking space near my apartment because I really don’t want to register in DC.
    Thursday
    Sep152005

    A Spanish Thought

    It's never safe to be nostalgic about something until you're absolutely certain there's no chance of its coming back. ~Bill Vaughn

    Y en la distancia te puedo ver
    Cuando tus fotos me siento a ver
    Y en las estrellas tus ojos ver
    Cuando tus fotos me siento a ver
    Cada vez que te busco te vas
    Y cada vez que te llamo no estás
    Es por eso que debo decir que tú sólo en mis fotos estás

    Juanes has been in my head for the past several days. The way I sang Fotografias to myself while drunk, from my apartment in Ventas to Barajas. I cried the entire time, about something that for months I never wanted and yet all too soon it was over. Only those who have been abroad, know that you really can’t talk to anyone about it other than the obligatory “It was good. I learned a lot. Yes I’m fluent” bullshit. You can’t really express everything that happened there and how beautiful Sevilla (not Seville, say Seville and I’ll drop kick your ass) is. There’s no way to express Cantabria or walking drunk between Noviciado and Serrano at 3am. God help me if I have to explain Sprint, tortilla, Alhambra, Los Reyes Catolicos, the importance of 1492, or the existence of Euskadi.

    One day soon-at least I can hope-I’ll be able to sort out the whole Madrid thing. The crying when I got there, my threats to leave by February, my drunken debauchery, punching people, drunken debauchery, and crying when I left (and yes I meant to put drunken debauchery in there twice because I was drunk a lot). I want to write about Spain when I stop getting that funny feeling in my tummy because I miss it so much and when I can write a coherent sentence about the randomness of España. Because right now I can tell you, all of my Spain thoughts are just swimming around. Waiting to be written down and talked about and divulged. They are waiting to be wanted, offered and shared.

    Yup I get teary eyed about Spain, and I have no qualms about it. There are days when a smell or a sight reminds me of it then all of the memories just come tumbling back.

    One day soon, I will write about Spain. And I hope that you-dear reader-will love it as much as I did.