I'm baaaack!

    Ben's dorm on the Ithaca College campus.

    Sorry it's been so long since I posted. As you all know, August got crazy for me. First we had to get Ben ready to move to New York. Then I had to drive him there and get him set up. Then I had to drive back and immediately go into covering four days of the Democratic National Convention.

    It was nuts! But it's over. Thank God!

    The drive out was every bit as long as I'd imagined it would be. We had to drive through a lot of flat, cornfield states to get to New York. There were a log of wind farms popping up in Iowa, which was cool to see. Once we got into Nebraska, things got humid. By Indiana, a person could drowned on the air!

    We got into Ithaca at 4 AM on Thursday, had a few hours to sleep and then it was time to move him into his dorm room. We hadn't realized how busy they'd keep him. He had lots of orientation events to attend. While he did that, I unpacked his stuff and set his room up how I thought he'd like it.

    Ben's dorm room at IC.

    We thought we'd have the evening together to explore Ithaca, and we did get a little bit of time, heading out for ice cream at this shop called Purity Ice Cream, a very popular place judging by the crowd. I had a strawberry sundae and he had a chocolate brownie sundae, I think. Mmm. Makes me hungry to think about it.

    Ben striking a Teddy Roosevelt-esque pose in front of his dorm.

    The campus is beautiful. Everyone says CU-Boulder's campus is lovely, and it is, but I'm used to it. Ithaca College is perched on a hillside overlooking the city and Lake Cayuga. The hills surrounding the city are heavily forested. I bet it's amazing in the fall.

    Looking down through campus toward the town of Ithaca, NY.

    So we went for ice cream and then planned to have a late breakfast the next day. I knew I would have to say goodbye then and start the long drive home (interrupted — thank GOD! — by a visit with Sue Z and Kristi in Ohio). When I arrived the next morning after buying some things for him at Targe, however, he told me he'd just realized he had to go to a student job fair for kids with work study grants. And that meant I had to say goodbye right there in the parking lot.

    My last glimpse of Ben at Ithaca College.

    Having it happen like that was a fist to the gut. I tried hard not to cry — but failed, of course. I hugged the stuffing out of him and then had to let him go.


    It was really a blessing that I was able to look forward to seeing Sue Z and Kristi, who live in Ohio. We had pizza and lots of booze and spent time chatting via Web cam with Libby, the other remaining Gangsta. I think I lost it a few times, but I did alright.

    Sue and Kristi, thanks so much! Not sure what I would have done without you!

    The next day was really tough — about 13 hours of driving and nothing to look forward to but more of the same. It was really hitting me that Ben was far behind me.

    I got home Sunday, Aug. 24, and it was one of the toughest evenings of my life — coming inside, seeing Benjy everywhere in the house and nowhere, missing him so much it hurt. I didn't have a lot of time to think about because I had to get ready for the Democratic National Convention, which started early the next morning.

    That was a whirlwind of its own. I spent Monday morning picking up credentials, finding my way around the Pepsi Center and figuring out how to sign in to the paper from there. The afternoon and evening were spent reporting from my seat in the press stands. If you watched the event on TV, I was in the stands to the left of the podium with a view of the speakers' behinds.

    Particularly stirring was the tribute to Sen. Edward Kennedy. His appearance and his promise to be at the inauguration in January had tears in people's eyes — mine included.

    The next day I spent trailing someone at the real convention -- the hundreds of chic, glitzy parties where special interests like gas, oil and the pharmaceutical industry, lobby lawmakers and other bigwigs. Most elected officials and party bigwigs only attend the convention when it's their turn to be onstage. Otherwise, they're off being wined and dined. I was wined and dined. I wish I'd eaten more of that awesome triple-cream imported brie!

    On Wednesday I was up at 2:45 AM (yes, AM) to get to the paper and get the paper put to press. It was an insane and painful day. I was so exhausted at the end that I'm not even sure how I drove home.

    Sen. Barack Obama joins Sen. Joe Biden on stage at the Pepsi Center Wednesday night. (Photo by Erica Grossman/Boulder Weekly.)

    Thursday was the big day in Mile High Stadium. I was there from about 2 in the afternoon listening to speeches and watching performers. I really loved Will.i.am. Cheryl Crow was good, too. Boulder's own Yonder Mountain String Band played, and that was a real thrill for the very Colorado crowd. Obama's speech was the highlight, of course, and it rocked the house. It was amazing to see so many thousands of people inspired to the point of tears — even men.

    But now it's all over. And I'm home. I miss my kid horribly, but he has such a terrific opportunity to study at Ithaca, where the filmmaking equipment and instruction is first rate. I can't wait to go visit him in October! More on what I'll be doing then later.

    I hope you're all well! Soon it will be contest time for Untamed!

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