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I went home from work early on Thursday because my throat was starting to feel scratchy.  I went to work as usual on Friday because the Airborne stuff I had was working.  My chiropractor told me, when I saw her last, that I had the symptoms of a mild summer cold that had settled in my joints rather than my respiratory system and would probably actually feel sick after my vacation.  

In fact, I think I felt sick after dealing with the guy in the lab who parks his bike in my office and who had his own cold.

Itzl Alerting As you can see by Itzl's concerned look, this group is for us to check in at to let people know we are alive, doing OK, and not affected by such things as heat, blizzards, floods, wild fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages, or other such things that could keep us off DKos. It's also so we can find other Kossacks nearby for in-person checks when other methods of communication fail - a buddy system. Members come here to check in. If you're not here, or anywhere else on DKos, and there are adverse conditions in your area (floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, etc.), we and your buddy are going to check up on you. If you are going to be away from your computer for a day or a week, let us know here.  We care!

IAN is a great group to join, and a good place to learn to write diaries.  Drop one of us a PM to be added to the Itzl Alert Network anytime! We all share the publishing duties, and we welcome everyone who reads IAN to write diaries for the group!  Every member is an editor, so anyone can take a turn when they have something to say, photos and music to share, a cause to promote or news!

I'm in better shape than my home modem - I may not be on line at all today, since the replacement doesn't arrive till Monday.

I went to Netroots Nation 2014 for my vacation.  I think I was the only one who attended from Portland, Oregon, who had no trouble with my flights.  It didn't take very long to get from the airport to the hotel, and the driver of the van was an enthusiastic political progressive who thoroughly enjoyed the ride as well.

I had no idea till after I got there that the other side of the Detroit River wasn't more of Detroit - it's Windsor, Ontario.

The hotel is one of those with floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall windows.  When the clerk who was dealing with checking me in said 51st or 52nd floor, I went "Eep".  I do not deal well with those kinds of windows.  The 23rd floor was still about ten floors too high for me, but ramara didn't mind having the bed next to the window.  The only real problem was the card keys were a bit iffy - getting to the room turned into a real adventure a couple of times.

Netroots Nation was at the Cobo Center, roughly three long blocks from the hotel, which was in the Renaissance Center (apparently world headquarters for General Motors).  

There was a science fiction convention (DetCon1) at the Renaissance Center that ran concurrently and which had arranged a discount for NN14 attendees.  I didn't take them up on it, since I had only budgeted for one convention, both in terms of money and of energy.  If they had arranged $20 for huckster room access only, it might have been a different story....  Science fiction conventions tend to have fabulous stuff for sale.

When I finally asked (Thursday evening) about the professional guests, the first one the guy mentioned was one of my oldest friends.  I did manage to get hold of him and we also managed to find a mutually agreeable time to get together for a visit - we talked non-stop for an hour (pretty much exactly), and I totally forgot to get the camera one of my neighbors had loaned me out to take a picture.  I saw his wife on Sunday - she had walked in on the end-of-convention brunch for NN14, and decided to stay.  No, I didn't rat her out - she's a nice lady.

I did my traveling to get there on Tuesday.  I had volunteered to help with the swag bags on Wednesday, after all.  I was up at 3:30 AM to get to the airport for a 6 AM flight, which meant that I had no problem with jet lag, since 6:30 Eastern was the equivalent time and 6:30 is about when I get up on the weekends - morning person here.  I repeat - I think I might have been the only person from Portland, Oregon, who had no trouble with my travel.

I spent about 6 hours volunteering on Wednesday - 4 1/2 hours of it handing bags to people to fill with swag.  There was one young smartass I really took to - I didn't quite recognize her accent, since I couldn't remember who I had heard it from before (Australian, as it turned out).  I have no idea how long it took for them to get the bags finished, since I left before they were done in order to get to the Cheers & Jeers dinner.

I ended up walking with several people to the C&J dinner.  Among the several were Bill in Portland Maine and Common Sense Mainer (Bill & Michael).  They still have the cute couple title for DailyKos sewn up.  The party was at Vicente's Cuban Restaurant - the food was wonderful (I'd never had bacon-wrapped shrimp that I liked before).  The first person I sat next to was Brainwrap (geeky fangirl didn't come all the way out), but I ended up sitting with linkage (a friend of many years) and Ooooh (a friend of even longer standing) who had come to Detroit for the C&J dinner and to meet with some of the people she knew were coming - me, for one.  DailyKos covered the bill for everybody who showed up.  The Detroit People Mover, of which I had heard much, had a stop a block or two from the restaurant, so I took it back to the hotel.

I was beginning to wonder how much trouble ramara's flight was having when she arrived (roughly 10:30 Wednesday night).  Her key card was iffy, too - I think everybody in the hotel was having trouble with them, actually.

The restaurant/bar in the Marriott had a magnificant spread for their breakfast buffet.  It was a bit expensive, but it was also all you could eat, and you could get individually made omelets and eggs cooked to your exact taste - and the bacon was meat-cracker crisp, which is how I like it.  I didn't hear anybody mention it who felt cheated.  Thursday morning breakfast was with ramara and Ooooh, and then Sara R came in and all three of us invited her to join us.  Another morning ramara and I sat with TexMex, and a third with Denise Oliver Velez (it was amazing that she and ramara were attending the same high school at the same time - a small one for New York, they both said - doing very similar things and going to the same places to do it, and they didn't know each other at the time) - a woman named Heidi joined us as well, she'd run into me somewhere (no, I don't remember - the face was familiar, though), so I said sure, she was welcome.  Sunday morning was light snacks in our room because we had to get out to do the Interfaith Service.

I made dinner out of the appetizers provided at the reception before the Rev. Barber's speech on Thursday (many of us did, I think).  The Marriott's restaurant makes a truly fine Reuben sandwich, as I discovered on Friday, though it could have used a little more sauerkraut for my taste.  And the seafood restaurant in the Renaissance Center makes a lobster bisque than which I have only had one better - at a little hole-in-the-wall in San Francisco many years back.  The heirloom tomato caprese salad was heavenly.  By the time my friend had to get to his next obligation on Saturday, I was pretty hungry, and I paid for the meal without a blink, it tasted that good.  I went back and had a glass of chardonnay when ramara decided she needed to try the lobster bisque.  I have never heard of the winery, which was listed as being in Oregon, and the wine was fairly good - but at that price for one small serving of chardonnay, I think I will return to that restaurant when I'm rich.

I attended VP Joe Biden's keynote address.  It wasn't his fault it was late getting started, and the introduction for him was blessedly brief.  If you can't watch the video, I didn't find a transcript on the White House website, but this should give you a really good idea of what happened.

I also attended the Rev. Dr. Barber's keynote.  That man is amazing!  Listen to the speech and/or read the transcript.  I really can't recommend it too highly.

Elizabeth Warren's speech was about what I expected.  I did not expect the organized attempt to draft her to run for President (though why I didn't, all things considered, I am not sure).  I think she is a magnificant successor to Teddy Kennedy, and I want her to stay right where she is.  And so I told a reporter who briefly interviewed me about my opinion of Joe Biden, Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren as presidential candidates - several times, I told him.

I started out to take part in the march on Friday about the water shut-offs in Detroit, but after about 10 minutes of getting crowded into less and less space, it got to where I couldn't breathe, so I left.  The sign I was waving said "Water is a Human Right", with which I wholeheartedly agree.  I dropped money in several local organizations' donation jugs, and plan to donate through some of the links that have been posted this week, but I couldn't continue with the demonstration - I deal better with the floor-to-ceiling windows than with too many people in not enough space.

Friday evening, ramara and I got on the People Mover and went the entire circle.  It was a very impressive view of the city.  The pedicabs that DailyKos financed were fun, though I mostly walked between the hotel and the convention center.

I went to several workshops, but was in and out of most of them.  The first I really wanted to attend was entitled "Network Depth: How the Love Factor is Creating Change".  It was a group of Detroit activists who put the audience through some of the exercises, individual and collective, that they use to keep from burning out and continually remind themselves and those they are working with to focus on helping each other.  They also talked about what they were doing.  I remember one of the leaders saying that Detroit was designed for a population of around 2 million and, while the city might not have much money, it has a LOT of infrastructure that is available for use, which worked out very nicely for finding commercially licensed kitchens for the groups she was working with (church basements, very often, apparently).

I sat through Debbie Stabenow's speech and Mark Schauer's speech Saturday morning and missed the speakers on the water situation (here's the video) because I needed desperately to find a restroom by the time they started, and I ended up going down to the exhibit hall and wandering.  I plan to watch that part of the video after I get my new modem.

The final panel I attended was "Campaigning Down Under:  Three Case-Studies to Make You Go 'Crikey"'.  The smartass from the swag bags was one of the panelists.  She and her father were the moving forces behind a campaign to unseat their area representative who was no longer paying attention to her constituents' concerns.  It sounded like they had had a lot of fun during their campaign season.  It looked to me like they got every dog in the area into T-shirts at some point during the campaign events they were staging and, while I have lived in cities my whole adult life, I grew up in the country, with neighbors who had sheep in one place.  I have some idea of what it took to get those T-shirts onto those sheep.  Another presenter was one of the officers for Get Up!, which is the Australian equivalent of MoveOn, and the third was involved in a (mostly) successful campaign to block cutting the budget for education, which involved three different unions and several parent organizations.

I didn't go to the closing keynote - they did the same style of thing last year and I ended it with a headache.  I went to meet my old friend instead.  It went as usual -  I was 15 minutes early and he was 5 minutes late.  He hasn't changed in years.  Nor, I am told, have I.  This is the man who introduced me to my first husband, and was running the dance where I met my second.

One of the final items on the agenda is the Interfaith Service, which ramara and I have run since 2011.  Since only about 6 or 7 people other than us showed up, it didn't go as planned, but the discussion ended up both intense and lovely.  And we saw several of the people who attended at the Recovery Brunch.  If we need to, we can recycle the program.

I spent a lot of time wandering the exhibit hall.  Most of the booths were professional, and there wasn't much in the way of books - I only found one small publisher, and I bought the one book they had for sale - it's on the trans-Atlantic slave trade and how it is still affecting modern life.  I also bought some buttons from Henry the Buttonmaker, which was right next the the publishing booth.  My only other souvenier that didn't come with the swag bag was a T-shirt (I got another one for my firstborn) that says GOTMFV.  If you think about it, you will probably figure it out.

I broke my first Kindle in San Jose last year.  I broke the second in Detroit.  I have reached the conclusion that I am thoroughly spoiled - I went through every newsstand I could find at the Detroit airport and could only find one book that looked at all interesting.  At PDX, there's a small branch of Powells Books and the more general newsstands have a lot more books than I found in Detroit.  Thoroughly spoiled.  My flight left on time and got in 20 minutes early.  I was in bed shortly after 10:30 PM and slept like a rock.

I even got to work at my usual time on Monday.

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