"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Thursday, January 03, 2008

This Shiny White New Year

Pink sunset clouds on New Year's Eve.

And a few hours later, glasses of champagne and a warm fire.

On New Year's Day we recieved another 10 inches or so. The amount of snow surrounding our Lodge is truly dramatic!

Thanks to the hardworking crews, our drives and the private road and town roads were cleared by morning. A very good thing, as the Chap returned to his office and I needed to be at the State House.

By statute, the General Court (Legislature) must convene on the 2nd of January in the second year of the biennium. Whatever the weather.

Here's what the first portion of my commute was like.

I gave a lift to a fellow representative, so I had company during the drive. The traffic was heavy and slow. I've never seen such massive snow mountains in the Capitol City. State House Plaza was surrounded and enveloped by snow! The sidewalks were tunnels.

Here we are, posing beside a particularly steep white mountain.

We arrived as the majority party Caucus was beginning, around 8:45. At 9:30 we adjourned and went into the Executive Council chamber, where there was a breakfast reception honouring all former Speakers of the House. Well, not every single one going back to 1684...the nine who are living and breathing. (Not counting our present Speaker.) Eight were men, one is a woman. (Our present Speaker is the second women.)

The session began at 11 with a formal recognition of the honourees. Our Speaker introduced each of her predecessors. The institutional memory these individuals displayed in their addresses, the history, and the pride in their careers in the House--as members and as occupants of the Chair--was moving and inspiring. Some of the memories were hilarious. Designated persons read the brief comments of the two absentees.

A recently elected House member was introduced. (He sits directly behind me.) A letter of resignation was read from another. We heard memorial resolutions for two members who recently passed away.

After the ceremonial activities, we took up our business, which shouldn't have taken very long because we were only dealing with a request from the Senate for concurrence, and voting our Consent Calendar. The latter is an omnibus of many, many bills with unanimous commmittee recommendations, which we can enact quite swiftly on a voice vote. But 7 bills were pulled off the calendar for debate (lengthy debate), often resulting in roll calls and division votes. One of those bills was from my committee. We didn't even get a lunch break--on the assumption that we'd finish up sooner than later. But it was definitely later. And in the end, we voted exactly as the committees recommended anyway. That's the way it goes sometimes.

We adjourned at 3 p.m., starving, and emerged into the snowy white wonderland, hastening to an opening day reception.

The food at the reception was wonderful and we stuffed ourselves with abandon and I played catch-up with friends and colleauges in my usual bipartisan fashion. I lingered.

I was home by 6 and not hungry so the Chap had supper on his own. I did, however, partake of our amazing homemade Egg Nog ice cream!

All day I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for results of tonight's Iowa Caucus, likely to have an enormous but unknown impact upon the New Hampshire Primary 5 days hence.

We're having a severe cold snap--it's 3 degrees right now and breezy, wind chills tonight are expected to be minus 15 or 20. But on Primary Day, we should be enjoying 50 degree temperatures, which would mean--perhaps--historic voter turn-out. If only we can make it to the polling places through what promises to be a massive snow melt!

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