(Okay, so this is a few days late.  I meant to post something on President’s Day itself, but life got in the way.  Also, it’s still within the same week, so better late than never, right?)  So, without further ado, a thank you letter to my favorite Bush:


Thank you, George W. Bush, for your service to our country.  I know that some people (maybe a lot of people) thought that you weren’t the brightest bulb in the box.  Or that they didn’t agree with your policies.  Or that they blamed every single bad thing that happened during your two terms solely on you.  I don’t care about any of that.  And you know why?  Because you always made me feel safe.  I never once doubted that you cared deeply for the people of this country – every single one of us.  And you made me laugh (in a good way).

I was in eighth grade when the Twin Towers were struck.  And even though my personal life was not affected (I didn’t lose anybody in the attacks) those acts of terror left a deep impression on me, as it did the entire nation.   Your quiet strength and resolve  when addressing the country for the first time after the attacks, and in the days that followed, had a deep impact on me.  It helped me to feel safe, even in the face of such uncertainty.  You brought the country together in a time in which we greatly needed it, and I am so thankful that it was you who was serving during those difficult days.  I truly believe you were the right person for the job at the exact right time.

As far as for making me laugh, you were just a genuinely funny guy without even trying to be.  I think so much of what made you so personable was your ability to be able to laugh at yourself.  From having a shoe thrown at you, to taking all the political jokes in stride, to the phrases that only you could utter, you were just a regular guy who didn’t take himself too seriously; you were humble and self-deprecating – more qualities that we could use today.  You still have that same ability, as was evidenced in your epic poncho battle on election day.  On what was one of the darkest political days for me, your struggle with that poncho and your good-naturedness about it, brought unexpected joy to my heart.

Finally, yours was the first presidential election that I was old enough to follow and that I have concrete memories of.  Though I was still years away from being able to vote, you helped instill in me a love for our government and the electoral processes.  A love that endures today, even through very difficult political times.

So again, I just want to say thank you for being you.  For having a positive impact on my life.  For having a positive, lasting impact on this country.


P.S. I miss you…the country misses you.




Love Trumps Hate

Spread love.

“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” – Mother Teresa

“You were made from love to be loved, to spread love. Love is always loud.” – Kid President

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Love and kindness begin with us, as individuals. We all have the power to choose to love over hate, kindness over hostility, compassion over judgement. Be kind today, everyday. Show love to those around you. Tell someone you love them (but only if you really mean it). Say thank you.  Hold the door open for the person behind you. However you choose to express it, spread love.


The day the music died…

February 3rd is the 58th anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper.  They were in the midst of The Winter Dance Party, a tour winding through the Midwest, and had just played what would be their last concert at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.  Unfortunately, the bus that they had been traveling on was a miserable heap of metal…the heater had been broken for some time and they were cold and tired, some even dealing with sickness.  In order to avoid having to travel on that bus even one more mile, Buddy chartered a small plane to fly them to their next stop, Moorhead, Minnesota.  They boarded the plane at the nearby airport located in Mason City shortly after midnight, never to reach their intended destination.  The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, in a corn field not far outside of Clear Lake.  The plane was not discovered until much later that morning.  It was determined that all three musicians, along with the pilot, died instantly.  The crash was blamed on a combination of bad weather conditions and a young pilot who flew in conditions and with instrumentation that he was not properly certified for.  3 bright stars were suddenly gone, far too soon.

I’ve been to the Surf Ballroom, which still hosts concerts and also serves as a museum of sorts dedicated to these three musicians and that fateful night.  Standing in that place, where they once stood, face-to-face with the phone that some of them used to make their final phone calls, I longed to go back in time and change history…to prevent them from getting on that plane in some way.  I’ve stood at the cold, lonely crash site, in the midst of nothing but farmland.  Standing in that place, on that hallowed ground, I wondered what could have been if only they had never gotten on that plane.  What kind of impacts would they have had on music?  On the world?  With the 1960s right around the corner, music could have looked very different had these three artists lived.  Even today, I grieve for the loss of young life, for the loss of music that we will never hear, for the families who lost their loved ones in the worst way and then had to find out about it from television and radio reports.

Buddy Holly was 22 years old.  He had been an innovator already in the world of music, playing a combination of country and rock that had never been heard before.  He left behind a young, pregnant wife.

Ritchie Valens was only 17.  He had just begun his career, but already had produced hits such as “La Bamba” and “Donna.”  His was a story of rags to riches and he had so much promise ahead of him.  His is the death that has haunted me the most.

The Big Bopper, JP Richardson, at 28 years old, was a former radio DJ turned singer/songwriter.  His biggest hit was “Chantilly Lace.”  He left behind a wife, unborn son, and young daughter.

Did you know…

  • That Ritchie Valens had a fear of flying?
  • That Waylon Jennings was originally supposed to be on that flight? He was part of Buddy Holly’s band and gave up his seat to JP Richardson, who had the flu.
  • That Ritchie wasn’t supposed to be on that flight either? He won the seat in a coin toss, ultimately saving the life of Tommy Allsup, a member of Buddy Holly’s band.
  • That although it was a number-one hit, Buddy Holly hate the song “That’ll Be the Day”?
  • That the pilot never received weather warnings of an incoming blizzard?
  • That Buddy Holly’s music and style would influence future singers such as Roy Orbison, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and so many more?
  • That it was this tragedy that led authorities to develop the policy of not releasing victims’ names until families had first been notified?

I highly encourage you to listen to some of their music today.  You can look them up on just about any music app, I’m sure.  Growing up with a Dad who loved “oldies,” this has been the music of my childhood, so I know a lot of their songs by heart already.  I’ve known this history for a long time as well, which is why I wanted to share it with you, so that their lives and their music won’t be forgotten.  Some of my favorites include “La Bamba,” “Come On, Let’s Go,” “Oh Boy,” “Everyday,” and “Not Fade Away,” just to name a few.  But there are so many more.  Maybe you will even find a new favorite…I sure hope you will.

You can see the tour was very poorly scheduled. Look at how much they were criss-cossing during the dead of winter, in a junky bus. Perhaps better organization would have led to a different outcome?
The phone at the Surf Ballroom that was used for their final phone calls.
Booth seating at Surf Ballroom.
Surf Ballroom stage.


Memorial located at the Surf Ballroom.
Clear Lake crash site memorial. As you can see, people leave all sorts of things.
Young Olivia at the Surf Ballroom memorial, circa 1999.
Young Olivia at the Clear Lake crash site memorial, circa 1999.
Replica of an original Winter Dance Party poster.
Another replica of an original Winter Dance Party poster.

Steppin Out

What have you done to step outside of your comfort zone lately?  I stepped out of mine TWICE today.  Once in a blue moon is rare for me, but twice in one day?!

What did she do, you might be wondering?  Well, first, I called my senators to tell them about an issue that was very important to me.  I won’t go into a lot of detail here, except to say that if something is truly important to you, don’t be afraid to speak up.  Don’t rely on others to speak up and effect the change, because nobody may end up speaking at all.  As Thomas Paine once said, “these are the times that try men’s souls.”  I believe we, right here and now, are facing trying times; it’s no time to keep quiet .  Moral of the story, our government representatives work for us, so don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel.

The next big thing – I cooked dinner tonight.  Like, actually cooked.  I cut, diced, mixed – the whole nine yards.  That in itself is a small miracle, as I do not particularly enjoy cooking.  But a couple of weeks ago, I got a hair-brained idea to try Blue Apron, and my first delivery came today.  I decided to try the hamburgers with red cabbage slaw and sweet potato fries first.  I was pretty leery of this, the slaw and the sweet potato fries especially, but I have to admit that it was really good.  The red cabbage slaw on the burger was delicious – it was a really nice contrast.  And the fries were tolerable, but not anything I would chose to eat on a regular basis.  (Still, I am somewhat amazed that I, of all people, actually made sweet potato fries from scratch!)  All in all, it was a success:  I didn’t burn the house down or cut off any fingers, and I didn’t leave the kitchen in shambles.  (There may be hope for me yet…but I’d still prefer to find a man who will cook for me.)

After getting up way too early this morning, working out, going in to work early, working out again, cooking dinner, and getting in some homework, I have to say that I am BEAT.  (Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.)  So I’m off to bed so that I can do it all over again (minus the cooking part – hooray for leftovers!) tomorrow.

God Bless and Goodnight