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I’m not an alcoholic, but earlier this week, this part of “The Serenity Prayer” helped calm me down a little bit:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

I will admit I have been rather concerned about The Lovely and her grandkids, who also happen to be my godkids. Part of me knows that, to quote Shawn Mullins, “everything’s gonna be all right,” but there are no certainties in this life, really, and so, when upheaval strikes, sometimes I find myself trying to tune out everything in hopes of finding the answer somewhere within.

Doesn’t always work, and sometimes I, like most people, find that being inside my head can be a dangerous place.

And sometimes not!

Anyway, a few minutes ago I crawled into bed, covered up, and almost immediately had a memory of Kameron from the first time we took him to Key West. He was walking then, but he wasn’t quite a year old, and every night around 8 o’clock or so, he would hit what we called The Delirium Stage — basically, he started acting kinda nutty, mostly because he was trying to keep himself awake.

On New Year’s Eve, his parents went out, and Diane and I stayed at the condo with Kameron, watching movies. On that night, he didn’t get too “delirious”; in fact, he climbed up on the couch and fell asleep in just a few minutes.

Or so we thought.

Diane asked me if I could carry him into the bedroom without waking him up. I said I’d try, and as I knelt down next to the couch to lift him, he opened his eyes.

And he just started LAUGHING! (I was afraid he’d start crying.)

It was one of my favorite moments ever.

Why does it seem so long ago? Kameron’s not even 5 yet.

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Sheila holds up her camera to take a picture of the two of us, and she asks, “What do you think I’m gonna get a picture of?”

“Your nose!” I reply.

Obviously, I should have said, “Our noses!”

And this was my ballot (well, part of it, anyway!):

From what I’ve been told, I wasn’t supposed to have any kind of recording device in the voting booth with me. However, I wasn’t being sneaky about anything: I snapped photos of fellow voters and election officials before and after I voted, and no one said a word about the digital camera I had hanging around my neck. (Ah, the power of the press!)And, no, I’m not posting the picture of my ballot now just because Barack Obama was, indeed, elected to be our 44th president. I actually attempted to post it here AND on the Pem Hall Web site (I’d include a link, but you can’t get in without a password, anyway) last night, but strangely enough, my computer was acting all funky and laggy and weird, and after a couple of attempts, I bailed.Election Day wasn’t the greatest for me, personally, but it ended on one of the highest notes imaginable.

Starting around 9 a.m., my throat felt like it was on fire (it started out scratchy and became more irritating as the day wore on), and by mid-afternoon, I was feeling very lethargic. I made it through work and then completed some chores, all the while knowing I was going to spend at least a portion of my evening at the local courthouse. Fortunately, this was one of those elections in which most of the “real” contests, locally, had taken place earlier this year in the primary (big, big-time Democratic country down here … which doesn’t exactly explain why John McCain carried most of the counties in this part of the state, but believe me, I have a few theories about that), so I didn’t have to spend too long at the courthouse.

Then I was back at home, crashed out on the couch, just in time to watch the next-to-next-to-next-to-last episode, ever, of The Shield — while also switching over to various networks’ (mostly WGN, MSNBC, ABC and Fox News … with a little Comedy Central mixed in there, too!) coverage of the election results during the commercial breaks.

As soon as The Shield ended, I flipped over to ABC, just in time to see the announcement that Obama had clinched the presidency.

I felt extremely happy and also very relieved, but if I had to use just one word to describe my overall state of mind, I would have to say “hopeful.” Which is the adjective that sums up how I have felt about Obama from early on in the campaign, back when The Lovely urged me to “listen to what he has to say” and told me he was the first politician who had inspired any kind of hope in her since John F. Kennedy.

I feel hopeful that our new president will show the kind of leadership that can help this country get back on track. I am hopeful that the change he speaks of might have begun last night when the unthinkable — or, at most, something that would have been unthinkable just 30 or 40 years ago — occurred. I hope I and the other 18 million or so voters who picked Barack Obama are right about what we see in him.

Granted, I STILL detest politics, and I’m not naive enough to think that one person will solve all the problems in our country overnight. Or over the span of a few months, or even a few years. I do find myself hoping, though, that this is a step in the right direction.

Now: If only my throat would quit hurting. (Damn sinuses!)

We shall see, I suppose.

I hope you all vote tomorrow … even if you don’t vote for the correct candidate!

… what Kiddle’s been up to:

Just hangin’ out, really; actually, she was about half-asleep when I snapped this shot. She also seems to enjoy lying near my bedroom window, taking in the bright fall sunshine. And at night, of course, she likes to wake me up (at all hours), trying to get me to play Fetch with her toy mice.

And already I’ve been to Mickey D’s, Diane’s, Wally World AND the WW gas station ($2.01 per gallon, which I simply HAD to have, even though my tank was barely half-empty). Which, for me, all before 9 a.m. on a Saturday, is PRETTY darn good.

And it’s a beautiful fall day.

And I’ll be damned if they weren’t playing CHRISTMAS music at Wal-Fart. On Nov. 1. Which gives further credence to my realization, just a couple of days ago, that November and December are just one big holiday — with all the rush-rush and stress that goes along with it. NOT that I have anything against Christmas, of course, but wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the (generally) great weather and mild temperatures between Oct. 31 and Dec. 25 without the feeling that somebody, somewhere, wants me to spend money?

And speaking of spending money: I am the perfect foil for fast-food promotions. I can’t go to Taco Hell or McDougall’s withOUT purchasing something to go with my “free” whatever. Perfect examples: To go with my free “steal a base, win a taco” taco — thanks to somebody on the Tampa Bay Rays or the eventual world champion Philadelphia Phillies stealing a base in the opening game of the World Series — I also bought a bean burrito and a medium Pepsi; to complement my free Monopoly breakfast sandwich today, I also got an egg McMuffin value meal with a large Coke, so I could give an eggMo (that’s how that particular sandwich used to be abbreviated on the receipt, I’ve been told) to Diane and we could split the hash brown. (Speaking of which: McD’s hash browns have been absolutely AWFUL lately. Greasy and weird, texture-wise. I say the franchise should go back to using whatever meat by-products it used to use so they taste “normal” again.)

And that’s all I’ve got for now.

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