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We'll bring you first-hand accounts of local Seattle-area residents and their journey to D.C. and generally all things inauguration. If you're going to the inauguration and would like to contribute, contact us here.

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January 21, 2009 10:42 AM

Video dispatches from the inauguration

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks

We started the day off with a 5:30am phone call. "Hurry up! We've got to go! There are lines already!" We were dropped off about a quarter of a mile from the Roosevelt Bridge and made our way to The Mall.

On the metro:

Our goal was to get "lucky" and get as close to the Capital as the Washington Monument. Crossing the bridge we were surprised by the small amount of people crossing. We made our way up Constitution Ave. and before we knew it were at the Washington Monument. People were chanting, singing and surprisingly awake! There was plenty of room to navigate so we decided to get just a bit closer. Turns out we made it halfway in between the Capital and the Washington Monument with a jumbotron right by us and a decent size space.

People from around the world:

Garth Brooks and "Shout!"

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January 20, 2009 4:44 AM

On the way

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks


we got our wake up call an hour early bc the dc text messages started at 530 and said the lines had started. that was the best way to sober up bc we didn't have time to think about it! Our goal was to get by the lincoln memorial but there weren't huge crowds we just kept going. We are now in front of the smithsonian castle and a huge jumbo tron! We are a little more than halfway between the washington monument and the Capitol!

Its 19 degrees, we didn't wait in lines and were right in front of a jumbotro in the middle of the mall. When we got settled we met the people around us - ca, me, pa, oh, fl, de, il, va, dc, canada and germany - that's all within a 10 ft radius. Our goal is to meet someone from every state. At 715 est I called my parents and everyone yelled 'good morning seattle!'. This is the only day I'd ever get away with that! People are chanting, singing, dancing and taking tons of pictures. So far everyone is polite and very chatty. Only 3.5 hours to go!

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January 19, 2009 5:47 PM

Packed subway in D.C.

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks

wicks_crowdedsubway

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January 19, 2009 5:45 PM

Volunteer work

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks
Volunteering at Marie Reed Elementary School and RFK Stadium for National Day of Service.

wicks_volunteer3

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wicks_volunteer

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January 18, 2009 10:21 PM

Travelling light, but always be electronically prepared

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks


I spent all yesterday and night running errands and packing. Who knew the cost of extra batteries and memory cards for my camera, camcorder, and computer combined with a run to Joe's for DC weather would add another couple hundred bucks to the trip. Ah well, at least I'll be electronically prepared and as warm as possible. There’s something about trying on full-body spandex-like material that really humbles a person. They say humility is a virtue - thank you ski-wear - mission accomplished! I have not proof, but I just may have tried on my ski mask in the dressing room to top off the aerodynamic feel of the moment. So hot.

Arrival in D.C. - Union Station


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January 15, 2009 11:59 AM

Traffic nightmare

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks

My friend who commutes back and forth to DC and Seattle received an email today from the state of Virginia about road closures. Starting at 2am on Tuesday, all major freeways will be completely shut down to all traffic except emergency vehicles, buses, taxis and for-hire car services. She said it would be the equivalent to holding the Inauguration on Mercer Island, and then closing off I-90, I-5 and I-405 for 20 miles in each direction. Oh, but 99 would be open (and would then collapse).

I can totally handle massive crowds - it's part of the fun in going to DC on this trip and it will add to the atmosphere and excitement. However, when it comes to vehicle traffic - do yourself a favor and BACK AWAY FROM NICOLE! Seriously. After two years of commuting from Renton to Magnolia everyday during rush hour, I need a continuous IV of Xanax just thinking about traffic. SO, as you may have guessed, getting in a vehicle anywhere near DC on Tuesday is not an option for me. I know there will be people who will try it anyway though. A lot of people. Too many people. Anyone who is stupid enough to do so deserves to get stuck at a roadblock for at least 24 hours and needs to be contained and neutered. One this is for sure, I'll be packing my best walking shoes and staying clear of any vehicles.

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January 14, 2009 2:41 PM

Everyone is talking about the inauguration

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks

Today I officially signed up to attend two community service projects on Monday - MLK Day. Yesterday, Ja'Von told me very matter-of-factly, that "Flat Ja'Von wants to feed hungry people" so I made sure to sign up as a cook and food distributor at the Washington DC Mayor's Office Outdoor Soup Kitchen in the morning. In the afternoon I'm signed up to assemble care packages at the old Redskins Stadium for our troops overseas - the service project highlighted by Michelle Obama. They have so many volunteers for this event that they're limiting people to one hour shifts... I hope I get one! If not, there are many other things to help out with as there are dozens of major community service events in just a two mile radius. I'm thinking I'd like to do something with a DC Public School... from the sounds of it, they are in desperate need on many fronts...

Today was the first day I felt like everyone was talking about the week ahead everywhere I went. My old teammate at Notre Dame (I played softball in college) is now a teacher with Teach For America in St. Louis. She had her 11th Grade Current Events class read my first blog and discuss the Inauguration. She told me that she "was truly humbled and inspired by how motivated my students became during the last weeks of the election." She's asked me to answer their questions via email during my trip and I can't wait to share the experience with them. I also heard people discussing the Inauguration on the 93.3, 94.1 and 107.7 morning shows, standing in line at Chipolte on my lunch break, and at dinner with my friend Liz - who I haven't seen forever! We were catching up on the last several months and she was telling me about her mother, Kathleen, who lives in Portland. Kathleen is 80-something years young, and for the first time since 1951, registered as a Democrat just so she could vote for Barack Obama. When Barack won, she called Liz so she could "share the moment" with someone.

(Join hands and cue the "We Are The World" music here) At risk of being overly corny and sentimental - which very rarely happens with me so document it now and make fun of me about it over a glass of wine (on you, of course), because it's going to be awhile before this happens again - I have to say it's stories like Kathleen's and the kids in Ms. F's class that I want to remember years from now when I look back on this experience. They remind me that this moment in our Country's history transcends race, age, sex, class, and yes, even party affiliation. Even my friends and family who didn't vote for Obama in November admit to celebrating (some more than others) and appreciating the significance of Tuesday. In less than one week a man who won a Presidential election in the same state (VA) where it was illegal for his mother and father to marry at the time of his birth because they were of different races, will become our President. A woman who is only three generations removed from slavery, and who grew up in a one-bedroom apartment with a partition dividing the livingroom into her and her brother's "bedrooms", yet went on to graduate from Princeton with honors and Harvard Law School, will be our First Lady. Their life stories will be those that represent our country and its possibilities to the rest of our world and our children, and I can't help but be proud of that.

Okay, I'm done being obnoxiously corny now. I can't promise it won't happen again when I get to DC and caught up in the experience, but whatever. Deal with it. Besides, you know you've sat on the couch on a rainy Sunday and watched at least one Lifetime made-for-TV-movie that had scenes that made you feel like you were going to vomit rainbows and flowers while riding off into the sunset on a prancing unicorn... but you still watched it to the end anyway.

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January 13, 2009 12:04 PM

The not-so-fun details

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks

Today is the first day I'm starting to check into the not-so-fun details of the trip. Weather.com forecasts sun, but temperatures in the 30s. Any true Seattleite knows our kind doesn't function outside of the 40-85 degree Northwest window of comfort so I'm already starting to get mentally prepared for mayhem. I went to school at Notre Dame (in Indiana) so "Lake-Effect Snow" taught me all about shielding every inch of my body - including my eyes - during sub-Arctic temperatures. I developed a talent of walking in a straight line even though my eyes were completely covered under layers. I very rarely ran into things because my arms were permanently sticking straight out due to a couple of coats over a couple of sweatshirts over a couple of long sleeve shirts, so I'm hoping to resurrect this skill for next week.

Jennie (my friend I'm staying with) and I spent time today looking at a map and "strategerizing" (okay, that's the first and last time I'll poke fun at you-know-who) our possible routes for different events and days. We found out there's going to be an Inaugural Kickoff concert at the Lincoln Memorial and are hoping to get within audio range. WARNING: I'll do whatever I have to do to get close to a concert with Garth Brooks, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Sheryl Crow, Springsteen and Stevie Wonder, so if you hear about Secret Service fishing for what looks to be Jabba the Hutt fording the Potomac with an Ugg oar and arm floaties screaming "You're The Sunshine of MY Life Stevie! No Bono, YOU'RE The Sweetest Thing!" - no worries - it's just me and my 15 layers of clothing trying to get in a request. (Yes, it was tempting to throw out a Beyonce Bootylicious reference just then because she's right, I'm definitely NOT ready for that jelly - oh, and there it is).

I also met with my Little Brother Ja'Von today. We made a "Flat Ja'Von" (after "Flat Stanley") to travel with me on my trip. I had him pick his favorite landmarks out of a book and promised I would try to get pictures of each one. He made me write the list of his favorites on "Flat Ja'Von's" shirt so I wouldn't forget... smart guy - there are a lot! When I return, Ja'Von is going to help me present the story of my trip and pictures to his second grade class at Emerson Elementary School. He'll do great! Now I just have to get all those pictures...

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January 11, 2009 10:12 PM

The trip is a "gift to myself"

Posted by seattletimes.com staff

Submitted by Nicole Wicks

My travel plans are solidified and I'm officially off to DC in one week! Despite the endless warnings from everyone about how "over-crowded" the DC area will be and how "there's no way you'll get anywhere close to anything", my tickets are booked and I'm really excited to go! I think a small part of me is making this trip because such a journey makes me feel like I'm closer to 20 rather than 30... it's my mid, mid-life crisis. I figure it's cheaper and less painful than getting some form of plastic surgery...

It's hard to believe almost exactly a year ago at this time I had zero involvement in the political process. However between having friends in Iraq, a mother with a brain tumor who will lose her health care if anything happens to my father's job, and after being treated like crap on multiple trips overseas because I am American, I finally cared about an election. I decided since I was so unhappy with the way so many things were going in our country, I should do everything in my power to change it, or just shut up. The first step I took was doing my homework in January of last year. I really looked into the remaining three candidates and the more I educated myself, the more I realized Barack was without a doubt my guy. So much in fact, that by the end of the election I had given tons of hours canvasing, phonebanking, registering voters, recruiting and coordinating volunteers, and even traveled to Oregon to canvas prior to their Primary and to Spokane as a delegate for the 8th CD. The month leading into the election I helped a WA State Coordinated Campaign staff member with the Renton volunteer office everyday after work. By the time November 5th rolled around I was exhausted and ready to be done, but at the same time so thankful for all the great people I met along the way and of course, that all the hard work resulted in victory! I can now definitely say I've been involved in the political process.

Originally I never considered attending the Inauguration, but after a lot of thought I decided just before Christmas that this trip would be my gift to myself. I'm 26 years old and my generation has yet to have a big, historic, positive event to look back upon. September 11th is the only day during my lifetime where you can ask anyone "where were you when" ... and everyone can give you an answer. Although I didn't vote for Barack because his election would be historic, IT IS" and I want to be there to experience it! I want to document the experience for my future kids to look back upon and for my Little Brother Ja'Von (through Big Brothers Big Sisters), who one day informed me that Barack Obama is "awesooooooome" as we passed a McCain/Obama poster in the school hallway.

I'll be flying from Seattle to Philadelphia and then taking the Amtrak from Philly to DC on Sunday, January 18th. The train will drop me off a few blocks away from where I'm staying with my co-worker, Jennie (a DC local), who I can not thank enough for her hospitality! I don't have any definite plans because I want to see how difficult it's going to be to get around, but I don't plan on sleeping much. Sunday night I'm going out with Jennie and her friends which should be a good time because a lot of people will have MLK Day off of work, and those who don't probably won't be able to make it to work anyways due to the massive amounts of traffic expected. For Monday, also "National Day of Service", I'm looking into several different volunteer opportunities, including a clean-up project at DC Public Schools, serving food at an outdoor soup kitchen, and assembling care packages for troops overseas - whichever event is the easiest to get to will be the one I choose to attend, although I wish I could do them all. On Tuesday I plan on getting as close as I can to the action, and on Wednesday I plan on playing tourist. I just hope getting from place to place isn't as bad as I'm imagining, but I'm prepared for the worst.

I'll be leaving DC on Thursday the 22nd, going back through Philly on Amtrak and flying to Arizona to visit one of my best friends, Amy, her husband Barry, and their two daughters. I grew up with Amy in Renton and we went to the same schools from third grade through High School - she's family. Amy and Barry have both been to Iraq as Marines and are now both in the National Guard. Barry just found out he's getting redeployed to Iraq this year which will be a lot harder and completely different this time around, now that they have the girls. Amy, Barry, and my many other friends and family members in the military are such a huge part of why I became involved in this election, so I find it fitting that the last part of my trip will be with them. I will be returning to Seattle late Sunday, the 25th.

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Recent entries

Jan 21, 09 - 10:42 AM
Video dispatches from the inauguration

Jan 20, 09 - 04:44 AM
On the way

Jan 19, 09 - 05:47 PM
Packed subway in D.C.

Jan 19, 09 - 05:45 PM
Volunteer work

Jan 18, 09 - 10:21 PM
Travelling light, but always be electronically prepared

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