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Saturday, December 25, 2010

2010 Christmas Blog Post

Spencer is a sophomore this year, living off-campus near the University of Minnesota. He has exceeded expectations, taking Pre-Med classes, and made the Dean’s list twice last year. His girlfriend Emma is a freshman at St. Olaf, and is also studying Pre-Med. This summer, the three of us played tennis, and Emma joined us for our family dinner.

I’m so proud of Mom, who quit smoking after 63 years, albeit after a fall and nearly three weeks in transitional care in April. She’s on oxygen now, but still prepares family dinners, including Thanksgiving and part of tomorrow’s Christmas feast. Now if I could just get her to wear her trial hearing aids!

On April 11, we lost my Uncle Robert Cleland, who was an exemplary peace activist. In May, I attended his memorial service, where Aunt Jean and each of their six children spoke, each describing a different aspect of Uncle Bob’s story. All did well, and it was good to see everybody.

This year I had my first community garden plot, where I grew a Native American Three Sisters Garden consisting of corn, beans, and pumpkins. The squirrels ate half my corn, and I only got two pumpkins, but I got a lot of beans. I documented the heck out of it, posting pictures on Facebook, so now you all know what to do if you have to grow your own food. Actually, I haven’t eaten any of the food yet, but I did buy some similar pumpkins at the farmer’s market to make pumpkin bread for the feast tomorrow.

I went to the MN State Fair twice this year. The first time I ran in the 5K with my friend Wendy, her daughter, and her daughter’s boyfriend. The second time I went with my sister Janet and cousin Carolyn, who visited from Chicago.

At work, I made all my deliveries through the Nov. 13 snowstorm, but we were pulled off the street during the Dec. 11 blizzard. I felt fortunate for that. I also feel fortunate that I am not an “at-will” employee, and therefore feel much more at ease in exercising my right to free speech in my spare time.

Politically… In January I lost my seat on the 5CDGPSC, but that’s ok since I was burnt out after three terms. On March 3 I testified at the hearing on the reappointment of Mpls. Police Chief Dolan, and parts of my testimony were covered on TV and radio. On March 14 I was a DFL delegate to my local convention. I did it just so could quit, basically. And on October 2, I attended the One Nation March in Washington, D.C. with fellow activist D.J. Strohl. We left a carbon footprint, but at least we stood up to Glen Beck and the Republicans.

But my proudest accomplishment of 2010 was the work I did for the gubernatorial campaign of Farheen Hakeem and her running mate Dan Dittmann. First we needed to collect at least 2,000 signatures to get them on the ballot, of which I got 500. Then we needed to get our message out. We ran two radio ads. I paid for the first one, and helped write both of them. I also produced some YouTube videos to go with the ads. Farheen had some great appearances on TPT, MPR, and other media, and we had a presence at the tri-county fair in Owatonna, as well as other forums and events. And when Obama came to town for Dayton, I passed out my essay, “Mark Dayton is Too Conservative” to people standing in line.

In the end, we only got 0.29% of the vote, but it was enough to force the recount. Farheen also won the FairVote Ranked Poll. I think we did great for four people: Farheen, Dan, D.J., and myself, plus a few kids dropping literature. We’re up against some powerful forces.

Wishing everyone the best for all the assorted Holidays, and a Merry Christmas!

2009 Christmas Blog Post


At Tue Dec 28, 06:48:00 PM CST, Blogger Ann Pritchard said...

Tom, Thanks for the update on what is going on. Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Ann Pritchard

At Wed Dec 29, 04:47:00 PM CST, Blogger Tom Cleland said...

Thanks Ann, you too!


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