Benny's World

Friday, October 20, 2006

Hug and a Prayer for Jackie R

My fellow OAC blogger, Jackie R, is in the hospital. She is the most ardent and loyal JRE supporter who attends nearly every OAC related event. (photo recrop credit: OneVoice, but original photo is by Jackie R)

Here's the skinny as we know it about Jackie, as told by Nan on the OAC blog:

After Jackie left Elizabeth's [Edwards]book signing in Des Moines yesterday, October 18, she fell on the library stairs, fracturing her knee and her wrist. Jackie was taken by ambulance to the Lutheran Hospital in Des Moines where she will undergo surgery on her wrist next Tuesday. At this point, she, her family and physicians are discussing whether or not she will have surgery on her fractured knee.

Whatever the outcome of that decision, Jackie faces a long and protracted recovery period. As of this evening, her son Mike was at her home caring for Hotshot, her little dog who is her best buddy. In addition, Jackie has been providing after school care for her grandson, which she will be unable to do for an indefinte period of time until she is recovered enough to entertain a grade school boy.

One of Elizabeth's assistants had called Jackie a couple of days before to invite Jackie to help out with the event. I guess she wasn't given an exact time when to get there and her spot to hand out Elizabeth a book to sign was taken about other OAC volunteers, so perhaps she handed out literature of sorts. Not certain what happened there, but I do know he and the others who stayed with Elizabeth until nearly 6 that evening didn't know anything about Jackie's misfortune until Nan posted on the OAC blog. In a separate communication with me as I made an inquiry, he was kind enough to ask where Jackie was hospitalized.

In any event, it's been personally difficult for me because Jackie "adopted" me over 2 years ago, and most days I get e-mail from her. When I didn't hear from her on Wednesday night, I had a hunch something was wrong. The next day, I e-mailed Mardee to see if she had heard from her, and Mardee told me she had called her house at 7:30 Thur morning. No answer. Tried again a few times, left messages. No response. Finally, Mardee heard from Jackie's son, and the rest is posted by Nan.

Elizabeth is right when talking about online communities. They can be a source of strength in times of need. I am missing Jackie as I am so accustomed to hearing from her daily, always ending her messages with "hugs". To a certain extent, the Web community keeps my spirits buoyed a bit, knowing so many care for Jackie both at OAC and JREG.

Glad that JRE08 at the OAC blog, despite her feelings towards Jackie (she often attacked Jackie and others last year and earlier this year), was good enough to include Jackie in her diary plog of JRE and Elizabeth. But to clarify for JRE08, who said someone complained about no pics of Jackie at Elizabeth's signing, it was more that no one in a previous diary about the signing event mentioned they saw Jackie; it was not about pictures. Thus,
I find it interesting that other than JRE08 and Linda in Iowa, "Get well, Jackie" or "I'm sorry" for another fellow Iowan who is big time supporter.

The flower to the right, courtesy of e-reference, is Prairie Rose, State Flower of Iowa. Very much like Jackie, lovely and non-assuming.

Jackie deserves much respect. She's the salt of Dem Iowans. She is in my prayers.

Get well, girlfriend. Hugs.

Tags: Jackie R, Elizabeth Edwards, One America Committee, JREGrassroots, Benny's World

Sunday, October 15, 2006

EEBuzz (1): Convergence Edition


Welcome BW readers to the first edition of EEBuzz, which is news about Elizabeth Edwards as she travels the country with a book tour and speaking at other events.

Elizabeth was on Minnesota Public Radio this morning. This is a link to the page. Click on "Listen to Call-in Show"; requires Real Player to listen to the interview. It's great! (photo credit: Nancy Ostertag)

Is this not the look of a Future First Lady?

Elizabeth also gave a phone interview to Radio Iowa; here are couple of snips:
Edwards describes all the people she came in contact with, even those she's never met but who wished her well in a written note, as as "strands in the spider web" that held her up during her toughest times. "That silent support is surprisingly important in making us feel like we can beat whatever faces us," Edwards said.

Her husband was in Iowa this past weekend and John Edwards briefly offered his own perspective on what he called "the emotional experience" his wife went through in writing the book. "I watched her up close go through it, and it was quite something to watch," Edwards said. The former senator does not speak about his son on the campaign trail and declines to respond when people ask him questions about the loss. But Edwards often wears a lapel pin that was his son's.

Working our way back from the past week or so...

The pic to the left was taken yesterday by Sue Polinsky of Sue's Place (and of Techtriad) and one of the conveners of the Converge South conference in Greensboro. Sue was nice enough to find me a host, but the airfares were expensive. Alas, I am hearing about the conference on-line!

Elizabeth was a leader of a session on "Building Online Communities" then stayed for Robert & Maryam Scoble's session on"Ten Ways to a Killer Blog". BW readers may not know that I have a link to his blog, Scobleizer as I read his book, Naked Conversations, sometime ago, and realized this man really gets it about social media and how to leverage it for business. He, along with Elizabeth, were the two main reasons I wanted to attend the conference. Alas, I had to stay at home, but I am reading accounts of the conference and I'm savoring their memories online.

My favorite one by far is Phily Inquirer reporter Daniel Rubin, who has a blog called Blinq. His post was entitled Shrimp 'n' Grits. I think Rubin was as fascinated with Billy the Blogging Poet (a Tar-Heel Tavern blogger) as he was in meeting Elizabeth, but here's what he had to say about Elizabeth's talk:
It wasn't a political speech, though she got off one of the weekend's zingers. Talking about the FBI's pre-Sept. 11 fumbling she said, "If you have 15 watch lists and want one, give it to any PTA in the country."

She's an online veteran. When her son was nine, he got into AOL, early enough to claim the online handle HeelsFans. She listed the now-gone places they'd visit online -- Prodigy, DejaNews. "If you have any ailment, you can find a support group on the Internet," she said.

"When that son died, I found a support group. When I tried to have more children, I found a support group. I found one for breast cancer."

She was between an Oprah appearance and heading to the midwest to promote her book, Saving Graces. She said she decided to show - (and wound up staying for the late-morning session I helped with on Norgs) - "to be with people doing that things that I find interesting."

I had no doubt Elizabeth would be good with her word and be a real participant in the conference, and schedule her time where she didn't have to rush off. She also gave an interview to the Scobles that I hope will turn into a future podcast. The News-Record had this to say about her talk:
She is on a book tour, but she wasn't selling her book.

Her husband is a politician, but she wasn't campaigning.

Elizabeth Edwards led the opening session Saturday at ConvergeSouth because she said she wanted to share ideas about building online communities.

She became friends with prominent Greensboro blogger Ed Cone through an online community of UNC-Chapel Hill basketball fans and asked to be included in the event. "Actually, I wanted to come last year, but I was in the middle of therapy and stuff and I had no hair," Edwards said, referring to her breast cancer treatment.

Elizabeth had a pretty busy schedule last week on week 2.5 of the Saving Graces tour. Last Monday, she had two events: one at her beloved Carolina Law School, and one later at Quail Ridge Books, one of her favorite places to buy books, albeit she doesn't live in Raleigh anymore. A few OAC'ers, notably NC Dem and Bora (who was also at Converge South and was mentioned on Blinq) were there to listen to Elizabeth read a couple of passages, get some autographs, and watch other people's reactions. Here are the vlogs of the event by NC Dem:

Saving Graces Part 1

Saving Graces Part 2

I liked the reading about telling the hair dresser in Des Moines that she had cancer--before she told others because the hair dresser knew Elizabeth was upset about her hair do--and Elizabeth needed to communicate that normally she wouldn't react to it as she did.

Tuesday, Elizabeth was interviewed for the show, The Insider.

Going on Wednesday, Elizabeth stayed in North Carolina, going on to Charlotte to do a reading and signing there. Carolina Girl at the OAC blog gave an excellent account of the event here. Apparently, it was quite moving for the audience, and certainly this bit moved me when Carolina Girl wrote:

"As if Elizabeth hadn't already stolen every heart in the building, when one guest became overwhelmed with sadness, Elizabeth immediately walked around the table, took the woman in her arms and comforted her. She consoled the lady for a minute or two and asked the staff to assist her as Elizabeth continued with her duties. That kind of compassion is never forgotten. Another guest got a hug for a similar reason too."

(photo credits: Carolina Girl, OAC blogger)

I see that fellow Idea Consultants Iddybud and Anonymoses were there--and they were at Converge South too. What a boon! To meet JRE and see EAE (twice) in one week! (My note: I happen to know they were at the Kissell rally on Friday night). Thanks, Anonymoses for linking this post to your blog.

The Charlotte Observer also covered this event, along with News 14 in Charlotte. News 14 includes a interview with Elizabeth, again via Windows Media. She talks about making connections when Wade died, such as the mail delivery person, the man who mowed their lawn, people that were her safety nets in handling her grief. Cate was also a source of strength.

Elizabeth headed down to Atlanta, where she gave two readings and two talks. I found two quick interviews: one from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and on WXIA-TV. Requires Windows Media, and mine is on the blink, so I cannot tell you what it said, but click on the link and see if you can.

Upcoming Events

Tomorrow, Elizabeth will be at the Mall of America near the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, she is at the Barnes & Noble in Chicago. Alas, I cannot go, but counting on JREG blogger Judy K to go and give us a report.

Wednesday, she gives a reading at the West Des Moines Public Library (how appropriate as her mother was a librarian)

Two last tidbits...Saving Graces is #4 on the NYT bestsellers list for non-fiction.

And, Elizabeth blogged on Candy Sandwich blog...I don't think Kristin the blogger is aware that 4th commenter really is Elizabeth.

More buzz l8tr..

Tags: Elizabeth Edwards, Saving Graces, Benny's World, Converge South, Sue's Place, Scobleizer, One America Committee blog, Carolina Girl, NC Dem, Blog Around the Clock, Blinq, Candy Sandwich blog, interviews, anonymoses, Minnesota Public Radio