I could hear the rain brushing the screens of the windows by my bed as the clock radio began squawking at me at four in the morning. I lingered under the covers as a fuzzy version of NPR and the muffled precipitation seemed to converse with one another. Then, I rolled over, turned on the lamp, a dim light crawled out from under the lampshade to fill my half of the room, and I got out of bed.

“This is going to be a long day,” I thought. I put on a bright blue dress and red scarf, knowing I would not blend in with the black, gray, and beige crowd that populated the city for which I was destined. Despite the

ep on which I functioned, I felt surprisingly alert, and although fully aware of the intensity soon to envelope me, I felt upbeat. Pete drove me to the airport, and within minutes I was checked in and at Gate 24B with a Starbucks paper cup in hand, filled with sweet, hot liquid. It was a short flight to Washington DC from Columbus Ohio. Instead of napping, I decided I would read to pass the time. I had just finished The Celestine Prophecy at about 11pm the night before. It was the second time I read that book, with the first time being nearly 10 years ago but its effect on me just as powerful (and a perfectly timed reminder to try to keep my energy level lifted/positive as I began a challenging day). Since it was time to start a new book, I began reading Angela’s Ashes (a book I’ve wanted to read for a long time) on the one hour flight to our nation’s capital.