Friday, December 4, 2009

I just read an article about a movement to re-translate the Bible according to "proper Conservative values". Apparently, many conservatives believe that the Bible is too liberal, what with all the forgiveness and community organizing. I'm not kidding! One of their targets is the verse in Luke, "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do". Maybe I'm missing something, but I just don't see how this is remotely politicized.

I visited the site, Conservapedia, to learn more. Apparently, it's also a right-wing Wikipedia of sorts. I compared the Obama entry with the Palin entry, and it was disturbing. It's the same thing with Fox News (or any liberal blog, for that matter) - people are increasingly only getting their information from highly biased sources. Yes, it's comfortable and reassuring to hear news that agrees with your personal beliefs, but it removes any possibility of true debate. Terrifying.

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm moving to Canada. Or France.

Scary thought for the day - their votes count the same as yours. Seriously. Palin's supporters are voting for her with no concept of her policies (although she probably has no concept of her own policies).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Why the rage?

What is it about Sarah Palin that inspires such rage in otherwise rational women? I turn into a red-faced, expletive-spewing demon when confronted with her name, much less her hateful voice. I can't stand Ann Coulter or Bill O'Reilly or Glenn Beck, either, but they don't make me as insane as Palin does. Her politics are diametrically opposed to mine, but plenty of Republicans believe the same stuff. She's a working mother, which should be a good thing. She...see? I can't even think of anything else to say about her that might be remotely construed as positive! I'm filled with the urge to type HATEFUL LYING BITCH instead!

I think it's the fact that women are expected to support her just because she has a vagina. Or that she's incapable of telling the truth or taking responsibility for anything. Or the fact that she's woefully uneducated or intellectually incurious. I don't think she's full-on stupid; in fact, she shows a malicious streak of wily manipulation. I think she's just completely uninterested in learning anything. Her education record tells quite a story - 5 colleges?? Really? Introspection is beyond her. In-depth analysis? Forget it. Her specialty is knee-jerk reactionism. She defines demagoguery in the worst sense.

When did it become a negative for a presidential candidate to be intelligent? When did "being one of the people" become the most important quality for the leader of the free world? I don't want my president to be "just another hockey mom", I want them to be smarter than me!

I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.

Please, Sarah Palin - go away. Stay away. And leave the governing to responsible adults.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Going Rogue (aka Lies, Untruths, and Misrepresentations)

FACT CHECK: Palin's Book Goes Rogue on Some Facts

Published: November 13, 2009
Filed at 9:10 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sarah Palin's new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven't become any truer over time.

Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush -- a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in ''Going Rogue,'' obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:


PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking ''only'' for reasonably priced rooms and not ''often'' going for the ''high-end, robe-and-slippers'' hotels.

THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City's Central Park for a five-hour women's leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children's travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.


PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC.

Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees.

She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife in the weeks after the two Republican lawmakers' offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oilfield services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she said she would give a comparative sum to charity after the general election in 2010, a date set by state election laws.

PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, ''you'll have to be brave enough to fail.''

THE FACTS: Palin is blurring the lines between Obama's stimulus plan -- a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts -- and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.

Palin's views on bailouts appeared to evolve as McCain's vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said ''taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street.'' A week later, she said ''ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.''

During the vice presidential debate in October, Palin praised McCain for being ''instrumental in bringing folks together'' to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said ''it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in.''


PALIN: Says Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession than the one that appears to be ending now, and ''showed us how to get out of one. If you want real job growth, cut capital gains taxes and slay the death tax once and for all.''

THE FACTS: The estate tax, which some call the death tax, was not repealed under Reagan and capital gains taxes are lower now than when Reagan was president.

Economists overwhelmingly say the current recession is far worse. The recession Reagan faced lasted for 16 months; this one is in its 23rd month. The recession of the early 1980s did not have a financial meltdown. Unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent, worse than the October 2009 high of 10.2 percent, but the jobless rate is still expected to climb.


PALIN: She says her team overseeing the development of a natural gas pipeline set up an open, competitive bidding process that allowed any company to compete for the right to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48.

THE FACTS: Palin characterized the pipeline deal the same way before an AP investigation found her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited a company with ties to her administration, TransCanada Corp. Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders during the process, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Family!

Finley, sleeping on his sofa
Johnny Cash, looking sleepy (for a change)David with the puppies
Bella and her beloved stuffed animal, Baby
Bella wearing her Halloween collar


I can't decide what I want to be for Halloween.

I love Halloween - maybe it's my theater background, maybe it's the overall atmosphere. Who knows? Whatever the reason, I'm soooo excited about Halloween at our new house. We live in a neighborhood with tons of kids and I hope we'll have tons of trick-or-treaters.

It's such a great holiday. Everyone gets to dress up, there's no pressure to buy anybody presents, and entire neighborhoods get together to celebrate. What's not to love??

I've never bought into the whole drunken slutty Halloween stuff. Halloween is for kids and families, but I guess if I was 20 years old, I'd be interested in dressing up as a slutty whatever.

Maybe I'll put on a witch's hat. I'm going to borrow a friend's 5 year 0ld to help me shop for decorations and a costume. It should be a fantastically fun time!

JFK Week

Okay, I admit it - I'm a total and complete History Channel nut. I've been watching all week (JFK week), and wish that I had majored in history or gotten a law degree.

(Seriously, how fascinating would a law degree be?? I have no desire to actually be an attorney, but would love the process of law school)

Anyway. It's amazing how much history our country has had in such a short period of time. Kennedy was assassinated a mere 50 years ago! I wonder what high schoolers are taught today. Did you know that there are 2 existing government documents discussing the assassination? And they totally contradict one another? And that the percentage of people who believe in a conspiracy (70%) has remained the same?

I have no idea who actually killed JFK, but I believe the government knows. And I believe that we'll never know exactly what happened. It's probably in some secret file somewhere in J. Edgar Hoover's files.

So interesting. He was obviously shot from the front and the back, meaning from the depository and the grassy knoll. Anyone got any great theories?

A new direction

So...I got into grad school! I'm trying hard to be excited, but it's kind of hard. I already got into Emory's business school, which was tougher than Queens - so there's a part of me that feels that I shouldn't brag about this. But this is actually a program that fascinates me. I want to get this degree not as "the next step", but as a something that I really want to learn and focus on.

I'd love to get my PhD, but it sounds scary. Believe it or not, but I actually dislike writing. I do it here for practice, but I'd MUCH rather give a speech. I have no fear whatsoever of public speaking, which is odd considering I'm terrified of people reading my writing. This new masters program is very writing intensive.

What if I'm no good at this program? I'd love to be an MBA professor, but what if I'm a terrible teacher?

Ugh. The what-ifs are my personal demon. I'm so jealous of those who float through life, confident and self-assured.

One day at a time, right? I'll say one thing - I'm thrilled to have something to do. All these months of sitting around, watching tv and doing laundry - I can't wait to have a purpose.

Wish me luck...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Grad School Personal Statement

Okay, I'm sending this out today, so make any comments ASAP!

The path leading to this program has not been easy or direct for me. I have spent the past decade working in so-called “good” jobs, yet never quite achieving any sense of career fulfillment. My nine years in finance, while satisfying on an purely intellectual level, was neither engaging nor rewarding on a personal level. After much research, I feel that the Masters program in Organizational Communication is a perfect fit for my interests, skills, and future goals.

People have always asked me how a French major ended up working in investment banking. It’s an excellent question, and one that I have asked myself many times over the past 9 years. I accepted the job because I am innately curious, and I knew it would challenge and educate me. Was it an area in which I had any actual interest? No, but I learned something new every day those first few years. I loved interacting with intelligent people, loved dealing with clients, and loved observing the internal structure (and power plays) at a big corporation. Over time, I began to realize that I had absorbed the jargon and the basic routine. The learning curve flattened, and the things that attracted me to the industry no longer existed.

I decided to pursue an MBA, with the goal of changing careers. I chose Emory University due to its strong Organization and Management department, including mandatory communication, leadership, and ethics courses. At the beginning, I was particularly interested in the field of human resource consulting, which addresses corporate issues such as employee identification and motivation, internal communication, and leadership styles. I was fascinated by these topics, and selected a course of study accordingly. However, the more time that I spent in class convinced me that I could make more of an impact by teaching at a business school, rather than working as an outside consultant. I saw many students graduate with great statistics skills and no ability to actually communicate or lead in a corporate setting. Many students laughed off the mandatory communication classes, considering them nothing more than “soft skills” or “girl classes”. I perceived the classes in the opposite manner. Having worked in investment banking, I was fully aware that finance can be taught; yet, these so-called “soft skills” were often completely missing in many otherwise top performers. Without these abilities, it is very difficult for anyone to be truly successful on a long-term basis in a leadership position, regardless of how talented he or she may be at statistics.

After much debate, I made the difficult decision to leave the MBA program in order to pursue a more specific course of study. I wanted to focus on the psychology of business interactions. Why do people interact the way they do? How do outside forces shape internal interactions? Can we affect the way people think and act within a business without outright manipulation? The term manipulation is pejorative, but what is its realistic place in corporate communications? The list goes on and on, and I knew that the strict MBA program was not going to allow me to delve deeply into these topics.

I researched several communications programs, but was drawn to Queens University for a number of reasons. The University’s close ties with the business community are very appealing because they ground the program in an applicable, practice-based course of study. I also like the idea of a young program, adapting and growing with the shifts in communication today. Finally, I appreciate the interaction with the business school, as that is my particular interest.

I believe I would be an excellent fit with the program. I am intellectually curious and driven by a personal passion for the subject. I also look forward to conducting dedicated research studies, as I have never had that experience. This program will also allow me to pursue my future goal of teaching. I plan to study for my PhD after completing this degree, and I am particularly interested in the Organizational Science program offered at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It has a similar real-world focus as the Queens program and would allow me to teach at the graduate level, preferably in an MBA program. I also believe the Masters in Communications would prepare me to perform outside consulting work in the business community, specifically in investor relations. This would be an excellent blend of my work experience in finance with the advanced skills and focus of the masters program.

The program combines my passion for learning with my passion for the subject matter; my innate skills with my capacity to learn. I look forward to beginning the next part of my professional life, and I believe the Masters in Communications from Queens University is the first step.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It

I'm reading a beautiful book of short stories by Maile Meloy called "Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It". The stories are perfect snapshots of ordinary lives, capturing the melancholy and joy and stillness of everyday life. I would highly recommend it to anyone.

I bought the book on my Kindle, but I'm going to buy a hard copy of it as well. This is a book I will definitely read again.

Crazy Liberal Nazi Democrats

I've had it with the town hall crazies - absolutely and totally fed up with the inane, hateful, and uneducated vitriol being spewed from hateful, uneducated people. The biggest example is the "Nazi" comparison. Do these people know anything about history? It's unbelievably dangerous to compare healthcare reform to the Nazi platform. In doing so, it diminishes the historical impact of Hitler and makes him just another politician with whom people disagreed.

We can't allow "Nazi" to be used as just another insult. Comparing Obama to Hitler is also equally unacceptable.

Wanting to provide decent healthcare to all people is not the same thing as Mein Kampf. Please, people - let's get back to a civil and reasonable discourse.

When I Grow Up...Part 2

So I think I've worked out a tentative plan. I'm so fascinated by the Organizational Communications masters program, but I don't think I'm ready to start classes on Sept. 8. Instead, I've applied for a part-time job at the vet as a client service associate (cross your fingers), with the goal of starting grad school (again) in January. This program would give me the opportunity to eventually get my PhD, teach, or consult with companies. I'd LOVE to work on a political campaign - this would definitely open some doors.

But I'm a little nervous about starting a new program. After all, I never finished the first one. What if I decide that I don't like this course of study? What if I'm no good at it? What if I don't get along with my fellow students? And so on and so on.

This is a huge change from my previous life and career, and I know that any change is scary. I stayed in finance for so long not because I liked it, but because the status quo is pretty comfortable. I could easily go find a job in finance again, make good money, wear all those suits hanging in my closet...and continue to feel stuck.

Deep breath. Has anyone else made a big change like this?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Racism Today

I watched a terrifying special about the Ku Klux Klan on the History Channel recently. Having grown up in Birmingham, Alabama, I'm very familiar with the history of this particular brand of virulent racism. Every child has to study civil rights in depth in elementary school, and my mother told me all about her experiences growing up during that era. Birmingham is actually a very integrated city now (much more than Charlotte) - perhaps due to the fact that the city has made a very concerted effort to not sweep its history under the rug. Race is openly discussed, which I think is a much healthier way to deal with the issue. I loved living in Atlanta because it was such a fabulously diverse environment; Charlotte is an entirely different situation, which is disheartening.

Anyway, my point is that I grew up with an understanding and very real fear of the Ku Klux Klan. My mother's high school was one of the first schools in Birmingham to be integrated, which incurred the wrath of the Klan. They marched on the school, and my mother's description of the event still sends chills up my spine.

The television special focused on the history of the Klan, but also discussed its current incarnations. Contrary to popular belief, the Klan has not faded away into obscurity, but has experienced a surge of popularity in the past few years. Unfortunately, Barack Obama's election has provided bigots and racists with ample motivation. It was terrifying to watch video of recent Klan rallies (complete with children and infants in hoods) rail against the President.

While we've made unbelievable progress in terms of race relations over the past 40ish years, it's not enough. And as long as there are young children being indoctrinated into this belief system, it's not going away any time soon.

I think all school children should be required to watch "Mississippi Burning". It's such a powerful movie - and even more so when you consider that those feelings still exist in our country today.

Friday, July 24, 2009


This video completely negates the scary "birther" video that I posted earlier. How fantastic to find a couple that decided to make their wedding fun and celebratory, instead of formal and conventional?? You can't help but smile.

I walked down the aisle to David's brother playing "Here Comes the Sun" on the piano, and our hymn was "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds. At the time, I was pretty happy with our little tweak on convention, but now I'm bummed I didn't dance!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

When I Grow Up...

I have absolutely no idea what I want to do. See, some people know exactly what they want to be (i.e., David loves arguing and therefore loves being a lawyer). Others have such a dominant skill or interest that it makes the eventual decision easier. Me? I change my mind every month.

I'm very good at finance and business, which is why I've been doing it for 9 years. I enjoy the office environment and culture, but I can't stand finance itself. I hate math. Yet somehow I got started down this path and got trapped - the money had a lot to do with this. Now I have the opportunity to not stay in finance, and I can't decide which option to take.

I've thought a lot about teaching elementary level French, which would require a teaching certificate. I love languages, but I'm not certain if I would enjoy spending all day in the classroom without adult interaction.

I could go back to work at Merrill Lynch in another capacity - operations or management, perhaps. Maybe I should find a way to finish my MBA.

Or I could pursue an MA in strategic communications. This is the program that interests me the most, and these were my favorite classes at Emory. Negotiations, crisis management, gender communications, group dynamics - absolutely fascinating. I even wrote an entry for a business encyclopedia on persuasion, which was super cool. I'd love to teach at a graduate level, even pursue a PhD. The question is, how do I pay for this? And what do I do in the meantime? I'll be paying my business school loans for years to come, and I hate to add to them.

Of course, every time I watch an action movie, I tell David that I'm going to be a hostage negotiator or spy or FBI agent.

Suggestions are VERY welcome!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Old Lady Fashion Crimes

Clearly, I am completely inappropriate at the ancient age of 30. I wear high heels, t-shirts with print on them, mini skirts, and the occasional low cut shirt, among other crimes. On behalf of my aged self, I apologize for offending the delicate fashion sensibilities of this author.

Seriously, isn't it time we got rid of these old-fashioned views on age and fashion? I love seeing an older woman rocking some of these so-called crimes. I really think it's about personal style and confidence, rather than rules. Personally, I feel as if I've developed so much more of a individual style as I've gotten older, rather than just following the trends.

Plus, stiletto heels totally rock.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Yay 30!

I've decided that I really like being 30. My twenties were fairly (or extremely) turbulent, and I just feel as if I've been given a fresh start with a new decade. It cracks me up that teenagers now consider me old!

I feel more confident in my body and less concerned with what other people are thinking. I'm more comfortable expressing my opinion (David might say too comfortable!), and I'm just happier.

I'm looking forward to turning 31 :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Marriage for Dummies

I got this hysterical magazine in the mail yesterday, and it made my day. Apparently, they send it to anyone who's created a wedding registry recently, and it's full of "helpful" tips on marriage. Let me tell you, I would never, ever get married (much less twice) if I had read this first!

It must be written for a younger audience, or at least I hope so. My personal favorite article was the "Are you in sync sexually?". The first question was "Do you feel like you're doing it often enough". Okay, fair question, I guess. Then I read the answers. First choice - "Nope, we used to do it a lot more before we got married." Second choice - "Yep, I'm just not in the mood very often. It's more of a special occasion thing now". WHAT?? Those are the only choices? Have the authors completely bought into the myth of sex dying out as soon as you get married? Or do the readers really feel this way? Other questions talk about variety in the bedroom, foreplay, and sex toys - and the responses are all along the same lines. There is clearly a female and male answer to each question, in which the wife isn't supposed to be interested in sex at all and the husband can't get enough and is dissatisfied with the amount he's getting. (Don't even get me started on the juvenile terms the author uses in the article.)

The entire magazine is incredibly divided into stereotypical gender roles. There's even a oh-so-helpful diagram explaining how "boys" and "girls" react differently in arguments.

David's favorite part was the cartoon on the last page, which explains that staying out until 3:00 am, not calling, and coming home drunk makes the womenfolk crazy. It points out that calling at midnight gets you out of the doghouse, while still letting you get drunk with the boys. Gee, thanks for the tip!

I can't decide whether to get angry or just roll my eyes at this entire publication. I think it's just kind of scary that people get married without talking through these things (and again, I speak from experience).

Incredible Book

I've been staying up way too late at night reading "Guests of the Ayatollah", by Mark Bowden. Now, at first glance, a 700 page analysis of the 1979 Iranian hostage situation might seem a bit dry - but it is absolutely fascinating. Bowden also wrote "Black Hawk Down", and he brings the same suspenseful, tight writing style to this book. It's also particularly informing in light of the current political climate in Iran.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Wee Bit of Self Pity

I normally try to think positive and not bitch too much about my situation, but I'm just so frustrated today. David and I are in the mountains for the long weekend, but I'm stuck on the sofa. My parents and David are all out playing golf, it's a gorgeous day outside, the dogs are dying to go hiking - meanwhile, it took all of my energy to change out of my pjs. I'm so sick of this shit. I know it's much better than it was. I have more good days than bad, but the bad days still kick my ass. At least I had my first real meal in 36 hours and I'm not overly nauseous.

People always say that I look healthy when they see me out - I never point out that I don't leave the sofa when I'm sick. I don't like to see people when I feel terrible, which probably makes it easy for people to forget that I'm still not 100% better.

Whine, whine, whine. Sorry.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Mayo Clinic

Huh, I realized that I never mentioned my time at the Mayo Clinic or my final diagnosis. I spent 2 weeks there seeing every specialist possible (I was a bit of a mystery), and having every possible disease tossed about. At various times, the doctors speculated that I had ovarian cancer, MS, lupus, Parkinson's Disease, ALS, lymphoma, etc. I had 28 vials of blood taken over 2 days. I had 2 MRIs and 2 ultrasounds. I had a nerve conduction test. I had an EEG, an EMG, and an EKG. Oh, and did I mention that my mom, David, and I were all confined to a small suite for the 2 weeks?

Finally, the lead doctor on my case (who used a cane just like House) determined I have something called myalgic encephalomyelitis, which is a post-viral syndrome. Basically, my body and brain just went haywire after being so sick. My immune system is fighting itself, which is what caused all the crazy blood work results (which mimicked cancer) and the strange neurological symptoms. It's sometimes associated with or misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. I've been on a low dose of antibiotics for a while, and they're going to continue to monitor my fever and blood counts over the next 6 months to a year. But the really good news is that it will eventually get better on its own.

I have good days and bad days. I can drive short distances. I feel significantly better than I did 6 months ago. That being said, it's still unbelievably frustrating to not be back to normal - patience is not my strong suit.

David pointed out just last night that, while I'm still physically unwell, I'm the healthiest I've ever been mentally. Who knew? Dropping out of the rat race has been a blessing. I just have to remind myself of that on a daily basis.

Vanity Fair and Sarah Palin

It's no secret that I loathe Sarah Palin. So when Vanity Fair came out with a lengthy article addressing her bizarre rise to power, I eagerly read every word. The article was just as juicy as I had hoped. Of course, I wasn't remotely surprised by the accusations of her chronic lying and narcissism, but some of the anonymous quotes by McCain staffers were definitely interesting. New York Magazine had a nice summary list of the top points. Enjoy...

10. Palin Doesn't Have Alaska's Best Interests at Heart: Palin's initial refusal to accept a third of the federal stimulus money offered to Alaska during a budget deficit "seemed calculated to burnish her national conservative credentials." After a "bipartisan outcry," Palin decided to take "all but about 3 percent of the $900 million available to Alaska. The consensus even among the Republicans I spoke to was that she rejected the last $28 million — for energy assistance — mostly to save face."

9. Palin Makes Questionable Personnel Decisions: Being an old friend of Palin's paid off once she became governor, because she'd probably give you a job on the basis of that friendship. One "became director of the state Division of Agriculture, citing a childhood love of cows as one qualification." Palin also has the distinction of nominating the only Cabinet nominee in Alaska's history to be rejected — would-be attorney general Wayne Anthony Ross, who referred to gays as "degenerates" and "drives a big red Hummer with the vanity license plate WAR."

8. Palin Is Not a Good Studier: We never did find out why exactly Palin switched colleges six times in six years, but perhaps her difficulty preparing for interviews and debates holds a clue. During a preparatory session before the run-up to the vice-presidential debate, Palin "just stared down, disengaged, non-participatory." Back during the prep for an Alaskan gubernatorial debate, Palin aide Curtis Smith reportedly told his business partner, "The debate prep’s going horribly. Every time we try to help her with an answer, she just gets mad."

7. Palin Is Not a Team Player: After she expressed concern about her standing back in Alaska, McCain's chief strategist Steve Schmidt "agreed to conduct a onetime poll of 300 Alaska voters. It would prove to Palin, Schmidt thought, that everything was all right." But after the collapse of the national economy and McCain's "suspension," Schmidt "scrapped the Alaska poll and urgently set out to survey voters’ views of the economy (and of McCain’s response to it) in competitive states. Palin was furious. She was convinced that Schmidt had lied to her, a belief she conveyed to anyone who would listen." In another instance, near the end of the campaign, "Todd was calling around to Republicans in South Carolina, urging them to keep his wife in mind for 2012 — the implication being that the Palins believed McCain was about to lose."

6. Palin Uses People: During her campaign for governor, Palin "won the crucial support" of two-time former Alaska governor Walter Hickel "in part by supporting one of his longtime hobbyhorses, an 'all-Alaska' natural-gas pipeline that would pump gas to the port of Valdez for export worldwide. As the campaign wore on, Palin backed away from that idea. 'I helped her out, she got elected,' Hickel says now. 'She never called me once in her life after that.'"

5. Palin Writes Creepy E-mails: "When Trig was born, Palin wrote an e-mail letter to friends and relatives, describing the belated news of her pregnancy and detailing Trig’s condition; she wrote the e-mail not in her own name but in God’s, and signed it 'Trig’s Creator, Your Heavenly Father.'"

4. Palin Has Mentally Scarred McCain Campaign Aides: Eight months after the election, some members of Team McCain are still haunted by their experience with Palin.

"[T]he senior members of McCain’s campaign team have undergone a painful odyssey of their own. In recent rounds of long conversations, most made it clear that they suffer a kind of survivor’s guilt: they can’t quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be. They quietly ponder the nightmare they lived through."

3. Palin Is Vindictive: As governor, she fired her legislative liaison John Bitney after he fell in love with the wife of her best friend. In the infamous Troopergate scandal, she fired Walt Monegan, the head the state’s Department of Public Safety, after he refused to fire "a state trooper who had been involved in a messy divorce from Palin’s sister Molly."

2. Palin Is Full of Herself: Almost unbelievably, Purdum writes that several Alaskans told him, "independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of 'narcissistic personality disorder' in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — 'a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy' — and thought it fit her perfectly."

1. Palin Is a Compulsive Liar: During the campaign, Andrew Sullivan painstakingly chronicled Palin's tendency to tell "odd lies." Here's another example:

"At one point, trying out a debating point that she believed showed she could empathize with uninsured Americans, Palin told McCain aides that she and Todd in the early years of their marriage had been unable to afford health insurance of any kind .... Checking with Todd Palin himself revealed that, no, they had had catastrophic coverage all along. She insisted that catastrophic insurance didn’t really count and need not be revealed."

And another from Lydia Green, president of the State Senate:

"And she comes on TV and says, ‘I want to once again confirm that neither I nor my staff ever holds closed-door meetings.’ Well, we had just been in a closed-door meeting for an hour and a half!”

And another:

"Palin’s old nemesis, the Alaska Republican Party chair Randy Ruedrich, called on Stevens’s Democratic successor, Mark Begich, who had defeated Stevens just days after the original conviction last fall, to step down and allow a new election. Palin told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in an e-mail, “I absolutely agree.” Days later, at a news conference, Palin insisted she had never called on Begich to step down."

On the other hand, Purdum does concede that Palin is "by far the best-looking woman ever to rise to such heights in national politics." So, she's got that going for her.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Dad in Chief

This is the cutest thing ever. Apparently, the Obamas' turned the traditional congressional picnic into a luau. They even had a dunk tank - and Rahm Emmanuel participated!

Love our president :)


(Just to clarify, I'm not outside my house wearing a white glove and sobbing. I love MJ's music, that's all.)


King of Pop

Last week, I was unpacking boxes and came across an old Jackson 5 CD and my Thriller CD. I promptly put both in my car and have been listening to them on repeat all week. I had forgotten what an incredible album Thriller was - every song on it is a classic. And the Jackson 5? Just try listening to any of their songs and not dance.

He was, quite simply, a one-of-a-kind talent. I was so upset to hear the news last night, especially after listening to the music last week. All of his talent and accomplishments have been completely overshadowed in the past 15 years by the tabloid craziness. Was he a deeply flawed individual? Absolutely. Was it entirely his fault? Absolutely not.

David and I had a long talk recently about Mike Tyson, another tragic figure with one extraordinary talent. Tyson has a very limited intellect and was used by a long string of managers to make money. Of course, that doesn't excuse his behavior, but it does explain it. They raised him to do nothing but fight, but acted surprised when he fought outside the ring. His "handlers" took advantage of him and stole every chance he had for a normal life.

Michael Jackson started performing professionally at age 6. He was the family breadwinner before he started 2nd grade. He never had anything close to a childhood. His parents exploited him and his managers used him. Once he reached adulthood, he became the biggest celebrity in the world, with no access to any semblance of normality. I know I should condemn him for the child molestation, and I do - but I also feel so much pity for him.

He had a tape in the 80s that was a sort of long form music video (it involved gangsters, I think?). My brother and I watched it on repeat for years. I was an enormous fan. Still am.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Is it wrong that I'm enjoying this Mark Sanford scandal so much? I already thought he was an ass for his behavior regarding the stimulus package, but this story just brings me such glee.

I wonder if he believes gay marriage destroyed his "opposite marriage"...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Ugh. When I recommended "Lost in the Meritocracy" last week, I must have been insane. I haven't been this angry about a book since "Life of Pi" (or maybe "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night"). My biggest pet peeve is authors who write books with the audience - or more specific, the future critics - in mind. The topic of the book was promising, and I was very intrigued by the description. However, it quickly devolved into a self-congratulatory mess.

I just HATE when authors attempt to pander and write something with the goal of getting their books on the bestseller list, or on Oprah's book list. The subtext on every page was "smirk - I'm so smart", "smirk - the critics will eat this up", "smirk - this is going to sound so deep".

I couldn't even finish it, which is so rare for me. It just made me so angry - David actually had to ask me to stop reading it at night, because I kept yelling at the book.

It's a toss-up on least favorite book ever. "Life of Pi" was so awful and manipulative, but the author is so despicable in this memoir.

I have to cleanse my "palate" now with a bunch of trashy mysteries now.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The World's Worst Commercial

If I see the local Kia ad one more time, my brain might explode. I think they're trying to appeal to the Southern, good ole boy customer, but it ends up sounding nuts.

"Kia of GAAAAAAStonia and Kia of MOOOOOONroe!"

Anyone else see these ads??

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Also, this?

Is batshit crazy.


I don't know about anyone else, but I'm obsessed with the situation in Iran. I'm in awe of the protesters - at one point, the line of marchers stretched over 5 miles long! Despite having to cover their faces in fear of violent reprisal, people are standing up for what they believe. When Ahmedinejad was first elected, it was during a period of relative stability in Iran. While many outside journalists expected a more reformist candidate to be elected, there was not a huge wave of public activism and a low voter turnout. Apparently, Iranians have had enough of his poisonous and isolating policies, and I'm thrilled to see it.

I'd highly recommend "Honeymoon in Tehran", by Azadeh Moaveni, for anyone who'd like to learn more. For an older perspective, "Not Without My Daughter" is a classic. It's a more negative portrayal of the country directly after the Revolution, but still an eye-opening read.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


I'm all for safety, but this new stop sign in my yard is really bugging me. Our street isn't busy or a cut-through, and there are stop signs at both the block before and after us. It just seems like overkill - not to mention the litter that gets thrown in my yard or the fact that we can't park on the street anymore. Grrr.

On a good note, I just finished a great book. It's a paperback thriller called "The Prodigal Spy" - perfect summer reading, all about McCarthyism and Vietnam. (Of course, I promptly lost my copy, so I can't tell you who the author is).

I also just started another interesting book, called "Lost in the Meritocracy", by Walter Kirn. It's a memoir about higher education in the U.S. now. I think anyone who's graduated from college in the last 10 - 15 years will find a lot of his story familiar - I know I did. We spend so much time studying and prepping for the next step, trying to win - get the best grades, the best SAT scores, the best GPA, land the best job out of school. The question is whether actual learning is being lost.

It was definitely a tough transition for me. I worked my ass off to get the most prestigious job, then realized after a year that investment banking was not for me. (This shouldn't have been a shock, considering I was a French major and spent all my time in the theater department.)

And finally, I discovered a website that lets you create your very own jigsaw puzzles out of photos! How nerdy and awesome. I love puzzles :)

Sunday, June 14, 2009


We had a wonderful dinner tonight with some good friends of ours. They have 2 kids, which is pretty typical of our friends here in Charlotte. Their kids are adorable - well behaved and cute. Yet...David and I just aren't interested in having our own kids. We love seeing all of our friends' kids, but actually having a kid at home with us - that gives us a bit of hesitation.

I understand that saying this opens us up to a lot of criticism. Couples who decide to remain childless have to answer a number of tough questions. At this point, we prefer to mentor and help kids who already have parents, but who are in need of help. The money we would spend on private school tuition, weddings, and college, could be directed to agencies in desperate need of help.

So I expect that we will hear all sorts of responses explaining that we'll "never feel full love" without kids, or that we'll never be fulfilled without kids.

I love kids, as does David. I also love and adore my husband, and I'm unwilling to mess with that dynamic.

Of course, we could change our minds. But right now, this is something we're seriously considering.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Tudors

Watching the Tudors, which I absolutely love. Anne Boleyn was such a strong female, who, without a doubt, changed the course of history.

I don't remember learning anything about her in history class - she was 2nd in the long list of wives. I certainly never learned about her importance in the Reformation.

To all you history buffs out there, I highly recommend watching the Tudors. It seems to be fairly accurate (with the exception of the king's appearance, but I guess Hollywood standards win).

Friday, June 12, 2009


I secretly love Kelly Clarkson. I'm supposed to be too old, but her music is just so much fun. Plus, you know, she can actually sing.

And I HATE American Idol, so there.

Anyone who says they don't have guilty pleasures is so full of shit. I mean, I love to read literary classics and watch serious documentaries, but I also love trashy paperbacks and reality TV. I just think it's so funny when people claim to be "above" contemporary culture.

Busy 3 Months

Considering the last post was about my health, I figure that an update is probably in order. Here's the short version:
Got married in February. It was perfect - tiny, low key, no frills. I loved my dress, despite the fact that I swore I wouldn't wear white at my second wedding. Oh, well.

We went to Asheville for our honeymoon, which was amazing. To anyone who thinks that a big fancy beach vacation is necessary for a honeymoon, I strongly suggest a relaxing week someplace low key. (Apparently, low key is my new motto).

Then we bought a house. It was kind of a whim, actually. I was bored to tears being stuck in the house, unable to drive. It hit me - real estate agents drive you around! So I found a house online and called a random realtor to take me on a field trip. Long story short, we loved the house, made an offer the next day, sold our house 2 days later to the seller of the new house, and were under contract in 6 days.

Since we're living in some sort of hysterical universe, the house then caught on fire. Seriously. While we were signing the contract, I smelled smoke (David told me I was crazy). The next thing we knew, 6 firetrucks pulled up outside. Apparently, our fireplace and chimney were ON FIRE while we signed the papers to buy the house. It all turned out okay, but it did delay our closing a bit.

Starting Over

So...I have a weird conviction and paranoia that everyone hates me and no one could possibly be interested in what I have to say, which is why I stopped blogging.

But I think that's a wee bit crazy. The thing is, I really love writing and this is a great outlet.

So here goes :)

Friday, January 30, 2009

My Brain

So the big circle thing is a cyst in the middle of my brain. A little terrifying, right?
The good news is that it's benign. The bad news is that it has to come out at some point. The doctor assured me that my brain won't "explode" before the wedding, and he's put me on some new meds to control the symptoms. Cross your fingers.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Ugh, my head itches like crazy. I spent an hour lying on a table with a woman attaching wires to my head, which was fairly surreal. First, she marked all these spots on my head with a marker. Then she had to scrub every spot with alcohol and some kind of really cold prep scrub. Each node was attached with glue, then bundled up in a little white skull cap. She wrapped all the wires into a "tail" and attached them to my portable monitor. Very strange.

David's going to take some pictures later - not my best look!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brain Stuff

Tomorrow is my ambulatory EEG, which means the neurologist is going to attach a bunch of wires to my head. I get to wear a recording device attached to my waist for 24 hours to record all of my brain activity.

I'm in denial about the entire neurology issue. They found a cyst in my brain in Hilton Head, but no one ever followed up on it or told me anything else about it. I just figured it wasn't important. Once I saw the immunologist here, he quickly realized that a fair amount of my symptoms were neurological in nature and sent me for a consult.

The neurologist discovered that I have limited sensation and reflexes on my left side, which wasn't a huge surprise. I've had numbness and tingling in my left arm for a few years now, and the headaches are all on the left side. David was very entertained by one of the doctor's tests - he had me stand up with my feet together and close my eyes. I promptly fell over. Whoops.

The MRI, MRA, and contrast dye imaging showed that I have a 2cm (like a gumball) cyst on my pineal gland, at the base of my brain stem. These can be asymptomatic, but mine is 4 times the size of a "normal" cyst. That, combined with my other symptoms, means a consult with the neurosurgeon.

I'll know more after the EEG tomorrow, but it's such an awful waiting game. I'm supposed to go on my honeymoon in 5 weeks! Am I having brain surgery? I have no idea. Even if they want to operate, it may not fix everything - not to mention the assorted risks. I desperately want my life back, so it's an incredibly difficult choice.

I'll post pictures of "Robo-Jen", covered in wires and sensors.

The Magical Powers of House

Embarrassing admission - before all of this mess started, I honestly thought that there was a medical test for everything. I go to 3 doctors regularly, the knee doctor, the dermatologist, and the ob/gyn. The knee doctor is so easy - I have something wrong with my knee, he x-rays it, injects cartilage, operates, done. (Plus, my orthopedic surgeon is really cute and hugs me when I visit him). There are no ambiguities. Same thing with the dermatologist. I go once a year, she checks my freckles, and cuts them off if they look bad. The ob/gyn is like the dentist - not a lot of fun, but necessary and painless.
I don't have a GP and haven't had a physical since college. I avoid going to the doctor unless something is bleeding or broken. Or I'm on fire.

Which is why it was so hard for me to hear that the doctors couldn't immediately diagnose me. I was convinced that meant it was all in my head. I drove David nuts, telling him constantly that I wasn't sick, that I should just snap out of it, that the doctors thought I was a wuss. (Of course, I was saying this from a hospital bed with IVs and tubes everywhere, so my judgement might have been off).

But then I discovered House! Did you know there isn't actually one magic blood test for cancer?? Or that doctors sometimes have to do a bunch of tests to piece everything together? Or that some conditions are diagnoses of exclusion? Seriously, it has totally changed the way I think about healthcare. Just because some douchebag ER doctor told me I was "anxious" doesn't mean he was right. I simply needed to find the appropriate specialist to do the right blood tests and the correct brain scans. And let me tell you, my current doctors do not think I'm a wuss or that I should "snap out of it". What a relief!
That show has made dealing with all this diagnostic hell almost manageable. Plus Hugh Laurie is hot.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Throughout all of this, David has been my rock. It sounds trite or cliche, but I don't know what I would do without him. His strength, his irreverent sense of humor, his ability to make me laugh in the darkest of moments, his intelligence, his persistence - the list goes on and on. This is a man who carries me up the stairs when I collapse, but who is completely unafraid to call me on my bullshit. His family has welcomed me with open arms, and I feel so blessed to have all of them in my life.

David was working like mad and then driving every weekend to Bluffton to see me at my parents' house. He didn't have a minute for himself, and he rarely complained. He also spent countless hours on the phone tracking down doctors and second opinions and paperwork. (I'll write a separate post about this, but the health insurance system in our country is completely broken).

Our story is very unorthodox - best friends for 12 years, he was in my first wedding. Our first date was in May, we were engaged in September, and this all happened in October. Not ideal for a newly engaged couple, but it certainly means that we have a very good idea of who we are and how we each react to stressful situations.

Don't get me wrong - David is no saint. In fact, he's generally a bit of an cranky misanthrope. But he's my misanthrope and I adore him.


God, I had forgotten what a ridiculous saga this all was. I'll make the rest brief. Keep in mind, this all happened over 2 very, very long months. Don't ever get sick in the fall, because Thanksgiving and Christmas really slow the diagnostic process down.

I had a mini-seizure a couple of days after they released me from the hospital, which put me back in the ER. They recommended I see an infectious disease specialist, thinking perhaps I had some underlying nasty virus or parasite. Dr. Avramovski - love him - took an insane amount of blood from me and tested me for every bug out there. All negative, except something called the ANA test. Again, if you watch House, you're familiar with this test - usually for lupus. It tests for anti-nuclear antibodies, which basically means your body is attacking itself. I was perversely thrilled! Finally, someone found the root cause - an autoimmune disease.

That brings us to Charlotte and the immunologist here. After a gazillion blood tests, he diagnosed me with mixed connective tissue disease and fibromyalgia. MTCD is an autoimmune disease in which your body attacks its own healthy tissue. I'm on steroids now, which will help manage the syptoms. We'll continue to monitor and tinker with medication, but I'll have to live with it for the rest of my life. The worst part is that it affects your ability to have a healthy pregnancy.

I still think that fibromyalgia is a fake disease for wimpy people. This really pisses off my doctor and David when I say this.

I haven't gotten to the neurological stuff yet. That's a post all on its own. (Mostly because I'm in complete denial)


About a week after I got out of the hospital, I started to get worse. My parents left for vacation, and Mikey was in charge of making me drink my godawful Ensures. Have you ever had one of those things?? They're designed to cram the maximum amount of nutrition and fat in one small "chocolate" drink. I couldn't eat real food, so the doctor told me I had to have at least 5 Ensures per day. I just got worse and worse. I couldn't walk, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't even get 3 Ensures down. So...the doctor put me back in the hospital.

Mikey wins the brother of year award. He's the one who took me to the hospital and took care of me until Mom and Dad could get back in town.

I started to get a little scared at this point. I was so, so sick and in so much pain. Plus, I was having these convulsions and no one could figure it out. Everyone at the Hilton Head hospital was very nice (if Emory was an Econolodge, the Hilton Head hospital was the Ritz-Carlton). I had every test known to man - if you watch House, that was pretty much my week. Finally, the doctors found a cyst in my brain (which they promptly dismissed) and a bacterial infection in my blood. After a couple of days of hardcore IV antibiotics, they released me.

Yep, returning to school wasn't looking too good.

Inauguration Day

This is one of those days where I am so grateful to be stuck at home. I plan on watching every single minute of the inaugural coverage. It is simply overwhelming - the joy, the hope, the anticipation of change. Can you imagine the different situation had McCain and Palin been elected? That horrid woman may run again, but we have at least 4 years of intelligence and competence ahead of us. I am in awe of Barack and Michelle, and I believe they are just what this country needs.

What an amazing day!

Also, Charlotte got about 3-4 inches of snow last night, which just adds to the special feel of the day. It's still snowing, which is a real treat.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The School Dilemma

I honestly thought that I would be all better and back at school within a week of getting out of the hospital. David drove me to my parents' house for my 30th birthday party (I celebrated with plain bread while everyone else drank wine and ate steak. Boo.). I was a little shaky, but optimistic - actually getting a little stressed about all the homework I had due.

There was a bit of conflict going on in my mind. Here's the thing - I didn't really like business school, per se. I loved classes and I loved the discussions and the professors, but I didn't like the subjects. I enjoyed the communications and strategy classes, but couldn't stand economics or statistics.

The stereotype of a business school student is arrogant, money-obsessed, Republican, white male, etc. I'm not going to lie - there are definitely some of those, mostly in the full-time program. (I had fun taunting them during the election.) But as a whole, I met incredible people at school. Goizueta attracts a different type of person, and really focuses on core values instead of status. I have no doubt that I wouldn't have lasted a day at one of the cutthroat "top" schools. The competitive environment made me react like some kind of rebellious teenager. The more everyone stressed about grades and jobs, the lazier and less concerned I acted. Counterproductive, I know. Why bust my ass to get a Distinction when I could watch bad TV, never open my text books, and get a High Pass instead?

I also started telling people that I was in graduate school for business communications and psychology, in order to avoid saying that I was a business school student. I was oddly embarrassed by my choice to go to Goizueta, especially since I was becoming more and more certain that I didn't want to be in traditional "business". Of course, I had no idea what I wanted to do instead (still don't). All I know is finance.

I felt like I just had to finish and get it over with so I could have the letters on my resume.


Well, here I go. After 3 months of being housebound, I've finally decided to communicate with the outside world in a more effective manner. Finley the golden retriever is an excellent companion, but a crappy conversationalist. My brain is turning to mush watching too much daytime TV, and I can't read because of my headaches. So...I thought I'd share my story.

It all started this summer. I was exhausted all the time. I couldn't make it through the day without a nap, and I was sleeping 9-10 hours a night. Since I was working full-time and going to business school at night, I figured it was just stress. Then I started to feel like I had to flu every 3 weeks or so. I would be sick as a dog on the sofa for 2 days, then recover magically. I hate going to doctors (always convinced they're just going to tell me I'm being a wuss), so I ignored it. The headaches started in June. It was as if an icepick was stabbing me behind my left ear through my left eye, and would last about 30 seconds. Agonizing and breathtakingly painful - I'd be doubled over. Now, I've always had headaches, but these were completely unlike anything I'd ever experienced. I even told David about them.

School started in September, and I spent most of my time sleeping, studying, or in class. Actually, I spent most of my time sleeping or napping, nicely interspersed with horrible headaches. One Friday in October, I woke up with severe back pain. By the next day, I couldn't stand up straight and had stabbing abdominal pains. David convinced me to go to the urgent care, who drew blood and sent me home. I was angry - I hate the doctor and I hate nebulous health issues. The clinic called the next day and said I had to come back ASAP. Next thing I knew, I was in the back of an ambulance headed for Emory hospital. I was trying to call the office and my professors while the EMT was putting in an IV - complete denial.

I spent a week at Emory Hospital, which I don't recommend. It was surreal being so close to business school, yet being stuck in a hospital bed. I had every orifice poked and prodded - let me tell you, nothing brings you closer in a relationship than a colonoscopy and a GI bleed.

They released me with some painkillers, but no diagnosis.