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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Sarah Post You've ALL Been Waiting for: Meeting Sarah: Part Three- A Post by Conservative Girl with a Voice

Hello, readers, this is the post I know many of you have been waiting for. I am going to let you know the rest of the story, so to speak. As I left you all hanging inside that Reno Starbucks, it make the most sense to pick up the story back there:

Dan, Emily and I sat in the warm surroundings of Starbucks. There is just something about Starbucks that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside especially at Christmastime. Remember how I wrote that I had a radio interview to prepare for? Well, I sat down with my coffee in one of those big, comfy leather chairs and began too reflect on what I had experienced thus far. It had been an amazing day, and little did I know that it was about to get even more amazing. At 1 p.m., I called into April Liesel's great Pro-Sarah Radio Show. As a regular guest on April's show and a contributor to her website, I always enjoy going on live with her. She is phenomenal Sarah supporter and great friend; she refers to me as her little sister, and in my book, she is definitely my big sister. Prior to leaving for my trip, I had planned ahead and threw in two cell phones because you never now what could happen. After all, I told you all I was always prepared, right? As I spoke with April about what I had experienced so far, I kept scanning through my blackberry, getting updates and keeping informed as two what was happening news wise. After I was April's hour-long radio show (you can catch it here Monday-Friday from 1-2 p.m. PST), we decided we would head back over to the Costco at around 3:30. That way, I could get up to speed on the crowd size and feel the excitement that would surely be in the air. Since we had an hour and a half until we were going to head back, Emily asked if I wanted to look around at the stores around Starbucks. I thought that was a great idea because I always up for checking out cute boutiques. We bundled back up and headed out.

First we went inside a cute card and knickknack shop, which as soon as we entered realized was a liberal, environmentalist activist shop. Being the oh-so-objective journalist I am, I decided to look around. There were a lot of unique items that caught my eye. Everything from a Nevada license plate purse (yes, I'm so serious) to various bottle cap magnets. I saw that they had the Democrat donkey magnet, but not the Republican elephant, which definitely shocked me... not. Oh well, that's their loss because, had they had the elephant version, this Conservative Girl with a Voice would have snatched that cutie pie up. Next, we went to the coolest boutique next door. As soon as Emily and I stepped our feet in the door, we knew we were in trouble. As a California girl, there is just something about boutiques that always get me excited. I think it's because boutiques always carry selected amounts of unique items, so you don't have to worry that your next-door neighbor is going to step out in the same outfit. I will never forget back in high school when a friend and I showed up to school in the same sweater on the same day. Let's just say that whenever we were planning to wear that sweater, we would check to make sure the other would not be wearing it that day. As we looked around the boutique, I feasted my eyes on the cutest pairs of knee-high Ugg-inspired boots in chocolate brown and another pair in a patchwork design. As I told the owner my size, she overheard that I was from San Diego, and we started talking. Turns out, her daughter graduated from San Diego State University around the same time I did; what a small world. I asked for her daughter's name, thinking maybe I may have known her. Although I did not know her daughter, it turns out her daughter belonged to the same sorority that a lot of my friends belonged to, so we started talking about the greek system. I remember her asking me why I was in Reno, and I told her that I was there covering Sarah's book signing. Turns out, she was a liberal, but she was a very nice liberal; yes, I know a lot of those. Many of my friends are liberal, and I always make the joke that while I'm on course, they're just derailed.

As I was trying on the super-cute boots, my phone began to ring. I didn't know who was calling me, but I immediately realized that it was from an Alaska area code. I let it go to voicemail because I had one hand on the phone and the other hand working one of the boots over my jeans and two layers of long johns. After I tried on the boots, which fit like a glove and bought them, I checked my voicemail. It turns out that my favorite liberal Rishi Maharaj, Eddie Burke's producer and the awesome guy who sent me the exclusive Elmendorf signing photos last night, had left a message for me to call him back as soon as I got his message. Instead of braving the cold outside, the store owner told me to take a seat and make any calls I needed to. I thanked her and called Rish back. When I called Rishi back, he told me the show was moving my scheduled interview from 4:30 PST to 5:20 PST, and if that was okay for me. I told him that worked great. Sarah's book signing was scheduled to begin at 5:30, so I told him how great it would be to be on air as I described the anticipation and excitement of the crowd. If all went on schedule, I would be on air before and right when Sarah began her book signing. Rishi also told me that Eddie had just got off the phone with Todd, and the whole family would meet with me; I was beyond excited and overjoyed at the fact that I would definitely be able to speak with them. Rishi told me to let Eddie know when I had arrived back at the Costco. I kept thinking to myself how memorable this experience had been and about how many memories were still in store for me.

I could hear Eddie in the background relaying messages to Rishi to tell me, and I remember laughing so hard because it is always so funny to hear these two guys interact. I remember Rishi asking me what I was doing, and when I told him Emily and I were shopping, he let out a laugh and said something to the effect of "Oh, I should have known." "Ha, ha, Rishi... very funny," I remember mumbling back into the receiver. In typical fashion, I told him I was helping the economy and about how great a capitalist I was. I knew this would get some kind of humorous response out of my liberal buddy, and it did. Perhaps the funniest part had to be when Rishi told Eddie I was shopping, and Eddie asked Rishi to ask me if I had a Louis Vuitton purse, to which I replied, "Yeah, as a matter of fact, I have it right here with me. Do you want me to send you guys a picture?" I was totally joking, but both Rishi and Eddie wanted a picture, so later Emily and I had her dad pose for a photo with my "Speedy" purse back at Starbucks, which turned out to be so funny.

When Emily and I returned to Starbucks, I knew 3:30 was quickly approaching, so Emily and I decided we wanted to look our best when we met the Palins and Heaths. We went out to the Hummer and changed. I didn't care how cold it was; all I knew was that I was not going to meet these individuals with all these layers of clothing on. I also had what I refer to as "hat hair" from wearing my KBYR beanie all day, so in true girl fashion, I got my flat iron out of one of my suitcases and headed back into Starbucks and right into the bathroom crossing my fingers that they would have an electrical outlet inside. I started to freak out a little when I didn't see one, but just when I was about to lose all hope, I saw that there was one underneath the paper towel dispenser. I let a small "yay" and plugged that baby in. A few minutes later, my hair was back to its naturally neat self. I was NOT going to have a bad hair day even if it was in the single digits outside. I touched up my makeup too, so happy that no one had knocked down the bathroom door yet. After I finished primping, I tucked my flat iron back into my purse and exited the bathroom. Sure enough, no one was waiting to use the bathroom because if there had been a line, I'm sure Starbucks would have kicked me out for taking over their bathroom and calling it my own. I know a lot of you are like, "She did her hair and makeup in a Starbucks bathroom?" Yes, and I'd do it again in an instant; I definitely recommend it.

As we got into the Hummer and Emily's dad began to drive out of the parking lot, I knew I was about to experience the event of a lifetime. While I have experienced so many great events in my life, I knew that none of them (even getting picked to appear on Wheel of Fortune) would compare to meeting my role model and her family. When we entered the Costco parking lot, I could see that the store was bustling with people. I immediately texted Eddie to let him know that I had entered the parking lot and that I would let him know when I entered the store. When I got to the door, I could see that a huge line had already formed, and it wasn't even 4 p.m. yet. When it was our turn to show the employees our tickets, book receipts and books, I told the employee who I was and that I was with #1 Alaska Talk Radio Host Eddie Burke's show and that Eddie had talked to Todd Palin and that I would have the opportunity to meet with the Palins and Heaths. The employee told me to hang on a second while she went over to someone who was working with Sarah. I overheard them say that Sarah was already there and waiting upstairs. The gentleman whom the employee had been talking to came over to me and told me to hang on a minute while he went upstairs to speak with Todd. About ten minutes later, the man came back and told me to follow him. I immediately followed him with Emily and her dad not too far behind me. I was told I would be waiting to meet with Sarah and the rest of the family in the roped off VIP Area. I was so stoked. How cool that I had been able to have this awesome experience, let alone be considered a VIP- WOW! I had overheard that the governor of Nevada was a VIP along with friends of friends and family of family. I was in awe of it all. As I passed all the individuals in line, many of whom I had spoken with earlier, I was so excited because I knew I was so close to meeting the "Cuda."

When we finally ended up in the sectioned off VIP area, the man whom we had followed back there, told us to wait until it was our turn to see Sarah. As we waited there, a little chaos ensued as I must have had two separate individuals immediately pounce on me asking me the "who, what, when, where, why?" questions. I patiently and articulately told each individual my story and that the "guy in the glasses" as I referred to him had brought us back here and told us to just wait until it was our turn. Finally, we were led around the corner to the "real" VIP area and told to just wait until we were called upon. I have to admit that I was in awe of whom I was about to meet, and my stomach was in knots. I knew we could not take pictures or use or phones when we saw Sarah. I also knew that we would have to remove our jackets and leave our purses and any other belongings outside of the signing area. I had my huge gift with me, so I was hoping that Sarah and her family would be able to get them. I was a little worried because when I had entered Costco, one employee told me that my gift would go in a pile "around the corner with the others." By the time we were finally taken back to the real VIP area it was 4:40, I was worried that I would miss my call from Eddie's show for my interview. 4:50 came, then 5, then 5:18, and I was beginning to think that I may just miss my scheduled live hit. I was hoping to go live on Eddie's show because it was because of both he and Todd Palin that I was about to meet my role model. Just as I was thinking about all who had made this meeting with Sarah possible, I was told by one of her main guys who I later learned was the incredible Jason Recher that Sarah was ready to see us. We were the last VIPs that would be seeing Sarah at the Reno signing. "Here we go," I said out loud with a smile.

As if the story couldn't get any greater, it's about too. Right after I handed my purse to the Costco employee, I turned, and I heard him say, "Make sure you take off your jacket too." As I began to unzip it, Jason came over to me and said, "You don't have to take off your jacket. You go ahead and leave it on." "WOW," I thought. I said, "Thank you. Are you sure?" He said, "Absolutely. You're fine. You're a VIP, remember?" He was smiling. "Oh yeah," I thought. Still, I remember how all the other VIPs had to remove their coats, but I just shrugged it off thinking that I was just lucky I guess. I still had my gift in my hand, and I asked Jason if he needed to take it from me since I knew we weren't allowed to bring in gifts, and I was completely full of glee when he told me that I would be giving it to Sarah personally. I tell you, readers, that I almost broke down into tears right then and there. Jason and the others who work closely with Sarah are all awesome people that's for sure. I was especially thankful for this because I had something else very special inside that gift bag. Jackie Seal had asked me if she could email me a letter to give to Sarah for her. Jackie's name may be familiar to many of you. She is the 17-year-old girl who was accosted by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell. When she heard that I would be traveling to Reno, she told me she had a letter for Sarah that she had planned to give Sarah at the Michigan signing, but gifts were not allowed. I could not wait to tell her that Sarah would DEFINITELY be getting her letter. This was truly going to be a moment that I would never forget. I took a deep breath and began the short trek to the signing table.

As I followed Jason, I noticed that they had put the barrier back up in front of the people in line, which meant one thing: Dan, Emily and I would be seeing Sarah, Todd, Chuck, Sally and Aunt Katie all by ourselves. Just when I thought it could not get any better, I saw Todd look directly at me and recognize me. "OH MY GOSH," I thought; did Todd really just recognize me? I thought it was so cool that Todd akknowledged me before I had even looked up to see him sitting there. After kind of looking behind me thinking that Todd had to have had a friend he really was smiling and nodding too, I realized he REALLY WAS looking at me. (I later learned Eddie had told him what I looked like and about the jacket I would be wearing.) I immediately became a giddy school girl and put a HUGE smile on my face and waved like crazy, and that is when I saw Sarah. As someone who loves fashion and respects women who know how to "work it," Sarah was definitely working it. She looked classy as ever in a fitted black suit jacket that had black crystal-like jewels all over it. I meant to ask her who designed her jacket, but totally forgot too because there was just so much going on. Right as I was about to approach the table, one of her security detail came over to me and asked what was in the gift bag. I told him my mom had embroidered the governor and her family some apparel. He asked it he could look through the bag for security reasons, and I told him he was more than welcome to. After he looked through the bag, carefully I might add, he apologized for having to do that. I told him not to apologize and that I was so glad that he and the other security members were there to look after Sarah and her family. Sarah's security detail did an excellent job in Reno and along the whole tour, and I am so thankful to them for keeping the Palin and Heath families safe.

When he told me that I was free to go, I made my way to the table. As soon as I saw Sarah, I immediately agreed with a lot of those who attended Sarah's signings: Sarah IS even more beautiful in person. It is obvious that she has an extreme outer beauty, but it is important to note that she has an inner beauty that just put me at ease. The butterflies and queasy stomach were suddenly gone. I felt so comfortable standing in front of a woman who inspires me to want to be more and to do more. Sarah IS the reason why I started this blog. Sarah IS the reason why I am politically active. Finally, Sarah IS the reason why I want to run for office one day and make a difference. When I finally got my chance to talk with her. I introduced myself and told her about my blog. As said this, I handed her the gift from my family. As she took it, she had a joy about her that I will never forget. She thanked me, and knew that I was with Eddie's show. She asked me how I liked going on Eddie's show, and I told her that I loved being a guest of his show, and about how much Eddie had done for me. Then, I told her that I was actually expected to be a guest on his show right after I talked with her. That is when Sarah said the coolest thing I ever. She said, "How cool is that? If he calls when you're here with us [meaning her and Todd], we'll take the phone and give him a shout-out." This is the Sarah so many of us have come to know and love. This is that Sarah that the McCain campaign did not want at the forefront. This is the Sarah her dad was talking about when he said, "Let Sarah be Sarah." Here, I thought that I would only have a 10 seconds with her, but I ended up getting to spend about five minutes with her and Todd. As we spoke about various things like hair and my upcoming trip to Alaska with Kristina Lazzaro, she spoke with me as if she had known me for years. This was simply a priceless gift that I will forever cherish.

After meeting Sarah, I moved on and got to formally meet Todd. He took my hand and shook it. Being the lovey-dovey person I am, I asked if I could give him a hug to which he said, "Sure come here." He gave me a hug and I thanked him for working out my meeting with Eddie earlier in the day. He told me he was glad to. After speaking to him a little bit, I remembered that I wanted to give Sarah a hug too, but one of her people told me I had to keep moving on as there were still 100s there who still had to meet her. I continued on and found myself standing in front of one of the coolest, most down-to-earth dads around. As I said hello, Chuck Heath took one of my hands in both of his and said, "Hi there. I'm Sarah's daddy." This introduction bought tears to my eyes. Before me, I saw a man who was so proud of his daughter. Chuck Heath IS the real deal. As I continued to talk to Chuck, I met Sally Heath, who has the kindest, peaceful way about her. She was the sweetest woman and reminded me a lot of my late grandmother. I told her about the gifts we had gotten for her and the rest of the family, and she took both of my hands and suddenly had tears in her eyes; she was overwhelmed. I remember her saying, "oh goody" and calling me "dear." I got to spend a little time chatting about life, Sarah, The 2012 Draft Sarah Committee and Eddie. I told them both that I was about to go on Eddie's show, and they both told me how much they loved him. I also met Aunt Katie who has the best sense of humor. She gave me a hug and thanked me for supporting Sarah. These people are genuine, good and honest people. They are people who have not been at all tainted by the left or those in the "me-first crowd" in Washington DC.

While still talking to Katie, I looked down at my phone to see that I, in fact, had a missed call from KBYR. I went back to tell Chuck and Sally that I would be on live with Eddie and if they wanted to come on to say anything, and they told me they would have loved to if they didn't have 100s of other supporters to meet. Sally told me to ask Katie because she loves to talk. I thought this was so cute because I could totally relate to Katie as my sister and family would say the same thing about me. I knew there was a reason why I loved Aunt Katie so much. I called the KBYR VIP Line back and Reagan, the producer who was in for Rish, told me to hang on a second as he put me right through to Eddie. As I was waiting, I told Katie that I would be going on live with Eddie and if she wanted to say hi. She laughed, and I think she was a little overwhelmed. She told me she'd love to, but wouldn't know what to say. Like Sarah, Todd, Chuck and Sally before her, Katie told me to make sure to tell Eddie "hi." As I said my goodbyes, I heard Eddie welcoming me to his show. As I spoke to Eddie, I was so overwhelmed and excited as I slowly darted in between people-talk about multitasking. I thanked Eddie and told him what the Palins and Heaths had told me tell him. I told him that this had been the greatest day of my whole life, and it was all because of him that I got to experience all that I did that day.

As Dan, Emily and I headed back to Folsum, we sat quietly and reflected on the great experience we had all just had. The next morning, I said goodbye to my Folsum friends and headed back to San Diego (after yet another plane delay...oh well it's the holidays). When I got back to San Diego, my brother met me with my favorite cup of Starbucks in hand. I don't think I had ever been so happy to see him as I knew that I had a great, strong guy to help me carry my luggage... wink, wink. I was so glad to be home to share this experience with my friends and family. As I told my family, they sat in awe. I know many of you have never had the opportunity to meet Sarah and her family, so I hope that my account allows you to see how great this family is. Whatever your politics, you have to agree that they are the most down-to-earth bunch of individuals you will ever be privileged to meet. They are truly REAL PEOPLE. I want to especially thank the amazing Eddie (follow him on Twitter here), Rishi (follow him on Twitter here) and Todd for allowing me this great opportunity. I don't think I can ever repay them for my experience. Make sure to listen to Eddie's show Monday-Friday from 3-6 p.m. PST. Click here to listen. Before meeting Sarah and family, I was already excited for my trip to Alaska at the end of May, and now I am more excited than ever. I have no doubt that it will be the trip of a lifetime. Who knows, maybe I will get to meet with the Palins and Heaths again.

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