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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part II -- Camping

Lake Ontario

After over an hour of fooling around with my wife Elsy's five-year-old laptop with a broken PCLinuxOS implementation (Synaptic will not update), I settled on leaving Accomplishments, and the promotion/news announcement sites up and leaving my other accounts alone. They would just have to wait until I got home.

Being near Lake Ontario and having some time to kill, I wanted to see my other love -- the water. So, I hopped in the car and made the 30-mile one-way trip. I questioned my sanity for doing this after spending the morning battling traffic, but the road was open, drivers were mostly courteous and I was seeing something new and exciting. Ominous cumulonimbus clouds were forming to the north. Bad weather appeared to be approaching.

The area fronting Lake Ontario was all private property, so I could not venture out. Karl Strohmeyer called me. One of my two copies of Going Rogue that were to be signed was destined for him. We discussed how he wanted it personalized -- if Governor Palin was going to -- and just generally shot the breeze about politics. I met Karl in Scraton, PA in the final 72 hours campaigning for the McCain-Palin ticket -- not with my own party, the GOP, but with Democrats for McCain.

Base Camp...

By 1600, I was back at Borders. I stopped in for a pretzel and a beverage, checked email, and charged the iPhone. No one had been camping outside like in other venues. Rochester, being rather liberal, I figured turnout would be lighter. I would go back to my hotel room, then check Borders every few hours. I emailed Kristina, Rachelle, and JD Merkel the non-news. Adrienne had secured a position as part of Governor Palin's event team for the day, a job should would perform with expert professionalism, so I did not bother her with my updates.

At 1645, I met Amy, who had set up a chair and a gentleman named Ed who set up one behind her. Camping had begun!!! I sent a text message to my colleagues and told them to get here NOW! Then, I introduced myself, got my bag and set up behind them as number 3. Barb was number 4. Amy was generous and let me borrow a camping chair (yeah, I did not think to take one of those). I did bring a NASA foil emergency blanket. While it was effective at protecting the front of me, the wind whipped from behind. I needed more protection. I asked Amy and Ed to stand guard and ran to Dick's Sporting Goods to get a cheap sleeping bag.

I did not drive. I ran across. The cold wind whipped my legs. In my business casual pants minus thermals, I might as well have been naked. I started to second-guess myself. The bag cost almost as much as the room for night -- a hotel room I would now not be using. I questioned my own sanity. I had never done this before. Was I now some kind of groupie? Returning the bag and opting for the critter comforts of the hotel room was tempting. But I would not dare! Not being number three on that line! I wanted the front spot? I wanted to be here? I spent this effort to have these books signed? Well...I got re-focused! I had work to do....

Time to Hustle...

As campers began to secure their positions, I went to work, handing out business cards promoting Accomplishments. I also had pinned to me a button I created with the help of a colleague. I ordered 10 and the batch was not in front of my house; so I raised Cain and a replacement was sent to the hotel. Meanwhile, the original batch turned up the night before I left. So, I now had 20. The mission: test-market this logo. If people liked it and bought it, my online store would be promoted and I'd start selling. If there was little interest, I'd abandon the effort.

I had a happy problem: I sold almost the entire batch of 3.5-inch buttons at $6 each before the night was over. I had to save Adrienne's, Kristina's, Rachelle's, and mine. So, I started hand-writing the name of my new store on the back of the blog business cards. North Star Promotions was born...

The atmosphere was very festive....and the generosity exchanged among strangers was amazing. One man brought in a big Sicilian Pepperoni pie. Starving, I dived into that box, and being the chow hound that I am, six slices were gone in no time. I offered to pay for what I took. He wanted a Palin Power button instead. Done deal.

And, so I worked the crowd, passing out cards, belting out SA-RAH! chants, just because. Barb told me about her Thompson Contender with interchangeable barrels. Another lady I met was a huntress. The 9/12 Project was there. A Gadsden flag was erected on a column of Borders.

And to while away the hours, I continued reading Going Rogue, but I had a problem....every other paragraph I had to stop. I was either laughing with Governor Palin or found myself on the brink of openly crying as the story of her life unfolded word for word.

Barb, Amy and I reached an agreement. They would watch my chair. I would go back to the hotel room, and come back in the morning. After we got our wristbands, they would sleep in their cars, and I would watch their setups.

I went back, tried to call my wife, but could not get through. I emailed her my position report, and went to sleep. Amy and Barb said I could be back by 0700. But there was no way I was going to come back that late....

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part I -- Journey

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part II -- Camping

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY, Part III -- Ready

Going Rogue, Rochester, NY: Part IV -- Books Signed

Going Rogue, Rochester, NY: Part V -- Egg Attack

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY, Part VI -- Going Home 


Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part I -- Journey

I have this crazy idea...

Accomplishments author Adrienne Ross (the editor and publisher of Motivation: Truth and a Board Member, Media Director, and NY State Organizer for the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee). and myself were exchanging some text messages a couple of weeks ago. "I have this really crazy idea," I wrote. I figured she was going to write back, "Again?" But, Adrienne was too kind for that. I went on..."You live upstate...Kristina Lazzaro (editor and publisher of: Inspiration Sarah, and the Buffalo, NY Organizer for the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee, and Accomplishments author) lives upstate....Governor Palin's going to be in NY...you going to see her?" Of course they were...I went to Google Maps on my iPhone and banged in the address of the Borders store in Henrietta, NY, where she was to sign the books. It would be a 340-mile trip one way. Nearly seven hours driving. I calculated gasoline costs and figured I might be better using Amtrak or even flying up.

My head was spinning. Adrienne is not one to tell others what to do, and always emphasizes that ultimately, the decision on anything is yours to make. But, she looked at my texts and and listened on the phone as I egged myself on. "I want to do this...let me get back to you when I have the logistics worked out...."

Going Rogue, or Going Bust?

I plowed my 2007 Honda Pilot through the streets of Brooklyn and Queens from 0700 to 0900 the morning of Friday, November 20, 2009. I had some "Sarah music" going, but then switched to my "flying music" -- the switch would prove to be very providential. Driving like a fighter pilot hopped up on caffeine and sugar, the morning's trip devolved into desperate race against time to make it from Staten Island to LGA. I had opted to fly, because the traveling time would be much less and the costs not much more than driving up all the way. But, now I was angry and giving new meaning to the term "road rage.". Here I was two hours in and now in danger of missing my flight. I could have been out of the Island through NJ, and back into NY...almost a third of the way to Rochester by now I thought....

Finally, I made the parking lot, dumped the truck (literally), grabbed my iPhone with the car charger still attached and my bags and lit out of there in the shuttle. It wasn't till after I checked in that I realized I left my iPod in the truck, and a nice leather bomber jacket. I had no outer jacket for Rochester! Both my uncle and a trusted colleague said that Governor Palin should see the jacket on me.

Darn it! I haven't even left the city and already I was well on the way not to Going Rouge -- but to Going Bust! I choked breakfast down, and I started on the unsigned reading copy, leaving the two treasure copies to be signed well alone in the suitcase.

Governor Palin's first words immediately soothed my frazzled nerves. I read on.

I nearly started blubbering when I came to the bottom of page eight. There, she told a story of something so providential in her life -- and mine -- something that was the basis of a rally sign I made 13 months ago...something that was the basis of a video I made a month after that...something that would be the basis of message I left in her gift box....something that would define this entire trip.

A surge of joy swept through me when I saw the Piedmont Dash-8 100 sitting on the apron. Being an IFR private pilot, I am most familiar with Cessna 172s, but the last time I had flown in a turboprop was 1992 when I went to visit my uncle who lived in Meadville, PA at the time.

I was amazed at the power of the turbo-props as my body snapped back into the seat on takeoff and the the aircraft lifted off with an amazing rate of climb. I love those snap-backs. They're a big hoot. We arced over western Queens and I could see the Con Ed sites that have been my home for nearly 10 years now. We flew to the east of both the old and new Yankee Stadiums, past my mother's house in Yonkers, and entered a thin overcast, which became an under-cast. Memories of all the places I'd been in the area flowed through...already Governor Palin was touching every aspect of my life by juxtaposition.

My flight instructor, Don Eck has logged thousands of hours for Piedmont. Some people fear turboprops. I love them. You get a greater feeling of flight in them. Flying lower and slower, you get to see the landscape below in greater detail. The windows are larger and you feel a closer connection with the sky as you are flung through the proverbial footless halls of air...while some found the loud drone of the spinning props annoying, it was music to my ears.

The combination of reading Governor Palin's words and the flight itself mollified me. I concluded that there was a reason I left the jacket and the iPod behind...and as the trip progressed, I would learn that my conclusion was right. I put the book away and kept my face pressed to the window for the duration of the flight.

The under-cast became broken and we slipped through the layer, the plane gently bouncing as it entered the clouds -- a normal occurrence. I didn't know it then, but the Borders Governor Palin would be signing at was directly to my left and in plain view....

We touched down in Rochester, and I grabbed my gear and went to the car rental. Discover card declined... after I had paid it a few days ago to make room. Here we go again...Going Bust. I went for the debit card and accepted the $300 hold. Ugh. It worked. Success! The black 2008 Hyundai Tiburon became my Sarah-Mobile. I stopped down to see the bookstore, then went to Burlington Coat Factory and picked a warm hunting jacket for $20, and checked into the hotel to start up the Accomplishments command and control center.

I was here and established. I was ready to Go Rogue....

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part I -- Journey

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY Part II -- Camping

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY, Part III -- Ready

Going Rogue, Rochester, NY: Part IV -- Books Signed

Going Rogue, Rochester, NY: Part V -- Egg Attack

Going Rogue: Rochester, NY, Part VI -- Going Home 


Self-Examination and Mammograms

These are two of the most important changes that will come from the socialized medicine that represents itself as a Senate health care bill. Stop self-exams – they aren’t that important. Stop early mammogram screenings – they aren’t that important. If I had lived my life that way, I would not be here to tell this story.

Sarah Palin is right when she speaks up for the people about the idiocy that is being forced on us by a group of people who could not even see their own noses in front of their faces if their political life depended on it. And believe me, it does!

I am going to tell you more about me than you probably want to know, but I want to tell you so that it might help you save your life or the life of a woman you love.

I had a hysterectomy in 1980. I was 31 years old and never had children. With my history of marital success, I had come to thank God for not having given me additional lives to be lived in the turmoil of my own. I had two step-daughters I loved as though they were mine. I still do even years after that marriage ended. I am blessed.

In those days, women were still modest enough to refer to our “monthly visitor” as a “curse”. In my case, I was lucky if my “monthly visitor” visited every three or four months and with each visit, my discomfort level grew. I never gave a thought to the possibility of cervical cancer. That kind of thing happened to someone else; not to me. Thankfully, that was true in my case.

I hated the pap smears as much as any woman did. New technologies may have improved that situation but even so it took doctors much too long to come to the conclusion that warm protected areas did not accept cold metal as willingly as they thought.

I still look at that decision as one of the best I ever made.

A decade or so later, I arrived at a new juncture in my road of life. Nothing I did was right. That worked out well as nothing anyone else did was right either. I had less than no energy. I felt sick and tired every day of my life, and unfortunately, so did everyone who came in contact with me. It was obvious there was something physically wrong but I had no idea what it was.

I was fortunate to have a doctor who cared enough to listen to the things I was saying. My symptoms could have been caused by any number of things from thyroid problems to menopause. I still think no one but a man would have said it this way, but after months of blood work and other tests I received a letter from my doctor’s office stating that my body was in “a menopausal state.”

My point is this: If he had not been willing to submit me to the barrage of blood tests and other medical tests that he did, and if someone in the federal government had told him that he couldn’t, we might never have known that my symptoms could be cured so easily.

I remember sitting in his office as he explained to me all the possible side effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) including the possibility of breast cancer. That was another one of those “illnesses” that happened to someone else besides me, but I did listen to him carefully because I recognized that this decision could affect the rest of my life. When he finished with all the “could happens,” I asked him if the medication he was discussing would make me feel better and give me enough energy to at least be able to go out to dinner on a work night.

This may be the hardest part for you to understand. Given everything he told me could happen, including breast cancer, that wonderful little pill he gave me restored me to the happy person I had been. I was able to smile not only at my co-workers, but at myself as well. My whole life was better from my attitude to my health.

I have done breast self-exams for as long as I can remember. In fact, I don’t remember when I didn’t do them. Every month around the first of the month faithfully I checked my breasts for anything that didn’t feel as though it belonged there. My doctor had told me that it was important to continue that habit.

Eventually I noticed a pattern. I began to notice when something didn’t feel just right, or felt as though it didn’t belong. I decided that I would handle those situations by waiting 2 weeks, doing the exam again, and if it still didn’t feel like it should, I would go to the doctor. That plan worked very well for me. I didn’t have to go to the doctor after that second exam until years later.

I was involved in a training class for a new job. If I missed even one class, I would have to drop out, wait for the next class and start all over. If you’ve ever been through a mentally-challenging, intensive training course for any of your jobs, you understand why I had to put that first. Even after noticing something that didn’t change after my self-imposed two-week waiting period.

My instincts told me this was not like the usual lumpy mass I had felt on pervious exams. Since I couldn’t get to my doctor right away because of the training class, I watched it very carefully. I could tell that it was growing quickly. Luckily for me all the things that needed to happen did. The new job was working out well, the insurance had kicked in, the training class ended, and I went to the doctor.

One month after I saw my primary care physician to be sure I wasn’t misdiagnosing my problem, I was having a mastectomy. That too is a decision I have not regretted. I’m alive. My cancer is gone and so are my worries of recurrence.

During that one month period, I was at my doctor’s office three times, I had a mammogram and a follow-up one week later, a sonogram on the breast tumor, a biopsy and a visit to a surgeon’s office. What if I had been told that I had to wait several weeks or months to any of those follow-up tests? What if I had had to wait for a year or more to see the surgeon? After seeing the surgeon, what if I had had to wait months or a year for the actual surgery?

That is exactly what women will be facing with Harry Reid’s incorrectly named health care plan. You know – the one he and Obama are pushing down our throats. The one that will kill more people than it will help.

In May 2010, I will celebrate (yes, I'll celebrate!) my fifth anniversary of survival after breast cancer.

I know I am only one example. There are thousands of others out there. Do all the women you love as well as yourself a big favor. Share my story with everyone you can. Get it into the hands of your Senator – especially your Democrat Senators – and tell them how this story would have ended if I had had to deal with the monstrosity of their health care plan. The result if I had is a simple one.


On Determining Palin’s Political Future

By Shane Vander Hart, Caffeinated Thoughts 

Reeling Conservatives Everybody has an opinion, and 2012 is still three years away.  Oh but how we love to speculate.  The lamestream media reaches opposite conclusions when they try to strain a gnat over what Governor Palin has said or hasn’t said about 2012.  Speculation can be fun, and I do think the 2012 race will be incredibly interesting. 

As far as Sarah Palin is concerned, after watching or listening to several of her many interviews last week, and what I’ve read so far in Going Rogue: An American Life (review coming soon) I see someone who has not decided.  She isn’t focused on 2012, but she isn’t closing the door.

We’ve got the 2010 elections to focus on first, and all indications are (read: that is what she has said) that is what is on her radar when her book tour ends.  Some desire to close the door on her running in 2012 by being petty, and that can be seen in a piece that Peter Wallsten wrote for the Wall Street Journal:

Ms. Palin's book tour includes a Dec. 6 stop in Sioux City, Iowa. But she declined an invitation to appear at a Nov. 21 fund-raiser for the conservative Iowa Family Policy Center, which had reserved a Des Moines sports arena in anticipation of her attendance.

"All these other national figures are coming here to help us, and she's coming here to sell books," said an Iowa Republican official.

Added Michael Dennehy, a Republican consultant who worked for 2008 nominee John McCain: "People are anxious to see what she's going to do, but at this point there's no evidence of Sarah Palin organizing in New Hampshire or having any interest in organizing."

Let me respond to this bit of “analysis.”  First it is 2009.  Secondly the IFPC event “controversy” was a contrived one.  Thirdly, the anonymous Iowa Republican official (who had better hope and pray I don’t find out his or her identity) just sounds like a complete whiner (probably a Mittwit).  She’s already said she plans to come to Iowa to speak to IFPC, and told the Republican Party of Iowa that she would love to come here.  This “official” is basically complaining that it isn’t being done on his or her timeframe.  So sorry that she had contractual obligations, and sorry that you have something against capitalism.  Are you in the right party?  I mean really, complaining that she is selling books?  Fourth, she just left office in late July, just completed her book, and then will finish with this book tour.  Then she has said she’ll focus on 2010.

2012?  Who knows, but to determine whether she is running or not in 2012 based on not being organized in 2009 is incredibly premature.

Shane Vander Hart is the editor of Caffeinated Thoughts.  He loves to connect with other conservatives and Palin fans, so please feel free to follow him on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.