Friday, December 11, 2009
Okay, everybody, I'm back with you all and ready to continue my amazing account of my meeting Sarah Palin and her precious family. There is so much I would like to write about my experience, so I apologize, in advance, for the long length of this entry; there is just so much I have to say.
Part Two: My Excitement Grows:
The day before my scheduled flight to Sacramento, I was full of excitement- an excitement that only grew as the day progressed. This day was particularly crazy because a huge storm (huge from this San Diego girl's point of view) had drenched San Diego County. The freeways were backed up for miles, and for a large part of my commute home, I was traveling along in the single digits. Let's just put it this way, as a former softball player, I am usually a pretty tough cookie, but I had tears in my eyes as I drove up the driveway to my house; I don't think I had ever been so glad to be home.
When I settled down and recovered from the insane weather, I began to prepare for my trip the next day. I knew Reno was also getting this storm and reports were that the city had an unseasonably large amount of snowfall. I thought to myself, "Great. What's a San Diego girl going to do? I'm not used to temperatures below 50 degrees, let alone tons of snow." Luckily I have had the opportunity to visit the snow in our local mountains and stay at my family's cabin near Lake Tahoe, so I had some clothing and Ugg Boots to choose from in my closet.
When I knew I had the right kind of clothing, I immediately got into contact with my buddy Eddie Burke, who's Alaska's #1 Talk Radio Host, to get some much-needed advice about the cold. As an Alaskan, he KNOWS what cold is. He told me to just really layer up with as many form-fitting clothing items as I had, so I packed every pair of long johns and wool hiking socks that I had just in case I got wet. Let's just put it this way, when I had finished packing for my 2-day trip, I had a large duffel bag and a large suitcase packed to the brim. I also had two carry-ons. I know, I know, I over packed and always tend too, but you can never say that I don't travel prepared. That didn't stop my friends and family from giving me a hard time about all that I packed. I got the "You packed all of that for a two-day trip, honey? What are you going to do when you go to Alaska for two weeks?" line from my mom, and even my Twitter followers had fun at my expense. My favorite line came from Patrick who wanted to know if the Republican National Committee had packed the bags for my trip. Although I know that I may have brought just a tad too much, I'm sure my fellow fashionistas out there can relate.
Okay, enough about fashion, let's get back to business. For those of you who have never had the pleasure of getting to know Eddie Burke, he is an awesome individual. When I told him that I was planning to travel to Reno, I offered to cover the event for his show on a.m. 700 KBYR. He told me that would be great and gave me some important information. He also told me to wear my KBYR gear (I'll get to that in a minute), since I was a correspondent for his show for the day. In the process of discussing my trip with Eddie, he offered to call Chuck Heath to see if he and Sally would be in Reno, and if they were, if they would agree to meet with me. I was speechless when I heard this. I could not contain my excitement because I have such admiration and high regard for the Heath family. Chuck and Sally raised a daughter who inspires so many individuals. I knew that if everything worked out and I met with them, the first thing I would say would be "thank you." Chuck and Sally are blessings and inspirations in their own right.
I have to write that I have the greatest mom in the world; besides her being the greatest mom, she runs a small business as an embroiderer. When she learned that I would be covering the signing for Eddie's show, she got to work right away designing me some KBYR gear, including the most amazing jacket ever. (I think Eddie's jealous of it too-ha ha.) She also designed Emily and myself tracksuits, beanies and adorable Going Rogue Book Tour 2009 T-Shirts. Besides doing all this, she embroidered some items for the Palin/Heath family members who we knew would be there. Todd, Sarah, Piper and Trigg would get red Going Rogue Book Tour 2009 T-Shirts; Sally would get a Going Rouge Book Tour 2009 apron with her name embroidered on it, and Chuck would get a KBYR beanie, since I knew he was a fan of Eddie's show. The items looked great, so I folded them up and put them in one of my suitcases hoping that they would end up in the hands of the Palins and Heaths.
Finally, after a short plane delay at the San Diego Airport, my plane was off and headed toward the California State Capitol. As I was sitting on the plane, I sat back and listened to my Ipod while reading Going Rogue. Once in a while I would think about what God would have in store for me on this journey. I touched off of the ground having never personally met Sarah Palin, and I was confident I would touch back down a couple days later having met the woman who is a role model and inspires me. I was giddy with excitement and so thankful that I had been blessed with this amazing opportunity. What a difference a year makes. I fully agree with Sarah Palin when she told FNC's Greta Van Susteren that when the Lord opens a door, she is going to plow through it. Everything happens for a reason, and God is using me because I, like you, was created for a specific purpose.
After I got off the plane and had collected all of my many pieces of luggage, I was sure I was giving my fellow travelers quite the scene. I'm only 5'4 and struggling with my heavy luggage must have been quite comical. I didn't have my entourage of family members to help me this time. When my friend, Emily, picked me up, we went back to her mom's house to gather all of her stuff and headed over to her dad's. After we grabbed a quick bite in the cute city of Auburn, we were Reno bound and traveling in style in her dad's cool, cool, cool, cool Hummer.
When we got to the hotel, which was really a Comfort Inn, we were given a suite at no extra charge, a really nice gesture. Our room was on the top floor, facing the Costco, and I guarantee no one had ever asked for a room with a view of Costco before. If you all could have seen us as we wheeled all of our luggage (including lawn chairs) up to our suite on the luggage cart. I think we must have bumped into every wall in the building on the way to our suite. We tried to make the best of our situation by instilling a little humor, but we kept laughing so hard that I was sure some cranky hotel guests were going to come out of their rooms and complain. Let's just say that we were pretty lucky.
After we were settled, we could already see that there were about five people in line, five crazy people given that it was already -4 degrees outside. This just shows how dedicated and awesome Sarah's supporters are; I was amazed. We found out that many more people would begin showing up at around 3 a.m., so we decided that we would wake up at 2:30 and check out the scene. Before we went to bed, we got everything ready the following day. I wrapped up the gifts, laid my clothes out and decided to take a shower, but little did I know that when I turned on the shower head, which unbeknownst to me was turned to most powerful position, it literally sprayed out all over the bathroom. Let's just say I'm glad the maids left us a lot of towels to clean up the flood. I silently said to myself, "Come on, did a liberal know that Sarah supporters would be staying in this room?"
When 2:30 rolled around, Emily and I were lucky enough to have the view of Costco from bed, so we just sat up and checked out the scene. How cool is that? There were still the same 5 or so people in line, so Emily set her cell alarm to 3:30, then 4:30, then finally 5:15 because every time we awoke there were less than a dozen people in line. When 5:15 rolled around, we both got up and started to get ready for what would turn out to be a very memorable day. As Emily got ready, I curled my hair because this fashionista wanted to look nice when she met the governor and her family. Although it was very cold, this wasn't going to keep Emily and I from looking our best; were Cali girls after all. When it came time to get dressed, usually would just throw on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, but not today. I ended up wearing two, yes two pairs of long johns under my jeans (One pair happened to be one of my favorite brands, Juicy Couture. (See, I told you I came fashionably prepared.) Under my KBYR jacket, I wore a sweatshirt and a long-sleeved tee under my Going Rogue t-shirt. For shoes, I went with a cute pair of knee-high, olive-colored Ugg boots that laced up. Emily was equally bundled up. We grabbed our mittens, hats and scarfs and headed down to the first floor.
We ate breakfast before heading out into the ice-cold, snow-filled Biggest Little City in the World. As soon as we stepped out into the cold, we looked at each other with the "I don't know about all of this" look, but we continued on because we knew our prize would definitely be worth it. After almost slipping about a dozen times, we ended up at Costco, thinking that the Costco looked a lot closer from our hotel room. With our lawn chairs on our backs. We must have looked really silly to some folks. One old guy even asked us if we were going hiking. Huh? Emily and I still don't get that one.
When we finally got over to Costco (at a little after 7:30), which seemed to take as long as it does for me to walk from the car into church when I wear a cute pair of sky-high heels, we saw that there had to be around 50 people in line, which wasn't bad at all. I finally realized that there weren't that many people in line because Costco had already begun the process of handing out wristbands, which in our case were little red tickets. While in line, a local Reno radio guy saw my KBYR jacket and asked if I'd come on their show. I was literally on for about a minute before my part of the line was allowed to enter the store. After the long process of showing our book receipts and such, we were told that we could either stay in line at the store all day in a roped off area, or come back later, but if we decided to come back, we would have to get in line again. Emily and I looked at each other and then to the line forming inside the store and chose the latter option. We knew the ticket pretty much guaranteed that we would get to see Sarah, so we decided to relax and enjoy some of the day around the city of Reno.
At that point, Emily's dad joined us. We checked out of the hotel and returned to Costco just to see what was going on. When we got there, we immediately snuck behind the area where Sarah would be holding her signing later that day and shot a few pictures, since security was not guarding it at the moment (I had too; my inner journalist came out- wink, wink). Emily's dad, Dan, is so cool. If there was a degree for multitasking, he would hold a doctorate. He owns his own marketing business, so he was in the middle of closing a deal, but like the great dad he is, he took the time to travel with his daughter and her friend to meet our hero. He even killed two birds with one stone while at Costco. He told Emily to go with me as I interviewed various individuals in line so that he could do a little Christmas shopping. Cool, huh? In between trying all the yummy samples (because no stop to Costco is complete without the samples), my little "intern," Emily, and I conducted interviews. Having studied journalism in college, I always love the thrill I get when I conduct interviews; it's so fun to be able to just talk to people from all walks of life. I told a lot of people about the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee of which I am the San Diego Regional Organizer, and I also told many about my blog. While talking to those in line, I was struck with how much these individuals loved and admired Sarah and her family. One man (fourth in line) even told me he'd wait four days in the cold if that's what it would take just for the chance to meet her. The first individual in line had gotten there at 7:30 the night before; talk about dedication.
After our shopping trip at Costco, we decided to go to the Starbucks down the street. Funny thing is the Costco employee made it sound as though it was a walking distance "right up the street" when it literally took about five minutes to drive there. That's okay though, the snow was beautiful to watch as we drove by. That is the one thing I miss about being in San Diego. While I love the sun and beach, I sometimes yearn to wake up to a winter wonderland. When we finally arrived at Starbucks, we hurried inside and grabbed a coffee. (Usually, I would get a Peppermint Mocha Frappachino, but, To-To, we weren't in San Diego anymore.) After getting our coffee, we all sat down and began to thaw out. I had a radio interview scheduled for 1:00 PST, so I had a little time to prepare for that.
This is where I end my amazing adventure, for now... stay tuned because the entry you all have been waiting for is coming up next!!!
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This is simply delicious. Sarah Palin makes a surprise visit to the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. So secret was her visit that the NBC audience was ushered out during rehearsal. As you will see, Sarah rocked the joint, or should I say..... she left 'em jazzed!
The tables are about to turn! According to this New York Times article, Sarah Palin will be boosting the ratings of Conan O'Brien, David Letterman's chief competition. Letterman should know not to mess with the lady from Wasilla!
Sarah Palin to Appear on ‘Tonight Show’ (It’s a Surprise)
By BILL CARTER
David Letterman has been all but begging Sarah Palin to grace his couch with a visit, but it’s his competition, Conan O’Brien, being granted the favor of a drop-in from the former vice presidential candidate.
Ms. Palin is scheduled to make a surprise walk-on appearance with Mr. O’Brien
on NBC’s “Tonight Show,” which is being taped later Friday evening in Los
Original article at:
Governor Palin's Going Rogue is #1 on the USA Today Bestsellers List for the third consecutive week.
The Governor is headed home to Alaska after an incredible book tour here in the Lower 48, but Going Rogue indeed is still going strong. She continues her tour on Sunday with stops at Elmendorf and Eielson Air Force Bases in her home state.
Going Rogue by the numbers (source: Mall of America):
2500: Number of copies of Going Rogue signed by Sarah Palin at her Barnes & Noble Mall of America appearance on December 7. The previous mall record for books signed was held by Twilight author Stephanie Meyer (850 books).
1700: Approximate number of persons who came to Mall of America to see Sarah Palin
4: Number of hours that Palin signed books on December 7
2: Number of international press covering the event (Der Spiegel and Al Jazeera)
1: Palin event ranking for the number of media organizations covering a Mall of America event in the mall's seventeen-year history
1: Current rank of Going Rogue on the New York Times Best Sellers list for hardcover nonfiction
0: Number of tomatoes thrown at Sarah Palin that actually hit her
It was Fred Barnes from the Weekly Standard who first introduced me to former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin back in July 2007, in his column "The Most Popular Governor:"
The wipeout in the 2006 election left Republicans in such a state of dejection that they've overlooked the one shining victory in which a Republican star was born. The triumph came in Alaska where Sarah Palin, a politician of eye-popping integrity, was elected governor. She is now the most popular governor in America, with an approval rating in the 90s, and probably the most popular public official in any state.
Her rise is a great (and rare) story of how adherence to principle--especially to transparency and accountability in government--can produce political success.
I became an immediate fan of Palin, read occasional articles about her, and enjoyed passing through her Mat-Su Valley hometown of Wasilla on vacation in July 2008. Imagine my thrill after attending a local Republican fundraiser, the night Barack Obama accepted the Democrat nomination for President — as we heard through the grapevine that network news helicopters, broadcast satellite trucks, and other media had encircled the home of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty — that John McCain had chosen Governor Palin as his running mate.
The rest is history, including Palin's dazzling acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul in September of 2008 (in Palin's book, a photo of the convention floor at Saint Paul's Xcel Energy Center is misidentified as being in Minneapolis), and the disappointing defeat of the McCain-Palin ticket in November.
It is fitting that Governor Palin returns to the Twin Cities, to a place called Mall of America. A shopping mall is, after all, a shrine to free enterprise and consumerism, a reflection of the highest standard of living in the history of the world. MOA is really big, like Alaska. And "An American Story" is what Palin is all about.
The gov we love alluded to her Minnesota connections in these Twitter posts sent from her Blackberry on December 7:
In Minnesota,event @ Mall of America,look frwrd 2 seeing Alaska friends' relatives here (a lot of MN transplants in AK!);lot in common w MNPalin's book and national tour are laying a strong and wide foundation of trust, loyalty, and affection for the governor and her family, amongst the hoi polloi in the small towns of America she claimed as her own in that acceptance speech last year:
Privileged 2 now meet w MN folks w families n Alaska;1 realizes how intimate r nation is as we travel&hear of connections all Americans have
A writer observed: "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity." I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.
I grew up with those people.
They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, who grow our food, run our factories and fight our wars.
They love their country, in good times and bad, and they're always proud of America.