Monday, January 28, 2002

"Every once in a while, the act of living life becomes so much more important than documenting it. which is a fancy-shmancy way of saying 'I haven't felt like writing.'"

No, not my words, but some that accurately describe why I haven't written since I went home for Christmas. Sorry to dissapoint you all... especially Grandpa who seems to be putting on the guilt trip in a major way (I still love you the 'mostest', don't worry.) Here is the compromise... for those of you that enjoy my writing, drop me an email saying that you would like an email every other week or so updating on any exciting happenings in my life... I still am going to do some cool things, like finish going to the Speakers Series that grandma and grandpa got me tickets for... Unfortunately I don't have the same daily excitement that I did last semester. I don't want you all to come to the journal everyday hoping for something to read, but i will send out a mass email on a semi regular basis-- but only to those who are interested in reading it, so you gotta tell me you want to read it ---

Life has gone back to normal... working, working, working and then some more working. I am doing some exciting things at work, that are very good experiences like being the managing editor of the monthly e-newsletter. I am also making jewlery that I soon hope to be selling at the salon, and I am working on a freelance gig making another sort of newsletter. To translate, I work 50 hours a week out of the house, cook dinner four to five nights a week, take care of the kids one weekend night, do extra html design work on the side, make jewlery an hour or so a night, find time to do yoga almost everynight and I'm also trying to pass a Finance class I'm taking extension from the U of MN. Not a lot of time for exciting extras, just a lot of the same stuff.

I did enjoy writing for the past semester and sharing it with so many people. It was great to be home over Christmas and hear from so many of my family and friends that they had enjoyed my semester along with me. I learned more in those few months than I proably have since that period of time I learned how to walk and use the toliet... It's incredibly flattering that so many people were able to and enjoyed joining me on my journey to Washington. I think it's a good time to let a good thing die before it becomes mundane.

Please keep in touch.

Friday, December 21, 2001

You knew it was coming didn't you?

Yup... it's hiatus time. School is over for the semester, I'm off to Minnesota for two weeks on Sunday and it's all most the New Year. It's time for a break. I promise to be back before too long and thank everyone for reading.

For those of you just visiting from the christmas card link... thanks for stopping by. Take a peak in the archives and learn about what I've been up to for the semester.

For all of you that are going to be terribly depressed of my short departure from the journal... drop me an email for gosh sakes, and I'll reply with a personalized journal entry just for you. (

Much Love-- Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

And now for another installment of Deep Thoughts...

I think that everyone reading this knows that I am not an overtly religious person. And I think that most of you also understand that this also means that I don't lack some sort of spiritual connection to the world. I just usually don't choose to participate in my spirituality within the confines of a church. I made an exception last Friday... it was actually and exception I didn't realize I was making until I was in the midst of it. Michelle and I went to a performance of Handel's Messiah at the Washington National Cahedral.

The National Cathedral is a HUGE and gorgeous Episcopal Cathedral located in Washington DC. It was the site of the memorial service that all the Presidents and important people went to in the aftermath of September 11th. The church is huge. When you walk through the doors you feel like you've entered an ancient place. The wierdness being that it isn't ancient, so it's a new ancient place. That makes it even odder, you feel like you've walked into the past... to when something that should be so ancient really was new. Usually I am a little spooked in churches like that. I remember Notre Dame and feeling bad cause I was just there to look at the pretty art while all these other people were there to worship. Fortunately, that night I was there for the occasion and so those thoughts didn't happen.

The Cathedral is supported by these HUGE columns. It's pretty cool because as they reach the ceiling they arch out to creat the ceiling supports. Anyway, beyond the cool architecture of the church, Michelle and I had awesome front row balcony seats for the performance. There was an orchestra, the boys and mens choir and then proffessional soloists. They took up about 5% of the church... it's that huge. Everyone is familiar with Handel's Messiah-- you know, Hallelujah, Hallelujah... It's beautiful and LONG, but the length is worth it, because it sounds so amazing. It is made up of three parts, the end of the second is the familiar Hallelujah chorus. It was the first time had heard the whole thing... thanks for taking me Michelle. I really enjoy the chorus parts and when the soloists do short recictations of pieces but I don't really like the arias... they are so long and repetitive. Even so the entire thing is beautiful...In the Cathederal is was especially beautiful...

Now, back to what I started with. My little moment of clarity. We had an argument in class at some point over "America's Navel Gazing"-- Us assuming that we've done something fundamentally wrong and that it's okay for Bin Laden's followers to hate us.

I wish I could say that I don't ever fall into that trap, but I know that I have. Not every day, but on occaison. Sometimes I look at all of our stuff-- Coca-Cola, CNN, The Mall of America and movie stars making $20 Million a picture (and even that evil stretch of highway filled with strip malls near Jim/Wendy and Grandma & Grandpa) and I wonder if we are doing the right thing. Heck, I take advantage of all of those things as much as any one else, but I still wonder if it's wrong... if maybe our culture of mass-media and hype is horrible. Yes, some of it is... but it isn't all wrong. I was looking down upon this beautiful church, listening to amazing sounds coming from the cultured instruments of the orchestra and the voices of children and I realized that the same people that have done bad in the sense of over commercialization have also done good in taking advantage of the gift of being able to create such a masterpiece. If we were wrong. If God was against us, we never would have been given the gifts to create such perfection. And I also know that those 3 hours of Handel's Messiah was only a small example of the creativity, ingenuity and genius that exists among the people I share my world with.

This is probably an appropriate time for me to say Happy Holidays to everyone. Much love and hope to see you all soon.

Sunday, December 09, 2001

I teased you all with my meeting Peter Bergen. I've been reading his book and realized that he didn't give us much insight that isn't in his book. Still, I was mighty impressed with him and with his book. SO, I'd encourage you to consder it as your pick for December's book of the month club (well, don't forget the Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express, but it's a timely addition).

As I mentioned before, it's called "Holy War, Inc." It was written with now 8 or so years of experience studying Osama Bin Laden and the Al Queda. He told us that he started collecting information during the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. In 1997, as a producer at CNN he was able to make contact and get a himself and crew into interview Bin Laden. His foray into Afghanistan to do the interview sounded crazy and scary: being blindfolded, many guns and RPG's as well as being told if they were doing anything covert that they would be shot on the spot. He said that Bin Laden wasn't particularly charismatic. That he was tall, thin and walked with a cane, signifying his slightly poor health considering he was barely 40 at the time.

Bergen has now become CNN's Terrorism expert. We met with him in a large group with three other class rooms and then he met with just our class of about 20 because he is close friends with our professor. We all wanted to ask him Journalism-y questions, but you could sort of feel that people didn't want us to while we were in the big group. And then while in the small group everyone got side tracked with little questions like: What are the caves like? He said some even have carpet and furniture... there are generators and even though they aren't living up to our standards it's pretty darn good for the desert.

The only truly poignant thing that you can't read in his book is that he worries about December 13. It's the last day of Ramadan and Al Queda has attempted other acts of Terrorism on the 27th (last) day of Ramadan because if you die on that day you are a bigger Mayrter than on any other day in the year. Fortunately he believes that if something does happen it most likely will not be in America because Bin Laden has a knack for being creative. Thus he believes if there is any act of Terrorism it will be a unique one. Bergen said he didn't mean to be an alarmist, or a pessemist, just that he was making an educated guess. I assume partly because he will go down on record as being the one who said such things if they do happen. Heck, part of the reason I am passing on such a rumor is for the same sort reason. Needless, hopefully nothing will happen. It just happens to be a rumor from and educated source that I couldn't pass up putting out on the table.

With all of those bad thoughts, I promise to write about going to Handel's Messiah at the Washington National Cathedral this weekend. It gave me a different perspective on all of this and one that is much more comforting.

OH and if you'd like to read an excerpt from Holy War, Inc. with out buying the book, the most recent Vanity Fair (the one with Brad Pitt on the Cover) has the first chapter of the book as an article. And speaking of good magazines... try reading Talk. I thought it was over-rated when it first came out but I've bought the last two issues and really enjoy it.

Oh and Grandpa asked me to shorten up the lead in for the journal because it takes up a half page to print. Gee... can't you see an artistic touch?? Just kidding. I'll try to fix it, but it isn't my 'artistic touch' I use a template that I then customize color and font, so I don't know if I can change things like lengths of frames. If you are printing out the journal, which is quite flattering, try copying what you want to print and pasting it in a format like word and then printing.

Thursday, December 06, 2001

I think not writing on my birthday or the day after means that I had a good time.

Michelle came and we went out after I finished working. A friend invited me to this concert/performance by "El Vez" he is a sort of Mexican Elvis Impersonator. It wasn't really a concert, it wasn't really a show. It was great, but way too hard to explain. It was fun although quite strange that I was with people I didn't know very well on my birthday instead of my good friends and family. I've been told that it was good because I am reaching out and growing... um yeah, but that still means I missed everyone.

Thanks for all the birthday calls and emails. Cards too. Thanks John and Kim and Grandma Marion (hopefully you are able to read this sometimes.) Grandma Pat and Grandpa JJ had already given me a card but I did get a little package of wild rice in the mail.. which was great. There is no wild rice in DC. You can buy it in a little Uncle Ben package all mixed with white rice (gross)-- it might just be where Page is shopping too. She's not so up on the Grocery shopping deal, not to mention the Grocery stores aren't so great here.

I STILL haven't gotten my present from Mom and Dad... that's okay, but it is sort of sad not to have it to open and feel like I've celebrated with them. It's not thier fault though, they sent it on Saturday. I think the mail is slow here right now. I suppose it might have something to do with the Anthrax thing still. Mail has been slow everywhere and one of the postal facilities it would have gone through was closed at one point. It finally came today but we weren't here. Hopefully I'll get it tommorow. And the present isn't the important part, I had nice messages from both of them and Dad called a couple of times until he actually got a hold of me.

I met Peter Bergen yesterday. The guy who wrote Holy War, Inc. and is the CNN Terrorism/Afganistan expert. Pretty interesting. I will write about it. Hopefully later tonight, but I haven't digested everything he said. I do highly recommend his book. It's a fairly easy read and is very insightful.

Can you tell I'm ready to come home for a bit? I wrote on and on about my family and who said happy birthday when I a man who sat side by side with Osama Bin Laden? Hey-- this is a good thing. It means my priorities are straight (family and friends) and the war isn't creeping TOO far into my daily life.

Monday, December 03, 2001

We went to CNN for class today. It wasn't that interesting although it is a different world inside a TV studio. There are millions of jobs that you've never even thought about.

We got to sit in the production room behind Judy Woodruff while she did her shtick. She was supposed to be talking about that new scooter thing that is getting a bunch of PR today. I think the thing is called Ginger and it's supposed to be revolutionary. It was pretty funny. She didn't know what she was leading into and while the live tape of people rolling around on the scooter was playing she was freaking out, then the sound went and it immediately came back to her. She picked up with a smile on her face and told the audience after the break they would be seeing more war coverage. It was pretty funny.

I never realized that the newsroom you can see behind the anchors is really behind a glass wall and it is the production room. They have video monitors everywhere watching all the networks, all the CNN channels and CNN international. They can talk to the anchors and immediately switch from live shots to b-roll or anything else. The LIVE that you are seeing is a half second off because the feed is sent to Atlanta and then Satelite broadcast.

Wedensday will be the fun day at school. Peter Bergin. The guy who wrote "Holy War, Inc." and has met Binladen will be comming to class. Anyone want a signed copy of his book?
I figured I should write as it's my birthday tommorow. You know, to track important events and all... tease.

My weekend was pretty lax. Work on Saturday was crazy. It must be the holidays. Most of the stylists are booked so when people call up to get appointments they aren't available when they want them. This means you end up listing off a bunch of other possible times while they hem and haw over what time would work for them. It takes about three times as long and people get all crabby.

Here are some tips to all you salon goers as to etiquette with the staff:
1. Don't show up for a walk-in appointment in the middle of the day on Saturday and expect us to accomadate you.
2. Don't have the staff at one salon call another to see if they can help you.
3. Recognize that the people in line ahead of you are going to be paying and scheduling another appointment-- don't let this bug you.
4. Don't call the salon on Saturday just to check and see when your appointment three weeks fron now is.
5. Once you have a cut and color appointment with a popular stylist, don't call the week before and expect to be able to move it... even a half hour or 15 minutes different.
6. If you're more than 15 minutes late and the stylist doesnt' keep your appointment... deal.
7. If you've been sitting and waiting for more than 15 minutes ask why... we've probably screwed up and forgotten you.
9. Tip everyone who touched your head. The shampoo people don't get paid very much.
10. If you have a gift certificate, still tip... it isn't included.

There certainly are more things to think about... basically the staff at the salon is working their butt off and no one intends to screw happens. be patient and we will try to accomodate the problem.

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

I finally had an interesting day in class that I can talk about.

In the morning we met with Barbara Fineman who is a ghost writer for a variety of well known people. She told us some interesting stories about people she's written for. The most interesting was about Hilary Clinton. Guess what? She didn't write "It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Child", heck she didn't even come up with the title. Barbara was hired when Hilary only knew that she wanted to write a book, she didn't even have an idea of what sehe wanted to write about beyond "something about children." They sat down together and brainstormed ideas and titles. Barbara thinks that if you can come up with a good title you can come up with a good book from it. They had no luck. Barbara went to interview a well known woman executive for a Vogue article. The woman she interviewed was a black, single mother who had made it big... very far from Barbara or Hilary's life. Barbara asked the woman who she manages to raise a child and work at the same time. The woman said.... "it takes a whole village to raise a child." That's how the book got started. I guess Hilary had used the term in earlier speaches but the whole book concept came after she decided to write a book and even after the title... how sort of depressing.

To all those Republicans out there you will also be pleased to know that Hilary sort of screwed Barbara over and was kind of a bitch. She had promised Barbara $120,000 for the book with no royalties because she didn't want people to know she had a ghost writer. That was okay, as the advance was much more than the usual. She also expected to be listed in the acknowledgements which is very important to a ghost writer. Whoops... Hilary only wrote: it takes a whole village to write a book-- a phrase Barbara once saide AND THEN... they also refused to pay her the full amount because the book was still changed a lot after Barbara finished with the Clintons...

It goes on. Barbara had also spent a weekend with the Clintons where she was only a room away from the 'papers' that were so scandalous in the Whitewater investigation. This meant that Kenneth Staar and the FBI supenoed (sp?) her and she ended up having to hire a lawyer and all kinds of other junk.

Bottom line... you might want to stay away from the Clintons. They must have liked Barbara's work because they asked her to stay on as a speech writer... she declined, she "just wanted to get out of that place."

Sort of sad story cause I want to like Hilary.

There is more, but I have to be off to class.