Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Today I embarked on my annual Thanksgiving trip to see my dad and family in mountainous New Mexico. I love this trip. There’s nothing more relaxing than waking up to the smell of pine trees and crisp mountain air - and who could miss the hustle and bustle of DC traffic? Not me. This trip is especially meaningful to me because I rarely get to see my half brother and sister – whom just yesterday it seems, were crawling on the floor. Today they are in the 4th and 1st grade. Yes, we truly are the “Modern” family, which, isn’t just my favorite TV show.  I actually do live this life. I love spending time with them.

I will miss D and the boys very much on Thursday –but am looking forward to having two Thanksgivings! And can already taste the bacon wrapped turkey he’ll be prepping for us upon my arrival back in DC this weekend.
So in honor of Thanksgiving – I realize I do have so much to be thankful for:
·         For D and the boys – and for how supportive he has been and continues to be of me. And for the boys  - who continue to teach me more about life than I think I could ever teach them;
·         For my family, especially my mom and how she continues to look out for me and support me from so far away – despite our differences;
·         For my step-mom  - who remains one of my closest friends and confidants;
·         For my half-brother and sister who make life so much fun and who have allowed me to re-live childhood all over again;  
·         For all of my friends, near and far. I am so blessed with some of the greatest friends on the planet;
·         For the time, energy and resources to be able to start riding horses again. My passion has been riding and caring for horses since I was a little girl – and I am so thankful and lucky to be able to continue with my riding;
·         For my job and the work that I have come to do over the years. I feel very lucky to have built such an exciting career and for the opportunity to have had such a great education;
·         For the opportunity to have traveled to so many different destinations around the world;
·         For my freedom – Today on my flight from DC there were two Army Special Forces men traveling in uniform and I was reminded that our freedom comes with a price. It was such a wonderful site to watch complete strangers walk up to these men and thank them for their service as they sat awaiting their flight in the airport terminal. Thank you to all who have served or who are serving!
Happy Thanksgiving week to everyone!

Monday, November 14, 2011


I don't own an iPhone - but there are some days I get a bit jealous of those who do :) The features seem pretty unbelievable and just the other day I was going through some of the apps and games and thinking - okay, how much longer will I really hold out? For the camera and ability to do that whole Instagram thing alone right? And let's face it, I'd probably be really great at Angry Birds.

Righhhttt! Until I saw this website. "DYAC" or Get ready for some laughs! Oh, those poor iPhone users.

 Here are some of my favs:

For better or for worse, I am a Blackberry user.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The “oops” heard around the world from Governor Rick Perry following the most talked about brain freeze ever, is still ringing in the ears of reporters, politicians, campaigners and of course comedians. I haven’t caught the Daily Show in quite awhile, but made sure to turn it on last night. I knew it would be a doozie. Boy was I right.

Turning to the real reason for this post: I thought long and hard about sharing the below photo, but decided, why not? Given the events of the last few days, it should now be looked at as some sort of gem. LOL. So before I lock it up forever, here it is: This was taken way back when Governor Perry, was Lt. Governor Perry circa 1999 (I think?) and I was a young reporter. The guy on the other side is Brent, my awesome photojournalist. We interviewed him in Austin that day so as to get some insight into his views for leading Texas following in the footsteps of then Governor George W. Bush, who was launching his Presidential campaign. It was an interesting interview. If I ever come across the raw tape, or the story that aired, (it’s probably on beta somewhere) I’ll post that too.

So thanks Governor Perry for a lot of laughs over the last decade. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the ride back to Texas.  So much for those dreams of being President. “Oops!”

In case you missed last night's Daily Show with Jon Stewart on the Perry gaffe. You can link to that here. As Stewart says: a comedian can spend his whole life digging through the comedy mines for sound bites to sustain his family, and then Rick Perry gives him :53 seconds that can change his life.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Heroes and Villains

Today I attended a conference at the Public Affairs Council about the art of political messaging, "Write to Change the World."  Oh how relevant given the ramping up of campaign season. So many of us need a refresher on tools of persuasion , aligning message and audience and of course pure ole fashion message development.

One of my favorite topics today was that of heroes vs. villains. We often forget that in every good story there has to be conflict, where arises a hero and a villain. And every good communications professional will work to seek out each in order to create a compelling narrative to make their point so as to feed on the emotions of the audience they're seeking to reach.

Which brings me the below. This is a campaign ad for a man named Dale Peterson. This guy ran for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner last year and lost, but you have to hand it to him. He (or his communications folk) took the idea of heroes vs. villains to a whole new level. Wow.

Dale Peterson Campaign Ad

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clearing out the Toys

If you know me, you know I hate junk. I'm pretty "type A" when it comes to being organized - and the slightest bit of clutter gives me anxiety. So, given that I live with 3 boys - two of whom are 4-years-old , (the other is almost 40, but let's just say he's not quite as organized as me;) I'm learning to roll with the punches, though I'm not sure I'll ever learn to LOVE clutter.

With Christmas around the corner, I'm totally jazzed. Christmas is absolutely my favorite time of year. If there is/was a female Clark Grizwald, I'd be her, hands down! That being said - prepping our home for Christmas is something of another beast. We have toys, bikes and other riding toys cluttering every corner of the house and junk in our basement that I can't seem to get around (the result of two separate floods this year) but that's a whole other story.

Let's just start with the toys: The boys live with us part time, so I thought about doing a toy dump on a weekend they are with their mother, so as to make room for everything new coming in from Santa Clause next month. After all, they probably wouldn't know what was missing if I did it when they are gone, right? (We even still have a couple of toys in boxes from 2 years ago that never got opened and are still in the closet, oops my bad.)

But then I thought maybe there's a lesson in here...Instead of me using my immediate "have to get rid of", "dump it now" decluttering ways, I'm wondering if we should include the boys in this process? There are dozens of children's charities that need gently used toys. Toys for Tots is also always in need of new, unwrapped toys during the holiday season. I think a trip to Toys R Us to have the boys pick out a toy to buy for a needy child would be a great lesson indeed. I'll let you know how that one flies!

Below are some lists of local charities looking for toys this time of year, if you're looking to de-clutter before Santa comes:

Toys for Tots (only accepts new toys)
Northern VA Salvation Army
Goodwill of Greater Washington

Monday, November 7, 2011

Call me Crazy, but the Cain Campaign's Gone Coo Coo

(too much alliteration?)

I am beyond astounded by what has come out of the mouth of GOP candidate Herman Cain over the last several days – or shall I say, lack thereof. Today there’s word that a new woman will step forward and accuse Cain of sexual harassment (this is the 4th), though this woman will actually take her accusations public. Herman Cain’s diversion tactics to date can only be described as odd, defensive and downright suicidal. I shall love to see what happens next. Let’s just say today’s press conference may just be the nail in the coffin – or maybe it will be the words to come out of Cain’s mouth directly following once Cain is pressed for comment. I’m not sure what excites me more?

Seriously, where are the real campaign staff? Advisors? Communications professionals? Do they not exist on this campaign or has Cain just gone rogue?  If you haven’t caught the round table from yesterday’s #MTP, It’s worth a glimpse.

I have spent my entire career working with the media, both as a journalist and on now on the other side as one of the hundreds of communications professionals working up and down K street – and the red flags are abounding. The fact that this campaign did not set out to tell the story from day one or get the facts out ahead of the story suggests there IS something to hide – and getting defensive in front of reporters, fighting off questions with answers that came from purely internal conversations such as “We’re getting back on message” and oh here’s my favorite: “Can someone send these guys the journalist code of ethics?” is purely comical.

Sparring with reporters on national TV is never a good idea, particularly if you’re trying to run for the most important office in the world. This guy is not ready to run for President. At this rate, his next stop is SNL.