November 2009


I worked at regaining my non-combative posture and continued.

Sarah delivered her speech to the Texas audience, ending it with a comment about having to leave because she evidently had gone into labour. (I’m thinking Sarah and Todd went from the hall to a restaurant as there was some time to kill before the flight departed, but I could be wrong on this point.) Regardless, they took cabs and shuttles between Texas destinations and the airport, Todd jostling all the bags, Sarah looking after herself. She claims to not have been in any discomfort, which is why no one noticed she was in early labour. She says the leaking amniotic fluid was so minimal it presented her with no problems and she had no contractions. Once on the airplane, she apparently stayed in her seat. She’s quite proud of the fact that no flight attendant or passenger knew what she was experiencing. This was strictly between her and Todd and God.

Now back in Alaska, Sarah and Todd…

“WAIT WAIT WAIT!” my Oz friend bellowed. “Nobody on the plane NOTICED???”

“Apparently not. The flight crew was later identified and interviewed by reporters and they (the crew) were a bit confused to learn there had been a passenger on board who’d been pregnant at all, much less in the last moments before birth. No one seemed to recall any pregnant woman or any woman in any sort of distress on the flight.”

“Surely someone noticed a full-on pregnant belly bumping into them on her many trips to the loo? Was there never a line to get into a loo? How big was this airplane anyway? Did she have a private compartment like they have on trains?”

I shrugged my shoulders. My friend slumped back into her chair, rolled her eyes and motioned me to go on.

Ok…  back in Alaska, Sarah and Todd got into the family car and drove home to Wasilla. Through a snowstorm. Or a blizzard. One accounting said it took five hours. Another quote had it at ‘two or three’. Still another occasion has Sarah saying the car ride home was nothing, so I’m not at all sure which version to give you. Suffice it to say it was Alaska cold, there was at the very least, Alaska snow on Alaska ground and it was after midnight. So reasonably, if the roads weren’t piled deep in drifts, they were at least icy and slick, and sure to provide a bumpy ride. The pair reached the Mat`Su Hospital in (or near) Wasilla, Alaska just after 5am and she had her first contraction as she entered the hospital building. Baby Trig was born a couple of hours later, a full month early but full term weight of 6+ pounds..

And there you have it. The media coined it Sarah’s Wild Ride and I think I’ve given you as close to her version of the story as possible.

I waited quietly for her reaction and finally, in a surprisingly calm voice she flatly stated:

“That’s the biggest pile of porkies I think I’ve ever heard in my entire life! Really! People believe that rubbish? That’s like an episode straight out of Desperate Housewives! Does she know the writers?”

“Well it’s odd to me that with Sarah’s overnight fame, not one person from either her Washington D.C. or Texas trip ever came forward to claim braggers rights on having helped her in or out of a taxi, a table at a restaurant, an elevator or even a flight of steps. How on earth did anyone nine months pregnant descend the portable stairs from an airplane to the tarmac, in the dead of night on icy ground with not one person coming forward to share a cute story about having helped her? That just goes against human nature. Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame. Sarah became a national figure only four months after this event. Surely people who’d helped or seen a very pregnant woman waddling in and out of cars, up and down stairs and on and off airplanes only four months earlier would have remembered their experience and spoken up? But no – nothing.”

We chatted about other things for a while, mutual friends, her new home and how she was (for the first time ever) wrapping her head around gardening. I gave her some clippings from a few of my more forgiving plants, and then we were standing at the door of her car.

“You know, I lived closer to my sister when she was carrying her two boys. I’m thinking it was by her sixth or maybe seventh month mum and I were driving her everywhere because even though she was in really great shape, physically, the bulk made her too uncomfortable to get behind the wheel. Even young and thin, she waddled that unmistakable pregnant waddle. You know, the one that makes it look like a woman’s balancing a watermelon between her knees whilst walking? I was actually looking forward to experiencing that firsthand.”

She put the plant cuttings in the backseat and shut the door. She gave me a hug and said calmly “I don’t think it’s right that someone gets to make up a story like this and pass it off as the truth. Not while there’s people like me who tried so hard to have a child and failed every time. I’m 37 years old and I’m running out of time and I don’t think there’s many options left for me to have a baby. So no, I don’t think this is funny at all. I think this is a very serious lie she’s telling and I hope someone in her world who knows the truth pulls their finger out and exposes this nonsense for exactly what it is. Nonsense. Hurtful nonsense.”

 The End

People who have no investment in Sarah Palin see through her veil of absurdities without hesitation. The problem is, those people who are invested in Sarah Palin don’t seem to see her at all. – OzMud

====== OzMud’s note ======
The first time I heard about Sarah’s ‘Wild Ride’  was over a year ago. I’ve read other people’s versions and heard her ever-evolving version in bits of speeches and now in her book, throughout the year. Please remember that while I was relating this tale to my friend, we were sitting on my porch with sun shining and birds singing and I was attempting to be fair to Sarah and not embellish. 
All of the details offered in these past three posts came off the top of my head  – as good as memory allowed  – and not from sitting in front of a computer where each detail could have been checked and verified. I acknowledge that in the telling, I’ve got more than one detail wrong 🙂

To those contributing comments on the road trip from the airport to Mat’Su Hospital – kudos on the energetic discussion and thanks so much for all your input. (I do appreciate everything you add.) The first version I heard had this taking place during a blizzard. I know this because I lived in the high desert of snow country for several years and immediately associated the tale with a night I’d been caught in an unexpected storm nd the visibility was so bad I got behind a snowplow on the freeway and followed it all the way home (going aprox 10 mph) for fear of going off the road and over a cliff . I was terrified and it took for-bloody-ever.

Under the best of conditions, in my humble experience, in snow country, during snow season, with or without an active storm happening, after 10pm on the best of roads there is always black ice, there are always slick spots, there is always that unexpected chunk of brownish snow that’s fallen off a car ahead that needs to be avoided at all costs because you can’t tell if the center is soft or hard and hitting it might damage your front end – and there is always the possibility of an unpredictable storm or blanket of fog that renders you suddenly and completely blind until it passes. Driving at night in snow country should always, always be approached with caution.

I’m sure it’s done, but I cannot wrap my head around anyone ‘safely’ travelling 45 miles, after midnight, in snow country, in under two hours. Especially with a passenger who’s leaking amniotic fluid and could go into hard labour at any second.

And that’s the key. Labour is not predictable. What would Todd have done if, on an isolated road in the dead of night, his wife had gone into hard labour? How would he have delivered his son? Protected his wife? What provisions did they have on hand? Hot water? Clean blankets?  Could Todd have at least washed his hands? Was there light? What would he have used to clamp or cut the umbilical cord? What if the infant, born a month early, had trouble breathing? How would he have kept his son alive long enough for help to arrive?  What if Sarah began to hemorrhage?

One would think Todd would have at least arranged for an ambulance to meet them at the airport in Anchorage, providing his wife and unborn child with immediate medical assistance and the safest possible passage on the last leg of what must have been an incredibly tense, gruelling trip for him.

One would think.

Sarah Palin won the Alaska gubernatorial election in 2006 on a ticket of promised transparency in government, ousting the seated governor whom no one liked and most suspected of corruption. Sarah had done business with the big boys in oil and had put them in their places, promising to do more of the same as governor.

Just after a year in office, Sarah, aged 42 or 43, discovered she was pregnant with her fifth child. She had a son serving in Iraq, two teenage daughters and a daughter in grade school. At the time, her husband was working on the North Slope – a large oil field owned by BP I think. The site was not one the workers could commute to and from so they worked in blocks of weeks, and during this particular ‘block’, Todd was not at home. Anyway, Sarah tells how because Todd was gone she had to handle all the initial decisions and emotions by herself, and she hadn’t wanted to tell anyone else until after she’d spoken with her husband. So nobody was told the good news.

For reasons which escape me at the moment, she underwent amniocentesis. Again Todd was not available, and again she had to wait for him to come home before telling him. She said she hadn’t wanted any criticism from the press or the legislators on being pregnant at her age so kept the whole pregnancy quiet. When Todd finally did come home, she told him the amnio results concluded the bub had Downs Syndrome. They decided together to not say anything until it was necessary. It was their little secret and nobody else’s business.

She was able to cover her pregnancy bump with loose clothing and cleverly-draped scarves enough that not even the people with whom she worked closely everyday suspected. She didn’t gain any excessive weight (she runs a lot) and was in general good health. A month before the bub was due, Sarah had two work-related trips planned. One toWashington D.C., the other to Texas to give a speech for something or other – I forget. Any way, the trips were about a week apart, the second one falling in her 36th week, and her Ob-Gyn gave her the okay to make the trips. Both are like going from Alice Springs to Sydney. It’s a few hours of driving to get from home to the airport, (more than two hours in good weather), then a long flight across the country, (12-15 hours), then taxi rides to get to hotels.

So – long story short – on the second trip, in Texas, her water broke. Just leaking, not huge puddles, but any leak is considered a break so – her water broke. She calls her doctor in Alaska. She wants badly for her son to be born on Alaska soil, but she also wants badly to deliver her 30 minute speech to the board of – something (why can’t I remember this part? I must be getting old) in Texas. Remember, she doesn’t want to catch flack for being a woman and the governor and having a baby all at the same time, and she claims the press was not normally kind to her.

So the doctor asks her a few questions and then tells her it should be ok to give the speech and then come home as planned.

My friend leans forward and belly laughs. Belly laughs! I had to wait for her to stop!

“Sarah is how old?” she finally asks

“By this time she’s 43 or 44”

“And she’s got four already?”

“Yuh.”

“They got this guy’s license, right? The doctor. I mean he’s not practicing medicine anywhere anymore is he?”

“Well, it’s she, and no, she’s still practicing medicine in Alaska.”

“What quack doctor would tell a woman in her 36th week to get on a plane and fly anywhere much less a 10 hour”

“12 hour”

“…a 12 hour trip, a woman past 35 and they already know the bub has Downs? That’s mad! Were there no hospitals in Texas?”

“Practically across the street from her hotel.”

“And her husband didn’t throw her in a hotel laundry cart and push her there himself? Or call an ambo? Geez my husband would have just taken over and my feet wouldn’t have hit the ground between the time I told him my water broke and they opened the doors to the maternity ward.”

“Well, Sarah and Todd agreed it would be best for them to go home.”

“They at least took an earlier flight?”

“Well, no, she gave her speech and then…”

More laughter. No kidding, she was holding her stomach she was laughing so hard. Spouse came out from under his headphones to see what the noise was about. We stood side by side in the doorway watching her laugh. “I’m only up to the water breaking at the hotel” I told him. He chuckled something about silly Americans, and went back to WoW. I refilled the plate of bikkies. Finally, she settled down.

“You’ve made all this up just to make me feel better haven’t you!”

“Nup.” I said, whilst a big grin grew across my face. “Want to hear about the flight home?”

…to be continued

Had lunch Saturday with a friend I’ve not seen in over a year.  She’d been married only 15 months and had suffered a miscarriage during the 2008 US Presidential election so her interests in November last had nothing to do with US politics.

Bit of background: My friend survived two ectopic pregnancies in her late twenties. As a newlywed (and now in her mid-thirties) she and her spouse talked about starting a family. They’d researched Invitro Fertilization and were putting together the money not only for that procedure, but also for a costly pre-operation her doctors insisted she undergo first because of her history. While she was performing all the pre-op daily testing (blood counts and temperature monitoring) she fell pregnant naturally. She was over the moon. For several weeks she got encouraging reports from her doctors and gingerly started buying baby things. But before the end of the first trimester she miscarried. To say she was emotionally gutted would be kind. Needless to say, her friends and family have tiptoed around any baby news we may have had to share this past year.

She had, however, visited my blog when the (carbuncle story) link was sent to friends and rellies in a ‘this is what we’re up to lately’ email and this past week, for the first time, scrolled back to look at other posts in the blog. So here, relaxed on my patio, in beautiful Queensland weather, after a lovely meal and sipping water with chunks of frozen lime she asked the question which makes my husband throw his hands up in the air and run off to play WoW:

“What can you tell me about Sarah Palin” she asked while spouse groaned. I chuckled. “Which part? How much time do you have?” As the giggling subsided and we watched my other-half make his exit, she thought for a moment and then continued. “Well, I know she had something to do with the last Presidential election in the US – and that a lot of people here just shake their heads and mutter ‘kook’ when her name is brought up – but when I was skimming through your recent posts I noticed a phrase I think I’ve seen in the papers here – her ‘wild ride’? Something to do with having a baby on an airplane?”

We chatted in somber tones about how none of us (her friends) had wanted to tell her any baby stories this past year, not even about people to whom she couldn’t possibly relate. She shared with me the story of her older sister (mother of two boys) and how just after she’d miscarried, her sister became pregnant – with a much-wanted girl. My friend described to me her recent trip to sister’s house,  her feelings of unease (why did big sister get to have three healthy bubs when she couldn’t manage even one) and her mother just plopping the infant in her arms saying ‘here – feed your niece’ and how she’d had to finally put her sense of loss to rest.

Assured the tale wouldn’t reopen a wound and realizing the opportunity in front of me – a chance to garner an unbiased, non-American opinion, I decided to relate Sarah’s story to her, and without the taint of sarcasm. “Well, if you’ve read any of my posts about the woman at all” (She interrupted to say she’d not actually read the political posts but skimmed over them getting to the more personal ones.) I rethought my sentence. “Let’s just say I’m not exactly a fan of hers.

But here,  let me try to put my views aside and tell you her story according to how she tells it, in speeches, interviews and passages in her book, and you tell me what you think.”

“Fair enough.”

We brought out the dish of homemade almond meringues, poured more water, got fresh ice and I began the story of Sarah…

…to be continued 🙂

Have been skimming through the online reviews and excerpts from Sarah’s book and I have to say – if her writing was meant to change the minds of people like me enough to get onboard to support her political aspirations – she’s failed miserably. A few days ago I referenced her title Going Rogue as an unfortunate choice of words to represent a future presidential candidate. Rebel would have been a better choice. One can be rebellious and still have principles. Rogue behaviour simply describes one who goes against the grain of decency; morals and ethics be damned. It lacks honour and ignores boundaries. There’s not one thing romantic, glamorous or heroic about calling yourself a rogue.

I really hate that the people in her world don’t give her better counsel.

That said, the next issue to catch my attention is her unrelenting and unconscionable account of baby Trig’s birth. How anyone with more than three active brain cells can possibly accept Sarah’s fairytale saga of her grandson’s entrance into this world continues to amaze me. That a reputable journalist felt the need to leave the US in order to safely write the truth about it should be written into history as the ultimate American irony.

Most bloggers trying to shed some light on Sarah’s Fantastical Flight from Texas to Alaska on that spring night in 2008 to give birth to a child on home soil (aren’t all states considered home soil to an American?) have disected Sarah’s account and inserted more realistic, probable versions. I wrote my version here, complete with illustrations of what a fetus actually looks like in the last few months of pregnancy, including how large Sarah would have been at the time of getting in and out of public transportation, on and off airplanes and in and out of airplane seats – with never one person she encountered – not a cab driver, waitress or flight attendant – at any time – realizing she was pregnant at all, much less in her ninth month and leaking amniotic fluid.

My mother (who is not a fan of Sarah’s) tells the story of having a toothache so bad she needed to have it pulled. (This is probably in another post but I’ll mention it again.) The morning of the scheduled extraction, my father had gone off to work and my mother was to take a bus into the city. Her water broke while getting dressed. Determined to not go through hours of labour while having this excruciating toothache, she mopped up the water, got on the bus and each time she moaned the dentist assumed it was her tooth. After it had been pulled and packed, she confessed to her dentist, called a cab, my father and went to the hospital. My brother was born just a few hours later. When my mother mentioned to me in passing that (based on her own experience)  this part of Sarah’s story might be true, I asked her how long it took from the time her water broke to the time she was admitted to the hospital and she paused. Two hours, tops I believe was her reply.

If Sarah’s account of Trig’s birth were true:

*The event organizers allowing her to get on stage and give a 30 minute speech while leaking amniotic fluid would be liable for endangering the lives of Sarah and her unborn child.

*The airline allowing her to board a plane in her 36th week of pregnancy and while in labour would be liable for endangering the lives of the other passengers, Sarah and her unborn child.

*One of the many cab drivers she and Todd encountered would have noticed her difficulty getting into and out of his vehicle.

*One of the many waitresses she and Todd encountered would have noticed how Sarah didn’t ‘fit’ at a table.

*One of the flight attendants would have noticed Sarah’s difficulty with a food tray and/or seatbelt.

The Alaska doctor who advised her against immediately checking into a Texas hospital, instead approving her 20+ hour trip back to Alaska and stopping to give a 30 minute speech first should have her medical license snatched and felony charges filed against her for endangering the lives of passengers and flight crews on at least four airplanes, Sarah and the health of her unborn child. She should also appear before a medical board for having given Sarah carte blanche permission to travel across country that late in her pregnancy with a fetus ‘she’ diagnosed with having Downs Syndrome in the first place.

*             *             *

When I was a kid, the big thing was books with matching narrations on 78 records. Disney put them out. The narrations matched exactly the printed words, and sound effects prompted you when to turn the page. (I was reading whole books by the age of four, by the way.) I can still hear Bozo the Clown blowing bubbles from his diving mask and smell the applesauce brewing in a big pot on the kitchen stove while I sat on my mother’s lap, listening to Bozo, watching the words and looking at the pictures.

When Sarah opens her mouth I can hear the background music from the Emperor’s New Clothes records. The emperor had been swindled out of some gold by a travelling salesman, who knew the emperor wanted a new wardrobe so badly he was susceptible to a con. He dressed him in invisible clothing, held up an invisible mirror and told the emperor what he wanted to hear – that he looked wonderful in his new threads. When the emperor turned to his old mirror, the sly salesman jumped in front crying ” No, no, your majesty, don’t look in the ordinary mirror, look in this one! See how magnificent you are in your new finery!” Eventually, and because he wanted so desperately to believe the conman, the emperor embraced the lie, taking part in a royal parade dressed only in his underwear. Which, of course, was a disaster because the people with the real mirrors were all outside.

Sarah doesn’t want any of us to look into the real mirror. She wants us to keep looking into her pretend one. She skillfully achieves this with witnesses who either can’t be named,  refuse to get involved or simply don’t exist.  She cites details of events that can’t be verified and proffers not one shread of supportive documentation…

Sarah is quite likeable and very clever. But no matter how badly you may want her version of her to be real – she’s not telling any of us the truth about the birth of Trig Palin. And folks like me keep waiting for the people holding the real mirrors to come out of hiding.

Editor’s Note:
Sorry about the broken link – if the one above also doesn’t work, the post is in the folder called Sarah Palin: ‘Not the People’s Choice’ award winner 2008 – and it’s the 8th entry (Babygate on a Plane)

Welcome to the very first document created in my brand-spanking-new-way-too-expensive program; Microsoft Office 2007. One of the reasons for my unannounced hiatus was that I’ve gone back to work. With a few good contacts and a couple of new programs, I can proudly announce that after almost fifteen years of retirement, I have an actual job again! And – I can work at my own desk – in my own time – hanging out in my pajamas – and not wash my face or brush my hair if that’s what trips my trigger.

Yes my friends I have embraced the new millennium.

In this fast-paced, techy-gadgeted society filled with ultra-smart, energetic dot-com entrepreneurs all racing to find the next billion dollar idea, there seems to have risen an actual niche for people like me. (You know, old, tired and slow?)  I fondly call it Grunt Work, and its out there for the taking. All you need is an old-fashioned work ethic and a desire to do a job properly no matter how tedious or boring the task.

Yes my friends, all those little pain-in-the-ass computer chores that small companies and service groups need done but can’t get a 20 to 30 year old to sit still long enough to do them because the pay is crap – that’s my niche. Unattractive desk work at crap pay. And I’m loving it 🙂

There are thousands of jobs out there that no one wants to do but the need for them to be done still exists. So my small piece of advice for anyone reading this who might be experiencing trouble finding work in today’s job market is simple:  Stop looking at the jobs eveyrone else is competing for and find out what needs to be done in your local community that nobody else is willing to do and step up. A little pay is better than no pay at all, and the small business you help out today could very well become the big company who remembers you tomorrow.

I’m off to install Corel Digital Studio 2010, a new graphics-slash-movie-making program that promises to teach me how to take photos straight from my camera and turn them into professional-looking .avi movies. I’ve been using this old (eesh really old) program that turns everything into .mpg’s but the compression smunches all the detail into a fine fuzz and this is supposed to be fuzz-free, state of the art newness. I am so grateful to still be alive and kicking in today’s magical technology…

Ok, my first job only paid about a third of what I would have made on a comparable job fifteen years ago – but it bought two excellent new programs, a ram boost and I never once had to put on pantyhose – I’m stoked.

For those unfamiliar with Australian customs, News Agencies are local shops which specialize in selling newspapers, magazines, current book releases, stationary, gift cards, school paper supplies, candy bars, scratch-its and lottery tickets. They are like oversized news stands – glammed-up,  indoors and without the baseball cap-clad barker hollering Getcha papah! Getcha papah!

Yesterday I happened to be near my local News Agency and as I passed by the bookrack a hearty  grin reshaped my face.  Not  a single copy of or advertisement for Going Rogue was in sight.  I’m sure that will change, but for now it just feels good to know that I live in a country that hasn’t yet been poisoned by Palin’s pen. I imagine this is what it felt like to be outside the pod zone in The Body Snatchers.

It is listed on news.com.au – but as a ‘parody’.  So – looks like some of her own advertisers don’t believe her either  hahaha!

On a lark I asked my husband to check the internet back allies for me – you know, those dark places that let you download stuff without actually paying for any of it?  None of the sites we looked at had anyone offering copies of Sarah’s book. Which is something because you can get pirate copies of anything on the internet these days.  So… apparently, while the sales may be booming in US bookstores, on a global level, Going Rogue – isn’t even attractive enough to steal. (I know, I know, sarcasm is so unattractive.)

And here’s a bit of trivia for you to mull over…  Sarah didn’t even come up with an original book title.  City of Heroes, a popular RPG game, last May announced it’s first expansion set titled – you guessed it – Going Rogue (and there’s the trailer to prove it).

I’d love to paste their cover for you but my graphics programs aren’t running yet so here’s the link. I wonder if the pictured Desdemona isn’t Sarah’s secret hero *smirk*

In all the discussions about this book, (admittedly I’ve stayed away from most of them) has anyone touched on the choice of words used in the title? I mean – who thought it was a good idea for Sarah, a potential 2012 presidential candidate to liken herself to a rogue? Positioning herself as a rogue in McCain’s bid for president, pretty much is an admission she was out of line with his campaign – and not the other way around.

Check out dictionary.com and then look in any thesaurus for synonyms.  There’s not a single positive, complimentary word offered to describe rogue. Albeit, swindler, cheat, trickster and quack look completely appropriate to me!

 Comp is officially wiped – now I’m reinstalling programs in prep for adding new ones… later 🙂