Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kate Middleton, she's a real doll.

Want to bring Kate home? Just buy this "limited edition" and "collectible" doll.
"Engaged" Kate is $195. That's ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY FIVE DOLLARS people!

For $490, you can buy both Engaged Kate and Wedding Kate. Double Yow!
I like dolls but really. Really!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


This is what I found on the official Royal Wedding website. Love how it says "Not for broadcast." The royal wedding is only THE hottest news item in the U.K. And they don't want us to broadcast any bit of news we get? Sheesh.


Operational Note

CAB 077/11

23rd March 2011


There will be a limited number of media positions along the ceremonial route and in Westminster Abbey for reporters wishing to cover the Royal Wedding. All of these reporting positions will all be assigned in advance.

There will be a limited number of positions available at the following locations:

1. The Queen Victoria Memorial (facing Buckingham Palace)
2. Richmond House (on Whitehall facing the Cenotaph)
3. St Margaret’s Church
4. Westminster Abbey for the Service

In addition, UK Press Association will have reporters in the following positions along the Route to provide pooled copy for all:

1. The Mall opposite Stable Yard
2. Horse Guards Parade
3. Parliament Square
4. Buckingham Palace

In St Margaret’s Church, we can offer a limited number of reporters the opportunity to view the Service on a feed direct from the Abbey, with Royal Household Press Officers in attendance. A limited group of these reporters will then be bussed, just before the end of the Service, directly to the Queen Victoria Memorial to be in place for the carriage procession and for the balcony appearance and fly past.

In Westminster Abbey, a limited number of reporter positions will be allocated to a cross section of news organisations by St James’s Palace. There is no need to apply for these positions.

There are three ways to access the positions for reporters:

1. If you are represented by the following organisations NPA, WPA, CPNA, IPA and the NS. Sue McLeavy, at the NPA will co-ordinate the available places. You can contact sue on
2. If you are represented by the SNS, the FPA, the PPA or the AACL, please contact your organisation who will discuss representation with Clarence House and the Cabinet Office.
3. Finally, if you are not represented by any of these organisations, a small number of places will be available by emailing
. You must state which position you are applying for otherwise your application will not be considered.
4. The deadline for applying for a place is close of play on Friday 2/4/11

Accreditation will only be available for reporters who have been granted a position. Details of the requirements for accreditation will be sent out when the positions have been confirmed.

Accreditation will only be available for broadcasters who are being provided with facilities by BBC, ITN, SKY, EBU and APTN. Details of this accreditation will be available through the organisation which will be providing them with broadcast facilities.

The applications process for photographer positions has now closed.

Details on how non-accredited media will be able to operate, adjacent to the ceremonial route, will be issued shortly.

Cabinet Office 22 Whitehall LONDON SW1A 2WH
Tel: 020 7276 5104 – Fax: 020 7276 0168
Out of hours telephone 07699 113300 and ask for pager number 721338

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Off they go!

Our oldest girl and a bunch of kids from her school left today for a seven day immersion program at an Indian reservation in Montana. This was her first time to leave home like this and I freely admit I was a little weepy when we left her at the airport.
What am I going to do when she leaves us for college???

Monday, March 21, 2011

My royal treatment.

Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register
Monday, March 21, 2011

I’ve got wedding fever. I’m talking about the royal wedding. You know, the one of William of Wales and Catherine Middleton. That royal wedding.

I’m not British. I’ve never lived in the U.K. I don’t think we need a King or Queen of America. But I love the royal family, every irrelevant one of them.

It all started in 1981 when Diana got engaged. I was 14 and when I saw that engagement ring, that blue suit and that adoring prince, I was hooked. A blushing 19-year-old schoolteacher marrying a real-live prince was surely the Most Romantic Thing Ever.

The night of that royal wedding, my mom got me up in the middle of the night to watch the ceremony live on TV. I was mesmerized by Diana’s dress, the famous 25-foot train, her tiara, and the bridesmaids. The new princess was only five years older than me. One of the bridesmaids was my age. That could be me, I thought at the time.

I carefully noted the wedding details — everything from the golden coaches to the flowers. This was the closest thing to a real-life fairy tale I could imagine. For Christmas that year, my parents gave me a coffee table book about the royal wedding that I still have. Yeah, I had royal fever big time.

So when William finally made his move this year and put that same ring on Kate’s finger, I went down the Royal Rabbit Hole once again.

After hearing that the April 29 wedding is at 11 a.m. London time, which is 2 a.m. in Napa, I realized that I’d need to stay up all night to watch the event live. And watching it live is a must. There will be no sleeping during the royal wedding.

Lucky for me, it turns out that the wedding date also happens to be a school holiday, which is absolutely perfect timing for me to take a day off of work for the wedding. I don’t have to rush to get any kids ready in the morning or drive anyone to school that day. Thank you William and Kate!

What would be even better would be to actually go to London for the royal wedding. Just for fun, I looked online at royal wedding travel tours.

Most involved taking buses from other locations in England and camping out near Buckingham Palace. But even if I was to sign up for a tour, getting to London was the problem. The Huffman Family has no international travel budget.

A few weeks ago, my husband casually remarked during dinner that he noticed the “Today Show” was having a contest to win a trip to London during the royal wedding.

Contest … Royal Wedding … London ... this has my name written all over it!

I got on the “Today Show” website to see the rules. Each contestant would need to submit a two-minute video and 300-word essay.

I gathered my production staff (daughters), producer (Don), and editor (myself). OK, people, I said. We’re making a video. I want to win that trip!

In my video I explained how I’m a reporter at a small-town newspaper. Covering the royal wedding live in London isn’t something my editor would assign me to work on. The Napa Valley Register has no international travel budget.

This is my only chance to get to London, I said in my video. This could be my big break in journalism. Pick me!

After sending off my video and essay, I sat back to wait for the “Today Show” phone call. And waited. And waited. A few days later I checked the NBC website.

I didn’t win.

Since I wasn’t going to London, I figured I’d just read all about it here in Napa.

First, I’ll need a subscription to Majesty magazine, the U.K.-based magazine for all things royal. I tried entering my credit card number three different times at the magazine’s website, but I couldn’t get the transaction to go through. Instead, I settled for a subscription to the British gossip magazine HELLO.

About an hour later my husband called me on my cell phone.

Visa is calling about some attempts to use your credit card in England, he said. They want to know if they should put a fraud alert on your card.

Um, no, I said. That was me. I was ordering a subscription to Majesty magazine.

I see, he said.

Even though I won’t be at the royal wedding, I won’t be alone when I watch it. So far, two out of three Huffman girls have told me they will also stay up for the big event.

We can have tea and scones, I said.

It’ll be almost like we’re there.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Royal update.

Dear TODAY show,

I'm still eagerly waiting to see which of your top three Royal Treatment contestants was chosen to win that all-expenses-paid trip to London.

If any of the three can't make it - I'm still available!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Royal Treatment!

Here's the video I submitted for the Today Show's Royal Treatment contest. Unfortunately, my video was not selected by NBC for the top three, booo hooo! I will console myself by having my own Royal Wedding tea party. Cheers!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Strike one.

Ok, so I didn't get into the journalism conference in Chicago. Wah, wah, waaaaah.

I got a very polite email today saying that more than 80 people applied and they could only choose 20 to attend, and blah, blah, blah!
Rejected! By the SNA!
Well, at least I still have a chance at winning that trip to see the Royal Wedding in London.

I checked the Today show website about the contest entries and was very surprised to see that NBC extended the contest deadline by a whole week! What's up with that?
Did they not get enough entries from Royal Family devotees?
Was my video not clever enough?
NBC -- I'm still ready to go to London! Pick me!


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tiger Mom.

Jennifer Huffman
Napa Valley Register

There’s nothing that can send a mom halfway to crazy faster than when she thinks someone has done her child wrong. Watch it, because the claws will come out. She will become Tiger Mom.

Tiger Mom is fierce. She is a fighter. And she will defend, with force, if necessary.

I once got a phone call from a mom who was absolutely furious. She thought her daughter had been left out of a Girl Scout event I was involved with. This mom gave me more than just a small piece of her mind. I could picture her reaching through the phone lines to try to strangle me.

Hold on, I wanted to say. That’s not how it happened! But she wasn’t having any of it. She was Tiger Mom.

When two Tiger Moms get together, watch out. A few years ago, another mom accused one of my girls of doing something she said she didn’t do. She was not happy, and hearing the mom’s end of the story, I saw her point. It seemed like an isolated incident, so I gave the mom the benefit of the doubt.

I played it cool. I listened to her. I talked to my kid. We moved on — that is, until I got a second call about a week later.

The same mom had another story about my daughter. That’s when Mrs. Cool became Tiger Mom. I just about went nuts. How dare she? Bring her to me, I wanted to say. Off with her head! After a few rounds back and forth, we Tiger Moms slinked off to our respective corners to lick our wounds.

A side note to the moms who might be reading this and thinking, “Hey, this so-called ‘story’ is sounding pretty darn familiar. I wish Jennifer would leave me out of her lousy column!” Let me assure you, I am not writing about you. I am writing about another mom who only sounds just like you. Really.

Just like a real tiger, Tiger Mom will attack with no warning. You may not hear her coming. She will bare her teeth, growl and then pounce. And you won’t notice until it’s too late. She will take you down.

We can’t help it. It’s hardwired into our mom DNA. If you threaten my child, you threaten me. You will feel pain if my child feels pain. It’s both completely irrational and rational at the same time.

They say that women whose children have been trapped in a burning car have somehow miraculously been able to lift a 3,000-pound vehicle to rescue them. How do they do it? Some say it’s a rush of adrenaline. I know the truth. They become Tiger Mom.

I’ve seen the most emotionally centered and self-actualized mom become completely unhinged at the thought of their kid being teased, or worse, bullied. I’ve seen the mom next door go vigilante on the grumpy neighbor who yelled at her kid.

You want to see a force of nature? Try telling a mom her kid is the only one who didn’t get picked for a team. Didn’t make the cheerleading squad. Didn’t get admitted to the summer school or college of her choice. And you thought Hannibal Lecter was scary.

I called my own mom to ask her if she’d ever turned into Tiger Mom.

Not that I can remember, she said.

What about the “stolen” bike incident of 1982, I said.

Oh that, she said.

One afternoon, a pesky neighbor boy “abducted” my precious metallic red Schwinn girl’s 10-speed bike. I was in tears thinking I’d never see it again. He stole my bike! I cried when my mom got home from work.

My mom tracked down the troublemaker at another neighbor’s house, where he was huddled with a small group of boys, no doubt congratulating themselves on their escapade.

My 5-foot-tall mom marched up to this 6-foot-tall teenager and got right up in his face.

Where is Jennifer’s bike?, she demanded. You bring it back right now!

I got my bike back.

Yeah, I could have killed him, my mom said with a laugh.

Thanks, Tiger Mom.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Jennifer goes to London... or Chicago.

I'm so excited! I've entered a contest on the Today show to win a trip to London for the Royal wedding on April 29! With Don's help, I made a two minute video introducing myself and why I want to be in the UK for the big event. I then wrote a 300 word essay and submitted both last night. I've never entered a national contest before. I assume NBC will get thousands of entries with much better videos than mine, but what the heck! I entered anyway.

I think I have a better chance of winning a scholarship to attend a journalism conference in Chicago this April. The The SNA Foundation and the Associated Press Managing Editors will choose 20 community journalists to attend an all expenses paid conference in Chicago this April. I wrote another essay for this competition and am hoping to be one of the few chosen. I haven't traveled for work in a long time, so if I end up going, it will be a big deal for me and my family. Keep your fingers crossed for me!