Video of the Week: Please Help Hannah

h/t to Jennifer Santiago and Cupcake Diplomacy:

If the video doesn’t play, click here and view in YouTube.

Here’s how to make a leave donation (Via Cupcake Diplomacy: less guns, more butter):

State Department Employees:

Email, fax, or mail form DS-1862 (found via intranet) to the address found in the leave donation request announcement found here. [Note: you must be able to access DoS intranet for this link to work]

Employees of other federal agencies:

Fill out form OPM 630b and then have someone from your agency’s HR sign and date the bottom part of the form.  You’ll need the name of the State Department contact in HR as well as some info about Hannah, but I’d rather not have that just floating around the internet so please email me at cupcakediplomacy AT gmail DOT com and I will get you the necessary info ASAP.

Related items you may need:

OPM: Voluntary Leave Transfer Program

Form OPM 630b (PDF)

3 FAM 3340 Voluntary Leave Transfer Program (For State’s Foreign Service and Civil Service Employees)

Please help if you can. Thank you!

Domani Spero

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Jennifer Santiago: Lawyer, Reporter, Former Model, Now Diplomat – You Go Girl!

From best we could tell, the story has been online forever but got resurrected in Peter Van Buren’s blog, then got picked up by WaPo’s In The Loop column, and by aol.com. The National Confidential puts it under its Weird news section.  The old but new again story is slowly ricocheting around the web until it gets booored.

Jennifer Santiago is a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S Department of State and is training with the 162nd A-100 Junior Officer Class at the Foreign Service Institute. In about a month, she will start her first overseas assignment at the US Consulate in São Paulo, Brazil.  You normally do not start your career in the Foreign Service with a “walk-in” appearance in Al Kamen’s In The Loop column. Despite her public blog, she did not actually do the walking in (and who does?).

Apparently, there are some sexy Jennifer photos from way back when.  And they are online. Really, who doesn’t have some sexy photos out there? Haven’t you seen mine? See below, painted by no less than the eccentric genius of the Venetian Renaissance, Lorenzo Lotto:

Artist: Lorenzo Lotto

For those who want to quibble, no, I am not naked; I am wearing a veil, a diadem and a pearl earring. And for the record, I am perfectly happy with this painting. The only thing that embarrasses me about this is that I clearly needed more Vitamin D!

And then there’s the sexy photo of Senator Scott “Centerfold” Brown, the senator representing Massachusetts in the United States Senate.  See, we are for one standard here. If men are allowed their youthful indiscretion, women are not exempt from the same standard. Now that you’ve seen the photos, let’s take a peek at Senator Scott’s photo.  Gosh! What an even tan!  And isn’t this just a poor copycat of my Venus and Cupid pose? Except for the strategic placement of the arm, of course, but then he did not have the little rascal peeing on him!

Cosmopolitan magazine's "America's Sexiest Man" contest

So anyway, back to Jennifer.  In her blog, without addressing the brouhaha, Ms. Santiago writes:

I have made mistakes in my past. Who hasn’t? But- I have come to live and love the fact that we are all flawed beings and as long as we strive to be better and learn from our experiences, all these mistakes are merely lessons. So- I forgive myself. And forgiveness is very empowering.
[…]
Yoga certainly helps mend the wounds.

So, while I appreciate and love the support of my family, friends, work colleagues, sometimes even total strangers, I also find peace in my practice. My favorite yoga quote (Betsy Cañas Garmon) says: ” I do yoga so that I can stay flexible enough to kick my own arse if necessary.”

With all the self-inflicted arse kicking I’ve done over the past 15 years, my skin has grown thick and numb to the attempts of others.

I do not know Ms. Santiago and have never meet her but I can only admire her zen and spunk particularly in her recent post.  This could not possibly be an easy time for her and yet, today, she writes about her A-100 classmate, Hannah who was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and asks State folks to donate leave on Hannah’s behalf. Head over there and consider a donation if you are able.   Yep, that’s one classy lady.

So since Ms. Santiago had other lives (promotional/reporting stills are quite gorgeous) prior to joining the Foreign Service, I am posting below a link to a brief segment she did on during a visit to the Pelican Harbor Seabird Station. In Florida, this is where hundreds of pelicans, blue jays, masked boobies and other injured birds are rescued and nursed back to health. She chats with  the Director of the Rehab Center, Wendy Fox on internal and external injuries caused by fishing tackles. Via Miami’s PlumTV (not able to embed the video, please click on the image to view the video):

Secrets of Miami: Pelican Harbor Seabird Station

In “Diving Into the Wreck” the recently departed feminist and poet, Adrienne Rich writes about a dive into the dark, a metaphor for the depths of women’s experience:

I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body
We circle silently about the wreck
we dive into the hold. …
We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to the scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

Sometimes the mermaid’s name appear. She even says, I’ll do my own arse-kicking if needed, thank you very much. And don’t you just want to say — me, too, dammit?!

Domani Spero