“I don’t like to shop on Thanksgiving.”

Note: Some language has been edited out of the transcript that has not been edited out of the audio.  "How do you feel about stores opening on Thanksgiving and having early Black Friday sales?" I don't like to shop on Thanksgiving. I think I've talked about it before, but my mother used to work in retail before she became a teacher. She got her degree, you know, she worked full-time and went to school full-time, got her degree when I was 10 or 11. And, so those very formative years, she would spend working on holidays, and it was just devastating, just devastating for me as a kid. And I don't - it's, it's really sh**** that places do that to their employees. Families or no families, you know, people should have the day off. You know, I understand that places like hospitals have to be open Thanksgiving. But, like, my husband's work is open on Thanksgiving. They sell pot. They don't need to be open on Thanksgiving. So it's just discouraging, for sure. I do not and have never gone shopping, especially for like, you know, the Black - early Black Friday deals on Thanksgiving day. I have shopped Black Friday before. That's fun. It's crazy, but it can be fun.

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“That’s English.”

"Are there any words that you find tricky to spell?" 'Vacuum' is also a difficult one for me. I just read it, and now if you ask me to spell it, I know there's not two M's, but I don't know. Is there just the one C? Va- it seems like 'vac-cyum'. Or - it's 'vac-uum'. Is there two U's? I'm not gonna look but I don't know. 'Maintenance' was a difficult one for me for a while, and I don't know why and I - to this day, like with 'Wednesday', 'Wed-nes-day', I have to think 'main-ten-ance' when I'm writing it out. And 'guarantee' is still a difficult one for me. I know now how to spell it, but I think I always wanted to spell it G U A instead of G A U. Spelling words in general is not really overly difficult for me because I was such a bookworm as a kid, so pronouncing words was harder for me because I would see words like 'antithesis'. And never hear those in casual conversation, so when I would try to use it, I would say 'anti-thesis'. 'Epitome' was another one, I think I did pronounce it 'epi-tome' or 'epi-toe-may'. 'Intrigue' was a difficult one when I was younger. There was a car called an Intrigue, wasn't there? And I think I called it an 'Intri-zhyou'. It just seemed like how you - it sounded like a fancy word, you know, and yeah. 'Voila', I remember hearing before seeing so I did think it was W A L A. And I remember seeing it for the first time, "That's 'voila'? Is it supposed to be 'vwala'? Is it - Why's there a V there?" Although that is - I think it's a loan word, but you know, we can't judge words by the strange letters in them because that's English.

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“It’s a turkey the size of your puppy.”

So, what did you eat for Thanksgiving since you won't eat turkey?  Like, a bowl of mashed potatoes the size of my head.  You literally just ate mashed potatoes?  Carrots and cornbread.  So you had cornbread, carrots, and mashed potatoes.  Yeah. Anything else?  Nope. Doesn't sound healthy, does it?  Is there anything unconventional that your family has at Thanksgiving, or was it a pretty traditional menu? I think it was pretty traditional, except for like the turkey on steroids we had.  It wasn't a turkey on steroids. It kind of was. Did you see that thing?  It was a 22 pound turkey. Yeah! Turkey on steroids! It's a turkey the size of your puppy. Dad even made that joke.  Yes, it's a turkey the size of your puppy.  Yeah! Okay, do you remember that kid I was talking to? The one overseas?  Yeah. Yeah? I sent him a picture of the thing and he was like, "Oh my gosh, they were right, everything is bigger in America!" Where is this person from that you've been talking to?  He moved to Switzerland recently, so Switzerland.  Where was he before?  Afghanistan. Okay.  Yeah, he moved to go live with family.  He lives - he - does he have family in Afghanistan that he had to leave? I don't think so. I think everybody kind of moved with him.  Okay. How does he like Switzerland?  He said he likes it. It's pretty cold I bet.  He was freaking out. They got their first - not first snow, but - oh yeah, first snow a few weeks ago. Well, maybe not a few weeks ago, but you know what I'm saying? Like. Yeah.  I don't know, maybe a week or two ago, and he was freaking out, like he's seen snow before, but he was also like "Oh my gosh, there's so much!"

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“Everyone yelled “Surprise!””

It was my mom's birthday. She was turning 60 and I wanted to do something for her. I knew she'd like a party. So I looked around, it was set to be in [name of city] and I was looking for a place that could cater because I figured it'd be a pretty big group, but I hadn't been working for long so it had to be also cost effective. And I found a place, and it's really cool because their catering compared to other places was very affordable, and then they actually allow you to bring in your own alcohol or other food. So like we brought in dessert from a place my mom really liked, and I think there was probably about 60 people or so, 50 people. But it was a total surprise party. So I think - I'm trying to remember, it's been a little bit. I told her that a friend of mine who owns a Coney shop and has previously worked in a lot of really upscale kind of farm to table restaurants. I said something about how he's hosting an event with like signature cocktails, so we're gonna go. I think I told her the place. I said we're going to [name of restaurant] which was one of her favorite places for breakfast. He's renting it out for the night or there's some event, basically. So on the day of her birthday, we go. I'd invited, obviously, my family, a lot of her friends. And we're - I think we were getting ready to leave the house and my middle brother called or texted me and was like "Hey, like, we're driving up from Cincinnati. We're gonna be 20 minutes late. Can you stall?" and I was like, "No, you're an idiot. Like, I can't. This is already complicated enough. I'm just like waiting for her to figure it out. So no, I can't come up with a different elaborate lie," so I just told him he'd have to deal with not being there for the actual surprise. So everyone - I was worried like when we pulled up that we'd be seeing people that my mom knows walking around. So it was just really great. It worked out well, we didn't run into anyone. We parked maybe a block or two away and then walked over. And everyone yelled, "Surprise!" And my…

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“… The little get together that was supposed to be me and my seven or so friends turned into a mega event.”

Around the fire, we were like "Man, you know, we should like have like an actual thing after the end of the football game next week. We should all come back over here and just have a fire, like we don't even have to do paintball before it, we can just have a fire, it'd be great." So yeah, it did sound great, just getting that little crew together for a little end of season, you know, fireside hang. You fast forward to the football game. This was our big rivalry game against our crosstown rivals and one of my friends from that small paintball group brought a sign cheering on our football team. So when he held it up, you know, it was like your classic "Go team, go," but personalized, I'm sure, for like our running back or whoever that he knew. But on the back the sign that was facing the rest of the crowd was an invitation to my house for a blowout party extravaganza. And I don't know, that wasn't - that wasn't ideal. That wasn't planned. It was something he did off the cuff. So the little get together that was supposed to be me and my seven or so friends turned into a mega event where like 100 people showed up in my backyard, and they were probably very disappointed, many of them, expecting to find - like this is in the early 2000s, so like you picture like American Pie or Can't Hardly Wait, any of those movies where there's kegs on tap and people jumping in the swimming pools and, you know, Blink-182 on the stereo, I guess. That's not what we planned, and that's not what I would throw because that wasn't me. So there's a lot of people who were probably very confused as to why our party was just literally a giant bonfire in the backyard with no alcohol and a portable basketball hoop off to the side so we can just take turns dunking on it. It was very, yeah, I don't know. I do remember dozens of cars, we had a long dirt driveway probably like a hundred yards, hm, maybe 75 yards. And it was just lined on each side with cars to the point that the police showed up. They probably assumed they were busting a rager. And my mom met them at the…

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“I actually tried to use Guitar Hero 3 to learn how to play…”

In middle school, that was - in my school, that was when you could either start doing band, and then you could do band in high school or you could just do other electives. So you either had to do band for all three years or you could do electives. Like you couldn't have band and gym, or band and art, or band and tech. And I was super into art. Like when I was younger, I was like, "Oh I wanna grow up to be an artist. I'm gonna be a painter." Whatever like that. So I was like, "I'm not gonna do band. I wanna do art." And then of course I was screwed over, and they only put me in one art class, so that sucked, but I wish I would've done band. I definitely would have done like either like the percussion or the trumpet. Or maybe the flute. I don't know, probably not. My sister did the saxophone, I probably wouldn't do that and I probably wouldn't do clarinet either. But yeah, I wish I would've done band. I thought that would've been really fun. I did choir in high school and that was fun. I enjoyed that. I have like tried to learn so many instruments though, and I'm just so bad at it, and I'm so bad at like keeping myself like being persistent at like hobbies. Like I remember when Guitar Hero 3 came out for the Nintendo Wii and I was like, "Oh, like, I can learn how to play guitar from this." I don't know how that made sense in my mind. So like for Christmas that year, my parents got me an electric guitar and I tried to - I actually tried to use Guitar Hero 3 to learn how to play it like I thought like the little different colored dots were actually like different chords. Which I mean technically they were, but like I didn't like compute correctly over into my mind, you know, so that like did not work out. So I immediately gave up. And then like a couple years later, I was like, "Mom, I wanna know how to play the banjo, it's completely different from guitar. I'll do it this time." No! I feel so bad too, my parents spent so much money on that stupid stuff.

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“The book that I read that changed the trajectory of my career was…”

Answering the prompt, but changing it a little about "If I had an influential class in high school?" And I will instead answer the prompt "Have I ever read a really influential book that is still kind of impacting what I do now?" And the book that I read that changed the trajectory of my career was Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. So it's a book written about Dr. Paul Farmer, who is a global health doc specializing in a lot of things but primarily infectious disease, and he was one of the first people that was really advocating for people living in poverty to be treated for tuberculosis, which historically had been really challenging because it's a super long treatment regimen, you know, 12 months to 18 months at least when the book was written, and the drugs are really expensive. They're often very toxic, so they're chemotherapeutics. They're - in addition to curing you of tuberculosis, they might also make you deaf or blind. So just really gnarly drugs that need to be taken regularly. And if they aren't, it can cause tuberculosis to become resistant to those medications which is hugely detrimental to society. So we've already seen multi-drug resistant and extremely drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis, and as much as we can keep that from happening, the better. Just it gets so much harder to treat and more expensive. So, but the purpose of the book was sort of describing Paul's approach to treating folks and how he was not satisfied with the answer at the time, I think, of the World Health Organization, which is basically it's too expensive to treat people for tuberculosis in like these certain areas of the world. I think "It's not cost effective" was the term, and he really pushed back against that. And at the time I was considering maybe going to med school and it's kind of counterintuitive 'cause I read this book about this physician doing something I feel really powerfully about, and it made me not want to become a physician because I think I was so focused on the fact that like he's trying to impact these, you know, one, two, three people, this handful of people in this area, and really it's the system that's broken. It's the World Health Organization saying "This isn't cost effective," and ultimately, you know, he's working to prove…

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“Prop 3 was the most important contest to me personally.”

So I didn't vote this week. I voted, I think, almost over a month ago now, because Michigan is awesome as heck and we have absentee voting. So I actually kinda forgot it was election day until people were talking about the results. The most important contest was actually to me, not between candidates, but on a ballot proposal which was Proposition 3, which is enshrining the right to reproductive rights in the Michigan Constitution, and it passed. And that makes me really, really happy and really, really relieved that I live in Michigan. I'm originally from Wisconsin which has been gerrymandered all to hell. It's awful. So, a lot of bad stuff has happened in Wisconsin in the last decade or so, especially, because of that. So, Michigan's laws and stuff are superior. They really are superior, they are. The way that Michigan votes is the reason that I'm alive. It's the reason I now have guaranteed reproductive rights. It's - I will never leave Michigan ever. So yeah, Prop 3 was the most important contest to me personally.

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