Tuesday, August 31, 2004

CD failure, uncooked pizza, an inky mess and unripe bananas

I was going to copy two CDs at lunch. I was going to do it one way, then realized another way would be quicker. Then I realized that "quicker" program wasn't on our computer because Greg uninstalled and reinstalled everything since the last time I used it. No problem. OK, so I was a little frustrated, but I figured I'd just install the program and move on...

Nothing is so easy.

I must have selected the wrong option so the computer was copying all the songs onto the hard drive before it burned them onto the CD. I wanted it to just directly copy them. Yes, for time sake. But, OK, this will do too, I thought. Then it dawned on me I put the blank CD in the wrong CD player, the SLOWER CD burner, that is. One burns at 4x and the other at 12x...

Dangit. I guess that is what happens when I get in a hurry.

But, I'll live, I think to myself, as I waited totally impatiently. Then it just stops burning when it's 93 percent done and says an error occurred. Dangit, again.

Forget this for now.

Somewhere in there, before installing the program, Greg came home and I told him I wanted pizza for lunch. He agreed it sounded good, and ordered it. From Pizza Pro. I have a hard time guessing carbs and figuring out how much insulin to take with Pizza Pro pizza, but I decided it was OK. He goes and gets it and calls me because he's just sitting there waiting because apparently only one guy knows how to make deep dish pizza...

Alright. I'll try to be patient, I think to myself. At this point, I might have actually been talking out loud to myself.

Then he came home and I opened the pizza box and it the pizza wasn't done. The crust was mushy and the cheese was running. I tell Greg (OK, admitedly in a not very nice tone) that he needs to take the pizza back. (For real, when am I going to learn that I don't need to tell Greg he needs to do anything?! That tone and approach doesn't get me anywhere and it's totally not loving.) I yelled at him, even though it wasn't his fault, and left to take the pizza back. I slammed the door on the way out too.

I walked into the pizza place with a pizza box. (Aren't people suppose to walk out of pizza places with these boxes? That's what I think the guy is thinking as I walked in...) I put it on the counter. I was calm, and said, "My husband was just in here to get this. It's not done." He said, "Oh, it's still not done?" Um, no, if you were concerned it STILL wasn't done, why did you let him leave with it? (Again, that's what I was thinking, to myself of course.) He asked if I wanted something else and I said I'd just take our money back. So I left with $8.47.

It's not a HUGE deal that the pizza wasn't done. It was just that Greg waited up there for it, and it still wasn't done...

Sometime in there, between the failed CD burning effort and leaving to take the pizza back, I threw my purse on the floor. Yes, in total furstration. Later, after I was back from Pizza Pro, I reached in my purse to get something and my cell phone and other things in there had black ink all over them. I honestly don't know if the pen busted when I threw my purse. I actually sort of looked melted, but that's not the point, I suppose. The point: I got ink all over my hands and everything in my purse. Then I got in on my shirt. So I dumped everything out on the kitchen counter, which then got ink on it. I cleaned everything off. But ink was all over the bottom of my purse, so I had to change purses.

OK, so I had been home from work for an hour, and...
--Didn't have either CD burned. (So what if I want to listen to Ryan Cabrera and Avril Lavigne...)
--Hadn't eaten lunch.
--Had yelled for no good reason at Greg.
--Changed my shirt and purse because the others had black ink on them.
--Cleaned off everything in my purse.
--Cleaned off the counter.

So I left, stopped at a little grocery store and bought two bananas and a box of Wheat Thins for lunch. I came back into work frazzled, to say the least. I sat at my desk, ate lunch, and tried to put that drama behind me. And, for the record, the bananas weren't ripe enough, at least in my mind, and while I didn't eat the whole box of Wheat Thins, the ones I ate were really good. I should have not got those bananas with the streaks of green, but they looked like they were the best of the bunch and I really wanted a banana.

Oh, and Greg and I made up because he's so forgiving when I'm a drama queen.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Milla, in a serious way


She's sure studying that tablecloth. Posted by Hello

Milla, and her new curling tongue talent


A paper wad and newly discovered movement of her tongue, what more can she ask for in life? Posted by Hello

Milla, smilin' like usual


Here she is, showing off the grin some more. Posted by Hello

lip balm No. 2

In other words, this is an amendment to my last post...

I didn't really talk about the concert itself. Rascal Flatts was so good. The played all my favorites and "Melt" was even a better song live. One time I went to a concert and the guy playing said, "I hate encores, but just so you know this is where I would leave the stage and come back in." Then he played another song or two. Well, Rascal Flatts was fun with their encore. They played "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "You Give Love a Bad Name." Nice '80s rock tribute. I enjoyed them as a band because they were goofy, and that just seemed to be who they were. Jay, the bassist, was my favorite.

So I got to leave work early. With a full belly, now I'm at home in my comfy sweatpants and new but seemingly comfy "Let's Go Peay" shirt my mom bought for me the other day. Speaking of my mom, the more I see her, the more I realize I am so much like her. She said her best teacher friend said she always tells people too many details and sometimes she just needs to get to the point. That's totally me. And here I am probably sharing unncessary details.

I told you I would think of more to say.

Now I'm going to nap.

ripe red currant lip balm from Bath & Body Works

Why is it when I'm really tired my lips get chapped? My hands get clammy too. So I have my chapstick out on my desk. I plan on using it a lot today.

In other words, my eyes are tired. But I'm not complaing because it was well worth the sacrifice of sleep. What is it, you ask anxiously...

The Rascal Flatts concert at the state fair in Louisville last night. Chris Cagle opened for them. Very entertaining. OK, back to the beginning: Sunday morning I met Michael and his wife, Cassie, at their house and we headed to Louisville. I have a good friend in Michael, and he let me drag them along to meet Kevin, Laine and Milla. It had been like a month since I saw that beautiful girl, and I guess technically I didn't drag them along since they drove, but you know what I mean. Milla is adorable. She's so animated and apparently can stand on her own, although she wouldn't demonstrate that newfound talent for me. Then we wandered around Ear-X-Tacy and then Oxmoor before heading over to the state fair, where we wandered somemore.

Then we went to the concert, which I loved. I want to share my philosophy on concerts. Well, not my philosophy, but my perspective, I think that's the right word. I don't dance and really don't have much rhythm in general. But that's not to say I don't love music. I do. Music reminds me of places and people, usually ones I love. Music takes me back to moments, usually ones I want to go back to. Meanwhile, I pay attention to details (I did notice both the guitarist and bassist for Rascal Flatts were wearing those yellow Lance Armstrong bracelets last night...). Combining these traits about me, I love concerts. Now, I don't scream, dance or clap much. I'd prefer to sit there and sing along to the music, just soaking in who these bands are, or at least how they allow themselves to be portrayed in public.

Greg doesn't really care for concerts, I think mainly because they are usually expensive but also because he doesn't like the loudness. I don't really have many concert-going friends like I used to, so that's why I was so excited to go. (For the record, my mom met us at the concert, which was good because it made for the third day in a row I got to see her.) Cara, and then later Kelly, too, used to be my concert-going friend. I could try to count the number of concerts we've been to together ... Counting Crows, Dixie Chicks and Clay Walker, Dave Matthews Band multiple times, Indigo Girls multiple times, local bands in Louisville ... But that would take too long. But Cara and I, and even Kelly, had this connection that brought me out of my un-rhythmatic shell. When I was with her I tended to forget I am shy and reserved. But that side of me is one very few people see.

I've heard an analogy that compares people and their relationships to cutting an onion. (I love onions...) So onions have layers, and so do people. The unreserved portion of my personality is deep into the onion, a layer most people don't get to see. The top layers, the easiest parts of me, are the chatting conversations full of questions and learning. My emotions surface pretty quickly, too, especially if I trust someone enough quickly enough. Other layers are easy. I love to laugh.

I think I could have more to say, but I'm getting distracted by my heavy eyes and a story I'm working on. I'm well past 50 (emphasis: WELL) for the month, counting the police stuff I wrote this morning. And tomorrow is still August.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Autumn, in some sense

Fall is here.

We went to Cassie's soccer game last night in Clarksville. Although her team lost, thanks to one of her teammates accidentally scoring for the other team. And that was the only goal of the whole game. 1-0 McNeese State. Then we -- Mom, Cassie, Zac, Greg and I -- went to O'Charley's.

I slept in this morning, then cleaned up around here and went to the scrapbooking store because today was the store's anniversary sale. Then my mom and Cassie came to eat lunch -- a late lunch -- with us. We went to Applebee's. I love seeing them two days in a row. And it will be three days in a row for my mom and I went I see her tomorrow night in Louisville for the Rascal Flatts concert at the state fair.

Now I'm getting ready to go watch Murray State play football. Yippy. I hope the rain holds off and it's a good game. I'm freelancing for the AP, something I hestitated doing, but I decided it was much too easy money to pass up. Plus most day I enjoy it. It's just hard to believe it's already time for football and soccer.

Friday, August 27, 2004

My office space is sometimes invaded with idiots.

I just finished stories No. 46 and No. 47 for the month. Just to put this further in perspective, I wrote 36 in July and and 32 in June, although that's pretty good for June because I was gone for almost two work weeks. There were 38 in May and 42 in April. That's all according to my personal archive system on my computer.

OK, so because this is my own venting forum at times, I'd like to share what I only wish I could share with some of these people sitting in this office with me:
--Busyness shouldn't be unexpected. We work at a newspaper, a deadline-driven world where it's usually good if we tell people the news first. Sometimes that means one day will be busier than the next. Get over it. Just get it done.
--Our publisher doesn't need to be in pictures, unless there's a specific reason. Being invited to tour the new Student Recreation and Wellness Center on campus with the city council is NOT one of them. Yes, I took the picture. But she was totally in a postion in which we could crop her out of the picture. Apparently that doesn't make sense to certain people here.
--I understand overtime is expense. But don't ask your employees what they've been doing. Read the paper. It will be evident what they've been doing.
--Then there's another guy, I'll call him Harry, who has worked here for longer than almost anyone and he asks questions that he really shouldn't be asking if he has been paying a fraction of attention to anything he's be doing here over the past seven or however many years.
--Oh, and then there's Lloyd, at least that's what I'm calling him, and his obnoxiously loud voice. He must not have been taught about inside and outside voices. And I think his wife hung up on his this morning. He likes to listen to my phone calls and then ask questions about really anything, even though those things are absolutely none of his business. But I refrained from asking about the argument he and his wife were apparently having, mainly because I don't really care.

I'm sure I could go on, but those are just this morning's moments from the office.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Rick Reilly and Michael Phelps

The Olympics aren't as much fun to watch without Michael Phelps swimming, but at least Rick Reilly wrote a fabulous column in this week's Sports Illustrated. I was going to put it on here, but when I went to the Web site, I was told the page I was requesting was only available to online subscribers... So here are some experts:

There went Michael Phelps again, virtually alone in the water, churning like a Waring blender, going after one last goal -- a $5 blue-and-white inflatable kids' raft.

"Michael!" His mother hollered. "Let it go!"

This wasn't a pool. This was the Aegean Sea, off the coast of Greece, off a chartered yacht, on Monday, three days after his last Olympic event. A friend had left a little dinghy in the water, 100 meets off the stern. So Phelps, a little dingy himself, hollered, "I'll get it!" and tore off like an overcaffeinated tuna.

Here's a guy who'd just swam 17 Olympic races in seven days, logged 70,000 meters for the week (including warmups and warm-downs), which is 43.4 miles, which is about from Athens to the island of Hydra, and here he was, with his first week off from swimming since he was two, peeling off after a toy like it was the Lindbergh baby.

...

And is there anybody he's like to meet now that he can meet anybody? "Well," he said, grinning like a schoolboy, "Lindsay Lohan would be nice."

Hard to believe, all this from a kid with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a kid whose mother was once told by a teacher, "Debbie, he will never be able to focus on a thing in his life."

"I'm just different in the water," Phelps says, "I just feel at home in it. I work with autistic kids a little, and there is this one kid, once he gets in the water, he's relaxed. He gets happy. That's how I am."

Watching him tear off after that stupid dinghy, you knew that was true -- with one little difference.

When Michael Phelps gets in the water, everybody else gets happy.


OK, that was the beginning and the end. My favorite parts. But, trust me, the whole thing is good. One of my favorite writers writing about my recent Olympic addition. What could be better?

I guess I can call my self grown up.

It's Aug. 26, and I've written 45 stories this month. That doesn't include the police reports and some other short writeups like that. That's a lot of stories, considering I wrote those all on weekdays. And I'm not really complaining, just quantifying my busyness.

Last night Greg played music at Murray Christian Fellowship with some other people from church. MCF is where we spent a lot of time in college, and it's where Jaclyn and I got to be friends. Jaclyn and I were sitting there listening last night, and I couldn't help but to think about how much things have changed since college, not that it was THAT long ago, just three years ago. But still, it's funny how people, including myself, are so different from those moments when we all thought life couldn't get any better. It's interesting how dynamics change, how friendships shift as we grow up, how my perspectives change because I've learned a little more. I can't decide exactly how or why I've changed. But I know that sitting in that room last night, a room I've sat in hundreds of times, was different. Only because I'm different, probably. I was thinking maybe I'm less judgmental these days, but I know I'm certainly more critical of myself. Maybe I love a little deeper because I learned the value of being surrounded by the people who mean the most. I think I laugh more because I learned it makes everything better. But I'm as emotional as ever and pay attention to details, especially words and facial expressions, more than ever. But how I was then and how I am now are both me. Life is about adjusting to people and places, one day at a time, and I sure wish I was better at doing that.

And I sure wish I didn't have blood sugar issues the last couple of days. But maybe today will be better.

Monday, August 23, 2004

It's only Monday...

I got so busy between noon and 3 p.m. today that I forgot to eat lunch. I'm not sure what I was thinking. It's very unlike me to forget a meal. I think the problem was I planned on picking something up to eat between doing two things and got too task-oriented to stop what I was doing. I've eaten now, though.

Yet, I was suppose to leave work early so I don't end up with overtime this week...
I think I clocked out about 30 minutes short of working a full day, if even that. And it's frustrating because I've done some interviews for some feature stories and I wanted to write them today, but I ran out of time and actually worked longer than my editor wanted me to. I'm hoping tomorrow I'll have some time to be a writer.

There's just something wrong about worrying so much about overtime at the beginning of the week. It makes the work environment frustrating. Most people would probably be like, ok, you don't want to work, I'll go home. But I hate not finishing what I start.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

scapgoating and scrapbooking in a small world

So this morning after church I was a jerk to Greg. I picked a fight about nothing important, acted dramatic and made a big deal out of nothing. And really the problem was me. Not him. I hate when I get like that. (And I'm sure he does too.) That's one of those bad habits I was talking about. We made up though. That's the thing that always makes me feel so bad -- Greg is so forgiving and loving, and sometimes I unknowingly take advantage of that. Scapgoating really isn't a productive defense mechanism. Placing undue blame on Greg just because I'm frustrated really shouldn't be acceptable, but for some twisted reason I make it acceptable for certain moments. That's the thing about bad habits, even when I know in my head and heart they suck, I justify them for the moment, making them temporarily acceptable.

I finished our wedding scrapbook today.

I eat at Subway a lot. Katy and I were going to walk, but it was getting dark by the time I was finished covering something for work. So we ate instead of walked. Health choices, here. Oh well.

I listened to Cameron Mills -- a former UK basketball player -- talk to some kids at a church tonight. It was pretty neat. He was talking about this 16-year-old named Zack who had a stroke in his spinal cord and considerd it God working in his life...
While he was telling the story, I kept thinking it sounded familiar. Then I realized I used to go to church with some people who know him and they had sent emails about this situation earlier in the year. And the boy went to my dad's middle school. So after Cameron spoke, I asked him if the kid he was talking about was from Oldham County. He said yes, sounding surprised someone in far western Kentucky even knew where Oldham County was. And then he told me about how he met him a couple weeks ago: The Courier-Journal ran a story about him in their faith section recently and in the backgroun of a photo of Zack in his bedroom was an autographed picture of Cameron Mills. A friend of Cameron's noticed and suggested they meet. So a couple weeks ago, they ate lunch and the boy shared his story with Cameron, who sounded so amazed at the strength of this kid. Then Camerson says to me, "So, you're from Oldham County. Do you know Eric Liedtke?" I was like, yeah, he and I graduated in the same class in high school. Turns out Eric played basketball at Transylvania in Lexington with Cameron's brother.

Small world, really.

Paducah pondering

We hung out with our college friend Sarah last night in Paducah. After we ate at Rafferty's, we spent about 2 1/2 hours in Books-A-Million. It's not my favorite bookstore, but bookstores in general are among my favorite places. Plus it was nice to catch up with Sarah. I bought a scrapbooking magazine (am I obsessed?) and a diabetes book.

Before we met Sarah for dinner, we went to Hobby Lobby. Well, I went to Hobby Lobby. Greg took a nap in the car. I found some neat scrapbooking stuff. (OK, I am obsessed.) I'm working on our wedding pictures. Well, I'm almost done with our wedding pictures and hope I can finish that up today.

I was thinking on the drive home from Paducah while Greg slept. (I think his painkiller for his wisdom tooth surgery makes him tired...) First, since December, when I was Christmas shopping, I think I've only been to Paducah once. That was in May or so when I went with Peggy to get some vacation stuff, but it was an unsuccessful trip because I couldn't find a bathing suit. Cassie's soccer games start Friday, so we'll be making trips to Clarksville, which I like better than Paducah anyway.

Also, I think it's interesting how quickly we -- as humans -- develop habits. Both good and bad things become habits, many times before we know it, I think. And I think that concept about habits being hard to break is true. Anything can become a habit, especially for me, someone who falls easily into routine and has a slightly addicting personality. Even the way I treat people -- both good and bad -- can become habit. And from habits, I think I develop expectations, even if those are twisted and miss the point. As much as I run from change, I really need to remember that altering my reactions and expectations could be a good thing -- because I'm pretty critical of myself, and sometimes other people.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Um...

I'm drinking caffeine-free Diet Mountain Dew. Really, what's the point in that? No sugar. No caffeine.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

check

Check. Another busy day for Kristin. It's Thursday, and the fourth busy day in a row. Although I did get to leave work at 3. Not very early, but it's nice to get out of there even a few minutes early. Then I went scrapbook shopping with Jaclyn and then came home and was productive and relaxed -- dishes, read Sports Illustrated with Michael Phelps on the cover, scrapbooked a page -- before I went to eat with Greg then get my haircut.

Haircut...
For the last, um, at least year, Laine has cut it. I sort of just let her do whatever. I give her some guidance, then she modifies it. Well, last time there was a minor issue, but I ended up getting it fixed like I wanted it, sort of. It was all grown out, because that was late April, and I decided it was time to go back to the original haircut, with a modification or two. So I went to the Essential Day Spa in Murray. That's where I had my Christmas in July massage, etc., if you remember. Anyway, I went in, talked to the girl about what I wanted, then she gave me a shoulder, neck and scalp massage before she shampooed my hair (I love that...) and then started cutting it. Fabulous. And it only cost $20, which is really on the cheaper end of what I know some places and people charge for haircuts. Then she even dried it and fixed it. Good experience.

Then I walked with Katy, and I just got back from her place, where we watched the Olympics. Check. Michael Phelps got another gold. And an American came in second behind him in the 200-meter IM. Also, apparently this is the first year a male and female American have won the gymnastics all-around competition in the same year.

one thing to another

I stayed up until almost 11 last night, watching men's gymnastics. What's wrong with me? I had to see what Paul Hamm was going to do, even though Greg came in not long after Hamm had fallen in his vault routine and moved on to another event and told me what happened. I forget the events are actually on tape delay, so it's all new to me.

Yesterday was busy. I worked on stories in the office in the morning. After lunch I went out for a bunch of random interviews for some different stories. Then I went to a meeting at 4 p.m. After work, I walked with Katy and Jaclyn. (It's hot again, in case you didn't know...) Then went to Cracker Barrel with a group of friends. Then they all watched a movie while I went home to scrapbook and watch the Olympics. Pretty much all from one thing to another all day until I got home at 8:30.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

randomness...

Work: It's only Tuesday night and I've had two busy, busy days at work. (See, if I say "busy" twice, that emphasizes the busyness...)

Baseball: Larry Walker just hit a grand slam off Danny Graves. Cardinals are 15 games up on the Cubs.

Politics: Daniel Mongiardo's staff is taking all of Bunning's crap and turning it into clever campaign material. I got this email today:

In what the Mongiardo campaign is calling a �bizarre� request, Senator Jim Bunning has asked for a police escort and bodyguards on the chance that he may be subject to a terrorist attack by Al Queda while visiting Paducah. Bunning has said he will not reimburse Paducah taxpayers for the expense associated with
providing bodyguards.
(The Paducah Sun and The Associated Press did do stories on that today...)

According to Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer, �There is not a specific, credible, direct threat against Congress as an institution, or its members.�

�Jim Bunning�s request to take Paducah police off their duties to serve as his personal bodyguards on the chance he might be subject to an Al Queda terrorist attack is bizarre,� said Geveden. �If Jim Bunning thinks Al Queda is waiting for him in Fulton or Paducah, he is either grandstanding or has an exaggerated sense of self importance. Either way, Jim Bunning�s priorities are out of whack if he thinks it�s appropriate to pull these cops off the streets.�

Geveden continued: �Someone should ask Jim Bunning what is more likely: that Al Queda is waiting for him at the Quilter�s Museum in Paducah, or that another Kentucky school child will be approached by a drug dealer. Someone should ask Jim Bunning if it�s more likely that Al Queda operatives are lying in wait in Possum Trot, Ky., or another drunk driver will take to the road?�

The Mongiardo campaign also took issue with Bunning seeking additional protection for himself while voting against various bills fully funding Homeland Security.

�Jim Bunning has voted numerous times against funding for the first responders he now seeks protection from,� Geveden said. �Jim Bunning owes an explanation to the people of Kentucky why he feels compelled to seek additional security for himself when he has failed time and again to adequately fund first responders responsible for protecting all the people of Kentucky. Jim Bunning owes the people of Kentucky an explanation for why his need for bodyguards is the best use of tax-payer dollars.�

As recently as this past March, Jim Bunning voted against a measure passed in the Senate which increased funding by $1.7 billion for Homeland Security grants and assistance for first responders and firefighters and for port security measures.

�Kentuckians deserve a Senator who will protect them from present and real threats,� Geveden said. �Kentucky deserves a Senator whose priorities are in line with the people of Kentucky.�

Monday, August 16, 2004

irony

This morning, on a morning I was already having a hard time getting with it all, my editor told I needed to leave early today so I wouldn't end up with overtime at the end of the week, like I so often do. OK, sure, too bad I wanted to work on some of those feature ideas I had. (Not fluff, mind you, features...) But limiting your time to 40 hours is far more important than working a couple hours of overtime en route to producing good stories. Anyway, so I left at noon. I went to eat lunch with Greg and his brother, ran a couple errands, then as I'm checking out at Wal-Mart, my editor calls my cell phone. He said there's sort of breaking news, as breaking as it comes in Murray, really, and wanted to know if I could come back to work on a story...

OK, so it's 1:30, and I'm back at work. Ironic enough. I go interview someone, then come back to the office to make some phone calls. I have a mild case of writer's block, so I think listening to some Dave Matthews will help me focus. Not so much. The Diet Dr Pepper helped a little more.

I get most of my story written, and before I know it, it's already almost 5, and I still had to run by Rite-Aid before I walked with Katy. Oh well, such is my life as a small-town reporter.

So I thought about some things today:
-Michael Phelps is the man. I just watched him swim his personal best and still get only a bronze medal. I say "only," like that's a disappointment. He's 19. He's an amazing swimmer who was swimming against other amazing swimmers...
(OK, this isn't anything new. I told you. I'm addicted to the Olympics. Good thing Michael Phelps is scheduled to swim the butterfly in a little bit. That's probably my favorite stroke to watch, probably because I know how hard it is.)
-I love my new insulin pen. I've actually been thinking about that all weekend, but think I've neglected the subject on here. It's a disposable pen, really, it looks like a marker, that has 300 units of insulin in it. I change the needle often. The needles are incredibly then. I dial up the number of units I need at whatever meal (usually that's less than 10, just to put the units into perspective for you...), and then just push it, like a pen, into my stomach. The syringes didn't hurt, but I can barely feel this. The first couple times I used it, I wondered if the insulin even went it. It's fabulous.
-I like schedules and planning, yet I like my job because I never do the same thing and sometimes go into work not knowing what I'm going to do that day. That sort of contradicts my personality. Yet somehow I'm good at my job, and that's probably why I like it.
-People at work need to mind their own business. It's hard in an office, especially as open as ours, to keep conversations private. But even if you listen, it's probably best not to ask questions later when you were never part of the conversation.

I love the Olympics.

And here's a blog about the Olympics by an Olympian. And then the U.S. swimmer has another blog that's a little more random.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

It's hard to believe it's August in Kentucky.

I love this weather. Absolutely my favorite. Can't be like this all year?

Wishing thinking, I know.

We had a good weekend. Saturday we got a lot of little things done around here, which is nice. Then we had game night over here with Katy, Chad, Jaclyn and Bryan. We're competitive nerds, so that's always fun. We played Outburst, 25 Words or Less and Scene It. Today we hung out with Laura and Dave at Dave's parents' house in Logan County. The Brown family was having a picnic-type shindig and invited us.

I didn't know I'd like the Olympics as much as I do. I always sort of like the summer games, but seeing them in Athens just a couple of months after we were there is really neat. Plus Michael Phelps is amazing, really. I watched him swim the 400-meter individual medley and he's amazing at every stroke. I like watching diving, too, for some reason, but this sychronized diving is a little weird. I can only imagine how hard diving is, much less trying to dive complete sychronized with another person.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Harry and Sally, Lucious and Ivy

We actually stayed in Murray this weekend. It was nice to get up this morning and not have anywhere to go. Greg painted some this morning and I cleaned up and organized around here. There are a lot of little things I've been wanting to do around the house, and I'm glad we're getting to some of them. We'll probably get more done if I stop acting like a nag, and I'm positive Greg would agree.

Last night we went to see "The Village." Different. But good. My favorite line in the movie was, "Sometimes you don't do what you want to do so others won't know what you want." At least I think I'm quoting that correctly...

Jaclyn said the "love speech" in "The Village" is a close second to when Harry tells Sally "when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone you want the rest of your life to begin right then." Um, maybe. I think what I loved so much about when Lucious proclaimed his love for Ivy was that it wasn't so predictable. Sure, the movie is a love story, but not a romantic, girly movie. There are other elements to "The Village," and it's nice to enjoy the sweet love at that point.

Friday, August 13, 2004

It's Friday...

and I got to leave work a little after 10 this morning. Fabulous. I had a busy last couple of days, and my editor didn't want me to work overtime. So I got to leave, and I wasn't planning on leaving THAT early.

So I got my oil changed, ate lunch at the park with Greg, got my tire fixed, resisted the temptation at the scrapbooking store, went to the grocery, picked up some prescriptions, cleaned up around the house, washed dishes, put laundry in, made a mix CD...

And it's not even 4 p.m.

Go Cardinals!

I got the following pictures from Michael, a Cubs fan. He's brave to share such things with a Cardinals fan. He thinks just because the Cubs have Nomar now that they are set. Um, still 12 1/2 games up in the division...

 Posted by Hello

 Posted by Hello

serial snuggler

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) � The serial �snuggler� will have to keep his hands to himself.
The man who sneaked into women�s apartments just to cuddle with them has been sentenced to five years� probation.
Before pleading guilty earlier this year to 12 counts of unauthorized entry, Steve Danos, 26, led a commendable life, a judge said Wednesday before sentencing him.
None of the victims was hurt. Instead, the intruder roused the residents to ask about a party, helped himself to beer and pizza, folded clothes, made nachos and crawled into one woman�s bed to rub her stomach.
Before his arrest, Danos had a more notable claim to fame. He drove in the winning run in the state championship baseball game his senior year at John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge.
�It�s simply unbelievable,� state District Judge Todd Hernandez said Wednesday, while flipping through letters written to the court on Danos� behalf by friends, teachers and school administrators.
�Mr. Danos, up until this point you�ve led a life that would make any parent unbelievably proud,� Hernandez said.
The judge attributed Danos� bizarre behavior to the use of alcohol and drugs.
Danos� attorney, Robert Gill, said Danos was an outstanding high school athlete who sank into depression when he didn�t make the team at Louisiana State, Gill said.
The odd behavior began when Danos started soothing himself with Xanax, alcohol and marijuana, Gill said.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

news

It's been an unusual news day in this crazy world of ours...

Iraq beat Portgual 4-2 in an Olympic soccer game. Good for the chaotic country, I'm sure, but I don't know if celebratory gunfire is necessary in the streets of Baghdad, at least not given current international conditions.

California Supreme Court bans same-sex marriages. The ruling voids about 4,000 marriages performed in San Francisco in February and March. Nice to see the state with such a liberal reputation doing something like that.

Democratic New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey announced his resignation, saying he had an extramarital homosexual affair. Goodness. Talk about drama.

Just call me persistent.

Today one of my sources (I hate that word, but I can't come up with anything better right now...) told me my name must be "persistent." I took that as a compliment.

For the second day in a row, I felt like a "real" reporter. Some days are like that, and they are good for my motivation. I used to think I liked feature stuff more than hard news, but recently I've liked hard news -- yes, it exists in Murray -- more than fluffy stuff. That's good, too, because Kris, another reporter, prefers the feature stuff. I mainly cover city government, Murray State, the hospital, cops and courts, among other things that randomly happen. Those beats don't lean themselves to fluff. It's a lot of meetings and structured events, but those lead to working with and developing relationships with certain groups of people. I'm to the point people know me for me and not because I married a Taylor, and they trust me and the work I do. (I tell you, there are A LOT of Taylors and people related to Taylors around here...)

Tonight someone suggested Greg run for city council at some point...
I said only when I get tired of covering it. Right now I like it, and, selfishly, I don't want him to get involved in something I cover because then I couldn't anymore. We haven't had in conflicts like that yet. But he is working on a case that will be a good story when the two sides settle or the case goes to trial. (I'll have to delegate that elsewhere, I suppose...) I'm glad he doesn't do criminal defense work, both from a personal and professional standpoint.

I have told Greg a lot of work-related stories the last couple days, and I think he's tired of it, and now my minimal blog audience is probably getting tired of the same thing. Oh well, I sort of have this new, well, renewed, sense of motivation. I have a mental, and partially physical, list of stories I want to work on, mostly feature ideas spurred from my beats and regular sources. I said feature, not fluff, just for the record.

workin'

It's beautiful outside. The temperature is nearly perfect and the sun is shining. And I'm inside the office.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I went...

Whew, what a busy, busy day. I went to the judicial building for a hearing and to get court documents. I went off the record a couple of times. Ah, the life of a small-town reporter.

And she will be loved

It's not always rainbows and butterflies
It's compromise that moves us along
My heart is full and my door's always open
You can come anytime you want

-from "She Will Be Loved" by Maroon 5

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

stem cell research

I wish this wasn't such a vague, political issue. Vague and political don't work well together.

LANGHORNE, Pa. (AP) � First lady Laura Bush, defending her husband�s policy on embryonic stem cell research, accuses proponents of overstating the potential for medical breakthroughs and says it is �ridiculous� for John Kerry to claim the president has banned the research.
�We don�t even know that stem cell research will provide cures for anything � much less that it�s very close� to yielding major advances, she said Monday.
Her remarks came on the third anniversary of Bush�s decision to limit federal funding of embryonic stem cell research to the 78 stem cell lines in existence on Aug. 9, 2001.
Religious groups oppose the scientific work in which culling of stem cells kill the embryos, equating that with abortion. They did not want Bush to be the first president to fund the research � even with limits.
Proponents, including former first lady Nancy Reagan and 58 Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, argue the research could lead to cures to diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer�s. Former President Reagan suffered from the latter for a decade before his death June 5 due to related pneumonia.
Only a fraction of those initial 78 stem cell lines � 21 at last count � are yet available to researchers because of problems with the lines� growth or their ownership. In March, a National Institutes of Health count cast doubt on how many ultimately would be usable.
Proponents and members of the medical community say more than 100 new cell lines have been created worldwide since Bush�s decision � some with new techniques that may make them more scientifically useful. An exact count isn�t possible because private funding means much of the work is done without any public scrutiny.
With polls showing overwhelming support for stem cell research, Kerry has promised to give scientists more freedom. He has used the word ban to describe Bush�s actions when what the president has done is limit the research.
�That�s so ridiculous,� Laura Bush said in an interview with The Associated Press, calmly fielding questions about her husband and his presidential race. �It�s one of the myths that start during a campaign.�
Kerry spokesman Phil Singer said Bush�s restrictions apply to 99.9 percent of potential stem cell lines that could be studied. �If that�s not a ban,� he said, �we don�t know what is.�
But Mrs. Bush insisted Kerry was trying to make a political issue out of her husband�s policy �without saying what�s right. I imagine he knows better.�
Like other Bush-Cheney campaign surrogates, Mrs. Bush credited her husband with being the first president to use taxpayer money for the research. That is true, perhaps only because the science is so new. The policy of Democratic President Clinton allowed taxpayer money to be used in the research of any stem cell lines, but he never funded the nascent research. Bush invested $25 million in limited research.
Kerry�s running mate, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina, said Monday marked �a sad anniversary� because the Bush administration �put restrictions in place that dramatically undermine our efforts to find cures for diseases.�
In a speech to the Pennsylvania Medical Society, which endorsed her husband, Mrs. Bush said policy-makers must be aware of the �ethical and moral implications� of the research.
�I hope that stem cell research will yield cures,� the first lady said. �But I know that embryonic stem cell research is very preliminary right now and the implication that cures for Alzheimer�s are around the corner is just not right and it�s really not fair to people who are watching a loved one suffer with this disease.�
She said later it�s not fair to raise false hopes �because stem cell research is very, very preliminary.�
While Bush�s action restricts federal dollars, it does not stop private funding of any stem cell research. In an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. George Q. Daley, a leading stem cell researcher, said research has struggled without federal funds.

quirky

I tend to make lists of everything in my head. Ask me what my favorite Sheryl Crow song is and I'll proceed with one song, but the follow that answer with a list of others ones I like -- in ranking order. Ask me who will win this weekend when the Cardinals and Braves play. I'll say Cardinals. Duh. Then I'll say I don't like the Braves. In fact, I like the Cubs better than the Bravese, and anyone else, except the Giants and Yankees. Questions have answers. Then in my world I mentally follow answers with a list of rankings related to the question.

I also have a habit of saying I don't like Bad Bob's (a local barbecue place), Taco John's or chinese food. Actually, I like them all. I had a revelation today at work that I thought I didn't like Bad Bob's because the first time I went there I had chicken barbecue and it wasn't really that good. I had the pork there one other time, then again today at lunch. The pork is really good. So I decided barbecue is suppose to be pork. Although at Fancy Farm this weekend mutton was the local favorite.

boredom

It's been a long time since I've been down right bored. But last night that's how I felt. I did walk with Katy in the park, which was nice. But once I got home I really couldn't find anything to do to entertain myself. Nothing on TV. No good books to read. No new pictures to scrapbook. Nobody to talk to. So I went to bed. I'm glad I don't get like that very often.

And now here I am, wide awake, ready to go.

Monday, August 9, 2004

day trip

I drove 514 miles yesterday. From Murray to Louisville. Around Louisville. And back to Murray. It was worth it though because I got to see Katie and didn't have to drive the 2,416 miles from here to Boston and back. I left Murray at 6 a.m. and got to hang out with Katie for about five hours. First I got to see her niece, Livia, who is five months old, because her brother and sister-in-law surprised her with a visit in southern Indiana for breakfast. Then we went to the mall to hang out with her mom and other brother who lives in Lexington. I ate at Panera Bread. Yummy. We walked around a little, but mostly sat around and talked. After they left, I went to Barnes and Noble and Old Navy then met my mom for dinner.

The drive was actually pretty good. The morning was good because nobody else was really on the road and there was a lot of good music on the radio. I've been leaving my country addiction lately for pop music, so I got to listen to my new favorites on the radio. I like to flip radio stations but it gets on Greg's nerves when we drive, so I sort of enjoyed listening to what I wanted the whole four hours up and another four hours back. Well, I usually get my way when we're in the car together, but I didn't have to explain why music is better than talk radio, unless we're listening to a Cardinals baseball game -- something on which we agree. It was refreshing just to sort of clear my head with the morning drive.

On the way back I wasn't really much for being alone, but I talked on my cell phone much of the time and didn't even hit too many pockets of no-cell coverage. Just one between Elizabethtown and Louisville, which is the one place you would think a cell tower could work properly. And I didn't even stop on the way home, which is rare in my world.

Alright, I'm babbling...
But it was just really a nice day trip, and I'm having a hard time expressing that.

Saturday I went to the 124th annual Fancy Farm Picnic in next-door Graves County. I'd never been, but I've been wanting to go since I took a political science class in 2000 that focused on the presidential campaigns and my professor showed Fancy Farm videos. Politicians speak, but it's more like the old-fashioned stumping, where brutal insults are exchanged and the crowd is split-down-the-middle partisan. Lots of cheering and booing, depending on which side is being noisy and which party is speaking. The governor was actually very funny as was his speaker of the House rival Jody Richards. I continue to think Jim Bunning is a jerk and lean toward his Democratic opponent Daniel Mongiardo. Mitch McConnell's sarcasm was witty and entertained the Republicans.

Sunday, August 8, 2004

KatieKerns!


Katie escaped Boston and made it to Louisville for the weekend. We even both wore pink -- the color we love to deny we love -- for each other.  Posted by Hello

Friday, August 6, 2004

stars and stripes

Baskin-Robbins used to have this fabulous ice cream in July called Stars and Stripes and Exploding Bites. It was red, white and blue (maybe cherry, vanilla and raspberry, I can't remember...) ice cream with Pop Rocks candy.

My world was filled with red, white and blue and politics yesterday. In the afternoon I went to Dover, Tenn., because they were having a rally in support of the Ten Commandments. That monument from Alabama that was the center of the debate that ended in a Supreme Court justice losing his job because he refused to remove the monument, which he owned. Anyway, the monument is on tour across the country on its way to Washington, D.C.

Last night I went to a rally for the Democratic candidate for the state House seat. Buddy Buckingham (sometimes I have to be careful not to say Bucky Buddingham...) is seeking his fourth term against a Republican who used to be Murray's mayor and a chemistry professor at Murray State. Now they both are involved in economic development locally. Anyway, I think it's going to be a close race, and definitely closer than the Democrats think it's going to be. The thing is Murray traditionally votes Democratic but leans conservatively. The Republican Party here is growing and being much more active, so I think it will turn the tables in some elections.

I like political functions because there are always random people there, sort of having my different work worlds collide. Last night I talked with the sheriff for a long time. He's a great country boy. I told him last night was the first time I've ever seen him out of his uniform. He told me he likes to try and blend in sometimes, but that never really works for him. He introduced me to his wife as his favorite reporter. That's sweet. Then my favorite criminal defense attorney was there. He's nuts and loves to talk about his MSU athlete-clients. Then there are the people who know I usually vote Republican and like to tease me. But they still seem to like me, so I must be doing something right with the objectivity in my stories.

Also on a political note:
I think it is ridiculous Alan Keyes, a talk show host from MARYLAND, is going to accept the bid to run for the ILLINOIS Senate. Um, really, what makes him qualified if he has NEVER lived in the state? Apparently as long as he lives in Illinois by Election Day everything is OK. I guess it's what Hilary Clinton did in New York, but that's not right either. Republicans in Illinois must be desperate. Too bad their other candidate was embarassed with some sex club allegations from his divorce records.

Thursday, August 5, 2004

Why do I blog?

Sometimes I blog because I want to talk and nobody is around. Other times boredom prompts it. But most of the time it's because I think too much and have too many random thoughts to remember and I figure if I chronicle them everything will make just a bit more sense to me. Selfish, I suppose. But maybe in the process someone will learn something about me. Plus on here I can talk about whatever I want because it's my blog. Religion and politics make some people nervous, but I like to talk about both of them. And my blog doesn't talk back, although I guess people who read it can.

Blogs are popular now. When Ryan persuaded me to start one almost three years ago, he was a little in front of the trend. But now all kinds of people use them. There's Jessica Cutler, the crazy intern from Capitol Hill who liked to publish her sexual escapades. Politicans use them as campaign forums. And I read a story about soldiers using them to stay connected to their civilian lives.

And here mine is, a bunch of babble.

Wednesday, August 4, 2004

Finally...

Our bank has Internet banking! My checkbook has been off by $10.91 for a long time. Even though the difference was to my advantage, it's been driving me crazy. Now I can balance my checkbook more frequently than once a month when the statement comes in the mail. I have it to the penny now. It's really a lovely moment in the world of a perfectionist.

When we lived in Lexington, I balanced my checkbook at least once a week, and now I can get back to that anal habit because The Murray Bank has moved into the 21st century.

I know it's August

But it's hot outside. I left work early today because I have to work tomorrow night, Friday night and Saturday and overtime is from the devil in my office. That's according to my bosses. Personally, I might as well go work and make the extra money. Anyway, I've been out running errands -- Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Post Office and the bank -- and each time I got in and out of my car, I felt like I was stuck to the seat. Lovely feeling, really.

So our anniversary was yesterday, as I've mentioned, but today I was thinking about how Aug. 3, 2002, was apparently the hottest day Louisville had experienced in five years, according to my aunt and uncle who were in town for our wedding from Yellowstone National Park and their research. All of that to say, I bet it's not as hot as it was that day, but I bet it's close.

Katy called this morning to tell me she thought it was going to be too hot to walk. I think she might be right. So we're going to replace the exercise time with dinner. Healthy.

And now I'm going to take care of some things in the air-conditioned house.

You know you're living in 2004 when...

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.
2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.
3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 3.
4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you.
5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends is that they don't have e-mail addresses.
6. When you go home after a long day at work you still answer the phone in a business manner.
7. When you make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.
8. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.
10. You learn about your redundancy on the 11 o'clock news.
11. Your boss doesn't have the ability to do your job.
12. Contractors outnumber permanent staff and are more likely to get long-service awards.

AND...
13. You read this entire list, and kept nodding and smiling.
14. As you read this list, you think about forwarding it to your "friends."
15. You got this e-mail from a friend that never talks to you anymore, except to send you jokes from the net.
16. You are too busy to notice there was no #9
17. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a # and now you're laughing at yourself.

(And here I am publishing it on my blog...)

a year ago

A year ago today Greg and I moved to Murray. That's one day after our anniversary, so I guess it will always be easy to remember. I used to not want to live in Murray, but really this last year has been pretty great overall.

We ate at Patti's last night for our anniversary. They are famous for bread baked in a flower pot, porkchops and desserts. But I had grilled shrimp and it was SO good. I had to take a lot of insulin to eat there, but it was well worth it and I even kept my blood sugar under control and ate a piece of chess pie. Greg brought home these gorgeous, bold-colored flowers yesterday and gave me some scrapbooking stuff and a Cardinals shirt that goes along with the Cardinals tickets I bought him. It was a busy day for both of us, but I'm glad we got to do something fun last night.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

court and cops banter

In three years I've written more than 100,000 words on here. That's a lot.

I like to go to court when I have stories to cover there because there's always crazy stuff going on with crazy people. But I have issues with this we-don't-write-about-DUIs policy at the paper. I understand not writing about Joe Nobody's DUI, but if someone is a public figure -- MSU athlete, for example -- it's a different story. There was a football player in court this morning who pleaded guilty to a DUI charge, and I'm not allowed to write about it even though there was another football player in court who pleaded guilty to drug parpapheralia. First, DUI is a more serious charge. Also, it's sort of unfair to not write about both of them. I mean, football player one, who happens to be walk-on, hates to see his name in the paper and mistakes shared with the community. Meanwhile, football player two, who used to play for a Division I school but found himself at Murray State, passes through the court system without a word publicly.

BUT if someone is charged with DUI among other charges, such as a basketball player who will be in court next week, then it's OK to write about it. And to think this policy was created because the former publisher wanted to keep his friends' names out of the paper. I just wonder if it wasn't an athlete but rather a state legislator or university administrator if I could write about it. According to the current "policy," I couldn't. But I'd argue that one harder, I think.

And all of this comes from the girl who saw stories about her dad's two DUIs in a few years' time on the front of the city section of The Courier-Journal. As his daughter, I hated to see my dad's story shared with the world. But as a journalist, I understood he was a public figure, even if only in the local community, because he was an middle school principal. His life was shaken up, but it wasn't the newspaper or the police that instigated those changes.

I was chatting with a police detective this morning in court. He said when he was first a patrol officer, he felt bad arresting people because he knew the criminal charges could contribute to a divorce or a job loss or a number of other things. But then he realized, as a police officer he didn't put that person in that situation; he was just doing this job. I really understand that from the experiences with my dad and with covering police and courts for the paper.

Monday, August 2, 2004

There's nothing good on TV...

so bloggin' is my break from being productive tonight.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do tonight. I ran errands after work then made Greg's anniversary present. Then I walked with Katy. Usually I'm the one with a to-do list of tasks, but tonight Greg came home ready to work. Our bathroom sucks, for a lack of a better adjective. Right now there is tan carpet, a red counter top, taupe walls, grundgy white cabinets with goldish trim ... It's just real mix-matched and old. So, we're painting the cabinets tonight. Um, let me rephrase that: Greg is painting the cabinets. I cleaned the cabinets, took of the hinges and knobs and prepared the area for him. Sweet, I know.

Anyway, I'm taking a break now because he's in there painting and our bathroom definitely isn't big enough for the both of us, or any two people in general. So this is the first step toward my recent home improvement list. Baby steps are better than nothing. Hopefully tiling our bathroom is the next step. Then we'll conquer the guest bedroom in the attic, complete with a pink bathroom. When I say pink, I don't just mean a pink-painted wall. I mean a pink sink and pink tile with a partially pink-painted and partially white-tiled wall. It's really kind of cool, though. The real issue is the light green walls in the staircase and front room. That definitely needs to be taken care of, as soon as the weather is cooler because it's pretty stinkin' hot up there right now. I could pass the living room as my favorite room in the house once we get crackin' on the improvements.

People who haven't been to our house are probably thinking we live in a crazy place, but really the main rooms are nice. We just sort of stopped there when we moved in, and now I'm motivated again to get some things done. It comes in waves, you know.

once we were neighbors

In second grade I made this friend named Elizabeth, who moved to Kentucky from Rhode Island. We lived diagonally across the neighborhood from each other. The path from my house to hers was so often traveled one winter we walked through the snow the same way so much that in the spring that tract of grass in the mutual neighbor's yard was dead. We went to church and school together. We played flashlight tag in the neighborhood with our friends. We stayed up laughing and talking lots of nights. She was a good friend to have.

Although she's still my friend, the type of friendship has just changed a lot. It's neat to see how people come and go, literally and figuratively, but there are certain people who remain part of your life, even if their capacity changes. Elizabeth moved in the ninth grade to Tacoma, Wash., which is near Seattle. Later she moved with her family to Buffalo, N.Y. Then she went to college in Portland, Ore., and still lives out that way. Her parents, brother and sister even moved back to the west coast. I've seen her a handful of times since the ninth grade. I went to Seattle once, and she's visited Louisville a few times, including flying in for my wedding. We keep in touch with e-mail and the random letter or card (and she even wrote me once on the back of chemistry notes) because we know a envelope other than a bill is welcome sight in the mailbox.

I learned recently Elizabeth's mom works as an office manager in a diabetes center. It's interesting to me how my life sort of meshed. Here I am living in Murray, Ky., having been diagnosed with diabetes about six months ago and there the mom of my oldest friend is working in my field. Elizabeth's mom told me she's surrounded with some expert diabetes educators and nutritionist. It's a good resource to know about, especially because I trust that family so much, like they were my own.

Elizabeth emailed me today, and it's neat to me that we can still be part of each other's lives, even if it is more electronically than living in the same part of the country. We aren't neighbors anymore, but I'm thankful for the continued connection.

life is jelly doughnut

Good thing I had a lot of car time yesterday because I read "Ten Big Ones" in a day, actually not even that. I read a couple of chapters on our way to Kings Islands, but then I had it finished before we were at Beaver Dam yesterday.

It's the 10th book in Janet Evanovich's series about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. They are hilarious. More funny than anything. But there is some suspence thrown in. She's a smart author, though, because she left me hanging at the end, knowing she has published the next installment yet. That's why she can write 10 books about the same character and keep people interested. Rather brilliant, really, but frustrating for me, who has formed an addiction to her books. She has another series of humor/suspense novels but they aren't as good. I think I just don't like the characters as much.

Anyway, here's a sample. It's the very beginning of the book.

The way I see it, life is a jelly doughnut. You don't really know what it's about until you bite into it. And then, just when you decide it's good, you drop a big glob of jelly on your best T-shirt.

My name is Stephanie Plum, and I drop a lot of jelly globs, figuratively and literally. Like the time I accidentally burned down a funeral home. That was the mother of all jelly globs. I got my picture in the paper for that one. I'd walk down the street and people would recognize me.

"You're famous now," my mother said when the paper came out. " You have to set an example. You have to exercise, eat good food and be nice to old people."

Okay, so my mother was probably right, but I'm from Jersey and truth is, I have a hard time getting a grip on the good example thing. A good example in Jersey isn't exactly the national ideal. Not to mention, I inherited a lot of unmanageable brown hair and rude hand gestures from my father's Italian side of the family. What am I supposed to do with that?

My mother's side is Hungarian and from this I get blue eyes and the ability to eat birthday cake and still button the top snap on my jeans. I'm told the good Hungarian metabolism only lasts until I'm forty, so I'm counting down. The Hungarian genes also carry a certain amount of luck and gypsy intuition, both of which I need in my present job. I'm a Bond Enforcement Agent, working for my cousin Vincent Plum, and I run down bad guys. I'm not the best BEA in the world and I'm not the worst. An incredibly hot guy with the street name Ranger is the best. And my sometimes partner, Lula, is possibly the worst.

Maybe it's not fair to have Lula in the running for worst bounty hunter of all time. To begin with, there are some really bad bounty hunters out there. And more to the point, Lula isn't actually a bounty hunter. Lula is a former hooker who was hired to do the filing for the bail bonds office but spends a lot of her day trailing after me.

At the moment, Lula and I were standing in the parking lot of a deli-mart on Hamilton Avenue. We were about a half-mile from the office and we were leaning against my yellow Ford Escape, trying to make a lunch choice. We were debating nachos at the deli-mart against a sub at Giovichinni's.

Sunday, August 1, 2004

these are a few of my favorite things

I rode roller coasters and ate Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Skyline Chili this week.

Jaclyn, Bryan, Brandon, Greg and I went to Kings Island this weekend. We drove to my parents' house on Friday and then went to Kings Island Saturday morning. It rained all day Friday here and in Louisville, so we weren't feeling confident in Saturday. We drove in the rain Saturday morning toward Cincinnati. It was overcast and sprinkled a little once we got to the park, but within a little while it cleared up and it was a nice amusement park day. We even took a roller coaster break for the lazy river and a group water slide at the water park. I love The Beast and Face Off. Those are probably my two favorites there. But The Vortex, Flight of Fear, Son of the Beast Top Gun and Drop Zone are good too. At the water park, we went down this slide thing in a four-person intertube. First it goes through a tunnel and then into this opening that allows the tube to go up the wall and then back up the other (like a ramp, kind of) and then on down the slide into the pool. It was so fun, and by far the most thrilling water park attraction I've ever experienced.

Today we hung out at my parents' house, even though I don't think everyone else enjoyed just sitting around there as much as I did. Kevin and Milla came over for lunch -- mom-made lasagna and manicotti. This morning we watched "Bend It Like Beckham." I had been wanting to, and it was conveniently on TV today. Cute movie.