Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Post-Thanksgiving

The Christmas tree is up and decorated, although I need to replace a bulb to make the full strand of lights work. The stockings are hanging on the mantel. Some gifts are wrapped under the tree. And there are three Christmas CDs in my car, the acoustic bluegrass-ish one actually cued when I start my car.

I'm ready for Christmas.

Also Greg hung up my beautiful, artsy mirror I got for Christmas from Greg's parents. I love it.

I went home from work early yesterday with intentions to clean my house, do laundry and get organized, but I just pulled out Christmas decorations, presents and wrapping paper and probably ended up with a bigger mess. But that's OK because it was fun. Maybe I'll continue the cleaning mission today.

Monday, November 29, 2004

visiting the family

This weekend was great. Aside from Kali the Cat who makes me sneeze, I really couldn't have asked for a better weekend at my parents' house. We got in Friday night and ate our favorite Hometown Pizza. Kevin came over and we all just hung around. Cassie surprised me Saturday with her ability to get off the couch after having all four wisdom teeth taken out Friday afternoon. So we went shopping for several hours. It's always fun to catch up with her. That night my mom cooked dinner and Kevin, Laine and Milla came over.

Let me say it one more time: Milla's adorable.
(Although I'm certain that's not the last time. And here I am, the aunt. Just wait until Greg and I have our own kids!)

She's almost 10 months old. She walks. She'll take a view steps then sit down, knowing she'll get there -- wherever she's going -- faster if she crawls. She smiles and grins. She'll make sure she's the center of everyone's attention even if she acts content playing by herself. She talks. Well, sort of. The best is she'll pick up the plastic, purple phone and babble something that closely resembles "hello." My mom thinks she says "baby" while pointing to pictures of herself or while looking at her reflection in the dish washer and we all recognize "Da-Da." She still doesn't have much hair, and she finally has one tooth. Her counterpart on the other side of the family, Elijah, has seven teeth and a whole head of hair. And he cries more than he smiles. The differences are so interesting, and it's amazing to notice the personalities that babies develop at such young ages.

So, anyway, Sunday we went to see Bridget Jones 2. Not nearly as good as the first one. Sort of disappointing, but still funny in places. That was the group critique from Mom, Cassie, Greg and me. We ate with Poppy at Buckheads before heading back to Murray with out detour to Clarksville so Cassie didn't have to drive home drugged up on pain killers.

with Uncle Greg...


Uncle Greg was enjoying the charm of his niece. Who wouldn't enjoy that adorable girl?! Posted by Hello

with toys...


She's a playful girl and always knows where Grandma has her toys.  Posted by Hello

Friday, November 26, 2004

redundant

I know I keep posting about the same thing, just saying it in different ways. Bear with me, it's therapuetic for me.

Again

She held on too tight
again.
Maybe it was about control,
but maybe it was about fear.

She clings too close
to him
and her
and them.
She's afraid to let go
because then she might be alone.

She wants them too much to take care of her.
From where did this insecurity come?

She knows she's smart and sometimes funny.
She likes people and places.
She likes to give.
She works hard and gets things done.

But somewhere along the line
she messed up her priorities.
She sought immediate satisfaction
instant healing
forgiveness times infinity
understanding among stubbornness
in the world.

Somewhere along the line
she forgot who she was.
She let him
and her
and them
alter her self-image
rather than resting in an image of
the Creator
the one who made her
the one who knows her intentions
the one who knows all that hides in her heart.

She held on too tight
again.
This time to the wrong one
at the wrong time.

She was hurt when she let go.
She hated to watch the door close.

But it's time
she go back
to where there is no fear
to where she finds peace
only because
she let go.

Happy Thanksgiving. Merry Christmas.

The last two days have been a strange combination of celebrating holidays and reflecting on who I am.

I'll start with the good (well, easier and lighter...) stuff.

We had Christmas with Greg's immediate family Wednesday because his brother John leaves for Iraq (well, for Greenville, Ky., then somewhere in Mississippi, then Iraq...) Wednesday. Honestly, I didn't know what I thought about the whole day. It's no secret I don't have the best attitude toward Greg's dad and sister in law. With that said, I went in with a better attitude (It was part of the whole reflection thing...) and I'm certain it made for a better day. Anyway, we got to his parents house in the afternoon (That was after sleeping in and watching an episode of "Dawon's Creek" that morning.) and opened presents. I got my beautiful mirror that I picked out a few weeks ago at a local craft fair. Peggy loves to give presents as much as I do, which is nice. She gave me this neat scrapbooking table that folds up like a TV tray and has compartments to set supplies in. She's also pretty good with the stocking stuffers. :) I don't know if John liked the scrapbook I made him as much as Peggy did, but surely he'll appreciate it when he's away from everyone. We hung out, played my new Super Scrabble (more spaces, more tiles, more points...), ate and just enjoyed the day. And Elijah actually had some happy moments and didn't cry ALL day.

Thursday I got to sleep in again! I watched part of another "Dawson's Creek" rerun too. Then we went to Greg's grandma's for lunch and spent the rest of the day there. I had a particularly good time talking with Greg's cousin Serenity. She's a neat girl. We ate, played cards, ate some more, and then played a trivia game.

Meanwhile, I've decided I must get out of this rut I've been in. It's a very selfish place. It's not a place I've been drifting intentionally, but now that I see where I am and what I've been doing, it's necessary I get out...

Basically, I've just been selfish in my words, actions and thoughts.

Greg has gotten the brunt of it, with Michael taking his share at work. Other people probably (hopefully...) haven't noticed it was much because I'm not as transparent with them or have tried to at least hid it subconsciously. My conversations with Jaclyn have been sort of strained lately, and I was pretty quick to place the blame on her stress when I probably should have taken more blame. I tend to take things personally, even if they don't have to do with me directly. I've been complaining a lot and just have been living in a state of discontentment, always wanting more from the people who already give me a lot of themselves.

It's really hard to admit this.

But I guess that's the first part of the battle, right?

I've decided to have a better attitude and try to remember everything is not about me. That sounds like such an elementary thing, something we were probably graded on for our kindergarten report cards. But I've fallen into this rut that I have to get out of for the sake of myself and the people around me.

Last night on CSI, Grissom was told his night-shift team was going to get split up. Who knows what this will do to the show with the main characters on different shifts. But at the end Grissom was talking to Warrick, who said he knew the team wouldn't always be working together but he didn't expect it to end because of upper-office politics and drudging up old drama, and said something that I should hold onto:

It's in changing we find purpose.

Maybe I just need to be reminded about my purpose, which should more often than not have absolutely nothing to do with me.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

hopin'

She replayed the conversation over and over in her mind. Then she could only hope the words were actually going to be exchanged like that.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

thankfulness

My editor just showed me the column he wrote that listed what he was thankful for...
I'm stealing the idea. Although I'm containing it to publication on my blog.


I'm thankful for grace because I'm far from perfect, even though I try.
I'm thankful for my husband.
I'm thankful for my T-shirt sheets.
I'm thankful for hugs.
I'm thankful for my parents.
I'm thankful for my sister.
I'm thankful for my brother.
I'm thankful for my adorable niece.
I'm thankful for my in-laws.
I'm thankful for butterflies because as much as I resist change, I know it's necessary to be more beautiful creatures.
I'm thankful for yellow, especially the sunshine.
I'm thankful for pink, and so is Katie.
I'm thankful for laughter, especially the kind that won't stop and gives me a belly ache.
I'm thankful I'm not afraid to cry because it always makes me feel better, like the hurt or disappointment is released.
I'm thankful for the stargazer lillies sitting on my kitchen table. They were the first thing I smelled when I walked in this afternoon.
I'm thankful for country music, especially Toby Keith, because it's fun to sing along to in the car, which is the only place I sing, really.
I'm thankful for blue.
I'm thankful for Wildcat blue, and Chuck Hayes.
I'm thankful for college basketball and that football is winding down.
I'm thankful that I understand sports. Otherwise Greg might not have been in a position to fall in love with me.
I'm thankful for love.
I'm thankful for lifelong friends.
I'm thankful for email that lets me keep in touch with some lifelong friends, especially one in Boston who will hopefully be moving closer.
I'm thankful for my job, really.
I'm thankful I like words.
I'm thankful for newspapers.
I'm thankful for communication, even though not everyone does it the same way I do.
I'm thankful for smiles that break tension and heal hearts.
I'm thankful that the glass is usually half full, even though I sometimes don't remember that until I spill some on me.
I'm thankful for leaves in my walking path and the rustling sound.
I'm thankful my telephone calls that last hours but seem like minutes.
I'm thankful people come along in my life and make me better than I would otherwise be.
I'm thankful I believe everything happens for a reason.
I'm thankful I believe.
I'm thankful eye contact that says more than all the words I try to mutter.
I'm thankful for parks.
I'm thankful for swings.
I'm thankful for walks and talks, especially when they come together.
I'm thankful for the desire to do my best and finish things.
I'm thankful for Post-It notes and Sharpies.
I'm thankful for pop music.
I'm thankful for TV.
I'm thankful for Tetris.
I'm thankful for holidays that give me a day (or two...) off work.
I'm thankful my family doesn't live too far. It can be done in a day or two.
I'm thankful people love me and I love people.
I'm thankful I share myself even though it might sting.
I'm thankful for Scrabble.
I'm thankful for my nerdiness.
I'm thankful for chips and salsa.
I'm thankful for Diet Dr Pepper that tastes much like the real thing.
I'm thankful I went to the doctor Jan. 28.
I'm thankful for my doctor.
I'm thankful for people who do jobs I'd rather not do.
I'm thankful I graduated from college, even though I miss Christmas Break.
I'm thankful I came to Murray State, then moved away, then moved back.
I'm thankful.

reflections on conflict

Conflict gets me thinking. Dangerous, I know. But here's the conflict routine with Kristin: Conflict causes emotions. Emotions shift from one to another. I step back, like I should have done in the beginning, and see something to analyze. Analyze. Usually come to some conclusion about what I want to do and what I think will happen. And sometimes those aren't the same. Somewhere along the line I question if I handled it right. Often the answers is good have done better.

That routine has got to change.

The positive is Greg and I had some good conversations today. Or at least conversations I needed (or, um, wanted) to have. He also recognized my need for some comfort and encouragement and brought home stargazer lillies (one of my three favorite flowers, along with tulips and gerber daisies...). He also gave me part of my Christmas present early. Just a day early, though. We're doing part of Christmas tomorrow. :)

Usually I accept change in my life, especially when it involves changing my attitude and perspective, when something pushes me that way. I was pushed today, although at first unwillingly, and I'll go from here.

It's nice to dwell on the positives...

a reflection that stings

I had a friend in college who could easily irritate me when she was in one of her "moods." For awhile I just thought she was annoying, but I looked passed it because I really loved a lot of things about her. Well, then one day I was thinking about her, some things she said and some ways she behaved, and I realized I was looking in a mirror. It was startling, but really made sense. I was so annoyed by a few quirks of her personality because it resembled some of the things I disliked about myself. I don't thing I ever really shared this with her, mainly because it could across hateful, but I credit her with helping me be a better person.

That's the things about friends. They make me a better person, despite their imperfections.

Friends are good things. Sure, sometimes their personality clashes or they misinterpret each others' nonverbal, or even verbal, communication. Sometimes words are said that might cross lines because emotions are out of control. Sometimes friends give each other too many pieces of "grumpy pie" instead of the tastier chocolate pie because that trust is there. Sometimes guards are left down too low and friends become vulnerable to each other and let the bad slip in with the good. Sometimes friends have different conflict management styles -- one wants to let it go without words and the other wants to talk the subject in the ground. Some people need hugs, some people need distance. Words can hurt but sometimes hateful glances and painful stares cut the heart worse. Moods are contagious, for good and bad.

I'd give laughter, good conversations, lunches and hugs for any conflict. But, truth is, good and bad are parts of the package. Forgiveness is hard, especially for stubborn people like me. But forgiveness is possible when the friendship is worth it. I'd like to think I have a ton of friends, but when it gets right down to it, I can count on one hand the people for whom I'd give the world. I mean, there are a ton of people I love and many people I enjoy. But these few friends mean the world to me, and I hate it when I don't live up to what they want or expect or need from me.

Greg says I depend on people too much. The ironic (like rain on your wedding day or a death row pardon 10 minutes too late...) thing is he also thinks I'm too task-oriented. I agree with both statements. Sometimes I'm too much of a people person and sometimes I'm not enough of a people person. Wow. The life of a perfect melancholy personality.

This sounds serious, and that's because it is. I'm anal and list things even if they aren't always in ranking order: Faith, friends, family. That's it. I build my life upon those three things (that all happen to start with F...). Maybe that's dangerous. Maybe I do depend on people too much. I guess that comes with the needy personality of mine. These few dear friends of mine are probably the only people in the world who truly know I'm needy, and they are the ones who see my emotions overflow when I lose my grip on my cup of life. Sometimes this opens up conflict.

Greg doesn't like to argue with me. He's not a fighter like that. My dad would argue with me growing up, and I have a friend who will argue with me and always wins. Stubbornness attracts stubbornness, maybe.

I learned a couple valuable lessons today I probably should have learned a long time ago.

The truth can hurt.

Like when I looked at my college friend and saw a reflection of myself, I saw part of myself in a friend today.

But even more importantly with that friend who I trust with everything I have was brutally honest, and it was harsh. I forgave him quicker than my normally stubborn self usually would because he keeps me grounded.

Yeah, my feelings were hurt, but in all honesty I can move on from that when I care about somebody. But it's what he said that sticks with me. I expect certain people to do what I want and be able to read my mind. Then I have the tendancy to over-react when I feel like my feelings have been crushed, however small the wound.

Actually, the truth is, I react with my feelings way too much. It's this thing I've been working on. Greg knows it. He knows both sides of it -- how it's my weakness and how it feels to be the recipient of my weakness.

So my friend was harsh today, like I am with Greg sometimes. I understood but didn't understand, if that makes sense. And my assumption is that is how Greg usually feels. I felt bad both that I was involved in a conflict with someone special to me and that I put people I love, including my husband, in similar situations.

At lunch I was telling Greg about how I think I really messed this up today. How I might have wounded a friendship, and how I need this person. (Selfish, I know...) On the other side, I think this person needs me, or I would hope so.

Regardless, Greg's response was that I needed to look in the mirror, even if it stings. Brutally honest, again, check. Then Greg said even when I get mad I always come back. Come back to who is important.

God, I hope that's true with my friend.

maybe it's a disorder

I walked last night, but it was different than most nights because I was by myself. That was OK. I'm just used to talking or listening entire time I'm walking because Katy and I chat a lot. But she didn't want to walk. I needed to walk though because it really helps control my blood sugar better. So I did.

Yesterday I also saw Cara's mom. See, Cara and I have been friends since fourth grade. Her mom is a neat lady and was a big part of my life growing up. Cara's parents live near the lake down this way and her mom was here to put an ad in the paper for her cake business. It was a really bittersweet moment for me. I love that family, but I sure miss Cara. She just lives in Louisville, but we haven't talked since April, and it was January before that...

It's funny how things change and I never quite get over them. And everything I think I am over it, something happens to make me think about it all again. I wonder if all the trouble I have accepting change is a psychological disorder. Possibly.

Still, seeing Cara's mom was such a pleasant surprise to my day.

2.2 miles

She kicked the leaves as she walked, partly to be defiant. But she also liked the rustling sound they made against the concrete.

Monday, November 22, 2004

makin' a list...

Instead of talking about the unexplainable gloomy cloud, I think I'll list things I like about this time of the year.

I LOVE Christmas shopping. I LOVE buying gifts, so much so sometimes it's hard for me to keep them until closer to Christmas. I'm actually probably about 75 percent done and it's not even Thanksgiving. But, sadly, that was prompted by knowing John is leaving for Iraq Dec. 1 and we're doing Christmas early with some of Greg's family. Oh, well, I'm definitely not complaining about buying and making Christmas presents.

I can't wait to listen to Christmas music all the way to Louisville on Friday. I wanted to break it out this weekend, but I decided I'll still have a whole month if I wait just a little longer. And I don't want to drive my husband completely insane! But we do have our favorite from last year that says "turkey bakin'" but it sounds like "turkey bacon." We like to laugh about that.

I love having our gas logs on. They heat up the house but it's not overwhelmingly hot like my grandpa's house.

I sleep so very soundly on my T-shirt-sheet covered mattress. Plus snuggling is much better in the colder months.

I like layering clothes, especially now that I have two new jacket-like sweaters that I love. I like socks (almost as much as I like flip flops, and yes I know that is slightly contradictory...).

Walking in the colder months is better because I don't sweat as much but I still feel productive.

I like candy canes and hot chocolate.

There's a nice poinsetta sitting on my desk. I got it today when I was at the city employee appreciation lunch. No, we all know I don't work for the city, but I cover the city, so I was invited. I was sitting with four male city council members. The person who had the sticker under their chair at each table was suppose to take the poinsetta home. Well, we all looked, and it was actually under an empty chair, but then they all decided they didn't want it anyway. So I have it now. I'm not real good with plants and flowers, but it's pretty.

I'm looking forward to hanging out with family, especially that adorable niece of mine, this weekend. Greg's grandma will make a good meal Thursday and hopefully I'll get my favorite hashbrown casserole thing Saturday at my parents' house. However, holidays, especially Thanksgiving and Christmas, make me miss my grandma -- Nanny -- because my mom's side of the family hasn't celebrated holidays the same since she died in October 2001.

To be continued, I'm sure...

Sunday, November 21, 2004

fortunate accident

I forgot I much I love "Serendipity." Plus, it's a good word.

You know the Greeks didn't write obituaries. They only asked one question after a man died: "Did he have passion?" --Dean Kansky, the male best friend who writes obits for The New York Times, in "Seredipity"

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Saturday

Ah, when I woke up this morning, the clock read 9:28. What a beautiful thing. My plan was to stay in my pajamas until it was time to go the Murray State basketball game tonight, but I ended up having to put on jeans to go to Wal-Mart to take care of some pictures for the Christmas present scrapbooks I'm working on. But I didn't shower until dinner time, so that's almost as good. I really was just enjoying sitting around, watching football, watching basketball and scrapbooking.

Friday, November 19, 2004

you've been waiting...

My readers are begging me to blog...

OK, so that's not quite true. Actually, Katie only mentioned, very briefly, even, that I hadn't blogged.

So here I am.

And it's all for Katie. Truth is, I'd do anything for some good 'ole girl time with Katie. I'm really looking forward to seeing her at Christmas time, but I have to remind myself that will probably involve our husbands and her parents. Don't get me wrong, the visit will be fabulous if it's all of us, even all of western Kentucky, but she and I have bonded in a new way from 20-something hours apart and I'm just awfully thankful for that.

OK, one more Katie story. If you recall, earlier in the week, I blogged about Katie and her perfect timing with a phone call. Well, folks, she did it again. I was emailing her this afternoon. Sort of typing something for work, and taking frequent breaks to type more in the email. Anyway, my cell phone rang, and it was her. I picked up the phone and said really quickly, "I was just emailing you." Not only was it really fast, it was squeaky too. High-pitched sounds better. But Katie didn't say anything, so I said, "Katie?" and then she said something. Apparently she thought I was speaking Spanish. Nah, I was just excited. I felt really worn out already today, and then all the excitement wore me out even more.

OK, so, yeah, I'm worn out. It's a combination of a gloomy Friday here in Murray and the fact I had worked 40.41 hours before I clocked in this morning. I worked a full day today and then have to go back for a couple hours tonight. Whew. I can tell you, I'm looking forward to an unplanned weekend when there are plenty of things I want to do but there's not time demands on me. Does that make sense? Scrapbook, watch UK play tomorrow afternoon, watch Murray State play tomorrow night...
Just hang out. Gosh that's such a refreshing thought.

I didn't finish all my sentences today and couldn't always come up with the right word, but it's been an OK day. I wished the sun would have come out and it wasn't already dark, but, sure, it could have been a lot colder.

Oh, random...
It's such a small world. Greg's brother John leaves for Iraq soon. I found out this week he's going to be stationed over there about 50 miles north of Baghdad -- at the same place as my friend Kent, who is in the Air Force. Kent is at the end of his stay, and John's will probably be twice as long as Kent's has been, but how crazy is it that my lives will merge like that in Iraq?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

funny stuff...

courtesy of Katie

There are two statues in a park; one of a nude man and one of a nude woman.

They had been facing each other across a pathway for a hundred years, when one day an angel comes down from the sky and with a single gesture, brings the two to life.

The angel tells them, "As a reward for being so patient through a hundred blazing summers and dismal winters, you have been given life for thirty minutes to do what you have wished to do the most."

He looks at her, she looks at him, and they go running behind the shrubbery.

The angel waits patiently as the bushes rustle and giggling ensues.

After fifteen minutes, the two return, out of breath and laughing.

The angel tells them, "You have 15 minutes left, would you care to do it again?"

He asks her, "Shall we?"

She eagerly replies, "Oh yes!� But let's change positions.

This time, I'll hold the pigeon down and you�poop on its head."

turnover

Here's a quick run down on the newsroom here at the Ledger & Times for all you inquiring minds. There's my editor. Two guys take care of sports. (Well, two bodies, but only one actually works, but that's another subject...) For news, there's Kris, John and me. John takes more pictures (slanted as they may be...) than he writes, and that's fine by me. Kris likes to lay out pages and write fluffy features stories. Then there's me. Oh, and how could I forget Miss Jo, who is older than my grandpa, I think, and always thinks it's cold in here.

All of this to say, resources are limited. And Kris is leaving.

Her last day is "the Tuesday before Thanksgiving," as my editor said this morning. Um, so that's TUESDAY. Like less than a week from now.

OK, so, honestly, it's not Kris, personally, I will miss, but rather the way her preferences at work complement mine. I'd go the hard news route and stick with reporting. She likes fluff and would rather design pages. We get along fine, but really it's the fact I hope I don't have to pick up some her stuff in the transition. That sounds selfish, and maybe it is, but that's my initial reaction.

Meanwhile, I enjoy my job -- what I do on a daily basis -- and just hope I can keep my job description as it is, especially because things in the news department have actually been running fairly smoothly, minus the management that struggles to truly manage.

good morning

I'm always a little disoriented when I wake up. But I am even more so when I wake up with my blood sugar low. This morning I felt like my sweat pants were glued to my legs and there was pools of sweat in ever nook and cranny of my body. Nice image, I know. I was a little more unsteady than usual.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

reflection

I hate the feeling of wanting to write but not having the motivation or inspiration of the combination of the two. I seemed to have solved that problem today.

Contrary to what some of blog entries have portrayed, I have generally had a good day. There were bumps (literally and figuratively) along the way, but all in all it was a productive day. I pretty much have spent the last two days at work writing stories and playing catch up on some stories I have been wanting to take care of.

Katie had a good point about blogs and feelings: It's so important to have an outlet like that, for the true, the sad, the funny, the joyful, the thoughtful, and yes, the dramatic. Even truth can be dramatic, and it's also all about perspective. If it's extreme to you, then it can be qualified as extreme, even if it wouldn't feel the same to someone else.

See, she needs to start a blog. Until then, I'll quote her on mine...

Now I am going to be productive at home.

turn left on Sixth Street

Usually, the radio is her priority when she gets into the car, but this afternoon she opted for silence. At least as silent as it comes in her 1996 Geo Prism. It made her forget she accidently slammed her head into a metal beam. It made her forget noise had cluttered her life.

outside the office

He waited for the door to shut behind him and unleashed his opinions on the guy who sits at the desk next to him and is supposed to be his boss. Key word: Supposed. She was the one he trusted. She wanted to make him feel better. But she apparently didn't at that moment because he drove out of the parking lot as quick as he could, even though she wasn't ready. She wanted to tell him to wait. But she could muster the words quick enough. She left behind him, although slower. And she couldn't quite reach him, even though she tried. She wished her feelings weren't bruised, but she rested in knowing it probably wasn't really her that made him angry.

habit

She bites her nails, and even the skin around them, when she's not sure what to say. Today her fingers are a bit sore.

Wishes of Schureck Court

She finished reading the email from her friend far away. The often-exchanged words always pulled them closer, but she wished they were still next-door neighbors. She turned her eyes away from the computer screen, just thinking about missing her friend, and in the next instant her cell phone rang. The screen said "KatieKerns" and she pressed the green button. She felt even closer the moment they said "hello" in an awkward, pretending-not-to-know-who-it-is tone of voice and then giggled.

blank

What am I to do when I have to desire to write, particularly on this blog, but I can't seem to string any words together? At least I can't seem to conjure up any words -- funny, serious or somewhere in between -- worth reading.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

busy, busy, busy

Work has been busy. And the weekend should be a time to recover, a time to rest. Instead I planned my weekend fairly tightly. The thing is, everything I planned was something I wanted to do. Well, duh, you're thinking. No, not really. Somethings could be more obligations or responsiblities, but for the most part my weekend has been mine.

And I just told Greg I'm tired. Sort of tired because it's after 10. But more tired because I haven't really stopped in a long time.

So, back to work.

I think work has been busy for a couple reasons. One, I've lived in Murray for more than a year. I've learned about this community from the inside out. It's more than the town in which I attended college. It's where I live, and where I'll probably live for a very long time. Still, I see the community as a reporter, too. I see organizations dealing with challenges. I see groups holding the community up while others add slight tarnish to what's expected. And somewhere in the midst of it all, I capture events and people in words. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. But in the last 14 months people have learned to trust me, and respect these words I string together. Journalism holds the community responsible. Journalism teaches people. Journalism is more than a 9-to-5 job. And some of the busyness stems from my relationships and perspectives of the community and probably even more so my desire to do my job.

So, I have a friend who is more bothered by my work-related busyness than I am. She's even more bothered, seemingly, than my husband. That feeling rubs me awkwardly because why should my busyness bother her more than it bothers me? It adds this tension, at least from my perspective. There's probably more to that story ...

I also think work has just been busy because it's been busy. Stories have just been happening, and someone has to write about them.

So, that's that.

I keep saying so...

Friday night when I got off work Jaclyn and I went shopping. We found a great bargain (um, that's redundant, probably...) on these comfy sweaters at Old Navy. Originally $32.50. Marked down to $19.99 for the clearance rake. On super special this weekend for half that. Basically, $20 for two, in my mind.

Then we went to Steak-n-Shake to meet Sarah. We ate and hung out, maybe a little longer there than we intended because our waitress seemed to forget we needed to pay. Then we all went to Hobby Lobby and then the mall. I advanced my Christmas shopping efforts, and it's not even the first November payday. And I bought the Howie Day CD I couldn't find in Wal-Mart in Murray. CD purchasing is limited in Murray, for the record. When I got home about 10, I wanted to scrapbook Katy two pages of our leaf-raking experience last weekend for her birthday. So I stayed up doing that.

This morning, Peggy, Jaclyn and I went to two church bazaars. I got my haircut. Peggy and I shopped more. (Christmas shopping continues... I love it!) Peggy and I ate lunch. Then I went to the Murray State football game to freelance for the AP. Easy money and a fairly good time. Greg and I came home from that, watched the ends of several football games while I scrapbooked a couple Milla pages. (That's work toward a Christmas present, you know?) Then we just got home from eating dinner and hanging out with Katy, Chad and her parents. Good times.

Like I said, I'm tired. But mostly I'm tired of the clutter on my bedroom dresser. I'm tired that the dishes are always either sitting dirty in the sink or drying upside down on towels on the counter. I'm tired of little projects I want to get done but never quite have the time for. All the while, it's only myself who is making me tired.

And we're going to Nashville tomorrow for the Titans game.

On a complete unrelated note to busyness but still on the subject of football, Kentucky managed to win a game. Against the smart kids of the SEC. But a win is a win. Vandy and Indiana. Maybe that's a lame success for the football-playin' Wildcats. But I'm still ready for basketball season. (Ah, Chuck Hayes...)

I'm going to close my eyes and dream about resting.

Collide

This song is currently on repeat in my head and in my CD player.

The dawn is breaking
A light shining through
Your barely waking
And I'm tangled up in you
Yeah

I'm open, your closed
Where I follow, you'll go
I worry I won't see your face
Light up again

Even the best fall down sometime
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills my mind
I somehow find
You and I collide

I'm quiet, you know
You make a first impression
I found I'm scared to know I'm always on your mind

Even the best fall down sometime
Even the stars refuse to shine
Out of the back you fall in time
I Somehow find
You and I collide

Don't stop here
I lost my place
I'm close behind

Even the best fall down sometimes
Even the wrong words seem to rhyme
Out of the doubt that fills your mind
You finally find
You and I collide

-Howie Day

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

ouch!

I slammed my left ring finger in my bottom left metal desk drawer. It's still sore, but it's not throbbing like it was before. My finger was so hot, literally, I thought it was going to explode.

And to think I was just trying to adjust some magnetic poetry while I closed the drawer. That will teach me about multi-tasking.

Speaking of multi-tasking and pain, last night I slightly cut my right ring finger with a knife while I cut up broccoli. I was also defrosting chicken, preheating the oven and throwing ingredients into the casserole. Then, not 20 minutes later, I poked myself right middle finger with a needle while I was sewing pieces of fabric on the back of a quilt I eventually hung up on the wall.

Needless to say, my hands are a little sensitive today. I guess I still have five uninjured fingers and two thumbs.

wisdom?

Sometimes you don't know something but you know you know something.

It's funny what I hear people say. Sometimes I just laugh. Sometimes it make sense. In this case, it was laughing inside first and then thinking about how sometimes that is so true.

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

105 regular-season wins

Thanks to Michael the Cubs fan for noticing this Redbird Nation blog.

shopping, raking, eating

Here's a random update of my life.

SATURDAY
I woke up bitter that I had to take pictures at several church bazaars for work. It wasn't even that I had to go to the bazaars. Or even that I had to get up. I was bitter at my editor's lame assignment to take these pictures. Oh well, I recruited Peggy to go with me so it could be more of a shopping experience rather than a journalism assignment. And, what do you know, it ended up being a really good morning. Lesson learned: Don't pout, even internally. Make the most of the situation.

OK, so, I bought Elijah (He would be the nephew on Greg's side of the family, in case you don't know, because I don't dote on him like I do Milla. But they are three days apart.) an adorable bib that looks like a puppy face and is made out of white wash cloth. I also bought Milla a cute Christmas hat that I'm going to give her at Thanksgiving. I started working on nerdy but cute presents for my lovely co-workers. And I bought these trendy but really cool purses for my sister (for her birthday today) and Greg's cousin Maya, whose name I have for the Taylor Christmas party. In addition to the churches, Peggy and I went to the Murray Art Guild's sale. I loved it, and I found a beautiful, artsy mirror that Peggy bought me for Christmas. I think it needs to wait for pictures to do it justice, but, so you know, it's made from broken dishes and corks. I already have the place picked out to hang it, and am looking forward to having it in my possession. (For the record, we're celebrating Christmas at Thanksgiving with Greg's immediate family because his youngest brother, John, is expected to leave for overseas with his National Guard unit the Monday after Thanksgiving.) Let's see, I also bought Laine some earrings and Katy a birthday present.

The morning bitterness turned into Christmas spirit somewhere along the line. I love Christmas shopping.

That afternoon, Katy and Chad wanted to be outside so badly they showed up at our house to help Greg rake leaves. I was being the slacker wife, out shopping and all, but then I joined the raking party and we got the multi-layer blanket of leaves from our front yard into the ditch. Hopefully the city will come pick them up soon. Katy and I jumped in the leaves and Greg and Chad buried themselves in the leaves and jumped up, trying to scare drivers. That's safe. It was actually fun, though, and that means a lot coming from the girl who doesn't do much yard work.

Murray State played an exhibition game (or demonstration game, as Greg's dad said...) Saturday night. We joined the 36-ticket block of the Taylor clan there. Well, not all the seats were filled, but that's really how many there are. Katy and Chad, the Purdue fans, came with us. I'm definitely ready for basketball season.

SUNDAY
Slept in. Church. Lunch. Projects at home. Worked a little. Dinner. Walked.

MONDAY
Yesterday after work, Greg and I went to Clarksville to take Cassie to dinner for her 21st birthday. (I really can't believe my LITTLE sister is 21!) We ate at the Olive Garden (yummy!) and had a quirky waiter named Jeremy who Cassie knew from one her classes.

Saturday, November 6, 2004

Welcome to Kentucky ...

where raking leaves and Christmas shopping
can be done on the same day,
a day when I wanted to trade my long-sleeved T-shirt
for short sleeves
because the bank sign said it was 71 degrees.

Friday, November 5, 2004

Jobs ahead: Vigilance and healing

She's on a roll this week.

BY ROCHELLE RILEY
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

You don't have to like him.

Now that America has re-elected her president, it is finally over. The rhetoric that flowed during the months before Election Day, words as exaggerated as they were powerful, must end.

Yes, it would have been nice and somehow more final if Sen. John Kerry had waited to concede until every vote was counted, if only to satisfy everyone that everything was done on the level. Yes, it would have been nice if Republican poll-watchers sent to strong-arm Detroit had been trained in the art of sensitivity.

But you know what? It wasn't nice. It wasn't pretty. It wasn't always civil. But it was the American electoral process, the way it is, the way it has been. And now it is time for the two big jobs: healing and vigilance.

The president's first task isn't focusing on the war -- although that must be done immediately -- or saving Social Security -- although lives depend on it. It is not cutting taxes or developing a national health care plan -- although that also must be done.

His most important job, to be done concurrently with all else, is to paint the map all one color, to heal an angry nation.

That means that the leaders of not only the Republican Party, but the Democratic Party must help pick up pieces of broken dreams, embrace each other as Americans and remind us all that we've been here before, many times. And frankly, whom are we kidding? This campaign hasn't been the worst place we've been.

As fractious and passionate as the past year has been, it was an election, folks -- something that has happened 55 times since the birth of a new nation. It will happen many more, with our children and grandchildren doing the voting, glad to live in a country of choices, where a good president gets only four years to prove he's good, and a bad president can screw up for no more than eight.

That we could paint ourselves as irretrievably broken, permanently split -- and then go sit down and have a beer -- shows just how wonderful living in America is.

We treat the Vietnam War like a distant memory and the American Civil War like it happened in some other America, like it didn't set the tone for this country for a hundred years. We act like its vestiges don't still rule our hearts or prompt our tears.

For four years, a relatively young America, an 85-year-old America, split itself in two, facing off in a war that lasted for four years, ravaged the country and led to the deaths of more than 600,000 American soldiers. This election wasn't the Civil War, folks.

The task of rebuilding America was so massive, it had its own name: Reconstruction. It had to become a movement. And it led to lasting revenge and anger.

Our second reconstruction shouldn't be that hard, if we do our job as the president does his. As he works on healing, we must work at being vigilant, minding the government-run store. While he blurs the geographical lines on the red and blue map, we must challenge and question and pay attention to the actions of the president and his administration.

Now President Bush must have conversations, not make speeches. He needs to talk to people who are nothing like him, who live lives millions of dollars different than his. He must put people in his Cabinet who represent what he abhors and who can remind him that America comes in many colors, not just red and blue. He must surround himself with people who tell the truth.

If he does his job, and we do ours, then our smaller reconstruction will be minor, compared to the first, the one that really did have to rebuild America.

Leave the country, if you want to...

Disclaimer: Elizabeth, especially, pardon the partisan bias. I just thought this was hilarious.

We at Carnival Cruise Lines�didn't forget that a lot of entertainers had promised to leave the country if George W. Bush were to be re-elected president. With that in mind, we have a Special Offer for those who still want to keep their promise!

Attention: Would Alec Baldwin, Rosie O'Donnell and her wife, Ed Asner, Janeane Garafalo, Whoopi Goldberg, Al Franken, Michael Moore, Cher, Star Jones, Jon Bon Jovi, Phil Donahue, Rob Reiner (apparently still a "meathead"), Barbra Streisand, Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, George Soros, Joy Behar, Jane Fonda, Ashton Kutcher, Pierre Salinger, as well as the entire staffs of the LA and NY Times and anyone else who made that promise, please dispose of all US assets and report to Florida for the sailing of the Funship Cruise, "Elation," which has been commissioned to take you to your new vacation homes in Afghanistan.

You may opt to be dropped off in Somalia or Iraq.

The Florida Supreme Court will sponsor a Farewell Parade in your honor through Palm Beach, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties prior to your cruise.

Please pack for an extended stay -- at least four more years.

Note: Since you advocate strict gun control, you may not bring any. Staffing your voyage is Bill Clinton as captain, Al Gore as cruise director, Grey Davis, Purser Tereza Heinz Kerry hopefully will be kept somewhere below decks away from the media.

Monica Lewinsky as the "Cigar and Cigarette Girl," entertainment by the Dixie Chicks and Bruce Springsteen, John Kerry will be our Life Guard in consideration of his past experience in pulling people out of the water. (Unless he decides at the last minute not to go.) He is advocating the elimination of the game "shuffleboard" in favor of his new game he calls "waffleboard" Be sure to pack your flip flops as you will need them while playing.

Ted Kennedy will double as bartender and director of emergency procedures.

Rev. Al Sharpton will provide inspirational services, and ex-Congressman Gary Condit as intern coordinator.

If you have any questions about making arrangements for your homes, friends and loved ones, please direct your comments to Senator Hillary Clinton. Her village can raise your children while you're gone, and she can watch over all your money and your furnishings until you return.

"Bon Voyage!"

diabetes update

My doctor's appointment yesterday was overall good. My diabetes is in good control but my cholesterol is high. I guess you take the good with the bad.

My A1C was 5.9. That's good. My endocrinologist in Louisville wanted in near 6. Here's more on that.

From diabeteswatch.com:
A hemoglobin A1C test, commonly known as the HbA1c test, measures your average amount of blood sugar over a two to three-month period. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) now refers to this blood test as simply the A1C test. ...

During the A1C test, a sample of your blood is drawn and tested to determine your glycated hemoglobin level � the percentage of your hemoglobin molecules (found in red blood cells) that have glucose attached to them. Glycated hemoglobin remains in the blood cell until the red blood cell dies: approximately 120 days. A1C is a numerical term used to represent how much of your hemoglobin has blood sugar. Because your body produces new blood cells to replace dying blood cells, there will always be an overlap of incoming and outgoing cells in your system. Therefore, your A1C is a weighted average to make sure all the glycated hemoglobin is taken into consideration. ...

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT), a major diabetes study, found that diabetes patients with A1C target levels close to 7 percent are more likely to delay or prevent serious diabetes complications. These complications may affect the eyes, kidneys and nerves. Diabetes patients who have A1C levels of 8 percent or higher have a greater risk of developing complications. The good news is that lowering A1C levels by any amount may make a positive difference in your health.

A good test result, one that is 7 percent or lower, indicates that your treatment plan is working and that your blood sugar is under control. ...


The other part of the appointment, Dr. Mangold did want me to try some cholesterol medicine, so I'm doing that and will have a blood test in six weeks to see if it's working well. The reason doctors are so concerned about cholesterol levels in diabetics is we are more at risk for heart disease (among many, many other long-term complications) and the more prevention now, the healthier life later. Maybe that means more fruits and vegetables and less meat.

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

brief thoughts on the election

I'm a self-proclaimed nerd. That's what Katie dubbed me, but only because I called myself a nerd first.

I stayed up until 1 a.m. (that's 2 a.m. for you eastern folks...) and still didn't get to see the band play and confetti fall for Bush. Then I got to work at 6:15 to write my stories for our local elections. I must say, with the exception of Kentucky's U.S. Senate race, I was pleased with the election results.

With that said, I love Elizabeth's line on her blog: I hope when I wake up tomorrow, the world isn't so red. To her dismay, I'm sure, Kerry conceded this morning. Earlier enough we changed our front page to accommodate the news, but late enough we had to change our original front page.

I lobbied under my breath, or maybe even with some words to those closest to me, for Mongiardo. I was pushing for the upset of Bunning in the U.S. Senate. He just deserved it the way he campaigned and the way he treats people. Oh well, such is the nature of politics.

I cover city council, you know, and I voted in that race. I combined my beliefs with who is best to work with and came up with the 12 members I voted for. I was 11-for-12. Although I was disappointed one guy got on while another didn't, I was overall pleased with the people I'll have to work with for the coming years.

What's interesting to me is the way people perceive politics, so often based on where they live. Katie felt certain Kerry would win. But she lives in Boston. Elizabeth saw it all because she lives in Oregon. But was disappointed because the conservative won out, even on the West Coast with a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. I felt certain Bush had an advantage, but, then again, that's the southern state perspective.

OK, I'm sure there's more to be said later, but I need to go eat lunch.

Monday, November 1, 2004

love languages

I'm sure I've typed about this on here, and if I haven't but you've been around me for any length of time, you know at least a little about these five love languages.

These definitions come from a book called "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman.

Words of affirmation
"One way to express love emotionally is to use words that build up. Solomon, author of the ancient Hebrew wisdom literature, wrote, 'The tongue has the power of life and death.' ... Verbal compliments, or words of appreciation, are powerful communicators of love."

Quality time
"A central aspect of quality time is togetherness. I do not mean proximity. Two people sitting in the same room are in close proximity, but they are not necessarily together. Togetherness has to do with focused attention."

"Quality conversation is quite different from the first love language. Words of affirmation focus on what we are saying, whereas quality conversation focuses on what we are hearing."

Receiving gifts
"Gifts are visual symbols of love. ... Visual symbols of love are more important to some people than to others."

"There is an intangible gift that sometimes speaks more loudly than a gift that can be held in one's hand. I call it the gift of self or the gift of presence."

Acts of service
"Such actions as cooking a meal, setting a table, washing dishes, vacuuming, cleaning a commode, getting hairs of the sink, removing the white spots from the mirror, getting bugs off the windshield, taking out the garbage, changing the baby's diaper, painting a bedroom, dusting the bookcase, keeping the car in operation condition, washing or vacuuming the car, cleaning out the garage, mowing the grass, trimming the shrubs, raking the leaves, dusting the blinds, walking the dog, changing the cat's litter box, and changing water in the goldfish bowl are all acts of service. They require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy. If done with a positive spirit, they are indeed expressions of love."

Physical touch
"Love touches may be explicit and demand your full attention ... . On the other hand, love touches may be implicit and require only a moment ..."

All of this to say, my love languages are quality time and receiving gifts. They kind of go together, considering the "gift of self" idea. Next would be acts of service, followed by words of affirmation and physical touch. But, the catch, I suppose, is I, probably like most people, need a certain degree of all of them. The primary love languages are just the ones I desire more often and more thoroughly. The rough part about relationships in general, and marriages specifically, is people don't love the same. They feel love differently and express love differently. Greg and I know this, but too often we forget this. And it, generally, was the source of some disappointment in my heart today and yesterday. But the beautiful thing about a marriage is I have no desire to stop trying. I want to make this relationship with Greg as good as it can be, and that might require loving a little out of my box.

one last note on baseball

So, KatieKerns' dad cracks me up. This is from an email he sent me Friday.

You know when you are a curse breaker, it sure is hard to be humble. The only problem is, only a few people know the truth about the World Series, behind the scene reason for the exceptional play of the Red Sox and the poor play of the Cardinals. If you remember the pitcher's blunder in game 3, when he was on third base and started towards home plate, then getting half way home, he unexplainably stopped, and ran back to third base and was thrown out, I happened to be eating the curse breaking candy bar (Baby Ruth), and kind of felt bad for the player. Oh well, the Cardinals will do better next year.

Make them work for your vote

I don't usually agree with her politically. But I love her writing and often her ideas. This is especially a good point.

BY ROCHELLE RILEY
FREE PRESS COLUMNIST

I know what I want to be when I grow up: An undecided voter.

I'm a black woman in America. I vote every time I get a ballot. And I'm sick of the entire town -- and my suitors -- assuming they know my needs, my priorities -- and my fears.

So right up until the next presidential election, I'll keep my own counsel, be standoffish, coquettish, maybe even flirt to make a candidate believe that he's the only one. That way, I'll keep the attention of any candidate who wants my heart and my vote.

I'll be the girl they woo until Election Day, the one they conduct separate polls to learn about. I don't want to be the girl he knows he can have, the girl he knows will respond to the 2 a.m. ringing phone. I don't want to be a booty call.

So unlike the girl whose passion and past make her easy, I'll make them work for it. Yes, I'm a Southern girl.

Detroit could have used this lesson this campaign season. Black voters have needed this lesson for a while, should have read the bestseller "He's Just Not That Into You" as soon as it came out, told pollsters in larger numbers than the 18 percent that the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies found that they were considering voting Republican. Oh, the attention they would have gotten!

Four days before a presidential election that will turn the tide of war, determine the fate of Social Security, shape the Supreme Court for decades, Detroit might be the girl who wishes she had gone home after the prom.

News reports label just under a dozen girls as ones who can still claim their virginity, so called swing states -- Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. These girls haven't made up their minds, so they say. They hold their Electoral College votes like silky, white gloves they'll drop strategically at the last minute so they can watch the boys dive for them.

Why couldn't Detroit learn from Southern girls? You know, don't give him everything -- your heart, your loyalty -- just because of the family he comes from. Detroit, and the black voter, must not let her suitor take her for granted and spend his time only chasing the new girls, the ones who don't come when he calls.

Yes, for the next four years, I'm changing my attire, my attitude, and my availability. I didn't have a dog in this fight: Two challengers (Gov. Howard Dean and Gen. Wesley Clark) were more exciting and appeared more capable than Sen. John Kerry. And the best person for the job, Arizona Sen. John McCain, a presidential statesman who has given true definition to "fair and balanced," didn't enter the race. As a girl who should have entertained more suitors, I was dismissed as belonging to someone, a girl whose only choice now is between a man I think did a bad job and a man I don't know can do a good one. One is certain; the other more hopeful. One is a man whose policies help my bank account. The other is a man who knows that America's bank account is more important.

If a girl can give a little advice to other girls anticipating the next big dance and keeping watch as the new candidates begin circling the front porch, it is this: Play hard to get.

You'll get more respect.