Thursday, September 29, 2005

girly and sluggish

It was refreshing to walk outside at 6:50 a.m. today. The air finally felt like fall. I wore a sweatshirt jacket over my T-shirt, and kept it on most of the day. I think I just liked the feeling of fall clothes. The thing I didn't like was how my pants didn't fit me very well. Since the year leading up to my diabetes diagnosis, my weight has seemed to change with the season.

I struggled with feeling self-conscious today. I worried about how I looked and let that affect my mood. That's goofy. Yet after I bought some new pants at JC Penny this afternoon I felt that concern drift away. How silly is that?

In addition to feeling self-conscious, I've had headaches the last couple of days and struggled with high blood sugar levels earlier in the week. All in all, it's been a very sluggish week. I can't seem to get enough sleep or quite feel "normal."

We have a lot of random (but fun) things planned this weekend, so maybe that will help recharge me from the inside out. I sure hope so.

Proofreading

IMPORTANT NOTICE: If you are one of hundreds of parachuting enthusiasts who bought our Easy Sky Diving book, please make the following correction: on page 8, line 7, the words "state zip code" should have read "pull rip cord."

It was incorrectly reported last Friday that today is T-shirt Appreciation Day. In fact, it is actually Teacher Appreciation Day.

There was a mistake in an item sent in two weeks ago which stated that Ed Burnham entertained a party at crap shooting. It should have been trap shooting.

There are two important corrections to the information in the update on our Deep Relaxation professional development program. First, the program will include meditation, not medication. Second, it is experiential, not experimental.

In the City Beat section of Friday's paper, firefighter Dwight Brady was misidentified. His nickname in the department is "Dewey." Another firefighter is nicknamed "Weirdo." We apologize for our mistake.

Our newspaper carried the notice last week that Mr. Oscar Hoffnagle is a defective on the police force. This was a typographical error. Mr. Hoffnagle is, of course, a detective on the police farce.

In a recent edition, we referred to the chairman of Chrysler Corporation as Lee Iacoocoo. His real name is Lee Iacacca. The Gazette regrets the error.

Apology: I originally wrote, "Woodrow Wilson's wife grazed sheep on front lawn of the White House." I'm sorry that typesetting inadvertently left out the word "sheep."

In one edition of today's Food Section, an inaccurate number of jalapeno peppers was given for Jeanette Crowley's Southwestern chicken salad recipe. The recipe should call for two, not 21, jalapeno peppers.

The marriage of Miss Freda vanAmburg and Willie Branton, which was announced in this paper a few weeks ago, was a mistake which we wish to correct.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

very true

In an off-the-record conversation today, a lady who has become my friend said:

"If things are wrong and you wish they are right doesn't make them right."

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ethne Leia Taylor


She was born Friday, Sept. 23. She has beautiful skin and a mess of dark hair. At 10 days old, she was as sweet as can be when we met her Monday night. Elijah was surprisingly more content than usual. I was worried that Ethne would steal too much of his mom's attention. And while she probably has out of necessity, I think it's been really good for him. I guess we'll see how that goes as they grow up!

Lovin' Aunt Kristin


Elijah was warmed up to Peggy and Gary once we got there, but Uncle Greg and Aunt Kristin were eventually included! Elijah was funnier as the night went on. The closer to his bedtime it got, the more cuddly he became. But it was only for a few minutes, until he realized he might miss something if he sat still too long. He's so different from Milla in so many ways, one of which is cuddling. She's hardly cuddled since she could crawl, and especially walk. I've learned a lot watching the two of them the past 21 months.

Lovin' Uncle Greg


Elijah was giving out some kisses last night. He was a great combination of cute, fun and sweet. Greg certainly enjoyed the welcome change, and the kiss.

Monday, September 26, 2005

random pieces of my weekend

I worked more than 16 hours Friday night, and well into Saturday morning. I was here until about 6:30 p.m., then came back about two hours later to put Saturday's paper out. My world was in slow motion. I just couldn't quite seem to get things done. Sometimes there were variables I didn't have control over and sometimes it was just about my sluggishness.

After about seven hours of sleep (I would say I slept until 9 or so, but that doesn't count as sleeping in since I didn't get home until a litte bit after 2 a.m.!), I went to Clarksville to meet Mom and Cassie for lunch. We went to our favorite, Black Horse, and had beer cheese dip and Rocky Top pizza. OK, I hate that's it's called Rocky Top. That's like supporting the Volunteers, which I have no intention of doing. ANYWAY, then we did a little shopping, although all I got was a $3 pair of flip flops from Old Navy to restock my collection and some lotion from Bath & Body Works.

Later Saturday, KatieKerns and Brad came over. They were nearby for her grandmother's surprise 74 3/4th birthday party. (It wouldn't have been as easy to surprise her for her 75th birthday!) It's always so much fun to see Katie.

When Greg and I went to bed Saturday night, he said, "You and Katie are two of a kind." Then he said something about how we laughed a lot. I was really sleepy, so I waited until the next day to ask him to explain: "She'll say something, and then you'll just laugh even if it wasn't that funny. She's funny, and you're funny. But sometimes you two laugh when things aren't that funny."

It reminds me of the card Katie sent me for my last birthday: A herd of sheep (Is a group of sheep a herd?) is pictured with one random sheep wearing a brightly colored neck tie. It says, "Adding to my misery, no one here thinks I'm funny."

fantasy football

Peyton Manning is killing my fantasy football team. Single-digit points from the supposed No. 1 pick isn't acceptable. I know the minute I bench him and start Tom Brady that Manning will pile up the points.

What a quandary...

Good thing it's just all a make-believe game.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Twinkies!

This blog is fascinating.

like Old Faithful

My Diet Dr Pepper came out of the Pepsi machine this morning squirting at me. Seriously, there were two tiny holes in the side of the can, creating a fountain of Diet Dr Pepper. I didn't lose much; that's how tiny the holes were. Michael helped me safely transfer the erupting can into a plastic cup.

Although, the plastic cup was a Chicago Cubs cup. I hope my using it doesn't wear off any good luck on the Cubs. Oh, wait, it's September; nothing can help. Nonetheless, while my almost whole Diet Dr Pepper can fit in the plastic cup, it was still smaller than the Red Sox cup on my desk (Thanks, Katie!) and the many Cardinals ones I have at home, leading me to believe the Cubs franchise is cheap.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

To Cassie


Cassie has a partial tear to her ACL, so she's finished with soccer for the season. (She hurt it Sunday, Sept. 11, when Mom and I were at the game at Belmont.) I guess it's a mixed blessing for her that it's her senior season. I know she was a little worn out from years of soccer, but at the same time I know she didn't want it to end like this. Selfishly, I'll miss watching her play because I enjoyed watching her be good at what she did.

(The photo is courtesy Michael. He took it last season when Austin Peay was at Murray State.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

zipping and baring

I just realized my zipper had been undone for the two hours I've been at work. Good thing I spent most of that time sitting at my desk.

So I've been reading a stranger's blog like she's my friend. I happened upon it this morning and, out of the sheer appreciation of her words and what they said, kept reading. Blogs tell people's stories. Sometimes they are glimpses of that world strung together throughout time. I liked reading her story, and I'll read her story again.

There's always going to be some better — someone who says something I wish I said, someone who has just a slightly better angle that makes the perspective that much more intriguing. But if those better things weren't out there, inspiration would be lacking and people like me would sit around wondering where to go next.

Well, maybe they aren't better. Maybe they are just a few steps ahead of us.

But there's people behind us too. I'm a few steps ahead of someone somewhere. Maybe I've accidently inspired someone along the way.

Sometimes I wonder if I bare too much on this blog. But then sometimes I think walking around with my zipper slightly undone isn't such a bad thing, figuratively, of course.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

slow Saturday and Sunday

The citywide yard sale was disappointing. I partially blame working interrupting my yard sale plans. But, still, I was disappointed in my lack of good deals. I slept off and on much of the afternoon Saturday before we went to a wedding of one of Greg's childhood friends.

Today I've gotten some random things done. We all know how much I love that!

Friday, September 16, 2005

I'm an aunt again!

Ethne Leia Taylor was born this morning at 2:30. She weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was 19 inches long. I'm not sure what Charles and Angela were thinking with the name (Her first name is pronounced ETH-KNEE; her middle name is the like the princess.), but I'm sure it will grow on me like Milla did.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

We — the human race, that is — are weirdos.

This is similar to this. It all cracks me up. (Italics are my inserted comments.)

* Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak? We are lazy, apparently.
* Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there is not enough? For real?
* Why does someone believe us when we say there are billions of stars but check when we say the paint is wet?
* Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?
* Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?
* Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets? Interesting questions. But, then again, nobody said a kamikaze pilot was the sharpest tool in the shed.
* If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes? The best arugment against evolution I've ever heard!
* Why is it no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white? That's science, I'm sure, and I definitely don't understand.
* Why do we constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized? I personally love it when people say there's nothing to eat, despite the cabinet full of food. It's more about there being nothing we actually want in the house!
* Why do we run over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance? Maybe that's among the reasons I'd rather wash dishes, do laundry or clean the bathroom than vacuum.
* How do those dead bugs get into enclosed light fixtures? I'd really like to know that.
* When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do you say, "It's all right"? Well, it isn't all right so why don't we say, "That hurt, you stupid idiot"? Politeness counts for something, although honesty does too!
* Why is it that whenever we catch something that's falling off the table we manage to knock something else over?
* In winter, why do we keep their houses as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat? This one definitely doesn't apply to me. My grandfather on the other hand ...
* That statistics on sanity are that one out of every four people is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends, if they're OK, the it's you! Random.

Who's definition of "failure"?

You've got to love the quirky-ness of politics and the people who find such things, even if you can't whole heartedly agree.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

relaxing exercise

With the kind of day I've had, swimming 36 laps was the most relaxing part. Strange, huh?

directionally challenged

A man, who lives and works in Calloway County, Ky., thought he was presenting me with a newsworthy story (which he wasn't, but that's not the point...) and said "up there in Tennessee." Um, yeah. Sure. UP THERE in Tennessee, huh?

How about Tennessee is south of Kentucky. DOWN THERE.

disappointment

So I wrote this two-part series I was proud of. The first installment ran today. I had put the finishing touches on it before I went out of town Thursday, thinking it would run over the weekend or early this week. Too bad it didn't run until today and there was a little wording that wasn't quite right. It wasn't inaccurate, but the time element was confusing.

I hate that.

I hate minor mistakes that could be prevented if people, including myself, paid more attention and didn't get so wrapped up in the day-to-day stress of community journalism. It didn't help that our computer system was whacked out today (and apparently will be until Monday...) and everybody was having to adjust this morning.

Oh well. I suppose it's just another day of trying to do too much.

Analysis of an analysis

And the problem with the very necessary analysis of what went wrong with the response to victims of Hurricane Katrina is that we live in America, where we've made it impossible to talk about how to protect each other as Americans without raising our divisiveness first, riding it like horses, with our red or blue flags raised higher than our red, white and blue one.

—Rochelle Riley in her column today

Monday, September 12, 2005

Talk about proactive...

It hurts my heart to read this because now I realize how people - including government officials - have no reason to say they didn't know.

I felt like a nomad

... because I drove 681 miles this weekend and stayed somewhere different each of the three nights.

The drive THURSDAY night to Somerset was really dark. But I suppose that's what happens during a four-hour drive from western Kentucky to southcentral Kentucky on a route that mainly passes through small rural towns, if you can call them that. Yet I talked on my cell phone for about three hours and only lost my signal briefly three times.

One thing I love about central Kentucky is Donato's Pizza. I was welcomed to Holiday Inn Express on Thursday night, well Friday morning in the Eastern time zone, with a Donato's advertisement on the hotel room key. About the same time, it strangely went from 11:47 p.m. Thursday to 12:47 a.m. Friday in my world. I never even saw the time zone sign.

I crashed on the king-size bed. It's awfully big for one person. I could comfortably lay either way, yet I think I slept diagonally. It was late, and my brain was fried from a busy day. (Evident the next day when I realized I used "complemented" instead of "complimented" in a story I wrote for Friday's paper.)

I was in Somerset for a rural journalism conference called "Carrying the Capitals to your Community." The first day was more about state-related topics and the second day was about national-government stuff.

I hear ideas and those lead to other ideas in my mind. I dream of more time and more resources. I suppose being ambitious is good, but where does that fit in the reality of community journalism? One presenter at the conference said she got started doing those of ground work on her own time when she wasn't "working." I want to make some of these government issues about more than covering meetings. I was already thinking along these lines, then I went to the conference and my thoughts were magnified. For instance, the City of Murray is beginning discussions about how to generate additional revenue for a new fire station. The option hanging over everyone's head is a payroll tax, which Murray is one of only a few cities this size not to have one. Most all larger cities have one. Anyway, I've been working on a two-part series about payroll taxes, just to put the issue out there. It's proactive in that I'm analyzing an issue before it's officially on the table. Proactive. That's a good concept. I don't want to just do reactive stories, I want to be proactive with my information.

So I drove 239 miles one way to have my ideas reinforced. I also came back with tons of information, mostly Web sites that help provide statistically information to support human elements of stories.

FRIDAY night I stayed at the Hampton Inn. Apparently Somerset is a popular place for conferences, and I couldn't get a room there the night before because it was booked with people attending a food conference. But I'm not complaining, afterall, the conference paid for my hotel room and food Friday night, plus provided breakfast and lunch both days. AND I attended the conference on the clock.

As much as I loved the king-sized bed, the queen-size bed at Hampton was even more comfortable. It was strange staying alone in a room with two beds, though. I spread all my newspapers and other papers out on the other bed and got my weekend life organized.

After the conference was over SATURDAY afternoon, I drove 80 miles or so to Lexington, where I spent the night with Katie and Brad. We ate at Jalepeno's and watched "Mean Girls." It was a good, relaxing night. Plus the world knows now how much I love hanging out with Katie. I was disappointed she and Brad decided on Lexington over Nashville. But Lexington has worked out well. I've seen her three times since July, and twice of those times were three weeks apart.

SUNDAY morning I left Lexington for Nashville. As I drove my car, which still has a Fayette County plate, away from Lexington, I thought about how my weekend route would look like a figure eight on its side on a map. I met my mom in Nashville at Belmont University for my sister's soccer game. The game was really good. Cassie played great, until she went down because her knee gave out on her. She ended up jogging off the field, though, so we thought everything was OK. She actually came back into the game, but then quickly went down again. She said the second time it felt like her knee went out of and back into place. Apparently it's really swollen today and she's supposed to have a doctor look at it tomorrow. It's her senior season, so I'm really hoping she can finish at least some of it. But there's a chance she's finished with soccer.

After the game, my mom and I went to eat a Panera Bread. Mmmm. That's actually where the team was headed too, so we got to spend a little time with Cassie. Although her roommate's mom was sitting with us and she pretty dominated the conversation. It actually was pretty annoying because I'd rather have spent time with my mom and sister and not a random girl's mother.

I was really glad to get back to my own bed last night. Sleep came especially easy.

Thursday, September 8, 2005

update...

* Tuesday night we went to St. Louis for the last of our four-game ticket package. The Cubs won. I swear, I'm good luck for them. It was a fun night, though.
* Last night I ate dinner with my friend Jodi who I used to work with in Richmond and now works in the governor's office. She had a few fellow Frankfort guys with her, and we had a good time. My stomach hurt afterward because I ate too much at Patti's and we laughed a lot.
* Marcus, the firefighter turned full-time construction man who is moving from Murray to Texas, finished building an awning-type thing, although it's more than an awning, for our back porch, which is the door we use the most. He does good work. I hate that he's moving because I could have come up with all kinds of projects for him. At least he fit us into his schedule before he moves. Plus, the wood smells so new. I love it.

Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

The Joy of Yard Saling

This ran in the Ledger & Times on Friday.

I bought my 20-month-old niece an adorable pair of jeans for $1. I found a book for my third-grade teacher friend for a quarter. I continued my obsession with second-hand dishes by buying a set of four soup bowls and a matching serving bowl for $3.

All of that came in a matter of a couple hours Saturday morning.

But even better than the bargains is the small-town culture that makes people want to open up their driveways, yards and garages to any passerby. It’s the same culture that makes it OK to drive around early Saturday morning looking for Sharpie-made posters advertising a bargain just around the corner.

I had never been to a yard sale until I came to Murray to go to college, and a friend introduced me to the bargain Mecca. She grew up in central Illinois, where yard sales are apparently also popular. I grew up in a small town that was too close to Louisville to give up its suburban culture.

So if you’re among the crowd who has yet to venture into other people’s yards to shop, I recommend the citywide yard sale Sept. 17. Twice a year, the Central Park parking lot is transferred into lots of yard sales in one place. Plus the tourism commission sells maps marking yard sales throughout the county. The maps are on sale from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 15-16 as well as the Saturday morning of the yard sales at the Commerce Centre on U.S. 641 North.

Trust me, it’s the best part of the spring and fall. In my little circle of yard sale-going friends, we mark it on our calendars weeks in advance.

In small-town America, yard sales give people a chance to interact with people they might otherwise miss meeting. I chatted with a couple who had all kinds of items from across the globe in their driveway. They have traveled while working for the military and are planning on moving to Germany for a few years then maybe Alaska.

The trinkets and pieces of art are bound to have story after story that could be told. My mother-in-law and I chatted about some of the items that reminded us of other people and other places.

The man — in whose driveway we made our conversation comfortable — said even if no one buys anything, at least he’s helped people reminisce. He’s right. It’s not about the sales (although I’m sure profiting a little while simultaneously getting rid of unwanted items is bound to be helpful). Rather it’s about this culture that accompanies the browsing.

And with whom to browse is important. Not just anybody is a good yard sale partner. I have one friend and a mother-in-law who like to get up early and look for treasures among other people’s stuff as much as I do. We have our favorite neighborhoods and know which streets are bound to have the prime sales.

So after Saturday: My niece got a new pair of jeans (even though I’m not sure she could be cuter). I have the perfect chili bowls. And some third-grade girls can read a Beverly Cleary book (after, of course, I reminisced about how much I loved Ramona when I was 8).

Along the way, I chatted with some old friends, talked with some strangers, waved to some acquaintances and spent some quality time with my mother-in-law — all in other people’s yards.

Monday, September 5, 2005

weekend babble

SATURDAY I left my house twice. Once to go to the grocery and later in the evening to rent a movie. We rented "The Upside of Anger." It had a good cast and potentially good story line, but something about it wasn't so good. There were, however, a couple of good quotes:

People don't know how to love. They bite rather than kiss. They slap rather than stroke. Maybe it's because they recognize how easy it is for love to go bad, to become suddenly impossible... unworkable, an exercise of futility. So they avoid it and seek solace in angst, and fear, and aggression, which are always there and readily available. Or maybe sometimes... they just don't have all the facts.
-Popeye Wolfmeyer, the youngest of four sisters

Then ...

Anger and resentment can stop you in your tracks. That's what I know now. It needs nothing to burn but the air and the life that it swallows and smothers. It's real, though - the fury, even when it isn't. It can change you... turn you... mold you and shape you into something you're not. The only upside to anger, then... is the person you become. Hopefully someone that wakes up one day and realizes they're not afraid to take the journey, someone that knows that the truth is, at best, a partially told story. That anger, like growth, comes in spurts and fits, and in its wake, leaves a new chance at acceptance, and the promise of calm. Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
-Popeye Wolfmeyer

So earlier in the day I scrapbooked some, cleaned some and just hung out some. It wa nice. I think I needed such a day to regroup, physically and emotionally.

Then SUNDAY my high school friends Shelley and Dustin came over for breakfast. They were visiting some of her family in Eddyville and Princeton, so I was glad they made the short trek to Murray. They brought their two boys, and we all enjoyed each other's company. We also showed them MSU's campus.

A few people came over to watch the UK football game later Sunday afternoon. It ended up being a good game, thankfully. Too bad UK really lost it more than Louisville won it. Chalk it up as a moral victory, I suppose, and I'll continuing loving baseball season.

Sunday evening I went to this camp in Murray where 116 New Orleans residents came earlier in the day. I talked to some, and loved hearing their stories. I got frustrated because I was supposed to take pictures too and was disappointed I could see anything I even wished I could capture. I am definitely a better writer, even though I appreciate the visual elements of my field too.

I had to put out today's paper so I could have today off. It's toss up, really. It might have been better to just work today. But, regardless, I came into work frustrated because someone I got roped into doing everything last night. I had this knot of panic in my stomach all night. I think I was having this nightmarish daydream that I was going to be stuck at the paper all night by myself with nothing to run on the pages. I'm sure the thoughts were prompted by the AP wire having gone down, therefore we lacked our usual (and easiest) way to have wire stories as well as how I felt overwhelmed. I was obsessing over my panic for some reason, and that never played to my favor. And it's all really ridiculous because I'm good at my job and always find a way to take care of things. I don't know why I doubted these things last night.

At least I slept good. I got to sleep in again, although not as late as Saturday. I've been lounging around the house some (There are two different "Law & Order" marathons on!) and taking care of some little things like folding clothes, refilling prescriptions and buying Greg's dad a birthday present for the Taylor family function later today. There was a fantasy football draft for Greg's league in which I agreed to participate. I only drafted a couple players before I decided to let Yahoo! do the work. I did get Drew Bennett, though, so now I have him on both my teams. (One team is with the guys at work. There's less teams and less players on each team. Greg's league is bigger and the teams each have more players. So it's two different approaches to the whole make-believe world. I like to tease Greg about fantasy sports being make-believe, and here I am participating!)

OK, so the Cardinals and Cubs are on TV now. Greg and I are going to St. Louis tomorrow night to watch the last installment in our four-game ticket package. It sort of fits into the week that is sure to be busy, but to which I'm looking forward for some reason. I'll work tomorrow most of the day, then go to St. Louis, only to get home late and get up early for work Wednesday. Then Thursday night I have city council to cover then I have to leave for Somerset once I get my story written. I'm spending Friday and Saturday in Somerset at a conference about how to better cover Frankfort and Washington D.C., when as a reporter I can't actually be in those places. I cover government at work, so I'm sure it'll prove interesting. It'll be a nice break from the norm, too.

Baseball time ...

Friday, September 2, 2005

a bleeding city

I've thought about blogging about Hurricane Katrina, but I can't really think of anything to say. The more I think about it, the more I don't understand. I can't fathom why helicopters can't drop off cases of bottled water. I understand pretty much everything being destroyed somewhere beneath all of the water. But I can't understand why people trained in emergencies can't help. The richest country in the world, and we have people dying. Sure, Katrina and her aftermath stole lives, but surely some of those were preventable.

Here's the most visual story I've read. (Yes, my natural instinct is to read newspapers even online before I watch the TV.)