Posts

Workaversary

A random thought occurred to me tonight: This month marks 17 years with the News-Democrat, and simultaneously marks 20 years in journalism.

I suppose I could count my career from my occasional dabblings in junior high or high school newspapers, or from the point where I switched majors to news editorial and started working for the University of Tennessee student paper. But for my own purposes, I count from my internship at the Union City (Tenn.) Daily Messenger, which began this month in the sunny year of 1997.

It doesn't feel like 20 years ago, and sometimes I feel like I catch glimpses of the greenest cub reporter to step into an old-fashioned newsroom. Many of the tales I could tell from those days belong over drinks in a bar, not in this blog. But I can tell this one: I learned more from the editor of the Daily Messenger in six months than I could have learned in years of study.

His name was David Critchlow, and last I heard, he's still running the show. They had never had…

On how I damn near killed my fool self

Image
I haven't blogged in a while, because May was a hell of a month. There was the Kentucky signing, the 175th anniversary of my church, a health issue that turned out okay, Jim's 50th birthday, Ian's graduation, the big barbecue celebration, Relay for Life, Ian's orchestra trip to Florida and now off to be a camp staffer for the Boy Scouts this summer. Frankly, I was too damn busy to blog.

So I planned to come back to blogging with some profound statements about the big milestones we achieved in the last month. Emotions surrounding the graduation of my son, something profound about Jim's birthday, my elation at actually meeting our Relay goal despite my minimal effort this year, pictures from the family gatherings.

Instead, I damn near killed my fool self today, so you get that instead.

Our refrigerator door rail pops free all the time, and when it does, it spills condiments and bottles all over the floor. I did a grocery run after work, and I was putting away the foo…

Bakeapalooza completed

In the last three weeks, I have successfully:

• Planned and executed Easter dinner;

• Planned, promoted and baked a smorgasbord for a pottery-painting fundraiser (cookies, brownies, strawberry cake, fruit punch) to benefit Relay for Life;

• Done a writing/photography/signing trip to Louisville;

• Planned, promoted and coordinated an author fair;

• Prepared and served a fundraiser chili supper with chili, hot dogs, chips, fruit cups, cupcakes, cookies, key lime pie, candybars and more for Relay;

• Prepared and served a dessert buffet for the church (chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake, cheese and crackers, cheese dip, bagels and cream cheese);

• Prepared and served the remains of the chili supper for the church.

I'm... tired.

No rest for the wicked; next comes preparation for Jim's 50th birthday and Ian's high school graduation, which take place the same weekend. I am in search of the little elves and forest creatures that are supposed to appear out of nowhere to assist …

Hello Kentucky/Indiana

Image
Oh, just pick a state, willya...

I greet you from a lovely bed and breakfast in Charlestown, Indiana. It's a charming mansion with many rooms decorated in a comfortable, Victorian-inspired style, a billiards and music room downstairs and lovely gardens, at least what I could see when I arrived after dark.



The only downside of the room: No desk, and I neglected to charge the laptop, so I can't work at the nifty writing-desk in the hall. Therefore I have the laptop balanced on my knees in the Victorian contour chair so I can write this blog. The things I do for you people.

Today was supposed to be a leisurely drive to the Louisville, Ky. area to explore the area before the marketing symposium for writers at Karen's Book Barn, the store hosting me and many other authors this weekend. Of course, I got hit with about five errands to run "on my way out of town," no less than two minor crises, and got twenty minutes away from home before I realized I'd forgotten som…

Bakery Math and the Spring Whirlygig

So let's recap, friends and neighbors:

This weekend:

• I have a signing at Maeva's in Alton on Friday night - "Writers of the Riverbend."
• On Saturday, I work for Ye Olde Newspaper.
• On Sunday, I am running a fundraiser at Pottery Hollow for the Relay for Life team. This requires baked goods, as treats were promised to the people coming to paint things. I might be able to get away with cookies and punch.
• Meanwhile Boy goes through his Ordeal for the Order of the Arrow.

Next weekend:

• I am doing a signing in Louisville, Ky. I am leaving on Thursday so I can do some photography on Friday before the signing on Saturday.
• But as soon as the signing is over Saturday, I have to book it back to Illinois. Because...
• Sunday is the 175th anniversary of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. I am responsible for the coffee hour baked goods. And coffee hour is, as we all know, the eighth sacrament of the Episcopal Church.
• Therefore all baking must be done by Wednesday of n…

Peace which the world cannot give, I give to you

I give you a new commandment: that you love one another, as I have loved you. By this the world shall know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.


Yeah, brace yourself. It's church talk.

Maundy Thursday is the beginning of the three-night observance leading up to Easter, known as the Great Triduum. I had to go check the spelling. Not everyone knows (or cares) that Easter is not a day or a holiday, it is a season. There are three nights of preparation leading up to Easter Sunday, and then forty days of celebration thereafter. More chocolate for everyone!

Maundy Thursday is my favorite service of the entire year. Alas, this year I could not sing, because after five weeks of illness my voice is destroyed. It remains to be seen whether I can stand with my fellow choir members and my son to sing the Hallelujah Chorus on Sunday. My voice is my offering, and without it, I feel as though part of me is missing.

Of course, we would be singing my favorite anthem, one I…

Snippets: Catchup Edition with bonus HAMILTON!

Image
For some reason, the Illness Edition(s) didn't run when I was sick. I was already on an antibiotic for another ailment when the Mysterious Fever of March struck. It went as high as 103, and stuck around for six days. Flu test was negative, other symptoms were all fever-related, including lower white cell count.

Then it went away, shortly after I stopped taking the medicine. All that remained was pain in my hand and finger joints and a weird, painful swelling at the back of my head, which later turned out to be an infected lymph node. Two days later, my lips suddenly swelled up like Mick Jagger and my arms and legs itched so terribly I had to smear myself with lidocaine gel just to be able to sleep. A few days of antihistimines made it go away.

Methinks I'm allergic to something. WebMD said I had dengue fever or meningitis. Never put your symptoms into WebMD. You're either dying of an obscure tropical virus or having a panic attack.

A few weeks later, and suddenly I have a …