Saturday, February 28, 2009

Life list

Saw this here and thought it would be fun to play along. The rules: Bold the things you’ve done, and post on your blog!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (Still waiting to see Cuba, though.)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Friday, February 27, 2009


This is my boy's latest school picture.

I've described his weirdo expression as "something between come-hither and creepy." But I think I prefer my friend Denice's take, after I posted this on Twitter: "I think he was channeling Hugh Hefner -- or maybe Heath Ledger -- just a little."

There's so much going on here that I absolutely love:
  1. His hair. It's an overgrown surfer-boy/bowl cut, but it looks like some parent or photo assistant tried to sweep it to one side to make it look less unruly. Now it just looks overgrown and ridiculous.
  2. His highwaters. I swear the boy grew about three inches in one night recently, but I figured we could make it to shorts season without having to buy new jeans. And then.... Picture Day. Curses!!
  3. That cheesy bubble-letter name feature in the background. How fortuitous that Jack's head covered up the "J," resulting in a particularly fitting "ACK." My sentiments exactly.
  4. Yeah, we're ordering the big package. We'll be needing these photos for Jack's wedding reception.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Warning: Contains explicit language...

I wrote a story this week that, for some odd reason, ended up on the Yahoo home page and got more than 4 million hits. [EDITED TO ADD: I just learned it was Farked, too. Oy.]

I didn't know this, because none of my stories have ever gotten 4 million hits, but 4 million hits translates to several hundred e-mails. And several hundred e-mails means at least a dozen total kooks.

You know, I forget that most people have no idea of the kind of e-mails I deal with on a daily basis -- neither the quantity nor the delightful quality of the correspondence. There must be something about pounding out an angry e-mail to a reporter that makes people feel better about themselves, because they do it all the time. (If you're familiar with Opinion Line or the comment boards at, you know the types of delightful correspondence I'm talking about.)

So a couple days ago, I wrote the little story about the East High kid who caught an error on the state writing assessment. Pretty innocuous, entertaining little human interest story, right?

Not according to "UpNorthMan" (his e-mail name), one of several people who felt the need to speak out -- and how -- about my ridiculous excuse for a job. Here's the thing: I *never* respond to these sorts of folks. I usually feel like ignoring them and just letting them vent in my e-mail inbox is taking the high road, no matter how tempting a wise-crack response might be. (I often type up responses, share them with colleagues Denise or Beccy, and promptly delete them. It helps.)

But this time, I couldn't resist. I'm sharing the whole e-mail exchange here to give you just a tiny peek at my highbrow professional life. (NOTE TO MOM: You might want to hold your ears.):

Dear Writer,
Why would you waste your time writing about something as STUPID as this. Who cares if they made one mistake on a test and some dumbass kid found it. Guess what, it happens every day. We are all human, we make mistakes. Next time, why don't you try writing about something that acutally matters in the world. Ass Wipe

Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment.

Your welcome, smart-ass.
Next time you should write about something that actually matters.

Thanks again. And I believe you may have meant “YOU’RE welcome."

F*** YOU.


Gosh, I love my job sometimes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Seven things you might not know about me...

  1. I procrastinate. Big time. Proof: My Twitter buddy Scott Hepburn tagged me in this "Seven Things" game way back in December.
  2. I love winter, even when it's gray and bitter and nasty. I don't like icy roads very much, but give me a cold day over a hot, humid one anytime, especially now that we have a fireplace. I absolutely love snow, and feel cheated whenever it snows and I don't have a chance to go out and play.
  3. I'm a bit of a pyromaniac. (See No. 2.) I love to start fires, tend fires, stoke fires and throw stuff into fires to see whether/how it will burn. To me, campfires are the absolute best part of camping, and I don't even like s'mores all that much.
  4. My husband was engaged to someone else when we met. (What can I say? That just wasn't meant to be.) We met on a road trip from Wichita to Denver, where we covered a story about an injured Kansas soldier being reunited with his family. That day, in 1991, also was the day video footage of the Rodney King beating was first broadcast. We watched it on CNN in the hotel bar after we got to Denver, at about 2 a.m.
  5. I was an extra in "Bull Durham." (Actually, almost everyone I know *does* know this fact about me, because I slip it in to conversations at every opportunity. This is just another example.) The movie was filmed in Durham while I was a student at N.C. State, just down the highway. Producers put out a call for extras for crowd shots, so my roommate and I drove up there to be part of it. We're in the scene where the Bulls play the Asheville Tourists -- a night game.
  6. I have a bionic leg. OK, it's not really bionic, but I do have a titanium rod down the length of my right shin. I tripped over a doll stroller in April 2006 and badly fractured both bones in my right leg. Spent a week in the hospital and a couple months in physical therapy, and although my leg is pretty much back to normal, it still gets achy every once in a while. I swear it has something to do with the weather.
  7. I've never seen "Citizen Kane." (Does this make me a horrible journalist?) It's been on my to-do list for, like, decades. I've just never gotten around to it.