Thursday, November 30, 2006


My little play was performed on Tuesday night. It was fun to watch, and my husband ditched work early to join me. They did it just as I'd envisioned it, which was pretty satisfying. The writing was clear, apparently.

My friend and colleague, Lauri, had a play performed that night as well, but she didn't come! She was home, ill, barely able to lift her head off her pillow. What a bummer. I liked her play. It was called "Complaint Department." Eric didn't like her play because it reminded him of his life in the before time.

Speaking of play, there are some fun things you can do with tampons. Check out I didn't look it over thoroughly, so I don't know if it has my favorite tampon plaything: a slide whistle. You just take the applicator, blow across the top like a pop bottle, and slide the skinnier part up and down to play music. I got pretty good, actually. I've always wanted to make a pan flute out of tampon applicators, but I've never been that inspired/bored. This web site,, has some pretty funny stuff and one little thing that grossed me out a bit, but made me laugh, and I like to laugh.

The holidays are in full swing, just pull the string and make something a little different this year.

More paper stories...

I was a bit behind on the paper this issue, and I never actually read the letters to the editor until they got on the page. They were sent to the opinion editor, and she popped them on the server, so the designer dropped them on the page. Eek. One of them was a bit racist, and used some swearing, which I don't allow in the paper. I let it go in – taking out the swearing, though – and I don't like it that it's there. People are entitled to their opinions, of course. I'm entitled to say, in my "professional" judgment, yuck. I don't know if I made the right decision to leave it in. We were pressed for time and just needed to get the stupid paper to the printer. I think the guy who wrote it makes himself look like a total asshole, but I don't want readers to associate his ideas with me or my paper. But why wouldn't they? I printed it. I guess I'll see what responses I get.

Friday, November 24, 2006

My "Interesting" Blog


Last weekend, my copy editor and I went to a luncheon hosted by the Madison Civics Club. Our fine senator Russ Feingold spoke about Post-9/11 effects. I'm a fan of Russ. He was very much a politician, which irritates, but as politicians go, he's among the best. He also said a lot of interesting and important things about the world and Americans and war. I took notes, of course. Then I stopped being a story whore and just became a celebrity whore and had my picture taken with him. Too bad the hopeless chickie who took our picture didn't know how to use a camera. My boobs are quite grand, but I'd like to see our heads more than my sweet softness.

My Journey into Investigative Journalism

This week I dropped a bomb on the IT department at school. As the editor in chief of the paper, I get access to the higher-ups that an ordinary student wouldn't. When I find a problem, I instill fear in a way that an ordinary student wouldn't.

So I asked to meet with the VP of infrastructure (I was pleased to see a copy of The Importance of Being Earnest on his desk; he's directing the spring play – the Guthrie just couldn't hold him). I whipped out my laptop and showed him the megahole in security that I'd found. He said in a very face-saving way, "Cool!" Then he got on the phone and asked for three more people to join us.

My tape recorder died shortly after I started my little demo, but they weren't saying much. Their jaws were hanging too close to the ground. They asked a lot of questions to me and to each other, then told me that this would be a good story "some time." I assured them it wasn't my intention to embarrass the school or print damaging information that would cause problems for any students. They were much relieved, but over the next few days, reminded me that it would be a bad idea to show everyone how to do what I learned how to do. Nevermind I learned how to do it in about four seconds of trying.

Anyway, I have a phone interview with a VP of the software provider on Monday. It's all going to be in my story, published next week. My advisor was so excited he stopped talking about his buck for about half an hour. Wow.


I hope you all had a pleasant Thanksgiving, that you ate lots of pie, laughed with your loved ones, and plotted your shopping excursions. That's what we did. We didn't bust our butts cleaning our house – right? (Sorry, it just wasn't in me.) We had three kinds of pie, not nine, but what can you do? There was way more food than any of us could eat. My mom made a turkey, I made the gravy. I hope it was good; I wouldn't know. I've never made gravy from drippings before since I've never had drippings before. When I ate meat, I did enjoy Yorkshire pudding, which is made from drippings. Mmm. Fat and flour and salt.

So, our shopping consisted of going to Menards. Not very exciting. But we got a few things the kids wanted and a few things we wanted, and then we went home. We don't have any more money right now, so we didn't get too excited about sales.

Sammy the Rat

Our rat Sammy developed a tumor. We had it removed. Mistake. She chewed her stitches out. Gack. So we had her stapled back together, and as she started to chew her staples out, we took her back to the vet. They put an E-collar on her, like they do with dogs. It looked ridiculous and it drove her insane. She couldn't clean herself or eat by herself. We had to hand-feed her, including liquids. That's devotion, I tell ya. She was pretty upset by it all.

Today she got her staples out and her collar off. Except she has developed an infection, so we have to shove these pills down her throat. She does not like having pills shoved down her throat. I hope she recovers from all this. The tumor was easier to live with, and I don't think we'll have rat tumors removed anymore.

Poor Sammy pushed me over the edge last week. With Eric's crap and my crap, the Sammy crap was more than I could deal with, and I let fly a little on my blog. I want everyone to know, we are all doing well. Well, except Sammy, I guess. Thanks to everyone who sent their good wishes my way. I really appreciate the support you've given Eric and me.

Thanks again.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I feel better today. Had a cry and a talk with Eric last night. I still have too much to do, but I can start chewing at it today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Spinning plates

Today I found out that a play I wrote will be performed by the Mercury Players Theatre. They do a round of plays called Short Shorts every month. The plays have to be no longer than one page in length, although some they have done must have had some very small fonts and very wide margins. At one page, it is hard to write a beginning, a middle, and an end, but it is do-able. I think my play is good; I do say so, myself. It's called "Break a Leg."

I am at a point in the semester where I don't care if I ever go back to school. I'd be happy to stay home and bake cookies and watch all the DVDs that people send me from all over the world. I like my job at the paper, but it's really hard to focus on school and the paper and my family. I want to do a good job at all of them. I hate letting things slide and just hoping for the best, but I really have to at this point.

Eric's been going through some crap of his own, and his crap is serious crap. My attention is there right now, not at school, not at the paper. There are times when families just need to be together.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

What a week

So, here I am with Dr. Drew Lipinski. He signed some copies of our newspaper. He was at the newspaper convention with and we ran two articles about HPV. So, go us.

Going to the convention really messed with school, and now it's mid-term, so we're all inundated with projects and tests and don't have time to work on the paper.

I finally got the paper out today, two days late. It's my first late paper, and I hope my last. Ah, well. I think it's a pretty good paper, though. Except for the mistakes, of course. Heh.

Now I'm going to sleep.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Still swingin'


Not so good. Kayleigh's friend abandoned her at 4:50. Too short notice to find someone else to trick-or-treat with. So she went with Kelsey and her friends. Joy. She bugged out early, only to find someone had stolen all the candy off the front porch. Lots of people around here do that--put the candy out and hope that people are honest. We won't be so naive again.

Growing pains

So, as the mom, it's hard for me not to want to cause great bodily harm to anyone who hurts my baby. I know 12 is a crappy age for kids. So many changes can be just mean to suffer through. Kayleigh sat on the floor, stuffing her face with chocolate bars, and asked, "Why does chocolate make you feel better? And why does it wear off so fast?" We got into talks of drugs and endorphins and depression and exercise and facing what's bothering you and turning to your family for help and...the questions she asked made me worry. She seemed to be finding comfort in the idea of drug use. That is a sad, scary road I hope she never goes down. The girl needs love and success.

St. Louis

Some members of my newspaper staff and I went to St. Louis last week for the ACP/CMA convention. I went to some cool sessions where I didn't learn much, but I had a good time. I also went to some kind of boring ones. Ah, well. I was hoping to learn a bit about lead-writing, headlines, and cutlines.

There was another one that sounded cool--The Myth of Objectivity. The speaker was good, but we didn't talk much about objectivity. Much of the time was spent just introducing ourselves. That was OK. It was interesting hearing where people came from. He went at the girl from Calvin College a little, wondering whether she was even allowed to be objective. I thought he would be a hoot at a party. He seemed like he had a lot to offer, but needed a lot of time to offer it in. Professors.

Anyway, we came home with seven awards. We took 2nd place, best of show for our category of newspaper, honorable mention best of show for our special Halloween issue (I was a cereal killer--the photographer never understood it and kept telling me I should have blood-red around my lips, not a milk mustache), honorable mention for our online newspaper, which is a freakin' joke, honorable mention for staffer Melissa Stelter (they spelled her name wrong) for Story of the Year, editorial, and Pacemaker Finalist. We got two CMA design awards; 5th place for an ad, 2nd place for sports page design.

The World Series

We were lucky to be in the nation's most dangerous city for the World Series. My advisor got into the 4th game for $80, the big bastard. (Taste me, I'm bitter.) The final game went for around $1800. It was incredible to be there when they won and everyone was so excited. We got into the stadium after the game. I called home from behind home plate. I talked with a lot of people. My trusty reporter Mikk will likely have a good story for the sports page. I gave him my notes. I'm a little bummed not to be writing the feature, but that's the way it goes. I had other stories to write.

Anyway, I went out the next morning, and the previous night's revelry was scarcely apparent. A little bit of broken glass on one street, and that was it. Around here, they'd've cut down trees, broken store windows, and set cars on fire. It was so great to go out the next morning and not have to dodge piles of drying puke.

I found St. Louis to be a very friendly, welcoming city. Even street people asked us if we were enjoying our time in St. Louis.

The biggest bonus was that I got to see my niece Sarah and her fiance, Dan. We had a nice evening together watching the game on the giant screen, wandering the streets, and having a light, late dinner. My advisor, who doesn't want to meet families on trips but was present when Sarah arrived, said she was very nice and liked her a lot. He even hung out for a while--before going off to game four for $80, the bloody bastard...OK, covered that already, deep breath. Row 18, even! (inhale...exhale...)

The family

They survived without me, but barely. Eric was sick the whole time. Turns out his meds were way hosed but the doctor called the wrong number to leave the message that said, "Go to the pharmacy now! We've upped your thyroid dose!" (Insert further swearing of your choice.)

Back in the saddle

Now I'm back. Craparama. I'm waaayyyy behind in my school work. I was given an extension in my mass communications class, but this week's work is dependent on last week's, and he offered no extension for this week, so I can plead, or I can just suck it up and do too much and have it all be crap. Crappish, anyway.

UPDATE: My teacher gave me an extension for both weeks, so I get the same amount of time to work on it as everyone else. Phew!

It's nice to be with my family, though. School work, be damned. I missed 'em.