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Friday, July 29, 2016
Thanks, Kate (05/16/16)
A while back I tried thinking of an email signature -- an established way to end my emails or other correspondence. Some people have really cool signatures, and I wanted one too. But I noticed, in that time, that I was ending my emails with "Thanks, Kate" or "Thank you so much, Kate." And it seemed to work; I kept it...
It's 'farewell,' not 'goodbye' (05/09/16)
My original idea was to write this column next week, but the more I tried to think of something to write about this week the more I realized that this one needed to be written now. I have resigned from my position as staff writer at the Spencer Daily Reporter. I wanted you to hear it from me, because I know you'll see the ad and wonder who it is (I know this because I've gotten some text messages when it's been posted in the past)...
This too shall pass (05/02/16)
Over the past weekend Nic, Emmett and I took a quick trip to Santa Barbara, California, to visit Nic's grandmother. We met up with his parents, sister and cousin in Burbank, where they picked us up and continued down to see grandma. Fortunately for me, I don't typically have "eventful" airplane trips -- something for which I am grateful -- but I knew I was on borrowed luck. And our number was drawn...
It's picking up around here (04/25/16)
It's the classic "small town" argument: "There's nothing to do." But is it accurate? Certainly, we live in an area of the country where weather may affect some events during certain times of the year, but I would argue that even in those situations there is something to do...
What does fear afford you? (04/18/16)
Over the year or so -- as long as the presidential race has been geared up, at least -- I have noticed a lot of fear in the way people respond to things that come across their path. There's fear at what will happen if we elect a certain person into office; there's fear of what will happen if we don't. There's fear that we're getting too socialist; there's fear that we're staying too capitalist. There's fear of how everyone else will respond if we actually voice who we want to vote for...
There is growth here (04/11/16)
Because of my job, I get a unique perspective into the pulse of the community. By this, I mean I see the gears of this town working, and I get to both look at the overall "big picture" as well as the individualized experiences of those I work with. And I've noticed, recently, that we are moving in the right direction...
'I'm a big boy now' (04/04/16)
Something happened over the last few weeks. Emmett decided he was definitely no longer a baby anymore. Granted, he hasn't been a "baby" in a long time, at least based on his walking and talking ability, and his general attitude. We are in full-fledged toddlerhood, and he is not afraid to show it...
Out with the old (03/28/16)
This year, instead of focusing on a task or a goal that I want to accomplish by Dec. 31, I'm focusing on one word: curate. I may have mentioned this before, but I want to use this word, and its definitions, to help bring more intention into the life I want to live...
Every little bit counts (03/21/16)
Because the photos I posted to Facebook prior to October 2014 were largely of my dogs, I tend to have a lot of pug-related images attached to the "See Your Memories" widget. If you've never seen a pug, they don't inspire motivation to achieve a lithe, svelte body...
When freedom becomes a crutch (03/14/16)
There's been a lot of talk about "freedoms" lately. A few days ago in Chicago, a group of protestors exercised their right to free speech outside of a location where Donald Trump was planning on exercising his right to free speech by holding a rally for supporters and undecideds who were exercising their right to free speech by showing up...
The opinions are coming (03/07/16)
Over the past few months, the lexicon of Emmett has been growing at an exponential rate. We started with relatively helpful terms, "mama," "daddy," "doggie," "more" and so on. This entire time, Nic and I are thinking, "This is so helpful. Now he can communicate and start to tell us exactly what he wants."...
Is it spring yet? (02/29/16)
I'm fully aware that by the time you read this there could be additional snow on the ground. And yet, I have to ask -- is it spring yet? This has been a pretty long winter. Temp-wise, it hasn't been awful -- we've certainly had worse -- and I'm told there have been years the snow was much more significant than this. And yet, I'm ready. I'm ready for warmth and sunshine...
Kate dreams of food (02/22/16)
When Emmett is upset or we need to kill a few minutes, I've started to turn to cooking videos on YouTube. I've long been a fan of the genre -- everything from the Food Network to Food Tube. And I've noticed that Emmett gets very interested in watching the chef chop up onions and garlic or roast vegetables alongside chicken and potatoes -- whatever he or she happens to be cooking at the time...
God and the law (02/16/16)
I first titled this column "God and politics" but then I realized that those words send me in a very different direction, so I renamed it. I want to talk about Antonin Scalia today. Unfortunately, within the context of our government, the Supreme Court is the branch I know the least about. Regardless, I was impacted by the news of his death, in the same way that I would be impacted by the passing of a notable congressperson or former president...
The four legacies (02/08/16)
One of my favorite podcasts is the Build a Bigger Life podcast, hosted by Adam Carroll. Adam talks a lot about becoming the "architect of your life," as he refers to it, and choosing "life over lifestyle." Those are both big phrases in the podcast, and they're mentioned over and over again through the episodes. ...
Land of the free to respect everyone (02/01/16)
As I'm writing this, we're about 3 hours away from the caucus. Over the weekend, a lot of media sites have published news (or editorials) about why certain candidates would or would not be suitable for the Oval Office. Their aim is to sway those who haven't yet made their mind up into one corner or another, or away from a particular corner altogether...
The life-changing magic of intention (01/25/16)
I wrote a post on my blog (Blondie Marie) a few weeks ago that talked about New Year's resolutions ... kind of. I've talked about resolutions here, too, but I approached the idea of a resolution a different way this year. This year instead of focusing on a task list of things I want to accomplish by Dec. 31, I'm focusing on one word. This year, I've decided, I will "curate."...
Curate quality of life (01/18/16)
Over the course of this week we lost a good number of big names in the creative industries. We started last week with the musician David Bowie, then continued three days later with the actor Alan Rickman. Today, I learned of two others, the jazz musician Mic Gillette and Glenn Fray, founder of The Eagles...
What does 'pay yourself first' really mean? (01/11/16)
I came across this headline from Forbes about a week ago as I was scrolling through my blog feed: "63 percent of Americans don't have enough savings to cover a $500 emergency." This alone was enough to scare me, but the article went even further. According to Maggie McGrath, who wrote the story, only 37 percent of Americans "have enough in savings to pay for a $500 or $1,000 emergency," and the others -- the 63 percent mentioned in the headline -- would have to find other means. ...
Livin' la vida solo (01/04/16)
Have you ever had the thought after you've gotten married or had a baby ― what did I do with my time before my spouse or child? This week, I get to find out the answer to that question. We were all in Sacramento, California, for the holidays with Nic's family, the first time we'd been out there in five years. ...
Thinking ahead (12/28/15)
I've been thinking over the past few weeks about the concept of the New Year's resolution. When we were in Austin, Texas, my boss informed me over the new year that she and her husband do not make New Year's resolutions, because they're cheesy. She then began to tell me about all of the changes they would make, specifically regarding their health, in the coming months...
Silent night (12/21/15)
We're going into Christmas with a pretty heavy heart around the community. It's times like these that I kind of feel like an outsider, both in a good and bad way. It's a negative that I'm not able to say I knew Austin Roberts or his family because I didn't grow up with him. I didn't even know him, not even in a passing-in-the-street kind of way...
... And goodwill toward men (12/14/15)
Last week I wrote my column on "peace on earth," on finding peace in our lives -- especially during this time of year. But the phrase "peace on earth" is often accompanied by "and goodwill toward men," and I think it's fitting to keep these together...
Peace on earth ... (12/07/15)
There's a lot of fear going around right now. Much of it is political. Either we're afraid of other people whose culture we don't understand -- and whose radical percentage has threatened those we can somewhat identify with -- or we're afraid of what will happen if "they" or "he" or "she" is elected into an office this time next year. ...
Today I'm Thankful (11/30/15)
I tried to do a month-long series on my blog titled "Today I'm Thankful," where I highlight one part of my life for which I'm thankful for the entire month of November. I did okay on it, posting most days on time, though I admit I have to catch up on the last few days still...
Sunday routine (11/23/15)
One of my favorite reads -- a column I check in weekly for updates, is "Sunday Routine" by the New York Times. In this column, published in the Saturday edition, different members of the Times staff interviews well-known or otherwise influential members of the New York community to learn how they spend their Sundays...
Sometimes it's hard to know what to say (11/16/15)
On Friday the entire world was rocked by the attacks of a group of radical extremists on Paris, Baghdad and Beirut. Combined with the natural disasters in Japan and Mexico, the entire situation is a sobering one. My Facebook page has been a mixed bag of emotions, as I'm sure can be expected. My friends come from all walks of life and have probably every political opinion that can be had. This leads, in times like this, to everything from a call for extreme retaliation to extreme pacifism...
Financial literacy, Jr. (11/09/15)
I'm sure the initial intent was to teach my sister and I about math (10 percent of $5 is $0.50, and so on) and generosity, using the tithing container and giving the money to our church or another charity. And I don't remember continuing the deli container method as I got older, but I did continue the concept...
Hail Caesar (11/02/15)
Nic and I had a deal going into Halloween with Emmett -- we each get a year planning his costume before he gets to an age where he's able to decide what he wants to trick-or-treat as. This year was Nic's year, and he's been planning this costume since we found out we were having a boy...
Detain the halls (10/26/15)
I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed the other day when I passed by a rather large meme of Buddy the Elf barely containing himself and exclaiming "Only 10 Fridays until Christmas!" And I could actually feel my stress level rising. In part, because of all there is to do. In the next two months (yes, two months) there are decorations, food, cards, travel plans and other preparations to organize. And that's putting it mildly...
Perfectly imperfect (10/19/15)
A blogger and television personality whose career I follow, Heidi Powell, has been posting stories of other bloggers over the last few months, each detailing one (or more) ways they are "perfectly imperfect." What I think is so cool about this is that in each of these situations readers and viewers get to see the reality of what normally could be digitally manicured lives...
Your home is not an asset (10/13/15)
Recently, I read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," by Robert Kiyosaki. For me, finance and investing has become a vicious cycle -- the more I learn about it, the more excited I get, and the more I want to learn. There's this whole new world that's out there, that I had never really understood much about until this year...
We're in one-derland (10/05/15)
Emmett turns 1 today. It's a little crazy to think, because it seems like the past year has gone by in a sleep-deprived blur. And perhaps it has. But one year ago I had a 9 -pound meatloaf and suddenly I've got a toddler with an attitude. What happened?...
Let's talk student debt (09/28/15)
If you've gone to college in the last 10 (or more) years, or you have a child that's gone to college, you are likely paying back student loans. If I stay on track with my repayment schedule, I will be completely paid off somewhere around the end of 2017, seven years after graduation...
Never go to the store hungry (09/21/15)
I love to grocery shop. And I love to take Emmett with me. This seems a little backward. I know it's a pretty common feeling to both not like to grocery stop, and especially to not like it with a toddler. And those days may come, because he's starting to get grabby...
Winning ticket (09/14/15)
We play a lot of games. Especially when family comes over, there's usually a game of 7 Wonders, Splendor or Ticket to Ride in the time that we're all together. This past weekend, with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law in town, we played both Splendor and Ticket to Ride...
Redefining 'right' (09/07/15)
There's a woman being held in contempt of court right now because she refused to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. And there's a rally behind her because she, Kim Davis, of Kentucky, is a devout Christian woman and performing the duties for which she was elected has -- as of June 27 -- become "impossible" due her religious beliefs...
Howling at the moon (09/01/15)
You know those times when you hear someone talk about something, but you don't believe it until you experience it for yourself? Welcome to a full moon with small children. I'd been hearing about it for the past few years, especially with my friends-with-kids and friends who are teachers. None of us are particularly subscribed to the idea of auras and "energies," but every single one of them has mentioned how bonkers full moons make children...
Ramsey vs. Carroll on finance (08/25/15)
I'm at the age where the term "success" starts to get thrown around a lot. I feel like when you start to creep up on 30, the concept of "adult" starts to get very real for some people. And when you think adult, you often think "success" (either, "how did he/she become so successful?" or "how do I become more successful?")...
So long, summertime (08/17/15)
Today (Monday), I did something I haven't yet done this summer: I put on a sweater. I know I'm kind of a wimp. But it was cold(er), especially considering the temperatures we had been having. And it was raining, which means all I wanted to do was curl up and read a book or watch a movie. At least, with a sweater, I could feel like I was wearing an afghan...
Can we please move past party politics? (08/10/15)
We're knee-deep into the political season, and it's only going to get "more" -- more intense, more phone calls, more posts on your Facebook and Twitter news feeds, more television ads, etc. I watched most of the debate last week, largely because I'm really interested in politics and I like learning about where each candidate stands. Plus, part of the fun of watching the debate is the conversation Nic and I have about each candidate...
Going into battle with Tolstoy (08/03/15)
In my (proverbial) journey through my bookshelf, I finally came across my first major hurdle in the form of a 1,424-page doorstop titled "War and Peace." Traditionally speaking, Leo Tolstoy's epic is one of those books nobody actually reads but everyone has on their shelf to impress dinner guests. However, it came across on my book roulette (the random number-generating system I have for choosing which book to read next) and I thought I might as well give it a try...
A baby no more (07/27/15)
Last week I went to pick up Emmett from day care and I saw a sheet of paper peeking out from his cubby: "Toddler 1 contract." This was not shocking. He's already been spending a lot of time with the "big kids," and we figured it was only a matter of time until he shifted over there on a more permanent (for a year) basis...
The definition of success (07/20/15)
For the first time since I graduated college, I took (an actual) vacation and spent last week on the shores of Upper Silver Lake, near Pentwater, in Michigan. It was very relaxing -- boating, tanning and ambling around the small town. But, as is usual when I have a few days away from working, I tend to start thinking about my work and about different ways I can create an interesting professional life. ...
Rediscovering an old pastime (07/13/15)
When I was a little girl, my family would stay for a week on Kimball Lake, a little north of my parents house in west Michigan. We would rent the same house every year and spend the time relaxing, swimming and boating. In the evenings we'd take the little boat through a tunnel to another lake and get ice cream...
Our warning signs are running out (07/06/15)
You know the adage, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me?" How many sharks have to bite us before we stay out of the water? I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed earlier today when the headline "Eighth shark attack reported in North Carolina over the weekend."...
A few thoughts on Friday's Supreme Court decision (06/29/15)
In case you've been hiding under a rock since Friday, gay marriage is now legal across the entire United States, after a ruling by the federal Supreme Court. Because I have a pretty varied range of opinions in my Facebook friends, I saw everything from "I can now get married in my home state" (actual post) to "how tragic. Look where our country is going."...
Pray for healing, pray for Charleston (06/22/15)
I'm writing this on Friday morning because the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina, is relatively fresh still, and my heart is heavy for those affected. John Stewart, of "The Daily Show," made a comment in his show Thursday night that I found very spot-on and poignant. I didn't actually watch the show (no cable), but nearly every national and entertainment news outlet featured his monologue, so I caught it second-hand...
When peace like a river ... (06/16/15)
It seems counter-intuitive to say, as passionate as I am about reading and books, but my dream is to get to a point where I have about 100 books. Just my favorites. The ones that I know have withstood the test of my time, interest and experience. This means that I need to sell, give away or donate roughly 650 books (and counting). ...
I don't always feel like working out, but I always like skinny jeans (06/08/15)
This is not a fitness column. Rather, this is a finance column. I've been reading more into financial advice, as Nic and I look at our current situation and our goals for the future -- what we want to do and how we're going to pay for it, specifically. And the more that I read, the more I feel like we're kind of behind the times. We're 27 right now, and we probably should have started when we were 22, if not earlier...
The meaning of art (06/01/15)
It's a bit after-the-fact, but I was thinking again today about the role art can play in our lives, and I remembered the statement Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill made when she "withdrew her support for 'Game of Thrones,'" according to several news outlets...
We're on the move (05/25/15)
I've got a 7-month-old baby who is, in his mind, ready to be a toddler. At the risk of sounding overly "new parent"-y, I will say I didn't know how it is possible to be so active, yet not able to move yourself around yet. Emmett isn't crawling yet (though he's close), but he's already getting into everything, thanks to the handy walker we've got for him to scoot around in. ...
Save Me, San Francisco (05/18/15)
I'm not sure why I haven't mentioned this before, but I wrote a book. Not a novel, not yet, but I finished a book of short stories and self-published it online last year. "Save Me, San Francisco" contains 31 short stories, each of which is inspired by music written and recorded by the band Train. Am I a fan of Train? Yeah ― even more so after listening to so much of their music over the past few years. Am I a "fangirl" of Train? No, not really...
Saving sooner to save less (05/11/15)
A friend of mine reposted a table from Dave Ramsey that compared the saving habits of two guys, Ben and Arthur, in an illustration of how compound interest works. Both guys invested $2,000 each year, and both guys invested in funds that averaged a 12 percent interest rate. ...
Leavin' on a jet plane (05/04/15)
It's been a year of firsts for me, in large part because (for obvious reasons) it's been a year of firsts for Emmett. First everythings. And, this weekend, he and I will embark on his first flight and my first flight with a baby. We're headed to Missouri again. Last year I traveled down to Nixa and met my mom, sister and nephew at my grandparents' house. My grandparents got to meet Graham, then 11 months, and we all had a good Memorial Day weekend...
**Spoiler Alert** (04/27/15)
My column has been moved to Tuesday, to help make room for the "Let's Talk About It" column, so now my opinion page-partner has changed from Randy to Paula. Either way is fine with me. But I'm still writing this on Friday, because something big happened Thursday night and I need to talk about it. Granted, even though I know what this "something big" is, I still haven't experienced it for myself. That's the point...
Simplify. Simplify. (04/10/15)
Recently I've stumbled across the concept of a capsule wardrobe. A trend in fashion and style is seeming to take the stance of "quality over quantity" and the capsule wardrobe fits right into that. In this idea, credited to the blogger Caroline in her blog, "Un-Fancy," a person takes his or her (let's be honest, her) closet and pares it down to the absolute basics. ...
A thought while sitting in church last week (04/03/15)
I imagine Jesus was probably afraid in the few days leading up to his crucifixion. We are at the end of what is known as Holy Week, the period of time in the Christian calendar that focuses on the "final week" of Jesus' life. Yesterday we remembered the crucifixion. Perhaps we went to church or Mass; maybe we fasted. Whatever we chose to do, the point is that we remember. We talk about the Sacrifice, and we look ahead three days to celebrate the resurrection on Sunday morning...
The most remembered championship event (03/27/15)
Tomorrow, in New York City, mental athletes from across the country will compete in the 18th annual USA Memory Championship. There are four rounds in the qualifying event and three in the championship event. Any one of these seems ridiculously challenging to me, but I can't even imagine performing all of these tasks, especially not in a competitive setting...
Coming out of hibernation (03/20/15)
For some reason, this winter just took forever to get through. I understand that the timeline of this winter isn't all that different from the past three winters I've lived through since moving to Spencer. And it seems that, in talking with people, it's a shared sentiment around the community...
The stories that converge (03/13/15)
It always excites me when reading becomes a puzzle to put together. It's one of the reasons I love "S," by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst so much -- the book requires four consecutive read-throughs before the entire story is unfolded. It's a story-within-a-story, and it's fantastic...
Playing along when you're being played (03/06/15)
A few months ago we received an interesting visit from the vacuum salesman (excuse me: air filtration system representative) who spent the better part of two hours in our home demonstrating two products for us: an air filter and a vacuum. While we did call the number on the back of the card we got in the mail (we could have earned anything from a digital camera to roadside assistance to $10,000 in a relatively short visit, so why not?), I don't know what we were truly expecting to happen. ...
Raising Iowa's minimum wage diminishes career readiness (02/27/15)
There's talk right now in the Legislature to raise the minimum wage in Iowa from $7.25 per hour (which is also the federal rate) to $8 per hour by July of this year and to $8.25 per hour by July of next year. I don't necessarily like this, but stating "it'll raise the price of things" is an argument that, frankly, has been overused and is starting to sound cliche...
+10 for resilience (02/20/15)
I listen to a lot of TED talks, because I love listening to people talk about new ideas and creative ways of viewing the world. They say that you are who you are around, but in this technological age I'll add that you are who you follow. I want to follow creative people, because they make me more creative...
The greatest story ever told (02/14/15)
It's probably no secret that I love books. And, between the nature of my job and my general personality, I read quite a bit. I'll read just about anything, but I love a good love story most of all. I've read Nicholas Sparks before, and he's okay. I'm not a huge fan of the "big face" religious-themed literature (the term 'big face' came from a friend at Baker Publishing and is in reference to the fact that nine out of 10 Christian-lit titles have a large image of the main character's face on the cover).. ...
Plus size is just a word, not a frame of mind (02/06/15)
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition came out a few days ago, and -- maybe for the first time -- not all of the conversation is about the nearly baring-it-all cover shot. (There's still a lot of talk about it, but it's not the only focal point). For the first time, SI included a plus-sized model in the pages. Robin Lawley, who is 25 years old and from Australia, is 6-foot-2 and a size 12...
The real superfoods (01/30/15)
There probably isn't a more unifying sporting event in America than the Big Game being played this Sunday. And, just like pretty much everything else we do here, we celebrate events with family, friends and food. Lots of food. Here's a little taste (see what I did there?) of what we will collectively consume in two days...
Hidden treasure (01/23/15)
A television show I've watched for several years is "Parenthood." It's in its final season, and I'm a little sad about that. There are few shows out there that manage to get it right, and I think this is one of them. In watching the episode last week -- I watch all of my TV shows on the weekend in one or two long, satisfying binge-fests -- I realized that one reason I love the show so much is because of its perspectives. ...
A day at the beach (01/16/15)
While at my grandparents' house in Missouri this past Christmas, my mom looked through old photos my grandma had converted digitally. My grandfather was a big photographer when my mom was growing up (they had a darkroom in every house they lived in) and there had been reel after reel of old slides taking up space in the storage room...
Inspiration juice (01/09/15)
When I first moved to town, almost three years ago already, Randy brought Gabe (who used to write for the paper as well) and I to a Hy-Noon Kiwanis meeting to introduce us to the other Kiwanians and to tell them a little bit about what we do here at the paper...
All lives matter (01/02/15)
Things are starting to quiet down around the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and the two policemen in New York City, but I think this column is appropriate for the new year. When all the protests for Brown and Garner were happening around the country, there were a lot of #BlackLivesMatter posts going around social media. The perception was that, at least in the case of these two individuals, their darker-colored skin played a role in the outcome of the situation...
I write lists to cross them off (12/26/14)
In the novel "Any Human Heart," by William Boyd (which I started about four years ago and still haven't finished) the main character, Logan Mountstuart, reflects on his past year each time a new birthday rolls around. The book is written as a series of diary entries over Mr. Montstuart's life, and he records his accomplishments, failings and other personal details fairly faithfully each year...
I believe in Santa Claus (12/19/14)
I remember the moment I realized that Santa wasn't real. I couldn't tell you what age I was -- maybe around third grade -- but I remember waking up on Christmas morning and running out to the living room to see our stockings stuffed with small wrapped treats. The larger items were wrapped and placed on the hearth, and we would look at the gift tags to see which present went to each member of the family...
The power of the spoken story (12/12/14)
I recently started listening to a podcast called "Serial." It's from the producers of "This American Life" -- maybe one of the most well-known podcasts out there -- and in the first season (12 episodes) it unpacks the conviction of a man named Adnan Syed in the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee. It's a true-crime audio documentary...
The full expression of faculties (12/08/14)
It's crazy to think that it's been two months already. Little Man is growing like a weed and I'm back at work, just in time for the holiday season. But I learned a few very important things about myself while on maternity leave. The first, no matter how much time I have in a day, the house will not get clean. ...
The waiting game (10/03/14)
Life these days is a bit up in the air. I'm sure most parents can remember the feeling, but I have to admit it's a little weird to think about a 6- to 8-pound creature, who isn't even here yet, stopping time this completely. We spend a lot of our time waiting for things, but I don't know that anything quite compares to "medical" waiting. Whether it's waiting for a baby to arrive, or waiting for a diagnosis to come through, it's a different species all together...
Fictional reality (09/26/14)
I was scrolling through my news feed a few minutes ago and I came across a follow-up to one of the stories surrounding the Slender Man meme. Back in May, two 12-year-old girls stabbed their also 12-year-old friend 19 times, intending to murder her. Due to a passing cyclist, the girl was saved, but the attackers claimed that committing a murder was the first step in becoming a proxy of the Slender Man, whose fan fiction they had been reading online...
In search of the vote (09/19/14)
Every time a political season comes around, I find myself disliking political TV ads more and more. Its not that I don't like politics -- I love politics -- but I don't like how the "surface" of politics has been dumbed down to sway the public. In 2012, I watched every televised debate between Romney and Obama. ...
The people of the fair (09/12/14)
For much of the area, the Clay County Fair is a relatively quiet week at work. Most of the town shuts down during this week. Here at the Daily Reporter, however, we gear up for our busiest week of the year. It always follows relatively the same path. ...
A different kind of fair preparation (09/05/14)
This year's fair prep for me went a little differently than past years. For starters, it began all the way back in February, when I found out I was pregnant (and, more importantly, found out when I was due). Sylvia Plath, in her poem "Metaphors," described a pregnant woman as "A melon strolling on two tendrils." And while I've never related to that metaphor as acutely as I have in the past several weeks, I've definitely been anticipating it...
Ravioli and granola bars and hummus, oh my (08/29/14)
When I woke up this morning, I had full plans to spend the three-day weekend mostly relaxing, maybe doing a little cleaning and definitely reading and writing. Especially with the forecast, I didn't think there would be much of a chance of enjoying activities outside of the house, so I planned accordingly...
Where did the summer go? (08/22/14)
Memorial Day feels simultaneously like yesterday and like last year. Whenever I think back across the summer, all I can think of is how quickly it's gone by. I've heard similar statements from others, so I'm pretty sure it's not just me. Granted, summer never feels like it drags along, but for some reason this years flew by at a higher speed than most...
Through darkness, into light (08/15/14)
Every time a celebrity dies, my husband and I have a conversation about which "famous" people would truly affect us with their death. When I learned Monday evening that Robin Williams had passed away, I texted Nic with the news, and he texted back, "That may be the first famous death I actually care about."...
Who let the dogs out (08/08/14)
When my husband and I first started dating (about three years after we had met) we didn't have to do much "back-tracking" -- the series of conversations you have in a new relationship to get to know each other. We already knew each other, we were best friends...
I am not an invalid (08/01/14)
I'm over the 30-week hump (gasp! Where did the time go?) and I started thinking back over these last seven months of my pregnancy. I no longer remember what I looked like with a relatively-flat stomach, because this is how my body looks now. It didn't come on all at once (though sometimes it feels like it did), but over time. And I adjusted to my new look and physical situation...
Happy Trails (07/18/14)
Last weekend we wrapped up our summer of travel with a quick (seriously, like 30 hours) trip to San Francisco for Nic's cousin's wedding. It was our fourth trip of the summer, and we came within 130 miles of seeing both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. ...
The sport of all sports (07/11/14)
I've completely drunk the World Cup Kool-Aid. Soccer has always been a sport I've been interested in, but it's taken a higher level in my life since I've been married. I married into a soccer family, and I wholeheartedly hope to continue the tradition with my kids...
Crying 'religious freedom' (07/04/14)
A big and relatively controversial decision was made by the Supreme Court earlier this week regarding Hobby Lobby's obligation to provide certain types of contraceptives to its female employees. According to the Affordable Care Act, there are 20 varieties of contraceptives that corporations are required to provide to their employees. Among those 20, four of them contrast with the beliefs of Hobby Lobby executives, beliefs that they note the company was founded upon...
All is forgiven with tag (06/27/14)
My dogs do not like it when we travel. They can sense it as soon as the suitcases come out. When they see the rolling duffels and garment bag, their normally happy disposition turns sad. You can see it in their eyes. It's heartbreaking. They don't even like it when we leave for work in the morning. If they're awake (a big if), they watch us walk down the stairs and out to the garage. They know I'll be home at noon, and that I'll give them food, but they still don't like it...
'We're eating ... gender cake' (06/20/14)
One hobby that brought Nic and I together was cooking. We love food, whether it's cooking it, ordering it, looking at it, or (especially) eating it. Instead of a guestbook at our wedding, we had a cookbook that guests flipped through before finding a recipe to write a personalized note across...
Zen, and the art of letting it go (06/13/14)
I have a pair of white dress pants that I washed with a dark shirt sometime last summer. Had these pants been denim, they'd be "stone-washed" and I could wear them while hanging pictures of Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in my locker. Unfortunately, since it's 2014 and I'm not 16 and coordinating my scrunchie to my boyfriend's letter jacket, the pants are just stained. And no amount of bleach or detergent is going to reverse the situation...
Dog, the bird-hunter (06/06/14)
Take a look at the photo. This is my dog, a 3-year-old pug named Hugo. We have another one, in black, named McCoy. When we got them they were 5 1/2 weeks old and this little guy was a whopping 3 pounds. His brother was 1 pound. I should make a particular note that when we decided to get pugs, and when we found these two tiny balls of wrinkles a few weeks later, we were not searching for dogs to help us in our hunting skills...
Fear of living (05/30/14)
What is a fear of living? It's being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself - for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don't know what you're here to do, then just do some good...
A summer of family (05/23/14)
Technically, summer doesn't start for another month. My summer activities, however, began last weekend. In these next few months, I will do more traveling and attend more family events than I have done in any summer up until this point. Last weekend we flew out to Washington, D.C., for my brother-in-law's college graduation from Georgetown University. ...
'To see the wonders of the world abroad' (05/09/14)
"Cease to persuade, my loving Proteus: Home-keeping youth have ever homely wits. Were't not affection chains thy tender days To the sweet glances of thy honour'd love, I rather would entreat thy company To see the wonders of the world abroad, Than, living dully sluggariz'd at home,...
Sometimes it's a grey-issue (05/02/14)
I'm not someone who follows sports on a regular basis. In our office, it's a little hard to feign complete ignorance, but I don't keep up on what's happening in the world of athletics on a regular basis. When an issue breaks into the mainstream news, however, I will more-than-likely hear about it from a few sources...
Restraint is the stuff of success (04/25/14)
I read an interesting story about how, and why, Dr. Seuss became so successful. In 1960, Theo Geisel made a bet with the founder of Random House Publishing, Bennett Cerf, that he could write an entertaining children's book using only 50 different words. What began as a $50 bet snowballed into an incredible and unthought-of impact...
Happy Easter. Thank you, Jesus. Let's eat. (04/18/14)
Yesterday morning I sat down with a woman in an interview, and in the exchange of pleasantries she noted she was going to go to the grocery store early today in order to beat the rush at 5 p.m. My first thought was, "Yeah, that's a really good idea," but then it was replaced with, "Is Easter one of those food holidays too?"...
And the car smelled purple as it drove by (04/11/14)
Yesterday as I was driving up Grand I saw to my left a teal and white classic car. It was a beautiful day, a great day to take out such a vehicle, and seeing it out and around in the sun made me happy. But seeing that car also took me back about three and a half years...
Change is gonna come (04/04/14)
I've noticed several things about our community in the past few weeks. Monday night I attended the Clay County Community Foundation's grant event and saw 23 organizations around the area receive grant funding (totaling almost $100,000) for projects they're working on to better the lives of the rest of their communities. In addition, the keynote speaker commented on how Spencer and Clay County succeed and move forward because they take risks...
Kate Padilla
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