[Spencer Daily Reporter nameplate] A Few Clouds ~ 83°F  
High: 82°F ~ Low: 68°F
Monday, Aug. 31, 2015
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...
Outside the bubble (03/28/14)
I had another column written for tomorrow, still about "Noah," but in a completely different direction. And while I still stand behind what I had written, after I finished the column I went to the gym and I realized I had been writing circles around what I really wanted to say...
A ringer in every bracket (03/21/14)
As of 5 p.m. Friday afternoon, I'm currently in the lead among the members of the NWIA Publishing March Madness league. I have no idea how this happened. I am the least sports-smart of the entire office. My first experience watching a college basketball game was Thursday afternoon's Ohio State vs. ...
We create what we fear (03/14/14)
A new word is on the chopping block, courtesy of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Last year Sandberg published "Lean In," a look at women at the executive level of business, and coined "lean in" as a term. This year, she has a new mission. She wants to stop the usage of the word "bossy" as it applies to women and young girls...
Moving, eating for two (03/07/14)
I'm about 11 weeks into my first pregnancy, not far enough along to really affect my daily life yet. But I'm definitely noticing that doing the things I used to do, the way I used to do them, is no longer an option. I found last weekend that running -- an activity I really enjoyed several times a week pre-preggo -- is no longer an option. ...
The best Crock-Pot soup you'll ever make (02/28/14)
When I'm not eating saltine crackers and bagels (as of late), I like to cook tasty food from all "genres." For much of the past year, we'd been eating vegetarian. And we still do eat meat-free quite a bit, though we've started adding small amounts of meat into our diets in order to get protein without a carb- or fat-base (like in beans or cheese). I still make enchiladas sans-animal, but now I can make beef and broccoli again (about which Nic and I are both excited)...
The Padilla Pack is growing (02/21/14)
I'm trying to write more about what goes on in my daily life for my columns, but the past few weeks have been rather difficult because I didn't know if I wanted to broadcast what's predominantly been going on in our lives. But we're not much for secrets, so here goes nothing...
Balance is hard (02/07/14)
I'm not the most graceful individual on the planet. Without practice and very hard concentration, yoga is difficult for me. Until I mastered the form (as best as I can; I'm optimistic, not unrealistic), I ran very similarly to Phoebe in "F.R.I.E.N.D.S."...
I don't watch football (01/31/14)
So this weekend is the high holiday of Americans, the day when even our churches shift their services to make room for "the big game." It's Super Bowl Sunday. This year I have watched more football than I have ever watched in the 24 years before, and this is largely because, at the house I go to eat lunch on Sundays, the game is on in the background. I catch a few plays here and there...
Trout stocking, and other adventures of an SDR journalist (01/24/14)
As a member of the Daily Reporter writing staff, part of my job includes covering weekend activities on a rotation with the rest of the newsroom. Some weekends are slower, and some are packed with community events and activities. Some weekends include things I'd never heard of before, much less witnessed...
The creeper's creepin' me out (01/18/14)
Since shortly before Christmas, I've become a Minecraft widow. It's very similar to football, basketball, or baseball widows, though instead of husbands who watch ESPN, mine plays a pixelated build-it-yourself video game. I don't understand it, but I play along. ...
The real veggie tales (01/04/14)
I love the holidays. The family, the music, the general coziness -- it's all fabulous. But I have to admit, I'm a little excited to get back into a routine. And in no way am I looking forward to a routine more than the food. Mid-way through last year, Nic and I decided to try eating vegetarian four days out of the week. ...
Fighting a losing battle (12/21/13)
Unless you've been under a rock the last few days, you probably know that the "beards" have been banned -- A&E's "Duck Dynasty" has been taken off the air due to some comments patriarch Phil Robertson made regarding homosexuality and civil rights in a GQ magazine interview...
It's the most delicious time of the year (12/14/13)
I'm a little late on the ball this year, both in my preparation for the holidays and in my general spirit of the season. I'm totally there, but it took a little while for me to get over the busyness of the holiday season enough to just sit back and enjoy it all...
The only way to stand out is to fit in (12/07/13)
I reached a pretty major personal milestone at the end of last month: I finished writing my first book, a collection of short stories. I wanted to have it done by the end of November, as my own NaNoWriMo win, and I finished the final story at 1 a.m. Nov. 30...
Resolution 2014: Organize (11/30/13)
We've got one month left of 2013, and amid the food, the shopping, the food, the football, the food, the family and the food, many of us spend a few minutes reflecting back on the past year and setting goals for the upcoming year. I want to spend the last few Tidbits of the year dissecting some of the more common resolutions, breaking them down into manageable bits that are easy to keep for an entire 365 days. ...
Life in the margins (11/23/13)
A few weeks ago, I reviewed a book titled "S." "S." is a unique book that tells three different stories simultaneously: the journey of a man around the world by way of a unique ship, the adventure of a grad student and an undergrad student worker who search for the true identity of the man who wrote the first story, and the love story between the two students...
'M' vs. MPAA (11/16/13)
In reaction to the "R" rating attached to his latest film, "Philomena," Harvey Weinstein appealed the decision of the Motion Picture Association of America by resurrecting one of the most well-known, and most revered, "mothers" in film: M. "Hello, 002," said Judi Dench, who is a household name in England but perhaps best known as "M" in the States. "I have an important mission for you: Are you familiar with MPAA?"...
Good morning, y'all (11/09/13)
When I was in high school, my creative writing teacher closed the door one afternoon and led the class in a discussion over the pros and cons of a specific word (I won't repeat that word here). We dissected it, breaking down the phonetics, usages and historical connotations. We even discussed its stigmas, how other countries view it differently than we do, if they do view that word differently...
Happy NaNoWriMo (11/02/13)
I wanted to offer a note of encouragement to all those embarking on the 30-day uphill journey known as National Novel Writers Month, or NaNoWriMo. For those who aren't aware, NaNoWriMo comes along every November as a challenge to all writers, or aspiring writers, to complete a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. ...
Have a smart, safe Halloween (10/26/13)
It's hard to believe that time of year is upon us again, but there's no denying it. In my mind, Halloween is the "kickoff" to the holiday season. Before we know it we'll be at Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then New Year's. Starting now, the days get shorter (in a literal sense, they've been getting shorter for a while now. In a figurative sense, hold on tight), and the food gets decidedly more delicious and less healthy...
Nobody's the 'winner' (10/19/13)
I read Wednesday night as the Senate, then the House, passed a bill to bring the government back from the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling until next February. Then, when I checked my phone Thursday morning, I read headline after headline about how the Democrats had "won" the shutdown...
'I love you so much' (10/12/13)
I was driving down Grand Avenue last weekend and I saw several people with signs picketing alongside Leach Park. I honestly don't remember what their signs said, but I remember how cold and dreary it was last weekend, and I remember wondering why they had made the choice to stand outside in the weather and hold up signs...
'Do or do not. There is no try' (10/05/13)
I get asked a lot, "How do you read so much?" I read, at minimum, a book a week. That number can get as a high as four, but often hovers around two or three. I love to read, I get easily lost in a story and before I realize it the book is over and I'm thrown back into my reality...
Twenty years too late (09/28/13)
In three days, we could see something I never thought could happen: our government could run out of money and shut down. Congress seems to be in the news every day, and it's rarely good. Their approval rate is hovering at 10 percent. Largely, I think they're disliked so much because so many congressmen are hell-bent on defunding Obamacare, and they're not doing a very good job at making their case...
Opportunity looks a lot like hard work (09/21/13)
I googled my name Friday afternoon. I'm not a narcissist, but every once in a while it's interesting, and healthy, to find out what comes up when my name is searched. (A note to job-seekers and college students: Better to know what that information is than to learn about it from a potential boss.)...
Ordinary people with extraordinary stories (09/14/13)
For some people, the best part of the fair is the food, for some it's the animals and for some it's the Midway. For me, the best part of the fair is the people. I love people. And, lucky for me, I found a job that let's me interact with them on a daily basis. I spend time with members of the community each week and learn their stories, the parts of their life that makes them unique...
Hold the butter (09/07/13)
In the 1970s, someone thought it was a good idea to speckle "popcorn" on the ceiling. My house was built in the '70s, which means that as Nic and I start to uncover the bones and reapply our personalities to the place, we unveil a history of interior decorating neither of us was alive to see firsthand...
Just keep canning ... just keep canning ... (08/31/13)
I always know summer is coming to a close by the amount of fresh produce and empty glass jars sitting in my kitchen. This is the time of year that the garden starts to ripen, all at once. And, while my garden once again decided not to put up much of a fight this year, the gardens of friends and those who sell to the grocery stores are in full production, and I'm all too happy to be on the receiving end of this giving tree...
A change is gonna come (08/24/13)
One of the podcasts I listen to fairly regularly is Jillian Michaels. In her most recent episode she talked about change, how it's hard but how its real power is in how we adapt to it. "Frame of mind is everything in life," she said. I've had a lot of change in my life. I've had quite a few times in my life where I could list, at minimum, a handful of things my time would have been better spent doing...
You kind. You smart. You important. (08/17/13)
I heard a TED talk a while back that suggested people stand in front of their mirror with their hands on their hips and their chest puffed out for two minutes each day. The purpose, the speaker said, was to develop confidence. She was a student of the "fake it until you make it" school of thought, and she believed this applied to self-esteem as well...
Hello, my name is Kate, and I'm a project-a-holic (08/10/13)
You may not know this by looking at my house, but I'm a closeted neat freak. (In some cases, this does in fact involve me shoving mess into closets to not have to look at it.) I was trying to figure out recently why, even though I stress often about not having a clean home, I don't have a clean home...
Does everybody know what time it is? (08/03/13)
Home improvement projects are difficult. We are in the process of renovating our home. Since we bought the place in January, we have turned the upstairs two bedrooms and one bathroom into a single, half-finished bedroom/bathroom combo. In my mind, it looks awesome. In my mind, it's completed...
Let our hearts break together (07/27/13)
I feel like I need to speak on this because it's been on all of our minds and hearts this week, and to write on something else seems inappropriate. It's been a tough week. And I'm not speaking as a member of the Daily Reporter here, I'm speaking as a member of the community. We lost one of our own, and when this kind of thing happens in a town the size of Spencer, it affects everyone...
And the people rioted (07/20/13)
I check the headlines even before I get out of bed in the morning. I saw Twitter posts and news briefs on the acquittal of George Zimmerman first thing Sunday. And then I began to read further. What should have been a standard - albeit tragic - case turned into a national event and, consequently, a national outrage. How could we accept that Zimmerman, a young mixed-race man, gets away with shooting Trayvon Martin, a black teenager?...
A 'tidbit' of direction (07/13/13)
I want to have a focus when it comes to my column. I want a direction for my "Tidbits," but I want to know what local interest is. My idea is to write columns in series: group topics by month, and write four or five columns on that topic based on how many Saturdays fall in a given month...
On Paula Deen's (completely unsurprising) comment (06/29/13)
If you don't watch the Food Network, the News or any other television or media outlet, you wouldn't have found out that Paula Deen was recently "let go" from the Food Network due to a racist comment she made involving the letter "N." While I don't condone anything she said, I honestly wasn't surprised. ...
Headed in the wrong direction (06/22/13)
Not that I have a huge affinity for anything resembling a Kardashian, but it's hard not to be a little curious of the Kim-Kanye progeny when each stage of this little one's pre-birth life has been documented up and down the grocery story aisles like it's a revolutionary moment no other pregnant woman has experienced before...
True talent demands notice (06/15/13)
When I was in middle school, my orchestra teacher gave us a pep talk before we braved our fellow junior highers for a chapel performance. "If you are good," he said. "They will listen." Strings don't necessarily scream popularity in the sixth grade. ...
Kate Padilla
Tidbits