Monday, January 28, 2008

Ladies, Let's talk Leggings

I wasn't going to say anything.

In fact, I thought the ladies over at Go Fug Yourself ( have done a great job in their quest against the legging. I didn't think I needed to say anything.

But I must muse for a few moments on the legging.

I have no problem if a person wants to wear a dress in the winter time with a pair of leggings under it. I understand wanting to keep your legs warm but abhoring the itchier stocking. I understand wearing a pair of leggings underneath athletic shorts for the same reason.

I do not understand the idea that Leggings = Pants.

Perhaps this is a delicate subject. I have a problem with the tightness of the leggings. I have an issue with displaying your business while trying to act like you are in fact not displaying your business because you are in fact wearing pants. And while I might be ok with a person showing up to aerobics or ballet class in leggings, I have an issue with leggings-as-pants to class. It seems unseemly, a little inappropriate. And cold.

I sound so old. I know this, and yet I cannot back off. Leggings do not equal pants to me. What do you think?

Sunday, January 27, 2008


My friend Emily, a reporter in Bakersfield, California, has been working on a series about child obesity for the past year. Emily has spent hours with these children reporting on and interviewing them. She's gone to their schools, their homes, their competitions and sporting events. I think that what has come from it is a pretty special project. You can see it here:

I'd love to hear what you think! So would she, I'm sure. If you have a comment for her, I will pass it along.

(Em and I went to college together. She is an amazing journalist!)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I'm going to Iraq, y'all!

OK -- So maybe I'm not going to Iraq.

However, army brother is headed over to the sandbox for his first tour. My brother Donnie is currently stationed in Fairbanks, Alaska, but is apparently prepping for a September deployment. Here is a link to the story about the deployment:

Donnie and I were discussing a journalist who was embedded with his unit the last time his unit was in Iraq (Donnie wasn't yet with the unit). I mentioned casually that I should come with his unit and blog from the front.

Donnie said I should!

Now, I would be nothing but a hinderance in the desert. I am slow, I hate hot, I don't like sand, and I would probably be scared all the time. I also don't like public restrooms.

I told him that I would rather not be a hinderance to the operation. He suggested I stay in the vehicle! And perhaps help detain insurgents! I know CPR and first aid, so I'm totally qualified.

I've even got a name for the blog (are you ready for this?!): Brother in Arms.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

7 random things about me

Hal at The_Common_Culinarian tagged me in a meme to list 7 random things about myself. As he is my husband, he was required to tag me. As I am extremely random, I am a good person to tag!

The rules are these:
Link to the person(s) that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
Share 7 random and/or weird things about yourself.
Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
(I don't think I know 7 people that have public blogs! Bummer, I need to meet more people. If you have a blog and you have found this blog, let me know who you are!)

My things:

  1. I once had MTV calling me in regards to the "film" The Real Cancun. I have no idea how serious they were, but at one point in time they wanted a college journalist to be in the film interviewing the cast members, etc. They called around college newspapers asking for columnists a la Carrie Bradshaw from Sex in the City. We didn't have that, but as the features editor, I was the closest thing. Plus, I told them that I tended to cover the adult industry (my "porn beat" as my friends called it, consisted of interviews of an adult film actress, a former Playboy bunny who now talks about life with HIV, which she contracted before she was a bunny, the authors of "Worst Case Scenario Survival Guide: Sex and Dating" and several other rather tame projects, so don't think I am a total freak or anything), and they were pumped. They called me back twice!
  2. I taught high school English for two years after I became a law school drop out. I loved, loved, loved my job and still talk to several of my most fav. kids. :) I also had to read several stories and novels that I myself did not read when I was a freshman in high school. (Great Expectations, anyone?)
  3. I won an award for best general interest column in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association for a column I wrote about my dog dying. You can read it Here.
  4. In grad school, I am working on a project involving a framing analysis of a particular scandal. I'm interested in the ways the different parties involved in the scandal framed the problems and solutions of the scandal in various media outlets.
  5. I wanted to be a vet when I was a kid, but was stopped because 1. I couldn't stand the sight of blood (as discovered when my brother cracked his head open during a game of "King of the Mountain") and 2. I didn't want to operate on dead dogs or put dogs to sleep. Looking back, another reason would be 3. I don't much like science or math, and the only C I got in college was in Biology. I would have failed Calc, but I dropped it before I could!
  6. I think the most beautiful place I've ever been was the Cliffs of Mohr in Ireland (, and I think the most sobering place (and perhaps the most powerful) I've been was Dachau Concentration Camp outside of Munich, Germany (
  7. I have pretty much the coolest family ever. Seriously.

DWE and The DWE

Last summer, I started jogging a couple of days a week. I never jogged much more than a half a mile, but I wanted to do something, and my knees can't handle running much longer than that.

Well, it got cold, and running outside was not an option. (Never mind that running outside hasn't been an option for several months, and it hasn't been cold for that long...)

Monday I did something I kept saying I was going to do this year -- I went swimming.

I took a lap swim class in my last semester in college and lost 15 lbs. (I'm not sure if it was the class or the weird eating I did while working at the Herald-Leader, possibly a combination of both of those things and the fact that I worried constantly while I was working.) So I wanted to go back to doing some swimming. It's good for my knees and I enjoy it.

So I showed up to the pool Monday night and decided to take a deep water exercise (DWE) class. I have done it the past two nights and it has been absolutely fabulous! We wear buoyancy belts and water gloves and run around in the deep end while doing a variety of cardio and strength exercises. I even made Hal go with me tonight and he seemed to somewhat like it!

Well, that's DWE. So, what, you ask, is The DWE?

In our grad program, we research-oriented majors (our program has a professional track for those who want to be reporters but weren't journalism students in undergrad and a research/teaching track for those of us who want to do some sort of academia) have a special fondness for a professor whose name bears the initials D.W.

D.W. is a calm and quiet fellow (some might say soothing) who happens to be highly respected in the mass com field. He taught our methods course and this semester he is also teaching in an area that he has published extensively in -- Agenda-setting. I am taking this particular class, and I am extremely excited about it (and an envy of my friends who could not fit it into their schedules).

So last night when a classmate of mine and I were in the grad lounge looking at the group fitness classes, I said, "Hey, I could take DWE. What is DWE?"

She responded, "The [professor's name] Experience!"

We had quite the chuckle imagining our professor teaching deep water exercise and have since decided that our Guitar Hero Band will be called "The [professor's name] Experience."

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Snapshots from Christmas 2: Rocking around the Christmas Tree

This year, my parents were able to find a Wii for my sister and brother.

In fact, they found two.

My mom was able to find a Wii in Ft. Myers, Florida, where my parents spend a considerable amount of time because my father works there every other week. Mom bought the Wii back in September because, if any of you have looked for a Wii, they don't tend to stick in stores for long.

Mom brought the Wii back to the condo, where my dad immediately opened it. They started playing and enjoyed it so much they decided that they didn't want to bring it home. So Mom started looking for another Wii.

She found one in Bloomington. After calling many GameStops, she discovered that one not even 5 minutes away from my apartment had just received a shipment. She called me (and woke me up from my nap!) and made me go get it for her.

Needless to say, the Wii was a huge success at Christmas. Hal and I were able to snag a Guitar Hero III for my parents' gift, not knowing that my mom had already purchased it for my sister. So we had two guitars on Christmas and were able to battle each other in a true contest of rock.

One picture says it all:

(Dad drops to his knees to rock out while battling Mom on Guitar Hero III.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Snapshots from Christmas

Once, long ago, my family moved from my parents' first home on Price Ave. in Erlanger to Edgewood. I was ready to enter the third grade, which meant Donnie was entering first grade, Stephen was three and Jennie was two.

During the move, my mother carefully took one of her prized possessions and put it in my sister's car seat, buckling it in for safety. (On a safety note: Don't worry, my mother did not drive with my sister in the car without buckling her in. For proof: see Thanksgiving when Jennie was a baby, where her car seat went skidding off the seat as we turned into Oakbrook on the way to my grandmother's house. Oh, wait, maybe a bad example.)

The possession? Her Cookie Monster cookie jar.

The Cookie Moster cookie jar lived through the move (so did my sister, who was not with my mom at all during that particular car ride). However, it was not to last.

Stephen, the little coniver that he is, decided on day that he wanted cookies. Stephen is an entrepreneur, willing to devise new systems to deal with things.

At this time, story goes, Stephen was three or four. Instead of asking for cookies, he utilized the Lazy Susan cabinet as a ladder to climb up closer to the cookie jar, which he immediately (and accidentally) pulled to the grown and smashed into a million pieces (for more Stephen the troublemaker stories, see "money stolen to buy from ice cream man" or "why little girls who can't sing shouldn't: my first experience with booing").

Mom has never forgiven him for the Cookie Monster debacle.

This Christmas, Stephen hit one out of the park, and found for my mother a replica Cookie Monster cookie jar!

All of us had known about this exercise in brilliant present giving for many months, but mom had no clue. We were very excited to watch her open the present. Her expression says it all:

As if that expression of joy and glee isn't enough for you, here is a picture of the jar itself:

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, being home brought lots of fun pictures that I am only now uploading. I will try to post a few for the next couple of days.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Dropping the ball at midnight

I'm not a big fan on New Year's Eve.

I have friends who will spend three-digits worth of dollars to rent hotel rooms, get all gussied up, and party with many people they don't know, all while doing their best Paris Hilton impression (sex tapes and underwear showing aside, I hope. I'm not sure, I avoid those pictures on facebook just in case).

There's too much pressure on New Year's. I don't like spending much money to go out. I don't really like that crazy scene anymore (note: I'm getting older by the second). In fact, my junior year of college, I spent New Year's at home with my dog. I think I read and watched the ball drop (yes, I realize this makes me sound like a huge loser).

So it's not really any surprise that a low-key New Year's at a friend's home fit the bill. We ate, we played Wii, we made fun of Hannah Montana.

Now, thinking back, there were times in which I had more "crazy" New Year's.

  • December 31, 1995 --- Notable because I joined kids from an entirely different grade school. I don't remember much from this night -- but there was a cute boy there. Alas, he went to a different high school. It was not meant to be.
  • December 31, 2003 --- I saunter into a party in Naples, Fla., hosted by newspaper friends, with my three college friends, who all thought we were going to go to South Beach for New Year's. And dressed for it. I was the hit of the party. (My one friend's dress had a HOLE in it! And it was supposed to be there!)

But the moment which might have soured me for life on the New Year's celebration occurred on December 31, 1999.

It wasn't even Y2k (for the younger readers --- a phenomenon that purported our computers would all take over the world at the stroke of midnight because their internal calendars could not possibly recognize that 2000 came after 1999. An alternate theory -- we would revert to the ways of 1900).

No, this New Year's my friends and I (we were seniors in high school) decided to attend a party thrown by one of our classmates.

As you may have gathered by the loser-ness espoused in the first couple of paragraphs --- I was not a regular at high school keggers. In fact, at the time of that New Year's, I had been to exactly, well, zero. My friends were similarly inclined.

So we entered this party. I'm sure I told my parents I was going to it. I did not ever taste alcohol while I was in high school, so they knew I wasn't going to get into some ridiculous scrape. We also were spending the night, a whole group of us, with one of our friends. Most of us had known each other since grade school, so there wasn't really any issue of any dalliances (even though there was a boy or two present).

Anyway -- this was a party straight out of Superbad. It was ridiculous. One of my classmates was drinking beer out of a COOL WHIP CONTAINER. (There was no cool whip in the container at the time.) He said it was because a "cup wasn't big enough." (He was not valedictorian.) There were drunken high school students all over the place.

We were completely out of our comfort zone.

But then, the crowd parted, and HE walked into my vision.

My boyfriend. (Sigh)

One of the reasons I was looking forward to this New Year's and even going to the party was because he was there. He went on vacation during our homecoming dance, so we didn't get to go together, but it was all going to be fabulous at midnight, when I got that special New Year's Eve kiss. You know the one -- where Auld Lang Syne, which means "yes, I have a boyfriend and you don't," is playing and all the good couples are spending the first moments of the new year showing affection by a little peck.

(A side note -- I have not been nearly so naive nor starry-eyed in this century.)

Midnight draws near.

I remember this like it was yesterday (and since my husband often reenacts this moment just to make me mad, I get to see it often). We were all crowded into the front room of this home. (Thankfully, the family had hardwood floors, better to mop up the spilled beer.) We were gathered around a tv. We chanted the seconds.

Clock strikes midnight. (World doesn't end.)

I turn to him, he turns to me. I know this is the moment in which he will proclaim to our classmates that we are a real couple (and I'm not just making it up!).

All around us, people are hugging and kissing.

He extends his hand. I smile in anticipation.


Oh yeah, I said it. My boyfriend on freaking New Year's Eve turns to me and gives me a HIGH FIVE.

(My husband thinks this is the funniest. story. ever. So much so he often pretends we're having a nice moment and then gives me a high five. Because my husband was not the same boy at the boy who did this to me -- I can only take so much, people -- I allow him to do this.)

As you can probably imagine, the night doesn't suddenly become wonderful after this moment of magic. The cops show up (chasing my classmate's brother and his friends, who decided to streak the highway at midnight), boyfriend sticks his beer behind me so as to not implicate himself when the cops enter (he did at least deign to sit next to me on the couch. That's something, right?), my group of friends go to leave (again, we are all completely sober and therefore able to drive) and run into the junior girl my boyfriend holds up in the air during cheerleading (don't ask) and he decides to hang out with her, thus abandoning me to stay up very late and be angry (did I mention I started college as a drama major?).

So, I don't pin hopes and dreams on New Year's Eve anymore. (But I do make my husband kiss me --- on threat of divorce he cannot pull out the high five on New Year's at midnight). And then New Year's becomes similar to any other night. Perhaps one day it will change.

But, all in all, note that staying home with the dog is not a bad alternative to being high fived in front of all your friends.