The Adventures of Power Femme

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Pain in the … knee

My knees and I have been inseparable since birth. Heh. You are thinking, “Wow, you don’t say?” But in the middle of the night, my right knee in particular decided to make its presence known — and felt.

My dad always said he had “pool shooting knees.” There are pictures of my dad and me going fishing when I was a kid wearing cut-off shorts in the summer that would suggest I inherited this trait. While it isn’t noticeable if I stand up straight, my knees tend to bow backwards just like my dad’s. While yes, this could be an asset when leaning over a table with cue in hand, it probably isn’t the best for Average Joes who aren’t pool sharks.

Standing straight became more of a conscious effort when I entered choir in elementary school. Those knees held me up on risers through my senior year, and I made a conscious effort to bend at least one periodically during concerts to keep them from locking up and me from tumbling down. At least Mr. Stegner, our director, always cautioned us that would happen if we were too stiff for too long.

If I knew then what I know now, I’d have been nicer to my poor knees. Crazy stunts like sliding across a dance floor on them in my younger years looked cool. But, I am sure I am now reaping the results of my actions. Over the years I’ve asked a lot out of my knees. I am now pushing their limits, being the heaviest I’ve been in my life. If you go by what charts say I should weigh, I have exceeded their capacity by a good 200 pounds. I should be thanking them for hanging on this long.

The pain, particularly in my right knee, began a few years back. I’ve always chalked it up to cold or rainy weather. I could probably strap a rooster on my leg and use it as a weather vane. There were a few days that got the better of me and left me struggling to walk, but I just let it slide.

At Monday’s staff meeting, it took me a bit longer than usual to get up out of my chair. The chief noted that my limp is getting a bit worse and suggested I get it checked out. He’s probably right, and it has been at the forefront of my mind since but I am a bit nervous to find out what’s really going on.

The pops and creaks that used to make for stupid human tricks now sing a symphony that screams, “Go have me looked at!”

I also hear Dad echoing in my head, saying if I didn’t learn to stand up and bend my knees the right way I’d need a replacement by the age of 30. I chuckle that had I been raised in Alabama and not Kentucky, perhaps he’d have gotten me “magic shoes” to do just that.

On Tuesday I talked to another reporter who suggested a chiropractor might be able to fix the issue. I stay so busy I don’t think I can afford, financially or sanity-wise, to be put on the sidelines recovering from a full knee replacement. All I know is I have to do something, and what that will be scares me.

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A tale of two bunnies

Last Friday marked two weeks since I got the phone call my mother had passed away. It was my first Friday back at work since it happened. I still feel like I am sort of moving through days in a bit of haze, and at times the whole thing seems rather surreal.

I was grateful for the distraction of building a parade float with my colleagues. We had a good time shivering and sharing the experience. It provided quite a few good laughs to keep my mind distracted. Surprisingly, I only caught myself a few times having thoughts of “This is when I got the call” or “This is where I was when…”. Heck, I even found myself eating the same thing for supper I had two weeks prior albeit this time it was with two coworkers/friends instead of behind the wheel of a car pulling an all-night road trip to Kentucky. But, in spite of all that, I held it together and was pretty dang proud of that.

While we were waiting to leave the Globe and go get in line for the parade, the four of us crammed into Julie’s Dad’s pickup, and I observed a bunny across the street near the library. I would have normally dismissed this with an “Awe, how cute” and went on with life. However, with the little voice of sadness in the back of my head still wreaking havoc, my thoughts instead turned to how out of place the image seemed to me.

In Ocheyedan, we have tons of rabbits that frolic yard to yard, but I deem that normal due to it being a more rural setting in comparison to Worthington. This bunny, in my stinkin’ thinkin’ mind. seemed alone and out of place, much like me. That surrealness I mentioned isn’t surreal, it is my reality and a new “normal”. My phone has not rang in the familiar ringtone that would indicate my mother was on the other end. When you are used to hearing that daily, it leaves a resounding, deafening silence.

As quickly as all of that entered my mind, it exited as we headed toward the lineup. The emptiness was once again replaced with laughter and last-minute float repairs. (Darn you, wind!) I then left the troops to go set up the video camera and record the holiday procession.

It was nice to see the creativity of the different floats, and I commend the children walking through the parade. It was bitterly cold, and I am not sure if I’d have been as brave. I had fun enough trying to keep my fingers from going numb to press record.

Afterwards, I walked back to the Globe office, with my camera in tow, alone. Without missing a beat, I felt that sorrow tugging on me again. I quickened my pace to cut down on the amount of time the brutal wind was torturing me when I saw something across the street.

There, in the light of a street lamp, was my bunny, but this time he had a friend. Upon this sight I felt a smile creep back over my face. The vision of these two rabbits hopping across a parking lot now seemed normal and not so out of place. And as silly as it may sound, it warmed my heart to know in spite of everything, I and the bunny were not alone.

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Observations at a funeral

   On November 7, my mother suddenly passed away at the age of 54. When I was sitting here thinking of a blog topic, the running thought in the forefront of my mind was to dedicate this to her. I could speak on   her life; what an amazing woman she was. I could go the opposite way and dredge up her personal demons in an effort that others suffering through similar issues might find comfort or solace. But seeing as most readers of this didn’t know her and I’d prefer to have a day of not crying, I decided to turn my focus slightly towards sharing a few of the things I learned through this process.

People will amaze you.

   My mother was a very well-liked individual who did a lot of work with various non-profit organizations to better her town. With that in mind, it was no surprise to me that a large outpouring of people gathered for her visitation. (Heck, I’m one of 27 first grandchildren. Even if just family showed it would be at capacity.)

   What I didn’t count on was who would come out of the woodwork to support me.

   I haven’t lived in Kentucky in eight years. I knew a few close friends would be there; they told me so. But I could have been knocked over with a feather to see friends from high school I’d not seen in nearly 15 years arrive, and even more surprising, friends I had not seen in 20 years. Femme Wonder’s cousin even showed up. People drove over an hour to pay their respects and show support for me and my family. I will forever be grateful for that and remain awestruck that it happened.

   On the flip side, some people shocked me in a not-so-good way. I have one friend back home who I had really expected to step up to the plate and be like glue. Well, that’s what she told me would happen anyway. Adding that she worked with and knew my Mom well, it seemed a no-brainer to me that this would occur barring a small act of God or work keeping her from being there.

So when I was blown off twice before the visitation, I was mildly miffed. Her short 15-minute appearance at the visitation sort of solidified that ugly feeling in my gut. I would have been fine except for her closing remark as she left. Apparently the visitation “wasn’t her scene.”

   Wasn’t her scene? Well, I think I can safely wager unless you are a mortician or work in the funeral trade, spending time in a funeral home isn’t really “your scene.” It’s a visitation, not happy hour. It’s one of those things you just do because it is what is expected, not because you intend to have a good time.

   A few blogs ago, I touched on an observation of society switching to the need to Facebook every life event, no matter how trivial, and the general lack of compassion. I got a first-hand account of this phenomenon as well. A friend of mine I’ve not seen in roughly eight or nine years showed up at the visitation and funeral the next day. He’s a bit hyper and a bit of a chatterbox, but he means well. Trying to make me laugh, while a bit annoying at times, was a heartfelt attempt to lighten a darkened occasion. Grabbing me around the neck for a half hug before entering the funeral home would have been fine, had he not chosen that moment to take a “selfie” of us and then post it to Facebook.

   Really? There is a time and a place for everything. Call me old-fashioned, but you don’t take a selfie at a funeral! You don’t need to update your Facebook status in the funeral home! Holy cow. How could this be considered acceptable behavior?

   You bring food to a family at a funeral, at least where I am from. As Annelle in Steel Magnolias would say, you bring something from the “freezes beautifully” section of your cookbook. You send cards. You send flowers or make a donation to the deceased’s cause of choice. You offer your condolences. You don’t take selfies. Repeat it with me: you don’t take selfies at a funeral.

None of it matters except for family.

   My family is loud and boisterous — and that’s putting it nicely. If there are any Big Brother fans reading this, my cousin is Chef Joe from season 14. It runs in the family. Being the often loud, and more often opinionated, stubborn bunch that we are, conflicts happen fairly regularly. It’s usually a toss-up as to who is speaking to who which week. However, tragedy miraculously brings people together.

   Under penalty of my wrath, my warning of “no drama” preceded me as I drove in from Iowa. Amazingly, it was heeded. Everyone got along. If one positive can come from this whole thing, a few beefs were quashed, at least for now. I see that as a triumph and something my Mother would have been proud of.

   Going through my Mother’s things brought my brother and I closer than we’ve probably been in years. Mom was always complaining we needed to spend more time together, and now, I can honestly say we are. I’ve never been more proud of him than watching him step up and take care of things, namely me. I love you, Shane.

You have to laugh.

   My brother and I teased that we were planning one of the most irreverent funerals in history. That wasn’t entirely true, but we wanted to make our Mom’s send-off a time of laughter and happiness and less sorrow. Of course it is a sad situation and, trust me, my six-year-old niece left no eye dry in the house speaking about her Granny. But, you have to focus on the good times. At least we did.

   Even this week, trying to unpack a few of the things I gathered from my Mom, I had to laugh. I opened up her cookbook. That alone was amusing, since the cooking genes went to my cousin and skipped Mom entirely. But inside were several folded pieces of paper which I assumed were recipes. You know what they say about assuming… it’s true. While I was expecting a secret family recipe I was greeted with the knowledge that my Mother had a clean bill of health at her annual exam in 2006 according to the Jessamine County Health Department. I was also glad to know she paid her rent in 2002 and still had the receipt to prove it tucked safely away inside that unused cookbook.

   I love you, Mom. You have made me who I am today in a number of ways. I’m sorry to see you go. I won’t forget you. I’ll take care of Shane and the girls, don’t worry. I miss you Mom. Goodbye for now.

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Happy Halloween Y’all!

Growing up as a product of divorce, Christmases, birthdays, Thanksgivings and such were a bit of a hassle to decide who got me what year and for what holiday. As I grew into my teens, those family holidays turned more often than I care to admit into arguments with my father which I suppose have tainted my outlook as well.

As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate multiple aspects of the holiday. On the surface, and what most people “celebrate,” is the joy on the faces of kids as they ring my doorbell and wait for a treat. My furry children wouldn’t do well going door-to-door, so I have to live vicariously through my visitors.

Traditionally, dating back thousands of years ago, the holiday was celebrated as Samhain. Samhain is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. In ancient times it was believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the deceased was the thinnest, allowing spirits to walk among the living.

At the time, the holiday celebrated loved ones who had died but also wanted to assure malevolent spirits did not remain.

Depending on your source, and there are many interpretations, a number of items we associate today with Halloween stem from the roots of Samhain. Jack-O-Lanterns are said to have been used as a light to bring deceased loved ones close while the scary faces kept others away. In Europe, gourds or other vegetables were used. Settlers here discovered pumpkins were far easier to use and the tradition continued. Other sources say the carvings were meant to imitate spirits or goblins.

Trick-or-treating itself dates back to medieval times in the form of mumming, souling or guising, again depending on what you read. In all three, people went door to door in costumes either to collect soul cakes in exchange for prayers for the souls of the giver or parading the streets in masks and fancy dress and entering houses. Costumes closely tie into this as well, either used as described in guising or for disguising the wearer from unwanted spirits.

I’d encourage everyone to research the traditions for themselves. Halloween often gets a bad rap as being a satanic holiday or inherently evil. At its core, it really isn’t. It was a fall festival celebrating family and a good crop before winter set in.

As for me, I’m working this year. Sadly, I won’t be able to see the adorable faces or count how many superheroes or princesses come to the door. Sorry Ocheyedan, I have to pass on the yard decorations this year as well. But don’t fret, dear reader, I am still celebrating in my own way. I’ll be the one in the hobbit costume in the newsroom snacking on some spooky themed treat. Happy Halloween and Samhain, everybody!

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Appleocalypse and stitching

The past couple of weeks have been interesting on the home front. This year my good friend Jonah has been teaching me about canning. Much to my husband’s delight, and more often his chagrin, I’m slowly becoming a canning diva. While he appreciates the yummy product at the end, the stacks of dirty dishes in the sink along the way are a bit less appealing.

I am one of those people when I get something in my mind, I dive in head first and ask questions later. This can be a good trait, I suppose; but more often I inevitably get in over my head and, despite my most valiant efforts, I don’t always follow through on said project. This mentality is what led to what we’ve affectionately coined “Appleocalypse” or “Applegeddon” 2014.

On top of being overzealous with projects I am also pretty frugal. A couple of weeks ago, Jonah called and said he’d found a property owner who’d let us pick apples for free, and we could have as many as we’d like. The trees weren’t chemically-treated, to boot. Well, this set off all sorts of bells and whistles in my brain.

Here was my chance to not only test my canning muscle, but get a little exercise, eat a little healthier and to top it off it was free. Woot!

Early Saturday morning Jonah, Femme Wonder and I piled into his van armed with five gallon buckets, extension ladders and a good dose of humor and friendship. An hour or so later, we emerged with 10 of those buckets filled to the brim along with a few larger plastic totes. Jonah took two or three to add to his own apple stores, and the rest was hauled into my kitchen one container at a time.

Over two days, Beccie (Femme Wonder), our friend Wendi and I fought our way through the stockpile. When the dust settled we had 53 pints of applesauce, 44 quarts of frozen slices, 18 pints of apple butter, nine more gallons to dehydrate on top of what we’ve already done and made Erin’s horse Faith and her equine friends happy with the ones too small to process. For once, I finished a project. It felt pretty good. Tired but good. Exhausted but good. (To be honest, I never want to see an apple again for a while.)

Speaking of never-completed projects, I dabbled back into one of my discarded pastimes of cross-stitching this week. When searching for a project I started last year and didn’t finish for my hubby, I stumbled across a few more I started and never finished. Sorry Scarlett, I know that baby gift for you was due a good three and a half years ago before you were born. Don’t hold your breath, kiddo, it is back in the abyss of projects along with a few baby quilts that still need finishing.

Given I couldn’t find what I wanted to finish, I’ve started a new project once again, and a much smaller one — unlike Scarlett’s 36 page pattern wall hanging I was so sure I could knock out a month and a half before the baby shower…

The inspiration for this new pattern came from my co-worker, Julie. Julie started a sit and stitch group this week at the Center for Active Living. Femme Wonder and I headed up from Ocheyedan following the apple butter canning to see what it was all about. We had cross-stitchers, crocheters, knitters, embroiderers and more in the mix. Roughly a dozen of us gathered for three hours to relax and enjoy good conversation while pursuing our creative passions. It was nice to know I wasn’t the only crafty procrastinator in the bunch, too, as another admitted her project was one several years in the making.

While it may seem boring to others, it was nice to get back to something simpler. Activities without the Internet. Activities with good friends and new friends that allowed me to take a moment to step away from the hustle and bustle and just breathe.

Often I think we forget to take a moment for ourselves. We get caught up in what we have to do and what we want to do or need to do, and somehow the time for ourselves goes by the wayside. Now that jewelry season is over until next spring, I hope to find more of these opportunities.

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An Ode to Femme Wonder

   Time to hit the road again today and I can’t wait. Beccie a.k.a. Femme Wonder and I will pack up the car and head to Iowa City once more to peddle our wares, this time at the Iowa Women’s Music Festival on Saturday. I am so ready to see our Iowa City friends again. This time we get to stay a few days instead of our usual down and back. We have a baby shower to make up for and finally get to spend some quality time with two of our other friends as they house us for the tenure of our trip. I secretly or not so secretly wish I had a TARDIS so we could visit more often without a four-hour car trip. But, the drive down and back is something I truly look forward to.

   I think if you can survive an extended car ride with someone without wanting to strangle them, you’ve accomplished a pretty decent feat. (Maybe my standards are low, who knows.) When Bec and I hit the road, it is usually a laugh a minute for the majority of the trek spiced with wailing along to the radio and the occasional critique of our fellow drivers.

   It is a rarity, at least in my experience, to find a fellow kindred spirit who will go along with whatever insane idea you’ve managed to concoct. Our favorite Iowa City story is the day we decided we wanted to meet some friends for dinner.

   A few exchanges between Beccie and I of “Are we crazy enough to do this?” turned into an impromptu road trip at 2:30 in the afternoon to attend a rally, eat dinner, turn around and come home. I fortunately had a boss who let me come in late that next day after hearing we’d be getting home around 2 a.m. (Jan you rock!)  So yes, an eight hour round-trip to eat pizza and visit our friends. Totally worth it.

   These days as life seems to keep getting in the way, it is the longest stretch of quality time we seem to get. So I relish these moments talking about some of the most insane topics while pleading with her not to post our foolishness on Facebook between tears where I’ve laughed so hard.  Getting away from the day to day and on the road does both of our souls some good.

   I think these little moments are not valued enough. Our 15-year friendship has endured many slings and arrows and long periods of little to no contact so now that I have her back in my life, I am grateful. I like to think we both appreciate each other and are more like sisters than friends.

   Here lately I’ve been so busy and tired when I get home I feel like a slacker in the friend department let alone the business side of things. I need to prioritize better or figure out how to clone myself. I am not sure I am good at either to tell you the truth but I’ve got to start somewhere.

   So until I master the art of time travel and cloning, I’ll keep looking forward to our little adventures and the crazy shenanigans we get into. And see Bec-ala,  I love you enough to dedicate my entire blog to you which I think means I love you slightly more than my luggage.

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I’m not ready for this, are you?


Writer’s note: I received a letter last week about my previous blog in the paper. I wanted to take a moment to thank the writer, who preferred not to have her letter in the paper. I appreciated your feedback very much and I thank you for reading my blog.

Well, I woke up this morning and it was a wee bit chilly. Fidget, my cantankerous diluted calico carried on a verbal exchange with my puggle Sammy until Mommy finally went upstairs and closed the window for the princess of the house.

This seems pretty mundane and the idea this interlude would inspire an entire blog is a bit odd, but follow my logic down the proverbial rabbit hole. This little cold snap we are all experiencing made me start thinking ahead and of that dreaded four-lettered “s” word I’ve come to both love and dread living in Iowa–snow.

The “s word” has come up in my household quite a bit in the past few days as we’ve been trying to make plans for holiday travel to visit my family back home in Kentucky or have them come out here. November seems safer than December as far as avoiding snow, but nothing’s set in stone.

As I went to the Farmer’s Almanac website my fears were confirmed. To quote Wade Barrett, “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news…”

Folks, we are in for a cold and snowy winter. The almanac’s forecast is grim saying, “The winter of 2014-15 will see below-normal temperatures for about three-quarters of the nation.”

Great. “No region will see prolonged spells of above-normal temperatures; only near the West and East coasts will temperatures average close to normal.” Groovy.

“Near-normal preceipitation is expected for the Pacific Northwest, the Southwest States and Northern Plains, while below-normal precipitation values are forecast for the…Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes.The Central and Southern Plains are expected to receive above-average precipitation.” We’re considered “North Central Plains” what does that mean???

Ironically, this month is National Preparedness Month and this dismal forecast has made me realize I am not as prepared as I’d like to be for this winter.  So what do you do? Well, for me, after I stuck my tongue out at the entire forecast in disgust, I started making a mental list of things I need to gather up before winter officially hits.

FEMA’s website offers great information on how to prepare for a number of weather-related disasters ranging from winter storms to tornadoes. They also recommend a basic disaster supplies kit with the following:

Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation.

Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.

Flashlight and extra batteries

First aid kit

Whistle to signal for help

Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Manual can opener for food

Local maps

Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Well, looks like I have some preparing to do and I am sure I am not alone. Hopefully we can all benefit from this and look beyond just stocking up on the bread and milk.

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   Folks, excuse me as I dust off the old soapbox. I have something I need to get off of my chest. With the turmoil in recent weeks around the world and on our own shore, I am left in a state of bewilderment as to what is going on.

   I know I come from the generation of grunge music and a general discontentment with everything around me. However, I really find myself shaking my head more and more. I was listening to a video on YouTube and I think the presenter summed it up pretty well — we’ve lost our virtue as a society.

   Now, you can define virtue however you like. I won’t get into politics or morals here per say. But, I think we can all agree, the general kindness for our fellow human being is fading and fewer remnants of it remain.

   I know quite a few people were upset by the news of Robin Williams’ passing. I was one of them. But what I was more disturbed by was the reaction of trolls on the internet to Williams’ daughter Zelda — flooding her social media pages with doctored photos of her deceased father and other equally heinous acts.

   How dare someone do that! How dare they! I don’t care who you are, no one, and I mean, no one deserves that. I lost my father to a brain aneurysm in my early 20s and cringe at the thought that someone would do something like that, period — let alone during a time of grief.

   Reading the reactions to the situation in Ferguson I equally shake my head at both sides of the issue. Violence counteracted with violence gets us nowhere. Looting does not get your point across. Likewise, pointing military-grade hardware at unarmed journalists and other civilians doesn’t help the matter either.

   I am all for peaceful demonstration and standing up for your beliefs. I will champion for the underdog whenever I get the chance; it’s the social activist in me. But I can’t justify destroying people’s livelihoods who have nothing to do with the situation at hand, or threatening and/or hurting those who are not harming anyone.

   I just don’t get it. I look around and I see more and more violence, hatred and distrust.

   A little closer to home, my friend Beccie and I decided to participate in the ALS ice bucket challenge. We like to help groups however we can. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. So after soaking ourselves and challenging our friends, we posted the video online. Call me naive, but I really didn’t think that of all things I posted to my Facebook would cause a backlash. If I’d posted something political or religious, I’d get it. But two people trying to do something nice and have a bit of fun? I was naive.

   Within minutes of the video being online, one friend who I was sure would have stepped up to the plate informed us she “didn’t do internet fads.” While I found that disappointing, I dismissed it. When her friend, a man I have never met, left a video in response that essentially said anyone participating was only seeking attention and not doing it for the right reasons — I got a little hot under the collar.

   You don’t know me, Mr. Random Internet Person. You have no clue what I do or what my intentions are. If you think I dumped ice on my head to get attention or become famous, you are sorely mistaken. I know we’ve established I’m naive, but that doesn’t make me pretentious or deluded. I just don’t understand the need to attack someone you don’t even know for doing something most people would consider positive.

   I’m not saying we should all hold hands and sing “Kumbayah,” and please don’t think I am suggesting the actions of Mr. Internet are on par with the situations I mentioned previously. Not even in the same league; not even the same sport. It merely serves as another example of that lack of virtue or maybe someone’s mom not reiterating that “If you can’t say anything nice…” advice enough.

   I just think if we showed our fellow man an ounce of respect, we’d all be a lot better off. Maybe it is because I subscribe to the credo of live and let live and try to treat people the way I would like to be treated. I don’t know.

   What I do know is I am looking for the brakes on this handbasket our world’s riding in.

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Livin’ the dream

As I write this, I am worn out. The RC caffeine boost hasn’t kicked in, which is rather disappointing, actually, as I eye a half empty bottle. Or is it half full? Eh, I am not awake enough to wax philosophical. Give me a few more minutes.

The reason I am tired, however, has inspired this latest installment in the adventures that are my life. Ladies and gentlemen, believe it or not, I am living the dream.

My Uncle Mike uses that phrase quite a bit. “Livin’ the dream baby, livin’ the dream,” is something my Mother borrowed from her brother. I’ve taken it to heart.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I am sure some of you can relate to this and can also probably relate with the fact this idea changed quite often. My dreams of making a career out of being a University of Kentucky cheerleader were dashed when I realized A) they don’t get paid to cheer, B) you can only be a UK cheerleader while you are a college student at UK and C) I can’t do a cartwheel. Seriously, I am supposed to hurl myself towards the ground on purpose?

Then I moved onto being a judge. Now that career was something a little more realistic. My being an overweight asthmatic child would not be a deterring factor in this choice. I watched “The Judge,” “Divorce Court” and more on my summer break as a child. Judge Robert J. Franklin was my favorite. I was going to be like him when I grew up. Then the dream was dashed again when I learned judges are elected and you have to be a lawyer first. I was leery of being an attorney who might have to defend someone who was honestly guilty. So, I just watched my judicial dreams play out on TV.

My senior year of high school I joined the school newspaper. Then I decided I was going to be a journalist living in a loft apartment somewhere in New York City or Los Angeles, working for a major magazine or even The New York Times. Or, I was going to own my own business of some sort and work for myself, just like my father always wanted to do. But, reality got in the way of those dreams for many years.

Following high school, I moved out on my own and quit college in order to work to pay my bills. It wouldn’t be until I was 26 years old I’d be able to go back to pursue my education thanks to the Superior Court of Arizona — my employer at the time — offering tuition reimbursement. Ironically, I ended up at a courthouse, first at the information desk and then behind the scenes, recording the court cases. Yes, that’s right, I got paid to watch court TV for eight hours a day. My childhood hero, Judge Franklin, was replaced by several judges I admired, like Judge Paul Katz.

I finally graduated college in 2012 after moving to Iowa and getting married. It was a day of mixed emotions, to say the least. My father, who passed away in 2005, wasn’t there to see the one goal he had for me come to fruition. Neither were my grandparents, who had also passed away. But in the stands cheering me on as I walked across the stage were my husband, my mother, my friends and most importantly my nieces. I doubt highly they understood, at ages three and four, the significance of their Aunt Robin being the first person in their immediate family to graduate from college. But I hope when they are older, I can explain it to them.

Moving to Iowa also afforded me the opportunity to reignite my passion for journalism. On a whim I applied at the first newspaper I worked for using writing samples from that old high school paper. It worked; I got hired. After that foot in the door, I moved on to my last job where I learned nearly every facet of what goes into producing a newspaper and a lot more in how to be a good human being. And now — well, we all know where I am now.

Don’t think I forgot about that other dream of working for myself. I do that too. My best friend, Femme Wonder a.k.a. Beccie and I have our jewelry business. Does it pay my bills yet? No. But you know what? I have a lot of fun. It pays for us to travel and meet new people, and that’s good enough for me for now.

I am willing to bet if you take a look at your own life, you, too, are living the dream. Think about it. Break down what you wanted as a kid to its core. Did you want a family? Get married? Be happy? Make a difference in the world? The reality might be different from what you pictured, but you are probably living out your dream. My house in Ocheyedan is far from a loft in NYC — but at its root, I achieved the dream. Now I’ll have to dream up something else. Too bad that caffeine finally kicked in.


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Thanks Max!


    Life throws you a few curve balls now and again. When I began mulling over ideas for this piece, I was in a pretty angry place. I don’t bode well when people attack my friends — especially when their attackers are their own family. I had an entire rant prepared filled with glass house references and all. Then things changed.

    As many may know, I am still the new kid on the block at the Globe. But prior to my tenure here, I worked for a wonderful weekly paper called the Ocheyedan Press-Melvin News. Ran by a husband-and-wife team, it is a small family atmosphere that I was very happy to be a part of for three years. So it should come as no surprise that when I learned one of those family members was about to leave us it would affect me.

    Max was the office dog who at times was a very loud beagle who protected us from every person trying to place an ad or pay for a subscription. It took me a while to win Max over with many, many treats and bribes. But soon I made a friend who was pleased with the occasional ear scratch or belly rub when the mood struck him or my homemade dog treats.

    Sunday, July 27, I saw a Facebook post saying Max was not doing well. In my two-week absence, he’d already been in the hospital section of the vet’s office and was finally slowing down. I never would have seen it coming. He seemed his usual self to me before I left. Fortunately, I had time to say my goodbyes before he passed the next morning.

    When I entered the house, he was lying on the floor and I took up residence beside him. I tried to pet him and he growled. I just sat quietly and cried. After a round of mini seizures, he forced himself to stand to come over to me and I bawled all the more. Finally,he let me pet him and stood as long as he could before laying down beside me as I continued to pet him gently. During this 20-plus minute exchange, a few revelations dawned on me between the streams of tears.

    Life’s too short. Two weeks before Max was fine, then, not so much. You have no guarantees. I learned this lesson long ago when my father passed unexpectedly, but it took a beagle to remind me. Harboring the anger and hurt does no one any good, especially yourself. Me silently cursing those that have wronged me or my friends only eats at the pit of my stomach, no one else’s. If our time here is limited and can end at any moment, why spend it angry and upset?

    Do something that matters. Something to better your fellow man, something worthwhile, something you can enjoy.  While you do need to stand up for yourself, attacking back isn’t always the way.

    Thanks Max. Thanks for all of the memories and for reminding me what is really important. Thank you for sharing a quiet moment with me that I’ll cherish. Enjoy chasing rabbits in the sky, buddy. I’ll be sure to bring you treats when we see each other again.

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