Monday, June 26, 2006

(Re)birth of a passion

wounded soldiers low res
Originally uploaded by Michelle2175.

I accidentally found photography in high school when I needed to fill an elective spot. Much like I found journalism, but that's a post for another day.

The Mr. used to tell me that I should just wake up and put the camera around my neck first thing. There was a time that I couldn't take enough pictures. And then I sort of dropped off. Lately, though, I can't stop again. For a while I was getting three or four rolls of film developed every week or two.

And then, Dad bought me this amazing camera. A digital SLR that allows me to take 100 pictures at a time and not have to worry about getting five or six rolls of film developed to get those few perfect shots. The kids have OD'd on picture-taking; they used to beg me to take their pictures, now they run from me when I have the camera in hand!

My latest assignment: toys.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Food for thought

Chocolate really does make my world go 'round.

I've been saying this for who knows how long, but never had any tangible evidence until right this second.

This morning I was restless and uninterested in working. Took several painful hours to work through one project.

This afternoon, I have a bag of Hershey's Kissables sitting in front of me and a Diet Pepsi to boot. Guess how much work I've gotten done.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kidism Wednesday

OK, I know I'm posting this on Thursday, but it actually happened on Wednesday.

Last night I took my No. 1 with me to WalMart to pick up a few things for a BBQ we're going to tonight. On the way home, I got dinner for me and The Mr. from McDonald's. I know, so bad, but it's freaking hot and humid here and I'm not in the mood to cook (boiling a pot of water for spaghetti heats up the whole darn house). I got milkshakes instead of sodas because I had a hankering for chocolate. Again, really bad, I know.

So No. 1 and I are passing the strawberry and chocolate goodness back and forth from the front seat to the back seat because, really, you can't wait until you get home to drink that stuff. It wasn't long, though, before I cut us off so we could save at least some to go with dinner.

After we pulled up in the driveway, I grabbed the WalMart bags and the food and asked No. 1 to carry the milkshakes inside for me. Sure, he says.

As we're walking in front of the car (he in front of me) he says very matter of factly: "I might have to hold the straws with my mouth."

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Something I'll never understand

In an e-mail:
Hi, my name is Michelle and I'm an associate editor with XYZ Magazine. I'm working on a story about farmers and diabetes and I'd like to talk to you about your research and the work you do with farmers and diabetes. Please let me know a convenient time for me to call you for a phone interview.

In a reply:
Hi, Michelle. I'd love to talk to you. Here's my number. Call me on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

On Monday:
Long, detailed interview about farmers and diabetes ensues.

Associate editor to source:
You've answered all my questions. Is there anything else we should talk about?

No, we've covered it all.

Associate editor:
Great. Would you spell your name, please?

Oh, God! You're going to quote me?

Associate editor's brain:
Well, duh! There must be something inherent in some people's brains that totally misses the part where a reporter calls an expert in a field for information about a story she's working on, and it doesn't even cross the expert's mind that he/she will be quoted in the story!

Friday, June 16, 2006

Heart strings

Thursday is training night for the volunteer fire department The Mr. is part of. Although the fire fighter Olympics are Saturday and The Mr. suspected last night’s training session would be chock full of preparations for that, he came home and said they began with a meeting.

It was about Tuesday’s accident. Chief told the crew that if anyone needed to talk about it or see someone or whatever they needed to do to work through what they saw he would support them. I know you see it all the time, Chief told The Mr. Yeah, he said, and you learn to disconnect, but it still gets you.

And then the conversation turned to the media. The Mr. had told me that some members of the press were at the scene on Tuesday. The extrication hadn’t happened yet and everyone there was determined that no one would film it. And rightly so. There are just some things that people don’t need to see.

Well, as of last night’s meeting, members of the press are no longer allowed on the scene of an accident in our county because one of the reporters who was there apparently printed what The Mr. called graphic, gorey details about the accident. (I haven't read the story yet, so I don't know if that's true.)

That’s freedom of the press, I said.

And here’s where it gets ugly. You see, The Mr. and I are pretty much on polar opposite sides when it comes to the media. As a member of said industry, I have my fairly set in stone ideals on how things should be. Sure, I get completely disgusted with a lot of the crap that journalists do to get the story or to make someone cry, but it’s my right to turn off the TV or put down the newspaper (I refuse to watch Nancy Grace, Ann Curry and shows like Dateline and 48 Hours; they literally make me want to vomit). The Mr. just thinks that these people should be kicked in the pants and all their First Amendment rights revoked. He watches FoxNews and listens to Glen Beck.

But think about the family, he said.

The family doesn’t have to read the paper, I retorted. What if no news channels or newspapers or magazines reported anything about 9/11. That was gorey and graphic.

Yeah, but you didn’t see any of the gore, he said.

I watched people jumping out of a 110-story building to their deaths. I heard the sounds of people falling on the roof of the lobby of those buildings, I said referring to a documentary I watched.

But you didn’t see it.

Doesn’t matter. Don’t you think I can imagine what happened?

It’s different. It was national.

So what?!

What if it was one of your family members, he shot back.

No, I wouldn’t want something graphic printed about someone in my family, but they have a right to print the facts, I argued.

Well, they aren’t allowed on the scene anymore.

That’s fine. They don’t have to be allowed there, but they still have the right to print the facts.

Whatever, let’s just drop it.

Wow, I thought, an early concession. Right on! I’m getting better. Usually I’m the one who gives in because I get to the point where I don't even want to talk to him about what's for dinner.

And then it hit me. This one had become personal. He didn’t see a Jane Doe this time. He didn’t see just another accident victim. He saw me.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The stuff of headlines

Having grown up in the funeral industry and now being married to it, death, dying, autopsies, embalming mishaps and all things related have long been typical meal-time conversation for me. I’m not squeemish, to say the least. At the dinner table, I can pretty much expect the same answer when I ask The Mr., “So, how was your day, honey?” It’s often a fairly detailed description of the extraordinary measures he had to take to embalm someone or the details of the cosmetics he used on someone who needed a little TLC.

Nothing shocks me really anymore. So and so committed suicide by doing “x” or a really young person just died of cancer or a heart attack. It’s just almost old hat for those things to be part of our daily conversation. Shop talk, really.

Take yesterday, for example. It was about 1 p.m. and The Mr. called to say he was on his way to the medical examiner’s office with a Jane Doe. A woman had crashed her car on one of the rural highways and was trapped under the dashboard. Although someone stopped to help, the car caught fire and there was nothing the bystander could do to save her. The Mr. was called out there primarily as a member of the County Coroner’s team (who happens to be his boss), but managed to also help as a member of the rural, volunteer fire department he belongs to.

“That’s terrible,” I repeated continually as he told me what happened and how they couldn’t identify the woman and were going to dispatch a highway patrolman to the home of the person the vehicle was registered to (whose birth year was 1925 and obviously wasn't the driver). Imagine finding out from a stranger that someone in your family had just died so tragically.

Although I know God has a plan, the tragic death of a person still upsets me. It certainly makes me value and treasure the lives of my family so much more.

So when The Mr. called last evening, which he often does before he comes home just to say hi or that he’s on his way, I really thought nothing of it.

“You’re never, never going to believe this,” he said in a way that I thought something funny might be coming.

“Really? What is it?” I said.

“They ID’d the woman who crashed her car.”

“Oh, yeah?” I said knowing now that it was not something funny and was likely going to be someone we knew or knew of.

“It was the daughter of the man we buried today. She was rushing to the funeral.”

“Oh, my God. Oh, my God. Oh, my God. That’s just terrible. Terrible,” was all I could muster.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Five Random Things

Random thing No. 1: I finally painted the downstairs bathroom this weekend. And when I say finally, I mean it’s been half-painted for about a year. Let me just put the size of this bathroom in perspective for you: a regular-sized bathmat is just slightly too big to fit between the bottom of the commode and the pedestal of the sink. Yeah, took me about 20 minutes to paint the darn thing.

Random thing No. 2: I started using a pink pen for my log. For some reason, the other day I thought I ought to bring some color into my log. Maybe it will make me feel better about ugly numbers.

Random thing No. 3: When I first discovered that I love to write—which was in sixth grade, by the way—I used to keep a piece of paper with what I thought were good titles for books written on it. I remember it as one of those small, yellow, legal pads with titles like Castles Made of Sand and Why Me? Well, I have written another title down. It’s a pretty good one, actually. I’m not revealing it, though, in case someone else thinks it’s a good title and takes it for their book. I’m thinking it’ll be for my autobiography.

Random thing No. 4: I cleaned out the closet in my son’s room on Saturday. It was overflowing with gift bags and shirt boxes that I was saving for wrapping presents. I went through it with a when-was-the-last-time-I-used-that attitude and wound up getting rid of tons of stuff. I discovered that I have a really horrible habit of keeping old shoes. I used to keep the kids old shoes thinking that they would be good hand-me-downs, but I’ve decided that shoes are something we ought to get new. At least when we’re kids and our feet are growing at a marathon pace and we’re still learning to walk. So I put most of the kids’ old sneakers in a bag to give to one of the charities in town. I did, however, keep the big kids’ first pairs of shoes for sentimental reasons and some nice sandals that can be re-worn just fine.

Random thing No. 5: It is officially “deadline drought” season at work where we have no deadlines between approximately the end of April and the middle of July. This is the time when the field editors go searching for stories that will supply the magazine for the remainder of the year. However, for non-field-editors like me, this is a season that is both welcomed and shunned. It’s great to be able to catch up on stuff that had to be put on the back burner throughout the busy season, but it’s so, so easy to keep that stuff on the back burner and really take it easy for a while. The days can really drag during the summer.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Stop the presses! There’s a cure!

According to the June issue of Prevention magazine, type 2 diabetics can be cured—that’s right, cured!—in just three weeks.

Here is the text of the article:

3-week diabetes cure

“Beating type 2 (T2D) by getting tough about your diet (and exercising) works better than drugs,” says researcher Christian Roberts PhD. In his small, controlled 3-week study at UCLA, 6 out of 13 overweight or obese men with T2D finished diabetes free, with normal blood sugar levels. How? With meals that were low in fat (12 to 15% of calories), moderate in protein (15 to 25%), and high in carbs (65 to 70%). Participants also walked 45 to 60 minutes a day. Eating low-fat foods and no refined carbs—absolutely no toaster pastries or brownies—was critical to their success, says Roberts, who predicts that sticking to the diet long-term may undo heart damage already started by earlier diabetes.

Obviously, my endocrinologist had his fingers crossed when he recited the hypocratic oath and is clearly in his profession to make money off people who aren’t self educated. Because surely, surely if there was a cure he—if not all the major TV networks—would have alerted me to it.

First of all, how in the world can 13 people be representative of a population of millions? Thirteen people doesn’t even represent my little town of 12,000. Furthermore, 6 out of 13 patients isn’t even HALF of the study participants. Six people! Six people he claims are now diabetes free. That’s a load of hog wash as my mother would say.

This is exactly the kind of crap that leads Americans to walk around with blinders on. Some poor sap is going to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and think, hmm, well in three weeks I’ll be cured if I just stick to Dr. Roberts’ plan. On day one after those three weeks is up, that guy will quit paying attention to his blood sugar levels—thinking that he's cured, remember—go on living the way he was pre-diagnosis.

I am willing to bet a large sum of money—and I’m about as poor as they get right now—that just one toaster pastry or brownie would send the blood sugar levels of those six people into orbit.

They’re not cured. They’re in control.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Vacation is so good for the soul

In case you've been wondering where I disappeared to, the family and I took off to the desert for a week. Mom and Dad flew the crew to Phoenix where their dream home is. I took an extra day off yesterday hoping to get things together around the house, but instead I spent most of the day downloading the 200 pictures I took with my new digital SLR that Dad gave me. Took this beauty from Mom and Dad's backyard.