Monday, January 31, 2011

remembering Sam

I think about him most every day.
I talk about him often.
I wish he were here in my newsroom.
My office isn't in Silver City anymore, but it still feels empty without him.
This job feels odd without his input and vigor.
Someone asked me Saturday if I thought you could be a journalist without a degree. Sam is proof of that. He unwittingly put many scholared journalists to shame.
This picture is on my cell phone still and always will be. Along with his phone number, and his friendship on Facebook. Call it denial or what you will.

He's still my friend.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

celebrating life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness

Somehow, at 11:54 p.m. on a Sunday, when you start typing 'life', the words 'liberty and the pursuit of happiness' follow. I don't know why, but it just happened.

And it's fitting, really, for the subject of this post - my sexy mother who turned 50 a month ago, but who we surprised today with a birthday party.

In this 51st year of her life, and reflecting on the last 365 days, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" sums it up.

She's living her life in her liberty and pursuing her happiness.

Go get 'em, tiger.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


My reaction when I feel like this is to retreat...from here, from being present, from rest.

Why is it that when I feel like this, I can't slow down? I'm exhausted to the point of tears yet I can only sit still on the couch for "rest time" of a whole of 9.5 minutes and 9.5 minutes isn't even a whole.

This week was taxing. Yesterday was supposed to be a slow day but this story consumed my afternoon and a bit of my heart too, and temper. One day I'll be able to tell the 'story behind the stories'. But not today.

Last night I read a work-related e-mail after midnight, and spent the next 45 minutes in bed arguing my rebuttal and my point in my mind. I should've been trying to get the 5 hours of sleep I was going to get but instead I was writing an imaginary e-mail.

I need rest in my soul, especially when I'm feeling like this.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ever been so tired while stirring ...

...that you discover the oven hood makes a good head-rest while stirring a concoction of sweetened condensed milk and butter in your silk pajamas?

I have.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

43 days of ...

... The Diet!

I lost a total of 36 pounds the last round and am ready to do it all over again in Round Two. Mom and I started yesterday and when I weighed this morning, I'd lost two pounds!

This is what I love about this diet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

restless inspiration

As soon as the bathwater starts running, I'm inspired. New ideas and modifications of old ones immediately flood my mind.

It's one time, though, that I don't (hardly ever) write anything down. This is my sacred time when, if the inspiration is meant to last, I'll remember it after the water drains. For now, it's just me, hot water, and a magazine.

This is also the time where I'm confined to one place with reading material.

I'm a restless writer, as I am a restless TV watcher, and restless reader. Sometimes, before compiling a compelling news story, I have to go for a walk, make some tea, and during the process of writing, I'm bouncing between my story and four other windows open on my desktop. A foot is always moving, I'm readjusting position every few minutes - both feet on the floor, one leg crossed, sitting on one foot, folding both legs under me.

Sometimes, in my restlessness, I forget purpose. Sometimes, in my pursuit of getting things done, I lose sight of the process. Sometimes, I forget there is more than one way to end up with the same result.

It took me a long time to appreciate a good bath; I couldn't imagine being that still for that long.

Now I need them.

Night before last, it was just me and my Oprah magazine (compliments of my beautiful mother.) Last night, it was me and this week's edition of TIME, where on page 2, I found what I was unknowingly looking for.

"...As journalists, trying to find meaning is what defines us. It's what we do. And we need to get it right." - TIME managing editor, Richard Stengel.

Sometimes, in my restlessness, I forget purpose. But last night, chin deep in hot water seasoned with Stress and Tension Relief, I remembered.

My mission is to be a voice for the voiceless ... and I need to get it right.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

playing games

Can you guess the game?

I'll take care of that for you

The sexiest thing anyone can say to me is, "I'll take care of that for you."

I don't care if you're talking about feeding my dogs, putting the sheets on my bed, typing up a press release, or finding the remote - "I'll take care of that for you" is a tingling phrase that makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

The workload sometimes just doesn't feel right. It's one I've saddled on myself and am fond of but some days, it rubs in the wrong places.

At work, in addition to my role as editor, I function under the responsibility of covering,
- two county governments
- three (needs to be four) city governments
- two school districts
- one (on the cusp of becoming two) water supply corporations
- three police departments
- two sheriff's departments
- one economic development corporation
- two fire departments
- one (needs to be two) district attorney's office
- one (needs to be two) district and county courts
- misc. feature stories

When I'm not at work, my demands center around,
- horses
- dogs
- cleaning
- laundry
- researching and writing
- planning secrets
- creating
- cooking

Generally, just making sure everything is okay.
Do the horses need to be wormed? The dogs?
Skye needs to be worked with.
I've got to get this article edited.
I need to e-mail so-and-so.
Is there a photographer at that event?
The dishwasher needs to be unloaded and reloaded.
Who left the popcorn box out from last night?
I need to take the Red Box movie back.
Who left the lid off the dog food? Now it's moldy.
Where are Christina and I going on our road trip?
I need to contact Margaret about volunteering.
I need to see a chiropractor.
I need to go clean the neighbor's house.
The horses' trough needs to be scrubbed.

And to think that yesterday I told someone, "I think I'm getting a little bored."

There's probably some psychology behind my whirlwind. Maybe I'm trying to find inner satisfaction; maybe I'm trying to prove to myself that I can do everything.

Or maybe I just have an extra dose of productivity for the sake of productivity. Maybe all this expenditure of energy is for a bigger purpose, even though sometimes it catches up to me and I tiptoe across the stress line over a photo book. (thanks, Kristin, for bringing me back!)

"I'll take care of that for you"....

sexy, sexy words.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Your Story, My Pen Valentine's Day special

I know that sometimes knowing what you want to say and saying it are two different things.

So I'm giving men and women everywhere the opportunity to let me help guide their words into a one-of-a-kind keepsake gift.

Visit Your Story, My Pen to check out all the details!

Oh, and the first commenter on this post will get one for free!! (I like giving stuff away) And if you're a friend of mine who I know is a good writer, you might be exempt from the free offer. :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


It took us awhile.

But she did it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

people should listen to me more often

Who said roughhousing at a Christmas party wasn't acceptable?

Not us!

That's my arm-of-reason trying to pull a part the whole headlock situation so we could assemble ourselves into a sophisticated picture.

And that's what happens when you ignore the arm-of-reason.

Monday, January 17, 2011

second shift

It's been written about many times by people way smarter than me, and technically it doesn't apply to me because I'm not a mom.

But I would still argue that my work does not end when I clock out of the office. I go from my 'first shift-job' to my 'second shift,' which may not include feeding and bathing children but does include fixing fences, deworming horses, unloading feed, feeding horses and dogs and cleaning the dogs' pen.

Like today.

I bought the wood to fix the fence last week but rain kept us from doing it. I was going to spare my body the strain of doing it myself, but I failed. I got impatient tonight and decided to just do it.

So I did.

When the boards didn't line up exactly, I wasn't about to measure and get the skill saw. I just nailed them on top of each other. A man might not have done it that way but I'm not a man now, am I? My patience was already exasperated when I couldn't find the drill bit for the drill to unscrew the rotting boards - a tape measure would've sent me over the patience ledge.

Deworming the horses sounds easy - a tube of paste squirted in their mouths - and it was for the two who stood there and swallowed it obediently. The other three I had to track across the arena for 45 minutes before they finally gave in one at a time and let me catch them. By the time I got around to Horse #2, it was pitch black outside and the only way I could tell it was the one I wanted was by its haughty prancing and running around. It was game of hide-and-seek but I eventually won.
My second shift doesn't look like that every day. Some days it's much simpler (as in non-existent); other days it involves cooking dinner, cleaning up the house, working from our home office.
I just finished a glass of wine and I toasted to all of us - all women who work two, three, four shifts.

a give-away, compliments of Kristin!

Kristin's hosting a give-away over on her blog, so be sure and check it out. I appreciate her support in my new venture and reading what she wrote brought tears to my eyes.

I'm so thankful for the friends I have in my life.

family meetings

Family meetings in my house are not for the faint of heart, nor is dinner around the table. No topic is off-limits when everyone sits around the table in no particular order. Last night, the 13-year-old was at the head of the table; there's no rank here.

An imaginary bell dings and erratic conversation starts flowing while pork chops, jell-o and potatoes are passed around the table with surprising ease. My family has a history with the concept of passing dishes in an orderly counter-clockwise fashion.

From my perch at the corner of the table, my head swung back and forth between participants as Daniel argued that the Commonwealth of Kentucky is actually an eastern state and not mid-west as Mom was calling it. There was actually an element of heatedness in that conversation before the topic changed to vomiting on roller-coasters and starting a business of renting out inflatable bouncy houses. And the creep factor of them.

I stay mostly silent because when I begin to contribute with my story and it starts out with, "Hey guys, so this one time I was riding a roller-coaster and it was so dark," everyone's 15-second attention span distracts them and my story goes unfinished. It's alright to tell a story at the dinner table - just gotta do it in 15 seconds or less. Unless you're exceptionally funny and admittedly, I'm not the funniest person at the table.

If Daniel were to start a story with a prepositional phrase, we would listen until the story was over because we know we're guaranteed a laugh.

Mom can get away with lengthy narratives. There's a level of deference she's granted as the matriarch of the family.

While I've been known to bust out a one-liner that rocks the table with laughter, I typically shine the brightest in family meetings.

Ah, family meetings. The only things we're missing are an agenda packet, a sign-in sheet and catered food. We need a talking stick (shocking, I know).

Anyone in the family can call a family meeting at any time. They're generally open meetings, but their purpose is to talk about things we don't want to discuss around the dinner table, which aren't many. They're also a time and place for us to check in on each other, find out how we are and how we're holding up, what can be done differently or the same to make sure that everyone's needs (in every sense) are being met. If we have issues with someone we bring those up here.

It's also a time to retreat from the small picture and take a look at the big one together with everyone's perspectives.

Our last family meeting was held last week sometime and contained a variety of topics. When one member of my family had the talking stick, I was hearing so much discouragement in their voice. I was taken back and told that person, "I'm so sorry; I didn't realize you were dealing with this much frustration."

I took the talking stick and began. What I told them is what I want to tell you.

Seven months ago we were dumped for the second time by the same man. The man who I trusted to take care of my mother and my family walked away unceremoniously and left us to financially and emotionally fend for ourselves in a mostly-deserted West Texas town.

And six months later, here we are.
We sleep in a house we've provided for ourselves. We watch football and the Biggest Loser on cable we pay for. Access to the Internet is compliments of us and if Thanksgiving dinner's running two hours late and we eat it on paper plates in the living room, nobody cares. I buy wood to fix the fence and spend Saturdays doing it. If we want a gate at the end of the driveway, Daniel puts it up.

It's not without a struggle, but we have what we need. We've even been able to fulfill some 'wants' too. We've gained emotional and spiritual healing - all of us. We live in a town we want to live in and we work at jobs we want to work at.

There's stress, yes. Moments of "are we gonna make it?" and then a sigh of relief when it all falls into place in a God-way.

Our lives are blessed, family. And we have so much to celebrate.

Then they told me what a great speech I made and our family meeting carried on.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Your Story, My Pen

Today's the day!!

My idea that started over a year ago is launched today. What a great feeling! And I'm so excited to share it with you, finally.

The longer I've worked in journalism, the more I've come to know and appreciate that everyone has a story. Everyone.

And it's on that premise that Your Story, My Pen was created.

When I consider each of my friends, I see incredible stories of strength, sacrifice and courage. I can't wait to start writing.

You'll find a Your Story, My Pen link on this blog and it can also be found on Facebook.

Hooray for new ventures!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


tonight when I opened the fridge, someone's Danimals slipped out and spilled all the way down the fridge and onto the floor. I wanted to yell at someone for their carelessness in putting the Danimals where they had in the fridge but I couldn't find a reasonable excuse to yell. So I didn't. I just cleaned it up.

I had a glass of wine tonight, which is considerably less than what I drank last night.

My heating pad is my best friend again. Until the hot flashes. Then I can't stand the heating pad and I start stripping all the clothes I've layered on my shivering bones. Bad cycles with this disease is a giant guessing game. I'm hurting all over.

I had a fabulous weekend last weekend - another Discovery! weekend, which I haven't shared about yet but will soon.

I'm excited about the exciting news I have to post but haven't yet. Yes, I still remember.

It's been raining here the last two days and I find that comforting in a strange way.

Our house is clean and that's comforting to me too.

You would be surprised at the time and energy it takes every night to feed four dogs.

I've lost 10 more pounds on my diet, but am taking a three-week maintenance break before losing the remaining 20 I want to lose. I sorted through my closet today and it felt great to get rid of TOO BIG clothes and actually be able to wear the ones that have been too small for a few years.

I'm planning some future Discovery! fundraisers, which I love doing. And also a service walk for my class at our local Ronald McDonald House.

Despite my recent funk, I feel a renewed sense of ambition, purpose and focus.

Good night, friends.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

quotation marks

The story that I want to tell you, I can't because I was asked not to. As a matter of fact, I was threatened that if I did tell you the story, I would be reported. To what or who, I don't know. I don't think she knows either.

But I stand threatened and so the story will remain untold. Until I can convince her otherwise.

I will say that it involves my nearly-16-year-old sister and the way she eats popcorn. Last night, I was taking notes (because I do this when people around me are interesting enough to blog about) and she said, "Don't blog about it, Holly. I know that's what you're thinking."

"Maybe if you didn't live your life so weirdly around me, I wouldn't have something to write about," was my mature response, because weirdly is totally a word.

She said other things last night I thought were funny.

SHE: "I think I'm ready for the test tomorrow."
ME: "I'm sure you'll kick ass."
SHE: "Oh, I know I will. I just didn't want to sound too cocky." And then she breaks into song, "All I do is win, win no matter what, what, what...."

And later, before bed, she said to Micah, "I've been rude to you tonight, I feel like I need to hug you before you go to bed so that if we don't wake up in the morning, I'll have no regrets."

Morbid, but true.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I still cry when I don't get my way

Despite mom's best efforts and contrary to Fergie's belief, this big girl still cries when things consistently don't go my way.

Kristin and I have discussed this many times, including today when I sat in a Walgreens parking lot talking to her on the phone and, uh-huh, crying.

And canceling our weekend plans.

And blubbering about how my office carpets were still wet and smelling like mold.

And about how 15 minutes earlier I'd packed up all my stuff and left my office but then realized on my way out to the truck that leaving wasn't feasible due to my grown-up responsibilities.

And telling her that the man who's had my car for two months hasn't even looked at it to find out what's wrong with it.

And that my body hurts.

I would classify our entire conversation as a pity party with the following points made:

1) I feel dumb that I've allowed wet carpets the satisfaction of disturbing my peace of mind so much.
2) A semi-insignificant twist in events sets me off-kilter and then I cry a lot. And then I charge forward until the next cup of milk spills and I shed tears over that one.
3) Canceling weekend plans hurt, I'm not going to lie. I miss these people.

I'm thankful for friends who understand and listen to me snot over the phone. I'm thankful for family who criticizes my many-years-old-bleach-stained lounge pants and threatens to sic Stacy and Clinton on me if I ever wear them again. I'm thankful that I don't care (too much!) and wore them to Wal-Mart and Lowes anyway. I'm thankful for hanging out with the little brother and sister who exasperated me to the point of uncontrollable laughter tonight.

I love these people, I love my life, I love the value in each day - even the crummy ones like this one.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I'll admit that I'm in a funk

My irritation started yesterday when the carpet in my office was thoroughly saturated with (clean) toilet water, the smell of mold and filth and nobody did anything about it.

The irritation slapped me in the face this morning when financial pressure started building. And the irritation has continued until now when I'm still sitting in my office expected to believe that a box fan is going to remedy the squishy-wet carpet and the horrific smell.

I'm conflicted with emotions.

On one hand - irritation, lack of motivation bordering on my-give-a-damn's-busted, worry threatening to spill over into full blow anxiety.

On the other hand - an overwhelming sense of blessedness, the desire to achieve the small-step goals I've made for myself and an amazing thankfulness for the friends and family in my life.

I have exciting news to share and can't wait to tell you. I'm still developing and putting on the finishing touches but pretty soon it'll be unveiled.

Pretty soon - as in a couple days. :)

In the meantime, I'm working hard to get un-irritated and out of the funk that wants to suffocate my peace.

Ah, peace. That's one of my new favorite words.

Monday, January 10, 2011


Pain exaggerates nearly every emotion I have. When I'm hurting as much as I have been the past week or so, even the smallest task seems insurmountable and I feel myself crumbling from the inside out in despair.

The right side of my writing hand is throbbing, which I'm reminded of every time I go to write something down which is often for me, you know. Sitting amplifies the pain radiating through my back and neck and I do a lot of sitting.

The situations I normally handle with an air of ease nearly bring me to tears. The dog pee on the floor again. The dish washer needing to be loaded. The fact that I can't find any shoes to slip on to run outside to put the dogs up. Sitting down to watch The Bachelor only to discover that it didn't record. Discussing money. Feeling lonely. Thinking about money.

Sometimes my optimism slips. I forget the contract I made with myself (I am a strong and courageous woman!) and somehow the dull continuous pain eats away at my resolve.

It's been awhile since I've been in this place of hurting physically. I'm thankful it's been awhile. I'm looking forward to the next 'awhile.'

like a cat without a whisker

I rant and I lecture (sometimes loudly) and those who know me well enough can attest to that, especially 1) the people who live with me and 2) the people within earshot/keyboard range of my rants.

Last night, I politely started a lecture and it went something like this:

"Hey guys, let's make a goal this week that every night before we go to bed, you clean up all the things in the living room you've gotten out." I pointed out a plate and cup on the coffee table, an unfolded blanket and pillow on the floor and someone's socks.

My lecture subjects were a 15- and 13-year old who've heard me many, many, many times before.

"Well, sometimes after school, I just don't feel like it," says the 13-year-old in front of me. He sounds disrespectful but mostly he knows that such a statement will unleash a series of my own and he enjoys riling me up. And let's face it, I kind of enjoy getting to tear off into a lecture so it works for both of us.

This was a friendly debate, anyway.

"But sometimes when I get home from work, I don't feel like cleaning up from the night before," I stated. "And I do a lot of things when I get home from work that I don't feel like doing but I do them anyway because it's my responsibility like feeding all the dogs and ...."

Without realizing it, my finger and my hands were moving about as face as my mouth.

"I really don't like your finger," he said, and he reached out and grabbed my swinging index finger.

I stopped talking.

He let go and I resumed my speech.

"Wow, you cannot give me a lecture without using your hands," he said.

He grabbed both my hands.

"See? Oh my gosh," he laughed. "It's like pulling a whisker off a cat." And he pretended to pull a whisker off my face.

The lecture was subsequently over.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

backseat babes

I tell her she's like me, but without all the imperfections that make me me.

She's gentler, more tolerable, less prickly. She insists I apologize to siblings when I've been harsh. She uses her time to bless the people around her. Her heart is to serve and find ways to make life easier and generally more happy for people. She studies hard, is working toward college and a career she's known for years. She's easy to please and fun to bless.

She's my little sister, Elsie, and she rocks my socks off.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I even stopped the Wal-Mart cart

Today I went to Wal-Mart for the sole purpose of purchasing 96 pounds of dog food and if anyone wonders why I don't do math-in-head, it's because just now I calculated 48+48 as 62. The calculator saved my life. Again.

Math is not the direction this post is going.

I have had an admirer who I've nicknamed Barefoot and Pregnant (I like to nickname them) and for probably obvious reasons. His name came up recently and my little brother vehemently stated that B&P wasn't "ballsy" enough for me and my little sister chimed in that he couldn't "handle" me.

If anyone knows how to handle me, it's them. And case in point is the following example.

Along with purchasing 96 pounds of dog food, I was in Wal-Mart for a carpet shampooer to clean our living room carpet, which one of our dogs insists on peeing on.

I commented that this would be the last time we shampooed the carpets for this reason because from now on, Jackie would be kept in the garage at night as she has been the past month or so except for when I was gone.

With Elsie trailing behind us, Micah thought it'd be a good idea to argue that Jackie had been put in the garage at night while I was gone.

I knew for a fact this wasn't true and when I know I'm right beyond a shadow of a doubt, my point will be heard.

So I stopped the cart in Wal-Mart.

"I know that Jackie was not put in the garage at night, Micah, because when I got home Sunday at 1 a.m., she was sleeping on the back of the couch. Now why would she be sleeping on the back of the couch at 1 a.m. if she'd been put in the garage like she was supposed to have been?"

He smiled.

"Uh-huh, so I'm right. You didn't put her in the garage while I was gone and she peed on the carpets even more and that's why the whole living room smelled like dog pee when I walked in the house at 1 a.m."

He smiled again. Apparently, I'm kinda funny when I'm proving a point.

He bantered with me till the dog food aisle and then gave in.

He has my edge when he's proving a point.

Last night I arranged to meet a Craigslist buyer at a local gas station at 8 p.m. and Micah asked me if I was planning to go alone. But it wasn't in a "Oh, are you heading out the door by yourself to complete a sale" kind of way. It was a "are you really being this stupid right now as to meet someone off Craigslist after dark?" I know he meant it that way because after I said yes, I was going alone, he asked me if I was that stupid to meet someone off Craigslist after dark.

"I'm really disappointed," he continued. "I'd have thought your citizen's police academy had taught you something."

He and Elsie both went with me.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

inadequacy becomes running

On my less glorious days, I am snowed under by a heavy weight of inadequacy. It starts out as a whisper in the back of my mind then I'll hear snippets of a conversation that doesn't even belong to me or read benign words unrelated to my life and suddenly, glaring at me is a big fat Something that I'm not doing right. And then, before long, I'm buried by my own reproach.

I'm just not good enough ... not quite reaching the standard.

Since I started my Discovery! journey, I've learned tools to combat that. I've learned to recognize stressors and remove myself from conversations or situations that would prove harmful to me.

But then sometimes, like four days ago, I close my eyes and roll back into the warmth of my bed to wrestle peace into my mind before getting up. And, admittedly, to hide too.

And two days ago, my hands hesitated on the shower faucet when I went to turn the water off. Instead I stood under the falling water for just a few more minutes to retreat into the warmth.

Despite the strength I've gained, my inadequacies still forces my soul to curl up and hide sometimes ... on my less glorious days.

freeeeezing a**

I've been back in Texas for four days and I think I'm just now thawing out from my weekend in Cloudcroft, New Mexico. When we trotted our happy little selves into the mountain village, it was 16 degrees ... at 3:30 in the afternoon.

I said good-bye to any notion of being warm ever again.

Actually, I was warm at moments during our weekend visit. Moments when I was on the top bunk and it was nearly 90 degrees (possible exaggeration) in the bedroom. Then I began to thaw out and my nose was un-cold. And I wanted to stay there forever because as soon as my feet hit the floor, I knew the chill was coming.

As you can tell, we didn't really go prepared for 16 and nine degree weather. We had jackets. And scarves. I did, though, grab mom's heavy farm coat at her insistance before we left. I'm glad I did for the extreme cases where the temperature plummeted from nine to four.
Four degrees? Really?!
Completely unnecessary.

Last night I took a shower for the simple reason that I was (still) cold. The chill is in my bones, I swear.
I swear.
I also swear that my New Year's Eve was spent in a basement in a cabin on a mountain in Cloudcroft. I was surrounded by 17 and 19-year-olds in trashy tights and knee-high boots (as if it weren't four degrees outside!) and boys who wanted to know if anyone had weed for sale.

it's about more than a silly man trying to find love on a silly show

This is my public admission that I watch the Bachelor and the Bachelorette religiously. I'm taking the risk that my cool points have diminished but I was bound to disappoint you at some point.

For me, though, it's about more than succumbing to the silliness of a silly man/woman trying to find silly love on a silly show because I know that 1,200 miles away, one of my very best friends is doing the exact same thing. And we discuss.

This week was a little different because while I watched the premiere with my sister, Kristin was watching UK basketball. She mentioned something about not wanting to watch four hours of television in one night (where's the dedication?!) so she caught up on the premiere last night. And we discussed.

"'I was broken up with because he was looking for a more petite behind...can you handle this?' Wow. oh. Wow."

"Vampire girl got a rose!"

"These people crying because they didn't get a rose - really?!"

Kristin and I talk on a near-daily basis. We're both writers, we e-mail incessantly - our notes over the past three years create a string of memories that span the adoption of their children, my new jobs, her grocery shopping trips, my pets.

For me, our weekly rendezvous on couches 1,200 miles a part doesn't have a whole lot to do with who Brad Womack picks at the end. It's about spending those mindless two hours with my familiar friend in a far-away place while we mercilessly criticize, gossip, critique and even laugh out loud.

Ironically, she blogged about this too.