Sunday, July 31, 2011

some words strung together

I got bit by an unknown bug at the lake. It swelled and my ears started itching. Now, the site of the bite is hard, swollen and hot and I think I should never be outside again.

That's impossible, though, because I love being outside.

I was outside a lot this weekend. Thinking, crying a little, laughing, hanging out with my animals. I like their company. One of our horses was cracking me up. I wish there was a camera to capture his interaction with me. But I was the one with a camera.

I'm watching Cake Boss right now. It's one of my brother's favorite shows. It's making me hungry for baked goods.

Two full days until my oral surgery. That makes me thinks a couple things: 1) I'm going to be in a lot of pain in three days and 2) I'm going to be hungry in three days. I told my little brother and sister over dinner that I was going to be off next Wednesday through Friday and at first they were very excited. And then they remembered it was for my surgery and I notified them that I was likely to be a bitch. But that I would try not to be. It's very likely, though. Part of me is excited. Excited to be knocked out (forced sleep!) and excited to have these things gone. I'm nervous too. Of course, there's the element of not waking up. But moving on...

I cleaned out a vehicle today. Scrubbed out the dog's water bucket. Played with my dog in the lake and my little brother and sister too. I drank margaritas last night and two-stepped till 2 a.m. I ate a cheeseburger and slept in today. I carried out our old dryer and carried in the new one with my sister. Doing laundry, which is strangely relaxing to me.

I'd really like to go camping. Or fishing, which I don't really even like to do, but I want to. I'm worried about getting my work done in two days this week. It's going to be next to impossible. Our old dog is slowing down. He's usually walking ahead of me on the way back to the house from the horses. Yesterday he was bringing up the rear. Meanwhile, my dog laid with me in the recliner - all 80 pounds of her German Shepherd self.

Glad the NFL lockout is over, but please. There was no way a $9 billion industry was going to be non-existent. Speaking of, I wonder if we'll have a national budget solution tomorrow.

Back to laundry and Cake Boss and chillin'. It's a chillin' kind of night.

a summer night

It's been awhile since I've played with my camera or animals so I decided to combine the two Saturday night.

Friday, July 29, 2011

some words strung together

I'm tired tonight. It was going to be a long week anyway and then it got even longer. Yet somehow here we are at Friday. Already. And it's the end of Friday at that.

I'm thankful tonight. I have amazing friends who I can text at random times and who will text me back and then understand when I don't respond. It's because the newsroom is spinning and somehow it all has to come together to kick ass. And we have been.

I'm regretful tonight. If that's a word. Unless you were calling or texting me yesterday or today with an inside scoop on Naser Jason Abdo, it was unlikely you were being replied or responded to. In many cases, I told you that and I hope you weren't offended.

I haven't slept a whole lot leading up to tonight. Usually that is not a good idea for me, but somehow I've been able to maintain cohesive thoughts and decision-making skills. Like should I eat an ice-cream cone tonight, or should I bother with a wine glass or drink the remaining liquid out of the bottle?

I'm reflective tonight. What could I have done differently this week, especially yesterday and today? What should have I done that I didn't do? How can we improve?

I'm glad tonight. We beat CNN, and the NYT blog linked to us. That's an ego-booster.

Mostly, I'm tired tonight. I think my brain is reconciling with my body and they're coming to an awkward agreement that sleep is the best option for me as a whole right now.

And so hopefully I will sleep and I will not set an alarm.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I have an appointment scheduled for oral surgery.

While I view that glorious date (August 3!) and am counting down the days (10) to permanent relief from these pains in my mouth, the morbid side of me wonders if I’m counting down the days to my death.

People die in surgery.

I’m not trying to be over dramatic, and I’m not freaking about it in my usual Holly-freaks-out-about-everything way, but I’m trying to be realistic, which I often am.

I’m an optimistic realist.

So yeah, I’m optimistically expecting to wake up from my IV sedation groggy and in more mouth pain that will lead to less mouth pain.

And realistically, this could be the last 10 days of my life if I don’t wake up.

That means I’ve got a lot of living to do in the next 2,400 hours.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

I love AC

My love of air conditioning is legendary.

Friends who are reading this who know me are laughing because they've seen my moments of panic when I'm not being cooled properly, they've witnessed my frantic rolling down of vehicle windows and even waiting outside the vehicle until the driver starts the car. There's nothing worse then being enclosed in a hot vehicle while the driver's fumbling around for the keys. Please, can we find that shit before we get in?

It doesn't take long for new friends to figure out I don't especially enjoy walking in humid, non-breezy conditions and that my attitude can go from pleasant to bitch in about four seconds.

No one knows this more than my family. And yet there's always an element of surprise when we're traipsing down the San Antonio Riverwalk in 110 degree heat and I'm RUNNING towards the nearest building with AC in a not-very-nice way. Get me a cool breeze in my face and just as quickly as I bared my claws, I can retract them and become a nice person again.

For all of these reasons, I'm proud I've gone the entire summer sleeping without AC. At least during the week.

The woman I stay with during the week is from Germany and Germans don't use their central air conditioning units. This was explicitly expressed to me when I started staying with her and armed with my fans, I was ready to take it on.

She assured me I was welcome to purchase a window AC unit but as May faded into June and then July came, it was a challenge.

I learned that I can live without AC. Not my #1 choice, but I can do it.

Last night, when she decided the time had come to crank up the central cooling system, I realized how much I adore cold air coming out of vents onto me.

All my cares literally melted away and if it hadn't been midnight, I'd have sent a mass text.

Snuggling in my covers never felt so good.

An Australian Shepherd saved me...again

I’ve been making concerted efforts along the way, small steps at a time, to make good choices for myself. A big part of that is leaving the office at a decent time every day and retiring to an outdoors location whether it be the lake or a city park or a little café. My new work computer means I’m able to blog, and catch up on emails and social media that I haven’t had time for during the day, write my columns, read and generally reflect.

I picked a new park yesterday after treating myself to an ice cream cone and found a picnic table in a pavilion to relax for a little bit.

I really wanted comfort food in addition to the ice cream cone. I’ve been battling health issues this week, I’m tired, worn out, on the brink of exhaustion, and what better way to soothe all ills than with a cheeseburger?

And that’s when I saw him.

A beautiful, beautiful blue merle Australian Shepherd.

I wanted to touch him.

I kept my eye on him and his owner (in a non-creepy way) as they walked away from me on the trail and then circled back around. I waited till they were close and then I made my move.

The woman was stand-offish at first and later I found out it was because her Aussie was new to the park environment and doesn’t like people.

But he loved me. He didn’t bark and he meandered over and let me touch him.

His name was Bo, and he was the size of my Jada.

Bo pulled me off my comfort food ledge, and when I told his owner he made my day, I meant it.

It’s amazing what a dog can do.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


"Why does life have to be so f*cking difficult?"

I said that under my breath while an ice-cream cone dripped in one hand, a cup of diet coke was in the other, and I was trying to open the door to the Xterra.

Life at that moment was really f*cking difficult.

This live-in-the-moment-kind-of-girl felt like an idiot as soon as the words left my mouth and entered the atmosphere.

In the grand scheme of things, life at that moment was a cake walk. I had ice cream. A diet coke. A vehicle. This computer in my purse. A beautiful day. My brother's vehicle.

If I were to make a statement like that, it should've been at any other moment in my day when actual crisises besides dripping ice-cream were looming. Those moments were the cake walk.

Since when did dripping ice-cream become a problem?

Since about 20 minutes when I let it.

And that's maybe the key, and perhaps the key of this whole post, which I'm having trouble pinpointing. But maybe life is so f*cking difficult sometimes because I make it that way. Because I let it.

I was enraged yesterday over an incident at work and yet when I recounted the story in blustery detail, I couldn't bring myself to say, "She made me so mad." I had to 'fess up and admit, "I let her make me so mad."

I about went into a ballistic orbit when my internet lagged and didn't load my third window as quickly as I would've liked. Seriously had to take some deep breaths and convince myself that slow internet is better than no internet.

But my oft times bull-in-a-china-closet approach to life has me thinking.

How much power am I giving dripping ice-cream and slow internet?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alright, maybe I'm freaking out a little

Last night I was laying in bed trying my best to fall asleep early, but despite the synthetic aids I'd taken to help the process, I couldn't do it. It might have had something to do with my hot room. But regardless, I couldn't sleep and it was the perfect opportunity for my overactive mind to turn its attention to ....

oral surgery!

And then I started to freak out a little.

See. Excitements wans and flows. Today I might be excited. Tonight I might be freaking out again.

I like being in control. I like being in control of my body. I like being in control of what's happening to my body. But this is a case where I will have not even a shard of control as soon as I say 'night 'night to the world and disappear into whatever foggy place you go to when you're put under.

I've never had surgery, never had major dental work done and all of those things are adding up to me freaking out. And the fact that I'm not sure how my quirky health issues are going to react to the whole process. That's worrying me. I'm the one who knows me, but when I'm out, who's taking over for me? Uh, no one.

Still. It'll be very good to have them gone. Out of my head.

And on a positive note, my abscess is gone.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oral Surgery Part One (of several, I'm sure)

This is merely to say that no one in the history of oral surgery has been more excited about oral surgery than me. I feel like I can say this with some level of certainty because I am really freaking excited.

As in, I want to throw a pre-wisdom-tooth removal party, and a post one too.

I'm focusing on the positive right now and trying to ignore the abscess I've got going on.

The positives are:
I am making an appointment tomorrow.
I am getting them taken out for a very reasonable price.
The price is one I can afford.
When they're gone, I am going to feel so.much.better.
The appointment is soon (11 days away)
The appointment will (hopefully) fit into my hectic work schedule.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

it's on hold

Sometimes the stars don't align for reasons only they know, and the only thing you can do is roll with it.

So I'm rolling with it.

The diet is off for now. Well, at lease the HCG part of it. For now. I can't say that my current health state is a direct result of the HCG, but I don't think it's helping to put my body under the rigors of the diet while we apparently work through.

It started on Friday when I stood up from my desk and felt like I'd run a marathon. I could hardly get my legs to move. It felt like I was dragging them behind me, and starting at my knees, they felt like Jell-o. Wobbly and uncertain.

Yesterday was a very bad day for me. My legs still, disorientation, nausea, the extreme feeling that I might faint and the desire to so I could escape from the feeling that my body was trying to kill me from the inside out. I have these days where it feels like every element of my body systems are fighting against me. Or maybe I'm fighting against them. I tried to get through a conference yesterday but had to leave early. That's unlike me, to quit anything for the sake of health, but I knew I had to.

So I came home and slept. A lot. I feel better, but my legs still don't want to hold me up, my brain feels fuzzy and my eyes feel like I'm looking through murky water.

I'll feel better soon. I just need to listen to my body and try to figure out what it's telling me. That's the hard part sometimes.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

wild in this heart

If my heart could escape out of my chest and go wandering on its own, I think it would. And I don't mean my physical heart. I mean the soul inside me that's never really settled, and yet strangely always satisfied.

It's the part of me that wants to get in my vehicle and drive. Just drive. Listen to the radio. Windows down. Just driving.

The part that hatches crazy ideas with full intentions to execute them.

And the part of me that feels deeply connected to myself right now. I can't remember a time when I've felt this in touch with myself, my heart, my life, my soul.

It's a good, adventerous feeling.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

this lake

This lake is nothing like this lake and it doesn't hold a candle to the memories I've made on that lake.

But, it sufficed tonight. Sufficed this hankering in me to get out into nature, to get lost in time, to write, to journal, to research, to email and to remember that despite the hectic days, there is always this peaceful place.

my stack of newspapers

There's a place in the newsroom, aside from the breakroom, that's as cathartic to me as the lake I'm sitting next to, and that's my stack of newspapers. I take great care of this stack, making sure that in the evenings and on weekends especially I help the pressing process by placing three large binders on top of them. I unknowingly straighten them approximately 12 times a day and when someone needs to look through them, I do it for them. And then make them promise to bring it back to me.

So when a cleaning crew started coming to our office, and we were told that stacks of newspapers would be their prey, I freaked.

Not my newspapers. I left a note on them with permission from our GM that my stack was fine. Leave it alone.

But then today a reporter informed me that some of his stuff had been thrown away and I hurled the words, "If they touch my stack of newspapers, I'm crying," out of my mouth without thinking. Another reporter said, "Oh, I know you will. You care a lot about those newspapers."

These newspapers.

I wrote a note and left it there tonight.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

the diet again

Nearly a year ago I started a diet. A crazy, extreme, seemingly impossible diet, and now, 50 pounds (LOST!) later, I'm doing it again.

I started yesterday and I'm impacted again, but in a different way, about how much of my life revolves around food.

To be fair to myself, my eating habits have changed a considerable amount in the past year. (yes! it's been a year since I started this. crazy!) But back then, I thought it was impossible to pack my lunches and dinners to work, or to go without a fountain Pepsi or to avoid fast food. Or, really, to exist without the fibers of food holding the fabric of my life together.

Sounds dramatic, but it's really not.

I realized a year ago how much of who I was revolved around where I ate, what I ate, and when I ate it. Happy, sad, celebratory, bored, angry, stressed....there was no occasion not suitable for food.

In the 365 days since starting this journey, I've learned that my Sunday nights will probably forever be spent cooking till the wee hours of the morning (I've yet to perfect the time management aspect of this) preparing my food (ten meals, to be exact) to be packed in Tupperware containers and carried with me to work for the upcoming week. I don't use plastic bags anymore, because I discovered it's wasteful. I'd rather put my cut up apple in a reusable container then throw away 5 Ziplocs in a week.

It's been almost a year since I've drank a regular soda. If I'm desperate, I'll drink a diet soda, but I regulate their consumption.

I know that sugar is a diet trap for me so I avoid it all costs. I also know that once I get started, I can't stop so the best thing to do is to avoid that cookie or ice cream or candy.

I monitor my calorie intake and try to exercise when I physically can.

As a result, I've gone four months without fluctuating too far from the number on the scale I obtained in March. At one point, I showed a six pound gain and sank into a momentary depression. My worst fear is gaining it all back. But I steadied myself on the straight and narrow and within ten days, had lost the six pounds again reinforcing to myself that I can do this.

I have a goal weight that I want to achieve by my birthday in September so I decided to embark on what I consider to be the last leg of my HCG journey. My goal is to lose at least 20 pounds in the next 43 days.

It's kinda nice to hear people say, "Please don't get too skinny," or "Are you sure you need to lose more?", but I need to lose this for myself.

So yesterday marked the beginning of the next 43 days.

I'll keep you posted. :)

Monday, July 11, 2011


Suddenly, I want to do more.

Live more, explore more, experience more, help more, love more, write more, save more, simplify more, connect more, risk more, hope more. Be more, journey more, get into my heart more, adventure more, lose more, embrace more, touch more, see more, do more, hear more, inspire more, analyze more, think more, watch more, listen more, lay more, manage more.

Get less, worry less, stress less.

Be more self-centered, more aware, more reflective, introspective, critical. Read more, write more, educate more.

Live adventure, peace, hope, healing.

Hear people’s heart and write their stories, unabridged and unencumbered.

Mother more, nurture more, give more. Go more, stay less. Reach out, receive, give back.

I am free, hindered only by my own inhibitions and the restraints I restrain myself with.

What about money? What about bills? What about my job? What about my family? What about my dog? What about my colleagues? What about love? What if I fail, it doesn’t work, it’s painful, it crashes and burns? What if I go under, lose respect, lose myself?

But, what if in the process of seeking it – this greater sense of satisfaction in doing good – I find myself, liberate myself, set myself free? Free of fear, free falling into where I should be, what I should be doing. If, in the process of helping others, I’m helping my own heart?

How can I be inspired, changed, equipped? How can I transform that inspiration, change, preparedness into good?

I don’t have to change the world – I just need to change the corner I live in.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Old Man Zeb

I claim another dog is (was) my heart and soul, but Zeb is what holds the two together. From crazy RV parks in Idaho to now. He waits for me to come home on Friday and we have our cuddle session for as long as we both can tolerate it, and then he goes to lay down in his favorite spot in the kitchen. He doesn't try to keep up with me anymore - I move too fast from room to room for him to keep up, but he monitors key activity. When I sunbathe on the back deck, he wants to be there. And when I return into the house, he's at my side.

We communicate by sign language because he can't hear anymore. When it's something he doesn't want to do, he gives me the same downward look, but obeys.

I still brush him, though more gently now to avoid disrupting his aging joints. He gets an egg on top of his softened dog food every night and regardless of what we may want, he gets to come in the house whenever he wants.

He's esteemed and loved.

My old man.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

What it means to me

I didn’t grow up wanting to be a journalist.

Journalism doesn’t run in my roots. I’m the only one in my family’s generation and will likely be the last. It’s not going to make me rich, famous or popular.
But it’s my mission.

I do this job because this job chose me, and the job has become a calling and the calling defines me.

After five years, I’m still naïve enough to believe that the results of planning sessions and editorial meetings within the four walls of my newsroom make a difference to our readers.

I believe we’re changing the corner of our world – the corner that’s my concern. I believe I have the ability to lead my team to excellence and expose truth. We have the power to ask questions and get answers, to pen the average person’s story and draft history.

It’s stressful, exhausting, mentally and creatively draining. It’s a marathon, a sprint, and sometimes a crawl. It’s too much sometimes - crushing, tumbling, snowballing. It’s emotional, intriguing, mysterious. It’s thankless, gratifying, satisfying, selfish. It’s life changing, life consuming, jealous, an adrenaline rush. It sucks you in for 12-14 hour days, spits you out to sleep and then brings you back for more.

I keep going back for more, because today, and tomorrow and the next day, it’s who I am.

I have a front row seat to history, albeit painful sometimes, and I’m not ready to vacate it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

six days of my face

I did not photograph my face for six days in a row with the intent to blog about it. But since I did, I will.

In chronological order, behold the burn, starting Sunday and ending today.