Monday, November 24, 2008

Lazy Sunday (oldie but goodie)


After watching the Beyonce/Justin Timberlake, et al, "Single Ladies" skit on SNL last week (and several more times since), I started reminiscing about some of my other favorite SNL videos. Here's a great one with Memphis' own Chris Parnell, whom I still miss every time I watch SNL.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Meadow's tree


My niece, Meadow Leighann Nabors, passed away on July 7, 2006 at seven months of age. Meadow was born with a heart defect and spent much of her short life at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center. She never recovered from her second heart surgery.


As you can imagine, it's been very difficult for my family, especially for my sister Susan, her husband Jamie and Meadow's older sister, Autumn, now 11. Last year, my family decided to decorate a Christmas tree in Meadow's memory at The Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees, to benefit Le Bonheur. We chose the theme "Splish Splash" because taking a bath was one of the few times Meadow was unencumbered by wires and machines. She loved taking a bath!


That was a surprise for Susan, Jamie and Autumn, and they went to see the tree on Nov. 28, 2007, which would have been Meadow's second birthday. We plan to come up with a different theme each year to coincide with what Meadow might like to be doing or watching if she were still with us. This year, Susan picked the theme Nick. Jr.--Meadow would have loved Blue's Clues and Dora the Explorer.


Nickelodeon was kind enough to send about 15 ornaments for the tree. My stepmother, Terre, sent a box of fun and creative homemade ornaments from Hilton Head, and several of us in Memphis--including the kids--made ornaments with Dora, Diego, Blue's Clues, Backyardigans, SpongeBob Squarepants and other Nick characters.


Then Saturday, several of us met at The Pink Palace to decorate the tree. We were proud to honor Meadow in a special way, especially considering the event benefits Le Bonheur, a hospital that took wonderful care of Meadow and welcomes all children in the MidSouth area, regardless of ability to pay. Susan, Jamie, Autumn, Grandma, Aunt Gina, Great Aunt Pookie, Aunt Nicole, Uncle Kevin and Aunt Lisa, Cousin Erin and young cousins Virginia, Mary, William, Nina, Amelia and Hunter--we all enjoyed spending some time together remembering a very special little girl.

The trouble with sources

I had a business feature on residential remodeling in yesterday's Commercial Appeal.

The story was a bit of a challenge in that I had three sources who wouldn't call me back or respond to my emails. I can only imagine how difficult that is for staff reporters covering hard news and trying to meet a daily deadline, especially for those trying to get information from our mayor.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NaNoWriMo

My NaNoWriMo article appeared in today's Commercial Appeal, along with a sidebar.

Now if I could only get back to NaNo'ing instead of writing about other NaNo'ers, I might get caught up on my novel-in-progress. I really hoped to win in my first time participating, but lots of other things are keeping me VERY busy. I'm writing quite a bit of non-fiction instead of focusing on fiction, plus I've been helping with Memphis City Schools' student exhibition, Sea Isle Elementary's first-even community breakfast and Meadow's tree for the Enchanted Forest Festival of Trees.

And things are only going to get more hectic, with my birthday, Thanksgiving, a trip to Hilton Head, my wedding anniversary, Christmas and a host of holiday activities on the horizon. Hope life can slow down enough for us to enjoy all these happy events.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Krauthammer on McCain and Obama

There are times when I vehemently disagree with Charles Krauthammer, but I respect him as an intelligent, independent voice and Pulitzer-prize-winning columnist with--there can be no doubt--a mind of his own. I thought his McCain campaign autopsy was very interesting.

Here's a 2006 column in which Krauthammer discussed the possibility of Obama running for president. In
"Run, Obama, Run," Krauthammer said: "These are strong reasons for Obama to run. Nonetheless, he will not win. The reason is 9/11. The country will simply not elect a novice in wartime."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Village Idiots

Thanks to Wendy Macre for sending me this hilarious video of some pretty dumb stunts.

How I spent election day

Below are the election reports I filed yesterday from Memphis polling places for The Commercial Appeal. Brevity and immediacy were the goals for this 16-member team of election reporters, so please don’t criticize my writing (I’ve done that enough already when looking back over my stories, and I even corrected some of my typos before sending). We were asked to cover as much of Shelby county as possible and talk to a wide range of people on various topics related to the elections, both national and local, though the presidential election was no doubt going to be the main topic of conversation.

Anyway, it was a neat (thought certainly not profitable, considering the time I spent preparing) way to be involved in this historic election. I visited 10 polling places in nine hours and talked to about 50 people, then flew to various McDonald’s around town to file my reports via Wifi. As you can see, my assigned polls were in South Memphis, in mostly poor, all-black neighborhoods. I saw three white voters all day, though I did speak to about four white poll watchers and campaign volunteers.

The people I met and spoke with were all gracious, mostly interesting and typically excited to see history made in this country. Honestly, it made me proud to be an American and see the Democratic process at work, and it made me embarrassed that I said before my mission that I would be working in bad neighborhoods. There were parts of this city that I didn’t really even know existed until yesterday, though I’ve lived in the area all of my nearly 42 years. And everywhere I went, I met people just like me—people who were concerned about the economy, healthcare for children, our educational system, our standing in the world, etc.; people who love this country and want what’s best for all its citizens; people who have the same hopes and fears for our country’s children; people who believe in the American dream, probably a little more today than yesterday morning. These people’s skin color happened to be different from mine.

As I read online comments today from boastful Obama supporters and angry McCain backers, I wish that those people posting such hateful, ugly comments could have been with me yesterday to see the faces of hope, faith, love and peace that I saw, from the smiling children leaving school after casting mock election ballots to the 80-something-year-old great-grandmothers who never thought they’d live to see the day that a non-white person was elected to this nation’s highest office. Though I’m an admitted progressive (many would call me liberal), my eyes were opened yesterday as I witnessed ideology transform into reality.

Yes, there are fringe elements on both sides whose anger, hatred and vitriol threaten Americans’ common quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I urge you instead to listen to the voices of reason, such as those of Barack Obama and John McCain, both of whom were gracious and hopeful in urging unity instead of division at this critical time in our nation.


When you come across someone with whom you disagree on an issue large or small, take the time to sit down and discuss the issue and search for common ground. You may discover, as I did yesterday, that our similarities far outnumber our differences. And the end of the day, I truly felt inspired.

My reports:

Winchester Elementary School
3587 Boeingshire St., Memphis
8:50 a.m.: First-time voter LaToya Doss waited 15 minutes to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden. "I'm just ready for a change," said Doss, a student pursuing her GED at Messick. "I'm ready for somebody who's going to help everybody, not just one class of people."

She was also eager to vote for Steve Cohen, a friend of her grandmother's. She said Cohen is good for Memphis and Tennessee.


Holmes Road Church of Christ
1187 E. Holmes Rd., Memphis
9:20 a.m.: Chris Parharm, 19, and his mother, Lorraine Shobowale, 48, arrived at 7 a.m. and waited two hours to cast their ballots.

"Momma was going to make sure he voted," Shobowale said of her son, eligible for the first time to cast a vote for president. Both consider themselves Democrats and voted for Barack Obama, but Shobowale said she doesn't adhere strictly to party lines.

In the Senate race, she voted for Lamar Alexander "because I feel like he's a fair person" who's done a good job, said Shobowale, a manager for Pizza Hut.

She watched all thee presidential debates and said, "McCain seemed kind of cold; not in tune with everyday people. I wanted to hear how he was going to stabilize grocery prices, gas prices. I didn't hear that from him."

Parharm, a cook for Pizza Hut, said he only watched a little of the debates because he's been working so much lately. Like his mother, he was more impressed by Obama than McCain during the campaign.

"We need somebody who can help the people," Parharm said.


Holmes Road Church of Christ
1187 E. Holmes Road, Memphis
9:30 a.m.: After voting this morning in Mississippi, Mary Rowland of Southaven came to her church in Memphis to serve coffee to voters waiting in line.

"We just wanted to make the line a little easier for people," she said. Rowland, 78, is retired after working more than 40 years for BellSouth.

Rowland said the line at her polling place was much longer than usual, but still she finished at 7:30 after arriving at 6:45. The polls opened at 7.

She considers herself an independent who votes for a person, not a party. Rowland cast her ballot for John McCain.

"I think he's the more experienced man," she said.


Lanier Middle School
817 Brownlee Road, Memphis
10:20 a.m: Retired nurse Helen J. Woods, 67, tried to early vote several times at different locations but the lines were so long that she decided to wait until Election Day.

"I was prepared to stay no matter how long it took today," she said. As it turned out, she had no need for her tennis shoes and newspaper, waiting only 20 minutes to vote.

Woods voted the entire Democratic ticket and will be eagerly watching the returns tonight.

"All the races were important, but the presidential race was the most important," she said.


Lanier Middle School
817 Brownlee Road, Memphis
10:30 a.m.: Mamie Taylor, 58, is not one for early voting. "I like to do it the day of," said the retired IRS accountant, who voted strictly Democrat.

Health care and health insurance were primary concerns for Taylor this election, and she believes Barack Obama will improve coverage for all Americans.

Taylor, whose daughter had spina bifida and died in 2002 at age 30, was bothered to see Sarah Palin's infant son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, on the campaign trail and at political events, including the Republican National Convention. The vice presidency is such a big responsibility, Taylor said, that she wonders how Palin could manage both that job and her young family.

"Your first priority should be your family, especially with a special needs child," Taylor said.


Lanier Middle School
817 Brownlee Road, Memphis
10:45 a.m.: Archie Muhammad, 62, is a poll watcher for the Shelby County Democratic party and said things have gone smoothly at Lanier this morning. He and campaign volunteers Milton Garrett, 58, and Kyo, 21, stood in the parking lot and welcomed voters, who were typically in and out of the polling station within 30 minutes.

"Whichever way it goes, it's history," said Muhammad, who is retired from FedEx. "Everything's going smooth; I hope it stays that way."

Kyo, who no longer uses her birth name, was working on behalf of Better Ballot of Memphis and is a big proponent of Charter Amendment 5, which would allow instant runoff voting in Memphis City Elections.

Garrett, a delivery driver and volunteer for the Obama campaign, said he's been politically active since he was 17. He wore an Obama T-shirt and handed out fliers from the Tennessee Democratic party.

"The crowd hasn't been that heavy; it's been a steady flow," he said.


Norris Road Church of Christ
1055 Norris Road, Memphis
11:55 a.m.: Poll workers and volunteers took advantage of a lull in voting action to enjoy a lunchtime snack. Tennessee Democratic party poll watcher Mennie Person said 130 people voted between 7 and 10:30 a.m., "which is good for this location because it's new." She said voting was steady early but slowed down around 10 a.m., and voting as this location was typically taking about 10-20 minutes.

Jhamel Ivory, 19, taking part in his first presidential election, cast his ballot earlier in the morning but brought a couple of friends, brothers Taurus and Roy Simpson, to help them fulfill their civic duty. Ivory, a cashier, voted the Democratic ticket, including Barack Obama for president, Bob Tuke for U.S. Senate and Steve Cohen for House of Representatives. He plans to stay up late and watch the election returns and will "thank the Lord if Obama wins." Asked if he knew any of the candidates personally, Ivory said, "Obama; I've met him in my dreams."


Carver High School
1591 Pennsylvania St., Memphis
12:50 p.m.: Rev. A.R. Moten, 45, and Michael Hughes, 42, are "tailgating for Obama." The campaign volunteers are set up just outside the parking lot of their alma mater, Carver High, with music streaming from a minivan; an extension cord coming from a home across the street to power the television set; and a grill loaded with charcoal and ready to be fired up. They'll soon be cooking hot dogs and chicken while watching election coverage on TV.

"We're going to feed anybody who wants to come by," said Moten. The community minister and activist said voting has been slow at Carver his morning but he's encouraged by news that turnout is high elsewhere in the city. In addition to supporting Barack Obama, Moten is also campaigning for Barbara Cooper for State Representative.

"She's done great things, and she's really dedicated to this community," Moten said of Cooper. Moten cited issues related to senior citizens, veterans and education as major reasons for his support of Obama. He said that there is an electricity in Memphis and other cities he's visited recently.

"When people talk about voting in this election, they smile," he said.


Carver High School
1591 Pennsylvania St., Memphis
1:10 p.m.: A "crushed" foot and crutches couldn't keep Tequila Nelson, 23, from voting today. The unemployed Democrat brought her three children, all ages 3 and under, to Carver and will spend the evening "glued to the TV" watching election coverage.

TV reports this morning have left Nelson and her boyfriend, Quinton White, worried about fraud, but she remains hopeful that Barack Obama will win the presidency.

"We're going to have a party if Obama wins, just us and the kids at home," White said.


Cummings Elementary School
1037 Cummings St., Memphis
2:15 p.m.: Poll workers said voting has been steady all day but let up a little just as school ended for Cummings' students, most of whom wore "I voted" stickers on their shirts. At peak time there was about a 30-minute wait, and poll officials expect things to pick up again around 5 p.m. when people get off work.

Michael Ragland, 49, said he hasn't voted in a while, but "this seemed so important so I decided to come on in." Ragland, who works in housekeeping at The Med, said concern about the economy was his main reason for voting, and he cast his ballot for Barack Obama.

"I'm trying to save my retirement," Ragland said.


Ford Road Elementary School
3336 Ford Road, Memphis
3:20 p.m.: Campaign volunteers Glenda Gladney and Luevena Rogers were smiling on the job. "It's been going great," said Rogers, 70. "Everybody's respectable, nice, happy. This is the happiest election I've ever been involved in, and I've been doing this a long time."

Rogers and Gladney, both Democrats, said it was busy in the morning before slowing down around 1 p.m. They expect things to pick up again around 4:30 when people get off work.

Sandra Hubbard, 46, voted for Steve Cohen for Congress. "I think he's doing a good job," she said. "He's been around a long time and he understands what people go through."

Hubbard, a paper inspector and packer, said she voted for Barack Obama because it's time for a change in leadership of the country.

"Everything has hit rock bottom for everybody," she said.


Manor Lake Elementary School
4900 Horn Lake Road, Memphis
4:10 p.m.: Republican poll watcher Mark White, 58, said turnout has been steady but not too heavy at Manor Lake. It was busy when the polls opened but there's been little or no wait this afternoon, the retired businessman said.

"They're doing a good job," White said of the poll workers.

Outside, Lester Waldon passed out a pamphlet for "Yes on Five," the charter amendment that calls for instant runoff voting. The 40-year-old Democratic campaign volunteer--typically a night person--arrived at the polling station at 7 a.m. and said he was growing tired but expects to get a second wind.

"I can't wait to get home tonight and watch" the election returns, said Waldon, an Obama supporter. "It's going to be an interesting night, maybe a long night."


New Nonconnah Missionary Baptist Church
4701 Tulane Road, Memphis
4:30 p.m.: Joyce Jones voted for charter amendments that she hopes will positively affect local elections. "A lot of things need to be changed here in Memphis from the top on down," said the 49-year-old forklift driver for AT&T. She describes herself as an independent.

"I vote for whoever's best for the job," said White, who plans to be asleep when the election results roll in. She wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to be at work at 6 a.m.

"I'll find out tomorrow who won," she said.

Both White and her daughter-in-law, Dorothy White, walked out of the polling station about 15 minutes after walking in, and both voted for Barack Obama. Dorothy, 23, is a student at the Benjamin Hooks Job Corps Center and is worried after watching news reports about voting controversies in Florida and Arkansas.

"I just want a fair election," Dorothy White said.


Pine Hill Community Center
973 Alice Ave., Memphis
5:30 p.m.: Laura Morris can't remember if the first vote she ever cast for president was for Dwight Eisenhower or Harry Truman. "I registered at 21 and I've been voting every since," the 81-year-old retired nurse said.

Morris, a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama, sat in a chair in the lobby of the community center and watched as about 25 others waited to vote. She was most impressed by the youth turnout.

"I'm amazed," Morris said. "It's wonderful to see all these young people voting."

Outside, Zola Hayes handed out campaign literature on behalf of Tennessee House District incumbent Lois DeBerry. Hayes, a 66-year-old homemaker and frequent volunteer, has been a tireless supporter of DeBerry over the years and said the state Congresswoman "really represents her constituents."

Hayes arrived at Pine Hill at 6:45 a.m. and said the polling station was very busy in the morning before people went to work, then remained steady for the rest of the day. After a long day, Hayes said she was eager to see the election results.

"I'm ready to go home and see what happens," she said. "I'm excited and hopeful" that Barack Obama will win the presidency.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Local election coverage

I spent yesterday working as part of The Commercial Appeal's election-coverage team. Sixteen reporters, photographers and videographers fanned out across the county to report from the polls. I visited 10 local polling places to report on any problems (there were none), the lines, the mindset of voters, etc. I spoke to poll workers, poll watchers, campaign volunteers and voters and filed about 15 reports. Unfortunately, I didn't run into a single candidate yesterday, but I got some great quotes from interesting people with a myriad of concerns.

You can view all the reports here, and maybe you can even guess which ones were mine (Kevin thinks he's picked out a few).

Where to begin?

I'm flooded with emotion today, much more so than I expected to be. I'm so proud of America and delighted to witness this historic moment in history. I hope to post later today on my experiences yesterday, when I visited 10 polling places in South Memphis to report for The Commercial Appeal.

But I did want to share this video about the world's reaction to Obama's election.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Trick or Treat?

Thanks to Uncle Jay Fite for sending me a link to this article about a Halloween Candy Code. Kids use sidewalk chalk and mark the end of a driveway to let other Trick-or-Treaters know what kind of goodies (and how much) are given out at each house.

Hmmmm, seeing as how I often give out pretzels, Teddy Grahams and other non-candy treats (how much candy can kids eat anyway?), I wonder what kind of drawing I might find at the end of my driveway?

Obama Variety Hour

This is a pretty funny skit from last week's Saturday Night Live. I had no idea who Jon Hamm was before this show, but now I'm a fan and determined to check out Mad Men. I thought Hamm was great in every sketch and the best host this season.

And congratulations to Amy Poehler and Will Arnett on the birth of their first child. I'm really going to miss Amy Poehler, and I hope she comes back for another episode and a fitting farewell.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ain't Love Grand?

It's rarely a good thing when Memphis makes CNN.

The CA story on the crime can be found at the bottom of
this page. "Baby, I can't go back to jail," he told her before running off and leaving her (along with the three-year-old boy) holding the bag. Ahhh, for the love of a good man.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Favre and the Packers

Jay Glazer broke the news yesterday that Brett Favre allegedly spent an hour on the phone with Detroit Lion coaches to give them inside info on the Green Bay Packers offense. While Favre denies the charges, the Detroit coaching staff reserved comment, lending creedence to the claims. Favre broke no rules if he did indeed call Detroit, but I find it very disappointing that he would be so bitter and cling to his resentment to the point of trying to sabotage his former team. Favre needs reminding of the old adage that living well is the best revenge.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The election and civility

Obviously, the stakes are high in this presidential election. As voting day approaches, the extremes in both major parties are often, unfortunately, the loudest voices. There are some hateful things being said on the campaign trail, and it's disheartening.

So I really enjoyed Clarence Page's syndicated commentary on McCain and civility, which ran in today's Commercial Appeal. Page praises McCain for damping down the flames of hate and ignorance.

Regarding some recent outbursts at political rallies, Page said: "It is as if a large number of Americans suddenly woke up one morning to a shocking discovery: A guy who did not share their politics or physical appearance or European name might be elected president. Don't get me wrong: I don't think that's how most Republicans think any more than I think 'Abort Sarah Palin' bumper stickers, which I find loathsome, are approved by most Democrats."

Like Page, I would like to see a return to civility in this election, not only among the candidates, but in the electorate as well.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

For those of you who aren't huge NFL fans and haven't already heard about it, I want to share the feel-good story of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Earnest Graham making a huge sacrifice for his team this weekend. Graham, the Bucs' starting running back, volunteered to play fullback when both the starting and second-string fullbacks were out with injuries. This meant putting his body on the line the entire game to allow Warrick Dunn to gain the glory. Not only did Graham take the job, be he excelled at it, helping Dunn to amass 115 yards on 22 carries.

Head coach Jon Gruden couldn't stop gushing about Graham's sacrifice and performance in Tampa Bay's 27-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers, and Dunn and QB Jeff Garcia also sang Graham's praises. Said Dunn: "That was one of the most unselfish acts I've seen on a football field in a long time."

So it's no surprise that Graham was gracious and humble in discussing his contribution.

"I feel proud to be able to block for Warrick. It was the most fun I've had in a game, period. I had a blast.''

So now I have a new sports hero, and Kevin will be delighted to hear me gush about someone other than Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning.

An easy way to help a school

The PTO at Nina's school, Sea Isle Elementary, is now taking part in Amazon.com's SchoolRewards. Through the link below, you can access te entire amazon.com web site and all its products, and there is no additional charge. However, a percentage of those sales will be given back to the PTO for the good of our school and its students. Please bookmark the link and use it every time you visit amazon.com. Thanks!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy 60th Birthday, Mom!

Well, the Ozark Creative Writers conference was great, and Eureka Springs was beautiful. I took the scenic route on a winding mountain road and enjoyed the beautiful fall foliage. I didn't get to spend much time on Main Street but drove around the historic loop a couple of times and rode the trolley around once. I can't wait to go back next year.

I'll talk more about the conference later, but it was very informative, supportive and inspiring. Listening to people discuss NaNoWriMo really got my creative juices flowing, and I spent the return trip plotting out the novel I'll write next month. Since I can't start writing for 18 more days, for the first time ever I'm going to outline my story and write complete sketches for all the main characters, which I've never been disciplined enough to do before. It will be interesting to see if I can finally FINISH a novel.

And good news--I won two honorable mentions at the conference, providing a much-needed boost of confidence. I was a little intimidated by all more-experienced and talented writers there, but they emphasized all the hard work they put into their writing careers. If I can be that devoted and keep at it, maybe one day I'll have some fiction-writing success of my own.

But in the meantime, I have a couple of stories in today's Commercial Appeal--a feature of the Memphis Fire Department's new paramedic education program and a business profile on MidSouth Geothermal.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ho-hum debate

I agree with many pundits that last night's debate was a pretty boring affair. Understandably, the candidates wanted to rehash their talking points and often broke into stump speeches, so nothing new came out in the discussion.

It was unfortunate that Tom Brokaw made himself the focus of the questions, getting away from a true town hall environment. Brokaw just didn't get the job done last night, in my opinion, and I hope Bob Schieffer does a better job in the third debate. And I wish the networks would put a timer on-screen so that television viewers could see for themselves when the candidates are going over their allotted time and by how much. Then the candidates would be more inclined to adhere to the time limits, and we wouldn't have to waste more time listening to the moderator chide the candidates.

Getting the campaigns to agree on venues, moderators, formats, etc. was certainly a difficult task and left the media’s hands somewhat tied. I think both parties are worry about their candidate suffering a George H.W. Bush moment and/or of giving their opponent a Bill Clinton opportunity, ala the 1992 presidential debate. But we allow them to dictate the terms and then shortchange us on addressing the issues.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Tina Fey and SNL were dead on again in their parody of Thursday night's vice presidential debate. And I LOVED Queen Latifah as Gwen Ifill.

But what did Gwen Ifill think about the skit and the debate? She discussed it yesterday on Meet the Press.

Monday news

I have a couple of articles in The Commercial Appeal today.

A health and fitness feature focuses on Itsy Bitsy Yoga classes for infants and toddlers at Evergreen Yoga Center in Midtown.

I also wrote a business profile on David Hunt, owner of H & H Services in Jackson, Tenn.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

No idle hands around here

It's been a busy couple of weeks, evidenced by the lack of blog entries lately. I've taken on a lot of assignments from The Commercial Appeal (one article ran today), and I've been VERY busy with Nina's school. It's really wonderful being inside those halls of learning to see firsthand the wonderful work going on.

With things so hectic lately (and that's not a complaint, I've enjoyed staying busy), my husband and I decided we needed some quality family time and fun last night. We went to the
Levitt Shell for the last weekend of the concert season, and I was very impressed. It was wonderful to see the Shell brought back to life. The music was fantastic and the environment very kid friendly (my girls danced their booties off) while fun for adults, too. The Shell will encourage a great sense of community and a love of various types of music. We look forward to the spring season and will undoubtedly spend many enjoyable nights at the Levitt Shell.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday musings

Another business profile written by yours truly ran in yesterday's Commercial Appeal.

I was listening to Dan Patrick's radio show this morning and heard a California sports columnist discussing Al Davis, Lane Kiffin and the Raiders. If I ever had a single doubt that Al Davis is a nut case whose insanity trickles down to anyone else unfortunate enough to work for the man, Raiders senior executive John Herrera erased them with this threatening outburst.



And in happy Thursday news,
The Office returns tonight. Yay! Time to escape the election, financial crisis and football madness with my favorite guilty pleasure.

Debate or no?

The debate must go on. I've tried to understand John McCain's reasons for wanting to postpone the event, but I just keep coming back to the same thought--it doesn't make sense. Now more than ever we need a fair, balanced forum in which the candidates present their platforms and answer some tough questions. We need to know how the person who's going to inherit these problems proposes to address them. I can put aside my personal beliefs to see that this country needs to hear from our presidential candidates on many issues, and if there's any change in the debate, it should be in the subject matter (our national economy).

A collection of late night jokes on the issue (from Newsmax.com):

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
● John McCain wants to postpone Friday’s presidential debate. And, he has temporarily suspended his campaign . . . until he’s ahead in the polls.
● Right after he announced that, Sarah Palin said, “That’s OK — I don’t really need him, anyway.”
Late Show with David Letterman
● After canceling, he rushed right back to Washington to deal with the crisis. And I thought, "Woah — he sure nipped that in the bud."

Late Night with Conan O'Brien
● Yesterday, President Bush gave a speech on the economic crisis. The title of Bush's speech: "Two More Months and It Ain't My Problem."
● During his speech, Bush said, "We are in a once in a century crisis." He said we shouldn't worry though, because this once in a century crisis shouldn't happen again for 10-15 years.

The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
● He also canceled an interview with David Letterman, but then he did an interview with Katie Couric at the same time he was supposed to be on Letterman. He said that he was in a rush to get back to Washington, but apparently he had time for a game of softball with Katie before he left.

Jimmy Kimmel Live!
● McCain asked Obama to stop campaigning and stop campaign ads. Obama said no, but they have agreed to put out a joint statement. They just released it about an hour ago: It’s All Bush’s Fault!
● Bush has an interesting way to fix the economy: a bake sale.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday Musings

A business profile I wrote on private investigator Ron Lax appeared in yesterday's Commercial Appeal.

I'm really looking forward to the Dallas-Green Bay game tonight, and I hope the Packers shock the Cowboys. Terrell Owens and crew are a little too cocky for a team that hasn't won a playoff game in over a decade, and I think they're buying into the hype that they're destined for the Super Bowl this season. It's time for someone to knock 'em down a peg or two.

A few NFL players who are really impressing me this season, and whom I really wish I had on either of my fantasy teams: QBs Aaron Rodgers and Jay Cutler; RBs Brian Westbrook (though that's not a surprise--people always underestimate him) and Chris Johnson; WR Eddie Royal; and TE Jason Whitten (again, not a surprise).

I'm thrilled to see that a new season of Entourage has begun. Great show (Sunday nights on HBO).

The Office returns this week. Yay! Lots of fun romantic twists going on there. I can't wait to see what becomes of Jim & Pam; Michael & Jan & Holly; Angela & Dwight & Andy. Should be a fun season.

Have a good week.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Regarding Tony Kornheiser

More football controversy:

Tony Kornheiser said something on Monday Night Football that apparently offended people of Hispanic descent, but he promptly apologized.

Now I'm not one to defend Kornheiser, but reaction to his comment has been overblown. I suspect that people calling for his firing are long-time Kornheiser haters trying to take advantage of the gaffe to get him off MNF.

Kornheiser should be removed from the MNF team because he's terrible at it, not because of a silly comment that obviously was not meant to offend. I love Jaws and especially Mike Tirico, whom I think is one of the best play-by-play guys around, but Kornheiser just detracts from the game and adds nothing to the conversation.

So ESPN, if you're going to dump Kornheiser, do it for the right reason--because MNF would be better without him.

Regarding Ed Hochuli

As an NFL fan and fantasy football aficionado, I was pretty upset with the way the San Diego-Denver game ended Sunday. It had no direct effect on me, as I'm not really a fan of either team and I had no fantasy dogs in that fight (I lost both my matchups last weekend after posting two wins in the first week).

But I was angry with
Ed Hochuli and felt (rightfully so) that he handed the game to the Chargers. I'm not a big Hochuli fan to begin with, mostly because I don't understand why an NFL official is so high profile and why so many women worship him. (Personally, I like Mike Carey better and think he's much more handsome that Hochuli.)

But c'mon,
hate mail and death threats because the guy made a mistake in a split-second call during a very competitive, high-adrenaline football game? Get a life!

Here's a
great column by San Diego Union Tribune columnist Tim Sullivan. I found it very persuasive, and I forgive Ed Hochuli, which I'm sure is a big relief for him. The man has admitted his mistake and apologized profusely, and there's nothing he can say or do now to fix the mistake that NFL rules wouldn't allow to be corrected by replay.

In light of the way he's handled this unfortunate incident, I now count myself among the many fans of Ed Hochuli. The world would be a better place if more people admitted their mistakes with such candor, honesty, contrition and integrity.

Monday, September 15, 2008

If you haven't seen the Tina Fey/Sarah Palin-Amy Poehler/Hillary Clinton skit from Saturday Night Live, you've got to check it out. I figured Tina Fey would return to play the character, but I didn't know she would be THAT good, and Amy Poehler was equally hilarious. One of the funniest skits I've seen on SNL in a while.



But SNL was downhill from the opening. I love Michael Phelps, but I just don't think he has the personality to carry the show. It's hit or miss with athletes hosting. Peyton Manning and Michael Jordan were huge hits, but others (Lebron James) just didn't quite pull it off.

Hopefully, other hosts will be able to keep the show funny and cutting-edge after the inevitable, almost weekly Tina Fey take on Sarah Palin. It should be a fun season for SNL.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ahhh, festival season in Memphis. Just about my favorite time of year. Here are some fun happenings in town the next couple of weeks.

The Cooper-Young Festival is today, and Kevin and I plan to attend on our date night (the kids are headed to Grandma's).

Next weekend is Wifflestock, promising "Two days of peace, love and wiffle" to benefit the wonderful Ronald McDonald House. Think we'll gather up a few kids and hit the moon bounce.

We'll probably do that instead of attending the Mid-South Fair, which begins Sept. 19. We rarely attend the fair any more, as it's just gotten too expensive, too commercial and too crowded. I'm sad to see it leave the Fairgrounds after all these years, but I hope revamping the event might bring it back to its former glory.

I can remember attending every year when I was a kid, but it's just not the same and doesn't hold much appeal for my family. For the $100-plus we'd spend in one day there, we instead buy a year's membership to the Children's Museum of Memphis or the Memphis Zoo and even have a little left over for lunch.

See you at Cooper-Young.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Here's a funny, non-partisan (anti-partisan?) poke at the Presidential candidates and their cohorts.

And some funnies from the mouths of my babes:

Nina is enjoying kindergarten and is proud to report that she's received E's in conduct every single day. Recently she explained the conduct grading system to me. She told me that "E is the best, S is sorta good, N is kinda bad and U is very bad." A couple of days later, I heard her more specifically explain it to her five-year-old cousin Riley.

"E is for Excellent-factory, S is for Satisfactory, N is for Naughty-factory and U is for Unsatisfactory," Nina said.

And the first words out of Amelia's mouth nearly every morning are: "Mommy, you forgot to give me a vitamin." She's a pill fiend already, feigning illness pretty frequently and requesting a cough drop or "pink medicine." This morning she told me that she doesn't ever want to take grown-up medicine until she's "forty hundred eighty zero," because it's ugly colored.

Have a good weekend, all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Commemorating Sept. 11

I was very glad to read that John McCain and Barack Obama put aside politics today to commemorate Sept. 11.

Here is a
news archive of that terrible day.

Where Were You compiles everyday people's memories of Sept. 11.

While my children are still too young to understand the events of that day and I don't want to scare them (I spent much of my youth terrified of a nuclear attack by the Soviet Union and won't subject them to similar fears of terrorists), I am interested in books about Sept. 11 geared toward children. I'd like to read some first and decide the age-appropriateness, as it's a tough subject to address with kids.

Any suggestions?

Sept. 11, 2001

Thanks to Kerry Haines for sending this Budweiser tribute to those who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thank to my brother-in-law Jay Fite for sending this link to a disturbing Pocono Record slideshow on the environmental hazards of plastic shopping bags. I've been considering buying some canvas, reusable shopping bags for a while now, but I don't like the idea of being a walking advertisement for a grocery store. But after seeing this slideshow, I've decided I need environmentally friendly shopping bags SOON.

So I hope to kill two birds with one stone by asking our school PTO to consider selling canvas grocery bags with the school's logo. Sounds like the perfect fundraiser to me. These bags are growing in popularity, and I'm sure people would rather have some that say "So-and-So Elementary" instead of "Kroger," plus they'd be helping out the school in the process.

In the meantime, I've been on the lookout for reusable grocery bags that support a good cause. Also, I'm interested in reasonably priced bags (I've seen some that are $60 and support a great cause, but that's not exactly within my means or the means of most people I know). I've read in quite a few places that ordering such bags online somewhat negates the environmental benefits of reusable bags, once you factor in the environmental impact of shipping.

If anyone knows of some reasonably priced, environmentally friendly shopping bags offered locally, benefitting a good cause and absent of a grocery-store logo, please let me know.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Rookie sensations

I almost forgot to make note of some rookie performances from yesterday.

Quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan put up average fantasy numbers, but both were impressive in managing their respective teams, engineering drives and putting points on the board while limiting mistakes. While I wouldn’t grab either of those guys off the waiver wire, it is comforting to know that the other fantasy starters around them will likely not be hampered by having a young ‘un under center.

Running backs Matt Forte and Chris Johnson lived up to the hype and proved they’re both the real deal, each finishing in the top 10 among running backs for fantasy points this week.

DeSean Jackson also had a great game (especially considering he’s a wide receiver, typically the hardest skill position for rookies to make an impact). But I think it’s a safe bet that Donovan McNabb’s yardage will fall off some and subsequently so will the Philadelphia receivers (three different ones amassed over 100 yards yesterday), plus the Eagles’ two starting receivers (Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis) should soon return to the lineup, taking much of Jackson’s opportunities.

As has historically been the case, the running backs stand the best chance of all rookies to contribute to a fantasy team.

Every girl's Fantasy

Well, the first Sunday of the 2008-09 NFL season did not disappoint. Lots of action, excitement, upsets and (unfortunately) injuries. I’m not a New England fan, but I sure hate that Tom Brady went down that way and is apparently done for the season. After his record-breaking season last year, I finally bought into him being one of the league’s all-time bests and looked forward to watching him chase last year’s numbers.

But there were plenty of great games and exciting moments. That Roscoe Parrish punt return for a score was something else, and it was good to see Brett Favre start his Jet career off with a win. I also have a soft spot for New Orleans, so I was happy to see them pull out the victory.

And some big defenses returned to old form. Chicago and Baltimore both managed to shut down typically very effective offenses.

Atlanta, Buffalo and Philadelphia were all surprisingly impressive in routs of their opponents. Granted, their competition left much to be desired, but these teams have struggled in recent years to win period, let alone to blow their opponent out of the water. I really find myself pulling for all three, especially Atlanta, where newcomers Michael Turner and Matt Ryan might be able to turn things around and make the city forget all about that Vick fellow.

I’m looking pretty good for wins in both my leagues (one matchup was against Kevin, and I’m resisting the urge to trash talk my dear hubby). Lucky for me I didn’t face him in the other league we’re in together--Kevin raked up an impressive 155.7 points on the backs of such week-one studs as Donovan McNabb, Marion Barber, Michael Turner and Brian Westbrook. I sure don’t look forward to facing Kevin later in the season in that league.

Players I wish I had on either of my fantasy rosters:

Donovan McNabb
Philip Rivers
Michael Turner
Willie Parker
Chris Johnson
Andre Johnson
Lee Evans
Dante Rosario
Anthony Fasano
Bo Scaife

All of these guys were undervalued in fantasy drafts this year (or went undrafted) and, IMHO, were not one-week, week-one flukes.

Players I need to get off my rosters, and fast:

Marc Bulger
Derrick Mason
Torry Holt (though I need him to have one big game so I can hopefully trade him, hoping the name itself still carries enough weight to make him appealing to some other owner)

There are a few more players I’m a little disappointed in and worried about (read—T.J. Houshmandzadeh), but I’ll hold on to them hoping they rebound in the next week or two.

All in all, it was a great start to the fantasy football season, and I’m already looking forward to next Sunday.

Friday, September 5, 2008

How do you spell 9-1-1?

This cracked me up. Thanks to Kristy Macre for emailing it to me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Fey Tina Palin

Darnit! If I had only been paying closer attention (and not stuck without TV in the mosquito-infested hell of Crowley's Ridge State Park), I might have been the first to point out Sarah Palin's uncanny resemblance to Tina Fey. Just Google "Sarah Palin Tina Fey," as I did two minutes ago, to see a few photos and articles on the subject.

Oh, well...it's not the first time I've been scooped. But I sure hope 30 Rock hasn't filmed too many episodes. This is a goldmine for the Emmy-winning-but-underappreciated NBC sitcom.

Man, I can't wait to see Tina Fey address her lookalike this fall. Now that the Olympics and presidential party conventions are over, it's time for the real fun to begin.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Camping, mosquitos and illness

Our camping trip was fun for the most part, but we were swarmed by mosquitoes at night and had to seek refuge in our tent by 8 p.m. Then a couple of days after returning home, those in our party of six started becoming ill one by one. Vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, muscle pains, lethargy—all six of us are experiencing most or all symptoms.

I took Nina and Amelia to the doctor this morning, fearful that we had all gotten some mosquito-borne illness. He seems to think it’s food poisoning (common when camping) or some sort of virus. My sister-in-law took our niece to her doctor and she thinks it’s likely a virus.

So my fears of something more serious are allayed, but that doesn’t make me feel any better physically. Time for all of us to go pile up on the couch…again.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Year of Hope


Meet Hope, our delightful four-legged daughter, who joined the Eason family a year ago. It sure doesn’t seem like she’s been with us a whole year, and I can’t imagine life without her.

After deciding last year that we were ready for a dog, I studied breeds to determine which ones were best with small children. We settled on a beagle, and then found a wonderful rescue group in the area, Mostly Beagles. Julie Cuccia helped us settle on the right pet for our family, and Hope has been nearly perfect. Julie even gave us six weeks of obedience training, included in the nominal adoption fee (that’s her “graduation” picture above).

In the beginning, Hope would climb on the dinner table to eat leftovers, but we’ve trained both her and the kids to cut down on that problem. But she was house trained when we got her (at about three years old), and she just loves our kids, almost as much as they love her.

She’s a little spoiled, sleeping in our beds or on the couch. She loves all other animals and people, and she and Pogo hit it off great. That’s really saying a lot, considering he’s a crotchety, 15-year-old tabby who was used to ruling the roost.

She goes camping with us, and no longer runs off after every little scent. She’s scared to death of thunder and runs around the house like a mad dog during storms. She loves it when Daddy plays tag with the girls and tries to get in on the action. She hates being left home alone, and she has a perch on the couch where she can look through the window while waiting for us to return.

We lucked into the perfect pet, and it’s been a wonderful year having Hope with us. We look forward to many more.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another Olympic Moment

For the first time in my life, I am actually looking forward to the NBA season.

There are so many incredible athletes who made indelible impressions on me during the Olympics, but I am most surprised by my newfound respect for the men on the USA basketball team. They represented our country well, both on and off the court, showing respect for their fellow athletes and the host nation. My usual disdain for the sport of professional basketball (college basketball is, of course, my single favorite sport) has been replaced by admiration and pride for this talented and gracious group of young men, and also for Coach K and the rest of the staff.

Way to go, Redeem Team!


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fantasy Football Weekend

So my first fantasy football draft went OK, considering I didn’t begin preparing for the draft until yesterday morning. I picked eighth in a 12-person league. Standard scoring, start 1 QB, 2 RBs, 3WRs, 1 TE, 1 K and 1 D/ST.

Here are my selections:

Round 1—Clinton Portis
Round 2—Larry Johnson
Round 3—T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Round 4—Jamal Lewis
Round 5—Calvin Johnson
Round 6—Thomas Jones
Round 7—Jericho Cotchery
Round 8—Eli Manning
Round 9—Vernon Davis
Round 10—Derrick Mason
Round 11—Reggie Brown
Round 12—David Garrard
Round 13—Green Bay Packers defense
Round 14—Neil Rackers

I planned to pick my second receiver in round four, but the top-tier wideouts were gone and there were still some good starting backs available. So I went with the best available player instead of choosing by position, and I did the same thing when I chose Thomas Jones in round six. My strategy changed to choosing running backs that hopefully will become trade bait, so I can upgrade at wide receiver and/or quarterback.

I’m of the RB-RB school of thought for my first two picks, and then I usually try to load up on receivers and backup RBs for the first six to seven rounds. I’ll never end up with a stud quarterback, because I always wait on that position until midway through the draft. It usually turns out OK for me, but if Eli and Garrard both bomb, there are still a couple of sleeper QBs who went undrafted. Some young quarterback surprises every year, so I might be grabbing one of those guys off the waiver wire.

One thing I’m not overly happy about is that I missed out on all the young backs. It just didn’t play out right for me to grab Darren McFadden, Matt Forte or Jonathan Stewart. I’m gambling on some older (but proven) guys. I like Thomas Jones’ chances for a bounce-back this year with Brett Favre under center.

Favre’s move to the Jets also improves Cotchery’s stock, and overall I’m happy with my wide receivers. Reggie Brown is a bit of a question mark, but since he’s my fifth WR I took a chance on his finally having that breakout year.

Draft No. 2 is tomorrow, and now that I’m a bit more prepared, I’m really looking forward to it. After that, it will be a long two weeks until the season begins.

Yes, I’m ready for some FOOTBALL!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Aunt Kelly is the coolest

It’s been a whirlwind week. Nina had her first full week of kindergarten, and Amelia is FINALLY learning to wake up and get moving in the morning. I’ve been working on three articles for the newspaper and conducted several interviews this week. We also had a parent-teacher meeting at school and a parent meeting for Daisy Scouts. I took Amelia to a preschool art class at a local museum, where we were meeting other moms and kids from one of our Meetup groups. We had our first fantasy football draft today and have spent much time trying to coordinate our second (on Sunday). I wrote two manuscripts and polished up four more to mail for the OCWI conference contests. I’ve been updating my blog every day. And I’ve been trying (though not entirely succeeding) to keep up with laundry, piles of dishes, and other delightful housework. I’ve not been sleeping well (worry-wart gene inherited from my mom), and last night I had one of those very rare splitting headaches that totally immobilized me, putting me behind on many of my self-imposed deadlines.

So to make the fantasy draft today I had to ask Aunt Kelly to watch Amelia for a few hours and pick Nina up from school. When she picked up Amelia (yes, she came by and picked up my daughter, making things even more convenient for me), I told her that we would watch her two daughters tonight, since Kelly’s also going to watch our kids on Sunday for the other draft.

I just called her a minute ago to arrange the transfer of kids, and she said (get this): “Why don’t I just keep them tonight and you and Kevin can go have fun.” I spent five seconds trying to convince her it's my turn to babysit, but she insisted.

WOW! Like that, we went from having four kids tonight to having zero, nada, zilch. I have no idea what Kevin and I are going to do on our undeserved but much-needed break tonight, but I know one thing for sure: we’ll raise our glasses and toast Aunt Kelly.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Busy Day

Here’s my schedule for today

  • Get kids and self ready for busy day
  • Take Nina to kindergarten
  • Take Amelia to Parents’ Day Out
  • Drive downtown for interview
  • Return home and write notes for profile based on interview
  • Conduct follow-up phone interview for a second profile
  • Call another source for quotes on second profile
  • Make final arrangements for photo shoot on third article
  • Write as much as possible on two profiles
  • Double check entries for writer’s conference
  • Run by post office to mail in conference registration and contest entries
  • Pick up Amelia
  • Pick up Nina
  • Devote an hour to Nina’s five-minute homework assignment
  • Prepare and eat dinner
  • Baths, reading and other preparations for getting kids to bed
  • Drink glass of wine to unwind
  • Battle Kevin for computer time to research fantasy football
  • Throw together strategy for fantasy draft tomorrow at noon (I’m totally unprepared)
  • Yell at Kevin for wanting to discuss his draft strategy (he’s been preparing for months)
  • Go to sleep around midnight, totally stressed about tomorrow’s busy day

Oops, almost forgot to fill up the gas tank and run by the grocery store!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rainy Day Dreaming

I’m having sleep difficulty lately (my problem isn’t getting to sleep, but staying there). After a terrible bout with hives a few years ago, they disappeared early in my pregnancy with Amelia, in 2004. I thought/hoped they were gone for good. Unfortunately, they resurfaced a couple of months ago (Kevin says I’m allergic to writing), and I often wake up itching and sneezing in the middle of the night. Not as much fun as you might think.

So I’ve been up since 3 a.m., and I’m waxed. It’s raining outside and Amelia’s tired, too. (Unlike me, her problem is getting to sleep; she’d probably sleep all morning if I didn’t have to wake her in order to get Nina to school on time.) If I didn’t have a dozen balls in the air and a cranky preschooler on my hands, it would be a perfect day to curl up on the couch and watch a movie or two.

Some people enjoy watching the same favorite flick over and over again. Me, I’m usually a one-and-done kind of gal. I do have a short list of movies that I’ve seen numerous times but would love to be watching again, right now, while it’s raining outside, and I’m soooooooooooo tired...

Bull Durham
Casablanca
A Christmas Story (which MUST be viewed at least once every year)
E.T.
A Fish Called Wanda
North by Northwest
Pulp Fiction
Raising Arizona

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Horse of a Different Color

Thanks to Karen Markle for sending me this link to a really cool slideshow at frankcurran.com.

As a fundraising event in conjunction with the 60th Annual Germantown Charity Horse Show, 20 life-size horse statues, sponsored by local businesses and painted by local artists, are scattered throughout Germantown (a suburb of Memphis). The statues will be up for auction in October to benefit local charities.

For those of you in or near Memphis, check out this Commercial Appeal link, which provides a satellite map of the locations for the various horses.

Monday, August 18, 2008

TV's Most Memorable Moments

Here's something fun: The Emmys wants viewers to decide TV's Most Memorable Moment. There are 20 choices in both drama and comedy, and you can even watch the clips (a real trip down memory lane).

There were a lot of great episodes to choose from in comedy and it was a tough call, but I picked "Went With the Wind" from The Carol Burnett Show (largely because of the line “I just saw it in the window and couldn’t resist it.”) I wish they’d had a clip of Tim Conway cracking up Harvey Korman, though. I also wondered why there were no episodes of Cheers or The Andy Griffith Show.

It was a little easier to make a selection in the drama category, as there didn’t seem to be as many great shows (Buffy the Vampire Slayer? Really?) I went with Roots. I can remember my whole family crowding around the TV to watch it every night. Roots was TV at its very best.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Funny & Short Book Titles

Look! I got a few titles in funny2.com's list of The World's Shortest Books.

My contributions:

"How to be Good" by Amy Winehouse

"People Who Respect Me" by Paula Abdul

"Gun Safety" by Dick Cheney

"My Boring Teenage Years" by Miley Cyrus

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Much to his chagrin, my husband has started up a little non-paying side business.

The Kevin Eason Shuttle is a free service for family, friends and co-workers in need of a ride to or from the airport or just across town. It runs pretty much 24 hours a day, ready on a moment’s notice.

Thursday evening, he drove to the airport to pick up Cousin Nicole, Rich and William, who were flying home after visiting Rich’s family in New Jersey.

Then yesterday after work, Kevin drove his co-worker Russ and wife Kirsten to the airport for their weekend trip to New York City.

Last night, our future former friend Greg called, stranded at Starbucks 10 miles away and in need of a ride home. Kevin went back out in to the rain to help helpless Greg.

When he returned home from that shuttle run, Kevin was dog-tired and ready to hit the couch. He headed back to our bedroom to change into comfortable clothes unload his pockets and take off his shoes and before joining the girls and me in front of the TV for the Olympics.

I didn’t hear his phone ring, but a minute later Kevin appeared in the living room, still in his uncomfortable clothes, pockets loaded, shoes on, shoulders slumped.

“Russ and Kirsten’s flight was cancelled,” he told me. “Back to the airport.” He walked out into the rain, at least able to laugh about the situation.

Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, but I answered it anyway.

“I’m 99 percent sure I left my phone in Kevin’s car,” Greg said. “Can you ask him to bring it back over?”

Needless to say, Kevin was not in the best of moods when he returned home from dropping off Russ and Kirsten, then Greg’s phone. Plus, he missed most of our Olympics Slumber Party. The girls and I had a great time.

So after three trips to the airport in two days, plus one too many trips to Starbucks, Kevin Eason’s Shuttle Service is taking a Lisa-mandated vacation for the rest of the weekend. He needs to tend to his wife, who spent most of Friday night on the couch in front of the TV, fighting off fits of side-splitting laughter every time she saw him walk back out the door and into the rain.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Aunts are wonderful creatures

All three of Nina's aunts called yesterday or today to inquire about her first day of school. She really appreciates Aunt Susan, Aunt Kelly and Aunt Gina checking up on her, and she hopes to make them all proud.

We've yet to hear a word from any of her grandparents, however, so you better get on the ball Popa and Granny Dee, Grandma and Pappy, Grandaddy and Grandma Terre, and Granny.

(Please note that the above aunts and grandparents are listed in order of age, from oldest to youngest.)

We just found out that Ms. Bogan is Nina's teacher this year, and we're very excited. Nina's Mother's Day Out teacher had a son in Ms. Bogan's class last year, and Ms. Karen says wonderful things about Ms. Bogan.

It's five p.m. on the East Coast, so Happy Weekend everybody!

UPDATE: Kudos to Granny, who called last night.

TGIF


I had a rough day yesterday, but I'm not going to dwell on it. It's Friday (woo hoo), so here's a little Friday fun.

I found this Al Green video for "Everything's Gonna Be Alright." Lots of great shots of Memphis. I can't embed this one, so follow the link. And I have to slide this one in , too--the Rev. Al/Lyle Lovett duet of Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away." The song and video make this Lyle-Lovett, Al-Green, Willie-Nelson-loving Memphis girl a happy camper.

Our friend Chase wears "Friday Fun Socks" to work. She gets her weekend off to an early start by sporting crazy, colorful socks under her business attire. Now, Nina calls all her own printed socks "Friday Fun Socks."

From about.com's late-night joke compilation:

"Barack Obama said today he wouldn’t raise taxes on anyone over 70 . . . and McCain said Obama was just pandering to the youth vote." --Craig Ferguson

This tripadvisor.com Travel IQ game is a lot of fun and quite addictive. (Thanks to Gina and Jay for directing me to it a while back. Hopefully one day I can outsscore them.)

A friend and I were discussing Mike Royko recently, and I found a few of his columns online. I still love Slats Grobnik tales, though I wonder if any newspaper would publish them these days.

That's enough fun for now. Better get back to work. It's not officially the weekend, yet.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Media coverage of Bill Gwatney shooting

I spent much of yesterday afternoon reading coverage on the shooting of Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Bill Gwatney. I can’t make sense of the senseless tragedy, and I’m very saddened by it.

Constantly updated, almost instant coverage of news events like this makes the reader/viewer feel somewhat part of the story, and I found myself really pulling for Gwatney to make it through, then heartbroken when news broke that he died, about four hours after the shooting.

I very rarely watch TV news, and in fact did not watch any coverage of yesterday’s events. However, I did find that the Web sites of TV news stations were much quicker to offer the latest information. That’s not surprising, but the fact that the state newspaper of Arkansas was constantly scooped by
CNN and other media outside the state is very bothersome. In fact, the newspaper’s online story this morning is much less detailed than the articles of many national publications, and it includes several typos and other mistakes.

It’s well known that newspapers around the country are in trouble, finding it difficult to compete in the internet age. While I don’t expect the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette to be the first with the story, I do expect the local newspaper to be the most accurate and in-depth. So far, I’ve been disappointed, at least with the paper's online coverage.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fly-by post

We’re busy, busy, busy. Nina’s first day of kindergarten is tomorrow, and we’re all prepping for the big change in her life and ours. She’s excited, and I’m thrilled for her.

We’re also tuning in to the Olympics daily, especially enjoying the swimming, gymnastics and beach volleyball. (Daddy digs basketball). The U.S. men’s gymnastics team made us especially proud (ignore the naysayers, just believe in yourself and show the world what you can do).

As far as writing, I’ve turned in two stories to the newspaper in the past week and I’ve got two more assignments, both business profiles. I’m also working on a few entries for the Ozark Creative Writers conference, which I need to mail in next week.

And we’re vacation planning for the fall. Looks like we’ll take a camping trip Labor Day weekend, then Daddy and the girls are going camping with my mom, sisters and family in October while I’m in Eureka Springs. Daddy has a weeklong work trip in early November, then we’re headed to Hilton Head for Thanksgiving to see Grandaddy and Grandma Terre and the rest of our South Carolina family. Both my sisters and their families are going as well, plus maybe a cousin or two. Looks like we’re lining up a big family reunion on the beach. I can’t wait.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Learning a new reporting lesson

My BookCrossers story is in the paper today.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as I hoped. Like the “observer effect” in psychology, I think my presence and that of the photographer changed the behavior of the article’s subjects. They usually do things very much on the sly, and I anticipated them lurking in the shadows and stealthily placing books throughout the plaza, then watching to see their books being “caught.”

I tried to avoid “observer effect” by interviewing the organizer on the phone a couple of days before the event and then meeting and talking to the participants before they left for Graceland. But they beat me to Graceland by a few minutes and the photographer was already waiting for them, so when I walked up all the books had been placed on a table for the photographer to take shots, and a crowd of tourists had gathered to select some of the books.

Anyway, no use crying over spilt milk, but I will try to figure out what I could have done differently and try to avoid “observer effect” in the future.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thoughts on the opening ceremonies

Geez, what am I doing awake at 3 a.m.? It’s not the hives and sneezing fits that roused me, but they are making it impossible for me to get back to sleep. I think I woke up a little worried because I never heard Kevin come in last night, so I had to make sure he was in bed. Now, if I had been in bed and needed only to roll over to verify his presence in the house, I might have been able to go right back to sleep.

However, I was on the couch in the living room, having fallen asleep watching the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics. The girls and I decided to have a slumber party last night, and we all piled up in front of the TV, watching NBC in the dark, me on the couch, Nina on the love seat and Amelia on the floor (her choice). It was fun, something we’ve never done before, and since Daddy had gone to Jackson for Aunt Debbie's 50th birthday celebration, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. Nina and I fell asleep around 9, but Amelia and Hope (our beagle) continued to play until close to 10, which I know because they woke me up every 10 minutes during that first hour I tried to sleep.

Anyway, before we all eventually dozed off, we were enjoying the ceremonies. I had been telling the girls most of the day that we were going to watch the Olympics, and they seemed excited. We had taken our baths/showers, put on our pajamas and set up tray tables to eat in the living room, another rare treat. Once we were all settled, I turned on the TV on and started the show, which I had recorded on DVR. It didn’t begin well, as Nina and Amelia both began clamoring for their favorite movies instead of the Olympics. Can’t say that I blame them, as the show started off with a little too much history, background and narration. I found myself chiding Tom Brokaw and other members of the NBC team: “Show, don’t tell.”

Once they finally began showing the actual ceremony, though, we were all rapt. It was beautiful, spectacular, breathtaking—in short, brilliant. I think it was the single-best opening ceremony I’ve ever seen, though I probably say that each time I watch the Olympics (much like our latest Christmas tree is always the best one ever). Still, this ceremony is going to be hard to top, especially considering that the most impressive part was the synchronicity of thousands of performers.

Was it just me or did the broadcast team talk entirely too much? There were moments where it would have been nice to just watch and listen to what the obviously incredible producer of the on-field show wanted the audience to see and hear, but Matt Lauer, Bob Costas and Joshua Cooper Ramo—who was as times very interesting but even more often long-winded—seemed determined to share every bit of information they’ve gleaned on China in their years of research. But hey, maybe they, like me, were in awe.

It’s hard for me to pick a favorite part, but I know what the girls liked best—the Budweiser commercial with Hank the Clydesdale and his Dalmatian trainer. The beauty of the DVR is that you can start a show about an hour after it’s begun and then skip through the commercials, but I remember that ad from the Super Bowl and knew they’d love it, so I didn’t fast forward. Then they begged me to watch it over and over again.

They’ll almost certainly ask to watch it again when they wake up, hours from now. I decided to embed it here, so maybe they’ll find my blog a little more interesting.


Friday, August 8, 2008

The Olympics are coming! The Olympics are coming!

I took my girls and two of my nieces to the mall today and we released a few books into the wild. It’s part of BookCrossing.com, a unique book-swapping club and subject of my latest newspaper story.

Check out the BookCrossing website or the Sunday CA for more info, but basically we registered on the site, entered information about the books we were going to release, wrote journal entries about our contributions, put identifying labels in the books, then took them to the mall and left them in various places for others to find. Hopefully, when our books are “caught” (found), the recipients will log onto the website, write their own journal entries, then read and rerelease the books.

BookCrossing books end up all over the world, so this was a bit of research into what happens to our books. We’re all eager to hear about the travels of our tomes, and this was/is a fun project for me and four book-loving kids.

In other Eason news, we reconnected our cable today, which makes me a little nervous. As some of you know, I’ve enjoyed a “writing rebirth” since disconnecting our cable for the summer. I had become one of those lie-my-lazt-butt-down-on-the-couch-and-watch-TV-as-soon-as-the-kids-get-to-bed moms, but I vow not to fall back into that very bad habit again. I’ve been writing nearly every night for the last few months, so I haven’t missed cable at all. In fact, I’ve watched a grand total of about four hours of TV since pulling the plug on cable. It’s been pretty liberating, and I sure am having a blast writing every day and night.

HOWEVER, the Olympics start today, so I’m giving myself permission to watch a little TV daily for the next couple of weeks. I’ve loved the Olympics since I was a little kid, and I hope to give my daughters the same fond memories of this ultimate athletic and patriotic experience. I’ve been hard at work today on my various writing projects so I can take the night off and relax on the couch with Nina and Amelia as we watch the Opening Ceremonies. I just know they’re going to love it as much as I do.

Happy Olympic opening day to all, and to all a good night!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hope you voted today

Good news! Another contentious election in Memphis is over. Kevin almost forgot to vote, despite the fact that I called three times to remind him. He got there five minutes before the polls closed.

Looking at the numbers and based on what I saw at my polling place, it looks like many Republicans voted in the Democratic primary to sway the outcome in the Ninth Congressional District race. Doesn't look like it mattered, as Steve Cohen garnered nearly 80 percent of the vote. Memphis made national news today due to the racial overtones of this race, with Barack Obama repudiating the ads of Cohen rival Nikki Tinker.

The prevailing emotion on the CA comment board is pride in our citizens for rejecting the racism of this campaign and voting for the most qualified candidate. A white, Jewish man won in a landslide over a black, Christian woman in a heavily black, Christian district. Cohen obviously had support from all segments of the community.

Some really good news: Trip Advisor named the Memphis Zoo best in the country in its annual top-10 list. The top two aquariums in the country are also in Tennessee.

So it's been a pretty exciting day for our state, and now we're all exhausted from the excitement.

Nighty night.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Whew! I'm tired...

...so excuse my rambling, please.

It's been a long few days with Kevin out of town, and I'm really glad he'll be back tonight, even though we won't see him much until the weekend. The kids miss him, which is why they've been driving me crazy, I guess.

I wasted much of the day trying to find a source for a newspaper article, looking at the web site of pretty much every real estate agent in Memphis. Finally found what I needed, so I'll spend most of tomorrow on that job.

I got a teasing email from the Orpheum (Memphis) today. They wanted to let me know that I could buy advance tickets to "An Acoustic Evening with Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt," two great singer-songwriters. While I say I'm not a fan of country music, I love both of those guys, neither of whom is country enough for country music. They also both have excellent songs that mention Memphis: Lovett's "I've Been to Memphis" and Hiatt's "Memphis in the Meantime." If they added my other two favorite "country-but-not-really" artists--Lucinda Williams and John Prine--I'd just have to suck it up and go.

I made two submissions today: an essay to Work-At-Home Mom Magazine and five children's poems to Highlights. I'm falling in with that bad crowd at AW's JHS (Just Hit Send) freelance forum, so I'm trying to submit at least two ms a week, besides those to the newspaper. But hey, I've already met most of my August goals, and it's only the sixth!

I really need to be working on some entries for the Ozark Creative Writers Conference, but there just seem to be so many other things I need to do first. The next few weeks are going to be quite an adjustment for the Eason household as we all get ready for Nina to head to kindergarten, but I'm hoping we get it figured out soon (and that it gives me the time I need to write).

Speaking of kindergarten, I'm a little worried because I got a message today from someone initialled MP at Nina's new school saying Nina will meet with MP next week, but MP is not one of the kindergarten teachers I met yesterday. I'm really trying not to freak out, but it's just not at all what I was told at registration. My first thought is that they had more students than expected and have to add a kindergarten teacher., maybe someone fresh out of college, a teacher who didn't have a job until yesterday afternoon after the school finished student counts. But really, would that be so bad? Thanks to Gina for the reassurance. My sister is entering her first full year as a kindergarten teacher and has gone through her own registration nightmares the last couple of days.

Just heard the door open, so I'm going to go greet my hubby. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Uncle Pat's Birthday

Sure do miss you, Uncle Pat.

It's been three years since you left us, and I've thought of you each of those 1,186 days.

I forgot to call Erin today, but I hope she knows I'm thinking about her. We all miss you, but I know it's probably harder on her than anyone else. Putting Willie to sleep last week was just like losing another piece of you. He was a great dog, and he sure was crazy about you, as were we all.

Rest in peace.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Baseball and music

My short-story submission to the Memphis Magazine fiction contest included several references to baseball and music, so I was recently digging around for songs about baseball.

Thanks to Matt for directing me to this video of former Memphian Todd Snider's hotel performance of "America's Favorite Pastime" for legendary producer Don Was.



I loved going to The Daily Planet in the early- to mid-90s to hear Snider play. Glad to hear he's doing well, and I look forward to hearing his latest CD, Peace Queer, due out in October.

Check out Snider's
myspace page for another great song, "Mission Accomplished" ("fighting for peace, that's like screaming for quiet") or visit the Todd Snider official website.

But back to "America's Favorite Pastime." It's the story of Pittsburgh pitcher Dock Ellis' 1970 no-hitter against the Padres, apparently while he was under the influence of LSD. I'm embarrassed to admit I'd never heard this funny story before. I also enjoyed this tale from Wikipedia:

Ellis attempted "to hit every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup on May 1, 1974. In an effort to prove a point to teammates, Ellis hit Pete Rose, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen in the top of the first. The clean-up batter Tony Perez avoided Ellis' attempts, instead drawing a walk, and after two pitches aimed at the head of Johnny Bench, Ellis was removed from the game by manager Danny Murtaugh. Ellis' box score for the game reads: 0 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K."

Is it still considered a wild pitch if you throw the ball exactly where you're aiming?

Chuck Brodsky is another great sports singer-songwriter, and I was lucky enough to hear him a few years back at That Bookstore in Blytheville, Arkansas. I fully intend to get my dad The Baseball Ballads for Christmas one of these years.

Here's a site dedicated to baseball music. (WARNING: Turn down your speakers before following the link!)

Baseball and music: two great tastes that taste great together.