Saturday, August 30, 2008

Almost Dusk

On the new balcony.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Olympics Are Over?!

Whoa! Where was I?

A week or so ago, when I realized the Olympics were coming to a close, I started thinking about some of the Olympians I had the good fortunate to interview as a reporter. Good memories all. I'm sure I'm leaving out a few, but here are some highlights.

Lloy Ball, volleyball player extraordinaire. I was an intern at the Journal-Gazette in Fort Wayne. We met at Frisch's. He ate a fruit a cup. I don't remember what I ate but it wasn't a fruit cup. It was probably biscuits and gravy or something heinous.

He had several tattoos even then and was 24 at the time. One of the tattoos was his girlfriend's initials on his chest. You got to be pretty bold (or stupid) to get your girlfriend's initials tattooed on your chest at 24. But I think he married that girl. And it looks like they have several kids. Good for him.

Becky Jasontek, synchronized swimmer. She was super chatty and friendly. She was in the Aflac commercial with the synchronized swim team during the 2004 Olympics. She told me there was a duck on set during filming but that mostly the duck in the commercial was computer generated. I was so disappointed.

Paul Hamm, gold medal winning gymnast. I interviewed Paul in the midst of the controversy surrounding his men's all-around gold medal. The International Gymnastics Federation wanted to take it away because of a scoring error with another gymnast; Paul was having none of it. The interview was for a pop culture piece we did at CiN and one of the questions was what song was he into at the moment. He said Tom Petty's "I Wont Back Down."

Rau-Shee Warren, flyweight boxer. He went in 2004 and again this year, and both times got knocked out in the first round. Too bad. He was favored to win gold this time around. No matter. This isn't about how he did. He was a tough interview and gave mostly one word answers. Getting anything more from him was like pulling teeth. He was young, so it's not uncommon.

But his sweet mama, Paulette, was a great interview. I adored her. She was raising him solo and could not have been more proud of that kid. When he got knocked out in 2004 and I called her for a follow-up story she said she told him after the fight, "That's ok baby. This is one fight. Someday you'll be fighting in Vegas and everyone will know who you are." I loved that she dreamed big for him.

Ron Siler, flyweight boxer. This kid came up hard. ( NyTimes story here and a better story here from the San Diego Union Tribune.)

I interviewed him and his dad, who raised him, and spent time with them both in an oppressively hot gym with two boxing rings located inside of some school in Mt. Auburn. (I couldn't find it again if you gave me a million dollars.) He'd been let out of jail early from a felonious assault charge. (He pleaded guilty to hitting a constructor worked in the back of the head with a hammer). Yet he was the kindest, sweetest and seemingly gentle person. I couldn't believe he passed away his time punching people. He also referred to me only as ma'am, even when I asked him to call me Gina.

He had four kids and I when I went to his house with a photographer to interview him again and take photos he was too embarrassed to have us in his house, so I interviewed him on the front porch instead. No one rooted for that kid harder than I did. He lost in the second round.

Citius. Altius. Fortius.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Boxing Things Up

My only goal this past weekend was to pack for the imminent move on Saturday.

Guess how many boxes I packed?

UPDATE: I dig that most of you figured I packed 0 boxes. You all know me too well! But in fact, I packed 3. That means eight of you win - and get to help me unpack!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Someone To Count On

The handsome groom.

If you got married in the past four years and invited me, it's likely I wore this dress to the occasion. I've attended a dozen-plus weddings in that time and probably wore this dress to 90 percent of them.

Each time I think this is the time it's not going to fit anymore. It's certainly not getting any bigger, but miraculously it keeps zipping up. Thanks Ann Taylor sale rack.

Last night I wore the dress to my friend Michael's wedding. Jules took me as her date, and we agreed it was one of the nicest/sweetest weddings we'd been to in a while. It was certainly the biggest wedding I think I've ever attended. There must have been 300+ people there.

You got to bring your A-game to Michael and Andrea's wedding though - it was like a runway show of adorable dresses. Had I known I'd have maybe gotten a new dress.

I'm one of the sickos in this world who actually likes weddings. Some are more memorable than others and I think many of the traditions are mindless and esoteric, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating white wedding gowns and eating the cake.

But I digress... I meant to write this about something the priest said.

In the midst of the prayers and readings and Bible verses the priest said the reason Michael and Andrea were there was because they'd found someone they could each count on. Everyone just wants someone they can count on, he said. Someone to be there. Someone to rely on.

It was simple but eloquent. And that kind of sums it up I think - at the end of day we just want someone to have our back. I thought how Michael spent 18 months in Iraq and how it must have been great comfort for him to know he had someone here who he could count on... count on to miss him, want him home and pray he was safe.

So congrats to Michael and Andrea. The church was beautiful, the reception was rockin' (loved the open bar, thanks guys!) and the cake was delicious.

Speaking of the reception... Unless Andrea has a severe outside pitch a-la Mark Mallory, I'm about 80 percent sure she intentionally threw the bouquet at me. I ducked of course.

Oh wait, what's this? Oh it's me in that dress again...

Only at a different wedding.

And another wedding - this time with a sweater.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some People Have Real Problems

I was riding high on a deep misery last night this morning, feeling sorry for myself because I hate my new apartment. I decided I hate everything about it - the ceiling, the light, the windows, the light in the windows, the kitchen, the floors. Everything.

I was making myself pretty miserable thinking about it.

Omg, the ceiling is so wretched I'm going to drown myself! The windows are so old I'll probably freeze to death... Oh good, I'll be out of my misery then!

Then I got a text from a friend reminding me that some people have actual problems. So I've stopped feeling sorry for myself. And like my boy DP says, I'm an excellent decorator. So whatevs - bring it on ugly kitchen!

And anyway, the new digs has a fireplace and is just 25 steps from my current apartment (read: still walking distance to Graeter's.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Falling Down

Tuesday morning I fell down in the parking lot walking to my car. Laptop, purse, coffee. Purse contents spilled out. Thermos tumbled to the ground. (Thank god the coffee didn't spill.) The parking lot at my apartment is mostly gravel and grass, and I planted my heel on a rock and went down before I knew it.

Good morning to me!

This happened a few weeks ago too while I was on my cell. The person I was talking to thought I'd been in a crash. "Nah, I just fell down. Where was I?"

Then I started cracking up and looked for blood.

I got nothing to show for these falls. I land on my knees and wrists, but I've yet to have hardly a scratch from them, even though it hurts. Is a bruise too much ask? How about a rock in my hand? Geez, if I'm gonna fall down at least give me something to show for it. (She says as she gets hit by car next time.)

My wobbly left ankle is to blame. If I hit any sort of uneven ground on that side I'm liable to tumble or make an even bigger scene trying to stabilize myself. I went to several doctors in January about this, to no avail.

My next strategy is acupuncture. I went to acupuncture about 5 years ago for a different falling down problem caused by nerve damage. I scoffed at the idea of it working, but had run out options for correcting it. Much to my surprise, the leg weakness that then caused me to fall down subsided and I stopped having to pull myself up stairs with my arms.

Trust me, no one was more surprised it worked than me.

I always thought acupuncture was something that might work for other people, but certainly not me. My problems were real, damn it. They were concrete. I had nerve damage in my back, causing leg weakness. My quadricep was starting to atrophy. Real stuff man.

One doctor told me I had the "strength of an 80 year old woman" (he's lucky I didn't kick him in the face!) and that a hyperbaric oxygen tank (I thought maybe I'd see Michael Jackson!) was my only option. I would have had to go 4 hours a day, five days a week. Then it was only a maybe if it would speed nerve regeneration. Ummm... sounded awesome.

Then my rock star idol doctor, Marcia Bowling, suggested acupuncture. Hahaha! She's funny, I thought.

But by the second visit I thought I felt strength returning to my leg. Surely not, I thought as I ascended some stairs without having to pull myself up them. I am imagining the strength. It's a placebo effect.

I went about 5 times before the problem was solved. Insurance didn't cover any of it. All $600+ came out of pocket. It was worth every penny.

For my latest problem my strategy was deciding a few months ago that I don't actually have ankle weakness. It's psychosomatic, I decided. Except it's not when I fall down, like on Tuesday morning. It seems pretty real then.

So I'm going to try acupuncture again. I'm not convinced it will work, but then again, I don't have to be. We'll see..

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

So Busy I Can't Stand It

Nearly dead.

Magically alive again! Elapsed time: 24 hours.

The summer has been chalk full of exciting events, most noticeably my first balcony garden. Tomatoes, cucumbers, red peppers and several wave petunias for splashes of color.

It was hard work watching my dad plant them. It's even harder to watch them grow, then get within inches of death because I forget to water them. I always think it's the end for them, yet they continue to surprise me with their hardiness. It's amazing, and I'm not sure if anyone else has figured this out so I expect my blog traffic to explode with this tidbit, but they magically come back to life with some water!

All you budding green thumbs out there write that down.

This tenuous relationship with water might explain the lack of fruit on the cucumber and red pepper plants, though. The tomatoes are thriving, but no fruit on the others. I have my fingers crossed their late bloomers or fall vegetables or something like that. (Surely my neglect can't be to blame, can it?)

Anyway, it's pretty busy around here occasionally watering plants while apologizing profusely to them.

And look, these romas aren't even holding it against me. I've got two ripe ones already.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Flashin' Light, Light, Light

A few months ago Ronson, Kari, Tabari, and the Tall Drink of Water and I all decided to drop way too much money for floor seats at Kanye, Rihanna, Lupe Fiasco and N.E.R.D. Then the show got postponed and Rihanna dropped out.

Sad. Because I had been practicing my Umbrella-ella-ella, eh eh eh cadence all summer.

The show finally came 'round Friday and it was fabulous of course, even sans Rihanna.

Kari noted the fashion - lots of Glow In The Dark tour shirts, white shutter shades and hoochy "dresses from Deb."

Kanye's theme was that he's on a spaceship that crash lands on another planet and he spends his time between songs talking to the spaceship computer trying to figure out how to get home and how he'll score with the ladies on planet wherever he landed. (There was also a talking blow-up doll at one point and a dragon/dinosaur/godzilla thingy that ate him.)

The acting/chatting with the computer was hilarious, and poorly acted Ronson thought. I was entertained mostly because I think if I was a big musician I'd probably have people sit around and think up elaborate and ridiculous things for my shows too. So it was fun.

The songs were mostly from Graduation, and Kanye brought the house down, sweating and dancing and singing and talking to his computer. I loved every second of it. But Flashin' Lights is my jam, so that was my fave.

Kanye also performed a very sweet and emotional version of Hey Mama, and I was a little choked up by the end. Afterwards he went and sat on his spaceship themed stage under a soft stage light and drank water from his canteen (in keeping with the theme, I'm sure).

Then... and this is where it gets weird (yeah, here is where it gets weird, nevermind Kanye talking to a giant projector screen that's supposed to be a computer) the piano chords from Don't Stop Believing come on. Kanye is sitting stage right under soft lights not uttering another word and a Journey song starts playing.

Everyone is feeling kind of emotional over Hey Mama and probably thinking about their own mamas and then... Journey.

Then this spacesuit clad backup singer starts with the first verse. "Just a small town girl, livin' in a lonely world, she took the midnight train goin' anywhere."

And I look around thinking, Really? Don't Stop Believing? This is shocking. Am I being punked?

But then I start singing of course. I mean, how can you not?! It's Journey! It's Don't Stop Believing, come on! And I look and everybody is singing it, including Kanye who is still sitting alone and without a mic, just mouthing the words along with everyone else and his spacesuit clad singer.

It was definitely a highlight for how strangely awesome and random it was. Afterwards I thought, "Wow. That JUST happened."

The last was song was Homecoming, because somewhere between the talking computer, godzilla, the blow up doll and an hour and 45 minutes of songs Kanye's spaceship got fixed and he moseyed on back home to Earth.

Thanks for the ride Kanye!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Doctor's Recommend CiN Weekly

Today I was privy to the monthly faculty meeting of Children's Hospital's researchers. You know, the big dogs. The ones who attempt to cure diseases and stuff.

After the meeting I was introduced to this doctor, who gave me a firm hand-shake and enthusiastically said, "CiN Weekly!"

According to his web bio he went to Harvard Medical School. I bet he was totally riveted by my staff answers.