What It’s Like To Work In News

Thanks to Keith Miles for this photo of me, which he took at the city's kickoff for its 35-year planning process.

Thanks to Keith Miles for this photo of me, which he took at the city’s kickoff for its 35-year planning process.

When I was a reporter in The Tennessean’s Williamson County office, one of the things I could count on was a daily phone call from a cranky but hilarious school board member who absolutely loved to gossip about his fellow board members and make outlandishly inflammatory accusations of school administrators.

These calls were frequently conducted from his bathtub and often he’d be smoking at the same time. I know this because I could hear the splashing and exhaling. Also, because I asked him. If a man is naked when he calls, it’s best to know it up front.

Anyway, this guy is on a long list of characters I’ve been graced to know because of what I do for a living.

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The Top Seven Rainbow Bright Moments of 2012

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I’ve decided 2012 is the Year of the Rainbow.

For my friends and me, some of the happiest moments have come at the tail end of some deluges, both figuratively and literally.

Here are the top seven. …

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Oh, Tennessee: Do we see ourselves as others do?

Oh, Tennessee.

Sometimes you remind me of me when I was newly single and starting to date. I was so eager and caught up in my own tender heart that I had no idea how I came across to other people. Sometimes it worked out regardless, and much of the time it did not.

I had baggage. Not Civil War kind of baggage, bless your heart, but a (civil but still painful) divorce… Continue reading

The Sweetest Little Moments from 2011

Keeneland; Lexington, Ky.

In no particular order, though I numbered them just to make it easier to read – here are some sweet little moments from my 2011. I think when you’re having a great time, every little bit of it sparkles.

1. Lily in the Heathrow airport: It is a complicated airport and we were racing to catch our connection to Bangalore, India, and we had to ride a shuttle, a train, and pass through several security clearances. Just getting to this point had been a bureaucratic nightmare, and I think my mother and I had our doubts we’d ever get to India. My daughter Lily, 9 at the time, never waivered. My favorite moment is standing on a shuttle, feeling a certain peace at our lack of control over the situation. I looked at Lily and she said very calmly, “We’ll make it.” I thought for the first of many times on that trip – Damn, she is so grown-up.

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When Awesome Stops By

Spotted him on Christmas Day, 2011

Sometimes you look for Awesome, and sometimes Awesome finds you.

Awesome rescues you from a blown-out tire at 3 a.m. Awesome brings you dinner when you haven’t shopped and caffeine when you’re hung over. Awesome finds a Golden Girls marathon at midnight and then a Jersey Shore marathon when there’s a sad, Rose-misses-her-dead-husband episode.

Awesome runs with you – 11 miles on New Years Day, the park after work. Awesome rides with you – through weird places and beautiful ones … awesome places. Awesome cheers you from the marathon course, and Awesome puts you on the back of his motorcycle.

Awesome flirts you up in a random airport. He holds you in the hotel bar. Awesome pushes you against the window of an Italian restaurant, and he cradles you in the rain. Awesome carries you across the parking lot and loves you outside in the cold.

Awesome tells you, “I’m giving my uncle a kidney.” “We’re adopting a baby from Africa.” “I’m going to live with your grandmother while she recovers.”

Awesome hand-sews you a black pencil skirt. Awesome builds you a fire pit. Awesome makes her own marshmallows, and Awesome goes to Paris alone. Awesome saves her bake sale money and buys her best friend an American Girl doll.

Awesome dances on tables. Awesome sings with the band. Awesome plants things. Cooks things. Fixes things.

Awesome climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro with her mother. Awesome moves to be close to her daughter.

Awesome reads. Studies. Prays. Paints.

Awesome starts an absurd conversation before 7 a.m. Awesome says to her mother, “This fish only lives in waterfalls that are only in caves. More high maintenance than you.” Awesome says to his daughter, “You are a great kid, and we will work all this out together.” Awesome drinks tequila at noon on a Monday because the conversation needs to continue after coffee. Awesome comes to your house for Christmas.

Awesome keeps a blanket in the car because you never know when it might be a good time for a picnic, and flowers in the guest room because you never know when More Awesome might stop by.

The One Thing vs. The Whole Thing

Guest appearance at Lipscomb. I was invited by Dr. Jimmy McCollum, who serves on The Tennessean's Advisory Board.

“I’m a journalist. I work at The Tennessean. I’m in charge of The Tennessean’s websites.”

This is how I’d answer questions like, “And what do you do?”

A strong community brand had become my own personal identity, and the rest of the things that could have made me a better, richer person were neglected at the expense of my professional goals. Continue reading

A Living Will

A living will:

If I am ever incapacitated…

If I am ever chained inside my body or – God forbid – my mind…

If I am connected to machines to keep me breathing, and if I’m disconnected from the world that has kept me alive, please, please dear loved ones, know this – Know I am still here. I am still a part of this world. Do these things for me: Continue reading

A day’s gift

Early Saturday morning: I eavesdropped on politicians over eggs and toast in downtown Franklin.

I shopped – bought myself a cocktail ring and a necklace to go with the outfit I was wearing that very moment – before meeting up with my little girl at the Starbucks on the corner. She drank a hot chocolate, then we walked back down Main and bought stationary at a favorite shop.

We drove to Nashville, windows rolled down. Alternated between her music and mine. Taylor Swift and a mix CD compiled by a creative friend several years ago.

We sat in the middle of Centennial Park, writing letters to people we love…

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A Timely Wind-Down

Tim Zurowski Photography

This weekend was domestic, pony-tailed, picket fences bliss.

I cleaned my house – really cleaned it.

I mowed the yard, pulled weeds, chatted with a neighbor who edged my part of the sidewalk just because he’s nice.

I spruced up the garden and planted fall annuals. Purple aster, yellow pansies.

Built a fire pit out back with the help of friends. “Dual-burning”, with sides for both hotdogs and s’mores!

Bicycled Williamson County’s mega hills and music star farms: Lynnwood Way, Hidden Valley, Moran Road, Del Rio Pike…

(My lovely riding partner was patient when I almost died on monstrous Lynnwood.)

Read a book on my patio, Billie Holiday tunes in the background.

Watched college football at my girlfriend’s parents’ house while our children played in the yard. (Both our alma maters lost, but the company compensated for it.)

Let my daughter hold a bake sale with cookies she made herself.

Ate Chinese delivery on the screened porch when I burned a pot of bean soup. The little group who ended up at my house Sunday night minded not a bit.

I watched hummingbirds – two of them (male and female) – flit around my backyard. I don’t have a feeder; they like the wisteria tangled through the fence.

I saw deer, twice; once on the street behind my house, and again on a pot-holed lane at the bottom of a giant bicycle decline.

I was softer, more patient with my child and her gaggle of neighborhood friends.

I shrugged off small disasters – the burned soup, et al.

I didn’t take the interstate anywhere. I didn’t stay up later than 10. I didn’t shoot any tequila.

My bike ride into the country was as far away from Franklin as I ventured – a first in more than a season’s time.

After a busy summer, it was a gentle reminder of how much I love my home, how nice it is to slow down, and what peace can come with a well-timed wind-down.

The Overlook

 

This is the scenic overlook atop Lynnwood Way. (Lynnwood Way is the road connecting Hillsboro to Franklin roads on the west side of Cool Springs.)

People who don’t often come to Franklin are surprised we have a spot like this here, but we do.

It is a lovely beast.

It’s 1,000 feet above sea level, and if I had retained anything from calculus I could tell you what the slope is from Franklin Road.

Something steep.

I’ve run it, twice. Once with a friend, and once alone. At the other side of the mountain are seven more miles of hills before home.

I’ve danced on the overlook too many times to count. Many with my daughter, and a few just me.

I’ve picnicked there. I’ve cried. I’ve driven there to escape. Sat there to unwind.

I hadn’t been to the overlook in awhile, but I found myself there this afternoon when I drove the pretty way home from Nashville.

Some observations:

It’s more secluded now, with the trees and vegetation recovered from the construction that cut the road.

Prettier, more private.

It’s also been marred with graffiti and beer cans.

Grown up, for good and bad.

It’s a great spot.