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… I’ve ever known — even though I dreaded facing it almost as much as anything in recent memory.

Fittingly, Kiddle woke me up at 4:11 a.m. wanting to play fetch.

I thought I’d snooze until at least 5 a.m., get up, shower, get dressed and go de-ice my car, which was still parked next door at my insurance agent’s office. I spent about 15 minutes on the car before I realized it was probably going to take at least an hour to get the windows cleared — and even if I accomplished that task, I still didn’t like the looks of Ruth Street. My next thoughts: What if I get stuck in that ice-snow muck? Who’s going to push me out at 6:15 a.m.?

I looked around and sort of savored the moment: The snow was coming down steadily, but unlike the last couple of days and nights, during which we received sleet or freezing rain, practically non-stop, this precipitation was virtually silent. The whole town was quiet, in fact, and the streetlights illuminated the snow as it fell.

The sign at McCollum’s said 15 degrees, but honestly, I felt warm. I did, after all, have on my Timberlands, longjohns, jeans and sweatpants, two T-shirts, my RLC Tennis hoodie, stocking cap, scarf, gloves and coat.

“I’m walkin’!” I said (to no one there).

I turned off the car, went inside, stuffed my camera and some extra clothes and shoes into my backpack, and headed out.

I started in darkness, but by the time I reached the news office about 30 minutes later (OK, it’s only 10 blocks, but I was slowed by the snow and I did stop to take a picture of a man walking his doggies), it was daylight. The snow had stopped falling and the sun was coming out.

Unfortunately, within a span of about 10 minutes, I realized that I just might be the only person who was able to make it in to work. No biggie — except I had no idea how to do the composition part of sending the newspaper pages to the press plant! Luckily, a few minutes later, in walked my lone reporter, Mona, who also had hoofed it (she had a longer walk than I did, even!), followed shortly by Kim, Junior and Billy from the mailroom, and Sheila, our circulation manager.

Thanks to Michelle’s assistance via telephone, I was able to get the pages PDF’d and sent. In the meantime, my buddy Lea came by in her Trail Blazer, went to pick up lunch and then stuck around until we were finished with the paper to give Mona and me a ride home — she even made a detour so I could drop off some Cokes for The Currently Snowbound Diane!

Once I returned home, I immediately took some pictures of snow-covered stuff in my yard. After that, I resumed the process of  de-icing my car — made somewhat easier by the bright sun.

While I was scraping the windshield, a man pulled up in a car and parked in the space next to mine. I gave him a quick smile, but he basically ignored me as he carried a piece of paper inside. What a grump! I thought as I merrily went about removing huge chunks of ice.

The man came out a few minutes later and, once again, pretty much ignored me. Then he opened his car door and said, flatly, “I can see you’ve never lived in the northern part of Illinois.” As he spoke, he reached in and grabbed an ice scraper that basically made my scraper look like a tiny toy!

I couldn’t help thinking: Ooh, thanks for pointing out that I am woefully unequipped for this daunting task! (Or something like that; I’m pretty sure I didn’t think of those exact words until I started typing away on this post!)

Next thing I knew, though, he was scraping away at the windshield, scraping away at the back window, all the while telling me about a dandy way to use a soda bottle filled with tap water (“Nothing too warm,” he said, “or you’ll crack the glass in your windows!”) to help melt the ice.

A few minutes later, the windows were almost completely clear … or at least as clear as I cared about getting them, considering I wasn’t actually going to be going anywhere for another 15 hours!

I walked home, went inside, removed my wet clothes and put on some dry ones, and then sat down. Finally.

Kiddle immediately brought me one of her toy mice. Obviously, it was time for more fetch!

OK, I’ll be honest: I woke up Saturday morning, March 1, and after being up and down for approximately an hour, I suddenly realized, OH MY GOD, I didn’t make a bloggie post on the 29th day of February … which was kinda my whole point of blogging EVERY DAY for the entire month of February!

(Further honesty: I meant to blog early in the day but kept getting busy doing other things — including taking an hour-long nap, which basically served to make me even tireder [more tired?], so that when I finally got home for the day/night, all I could think about was hitting the couch and watching House … which, most excellently enough, happened to be a new one!)

So: So what? I edited the timestamp. And, besides, this picture was taken on Leap Day, so what’s the big deal? I almost made it!

BEN Group

From left: Michelle, Kathy Martin (her final day at The BEN), Phil, Gayla, Sandy, Sheila, Other Diana, Jane, Traci and Di (a.k.a. Yours Truly)


BEN Group Photo

It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, it wasn’t night; matter of fact, it was morning, around about 10:26 a.m., according to the computer clock, which was always approximately six minutes slow, according to my cell phone and the clock on the wall above Sandy’s desk. However, the sky was dark, and the clouds looked like they could become stormy, with just a little encouragement.

All I could think about was Sheila’s jacket. All Sheila could think about was murdering three co-workers and making it look like an accident.

All anyone else could think about was lunch.

Sheila's Jacket

Sheila got the jacket for $3 from the Lost Luggage Place in some town in Alabama. She read about it on the Internet and made Robin take her down there.

“Do they just let you go through the luggage?” Sandy asked, blonde and innocently.

“Oh, no, honey, it’s set up like an actual store,” Sheila replied.

I had pretty much decided not to take and/or post a photo of my work computer ’cause … well, first of all, when I realized exactly how OLD my “new” computer happens to be, I found myself highly annoyed by the fact that we’re still using such ANCIENT technology, and secondly: Who wants to be reminded of work, outside of the workplace?

Then Sandy got to work today, and she had brought me daffodils to go with my not-so-new but definitely improved monitor! (Sandy ROCKS!)

Computer Frontview

I tried to do an outline thingie in PhotoShop, so I could number different what-nots and knickknacks on my desk, but then I realized there’s nothing all that mysterious. Still, see how many of the following items you can spot: reporter’s notebook (more than one), breakfast Coca-Cola, mouse, Library Badge (created for me by Lea), various sticky notes, photo of Lt. Joshua D. Lyons, USMC; beef/cheese snack stick, plastic soldiers wearing customized faces featuring local historian, coffee cup, daffodils, miniature Luke Skywalker and tiny piece of Adam’s grille from when he hit a deer.

Perhaps some of the items will be more recognizable from the side.

Computer Sideview

Sometimes, it makes me really, really happy that stuff like this amuses me so much!


I call them daffodils. I think they’re all pretty much the same. Donald and Virginia have three or four different varieties growing in their yard this spring, every spring, and the ones in that top picture are my favorites.

Group of Daffodils

Today was a good day.

I barely put a dent in the five remaining sections of the special edition we’re putting out, despite the fact that I was at the office until after 5, but hopefully I can accomplish miracles this weekend when my co-workers are gone and the phones are silent — meaning I won’t have to deal with callers like the ones I wrote about in a recent post, or the one who bent my ear for at least 10 minutes this morning, complaining about her water bill and how she’d paid it at the bank (as the water department allows you to do) but had been charged a late fee, still. It wasn’t even 8 o’clock yet and I was already trying to do about 15 things at once, and as she ranted, her voice got higher and louder — to the point that I told her, “Hey, don’t be yelling at me about it!” and she said she wasn’t, but I let her know that her voice was getting rather loud (I was holding the phone a good foot or so from my left ear* — thinking, all the while, that my head might actually explode if I didn’t hang up soon).

Later in the day, Adam rigged up a “new” monitor for my iMac at work. The blue “snowmobile,” as I like to think of it, has certainly seen better days, and the screen seems to keep getting darker and darker, so I casually mentioned that I need a new computer — knowing that the likelihood of that happening is about as great as the possibility of monkeys flying out of my butt (honestly, I’d bet on the butt-monkeys way before I’d put any money on a new computer, considering I’ve had exactly four in the umpteen years I’ve worked there — and two of those weren’t actually new but were new to me, so they seemed [somewhat] new). Mr. Fix-It went to the supply room, came back with a monitor and figured out that you can, indeed, hook up a different monitor to the iMac. He connected it to my computer, and voila! A new computer!

(Shortly thereafter, I realized this monitor was the same one from my previous computer; however, the screen is brighter and stuff looks bigger and I can see what the photos actually look like, so, what the heck?)

The old computer/power source is sitting on the desk next to the new monitor, facing west, and Michelle pointed out that anything on the new monitor could also be seen on the old computer. I fixed that potential security issue by taping a full-color Sesame Street Live! promotional folder that I’d received in the mail a few days ago to the old monitor.

It’s perfect, really: Grover features prominently amongst the Sesame Street gang, and there’s also a picture of Oscar the Grouch saying, “SCRAM!” (Sounds like a good photo op to me; I’ll try to remember to shoot one tomorrow.)

This evening I ventured over to The Lovely’s to watch the Salukis play Kansas in the Sweet 16. On The Lovely’s 48-incher. On which we had SIU-Kansas and All My Children going, thanks to split-screen technology and the fact that we both can, indeed, operate the remote. We had Big ‘n’ Tasty Value Meals, Cokes and Chips Ahoy cookies while we watched the game. Again: Perfect, really, except for the final score: Kansas 61, SIU 58.

I can’t dwell on it, though. I’m so tired, my eyes burn.

* — I’m mostly left-eared when it comes to talking on the phone; I believe it’s at least partly because I take notes with my right hand. How ’bout you?

January 2020
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