The Rocked Raccoon

I ran past a dead raccoon the other night.

In my quest to expand my running times and distances, I am trying to add variety to my paths.  I have a few favorites though, particularly close to my house.

On Monday night, I began my usual trek out to the main road, hoping to get in a few miles before yet another round of storms pounded the area.  I was greeted with a smattering of downed limbs and branches and one very dead critter on the side of the road.

The smell of rotting corpse is not new to me.  I spent years covering crime as a profession.

However, already knowing a smell doesn’t make it any less unpleasant.  On my way back home, I sprinted past at top speed and held my breathe.

It also bothered me that no one had come to give this little fellow a proper burial.  He lay curled in the fetal position, eyes open as if he was well aware of the speeding Buick about to end it all.

I realized it would be difficult to perform this task along a busy roadway, although I believe all creatures deserve dignity.  This includes those that think your garbage is a gourmet buffet.

I had a couple people ask me if this was the now-legendary raccoon who was given a memorial in Toronto.  My response was that I didn’t think a deceased animal would qualify for a passport, unless I’d really missed big changes to federal laws.  I also saw no flowers or signs of a makeshift tribute.

For now, I will likely avoid this spot until the nice folks from the city stop by and give him a lift to that big garbage pile in the sky.

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It WAS the Best of Times….

It is indeed true that time flies when you’re having fun or when your life is going well.


Some of the biggest changes in my life happened this year.  All for the better, as far as I’m concerned. 

I decided to take on the ultimate challenge this year – get in shape, get back on skates, and get on one of the world’s premiere roller derby leagues.  At almost 35, one failed derby attempt under my belt, and no athletic ability to speak of, this was not going to be easy.  Which, at this juncture, is what I wanted.  Words come easy to me.  Writing ad copy or short stories or press releases comes easily to me.  Knocking into another girl using only my hips and my guts does not come easily.

So, this coming year, my goal is to run more (one 5K signed up for already) and to roster as a member of the Naptown Roller Girls’ Third Alarm. 

I changed jobs this year and became a copywriter.  It’s great to work in a place that is low-key (jeans are encouraged) where the people are fun and creative.  I’m looking forward to expanding my writing services on several fronts as well.


I ran my first 5K in October (then went to scrimmage).  My time was just over 36 minutes, the fastest I’ve ever run.  My goal for 2014 is to get that down to at least 34 (if not 30 flat). 

We had a fantastic time exploring “America’s Wang” (aka Florida).  


We spent a day with our friends driving to Key West (this was taken in Islamorada).  We spent several days in Lauderdale-By-the-Sea in a beautiful condo on the beach, then spent two days in the Tampa area. 

Overall, it was a year to takes risks.  Ones that paid off.

I also learned how to be a better friend. 

Conclusions from this year:

1. You can inspire others by simple acts of support and kindness.

2. Just because you fall once doesn’t mean you won’t get back up.

3. The greatest friends are the ones who love you for who you are, flaws and all, and who are kind enough to make sure you’re okay when the sh** hits the fan.  

4.  Your past is not indicative of who you are.  How you behave now is what sets the tone.  Everyone changes and grows as we get older.

5. Some people simply never grow up. 

On a final note, I had the chance to see two of my all-time favorite musicians – Kristen Hersh in the spring and Johnny Marr in the fall.  At the Johnny Marr show, he played a cover of the Bobby Fuller Four’s “I Fought the Law (and the Law Won).”  It is my Dad’s favorite song of all time and I cried.  It was then followed up by “Getting Away With It,” the classic track originally done by Marr, Bernard Sumner, and Neil Tennant of the Pet Shop Boys. 



That about sums it up….




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I am nothing if not a creature of habit.

I freely admit to hitting up the same Starbucks near my house a few times a week.  Yes, caffeine is an addiction and Starbucks is my pusher.

With the weather cooling off, I broke out my favorite pair of well-worn fingerless knit gloves.  They’re red and black-checked (the pattern of socks I will wear when I eventually bout with the Naptown Roller Girls (sometime next year).  I’ve spent two winters with them and occasionally don them while at work due to my office being on-par with a meat locker in terms of climate control.


(me, my gloves, and my friend Amira)

Last week, as I pulled up to the drive-through window to get my morning hit, the barista asked if I was still in “derby class.”  She was referring to the wonderful Derby Lite program, which I started last spring after more than two years off-skates.  After class on weeknights, I often stop and grab a lemonade on my way home. 

I nodded, but then mentioned I had returned to competitive skating.  When I told her I had become a member of Naptown, the barista behind her screamed and said, “your games are beyond fun – we need to go!”

I blushed and handed them our season schedule cards before heading on my way.

It struck me later the feeling of accomplishment I felt in that moment.  I’ve worked on myself physically and emotionally for many months and being recognized as a member of one the best roller derby teams in the world felt….well, pretty amazing.

My metanoia has been to become a better wife, daughter, friend, colleague, and teammate. 

While this is an ever-evolving process, that moment of simple recognition reminded me just how far I’ve come.

(forgive the sap – I’ve probably had too much coffee)



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Get Over It!

It seems people are in a tizzy this week over Indianapolis being one of the “10 Worst-Dressed Cities in America.”

Fashion writers locally are scrambling to make suggestions and perhaps fuel a John Varvatos-clad revolution in the “crossroads of America.” 

Before they get their Calvin Klein briefs in a wad, here’s a few things I think they’ve lost sight of:

1. This is not a big deal:  Sure, Indy has been on its share of “bad” lists, including Indiana being the third most depressing state in America.  However, we’re not the “Murder Capitol of the US” (two other nearby cities have been given that distinction in recent years – Gary and Chicago).  We’ll never see a hurricane and earthquakes are extremely rare. 

The cost of living locally is quite nice, when compared to places along the East and West coasts.  All in all, we’re not in half-bad shape (at a time when places like Chicago and Detroit are struggling with financial and safety concerns).   

2. We have bigger problems than booming sales at Central Indiana Gap retailers: Gun control, violence and our youth, gay rights – these are just a few of the issues we deal with every day.  What guys are wearing to work or play is not a big issue in the grand scheme of Indianapolis history. 

3. Don’t make us something we’re not: One of the core pieces of measurement on this list was how men tend to favor khaki-and-polo-shirt combination for “business casual.” Well, that happens everywhere.  I lived in New Orleans for three years and let me tell you what I saw at my job daily: guys in khakis and polos.  Let’s face it – this is Central Indiana, not the coast.  People want comfort.  Trust me – I’ve seen my fair share of well-dressed men throughout my years as a journalist.  Men who are in the public eye can rock a suit with the best of them. But, if you’re an engineer and are behind a desk for eight hours, I don’t expect a Tom Ford level of style and neither should the community-at-large.  If you’re a doctor or nurse, you’re in scrubs – period. 

If you can’t afford a tailor, fine.  But, as long as you’re making the effort, then that’s what counts.  My husband is not a supermodel, but he does wear clothing that fits his body.  

4. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you: The local fashion group Pattern sent out a newsletter yesterday, picking on “The Indianapolis Star” (the exact words were “attempt to soften the blow backfired”).  I don’t find this assessment particularly fair.  For Pattern to jump to the conclusion that there was an initial “blow” I think is pushing it.  The newsletter goes on to praise a member of the “Star” staff for raising awareness on the issue via social media, which is all well and good, except they insulted the publication in the previous sentence! Don’t insult on one hand and then try to be gracious on the second.  It looks cheap and makes it seem as though you didn’t just get a slew of free publicity off this issue!

As for it being a “blow,” again, that’s a stretch.  Best and worst lists of cities in various categories come out on what seems like an hourly basis. 

Finally, it could be far worse – we could be Anchorage, Alaska!

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The Break-Up

“Honey, it’s not you – it’s me.”  Words every single woman dreads.  Words everyone dreads more…when it comes to your job.

It happened to me this week – you’re an outstanding employee, you’re an outstanding person, but things have to change and you’re not included in those. 

My position was eliminated. 

Similar to a break-up and far calmer than termination (and generally both sides don’t hate each other).

You go through the same feelings: anger, thoughts of revenge and scathing blogs, guilt, hindsight, and everything in-between.  You wonder why they chose you and not someone else.  You wonder what will happen to the relationships you’ve built in the last year.  You wonder about your friends who are staying, but will be “dumped” in several weeks.

You have “trophies” similar to a break-up:  shirts bearing your company’s logo, toys, pictures, all mementos of the life you had together.

You say you’ll still be friends and (at least for me in this case) you know you will.  It was an amicable break-up, although heartbreaking nonetheless.

The good news is that break-ups are for the best in the long run.  We also learn something from every relationship in which we engage, whether it be personal or professional.  What I learned and the people I met through this relationship are too numerous to name or count.  I made friendships with people I’ve never seen face-to-face across this country.

So, now I hope for the best.  I believe a higher power (whatever it is) has a plan for those of us across the country searching for that next great thing.

It is out there and this time, it’ll have a happy ending!


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21st Century Etiquette Lessons

While I am by no means a disciple of the “Miss Manners” books of the last two centuries, one would think certain common courtesies could be observed while in public.

On Saturday night, my husband and I went to see “Django Unchained.” As a longtime fan of Quentin Tarantino, I was more than excited to see his latest offering.  At one point in my idealistic teenage years, I had nearly applied to film school to be a screenwriter because I relished the dialogue Tarantino would give his characters.  I even have this theory that, if George Lucas had hired Tarantino JUST to write the dialogue for the “Star Wars” prequels, those three movies would’ve been so much better.

But, I digress.

After getting my first cell phone right after college graduation in 2000, I always assumed the “Golden Rule” in the movie theatre – do unto others as they would do to you.  Or, more simply, I’d turn my phone off.  This was near the beginning of the cell phone boom.

As time wore on, the reminders to silence or turn off your phone altogether would mount prior to the movies.  They’d be ads or just reminders in between the previews and the actual start of the show.  In one case, former Jefferson Parish Sheriff (the late Harry Lee), would come on-screen in theatres in Jeff Parish and say, “don’t interrupt my movie!” When a chubby man with a gun tells you to turn it off, you listen.

The Saturday night show was packed – this movie has generated a lot of buzz.  We got to the theatre early in hopes of not having to fight for decent seats.  We got our seats, took off our coats, and turned off our phones.

The theatre filled quickly and it seemed like a quick jump from ads to previews to the film itself.  During this time, I noticed women on either side of us.  Both were clutching their cell phones for dear life! They were texting and emailing as well. 

During a critical moment in the film (I won’t spoil it), the cell phone of the woman to my husband’s left went off.  This is after six (we counted) ads/reminders to silence or turn off your phone.  It rang…and rang…and rang.  It was very obvious who the phone belonged to because the woman kept looking down at her hands.  It was almost as if the theatre was daring her to answer (I would’ve bet money on it). 

At the same time, the woman next to me could not have been less enthused about the cinematic masterpiece before us and checked her Facebook and texts about 10 different times during the nearly three-hour movie.

I am going to be blunt – this is flat-out rude and disrespectful to those around you.  Unless you are a doctor on-call, turn your phone off or put it on silent.  I wasn’t going to leave the theatre to speak to management because “Django Unchained” was so amazing.  Next time, these people might not be so lucky.

(and, no, I wouldn’t retaliate by flatulating loudly, even though I am capable of doing such, thanks to a mild case of collitis)

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Goodwill Hunting – Volume One

I can’t lie – I love Goodwill. I’ve been an avid thrift/consignment shopper my entire life.

In the last few years, I’ve found my tastes have shifted toward higher-end labels and designers.  I find fashion to be like an art.

I also find thrift shopping to be its own artistic outlet.  My stress relief is searching rack after rack at Goodwill in what I like to call “high-end hunting.”  It astounds me that people would get rid of designer labels.  Then again, their loss is our gain….and all we shoppers have to do is find it!

I went to the Goodwill near 86th and Michigan Road this past weekend and lucked out twice!

ImageFirst, I spied a black vintage sweater.  While a little small for me, what drew my eye was the Prada label.

ImagePrada is a storied Italian fashion house.  I couldn’t resist – even if I couldn’t wear it, I could find a home for it somewhere.

Then, as my husband began making noises about leaving, I took a peek at the women’s blazer aisle. Imagine my surprise (and delight) to find a vintage Christian Dior blazer.  Image

Dior has been in business for decades (again, a storied fashion house out of Europe).

I walked out with both items, spending about $12.  I got a cool new blazer, a Prada I can repair and sell, and the money goes back into Central Indiana.

This is not the first time I’ve lucked into high fashion at Goodwill – I’ve found Armani, Juicy Couture, Heatherette, and Burberry, to name a few.  All real and all at very affordable prices!


You’d be surprised what you can find if you’re willing to hunt for it!  Stick around – I’ll keep sharing my fashion finds!  Shopping for a good cause never goes out of style!

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