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Winding Roads: Staying on track

Friday, August 3, 2007

I have been reminded of why being a reporter can be totally frustrating. Putting it quite simple, you just can't work on cruise control or else you are going to blow it. I did that last week when reporting on a special Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn board meeting. The meeting wasn't all that lengthy and certainly not complicated but I blew it. Nothing is more embarrassing then to report you did wrong. I happen to be a person who hates to be wrong but now and then, I most certainly can be. Lord knows that I try not to be. You have to keep your head in the game so to speak and when you don't, you pay. I can remember several years ago I flew with a couple of gentlemen to the Cedar Rapids area, to report on an ethanol plant and got to speak personally with the ag secretary and thought I had a top notch story for the Chronicle. I worked hard and long only to be totally embarrassed by the whole thing. You see I misspelled her last name by one letter. When Paul Struck called me on it, I said no way did I or could I do that. But yes, I had and I wanted to drop dead. All the hard work was for nothing. It took several days to get over that one. When I got a phone call letting me know of Thursday's error, well you can imagine what I called myself. One may ask oneself why is it we can do such stupid things at times, I can go for a long time without an error and then again, a couple will pop up. In June I left a name out of a cutline under a photograph. You might think I could count to seven and know I should have seven names under the picture. Nope, I had six. How many times have you said of someone, "How can they be so dumb?" I certainly couldn't begin to count the times I have uttered that question. It's human nature to find faults in others and see none in oneself. We have a tendency to gloss over our own. It isn't just in reporting that I'm guilty. For the last eight to nine months I have put on a few pounds. Few as in 18. I kept ignoring what my clothes were telling me. The time arrived for the yearly check-up. I was worried what the tests would show. Well all the tests turn out fine but the scale wouldn't let me deny the truth. Yes, I have a scale in our bathroom. I just didn't use it as I didn't want to see what it would say. I had one excuse after another for my situation. Selling, buying, moving, wedding, traveling, weather and so forth. I thought back to a year ago when I was so pleased to be wearing smaller size clothing. I had had a great time buying clothes. I was so smug and wondered why others don't lose weight as well. All we hear on the tube is about obesity. The doctor was pleased with the tests and to quote him, "You obviously know what not to eat so it has to be quantity and the lack of exercise." So this summer I have finally gotten back to regular exercise. I like to walk and in fact find walking around town interesting. I have the time to enjoy folks' flowers and appreciate what they do with their yards. When someone calls to me, I enjoy a chat with them. The latest attempt will be to ride a bike. Don't laugh. Once you ride a bike, you should be able to do it again. I found it isn't quite that easy as I don't want the ground to rise up and meet me. It's an older bike and one I thought I could handle but I think I want training wheels---invisible ones. Anyway, some day I'll get to feeling right at home on it. So like I said, it is self control and keeping your head in the game. * Since living in town I now have the ability to watch CNN thus I was able to watch the Democrat candidates debate. Debate is a liberal term for it. Brief responses may be better. I ruled out three candidates by evening's end. I wondered about them and decided I was right as they don't go very deep in several areas. In fact, I doubt if I support any one of them. Edwards has his sound bites down like a recording. A couple of those older gentlemen act like me--can only think of one thing at a time. I dislike Hillary but she sure put egg on her main rival's face. I can hardly wait for the Republican debate. I wish all of you would call our senator's and congressional offices and ask why they are taking time off? No need criticizing Iraq when we have so many problems here that no one seems to be working on. They are too busy snipping at one another rather than deal with immigration, insurance and medical costs, education and energy relief just to name a few. What have they done to earn their salaries?