Thursday, March 30, 2006

Late night calls

There is a certain time of night that when your phone rings, you just know it's not going to be anything good.

My phone rang last night after I went to bed. It was one of those calls. A young woman had been in an accident at a notoriously dangerous intersection I have done a lot stories about. This was the first fatality, to my knowledge.

I had to make a decision. Go to the scene, or get the information in the morning. Hubby was pissed. He thinks I take my job too far. Not wanting to deal with his issues, coupled with the fact that I still haven't adjusted to the nuances of radio reporting and I was kind of fuzzy from sleep, I decided to chase the story in the morning.

It was a bad call on several levels.

I ended up spending hours trying to pin down facts I could have easily already had if I'd just gone to the scene. And the 19 year-old girl was the niece of one of our sheriff's deputies, so I really wanted to do a good job for him and his family. Those are my guys.

My guys from the TVFD (and Tina) were also first on the scene and had to go through the trauma of working it. I should have been there.

Anyway. This was on the heels of a chartered bus full of high school girls on a soccer team from Beaumont overturning yesterday afternoon, killing two of the girls and seriously injuring more.

So many young lives wiped out in a day. So many families in pain.

And I'm bitching about not making a scene.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


I attended my first Liberty Jubilee festival yesterday. Liberty is the small Texas town where I work. 'Festival' is defined in Webster's Dictionary as " a thinly veiled attempt by merchants to acquire your money." And Jubilee just means you eat way too much.

I personally consumed a gi-normous pile of freshly sliced, deep-fried potatos covered in bucket cheese, liquid sour cream, and artificial bacon bits, generously doused with salt. For protein, I had a foot-long, and almost as wide, slab of greasy teriyaki grilled chicken on a stick covered in what amounted to be watery maple syrup. And to balance it out, a mountain of fried mushrooms with full fat ranch dressing on the side for dipping. Good thing I stuck with Diet Coke.

My 8 year-old son was not looking so well. He'd been feeling kind of puny from the time we got there. After waiting for about 45 minutes in the direct heat of the sun to get his face painted, he finally made it to the front of the line. I was in the hair painting line with his delightful 5 year-old sister who was happily telling everyone within ear-shot how Mommy squeezes her pimples and how gushy her belly is since she had so many babies, when suddenly kids started to scatter like cockroaches in the sunlight. I looked over to see Joseph quietly throwing up on the ground right in front of the face painting stand. Poor kid. The face painting lady didn't even miss a beat. She handed me a spray water bottle and a roll of paper towels, sat him down in the chair, and painted his face. I was left to deal with the aftermath. Gushy belly and all.

We ended up staying about fours hours, spending entirely too much money, and laying a solid foundation for future cardiac episodes.

These are the memories we cherish.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

T - I - R - E - D

There was a time when 9 pm was the beginning of the evening for me, full of promise and fun. Now it's just the end of a long day.

When did that happen?

Probably when mornings became a time to start fresh instead of the dreaded end of not enough sleep.

Good trade-off.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Top 10 choices that are either easy or right, but never both

1. Paper or plastic.

2. Democrat or Republican.

3. Claiming your dog as a dependent on your tax return.

4. Claiming your teenaged son's friends as dependents on your tax return.

5. Pushing the grocery cart back to the return bin in the parking lot or balancing it precariously beside the vehicle next to yours.

6. Waiting in line behind 30 people for the restroom or sneaking around the building outside to get relief.

7. When approached by a law enforcement officer while sneaking around the building outside to get relief: sheepishly face the music or point behind him and shout "Look out!", then take off running at break-neck speed.

8. Plan and cook a nutritious meal for your family or order pizza for the third time in a week.

9. Follow a slow moving wide-load convoy for 20 miles or zip around it at 90 mph, swerving back over just in time to avoid an oncoming 18 wheeler.

10. When your young child misbehaves: set limits, communicate expectations, and follow through with appropriate disciplinary action or start singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town in an ominous tone of voice.

Disclaimer: For entertainment purposes only. I probably have never done any of the above things, most likely.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Getting bit right in the cliche

Anger really is like fire.

I always thought the typical literary descriptions of anger were so stupid. "Her blood boiled" or "His rage burned hotter than an exploding inferno." Whatever.

Of course, I don't get mad easily or often. But I did today. And realized for the first time that rage is exactly like fire.

Real rage, uncontrolled, can destroy everything in its path.

Anger that is righteous and contained can burn away a lot of superfluous garbage that didn't need to be there in the first place.

The last brushfire I worked as a newspaper reporter - the one back in December I posted pictures of - left those woods fresh and cleaned out. My mad, after it was resolved, left me feeling the same way.

Funny. The very cliches I despise always come back to bite me in the...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Slowing down to take a look

Have you ever watched someone's expression tell an entire story?

I was looking at a person today who didn't realize it. An incident occurred that no one else in the room noticed, but for about thirty seconds an array of naked emotions played across this very private individual's features before they got a hold of themselves, the wall came down, and it was all over. I could actually see the process.

It was amazing and sobering.

It made me realize that I feel invisible most of the time. I'm so busy living and dealing with things and being busy that I just assume everyone else is too, and that no one takes the time to actually see me.

It made me wonder if anyone has ever watched my face tell an entire story.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Gossamer threads

I had dinner tonight with a friend I like a whole real lot. I haven't figured her out entirely, but I've enjoyed her from the first time we met.

I wonder what it is that creates a connection with certain people and not others. I have some very good friends that share deep ties with me. Without exception, I knew from the beginning they were special.

To most of the world, I imagine I seem like an open book, outgoing and out there. Good.

But there are a few who know that isn't the case. They're the ones I can cry in front of, scream at, belly laugh with, never call and they don't get mad, and when I finally do call, we just pick up where we left off without missing a beat. They genuinely love me, and I genuinely love them right back.

Karma, kismet, chemistry, sympatico, empathetic neuroses - whatever you want to call it. When it happens with someone, it's worth it not to waste or take for granted, but to appreciate the gift and handle with care.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Coffee talk

I have assumed the position (cross-legged in my chair, keyboard in lap), a scented candle is lit, music is playing, and I'm sipping a hot, sweet, creamy cup of coffee made from freshly ground, whole beans.

Ah... Is there anything better in the world than not having to be somewhere, not having to do something, not having someone waiting on you for something? And drinking a really good cup of coffee while you're at it?

Things have been going pretty great for me lately. This contentment, this "everything going right" business is so foreign to me that I feel like a stranger in a strange land.

I wondered why that was until I called my mom to share my recent successes with her.

Her response was to remind me of the money I owed her, all of the things that could go wrong in my life - and probably will - and to fill me in on the details of why our country is going to hell in a hand basket according to Fox News.

That was more like it.

But you know what? I'm getting my passport stamped and moving to the strange land of contentment. I'll settle in, learn the language, and only pay short visits home to remind me of where I don't want to live anymore.

Of course, that could just be the coffee talking.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

All in a day's work

I did my first real radio news story today. From interview (with help from Tiffany), to writing (with help from Tiffany), to recording (with help from Tiffany).

It was nerve wracking, difficult, frustrating, and fun. And I liked it. A lot.

My boss hijacked me this morning to ride around Liberty and fill me in on some of the background of the area. It's an interesting town with lots of older houses and cool architecture. I enjoy Texas history and this place is teeming with it. It felt like I was on a field trip.

I also got to have lunch with one of my favorite people in the whole world.

Not bad for a soggy Thursday in March.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

What I do best

I am sitting cross-legged in my black leather office chair with my keyboard comfortably situated in my lap, a maroon cinnamon scented candle lit next to my monitor, and Wicked Game by Chris Isaak playing in the background.

Now inspiration is supposed to hit.

See, I told myself I was going to work on my fiction writing this weekend. You can tell how well that's going.

I had my first full-body, hour-long massage today (it was a late birthday gift) and I'm feeling very... Loose. Relaxed. Unmotivated to plow into my fiction manuscript.

If everyone had a full-body massage every day, world peace couldn't be far behind. You just don't feel like going out and shooting people after your muscles have been oiled and kneaded.

Procrastination, thy name is Cassie...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Me and Dolly

Ok. Here's the thing. I got cocky. I started to understand some stuff at work, thought I had it down, and then the screw-ups began. We're talking stupid mistakes. It's good for the soul, right? Whatever...

And today. Let's just say it will take a while to live this one down. But I ask you, if you say these two names aloud - Mike LaMarque and Michael Mark - can you tell the difference? Enough said. It will be a while before the sheepish blush is gone from my face.

In the immortal words of Dolly Parton, "I don't mind dumb blonde jokes. I'm not dumb, and I'm not blonde."