We had an awesome time seeing everyone at Race For the Cure. We could have done without the rain but it was kind of funny now that we've survived it.
It is such a special day to share with the community. I love meeting survivors and hearing great stories of those who are no longer with us. It is wonderful to work for WISC a sponsor for 18 years.
Charlotte, Susan and I were the honorary race chairs. And we even had a friendly competition this year to raise money for each of our race teams. The totals are no in but I think Charlotte and Susan smoked me!
My friend Brandon sent in this picture - we were completely rain-wrapped in our social media tent. It was literally raining sideways!
It's rare that we can all get together at once... plus, we're hardly up ever this early. We may have been feeling a little loopy!
My inspiration for the race this year was Donna Wood. I did a story with her to help showcase the resources from the Wisconsin Well Woman program! Donna is an awesome survivor and I just love her spirit.
Overall - it was a great day. The rain challenged us in this live broadcast (we lost our satellite signal at one point) but it was such an awesome way to spend a Saturday. Thank you!
It's hard to believe that only a few days ago, my husband was in school.
Jim and I have always worked together. We met in 2003 in Springfield, Missouri. He and I often spent long days working out of a news car covering breaking news across the Ozarks. He eventually got promoted to chief photographer and I gradually become an evening anchor.
After nearly 8 years in Southwest Missouri, we packed our bags and moved back to where my journalism career started in Wilmington, North Carolina. We loved living near the beach and joked about "retiring early" in the south. However, when we got the call to come to Madison, Wisconsin, we knew we couldn't pass it up.
Even though we've owned three houses in 3 states since 2008, the move to Madison seemed the most challenging. Jim had worked in news management in Missouri and North Carolina but we knew he was ready to make a move into something else. It was intimidating!
Jim had to adjust going back to school. Since he already had a degree, Madison College's two year program for mobile app development seemed like the best fit. Still, he was the oldest person in his classes (often by more than 20 years) and he remained insanely busy working as a student developer at UW. Incredibly, he finished strong with a cumulative 3.9 GPA.
Even though Jim walked at his undergrad ceremony many moons ago, we decided to make a big deal out of his graduation here. It symbolized so much for us. We were thankful to have my sister and her husband celebrate with us as well! It's amazing to have family in Madison.
And here's how it seems to be working out. Before Jim even graduated, he had several offers from companies in Madison. I can't tell you what a foreign concept that is for a journalist. When you work in TV news, it's fair to say you're constantly reminded how replaceable you are and how many hundreds of people would love to have your job. You are told you have to move far from home, work horrible hours and get paid lower wages than the people you cover complaining about their low wages (starting out you make about $10 an hour as a reporter.) Jim was offered a signing bonus just for a paid internship.
So what job did he take? Right now he's working for a news media corporation that owns several television stations across the country, including one here in Wisconsin. The best part? His office is at home. Minnie stands guard each morning to make sure no one bothers him.
Who knows what will happen in our future but we are grateful for all the new challenges. Jim has taught me we can do whatever the hell we want if we're open to it and willing to do the work. We've both been humbled by some of the massive changes we've made in the last few years but it's been worth the sacrifice and anxiety of treking through the unknown.
So thanks to everyone for their kind words, their good juju, their love and support. If you happen to have any advice on how to succesfully work at home, we'd love to hear from you -- like, do you wear your PJs all day? Do you go out for coffee in the morning to feel like you're going to work? We need to know!
Seriously, thanks for everything. It's hard to believe this is happening. This is the fastest two years we've ever lived. We are trying to savor these moments.
Oops I did it again...
I have never seen so many people get upset with me for suggesting to paint this old coffee table... but I finally got the nerve to paint it... and post it.
Event though I'm in love with Annie Sloan, I actually used some craft paint I bought at Michael's. Personally, I had some difficulty with this paint but I guess you get what you pay for. It seemed kind of old coming out of the bottle, but I digress.
I used Annie Sloan clear and dark wax and her brushes (as always, thanks to Studio 184.) The picture below shows some of the wax detailing. I painted the coffee table cream, sanded it around the edges, put clear wax all over the table and then finished with a little dark wax. This was actually the first time I played with dark wax on a light color. It's not perfect, but that's what makes the project fun.
It really didn't take me that long to finish this - I'd say it took a few hours in between painting my front door, cooking dinner and doing laundry. I would just burn through an episode of a TV show, paint a coat, get up and do other stuff.
In all, I spent less than a tank of gas on this coffee table. It was about $22 at a thrift store and then the paint totaled about $12. (I'm not counting the wax or the brushes in this investment because I've used them several times.) NOTE: I do love Annie Sloan brushes. I have a couple of Martha Stewart ones (which cost about $25) and they are not nearly as good as the Annie brushes. Invest in good brushes, people!
I think I'm going to put a runner on the top of the table so I'm not really stressing about some of the inconsistencies with the dark wax on top. Overall, I'm happy! Not bad for a little basement table.
Raising money for Komen
Whole Foods is just amazing on so many levels, but I really appreciate the fact they helped us raise money for Susan G. Komen South Central Wisconsin.
10 percent of produce sales went directly to #WISCteamMichelle for Komen and then people coule make donations at the register as well. We had a blast hanging out at Whole Foods and I got a ton of support from friends! Susan showed up to buy her groceries... if you remember, last week she was handing out food at Culver's for donations!
I'm sure next week Team Charlotte will be out in the community, so we're looking forward to that.
My, My... an MRI
Thank you for all of your notes about my MRI. It's not a big deal but when you are concerned you might have something wrong with your brain, you tend to get a little worried.
Basically in the last few weeks I've had some serious, explosive, sudden headaches. I described it as if someone hit me in the back of the head with a board. The headaches were intense and long lasting. I actually have a history of migraines but usually they're manageable. Only one or two required rest from sunlight.
Anyway, I went to the doctor after searching the Mayo Clinic's website about these sudden, intense headaches. She suggested an MRI to see if there could be a weakened artery or a potential for an aneurysm.
The worst thing is the MRI itself. I wouldn't define myself as claustrophobic but I do not like cramped spaces like elevators or crowds (I'm too short and it always ends badly for me.) So, my doctor gave me a potent pill that basically kept me "high" all day long. I took the pill at 11:30 a.m. and I still felt groggy at 9 p.m. The pharmacist said it had a lasting effect of only 6 hours but I suppose every one is different.
I believe my MRI lasted two hours, according to Jim, so that was quite a while to be in a little tube like that. I spent most of my time in and out of consciousness, thanks to my pill.
I believe the doctor's office called and said my MRI is clear but that I'll have to take some pills every now and then. However, I'm not really sure that was real. I asked Jim, "Was that a dream?" I have some follow up questions to ask in the morning.
UPDATE - thank you for all of your ideas on caffeine consumption and shared experiences!
Anyway, if I say something stupid on the air tonight at 10, I'm going to blame the pill. Thanks for all your concerns. I'll try to get back to your messages! And thank goodness I didn't come out of it wanting to be Nicki Minaj. -- >>
Did you recently get engaged?
This Facebook post by Madison photographer Peter F. Castro has really taken off.. and now he needs your help finding one of his unsuspecting subjects:
It appears Peter snapped this picture at Olbrich Gardens under the Thai Pavilion. Personally, it is one of my favorite places to take a walk on Madison's east side.
On Facebook, Peter wrote this was completely out of the blue. He posted it to his page in hopes of finding the couple and after a person encouraged him to change his post setting to public, he wrote, "I don't care about exposure, I just think it would be cool if they could have these pics for memories."
I'm not even kidding when I say judging BBQ isn't an easy thing to do. There are rules, formalities and etiquette that is fascinating and intimidating. Good thing we were just "celebrity" judges (I use that term loosely) because if not, we would have certainly been in trouble!
We learned a lot about what not to do during a judging contest (like, lick your fingers -- don't do it no matter how tempted or dirty you are!)
The Kansas City Barbecure Society is no joke. I hoped that growing up near Kansas City would give me some sort of advantage in distinguising good tasting BBQ but that just wasn't the case. It was all delicious! And we were tasked with judging the food on appearance, taste and tenderness.
Though our celebrity judging was a bit more fun, we learned that some of the way the food was displayed to us on Saturday would have been disqualified by the "real" judges. For example, we learned you can't use cabbage in your display ... why? I don't remember... but I'm guessing it has to do something with the meat. :)
Anyway, we had a blast judging! I also had a great time taking over Madison Magazine's twitter account for the day. This was the magazine's first attempt at a BBQ festival and I hope they continue it. What a fun day!
I can't believe it's been more than two months since the death of Tony Robinson, the 19-year-old shot and killed by Madison police officer Matthew Kenny.
READ: DA to hold news conference on Robinson case
Hours after the shooting, I remember walking down Willy Street and seeing a community I didn't recognize.
I live on the east side and take Willy Street quite often to get around the city. In the first 24 hours after the shooting, I stopped to talk to people (just as fellow citizens) and also took a few pictures. I've never shared these pictures before, though they're not terribly compelling.
I had volunteered earlier in the day and had to pass through the protest area to get to a meeting. I didn't want to intrude but I wanted to see the situation with my own eyes to be a better reporter.
Without sounding too cliche, the scene felt surreal. If it weren't for the crime tape, the scenario might have passed for a recently-ended parade. Most people seemed to be milling about and appeared to be headed back to their cars.
I stopped for a few minutes and talked with people, just as fellow citizens. I noticed some people were in deep conversations about what happened. Others were in quieter locations praying together. One woman walked towards me as she shouted in agony at police. Her husband kept nudging her to keep going forward. Though the street remained full of people, it seemed most were clearing out for the evening.
I realize those impacted will spend the rest of their lives thinking about what happened on Willy Street March 7, 2015. That's also what makes Tuesday's announcement of the investigation outcome even more compelling. Tuesday we find out if the DA will charge Officer Kenny for the death of Tony Robinson. I won't be out in the community covering it; more than likely I will be anchoring from the news studio.
Everyone we've reported on is calling for peace. I hope that is what we're reporting on again Tuesday.
Finished Product: $5.99 bar stools
I finally got around to finishing my thrift store find and I wanted to share.
READ: Here's how it started - Thrift store find: $5.99 bar stools
I have a really basic basement but I wanted to spend more time down there and utilize the extra space. So, even though I don't love this built-in shabby bar that's in place, I don't want to tear it down. I spent weeks looking for bar stools on Craigslist but people were just asking for too much. I was looking for basement bargain deals.
I eventually found these bar stools for $5.99 each at a thrift store in Madison. They were structurally fine and for less than the price of a cheap dinner, I scored these for my downstairs living room.
Here's what I used:
- 1 bottle Martha Stewart craft paint (wedding cake) $9.99
- material on sale, Joann (can't remember but I think I spent $12 because I got too much fabric)
- Annie Sloan clear wax (roughly $10 for 3 oz... if you don't live in Madison, go to Amazon)
Overall, I made an investment in some Annie Sloan products (like buying a brush and the wax) but I saved time and money by not having to prime or sand. So I definitely think it's worth spending $50 on brushes when you're avoiding buying primer and breaking your back.
You will need at least two brushes to make this project work and that could be an investment, too. I think the Martha brushes at Michael's are about $25. They may cost about the same for Annie Sloan... and if you have that option, I encourage you to buy the Annie Sloan brushes. They make a big difference and hold up throughout multiple projects. I bought mine from Studio 184 in Stoughton.
The project was very easy - I took off the seat cushions, re-stapled on new fabric. Painted two coats of craft paint on the chairs, took a small grit sand paper and lightly distressed the edges, and then coated it with the Annie Sloan clear wax.
I started this project weeks ago but in the end, only spent a few hours on them. I thought they turned out really well! My sister also helped me with the fabric and she distressed one of the chairs -- we got in quality time while we worked. Can't beat that!
We're not really sure what happened but we found two of our koi fish DOA at work. Right now, only one remains in our backyard patio at WISC.
PLAY: One is the Loneliest Number
It appears the two had been kidnapped from their little home, assaulted and eaten. Their lifeless carcasses were found somewhere on the back patio. We've narrowed the suspects down to either a raccoon or a weasel. I imagine the suspect looked something like this:
In reality, it's very sad. They were in their six or seventh season with us and supposedly they can live for decades! We are working on a solution to protect the fish -- we had talked about a net before but we didn't want it to be ugly. So, we are working towards another solution. We had named several of them throughout the years such as:
Andy Choi - Andy Koi
Jessica Arp - Jessica Carp
Susan Siman - Susan Salmon
Marc Lovicott - Marc Lovicoi
Mark Koehn - Mark Koin
RIP little friends. We don't know which one of you is left... so we'll just have to go with Jessica Carp or Susan Salmon.