The plot

This year I’m learning to garden. A friend and I are sharing a plot in the neighborhood community garden. I’ve never grown anything, besides maybe the occasional flower in my parents’ flowerbed when I was younger, so this will be a new experience. 

By the way, what a neat idea community gardens are. I live in the middle of a city and might never own the property it would take to have my own yard and grow my own tomatoes or carrots there. But for a $30 annual fee I can rent a small plot to grow my own vegetables and I don’t ever have to mow grass. 

So far we’ve only started to weed the plot, but there’s a work day soon and I’m planning to add compost and soil in preparation to start growing. 

There’s something hopeful about a garden. Right now it’s empty, fertile ground, but with some seeds, a little care and time it will soon be bursting with life.  

We put plastic over the plot in an effort to kill the remaining weeds.


Throwback Thursday: Little Bitt’s Life

My mom was going through old things to take to a consignment sale when she came across one of my earliest-known journalistic works: a biography of my hamster. It’s a pretty short work: four pages of notebook paper stapled together. The first is a title page and the other three have short paragraphs of surprisingly legible handwriting.


The title page to “Little Bitt’s Life.”

I don’t know exactly how old I was when I wrote it. The story says I got the hamster for Christmas 1992, so I would have been 8, but I don’t know when the hamster died or when I decided to give an account for his time on earth.  I was home schooled at the time and I’m pretty sure it was not a part of my school work.

I write about getting him and naming him, about my brother also getting a hamster, about going to my grandmother’s house to spend the night, and about my sister finding Little Bitt near death in his cage. “We still don’t know how he deid, but he did,” I wrote before summing it up quite succinctly with “the End.”


Little Bitt the hamster

I do remember the hamster well. I loved that hamster. I used to put him on my shoulder and walk around the house with him. I remember begging my mom and dad for a hamster. I didn’t think they would get me one, but low and behold, on Christmas Day, here was this tiny baby hamster. I called him Little Bitt because of his size but I think it was also a reference to a popular cartoon of the time.


This is me (with pinkeye maybe?) holding one of my family’s hamsters, but not Little Bitt. I think this one belonged to my brother.

The story has pretty good spelling and grammar, considering a child wrote it. And it’s not much of a story, but it has a beginning, middle and and end. It’s fun to go through old personal artifacts like this and get a glimpse kid Lori. I like it that she was already writing even then.

**UPDATE: as requested, the following is the full text of Little Bitt’s Life.



Experiments in blackout poetry

Here’s a new, nerdy hobby my fellow word lovers may enjoy. It’s called blackout poetry, and you basically use a newspaper (after reading it of course) and black out all but a few words that make a poem of sorts. It sounds simpler than it is. The poems aren’t always masterpieces, but it’s fun and I like the idea of writing poetry in AP Style.

I got the idea from writer Austin Kleon, who actually did a whole book of them.

Here are a few of the ones I’ve done so far:



I’m not worried; I think we’re OK.




New scenes, different creation. We have sought unusual, surprising pieces.



He is bizarre, but the world thinks kindly of it.



I want a maroon pantsuit. That would be amazing.



There’s a way, maybe. All sound good but none pan out.




You have to get up, but it’s tough.


I’m doing more of these plus haikus and pictures and stuff on tumblr at And you should check out Kleon’s at

On Lent (the mess I am)

I missed the Ash Wednesday service at church this year, but it’s usually my favorite time of year. I like the entire Lenten season. It’s a reminder of my humanity and the messes we humans make.

I spend much of my time trying to hide my messes, and I am mostly messes.

I am the girl who’s rushing out the door with breakfast still in my hands, brushing crumbs from my face as I walk to work again late again.

I’m the girl crying again after too much wine for reasons I can’t put into words.

I’m the girl whose search for love has at times caused wounds that haven’t quite healed, who has wrecked and been wrecked by relationships.

I’m the girl who first took the apple, turning it over in my hands before taking a bite

I’m the girl the Pharisees and scribes wanted to stone

And instead of trying to hide it, You put ash on my forehead, a sign the world can see.

And You ask me to walk with You a while to the cross

Come on, you say. We’re coming to a hill.

On running and jazz music

I have this theory about running and jazz music: no one really likes either one of them. Oh, sure, they say they do. But I think people like to be known as a person who likes jazz music, or who likes to run much more than they actually like either of them.
(I’m mostly joking about jazz music, although I’m not really a fan. If you’re a person who likes to listen to jazz music while running, leave a comment, I’d like to hear how that works).
Anyway, let me speak for myself: I don’t like to run. Even as a high school soccer player, I didn’t like it. (My coach once told me I should consider a sport with less running.)
Running doesn’t feel good. At least, in the shape I’m in currently, it doesn’t feel good. It makes my chest and and legs hurt. Plus I don’t like people watching me run, and that’s impossible to avoid on the route I take.
I don’t like running, but I like the way I feel afterwards. I like the sweaty, endorphin-filled feeling of accomplishment I get after a good run, or even a decent one. So I drag myself out of bed early in the morning, put my earbuds in and head out to the Boulevard.
I’m hoping that running is like other things in life that get easier the more you do them. That eventually, even if I don’t love it, I won’t hate running. I’ve heard of people who get a certain kind of high while running, but that seems like to much to hope for at this point.
So I’m planning to run a 5k or two this fall/winter and hoping the pressure of having a race planned will be enough motivation for me to keep getting up, putting on my running shoes and hitting the pavement.

About the baby pictures…I can explain

If you’re following my Instagram feed or other forms of social media, I’d like to offer a sort of a apology and a brag all rolled into one. It seems that baby pictures have taken over in the few weeks since my niece was born. People who show off baby pictures to other people always kind of annoyed me — until I became one of them. Maybe I’m a little biased but my newest niece is possibly the cutest baby I’ve ever seen. (I can say that without showing favoritism; I didn’t know the other two when they were babies).

Maybe beauty is in the eye of the beholder, though. The other day my boss asked how my sister was doing after she had complications after an emergency c-session. I said she was doing much better and offered to show him a baby pic. Everyone else had made ooh and aww sounds, but but he kind of gasped.  (To be fair, the first picture I came across, and showed him, was of her red in the face from screaming her lungs out).

“Ya know, when my daughter was born I kept showing pictures of her to people and everyone admired them until I showed them to (one of our most outspoken former coworkers) and she made a comment about her not being very cute,” he said. “I couldn’t believe she said it at the time but then about five years later I went back and looked and had to admit she was right. I think all babies look like tiny, bald old men.”

Anyway, you can be the judge of that. I like having nieces (and I’m sure I’d like nephews just as much) because you can play with them or have all the baby cuddles you want and at the end of the day you hand them back to their parents to do the hard work. A friend must have noticed all the baby pictures on my posts and asked me the other day if I had “baby fever.” Maybe a little, I conceded. But it will definitely pass.

You can see pictures of Addy in my Instagram feed, also on this page.

On editing

“I am not the editor of a newspaper and shall always try to do right and be good so that God will not make me one.” – Mark Twain

It’s been about eight months since I made the jump from news writing to news editing. I spent about 6 years writing for newspapers. I’m a young editor, for sure, and I’m still learning my way around the new job. For anyone who’s ever considered moving from reporting to editing, I thought I’d share some observations I’ve made so far about what the differences are.

1. Management feels like putting out one fire after another. I have a new-found respect for the work my boss does to keep things running smoothly in the newsroom. There are many different individual schedules and personalities to deal with. You also have to deal with  technical issues and the near-daily struggle of having too many or too few stories in the paper. Also, have you ever had to make a work schedule for people? It’s the worst.

2. Editing requires a different way of measuring what you accomplish each day. When you’re a reporter, it’s really easy to come home from a long day of work with a sense of accomplishment. You can point to a story with your name on it in the next day’s paper and know that you did that. Your success is measurable. With editing, it can be a little less clear. Editing requires you to shift your thinking about work — rather than looking for your byline for a sense of accomplishment, you have to realize that all the little things you do, from catching the occasional misspelled name or “West Virgina” to making a lede more clear, help the finished paper be better.

3. You will miss reporting. A lot. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder; it’s true. I’ve resorted to doing the occasional Saturday story or video just to get my reporting fix in.

4. You will realize all the things you did as a reporter that bug your editor. These are mostly little things like not writing photo cutlines or suggested headlines for stories, or not mentioning a scheduling conflict until late.  The little things matter, though.

5. Did I mention you’ll miss reporting?