Watching the freshman

gabrielleLast Thursday, William, Gabrielle and I walked down the hallways of Pulaski County High School. It was freshman orientation and William had Gabrielle’s schedule in his hands.

“A205,” he said. “OK, that should be … this way.”

Having been born without a sense of direction, I followed dutifully behind him. But Gabrielle wasn’t convinced this was the right way to her geography classroom.

“Isn’t it down those stairs?” she asked.

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Goodbye, my Mr. Baker

10464284_10152172806445493_8514185049131813487_nThis week we lost a wonderful man. After a brave two-and-a-half year fight with prostate cancer, my father-in-law Billy Baker slipped away on Monday.

To me, he was Mr. Baker and he was my first friend in Kentucky. Shortly after I moved here, he must have recognized I was a fish out of water, gasping and twisting alone in the house. So he righted me. Every week he would come for coffee. In fact, it was only because of him I learned how to use the coffee maker. We’d sit at the kitchen island and he would talk about his childhood in Hail, Ky., featuring a coal-mining dad, a loving mom, nine brothers and sisters, plenty of chocolate gravy and middle-of-the-night walks to the outhouse.

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Whiter whites

teethTimer set: 30 minutes. OK, here we go. Countdown is on.

You can’t tell this right now, but I’m typing really fast because anything I do fast distracts me. For the past two weeks, I’ve been the same with vacuuming, dusting, cleaning the bathroom and scrubbing the toilets. I need to be fast and efficient, press hard against that toilet bowl with that brush. Because then I don’t think about it.

Except it’s there, of course. Of course it is.

Three weeks ago, I decided it was high time for me to jump on the bandwagon and get myself some white teeth. So I went to the dentist to find out my options.

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A change for Pace

CandiceLet me tell you a little about my friend Candice Pace. We were sitting in the fountain square the other day and she was telling me about how she had driven to Pikeville to visit her mom. Along the way, deep in McCreary County, she passed three turtles that were crossing the road.

So Candice Pace stopped the car three times and picked up the turtles to help them across. Each time, she would turn them over to make sure their shells hadn’t been cracked. She discovered that the last turtle she encountered had indeed been injured. “Smooshed” would probably be the word most people would use to describe the poor creature, but Candice, who is a veterinarian, looked at the reptile and decided she could save it.

So she put the turtle in her car and made her way to Pikeville. When she got home, she went to work. She called a vet friend of hers and bought some antibiotics and painkillers. Then she injected the thing with the medicine, all the while deftly avoiding his snapping jaws as he vigorously tried to amputate her finger.

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The boats are back in town

lakeThe boaters have arrived. I saw them the other day when we were driving home from Lexington. Hitches, canvas, sparkles, decals, yellow tubes latched onto roofs, beach balls and pillows in the back seat, kids and dogs hanging out the window — it was there in all its glory.

With Lake Cumberland nearby, people come to Somerset from all over to spend their vacations. I like that they do. It makes me feel lucky that people choose to take their holiday in a place where I get to live all the time.


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When life gives you lemons

lemonadeOne of my fondest memories of childhood involves sitting at the end of my driveway hawking lemonade. It was a simple business, but it was my first one, and sometimes when I’m driving I want a cup of the warm, watery stuff more than anything in the world.

Before heading out, my best friend Kristin and I would sit in the kitchen and make a batch of the powdered variety in my mom’s chocolate brown Tupperware pitcher. Then we’d attach a tiny sign on a huge plank of plywood. “Lemonade for sale,” it would say in crooked letters. “Just 5 cents.” Usually, we would draw delicious looking, yet small, lemons on the sign, thinking we were incredibly, incredibly clever.

We’d haul a card table, the jug and the plywood to the end of my considerable driveway. Inevitably, we’d run back to the house for pens, paper and a calculator in order to make formal receipts for our customers — just in case they wanted to write off their purchase for tax purposes.

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The chicken and the egg

BGEThis summer, my husband got a new best friend. Happily, he’s not like that other guy he ran around with for a while whose wife would only eat chicken teriyaki at the sushi restaurant. Nope, this one’s a foodie. He’s big and green, has dimples all over him and is in the perfect shape of an egg. Can you guess what he is?

It was tricky, readers, but you got it: It’s the Big Green Egg. And we love him.

For those of you yet to be introduced, this contraption is basically a souped up version of those orange, round Weber grills. BGE, though, is made of ceramic and can get to a whopping 700˚F (woof, woof).

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The thrill of the chase

roadSo there we were the other evening standing in the middle of the street. It had been an overcast day and the kids’ hair was still stringy from a dip in the cold pool. We’d just finished eating hamburgers and hotdogs as part of a Memorial Day family celebration. But now it was time to get serious and stand in the middle of the street.

The players were my two nephews Eric and Reece, my niece Kennedy, my stepdaughter Gabrielle and myself. Eric’s girlfriend Emily was there too, but didn’t want to do it.

“How far?” said Kennedy, the coolest 8-year-old in the world. She squinted into the distance, putting her hand on her forehead.

“To the turn off?” Gabrielle said, placing a hand on one bent knee.

“Looks good to me,” I said.

“Wait, how far again?” Reece asked, the braces on his 12-year-old mouth clunky and gleaming.

“To the turn off, to the green sign,” Gabrielle answered.

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Last day of school scrapbook

school's outI was dropping Gabrielle off at Science Hill today and realized, yes, it’s starting to smell like the end of the school year. In August, back to school is a bouquet of rubbery pencil erasers and fresh sheets of paper. Nerves are quivery and there is something metallic in the air while you wait for the bus in your starchy new clothes.

But the end of the year smells like the brink of summer. The sunscreen you put on for field day. The sweat from going outside for recess and running around under the hot sun. The strawberries, fragrant as Lip Smackers, that start appearing in your lunch kit.

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Uptight chick goes to the spa

spaI’m lying here on the massage table, and this very nice lady is talking to me gently about my pores. The light is dim, the trickling stream music is on, and the air is fragrant with lavender and tea tree.

So I’m lying here trying to listen to this woman talk to me, except my stomach is growling. She’s right in front of my face and I know she hears it, so the question is: Do I laugh and acknowledge it or let it go under the assumption that stomach growling is too crude a subject to be discussed at the spa?

No time to answer that question though because: Swallow.

Well that was loud. What the hell is wrong with me? Since when did my swallowing get so loud? And why exactly do I have to swallow anyway? Because I’m sure not eating and I’m sure not drinking the glass of wine I should have had at lunch but didn’t because I wanted to fully enjoy this experience.

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