Friday, December 18, 2009

tree update

...still not decorated.
But I truly am enjoying writing and reading and staring into space by the glow of the lights.
At the Second Helpings Christmas party - which I still need to write about, we received a Target gift certificate. I treated myself to a record player. It's perfect - built in speakers and portable.   I've spent the evening listening to the few records I have. All and all a great way to spend a Friday evening.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

clean desk club

I try and I try and I try. I spent the whole day trying.
My work desk typically has several piles of paper and other miscellany.

Part of the problem is that I'm often interrupted and have to leave whatever I'm doing. The piles of paper seem to work for me. I know where to put my hands on them and don't have to open a drawer or dig too deep to find them. I'm also very good at recycling and filing once I'm done with the paper, so if it's on my desk it still needs some sort of attention.

The other part of the problem is not me. I can't tell you all of the crap that winds up on my desk. As the director of operations I do a lot of operation-y stuff. Right now the desk is sporting a broken toilet paper roll holder and a thermostat cover. The stuff that drives me crazy is all of the e-mails that get printed out. And some in color! And with pages of blank stuff. I've been know to fling that junk across the room while yelling, Was it necessary to spend thirty cents to print off something that I sent in the first place? That is almost the cost of one meal!!! There are starving children in our own back yard. 

That's what I scream in my mind anyway. In real life I just take the staple out and toss it in the recycle can while the furrow in my brow gets a little deeper.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

nuvo memorial piece for tim

Here is the NUVO piece I wrote about Tim : Click here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


....still not decorated.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I cannot keep up on blogging when I have writing assignments due.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I'm working at the Red Key tonight.
Fingers crossed for a busy night. Baby needs a hair cut and color.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

trees and soup

Thinking about my Christmas tree - that is still not decorated - but probably the prettiest tree I've ever had so I'm just enjoying it as is, and farms and boys reminded me of this: Vote for the Dull family farm barn to be restored as an FFA/Campbell's Soup project. Click here for details.  You don't need to register or anything, just click on the vote tab. And you can vote once a day. I've actually taken the time to read about all ten of the nominees - there is some good stuff in our agricultural community.

Here is a little bit about them: We are a family-owned corporation that row crops 2000 acres of corn and soybeans. We also run and maintain a tree farm that we use as part of a Christmas tree business.

Our barn is the centerpiece of our farm. It is the first building that customers see as they come around the bend in the road and up the driveway, so it needs to look good for that first impression. We are very involved in our community, and our farm is a recommended place to visit by the Boone County Convention and Visitors Bureau. During school tours, part of the barn is used for a petting zoo where the students and teachers feed and interact with our animals. We feel this on-farm connection goes a long way in educating our future consumers about where food really comes from.

This project would provide a unique service learning opportunity for all involved. It would provide an avenue where two local FFA chapters from different districts, FFA Alumni, national FFA staff and the Dulls can all work together to revive a tired barn into a centerpiece that's used to educate both the young and the not-so-young about food and agriculture.

When I was a young 4-H'r all of the girls would swoon over the Dull boys. Just like we'd get all starry-eyed and giggly around the Wiley boys in church. I'm blushing just thinking about it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

day off

My friend Kim, of the awesome organizational blog, New Leaf (if I was more organized I would have told you about it months ago) sent me this quote today:  There’s nothing to match curling up with a good book when there’s a repair job to be done around the house.
―Joe Ryan

I decided to paraphrase it at bit and and spent this evening catching up on 'my shows' and making toffee and putting lights on the tree and sitting on the sofa when ever I felt like it.

 It looks so pretty with just the lights, it's tempting to leave the decorations off.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Hello folks. When I decided to do the December Challenge I thought it would be a breeze. Then stuff happened. And I had to write some tough posts and still can't manage to finish the one about Ken. I keep telling myself it's because I need to look for pictures, but the truth is, it's hard to look back over a relationship - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Today was Tim's funeral - I didn't realize how wiped out I was, I went to work for a little bit and my CEO took one look at me and sent me home. I slept for three hours straight - still in my coat and boots!

I did wake up long enough to have a lovely dinner with friends.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

holiday parties numbers four, five and six

holiday party number four - tuesday, december 8

I don't know if the Colts Corporate Luncheon Series counts as an official holiday party but I wanted to talk about it, so there! I was lucky enough to be invited (thanks Deborah!) to the last of a luncheon series at the Colts practice field. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard at lunch. Two of the players, offensive guard, Kyle DeVan  and punter, place holder, kicker Pat McAfee had a question and answer session and they are hilarious! They had several behind the scenes stories and what they're life was like before the NFL. Kyle was living with his parents and substitute teaching a year ago. And Pat has stepped into some pretty big shoes, replacing the beloved Hunter Smith. Good stuff!

holiday party number five - tuesday, december 8

This might not count as a holiday party either, but there was champagne so it was a party. Second Helpings is the recipient of the Best of the Best Indiana Achievement Award. How awesome was is that? We celebrated with some of our staff and board members and the other winner - Mother Hubbard's Cupboard.

holiday party number six - tuesday, december 8 

The SEND (SouthEast Neighborhood Development) party is always fun. Second Helpings is within the boundaries of  SEND and one of J.R.'s businesses are in the neighborhood. Here is a recap of last year's party.

Santa was there - he delivers meals for Second Helpings on this time off. My friend, Kipp is a great host.

The party also made me realize that I want a record player - Santa?

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


I made an impulse buy on Sunday - I purchased a Christmas tree, my first in ten years. My first Christmas tree that is - unfortunately not my first impulse buy.

There is a family owned garden store on the corner where I do all of my garden-y business. The Habigs are not getting rich in my two tomato plants and a flat of flowers summer purchases or my typical December buy of a bundle of greenery cut from the bottom of the trees they sell.

I popped in with the intention of buying some greenery and a sprig of holly or two. Next thing I knew I was having Steve Habig make a fresh cut on a seven foot tree for me.

Once I got the tree home, I remembered why I hadn't had a tree for a decade. I don't have room for one! The dining room table is going to have to hang out on the porch for the rest of the month.

Now I just need to find the time to make it all happen.....

Monday, December 07, 2009

holiday parties numbers one, two and three

holiday party number one - friday, december 4
Second Helpings volunteers, Howard and Phyllis hosted an awesome party in their incredible home for the Wednesday volunteers and staff. I had to make an appearance an art show that was collecting pasta for Second Helpings, so I was late getting there.

It was fun to open the door to singing and Christmas decorations and volunteers in 'real clothes.' The volunteers usually wear jeans, tee shirts and baseball caps when they're in the kitchen - it's fun to see everyone all shiny and hat-less.

Dad was wearing his holiday socks of course. I think I gave them to him at least twenty years ago. If you look real close you can see the safety pin in the top of the sock. Dad pins his socks together before he throws them in the washer so they don't separate. I do the same thing, only I don't keep the pin on the socks when I'm wearing them.

holiday party number two - sunday, december 6

Mom hosted a beautiful brunch for her neighbors on Sunday. The house looks great and it was decorated perfectly. Mom is the consummate hostess. Beth and I were thrilled to help out by serving mimosas and champagne so Mom could enjoy her guests.

Mom gave all of her guests a Saint Nicholas Day gift - the ornaments were all wrapped and festive.

It was just as fun to hang out with Mom and Beth after the party. We finished off the champagne - we hate to waste, you know. I worked on editing photos, Beth cleaned and got the house ready for a showing that evening (Mom's house is on the market - click here to see the listing) and Mom showed us pictures she just got developed. It was a lovely day.

holiday party number three - monday, december 7

I have friends that are a big part of this morning radio show (I'm not spelling it out, 'cause I don't want the thousands of people a day who Google B & T to land here --I think they'd be sorely disappointed and I want to protect what little privacy KL has).

You would actually be surprised how low-key the party was. There was a coffee bar (and a bar-bar of course), great food from the Jazz Kitchen and a comedy set. The comedian, Tommy Johnagin was hilarious. The very funny Ryan Dalton  was the recipient of any after-party shots that were handed to me. I have not done a shot since 1993 and intend to keep it that way.

Anyone want to venture a guess of how many holiday parties I'll attend this month? I attended 29 in 2007. I slacked off in 2008 - and only attended 15.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


My friend Tim Considine died in a fire earlier this week.
Click here for the obituary

Tim made me a better writer and helped me find my voice.

I’m not sure when or even how I met Tim, but it was probably though two of his brothers. Matt and Steve were every-morning CATH customers. Tim lived right across the street from coffeehouse and I’d often see him in the neighborhood.

Soon we got in to a routine -- Tim and I spent years of Sunday mornings together. I would arrive at the coffeehouse around 7:00 to start making coffee around the same time he would finish his morning run. We’d discuss music, relationships and solve most of the world’s problems in the half an hour it took me to get the shop ready to open. I’d send him on the way with a day old muffin and a, “see you next week.”

Tim was a musician and wrote clever and quirky songs. We sold his records at the coffeehouse and Tim was delighted about the number of Derelicks CDs we sold.

Through our weekly talks we discovered that he had worked for my brother-in-law Ron’s dad at a funeral home. He told great stories about Mr. Trojanowski and watching Chicago Cubs games in the family room of the funeral home. After Mr. Trojanowski died, Tim wrote a great note to Ron’s family.

We also shared our great love of our nieces and nephews. There aren’t too many of us in our age range that have never married or had children, so we could relate to the heart-bursting love we had for those kids and what an honor it was to be part of their lives.

After the coffeehouse closed Tim would occasionally pop in to the Red Key to check in. I don’t remember telling him my birth date, but he walked in with a birthday pie one year - it was such a sweet thing to do that I didn't have enough nerve to tell him I was allergic to apples! Tim would always make sure to invite me to parties and keep me up on the news of his family and would leave long messages full of music updates good cheer.

After I started writing the column in the Broad Ripple Gazette, Tim would write me note or call with feedback. My first columns were full of apology and uncertainty. I would write about how I felt too old to be out hearing music or how I wasn’t a music critic or my lack of musical knowledge. Tim encouraged me to dump that stuff and focus on what I am good at – writing about the musicians and music scene and the community. I started writing my column with the thought that I was writing to Tim and suddenly it all clicked. I have one of the notes Tim wrote me hanging on the inside of a cupboard door that I open several times a day.

I especially loved the columns where I got to write about Tim’s band or quote him.

Tim became a fan of Second Helpings and volunteered for my favorite event  - the Tonic Ball. I loved having him there. I knew that I could pull him from job to job and he'd be okay. Last year I took him from helping manage a stage to standing in the cold and working the door and he was happy to do it. 

Tim started reading this blog a few years ago. He’d read it at the library and e-mail me comments. He encouraged me to comment on his band Web site and also sent me many links to his nephew, Austin’s writing. Over the years I’ve gotten meet all of Tim’s siblings – they are all great, fun and supportive of each other and a blast to be around.

I last hung out with Tim in May at the Willie Nelson concert at the Vogue. He and Novella and I had fun hanging out in the alley after the show watching the folks hoping for an audience with Willie. It was a beautiful night - Tim walked Novella and I back to her house and we spend an hour in her living room laughing and catching up.

Tim moved to Northern Indiana this summer and I hadn’t had the chance to chat with him for months. But I continued to write my columns as he was reading them. And I imagine I always will.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

broken dishes

I’m not a crier. With the exception of a memorable weeping jag over a breakup I generally don’t shed many tears. It feels weird at times, everyone else will be sniffly and red-eyed and I’m standing around feeling guilty for not crying. I used to think I had a cold heart for not being quick to tears, but decided that cold-hearted folks would not worry if they weren't crying.

I’ve had tears in the back of my eyes since Wednesday morning when I learned from his parents, that an old boyfriend, Ken Fisher had been killed in a motorcycle accident near his Philadelphia home. But couldn’t manage to actually cry. Yesterday another friend and neighbor was found dead in his house from a fire. It was a busy day of work – I seemed to be doing everyone’s job but my own, gave a speech at a media company and had several after-work obligations so didn't really have time to process the news.

I got done with all of the things I had to do about 11:30 last night. I stopped at my favorite music venue on the way home and heard an excellent band that played traditional country music – lots of George Straight and Hank Williams . I figured that if I wasn’t crying after three whiskeys and a pedal steel solo it wasn’t gonna happen.

I got home at 1:30, fed Pacifist Kitty, looked at the mail, started a load of laundry and washed some dishes as I made popcorn. I made a pyramid of bowls on my drying rack. One slipped and crashed in to the sink, breaking it and the dishes still in the sink.

Finally. Tears.
I sat on my kitchen floor and had a good old-fashioned messy cry.

Friday, December 04, 2009


I love data, but I'm not a data entry sort of person. Mostly because I get numbers easily mixed up. If I'm writing down a phone number 75 percent of the time I get it wrong, or is that 57 percent? That is why I tend to spell out numbers --seventy-five makes much more sense to me that 75. When I get a text that substitutes '2' for 'to' or '4' for 'for' it takes me longer to figure out. I'm a whiz at doing math in my head, but putting it on paper is trouble.

I've finally tapped into the genius of Excel spreadsheets. My head nearly explodes setting them up, but once you get the formulas right it magically does all of the math and sorting.

Now I just need to have twenty or thirty uninterrupted minutes to finish.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

it's a squirrel!

The mystery critter was a squirrel. And a pretty damn big one -- was too big to fit in the first trap. I was hoping for a bunny or badger or mongoose.

I didn't get home until after 9:00 last night and was thrilled to see the pissed-off looking squirrel in the basement. Of course Pacifist Kitty was marching around like he'd done the work. I tried to get a photo of the two of them together, but I was more interested in getting it out of the basement without the trap flying open and the squirrel running up my dress.

As much as I'd like a new vehicle, I was pretty damn happy last night that I drive a truck. We took a little ride to a nice cemetery by the White River full of trees and places to run - and most importantly, in another zip code. Last night was cold and rainy and it was pretty dark by the time I got there at 10:30. I marched towards the back of the cemetery to the river and  and then realized that I was standing in the dark and rain in a cemetery BY MYSELF!

I reached in to release the trap door and the crazy thing would not leave! I tipped the case up. No dice. The thing hung on for dear life. Luckily I had on a pair of sturdy work gloves (they didn't match and I had two left gloves, but they were thick). I had to stick my hand in the trap and pull on the squirrels butt. It finally ran out, around some grave stones and up a tree.

I was so wound-up that I went home, made myself a little whiskey and called an old boyfriend. That will always cure an adrenaline high.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009


There is a critter in my basement. I'm guessing it has been there about a month. In my defense, I thought it was gone. Twice. And I was gone for eight days and didn't want to risk trapping it and having something rotting down there. 

The saga started the day that I got a new garage roof and my neighbor got a new roof on his house. You can imagine the pounding and noise and general disruption of the area. I unlocked my front door after work to find a mouse munching on chocolate that I'd brought back from Germany and my cat watching the mouse nibble on the candy bar. We all stared at each other for a few seconds and the mouse ran and the cat had a "who, me?" look on his face.

I set some traps and never saw the mouse again. But I did come home several days later to find a banana eaten THROUGH THE PEEL and and a box of strawberry PEZ flavored popcorn (purchased at a dollar store ten years ago - I can't imagine that it was even edible) shredded and open in the hallway. The war was on! Don't screw with the PEZ collection!

I should mention the cat was home the whole time. I've changed his name from Felix to Pacifist Kitty.

I set a live trap in the basement with a spoonful of peanut butter. Nothing. One evening while I was home I left the back door (that leads straight to the basement) open in hopes of the critter running to its freedom. Several days when by with no action or droppings or footprints to be found. I assumed it was gone.

Wrong. Apparently it was still full from eating the mouse and the cat food and the PEZ and the banana.

All Hell broke loose while I was gone. The critter knocked over the cat food container, flipped the cat food bowl, chewed through several PEZ packages, opened cabinets, chewed through the clothes line in the basement, knocked over crates and pushed plastic storage containers off of shelves to get to the packages of PEZ.

I set the trap again. While I was a work yesterday the critter got in to my purse on the sofa. And helped himself to a pack of chewing gum! 

I got a bigger live trap. Again, I don't want something dying in the crawl space. And I'm afraid of bullet ricochet.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

december challenge

Since I totally blew it October and posted only once instead of my annual daily challenge, I'm going to try to post every day in December. I need to get my creative juices flowing.

One thing I love about my job at Second Helpings is that I get to go speak in the community on behalf of United Way of Central Indiana. I really enjoy it, it has given me great confidence as a speaker and satisfies my Mrs. Kravitz longings of wanting to poke around other businesses.  Here is an essay I wrote for United Way about why I'm a torchbearer: Nora Spitznogle LIVES UNITED.

See you tomorrow!

Sunday, November 29, 2009


I'm throughly relaxed. Seven days in the sunshine, hanging with the kiddos, reading, pedicures and going to bed early and waking up late will do that.

We went to the tree lighting and fireworks on Captiva beach Friday night. It was small town fun - it felt a little like July Fourth in Tekemah. We were joined by long-time Indiana friends, the Houston's. You might recognize Scott as The Piano Guy  from his public television series. The unexpected part of the evening was getting 'felt-up' by Santa! This photo was taken just after both of his hands were firmly on second base. You can see me pushing Santa's hand away with my right hand. Unfortunately, thats the closest I've come to having a date in years.

You can find more vacation photos here.

I left J.R. and Anna and the kids at the airport this morning and spent the day reading, downloading photos, watching Lifetime channel movies and swimming at my usual extra-day hotel spot. And I'm wearing the same pajamas I was in that post, if you're keeping score.

I know I've turned in to an interment blogger. Its a vicious circle - I don't blog for a week, then I start feeling guilty, then I feel like I need to write something spectacular and then I don't write. I also believe that if I don't have something nice to say, don't write it down - so that explains some of my silence. Nothing tragic. Work has turned in to a job, not as fun for me as it used to be. It's still an amazing organization and I believe with all of my heart that I belong there and I'm doing a good job. And I'm trying not to let work consume me.

So here's to next year - and having more of a romantic life than a frisky Santa.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I am thankful for John Deere green and Chevrolet red.
I am thankful that I live in a country where I can travel without fear.
I am thankful for the men and women protecting our country.
I am thankful that I can so easily keep in touch with friends and family and make new friends with the awesome infrastructure our country has.
I am thankful for my jobs and all of the variety and opportunities they afford me.
I am thankful for my sense of humor and the chance to use it and laugh until my sides hurt.
I am thankful that I have a sturdy place to live and a new roof on my garage.
I am thankful for my usually-running truck. And would be extra thankful if the truck actually fit in the garage.
I am thankful for my amazing family. I can't imagine what my life would be like if I grew up in a different household.
I am thankful that I have a strong sense of right and wrong and my faith in my fellow man.
I am thankful for my love of reading and writing.
I am thankful for my hairdresser who keeps the grey at bay.
I am thankful for Orville Redenbacher.
I am thankful that I'm a 'glass half full' chick.
I am thankful for my health.
And my blogger friends, I'm thankful for friendship, entertainment and doors you've opened to me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the future

Hello! I'm flying on a jet plane - as I type! Air Tran has onboard WiFi available. I feel like I'm flying in to the future.

Sorry I've been gone so long. I realized that I use blog writing as my reward for being caught up on other writing projects. As you can tell from my long absence, I'm never caught up! I'm going to try to get out of that habit. I enjoy the blogging and I think it helps me be a better writer.

I'm exhausted and should be catching a cat nap on my way to Sanibel, but the lure of blogging in air was too much to resist. And I'm spending a lot of time on this flight entertaining the kiddo behind me and helping the elderly folks next to me maneuver their seat belts, arm rests and pretzel bag.

Here's to sunshine and dipping my toes in the sand!

Monday, October 12, 2009

a peek at nora at the austin city limits festival.

Two Weeks' Hard Labor: Day 5, Austin City Limits Festival, Austin, TX

I'm sorry I've been missing in action. I'm back in Indiana working and working and writing with the occasional nap thrown in.

I feel compelled to point out that I was wearing the bandana out of necessity, not as a fashion statement. It was 87 degrees with 98 percent humidity. I'd totally given up on what I looked like.

See you soon!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

cash for clunkers

We’ve been harping on my dad to get rid of his old Suburban. It’s the Titanic on wheels. It’s big and heavy and drives like crap. And Dad loves the damn thing - it has plenty of room and besides he’s got the radio tuned, knows how to use the tape deck and his electric razor is in the console.

We thought the Cash for Clunkers program was the perfect time for him to get a new vehicle. Trade in the Suburban AND get his GM discount. How could it go wrong?  Clearly we should have paid more attention.

Dad traded in the 1988 Chevy farm truck. The one that used to be red, but turned in to more of a mauve-ish color in the last decade. The one that moved all of us kids to various schools and apartments. The one that we all borrowed when we came to visit. The one that has hauled thousands of dozens of sweet corn. That one that dad made his own wooden box console with a place to store stuff (the spare electric razor, a rosary, cough drops and paper towels) and cup holders cut out of the top.

He got a fancy new GMC bright red 4-wheel drive truck. It’s beautiful and has all of the bells and whistles including the OnStar navigation system. Dad took me to the airport today. I was looking up the directions --Indianapolis has a new airport terminal, when Dad said he wanted to use the OnStar. Sounds like fun I said.. Ha – famous last words!

It stared out fun. Dad punched the button and the nice lady asked our destination and sent the route to the truck. Magically the directions appeared on the radio console and a voice told us to turn left out of the parking lot. Then the trouble started. Dad decided to go off route – “The highway is quicker.” As soon as we turned the voice told us we were going off _-route and asked if we’d like to re-route. I wasn’t worried; I’d already looked up the directions and knew what exit we needed. The new OnStar directions look us another way, but I didn’t question it. I have the sense of direction of a donut. If I think we should go right, invariably it is left.

It took us on interstate 465, that is heavily under construction and there were no exits for five miles. Still no [visible] panic on my part. We turned around, headed for Highway 70, I assumed. Then Dad called back the magic voice. The voice that told us to take Exit 12 on 465, which didn’t exist. That didn't stop Dad from slowing down and looking and the voice telling us to turn and the trucks and traffic whizzing by. That didn’t lower Nora’s blood pressure either. Even though I kept suggesting that we should just head to Highway 70. We followed the long-winded directions. In OnStar’s credit, it eventually led us to the airport. THE OLD AIRPORT!

We’re now about an hour from my flight time. And I’m not at the airport. We followed the signs and arrived just in time. And I was smiling as I got out of the truck. Because Dad is using his old wooden homemade console, even though the new truck has all kinds of storage compartments and cup holders. It’s hard to be mad at a guy who is willing to mix the new with the old.

Monday, September 28, 2009

leavin' on a jet plane

I’m headed to the Austin City Limits Festival. It’s been the usual scramble getting ready for the trip. By the time I pack, get the house clean enough to let someone in to feed the cat, get my shifts covered and work organized I’m ready for another vacation.

I think that half of Indianapolis will be there – I’m making plans to meet up with friends that live a few blocks from me that I never see. I’m also looking forward to seeing people that have moved from Indy to Austin and one to NYC.

This will be my third trip to Austin, the first trip I was only there for 36 hours for my Aunt Bernadine’s funeral. I took a taxi from the airport to the church to pull up just in time to see the mourners coming out of the church.

I went to the Austin City Limits Festival (ACLF) last year and loved every second of it but only stayed for four days. This time I’ll be in Austin for a full week. Watch out!

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I have not gone farther than my front porch today. Or put on pants or spoken one word and I don’t intend to. It’s a good day to be wearing a cozy robe.

I’ve had a productive writing day. And been blog surfing. And getting one step closer to being a crazy cat lady.

Too bad I’m allergic to cats.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

college friends and cucumber sandwiches

I crashed North Central High School's pre-reunion party last night. My friends Carol and David graduated from there 30 years ago (my 30th reunion was this summer also). North Central is so big that Carol and David didn't meet until Purdue.

Carol and I were roommates in college. Off campus even. In fact I'd probably still be living in a dorm if not for her. Carol introduced me to so many cool people and exposed me to lots of new things. Those days seemed so much easier.

As a shy kid I was not emotionally prepared for college. I went to Purdue without a typewriter. It was not that my parents would not have gotten me one, it just never occurred to me to ask. My freshman year also started a long history of not being able to say no. Somehow I was named the representative for my floor in the dorm. Which lead to being the recording secretary for my dorm. Which required a typewriter. I learned that I could type the minutes in the student government office. Soon I was sneaking down to the office in the evening to type papers, often sitting in the almost-dark.

A punk rock band, Dow Jones and the Industrials slated Chris Clark for student government president to promote the band. Much to everyone surprise Chris won, ending a long reign of fraternity men in the post. When Chris and company went to check out the offices I was there, in the empty offices, typing. I was instantly recruited to the team and it changed my life - in a good way. And my friendship with Carol is the best thing that came out of that time.

The summer after my freshman year Mom and I were on campus to sign me up for the next semester classes (no online registration then!). I remembered where Carol was living for the summer and we stopped to say hello. She invited me to stay for a few days so I did - the good old days of sharing clothes and buying a toothbrush at the drugstore and not worrying about anything else.

Carol and I lived in four different places over the years, including a memorable semester about the popular bar, Harry's Chocolate Shop. You might think that was a cool place to live, but it was horrible. Friends would come up to use your bathroom, when the line was too long downstairs and there invariably were guys urinating under the back steps. The whole building shared a heating system, so the bar smells would waft upstairs and worse yet, they split the heating bill eight ways! We were paying as much as the bar and a huge record store/card shop in the same building. When we moved in the previous tenant asked if she could stay another month, we agreed - she never moved out! Carol and I shared my bed for the whole semester - it's funny to think about it now, but didn't seem like a big deal at the time.

Not only did Carol introduce me to so many great people, but two of my favorite meals. Cucumber, tomato and cream cheese sandwich on wheat toast is the perfect taste of summer. And baked beans on toast (or some times we'd substitute potato chips) reminds of our poor, but fun college days.

Carol moved to California almost twenty-five years ago. I rode with her for the cross-country trip. In her Pontiac Fiero. Can you imagine driving that far in such a small car? We had a great trip, and after sharing a room and clothes for so long it was a breeze.

Friday, September 25, 2009

pez and porch packages

Sometimes I forget that collect PEZ dispensers - even though I walk past hundreds of them in my hallway several times a day. I came home yesterday to a find a package on my porch from Amazon. My dear friend DM sent me the new Wizard of Oz PEZ set. I have so many wonderful thoughtful friends and DM is right on the top of the heap.

I love getting mail and used to be great about sending letters and remembering birthdays and leaving thoughtful gifts on on friends porches. I miss doing that sort of stuff and I don't know when I got too busy or lazy to keep it up. In the meantime I'll just add it to the list of stuff I need to get back to.

For today I'm just going to worry about whether I should keep the Wizard of Oz PEZ in the box or not. Thanks DM.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

cut (and let's be honest, color)

Michael cutting my hair today.

There are a lot of things I tackle on my own - mowing grass, shoveling snow, light plumbing, hand-washing things that say 'dry clean only' and computer repair.

I can live without central air-conditioning, cable and a fancy car. I'm happy to buy generic brands and shop at the Dollar Store.

I will not compromise on having my hair cut and colored professionally. I first got my hair colored before a trip to New Mexico to meet my then boyfriend's friends. Aaron is seven years younger and I was very nervous about meeting his friends and didn't want to look old. It was pre-cougar culture.

I thought my hair looked too dark and too big, but the greys were gone so I guessed it was okay. Plus I have a really hard time breaking up with people, be it the people who cut my hair, bagel or pizza. I'd sooner move then change dentist, doctor or hair dresser. Plus the woman who cut my hair bought coffee from me every day, so it would be awkward to break it off and I hate awkward.

We had another hair dresser that also came in for coffee each morning. I shyly started asking him questions: Where did he work? Did he have room for another client? How far out was he booked? I finally asked if he would cut my hair, and he said he'd been waiting for me to ask! He also coached me to write my current hairdresser a note to tell her that I was ready for a change.

Michael is great -- and he knows what I look like first thing in the morning. When I first started going to him the rotation was cut, cut, cut and color, cut, cut. Then it changed to cut, cut and color, cut. A couple of years later we moved to coloring my hair with each haircut. Sadly, now the routine is cut and color, color, cut and color, color.

I wonder at what point I should quit coloring my hair. Probably when I'm too old to have a second job to help pay for it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

what i did this summer, part one

It really was a busy summer. Germany, house guests, seventeen days of the State Fair, working three jobs and writing and an occasional day at the pool made the last three months fly by.

One thing I did this summer was get my name/photo in the paper an embarrassing number of times. It started with this:

My recipe for "cheaters" salsa was in the Indianapolis Star. The article is too old for the free link, so here is a picture of me showing the piece to my family while were in Baden Baden.

I didn't realize that I would be photographed, I thought they were just going to shoot photos of the salsa. I always hate the way I look in pictures so I asked my friend Joni, who used to teach modeling classes for tips. She she had me practice standing with my weight on my back leg and doing some complicated shoulder roll for good posture. Once I realized that I was being photographed holding the salsa I tried to remember my modeling moves. I'm not coordinated on a good day, so you can imagine my awkwardness in trying to hold a bowl of salsa in one hand and a basket of chips in the other as I tried to pose. I must not have had the swanky look I was going for, because the photographer said, "great, look like you're walking in the door." I do like the way it turned out.

A few weeks later I was in the social column...wearing an apron!

The link for this is expired too, so here is a photo of the article on my fridge (if I wasn't so damn lazy I'd scan it). I love it that Cathy talked about Second Helpings Culinary Job Training program and my friends Linda and Kristi and her daughters. And you might also note that Fuzzy Zoeller is wearing an apron in the same article - I think we're starting a trend!

NUVO did a great cover story about Second Helpings: Serving Second Chances and a video about line cooking: Line Cooking at Second Helpings (you get to hear me being bossy, see my sister Beth training the servers, Ann Mitchell, Mrs. Herr and Kristi and her daughters).

I made the social page one more time with our Harvest event - here I am with the chairman of our board of directors. Click!

My favorite thing was that I got to fulfill a long time dream and write about my Top Ten favorite things about the Indiana State Fair. Click! NUVO also used several of my photographs, including the one of the corn and the Ferris Wheel.

Thats enough for tonight - I have dishes to do....

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

little beulah and winemaking

I heard that dad had a new cat. I should say that I overheard that dad got a new cat. I heard him ask another Second Helpings volunteer about low cost spay and neutering and I assumed that he was not asking for himself.

Little Beulah is named after a long line of farm cat Beulahs. She sure is cute.

I went to the farm to help make wine. The basic recipe is to de-stem Concord grapes, squish them and add sugar water and stuff it all in a barrel.

My timing was perfect! The work was done and the brats were on the grill when I arrived. I had a fabulous dinner of Dad's soup, corn, brats, veggies and apple pie. And lots of laughter.

Dad poured "new grape" - last year's wine. Which will be bumped to "old grape" when the new wine is ready. We're very clever in naming things at the farm, be it cats or wine. It's part of the reason that going home is so darn comfortable.

p.s. Happy birthday Ralph!

Monday, September 21, 2009

six pack...

...of socks. Or in this case, sox.

I'm a bowler now, or at least in a bowing league. Bowling requires accessories, and generally I'm down with that. But I can't seem to get it together. You can rent the shoes and borrow a ball at the bowling alley, but you have to bring your own socks.

I even managed to find two white socks that matched this morning and left them on my coffee table. Next to the cat. And an empty popcorn bowl. I can either blog or keep the house picked up, okay people? Since this is my second round of bowling I've learned some tricks. Like you can buy socks at the drug store.

This evening I was clever enough to buy a six pack. I left the other five pairs in the truck. That will hold me 'til Halloween at least.

Not that I needed one more thing to add to my busy schedule, but bowling has been good for me. I've met a whole new group of people and gotten to know others better. It keeps me from working too late, at least on Mondays.

I thought I'd just be a sub this round, but two really fun people I met this summer asked me to join their team. Julie is in an MFA program for writing, which I think is the coolest thing ever. Kathleen and I bonded over the fact that we're both single and have to share a room with our parents on vacation. She is a career coach and has given me great advice on some workplace issues.

Now I just need to improve my bowling game -- there is no where to go but up, my average is 95.

And yes, I'm usually (okay, always) wearing a dress.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I have to admit that I feel like I've been cheating on this blog with Facebook. Facebook makes it so easy to post photos and give quick updates. If I could have invented a way for me to communicate it would be Facebook.

And I get to keep up with Rachel, Lacy, Jamie Dawn, Gette, Kim, Jerry, Cara, Teresa, Elizabeth, Crabbydad, Kirsten, Kent, John, Terah, Jenny and Annie there.

For a while I was cheating on Facebook with Twitter - Monica is over there too, but I couldn't keep up with that very well.

Here is my Facebook page: NORA -- if you're in the neighborhood.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

[Hostel] John and Karen's wedding

My friends John and Karen got married this afternoon. The wedding was beautiful and romantic and meaningful. The minister made all of us part of the ceremony - including having us all tell the bride and groom that we loved them.

The wedding and reception was in the backyard of a friend - and the spot of John and Karen's first real conversation. I remember John telling me after the party that he'd met someone he really liked. I've enjoyed watching their relationship grow.

The first time John and Karen met was in the kitchen of the Hostel. I had booked Jason Wilber for a concert and Karen came from Chicago to visit a friend who took her to the show. Jason played at the reception - I love how they tied at all together.

We all know how I love to tie things together too -- I wore lots of heart jewelry, including the flashing ring on my finger. I wish the photo showed my pretty skirt - I don't want you to think that I wore all black to the wedding!

Cheers John and Karen!

Click here for more photos.

Friday, September 18, 2009

hello....anyone still out there?

Um, hi. Is there anyone out there? Can you hear me? I don't blame you if you're gone.
I've been busy doing boring life stuff - keeping all of the balls in the air and trying to be a good employee, daughter, writer and hostess. And keep the house picked up and the basement clean and the grass mowed and the truck from falling apart and the weight off.

I got to write about one of my favorite things this summer - the Indiana State Fair. Read my Top 10 picks by clicking here.

I also went to the State Fair each day. It almost killed me! You can follow that here.

I'm committing to checking in here more often.
Pinky swear

Monday, June 22, 2009


Annie and Beth

Guten Tag!

I'm sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Munich, Germany typing this. I'm so far behind on blogging that I didn't even share the news of the family trip to Germany. I still want to go back and do a May wrap up (you have to see the photos of all of my birthday cakes!).

I'm traveling with my parents and both of my sisters and their husbands, Beth & Ron, Ann & Tim. 

We arrived around 9:00 this morning. We were proud of ourselves for figuring out how to get from the airport to the hotel - I love traveling by train and the 40 minute ride was a perfect way for us to sit down and get a grip. Mom and I stayed in Munich this afternoon while the rest of the group toured a castle. 

More later!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


I loved going to farm auctions when I was young. It was a good chance to mill around adults and have free rein to look through boxes and explore tables lined with stuff. I didn't have much interest in looking at tractors or kicking the tires on a Buick, but I did love opening the lid of a cigar box to see what treasures were waiting. And wondering how people could part with exotic things as salt and pepper shakers that looked like dogs or butter churns or old shop calendars. I could usually talk Dad in to bidding a quarter or fifty cents on a box of match books or stack of old magazines for me. Eating from the concessions trailer was also big news - and about as close as we ever got to fast food.

When I was older I realized that that farm auctions happen around life events: someone died, retired or moved to town. It took some of the fun out of it, but I've come to appreciate how the auction ties things together, almost like the funeral all over again. 

As sad as I knew it would be, I was looking forward to the auction of Uncle Cletus and Aunt Mary Alice's (she is at an assisted living facility in town) household goods. All of their grandchildren were coming to town. 

Dad and I drove up together in the rain and discussed what we'd like to buy. Dad really wanted one of the stainless steel stock pots and I knew that I wanted a rake or shovel or something that family hands held. 

Here is dad picking out his pot. The auctioneer was great and funny. I'm not sure whether it was the rain or the economy, but things were selling really low. 

My trusty rain boots came in handy, once again. Cass County got some crazy amount of rain, too much rain for the newly planted crops. 

Cousin Judi and her daughters Rachel and Brandi. 

Buck and Cousin Cynthia

I wound up with the Nativity scene. It was an accidental bid, but I'm happy that I have it. 

These safety glasses were in a box of treasures that Buck bought. 

Cynthia and I both had our sights set on these chairs - the one I got used to be in my great-grandfather's tavern. It is painted the same grey that my table and two chairs are. I wonder how many gallons of that utilitarian grey paint the Spitznogle's went through over the years - or maybe I just have the four things painted that color. The chair did have one minor problem. The legs were cut off about six inches, making it really short. I'm sure it was used for some chore and it made sense at the time. I also bought the double wash tub behind us. It will be a great drink cooler for backyard parties. 

Dad told us that his dad paid twenty-five cents for this "sled." That was dad's opening bid. Cousin Leo bought it. 

Luci, Sydney, Leo and Nina. 

I can't imagine how hard the sale was on "the kids." It was fun to have some laughter near the end. Dad and Nina were bidding on the same item. It turned out that Dad wanted the horse shoes and Nina a coat that was in the same lot, so they shared. There was a lot of trading going on. I bought a chair and Virgin Mary artwork. I really wanted the art and Angie wanted the chair - it was fun to be able to give it to her. 

I think all of the grand-kids and nieces and nephews that were there bought a garden tool. I got a potato fork and hoe.

Dad got the pipe organ parts and other miscellaneous church stuff. That screen is from a confession box. I was starting to wonder how we were going to fit all of our treasures in the Suburbian. Dad also bought several lots of lumber. 

At one point Dad bid fifty cents for something. The auctioneer told him he'd pay him the difference if Dad would bid a dollar. Here he is making good on his promise. 

Loading the truck was a little tricky. We stacked all of the lumber on the folded down back seat and wedged everything else in the back. There was no room for the pot so I held it the hour and a half home. 

Which was ironic, when I discovered my beloved MacBook was squashed under the load of wood. I'd worked on my column on the way down and left the computer in my bag on the front seat. At some point in the day, Dad decided it would be safer under a blanket in the back. He forgot about it, until I asked where it was. 

To my credit, I didn't yell or freak-out or cry, although I sure wanted to. But it was a long ride home with that damn pot rattling on my lap. And all's well that ends well. I'm writing this post on the laptop. 

For more photos click here

Friday, May 15, 2009


I am a writer for a nationally published music and film magazine -- Ghettoblaster.

I hate to sound so unenthusiastic - I'm thrilled, really I am. It just feels a little anticlimactic. I was dying to talk about it earlier, but didn't want to jinx it. I wrote the four CD reviews this winter, one of them references getting stuck in the snow. They are my first CD reviews, ever. I am not good at being critical -- I'm amazed by anyone who can put themselves out there, so I hate to say anything bad about them. Nor am I good at obscure references: they sound like a cross between Jumbo the Elephant and Cindy Brady during a category 4 hurricane. Huh?

When I turned my piece in I fantasized casually walking by the music magazines at Northside Newsstand and saying, "why look, the spring issue of Ghettoblaster is in." I'd flip through the mag and say, "hey, who is this on page 42?, why it's me!" And then I'd dance around the store like a total geek.

The newsstand was the place I went to see my first column in the Broad Ripple Gazette, it was where I went to grab the NUVO with my first article. It was where I went to run my hands over the stack of NUVOs with my cover story - and made Joe take six pictures of me holding the paper proudly.

In my early days of writing, pre-wireless Internet, I'd write in the cafe side. If the shop was closed, I'd park in front and transmit my columns from the truck. In fact I started this blog late one night parked outside.

My writing success was directly tied to the newsstand. I'd produce it there and I'd get to grab the tangible product from a rack inside just days later. I can't even link to all of the times I blogged about (and from) the newsstand, but it does have its own sidebar label.

The magazine process was a little longer. I submitted the piece in January for the spring issue. Knowing it would not hit the stands before April did not stop me from walking by the spot where issue 20 was standing up proudly in it's slot surrounded by Spin and Paste and No Depression almost every single day.

Then the unimaginable happened. The big magazine distributor for Indiana went out of business. And there was not much reason to keep the newsstand open without magazines. They announced it with a sign on the door. As you can imagine I was getting phone calls and text messages right way. I contact one of the owners and offered to put a piece in my column, to let them tell the story in their own words. Something I would have appreciated with the coffeehouse closed (This post ties the relationship of the coffeehouse and newsstand together).

I was stunned when M. said "No!" I pointed out that I could read the sign from the sidewalk, so it was public knowledge. In an exchange of heated texts he asked me not to write about it. Ultimately I respected that, even though every other publication and several bloggers (Kirsten wrote a beautiful tribute) did. After I backed off and examined my feelings (something I'm not good at doing), I realized that I considered the newsstand a continuation of the CATH era. One more thing to let go of.

The newsstand closed the first week in March. The News Cafe continues to flourish and has expanded in to the extra space. You can still buy newspapers, candy and smokes there. Just not magazines.

I combed bookstores and the only other newsstand in the city I knew of for the latest copy of Ghettoblaster, but with the distributor gone, no one else had it either. I finally subscribed to the magazine - after ten years of buying all of my magazines at the newsstand, subscribing to something seemed like a foreign idea.

The day it arrived in the mail seemed anti-climatic.

And I'll admit to being a little nervous. What if I sounded like an idiot? I looked at the Photo magazine (a Christmas gift from a friend) and left the Ghettoblaster in the envelope until the next day.

When I finally read it I was happy with the blurbs - and thanks to my dear brother-in-law, Ron for editing them. I listened to the CDs in lots of situations; work, in the truck and at home. I think I did a good job, managing to say nice stuff even if I didn't love the music. The rating system was hard for me, but I know that everyone can't go home with a trophy. I loved Horse Feathers and gave them the highest rating. The other three were good, but not gold star worthy.

I showed it to mom and we made fun of some of the naughty band names. It felt more real when Tammy and Cara read the magazine when we were out one night.

Getting their stamp of approval means a lot. The fact that we could be silly made it all the more fun.

And, not to jinx it, but I'm doing twice as many reviews and maybe a feature story or two for the next issue. Maybe.