Wednesday, August 31, 2011

An Update

Thanks to those of you who sent me messages saying you were praying for that dear wife who is facing that difficult decision.

Her name is actually Miriam, not Amanda. I was mistaken. I believe God still hears our prayers, even if we use the wrong name.

Tomorrow, Miriam will stand by her husband's bedside for a ceremony of honor. Then, the life support will cease, and she will become a 20 year old widow.

So, please don't stop praying for her.
She is a hero, in my eyes. And I pray she is surrounded by support from this country that is fitting for her husband's ultimate sacrifice.

This month has been the deadliest month ever in the War in Afghanistan.
But stories like this are a reminder, there are so many losses that don't happen on the battlefield.

Limbs lost. Personalities and memories gone. Lives changed. And final goodbyes said in dimly lit hospital rooms, to the sounds of machines beeping, and not beeping.

Jesus, please fill this place with Your peace. And, though it sometimes feels so immature to ask this, in the light of so much sacrifice and suffering, bring my little brother home, safe.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Heavy Heart

Brokaw woke me up at 3:36am.
The alarm goes off at 4:00am.

I know this is minutes, but when this happens, I get really mad.
I need those 25 minutes or so of sleep! 
Michael learned very early in our marriage if he needed to be turned or adjusted, to not wake me up unless he was going to like, um, die.
Brokaw somehow never got that memo. And now, Brokaw is sleeping on a pile of clean laundry as I write this. Not fair.

So, Mommy is tired this morning.
But, it has been much worse than this, so, I journey on. Sip coffee.

Remind me not to drink Diet Coke with dinner. Why do I do this to myself? Not again.

My heart is heavy this morning for my mom, and her community. I’ve been seeing more and more photos of the damage from Hurricane Irene. I’m talking entire houses washed away. The community of Hatteras is completely cut off from the world because Highway 12, the only road in and out, is gone. If I see one more mainstream media newscast or newspaper article about how NYC “dodged a bullet,” I’m going to scream.

There are plenty of people in North Carolina, New Jersey and Vermont (and probably other places that I’m not hearing about) that are under water.

My heart is also heavy for another family.
For weeks, I’ve been following the story of Derek McConnell. Derek was in my brother’s unit in Afghanistan, and Derek was just feet from my brother when he stepped on two IEDs, and lost both of his legs. His injuries are devastating. His road to recovery is long. And his mom and girlfriend are so brave and strong,, it’s humbling.

Last night, Derek’s mom asked for prayer for a woman named Amanda. Amanda’s husband was shot in Afghanistan, and is on life support. She has to make the awful decision whether or not to continue. And she has a 2 year old and she’s pregnant. And, she’s facing a lawsuit from her in-laws. And right now, there is little hope.

Oh, Lord. There is so much pain. So much that we don’t understand. Give these suffering people your grace and peace and wisdom this day. My heart aches.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Riding Out Hurricane Irene

We were ready for Hurricane Irene.
You know me.
You know I had my list.
I spent all of last week preparing for the storm, work-wise. All kinds of different scenarios. None of which happened, which is good.

Saturday, we woke up to the wall-to-wall coverage on TV. We watched our own local coverage, and we watched a lot of my old station, WAVY, online. I was SO itching to be out there. I have covered several hurricanes, in Florida and Virginia, and I always loved being out, in the thick of it.

I think this was my first hurricane I've experienced from the safety and air conditioning of my living room, since I was a child.

I was not taking it well.
I was being super difficult to deal with.
Poor Michael.
His every move and word were driving me crazy.

I kept apologizing.
I kept telling myself, it's not his fault I'm not out there, stop taking it out on him.
And yet, I kept taking it out on him.

So, we decided to take some time to ourselves. For the sake of the greater good of all mankind.
Michael put on his headphones, and sat at his computer, watching something. I actually have no idea what.

And, I got to work in the kitchen.
I do well with a challenge and a goal, so I created one for myself: use up all this produce that was on the verge of going bad.
And, I'm happy to report, that other than the pinapple (and some spinach), I conquered the goal.

It took a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread...
Some sausage/veggie pasta..
And a mini-peach cobbler and roasted-breaded tomatoes and onions...
to get rid of "Daniella."

Daniella is a name I earned for myself as a child, whenever I would act bratty, usually because I was jealous over something, or not getting my way. Daniella rears her ugly head every now and then, and she gets on my nerves.

You know it's bad when you're getting on your OWN nerves...

But, after several hours in the kitchen, one episode of Teen Mom, and realizing how thankful I should be for the fact that I was able to be in my safe, standing, air conditioned apartment with the man I love, I started behaving myself.

And, just like that, we were back on track.
And this morning, I didn't want to leave Michael to go to work.

I really think in this case, it was harder to stay at home than it would have been to stand in the eye of a hurricane.
Sometimes I deal with major balance issues with how much I love my work and how much I love my husband.
I've got to work on that.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The View From Here

In preparation for Hurricane Irene, I bought batteries, bottled water, and a box of highlights.
Thankfully, we didn't need the first two things.
Today, I put that box of highlights to work.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The View From Here

I took this on my way to the grocery store over the weekend. I love my little family.

Live Like There's an Earthquake

Yesterday's earthquake near Richmond, VA disrupted the lives of people up and down the east coast --especially surrounding Washington, D.C. Visitors to D.C. will notice how locals are like zombies on the streets or Metro. Most of us wear our ear buds connected to our i-Whatever or carry a book or magazine to read. For many Washingtonians these are subtle tools to keep people from talking to us.

When the earthquake struck yesterday, D.C. was shaken out of its routine. Offices and apartments were evacuated. Work and transportation were paused. People's busyness was interrupted. I visited with neighbors in the courtyard of our apartment complex. D was surrounded by people standing around the streets of D.C. Cell phone circuits were overwhelmed. Friends tweeted, texted, and facebooked updates.

For a few hours we were a community. The earthquake pulled us out of our day-to-day rut. Bars opened for impromptu happy hours. People watched local news stations as neighbors and reporters recounted their harried tales of where they were when the dcquake struck.

Every now and then something spectacular happens to remind us we are not automatons in the machinery of the world, but a community with common experiences and fears. It took an earthquake to get some people to take off their ear buds, look around their neighborhood, and talk to the person next to them. It migh be nice if more of us lived like there was an earthquake more often.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Earthquake Survival Story

Before I left the building, I wrote down the time. I guess I thought that was important. Seems funny now.

I should never package leftovers in glass Pyrex containers.
I should probably get rid of said glass containers as to not tempt myself to do so.
I will come back to this.

This afternoon, I was standing beside my desk, talking to my cubby neighbor, and super smart White House Correspondent, Jennifer Wishon when it happened. At first, it was a rumble. I didn’t think much of it, maybe a heavy truck passing by, or a loud helicopter. Then, it continued. My legs instinctively took a step apart, bracing, like I do when I’m playing 2nd base, and it looks like the ball is headed my way. At this point, I could feel the ground shaking under me, it felt like I was on a boat.

A couple of my co-workers came around the corner. One was running. “What is going on?” “Is this an earthquake?”

I liked that idea.
Because up to this point (for the past 10 seconds) I was wondering if it was something much worse. This is Downtown DC. I was afraid there was some sort of bomb going off nearby.

I was asked by a co-worker, “What is our earthquake policy?” I had no idea. No time to Google it. Is that the thing you get in a doorway for? I instinctively said, “Whatever the building’s policy is.” (which, by the way, turned out to be true, go gut instinct!)

We realized people were filling the street outside. So, Jennifer said, “Get a camera, start rolling!” And Jerome did. And I grabbed my cell phone, my computer, and my lunch, and headed out the door. I later realized I left my wallet in the building, but I thought I had it. Priorities, people! Oh, I did tweet on the way out the door…

Once outside, I I counted heads. Everyone was there. Phew!
I texted my boss to let him know what was going on, that we were all accounted for, and that we were covering the story. I don’t know how long we were out there, but it seemed like forever. Honestly, I was enjoying the sunshine. I texted my husband, to make sure he was okay, and told him to get outside. He did.

We waited and waited, and eventually came back inside, realized our phone and internet and other lines we need to make TV happen were okay, so we all sprang into breaking news mode. I was gathering video. Jennifer was frantically writing her package. Ian edited it. Mark and Jerome set up a live shot on the street. Amazing teamwork.

I texted my sister and called my mom, once I could get a phone call out, to make sure she knew I was okay. Updated Facebook so our friends and family, worried about Michael and myself, would know we were okay. My brother was on Facebook, so I even had a quick chat with him! I think it made him laugh.

They’re saying it was something like 5.8 on the Richter Scale. Whoa. It was crazy. I’m so glad no one was hurt.

I’m incredibly proud of the team of people I work with. Especially Jennifer for saying, “Get a camera, and start rolling.” She wins the news spirit stick for the day, for sure.

Now, it’s four hours later and the local news is still freaking out. Metro trains are running at 15 mph, and traffic is at a standstill.

So, of course, I’m stuck here for hours. Which is convenient, because, well.... I have HURRICANE coverage to plan!!

Last night, when I was cleaning up after dinner, I put our leftovers in that stupid round glass Pyrex container. I even thought when I was doing so, “I shouldn’t do this.” Because there have been TWO TIMES that I have stored leftovers in that container, only to be stuck at work late the next day, and Michael can’t get the leftovers to heat up for himself. (Well… he probably could, but it is risky!)

Sorry, Babe.
At least the beans are in a plastic container.
I promise, I won’t do it again.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Caught Red Handed

Friday night we were feeling very cooped up, so we got out of the house. We got in the Escape and got dinner out. We didn't feel quite like heading home, so D drove out to the drive-thru Starbucks in Fairfax. We enjoyed coffees and red velvet whoopie pies on our way home and a brilliant view of the clouds moving in.

Arriving home, I came inside and hooked up the dogs for our evening walk. When I looked down, I noticed red on my fingers, looked at my right hand an it was worse. I though, "Oh, crap! I've cut my finger on something!" The red stuff was dry, so I didn't think much of it. It can't be too bad if the blood has stopped. Nonetheless, I showed D because she worries about those things.

D looked at my hand and had puzzled look on her face. She touched it. Then she tasted it. What?! If you know my wife, you know that she's not gonna just taste and experiment. She gave me that you are such a doofus look and told me, "It's whoopie pie!"

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Morning Post

What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday, I was watching Mike Huckabee jam at the Ames, Iowa Straw Poll.

Well, hello there, dear Saturday morning.
I have missed you. And our lovely, quiet times together (by that, I mean the moments in between Brokaw barking at the air outside).

This morning started with an alarm.
That's rare around these parts for a Saturday, but I have a lot I want/need to get done around here today, so sleeping in another hour or so isn't an option.

I got up a little early to have a moment to take a breath for myself. Because I've learned it is key to have a few minutes of alone time before I get Michael up and ready.

So he doesn't have to deal with Mrs. Grumpy.
And so that we're not looking at each other at noon, after we've taken care of bathroom business, like "where did the day go?"

One of my favorite things to do during this time is catch up on blogs I love, including, but not limited to:

1. The Frugal Girl
2. Money Saving Mom
3. NieNie Dialogues
4. My Morning Caffeine (love you Christin!)
6. Annie's Eats
7. The Pioneer Woman

There is a part of me that wants to be like each of these women. I'd love to have The Frugal Girl's contentment, Money Saving Mom's ability to save money, NieNie's style, and My Morning Caffeine's hilarious sense of humor. I'd die to be able to cook like Annie, and take pictures of it. And, I'd like to pretty much BE The Pioneer Woman, without the Pioneer Front.

Sometimes, I also cruise the most random things ever on Craigslist. I love doing that, but it's a major time waster, and can also be frustrating in my never-ending quest for contentment.

Cheers to Saturday. Enjoy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Strong Marriage & Lean Cuisine

We've never done this before.
But the other night, for dinner, we ate three different kinds of frozen meals for dinner.

It started that morning.
I was exhausted getting Michael ready in the morning.
I was planning to put chicken in the crock pot, but while I was helping him get dressed, Michael said, "When you get home, let's just eat Lean Cuisines, and get in bed early."

Sometimes I get all territorial when he suggests meals.
Like, back away from the kitchen, buddy! I provide you with good, home cooked meals, don't go making any suggestions or anything! :) Control freak, much?

But, this idea, I was totally down with.

So, I got home from work, asked him which meal he wanted, and he told me to heat up a few.
Which was easy, since we have two microwaves.

I split the three meals: Tuna Noodle Gratin, Parmasean Crusted Fish, and Meat Lasagna. I made garlic bread out of one random hamburger bun we had in the bread basket, and bam: dinner. Served on a paper plate, to top it all off.

And we ate it, and watched Jeopardy.
In all our boring marriedness.

In the last week, it feels like we have been inundated with news of marriages of people we love crumbling. It's a reminder to me that marriage, much like life, is vulnerable, fragile and easily threatened.

We're still newlyweds. Our 2nd anniversary is in a couple of weeks. So, our marriage is still young.
But, I don't take for granted that we can split three frozen meals and a hamburger bun in front of Teen Jeopardy, and love it. Every bite, and every moment.

It was actually fun!
It felt rebellious.
Like I said, boring marriedness.
And I love it.

I love my husband.
And I still really like him.
And I'm so thankful for both of those.

The View From Here

I have to give my husband props for this excellent surprise when I came home from my trip.
A new light in the dining room!

Michael found this lamp in the trash a while ago. I put new bulbs in it, and it worked! So, I say we rescued it.

While I was gone, M got a neighbor to rig it up as a ceiling light fixture.
We still need to get the ceiling painted.
But I love how it looks!
Way cozier.
Way cooler.
Way brighter.

Thank you, my Love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

God is Stretching my Faith. Not Sure Why, Yet.

Completely unrelated photo. But, really, how could I resist?

Another entry straight from my journal. I wrote this yesterday morning:

Last night, Michael and I had dinner with some good friends from church, Joe and Lisa. We laughed together. Talked about life and memories and marriage and theology. And we ate Greek salads and Michael and I split a steak and cheese.

I went to bed hungry.
I’m sure my stomach is still stretched out from the Iowa State Fair, and multiple trips to Cold Stone Creamery.


I just got back from Iowa on Sunday.
And, in a couple of weeks, I’ll be headed to California. Likely on our anniversary, actually.

I really do love traveling for my job.
I totally get a rush when I’m at live campaign events, and I love covering debates!
And, I’ve even gotten completely used to leaving Michael in the care of others.
That adjustment has been slow, but steady.

And the last couple of trips, I can honestly say I haven’t worried over him, or cried about it one bit!
This last trip was filled with friends helping him. I was so resistant to that at first. I still understand why, and I don’t blame myself, but I’m glad I’m over it because Michael is a really social person, and he loves having people over.

Plus, it leads to great surprises for me, like a new dining room light fixture!

Not to mention the hundreds of dollars it saves us.

Okay, deep breath.
I found out last night, there’s a good chance I could be gone three times in September and two times in October. This is really exciting! And, scary. Because we live on a tight budget here in the one income Ritter house, and it scares us (read: me) to death that we won’t be able to afford to pay for the home health care that we still need to pay for in the mornings, even though friends are helping out at night.

Michael is the sweetest, most supportive husband in the world. He wants to figure it out. He doesn’t want to hold me back, doesn’t want to be a burden, wants to make money so he can pay for this stuff.

And then there’s me. I don’t want my dream to be a drain on our finances. I don’t want our life to revolve around my work, even though I think that ship has already sailed.

We both want to protect each other.

So, here we are. Up against a dream come true vs. an impossible odd. Time to pray, right? So, we did. Last night. Right there in the SUV in the parking lot of our apartment complex.

We still don’t have any answers, but we do have some ideas.

And when we were praying, I had that nudge, once again, that God wants to use us. Could this be the crisis of faith that will force us into obedience?

I am trying to be obedient in the little things, but I struggle, like anyone else with wanting to be comfortable, and being selfish, and wanting control.

I feel like we’re in this place that is scary and comforting at the same time. Scary because I don’t know what is next for our journey, but I know it is something God wants to do. Comforting because I know He has a plan.

So, today, I take a step. I admit that it’s okay that I don’t fully understand the how, or the why, or the when, or even the what.

I will take a deep breath, and praise the Lord with my life, ask Him to protect my little brother and his men today, to ease my mother’s anxiety, to continue to provide for our needs, and to bless our families and to be with my dear friend Ann and the new believers she is discipiling, like I do every morning.

I’ll drink my coffee, get Michael ready, get ready myself and go to work. I pray I will be an encouragement to others, that I will glorify God with my words, actions, and thoughts. Ask for forgiveness for some of my thoughts. Plan, and read and write stories. Commute home, fix dinner, and relax with the most excellent blessing I’ve ever received in my life.

I know that God has me right where He has me. I knew when I started dating Michael that we would end up getting married. I knew that God wanted to do something in us and through us. I know that God has blessed me with gifts and talents to be a producer, and he plucked me into “ministry” when I wasn’t even looking, and has been making my dreams come true left and right over the last two years.

I also know that I could never do all of this in my own strength and/or talent. Yes, I am physically strong. And yes, I am excellent at time management. However, I think what I’ve got going on in this life here is definitely over the line as far as how much one person should be able to handle.

Note: After I wrote this, I read my devotion for the day, and this was the verse
"And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus."-Philippians 4:19

Back from Iowa. Again

Hello, dear friends.

I'm back from Iowa. Again.
From, you know, seeing the Butter Cow.
And eating a pork chop on a stick.
And interviewing Sarah Palin, etc.
I'm sorry for my lack of blogging.
Hopefully, you, like my diet, will understand.
Hopefully, you, like that pork chop, will stick with me.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

This is No Chef Boyardee Ravioli

Let me first clarify that Chef Boyardee Ravioli is one of my favorite foods on the planet. I could seriously live off of it, as well as his Spaghetti and Meatballs.

I'd have to live in pants I got at the bottom of the pile or the back of the rack at the store, but I could live, none the less.

So, this is NO diss on CB!

Now that that's clear...

I'm going to let you in on a little secret to making a not-so-healthy meal slightly healthier:
Last night, I boiled some frozen beef ravioli up.
Heated up some Marinara that I bought in a jar at Aldi. (Note: Wegmans sauces are completely superior, and I don't think they are much more expensive. I'm stocking up next time I'm there)
And, as you can see above, I threw some peppers, green onion, spinach and mushrooms in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil.

I put that on top of the sauce, on top of the ravioli.
And served it with fresh green beans.
And salad.

So, in my view, that's totally enough green to balance out the pasta.

Which, in our case, was 100% necessary after a weekend of blissfully eating this for every meal, including breakfast:

Side note.
Marriage teaches some valuable lessons, doesn't it?
One thing I have learned is the glory of adding the following to my pizza...
I never did that before Michael.
I will never go back.


Monday, August 8, 2011

It's Not Often The News Makes Me Cry

I remember crying once, when I was an intern, after the first time I knocked on the door of a mother whose daughter had been killed in a car accident (to be clear, I wasn't by myself, I don't think any news organization would send an intern on a mission like that).

I remember crying on or about September 15th, about 9/11. I didn't cry that day, or the rest of that first week, because I was working non-stop, and it felt like a "story," not like reality. It hit me when I was home alone, watching all of it on TV, that this was really happening to my country.

And, this morning, when I watched an interview with the wife and parents of one of the Navy SEALS killed over the weekend in Afghanistan, I cried. Right there on the couch in my living room, clinching my coffee mug, knowing I should be in the shower by now, I'm going to be late for work...

Tears streamed down my face.
More tears in the shower.
I'm so sad about this loss of these great men.
My heart aches.

And, of course, I can't stop thinking about, worrying about, and praying for this guy:

Sometimes it is just surreal to me that my little brother is on the side of a mountain in Afghanistan right now. With a gun. Or two. That he is in danger.

It makes me sick to my stomach to think too much about it.
He told me not to worry.
So, I'm trying not to.
Really, I am.

But I stalk his Facebook page out like a hawk, looking for any activity, so I know he is okay.
Or, activity of his friends who are also deployed with him.
I'm a stalker sister.

The only time I feel like I'm doing anything remotely helpful is when I'm buying stuff for him and mailing it.

And when I see people like this on the metro...
I stop listening to my iPod for a minute to say, "Thank you," because they deserve our thanks.
And, when my little brother makes his way home after this crazy year in Afghanistan, I want him to be overwhelmed with pats on the back, with airport applause and with people telling him, "Thank you."

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The View From Here

Michael and I are about to go shopping. THIS is what we have to do so that Brokaw doesn't get in the trash can, in the pantry.

Yes, that is an ottoman, with a dining chair on top of it.
This is what it has come to.

I swear that Puggle has thumbs!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The View From Here

The week in review.
Sunday:Church @Home, Uprising Student Ministry.

Monday:White House. Debt deal.

Tuesday:Spousal commute. Impromptu date night.

Wednesday:Audio op. God Anthology (no pic for that).

Thursday: Coffee. Cupcake. Goodbye Interns.



Thursday, August 4, 2011


I am done for the day.
Done with the walking and the feeding and the watering and the washing and the dressing and the cooking and the driving and the working and the planning and the emailing and the answering and the listing and the praying and the encouraging and the deciding and the shopping and the putting away and the fixing and the getting ready for tomorrow and the dreading and the not sleeping and the handling of bodily functions of a dog a cat and a man. And taking out the trash. And the yelling at and listening to yelling at dogs. And the feeling sad, and anxious, and the being tired and jealous and sorry. And the being ashamed and sinful and unavailable. And the lifting and the waiting and the undressing and the bed arranging and the lip balm applying.

I'm ready to go to bed.
To not sleep.
So that I can do it all again tomorrow.
I am glad, however, that it is Friday.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blog Changes, Baby!

Sorry to disappoint, but that headline does not mean there are changes in our lives with regards to an actual baby.

At least, ahem, not yet.
Pictured above, however is one of Brokaw's "babies."
He brought it to me last night, when I was sitting in my blue/white chair working on the following changes/additions to our little blog:

1. You will now notice a list, left to right, under the title, of post topics.
You can click on those tabs to read posts that have to do with a certain topic, like marriage, faith, work, pets, etc.

*A couple of notes here:
-"Love Life" is just a place for posts about randomness, not posts about our actual love life. Yes, I realized that when I created that tag name, but I thought it was funny, so we just went with it.
-Anything that has to do with challenges we face because of/related to Michael's disability will be filed under "Love Hurts." Because "Love Disability" just didn't seem right. It's not accurate. "Love Hurts" is definitely more accurate, most of the time. Any other challenges we face will be filed under that label as well.

2. The labels cloud:

Over to the right hand side, you will see all of these words jumbled together. This is ALL of our topics. Same idea as with the bar across the top, but this includes ALL of our labels.

3. Holy Archives! Also to the right hand side, you will now see that this blog has archives going back to 2005!!! Michael and I don't even go that far back! But, I was blogging back then, on my old blog, which was called "In Other News." This morning, I imported all of those old blog posts to this site. Go me!
4. BlogHer
You'll notice the bar to the right (there may soon be two) for BlogHer. Blogher is a network of blogs and articles written by women. I'm so honored to be a part of this now!

A Wedding Wish

Every now and then, something happens that you never could have orchestrated on your own. And I love it when that happens, because I know it is God at work around me.

A couple of months ago, I got an e-mail from Melanie.
Melanie was eager to pick my brain about so much that we had in common. She was recently engaged to Misha. Misha, like my Michael, is also a quadriplegic. There are some things about their injuries and limitations that are similar, so Melanie and I had a lot to talk about, and we hit it off right away!

Now, she's like a little sister to me! I treasure her friendship, and I like being on the "teaching" end of this, for once, because it at least makes me feel like I know what I'm doing! Haha.


Michael and I have prayed, and prayed for this couple.
We wish them the best of life together, as a team. Like any marriage, their marriage will face some challenges, plus some extra wild cards. Some times will be tough, some times will be hilarious, some unpredictible, but God is always with them. And so, are we.

They are the inspiration behind Michael's Letters to a Paralyzed Husband series.

Mel and Misha - CONGRATS, welcome to this wonderful married life!!! We hope to meet you one day!

Dana & Michael

Monday, August 1, 2011

On Trips to New Hampshire and Iowa

I have become quite the frequent little flyer.
Iowa and New Hampshire are the first caucus and primary states, in that order. While election day 2012 is still more than a year away, the presidential candidates are already making lots of appearances in these states. So, so am I.

I have been to New Hampshire and Iowa in the past 60 days, and next week, or the week after that (I should really check on that) ... I will head BACK to Iowa!

Here are some of the pluses and minuses I have found, and some of the candidates we have been following around.

PLUS: Clam chowdah in New Hampshah.
6:00a.m. flights out of Baltimore.

Buildings that provide coffee for free while we are setting up for interviews!

Not being able to find a decent restaurant in a deserted town in Iowa that I will not name.

Major additions to my stockpile of mini shampoos, etc.

MINUS:Following a Presidential candidate down the street with traffic, and bumpy sidewalks and dozens of cameras, etc. while trying not to bump into each other.

PLUS:Shooting our show on the BEACH.

MINUS:Shooting our show in a corn field.*
*Actually... it was kind of fun!

Here are some random shots of candidates we've been following...
Mitt Romney:Tim Pawlenty:Michele Bachmann:

And here are a couple of behind-the-scenes views from where I sit/stand:
Standup shoot.

This is my usual view at a presidential debate.

Another random shot:
That's one of Mitt Romney's sons.

And, FYI best part of a Tea Party rally we covered in Iowa?
Ice Cream Bar!! (no, I did not partake, but I thought it was a great idea!!)

Last one...
We were covering a Sarah Palin event... and I spotted a random, SP look-a-like in the crowd:
I'm traveling again later this month, so I will be on the lookout for randomness to share with you! If there's something in particular you are curious about, please ask! I always get feedback that readers want to see "behind the scenes" stuff, but sometimes I feel like I'm boring! So, let me know what you want.

Of course, the best part about traveling is coming home to a husband who has missed me, and...
A certain someone else who may or may not be slightly clingy for the first few days I'm back!
Of course, coming home also has it's pluses and minuses.

The plus is coming home to Mr. Wonderful who always has the house nice and clean/straight/smelling good for me when I walk in the door.

The minus is realizing that a stranger (we hire home health providers to come help M with his personal needs when I'm out of town) has been in my bathroom. I mean, really. Why do they have to touch my stuff? I digress...