As I drove off after work the other day, my otherwise "healthy" car stopped running. Right there in the middle of the street.
When we - meaning the group of reporters and I that work together each week to put stories into print - sat down for our Wednesday morning staff meeting this past week, the question was raised about how we were going to mark the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11.
The seasons move on. The schools are back in session. We're headed toward Friday night football, cold and rain, and Christmas. Forget shopping. Did you know Riverbank officials are already planning the Christmas parade? "But not yet, not yet," as the hero's friend in the movie Gladiator says. The summer crickets are still calling, metaphorically, and doves still cooing across town.
With the start of the new school year, I have a senior, a junior, and a first grader. The two teens are dialed in, they know their routine and it's been an easy transition from one grade to the next. However, with my little one, it's been a different story.
My original plan for this month's column was to discuss my transition into "retired life" and the phases I went through on the path to ultimately accepting that decision. It was something parallel to the five stages of grief, starting with a denial and isolation then ending with acceptance.
You could say I have a little history in this neck of the woods.
The lockout is over, but the effects of a disgusting and greedy battle between overpaid athletes and their employers has painted a grotesque image onto the canvas of professional sports.
There's nothing quite like a vacation.
As I write this I'm sitting in a borrowed apartment that was set up for our arrival by my friend Dulcey. I can hear bananaquits (or Sugarbirds) and frogs that sound similar to very loud crickets, a rogue rooster crowed at the break of dawn, and the ocean is a short walk away from our back door.
With all respect to my colleague, Teresa, this month's column could be easily titled "Daddy Musings."
As I write this, it's 100 degrees outside and the air conditioning has gone out at The Oakdale Leader office. Fortunately for me, I chose the first day of this calamity to telecommute. However, for some of my coworkers, having to be in the office all day with only ceiling fans and some box fans to circulate hot air makes the hair and the clothes tend to cling where they're not wanted.
Ah, the wonder of the Internet and the remembrance of things past.
Rafting is all the rage at this time of year and seeing the enthusiasts buck through the white water rapids or float lazily down the calmer stretches of the Stanislaus River, I'm reminded of my personal experiences of going down a river.
On the cusp of another holiday - bracing for the fireworks of July 4 - my mind goes back just a few weeks to the last official holiday, Memorial Day.
It hardly seems possible that time has flown so quickly but I'm staring at the dates circled on my calendar for New York thinking, there's no way it's already down to the nitty gritty and I don't have a dress yet.
Much has been said and covered by the news media in regard to the recent decisions from a St. Louis County and New York grand juries not to indict police officers in the separate deaths of two subjects by the police officers involved.
Well, I resisted as long as humanly possible.
That loud clacking sound everyone heard Wednesday morning, Nov. 5 after the elections was the sound of area deadbolts latching in homes after the passage of Proposition 47 – the initiative that reduced penalties for drug possession and other "nonviolent" crimes.
October is over. And on a brief shopping excursion on Saturday, Nov. 1, I noticed with more than a little horror that the Halloween costumes that were placed on 75 percent clearance were right next to the brightly decorated Christmas trees, tinsel and holiday wreaths.
I've been covering Oakdale government and crime regularly now for nearly three years and in that time I can honestly say I've seen a serious concerted effort by elected officials and city staff to save the city money, making cuts where available, and directing resources for maximum efficiency.
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