On camping and kittens

Last weekend I wanted to sleep outside with my friends. In tents, you guys!

So I brought my boyfriend to Juniper Springs in Marion County, which is not far from Salt Springs and Ocala, and several friends from St. Petersburg joined later.

Photo by me from a lovely hike (but still second-best to banana boats).

The campground is located in the Ocala National Forest, apparently home to lots of bears. We did not see any bears because we followed strict bear-avoidance protocol by diligently storing trash in our vehicles and cleaning up wasted food. I did, however, see mysterious tracks below our picnic table the morning after our first night. Perhaps a tiny bearcoon helped herself to some mini marshmallows that fell from our banana boats. Perhaps.

Wait, do you know the glory of a banana boat? HOMG. It is the tastiest, warmest thing I have eaten this year. Friends Jim and Steph are the masterminds behind this delicacy. Now I’m going to steal all of their glory.

First you give the banana an incision down the slope of its peel. Right down the middle, OK? Then you stuff it with semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter morsels  — you know, those mini Hershey’s Kisses things — and mini marshmallows. Next you cover the banana (in its peel, duh) with aluminum foil and gingerly place it near the open flame of your campfire. You must have a campfire. You leave it there for, say, 10 minutes and then you eat it up with a spoon. It’s all blended, melty and, um, healthful, right?

That was my favorite camping memory, campfire songs aside. Also, I only wrote this because I wanted to see kitty pictures every 100 words.

Do I want to go down this road?

I think I want to blog again. I think it might be here.

Yeah? Yeah.

For the first time in my life, I’m re-reading things I wrote years ago and not wanting to up and abandon the craft out of self-loathing. My entries chronicling DC life are actually pretty damn interesting and well-written. I wish I kept it up. It probably made me a better writer.

Regret aside, here I am, mulling a comeback. You with me?

I’ve kinda moved.

Maybe I’ve let you down.


Would it cheer you up if I told you I’m keeping up a new blog for my multimedia class here?

I’ll be back later, I promise.

In the meantime, keep tabs on me over there.

A visit home, filled with pure gold.

This is a historic post.


Because you’re about to be introduced to the world’s most adorable living animal.

Meet the new Sanders family dog — Sampson!


Friends to herbs, bugs and natural enemies (see kitty nuzzling above), golden retriever Sampson entered our home about a week ago, thanks to my little brother David and our cousins who own his mother, Tally.

I traveled to Madison from St. Augustine just for the night to meet the new puppy. Sam was worth the two-hour drive, without question.

We played before church, ran around the backyard, made new animal friends, paddled around the pool, napped on the kitchen floor together, and took pictures on Photobooth.

Photo 3

Combined with my pictures on Facebook, my doggy-documenting might seem a wee obsessive. But I can’t help being jazzed about having a new animal back home. We lost two longtime family dogs this spring within a month of each other: Lovey, my special black and white mutt, at 15; and Noel, the family’s beloved boxer, almost 10. I was in DC for both, and my heart was sad.

Sure, we still have ancient kitty Starquest around. She’s the former stray who has outlived all of our dogs, including Colonel (Sanders), a golden retriever –and my first pet– who died about ten years ago at a ripe old age that I don’t remember.

But at the end of the day, I’m not  risking pictures with Starquest on my expensive new laptop.

Photo 6

Snakes, hogs and British fashionistas

The summer, it’s almost over.

Compared to the 16-week duration of my stay at CongressDaily, this internship has passed like an ocean breeze (oooh, cheesy beach metaphor!). That being said, I’ve enjoyed myself and improved my storytelling abilities.

I’ve got four weeks left at The St. Augustine Record. I’ll save my profound analysis for the final days.

For now, here’s a smattering of local stories for you to peruse.

Fighting foreclosure — and winning (June 20)

Wild hogs tearing up northwest neighborhood (June 27)

City salutes July 4 (July 5)

Police: Man robbed after accident (July 8 )

Garden shop reopens after rattler bites shopper (July 16) + Bizarre Florida debut!

Woman gets TV makeover (July 17)


I interviewed Susannah Constantine, co-host of an upcoming TLC makeover show and British fashion guru, inside Rochelle's Clothing while she and her partner gave a St. Augustine woman a new look. Photo by Peter Willott, of The Record.

Entertaining Record stories

Most of the work accumulated in the first week and a half of my internship has been, aside from cops, quirky local news.

No, they probably aren’t going to earn me a Pulitzer. But these kind of stories build trust with new colleagues and the community, as well as challenging  me to develop my writing style and experiment.

One wasn’t so light-hearted.

Aside from that one, here’s a sampling of the amusing local stories I’ve completed, encompassing topics such as weather, a senior citizen and cops — a quality recipe for intern adjustment week.

If you want seconds, go to the Web site and click on the handy button by my byline that says “more by this reporter.”

Mosquito Boom to dry up

Happy Birthday, Mr. Mayor

Report: Police officer’s bicycle destroyed with car

Here’s to upcoming, and more in-depth, work.

All these things that I’ve done

Somewhere between my side-arm hug with Katie Couric and hiking the ancient city of Petra, I realized I haven’t been very attentive to this blog. It’s upsetting that it happened, really.

This post serves to tell you that (aged news?)catch-up information is on the way.

The title of this post reminds me of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism, which sponsored my political journalism internship in D.C. Our closing dinner was filled with Mexican food, music, toasts and my favorite portion, group togetherness — most notably felt during the playing of a Killers song of the same title as this post.

I finished my CongressDaily internship a week later, May 22. Tons of professional experience was gained, much of which I have chronicled in previous writings.

From there, I spent four days in New York City with dear friends. It was my first time in the city, and it did not disappoint.

Then I flew 12 hours to Jordan. Oh, Jordan. More later. And soon.

Flash forward two weeks and you’ll find me where I am now — writing from my new room in St. Augustine, Fla., where I’m interning for the local daily newspaper.

The work has been busy, but the off-duty hours are nice.

It is a beach town, after all.

The oldest one.