Melissa's Reporter Blog

On today’s events in Japan

Friday, March 11th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I woke this morning to the sound of rain on my window, and the dull roar of water rushing in the creek which runs adjacent to my house. Even before the last 24 hours’ rainfall and runoff, the normally quiet brook had long since overwhelmed its banks and transformed into a raging river.

I knew without looking that the water would be higher and running faster than the night before, and my mind turned to the flood warnings and watches which had already been issued. I wasn’t concerned about our little creek, since it doesn’t pose a threat to our house, but rather to all those who aren’t so lucky. Particularly those who live in the low-lying areas along the banks of the Chenango and Susquehanna Rivers.

I wasn’t here to witness the devastation of the floods in 2006 first hand. And based on the first-hand accounts I’ve heard and pictures I’ve seen, I hope Chenango and the surrounding counties never have to endure such a catastrophic event again in my lifetime.

Those thoughts were wiped momentarily from my mind however, when I learned of the events in Japan. It started with an 8.9 magnitude earthquake more than 15 feet below the surface of the earth and 80 miles off the coast of Honshu. The largest quake in the country’s recorded history. Then, as if the damage from the quake itself wasn’t enough, there was the tsunami which followed in its aftermath devastating areas in the Northeast region of the nation. And then a nuclear emergency declared as a result of damage at one of Japan’s nuclear facilities.

The images I’ve seen are surreal. Oil refineries and office buildings in flames. Factories in ruin. Roadways buckled. Houses washed out to sea. Cars and planes tossed around like match sticks.

One of the most haunting photos, though, was one which looked to have been taken on a cell phone: a couple huddling together as they watch the ceiling cave in.

That was the one which made it all real to me. For the true devastation isn’t about buildings and infrastructure (as horrific as that may be) but about the people. Millions of lives changed in an instant, all because of a shift along a fault line deep beneath the Earth’s crust.

All morning I held my breath as I viewed the images coming out of Japan and waiting to see if what havoc the tsunami would wreak on the rest of the world, including Hawaii and the West Coast. I was engrossed in the live video and Twitter feed coming out of Hawaii. (Did you know the Pacific Fleet is on Twitter?) I even briefly tried following the #tsunami trending topic, but it was flying so fast I couldn’t make sense of all the posts, many of which were in other languages.

Interspersed with all of that, I was seeing constant Facebook updates as people confirmed their family and friends in Japan were indeed okay.

But then everything I was seeing and reading seemed to slow to a stop as one Facebook post made this cataclysmic event suddenly very personal. It was my cousin Peggy’s status about her son Sean’s wife Ai, who is from Japan. You see, her family lives in Sendai, the capital of the Miyagi prefecture. While she had heard briefly from her father, there were many others from whom she still has not heard.

Sendai should sound familiar. According to news reports, the tsunami which hit the city’s port was 10 meters high. That’s over 30 feet. Many of the worst images we’ve seen have come from this region – the airport underwater, houses and cars washed out to sea, some of them in flames.

All I can think of is Ai seeing those same pictures, waiting to hear about her family. My whole family shares her pain as we send our thoughts and prayers to her and all those affected by this catastrophic event.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Snowed in

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I knew I was in trouble when I looked out my friend Julie’s kitchen window on Sunday night, and saw a traffic jam of sorts on the stretch of County Road 3 we Tyner folk refer to as Nicholson’s Hill.

Julie and her husband Lyndon live at the top of that hill, and from our vantage point, we had clear view of the havoc Mother Nature was wreaking on the roads. More than one vehicle was in the ditch after failing to make it up the incline, and a couple of more dotted the opposite ditch, having unsuccessfully navigated the downward slope. Still more vehicles -trucks, mostly – were engaged in trying to rectify the situation.

It was about 6:30, and I’d been at the Gates’ for an hour or so. (I find it hard to resist a dinner invitation to their abode, since they are both culinary wizards – LJ with his smoker, and Jules with her ability to whip up basically anything from a few simple ingredients.)

I glanced at my half-eaten curry chicken salad and then back to the spectacle downhill and the chicken won. After all, I thought, I’d be better off waiting for the plow to make another swing by then to head out in the current conditions.

By 8, I was anxious to get on the road. Particularly when I stepped outside to find a full six inches of heavy wet snow on my car, all of which had fallen in the brief time I’d been inside. It briefly crossed my mind that I’d be lucky to get out of the driveway at all, let alone home, but I quickly shooed away that notion.

A few moments later, as I ineffectually spun my tires trying to crest the hill, I was wishing I paid more heed to that startling bit of insight. Never one to give up easily, I tried a few more times before deciding it was time for an alternate approach.

Well, more of a retreat, actually. I figured my best bet was to back down slowly and return to the driveway from whence I came.

It didn’t exactly work out as I planned. The backing down part went smoothly, but when it came time to actually turn into the Gates’ drive, I found myself with zero purchase and not enough forward momentum to get the job done.

Just as I prepared to call in the cavalry (i.e. Julie & LJ to push my sorry behind back into their driveway), I noticed a set of headlights behind me. Crap, I thought, there is no way this guy is going to be able to get by me.

But, as it turns out, the driver in question wasn’t approaching my car in order to berate me for blocking basically the entire roadway, but rather to offer his assistance.

I didn’t recognize this knight in slush-covered armor, but he knew me.

“You’re Melissa, right?” he asked, inquiring politely about my family before offering his services to help me back into the aforementioned driveway.

I had a chance to express my gratitude for his kindness, but just barely, before he drove off into the night in his four wheel drive. (Thank you, Eric!)

It still took Julie, LJ and I a few attempts (and some shoveling) in order to get my Avenger the rest of the way up the driveway. By the time she was safely parked, I decided to take them up on the offer of their couch, figuring that, depending on road conditions, I could either run home in the morning or commute to work from there.

But, of course, I didn’t have to worry about that, thanks to the State of Emergency our county chairman declared. Oh, how I love a good road closure. Most days my 26-mile roundtrip commute to and from the Evening Sun newsroom is an annoyance, but yesterday it was a God send. Because I was the only ES reporter to get a full snow day as a result.

And since I was still snowed in at the Gates’- who have two Middle-school age boys, it truly was a snow day. I spent the day baking cookies, playing in the snow (of which they got 21” or so) and watching movies. All in all, definitely a good time.

Sure, there was lots of snow removal, too, but I managed to avoid the worst of it. (I think LJ’s name may actually be “Fred.”)

By the time I returned to my own house, around 5:30 or so, I was pretty tuckered out. I fully expected to find plenty of snow with my name on it, but to my great surprise and relief, one of our neighbors – Jim Pollard – had already done the honors with his tractor and plow. (Thank you so much, Jim!) The pops did a fair share of shoveling, too. Let’s hope he’s none the worse for wear because of the experience. We did get over 24″ in our neck of Smithville Center, a.k.a. Southwest Tyner.

Thank you, Mother Nature, for the lovely snow day! As for your efforts to give me a second day off in a row – by saddling me with a fever, sore throat, congestion and all the other fixings for a sick day – not so much. I’d rather pass.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

The Crazy Train

Friday, March 4th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Who’s crazier: Charlie Sheen or Moammar Gadhafi? That’s been the most talked about topic in The Evening Sun newsroom this week. Both the former Two and a Half Men star and the soon-to-be deposed Libyan despot seem to be in competition for the top prize, despite the ever-delusional North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s long-time supremacy in this category.

Sure, there have been other challengers. Like Hugo Chavez. And the NFL. (With so many states facing cataclysmic budget deficits and schools being forced to cut programs and staff, am I really supposed to be broken up about over-paid athletes and gazillionaire owners hashing over how many millions they get? I think not.) But few have garnered headlines like our current contestants.

The competition heated up this week, as Gadhafi (When did we start spelling that with a “G,” anyway?) tried to place the blame for his country’s unrest at first Al Qaida and then his arch-enemy of choice, the good old U.S. of A.

And if his senseless rantings weren’t enough (sure, buddy, bin Ladin’s been feeding pills to Libyan’s youth just to get under your skin), Time Magazine came out with an utterly damning slide show of some of the dictator’s more, ummm, interesting wardrobe choices.

Any one of these unfortunate outfits would be enough to guarantee him top seed in the Crazy Train competition.

But, not to be outdone, “The Sheen” gave a couple of particularly interesting prime time interviews which may very well have solidified his place in the standings. Then he took it one step further by exploding onto the Twitter scene. In less than 24 hours he had more than a million followers on the micro-blogging site, each one hanging on every insane word. Soon, the ethernet was buzzing with phrases like “Tiger Blood,” “Warlock Latin,” “Rockstar from Mars” and “Plan Better.”

The word “winning,” which Sheen throws around with abandon, has taken on a whole new meaning: Losing. As in, losing one’s mind. Because that’s what we’re doing – watching this man who is so addled by addiction crack up before our eyes.

It’s a sad commentary on our society, I think, that so many of us want a front row seat for the show. Not that I’m taking the moral high ground on this – I’m one of @charliesheen’s more than 1.5 million Twitter followers.

As for Libya, while we may poke fun at Moammar Gadhafi’s delusional rantings and actions, the events in the North African country are nothing to joke about. The lives of some 6 million people – and the fate of the nation which holds the world’s largest proven oil reserves – rests in the balance.

It is human nature, I think, to use humor to deal with dire situations. But let us not lose sight of what is truly at stake.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Let them eat cookies!

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Tonight is the night. A Night of Cookies and Cream, of course. In just a few short hours, the celebrity cookie smackdown – I mean – auction will begin.

Let’s face it, it is THE cookie-related event of the year. Where else can you expect to see – and bid on – homemade goodies baked from scratch by Chenango County’s preeminent business and community leaders. (And one not-so notable newspaper reporter, I might add.)

I, personally, can’t wait. The anticipation has been killing me. Ever since that cookie jar appeared on my desk a couple of weeks ago, I’ve had cookies on the brain.

First it was the anxiety over what kind of cookies to bake. In the end – after careful consideration and amazing restraint (I wanted to sample every recipe I came across!) – I decided to stick with the tried and true: Raspberry Pecan Thumbprints.

Yeah, I know that’s what I made last year. And some people have already given me a hard time about it, but I don’t care. They are just so darn good! I didn’t want to mess with perfection.

Then, of course, there was the baking. Those delightful thumbprints aren’t complicated per se, but it’s still a lengthy process. Probably because the recipe makes like 8 dozen cookies!

Not that 8 dozen made it into the jar, mind you. The number was whittled down significantly during the, ahem, taste testing portion of the evening. And of course I had to bring in samples for The Evening Sun crew. (They would never have forgiven me otherwise.)

That little stash was quickly depleted, however. So, here I sit with mouth watering, thinking of nothing else but those sinfully delicious cookies. Must have more of those super yummy pecan-crusted, raspberry preserve-topped jobbies.

Looks like someone might have to bid on her own cookies tonight…

It is, after all, for a good cause.

Don’t miss this year’s Night of Cookies and Cream to benefit The Children’s Center’s Scholarship Fund 6:30 to 8 p.m. tonight at the Norwich Fire House.

Cookies and milk for everyone! How can you go wrong?

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Looking for inspiration

Monday, February 21st, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

About a week after I began my employ at The Evening Sun, I posted my first blog. It was a piece called The Learning Curve, about as you can probably guess, it was about making the adjustment from free-spirited freelance writer, to dealing with an early morning deadline five days a week.

Re-reading it this morning, I had to laugh. Because, honestly, little has changed in the last two and a half years. I’m still not a fan of getting up early. (It’s a sad commentary, I think, when sleeping past 5 a.m. constitutes “sleeping in.”) I have yet to break the habit of arriving at work earlier than most in an effort to get a jump start on the day. And deadline? Yeah, still feels like pulling teeth.

Since that first blog, I’ve posted a whopping 190 more. (This one marks number 192.) I’ve written on any number of topics. Mostly my own quirks, and those of my family and friends. Really, it’s my favorite part of my job – getting to write about basically whatever I want and then posting it out there for all to read.

But lately, I’ve been a little off. My once-prolific blogging as petered out. It seems like a chore to even eke out one a week.

It isn’t for lack of trying, either. Or lack of material.

Unwittingly, my family and friends provide a never ending well on which I unabashedly draw. And lord knows, I have plenty of my own exploits to, well, exploit.

So what’s my problem? I don’t think it’s a case of the mid-winter blues. Sure, I’m longing for the golf season to start. (I admit, my clubs are still in the trunk of my car.) But I love, love, love tromping around in the snow – just not on my morning commute.

So, again, what the heck is my problem? Your guess is as good as mine. Because I’m not sure if it’s motivation or inspiration that I’m lacking. A bit of both, perhaps.

Maybe what I need is a little adventure to get me out of this rut I’m in. Any suggestions?

Or, maybe all I really need is more sleep.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

It’s all about the shoes

Monday, February 14th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I have a splitting headache this morning, which may or may not be a psychosomatic response to Valentine’s Day. Which Tyler chose to lead off, once again, with a question about what single people do on this lovers’ holiday.

Well, if you’re me, you spend it at a school board meeting. Frankly – and much to the chagrin of smug relationship-y types like my aforementioned coworker – that’s the only thing I’m bitter about today. And that’s only because it is preventing me from enjoying a meal at my favorite Indian restaurant.

There isn’t much I let stand in the way of a good Tikka Masala, so I sincerely hope our readers appreciate the sacrifice I am making on their behalf. (They should also feel free to show this appreciation with flowers and chocolate.)

Yeah, I’m single. So what? That doesn’t mean I totally disdain Valentine’s Day. I still have plenty of Valentine love to spread.

My mom, for example, had a little flower delivery this morning. A rather gorgeous arrangement, if I do say so myself. Not that I can take the credit, of course, that all goes to Maiurano’s Flowers. (Mom just called to gush a few minutes ago. So glad I could make her day!)

The pops will get a little something, too, before the day is out. But since he hasn’t received it yet, I won’t spoil the surprise.

I even got cutesy Valentine cards for my nieces and nephews. Granted, I never sent them, but it’s the thought that counts right?

As for who felt the most love from me this Valentine’s Day, well, that would be me. I treated myself to the Chenango SPCA’s Fur Ball on Saturday. It is, without a doubt, one of my favorite events of the year. If you’ve never gone, you’re seriously missing out.

There is great band (Splash!); plenty of dancing; a plethora of yummy appetizers and desserts to nibble on; lots of amazing people to kibitz with; and a silent auction with all kinds of cool items to bid on. And did I mention it’s all for a good cause?

One of my favorite things about it, though, is the chance to get dolled up. As you well know, these opportunities are few and far between in our rural neck of the woods. I jump at any chance. It’s probably no shock that I bought a new dress for the occasion. (Okay, actually I bought two. So I’m going to need another excuse to dress up again soon.)

Of course, one can’t purchase a new dress without also buying shoes to go with it. Or at least I can’t. But then, I’m always on the lookout for an excuse to add to my footwear collection.

I strolled into the shoe department at Macy’s thinking I’d have a hard time topping the gorgeous plum-colored Steve Maddens I sported to last year’s Fur Ball. But then I saw them: Glittery, peep-toe Nine West pumps with a 4” chrome heel. They were absolute show stoppers. It was love at first sight.

And, they were on sale!

Did my feet hurt after a night of dancing? Absolutely. But that’s a small price to pay to the fashion Gods for the privilege of sliding those sparkly heels on my feet.

Cinderella, Dorothy – eat your heart out!

It is soooo all about the shoes.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa

Rest peacefully, Aunt Loretta

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

When I was younger, I was unfazed by late night phone calls. More often then not, they were a sign of the much-too-active social life of my drunk-dialing friends. Now, however, it isn’t often the phone rings after 9. When it does, it is rarely good news.

Which is why, when the phone rang shortly after 9 last night, my nerves were set instantly on edge. It was one of my mom’s sisters, my Aunt Maureen, calling with the latest update on my Aunt Loretta.

We had already been alerted to the fact that Aunt Loretta was in the hospital. She has never been far from our minds these last two months, as she dealt with first a bad infection and then a cancer scare. Last week, she was suffering from what she thought was a stomach bug. But after a few days, her condition continued to worsen rather than improve, precipitating this latest hospital stay.

We all expected that, after a few days of care, she’d be back home with her family. But Aunt Maureen’s call alerted us to the fact that Aunt Loretta’s condition was more dire than we had realized. According to her middle son, my cousin Tom, her doctor said she had only a 50/50 chance of making it through the night.

We went to bed feeling helpless. Only to be woken by the phone shortly after midnight. As soon as I saw the name on the caller ID, I knew. I was already crying when I answered.

“Oh, Missy. She’s gone,” my Aunt Maureen said, and the anguish and loss in her voice broke my heart that much more.

Making my way downstairs in the dark, vision blurred by tears, I kept her on the phone. I wanted my mom to hear it from her, rather than me. Not because of an unwillingness on my part to be the bearer of such news, but because I knew they’d both find some small comfort in their sisterly bond.

There was another call, not long after, from my Uncle Joe. One of a flurry of phone calls I knew were being made from Farrell to Farrell up and down the East Coast and across the country. It is times like these when I can truly appreciate having such a large, close-knit extended family, supporting and loving one another.

I swear I could feel every one of them hurting last night, as I struggled to get back to sleep. My dreams were a blurry slide show of memories punctuated by shock and grief.

I woke up long before my alarm, and lay there in the dark, numb and struggling to comprehend the fact that Aunt Loretta was really gone.

I still can’t wrap my head around it. Like all of my mom’s siblings, she has been a fixture of my life. I can’t remember a family gathering she wasn’t a part of, and I can’t imagine what one will be like without her.

I still have that stilted slide show playing through my mind; a maelstrom of memories of her family, the Kuddar’s, visiting our house when I was a kid and countless weddings, parties and other get togethers.

Her sons – my cousins Bob, Tom and Scott – were some of the closest in age to me, and we saw them often in my youth. My father and her husband, Uncle Bob, shared the same birth date, and the two were close up until Bob’s death about 10 years ago.

The Kuddar’s have already been through so much since Uncle Bob’s death, including the sudden and tragic death of Tommy’s wife Michelle a few years ago. My heart goes out to them now, as it does to all the Farrell’s who are grieving the loss of this great lady.

Thank you to those who have offered their condolences to our family. Your thoughtfulness and kindness is very much appreciated. I will pass along your thoughts and prayers with my own.

Sister, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend – Aunt Loretta was a wonderful woman. She will be so greatly missed. Her death has created a void in our family which can never be filled.

I love you, Aunt Loretta. May you rest in peace.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa

Monday, Monday

Monday, January 31st, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

Ah, Monday, most hated of days. Always striving to undermine our best intentions, sabotage our most productive plans.

When I stepped outside the door this morning and saw all that sparkling snow, I thought to myself, this will be a good day.

That giggly, girlish delight lasted precisely 28 minutes. At which point, I arrived at work to discover our coffee pot crisis was far from over. The new-to-us machine which had arrived on Friday to replace the no-longer-functioning previous piece of coffee making equipment wasn’t working. Even though we hadn’t used it yet.

For the record, I would like to state that while I accept full responsibility for the demise of our old coffee maker, I had no hand in the second one’s ruin. I never even touched it, I swear!

My protestations of innocence did not, however, stop Tyler from shooting me a look, after staring at said piece of non-functioning equipment, which communicated some very dark thoughts indeed.

I mean, imagine: Monday morning. Deadline. No coffee.

Grown men have wept over less.

Tyler came to the rescue, however, dipping into his emergency stash of instant coffee. They don’t call that stuff Taster’s Choice for nothing. It was sweet nectar on my tongue, and I felt compelled to celebrate this as a victory.

A bit premature, as it turned out, but I was as yet unaware that the cursed day had a few more tricks up her crafty little sleeve.

Take that, Monday! I thought, as I raised my Chobani yogurt-laden spoon to my mouth. Only to discover too late the cup in hand was long past its sell-by date. No one’s fault but my own, I assure you, since I found the aforementioned cup of yogurt lurking in the back of the fridge when I cleaned it out last week. I should have known it was too good to be true.

And, regrettably, it was all down hill from there. You see, I wasn’t the only one being targeted by the day’s evil machination – Monday had set its sights on the whole of The Evening Sun. First we discovered the fax machine had been out of paper all weekend. Then, we realized “the wire” – our AP server – was down.

And Monday wasn’t done with us yet. Around 10, phone calls and emails started coming in about one of the questions on the Progress Trivia list. It was one of mine, number 18, concerning the NYS Veteran’s Home in Oxford. Seems the paragraph containing the answer had ended up on the editing room floor, so to speak. Oopsie.

The question will now be a freebie for all who enter the contest. But in case you’re wondering, Experience Works is the agency which presented the Vet’s Home with its 2010 NYS Host Agency Champion Award this past year.

As Jeff was heard muttering, today is going to be a very long day.

So far I’ve managed to resist the urge to curl up in a little ball under my desk and sit the rest of it out. I categorically refuse to cede victory. I will persevere despite Monday’s best efforts to knock me out of the ring.

But man, do I wish I’d followed my coworker Brian Golden’s lead and taken today off.

With my luck, though, it would have just postponed the inevitable. Because, as we all know, the Tuesday after a three-day weekend always feels like a Monday.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Baby, it’s cold outside

Monday, January 24th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

It was 18 below zero this morning in Smithville Center, or as one of my friends likes to refer to it, Southwest Tyner. Thanks to the cozy warmth of the wood stove, I didn’t feel it until I stepped outside. But as soon as I ventured beyond the front door, the full force of the sub-zero temp hit me. The cold air filled my lungs, stung my cheeks and, despite the layers I was wearing, permeated my clothes. Even the crunch of the snow beneath my feet sounded different. Crunchier, some how.

I held my breath as I turned the key in my ignition, and sighed in relief when the engine turned over immediately. This is our first winter together, Mrs. Peel and I, and I wasn’t sure how she’d take the cold.

I figured I’d let her run for a minute, before pulling out of the drive, and took the opportunity to survey the frigid world around me. Stars shone brilliantly against a backdrop of deepest blue overhead. The pale light of the waning gibbous moon reflected on the unbroken snow.

It was breathtaking. Almost literally, actually, because of the extreme cold

There were a lot of people griping this morning about the super low temps, but I wasn’t one of them. (Of course, if Mrs. Peel hadn’t been quite so cooperative, I might have been singing a different tune.) As long as the car starts and the pipes aren’t frozen, I don’t mind the cold. In fact, I go as far as to venture these last four days have been the most beautiful we’ve seen this winter. I can forgive a lot – even over night temperatures dipping into the sub zero range – when the daytime skies are a crisp clear blue and the winter sun transforms the snow blanketing our rolling hills into sparkling diamonds. It’s my favorite time to go tromping in the woods on my snow shoes. (Properly layered up of course.)

The nights are so beautiful too, with the riot of stars shining overhead. Looking at them, filling my lungs with that crisp, cold air, I can’t help feel alive, invigorated and in total awe of the universe.

Of course, if you’ve got someone (furry or otherwise) to snuggle up with after venturing out in the cold, all the better.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.

Post Progress Depression

Monday, January 17th, 2011
Melissa Stagnaro

I’m not sure I can even quantify the hours my colleagues and I have put in these last weeks on Progress. Of course, it’s not really over. It won’t be until the final installments appear on newsstands next Friday. Our sales staff is still doing the sell-sell-sell thing. And for Jeff, the work has really only just begun. He has to take all those fact-filled in-depth features and package them along with all those ads and success stories into the 10-section masterpiece all our readers are waiting so patiently to get their grubby little hands on.

For the editorial staff, however, the role we play in this, The Evening Sun’s premier publication, is largely done.

I should be thrilled, I know. And don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to repeat the process any time soon. Or add any more Progress responsibilities to my list of things to do, for that matter. (Jeff, don’t get any ideas.)

But there is definitely this post-partum-esq depression. I poured so much of my blood, sweat and, yes, even a few tears, into this project over the last few weeks, I’m almost not sure what to do with myself.

I thought I’d feel nothing but elation when I filed my final Progress story at 3:43 p.m. on Friday, exactly 1 hour and 17 minutes before our 5 p.m. deadline. Sure, I still had a few photo cutlines to finish up. (Or captions, in layman’s terms.) But it was like as soon as I hit save, I lost all sense of purpose.

Granted, that could have had something to do with the mental and physical exertion of spending more than 70 hours in the newsroom in a 5 day period, not to mention countless of hours at home the weekend before. The creative well was definitely dry at that point, and all my energy depleted. The only thing keeping me upright in my chair was the fear of missing deadline and letting Jeff down.

When it was over, I just felt totally spent. And vaguely ill. An empty, nauseous, light headed shell of my former self.

Although, in retrospect, some of that could have had something to do with all those Cherry Cordial Hershey Kisses.

(Not that it’s tempering my enjoyment of one of the same right now, mind you.)

A night with friends on Friday – followed by a weekend of rest, relaxation, tromping around the woods on snow shoes and a bit of Indian food – did wonders for my soul. I could almost feel my “batteries” recharging.

Not recharged enough though, apparently. As evidenced by my startling lack of productivity today. Oh, I’ve crossed things off my to-do list today. It’s just that my to-do list is the shortest it’s been in a really, really long time. And it’s kind of freaking me out.

Not to worry, though. The rest of my week is a tangle of interviews and meetings, so I’ll be back up to my usual frenetic pace before too long. Which, scarily enough, I find great comfort in.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.