Archive for November, 2009

Serial Plant Killer!

Another one bites the dust.

Another one bites the dust.

While checking out at Home Depot this afternoon with a cart full of plants, I confessed to the sales lady “I’m a serial plant killer.”   For a split second, I think she didn’t want to ring up the sale – afraid I’d be back soon to buy more unsuspecting plants.  I’m exaggerating but there’s a bit of truth to what I told her.  I do not have a green thumb.

The sales lady says, “You have the wrong attitude. Plants like a positive atmosphere.”   She’s right.  I don’t have high hopes because I have never been able to keep plants looking healthy and green for more than a few months.  So she advises me, “Try talking to to them more.”

"Garth" is lookin' good in the dining room.

"Greenlee" is lookin' good in the dining room. For now.

LOL.  What should I say to them?  “Welcome to your new home.  Try to ignore those dead-looking plants over in the other room?”  My 12-year-old daughter is tickled with our new plant plan.  She’s named the new ones:  “Garth”, “Greenlee” and “Buzz”.  She has lengthy explanations for her name choices.  I really don’t care as long as she talks to them nicely on a daily basis.

I suppose my new green friends won’t want to hear what’s making news on Fox Chicago.   They’d probably prefer tidbits from HGTV. Meantime, I hope they’re not getting bad vibes from the dog.

23

11 2009

Closet Confessions

Part of my messy closet.

Part of my messy closet.

What’s the rule about things in your wardrobe?  I think it’s something about rotating clothes out if you haven’t worn them in over a year.  If I did that,  my closet would be more than half empty.  I always worry about giving a particular item away and then missing it soon after – even though that’s never happened.

My closet is a mess.  There are shoes I’ve never worn and jackets from the 80′s (don’t tell anyone) with a thick layer of dust on them.  I try to keep jeans and sweaters in neat piles but with little success.  Since my husband’s closet is somewhat color-coded, I try to follow that example but he probably wonders if I’m color blind!

Because I work on television, I have a lot of brightly-colored clothing.   Years of advice from wardrobe consultants have filled my closet with a lot of reds, blues and jewel tones. No, we do not have people at Fox Chicago who tell us what to wear.

I have far more tops than bottoms.  Before we switched to an HD set, we used to wear jeans pretty often.  Some people even wore shorts during the summer.  We can’t do that anymore since we have new camera positions in the studio allowing viewers to see more of what we’re wearing.

Clearly, I need to weed out things that are outdated and merely taking up space.  But what if they come back into fashion?  Yeah, I’ll be ready when those skinny models hit the runways in Paris in dusty jackets!

19

11 2009

Turn Here!

app1855151257805181Today’s post “Santa Knows You’re a Sucker” is over at Chicago Moms Blog.  Please surf over and check it out.  Thanks!

16

11 2009

A Life in Journalism

When DePaul University student Brian Ernst asked if I would take part in a project for his Digital Cinema class, I agreed to help out since I had met him previously when he visited Fox Chicago.  Wow. Brian and his classmates put together a pretty impressive mini-documentary.  Thanks so much, guys!

11

11 2009

Miss Friendship Ambassador

The contestants strut their stuff!

The contestants strut their stuff!

I can’t recall even one mention of beauty pageants while I was in journalism school.  But throughout the year, I emcee a variety of events (just about every week) including a beauty pageant.  The Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce holds a popular Miss Friendship Ambassador Pageant to select a young lady to represent Chicago’s Chinese community.  The winner gets to travel to Hong Kong to compete in an international pageant that includes ambassadors from Chinatowns all over the world.

The Chinatown Chamber does great work for the community so I am happy to help out. And I always enjoy working with David Wong who provides the Chinese translation for the ceremony.  While my Cantonese is conversational, I cannot translate a lot of technical terms and titles – and there are a lot of people with long titles who want to be mentioned.

With pageant co-emcee David Wong.

With pageant co-emcee David Wong.

Just announcing the list of dignitaries, elected officials and sponsors seems to take over half an hour.  There are always more who show up after we’ve received the final scripts.  Asians are so respectful, everyone wants just about everyone to have “face”.  Names and titles are scribbled into the margins of our scripts which is why I go through it carefully while I’m making the announcements.  I always wonder if the average banquet goer pays attention or cares.

As the contestants paraded around in their evening wear, an organizer tells me “Uh, (elected official) says he didn’t hear his name mentioned.  He wants us to mention it now.”  What?!?!  I am certain I mentioned his name. If I said it again, others may wonder why they didn’t get mentioned twice.   I think even Miss Friendship Ambassador would agree.

09

11 2009

Worst Part of the Job

The media amass outside the home of a fallen soldier.

The media amass outside the home of a fallen soldier.

There are always feelings of dread and ambivalence whenever I approach the home of a fallen soldier.  I had to do it Friday morning after Fox Chicago got word that a suburban soldier was among those killed in the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas.

Soon after arriving at the family’s Bolingbrook home, I knocked on the door lightly with cameraman Ed Flynn ready to roll.  A tired-looking man answered and said, “Please, we’ve been up all night. Maybe we’ll talk later but my parents are finally getting some rest.”

NBC5 reporter Phil Rogers agrees, “It’s the worst thing we do.”  But he stresses it’s something journalists will always do. “Often, we have people who want their story told.  We have to ring their bell.”

Jason Knowles of ABC7 Chicago.

Jason Knowles of ABC7 Chicago.

“Yeah, worst part” adds Jason Knowles, a reporter for ABC7 Chicago.  “And we have to do it so often.  But we always respect the family.”

Reporter Robert Sanchez of the Daily Herald says, “We don’t take pleasure in it.  Unless we ask, we won’t know.” On occasion, he’ll hear from families days after his coverage of a fallen hero.  “I’ve had people say thank you because now other people know how great they were.”

Throughout the day, we gradually learned more about 21-year-old Michael Pearson.  The 2006 Bolingbrook High School graduate joined the army to serve his country and see the world.  He was an amazing guy – a talented guitar player and playful uncle to young nieces and nephews.

"A Gem."

A lost gem.

Before his grief-stricken parents eventually addressed the media camped outside their home, a family friend wiped away tears as she told us, “Mikey was one of a kind.  You couldn’t ask for a better son, brother, neighbor or friend.  The family lost their gem.”

07

11 2009

Happy Birthday. In Chinese.

"What'd you say?"

"What'd you say?"

Today is my father’s 70th birthday.  It is quite a milestone but I wasn’t able to spend it with him.  In fact, I haven’t been able to wish him a happy birthday in person for about 20 years! In the television biz, November is a “sweeps” month so I never even consider asking for time off.  I’m certain he understands.   He spent over three decades operating our family restaurant and never took a single vacation.

My parents are retired and settled in Northern California.  They watch me everyday via the live streaming of Fox Chicago News at Noon online. The rest of the time, my mom claims she’s yelling.  My father is hard of hearing and still refuses to get fitted for a hearing aid.

My mom claims she's a human hearing aid.

My mom claims she's a human hearing aid.

As I do on many days after the newscast, I call my parents on the way home.  Today’s call is imperative since it’s my father’s birthday.  No one’s answering.  I call again.  No answer.  Within minutes, my mother calls back to report that she was upstairs and my father could not hear the phone ringing.  In Chinese she tells me, “I want to buy him a hearing aid for his birthday but he won’t go!”

She puts him on the phone.  I loudly wish him a happy birthday and ask what he’s up to.  Other drivers on the Kennedy probably think I’m having a heated argument with someone.  My father responds by asking about my work.  I don’t think he heard what I asked and as I’m sharing my news he says, “Okay, here’s mom.”

“We have to go now” she declares, “It’s half-price dim sum today at the tea house!” There’s always plenty of yelling there, too.

04

11 2009

A Little Help from Kittle

Ron is going to bat with the facebook team.

Ron is going to bat with the facebook team.

Ron Kittle is reaching out to me.  How cool! It’s that Ron Kittle, former Chicago White Sox outfielder, MLB All-Star and Rookie of the Year.  He read my blog post about the facebook friends limit so he messaged to say, “I’m at the same stage with FB and I’ll be speaking with them Monday to work out how to carry over to a fan page.  I’ll keep you posted.”

Ron is an all-around great guy.  I can truly understand why far more than 5,000 people would want to be his facebook friend.  He’s been working hard on many fronts since leaving the world of professional baseball.  When Ron isn’t raising money for the Indiana Sports Charities organization, he’s giving motivational speeches, building unique baseball-themed furniture in his workshop or trying to help out a friend like me.

I wound up starting a facebook “fan page” after noting that my ABC7 pal Linda Yu had to do the same.  She’s been urging friends to move over to the other profile.  (Yes, Loo is a big Yu fan!)  I’m still not clear on how to merge the profile page with the fan page.  I wish facebook would just lift the limit.

Hangin' at Sox Park at the start of the MLB season.

Hangin' at Sox Park at the start of the MLB season.

Maybe Ron will have some answers for us after his meeting with facebook tomorrow.  What a thoughtful friend he is.  It makes me an even bigger Ron Kittle fan.

01

11 2009