One reporter's ramblings: Make-up and making up drama

What a manly title for a column, huh?

I’ve never been one for reality TV, with a few very specific exceptions.

These include cooking shows, nature documentaries and River Monsters, which plays like a cold-case detective show and high-stakes fishing show rolled into one.

These programs are all missing one thing that is common in most other reality shows I’ve tried: melodrama.

Very few shows on Food Network have someone look at the camera and swear revenge on another person on the show. They just, you know, cook food.

That’s why I was initially hesitant to watch “Face Off,” a show about make-up effects artists competing for bragging rights, cash prizes and better careers.

I’m a few seasons into the long-running show and am enjoying it as much as my wife thought I would, but I’m glad the editors have left the drama behind. 


Mrs. Dykowski... wants to freeze time

It rang out and echoed joyfully around the living room — Audrey’s first belly laugh. 

Is there anything sweeter than a baby laugh? 

I expect that I will look back on this year as one of the happiest motherhood years of my life. 

Darci says something hilarious every single day.

I decided last weekend to dust off my rusty college Spanish and try to speak just Spanish during dinner one evening. 

Darci wanted seconds, so I told her to try to ask in Spanish, told her how and she did it, mimicking my terrible accent.

Bless her heart. 

Speaking of terrible Spanish accents, we’ve finally figured out how to cut down on Darci’s daily naptime drama — “The Story of Ferdinand.” 

She likes to “read” herself to sleep every day. After reading it every day, she has most of the book memorized. You should hear her say Bandarilleros and Picadores ­— peek-uh-doh-dohs. 


Mrs. Dykowski... takes on the Farm Bill

After intending to for a couple of years now, I’m finally getting around to reading Elmer Kelton’s “The Time It Never Rained.” 

I’m not far into it, since motherhood is not exactly conducive to long uninterrupted reading sessions. 

But the premise of the novel — a rancher who is opposed to government assistance tries to weather one of the worst droughts in Texas history — got me thinking about the farm bill. 

I’m a farmer’s daughter and my brother is the associate director of field operations at Farm Bureau. While I’m still not sure exactly what his job title means, I know that passion for agriculture is in our blood. 

So I’ve been looking for an opportunity to really dig into information about the farm bill.

Will a bill be passed? What will be in it? What is the hold up? 

I generally avoid keeping up with anything political, it’s one of the perks of being a high-school sports writer as opposed to general news. 


The Publisher's Desk: Thanks to Cindy and the Dublin PO

Cindy Combs can be a passionate fighter when she needs to be. 

Most days I come in the office, and she’s calmly working a project, filing papers, answering phone calls and keeping things generally organized — she’s the thick layer of the glue that holds our office together. 

Sometimes, though, I see another side of Cindy — the fighter. 

Take, for example, our recent problem of paper delivery in two different cities. 

We rely on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver our paper everywhere. 

Our local post office workers are very reliable, always working with us — sometimes through some difficult deadline problems — to get the paper delivered on Thursdays. 

We probably don’t tell them enough how much we appreciate them. 

Some of their sister offices in other cities are not always as accommodating. 

In particular, we have two customers in two different cities out in West Texas who, for some reason, just don’t get their paper. 


One Reporter's Reviews: Adventure in your own (big) backyard

With the arrival of summer, I was thinking back to the many trips and family visits we had growing up.

My cousin, Alan (the closest thing I had to a brother), would come over and we would set up in the pop-up camper, offering a kind of mini-apartment with complete independence from the house — which was about 20 feet away.

The camper was a purchase from when our family would hit the great outdoors several times per year.

Mom and I both remember the breakfasts fondly as bacon and eggs seem to taste better on a gas-powered camp grill. (The scent of mosquito repellent while you eat isn’t quite as appetizing, though.)

I would also take along books and, to my dad’s dismay, a small TV, which would require constant manipulation of the rabbit ears to keep the signal strong.


The Publisher's Desk: Going to or graduating from college? This rebate could help

I graduated college in three years. 

I loved college, but I was also eager to start life and move on to the next stage of professionalism and marital bliss. 

What I didn’t know is that, given a few provisions, I may have been eligible for a $1,000 rebate upon graduation. 

You are, too, if you graduate from a Texas public college in four years or fewer and meet certain qualifications. 

The Austin-American Statesman recently reported that many colleges are, in a sense, hiding the rebate from its students. 

Each of the 37 state colleges in Texas have different deadlines for applying. 

Some require you to do so the semester before you graduate. Others give you 60 days after graduation. 

Some colleges will apply the loan to you automatically, such as Stephen F. Austin State University or Midwestern State Univeristy. 


Mrs. Dykowski... gets interrupted by life

A close friend shared with me a wise saying that was shared with them once, life is little interruptions, they are not interrupting life — they are life. 

At first I was thinking, “Well that’s easy for you to say, you’re a free spirit. My spirit is obsessively tethered to a well-scribbled monthly calendar and strategically placed to-do-list sticky notes.”

Later, though, it got me thinking about how I respond when people interrupt me when I’m trying to accomplish a task. 

I tend to be too focused. 

If you’ve seen me at the grocery store, I probably didn’t see you because I was too focused, so maybe you can see my point. 

If you’re at the Citizen office on a Wednesday morning close to deadline — well just don’t be here on a Wednesday morning — it’s not a moment when interruptions are generally welcomed. 

I’m trying to remember, even on deadline, that how I handle interruption will be a defining characteristic of my life. 


One Reporter's Ramblings: Can you name any book?

Can you name a book? Any book?

This was a question posed to passersby by the crew at Jimmy Kimmel Live, citing a recent survey by the Pew Research Group that said nearly 25 percent of Americans haven’t read a book in the past year.

I’m sure there were people who could, but the show got enough stammering and embarrassed looks to make its point.

One person confidently said “The Jungle Book,” but then admitted he didn’t know if it was a book as well as a movie.

Another cited the book, “Horse” by the author, Moby Dick. That’s not a thing. You don’t have to look it up.

The segment ended with the crew asking the respondents the last book they hard read, to which several said “Dr. Seuss.”


Mrs. Dykowski... on rights and manipulation

People who aren’t millennials often describe us using the word entitled. 

People outside the U.S. sometimes use that same word to describe Americans of all ages. 

We can’t deny that we are a people obsessed with rights. 

If you can convince an American that something is our right, we will risk our lives to keep, obtain or defend that right. 

Our forefathers risked their lives for the three rights they called inalienable — life, liberty and property, which they rebranded as “the pursuit of happiness,” being the original U.S. politicians. 

All of our other government-sanctioned rights were thought to fall under these umbrellas. 

Happiness could be a pretty huge umbrella. 

So it’s no wonder that anyone seeking to influence others feels justified in claiming all kinds of things — whatever makes them happy — as a right to which they are entitled. 


Mrs. Dykowski... has a message for the graduates

Graduation is coming! 

It’s always bittersweet to watch the students we’ve been photographing and writing about since we got here move on. 

It has been such a joy to watch them grow from silly sophomores to the leaders of the Lion pride. 

I love reading and working on our annual graduation section because it’s a chance to see their aspirations for the future. 

I know they, like the classes before them, will go on to do great things in this community and wherever they go. 

It’s been 10 years since I graduated high school and my life is nothing like I expected it to be — it’s so much better. 

So, I hope that while pursuing their hopes and aspirations, the class of 2018 will stay open to other possibilities, open to meeting new people and open to finding their own hidden talents and gifts. 


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