One Reporter's Ramblings: Pain I can put up with

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There are many ways that people show affection for each other.

You can say, “I love you,” you can sneak a kiss, you can do something nice or helpful or you can be like my wife and surprise your significant other with a barrage of pinches and bites.

This has been a long-standing routine since we started flirting on our third or fourth, date so I’ll admit, my protests were only semiserious since I realized that the affectionate assaults meant she liked me a lot.

I’m not sure if I expected them to continue five years into our marriage, but if she’s feeling particularly silly and I happen to be looking the other way, I can expect a series of pinches as penalty.

That’s usually the case anyway.

Katie has been suffering from a protruding disc in her back for several months, prompting a lot of bed rest, pain management and physical therapy.


Mrs. Dykowski... celebrates mothers

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Mother’s Day is on Sunday, so get your orders to the flowers shops or pick up those nail salon gift cards, or if your mom is like mine, maybe a Tractor Supply gift card is more appropriate. 

Motherhood is the best job I’ve ever had, so I don’t really worry about the recognition this time of year. 

Part of that is also because, being in a very active phase of parenting, when the outcome is still uncertain, I’m less sure I actually deserve any recognition. 

No one but my kids are privy to all my parenting moments, and they definitely don’t always approve of my choices – but I hope someday they see those choices differently.

So when people say I’m doing a good job, I appreciate it, but I also don’t put a lot of stock in it. 

You didn’t see me the day Darci intentionally threw her breakfast dishes on the floor. 

You didn’t see the multiple puppy-related naptime meltdowns back in January. 


One Reporter's Ramblings: Saying goodbye to a home away from home

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One of the most unfortunate parts of growing up and getting older is that friends move away and you get to see them less often.

I was excited to see one of my best friends from high school this weekend but a little forlorn that the reason for his visit was “to say goodbye” to his childhood home as his Mom and step-father are also moving out of state.

There’s nothing particularly remarkable about the house although it on some very pretty acreage.

Still, it held a lot of good memories as a ‘home away from home’ where he and I would spend countless hours watching TV shows and movies, playing games and just philosophizing about life and general nerdy things. (More time was dedicated to the latter.)

Since it was outside of the city limits, it was the site of many 4th of July and New Year’s fireworks shows.

It was where I learned I was okay with ducks but that geese are the jerks of the bird world. 


The Publisher's Desk: Is the Bible worth reading? GQ says no.

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Even in a small town, there are plenty of people who don’t believe in the Bible. 

Some people call it old. 

Some people call it racist or sexist. 

Some people have had bad things happen and so they don’t trust God or the Bible. 

So I’m sure there were some in town who agreed when GQ recently named the Bible one of 21 books not worth reading.  

I can understand all of those viewpoints — at different times in my life I’ve had some of those same thoughts. 

So has the novelist Jesse Ball, who wrote about the Bible in GQ. 

“The Holy Bible is rated very highly by all the people who supposedly live by it but who in actuality have not read it,” Ball wrote in the magazine. “Those who have read it know there are some good parts, but overall it is certainly not the finest thing that man has ever produced.”

I would guess that most people have doubted their faith or the Bible at some point or another. 


Mrs. Dykowski... celebrates seven years

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Sunday marks my seventh wedding anniversary with the publisher.  

I told a group of women at Bible study earlier this year that marrying him was possibly the best decision I’ve ever made. 

It’s hard for me to believe, looking back on how little I knew about life in general, much less love at 21 years old, that I was capable of making such a solid choice. 

Nevertheless, it’s worked out beautifully for me — literally — have you seen our girls? They’re gorgeous. 

He’s the kind of husband I think all men should aspire to be. I’m so happy for the example he’s setting for our daughters when they look for a man to spend their life with. 

He’s generous with others, but always keeps faith and our family as his priority. 


Mrs. Dykowski... and the trial-and-error of parenthood

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When Darci was barely a year old we let her watch a movie with a lot of CGI and special effects. 

We thought it was a good idea because she was really interested in one of the characters. 

As a more experienced mom today, I wonder, what on earth were we thinking. 

She had nightmares about it for two days, and I had no idea why. I mean, we skipped all the dark, scary parts. 

All the colors, the fast movement, the creatures she couldn’t comprehend, the dramatic music, the fact that she had no idea what was going on at any point in the movie all create kind of a nightmare scenario for a developing mind. 

But at the time, none of that occurred to me. 

They say first children are victims of trial and error and, sadly, that’s very true in Darci’s case. 

Any first-time parent who seems to have all the details figured out is definitely lying. We don’t have a clue what we’re doing and our kids pay for it. 


The Publisher's Desk: Spring is here

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Spring is here. 

I know it because I’ve already mowed once, and my grass is two inches tall and ready for another trim. 

I know it because I can smell the cedar in the air.

I know it because, well, green — everywhere. The recent rains have really blessed us with a green spring. 

Spring is my second favorite season (it’s not hot enough to be my first), and I love mowing my lawn. 

Pushing a mower, watching the grass disappear and feeling the sun on my skin is one of the most relaxing activities. 

I should clarify — there is one caveat to loving lawn work. 

I hate lawn equipment repair. 

In fact, I hate lawn equipment repair about as much as I love mowing the lawn. 

Just ask John Henson, who has had to fix my lawn mower and weed eater several times. 

Just ask my dad. 


One Reporter's Ramblings: The power of promotion

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This week marks the first time I’ve delivered a speech since college.

As I started assembling notes, I realized that the “butterflies” never really go away. The nervousness actually began much earlier, however.

I was delivering papers when Julia Broussard called to ask if I would speak at this week’s Rotary Club meeting. As I counted out stacks and made a note of my next stop, I paused and said, “OK. But what do I talk about?”
She said I just needed to talk about something I could share information or experience on.

“OK, cool.” 

When I had a second to sit down and think later, I thought much louder to myself: “OK. BUT WHAT DO I TALK ABOUT?!!!”

The most obvious talking point, of course, is my role in the community as a journalist. I received this call in March, shortly after my 10th anniversary working with the Dublin Citizen.


Mrs. Dykowski... Draws the Curtains

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A few months ago, Scott and I saw the excellent Dublin Junior High production of “Peter Pan.” 

Scott wrote the following week about his own experience with One Act Play, and since Spring is here — the time of year when high school One Act Plays are wrapping up, I thought I would share my own tale of drawing curtains. 

That’s right, our children have curtain drawing in their genes. Like Scott, I too was in charge of the curtain during my first year of One Act Play. 

I too was an understudy for a minor role, a clumsy midwestern ballerina with a boisterous Russian instructor constantly counting at her.

Clumsy I do well naturally, midwestern and insecure I could not fake if my life depended on it. 

I only went on a couple of times at festivals, when the main actress was sick. 


The Publisher's Desk: Freeze threatens our first Texas garden

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I’m nervous. 

That freeze last weekend came only three weeks after we planted some vegetables in our garden. 

This is the garden we created three years ago in our backyard — a raised bed with mulch from the City’s free mulch pile, cinderblocks to contain it and a wooden ladder to allow climbing plants some space. 

This is also the garden that we have failed to plant anything in for the past two years. 

This year, we finally found the energy and time to get something (anything) in the ground. 

We wanted to start with seeds, but already established plants seemed more feasible with a newborn helping out. 

So we purchased three tomato plants, three jalapeno plants, one green bell pepper, one banana pepper and a cucumber. 

We’re really excited to try and keep them alive. 

Sarah had the idea of putting cups and milk jugs around them, with the bottoms cut out, to protect the thin stems from wind. 


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