The Publisher's Desk: You say you want to go to college

My first weekend at college was a snooze. Sure, there were freshmen parties and events designed to help you make friends, but I basically slept through all of them. 

Let me try again. I literally slept through all of them. 

It’s true, meeting people is kind of hard for me. But that wasn’t why. 

A wasp sting, a foot swollen like a balloon and Benadryl was the reason. 

There I was in my new dorm, a whole six hours from home for the first time, sleeping all weekend. The weekend might have been easier if I had gone to A&M Commerce or UNT, which were much closer to home, but I had picked Angelo State University and my mom had no choice but to help me unload my stuff and head back home. 


One Reporter's Rambling's: Second chances at first impressions

“You’re actually funny. I’m surprised!”

“I always thought you were kind of stuck up.”

“I never thought you would say something like that.”

I heard phrases like these throughout high school after spending time with someone who had just seen me dragging my 55-pound duffel bag of textbooks down the hall day after day. (I never used my locker.)

I was seen as brainy and often didn’t engage in conversation with people I didn’t know. That, coupled with a fairly serious face when not around friends, convinced people I must be humorless and probably pretty boring.

I never knew how to react, being flattered that they like the joke and insulted by the way they had previously seen me. So I shrugged and smiled. It’s my go-to response. If you’ve ever given me a compliment, you’ve probably seen the reaction.


Mrs. Dykowski... versus the whole growing up thing

I looked back one more time, my hand on the door knob.  She was breathing softly, her favorite stuffed animal tucked under her arm. The blanket slightly crumpled where she had wiggled around to get comfortable just a few minutes before.  I felt the emotion in my throat as I saw the empty rocking chair. 

It’s the end of a chapter. My baby can go to sleep on her own. 

I think this moment, more than most of the milestones we’ve passed recently, really marks the end of Darci’s babyhood to me. I’m not ready. 

I thought I would be a tough mom, and when we brought Darci home from the hospital I was determined that she would learn to sleep on her own early on. She had other ideas, and to be honest, I was glad. I loved rocking her. 

We will still cuddle in the chair and tell stories before bed. That won’t change for a little while. But the days of her falling asleep in my arms and resting there are largely gone. And for this moment, I’m mourning them.


Mrs. Dykowski... watches April with sympathy

In true millennial fashion, I’m watching April the giraffe not give birth in the background of my screen as I write this column. 
Nine-hundred and eighteen other poor souls are watching with me. 
The comments are a pretty accurate reflection of how boring it watching an animal take a few uncomfortable steps to the left then back to the right. 
People are arguing about whether or not Indiana is full of ignorance, whether or not a text alert system that will allegedly warn you when labor starts is a scam, whether or not people hitting the angry face button are pushing for April or mad at her for not giving birth yet. 
A series of surprised faces flew across the screen when April waddled to her potty corner to take care of some personal business. 
What are we doing with our lives, people?
In some ways I feel calmed by her slow movements back and forth across her enclosure. 


One Reporter's Ramblings: $20 well spent

I’ve never been one to text while driving. In fact, I’m usually the buzzkill who will sound like a disappointed father from a 1950s sitcom if a friend looks at their phone while behind the wheel.
Of course, my reason is I don’t want to die when they veer left while reading what someone thought of the new Power Rangers movie.
As much as I get on to others, I’m guilty of cellphone-related infractions, just not in texting.
As a product of my age, my phone isn’t just a phone. 
I use it to watch stupid Youtube videos at night. I use it to Google the answers to useless trivia that comes up in day-to-day conversation. (Occasionally, I will search for something important, but that’s much rarer.)
I also have used it to play music for quite a while. This last one is the major problem as Windows, Android and Apple haven’t perfected a music player that doesn’t require a glance down to switch albums or artists.


Publisher's Desk: Longing for the Tennis Court

When I feel impatient, I tend to picture squeegees in my head. 
Tennis coach Pattielu Clark reminded me of this last week before the District tennis tournament as she told me rain was forecast for Friday’s finals. 
I remember several tennis tournaments in high school opening with the expectation of play followed by countless squeegees soaking up water on the courts — for hours. 
What a disappointment. 
This impatience was always followed with the chance to play, which is all we really wanted. 
I looked forward to tennis tournaments all year in high school. 
I remember the moment I realized how much I loved tennis. 
I started playing tennis my junior year. At the end of the season, we were on the bus pulling out of the parking lot of the District tournament. We had lost terribly. 


The Publisher's Desk: Twelfth Dead Sea Scroll cave found

I desire to be a cautious Bible studier. 

By that, I mean that I want to study closely, knowing that how I’m understanding it is how the original writer intended it to be understood. Second Timothy 2:15 teaches us to rightly divide the word of truth. 

That Greek word for “dividing,” orthotomeo, carries with it the idea of cutting or dissecting, separating what is correct from what is incorrect. The idea is that when we study God’s word, we have to do our best to understand it correctly, in the context of what is being said, and not pull verses out of context and misuse them. 


Mrs. Dykowski... and the ghost of the Christmas past

The Nyquil fog gradually lifted around me. It was the morning of Dec. 26, a Monday. 
As I left the bedroom at a pace a snail might find competitive, I saw the chaos left behind from the day before. 
Our dining room table, swollen to three times its normal size, narrowed the walkway to the kitchen. 
I groped in the cabinet for Darci’s breakfast supplies, her intermittent squeals spurred my hands to move faster.
Finally, I passed through the living room, the floor littered with gift bags, new toys and twin rocking horses.
A doll peeked out from the collapsed remnants of Scott and Darci’s Christmas blanket fort. 
As I gathered my reindeer-pajama clad toddler in my arms I thought — today I have to organize the aftermath of Christmas and prepare for real life to start again.

Mrs. Dykowski... and the leaf-crunching monster

Have you ever seen a huge, crunchy fall leaf? Of course you have. 
But did you ever really look at it and think about it? Our backyard occasionally has one or two such leaves. 
I don’t know what it is about them, but I just love a fully intact, big fall leaf. And I’m not alone. 
When you think about all that leaf has been through, it’s just amazing that it made it to where it is. 
From the vulnerable bud stage, through storms and heat, wet and dry, the leaf hung on to the tree.
If it could tell the stories of its many perils, I imagine it would be a bit like talking to an elderly, homeless weatherman.
Then, when it finally let go, it rode the wind more than a block to rest in my backyard. 

Mrs. Dykowski.... vs. Holiday Stress

The holidays. 
Just the mention simultaneously fills me with excitement and the crushing weight of stress. 
It’s a first world problem that we’ve brought on ourselves as a society, yada yada yada, but that doesn’t make it any less real. 
We can’t deal with a problem that we don’t understand. So let’s take a look at that stress for a moment.
First, there’s the preparation. 
Cooking, shopping, shopping for food to cook, planning, packing, traveling — it’s a lot to keep organized. 
Is anyone else’s to-do list starting to pile up and block out the sunshine. 
Then, there are hard to decisions to be made each year. 
Which family do we visit and when? When it was just the two of us, our families were disappointed when we missed holiday functions, but now, with a baby, the pressure is triple. 


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