Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

Runners 'Stepping Up' for charity at home and abroad

If you passed by the window of the She Said Project in downtown Champaign last week, you might have wondered about that bottle of vodka next to a pile of old running shoes.

Turns out the best cleaning solution for old tennis shoes is one part vodka, three parts water. (Our livers must be really clean.)

Why so many shoes?

I took a six-month vacation from Facebook - and survived

This column appeared in The News-Gazette on Tuesday, April 23, 2015.

Almost a year ago now, my laptop died. It wasn’t quite as catastropic as a smartphone failure, but close.

After several futile attempts at a rescue, I gave up and bought a replacement.

I texted you what?!


A family labor of love

Check out the video of Lamar "Marty B" Browning and his family singing "You Made A Way."

Music has been a part of Lamar Browning’s life for as long as he can remember, ever since his dad first plopped him next to the piano so they could sing together.

Judging this contest no trivial pursuit

Are you a trivia buff? Test your knowledge on a sample of 25 questions from Champaign Central Music Boosters' Trivia Night at the end of this column.


I like trivia. I like to think I know a lot of trivia.

I’m a reporter; we deal in facts (mostly).

But I’m also in that “I know this but I just can’t think of it” stage of my life.

Barbie (finally) gets a body makeover

My daughter’s social studies teacher — an obviously brilliant former journalist — asks his students to take turns preparing newscasts for the class.

The kids peruse headlines in the newspaper or on the web and give a brief report, to expand their knowledge of the world.

Lockers, coats get cold shoulder in high school

Click here to watch a video of Urbana High students explaining their aversion to coats and lockers.


It was 7 degrees the other day when I drove by a local high school, watching scores of students hurry into the building with no coats.

Star Wars, the Nutcracker and my incomplete Christmas list

I have many failings as a mother, and my deteriorating memory is high on the list. Especially during the Christmas crazy.

Like many parents, we have a tradition of buying our children ornaments every Christmas, starting with the year they were born.

A giant Frosty, Hanukkah candles and Kwanzaa

I remember the day well.

Rushing to my son’s first elementary school holiday sing-along — late as usual — I rounded the corner and came face to face with a 6-foot snowman.

He had the corncob pipe and old silk hat, but this Frosty wasn’t made of snow. And the eyes peering out definitely resembled those of a certain South Side Elementary School dad.