Getting Personal is an email Q&A with a local personality. Here, Melissa Merli chats with Kimberlie Kranich, director of community content and engagement at Illinois Public Media. Getting Personal appears first in print, in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette. In the March 18 newspaper, we'll have a chat with artist Sasha Rubel.
What time do you typically get up? What do you do the first hour of the morning?
Between 5:30 and 6. I meditate, read my daily readings, pray and exercise.
What did you have for lunch today? Where? With whom?
Homemade chicken-vegetable-barley soup, cold Komboucha tea and Fritos with my partner, Emily.
Best high school memory.
Being named all-county softball player of the year.
Tell me about your favorite pair of shoes.
Anything that's soft brown leather (no heel) that I can slip on.
What does a perfect Sunday afternoon include?
Much quiet time with myself to read and write, a homemade breakfast with Emily, hanging out at Cafe Kopi, exercise and possibly a movie out.
Was there one book you read as a child that you still cherish? Own? Read?
'The Elephant's Child' by Rudyard Kipling. I think my father introduced me to it. I still own it.
Where on earth are you dying to go? Why?
I plan to see more of the U.S., and internationally, I would like to return to Africa, perhaps visit Rwanda, because of its beauty and how the people and government have dealt with the aftermath of the 1994 genocide. I remember covering the war when I produced an instructional children's news program, and then a few years ago, I read the autobiography of Immaculee Ilibagiza, who survived the genocide and turned her pain and loss into healing and forgiveness.
Tell me about your favorite pet.
My cat Lulu. I went to the Champaign County Humane Society 12 years ago to find a companion for my cat at home, and when I approached the entrance, a volunteer greeted me and said to me, 'I have a cat for you.' She took me to Lulu (then named Tangie), who had been in that cage for four months. I adopted her, and she is truly the cat for me: talkative, cuddly, responsive (she comes when called), playful and loving.
Have you discovered that you are becoming like one of your parents? Which one and how?
I am noticing the things in me that come from them that I am grateful for and also wish to evolve out of. I am grateful to share their analytical nature, my mother's tendency to reach out to others and offer her gifts and my dad's love of nature.
What would you order for your last meal?
Funny question. I don't think I could order knowing it was my last meal.
What can you not live without?
Who do you have on your iPod?
I can't find my iPod and have been looking for it so I can hear Rosetta Tharpe, Third Day, Dixie Chicks, Laura Love, Styx and Sweet Honey in the Rock.
What's the happiest memory of your life?
I really can't rank them. The unexpected, spontaneous moments of each day are the ones that are the happiest day after day. In general though, when I am around children, I am happiest.
If you could host a dinner party with any three living people in the world, whom would you invite?
I would like a three-course meal, please: Part 1 involves local officials: Patricia Avery of the NAACP, Holly Nearing of the Champaign Police Department and Deb Feinen of the Champaign City Council. Part 2 involves women on the world stage: Immaculee Ilibagiza, Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. And Part 3 would be dessert with close, personal friends.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Come off the ladder and join the circle or you will at times feel superior to some and inferior to others.
What's your best piece of advice?
I really try not to give advice. Instead, if appropriate, share my experience, strength and hope.
What was your first job and how much did you make an hour?
I started off self-employed as a baby sitter, snow shoveler, lawn mower, car washer and greeting cards seller. I had a paper route in junior high school and eventually sold tickets and concessions, popped popcorn and changed the marquee at a local theater in my hometown.
What was a pivotal decision in your career and how did you arrive at that decision?
I transitioned from commercial broadcasting to public broadcasting. I was fired from my job at a local CBS affiliate in Altoona, Pa., and was looking for work.
Do you have a bad habit? What is it?
I sometimes need things 'just so,' and that can be stressful for me and others and can feel overly controlling to them and me.
How do you handle a stressful situation?
Call on my inner strength, and if that fails me, reach out to trusted others for assistance.