I wanted my first column to be so good it could save the polar bears in the arctic from drowning.
That's the problem with expectations -- just having them creates a measuring scale and I have the same aversion to scales as most American women.
I did come to Sandusky in May of last year with certain expectations though -- because I grew up here.
Not that it would come as a surprise.
I've had more than one interview begin with the interviewee holding his or her hand about three feet above the ground to illustrate how big I was the last time we met.
You know me, Sandusky. You know my parents, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents.
And I know you.
I took my first breath here, took my first steps here.
I memorized a map of all the cracks in the sidewalk when I was learning to ride my bike (without training wheels, thank you very much.)
I fell asleep to the hum of the Sandusky Speedway and the whistle of the train as it rumbled through town.
I wore many a sunburn from long afternoons at Cedar Point.
I watched the glow of Fourth of July fireworks from the porch of our old house on Milan Road.
I had the timing of the traffic signals down to a science during my senior year at Perkins High so I could sleep as long as possible without being late to my first class.
I don't know everything, though -- I think that's part of the reason I got into this business of reading and writing in the first place.
Words create structures out of ink, thin and fragile as a castle of playing cards, that house how the synapses fire in our brains to create the world as we know it. It's a centuries-old connection with the collective conscience that can't be recreated except maybe with art.
I'm reading a book called "Proust and the Squid." I'm only a few chapters in so I won't pretend to be an expert, but it's about the science of reading.
In it, the author asserts that the same brain mechanisms our ancestors used to spot an antelope on the other side of the prairie are the same cognitive processes we use to decipher the squiggles and dots on the page that make up words. (So does your brain know right now if you're hunting antelope in a loincloth or reading my column in your bath robe? There's a Monday morning thought for you).
I like to read things that displace me, shake the morning dew of everydayness from my mind, rearrange the files in brain.
(I don't like to think of a brain as a filing cabinet though -- paper is much too finite and flammable.)
I digress, as in a conversation with an old friend who shares embarrassing memories and inside jokes.
It's because I'm comfortable here.
The smell of the quarry doesn't bother me nearly as much as it bothers my fianc.
I expect U.S. 250 to look more like a parking lot than a road during summer mornings.
But as much as I love the comforting rhythm of the city where I spent my childhood, it's the surprises that really make me smile.
I look forward to sharing the surprises of 2008 with you, Sandusky.
It's good to be home.