August 12, 2010

Did you know friendship is good for your health?

Research shows close friendships – the kind where you share your deepest, darkest secrets, hopes and even doubts about yourself – are not only therapeutic: they can also improve your health.

I read a magazine article last year that said growing scientific evidence indicates friendships and a variety of social networks can lower blood pressure; cut the risk of diabetes and heart disease; even stave off depression.

Admittedly, I wasn’t exactly thinking about my health when I recently took a “girls getaway” to Napa Valley. Picture it: five women, one hotel room with one bathroom unleashed in Wine Country. It certainly had all the makings of disaster. But honestly, it was an even smoother finish than some of the fabulous Pinot Noir we savored. It was a fantastic weekend of bonding, laughing, crying and singing and dancing over some of California’s finest wine.

Three of us work together even sit within feet of each other. But we get so busy at the office we actually end up conversing through the computer! This was a magnificent way to connect in person away from the hustle and bustle of television news.

It’s something we all need to do more often. Scientists say friendships actually help us relieve stress – and we know that less stress leads to better health, right?

Here’s the caveat though: most friendships might actually have a shelf-life of seven years. New research shows most people go through 7 year friendship cycles. So your BFF’s today probably won’t be the same seven years from now.

I got a little bummed when I read that because the last thing anyone wants to invest in is a superficial friendship, right? But when I started thinking back to my own friendships now compared to 7 years ago and it pretty much supports the theory.

Makes perfect sense that as our interests change we tend to gravitate to people who share them and so our circle of friends gets wider and wider.

It reminds me of a couple of quotes. The first one, I read. It said: “Friends are like stars, you don’t have to see them to know they’re there.”

The other quote I heard from a friend who passed away much too young last year. “Friends are the family you get to choose. So choose wisely.”

My new favorite comes from my news director – who says it actually comes from a song she used to sing as a Brownie and Girl Scout:

Make new friends

But keep the old

One is silver and the other gold.



July 14, 2010

This past weekend the Sisterhood of Super Women held our monthly luncheon and I have to tell ya – putting this organization together is one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done.

To watch the women connect and to listen to them embrace and inspire each other is truly fantastic. Talking about ourselves and even patting ourselves on the backs is not something many of us are used to. But it’s something we need to do more often.  One of our women showed a slide show and read a very moving letter from her dear friend (who couldn’t be with us that day) who – in the midst of battling breast cancer – chose to think about others. She started the Caps of Courage drive to benefit the American Cancer Society and those facing hair loss while battling cancer. I’m so proud to report our women donated close to 80 hats and scarves for the Caps for Courage cause.

There are seemingly “ordinary” women all over the valley just like Christine doing extraordinary things. That’s what the Sisterhood of Super Women is all about. Please check us out on our new and improved website and follow us on Twitter.

Sisterhood of Super Women on Twitter

Today was an especially busy day with news of a 3-year old who died after getting left in a hot car. The search continuing for three men who went missing search for the Lost Dutchman gold mine. Another candidate drops out of the race for Governor. And on this day of the MLB All Star game – George Steinbrenner died! It’s days like today that get my head spinning so it was nice to leave the house on a note I can reflect on with a smile when I need to take a moment to just breathe: I asked my 7-year-old son if he would make my bed for me. He said he’d do it for a penny. I said sure. About half way through he decided he was doing such a great job perhaps I’d give him a nickel. I said yes. By the time he was done – my bed looked nothing like it’s “supposed” to – but was definitely worthy of a dime! He proudly told my 13-year daughter, “Guess what! Mom’s giving me a dime cuz I made her bed!!” She rolled with laughter. I suspect she was probably thinking “sucker!” since just yesterday I asked if she’d help me manage the Sisterhood website to which she replied, “Sure – but you have to pay me – at least $10 an hour!” Sigh. Smile. The joys of being a parent – priceless!


July 10, 2010

It’s been about a year since I’ve regularly blogged. Boy has it been a whirlwind.

My co-anchor of  the last several years and good friend, Kent Dana, left CBS 5 News for new adventures. His final newscast made for an emotional night and my tears made it difficult to get through that half hour. Rest assured, “Kenty” is still climbing mountains staying fit, still boating at Lake Powell as often as he can and still making me laugh through Facebook, texting and voice mail messages when our schedules don’t allow us to grab lunch together as often as we’d like.

here’s that final night:

Last Fall I also started training for my first full marathon in three years. The goal: to re qualify for a return to the Boston Marathon – the last marathon I ran in 2007. I ended up running two 5’k’s, two half marathons and a 10-mile race in the span of 3 months leading up to the full marathon this past January. I ended up placing top three in my age group for all but one of them (came in fourth in that last half-marathon) and when January’s full marathon rolled around – I not only cruised to the finish line in 3:29:25 –  I qualified for Boston!

During my training for that race I ended up meeting and reporting on one of the most courageous women I’ve ever met. Jennifer Longdon showed me what REAL determination is all about when she “rolled” through January’s half marathon in a standard wheelchair and then took 9 amazing steps across the finish line. I was so proud to be there as she crossed and then I placed her medal around her neck. I ended up running my race in her honor and raising about $1500 for a planned universally accessible sports & fitness center now getting built in Phoenix.

Jennifer’s courage got me thinking about what a super woman she is. I’m actually surrounded by super women who inspire me every day to acknowledge and embrace the many positive things in life and how blessed I am to be able to use my position to impact lives. So in December I created a women’s group I call The Sisterhood of Super Women. We meet for lunch once a month – only at locally owned restaurants so that our money is going back to the community. We also select a different charity of choice each month to give back in money or donations. Equally important is the inspiration, motivation and applause we give each other for all the amazing things we accomplish in our every day lives.

you can find us at

My two greatest joys in life continue to grow and give me immense pride in being a mother. This past spring I was able to give my daughter a gift I’ve been wanting to deliver for years. Since second grade, she’s been fascinated with Argentina. I vowed to one day take her there. She’s now 13 years old and this spring I delivered on my vow. Just the two of us. It was a adventure of a lifetime and one we will both cherish forever.

My career continues to give me immense pleasure. To be in a position to practice your passion is a gift. I have never forgotten how hard I’ve worked to get here and will always strive to give back to my community in time, money and by mentoring. It’s so gratifying to have a youngster or even a young professional tell me I inspired them to make journalism a career. I still find inspiration from my own peers – like longtime Dallas anchor Gloria Campos, who was just inducted into the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Hall of Fame. She’s had a 30-year career in broadcast journalism with many more to come. She certainly paved the way for women like me and I hope to continue to follow in her footsteps.

I’m back!

July 7, 2010

Hello blog followers!

It’s been a while. No excuses just lots of work and little time. But I’m back and promising to spend more time blogging about the happenings in this crazy little thing I call life – both on and off the air.

First let me begin by telling you I’ve been feverishly trying to catch up to the social media monster that’s unleashed itself into all facets of my life. I’ve been a little slow… but I have to admit, I’m having a blast learning and delving into the many facets of technology and all its capabilities.

So with that, I invite you to follow me on twitter:

on Facebook:

and read more about the women’s group I’ve started @

Thanks… Looking forward to more blogging!


BRIAN HOWE – an officer & a gentleman

July 31, 2009

Every once in a while, I’ll come across a story that pulls me to it in ways I can’t explain. It’s just a feeling. The story has to be told and I feel in my heart that I’m the one to tell it.

So was the case with Phoenix Police Officer Brian Howe. I first met him more than two years ago. He was a 39-year old 17-year department veteran. A sniper with the  SWAT unit. Only then, he could no longer load bullets into his magazine. Brian had already been battling ALS – a degenerative nerve and muscle disease. In two years, the disease had already robbed him of his ability to speak, his left hand started to atrophy and his body would quiver. He was about to travel to Israel for an experimental procedure everyone hoped would reverse or at least slow the progression of his disease. There were no guarantees. But Brian and his wife Jacque were determined to give it a shot. They had a faith and a fearlessness that changed my life in so many ways. Through them I learned about love, second chances and forgiveness.

The procedure was slow to show any signs of working. So Brian traveled to Greece for the second part of it. His then 7-year old twins Brooke and Jeren expected he’d come home “cured” and “fixed”. His best friend J.J. Tuttle and I were talking about that last night on the phone. That was really tough. How do you explain something like that to such young children?

Brian lost his battle two days ago. I’m told he died peacefully at home with his family around him.

I take comfort in that. But I’m devestated, nonetheless.  Just 41 years old. He fought this disease with everything he had. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share his story with our viewers. He kept in touch the last few  years via email. He loved hearing about viewers who were touched by his story. He loved sending me motivational quips and quotes. Shortly after my divorce we emailed a lot about faith and strength. He was always quick to remind me that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for everyone. Jacque and I had many heart to heart talks about living like you don’t have a tomorrow.

Brian was more than just an officer. He was a gentlman.
A gentle man.

J.J. believes the procedures worked. For even one additional moment, he says, it was worth it.

Please keep Jacque, Brooke and Jeren in your thoughts and prayers.

In lieu of flowers, Jacque’s asking that you make a donation to any Chase Bank in Jacqueline Howe’s name for the children.

Rest in peace, Brian. You touched many lives with your courage and your optimism. I miss you.

Cronkite Memories

July 23, 2009

It’s the highlight of my career.

Co-anchoring a post-presidential debate with the legendary Walter Cronkite.

How many people can say they’ve done that?

I was deeply saddened to hear and report about his passing last Friday. At 92-years-old – it’s probably fair to say he lived quite the life, huh?

But I last spoke to him about 4 years ago and he still seemed so full of spirit and wit.

I talked about my memories of him the night we reported his death. Can you believe a viewer actually COMPLAINED that I was talking too much about MYSELF? Tell me, how do you talk about your experience with someone – without mentioning yourself?

I’d like to think Mr. Cronkite would appreciate knowing the many lives he touched – mine included.

So here’s my Walter Cronkite memory.

I was asked to co-anchor a post-presidential debate with Walter Cronkite for CBS 5 News in November 2004.  It was the final presidential debate – held at ASU.

The live, half-hour special was dilligently produced and my role essentially was to converse with Mr. Cronkite and get his thoughts about the candidates going into the debate and of course, his analysis – after the debate.

Let me first tell you, he was extremely cordial, warm and very complimentary. He acted as a “guest” – which really threw me for a loop. He deferred to me quite often – which quite frankly –  made me nervous! He kept insisting I call him Walter on television – but I just couldn’t. It seemed disrespectful. I just had to call him Mr. Cronkite. There were times when his hearing aid cut into his IFB so he wasn’t getting all of his time cues and I had to jump in to get us to a commercial break on time.

Yes –  I had to interrupt Walter Cronkite! It was one of the toughest things I’ve had to do – because I just knew – no matter how delicately and politely I tried to do it – someone, somewhere would be watching – accusing me of rudely interrupting Walter Cronkite!

What surprised me the most – during our half-hour special – was how opinionated he was. He was not afraid to make it clear – he was not a fan of George Bush. It must be liberating to be able to voice your opinions after having to be publicly unobjective for so many years.  He was as politically astute as ever. Clearly, he still very much relished politics. At one point, I asked him what Mr. Bush did RIGHT in the debate. His emphatically responded, “NOTHING!” I wasn’t expecting that.

After the special – he graciously posed for pictures and invited me to mail him a copy so that he could sign it and mail it back. I did – and true to his word – he mailed me a signed picture along with a signed copy of his book.

When he returned to the valley for a special luncheon and presentation of the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism, I went over to him afterward to say hello and give him a box of cookies for he and his wife Betsy to enjoy. He remembered me and warmly hugged and thanked me for the gesture. 

Shortly after, Betsy passed away. I sent him a note of condolence. He sent one back – thanking me for my thoughts. 

The photo of us is framed and hanging in my home.

He wrote: “For Catherine, In admiration! Walter Cronkite”

I’ve been blessed many times in my career. But to not only know – but to  have worked – with Walter Cronkite – well, nothing tops that.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Cronkite


July 7, 2009

Just minutes ago, Heaven welcomed a new angel.

One of the bravest, kindest souls you will ever meet – is now at peace.

My heart is heavy, though. Because Bianca was just too young to go.

Bianca was diagnosed with breast cancer at the young age of 30.

Just months after her wedding.

No family history of the disease.

She armed herself with knowledge, the best doctors, and fiercly faced-down the cancer. Chemo and radiation knocked her off her feet over and over again – but she kept getting up – determined to beat it.

For a while, it appeared she did.

But it came back. With a vengeance.

It spread – to the point where just a few years ago – more than a dozen tumors invaded her body, at once.

To her friends, she’s been the epitome of strength and optimism. Never wanting us to feel down. She put on a brave face – reminding us – not to treat her as Bianca with cancer – but simply, Bianca.

I thank God I was able to spend time with her a few weeks ago. We giggled, shared pictures and gossip. She didn’t want any of us to cry. But I couldn’t help it. In my heart of hearts, I really believed she’d beat this. I held her hand and she squeezed it  – and in her own comforting way told me she’s okay. “It’s okay, Cath” she said. “I’m tired. I’m just so tired.”

And she was. After seven very long and painful years, Bianca was ready to let go. I had to respect that. She was ready.

As you read this, I ask that you please say a prayer or send a kind thought – not only to Bianca – who is, I’m sure, already creating some crafts and sculptures in Heaven –  but to her mother Sherry and her father Ron.

A parent should never have to bury a child.

Bianca – was their only.

She was the light of so many lives. She is forever, in my heart.