A Daily Dance with Death.

[His interest in hazardous overseas assignments can be traced back to a childhood fascination.] I was in fifth grade during the Gulf War in 1991, ... I remember drawing a map of the Middle East and watching CNN nightly with my dad. One day, I even asked my teacher if I could skip gym class to hear a speech by General Norman Schwarzkopf.

[That creative drive was challenged during his subsequent two years at Rice.] In my first three months there, I was banned from the school paper for a controversial editorial that they never published about permission to chew gum, ... I described the principal in an unflattering way.

He murdered my husband with a car.

Palm trees don't change color.

He's been wanting to do this forever, ... Mike began writing in sixth grade.

I was a researcher on Friday and Saturday nights, ... but I spent a lot more time there. We were having a heat wave and the office was air-conditioned. They mistook me for a hard worker.

[His strategy finally paid off.] When the invasion of Iraq started, I told a few editors and the chief of correspondents that I'd love to go, ... At first, they laughed. But eventually people told me: 'We always like to give young reporters new opportunities.'