"I'll be driving and notice there's an apostrophe wrong in a road sign and it makes me mad," she said.

That's what working on the Deseret News copy desk will do to a person.

But Thomas said she loves her job of editing newspaper copy and writing headlines - so much so that she commutes 87.2 miles every day to and from Orem, and has done so for nearly four years.

Thomas is on the road most mornings by 5:30. "I feel like I can do it with my eyes closed," she said, but admitted that she keeps them open. She doesn't recommend the time-consuming daily drive to others, but believes the trip does have its advantages.

"On the way home, it gives you a chance to wind down," she said, adding that during the drive she enjoys listening to books narrated onto cassette tapes. "And I haven't gotten a ticket in four years," she boasted, but pleaded the Fifth when asked if she always drives the speed limit.

The long commuting trips, however, will soon be over for Thomas. She and her husband, Jonathan, are moving to Chicago, where he will pursue a doctorate at Loyola University.

"I'll really miss the people and the work. A lot of people can't say that about their jobs," said the 1985 Brigham Young University journalism graduate.

Besides her responsibilities on the copy desk, Thomas also enjoys occasional writing opportunities, as evidenced by today's page B1 News Extra feature on maternity leave.

"I've been working on that for more than six months," she said of the news feature. Thomas became interested in the subject while pregnant with her now 4 1/2-month-old son, Jesse - named after a family member and not Jesse Jackson, she is quick to explain.

"We had the name picked out long before he (Jackson) became so popular," she said.

After inquiring about the Deseret News maternity policy, she said she thought it, like that of many other companies, was not very fair. She was instrumental in persuading management to alter the policy, which she now believes is fair.

"I can understand a company must protect itself and make a profit, but by having an adequate policy, they're doing themselves a favor by keeping the employees loyal and causing less stress," she said. Research for the article convinced her that both the employee and the company win when maternity accommodations are made.

While sad to leave the Deseret News and Utah, Thomas said she is looking forward to life in Chicago and hopes to find a job editing copy there.

In Chicago, Thomas will undoubtedly find more road signs - and more punctuation errors.