My Novels

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday update

Maybe I'll have time to write an entry on Sundays. Every other day is busy, hectic -- I worked yesterday. Now I'm writing front page news stories; we're still short one reporter, and I'm filling in. I attended an amateur radio swapfest yesterday morning, and wrote a piece for the front page. I now have two news stories online, as well as my lifestyle articles.

Our Sunday newspaper was HEAVY, THICK...we had a back-to-school special in the Lifestyle, a quarterly magazine senior magazine insert (in which I wrote every article from interviewing several local volunteers) and the usual other newspaper stuff. I'm becoming better and better at writing any kind of article; I've written for the business section and the farm section in addition to my other work. And I've taken several photos, when our photographer was not available. Being versatile is an advantage at any newspaper, because you often wear many hats.

I have three interviews lined up for next week. I'm planning stories for our special health section; it will be about heart health. After DH's heart attack, I learned a lot, so research won't take much effort. And two of the men I'm interviewing were DH's horse buddies, and have struggled with heart problems for years. I was glad they agreed to be interviewed, but it is always better to have local people in the paper than just general info and AP stories.

I have several good ideas I'm working on for future lifestyle articles, and which have already been approved by the new managing editor. If I can get ahead with Lifestyle, it'll make my job easier.

A couple of days next week I have to attend cooking demos and do interviews for a feature next Sunday.

And all that as well as still learning pagination. My job duties keep expanding, but I'd rather be TOO busy at work than not have enough to do.

Otherwise, Saturday afternoons and Sunday are reserved for house-keeping, extensive pet care, maybe some cooking to freeze for the next week. Oh yeah, and laundry/ironing my clothes for the following week. I DO try to sleep in on Sunday morning, a luxury I took for granted till I went to work!

I finally hired someone to mow my yard. I just didn't have time, and absolutely loathed that chore. I may let my renters use the riding mower/weedeater, and make those available to anyone who rents in the future. We're getting rain more often, and that is causing the grass to grow -- which just means MORE lawn-mowing!

I confess I haven't been able to find time to ride my bike lately. I do take the dogs on a walk very late, just before dark, when it has cooled down. However, I've actually lost a couple of pounds (don't eat much), and my knees have improved. I fear the biking was the major cause of the continuing knee problem. Oh well.

With that, I'm outta here for today.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shhh, I'm happy, don't tell!

Guess I'm always a bit stupidstitious about feeling happiness, as if something will suddenly darken my life. Can't have good without the bad -- don't know if that is just my training for drama/fiction writing or growing up with an alcoholic dad. For this moment in time, I AM happy.

I am being paid for writing.

A GOOD salary for where I live, in any kind of job.

Bringing recognition to average people who trudge on, doing the best they can, but NEVER get a pat on the back, much less public exposure. The average people are the ones who NEED to be acknowledged, and I'm trying to do that in the Lifestyle section of our local newspaper.

Receiving praise at work...but more importantly, from the people I write about. That feels GOOD. Still have more to learn about pagination and that is a challenge.

And I'll tell you, my readers, a secret: Lexapro. I am fairly sure that ALL my life, and especially past menopause, I've suffered from depression. And that my father did too, trying to self-medicate with liquor. When my husband died, my G.P. put me on Lexapro -- an antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. I took it for several months, and functioned GREAT. Then decided I didn't need it, and boom, depression returned before long.

When I was lucky enough to get this current position, I went back to the G.P. and she wrote me a prescription for Lexapro. For now, it's only three months...but I DO attribute some of my ability to focus, stay out of the depths of deepest depression, to the anti-depressant. I truly have come to accept that some people NEED anti-depressant medication -- otherwise, we'd be suicides.

If you don't believe me, just read some of my blog entries when I was at my darkest hour.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Working at writing... a nice thing. All the office politics aside, hassles with people, you-name-it...I LOVE writing. And today, I spent most of my time at work actually WRITING. Ah, the bliss, the joy...the agony. Yet when a piece is finished, headed for print, you feel an accomplishment that is indescribable.

I can't say I'm a whiz at pagination (designing pages) at this point, but I'm still learning. And attending events is not my favorite thing; however, when you have a badge on you reading "MEDIA" you almost an alien. Not really part of the crowd, just there to "observe and record." Not a bad thing, if you're somewhat introverted as I am. The "badge" emboldens you, and allows you to think of yourself as only there on a quest -- which is informational. Later, you find the creative aspect of the story, and rely on facts to back it up. I doubt this makes any sense to anyone except reporters and/or writers.

I'm always in another world when I write, and it has taken several weeks to find that zone as a lifestyle writer. Yet when I do, it's sooooooooooooo great! And the people, the ones who are modest people I have chosen to feature, they are incredibly...amazing. Some have labored YEARS, DECADES without ANY recognition, and just giving them a face, a voice makes it all worthwhile.

Those are the unexpected rewards I've found in this position. I'll get back to you on the downside.

Oh yes, tomorrow night -- a senior dance. Argh, I don't dance, but I can attend and write about it!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Long time, no entry

I've been so busy with work, it's been impossible to update my blog. I did have some time this Sunday afternoon, and wanted to give a rundown of what has been happening with my new position as Lifestyle Editor.

Frankly, there's been a lot of confusion, a horrid workload and uncertainty since I went to work three weeks ago. There are not enough reporters, since the main news reporter quit the first week I was there. Our managing editor will have his first day tomorrow, and we're all hoping to breathe a sigh of relief. It's difficult to begin in a position and have no one to discuss ideas with or get feedback, which has been my situation. All the staff have been so overworked, only a couple have had time to instruct me and help me learn the computer system and Quark.

However, on the bright side, I have managed to have several interviews and write about four feature articles while I've been there. It's nice to see my byline in the newspaper again, and though I will eventually be designing pages, I still hope to write articles. We need a full-time feature reporter though, because I just will not have time to do new articles two or more times a week. Ah, so it goes!

I received my first paycheck Friday, and let's just say, it's more money than I ever earned at one time anywhere. Nearly what my husband was earning after 30 years in his career! If I can do the job adequately, hold up physically, then I do hope to stay there -- even if just till I turn 60 and start receiving SSI.

Early last Monday morning Oscar dug out, got loose for about ten minutes, then reappeared at the back gate. I was busy getting ready for work, had not even realized he was gone. Apparently, when I was mowing the backyard last Saturday, the riding mower knocked a piece of wood loose at the bottom of the fence -- and that is where Oscar dug out.

When I let him in, I saw he had puncture wounds on his front shoulder, but just thought it was due to the fence. However, that night when I got home (about 7 p.m.) he was lying down, looked very sick. I took him to the vet the next morning, and learned a big dog had bitten him! There's a big Lab with her pups running loose in the neighborhood, and I'm fairly sure she bit him. I've seen her watching us and following us on our walks, and the pups always want to play with Rambo and Oscar. I guess the female dog was being protective of the pups, but I called animal control anyway, because if she would bite a dog, she might bite a child or person.

At any rate, Oscar had to have a drain put in, kept it all week. I'm still giving him antibiotics, but he got the drain out Saturday. He had an abcess under the skin where the dog bit him. He's back to normal, but it sure taught me a lesson: big dogs will bite small ones.

I've often passed people walking big dogs, but didn't realize they would bite my smaller dogs. A lady at the vet told me her Doxie, like Oscar, got bit by a big dog when she was walking him on a leash! These are my first dogs, so I'm learning...and hate that Oscar got hurt. I guess eventually I'll buy either an electronic fence or have a wood fence built around the backyard.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day at work when we all meet the new managing editor. I hope we get along, otherwise, yours truly will be sooooo outta there!