Saturday, April 25, 2015



The last post I made of any substance was a big move, marriage, baby, and home purchase ago.

As of about 20 hours ago, I have another big change. I am no longer a journalist. The mixture of sadness and relief is hard to describe. It's a bit like leaving a bad relationship when you are still in love but know that the other person doesn't want the same things and will never give you what you truly want or need.

The news this week was full of stories about Pulitzer winners who have left journalism in search of anything that will pay the rent. People who love what they do but wanted to get ahead of the layoff notices and avoid joining the ranks of the unemployed.

I may not have a Pulitzer, but I'm now among the industry refugees, fleeing a job I once felt passion for to find financial stability and skills that can transfer beyond a current employer.

My husband and I have known for years that having two people working in journalism wasn't sustainable if we wanted to be homeowners and raise a family. The birth of our daughter six months ago cemented that. A big part of the issue is our hours. As a copy editor I work nights and coming home at 11 p.m., but getting up at 6 to take care of the baby was exhausting. I wanted to be home in the evenings not only to sleep, but to make sure I could put my baby to bed and spend time with my husband. When my husband covered night meetings, we were paying babysitters in addition to day care that costs as much as our overpriced rent.

On top of that, the writing on the wall is getting more ominous. Our paper laid off two reporters shortly after I returned from maternity leave, and the industry seems to be trending toward centralized copy desks. There's no evidence that our company is planning that move, but my sense of job security was getting worse.

It's increasingly obvious that while those of us still crazy enough to work in print journalism are passionate about what we do, our industry doesn't love us. We're expected to continue to do more with less as the powers that be seem more and more clueless. None of us went into journalism to make money; but there's a difference between not wanting to be rich and wanting to pay rent and eat something other than top ramen for dinner. We want to have families and if not buy homes, drive reliable vehicles.

Journalists once joked about leaving for the "Dark Side," but it's no longer a joke. I hope print media get it together and stick around so that someone is still holding the government accountable. I still believe in the Fourth Estate; it just doesn't believe in me.

Monday, I begin a job in the communications office of a local school district. It has the lifestyle changes I wanted; I'll be working 8-5 and so will be able to put my baby to bed every night and get to bed at a reasonable hour. For the first time since we've known each other, my husband and I will have all our evenings together to cook dinner, cuddle in front of the TV, maybe do some housework. But it also has something far more important: stability and the opportunity to expand my skill set. I could have stayed in journalism another few years, adding more multi-media skills that while fun, don't help pay for my baby's day care or guarantee I'll still have a job the day after I learn them. But in my new position, I'll be able to really develop in a way that will make it possible to move on when I need to without having to relocate. I've never felt job stability as an adult; it's an exciting feeling.

Friday, October 04, 2013

This is a test blog to show a friend how YouTube embedding works. Nothing to see here, and I'm guessing noone is here to see it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Holy crap, it's been a while. I should start blogging again. I always say that, and never get around to it. It might be nice to get back into writing of some sort. Right now, I'm here because what started out as a Facebook status about insomnia got too long. Good thing I'm off work today. Awake all night again. When I went to the walk-in clinic after two nights of insomnia a couple of weeks ago, I got an Ambien prescription, but I don't want to take it more than absolutely necessary, which means work nights only. No sleep tonight. Finally got bored and got out of bed. I have an appointment with a primary care doc tomorrow, which probably won't do much short term, but I'm going to ask for a referral to go get a sleep study. At this point, I'm sure that 90% of what's keeping me from sleeping is being nervous about whether or not I'll be able to sleep, but part of it is that my brain won't wind down. It's like trying to have a conversation with a preschooler with ADD in there. I'm not stressed or depressed or anxious (except about the sleep issue) and life is actually pretty great, so I'm not worrying about anything at night, but my brain's like, "Hey! Remember this funny thing you read today? Or that thing that douche on the Internet said about politics? Or that cute puppy you saw? Oooh! We should buy a treadmill!" I just need to figure out how to make my brain turn off. I know I'm not supposed to use the computer or watch TV, but reading seems to make it worse. Any non-fiction that would teach me something is too stimulating, and anything with a plot keeps me up because I want to keep reading. I'm sick of it, though. I'll go to any kind and any number of doctors to figure out what my issue is. I thought a few days of Ambien would get my rhythm back to normal, but the problem becomes that the stupid Ambien is habit-forming. I don't know if that's what the problem was tonight, but clearly, there's an issue.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Happy New Year

First, I'm posting because I'm going to give this "365 Days" project a shot. Here's my first shot of the new year. I can't seem to embed the photo using the Flickr link, so click here. That's Ty's cat, Jasper.

Our big transition began three days before we rang in the New Year. Ty accepted a new job as the education reporter for the Tri-City Herald and we will be out of Klamath Falls by the end of January. I will have to stop working for newspapers, at least temporarily, and we have no idea what I will do as my main source of income when we get there, but I'm excited for the move. I'm sad that I might have to leave newspapers, but I plan on doing a lot of freelance writing and hopefully some day I can either come back to journalism as a reporter or just write in my spare time. It's a nice idea.

Ty found out about the job four days ago, and our living room is now a maze of stacks of boxes and suitcases. We're trying to live with the boxes, which are going in the basement tomorrow, and make the house presentable for the real estate listing, while recognizing that three weeks is a lot of time to make new messes. There may be some interesting meals in our future as I try to use up all the random ingredients that can't go to the food bank.

Tonight my mom invited us over for dinner, knowing we're trying to pack and clean the kitchen. I haven't had time to cook a nice dinner in weeks, so I made a nice meal of Indian food and we had good conversation. It's been fantastic living in town with my parents but not living WITH them (although my parents are pretty awesome, so living with them wasn't a problem at all, it's just different to be able to have my own space and just have nice visits). I'll miss them, and I'll miss all the friends I made at the Herald and News, but this is a really exciting time for us. Scary, but exciting.

Friday, November 11, 2011

It wouldn't be us if the day went exactly as planned

Last week, Ty and I left on a long-needed vacation and went down to visit several family members in the Bay Area. The trip had been planned for a while and we were really looking forward to it. Sunday (Oct. 30), we spent the afternoon at Open Studio (an event where you can go to the studios of several different artists and purchase art) and had a lovely Indian dinner with Ty's Uncle and his husband and some of their friends. Before we went to dinner, Ty insisted on taking a side trip to Target to buy a new tripod because he'd forgotten to bring his.

Monday (Halloween), we grabbed coffee, took some photos at Twin Peaks, and set out to find City Lights bookstore, an old haunt of Allen Ginsberg's in North Beach. After a slight adventure involving unnecessary treks up and down giant hills, we got back to the car nearly an hour after the parking meter ran out. I thought the fact that we didn't get a parking ticket would be the best surprise of the day ...

All weekend, Ty had been telling me there was an overlook at the Presidio that he wanted to take me to, so we headed that way, only to find it was completely fogged in. We couldn't see anything. No water, no Golden Gate Bridge. Nothing. We kept driving and came upon a beautiful beach with a view of the bridge above the fog. Ty suggested stopping to take photos.

On the beach, we each played around with our cameras and Ty suggested putting mine on the tripod so we could use the remote shutter to get photos of us together. After a few "test shots," he handed me the remote ... and then pulled out an engagement ring and asked me to marry him. If he didn't remember that I said, "Oh my God," a few times before saying yes, I probably wouldn't be able to tell you what I said. I did, after a few seconds, remember to take a few photos.

To answer the obvious question: The proposal was not the point of the trip. We planned it months ago, and Ty decided about a month before that it would be a great place to propose. What he did not know (and doesn't believe) is that for some time, I had been just-for-fun fantasizing about a San Francisco proposal and when we were on the beach, I was thinking "Wow, if he was going to ask, this would be the perfect place." So in the end, even if we didn't wind up exactly where he wanted to be, I loved it and the moment was so close to exactly what I would have wanted that when he actually asked it took me a split second to realize it was actually happening. Everything, from the bridge and ocean in the background of the photos to the ring, was exactly how I would have planned it if given the option. So in the end, the adventure getting to the bookstore and the improvising of a new location were all part of a wonderful day.

After making a few phone calls to parents and grandparents (which took some time because my iPhone decided to chose that moment to stop working for the first time,) we went to get lunch and then headed up to Marin County to visit my dad's brother and his family. We played basketball with my cousins (Juila is 13 and shares a birthday with me. Nick is 8) and then headed out with them and their parents for some trick-or-treating. It was awesome to get to share the proposal with some family in person. My aunt said she had goosebumps when we told her the story.

Day three of our vacation, we were planning on heading up to the Napa Valley to see my dad's sister, but first, I insisted on going to the overlook where Ty had originally intended to propose. It is beautiful and although it would have made for fantastic photos, I don't think I could be happier than I am with the beach proposal.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


(After I make a dirty joke about a bed commercial)
Ty: "My girlfriend, ladies and gentlemen."
Me: "You love me."
Ty: "I like that you keep having to remind me of that."
Me: "You're stuck with me."
Ty: "Are you saying there's no way out of this?"
Me: "That's what I'm saying."
Ty: "Sounds like a challenge."

We're so nice to each other. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Two more days ....

Ty's been in Kansas since Thursday. He went out for his sister's college graduation and I couldn't go because I'm going to a family reunion in Indiana next month. So since Thursday, Bugsy and I have been hanging out alone. This means I have to take him for his walk at 5:30 in the morning (as soon as the sun comes up, he instantly thinks, "walk!" and won't let anyone sleep until he gets what he wants) after not getting to bed until after midnight. I'm exhausted and very grumpy, but mostly I just miss Ty. I had Friday and today (and tomorrow) off work, so I've really just been at home alone. I haven't had this much time to myself since I moved from Yakima and while it's been nice to have the time to myself to watch bad Lifetime movies and other girly shows without judgment, now I just want him to be back. Poor Bugsy will lose it when he gets here. He really doesn't understand why Ty's not here. He spends a lot of time looking out the window waiting for the jeep to pull into the driveway.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sad week.

Friday night, I came home after a long day at work. It had been a stressful few days and I was ready to get in bed with Ty and relax. I needed to give my 14-year-old cat Nala some medicine and called to Ty to ask if she was in the bedroom. He said yes, and when I walked up to her, I saw she had passed away. It was a rather traumatic way to end the evening. Ty was great and helped me put her in a box (and in the morning, we took her to the vet to be cremated), but I was too upset to sleep and had to work Saturday. Getting through that day at work was awful. I knew Nala had some health problems and that she was getting up in age (we had her twin sister, who did not live with me, put to sleep a few months ago), and I always hoped she would die at home so I wouldn't have to put her through the trauma of riding to the vet in the car, but I also wasn't expecting to be at work when it happened. I don't even remember if I interacted with her that day. Ty said when he left for work in the morning, she was lying on top of me purring while I slept, but I don't remember seeing her other than to give her her morning medicine. I've had Nala since she was born. In fact, she was born on my bed while I was still in it. I was away in Eugene for about six years of her life, but for every other day of the rest of her life, she slept in bed with me and always, if she was sitting near me, purred loudly enough to make it hard to hear the TV. I'll miss her.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Adventures in dog ownership

Saturday, Ty and I got back from running errands very eager to make sandwiches out of some challah he bought from our favorite bakery while on his morning walk with Bugsy. I asked where the bread was -- we keep it on the counter but he sometimes freezes it -- and he insisted it was there. That's when we saw the empty bread bag on the living room floor. At first, it was just annoying that he cost us $4 and we didn't get to eat any of the delicious bread, and the bakery was closed by then.

Over the next 24 hours, we had other reasons to be concerned. Bugsy began to show signs of intestinal distress, including gas so horrendous it could be used to make biological weapons. He looked bloated and was clearly uncomfortable, breathing more deeply and panting more often than normal. So, we made an appointment at the one vet in town open 7 days a week. He got an x-ray to make sure his intestine wasn't completely blocked and $150 later, we brought him home with some pain pills to just wait for it all to come out. By the time we woke up today (Monday), he seemed back to his old self ... except for one thing. My first thought when I saw him this morning was, "why is he orange?"

Ty left for work before I woke up, but he wrote a note explaining the dog's new fur color. An empty container of paprika and a white leather chair tinted the same orange as the dog's fur.

I called the vet and was told to just wait for it all to pass.

The closing line of Ty's note?

"We may need to rethink how we organize the kitchen."

Sunday, February 06, 2011

50 book update

I'm barely hanging on for the 50-book challenge. But I do have two more to add to the list.

1. Game change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. This is an "insider" book about the 2008 presidential campaigns. It's mostly unsourced, so it's hard to tell how much is really accurate, but a lot of the stuff about the Obama campaign is information I've read in other books. A lot of the book is dedicated to the Democratic primary and is about how much Hilary Clinton really thought she was going to win. There are lots of details about how the Edwards campaign imploded and how Obama's success surprised the other candidates. Then there's a section on the McCain campaign and the lack of vetting and preparation before choosing Sarah Palin as VP. I realize you have to take unsourced books with a grain of salt, but it's pretty entertaining and I've read multiple chapters in single sittings.

2. Conversations with Myself by Nelson Mandela . This is a collection of letters, journal entries, autobiography transcripts, and transcripts of conversations that Mandela wrote/had during his time in prison. It's fascinating. I'm finding it hard to piece together Mandella's real story from the little fragments, but it's quite interesting to read about his mindset as recorded during the actual prison stay. I plan on reading his actual autobiography, "Long Walk to Freedom," later in the year. Don't be fooled by the fact that Amazon is listing this as by Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. Obama wrote a very short prologue and definitely should not be listed as a coauthor.