Does anybody read these?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Fourth Estate

You probably already know that yesterday, two photojournalists were killed in Libya. What you may not know is that one of them, Chris Hondros, was a graduate of the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University and an active alumnus. In fact, the director of the school told The Post yesterday that Hondros had delayed a presentation to the VisCom students to go back to Libya.

I was in Athens the same time Chris Hondros was. The VisCom students were in a separate school and tucked away from all the J-school students, so our paths probably didn't cross. I recognize his name, but it could be from seeing one of his photos around campus or something. It could also be because he was a Pulitzer-nominated, award-winning photojournalist.

But as we Bobcats mourn the loss of one of us, and as we journalists mourn a fallen member of the press, it gave me pause to think about my own journey and where I am and where I'll never be.

I've always been a good writer. When I was in 4th grade, I won a contest for a fiction short story, which was published in the local newspaper. I got to meet a real writer who critiqued my work, but when you're 8 years old, the most exciting part was that we got to have a hot school lunch, which was rare in Catholic school.

I'll never forget in 8th grade, we had an English assignment of writing a movie review. Everyday when my dad came home from work, I read his copy of the Detroit News, and the movie reviews were my favorite part. I read every single one, even though I could count the number of times I got to go to the theater on one hand. So, needless to say, the teacher wondered if my review was my own. She finally concluded that my work reflected my voracious love of reading.

By the time high school rolled around, I was reporting on the school newspaper and was the editor my senior year. I also got involved in a mentoring program at the local newspaper and did some writing for them, as well. Most of it never left the newsroom, but working with real reporters and editors was awesome.

At some point, I decided I wanted to be a foreign correspondent. I think it was when I went to Europe in high school. Of course, I spoke Spanish which meant my foreign correspondent assignments would probably not be in France or Italy. But, still when I arrived at journalism school, my advisor thought this was the perfect plan. And she gave me a little advice: Always keep your passport current.

But somewhere along the way, the lines got blurry. My career as a top-notch, objective reporter got waylaid when I decided to get political and fight for student financial aid. But now there's Fox News (ironically run by another Ohio grad) and MSNBC where the news personalities are actually political figures. Hell, even my longtime crush George Stephanapolous is now anchoring the morning news despite having been Bill Clinton's press secretary. So, the lines are blurry for me, and for journalism as a whole. And there's comfort in hanging your hat in the same place every night and knowing there'll be food on your table at night.

And, as wimpy as this sounds, there's a big advantage to not getting shot at when you go to work. (Although it can get a little dicey in the 'hood where we have our offices sometimes.)

I even let my passport expire, which was not good the time I was supposed to make a last-minute trip to Tel Aviv for work. Someone else had to go, and I went to get a new passport the following week.(Now I find my passport comes in handy for trips to Jost Van Dyke and Canada.)

I feel kind of like a jerk and a sell-out right now. I took the safe life with a cushy office job, and once in a while I interview someone about the latest and greatest innovations in caring for the elderly. The highlight of my career in recent years has been interviewing an up-and-coming country singer who wrote a song about Alzheimer's disease. And even though I'm not making friends with dissidents to topple a government with my investigative reporting, people still benefit from my wonderful press release on National Nursing Home Week.

I guess what I need to remind myself is that there are a lot more PR jobs out there than there are jobs for ace reporters traveling the globe. So, I'm not Anderson Cooper or Christiane Amanpour. I'm still talented and people still enjoy what I'm writing. In fact, when I recently announced that it was time to resurrect my half-finished novel, people went a little crazy with anticipation.

So, that's good even if I'm not going to be on CBS Evening News tonight. (But one of my PR clients was. In 2001. That's why I often tell people I reached the pinnacle of my career at 25.)

I don't believe that's true. I think I've got a lot more good to do, but I think I need to start doing it before I get any further behind with my notable elderly people.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


One post a week?

Not great, but could be worse, I guess.

I am so swamped at work. I have 137 Who's Who nominations this year, and I've fact-checked, written summaries and scanned in photos for 30. Yikes. I see some extra hours in my future in the next week or so, but I'll get it all done. I always do. I could probably hammer them out in two solid days if people would just leave me alone. We'll see...

I'm going through some inner turmoil/internal debate on the journalist vs. writer vs. blogger dynamic. I think the reason this blog doesn't have ads or lots of followers or even frequent posts is because it's just me venting. I write for money at work. I don't know if I'm a journalist anymore. I don't deliberately slant my reporting, but hell, I don't get to report very much anymore. I sure as shit don't feel like Katie Couric on the rare occasions that I do get to interview someone.

Eventually I want to write fun stuff. I've thought about fiction and nonfiction projects, but they both require a lot of time. Lately I haven't even had time to READ books, let alone write them.

I know lots of folks out there are bloggers and they are getting paid for their content, and I'm not sure I hate that. Self-publishing is OK, but there's a lot of badly written shit out there too. Who knows? I'm sure there's people who think I'm no Hemingway.

I'm not. I know that. But I've learned reporting and writing from some of journalism's best. And I've always been a good writer. I was first published when I was in 4th grade. I wrote for the community newspaper and edited my high school paper in high school. In college, I switched to PR, but I still got a lot of pick-up on things that I wrote. I just didn't like the crowd at the campus paper. I just kind of did my own thing, but I'm way too political to be any type of objective journalist.

But realizing your bias is a good thing. Wouldn't it be great if some of the folks on our national news broadcasts did that?

I blog for therapy. I keep thinking of clever, themey blogs, but I always come back to this. It keeps me sane. It lets me vent. It helps me keep in touch with people.

That's not something people pay you for. In fact, I'm sure all the cell phone companies (and my therapist) would say it's the other way around.

Friday, April 08, 2011


Today's NaBloPo prompt was: What is one thing you are looking forward to this weekend?

One thing. Hmmm...


I'm not sure how much sleep I will get or when exactly I will get it, but I am looking forward to it. I need to rest.

This entire week, I have been writing magazine copy, taking and uploading photos (which are nowhere near being cropped and/or edited), and I've perused 137 biographies of notable nursing home patients that need to be entered into the computer and woven into press releases by the end of the month.

Did I mention that sometime in all of this fuss I have to design a magazine?

This is my busy time at work, and I'm nowhere near the frenetic levels that I will reach sometime between now and May 4th, when I head out of town for my brother's wedding.

Which reminds me...all of the shower invites need to be in tomorrow's mail.

I just want to sleep. One good night of uninterrupted sleep. Me, lots of pillows, cozy PJs and the sleep fairy. Put a pea under my mattress and don't wake me up until well after the sun comes out.

I'm not sure if this is going to happen or not, but I have high hopes. I have my fingers crossed. Because if I don't get to sleep this weekend, I am not sure when I'll get to sleep.

I'm really going to try to keep you all in the loop, but if you can't find me at my desk, chances are I'll be sleeping. Or at least dreaming about it.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Let them eat cake!

I don't know if I've ever mentioned that I'm slightly obsessed with Marie Antionette (and I get it from my mother). Anyhow, my trip to Versailles when I was in high school was pretty amazing.

But, that's not what cake I'm talking about.

Last night, I finally broke down and took a cake-decorating course. I've been making yummy cakes and cupcakes for ages, but I'm not known for pretty desserts. I'm known for delicious desserts.

Wouldn't it be great if they were both?

The class was at a wine bar, so it's miraculous that I stayed sober enough to learn anything. I think that was because I was also trying to stay sober enough to not buy the $40 glass of Cakebread that was calling my name. (Stop looking at me like that. Doesn't your wine talk to you?)

Anyhow, I thought my cake looked pretty good. I did a little freehand rose, a cute pink border, some polka dots around the outside. My leaves looked just about perfect. I was satisfied.

Until I went on this cake website and saw all these other people post the pictures from their cake-decorating classes.

Holy hell, I suck.

However, my boss, who decorates and sells cakes for fun saw mine in the breakroom (Like I could eat a whole cake by myself...), and he said it wasn't bad. He said I had the basic techniques down, so I just needed to get some tools and practice, because it's mostly just trial and error.

So, now my inner Martha Stewart is clawing to get out. I want to go spend a fortune on fancy tips and decorating books and dyes and make some cakes.

I am going to weigh 17,000 pounds.

I already have some guinea pigs. And I've got some ideas. So, we'll see what happens.

Maybe it will be beautiful and delicious. Wouldn't that be nice?

yfrog Photo :

Monday, April 04, 2011

girl stuff

This post is about nothing. Well, nothing except how much I hate cramps, moodiness, hormonal acne, ruining my clothes, and all the other fun stuff that comes with being old and hormonally imbalanced.

I almost forgot the migraines and the weight gain. And the weight gain sucks when you only want to eat chocolate and drink wine.

I'm miserable. My doctor just tells me i'm too old for hormones and dismisses my concerns. I am going to talk to my internist, but does anyone have any thoughts on what I can do to not be so miserable? Hormone issues are very real and unpleasant.

Sunday, April 03, 2011


When you go so long, even a quickie will do. Right?

Today has been crazy; this whole weekend has, really.

Last night, I came home and promptly fell asleep on the couch. Today, I took a nap after work. Work was OK, except when I got criticized for getting a line when a 90-year-old woman decided to write a check for her great-great-granddaughter's crib. Really? I am pretty sure we should thank the heavens she was able to buy a crib and write a check and not worry about how long it took her.

In retail, as in life, I function under the "Do unto others as you would like them to do unto you" philosophy. It makes sense.

I came home and finally had St. Patrick's Day dinner. Corned beef roasted with cabbage, potatoes and carrots and my Bailey's Irish Cream brownies. My belly is full. We watched TV and now it's just about time to hit the hay. Busy, busy time at work starting tomorrow. I have all my Who's Who nominations, and this was our biggest year yet, plus our magazine goes to print in 3 weeks. I still have three articles to write. Hoping to finish them up tomorrow.

Not doing so well with the daily posting already, but I'm just dusting myself off and starting over. I guess that's "sprouting," right?

Friday, April 01, 2011

Toxic waste

So today is the first day of April, and the first day for attempt #2 at National Blog Posting Month. This month's theme is "Sprout," and I'm feeling a journey of self-discovery coming on. After all, the very first writing prompt was:

"What are you ready to let go of?"

Wow, that is really a loaded question today. You see, I have a few people in my life who are toxic and it's time to phase them out.

The friend of a friend who calls Obama a Kenyan and makes other inflammatory and/or racist statements about the President? Nice knowing you. (OK, not really.)

The former roommate who has completely and totally taken advantage of me in too many ways to list here, but I kept offering friendship and compassion because I thought she was a nice person? Well, she acted in a way last night that made it quite obvious she is not a nice person, so it's time to cut her loose.

My friend back in Detroit who forwards me every crazy right-wing propaganda bullshit email in America? The one who votes for nuttos like Rick Snyder yet doesn't understand why she hasn't had a job since the auto industry tanked? The one who offends me to the marrow of my bones with her hatred of Latinos who are here both legally and illegally? Adios. (That's Spanish for "Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.")

And there's one person I can't cut out completely, but her effect on me will be minimized as of right now. No more stinking thinking, no more listening to bullshit or temper tantrums. It's destructive; it's unproductive; it makes me feel bad. I don't need that in my life.

Last night, after the former roommate was a complete and total asshole to me, I had a thought. She is constantly giving out negative energy. She whines, she takes advantage, she bitches and moans, but she never does anything positive to counter all that negativity. Now, I don't believe in karma, but I do believe if you have no positive energy in your life for yourself and/or other people, you're going to get a lot less good out of life. The universe puts out what it takes in.

All our lives, we've heard toxic waste is bad. And it is. It's very harming to us emotionally, mentally and physically. Both in reality and metaphorically.

When you're a toxic person, you're wasting your life. You're wasting precious moments of your day that you can't ever get back. You're wasting them on comparing yourselves to others, gossipping, bitching, moaning, and just being unpleasant.

When life gets you down (whether it's real or perceived), work on how to get back up. Don't just lie on the ground and wallow in self-pity. That accomplishes nothing except wasting those precious moments. More toxic waste.

As we're talking about growth and renewal, I'm going to pull the weeds in my garden. I'm clearing out all the dead and clutter so that pretty flowers can bloom...and grow.

And, that's no April Fool's.