Friday, February 15, 2013

February 15, 2013

Lazy? Or What?

I haven't missed the pressure or the need to "do something" for a weekly column. Actually, Nora the Schnauzer provides plenty of motivation to get out and do something. 
So, we have, every day we've taken a Sunday Drive or a day hike, with photos.
By the way, I calculated the "56 little years" as the length that I have held full-time jobs, beginning with the Air Force at 18 and including the 40-plus hours I worked at Safeway for my four years at Northern Montana College and my two-year teaching assistant-ship while I earned my master's degree at Montana State College.
Then I taught high school and reported on sports and the outdoors for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.
Now, I lying about, taking photos. I've taken some of my best in the last few weeks, of  hawks, owls and lizards.  
C'est la vie!

Written Jan. 31, 2013, Thursday

Oh, what a difference a job makes, 56 little years.

I noticed this morning how radically my schedule has changed since I retired. More than two years ago.  The difference just never occurred to me before.
I probably had more significant things on my mind. I didn’t fully retire, you see. I signed a contract to send in an Outdoor Column with photos once a week.
I got a kick out of working from home. I felt so professional. Do the research (that is, do something in the Outdoors, with photos), write a column and e-mail it with photos to Sports Editor Bret Rankin at the U-B on Sunday for publication on Wednesday.
As a result of this technology, I haven’t been in the newsroom since the day I left on March 31, 2010.
April Fool’s Day was my first day of retirement. That felt important, somehow.
Anyway, Darlene, Nora the Schnauzer and I did many things, and I took so many photos (www.tripper.smug that I paid no attention to schedules, period.
It was fun. We made trips to the Oregon Coast, trips to Malheur wildlife Refuge in Central Oregon and dozens of day trips.
When Darlene didn’t go, Nora and I took walks, called day hikes, snowshoe trips, fishing trips (often with Bret), and I recorded wildlife and scenic photos by the ton, some of which I stored on the Web and a few of which (totaling in the hundred by now) I printed either 81/2x11 or 13x19.
Darlene has stacked the smaller prints in a glassed living-room cupboard. I have stored the larger ones in a folder in my upstairs (casually called) workroom.
Now, I’ve recently become less pleased by the contract work. Aspects of it have become redundant.  I’ve taken way dozens, maybe hundreds, of  great blue heron, hooded merganser and downy woodpecker photos.
Inevitable changes have also occurred. The U-B editor has recruited citizen columnists to contribute (free ?) columns to the weekly Diversion section of the U-B, which means the full page that I usually had for the column and the photos would be shared by another column. Some of them were very good, so I didn’t really mind. More recently, some have been, well, more ego trips than anything else.
In addition, the paper (following a nationwide trend) made cuts, which meant it cut payment about 40-percent per my columns. That happened a couple of months ago, when I had already grown weary of the weekly deadline pressure and thought about ending my contract.
The editor, however, suggested that I just cut back, one or two columns a month. Something like that. He said he didn’t want be to give up my connection with the paper, and that made me feel wanted.
So, I did weekly columns for the next month. Then I did two a month, and that felt pretty good.
The month after that, however, one of my columns appeared with one that didn’t impress me very much, and it depressed me,
So, I did one more, because Bret, Nora and I made a trip to McKay Creek  looking for Eagles and Elk.
That was last week, and I sent the column in on Sunday, pretty much committed to it being my final one, numbering 1,525 since I started. It was published on Wednesday. I wrote this on Thursday, and I haven’t changed my mind.
So far, I don’t feel the desire to do so.

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