Monday, May 28, 2012

What is Success?

What is “success?”

I was feeling rather unsuccessful. I had my hours cut back at work, and when I think about my disposable income after paying the bills I am responsible for; I have less “allowance,” adjusted for inflation, than I did in high school. I drive a PT Cruiser (which I really DO like!) and it’s built on the same wheel base as a Dodge Dart, which is what I drove in high school and college. Actually there is a new Dodge Dart coming out and it’s really cute!  But in a way I feel, can’t I get a leg up in the world?

This success is measured in monetary terms only, and I remind myself that real success is measured in terms of relationships.

Barbara Bush spoke to a Wellesley College commencement in 1990 and she said this (excerpted from her speech)

The third choice that must not be missed is to cherish your human connections: your relationships with family and friends. For several years, you've had impressed upon you the importance to your career of dedication and hard work, and, of course, that's true. But as important as your obligations as a doctor, lawyer or business leader will be, you are a human being first and those human connections --- with spouses, with children, with friends -- are the most important investments you will ever make.

At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a child, a friend or a parent.

I remember reading this in print at the time. I was 37. It truly affected me.

When I feel like I have not achieved what I could have professionally, I remember the challenge, investment and pure joy of raising children; of working in church and community, and just having A LOT of friends! (Our families are not small either; there is a bunch of those people!)

When folks get together, and if we are honest, we all do it; they talk about their jobs and by implication, the money they have made or are making, and I don’t feel that I have measured up. Then I remember that I never would have believed I could manage a web site, write a BLOG, manage large events and stay married to one person for life! These are all achievements, and to be honest, they are all “connection” oriented.

I think it behooves us all to ask ourselves what we have done in life that really counts beyond our lifespan. We will leave our money behind, but what have we done to invest in the future generations: our kids and grandkids and those others that life puts in our path, neighbors, church and extended family? Have we taught them compassion, honesty, and integrity? That is the real question.

I know my Presbyterian roots are sticking out when I say that ultimately, according to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “Man’s (insert woman’s) chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Did we do that, and teach others to also? If so, we have lived a successful life!

As a postscript, during my time at the art museum, one of the Board members, took me to a luncheon of her sorority alumni, and we all went to the "Princess Diana" exhibit at the Dayton Art Institute. We were asked to bring a picture of someone we admired to the luncheon. She and I DID NOT TALK about this, and we both brought pictures of Barbara Bush! We had a good laugh about it. I miss her. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Fitness Journey: BOOT CAMP!

The ladies that “encouraged” me to join the fitness club, as much by example as anything else, are younger, stronger and let’s just say “less out of shape.” They have been going to “Boot Camp” since the class’ inception and I see their statuses on Facebook. Needlesstosay, I was intimidated! I knew who these people were and if they were complaining about the hard workout; what in the world would I do with it?

So, here I am, ten full weeks into this experience; I am working with “Wicked Amy” in personal training and I have two more sessions with her; and I feel I will definitely know more about myself and exercising when that is finished. I also know that Amy will NOT leave me high and dry once I quit payin’ her!

Amy and I have talked and today, I took it on. Boot Camp!

NOOOO...this is not what I mean by
boot camp!!!
The class that I go to on Thursdays is total body toning and we do circuit training—or as the former preschool administrator in me says—“learning centers.” We have timed stations where we work on every part of the body. The thing about the station is that the time is measured, not the repetitions. Everyone can adjust themselves. It’s STILL work.

Boot Camp is a different sort of class. Everyone is doing the same thing that Wicked Amy has invented to torture us with (and yes, I know that is not how to end a sentence, you school teachers who are reading this). It definitely is a mixture of weight training, cardio and toning.

I didn’t die.

But, I could not do it all either.

What I took away from this class is that because of certain issues I am still going to have to adapt my level of activity: any class, any activity and any situation in life. Also, there should be a difference when my shoulder is trying to lift 40 less pounds. But for today, that shoulder is what it is; and until I get both knees replaced—and they are not bad enough for that yet—they still are what they are. So I get over it and do what I can do and do not beat myself up over what I can’t do.

I am pretty sure that (although I don’t look it J) I am the oldest person in this class at almost 59. (Amy will tell us if I am incorrect) I am definitely the heaviest. 

I had fun at my two weddings and I am now back to “pre-wedding” weight so I just continue on with the program. Adding another class is just another way to do this.

I accept what I can do and what just is not possible, and do not compare myself to people that are ten years younger than I am. I will celebrate the small victories. I put on my bathing suit and it’s not time for a new one this summer; but it felt—different, looser! And by NEXT summer, it will be definitely be time for a new swimsuit!

As I drove home, I thought about all the things that people tend to complain about, including myself, about their limitations in aging. Some of us are more “accepting” than others of what we can and cannot do, and others do nothing. I’ve been there. I “accepted” my body. 

I don’t think anyone who knows me would consider me a “depressed” person; but I thought, doing what I am doing for myself is better than some pill.

I still don’t LOVE exercise, Amy! Let’s not get crazy!

I love what I am doing for myself!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

It Has to Be BALANCED!

As you know, all my blogs are “pre-approved” if the story involves someone other than myself. This includes the (older) man that I share living space with.

The baseball season!
I knew this when I married him; he likes things balanced. While I pour over the decorating magazines with the cool “arrangements” on the mantels, I know that this will never be in my home. We have one large print, which I love, and photographs “lined-up” on the mantel. I might be able to put something “tall” on either end…..but only if they matched!

Pictures are hung at eye-level (mine!) in our home. I usually allow much room around each, but we don’t do “arrangements” because, after all, they are not balanced!

In 1989, we had a family move down the street and we all became fast friends. The husband was in the military and getting his Masters Degree at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT). The wife, my friend Tammy, whom I could write a whole series of blogs about the mischief we have gotten ourselves into, had a more artistic bent.

She could get Jerry to do things no one else could. She was just so stinkin' pleasant to him, he just would loan her his car, watch her children for her so we could run around (that would be five kids until the age of 6), and never refuse an invitation to her house for dinner. We all were in each others’ lives, almost daily.

Once her husband received the “add-on” assignment after his education, they started looking for something to buy. They bought in Enon. We gave them a hard time about it, and then, we bought there three years later. (Actually we bought in the county, not the village, but that’s a minor detail) Yeah, we heard about that too!

Jerry helped them move, along with a number of people in their church. This was 1990 and it was becoming vogue to place your furniture at an angle. Of course, being artsy, Tammy bought into it. There was quite a bit of "discussion" as they moved, and how they were going to place furniture in the rooms. Jerry watched and listened and said nothing. He commented on it when he got home. “Such an argument……and in front of the PASTOR too!”

About that time, the rage of big pillows on beds was coming out too, and if you were really cool, you made the bed with the comforter turned down at an angle. Tammy got a new bedding set and she loved it and made the bed this way. It drove Jerry nuts and he would tease her about it. He could get away with that too.

One night we were over to the new house for dinner. With five kids running around, someone was probably in the main bathroom, and Jerry had to go, so he headed to the master bath to do his thing. While there…….he just could NOT resist……he remade her bed, the “right” way. Balanced. Nothing more was said during our evening, but when we got home and crawled into bed at 11:00 PM, the telephone rang.

Most people don’t call at 11:00 PM unless it’s an emergency. Tammy wanted to make sure she talked to Jerry about remaking her bed. I think she wanted to wake him up, which she did not do. But only Tammy could get by with reaming him out at 11:00 PM and having him laugh about it.

Our house is still balanced. Everything is lined up nice and neat. Tammy, who is back at Wright Patterson, in another rank and lifestyle, still has an “artsy” feel to her home. It’s gorgeous! But not necessarily “balanced.”

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Fitness Journey: Getting to Know My Body

I almost feel like a pervert beginning this blog. I used to think that people who worked out were “obsessed” with their bodies, and maybe I even thought they were a little unbalanced in their thinking.

I did not want to be that person.

I need to preface this by saying that this is a special time in my life, and that I won’t always need to work out six times a week; but in order to burn calories and reach a goal, I need to focus on this now! Then there will be the maintenance part of the process, which I don’t believe I will be worrying about until 2013.

This process involves some statistical analysis, which my trainer helps me with; but most of all learning what my body will and will not do. It means learning about the rhythms and tendencies that are unique to me as an individual.

It means combining what I learn with the application of that knowledge to me.

As I change my eating habits, for instance, it means learning what I really do not like and making the things I do like part of my plan. People have different ways of eating, if you work, you have certain hours assigned for that task. I am a little more flexible, but I am learning that even if I have the calories available to me, eating certain things at night is just not a good idea!

It means certain combinations are not good at all for ME! Just because some expert says this or that; it might not work for me. I have taught my body certain new habits and sudden change, even though not BAD change...just may have its repercussions.

Today my trainer, (Wicked) Amy and I were talking about the fact that every time you loosen up a little, there is a price to pay in terms of how the food affects your body. She celebrated Mother’s Day with her family and lightened up a bit; but she paid for it. I know I have experienced the same thing. The key is figuring out how much you want to pay!

Fortunately, I am no longer menstruating so I do not have a cyclical calendar to be concerned about. This is so very freeing! Because God has been merciful to me regarding menopause, that is really not an issue either. I saw this commercial this morning, which showed a woman (implied) going through menopause and she had on a very lightweight cotton nightgown and she was still dripping (I think the commercial was for iced tea) and I thought as I watched this commercial; that unless I was running a fever—a high one!— I had never been at that place.

BUT: I never thought I would be at this place, where I am concerned…..with my digestive system. Didn’t we all get totally tired of listening to our grandparents and great-aunts talking about…..this? God help me, I am here.

I honestly try to be good and not talk about it; but it’s on my mind. How one thing affects the other. In the banking world way back in the day, we called our transactions, the ins and the outs. That’s sort of where I am coming from.

This too is part of understanding what is happening to my body; just getting to know it all. I have neglected it for so long, I didn’t know who I was.

As I progress, I will celebrate the small things. Last week at toning and circuit class, I was able to lift myself up from a floor position without using my hands. Yes, my knees still hurt like heck, but that was a strength that I had not had for a long time!

Day by day, I am getting to know the new me!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My Fitness Journey: Falling Off The Wagon (A little!)

Well, I fell off the wagon a little bit.

But it was FUN!

The hubs and I spent a weekend in Birmingham, Michigan, to attend the wedding of a daughter of very close friends. We really enjoyed ourselves—getting away, witnessing a lovely wedding and enjoying a very nice reception!

Friday evening, we walked around Birmingham and found a nice little Greek family diner. I didn’t take any chances with food I didn’t recognize and I had a turkey club sandwich, which was delicious! We walked around the downtown area for about 30 minutes before heading back to the motel.

To my credit, I did get up Saturday morning and go to the fitness room for ½ hour which my trainer Amy insists that I do—cardio for 30 minutes five times a week. So, I got that in and we rested a bit on Saturday in anticipation of a late night which we old folks don’t do often anymore. The father-of-the-bride came to our room to visit, and we enjoyed that, and he NEEDED it; a respite from all of the estrogen in this big wedding.

The beautiful (colonial-style Lutheran) church ceremony was at 4:30, and then we headed downtown to the reception. There was a special room for a pre-party while the wedding party took their pictures. The hors d’oeuvres were passed (they were passed a LOT!) and I had some wine. The room was fabulous and anyone who knows me well knows I was very interested in the architecture and the d├ęcor of the room.

What a pleasure having dinner with
people we have known for 15 years!
Later we headed upstairs to the ballroom and we enjoyed a lovely meal, which I did later dance off!

However, on Sunday, those jeans were a whole lot tighter than they were Friday! They were definitely unzipped on the drive home!

There are going to be days like this. These occasions are meant to be celebrated with enthusiasm! We surely did!

Monday, I was back at the gym and I will be working HARD this week. Amy follows my blog and she will read this and she will have me shaped up; but we both know it’s not about her, but about me! I am committed and yet, I realize that we live life, we share celebratory moments with precious, precious friends, and then…..

I get back on the wagon. And I don’t beat myself up over it!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Daughter, Wife, and Mother of an Educator

My mother was born ahead of her time. When she went to college, it was to get her MRS degree. Her “calling” as a teacher came later; as she did meet this cute guy and got married a few days before her 19th birthday. I remember my father saying to me that “the best gift a man could give his son-in-law was an educated wife.” He thoroughly supported her going to Wittenberg, one or maybe two classes at a time, until the time she graduated in 1968, fully nineteen years after her high school graduation.

During this time, during my childhood, she substitute taught, so she was not embarking on a career she knew nothing about.  For me, it meant fun days at a babysitter’s home and playing with other children. That was unique and I loved it. Outside of wage-earning though, Mom was an educator through and through. She was the one who read all the plaques at the historic sites to us (actually, Dad did too). She set the example of reading and provided the resources in our home. Together they taught children in Sunday school.

When I was in high school, she became an aide; and she used her gifts in relating to the students who were, shall we say, underachievers. Most of these she met in detention, which she supervised. I firmly believe she impacted lives there; maybe not in readin’, writin’ and arithmetic, but in many other ways. When I was in college, she decided to go back and get her regular teaching certificate. Folks, can you imagine going to college with your MOTHER? God is merciful; we were never in a class together; although we did have one professor in common. I thought he was terrible and she loved him. I mean, I…thought….he…was…a…terrible…teacher…..and all these years later, that’s my story and I am sticking to it!

She began her teaching career at our local Junior High. She taught Ohio history. I was dating and became engaged to Jerry and he is from Defiance, Ohio. There’s lots of Ohio history up there. I don’t think I ever would have given it a thought, but my Mom said, “Let’s go up there and check this out!” That’s how it was with her; ever seeking out something new, for herself and for her students. She got her certificate for Library Science and after teaching a few years, became the librarian at the newly re-formed high school.

1979 - He usually had more control
in his classes than demonstrated
here. Betting this was the end of
the year by the clothes.
Enter the husband. We married in 1977. I was never his student, but I watched many of his classes after our marriage. He began his career in the high school I went to, but moved to the “newly re-formed” FHS in the fall of 1982. When I think about it, of his teaching career, he spent one year in a school system in Northwestern Ohio, 14 years at Fairborn/Baker High School and TWENTY years at the present Fairborn High School. He did like the air conditioning.

He could see me coming up the walk if I came in the front door, and I was suppose to check in at the office. I started coming in the cafeteria door. Everyone knew me. I spent a lot of time in that building—taking our children in (they were both used by the Child Development classes as examples), proctoring ACT, PSAT and SAT tests on Saturdays, and various other times. These were the days before cell phones, so I had to drop by if I needed something. Honoring the secretaries, I kept phone calls to a minimum. Texting is real handy today!

I was able to watch his deliverance, and I am betting that for the most part it was different from Mom’s. Mom was a “facilitator” and Jerry imparted information. He did it well. He was/is organized in thought. I believe it would have been easy to learn from him, as it is indeed my style of learning too! When Jessica was in high school, she could not understand the subject matter in Biology II. She brought home the notes and Jerry literally re-taught the same information in an orderly fashion. It was like a light bulb in her head went off! I would not let Joel take Biology II.

I was able to watch him work in the evenings, grading papers, preparing lesson plans and assessing projects that the students did. It was part of our world. I never thought about it.

Although Jerry officially retired in 2003, the year Joel started high school, he has continued to substitute teach. The good news is that Jerry had more time for Joel’s sports. The other good news is that he kept up with what Joel was doing in class. We both did, and I consider myself an educator too; but it was Jerry’s responsibility. I was a back-up.

Joel’s muse was in the 8th grade; by high school he had already felt his calling. I have young men to this day tell me THEY knew what Joel was going to do in 8th grade! I do not mind naming his inspirational teacher, who taught Science, which Joel was not interested in teaching! Tom teaches in the Greenon Local Schools; and has Joel on his speed dial as a sub. Tom now manages the computer lab. In a few short years, Joel could be coaching his son in football, just as Tom coached Joel in 8th grade basketball. That will be a full circle.

Joel graduated with honors in 2007 and set about becoming a Math teacher at Wright State. He got a little derailed in Math, and decided his passion was Phys. Ed. and Health. It has been a pure joy to watch him come home; tell us about his classes and how he was doing projects and papers. It has been a delight to watch father mentor son, even though the subject matter was completely different! Classroom management is an across-the-board skill.

I might as well admit that with both of our children, we edited papers in college. If it got past Jerry, Editor #1, then I took over. Jerry was the grammar expert, a tribute to a grammar teacher in the Ayersville, Ohio school system, and I watched the “flow” of the idea put to paper.

Joel finished his undergraduate work with honors at Wright State in June, 2011 and began his graduate work in Special Education. He does much subbing in the Special Education field. He has subbed for MANY of his old teachers. They know what they are getting!

I have not had the pleasure of watching Joel at work yet. I just hear the stories, and I am pretty impressed with what he does as a beginner. Because of living with the legacy of education in his home and in his life, I think he’s ahead of the game. I have watched him coach, which there’s no doubt about it; is educating in another way.

Joel coaching ladies basketball
For myself, education has permeated my life! I did move to Columbus 1974-75 so was out from under the influence for that year. Even though I don’t have an education degree, and I did start out in education, I consider myself an educator. I was my children’s first teacher; and I have taught Christian Education from preschoolers to adults; Sunday school, Children’s Church, and Bible School. For adults, I am the facilitator, for children I imparted information and kept order (!)

I have been grateful for all the seasons of teaching and learning in our lives. I know this is not an ending to a blog: education will go on! Will I have a grandchild who chooses this path? Only time will tell!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

My "AHA" Moment!

It’s been a year today since my “AHA” moment, so I decided to publish this. I have lost 23 lbs. I have a long way to go.

When does a person decide enough is enough? You’ve been overweight for years and you play around with different ideas and concepts for losing weight; and you play with the same 10-20 lbs. for years.

There is a place where, for lack of a better term, you repulse yourself. When is it; and what happens to cause you to feel that way?

This is the Fairborn High School Spring Concert. Alumni
were invited to sing. I am clear to the right in the first row.
For me, it was a photograph. It was actually posted on Facebook. I was a part of a group, so I am quite sure few, if any, looked at it and said “Whoa! Look at Denise! She’s enormous!” But I did, and I was sickened.

This was right around Mother’s Day 2011. That moment motivated me to do something. Until then, I made excuses for myself. I dressed in such a manner that I didn’t show how large I was; or at least I tried. I don’t know who I was kidding. I didn’t even bother with the scales. I knew that my clothes were getting tighter.

When I saw this picture on Facebook, I had many emotions; but the primary one was that I was on the way to becoming a fat little old lady. Well, I was already “obese” by anyone’s standards, but I could see the future. It did not look good.
I decided it was time. I had been in Weight Watchers© before and I actually was able to lose 40 lbs. without exercise. I didn’t like exercise, and I thought; if I could do this once, I can do it again.

I lost 10 pounds and then, stopped. Actually, I maintained during the holidays and that’s a moral victory if nothing else. But I knew I needed more. After the holidays I behaved and kept track, but nothing…..happened.

In the beginning of March, I joined the gym and started on my way to a better me. There is another blog about “Joining a Fitness Club” that describes that. I am making progress, but there is one word for it….slow!

But where would I be if I had not had the AHA moment; or if it (theoretically) would have been too late?

Have you had an AHA moment? Perhaps it’s not about weight but another issue.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Turning 60

I should have written this some time ago as many of my friends have already turned 59. I would like to invite anyone turning 60 within the next year or so to join me on this journey. I don’t know how much of it will be worth writing about, but here is what I am going to do.

My friend Pam (at 50) and my
pregnant daughter ran the half-
marathon in the 2010 AF Marathon.
My 59th birthday will be in July. Beginning in August, I am going to do something special for myself, each month, leading up to my 60th birthday. I am inspired by my good friend Pam B., who did this and capped it off with running a half-marathon on her 50th birthday.

Don’t expect a half-marathon, friends. Maybe I will do a Zumbathon!

These “special” things will be something that is different and out-of-the ordinary. Perhaps it will be a Christian Women’s Conference (think Women of Faith). Perhaps it will be a special night out with an old friend that I haven’t seen in ages. Maybe it will be a “road trip,” or perhaps, a spa day, or some other pampering treatment. I may skip December since I will be primping for my son’s wedding.

These do NOT have to be costly, that is not the idea. They just have to be special.

I don’t expect all of them to be worthy of a blog entry, but maybe some will be! I invite my friends “of a certain” age to join me, and comment on what THEY are doing for themselves.

Probably in July 2103, but not scheduled yet, is an Ohio Riverboat Dinner Cruise for the Class of 1971. If that works out in July, it will be a great cap to the year of “special” things.

I am….we are…. special!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Evolution of the Day Planner

When I was a young married woman, I was influenced by a book. This book was called “Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman,” by Anne Ortland. I looked on Amazon and it’s still in print!

I wonder if it’s been updated, because I am going to go from there to here.

It was about many “disciplines” of a Christian woman; but the one I want to hone in on was “the notebook.” She knew that women needed to keep everything in one place. Note that you did not rush out to Office City and buy a specific type of planner.  You made it yourself.

A notebook from many years ago.
This is not the first one I had.
Being the organized type that I am, and also the type of person who operates in different “worlds,” I knew this was a good idea for me. I bought a small 5 x 7 notebook and paper, along with some dividers. This was not difficult; making my own calendar took some time. But the idea was to have everything in ONE PLACE! I would take it everywhere with me; to work, to meetings, to church (to church meetings!) and at home it rested on the portable dishwasher which served as my “desk” by the phone. (How did I ever manage without a built-in dishwasher, or desk!)

I used this for many years until the advent of a name-brand Day Planner. Other than the calendar feature, I am not sure it had much advantage of my old stand-by. Both of these types of planners were tailor-made by me for me. They changed with my life changes.

I had a Palm Pilot before I had a cell phone. That was truly cool; but it didn’t replace everything I needed in one place. Actually I have had two Palm Pilots, which now reside in junk hell someplace.

I got an iPod although this was mainly for music, I used it for some other things. I bought a Kindle and felt very smug about saving trees and not carrying a BUNCH of books on vacation.

I got a cell phone, then a smart phone. I use google products and my smart phone syncs my calendar with my computer. I still had things in more than one place though.

Today's Day Planner!
Enter (with a drum roll please) the NEW iPad! Finally I have everything in one place (excepting a cell phone). The advertisements would have you thinking that all we do is watch movies and play games; but my female readers know that is not MY life, although I am something else at solitaire!

I got the big one: 64 Gig. I don’t want to even think about it, although I know there is a day, just as with our computers, we need more because we store more. But I think it will be awhile.

I have an easily accessible “Grandma’s brag book.” The iPad has a great camera, but I brought over some historical pictures too, just to have there. I have almost all my music on it. I have books from Kindle, books from iBooks, and some stuff from iTunes U, which is actually classroom learning. I have several Bibles, a Strong's Bible concordance, and several commentaries ON the device. I have a dictionary and the “free” Encyclopedia Brittanica. These are what are important to me.

Then there are the apps that I need to be “connected” to use. I did not get 3G because I want to keep harmony in my home; but I have learned that if I need to, I can pull up outside McDonald’s and check in. (Get as close to the building as you can). Someday I will revert to a “stupid phone” because I don’t need the smart phone. I can check my regular email, Facebook, Linked-In, Pinterest, Fairborn71 and Gmail.

I have the app I am using for weight loss. I kinda hope the fitness club gives me their wireless code when I don’t have the smart phone, and I can just log it in before this old brain forgets the numbers. If NOT, I will use the notepad!

Speaking of the notepad, I use it for everything from sermon notes to product information. The calendar serves for other notes. The only drawback is I don’t have them sorted by category—yet. I downloaded Quick Office (what I call iPad Open Office) and have our home address book there too. In addition to email, Facebook and other methods of holding information; I have our home address book and my Class of 1971 excel spreadsheets I can bring up if I am not in a hot spot. I can foresee a day when I copy the notes from the Notepad to a document in Open Office and file from there. The possibility is there; I have not arrived yet.

In short, this is the ultimate Day Planner for me, along with a camera, a “boombox,” (there is no booming going on anymore), and many of the books that are important to me. Games? Maybe someday. I have one game—so far—for the grandchild. Movies? I can see myself downloading a classic maybe; something like the Sound of Music that we watched on TV every year back in the day.  And I freely realize there are things yet to be invented!

I know people that are quite happy with their Kindle Fire, but I think this iPad is the best thing since sliced bread! MY ultimate Day Planner!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Citizen Journalist

I am going to disclaim this post by telling my reader that I had already written this once, put it into Blogger in “draft” mode, and one day, it just wasn’t there. For some reason, I didn’t have a back-up Word document, which I ALWAYS have, so I have to start over. I believe there is a reason for all things.

The term “Citizen Journalist” did not originate with me, but I do like it. We still subscribe to the Springfield News/Sun every morning and both SNS and Dayton Daily News are owned by the same corporation, so some of my readers may get this description. On the Op Ed page, the newspaper “subscribes” to various columnists, and each day there is a liberal perspective and a conservative perspective. I wish more often, they were discussing the same topic, but that is not always the case.

This term was coined by one of the conservative voices and it was a woman. I don’t remember which one it was. The idea was that journalism today was “whatever anyone wants to say.” (my words) With social media and blogging, anyone can say anything without any research, but merely repeating what the last blogger or whomever said.

That said; opinion is opinion and should be labeled as such. This blog stems almost totally from experience and my opinion of my experience. If it’s facts, or copyrighted material, it is supported. If you look to the right of this blog, you see a “Blog With Integrity” button. Those who display this agree to write with integrity.

In journalism, one of the first things we learn in writing a story, is to ask who, what, when, where, how and perhaps, but not always why. We need the facts. Today, I see things passed on to others on Facebook, that the person may “like,” but has not checked the source. I have made this mistake, and learned from it!

If it’s just a picture with an opinion, fine; it’s saying “I agree with this opinion.” But too many things are passing through that are unchecked, or EVEN have malware attached to it. That’s another subject!

I was born into a journalism family. My Grandpa (Ben) Netts was what we called the “City Editor” of the Springfield Sun, in the day when Springfield was able to support two newspapers. Today we would call it the “Local” Section. This was a second shift job, the paper was put to bed at 11:00 and he came home. As a very young child, I was exposed to the printing room and the gigantic presses. I played with old type-set that had outlived its usefulness.

During this same period of time, my mother wrote a column for the Crystal Lake Gazette. These columns are on microfiche over at the New Carlisle Library and I am going to get over there one of these days and look for them.  That is definitely on my bucket list.

I vaguely remember putting some kind of newsletter together (before age 11) when we lived on Wilts Lane in Medway. This was just for our neighbors, who were all involved in my upbringing and I am sure they got a kick out of it behind my back; but to my face they were all supportive. That’s just how it was.

I am typing the high school newspaper
"The Flyer"
In high school, I was on the school newspaper my Junior Year and became Editor-in-Chief my Senior Year. I have some of those left, and I shudder at what we did. It was cut and paste and line up with a ruler, and we did the best we could. Some of the articles were a little edgy, for that time; and while I may not have agreed with everything my staff wrote, if it was well written, it was allowed. I really enjoyed this job.

So, I do have some of this writing thing in my blood. However, while I am up front with my opinions; when I am writing about a topic, it will be researched and written. I honestly seek to do this with this blog.

After all, I would want my Grandpa to be proud of me.