Dozens of name badges

In the nearly 12 years I have been at my current job, I’ve hardly thrown out a name badge from various meetings, conventions and functions I have attended representing my place of employment. Partly because they have my name on them, but mostly because they show where I’ve been.

On nearly every one of those badges is a ribbon with MEDIA on it. I take pride in my job, but at times it can get pretty repetitive telling someone what I do and who I work for if they are outside the agriculture industry. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s wonderful we have all the news and information we cram in each issue for our readers; and that I can travel then consequently write about all I learned. What I get tired of is the misconception of what media in agriculture means.

I have a bachelors degree in agricultural communications from Oklahoma State. What does that mean? Well, I took journalism classes to teach me how to interview, write and take photographs. I also took classes ranging from agronomy to animal science. I even took an agricultural law class. The aim was to have knowledge of both sides – journalism and agriculture. When I graduated and left college, I felt as though I had a great mix of both subjects and in my first job as a general assignment reporter at a daily newspaper I was equally prepared enough to write about the school board as I was an agricultural meeting I was sent to cover.

In the last month I have questioned my chosen career path because of frustrations stemming from the most basic part of my job. Calling a farmer or rancher. I fear my luck has run out because of a couple of guys who just won’t call me back. It’s hard to say if they don’t like the subject, my publication or even what I’m writing about.

There’s a saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” Well, I’m not a teacher or downgrading the importance of what teachers do. But I often feel as though it would be nice to be working on the farm or ranch every day, but I don’t think I have the skills and my husband doesn’t have the time or patience to teach me (he might though), so I write about it and photograph the beautiful things all around me.

I don’t expect everyone to understand the media, or what agricultural journalism is all about. What I do expect is for someone to take me at face value. Let my actions and not assumptions define who I am as a writer.

phonto

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It’s amazing

**WARNING:** This is a vent of sorts, and not meant to hurt feelings. I have to get some of this off my chest before my poor brain explodes..

When you work in an office setting, it’s amazing the things that grow to annoy you. On any given day the clicking of mouse buttons or the pounding on a keyboard could send you over the edge. Other days it’s the smell radiating from the microwave in the break room.

People will be people, and many have habits they unknowingly do that annoy the holy living **** out of their work neighbors. I’m positive I do things that annoy my coworkers. I know I do.

I’ve decided there are four kinds of coworkers – the muncher, the clunker, the annoyer and the storyteller.

The Muncher. This person often grazes all day, every day. You can hear crunching, chewing and the occasional slurping coming from their direction. Often times they eat their meals at their desk. I can be included in this category pretty easily. I practically run out the door in the morning, carrying my breakfast. I often eat lunch at my desk simply because I live 15 minutes from work, and driving home makes no sense. I’d eat in my truck, but that just makes everything messy in there. But if I’m sitting there eating, engrossed in a website or magazine, don’t expect me to talk. I want to eat in peace. Please and thank you.

The Clunker. This person is a fashionista. They make an effort to look put together for the work day, and I give them credit for taking the time to look nice and accessorize. However, when you can feel the floor vibrate and hear the heel clunking against the floor before you see this person it’s bound to leave a lasting impression – and it’s not a good one in case you are wondering. Surely there’s a quieter way to walk in heels or noisy shoes for that matter? I’ve never worn heels so I don’t have a clue.

The Annoyer. This person has varying degrees of annoyance. Could be as simple as saying hi to everyone who walks past their desk. Every. Single. Time. It could be the person who posts every stinking thing they run across on Facebook and then has to ask if you saw it. It could be the person who has a cackle for a laugh. Or it could be the one who prints off every single thing and stores it on their desk. It could be the one who throws out the compliments. Every. Single. Time. It could be the one who never answers emails, answers the phone or does their job.

The Storyteller. This person has a story for every subject. They’ve done this, done that, and even brought the t-shirt to work to show it. The brave one who has a nice story to tell, may never get their 10 seconds because the storyteller is monopolizing the time. Now, I tend to be a storyteller every so often. Something funny, awkward, weird or strange may have happened at my house and I don’t have anyone to share it with besides the captive audience around me. Sometimes things are too good not to share. But there’s a time and a place.

Now, I do enjoy my place of employment, don’t get me wrong. It’s the habits that drive me up the wall. I’ve got to find a way to not let the little things consume me and make my attitude plunge. (If you have suggestions or ideas please share!) In the meantime don’t mind me as I sit over here and work with the ear buds in and some good tunes cranked up. Life is too short to be annoyed.

Work

I ran across a tweet on Twitter this morning, that said, “I don’t want a job, I just want money.” Oh how perfect life would be if one didn’t have to work for their money. At least that’s what I am feeling this morning.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love my job, but it would be nice to be able to do every single thing my mind wanders to and wishes for. It would be nice to have a workshop and I could sand, paint, stain and create to my heart’s content. It would be nice to have a fully stocked office with a super fast computer and a bag full of awesome lenses that way I could edit the many magnificent photos I know I can find and take. It would be nice to have a way to make money at creating things and capturing images. I know many people do the things I am wishing for each day and are very successful at them. What is holding me back? Heck, I don’t know. Maybe its fear of failure. Maybe its lack of desire. Maybe it’s lack of time.

My very first job out of college started a week after graduation. In that week, I moved into my apartment, tucked away all of my things, and sent the rest of my stuff back home with my dad. One of my most prized possessions would have to remain there too, my horse. But it wasn’t long before I found a place for her to live and she joined me back in Oklahoma. At my job as a general assignment reporter I covered anything that was thrown at me – education issues, agriculture issues, news stories, and even features. It was a fun time, and one that I won’t forget and one that taught me so much, but I wanted to be directly involved in writing about agriculture.

Nearly 10 years ago I started at my current job. My title at the time was copy editor. My days were filled with editing stories and sending them to the right edition. I occasionally got to write stories and take photos. Then web editor was added to my resume. I did a lot of the same things, but with more of a web-influenced track. Then in 2012 I was promoted to associate editor. With more of a focus on stories, covering events, photos and other duties my job sure has evolved from what it did when I started in 2003. But I do like to write, really enjoy taking photos and traveling.

So, why then does the thought of changing my path creep into my brain? Am I getting a seven-year itch three years too late? Who knows. But what I do know is I need a steady job to pay the bills to survive. We have a house to maintain, horses to feed and Shaun to feed and clothe. Those things aren’t cheap, not to mention the bills that seem to always make their way to our mailbox.

When telling my husband about my thoughts on the subject of work last night, he asked, “what would you do if you didn’t work there?” Honestly, I said, I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will keep on keeping on. I’m not a quitter and will get the job done, no matter how unpleasant or unhappy I am. Then, as I was trolling Twitter again, thinking of how to finish up this post, I ran across this – Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely. -Unknown

Maybe it’s just me

I blame being the middle child on a number of my personality faults. Even more things get blamed on being a twin. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great childhood and even though dysfunctional at times, I love my family and my twin sister. But I believe people are a product of their environment and there are reasons why I am the way I am. When talking to other people I still have a tough time saying I or me instead of we or us.

When I am upset, I yell. The less I feel as though I am heard the louder my voice goes. My husband hates it when I yell. I would guess it stems from my small frame and the desire to feel as though I am bigger (or more right) than someone when I have a disagreement.

I despise being “told” what to do or how to do things. Just ask my husband or sister. If you ask me to “check something out” or “research” a subject, I am all over it. Tell me to do this, buy that, do it this way or visit that (just because I had fun there and you should too) and I will turn a deaf ear and most likely get ticked. Likely this stems from having a bossy older sister, but it’s something that really bothers me.

I am a thinker. I think way too much about how to handle a situation and can stew about a relatively simple decision for a week. Ask my sister, we had a text conversation about over thinking paint today. I’ve painted exactly two rooms in our new house in the nearly three years we’ve lived there. A kitchen wall and a living room wall. The same color. I want to paint a wall in our bedroom to accent the new DIY tufted headboard, and I’ve agonized over what color of turquoise to paint said wall. Her suggestion, “Go cheap in case you don’t like it you can do it over.” Good call sis. I blame over thinking on my perfectionism fault.

i despise a know-it-all. A person who knows every thing about every one, I can’t stand. Or one that has a story for everything. Throw in some negativity and I tend to write that person off and avoid them. Just does not mesh with me. I do tend to be a little on the negative side myself and when I have to listen to someone else complain besides my own internal whiner it sends me over the edge.

What ever it is that sets me off, hopefully by writing this out I can let it go. Set it free. Happy Tuesday.

Sunrise Jan. 28, 2013.

Sunrise Jan. 28, 2013.

Happy blog anniversary!

Yee haw! I’ve made it through a whole year blogging and didn’t scrap the idea after the first month or six months. Here we are at 78 posts, and when I was thinking about what to write about I went back to the beginning and re-read some of my posts. Ironic enough my second post was about the howling wind, and you know what, the wind is again howling outside my window! Some things never change.

A lot has happened in the past year. Some bad, others good and some fun in between. I’m not much of a resolution maker, but I try to improve myself each year and not digress into the bad habits I have already accumulated. Easier said than done at times.

Thanks to everyone for reading, and I hope you continue to do so. Here’s to another year blogging!

A beautiful Friday morning sunrise.

A beautiful Friday morning sunrise.

Despise this time of year

Despise may be too strong of a word, but I completely dislike this time of year. Mother Nature teases us with warm summer-like days with highs in the 80s and sometimes 90s. Night-time lows are in the 50s. Despite feeling like summer during the day, the cool mornings remind me that I can no longer venture out to feed horses in my shorts. Then she throws us a curve ball with a cold front and we get issued freeze warnings.

One morning last week it was windy and I could hear it blowing before I even got out of bed. First thought was, “I wonder how much hay blew away?” As I pushed the back door open I had to fight with it to get out. Not cool. Plus it required a coat to be worn, and long pants. Both of which I can’t stand. As I got ready for work, I couldn’t go out of the house with wet hair (otherwise I’d be cold all day). Then I had to dig out a sweater. Remembering where I packed them away in the closet was not a task for someone who had barely been awake an hour.

Mother Nature must like being a tease, but I sure don’t care for it. At least it makes for neat photos every once in a while.

Same old, same old

The older I have gotten, the more I like a pattern. However, I also welcome change as it can get old doing the same thing over and over.

My job often requires travel and flying by the seat of my pants. You know where you are going, but have no set schedule, just a list of things to get done. In the office, the schedule is pretty much the same day in and day out for me, as there are deadlines each day that have to be met in order to get the paper out the door on Friday.

Wednesday I got into the office late after being gone for two days to help put on a Canola meeting in Enid, Okla. I had a company vehicle full of stuff from the meeting that needed returned to the office while the rest of my co-workers went on to another meeting in Nashville, Tenn., the Commodity Classic. (See our coverage here.) I decided when I arrived at the office in the dark all the stuff could just remain in the car and I would unload it in the morning.

Apparently, leaving the vehicle in the closest space to the back door managed to throw off the parking lot dynamics that morning before I made it in.  It’s amazing how a little change in the environment will disrupt some lives. My initial reaction was not a very nice one, but I bit my tongue.. We have the same sort of reaction whenever we close a door in the editorial department and disrupt the flow of traffic through the office. A couple more steps might just cause war to break out.

I try awfully hard to get along and understand the other side of the story, but sometimes all you can do is shake your head and go on. People don’t change very easily and disruption causes hate and distention in the ranks, but goodness be a little flexible sometimes!

However, I have no worries that someone is going to kipe my parking place. Maybe it’s because it’s the farthest away from the building.

My parking place:

I had to share this photo too because my pickup is CLEAN!

Rude behavior

“I hate rude behavior in a man. I won’t tolerate it.” Woodrow F. Call in Lonesome Dove

If you are a friend of mine on Facebook its likely you heard about my encounter of the rude kind yesterday at the grocery store. But if not, here’s a recap.

I was in a foul mood anyway but had managed to make it to the checkout line without any mishaps. Heck I even made an effort to smile at a few strangers that looked Shaun and I’s way. Also apologized for getting my cart in someone’s way. I was at the “speedy” checkout line gathering my checkbook and the coupons I had in my wallet when this blond chick proceeded to come around me and cut in front of me and Shaun in line. I looked at her and said, “I was here first.” Sure, my tone might have been a bit strong, but I was not in the mood for her self-righteous crap at that point in my day. She looked at me and said, “You don’t have to be rude.” I shot back, “I wasn’t being rude, I was here first.” Good thing she didn’t know what was scrolling through my mind or hear the profanity that I wanted to say. Sure wasn’t the PG version I tried to keep it on the outside! And then she had the nerve to say how cute Shaun was!

Shaun at the grocery store in November 2011.

I was raised to be respectable of people around you. Treat them the same way you would like to be treated. I have a feeling if you would have caught me a couple years ago, it may not have been a good outcome. Sure, I talk big and the thought of pulling her down to the ground by her nasty blond hair and stepping on her throat crossed my mind, but it wouldn’t have done me any good – well except made me feel better at the moment.

You can bet your sweet cookies my kid will be taught respect. There’s plenty of rude people in this world and I refuse to have one of them.

 

Grammar

I am not perfect, but I try to be in my writing.

When I was attending Kansas State, I had a professor for my editing and design class that pounded into our heads appropriate grammar and usage. On one of the first days of the class we took a quiz to see how much we knew (or in my case) didn’t know. I was horrified to only have gotten a few correct on the quiz. Thanks Dodge City Public Schools. I think I learned more in that editing and design class than I had learned in all of my elementary, middle and high school English classes.

From then on, I was completely corrupted. I can’t read a magazine without copy editing it or looking for a mistake. Even now, 12 years since that class, I have a hard time getting through an email from someone who has poor grammar or even a text message. Yes, I’m one of those people who spells out words in texts. I have a hard time not doing it and succumbing to the abbreviations of texting.

My first real job out of college was at a daily newspaper in Northwest Oklahoma, and there I again was shown what I didn’t know. My editor harped on “over and under/more than and less than” and one of my least favorite terms, first annual. I despise that term. There’s no such thing as first annual! You have to have an event more than once for it to be an annual event. My husband rolls his eyes every time I rant and rave about that term. I even drug out my old AP stylebook to prove to him that I was right one day last year.

Grammar is often humbling. I can get a kick out of someone’s lack of proper grammar, and eventually I will make a mistake and use incorrect grammar. So watch out! I’m on to you..

Annual event entry.

My AP stylebook from college.