Saturday, March 11, 2006

Beginning Blogger

In the last couple of years, I've become a blog addict. Every morning I check in with my favorites to see what is going on in the world of blogging. As a writer myself, I guess it was natural that I would eventually want to have a blog of my own. My problem is that, while I believe my writing talents are good enough to hold their own with other bloggers, my computer-literacy is dismal so this is definitely doing to be a learning experience and I hope to become more proficient as I go along.

For over twenty years, I wrote a column for the Wabash Plain Dealer. Not a week goes by that I don't run into someone who says they miss my column. My readers almost became family and I miss them too. At least in its initial stages, this blog is an effort to re-connect with some of those people. This first post on this blog will be a kind of synopsis of what I've been doing in these intervening years.

Blogging is a freeing medium because you don't have to confine yourself to the dictates of an editor but can say pretty much anything you want, although it is wise to keep in mind that there are still people in your life, like your boss, who can register their unhappiness with opinions they deem too provocative!

When I last wrote my column, I was running for the office of Clerk-Treasurer of the City of Wabash. After working in many political campaigns, it was my first venture into being an actual candidate myself. I lost that election and, while rejection isn't fun, Meredith Brown and I both ran good, clean campaigns and I was proud of mine. I continued to work at the Wabash County Sheriff's Department until 2004 when I was fired by Sheriff Leroy Striker, who very forthrightly told me it was for political reasons. He told me that although I was a "superlative" secretary, he wasn't sure he could count on my 100 percent support in the next election and he believed that constituted "insubordination". Indiana is a fire-at-will state, something that surprised many people who believed you actually had to do something wrong before an employer could terminate you. An attorney told me that unless you work under a contract that spells out your rights, your boss can fire you "if he doesn't like the color of your socks".

After working for so many years, the first couple of months of being unemployed were enjoyable. It was pleasant to get up in the morning without having to rush around and get ready for work. When others were racing out the door, I was pouring myself another cup of coffee. When others were worrying about pouring drinks or showing real estate or keeping books, I was reading blogs and watching t.v. and working in the yard.

I soon became restless. I was used to going out into the world of people, used to having definite tasks to complete and used to having a real paycheck instead of a direct deposit receipt from the unemployment office. I was becoming anxious about money and about having no health insurance. I started hitting the job trail. I thought I had such excellent credentials (7 years as a mayor's secretary; 9 years as a sheriff's secretary) that it would be easy to get another job. That turned out not to be the case. I blamed that on being 58 years old, although it is, of course, illegal to discriminate because of age.....

I was unemployed for nine months before being hired by Bill Hartley, the Wabash County Prosecutor. I was thrilled to be working again, particularly in a world with which I'm familiar and with so many people I already knew and liked. Having health insurance again, I had the urge to go see my doctor just to prove I could!

I am still a political junkie. I am strongly supporting Mike Shrider in the upcoming Sheriff's election. I worked with Mike for almost ten years at the Department so I know how dedicated he has been to the Sheriff's Department his whole working career. I know that he never received so much as a write-up in all the years I knew him and was promoted by every Sheriff for whom he worked. I know what an intelligent, honest and professional officer he is and what an excellent sheriff he would make.

On of my major achievements in 2005 was becoming a mother-in-law. Yes, John finally got married at age 37. Mom and I were worried because the wedding almost didn't come off. They were scheduled to be married at 9:30 a.m. on the beach at Key West. Hurricane Rita arrived on the Keys at the same time they did. They became a salt-sprayed, wind-tossed husband and wife and then immediately had to evacuate but it was done and I now have a terrific daughter-in-law, Lisa.

My mother, who will soon be 87 years old, is fine. Those of you who garage-sale still see her out there tracking down bargains.

So this is my catch up blog (assuming I did this correctly and it actually can be found on the internet!) Blogging is more interactive than writing a column for a newspaper. I hope some of you will post comments when later blogs are more issue-oriented. Maybe we can get some hot and heavy discussions going!