Friday, December 31, 2010

Wrapping Up Another Year

2010 is drawing to a close, and in my reflections over the past 12 months, I realized how little time I've spent blogging about the wonderful people in my life. They know how much I care, but it's time I share that appreciation with the world.

Pete
Pete has been a fantastically stable addition to my universe, and nearly all of the good things that happened this year have been because of him. Tomorrow will mark 1 year and 5 months from the time we started dating ... and it still feels like we just met a few weeks ago.
The Devil and her advocate

We celebrated a lot this year. He graduated law school in May, and after the celebration we quickly made our way west, to sunny Las Vegas, Nev. The four days of our first vacation together flew by far too quickly, and I am already bugging him so we can start planning another getaway.

Studies weren't over after graduation, though. Pete's summer was eaten up by bar exam preparations. He took the test at the end of July, and the next day we left to go see his family and my sister in the Black Hills.

Pete's Mazda couldn't withstand major hail stones this summer

One of the grapefruits from space that nearly wiped us out.

After a near-death experience with grapefruit sized hail, the rest of the trip went swimmingly. He started work for a big law firm here in town the next week and has been loving his job since day one.

His dedication to his work is admirable, and he's taught me that work really can be something you love to do. Not that I don't enjoy my own job, but there are days where it's difficult to see a future in my career.

Pete is the most loving, patient man I've ever known, and I'll never be able to put into words how much he's restored my faith in dating.

Julie
My younger sister will always be my best friend. It hurts to know she lives six hours away, and won't likely be moving my way anytime soon. Still, whenever we get on the phone, it's like we're back at home, and what should have been a 10 minute call stretches into 2 hours.

More than anything, she's taught me to trust my gut and remember to use common sense. She's the most practical person I know, and it never ceases to amaze me how good she is at managing her life and her marriage. I miss her everyday and hope we can get together more in the new year.

Barbara
Another younger sister, Barbara is always making me laugh and has a knack for making me rethink how I view the universe. She's had a tough year, and I hope she's able to put the life points she earned to good use. I never get to spend enough time with her, and I hope the path she takes in 2011 is less bumpy than the road she's coming off of.

Tessa
My youngest sister is so smart and does nothing but expand her brain's power every day. I'm realizing she's not easy to trick anymore, and when she asks the question 'Why?', she wants a real answer.

She's also quick to try and please her family. For example, when I was home for Christmas, we were talking about what she's been learning at kindergarten. She said they had only studied addition in math, so I spent a half hour going over subtraction with her. I was amazed and super proud about how quickly she caught on, only to find out from Mom later that Tessa had learned subtraction about a month ago. She just wanted me to feel good about trying to teach her something.

Tessa does have a very grown up attitude, and that's not necessarily a good thing. She's picked up a lot of sass from who knows where, and occasionally it's like talking to a 16-year-old with a bad attitude. I don't know how my parents will handle living with her when she actually is a 16-year-old with a bad attitude.

Mike
My brother-in-law Mike is basically the brother we never had growing up and fits into our family unit very well. I'm so happy Julie found someone who completes her and is so well liked by the rest of the Manns.

Mom and Dad
My parents will always be some of the most important people in my world. After seeing the way they handle Tessa, in all of her glory, this year, I now have a better idea of what they went through with the first three of us. They say none of us was quite as intense as our younger counterpart, but, still, it couldn't have been easy. I wish my job(s) afforded me more time to venture west to the home front. Hopefully 2011 will give me more opportunities to get back to Winner.

New Adventures
In August, I celebrated my first anniversary as a full-time television news reporter. At times, it was a long and windy road to get there, but in the last few months, I feel like I've really come into my own as a journalist and writer. I'm comfortable with where I'm at and hope there's room to grow in the coming year.

For Christmas, Pete got me a nice, new camera, and I hope to be able to put it to good use. The photography market is extremely saturated in Sioux Falls, but who's to say there isn't room for one more part-time pro? I plan to add a blog with my work soon, so be ready for links to yet another thing to read.
Our Christmasified apartment

This time of year is always my favorite. We get a chance to remember the good that's happened in our lives in the time that's gone by and look forward to the experiences still to come. We get to celebrate our successes and learn from our mistakes ... all with the hope of making the most of the time that's been given to us.

Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Vegas Vacation

These are about six weeks late in coming, but here are some snapshots of our trip to fabulous Las Vegas back in May.

It wouldn't be a trip to Sin City without capturing the iconic sign (or Elvis impersonator)

Sunny skies were such a treat after the longest winter ever

Our hotel at night

Feeling very full after the Bellagio buffet

Inside the fantasy gardens at the Bellagio

Jonah Hill at Planet Hollywood

The Eiffel Tower, from the pool deck

Looking south from the top of the Eiffel Tower

It's true--the top of the Eiffel Tower really has the most romantic view of the city

$2 shrimp cocktail at what I'm told was my grandpa's favorite restaurant, the Golden Gate

Sunday, April 4, 2010

I'm Back!

Google doesn't hate me!
I'm back to the blogosphere after a 3 month hiatus thanks to Google. It seems there was a period of time when the Internet giant wouldn't let Blogger users sign in without a Google account, but that time appears to be over.

Things aren't too different in my life. I'm still with Lawyer Boy. We've been together for 8 whole months now ... very hard to believe how fast time flies.

I'm still working as a reporter for a medium market television news station. Starting to love the job more and more every single day. I had no idea work could be so much fun.

Stay tuned for more updates in the coming days ... it's good to be back! Oh, and check out my latest adventure--urban gardening. Read all about it here http://thebalconista.blogspot.com/2010/04/welcome-to-my-garden.html

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Year Without a Christmas

Oh, the joys of living in South Dakota. Up until two weeks ago, I was at peace with the idea of missing Christmas with my family this year. Then the boss man gave me Dec. 23 and 24 off, and I experienced one of many holiday miracles this year. Until Snowmaggedon 2009 came into the picture.
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...
It seems few in my state will get to have their families with them for the holiday. A storm is moving into the Midwest that the National Weather Service is describing as "once in a quarter century". The weather guys are predicting at least a foot of snow in Sioux Falls, with 18 inches possible.
All that fluffy stuff isn't even here yet, and travel is nearly impossible already. After making myself literally sick trying to decide whether or not to try and go home anyway. Getting there wasn't going to be a problem, it was the getting back on Friday in time to anchor (and produce) the 5 p.m. news.
I decided to try, but after text arguments with coworkers on the way and the realization that my plan was completely unfeasible, I had a panic attack in the car near Chamberlain and was in tears when I walked into my parents' front door last night.
During the last 10 miles of my drive, I decided I would stay in Winner overnight, and then come back to Sioux Falls this morning. We had a mini-Christmas last night, and I still got the joy of watching almost everyone open their gifts. Surprisingly, I was okay with having to leave and miss actual Christmas when I woke up this morning. I guess I just needed time with my family, even if it was just for 12 hours.
Future Problems
Before I left, we had tentatively planned on me coming back to Winner Saturday night (since I have Sunday and Monday off) to have a late Christmas, ideally with Julie and Mike. But, the storm warnings have been extended into Sunday morning now, so that plan is probably a no go as well.
Just getting to work has me concerned. We had about 6 inches of snow a couple weeks ago, and my Kia Spectra drove like a Mario Kart on non-plowed streets. With the possibility of more than 12 inches on the roads, I have worries for Friday ... and Saturday. Reporting will be a huge problem; getting sound will likely be impossible. We'll have to get some video, and all the shows will likely be all about the weather, but it'll be rough getting enough of the video.
Cabin Fever Sets In
None of my own work worries come into play until Friday morning. Until then, I'm trapped in my apartment ... by myself. I'm pretty bored already. I have the first season of friends, and projects I can work on, more than anything, I don't like that staying in isn't my choice. Boo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

We're how far into November?

Today someone at work exclaimed that he couldn't believe it would be December 1 in a week. That means I will have my three month anniversary with my news station in one week. ... and my four month anniversary with the boyfriend the same day. It's a bit of a milestone.
Issues, issues...
I did make it in to see a doctor after spending that fateful Saturday in bed, convinced I was dying. It took my doctor just a few minutes to diagnose a stomach ulcer, most likely caused by a bacterial infection. I was promptly prescribed two different antibiotics and something described as "Super Prilosec".
In the meantime, I've finished off the prescriptions (which made me quite nauseous for 8 days) and am almost done with the acid reducer. I'm not entirely sure my stomach has healed, but I need it to. The doctor said if these pills didn't do the trick, then my ulcer wasn't caused by a bacterial infection. If that's the case, I have to have an endoscopy, and I don't really think I can afford that right now. Not even with the three days worth of holiday pay.
Some of ulcer side-effects haven't gone away yet, either. I still get dizzy on a daily basis, and I've been battling some serious migraines. I had one so bad last night the boy thought initially I might have had meningitis. Luckily, that was a misdiagnosis.
I need this stomach thing to go away ... soon. I have had a lot of difficulty focusing at work, and I accomplish practically nothing when I get home from work because I'm so tired and have stomach pain. A prime example is my Christmas tree--it took me two days to decorate it because I had to go to bed last night with a migraine. Fail.
Holiday Heartache
In just two days, I will reach another milestone--my first Thanksgiving away from home. Granted, my family will be here, so it's not like I won't see them. That big day will be Christmas. I'm excited about anchoring, but I can already tell I'll be a little homesick and blue. The boy will be hours away the whole weekend with his family, so I'm already a little down about not seeing him until the end of next week.
I'm also a little blue about working nine days in a row because of the holiday shake up. Of course, I did just get four out of the last five days off, but still, it's hard to keep my chin up knowing how high the wall I'm scaling will be. I'll get through it--four of those nine days are the equivalent to weekend shifts, which are rather relaxing--but, it's a tough idea to wrap my head around.
If I'm already this blue about Thanksgiving, I can't imagine how I'll be at Christmas. I won't see any of my family on the big day, and I definitely won't see the boyfriend. And the roommate is going to see her family right around then, so I will most likely be flying solo that day/weekend. I'm not trying to be downer about work--I'm just crabby. I think it's this headache I've got again tonight. It's not quite as bad as last night's, but it is very reminiscent. I just keep hoping that one of these days, I'll wake up and feel healthy and whole again.
On the job...
I also want to wake up and feel good about myself as a reporter. I just keep failing at different things at work. As soon as I correct one mistake and feel good about my progress, it is brought to my attention that something else needs my care and attention. I just need one story (preferably two) where everything just comes together and I get it all right. And I need someone to notice and say something. Not that I'm shallow enough to need compliments, but I need something to bring my self-confidence back. Maybe I am that shallow :)
I love my job, I really do, but there are always going to be days I don't like. That's what I told a friend tonight who called because he applied for an open reporter position with my station. I was honest with him about some of the things he wouldn't like, but I gushed about the things he would love. He deserved a real look at what he might be getting into, and luckily I don't think I scared him away.
Tomorrow is day two of the nine in a row. I will be finished both parts of my sweeps series about holiday toys, and I may have another package to put together on top of that. I've been promised a photographer to help me edit both sweeps packages, and if I can have him for the other story, I know I can pull it off. It just might be a longer day than usual is all. It will all get done though :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Yay for Improvements!

Things have gotten much better at the station since my last post, as well as in my life-in-general...
Work, work, work...
My writing has much improved since that moment of embarrassment we last spoke of. I've made it a point to go out of my way to give my stories that little something extra (whether or not I've wanted to), and the extra effort does show up in my work. One of my stories about the H1N1 flu the week after I last wrote was requested for use by the national network. Who knows if any of the other affiliates actually used it, but it's nice to know it was wanted by someone.
The sad part about that whole newsroom shaming is that I should've been putting forth this much effort the whole time. It shouldn't have taken a chewing-out to light a fire under me. I guess we all need something to motivate us, I guess; it just sucks that this is what I need.
I found out this week that I won't get any of the major holidays--Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years--off this year, but I will get to do some more anchoring for them. I guess it's bittersweet because I'm flattered that myself and the weekend anchor will be splitting the shows, but it's also sad because I will be missing those days with Tessa. I know she probably won't remember this year when she's 11 or 12, but she'll remember that I wasn't there for awhile, anyway.
I'm going home for my own version of Thanksgiving break next week, but who knows when I'll get to do my own Christmas. News Years I'm not as concerned about since I've never really done anything to celebrate it before. On the bright side, three days of holiday pay will help pay for those extra expenses that come up.
Too Soon for Christmas?
As usual, these few weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving give me some level of stress, just in trying to decide when it's okay to start decorating for Christmas, to switch to the Christmas ringtone, etc. When I go home next week, I plan to pick up my tree and bring it back to Sioux Falls. How long do I let it stay in the box before I put it up? How soon do we need to get our Christmas card picture taken? When is it okay to start Christmas shopping? So many questions...
Tummy Aches
Today is a sick day. I've been battling some tummy troubles for the past couple weeks, but when I woke up this morning, the pain was at it's worst. I was dealing with a mix of nausea and sharp, stabby pains in my abdomen. After laying awake for a couple hours, I finally decided to call in sick to work. Luckily, today is football playoffs, so the anchor didn't need a whole lot of time devoted to news, but I still feel like I left her high and dry, without a lead story.
Research leads toward the diagnosis of a stomach ulcer, but I'm just not sure if I'm ready to go out of denial yet. At least, I wasn't sure until I woke up today. Now I've decided I'm going to try and see a doctor while I'm home on Thursday. Who knows what he'll have to say--it's probably nothing , and I'm wasting money on an office call, but at least I'll have the peace of mind in knowing it's nothing but a crazy digestive system.
Looking ahead...
The next few weeks look to be rather uneventful, aside from my trip home next week and a possible visit from my family for Thanksgiving. The idea of everyone coming to Sioux Falls and going out to dinner is still on the table, but I think it'll all depend on which shows I have to anchor since Dad has to be back in Winner to open the store the next day for Black Friday. It'd be nice to see them all, but who knows what that week will bring.