JShu on the Journey

A Kansan takes on Missouri

Archive for December 2012

Top 12 for 2012

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With 2013 only a few hours away, I thought I might revisit a type of post I did to look back on 2011.

2012 was a year of upheaval for me. I lived in three states, at no less than four addresses (I bet the USPS hates forwarding my stuff), but it’s been a really good one despite some of the anxiety at points. In no particular order, here are the year’s highlights for me.

1. Moving out of Lady Lake
This was a few days into the new year, and it’s amazing how the change of scenery helped. I left living next to The Villages (and my short commute) to live in a more diverse community, in the Clermont area. I lived with Kimberly, a knitting group buddy, and quickly fell in love with her dog, Bella.

2. Getting a job offer at the MDH
The first few months of 2012 were kind of a roller coaster with this, but I did get the offer to join two of my GlimmerGlass cohorts there. I left my Florida job, which is something I had been wanting to do for a loooong time.

3. Working with friends, non-abusive managers
When I left the MDH, I told my editors that I really liked working for them because they were normal. They thought it was funny, someone calling them normal, but it was true.

4. Living close to family, friends
Enough said! I got to spend time with family a lot, see some of my best friends regularly, hang out in Champaign and even go to the beach in Michigan (where I burned like a lobster). It was great and I was so spoiled to have that.

5. Joining a new knitting crew
Before moving to Morris, I put down my projects and didn’t knit for over a year. Seeing Le Mouton Rouge, I knew I had to stop by to take part in their open knit night. The first night I knew it was a good group of women (oh, how we laughed!) and continued to go as I could. I fell in love with pretty yarns, was encouraged to join Ravelry and inspired to make pretty things. I’ve done a lot more knitting than I thought possible!

6. Getting to visit a nuclear power plant.
Morris is within a 50-mile radius of three working nuclear power plants. One of the three, in Marseilles, turned 30 this year, and I got to take a partial tour. It was pretty awesome to be able to see the inner workings, like seeing spent nuclear fuel or standing outside of the reactor (!!!).

7. Seeing my little sister get married
Bethaney and my brother-in-law, Cody, got engaged last Christmas. They said they were aiming for 2013-2014 for the wedding. Imagine my surprise in May when I was asked to be Maid of Honor for a wedding in August! Ahhh. But all worked out. Bethaney was beautiful, Cody was handsome, and their ring bearer didn’t get too crazy up at the alter.

8. Covering major Chicagoland court case
The Christopher Vaughn trial was my first-ever to cover start to finish. It was at times long and sad as it stretched over five weeks, but I learned a lot and liked covering courts. I’m going to miss that in my current job.

9. Attending my family members’ weddings in October
Speaks for itself. 🙂

10. Getting a second job offer
It came when needed.

11. Learning over and over that God is in control and I need to trust him
This also speaks for itself. I always seem to think I know best, but God provides for our needs…and beyond.

12. Got to see some fun live bands
I went to see Mute Math in Orlando and Remedy Drive in Bourbonnais, which isn’t much, but both were fun.

Going into 2013, I’m hoping for more fun with friends, more good scoops, and hopefully a lot more travel (all my travel this year has been moving!).

Happy 2013!


Written by Jessica

December 31, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Posted in Exploration, Thoughts

Obligatory new job post.

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So, yesterday marked the end of my third week on the job at my new job, and since friends have been asking for updates, I thought I’d post one here.

The job has been going well so far. It’s always a learning curve and an adjustment when you go to a new place, but the transition here has been smooth. The only thing that’s been tough has been going from a place in Illinois where I was really digging in and giving myself lots of stories to do to starting over on the ‘getting to know people’ part of a new job and not having a lot of stuff to pitch to editors. The stories will come, though.

The other thing that has been tough was kind of unexpected. I knew coming into the job that, as a night reporter, my gig is primarily covering breaking news. Fires, bad car crashes, major happenings that are not planned, with some night events and possibly night meetings as needed.

My first week, when I didn’t really have any assignments other than to listen to the police scanner for breaking stuff, was kind of boring and I only wrote one story. Which is some kind of record for all the journalism jobs I’ve had. 🙂

The expectation for output is a lot different than my last two jobs in that regard.

In Florida, I was the breaking news reporter (without the responsibility of having a website/social media) plus I had my schedule packed with X amount of stories that I had to do per week. I was juggling a lot of plates and usually crazy busy. There was always the demand for content because the paper was selling lots of ads.

In Morris, there wasn’t a lot of breaking news, but there was a very small newshole (space outside of ads for stories) with a small staff. I had a balanced amount of breaking/planned stuff. I could breathe, usually.

Here, there’s a moderately-sized newshole, but there’s a large staff — about 10+ reporters in my section. It’s on par with my Florida newsroom, but a little smaller overall. The web has endless space, but it seems like there’s a little less pressure on individual reporters to endlessly produce content.

Kind of in line with the load is that when nothing’s breaking and I don’t have any assignments or things to work on, I’m basically the scanner babysitter and tool around online.

It’s funny — I had gotten used to how QUIET my office in Morris was — and I loved that aspect — that now being in loud newsroom again has been an adjustment. I have to keep myself on task or else my (un/self-diagnosed) ADHD brain will never accomplish anything. At night (I go in around 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.), however, it’s super quiet, which I don’t mind.

As for coworkers and editors, everything is going well. My immediate night editor gave a glowing review of my first story my first week — he was surprised by how little editing it required and how it all just flowed together. I do what I can, and strive for that, so it was a really nice compliment.

My coworkers have been helpful and nice, and they seem to be a fairly tight bunch outside of work, too. A good chunk of my coworkers are in the same age group as me, kind of the the 20s-30s range, so a lot of people hang out outside of work. It’s nice having that kind of camaraderie (Villages word alert!), especially being able to go out for a drink with them occasionally. Or to play Rock Band (which I am terrible at!) until 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday.

So anyway. That’s my assessment so far. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep the ball rolling on developing relationships with people in law enforcement/fire/the community and give myself some good stories in the coming weeks! I’m sure I will.

Written by Jessica

December 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Hello, St. Joe!

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After a grueling couple of days, my parents and I packed up my life in Morris and put it into a truck and drove a few hundred miles to St. Joseph.

We all made it ok, pretty much without incident (except a concerned officer pulled my dad over because he was driving slowly and the officer wanted to make sure he wasn’t driving tired), which is great.

Friday I went into my new work to get the ball rolling on HR forms and do my drug test and started up the apartment search again. I slept on my friend Kristin’s couch for two nights, but thankfully, by a stroke of luck, I found a good deal in a great neighborhood (St. Joe can be dicey in some areas) that’s close by work, with a really decent seeming landlord.

Yesterday, my mom and dad and I unpacked the Uhaul and took everything up to my apartment. Also without incident, which is good if you know how accident-prone us Shumakers are. 🙂

I’m going to have to do some work to keep my windows from making my apartment chilly (they’re not very efficient) and to figure out what to do with my boxes and boxes of kitchen crap (I only have two cabinets, two drawers and an under-sink area — quelle horreur!) but it was REALLY hard to find this place, so I’ll find ways to deal. From what I hear, St. Joe is really more of a buyer’s market — apartments go quickly, and some are Section 8-restricted, so I don’t qualify. I was looking at some houses with Kristin, but not many landlords accept pets (she has a dog, a 35-pound ball-of-wrinkles Shar Pei named Imus), so we really had to give up on being roomies at this point.

So, all I have to do until Tuesday is to unpack and relax a bit and run random errands, then I start my new job! I’m really excited to get started — and my new editors are excited to have me on board, so it’s a good combination all-around.

I’m also feeling a lot better about St. Joe being here, which is great. There’s pluses and minuses about everywhere you live — I think one benefit to living in a lot of places is that you realize how to make the most of what you’ve got. You just have to keep an open mind and try to find and maximize the positives.

On another note, I didn’t realize how excited and nostalgic I’d get to see KC-area things or hear KC-area radio stations again. St. Joe isn’t home, but it feels more like home already, so that’s great.

Written by Jessica

December 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm