My Christmas has been very pleasant, especially since my staff did a lot of today’s work for me on Christmas Eve. My duty today is to keep an eye on the world in case something major breaks, finish up the final details of today’s paper and go home to celebrate the rest of the holiday.
Fortunately, I had time to spend the first half of Dec. 25 with my loving girlfriend. Like children, we woke up and made a beeline for the gifts under the tree. In short order we had all our packages opened and appreciated before spending a few lazy hours around the house basking in the day. Then, like good Nevadans, we headed to a local casino for a lovely Christmas lunch buffet. Living in North Valleys, we took part in what is becoming a tradition of eating at the Bonanza Casino, which is a pleasant little place with good food. We further contributed to the state’s economy by dropping a $5 each in slot machines.
Before getting down to work, I made the customary call to my parents. I assured them I had not frozen to death here in the great frozen wilderness and they assured me they had not drowned in the recent Southern California downpours. We talked of our respective holiday activities, exchanged affections and then bade each other farewell.
Now, at 3:31 p.m. and with much of tomorrow’s edition of the newspaper completed, I have only to write my final column of 2010. It is always fitting at this point to reflect back upon the past year and ahead to the next. As a first step, people think about the resolutions they made at the end of the previous year as a gauge of the accomplishments — or lack thereof — of the past 365 days. It is easy for people who simply verbalize their resolutions to let them dissolve into the ether, but for those of us who write them down for all to read, it’s a little harder to escape them.
With a few clicks of the mouse, my resolutions for this year are staring me in the face. Gulp!
First, I resolved to get in shape. Correction: Make that “better shape.” A quick glance over my physique tells me I am in no worse shape than I was a year ago. So, I can’t say I succeeded but I wouldn’t count that as a total failure, either.
So far, so good.
Second, I resolved to manage my money better. Doing so conflicted with getting shape since I spent money on a gym membership I didn’t use, so I vowed to use the gym for six months and then quit. Well, I did so and managed to start exercising at home, so I’ll mark that as a resolution fulfilled. I also said I’d spend less on frivolous things and save more, which I have done.
OK, feeling pretty good now.
Third, I promised to take my girlfriend on a vacation and give myself some much-needed time off work. In October we spent three days in Las Vegas and then I took the rest of the week off at home. Does that count? What did we do in Vegas? Well, I went to the Society of Professional Journalists conference during the day while she visited friends and then we saw the town at night. Hey, I wanted to make the trip tax-deductible! The fact is we went out of town, I was not in the office and I got charged vacation time for doing it. And what did I do while we were at home? A lot of housework and one of the days I had a job photographing a wedding.
Fine, fail on that one.
Fourth, I wanted to get better at my job. This I defined as getting more out of my employees and taking credit for it. Well, I have a larger staff than I had at this time last year and we have some very talented new reporters. We also acquired a new machine that makes our front page look a lot better. Were any of those things a result of my work? Hmmm ... Well, I did the hiring and agreed really hard with getting the new machine, so I’ll say yes. Absolutely.
I’m back on track now.
My fifth resolution for 2010 was to learn to fix a door frame. In 2009, I did some damage to one in my house as a result of anger at a stuck lock. The end of 2010 is near and the door frame is still cracked.
No doubt: Total bust on this one.
Lastly, I resolved to handle stress better. Happily I can say I have worked on this and learned some lessons that I’ll use in 2011.
This year, though, I am going to skip the resolutions. The things I want to do in life are no mystery to me. They’re in my head all the time and I just need to do them. Period. Many of them are personal, many of them you’ll see in the pages of the Tribune.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find the bag of material I brought home from that journalism conference. I brought home a lot of good ideas.
Nathan Orme is the editor of the Sparks Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.