Bummer, I got laid off!

I was on my very expensive and unreimbursed photo trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons to improve my photography skills and gather material for my newspaper  columns when I got laid off. Twelve years with the Huntington Beach Independent had come to an end. My husband got the news at home and let me know on the first full day of my trip.  What a blow.

It wasn’t personal. The Los Angeles Times directed community newspapers to lay off all of their columnists except for the one on the front page. And as an environmental and gardening columnist, I certainly wasn’t on the front page. I was relegated to near dead last, right before sports.

Worse, I was scheduled to go to a garden writers conference in Tucson last week. I was able to get my conference fee and hotel refunded, but had to eat the airfare.

I am now busy redefining myself. Now that I’m no longer a newspaper columnist, who am I? Am I still a writer/photographer for pay? Well, yes, I still produce power point presentations for the natural history class that I co-teach with my husband. He does all of the teaching and I provide material for lectures and collect the pay. Pretty sweet deal. And I still work at the Orange County Conservation Corps, teaching young at-risk adults, mainly male Hispanic gang members ages 18-22. So even though I will be 70 in a few months, I’m not retired. Nor do I want to be.

I’m sad to lose my newspaper job. The pay wasn’t much, but I really enjoyed it. Oh well, now on to whatever is next in life. Now that I no longer have a Monday newspaper deadline, perhaps I will have time to participate in Harvest Mondays. There was a harvest this week, but I didn’t bother to photograph it. So much for having more time.

Oops, wrong, I found a couple of photos.

Eggs, green onion, and bell peppers. The conical ones are Giant Szegedi, only they’re not so giant. Looks like breakfast.

Chope the veggies and saute in butter, margarine or bacon fat. Set aside.

Beat the eggs with a bit of half and half and some salt. I used Himalayan Pink salt.

Cook the egg mixture in a covered skillet until almost set. Add a few chunks of cream cheese and the sauteed vegetables. Fold the omelette in half and cook covered until completely set.

The result will be a gorgeous and tasty omelette. I cut them in half with one half for each of us.

Serve with the bread product and fruit of your choice. I used watermelon because that’s what we had from our garden this week. That’s homemade jam on the bread.

On to the harvest for the week.

FRUIT

15 oz Avocados

3 oz Lime

5 lb 3 oz Watermelon (the last one–the others were stolen from my community garden plot while I was on vacation)

6 lbs 5 oz Fruit

VEGETABLES

18 oz Bell Peppers

10 oz Eggplant

1 oz Green Onion

SUBTOTAL 1 lb 12 oz oz Vegetables

TOTAL 8 lbs 1 oz PRODUCE plus 3 eggs (only one hen is laying and she’s beginning to molt)

If you had a harvest, or to see what others are harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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16 Responses to Bummer, I got laid off!

  1. Mary Joseph says:

    I’m so sorry! I looked and looked for your column last week but thought maybe you had skipped a week because you were traveling. I’m really going to miss you.

    • Mary, it was there. Judi couldn’t find it either. It was on the bottom of the front page of the second section, a place where they had never put my column. I have one more that will run next Thursday, but my last column has been filed.

  2. Daphne says:

    Sorry to hear that you got laid off. Newspapers are having trouble everywhere. I confess to not reading them either, but I do always read my community paper. It is a good way to keep up with the local news.

    • Daphne, our local paper seems to be moving in a more online direction. My column appeared online, but yeah, they’re hurting. The bean counters decided to lay off the (in my opinion) most interesting parts of the paper, the local columnists. Eh, life happens. Newspapers are going the way of the dinosaurs.

  3. Can you move your column online? Are you allowed to use its name?

    • Lisa and Robb, I believe that the Independent is going to a more online direction. My column was already appearing online. They said that I could continue to write it for free. But if they don’t pay me, I won’t write for them.

  4. Bummer, indeed. Particularly bad just before the holidays!

  5. Norma Chang says:

    So sorry to learn you lost your job. I agree with you, the bean counter laid off the most interesting parts of the paper, the local columnists.
    That sure is a lovely slice of watermelon and complimented the omelet nicely. Looking forward to reading your Harvest Mondays.

    • Thanks,Norma. I really do hope to keep better up to date on my blog posts now, but in truth, losing my columnist job isn’t going to open up all that much spare time. But it will be on Mondays, so there is hope.

  6. Bee Girl says:

    Oh man…so sorry to hear about your lay off! You are right, though, this is your chance to reinvent yourself! Do what you want to do, not what you have to 😉 Be kind to yourself in the process and know you’re in my thoughts!

  7. Sue Pollack says:

    BUMMER IS RIGHT. IT WAS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE PAPER. WHATS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE/? JUST WANTED TO THANK YOU FOR SO MANY YEARS OF ENJOYMENT. I TOO LOVE MY CHICKENS. BUT I HAD TO GET RID OF MINE BECAUSE THE PEOPLE BEHIND US COMPLAINED OF THEIR CLUCKING SO EARLY IN THE MORNING. I FLEW OUT OF BED TO FEED AND QUIET THEM BUT TO NO AVAIL. THEY ARE LOVELY CRITTERS ARENT THEY/ SO ARE YOU AND VIC. THANKS AGAIN SUZANNE POLLACK

    • Aw, thanks Suzanne. Sorry you had to get rid of your chickens. Our neighbors have barking dogs, and they don’t get rid of their dogs. They just let them annoy me. So I am keeping my chickens. Peep and Cheep are growing daily. They have turned into fine young pullets.

  8. SFGardener says:

    Hi Lou. Are you still at HBCG? I’m new there, in A18.
    Are you doing SFG? I’m working on some ideas for it, since we can’t have raised beds. Yes, you can contact me (and don’t need to publish this)

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