Last week I intended to write up a Wednesday/pre-Thanksgiving post about all the things about being a reporter that make me thankful. But then my husband swept me off to a movie, which I'm thankful we saw. (See what I did there?)

So consider today's entry the post-Thanksgiving, still-grateful-edition.

Here's what I count among my blessings when I'm on the beat:

1. I can't get enough of good conversations. When faced with interview prep, I'm often awash with concerns that my questions won't be sufficient. Then when I'm actually in the conversation, people open up to me in ways I never could have predicted, and I just go with it. I start asking questions that aren't on "my list," just because they've sparked my curiosity.

2. I still can't believe I get to write for an actual job, and actually get paid for it. It's like putting puzzles together at work. Put this piece here, and that piece there, work in some analysis, craft eye-grabbing leads and smooth transitions. Put together disparate points of view so that they balance and complement one another. It's all so very fun and fascinating.

3. I don't have to do the photography but I still get to be involved in the process. The rule of thumb is that we should request, assign or forage for a piece of art for every story. This can be headshots, handout photos or more photojournalistic pieces. Whatever it is, I've got to keep in mind that the story needs to be visually told as well as written. This is one of the more challenging aspects of my job. I'm still learning.

There are a lot of other things I'm thankful for, but I'll save those stories for another week.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! May you be blessed in all your endeavors.

I didn't blog last Wednesday, which, as you will remember, was the day after the 2016 presidential election. I just couldn't.

I spent that morning bawling my eyes out in bed while my husband comforted me and murmured his solidarity. I seriously wondered how I was going to get up and face a day at work as a reporter after the news that Trump won the election.

As I was telling my hair stylist and friend last night, I now have so many regrets. I was overconfident, thinking that Hillary, a leader I've always admired despite the fact that so many conservatives actually and truly hate her, would be the easy winner.

No way, I thought, could a man so despicable as Donald Trump, so outright racist, sexist and xenophobic, such a liar, such an aggressively evil-hearted person, win the vote of the people.

And yet.

Now that we're on the other side of Nov. 8, I see how my journalistic tendency to remain publicly neutral kept me from taking the action I now wish I would have taken.

That is, to take a page from the book of a few people I know and admire who became activists for Hillary, hunting out all the facts on a daily basis and sharing them on social media, knocking on doors and convincing fellow Democrats and independents to get out and vote. The #ImWithHer crowd. The #PantsuitNation crowd.

I was one of them in my heart, but what I inwardly believed never bubbled up to the surface except in conversations with like-minded friends.

So what will I do with all of this regret? It's time to start speaking my convictions, even if just on this blog and not in my official capacity as a journalist.

I will speak up for the voiceless. I will take the beliefs I hold dear and translate them into action. Marriage equality? Check. Freedom of religion, not just for Christians? Check. Reproductive rights? Check. Freedom of the press? Check. Protecting our nation's historic values of welcoming the stranger and the immigrant? Check. And the list goes on.

It's no easier to say these things now than it would have been before the election, when I might have made a difference. But the sting of a loss with such terrible ramifications is yanking the truth right out of me. Come what may.
When you are a reporter, sometimes you go to an interview with lawyers and you (probably) have food stuck in your teeth.

Now that I have your attention. Really. It's been bugging me all day that I came home from work and took a selfie of my outfit, only to find as I was staring into the lens back at myself that I had some black specks of something stuck in my teeth.

This is before the dreaded "black speck incident" occurred. I call it "black speck-gate."
(And that's my co-worker Jesse in the background.)

Were those specks there when I was interviewing two posh lawyers in a posh office downtown? It will haunt me all week.

Another fascinating fact from my reporter's notebook this week: Story ideas fly into my inbox faster than I can keep up with them.

When I was in the interview stage with GRBJ about seven weeks ago, I had to do a homework assignment where I needed to come up with 10 feature story ideas and 10 news story ideas. It took me about two hours to find enough story ideas to fill out the requirement. Now, I could find enough story ideas to cover all eight of my beats within about 15 minutes. People know my name! I'm hearing from the community!

This is what I wanted. To have my finger on the pulse of the city. To be on the inside track. And I'm learning a big part of getting to be "in the know" comes with having your name on a website where PR people can see it and start sending press releases. Ha! But seriously. It's so much fun to be part of a team that decides what is important and newsworthy and what deserves attention. It's a responsibility I never want to take lightly.

Hold me accountable, folks!

That's all for this week. Come back next week for more reflections on the journalist's life.