Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wet Sticky Leaf

Rick tells me that in Japan, a man who is retired is referred to as a nure ochiba. This loosely translates to "wet leaf" or "wet sticky leaf,." depending on your translation.

The man, now with nothing to do after a lengthy career of being in the driven Japanese business world, sticks to his wife's leg like a wet sticky leaf.
I think Rick is getting a little worried that I will turn into a WSL. I say that apart from cruising down to his house on bread baking days to grab a couple of slices for a toasted tomato and basil sandwich, he doesn't have much to worry about.
Friday, September 13 was my last day as a longtime communications manager at WKAR. For 32-plus years, I have been proud to share the word about public television and radio in our community. I've worked with so many amazing people at WKAR, in the community and at the university, I am almost embarrassed by the richness I have experienced in that time. And yet right now my world feels as though it has turned upside down.
When I started working there, fresh out of grad school, we worked in a tin Quonset hut with weeds coming through the floor and asbestos hanging from the ceiling. Now we are in a remarkable building with four studios. I went from Selectric typewriter to computer, "regular" TV to digital. WKAR did a lot of production back in the Quonset days and we do a lot now. I am always impressed by our crew. And for the most part I have loved all the things we've done and I've experienced over time.

We did a ton of events where we'd meet and greet...
Open houses...
Parties. And I got to meet some great people, like Garrison Keillor...
...and Ken Burns.
The list was long -- I wish I could find my photo with Fred Rogers -- truly the real deal. Bill Moyers, Bob Ross (the Happy Painter), Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet), Jim Lehrer, the This Old House guys, Michael Buble... that's only a few!
My favorite was Carrol Spinney, aka Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird, who came to our 50th and was one of the most remarkably generous human beings I've ever met. We still swap holiday cards. Big Bird is Carrol.
I got to travel to conferences and when I did, there was usually a terrific batch of station cohorts with whom to laugh our way through dinner.
Over and over again!
I had many great bosses -- here are two of them. Susi is now our TV station manager and Tim, our  executive producer, pictured here at the NETA conference. Some people have office husbands. I have an office brother -- Tim. We grew up there, Quonsets to current, and have worked on more projects together than I remember. I remember when he met his wife Sara. I danced at their wedding, and I've seen their children grow into wonderful young adults.
My favorite task was doing pledge breaks, which used to be very frequent and less so in recent years, with the pre-packaged PBS breaks.
And the remotes were even more fun -- our crew was terrific -- and we always stopped for popcorn or ice cream when we were done!
I loved meeting colleagues from around the country. A favorite moment was running around Disney World in the rain!
Over the years, the faces changed. The fun was the same.
The NETA conferences were my favorite and I've posted about them here several times. The NETA team -- Gayle, Bob, Maryanne and Lisa and Skip (not pictured) have been wonderful friends and will remain so. NETA meetings also reunited me with an old friend, Joan, and many new, special people.
And, after we merged with the Communication Arts college, I got to work on other events too -- and one led me to meet my one and only athletic hero, Greg Kelser. Twice!
The gang below is one I've spent a lot of time with over the years. Although most of us are in different work groups now, and two are no longer at the station, they are still my core. We've shared so much.
But they are only one group of many. Some good friends have passed on, some have moved on. And yet I feel so privileged to have worked with them all. Now it's my turn.
I was lucky enough to be invited on our radio show, "Current State" for a short "exit interview!" If you want to listen (it's about two minutes), click here!

I'll tell you a bit more about the last few days in another post. But for now Cheers! Let the new life begin!


  1. Jeanie - I'm so excited for this next chapter in you amazing life. You had a job that you loved - now you'll create a retirement that you adore, too. Cheers to you (I'm actually raising my wine glass)!

  2. What a star you are Jeanie - I had no idea!!!!
    There's no way you'll EVER be a WSL - you have a huge agenda of things you've always wanted to do.
    I worked all my life too until a couple of years ago and I'm still working my way through my list!!!
    You deserve a rest and you will LOVE it!!!!
    A wonderful walk with you through your memories of such an amazing working life - meeting Julia - WOW!!!
    Now run along and ENJOY LIFE with Rick!
    Much love and hugs
    Shane xox
    My french granddaughters would love to meet the "Cat in the Hat"!!!

  3. I don't think Rick has a thing to worry about. You will make your retirement every bit as wonderful as your career was.
    What a ride the last month has been for you.

  4. It certainly sounds like you had a wonderful career but I am sure you will find retirement just as big an adventure once you get your feet on the ground. I will look forward to hearing about your new adventures.....

  5. A lovely wrap up of what looks to be a rich and rewarding career. I certainly don't see you as a wet sticky leaf.

  6. Oh my word, you have met so many cool people! I did not realize you had met Julia Child in person! How cool is that?

    What a long and fulfilling career you have had. I know you are ready for this next stage. I am sure it's a bittersweet transition as you won't interaction on a daily basis with people that you have come to know and love, but you are such a 'connections' person, I know you will stay in touch with those you care about. I hope that the first couple of days of retirement have gone well. I was thrilled to hear that you were at the lake!!!

    Best wishes on this new stage of your life! I am so happy for you and can't to see what awaits!

  7. Jeannie, you can see the love of your work in your eyes and hear it in your words.I know that your friends and colleagues will miss your sweet face on a daily basis.

    Much happiness on this new phase of your life! Enjoy the moments!

  8. What a great career! I'm so glad to know more about what you did.

  9. What a wonderful career, Jeanie. I am certain that this rich experience and all the memories will carry you perfectly through life's next season, not as a WSL but as an FSL... a FREE-SPIRITED LEAF. :)


  10. Jeanie,

    You're quite a celebrity yourself! How cool is that to have met so many VIP's. Yes, they all are/were, cultural icons of the times. You ought to be proud of your wonderful career. I'm sure your talents and personality will continue to usher you to a brand new chapter of adventures! Congrats and all best wishes!

  11. I can't imagine you ever being a WSL! I'm sure you have all sorts of things lined up that you want to do besides cleaning the basement. Great interview and it was nice to hear your voice.

    I can tell all my friends I know a celebrity!! Enjoy your retirement.

  12. “The thing I remember best about successful people I've met all through the years is their obvious delight in what they're doing and it seems to have very little to do with worldly success. They just love what they're doing, and they love it in front of others.” <3
    ~Fred Rogers

  13. Dear Jeanie,
    What a wonderful career you have had.. My wish for you is to have as much joy in your retirement, and I know you will.

    Thank you so much for coming over for a visit and leaving such a kind comment for Peanut..

    Oh I wish we were close enough just to sit and have a cup of coffee. I would love to sit and do art with you also. What fun that would be.


  14. Jeanie, you've had a wonderful job and career, and now you are on to what I'm sure will be an even more wonderful retirement. With all your interests, activities, and friends, Rick has absolutely nothing to worry about in the "wsl" department.

    Looking forward to seeing you in your new role as active retiree. :-)

    Pat K.

  15. Jeanie, I'm so happy for you, and what wonderful memories you have of your career and the people you've met and worked with. Now on to the next stage of life - may it bring much fulfillment and happiness!

  16. What a wonderful post Jeanie!. I miss you already.

    We went through a LOT together over the years. From live pledge breaks at the Meridian Mall to working with Emil Weddidge on the lithography documentary to commiserating over yet another Fred Trost moment on Michigan Outdoors, working together made the good times better and the bad times tolerable.

    Enjoy your retirement. I'll join the ranks someday soon.

  17. What an amazing career you have had and what a treat to work with special people and meet each and everyone that you met. Oh Fred Rogers, I remember taking my children to meet him at our public television station many years ago. It is still brought to mind from time to time, especially by my son who still adores him. And Julia too, oh my! I know you have so many things on your list there is no way you will be a wet sticky leaf. I thought that first with my husband, but you do find a rhythm. Enjoy finding your rhythm.

  18. They will miss you too, Jeanie! So glad you have such wonderful memories/experiences of your work there - and lifelong friendships, of course!

  19. I'm excited for you! You had an awesome career.. and you still have an awesome life! Love the wet stick leaf story.... I totally understand!

  20. What a wonderful career you had! You have met so many interesting and talented people – you will remember them always. You will see how busy you will become during retirement. Still it will take a while to get adjusted – for several months I would feel guilty to go to bed late because I thought I needed to get up early for work and also would think about what outfit to wear … then I’d remember that I did not have to worry about all this, but it took a little while. You will enjoy it.

  21. It's hard for me to grasp a career so filled with people and events - my choice sent me down a far more solitary path, so it's really fun to see what you've been up to all these years!

    Clearly, you were an asset to the team and enjoyed as much as you enjoyed them. But now? It's time to move on and figure out which enjoyments come next - and this time, you're in charge!

  22. Well, congratulations on having made it. And stayed alive throughout.

    Loved your interview, you sounded totally sincere.

    Best of luck for your retirement, it’ll be quite a job to become accustomed to losing the routine of going into work daily.

  23. Great post, even if I AM reading them backwards:). The list of contacts you've made and people you've met is wonderful. About that book you should write?:) When you mentioned Graham Kerr it brought back a flood of memories of my mom. I had totally forgotten her fixation for him! I am not sure it was the show as much as his persona:). Thanks for the wonderful flashback!

  24. Wow Jeanie, 32 years is awesome! Working in the same place this long is almost impossible in today’s workplace. Enjoy your retirement! Sending you a big of congratulations........


  25. I read this and your post above (catching up, haven't been reading blogs lately). It is clear that you've had a wonderful job and been fortunate enough to have great colleagues. I suspect it will leave a gap - would be surprising if it did not - but I am sure that you will soon find many other things to do and people to be with. Most people who are retired say that they don't know how they ever found time to go to work! I'm wishing you the very best of luck for a cheerful and rewarding retirement.

  26. I am so, so late in reading this. You have been on my mind, and I've been so excited for you. This post highlights so many wonderful experiences that you have had over the years. Wow!

    Jeanie, I loved hearing your voice. The interview was just great. I think they are really going to miss you.

    I hardly know what to say, so I'll just say, may your retirement bring you great joy as you finally are able to do all those things you couldn't do while working. Hugs, and more hugs.


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