Last summer, Sharon and I made LA Progressive our full-time obsession. We hope you’ve noticed the change in the uptick of the site’s activity and the quality of our magazine’s offerings.
When we started LA Progressive a bit over three years ago, we both had demanding full-time jobs — and Sharon was still in law school. So we’d get up really early to spend an hour or so posting articles and tending to the site before heading out in opposite directions to our paying gigs. Most evenings went straight to magazine work, as did nearly all available hours every weekend.
Something had to give with all that sitting — in our office at home, in our cars commuting, at our mostly sedentary day jobs — and that something turned out to be the regular exercise we had typically gotten over our lifetimes. So, not so gradually, with each passing month, our joints got stiffer, our waists thicker, and, yes, our butts bigger.
When I retired from my job in magazine publishing and marketing for a professional association in June and Sharon left her long career as a financial analyst for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, we thought we’d get back on the stick and knock off the extra weight. And for the first couple months, we did. We live in a section of Los Angeles called Mt. Washington, which, naturally, is hilly. After we started burning up the trails with long walks most days, we were quickly lighter and more limber, and feeling much better.
But then we got sucked back into our obsession. With no commutes to bookend our days — other than the walk down the hall to our office in our home — and no workmates other than each other to remind us that it’s time for lunch or time to leave for the day, we found ourselves working nonstop from morning to night on LA Progressive and its companion, Hollywood Progressive — because, frankly, we love what we’re doing and can’t tear ourselves away. We’re both more than a bit obsessive, as you can guess.
LA Progressive goes nowhere without the several dozen writers who publish with us, but the actual staff is just the two of us. (Last year, we did have additional staff, my daughter who’s now a freshman at UC Riverside, where she’s pulling down straight As — bear with me, I’ll eventually stop sharing that news with everyone I meet.) There’s lots of overlap in what we do on the business planning side, but Sharon basically handles the back-end website optimization work and I deal with the authors. Add the articles we write and the events we attend, well, it’s a lot for two people, so the changes in our physiques are easy to understand if not forgive.
Thank goodness for the Metro’s Gold Line, which runs right past the bottom of our hill, in full sight from our living room and bedroom windows. When the line first opened, we had taken a few train rides just to try it out. But like most Angelenos, we kept on driving to work because the Metro Line couldn’t get either of us close to our workplaces.
Then, after we began to do the LA Progressive full time, on a whim we took the Metro Gold Line to LA’s City Hall to support the Occupy LA movement this past October. After that first trip, we then returned two and three times a week to attend the Occupy General Assembly and related events — most of the time leaving our cars at home and taking the Metro Gold Line, which saved the headache of dealing with LA traffic and scrambling for parking spaces. Walking around downtown and especially trudging back up the steep hill to our house atop Mt. Washington left us exhausted and exhilarated, while also giving us a very different appreciation for Los Angeles and its many neighborhoods.
Now, we look for every chance to take the train. For example, Monday afternoon, we took the Purple Line to its last stop on Wilshire in Koreatown, where we saw the sights and stopped in for Korean barbecue. Tuesday night, we went to our Pasadena/Foothills ACLU meeting on the initiative to end the death penalty at our church in Pasadena, which added a three-mile walk to what would ordinarily have been just another car trip.
Already, we can feel the difference — in our bodies, but also in our spirits. Our dream is to be able to publish the LA Progressive for many years to come, for the joy it gives us and for the service we believe it provides our readers and communities. Keeping our staff — us — healthy is one key. Keeping our business afloat is another, and we’ll talk about that next time.
Editor, LA Progressive