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About me

About me

I can’t rightly remember how long I worked at the Orange County Register–13 or 14 years or something close. Considering that I didn’t apply for the job in the first place, it’s been a long ride. After Gary Krino retired, the editors were searching for […]

“S” is for sad and Slab City

“S” is for sad and Slab City

Sue Grafton’s mysteries are a among a few that I read straight through without looking at technique. It does no good trying to pin her down. I get sucked into the story and before I know it, am surprised at the end. She brilliantly planted […]

Are we afraid of color?

Are we afraid of color?

We swoon over the soft teal fabric with a touch of citron, and the orange accent lamp with the brocade shade. We fall for the red bedspread, and the hand-woven rainbow rug. When our color lust is over, we choose beige. Why? Susan Sargent, author […]

Happy campers

Happy campers

Canned hams and tin can travel — not so suddenly trailer lingo is on the tongue. There has been a revival of vintage camping that shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, old-school trailers are the new focal point at weddings and parties, serving […]

Capturing rain water

Capturing rain water

According to Orange County Public Works, Santa Ana has received 1.58 inches of rain this year when our average for the area is closer to 12. Every drop counts when it comes to the rainy season not only for washing our landscapes clean and hydrating large […]

The Victory Garden

The Victory Garden

Here is an illustration I did awhile back and it works for my novel, The Victory Garden, about a Japanese farm girl interned at Manzanar. It turns out the word manzanar means apple orchard in Spanish! I’ve finally completed the full-length manuscript and keeping my […]

Stupid Lupus: 6 ways to feel good

Stupid Lupus: 6 ways to feel good

Okay, so something special is going to happen. You’re a bridesmaid in a wedding, your high school reunion is coming up, and you have a big day planned with friends or family. You need to feel good for one single day, at least! 6 tips […]


What I'm doing now

About me

About me

Cindy McNattI can’t rightly remember how long I worked at the Orange County Register–13 or 14 years or something close.

Considering that I didn’t apply for the job in the first place, it’s been a long ride.

After Gary Krino retired, the editors were searching for a writer with home and garden experience to work with home improvement guru, Nick Harder.

And there I was minding my own business with my weekly garden column. The thing is, Sharon Cohoon from Sunset Magazine was being considered for the position. Ultimately she declined and recommended me.

Me — a low-paid stringer trying to figure out how to put a few words together. I knew a lot about gardening and home design, but I still don’t know where the comma goes. I put them in, I take them out, and it takes hours.

Since it never occurred to me to apply for a job that I wasn’t qualified for, when an editor called and told me to get down here, my question was, down here where?

Seriously. I had no idea.

I was cavalier about that first meeting, telling a tableful of grumpy editors everything that was wrong with the home and garden section. They asked and it was my chance.

As the loyal reader, I wanted something different from my favorite newspaper section than what they offered. But sometimes cavalier comes off as confident. I got the job.

An editor with a scratchy voice pointed me to a beat-up desk and told me my deadline was the following week. This was going to be interesting. And folks, I’m here to tell you it has been interesting.

What I’m getting at is I am retiring. My husband and I are ready for road trips. It’s terribly hard to do anything else when you work as a journalist because deadlines loom even when you’re not. There are lots of pages to fill in a short amount of time, and those news holes, as they call them, don’t go away because I do.

I never did break a news story. I never blew the lid off an industry or brought down a corporation like some of my colleagues.

But I can tell you it has been a blast writing about mums when someone is discussing murders two desks over.

Sometimes you called just to tell me how much you enjoyed the home and garden part of the paper. And that’s the part that makes me sad.

I’m not going away completely. I will continue to write and have finally finished the book I’ve been waiting years to write. It’s just that now I can see the Grand Canyon without checking my messages every two seconds.