I realize that one day at a new job isn’t enough time to look back on a former job with any sense of perspective. So I won’t go there. But I do want to say how grateful I am to everyone at the Arizona Republic for showing such warmth and kindness to me. The day I got there, many people stopped by to welcome me aboard and tell me how glad they were to have me. It meant a lot.

The place is huge, so I didn’t get to know all the people I wanted to. Never got to meet Bill Goodykoontz or discuss movies with him (would’ve loved that), or tell Clay Thompson that he’s as much a part of my day as my morning cup of coffee, or tell Suzanne Condie Lambert what a talented writer and truly funny person I think she is. She makes me laugh out loud — often — as she goes about the business of acerbic celebrity gossip, laced with a good bit of American culture-skewering while she’s at it. There’s a book in you, Girl. Remember Laurie Notaro?

As for the people I did get to know:

Howard Seftel: Of course, I’ve known Howie for years. We’ve operated since the early 90s as friendly rivals and just plain friends, calling each other occasionally to discuss news, seek each other’s input or simply commiserate about life as a restaurant critic. The day I left PM, I called him right away, and in a show of solidarity, he wrote a blurb about what had happened. He was outraged by the bald-faced denial of the separation of church and state (editorial versus advertising), a journalistic precept that continues to be eroded a little more each day at other publications.

He’s the person who urged me to call the paper, promising they’d give me some kind of work, if not much in the way of pay. In other words, he treated me like a friend and colleague, helped me get a leg up at a time when I really needed it. I can’t tell you how much that meant to me.

When I came on as a freelancer, writing two reviews per week, our beats often overlapped. We had to confer with each other about which of us got what, but Howie was always generous, never displaying the sort of territorial stinginess you might expect from someone in his position.

When the paper offered me a full-time position, he was my greatest supporter and ally, giving me the 411 on the ins and outs of the job. And when I left so suddenly four short months later, he was again my greatest supporter and ally.

Howie, you know how I feel about you, both as a writer and as a person. I admire your integrity, your restaurant acumen and your bottomless well of hilarious metaphors.

Karen Fernau: It’s crazy that I never actually met Karen until right before I started working at the paper full-time. You’d think that over the years our paths would have crossed. People who knew her and worked with her were always saying to me, “Oh, you gotta meet Karen. You’ll love her.” And they were right. I did, and I do.

From Day One, we were buddies — gossiping and commiserating like old friends. We were invariably on the same page about all sorts of issues, and it was Karen who made me feel at home and comfortable on the 8th floor.  Girlie, I don’t intend to lose you as a friend just because I’m on the other side of the fence now.

Stacy Sullivan, my editor and jefe: Thank you for always being easygoing and infinitely patient with me as I struggled to learn attributes and all the other maddening aspects of that crazy system. I must come off as more of a Nervous Nellie than I think I do. Stacy would always say, “Don’t worry. You can’t break it,” and I would feel better instantly. You’re a sweet, charming guy, and if you ever need someone to watch the place in NO . . . .

Megan Finnerty: My favorite spice girl, very professional but never afraid to crack an insider joke or keep me in the info loop. A wildly fun and funny girl beneath the no-nonsense demeanor.

Linda Vachata: My editor prior to Stacy and one of my favorite editors of all time (and believe me, in 22 years, I’ve had quite a few). She was always respectful of my work, and work-crazed as she was, always took a minute to tell me a story about her dogs or exchange a little joke. We became friends by email, which — sadly — is entirely possible these days. Linda, more face-to-faces in the future, I hope.

Jaimee Rose: Here’s a person I’ve watched grow as a writer over the years. She can tell a compelling story about mixing religions in marriage, or she can write about the arduous process of making perfect croissants — both deliciously. Early on, Jaimee and I formed a little mutual admiration society, which is the sort of boost we writers sometimes need. Here again, lunch is in order.

Rich Ruelas: I don’t think I’d been on board a week before Rich invited me to speak in his journalism class at the downtown ASU. He made me feel part of the team instantly and lumped me in with the writers who show integrity. I so appreciated that! And no, it was nothing you said, Rich. I’m pretty sure we’ll run into each other at FnB or some other wine-centric venue in the future.

Richard Nilsen: Sorry I didn’t get to read your think piece. I’m guessing it was brilliant. Thank you for seeing me as the old-school writer I really am and finding nothing wrong with that. You’re my brother from another mother.

John Stanley: Oh my goodness, what a sweetheart! We could all take lessons from this guy on the phone interview. Thank you, John, for getting down on your knees and helping me figure out the vicissitudes of Citrix, expenses and all the other tasks that sometimes made me want to slit my throat.

Ron Dungan: Another mild-mannered fellow, my cubicle neighbor, who was always friendly and helpful when I needed help (and that was often in the first month). We groaned about the byzantine expense reports together and were probably destined to become great friends.

Wendy Killeen: Information Specialist at the paper. Working with Linda V, Wendy organized tons of info for Calendar and always, always had something sweet and supportive to say to me. Wendy, you’re a lovely girl and I know with your great attitude you’re destined for good things — more writing, maybe?

Brian Berlinski: Do people usually like the person responsible for creating paperwork involving numbers? I LOVE Brian Berlinski, who was cheery and upbeat every time I came to him with a question. What a good, good guy!

And to all the rest of you I’ve failed to mention in this long-winded Academy Award-like speech — Elaine, Celine, Jill — thanks for your patience along the way.

To Randy Lovely and Nicole Carroll, thanks for hiring me in the first place. I’m happy you had faith in my abilities and sorry that choosing a new path may have created headaches for you.

With regard to the Arizona Republic and all the terrific people there, I’m tempted to use George Costanza’s famous breakup line:  “It’s not you; it’s me.”