Monday, December 31, 2012

The Curse is Broken

For the first time in a long while, I wrote today's post early in the day.  Problem was, it was based on the past.  And as the day has  progressed, I have realized that the past, while valid as a past, isn't accurate any more.  Maybe it's a fluke, or maybe it's the effects of an odd year, but suddenly I'm not hating New Year's Eve the way I have every year since I was a child.

After decades of seeing New Year's either as the end of vacation or as a reminder of countless things undone or of too many challenges ahead, this year, when so many things would fall into those categories, I am oddly calm.  A year ago today, I worked my last day at One Life to Live, checking the final few shows that would air in January. As the clock struck twelve that night, I entered a year that would be full of ups and downs, and a year later, I'm not sure if I'm up or down. But New Year's isn't the moment that will decide things.  It's a night when I buy festive dinner foods I'd usually veto.  It's a night when my kids don't have to argue to stay up till midnight.  It's a night when I can watch a great concert from Lincoln Center while sitting on my couch in my PJs, and read assorted reflective messages from my friends on Facebook.

After a year of constantly reworking my expectations, New Year's no longer feels like a 24-hour reminder of expectations not met.  It's just another day.

So, drop the ball folks (and quickly, before I fall asleep!!). The New Year's curse is broken.  Happy New Year to all, and to all, a great 2013.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Kiss Today Goodbye?

Despite the direction that this blog sometimes takes, I am normally not a person who lives in the past. I tend to be more comfortable barreling ahead to the next thing, neither resting on my successes nor stewing in my failures (okay, I do stew sometimes, but I'm working on it).

Today, however, I got an email from a friend I met many years ago, in an organization that was central to my life then, but isn't now.  She reads my blog, both as a friend from my past and as a like-minded person in the present, and her interest reminds me that, while it might not be so healthy to take up residence in the past, it's actually not such a terrible thing to appreciate the places you came from and the people who were there with you.  Those experiences, long ago as they may have been, buried as they might be in our current memory, can't help but inform our choices now.  Whether it's family, or school, or charity work, or paid employment, our history--perhaps more so than the list of accomplishments we toss around on a daily basis--makes us the people we are now.

So while I spent much of today working out a post "pointing me toward tomorrow," my friend's email turned me around. Looking ahead doesn't have to mean forgetting what's behind.  I may be pointing toward tomorrow, but I'll make sure not to forget or regret today, or all of my yesterdays.  Or the things back then that "I did for love."

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Saturday on a Schedule

Very often, weekends and vacations mean long stretches of unstructured time, days that seem long at first, then finish quickly.  Sometimes that's okay, but on this, the last day with her relatives, my daughter decided that there was too much to do just to let the day go by.  So last night, as the rest of us got ready for bed, she crafted a schedule, a fifteen-item schedule, to guide not just her own time today, but all of ours. Number one on the list--waking up significantly earlier than she EVER would on a non-school day.  We spent the day being either ahead of or behind the schedule, but, by golly, as I look at it now, I see that we checked off every box.  Every one.

I have been known to make to-do lists for my days--at least once in a while on paper and not just in my head.  I spent several years as a PA helping directors schedule shooting days and part of a year scheduling production weeks as a producer.  I know first-hand that more gets done when there is written evidence that more is supposed to get done.  But sometimes it takes a child to remind us grownups that a piece of paper makes us accountable.  We did everything we wanted to do today (and actually had time to spare for a few non-list items) because my daughter made a schedule and committed to following it.  I don't know that we will wake up quite so early on the kids' last few vacation days, but perhaps a schedule will ensure that those days don't just fly by.

And you'd better believe I'll be taking my daughter's schedule solution so I can start catching up the minute they go back to school!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Year End Evaluation: Completing the File

About a week ago, I wrote that I was beginning a year end evaluation, and promised that results would follow.  So, today, the last day of many people's work year, the results for my file...

1. Has the work that I've done this year made me feel competent and challenged?  In an odd way, yes.  Though the freelance assignments have been farther apart than I'd have liked, I came out of them more savvy about music and sound editing, more comfortable about walking into new situations, and more confident about technical troubleshooting in the absence of a tech support person.  And in between the freelance assignments, I wrote children's stories, a daily blog, and more zingy cover letters than I can count.


2. Is what I'm working on giving me satisfaction about what I'm putting out into the world?  Well, I went into the year believing that I would be producing content for children, and, with the exception of the children's books in progress and the notes to teachers that I have written for my own kids, that has not happened quite the way I'd pictured.  I can say, though, that I have been very satisfied with my participation in the Children's Media Association (CMA), so perhaps this goal is just a longer term one than originally anticipated.  As for the rest of what I've done, I have tried to put my own stamp on assorted editing projects.  Oh, and I'm very satisfied with doing a daily blog.

3. Interesting interactions with interesting people?  I would have said that this was an area that needed work.  After all, there have been many days of sitting at home or in an edit room, interacting with not much of anybody, interesting or not.  When, however, I consult my appointment calendar from the year, the written record says different.  I attended numerous CMA events and followed up with coffees and lunches with members.  I reached out to people whose work I'd heard about for years and got to hear about their careers first hand.  And I made new friends who had absolutely nothing to do with my career.

4. Is it working for my family? Financially, not so great, but logistically, it's pretty nice to be able to drop off and pick up my kids, to be home for deliveries and workmen.  And otherwise?  That depends on the day.  To be determined at the next evaluation.

5. Would I do something (or many somethings) differently?  I can't deny that I'd like more of a structure, with a few more "knowns" and a few less "unknowns."  I would, perhaps, branch out in my search, considering the idea that my next thing might not be in television.  And I would try to focus more on learning and less on searching.  And try to be a bit more satisfied with how things are, even if there are a lot of pieces I haven't yet gotten right.

Conclusions of 2012 Year End Evaluation:

1.  While employee was lacking in generating funds, she gained new skills and contacts.
2. While employee fell short of a complete transition to children's media, she made significant steps and should continue to do so.
3. Employee should continue to work on learning while maintaining the strong relationships she has developed over the year.
4. Employee should aim for an open-minded approach to new projects, rather than concentrating only on tasks relating to her past experience.


Overall, a solid evaluation--things to work on, but significant progress and growth made over the year.  File complete until 2013.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

But (S)he Was Always Curious

I have loved Curious George since I was a child.  Not only was he a cute little character (which goes a long way!), he always had to figure things out, to follow his curiosity, even when it got him into crazy situations.

Practically every day this year has been a new "Georgish" adventure for me.  Instead of heading off, almost on auto-pilot, to a job I knew inside and out, I have watched my husband and kids go off to face the world (as the Man with the Yellow Hat always did), while my own day was often still to be determined.  Would there be a networking coffee that left me scrambling to meet the school bus on time?  Would the day include buying groceries to attempt a never before made recipe?  Though I rarely got myself into jams quite like George's, I was not usually satisfied to sit back and just enjoy the home and family time that I suddenly had after so many years of full-time work.  I had to be moving ahead, always, like George, exploring the next thing.  Would I write a children's book?  Would I get enough equipment and training to be a full-time at-home editor?  Would I learn enough about accounting to run the business end of things?  Every day has been full of questioning (some good, some bad) and curiosity, like George's.

When I started reading Curious George books to my children, I always changed the words "too curious," to just "curious," so that they would never think curiosity was a bad thing.  Yes, George's curiosity got him broken legs and swallowed puzzle pieces, but it also got him adventures in animal shows and the chance to make sad children happy.  And, while my exploration has led to some dead ends, some disappointments, and some jobs that started and ended, I can't think of my curiosity as a bad thing.  It has enabled me to meet new people.  It has given me a window into lots of different areas, and it has given me (as a friend reminded me today) the opportunity to learn about myself and spend time with my family.

So, with George by my side, I will try to remain very curious, even when it hurts, and hopefully, even when I have less time for curiosity.  I would never have let my children think that curiosity was a bad thing, and I'd better not let myself think so either.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jobs, Jobs For Sale, Fifty Cents a Job

It seems that, little by little, my job search/freelance year has taken on properties of a variety of children's books. Perhaps that's a function of my few years exploring children's media. More likely, it means there are a lot of life lessons we grown-ups can get from kids' books.

My son loves this one about the peddler, the caps, and the monkeys.  And who wouldn't?  A chance to see monkeys, almost like children, poke fun at a grown-up--it's great!

But as we were revisiting the book this week, the man with the caps kind of reminded me of the job search sites I've come upon this past year--he has all these caps on his head, and he's shouting to the world about selling them, but does he ever really sell any?  And if he does, will the 50 cents really do anything for him?  There are lists and lists of jobs out there, but do they ever really get filled?  And are people really looking to find skilled labor--with a skill set that could take years to build--for 10 dollars an hour?

A lot of people at all levels are unemployed, I get it.  But when I see kids finishing college and finding a world where they can make more by continuing their college babysitting jobs than by finding work in the field they studied, I worry.  What are we teaching our kids when we stress how important college is to their futures, then make it nearly impossible to find a liveable future once they are out?  Jobs, jobs for sale--we are led to believe they are out there, but only if we knock on just the right virtual door, saying just the right keywords, AND we are willing to work for less than what we pay our babysitters, who keep babysitting because they have a hard time finding work that pays more.  We might as well be peddlers with heads piled high with caps.  Our balancing act is just as hard, and his overhead (pun intended) is a lot less. Even if he does have to deal with a lot of monkeys.

And, speaking of monkeys, tomorrow, a few words about a little guy named George and where a bit of curiosity can get you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It Goes Without Saying

A number of years ago, my then Executive Producer was interviewed about the directing team on One Life to Live.  I distinctly remember him talking about how, when you had a directing team that worked together regularly, there became a shorthand, so that the process could happen without saying all the words.  The Stage Managers and ADs could anticipate the Director's needs, and the ADs, PAs, and Stage Managers could work together so well, they could get the job done almost seamlessly.

Today, with my family, I've been reminded how empowering that can be.  It's been a day of not doing that much--just going through old clothes, books, and papers, sharing meals--but there has been that same feeling of finishing each other's thoughts, knowing which stories from our shared past will make us all laugh.  There really is nothing quite like a group knowing each other that way.  For me, it has actually allowed me to relax a little from my job search stress.  After all, while scouring the Internet and networking and writing multiple cover letters may be stressful, even wearying, it is the absence of that team, that shorthand among colleagues that is even more wearying.

When I was with my "team" in the midst of production, we knew we could get it done if we stuck together.  As a freelancer, I am on my own, so whatever "team" I assemble is defined not necessarily by job titles, but by my ability to reach out to like-minded people.  While someday this may change, for now, I'm just grateful for family filling the gap.  Because sometimes it's easy to say all the words.  And sometimes I hope some things can go without saying.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy Almost Christmas

We don't celebrate Christmas.  But in a world in which most things close for a day starting tonight, and most radio stations play 24 hours of holiday music, and many buildings and lawns are full of pretty lights and blow-up figures, it's hard not to get caught up in all of it.

So while Santa Claus will certainly not be visiting us, I feel that if we are listening to the music and enjoying the decorations, we can allow ourselves a few wishes for the day--

1. 24 hours of everybody getting along.  Okay, that's laughable, probably in any family, but I can wish, can't I?

2. A year ahead when we focus on the good more than the bad.  I'll have to post this in assorted places in our home as a reminder--it's so easy to get caught up in the negative.

3. Time, virtual or in person, with old friends and new.  This one actually feels doable.  Yay!

4. A drive around to look at more holiday lights than we've already seen.  Also doable.  And fun.

5. A week between now and New Year's full of good food, good times, relaxation, and reflection. That's not too much to ask, is it?

To all my readers who are celebrating, and to those who are not, here's hoping you get whatever you wish for.  (Oh, and credit to A Year With Frog and Toad for today's title!)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

I Do It For You

When I was a kid, on a weekly basis, my mother told me to clean up my room--for the cleaning lady.  We were by no means well off, but every week, someone came to do things like dusting and vacuuming and mopping and generally making the house feel as though the cleaning lady had been there, and we straightened up for her--to make her job easier.

Only a handful of times have I had a cleaning lady as an adult.  Either we felt that we could do things ourselves or that we'd rather spend the money in other ways or that there just wasn't the money to spend.  But, while we do clean fairly regularly on weekends, never is it so intense as when we are expecting company or, in the case of today, when we are having a neighbor come each day we are away to feed our fish.  We may clean sometimes for ourselves, but more often, we clean "for" someone else.

I write this not because I am obsessed with cleaning--my husband would readily tell you I'm not--but because I was struck today by the fact that we tend to do a whole lot more for other people than we are willing to do for ourselves.  I tolerate climbing over my kids' school books on a daily basis, but would never make my in-laws do that. When I was working full-time, I happily took on more when it helped a coworker leave earlier for an appointment.  And today, when my kids and I were out and about, and the kids wanted lunch, I bought food just for them, assuming that I could eat at home later.

It's hard sometimes to justify doing for ourselves.  It seems selfish, or wasteful, or just unnecessary, while doing for other people seems like the right thing, whether it's necessary or not. The smile of a child or the approval of a neighbor or relative or the goodwill of a colleague, which often come with the doing "for," reinforce that the doing is good. Doing for yourself gives you none of those perks, just perhaps an emptier wallet.  It's no wonder that we do more when it's for someone else.

What I have tried to keep in mind in this wacky freelance life is that a little doing for myself can end up doing for other people.  Sometimes, buying that smoothie or a playing hooky for a day makes me happier.  And in the end, a happier me makes me a happier mom with happier kids.

My daughter asked me yesterday why I'd been so agitated lately. Perhaps the reasons are obvious. And perhaps they'd be a lot more manageable if I tried to do a little more for me--so I could do a little more--and with a smile--for her.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Decisions Deferred

We are cleaning today.  Again.  Amazing how a family of five can so rapidly turn a two-bedroom apartment into an obstacle course.

I would love to say that the clutter and mess are all the fault of my children, but, alas, I have my unsorted piles too The piles of things that need to go to the dry cleaner but haven't, the piles of mail items that were somewhere between the obvious throw-outs and the bills needing to be paid.  The piles of things that just don't fit into any category.

As I go through my various piles (and hope that, without me standing there, my children are doing the same), I come across a sweater that never feels quite right when I wear it (okay, the hanger in the store did more for it than I do!).  Do I get rid of it immediately?  Or do I just put it away and hope that one day either it will look better or I will feel so ruthless that the decision will be obvious?  Decision deferred.  Then there's the pile of paperwork from a video I made twelve years ago.  Clutter for sure, but does it matter for record keeping or for sentimental value?  Decision deferred.

The problem with deferred decisions is that while they lift the pressure in that moment (and that feels really good!), they leave the clutter.  Physical clutter AND mental clutter.  How do I develop a look to wear for facing the world now, when my drawers are full of things that may have worked then, but don't anymore? How do I create clear thinking and working spaces when every space is filled with the paperwork of my past?  How sentimental can I afford to be if what I want is to move forward, not just look back?

Not that I really want "Cleaning Day" to turn into "Cleaning Weekend," but maybe tomorrow is a good day to make some of those decisions.  So I can move forward, clutter-free (well, let's not push it--clutter-less) on Monday.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Vacation

It is officially Christmas vacation. My children won't return to school until 2013. The gifts have been given, the candy canes have been brought home, and we can look forward to more than a week without 6am wakeups.

In years past, the days leading up to this day would have been filled with shopping for many, MANY of "just the right gifts" for multiple teachers and coworkers, but this year, thanks to the freelance life and the rules of the DOE, there have been just a handful of small gifts and some small donations to class gift funds.  For the last few years at One Life to Live, there were unbelievably funny gifts from the group of ADs to many, many of the crew members--umbrellas playing on the uses of rain in the show, tie dye t-shirts commemorating the show's 40th anniversary, traveling bags when we moved to our new studio, water bottles printed with a recap of the year--each celebrating a unity in the midst of all the hard work that actually made it a little sad to go on vacation.


This year, it is a quieter transition into the break.  No mad dash to wrap and distribute, or to ready shows for two weeks of air.  Just one day of emails and phone calls and job searching melting into the next.  Except that the world will be on vacation.  Perhaps not everyone--holiday returns still have to be processed, New Year's Eve shows still have to be produced.  But the part of the world that answers emails and reads online applications will likely be enjoying a welcome break.  So, while I may not completely stop forging ahead, perhaps I will grant myself a little break too.

(Don't worry, the break won't be from NotWashedUpYet.  So keep checking daily!)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spirit Week

This week was spirit week at school for my younger daughter. Which meant that at ten o'clock at night for five school nights, I was being kept awake, groggy-eyed and slightly annoyed, to generate ideas for the next day's theme. Among these themes were: Fantasy Day (she was Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony), Twin Day (she was twins with her best friend), Pajama Day (a classic), Opposite Day (she was a cheerleader--and believe me, she is not that), and, for tomorrow, Holiday Best Day (she will be a menorah, with the help of two spaghetti boxes, aluminum foil, and some old Chanukah candles from the drawer). Because she has to wear a uniform almost every day of the year, Spirit Weeks like this one are a welcome relief.

Sometimes, I think it would be a welcome relief for any of us to have a Spirit Week. I feel quite sure that my lousy, frustrating day yesterday would've been made a whole lot better, had I been wearing pajamas. And perhaps my Monday would've been a lot more interesting if I'd had a pair of wings on my back. And while I would've had no interest in dressing exactly like somebody else on Tuesday, there were certainly days where it might have been fun to pretend I was the opposite of myself.  Holiday Best Day--well, having candles on your head and shoulders wouldn't exactly scream "take me seriously" in a job search, would it?

In general, though, I imagine that I (and probably most people) would benefit from a little spirit--some days when we get to step away from taking on the weight of the world, when we let a pair of wings or a pair of pajamas help us through the rough days.

I can't say I'll miss the 10pm wardrobe consultations now that spirit week is over, but it's been fun to watch these days lift our spirits, at least a little.  We may have to work out doing this more often.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Year-End Evaluation

I should start by saying that I have never had a job in which there were year-end evaluations (or any kind of official evaluations, for that matter). Your work was judged on a daily basis, and in general, you knew where you stood.  For me, the daily stuff was generally positive, and very significant.  If other parts of my life were frustrating, I could always say that I was clearly competent, even excellent, at work, so even if other things weren't working, I must not be a total failure.

Flash forward--no daily job, just a series of little ones where the work is being produced so fast, I'm not sure anyone is stopping to evaluate, and the gigs are so short, I'm not sure even my name will be remembered, much less, how I performed. So much for "competent, even excellent" at work being the counterpoint to anything not working outside of work.

Now it is up to me, and pretty much just me, to evaluate, and to evaluate not just how I'm doing at the specific work, but what that work is doing for me.  Is it making me feel competent and challenged?  Is it giving me satisfaction about what I am producing or putting out in the world?  Is it giving me interesting interactions with interesting people?  Is it working for my family, logistically, financially, and otherwise?  Would I do something (or many somethings) differently if I could?

That's a lot of questions.  Luckily, I still have a few weeks before year's end to finish this "evaluation" so that it can go into my self-employee file.  Stay tuned for the results.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Taking Care

Quite often, I read in magazines that working moms need to make time to take care of themselves.  Lots of hours at work, lots of hours looking after home and kids, so they must make time for their own well-being.  I realized today that taking care of me is no less important when I am between jobs, and unlike many times when I'd forge through, today, I took actual steps for myself.

With unanswered cover letters and rumors of online TV spinning in my head, I was not in a great state this morning. It could have been a grim day at the computer, but before it became that, I stopped long enough to look out for my own well-being.  I scheduled errands to get me outside, and for the icing on the cake, I called a friend about having coffee. And when I was hungry by the time I got to coffee, I took care of myself enough to go for the protein smoothie.

Freelancing so often ends up meaning denying your own needs. After all, if no money is coming in right now, none should be going out, right?  The problem is, if the by-product of too much denying yourself is staring blankly at job prospects, then what is really gained?  Doesn't the ability to take care of yourself as well as the people around you make you a better job candidate?

I don't know for sure whether I went through this whole thought process today before I arranged the errands and the coffee.  I do know, though, that I was a different person when I returned from my outing.  The computer was still there. Perhaps some of the stress was too.  But with a smoothie and several hours of good conversation under my belt, I was ready to face it all again.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Career Services

If I had a dollar for every job lead I've forwarded to someone else over the past year, I'd be a whole lot happier with my bank account right about now.  For a long time, people were suggesting I go into human resources, which I thought about, but I realized that the feel-good feeling it gave me wouldn't necessarily come with a job doing that.  And besides, who's going to hire a TV director and editor to do human resources? Even though directing kind of is making the most of humans and their assorted resources, and editing really is getting the best benefits from what options you're given.  Hmmm.

In any case, while the leads I have forwarded to people have led to ideas and perhaps interviews, only one that I know of has actually resulted in employment.  Okay, my process may be first-rate, but my quantifiable results--number of jobs actually gotten--not so good.  And in this world, it's more about quantifiable results than about helping friends.

So add this to the list of things I've done over the years that could be careers--catering, children's book writing, proofreading scientific papers, laying out photo calendars and newsletters, canvassing neighborhoods for auction donations--the list goes on.  Each a thing done for love or charity or to help a friend, none particularly job-worthy.  Yet, on a day like today, when the sky is gray and the job leads are grayer, perhaps it's worth considering a few of these.  Or maybe a combination of them.  At least as a list of skills on the resume.  Might be worthwhile.

Well, at least until I find out more about this soaps online rumor....

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Screening Room

My son is a lover of screens.  TV, computer, Wii, iPad, iPod--he loves them all.  So, naturally, when he gets punished, the first thing to go is his screens.  That's what has the most effect.  Enough that he avoids punishment the next time?  No, not necessarily, but he is definitely on his best behavior to earn them back.

Once, in anger about a punishment, he yelled at me, "but you look at screens all day!" to which I replied, "but that's for my work."  True, a lot of my work does involve looking at a video screen, but in a way, he's right.  If I'm not editing, I am looking for jobs on posting sites, or sending emails about having coffee, or doing tutorials for a new software, or typing my blog.  The list goes on.  I really do spend a lot of time with my eyes glued to one screen or another.  I have somehow come to believe that things happen with screens--jobs, industry information, personal connections.

Today, my screenless (something yesterday precipitated it, I can't remember what) boy and I sat together in the apartment on a rainy day.  A  home full of games and crafts and possibilities, but what to do?

I often like his screenless days--not only is it quieter, those days tend to produce interesting artwork or a cleaned up kitchen.  He's got energy that has to go somewhere.  Today, though, I was a blank, and while we did settle on Monopoly and baking cookies and wrapping presents, I found myself drifting back to my iPod, as if refusing to be screenless, just because he was. 

But what was going to happen today on a screen?  No one was going to hire me on a Sunday.  Most of my friends, Facebook and otherwise, would be holiday shopping or holiday partying or both.  Not a thing that couldn't wait until Monday (except, I guess, writing this blog), but my iPod was attached to my arm anyway, with me never fully committing to any of my son's non-screen activities.

So while I will continue to use "no screens" as a punishment when necessary, and I will try to limit his daily screen time, I imagine I will be hearing his comeback in my head for a while.  And maybe I'll have a little more understanding when he wants "just one more game."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Secret Santa Society

It would be hard to write anything about today without acknowledging the literally hundreds of Santas we saw in our travels.  No, we did not visit the kid floor at Macy's.  All we needed to do was be out in New York City, and we were faced with more Santas and elves than I have encountered probably in my whole life (not to mention a few candy canes and Christmas trees with feet).

While I know that this was likely just another way for people to party in the city, the by-product of it was not only a great deal of amusement for us, but a source of conversation between parents and children everywhere we went.  We are not Santa Claus believers anyway, but I do wonder what some of those children thought when their strollers went through a sea of Santas at every corner.

Now, as I always ask, what makes the Santas blogworthy? Well, they were awfully funny.  And on one of those days when I am reminded that just going out of the apartment in NYC costs money, they were free entertainment--how often do you get that?  And it was interesting to think that all these people who probably spend their weekdays in suits had actually bought Santa outfits. (It never occurred to me that so many people--and not necessarily people with kids at home--owned Santa-wear!) 

I think the thing that struck me the most, though, was how much of a community it became.  Somehow, all these people "got the memo" that this was Santa day (a memo I've never gotten), and they went for it, I guess the same way I would go for it to help one of my kids' schools (or, okay, I'll admit, go for if there were a Snoopy or Muppet event).  After a week of far too much isolation, I guess I was just glad to be reminded that there is community out there.  And although I am unlikely to be seen in a bar, dressed in a Santa suit, any time soon, I have to thank them for a laugh-filled, and, in an odd way, eye-opening day.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Time Flies

It is Friday again.  As slowly as the minutes seem to go when I'm sitting at the computer each day, 3:15, when I go to meet my son's bus, always comes quicker than I expect.  And the weeks, even if they sometimes seem to produce nothing, just keep flying.  In a few weeks, it will be a whole year that has flown.

When I was working a million hours a week, I had to use every spare minute to get the rest of my life tasks done. While I often felt that I couldn't do it all, with the help of some very good babysitters, I kind of did.  Did I see everything my kids were doing? Well, no, but it felt as though I was there for the big things, and in the meantime, I made sure that the bases were covered when I wasn't there for the small ones.  The weeks flew, but why wouldn't they, when we were all doing so much?

Now the time is flying, and while my kids are still doing big things and small things, and I am now there for both, I am not packing my hours the way I used to.  I'm doing a whole lot more waiting than doing, and instead of moving full speed ahead as I used to, I find myself too often going half speed, often in circles.  Time is flying, and I am not flying with it. I'm more like drifting, which I intended never to do.

As I read the news of today's events, the need to use every minute feels even more important.  So as I hug my children and remember how great it is when they come home each day, I also resolve to make the rest of my days full of more than just waiting.  I owe that to them.  And I owe it to myself.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


When I interviewed for the AD job at Cosby many years ago, among the things I found out in the interview was that they wanted people whose answer would always be yes. Whether or not you thought it was possible to do what was asked for, you'd say yes, then figure out how to do it.

That mindset was no problem for me--I've always been kind of a "yes" person.  Most of the time, there really is a way to accomplish even the things you think you can't do. You just have to be a little more creative.

As I wade through the stated and unstated "no's" of a freelance life, it occurs to me how empowering it ended up being, always working toward "yes" all those years ago. It stretched what we thought we could do.  It gave us something to shoot for.

As a parent, I am often the one saying no.  No more TV, no, don't cross the street, no, we're not buying a giant box of cookies (that's the last thing someone working at home needs lying around).  I never intended to say it so much, and the results are so much better when I propose an alternative instead of just saying no.  "How about we finish that artwork you were doing?" "Why don't we cross the other way?"

So now, how about getting the job world to approach it that way?  Rather than "no" or "no response," how about, "maybe you could do this, tell me what you would do," or even "yes, I see how your skills match up."  Just a thought.  My kids would support that.  Which means, I guess, if they read this blog, I'll be held to saying a lot less "no" at home.  I can work with that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I've been struck many times during this last year by how much having coffee or lunch with someone changes my perspective.  Makes me see my life and myself differently, almost as if I am looking into a different mirror each time.

Today, my perspective was actually adjusted several times. Having lunch with a former co-worker (and actually in the cafeteria we used to go to when we were working) was a reminder that I have a great history, that spurts of work are actually a good thing, that I am not the only one still trying to find what I'm looking for. And that there are a whole bunch of people whom I owe check-in emails!  It was a mirror with a reflection that looked far better than I'd expected.  A reflection of a person doing okay.

Later, at Hebrew School dropoff, I ended up with another friend, one who is newly out of work.  As I listened to her talk, I saw in the mirror the rawness that I felt almost a year ago. Though I was eager for new experiences, I was shaken and off-balance not being able to go to work each day.  I couldn't quite figure out who I was without my job, and I couldn't quite figure out how to structure my newly empty days.  And as I talked to this friend today, it was like putting a time-turning mirror in front of me. Reminding me how I looked all those months ago.  Reminding me that, while things may not be how I planned, I'm still here.  And I will survive.  And perhaps I'll help other people survive.

And then another woman joined us, a woman who has embraced a freelance life in order to do what she enjoys and still have time with her kids.  She says yes to some things, no to others.  She makes choices about how she lives as a freelancing creative arts mom.  And perhaps she is the mirror of what is to come for me.  Making peace with freelancing.  Allowing myself to put family first when it matters and work first when it makes sense.  Appreciating how things used to be, but appreciating now for the good things my "now life" gives me--seeing children come off the bus, making dinner (okay, not that well sometimes, but still), spending time in my apartment with bare feet on a carpeted floor warmed by the afternoon sun.

I've never been one to spend much time looking in real mirrors--too many other things to do--but I'm glad I got to borrow a few mirrors from friends today.  A little glance goes a long way.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Small Wheels in the Big City

Last night, my son's Chanukah present was a Razor scooter. He's talked about getting one for months, to the point that over the summer, he and I started (just started, never finished) a reward sticker chart so that he could work toward getting it.  And with a kid on his school bus riding a scooter to the bus stop every morning, there's been daily reinforcement of the "that's so cool" factor. (this same kid's mom even brings the scooter to the afternoon bus stop, so "Scooter Boy" zooms away every day.)


So, having done lots of research about types and colors and places for ordering it, I pretty much threw it all out the window and went to ToysRUs, where I walked out with the most common--and least expensive--model.  As excited as I was when I walked out of the store with the long, narrow box, I wondered, would he be upset that it wasn't a fancier model? Would this be yet another time when he was reminded of how my being between jobs was affecting his life?

We lit candles.  I gave his sisters their gifts.  Then I went into my bedroom to get the big bag.  Would he like it?  Would I pass Mom 101, the course I repeat every day of my life?

It didn't take him long to know what was in the bag, and his eyes lit up, just as I'd hoped.  "You got the smaller one because it's cheaper, right?" he said, which was true. But before I knew it, with no help from anyone, he had snapped the parts together and was weaving around the short narrow halls of our apartment.  This morning, he rode it to the school bus, and I carried it, folded, as I did errands (at which point, I was VERY glad I'd gone with the small one).  And, Mom 101 star student that I am, I took it when I met his afternoon bus. I could see him peeking out the yellow school bus window to check if I had it.  Off the bus and onto the scooter he hopped, zooming all the way home, telling me about his day as he did. He even asked to scooter the 15 blocks to pick up his sister AND talked her into walking home so he could scooter some more. This from the guy who is obsessed with buses.  It's as if his new wheels have freed something in him.  It doesn't matter if the wheels are smaller, they're wheels, and that's all he needed.  He's still careening around our apartment as I'm writing this, so I guess I did okay, and his scootering may get us all into very good shape.

Now I just have to figure out how to slow him down long enough to practice piano!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday, Monday

Today was spent, well, mostly Chanukah shopping.  There, I said it.  I mean, I did my various job search stuff, and I gave advice to a recent college graduate.  But then I spent a lot of time, and not very much money, stocking up for smiles on my kids' faces.  
Many days, I might feel guilty for not pounding the virtual pavement all day.  But one of the things I've found this year is that Mondays are almost always a killer in the job search world. The job searcher spends much of the weekend trying to focus on family, since not much will happen job-wise then, so by Monday morning, he or she is raring to go--writing letters, looking for postings, waiting for the phone to ring. The job searchees--the gatekeepers of all the possible jobs--on the other hand, have spent their weekends likely happily away from work, so come Monday, they are not necessarily raring to go, particularly not to talk to overeager searchers.

Believe me, I have spent many a Monday trying to push past that scenario, believing that if sent enough "checking in" emails or LinkedIn invitations, Monday would be a productive day.  And thankfully, there have been weeks when Monday was consumed with an edit project or with teaching myself some new software, but always with an eye on the email and the LinkedIn.  It's cyberspace after all, things can change every minute.  But on Mondays, things rarely do.

So this week, rather than fighting what I couldn't change, I fought for what I could--walking, fresh air (well, rainy fresh air), and giving myself a bit of joy as a mom.  The computer will still be there tomorrow, and I suspect that by then, the gatekeepers and I will be more on the same time schedule.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advice From a Freelancer

Tomorrow, I am having coffee with a recent college grad to talk about my career and what she wants to do (and, I'm sure, how she can do it).  I am always happy to offer advice, but I'll admit, it feels a little strange to be advising someone else on job-hunting when I'm in the middle of it myself (and not so successfully at the moment!)

So what can I say to someone wanting to start on a path like mine?

First, the path changes.  All the time.  I thought it was straight, and maybe it once was, or maybe that was an illusion all along and I was just really good at following the twists and turns.

Second, know how to do lots of things, especially those that are "marketable skills," a term that a producer used with me a very long time ago.  Things that have one-word names that people understand, not just things that require a 4-line description on your resume.

Third, know when to toot your own horn and when to be humble--they're both important. I tend to be better at the humble part and am often impressed by people who are able to toot easily.  But in the end, you really do need both these days.

Fourth, appreciate the people around you.  People are eager to help when they know what they are doing is appreciated, and believe me, you'll need help from directions you never imagined.

Fifth, and last for now, be open to new things.  Some of my best experiences, like stage managing during the last week of One Life to Live, have been steps beyond my comfort zone, and these steps have often given me marketable skills, horn-tooting content, and more light for navigating my path.  Oh, and opportunities to appreciate both the people who pushed me into them and the people who supported me as I learned.

Okay, I guess I do have some useful advice to give after all.  And after coffee, perhaps I'll come home and make sure MY resume shows I'm taking my own advice!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


It's hard to be convincing telling my kids to practice piano when here it is, 8:45, and I am just now writing today's post.  While I grant myself a fair amount of leeway for crazy days, today was pretty un-crazy.  Week two back at the dojo, everyone glad to see the kids, me glad for them to have exercise and me to have time to run errands and buy Chanukah presents (no matter when it falls, I'm always scrambling for eight nights of gifts x three).  I could have written the blog during karate time, but did I?  Nope.

After karate, no plans.  Really.  No plans at all, almost to the point that I thought we would find out we forgot to go somewhere we were supposed to be.  I could have written the blog then, but did I?  Nope.  Too busy loading the dishwasher and wrapping Chanukah presents, then wandering the grocery store with my son.  A blog to do, but so many other things looking like fun.  Even now, I'm pondering the week's kid activities, checking my Facebook and LinkedIn, because, hey, something might have changed in the last ten minutes, and negotiating with the kids about doing their piano.

So, I guess procrastination is not just for kids and their piano and homework.  It's not just for people who don't accomplish anything, because despite the lack of supporting evidence in my bank account, I do feel that I'm accomplishing things.  Once in a while, I actually come up with a better blog topic when I wait all day to do it (don't tell my kids--I'll start hearing that as an excuse for putting off homework!)

So here it is, done before the clock struck midnight.  And hey,  what's a little procrastination among friends, as long as the blog gets done (and kids are happy that they got Chanukah presents)!

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Years

No, I am not drinking champagne and "watching the ball drop" a week into December. Only a few of my holidays have been off-schedule.  And I am sure that, come New Year's Eve, I will be sorry that I jumped the gun on this blog post title. Oh, well, here goes.

Last night, I attended the holiday party for the Children's Media Association, an organization I joined almost two years ago (when its name was still Women in Children's Media) as part of my path toward creating content geared toward kids. I can't quite say I've succeeded on that path, given that most of the post-soap work I've done is reality shows, but that's the subject for another post.

What matters about the CMA Holiday party is that, while I walked in seeing a crowd of unfamiliar faces, much as I did at the same party last year, this year, I left several hours later having talked at length with a whole bunch of people I knew, as well as a fair number I met there, which is way more than how I left a year ago.

A lot has happened in a year.  I have gone from virtual outsider to a member of a new team.  I have gone from asking all the questions to actually knowing some of the answers and being able to field questions from others.  I may not "work the room" like a professional, but I am comfortable sharing the room with all these new professionals in my life, people who inspire me to look at things from a whole lot of directions I never even thought about.

So here's to holiday parties, and new years, new teams and new directions.  Funny how a group dedicated to content for kids actually helped ME grow up, understand my world, and take the first steps toward my next milestone.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


No, I am not on a plane.  Just at home.  Except today, I had an editing client here working through an almost final cut with me.  From 9:30 to 4.  Nonstop.

I didn't have lunch.  I didn't read emails.  I basically didn't move from the editing system for six and a half hours.  Except for it not being a dark room, it was a lot like a control room day at One Life to Live.  Completely all-consuming, shutting out everything else (including all the personal errands and phone calls my husband would remind me at day's end were still undone).

Today's nonstop was unpaid.  Which is not great.  But it was great.  Great to be so wrapped up in the editing, great to be so focused on collaborating with the producer.  Great to feel as though, by the end of the time, we had actually made our product better.

People are constantly asking me what I want to do.  In both personal and professional settings, I am called upon to name a job title or a job description that would be my Holy Grail. It's not an easy question for me to answer.  Neither my previous job nor my current (or anytime?) brain ever forced me to do just one thing.  Maybe that makes me the luckiest person in the world (even if, when I answer the question, it makes me seem like the most scattered person in the world!)

What I really want is today's feeling, just the paid version. Not necessarily editing, and not necessarily in my own home in sock feet.  Just nonstop, so that for the period of time that I am working to finish something, I can happily shut out the rest of the world.  Nonstop, so that I can be a completely honest and open collaborator.  Nonstop, so that when my work day is over, I can know that I was part of getting something made.  Nonstop, so that the exhaustion I feel when I have to catch up on all those personal calls and errands after work is a good exhaustion. Nonstop, so I can be surrounded by people who can also think nonstop.

So, as for what I want to do, here it is--I don't care what it's called.  Just make it nonstop.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

No Drama Today

One could argue that this will be a boring post.  After all, any good soap is all about the drama, and today, there were no bus mishaps, no ridiculously tired children, no exciting emails, no interviews.  In short, no drama.  I found myself singing a song from the movie A League of Their Own--"I miss the tears, I miss the laughter."  Not that I want to be crying--heavens no!--but it somehow feels odd when I go through a day without drama.  I'm looking for it--in my email, with my kids, in my travels about the city.  I guess when you spend so many years with the on-screen AND behind-the-scenes drama of a soap AND you have three kids, drama becomes a daily given.

So there I am, having nothing blogworthy to write, due to the absurd lack of drama in my day, and that crazy song pops into my head.  (One day, these sentimental songs may do me in.)  But today, as I continued to sing this song, I got to "We are the lucky ones.  Some people never get to do, all we got to do."  Which reminded me that, aside from today, I've had plenty of drama over the years.  So if today was what we used to call a Wednesday airshow--no huge cliffhanger--that's okay.  There will be a Friday airshow--much more exciting--in my life again before I know it (and maybe sooner than I want it).  Perhaps way before Friday.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

She Meant Well

I intended to put my kids to bed at a reasonable hour, really, I did, yet they're still up.  I meant to plan ahead for birthdays and Chanukah this year, yet here I am, within a week of all of it, and totally unprepared.  I was supposed to send out lots of networking emails today, but instead, I played board games with my son when he came home from school.  And I was hoping to write my blog earlier today, but, well, things happen.

In each of these cases, I hear myself (or perhaps my mother) saying, "you meant well."

In my childhood, if the intention was good, but the effort didn't quite hit the mark, we'd say, "she meant well."

These days, I am getting the feeling that "meaning well" doesn't do you all that much good.  I get it--people want to see results, not attempted results.  They want to know that the person they hire will not just TRY to get the job done, but will ABSOLUTELY get it done.  All understandable.  But where is the place where it matters that you had a person's or a company's best interests at heart?  When can it make a difference that beyond having technical abilities, you care and are dedicated and loyal?

I don't actually know whether, in my childhood, we used "she meant well" in a generally negative or positive way, but what I do know is that "meaning well" should matter.  It should matter that a person is more than just the list of skills and accomplishments on his or her resume.  It should matter whether he or she tried to do the right things--whether the words on paper convey that or not.

When I look back on my career, I am sure that I will think of great words I've written, great videos or TV I've directed or edited, and Emmys and DGA awards I've won, but it will be impossible to leave out the everyday times when it was just about my heart being in the right place.  And it will be okay with me to hear "she meant well."  Because, alongside the productions and awards, in my book, "meaning well" matters a whole lot too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Seasons of Love

I was fine until I started to call yesterday's blog "How Do You Measure A Week?"  In an instant, I was transported back to where we always were at this time of the year at One Life to Live--frantically editing what we called The Christmas Reel, a video that, over the years, went from being a five-minute highlight reel to being a half-hour series of 8-10 separate edited pieces.

While one of my fellow editors was expert at the annual fancy montage of all the great show material from the year, I gravitated more toward the warm, fuzzy, "make you cry" montage of all the people who worked there.  In the year before our last, it was with the song "Seasons of Love" from the show Rent, which so incredibly captured for me the feeling of hundreds of people making contributions large and small all year, both to the production and to their fellow production team members.  We shot an electrician drinking coffee for "and cups of coffee," we shot happy people and tired people for "in laughter, in strife," and we remembered our beloved stunt coordinator Danny Aiello, III, who had died that year.

Hard as it was each December to get the Christmas Reel done while in the midst of heavy production for the Christmas and New Year's shows, we dove in--after all, the reel ended up being a wonderful way to see how much we had done together over the year, and how much our collaboration had accomplished.  By the time we took our Christmas "hiatus," we were generally exhausted, but almost without fail, I left for the break knowing that I had given a gift to my production co-workers, and to myself (we watched the reel together at a holiday party, and we all could receive DVD copies of it).  Not only did people get to see themselves on screen, we all got a reminder of how lucky we were to be part of a truly excellent team.

In the midst of the insanity each year, I would never have imagined I'd be saying this, but I miss the Christmas Reel.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday Again

How did it happen that just yesterday, I was going through the Monday routine of claiming unemployment benefits, and now it is Sunday again?

Of course, that wasn't really yesterday.  Sometimes, though, the weeks go so fast, it feels that way.

Early on in my job search, I tried to send out as many resumes as possible.  Even if it felt as though they went into some sort of HR black hole, I could look back at the end of the week and feel that I had accomplished a lot.  After all, when you're job hunting, you don't necessarily have a product to show for all your hard work--no book, no TV show--so finding something to measure your progress is important for keeping the momentum and some feeling of accomplishment going.

These days, I do far less blanket resume sending, so when I get to the end of the week, it's harder to quantify what I've done.  Luckily, this week, I can actually see my work on video, since most of my week was spent getting toward finishing both a sitcom pilot and a music video that I've been editing at home, on my free days and at night when I've had a gig.  While working on them at home has definitely been different from working surrounded by other production people, it still feels good to see a product and know that the product is, at least in part, based on choices I made and work I did.

So, I guess that, while it feels as though this week went quickly, it was a good one in terms of what I have to show for it--some pretty video, a whole lot of new computer knowledge, and an interview to boot.  Oh, and crossing the 5000 pageviews mark for this blog, thanks to all of you.

I hope I'll have as much to show next week.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Back to the Dojo

Two and a half years ago, still working and looking for several weeks of full-day summer coverage for my three kids--coverage that wouldn't cost every penny I was making--I happened upon a karate camp just a handful of blocks from our home.  They kept the kids from 9-5:30, gave them exercise, field trips, and even hot lunch.  So after I went and watched a class, during which I saw things about it that would be good for each of my kids, I signed them up.  After the few weeks of camp, the kids continued to go to karate classes there several times a week.  Not only was it great for their fitness, balance, focus, and stamina, it gave them a whole new community they could be a part of.  There were dojo dinners and dojo parties and dojo sleepovers, and we were warmly welcomed as part of the community, as we watched our kids earn stripes and belts from their hard work and training.

When school ended this past June, all three kids went to spend most of the summer upstate in camp.  When they returned, with me still out of work, we weren't looking to spend money on more camp.  So no karate.  Then with all three kids starting new school experiences and new activities, and me still not bringing in money full-time, again, no karate.  It just didn't fit.

Today, after a six-month hiatus, two of the kids (one woke up sick) and I returned to the dojo.  An experiment, we called it.  Would it still feel as it had for 2 years--a place to feel strong and included?  Or would it be something that might have worked then, but felt wrong now?

We were certainly welcomed by the teacher, which felt good.  We had not been forgotten.  On the contrary, though the dojo is clearly thriving with students old and new, it really seemed to matter that we had returned.  But what would the kids say when they finished class?  Can you go "home" again, when it seems that so many things in your life have changed?

I am happy to report that it appears you can.  They emerged sweaty but happy.  I think it felt good to them to realize that their bodies remembered things, and that, while their stamina might take a while to return, the strength and the balance and the focus are still there, and the community, where they are accepted and encouraged, matters to them.

For the two years when we were all immersed in the dojo culture--attending the dinners and Halloween festivities and promotion tests--I was moved by how included we felt in a group that was not an obvious match to our own backgrounds.  It's hard NOT to feel good when a group of people just accepts you for who you are.

So, while I am not the one who has to remember sequences of stretches and punches and kicks, and while I am still not in a position to be putting out lots of money for classes, I am hoping this experiment continues.  Not only will the kids get the exercise they need, we will all be a part of something that supports us, no matter where the rest of our lives may take us.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Where's Right to Write?

When I started writing this blog, many people asked me how I would possibly have an ongoing stream of things about which I could write.  I grant them, there definitely are days when it's a bit of a struggle to settle on a topic, or to flesh out a topic that seems like a good idea.

What I didn't think about so much when I started was WHERE I would write.  I figured I had multiple blank notebooks, so, whether it was on a bus or on my couch, I'd find a place to write.  These days, as I have been writing later in the evening, the presence of a notebook, or even an iPod with a "Notes" feature, isn't necessarily enough.  Between kids needing help with homework and a husband and kids practicing piano and the making and clearing of dinner, my home is a noisy place, not necessarily conducive to thoughtful writing.

So, where to write?  This week, it has become the kitchen floor. Let's face it, after dinner, when pots have to be scrubbed, and icky plates have to be scraped and put in the dishwasher, my kids disappear awfully quickly, so my kitchen, a city kitchen, with floor space just 3 feet wide, is a relatively quiet spot. Even if I hear the craziness, I'm not in the middle of it.

Thankfully, there are still some days when I get my post idea early and grab "alone time" while waiting for a school bus, or traveling from Point A to Point B.  But on the days when the great idea waits until 8pm to arrive, I've found that the kitchen floor does pretty well.

And when I'm done writing, I know exactly which spots need to be mopped!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


When I worked at One Life to Live, while I considered myself fairly persistent at finding answers, the reality was, help was often just a phone call away.  Editing computer crashes--call the Post Producer.  Control room mike too loud--call Audio. Spill dressing on your pants--call Wardrobe (yes, lucky us, they really helped with stuff like that!)

Now that I am often working from home, on editing projects, writing, and plain old networking and sending out resumes, it's just me.  Well, my husband does jump in sometimes, and the aforementioned Post Producer did say I could call him any time with questions, but these are busy people, and so, as a part of my freelance education, I have become a whole lot more savvy about troubleshooting.  

It's a little funny that troubleshooting would ever have been a problem--not only was I an AD who was called upon to troubleshoot lots of things, I am a mother who has figured out childcare for three kids, simultaneous pick-ups at three separate schools, and making pasta both al dente enough for my husband and mushy enough for my kids.  Nonetheless, when I look at my reaction to a computer program crash or video exporting specifications now versus what it was a year ago, I am actually amazed.  I search for answers, I watch tutorials, I try different possibilities.  There is a kind of fearlessness bred from either hours alone or a need to get things done or simply a drive to move forward from where I was back then.  

When One Life ended, I could see that what many of us would miss was the structure it provided--not just a place to go every day, but a set-up that we understood.  Departments that accomplished separate pieces yet worked together. Contact sheets that told you exactly where to call for just about anything.  A net below the daily production tightrope.

Well, guess what, folks?  The net is gone.  Or at least it's a whole lot farther from the rope I'm on now.  And from where I'm standing (teetering?), I guess I'm doing okay.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chasing Buses

The title of this post would be most interesting to my son, who is a bus fanatic, and since, as he put it, "most of the exciting stuff in your day today was about me, right?", it seems only appropriate.

And why was the most exciting stuff in my day about him?  Well, one COULD argue that from the point of view of an eight-year-old boy, anything done with him would HAVE to be more exciting than anything a mom would do alone while her kids are in school.  Today, though, I might be inclined to agree with him.
After all, I DID have to go to his school to retrieve him when a mixup had him not end up on the school bus (thus, the title!)
And he and I DID share a mighty tasty doughnut from the gourmet doughnut shop that we never go to after I retrieved him.
And, because of this "retrieval," we DID take a bus we wouldn't ordinarily take.
And because of the resulting delay, I DID have to alter the errands list I had planned for while he was in Hebrew School.

And because I felt bad that the mishap had left him waiting in the school office for almost an hour, my errand list DID come to include a number of his favorite foods.
Oh, and the most exciting part for him?  He was able to show me his brand new, in a fancy cloth case, third grade recorder, on the steps of his school as soon as we left the building.

When I started my day, I thought perhaps the most exciting thing in it would be finishing a music video I was editing.  Or making the apartment a lot cleaner.  Or having a yummy afternoon cup of coffee.  Exciting stuff, huh?

Thank goodness there is an eight-year-old in my life to remind me that excitement can enter your day just when you least expect it.  And that we are all a lot better off when it does.