Saturday, October 31, 2015

I Can Handle

I can handle cutting poster board--as long as straight lines are not required.

I can handle glue, both hot and cold, and gluing again when the feathers or the pictures or the pieces of bark fall off.

I can handle cooking pasta, if it doesn't matter much whether it's al dente.

I can handle things I've done before, and a lot of things I haven't, as long as I have a moment to process.

I can handle up, and I can handle down, even when they seem to come right on top of each other sometimes.

I can handle work and out of work and in between, because sometimes you just have to.

I can handle the old way of doing things, and the new, because it's hard to be new if you're just in the old, and hard to be complete if you're just in the new.

It's kind of amazing what we can handle when we allow ourselves to try. I may not be able to handle every thing, every day, but if the last few years have taught me nothing else, they have made me realize that my "I can handle" list (only excerpted here) is a whole lot longer then I ever would have expected it to be...

Friday, October 30, 2015


A wall is a thing you hit when you've worked too long or too late or too hard.

A wall is a thing you climb when you're frustrated with where you are, what you're doing, what's happening around you.

A wall is a thing you scribble on when it seems as though that's the best place for people to notice what you have to say

A wall is a thing that separates you if you can't get over, around, or through it.

A wall is a thing that keeps you safe when you can't bear the thought of people intruding upon your peace, your quiet, your world.

A wall is a thing you scale when you can just tell that there is something different, something exciting, something better on the other side.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

National Chocolate Day

I am not a sucker for every wacky holiday made up by social media, or the greeting card industry, or even my kids' schools. There are even some long-time, well-established holidays that I would happily do without. And yet, when I read that today was National Chocolate Day, I could not, even in my post-late-night, what-day-is-it stupor, resist.

And so it was that I made fudge (though exhaustion and distraction made it turn out not QUITE like the recipe). And so it was that I entered a contest to win a book about chocolate (likely making myself a target for all manner of online marketing). And so it was that I had a bit of chocolate with breakfast, a bit with lunch, and a bit more when I arrived home from my long night of work (nobody really has to know that I do some of these things even when it's NOT National Chocolate Day).

It may well be that not EVERY holiday that someone invented has to be celebrated by us all. That much celebration could, among other things, make life pretty unproductive. But once in a while, I happen upon one that I consider well worth it. And maybe this one, while we're at it, can last for a month.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Life On Time

I was almost late to work at 5:30pm, which is almost laughable, considering how many years of my career I spent setting multiple alarms to ensure waking up for a 7am call or the marking of a script dropped off at my door in the wee morning hours. But I got caught up in hearing about my kids' days, and in making sure they had good snacks, and in running errands to ensure they'd have what they needed. So that when I finally made my way to work, I suddenly didn't have as much extra time as I'd planned. The bus went as slowly as a bus could go (even changing drivers along the way). I had the realization that 5:30 is rush hour. I was on a bus heading in an exiting the city (even though I wasn't) direction AT RUSH HOUR. How could I possibly, possibly be late for a shift starting at 5:30pm?!

In the end, I arrived with a few minutes to spare--enough even to acquire a snack (I'd been so busy with my kids' snacks, I'd neglected my own). And while hindsight--the fact that I spent the extra time, yet still made it--may be twenty-twenty, and while I may never want to relive the stress of being on a slow bus and watching the drivers change and thinking I should have done things differently, I can't help but be grateful for the extra minutes when I heard about the moments of a middle school day, or the intricacies of a Halloween costume plan or the drama of a college essay. I can't help but be happy that I sat long enough to look at faces and listen to voices and be Mom before I left to be Working Mom.

We can't always know what will fill the path ahead. So we'd may as well fill our selves, and our souls, with the good that is right in front of us. Because somehow, there must always be time for that.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Wound and Wound

I sometimes think that years ago, when my job was regular, and my hours were regular, and paying the bills was regular, and a babysitter came on a regular schedule, that things were simple, that I passed the days in calm and contentment.

Hindsight is a blurry endeavor, isn't it?

There are reasons these days that I wake up wired (good wired and bad), that I walk around not quite sure of the days, not quite certain about the choices I've made, not quite able to unwind. And yet, when I turn my head far enough back to see to those "good old days," I remember the mornings I woke up anxious about working with certain actors or directors, worried that my best wasn't good enough, concerned about not being home in time to witness a kid moment. When I look back at what was, I realize that while quite different from what is, and perhaps more stable, it was still capable of making me wound tight or going in circles. The truth is, when we allow ourselves to invest in life, there will always be times when life puts us on a merry-go-round. There will always be occasions that turn our heads around and make our stomachs tight. The only way (and I'm not even sure that this works) to avoid the wound and wound is to sit one out. And how many of us, when given the choice, would really choose to sit out?

So, there will be days, perhaps many of them, when I will feel wound a little tight, and spun a little fast. And I could get off this merry-go-round, just to slow things down a bit. The question is, would I really want to?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Just That Simple

Wouldn't it be simple for...

...the buses to run smoothly, so that your travel time would be what the app says rather than twice that time?

...yes to mean yes and no to mean no, so that you would know exactly when to say maybe?

...the shipping cost not to make you reconsider having the item that you worked so hard to choose be shipped?

...homework to be easy to understand, and doable in a reasonable period of time? to include only the ingredients you have at home, rather than a whole bunch of items only available at a specialty grocery store? to stay young, or at least whatever age you have learned the rules for, rather than aging every time you look away for a second?

On the other hand, would simple just be boring....?

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Missed and Made

I may have missed a weekend sleep-in, but I made some money for weekend adventures.

I may have missed seeing people off to their day, but I made it off (with minimal drama) to my own day.

I may have missed in-person good mornings, but I made sure there were good morning texts.

I may have missed the day's recap, but I made a point of hearing it the next day.

I may have missed an early morning meeting, but I made a contribution however I could.

I may have missed a chance or two, but I made the most of the chances that remained.

I may have missed a sign or two, but I made myself more vigilant for the future.

It's easy to miss things while we are making our way through life. The question is, what good can we make from the things that we miss...

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Roads To Success

This week, I read an article in the Director's Guild magazine about Zetna Fuentes, a former One Life to Live director and producer who is now a sought-after prime-time episodic director in LA.

In some ways, it seems like just yesterday that we were sitting together in a soap control room, just days ago when we were working on her reel in preparation for her move west. As I read about all that has happened in her life, it sometimes feels as though I have been standing still all that time. And yet, I realize that though our paths may be different, hers perhaps more glamorous than mine, we both have come a long way since our days together at ABC.

I suppose that is the case with most everyone with whom I worked back in my soap days. With just a few exceptions, we all went our separate ways, some more successfully than others. But when I read about my colleagues, it is not just the stories of those who "made it big" that move me. On the contrary, it is often the stories of the people who completely redefined themselves--with a move away or a new hobby or profession, or just a new outlook. We have all moved on in one way or another, taken the skills we learned or the connections we made to find new places and missions. We may not all warrant an article or a screen credit. Nevertheless, we all share having been a part of a team and a production model that sent us to where we are now.

It was exciting to see an article celebrating someone with whom I used to work. It's nice when good things happen to good people. And it's particularly nice when we are reminded that "moving on" can take all sorts of forms, each one of them a chance for what we can call success.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Time and Space, Space and Time

Working constantly changing shifts can do a number on a person's sense of time and schedule. Which would cause a person to wonder...

If work is from midnight to 8, what time is breakfast?

If your meal break is at 10pm, is the meal dinner or dessert?

If you come home from work at 9am and go right to bed, is it a nap, or a good night's sleep?

If you sleep before going to work, at whatever hour, does that sleep count toward today's quota, or does it just make up for what you didn't do yesterday?

If you took a shower before going to work at night, is that yesterday's shower, or today's?

If you work all weekend, with days off during the week, does that mean you have no weekend, or simply that your weekend is some other time?

And does it really matter whether you know what day or time it is at any given day or time?

I'll get back to you on that--just hang in till my next meal break or weekend...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Getting In, Part Three: A Light, Flat Envelope

It is a light, flat envelope, too light and flat for all the sweat, creative juices, hard work, and just plain life that went into it. Perhaps the high cost (when did the U.S. Mail become so expensive?) of mailing it acknowledges its importance, because except for the giveaway address on its front, it could be any unimportant envelope mailed to any not so important place.

This light, flat envelope, full of work and creativity and sweat and life, is my daughter's first college application. In a world that runs mostly on the Internet, this is still snail-mailed. Despite our desire for immediate delivery, we will wait two days to know whether the Postal Service did its part as well as we did ours. And then we will wait, months, before we know what this light, flat envelope, and the assorted supplementing application pieces have done. Whether the life poured in will affect the life that comes out, whether her best will be enough, whether the choice will be hers or theirs.

The first light, flat envelope has gone in the mail, the first of many. Each just a timid (or maybe not so timid) footprint toward a new path.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Right Where I Need To Be

For years, I barely questioned where I was. I had a job and a paycheck. I had a place to go each day, and a place to come home to, and a schedule that mostly worked. When things all got turned upside down a few years ago, I wouldn't say I lost everything. What I did lose, however, was the day to day knowledge of where I needed to go and when, of where the paychecks would be coming from, of that built-in knowledge of where I was supposed to be.

Upside down had its benefits--I was able to be a part of school pickups and a chaperone on school field trips. I discovered the glory of my own neighborhood in the daytime and of dinner time at a more reasonable hour. I became more of a participant in my kids' after school lives. And when new work came along, I had the excitement of novelty, the adrenalin of proving myself all over again.

Now, all these years later, with all these ups and downs to show for it, I still struggle with where I need to be. Having seen daytime hours at home, I still wonder whether I'm supposed to give them up for a job that would occupy me, during "normal" working hours, while my kids are in school. Having been available to help solve my kids' dilemmas, I remain unsure what they need more, my paycheck or my time. Having chased what I thought I wanted and found other things altogether, I'm still not sure some days what it is I really want.

Left with so many questions, I have to to ask--is it, perhaps, that I am, for this moment in time, right where I need to be? Can it be that what seems uncertain and unconventional is actually just a picture of what is working for the moment? Is it possible that "not perfect" is actually "perfect for right now?"

It's not always easy to know if something's working until we lose it and realize things are not working anymore. Our concept of "working" is so wrapped up in our concept of "normalcy" that it's often hard to tell. But before we bemoan what is, because it's not exactly what it was supposed to be, perhaps it's worth checking--worth asking--whether where we are is actually where we need to be--at least for right now.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

If You're Checking The Calorie Count...

Having finished the reasonably healthy and cheap home lunch I'd carried to work, I found myself with a little more time on my break and a little more need to munch in my head. The building newsstand, which I'd only ever just walked by, must have something to fit the bill, I thought. So, armed with a few dollars and a dream, off I went.

It turns out that the newsstand is better stocked than many places I know that call themselves candy stores. Money in my fist, I gazed longingly at the chocolate options. (Some days, chocolate is the only thing that really counts as candy). I could have had almost any brand, filled with almost any gooey yumminess I could imagine. But as I began to reach, the calorie counts on the fronts of the packages started to jump out at me. Should I choose a 260 calorie option because it offered a little protein (even candy bar peanut butter has protein, right?), or a 210 calorie option because it had about 20 percent fewer calories? Should I choose something with lots of pieces, so that maybe I would just eat part now and save the rest for later, or would that require far more willpower than I could possibly have?

In the end, I walked away from all the chocolate--the protein and the non-protein versions, the ones proclaiming their calorie counts on the front, and those that made you work a little harder to check, the ones with the pieces, and the ones with the really cool wrappers. I opted instead for a diet iced tea, bad for me, I'm sure, in all sorts of other ways, but much more attractive in the calorie count column, and quite refreshing.

And then I went home after work and made blondies. And I made sure not to read far enough down in the recipe to check the calories.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Weekend, Day Two

In soaps, just this title would have struck fear into the heart of many an executive producer. As budget-breaking as late hours during the week might be, extra days on the weekend were reserved for only the most dire of situations--very last minute reshoots, very special sweeps week sequences, impossible actor availability scenarios.

News, however, is a 24/7 endeavor. While more may happen during the week, the viewing world expects coverage when there needs to be coverage, video when there needs to be video, someone there to tell the story, no matter what hour or day. The work is necessary, the cost accepted. So, after half a lifetime in a world that avoided weekends like the plague, I now live in a world that embraces weekends like just another sibling. My "weekends" are often midweek, my calendar a roller coaster in the amusement park of life. And when I think about it that way, who wouldn't embrace another sibling? Who wouldn't try to roll with the new experiences of an amusement park? New rules, new outlook.

So today, Weekend, Day Two, I was working. I may not always quite know what day it is when I look at a calendar, but little by little, I'm learning look at my weekends just a little differently. Because learning to look a little differently is just what you do--especially when you're not washed up yet.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Don't Worry, Be...

I could have chosen to worry about every arrangement, every transition, but I didn't. And they all basically worked.

I could have chosen to worry about all the things I didn't know and all the things I couldn't do, but I didn't. And I learned things and I did things. And things mostly basically worked.

I could have chosen to worry about dinner not yet made or a dishwasher not yet loaded, but I didn't. And somehow, by the time we got to "lights out," people were basically fed and the kitchen was basically clean.

I could have chosen to worry about a slow bus or a crowded street or unexplainable traffic on my way home, but I didn't. And I got home all the same, perhaps a little later, but in plenty of time for anything that mattered.

I could have chosen to worry about the future, as in tomorrow, or next week, or a year from now, but I didn't. And for a moment, I was actually able to enjoy today.

There are times when my kids look at a stressed-out me, and say "Don't worry," which I quite often take as just kids being kids. But on days like today, I wonder--maybe they're on to something really, really good...

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Where Were You Before?

It is reasonable question. After all, few of us, whether younger or older, just dropped in from Mars. We each have a back story--short, or quite long--that informs how we think, how we react, and how we work now. As I go from place to place, I am fascinated by people's stories. Are they living their dream, or is now just a step along a path for them? Was getting here easy and straightforward, or did it take the persistence they may not have realized they had? How does where they came from affect who they are each day now?

I am, of course, not just a listener for other people's "where were you before?" stories, but a teller of my own as well. My elevator pitch version tends to include working in news for the last few years and in soaps for a long time before that. Sometimes, sitcoms make their way in. And most of the time, all of the other odds and ends remain left out.

Hearing other people's stories teaches you a lot--not just about their paths, but about where they fit in a world, and about how they think. I am finding, however, that I also learn a lot from telling my own story. As I detail my soap story, I begin to understand how I am used to learning from the people around me, as I did for so many years and with so many mentors on the soaps. I begin to realize how I became more assertive in my opinions, as I remember being empowered to do so there. I am reminded that I was a part of television history in a way, as I see that the genre I'm talking about barely rings a bell with some of my listeners. And I am bolstered by the adaptability that becomes clear as I talk about my transitions between genres.

Where were you before? Wherever it was, no matter for how long, it is almost certainly informing what you are doing now. Where was I? A lot of places. And each one of them goes along with me as I make my way through where I am now, and where I am going.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Where Everybody--Or Somebody--Knows Your Name

As I packed up to head home after a reasonably successful overnight shift, I was greeted both with goodbyes (from my fellow overnighters) and hellos (from the arriving morning shift). While there's nothing so unusual about saying "hello" or "goodbye," what struck me was how many people called me by name--not just "Hi," but "Hi, Tracy," not just "See ya," but "Bye, Tracy."

After a long run at ABC, during which people clearly knew my name (the single and married versions), as well as most of my personal baggage, I entered a world in which people seemed far more interested in my ability to do the work five minutes after entering a building. If the job was getting done, it didn't much matter who was doing it. While this was not true everywhere, it is actually not so unusual these days. In a world where most jobs are freelance, and many are different versions of short-term, names (at least those of the people you know) may be important for getting in, but once you're in, tend to be much less important than simply accomplishing the tasks at hand.

So today, as I heard hellos and goodbyes addressed specifically to me, I couldn't help but smile. Perhaps there are still places where everybody--or at least somebody--cares to know your name.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


I used to spend hours preparing to direct on One Life to Live. Surrounded by large and small set plans and outlines of scripts before and after the ones I was directing, I would think through, sketch out, and rehearse in my head how my scenes would look. The shape of things might change once I was in the studio, but I always wanted to show up prepared--prepared to answer questions, prepared to make decisions, prepared to make my scenes the best they could be. 

That was a long time ago. These days, a lot of the work I do requires little advance preparation. I show up, address the editing or production needs at hand, and go home. Yet, I'm realizing that even the simplest of tasks does, in fact, require some preparation. Some days, preparation is sleeping during the day to prepare for an overnight shift. Other days, preparation is making sure the home bases are covered to meet the needs of a new wrinkle in the schedule. Still others, preparation is packing enough jackets, tea bags, and snacks to weather any number of working hours in any type of climate. 

While the work is clearly different, and I am no longer surrounded by floor plans and shot numbers, good preparation is no less important than it was then. Back then, preparation enabled me to work efficiently, defend my positions, and adapt on the fly. And I supposed those are not bad skills to have, especially when you're not washed up yet.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Staring Down

I stood, hurt foot boot rocking on the sidewalk, looking down into the subway entrance. I have not attempted the subway in the last week and a half, managing to get around on buses and on foot. But there were no buses. And this was far too far for just feet. And the clock was ticking. It was getting hard to be on time. I had no choice--I'd just have to try it. So I stood, staring down into the subway entrance, where not one long set of steps, but two, stared back at me. We have to fight our fears, I thought. Embrace challenge. But as I stared at those stairs, people rushing up and down them, my hurt foot boot rocking on the sidewalk, I couldn't do it. The journey that followed included a bus and a cab, and more spent on being on time than I would like being on time to cost.

Should I have faced down my fear of those stairs? Should I have had faith that if I went slowly enough, carefully enough, I would have made it without a trip or a slip or a spill? Would overcoming this fear have empowered me to conquer other fears?

I'll never know, because I stared down those stairs and walked away. Perhaps sometimes there's a benefit in staring down our fears. But perhaps sometimes, our fears are just protecting us from reacting too quickly to the "should's" and "have to's" and "no choice's" that we encounter every day. So that we have that moment when we can stare down those stairs--and choose.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015


I bought the sweater quickly because I was cold. And while it may not be the perfect fit, perhaps it will encourage me to make it so.

I chose the backpack because its design made my heart leap. And while it may be a completely unnecessary addition, it will make me smile.

I traveled the path because it seemed to be the straightest, the easiest, the most obvious. And while it turned out to be the longest, it allowed me to see some new things and encounter some great people.

I did the work because it was new, interesting, easy, challenging, offered. And while it wasn't a perfect fit every minute of every day, it enabled me to grow and learn and discover.

I said what I said because I felt it, believed it, thought it was the right thing at the time. And while what I said may not have led me in all the right directions, speaking up allowed me to see some new directions.

Sometimes, it's hard to know when mistakes are really mistakes, and when they are simply pathways into the otherwise unexplored. So, most of the time, it's better to have explored than to have stopped short of making a mistake...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Getting In, Part Two

We're down to the nuts and bolts now--filling out forms, dotting the proverbial "i's" and crossing the proverbial "t's." While it's far from clear what "the" school will be, the list is made, and has been locked in (as much as anything in life is really locked in). Now we just have to do the work.

Or do we? Clearly, the extensive requirements and deadlines force us to stay focused, to put just getting them done above all else. What I am realizing, however, is that even with a "locked" list, even with so much work that it's hard even to process, the evaluation and discussion piece of all of this hasn't gone away. It still matters what the stories and pictures on a website convey about a school. It still matters what vibe the application process transmits. It still matters that the opinions of multiple generations about the "right" college are all worthy of discussion. So, while getting the work done may be the focus, the passion, the choices, and the discussions are still present. The list may be (mostly) locked, but the decisions don't have to be yet. Because as with most of life, "getting in" is a little about doing what is required, but a lot more about figuring out what really makes sense.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


We can demand that our kids listen to us, do their homework, clean their rooms. And then, even if they haven't, we can give them hugs.

We can ask that our friends listen to our ranting, support us when we're down, be there even when it's not so convenient for them. And then we can tell them how much they matter to us.

We can bristle at things that seem to waste our time or try our patience or accomplish nothing. And then we can choose to see them as opportunities to stretch our minds or expand our abilities or accomplish other things.

We can wish that what we are doing could be a little different, a little more convenient, a little easier, or a little more challenging. And then we can choose to embrace what it is.

There are all sorts of things to reach for, both personally and professionally. But when we use our reach to embrace whatever it is that we are given, we may find that the reach is not so much of a stretch after all. When we decide to embrace...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Safety Net

I race-walked forgotten supplies to a child's school, and was met with the most sincerely relieved face you ever saw. As I walked home after, not nearly as quickly, I thought about the safety net I had been able to provide, and the temptation I'd felt to make a "teaching moment" by not providing the safety net. And then I thought about all the times when I've felt as though I was drowning and someone rescued me. I thought about all the times when someone walked the extra mile for me, with a home-cooked meal, or an extra hour of sleep, or just a friendly smile or a good laugh.

We all can use a safety net sometimes--something that protects us a little from our mistakes, keeps us from drowning in our own shortcomings, or simply bridges a gap when we just can't do it on our own.

Perhaps I missed the opportunity for a "teaching moment." Or maybe I just taught something a little different--the operation, and the importance, of a sturdy, dependable safety net.

Friday, October 9, 2015

If You Give A Mom A Crisis

(with thanks to Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond)

If you give a mom a crisis, she will jump to attention. When she jumps to attention, she might twist an ankle or break a foot and need to go to the doctor. So she'll intend to go, but on the way, she'll get another text about another crisis that makes it virtually impossible to go to a doctor. So she'll head to the bus stop to rush to the site of the second crisis on the way to the first. When she sees how far away the bus is, she'll realize she has to take a cab. When she sees a cab, she'll check for the "available" light. When she discovers that no cabs are available, she'll start to walk. As she's walking, she'll get a text that the first crisis requires her to buy something to solve it. So she'll stop at the corner drug store. Stopping in the corner drugstore will remind her that she is in dire need of chocolate, which she sees is on sale there. Seeing the sale will remind her that she'd rather not pay what a cab will cost, so she keeps walking, quickly, to the crises, eating chocolate as she goes. As she walks, she realizes that the chocolate has made her thirsty. So, having saved the money on the bus and the cab, she buys an iced coffee, which she is sure will help her get to the crises more quickly. So she walks faster, because getting to the crises faster will help her get home faster and get to work faster. Thinking about home and work will remind her how hard she works to juggle the two. The juggling will remind her of jumping, and when she thinks about jumping, she'll remember why it is that her foot hurts. And when she remembers why her foot hurts, she'll consider not chasing the crises. And while she's considering not chasing the crises, she'll get yet another text telling her that the crises are actually over.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Building Is Empty, But The People Remain

Today, I had the opportunity to reconnect with some of the people from my last job. It was a stint of just two years, not twenty, yet I felt connected. And as I saw some of my former co-workers, I began to realize that it doesn't actually take long to form connections, to feel as though a place and its people matter to you.

When the soaps ended, first at ABC, and then in Connecticut, there was an unpleasant feeling of loss--not just of work and income, but of daily contact with people who had come to matter in my life. Consciously or not, I became careful about forming connections. Perhaps work should just be work, so that changes in work would be just that, not changes in social structure as well. So I worked, and I learned, and I was careful about feeling too attached. The truth is, however, when you share so many hours with a group of people, when you learn alongside them, when you go through the ups and downs and the drama with them, it's hard not to get attached. It's hard not to miss the people, even when it's time to leave the place.

I had the opportunity to reconnect with some former co-workers today, and I was reminded that attachment sometimes happens even when you think you're just working. And that it's okay, really okay, for going to work to be more than just going to work.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Where To Be?

Sometimes, it's not about keeping appointments, it's just about being there.

Sometimes, it's not about celebrating milestones, it's just about being there.

Sometimes, it's not about accomplishing great and important things, it's just about being there.

Sometimes, it's not about being the smartest or the fastest or the best, it's just about being there.

Sometimes, it's not about making the tastiest dinner or giving the wisest homework help or solving the problems of the world, it's just about being there.

Sometimes, you don't have to be the hero. You just have to be there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Day By Day

It is a day shift today--the first in a while--so I scramble to ready myself while readying my kids for school. Early mornings used to be second nature. It is amazing how our bodies adjust well enough to the new that they almost forget the old ever happened. And so it is, that today I leave in daylight and return in daylight.

I could perhaps get used to this. And yet, it is nothing to get used to. It is just a day, as are the many other days, each a little different, each requiring a slightly different skill set, each demanding a slightly different level of patience. I am learning, ever so slowly, to count in days. Not in years--like a five-year plan. Not in weeks--like six weeks till vacation. Just days. What hours will I be working today? Will I be home for breakfast today? Will I be making dinner today? Will I make any important phone calls today? Will I sleep during the day today?

Day by day is an adjustment. It is about meeting the uncertainties of tomorrow with a certain stability about today. It is about getting past what might be tricky right now before worrying too much about what will happen next. It is about accepting a little and managing a little and realizing that things will change.

It was a day shift today. I was home for dinner, and we enjoyed it. But today is done. And we move on to tomorrow. Day by day.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Choosing "Want"

It could be argued that years ago, when I was graduating from college, I should have gone to graduate school and become a psychologist. Instead, I followed a dream of working in television and an opportunity that just came along. It could be argued that I should have left One Life to Live long before I did or tried more things than I did. It could be argued that I should have had the salad rather than the pasta more than once.

Life is quite full of "shoulds," isn't it? We should make the "safe" choices, we should go to the "important" events, we should try to please all the people all the time. "Should" can become so powerful that sometimes we can't even remember what it is we want.

Perhaps if I had become a psychologist, life now would be more stable, more defined. Perhaps if I had chosen the salad a few more times, I would be a little thinner right about now. Perhaps if I had changed career directions sooner, my path now would be clearer. But as I look around, still trying to accomplish all the "shoulds," I can't help but wonder--don't some really good things come out of going with "want" instead of "should?" Would I be writing this blog had I not gone to One Life to Live and then stayed there? Would I have met all the interesting people I have, had I been a counselor in an office?

Each day, we have countless opportunities to choose the "should" or the "want." We can't always choose "want"--it probably wouldn't be good for us or for the people around us. But choosing "want" doesn't always mean stepping on other people or doing things that are unwise. Sometimes, it simply means making our own voice heard. If sometimes, we let ourselves take a little break from the "should," we are likely to discover not just new opportunity, but a feeling of control and satisfaction that "should" can't completely accomplish. It's not about abandoning "should." It's simply about, at least once in a while, choosing "want."

Sunday, October 4, 2015


You go to an audition--well, in this case, you take your child to an audition. There is preparation, both before the day and in the hours leading up to your--well, your child's--turn. And then the waiting is over and the event is over, and unless your child is one of a lucky few, the chance is over as well. And sometimes, it all feels a bit arbitrary.

So people ask you why you put yourself--or your child--in this position, why you engage in a process that sometimes seems so arbitrary. And you realize that it is, in many ways, no more arbitrary than most of the rest of life. We get jobs, or lose them, sometimes due to circumstances beyond our control. We handle health challenges we didn't prepare for. We manage daily upsets and roadblocks that have no rhyme or reason. And no one asks us why we engage in the process of life, sometimes as arbitrary, or more so, a process as that of auditions.

There's no denying that auditioning (or interviewing, or any act of putting ourselves out there to be judged) is arbitrary. But if we can handle a little arbitrary there, perhaps we will be in a better position to handle the inevitable arbitrariness of life.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Going Somewhere?

If you are always worried about where you're not, you will never really be anywhere.

If you are not willing to change your plans, you'll have a hard time changing your outcomes.

If you are always afraid of trying things that are new, you will soon find yourself overwhelmed by things that are old.

If you are nervous about saying "yes," you will find yourself up against a lot of "no."

If you are too quick to say "yes," you may quickly find yourself screaming "no!"

If you are happy where you are right now, you can still be happy in the next place you go.

If you are always looking backward, you are likely to trip over what's ahead.

If you are too quick to judge where you are or regret where you've been, you'll never, ever really go anywhere...

Friday, October 2, 2015

I Can't Help It Sometimes

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to watch baseball.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to take a nap.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to look back at the great times from the past.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to look past now to the future.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to yell "stop!" or "no!" or "quiet!"

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to believe things that have no right to be believed.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to trust people who may not be worth my trust.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to do more than is expected.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to get by with less.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to ignore my best interests.

I can't help it--sometimes I just want to look out only for my best interests.

I can't help it sometimes...but I guess sometimes, none of us can...

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Voices In My Head

From time to time, I find myself hearing the words of wisdom I've acquired over half a lifetime in television...

Sometimes it's less about how well you do your job and more about whether people want to spend a long day in the control room with you.

Pay attention as you're moving up. At each new step or higher salary level, it will become harder to turn back.

Editing isn't about mastering the equipment. It's about being able to use the equipment to tell the story you want to tell.

You've got to look out for you. You can't always count on other people to do it.

Show business is still business. Don't get too wrapped up in the show to remember that.

Though people will try to tell you otherwise, a person who has worked in soaps really can work in news, and sitcom, and reality, and...

Shows get cancelled, shows get changed. Life goes on...