Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Circle Game

I am reminded today of a Joni Mitchell song that talks about "seasons going round and round" and "painted ponies going up and down," and most of all, us going "round and round and round" in what she calls "the circle game." There are days that feel just like that--as if we are on a carousel that won't stop, in a life that won't slow down, with days that send us around and around in order for us just to make it through.

We like to think our paths are linear. We like to think that if we want it, and we work for it, our next step will be getting it, whatever "it" is. But more often than not, life is not so linear. We work toward, and then find ourselves falling off the carousel and having to find our way back to it. We let ourselves be spun around and around until we are so dizzy, we can't even remember where it was we intended to go. And we somehow manage the passage of time, even when most of it seems to happen when we have our backs turned.

Today, I am reminded of how much of a "circle game" this life really is. And I am reminding myself to remember that the song is about accepting the game and moving with it. It may be dizzying. But if we can manage the "round and round and round," perhaps we can come out winners, at least sometimes, in "the circle game."

Did You Ever Notice?

Did you ever notice that sometimes, cancelled plans allow for the best naps?

Did you ever notice that sometimes, the email you never sent saves you from a whole bunch of emails you didn't want to receive?

Did you ever notice that when you stay in on your days off, you get things out, and when you go out on your days off, you bring things in?

Did you ever notice that when you admit that you can't, you often find that other people can?

Did you ever notice that when you choose to believe you can, sometimes you actually do?

Did you ever notice that sometimes, it takes that second phone call?

Did you ever notice that sometimes, a day warrants that extra piece of cake?

Did you ever notice that all the things you don't notice actually add up to more than you imagined?

Did you ever notice that the tasks that seem so little actually often accomplish more than the ones that seem so big?

Did you ever notice that you are strong more often than you are weak?

Did you ever notice that you are happy at least as often as you aren't?

Did you ever notice that when you start noticing, there sure is a lot to see?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Change In The Day

I arrive at work--an evening shift--to the buzzing of a news event. In some ways, I suppose, I am still getting used to the fact that my current work can be so affected by what is going on in assorted parts of the world. After all, on a soap, changes in a day usually revolved around actors doing other projects or problems with the scenery or a prop or the length of the show. In either case, there is a monkey wrench--just monkey wrenches thrown from different directions.

After a while, in soaps, I could anticipate some of the changes--I guess that is what happens when you've seen so many of them. In news, I am still figuring out the rhythm--what events will up-end a day only briefly, and which ones will have a more lasting effect, which occurrences will call for more people, and which will simply keep people a little busier, what days I will leave as scheduled, and what days I will be in for the long haul.

I suppose that any time we make a change, we are faced with learning new rules and new standards. My instincts about soaps and about studio production in general did not come about overnight. They were the result of many years immersed in the environment. And I suppose if I stay in news, I will, without even noticing, acquire a similar set of instincts. So, while sometimes, it is frustrating not to have those already, I realize it is just part of the process of staying "not washed up"--learning the new by building on the old, and being patient and persistent enough to appreciate the differences. Life will always throw us different monkey wrenches. It is up to us how we use the tools we have to react to them.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bringing In, Taking Out

So many of our hours are spent acquiring--acquiring a paycheck, acquiring the tools needed for a task or the wardrobe needed for an event, acquiring the ingredients needed for dinner (or dinner itself, if we're not up to cooking). It is satisfying to have what you need, and for some of us, the thrill of the chase to get it can be almost as satisfying as the acquisition.

Yet, there are days when the acquiring becomes too much. When "bringing in" just overwhelms the system, not to mention our small living spaces.

It is on those days (and it would probably be good if there were more of them) that we turn to taking out--the process of not acquiring, but unloading--unloading what we no longer need, unloading what reminds us of things we would choose to forget, unloading what gets in our way, both physically and mentally. While bringing in gives us what we need, I would venture to say that taking out sometimes gives us even more of what we need. Bringing in the right outfit for an event may make us feel confident for a few hours, but taking out wardrobe items that make us feel "off" on a regular basis can make us feel better for days. Bringing in lovely things to surround ourselves may give us moments of joy, but taking out the accumulated things that surround us too closely can give us hours of peace. Having what we need may be a comfort, but chipping away to uncover what we really need can be a revelation.

In the midst of ongoing days of bringing in, we had a day of taking out. It is small, and the visible difference it makes might be almost INvisible. But it has made a difference--a little space in our home for bringing in when we want to, and a little space in our minds to bring in new things when we need to.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

I Believe In

What do you believe in?

Do you believe in religion, or simply the comfort it gives you?

Do you believe in miracles, or simply hope for the best?

Do you believe in fate, or only in what you make happen?

Do you believe in stepping back, and letting things happen, or jumping in, and making them happen the way you want?

Do you believe in pushing harder or in encouraging more?

Do you believe in the importance of saying "no," or the power of saying "yes?"

Do you believe only in what you see, or also in what you WANT to see?

There are so many ways to believe, and so many things to believe in. And yet, the most powerful among them is believing in the best of someone we know. "Believing in" can bridge the gap between "can't" and "can," and the abyss between failure and success. Which means that it always matters to be able to say--to our friends, to our kids, to ourselves--"I believe in you."

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Only Here...And There

Tonight, I talked to Cuba. Okay, that makes it sound far more something than what it was. Quite simply, I talked to a producer who was in Cuba and was feeding footage from there to the record room where I was in New York. Just part of my day to day work, yet, when I say it out loud, it sounds, perhaps, bigger than what it feels like in the moment.

In soaps, there were all sorts of moments, big and small, that had me thinking "only here." There were musical groups, during whose performances I basically just did my job readying cameras and checking coverage. There were big stars, some of whom mattered to me. And there were smaller stars (like once, a kids' TV show star, recognized only by me!), who maybe mattered more. And there were all sorts of experiences that reminded me that certain things could only happen in a TV studio.

We go through our daily lives, doing our daily work, and if we are lucky, whether we work in TV or not, experiences come along once in a while that make life just a little more interesting, that make us realize that there is something special to where we are. We can write those things off as part of just another day. Or we can appreciate the little extra charge they put in our day-to-day.

I talked to Cuba tonight. And hey, you don't do that every day...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Emmy Time Again

The Daytime Emmy nominations came out today, and I am happy to see that they include lots of people I know--some on the few network soaps that are left, others for web series, and still others on talk shows or children's programs. So, while in my own life, the Daytime Emmys seem to be slipping farther and farther away each year, they are still quite present in the lives of many people with whom I've worked over the years.

When I was working at ABC, the Daytime Emmys consumed a great deal of our attention. For years, One Life to Live rarely managed to win much of anything, but later on, this changed, and I was thrilled to be a part of several winning teams. We, the AD/Editors, spent countless hours creating Emmy reels for all of the show's nominees--sometimes, as simple as formatting a show to specifications, sometimes compiling clips from many episodes if a category allowed for that. Each year, we put our best out there, and some years, we came home with the statues.

In all my years there, I attended the awards only a few times (during none of which we won). Mostly, I watched from home, or found out by text. Yet, the awards remained important in my TV life.

Today, when I read through the nominations, I was obviously happy for my friends whose jobs and shows were recognized. But I celebrated for them from an odd distance. The Daytime Emmys are no longer part of my own daily existence, and I don't know if they ever will be again. And that makes me a little sad, as if a door I didn't even know mattered closed behind me.

Things change constantly, so who knows where I will be when the nominations come out a year from now. So I suppose, for today, I simply celebrate my friends, the nominees, and leave next year to next year. When I may or may not be there when they announce "the nominees are..."

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Faltering...Not Falling

We've all been there. We do the research, do the networking, do the homework, make the choice, take the risk. And then what felt so close we could taste it evaporates before our eyes. We did everything right, but we didn't achieve the outcome we wanted. What do we do, then, when we have committed so much of our time and so much of our heart to something, and we are suddenly faced with a brick wall?

I would like to think that our willingness to throw ourselves so deeply into something new is our sign that we were looking for a change. Perhaps the change we went after was not quite the right one, or perhaps the timing just wasn't right. We can curl up and retreat to the old, or we can find new ways to create change. I would like to think that our ability to make the choice and do the homework is a reminder that we are capable of more than what we do every day, Perhaps we won't end up doing the "more" that we anticipated, but we can find other ways to do more.

Despite our best efforts, sometimes, we falter. When we do, do we let ourselves land in a heap, or do we remind ourselves why we were taking those big steps in the first place? Do we retreat, or do we forge ahead, just in a slightly different direction?

If we are to take steps, faltering just comes along with the process. It's in catching ourselves, and putting ourselves back in step, and back on track, that we make sure "falter" doesn't lead to "fall."

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On Our Own

As I read life updates from my former soap colleagues, I am reminded how much time has passed since my ending (and my beginning!) there, and how strong the bonds must have been, to make me moved even now. There have been marriages, and babies, and college, and college graduations, and transitions to careers in all sorts of directions, and each one grabs my attention.

As I read about others, I realize that I too am far from my soap roots. After years of relishing the mixture of production and editing, these days, I find myself mostly in edit rooms, because that is where the work is. These days, I am managing parenthood quite differently, and making my way through life without the routine that filled my days for so long. Perhaps part of me will never leave what I left (or did it leave me?), but most of me, I guess, has moved on. Because, whether we post about it or not, we all have found new paths. Whether we have been guided by choice or by chance, we all have created a world that still recalls where we once were together, but opens the door to the new worlds that we explore on our own.

As I read about my former soap colleagues, I smile and cry with their celebrations and challenges. We were together once, and now we're on our own. Or maybe, just a little, we're not actually on our own at all...

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


I emerged from a busy weekend, immediately aware of the people in heels and suits hurrying to work. And though I had a long list of tasks in my "notes" app, I was not racing toward an office. It is, I thought, moments like these that make me appreciate a freelance life, and make peace with my "anything but 9 to 5" schedule.

On a morning like this, I have time to do the laundry that never quite fit into our packed weekend. On a morning like this, I have time to restore order to the chaos that was left as everyone raced out the door. On a morning like this, I have the quiet to finish a project that has been hanging for far too long. On a morning like this, I can think clearly enough to update our calendar, so that it can help us when we're NOT thinking so clearly.

As I head off to work for 4pm or 5:30pm or midnight or whatever the time is today, I wonder how it is that my schedule can be so different from what seems like the rest of the world's. And then I think back on the morning. And the racing suited and heeled people I was so glad not to be. And I see that, as with most things in life, there are tradeoffs. Some days, I trade my quiet at-home evenings for a quiet at-home morning. Some days, I trade sleeping in my own bed for being available all day for my kids or the delivery person or the phone calls that can only be handled from 9 to 5.

Am I always happy with my trade? Were we always happy when we traded our PB and J sandwich for an apple? Tradeoffs don't always make us happy. But they do give us opportunities to see things from a different angle, and to face life a little differently. The tradeoffs allow us to see the racing heels and suits and know that we can just go home. They allow us to catch up in moments when we might otherwise fall behind. And they allow us to discover what works, even when we thought we already knew.

Each day, there are tradeoffs. We can long for the PB and J we traded away, or we can discover the joy of the apple we wouldn't otherwise have had. My guess is, we'll take a bite or two, and do a little bit of each.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Moms On A Bench

I found myself sitting on a bench, with moms older and younger than myself. Each of us had, at some point, been the one there in the trench with our young children, overseeing face painting, or game playing, or any number of other young kid related activities. Today, however, we were beyond that. Our kids now old enough to fend for themselves, we were no longer obligated, at least in that moment, to race, or chase, or otherwise be in charge of them. So there we were, just sitting. Moms on a bench.

In a moment of energy, I had a pang of guilt mixed with disappointment. How was it that I was suddenly past all of that? How was it that I was suddenly content to sit and chat and observe, rather than dive into the trench of messy food and messier activities? How had I suddenly become a mom on a bench?

The thing is, we are always moving past one stage or another, whether we are moms or workers or just people living in the world. We, and our view, will always be changing. We can perhaps mourn what is lost, as I found myself doing just a little bit from my spot on the bench, or we can celebrate what once was, and the fact that we are on that bench surrounded by the people who make up what now is in our lives.

For a short time, I was a mom on a bench, on the sidelines, while the kids I helped get to this point were doing their own thing. I was a mom on a bench, on the sidelines, but surrounded by the teammates I have come to know while playing this kind of crazy game. I was a mom on a bench, waiting for my next turn to go in, perhaps storing up my energy, and knowing that my time to make the next play isn't over. It's just waiting to come.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Because You Just Do

You stay awake when you're tired...because you just do.

You make breakfast for your kids, even when they can't say what they want...because you just do.

You transport to here and from there, even when you feel as though you can barely transport yourself out the door...because you just do.

You smile instead of crying until you have to cry so that you can smile again...because you just do.

You offer more, even when you've already given a lot...because you just do.

You get up early when you have to, but go to sleep early when you can...because you just do.

You manage when it's hard to manage...because you just do.

You see the best of things, perhaps not always, but as often as you can...because you just do.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

So Little Time

I arrive at work just before midnight to start an eight hour shift. In order to survive being awake all night, it is important to sleep during the day. Today, however, I have barely slept at all. I am a reasonably intelligent person. I know what it takes to survive. But some days, there's just so much to do, and so little time.

I maybe should have been sleeping...but there was coffee and conversation to be had with a friend.

I maybe should have been sleeping...but there was sunshine to take in and fresh air to breathe.

I maybe should have been sleeping...but there were problems to solve, and mistakes to fix.

I maybe should have been sleeping...but there were days to hear about and projects to help with.

I maybe should have been sleeping...but there was dinner to eat together and laughter to share.

I maybe should have been sleeping...but there was so much to do, and so little time. Which means the night's eight hours might be hard to survive. But when there's so little time, and so much to do, maybe what we should be doing is not being so intelligent that we sleep. Maybe what we should be doing is just making the most of what sometimes feels like so little time.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Out Of Context

I once thought that at a certain point in my life, I'd be at a certain level of work and salary. I once thought that at a certain point in my life, I'd have a certain degree of power, a certain amount of control. I once thought that at a certain point in my life, things would look, well, different than they do now.

The problem is, often how we think things will be is a thought in a vacuum. We can't always know that circumstances totally unrelated to us will change, and that those actually related to us will shift too. We envision based on the context of the current "now," but our reality is determined by the context of the "now" of the future.

My current life doesn't look quite like what I imagined as I sat in a soap control room. My current life doesn't look quite like the kids' TV world I envisioned when the soaps were ending. Some days, my current life doesn't even look like what I planned two weeks ago. But when I put it all into the context of now, what I imagined, or envisioned, or planned isn't what really matters. What matters is that, in the context of "now," what I am doing is working--or at least working as best as is currently possible.

We may not always get what we wanted, or what we thought we wanted. But when we put our wants in the context of "now," we can come a lot closer to getting what works.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Still Not Washed Up Yet?

I suppose it is the truest indication of my having lost track of days that a work night and most of a recovery day went by without my posting a blog. Sometimes, the gaps of time just aren't enough. Sometimes, it is the gaps of mind that are really needed, and sometimes, they just aren't there.

I remember when I began this blog, I suddenly felt just removed enough from the end of the ABC soaps to be able to write about my experiences with them. I had time to explore and things to prove, and stories to tell, and thus, Not Washed Up Yet was born. That was three and a half years ago.

This is not a farewell post. On the contrary, it is perhaps a confirmation that Not Washed Up Yet will continue. For, if we, at any age, and in any circumstance, can continue to believe that we are not washed up yet, we must also accept that doing what we want to do won't always be easy. There will be obstacles--competition for our time, attention, and brain power. There will be challenges that make us wonder if we can keep moving forward. There will be adventures that capture our focus and defeats that shake our confidence. But then there will be the parts of our existence that keep us going--family, friends, and commitments to things we love to do.

So, sometimes better late than never, Not Washed Up Yet is still alive and well. Because even after all these years, there are still stories to tell, and time to explore, and things to prove. And that is the cost, and the advantage, of being not washed up yet.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016


A friend commended me today for "putting myself firstish some of the time." Firstish, because I had made a decision sort of for myself, but for the me whose choices would affect other people. "Firstish," I thought. "Now if that's not a blogworthy word, what is?"

We go through life, making choices daily. Our choices are about money and time and who to please and what we need to do. And along the way, people tell us to make sure we put ourselves first sometimes--that we go for a massage, or have a manicure, or do whatever it is that is just for ourselves. It is, perhaps, a valid thought. In the midst of doing for everyone else, we should make sure to do for ourselves, put ourselves first.

What I am realizing is that maybe I am not actually that comfortable with "first." When my friend said "firstish," it rang true for me in a way that "first" never really has. "Firstish" means choosing what feels good for yourself, but also feels right in the big picture of family. "Firstish" means going with your instincts and your values, but bringing others along for the ride. "Firstish" means making yourself happy, but not always by being at the front of the line or on top of the heap.

Perhaps someday, I will look back and wonder if I made the right choices, if I protected myself adequately, if I came out on top enough. And then I will remember that "firstish" was the choice that kept me balanced. That "firstish" kept me going when "first" would have just gotten me stuck. That "firstish" kept me connected to people, rather than separated and alone.

There's nothing wrong with running the race, even running it quickly. But sometimes, finishing "firstish" ensures you the best time of all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Changing The Clock

I keep hearing people say that they are a little off-balance from the weekend's daylight saving clock change. While I have generally found the first few days of later light strange, I have never really thought about an adverse reaction to the change, but I suppose it makes sense--the clock changing messes with our expectations of how the world around us is supposed to look, while depriving us of a precious hour of sleep (though this year, I was working overnight, so missed no sleep, but got no sleep either!). How could this one-two punch NOT leave us feeling a little off-balance?

Within a short time, I am sure we will all adjust to--and enjoy--the longer evenings, the daylight that lasts till (if you work days) your work is over and beyond. It is simply the change that confuses our systems, and I suppose that is true of any change. Even if we consider ourselves the most flexible, adaptable people we know, none of us is immune to feeling unsteady when we have to handle change. Change forces us to learn new skills and new rules. It forces us to keep our eyes open, sometimes way too wide, and our feet moving, sometimes way too fast.

For me, the last few years have come with almost constant change, so it's probably no wonder that my eyes are sometimes tired and my feet are sometimes worn out. I have seen and chased all sorts of new things, and for that, I am grateful, but the changes have sometimes left me a bit the same as daylight saving leaves us all--happy, but somewhat off-balance.

Clocks changing will happen again, as will change in our lives in all sorts of forms. And I suppose the best we can do is sleep in the hours we have and keep those eyes and feet ready to go. Because, whether it's springing ahead or falling behind, changing is here to stay.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Over, And Under, And Through

I don't know how many among my readers have seen the Grover song "Over, Under, and Through." Consisting largely of the repeated lyric "Around, around, around, around. Over, and under, and through," it is one of those pieces of Sesame Street genius that teaches a lesson (in this case, prepositions), and leaves you laughing all the way. Furry Grover (one of my personal favorites) navigates all sorts of paths, each having a best way to go, and therefore, a best preposition. Along the way, we also realize that some paths can have multiple reasonable approaches, and that is what brought the song to mind today.

Today, I began what most people consider "a day" having just finished an overnight shift. Often, my day would then continue with a nap, and a few hours later, I might feel even with the members of the world who had actually slept all night. But a nap was not to be. There was too much to be done to stop for the hours a nap would take, so before I knew it, I was barreling THROUGH. I couldn't really get AROUND IT. If I stopped, I would be UNDER the gun to be where I needed to be, and the the requirements of the day simply demanded that I get OVER my tiredness and just move on. Consequently, I found myself alternating between kind of sleepwalking through the streets and drifting on and off buses and careening through conversations and obstacles and decisions, not unlike Grover, who, by the end of the song, is navigating his path pretty quickly (though a bit recklessly), and in all sorts of different ways.

Perhaps next time, the nap would be the smarter choice. Yet, when we, like Grover, make it work in all kinds of different ways, we learn that we are capable of a bit more than we thought. We are more creative problem-solvers than we ever imagined. And we are successful navigators, whether we are sporting furry blue arms or the clothes we've been wearing all night.

We generally can manage more than we think, even when our circumstances feel beyond us. We can manage, that is, as long as we are sometimes willing to go "around, around, around, around, over and under and through."

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Punctuating Days

There are days filled with exclamation points--of excitement, or conflict, or disaster. There are days filled with commas--lists of things to do and things that just go on. There are days filled with periods--the signs of choices having been made, and fate having been accepted. And there are days filled with question marks, when it seems as though no decision will ever be made, no resolution ever accomplished. Most of the time, however, days are a mixture of all of these kinds of punctuation, a combination of absolute certainty and profound uncertainty, a roller coaster of calm and excitement, and an ongoing to-do, to-think, and to-feel list.

And then there was today, which perhaps included all of these, but which added one more. Today, in between the "!!!" of working overnight on both ends and the ",,," of getting things done, there was the "..." of sleep. For a few necessary hours, in between all the other necessities, there was sleep, a pause--an ellipsis of sorts--to rest, to process, to prepare for the punctuation ahead.

We might believe that the best way to live is in exclamation points, making the most of every life moment. We might count on question marks to make sure we find all the right information. We might feel most secure when we can live by periods, or most productive when we work with a lot of commas.

But sometimes, "..." is the healthiest thing we can do for ourselves. When we allow ourselves that pause in the action, we recharge to ready ourselves for the other punctuation. And, after all, what's a good life story without some really powerful punctuation?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Up To Me

It is up to me to find enough daytime sleep to survive working overnight.

It is up to me to learn what is needed and when and to submit it properly and on time.

It is up to me to try to do what is best for myself and what is best for everyone else.

It is up to me to see about breakfast, to see about lunch, to see about dinner.

It is up to me to protect and defend my kids, while teaching them how to protect and defend themselves.

It is up to me to bring home some of the proverbial bacon, and to fry it up in the proverbial pan.

A lot is up to me. So it is also up to me to find the people who will understand and help make it possible. For, to have the power of "up to me," we also have to have the peace of "in it with you." So it's up to me to have the coffee, to ask for the help, to let it, for a few minutes, not be all up to me.

Because when it comes down to it, "up to me" works a lot better when there are friends around to help hold up the me it's up to.

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Chill Of The Chase

Do you ever feel as though each of your days is about chasing? Chasing the next gig, chasing the homework your kids need to finish, chasing bills and fitness and and a desire for security?

The problem with chasing, in addition to the fact that it wears you out, is that sometimes, you are running so fast on your chase that you are far afield by the time you realize you've been chasing the wrong rabbit.

It seems as though the goal used to be "going after"--going after the best opportunities and the most exciting or fulfilling endeavors. "Going after" is a worthy goal. Yet, when there are so many things to "go after," both for ourselves and for our families, it's often just not possible to "go after" in the way we might want. Instead, we "go after" within the constraints of twenty-four already full hours. Instead, we "go after" what hits our ears the loudest or stands in our path the most firmly. And that kind of "going after" tends to become chasing.

I did a lot of chasing today, and when the day was done, it felt as though I'd spent most of my time chasing the wrong things. Sometimes, when you're running too fast, it's hard to know. Perhaps tomorrow, I will look a little longer before I start chasing. There may not be much time. But often, "going after" ends up to be a better use of that time than chasing...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The All-Powerful

It was not a place of power--the dentist chair. It is, perhaps, a place of the least power possible, where sharp tools remind you of all you haven't been doing well enough on your own, and where even your ability to speak up on your own behalf is impaired. Yet, as I spent an hour in said chair, I began to feel unbelievably powerful. I could do nothing to change the adjustments that were being made in my mouth, but I was doing what needed to be done. And at the same time, I couldn't, so didn't have to, be responsible for anything else. For an hour, I couldn't check my email or answer a text. I couldn't clean my apartment or handle anything for my kids, because I was in the dentist chair, doing what needed to be done.

Most minutes of most days, we are consumed with all we have to do and all we haven't done well enough. And that can be exhausting. And demoralizing. How often do we simply not live up to all we expect of ourselves, and what others expect of us? Yet, in the dentist chair, all that is expected is that we sit still, that we "open" or "close" or "bite" when instructed to do so. So, for an hour, though we may be in pain, it is pain that will be over. For an hour, we don't have to be powerful, or successful. We just have to be there.

I may not always feel all-powerful, but today I had the opportunity to pause from trying to be. And to think that I was just going to have a cavity filled...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Reminders, And Moving On

While I generally live in the here and now, every so often, an anniversary approaches, and I am reminded of a time or experience past. And so it was that as I caught Grand Central Station out of the corner of my eye, I thought back to my days commuting to "soap camp" in Stamford. It was three years ago this month that that adventure began--three years that seem both a blink and a lifetime. Three years ago, the daily trek to Stamford was the answer to a prayer for work, after many months of wondering if I should just give up "this television thing." Three years ago, I was eating at cafeteria tables with friends and colleagues from a lifetime of work, and believing that we might be on the forefront of the new TV. Three years ago, the daily return from Stamford landed me at Grand Central at all sorts of hours and made me keenly aware of the "real time" of the commute.

Three years have passed, and these days, I am quite far from "soap camp." I wonder (as I suppose we do on all sorts of anniversaries) what choices I would have made if the timing of that adventure had been different. I wonder what would have happened if the endeavor had lasted. I wonder who I would be without the experiences I have had over these last three years.

The anniversary will come and go, as anniversaries do, and I will continue to live in the here and now, because that is what I do. That first trip, three years ago, was a big moment for me in so many ways. Yet, big moments come along every day, if we let them. Those six months, three years ago, were an experience that will stay with me for years. But perhaps, in one way or another, every experience stays with us, each informing the next, and building the person who moves on.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Grand Central, and I am reminded. And then I keep moving on...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Bars and Tone

I stare at the bars and tone, the image of colored stripes that people in television have used to calibrate video color for years. I used to say that the tone, an endlessly long beep of sorts, was cleansing. While it would drive some people crazy, for me, it was able to cut through all the crazy. It was direct, and steady, and it called you to attention.

Today, the bars and tone I have fixated on are simply a placeholder, the video that fills a monitor when no other video is being fed to it. And the volume is muted, so there is no tone. But even so, the image gives me a sense of history. While the video on which I have worked in my career has been quite varied, the bars and tone have remained essentially the same. Maybe I am just looking for some common thread. Or maybe this means that all of it is really essentially the same. Whether you are working on drama or comedy or music or news, you still use color bars. And whether you are working on drama or comedy or music or news, you are still telling a story.

So, perhaps that is why the bars and tone are so comforting. They are a reminder of where I've been, and a reminder that what, some days, feels so different isn't really so different at all.

Look closely--you can see a lot in the color bars...

Monday, March 7, 2016

Defining Our Days

It is another day when the weekend blends into the week, when the line between weekend activities and weekday ones becomes blurred, when I am reminded that, when defining our days, all we can really do is manage the "what is" part of our lives...

I sleep late (well, later), because there are no kids to get off to school, but I dress for work.

I buy groceries, because there is an overlap of our free time, and you don't miss taking advantage of an overlap in that little Venn diagram of family life.

I work, because that is how it laid out this week.

I have a little less coffee, but drink it slower, because I am well-rested, but not racing.

I plan for the week, because we all must live by the week to come, even if my "week" has already begun.

I crawl into bed for my end of weekend sleep, even though for me, it is just another night in a series of days defined by the fact that they simply blend together...

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Few Little Things

The text that tells me if the bus is coming, or if I'll be choosing whether to wait in the dark or take a cab. 

The extra minutes to breathe, because baseball practice got moved just a little later. 

The stolen minutes of sleep, even if the laundry got started later than scheduled. 

The fellow parent, who assures me that the shoes I bought my child will be just fine. Really. 

The child who puts away his or her clean laundry on the first ask. 

The purple pen, that just makes me happy. 

The coworker who says "thank you," and means it. 

The hug out of the blue, and the extra one, just because. 

Sometimes, it really is the little things...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Getting In, Part 8: My Frenemy, The Mailbox

While I know that is still weeks before we will have a mailbox full of thin and fat envelopes from all the college application time and money we put in months ago, I unlock the small box each day, believing that I will pull out some good or bad piece of news. Almost more compelling than my ongoing wish to discover an envelope containing a million dollar check, this desire is full of so many emotions--concern for where my daughter will end up and how we'll pay for it, angst about how good a job we did with the lists and the essays, how the decisions will affect all of our self-esteem. And perhaps, most of all, the need for relief from all the limbo.

I suppose we live a lot of our lives in limbo--somehow, always waiting for information or opportunities we don't yet have. It can be debilitating--always checking the mailbox, looking around the corner, wondering what will be. So, while my current love/hate relationship with my mailbox will be over in a few weeks, the limbo of life will go on, perhaps indefinitely. And perhaps that is a lesson that both the bound for college and the way beyond college among us just have to learn.

It's just part of getting in...and of getting through.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Where Credit Is Due

To the woman who kept me from getting hit by a cab that ran a red light on my way to work--

Thank you, for reminding me that arriving safely is more important than arriving on time.

Thank you, for reminding me that things going wrong shouldn't make you let other things go more wrong.

Thank you, for reminding me that my family just wants me to get home, no matter what time it is, and whether or not I've earned money.

Thank you, for reminding me that we New Yorkers ARE paying attention.

Thank you, for reminding me to stop and think sometimes, instead of just rushing and worrying all the time.

To the woman who stopped me from stepping in front of that cab, as firmly as I would have done with my own children, who made it possible for me to get to work and to get home, and to remember what is really important--thank you.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Me I Am (Another Installment In A Continuing Saga)

The me I am is still trying to reconcile the home time I got used to when I was out of work with the working time now that I am working.

The me I am is still trying to keep up with changes that seem to happen even faster than when my kids were babies.

The me I am is still trying to do it all, and realizing that it still just isn't possible to do it all.

The me I am is still trying to find new ways and try new things, but is discovering that new is not so simple when you're trying to do it all.

The me I am is enjoying new vantage points and new management of time, but is still challenged to see everything and fit everything into a day.

The me I am mourns the loss of the me I was, but tries to enjoy the me I am.

The me I am seems to be changing every day. Which makes me wonder--who is the me I will be?

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Me I Was

The me I was had other people pick up my kids, except on the rare occasion that I finished work early enough to be anywhere.

The me I was bought groceries only online or on weekends, as there were rarely any weekday hours for such endeavors.

The me I was lived with a clear split between work and home, with full trust in a sitter at home and full dedication to my work at work.

The me I was saw schools primarily on conference and event days.

The me I was couldn't ever figure out whether I fit better with the mommies or the nannies.

The me I was thought everything went along pretty smoothly...

As we, and our circumstances, change, often daily, we are probably never the me's we once were. We adapt, we adjust, we manage. And before we know it, we have become different people, with different schedules, different priorities, different emotions. And though we may mourn the loss of the me's we once were, we can also celebrate the me's we now are...

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Spaces Of Time

Working in soaps bought me the dream of a lifetime. It bought me on the job training and days with creative people. It bought me a stable bank account and a studio full of lifelong friends and the envy of people I knew who worked in much less exciting jobs.

What it also bought me was a place where I could be busy, often nonstop, for hours. Talk to anyone in film who has watched soap production, and you will see the amazement at the amount of material covered in a day, and the rate of speed at which the production (and pre- and post-production) moves. It was, and still in a few places, is, a genre that trains you to think and act quickly.

While I probably walked in the One Life To Live door already inclined to think and work quickly, my skills in that area only got better, to the point that, both inside and outside of work, I was on overdrive, always looking to get more done in an hour, more done in a day.

That skill set has served me well working in news, where "getting it out" quickly can be one of the most important elements. It has served me well in other areas, where picking up new programs quickly is essential, or where culling through large amounts of footage would otherwise bury me. The only place, in fact, where it has not served me, is in the waiting game. Whether it is waiting for a response, or waiting for footage, or waiting for the next project, I am practically hard-wired to stay in motion, making the sitting and waiting unbelievably difficult. I'm used to moving forward, so it hurts to stand still. I'm used to generating fifty-plus shot scenes or an hour-long edited show in a day, so it makes me twitch to be left hanging.

There is nothing wrong with the training I received. For the long haul, I suspect it will allow me to accomplish more than I would have otherwise in my work and in my life. Sometimes, I guess I just need to put that training aside--to accept that the world won't always move that quickly. That information and progress won't always happen in a steady stream. So that, if I am to survive, I need to use the time, but also accept and appreciate the spaces of time along the way.