Saturday, April 30, 2016

Games of Chance

We enter a ticket lottery. We play an arcade game (or 2 or 65). We buy raffle tickets, believing we might acquire a valuable item for just a dollar. Once in a while, we win. More often, we lose. But not much seems to deter us from taking the chance again.

It could be argued that we have wasted all sorts of time and money on results that will never be. Yet, I would prefer to argue that we have invested in possibility. After all, isn't every resume we send into the world at least in part a game of chance? Aren't most of our excursions to places we've never seen an iffy proposition? Isn't every match we play or competition we enter at least a little bit affected by chance? If we were to do, move, or act only on the "sure things," only on the things that we could truly control, would we really do very much in our lives? If we never took a chance, how much of a chance would we really have?

We can play it safe, or we can take a chance. We can kick in a bit of pocket change and walk away with something more valuable, or simply the thrill of having played. Each time we walk out the door (and even when we don't), we can be entering a game of chance. It's up to us whether we choose to play only the chances we have to, or the ones we enjoy as well.

Friday, April 29, 2016


I take the same steps or the same train or the same snacks for a few days in a row, and I begin to believe they could become a habit.

I eat the same breakfast at the same time each day, and I begin to believe I could do it with my eyes closed.

I hear the same "Do your homework," "No more screens," "Clean up your room" come out of my mouth, and I begin to believe I might as well be pre-recorded.

I go through the motions of job and hygiene and parenthood, some days while my brain is busy thinking completely different thoughts, and I begin to believe that my autopilot must work pretty well.

Believe me, my life is far from the mindless existence I have described here. But sometimes, it is a relief to have parts of your life that you've done so many times, you don't have to think through every moment. Sometimes, it is refreshing to put on the autopilot and let your brain take an excursion to great thoughts, or simply different surroundings.

Sure, drive actively, with both eyes on the road and your foot on the pedal most of the time. But make sure to keep your autopilot in working order--you never know when it will come in very handy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


More and more often, I am reading that former colleagues, either on their own or with other former colleagues, are making movies, and web series, and plays, and pilots. Not only do they have ideas, they also have the drive to pull together the financial and human resources to see their projects to fruition. In a world in which we are so often just pieces of a bigger puzzle, they have managed, at least for a time, to be independent.

I used to think that independence was about having your own ideas, about creating and developing original content. Yet, while there is most certainly independence in that, the ultimate independence is in being to execute those ideas. It is fantastic to have ideas, but without the wherewithal--be it organizational or financial or logistical--to bring those ideas to life, they are simply file cards in your head.

As a person who has spent years with numerous file cards in my head, I cheer those who are getting it out and getting it done. Not only are they employing, for simple satisfaction or for pay, many amazing people with whom I have worked, they are filling screens and stages with new and interesting options for all of us. And they are reminding us, while we sometimes are just getting by, how important it is sometimes to be independent.


My kids are determined to do all sorts of exciting things on their vacation. We are not away, as I am working, but nonetheless, they have no intention of letting this time slip by without their accomplishing great things.

As I struggle to keep up with their wants and needs (between the naps I have to take to survive working overnights), I remind them that not every vacation can be wall-to-wall fun-filled. But then, I think of all the uneventful days I took off from One Life to Live (or any job, for that matter). The truth is, there have been very few of them. As a freelancer (i.e., a person who makes money only when she works), I have for years remained reluctant to take off days just to sit around. On the contrary, days off have been for occasions, for appointments, and for parent-teacher conferences. They have been for trips for some or all of us. They have been when I was too sick (and that's pretty sick) to work.

And so, perhaps it is not that surprising that my kids are looking for more than just down-time from their busy schedules. They are looking for the full value of their time off, whether that means seeing friends or exploring places off their beaten track. There will be time for just time--for now, I guess they figure there are better things to do.

Have they been listening to or watching me all these years? Or is it simply seeing friends on vacation? Are they destined to become tied-to-their-work freelancers, as I have been, or will they actually be better at taking time just for the sake of time?

I grab a coffee and muster the energy to up the vacation game. And maybe along the way, I am learning a little bit from them about using time to the fullest when I have it...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

And The Dust Clears...

It has been a week since my daughter's star turn, and the flowers she received are reminding my sinuses daily that it is time to move on. But knowing and doing can be two very different things. It feels much safer to cling on to the good that has passed than to face the unknown that is ahead. It feels much better to celebrate what has been accomplished than to jump into new challenges.

But in the spirit of clearing the dust, I toss some of the flowers that have died. In the spirit of facing the new, I unload bags of clothes from former lives. In the spirit of moving on, I try to focus on the events of today, rather than dwell on the events of a week ago.

Don't be fooled--this is not easy. Shedding the past, whether it is the past of a week ago or the past of 20+ years, calls upon us to let go, at least a little, of the good, and to make peace with the not so good. Letting go of the past can make us feel both lighter and emptier at the same time. But if we are to move forward, to be able to savor the present, we can't cling too tightly to what is past, whether that is clothes that once fit, or a moment that once consumed us.

In the midst of my letting go, a video of my daughter's show appears, and I absorb and share it with glee. But the elimination of dead flowers and non-fitting clothes continues, and little by little, the dust clears...

Monday, April 25, 2016

Past Over

One of my favorite things about Passover is the opportunity to talk to family members we don't often get to see. Over course after course of traditional (and sometimes not so traditional) food, we catch each other up on work and kids' activities and just where we stand in the world since the last time we saw each other. If I am lucky, we play a kind of musical chairs as dinner goes on, so that my conversation partners change constantly. With so many different points of view, I inevitably come away from the meal with not only a full stomach, but also a wide variety of new perspectives on almost any issue over which I have been puzzling. Sometimes, I am doing a completely different job than I was the last time I saw people. Often, I am handling an entirely different parenting challenge. Whatever the circumstances, presenting them to new listeners both makes me hear them differently and makes me see more clearly what they mean.

It has been many years now since my conversation was about the demise of the soaps, and perhaps it is actually because of that passage of time that I have come to appreciate Passover conversations so much. In some small way, my life has become one of constant movement and change, much like the story of Passover. So, while every day, it may feel as though I have settled in, each year, I have the opportunity to assess where I have been and where I am going. The past may be over, but my Passover conversations always manage to remind me that there is a future. And that I can, if I choose, actually have control of that future. And that is part of the festive meal that sends me home each year feeling very full indeed.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spinning Support

I stand, holding a somewhat ridiculous looking pole with a ball-like structure on its end. And over and over, my son wallops the ball-like structure, often sending me spinning until it is time for the next hit. It is almost worthy of a video, but I'm sure it is not nearly as funny on a little screen as it is in my head. Either way, for a split second in time, I am able to contribute to something one of my kids likes to do.

We spend years hoping that our children will find a passion, that they will discover activities that they love (and that we can manage and afford). And then, when they do, we are faced with supporting them in those endeavors--attending performances and games, attempting to keep up in conversations about topics far beyond our own knowledge, and sometimes, even helping with practice. It can be dizzying. And in this case, it literally was, as the force of the bat against the practice pole sent me spinning more than once. But how many of us are where we are now because someone hung in with us? How many of us were able to pursue our passions because someone--or a series of someones--supported us financially or emotionally to get us where we wanted to go? It isn't always easy to hold that "practice pole." But sometimes, it is the putting ourselves out there, the allowing ourselves to be spun around a little, that lets us really understand. Sometimes, it is the allowing ourselves to be immersed, even just for a moment, that enables our kids to step closer to their goals.

So, as I whirl around, spun by a bat swing that gets stronger and stronger, I am glad to be a part, holding steady the pole that helps support a child's dream.

Saturday, April 23, 2016


I have had a breakthrough. I can now arrive home from overnight work and go to sleep, soundly, for three hours, in daylight, with no effort at all. Now I just have to figure out how to make three hours enough.

I have had a breakthrough. I can now work effortlessly on an editing system that used to feel like a daily adjustment from the one I had used for years. Now I just have to make sure I can go back the other way if I need to.

I have had a breakthrough. I can now make breakfasts and lunches practically with my eyes closed. Just nothing with a knife.

I have had a breakthrough. I can now survive the highs and lows of parenting without getting too high and low myself. Yeah, okay. I'm actually still working on that one.

I have had a breakthrough. I can now do walks to the one of my kids' schools that is walkable in eleven and a half minutes flat. Now I just have to work on the tired-legs return trip not being twenty-five.

I have had a breakthrough. I am no longer overwhelmed by changing schedules and worrying what day it is. Now I just have to make sure everything makes it to the calendar so that I can actually keep track of schedules and what day it is.

When you're a parent, and a working person, and someone making sure to be "not washed up yet," breakthroughs are important. They are a reminder that you are never really stuck, no matter how stuck you sometimes feel. They are a reminder that you can still handle the new, and the challenging, and the parts of life that seem to change every day. So, let's hear it--what's your latest breakthrough?

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Tricky Part

I pick up and show up--as if that's all I had to do. The tricky part is, that's only half of my twenty-four hour day.

I sleep and shower, in amounts that perhaps reach equivalence with normalcy. The tricky part is, the sleep is in tiny packages and the shower is in the afternoon on the run.

I am present, visible to my kids at dinner time and textable when they have a question. The tricky part is, while I might be here, I'm not always "here."

I am productive, earning money, keeping house. The tricky part is, I am sometimes doing both through what I can only call a "fog filter."

Schedule change is workable. It is. The tricky part is, I can pretend I am the same person, no matter what my schedule, but anyone can see that I'm really not.

Being up for most of a twenty-four hour day makes for getting a lot done. The tricky part is, you have to be pretty coherent for all twenty-four hours to make sure what's done is well done.

Staying on my toes as life shifts below me teaches me how to maintain balance. The tricky part is, learning balance can be largely about learning how to live unbalanced.

When I succeed, or at least manage, against long odds, I can feel my ability growing. The tricky part is, it can be hard to know how much growth is too much.

Our lives just march on, whether we feel that we can keep up or not. It can be tricky. But if we are a little tricky in return, the tricky is actually what makes us powerful. And the power helps us get past that next tricky situation.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Winning, And Losing, And Playing The Game

I sit at a little league game, the most silent among the parents in the stands. While I may be rooting for my child and his team inside, I tend not to scream to or at my child, who likely wouldn't hear me anyway, or to or at the other parents, who might hear me but would just scream back, louder than I'd like to hear. It's not that I don't care. It's just that I express my care in different ways.

My child's team loses today--a combination of bad luck and some not so great play choices. I should probably be upset. Perhaps I should wonder why my son or his team didn't do better. Yet, I find that most of the time, if he walks away somewhat energized and somewhat exercised, that is enough for me.

Is it more fun to walk away the winner (or the parent of the winner)? I suppose. I know I never wanted to travel to awards ceremonies from which I would go home empty-handed. But not winning never kept me from wanting to do my job. The work was enjoyable on its own, just as baseball is fun for my son, whether he wins or not.

So, as he walks off the field, a bit dirty, but none the worse for wear, I am grateful that he is able to do something that he enjoys. And that, for him, and for me, it's not always about winning or losing. It's about how he plays the game.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Mornings After

It was only after we shot the last scenes of OLTL at ABC that I really understood what it meant for it to be over.

It was only after I stopped taking the train to Stamford each day that I realized what "soap camp" had given me--and what it had taken away.

It was only after I finished almost two years on my first news job that I discovered what I was carrying in my back pocket when I walked away.

It was only after I had a child that I really understood making choices.

It was only after I had a circus full of kids that I came to know that almost everything turns out to be a choice, whether it is you who gets to make the choices or not.

And thus, perhaps it is not so surprising that today, when the show is over, I realize how much "just enjoy it all" I am now missing and how much "just get it done" there is to catch up on.

Sometimes, you just can't know until the morning after...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Clutching The Moment

I am a little careful here--to share a lot, without exposing too much. To invite the reader in, but not leave the door wide open. Yet, there are days when what I have experienced overwhelms all. Whether it's a coffee meeting that has left me with warm feelings or new insights, or a gig that made my blood rush, or simply a moment in time that moved me, sometimes feeling overtakes thought, and the result ends up here.

And so, today, I am filled with thoughts of the production of Shrek, in which my daughter performed this weekend. I suppose it is not so surprising that I am humming the songs, as I saw the show four times. I suppose it is not so surprising that I was enamored, given the combination of talent and cuteness that filled the show, and given that my own child was an integral part.

As the weekend went on, I discovered that I had given myself over, not just to executing the logistics involved in getting my daughter and the requisite supplies there and back, but to the show itself. I was transported, each and every time. And now that I am back, I can't help but try to clutch the moment. Wish that I could hold on to it just a little bit longer, savor it just a little bit more. It is one of a handful of moments in my life that are destined to be replayed, over and over, to try to make the feeling last just a little longer.

I could be incredibly sad, and perhaps I will be. As tightly as we clutch, we can't hold on to moments for very long. Or I can be happy, for having had a moment that is worth clutching. For the opportunity to see, and feel, and enjoy. And for the power of clutching something that may fade, but was worth holding, even just for a moment.

Intrusion Of Reality

I believe there was a time when time could be set aside--broken up, so that occasions were occasions, and everyday was everyday. Now, there is almost always the intrusion of reality.

I believe there was a time when we could lose ourselves in the moment--escape into the good or the bad without looking forward or back. Now, there is almost always the intrusion of reality.

I believe there was a time when catering to a child, fulfilling all needs, took precedence over everything, allowing me to shut out whatever wasn't that child. Now, there is almost always the intrusion of reality.

I believe that there are still times when we can, and should, close out the world, so that we can focus where we want, when we want. Perhaps there will always be the intrusion of reality. But how we handle that intrusion--perhaps we simply have to be more careful about opening the door...

Sunday, April 17, 2016

A Perfect Plan

It was perfect--times that laid out well enough that I could do good for a series of people, and locations and routes I could manage. (Hey, this college thing has turned me in to a practically perpetual road tripper. I am fearless. Sort of.)

But perfect is rarely how anything turns out. Perfect would be if One Life to Live had never been cancelled. But wait. If One Life to Live had never been cancelled, there are all sorts of people I never would have met and jobs I never would have done and time I never would have been able to spend with my kids. Perfect would be if my daughter had gotten into every college to which she applied. But wait. If she had gotten into every one, she would have been hard-pressed to choose among them. Perfect would be if I had endless time for coffee with friends. But wait. If I had endless time for coffee with friends, that would likely mean that I was unemployed or underemployed, and that my friends maybe were too.

So, while we may look for perfect a lot of the time, the imperfect that we more often find may actually make us happier. At the very least, it exposes us to challenges that make us stronger, and the real success that can come to us when we are strong.

Today, the plan was perfect. And then it wasn't. And if it had been perfect, what would I be writing about, right about now...?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Another Opening Of Another Show

I make my way through my day--errands to run, a semi-typical set of drop-offs and pickups and text exchanges and follow ups. And then at seven o'clock, I settle in to a theater seat for a musical. And before I know it, my child, and close to thirty others, have entertained me for two and a half hours.

I have seen my children in shows before. Obviously, I am proud of their accomplishments and supportive of their endeavors. I manage the calendar, and I schlep when needed. But somehow, this performance is a little different. Perhaps it is that with all the directions I am going myself these days, I have barely heard any practice or seen any of the rehearsal process. Maybe it is that it is a bigger part, or a bigger stretch. Or maybe, just maybe, I am watching with eyes that have changed since the last "opening night." Whatever the reason, this "opening night" leaves me overwhelmed--at all that has gone into what I see on stage, on how many people's contributions have made it happen, and at, of course, my own child's part in it all.

The production (Shrek The Musical) runs all weekend, and I will see it several more times. I imagine the remaining performances will all be terrific. But for now, I savor the feeling of that very first performance--another opening of another show.

Friday, April 15, 2016


I am unprepared, when I wake just before the alarm even goes off, having slept either too much, or not nearly enough.

I am unprepared, when I leave the house for school drop-offs and work, having made everyone's lunch but my own.

I am unprepared, when the grocery where I go to rectify this situation seems to have only high-sodium or high-calorie or overly virtuous no-taste solutions.

I am unprepared, when the train that always comes doesn't come, and I have to make the choice of what train to take and how far to walk.

I am unprepared, when the day I seemed to be racing into seems to come to a screeching halt, and then become so busy that it is over before I know it.

I am unprepared, when I head home in time for dinner, and bedtime, and all the things that recently I've not been home so much for.

There are days when we face the world feeling as though we have prepared all our lives to do so. And there are days, like this one, that can make us wonder whether we have lived in the world at all. The challenge is making it through on those days when we feel completely unprepared--making the right choices, when it feels impossible to do so, bouncing back from change, when it feels hard to bounce at all, adjusting to avoid, or embrace, things we just weren't prepared to handle.

Today, I felt unprepared at every turn. Yet, I made it to the end, mostly in one piece. So maybe, just maybe, I was more prepared than I thought.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

All In The Pacing

Did you know that editing clips just a little more tightly together gives the viewer a completely different feeling than received when the clips run at a slower pace? That's probably my favorite part of editing--its power to convey a story the way you want the viewer to receive it--through shot choices, story sequence, and pacing. The other pieces are important, but the pace is often what makes it truly yours.

So much of life in general is about pace. Will you wake up early so that you have time to move slower, or will you grab every possible minute of sleep and then race to get ready? Will you choose to cook what is the quickest, or will you linger in the kitchen over a more complex recipe? Will you rush your kids, or will you enjoy the fact that they function at different paces? Each choice affects the feel of your day, the same way the pace of an edit affects the feel of a story.

I often tend toward the fast--get the work done, get the dinner made, get the story moving. But when I slow things down, I am able to see just a little more clearly, able to feel just a little bit more. So, I try to shake up the pacing, whether I'm editing or just living. Because there's always a story to tell. It's just a question of how you tell it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

I See How It Is

In my years of soaps, I worked lots of hours, so many, in fact, that my salary was based on 12-hour days and I often logged a little overtime and short turnaround (fewer than nine hours between the end of one day and the beginning of another) to boot. The 40-hour work week many people talked about was not even close to my life. It was a long week, but most of the time, I loved it.

These days, such endless stretches are no longer my norm. Where soap work rarely spread into the weekends (far too expensive to pay a crew sixth or seventh day rates), news happens all the time. Thus, I have replaced long days with often long weeks, for, even when I only work five days in a week, those days can be nights, and quite often, those days can be most of my weekend. And in between, it's off to the next challenge, the next pickup, the next piece of life.

There are times when I'm tired--and then I remember the months out of work, when there were way too many hours to sleep. There are times when I'm overwhelmed--and then I realize that the days of intense involvement in my kids' lives will evaporate sooner than I realize. There are days when I feel in over my head--and then I consider how many "over my head" experiences I have conquered through the years.

And so, I manage the days, and the nights, and the weeks, and whatever is new this month. Because I know how it was. And I see how it is. And I continue to have hope for what it will be.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cushioning The Blows--In My Own Way

Did you ever notice that you can have the same experience as someone else, and come away from the experience with a completely different reaction than that other person? For me, the week of live shows on One Life to Live was like that--where others felt stress and annoyance, I felt exhilaration. Each of us brings a unique perspective to an event, and, therefore, each of us walks away from the event with a little something different.

Today, as I bought pillows like those on which I had slept during one of our college trips (yes, I obsessed over them, and researched them, and actually bought them!), I thought about what I was taking from that trip. Sure, there was discovery of a new place and discussion of pros and cons and time spent making big life plans. But in among the big items was the tiny realization that I could make my life a little more pleasant. In among the taking care of my child and "taking care of business," I could take care of myself. In among the serious decision making, there could be a little not-so-serious fun.

College will happen, and growing up will happen, and making decisions about this and a million other things will happen. In the meantime, because I let myself experience things a little differently, I will now be propped up on my pile of super-duper hotel-style pillows, seeing life from a point of view that is uniquely mine.

Getting In, Part 10: Separation

In among the tremendous amount of work on my child's part, there has been a lot of proofreading, travel accompanying, and general hand-holding on my part. But every so often, because of scheduling and a busy life and circumstances just being what they are, there are parts that she has had to do on her own. They are big steps for her--practice, as it were, for the end goal in all of this--and even bigger steps for me, as I get my head, and my heart, around the fact that she will soon enter that big world.

When we started this whole process, it felt not so different (even if bigger) than the school processes we had managed before. We have applied to preschool and kindergarten, middle school and high school, and we have handled both the stress of applying and the outcomes of application decisions. But at the end of the process, the child has still been a presence. In a different school, but still here.

When we finish this process, hopefully with positive results, the child who started it will be more than a child. When we finish this process, hopefully with everyone happy, the kid who sat next to us filling out forms and figuring out essay topics will be beginning life in a new place, still our child, but an independent being. So, perhaps it is appropriate that at points along the way, she is going it alone, and that I am going it at home without her. Perhaps it is one of the most important steps for both of us. Because in the end, it's not just about getting in. It's about being independent--and happy--once you're there.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Somewhere In Between

I am on the train with the rest of the world. Having lived in the shadows of night and overnight work, I am in the middle of a few dayside shifts. I don't expect the situation to last, but for today, I travel with the fresh-faced (or sleepy looking) folks who work in the daylight every day. I fit in (or seem to) with the majority of the world. I fit in.

And yet, I don't fit at all. I realize that after years of early mornings in soaps and months of overnight schedules in news, it doesn't really feel right to commute with the commuters. After years of either being unable to do kid pickups or the recent doing kid pickups after a survival nap, I have now landed somewhere in between.

Maybe, actually, that's the best way to describe this "not washed up yet" life of mine. It is not the beginning, or the end. In many, many ways, it is somewhere in between. A time somewhere in between where I was and where I will be. A series of places, each of which is just a stop, not a final destination. A life that is changing every day. I may be here for a while, and some days I'll fit, and others I won't. I guess that's just how it works when you're somewhere in between.

Friday, April 8, 2016

And Life Just Goes On

You step away from your life, even only for an instant, and you return to see life has gone on.

You take your eye off the ball, even just for a moment, and you look back to find that the match has continued.

You play outside the rules, just once, and you discover that in your absence, the game has gone on.

You focus on what feels important right now, only to find that you now can't keep up with what happened already and what is about to happen.

No matter how present, how attentive, how "in the moment" we think we are, life goes on, with or without us. On a good day, we are glad for the movement and the change, and on a not so good one, we are overwhelmed by the speed. And on each and every day, we may as well go along with it. Because, no matter where we are as it happens, life just goes on.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Impossible To Predict

Does accomplishing what others thought you couldn't mean you are capable of anything? Unfortunately, no.

Does making great progress today mean that you will make great progress every day? Unfortunately, no.

Does having clarity about the decisions of one moment mean you will suddenly have clarity about everything? Unfortunately, no.

Does having the support of the people who surround you right now mean that you will have the support of everyone you encounter? Unfortunately, no.

Will the confidence you mustered today last until tomorrow? Unfortunately, no.

While past successes may be predictors of future triumphs, we can't always count on going from one high point to the next. So, we celebrate the victories, and we gird ourselves for the next battle. We stand up to our fears, and we take care of ourselves when we just can't stand up any more. We press on, even when it feels as though we keep having to prove the same things over and over. Do we get to rest along the way? Most of the time, unfortunately, no. But we can keep trying. And sometimes, that is enough.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Getting In, Part Nine: To Attach, Or Not To Attach

Among the things I have learned in this college adventure is not to get attached. Over and over, I have read, and toured, and allowed my mouth to fall wide open at beautiful buildings or exciting sounding courses or friendly students, only to be dashed when my child is rejected, or wait listed, or just plain not interested. It is not an easy task, avoiding attachment. I want to be excited. I want to see the most and the best of where my child might spend four years. But the letdown when my attachment is rendered meaningless is exhausting. So, I am more careful now.

Careful, however, does not mean untouchable. I can't help it--clever, or just plain beautiful, architecture moves me. Course descriptions that remind me that college is quite different than it once was move me. Lists of distinguished alumni that include people I know move me. Is it possible to be moved without getting attached?

Soon, the search will be over, and we will know where my child will spend four years, and where, therefore, my ultimate attachment will land. In the meantime, I am the driver, and the logistics coordinator, and the sounding board. Invested, definitely invested. But not attached.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Words Remembered

It's hard to forget the words of wisdom you heard when you were just starting out. Perhaps it is because those who imparted them seemed so much older and more experienced at the time. Perhaps it is because your brain wasn't already full of years of new tidbits then. Whatever the reason, those lessons stay with you.

Today, all day, I found myself thinking of the director who went into every day with the attitude that he would finish the day on time, no matter how steep the odds seemed against him. How, he asked, could you ever even get through a day, much less make it a successful one, if you didn't go in believing you could? And so, today, thinking back to that director, I did what seemed like 24 hours of tasks in 8. I ate when necessary and slept when I could. And with the firm belief that I could do it, I barreled through what might have seemed impossible.

Can we do everything, just because we start our day believing we can? Probably not. My friend the director didn't always make his out-time. I'm not sure any director always did. But I believe he came close more often than he might otherwise have because of the attitude with which he started the day. I believe he got the best out of the people around him because he brought them along on his confident ride.

So, I end my day, perhaps not with everything done, but with a lot accomplished, and with the belief that maybe I can do a few things just because I choose to believe I can. It is, at least, a good a studio day and to any day.

High-Up Seats

Today, we went to the theater--a big theater, where the balcony hangs steeply above the orchestra, where the high-up seats can be vastly cheaper than the way down ones. There was no question, when I bought the tickets, that we would be in the high-up seats. The only question was what we might be sacrificing to be there. Would we see only the actors' heads, and get no real sense of the show? Would we be faced with bad audio or bad vertigo? Would we, in short, be sorry we hadn't sprung for tickets to put us in the middle of the action?

Many tearful moments later, I can say that the power of the show unquestionably made it to the high-up seats. While I may have been seeing largely the tops of actors' heads, I was no less moved by their voices. While the story may not have appeared flat in front of me, it resonated fully, even traveling the distance it had to in order to reach me.

We tend to want to be in the middle of things. We tend to want the closest, the most important, the best. But often, in life, just being there is enough, and more. When what we are seeing (and hearing) is worthwhile, we can still appreciate it from a little distance, still have been a part without having had to be in the middle.

Today, we went to the theater. And from seats high in the sky, I still laughed, and cried, and came away with an incredible experience. (By the way, the show was 1776, an Encores! presentation at City Center. I have hope that I'll be seeing it again on Broadway some day soon--maybe in a different set of high-up seats).

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Wait--What Day Is It?

It has been a long week--or week and a half--or three days. Attempting to live in the worlds of news and TV and college admissions and homemaking, sometimes, it's a little hard to tell how many hours have passed and when one day has turned into another and exactly where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to think at any given moment.

This should matter--the blending of days, the lost track of exactly where I am in a week. And yet, it has become so standard that as long as I make sure I show up where I'm supposed to and kids are picked up when they're supposed to be, I have stopped letting the meanings of days phase me too much.

What, after all, is the meaning of a day, as long as you are doing good or important things with it? What, after all, does it matter what time it is, as long as you are doing what you want or need to do? What I am learning, in my increasingly mashed up life, is to follow what needs to be done, rather than following the calendar. What I am learning, in this life that seems to change daily, is to look at my goals, rather than looking at my watch.

There will certainly be times when I need to know exactly what day it is. But on the other days, I just have to hope that getting through whatever hours of whatever day it happens to be is quite enough.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Tougher Than I Look

I wonder sometimes if I have the ego to get through things and people that try to beat me down. And when I make it through them, I realize I'm tougher than I look.

I wonder sometimes if I can walk the long walk or make the long drive. And when I reach my destination, I realize I'm tougher than I look.

I wonder sometimes whether my brain will absorb whole new sets of rules and skills as often, it seems, as every other day. And when I see myself doing what I couldn't do yesterday, I realize I'm tougher than I look.

I wonder sometimes if I am too lenient a parent and not a strong enough role model. And when I see that words I've said or actions I've taken have made a difference, I realize I'm tougher than I look.

It's so easy to allow ourselves to feel weak and small. But when we look at what we've handled and what we've accomplished, it is also easy to see that, most of the time, we're a whole lot tougher than we look.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Living In Multi-Cam

I press the buttons to see the series of camera shots that will best tell the story. It is a process that comes oddly naturally, despite my not having done it at all in a year and not having done it regularly in much longer than that. I just look at all the angles, boxes on the large screen in front of me, and they somehow fall together, as if speaking a language that I learned in my sleep.

And as I wonder at the fact that I can resume speaking this "language" so fluidly, I realize that, in some way, it is the language that I speak every day. Not only is it wrapped up with the language of editing together clips from all sorts of sources, it is remarkably similar to the juggling and seeing multiple angles of the life situations that face me daily. As I look at all the angles on the monitor, I realize that it is not so different from negotiating kids' arrangements and life decisions. It is not so different from being able to see the benefits and risks of all sorts of logistical scenarios. Whether my ability to "see angles" came from working in TV and helped the rest of my life, or came from life and helped my working in TV, I don't know. What I do know is that each is clearly enriched by the other.

I press the buttons to see the sequence of camera angles that will best tell the story. I don't always press the same buttons, because the story isn't always the same. But I guess that's what life's all about when you are living in multi-cam.