Friday, March 31, 2017

Through A Different Lens

Having spent a lifetime on the "behind the camera" side or in front of an editing console, I was called upon this week (by one of my kids--who can say no?) to be on the other side of the lens. It was a daunting thought--how would I look and sound? Would I know what to say or how to say it?

My schedule being what it is, I had little time to worry too much. Before I knew it, there I was, minimally made up, partially prepared, and talking, talking, talking. I had no particular desire to "watch myself" before I sent my video off to her for her project, but I did sneak a glance, and was pleasantly surprised. Was I on-camera material? Hard to say. But, pushed to do so, I delivered. I stepped out of my comfort zone, and engaged reasonably well with my "audience." I gave my daughter a video about which I felt pretty good.

Will this trip to the other side of the lens change my life? Probably not. I will almost certainly continue to spend my hours editing or writing or directing, not being the person recorded. But it did remind me that I have another voice, and that "out of my comfort zone" doesn't have to be so uncomfortable after all. And I guess that's what being "not washed up yet" is all about...

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

But, Surprise

The door may seem closed, but surprise--there's someone holding it ajar for you.

The path may look like a dead end, but surprise--it opens into a new road.

You've wasted your chance, but surprise--you are granted another.

You gave your kids lousy advice--but surprise--they've figured it all out for themselves.

You are nowhere on your "to-do" list, but surprise--you end up with an even longer "done" list.

Life is full of surprises--if our eyes stay open enough to see them--and appreciate them...

Monday, March 27, 2017

Attachment Living

When I was pregnant, and then parenting my baby-people, I read a great deal about "attachment parenting," the philosophy that encourages sleeping next to your baby, "wearing" your baby in a carrier or sling, and meeting the baby's needs without particular regard to schedule. While my baby care was really a mish-mosh of many philosophies, I found "attachment parenting" pretty appealing--kind of a warm and fuzzy approach to the whole adventure.

I am well past raising babies at this point, but the attachment philosophy still resonates with me. When I can adhere to the rules and schedules, but I choose to address the needs, I am back to attachment parenting. When I am listening, rather than just jumping to a response I've been told to have, I am continuing to embrace attachment philosophy. And when I let myself trust my instincts, rather than just the instruction manuals, in making decisions for my family and myself, I am truly embracing an attachment life.

For me, attachment living means not having a hard-and-fast, un-changeable plan. It means dealing with "what is," not just "what should be." It means finding the joy, not just the success.

I would like to think my kids got a good start with my approach to baby care. And I feel pretty sure we're all having a good run with my approach to life. A little attachment--well, more than a little--goes a long way.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Didn't...And Did

I didn't see the last performance.

I didn't enforce the "going to bed by," the "taking away of," the "eat everything, or."

I didn't read enough, exercise enough, call family and friends enough.

I didn't calm it all, fix it all, or make it all better.

I didn't use every hour, conserve every resource, make the most of every minute.

But I relished family dinner. 

I walked with my kids and talked about their lives.

I learned or did something new most days.

I offered a hug or an opinion when I couldn't offer a solution.

I slept when I could, cleaned when I had to, covered as many of the bases as possible.

We can beat ourselves up about what we don't do or haven't done. Or we can celebrate all the things we have chosen, done, accomplished. Which would you rather hear about...?

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Hit By A...

There was a kid, similar in size to my own, standing between the sidewalk and the middle of the busy avenue, arms out, yelling "hit me." In the brief time I was nearby, I saw him jump back onto the sidewalk several times, just before cars and bikes reached him. 

As a parent who has, for years, feared that one of my children would be hit by a car, I was disturbed. As a person who drives in the city, and could be the person who hits him or the person who swerves into an accident in order to avoid him, I was angry. As a human being, I was dumbstruck. With so many people closely avoiding, or not being able to avoid, injury and death, how could it be that this kid was tempting fate this way--CREATING a dangerous situation for no reason other than some kind of thrill?

I continued on my way--I had somewhere to be, and it was unlikely that any words from me would have any more effect than the words from his friends. And with a police station and a hospital right down the block, if something were to happen...

Days later, the image is still in my head. Days later, I find myself wondering if I could have done something differently, could have told someone who could...I don't know what.

Mostly, I just keep hugging my kids, and trying to teach them the right things. And trying not to worry too much about them getting hit--by accident, or by bad choices--by a car, or anything else.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Far From The Emmy Crowd

I woke from a post-work nap this week to discover that the Daytime Emmy nominations had been announced, with people I know, and with whom I've worked, all over the list. There were multiple soap categories, meaning recognition not just for the people still working on network shows, but for the online trailblazers as well. I really couldn't help but feel that soaps were, perhaps, alive and well again. And I really couldn't help but feel that I was unbelievably far away from their rebirth, that what was once so much in my life was suddenly unbelievably outside of my life. Once upon a time, Emmy season was a huge event in my life--the preparing of submission reels, the waiting and hoping, the excitement or disappointment come nomination time. Yet, now, it has become just the reading of an announcement. Once upon a time, I was a part of the creative process--from pre-production to the control room to the edit room. Now, I am just a spectator.

While I have been working to move on (and perhaps, away) from what was lost, others have been recreating--creating, actually--from those ashes, and with a great deal of hard work, and dedication, and patience, they have succeeded. So, now, at Emmy time, I can't help but ask--where does that leave me? Have I walked so far away that I will never be part of that world again? Or am I simply in the storyline that is working for now? Will my "back story" ever be a "front burner" story for me again, or am I slowly being "written off?"

I am just as happy this Emmy season as I have always been to see talented, good people from my career recognized for their work. But this year, feeling far from the Emmy crowd, I wonder where I will be next Emmy season, and the one after. Will I be inside, or out? Will I be a creator, or just an audience member? I could try to write the long story document, to direct the action the way I'd like the story to unfold, to edit out the parts I'd rather forget. But, as production doesn't always turn out the way you've planned, I may not know right away how my story will progress. I guess I'll just have to stay tuned to find out.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tourist At Home

Having had an out-of-town visitor these past few days, I have done a lot of walking. And theatre going. And general exploration of my city. I'm a little exhausted. But I'm also grateful. After all, how often do you stop (or go) to see what's right around you every day of your life?

I've been telling people recently that I live a fairly little life. Overnight work requires vigilance about daytime sleep. Having children in school demands attention to homework and tests and dismissal schedules. Life in general calls for lists and completion of tasks and simply keeping up. I may live in a vibrant city, but on any given day, I might as well be anywhere, simply getting through the steps to make life work. 

And then, in walks someone from out of town, here with the time and energy and desire to see and experience and enjoy "my" city. And suddenly, my "little life" becomes a little bigger. Suddenly, the theatre beckons as strongly as my nap time. Suddenly, an exhibit that seemed far and hard and "for someday" becomes easy and "perfect for today." Suddenly, schedules are adjusted, naps are delayed, and tasks are postponed.

We spend months planning our vacations. But sometimes, if we keep our minds open, we can vacation right where we are. Stepping out of "little" doesn't always take a long flight or hours in a car, and stepping into "tourist" doesn't take more than just letting go.

I may have vacation trips behind me and vacation trips ahead, but this week, I got to play "vacation" without going anywhere at all. And I'm coming out of it as reinvigorated as if I'd gone on a tour or relaxed on a beach.

Even in the midst of a "little life," we can get a taste of something bigger--sometimes just by being a tourist at home.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Mr. O And The Course of History

When I was in high school, the school's rather legendary history teacher took the opportunity at the start of each year to show students the episode of Star Trek in which Kirk has to make a choice that will help in the short term, but completely change the course of history in the long term. Mr. O's point was that even the smallest of details could change the small and large parts of history completely. Each event could affect the next, thereby setting in motion events for years to come. It was, to be sure, an important history lesson.

I think about Mr. O and his Star Trek episode quite often, and not just when I am chasing one crisis that leads me to chase another and another, until I am far from where I started or intended to be. I ponder them when I start thinking "what if I'd" or "oh, no, I should have," and when I start to worry that just one little adjustment would have made everything line up perfectly. Each choice we make makes a difference. But one change doesn't necessarily set up just what we wanted--often it sets up a completely different scenario, with pieces we hadn't even considered.

We change history with every choice we make. So, we can worry about each choice, and the events that will result from it, or we can do what we believe to be right right now, and accept the events we might set off. For, while it is important to realize that our small actions will change the course of history, we can't always know how they will do so, and in how many steps.

But, thanks to Mr. O, I have a bit of Star Trek at my heels, a reminder that my actions are a part of history, but not the only reason things turn out as they do. And as I did back then, I simply try to do my best in the class--and in life...

Sunday, March 19, 2017

In Your Corner

Despite countless obstacles, my daughter's friends throw her a surprise party. They have pulled together balloons and streamers, snacks and cake, and, perhaps most impressive of all, a fairly good surprise.

I am, to be sure, impressed with their efforts, not to mention, relieved that I wasn't the one who had to plan a surprise. But most of all, I am touched by the fact that they made it important enough to schedule their lives for. When the time came, they were in my daughter's corner, laughing, and singing, and making her feel special.

I have realized, perhaps more so in the last few years, how important it is to have people in your corner. For years, I went to the same place daily, so the "corners" were obvious. But when that changed, and the corners were often the tiny little corners of the couch that I snuggled in to, scared to face the world or to spend any money, there were friends and family who, though not necessarily on the couch with me, were firmly in my corner. They hung in for the low points, and celebrated the successes. They helped make my corner be a safe place, rather than a lonely one. And they helped me get to what became one new step, and then another.

So, when I look and see that my kids have people (and not just me and the rest of our family) in their corner, I am happy to feel as though they'll make it through--through both the surprise parties and the not-so-festive times. Because I know what the people in my corner have done for me. It's largely thanks to them that I am here, not washed up yet, to write about it.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Why I Do It

After seeing a show with me this week, my daughter remarked, "THIS is why I do theatre." Perhaps it was the music, perhaps it was the story, or the statement the show made about society. For whichever, or all, of these reasons, it spoke to her, and confirmed a love that she already knew to be real.

We spend many hours every week doing things that are necessary or required or beneficial. But how often do we feel such attachment to what we are doing? How often do we have that feeling of "this is why"?

I could argue that my daughter's statement is that of someone much younger than I, with fewer obligations, and more brain and heart space to feel so strongly about her direction. Yet, I choose to see her statement as a reminder to me, and to all of us, no matter what age, that there is always room to think about "why," to ask "why," and to recognize "why" when we see it. There may always be jobs and tasks and assignments and errands that we do "just because." But every so often, or even more often than that, we should make sure we know, and say out loud, "this is why I do it."

Tuesday, March 14, 2017


Along with "yes" and "of course, I'll be there," "available" is probably one of the most important words in a freelancer's vocabulary. When you're staff, your presence is basically a given. But when you're freelance, employers want to know that you can appear at a moment's notice, that you can jump into a planned, or a last-minute, vacancy on the schedule they need to fill.

So, as a freelancer, I try hard to be available. I don't make too many absolute plans, I don't get attached to particular working hours or modes of travel. I am, within reason, available.

What I have discovered as an active freelancer, however, is that "available" works both ways. While I am busy being "available" for work, I am also "available," both logistically and emotionally, for my family, in ways that I couldn't necessarily be with a job others might consider normal. As my schedule is constantly fluid, my thought processes tend to be that way too, which means that I can process the needs of kids and personal life in the available moments here and there. I may need to "be available," for the places where I work, but I can also use "being available" to help fill the needs of my family I never could if I were "full-time."

So, as much as I can, I say, "yes, I'm available." Because that doesn't mean just succeeding in working in a freelance world. It also means being available to help the important people in my life through that world.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Still Running

In the midst of my running around, trying to accomplish the needs of life and family events, I was reminded to look back a few years at how this running around would have differed. A few years ago, I would have been questioning every penny. A few years ago, the running would likely have been with anxiety rather than euphoria. A few years ago, I would have been beating myself up for running anywhere instead of being at the computer searching job leads and rewriting resumes.

I feel very lucky that a few years ago is a few years ago, and now is now. It is obviously more enjoyable to go through life fueled by euphoria than fueled by anxiety. It is a tremendous relief to focus on the choices, not just the pennies. Yet, as I thank goodness for how things are, I can't help but also be grateful for how things were. There were undeniably unpleasant--more than unpleasant--moments and experiences. There was insecurity--about myself and how I fit in. There were all sorts of questions and challenges that made even everyday accomplishments difficult. But today, reminded of all that, I appreciate the euphoria a little more. Today, with all that making up the "me" I am now, I realize, just a little more clearly, how lucky I am.

We might not wish on anyone certain experiences we've been through, but for us, those experiences, good and bad, inform the person we are today, and give us perspective when we so desperately need it. So, in the midst of my running around, I am reminded of who and where I've been. And of how glad I am that I'm still running.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Fair Trade

I wonder sometimes, when I am working overnights, if I am losing days. After all, a night worked results in a day largely slept (or sleepwalked) through. So, do I, in fact, end up with fewer usable hours, even though I seem to be up for far more hours?

I realize sometimes, when I have a break from working overnights, if I am losing days. After all, a night not worked results in a night largely slept through, and a day that doesn't include the very early and very late hours and the ability to blog in the middle of the night.

I discover sometimes, when I alternate in and out of overnights, that the different work scenarios, and frankly, most things in life, are a trade-off. There are good points, and bad, to almost anything we do, meaning that sometimes, the luckiest we can be is when we have just the alternating life I've described--days that don't seem to end, and days that end far too quickly, days when we match up with the world, and days when we can march to our own beat.

Is it a fair trade? I don't know. If I'm awake enough for enough hours, I'll think about it tomorrow...

Friday, March 10, 2017

Lost Item

Among the results of our recent travels was the loss of our camera--the grown up, big purchase, keep it safe camera that we bought when point and shoot suddenly seemed not quite good enough. While I hold out some hope that my emails to every part of the airport will, when I least expect it, yield a response that the camera has been found, mostly I know in the pit of my stomach that it is gone.

It is a big loss--in value, in trust of ourselves (how could we let it disappear?), and in trust of the world (could someone really just take it, or even find it and walk away with it?). But, though that pit in my stomach remains when I think about it, and perhaps will for quite some time, I am not racing around frantically. I am not casting blame. I am not wailing. It was a good camera, but it was just a camera. Lost with it was a memory card, but just an empty memory card. We didn't, as far as I can tell, lose otherwise unsaved and irreplaceable images from our past or new images from our trip. It is a loss, to be sure, but it is a loss we will most definitely survive. Perhaps it will inform what we buy, how we pack, how we back up, and what we pay attention to going forward. But mostly, it will fade into the background of a life filled with people, and events, and just plain LIVING.

Our camera is still most certainly a lost item. But maybe we haven't lost quite so much after all...

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What Life To Live

It has been a One Life to Live kind of week. From coffee with a fellow Lifer to proclamations of birthdays and souvenirs on Facebook, I have been surrounded by throwbacks to my past, and reminded of multiple eras of that past (because when you're in a place long enough, there really can be multiple eras).

There was a time when it all would have made me feel a little sad for what once was. But this week, what I felt was an incredible feeling of fullness. Though my life may be different now, there is this whole group of people and memories surrounding me. We may not be celebrating birthdays on a set or in a rehearsal hall together, but we still celebrate. We may have forgotten about the details of those long ago days, but a memento here and there brings it all back. We may spend our days on different endeavors and with different people, but it takes only a cup of coffee to bridge the gap with old friends.

So, in a life filled with the new, there is still room for the old. And I can't help but think that a week of One Life to Live makes the "new" a somewhat better life to live.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

On Our Own Four Feet

There are moments when my days of unemployment (both the checks and the situation) seem long ago. Yet, when I spend time with the friends who emerged during that period in my life, I can't help but marvel at how much that period of time changed my life. In that period of time, the rules changed. In that period of time, the security disappeared, and I was forced to find new methods and new solutions. And, as that period stretched from months to years and many re-visits, I would like to think I learned a lot about standing on my own two feet.

But when I talk to the friends who emerged with me from a time we might like to forget, I realize that, while we learned about standing on our own two feet, we also learned about standing together, on four or six or eight feet. We learned about asking for help, and about accepting help. We learned about being strong, but also about admitting we weren't always so strong.

So today, with those days behind me, at least for the moment, I am grateful for what came out of them--my ability to stand up, and people to stand with me. Because we may be able to learn to stand on our own two feet, but it feels much better when we are standing with friends, on our own four or six.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

When We Change

Do we change when people say we should?

Do we change when a job, or job opportunity, demands it?

Do we change when we embarrass our kids, or when we miss them?

Do we change when we want to do better, or simply when "the same" isn't working anymore?

Do we change for ourselves, or for others?

Do we change on purpose, or by accident?

Do we change with big events, or little ones?

Mostly, we change at the most unexpected times, for the most unexpected reasons, in little bits as much as in broad strokes. And one day, we wake up and what used to be "yes's" are now "maybe's" or "no's," what used to be "just like me" is suddenly "nothing like me."

When do we change? Now, and five minutes from now, and pretty much every minute of every day. And we just hope that it is change for the better...

Saturday, March 4, 2017


I was always impressed with the location scouts that One Life to Live used when we were planning a remote. In an era pre-smart phones, they came back with folders of pictures that created a panoramic view of a potential location, complete with all sorts of logistical information that producers and directors would need for shooting there.

While I have never actually done location scout work, I find that in life, there is real satisfaction in being a scout. I can "check things out," without having to commit. I can use my free moments (there may not be many, but I do like to use them) to take steps in different directions so that my husband or kids don't have to do the schlep. I can gather information and be a temporary expert. I can get my hands dirty, but not for long. And I can be in charge, in my own way. It's a little form of re-education, different each time, not to mention, extremely satisfying when it helps. 

Just another one of those random skills that reminds me how important it is to be "not washed up yet"...

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Good Fight

I'm not good at fighting--it leaves me angry and sad and more worn out than I like to be. But there are times when we can't help fighting...

When we fight for our kids, to get them what they need, or what they deserve, it is a good fight.

And when we fight with our kids, to make them stronger, smarter, more caring people, it is a good fight.

When we fight to make things better, it is a good fight.

And when we fight to keep things from getting worse, it is a good fight.

When we fight for our own stability, security, success, it is a good fight.

And when we fight for the stability, security, and success of the people we care about, it is a good fight.

When we fight, not for the thrill of the fight, but for the importance of the result, it is a good fight.

And when we can say that the anger and the sadness and the worn out feeling have been for a good cause, we realize that there is, in fact, such a thing as a good fight...