Thursday, April 27, 2017


Wait--what? It's Wednesday? Wasn't it just Sunday?

Wait--what? Soaps are back big-time and I'm not working on them?

Wait--what? Did I miss the boat? Or did I just stand and watch it sail without me?

Wait--what? Marshmallows don't fall into any food group?

Wait--what? Older kids are more challenging than younger ones? How did that happen?

Wait--what? There's no such thing (and will never be such thing) as a "put-away" assistant to help with groceries and dishwashers and junk mail?

Wait--what? I'm not supposed to be able to catch up?

Wait--what? There aren't really beginnings and ends, just a lot of middles?

Wait--what? Have I missed anything, or actually nothing at all? Sometimes, it is hard to tell...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

And It Was Enough

I slept just a few hours, because that's all the time I had. And somehow, it was enough.

I chose the simpler solution, rather than the perfect one, because there were other things to be done. And somehow, it was enough.

I went from making lunches to leaving lunch ingredients to assuming my kids could mostly manage their own lunches. And no one starved, because somehow, it was enough.

I spent years working fairly comfortably, and years unemployed rather uncomfortably. So, these days, I am grateful for both work and time. And somehow, what I end up with is enough.

I cook when I can, and order when I need to. And somehow, either way, we sit together and eat. And it is enough.

Cleaning what will always be too much stuff in too little space may always be impossible. But we straighten, and eliminate, and try to stay ahead of things. And somehow, it is enough.

How it is may be nothing like how it was, or how I thought it might be. But somehow, how it is turns out to be is enough.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

OLTL Reunion--A Week Later

It has been over a week now since that One Life reunion, and life has returned to, well, life. And it occurs to me that change is not just about losing that soap world. Rather, it is about all the things that happen over time...

If One Life had continued, I might still be working 14-hour days and eating nightly dinner with my colleagues, rather than my family. Hmm...

If I were working 14+ hour days, I might not have been physically or mentally available for proofreading college essays and talking through science projects. Hmm...

If I were not physically and mentally available for the ins and outs of my kids' lives, would their paths be different now? Hmm...

If their paths were different, would my path be different too, and my stride? Hmm...

If my path were different, would I have learned as much about other countries, about politics, about the world outside a TV studio? Hmm...

If I had not stepped into that world outside a TV studio, would I have friends I never would have met inside? Hmm...

If I had never met those friends, how would my life be different now? Hmm...

And if my life were not different now, would I have the appreciation I do for all those friends I saw, now a week ago, at that OLTL reunion? Hmm...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hero For A Day

I watch my son at his baseball game, hoping he will get a game-winning hit or make the game-ending play. I want him, for just a moment in time, to be a hero.

I hold my breath through my daughters' shows, hoping that they will be word-perfect, confident, transcendent. I want them, for just a moment in time, to be heroes.

These are, to be sure, the words of a proud, ambitious, paranoid parent. But wanting my kids to be heroes isn't about pushing them too hard or expecting too much. If they simply play ball, or perform, or do whatever it is that makes them happy today, that's okay. But don't we all, at least sometimes, crave that moment of being the hero? Don't even those of us who work mostly in the background crave just a moment when the cheers are for us, when we go beyond what we thought we could do? So, I watch for those hero moments. I appreciate what is, but look for what might be. I hope, for them, and I guess a little for me too, that they will be heroes. But, at the end of the game, the end of the show, the end of the day, I take us all home to dinner on the table, chores to be done, homework to finish. Perhaps tomorrow will be our hero day...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

In Transition

Night turns into day, we travel from here to there and back again. Through each part, we are accomplishing, enjoying, sweating it out, learning from it. Yet, no matter how much we accomplish, enjoy, sweat, or learn, we find ourselves, once again, faced with the transitions.

There are days, like some of mine in the last week, in which my transitions are so extreme--an overnight of work followed by a sun-filled train out of town, a week caught up in the tasks of home followed by a weekend far from responsibility--that it is hard even to get through them. The eyes don't focus quite right, the mind can't quite assimilate the pieces of information that just don't fit together. Yet, getting the most out of life requires mastering--or at least managing--the transitions. If we don't want to live in a straight line, we have to be willing to zigzag a little. If we want to experience more, we have to stretch our legs a little farther and open our eyes a little wider. The steps may be too hard, and the light may be too bright, but we make the transitions because staying in the same place is just not enough for us. And in doing so, sometimes we realize that the destinations are the easy part. It's in the transitions between them that we really learn how to live.

Monday, April 17, 2017

OLTL Reunion

Despite writing about and thinking about and learning from all the experiences and people I encountered at One Life to Live, I rarely actually SEE anyone from those days. Once in while, we might cross paths in our current work, or even succeed in meeting for coffee. But for me, most of the time, "now" life fills my days, leaving not so much time for actively revisiting "then" life.

And so it is that I am even more grateful than most when a fellow "Lifer," one far more of an organizer than I, creates a gathering to bring us back together--a gathering that I can actually, despite the work and the kids and the life, arrange to make.

Perhaps there were just 30 of the hundreds of people who passed through those studio doors. Perhaps I could only stay for a few hours, when much more would have been better. Perhaps I spoke to just some of the people and found out only a fraction of what they are doing now. But I came away from this One Life To Live reunion not just satisfied with having made it, but genuinely happy about all the friends whom I can still call friends. Grateful that I have landed--if in assorted places--these last few years, but even more grateful to have this group who understands so well what the drifting and the floundering and the remembering and the landing feel like.

When you go to a high school or college reunion, you likely talk about what was. For me, this One Life To Live reunion was even better. "What was" was absolutely there, but "what is" among us all is pretty good too. And while we talked mostly about those of us who were there, I couldn't help but think of all the other people from over my many years who were there only in my mind.

For me, it was a great evening in what has been far too long. And I have hope that it won't be quite that long until the next.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Six Degrees

I had the privilege of seeing the current production of "Six Degrees of Separation" this week. As the effects of the original production, which I'd seen many years ago, had stuck with me for all that time, I was eager to see this one, and I was not disappointed. It was just as consuming, affecting, altering an experience as the first. And yet, through the gift of remembering just the high points, it felt familiar, and yet totally new to me. It was an afternoon of theater that will stay with me for a long time.

Now, this is not a theater review blog, so, what does any of this have to do with, well, anything?

I went into the show thinking, of course, of the title phrase, "six degrees of separation," the idea that we are all much more connected to each other--by no more than six people, as the phrase says--than we realize. Which is kind of what networking is all about. If it is true that we are all so connected, networking our way through a freelance world is actually a much more natural, accessible thing than we realize. I came out of the show, however, thinking about another phrase from the play, the one about holding on to experiences we've had, because even the briefest of experiences can really change us. While the events of the play may be extreme, the idea that every experience--random, or planned, pleasant or disturbing--does change us is not so extreme at all. We may go through life thinking that we make our own path, but it is often the detours we make--or are forced to make--that determine how we emerge, and who we are when we are done.

I had the privilege of spending a great afternoon at the theater this week. And my experience of this "Six Degrees" has definitely changed me...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

It's Not About You

Working overnight means I am oddly available for dayside tasks.  Available, that is, once I've slept, and eaten, caught up, and recovered. Which works perfectly well when the kids are in school. While they are learning and running and living in the world, I am responsible (except when my phone starts to buzz with "I need" texts) only for myself. The apartment is my own, the tasks at hand are simple (sleep, snack, shower). And once "my time" is over, I emerge as "Supermom" (well, okay, "Pretty Good Mom"), able to tackle homework help, and transportation, moderate cooking (or really good ordering), and even a little fun.

But then, there comes a day--or a week--when the kids are off. The apartment belongs not just to me, but to all of us, and the tasks at hand are not so simple--sleep, but entertain too, snack--but make lunches too, and shower, but only if there is time left. And I can't help but realize that the up-side of overnight work is the hours in between that are mine, the hours that evaporate on the school breaks. So, every so often, I want to scream at my new apartment-mates, "It's not about you!"

I don't, of course. I squeeze in the sleep, and work out the snacks, and give up the shower. And, along the way, I find that I enjoy the new company and appreciate the different pace. And try to manage the nights without owning the days. But I hold on to that voice inside me--probably one that all of us should own and pull out sometimes. The voice that is able to say "It's not about you!"

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


We go to the theater, one of more times recently than we went for all the years when money was tight. After all, when you are getting from one credit card bill to the next, the last thing you want is an extra charge, plus the cash cost of babysitting to go along with it. So, now that we are back to doing this, I find myself thinking about the cost of things--because, ultimately, everything does have a cost. The question is what benefit that cost gets you...

The costs of going to the theater are time and money. But those costs come with the benefits of laughter, and entertainment, and perhaps a different way to think.

The costs of having children include dollars spent on diapers and preschool and gadgets and college, and the spending of time in ways you otherwise might not. But those costs come with the benefits of extra love, extra points of view, and extra people to entertain you when you really need it.

The costs of working in soaps were long hours, time my kids were spending with other people, and stress about making it to the next level or another genre. But those costs came with the benefits of pride in a product, great career training, and a lifetime of good friends.

The costs of working in news may include an uncertain schedule, a 24/7 mentality, and the challenge of knowing too much about too many news stories. But those costs come with the benefits of shows that don't get cancelled, more awareness of the world, and new skills to be learned.

The costs of living life sometimes include confusion and exhaustion and heartbreak. But those costs come with benefits too numerous to list...

Sunday, April 9, 2017


When I see time, I fill it--while others may simply bathe in it.

When I see a task, I work toward completing it--while others may put off even starting.

When I see chocolate, I pretty much just eat it--while others may refrain for reasons of health or appearance.

When I see an opportunity, I have come to jump at it--while others may study it, evaluate it, and still be deciding when it passes.

When I am faced with a choice, sometimes, I jump too fast and regret my jump later--while others may not jump at all, and regret that later.

When I dig in, sometimes I have bitten off too much--while others may still feel hungry for more.

Most of the time, others will get there, and so will I. It's just a question of approach...

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Importance Of Being Honest

Full disclosure--sometimes when I was a booth PA, I fudged how much a scene had stretched or tightened from my estimate. It was embarrassing to admit being wrong (even if estimating a script was a wildly inexact science at best). If all went well, other scenes would go faster or slower, and things would all turn out fine. And if all didn't go so well, well, I guess the embarrassment just got delayed.

All these years later, despite a great deal of experience creatively wording resumes and writing exciting cover letters, I find that I am ridiculously honest. If I don't know how to do something, I say "I'll try." If I believe something should be a certain way, I tend to speak up. If I know how a situation went, I tell my story, as I know it.

I stand by my PA fudging--it was a bit of mostly harmless self-protection. But these days, more often than not, honesty wins out. It has a certain simplicity and peacefulness to it. It doesn't mean that I can't try to do more than I am sure I can do, but it does make it okay to focus on the things I do well. It doesn't mean that I can't stretch and grow, but it does encourage me to embrace who I am.

It's important to be earnest--which is good for me, as I like to work hard and keep at things. Turns out the importance of being honest is right up there too. Especially when it's with ourselves that we can be honest.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

More or Less

Does being awake at all parts of the day give you more time, or less?

Does eating another piece of cake make you appreciate it more, or less?

Does spending extra time getting dressed make you more happy with how you look, or less?

Does staying involved in your kids' lives make them more content, or less?

Does sleeping in multiple short stretches leave you more rested, or less?

Does eating in many small meals make you more satisfied, or less?

Does living as many minutes of every day as you can render you more productive, or less?

When you've done all you can do, all you should do, and all you wanted to do, do you end up feeling you have accomplished more, or less...?

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Shift Shift

While I have essentially been a freelancer for most of my career, it is only recently that I have thought of my work hours as "shifts." In soaps, the days were simply long, with an in-time, and a scheduled out-time, and an actual out-time that might bear little resemblance to the estimated schedule. You worked as long as you worked, alongside all sorts of people doing the same.

News, however, tends to be a 24-hour, 7-day a week endeavor, with no scheduled start or finish, just an endless loop of ups and downs, which necessitates multiple sets of people, split up into, you guessed it, shifts.

After many months of shifts all over the week and all around the clock, this week my shift, well, shifted. Overnight became a shift bridging day and night. Spending whole shifts with the same people changed into sharing shifts with multiple groups. And all of it shifted my sleep, meal, and life schedules.

So, how did the "shift shift" go? As with most changes in life, it will take time to tell. But what has struck me most so far is my adaptability to it all. We can plant our feet firmly, so that our view stays stable and unchanging, or we can allow ourselves to shift, to look at things a little differently. We can stare straight ahead, because that is what we are used to, or we can shift our gaze, this way and that, in order to see a little more.

For me, the "shift shift" feels like an opportunity for a different vantage point, and a different way to think. If all goes well, the sleep and the meals and the life will catch up, and I will get some new experiences to go with them. Because from where I'm standing--and from where I will be standing--that will be well worth the shift.

Saturday, April 1, 2017


I spend a great deal of my moving time in the city on foot. While I am no stranger to buses and trains, if I have the time and the energy, I am walking. You see a lot when you're walking. When you walk, you are close-up with the good and the bad around you. You are a witness to acts of kindness and acts of destruction. While exercising your legs, you can't help but exercise your eyes as well.

One day this week, I traveled some of my standard paths by car--time and schedule called for it, and my legs didn't mind the break. I saw some of the same things I do on foot, but they were different. The kindness seemed farther away. I could not hear most of what was going on, and I was too consumed with following traffic rules to appreciate what I saw. And the destruction--well, I was witness to that too. And, while I missed being close to so many things from my walks, I found myself grateful for my place in the car as I passed by sights and circumstances that I could live without experiencing up close. With my windows up and my doors locked, I may have been a witness, but I was a witness from a distance.

Despite my relief at being that safely enclosed witness, the following day, I was back to my routine as a walker--honestly, the city lends itself much more to navigating without a large, hard-to-park vehicle. So, I continue on my way, hoping each day to see more of the good, and just enough of the not-so-good to be aware without being afraid. I suppose that, in one way or another, we are all witnesses. We just never quite know what we'll see. And how we will choose to see it.