Category Archives: summer

Closing the Loop

Getting this post in just under the wire – an hour and a half before the calendar flips to September. I couldn’t let an entire month go by without a post. That’s not responsible self-promotion.

It’s been a hectic month. One which forced me to adopt a new catchphrase: “Close the loop.”

As a lifelong procrastinator, I am forever reluctant to finish (and start). I am rarely impulsive, which can be a good thing; I don’t make rash decisions, I “sleep on it” whenever I can afford to and I listen more than I talk. Over-analysis has often led to paralysis, though. I am so busy trying to see a thing from all angles that I don’t actually make a move. Perhaps this is why I knew better than to take up chess.

So back to what August was – hectic. Work was kind of all over the place – developing shows, producing an independent film, overseeing post-production on a few commercial projects. All good things, but not if you have shingles.

Wait, what?

Shingles. Like chicken pox for grown-ups, except you want to die because the pain is searing and unrelenting. And the only thing that takes the edge off is some heavy narcotics, and that is not an option for me, as a parent.

So yeah, how does one get shingles? Well, first you have had to have had chicken pox as a kid. Check. Then, you need to have an overwhelming amount of pent up stress and anxiety that can only manifest physically, because you aren’t finding the proper outlets for release. Asking for more help, working out, being more social – all good outlets for release, but for me, the only way to stem the tide of debilitating stress is to close that f*cking loop. Get ‘er done, as Coach Taylor would say.

Make a decision, move on.
Call the person back, immediately.
Don’t spend more than 24 hours re-working a treatment.
Make the follow-up meeting for as soon as possible, as opposed “when everyone’s schedules have eased up.” Girl, you know better to think that will ever happen.

Having shingles woke me the hell up. NOTHING is worth getting so worked up about; not my kids’ constant fighting, or going over-budget on someone else’s passion project or looking at the upcoming school year like a basted together patchwork quilt of after-school childcare, extra-cirricular activities and no fewer than 3 babysitters. It’s all so messy, and it won’t kill me…unless I let it. It’s figured out so far – not for forever, and it won’t kill me. I must move on.

I’ve had so little patience at home the last few months; having shingles forced me to throw down that namaste gauntlet and literally “peace out.” I mean, the itching and pain would actually increase as I felt myself reacting to my son’s ridiculous rebellion or my daughter’s frequent, seemingly unwarranted, mood swings. I remember something a former boss taught his staff: “You can’t control others’ actions, but you can control your reactions.” And I’ve been working damn hard to dial down my reaction, stay in the calm zone, and close the loop. Be done. So much mental energy is spent when you don’t allow yourself to just be done. I can’t afford that; I need that brainspace for the creative work that is my lifeblood. It’s very hard to brainstorm and write when your mind is cycling through steps of all the production-related or home administrative tasks that I fail to delegate (working on it!) and it is so overwhelming that you can’t even start, let alone finish. I’m done subscribing to that practice.

And so we are done with August. Two weeks of horrific shingles pain has passed, though my forehead still bears faint red marks. (Oh yeah, did I mention that the shingles were ON MY FACE??!). The film is in the can. We ended the summer with a week of spectacular weather on vacation in the Poconos. School starts, and some professional adventures, which I hope to share soon, are on deck. I still have a lot of work to do on the whole procrastination issue; it’s hard to break a habit that was cultivated at such a young age. But at least I identified a mantra that puts me in the right head to take it on.

Close the loop.

Sitting still in the fast lane is an accurate description of how I roll these days.

Sitting still in the fast lane is an accurate description of how I roll these days.

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Baby, You’re a Loud Firework

Getting this post in under the wire.
Not much time to ponder and reflect since the sun was out today and we made the most of it. And as soon as the kids were tucked in, the fireworks started. Nothing to see, just the sound of bombing to keep the little ones from their slumber.
I used to think fireworks were special. They marked the official beginning of summer. But when I have a 3-year old crying: “No more boom boom!” I kind of hate them.
Just another example of how having kids inverts the prism through which I’ve been looking at the world.
(Ok, I pondered and reflected a little there.)
How are the holidays different for you now that kids are in the mix?

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Working Vacation

So when I say I’m on “vacation,” it is to say that we unplugged all our major appliances in our apartment in Queens while we stay with my parents in their Poconos house for the week. And thankfully, they have WiFi.

I’m still working. Scott’s still working. In fact, sometimes, sitting down in front of a computer to focus on something that isn’t alive, screaming for juice, is kind of nice. I don’t really hate Mondays for that reason.

It’s a little hard to truly be on vacation in the business I’m in. We’re in production on a show now. I have a crew in the field, shooting long days the entire week (including Independence Day) while I’m playing in the water and brushing sand off cantaloupe slices (crunchy, but still good!). 

I know the value of completely unplugging. And during the day, I really do. I check email once or twice, return a call and send myself reminders since I leave my stickie notes support system at the office. Blame the smartphone, but we should blame ourselves. We are making the conscious choice to be on call. But I make it clear to my colleagues that I am not in the office. I am with my family this week. And while I am not off the grid, I am not LOOKING for work. If need be, work could find me.

I know I’m lucky that I can make this arrangement for the next few days. I was able to schedule meetings until my return. Maybe something crazy urgent will pop up and I’ll need to address it. But I’m not anticipating that. I owe it to my family, and to myself, to be as present as possible during this vacation. It’s what I need in my arsenal of summer memories. I’ll be very old one day. And a memory like this could never be found on a stickie note:

That's my son, giving me a summer to remember.

That’s my son, giving me a summer to remember.

How do you treat your vacation?

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Diet Plan for Moms of Wee Ones

The key is to eat frequent, small, unappetizing meals throughout the day and supplement with antioxidants in the form of red wine or dark chocolate.*

  • 6:30am: toothpaste
  • 7:30am: pre-schooler’s soggy leftover waffle
  • 8am: Cheerios dug out of the crevices of the baby’s highchair, and neck
  • 9am: coffee…any way you can get it (hot, cold, in the pot – 9 days old…)
  • 12pm: crusts cut off from pre-schooler’s sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich
  • 12:15pm: the rest of the sandwich, save for the one bite the kid agreed to take
  • 12:30pm: remaining coffee…cold
  • 1pm: raisins?  At least that’s what they appear to be after pulling them out of the rug
  • 3pm: apple peel (result of sharing your snack with the pre-schooler)
  • 5pm: Diet caffeinated beverage and goldfish by the handful as you hide out in the kitchen for the time it takes your pre-schooler to put away her Legos yet not so long that the baby has entrapped himself in the electrical cord nest under the desk
  • 6pm: the stalks of your pre-schooler’s broccoli; the skins of her sweet potato and her half-chewed drumstick (or seitan chunks for vegans)
  • 11pm: birth control pill

*Always consult with a physician before embarking on any eating plan you stumbled across on the internet.

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Lifeguard Playlist

June.  A smokin’ 87 degrees and landlocked New Yorkers are hating life.  Summer in the city has begun.  So for some escapism, I conjure up memories of summers spent in the Poconos during the late 80s.  Here’s my lifeguarding playlist*:

Pour Some Sugar on Me – Def Leppard

With or Without You – U2

Tainted Love – Soft Cell

New Sensation – INXS

In Your Eyes – Peter Gabriel

Waiting for a Star to Fall – Boy Meets Girl

Kokomo – Beach Boys

Welcome to the Jungle – Guns ‘n Roses

Wait – White Lion

Valerie – Steve Winwood

Always on My Mind – Pet Shop Boys

When it’s Love – Van Halen

Hold on to the Nights – Richard Marx

Pump up the Jam – Technotronic

Love Shack – B52s

Straight Up – Paula Abdul

She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals

The Boys of Summer – Don Henley

*these are not my favorite summer songs, but the ones that spring to mind when I think back of sitting in that oversized lifeguard chair at the lake, listening to the Top 40 station on the radio by my side

What are YOU listening to this summer?

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