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Sunday, February 27, 2005
Celebrate! 
Life has its moments, what are you going to do about them?

.....................

This weekend was filled with celebration, from sundown to Sunday. I hardly had time to reset, let alone write. Birthday dinners, catch-up brunches and Oscar parties have filled my days with friends and festivities.

So much so that my days and chances to blog have flown by.

Today was interesting though. This morning a friend remarked about how we've sort of become jaded in Hollywood ('we' being the Every Day People who live here). We were just blocks away from where the Academy Awards were being held and the only thing we have to talk about is the traffic.

I have to admit my own mixed feelings about it. This evening, I wandered past Vanity Fair's party and watched as Hillary Swank, Ron Howard and Antonio Banderas got into their cars and thought, "I left my jacket in my car... it's really cold out here!"

Part of me misses the show biz life style, even if I didn't get to that level. It's all so fantasy fun. On the other hand, I'm really not so wrapped up in celebrity and fancy furs (really, any warm jacket tonight would do).

Right now though I'm just happy to be back in my nice warm home, with a nice warm bed waiting for me. The way I feel right now, that's award enough for me.


.....................

I'd like to thank the people of Select Comfort and the guys who put the bed together... and I'd like to thank Martha Stewart for her linens... and Ikea for the pillows! I could never make it to sleep without you!!!


11:39 PM


Thursday, February 24, 2005
En-JOY-ment... 
When it comes to enjoyment, Joy is its middle name...

..........................

Don't you just love those "good tired" days? The ones where you can barely move when its over, and the bed is your best friend, but you'd do the day all over again anyway?

Right now, the sofa is the next to best friend, but the memories of the day are on tape and I'm exhausted. And would I do it all again? Doesn't matter, since I'm only halfway done anyway.

All day today I bounced around from throwing together a set, to shifting the lights, to running the camera and running in front of it to do my lines. I'm just a ukulele short of a one man band.

And so many parts of my body are aching right now; no wait, EVERY part of my body is aching. Should I blame it on the fact that I built a fake wall by clipping a bed sheet to the ceiling, or the fact that I decided to iron it AFTER I clipped it up there? Or maybe blame it on the idea that I really did need the TV in the room I was shooting in... no, I didn't... wait, yes I did.

As long as we don't start blaming the age, we'll be fine; just fine!

Actually it was a great day... and a number of people used the "F" word (FUN, sheesh, get your heads out of there).

Fun at work, what a concept.

When I first started with the company, I wrote a sign for my desk: "Until further notice, we're going to have fun!" Two years later, I took that sign down.

It's at my desk now... like a badge of honor. I'm earned it, and now I'm going to have it.

..........................

Do you have fun at work?


10:44 PM


Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Facing reality? 
What is reality... the face we see with, or the faces we see?

.........................

A well laid plan went awry, leaving me to eat my lunch alone. No matter to me. In the best Emersonian fashion I could muster, I sat in the corner of a quaint little sandwich shop and watched the world around me. I wasn't so much in search of Life Watches, but rather just to watch Life unfold around me.

I sat fixated on their faces... all those beautifully different faces. The young mothers who strolled in with their sleeping children to catch up on the latest gossip not on a soap opera or over-the-top talk show. The more-than-coworkers who tried unsuccessfully to keep their lunch looking professional. The smiling old faces of longtime friends, who miss each other and their youth.

I made up stories about them in my head. It didn't matter if I was completely off base. Reality is often made up of the best forms of fiction, so I could dine on focaccia and fantasy til I was satiated and hungry for more.

I came up with a few Life Watches while I was there... some will surface, others may just be digested for my own amusement. Either way, I'm full.


.........................

Do you people watch? What do you like about it?


10:16 PM


Monday, February 21, 2005
A little rain... 
In every life, a little rain must fall.

.......................

Water is the source of Life. It is within us and surrounds us. Lately, it's been washing away the hillsides and causing an awful lot of damage too. Nature can be as destructive as it is resourceful.

While the mountains are green and the air is pristine in between the rare but occasion break, hillsides are giving way... and taking the houses with them. Though not as rapidly intense or devastingly powerful as the tsunami, it still demonstrates the awesome power of water.

Some homes have fallen victim to overexuberant rivers. Others however seem to fall victim to their arrogant defiance of Common Sense and Mother Nature. Putting several tons of concrete, on top of stilts, on top of dirt, on the side of a mountain seems not to have thought things through.

If there's anything to be learned by all this is to maintain respect for the world around us. We're not separate from Nature, we're an integral part of it. To forget that, is to forge our own downfall.

.......................

How's Nature treating you these days?


7:32 PM


Friday, February 18, 2005
Stay on it... 
You may have to play a lot of roles in order to reach your goal. Switch quickly, and stay on it!

........................

These last couple of days have been so fragmented for me, it's been tough to keep up. One minute I'm writing a few lines here and there, then switching off to scheduling the video shoot next week, that has no room for errors or other people's agendas. Then I have to put all of them aside to interview potential employees because we have too much work to do and they want more (not a bad place to be in, considering all I lefty behind in the last job)

The lesson though is to stay focused on the task at hand. It's so easy to think of one thing while you're buried in another. And all it takes is one sidetrack and you're derailed the rest of the day. The saving grace for me is notepads, both the paper variety and the windows version. If something comes up that's important enough to note, but dangerous enough to derail, I just take one teeny moment to jot it down. I then get back to the task-at-hand. Periodically throughout the day, I'll go back and look it over, in case I can actually do one of these 'brilliant' ideas... or at least just to wonder, 'what was I thinking???'

The next lesson for my day was the importance of doing the same task but from a different angle. When I'm writing a script I'm not paying that much attention to how we're gonna get those elephants in the elevator, it just sounds really cool. Once I put on my Producer Cap, neither the elephants nor the elevator stand a chance.

It's all good, cause I work in the corporate world... they love their decision-by-committee and I can do that all in my head. That saves time and money by skipping the conference rooms and elephant feed.

Finally, today was an excellent lesson in flexibility. While rehearsing lines in the hallway (yes, I'm also an actor in this thing I'm writing) I kept thinking of ways to do everything there and not have to do anything out in the parking lot, like I wrote (we have short hallways, so walking past the same posters three times is a little obvious). By keeping an open mind and both eyes open, I think we can manage something... just as long as we're able to adapt at a moment's notice.

So stay focused on the task, see the goal from different angles and remain flexible. All good lessons to jot down in my notepad.


9:33 PM


Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Over to this side... 
Different people are influenced by different things at different paces. Be patient, yet persistent.

...............................

Judging by the reaction of the Doubter, the Client was going to be a tough sell. I should've known better to consider the source. The Client is, generally speaking, a tougher nut to crack... but I've never let that get in my way.

We had a reading of the introductory script for that project I just got on Monday. Despite Doubter's warnings that the project is "impossible" to make exciting, the comedy was so strong that it convinced Client to go for it. Client is totally on my side now... while Doubter is, well, still doubting.

While discussing how I was possibly going to film this thing, Doubter chimes in "you've written yourself into an impossible situation."

(After a basic "huh?" look her way...) "I wouldn't have written it if I thought it was impossible."

Doubter and I actually had lunch together today and I listened to her reflect on how other people's perceptions have been so limiting on her. If only she knew who's really limiting her.

Well, like my words up top... "patience, yet persistence." She just needs more time to "get it." In the meantime, I'll just go about doing the "impossible."


...............................

Do you have Doubters in your life? How do you deal with them?


10:08 PM


Monday, February 14, 2005
Ready or not? 
That one day, when you get what you deserve, will you be ready?

.........................

What a difference a week makes. I got back to the office to find that a contract writer was let go and that his projects need to be started from scratch. Of course, the deadline is still in two weeks. That didn't change. Welcome back.

I knew something was up when his desk was empty and I was greeted with the "we need to talk" speech. I could have reacted with dismay, but instead I beamed with delight. First off, it's a sign of faith that I was asked to take over the project personally. Secondly, it was crying out for creativity and so was I. What a perfect match! A scary challenge? Sure... but an exciting one, if I can pull it off.

By afternoon I was already done with the opening scenes and scheduled a reading of the full script for Wednesday, because I'm determined to be ready.

Belief makes all else possible.

On another note, I spoke with the doubter. She worked very very hard to keep her job and is actually being presented with an opportunity to work on this project with me. You'd think she'd be thrilled to be taken off an unfulfilling project to work on this one, since for months she's been outspoken about how shut out she felt. Nope.

She sounded almost disappointed. I guess she convinced herself that the other project would now lead her out of her bondage. This "opportunity" was just another sentence to her tortured soul.

We don't just get what we deserve, we get what we believe we deserve... and what we're willing to work for.

I've got my work cut out for me.


9:34 PM


Sunday, February 13, 2005
Fill 'er up... 
A hole can be filled with anything.

........................

As I packed my bags to end my trip back East I thought of my brother and the separate paths we would be taking. Me to the Life that I had created; he to the Life that created him.

He has no set plans after "a vacation." He's "fortunate" enough to be financially well off, that allows him to go and do just about anything he wants to do. "Unfortunately" he's starting from scratch. It's a "luck" he'd probably rather do without.

I've had a few "starting over" moments in my life, though by choice and not by circumstance. Still, it's quite a place to be; not knowing exactly what's around you, let alone what lies ahead. It's a little bit exciting, if not an awful lot scary at times. So often we define ourselves by what we have or who's around us. What do you do when it's just you?

I'm interested to see what choices he'll make. Knowing a little of what he will be going through, I wonder what choices I'll make too.

........................

Have you ever had to start over?


5:30 AM


Saturday, February 12, 2005
80 Reasons to Celebrate Life 
It doesn't matter how many days are behind you, or how many days lie ahead; no matter if you're 8 or 80, it's today that matters most.

........................

I'm off to "Joysey" to celebrate my father's 80th birthday today. We haven't spent his birthday together in a very long time. We also spent my last birthday together too (with my sister-in-law as well). That's amazing, when you think about how time and distance can sneak between you.

Papa Bear likes to sleep... a lot. So he's not so easy to shop for. Something to sleep in? Don't think so. Eye mask? Can't see it. I got him a little electronic poker game (actual game may vary). Should be easy enough to figure out and fill his few waking hours... or at least give him a reason to get out of bed during our Sunday morning phone calls to ask how to work the thing.

I'm really glad I extended my trip. It gave me a real chance to celebrate Life... with old friends and getting older family. Considering that my sister-in-law wasn't able to see half his age, today will be twice as special.


........................

Do you celebrate your birthday or brush it off?


8:32 AM


Friday, February 11, 2005
Scar Tales... 
Sure, time heals all wounds, but it's the scars that make the best conversations.

..............................

I use my friends. They don't know it (or maybe they will now), but I do. I use them as a measuring stick for my life.

Our intertwining lives have weaved a fabric that fits like an old coat. And like any good old coat, it's not just warm and fuzzy, it's got its story to tell.

The thing about old longtime friends is that each time you get together you have to catch up with the moments in between. That says a lot right there... after all, what do you say? What parts do you decide to leave out?

And you can't help but compare. I admit it, I do compare... that's not exactly judging, since I love and accept my friends just the way they are (and who's to say we're any better off or worse than we were before?) It's just that you do this "quadrant" comparison. There's You-Now and the You-Then, and the Them-Now and the Them-Then... and you reminisce about the You-Them-Then and look at the You-Them-Now across the coffee table.. and you think, wow... how did we get here? (or how did we get here so FAST?). And then there's always pictures some place, hanging up on some wall or refrigerator, that reminds you even more.

And although I know this trip was unexpected, I train for my visits to New York like a runner to a marathon. I always eat a little less and work a little harder at the gym. After all, I'm representing the California Lifestyle. I've got to show these people what they're missing :-)

And, yeah, yeah, so I'll admit it (since I'm so busy making confessions)I like getting reports back from my friends how good I look. (What ego? I'm too perfect for an ego!!!) I do put in a lot of work to keep myself up-to-date and running smoothly... so it's good to know it's working.

It still hasn't convinced them to move to L.A. or put down the roll, but I'm doing it for me... so that I can compare the Me-Then and the Me-Now and go 'heeeey.'


..............................

So, how you holding up?


5:30 PM


Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Seek it out... 
Adventure usually doesn't come to you... so go out and find some!

...........................

I'm about to head to into the City for a couple of days... to see the sights, and to smile upon the faces of my dear friends. Some of these guys I've known for almost half my life... wow. Andy Rooney is right :-)

Hopefully the WARM wind will be at my back and adventures up ahead.

Wish me luck!

...........................

Do you have any long-time friends? What's kept it going so long?


7:37 AM


Monday, February 07, 2005
Wise up... 
Anyone can be 'Wise' as long as you are willing to learn from them.

..................................

Being away from my usual life, and thrust into the little world I'm in, has given me some time to reflect on the lessons being offered.

Here are a few...

Just being there is a lot
Some people came by empty handed to wish my brother and family well. My brother's office, knowing what my brother has been going through, knowing that he wife was dying, never called. In four months, not a single word. When a gift basket finally arrive today, a week late, he just put it aside and said "I'm giving this one away." What do you think meant more?

Just being there is not enough
My brother was there for his wife EVERY DAY. He still could not stop her suffering and eventual loss. I'm here in his house, doing what I can too, and I cannot change what he's going through... even if you just read the previous paragraph; it's something, but not enough. People have to go THROUGH their experiences.

Doing makes the difference
It was more what my brother did these past three years that made a difference. He did real action, things I believe extended the life of my sister-in-law. Results need action. I have seen it.

In your heart is not in your face
No matter how much you want to step in and help, sometimes it can be too much. It hurts to watch others hurt, but sometimes you're just not helping until you step back.

Listen first
Stephen Covey said "Seek first to understand, then to be understood." When you force your opinion on others you're bound to say the wrong thing. Listen to what they're saying; walk a mile in their shoes first. Then speak.

Do you want to be 'right' or do you want to be 'happy'?
I just witnessed this between my brother and my mother this morning. They both needed to be right. They both ended up hurting each other more. Value the relationship more than the argument, and you'll both win every time.


..................................

What lessons have you learned lately?


6:47 PM


Sunday, February 06, 2005
Letting go... 
To fully enjoy the present, you have to let go of the past.

.....................

I had a bit of trepidation before coming on this trip. Not just because I would have to say goodbye to my sister-in-law, but also because I would have to be letting go of my past. Despite my belief that I had already moved on, there was still some residual moments that lingered around my soul.

To fully appreciate the significance of this, you'd have to travel into my distant past.

I did not have a good childhood. No matter how much I'd like to wish I had. No matter how many times I try to just focus on a few good moments and forget about the rest, I have to admit to myself that my rose-colored glasses were fashioned out of bitterness and pain.

My days were filled with pain -- physical, emotional and spiritual. My mornings were filled with bullies at school; my evenings with the bully known as my brother. He ruled with a terror that robbed me of my childhood.

Door knobs still hold a significance unbefitting them... as I think back to a frightened child desperately clinging to the inside knob, praying for safety, yet knowing that some sharp object awaited on the other side.

There were so many days spent hiding behind the sofa, either licking my wounds or trying to prevent some new ones, that I would wonder "why me?" and I wished... oh how I wished, that he would come to know the pain that at he was causing...

So now, was this it?

Is this Life's retribution?

But I never wanted THIS... this amount of pain that he's been going through these last few years. It seemed like so much, after so long.

Twenty years ago, I said goodbye to that childhood. Oh, sure, there's still moments lingering on; or why else would I be writing this after all these years? But since that time I've known that we're no longer those kids.

He perhaps more than me.

He turned into a successful businessman, a devoted husband; a good man. He became a man that I'm proud to call my brother.

And I turned inward during those cold days. I found my light within. Had my childhood been so rosy, I would not be who I am today (and that's a good thing, right?)

So I don't really have to "let it go" as much as just "let it be." I just have to thank it and put it where it belongs... in the past.

He's earned his peace. He deserves his joy.

And so do I.

Perhaps going forward, we can find it together.



8:00 PM


Saturday, February 05, 2005
Not forgotten... 
Your life is not measured so much by those who see you come into this world, as much as those who see you go out.

...............................

Nestled among the million dollar homes of Martha Stewart land (the prestigious one, not the prison one) is the home of my sister-in-law's family. Although quite sprawling, the house is sectioned off in such a way as to not get a full sense of just how many people showed up for the memorial gathering.

There were a lot more pictures than there were tears today. Perhaps because we all saw this day in the distance, even though we kept looking away... or perhaps because my sister-in-law just touched the lives of these people in such a way as to just make you want to smile instead.

I knew only a few of them... and that was because I was related. They were new faces to me, but gathering my the reactions of her family, they were all very special to them. And they just seemed to keep coming, with rich desserts in hand, and even richer cars in the driveway.

What says so much more though was the diversity of these faces... of every age and every color... of every sex and sexual preference... in sickness and in health. You see, to Barbara it didn't really matter the car you drove, or the dessert you braught; but rather what was in your heart that mattered. She welcomed everyone in.

I never fully realized that until today.

I kind of wish I knew that sooner. It wouldn't have changed what she meant to me, but perhaps I could've gotten to know how much these people meant to her; sooner, instead of in hindsight.

At least I got to hear how much they love my brother now. He may not make such a big deal of sticking by his wife all these years; he may brush it off with "hey, it came with the package"... but we all know better. He was amazing for her. Rock solid and methodical; as loving as he was logical. He's earned the right not to be humble, but he won't take it.

In between the chit chat of the latest Audi and upcoming Super Bowl, I managed to slip in "I'm very proud of you" on the way back home. He stopped being stoic, if only for a moment, to say "thank you."

At least he took the compliment before we went back to small talk.

That's big.


7:25 PM


Friday, February 04, 2005
Go on... 
Life has good and bad adventures waiting for you. Go forth boldly!

..............................

The time's come for me to head back East for the memorial service for my sister-in-law. I want to be there, but I don't want to go. I'd much rather be going for a celebration of Life in the moment, instead of in memoriam. That's just not the cards that got dealt this time.

I'm still going to look for moments to enjoy though... because that's the lesson here; that's what Barbara would have wanted (for herself as well)... to just enjoy being alive. I may have to look harder, or just be more acutely aware of what's around me, but it'll be there. In the sky, in a smile or in the face of a dog just happy to see me again. It's up to me to let it in.

I'll try to write back as often as I can, but that's easy to say when the priority is just to go there. When I get there, everything can change.

Until then, don't wait for me. Look around. Take Life in.



5:56 AM


Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Eeyore... 
Just because you're down doesn't mean you should bring everyone else down with you. It doesn't make your day any better and it might just make theirs worse.

..............................

The office Eeyore acted up today. I understand her life isn't going the way she likes, and I feel for her; I really do. I just don't really need all the negative mumbling right now.

Right in the middle of a bright moment, a group of us were celebrating the success of a brainstorming session, when she chimed in... "I hope I have fun one of these days."

She's been countering every positive comments I've been saying for some time now, so it's obvious her misery likes her own company.

She's a perfect example of how someone creates their own reality. I'm sure she'd counter that with some negative comment of how she doesn't, but that's okay. It's her reality, she can do with it what she will.


..............................

So what are you doing with YOUR reality?


10:13 PM


Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Play on... 
Whether or not you dance, the beat goes on...

...........................

Tonight was a celebration of Life. My cousin is passing through from out of town with her fiance and nearly-one-year-old son. After discovering that a nearby favorite Italian place likes to be closed on Tuesdays, we ended up at a Thai place.

Pictures of Thailand in cheap frames were scattered haphazardly along the wall, mixed in with a plastic red garnish forming a Valentines Day heart and Christmas lights that looked like they're more a permanent fixture than a holiday celebration.

They live back east on a farm and work very long hours growing their own vegetables, with their own hands and without any chemicals. They're so tied to the earth that they wear their spirits on their sleeves.

Their son had a busy time of it, from putting his foot into the soup (apparently the dipping of toes does not violate a vegetarian diet) to sleeping to listening intently to the karaoke singer as he shook his maracas.

Oh, did I mention that this Thai restaurant had karaoke? I mean, you can't have permanent Christmas lights without karaoke. Otherwise, it's just plain tacky.

Being that the singer spoke to the crowd in Taiwanese, and the computer screen was filled with Taiwanese letters, I take it they knew we were from outta-town.

No matter, they spoke cheesy songs and spicy soup... and gave it all they got.

What more could you ask for?



11:49 PM


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