The value of valuing time

Have you got a minute? Let’s talk about valuing peoples’ time. Might seem like an odd topic, but bear with me…

I grew up in a wonderful family that was almost always at least a little late to everything – perhaps not notoriously, but consistently. I feel like that’s to be expected in a house full of “eight women and a female cat,” as my Daddy used to say, and it seemed to be one of those “charming” little idiosyncrasies about our brood. 

I carried that propensity for tardiness into adulthood, with the very clear exception of half-hour call times for work (theatre) because – well – no one likes to get written up. And the older I get, the more mortified I am at the memory of my carelessness. 

Oh, it was always innocent – absolutely no harm meant. But the fact is, when you don’t value someone else’s time (or yours for that matter), it sends a strong message. Cue the invisible but very loud megaphone. “Ahem. Testing, testing…can you hear me? Oh good. Here goes. I. DON’T. RESPECT. YOU.” 

Are there good reasons for being late? Abso-freakin-lutely! Are there excellent explanations for why someone may not show up at all? You bet! And I’m all about grace (heaven knows I need it by the heaping truckload.) But these days, when a phone is essentially just another appendage to the body, there’s really no excuse for not at least informing the other person. 

And in a world where carelessness and screw-you-ism are taking hold more and more, respect and consideration – heck, let’s get crazy and add kindness – are desperately needed. So, let me say it loudly.  I am so sorry if I’ve ever made you feel small by showing up late or not at all. I am trying hard to make up for it – to teach my students and my own kids the value of being where we said we’d be when we said we’d be there. I don’t always succeed, but you can bet I’m giving it my all.

Because…time is precious. Yours, mine, everybody’s. Let’s handle it with care.

 *Steps off soapbox*

Backstage Door

July 31st, 2018

Went into an audition for a musical today- the first real audition I’ve had in over 2 years. I’d prepared, practiced, prayed, focused on staying positive- ALL those lovely ‘p’ words. I marched into that building head held high- angel baby in tow- handed him to his Aunt Amy, sat down in a chair to wait, and proceeded to feel my confidence (or whatever was posing in its place…slippery, elusive little sucker) evaporate in under 7 minutes.

STILL- I thought- I got this. This is where the preparation and muscle memory kick in, right? Wrong. I walked into the room (a room filled with truly pleasant people) and showed them all precisely why they should NOT hire me. I wasn’t grounded. My hands shook. I forgot words. My voice was weak, and I’d- once again- all of a sudden forgotten how to breathe. But the biggest ‘we’ll pass on her’ offense? I was so concerned with all of it, I forgot to tell the story. There’s no point if you’re not gonna honestly tell the story.

Sounds like the account of someone going into one of their first auditions, huh? You’d never guess I’ve been in ‘the biz’ for almost 20 years. And this is just the last in a LONG chain of auditions that have gotten increasingly horrid due to nerves. I’m supposed to be the seasoned singer- the older actress who’s been through it ALL and doesn’t even remember what it’s like to have her knees start to shake under her skirt while trying to appear perfectly calm- the belting ‘Broad’ with the dry, witty, been-there-experienced- it-all energy. So, where was SHE? Why doesn’t SHE ever show up? It seems to me she skipped town and sent her sickly, indecisive, ah gee, milk-toasty third cousin to cover for her.

I survived the songs, slunk out of there- a walking apology- tried to shrug it off in a chat with my sister, changed Rex’s diaper, and thanked him for shining away some of my disappointment with a smile that reminded my heart what it beats for. And I told myself- ‘Self, you’re in a new chapter of life now.’

And the thing is- it’s the best chapter of my life. By FAR. I get to be a Mommy, and OH how I love it! Rex is my miracle, and I’m savoring every single moment with him.

But I let myself down today, and the disappointment was heavy. So, I continued the chat (while my little man was dozing off in his car seat) the whole drive home: ‘Self, maybe this happened so you’ll know how to comfort your baby when he falls short. Maybe you needed to be seriously humbled. Again. Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, or your song choice was crap, or the air was too dry, or you shouldn’t have watched the news this morning, or blah blah blah..’

But what felt like the truth- after all of it- was that it might be time for me to stop trying to sing in public. For a while anyway. And I don’t say this in the self-flagellating, pitiful, ‘someone get me a pillow and a cookie and a fainting couch while you’re at it’ kind of way I’m sure it’s coming across as.  I have gotten to sing so much beautiful music with so many incredible people for decades, and I’m forever grateful! – Today was a fail, but failure IS a great teacher. I’ve been taught by it every day of my life, and I’m sure it will continue to prod me along til the day I die. – I’m not advocating walking away when things get hard. I can do hard things. I have DONE hard things. And I will teach Rex that he can as well. But this time- at this point in my life- it felt different. It felt like an honest-to-goodness sign. Like a gentle but definitive ‘shove with love’ right out the backstage door.

I do still have the desire (in abundance) to share all that’s in me in some sort of creative way. Maybe I’ll land a straight play at some point. Or discover I’m actually a VERY late-blooming prodigy at oil-painting or origami. There’s no deadline…I’ll figure it out. And maybe that confident old belting broad will show up eventually. But for now, I’ll keep singing private concerts at the 2am for an audience of one little VIP.


Been thinking about Daddy a lot lately. Always, really..but especially recently. Maybe it’s because Ray reminds me of him in so many ways. The way they both stand with their hands behind their backs and look out at the day..the way they both love burgundy leather and shining shoes..their love of God and their families and the deep goodness that exists in them both.

One day several months ago, I found myself saying ‘Wowie Zowie’ just the way Daddy used to. Came completely out of the blue and made my heart smile, and I’ve been saying it ever since.  Have thought so much about the conversations we would have all had together about our baby boy.  And the truth is, I do believe Daddy and this little man have been spending a lot of time together. I think they must know each other well…Deep in me, I feel sure that- when he arrives- it will have been from God’s Arms to Daddy’s to ours. And that feeling gives me the greatest comfort.

Been thinking about Daddy’s funeral. Not long ago, my dear friend lost her Grandmother..I watched her stand beside her Mother and her family and sing at the services with such poise. And I ached- as I have many, many, many times- to have the chance to go back and try to be different- better- at Daddy’s funeral. Three months before, I’d gotten divorced. I was in a bad place, and when the day came I was not able to handle it well. At all. I tried to sing one of his favorite songs (‘The Impossible Dream’), and I couldn’t get much of it out. I tried to stand next to my sisters and my Mother and show love and support, but inside I was utterly broken and angry and lost. A family friend (whose home we had dinner at last week, and who I will be forever grateful to) had to collect me from down the street afterwards and take me to the cemetery. I couldn’t bring myself to stand too close to the grave site..I couldn’t talk to my family. I couldn’t breathe. Grief, I know, is a strange thing. It affects us all differently. My sisters were so strong. Mama was SO strong. And I wish with all my heart that I could have honored him better that day..the way they did. I hope he knows that. I think he does.

I’ve watched as Ray has prepared to be a Father…his careful attention to every detail, the study he’s put in, the way he worries and he holds my belly and lights up every time Baby kicks into his hand. How he plays guitar for us, and constantly asks him, ‘What are you going to look like?’ He’s written me letters (another habit he and Daddy share) and made me feel beautiful through every new and surprising stage of pregnancy. And he is SO ready. I sometimes worry about me as a Mother, but I never worry for a second about him. He’s already an amazing Father. Just like Daddy.

We have felt so very loved throughout these past months. Thank you, thank you for that, Friends. My cup really, truly ‘runneth over.’  Sending you love and light for whatever chapter of life you are currently writing.

Dream Role

Sometimes I miss performing so much, every part of me aches. And I remember how it felt to be surrounded by remarkable artists who I loved and trusted, and who I knew loved me. I remember feeling that magic cohesiveness that somehow happens…that rare, tangible, fill-my-soul-to-overflowing energy that can’t really be described. That sense of belonging.

I remember all the times I knew I had something so much bigger than myself to share and the miraculous moments I was ABLE to get out of the way and share it. I also remember every (every) time I fell short- every missed note, every failed moment, every person I disappointed, every insecurity that did or did not paralyze me…All of the hard and messy and strange and beautiful LIFE that happened on stage and off stage and somewhere in between the two. And- for ALL of it- I have to find a quiet place to cry and cry until my heart can stop breaking and I can gather it all up again to tuck safely away.

And then he kicks.

And I remember WHY I chose this. I remember the miracle growing inside me. It’s more than I dreamed and more than I’ve ever deserved. I get to be a Mama. And my WHOLE soul silently shouts- thanking God for all that was, and all that is, and all that’s ahead.

Maybe I’ll get to be onstage again. I really hope so. But I know nothing is certain except this: My life IS him. And Ray. Our Family. So, my songs are softer now, designed for an audience of one (sometimes two). The costumes are loose fitting, and the lighting is rarely flattering.  I’ll never be ready by Opening Night, and I won’t perform the role perfectly. But I’ll give it ALL of me. Because it’s the role I’ve been preparing for all my life.


Baby 11 weeksIt’s hard to know how to write about miracles. When something happens that- for years- you’ve been working for and praying for and dreaming about (and being REAL honest in your writing about), you’d think you’d know what to say. And the right way to say it. But it turns out I really don’t. So here goes..

Ray and I are finally expecting a baby! – Rounds and rounds of hormones, a cross-country move and huge career adjustments, 5 failed Intrauterine Inseminations, a surgery for endometriosis, and then the very week we were set and ready to begin steps in our first round of IVF, I took a pregnancy test, and- wonder of wonders- it was POSITIVE! It’s blown our minds and filled our hearts to bursting on a daily basis ever since. I am thrilled and terrified and overwhelmed (in all the best and worst ways) and OH so hormonal. 😉 But more than anything, I am grateful. I KNOW this is a miracle. How ANYONE gets pregnant and builds a human being inside of them is a miracle, and we will never stop thanking God.

Truth: I’ve dreamt forever about the moment of seeing a positive on the test, but I never really thought beyond that. I didn’t let myself read parenting books or buy baby clothes or make any plans, because it was just too painful. It seemed too soon. And I didn’t think of how I would bring it up to my friends who also have been/are dealing with Infertility. I must have just assumed that- because I’d been through it- I’d know how to be sensitive. But everything is new and different, and all my worries in how to address that part of it have yielded nothing of real value. So I’ll just say this. If you’re struggling with Infertility and need someone to talk to, I’m here. If you need a miracle-story to hold on to, know that there is no reason why this cycle should have worked for us. And it did. If you need to feel angry at my silly attempts to say this sensitively, oh my gosh please, PLEASE do! I get it! (And I promise I will not post five times a day about my cravings/symptoms/etc, etc.)  Anyway, know that I’m sending love to you.

Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us or sent encouraging messages or energy our way. We have needed it and- let’s be honest- will continue to need it. And to anyone who is reading this- I wish you strength in your trials and am sending massive celebration vibes for your successes. This world seems to be falling apart in so many ways lately, but I’m reminded every day how much GOOD there still is. And that miracles DO happen. Thank you for helping me to remember that.


Well, despite the dark cloud that I so firmly held over my head yesterday, the strangest thing happened this morning. The sun decided to rise (cheeky little fireball), so I started to sweep away the remnants of yesterday’s spectacular pity party. And- as with all morning afters of  full blown pity parties- I realized my perspective was pretty narrow. I won’t apologize for the words I wrote- as they were as true to me as any I’ve ever written- but I WILL say that I’m ready to face life with more gratitude today. I have so much. I have people I love who choose to love me back- despite moments of self-defeat like yesterday’s. I have extraordinary family in two different countries, and dear friends who have not abandoned me. Thank you with all my heart for that. And thank you for your example. I have a husband I am ridiculously and overwhelmingly in love with. And we have options. And I do know God Is There and Aware. We’re going to be ok. So- whatever your current dark cloud is (the one you most likely-wisely- kept a bit more to yourself)- I hope it dissipates a bit with the sunrise. It’s a new day, and good things can happen in a new day.

Bottom of the Barrel

It’s supposed to be the most natural thing in the world. The thing women take daily pills to avoid, and church praises as the crowning achievement of a woman’s creation, and the reason they hand you a doll to rock and love and take care of from the age of before-you-can-remember. It’s why you keep advil, midol, tampax, and- quite often- the ER in business month after month and think ‘ There’s a reason for this. It will all be worth it.’ Well, will it? Because it seems wrong to me that God should give women like me the burning, unyielding, aching desire to be a Mother and then make it nigh unto impossible to become one. And it seems immoral for companies to offer lottery-like financial ‘packages’ that ultimately extort and politely laugh at this most painful and personal of challenges. And it seems unfair to put an innocent, good man who would be the BEST Father on the planet through hell just because he happened to pick a woman who didn’t realize she was damaged merchandise. And I don’t want to hear the ‘It’ll happen’s or ‘There’s a Reason for everything’s or the ever-popular ‘Ya know, my friend tried for years and years and YEARS, and finally they ended up trying to adopt’s- as if that for ANY reason in this or ANY Universe should be a comforting anecdote. – Now I recognize this is only my little world, and my challenge to deal with, and that most people- when they put thought into what they say about it- probably mean well. I recognize how blessed I am. It could be so much worse. I get to be the eternal Auntie, the Nanny, the woman with 3 jobs and a cabinet full of prescription drugs. But I am not whole without this. I am not. Some women may be- and God Knows sometimes I wish that were me. But there is in me this desire that NOTHING can squelch. I am an actress with nowhere to act, a woman with no money that finds herself in the position of having to scrape together more cash than she’s ever even dreamed of having at one time to pay for a percentage of a chance to have a baby. And it’s not fair. And I’m angry. And utterly disillusioned.  I have tried with all I have, and I have reached the bottom of my now-dry faith-barrel. Maybe if I were stronger, I could handle this better.  But I’m not. I’m me. I’m the me I’ve tried to make better, but- ultimately- I’m the me God Made me. And if indeed He ‘Doesn’t Make mistakes’, then what am I?

The Waiting Place

Purpose is the word of the month for me. Specifically, what is mine? Let’s be clear- this is not being written from a hopeless place, nor do I expect anyone to be able to give me an answer. I just have no desire to write anything but the barest truth, and this is my truth right now.

I do know I used to feel I had a purpose. I had things to say and things to learn, and being able to say and learn them on stage was a gift I’ve always known was precious.

When I fell into a rut of mistakes and hurt, my purpose was to dig myself out. When my divorce happened, my purpose was to survive, then to try to believe in love again, which then became searching for the love I felt was still out there, which finally- miraculously (and I do not use that word lightly)- grew into living large with gratitude for the real love that I’d mercifully been given the chance to have and hold.

THAT is a life-long Purpose, and I take it very seriously. But a big part of that is knowing myself, finding new strengths, being able to grow with and for the one I love. This makes finding my personal path all the more urgent. I need it. And HE deserves to have someone who can steer her own ship toward a worthy destination with confidence.

Growing up, one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books was ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go.’ Pages and pages of situations- bizarre or not- that I could relate to…all pointing toward a future of greatness that, deep down, I was sure was mine. There were, of course, those random scenelets between the ones that ‘applied’ to me…where you look at the pictures, tilt your head, shrug, and think ‘what an odd idea.’ And yet they stay with you, and pop into your head years later, when the ‘places you’ll go’ seem to have moved on to other little adventurers. Lately, it’s been ‘the waiting place’…I remember reading about this as a little girl and feeling that kind of blue that doesn’t have a specific title- a sort of foggy, slow-moving sadness like that undefined hollowness left by the last snips of memories from a dream you can’t remember.

In ‘the waiting place,’ you’ll find people- wait for it- waiting.

“Waiting for a train to go, or a bus to come, or a plane to go,
Or the mail to come, or the rain to go, or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow,
Or waiting around for a Yes or No, or waiting for their hair to grow…
Or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants,
Or a wig with curls, or Another Chance,
Everyone is just waiting.”

Been doing a lot of the waiting thing lately. The majority of our job in fertility treatments is to wait (while pumped full of hormones or dealing with said-creature pumped full of hormones). It is not as easy as it sounds. It is not easy at all. And I recognize that this time-ultimately- is a gift. Which makes it all the more maddening to feel I’m not using it as wisely as I could.

I do love having this time with Ray. He is moving forward with such courage- diving into a brand new future in this brand new place, completely stepping out of his comfort zone, and making me and everyone in my family fall more and more in love with him in the process.

I do love being so near family, and I’m trying (emphasis on trying) to take the opportunity to be a better daughter and sister and Auntie than I’ve been able to be in the past.

I do love nannying my sweet babies. It is nothing short of remarkable the way these families have welcomed me into their homes and their lives and daily trust me with their spectacular children. I do savor my time with them. And if (during the moments my back starts to yell at me for hunching over a crib or a pile of dishes too long) I find myself checking the clock, I remind myself that this is stellar training for when my own sweet babies come along.

* Now THIS is the point where the yogi/self-help aficionado/let’s-stay-positive side of me re-emphasizes ‘when’ (throws some imaginary confetti in the air, takes a walk, thinks about a baby with Ray’s eyes, and snuggles down with a sweet potato and a list of upcoming online fertility webinars to RSVP to); AND the point where the what-if queen/ Dear God, what will I do?/ worst-case scenario side of me changes the word to ‘IF’ (turns the lights and the phone and the world off, locks the door, considers eating ALL the bread and chocolate, and crawls under the covers instead).

Isn’t having many sides to our personalities FUN?

SO, to make use of the waiting place: Since I can’t really perform here in Salt Lake as an Equity Actor, I am teaching. And I’m grateful that I have the opportunity to. These kids are ridiculously talented, and to watch them grow is awesome. – I’m also looking into other possibilities for work…reaching out to non-theatre-folk who might be willing to let me shadow them for a day, picking peoples’ brains on why they do or do not love what they do (please share if you have thoughts), digging deep to try to find something outside of performing that sparks the same passion in me.

Which, I suppose, is why I’m writing.

On a somewhat related note, I finally saw ‘Moana’ yesterday. I expected to like it, and I did. But, it also ushered in a few very UNexpected thoughts that circled around and sat with me. Like any overgrown little girl, I love a good ‘I want’ song, and this one is inspiring. I need to have that pig. I would like VERY much to be best friends with the personified Ocean character. And Grandma/Stingray put me in ugly-cry mode- in the best way.

But the character that I found myself relating to the most was- strange Aha- the volcano monster who’s had her heart stolen from her. I WANT to be Moana- with her strong voyager’s spirit and her stupid pet chicken, but Volcano Monster I currently am. – That’s not to say I can’t change. She got her heart back, softened, became who she truly is, and so can I. I think I just need a little help with the ‘heart’ part. I’ve wrapped it up and made it less accessible this past while. It wasn’t intentional. I think it’s happened in increments, with each no-baby month that goes by. It’s gotten a little too painful to leave my heart as open as it likes to be. I’m sure you can relate. And yet, you’ve probably found a way. Have you? Feel like sharing?

Anyway, I’m determined to get my heart back. I’m re-dedicating myself to embrace this ‘waiting place’, to serve more and mourn less, and to attempt to be less pushy with my Purpose. It knows I want to find it. I have to believe it will eventually show up where it’s wanted.

Plagues, Potential, & Sweet Potatoes

The Flu, while not THE plague, is A plague. And we have it. I’ve been battling this mean bug since December 27th (14 days now) and was kind enough to pass it on to poor Ray January 3rd. Not the way we expected to start 2017, but that’s life. Cheeky life. It loves sloshing things around and spitting ‘em back out upside down…just gets a good belly-laugh out of it, I’m certain.

SO (after some truly lovely holidays, despite illness), our world-as of now- consists of the calendar flipping by in a haze, while we read and cough and binge HGTV and cough and sleep and try not to despair over current events and cough and laugh at how pathetic we are and eat too many sweet potatoes (because they’re the only actual comfort food that’s somewhat ‘legal’ on my get-this-baby-here diet) and cough and sleep some more. – We took last month off of fertility drugs and treatments and just focused on acupuncture, supplements, and a very strict Paleo Diet for me. I admit I had hoped to stick it to the system by getting pregnant on this self-prescribed formula, but no such luck. We are back on the drugs, will be adding an IVF drug called Gonal-F to the cocktail this time around, and have our last IUI scheduled for next week. After this, the option is IVF. That terrifies me physically, emotionally, financially, but that’s reality.

We continue to be so grateful for Mama’s generosity in letting us stay here…for her goodness and kindness and constant love. But, I’m ashamed to admit, I’m feeling a little stuck. Of course I AM, being quarantined in the basement, but it’s more than that. It’s the here-for-now-ness that leaves this rootless sensation. I can’t find the ground, and I’m not even certain which ground I’m stretching my toes toward. Ray keeps things so in perspective…He is my anchor. And wow do I ever love that man. But that’s an awful lot of pressure to put on him, and I need to find some more purpose for myself.

Chicago, for now, is no longer home. But Utah- despite being so near the family I love so much- doesn’t feel like home either. Maybe home is something that is meant to feel elusive. Maybe that’s how the Universe keeps us from getting too comfortable…pushes us to keep reevaluating, reinventing, changing. The thought is exhausting. But then again- with this bug- the idea of walking from here to the bathroom is exhausting. So there’s that.

Have been meditating a bit. Trying to put my faith in it- and in all the other things we’re doing to sweet-talk our baby out of hiding. Faith and hope are harder to find each month. I’ve been scraping the bottom of the barrel on both for a while now, and that’s a difficult truth to admit. I guess the trick is to be grateful we HAVE a barrel at all, right?

And while I’m wah wah’ing here at my pity-party (with kleenex-confetti), I miss being in a show. It’s not even been three months, but I’m beginning to wonder: Am I still an actress? I was at one point, correct?  Funny how time works. Ray reminds me that my job does not define me, but I do miss the work. I miss it terribly. – Right there in the back of my being, curled up in a ball and snoring is a lot of untapped potential for good. I’m struggling to wake it up, but I will. And soon.

For now, I’m tired. And coughing. So I’m gonna go back to bed. Happy 2017, everyone. And Goodnight, Neverland.

There there, She-Beast

Patience and Hope have been two very big goals of mine recently. But- and I wonder if I’m alone in this- I find that when I become aware of the things I MUST have during any given chapter, it becomes harder to hang onto them. Like trying to catch rain in my hands. I can see it there, pouring down all around me, and sometimes I’ll get myself a nice little pool in the cup of my hand. But then something distracts me, and it sloshes out. Or I become overwhelmed with how much I am NOT catching, and I drop what I have. Or I close my eyes tight and refuse to see the lovely storm at all…surround myself with a thick, dry, barren bubble of despair that blocks any of the virtues I so need from being able to get through to me.

We are eight days from being able to test for this baby. I have been feeling particularly ill this time around, and particularly large. I have these massive, sore boobs that were never there before, making me very grateful I am generally not well endowed in that department. I mean, who wants to lug these things around?! I am headachey, sore, crampy, and crabby and haven’t felt attractive since…honestly, I can’t remember the last time I felt pretty. I know, waaah waaah. It sounds ridiculous, but I’m a girl. And try as I may to not care about that kind of thing, ultimately a part of me always does. I want to feel beautiful for my husband. I want to feel put- together for me. I want to be comfortable in my skin and ready to take on anything that comes. I want to fall asleep peacefully and wake up energized. These things are illusive for now, BUT…there might be a baby in there. I am a sleepy, hormonal sloth during the day and a cover-stealing, nightmare-riddled, anxious little (not so little) guinea pig at night, BUT…there might be a baby in there. I’m miserable much of the time and I’m sure a JOY to be around, BUT…there might be a baby in there. My sweet husband is surely getting tired of living with this She-Beast, BUT…there might be a baby in there. And that is what is getting us through.

The awful ‘What if there’s not…again’ is always around the corner or hovering above or right there in front, just waiting for me to step in and get slurped up. But I am being as brave as I know how to be. That is to say, I am bravely avoiding the what if. Yep…hiding from it like a champ. And I dare anyone to tell me that this is not precisely what I need to be doing right now. Because, the truth is, no one can tell me what this path is ‘supposed’ to be like. Even a woman with my exact same conditions, desires, hormone-induced illness, fears, etc…Her path will not be the same as mine. I suppose that’s true in all chapters of life for ALL of us, but this one feels especially make-it-up-as-you-go.

I have absolutely resorted to begging in my prayers. Yes, I want His Will to be done. And of course, I know that IS what will happen. But it does not stop me. When I feel that surge of eeeaaaaaaooow through my heart, thinking about the baby I SO want to join our family, nothing stops me from diving right back into my ‘Please God, Please God, Please God, Please Please Please’ es. Because, that’s how it works, right? If I simply resort to a two-year-old’s tactics and beg and kick and scream til I’ve cried myself to sleep on the nursery floor, I’ll absolutely get what I want. Right?

Oh dear.

Patience, Summer. Patience. And Hope.