Independence Day

Independence DayAs your children grew up and became more independent, did you find yourself holding on a bit tighter? And when they were finally out of the house, how did you deal with their departure, with a sense of dread or a burst of independent spirit?

In honor of July 4th, Independence Day, let’s think about how we dealt with our own independence and how it shaped our relationships with our spouses, significant others, friends or children!

Date Night or How I Learned to Re-Kinect with My Son-Pt. I

I have learned over the years that the hardest part of being a mom is letting go. Not just of the preconceived notions of what being a parent is, or what you want your child to be, or of hours lost with them when you no longer stay married to their dad.

From infancy and childhood, to terrible teens and beyond, I have discovered that letting requires a varied degree of pain and suffering as well as a healthy dose of faith as you watch your baby become an independent adult.  But what I find myself longing for the most are those special moments we spent alone – just the two of us – whether a trip to the zoo or a museum or the beach – it never mattered where but the time spent together always meant something new and exciting was waiting to be discovered and shared.  It was a time when mommy was king of the world and I could be the sole focus of my sons’ attention!  Those times are now a distant memory captured in photo albums in my garage.

Several weeks ago, I received an invite to a Microsoft event, “Project Natal as imagined by Cirque du Soleil” and my youngest son said he’d like to go and what’s more, he insisted that it just be me and him – alone!  Our first “date” our first real alone, one on one time in way too many months.

As the evening of June 14th drew nearer, my youngest son kept hounding me what exactly were we going to see, what exactly ,/i>was the event about, who was going to be there. I really didn’t know what to answer him as the details of the event were still a state secret at that point. I somewhat confidently assured him that if it had to do with Microsoft’s XBox 360 ( a video gaming platform) and a Cirque du Soleil performance, how could it be anything but great?? But I still wondered if he would cancel on me at the last minute if something “better” or more interesting or of the female species would come up and spoil my plans to spend some long overdue alone time with my youngest.  Unfortunately, he’s cancelled on me too many times in recent history and I wasn’t feeling all that confident that he would make this date!

When finally the night of “Project Natal” came,  my “date” was on time (for a change), traffic from the San Fernando valley going towards downtown L.A. was really moving quickly (also for a change) and my son and I had a meaningful conversation about what’s been going on in his life (a truly refreshing change) along the way.

This the evening was off to a magnificent start, but it was only the beginning.

(… be continued)

Staying Connected

Perhaps the hardest part of the empty-nest syndrome was, for me, letting go of a routine of brief, but meaningful moments with your children.  Whether it was breakfast on the run, carpooling them to school or an urgent trip to the shopping mall for clothing that they grew out of over night.  You still had a consistent connection and the ability to know what was going on in their lives.

Now, you’re lucky if you get a phone call every few days and even then it’s interrupted by another call that is more important than you.  Certainly you know they need money when they linger on the phone and ask you all about your week, your day and how you are feeling!  In either case, neither is satisfying your parental need to know and feel connected.

How do you navigate the choppy waters of a parent-child connection when they’re on their own?  I have some ideas to share on the next edition of Life After Kids on Mingle Media TV Network!

How Empty is Your Nest?

Life After Kids
Please Join me for the debut of the LIVE Web Series LIFE AFTER KIDS this Sunday at 9P EDT/6p PDT on MingleMediaTV.

Sunday’s show will begin to explore what is known as empty-nest syndrome – the time when your child or children have grown, are no longer living home and have begun their own lives – very often not including “you.”

It doesn’t matter if you are a single parent, or a couple, this change in parental status can have profound effect on us,  for some it may be a traumatic time filled with loneliness and for others, it maybe the long awaited freedom to be an “adult” again.

I want to hear from you. What was your experience? How did it affect you? or your partner or spouse? What did you do to deal with it? I will share my experiences and I hope you will share yours.

Sunday is just the beginning of an exciting journey we can all take together to find and follow our bliss!  So, let’s start that conversation Sunday @6pmPDT/9pmEDT on MingleMediaTV!


Son-ShineI am writing this from the magnificent hilly, enclave of La Jolla, California. It’s less than twenty-four hours since I received the late night subdued, but urgent call for HELP from my eldest son who goes to the U.C. there.  After all, isn’t that what mothers are supposed to do? Drop everything and run to help their children even if they are twenty-two and a senior in college.

So after a fitful night’s sleep, a morning packed with calls to cancel and reschedule several appointments,  a rushed visit to my accountant to do my taxes, I pack a small bag, stop to fill up the tank, and get on my way for the short trek to San Diego.  But L.A. traffic being what it is, it took me almost two hours to go barely ten miles and the trip, which would take two hours, now took almost five hours.  After only going 10 miles in two hours I was so tempted to turn back, my already sore back was throbbing in pain from being in the same position and not being able to switch on cruise control.  It doesn’t quite work at less than five miles per hour. What a mother won’t do for her children!

While it may sound like I am not complaining mind you.  I am not.  I am actually over the moon as it’s really been a long time since my son reached out for my help.  That coupled with unusually quiet panic in his voice, not his usual holier than thou demands, signaled that this was really serious.

As most parents know, your relationship with your child will have many ups and downs and when there is a contentious divorce punctuating those milestones, that road is even rockier.  Our relationship, or lack thereof,  had been sorely tested over the past ten years.  Come to think about it, we haven’t spent more than a few hours together in a single day and barely ever  more than two days in a row, and now I was getting a chance to spend a few days, which in my time frame, is practically a lifetime.

Since he was little, my son always said he wanted to be a lawyer.  I used to joke with him after the divorce and all the lawyer BS he witnessed through the years, didn’t he think there was a better career path for him?  He would not be swayed.  Until last year.  Somehow, he decided to be a writer/filmmaker seemingly out of the blue.  Now I have been in the “biz” for a very long time, and he has certainly been around TV production, location shoots and post-production edit bays  his whole life, but it never seemed to interest him much.  It was my life.  My passion and thankfully I was very good at it and made a good living at it.  But for my boy to say he wanted to do something in that realm was quite astounding.  I guess I never thought of him as the creative type.  He was always the athletic type.  Sinewy and faster than lightning since he was five years old, he was blessed with the body and speed to make him a premiere soccer player which took him through college and was his passion above all else.

As parents we know about lost dreams and failures and missed opportunities.  As parents we try so much to shield our children from same or at least help cushion the blow or ease the pain of those experiences.  Well when my son found out he couldn’t play his last and supposedly best year of college soccer, I think a piece of him died.  I know I mourned the loss of his promise of great success from afar, wondering for him, what it would be like to have that one last final hurrah.  But it was not meant to be and as I believe life hands you the cards you are meant to play, I accepted my son’s fate begrudgingly, with a few tears and with the hope that what will not kill him will make him stronger.

Was it that defining moment of inertia, of accepting that his body wouldn’t do what his mind willed, that made him find his inner voice, his inner muse and allowed him to tap into his creative juices and abandon the life legal?  Whatever it was, it renewed his desire to learn and explore and filmmaking sparked him like a great kick made from 30 yards out.  But I didn’t know much more than he had changed his major.  Like most kids, explaining or details were not their strong suit and our phone calls were perfunctory exercises in formalities.  How are you? Fine.  How are your classes? Fine.  Do you have alot of work? Fine. Communicating with your child from teenager onward is a delicate art form of trying to decipher verbal hieroglyphics on a cave wall without light.  But with that Sunday phone call that was all about to change. & SonApparently my son was in the middle of a project for class and everyone who was helping him was flaking out – including the actor.  So he needed me to operate the camera while he acted out the rest of his scenario for the five minute project that was already half shot. He obviously could not shoot and act at the same time and he realized that…my boy was growing up!  The good news was by the time I got to San Diego, his actor had changed his mind and was available to shoot that night so my primary function was to help secure some supplies and cater a “crew” dinner for all which included his roommates.  After dinner we got down to business, and I was very conscious of not taking over the project and wanted to let my son do his thing.

To my surprise, he was quite aware of what he wanted to shoot, how he wanted to shoot it and, to my amazement, my “little boy” had a very sophisticated vision for his project.  I wondered, who that man was who took the place of my first born son.  The evening progressed and I was pleased to take his direction, hold a light, fix a make-shift “gel” of colored tissue paper, to suggest an angle shift here and there, and just let him do his thing.  Having never seen the footage already shot, I didn’t know where this was all going, but I trusted he knew and that’s all that mattered.  The shoot was over in a few hours and my son seemed happy with what he got.  But the proof would be in the pudding – how it all cut together and that would be the next step.  Before we went to sleep, he thanked me and told me I was the best “producer” he ever had.  Not one bit of praise in my 25 plus years of working ever meant more to me than that.  I was basking in son-shine.

img_5376I have probably spent thousands of hours in editing rooms but the best time I have ever had was watching my son in his “editing suite” work on his labor of love.  Slowly and surely he progressed scene by scene and I watched enraptured.  He’s really got talent.  This isn’t a fluke or some flight of fancy.  He really knows what he is doing.  Words cannot express how I felt watching him do his thing.  Like his first step or his first word, I witnessed the birth of my son’s creative soul.  It was truly a transcendental moment in time.  What’s more is that he let me in, he invited me in to be a part of this, a part of who he was becoming for the first time in a very long time.  It was my birthday and the editing went on for hours.  I knew what he was going through, weighing every edit like the entire piece depended on it.  Crafting bit by bit his vision, moving toward the perfect conclusion.  I watched and only offered suggestions when asked.  I held his hand with my heart as I watched him toil for hours and hours to make this project just right. God, he’s such a perfectionist, just like me! I smiled inside as years of rift and separation melted away with each edit and each hour.  Yes, he is like me and in a very good way!  My heart grew lighter as the years of lost time with him melted with these new moments of collaboration and communion.

When he was finally done, it was much too late for dinner and a dreamy dessert supporting a solitary birthday candle but it didn’t matter. I had already received the best birthday present money couldn’t buy – magical time spent with my son – bonding in the trenches, discovering our shared passion and sharing the joy of creation.  What a blessing!

P.S. He got an A on the project and after one student compared his work to his idol, Micheal Gondry, he said he almost cried.  When he told me about this, I couldn’t hold back my tears of joy.

Tending My Garden

Stop and Smell the Flowers!I  love my garden!  It has always been my place of refuge and renewal and now as spring has sprung, the energy is palpable as everything is starting to bud and bloom. So today, I took some time to sit in my backyard and surveyed the new palette of colors about to spring forth. The lushness of the green grass, the bursts of magentas, reds, pinks and yellows bursting forth and and thought how my garden had evolved since I first moved into my house three years ago.

Until I injured my back over a year ago, I was the sole CGO – Chief Gardening Officer of a large, but barren backyard I acquired I bought my house.  It was one of the main reasons I fell in love with this property.  I saw the possibilities in this brown patch of earth that was now all mine.  Before I settled in this house, I had to move 7 times in ten years (that’s a story for another time) so I would plant flowers and herbs in containers and take them with me when I left.  After all, these were my creations, living art, as it were, and I could not bear to leave my masterpieces behind for someone else.

Anyway, from the moment I settled in and until my back injury of ’08,  I would always find something to plant all year ’round.  I reveled in trying all sorts of flowers, shrubs and grasses and learned along the way why some varieties made it and some didn’t.  Was it the poor soil that needed enriching, was it the sun – too hot in some areas – too lacking in others, was it what fertilizer I used or was it too much water or not enough.   I would not be discouraged when some plantings wouldn’t take, because there were others that did, or, surprisingly enough some would come back from the dead the next season.

Nature like life is very unpredictable.  So today as I surveyed my pride and joy, I felt that my commitment to experimentation, in the face of failure, had finally paid off.  I felt a hint of sadness since I would not be able to do any planting this year and there are so many more varieties left to be tried.  But, for now, it is not to be.  Instead I have been made to realize, that it’s okay not to do, but to be.  Stop, as they say, and smell the flowers and be satisfied in a job well done.

What is your “garden”?

[Read more…]

Thanks-Giving for Nate, Paul, Seth, Lily & Hilary

This is a very special Thanksgiving for me as I really feel so blessed after a year of trials, tribulations and challenges that life always seems to lob my way. But this year did seem tougher than most. It was rough physically (the challenges of a back that will not cooperate), emotionally (dealing with feeling helpless when one’s body will not cooperate) and financially (getting laid off and insurance company b.s. ’nuff said).

This year also gave me many gifts – the most important is the knowledge that now more than ever I am survivor. Always have been. Always will be. The wisdom to trust and love myself more and unconditionally and to not let anyone or anything make me feel any different. The courage to take flight and follow my bliss and do the dance of life as if no one was watching.
The deep understanding of what is truly important in life and that I have everything I could every want or need because my children are healthy and alive and nothing else would matter if they were not.

So freeing. So empowering. So humbling. So thanks-giving.

However these lessons came through experiencing death big time.  Over the the last the past twelve years or so I have literally lost more than twenty people very close to me – including the biggies: my nana, my step-mother, my father, my aunt, other relatives, extended family members and very close friends.

Death came to my door and kept on knocking and knocking and knocking. When would it ever stop? When would the hurting stop? But as they say, out of the ashes….

Nathan Bruckenthal

In April 2004, about a week before my youngest son’s Bar Mitzvah, I was watching CNN and heard about yet another set casualties of the Iraq War. Never in my wildest imagination would it dawn on me that what CNN was reporting on was the death of my baby cousin, Nate, who was serving his second, reluctant tour of duty and who was due to come home in less than a month.

But the next day my phone rang, and my “middle” sister was sobbing out the words. “Nate is dead!” Oh-my-God. Baby Nate. No. NO. Could it be a mistake? No – it wasn’t! So Surreal. So heartbreaking for all of us who knew and loved him.  Were we to take comfort in the several “historical” firsts that surrounded his death? Nate had the honor to be the first Coast Guardsman since Viet Nam to perish in the line of duty in the firstever suicide boater attack of the Iraq War. I would say that this is one time being first is definitely not a win.

At the age of 24, Nate was the “senior” officer to the two other Navy men (ages 18 and 19) who also died that spring day of April of 2004 protecting an oil-tanker off the coast of Basra. I would think his pregnant wife Pattie, his parents and step-parents, sister, brothers, grandparents and friends would undoubted feel the same way.

And while Nate was decorated posthumously with all sorts of stars and stripes and is a real American hero, I think I would ask if a chestful of metal would  make it easier to accept that his death.  That his passing is a violation of the circle of life -a child should never precede it’s parents, let alone grandparents – and so wrong in so many other ways. When Nate died, his wife Pattie was pregnant and his daughter, Harper Natalie was born November later that year and she will never have a Thanksgiving dinner with her father nor will she ever really know her father in the flesh. Harper will only know him through the stories of her mother and the rest of us. I will make sure she knows how sweet and wonderful her dad was as a child. A fond memory I have is that my mother so adored him and I have a beautiful photo of her glowing while holding him when he was only a few months old. She loved all babies but she had a special place for him. Little did we know, back in 1978, when that photo was taken, she would be dead in a few months, succumbing to cancer too soon, at the young age of forty-six. My nana never got over losing her “baby” either.

Paul Kleidman

Next in  2006, came the devastating loss of my cousin Paul to pancreatic cancer. The amazing thing was that he battled this killer disease for six years – which is unheard of with this kind of cancer – one usually dies in six months of diagnosis- but he lived for six years! We were all pretty sure that Paul was going to be the one to beat pancreatic cancer where it lived. But it wasn’t meant to be.

We were born one week apart, the exact  same year (and no I am not going to reveal what year). As kids, it always bugged him that I was just a measly bit older than he. His mother was the oldest of three daughters, my mom was the youngest. His mother was married for ten years before procreating. My mother was married for about a minute…well not exactly that short, but you get the idea.

It so bothered him that I matured faster and that I grew taller than him around puberty as most girls do. Boys have huge egos and Paul was no exception. While it did bother him, I know he loved me alot. He let me come into his room and he would tell me about sports. Maybe that’s why I am such a good “boy” mommy.

Paul’s comeuppance came as we became adults.  He was always the first one to call me on my birthday  and he loved teasing me and revelled in the fact he was  now younger than I was.

Well he was.  At least for a week.

Oh and when we turned the big 4-0 – boy he milked that one for days.  That gave him such pleasure.

Paul will now be forever young as he succumbed to his illness in July of 2006. I am sure he wouldn’t have minded growing old  (with me always older) with his wife and three daughters and the rest of us.  Now his mother, my Aunt B, gets to spend this Thanksgiving without her eldest son.

Seth Palmer

My cousin Seth was also one of my best friends – our relationship as adults grew into a deep friendship that transcended our kinship and despite the uncomfortable fact I had diapered him as a baby.  Seth was brilliant and accomplished at so many things, piano, Hebrew, French and was at the height of his career, having moved to Philly to work for Comcast.  He was diagnosed with AML leukemia in December of 2007 –  the first month of his relocation –  and just about a year later – he was gone.  He was 39 years young when the ravages of fighting leukemia took him too soon and he left his saint of a mother, brother and the rest of us who adored him. There will be a big gap at our table this holiday and all years to come.

Lily Burk

Gone too soon!

I only met Lily Burk on the radio and TV news.   From all reports, she was a good girl and a good student.  She was running an errand for her mother when she was reported missing and eventually it was found that evil took her from us too soon. She was a stranger  but had attended Oakwood School  in the San Fernando Valley and many of my son’s friends who went there knew her personally.  I didn’t, but I cried like a baby when they reported that this young girl who had gone missing was now found dead. I wanted to puke.  I thought about my sons and what tragedy could potentially befall them.  I couldn’t even fathom losing them to such a violent and senseless end.

She is gone and I mourn her loss with her parents, family and friends who will never again spend Thanksgiving  or any other holiday with this beautiful child who was murdered.  Again my heart grew heavier for yet another baby that left us too soon.

Hilary Kendall-Fix

And as if this cloud of death was not enough,  three weeks ago, I attended the funeral of a nineteen year old girl, Hilary Kendall-Fix – killed in broad daylight in a tragic car crash on the way back to college with two other friend when they were struck down in head-on collision on Highway 46.  The same road that claimed James Dean’s life.

No drugs. No alcohol.  Maybe just bad driving judgment but is that a good enough reason to be taken too soon.  I don’t think so. Why I asked?  But no answer came.

Again she was a friend of a dear friend’s daughter and I didn’t know here very well, but when a child – any child – is taken from us too soon, how can all of us mothers and fathers of the world not for this loss. I went to pay my respects to celebrate her life and indeed it was a beautiful celebration. Her death has made me so appreciate my life.  Thank you Hilary.

At her funeral I was driven to take photos at her gravesite.  As a Jew that taking photos at such a place truly sacreligious, but I have gotten over being that kind of Jew.  So I went with my gut and took a bunch of photos and therein lies the blessing of listening to one’s heart.

Hilary-Kendall FixAs you can see, Hilary was there watching over all of her family and friends telling them she was okay on the other side.

And while her parents were the epitome of grit and grace and many said Hilary didn’t think she would live a long life.

She is not here this Thanksgiving and I am sure her parents, family and friends wish she was.

But, I am  here  this Thanksgiving – giving HUGE thanks  and in total gratitude for what I have and not worrying about what I don’t have.

My business is starting to take off, after a rocky start, but still many bills go unpaid, for now.

My house needs urgent repairs and my stove was home to a pesky rat who lived and died in it, and I cannot afford a new one.  A toaster oven and microwave are doing the trick. Can’t make pasta…but then again don’t need to be eating pasta (blessing in disguise).

Yes, my skin is showing some wrinkles. Yes, my back creaks and cries.  Yes, my knees cry and creak.  Yes, my stomach roars and growls, especially when I don’t eat right.  And, yes, my butt is so wide I can’t even fit into my fat jeans.

But guess what?  I don’t care.  I am here. I am alive. A bit older, a bit worn and definitely wiser.

And I have my “baby” men here with me and my growing brood of furbabies who are always pure love and always available for cuddles.


Maybe they should call Mommy and take time to come visit more often.  But I wouldn’t trade places with anyone one of the parents who have lost their babies too soon.

I am so grateful I have them to  love, hug and even argue with – and on this Thanksgiving  and any other day of the year -when others are sorely missed around their families tables .

I have NOTHING to complain about!

I am giving thanks for all that I have – which money or position or power cannot buy.

Six years ago, I was supposed to fly back home to have what we no know was the last Thanksgiving Paul was to share with us.  However, fate intervened  and with going standby – I couldn’t get a flight.  While waiting for the next plane I became terribly hot with a fever and knew that the flu was coming on.

How lucky for Paul and his compromised immune system that I did not get on the plane to N.Y.  Had I made it there, I probably wouldn’t have been able to see him or do much of anything anyway.  So instead, I got the comfort of my own bed to recuperate in and a jolly phone call from all my relatives to cheer me up.

Sometimes we don’t know why things happen the way they do…we have to trust there is a bigger and better plan.  Losing a child is not one of those things I can wrap my head or  myheart around yet. But maybe next year…or maybe never.

I did get to see Paul a month before he died.  We knew it was a matter of time and we laughed,we hugged, I cried.  Paul comforted me.  That’s who he was.

So here are Paul’s words in an email to all his family and friends from Thanksgiving 2003 – it is a prayer I look at when I am down.  It is a prayer of true Thanks-giving.

To my family and friends:Happy Thanksgiving to all.

I hope each and every one of you have a reason to be thankful.

I certainly do….

-an incredible supportive and loving wife

-three terrific and loving daughters

-a family that is always by my side

-friends that are caring

-generous and loyal partners

oh yea, and another year.

Enjoy your holiday as much as we will ours.

With love, paul

Thank you Paul and Seth and Lily and Hilary for showing me how precious life is and how all that matters in life is if you love and are loved but your family and friends.

Are you thankful for what you have and who you are blessed to share it with?

Thoughts on an "Open Letter to Rupert Mudoch"

While this is a bit off topic on my usual ruminations about Life After Kids, many of my former colleagues are being affected by a horrible trend in large corporations to make deep and seemingly random cuts and that happened to me too.  However,  I chose to use my new status to “follow my bliss.” I now had real chunks of time to write, read, heal, travel and, more importantly, renew my faith in myself, which I know will lead to my new career path.  For some of my friends and former colleague that may not be so easy and my heart breaks for them as they face unemployment after giving their lives to their jobs.

Here is my response to a letter that a former colleague wrote and which was posted in the LA Observed and on Facebook:

As many of you know, I was “downsized” from my Fox11/My13 almost 7 months ago with 9 other long-time employees who may never work in their chosen career again. I was one of the short-timers – with almost ten years with the company under my belt. One of the other  gentlemen who was  laid off  had worked for the station in all of its iterations for almost 50 years.  Unbelieveable!

Not much of a ripple was made out of this news as the “numbers” of laid-off were low and how they handled it was akin to a CIA operation.  They sneak you in, you pack up your things and they sneak you out.  No farewell parties or goodbyes, just a clean surgical break.  As for me, it was the best thing that could’ve happened to me, but for others that is not the case and as it turns out, that just barely the tip of the iceberg. Next week, on September 11th (an apt date if there were any),  almost 100 employees will be escorted out the door of Los Angeles’ Fox Television Center, their home away from home for many years and more layoffs have been announced.

What the hell is going on here?

Personally, it is my belief that many corporations are using the “dire” predictions of continued economic downturn to fatten their coffers for their shareholders, break unions and probably some other machivellian agenda at the expense of their worker bees.

Where is the fairness when top executives get platinum parachutes and stock options and huge bonuses when a company is doing well, and also when it is not. Fox and other corporations, are in the business of making money but when is enough enough? If a company is still making money, does a percentage drop mean a company should sacrifice those who consider themselves part of the family? With all these high paid executives, do you think someone could figure out a way to do business better and leaner without taking their pounds of flesh?

How many of the top executives & sales people got laid off in this massacre? Would you be surprised if I said – ZERO? If leading the company were doing their jobs, staying on top of current trends in advertising, marketing, promotion and social media – don’t you think they could find ways to run the company better, sell more advertising, cut corners not people? And why if they weren’t, as evidenced by such deep cuts, weren’t more of the executives being cut, especially since they make a bushel more money?

Gets me wondering how many people in the network programing department are overpaid for churning out the same old drivel that people no longer want to watch? How many of them lost their jobs for spending way too much money on crappy television shows? I could go on and on but I think you got the picture.

And then, how many Senior VP’s and VP’s does it take to run a company?  Not the beginning of a joke, but in a way it is.  I mean Fox is known to be one of the most top heavy companies around in the number of high-level executives.  Something is out of whack here, a company can only be as good as its worker bees – they are the ones who put in the hours to produce  the sweetest honey and now, they are being toss aside and replaced with automation, and robots and hubs. “They” may call their product “honey” but it’s going to be one sad imitation of the real thing.

This past week the Los Angeles Times lambasted local TV news coverage of the Station Fire. They (the stations) didn’t cover it soon enough, didn’t take it seriously enough and laid blame at the feet of the news departments where it did not belong.  Local news departments are being cut back, consolidated and crimped beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.  Many of those laid off at KTTV in the news and engineering departments were not in redundant positions.

Why doesn’t  the LA Times do a piece on the eviceration and ultimate extinction of  local TV stations or why doesn’t the Times’ Editor write a letter to Rupert directly and ask how stations are expected to cover local breaking events with a skeleton or sometimes non-existent crew. And soon, how will someone running master control in Phoenix know that a fire in Glendale is important enough to cut away from “I Love Lucy” re-reruns?

What happened to the American Dream? Why is a large percent of the country’s wealth spread among the very few? What happened to the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation and taking chances in the face of “dire” news predictions. Why can’t we invest in good workers in the good times as well as the bad.

So many questions, but no real answers.  That is the sad state of affairs local stations are facing, and the sad state of affairs these local layoffs will have on our local and national economy. This is a very sad time for many of my friends and former colleagues.

I have lived long enough to know that the economy will cycle back but good men and women and their families will be destroyed by companies they gave their lives to. Where are these 100 plus people going get work and be able to support their families?  Will they be forced to leave L.A., California for places they can live more economically.

I am blessed that my kids are on their own and I don’t need as much to live on as I used to, I am computer literate and can get a job as a high-level assistant if need be, but that may not be the case for so many others who are the most highly-skilled in their field.  I, too, think about leaving for a cheaper place to live with more chance to find work.

So I will take a chance to assume that with many of those same thoughts in mind, Mark Sudock, one of the most recent victims of the KTTV layoffs, and may I add, one of the most decent men I have ever met, wrote an open letter to Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch which was published in the LA OBSERVED.

Please read this articulate & passionate plea and then please pass it on to your friends. Maybe someone’s friend is connected to Rupert and maybe it will get to him, maybe it won’t, maybe he will care, maybe he won’t. Will he do something even if he does care, unfortunately probably not, but we are all made better by knowing that someone like Mark Sudock cared enough to ask on all of our behalf.

Reflections on an Empty Nest

My nest feels empty at the strangest moments.  Like when I open the refrigerator to see a half-consumed bottle of wine, some coffee creamer, leftover Chinese food and way too many individual packets of soy sauce instead of a refrigerator overflowing with homemade and healthy foods, sandwich fixings, power drinks and granola bars that you packed ever so carefully your child’s backpack daily.   I mean, nowadays,  it’s cheaper to eat out or call in then to shop and cook for one.   And when your children were young, of course, as filled as your refrigerator was, there was always something one or the other needed that you didn’t have, and as a dutiful mom, you would run out at store closing to make sure they had exactly what they wanted, when they wanted it.  That was then, and this is now.

Okay, so now that they’re gone,  I promised I would write something everyday, just for me, as I would have so much more time on my hands not having to cater to boys’ the daily needs, but I have been sorely remiss.  I had been feeling joyful and happy  in my phase of  life after kids,  loving not having a strict routine, and loving being more in the moment.  But in the past month, that seems to have shifted a bit and with all the time in the world to write, it was the last thing I wanted to do.

Having moved seven times in ten years, I had accumulated more stuff than any ten people should be allowed to collect in one garage, so with my bad back, I decided to hire someone to help clear the clutter out of my life.  She would do the heavy lifting and I could sit there and pass judgment on every item.  Keep. Toss. Donate. File. Shred. Maybe. Keep. NO – Toss!

But as we dug in, the more we tossed, the heavier a fog of melancholy weighed me down.  Was it the impending milestones my sons were about to reach tugging at my heart?  My eldest was going to graduate from college and my “baby” was going to graduate from high school. Where had all the time gone?  Why are they so grown up and I am still so young? What am I to do now?

Oh the joy and the pain of it all.  I miss my babies.  I missed having them depend on me for mostly everything.  I missed feeling like  I was the only one who can give them what they wanted and needed.  But of late, the heavy lifting  as a parent is done.  I have loved, nurtured and guided  my boys in the best way I knew how. I have hoped and prayed that I have supported them and taught them enough to fly the coop and someday make a nest of their own.  I have given them everything from the bottom of my heart and sometimes from the very bottom of my wallet.

So while the media swears my nest is empty and I will attest to the fact that my cupboards and refrigerator are pretty much bare, the fact remains that my nest will always be full.  Maybe not with the pitter-patter of little feet or the wretched smell that emanates from a soccer backpack after a big tournament, or teary faces to be wiped, but full of the promise of what these boys have now become as they take the next step on  journey to become men and the pride in knowing that I didn’t do such a bad job after all and maybe I did help them a bit along their way!

Originally posted 6/9/09