Monday, September 28, 2009

My First Gig

I played Mom this weekend.  

Sort of.  

I spent the weekend with two cool kids, Megan and Ben, while their parents, Lisa and Ross, took off for a much needed getaway. I know. I sound like a super nice friend, right? And I’d like to think I am. But truth is, negotiations for this event began long ago. In exchange for babysitting, they gave me a great couch that pulls into a bed. My friends even threw in a bonus coffee table as part of the deal. Of course all this time I’m thinking: “how hard can it be to watch a thirteen year old and a nine year old”?

Turns out the kids were terrific but playing the role of “mom” takes chauffeuring to a whole new level. I drove from home to school to home to swim practice, then back to home. The next day I drove to Mount Hood for a swim meet and then back to home for lunch. After a brief pause to paint the coffee table and make dinner, it was back to driving again to drop Megan and Ben off for her babysitting job. I absolutely have a newfound respect for parents, especially single moms and dads. 

When my mom called to check in I happened to mention that I was babysitting for a friend. There was a long pause. Then in her thick Lebanese accented voice came: “So this is what it all comes down to?” As if I had made some new crazy career choice by deciding to go from senior producer to senior babysitter!  

Of course I had forgotten to tell my mom about a job that came to me earlier that week. Three months and ten days after leaving CNN, I found myself at the University of Oregon on the field of Autzen Stadium, watching the Ducks football team during their morning practice. I was field producing for CBS College Sports. In many ways it felt good to be back in the game, doing what I know so well.

I told someone recently I’d like to keep doing what I do well while I discover what my passion is. That passion could be as simple as hiking a trail, planting a garden, or, as I found as the weekend winded down, biking with friends to Sauvie Island just outside Portland. Or it could end up being something chaotic and complicated and yet for me to discover. 

And though I can’t say if that passion will turn out to involve children or being a chauffeur, as my unusually active week drew to a close, I found myself missing Megan and Ben.  

Missing playing mom.    

Sort of. 

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Saturn-Uranus Factor

Saturn and Uranus need to kiss and make up soon because it’s making my life a little complicated. And I’m not a big fan of complicated. Apparently Saturn and Uranus are in opposition now through the end of this month. I saw one blog talking about how this is suppose to be a natural evolutionary cycle where you have to let go of the old in order to bring in something that’s needed for the “now”.  Great. More letting go. As if that isn’t an intense pain sometimes. A friend even forwarded me an email on “4 survival tips” during this period. So if the last several days has left you confused, angry, stunned or irritable, you might want to follow these tips: 

1.     Stay out of arguments 

2.    Invoke Divine Order

3.    Send positive energy

4.    Conserve your Shakti

Shakti is like your chi. We all have it. How we use it is up to us.  At one point this week I stumbled over a personal matter and it took six female friends to get me over the bump. SIX! That’s a whole lot of talking on the phone in one day. And they all pretty much told me the same thing: just wait and see where my shakti falls.

Gal pals. My friend Mindy has been visiting me in Portland. She lived here ten years ago so while she re-explored I navigated us around, sometimes into unknown territory like the gaming world. On Mindy’s first night we stopped by a local gaming store to meet up with some friends of mine. It was 9pm and Guardian Games was hopping inside ( People were playing everything from Munchkin to D&D to Warhammer. Once upon a time in a faraway land I went out with a guy who got into this type of gaming. I didn’t get it then but I kind of sort of get it now.

Gaming. Portland’s Saturday Market. The Columbia River Gorge. Costco. Even a little gathering at my place. I guess this week hasn’t been all complicated. So while this Saturn and Uranus duke it out, there is a bright side; it only comes around every 40 years so maybe I should just appreciate it. 

Monday, September 14, 2009

Couch Surfing Portland

I hosted a couch surfer this week. His name is Seth and, as it turns out, he’s a super nice guy who just graduated from Georgia and is moving to Seattle to work with Americorp.  

The deal we made was he’d stay on my couch (actually a bed upstairs) in exchange for bringing me some boxes I had left behind in Atlanta. Seth is fast becoming a professional couch surfer, joining the ranks of some 1+ million couch surfers world wide. The mission behind this project is to “create a better world, one couch at a time”. I’m not sure if Seth’s world is any better after staying in my spare room but it was the first bed he’s slept in since August 1, so I can’t imagine it’d be any worse. You can check out what couch surfing is all about at 

Everyone has a story: it just depends if you’re willing to hear it. This week I was all ears. My friends Robert & Mike live in my neighborhood. I randomly met Robert at an art walk downtown a month or so ago. Amazingly, he and his partner live 5 blocks from me. Robert is a painter and his partner Mike is a teacher. Robert once modeled and walked the runways of Europe. Both have authored books. And how cool is it that they own a desk that belonged to the 3 Stooges? 

This week also took me to outside Lebanon, Oregon, with a man I’ve been dating to check out parts for a ‘63 Studebaker he’s working on. In the process I befriended the wife of the Studebaker guru we came to see. Again, I was treated to a great story. While the men spent the better part of the day outside, Jean and I gabbed inside. I found her story compelling. Her Great Aunt raised her. At 16 ½ she and her high school sweet heart moved to California. They married. Eventually she kicked him out and then married John, the Studebaker guru. She’s worked in an office environment, owned her own hair salon, sold that salon, retired. She knits, sews, cans food, dries herbs and on this day was cooking a filet mignon in a crock pot.

My best friend Mindy arrives this week and our high school friend Lisa, who lives here in Portland, joins in the festivities, which will include a girls’ sleepover.  Lucky for me, Lisa and her husband Ross just gave me their couch, which means couch surfing Portland continues.  

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cardinal Rule on Dating...

8 1/2 months after selling my house and sort of drifting around I’m finally in a place I can call my own, at least for the next six months. Home really is where the heart is and you don’t have to own it to love it. I had forgotten what I had kept and what I had left behind. It definitely made unpacking interesting. “Hello teapot”. “Hello mugs”. “Hello unnecessary crap”. Home is also where your friends are. This week Skype took me to my girls in Atlanta for a play date and catch up over cocktails. I also got some one on one time via skype where I learned something new about an old friend. I love technology. I don’t always get it but I love it. I'm starting to think video chatting is the best thing since chocolate peanut butter ice cream was invented. 

As I settle into a new home I'm realizing my online dating membership ends this week. Honestly, I'm relieved. While I’ve actually met some interesting guys, the process itself is exhausting; especially the guys who send email after email with question after question, asking me what I like, what I don’t like, what’s my favorite place in Portland so far ... yet with no request to meet me in person. And I get it. I get that some guys do this because women say they want a man to get to know them first. Well, not this gal. If I wanted a pen pal I would send a note up in a balloon. Seriously, I think it’s great to go back and forth but sooner rather than later it helps to say “hey, would love to grab coffee or a drink and meet up”.

Recently, over drinks with friends of both sexes I asked what they thought was the cardinal rule of dating. I got all kinds of answers, everything from "don’t date" to "it’s all about the package", or my favorite: "it’s always good to sleep with crazy but never fall asleep with crazy".