Friday, September 22, 2017

Still at work on the couch

Two weeks ago we had our wrap party for The Couch. It was a chance to come together with everyone who'd worked on the web series, and supported the web series, and just hang out. We ate good food (so much food, potlucks do really bring out the best in people!), drank a little, and just talked. We had conversations as a whole group, we had conversations one-on-one, we caught up with each other and we shared a little about our lives outside of work.

Marjorie, who opened her home to us for a shooting location, gifted each of us cast and crew members
with a couch pin at the wrap party! I wear it proudly to shout to the world -- hey, watch The Couch! 
But that wasn't the end of The Couch. It isn't just, alright, that happened, what's next. This is a project that will continue for sometime. To begin with, no one's seen the actual series yet! And that's because it's not finished...

I did my part first, I wrote the entire thing. It took months and drafts and calls and lots of walking around my house and sitting in my chair and figuring out what words come next.

Then the director and the producer and the other crew members got busy. They planned and storyboarded, they set designed and rehearsed.

And then we all met at the sets. We watched as the actors did their jobs. The camerawoman did hers. The script supervisor did hers, and so on. Those were 12 hour days not unlike the days I spent at my computer in my room, writing.

Now all of the hours of footage we shot is in the hands our our editor (the wrap party was a chance to meet her too!). She'll work with the director and the producer and the script supervisor to bring what we shot into something that everyone will be able to watch on their screens.

But wait -- there's more! Just last night I learned we might have a composer for our series! Someone who loves the story and is interested in being a part of our project. Original music! I never even considered that a possibility. Actually, I didn't think about music at all. I know it's all a part of the finished project but my only thought was it probably won't be John Legend's Darkness and Light album that I listened to while writing.

So the work continues. The networking and the sharing of information and the spreading the word. I've taken to running the social media accounts for The Couch (all three!) and I'm having fun trying to share a peek at what people will see soon!

So we're all still working, we're all still excited. Me most of all. To think that there's something I wrote, something I dreamed up, out there, just waiting to jump onto your screen -- that's so cool. And what a gift! To have all of these amazingly talented people working together to bring it to life. I really can't wait to show it to the world...

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

So many voices...

I have learned something in the last few years that I never realized in my previous thirty-something years on this planet.

Diverse voices matter.

I'm not sure I ever really understood the idea that people having different voices was a thing. That your voice could be affected by your race, your ethnicity, your socioeconomic status, your childhood, your parents, your education, where you lived, who you hung out with or what you were exposed to. I grew up in a fairly small town outside of a fairly large city and yet my exposure was limited to the homogeneous community I was a part of. Yes, I heard a few voices different from my own but not enough to realize their importance or their impact.

And now? Now I crave those voices. I search them out. I applaud them. I stand up for them. I champion them. I cry when I hear those voices. Because those voices each belong to a person who has a story to tell, who has a truth to share, who has a secret to lay out, who has an experience to express.

Sunday night, as I sat in my living room watching the Emmys, I cheered and sobbed as Lena Waithe took the stage and was awarded the Emmy for comedy writing. She is the first African American women to win the award. Ever. EVER. And she's just one of a handful of women who've ever won the award at all. She's the only woman who was even nominated this year. In fact, out of all the writers nominated for Emmy awards this year, just 18% were women.

As Lena gave her speech I cried. I cried because well, a woman won! Also, because Lena's writing really is so good. She won (with co-writer Azis Ansari, who's awesome too!) for the Thanksgiving episode of season two of Master of None. It's a story she pulled from her own life, about coming out to her mother and her aunt and her grandmother. It's a story about family and love and it's funny and smart and it was so so good. And unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

In her speech, Lena said,"The things that make us different, those are our superpowers." And I felt like she was speaking directly to me. To me and all of the other women, all of the other African Americans, all of the other LGBTQ writers and directors and editors and producers and actresses out there. To all the people who've not heard their voices, or other diverse voices enough. Who are dying to hear so much more. To hear stories that are different and smart and funny and harrowing and that come from people who remind us of ourselves.

I try to surround myself with different voices. I get annoyed when I watch a show week after week (or binge) and only see male directors listed. Or notice that there's only one woman in the writing credits. I put my money where my heart is and support women directed and women written films in the theater, on opening weekend. I search out voices I might never have a chance to hear if I leave it up to chance or the main media outlets. And I do the same with my news, with my Twitter feed, with my Instagram feed, with my life. I want to experience so much more.

I find that the more I listen to voices that are not the loudest or most powerful in this country, in this world, in this industry, the more I learn. I am obsessed with Pod Save the People with host Deray McKesson and what I learn each week, about social justice, the law, history (just ask Angela, every Tuesday I regale her with all that I've just discovered). I recently watched Hasan Minhaj's standup special on Netflix, Homecoming King, and realized I need to broaden my comedic mind. (His special is seriously one of the funniest and smartest things I've ever witnessed. Could not quit smiling and laughing.) I am in the middle of reading A Wrinkle in Time, written by Madeline L'Engle and about to be a major motion picture directed by Ava DuVernay and written by Jennifer Lee.

These are all voices that are different. Different from my own. Different from what I am used to hearing. And I am in love with each. I want to hear more, I want to hear them screaming in my ears, I want to learn and explore and experience so much more...

And most of all, I want to add my voice to the mix. And when Lena mentioned that we all have superpowers, I wept with joy. I am different. My voice is different. And I will not be quieted. I will be heard. And I will listen.

Friday, August 18, 2017

The Couch - Day 11

I'm not sure how to describe the ten days we've spent making my web series The Couch. Tomorrow will be our eleventh shoot day, and our last. The same crew each day, coming together, each performing very specific jobs, to make something that is completely unlike anything we've ever seen before.

Ayelette & the bear claws!
I could say it's been eye-opening. And that's so true. Last Saturday I watched as Ayelette, who's portraying our main character Penelope, performed a half-page monologue over and over. As a writer, I was conscious of the fact that someone would have to memorize, then say, and then act out the dialogue I'd written. But it didn't occur to me that nearly half a page of dialogue is a lot to say all at once. She did it beautifully and perfectly, over and over again. And then there's the bear claws. And the peach yogurt. I'd written these actions into the script months ago. But I didn't think about what would go into our actress actually eating on camera. Trust me, it's a lot. But it was fun too! To see Ayelette bring Penelope to life, to see her eat a bear claw like I'd thought about in my head back in the fall. It still amazes me!

I could say it's been a lot of work. And that's also true. There have been a few rewrites, there have been many discussions about wardrobe and actions and whether props have been procured and whether locations have been checked out. And really, my job is mostly done by the time we get to set each day. I'm still helping out whenever and however I can but it's been fascinating to learn so much about each of the jobs on set from these amazing artists. And each of them, Ayelette, Meagan, Katy, Linda, Steve, Annie, Cristina, Debbie, and Jay, have been awesome at including me in their process, sharing with me about their skills, teaching me what they can, always willing to answer questions or wait a few extra seconds because I'm slow on the uptake.

Bear claws! 
I could say it's been enlightening. I've learned so much about my writing being on set during filming. I've heard five different actors inhabit characters I created. Characters I saw in my mind, tried to describe on the page through mostly dialogue, characters I made up from the ether. And actors have become them. They've treated them with care and love and genuine excitement. I've learned what my words sound like coming out of actors' mouths. I've learned what it's like to hear some of my very personal stories and thoughts and beliefs come through the page and jump onto the screen.

I could say it's been exhilarating. Still, ten days in, I'm completely blown away by what is happening. I love being on set and am thrilled I've been able to be there every step of the way, every minute of every shoot day. To watch these actors and crew members, to be a part of this, I am beyond grateful. And I cannot wait for tomorrow. To do it all again. One last time...

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I am hopeful...

When I was in high school wearing a letterman's jacket was a big deal. It signaled your status. That you were either dating someone cool enough to have earned one or you earned one yourself. I fell into the later category. I earned my varsity letter in golf at the end of my freshman year. And so I wore that expensive, heavy, oh so heavy and warm, leather jacket everywhere. Including on a school field trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts.

I will never forget stepping off of that school bus in Detroit and immediately wishing I could get back on. Wanting to throw away my jacket and never see it again. See, emblazoned on the it was the name of my hometown: Howell. A town synonymous with the Klu Klux Klan. I had no sooner stepped off that bus than I began to hear from other high school kids that I needed to go back to where I'd come from, that I wasn't welcome in their city. I said nothing. I moved with my class into the museum. I hung my head in shame and I never forgot that feeling. Ever. But I didn't say anything. I didn't speak up and say that's not me, that's not my family and friends in Howell.

A few years later I was sitting in the auditorium at Olivet College listening to the required Wednesday Lecture and Symposium series speaker. Morris Dees, co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, was speaking. It was a big deal. It was an important get for a college which had seen it's share of racial issues earlier in the decade. At one point during his lecture he mentioned Howell, my hometown, and it's connection with the KKK. This time I chose to speak up.

After the lecture I stood in line down at the front of the auditorium and waited to talk to Mr. Dees. When I got my chance I told him that I was from Howell. And I told him that the former grand wizard of the KKK did not actually live in Howell at the time of his death as he'd mentioned. He lived in a town just north of Howell. And that it wasn't fair to paint Howell as he had in his lecture. I don't remember his response. I'm sure it was polite and professional. His response didn't actually matter to me. What mattered was that I had stood up and said something this time. I had said that people from Howell are not all racists. I had defended myself and my family if nothing else. I tried to raise his awareness and challenge his perception.

These two memories came rushing back to me Saturday as I followed the events in Charlottesville. All my life I have been aware of the KKK. They have been in my backyard, both literally and figuratively. They've been a few miles away in Cohoctah Township where that former leader of the Klan lived. They burned crosses on front lawns when I was in school. They passed out flyers on the bus promoting their sick and hateful rhetoric.

So by Sunday Angela and I were completely heartsick. We were disgusted and dismayed. We followed the news. We watched the Twitter feeds of activists who were in Virginia. We wondered what we could do. We felt powerless. Completely and utterly at a loss.

And so we went to church. To our United Methodist Church in Hollywood, California. The scheduled sermon topic was a discussion of Ava DuVernay's documentary 13TH (#awomandirectedthat) about racial inequality in the United States particularly around the criminal justice and prison systems. It's a powerful, heartbreaking, infuriating film that every American should be required to watch. And I had been excited that our pastor was going to preach on this film as part of the summer's Crossflix sermon series. But that excitement about raising awareness was tempered a bit by the time Sunday morning rolled around.

Nevertheless, we settled into worship. Our church has the most diverse congregation I've ever been a part of, in so many ways. And I love that about our church. So many voices coming together each Sunday morning. We sang and we watched clips from the documentary and we prayed for the world and our pastor spoke about Charlottesville and she admonished the white supremacists and the racists and the terrorists and the President of the United States. And I was proud to be a member of that congregation Sunday morning. And I also knew that across the country, other churches in our denomination would not dare to breathe anything about what had transpired in Charlottesville and not dare to pray for our country. And I was right. Which added to the heartsickness.

And then our pastor mentioned a prayer vigil that would take place Sunday evening. At another church just a few minutes south of Abbey Place. And so Angela and I, feeling oh so helpless and disheartened still, made our way down to Holman UMC Sunday night.

And we finally felt something we'd been looking for -- hope.

The vigil was actually part rally, part church service, part call to action, part vigil and all hope. All faith. Here were hundreds of people gathered: Christians, Jews, people of every color and every sexual orientation and even a group of humanists who don't believe in God. And we were preached to by rabbis and ministers and councilmen and even the mayor of Los Angeles. For almost three hours. We prayed. We clapped. We listened. We affirmed. We laughed. We cried. And we got ready.

But by the end the sanctuary had emptied out. Which was a shame because some of the best messages came toward the end. And in fact, our call to action came at the end. A pastor stood up and said now is the time to get to work. Now is the time to pray. Now is the time to believe that God can change hearts and minds and use us.

I pray that is true. I pray for our country. For our people. I am still heartsick. I am still disgusted and dismayed. I am still spending too much time on Twitter and checking the news feeds. I am still too much in my head. But I am also hopeful.

I am reading all I can. I am learning more history than I ever learned in school. I am thinking critically and looking for primary sources and not just listening to the party line. I am searching out voices that are different from my own or from voices I am normally surrounded by. And? I'm hopeful. I'm trying to be hopeful. I'm praying to be hopeful. I'm working to be hopeful. Because? I am. I am hopeful.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." 
- Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Hashtag Can Change the World

I often wonder if I'm doing enough to affect change. To make the world a better place. To help people. To do my part.

This isn't just some fleeting thought as I look at a Snapple lid (is that still even a thing? Random quotes or zen musings on the underside of Snapple lids?!). This is something I honestly spend time considering. I wonder if I should go into a different line of work. If I should go back to teaching full-time. If I should do more to be the change I want to see. And it's hard, because I truly love what I am working at professionally. But I often wonder if it's enough. Or trivial. Or inconsequential. 

When I moved to Los Angeles I knew I wanted to be a screenwriter. I also knew it would be difficult. A hard profession to break into. During my first week of film school at UCLA a professor told my lecture class that it was harder to break into screenwriting than it was to become a professional basketball player. I've never forgotten that. This is the majors. This is the show. This is where only the best and brightest get a chance to shine. 

And so I thought if I worked hard enough, was good enough, eventually my efforts would pay off. And I've put in the time. I've done the work. Nine years worth. Hundreds and thousands of hours at my desk writing. Countless more hours at classes, workshops, applying, strategizing, networking networking networking. And yet I had no idea that my gender, that being a woman, would be a part of the equation. That being female might make it SO MUCH harder to get in the door in Hollywood. 

But it has. 

In the last few years I've become hyper aware of the lack of diversity in this business. Both in front of and behind the camera. Both on the page and on the screen. Consider these statistics: 

  • In the top 100 grossing films of 2016, women represented just 3% of cinematographers, 4% of directors, 11% of writers, 14% of editors, and 19% of producers. 
  • In the top 100 grossing films of 2016, females comprised only 29% of protagonists. 
  • During the 2015-2016 broadcast network TV season, women accounted for only 27% of all individuals working as creators, directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and directors of photography. 
  • During the 2015-2016 broadcast network TV season, 98% of programs had no women directors of photography, 91% had no women directors, 78% had no women editors, 76% had no women creators, 71% had no women writers, 26% had no women producers, 26% had no women executive producers. (Women and Hollywood)
So it's not that I have to just try and break into the industry. It's that I have to break into the 24% of the industry I'm allowed to be in. Or invited to be in. 

Yeah, that's disheartening. 

But... change is happening. It's slow and it's hard and it's often two steps forward, eleven steps backward. But it's happening.

And I'm a part of that.

For several years now I've been talking about this issue to everyone who will listen. In person, on social media, yelling it from the rooftops, reposting articles, sharing my entertainment choices with the world, letting it be known how important it is for all of us to watch and read and listen to stories written and directed and produced and created by women. By people of color. By anyone who has traditionally been shut out of the storytelling world. 

And on Sunday something happened that told me all my yelling has not been for naught. 

After church I was chatting with friends. Several male friends to be exact. They were asking me questions about the web series and we got to talking about movies and TV in general, we talked about Wonder Woman specifically and before I knew it, in two different conversations, two of the men brought up the hashtags I use on social media. 

One of the guys said his consciousness has been raised so much by my postings and now he pays attention to the whole movement of #awomanwrotethat. I smiled and was so proud and so excited. I couldn't believe that I had actually raised someone's awareness. I had affected change. In such a tiny way. But in such a real way. And this twenty-something guy now pays attention to the entertainment world around him in a different way. I could not have been more thrilled. 

Then a few minutes later the conversation widened, added a few more people, and we got to talking about Wonder Woman. And as soon as the title of the movie came up, another male friend shouted out, "#awomandirectedthat!" and smiled broadly at me. Seriously. How freaking cool is that?! 

Change does not come easily. It does not come quickly. But it does come. It always comes. And on Sunday, I saw how something I had done, something I had instigated with my friends, changed their minds, changed their lives. They now realize that this idea that's so important to me, is important to everyone. Women's voices need to be heard. They need to not be silenced or left out of the conversation. 

Monday morning on set we had a few moments of downtime. We were waiting for the last crew member to arrive and the set grew quiet. And I took that opportunity to share the story of what had happened Sunday after church. We are a crew of ten working on this web series and we have eight females and two males. We are not the norm, and we all realize this. But as I shared my story, to encourage all of us in the work we are doing, and the importance of telling stories that a woman wrote or produced or directed or edited, I looked around and saw a new norm. I saw the future. The future is change. And the future is brighter because of it. 

A story can be so much more than a story. A perspective can be a world of difference. A sentiment can change a mind. A hashtag can change the world. In fact, it already has. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Couch - Day 1

Last Friday was supposed to be the first day of school, Christmas morning, the day vacation begins. But it was delayed. Our director had the stomach flu. And so, Monday became all those good things wrapped into one day. Our first day of filming on our web series, The Couch.

The first day of shooting, right before the first shot!
I packed my bag the night before. I printed out my script. I got my camera all loaded. (I am the onset still photographer!) I didn't sleep very well. I got up early. I dropped Angela at school just after sunrise. I drove to the Valley. And I got to the house where we'd be shooting all day. And there were people there.

The sound mixer. The script supervisor. The director. The director of photography/set designer/homeowner extraordinaire. Then the producer/lead actress arrived. And the other actress. And the production assistant.

Eight of us arrived for work that day all because Ayelette wanted to make something and I created something. HOW COOL IS THAT.

I really can't get over it. Seriously. I kinda hope I never do. The idea that as a writer, I am creating worlds. Creating lives. Creating stories. Creating emotions. The idea that as a writer, and particularly as a show runner (which I am not, yet), I am creating jobs. Creating opportunities. Creating work.

I am still a little bit in shock.

The day began with a 7am call time. I left set about 5:15pm. And yet? It felt like I'd been gone just mere moments. And? Days. At the beginning of the day I was anxious, nervous even. But within minutes of being on set I felt at ease, at home. There was work to be done, questions to be answered, things to be written, ideas to be bandied about.

Know this about Hollywood, the writer is not always invited to set. The writer is not always welcome on set. I've heard tales of writers who can't watch the movie they wrote because it's no longer their vision or because of how they were treated. And yet, I've heard the opposite too. There are filmmakers and directors who insist the writer be involved every step of the way. Particularly in television where writer is queen. And I've experienced it too. In my Hollywood adventures I've been welcomed with open arms, lauded as creator. I've also been shooed away, the door physically shut in my face, calls unreturned and uninvited to the process, deemed simply the writer. Someone unnecessary in the next step of the evolution of the process.

But this has not been the case on this project. I've been included and included and invited and deferred to. I've been celebrated and acknowledged and I cannot thank my collaborators enough. Monday would not have happened without every single one of us in that room.

I had different jobs on Monday. I took it upon myself to come up with affirmations for the set chalk board that would be in the shot. I used the chalk and channeled my best seventh grade teacher handwriting. I volunteered to be in charge of the clapboard, changing the scene numbers with the chalk I kept in my pocket, and clapping in front of the camera before each shot.

I also watched everyone else do their jobs and tried to learn from them. We had a first time director, a first time producer, a first time director of photography, a first time script supervisor. I asked questions during downtime and made notes. I want to soak it all in so I'm ready for next time. So I know how things are happening, how I can help, and how, maybe, at some point, I can tackle directing and producing.

Apart from soaking in all the new activity around me, I tried really hard to enjoy the moment too. To revel in the reality that these actresses were speaking my words, my story, inhabiting my characters. It was amazing to hear the crew laugh at lines I had written alone at my desk not knowing if they might sound funny or odd or off. It was amazing to watch these actresses telegraph the story that I thought was completely make-believe but upon watching it play out time and time again, made me realize perhaps it's a bit more personal than I might have previously thought.

Katy (director), Linda (script supervisor),
Meagan (director of photography)
I didn't want to leave the Valley Monday evening. In fact, after we wrapped (meaning the actors were finished with their part), four of us crew members sat in the backyard and took a few moments. We were all exhausted, mostly mentally, from the day, from the week, from the months of preparations. But we were all, and I'm just speaking from observation here, really excited.

We talked about the day. We talked about the trials. We talked about how we only ended up finishing one scene instead of the planned two. And we discussed the script. They asked questions about my choices, about my stories. They talked about how we'd portray different parts during upcoming filming days. And when we headed to our cars, the director told me how grateful she was to have me on set.

I know every experience will not be this perfect for me. I know I will not always be welcomed into the fold quite so readily. I know I will not always see my story portrayed quite so unfiltered on the screen. I know I will not always look around the set and see that I am surrounded, almost completely, by amazing women.

But I will always remember.

And I will always strive to recreate it. Because that's what I do. I create.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Red Converse with my hospital gown

Everyone wears their red Converse under their hospital gown, right? Right.

This was my view Tuesday afternoon. I had a lovely bed smack to the side of a busy hallway in the Glendale Adventist Emergency Room. I'm not complaining. I didn't want my own room, hell I didn't even want my own bed but they insisted. See if you get your own room, you're probably sticking around. And I didn't want to stick around.

I was there to get an ultrasound. I made an appointment with my primary care doctor because my right leg has been more achy than usual, a teeny tiny bit swollen around my sandal and occasionally painful. It had been about two weeks of this and I was done. So off to the doctor I went. She wanted an ultrasound immediately and the best way to get that was to send me to the ER. I'd spent the morning running around volunteering at Homeless Lunch and yet, they decided I couldn't walk to the ER. So I got in the wheelchair and they pushed me around the corner, up the ramp and into the connected hospital.

It was all supposed to be routine. They even slid me in the ER exit, instead of through the entrance, once I was registered. The nurse didn't even bother with blood work right away. They had me put a gown on just for the test. Which I had. But then...the doctor came back by. And I have to tell you, this ER staff was efficient and great. The doctor came by and said I'm calling a vascular surgeon and your hematologist.

And that's when I realized me and my red Converse weren't skipping out the door with just a quicky ultrasound.

A co-worked dropped Angela off at the hospital after work. We waited. We waited some more. And then? The doctor returned. He wanted to do something preventative to stop another pulmonary embolism because, in his words, some people don't have the best...and he stopped. I knew where he was going. Most people die from pulmonary embolisms. I did not the first time. He wasn't so sure I'd be as lucky the next was what I was getting even though he wasn't saying it. But the surgeon and my hematologist concurred that the new clot the ultrasound had picked up could very possibly be an old clot that was calcifying. That was good news. Right? Right...well, it was news.

The ER doctor sent me home, a bit begrudgingly. He'd wanted to admit me but he sensed he would and nothing would happen and they wouldn't put in a vascular screen (or more accurately, a vascular umbrella) as he hoped and they'd send me home in the morning. I thanked him profusely for his vigilance but gladly swapped my giant gown for my jeans and t-shirt and got on the road.

Wednesday morning Angela and I arrived at my hematologist's office, under direction from the ER doctor. I didn't have an appointment and we were armed with books and snacks and prepared to wait all day to be seen if necessary. But the sweet nurse was expecting me, having taken the ER call the day before, and ready to hear what was going on. I saw the doctor in just over an hour and we talked about the news.

My hematologist didn't want to take action just yet. She believes that the clot may be old, and if so, the blood thinner I'm on is doing it's job. She said a screen doesn't always work and sometimes causes more problems than it fixes. I don't want that. So the news? It's that I might have a new clot. And I might not. I'm to be aware of pulmonary embolism and clot symptoms and go to the ER if they appear or appear to worsen. I'm to continue my meds as I await the results of a new blood test and a study of this week's ultrasound and the 2015 ultrasounds. I can do that. I can wait. I can exercise and drink more water, the only prescriptions I left with Wednesday afternoon. But...

The news isn't what I hoped. I had hoped for nothing. For all the doctors to say you're fine. Or maybe you have a sciatica problem as the ER doctor so hopefully suggested just after ordering the ultrasound. But the news isn't terrible either. It could be so much worse.

But that doesn't stop the fear or the panic or the anxiety or the dread. That didn't stop me from bursting into tears in the waiting room after my appointment yesterday. (I'd worn mascara telling myself I couldn't cry while wearing it, and yet, I did.) That didn't stop me from sobbing in the Kohl's parking lot half an hour later as we debated lunch options. That didn't stop me from imaging I couldn't breathe last night as I did health-related paperwork. That didn't stop the PTSD. That didn't stop the terror.

It will subside. The feelings of anxiety will go away, I know this, logically. They'll lessen over time. They're better now than they were yesterday at this time. They're worse when I'm not busy or when I let my mind wander. Thankfully I have Angela. We played board games last night and watched baseball. And then I read until late, until my eyes physically beat my brain to the sleep finish line. Thankfully I have projects to keep me going. I spent hours on the phone this morning with my friend Tami talking story and script. Thankfully I have volunteering. This afternoon I spent time at Ang's school, where I got so many hugs and lunch and bakery treats bought to celebrate me. I am so lucky. So thankful.

The anxiety will subside. It will get better as my body does. Walking up inclines is harder now than it was several weeks ago. This is due to the clots, whether new or old. It's a reality but I'll still walk up them. Because the hill might be steep but it's still my path.