Please note that this is not New Ideas for Single Adulterers which would be quite a different blog.

Work Life Balance

Three day holidays come as a necessary balm to the overstuffed calendars of academics. Labor Day falls precisely where needed, at the cusp of fall course registration, after two weeks of hellish hours around casting all of our fall productions. Here are some new ideas that came out of the first few weeks of classes and our general auditions.

  • General auditions -tighten timeframe to avoid faculty burnout and allow students to actually move into their domiciles prior to showing up to audition.
  • Hold auditions in a smaller space that doesn’t require 30 seconds of walking time from door to downstage (not useful time for anyone)
  • Learn some key functions of outlook such as delay sending of messages
  • Schedule fun time for yourself as much as you schedule work time


The dating game feels like I’m in an inflatable dinghy out in the middle of the Atlantic. I can see the fins surrounding my boat, and I’ve baited my hook. Very few nibbles but the one I got was a full-blown cheese attack to which I’ve refrained from responding authentically and instead have trained myself in the judicious use of the delete button. I discovered a feature on the app which allows me to see people’s relative levels of neurosis and all I hunger to do is see how the app has categorized my levels of neurosis and on the basis of what factors?

A dating app for seniors is inevitably going to be based on email and so I’ve discovered in the endless three weeks that I’ve been on the app, that this is just another source of email to check, and that “so and so is interested in you” is not really legitimate interest, but someone equally hopeful and momentarily idle flicking through the hundreds of photos of possible matches and selecting one to look at based on what – their smile? Their background? More often than not, I’ll get a message from someone who says something like:

Hey, I found my partner on here. My friend/widowed-brother-in-law/fill-in-the-blank saw your profile via mine and was interested in you. Email provided. He’ll be happy to share pictures with you. We’ll never know if we don’t try.

Message from unnamed person in City X About Whom I just got a security breach notification.

After my previous foray in communicating with Name, Age, Los Angeles and giving them my facebook account, I’m appropriately leery of folks outside the “protective” environment of the app. Uncertain of giving my email to some rando…who is playing the lonely but eternally optimistic love lottery card from a far flung city. The whole thing makes me tired and yet, my dearest friends in the world, Bob and Susan, have assured me that two to three weeks does not constitute having made a valid attempt. They’re bossy that way. So here are some new ideas I have about dating with thanks to friends for suggesting them:

  • Joining a group through – I’m going to try pickle ball this Friday in Studio City. (if they accept me to the group)
  • Accepting all social events from friends – you never know when you’ll meet someone new
  • This doesn’t necessarily extend to trying Goat Yoga at a Downtown LA Brewery (the most popular of the popup events I’ve seen). Give me some time, friends, to catch up with trending sporting events.

Taking Over My Schedule and How I Fill It

A few new ideas have transpired in the past few weeks and I owe serious gratitude to my new partner in work, Leia for wedging them into my practice. They created a coverage schedule for upcoming techs. I’ve never needed one of these before because the underlying assumption/practice was just that I would be at all of them, or would split them with my colleague Scott. This is one of the most exciting new ideas I’m wrapping my head around thanks to their being there as my Associate Production Manager. So, some other new ideas:

  1. I won’t be covering techs on Friday evenings or Saturdays 🤯🤩🥰
  2. I won’t be there Tuesday nights for the second dresses after starting Tuesday mornings at 8AM in class.
  3. I won’t become the dogsbody  [chiefly British],  dronedrudgedrudgerfoot soldiergrubgrubbergruntlaborerpeonpluggersloggertoilerworker to my email.
  4. I’ll actively schedule my evenings and weekends that are available to fill them with joy, culture, friends and family.
  5. I’ll continue to carve out the mornings for walks and not allow the onslaught of 8AM meeting requests discourage that choice, even if it means an even earlier arrival time.
  6. When I am scheduled to be somewhere (in class, in a meeting, in tech or in a social setting), I eschew the role of dogsbody, etc. to my electronic devices. This is the best use of my time – my full presence of mind, body, spirit, collaboration.
  7. This idea does not preclude my signing up for back to back meetings throughout the day – use me up before I retire.

We Can Have Nice Things

A few new ideas and application of these ideas have transpired and been implemented.

  • Just as I refashioned my apartment to be the cozy mecca of my mind and spirit, I allowed myself to get a new car. And yes, I did have to do a major inventory of my saboteurs before arriving at this decision. (2022 Honda CRV-Hybrid, cherry red, for those with inquisitive minds who must know)
  • Nice things also encompass nice experiences. Truth: nice experiences are as much about the planning and anticipation of them as it is about the realization of them.
  • Having nice things includes having caring and loving and worthwhile people who treasure having us in their lives.
  • This should be our mantra in work and life. We can have nice things. (within the resources we have control over) Sometimes creative solutions yield nicer things than having unlimited budgets and time do.

A digression with a few thoughts about the memorial for my friend, Jennifer. We gathered on Friday under a huge Montezuma Cypress tree in the Huntington Gardens in 90 plus degree weather, ankles swelling, and testified to the magnificence of our friend. We heard from about half the folks there about Jennifer’s solidity as a friend, a co-worker, homeowner association board member, an inspiring leader and spiritual pathfinder. The span of shared experiences ranged from her sister, ending with a friend she’d had in third grade, who had become a professional colleague in later life filtered through a handful of life long friends, family, and colleagues. Each person testified about being recruited by Jennifer to participate in: a dinner party/the Women’s Steering Committee of the DGA/a shared full throated laugh/a spiritual encounter. We were all bereft in our individual and communal loss and yet made better for her presence. No one standing in the hot shade of that tree could bear to let go of Jennifer. And we acknowledged what she always knew or came to know late in her life – that we are surrounded by the loving, supportive, and interactive spirits of our fore bearers. It was a profound and moving testimony to her gentle, humane superpower in the world. It enabled me to see with clarity the power of all these new adulting ideas.

Change is Inevitable and Doesn’t Have to Be Traumatizing

Having said the contrary to that immediately above, this is a really new idea for me and one that I am still learning to embrace. Face it, the familiar is comforting, even when it’s grossly inconvenient or causes too much toil. Some new ideas about change:

  • We’re capable of adapting to almost anything. Over the 17 years I’ve been at my job as production manager for a college theatre program, we have grown from 15 productions a year to 22 with minimal staffing increases.
  • As a faculty and staff, we are trying something new in tiers of production (cited by some as “tears” of production). Things are understandably uncertain for all as we roll these out and finesse them. My message: It’s going to be okay. Even if it doesn’t work, it won’t be as hard as doing 18-20 productions full-tilt, right? (Those of you who are tittering with premature schadenfreude, I invite you to put down your popcorn, and arise from your mental barcaloungers to engage your brains in creative problem solving. It’s fun.)
  • People come and people go – this doesn’t diminish the impact that certain people have in our spheres. But it does remind us that we are all expendable. We all have an expiration date – unlike the aging cream cheese in my refrigerator, we don’t know what those dates are, but we need to live each day with the clear understanding that we can either let someone else make a decision about our remaining time, or we can make that decision ourselves.
  • Sometimes radical events have a way of shaping our future in a good way. Work interruptions can have the unexpected and positive effect of giving us control over the future in a way that the familiarity of the day-to-day grind has not made clear.

These are just a few of the new ideas I’ve been having. I’d love to hear yours.

6 thoughts

  1. What this makes me think about is how much life is like a circle. Things keep coming back around to us. Experiences, people. memories and chances to
    take more bites out of the apple. It reminds me of gratitude and precious gifts of the day. Thank you, dear Els, for the reminder.

  2. 9//6/22

    Dearest Daughter

    Not just you are my only daughter but because you have been so key to me in the many places in my life where I needed special support.

    I now can await my exit calmly and without making waves. But meantime keeping my machinery going helping my dear Sally have good days.

    We were so lucky to find each other at 69 and 63.

    Finding a new mate as you have so well expressed is not as easy as it was for Sally and me with our long family planning acquaintance and a fascinating new project to pursue.

    You have already found mates in Susan and Bob and in LA where now Don can join you for walks—times to talk and sort out items that need sorted out!!

    So there is no timetable or pressure to do anything excerpt coolly scope the field as you encounter males, most of us highly rejectable!



    Sent from my iPhone


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