Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Someone says something, but you lack context and you’re not sure what you heard or how on earth it fits into the moment you’re already sharing; has that ever happened to you?

Your mind scrambles to make sense of the statement and you quickly, perhaps desperately, run through the different possibilities, only to discover none of the possibilities you considered were close to what the person meant!

To make the situation even more delicate, is it ever your spouse who unwittingly drops the confusion bomb on you?


We were driving the other day and, as usual when we bring Bear, our Australian Labradoodle in the car, Susan was being sat upon by the beast! As we rolled along, out of the blue, Susan asked, “Does the car tire bare out?”

Immediately, I implemented a protocol of extreme prudence. According to the protocol, the first step is not to respond right away. Instead, I carefully and, with all the intelligence I could muster, pondered the origin of the question.  I drew a blank.

Think, fool. “Does the car tire bare out?”

Had she detected some subtle thumping sound in the spinning wheels? Was she contemplating a new set of tires? Was she concerned our current tires had been compromised by excessive road wear?

I opted for another quick review, “Does the car tire bear out?” 

I got this. She’s clearly asking whether I’ve noticed a steering issue that involves one of the car tires bearing outward.

That wasn’t it  Clearly, I don’t got this.

Craving more information and unable to obtain sufficient aid from my confounded brain, I expressed dismay at not understanding the question. Evidently, my questions were all pointed in the wrong direction because they seemed to be confusing Susan.

I’m confused. She’s confused. We’re turning into snapping turtles. She wonders how I could possibly misunderstand the semantics of the question, after all, she points out sweetly, it’s self-explanatory and constructed in basic English. I question her command of basic English and now we’re having fun.

Patiently, she reviews, “Does the car tire bear out?” I’m as lost and dumbfounded as I was and, believe me, the battery in my flashlight is dead as a doornail!

She spells it out, “Does – the – car – tire – bear – out?”

I still don’t know how it hit me; maybe Susan hit me. The admittedly rather dim light flickered on and I suddenly realized she was asking, “Does the car tire Bear out?” In other words, does Bear, our dog, get tired by car rides because he tends to get a little frantic when we bring him along on drives (see blog of May 21, 2015, titled "Spotless Insanity").


We’re laughing now, amazed at how quickly a communication breakdown can spiral downward!

What’s even more astounding is that when I set up the story and repeated the question to my son and his girlfriend, Tristan was certain his mother’s question pertained to car tires, while Lisa knew right away Susan was talking about Bear, the dog.


Monday, June 15, 2015

See You Monday

It’s June 15th, exactly one month since my last day hosting the morning show. I can’t say the month has been breezy, but I can say how eternally grateful I am to Susan and Tristan for reminding me life is always wonderful and, even jobless, I’m still who I was.

I was in university taking an introductory psychology class when I first heard about a scale that put numerical values on life changes in order to evaluate the stress they can cause. The scale was developed in 1967 by researchers Holmes and Rahe. Losing a job is ranked eighth on the scale, ahead of "marital reconciliation" and behind "marriage". The scale provides a stark reminder there are far more unkind fates.

Life changes lurk "nowhere" and "in the blue", and that’s where they pounce from - out of nowhere and out of the blue! Many people ask me whether I had any indication I would lose my job and I tell them, from my point of view, unless I missed something, there wasn’t even an indication of an indication.

It was Thursday April 9th and as I sat editing an interview for our weekly “best of the week” show, my boss asked to see me in her office. She told me my job had been cut. Her words splashed on forehead like searing acid, burning their way into my brain and slowly sinking downward to my heart.

Like anyone who is the victim of job cuts, you wonder how, in the end, all your contributions can be worth so little. The pouring of energy, creativity, vision, talent, dedication, discretion, health, determination and so many other qualities, amount to nothing more than a perfunctory severance payment.

I’ve had several of my jobs cut before but this show, project, and work, meant more to me. I can honestly say I never took the hosting position for granted and I had said to Camille many times what a thrill it always was to hear my name announced as each new half hour of the show opened! Having my name attached to a show was an exciting first for me!

That last day one month ago was difficult, and the sign-off, dreadfully precarious. One wrong word or move by anyone would have caused me to unwind emotionally on-air.

Just as we came out of the last commercial break, Julie, one of our directors, declared quietly in my earpiece, “It’s been an honor”.  Managing a weak smile, I waved my fist at her through the camera, struggling to hold it together. Thankfully, Camille respected my request to do, and say nothing, out of the ordinary. Media critic Steve Faguy hit the nail on the head when he later observed I signed off that last Friday as though I would see viewers on Monday. It took immeasurable effort just to manage what he perceptively described as my “see-you-Monday” wave!

To say losing my job was disappointing would be to severely understate the situation. There are many questions I wish I could have management answer for me. Time is healing the sense of rejection and I hope to find fulfilling full-time work. One of my twitter followers, @DangerZone007, asked me yesterday how the adjustment is going, not being in front of the camera anymore; it’s a good question, I’m pretty sure it’s an adjustment that will be ongoing.

Overwhelmed by sadness, I wasn’t able to enter the room where staff had gathered after the May 15th show to say goodbye to the employees who had been cut. I lingered outside for a moment or two until the swollen lump in my throat could no longer hold back the emotion, and then I quickly turned for the exit, stepped out into the hallway and blubbered my way to the elevator.

Thank you so much for all the supportive comments I’ve been getting in e-mails, on twitter and in person from viewers of the show. Leonie’s comments meant so much.

On the very first show, I told viewers I had been described by news anchor Jamie Orchard as the frog in the box that bursts into song whenever the lid is opened. A month ago, the box closed, but Michigan J. Frog is tapping on the lid, hoping to get back out.

See you Monday.