Grateful for awesomeness…

Something I haven’t talked about a lot online yet: I’m currently going through the evaluation process to get on the kidney transplant list. After years of not needing to be on dialysis, my kidney disease has almost reached the inevitable point of needing dialysis and, hopefully, a kidney transplant. Could be a year, could be two, but the process has begun. More info on that will come later. In preparation for that, I have been undergoing the evaluation process to determine if a transplant is feasible. We should know the results of that in a couple weeks.

This post, though, isn’t about me, it’s about the whole Kidney Transplant team at UofM hospital: they have been fabulous. Every single person I’ve dealt with, as I go through this evaluation process to determine if I can be listed on the transplant list, has been really wonderful. Helpful, patient with my questions, compassionate and personable.

I say this because I think awesomeness deserves to be recognized. This process, which has the potential to be monumentally daunting, is made more understandable and less scary by how good these people are at their jobs and how much care they take with each step. From the giant binder of information (that is SO well prepared), to the many phone calls checking in on me confirming appointments and easing any concerns, I (and I think Jeanne) have been put much more at ease by the reassuring calm and open discussions with the many staff people we’ve talked with.

It’s really energizing – seeing how much they care about getting it right, and helping each person to have every resource, every piece of information they need, and a clear path into and through this complicated and scary thing.

Today I sat through another several hours of tests, and the thing I realized is that everyone that I was working with, again, was operating with an amazing ever-present sense of empathy. How much information did I want? Or how little? Was I comfortable? Was I anxious? Was I clear on what was happening and why? What could they do to help?

As I was realizing this and watching them work, I started thinking about the season at Williamston Theatre (which is BASED around the idea of empathy this year), and how much the practices of empathy and compassion are able to change the world. We can see examples of it all around us, just as we can so clearly see the examples of people behaving without these traits.

So, this is a long way of working through this, and saying THANKS to the amazing transplant team I’ve been working with. We’ll know soon enough if the process bears fruit but, in the meantime, MY world has been made a little better by these people. And I’ve been reminded of how I want to impact the world as well.

Not bad for a cloudy Tuesday morning!

A week of being Thankful. Day 2

Continuing spending the week with things to be thankful for… because too many days go by where I forget to look around, and embrace the amazingness of the people around me, the situations and experiences I get to share, and the beauty in front of me. 

This morning, I woke up, and there was 1/2 pot of coffee waiting for me.  My wife is awesome. 

Today I got to chat for 90 minutes about a play I’m directing in a few months, plotting and planning and dissecting and “what-iffing” a piece that I’m incredibly excited to attack.  Talking with smart people about cool topics is one of the best parts of my job!

I also got to spend some quality one-on-one time with the apprentices at Williamston Theatre, and their energy and enthusiasm and talent and heart are inspiring!

This evening, I had a great time chatting online with members of the Central City Underground as the new episode of The Flash aired on TV!  One of my things to be thankful for is that podcast, and the terrific community surrounding it, and all the folks at Golden Spiral Media. I get to Get My Geek On and enjoy some DC Comics Superhero TV, and then talk about it on a podcast with my pal Joe, and then share that with a bunch of other fans of comics and the show!  Pure fun, a shared experience with people from all walks of life with a common love of something that we enjoy.  

My evening is coming to a sleepy close.  Right now, I am lying in my bed – my wife is asleep, breathing gently. On the floor by our bed are the two dogs, Sneakers and FlipFlop. Sneakers is snoring, and it’s adorable. FlipFlop is chewing something, I’m hoping it’s his chew-bone and not more socks.  As I type, I can hear the click and hum of the furnace in the basement firing up to keep us warm. This wonderful nighttime symphony, this is something I am thankful for. 

A week of being thankful. Day 1

It’s Thanksgiving here in the US this week.  The last few years I’ve tried to be very conscious and aware of all the things I have to be thankful for, because the list is big. So, I’m going to spend this week thinking and writing about some of those.  Tonight, I think I’ll start with the big things.

3 years ago today I was home feeling lousy.  We didn’t know it at the time, but I was about two months from going into the hospital with bacterial meningitis.  Fortunately, I got better – with the help of a lot of people.  I’m very thankful to them.  I’m sitting here, right now, at my computer, with 3 subcutaneous needles in my belly, getting an infusion of Hizentra, the medicine that I get weekly that provides me with an immune system.  I am incredibly thankful to be sitting here with these needles, and this medicine, in our house.

On the other side of the house, my wife is sleeping, and my son is in his room, probably pretending to sleep but really watching tv on his iPad.  In the room next to him, our exchange student Tommaso has just turned out his light to go to sleep.  Tonight I got to sit in the family room with Max and Tommaso and laugh with them as they played video games together.  I’m very, very thankful for these 3 people.

Also, tonight, on the other side of the planet, my daughter is sleeping.  In fact, as I type this, she’s only a couple of hours from waking up and starting her day, because Espoo, Finland is 7 hours ahead of us here in Michigan.  One of the things I’m incredibly thankful for is the wonderful host family she is staying with, and her friends there.  I’m grateful for our iPhones, and the internet, and the technology that allows us to stay connected even though she’s so far away – things like the app “Line”.

Today I laughed – a lot – while texting with my brother, sister and mother.  This is nothing new – we text all the time, and they remind me how lucky I am to have a funny, thoughtful family.

This weekend, at Williamston Theatre, we had a very successful weekend of preview performances of The Nerd – the houses were packed and the laughs were plentiful!  Earlier today, I got to attend the first Production Meeting of our next show, A Painted Window, and the designer/director discussions about the piece were fantastic.  Tomorrow, I get to have my first designer discussion about the next show I’m directing, 1984, and I cannot WAIT!  I’m so thankful for my job, the opportunity to do what I do, and the chance to work with some of my closest friends in the world while doing it.

Those are the big things.  They’re also the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things I’m grateful for….. and that’s something else I’m grateful for!thank_you_by_psd_on_flickr.jpg

SO Much To Be Thankful For!

Happy Thanksgiving!  Here in the USA, it’s a great day to take a look at and appreciate all the reasons we have to be thankful.

And boy oh boy, do I have things to be thankful for…








First and Foremost – these three people!  Just look at how awesome they are.  I am constantly amazed at how strong, talented, thoughtful and wonderful they are.

My parents and brother and sister, my whole extended family and in-laws.

The amazing technology that lets my family stay in touch and talk/text/share photos daily, even though now we all live far apart.

The doctors who are helping me solve my breathing and lung issues.

The Williamston Theatre, and the amazing family of people who I get to work with there.

Zombies:  Specifically, tv shows and games about them.

The fact that our power came back on after only 3 days of being out after the recent storm, and we have a warm place to live.

Our pets.

The wind storm that blew most of the leaves out of our yard.

The theatre industry in Michigan – thanks for letting me have a career for 20+ years.

Science Fiction!  Books, movies, games, tv shows!

The wonderful friends I’ve got, some who I’ve known since 1st grade, and some I’m just getting to know.

The fact that we can get a new coffee maker, and that I can have decaf coffee.

The fact that I’ve been able to mostly eliminate caffeine, and still enjoy decaf coffee.

The incredible people who donate time, money, energy and positivity to Williamston Theatre.  In the middle of our 8th season, it’s still amazing to me that it exists and prospers.

TV Talk, and getting to host a fun show there with my pal Joe.  A little extra income, a lot of fun, and a great new experience to learn from.

Those moments in the middle of the night, when I wake up and walk the house just to check on doors and kids, and the gentle breathing and talking-in-their-sleep sounds that my family make when they sleep.

My Fitbit Flex, which helps me keep motivated to stay in shape, and the LoseIt! app on my iPhone, which helps me track calories and glucose!

Major League Baseball!

Turkey and Stuffing.  With Gravy.

Slippers.  Man, I love wearing my slippers.

And pajama pants.  Warm ones.

Our elliptical running machine, and the “Zombies, Run!” app that I use while exercising! (Nothing like a good interactive zombie story to motivate you to lose some weight and get in shape!)

Almost 20 years of marriage to an amazing person.  The life we’ve built together.  It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darned great, and it’s ours!