A time to be both thankful and helpful.

This week I wound up spending time at Beaumont Hospital in Trenton with an ailing family member.  All is well, everyone is back home and doing well, but times like that are stressful, and worrisome, and one of the things that stands out the most when you look back is the giant amount of HELP and KINDNESS given by so many people.  A big THANK YOU to the wonderful staff at Beaumont Trenton, you guys rock.

Between that event, and Thanksgiving and the holidays coming up, it’s a time of year that we all start thinking of others.  Probably we start thinking of them in a way that we should think all year.  I know I do.  I look around and I think about how amazingly fortunate I am, how lucky I am to be loved by people, to have friends and family I can count on, and to still be here in my very own Bonus Levels.  I also, though, am very aware that I could be doing more for others.  Does anyone else feel this?  The kindness of the Beaumont Hospital staff reminded me that a little effort can go a long way when people are in need, and sometimes it’s the smallest of gestures that makes a difference.

Everyone is busy, we’re all working too much and overwhelmed with life and plans and challenges and politics and that’s just the way our lives ARE nowadays.  One of the ways to help slow down, make OUR lives better, is to help someone else.  I don’t do enough of that, but I’m going to try to do more.  If anyone wants to join me, here are some resources that a colleague recently shared with me:

  • To volunteer at your local soup kitchen, click here
  • To donate a meal to food-insecure senior citizens, click here
Got any other suggestions on ways we could all, even in our over-scheduled lives, help make a difference?  Let me know, share them with all of us in the comments.

A weekend of thankfulness!

Yesterday we had final preview AND Opening Night for The Nerd at Williamston Theatre!  (Not what we normally do, but Thanksgiving was in the way of having a Thursday preview, so we had a double show on Friday – both shows were packed and it was fun!)  So THANKFUL for the great folks who attended the sold out shows, and the whole team of people who made the show happen!

And I have to share this.  I was lucky enough to see this Musicology concert in Detroit twice, and I’m so thankful!

AND – if you haven’t checked out the Team Tony page here at my website, you should take a second and do it.  There are some pretty amazing people on there, and I’m thankful for each and every one of them.


A week of being Thankful. Day 4…

… the list of little things. Obviously not complete, but it’s a good start! 😉

The view of the trees outside our front window. Reading the “hot stove” reports in the off-season to see what trades the Detroit Tigers are making.  Reading a good play. Kung Pao Chicken and Shrimp. The smell of the woods in late Autumn. Puzzling through a play with a team of gifted people. The feeling of shaping a moment with actors, designers crew and a playwright and then watching it move an audience to laughter or tears or shock just as we’d hoped. Audience members who hug me in the lobby after seeing a play, just because the piece affected them so much. Sitting and reading a real book, not one on a screened device. Still hearing my Dad’s voice in my head every day. A well-made spinach and feta omelette. Making my mom laugh, or my brother and sister laugh, or my wife and kids laugh.  The dogs curling up on my feet. A fire in our fireplace. Theatre without pretentiousness.  Hugs from my wife and kids. A good bourbon. Playing board games with family and friends. The sound of walking through fallen leaves. The muffled sound of a big snowstorm. Text messages with my kids throughout the day. Turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and the family around a table!

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


Days with my family spent making dinner, relaxing, watching movies, having a blast getting my butt kicked in Zombie Dice AND Ticket To Ride, all of us going to a great Opening Night at the theatre, my sister-in-law and her amazing soup …and there’s still stuffing in the fridge that I can eat tonight!!