Monthly Archives

January 2022

Looking Ahead in 2022

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When I started developing the idea for The Silent Goldens, I was told it takes an average of 7-10 years to complete an independent documentary. I didn’t believe mine would as I knew the story, had access to all the people and had worked on productions with many more moving parts in months. I am humbled to say I was wrong. I am now about six years from conceiving the idea and a little over five from when I launched my website and began production. Now I am proud to announce I have completed a working script! There is still much work to be done in editing it down, making it look and sound nice etc, but I am committed to the construct and have my co-producer Jamie Smith and director Jon Bendis focused on it as well in our push to finish the doc this Spring.

As an observer of the process to get to this point, I can see the personal, environmental and mostly financial issues that have eaten away at the time with the main one being “alone is not the way to get things done.” A lesson I am determined to keep learning over and over it seems. I have made great strides in many areas, but have realized I really need – and want – a partner-in-crime (or a few) to get me to the finish line, especially being so close to the subject matter and am activating those resources.

It was in 2016, when I floated the idea of breaking my family’s decades-long silence and filming it for a documentary while attending the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s first Long-Term Survivor’s Summit. I got incredibly positive feedback, which gave me the confidence to move forward with the idea. I always thought it would be a fantastically full-circle thing to premiere it at the yet-to-be-scheduled next one. That was announced for 2020 and then cancelled by COVID. Same for 2021. When word came out that it would be a go for 2022, I made that my goal to have a finished cut to premiere sections as part of a workshop I’m presenting to the audience who inspired the project.

The registration information for the Summit just came out, so if you are interested in attending, all the info is here.

In other news, later this month, I’ll be part of a interview and photo profile series on creativity and mental health that is part of the A Light In Dark Places non-profit, which also produces the play series I work with at Stella Adler Acting School in Septembers during Suicide Prevention Month. It involves a session with a professional photographer, so that’s exciting and I will share when it comes out.

I’m feeling in the groove, or groovy if you prefer, and very much look forward to seeing how The Silent Goldens finally turns out!

A Belated New Years + A Lesson in Love

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George and I rang in 2022 together.

At 6:30 am on New Year’s Day, I left my cat sitting job after partying the night away with George  and headed over to my most frequent clients that keep me the busiest with their 2 bullmastiff, little terrier and cat.  

I am deeply in love with each of these animals and have known the two mastiffs since they came into the family as puppies.  We all enjoy our time together very, very much.  I am constantly accused of spoiling them and I confess it’s true.  The joy of being the dog sitter, not the dog owner.  The animals keep me busy but there is typically a routine to the day so I can get a few things done during for myself during nap times and in the evening.  

Mona in front, Mac left, Izzy right

Unfortunately, Izzy tore the ACL in both her legs and the surgery was scheduled for 2 days before I would start sitting during the family’s annual first-week in January getaway.  They totally gave me an out, but I had no issue taking this on for any one of my “babies.”  My experiences with my own dog, Riggs, after surgeries had been him mostly sleeping and slow walks just so he could relieve himself.  I thought it would be easier in a way since Izzy had to be somewhat confined and separated from her playmate and I wouldn’t have to try and keep 3 dogs happy with just my two hands as they simultaneously clamored for attention.  Not so much. Not at all.

The three dogs were not in sync in their needs and wants, and each day with Izzy’s recovery was a new obstacle to be overcome, making my first 5 days of January a complete blur and taking me off-the-grid except for Izzy’s mom and a few others connected with her well-being. One of the issues Izzy and I faced were having to shove pills down her throat and blow into her nose to get her to swallow.  The nose part was new to me.  Once in her, the meds gave her digestive issues starting 3:30 one morning that continued throughout the day, forcing me to go through about 8 rolls of paper towels to keep things tidy.  The next day,  while attempting to go for a walk, she popped a stitch and watery blood started running down her leg.  I got her into a bathroom but before I could close her in the shower she walked around leaving what literally (in the literal sense) looked like a crime scene.

Izzy on way home from emergency vet visit.

I called an emergency-contact relative at 6am to help me bandage the area so the blood would stop and get her in my car (she’s over 100 lbs) and take her to an emergency clinic since the hospital where she’d had surgery didn’t have enough staff due to COVID.  Luckily  for me the cleaning service was due to come that day, but I had Izzy’s mom warn them about the situation.  If I’d walked into a house and seen that scene and the person was missing, I might have called the police.  

The point of my story, other than to explain my absence from wherever people expect to find me for the last week, is that this was a huge lesson in love.  Never having had a child, I don’t have much experience with things seeping out of body parts and I typically look for an “adult” to take care of these things.  I’ve handled gross before, but in more one-off circumstances.  But there I was, the human in charge and it had to be done.  And my love for Izzy allowed me to do it and not even dry heave.  I didn’t get annoyed by it, I just wanted Izzy to be ok.

Mac wants to play.

My anxiety, which would typically be about my own to-do lists, was solely focused on making sure Izzy was comfortable and the other two were happy.  Mac, Izzy’s mastiff brother, is only 1.5 years and they play a lot and play hard so his energy is a little pent up.  He doesn’t usually play with toys on his own, but I bought him a new rope and he loved it!  And that brought me so much joy.  Nothing like seeing a truly happy dog at play!

By January 2,  I had given into the fact that I wasn’t going to implement any resolutions that week and just let myself fully be with the dogs.   Does it matter that some of the things I wanted to, planned to or “needed” to do waited a week?  Not in the bigger picture. Rather than deriving satisfaction from checking a few things off the never-ending “to-do” list, my happiness came from being there for them and knowing how much trust the family put in me to deal with it all.   They returned to 2 healthy, happy dogs, 1 healthy, happy cat and a dog who is recovering well and comfortable.

Me and Gus, the Cat.

Today I start my 2022 having learned a better lesson about letting love rule and going with the flow than I had in store to teach myself.  And if any dog needs me, I’ll know I can and will be there and do anything for it!

Happy New Year to all!  I wish for everyone to find lessons in love this year.