Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day Tribute to My BFF, the Colonel

Some of us have generations of relatives who've served in the military.

Some of us have a friend or two whom we've met on their multiple moves across the country.

My extremely limited exposure to military life is through a girlfriend I've known since age 14.

High school pals Lisa, Tricia, & Tracy

She is super cool. Super strong. The absolute greatest daughter on the planet. And she is one of the best friends a girl could ever have.

Her name is Tricia York, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

Tricia's Big Promotion--pinned a Colonel!

Tricia taught me what it meant to work hard for everything you have. In 9th grade Tricia would take the bus home with me after school and walk to work in her swaggy, green polyester Publix uniform. Her mom would pick her up at closing time.

My childhood Carrollwood Village home in Tampa, Florida

We still laugh about the ham sandwiches we would eat together in my kitchen. We also laugh at how hot we thought we looked before the Rick Springfield concert.

Hot stuff, baby

It was a total thrill to send her a signed copy of Rick's book on her 40-ish birthday.

Tricia did R.O.T.C. to pay her way through college. I remember how excited she was to finally get braces as an adult member of the military. And I loved visiting Tricia when she was stationed in Germany.

Throughout our 30-plus year friendship, we've connected multiple times in Florida, Colorado, and on a crazy fun Germany & France trip with another high school girlfriend.

The greatness that is nutella & banana crepes

The laughs never stop when I'm with Tricia.

We've shed a few tears too, like when my mama died. Tricia and her mother came to see my skeletal Marilyn to say goodbye. That took guts. Trust me.

I learned how to be a more caring daughter because of Tricia and the beautiful relationship she has with her own mom.

Just a few months ago, Tricia made Colonel.

Sibling Colonels John and Tricia York

So did her big brother, John. Kudos to this intelligent, fearless, fighter pilot. John has seen things nobody should, has risked his life in the most most terrifying scenarios. I will personally forever thank John for opening my eyes to a Disneyland in Tokyo, where I eventually got to work and travel Asia. He and I also climbed Mt. Fuji together in Japan, where he saved me from hypothermia. Cool dude.

So on this Veteran's Day, I am teary and touched by the lifelong love, support, and friendship I've found in my favorite military members: the York siblings.

They are truly something. Something wonderful.

Something worth celebrating every day of the year.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Where Have You Been, Tracy?

The blogging well's been running a little dry lately.

Time to prime the pump and give it a whirl.

I've been working in Nashville for 6 weeks now, almost a full month on-air.

And while I've experienced some serious ups and downs, I am happy to report I am definitely on the upswing.

There is something about a two-minute commute to work, a one-minute drive to Pilates, and a three-mile jaunt to the state's top shopping area that really puts a girl in a good mood. 

Couple that with a gorgeous wooded walking trail right across the street--and wonderful childhood friends to walk it with--and I have much to smile about.

Meeting up with the adorable Andrea from Dallas in Knoxville
On the work front, I feel like I'm growing again. Sinking my teeth into fresh topics in a community that truly cares about its local news. I feel enthusiastic and inspired.

Tailgate Tri-Deltas at Vanderbilt Reunion Weekend
I also feel nourished by the wonderful people all around me. 

Almost every weekend I've seen nearby family members and old friends. 

Keeneland with Luke, Frank, & Lucky Uncle John
in nearby Lexington, Kentucky

I've enjoyed coffee and cocktails with new co-workers.

Investigative Reporter
Kim Curth is the bomb!
The talented morning reporter Anne McCloy!

And boy, am I planning ahead to the upcoming basketball season!

Look out for Luke this season, folks!

My darling, athletic daughter, Nicole, off...
...and on the court!

I can't believe I'll get to see Luke play every home game--even during the week! Hallelujah!

My heart is leaping out of my chest just typing it.

But I must be honest: It's taken me several weeks--and lots of tears--to get here. 

Trust me. If you, too, are in the middle of major change, please know it WILL get better. 

Remember your reasons for change in the first place.

Keep the faith,  Whether you call it inner wisdom, a still, small voice, or your gut instinct--just TRUST. 

Your tears, too, will soon turn to joy.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Enough is Enough

First promo shoot at the house

I should know better by now that keeping my feelings inside is not a good idea.

I could rattle off several words to describe the roller coaster of emotions I've experienced since moving to Nashville--like excitement, creativity, homesickness, thrill, regret, boredom, and anticipation. I tend to vacillate among them every two hours or so. (My poor husband!)

Our first Vandy football game in at least 20 years!

So today I am determined to count my blessings while blogging, hoping this catharsis will not only clear my mind but get my writing juices flowing again. (I can't wait to start on-air next Tuesday night!)

I told my new boss I'm so used to running around with my hair on fire--scrambling to write stories when the video's in late or racing from shoots in Dallas to the studios in Fort Worth--that I haven't known what to do with myself during these 2-3 weeks of behind-the-scenes transition in Tennessee.

I swear, I almost exploded with joy just doing a run-through last night!

It's given me great compassion for the unemployed. It's also giving me even more motivation to encourage all of my mom (and dad) friends to make sure your circle is large and your hobbies are meaningful once your kids leave the nest.  What a Catch 22--the more involved we are as parents, the more difficult it can be to live without our children's energy and the purpose they provide! (Or is that just crazy Tracy talk? Someone tell me the truth!)

The joy of my heart; the light in my eyes; the cream in my coffee!
Luke, Nicole & John

As for the blessings since moving to Music City? Lest I make anyone throw up in their mouth, let me just say it has been profoundly beautiful to visit with old friends and drive down familiar streets, especially knowing my youngest child is 4 miles down one of them! 

Two girlfriends popped in for coffee, the VERY first morning after I moved here. They have NO IDEA how much this meant to me. (Don't hate me for posting this pic, girls.)
My friendship base here is bountiful. I truly feel fortunate with coffee, happy hours, and walks through Nashville's gorgeous parks with precious pledge sisters, Vandy alums, and former co-workers.  

Lunch in Atlanta with the coolest couple ever,
former CBS11 producers Chris & Victoria Kennedy, now at CNN International 
I'm discovering new, cool haunts with new ones. I've even spent quality time with two girls from grade school!
5th grade girlfriend, Dawn Johnson on her drive through Nashville

My 6th & 7th grade former BFF, Linda Muilenburg Dussling

My husband golfs incessantly with former Vanderbilt teammates. He will be coaching high school basketball again next month. 

Teammates-turned-golf-buddies: Derrick Wilcox & Frank, enjoying Stump's cushioned stadium seats!

And this weekend I plan to attend a Vanderbilt science lecture and enjoy free concerts at the Nashville symphony. There is SO much going on in this fabulous town.

So why do I battle such melancholy, thinking about the friends I left behind in Texas? I think it means I finally opened my heart, let my guard down, and allowed myself to love and be loved by other people. 

My main man Jeff & the watchful, maternal Crystal of CBS11

And that is a GOOD thing, right?! I'm pretty sure that's the definition of true connection--a major part of the true meaning of life.

I'd have a goodbye party every night if these two could come!

Surely, you've been in this emotional place too. So you know that we must mourn the loss--which time will heal. And then we must stay out there and build new connections, while treasuring the tapestry of people who've added such texture to our spirits and color to our lives.

And these, too! Such wonderful human beings!

The biggest challenge for me is to stop comparing. As a girlfriend/mentor reminded me, it's flat out wrong. It's not a contest. There will be no winners.

So join me in embracing today. This beautiful day. And the gifts of life, health, and LOVE.

I'll see you on t.v. Tuesday at 5pm (CT), September 30th...streamed live on www.wsmv.com. 

And I truly look forward to serving and opening my heart to the fabulous folks here in Nashville!

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Secret is Out

My last newscast in Texas, 9-4-14

Sometimes you leave a job because it simply stinks.
Sometimes you leave cause you can't stand your boss.
Sometimes you leave because you feel no purpose in what you do.

It's for NONE of those reasons I am leaving CBS11.

With the fabulous teary-eyed Tammy Dombeck

With love and genuine affection for my awesome friends, colleagues, and viewers, after eight amazing years here, it is time to head toward home.

If you've followed this blog for any length of time, you will have noticed some recurring themes: I absolutely adore my children; I love my job; and I crave new adventures.

But lately my bubbling joy hasn't been bubbling so much. I've deeply missed the greater sense of purpose my children have added to my life, with the five of us crazy Kornets living in four different states.

So when this happened--the last-minute-head-turning-life-changing miracle, sending our youngest son to our alma mater, Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, a short drive from both of our extended families--it became increasingly clear that it's time to be a family again.

My mom died at 60. We are not promised tomorrow. We must live boldly. Write our own headlines.

North Texas, thank you for 8 awesome years.

I will miss you deeply. I will treasure the memories. And I will feel your love forever.
Tracking in my curlers with the terrifically talented Ram

Monday, July 14, 2014

Second Banana?

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox

I saw Planet of the Apes last night and truly enjoyed it. Laughed at the "Monkey Braveheart" moments but really relished the heck out of the special effects. Plus, there is something powerful about seeing the soul through a simian's eyes.
The whole experience helped me embrace a reality to which many of us can relate: being a second banana.
My fabulous 4pm teammates!

I'm pretty sure we've all felt that way at some point in our careers.
In the news business, it's just part of the deal.

I'll be honest with you, I've always preferred playing the lead--have needed the attention, the money, the LOVE in most seasons of my life.
But then I had kids.
And then they got older.
And boy, did my desires evolve.
When my children transitioned to junior high and high school and we moved to DFW, being Second Banana was sweetly convenient. I was hired as the 7-9pm main anchor of our independent station and then added 4pm anchor on CBS11 to my role. I worked a rare day shift. Was home for my kids' bedtime. Once they played high school basketball, I seldom missed a game. I can honestly say, I have very few regrets as a mother thanks to second banana status. 
My daughter Nicole's senior night
It's not exactly a moniker many of us Americans want to wear. We want to be the star. The queen. The alpha male. The boss.
Or do we. Really?
Two nights ago I was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at a station-sponsored, pro tennis tournament at the Four Seasons resort. I haven't been singing lately. The voice is a muscle one must train and keep in shape. I was not excited about this responsibility.
But the boss asked, so I agreed.
National Anthem clip on CBS11 News at 10pm
It was NOT fabulous.
However, I will tell you, I still embrace the whole anxiety-provoking experience for two reasons (in addition to the fact I got to meet the legendary Billie Jean King):
Tennis legend Billie Jean King

1. Getting out of one's comfort zone is almost ALWAYS a good idea. I believe it stretches us. Grows us. Prepares us....for something. I consider it practice for something bigger down the road.
2. Most news anchors don't get an opportunity to sing. At my last station, I was discouraged from displaying any talent or interests outside my job. But now, if I'm asked to participate in something special, and I'm capable of it, who am I to say no?
Which bring me back to my thesis statement.
The beauty of being a #2? Freedom to breathe. To take risks.

I preach this truth often during speeches and to friends. Sing loudly in life. Few main anchors I know feel they have the latitude to live outside the box they're placed within. They don't color outside the lines. Why risk it? Being bold opens yourself up to SO much criticism & cruel comments from thoughtless viewers. Especially in this new world of social media.

So today, I dare you to be different. Dare to be YOU. Whatever your status, embrace it. No one should stop you from being yourself. It gives others permission to do the same.
And heck, you might just become the envy of the whole darn jungle. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You're Moving Again?!

I'm getting really good at this moving thing.

I've done it 8 times in the last 4 years--once for me and the rest while helping my three kids.

Moving John to college 4 years ago
I don't know about you, but my parents never helped me haul my crap in and out of dorm rooms and apartments.

My kids not only get their parents' free help, but we load them up with housewares and furniture, too.

Moving John OUT of college, 4 years later
They really have it good.

And you know what?
It's awfully good for me, too.

All of this lifting and packing and scrubbing keeps me grateful.
Grateful I'm healthy and young enough to do it.
Happy our children even want us around.
Thrilled to have a reason to make so many purposeful road trips and spend quality time with each individual kid.

Taking a break mid-move on Nicole's bed, spray-tanned legs with
albino feet intact
My husband just moved our oldest son into his first, official apartment in Little Rock, where he's working in his first, official, full-time job after graduating college in May.

This life of ours is spinning by.

How do I keep from missing any more of it?

In the airport waiting to embark on post-graduation family vacation

Monday, May 12, 2014

Finding Myself

Shopping for picnic lunch on the grounds of Versailles
For three weeks now I've been reflecting on one of the most exhilarating trips of my life--a girlfriend trip to France and Monaco.

I have yet to post a blog about it, because I can't seem to land on one theme. My thoughts are log-jammed. So much stimulation in such a short time is hard to sift through. Plus, I continue to question what's been missing from my life to have made this trip so profoundly fun--not to mention how I might replicate the experience in daily doses back here at home.

Taking off for Nice, France
I just stumbled upon some notes I took during our seven-day adventure, about one particular afternoon I had almost forgotten. We girls were heading to the artists' colony of Montmartre for the day, and my friend was craving a mocha. One of my extroverted travel companions struck up a conversation with an American woman at Starbucks. (This was after 100 other stops in French cafes. Don't judge!)

Sharon Neuman teaches in five different French universities. She is married to a famous French architect named Gabriel Choukroun. During the course of our fascinating conversation, Sharon shared an assignment she requires of all of her students before they graduate--to write a letter to themselves to be opened in ten years, answering three questions:

Monte Carlo, Monaco

1. Who are you today?
2. Would the person you were when I knew you, be proud of who you are today?
3. What would you have done differently?
What a wonderful exercise for all of us. (Yes, kids. I will be handing you stationery on our next road trip.) 
I'm sure part of the reason behind my girlfriends' connection is how similar our answers are. We find great purpose in our relationships, careers, and are excited about our futures. We like the people we are now. And I do believe our younger selves would be proud. None of us would have done anything significantly differently, as our mistakes, choices, and wins and losses made us who we are today.
Le Georges atop the Centre Pompidou, Paris
I hope you'll take a moment to at least THINK about these questions, too. If you don't feel as positive about your answers, I hope you will seek help and tap into what's missing or what you regret. And then CHANGE it.
You may even be inspired to start socking away some savings every month and book your own trip to France! If you do, please let me know. I may have to join you.
Souvenir shopping in Montmartre

Friday, March 21, 2014

March Madness Midnight News

On the CBS11 set with the talented Doug Dunbar
When you work in news, March Madness means you might do the late show well after midnight.

This year I don't really mind, since it is helping me pass the time until my daughter plays her First Round NCAA game tomorrow against DePaul at 12:30pm. It can't get here fast enough!

Courtesy: University of Oklahoma
This has been a tough year for my #1 Sooner, Nicole Kornet. A learning year. A growing year.

She's battled back and is on the other side now. I am so very proud of her.

So this text message today TRULY made my day. She sent it to the family after practice at the uber-cool Cameron Indoor Stadium at Duke University in Durham, NC:

Please ignore the fact I once again took a screen shot with the edit prompts. (I'm a loser.)

Nicole said basketball is FUN! And she loves it!

As a musical theater/dance team/sorority girl, I give these college athletes so much credit. On top of their academic responsibilities, they work out intensely for hours every day for 4 or 5 straight years. No Spring Break. No Thanksgiving or Christmas vacations. No free summers.

I don't know about you, but the toughest part of my college experience was getting up for an 8am Italian class after a night of half-price beers.

The coolest thing is, these kids (at least the ones I know) have NEVER complained about it. They know it's all part of the deal. And that the opportunity to play is really, really special.

Just a little food for thought as you continue to cheer for the young men and women on your favorite March Madness teams.

And, if you don't mind, please tune in to CBS11 News after the game. Our own team is producing an information-packed newscast.

You just might need to ignore the toothpicks propping our eye sockets open.

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