NPR logo 'Calm' And 'Flexible'

'Calm' And 'Flexible'

There are so many ways to start fresh. We've said goodbye to 2008 and greeted the new year.

Among other things, I've decided to paint a few rooms. It's such a labor-intensive chore. Before the painter strokes the walls, I'm clearing the way by carefully removing all the pieces of our two lives that have gathered on shelves over the years.

Every picture has a story. Almost every item comes from somewhere that was a story on Nightline or, in my case, NBC News. A good producer always makes time for good shopping.

So there I was, remembering trips to the Middle East, past Olympics, even old hurricanes. And then it came time to unplug the neons. Two neon lights I had made for Leroy the year we remodeled this house. One said "calm" and the other said "flexible."

He kept reminding me to "stay calm and flexible" during the construction. Not so easy to do. We were promised we'd be moved in by Thanksgiving. That year we ate pumpkin pie sitting on a blanket on a cold cement slab with no windows or doors. Not my idea of being moved-in. You get the picture. Leroy unwrapped those neons that Christmas morning and I can still hear him laughing.

"Calm" and "flexible." Good advice then. Good advice now.