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? Embrace It.

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 your 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 via France

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.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Please Don't Leave Me Alone

Saved by my daughter's college friends at the Big 12.

I'm just going to admit it: I am not good at being alone.

Basketball games are enveloping the Kornet clan this spring break. So I'm working odd hours and filling in for vacationing co-workers.

Without commotion and conversation in my life, I get into a

Today I brought my workout clothes to work, to "encourage myself" to stop at the gym on the way home.

Did I go? Heck to the no.

It was such a gorgeous day. So at least I did take the dog for a walk. And at least I changed into my fore-mentioned workout clothes before I did so.

But then I crashed.

I opened up all of the sliding glass doors on the back of the house, plopped on the couch, and crashed.

It was no later than 7pm.

Folks, that is not normal. Scratch that. As stressed and isolated as we Americans are becoming, perhaps it is becoming normal. But it's certainly not healthy. At least it's not healthy for me.

I eventually woke up, folded some laundry, and watched a little bit of that TLC show, The Little Couple." (The precious, personality-packed, pint-sized couple flew to India to pick up little Zoey, a two-year-old girl they adopted. I tell you, adoption is an absolute miracle!)

After wiping away a few tears, I knew I had to perk up. I jumped on the internet, caught up on my kids' tweets, and browsed through some of my old Twitter pictures. I found myself laughing out loud alone in my kitchen. Then I watched an old video blog with my former television colleague, Gina Miller, about "Fighting the Funk." I started to feel some energy return. Even some inspiration. Like I had just had an actual conversation with a girlfriend.

I immediately texted Gina to remind her of that conversation long ago. Then I grabbed this month's issue of Success magazine, headed to my garage Stairmaster, and did a full hour of cardio. It's now 11:39pm.

After my cardio boost, I saw that Gina responded to my text. Her message: "You must write and speak your way out of your funk, Tracy! You're too fab to funk!"

This blog is proof that's exactly what I did. And here's a picture of another step I took the next morning to keep the funk at bay.

The local library to the rescue yet again! Only this time I brought a girlfriend with me, who practically squealed in delight at the plethora of offerings there. (Seriously, have you used your local library recently?!) And that was after coffee and a hard-core workout at her house.

Exercise, girlfriend time, and intellectual stimulation?! Now that's the way to beat the blues.

So friends, if you too are fighting the funk, I hope you'll take Steve Harvey's advice from one of the Success articles I consumed during that sweaty 60 minutes in my cold garage: "U-turns are allowed. If you're heading down the wrong path, you can turn around." Or keep moving forward. Just don't give up.

Remember, you're too fab to funk.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Why I Love Women

I love women!

Just when I think I'm the only grown girl out there who still has tomboy tendencies, who still loves doing the splits, who's more than annoyed having to have nice nails (mine are the PITS)--
I meet a whole slew of other girls just like me!

Such was the case yesterday when I spoke at the Ladies High Tea at Liberty Christian High School in Argyle, Texas (although they all had fabulous nails...darnit).

With Judy Haire, Liberty Christian School Co-Founder (and future back-up singer)

There I was seated amongst hundreds of women, around our individually decorated tables ( mine Parisian-themed), and within minutes our common connection emerged.

It came in the form we women so readily embrace:


Happy tears. Joyful tears. Tears of empathy. Tears of understanding.

Dang, we women are so good at letting it flow. Especially when we're all together.

My tears began AS I was being introduced, when the eloquent emcee melted my heart by talking about my kids, whom she had known when they attended school there.

But what I loved just as much was how instantly comfortable it felt from the perch of that podium, looking out into a sea of smiling, female faces in their tortoise-rimmed glasses and highlighted hair.

Don't get me wrong, I love men. LOVE them. And I especially appreciate our male viewers at CBS11. (wink, wink)

But I hosted a morning magazine show for almost 7 years in Phoenix.

We became so connected with our female viewers, my co-host and I had the thrill of participating in "Sonoran Living Girlfriend Nights," for which our devoted viewers actually BOUGHT tickets, showed up at the station door, and poured into our studio to mingle with us and our Sonoran Living cast. (Shout out to some of them--our craft divas The MaryAngelos, beauty experts Michele Rene & Zethina, and especially to Lisa & Patty from "Girlfriends Unlimited" for executing those glorious evenings!)

My favorite part of those events was seeing, hugging, and listening to these ladies; hearing how the experiences we shared on-air, touched their hearts at home--and helped them feel not so alone.

It brought me to tears then...and it brings me to tears now.

Girlfriends & a good cry--two ingredients to a great life.