Thursday, January 12, 2012

Blogging because my virtual office is down.

Working in a virtual office obviously has its perks: pajama-heavy work wardrobe, limitless smoke breaks, couch desk, bad tv as background noise, the ability to play word games on my phone between writing articles, passing gas whenever I need to, not even having to wear pants if I don't feel like it...etc.

But it also has its downsides... when the office has a connection problem and I can't pull any stories.

This is one of those moments.  So I've decided to update the 'ol blog while I wait...

So, I'm easily swayed by fiction.

Maybe it's because I'm a writer or because I have a very active imagination, but there are times when I watch tv or see a movie and think, "Dude...I want that moment."

I guess you could also chalk it up to the fact that I'm...and I have a hard time admitting this publicly for some reason...but, I...I'm...I'm kind of a hopeless romantic.

Hold on...let me explain that before I go on...because, well, because I'll feel better about it.  (I'm about to try to remove all the sappiness out of something inherently sappy.  I like a good challenge...obviously.)

I don't know if it's technically that I'm a hopeless romantic, it's just...I like great moments.  Sure, some of these "moments" would fall into the category of "romantic" in a traditional sense, but others not so much.  For example, cooking dinner in the kitchen while my son does his homework and having a fun, memorable conversation with him that's filled with laughter--that's one of these moments. 

Or imagining building our annual snowman with him later on this weekend and coming inside for hot cocoa and a movie.
See?  Not really romantic.  More like endearing.  So perhaps I'm more hopelessly infatuated with endearing moments and not simply "romance."
But then...then I get these other ideas of moments that are, indeed, sappy and romantic. 

Like this one:

I first got it into my head while watching an episode of Sex and the City (first of all, shut it.  It's not a bad show, really.  Some parts are ridiculous, but it's entertaining.  And as a thirtysomething, I can relate to some scenarios. I will admit, I roll my eyes at other's a delicate balance, really). 

Are those mix CDs? I would hope so.
So anyways...the episode...right.  In the episode, Carrie went to visit Mr. Big as he was packing to move away.  He pulled out a Henry Mancini record with a version of "Moon River" on it, put it on the record player and they danced, barefoot in the living room.

And as I sat on my couch, clad in pajamas, eating chocolate, with a cat on my lap and a mud mask on my face...I thought, "Gee whiz.  THAT is awesome.  I want to do that." (Except, instead of Mancini, I'd listen to Van Morrison and Otis Redding.)

Okay, wait...that was my second thought.

My first thought was, "I am sitting on the couch, clad in pajamas, eating chocolate, with a cat on my lap and a mud mask on my face...watching Sex and the City...30-something has officially happened.  Shit just got real."

But then I had that second thought.

And I don't know, the sweet simplicity of it just hit me somewhere where I keep my girly-girl stuff tucked away.

I mean, actually, I tend to find the best moments are the ones that are unconventionally and unintentionally romantic/endearing.

But then there are those textbook cases, like slow dancing to Van Morrison barefoot in the living room, that remind me that no matter how random and weird I actually am...within me lies a girly-girl that is undeniably part of my DNA make up.

And it makes me laugh a little...these silly little notions I come up with sometimes.

Because on the flip side, I find sitting on the couch watching and laughing at Beavis and Butt-headto be an equally romantic, endearing...and obviously awesome...moment, too.

I know, right?  I'm such a freaking dichotomy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Creative's* Catch-22

*not just limited to Creatives I suppose, actually.

A friend of mine recently posted a very nice quote on his social media page:
"Simply, do what u love, what makes u happy, your art. The rest is just not important:)"
 Now, first off let me say, I think this is a great quote and super inspiring.  I'm out of coffee at the moment and I STILL got a warm feeling in my insides from it.

Second, I'm most definitely not trying to undermine my friend's reason to post this quote (most likely to inspire) or to call him out on anything.

It's just, the quote really got me thinking.  I mean, REALLY thinking.

I commented on his quote:
"And then you have a baby...and it all changes lol (although, it's not impossible...just full of detours.)"
Because guess what?  For me?  That's all I know.

But the tough part is, at least in my chosen field of goals, I don't know anyone else who has the slightest idea how to relate because I don't know anyone in my chosen field of goals who has been a parent for nearly 12 years, 9 of which have been single-parent status.

(I am lucky enough to have a great friend and co-parenting relationship with my ex-husband, but that doesn't make it as smooth sailing as a two-parent household by any means.  Heck, even two-parent households are hectic.  Parenting is a crazy, emotional and labor-intensive job, case anyone had any question.)

I see a lot of people, like my friend, who post these wonderful, beautiful messages of "go for it!"  "follow your dreams!"  "be who you were meant to be!"

And I like these statuses, both on an internal like level and physically clicking "like" on Facebook.  I adore them, truth be told.  And I try, I try my damnedest to follow and believe them.

But here's the thing: when you're responsible for shaping the life of another human being who loves you more than anything else in the world (and who, as it's my case, is teetering between childhood and teenagerhood--a very delicate and bittersweet time), how can you possibly just let everything else fall away for your dreams?

You can't. There are mortgages and bills and school events and dinners to cook and laundry to do and a house to clean and periods of time where you must dedicate yourself to discussing the latest episode of The Misadventures of Flapjack or a new internet meme with someone who will never know what a cassette tape is and, as I've recently found out, has no idea how to work a landline telephone.

Normally, I forget about this delicate balance.  When I do have my "me" time to do with as I please, I throw myself into it and enjoy the hell out of it.  Although, in the back of my mind I'm probably feeling guilty for not being "good enough" as a mom.  Mom guilt.  This is also a thing.  No matter how available and supportive a mom is, guess what?  She probably feels like she can do more.

And therein lies the rub.  The "damned if you do, damned if you don't" idea.

If I were to throw all of those feel good, inspirational , dream-following quotes down the Bemis, sure...I could devote more time to parenting my son.  Sounds great then, right?  Just give up and you won't feel guilty!

Ah-ha!  That's where you're wrong.  Because in doing that, I'd be doing a great disservice not only to myself...but to my child.  You see, in order to be  a good parent, it's my opinion that you must still follow those things that spark passion and joy within you.  It's almost living by example in a way.  Proving those quotes.  Showing and not telling that yes, dear child of mine, you can do what you know in your heart you are meant to be doing.

So those quotes, they're valid. But they're not all encompassing, I guess is my point.

You see, the rest IS important. I don't have the luxury of screwing up and failing remarkably and only answering to myself and perhaps a debt collector or irate landlord.


If I screw up, I not only answer to myself, a few debt collectors and in my case a mortgage company...but I have to answer to someone who counts on me for just about everything you could ever possibly imagine.

So yes, sure, I can fail...but I can't do so with such unabashed and carefree glory as most of the folks who are also in my field of goals.

And believe me, I have failed...many times.  And I don't really plan to stop any time soon, because I also don't plan to give up.  And the only way you really learn and can see how far you've come is through making mistakes along the way.  Otherwise, what have you to appreciate?  Right?

But for my friends in the biz, community, etc., whatever, I offer this to you as well: the rest IS STILL IMPORTANT.

The "rest" is what makes you "you."  Uniquely.

Don't go blind to the "rest" in order to hunt down your dream and hang it proudly on your wall.  Because when you do that, you miss the good stuff.  Or maybe you don't.  I don't know.

I do know this: my road is winding and often times cracked and hard to maneuver.  I can see all of these other roads around me, they seem so much easier and more carefree, and admittedly sometimes I feel a little envious...I absolutely do (because contrary to some belief, I'm human).

But that unique and challenging road of mine has indeed given me some remarkable gifts.  These gifts don't always make it easier to reach my goals (much like obtaining a smart phone, although great and a lot of fun, has not increased my productivity in any significant way...)

I don't know, I guess sometimes I realize that I've made my own bed, I've determined my life to this point based on the choices I've made, but it would be nice I guess, if someone else could relate to it.  To understand what it would feel like if just leaping and risking a big fall was sort of impossible.

To feel what it was like to have to scale the mountain instead of just bounding over it without fear or hesitation.

And at times, I wish I understood the freedom in what they get to experience by not having to be so cautious.  By not worrying about the "rest."

Actually, I do.  I just haven't experienced it in about 12 years.

But I wouldn't change it for the world.

What I would like to change are these quotes.  Maybe add one or two to the boundless lot that accommodate those of us wearing a safety harness for obvious reasons.  I mean, can a woman (or a man) get a:

"Follow your dreams, never give up, you can do whatever it is you set your  mind to, do what you LOVE...

...but also, fold the laundry, thaw the chicken for dinner, and hug your kid extra tight might take a bit longer, but you'll get there...eventually.  It's totally okay if you can't just leap.
Because remember:  without your baby steps, you'd have never even hit your strides."
 But I will still always appreciate all of those inspirational quotes my friends post, whether they apply fully or not.  Because just the idea of staying positive is an awesome thing.   And there's nothing wrong with that.

Plus, they're great, awesome, inspiring, talented, nice people...and I adore them.

On an unrelated note, thinking about this makes me very happy:

Heaven, apparently, is a freezer.

Look at this freezer.

And yes...that's an almost never-ending supply of different flavors of ice cream.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

"I'm wearing balloons and everyone's worried" or: "NYE 2011 - 2012"

It's a brand new year e'rybody!

I am a party.
I happened to ring it in with a gaggle of great friends, and although I think the wine and champagne *might* have gone to my head just a wee bit towards the end of the evening, I have to say, it was a pretty damn good NYE celebration.

I did partake in some NYE rituals: wearing pink underwear for luck (I've also heard red, which I used to do for years, but that never seemed to work out well.  So this year?  Pink.  With little red hearts.  Perfect.), and I even ate 12 grapes (although it was way after midnight and I only remember about 3 of the wishes I made...out of the for each grape.)

And of course, by the end of the night I was wearing a party hat, drinking out of a champagne bottle and covered in balloons.  True Tiff fashion.

I don't really have any expectations for the new year.  In my 31 years I've discovered it's always best to stay in the moment instead of trying to plan out every single detail.  I mean, of course I have hopes and dreams and goals, but I'm flexible, I guess.

I rather enjoy the unexpected detours, especially when they take me somewhere great that I wouldn't have otherwise discovered if I'd followed my plans to a T.

I would like to start a diary though.  I mean a hand-written, private diary. I still have my diary from my freshman year of high school, which is hilarious. It's a testament to my survival of my teens and a reminder that things tend to work out precisely as they should, whether you planned them or not.  Usually "or not."

I do realize that my priorities have started shifting a bit, though.  It's weird.  And I don't know if it's because it's a new year or because I'm in my thirties.  I guess I've started reevaluating a lot of things, or actually it might be that I've stopped fearing some of the things that had until recently scared the ever-loving bejeebus out of me.  More on that later perhaps?

And no, I don't have any resolutions to quit smoking or lose weight.  The only real resolution I have is to be grateful for each day I have, for each single moment I'm a part of.  And it is with high hopes that this attitude will make 2012 a beautiful year, full of happiness and abundance.

This is my hope for all of you as well.

I also just won a game of Words with Friends against Mr. J.  Things are definitely looking good for 2012.