Tuesday, March 1, 2016

At what point should we stop asking the hard questions?

I often joke around about the fact that when I was growing up, I had zero fear of heights, and excellent balance, but now I trip over things (like dust particles) and I'm not fond of wide escalators, much less step stools to reach the thing that I can't reach, because, five feet, two inches. Barely. I'm claiming a full two inches because well, I can. No one challenges me. You know, whipping out the measuring tape, yelling 'prove it!'.

The kind of balance that has been on my mind for the last few months has little to do with not falling, physically anyway. Falling in love is not included, because the euphoria one feels from that is nothing short of life-changing.

I'm talking about the scales we use in life to balance our hours, days, weeks....

While making a living is imperative, it's also extremely important to live outside the walls of the money-maker. One of my favorite movie quotes is from the modern-day version of Sabrina. She asks the oh-so-successful Linus Larrabee, an important question.

"I know you work in the real world, and you're very good at it. But that's work. Where do you live, Linus?"


As I'm sitting here writing this post, from my phone, because I absolutely cannot sit at that desk one more second of this day, I'm asking myself the same question. It's a hard one too, you would think I would be kind to myself and cut a little slack after a fourteen hour day of work. But at what point should we stop asking the hard questions?

I must be clear in saying that I am proud of my work and I am grateful I have it to do. I've never been one to go down the woe-is-me road, it's a rare occurrence. Receiving compensation for every hour spent working that surpasses the standard forty-hour work week, is a beautiful thing. But I also think it comes to a point where extra money falls into the not-worth-it category. If it gets to the point that there is little time to enjoy spending it on a fabulous day, doing your favorite things, the hard questions begin presenting themselves.

I'm noticing more and more, that there are days that run so close together that the week they produce is one, gigantic, blur. The questions in my mind are starting to become annoyingly nagging. Louder. Pesky.

Where do I live?

Sadly, to answer truthfully, I live 'mostly' inside my work. This is the acronym I've learned so well I could probably write a song about it. D.O.B. I wish I was talking about a shortened nickname for Dobby, the house-elf. (Come on, Harry Potter, stay with me). But I'm not. I'm talking about the 'Demands of Business'. Regardless of what we all do to earn a living, I'm confident with my thoughts about all of us knowing what D.O.B. means. We just do what needs to be done. If we're lucky, this need can be met in eight hours each day out of the five that are there for the taking. The week of work, where the bread and butter comes from. I've said before that the real living, the good stuff, is often packed into the remaining two days that are there for rest, and relaxation. Down time (my favorite).

It hasn't always been such a demanding schedule. It has an ebb and flow, and I know that my team members also know that ridiculously long work days don't last forever.

But man they sure are running long and close together right now.

The good news is, and there many facets to this, I have a job that I understand, mostly, that is challenging and rewarding at times. There is very little time for boredom or disinterest to set in.

I've just pulled out that scale I mention, and have noticed that it's not balanced well. Not always, and not forever, but right now. Hence, the writing of the thoughts after months of not doing so because, little time and mental space exists for such activity.

So really, friend, all of this really comes to me just checking in and telling you what's going on at Tiffany's.

'And this too shall pass...' I can hear my mom's voice saying this to me. She's right. It will.

So, if you too, are working demanding hours with little or no time to get outside and breathe in the fresh air, remember the scale. And try, with all of your being, to check the balance, and even it out if necessary. Go outside. Take a walk, clear your head, and notice the details, even the miniscule ones. Talk to friends, and really listen. Engage. But enjoy the silence too. Pet the puppy your neighbor just brought home. Have coffee at Starbucks or your place of choice. Sit in the sunshine. Turn the music up, and dance it out. (I've recently adopted this phrase, love it). Travel. See the world we live in, including abroad. Have you been to the top of the Eiffel Tower? Have you stood underneath Big Ben as it's chiming on the hour? Neither of these are necessary, but I think you understand where I'm going with this.

Live. Outside of the confines of work.

So when you're asked the hard questions (and you may be the one asking) you will already know the answer.

See you soon friend,

P.S. Breakast at Tiffany's will have a Parisian feel to it tomorrow. I've just decided. Croissants and Cafe au lait it is! Oui?

This post is dedicated to Jeremy, who I know will always 'dance it out' with me.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Don't worry......be happy

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I love the easy, laid-back days of the end of the year. Even in the industry that I work in, it seems to slow down some, and I'm using "some" gently. It doesn't come to a complete halt by any means. Telecommunications is a rapid, fast-paced technology that can never really stop the train. But when it slows down.....and everyone breathes a little, I can almost physically feel the relaxed atmosphere take hold, which is a much needed feeling, believe me.
Whether you do New Years resolutions or don't give them a second thought, I think knowing that the calendar is about to flip to page one brings feelings of newness, infusing energy into our days.

As I take the holiday decorations down to put away until next time, (always after New Years, never before) I've often felt sad to do so, but also happy to begin again, in a brand new year. The "bring it on, let's do this!" feeling overrides any sort of melancholy thoughts I might have.

I think goal-setting is always a good thing, but I've also subscribed of late to the "don't worry, be happy" attitude. It's important to invest your time and care in the work you perform each day, these five-out-of-seven days that provide the means for the two-out-of-seven days where life, in my opinion, really gets good. So by all means, get out there and kick some butt, make things happen, proudly sign your name to everything you've worked hard on. And for the new projects coming your way, embrace!

But, try not to stress about these things. Easier said than done, right?

"In every life we have some trouble......But when you worry, you make it double"

I'm sure you've heard the mantra, "will this matter five years from now?", "will it matter tomorrow, even?"

Maybe the answer is yes to both. Or maybe not. The point is, relax. Take it one day at a time, and do your best along the way. Stressing is not going to help, it will only rob you of a decent nights sleep.

Take a walk outside, weather permitting. Add some physical activity to each day if you can, and please, check out yoga if possible, You don't have to go anywhere, this can be done right in your own home. Breathe, stretch, inhale, exhale....you get it. If you schedule time for you, amongst all of the 'I-have-to-get-this-done!' items, the year will begin, and continue, with great balance.

"Don't worry......be happy".....2016 may be our best year yet!

Wishing you the happiest of New Years friend, see you soon!

PS With all of this holiday baking and cooking and eating and celebrating, I think the time is near to go back to the basics for Breakfast at Tiffany's. Scrambled eggs and fresh fruit it is! Or, how about oatmeal!
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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Tell them now....

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Although every Christmas was special to us, there are a few that stand out in the eyes of my sisters and I.The Barbie townhouse, with an ELEVATOR y'all!, was the shining moment for me one year, and my sister, Melissa, got a speed buggy and a sit'n spin, that same year. We made ourselves sick on that thing, spinning round and round so fast that when we laughed, no sound came out due to the wind velocity we were creating. At least, that's how I remember it. Then one year,  there was the Holly Hobbie oven. I made a real cake! It was the size of a small round brownie but when you're eight  years old, it's the size of a Texas sheetcake. That year, Mom, er, I mean, Santa, put 3 different flavors of Freshen-up gum in our stockings; Spearmint, Peppermint and Cinnamon. Today, if I come across Freshen-Up gum anywhere, I immediately go back to that Christmas. Small things I know, but these are what memories are made of. Those tiny little details that you think you've forgotten, that appear the second you see, or hear something to jog the memory.

Now that I've grown up, well *mostly*, ahem, I can look back and appreciate the lengths my mom went to in order to make Christmas a special time of year. It always was, and I know it was because of her. I think it's important to tell our loved ones that we appreciate their efforts, and that we love them for everything they do. Tell them now. Don't wait to tell the story, or the feeling, years later. It's a free gift to give, and one they will treasure always.

I can remember Mom telling us stories about when she was growing up and what Christmas was like back then. My grandma had seven kids, unfortunately one passed away the day she was born. So mom grew up with three sisters and two brothers, can you imagine the mayhem on Christmas morning? I'm pretty sure all of my cousins know that when Grandpa was ready for his kids (my generation's parents) to come out of their bedrooms and begin the barrage of unwrapping everything that my grandparents probably just stayed up all night to wrap, he would put Bing Crosby's Jingle Bells on. When the kids heard that they knew it was "go" time. I think many of us today do this same ritual, because Pap did.
We called my Grandpa "Pap", I think maybe I couldn't say grandpa (?) , or maybe I just saw "Pap" when I looked at him, but once I called him that, he became Pap to everyone in our family. As you might surmise, my extended family is huge, so I claim what stories I can here and there. I have always felt lucky to be a part of such a large family. I love them so much.

I like hearing about what other families traditions are during the holidays, and also when they share memories from Christmas past. This is our makeup, or at least part of it. The good part hopefully, I know the holidays can be rough for some people, and I am always sorry to hear about that from friends, or even family. It's called The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams (and other artists)  sing this, with me often singing right along. Yes, I'm one of those. I love *most* holiday music, and if I know the words, or really, let's be frank, even if I don't, loud and proud I will sing along anyway. What I would say to anyone having a hard time during this time of year, is try and pick one good memory, just one, from this season and focus on that. Remember what's on the list of things you are grateful for,  and know that you're not alone. I see the spirit of peace on earth, goodwill toward men, more during this time of year, than any other month. I do wish it could be that we have this feeling all year long, but I think it's also one of the reasons why this time of year is special.

My family spent the last two weeks of 2014 in Florida. Because I wasn't home for the holidays then, there wasn't much decorating going on at my house. I believe I subconsciously decided to make up for that this year. If it's stationary and doesn't breathe on its own, it's wrapped in lights in some form or fashion. One Christmas tree was not enough, oh this won't do. I must decorate two, I thought to myself. Hours and hours later.......you can see my house from space. I know Clark Griswold would approve.

I'm not sure what is happening with this strange December weather, but yesterday was the Winter Solstice and at the time I write this, it's currently 75 degrees. I don't know whether to go to the pool or light a fire, or, well, both.

With the year winding down to a close, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. That clean slate, fresh new year feeling is just around the corner! But for now, if at all possible in this hustle and bustle world, slow down, and relax a little. Enjoy time spent with your family and friends, and hopefully those holiday traditions that have been with you for a long time.

Take good care of yourself friend,


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PS I was slightly mischevious when I was younger. A shocker I know. We lived in a 2 story house that had an attic door halfway up from the floor in the bedroom my mom would do sewing in. During the holidays, Mom would make cookies and fudge, all the good things, and often store them in containers, and place them just inside the door on a shelf in the attic, because there was plenty of room and it was very cool there. That IS why she did it, I am SURE it wasn't to hide them. I found the chocolate crinkle cookies one year (my favorite). And well, I may have snuck a few when she wasn't looking. Needless to say, she was very surprised when she went to get them to put together platters of goodies, and some were missing. You notice how I'm not saying how many were left, don't you? I'll be making these tomorrow, Christmas Eve at Tiffanys. It's just like Breakfast at Tiffany's, but even more festive. The recipe: https://www.hersheys.com/recipes/en_US/recipes/5592/cocoa-crinkle-cookies.html

Monday, December 7, 2015

If I disagree with you I will have trouble telling you, even if you ask.....

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"So tell me about you" he said, as he settled back comfortably in the chair.

"Tell you something, about MYself?" I thought immediately and was laughing. Internally.

Remember, I relate most everything someone says to me, to a movie quote. I can't help it, it's imbedded. My sister, Sara,  would get the quote immediately. But I often don't respond this way to people that I know may not understand. And what weirdness could it become, if I did. I mean, if they haven't seen the movie, they won't get it and then I'm labeled weird. (oh don't say it)

Tell you.....about me......you say. Or he said. Or asked.

Sometimes I cry during animated movies. If I like a song, I'll dance, regardless of where I am. I also sing out loud, I didn't say I do it well. I like traditions, and routine. But I don't mind if routine is interrupted. I'm not OCD, but I do prefer things to be put away. Mostly. I love how eucalyptus leaves smell. I can't wait to watch Rudolph and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and Charlie Brown Christmas.  I like phrases like 'the dude abides', and, 'silence is golden'. I love watching old black and white movies. Like It's A Wonderful Life, and The Shop Around the Corner. And To Kill A Mockingbird. I don't care what nationality you are, nor about your religion, if there is one, or your sexuality. I do care about your passion, and how you treat others. When I say, 'I don't care', what I mean is, I don't judge, nor discriminate based on these things. I am a heterosexual female that wants everyone to get what they deserve in life, including equality. I love people who share their art. I'd rather spend double on something a friend has created, then spend half on something that says "Made in China". This doesn't mean I'm slamming China. You know what I mean.  I love animals, but please, don't ask me to pet a tarantula. A snake? Fine. One little pat to the head. While wearing 3 pairs of rubber gloves, with a standing, 4 inch pane of glass in between us. I've tasted escargot in Paris, France, Poi in Hawaii, shrimp and grits in the south, slow-cooked brisket in Texas, beignets in NOLA, conch fritters in Florida, shepherds pie in London, and tomatoes straight from the vine in Missouri. All equally enjoyed, not only because of the way they tasted, (because they WERE fabulous) but partially because of the present company. I signed up for 'it is better to give, than receive'. I'm not competitive by nature, but I like playing. So don't pick me for your team if you're ruthless. Because I'm not. I cried when Dobby the house elf died. We can still be  friends even if you don't understand the previous statement. I like scary movies. But The Exorcist scared me half to death. If you relate floating, green balloons to Glenn, you get me. If you have no idea what I'm referring to, you may still get me. You just don't watch The Walking Dead. That's okay. I have an unrealistic addiction to coffee, Starbucks that is. I laugh at witty sarcasm, as long as it doesn't hurt anyone's feelings. I love Winter! and snow! and I love Fall too. I think I've developed an appreciation for all seasons and Summer took work given that I live in Texas. Fall is my favorite,but when there are twinkle lights all around and I see the first snowflake fall, I get so excited. I can talk your ear off, or stay silent when necessary. I love to read books, and I am pretty sure I'm addicted to the smell of a library. Or the pages of a perfectly-bound  book, even the old ones. Especially the old ones. If I disagree with you I will have trouble telling you, even if you ask. I won't lie, I'll just have trouble explaining. But I'll do that in the end. I won't agree just so I don't have to say, I disagree. I'll tell you the truth. I like Hello Kitty. No you do not have to be a child to say this out loud, I'll say it even when I'm 90 years old. I don't participate in political discussions in Social Media, I rarely participate in these discussions in the real world. When my cat, Penny, stares at the same spot on the wall or ceiling, it freaks me out. I always wonder what she's seeing that I can't. I love championing my friends and family when they've done something that might seem small to most, but to them it's a really big deal. Encouragement is key, I don't care what it is. Well, don't rob a bank, or anything illegal. But other than that, you have my support. I love quotes of any kind. Like "nothing gold can stay". I like sitting back and listening to kids talking and making each other laugh. Kids of ALL ages. Even the 70 year olds! I love it when people kick cancer right in the teeth and live to tell about it.I love football, college and NFL both. I love receiving texts from anyone, but I find myself extremely entertained when they're from my mom or dad. I don't know why. The LOL from them just makes me laugh. I feel that the scent of a real Christmas tree is unparalleled. When I might  feel down about myself, I don't stay there very long. I've learned the ropes. I can pull back up, pretty quickly. I think music.....makes the people..... come together. I like red wine. I also like grapes, which is where the wine comes from. So I guess I like beginnings and probably don't like endings as much. But damn, the middle.

That's where the good stuff is, Just taste an oreo.

I'd love to read your monologue about yourself, if you have one. And I know you do.

See you soon, friend.


PS, the movie quote is from Coal Miners Daughter. So if we were in Butcher Holler and I was hosting Breakfast at Tiffany's, I suppose we would be having flapjacks. And bacon. I'll add fresh fruit in there too!

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