Wednesday, June 27, 2012

And, so you're a photographer?

I've had some interesting train rides lately. To define interesting, of two trains I've taken over the past three weeks, each has been delayed at least 80 minutes (while I've been on board).  And, my neighbor has now declared that she will never take a train with me. Each ride, I've been on the fortunate train - as we were the train behind (rather than the train with) faulty brakes or some other malfunction.

On last week's train, I met a writer. "Are you a writer?" I asked (about 90 minutes in). "How did you know?" he responded. Actually, it's a bit of a moment of pride for me. I feel as though it's not uncommon for someone to recognize someone else in their industry by their attire, or carriage, or hands or industry journals... Not that I was being uncomfortably or disrespectfully snoopy, but I glanced to my right, and saw the man next to me on his laptop had open a document with a byline at top center and a high word-count at the document's upper right. My feeling was that he was a writer and was thrilled to identify and meet someone in my new field of work.

I non-creepily answered that I had just thought he might be, and then I said, "Me too." "What do you write?" he asked. "Well, I'm a blogger, I write articles for a website called The Daily Muse, and I'd like to write a book- all kind of tied together by the fact that I want to write for women and employ storytelling and orality in my writing."

"....A blogger, and so you're a photographer? What do you take pictures of?"

"Well, my interest is writing, and I see photography as a whole 'nother discipline, which I have no training in, so my blog is just, you know, words."

"It's all text," adds the helpful train-rider across from me, nodding his understanding.

"Wow. A blog that's just text. I thought all blogs incorporated photos." (To clarify, his tone was not one of disapproval or aloofness, simply a hmm, that's interesting (interesting with a positive connotation)).

Is it revolutionary that all I aim to do on my blog is write? That I don't post photos? I can see where including photos could make a blog look more finished, more like a comprehensive website. And were I writing on certain topics, I could see accompanying photos being integral.

But the purpose of my blog is not to engage all of the senses per posts on recipes or fashion or decorating or even lifestyle. It's to share the same stories I would over a latte. To reflect on my experience, to laugh at the sometimes ridiculous events of the individual life that can also feel so universal. To practice my craft and to write for women (and anyone else who likes a good story).

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Staying In Touch With Girlfriends

We all have those things, those things we know we could do better. For me, it's picking up a phone and dialing. I can check email, find directions, tweet, and Facebook with the best of them, but somehow, actually calling my girlfriends slips through the cracks.

As such, it may seem preposterous that I just wrote a piece for secrets to staying in touch with long distance friends. (Sure, I have the moveaholic lifestyle, but how successful am I really at staying connected)?

June was somewhat anomalous and completely wonderful. I saw three friends I adore whom I haven't seen since my wedding, two since my April Birthday, two since a March dinner in the city, a cousin since Christmas, Skype calls with a friend in Geneva, family I have't seen since Birthday or wedding and on and on, and each lunch or dinner or coffee was the best. I left feeling really connected. So at first glance a great month, but kind of crappy friend who would go that long without being in close touch?

So thank goodness there is an 'on second thought' that follows 'at first glance' because I'm about to circle back to my article on successfully staying in touch. In each of these meetings, spoken or unspoken, we picked up right where we left off. While there is much to be said for chatting regularly (and I do want to get better at using the phone for calls!) my June is a testament to staying in touch less conventionally. We live in a busy time, and everyone I know is in a busy stage. So with all that said, here is the piece I wrote for The Daily Muse on secrets to staying in touch with long-distance friends.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Anniversaries

We celebrated our one year wedding anniversary June 10. Perhaps it would be helpful to define celebrating: we recognized that it was one year since we said "I Do"- one of us in Maine and one of us in New Jersey. We had cards for each other in our respective states, we spoke to each other over the phone first thing in the morning, and before we went to bed. We posted it on Facebook. And we agreed that once we're both in Maine and settled in July, we'd go somewhere for some delicious lobster something or other and, you guessed it, celebrate.

Our goal has been to go no more than three weeks without seeing each other (for which I am so thankful that Mac and his laid back self is able to withstand many more hours in the car without wanting to kick and scream and jump up and down, than I). When we were together on June 2, we went through the box with all of the cards we'd received for our wedding, and my dad's notes for his toast (as well as our guestbook, bien sur!). As a card person, I know there are different 'types' of cards per se - religious, long poems, short to the point, traditional, modern- but I feel like I always see the same eight or so at every store.

In very brief review, we so had many different and awesome cards! From a salt and pepper shaker (haha), to the traditional, to the sweet and heartfelt. And then of course came the notes inside- well wishes from all different perspectives and relations. We may not have frozen the top cupcake, but it was a great way to remember everyone who helped make our day so special.  I'll see Mac again Saturday and while it may not be our official anniversary, a reunion after three weeks and moving to live in the same apartment in the same state is quite sweet enough.

Finally, while we're on the subject of anniversaries, it was later in June one year ago, when I came out into the living room, laptop in hand, and declared to Mac I would start a blog. Per what I'd read, I had a list of topics to get me started, a concept, and finally a title: Grab A Latte. Here's to where it all started.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Transitions

Sunday was my two-year anniversary at my current job, and also the day I received my farewell gift. I began training my successor yesterday, and he will start full time next week. I have a farewell brunch with girlfriends in the city this weekend; lunches, dinner, drinks and likely a fundraiser in my hometown in less than two weeks; and a goodbye to Princeton party on the 29th- the night before we hop into the U-Haul and take the drive up to Maine. 

Certainly, we're not moving that far. But, we are most definitely transitioning. One of us has a new job and the other will be newly unemployed (I think whoever coined the term funemployment had an offer or a trust-fund or one too many cocktails in hand). New apartment. New landscape. New friends to make, to new community to build, new grocery store layout to learn, new dry-cleaners to find. Sell the car, switch the cable, cancel the PSE&G, donate, pack, tell everyone how much you appreciate them. Look uncertainty in the face and smile, because it's your first move to be with your husband. You signed up to be a coach's wife, even after you knew it meant more than long hours and tailgating. 

How do you "stay present" when your present is packing up the past two years, and transitioning everything around you into your future? How do continue to live your "normal" when it's losing its relevancy? Sure your apartment is the same apartment you've lived in since June 2010, but you're filling it with boxes. Your desk has to be cleaned out by Friday and next week you'll be at the intern desk training your successor. Your friends want to know how you feel about your next steps. 

I'm finding the best way to stay present is to embrace that my present is exploring questions of my future. I'd like to pursue my writing more deliberately, and when asked by a friend what I refuse to sacrifice for a career transition I said: "1. my marriage (and after some thinking) 2. my sanity" (yes, in that order). 

So to me, transitioning means packing, planning, and making sure my primary focus remains on my relationships and my truest (and happiest) self - aided by a healthy dose of phone calls, visits, yoga and lattes.