My Life of What Ifs

Friday, November 20, 2009

More words

I swear sometimes the voices really are talking to me!

Magnificent quotes keep popping up all around me and I can't help but share. This one is from the Real Simple thought of the day email that I receive and again it speaks to me about my year, remembering my dreams, and following my heart. Happy Friday.

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”Fred Savage as Kevin Arnold in The Wonder Years


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Music Memory... Thursday?

OK, so Monday came and left. But I have had a crazy week! Board meetings! Hours in the flower shop! Single parenthood! Yeah, yeah, yeah, he comes home tomorrow night and I am really glad. The Swanngirlz have missed their personal Grizzly Adams!

So before I head off into another day of insanity here is another music memory from my JamsBio collection.

My First Concert

During the summer of 1986 I attended my first concert. It was Starship with The Outfield at the Jackson County Fair. My friends and I thought we had finally arrived. Dropped off at the fair to attend a concert with no parental units in sight.

Starship was in the midst of their 80's resurgence. They had dropped the Jefferson and had found renewed popularity with "We Built This City" and "Sara". We knew every song they played and our parents were thrilled to let us go see a group from their era. But we were much more excited about The Outfield. Play Deep was great and we all loved "Your Love". We couldn't have moved more as we stood on our metal folding chairs on the dirt track of the fairgrounds, and when it was all over all of our voices were muted by our ringing, now damaged, eardrums.

This song has maintained it's momentum through the years, largely in part to an everlasting interest in 80's music, so it's not uncommon to hear the song quite a bit on our local "Shuffle" station. Every time I hear it I have to tell whoever is with me "This was my first concert! Starship and The Outfield at the Jackson County Fair! Rahhhh" and I still have great photos of their bass player in his muscle t-shirt. Ahh, good times.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What if the past had stayed the past?

Have you ever had a year where you had constant trips down memory lane? I'm sure facebook is the main reason for this phenomena but I am still amazed by the number of people I have encountered in the last twelve months who I never, ever, thought I would see again.

If you have not experienced this I recommend getting a job as a reporter for your hometown newspaper. It's insane who you will run into.


Friday, November 13, 2009

November 13

I have been waiting a whole year to write this post, and yet, here I sit at 9 p.m. just getting started.

All year long I have had ideas of what I might write on this day. I have had dreams about what I might list as my accomplishments and what I still planned to do. But it's funny, I almost don't feel like any of that is really important.

One year ago on November 13, 2008 I walked out of my office, and away from my career in advertising and never looked back. Seriously. I haven't even been back to visit. The week before I left, the company I worked for laid off two hundred or so employees and I found out that if I hadn't given notice I was going to be outsourced anyway. Ironically, one year later the same week, that same company announced that they will close their doors at the end of January because their only client is partnering with other advertising agencies. (OK, you twisted my arm, the client is Chrysler.)

I have mentioned on many occasions that this time of year is significant for me. I have had several life altering events occur in the month of November. When I was 22 my Grandpa fell ill in November and died on December 1st. I have had other traumas during this time as well, some devastating for me, and others where my actions have devastated others. I ended a twelve year career in advertising in November.

This year, during my week of reflection and the one year anniversary of the biggest risk of my life, we put our 16 year old Lab C.J. to sleep and I saw my girls cry for a dog that has been around for their entire lives. I saw the exhaustion in my husbands face after taking C.J. to the vet and then burying him in our yard at 10 p.m. all the night before leaving for his annual hunting trip.

Cory left Thursday night and I have that empty feeling that I feel every year when he leaves for the Upper Peninsula. My Grandpa got sick when Cory was up north, our life together has been in shambles while Cory was up north, and honestly I had a strong fear that C.J. would finally "go" when Cory was up north.

So much has happened in November that I now associate with this trip that I have spent the first 24 hours feeling out of sorts. I go through the motions, I take care of my girls, but in the back of my head there is something nagging me, and it has no name, no face, no exact anything, it just hangs there. The trip. The dog. I used to work full time?

I can't say my career is where I thought it would be a year later, because I had no idea. I didn't know I would be freelancing for my hometown newspaper, or doing writing of any sort. I didn't know I would have a part time job in retail that I truly love. I didn't realize how many people would tell me (this week alone) that the all mighty dollar has nothing on happiness and spending quality time with family and feeling passionate about what you do each day. I had no idea how much lower my stress level would be, and I had no idea how much I would miss that dog.

Speaking of missing people, I miss many of my old co-workers. I miss some dear friends who I have not hung out with in so long. There are others I miss as well. Still.

Life has it's up and downs. It has it's right turns and wrongs. I truly believe I have no regrets, but I will always wonder what if. I made the right decision one year ago when I left my career for myself. I still don't have all the answers, and I feel like I have even less time, but I'm OK with all of that. It's all about the process. My process. And it's all about being happy because you deserve to be.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Music Memory Monday

I know, I know. Blog more than on Mondays! I am trying! Really, I am. I will have a few more posts coming up today and this week, including another giveaway, whoo hoo!

But in the meantime, enjoy this music memory from my JamsBio collection, and the 80's.

Growing up my best friend Jen and I were inseparable. We did all the things 13 year old girls do including spending endless hours talking about who we were going to marry. She had dibs on John Taylor from Duran Duran, and I (it pains me to even type this out) had dibs on Kirk Cameron.

In the summer of 1985 when I was 13 and she was 14 we decided to write the story of our lives. It would take place in Los Angeles where she was a model dating John and I was an actress dating Kirk. We wrote endless chapters and decided that we needed to record our story on tape complete with music. So we would each read our respective chapters while the other would operate another tape recorder with background music. I chose "Still in your Heart" for one pivotal scene, which looking back was odd because as a John Taylor lover, Jen would not allow anyone else to love his music, Duran Duran or Power Station. But I guess she decided to let one slide.

I still get flutters of excitement when I hear this song. It pops up on my iPod occasionally. We thought we were so cool writing this book and recording it. Part of us probably really thought it would happen.

The night you met it was a magic start...
I've always wondered what happened to that notebook with our dreams written down in it, what fun it would be to read it today.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What if words

I like words. I like lyrics and awesome quotes. When I read something that resonates with me I write it down, and as a result of that documentation I have notebooks of lyrics, and writers notebooks filled with quotes.

I like to share these profound writings with people and that is why I have a sidebar section called "What If Words". Sometimes if the words are lyrics to a song then I may link to the video, anything I can do to share why I find it meaningful.

Recently I was perusing a copy of Book Page, a newspaper of book reviews that you can find for free at your local library, or online. The October issue features an interview with Mitch Albom, Detroit sportswriter and author of inspirational novels Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson, The Five People You Meet in Heaven, and his newest release Have a Little Faith: A True Story, about his eight year journey drafting a eulogy for his childhood rabbi.

Have a Little Faith: A True Storywas eight years in the making, but Albom felt the timing for it's message is perfect. Albom said, "When times get tough and money disappears and people get fired and the things you assumed were going to be there forever are not there, you start to drift back to something you once had and you wonder why you let it go in the first place."

Wow. I have spent the last year wondering many things, including why I left writing and journalism all those years ago. How I fell into the rut of paying talent and many years of work that left me drained and uninspired. How it took the biggest leap of faith to drift back to it and expose myself to failure and criticism for my decisions.

" start to drift back to something you once had and you wonder why you let it go in the first place..."

Of course this "drifting" can also lead you to places you shouldn't go as well. Maybe that's the beauty of what if words- it's all up to interpretation. Kind of like a daily horoscope. What one may interpret as positive may spell disaster for another.

Anyway, short story long, I liked this quote from Mitch Albom. It "spoke" to me as words so often do, and that is why I write and why I feature other people's writing on my sidebar. Hopefully you can find words that inspire you everywhere you look as well.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Music Memory Monday (almost)

This post from JamsBio is especially significant for me because it was part of a contest associated with the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's Thriller album. I entered with a vivid memory of my twelfth birthday party and low and behold I won second place. That $250 prize helped me believe in writing as a career, or at the very least as a step above a hobby or a pipe dream. It was some validation for my work and one more step in my "process".

Another step in that process is on it's way. I am 10 days from my one year anniversary and so much has changed. But when I wrote this music memory 18 months ago, I had no idea. I had no idea that Michael Jackson would be dead a little over a year later and I had no idea the growing I would do in that time. But I have grown, and it's been thrilling.

Patience, Perseverance & Birthday Cake

When Michael Jackson's album Thriller came out in 1983 it was a hit with everyone. The songs caught everyone’s attention and the videos were unlike anything anyone had ever seen. That fact was never more apparent than with the release of the video for the title song.

Life was different in 1983. The internet didn't exist and that meant you couldn't Google "Thriller" and watch the video on YouTube whenever you felt the need. As far as I knew the only way to catch it after the world premiere was to tune into MTV and watch. Endlessly. Or at least as long as your parents would allow.

In April of 1984 I celebrated my 12th birthday and was lucky enough to have a slumber party with about 6 of my closest friends. At that point the Thriller video had been out about 4 months and it was still as popular as ever. My friends and I all had posters of Michael Jackson in our rooms and some of our guy friends had even finagled the "jacket" from their parents, but the video, was the most attainable. That evening we made our beds on our living room floor, lined up our Cabbage Patch Kids, and turned on MTV. We waited and prayed that the video would come on. Eventually it did.

Being me, I had wanted to write a letter to MTV begging and pleading for them to play it that night. I'm not sure why I didn't, or maybe I did but it never found its way to the mail. But after hours of being pre-teen girls and making someone watch the TV at all times we were rewarded. I don't remember if it was part of a countdown or just random, but excitement spilled over that night at my house. As a group of 11 and 12 year olds, the Thriller video allowed us to do what we did best. Scream.

"It's so scary!"

"Did you see his eyes?!"

"The Zombies are dancing!!!"

"That laugh is so scary!!! AHHHHH!!!"

I have many memories associated with my 12th birthday party. We had a lip syncing contest (ala Puttin' on the Hits) and stayed up late. But Michael Jackson's Thriller and it's video will always remind me of that slumber party and that with patience and perseverance in the 80's, you would eventually see the video you wanted to see on MTV.

We have a winner!!!!!

The lucky winner of all you see here is...

First let me say that I had 25 comments on this post. That may not be a lot to some, but to me it was HUGE!!!! I hope all of you will continue to visit and tell your friends. There will be more opportunities like this one.

So, as you can see below I went to and asked for a number between 1 and 25.

And picked 23!!!!!!

Unfortunately my comments are not numbered. I will work on that for next time, however, it's not that hard to count to 23 so I did and below is the winning comment!!!!!

So Heidi, please email me your address etc. at swanngirlz at comcast dot net and I will notify Cheerios and MyBlogSpark so they can mail out your awesome prize pack!!!!!

Thanks so much everyone, this was a ton of fun!