Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Keeping Promises

The phrase, best laid plans, as I have used it, has always related to my life plans and goals, and how oftentimes the planning was for naught. But I'd like to invite another way to use this phrase, and that is how it relates to promises I've made. Like many of you, I try to keep the promises I make. I'm no angel by any means but I try to keep my word. About a month ago, my friend Jessica told me that she and our friend Mary had made a pact to read War and Peace, and I don't know if I was wearing my Julie-Joiner hat or something, but I pretty much immediately jumped on board. I too promised to read this 1,215 paged book. Almost instantaneously, I wondered what the hell I was thinking. First of all, I am a slow reader, and second of all, it's freaking War and Peace. I could almost see the words as they floated out of my mouth and into Jessica's ears. I should have grabbed them and plucked them back into my head and used them for later promises - like the ones that involve a glass of wine or the new Charlaine Harris book. But no, a promise is a promise. It's true that neither Jessica or Mary would have put up any kind of argument if I had backed out, but who wants to be that person? Why back out when I can complain in a blog instead?

Team War and Peace began climbing this mountain over a month ago and I've proven only to be the bench warmer. I have yet to crack it open. Somewhere between my promise to read this verbal Everest and actually purchasing the book, I began reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and became enthralled (along with the rest of America). But, because I'm such a slow reader, I've only just finished it. Now Jessica's in the 800's, Mary's almost in the 500's and I'm still trying to get through the title page.

So I guess my best laid plans realization here is that planning to keep a promise, and actually keeping it, at some point, have to merge. And I am currently at the meeting point.

So if you see a girl on the subway who looks like she's reading a rectangular-shaped boulder, that's just me hunkering down to process the 1,215 very, very small typed pages of Tolstoy's classic novel.

See you in a year!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Walking Tall

Recently, my friend and fellow writer/blogger, Melissa Braverman wrote about our Girls' Night Dinner at Fig and Olive. At the risk of seeming like I'm in some blogging competition with Melissa, reading her entry about some of what we discussed that night, made me want to blog about it as well. Calm down, I'm not about to embark on some blogging girl fight here, I just found that our discussion that evening lingered with me as much as it did with her. As she mentions in her entry, we talked about her recent dating experiences and the "innocent" comments some of her dates have offered her about Single Gal NYC. Melissa is correct, anyone, including the men she goes out with, have the right to discuss a public blog, but her reaction of downplaying her work was strikingly familiar to me. I, too, often play down my work - projects that I've thrown so much energy and love into – I’ve found I barely, if ever, mention. I wonder - is this a woman thing? Are we so afraid of walking tall with what we create all on our own? Is it politeness that keeps us from sounding off (if even considerately) when a date knocks what we do down a notch? I used to think that I was just avoiding being seen as the stereotypical ego-laden performer/writer. But I think it may be more than that.

I remain steadfast in my advice to Melissa. Life, work and all the rest are too draining by themselves without a potential boyfriend further sapping our chosen pursuits. I just wonder why the instinct to accept being smaller is there? I remember how difficult it was for me to tell my boyfriend, Brian, that I actually wanted him to read or watch some of my work. He had expressed interest in my projects previously, but I tended to brush it off. Then I realized, as important as my projects are to me, why would I ever want him to be cut off from that section of my life? I'm not saying I forced a Julie-Project-Marathon on him, but I finally admitted that I did want him to watch some of my work, or read my blog, or check out something I had edited.

My assignment to myself (bummer...school work on a Friday), is to take my own advice. I shall walk a little taller. No. A lot taller. So tall, my 5’1” self might just be able to reach the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets.

I’m betting the view is nice up there.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Relationship Confessions

I have two confessions.

1. I am in a relationship.

As much as this blog has been an open forum for me to write about the trials of seeing beyond heartbreak and the challenges of ending a marriage, I've avoided getting into specifics about budding romances. The reason has less to do with my own personal shame (let's face it, I have very little). It has more to do with being uncomfortable about thrusting some dude into being a character in my writing. For me, Best Laid Plans is about my own experiences with life changing events, so I never felt it was necessary to write about anyone else but me. Until now. My guy's name is Brian and he's very nice and I'm very happy and all of those good things. He's been such a positive aspect of my life these past few months that I feel like I have no choice but to talk about it.

Which brings me to my second confession:

2. I think my dog likes him more than she likes me and it's freaking me out.

Anybody who's read this blog previously likely knows about my obsession and love for my mutt, Dyna. She's been my own version of a therapy dog and if I ever had to give a speech akin to an Oscars shout-out, I'd likely throw her name in the list of thank you's between my parents' and my sister's.

When Brian first came into my life, Dyna was initially a bit suspicious, she wondered who this dude was who was taking my attention away. She'd whine. She'd get between us on the couch. She'd make her presence known. She was never aggressive, but she definitely let him know that she and I were a team. However, since Dyna's go-to emotion is love she was quick to see that he was a good guy and they became fast friends. I was thrilled. As some of you may know, I'd had concerns about meeting someone who wasn't very understanding about how important she was to me. I'd even written about it here: Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. The fact that they got along was awesome. He was amazing with her and she took to him like frosting on a cake.

Recently though, something seems to have shifted for her. Acceptance of Brian transitioned into a crush and now into complete adoration. I know I should be thrilled, but the other day we walked in together and she greeted him BEFORE me. Traitor! One night, she didn't want to leave for her walk until he came along. Deserter! Now, twisted into my happiness that they get on swimmingly is (aghast) jealousy! Finally, the other night, I confessed my feelings to Brian. And while he told me there was no way that she had more affection for him, dare I say I sensed a twinkle in his eye! I guess I felt like, after these past three years, my bond with Dyna was mutual. That if she barked out an Oscars speech of her own, I'd be right there in her thank you's. I suppose it's a small concession to make - to accept that my dog's heart can be big enough to fit both of us. I was just surprised at how quickly she's made room. Then again, I guess dog owner and dog think alike.

So there it is, I'm in a relationship. And so is my dog.