Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Humility After The Storm

Because I am often on the road as part of my job, I knew I would experience some of the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in the New York Metro Area, even though I personally suffered no hardship due to it. On the day of the storm at my parents’ house, we had no Internet or cable, but that was nothing compared to people in neighboring towns who still have no power, or had their houses submerged by water from nearby rivers, lakes, and streams. Fallen trees and tree branches have also affected people who live in some neighboring towns throughout the area. I cancelled several appointments earlier this week due to continued flooding on the highways I would have had to take. I’m grateful I can work from home and get paid by the hour, even when I am not on the road, or else I would have felt the post-Hurricane Irene effects financially.

When I hear certain people who suffered few or no minor inconveniences this weekend and afterwards say that the storm “wasn’t a big deal,” or that they do not understand why there was so much attention on this particular weather event, I cringe. Just because I do not have to deal with floods, fallen trees, or power outages, does not mean that the storm does not matter to me. Of course, compared to the complete devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005, this recent storm in the East Coast was definitely not as bad. At the same time, the widespread effects of Hurricane (later Tropical Storm) Irene were widespread throughout the East Coast, and should not be dismissed by those who were lucky enough to not suffer from it directly. How will those same people dismissing this storm react if they are not as fortunate the next time around?

I never take an escape from any disaster (natural or otherwise) for granted. I am humbled, grateful, and know that my luck could run out at any time, and without warning.

What are your thoughts on the storm and its aftermath?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

New Surroundings

I've now been living in my new apartment and neighborhood for almost two months, and I am finally getting to a place where it feels like home.

Despite the fact that a few of my Queens friends still feel I betrayed them by moving to Brooklyn, they've joined me in getting to know the neighborhood. For example, one friend took the time to organize a Brooklyn bar crawl, insisting that it would be a great way to start that process. She was right, of course, as we walked, ate, and drank our way through Brooklyn neighborhoods. Going to Target First Saturdays at Brooklyn Museum was also a lot of fun. While I had been there before, this was my first trip there since moving here and it was great to have people stop at my apartment first, walk over, and then eat out at a local spot afterward.

I've spent significantly less time in my own apartment. Between having friends inconveniently located an hour or so away and not having air conditioning through one of the hottest summers ever, it often made more sense to stay out rather than to take the trip back home.

Well... at least that was the case before this past weekend when the threatening hurricane gave my roommates and I a chance to spend nearly 48 uninterrupted hours together, give or take a few hours for sleeping. We watched movies, talked about dates and relationships, and generally got to know each other a bit better while also cooking and making cocktails together. I still haven't taken advantage of my awesome backyard, but I'll be sure to do that before it gets chillier.

All in all, I think I'm doing a good job adapting to my new surroundings. How do you go about adjusting to a new place?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weathering the Storm

The would-be hurricane-turned-tropical-storm that hit the East coast this weekend blew by me without too much notice. Windowpane-rattling gusts, a bit of water leaking around my window frames, and the mild anxiety of what-if-it-all-gets-worse was the worst of it for me. I'm lucky.

Actually I'm extremely lucky that my "natural disaster" experiences in life have largely skewed toward fun as opposed to devastating. Growing up in the Midwest, we faced tornado warnings in the basement for a few nights every summer, which always felt like a fun adventure sleepover to me. I've survived a bunch of snowstorms in various parts of the country, tremored in two different earthquakes, and now I have a hurricane under my belt to top it off. I'm a believer in prepare-for-the-worst-but-hope-for-the-best, and this attitude has worked out very well for me over time. I like having stories to tell about unusual occurrences, but I'm not the type to go out looking for trouble when reason dictates that it's best to stay home.

This weekend I stocked up on water, canned goods, and more food than I can reliably eat in a three-day period, hunkered down with my favorite DVDs and hoped the power wouldn't go out. It didn't. I watched news coverage with my hurricane buddy (a.k.a. my brother, who evacuated to me from a low-lying part of the city) feeling nervous that we'd hear reports that his neighborhood flooded. It didn't.

I feel grateful that the worst of the storm didn't reach us, even while I feel deep sympathy for those who were most affected. I feel grateful that I got to spend some uninterrupted, no-real-choice-about-it time with someone who I don't get to see as often as I'd like. I'm grateful for the roof over my head and all the little comforts of home that I enjoy, even though I often find myself grumbling about what else I need, or how things could be better. All I know is, I successfully weathered Irene, like all the storms before her. I have no idea if my luck with such things will continue, because the future is unknowable, but for now I'm content to feel grateful for what I have: a home, a family, a well-stocked fridge and a world of blessings at my fingertips...because many are without these things today, and if that isn't enough to remind us what's important, maybe we will never really learn.

What are you grateful for, in the wake of your dance with Irene?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday Forum: New Dreams

We all grow up with dreams of what we want to be or do when we grow up, but what if we took a step back and came up with new ones?

If you started fresh right now, what would be your new dream?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Our Own Terms

CHICKS ROCK! welcomes Adelaide as a special guest blogger this week and next after letting us interview her before the launch of the book The Big Enough Company: Creating a business that works for you. This week, she writes about what inspired her to be an entrepreneur:

Adelaide Lancaster is an entrepreneur, speaker and co-founder of In Good Company Workplaces, a first-of-its-kind community, learning center and co-working space for women entrepreneurs in New York City. She lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband and daughter.

When it came time to graduate from my Masters program in Counseling Psychology I couldn’t find the kind of job that I was looking for. I wanted to be a career counselor for women who were deciding what direction to go professionally. Most of the positions available were in schools and there was very little counseling involved. The other larger organizations either required a lot of ancillary HR work or were working with more at-risk populations. So since I couldn’t find the job I wanted, I decided to create it! I started my own career counseling practice and consequently became an entrepreneur. I plunged myself completely into entrepreneurship, building my practice and learning everything I could about small business. My own exposure to entrepreneurship made me more interested in working with entrepreneurial clients. I got hooked and eventually morphed my whole practice into working with entrepreneurs who were starting and building businesses.

Before long we began to notice the negative impact isolation was having on our clients. Because most of them worked from home, they spent their days alone and were more unproductive, uninspired, and disconnected as a result. Plus too many of them battled to maintain a professional image while meeting clients in the local coffee shop. We decided to create a remedy: In Good Company, a community, learning center, and shared workspace designed specifically for women entrepreneurs. Four years later we support more than 300 businesses.

Two years ago we decided to shift our focus to another common entrepreneurial challenge: disenchantment. We had found that often entrepreneurs become more disenchanted as their company grows, very often because they made steep compromises on their own needs and goals. Convinced that entrepreneurial success is really about satisfaction, we decided to write The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business that Works for You. It pools our collective expertise as well as the stories of 100 entrepreneurs who demonstrate various ways to take advantage of the opportunity that entrepreneurship affords. It is our mission to help you work on your terms.

I love being an entrepreneur and love the opportunities it affords me. I have the ability to create work that is meaningful and rewarding on my own terms.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Expect the Unexpected

There are fewer things I can say I will or may never experience at home, where I have spent most of my life so far. When I experienced an earthquake tremor this Tuesday, I was in my Mother’s house in the attic, where I have spent thousands of insignificant moments in, and when the room shook for what seemed to be more than a minute, I began to look at the room and the house differently. It is still my Mother’s house of course, but now it is also a place where the unexpected can happen. It was a minor earthquake, and I am sure those on the West Coast and other parts of the world where earthquakes like the one I experienced the other day would shrug at it and move on. For those who have never experienced something like it and did for the first time, it was unsettling and just a little frightening. It is just another, very small reminder that none of us live in a cocoon, protected from what “other” people have to go through.

This became very clear to me twice in the last ten years. The first time was September 11, 2001, when the world as I and most people in this country knew it changed forever. Before that day, I had only heard of significant terrorist attacks happening in places like Israel, the Palestinian territory, India, and other countries where there were varying levels of political and social unrest. The USA appeared to be safe from it all, until that fateful day almost ten years ago. And then, when Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana, Alabama, and parts of Florida in 2005, my fellow Americans and I were horrified by the video footage and news reports of the utter devastation and prolonged suffering that the survivors endured in its aftermath.

These experiences make me realize how vulnerable we all are, no matter where we live, to natural and man-made disasters. It is a humbling experience, and not in a bad way either. It just makes me appreciate my good days even more.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Days, Summer Nights

The end of the summer isn't normally something I feel any particular way about. I'm sad that the carefree feeling that comes with the summer months will be gone, but I look forward to the fall and getting to spend time outside without being so uncomfortable. I guess it's because for me, summer isn't that different from the rest of the year the way it once was when we were in school. Aside from taking advantage of free events in the city, I don't do much in the summer I can't do at other times.

But this year, I've done some "summery" things I don't normally do and it's got me thinking about the end of summer. For starters, I actually went on vacation a couple of times, which isn't something I normally do and kickstarted the summer feeling. It also happened that I got a lot of sun this summer because I went to the pool and beach for the first time in years. I did some of my usual summer in the city activities like Shakespeare in the Park and outdoor movies in the park. All in all, it felt like I took advantage of what the summer is supposed to offer.

Now that it's almost over, I've made an end of summer wishlist. I want to squeeze in a few more things I may not be able to do as easily in the fall: shows with limited engagement, weekend trips I can extend with summer Fridays, etc. I suddenly understand what other people mean when they feel summer slipping by. 

Do you have anything on your end of summer wishlist?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Revisionist Reruns

I'm a bit of a t.v. junkie, I admit. I like my shows and there's nothing better for me at the end of the day than settling in all cozy with a blanket and a beverage and getting lost in someone else's made-up drama, or laughing along with a sitcom, or having my heart race with anticipation as the characters try to catch the bad guys, or get themselves out of whatever scrape they're in.

I'm a sucker for story, and good storytelling in any medium--books, movies, television--is always going to capture me. But television is often less story-based and more character- and situation-based. If I like the characters or relate to their situation, that is what captures my attention.

Different kinds of shows have captured my attention in different times of life. Today, through the magic of Netflix and Hulu and iTunes, I'm able to go back in time and watch shows that I missed the first time around. I've surprised myself lately by tuning into some shows that I glossed over or even disparaged when they were contemporary, but watching them now I find myself hooked.

My changing t.v. preferences seem to speak to how I've changed as a person. Workplace comedies were amusing to me as a teenager, but as I got older and entered the workforce, the humor of them changed because I had seen the real side of those environments. My favorite show ever, The West Wing, (which I've watched all the way through at least three times), I thought was "boring" and "political" when it debuted. I loved FRIENDS from the first time I watched it, and followed it all the way through high school, college and beyond. Every episode. I admired how grown-up and quirky and out-in-the-world they seemed, but once I was out there myself, none of the many similar shows that followed ever captured me in quite the same aspirational way.

It's fun to go back and watch reruns that are new to me, and to catch up with shows I used to enjoy and see how my perspective on them has changed. Beyond sheer entertainment, I learn something about myself in the process.

What t.v. shows do you love, and how have your tastes changed over time?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Forum: Bad Day

We all have days that start out less than perfect and seem to spiral down. Sometimes we're able to get a grip on things and have a positive approach, but sometimes that seems hopeless.

How do you handle a bad day? What usually lets you know that a bad day might be heading your way?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Change-Up

CHICKS ROCK! is happy to have Kristina back as a guest blogger this week.

Kristina Leonardi is the founder of The Women’s Mosaic. She is a career/life path consultant, speaker, seminar leader and expert in the areas of women, diversity and personal growth.

When things aren't quite going your way, it's easy to fall into the grass is always greener syndrome. But as the saying goes, before you judge a man (or covet his life), walk a mile in his shoes.
You don't have to turn back the clock, eat a magical fortune cookie, ride in a souped up DeLorean or relieve yourself in an enchanted fountain to discover your life and relationships are exactly as they should be, or get the kick in the butt to make them better.

The fact is our lives are the sum total of all the choices we've ever made up until this point - a combination unique unto ourselves, which means we have created the situation that on some level we've wanted or needed in order to learn and grow on this journey called life. 
So whatever your state of affairs, take full responsibility for it. The good news is that if you don't like it,  because you got yourself into it, you totally have the power to get out of it!    
A lot of my clients right now are at the point of no return - where there's no turning back or delaying the inevitable any longer. They've gotten to a place where the only thing to do is to go through - there is no way round, there is no way back - they need to make a change or take action in a certain direction because at this point there really is no other alternative, whether because of forced external realities or an internal malaise and dissatisfaction that they can no longer withstand.
Why changes haven't been made up to now is a more complicated and varied topic for another time; often it's a stronger sense of obligation to others and what they would want or would make them happy that prevents us from moving forward to the beat of our own drum. But contrary to Hollywood plots, we are the ones who have to live in our bodies, so it's up to us to do what needs to be done. It's time to go big or go home.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Silent Treatment

I really dislike the silent treatment. I am annoyed when people use it towards me, and I only do it if as a means of last resort when dealing with a difficult person. I understand when people have to take step back from one another at times, but when it is a recurring pattern, and it lasts months and even years, it can be absolutely frustrating, and sometimes heartbreaking. I have dealt with this in my family, and have had to learn to understand and come to terms with behavior I do not like.

When I have tried to talk to a certain someone, and that person acts like I am not there or responds in an aggressive manner, that is when I take a step back because of self-preservation. This person has always been a negative force in my life, but I have learned a lot from the extended silences and the times in between. One of the most important of these is how not to act when in conflict with someone else. While my other family members and I have to keep our physical and verbal distance from this particular person, I make sure to keep the lines of communication open with other people in my life, even if there is conflict. I don’t need to make anyone who does not like me to be “my best friend,” but I always believe in being civil and polite, even if the other person will not reciprocate. Of course if he or she is completely rude, I know I have to stand up for myself. I have learned to do so the hard way, but I think I do it pretty well when needed, and with class.

Bottom line, I just don’t think maintaining an angry silence within any relationship is a good thing. This is especially true if it keeps reoccurring; that means there is a major dysfunction that should be taken care of. If not, the cycle of silence continues.

Do you think the silent treatment works, or do you dislike it as much as I do?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Strangely Satisfying

When people find out I like to clean, they don't really get it. I suppose it's because they get an image in their head of me cleaning when I could be out at a friend's party or at a movie or show, but that's not usually the way it works. I generally like to keep things clean but when I really like to clean is when I want to spend a few hours alone with just the mess and music, or when I desperately need to de-stress and get back to some sort of equilibrium. 

The only thing that has a similar affect for me is baking. People don't really get that either, though, especially because it makes them think I'm secretly a domestic Susie Homemaker type. But there is just something about the process of both that I really love...

First there's the routine of it all. The same step-by-step process will make your dirty kitchen spotless every time and following a well-written recipe will give you a baked good you'll enjoy. Secondly, both require quite a bit of attention and patience, which helps center me when my mind is usually analyzing and over-thinking. And lastly, there is something incredibly satisfying about starting a task and knowing that in just a few hours you have a finished product you can really enjoy. With cleaning, you can literally see that all the effort was worth it when you go from a grimey surface to something you can eat off of. With baking, you do a lot of mixing and combining and meticulous measuring, then you get to stick it in the oven for a while and it comes out as something delicious. It's almost magical!

Ok, so maybe you still think I'm a little weird, but isn't there something slightly strange that you find satisfying?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Considering The Help

I went to see The Help this weekend, dragging my feet all the way. It's a film about a Southern white journalist in 1963 who bravely interviews black housekeepers in an effort to tell the truth about racism in Jackson, Mississippi. I felt resistant because I've followed some controversial articles critiquing the movie for being yet another pop-culture celebration of the (always fictional) white heroes of the civil rights movement.

To be honest, there's very little I can say about the movie that would redeem it from that particular criticism, but there were things I found enjoyable about it anyway. I was glad I chose to support it with my money, for these reasons:

1. It's a phenomenally strong female-driven cast. Men are a subplot in this film, and even then, only barely. As we know from the shocking-but-typical minimization of women in film, that's nothing short of miraculous for a Hollywood blockbuster.

2. Within the ensemble, there's an armload of black actresses who know how to bring it, each of whom got a chance to shine. Far from being minimized, their role in the film was stronger and treated with more respect than I expected.

3. Our spunky heroine enjoys having a man, but doesn't need one. (The movie doesn't need him either, frankly, but perhaps you can't fight Hollywood on too many fronts and still expect to be a blockbuster.)

Overall, I still didn't love the movie, but for unexpected reasons. Here's my problem: If you're going to make a film centered in the world of white housewives, be real about it. I think the film missed a major opportunity to show a more nuanced picture of the civil rights era from a white perspective. The evil housewives are one-dimensional caricatures; they don't seem like real women with struggles and motives and flaws. I would have enjoyed the movie more if it had taken me to the uncomfortable place of sympathizing with them, in all their racist ways, instead of merely mocking their small-mindedness. It's admittedly fun to mock them, but the few real glimpses of their perspective skewed melodramatic, and I felt let down by the way the film turned some very insidious issues toward comedy. Like what it really would have meant for a black woman to defy a white woman in some of the ways the characters do. It didn't feel like a movie set in the 1960s, it felt like a movie made today about the 1960s, and as such it may please the crowd but it fails to tell the truth.

That said, this movie's going to be a blockbuster, and with cause. There's some great stuff in it, and it's definitely worth a look.

So.....go see it, and tell me what you think.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Friday Forum: Quick Escape

The end of the summer is getting closer by the minute, and people are still trying to get their last bit of vacation time in before it ends. Of course, if you can't travel, it's always fun to pretend, so tell us: where would you travel to right now if you could go anywhere in the world for a quick escape?

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Every so often, we like to switch things up and bring the attention back to you. Today is one of those days and we want you to tell us what you want to see more of and less of here on CHICKS ROCK! We write a lot but sometimes we want to know if you're connecting with it or if there's something we can do better. So have at it in the comments, and remember you can always make it anonymous.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Kindness of Strangers

Sometimes I find that inconsiderate behavior is often the norm rather than the exception when I am driving, in a crowd, and/or in other public areas. I often hold the door open for those in front or behind me; sometimes they say thank you or nothing at all. There are times when people hold doors open for me, and I always say thank you; formulating those two words is not a struggle for me, as it can be for others. Perhaps it was the way I was raised or just that I always make an effort to show gratitude to those who show me kindnesses, and to reciprocate whenever I can. I know that I can never take the kindness of strangers for granted. It always catches me off guard, and in a good way.

I was on line to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York last week, and was convinced that I would not get a chance to get in to see it before the museum closed. I anticipated the worst when I saw a line that was almost a city block long in front of the building. I discovered another entrance and a shorter line that the museum employees had opened, and struck up a conversation with a man who had a museum pass from his company. I got into the building in less than ten minutes instead of the hour I was expecting to wait, and as I got ready to pay my admission fee on the next line I was on, the same man offered to use museum pass to get me in for free. I was really grateful to him, and he went his own way after I shook his hand and rushed to join my friend who was waiting for me on another line to see the exhibit. It was a kindness I made sure he knew I appreciated before we parted ways, never to see each other again.

Have you ever been surprised by the kindness of strangers?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Switch Em Up Style

The summer has been very hectic for me, especially with moving and starting a new job within a week of each other. I've now been in my new apartment for just over a month and at my new job just under a month, but I'm still trying to get used to both. The apartment end doesn't need much of an update, but I'm struggling just a bit on the job front.

It's not that things aren't going well; they're actually going splendidly in terms of my actual work, the people I'm meeting, and the compliments I've been getting about my performance. What I'm struggling with is something that seems small but is starting to cause a bit of anxiety: fashion.

Yes, my clothes, makeup, hair, and shoes are constantly on my mind now that I work in "corporate America." I straighten my hair at least once a week now and feel strange when I don't have time and it's a poofy mess of curls. I try to wear makeup every day (something I've never even come close to doing before), but have been failing somewhat miserably so far because I constantly forget until I'm in the office. I wear dresses almost every day because I haven't gotten pants that fit, and I wear cardigans or blazers to cover my tattoos. I switch back and forth between (somewhat dingy) flats and the heels I bought a while back that I never thought I'd wear regularly. 

The problem is I haven't quite figured out how I'm supposed to dress. I look at my colleagues and try to see what their outfits have in common, which isn't usually much other than not wearing jeans. Every morning is the same game of questions: is this skirt too short? Does this actually match? Am I showing too much skin?

I'm hoping I get the hang of it soon and can stop worrying about something I care as little about as fashion. Though now that I say it, maybe that's the source of the problem...

Have you ever needed to worry about switching up your style? How did it go?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Poems and Promises

I've been thinking lately about a series of poetic phrases like roads diverging in a wood (Frost), and what really does happen to a dream deferred (Hughes), and basically all the things creative people try to say with poetry because it can't really be expressed any other way.

I'm thinking about this because sometimes, like today, I get the desire to sit down and write something brief and meaningful and expressive and lasting--which is exactly the way I'd describe the poetry I most enjoy. Sometimes I want to break from the forms that I'm used to--novels, essays, blog posts--and attempt something bite-sized, based on a feeling or idea that doesn't need to be explored in the course of three hundred pages, or maybe even three hundred words.

But I'm not a poet, strictly speaking. I've written the odd poem, sure, as I suspect most people have at some point. Let's say, then, that "Poet" is a label I'm uncomfortable with, because my relationship with poetry (both as reader and writer) is awkward at best, and not something I really aspire to improve.

Every other year or so, I promise myself I'm going to try harder with poetry, reading more of it, writing more of it, and being more open to it in general. These efforts are always short-lived, but I suppose I do dabble successfully. So, should I call myself a poet? When do you cross the line between having done something, and allowing it to become part of what defines you?

Given my current mood, I think I'll try calling myself a poet...but probably only for today.

Do you enjoy reading or writing poetry?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Friday Forum: Back on Track

We all start out projects, weeks at work, or other tasks with the best of intentions. Inevitably, some of them will end up getting much less than your full attention. Maybe you've procrastinated, maybe you're waiting on somebody else, maybe you got overwhelmed or simply forgot something.

What do you do when this happens to you? What's usually the reason and what do you do to get back on track?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Are You Waiting For?

It's been some time since we featured one of your guest posts, so it's time for another reminder. 

You don't need to be a writer or editor to submit a great guest post, you just need to tell your story in a way that's honest and authentic. Topics can range from careers to relationships to pop culture, all that we ask is that you take a look at our guidelines or some past posts before submitting.

What are you waiting for? Write down your thoughts or experiences and send your post over!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Performance Gene

I definitely did not inherit the performance gene in my family. I have cousins who sing and dance so well that I find it hard to believe that we are related sometimes. While my childhood was isolated, they had (and continue to have) exposure to many people within their cultural and religious worlds. Part of me is glad not to have the pressures to fit in with a community that can be extremely judgmental, but another part of me knows that the experience of performance and exposure to a variety of people at a young age can be beneficial to social development.

I saw the benefits of having the performance gene recently with one of my cousins as she danced to a packed, inadequately air conditioned theater. She had the usual jitters associated with performing live in front of family and friends, but she held herself with such poise as the theater remained hot. It wasn’t so bad for me, because the ceilings were quite high and I remained seated with everyone else as I fanned myself constantly. My cousin had the stamina and the discipline to perform dance after dance, and make it look effortless.

My cousin is trained in the classic dance from of Bharatanatyam, which originates in Southern India, which she has been part of it since she was five years old. The dance recital, or Arangettam as it is called in my parents’ native language, usually takes place after years of training with a dance guru; it is like a final exam and graduation all in one. I was completely ignorant of this aspect of the classical Indian dance world my cousin has been in until the day of her Arangettam, when I saw her hard work pay off before my eyes. I am not sure I would have had the discipline and passion she has for dance, even if I had the opportunity to take classes as a child.

Do you have the performance gene? If so, do you think it gives you an advantage over those who do not?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Double Booked

As you all know, I would be lost without my calendar. I sync my work calendar to it, keep track of birthdays and special events, and every dinner, drinks, museum, or other type of social interaction that I've been invited to and accepted. The goal is to avoid double booking: agreeing to go somewhere and then realizing you already had something else going on. Sadly, it can't always be avoided.

If you take a look at my schedule for this Saturday, you'll see a birthday party, sorority meeting, friend coming into town, friend coming over to visit my new place, and laundry list of errands I haven't found time to get done (something tells me that's not happening this weekend). It's also Target First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum, which I've been looking forward to all summer but was out of town for. My day is essentially made up of things I really want to do and things I agreed to and feel I can't back out of.

The other day when I was hanging out with a friend, I explained how I had to squeeze him in and went through this week's schedule with him. When I was done, he merely said "But why can't you just cancel with people?" It's not the first time somebody has said that to me, but it was the first time it really resonated with me. He was right: most of my friends know how hectic things are for me and will appreciate any time I have to give them, but understand if I have to cancel so I can rest at home instead. The ones who don't get it or who complain that it's "just" an hour or two might not be worth it anyway.

So I'm turning over a new leaf, starting by clearing up some of my Saturday.

Do you feel bad about canceling plans? How do you manage to not double book?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Big Screen Withdrawal

You know those annoying pop-up surveys that sometimes come up when you're browsing online? Not the spam ones that you automatically close, but the briefer, official ones that are designed as market research for the company whose website you're surfing. I recently completed a fairly detailed one on the entertainment industry.*

(*SIDEBAR: Most people probably click past these, too, but I'm a geek for this sort of thing. Back in school, I was the kind of dork who looked forward to standardized testing days, because it meant I got to fill in all those little bubbles on the paper. Ahem.)

This survey started by asking how often I go to the movie theater, and it gave options ranging from once or twice a year to two or three per week. I automatically clicked the most frequent option....then realized I haven't been to a movie in over a month. In fact, there have been several months over the past year when I haven't been to even one movie.

The realization actually shocked me, because I used to go to movies ALL THE TIME. At least one per weekend, if not two or three, if several new releases seemed interesting enough. I've just been so busy with work and travel lately, and the friends I tend to see movies with have been, too. I've missed seeing some things I was looking forward to, and I suspect much more has gone by without my notice.

I can't decide whether to celebrate this shift, for all the reasons that it means I'm out in the world having adventures, or to mourn the fact that a pastime I truly loved seems to have fallen by the wayside.

Have you discovered any changed habits lately, for better or worse?

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