Chasing Inspiration

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Some days I wonder just how good I am at setting boundaries. I think I communicate my needs and wants and what the boarders of my personal time and space are. Or how far I'm willing to commit. I think I'm well versed on creating agreements and negotiating with the needs/wants of others. Most of the time, I do fairly well. Agreements are created. Needs are preserved, if stretched a bit. And life moves forward in partnership.

Then days like today occur. Days where I throw my hands in the air and question my communication skills or my ability to make my desires, wants and needs known. I can set some boundaries within the work place. I can negotiate boundaries at home and with friends. But at the end of the day, both parties need to agree to follow through on the agreement to work within those boundaries or it just won't work. Today was one of those days where a personal boundary was crossed. And it totally threw me.

Why are boundaries so hard to maintain? Is it because we're not clear on how we define them? Is it because we focus on our own boundaries without regard to what other people truly need? Is it because it's culturally unacceptable for me, a woman, to have boundaries? Is it because I don't hold up my own boundaries?

In this case, I think it's a combination of a few of these, and I want to focus on what I can control - being consistent with my own boundaries. I can say no, set parameters or make agreements all I want, but I don't follow through and hold up my own boundary, why should I expect anyone else to respect my boundaries either? I can't go around asking people to do as I say and not as I do. Life doesn't work that way. If we are inconsistent, people will follow our examples rather than our words.

Upon reflection, I realize I haven't been consistent with expressing this particular need/boundary or with sticking to it. I've caved a lot in the past. Sometimes to keep the peace. Sometimes out of guilt or a misconception that all boundaries equal a selfish spirit. Sometimes just because caving is easier than putting energy into maintaining the boundary. And I don't have anything left to negotiate with right now, so I'm out of luck. But, I can take this situation and build fresh agreements with myself and with others around this need/boundary and with consistency I can maintain balance with it moving forward.

How do you manage your boundaries? When your boundaries are shoved at, do you give in? Do you stand firm? Do you negotiate a compromise so all parties win something? Or do you pack up your toys and head home?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

Today's soundtrack is not going to reflect the deep losses the entertainment community has felt this week. While I do wish all those impacted by these sudden and heartfelt passings, I want to bring something lighter and a little silly to Soundtrack Friday today.

I've been having a stressful week. No one thing has been horrific. It's more the perfect storm of many little things coalescing into what has become the week that feels like it will never end. I'm tired and grumpy and my focus appears to have taken my positive attitude on vacation to Tahiti for a while. I hope they write. Or at least send a postcard. I do miss them.

When I woke up this morning, feeling fuzzy and in need of at least 10 more hours of sleep, I decided today would be different. I was not going to look at today out of grump colored glasses. I was not going to sigh and dejectedly look at my calendar and to-do list, wishing for nothing more than the day to be over so I could crawl back into bed. I was going to look up at the sun and smile. Laugh more. Look for beauty in my surroundings. In other words, I was going to think myself into a better day.

I'm not sure it's worked. I'm still tired and I have no focus. Tahiti must be great because I don't see my focus returning any time soon. However, I have been able to find humor in the little things instead of finding obstacles. So to continue with the apparent theme of my day, I bring you a silly song that always manages to bring a smile to my face and a wiggle in my waggle.

Enjoy today's soundtrack with Barenaked Ladies and If I Had A Million Dollars. And please, for all that is holy, don't buy that green dress. It's cruel! *grin*

Friday, June 19, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

Yesterday I had a bout of reoccurring earwormitis. And it was a song that I enjoy so I was hoping to end the madness before I started hating what has become a critical song in my current story. A friend offered the following suggestion - try to hum a Debbie Gibson song. His rationale is that he cannot recall the lyrics to a Debbie Gibson song without outside help so the act of trying to come up with the song clears his mind of all previous musical oddities and makes his world right again. I'm paraphrasing and taking some creative lisence so, if that wasn't the true intent of your words, Jason, I'm sorry. *grin*

I am happy to say that Debbie Gibson was indeed a cure for my particular earworm. Of course, now I have the following song in my head, but my brain will soon lose interest so all is okay. I had to hunt around a bit for the video to this song and in doing so revisited some interesting things from my youth. The shoulder pads. The hats. The fingerless gloves. The hair. God, the hair. The big shirts. The stirrup pants and leggings. Especially under skirts. Youch! There are somethings from the 80s that should stay firmly buried in the 80s.

I can't tell you where I was when I first heard Only In My Dreams. I can tell you that I played it cool when hearing the song out in public and sang into my hairbrush at home. Yes, I will admit it, I was a closet Debbie Gibson fan. The slickly packaged pop sucked me in and the lyrics, simple and run of the mill though they may have been, were easy to recall and sing along with. I have no doubt that Deb is talented. Her various runs on Broadway have proven this. And I have to give the girl her due - at 16 she wrote, performed and produced an album, a record as the youngest person to have done so that is still held today. But I usually snicker and turn the other way when some "oldies" stations plays one of her songs on the radio. Can you believe that late 80's are considered old? Hold on to your electric youth, my fellow children of the 80s revolution! Hold on tight!

So, thank you Jason for this walk down memory lane. And thank you Debbie (Deboroah) Gibson for being the original Pop Princess and bringing the world such boppy songs as Only In My Dreams. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Supernatural Superstar

I don't have much time to watch TV, though I seem to make enough time to get sucked into some great, and some not so great shows. One show I keep missing because of time is Supernatural. One of my good friends started me on the show but it was always up against CSI and since CSI is one of the few shows my husband and I can agree on it seemed to win over Supernatural. So I got behind and missed out on some wonderful angsty demon hunter action.

Why not DVR or TIVO the show? We're one of the few people left on the planet who were still using a VCR to record TV. This ancient technology will only allow you to record one show at a time, and you can't watch a different channel while recording. Which made recording Supernatural challenging. Thankfully, we finally stepped into the 21st century and now have DVR ability.

I caught the last half of this past season and my friend loaned me her copies of seasons 1-3 on DVD. I've been in Winchester boy bliss for the last few weeks, going as far as playing parts of episodes on my work computer during my lunch break. I simply can't get enough of Sam and Dean!

This is actually helping my current WIP. You see, I didn't have a clear antagonist and have been tearing my hair out trying to figure out who or what was in direct opposition to my main character. Watching a few of the episodes in Season 1 & 2 inspired me to look at some of the other characters and their motivations to see if there is an antagonist in disguise among them. And I think I found one! Man, those Winchester boys are good! Not only can they save the world from evil, they can inspire my writing! And they aren't hard on the eyes, either. I can see a grand long-term partnership - me, Sam & Dean and my book. Does this mean I have to thank them in the credits?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Soundtrack Friday

It was love at first sight. I was a young, naive teen with eyes full of stars and more desire than talent when I first heard Richard Page's aching tones across the airwaves. Something drew me toward the man and his voice and I spent hours listening to Mr. Mister's I Wear The Face album and later their Welcome To The Real World album until I literally wore out the cassette tapes.

Then cable television came to our house and, yeah, I was smitten. I loved the pictures in the album liner for Welcome To The Real World and let myself fixate on the man behind the vocals. But when I was able to watch the music videos, the entire band came to life and my world was changed.

I wrote my first fan letters to Richard Page. Never sent them, but I wrote them. I drew my first fan art of the entire band and recieved some kudoes from an art teacher at my highschool. I learned my first song on guitar by making my guitar instructor listen over and over again to Kyrie and write down the chords for me. I wrote my first Young Adult novel (as a young adult) about a girl who was orphaned and taken in by a band - loosely based on anything I could find out about Mr. Mister. It was trash and while I still have the handwritten draft it's never ever going to be more than the hero worship filled ramblings of a silly teen.

I found a long lost copy of the Welcome to the Real World CD the other day and haven't stopped playing it, much to the dismay of my co-worker, and listening has made me rather nostolgic. Which made today's choice for Soundtrack Friday rather easy. Today I bring you Kyrie by Mr. Mister. I hope it brings a smile to your face. It sure did mine. :)

Monday, June 01, 2009

New Additions

We lost our dog about a year and a half ago. He was my baby and filled a need I had to nurture. Yes, I humanized the poor boy, but he lived 14 long and wonderful years with us so I don't think I damaged him too badly. I'm sure the Dog Whisperer would disagree. :-)

We waited almost a year and a half to get another dog. We wanted to be sure we weren't replacing Denali. There's just no way he could be replaced. We wanted to be able to welcome another dog into our home and love that dog for itself. New quirks and all. So we waited, and waited and eventually the house wasn't lonely anymore and I didn't call Denali when I got home from work. It was great to not have to plan going out around a pet's schedule. Novel, even. You see, Denali had been with us since before we were married. Until 2008 I had no idea what life was like with just my husband and myself. It was kind of nice.

Fast forward to the day we ran into friends who had a wonderful dog. I don't remember the breed, but he was the size of a small Labrador and was quiet and behaved wonderfully and was so very loving. My husband got kicked in the chest with the knowledge that our home wasn't quite complete anymore. Me, I was content to live life the way it was for a little while. I still missed Denali and wasn't sure I was emotionally ready for another animal.

Enter Remington. The internet is a dangerous place, and is like crack when you are looking for a pet. My husband checked it out night after night until he found this happy and intelligent looking lab/vizsla mix named Remington. And by Mother's Day he convinced me to drive an hour outside our city to the shelter that housed him for a visit. And two hours later we were on our way home with our new dog.

It's been three weeks since that day and I'm forced to admit that Remington is filling a hole I wouldn't admit was there. He's kind and gentle and while he's not great on the leash yet, he has this wonderful energy that blends perfectly with our own. We hope he graces our lives for many years to come.

Good Reads in May

This was published before I could update it this weekend. Sorry for being behind! It's been a slow month. I think I read more books but for the life of me I can't remember. So, this is my list for May. Here's hoping June is more productive.

Cesar's Way by Cesar Millan -- The Dog Whisperer's first book and an interesting look at how he developed his theories and practices around dog psychology.

Be The Pack Leader by Cesar Millan -- More a how to guide about understanding what your dog needs and how you, the dog owner, can meet those needs

One Hot Mess by Lois Greiman -- the fifth book in her Chrissy McMullen mystery series. While Chrissy and Ramierez don't exactly take their relationship to the next level, Chrissy does manage to get under his skin while investigating the death of an old friend for Ramierez's father.

Instant Attraction by Jill Shalvis -- I love Jill! Her books are sexy and emotional and always entertaining. I cannot wait to read the next two books in this series about the wild Wilder brothers!

Under Her Skin by Susan Mallory -- The first book in Susan's Lone Star sisters series and was a great set up. I can't wait to read the rest of the series...but sadly must wait because the books aren't all out yet.

The Nanny's Secret by Monica McLean -- Monica Pradhan, who writes wonderful stories about the clash of cultures and generations in her book The Hindi Bindi club. A sequel, I'm told, is in the works. Before Monica wrote more literary fiction, she wrote three wonderful romance novels for Silhouette's Intimate Moments line. The Nanny's Secret was the last book she wrote for Silhouette and it was definitely a taste of the talent this amazing author has to put her readers through the wringer.