Some Timely Reinforcement (Settle in ... this might be a long one!)

Hi, everyone!  It's the Mom Person here ... I know, it's been awhile.  I know, too, that the blog as a whole has been slacking of late, and yes, I do realize that even though it's Tucker's blog, I can hardly blame him or the others for the lack of action on the blog lately.  They may be the stars of the show, but I'm the one with the thumbs.  So for those who have commented or emailed me that they are missing the sight of the five furry faces I'm lucky enough to get to see every day, I apologize.  The fault is all mine, and the reason, I'll be honest, is two-fold. 

Number one, I've just got a lot going on right now at work.  This in itself is nothing new - it's basically been the story of my life for the past nine years.  (Before this I worked for ten years in the public school system, which is another story altogether.)  The best way I can describe what it's like (at least for me) to be pretty high up in a mid-sized advertising agency is that it's like being the star of a television medical drama, except that unfortunately your co-workers aren't (usually) nearly as attractive.  Even more unfortunately - neither are you!  What I mean by this is - there's a general atmosphere of barely controlled chaos, a lot of rushing around, a fair amount of pressure, a goodly portion of blood, sweat, and tears - but none of the latter three are (usually) real.  Or in other words - it's not REALLY life or death ... it just seems that way!

Having said this, though, when clients are spending, in many cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars at your recommendation, they have certain expectations.  And if those expectations aren't met or exceeded on a consistent basis, your agency stands a darn good chance of losing the client.  In which case, you stand a darn good chance of losing your job.  So no, not life and death, but still, pretty important, at least if you have aspirations of continuing to have a well-paid job, good health insurance, a roof over your head, dreams of a reasonably comfortable retirement at some point in the future, etc. etc.  Which I don't mind admitting that I certainly do.  I wish I could be more like my new hero Jenna who spins her own wool, grows her own vegetables, eats eggs from her own chickens, and is basically a does-it-all-herself kick a$$ homesteader who's authored two books and still manages to hold down a full time job as a web designer for Orvis.  But since I don't know how to spin, have a black thumb, and have nowhere to keep chickens, I guess I'd better keep on keepin' on doing what I know how to do.  And that, my friends, has been keeping me pretty gosh darned busy of late! 

The second reason why the blog's been pretty dark lately is because I've just plain been lacking in inspiration.  When I started this blog, I wanted it to be fun, lighthearted, even silly, because, frankly, I think all three of these things are sorely lacking in the lives of many people these days, including my own.  And it is my animal companions (yes, I know they're not children, despite what this blog might lead you to believe) who bring the largest share of these three things into my own life.  BUT ... as anyone who lives with animals knows, they are very much creatures of habit.  This, for me, is another of the things that I both admire and appreciate about them.  Their far too short lives are more or less variations on the same theme, and their daily routine, whatever it happens to be, both grounds and reassures them, as well as makes them extremely happy.  They greet every day, each one for all intents and purposes the same, or very similar, as the day before, with an unfeigned and unbridled enthusiasm that I envy.  Each morning when I raise my head from the pillow, I hear two little tails beating a rapid tattoo of joy against the comforter.  And if they could speak, I imagine what they'd say in the first fifteen minutes after waking would go something like this:  "Another day!  YES!  I wonder what we'll do first!  Well, I have to pee, so I guess we'll go out into the yard!  The yard!  Awesome!  All these great smells!  Now what?  Breakfast?  Terrific!"

The rest of the day, I suspect, would be more of the same.  For the dogs, anyway.  Cats are a little harder to impress, as anyone who shares a house with them knows all too well.  Yet, for all their hauteur, cats cling with an almost religious fervor to the small rituals that comprise their daily round, and not only is it rare that they exhibit any signs of boredom with their lot, they instead convey the impression that anything less than this endless and serene cycle of events would meet with their extreme disapproval. 

My point?  Yes, I do have one, I promise.  And in a nutshell, my point is ... I feel like I haven't had any novel material for the blog lately because my life recently has been all about getting to work, getting done what I need to get done, and coming home again.  I haven't really gone anywhere, haven't really done anything, and consequently, much to their chagrin, Tucker & Phoebe really haven't either.  And the cats, while certainly not bored or the least bit boring, have not, either, been super blog worthy of late, probably because I haven't had the necessary time to really observe them or spend the time with them that I usually do.  Also, as I suspect many of my fellow Bloggers are, I have been, almost since childhood, a frustrated writer.  I've been penning short stories, novellas, messing around with more than one novel, for a long, long time now, but especially since I've moved up in the agency, I haven't had a lot of spare time or mental energy to devote to, or better, my craft.   In fact, I realize now, though I didn't at the time, that one of the reasons I started the blog was to have some sort of creative outlet, one that didn't demand a great deal of time or energy, something that was fun and easy and light.  And it has been all those things, and it's also allowed me to "meet" some great people I otherwise wouldn't have.  But while I'm quite sure that even if I had the luxury of devoting myself to writing full-time, I am no Pulitzer-worthy talent (not by the longest of long shots!), I've recently had the niggling feeling that perhaps I could be putting the talent I do have to better use, or like maybe because the blog is, by design, pretty "fluffy" in more ways than one,  it lacks merit.

SO ... I was quite pleasantly surprised to see, when scanning the comments from yesterday's post, that I'd been honored with the Versatile Blogger Award from a fellow blogger. It means even more because Tena, the person who gifted me with it, is a person I truly admire.  I first became acquainted with her on Dogster, and I can't tell you how many people she's tirelessly offered advice and guidance and support to in the Behavior & Training forum.  Of course, Tucker & Phoebe are perfect dogs (yeah, right!) so I've never had to hit her up for advice, but the point is, if I needed to, I could, and she would, I know, be there for me, just like she's there for everyone else.  She also, of course, has an awesome blog which I suggest everyone check out posthaste, if you're not already familiar with it.

And so, friends, we've finally circled around to the title of this blog post - Reinforcement. As in - I got some, and, as it turns out, it came when I really needed it.  I'm not curing cancer here ... or even paper cuts (which is a shame, because I gave myself a bad one earlier today, and damn, do those things sting!) ... but I am having fun, and since that was my goal in the first place, I guess I'm succeeding! 

That's it for me today, everybody.  No one will be blogging this weekend, because I'm going away for the weekend and NOT taking the dogs.  (I know - shocking!) They are staying home to be "sat on" along with the cats, and my parents' dog, all in an elaborate scheme to surprise my mom who just retired after 30 years as a public schoolteacher.  Go, Mom!  BUT ... I will be back next week and am going to do my very best to get back on some sort of regular blogging schedule.  After all, I do live with the five most adorable, brilliant, wonderful, perfect animals on the planet.  It would be nothing short of criminal to keep them all to myself.

Wishing all of you a wonderful weekend!

P.S.  I have to name fifteen blogs to pass this award along to, and I want to give it some serious thought, so I'll announce those probably Monday or Tuesday, and will refrain from posting the award on our page until then.


♥♥♥ The OP Pack ♥♥♥ said...

Sometimes life really gets in the way of doing what we really enjoy. It sounds to us like you do enjoy blogging, but just are overwhelmed with other more important things. Why not just set yourself a small goal of posting once a week, or twice? You might find it works better for you.

And we love your blog. We understand about the lack of material - same deal here. Mom says we do the same thing over and over - that's why they say we are creatures of habit:)

Congrats on your award.

Enjoy your weekend, and congrats to your Mom.

Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

Carolyn said...

It's quite a problem when life is too busy for art (for I do believe blogging is an art form and great outlet for frustrated writers lol) Having only recently discovered your blog and the delightful Tucker, I hope you get inspiration again. Am sure you will.

You are so right about the routine, it's kind of therapeutic! Animals are past masters of living "the moment". We should learn from them:)

Have a great weekend.

Two Pitties in the City said...

I too used to work in advertising, and I completely understand the uncontrolled chaos (I always talk about the 3 week period where I was working until 3am every night, and one night was an all-nighter working, and presenting at a meeting 36 hours straight). Congrats on your award--well-deserved!

Old Kitty said...

Awww! Well I think you do fabulously well with what you are doing with your blog - you and Tucker and Phoebe and all your wonderful kitties.

I've only been blogging for over a year but one of the things I find ultimately off putting are how some blogs I come across take themselves so seriously that they forget to be just themselves.

Personally, I love it when I am able to connect with the blogger's innate humanity and creativity and above all, their passion - be it their craft, their everyday life, their pet. So long as I can read the love between the lines!

Have a wonderful weekend and congratulations with your gorgeous award! And I hope you continue to pen those stories and write, write, write!!

Take care

OKcats said...

I can relate somewhat. All of my photos look the same, and I am just not as creative as some of the bloggers out there! I have much more respect for the daily bloggers now that I've started my own blog. But when work is nuts or things in your life are just not quite right, it's hard to sit down and write a fun blog post. And who wants to just post a bunch of dreary crap every day? That's no fun for anyone! Anyway, I just wanted to say that when you do post, I enjoy reading your blog. So, I'll just read you when you have the time (and material!!) to post!

Jana, mom of the OK Cats

Crap, I forgot to congratulate you on your award, and your mom on her retirement!! So congrats to you all!

houndstooth said...

Congratulations on the award! Enjoy your relaxing weekend, too! It sounds like you very much need it. As far as keeping the blog up, I agree with others who say just set a goal of updating it once or twice a week and let it go from there. Sometimes that can be enough to really get you back into it. I think blogging is something that you really have to do for yourself, first and foremost, before you can worry about what anybody else thinks about it!

Spitty-the-Kitty said...

Against all my instincts I am going to let my Human respond. So the Human says...

This was very interesting to read (well, for many reasons!) because it touched on something I think about and that's the sameness of trying to do a daily (or near-daily) blog. I only have the one cat, Spitty, and as entertaining and charming as he is, he does regrettably do the same things over and over! And so often the posts are pretty similar day to day.

But here's what I realized: I kind of worry about that as the writer, but when I go to other kitties' (or less often, doggies') blogs as the reader, I find I don't care at all if it's another bath picture or another treat picture or another snoozy picture or another Bird TV picture, etc. etc. I still enjoy the pictures and the narrative.

So I decided to stop worrying about, LOL!

I'm the assistant principal of a high school, so I understand the chaos of the workplace and it is true it's hard to keep up--but there's been so much unpleasant (adult) drama in my workplace this semester that the blogosphere has provided a welcome antidote.

I love reading about Tucker & Phoebe and the kitties [especially Olivia, Spitty adds]! And truly, it doesn't matter if they do the same old things--I enjoy seeing their happy little faces anyway ;-)

Katnip Lounge said...

You know, I feel stale sometimes too...and I have 13 furry kids! I'm ever so grateful when wordless Wednesday rolls around...Remember that blogging should be fun and give you a little respite from the usual; and I agree with Spitty's Human that I NEVER tire of looking at our furry friends. AND you get to look at photos of your own kids to post! It's sometimes the best 20 minutes of a busy day.

Winnie said...

The LOTH really liked your blog posting and says she knows what you mean exactly.

Your blog is fun and entertaining and you shouldn't worry about only writing when the mood takes you and life allows. Go with the flow. Congrats on your award.

Love and licks, Winnie

Marg said...

Well this our first visit here just because we love to meet new doggies and kitties. We understand perfectly how you feel and it is hard to keep a blog going but I feel the same as Spitty's Mom. Most of the blogs that I look at don't change a lot from day to day but they still are very entertaining. I think one thing to remember is that these animals are so entertaining no matter what they are doing even if it is just sleeping. It sounds like you have some great animals so I hope you will blog a little bit now. We have two doggies and one huge bunch of kitties and two miniature donkeys and would you believe a goat. Take care. Hope life calms down for you.