Fishing for Fika: FINALLY!

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Hooray! You’re here. Welcome. Today’s the launch of a project that is so much more than a blog or podcast. It’s the culmination of failed endeavors, constant questioning, endless searching, and serious surrendering.

For years I’ve felt like I was fishing for something special. I’d cast a line into deep waters, unsure of my bait, anxiously angling and frantically reeling in.

I was desperate to do something with my writing. I was hungry to connect. A perpetual daydreamer, I yearned for the chance to make my mark. But like so many, I got caught up in the chaos. I swam in emails, became a slave to my phone, and cohabited with my computer.

In this powerful, fast-paced, ever-changing world, I drowned in doubt, fear, and epic excuses.

One day a friend asked me if I wanted to fika.  A true lover of words, she rendered me silent. What was fika?  Upon explanation, I was game.

Fika made sense. It was a chance to break and converse. A pause without a purpose other than fostering friendship or camaraderie. So we sat. We had no technology, no distraction, and no agenda.  She made the most delicious coffee and we let our discussion go in all sorts of directions. It felt strange, freeing, and fun.

As a storyteller, I’m drawn to opportunities to grow and gain insight into others. Fika offers me the platform to connect and conspire while creating stories worth sharing.

You’re a part of this project. In fact, you’re the passion behind it. Let’s fika!

The Fire of Friendships

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I’ve got this friend who is the Christina Yang to my Meredith Grey. Or maybe I’m her Christina. Honestly, I don’t care about the titles or the roles because it’s what the relationship stands for that is the fire behind all things. She’s my person.

I met her at 18. I was fresh out of Buffalo and alone. Right before homesickness got the best of me, she stepped in. She became my Garden State guru. She welcomed me into her home, got me to go beyond my comfort zone, and made me recognize that the best friendships give us something we’re missing and desperately desire. We call ourselves twins. But not because we’re alike. We are different. We’re Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito. 

I’m convinced she’s proof of divine intervention. She entered my life exactly where and when I needed her and I’ve kept her close since our earliest introduction. She’s about to go someplace else and it’s scary. For her, it represents a complete shift from everything she’s ever known. For me, it’s something similar. What it boils down to is this: I’ve never known New Jersey without her.

In a weird way, I’m convinced this needed to happen. Because the thing is that scary change is the fire of friendships. It’s what shows us what we add, what we lack, what we give, and how we grow.

And while this might feel a little Oprah and Gayle, it’s actually just us. To my first college friend, one of the best I’ve ever known, I say this: you are fire. Thank you, friend.

38

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I am a perpetual daydreamer. I’ve got grand plans and big intentions. But this emotional, over-the-top, head-in-the-clouds fantasizer gets stuck. I freeze up out of fear or distract myself with busyness that’s unimportant. It’s been my burden for the past several years. And while I’d love to blame someone or something, I’ve got nothing. It’s me.

Enter my husband.

My marriage is full of love, compassion, and friendship, but there’s also sarcasm, competitiveness, and candor. My accountability partner in crime keeps it real. In fact, it’s often too real for my liking.

I’ve been talking about being a full-fledged writer and entrepreneur since he met me. In fact, he tells friends that I’m the long-term success strategy. He’s full of brutal logic and endless love. It’s an interesting combination.  The other night he reminded me that there’s been little progress in my projects. We danced the talk-it-out tango, which means I possessed a defensive flare and he demonstrated strong-willed sentiment. In essence, it boils down to action and accountability.

He’s my truth-teller.

I don’t envy him. I’m initially unreceptive and offended. But with time I come around to see his side. I know I need to do more and perform better. I need something tangible to keep me sane and firmly focused.

The book will be done and distributed by 38. That’s the vision and reaction to the challenge. I turn 37 in January. It might look like I’ve given myself the gift of time, but the book will need to be finished by February in order to get pitched to the masses this spring.

Dearest, this one isn’t for you. It’s for me. But thanks for never giving up on me. This thing we have is fearless.

Give Me Everything Gilmore Girls

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I am a Lorelai Gilmore wannabe. I make no apologies about my obsession for all things Stars Hollow. When the show aired I was a consumer of everything Gilmore. And when Netflix released the reboot I binged-watched all four episodes. In fact, I rewatched them this week in an effort to inspire me, which it did.

The writing world leads me to all sorts of people and places. Within the online world, the power of words has never been more present. Airing My Laundry has been on my radar for a while. She’s witty, honest, and a Gilmore Girl fanatic. As I gear up for This Is Us, I wanted to ask someone I admire from afar about their up close and personal opinion on all things Gilmore Girls.

Q: This post, written in 2014, was before the reboot. What might you add to the post now?

A: I’m not sure if I’d add anything to the list. Even with the reboot, I still love the same things. I guess I could add that I like that Lorelai and her mother stayed close throughout the years!

Q: Gilmore Girls has a cult following years later. What is some of the magic behind this?

A: I think the magic is the chemistry between all the actors. Plus the witty lines. I know I crack up with each episode. I mean, “oy with the poodles already” and “cooper boom” are pretty awesome things to say.

Q: Let’s discuss the vices. I am so on board with Lorelai and her beloved coffee. Why do little things like this resonate with us in a such a big way?

A: I love how Lorelai is with her coffee too! I’m the same way with my Diet Coke. I have people like Luke who tell me how awful it is, and I’m all, “Give me my Diet Coke. Now.” I think people can relate to Lorelai!

Q: Assuming we can talk reboot, give me your thoughts on the way things were left.

A: Oh man, I want them to continue the reboot! You can’t end it like that. I won’t give away what happened, but I yelled at the screen when it went to black. What’s going to happen next?! I guess we’ll have to come up with our own scenarios.

Q: I’m on a This Is Us adventure. Certain shows speak to us. What’s a theme from Gilmore Girls that goes beyond the surface?

A. I think a theme would be that mother/daughter bond. I mean yes, there will be fights. But hopefully you’ll always come together. I have a daughter, and I’d love for us to have a relationship like Rory and Lorelai. PS–I also love This Is Us and not just because Jess (Milo) is in it 😉 By the way. I’m Team Jess.

There’s all sorts of stuff that happens in fika. And there’s a self-fikalization that happens when engaged in an art form like film or television. Watching Gilmore Girls is more than a guilty pleasure. And to find someone, who like me, felt uniquely connected to the program speaks volume about the stories within the series.

Many thanks to Airing My Laundry. If our paths should ever cross one day, your Diet Coke is on me.

This Is Us: Let the Countdown Begin

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I’m obsessed with This Is Us. Just read here or there and you’ll see my passion is palpable. And right now I’m counting down until it returns. In case you’re wondering, 34 days until all things Pearson family.

I could write or talk for hours on end about this show. And while I’m no expert in what makes it a hit, I’m guessing it’s because this show isn’t afraid to tackle the beneath the surface stuff that we’re sometimes afraid to confront or confess. For feelers and thinkers like myself, it’s the opportunity to delve deeper into the complicated layers of emotion and the messy but meaningful roles within family.

But how does it relate to fika? While aside from some general gab post show, I’m creating a didactic syllabus of sorts to accompany episodes. It’s discernible through the fates and flaws of each character and worthy of “something more.” Too often television is counted as a singular experience. But I aim to revisit and re-emphasize the value in scenes and storylines.

Before you tell me I total nerd, which I already know, remember that my profession by trade is teacher. I spend a lot of time creating curriculum and lecturing, so this actually feels quite natural. Furthermore, while I love a traditional text, this show is so relevant and relatable that I think it appeals to even the quietest crowd.

34 days until fika, lesson 1. Until then, here’s to dreaming that Dan Fogelman asks me if I want to write with him one day.  I have zero shame about being in my mid-thirties and dreaming of a fika on set. Go big or go home, people. Dear This is Us, to quote Jack Pearson, “I can’t go back to who I was before I met you.”

All In

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I spent the last week buried in nostalgia while simultaneously focused on the future. And while I love to sip from the fountain of fantasy, it’s time to get moving. This week is dedicated to tackling lists, finally podcasting (equipment issues are officially resolved), and savoring summer.

As I get older I am less fearful of asking for help, judgment, and failure. So in the spirit of these things and just because, here’s where I’m headed.

I’ve been going hard at this fika thing for a while now. It’s clear to me that it has legs and what’s even cooler is that other people think so as well. For this, I am grateful.

I decided to kick it up a notch and go all in.  I’ve been contemplating what this looks like, how I’ll manage everything and everyone in addition to all the other responsibilities and obligations on my plate. And after months of consideration I’ve come to only one conclusion: I haven’t a clue.

Here’s what I know: we spend hours obsessing over the big picture without thinking about the splices. We analyze, plan, and worry while the timer ticks. And in the end, passion and productivity are sidelined by panic.

But if we don’t make the move because of fear, we already fail.

So I’m going all in. You’ll be hearing and seeing much more from me. To begin, look for Something to Talk About, the new monthly flash fiction newletter available on September 7th. It’s the start of something special and I’m happy you’ll be a part of it.

What’s your week look like? I hope you’ll go all in.

 

Buffalove

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Last week I hit the local playground with my favorite threenager for a preschool playdate. While the little ones were busy getting messy, a fellow mom and I got to talking and it came up that I’m originally from Buffalo, New York. The mom mentioned she had recently attended a wedding where the groom was from Buffalo and that there was something special about those “Buffalo people,” specifically their love of Buffalo itself.

I am so proud of where I’m from and at least once or twice a week a Buffalo reference is made in our home or to others in our community. It’s safe to say that Buffalonians are a proud people.

Tonight I’m writing from one of my favorite places, Spot Coffee. A local chain, I’m a big fan of the Elmwood location because it’s where I used to go to feel cool even when I wasn’t. And while I still don’t think I’m cool, I’m at least much more comfortable and self-aware than ever before.  This place is perfect for writing, observing, and all sorts of delightful distractions.

Whenever I’m home I get to thinking about my snarky 18-year-old self who thought there wasn’t much to see or do in her hometown. I had grown disenchanted with the city and romanticized other locations or destinations.  I had dismissed the place that shaped me and for that I formally apologize. The truth is I didn’t know enough about the many backdrops that comprise the city to label or judge it. Only a few short weeks into my freshman year of college, I knew that Buffalo was unique and I had taken it for granted.

It’s been 18 years since I left home, which means I’ve officially been gone the same amount of years I lived here. And while I returned home for a “I just graduated from grad school and have no money” ten month stint in 2006, it was a placeholder move and I knew it.

Occasionally I beg my husband to move back. And sometimes he indulges me with an eye wink and ear to listen. He likes Buffalo. We were married here, he spent an entire summer here, and loves coming home with me, even in the colder months, to enjoy the sights and people.

But much of our story is rooted in New Jersey, which is where we currently reside. And while I often joke about the congestion, expense, and stereotypes of all things Garden State, I do love it for reasons that require another blog post or fika.

Coming home is bittersweet. It’s where I’m from, but home is also elsewhere now, and I’ve got two Jersey girls to prove it. I don’t think I’ll ever stop talking all things Buffalo and I’ll surely never criticize it again. This place is special. It’s worthy of greater exposure and exploration.

Buffalo, stay golden. Until next time.

For Better or For Worse

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Yesterday was my seventh wedding anniversary. If time and interest allowed, I’d write a series of essays on how much my marriage means to me and the endless love I have for my husband. But I know like most matters of the heart, it’s personally appealing because of experience and investment. With this noted, I’ll spare you sonnets.

For our wedding day we hired a husband and wife photography team to capture the intimate moments of the ceremony and reception. Their work was artistic and flawless and their energy was contagious. I remember being awed by their talent and teamwork. The latter was incredibly impressive. Knowing that not all partners could work together so well, or at all, I was obsessed with observing their dynamics and felt compelled to soak up their presence.

I remember thinking it was an omen of sorts to have such a dynamic duo attached to our wedding. In fact, I remember thinking that their love story was a sign of ours.

A few days ago I decided to visit their website to see if I could stop by while visiting my parents. Much to my dismay it looked as if their business was no longer operational. After some intense social media stalking and keyword searches, I learned they were no longer married. Cue knife to the heart.

The news gutted me. This inspiring, sweet, and kind couple was no more.

And while I shed a few tears, I came to realize I knew nothing of their history or status, even when I was basking in bliss. Their marriage and/or the demise of it wasn’t something I was or would ever be acutely aware of, but it did offer me a greater sense of perception and change.

Our surface perceptions often demand deeper exploration or consideration.  And we need to resign that regardless of our perceptions, certain changes are inevitable or necessary. It’s never easy to see a marriage end, especially one we admired from afar. But if the news is going to stir up something in our souls, then let it be a reminder to invest in the person you decided was worthy of forever.

For the record, I’m over the moon in love with my husband. And because I social media stalked, let me state that from the surface, it looks like my photographers have moved on and reclaimed some happiness as well. But that’s only my perception and things can change. So for now I’m off to relish that I’m all in. And for better or worse I hope we all remember that things change quickly and sometimes dramatically. So carpe diem and love with everything you’ve got.