Friday, January 4, 2013

Out with the Old and In with the New


I’m not much on mamby pamby girly self-help resolutions. But, I have always loved the OUT and IN features in magazines. You know, OUT: Leopard Print IN: Tiger Print. I love the whole “Green is the New Black” of it all. It doesn't make judgments on your affinity for leopard print. It just gives you a light nudge in a new direction while also validating your previous choice. After all, at one point black was the new black. It’s inevitable not to reflect this time of year, especially when, to add insult to injury, I will be another year older in a matter of days. So, here’s my IN and OUT list for 2013:

OUT: Self-doubt IN: Confidence
I am the first person to second guess myself. Case in point: this year I got a pretty awesome promotion. I, Tiffany Starnes am a VP. I have cards that say so. But, with the new role came an overwhelming sense of fear. Am I doing a good enough job? Do I really deserve it? Will I live up to expectations? I have spent a lot of time worrying about performing, which is a distraction from actually performing, which is what got me the fancy title in the first place. My boss is incredibly smart and successful. I should trust her instincts and own my success.  I have often wished that I could have just a smidgen of the entitlement I often loathe in ego-maniacs. But, wishes and a dollar won’t even get me a cup of coffee.  This year I am going to give my ego a break and focus less on doubt and more on the hard work, smart thinking and passion that make me pretty effing awesome. Bring on the entitlement!

OUT: Helplessness IN: Acceptance
Having a special needs kid is tough. Lately I have felt defeated. Doctor’s visits, ER visits, calls from school, time off work and especially all of the little things I see “normal” five year old kids doing every day have beaten me down. There are a million and one things that I cannot control and it is infuriating. Sisyphus has nothing on special needs parents. But, that’s life. There are some things I can control, like making my daughter laugh, taking time to dance in the kitchen with my husband and creating a happy environment for the people I love by accepting that nothing is ever going to be perfect. This extends to the laundry, the scuffed hard wood floors and the perpetual bits of paper strewn around the house that plague me. I will accept that I can’t control everything…and settle for just most things.

OUT: Passive IN: Active
“Where have you been hiding? I haven’t seen you in ages!” is the standard greeting I get when I rarely emerge form one of two lairs: office and home. Here’s the thing, I love spending time with my kid and God help anyone who tries to tear me away from my husband during the limited free time he has. And, for a long time I was content with my standing Thursday night date/therapy session/gossip-thon with my BFF. But, when my BFF moved across the country and then my Sunday Funday crowd followed suit. I realized that I have been relying solely on house calls to fuel my relationships and interests. I've grown accustomed to living like a shut-in and taking what comes to me rather than getting out there and seizing my own opportunities. What happened to the woman who rallied with the tech community, organized conferences and started clubs? She became content. And content is a very comfortable place. See also: docile, adequate, boring. I am very content being content. But, I recognize that it is a slippery slope to becoming boring and *gasp* docile. This is a hard one. I will take a more active role in my life. I will join clubs and organizations (starting with a position as co-chair of the membership committee for PRSA NOLA!). I will pick up the phone and rekindle relationships.Who wants to have lunch?

So, there you have it. Tiffany’s mamby pamby self-help resolutions cloaked in an IN and OUT theme. Maybe this should live in a journal under my bed. But, maybe someone else needs a kick in the pants to ditch their leopard skin leggings (see how I am still going with that theme?). And, if you are reading this, maybe you have another IN to offer. If so, I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Danger.

Today is my daughter's birthday. Typically milestones don't effect me much. Five years of being a special needs mom has taught me to disregard the "normal" developmental stages. But, 5 is pretty big. I remember picking out my own Punky Brewster ensembles and learning to read. Reily hasn't learned to use the potty. There are a million and a half milestones that Reily hasn't reached today on her 5th birthday. I'd be lying if I said I haven't been dwelling on thinking about all of them as this day has approached. But, instead, today I will celebrate 5 ways that Reily is killing it.

1. Reily Runs
Reily got her first cast when she was two weeks old. Toe to hip. Both legs. Her last cast was about 8 months ago and she'll likely be sporting another for the Holidays (I'll save you a spot to sign). She had surgery on both feet, wore a fancy shoe brace and a not so fancy hip brace that earned her the nickname Frogger. And yet, she runs. And runs. And runs, runs, dances and runs. Not bad for a kid with bi-lateral club feet so severe it was detected in my womb. Check her out.

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2. Reily Eats
The only thing keeping Reily in the NICU after 30 days was an ability to eat. She couldn't get the suck, swallow, breathe thing down. Enter the feeding tube. A surgeon pulled her stomach close enough to her abdomen to attach a button. That button connected to a tube that connected to a big syringe that when filled with formula was pushed directly to her stomach. It was gross. It was scary. It cured me of being squeamish.  For a year and a half, the village tried to feed Reily three times a day by mouth. It didn't work. She choked, she spit it out, she refused to eat. It was the most valuable lesson in patience I have ever learned. And then, Papa made asparagus feta puree and she was hooked. Six months later the tube was removed and she hasn't stopped eating since. Seriously, she doesn't stop. Send food.

3. Reily Talks
I am pretty sure Reily is bilingual. Her first word was Agua. But, since I don't speak Spanish, I can't be sure that she isn't fluent. However, when she chooses to speak English she is pretty consistent in communicating exactly what she wants. Granted, she's not reciting Shakespearean soliloquies; not that you'd expect that from a 5 year old. Regardless, she communicates! She knows what she wants and tell me. In case you are curious, Berries (blueberries) and Bars (breakfast bars) are a top priority. Second only to Walk,  Bye-Bye and Elmo. Speaking of Elmo...

4. Reily Loves Elmo
Every parent has their opinions on TV. Parking your kid in front of a television may be frowned upon, but when Reily discovered Elmo, I DVRed every daily Sesame Street episode. I spend a lot of time "playing with a purpose," but, having 30 minutes of independent play time so that I can do dishes...well, I am just glad she didn't discover The Jersey Shore. Independent play. It sounds so psycho-babble. But, it extends beyond Elmo to books and puzzles and activities that don't require constant intense supervision. Reily has discovered much more than Elmo, she's found something that keeps her attention.

5. Reily Hugs
Reily is on the "autism spectrum," for whatever that means. The truth is that Reily is missing a tiny portion of her 2nd chromosome and there are no other cases in medical history of the same isolated chromosomal micro-deletion. That doesn't make her autistic. Or maybe it does. Who knows? What I do know is that she gives hugs freely. She gives kisses. Her laughter is infectious. She is happy.

My daughter is happy. She is different and quirky and incredibly happy. Happy birthday, baby girl.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pinned It. Did It.

I saw this on hairstyle on Pinterest and gave it a shot. Worked well enough to convince Hubby:)

Friday, March 11, 2011

See You Soon,,,

I am having a GoDaddy issue with my domain. (That's the formal excuse for my lack of posting).

The informal reality is that Yours Truly is distracted. By work, by housework, by Danger, by Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Mardi Gras. By life. And while I work out my domain issues, I am also working on exactly what this blog is...my life as a mom (maybe, but there are so many wonderful women covering that), my life as a professional trying to balance it all (whine, whine whine), my sage social media advice (that'd be on the FSC blog).

So, for now, Your Truly is on hiatus. Until next time. xoxo- Tiffany

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How Not To Suck at Twitter



Before you read further, this is not a professional step-by-step guide on how to use Twitter. It's more of a list of grievances based on some particularly peevish Tweets that have graced my stream recently. It is by no means comprehensive, but rather a few tips I feel the need to share.

So, that said, here are few word of wisdom from Yours Truly...in no particular order:

1. Stop Selling
Look at your Twitter stream. How many of your past Tweets refer to something that puts money in your pocket or in your drinking buddy's pocket? I get that you are proud of your accomplishments. Kudos. And don't get me wrong, I want to hear about them. Just not not all the time.

2. Use Your Words
This includes vowels. While I understand that your infinite genius is hard to contain in a mere 140 characters, I suggest you consider a blog post. Because, to be honest, nothing trumps your pithy insight and intellect more than a string of nonsensical third grade abbreviations.

3. Don't Tweet Angry. Or Drunk.
We all get fired up and trust me, I am guilty of my own social media rants. But, before you hastily dash off that seething Tweet, stop. Breathe.

As my co-worker other person sagely pointed out:



Put. The Twitter. Down.

4. Stop the Exploitation of Hashtags
Now before you get all "But you are the Queen of #insertwittysubtexthere.", that's not what I mean. I mean attaching a trending hashtag to a completely unrelated Tweet just to leverage its popularity. It's like riding coattails, but geekier. It's riding hashtags, which is really just embarrassing.

5. Just Be You
I might be guilty of one or all of the above at times. There are no rules. Except maybe one, which is be authentic.

So, these are a just few of my most recent pet peeves. What are yours?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fat Harry's Full Circle (Shop Local Day 5)

A few days ago I met Hubby for Happy Hour at a local high school bar called Fat Harry's. Yes, I said "high school bar." For those not familiar with this phenomenon, New Orleans was late to implement the 21 year old drinking age and it was pretty normal for 16 year olds to frequent drinking establishment brandishing 18 year old fake IDs. Now, seeing as I am far from my high school days, I can't say that this type of behavior is still prevalent...but nonetheless, Fat Harry's remains in my brain a "high school bar."

In fact, it was my high school bar. It was the last stop before curfew on our regular crawl. So, sitting outside on a balmy summer evening, sipping a beer and watching the streetcars roll down St. Charles, I was suddenly struck by a strong sense of nostalgia. I texted my high school partner in crime in North Carolina. To which she replied with horror "WHAT ARE YOU DOING THERE?" She proceeded to ask if there were white hats and khaki shorts...the ultimate frat boy uniform. I looked around and there was not a single white hat. But what should I spy? A pair of khaki shorts. Sitting next to me. On Hubby.

Gasp. Had I made the transformation from high school delinquent to Uptown yuppie? Was I that sweet doddering couple that I used to see with their AARP friends sitting outside the bar before sunset?

And there it is. That weird moment, having moved back to my hometown, where my past self meets my future self on the same stomping grounds, when I am suddenly slapped in the face by my 16 year old assumptions. Luckily, my 30 something self finds it charming. So, I sit back with my khaki-wearing husband, drink my beer and clear out before curfew.

And luckily, there are New Orleans high school bars institutions where my past, present and future self can mingle with generations before me and to those come. And hopefully, one day I will sit with my doddering partner in crime, back home from North Carolina.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sheet Rock Star

Last week the St. Bernard Project had a Women's Rebuild Week and the FSC gals traded our keyboards for power tools. It was empowering to get filthy dirty and covered in insulation, knowing that my small effort would help a family return home...after 5 long years.

Turns out, I am also quite the sheet rock expert. Yep. Don't believe me? See for yourself:




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