Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Life is Fragile

Stacy Snyder - Stacy Says It - Life is Fragile - ParenunpluggedYou’d think we’d further question our own mortality attending the funeral of a child or visiting an incoherent spouse in the nursing home.  Seems like a no-brainer:  life is short, so make the most of it.  The problem is, life happens so fast and when one company merger butts up to the finality of a divorce, which is wedged in between the school acceptance letter your child has been waiting for and the incarceration of a loved one, you don’t always have the time to acknowledge the fragility of human life.
You don’t notice the emergent yellow buds on the half-yearly dormant tree in your yard.  You don’t hear the birds chirping as you blow your horn for the car in front of you to “move it buddy!”  And you certainly don’t acknowledge your child’s sheer bliss over wearing shorts for the first time since spring has started to bloom.  These snippets of animation are here and then they’ll be gone. 
Sometimes it takes an external slap in the face to remind us to pay attention:  an associate you haven’t seen in a few years is in a near-fatal accident and has been rehabilitating, not easily, for months.  You decide to join that softball team and utilize your legs while you have them at your disposal.   Or you attend a 50-year-anniversary party for an old couple and decide to re-devote your dwindling affection toward your spouse of five years.
Do what you want, there’s no right or wrong way to live.  But just don’t let the days, weeks, or years pass you by without notice.  Pay attention, as the scenes from your life and others’ are playing right in front of you, in all their splendor and wretchedness, and they won’t last forever.  You may live to be 19 or 90.  The years don’t matter, but the moments do.  Slow down and take stock of your senses and your interactions.  Appreciate the beauty and ugliness alike today.

Friday, August 18, 2017

I Am Your Neighbor Quick Chat - Dry Run

Doing a Dry Run is the exact opposite of how I like to roll.  I truly enjoy just wingin' it more than anything, but personal experience has shown me that in almost every realm, practice makes a little more perfect than shooting from the hip.  Recording, producing, and publishing your own DIY web series turns out to be no exception to the rule.  Learn how rehearsing before the real event can help!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Date Night on the Cheap

Parents need date nights on a regular basis.  It’s not a question, a suggestion, or an idea; it’s a fact.   To keep a relationship afloat with your spouse or partner, you need quality alone time.  That time comes at a cost, though, and if your household is anything like mine, you don’t always have money growing from trees to use for dinners out, shows, and babysitters.  All is not lost, though, as a little creativity and planning can save the day.  
Date Night on the Cheap - StacySaysIt - Stacy Snyder

  1. Don’t plan a date around drinking.  It’s expensive to buy liquor out, so either don’t drink on your date, plan a daytime date where drinking is less the norm, or have a drink before you go on your date or after you get home.  If you want to go to dinner and have a drink, plan to visit a BYOB establishment where you can take your own wine or beer and make sure to pick them up at Aldi or Trader Joe’s where the going is good and cheap.
  2. Attend free events on your date.  Pack a picnic and attend a free movie in the park, downtown or at the library, check out a free concert in the park or in your city’s freespace, or boogie down with free dance lessons offered throughout your area.  Subscribe to your city’s free newsletters to get the most up to date info on free events in your area.  If you’re close to a beach or body of water, pack a blanket and a frisbee or paddle ball and go chill waterside with your date.  Go to book-signings for authors you both love, attend art exhibits, or watch the sunrise or sunset with some romantic music piping through your phone.
  3. Use discount sites to purchase discounted food, events, and performances at restaurants, theatres, and venues closeby.  From LivingSocial, Groupon, Cheaptickets, and your city’s local free and discounted sites and newsletters, there’s almost no reason to ever pay full price. Buy discounted items when you see them and let them accumulate to choose from at a later date.
    Date Night on the Cheap - StacySaysIt - Stacy Snyder - Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  4. Don’t spend tons of money on babysitting.  While of course there’s always a “going rate” for babysitting, you don’t have to pay what the Jones’ do.  Establish a rate you’re willing and able to pay and when contacting childcare professionals or babysitters, verify that they can work for that rate.  Recruit younger sitters that are not already enmeshed in working and help them learn to be a good babysitter in exchange for a lower rate than a tried and true professional.  Utilize older siblings, friends, family, and coordinated playdates at other playmates’ homes when planning childcare for your date.  If all else fails, put the kids to bed early or sequester them to another part of the home, while you have your date night right at home….dance to your favorite music, watch a flick, cook a romantic dinner together, or play a game of cards.
  5. My last, and probably most favorite date trick is to exercise together.  If you already have a gym membership, utilize it and go take a class together or switch off weight circuits, or work out side by side on a machine.  No gym - no problem.  Take a long walk, bike ride, or run; rent a paddle board, kayak, canoe, or surfboard to work the water.  Dancing is fun and cheap.  Many venues don't charge a cover and don’t force you to eat or drink:  just go and dance the night away! 
Living Large can be so easy with a few tweaks from the norm!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Southern Hospitality

Y'all Are Gay?  How I Made It Out of Texas Alive - StacySaysIt - Stacy Snyder
The South.  Never had I really spent much time there, outside of coastal vacation spots.  Maybe, subconsciously I knew there wasn’t anything there for me.

Four years into living in Texas, residing in a north Dallas suburb with an above-average median income, an over-the-top approach toward lifestyle spending, deference to giving children whatever they want, and ignorance toward diversity, I was ready to get back to reality.  I didn’t want to “start working on it” or “get the ball rolling.”  I wanted to run like hell back to a city, a real metropolis with diversity and multi-cultural dynamics.  

My girlfriend, Katie, and I moved ourselves, our infant daughter, Isabelle, and golden retriever, Hoosier, from Chicago to the Dallas area in the early summer of 2004. No matter how I phrased it (partner, girlfriend, life-partner, lover, domestic partner, etc.) no one in Texas could understand our relationship.  

Nine times out of ten, southern folks would say, “Nice to meet you.  Now who is your husband?”  

After introducing her or telling them about my girlfriend, they’d smile, and then ask, “But who is your husband?”

Sometimes I’d get questioned two or three times for clarification, and then when they finally showed a morsel of understanding, they were speechless.  Occasionally we got people who never understood at all and ended up calling us sisters.  Then there’s the parent at our daughter’s school who always referred to me as “that other woman who says she’s Isabelle’s mom.”

Even though our friends and family from Chicago and San Francisco told us we were crazy and we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, when we moved we were still shocked at the lack of understanding regarding our relationship from our new neighbors, co-workers, and the general public at large in Texas.  Both Katie and I had lived in various cities around the country (Indianapolis, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Portland) and had thought nothing of picking up and moving again, even though we each had spent more than a decade in Chicago.  I'm a Midwest girl from Indiana and Katie was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Our acquaintances warned us about discrimination, hate crimes, good ol’ boys, and other roadblocks holding up our success in the red state, but we truly were not worried in the least bit.  

After all, it’s part of the United States, right?  Texas isn’t a third world country or a dictatorship…..it was just another state….just another state of its own that we quickly found out operated like its own country (or continent for that matter) and actually had a huge following of residents who whole-heartedly were prepared to secede from the union of the United States!

I had moments of feeling comfortable in my surroundings in Texas, but they were pretty far and few between.  The original transition to Dallas brought about the desire to sample the local scenery, from mechanical bull-riding at the famous Gilley’s, to concerts and two-stepping at Billy Bob’s in Ft. Worth.  Texas and The South in general, would throw me these little nuggets of exclusivity every so often that I cherished.  I wouldn’t trade in those experiences for anything:  to wear a cowboy hat with your swimsuit, to jack your hair up sky-high and paint yourself for the back row just to go to the grocery store, or to pair cowboy boots with your cute little dress.  It felt a little like fitting in, but only cosmetically, as you’d still have to drive home on the George Bush Turnpike and pass the anti-gay marriage signs posted in your neighbor’s yard at election time.

----excerpted from my yet-to-be-published memoir Y'all Are Gay? How I Made It Out of Texas Alive, which chronicles all the crazy, ass-backward people and things my family and I encountered in our five year residency in a northern Dallas suburb.  The real story, though, pokes fun at my own ridiculous ideas of what the world is and how I fit into it.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

I Am Your Neighbor Quick Chat - Equipment Failure

Equipment failure can definite punch a hole in your boat on any project, but when it comes to DIY webcasts, the whole ship can go down!  We're so lucky that we can use a basic smartphone to do most anything these days, even recording, editing, and publishing your own web series.  But what happens when the phone goes dead or the mic fizzles out?  It is not a pretty picture.