I have sat and stared blankly at the two simple words “Hello world” on and off for the past week as I brainstormed how to kick off my new blog. “Hello World” is the first topic that Word Press suggests, and it has definitely stumped me. How does one start a blog? What do I say? What is my focus? What makes me interesting enough for others to read my thoughts and ramblings?
It has been a very long time since I could be personal and heartfelt in a written document. I spend much of my professional life writing business related documents with words like margin, ratio, reports, with specific instructions to click on a button or view a screen, perform a certain action, or have the reader think in a specific way. I instruct in neutral language, leaving out emotion and opinion. I use a slew of acronyms so complex that we need a glossary. To be honest, I am surprised we have not yet named the glossary with an acronym. If we did, it would surely be the GOA, or the Glossary of Acronyms.
And now, here I am, unleashed, with a brand new blog all to myself, no limits, all of the constraints of my professional life set aside as I write on my own time, and I realize I have forgotten how to run wild with the written word! How to have fun!! How to be creative!! I am reminded of my sweet black labrador Babe who walked in harmony with me on her leash through the streets of our town, so perfectly behaved that she did not actually need the leash; the leash was simply a formality, mandated by a city ordinance.
While on the leash my Babe did not run, she did not pull, she did not chase her nemesis the squirrels, she walked dutifully and obediently by my side. When we visited her favorite park or my parents’ fenced in yard it took her awhile to realize that she was free to run and scamper like a dog is supposed to. Once she figured it out and once she shook off the mental and physical constraints of the leash, she ran like a maniac, rolling around with her doggie friends, racing headfirst into the water at her favorite beach, running full speed in circles for no reason other than to be a dog, and burning off all of the energy that had not been spent on our dignified leashed walks.
This is my chance to be like my Babe, to brush off the dignified neutral writing, the documents so unbiased they could have been written by a legal team, and the acronyms! Definitely the acronyms!! Well, except for GSP, which I reserve the right to use to describe my beloved German Shorthaired Pointer. This is the verbal equivalent to the doggie park, this is the lake into which I will run headfirst, the grass where I will roll on my back with legs up in the air, the field where I will run top speed for no real reason.
The name Babe in the Burbs is an homage to my Babe, who was much more than a dog, she was an unforgettable part of my life as we shared 12 years of life experiences together. When I moved to the Chicago suburbs in April 2005 she was by my side, and for the first few months that we lived in Illinois she was the only friend that I had aside from some coworkers with whom I would eat my lunch. She was by my side through major life changes ranging from agonizing to blissful and everywhere between those two extremes.
While this blog is not going to focus on my Babe, it felt right to include her in the name. Although she passed into heaven in November 2009, I have her paw print tattooed on my back to keep her close to me forever, to remind me of the changes I made in my life with her by always by my side.
So if not about Babe, what is Babe in the Burbs? This is the story of me, of my life in the far western suburbs of Chicago, of my transition from single woman living with a labrador retriever, to firefighter’s wife, step-mother to three school aged children, dog mommy to my furry babies. This is the story of my commute, of being a professional career woman with a family, of trying to be superwoman, failing at being superwoman, and finally deciding that being superwoman isn’t the slightest bit realistic or satisfying.
This is the story of how I got to this exact place and time, the changes I’ve been through,and the funny, ridiculous and sometimes sad stories that led me here. This is my story of how I unleashed myself from one life and raced headfirst into another, and how I’ve been wagging my tail ever since.