If We Were Having Coffee // Mini Vacations and Pattern Recognition

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I’ll be honest, I’m not in the best mood today. The suffocating summer heat has returned and so has the wildfire smoke blowing in from as far as California. I’ve got a strong batch of cold brew to help with the heat but my runny nose and itching eyes and throat are making me miserable. I’m hoping that some good company and conversation to pick me up though because it’d be a real shame to waste the last of the weekend this way.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. Let’s talk about last week!

“and we drink our
coffee and pretend
not to look at
each other.”

— Charles Bukowski, Luck

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last week was my first week back to working my normal, non-summer schedule and even though I struggled with it—getting up on time, arriving to work on time, and staying awake through what has been my nap time all summer—I actually loved it. I’d forgotten how good it felt to wake up and have to be somewhere, to have things I have to and people who expect me to show up.

It’s weird but I’m just one of those people who thrives under strict schedules, clear expectations, and hard boundaries. I like to know what is coming up. I like to plan ahead and prepare emotionally for the day, the week, even the month ahead. It’s an anxiety thing I’m sure. A lot of my friends think it sounds boring, but to me, it sounds safe and efficient. I can have fun and do wild and crazy things. I can surprise myself and learn something new all the time, I just like to plan for it, that’s all.

I got to meet the new kids coming on to my route since 9th graders have a special orientation day before the official start of school. They seem awesome and I’m confident we’re going to have a fun year. I was sad to learn that one of my favorite kids from last year moved back to his home state and won’t be riding with us after all. He will definitely be missed.

Tomorrow all the kids I had last year are going to see me again for the first time since May. I can’t wait to hear all about their vacations and see just how much they have grown over the summer. That may be my favorite part of my job, watching kids grow up into young adults. It’s why I bid middle and high school routes exclusively year after year. The rapid changes these kids go through is so mysterious and fascinating to watch and I feel privileged to be a part of it, no matter how small.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the weekend was a relaxing one. Friday night we stayed in but made the night special by grabbing a pack of hard cider and picking up some hot wings for dinner. We watched Extinction on Netflix, a sci-fi alien invasion flick that wasn’t really worth the time I took to watch it.

Yesterday we went had lunch at our favorite sushi place and ended up getting marvelously daytime tipsy after a couple of ginger beer, lemonade, and grapefruit vodka concoctions. Afterward, we walked to the Alamo Drafthouse across the street to see the new Spike Lee joint, Blackkklansman. Now that is a movie worth every minute of viewing time and every penny paid to see. I highly recommend it and make sure you have some tissues with you. The entire theater was in tears by the end.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that Saturday was such a good day, and so was that the Saturday before. They were so good that I’ve decided to do my best going forward to spend every Saturday doing something new, fun, or interesting.

It’s like going on a tiny vacation. You unplug, get out of the house and away from your day-to-day grind to get a new perspective. Doing this, even for a few hours a week has profound effects on your mental health and productivity. It’s even had a profound effect on my relationship.

These past few weeks my girlfriend and I have had to deal with work bleeding over into what was once time we set aside of one another. We haven’t been able to eat dinner together, go to bed together, or talk much during the day, but these past couples of Saturdays have given us a chance to catch up and reconnect away from those responsibilities and worries.

This coming Saturday we’ll actually be celebrating our 16th anniversary. It’s a big day but we’ll keep the festivities low-key, just a nice dinner at our favorite out-of-the-way seafood place. We’ve never been big on gifts but I did get her (us) something small, a beautiful copy of the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World soundtrack pressed on beautiful red vinyl.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m going to try something new this week. Last Friday I listened to an episode of the Sketchnote Army Podcast featuring a thought-provoking interview with my favorite creative, Austen Kleon. In it, Kleon outlined a compelling writing strategy he’s been utilizing.

Basically, he carries around a pocket notebook and uses it religiously. The pocket notebook is for fragments, thoughts, aha moments, and quick notes and logging. Later, the fragments and bits are expanded into journal entries, blog posts, essays, pitches, poems, and then as they pile up, a year or two out, maybe later, maybe sooner, you start to see a pattern.

That pattern is how your mind works and contains the things you think about and the areas of life in which you have opinions about the way things are or the way they should be. You find out what you are trying to tell the world. You find your big idea.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I guess I’d heard about this way of writing before and just never put much stock in it but the way Kleon explained it made me think it might make sense for me. I already take notes on everything I hear, see, say, and think, but those notes are wildly disorganized, lacking context, and easily lost. If I manage to hold on to them they are usually indecipherable by the time I decide to sit down to articulate and share what I had in my mind only hours before.

So this week my goal is to write more of these fragments and to commit to organizing them and expanding them in my journal or here on the blog every evening. My hope is that a new system will lead to a higher quantity and quality of work not just here but in others areas of my creative life.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the rising temperatures in the house have me ready for a cold shower and a nap, so, I have to cut the conversation short.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope you learned something, made some small progress, or at least made it through with minimal stress and little to no tears. I hope your weekend was relaxing. I hope you were able to make time for you and if you weren’t I hope you know there is still time.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by Hussain Ibrahim on Unsplash

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Published by

Lisa Marie Blair

Hello! I'm an aspiring writer fascinated by the human condition. I blog at zenandpi.com but you can also find me on Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. Consider signing up for my newsletter or supporting what I do by sharing a cup of virtual coffee. Thanks :)

2 thoughts on “If We Were Having Coffee // Mini Vacations and Pattern Recognition”

  1. Hi Lisa, I’d love to try this coffee drink you described. We are just south of many of the California fires and our air has been smoky for many days now. It is getting old and we fret for our neighbors to the north. We need rain so badly. . .

    I’m intrigued. You have a “route” that you teach for 9th graders (a blessed time in my own life)? How does that work? Are your students scattered across a wide area where a physical school wouldn’t work or are they special needs, so you go to them rather than them coming to your class?

    We home schooled our kiddos and have a friend who may be doing something similar to what you are doing and she loves it.

    This last week was my first week back after my 2 month rehab from back surgery. It was, umm, tense. Some big problems awaited me, and my job will simply never be as pleasant as reading, writing and walking or exercising as I please.

    Hope your upcoming week is wonderful.
    Blessings.

    Like

  2. It sounds like you had a great week, and weekend. So many positive thoughts! I thrive on routines as well, as long as I get some road trips in between :) I can’t enjoy the road trips if I don’t have the routine to come back to though. Have an awesome new week!

    Liked by 1 person

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