If We Were Having Coffee // Half of My Life and One Week Down

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

I’m sorry it’s so late. I was so tired today, and when I wasn’t, I couldn’t bring myself to pull up a screen and type. I just wanted to be here, in my home, in my life. It was nice to unplug for the day, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was missing. I missed this chat and I felt I couldn’t end the weekend without a quick cup of coffee with you.

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

“I let myself go, and made myself some coffee.”

— Anton Chekhov, from a letter to his sister written c. May 1890

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that this weekend marked the 16th anniversary of my girlfriend’s decision to become begin a life together, us against the world. This year marks the halfway point between the years I have been with her, and the years I lived before she came into my life. Half of my life!

I hope by the time we are celebrating our 17th we’ll be working our way into our first year of marriage, but to be honest, this will always be the anniversary that means more to me. I think spending most of your relationship unable to legally get married changes the way you look at the institution of marriage and what it means to be a couple.  We are more than married already. We’ve cobbled together a happy home despite everything against us and we fought hard to stay together.

The day I knew I wanted to be married to this woman is more important to me than the day we will finally become so on paper. With that being said, I still can’t wait to call this beautiful woman my wife and to hear her call me the same.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that we spent our anniversary just outside of town on a gorgeous day hike through Deer Creek Canyon. We both have always loved hiking but there never seemed to be enough time for it. From here to the mountains is a couple of hours and then to hike and then to get back requires half the weekend if you include planning and packing too. I forgot I live in Colorado and this state is all about keeping the great outdoors close enough matter how far into the city you are.

I found out there are quite a few places to hike within half an hour of me, and many that are easy enough that I can keep all the gear at home. Deer Creek was about a 40-minute drive and once we were there and on the trail, I forgot how close were to the city. The trail is nestled just far enough inside the canyon that all you can see is sunshine, green trees, and the red earth.

We arrived just after sunrise and planned to only hike the easy trails and be back the way we came in within a couple of hours but along the way we felt so good we decided to buck up and brave the tougher route to what was marked on the map the “scenic view trail” and I’m so glad we did.

After the hike, we came back home to take long showers and soak our tired feet. We made pot stickers for lunch and drank too many beers before napping the rest of the afternoon away on the couch. When we woke up the sun was on its way down and we decided to dress up and Uber to our favorite out-of-the-way seafood place. We had too much wine and not nearly as many oysters or crab as we should have. Next time we’ll order differently.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that last week was the first week back to school for the kids was just as stressful as I feared it would be. I felt for a while there that it might never end and feared I wouldn’t make it but I’m proud of myself and all my coworkers for getting through it. It isn’t at all easy to get all these kids to school, through school, and back home physically and emotionally sound. If you don’t work for a school district you can’t fathom how chaotic and confusing it can be.

Every department has to work with all the others and more often than not they work against each other instead. Each has its own goals, policies, budget, and needs from the others to keep it working smoothly, and they never seem to agree on the best way to get the job done.

One week down, 39 more to go.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that after yesterday’s hike I’m hurting bad and if I want to have any hope of making into work tomorrow, I need to go soak these sore muscles, slather myself in soothing salves, and take something that will allow me to sleep.

I hope that your week was less stressful than mine and that your weekend was just as relaxing. I hope you found time to get outside and into nature, or that you at least found time to unplug and escape the pressure, the obligation, and the anxiety of your everyday life.

Until next time.

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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 Goran Ivos on Unsplash

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If We Were Having Coffee // Life is Stressful, Life is Good

Hello dear readers. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine ad catching up. I wasn’t sure we were going to meet today. I have a lot on my mind, and so much I should be doing but it’s all a little overwhelming and when I am overwhelmed I shut down. So, I thought, maybe what I need a cup of strong coffee, a little conversation, and a chance to put my mind to other things before I can try again.

“I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;”

— T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell that like the rest of the country my TV is tuned to the news of Hurricane Harvey and the devastation in Texas. The images I see coming out of the city are shocking. It’s horrifying the amount of damage that has been inflicted along their coastal cities in the course of only a weekend.

Years ago we dealt with flooding here in Denver. It had rained here for days on end and once the ground had become saturated the water began to seep into our homes. Only 13 inches of fell rain over the course of many days here, and only an inch or so of water found its way into my basement, but even that felt devastating. I cannot imagine that amount and more over just one night, or the 50″ forecasted for Houston by the end of this storm. I can’t imagine how those people are feeling or how scared they might be.

I have family living in Houston—my sister, her kids and husband, and his family—and so far they are faring well, but that may not last as the waters are predicted to continue to rise through the middle of the week. I was happy to hear though that they have plenty of food and water, they have a plan should the water start to flood their apartment, and their satellite signal held out long enough to watch the Mayweather/Mcgregor fight last night.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the last couple of weeks have been more than a little crazy around here. The school year started and not only are we dealing with a severe driver shortage there is also new management and district wide problems ranging from students with lice to teachers and coaches charged with sexually assaulting students. We’re only two weeks in and this already feels like the worst year we’ve ever had.

Personally, though I’m doing better than most. My route is a good one, and I like the driver I’m riding with too. My girlfriend isn’t doing so well though. She’s still working up to 14 hours a day but she’s agreed not to work on Sunday’s and even when she goes in on Saturday’s she at least sleeps in a little and comes home in the early afternoon. I’m still worried about her stress levels and her health, but she is trying.

She’s agreed not to work more than 6 days out of the week, and when she goes in on the weekends, I am going to start going in along with her. I can write from there, and we can bring the dog too. It’s better than me sitting at home sad or making her feel bad for something that’s out of her control. When she isn’t working, we do our best go out, to keep off our phones, and keep our attention on each other. This weekend we saw friends for drinks and enjoyed a few movies at the drive-in.

By the way, Dunkirk was boring. Annabelle was creepy, but the plot was kind of dumb, and The Dark Tower was beyond disappointing. We had fun despite the movies.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it hasn’t been all bad though. I believe the last time we chatted was the week before our 15th anniversary. We kept it simple. Fifteen years together is quite a milestone but for us and we just wanted to enjoy it without any stress of planning or the pressure to make it perfect. That’s how we are though, the more important the milestone in our lives, the simpler we choose to celebrate it. This year it was a seafood dinner at our new favorite restaurant complete with plenty of wine and oysters. That was all.

It may sound boring, but it’s honestly all I ever want. Just to be with her in a place that has memories of us where we can spend a few hours getting to know each other again. The longer you are with someone, the more you realize that having someone listen to you, to laugh at your jokes, to offer advice and reassurance, and tell you all the good things you do and how much you mean to their world means more than any material gift or fancy destination. So that is what we give to each other, these little gifts for anniversaries, for birthdays, or sometimes just on a regular old Friday night after a hard week.

That’s love. That is what 15 years feels like to me.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we are only 7 months into Trump’s term and I have already come to a point where I have to stop letting him, and his administration take up so much of my time and mental energy. I have to limit how often I read the news, and I will no longer allow myself to watch his speeches, his press releases, or his rallies live. I will watch when I am in a good place, not before bed, not when I am already having a bad day, and not on my bad anxiety days.

I am still committed to resisting his harmful, destructive, and chaotic agenda and I will still work hard to educate those around me and stay informed, but I will do it in my own time and in my own way. I’m tired of starting the day yelling at the TV and fuming on social media over his latest tweets and lies.

This past weekend is when I really began to cut myself off. The last straw, the moment I decided he will never be someone I consider a leader and when I lost the last scrap of hope I had that he might one day become a president I at least won’t be embarrassed by, came when I heard the news that while the entire country was sending thoughts and prayers to the people of Texas as Harvey slammed into the coast he quietly pardoned a racist and banned transgendered people from serving in the military.

He’s a snake and a coward, and he’ll never be my President.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is getting late and I really have to get going. There is just too much I have left to do before the weekend is over.

I have been working like hell for the past two weeks to get my application in for the Bitch Media Fellowship for Writers, and I am so close to finishing my cover letter, CV, and gathering my writing samples. I’m going to try to spend the rest of the day working on it. I had hoped to submit it all tonight, but with all the house work I have to do before the big Game of Thrones finale it may have to wait until early tomorrow morning.

I hope you had a wonderful week, and that your weekend was a relaxing one. If you are in Texas or have family near any of the destruction, my thoughts are with you. Please, stay safe.

Until next time.

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Thank you 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 cup of coffee.

Written for the weekly Weekend Coffee Share link up hosted by Part-Time Monster

Featured image by Paul on Unsplash

Things I Thou​ght Love Was, and Learned the Hard Way, that it Wasn’t

Today is a big day. Today I am celebrating 14 years with my lovely lady. Fourteen years since the day I decided I only wanted to be with her, and I only wanted her to be with me too. Fourteen years since she told me she wanted the same, and we started this strange and wonderful journey together.

This anniversary doesn’t feel like an especially exciting one, but I think for good reason. I think we have come to the point where anniversaries are less of an accomplishment and more of an inevitability. Now, instead of celebrating by doing something special and new, we do things the things we always do because they are our favorite things. I like it better this way.  It feels like honoring how far we have come and who we are together.

I would like to honor what we have learned along the way by sharing it with you.

***

When I was young, and my love and I were first together, I thought that love was about perfection. I thought that love was proof of her perfection and mine, and our perfect perfection together. I thought once she started to find faults with me, that she must be falling out of love. I thought that since I saw faults in her, she must not be the one.

I learned that love is about accepting imperfection, in each other and in your relationship. The trick is finding more good than bad in one another and always striving to do better.

I learned that the person who loves you is the only one who can show you your faults in a way that makes you love yourself despite them. I learned that only seeing the good in a person and making them perfect in your mind is cruel. It is cruel because the illusion will fade and the fall will be worse than if you had both been honest and loved one another, flaws and all, from the beginning.

***

When I was young, and my love and I were first together, I thought that love was only expressed with kindness, empathy, and generosity. I thought fighting meant you weren’t in love and when my girlfriend and I began to fight I became afraid. When I saw her anger I thought she didn’t love me, and when I felt angry it was only my frustration at trying and failing to make her and us happy.

I learned that sometimes love is expressed through actions and feelings that look nothing like love. Sometimes love is angry and mean. Sometimes love is scared and jealous. Sometimes love hurts and is hurting.

No one comes out of their childhood unscathed, and no one comes into a relationship emotionally unburdened. Everything we were taught about how love should feel and be expressed becomes what we expect from the one we’ve chosen to spend our lives with. When our expectations aren’t met, it scares us, and we react in irrational ways.

We try to change, control, and cage each other, thinking we will escape a terrible fate. I will tell you if you do that you will set yourself on a course for failure and heartbreak.

***

When I was young, and my love and I were first together, I thought that love was the prize. I thought once promises were made to spend eternity together there was no need to chase and earn that love again. I thought the fight was over, the rest of my life only need be lived, but when we both became restless and feared being taken for granted, I thought I had to go looking for love elsewhere.

I learned that meeting, falling in love, and settling in our home was not the ends of the journey; it was only the beginning. I learned that love is not like finding your treasure and settling down to empty your spoils. Falling in love is like finally being handed the treasure map and a partner to go hunting with, for the rest of your life.

I thought that love should feel like a burning, consuming passion and love that doesn’t is a love that has run its course, fizzled out, and should be abandoned. I had never been told that after the passion and drama there comes a kind of peace. There comes comfort and contentment and if you come to it without fear it can be something more beautiful than the drama and passion ever were.

Let that comfort be the place your love is journeying toward.

***

When I was young, and my love and I were first together, I thought that love was static and unchanging. I thought that the person I fall for would remain the same person forever. I thought, I hoped, that the paradise we had found and created in and with one another would be timeless and insulated from outside influence.

When I woke up one day and looked at my love and saw someone I didn’t know and who didn’t know me, I panicked. I heard the words “grown up” and “grown apart” saw her drifting away. I raged, and I whined, and I tried to make her back into the girl I first knew, and she only drifted more.

Love isn’t supposed to stay the same forever. Love grows and morphs from day-to-day because ethe people who fee it grow and morph too. They may grow apart, that is a part of the risk, but if they are careful and give one another space and support, the love will grow stronger, and the bond solidifies. Don’t fear the change. Take pride in the way you and your love move through life, sampling different temperaments and becoming different people.

It is the gift you are meant to give one another.

***

When I was young and my love and I were first together we didn’t know what it meant to learn to not only love each other but to live and grow together. Most couples fail to learn the lessons, but we were determined to make it through the dark caverns of jealousy and the jagged mountains of uncertainty. We came out the other side feeling like two people who had also become one entity and would always be.

We are happy, even with our flaws and our fighting we are happy.

I hope you are too, and if you aren’t I hope you can stick it out and come out the other side filled with love, comfort, and contentment.

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Post inspired by The Daily Post’s Discover Challenge: The Poetry of List-Making

Featured image via Unsplash

12 Years and Counting!

12 years ago today I realized I wanted no one but her. Her name is Chardonnay and she is absolutely amazing.

When we met I was a mess. I had no job, I had dropped out of school, and I was practically homeless. I had emotional problems and I was severely depressed. She loved me anyway though and for that I am eternally grateful. She takes care of me and supports me more than is probably healthy and definitely more than I deserve. I can never repay her for all she has done for me but I try everyday. I try to be a better person for her and I try to be there for her the way she has for me all this time. I love her more than anything.

People ask me all the time how we made it this far, and the truth is, staying together is both the easiest and the hardest thing to do. The trick is to keep trying NO MATTER WHAT. There will be misunderstandings and hurt feelings from time to time. You will take things out on each other and say things you don’t mean. You will change and make mistakes and even sometimes take each other for granted. At the end of the day, at the end of every single day, you have to just come together and work it out. Let the anger and the pride go and just TALK. See things from the other’s point of view, say you’re sorry, and try not to do it again. There isn’t much else to it, just remember to love each other and the rest just falls into place.