If We Were Having Coffee // It’s Gonna be Smooth Sailing into 2018

Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. We’ll have to be quick though, I have a full day of Christmas shopping planned and it’s probably best to start early, before the crowds and before I realize how much I really don’t want to do this. I’m hoping a cup or two of strong brew will wake me up, and I’m hoping a lovely conversation with you will get me in the mood to go out into the world today.

“‘Delectable,’ Ulysses said. ‘Of all the drinks that I have drank on all the planets I have visited, the coffee is the best.’”

― Clifford D. Simak, Way Station

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m finding it harder and harder, the further we get into the winter weather and the holiday season, to keep up with writing. I’m working more and worrying more. It’s cold outside. It’s dark when I leave home and dark when I return, and I never seem to sleep well. Winter has never been conducive to my creativity, but this year I’m aware and determined not to let a little thing like seasonal depression get me down and keep me from doing what I love. So, I’m trying to do things a bit differently.

Last week work was beyond hectic, and I had little time for this blog, but I wasn’t idle. I finally have an editorial calendar set up—I’ve already been adding to it regularly, though I still have to work on sticking to it—and I have really, actually, seriously this time started working on my “death anxiety” project.

I spent my lunch hour at work at least three days this week brainstorming essay topics, art, titles, and structure. I won’t pretend any of my ideas were actually good but I my gut tells me this is a numbers game. The more bad ideas you get out there, the higher your chances of finding a good one, right? So I’m churning them out as fast as I can. I have a whole notebook dedicated to failures and bad ideas, and at this rate, I may need another very soon. It’s been great fun, and I feel like I’m getting closer to doing the kind of writing I always wanted to do.

Through all of that brainstorming and I learned a few things about the way my mind works. I learned that the best time for me to focus on one project and get tangible work done is in the middle of the morning, between 8:00 and 10:00. I learned the best time for me to let my mind wander, and to connect fragments and inspiration in ways that aren’t obvious at first is in the middle of the afternoon, between 1:00 and 4:00. I’m hoping knowing this about myself will make my work more efficient and lead to better ideas faster.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in an effort not to get sucked into negativity and false perspectives I’m practicing gratitude with greater intensity than ever. I’m taking time to acknowledge that even on my worst days, during my greatest frustrations and inconveniences, I have every reason to be happy and all the opportunity I need to change whatever I don’t like about my life.

Being alive is scary, embarrassing, annoying, confusing, and painful, but it’s also a goddamn miracle and good things happen just as often as the bad. Here are some that happened to me:

  1. I had a delightful conversation with my sister and her kids this week. I’ve been a bad sister and aunt, and I haven’t called in far too long, but only because I missed them so much and had no idea what to say. I will do better from now on.
  2. I got a ton of overtime at work, and even though I didn’t really want it, I’m still grateful for it. I got to take care of things for my coworkers who are going through some tough times, and my paycheck won’t be so bad after winter break.
  3. A wonderful friend of mine loaned me his copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and bought me the definitive director’s cut version of Blade Runner as an early Christmas gift.
  4. Another wonderful friend who I haven’t seen in far too long invited me out for dinner ad drink for her belated birthday celebration. It felt good to be there to celebrate her, to catch, and let her know how important she is to me.
  5. I’ve started cooking more and more, and I am actually starting to enjoy it. Last week I made Creamy Vegetable and Tortellini Soup with Pesto and Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Wings. Both of which my girlfriend—the best cook I know and the only one I am ever trying to impress— loved!
  6. We made big party plans for New Year’s Eve with some other wonderful friends entirely, and then those plans got canceled, and then they were back on again! And I might wear something I would never ever usually wear, and I might look amazing in it.
  7. Black Mirror finally revealed it’s release date for season 4! December 29th people! A perfect end to a very disorienting and anxiety-inducing year.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to the coming week which I am almost positive will be a lot less stressful than this past one was. My workload ought to be much lighter, and warm weather is returning. I have a new book to read, a bunch of new posts to write, and a ton of podcasts to catch up on. I can’t wait to get started.

Actually, the entire rest of 2017 should be easy peasy and thank God for that because I  cannot wait for this politically infuriating and disorienting year to wrap the hell up. Not that I expect 2018 to be any better, in fact, I foresee things getting a lot worse as one side begins to tire and the other simply waits us out. They are going to start winning, and no matter how we scream and fight, they will go on doing just as they please.

But a New Year is always encouraging and the way time has been flying since summer I know it’ll be over before I know it. I’ve only got to get through this week and the next of Christmas prep and small tasks at work, then Christmas day, and it’ll be smooth sailing into 2018.

I feel good about that. Or, I feel just as good as I do bad about that. This year has been hard and as happy as I am to see it end, the forward march of time is always a little sad. Every day on this Earth is one day closer to your inevitable end. I’m learning to cope with that too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our coffee date had gone on much longer than I planned and as much as I’m enjoying it, I really must get going. The mall is filling up by the minute I’m sure, and the more people there are, the more anxious I’ll be. The more anxious I am, the less effective and efficient I am, and if it all goes too far, I’ll be in tears. God, I hate Christmas shopping.

I hope you had a good and productive week, if you didn’t I hope you have no regrets. I hope you’ll drop a note in the comments and let me know what you’ve been up to. I do love hearing from you.

Until next time.

P.S. Excuse the time discrepancy between the time of day I described and the time of day you may have read this. I wrote it early in the morning shortly after waking, but I failed to hit publish before I left, and so, didn’t post it until late in the evening.

***

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 cup of coffee. Thanks again!

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

Featured photo by Mikesh Kaos on Unsplash

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If We Were Having Coffee // It Was Fun, but It Was the Worst

Hello and happy Sunday dear readers! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. I’ve got the blinds open wide letting in all this gorgeous sunshine. I have classical music playing through the speakers. I feel good today, in body and mind, better than I have in weeks and I just know a bit of caffeine and conversation will only cheer me more. So pull up a chair, and get yourself a cuppa. It’s been quite a week for me, as I’m sure it has been for you too, and I’m excited to tell you all about it.

“Coffee is like another portal to elsewhere, sip once and I’m already dressed in code blue, twice and I’m  moving towards reckless endangerment and thrice, well watch out because I’m about to reach the term catastrophe.”

When 2 cups of coffee means business, D C de Oliveira

***

The holiday break got off to a bit of a sad start when my girlfriend’s mother was admitted to the hospital after a blood clot was found in her lung. She is doing fine and already back home, and we are definitely feeling very grateful especially after the blood clot was almost not found at all! Apparently, her primary care doctor failed to order the test that would have detected the clot nearly a week earlier! Thankfully she got herself back there after her cough got worse and they found the problem and began treatment right away.

Unfortunately, that meant she had to spend Thanksgiving in the hospital. We stopped by to chat and bring her a cup of good coffee. We talked with her about what comes next and how she may have to work harder to care for herself going forward than she had been up until now. She wasn’t too keen on the idea, but we will be as encouraging as we need to be to keep her going. She’s lucky, and she’s very strong too, to have gotten through this. I’m just not sure she knows it yet.

 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our Thanksgiving evening was spent at my mother’s house along with my step-father, my youngest sister, my brother and his family, and a couple of friends he invited along.

The food was delicious, and I actually contributed this year! I made this beautiful Bacon Brie Cresent Wreath, and my girlfriend baked a lovely Cranberry Upside-Down Cake. My mom and sister put together a great selection of sides—mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce—and my step-father made both turkey and ham.

It was a chaotic night, but that’s perfectly normal in my family, especially when so much wine is flowing. My sister and I spent much of the night hiding in my mother’s office, which she hated, but we needed to get away from all the arguing, and noise, and awkward conversations. My family has never been able to get along for the length of a whole holiday. My girlfriend told my mother that it had been fun, but it has also been the worst Thanksgiving yet. We all agreed she was right.

After all the men left us, girls settled in with our deserts to watch girly movies until the food made us tired and we had to leave before we all fell asleep.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Black Friday shopping was a no go. We spent the morning with my girlfriend’s mother and prepared for another Thanksgiving dinner with some close friends and coworkers of ours. A “Friendsgiving.”

The night started off nicely but quickly deteriorated after I made us all lemon drop cocktails for dessert and another friend began pouring vodka shots at the same time. We all acted like complete fools, and I woke up the next morning trying to piece the event of the night into proper order and to work through my overwhelming embarrassment. My only consolation is that my behavior was not the most mortifying of the night.

Still, I had to make a sad round of apologies and explanations the next day. I am thankful I have understanding friends and loved ones who assure me I was not as offensive nor as cringe-worthy as I recall now.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the plan for Saturday was to finally get some much need relaxation in. I wanted to do absolutely nothing, and not just because I was nursing that nasty hangover, but because the week had been so stressful and I knew that the end was nowhere in sight. I wanted a mental self-care day to focus on ourselves and each other before the Christmas rush was to begin.

But the universe had other plans and an old friend who was back in town called to tell us that through a grievous oversight on her part we had not received our intended invitation to her baby shower. We had just hours to get up, get ready, get a gift, and get there. We made it, early in fact, and with beautiful pink narwhal and culturally diverse mermaid themed gifts and we had a great time despite my bitter feelings over the invitation.

Afterwards, my girlfriend, my cousin, and I went out to for some good food and deep conversation about the trauma inflicted upon us by our parents and the benefits of counseling, validation, and self-awareness. As we get further and further along in life, we realize that healing ourselves, teaching our elders, and creating a world that is conducive to healing for the next generation is the good we want to do while we are here.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that today is my day to just what I want, and there will be no compromise on it. I’m screening my calls and refusing to involve myself in anything that isn’t an emergency. I am writing, and cleaning, and catching up on all the news, YouTube videos, and podcasts I haven’t had time for, oh, weeks now!I’m hoping this coming week will be an easy one. I have a break between classes of new hires in need of training at work, and I aim to take full advantage of all that free time.

I am a believer in making time to do extensive planning before making any big New Years Resolutions, and I also believe it’s best to start them now so you can start the year off proud and eager to keep the streak going.

I’m working on an actual editorial calendar for this blog going, for at least two months into 2018, and write a proper plan for publishing a collection of essays and writing I want to share with all of you this time next year. I also want to spend some serious reading time in now that I have gotten the hang of Good Omens, and my journal has been feeling sorely neglected.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even though I have so much more to tell you, I had better get going. The kitchen hasn’t been cleaned in days, and the laundry piles are much bigger than usual. I can’t waste any time if I am going to get this house in shape and still do all the nothing I want too.

I hope you had a fantastic holiday. I hope you had much to be grateful for and I hope your celebration of it all was lovely and delicious too. Remember to take care of yourself and don’t let the pressure of holiday meals, gifts, and decoration distract you from what the season is all about.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Featured photo by Izzy Rivi on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Time to Get Spooky!

Hello dear readers. Thanks for stopping by for a bit of coffee and conversation. I’m feeling anxious today. The caffeine isn’t helping. Actually, the caffeine might be the cause.

I’ve been drinking cold brew coffee for months but since the mornings are growing colder and colder, and I need something warm and strong to start the day again. Drip coffee tastes like bitter water now, so I’ve dusted off my espresso machine and moved to drinking a couple of warm, velvety shots instead. I’m still figuring out the right ratio of coffee grounds to water and I may have overdone it.

“Coffee for two
The sweetest and most bitter
Bold in taste
Warm in conversation
Lovely in embrace
Coffee for me
Coffee for you”

— NB // Coffee For Two

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m feeling much better this Sunday than I was the last. The world still feels like it’s ending nearly every day, but I made sure to take breaks from social media and to limit my intake of the news to once or twice a day. Some of the shit still found its way in.

Between Harvey Weinstein’s predation coming to light, the short-sighted call to boycott Twitter in response to Rose McGowan being suspended, the fires in California, and Trump sabotaging what little health care we can get in this country I still found plenty of reasons to be depressed and anxious, but less so than the week before. It was good to unplug for a while.

Not that I have been any more productive instead. I found new ways to waste time, and new ways to be disappointed in myself. It wasn’t a good writing week at all. I had such hope after starting a list of specific topics to write about here and after deciding on the theme for an upcoming personal writing project I thought it would be easy-peasy from here. Nope, the hardest part is still keeping my ass in the chair and just doing the damn writing.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there is hope though. I’ve started reading Things Are What You Make of Them by Adam J. Kurtz, and I’m feeling a little less afraid of writing. Or, I feel a little less alone in my fear and my failure. It always helps to know you aren’t struggling alone. It helps to know it isn’t all you, being creative and putting yourself out there are just hard things to do, but you can do it if you just don’t give up.

I’m also reading The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. I started it last Thursday, and I’m already halfway done. It’s such a dream to read! I’ve seen the movie about a million time but it’s such a unique story told from such an intriguing perspective that it still draws me in and excites me.

***

If we were having coffee, I would wish you a belated happy Friday the 13th! Being a fan of all things horror, I’m always excited when the 13th falls on a Friday of any month, but having it happen in October is an especially spooky treat. To mark the occasion my sister, and my girlfriend and I went out to take advantage of some Friday the 13th tattoo and piercing specials. My sister got her nostril pierced. My girlfriend got a lucky white rabbit tattoo, and I got this cute little fly that reminded me of the film The Fly, the 1986 version specifically, thank you very much.

This is my second Friday the 13th tattoo, and I’m already looking to getting another next Friday, which just happens to be my birthday!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of my week, besides the tattoo, was last night when we met up with some friends for a couple’s night out.

We started at a small pizza place downtown for dinner and drinks. It was a new place, and I was pleasantly surprised. The calzones we ordered were enormous and delicious, and the menu featured an extensive list of microbrews and cocktails. Afterward, we went to a huge haunted house to get spooky! After that, we went for even more drinks!

It’s been too long since we were last out with friends, I didn’t realize how much I had missed it. Especially these friends, two other couples who understand what it means to be with someone for years. I enjoy watching them interact with each other. Like everything else, it helps to know you are normal.

We're the cutest 😍😙

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***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s getting late and I have to get going. There’s more writing to do, posts to draft and notes to type up plus laundry to do, dinner to get in the oven, and the cocktails that need to be made before The Duece comes on.

I hope you had a wonderful week. I hope you found time to take care of you this weekend. I hope it’s beginning to feel like Halloween and you are enjoying the spooky vibes too.

Until next time

The world's shrinking.

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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 cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up, now hosted over at Eclectic Alli!

Featured photo is by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Writing the Best Pile of Crap I Can

Hello, friends! Thank you for stopping by for a big cup of coffee and a bit of catching up.  This past week was a pretty good one. I had hardly any work-work to do at all, so I spent it doing research for my nano-novel-that-might-never-be and getting my editorial calendar into something that looks a little more like order than chaos.

I wish I had gotten more reading done, and I wish I had written more blog posts, but overall I think it was a pretty good week.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of the week was a live show put on by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Friday night on bats. Yes, bats! It was so, so good. Rob Mies, the director of the Organization for Bat Conservation, gave the talk and him and his assistants walked the bats around the room so we could all see them up close and get some pictures.

When I bought the tickets, I had no idea who Mies was about the problems facing bat colonies all over the world. I didn’t know how bats helped us all or how many of them there were. I learned a lot, and I have a better appreciation for these little, and sometimes big, flying mammals.

I would like very much to attend more events like this. As an adult, you forget what how much fun it is to go somewhere just because you want to learn something.

It’s a welcome change of pace.

Malaysian flying fox :)

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***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have Christine at Better Novel Project and Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds to thank for making so much progress on my novel’s outline this week. To be honest, with you I have very little idea what is going to happen or what this book is going to be about, ultimately, but I have some places to start. I have a list of the kinds of scenes I could write, a list of dos and don’ts, a list of character types, and a ton of world building information to work through.

I might just write a big pile of crap next month, but I am trying to make it the best pile of crap I can. Hell, even if that pile of crap does nothing but show me what I don’t want to write it will have been an invaluable learning experience, right?

***

If we were having coffee I would remind you that last week I mentioned I was starting to cook more often, even though I don’t enjoy it, nor am I very good at it. I’m doing it because my girlfriend works incredibly long hours now and it’s not right that she should be figuring out dinner too, even if she wants to.

For her part, she is reluctant at times to give up an activity she enjoys but admits it would help with her stress levels, so she relents. I told her just two nights a week and one good breakfast on the weekends. I’m beginning to enjoy it a little when it goes well, but when it doesn’t, it’s awful.

I’ve made both lemon pepper and hot wings, and some sweet potato waffles and each came out pretty good. I’m hoping to make these beyond delicious looking tacos al pastor tonight if I can find the ingredients.

***

If we were having coffee, I would ask you if you have checked out the show Black Mirror on Netflix? I watched season 1 and 2 a long, long time ago and had been hoping, praying, for more. When I heard Netflix had taken over the show I became even more excited and hopeful, and finally this weekend my dreams of more Twilight Zone-esq psychological thrills centered around questions of our dependence and trust in technology were realized. Season three was realised and so far it has been amazing. Check it out!

While you’re at it make sure to check out 13th, a documentary on mass incarceration in the united states. It was informative and brought me to tears more than once. This film put the whole damn system, from slavery to the prison industrial complex, into words and brings to light some behind the scenes law making tactics I am sure most Americans don’t know about.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that next week is going to be a busy one so if you don’t see me around her very much don’t worry, I’ll be back. I will be doing some training at work and I still have some cramming to do before NaNoWriMo, so blogging will have to wait. I’ve been slacking on the comments around here—I’m so sorry about that—and on reading all your great blogs—I’m so sorry about that too—so I may use whatever free time I have to correct those oversights.

I also wanted to give some Yeah Write! challenges a try and work on something for fēlan zine if I can squeeze it in.

Whew!

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I had better get going, the laundry needs washing, the dishes need scrubbing, and I’d like to get out of the house and enjoy some sunshine and freedom before I return to the work week.

I hope you all had a wonderful week and I wish you nothing but productivity and good vibes in the next. Drop by the comments and let me know what you’ve been up to. I do love hearing from you all :)

Curly dreads :)

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Featured image via reeqhair