198//365 — Home is Where Growth Happens

It’s nice to have friends who think on the same wavelengths we do. That is what friends are for after all. They’re versions of ourselves that we enjoy being around before going home to what you really need, to be with someone very different from us.

Because that is where the real growth happens, not with people who think like you but with people who don’t. It happens at home where it might not always feel nice. It might look more like arguing than compromise, or more like sulking, resentment, and defensiveness. Home is where you work out who you are with someone who’s working out who they are too. It’s messy, it’s beautiful, it’s life, and it just can’t happen when two people are too much alike.

To the woman I love, thank you for having the same life goals as me and very different ideas about how to get there. Thank you for your almost alien perspective. Thank you for your outside interests. Thank you for your baggage and your bias. If not for you, sure, I might still be able to think and sympathize outside of my own experience but I would never have been capable of taking the leap to living outside of my comfort zone.

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I’m doing something new here. In addition to my regular blog post, I’m adding these journal entries. The goal is to post one every day hence the title of each will be the current day number out of 365. I was inspired to try this by Thord D. Hedengren.

Oh, and, as always, 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 virtual cup of coffee.

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If We Were Having Coffee // An Emotional Birthday Weekend Rollercoaster

Hello dear readers. Welcome, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. It’s going to be a quick conversation this week, today is that special day of the year I get to spend at the kitchen table, squinting at my computer screen, surrounded by a collection of documents from various financial institutions, trying to tell the IRS what they already know.

At least the sun is shining today, and the temperatures are warming up again. This weekend gusts of frigid winter air blew through the city and sapped all the energy from our bones. It was a harsh reminder that it isn’t quite summertime yet and to make any outdoor plans right now is risky. Luckily much of my birthday celebrations were all inside activities.

“Sometimes it is the smallest thing that saves us: the weather growing cold, a child’s smile, and a cup of excellent coffee.”

― Jonathan Carroll

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my birthday was a good one this year. This year, my birthday fell on a Friday the 13th. I’m not superstition, but it’s fun to have the day that you celebrate your birth and another year of life occasionally fall on a day culturally considered unlucky.

I usually celebrate the day as a sort of mini Halloween. I wear creepy t-shirts, I might watch a scary movie, and sometimes I get tattoos from shops doing Friday the 13th specials. This year I got a gorgeous, and quite painful, “bad luck” tattoo on the back of my neck.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the rest of my birthday was spent with just my girlfriend. We had pizza before the tattoo shop then we found a new Italian place to check out for dinner after. I had lamb ribs with fig glaze, rabbit gnocchi, and a pastry dessert that I can’t remember the name of that was to die for! My fiance had the cornish game hen stuffed with pheasant sausage and tiramisu for dessert. It was all delicious, and it was fun to try some new foods on my special day, but I don’t think I’ll be eating rabbit or pheasant again anytime soon.

Yesterday was a close friend of mine’s birthday, so we had another birthday dinner, this time at a sushi restaurant, then drinking, dancing, and a drag show after.

It was all a ton of fun, and I was glad to see my friends and celebrate with them, but I realized that for me, turning 33 was a very serious, quiet, and personal affair. I’m not sad about it, and I certainly believe it is a milestone worth celebrating, but celebrating with a more intimate company was definitely a good choice.

Another thing I love about birthdays is hearing from all the people who think I matter too. From my father’s text at four in the morning to my grandmother’s late-night call to sing happy birthday before I was off to bed I felt like for just one day I was more alive, more real, because so many people were thinking of me.

I still have to see my mom—who also celebrated a birthday this month—and my siblings, and my dad. I’ll have another dinner with my cousins soon and another later in the month with a few other friends who, like me, prefer a quieter night out. I celebrate the whole month long, and I recommend everyone do the same. We all deserve it.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the gifts were pretty awesome too. A coworker brought her 7-year-old daughter in to give me a gift bag full of six avocados. I got myself the tattoo (you should always buy yourself something too). My mom gave me money to buy more books. My girlfriend got me a few AdamJK things, a book of Familiar Quotations by John Bartlett, and 17 volumes from The University Society Book Lovers Edition 1901 Shakespeare Collection she found at a thrift store.

Many are full of handwritten notes and pieces of other works either glued or stapled in. Used books are ever just about the book. They are also about every person who has owned them before you.

Apparently, there are more gifts to come tomorrow, something bigger I hear, but I honestly already feel so content and happy with what I’ve received I can’t imagine what else I could want.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that there was in the middle of all this celebration and special attention some bad news came. All the tests the doctors ordered a few weeks ago have come back and while I’m not doing poorly—as in, not anemic, no new health issues—the inflammation is back, and my medication is definitely not working.

I’ve been slowly declining for a few weeks now, and I’ll keep getting sicker and sicker if I am not switched to new medication but of course, because I live in America, standing between me and the next stage in my care are big dollar signs. I have the choice of two different meds, one I’ll have to pay for up front, or one to be billed later, neither of which can I really afford.

I’m applying for financial assistance from the drug companies, but the application process is complicated. It’s going to take some time. Meanwhile, I’m worried about how much work I’ll have to miss, and if three or four or five years from now after I’ve paid 10s of thousands of dollars the medication will stop working, and in the end, my colon will end up being removed anyway.

I’m only 33 years old! I shouldn’t be dealing with these kinds of problems yet!

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you the taxes are all done, and that means I have to move on to other projects. I’m at least four letters behind in the Blogging A to Z Challenge, and I still have to get ready or the work week. Thank you for sitting through this stressful time with me, it helps to have friendly vibes and an ear to bend to ease the anxiety.

I hope you had a pleasant weekend. I hope your taxes are done, and Spring has been more like summer than winter where you are. I hope your coming week will be productive, and if it isn’t, I hope you know it’s okay to take a break and that you can begin again anytime you choose.

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 cup of coffee.

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Work Options and Work Lies

Hello, hello, dear readers! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of hot coffee and conversation. Yes, this week we’ll have hot coffee instead of the cold brew I’ve been forcing on you all summer. This morning we have cooler temperatures, clouds, and even some fog. Perfect conditions for a hot cup of coffee, don’t you think?

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that my first week of my new route went well, I guess. So, for any new followers this week, I work for the transportation department of a school district here in Colorado. I ride a school bus with the Special Needs kids to make sure they stay safe and appropriate and have a fun ride. I’ve done this for the past ten years or so of my life and for the most part it’s all been—or felt—pretty much the same.

This year it’s very different. I am riding with a driver who we have contracted a route out to; I’m working with only one student instead of 5 or 9, and I am transporting to a school I have never done before. The hours are perfect; the student needs special attention, but it’s nothing I can’t handle. The only problem so far is that the driver is awful!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the driver can’t drive and worse than that she preaches to me. I can ignore the driving but the preaching, ugh!

She asked me if I had a boyfriend or husband.  I took in her foreign accent and the fact that she was listening to Christian rock and decided she wasn’t someone I should come out to. So I lied. I told her I was single.

(For those new readers this week, I have been in a relationship with the most amazing woman ever for almost 14 years now.)

I shouldn’t have lied, but sometimes it feels easier than hearing someone tell me they believe I’m going to hell. Then the driver, instead of dropping it and leaving me alone, starts telling me I need to go to church and pray that God brings me a good husband. It might be funny if it weren’t so insulting. *sigh* It’s going to be a long year.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, speaking of work, I all of a sudden am very popular. All of a sudden everyone wants me working for them. All of a sudden, when I am working on trying to be a writer and leave this job, all of a sudden, they all appreciate me and want me to do more. If I sound a little bitter, it’s because I am very bitter, and I’m trying to hold back.

When I am not on my route, I am working in our training department. I help teach new employees how to keep kids safe, and I help make sure existing employee remember how to keep kids safe. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, and I like to think I am good at it. My bosses tell me I am good at it, but they don’t always treat me like I am.

But now an office position has become available. Actually, two have become available, but one is more work for the same amount of pay while the other is more work for more pay, so only the latter is being considered.

Except that, I want to quit my job one day and the hours I bid and the work I am doing now allow me to focus on writing and working on my novel. I have a plan for this year and all of a sudden they want me. Now I am unsure of my plan. What if I fail as a writer? I’ll have wished I had taken this opportunity. Maybe?

***

If we were having coffee, I would quickly mention that I have decided to take a little driving class. I have a very intense fear of driving—cars are bombs on wheels!—and so I have never been able to get my driver’s license. I have made progress with my girlfriend teaching me, but I have hit a wall. It’s too easy for me to get out of driving with her and it’s too hard for me to be disciplined and do it when I have no consequences for not doing it.

So, I am paying good money for a certified instructor to teach me for a while. This accomplishes two things. One, it will build my confidence. I am being taught by someone who knows how to teach people, and I am getting to practice in a place that is safe for me to make mistakes in. And two, it is setting up deadlines and consequences. If set up an appointment and I don’t go to my lesson, I pay a fee. If I never do any of my lessons I have to pay again.

I am calling tomorrow to set up my first appointment.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that on the writing front I am going to try writing for a few Medium outlets that pay real money. I expect to get a lot of rejection, but I figure I need to get on with getting rejected as soon as possible so I can get on with getting accepted as soon as possible.

I would also tell you that I have very nearly finished my Blog Like a Magazine course, and I am going to start sprucing things up around here this week. I’m working on some images for the sidebar, I’m pulling some of my favorite posts for a feature at the top, and I may even get a real logo!

Stay tuned and wish me luck :)

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I am enjoying our visit, I have to get going. I have a bit of a headache, and I should lay down before it turns into a full-blown migraine.

I hope you all had a wonderful week, and I hope your weekend has been a relaxing one too. Please, drop by the comments and let me know what you’ve been up to. If you wrote a chatty coffee post of your own let me know that too :)

Until next time :)

I think she thinks I can't see her lol #ballpython

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If We Were Having Coffee // I’m Back and Things Are Different Now

Hello there! Thank you for stopping by, I know I missed our coffee talk last week and I am terribly sorry about that. I was on a much needed get-away with my girlfriend. We needed to unwind plus it was to celebrate the grand accomplishment of keeping our relationship somewhat intact for a whole 13 years! Still can’t believe it’s been that long.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I didn’t forget about you though.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that these past couple of weeks have been a bit stressful. Last time we had coffee I told you there was a big secret to tell but that I couldn’t tell you yet. Well I’ve already let that cat out of the bag since but just in case you haven’t been around the big news is that my lady got a very big promotion at work and it has changed a lot of things for us.

Now she works at another location now and she works long hours. This means we went from spending a ton of time together everyday to not much at all. I know most couples don’t see each other as much as we do but I can’t help feeling a bit of an emotional shock. I don’t deal well with change.

I think I am coping okay though….maybe not.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I met some new blogging friends this week. I’ve been joining a few Twitter chats there and now that I have figure them out they are a ton of fun. I joined #BufferChat again but it wasn’t as fun as the week before. I tried out #USBloggerChat which was a bit smaller and easier to keep up with. I missed #BDIB since it falls during my work hours but I hope to give #lbloggers a try later today.

I’ve kinda become obsessed with doing these chats now. At first I struggled to keep up with them all but I am slowly developing a system. I open 3 or for tabs, one for the hashtag, one for the host, one for my notifications, and one more for when I have to look up anything really quick.

If we were having coffee I would say you should join in sometime :)

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have finally started drawing again. Well I drew yesterday. Another blogger I follow had the idea to have her kids collect things for her to draw which sounded like a genius idea. I always struggle to find things to draw. So me and my girlfriend and the dog took a little walk and collected leaves, pine cones, a weed, and later I got a feather. and I put pen and pencil to paper for the first time in a year yesterday.

 

I think I did pretty good considering. It felt really nice to zone out and do my thing. I let my hands and eyes do all the work and the rest of the world just fades away. I already have a couple of things to draw today and as soon as we are done here I’ll be back at it.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have finished another book. I read Damned by Chuck Palahniuk. I hated it but it did get better in the middle and I had hope and then the ending sucked and now I am mad. Next up is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. I recently bought a box set of three of her books so it’s going to be Jane Austen for awhile.

Goodreads tells me that I am 10 books behind schedule in my reading goal for the year. TEN BOOKS. I am determined to catch up though so I am powering through as many books as I can this week. I should be able to make the time up because once again I am having to quit smoking cigarettes.

If we were having coffee I would say I know I have told you that I would quit smoking three or five times now but it is really hard when all of my friends are smokers. This time three of them are quitting with me and if I fail again I am going to make a doctor’s appointment and talk about what options I have. I’ve tried the patch, which  gave me a nasty skin rash, and I’ve tried Chantix which worked but I didn’t have insurance to get more.

I really hope I can kick the habit for good this time.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I needed to get going. I’m not seeing my family today but my girlfriend is very sick so I need to take care of her. I am afraid she either has strep throat or the flu. The has a sore throat, a sore body, cough, nausea, runny nose, headaches, she’s miserable. I am keeping her on tea, water, orange juice, and Dayquil. She’s been in bed most of the weekend too.

I’m also trying not to get sick myself :/

Her being sick also means that all weekend chores are now my responsibility and the dishes and the laundry have been piling up. I have a long day ahead of me.

I hope you had a wonderful week! Thank you for stopping by to check on me, it means a lot :)

WTF kind of fortune is this???

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Featured image via mxttgl