If We Were Having Coffee // Meeting the Man I Wish I’d Known

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

I apologize for the later than usual meeting. I was out celebrating Father’s day with my girlfriend’s family. Initially, the plan was to do a bit of fishing and have a few beers by the water, but the weather has taken a turn toward cooler temperatures and rain moved in. So, we decided to have the beers and do a bit of gaming at the Dave and Buster’s arcade instead. It’s a strange place for her father to have chosen for his celebratory meal. I suspect my girlfriend’s teenaged brother might have had something to do with it.

My own father is busy working, so we’re going to meet up later in the week at our favorite Mongolian grill downtown.

Wait, before I get too far into my update, pull up a chair, let me brew us a warm cup of coffee to go with the pouring rain. There, now let’s talk about last week!

“All I do is drink coffee and say bad words.”

— twinkleofafadingstar

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that something big and sad happened to me, to my family, this weekend and I don’t really know how to begin to explain it.

My mother’s father passed away.

Late Friday night, after I’d gone out for dinner and a movie with my girlfriend, my mother called to say she’d heard from the nursing home her father was at that his health had declined sharply in the last 24 hours. He’d refused his breakfast, his lunch, his medication, water, and his dinner, and then he felt tired, and then he stopped responding to the caregivers.

My mom wanted to go see him. She wanted to convince him to let the nurses give him morphine, to calm him and help him breathe better, but she didn’t want to go alone. She was afraid of the condition she would find him in. So, we all went. It was late and when we arrived father was still asleep. She tried to wake him, letting him know she was there, rubbing his chest and speaking to him, telling him that his children loved him, but he wouldn’t wake up.

We left with the intention that my mother would check on him the following day, but within minutes of us getting home, my mom called to let me know the nursing home had just phoned to tell her he had passed away.

My mother was in shock, but we all agreed that it was a good thing that we’d gone to see him. I believe one of the greatest kindnesses we can offer in life is to comfort another when they die. I’m happy that in his final moments on this earth he was able to hear the voice of his daughter telling him she was there and that he was loved.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have mixed emotions about his passing. It’s sad obviously but this man was my grandfather by blood only and in no other sense would I call him that. He has never shown me any affection or let me know that he considered me to be his granddaughter in any sense of the word at all. I barely knew the man and what little I did know wasn’t good.

I know he was often abusive and held deeply racist convictions. He disowned my mother when she became pregnant with me because my father is a black man. I wasn’t welcome in his home and was never acknowledged by him or my mothers extended family until a few years ago when he reached out of what I assume was a sense of guilt after his wife passed. No apologies or explanations were ever offered. My mother never fully forgave him but gave into a sense of obligation the older and more dependant on other others he became. He was her only father after all.

In the last few weeks, his health declined to a point where he could not return to the home he’d lived in for 50+ years and plans were made to sell the place and his belongings to pay for what we all thought would be long-term care.

I spent a day helping my mother go through his home and found he was actually quite intelligent, accomplished, and talented man.

I found rolls of blueprints from his architectural work around the city and oil paintings he’d done in his spare time. I found wooden boxed filled with medals he’d received in the military, including a purple heart! I found cabinets full of files, notes, and correspondences he’d gathered and organized while attempting to document a complete history of our family. I found books on gardening, architecture, and military strategy. I found boxes of photos he’d taken of his own children, stored and cared for with love.

I found a man who I, if he had been able to see me as part of his family, I might have looked up to, might have loved, and who might have helped cultivate interests, passions, and talents in me that I now know we both shared.

Since then I’ve been obsessing over how much was lost because of all the hate in him. We might have been close. He might have liked me, been proud of me, been fulfilled by my existence knowing a bit of him had been passed on. Instead, there are so many unresolved hurts and unanswered questions and a hole in all our lives where he should have been.

I’ve asked to look over his files and notes, the work on our family history and I may get some of his blueprints. I grabbed a few books and even some paints and canvases from the house too. I’m not sure why I need these things of his now. Maybe I hope to finally get to know a version of this man who could have been a real grandfather to me.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I wanted to talk about something else now.

I would tell you that here in Colorado this weekend marks our annual two-day Pridefest celebration. Usually, I try to go downtown on the Sunday of Pride weekend to watch the parade but trying to that and still celebrate and Father’s Day just stresses us out and leaves us feeling guilty. Guilty for cutting into dad’s day and guilty for not being as out and proud and supportive of our community as we should.

This year we did things a little differently, We gathered a couple of friends and went downtown to celebrate our gay selves a day early and even though I missed the parade this year I’m glad we were able to spend all the time we needed to with other gay, lesbian, trans, queer, and non-binaries like ourselves.

It’s important to recognize the history and acknowledge the work left to do in our great revolution of love. So many have been lost along the way. So many have been hurt and abandoned along the way. So many feel so alone, still. Pride means more than just dressing up and hooking up. It’s a time to regain our strength and our redouble our efforts. It’s a time to remember why we are here and why it matters. No one should ever be so afraid or so ashamed of who they are as many of us have been forced to feel.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that healthwise I’m doing okay, but my energy is sorely limited anymore. Frustratingly limited! I’m still jogging two miles every morning—now at the high school track up the street—and doing 100 squats before work but that leaves very little left for anything else, especially for writing.

Not that I haven’t been writing at all, just that I haven’t got the energy finishing, editing, or working up the courage to publish anything. I’m hoping to change that this week.

When I’m not running, working, writing, or napping, I’ve been reading again. I finally finished the book that has plagued me and made me a failure and quitter time and time again, The Odyssey by Homer. I read the whole thing, and to be honest with you, I’m not convinced it was worth the effort. I’ll be sharing all my thoughts on the epic tale with you very soon.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have talked way too much. I can tell the light outside is fading fast, and the clock is counting down to my bedtime. The house is still a mess, but it’s far too late to do anything about it now. All I can do now is emotionally prepare myself for the work week ahead and try to get enough sleep.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope that you were able to celebrate the day with your father and if you are one yourself, I wish you a very Happy Father’s Day, and I hope you know how much you mean to the lives of those you helped bring into this world and raise.

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

Featured image via domestikate

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If We Were Having Coffee // I Haven’t Been Trying My Best

Hello, dear readers and happy Sunday to you all! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and conversation. I know it’s been a couple of weeks since we sat down together. June turned out to be a busier month than I had anticipated and I was in no way prepared to keep up here and take care of my other obligations. I hope you will understand once I explain.

“One day you’ll wake up at 11:30 AM on a Sunday with the love of your life and you’ll make some coffee and everything will be alright.”

eyecont4ct

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that these past few weeks have not been good for writing. Part of it was because I was so busy, part of it was because I was so tired, but the rest of it was me not focusing on what’s important.

I had time to write, but I played games on my phone and messed around on Twitter and Facebook instead. The more I wasted time the worst I felt and then I wasted even more time. I couldn’t start again because I couldn’t let go of my disappointment and self-doubt. I didn’t try my best.

I don’t want to be too hard on myself, but I want to recognize where I have been making mistakes. Change has to start with acknowledgment and then a plan. The first thing I have to do is delete games from my phone. I had done this before, and it was a mistake to think I could put them back on and act any differently than I have in the past. I get addicted, and I can’t stop so I can’t have them.

This week I want to begin again and do it without over thinking or worrying about what people think. I need to get back to writing because it is fun and because it feels good, not because I want something back from it. I have to go back to the beginning again and move forward only when my confidence is back.

I’m hoping that means you’ll see more of me here again.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Pride month is about to come to a close and as usual I don’t feel like I celebrated nearly as much as I wanted to. I had hoped for a whole weekend of partying pretty much, but my friends sucked this time around, and nearly everyone had to back out of the festivities. We made the best of it, and with only four of us we went out for one night of drinks and dancing and had more fun than I thought we would, I’ll admit.

Denver’s Pridefest fell on the 18th, the same day as father’s day, which means we were doing double duty. My girlfriend and I weren’t awake in time for the parade, due to the night of drinks and dancing, but that’s okay, as my friend said, “If you’ve seen one pride parade you’ve seen them all.” We did end up with an almost too good to be true parking space and enjoyed a turkey leg, some ice cream, and lots of sun and fresh air together. It was a good day.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I wasn’t able to see my own father for Father’s day because he had to work, but we did my girlfriends father. I’m glad we did since the rest of her family is off on vacation and he’s been left at home alone. We made burgers and hot dogs, corn, and jalapeno peppers for dinner. We listened while he told us stories about his family and himself growing up. He rarely talks about himself, so my girlfriend was grateful for the time with him and his willingness to open up that day.

I had hoped to see him again this weekend. I hate that he is all alone in her parent’s house with no one to talk to but the dog and the cat. Then again, for all, I know he is enjoying the peace and quiet. Anyway, we’ll have to shoot for next weekend. We were just too tired. We have been recovering from a bit of sleep deprivation and a lot of stress.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that after our father’s day dinner we had to shoot directly back across town to my mother’s house because my sister and her two children had just arrived from Texas for a week-long visit.

From that night on we didn’t get to bed before 11 PM and we still had to work the next day too. Actually, my girlfriend did most of the working, I took off a few days to take care of myself and our house which was severely neglected and still needs tons more attention to feel livable again.

It was a good week tough, I just wish we’d had more notice before her visit so it could have been even better. We went to dinner, we spent time at my mother’s house catching up and playing board games, and we even got tattooed together! We got each got a series of four triangles placed in a row with the one corresponding to our birth order shaded in, for example, I’m the oldest, so the first triangle in my series is filled in, the other three are simple outlines. We even found a way to include our significant others with my and my brother’s girlfriend having the same triangles but shaded in with a tiny heart to represent who they are with. They all turned out perfect.

My sister left Saturday morning and I already miss her and the kids so much. I can’t wait for them to visit again, or maybe I’ll make some time to go see them instead. I’ve never been to Texas after all.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I did take a bit of a break from visiting to have a date night with my girlfriend. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you might have noticed that we enjoy going to the movies very much. It’s been our preferred date night activity since we met as teenagers and for fifteen years we’ve gone to the movie theater just about monthly on average, but there was one movie event we’d wanted to attend but missed every year, Film on the Rocks.

Film on the Rocks is a series of films shown at Colorado’s beautiful Red Rocks Amphitheatre, a natural rock formation turned world-famous concert venue. If you’ve never been here, there really is nothing like it, and I am ashamed I haven’t found more ways to attend events there. In the evening if you are in the right seats you can see both the stars and the city of Denver and surrounding suburbs and counties for miles. It’s beautiful.

This year they were showing The Fifth Element on a day that worked out with my schedule. We packed up Monday afternoon and made the long drive up in the intense summer heat. We sat through a few bands and a comedian that we’re exactly to our tastes and waited for the sun to drop below the horizon. At dusk, the film began, and it was an amazing experience to watch the classic surrounded by the earth and other people who enjoyed film enough to stay out til midnight on a Monday seeing it.

I can’t wait to see what they will be showing next summer.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the time has flown by much too quickly and sadly I have to go. We are planning on heading to Denver Flea today, a huge pop-up event where local business and small breweries come together to sell their awesome stuff. It’s a good time to get gift shopping in and find new makers to support. After that I still have a lot more work to do around the house, and a lot more sleeping to do before work tomorrow.

I hope you had an awesome couple of weeks since we last spoke and I hope your weekend was a relaxing one. Take care of yourself okay? Try to get outside if you can and drink plenty of water too.

Until next time…

***

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 Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Happy Pride Month to My Fellow Queers!

Hello, dear readers! Thank you for stopping by for a bit of conversation and caffeine. I nearly forgot about our coffee date, I’ve been up doing a bit of work in the yard, around the house, and getting our new grill set up for some jalapeño cheddar burgers, corn on the cob, and grilled peaches for dessert! Please excuse the mouth-watering. It’s been a long time since we grilled anything and we are very excited.

“Current problem: The fatigue is unbearable without coffee, but coffee makes the illness worse, which makes the fatigue worse.”

sadnarwhal

***

If we were having coffee, I would wish all of my LGBTQIA+ peeps a very Happy Pride Month! Denver’s parade and rally aren’t for another couple of weekends, but I’m going to try to start planning the festivities and inviting friends this week. Nothing big, there is exactly one gay club and one gay bar I like, and that’s it.

We’ll probably spend a couple of nights out with friends, then watch the parade and meet up with all the gays I know but only ever see once a year. We’ll do some shopping, go home, and be happy that we live in a country that we can love each other and get married without the threat of imprisonment and death.

We’ve come so far since I came out as a teenager. I remember I was so afraid of rejection. I was afraid something was wrong with me. I was afraid I wouldn’t get to live a “normal” life. And here we are now! We own our home, we are engaged, and we both have our loved ones with us, supporting us, proud of us, and treating us just like a normal couple, because that is what we are!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was not a good writing week. I only posted here a couple of times. On Monday, about my growing fear of the world around me and how I hope to overcome it, and Tuesday I checked in with everything I am currently doing and feeling to mark the end of May. I didn’t get my newsletter out, and I didn’t keep up with posting over on Tumblr. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself over it. Things have gotten a little overwhelming, and I need to imagine a clean slate where the failures of the past aren’t weighing me down.

So, next week will be better. I hope to post twice here, get my newsletter out, and write something small every evening on Tumblr. I’m also setting a goal of 250 per day on a couple of essays for my zine project.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that part of the reason I had such a hard time getting these words out was the weather. I have been so excited for summer, and now that it is here my body has decided that heat is far too exhausting. I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open after 2 PM in the afternoon and on the weekends all I want to do is sleep.

It may not be just the heat. I have been tapering off of the steroid I’ve been on since February, and without it, my body may be struggling to cope. I’m worried about my health and energy levels going into the coming week. I took my last dose yesterday, and I’m already had headaches, and I’m more tired than ever. Thank God for coffee.

I’, also a little depressed, I think. It’s hard to tell since I’ve felt this way nearly my whole life, but there are signs I’ve learned to look for. I’m more irritable and moody than usual. I’m more critical of myself, less forgiving and more aware of my mistakes. I’m tired. I’m craving foods that are bad for me, lots of grease, and salt, and sugar. I’m sad sometimes, and I’m not as interested in the things I love as I usually am. A lot of me trying to write starts with me trying to care about writing again.

I’m really hoping it’s just the change in meds and season and not anything more serious.

***

If we were having coffee, I would try my best not to bring up politics because I still don’t know where to even begin to articulate my frustration, anger, embarrassment, and hopelessness at everything that has happened these past few months.

My anxiety is at an all-time high. I dread the news every day and yet I can’t seem to pull myself away from it. Every morning there is some new scandal, some new way that this administration has found to make life a little less bearable than the day before. I fear the rest of the world is laughing at us and moving on, together, to make their world a better place. America has lost her place as leader and savior.

The future looks so bleak from here. But there has been some good. I was happy to see many states and cities recommit to the Paris Accords after our president stupidly decided to pull out for no fucking reason. I was happy to see the rest of the world come together to condemn our president’s decision as well. There has been so much community and unity found and formed since Trump took office.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that more and more I am focusing on ways to find joy and hope closer to home. This week I am seeing a couple of movies, It Comes at Night and Wonder Woman. The former looks super creepy, creepy movies are my absolute favorite, and the Wonder Woman screening will be one of the Women-only showings that have men all over the internet wound up and whining.

I’ve heard nothing, but good things about Wonder Woman and I anticipate that will be the highlight of my week. I’ll be honest, I’m a little worried about some of those angry men showing up to cause problems. There are a lot of men in the world who hate women and hate for them to have anything of their own. I’ve seen a lot of hateful comments on the internet, and it’s hard not to imagine the worst happening here.

It’s really upsetting we live in a world where I can’t go see a movie without fearing for my safety.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that besides that, not a whole lot has been going on. I’ve spent more time that I want to admit watching TV this week. House of Cards came back, and I’ve been binging that. I paced myself the best I could and mode it just six days before finishing the 13 episodes. Luckily Orange is the New Black starts this week, so I’ll have something else to get into.

Speaking of Netflix, one of my favorite shows, Sense8, seems to have gotten the ax. If you haven’t watched Sense8 you need to stop here and go check it out. There are two seasons and a Christmas special available. The show features a very diverse and talented cast, is beautifully shot, and tackles themes of race, sexual orientation, gender, privilege, and acceptance. I’m devastated it was canceled. If you’d like to help get it back, for me or for yourself, please fill out this title request form on Netflix’s own site. Just put in “Sense8 season 3”. Thank you!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it is getting very close to dinner time and I had better get going and get the grill fired up. My girlfriend already has everything prepped and my mouth is watering again smelling the jalapeños and seeing the beautiful ears of corn she brought home.

I hope you had a great week and a relaxing weekend. I hope next week will be productive a free from unhealthy amounts of stress.

Until next time (:

Lola's little nose spots are so adorable 😍

A post shared by Lisa Blair (@zenandpi) on

***

If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for interesting reads + some of my own 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 Nerd in the Brain

Featured image via domestikate

Finding Enlightenment in a Unisex Bathroom

If you hadn’t heard, North Carolina is considering revising it’s controversial Bathroom Bill HB 2, which forces people to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate rather than the one they identify with. They are revising it, not repealing it. The revisions are crap too. Still discriminatory, still ignorant, still harmful. Now they will require a “doctor’s note” that your gender has been reassigned. Sometimes people can be so awful.

“The discriminatory proposal being offered by lawmakers today does not change the harmful status quo for nearly every transgender person in North Carolina. Many states, including North Carolina, require transgender people to have gender reassignment surgery to update their birth certificates. However, only 33 percent of transgender people actually have gender reassignment surgery. This is due to a variety of factors — including but not limited to cost, age, health and medical needs, and access to skilled providers.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about all the arguments on both sides of the recent rash of bathroom bills across the country. I’ve read a lot of the arguments for forcing people into the bathrooms that match the biological sex they were assigned at birth. I have not found any of them to be solid or based in and reality.

A lot of it, all of it, is just plain transphobia and homophobia disguised as concern for female safety. They warn of men dressing up as women for the express purpose of raping and molesting women and children.

Pro tip: If men are overwhelmingly in favor of a law they say will protect women and children, that is probably the opposite of what the law will do.

What we seem to be forgetting is that there is nothing stopping rapists and child molesters from doing that now. These doors aren’t locked you know. Hell, men don’t even have to dress up as a woman to get in there, they can just walk in. What we seem to be forgetting is that when it comes to attacks in bathrooms involving Transgender people are the ones at risk, partly because they are forced to use a bathroom they shouldn’t be using!

Obviously, this is about people making assumptions about what gender feels like for other people and deciding the for them what they need or should accept and be comfortable with. It’s a lot like when people think it isn’t possible for lesbians to enjoy sex because a man isn’t involved, or that agender people need to be fixed because having no interest in sex has to be a mental illness, or that all gay men are pedophiles. It’s hurtful, it’s ignorant, and there is no excuse for it.

We forget that there is a natural variation in the ways there are to be a human being and be considered normal. People forget that just because you have never felt this or that way does not mean it isn’t possible for a person to feel that way. People forget that just because you don’t need something to feel comfortable and safe in this world does not mean other people don’t.

People also forget that other people’s genitals and sexual preferences are not anyone else’s God damn business.

Also, fun fact for you, there have been no reported cases of men dressing as women to gain access to a women’s bathroom to assault or harass anyone.

“Where do I go to the bathroom now? It’s literally against the law for me to use the men’s room, and it’s also risky. Even though I’m more than a year on testosterone—I’m getting facial hair, my hair has receded a little—I still don’t always pass as male. Or do I use the women’s room, follow the law, and clearly make people uncomfortable?”

Charlie Comero, a 35-year-old transgender man in Charlotte, North Carolina

To be clear, I am on the side of using whatever bathroom you feel comfortable in. I am also on the side of having more one toilet bathrooms with locking doors for people like me who feel more comfortable peeing alone.

Throughout all of these God awful debates on bathroom usage, I kept thinking: “If only these people could experience the joy and revelation that comes with being free to use any bathroom you like the would understand why this isn’t as big of a deal as they think it is.”

I’ve had the opportunity to pee in just such an environment, and even for me, a pretty open minded, understanding, and empathetic person, it was eye opening.

Here in Denver, there is a gay club called Tracks. Tracks is huge! In fact, the location used to be an old factory. They have at least three, probably more, dance floors, just as many, if not more, bars, and an entire alleyway for a smoking area.

They host huge events every month, drag shows, costume nights, elaborately themed parties, and more. Growing up queer in Denver you know about Tracks, but I had never gone there. I had heard it was loud, and the crowds were large, so I didn’t think it was my kind of place, but one night about two years ago I was outvoted by a few of my friends and off we went to tracks.

When we walked in, I was immediately overwhelmed by the crowd, and as I usually do when I am anxious, I went to the bathroom, and just like my friends always do, they agreed to go with me.

Again, I had had never been there before, but my friends had and so when I went into the bathrooms labeled for “Women” and I was pretty freaked out when my male friends followed me in. Just as I was turning to tell them they were in the wrong bathroom, I saw that there were many men in the bathroom.

Honestly, for a second I thought I was in the right place. It took a few seconds to adjust to my surrounds before I realized the place was filled with people of all genders. There was no “Women’s” or “Men’s,” there are labels on the doors, sure, but everyone went wherever they felt comfortable.

The whole experience made me realize it’s actually kind of nice to be able to pee in whatever bathroom you want. I didn’t have to leave my group; I felt safer, and I felt the relief of not worrying about my, or anyone else’s gender. I’ve never felt that in women only bathrooms. For a genderqueer person who hates being forced to choose under any circumstances, it made me feel normal.

I had a feeling everyone else there felt the same. Two of my male friend were gay, there was my girlfriend and me, and a straight woman, and a straight man, in my group, a pretty good mix of people, and they all agreed that it was better this way. No one in my group felt uncomfortable; no one made them feel uncomfortable.

Everyone in that bathroom was doing what we all do in bathrooms, peeing, washing their hands, primping in the mirror, and taking selfies. No one cared about anyone else’s gender.

NO ONE CARED!

Like most changes that happen in our lives, it isn’t the actual change that is scary; it’s our inability to cope with the fact that something will be different.

Remember all those years before Marriage Equality, when Religious Right-wing Crazies were telling us that “if we let the gays get married the world as we know it would end?” Remember what happened after we legalized Gay Marriage? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The world kept turning, no one got hurt, and a lot more people were happy. It was a good thing despite all our anxiety and whining.

I imagine that if we got over ourselves for one second and thought about the worst case scenario, the realistic worst case scenario, we would see that no matter what gender people are they are going to do the same things we all do in a bathroom. I think we can all be grown up enough, mature enough, and compassionate enough not to make a big deal about it if we try.

So let’s try, shall we?

Let’s try to imagine that things people say they need to feel safe and comfortable are not things that are going to make our lives hard or scary. Let’s try to remember that making people feel comfortable and safe is something we should strive for and encourage, not a reason to spew more hate into the world. Let’s try to remember that people are made of more than their genitals; that people are still people no matter their sex or gender.

Let’s try to imagine that people who are different from us, or need different things than we do, have all the same goals and dreams as us and only wish to make the world a better place for us all.

***

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If We Were Having Coffee // Happy Pride (and Orange is the New Black) Weekend

Hello dear readers, thank you for stopping by for some strong brew and some good conversation. A lot has happened since we last sat down and I’d love to catch you up. If you don’t mind, it will be cold brew again. I’ve grown to like the convenience of it and since I have figured out the ratio of either equal parts milk and cold brew with lots and lots of ice or one-third each cold brew, water, and milk, the jitters and stomach aches have been relieved.

We’ll stay inside if you don’t mind that too. It is supposed to a hot one today, and the beating sun can already be felt. My phone is telling me it is already 90 degrees out and still climbing. In a few hours, it will start to get very uncomfortable in my house, even with the evaporative cooler.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, luckily, in a few hours I will be out celebrating Father’s day with my dad, his wife, my sister, and her kids. We’re not doing anything too crazy, just going to a fun little Mongolian grill that has become our default place to meet. I wish my other sister and my brother could be there too, but she’s in another state, and he has to work.

I suspect the one sister I see today will be leaving to live in another state soon too. I’ve known for awhile that the day would be coming—her husband has already left to find work and housing—but part of me still hoped something would happen, a change of heart maybe, that would keep her and my niece and nephew here. It’s going to be very hard to be so far away from them.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that despite a busy schedule and my feelings and fears about the Orlando shooting, I was able to go out and celebrate Pride weekend last night. I won’t lie to you; it wasn’t an easy decision.

Yesterday afternoon my girlfriend and I had a talk about how we felt and whether we wanted to stay home or go. It’s easy to say that if you don’t go then, they win but is another to consider that you could be putting yourself and your loved one in danger. I know my fear is out of proportion to the chances of anything like that happening again, but I can’t help thinking that not one of those victims probably thought the chance of it happening to them was very high either.

We did go out, though. It was too important to celebrate. It was too important to be around people who would understand how I felt. There was a point in the night when someone set off fireworks in the lot next to the club we went to. It scared the crap out of me. We all agreed it was a cruel trick, and no one blamed anyone else for having been afraid.

I’m glad I went. I had a great time, and I only wish more of my friends could have made it.

***

If we were having coffee, I would want to move on to a lighter conversation. Too many emotions wrapped up in that one.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you if you have watched any of the new seasons of Orange is the New Black yet? If yes, what episode are you on? If no, why the hell not? I’m on episode 12, almost done. I watched all day yesterday before Father’s Day gift shopping late in the evening when it had begun to cool down outside.

I’ll try not to give too much away but season 4 has been pretty good. More revealing of the inhuman treatment prisoners often receive, the ways they are set up to fail, and the ways they are forgotten. It reminds me of a movie I watched just a bit ago on the Stanford Prison Experiment. Guards think they are better by virtue of having been made guards. They don’t see prisoners as people, and they don’t consider how easily they could have been one themselves.

Watch the season and let me know what you think!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while my work schedule has alternated between nothing at all and very very busy, my girlfriend’s never seems to leave a state of always on the clock, always in crises mode, and always more work to be done.

I’m glad we finally decided to plan and book a long weekend trip to the hot springs. We still have to get through this week of work, but after that, I’ll be out until next Wednesday. We’ll spend the time soaking in warm mineral water, checking out a few cave tours, and sleeping and more sleeping.

It isn’t the most exciting vacation, but we have a camping trip two weekends after that so we couldn’t go all out. There may be a longer trip in October. We’re hoping to get out of state and see a bit of the world we never have before.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m not sure what will happen with the blog while I am gone. Part of me likes the idea of staying up late in a quiet hotel room and writing. I may put the blog on hold and work on some other writing instead. There are a few “Call for Submissions” I’ve wanted to submit work to, a few poems that are only half completed, and a bit of novel writing can be done too.

Speaking of the blog, I’d like to thank, and welcome all my new followers. I continue to be surprised and honored that people care enough to like, comment, or follow anything I have to say. I hope to keep learning, doing better and better, and being useful and helpful to you all. I hope you will keep reading, giving feedback, and inspiring me with the conversations we have and, for some, the writing I see you doing as well.

Thank you again.

***

If we were having coffee, I would say that I have taken up enough of your time with my musing and rambling, and I’d thank you again for stopping by. I love our little chats; it’s nice to look back on the week, to organize my thoughts around the events of my life, and to share them with you.

I hope you are doing well. I hope your week was a good one and if you have a moment, please, leave a comment and let me know what you’ve been up to. If you’ve written a coffee chat of your own I’d like to know that too, drop a link and I’ll check it out.

Until next time, take care of yourself :)

***

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Featured image via Paul Arps

 

 

The Week’s End // Remembering Orlando

In the interest of raising awareness and highlighting stories from those who were affected, this week’s The Week’s End is dedicated to the victims of the Orlando Shooting, their friends and family, and the entire LGBTQ community.

***

Since the shooting I have kept this page up in my browser, so I can read the updates as they come in. While a lot of the news has been sad, there are also stories of love. Stories of the victims. Read them and never forget.

The world is getting less and less safe for more and more people. Every time this happens it will touch more and more of us. We are all going to have to learn to cope in that world.

In the wake of the shooting, Democrats moved to force gun legislation. Whether or not they will get it, and whether or not it will mean anything remains to be seen.

In the meantime, we have to remember not to remain silent. Don’ you forget and don’t let anyone else forget either. Keep talking and keep fighting, every day.

Let’s go back to where it all began.

One reason this hurts so much is that for some, the club is all we have. It’s not ideal, and it isn’t always healthy, but it was a place to go to be yourself.

Some clubs are where people learn who they are and how to be themselves. What will we go now?

So many different kinds of hate came together that night, homophobia, misogyny, and racism. We have to fight all three.

What we haven’t talked much about is what kind of world we are creating for young queer kids growing up now. The ones who are suffering the way we did in school and if nothing gets better, will suffer more than we ever did as adults.

And finally to those who are hurt by this act but not apart of our community. We know you want to help, but please help in the right ways. Do not hurt us all over again.

***

If you have read or written anything that should be included in the list, please, drop a link in the comments. Happy Pride Month, stay safe out there.

P.S. If you would like to receive this list in your inbox (plus some extras) you can visit the sign-up page and enter your email. Thanks!

The Week’s End – A Round-up of Interesting Stuffs

Every weekend I like to share with you the most interesting things I found across the great, wide web. This week I’ve got podcasts, adult space camp, rainbow flags, writing advice, and baby squid being born like stars. Enjoy!

How Best Selling Author Austin Kleon Writes, Part One – Copy blogger

New York Times bestselling author Austin Kleon has been called “one of the most interesting people on the internet” by Te Atlantic magazine, and he stopped by The Writer Files about creativity and the writing life.

I read Austin’s books, Steal Like an Artist and it’s sequel, Show Your Work, a little while back I think it was one of the best decisions I ever made. His books motivated me to become a more creative person by making it seem like such an easy thing to do.

I highly recommend them and this podcast. They discuss reading more than you write, paper dictionaries, “little writing” and “big writing”, writer’s block, and more. I encourage you to check out Austin’s weekly newsletter too. It’s minimal and always full of interesting tidbits.

Adult Space Camp Is A Thing That Actually Exists And We Went To It – Buzzfeed

Chances are, if you were a child at some point in your life you dreamed of going to Space Camp. Here’s what it’s like to live that dream as an adult.

This isn’t new but it is incredibly funny!

I recently started working on a little blog/life project called “100 dream” which is basically a fancy bucket list. One of the items I added to the list was “Go to Space Camp”. Yes, I am that nerdy. Anyway, when I added it I thought I would do a quick search on adults who have gone to space camp to get an idea of how awesome/lame it might be. That’s when I came across this hilarious gem from Buzzfeed.

You have to read it.

A conversation with rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker – Brain pickings on SoundCloud

Harvey Milk … carried a really great message about how important it was to be visible, how important it was to come out… That was the single most important thing — our job, as gay people, was to come out, be visible, to live in the truth… to get out of the lie. And a flag really fit that mission — because that’s a way of proclaiming your visibility.

We are coming to the end of Pride Month, and oh what a Pride Month it was! And as we wind down the celebrations we should take a moment learn a little more about the history of the movement for gay rights. A good start is this article and talk about where the iconic rainbow flag design came from.

It’s actually pretty interesting!

Idioms: To Use or Not To Use? That is the Question – Janice Wald at Reflections

Should you use idioms because as a strong writer you should have a “voice,” or should you veer away from them out of fear your readers won’t understand the expressions native to your country?

I am always looking for writing and blogging advice, even if I never follow it anyway. Reflections is a blog I found just this week that seems to be full of such advice.

The first post I read was this one about using idioms in your writing. I for one LOVE idioms. I also love clichés and aphorisms, and any small saying or quote that to me expresses a truth. I use them a bunch in my writing and they often inspire me to write about something.

I have read that using idioms, clichés, and the like makes you a lazy writer and to that I say, bullshit. I can’t exactly articulate why it is bullshit but it is, for me anyway. I find small sayings and phrases interesting and I like weaving the words of others, and of the culture around me, into my own. There that’s the best I can explain it.

Squid Babies, Born Like Stars

Filmed in the depths of the Monterey Bay, this video reveals the maternal instincts of the Gonatus Squid.

I am a lover of all things cephalopod and this video, while kinda weird, is also kind of interesting. The squid do come out like stars and, as my girlfriend put it, it looks magical.

So, those are my favorite things this past week. Is there anything that caught your eye or made you think this week? If so drop a link in the comments. Thanks!

Original image via https://flic.kr/p/5z2k48