If We Were Having Coffee // Getting out of the City

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

I’m not feeling all that great today. I’m recovering from yesterday’s hike, too many hard ciders afterward, too many snacks all day, and staying up a little too late last night. My body isn’t what it used to be and I wasn’t very careful or considerate of it this weekend and now I am paying the price. Copious amounts of coffee are being drunk and little more than laundry is on the agenda for the morning in apology and I hope that by the early evening my body and I will have come to an understanding.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The temperatures are still summer-like but there is a definite autumn-esque breeze coming through the open windows. It will be cold brew as usual and a healthy spoonful of creamy coconut milk—from the can, not the carton—for flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“There is so much hope in a cup of coffee.”

@ellacalm

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am sorry I missed our coffee date last week. It was my fiance’s birthday weekend and I decided to unplug and spend the long weekend being present in every moment with her. We went to dinner at one of our favorite out-of-the-way seafood places and had another dinner with her family at a new favorite Italian place. We cooked together at home too and snuggled up on the couch for movies. She opened her gifts as the arrived and I think she liked them all, and then we got away from the city and spent a day hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that we went hiking again yesterday too. We went back to Deer Creek Canyon, the same trail we hiked on our anniversary. We went back because it was an easy trail and our dog, Lola, needed to start slow for her first hiking day with us.

A bit of background on Lola: She’s, (we believe) an Australian cattle dog and basenji mix. She is energetic, smart, strong-willed, defiant, independent, and painfully shy. She is affectionate and loving, but very much on her own terms. She’s not especially food motivated and even my approval means very little so training and socialization have been a challenge. It’s as if wants to be a good dog, but only her own vision of what a good dog should be.

When we got her we thought she looked like the quintessential “Colorado dog”. The kind of dog you take hiking and camping. The kind of dog you take to dog parks and on road trips. The kind of dog that can be trusted off leash, that is well-trained, happy, confident, a dog that is a true life companion. We quickly realized after we got her home that she was far from what we’d expected.

Lola is certainly active enough but she required—still requires—a lot of work on her manners and confidence. She’s easily spooked, distrustful of strangers, and far too trusting of strange dogs. Hiking was out of the question. There was no way I could trust her to be safe and obedient on a trail, until now.

Yesterday she went on her first hike with us on a trail shared by people, dogs, and even mountain bikes! And she did so well! She didn’t try to run away from the bikes, and she, for the most part, ignored other dogs and people going by. This is a major improvement from even a few months ago where walking her around the block could be frustrating for both of us. I think we’ll take her again next weekend. I think getting out of the city does just as much good for her well-being as it does for mine.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the work week was…okay. I’ve been trying hard to get ahead of my schedule and get things done now so that I might have more free time in the next few months but because I have to rely on others to be available and to show up it’s been about 50% days where I get shit done, and 50% days where I have nothing to do. I’ve decided to start overfilling my calendar a bit in advance of inevitable cancellations and rearrangement. I hope I haven’t bitten off more than I can chew.

As far as my route goes, new kids are being added all the time which always fills my driver and me with anxiety. You never know if the new kid will get along with the others or if they will come in and disrupt the delicate balance you have achieved through careful interaction and strategic seating charts. We’ve been lucky so far. Each new kid has agreed with the peaceful and quiet environment I have cultivated, but we have another one starting tomorrow and I worry our luck may run out.

I did have time for reading and writing, it was only my mind I couldn’t get to focus. I made some progress though and that has to be good enough for now. I hope to do better this week and I am giving myself every opportunity to by uninstalling most of the apps from my iPad and plugging y phone in well way from me for at least two hours a day. I made an effort to clean up my “creativity room” and am pledging to spend a half an hour in there a day making little things with my hands. No screens allowed.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m looking forward to this evening. We’re going to have an early dinner and a showing of the 90s classic Clueless at our favorite theater. Afterward, we’ll pick up a bottle of wine to drink while we scarf down the last of the spicy chip-chocolate bark I made earlier in the week and watch the season premieres of The Duece on HBO and Shameless on Showtime. A perfect end to a particularly perfect weekend.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it’s actually about time I start preparing for the evening. I need a nap—a “coffee nap” actually—a long shower and a little Sunday pampering time before we go no to mention there are still dishes in the sink and laundry waiting to be folded.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you got to do things for you and not just for others and not just because you had to. I hope this weekend was restful and that you won’t stress about tomorrow until tomorrow comes.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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When You Can Only Do a Little

 

“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

— Edmund Burke

Most Monday’s I do well. I wake up motivated and get right to work. I write. I plan. I work. I do all the things that look like I am on my way somewhere in life, and then, I fizzle out by Tuesday morning.

I never make it further than that because every week I go from feeling like I can do anything to feeling like my dream is too big, too impossible, too hard to ever achieve. And anyway, I’m not smart enough, or interesting enough, or good enough to get there. So, I give it up again and make no progress.

Sometimes I have to give up because my body is too tired. Fatigue kicks my ass. I overdo it one day, and I need two to recover.

Sometimes I give up because other obligations get in the way and leave me with nearly no time for my personal projects and dreams.

But mostly it’s my own mind getting in the way, telling me I am too small to do big things in this world, telling me it’s better to do nothing than to do a little.

My mind is lying.

I can’t count the number of times I have looked back and thought that if I had only done a little something every day, I would be so much further along by now. I wish I had done one small thing every time I sat staring at a screen feeling anxious and overwhelmed before opening Twitter or Facebook and giving up. Sometimes I get caught up in that though, in self-pity and disappointment, and I do nothing still, but I want to try to find a better way.

It’d be nice to have the time, the energy, and the confidence to do big things all day every day but I have to accept that just isn’t me. I have to accept that for me it will have to be a lot of tiny steps all adding up over time, for now. I have to look at my dream in a new light. I have to break it all up into little bits that don’t feel so overwhelming or impossible for little old, boring, and bumbling me. I have to work through it, one tiny step at a time, looking down at the path rather than up at the destination.

Today, I can take a few notes. I can think of one idea. I can write one post, one paragraph, one sentence. I can draw one little doodle. I can find some inspiration, or ask one question. I can reply to one comment. I can learn one new thing. I can research one step pf the process. I can read a few pages. I can do one lesson.

I can find one useful thing to do, in just five or 15 minutes to get me where I want to be.

This week, do one small thing every day that brings you closer to the life you want. Don’t think about the big goal. Don’t think about all the reasons you can’t do this. Don’t think about all the other people in the world who do it easily and better than you. Don’t think about the impossible. Just think about this one step, this five minutes. Do one small thing and celebrate it when you finish.

You can apply this to anything too. Want to help the environment? Produce a little less trash today. House is a wreck? Clean just one room, one corner, one shelf. Want to get healthier? Drink one glass of water. Take one walk around the block, around the building, to the water fountain and back. Want to feel happier? Write one good thing that happened today. Say one nice thing to another person. Don’t know where to begin? Ask one person for advice. Ask one person for help. Ask one person for support. It all starts with just one step.

Big things are scary, but small steps are easy. Give yourself permission not to be perfect. Tell yourself it’s okay that you aren’t there yet. You are trying, and you did something!

This week I am going to make a list of little things I can do when the big things feel too big. I’m going to take it all step by step, moment by moment, and when I look back a year from now I will be a little closer, or hopefully, a lot closer, but it really doesn’t matter, as long as progress is made.

P.S. A bit of caution before you go, sometimes procrastination and small things look too much alike. When you do small things, you have to do them with mindfulness. Ask yourself: How is this small thing helpful?

***

If you like this post heck out my weekly-ish newsletter for some existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering + some interesting reads from others. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

Featured image via Unsplash

Currently // March 2016

Writing my Blogging A to Z Challenge posts. I have A thru F fleshed out and mostly ready to go as of this writing. I am so freaking nervous about this guys :/

Planning my summer goals. Yeah, I know I have a long way to go but after April i will need to really buckle down and do some real writing if I want to make any money off of these words.

Making an effort to draw more. I have been trying to do a few doodles from little drawing tutorials or photos I find on Pinterest. I’ve done three so far, and they kind of suck. You can see them on my Instagram if you’re interested.

Thinking about all the scary things I want to do in the future. Quitting my job? Starting my own business? Having kids??? Whaaaaaat?

Reading, or more like suffering through, The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays by Albert Camus. It is a big change from all the fiction I’d been reading these past few months and it is taking some getting used to.

Watching The Family on ABC. It’s about the return of a politician’s son who had gone missing over a decade earlier. The kid returns traumatized and the man wrongly accused of his murder is released from prison and drama ensues. Plus,this kid might not be who he says he is.

Feeling like I have no idea what I am doing. Like being out in the ocean and trying to swim to land. I have no idea if I am going in the right direction or how far I need to swim. Hell, I could just be swimming in circles for all I know.

Needing everyone to stop making plans to leave! My sister and her husband are looking to head south to Texas with my niece and nephew, and my mom is planning on heading to Missouri with the rest of the family. Pretty soon I will be the only one left in Colorado and, well, that really sucks.

Loving my new clipfolio I picked up from Target to keep all my little writing notes in and these bank pouches I ordered from Amazon to hold all my sharpies, pens, and pencils.

Hating all this snow we have been having lately. I need warm temps, sunshine, and blue skies already!

Hoping everyone shows up for the birthday brunch in a couple of weeks. I want to get all the important women in my life together for bloody Mary’s, mimosas, and some damn good food, but I’ll be super disappointed if any of them can’t make it. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

***

The inspiration for this post comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Featured image via Pexels

Let Us Be Dissatisfied!

What would Martin Luther King think of the world we live in today? Many people ask this question and many more after tragic events such as the killing of Mike Brown and the resulting protests in Ferguson, MO and across the country. I really began to take the question seriously after the murder of 12 year old Tamir Rice by police over a fake gun. When a child is killed and it is beginning to like like it was only because he was black and someone had thought he might be a threat, that is when you know the system is broken. That’s when I began to feel deeply, deeply, dissatisfied.

“Let us be dissatisfied until America will no longer have high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds. Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the fires of justice. Let us be dissatisfied until they who live on the outskirts of Hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security. Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heap of history and every family will live in a decent, sanitary home. Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into the bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.”

— Martin Luther King Jr.

I believe that Dr. King would also find himself deeply dissatisfied at the progress we have made in this country, or lack thereof. I do not think this is the future America he dreamed of. We have the illusion of progress but not real progress. Or maybe we have taken a few steps forward in some ways and slid back in others. Or maybe it’s that there is just so much hate left in the world that real progress cannot be made. I’m not sure what our excuse is but I am sure we are still far behind where we could or should be. I know that we have gotten far off course and that we must begin to make things right.

In case you aren’t already, here are a few statistics that should make you feel dissatisfied too:

  • Black students accounted for 18 percent of the country’s pre-K enrollment, but made up 48 percent of preschoolers with multiple out-of-school suspensions. Preschoolers! [source]
  • Black students were expelled at three times the rate of white students. [source]
  • Black girls were suspended at higher rates than all other girls and most boys. [source]
  • Nearly half of the nation’s Black students attend high schools in low-income areas with dropout rates that hover in the 40-50% range. [source]
  • 24.7% of all African-American live in poverty in comparison to 8.6% of all non-Hispanic White, 11.8% of all Asian-American and 23.2% of all Hispanic. [source]
  • The racial composition of the US prison and jail population as of 2008 was 60.21% (African American (non-Hispanic), 20.29% Hispanic, 13.44% White American (non-Hispanic) , and 6.06% Other (American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander American, and Multiracial American). [source]
  • Blacks, age 15 to 19, are killed by police at a rate of 31.17 per million, while just 1.47 per million white males in that age range died at the hands of police. [source]

Reading all that how can we all not feel dissatisfied? I don’t think any of us want to live in a world where the above statistics are true. The above statistics aren’t even some of the worst of it. The statistics regarding black women specifically are even more grim. We all should be ashamed of ourselves, and we should all understand why there is so much frustration coming from minorities and people of color. No one ever said life was fair, but there are some people for whom society is unfairly unfair.

I don’t pretend to know how to fix any of this. The issues seem more complicated than I alone could find a solution to. I do know that the way to begin is simple enough. We must all do two things, for one we must learn to feel more empathy for our fellow human beings. We are all so alike and yet we imagine everyone else is an “other”. We refuse to listen to each other and call the “other” lazy, stupid, not a real part of the America we imagine. When we do this we are wrong. There is no “other”, there is only all of us and we are in this alone, and together, and we have to begin to give a shit about each other!

Secondly, we all have to speak up! Whether an issue concerns you or not doesn’t matter, you know injustice when you see it. Don’t pretend, don’t hide, don’t say it’s not your responsibility or place, speak up! Stop hearing the news and then going about your day as if people all over aren’t beig killed or jailed unjustly. Stop acting like you don’t know there are children homeless and starving and going to shitty schools that will just about guarantee they continue to be homeless and starving their whole lives. Or until they are jailed or killed unjustly.

That’s all it takes to start. That’s all we all have to do. Be nice to each other, think of one another, and speak up when something is wrong. We could all make a lot of change with just those two actions. I think then I, and the Martin Luther King that lives in us all, might find ourselves a little more satisfied with this world.