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 // A Perfect Day Come True

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and conversation.

So far it’s been an easy Sunday, but not a lazy one. I’ve been up, running, doing squats, and throwing the old medicine ball around. The laundry is started, and the dishwasher is running so I’m heading into the lunch hour feeling pretty proud of myself. My reward is a big cup of cold brew and a little chat with you before I’m off to run some errands.

So, pull up a chair, fill up a mug. I’ve got some new records to play and so much to share. Let’s talk about last week.

“Her coffee is becoming like her heart. She used to have her coffee with a lot of milk and sugar but now it’s pure black and bitter.”

— pluvilis

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have not been feeling the best since our last coffee date. I had my second infusion of the new medication this past week, and by Thursday I started to see my old symptoms returning. My doctor and I are hoping it’s because I’ve been weaning off of the steroids rather than the new medication not working. She’s instructed me to go back to a higher dose, which is the exact thing I didn’t want to do, but it’s better than returning to fatigue and frequent trips to the bathroom, so I’m willing.

Emotionally I am a big ball of anxiety and fear. Ulcerative colitis seems to have taken over my life. Nearly every moment anymore is spent wither dealing with symptoms, worrying about symptoms returning. I know I’m not supposed to be thinking too far into the future but part of me is sure that this journey will end with surgery and I can’t stop thinking about that. Part of me wishes we could skip all the trial and error and just get rid of my colon altogether. Part of me knows that is stupid because this course of action, this medication, or this stress reduction technique might actually work, and I need to give it a chance.

*sigh*

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my return to work after a long week away the week before was actually not as bad as I thought it would be.

There was work to catch up on, of course, but working for a school district during the summer is easy-peasy. If I’m honest, most days my job doesn’t even feel like work. It feels like going to hang out with friends. The hard part is finding work to do. And when I remember how lucky I am to have it so easy—I get to have friends for coworkers, and time to write, and bosses who let us go home early or take long lunches—when I remember to practice gratitude, I actually like my job.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was amazing!

Friday night I went out for what us and a few of our couple friends—who are also co-workers—have started calling “Margarita Friday.” Once or twice a month we—two straight couples, one gay couple, and us, the lesbians—pick a New Mexican restaurant for dinner, order up a few margaritas and talk about our relationships and work. We always have a great time, and it’s nice to hear that what you and your spouse go through is normal, no matter whether your genders.

Saturday I woke up early to attend a gender reveal party for my brother and his fiance’s second child. It was a little stressful getting the party going as my family runs late to everything and is never fully prepared, but we had a great time together, we always do.

After lunch, and much drama and speculation, it was revealed via a piñata filled with almond joys and crunch bars that the little bump is a baby boy who will be named August. I’m so happy and cannot wait to meet little August in October. I will admit though, just between you and me, I was secretly hoping for another niece. Maybe the next one will be.

After the gender reveal party, we rushed off to the movies to see the newest horror, Hereditary. If you are a fan of the genre, I cannot recommend this film enough. It definitely pushes the boundaries of what is considered horror and adds something new and different to the “psychological thriller” subtype. Plus, it’s just scary as hell! I’ve never wanted to stop a movie because it was scaring me too much but there was definitely a point during this film that I felt an urge to leave the theater and get away from all that tension. That’s how good it is!

Then, we took a spontaneous trip to the mall where I picked up a couple of new records, the soundtrack to the film Moonlight and SZA’s latest album, Control, plus some new shorts and a Starbucks treat. We left just in time to catch a gorgeous sunset and on the way home—with the wind blowing through my hair and my fingers intertwined with those of my wife-to-be—I felt happy and very much alive.

It was the best day I’ve had in a while, maybe ever. I kept thinking, the next time someone asks me what my “perfect day” would look like, I’ll have an answer to pull from memory.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun seems to have moved on to the westerly windows. It’s getting late in the afternoon, which means it’s almost evening, which means it’s almost bedtime, and that means it’s nearly Monday already!

I have so much left to do, and I’ve suddenly realized I have very little weekend left to do it in. I’d suppose I’d better be off.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope that you found time to do something just for you and that you can start the coming work week in a place of peace and focus.

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 cup of virtual coffee.

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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Quick Catch Up

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and conversation. I’ve been up for a while now, taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to get my morning walk in before rushing through a bit of cleaning and a bit of writing. I have just enough time now to sit down and quickly catch up before I’m off to help my mom. So pull up a chair, excuse the mess, fill up a cup, and let’s talk about last week.

“She sips her coffee, sets it down, stretches her arms. This is one of the most singular experiences, waking on what feels like a good day, preparing to work but not yet actually embarked. At this moment there are infinite possibilities, whole hours ahead.She sips her coffee, sets it down, stretches her arms. This is one of the most singular experiences, waking on what feels like a good day, preparing to work but not yet actually embarked. At this moment there are infinite possibilities, whole hours ahead.”

— Michael Cunningham, The Hours 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I took off of work all of last week and of course I have very little to show for all that free time. I did try to write, and I did try to read, I just didn’t do as much of either as I’d hoped. I did a whole lot of everything else I could think of though. My house has never been cleaner.

In my defense, it’s hard to concentrate with this oppressive summer heat hanging around. We still haven’t replaced our evaporative cooler, and that means I have only a few hours every morning before my brain and body begin to shut down and seek less intensive activities. The need for ice cream, for a bit of social media, and, eventually, a nap become overpowering and next thing I know I’m on the couch and out for the count.

And now it’s over, and I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to go back to work. I mean, I know I’ll get up and get ready and go to that place, but I doubt I will have any good feelings about being there. I’m returning to a completely different schedule and two new team members. I expect it will all take some getting used to and to be honest I already feel like I want to be somewhere, anywhere else besides there. I don’t hate it there, but all this freedom is hard to let go of, you know?

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that one thing I did do, one thing I am proud of and hope to continue, is getting up early every morning, even on the weekends, and jogging 2 miles. I know that it doesn’t sound like a lot, but for someone who hates getting up early and who hasn’t been able to even walk around the block regularly due to joint pain and fatigue, it’s quite an accomplishment.

I continue to be amazed by how well I am doing since my infusion less than two weeks ago. The new medication is working like a miracle.

My next one is this coming Tuesday, and I’m a little anxious even though I pretty much know what to expect now. Last time my girlfriend stayed with me the whole time, but this time I will be on my own since her workload is so heavy right now. It’s a strange place to be, and a strange thing to have to do, and it’s comforting when someone you know comes along to watch out for you and keep your spirits up.

Then again, it might be a good thing for me to go it alone. It might turn out to be a good time to get a little more reading in and finally finish this godforsaken book!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we spent this weekend getting back into our wedding planning groove. We went back to a venue we toured and fell in love with and brought my mother-in-law-to-be along to offer opinions and advice. Unfortunately, we walked away just as unsure as we’d come. The venue is gorgeous, a historical mansion right in the middle of the city, but it may be too much venue for us. It’s a statement, and I’m not sure it’s saying what we want to say.

We made an appointment to tour another venue the week after this, a facility owned by the state. This place is a little simpler, a little more like us, but it’ll require more work on our end to make it wedding-ready. We also decided that all the “preferred caterers” were a bit fancy for us. Other people might want to eat steak for their wedding dinner, but I want something fun. I found a cute pizza truck with some interesting offerings worthy of a wedding.

Next, we’re going working on finalizing our guest list. We’re torn between throwing a huge event, or keep it personal, intimate, and, honestly, a lot cheaper. We can have 25 people, just our closest family members? We could have 40-50 and include friends who might as well be family? Or we could invite 80-90 people we’d just feel bad for not inviting. It’s hard to decide when so many people have feelings about it.

Sometimes I wonder if can’t we could just bring each other, hike up a mountain to meet an officiant, and do it alone?

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my goals for the coming week are to finish reading The Odyssey, make a post one or two pieces of cut and paste collage work on Instagram, write two blog posts, and keep on running every day. I will try not to do anything too strenuous or stressful. I’m still healing and working on getting back to being the old me. The point is to work on focus and discipline and be more aware of when I get distracted or discouraged.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this week there isn’t much to say and much more I have to do than usual, so I have to cut out chat a bit short. I hope that you had a productive week and that the weekend was relaxing enough to make you feel blissfully far away from anything that felt like work or worry.

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 cup of virtual coffee.

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

Photo by Ryan Riggins on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // I Feel Like Myself Again!

Hello dear readers. Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and conversation. I apologize for my late afternoon arrival and the late afternoon heat, but at least I have some cold-brew to offer–more caffeine and no need to water it down with ice—to keep us cool. There is a breeze coming through the windows and clouds that give me hope of a cooler evening than the last.

So, come on in! Don’t mind the dog, she’s a bit nutty, and make yourself at home. Tell me all about your week, and I’ll tell you all about mine too.

“I don’t drink coffee to wake up. I wake up to drink coffee.”

@deathwishcoffee

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last Tuesday I went for my first infusion and I am happy to report not only that it went very well but that it seems to have worked. No, not “seemed,” it has definitely worked! I feel like a miracle has been performed. Like a curse was lifted from me. Like I have come back from something very dark and terrifying to find sunshine and my old self still intact and the promise of happily ever after all around me. I feel like I just lived through a fairy tale.

Just over a week ago I was living on bone broth, Gatorade, and sleep. I was miserable, weak, tired, and terrified. I was missing work and missing out on my life, and now? Less than one week later, I am waking up early, going for runs with the dog, cleaning the house, writing again, and smiling! I am making jokes and feeling optimistic. I haven’t cried in days. I’m eating real food and getting out of the house. I feel like myself again.

That isn’t to say I’m back 100%. For some reason every day since my infusion I have needed a good two-hour nap in the middle of the afternoon. I am assuming my body is healing from all the damage caused by the inflammation and ulcers. I also still have a lot of joint pain and a lot of anxiety.

I’m worried that my symptoms will start coming back before my next infusion two weeks from now. I’m worried that I will start to see some side effects soon too. I’m worried the medicine will stop working at all tomorrow, a month, a year from now and I’ll be back at square one ad miserable. I’m worried I’ll be one of the 25ish% of ulcerative colitis sufferers that will eventually require surgery and all this will have been a waste of time and money.

I am doing my best not to think about any of that. I’m keeping my spirits up by being active, getting back into the things I wanted to be doing all this time, and helping others in need of hope in my support groups. I’m still hanging in there and taking it day by day.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my poor fiancé, after taking care of me for the past month has come down with a very nasty summer cold. That means I get to jump right in returning the favor!

To add to her misery, she’s been super stressed about work too. The workload has always been a bit overwhelming, but nearly every day this week she was hit with gut-wrenching anxiety about her future there.

She’s always been very good at what she does but what she does is not exactly what she would like to be doing. Unfortunately, everyone knows how smart and hardworking she is, and her bosses won’t let her slack. There is a chance that very soon she will be asked to apply for a huge promotion and her stomach has been in knots trying to decide how she will reply.

I’ve been helping her work on her stress levels, but I’ve never been very good at managing that myself. I’m encouraging her to take walks during the day. To work on her creative hobbies and to count her breaths when she feels especially nervous or anxious. I want to look into meditation, for the both of us, but that is all I have.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’m in need of a little help here. Drop some anti-stress tip in the comments if you have them, please.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am catching up on all kinds of writing and reading, podcast listening, black-out poetry making, and collage art creativity.

I’ve decided to take all on this coming week off of work to sit in my creativity room and just do things. I have all my screen strategically placed. I have my piles of papers and cutouts, and some new inspiration. I have alarms set to get me up, and places to go if I should need a change of scenery. I have my playlists and my to-do lists at hand, and I have a lot more cold-brew coffee premade and ready to keep me going.

I’m not promising to accomplish anything good accomplished. I’m just pledging that I will treat writing and creativity like a real job. Like a commitment I made and now have to really start following through on. More than that, I want to have fun! I want to take a week to pretend I’m not an “aspiring writer with a day job.” For a week I’m going to pretend I am just a writer who writes every day, and that’s all.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I am enjoying our conversation, I had better be off. The sun has shifted to the west windows, and I hear thunder rolling from far away. Even though this weekend is a long one, I suddenly feel the need to prepare for the week. The house needs work, and my wife-to-be probably needs another dose of medication and a cup of tea.

I hope you had a wonderful week and I hope your weekend is long, sunny, relaxing, and fun. Memorial day is considered the unofficial start of the summer, so be safe, and remember the real meaning of the holiday and all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

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 cup of virtual coffee.

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

Photo by Goran Ivos on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Losing Hope but Hanging in There

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. The weather this weekend has been gloomy, and by now the gloom has worked its way right into my mood. I’m tired, and all I want to do is crawl back into bed with a good book and a hot cup of tea for the rest of the day. BUT the weekend is only so long, and I know that doing nothing at all won’t make me feel much better, so I’m up, I have my smoothie, a cup of cold brew, and you, to cheer me up.

“The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.”

― Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that yesterday was World Inflammatory Bowel Disease Awareness Day and I celebrated by staying home, resting, and writing. I posted some thoughts on my fight so far with this disease. I tried to convey some of the things that I go through that go deeper than the symptoms and the medication. I tried to help people understand the way it’s affected how I relate to my own body.

Like most things I write here it was written as a reminder to myself, but like all advise we give ourselves, it’s hard to remember and harder to maintain. Just hours after I wrote all that about acceptance and loving myself I had a breakdown. There is so much guilt I have for not being able to be the best me I can not just for me (e.g., not being able to write, to exercise, or go place and do things I enjoy) but for other people too.

It isn’t even the bowel symptoms that are making life so hard! It’s the fatigue and frustration that are forcing me to become so introverted and irritable. I feel myself crawling back inside and away from people, not out of anger but out of exhaustion. I feel bad that I can’t be the sister, daughter, friend, or fiancé that my loved ones need me to be. Of course, they are understanding, but I can see the sadness there. I know that just because I am sick doesn’t mean they stop having needs to and I have no idea how to get back to them.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as soon as I begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it moves. I’m starting to believe the light is an illusion and to fear that the tunnel goes on and on forever.

This week I was feeling a lot worse and was finally forced to contact my doctor. I was trying so hard to hold on and hang in there until I started my new maintenance medication on Tuesday, but what I was getting so bad I was worried about how much damage I was doing to my body by trying to toughing it out instead of trying something else. So, I called the doctor who then put me back on what I’ve learned is referred to as the “devil’s tic-tacs” in the IBD community, Predisone.

Neither of us wanted me back on that crap. It works miracles, at first, and then it wreaks havoc on the whole body and takes months and months to recover from. But okay, it’s what I need to do, so I felt hopeful I would feel better right away, but she put me on such a small dose it’s made only the smallest dent, enough to keep me working. Then I was hopeful that the new maintenance meds would help right away, but that probably won’t happen either. I’ve gotten so bad that it will be another month or two before I know whether this course of action is right or not.

So, I’ve stopped hoping. Now I’m just hanging in there. I’m going from day-to-day, sometimes hour-to-hour, doing what I can and resting when I must.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that writing was slow this week. I just couldn’t get my brain to stay on task. It was drawn to scrolling Twitter and commenting on Facebook group posts. I did my best to redirect my attention though by remembering that I had pledged to get back to reading more this week.

My girlfriend surprised me with a bit of spontaneous book shopping this week to cheer me up after all that bad news, and I settled on The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey, a creepy, heartwarming, and thought-provoking zombie apocalypse story unlike any other. It was the perfect book to get me back into regular reading. Well written, attention-grabbing, and easy to read and follow. I highly recommend it, and the movie too!

This week coming week I’m going back to The Odyssey. I love this book, but I’ve never been able to actually finish it! Too much detail I suppose. My brain just shuts down, and my eyes start to glaze over and close after only a few pages. I end up having to reread so much of it but I’m determined to finish it this year, so I keep plugging away.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the coming week is the last of the school year and as you might imagine the atmosphere at work has been tense. There is so much to get done. Graduations, field trips, bidding for summer school routes, bus and equipment cleaning, evaluations, and training. It’s a bittersweet time. We’re saying goodbye to the kids and as relieved and excited as we are we’re all a little sad too.

You get close to these kids, preschoolers and high school seniors alike. Some of my kids are graduating, and some will be moving away over the summer. Even if I get the same route next year, I won’t see them again. Next year new kids will be moving into the district, and many will be moving from elementary to middle school, or middle to high school. There will be new schools opening and routes will be rearranged somewhat and the training department I work for in my off time is moving and hiring new people.

Everything is changing and much of next year is up in the air. I have a little over two months to try not to panic about it.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun is trying to peek out through the clouds and if I am going to get to spend any time outside of the house this weekend, I had better get up and get going now. I need to look at something other than these walls, hear something besides all the bad news on TV. I need to move my body and be around people. I need to feel that sun and smell the spring air.

I hope you had a productive week and that your weekend has been a relaxing and revitalizing one. If not I hope next week will be better than the last and that you find time to do something just for you before the weekend is over.

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 cup of virtual coffee.

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

If We Were Having Coffee // All to Myself

Hello dear readers. Welcome, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I am in desperate need of company just now. I’ve had the house all to myself since Friday and this morning, in particular, feels especially lonely. I don’t do well on my own, even the dog is depressed and want little to do with me. So, I’ve got some music playing, the drapes open wide, a strong cup cold brew, and now you, to cheer me up.

***

If we were having coffee, I would start by wishing all the Mother’s out there a happy and joyful Mother’s Day. I hope your children remind you how much you mean to them. We’ve all taken a parent for granted before and it’s good to recognize at least once a year (though of course, it should be more) that our mother’s, while not perfect, did the best they knew how and made us who we are, for better or for worse.

Of course, not everyone had a great experience growing up, and for a lot of people, Mother’s Day can be a little complicated. Some people had abusive, or absent mothers, some people had another person in their life who was more of a mother to them than the woman who gave birth. I have a friend who’s celebrating his Father today, the parent who did double duty. I wish all of you a happy Mother’s Day too, and I hope you, and the ones you celebrate, feel valid and recognized today.

As for my mother and me, it’s a little complicated for us too, but we’re a forgiving family. I can see how hard it was for her having me so young. I’m grateful for all her hard work. I’m grateful for her love. I’m grateful she did better by me than her parents did by her. I’m grateful that she taught us that at the very least, we should grow up to do better than her too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve had the house all to myself since Friday evening and, it’s driving me crazy. Anyone who knows me knows I hate being away from my girlfriend. We’ve been together so long, lived together most of that time, and with working the same schedule, at the same place, it makes it hard when I don’t have her around. It’s probably not super healthy, I suppose, but it’s how I am, and she doesn’t mind, much.

She’s staying at a hotel this weekend and enjoying a bit gambling and good food with her mother.

I’m stayed home to celebrate my own mother with my siblings and taking care of the house. I saw them yesterday for a small, low-key get together at my brother’s house. It was a wonderful visit, my niece is growing up so fast, my sister and I cracked each other up the whole time, my mom got hilariously annoyed with us all, and my brother has two new, very cute puppies I got to play with! I was only sad my brother’s fiance wasn’t there. I wanted to congratulate her face to face after I found out I’M GOING TO BE AN AUNT AGAIN!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that health-wise this was a weird week. I started off feeling amazing on Monday. I felt like my old self. I felt happy, even after being at work all day! Then slowly throughout the rest of the week, I slide further downhill.

Part of it was diet. I didn’t stick to the bland food plan I’d set up. Part of it was the stress of planning Mother’s Day. Part of it was simple exhaustion. I need to rest, but I feel too guilty to stay in bed or to say no when people ask me to do things.

I am hanging in there though. I only have nine more days until my first infusion, and that light at the end of the tunnel that I hope is there. I cannot wait.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am counting down to the end of the school year and feeling a little sad, and very anxious, about losing my kids to summer vacation and about starting new work hours.

For those who don’t know, I work on a Special Needs school bus, and this year I had great kids! Of course, I love my kids every year, but this was the first year that all my kids liked me! I had all high schoolers and nearly all boys and all year I got to talk about video games and superheroes. I was quizzed on who has what superpowers, who is who’s arch nemesis, and which heroes were faster, stronger, and smarter than which heroes. We made up gross foods combinations to eat and imagined how to escape dangerous scenarios like sharknados and rabid beavers. We talked about space travel, dinosaurs, sports teams, and horror movies. I had a lot of fun!

I’m going to miss them, but maybe I’ll get to see them again next year.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’m still plugging away, writing blog posts and working on some bigger projects but there were setbacks. My writing got away from me. That is, I let a few tangents get the better of my focus and by the end what I started to say looked like nothing I meant to say by the end, and I spent the rest of my week trying to correct course. This week I’m starting again, and I’m going to work on being more organized.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the clouds are rolling in and I can feel the weather changing in my bones. I have a lot left to do today to prepare for the week, and I had better get to it before this energy leaves me. I’m joining in on some interviews at work, so I have to prepare a question, and I’d like to post something here tomorrow, not to mention the laundry, the dishes, and a slew of small house projects that need completing before the work week can begin.

I hope you made progress where progress was needed this week, and if you didn’t, I hope your setbacks can be overcome in the coming one. I wish you all a happy Mother’s Day full of love and gratitude.

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 cup of virtual coffee.

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

Photo by Edan Cohen on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Getting Back to Old Habits

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I’m up late this morning. That’s not exactly true, I was up early, but I found myself back in bed three times before I considered trying a cup of coffee. Now, after a quick cup of cold brew and a little sunshine and fresh air coming through the open windows and I have the laundry started, the dishwasher loaded, some writing going, and I’m ready to sit down with you.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I didn’t want to talk about ulcerative colitis this week. I’m sure you are tired of hearing about how much pain I am in or how my medication isn’t working, or how afraid I am of what might happen in the future. I didn’t want to tell you that this week was worse than the last, but at least I’m one week closer to the start of my new medication.

I didn’t want to tell you any of that but May is Inflammatory Bowel Disease Awareness month, and I feel the need to overshare through it. This week I’m dealing with people doing that weird thing where you being sick everyday irritates them.

Last week I got frustrated when a co-worker told me I looked sick asked if I had a cold or something contagious in any way. I explained, for the hundredth time at least, that I am not. She asked what was wrong then. I answered that I had ulcerative colitis. I glossed over the TMI symptoms and just told her I was prone to fatigue and joint pain, she only shrugged her shoulders and told me she’d never heard of it. I could tell she didn’t care to either. She advised me to go to the doctor. I left it at that rather than get into all the doctor’s visits, test, and medications and am already going through.

This isn’t a new experience. Every day someone asks me how I am doing and I can tell that they just want to hear that I am better. They want to hear that there are easy answers. I understand that chronic illness can be hard for people to understand but if there is anything I can make you aware of this month, it’s that for some people pain is an everyday reality, and there are no easy cures. We may never get better, and we certainly will never get used to it, and that is okay. Let that be okay.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my biggest challenge has been changing my diet to foods that are easier on the guts, but significantly less satisfying. I’m living off of bone broth, fish, boiled eggs, and smoothies. I’m drinking peppermint tea, “golden milk”, and Gatorade to stay hydrated and keep my electrolytes up. If I get a craving for something sweet, I can have Jell-O. That’s it. No hot wings, no pizza, no burgers. I didn’t even get to enjoy any tacos or margaritas this Cinco de Mayo. Ugh!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m still plugging away at my A to Z posts. I’d planned to post a lot more than just the one I did this week, but work interfered unexpectedly. That break I had been hoping for ended almost before it started.

I’m also struggling to write during the hours I set aside for it at home. I’ve known for a long time that I write better when I am at work, when I am not supposed to be writing, when I don’t really have the time, but I’m struggling to replicate that kind of panic at home.

It’s helped to put my headphones in, to rid myself of the silence and either put on music to change my mood, or podcasts to give me that background chatter I’d find in the office. Coffee helps and getting up for a minute here and there to quickly take care of to-do items, as I would at work when my boss or coworkers need something. I can’t sit on the couch, and I can’t have the TV on. I have to “get ready” for writing like I am getting ready for work. I have to get dressed, eat breakfast, brush my teeth, and go there emotionally.

Of course, I didn’t figure any of this out until yesterday. When I did though I got the first newsletter I’d sent in months out and got a ton on brainstorming in. I’m hoping thinking of writing as work will keep my ass in the chair much more consistently going forward.

This week I am setting goals for myself. I am going to write four posts, including an A to Z reflection, and my “M,” “N,” and “O” posts, plus get another newsletter out. They are a part of the next project I have in mind, and I can’t move forward until they are done. I’m trying to keep in mind this advice I read from Austin Kleon last week:

First draft motto

A post shared by Austin Kleon (@austinkleon) on

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m looking forward to the coming week. I don’t have a ton of work scheduled yet, and I’m planning to get back into some old habits I’ve let fall in the past month. I am going to start reading again and journaling. The time I had previously devoted to those tasks became nap time, and while the rest is great, I miss my books.

I’ve also got my magazine and newspaper piles organized, and I’ll be posting some more blackout and a few attempts at cut-up poetry on Instagram. I’ve missed moving other people’s words around. If I get ambitious, I may include some collage art too.

This weather report for the next 7 days looks absolutely gorgeous, and I might reward myself with some time outside. One hour, half for reading, half for writing about my day. It’s a small thing, but right now I need all the small joys I can find.

I may try some walking too. The evenings are warm enough for a trip around the neighborhood with the dog. I know she’ll love that.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that is about all I can pull out of my little boring life to share with you this week. Nothing much is new, but there have been a few things to think about. Not every week can be about action, some have to be about rest and reflection too.

I hope you had a productive week and I hope your weekend was relaxing. If not, then I hope the next will be better than the last.

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 cup of  virtual coffee.

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash