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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time.

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

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

Featured photo by Izzy Rivi on Unsplash

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If We Were Having Coffee // I’m Looking Forward to Christmas this Time

Hello, dear readers. Thank you for stopping by for a quick chat and a cup of warm coffee with me. The weather is chilly today, and earlier we had some flurries. It seems winter may have shown up late but it is here to stay now.

This past week was a hectic one—I had to work some, I had to write a lot, and I had to see family—but I was glad the holiday passed without too much stress. Normally this time of year is hard for me. The pressure and stress of it all are usually more than I can handle but this year feels different. I’m looking forward to Christmas this time.

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If we were having coffee,  I would tell you that I won’t get to visit with you very long this week. I have so many words that need writing if I want to be able to meet the NaNoWriMo 50,000 word goal on time. I’m sitting at just under 35,000 words, and if I can manage 4,000 a day for the next four days, I can make it. I hope to write 5,000 by the end of tonight.

I haven’t looked over what I’ve written so far. Not much anyway, except to expand or add dialog to boost my words counts. I know it is all a pile of shit. A steaming pile that I will need to dig through and see if there are a few gems I can salvage and use in the book that I hope to write eventually.

After November I plan to take a break from it all and start on a new project. I’ll tell you more about that next week.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my Thanksgiving was nice and quiet, just the way I had hoped it would be. My girlfriend and I spent the morning and the early afternoon at home. We had brunch with mimosas and stayed in our pajamas as long as we could. Afterward, we went to my mother’s for dinner and drinks. My littlest sister and my brother and his family were there. We ate plenty and had a really good time.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m not a big fan of Thanksgiving and this year, in particular, the holiday feels empty and wrong. The clashing of Native protesters and police over the Dakota Access Pipeline has been a much-needed reminder of the ways this country still oppresses and silences its people.

It’s a much-needed reminder of how awful it is to celebrate a holiday which mischaracterizes the relationship between the early settlers and the Natives. It’s a much-needed reminder that we are not so different nor have we made as much progress as we’d like to believe.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was a bit of a dull and lonely one. My girlfriend spent the weekend with her mother. They went up to the mountains for gambling and drinks in celebration of her mother’s birthday. Gambling isn’t my thing, I had writing to do, and our dog needed looking after, so I stayed home.

I spent the time cleaning, trying to write, and watching way more Netflix than was good for my productivity and creative mind. I didn’t sleep well, and I hardly ate so even now I am struggling to stay awake and do the things I need to do.

I’ve only slept alone a handful of nights since we moved together over 14 years ago and when she isn’t here I can’t even lay in our bed. The house doesn’t feel so big anymore, and my mind isn’t quite so loud. Being alone is hard for me, and I am very glad she is back home.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that before my lady left for the weekend, she did surprise me a movie date. We saw Arrival, which good but also surprising, intense, and emotional and I highly recommend it.

We went to a very late showing, to a theater we used to spend a lot of our time in. We snuck in a flask of blood orange vodka and pockets full of movie candy. We giggled and acted like young teenagers. We kissed and cuddled and felt young again. It was a perfect movie date. Like all the ones she used to take me on when we were getting to know one another and deciding whether or not to begin our lives together.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had better get going. If I don’t start writing a few scenes or putting my characters through some pain and anguish, I’ll be very disappointed in myself. If I get disappointed in myself, I will have a hard time staying motivated and hopeful. I’ll give up.

So, I must go, but I am so glad we’ve had this time. If you have a moment drop by the comments and let me know how you have been, how your holiday was, and how your own projects are faring.

Until next time :)

My new favorite mug 😊

A post shared by Lisa Blair (@zenandpi) on

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I started a weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering. You can sign up here: (:

Featured image via Unsplash

Thankful for Time

Hello and happy Monday to you all! I’m having a rough one thanks to freezing temperatures, all the snow we got over the weekend, and my inability to cope with returning to work after five days off. I really, really want to run back home and crawl back into my warm bed. But that is not an option and so I have to make the best of the day. I have to take advantage of the new start to make changes and move closer to my goals.

All month I have been working, week by week, on incorporating the principles of Thanksgiving into my life. I know the holiday is over but I couldn’t move on to the Christmas season without being thankful for one more thing. I had to acknowledge my gratitude for the passage of time.

Time is both a curse and a blessing for us humans. Time only moves forward so we get no do-overs. We can’t go back to make better choices, right our wrongs, or see the people we’ve lost once. Time hurts us all. It ticks on and on and moves us further toward the inevitable end. Time is harsh, uncaring, and it never stops or slows for any of us.

Worst of all, it slips by us unnoticed, and its gone before we learn to appreciate it.

Then again, time does heal all wounds, or at least makes them easier to bear. Time forces us to appreciate what we once had. Time teaches us lessons. Time makes us all wiser as we age and learn from those things we can’t undo. Time changes us and if we are aware of it we can change into someone we can love and be proud of.

“I may not be where I want to be but I’m thankful for not being where I used to be.”

Habeeb Akande

I think of where I came from and how far I’ve come from that and I am amazed with myself. Whenever I think something is impossible I remember how much I’ve already done and I realize I can do so much. I think of where I could’ve ended up and I make sure to be aware of what time I have and what I do with it.

I do not doubt that if I had made any other choices I would either be in jail, or dead.

There was a time when I was all messed up. I didn’t know which way to go and I carried a deep sadness with me wherever I went.  Time passed me by and I did nothing at all good with my life. I am paying for those poor choices now. I will never get a do over but I have learned to appreciate my time more.

I have learned that the time we have to enjoy life and make the most of it is fleeting. I never went to prom. I didn’t get to go to parties with my friends or join fun after school clubs. I didn’t get to go to college. I spent a lot of time drinking and drugging and hanging around people who I meant nothing to. I didn’t get to ease into adulthood and will forever feel like I have fallen behind my peers. I’m 30 years old now and I still feel like I’m catching up.

Time changed me and changed my environment. Time made everything better, but now I have less of it left. Time is not on my side so I have to maximize what I have. I have to do better every day. I have to be mindful of every moment and not let one more minute pass me by. Time is a vessel and I only want to fill it with things that feel good and get me where I want to be.

If you are aware of time and it’s movement you can see the beauty in it. You can appreciate the way life flows and moves. You can feel happier knowing that whatever your current circumstances are, time will change them. Things will get better, and then worse, but always better again. Time brings good and bad and it’s all beautiful. Time is precious.

Take time to love. Take time to learn. Take time to see, hear, taste, and touch all that you can. Take your time, make the most of your time, but do not take it for granted. You do not have as much as you think you do.

“Be grateful for who you are and what you will be.”

Lailah Gifty Akita

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Featured image: Leaves of Gold by Ashtyn Warner

The Small Things I Am Thankful For

Obviously we are all thankful for family and friends. We are thankful for our jobs, our food, and our homes. We are thankful for clean water, freedom, and safety. Of course we are, but what about the little things? What small things make life better? Here are mine:

I am thankful for my dog, Lola. She’s stubborn and she drives me crazy but she is so freakin’ cute! When we first got her she got sick and we were afraid that she might have parvo. We were afraid we would lose her. She didn’t and she got better and now she is family. We love her so much and she loves us much more than we deserve.

I’m thankful for technology which puts so much information at my fingertips whenever I want or need it. I am especially thankful for the Khan Academy and YouTube channels such as Crash Course, In A Nutshell, and School of Life. I have learned so much from all of these sources and continue to everyday. What a time to be alive!

I am thankful for my favorite places to frequent, the Alamo Drafthouse theater and the Mexican restaurant around the corner. Whenever we need to get out, whenever we want to have a little fun we can always go to one or the other and we know we’ll have a great time. Whenever we want to have a night to be together and fall in love again, these are the places we go.

I am thankful all the Tarantino films, especially Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained, Inglorious Bastards, and Kill bill volumes I and II. Oh and Jackie Brown! Whenever I need a good laugh or am in the mood for gore and guts I turn on a Tarantino film. I look forward to seeing his newest film, The Hateful Eight, in January.

I am thankful for music from artists like Erykah Badu, Kendrick Lamar, Outkast, and Glass Animals. There are a lot of days I wouldn’t have made it if it weren’t for their music to help me through. When I need to get away but can’t escape the place I am in, usually work, I put in my headphones and I am whisked away. When I need motivation or encouragement, when my mind feels stuck the get me thinking. When I become emotional, the level me out.

I am thankful for wine, margaritas, bloody marys, and white russians. I know it sounds bad but at the end of the work day just one of these will mark the boundary between a stressful day and a relaxing evening. It marks the time that me and my lady come together to vent about our day. Having a drink is a way to slow the world down and be present.

I am thankful for my other pets too. My cat sophia who loves me but rarely shows it, and my snakes, Ava and Delilah, who give me something to care about and learn about. I am thankful for the pets I have lost, my dogs Samson and Angel, who I miss very much and who I am glad I got to know.

I am thankful for he many notebooks I carry around and my Pilot Precise V5 pens. I love writing about my day and writing about what I need to get done too. Everyday I write about five good things that have happened that day and I swear it has changed how I think. These items mean a lot to me and I carry them wherever I go.

Finally I am thankful for this little space on the internet and for every reader who stops by. I have been at this for a year and a half or so and it has become my favorite thing to do everyday. I write here as much as I can and I cherish every like and comment. Having a blog seems like such a silly thing and surely too small a thing to matter much but that is so far from the truth. This blog has changed me and made me see myself and the world around me differently. I hope I never lose my passion for it.

I am thankful for family, friends, and others around me, and I am thankful for the love I have in my life, but there are little comforts that make life such a beautiful place. I couldn’t end the day without thinking of them too.

What little things are you thankful for this year? What get you through the day or makes you feel happy or comfortable?

 

A Day to Give Thanks and a Day to Remember

As I’ve been writing all month, I do think the principles of thanksgiving are wonderful ones. I think there is so much for us all to be thankful for, so much that we take for granted, that it is nice to have a holiday that reminds us that we have so much in this life. It’s nice to have a day that brings us all together to celebrate our joys. I want that for everyone today. I want you all to laugh and stuff yourselves full of delicious food and drink. I want you all to have a beautiful holiday.

I only wish we would take a moment to recognize that Thanksgiving tradition could use a tiny bit of tweaking.

My biggest grip with the holiday is we forget what it really means. We were taught a cute little story about pilgrims and Native Americans coming together for a celebratory meal. We were lied to. In reality the first Thanksgiving was in celebration of a massacre of over 700 Pequot Indians.

Now, I don’t want to put too much of a damper on the day. I know that isn’t what we are celebrating now but being honest about the history of this day is a very important step in really moving forward. No one can deny that in this country the Native American have been treated very poorly. Their land was stolen, their people were killed, and their struggles belittled, and now we have turned a blind eye to them.

I think the least we can do is take a little time today to be honest about where this holiday came from and to remember that the people whose land this was first continue to face issues of poverty, mass incarceration, violence against their women, the continued exploitation and seizure of their lands, and much, much more. I think it is insulting to celebrate, as a nation, a holiday marking the killing of their people, and still forget to take a moment for them.

I don’t want to get rid of the holiday at all. I don’t want to ruin it either. I really do wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you have much to be thankful for this year. I only ask that you do not forget what this holiday might mean to cultures other than your own. I ask that you be sensitive to that and raise awareness if you can. Do not let the lie we were taught in school live on any longer. That’s all.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

Featured image via U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr

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P.S. Please think of the turkeys today too, which have been breed to be so big they cannot even stand upright anymore.

Monday Motivation // Thankful for Love

Hello and happy Monday to you all. Mine has been a busy one already and to be honest I’d like nothing more than to head back home and crawl into my nice warm bed. But that is not what Mondays are for. Mondays are a new start and a fresh chance to make changes in our lives that move us forward and make us happy.

This month I am doing my best to incorporate the principles of Thanksgiving into my daily routine. (Even if the story of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims coming together to share a feast is a complete lie). I am working on being thankful for what I have, showing gratitude, connecting with, and appreciating, my community.

This week I am doing something a little different and thanking the person for whom I give credit for all my happiness. This week I am thankful for the love of my amazing girlfriend. I know without a doubt that without her, my life would be less joyful, less fulfilling, and certainly less comfortable and secure.

“Thank you…for gracing my life with your lovely presence, for adding the sweet measure of your soul to my existence.”

― Richard Matheson, What Dreams May Come

Of course I am thankful for the love of all my family and friends but her love has changed me in a way I would never know was possible had I not experienced it first hand. Romantic love is so different from the other kinds of love we have in life. It is the love you have for someone who sees you at your best and often at your worst. This love reminds you that you are not an island. It reminds you that going through life with a teammate and a witness is the greatest gift this life can offer.

My lady is there when I have bad days. She is there to help me through life’s demands and hard choices. She is there to struggle with me and to enjoy the rewards of that struggle. She supports me in my crazy plans and ideas. She listens when I need an ear and she tells me the hard truths no one else will.

One of the things that makes me saddest in this world is when I hear someone who has that kind of love complain about it. I hate to hear that love is being taken for granted. I once had a coworker, after spending a few minutes complaining about his wife, look at me and say “after 14 years there just isn’t anything to talk about anymore, you know?”. No I don’t know, and I hope I never do! After 13 years together me and my girlfriend still talk, joke, and vent together every day.

I think this coworker had gotten lazy in his relationship. He forgot to love and cherish his wife. He forgot what brought them together in the first place. Worst of all, he forgot what it was like before he had her. If you are in a relationship, remember to appreciate what your significant other has given you. Remember to show gratitude and to return the favor. If you can’t do that, then I urge you to love them enough to consider letting them go.

I know that not everyone is lucky enough to have this kind of love in their life. Even our love has not been without its ups and downs and there were times in the past when we almost lost each other. We were lucky and we got through the bad times. I hope we will continue to be lucky and make it through many more.

Even if you’ve loved and lost, you have to admit that when it was good, it was really good. I hope you can look back and see the good that kind of love did for you. If you loved and that love was not returned, be grateful that your capacity for love was proven and do not give up trying to find someone who will return your affections. Be grateful there is even a chance in this world to have that kind of love some time.

As for me, this week I will have a little time off of work with the love of my life and I plan to tell her how much she has meant to me over the years. I hope to remember to do it more often because, without her, my life would be a very lonely and harsh one.

Without her I would never have known how beautiful a place this world could be.

“I want to thank you for the profound joy I’ve had in the in the thought of you.”

― Rosie Alison, The Very Thought of You

 

If We Were Having Coffee // Roller Coaster Weather and Fast Approaching Holidays

Hello friends! I apologize for being a little late for our chat, I slept in later then I meant to this morning. I can tell you I am not happy about it either. I like to get up early on Saturday and Sunday so I can enjoy as much of my days off as possible. By early I mean 7:00 AM at the latest. This morning I slept in until 10.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that the weather has been a real roller coaster ride lately. We’ll see temperatures close to 60 degrees then well drop lower and lower over the next few days until we are freezing and snow is falling. Last Tuesday we actually had a snow day and I got to stay home, warm and cozy in bed. There are a few perks to working for a school district.

This coming week will be warm at first, today we might see 60 degrees again, and by Thanksgiving day it will be cold and snowing again. It’s too early for accumulation predictions but I hope the roads stay clear enough for everyone’s holiday travels.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that because my girlfriend has been working so much we have been doing our best to the little time we have together every night special. We spend the evening talking while she cooks and I clean and we have started watching a few shows together like Carnivàle and True Detective, both on HBO.

I loved the first season of True Detective and I can’t wait to start the second. I wish I hadn’t started Carnivàle though. It’s not that I hate it, in fact, I’m only a few episodes in and I’m hooked! I just found out that it got canceled after 2 seasons so there are going to be a lot of unanswered questions and I am sure I will be disappointed in the end.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that most of yesterday was spent cooped up in the house. By about 8:00 at night I was feeling antsy and wanted out. So, I found a few “rain check” movie tickets we had lying around, got ready, and went out to see the newest Hunger Games movie, Mockingjay—Part 2.

I’ll write up one of my “short and sweet” reviews but I will tell you right now, I was a little disappointed in it. I hate to say it but, the book was better. I might have to read them again to rid my mind of this lackluster version.

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If we were having coffee I would tell you that as usual the holidays are sneaking up on me. It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is next week and Christmas is only just over 30 days away! I don’t have my plans figured out for either holiday and I don’t have any gift ideas yet either. I’m starting to panic. Well, I have one gift idea for my girlfriend but it’s something I’m making and it’s going to be a very big project.

Deep down I I’m not sure I can pull it off and I’m starting to regret the decision. I don’t think I have the time or the skill to make what I want to make for her. I don’t know why I thought this was a good idea. It’s too late to try to do something else now so I am just going to have to try my best. I just hope she likes it.

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If we were having coffee I would thank you for stopping by and apologize for having to cut the visit short. There is so much to be done around the house and more errands to run than usual. I am already so late that I doubt I will be able to accomplish much today but a little something is better than nothing.

I do hope you had a good week, and either way I’d love to hear about it in the comments.