If We Were Having Coffee // A Good Writing Week

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

It’s good to see the sun shining today. Yesterday was so dreary and cold and wet, and all I wanted to do was stay in bed, but today is different! Today, the sun is shining! Temperatures have only just now climbed out from below freezing but the weather report promises we’ll see close to 50 degrees and the rest of the week looks even better.

My mood is much improved and I’m up early and getting ready for a late lunch with my sister and her kids just after they land here in Denver. I haven’t seen them since early summer and they are staying almost the whole week!

So, come, fill up a cup. I hope you won’t mind me darting about getting ready and cleaning as much as I can before I have to head out. I’ll open the shades and let the sun in while we sip some blond roast and talk about last week.

“I let myself go, and made myself some coffee.”

— Anton Chekhov, from a letter to his sister written c. May 1890

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was a long one. The weather was cold and wet and we had a few days of freezing weather and poor road conditions.

It’s hard-working on a school bus in the winter. So much is out of your control and the ones who suffer are the kids waiting in the cold and arriving late to school. You do your best but it’s never enough in the winter. You just have to be grateful that everyone made it safe. That’s all that matters on days like that.

The week was also long because it’s the last full work week before Thanksgiving break. We had our big Thanksgiving potluck and I decided to (or was guilt-tripped into) bring a Bacon Brie Crescent Wreath. I never like cooking for these potlucks, there’s just too much pressure to make it perfect or you will be judged harshly by the people you work with every day, but I’m happy to report that my contribution was a success. Everyone liked it and I was glad I made two just in case. 

The district is open just two days next week and for the most part, they will be easy days, but with my sister in town though I decided to take the whole week off to be with her and the rest of my family instead. Luckily, I work for a place that encourages taking time for yourself and I don’t have to feel guilty one bit for doing what is right for me. 

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that writing-wise this past week was the best I’ve had in a long time. It could have been better, but I’m trying not to beat myself up for failing, again, to send out a newsletter, or for not finishing that one particular draft that has been plaguing me since last April. 

Instead, I’m praising myself for finishing my contribution to The Writing Cooperative’s November Challenge on Medium, “Thank You for This Second Chance“. It’s a pretty personal piece and I would love if you guys would check it out, leave some feedback, and hit the “clap” button at the bottom to let me know you enjoyed it.

I also finished the first post for my new personal blog. To be honest, I finished it early last week but wasn’t quite ready to make the switch yet. There were a few more design tweaks I needed to make and there are still quite a few content decisions to make too but I think it’s time to move.

Going forward I may be over there more than I am here and this place will become less and less about me personally and more about philosophy, mindfulness, the human condition, and how to cope with existence, the things Zen and Pi was always supposed to be about.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite holidays. I mean, I do love being with family, and the idea of taking time to be grateful is great. I love all the good food and the drinks, and the pies especially, but outside of that, Thanksgiving means nothing at all to me.

But I think that’s what it means to most people nowadays too. I think we’ve all outgrown the story of the Native Americans and the Pilgrims feasting together in a show of unity and gratitude. Whether or not the story is true we all know how the story of the settlers and the Native American’s ends and that horrific story leaves no place for celebration.

So, I choose to simply reflect on what I am grateful for, the people in my life, the privileges I enjoy, the hard work I have put in, and the compassion of others that has led to every good thing I have in my life.

I reflect too, on our shameful history and the Native Americans who lost their lives and their land and how their history has been forgotten, whitewashed and replaced by feel-good stories like the ones we were taught in school about the first Thanksgiving in American history.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s about an hour out from my sister’s plane landing. If I want to have any hope of being ready in time to see her I had better get going now.

I hope you had a good week and that your coming week and holiday, will be stress-free. I hope you have good food and plenty of loved ones around you to eat it with. I hope you have plenty to be grateful for.

Until next time, take care of yourself, okay?

***

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. Thanks!

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

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

 

Advertisements

If We Were Having Coffee // A Direction to Head In

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

It’s a wintry day outside with light snow flurries and freezing temperatures and the reports promise the same for tomorrow, sadly. Snowy Mondays are the worst, but snowy Sundays aren’t so bad as long as you have nowhere you need to go. As long as you get to stay on the couch covered in cozy blankets drinking alternating cups of hot coffee while the world outside is purified by the soft white snow.

So, come, fill up a cup and join me on the couch. Let’s watch the deary world turn white while we talk about last week.

“I never knew anyone, ever, who wrote, read, loved, and drank coffee as slowly as I always do.”

Juansen Dizon, Turtle

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the easy work week I had so carefully planned was ruined entirely by an excruciating headache that plagued me for three whole days. I felt the first signs of it Wednesday afternoon after staying up to watch the election results and it didn’t really go away until the middle of the afternoon on Saturday. I’m chalking it up to lack of decent sleep and anxiety, and some of it to the giant margarita I had with dinner on Friday. I regret nothing.

I realized it was a sleep problem after making time—just 15 or 20 minutes—every afternoon to rest I would feel better, for a little while.

I’ve always had trouble sleeping at night. As soon as I lay down and close my eye my mind starts running. I worry about my family, about the things I said and did that day, things I said and did years ago, my eventual death, and whether or not the people who say they love me really do. If I can get through that and finally fall asleep I never get far before something wakes me up. again My girlfriend or one of the pets snoring, a car door slamming in the neighborhood, the furnace turning on, etc.

I’ve been living in a constant state of sleep deprivation and have been relying on coffee and naps to get through the day. It’s getting to a point where that isn’t enough though. So, this week I’m going to break out the earplugs and use an eye mask and see if I can get a little more rest at night. I’ll still have coffee but in the early morning only and no more naps, unless the headaches returns.

***

Despite the pain and the fatigue I still had a few moments of excitement and managed to muster whole hours of motivation and productivity. Not as much as I’d hoped for but I don’t think any of us ever spends our time 100% as we know we should. I procrastinated. I avoided. I got distracted and you know what? It wasn’t all bad. I stepped away from the screen and had some laughs. I rested. I did nothing and it felt sort of good.

I have to get back on track this week though. There’s a couple of writing contests and calls for submission I found on Medium I’d like to try for. I’m not positive I can actually finish these attempts on time but it feels good to try. It feels good to have a direction to head in.

Besides that my editorial calendar is in shambles. I’ve been neglecting my reading and my journal too. I haven’t sent a newsletter in months and it’s time I got my shit together and started writing those too. I’d love to begin posting in the new space too. I did write an introduction post and finished separating and setting up the important social media accounts so I can share it. I have everything ready to start and I still can’t bring myself to hit that publish button yet.

I just need a little more courage to take another step and start writing, finishing pieces, and posting them. I’m hoping for it this week, and maybe if I do we’ll meet there for coffee next time instead.

***

I’m also excited to get writing more now that I finally have new hardware! Last week, in the middle of my last coffee share post my laptop finally crapped out on me. I’d been researching new options for a while already knowing that it was only a matter of time and decided on this 12.5″ Asus Chromebook Flip.

I don’t usually promote products here but this thing is seriously awesome and if you are in the market for a new laptop I highly recommend you consider it. I’m still getting used to ChromeOS. Moving from Windows means my workflow is going to have to change a bit and I have a lot to learn about to do the things I need to do but so far I’m glad I made the switch. It’s nice to have something that just works.

Still, I need recommendations for a new note-taking app. Something I could use as a place to write blog post drafts and other long pieces. I love the way my work can be sorted into notebooks in OneNote but the app doesn’t work as well on a Chromebook as it does on a Windows PC. I’ve tried Evernote before but they really limit the functionality of the free version and I’d very much like to continue this same quality of writing experience and flow.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I was very pleased to see every candidate I voted for ended up their races. I believe I am now represented entirely by Democrats and I’m pretty damn proud of that. A couple of ballot measures I had hoped would pass didn’t but none of the ones I didn’t, did. So, things aren’t better but things aren’t worse either and in this political climate that is something. Even if the country at large is going to shit, here at home we are still trying to do the right thing.

There were a lot of good outcomes across the country, and some we are still waiting to hear the results of, but I’m hopeful again. Now, something can be done. Now we have a chance to stop bad things from happening

I’m not sure if that makes the world feel any safer though. On the contrary, I worry it may be far less as we become angrier and more and more unable to think and speak with compassion.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that as much as I want to I can’t stay cozied up on the couch like this all day, talking with you and sipping warm cups of coffee with you, I have to get up and get going. I have nowhere to be but that doesn’t mean I don’t have things to do. I’m off to do laundry, wash dishes, and prep a couple of meals, and later, if I have time, I may get more writing in too.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you were able to accomplish something you’ve been meaning too, and if not just know every day is a new chance to start and you will find a way past whatever is holding you back. I’m trying to remember that myself.

Until next time, take care of yourself.

***

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. Thanks!

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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

 

If We Were Having Coffee // I’m Doing More in November

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

Wow, what a change from last week, yeah? On our last coffee date, the sun was shining and the high temperature was forecasted to climb into the 70s. Today the temps might reach the 50s but I haven’t seen much of the sun since Friday and even then, it wasn’t out that much. We’re currently in a slow decline toward freezing temperatures and possible snow showers by Thursday. So, my mood has been in a slow decline too, but luckily my productivity hasn’t been negatively impacted, yet.

I’m up early today, thanks to a return to “standard time” here in America and an extra hour of sleep. I’ve been working on blog things, some big changes and some new posts. Sadly my beloved laptop has come to the end of its life this very morning and working from my old iPad—which is on its way out too—is slow and tedious so much of that is on hold until Friday when I can get a new one, but progress was made and I am excited to tell you more about it.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I have plenty of cold brew as usual, but I’m willing to dust off the coffee maker if you feel the dreary weather calls for it. Let’s talk about last week!

“You stare at your coffee hoping it gives you perspective and sanity and the ability to make sense of it all and that’s a lot to ask of your coffee.”

— Lin-Manuel Miranda

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last week was the first easy work week I’ve had in a long while. I spent the first couple months of the school year working hard to get ahead and managed to complete almost all of my tasks well ahead of schedule. I still had a few things to do, and a few things I had to move to next week, but I had significantly more free time. Not sure that translated into more writing or even lower stress levels, but I did feel proud to have achieved it.

The only drawback seems to be that I unintentionally burned myself out. My patience wore very thin and I felt somewhat resentful of coworkers who I feel are creating more work for me. I was irritable, withdrawn, and judgmental. I was not very pleasant to work with.

I think it’s understandable, but obviously, it’s not okay. I want to do better in the coming week. I have to remember that I chose to work this much and I have to remember that I can always take a break if I want to. I have to remember to let people know that I need a break and to still be open to helping when help is needed.

It’s still my job after all.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I spent a lot of last week’s free time setting up a new blog with a new domain name for myself in an effort to refocus this space. I am trying to give myself space and guilt-free freedom to post as much as I want about myself and my life. This isn’t an official announcement or anything. There will be a separate post soon explaining more of what writing about myself means and what will become of Zen and Pi.

While tweaking and experimenting this week I realized that, for me at least, starting a new blog is like starting a new notebook. I can’t bring myself to write in it because I don’t want to ruin it with my ugly words. This is making It very hard to start. I’m working on a short introduction post, around 500 words or, preferably, less, that will get the ball rolling. Once the page, or screen, is imperfect it’s easier to keep going, you know?

After that, I’ll start writing my daily journal posts again and these coffee posts will eventually move over there as well, maybe as soon as next Sunday!

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I had hoped to use all this upcoming free time to participate in NaNoWriMo, ZineWriMo, or at least NaBloPoMo this month, but time got away from me and I failed to plan ahead for any of that. I’m obviously very disappointed in myself but I’m not giving up. I’m looking for something I still might commit to for the month of November.

I saw that the Yeah Write writers are doing something called NaNoDoMore, a call to “Do something new this month” and “Stretch yourself a little”. I like that idea. I like some of the things on their list, and I am making a list of my own to add. and while their list isn’t exactly the kind of writerly goals I’d like to achieve this month. I want to write more but I also want to do something every day to get me closer to a better blog, a better publication, a better newsletter, and a better chance at turning these words into something bigger than myself.

I’m thinking of more behind the scenes type stuff like choosing a theme I like for the new space, writing a new about page, revisiting pages I haven’t updated since I created them, taking new photos, creating a logo, brainstorming post ideas, updating my editorial calendar, replying to comments, commenting on other blogs, setting some concrete goals and intentions, updating old posts, pitching other blogs and publications I’d like to write for, etc., etc., etc.

So, I’m doing more this month. I’m doing one thing every day that I should have done, should have kept up on, or need to do now that I am making these big changes.

***

If we were having coffee I would take a moment to remind you to vote this Tuesday. I hope by now you’ve already voted. If not, make a plan and do your best to drag along at least one friend.

My girlfriend and I fill out and dropped off our ballots last Friday and I have reminded my coworkers relentlessly to get their ballots in too. There are really no excuses here in Colorado with easy registration, mail-in ballots, and 24 hour drop off locations.

I know some people still won’t vote, and I will do my best to keep my display of disappointment minimal. I know that just as we are free to vote, we are also free not to vote, but there are so many people suffering under bad policies written by bad politicians and there is much worse looming on the horizon. I just can’t help seeing a non-voter as an accomplice to this unnecessary suffering. I’ve read a lot about not judging people based on their politics or lack thereof but damn does it hurt to watch people I care about hurt other people.

Most of my readers already know which side of the aisle my politics lean but I won’t lecture you now on how to vote. I only ask you go to the polls with more than just you and yours on your mind. Vote with other people in your heart as well. People who don’t look like you, speak like you, or worship the way you do.

America is made of all kind of people and with that diversity comes all kinds of different ideas on which is the best way to live, but we should all feel free here and we should all get to live with dignity.

Vote for dignity.

***

If we were having coffee I would thank for a lovely chat and tell you that while I could sit here all day going on and on about myself, there is simply too much I still have to do before the work week begins tomorrow. I have to go, but I’d love if you took a moment to drop a note below to tell me how you’ve been, whether you voted or plan to, and if you are doing NaNoWriMo or any other writerly November challenge.

Remember to take care of yourself.

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

Currently // October 2018: A Whole Month of Halloween

And just like that, October is over, but at least it goes out with a bang! At least we get to end by dressing up, gorging on all our favorite candies, and indulging in the sick pleasure of scary movies and ghost stories. If you were lucky, like me, you got to spend the whole month celebrating Halloween. I went to a haunted house, Beetlejuice movie party, and a costume party. I watch some of my favorite scary movies and binge-watched some new creepy shows too. October is by far the flashiest and the most fun of all the months if you make the most of it. I really hope you did.

Productivity-wise, my priorities shifted this month. I had to spend more time on my day job than on my hobbies and passions but somehow I’m not feeling disappointed in the fact. I may not have been productive on the writing front, but a lot of the time I was physically at work, I was mentally brainstorming new possibilities and I am excited to make November the start of big changes.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing blog posts, believe it or not. I really wish you guys could see my drafts folder, ugh! It’s full of thought fragments and half-finished pieces. I don’t know what’s wrong with me or why I can’t seem to finish anything I start. I haven’t lost my enthusiasm, I’ve just lost focus. Or, maybe, I’m in search of a focus I never had? This blog, I think, has become too personal and the things I have been posting are no longer what I wish I was posting. I have a solution in mind but it’s not easy to execute. I’m separating myself from my message and writing for one or the other in turn, not both in the same at once.

Making ugly analog collages that I’m too insecure to share. I promise they aren’t all that interesting but I hope with practice they will become good enough to show off. In the meantime, I’m making a new pocket notebook to carry around and staring at my art journal wishing I could think of some art to make in it.

Planning for the new year. I know, I know, it’s entirely too early to even mention the new year. We’ve barely gotten through Halloween, but every year, with all the hustle and bustle, the cooking and shopping, the stress and depression, the end of the year kind of sneaks up on us. I don’t want to be caught so unaware this time. I want to have solid celebratory plans, an editorial calendar that carries me through to Spring, and a plan that sets me up for New Year’s resolution success!

Anticipating upcoming election results across the country! Of course, I am hoping to see the Dems get back some control of either the Senate or the House—preferably both— but I’m also anxiously awaiting the results of some very interesting ballot issues here at home. One, in particular, is Proposition 112, a statewide citizen-initiative to push all new oil and gas development (not on federal land) at least 2,500 feet back from occupied and vulnerable areas. Big Oil is pouring money into attack ads but I have faith in my fellow Coloradans.

Reading The Iliad, still, but making a lot of progress. More importantly, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. I’m still reading On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche too. I was enjoying it, but then I wasn’t. I’m getting back to liking it again slowly now that the end is near. I would have finished both of these by now but I haven’t been spending as much time reading as I know I should. The problem is my phone. So, I’m working on a set of new habits to keep me from picking the damn thing up and to make it easier for me to put it back down when I do.

Watching The Haunting of Hill House on Netflix. I actually finished it already. It was so good I binge watched all 10 episodes in one night—from 5 PM to 3 AM the next day. I don’t recommend you do that, but I do think you should definitely check out the show. It’s creepy, of course, but there is also plenty of real-life family drama too. I’m also watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, also on Netflix, and it’s definitely a lot creepier than I thought it would be. Both are 100% worth your time!

Feeling a little withdrawn, but not necessarily down. I’m consumed with finding a path for my writing and that’s made me a bit closed off and distant. It’s gotta be this new space I’m slowly carving out. I had been feeling stuck in a rut for a long while now. I’ve been feeling incapable, ordinary, and unimaginative. I’d even been considering giving up since it seemed clear I had no talent, but this new idea is freeing. I feel full of possibility and this place feels like a place of purpose again.

Fearing that I’m not taking care of my day-to-day responsibilities as well as I should. My anxiety is bad and while my health has been much better, fatigue is still kicking my ass and causing forgetfulness at times. Just getting up, working, getting down and few words, and cleaning up around the house is all I can seem to do with my days. Anything more wipes me out. I’m afraid to be a burden to my fiance. I’m afraid to be resented one day.

Reflecting on how I’ve gotten too comfortable with my life. I grew up in a household where nothing ever felt secure or certain and as an adult, I’ve—without realizing it or wanting to admit it—built a life where there is as much security, certainty, and predictability as possible. I’ve worked the same job, with the same scheduled, lived in the same house, and done the same things day after day. I’m starting to see just how small of a box I’ve put myself in and wondering if my comfort zone no longer serves its purpose.

Needing more time. I know we all could use a few more hours a day, and I know that no matter how much anyone ever wished, the length of days will never change. I need to reclaim, redistribute, and repurpose the time I have. I mentioned the issue with my phone. I’ve deleted the Facebook app and all games, I’ve started plugging it in across the room and limiting notifications, but my phone isn’t the only problem. My couch is a big one too. After work and all weekend long I lounge around watching shows and movies, or simply sleeping. All that time, lost, sometimes wasted, but no more.

Learning not a lot right now I’m ashamed to say. I’ve not kept up with math lessons on Khan Academy or my Spanish or German lessons on Duolingo. I would like to pick them back up and add this writing course from the renowned Roxane Gay on Skillshare. If I can get back the focus I had just a year ago and start gaining some momentum, some recognition, and a few paid opportunities I’d love to try one of these writing classes from Catapult as well. A good challenge can be a great motivator and I could really use some day-to-day motivation right now.

Loving my amazing friends, who always let me know that it’s okay to be me and that there is plenty of patience and forgiveness for the days when I am not my best self. When I am grouchy, awkward, irritating, angry, or forgetful. People need that. People need to know that their mistakes don’t mean the end of relationships and friendships. You need to know you are loved and liked even when you say the wrong thing, let someone down, or just need time to learn to do better. I’m happy I have that.

Hating the ugliness coming out of the White House right now. The twisting of facts, the outright lies, the dog whistles and the obvious attempts to rile up some of the most dangerous groups in this country. I hate that I feel so unsafe and that I worry so much about not just my rights and safety, but the rights and safety of others too. I hate that I feel so small and powerless. I hate the damage being done to us and how low the price of our collective souls has sunk.

Hoping that liberal voters come through this year and get out there and vote. It doesn’t take much time and your vote could mean a better, safer life for a lot of people if we can bring this administration under control. The recent attacks on the LGBTQ community and immigrants should motivate us all, not to mention the attempted assassinations of high-level Democrats and supporters the Pittsburg Synagogue shooting. I’m hoping for a blue wave and a great sigh of relief come next Tuesday.

So, yeah, all in all, October was great fun, and I am sad to see it go. The winter holidays sound nice in theory but it can be the most stressful time of the year. So, today, for just one more day, I’m going to be a little weird and wild. I’m going to eat all the candy I want, dress up a little, and take time to scare myself some.

Tomorrow the holiday music begins.

But what about you? How did you celebrate the month of Halloween? What is your favorite horror film? (I’m always looking for recommendations.) Have you voted already? Or at least plan to vote on Tuesday? Are you dragging a friend or three down to the polls with you?

Let me know in the comments!

“We were letting go of October, relinquishing color,
readying ourselves for streets lacquered with ice,
the town closed like a walnut, locked inside the cold.”

— Mark Perlberg, The Impossible Toystore

***

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.

The inspiration for these posts comes from Andrea at Create.Share.Love.

Photo by Altınay Dinç on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // We’re All Entitled to a Little Time Away

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

I’ve been up since just after dawn this morning, cooking breakfast and doing my best to get the house in order before we head out for a birthday dinner celebration tonight. I’ve been busy, but I’m tired too and everything is taking twice as long as it should. So, I’m late and I’m afraid I’ll have to rush through my coffee date with you. I’m sorry, but I’m happy to have any time at all!

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The weather is warm, the coffee is good, and I don’t want to waste another minute on apologies and excuses. Let’s chat while I can!

“When traveling with someone, take large doses of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee”

— Helen Hayes

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you, once again, last week was an incredibly busy week for me at work, but, I would also tell you that it will—hopefully!—be the last very busy week I have in a long time.

I’ve been able to get through my work in record time and that means going forward I will have a lot more time to devote to writing.

Next week I have my last two tests scheduled, and just a few small tasks, the rest of the time I plan to spend on my newsletter, which hasn’t come out in months and this blog which has been sorely neglected.

I know it’s hard to tell from your side of the screen but I do have some ideas I’m working on. I’m writing, but I’m jusnt not finishing anything. I’m writing, but I feel unsure of what I am saying. I have lost my sense of an audience. I have lost my intentions and confused my message with myself.

I’m considering creating a new space, a place to dump all of my angst and neurosis, my bad ideas, and my day-to-day comings and goings, observations, and struggles so that this space can once again be what I always intended it to be—a philosophy of life.

I’ll share more details soon.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my anxiety has been really bad these last few days.

Most of it is simple social anxiety. We had been preparing for a Halloween house party at a close coworkers house and I’d had very little time to put together costumes or make a dish to bring, let alone to emotionally prepare for meeting people I didn’t know, or to hang out with people who I knew very well.

I have a weird habit of over analyzing my social interactions and placing far too much importance on every conversation, word, or gesture. I worry that I am always making a fool of myself and that when I leave people will talk about how weird or irritating I am.

I’m aware of how unnecessary all this worrying is, and I know that people find me generally enjoyable to be around but for some reason, I still can’t control these intrusive thoughts or make it stop. Instead, I just let my mind do its worrisome thing, but I don’t let it hold me back.

I still went to the party last night. I found a costume (my girlfriend and I went as hipster versions of little red riding hood and the wolf), I made a dish (an easy crockpot salsa verde chicken), and I had a good time. I may have laughed too much or too loud. I may have talked too much. I might have over shared and annoyed someone, but this morning it just doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

I had a great time and so did everyone else. That’s all that matters.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I didn’t even know where to begin to tell you how this past week’s news cycle has affected me. The world beyond my driveway has become significantly scarier and the news is getting harder and harder to watch.

I no longer trust our government to take care of its people. I no longer trust that America, while deeply flawed, is moving forward with good intentions. I no longer believe that the “arc of the moral universe is bent toward justice.” I believe it must be bent by the weight and strength of good people willing to do the work and those kinds of people seem to be in short supply anymore.

I may no longer believe but I still have a small hope. It’s fragile and in order to protect it, I’ve had to distance myself from the rolling news cycle on TV and online. Bad things are happening and we’re all entitled to a little time away—to process, to rest, and regroup when we are ready to fight again.

Make sure you take it when you need it too.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’ve just about had my fill of Halloween fun. I know the trick-or-treaters will be around this Wednesday but the feeling of Halloween always seems to pass the Saturday before when festivities can be held with morning to recover after. I’ve watched plenty of creepy shows and watched all my favorite spooky films. I’ve been to haunted houses and a party. I’ve gorged myself on too much candy and soon I will hand out what treats I have left. Halloween is over, and surprisingly I’m not sad. I lived the season to its fullest and I am very much ready for the winter holidays.

I’m ready for everyone to start being a little more thankful and a whole lot kinder too. I’m for giving gifts, and, I’ll admit, receiving them too. I’m ready for richer flavors and savory spreads of meats and pies! I’ve even got the new year, and it’s celebrations and resolutions dancing around my mind. I’m ready to count down the end of 2018 and begin a new year of possibility.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun is shining low through the west windows and my stomach is grumbling. It’s time to get ready to go out for dinner.

I hope you had a good week. I hope the weather is as warm where you are as it is here and the trees are bursting with just as much color. I hope you aren’t feeling hopeless I hope you know it’s okay to rest your heart when you need. I hope you made time for you and that the next week will be even 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 virtual cup of coffee.

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

Photo available on Barn Images

If We Were Having Coffee // Soaking It Up While I Can

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

I’m up a bit early this morning and rushing through my normal Sunday routine because in just a few short hours we are going to a much-anticipated Beetlejuice movie party with a few of our couple friends. Before we go though I’ve got to whip this mess of a house back into shape, find time for a short nap, and make sure there is plenty of time for catching up here with you.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’ve got the windows open and plenty of cold brew coffee ready, or I can make a cup of Chai or Earl Grey tea if that’s more your speed. 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.”

— Michael Cunningham, The Hours

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my week away from regular work was just as wonderful as I hoped it would be. Working for a school district means I got a much-needed break from the kids, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have work to do.

When I’m not riding the bus with the kids I also work as a trainer helping new employees learn how to work with these special kids. My training team is being moved to a new office across the parking lot so I spent the week moving not just our workstations, but all the equipment we use and even the large cabinets we use for storage.

It was hard work and I’m proud we were able to get so much of it done. Unfortunately, we got news that the new building we just moved into would be closed for 10 days in November, so we halted the move and put half of the equipment back into the old space to move moved again once the roof is done.

To be honest, I’m not looking forward to going back tomorrow. I miss my kids, but having a quiet office was really nice. Between our routes, the lounge can get awfully crowded and loud and there’s really no place to rest your mind and recharge and there isn’t always tie to go home.

On warm days I can stay on my bus. I can write, or read, or listen to podcasts. I can even take a nap if I want but I scheduled a lot of work for myself this in an effort to get it all done before winter so there won’t be a lot of time when I can get away. It’s going to be another hard week for sure.

***

If we were having coffee, I would take a moment to remind my American readers how important voting is and how especially important voting is in this year’s midterm election. I’m lucky to live in a state that makes voting easy. Here in Colorado, it’s super easy to vote by mail and there are tons of 24-hour drop off location across my city. I know it’s different in every state though, and for some voting is really inconvenient, but I urge you to please, please, please, try to make a plan and to please, please, please, drag along a friend or family member too.

I won’t assume your political leanings but I know all my readers are at least people of good intention and I am a believer that while the details may differ between us, a lot of the political strife we are going through is due to not enough “good-intentioned” people voting,—not to mention a severe lack of “good-intentioned” people running for office—and too many self-centered and hate-filled people voting—and running for office.

So, please vote. I don’t care where you live or who or what you are voting for, just get out there and vote!

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you while last week winter seemed in full swing, this week we’re firmly back in fall with temperatures climbing upwards of the low 70s. We feared that there would be no autumn for us at all this year and that summer would give way right into winter, but it turns out it was just a momentary confusion that has since cleared up. This past week we’ve seen steadily increasing temperatures and quite a bit of sunshine. I’m soaking it up while I can before the long cold settles in.

Yesterday my girlfriend and I spent the whole afternoon out of the house. We had tickets to “Repticon“, a yearly expo for reptile and exotic pet lovers. My girlfriend fell in love with about 10 chameleons and I say plenty of beautiful snakes I’d love to add to my little collection, those beautiful animals—and their prices!—I realized I’m not quite ready to take on another 20 to 40-year commitment. The ones I have already demand a lot of time and command lot of space in the house. We’ll need more room, and a lot more free time and energy before we can take on another pet.

After Repticon, we did a little shopping at a nearby outdoor mall to stretch our legs and do some shopping. When our stomachs started growling we walked over to a favorite burger place of mine and gorged ourselves on food we knew we’d regret eating later.

We tried a delicious hard cider and after lunch, we made it our mission to hit up every liquor store on the way home in search of a few cans to take home. It only took two stops and, since we were feeling lucky we decided to pick up a few more Mega Millions lotto tickets to try our luck a second time now that the prize has climbed over a billion dollars!

By then the sun was beginning to set and a cool breeze began to blow reminding us that while the days may be warmer the nights are getting colder all the time. We went home to settle on the couch with our pumpkin cider and a few good movies: The Fly and Starship Troopers.

It was a good day.

***

If we were having coffee, I would (reluctantly) tell you that I failed at every single one of my goals for Fall Break. I did not manage my time on Facebook, I actually think I got worse and I am considering deleting the app entirely from my phone. I did not write anywhere near as much as I hoped to. I may have figured out what my problem is and I may have even figured out the solution too. I’ll explain more when I have the courage to. I didn’t make my pocket notebook, but I did at least get my measurements down and I found some paper to use. I didn’t read at all either.

I have no excuses, and I offer no apologies, to anyone or myself. I had a good break and that’s what matters. I’ll try again this week. I have a plan and my editorial calendar is back in front of me. I’m clearing out a second area of my “creativity room” to use as an analog desk so that it won’t be such a pain in the ass to move from writing to “making”. My books are back in my backpack and I have recommitted to my midday and before bed reading time too.

Productivity will resume with renewed enthusiasm this week, I promise.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my stomach is starting to grumble which means it’s lunchtime, which means I have only a few short hours now to eat, finish my chores, squeeze in a power nap, and get ready for the movie.

Thank you for stopping by to chat with me. I hope you had a good week and that you found time for you—to get outside, to do something fun, to make something, or to accomplish that thing you set out to do. I hope you are well and I hope you let me know either way in the comments below.

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 Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Much-Needed Break

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

We’re getting a preview of the winter to come today with temps hovering just below freezing and a few inches of snow predicted to be on the ground before dinner time. Normally snow days make me miserable and mean but today I have a clean house and a determination to write something, read something, make something, and spend a little time with you. I feel good today and I won’t let the cold and the dread of a messy work week commute tomorrow ruin that.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The coffee machine is out of commission but there’s plenty of coldbrew and I’ve even got some delicious earl grey or chai tea if you’re in the mood for something warmer. Let’s talk about last week!

“There is something—for me—about coffee that is deeply personal and healing and always comforting.”

Meg Fee

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it is finally Fall Break for the district I work for and that means a much-needed break from the bus and the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love the kids on my route but after a while, you can start to feel a little burned out by all the little daily frustrations of keeping your bus safe and peaceful.

Unfortunately, fall break doesn’t mean no work at all. It just means not having to go in so early and not having to stay quite so late. Oh, I have the option of taking some time off if I want to but a whole week without pay is really going hurt when payday comes around. So, I’ve chosen to go in and help around the office instead. My training team is moving to a new office across the parking lot and I’m hoping there is at least 40 hours worth of paperwork and equipment to move over to the new space

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the week leading up to Fall Break was quite a stressful one. It’s always stressful at work before breaks, though. There are deadlines looming and more to do than usual but mentally you are already off and it’s hard to focus or to care.

Not only that but I’d gone and scheduled twice the amount of work I normally would for myself. I thought it would be nice to start my break with a lighter workload and head clear of worry. It was hard but I got through it all and I’m feeling pretty proud of myself for it too. I did everything I promised myself I would even when I was tired, and miserable, and cold. I showed up, physically and mentally, even on days when I didn’t have to and now even though I still have to work next week it’s going to be a whole lot easier.

It as close to a real vacation as I can get right now.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I wish I had some grand goals to accomplish for Fall Break but time has had a habit of getting away from me lately and once again I’m caught unprepared for the opportunity. But rather than set myself up for failure I’ll just go with the flow and do what I can when I can. I have just a few, mostly ongoing ambitions this week.

  1. Manage my time on Facebook.  The amount of time I have spent on that godforsaken app has been steadily increasing despite never actually feeling good after being on there. There really is no reason to log in more than once or twice a day to check in on family or catch up with my favorite groups and I think a purge of liked pages and companies is in order as well.
  2. Write constantly, and exclusively, for this blog. I’ve made some tiny progress toward getting back to my old posting frequency but not nearly as much as I want to. Lately, it just feels like nothing I write is any good and I never feel like I am making the point I set out to make, but writing something is better than writing nothing especially when you are learning to practice.
  3. Make a pocket notebook. I’m tired of sorting through scraps of paper and post-it notes at the end of the day. Plus, it’s hard to turn those crumpled and jumbled thought fragments into anything resembling a blog post, let alone a newsletter or a publication pitch. I need a pocket notebook, and I think making one myself sounds fun!
  4. Keep reading. I’ve got three books going at once right now. The Iliad by Homer, On the Geneology of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche, and The Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson. I did really well trading my nap time for reading time more days than not last week and I stuck to reading at least two pages and as much as 30 minutes before bed every night. I’m doing great, I just need to keep doing great.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this weekend was pretty stressful too. I’ve been trying to facilitate an environment of forgiveness in my family after some big changes resulted in a lot of harsh words and hurt feelings. I thought going back to having weekly-ish family days together where we could have dinner and catch up might be just what we needed but all agreed to attend only if we could meet on the neutral ground—my house. The thought of entertaining, cooking, and even the cleaning I would have to do sent my anxiety through the roof!

I spent all of Friday night and most of Saturday cleaning every nook and cranny of my house and freaking out about dinner, drinks, and how the hell I was going to keep six adults, a toddler, and a newborn baby entertained for 6 hours!

But despite being nervous and worried the whole time, we actually ended up having a great night. The cosmopolitan cocktails I made helped loosen up the tension and the new baby kept us entertained when we ran out of things to talk about. All in all, it was a success, so much so I’m worried that “family day” will only be held at my house from now on.

Sadly all still isn’t forgiven in my family. The problems are still there, laying unaddressed and unresolved, but for the kid’s sake—and for mine—it seems we can still get together and let our hurt and anger go long enough to remember what we still like about each other. We can still laugh. We can still find a way to care, to say nice things, and to enjoy a good meal. I think that says a lot for the kind of people we are and goes a long way toward finding forgiveness…one day.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that judging by my empty cup and my growling belly, it about time I got up and got some dinner started before all my Sunday shows are on.

I do hope you were able to find time for you, to accomplish something you’ve been meaning to or to do something fun for a change. I’ll still be around if you’d like to tell me how your week went and what you’ve been up too and whether it’s warm where you are or if winter has reared its ugly head near you too.

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 andrew welch on Unsplash