If We Were Having Coffee // All Good News

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

It’s late, again, I know, and this time I have no excuses. I slept in after a late night out with friends. When I woke up I realized I was out of milk for the coffee and drinking it straight up was too much. I had to settle for tea and headaches all day. So, I was lazy and I what little energy I had I felt like spending on cleaning the house and cooking. I made a pear German pancake for breakfast and chicken sausage and creamy polenta for dinner.

But I missed chatting with you and felt I couldn’t go to bed before I had told you all my good news. So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. Let’s talk about last week!

“I like coffee because it gives me the illusion that I might be awake.”

— Lewis Black

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that Tuesday’s doctor’s visit and colonoscopy ended with the good news I have been waiting to hear for over a year: no visible signs of inflammation! The new medicine is working and, for now, my ulcerative colitis is under control and I might actually b in remission. Of course, I still don’t feel as well as I’d like but I think that is down to diet, lack of exercise, anxiety and lingering low-level depression, all as usual.

So, now that the weight and worry have been lifted off my chest I can start to focus on these smaller issues. I’m planning to look into medications for my anxiety and to start at least jogging again in the morning. I’m looking closely at the keto diet which more than a few of my friends have started but which I am highly skeptical of. I want to lose a few pounds, just 10 to get me back into some of the clothes that no longer fit me.

I want to take the next step toward feeling like myself again. I want to figure out what my new normal is and enjoy it for a while, while I can.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I AM AN AUNT AGAIN! My brother’s girlfriend gave birth to a very adorable and very BIG baby boy just after midnight on Friday. Sadly, he was breech and mom had to have a c-section which was a bit distressing and then we found out yesterday he is jaundice and will need phototherapy and a few more days in the hospital. Nothing much to worry about, and nothing this family hasn’t seen before, but definitely a real bummer.

I had hoped this joyous event would do more to bring my family together after all we’ve been through these past few months. Some progress was made but I wonder if we might have taken more steps back than we had forward. I feel like I’m walking a tightrope between the warring sides and hoping not to step too far either way. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and I certainly don’t want anyone angry with me.

For now, I’m letting everyone know that I am here for them all and I am fighting to keep the lines of communication open wherever I can. What I’m not doing is fighting anyone’s battles for them or deciding based on hearsay who is right and wrong and whose feelings and actions are valid or understandable. I practicing accepting every person’s emotions and perspective as important and worthy of the space it takes to process.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the work week didn’t go quite as expected. All the work I had hoped to get done fell through and was rescheduled to the coming week. Now I have twice the work to worry about but I just keep thinking about how proud I’ll be of myself when I get it done and I try to remember that after it’s over I’ll have a worry-free week waiting for me on the other side.

Fall break is coming up and even though I still have to work I won’t have to go out on the bus and 90% of my coworkers will be at home leaving the building nice and quiet. I can not wait!

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last week I went back to using an analog editorial calendar and I already feel so much more motivated, organized, and inspired.

I’ve decided that going forward I am going to split my time between writing here, sending pitches, and working on some personal projects. I’ve been spending too much time in front of the TV lately and not enough time with a good book or pen and paper. I’m trading one episode a night of whatever show I’m currently binge watching for 500 words before bed. That’s the compromise I’ve made with myself.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that this weekend was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. Yesterday (Saturday) was “penny admission fee for Colorado residents” at the Denver Museum of Contemporary art. They had a museum-wide new exhibit up I’ve been wanting to check out called “Fieldwork” by artist Tara Donovan. Her work wasn’t like anything I’ve ever seen before. I love how she takes everyday materials, stuff I use and handle all the time, and makes these huge otherworldly pieces out of them. I was in awe!

We went with another gay couple we work with and who we’ve grown close to over the years. They’re so much like us, and still different enough that we feel energized and inspired after hanging out with them. They infuse us with new perspectives and remind us that we are still young and there is still so much life to explore and enjoy.

After the museum I showed them my favorite lunch place and after stuffing our faces we all went home to recoup for dinner and a haunted house that evening.

We drank too much at dinner, or maybe just enough, and had a blast at the haunted house. We have plans for a movie party in a couple of weeks and a Halloween party at the end of the month. I’m trying to get as much socializing in before the holiday season stress and all the time I’ll have to spend with family.

***

If we were having coffee I would say it’s very late and very soon I will have to go to bed if I want to have any hope of getting a decent start to the week. If I can get Monday right I have a real chance.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope your weekend was relaxing. I hope you learned something new, surprised yourself, and that you found something to be proud of. If you didn’t, if things didn’t go your way or if the world is asking more of you than you can find to give, I hope the next week will treat you better.

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 Goran Ivos on Unsplash

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Currently // September 2018: Summer is Over and I am Too Late

Summer is over, long over, but I am having a hard time accepting it. These warm afternoons lull me back into a false hope that there is still time yet to make the most of summer but in the evening the golden leaves dotting the trees wink at me mockingly as the cool air creeps in and I am reminded that I am too late. Everything is changing now, the leaves, the air, even my mood and there is no way to stop or slow it. Summer is over and I have to move on now too.

So, I’m trying to find the beauty of Autumn and figuring out what the season can mean to me if I’d let it. I’m preparing for the clouds and the cold, the blowing snow and the sadness they bring. I’m trying, as I do every year, to figure out how I’m going to get through it.

But first, here is what I am currently:

Writing that unknown thing I talked about last month. To be honest I haven’t actually written it any of it anywhere that it can be read. It’s still all in my head but I am working on it and it is becoming clearer every day. Its slowly taking form as a sort of “genetic profile” of trauma. It’s an exploration of the toll that generations of oppression, discrimination, misogyny, abuse, and poverty have had on one life, my life.

Making no progress at all toward creating any art at all. I had pledged to start utilizing my DIY art journal but I let myself down once again. It sits unused and unloved on the “analog desk” of my “creativity room” where I no longer go because I no longer want to face such failure. I hope I can find some inspiration and some courage in October.

Planning for, or rather, preparing for, winter. I don’t far well emotionally over the colder months. Winter is a time of hibernation, and sometimes, death. It depresses me, but this year I want things to be different. I want this winter to be a time to learn to be resilient again. That is what I am preparing for. This year, I will learn to be more accepting of change that makes me uncomfortable. I will learn to face cold, and dark, and dreary with more optimism. Sunshine or snow, there is still beauty in the world. Sunshine or snow, I still have a life.

Anticipating all the spooky goodness October will bring. Halloween is my favorite holiday, despite the season. Well be checking out a haunted house or two, a creepy outdoor mall crawl, and our friends are throwing a small costume party. There are quite a few of my favorite creepy films playing at the Alamo too, including an American Psycho all you can eat cereal party, a Beetlejuice movie party, and one of my girly favs, a Practical Magic movie party. The Shining will be on Netflix starting tomorrow too and I’m always looking for some classic horror recommendations to check out. If you know of any good ones drop them in the comments, please.

Reading On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche, still, but a lot of progress has been made. I’m working my way through the third essay but it is proving even harder than the first two to grasp. So hard I had to take a short break and read The Three Theban Plays by Sophocles. The plays were amazing, but I actually enjoyed the introductions and the translation notes more. So much so that I was inspired to The Iliad further up the queue right after The Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson and The Soul of an Octopus which is technically my reward for finishing with Nietzsche, eventually.

Watching The Sinner, a limited crime, drama, mystery series on Netflix about a young mother who stabs a stranger to death on the beach one day and a messed up detective who tries to help her figure why. I’m also watching The Deuce and Insecure on HBO, and Shameless on Showtime, all solid shows I recommend, but you know what I’m not watching at the moment? The news! Because lately it just leaves me…

Feeling utterly defeated and hopeless. The Supreme Court confirmation hearings and the Republican effort to rush through Brett Kavanaugh is so sickening I’ve hardly been able to turn on my TV. To be clear, I do believe Christine Ford. More importantly, though, I believe that her claims should be thoroughly investigated. I want the truth about Kavanaugh but this is a lot bigger than him. It’s about the process. It’s about stopping for a minute to be sure we are doing the right thing, the thing that won’t keep us all up at night with shame and regret.

Fearing what the doctor will have to say this week. While I was sick this month I took cold medicine that I knew was a big no-no for people with ulcerative colitis—I was desperate!—and now my stomach is all…messed up. So, this week I’m getting another colonoscopy, yay! I’m afraid of bad news, but for some weird reason, I’m more afraid of good news. I’m afraid of wasting everyone’s time. I’m afraid people will think I am faking it, or at least being overly dramatic. I’m afraid everything looks fine and we have to hunt for a new explanation for all the pain I have been in.

Reflecting on free will, inevitable human suffering, and death, as usual. Since I’ve started reading Shakespeare, literature from Ancient Greece, and all the classic novels I missed in school, I’m struck by how much of our art is about how fragile, stupid, and sad human beings are. They take all those big unknowns, the big scary things we cannot face and make them bearable to look at. I don’t for a second think I could ever count myself among them but they do make me feel less alone. They understand. They help me understand better too.

Needing my family to start feeling like my family again. We received quite a few shocks over the summer and we’ve yet to recover from the blows. Thing’s have changed that I don’t think can every be unchanged but I had hoped we could find a new way of loving each other. I had hoped for more forgiveness and understanding, but I’ve been let down. Now, I’m in need of it. Now, I’m not asking I’m demanding. Now, I am being pushed past my own limits of understanding. I need something to get better before even I am too far gone.

Learning German, maybe? I was learning some basic Spanish with Duolingo but I feel like I’ve gone as far as I want to with the app but I miss using it. So, I thought, why not try a whole new language. Well, not completely new. I did live in Germany for a short time as a child. I still remember how to count to 10 in German but I’ve forgotten everything else I learned. I thought it might be fun to see if I can get any of it back.

Loving how focused I have been on my work lately. I wish I could find the same motivation for writing but at least I am doing something, and my day job at least pays, you know? It feels good to focus on what I have to do for a while and not hate it so much. It feels good to go to work and love what I do again. It won’t last, I know, and I still want to take some of that focus and put it where I know I will be most fulfilled but for now, I love doing what I do, every day.

Hating how much time I wasted in life. I know we all have regrets. I know each and every one of us wishes they could go back in time and choose differently. We wish we knew then what we know now, that’s life, I know, but I’m having a hard time letting it go. I’ve come a long way from where I once was, but now that I want to go further I find that on paper I’m not much to look at. I wish I had more skills. I wish I had a degree or two under my belt, and a lot less fear. I hate feeling so useless, stupid, and low. I hate that my self-worth depends so much on decisions I can never go back and remake.

Hoping that we are far enough into the school year now that things will start settling down. We’ve been short-staffed for a long time now, and without enough driver, or assistants, or even enough buses but somehow we make it happen. Somehow, we get all those kids to and from school safely, every day, but working magic like that takes a toll and the morale plummets by the day. I am one of those lucky ones who counts her friends among her co-workers but it’s getting harder and harder to see them so stressed out. I hope relief is on the way soon.

So, yeah, all in all, September was a good month, just really busy. I can’t say I’m sad to see it go but at the same time it going just means we’re getting closer to the cold and to the end of the year. I’m not so happy about that but life goes on, no matter how hard we try to hold on to right now. So, what’s best is to just move right along with it. I’ll go into October as happily as I can.

But what about you? How did September treat you? How did you mark the end of summer? Are you a fan of fall? Any good horror film recommendations? Have you lost faith in democracy too?

Let me know in the comments!

“It was September. In the last days when things are getting sad for no reason.”

— Ray Bradbury, “The Lake”, The October Country

***

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 Jonah Pettrich on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // All I Am Willing to Do

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

It’s late, I know, but I kind of had a lot going on today. I didn’t sleep well last night. I had too much on my mind, and I am still getting over this weird sinus/nasal infection. It took too long to find my way out of bed and when I did I was moving too slow to have or hold any meaningful conversation.

Even with coffee, I was barely able to get ready for my brother and his girlfriend’s baby shower. Afterward, I stumbled through the grocery store getting only the barest essentials for the week ahead. Since then, and for the duration of this conversation I’m sure, I’ve been and will be laid up on the couch. I’ll do my best to stay awake but I beg your forgiveness in advance if I just can’t.

So pull up a chair—it’s best you stay off the couch and sit well away to avoid catching this nasty bug—and fill up a cup and pass me the tissues, please. Let’s talk about last week!

“Coffee makes us severe, and grave, and philosophical.”

— Jonathan Swift, 1722

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the baby shower was very sweet and I am so excited to meet my new nephew, I only wish my family were in a better place right now. I hate to be so vague—it’s a lot to get into and most of it isn’t my story or my place to tell—but I will say that today, or rather, sometime in the middle of the night after laying wide awake with worry running through possibilities and scenarios while staring at the ceiling, I found clarity.

What is best for me is to stay out of it. For one thing, when it was me feeling left out and wrongly judged no one came to my rescue. For another, I can’t know who is right and wrong, who said what or started this or that fight. It’s best to keep quiet, for now, rather than look like a fool or make anything worse. The truth is I just can’t go on fighting and enabling and putting my own mental well-being in jeopardy for those who have yet to learn how to put their feelings aside and handle other humans with compassion and understanding.

All I can do, all I am willing to do, for the time being, is to reiterate wherever I am asked for advice that the best course of action is to make your true feelings known and then to give one another space and respect enough to process. I advise forgiving as much as possible the mistakes and the shortcomings of those who have never known better and showing each other how to love by example.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I cannot believe I am still trying to get over this awful sinus/nasal infection. Nearly everyone else at my job, including my girlfriend, was able to shake it in a matter of days. I’m well over a week now and still stuffy and fatigued.

To make matters worse I can no longer tolerate the cold medicine. Apparently whatever they put in those pills wreaks havoc on the digestive system and by the end of the week, I was in excruciating pain and bleeding. I panicked and thought I was heading back to the gastro specialists and looking at a medication change or worse, another round of steroids. Luckily, the symptoms subsided after I stopped taking the meds. Unfortunately, that means I’ve had little relief aside from what nasal spray and allergy medicine can provide.

On top of my cold, and my pain, and my day off, I had double the work when I returned. I had, before the cold, scheduled twice the work I normally do in an effort to get ahead of my team, and myself. I know that once the weather starts to cool and especially once the snow starts to blow I’ll be in no mood to do any more than I have to. So, I had the whole week booked, and next week, and the following week too. By then, by the end of October at the latest, it should be smooth sailing to the end of the school year. I’ll just have my route and routine training of newbies.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that on Friday night I was feeling a little down and figured a bit of book shopping might cheer me up. I also remembered I had a little bit of Barnes & Noble money left on an old birthday gift card sitting in my inbox. So, I got The Collected Poems of Emily Dickenson, The Iliad by Homer, and The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. I had hoped for One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez but somehow, they were out. Oh well, maybe next time.

I did manage to finally finish Antigone by Sophocles, the first of the Three Theban Plays, and I’ve started the second, Oedipus the King. I’m hoping to finish it a little faster. I had no trouble understanding, and I was—am— sufficiently interested, I’m just too tired.

Part of it is the cold, sure, but some of it is just plain old chronic illness and it’s affecting more than reading. I can’t write and I can’t seem to get organized or to make any progress on this house. It’s falling apart around me and all I can do is lay on the couch and watch while it happens. Doesn’t seem like those iron supplements the doctor put me on are working all that well…

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it’s gotten dark out and dinner has come and gone. The coffee mugs have turned to wine glasses and there is a full plate of decadent figs, goat cheese, and honey. It’s time for all our favorite shows and the laundry still needs folding. I think it’s time for me to go.

I hope you had a good week and you managed to steer clear of any nasty cooties floating around. I hope you found some time for you and that the next week will be better than the last in all the ways you need it to be.

Take care of yourself.

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 Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // It’s Going Around

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

I’m moving slowly this morning, so slow that I’ve only just realized that it’s already afternoon! I must have lost track of time while I was reading and, I’ll admit, nodding off on the couch a bit. In my defense I was up early, cleaning and cooking breakfast for my sick fiance, then I took a shower and spent some time pampering myself with face masks and all the while, I felt more and more run down and cruddy.

My nose is stuffy and I’ve been sneezing, and now, my throat hurts.  I think I’ve finally caught that nasty cold that’s been going around. I probably ought to go rest properly now, but I wanted to take a moment to catch up with you over a cup or two of cold brew.

“Coffee is a way of stealing time which should by rights belong to your older self.”

— Terry Pratchett

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my week was actually pretty boring. Work has been taking up a lot more of my time than it used to, but that’s my fault. I saw what my check can look like when I make work my first priority. It felt so good to contribute a little extra to our shared pot and to be able to buy a few more things that it’s created a sort of addiction in me. I’ve been working as much as I can, within reason of course, and that has left little time for writing. I’m sure it’s only a phase and I’ll be back to regular posting soon. My time is worth a lot more to me than what they’re paying per hour and anyway as soon as the weather gets cooler I know I won’t have the energy or the positive attitude required to keep up the pace.

When I wasn’t t work I was home taking care of my lady. She caught the aforementioned nasty cold first and has been knocked entirely on her ass by it. As if that weren’t bad enough some old aches and pains are resurfacing from an accident she was in last year. I’m more than a little worried about her. She’s had an impossible workload this year, and now this? It’s hard not to be able to fix it all, but I can cook a few more dinners a week, handle a few more errands, and do my best to be supportive.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’ve been feeling cruddy since Friday afternoon but I was hoping the sniffles and the icky feeling was just a case of bad allergies. I should have known it was more. My girlfriend thought the same thing too before she got so sick she had to miss a day and a half of work.

Now I just hope the worst of it won’t be too bad and won’t last too long. I don’t want to miss any work but more than that I don’t want my immune system getting over excited and put me into another ulcerative colitis flare. I’ve been well for over four months now and I was looking forward to another year or two before this disease reared its ugly head again.

But, there’s no way to know what will happen and fretting will only make matters worse and guarantee the outcome I’m trying to avoid. I just have to focus on taking care of myself this week. That means lots of medicine, fluids, and rest….while I can. I was feeling overly optimistic last week and may have overscheduled myself at work and it’s too late to take it back. I’ll have to push through.

Wish me luck.

***

If we were having coffee would tell you that what free time I had last week was spent reading. I’d finally finished The Scarlet Letter and wanting another quick high of accomplishment I decided to pick up Romeo and Juliet next.

I read it in four days and absolutely loved it! The 1996 movie version—Romeo + Juliet starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes (both, in my opinion, outacted by John Leguizamo as Tybalt and Harold Perrineau as Mercutio)—will always have a special place in my heart but reading it for myself made the story so much more intriguing.

I look forward to writing a review here but I’ll say now I’ve always believed that Romeo and Juliet wasn’t the sappy love story it’s long been judged to be. It’s actually pretty disturbing on every level. I think it’s meant to convey the exact opposite message everyone seems to think it does.

I wanted to read another drama but thought I should take a break from Shakespeare for a book or two. I have a copy of Sophocles’s The Three Theban Plays I won from Macrolit so I’m giving that a try. I have high hopes considering even the introduction was riveting. I am still reading On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche but felt a little overwhelmed by it so I’m taking a short break. I’ll get back to mentally arguing with the famous existentialist sometime midweek.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that all this sneezing and nose blowing is sapping my energy and the cold medicine isn’t mixing very well with all this coffee I’ve been drinking. I think it’s time I go lay down and try to get a little rest before dinner is done.

I hope you had a productive week. I hope you made progress or at least learned something you can use to improve in the coming week. I hope you found time for you this weekend and you were able to recover from whatever’s been weighing on you lately. I hope Monday will find you with renewed strength. Most of all, I hope you won’t catch this miserable nasty cold going around too. Take care of yourself, okay?

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

@ellacalm

***

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

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

Until next time.

***

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

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Currently // August 2018: Letting Myself Feel Better

And just that quickly, the summer (unofficially) comes to an end. The kids are back at school. The pools are closing and Halloween decorations are already up in stores. Can you believe it?

Of course, the heat will linger and it will be a while longer before we put away our shorts and swimsuits to make room for hoodies and pants but the signs are already there. The cooler nights, and here and there a tree whose leaves have become tipped with golds and reds. Autumn is on the way.

The summer is slowly fading and with it, a little part of my happiness is going too. I’ve never made it a secret how much I hate winter and autumn is nothing but a depressing descent into that cold barren void…but, not yet! For now, there is still some warmth, some green, some life in this world and in me yet.

Here is what I am currently:

Writing a thing? I mean, I’m writing something but I have no idea what it is or what it will turn out to be. I had planned on outlining a memoir for NaNoWriMo but since starting Nietzsche’s polemic On the Genealogy of Morals I’ve wondered if the genre and form might work for me too? So, I’m starting there. I’m starting with essays but I’m not limiting myself by labeling it one thing or planning on it being another. I’m just going to write this thing and see what it becomes.

Making a pledge to start filling pages in my art journal! I made the thing I don’t know how long ago—months maybe?—but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to soil the beautiful pages with my shitty scribbles. What a waste of hard work and creative space though, right? So, in September I am making a promise not to make any more excuses. I’m going to ruin the hell out of that journal no matter what.

Planning a new editorial calendar system. I’ve been slacking here for a long time now. I know it and you know it. I won’t get into the “I’m sorry’s” or the excuses, you’ve heard them already. I’ll just say that I’m going to try harder because I want to, not because I feel like I have to. Feeling obligated only makes it harder. This place is for me first, and I have missed it because it’s the first place, and often the only place where I feel like I am who I have been trying to be. So, I’m going finish these half drafts and then start fresh with a new schedule and focus.

Anticipating doing more of what I’ve been doing, working. I enjoyed the freedom of July, but I may have had too much of it. It’s amazing how motivating a big or restriction and responsibility can be. Its only been three weeks, but it’s been great for my focus and I’m very much looking forward to more early mornings, cups of coffee, stressful days and easy days too. I’m looking forward to Monday through Friday, regular paychecks, and stressing about real things again. I’m looking forward to nothing changing at all, at least for one more month.

Reading The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche, still. It’s not that I’m struggling, it’s just that I’ve gotten so far off track from my reading goals that I kinda gave up for a while. Now I’m trying again and this time instead of focusing on how many books I want to read for the whole year I’ve decided to just focus on reading for at least 30 minutes a day, every day. I can read as slowly as I want. I take as many notes as I want. I can go back and reread chapters. I can spend as much time as I want in the introductions, the preface, and the prologue. I can enjoy the book my way as long as I do it for 30 minutes a day.

Watching Insecure and Random Acts of Flyness on HBO. I just finished up Sharp Objects too and it was by far the most riveting show I’ve watched in a long time. I’m also watching Castle Rock, the new horror series from Stephen King on Hulu and binging old episode of ER and Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown on Netflix, and Avatar: The Last Airbender on Nickelodeon every Saturday morning.

As for the big screen, Blackkklansman was really good. The whole theater was in tears by the end and I’m still reflecting on the nuanced message I believe Spike Lee was trying to express. I finally got around to seeing Avengers: Infinity War and I’m glad I waited because after that shocking end now I cannot wait for the next one!

Feeling better! I mean, I’m still tired all the time and my joints hurt. I’m moody and I’ve been getting these awful headaches. The medicine may or may not be working and I’m anxiously awaiting results on a slew of lab tests, but I do feel better and I’m doing my best to let myself feel better when I feel better without worrying when about how I will feel tomorrow, next week, six months or five years from now.

Fearing my future self. I’m afraid she will just be me, no different at all. Not better, not stronger, smarter, or kinder. I’m afraid of not changing, of not being able to change. I’m afraid that for as long as I live I’ll never get it quite right, never heal these wounds or grow thicker skin. I’m afraid that I will always be this sensitive and needing thing, trembling, mouth open and wailing.

Reflecting on the concepts I linger with and the ways they fade in and out of my life. I started following the poet Topaz Winters on Instagram and one of the first posts was a list she’d made of “concepts of she’d been lingering with lately“. Other poets quickly picked up the idea and made lists of their own and I was deeply inspired. I’ve made a few lists of my own so far, but I’m too shy to share. I’d like make these lists a regular exercise in examining what ideas, emotions, tastes, smells, actions, dreams, objects, people, and words are lingering in my mind. I want to watch the way these concepts change, fade, return, combine, and figure out what they might mean, or what I might make out of them.

Needing for one of these big life goals I’ve been striving for since forever to finally move from the “In Progress” column to the “Achieved” column. It feels like everything in my life, all my goals and every milestone I’ve tried to meet, has been all process and no matter how hard I try I never seem to get reach the end, the result, the completion on “the thing”. I know the journey is supposed to be just as fulfilling as the destination and all, but I feel myself burning out. I need a good stopping point. I need a sense of accomplishment! But, maybe that’s just life. Maybe it’s me and my very human inability to never be satisfied. More likely, I’m not planning enough or following through. Or maybe I just need new life goals?

Learning how to manage my time better! These past few weeks I’ve worked out a compromise between the work I have to do and the work I want to do so that neither is taking up all of my energy and neither is subject to something so unpredictable and out of control as emotion or impulse. Of course, I know this system I’ve put together won’t work forever. My workload will change, my work location will change, the weather will change, my health, my mood, my goals will change and the way I do things will have to change too. So, what I’m really learning is how to balance.

Loving that this August marked the 16th year since my fiance and I officially became a couple. It’s strange to have spent so much of my life with someone else. It’s strange to have spent so much of my life loving, supporting, encouraging, depending on and sometimes fighting with another person all while slowly but surely building a life and making a home. It’s strange to be both a whole being and half of one too. I’m loving it, all the good and all the bad. I’m loving every moment of it.

Hating the return of negativity to my life. Working for the school district, and working through the summer means I got two blissful months of peace While most of the staff was off. Now that everyone is back and properly stressed out moral has taken a nose dive right off of a cliff. I’m doing my best to avoid the gossip and the negativity, but some days I’m dragged down into the thick of it with everyone else and it takes everything in me to claw my way back out.

Hoping my family can get back to feeling like a family again. We’ve been going through some hard times lately, nothing too bad, and nothing I don’t think we could get past, but my family has a talent for taking a small slight and turning it into a grave injustice. We have a talent for hurting one another, for holding a grudge, and for being too proud and too cowardly to simply say we’re sorry. We’ve grown up, and grown closer, we forget there is still so much growing left to do.

So, yeah, all in all, August was a good month. I worked a lot, but it felt good, and I managed to get back to doing the things I love in a way that makes me feel good about who I am and where I am headed. I’m doing good and that all that matters.

But what about you? Are you tired of the heat yet? Does seeing the leaves change and feeling that chill n the air just fill you with gloom? See any good movies, binge-watching any good shows? I’m always looking for recommendations.

Let me know in the comments!

“We are now in August.
The first day of fall is September 22.
You can hear it in the distance.”

Michael Wade

***

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 Agung Pratamah on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Good News and Troubling Warnings

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

I’m in a strange mood today. I should be tired. I didn’t sleep well last night and I’m not feeling all that great, but somehow I’m full of motivation and positivity. I’m using my time well, alternating between writing while watching old episodes of ER and cleaning during the commercials. The more I write and the more I clean, the better I feel, and the more I feel like I can do. It feels good to feel good.

It hot out today so we’re keeping indoors and, as usual, I have plenty of cold brew and ice to keep us cool. So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. Let’s talk about last week.

“I just want to drink coffee from the safety of the porch; watching the rain fall in bounds across the soft green grass. I want you beside me, and we don’t have to say a word. I want to spend the morning just staring into the earth drinking itself under a clouded sky, and finally know my place in it all.”

— Schuyler Peck, We Don’t Have to Say A Word

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that last week I had my yearly check in with my GI to discuss how well controlled my ulcerative colitis is and what the next steps are.

There was mostly good news but some troubling warnings too. The good news is it looks like I am doing well enough that we can stay the course. I’ve been dealing with some joint pain and fatigue but I’ve been able to work, go out to dinner and have drinks with friends, go hiking, write, and feel happy and hopeful more days than I don’t. I’ve got a life back again soon, for now, there will be no new medications. We’ll just make small adjustments to the dosage and frequency of the infusions as needed. And! If I continue to do well I can wean off the horse pills I have to take every morning too!

I did a slew of lab tests and for the most part results are coming in within standard ranges, but my iron levels are low and I’m being put on iron supplements as well as calcium and vitamin d. I actually do eat a lot of iron-rich foods already so I’m guessing it’s all the damage that has been done to my colon. I can’t absorb anything efficiently and I’m prone to anemia now. Not only that, but I was told to begin getting regular skin checks. I’m more likely to get skin cancer now too.

Since the visit, I haven’t been feeling all that well. I never do after doctor’s visits though. I think I worry about them a lot and that triggers my gut and my immune response and nearly every time I end up back in a flare. I’m thinking of taking up meditating again to try to head it off.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it probably isn’t all the doctor’s appointment making me anxious and sick. My family is going through some hard times right now. I can’t say much about it. It’s not my story to tell, you know? I will say that we’re feeling very fractured and I’m unsure where I stand in all of this. I’m unsure what to do as trying to fix it might only exacerbate the issue but being too hands-off may give the impression that I don’t care and create bitterness.

It’s a delicate balance and much of it will come down to accepting that when we set out to make choices in our lives that are best for us, we risk upsetting others and in the end we may have to accept that whether or not that anger is deserved or not we cannot force people to talk to us, to work things out, to see it our way, or to forgive. It sucks and I am hurt that so many are being hurt and that things may not ever be like they were, but I’m hopeful and willing to help in any way I can.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I was saddened to hear of John McCain’s passing last night, but I’ve been reluctant to join others on social media in posting about it.

My feelings about him—as a politician and a war hero—are complicated. He was a Republican, a conservative, a warmonger and no friend to the LGBTQ community, women, immigrants, or people of color. He was part of a system that dehumanized the already downtrodden and even in death I cannot unknow that.

Still, there were times I felt that I could respect his principles. No, I would not label him “good” or “compassionate” but his presence at least seemed to mitigate the horrors happening in Washington, and will be missed. He seemed to have some kind of moral code and he seemed to stick to it. He was not an opportunist at the very least and I do think there was good that ran through him.

My heart goes out to his family. I know there must have been pain and heartache in his last days on Earth and I know that he has left a hole in their lives. I hope they will find peace.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that work wise the week was relatively stress-free. I got a lot accomplished in the office and the kids were well-behaved on the bus. I’m working a lot of hours and normally that would put me in an irritable state but I’m happy to earn the extra money right now.

I did get to check out the new building my training team and I will be moving into this fall. I was anxious about the move but after seeing all the space well have, the kitchen space, the bathrooms, and the real live office we get with a door and everything! I think it’s going to be great, not just because we get to have our own quiet space away from the rest of the staff but because our team will get to be all in one place and we’ll no longer have to compromise or cut back on our work because we have to share space and resources.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am so far behind on my reading goal for the year that I have given up all hope of meeting it. After a lot of fighting myself, feeling guilty, giving up, and trying again and again, I’ve decided to let go of my yearly goal and focus on daily reading goals instead. I start with 30 minutes of reading a day, and I shoot for another 30 minutes (or however long I can get) before bed. This week I met that goal every single day and I don’t think I’ll ever go back.

When I am trying to read 30+ books before the end of the year I power through every one I pick up. I’m not able to really take in what I am reading or consider the art of the writing beyond the plot. When I’m just worried about those 30 minutes I take what I read during that time very seriously. I study it. I underline interesting phrases and I take notes in the margins. I form opinions. I have a conversation with the author.

For that past month or so I’ve been reading On the Genealogy of Morals by Friedrich Nietzsche. This is my second attempt. It’s a short book but it’s packed quite efficiently with a lot of information. When I was trying to power through it I couldn’t understand it and I felt bad about how long it was taking me. This time I’m taking it slow and this time I not only understand it a whole lot better, but I am fascinated! I don’t agree with everything Nietzsche has to say, but he writes it well that’s for damn sure.

I look forward to writing a review when I’m done!

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my stomach is growling at me and I can hear the washing machine beeping. I’ve got a lot to do today, around the house and just for me. It’s time I got up and moving about, I might even get out for a walk today when it cools down of course.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you learned something, made progress, and managed your stress levels in healthy ways. I hope you found time for you this weekend. I hope you saw the sun and the people you love.

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