Hello and happy Sunday! Thanks for stopping by for a bit of catching up over a delicious cup of coffee.
It’s a strange kind of Sunday here. Most Sundays are threaded through with alternating peace and panic, this one, much like the last is directionless and disorienting. I’m still on winter break and though I had planned to go into work tomorrow to catch up on small things and make an easy 8 hours of pay, it turns out there is a class of new employees scheduled to use my office space and no where indoors for me to work. It will be so cold I know that trying to find work to do outside on the buses will be make me miserable and render me useless. No, I think better I stay home tomorrow and in doing so give myself a little more time today to chat with you, to clean, to finish some end of the year blog posts, and to read.
So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I had hoped to use the new ibrik I received from my little sister for Christmas to make a frothy cup of Turkish coffee to sip but I have yet to get out and buy some proper beans to grind for it. Still, I have plenty of bright blond roast to lift the spirits and a fresh carton of vanilla soy milk to foam and pour over top.
Let’s talk about last week!
“One must savor the coffee, to actually have it.”
― Mohith Agadi
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I cannot express to you my relief in the Christmas holiday finally being over. We had a good one, of course, but it is a stressful time of year. I love to be with my loved ones and to spread a little joy but it drains me to be out shopping, to be up planning, and to work out how and when we will ship gift and see our families. The expectations of it all nearly ruin the whole thing, you know?
My wife and I spent Christmas eve with her family. We had an Italian dinner of stuffed shells and caprese on bread paired with plenty of wine. For dessert there was tiramisu cake and sweet, syrupy amaretto to sip. All was lovely and quite lively by the time we got around to passing gifts.
On Christmas day we saw my family for brunch. My family is a bit bigger and far more disorderly. It can be overwhelming or it can be rejuvenating, depending on your mood. Being up so early in the morning meant I could go either way and somehow did. I was energized by my niece and nephew, both got nerf guns as gift and both were quickly taken over by the adults. It was roarous fun but my low energy reserve meant that I had to tap out quickly and before noon I was ready to head home.
After brunch my wife and I, the cat, and the dog all piled onto the couch and napped until it was time for us to cook our own little dinner. On the menu was braised lamb shank and roasted Brussels sprouts, carrots, onions, and garlic for dinner and a cute little raspberry mousse cake to share. Both courses were accompanied by copious amounts of wine and a warm sense of contentment and gratitude.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the day after Christmas I had to return to work. I didn’t mind though. Since it’s winter break, there are no school bus routes running and 99% of my coworkers are still at home. I go in and I catch up on paperwork, complete a long-planned project, and plan for the upcoming second half of the year. It’s quiet, easy work and I get the peace of mind of knowing that I won’t be missing out on my base pay per hour times the number of hours I won’t be at work.
For the first time in many years my wife—who now works at a different, much smaller, school district—is finally getting to enjoy an entire two weeks off for her winter break. She has worked so hard, been so stressed, and at many points of the last few years, quite depressed too, and I am so happy to see her finally getting the opportunity to balance her personal life and her work. I’m happy to see her find herself outside of her job.
I don’t have to work the entire break. Last week was just Thursday and Friday and this week was meant to be Monday, Thursday, and Friday but as I mentioned I am going to take tomorrow off too. My wife and I didn’t get one another gifts for Christmas this year but we are going to make time to change our last names and finally become our own little family before the new year starts.
I’m a little nervous about changing my name, though I don’t know. I’m not even really, really changing it. I’m simply adding my wife last name to my own, unhyphenated too so that I can still write under the name I have now. She’s adding my name to her’s too but at the beginning so that we match. I’m afraid I’ll forget to I let all our places of work, our financial institution, and any company that I do business with know to change the name on all billing and correspondence. I’m afraid, maybe, of getting used to being someone else, of being more a part of someone else too.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my health continues to improve but at a depressingly slow pace. Still, improvement is improvement and I am grateful for the hope that the day-by-day incremental decrease in pain and the increase in energy levels brings.
I did speak with my doctor last Monday and to be honest it wasn’t a lot of good news. She sounded worried and a little unsure of the next steps. This was the first time I heard her sound so uncertain and it distressed me some. She said she would send over my information to a colleague for a second opinion and decide in the next week or two what to do if I am still suffering. She would like to add a third medication to my already rigorous regimen and I’m debating whether to try to convince her otherwise. I would much rather simply move on and try something new entirely than add more pills.
But there is still hope. If I can get my ulcerative colitis symptoms under control, recapture remission, come off of these steroids, and my maintain remission with my old medication alone then there is a chance I can continue at least as I had been six months ago and work once again from there on reducing my dosages and working up to a more active lifestyle.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I still can’t believe that the year is set to end in just a few short days away. Normally I am excited to start a new year but this time I feel a reluctance to let go. 2019 was just a good year for me. I got to marry my best friend. I got to experience new things and do new things at work. I traveled. I spent time with people I love. I let go of the people who needed to move on and I learned how to love myself more than I ever have. I want more of 2019.
But, perhaps 2020 can be a good year too. I just don’t know yet and I am worried that it will be a year of return to self-destruction, directionless wandering, unfulfilled potential and passion, mistakes, and failures. I’m afraid to find out next year that I am no more than what I have become in this one.
Still, I know deep down that there is a chance too that life will go on getting better and that I will go on getting better right along with it. When I take a step back, I can see there is no reason or evidence to suggest that I can dream big and achieve as much if not so much more than I have in the next 12 months as the last. I’m working hard to center that perspective and to look through a lens of optimism and enthusiasm going forward.
I want to say now too that I won’t be declaring any big resolutions this year. I have a list of goals and things I like to do at work, in writing, with my wife and for our home, but only so time won’t get to far away from me. The only habit I am committed to changing this year is moving from thinking of my goals within the cycle of the entire year to something smaller and more manageable. I’m focusing on the day by day now, that is all.
I’ve tried balancing my life over a year, or a month, or week, thinking if I did one thing on Tuesdays and did the opposite on Thursdays it would all come out even in the end, but it never did. I am too easily distracted and too inept at guessing what my future self will do. I have learned that habit can be built nor any goal accomplished in spurts. Everything must be done a little every day. So, my only resolution is to decide how to spend the whole year by deciding now how I will spend each day and then to schedule it complete with notes, to-do lists, and reminders. I’ll talk more about this in posts to come.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have grown very long winded and this chat has lasted a lot longer than I planned for it too. It’s time for me to return to my chores and my little to-dos before the sun makes it too far west and I make my way to the couch, the TV, and another shot of that sweet syrupy amaretto over ice.
I hope you had a good week. I hope your holidays have been warm and bright and that you’ve had plenty of good food and fun to get you through the rest of winter to come. I hope you had a good year and that if you didn’t the start of a new one will relieve and revive you.
Until next year.
Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up.