Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.
I was up before the sun this morning. I made making breakfast and even got some cleaning done but it turned out that my mind was too far ahead of my body and mistakenly thought I had the energy to do more than I could.
Very quickly the bed beckoned me back and my subconscious held me there by dreaming I was doing all the things I had hoped to do while awake. When I woke again, it was to disappointment. I had done none of the things I thought I had and worse, had to muster the motivation again to do them in again in waking life. Coffee, made quickly and in copious amounts, will be a necessity today.
So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I have the usual: a light blond roast steeped in the French press and a bit of frothed sweet vanilla soy milk to smooth and temper it. Let’s talk about last week!
“At this point, caffeine wasn’t for pleasure, it was sheer survival.”
― Stormy Smith, Who She Was
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was my first back to work after two weeks of winter break. I did work a little during that time but the workdays were shorter and farther between and the expectations were lowered and lax.
Returning to the early mornings and the chaos was a hard adjustment. There was a route in need of a substitute assistant and I have been temporarily assigned to ride with those kids until a permanent replacement is found. At first, I was a little peeved by the change but it turns out the kids are really good, the driver is competent, and the route itself runs through a few parts of town with gorgeous views of the mountains to the west and the sun rising in the east.
Every day on it I loved it a little more. Not enough to become the permanent assistant but enough that for the time being it is a part of my day in which I can find comfort and peace for the time being.
Outside of the route I spent much of the week feeling irritable and went to great lengths to isolate myself in order to cope. It wasn’t hard though. I had a lot of coworkers out during the breaks handling family emergencies or running errands. I wasn’t alone all day though. When I needed a laugh or to feel part of the team, my friends were there to pull me in and cheer me up. I’m lucky to work in a place where I have such control over my interactions and boundaries.
All in all, I think it was as good of a return as could be hoped for. Very little went as wrong as it could have and the greatest task I had was simply preparing for the next week. I have a new class of employees starting on Tuesday and that means a return to long hours and high stress levels. I’m going to my best to manage my time and emotions and I expect that things will come easier now that I have a few classes under my belt and I can anticipate the questions, the complications, and what is needed of me.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend has been relatively low key but far too short.
Friday night my wife was out at a retirement party for her coworkers and I opted to stay in with the dog to nurse a headache and make some progress through my reading goal. I splurged and ordered gyros for delivery and slept on the couch. Evening naps are my favorite luxury and I only allow myself to indulge on Fridays when I know I won’t have to worry about work the next day.
Saturday morning I woke up early to make chicken tacos for my brother and his wife’s housewarming potluck. Their old place had been too small, was located in a bad neighborhood, and the landlord was frustratingly inattentive. The new place is the opposite in every way. It’s big, bright, and well kept. It’s in a quiet, diverse, and full of families like their own. They have a real yard and enough room for themselves, the kids, and the dogs. It’s perfect for them and a definite cause for celebration.
After the party, I returned home and spent the rest of the evening on the couch reading Ethics and watching old episodes of Homeland. I wanted to do more, complete a house project or work on a collage piece but I felt too run down to even try.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that health-wise I am still very up and down but more and more up than down every day.
I had another chat with the doctor and we have a solid plan for the next few months. I have to do a little more wait and see for now but I am working on coming off of the steroids and, if things keep getting better, I do nothing, if they get worse again I will be switching to another medication, another infusion this time, which is a good thing. I’ll get to come off of the daily pills and simply spend an afternoon every eight weeks at the infusion clinic. This was the best plan I could hope for right now.
In the meantime, the steroid withdrawal is really getting intense. I’m dealing with headaches, fatigue, and irritability. I’ve had to warn my loved ones and coworkers and I’ve had to be patient with myself. It helps to stay active. I have been exercising almost every day to take my mind off of things, to give my frustrations and outlet, and to release some of those sweet, sweet endorphins.
It helps too to look toward the light at the end of the tunnel too. It’s there, just five more weeks away when I take my last dose. It’s then I will know one way or another in what direction to take the next step.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it was a good reading week. I’m so determined to hit my reading goal this year I’ve starting devoting nearly an hour every day just to it. I spend my whole lunch break reading but I’ve also started reading on the couch while watching T.V. I didn’t think I’d be able to follow along with either this way but I’ve been able to find a rhythm between the ads and the slow moments of a show.
I finished Ethics by Benedict de Spinoza, finally. Despite it being one of the shortest books I have ever read it was by far one of the hardest. Now that I am done I can say it’s also been one of the most rewarding I have ever read. I don’t agree with a lot of it but I like the way Spinoza thinks. I felt akin to the way my own mind works though I don’t for a second think I’m in any way equal to so great a thinker.
Yesterday I started Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I read 100 Years of Solitude last year and loved it so much I knew I needed to read anything I could by Márquez. I’ve barely gotten past page 20 and have already fallen head over heels in again with his flowery and verbose prose.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that writing-wise this was not a good week at all but I haven’t given up. I’ve been giving myself too much leeway to decide what kind of writing to do rather than deciding ahead of time what to work on. It’s strange and frustrating how hard I have to work to do what I know I love doing.
And maybe that is it. I should be having more fun. I put too much expectation on myself to write well, to write meaningfully, to say something, but maybe saying nothing at all is fine too? Maybe shouting into the void and adding nothing of value is still writing worth doing. I need to find the joy and fulfillment I had a year ago, two years ago, when writing was for nothing but the joy of writing.
Back then I was using prompts. I type for hours on the subject filling the blank screen with whatever popped into my head. When I exhausted myself I would edit, some, hit publish and move on with my day until the next prompt. I’d like to do that again for a while, just to get the hang of writing for such long blocks of time. I’d like to have fun again since I seem to be unable to get serious.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the day is wearing on. The afternoon sun is streaming through the west windows reminding me that the weekend is waning and there is still so much to do before night falls. I’ll need more coffee but our conversation must end here.
I hope you had a good week. I hope that you’ve been able to adjust to life after the holidays and that you are settling in to the new year well. I hope that your stress levels are manageable and that you know no goal can be accomplished, no resolution kept, nor any expectation met if you don’t make time to take care of yourself first.
Until next time.