Yesterday we were near 70 degrees, today we never got above freezing. I woke up to falling snow and spent the morning bracing myself through icy road conditions and bad traffic. Working on a school bus I never thought being on a delayed schedule did any good until today when I saw what happens when we should and don’t.

Despite the miserable weather, and my body feeling miserable too, I was able to knock a few to-do items off of my list. Merging my separate lists together and keeping the items simple is already proving to be a big help. I like being able to see at a glance exactly what I need to get done and working through each item one-by-one until they are all done. It feels good.


It was my night to cook which means not only is my mood shot (I hate cooking but my wife and I switch off so that no one has to be miserable every night) but I have a lot less time for the things I’d hoped to accomplish. That’s ok though, today was a good effort and what could get done can easily roll over into Tuesday. I’ll have less time during the day but more time at night, and Wednesday will be less time during either and Thursday I scheduled more time during both.

I’m trying to find the balance.

Goals // Week 46

This week should be a lot easier than the last two with my work responsibilities winding down for a while and I plan to spend that time catching up on all the time I missed spending on my own hobbies and personal pursuits.

This week I want to:

Take care of myself. I’ve stressed my mind and body too much and skipped too many doses of my medication these last couple of weeks. Moving forward my sleep, food, and medication schedules have to become my top priorities again. Also, as a consequence of my self-neglect, I need to contact my doctor and discuss my returning symptoms before things get any worse.

Walk on the warm days. The weather forecast is predicting six out of the next seven days will see near 60-degree highs. I know that nothing eases seasonal depression like the warmth, sunshine, and exercise. Soon there will be days and days where the cold wind will blow and the clouds will stick around. Fight the melancholy while you can!

Finish reading the last of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. I have less than 150 pages left now and if I buckle down and read a little every day, I could finally move on to something else, something I’m looking forward to desperately.

Post a short introductory post to Zen and Pi. I purged the site over the weekend in preparation for a new beginning and like a new notebook or a pristine canvas, it’s only after you’ve marred the perfection that you can allow for creativity and mistakes.

Mark everything off of my to-do list every day. My list isn’t very intense. It’s just one or two small things to do both during my breaks at work and after I get home from work. I’d like to get these small things done during the week rather than saving all the small things for the weekends and leaving no time for larger projects or time to get out and do something fun.

This week I won’t be too hard on myself and I won’t ask too much of myself either. I need to destress. I need to take a break. I need to focus on me while I can. That isn’t a weakness, and that isn’t wasting time. It’s being protective, disciplined, and healthy, and it’s admirable.


Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

Currently // October 2019: The Springtime of Death

“Although I was born in April, I’m quite certain I was not fully awake until October~” 

Peggy Toney Horton, Stop the World and Get Off

I have, and always have had, a love/hate relationship with the month of October. It’s a time of morbid beauty and dark reflections, a time of warm colors, cozy sweaters, vivid flavors, and stunning natural beauty. It’s a time to slow down, to be grateful, and to be kind. It is a time of change, when the world begins to turn cold, barren, and dark. October, the prime of autumn, truly is the “springtime of death“.

This particular October went by way too fast. Halloween is my favorite holiday but I barely got to enjoy it at all. Most years I make it a month long affair but this October I got one good party in and that was all. No haunted houses, no spooky movie parties, no new tattoos! I didn’t even get around to watching The Shining, my favorite Halloween season film. No, I spent the month feeling tired and down. I was working too much and so were my friends. This year’s festivities were a bust, but that’s okay. I plan on having many more, anyway.

And now it is time for November, a time when true winter begins to move and and the holiday season officially begins. I’ll be honest, this is not my favorite time of year. I’m no can of turkey, holiday music, shopping for gifts, or snow, but I don’t want to spend the next few months grouchy and grumblings. I want to focus on what I do like. I like family gatherings, Christmas trees, and gift receiving at least. I suppose I can start there and learn to get into the holiday spirit!

But before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing blog posts for National Blog Posting Month, or, more accurately NaNo Poblano, a very unofficial version of the same thing. I started 2019 with the hope that by this time in the year I would be putting the final touches on a NaNoWriMo outline but sadly, or perhaps fortunately, I’ve learned that I’m simply not ready to write that book. Basically, I still have a lot to learn. I’m beginning to see sense the depth of what I do not know, and it is vast. So, in the meantime, I’m doing NaBloPoMo instead. I’m keeping up my daily writing habit but working towards writing things of more substance too.

Making cut out and cut up poems and collages, still. I didn’t get to sit quietly in the creativity room making things out of other people’s words and images. I’m working on doing it more often though because it really does help. It helps to unplug and to remember that you can still make things without a screen. It helps to calm my anxieties and to help me forget my disappointment too. I guess collage would be my true hobby then which actually makes me feel better about considering writing as my work. Writing feels good, but it doesn’t feel like that.

Planning for the holidays. I’ve already said I’m no fan of this time of year but I’ve still got to get through it, same as every year, but this time I’d like to do my best to be proactive and get the worst parts out of the way as soon as possible. This year I would really like to get my shopping done early and to plan all the goodies I’d like to cook and bake for everyone before it’s too late. I want to get the Christmas tree up right away, and to schedule time to spend with my friends now before time gets away.

Reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, still, but I am so close to being done. If I could stick to my scheduled reading times every day, or even most days, it wouldn’t have taken to long. In my defense though the book is incredibly long and quite technical. It’s not an easy read, and it’s harder to sustain excitement for this kind of reading than it is for fiction. I’m hoping by the first week of November I’ll be on to something new and by this time next month I’ll have a few new books to tell you about.

Watching a lot of T.V. I shouldn’t be watching. What I mean is, a lot more hours in October were lost on the living room couch than I feel good about. I watched The Watchmen on HBO, a new superhero drama that picks up 34 after the comic book and the movie of the same name. I’ve finished Mindhunter on Netflix, the crime series chronicling the formation of the FBI’s behavioral crime unit. I also finished Peacher on AMC, another comicbook based series about a bad-ass preacher Jesse Custer, his girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, and his vampire side-kick, Cassidy as they search for God.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still, but I hope by this time next month to be finished with at least one of them. I’ve been slacking big time in this department too but I’ve also made a lot of progress. I’m just struggling to stay focused, motivated, and interested. I’m ready to move on but, obviously, the only way to move on is to get through it. I think that’s the lesson I want to take into November most of all.

Feeling down. Seasonal depression is a real pain in the ass, you know? It’s only going to get worse with the time change coming this weekend. I’ve already been experiencing lethargy, sleep problems, lower than usual self esteem, and extreme irritability. I know from experience that hopelessness will set in next and the winter gloom will feel like all that has been and all that will be. I’ll fight it, I always do, and friends and family, laughter, good food, and writing will get me through, but the person I am now won’t be back until spring.

Anticipating some fun events I have planned. I have tickets to a performance of Twelfth Night and for the new (and last) Star Wars film in the Skywalker series, but both aren’t until December. I have nothing planned for November but I think I should try to come up with something besides Thanksgiving, something I want to do, something big! It helps to get out even when the clouds are hanging around and the air is bitter cold. Having something to look forward to reminds you time is moving, you are moving, and things will change for the better, eventually.

Reflecting on how I came to be the person I am today. It’s suddenly occurred to me recently that I was once a small child, and I did things that all small children do, but for some reason I cannot reconcile that version of myself with who I am today except through very, very small increments and incidents, many of which I do not even remember. Sometimes I’m able to reflect beyond my little life and see concretely how who my parents were (how they were shaped) and their parents before them and on into the past and out into society has shaped me too. I am the product of a long line of events, experiences, and ideas so vast it feels like a kind of infinity.

Fearing the end of the year. On the one hand, I’m eager to say goodbye to 2019. I’m ready to start over, but on the other hand, I know that I had plenty of time to be a new me all this year and I didn’t. I’m afraid to end the year because I know I’ll be ending it with a lot of regret and I predict that I will begin the new one with my same old flaws and weaknesses. I’m afraid to end and begin every year just as I am right now, only older, more afraid, and rapidly running out of time.

Hating the way people perceive me sometimes. I’ve noticed that at work, whenever I try to express my needs or boundaries, or give someone constructive criticism people react as if I am admonishing them harshly even if I speak in calm tones and take on a healthy dose of reassurance at the end. There are other people around me and almost all in positions higher than mine who are much more severe in their reprimands and direction but somehow I’m the one who earned the reputation of being a “hard-ass” and that reputation is beginning to precede me too. I hate it because I suspect it is tied to my gender.

Loving my job. Don’t get me wrong, it has definitely been a stressful month there. I’m taking on a lot more responsibility now than I ever have in the past but I’m not the only one. Everyone is taking on more because there have been less of us around to carry the load but it’s easier to lift more when everyone is lifting together. I’m doing my part to make it better and that feels good. People are noticing my work and that feels good too. I’m excited to move forward and for the possibility of moving up too. I’m grateful for every opportunity and for every understanding and allowance too.

Needing talent. I have a desire but not much talent and without the aha! moments and the great ideas flowing desire turns quickly into disappointment. I love writing but I wasn’t born a writer. I’ve just want to become one someday and that has meant condemning myself to grueling work and psychological pain. I have doubts. I have regrets. I have failures and false starts. I wish I was someone with an unstoppable drive, a genius for whom the craft comes easily, someone who simply knows what to do and how to do it well. I just need a little of that or some small certainty that I will find it one day.

Hoping for an easy holiday season. This year has been one of the most stressful in recent memory and I don’t mean that in an entirely bad way, but I am beginning to feel burned out and longing very much for a bit of peace. The holiday season is, of course, not that time, but I hope this one will be easier than the rest. I hope there will be no family fighting, resentments, or misunderstandings. I hope gift shopping will be easy and I hope in the end I’ll feel like I did enough.


So, yeah, all in all, October was an okay month, not bad, but not as good as I’d hoped either. I’m disappointed I couldn’t make more of it but little all things, writing down helps to let it go. I can move into November with a clearer head and a few lessons learned.

But what about you? Did you enjoy the spooky season? How did you celebrate? Are you growing increasingly depressed as winter draws nearer too? How are you planning to spend the winter holidays this year?

Let me know in the comments.

“Golden October declined into sombre November…”

— T.S. Eliot


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

Photo by Kerstin Wrba on Unsplash

Goals // Week 44

This week is starting off on a very stressful note. Winter is rearing its ugly head, promising days of freezing temperatures, snow, and slick roads. On top of dealing with the weather, both physically and emotionally, I have the busiest work schedule ahead me than I’ve had all year! That means I have very little time for myself and it means I have to be mindful of how I spend what little time I get. This week I want to:

Make it into work every day this week. This is pretty basic but with 3 days of snow and more of below freezing temperatures, plus the cold, the flu, the upper respiratory infections, and strep throat floating around I’m worried about ruining this opportunity for more overtime than I have been offered ever. I need the hours. I need to take care of myself and get here every day.

Take all of my medication every day, on time. Since the URI I had a few weeks ago I have been struggling to get back on a steady meal and medication schedule. I have pills that have to be taken 12 hours apart, pills that have to be taken 30 minutes prior to meals, pills that have to be taken with meals, etc. It’s hard to keep straight and easy to forget.

Get a Goodwill donation box filled. This past weekend we moved some furniture around, new furniture in, and old furniture out. By the end, we had more things than we had space for and a large bag started of old things to give away. There is still a long way to go but I do not want to procrastinate another week (or year!) on getting this room cleaned out.

Write five posts for NaBloPoMo in advance. This one is going to be hard without long blocks of time to devote to writing but a 15-minute break here, an hour lunch there, and writing while the T.V. is on should get me most of the way there. I don’t want to fail another blogging challenge and I don’t want to let myself down.

Read 50 pages, total, of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. That’s just ten pages a night, that’s all I’m asking of myself. Of course, these aren’t easy pages and after a long day keep my eyes open longer than a couple of paragraphs is almost impossible, but 30 minutes before bed every night should get me there. I’ll even settle for five pages. I’ll settle for any number over zero!

Finish one week of one Coursera course. This one is pretty low on my priority list this week. I just don’t won’t have the time with work, writing, and reading, but if I do find myself with ahead of schedule (or enjoying a snow day!) then I will see what I can do.

Share one small thing you didn’t make on a screen. Work is stressful and on some level so are the other things I love since I carry so much expectation of myself, but making cut up and blackout poems and collages are the only things I do that feel truly relaxing. I need to make time for them.

This week I will just do my best and no matter what that looks like at the week’s end it will (have to) be enough. The trick will be keeping a positive outlook, doing the work expected of me, and keeping always in the back of my mind these little goals and brining them shapely into focus whenever I have even a minute of my own.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 43.

Photo by Kamil Lehmann on Unsplash

Goals // Week 43

Prepare for National Blog Posting Month. I wasn’t sure NaBloPoMo was still a thing until I saw this post from Ra Avis inviting bloggers to join her team of “Cheer Peppers“. I signed up and fully intend to complete the challenge but I need a plan of action or I’ll never make it. This week I want to settle on a theme and fill in an editorial calendar with post titles. Next week I’ll start the drafts.

Update: I now have a beautiful Google sheet filled in with 30 topics and almost all of them have corresponding drafts set up in WordPress.

Make a couple of cut up and black out collages and poems. I’ve mentioned it before but creating these simple and shareable pieces feels akin to meditation—it’s calming, grounding, centering, it brings me into the present and allows me to let go of my emotions for a time. This is the only activity I do where it feels more about the process than the product and while I think they are dumb things to make I feel like they are more important than anything I create in any other realm of my life.

Update: This week was exhausting, and the weekend was filled up with social events, cooking, and house projects. There was simply nothing left for creativity.

Finish reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. I have just over 100 pages left to go if I read just 20-30 pages a day I can finally move on to something a little more mindless and fun. This book is amazing but I’m desperate for something that is stimulates my emotions and not just my mind, you know?

Update: Normally I spend my lunches at work reading but this week I, quite strangely, felt up to socializing instead. I should have picked a day or two to seclude myself but I was easily distracted.

Finish week 4 of International Women’s Health and Human Rights and week 8 of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry. This one might be hard. I’ve had trouble concentrating on the reading (reading from a screen makes my comprehension levels plummet) and following the videos is exhausting (I’m too easily distracted), with such limited time and willpower I have doubts about my ability to finish either.

Update: Plain and simple, I needed a break. These courses have grown tedious for me and while I know that once I’m done I’ll feel better, and while I also know the only way to get done is to do the work, I couldn’t make myself do even a little bit.

Take care of myself. I had a bad cold a couple of weeks ago and even though I’m about 99% over it (and the resulting ear infection) some symptoms continue to linger. I have to remember that for someone with a chronic illness a simple cold can be very difficult to recover from. I have to drink lots of water, take all of my medication. go to bed on time, and relax as much as I can.

Update: I did okay but I have not been keeping on time of my diet changes or my medication schedule. Sometimes I get angry about all the work I have to put into myself and sometimes I just give up…

This week I’m keeping my expectations low. If I can’t get through all of my goals, that’s ok. The reality is I have a packed schedule at work and social events to prepare for over the weekend that will severely limit the time I have for myself and the things I love. The point is just to try, to be happy, and to appreciate any effort.


Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

Currently // September 2019: All the Summer We Could Have

“We know that in September, we will wander through the warm winds of summer’s wreckage. We will welcome summer’s ghost.” 

Henry Rollins

This September contained all the summer I was able to have this year. After the wedding—after all the wedding planning—we needed to rest, and it took just about all of August to recoup. That meant a month without expectations, without deciding, without so many people to see, to please, to make a part of us. We took time to retreat back into our bubble to begin working out what being married meant for us. We haven’t figured it out by far but we are at least able to peek out from the honeymoon haze and start getting back to a routine we haven’t known for over a year.

As the month began we quickly got down to the business of having some summer fun. We explored the city, saw our friends, enjoyed the warmth, the sun, and nature. We went out for dinners and drinks. We went hiking. We spent days downtown and went to backyard parties. We got out and got away, a little.We still had work and September has never been a month we could keep just for us. In total, there are about seven birthdays in our calendar, including my wife’s. That means there were gifts to find, special days to plan, and time and money to give. September always feels like many months in one and this one felt especially overfull of both hardship and joy.

But now it is time for October. Summer is gone and this time I was mature enough to know that neither stubbornness nor denial would keep the leaves from changing or chill air from blowing in. This time I said my goodbyes and this time I’m (in a way) looking forward to what autumn will bring and be. This time (I think) I am mature enough to change with the season.

But before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing little bits and things here and there but never enough to post or share or pitch anywhere. Lately, I’ve just been going with the flow placing no expectations or constraints on myself but in October I would like to try—gently but firmly—to get under some sort of editorial schedule. I’m ready to get moving in any direction at all as long as it’s away from where I’m wallowing at. To jumpstart my journey, I have started posting more than just my writing here. I’ve moved from having a blog to providing a feed of art, quotes, questions, journal entries, updates, and (once I get my ass in gear) essays and poetry too. It feels good to have a place to collect and share not just my words but what inspires and moves me too.

Making cut out and cut up poems and collages. They’re dumb, but I like them and making them centers me. I suppose I just like making things out of other people’s work and words. I haven’t made any recently because I haven’t had much “analog space” in the Creativity Room since it became a storage space for wedding things but I’m slowly cleaning it up and turning in to an almost purely analog and art space. Having a phone and a laptop makes the whole rest of the house, and the world, a digital space, I want this one space to be for the real world, for concrete things, for tools, for play, for discovery. This room and the work I do there, for now at least, must be done with my hands. It’s something I need.

Planning for fall, and after, for winter too. I’m trying to prepare emotionally for the cold, the gloom, the boredom, and the hopelessness. I’ve never done well through the colder months but these past years I have been trying to make some use of theses later seasons rather than letting myself wallow in despair. I want to come to a place where I can at least be content and preferably productive through them. Perhaps these seasons can be a time of real writing to me. A good time to create the conditions of an “at home writing retreat”. No internet, no distractions, nowhere to go, just a germ of an idea to explore and time to do it in.

Reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky and Moral Letters to Lucilius: Volume 1 by Seneca. Behave will take a while, it’s nearly 800 pages long and I’m less than halfway through. Moral Letters could be finished quickly but I’m reading it on my phone and I have never been good at comprehending from a screen. I did finish The Book of Tea by Kakuzō Okakura which I highly recommend. I hope to have moved on to two new books by this time next month.

Watching Succession, a drama following the dysfunctional Roy family as they scheme and fight to take control of the family empire, and The Deuce, which chronicles the rise of the porn industry in New York, on HBO every Sunday. I finished Robin Thede’s Black Lady Sketch Show, a comedy show starring all my favorite ladies (also on HBO), and The Mind, Explained on Netflix which turned out to be a wonderful companion to Robert M. Sapolsky’s book Behave. Grey’s Anatomy is back for one last season and I’m far too emotionally invested not to watch. In between, I’ve been catching up on AMC’s Preacher in which the hardcore criminal turned preacher Jesse Custer gains super mind control powers and sets out with his badass girlfriend Tulip and their vampire side-kick Cassidy in the search for God.

Learning about Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights, still. I’m making it through “ModPo” easily and I’ll continue to plug away a little every day until I finish but Women’s Health and Human Rights will take a little more focus and willpower. I have to actually work and write to finish this one and after 3 or 4 tries now I have not been able to get past week 2. But I have still been watching the videos and doing the reading. This time around I have just one job, complete the assignments, one per week, for the next 10 weeks. That is it.

Feeling hopeful, more hopeful than I usually do this time of year. I’m hopeful that all the despair and tension I normally feel is not my fault, nor inevitable, nor unchangeable. I’m embarking on a new health regimen this month, one that couples medication and self-care into a multi-pronged approach to physical and mental health. With my doctor’s blessing I’ve been able to come off of one of my medications entirely and the other’s dose is being lowered by half and as my medications come down, I’m instructed to eat more fresh foods, exercising more, meditate, get a little sun every day, and take calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, peppermint oil, and zinc supplements. I’m still working on incorporating all of this into a new lifestyle but I’m already feeling so much more normal than I have in years.

Anticipating my favorite holiday, Halloween! I’m not a fan of the cooler weather to come but I do love the spookiness of the season. I love horror movies, haunted houses, costumes, and Halloween parties. I love this “springtime of death” I guess. I love celebrating what disturbs and terrifies us both individually and collectively. Fear is a major part of what it means to be a human and I love that we have made a holiday out of it. I don’t have my costume picked out just yet but I do have my party plans made. I’ll spend the month watching my favorite horror movies and I’m going to share some of my favorite spooky art here too. I may take a break from my current reads and pick up Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein or anything by Stephen King. I wonder if there is horror poetry out there somewhere?

Reflecting on how we each become who we are. I’ve been reading and watching a lot about the brain, about emotion and behavior, and surprisingly, about childhood development and I’ve been expanding my understanding of how each of us comes to be an individual, a personality, a person with wants, needs, likes, dislikes, dreams, history, opinions, and so much more. I’m interested in knowing everything I can about why we come to do the things we do and how we can do differently if we want to. I’m coming to understand that it’s so much more than the genes you are born with or whether your mom hugged you enough. It’s the food you eat, the adversity your mother experienced in her childhood, what country you were born in, your gender, birth order, economic status and every other part of human existence you can imagine going back to the dawn of our species. It’s fascinating and, somehow, comforting.

Fearing where this country is headed politically. The House is moving against the President and exploring the possibility of impeachment. On principle, I wholly agree but I worry that many on the left are not operating from principle but from a very human feeling of competition, revenge, and vindictiveness to match the displays of competition, revenge, and vindictiveness from the other side. I’m afraid of the next election cycle too. I’m afraid of the deepening divide. I’m afraid of losing, and of winning, but I’m also excited. I am very human too you know. The drama of it all, for some, is all politics is, for all of us it matters somewhat, and this is terrifying.

Hating living with a chronic illness. I am feeling well and hopeful, for now, but that is the problem, for now. I know that I will never not have this illness and I know that no matter how well my treatment is working today in a year, hell, even tomorrow, it could fail and I could end up as bad or worse off than I was at diagnosis. My doctor warns me that worrying about tomorrow or a year from now will do nothing but stress me out and encourage the outcome I am trying to avoid, but it’s hard not to hold the possibility in your mind all the time. When I’m not worrying about it I’m just angry about it. I’m angry my life has had to change and I’m angry that there is no cure. I’m angry about all the pills I have to take, the doctor’s appointments I have to make, and the blood tests. It makes you hate your own body sometimes.

Loving married life, still. I love the little things like changing her status to “wife” on my emergency contact card at work and the big all-encompassing feelings of “oneness” and safety too. I love being a wife. I love the responsibility of it. I love being part of something bigger than just me. I love compromise and communication and getting to know each other anew every day. I love making and maintaining a home. I love being a family. Of course, all of this was true before the wedding but having it be so explicit and legal means it’s more concrete, more real. We are part of the norm and expectation and the community of other married couples and though it isn’t all easy or rainbows and sunshine, I love it.

Needing life to get a little easier for a change. I’ve never asked for much from life and I know I have gotten more than most, more than I probably deserve too, but it’s still hard. Maybe what I need isn’t so much for my life to get easier, but for the lives of those around me to get a little easier. Half my worry at least, and most days so much more, is for the problems of others. Much of my self-loathing and suffering comes from how little I feel I can do to ease the suffering of others. I feel useless. I feel inadequate. I feel powerless and small. I feel their pain and mine too and I desperately need it to get a little easier.

Hoping that this fall, and afterward this winter, will be a typical Colorado fall and winter. Climate change is happening now and here in Colorado September is one month where it can really be felt. I read a statistic the other day that of the 30 calendar days in the month, 15 of them have record highs that have been set since 2010. We saw the first 100-degree day in September even and one of the hottest Septembers in recorded history this year. I know it will only get worse and I suspect that this fall and coming winter will be anything but average too but I hope, I hope, I hope we will, for better or worse, return to what is familiar.


So, yeah, all in all, September was a damn good month. My wife and I had so much fun and got to spend so much time together. Summer stuck around, and we were allowed to ease into fall. At the same time, September was a pretty hard month too. We experienced some of the worst stress we have in a very long time. We had to make tough choices, and the worst isn’t over yet. Still, I feel happy and proud. I never gave up. I found joy where I could and I took care of myself. I did all I could do.

But what about you? Did September bring blessings or heartache? Does it feel like fall where you are? What are you going to be for Halloween? Are you for or against impeachment, and why? Has the existential dread of climate change got you down?

Let me know in the comments.

“I can love October in September. September doesn’t care.”

— Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year


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

Photo by zhao chen on Unsplash

Goals // Week 40

Read 100 pages of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. I had been shooting for 200 a week but with my busy work schedule and the courses I’m taking I have to manage my expectations. 100 pages a week is less than 15 pages a day, totally doable!

Work on that little writing idea sitting in my drafts folder. It’s small enough that I can probably finish it in my spare time but big enough that I will feel accomplished and encouraged by it. It’s a good first step toward…taking another step. Just what I need.

Clean off my desk and create a reading space in the “creativity room”. I’ve had trouble starting on my art projects because the space I have for making things doesn’t feel conducive to making things. It’s cluttered, disorganized, and cramped. I have to get it straightened up if I want to stop avoiding it in favor of the livingroom. The reading space is just a bonus.

Regardless of comfort spend 20 minutes in there every night, and an hour in the early mornings on both Saturday and Sunday. The goal is to keep the expectations low, to just use what I have, to have fun, and keep all screens well out of reach.

Finish week seven of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and week two and three of International Women’s Health and Human Rights. I’m already halfway through week seven of ModPo and all the readings and videos are done through week 4 for IWHHR. I just have to respond to the damn thought questions.

Jog for 20 minutes every other afternoon and in between do a simple 20 minute bodyweight workout. The mornings have gotten too cold and getting out of bed is harder than it was just a month ago. Physical activity will have to take place in the afternoons after work and before dinner. Keep hitting your step goals

Get out of the house this weekend. Lately I’ve been coming home Friday night, jumping into pajamas, and not going outside again until I’m on my way back to work Monday morning. It sounds nice but this can’t be good for my mental health.

This week I will continue to be mindful of the ways I spend my time, and, more importantly, the way I use my phone. I will not feel guilty about saying no. I won’t feel bad about making time for me, for doing the things I enjoy, or for enjoying things that other people don’t. I’m the one who has to face my failures at the end of the week.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 39.

Photo by Matt Duncan on Unsplash

Goals // Week 39

Work on one thing outside of my journal. Last week I failed miserably at this but I’m trying again and this time I’m making it even smaller. I don’t even have to finish a thing, just work on it.

Update: It wasn’t so much from lack of time or trying, it’s just that I spent too much time on my other goals. My energy and focus were limited and inspiration eluded me. Will try again next week.

Make something with my hands. I came across an interesting Instagram video from Matthias Brown showing some cool cut-and-paste techniques. Collage has always intrigued me and it’s time I get out my old X-Acto knives again.

Update: So, my “creativity room” is a damn mess and before I can make any art, I have to clear a space, remove all electronic distraction, and put my tools and materials within reach. My goal for next week is to clean up.

Read 200 pages. I still think this is doable but I have to not only make time for reading before bed but I also need to read on the weekends. I have to get up earlier and quit opening that damn Facebook app.

Update: I think I did this one. I honestly didn’t keep very good track but I read a lot every day and in my mind it’s a win.

Meal prep both overnight oats and breakfast egg and sausage bowls. The goal isn’t so much about making them, that’s easy, but to actually eat them and not get tired or let my body pull me along on cravings for donuts or worse.

Update: I’m actually really enjoying this one. So much so that I don’t think I will include it in my weekly goals going forward. I may have to find some other breakfast ideas though in case we start getting tired of breakfast bowls and oatmeal.

Finish week six of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and week two of International Women’s Health and Human Rights. Both should be simple and easy to complete, just set aside one hour or so, maybe two, this week to get it done.

Update: I finished the week nearly halfway through week seven of ModPo but I didn’t realize that since I reset my deadlines for IWHHR I couldn’t actually complete the assignments until the 30th. I did do all of the reading, watched all of the videos, and took what quizzes I could through week 3 though.

Jog every other morning and in between, in the evenings, do a simple bodyweight workout. I don’t want to push myself too hard. Last week I ended up with some soreness and had to rest for days before I could get back to it. Just move your body more than you normally would and more than most people do.

Update: My biggest failure of the week. I didn’t work out once! It was from lack of sleep and from a poor mood also caused by the lack of sleep. I’m doing everything I can to fix it and I hope to be back up and moving as soon as possible.

Take advantage of all the hours I’m are being offered at work. Make the overtime worth it. This one isn’t exactly a choice, but a state of mind. It’s going to be a tough week, I know this, try to look at the bright side and remember to be grateful I have work at all.

Update: Yes, I worked my ass off last week though I’m not sure I’m happy about it. There were so many more interesting and fulfilling things I wanted to do with my time. Capitalism sucks!

This week is all about building on last week but just a little. It’s about keeping my stress levels low, no matter what, practicing self-care, and keeping my sense of purpose and perspective.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated goals for Week 38.

Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Goals // Week 38

 Write one new thing outside of my journal. I don’t have to post it this week, but I do have to write something, anything. I have a schedule and I have to stick to it. That means no social media, no “research”, no work duties and no minor chores. Just keep it simple. Write it, even if it’s bad, even if you don’t even know what it is, just write it.

Update: Yeah, no, I didn’t get this one done. I was just too distracted. I was too full of energy and longed too much to be outside and moving.

 Read 200 pages of anything. I have 3 books going right now and I have made very little progress on any of the three. I think it would be best if I narrowed the options to two—one physical book and one to read from my phone. Progress will feel more substantial and fewer choices make it easier to decide when and what to read.

Update: I’m not sure how many pages I read but I’m guessing off the top of my head around 100. It’s better than nothing at all but I had hoped for better. Once again, it was an issue of focus, not time.Update:

 Finish week five of MODPO. It’s been months since I’ve done a lesson and all I have to do is watch the videos. It’s hard because I have to devote my full attention to the lesson but it’ll be good practice as I move away from multi-tasking anyway.

Update: This I completed and made quite a lot of progress toward finishing week 6 too. I could have gotten that done too, but I picked up where I’d left off on International Women’s Health and Human Rights too.

Wake up early to go for a run three mornings this week and choose three other evenings to do a simple body weight work out instead. On Sunday go for hiking and a do a simple yoga routine. The goal is not to push myself but just to start. Any activity at all will be better than what I have been doing.

Update: I did the running but was too busy and too tired in the evening for the bodyweight routine. On Sunday I was nursing a sore knee and decided it was best to stay in.

Go to bed on time. I haven’t been sleeping well, and it’s starting to affect my mood and my motivation. I want to get back to getting ready for bed 30 minutes beforehand and if I get done early, reading a physical book until I feel drowsy.

Update: I sort of did this. I wasn’t always on time but I wasn’t late either so I’ll call it a win. Where I failed was, I didn’t read before bed and so by the time I had torn myself from my phone screen I wasn’t in the right headspace to rest. I’ve reset the “head to bed” alarm on my phone and with the cooler evening on the way a hot cup of Sleepytime tea will be further incentive.

Breakfast for the week is overnight oats. It’s cheaper than buying instant oats and probably healthier too but I have to remember to make them, every night! While I’m choosing the healthier option I should also refrain from buying snacks or dipping into the candy bowls at work. I never feel good after indulging.

Update: I did really well making the oats every night and doing so has saved me so much time in the mornings that there’s no way that I can go back to making breakfast in the morning again.

Catch up on the work thing I’ve been avoiding for the last few weeks now. I’m just feeling insecure but the truth is I am doing a good job and even if I do end up making a mistake or messing it up entirely, no one will be mad and I’ll learn and do better going forward.

Update: This is my biggest failure of the week. My excuse is the lack of hours but the reality is I’m still just overthinking it.

I know the list is long but if I stay positive and focused; I know I can do it. There are enough hours in the day, and on the days that there aren’t, I’ll choose just one thing to accomplish and rest assured that it is enough.


Photo by Rémi Jacquaint on Unsplash

Currently // July 2019: Embarking on a Life

“My life, I realize suddenly, is July. Childhood is June, and old age is August, but here it is, July, and my life, this year, is July inside of July.” 

Rick Bass

July wore me out. It chewed me up, used me up, and spit me out disoriented and weak. It took all I had and left nothing of myself to give to me. July tested, exhausted, and stressed me beyond recognition. July was a hard month, but after all of that stress, this July gave me the most beautiful day of my life. This July and every July from now on will be a special month in my heart and memory. This July, after 17 years together, my girlfriend and I finally became wife and wife.

Planning our dream wedding meant that nearly every other aspect of my life had to be put on hold. I had barely enough time to eat, sleep, and shower regularly let alone read or write. I stopped seeing my friends and family. I stopped being able to think about anything but decor, attire, vows, cake, catering, and seating charts. I stopped doing all the things I loved in order to have one perfect day and while I know it was unhealthy but I am so glad I did it. It really was a perfect day.

But now it’s over, and so is July, and now it’s time to return to real life. I’m slowly picking up the neglected pieces of my life and getting back to some old self-care habits. July was supposed to be my fresh start, but it looks like August is when I will begin again. I’ve decided that after the summer I am taking time for me to get back to writing, reading, and learning.

But before I do, here is what I am currently…

Writing essays, really this time. I may have to wait a week or two before the first one is up, but I am determined to work on them every single day, even if I can’t post them weekly as I had planned I just have to work on them for a certain amount of time every day. If I just do that, I’ll be happy. I have a direction. I have a list of topics and a schedule. I’m so excited to get started and I to see where this “essay a week” journey takes me. I’m excited to explore the genre, to improve my skills, and to finally start sharing what I feel and love with all of you.

Making writing friends online and in real life. At first, writing may appear to be a solitary activity but the truth is that support, encouragement, and social stimulation are critical to growth and mastery of the craft. I believe that this (and a lack of will power and ample energy) is what I am missing most in my journey to authorship. I’ve noticed that my focus, enthusiasm, and confidence in writing has waxed and waned with my writerly or creative connections. I feel most stimulated after I have talked with other artists and writers and I am reconnected with my own purpose and passion. I’ve recently connected with a coworker who also enjoys writing essays and poetry, and I’ve joined a lot of Facebook groups for queer/women writers like myself in the hopes that I can get more done by relying on a community to encourage me, guide me, and hold me accountable.

Planning big renovations and projects around the house. For over a year now the place has been falling apart around us and for over a year we have been saying “after the wedding”, “after the wedding”. Now that we’ve finally come to “after the wedding” it’s time to fix up this old dump. The basement, the kitchen, and both bathrooms need to be completely ripped out and redone. The garage door, the front and back yard, the siding, and the roof have all gone into disrepair. We’re looking at loans and a whole lot of work but we are ready to take on a new challenge and begin to build our dream home.

Reading Notes from Underground, The Double and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, still. I have now fallen 7 books behind schedule in my reading challenge and am profoundly disappointed in myself, but even though I don’t expect to catch up (unless I get this Little Black Classics Box Set soon!) I am not giving up. August is when I will begin again and I will pick my nightly reading habit back up as soon as I pick up my nightly habit of going to bed on time again. I may move on from Dostoyevsky as him and I aren’t seeing eye to eye yet and I do have books I’m much more excited to start with them I am to finish with him. Particularly It by Stephen King and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

Watching too many things, sigh. I finished the second season of Big Little Lies, a star-studded dark drama on HBO, and the 3rd season of the nostalgic sci-fi horror series Stranger Things on Netflix. I’m still watching the deeply disturbing teen drama Euphoria on HBO and I’ve just discovered Years and Years, an anxiety-inducing dystopian drama joint produced by HBO and the BBC. I’m trying hard not to binge the last season of the prison drama Orange Is the New Black but so far it’s been so much better than the last and I expect to be done with it in days. My greatest obsession though has been the FX channel drama Pose about the underground Black and Latino LGBTQ ball culture in New York City during the 1980s.

Learning how to learn again. I could go on blaming the wedding and planning for every goal I’ve stopped pursuing in the last month but the truth is procrastination and fear have been my largest adversaries. I have been my greatest enemy. Rather than getting to down on myself or giving up, I’m deciding again and always to simply try again. I think the fact that I want to learn and that I am pursuing learning actively in life is something to be proud of and taking a break, or falling behind is better than never beginning at all. So, in August, I’m simply picking up where I left off with Modern & Contemporary American Poetry and International Women’s Health and Human Rights.

Feeling stressed and depressed. Even though the wedding is over and there is no more planning to be done or decisions to make the worry we’ve carried over the last year has been slow to fade. To make matters worse, we have other bog changes on the horizon too. After over 13 years of working together at the same location, my wife is moving on to another school district much further away. It isn’t the biggest deal in the world, but it is a change and change, no matter how small or good, has never been something I cope with very well. Besides my anxiety, I will simply miss seeing her throughout the day and getting to ride into work and back home together. I’ll miss hearing about her from other coworkers and getting to witness firsthand how amazing she is at her job.

Anticipating some time to enjoy the last of summer for a while. I spent so much time planning the wedding and worrying that I haven’t gotten a chance to enjoy myself at all this summer. I haven’t gone swimming, hiking, or camping once! I doubt I’ll get to do anything much before the school year starts and I’m back to my usual work schedule but I hope to get at least a few good trails in before the temperature begins to drop. I’m looking forward to some warm days downtown and night’s spent on bar patios with good friends. I’m looking forward to the sun, green trees and flowers, and freedom for at least a month more.

Reflecting on my relationship. My wife and I might have only just gotten married, but we have been together for quite a long time already. In August we will be celebrating our 17th year together and embarking on a life where we have been together for more years than we weren’t. I will have spent most of my life with the same person and I’ve been wondering about what it means to two people to grow as close as we have. Where do I end and we begin? Are all parts of me known to her, and her to me? Who would I be without her? How much of me is me and how much has simply molded to her? Does it matter?

Fearing driving, though less and less all the time. Since my wife and I are splitting up professionally we won’t be riding in together anymore which means I can’t rely on her anymore when I’m struggling with my driving anxiety. I’m afraid but this is honestly probably the best thing for me. I shouldn’t rely on her so much and I should be stronger, but I know I won’t be until I have to be. That is how anxiety, fears, and phobias work. It takes more than hard will. It takes having no other choice. It takes your life coming to a standstill, or the threat of life falling apart. It takes living with your fear becoming worse than the fear itself. I have to work and I cannot let my wife down. Not working and disappointing her by not working are worse prospects than my any outcomes my fear of driving has put into my head and so it’s time to face it. 

Hating the current Democratic party presidential candidate pool. I don’t mean that I hate the candidates themselves. I have quite a few favorites, candidates whose viewpoints and priorities align well with my own, but the field is far too crowded and the interparty attacks are starting to ramp up and, in my opinion, damage our mission and chances. We’re beginning to pull each other down. We’re beginning to sound like Republicans. More than that, I want the field to thin out to give each qualified and truly potential candidate space and time to reach the American people. The problems we are addressing and the solutions being proposed are complex and I hate that the details never reach the American people. 

Loving the current Democratic party presidential candidate pool. I know what I just said and I stand by it but I can’t help being a little proud of my party for dreaming big. The field might be crowded but only because so many people want to do the work to make this country a better place for people to live. It feels good to see people debate how to help the vulnerable, the downtrodden, the underprivileged, the forgotten, and those this country has exploited. It feels good to hear so many people give voice to the pain that so many of us experience every day. I feel very fortunate to be alive when I am to witness such political courage and love. 

Needing help. I’ve been working on recognizing my patterns and I have seen the good and a lot of the bad I do naturally and the ways I react both positively and negatively to the world around me. I can see where I am failing myself, but I recognize patterns is only the first step to correction and the next stepu201—building new habits, getting rid of what hurts, what distracts, and what holds you back, and find what works, what you need, and what you love—takes more than what we are made of alone, especially in a world where we have so much freedom, choice, information, and entertainment at our fingertips. I’m working on solutions to procrastination and building good habits. I need strategies, apps, and hard truths. I need more than what I can give myself.

Hoping that the coming school year runs more smoothly than the last despite all indications it will actually run worse. I hope we get these open positions filled, and that moral goes up and stress levels come down so that we can get back to focusing on what really matters, the kids! I may complain about my job a lot but it’s only ever the other adults who frustrate me. The kids give me purpose and joy and they all deserve the best version of ourselves we can be. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not always given my best. I’ll be the first to admit that the grownup world sometimes sees into the world I try to make for my students and I struggle to give them back what they give me. I want to do better this year, and I hope that the people who are supposed to help me give my best to the kids get back to giving their best to me.


So, yeah, all in all, July was an absolutely beautiful month! I don’t care how hard it was, how stressful it was, or how much I had to sacrifice. It was all worth it to stand up in front of my closest loved ones, say my vows, and then celebrate my love. I realized one of my greatest dreams this July. I will never forget it and it will be a long time before I achieve or experience anything that will top it.

But what about you? How is the summer treating you so far? Have you taken any trips, gotten any camping, hiking, or road trips in? Have you made or realized any grand plans of your own? Have you found yourself distracted and doubting? How have you managed to pick up the pieces and move forward?

Let me know in the comments.

“[JULY IS OVER AND THERE’S VERY LITTLE TRACE]”

— Frank O’Hara


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

Photo by Kassidy Sherburne on Unsplash