If We Were Having Coffee // Overworked and Unsatisfied

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

Wake up every morning just before 5:00 AM like clockwork but after a late night of binge-watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina over a couple of drinks and too much dessert I found it hard to leave the bed and lost another 3 hours to sleep so fitful it wasn’t even worth it. Thank God for the invention of coffee, a drink that con correct for all those sleep probelms plaguing the modern world, right?

So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I’ve got the usual blond roast beans ground course for the french press and I’ve started addding a generous pour of sweet and silky vanilla oat milk over top. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! Let’s talk about last week.

“Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone, except to ask for dinner or coffee. And it has been like that from the beginning.”

― Vincent Van Gogh, Van Gogh in Arles


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was only slightly less stressful than the week before. I’m working in different departments and hardly getting a break let alone a lunch in between. To make matters worse I don’t feel like anyone sees or appreciates my efforts but I’ve realized the only one I have to blame for being so overworked and unsatisfied is myself.

I enjoy the challenge but I don’t know when to stop. I like being useful, respected, important, but I forget that I am not, in fact, being compensated to do more than one person’s job. I enjoy being a part of the action but I forget that I need time away. I forget that I can take time away, that I need to take time away. So, I will.

I am still training the new class of employees but this coming week the ones who made it through will be released and I will, hopefully, finally get a little break from the chaos and settled back into my regular, boring schedule. I plan to make myself scarce and to work no more than the hours I have to and do only the tasks assigned to me. Once I feel a little more like myself, a little more stable and strong, I can try ambition and initiative again.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am taking it easy this weekend.

Friday night I decided to unplug and get out of the house for a change. I took my wife out for a date night of dinner, drinks, and a movie. She’d been wanting to see Jojo Rabbit for months now and there was one showing at our favorite movie theater. I had just enough time after work to rush home, change, and head back out. The movie was amazing and I highly recommend you see if you haven’t yet.

Saturday was spent much like today will be, doing nothing at all. I had planned to help some friends move to their new house but it turns out they were too excited to wait and did all the moving on their own. I had thought about going hiking but I didn’t have enough time to clean my gear and buy snacks. I thought I might do some shopping or head downtown, but my body protested and the bed beckoned and the opportunity to rest felt too good to pass up.

So, I’ve been home and though part of me is lamenting the wasted hours part of me knows this is just what I needed.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’m still not feeling 100% health-wise though compared to just a month ago I have improved beyond recognition.

I’m nearly off of the steroids which feels great emotionally but physically it’s causing me so many problems. The withdrawal is causing terrible headaches, fatigue, and continued mood swings. I’m out of patience and snapping at coworkers. I’m irritable at home and struggling to give my best self to my loved ones.

I got a call from the doctor’s office informing me that my medication would be changed and I would need to set up my next four appointments for infusion. My doctor and I had discussed the changes but I hadn’t realized that we’d moved from discussion to decision. It’s what I wanted though so I’m moving ahead and in just over two weeks I’ll be back at the infusion center again trying something new.

I’m super nervous about it. Not the infusion itself since I was on another infusion medication before and know how the process goes, but with a new medication comes the threat of new side effects, new complications, new worries and new fears. My wife has promised to stay with me the whole time (just like the medication before) to make sure I’m okay and that helps but I’m still freaking out a little.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that with the busy work schedule, my fatigue, and general bad mood I made very little progress through my reading and had no time or motivation for writing.

I did manage finish two more Penguin Little Black Classics, As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a collection of poems celebrating nature, the human condition, and God, and The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue by Anonymous, an Icelandic tale of two high-born poets competing for love.

Both were surprising and rewarding reads. That’s what I love about this set, each book is something I probably never would have chosen to read on my own but each so far has proven worth the time. I’m reminded there is good work outside of what I am typically drawn to and encouraged to continue branching out even after I work my way through these 80 short works.

Now I’m reading the intriguingly titled On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey, a satirical essay on exploring murder in an aesthetic light. I’m still slogging through Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez but I’m just not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. This week I’m going to try to make as much progress as I can. The best way out is through, right?


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m actually looking forward to next week. The chaos should finally start dying down again and I’ve already said I’m going to do my best to take at least a half-step back from optional job duties but more than that I’m looking forward to using that time for personal pursuits and passions again.

I’ve been missing my old split shift schedule with hours and hours between in which I could pop my ear buds in and type away about nothing at all. I miss my long lunches spent lost in my books. I miss having time to learn something new. I miss having time to think. I miss having time that belonged to me.

Next week is that last one before February begins and I would like to end it on a more fulfilling note that I spent it. I have post drafts I’d love to make progress on, more books to finish, a newsletter I’d like to send out, and collages and found poems I want to make and share. I’m looking forward to time and space to spread out in.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun has moved on to the west windows and it’s time for me to start looking toward the coming work week. It’s time for chores and preparations. It’s time to go enjoy what’s left of the weekend too.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you haven’t been feeling too stressed or depressed. I hope you’ve had successes and if you haven’t I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself. I hope you’re ready to say goodbye to the first month of 2020 and that February will find you rested and ready to begin again.

Until next time.

Sunday Blues // Julianna Townsend

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

Photo by Dmytro Davydenko on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Comfortable in My Skin Again

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

I know it’s late but today didn’t turn out exactly as I imagined it would. I woke up early this morning to take some time for me and to write but it’s also family day and there wasn’t enough time for all the things I wanted to do before I was out the door and on my way and my family always get more of me than I plan to give. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Time with them is time spent in warmth, and love, and laughter. It was a good day, but it went on so much longer than I expected. Luckily it’s never too late for coffee, not really.

So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I’ve got the usual ground light roast steeping in the French press but we’ll be trying oat milk for the first time tonight. Let’s talk about last week.

“Either way, he figured a cup of coffee would hit the spot. For what is more versatile? As at home in tin as it is in Limoges, coffee can energize the industrious at dawn, calm the reflective at noon, or raise the spirits of the beleaguered in the middle of the night.”

― Amor Towles, A Gentleman in Moscow


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was a very busy one. I spent long hours at work training a new class of employees all without my boss around to help guide me and all while trying to manage my stress levels and wean off of my medications.

There was more than one evening through the week that I came home, head throbbing and my body sore from the hips down after walking all day that I could hardly stand. I’d collapse in the bed, sleep until my wife woke me for dinner, and then sleep again just to wake up the next morning still exhausted, still hurting, but still determined to keep putting one foot in front in of the other and get through another day no matter what.

The class is doing well and at least this isn’t my first one so I’m not completely lost. I do learn a little more each time and I can tell I’m getting better. Speaking in front of a group is coming easier now and so are the answers to weirder and wilder questions. Working on a school bus isn’t easy and you would be shocked by the outrageous scenarios and situations that can arise on a moving vehicle filled with children who do not consider you much of an authority figure. The training is extensive and surprisingly overwhelming and oftentimes even emotional.

By Friday I had over 10 hours of overtime when most weeks I barely want to work over 30. The hours in addition to the weekly drop in milligrams I’m taking in steroids, in addition to my increasing anxiety, and in addition to chronic pain and fatigue means I feel like superwoman right now! I know I’m not supposed to push so hard but I need these wins right now. I need to know I can still do things. I need other people to know I can do these things.

So, it was a tough week but I survived with few setbacks or blows to my dignity and now I can give myself the rest I desperately need.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have very little planned for this long weekend away from work.

Friday night I wasn’t feeling very much like myself. Between the steroid-induced acne, sweating, and facial swelling my self-esteem had been taking hits all week and by the end, all I wanted to do was crawl into a dark hole as far away from other humans as possible and live in isolation forever. I felt ugly and embarrassed and it’s been hard for me to imagine that others don’t see me the way that I see myself.

I’m doing much better now though. I turned Saturday into a day of self-care. I took a long shower and did a deep cleanse on my hair. I used lots of smell good soaps and conditioners. I did a clay face mask. I shaved and plucked and primped until I felt comfortable in my own skin again. I know I shouldn’t be so vain or so worried about what others think, but I’m human and all humans do at least sometimes. I’m not usually one to spend so much time on my appearance but I think spending more time doing things that make me feel beautiful and good is just what I need right now.

Today I’m was with my brother and his family for our weekly family day potluck. His wife had surgery last week and I was anxious to see how she is doing. She seems well, considering, but I could tell our presence weighed on her and only wore her out further. At the same time, I know she wanted us there and I did my best to be cheerful and useful. In turn they cheered me too. I need to get out of the house and among people more often than I have the energy or inclination to.

Tomorrow I’m off from work for the holiday and though I will be thinking of the great Dr. Martin Luther King and his legacy, I am also going to spend the time thinking of myself too.

I need a day outside of time (as I call those scattered Mondays and Fridays marked “closed” on our school year calendar) to forget work, and errands, and chores, and goals, and to just be happy doing nothing but living and loving. I’m going to get out, see the sun, and go buy something nice for myself. I’m going to eat something bad for me, drink a beer in the middle of the day, take a nap, then do nothing at all for the rest of the evening and feel not one shred of guilt for it.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I was too busy this week to do much of anything outside of work and sleep but I did find time to read since my Penguin Little Black Classics box set arrived yesterday. I’ve already finished book one, Mrs. Rosie and the Priest by Giovanni Boccaccio, which was quite a salacious set of stories for Penguin to begin with, but I’m taking my time with the second, a small book of startlingly beautiful poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Each book in the set is only around 50 pages long and I felt that sticking to my original reading goal of 30 books for the year would have been far too easy now. I felt too much like cheating so I raised it to 50 books for 2020. I may raise it further considering not only that I can read many of these in one day but that a few of them I have read already. I’d love to add the whole set, all 80 books, plus the 30 novel-length books I had already planned to read, and hit an even 120 but the end of December.

In addition to the set, I’m also reading Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude last year and fell in love with Márquez. He has taken my breath away once again with his prose but the feminist in me is again screaming that though he writes beautifully there is so much suffering, oppression, and mistreatment of women and children underneath it all.

I can, of course, still enjoy the story and the writing but my principles will not let me overlook the pain. It’s so frustrating to read these classics as a queer woman of color and see so much that men miss in the way they write about experiences outside of their own. I can see how much they forget, how much they don’t see, how much they don’t care and when it’s a writer you really love, it hurts deeply.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that the coming week is going to be another busy one, unfortunately. The class had to be extended due to the long holiday and that means more days spent working long hours and pushing myself hard to get through the week. I’m thankful it will be at least one day shorter and there is a chance it may be two since I’m technically off on Friday too.

I meant to spend it helping a coworker and friend move along with another coworker and friend but the coworker and friend who was going to help too won’t be able to come and since I already have the day off I have the option of taking it anyway or going in to avoid the guilt. Staying home sounds like the more enjoyable choice but there is so much work to be done and my chances of reaching working enough to reach “time and a half” are already looking slim.

It only one day but living in a capitalist society makes these choices hard. I hate to let my team down, to leave work undone, to be unproductive, or to turn down the money, you know?


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though I am enjoying the late-night chat too much coffee for too long into the night starts to impact the quality of the next day to come. There won’t be enough coffee in the world to correct for what I take from tomorrow today so I have to be off to bed now and salvage what I can.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you aren’t feeling too stressed or down. I hope you spent time with people you love and that you made time for yourself too. I hope you are reading something good or that you’re making something simply because it feels good and right to make it. I hope you have something that is yours alone and if you don’t I hope it finds you soon.

Until next time.

Blue World // Mac Miller

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

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // What I Know I Love Doing

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.

Your Way // Rexx Life Raj feat. Kehlani

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

008//366

The weight of my chronic illness is pressing on me, exhausting and depressing me. I can’t move, see, or think past my body today. Just recently I was feeling so proud of this body. I was beginning to not just consider it part of me but to love it a little too. Today though it is nothing but meat and misery I’m forced to drag around and long to be rid of.

I always feel like this on the day’s I have a doctor’s appointment. Today’s was both good news and bad. We’ve settled on a plan that goes past “wait and see”. I’ve waited and though what we have seen has been an improvement, it has been far too slow and too little to consider it a success. So, a little more wait but in the meantime there is will at least be actions to take.

This new plan is better than the one proposed to me a few weeks ago though it means some big changes. I’ll be back on an infusion medication and there will be a lot more wait and see to come. There are a lot of unknowns on the horizon too. Medication that may or may not work, side effects that may or may not manifest, and old symptoms that may or may not resurface. It’s a lot to worry about, and especially hard not to think about when you are supposed to be managing your stress levels.

I’m trying to remember that I am one of the lucky ones. I have support. I have healthcare. I can work. My condition is manageable. I will get through it and it will be okay.

007//366

It’s the first official day back at work since the break and it’s turning out to be a lot harder to get through than I anticipated. The morning was fine, but I made sure to keep as close to my regular waking time and routine for most of the last two weeks.

No, today it is the afternoon that is exhausting me. I have been spoiled and gotten too used to freedom and control. My body and mind believe I should be at home resting or doing something more enjoyable or fulfilling rather than stressing or dreading the next 3 hours of my afternoon.

Still, I think I am coping well. I was needed more than I thought I would be and though that really cut into the time I hoped to spend on myself it felt good to be able to work. My health is improving and I can feel the difference in energy and confidence since I started working out and moving my body more. I feel sore but strong, tired but in a good way. Suddenly existing as a physical being is no longer a drag.


I’m home late from work, avoiding my to-do list and eating food I know is bad for me as a result. I don’t cope well when plans change it seems. I have to give myself permission to shut down here and there though. It’s the only way I can pull myself back up and begin again the next day. I have to be able to tell myself “Today this is ok, but tomorrow it is not.”

006//366

Work was easy today. The general mood of my bosses and co-workers seemed to be a mutual reluctance and lack of enthusiasm. There was an unspoken agreement that since no one wanted to be very productive themselves each of us would turn a blind eye to the lack of productivity in the others. No one asked what projects anyone was doing, and no one batted an eye when we all slowly began to file out around midday.

I had planned to work a full day today but knowing this was going to be my last chance to head home for the day at lunchtime I thought I ought to take full advantage along with everyone else.

I didn’t feel like doing much of anything when I got home but I tried turning my focus for how hard my work out and my to-do list would be to get through to how good it would feel when I got through it all.

I turned off my mind and let myself simply exist, experience, and do through my body. And you know what, it worked. Sometimes we have to take away our own choices to get things done. Sometimes we have to stop asking ourselves how we think and feel about every little thing. Sometimes we have to stop asking ourselves what we would rather do. Sometimes we have to let go of thought and become pure action.

So I did my work out. I showered. I cooked dinner. I cleaned and put a few check marks on the to-do list and afterward when I had the time and the patience to ask myself again “What do you think?” or “How does this feel?” I got back contentment and pride.