136 // This is a Home

Where the rain of last week made every day a repeat of Monday, this week’s sunshine is giving us perpetual Fridays. I’m not sure which is worse. Mondays are bleak, sure, but having to keep on remembering over and over again that freedom is not, in fact, just hours away is rather more disappointing.

I didn’t write or read as much as I had hoped to and spent too much of the day walking around and socializing, a big change from yesterday’s feeling though by the afternoon I’d had my fill.

I’m happy to be home now with my fiance, our dog, the cat, and, yes, even the snakes.

This is a home.

This is a family.

This is peace.

P.S. I did some more blog things today. I cleaned up the more recent personal posts at Zen and Pi and am preparing to revive it soon and the accompanying newsletter. Now all I have left to do is the actual writing :/


135 // Working Well With Others

I’d gotten too used to solitude at work and now as the end of the year is getting closer and as we begin moving over to our newer, smaller building in preparation for a renovation I am forced suddenly to suffer the presence, the gaze, and the sounds of other people.

I must respond in the appropriate ways to their small talk and their probing personal questions. I have to laugh at their jokes and listen to their complaining and I just…don’t want to. The slightest unplanned or unsought social interaction has become an instant and severe irritation.

To be fair, though, it may not be the people—or how ill acquainted I’ve become with the rigors of working well with others—at all, but simple hormones. I’ll know for sure in the next three day or so.

P.S. I’d like to share my shiny new sign-up page for my new wholly personal “every now and again” newsletter. I’ll write a formal post about it at some point but for now I’m just inviting people with faith to spare to join the list and trust that I will come up with something good to share, eventually.

134 // Reinforced Connections

And suddenly it’s summer. The heat today feels oppressive and the knowledge the worse is yet to come is worrisome. The upside is I can finally get back to taking daily walks which will soon become jogs and will soon after that become my morning runs. The downside is I am sweating and I hate sweating.

Tonight I’m spending time with my family celebrating a belated Mother’s Day. So much must be put off now that the end of the year is approaching and work hours are (paradoxically) extending but I’m glad we made time to be with people we love. I sometimes forget how revitalizing laughter can be, and how the reinforcing connections can strengthen us for the return to life’s chaos and confusion.

133 // An Audiobook Experiment

Today was a good reading day. I finally made it through The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, but I still have to make it through Notes from Underground and the “Other Stories“.

I purchased and began my very first audiobook today as well, Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin. My sisters and my mom all “read” by audiobook and have been trying for a long time to convince me of the method’s virtues, but I know myself and my comprehension cliff dives whenever I am listening to rather than reading words. Hell, I can’t even read well from a screen! Old fashioned ink on paper is the only way for me, I guess.

But! Times are changing and I’m watching the stats of other readers climb to numbers that I know I just cannot attain through traditional means. Plus, Google offered me $5 toward a purchase so I thought, why not give it a try? Perhaps practice is all I need.

I’m enjoying how quickly I can move through “reading” by simply listening, but my habit of reading with a pencil has become another hindrance as well. With audio, I cannot mark the margins, insert my opinion, underline, or argue with the author! I cannot move through a book smoothly without being able to get my thoughts out along the way.

So, I’ve already decided that when I finish I will simply have to buy a physical copy and read it again.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

132 // The Weekend Writing Plan

It was a good writing day, I just wish I’d had more of it to devote to writing rather than to chores.

The goal going forward is to wake up at 6:00 AM on both Saturday and Sunday and give 4 hours completely to writing. If there is anything to do later in the day, that’s fine. I’ll have written for four hours and justified doing anything else at all for the rest of the day. If there is nothing else to do I’ll have hit the ground running and earned a mid-morning nap before beginning again.

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren

If We Were Having Coffee // It’s All Adding Up

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

This morning is a good one, which is rather rare for a Sunday for me. Yesterday was so joyful and productive that the good feelings have spilled over into a whole new 24-hour block. I’m sure as the day wears on, and Monday begins to loom, that my mood will change (and sour) but for now, for this morning, I’m feeling quite happy and hopeful.

The weather has turned for the better so I’ve opened the house to allow the sun and the breeze to come through freely. The smells of spring are mixing with the aroma of warm blond roast and both are only enhanced by the other. Please, pull up and chair and fill up a cup. Let’s talk about last week.

Smell the roses. Smell the coffee. Whatever it is that makes you happy.

— Rita Moreno

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the work week was a sad, dreary, and emotionally exhausting one.

The weather was cold and rainy. I called it mourning weather after Tuesday’s school shooting at STEM School Highlands Ranch in Douglas County. I still can’t believe it happened, though part of me can very easily believe it did because I am continuously worried about it happening.

The school district I work for is right next to Douglas so when the reports of shots fired began to pour in we were put on lockdown too, though at the time we didn’t know why. Every time a lockdown is announced I’m afraid of what it might mean. Sometimes it’s simply police activity in the area but sometimes it’s, to speak bluntly, our school staff and our children being murdered. My heart sinks my chest fills with the terror, and horror, and fear that the next time it happens I will be present and I may be next.

These tragedies take a toll on the entire education community.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I have been working quite a lot in preparation for the wedding. We’re getting worried about the budget, though I think we have plenty to spend on the things we want. Still, the costs are shocking and there is always something we forgot to consider or that came up unexpectedly.

My suit will cost more than twice what we had anticipated because we didn’t know how much work the tailoring would take. Decorations are adding up because we simply didn’t know how much we would need. The rings are going to be a bit more because they needed to be sent back for resizing. Everything is adding up but we are doing our best to save where we can.

I’m designing all of our signs and cards—the ceremony program, the seating chart (or escort cards, we don’t know yet), the menu, the bar sign, the “please sign our guest book” sign, etc.—and printing them at work for free. We are making moss the center of our centerpieces to save on flowers and we’re skipping on the veil, the aisle runner, and we’re making the arch ourselves out of copper pipes. I may even make our guest book by hand.

In the coming week, we have a lot to do. The top priority is to work on our ceremony speech and our vows and get the wedding party attire squared away. I’d like to finish up our signs and cards and to begin following up on the RSVPs. I need to order sign stands, pick up some more DIY supplies for the flower girl wands, the ceremony chair decor, and the sign embellishments, and meet with the wedding planner we hired to go over everything. Oh, and submit and photography checklist. Whew!

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as nervous as I was about the suit tailoring it actually went very well. None of the bad things I was worried about came true. She didn’t tell me she couldn’t fix it and she didn’t turn me away for being a woman. She even told me the suit was cute! I still don’t know what the final cost will be but we both agree we’ll pay whatever it takes to make me feel like a true bride on our big day.

We spent yesterday checking out our ceremony site for the second time. We are having an outdoor garden wedding but the last time we saw this garden was nearly a year ago and many of the images Google has were taken in the winter when the ground looks barren and muddy. Since spring is springing we thought it would be a good time to take another look and start planning where we will set up, say our vows, and take pictures.

When we arrived the weather had gotten cold again and we realized the flowers hadn’t been planted yet, but the grass was so lush and green that it made it easy to envision the beauty we’ll be surrounded by when we say our vows. Seeing it again I know we made the right choice…as long as the weather cooperates.

Another wedding related decision we’ve been struggling with is what to do about our last names. We both have always wanted to share a last name with a spouse but as the day is getting closer when one of us will have to change we both suddenly like our own last name more. The desire for a shared name hasn’t diminished, only our individual willingness to take the other’s but I think we might have found a solution. Two last names!

This way we can both live socially and professionally under whatever name we choose but we feel more like a family by legally sharing a name. I’m actually super excited about it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we finally got around to celebrating my birthday with all our friends almost a month after the fact! It’s been so hard to coordinate and to get our schedules to match up but of course we vowed to try harder going forward.

We chose a Chinese hot pot place to try and ended up having a wonderful and lively time. Our small circle of friends has grown a bit from three couples to four so whenever we are out we take up significant space, and we’re loud. We get stares and the wait staff gets impatient but we don’t care. We’re having fun!

I’m hoping for another dinner in a few weeks when pride seasons comes around. My fiance and I are not the only queers in the group and the straights are always willing to come into our spaces too. They’re all good people and it’s nice to have such a supportive crew that understands and accepts totally who you are and where you are in life.

If we were having coffee, I would take a moment to wish all the mothers out there a happy Mother’s Day.

I won’t be spending today with my mother since she has to work, but I’ll be with my future mother in law, whom I’ve known so long that she already feels like a mother anyway. I’ll be thinking of the other important mothers in my life too. My grandmother, my godmother, my sister who has two children already, and another sister who is expecting, my sister in law, and many of my friends too. I thank them all and wish them the best of luck.

I don’t have children myself but I know it’s not an easy job and with every new generation, I’m convinced it gets harder. The world is a different place than it used to be and raising a kid is a whole different thing than it used to be, I know. Mother’s are humans and today they aren’t celebrated for being perfect, but for growing, learning, trying their best. All mother’s make mistakes and all mothers make us who we are. We love them for it no matter what.

I always like to take a moment too to acknowledge those for whom mother’s day isn’t the happiest time. Not everyone has a great relationship with their mother and not all mothers came to motherhood under celebratory or supportive circumstances. Parenthood, in general, is a kind of passing on of the past and there are many who pass on pain. For those who had mothers like that, I see you and I have you in mind today too.

nayyirah waheed, salt 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while the day is still young and as I am loving our chat, I do have to get going. There’s a lot more house to clean and writing to do before I’m off to spend the day with the future wife and her mom.

I hope that you had a good week and that wherever you are rain and tragedy feel quite far away. I hope you accomplished something, made even one small step, or at least failed to fall behind. I hope it feels like summer both outside and in.

Until next time. 

Whipped Cream // Ari Lennox

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

Photo by Pradeep Javedar on Unsplash

131 // So Much Pressure

The fitting went wonderfully. The place wasn’t especially welcoming but it was professional and sometimes that, for me anyway, is much more comfortable. She pinned everything in all over and even said the suit was cute. She said it will be a lot of work but it will be done and soon.

We’ve just gotten home from dinner with friends and I’m doing that thing again where I overanalyzing every single word I said and action I took and coming to the same conclusion again and again. I am an idiot. I am an embarrassment. They are laughing at me, talking about me, they all actually hate me.

I know deep down none of that is true. I know my friends like being around me and that any social gaffs of blunders I’m guilty of are not only understandable but completely normal! I know no one will remember that weird response or me dropping my fork. I know no one cares if I laugh too loud or make a dumb joke. I know it’s all okay.

So, why do I put so much pressure on myself? Why do I punish myself this way?

These entries are inspired by Thord D. Hedengren