Today is the last day of temperatures over 70 degrees for a while, they say. I can see a severe dip in temperature and snow in the extended forecast. I had hoped we could plan a hiking trip next week, but the trails will probably be muddy for a while after that. Oh well, there is plenty of time and the days are only going to go on growing warmer now.

The words weren’t flowing so well today so I gave myself permission to skip the writing so long as I promise to give it my best again come morning. I’m reading instead and have already finished On the Beach at Night Alone by Walt Whitman and am now sitting half-way through A Cup Of Sake Beneath The Cherry Trees by Yoshida Kenkō. With nothing else to do today, I think I’ll go ahead and finish it, then start on Borne by Jeff VanderMeer.

Some days all this time is welcome, some days it’s more than I can bear. Looking forward is anxiety inducing and imagining the sheer number of days to come that are filled with nothing paralyzes me. I have to take them one at a time. Time has to become irrelevant for now. There is just right now and what I have and the little I can do with it. It has to be okay. It has to be enough.


The warm and sunny Spring weather continues. The morning birds chirping have returned and branches everywhere are budding and with it all brings small moments when I can forget, when I can pretend it is only Sunday rather than whatever day it is and that I am choosing to stay in to relax to forget about work rather than being forced.

Our plan was to grocery shop today, but there are warnings circulating about the coming weeks being the most important for social distancing. We are considering putting it off as long as possible. Near the end of the week we’ll head out to buy provisions for an at home birthday celebration. I’ve settled on steamed crab legs, artichokes, and cheesy risotto, cheesecake and a bottle of pinot grigio, if at all possible.

I’m back at the WordPress Discover prompts. I could not complete yesterday’s post but it is saved in my Google docs and I will keep chipping away at it until I get it done. I’m going to treat every day like that. I’ll do my best and write as much as I can. If I can finish something I will post it, whether I think it’s good or not. If I cannot finish it, I will keep at it until I do. My goal is all posts will still have been published by April 30th. I’m working out what a project in May might look like.

If We Were Having Coffee // The Best We Can Do Is Nothing

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

It’s getting easier to wake up early again it the mornings, though my will power is still unreliable and my energy levels are unpredictable. I’m not sure if it’s my body or my mind that is the problem, which I suppose is just me trying to figure out whether the failing is my fault or not. I’m leaning toward not, but it’s still frustrating not only to be stuck inside but to be so lethargic too.

I managed to get up early today, but I only moved to the couch and laid down and then back to the bed to sleep again. There are actual things I have to do today, so I had to force myself up after a while. I reminded myself that not all is bad and that the day is not lost. The sun is out, and the weather promises warmth and the smell of nature coming back to life all around.

Here, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’m throwing the curtains wide and opening all the windows. I have a fresh batch of blond roast brewed from the French press and silky smooth vanilla oat milk to add a touch of sweet flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“There is nothing like being left alone again, to walk peacefully with oneself in the woods. To boil one’s coffee and fill one’s pipe, and to think idly and slowly as one does it.”

― Knut Hamsum

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week like many before has been a hard one. Many of us are on lock down, stuck indoors and doing our best to stay well and sane.

I’ve hardly left the house at all these past weeks and though I’m coping the very best I can, but each day is an emotional roller coaster. One day I will be just fine bearing the bad news and the uncertainty admirably, and other days I feel like I am suffocating under my fear and anxiety. The bad days are growing more frequent as the news grows more dire, the warnings more insistent, and the long-term trajectory pushed further and further out.

This week it was announced that school districts all over the city will complete the remainder of the year remotely. For the people like me who work in transportation or other departments deemed nonessential to classroom to classroom learning that means an “extended stay-cation” as my boss put it in the email. The district has promised to pay all employees until the end of the school year, but there is some debate about when that is.

I know I’m still one of the lucky ones and at the very least I have months to go before I really need to worry, but I am planning ahead now. Luckily with the lock down comes reduced spending.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that another big change came this week when the CDC and the Governor announced recommendations that everyone who ventures out to grocery stores or anywhere that social distancing becomes difficult should wear a cloth mask or covering over their nose and mouth. Yesterday we had to run to the home improvement store and today I picked up some provisions for my mom to celebrate her birthday on her own.

Both times we wore our homemade masks and both times I noticed increased anxiety while it was on. I thought I would feel better with it on, more protected and I guess but it was very much the opposite. I felt even more in danger. I couldn’t breathe and I wanted to be out of the house even less than I already had to be. We’re thinking of postponing our grocery trip for the week as long as possible as coronavirus cases are expected to peak.

We don’t have a lot of food, but we can last a little while. My hope is that later in the week we can order essentials for delivery or pickup to reduce our exposure inside of the store.

The more I think about our circumstances, the state of the world, and everything that has changed in just the last month, I feel a sort of mental vertigo. I just can’t comprehend it. Mentally, I can only manage a very shallow examination of the present situation. Any more than that and I run up against disbelief, grief, and fear. I keep thinking how fragile everything turned out to be and how close to absolute ruin we all really are.

I want to believe it won’t come to that. I want to believe we’re all in this together and that no matter what there will be people to help my wife and I should we need it. I’m also working out how we can do the same for others while we are okay, but I think right now the best thing we can do is nothing.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I miss my family and friends very much. I did not think it would be so hard when everyone is just a phone call or social media post away, but these digital half measures don’t feel anywhere near the same.

I miss going to work where, even though there was so much stress, there was also so much laughter. My friends were there and when I was sad or needed anything, they knew just how to pull me out. I’m lucky that I am not completely alone, but people need friends as much as they do their spouses. Life is good here, but we both need more.

It isn’t just that either. April is a special month for me and as hard as I am working to accept it the truth is still hard to swallow. I will be spending my birthday here alone. I still have my wife and we’ll still make it special together, but I can’t help feeling a little bummed about it.

And it isn’t just me either. My mother’s birthday is next week, and she will be celebrating alone too. I did find some way to celebrate her though. Today we picked up some food from a local brunch place that included a “mimosa kit”. We got her a cake and some flowers and a small gift. I quickly dropped it all off and left. I still have to limit contact and keep her safe. There is no way of knowing who the asymptomatic carriers are now.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in the meantime I’m just trying to keep my mind busy and find a way to pass the days.

These last few days, and for the rest of April, I’m participating in the WordPress Daily Discover Prompts Challenge. So far I have been able to write and post something every day, though with the errands and this chat I’m not sure I will make it today. I’m giving myself permission and forgiveness to miss a day if I have to. I don’t want to stress myself over something that is meant to be a stress reliever, and I don’t want to ruin the fun either.

And it has been fun, or exciting anyway. It’s amazing how easily I was able to get back into my groove and find the ideas even if I couldn’t find the time to write them exactly as I wanted or the best I know I could if I had more than a day. But that’s okay too because I have realized something quite freeing and comforting about writing recently, you can write about the same thing more than once. I can take theses ideas and these half-cocked attempts and try again and again until I get it right.

So, this is more than just 30 days of blog posts, it’s 30 days of ideas and inspiration I am pulling out of myself, the hardest skill in writing to cultivate by far.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that even in the midst of a global pandemic Sundays never seem to lose that old Sunday feel. There is still so much to do, even when there is nothing at all to do. Sundays around here are almost exclusively for cleaning. We’ve been out a few times, and it’s important to disinfect plus with so much time at home the clutter and mess seem to grow at twice the rate and if you let the mess grow to large, it can consume you. Cleaning is the most immediate cure for most woes, you know?

I hope you had a good week, but I know the reality is most of you probably didn’t. I hope you are at least well, that have been able to stay home, that you have been paid and if you haven’t, I dearly hope you can file for unemployment or that governments at all levels all over the world find a way to support you, their people.

Until next time.

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

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash


As stressful and distressing as it to stay indoors, it is so much harder to leave the house and go anywhere. Wearing a mask is especially upsetting and my wife and i have decided that when we travel together one of us will stay in the car and we’ll alternate. This way we minimize exposure and neither of us has to feel so oppressed or suffocated inside the masks the whole time.

The juxtaposition of the inner distress against the gorgeous weather and the signs of spring all around is jarring. Normally I am rejoicing this time of you, my joy building by the day to peak midsummer, but I’m reluctant to allow these good feelings to take hols inside of me. I cannot begin to awaken to the season. There is so little to love, so little to feel good about now.

It’s hard to know whether whatever you feel is reasonable or if you have sunk to such depths of despair that everything is seen through a depressing light and exaggerated. You begin to wonder in this seclusion, “Is this who I am without anyone else?”. I’m beginning to take the lack of phone calls and text personally and marking my reluctance to send any in turn as a personal failure of character and heart.

And things keep getting worse too. Now the summer events are being cancelled too. Visits I was so looking forward too are off the table. How can I plan anything when I don’t even know if I will be paid? At least no one is disagreeing with me and there is no accompanying weight of guit to carry. This is no ones fault and we all have to make the hard choice.


I had to get out of the house today. A piece of our back deck has been falling off, and we needed some rope and a new ladder to fix it, so off to Home Depot we went.

Yesterday the governor recommend that all citizens, when venturing out and entering places where social distancing is difficult, should wear a cloth covering or mask over their nose and mouth. My wife made some no-sew masks out of old shirts and hair ties last night and though I felt very reluctant and uncomfortable wearing them I sucked up my apprehension and anxiety and did what I needed to do to protect others.

For me, the mask didn’t make me feel any less anxious or protected. I felt more afraid and uncertain. I felt further convinced that the world was falling apart around me. It made the danger more real and more threatening than ever. It made me not want to leave the house ever again. We got in the store, got what we needed, and as much as I wanted to browse around, that mask was fogging up my glasses and making it hard for me to breathe so I paid and got back home as fast as I could.

As nerve-wracking as the trip was, the sun and fresh air still did me good. The warm weather has returned, and the neighborhood was alive again. It felt good to hear them all working in their yards. I could hear the dogs barking and the kids playing outside and for a while it sounded like a typical Saturday, like nothing at all was wrong in the whole world. It felt so good my wife refused to let me turn on the news tonight. Let’s let this peace last a little longer yet.


The announcement I have been waiting on has finally been sent out. The rest of the school year will be conducted remotely. It’s unclear what that means for those like me who work in transportation beyond the fact that are not going to be returning before at least the end of May. Summer school is up in the air along with just about everything other aspect of society and life. I’m going increasingly worried about what our finances will look like and how I will cope with possibly two more months quarantined indoors.

I’m also thinking about what I could do with this time too. After I finish this blogging challenge and I’m looking at all the blank days of May with the practice and confidence of April under my belt, maybe then would be a good time to start something new. A chapbook or a zine, perhaps? I’ve always wanted to self publish a little book of essays or poems. A whole month of free time might just be enough to do it. Even that possibility is too far away to be real. Let me get through these next few weeks. Let us all get through the next few weeks, and then what is possible will be much clearer.


When I woke this morning, it was already drizzling, and the temperature was low enough to freeze the rain to every surface it touched. I warned my wife, but she insisted on taking the dog on her regular walk, anyway. I admire her willpower, but I will be spending all my time indoors where it is warm and safe today.

Writing did not come as easily this morning, and I am ashamed to say that I almost gave up on the second day of the challenge. My mood is low. Partly it’s the weather and partly it’s everything else. I keep trying to tell myself there is nothing to be stressed out about or afraid of but every once in a while it hits me just how uncertain and dire a position the world is in. Everything is falling apart and no matter how reassuring the politicians try to be they have no idea what they are doing and this a could go on falling apart for a very long time. The world has changed too fast to cope with and I imagine every single one of us is in need of a few therapy sessions at least.

But I can’t do anything about any of that, all I could do was wrote these stupid words. Instead of giving up on my Discover Challenge prompt I reminded myself that “it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to exist” and I kept on going. Part of learning how to write better is writing all the ugly and incompetent pieces first. By the end of this, if I can keep it up day after day throughout April, I have a feeling not only will I have, hopefully, improved but, hopefully, the inspiration and the words that follow will come easier and easier and bigger more ambitious projects can become possible.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Take it one day at a time. Wake up early and give yourself time to think. Make coffee, drink water, eat a little breakfast. Sit near a window, open a blank document, and do the work.