If We Were Having Coffee // Moving Too Fast

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

This Sunday hasn’t turned out at all like I thought it would. I thought I’d spend it out of the house. I thought we’d be chatting a lot earlier, and I thought I’d be feeling a lot more stressed out, but I woke up to late to write, then my plans all got cancelled, and I was able to clean, meal prep, and take a nap at my own slow pace. I thought maybe we wouldn’t get to chat at all. I thought maybe I didn’t have the time or the energy but I want to try. I know in the end a little coffee and conversation always helps.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I had hoped the sun would stay out for a little longer but the clouds came in quickly signalling that snow is moving in for the night. I’ve already seen a few flakes blowing in the window. Oh well, spring is on the way. I know because I’ve been craving cold brew coffee again but winter is still here so it’ll be a hot brew instead straight from the French press. Let’s talk about last week.

A little coffee. A little sunlight. Your troubles will get smaller.

― Richard Webber

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was as stressful as always but this time I’m not complaining. I felt better, more energetic, and enthusiastic about my work. I felt not just willing to work but happy that there was work to do and that I had a body capable of getting it done.

Another new class of employees started and this past week they began their training with us to learn how to work with Special Needs students. This class’s is going well but there have been some bumps and frustrations along the way. Unfortunately, being as low on the totem pole as I am I’m at the mercy of nearly everyone else’s wants and opinions about how things should go. I have had to adjust and bend to nearly breaking to accommodate the changes and the class’s schedule has had to be pushed, and pushed, and pushed back and I suspect will have to be pushed some more before the end of next week too.

It’s all right though. I’ve found my happy place and maintained a sense of Zen and calm throughout it all. I can only do my best and anyway, I am paid by the hour. The more they push the better for me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had my second infusion appointment for the new medication I have been on and I am happy to report that I am still feeling good and there have been so side effects or adverse reactions beyond more fatigue.

There was a bit of bad news after a phone visit with my doctor a few days later when I mentioned that though I was feeling good I could tell it wasn’t 100% yet. She worries I could very easily slip back into a severe flare and to help keep that from happening she has put me back on steroids. The only silver lining is that it isn’t the hard stuff. This time I’m put on something a little milder with less side effects and more suited to long-term use.

I’m halfway through my loading doses now and very soon I’ll only be visiting the infusion center every other month. I’m also coming off another medication and hoping to come off of a third shortly after. This all has me feeling very optimistic but as that optimism grows the dark doubt underneath it compound. Every medication so far has failed and the flares always comes roaring back worse, and worse, and worse than before. I can’t stop wondering when, not if, the next bout of pain will come.

Still, I know even if that pain comes it will be okay one way or another. This week I met someone else with ulcerative colitis in real life for the first time. He’s much older than me and has had the surgery I believe I am on my way toward and he looks healthy and happy. I asked him my questions, which he answered readily, and at the end of our conversation he offered me one piece of advice: not to try so hard to be strong, to recognize when I am losing the fight, and to ask for help often. These words were just what I needed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend was a rather quiet one. Friday night my wife and I went out for a little impulse shopping. The weather was nice, for the end of February and the sun has been setting late enough that we can begin to venture out past our regular routines and enjoy more in the evening than just T.V. and sleep.

I spent most of Saturday on the couch. I took my meals there, and in between I took a couple of naps. I’m not entirely sure whether I needed it. I can’t tell if the fatigue was mental or physical but I know something kept me from making the most of my day off and I’m profoundly disappointed over it. Sure, it felt really good to do nothing at all for a day but I have a feeling it would have felt much better to accomplish something, anything, instead.

I managed to rouse myself from the funk by the time evening fell. We had plans with a group of friends to celebrate a few birthdays. We made our way downtown for dinner and drinks and then afterward we put our thinking caps on and worked as a team to beat the clock by finding clues and solving puzzles at a local zombie themed escape room.

We did our best, but we weren’t able to find the door code before the clock wound down. Half of us had never been in an escape room (including me) and we did choose the hardest room. Maybe we were a little overconfident, and it sucks that we lost but we still had a really good time.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I can hardly believe it’s a new month already. February is a short month, sure, but the whole year seems to be flying by too. The whole world has been moving too fast for me lately.

Part of it is the long hours I’ve been working, the chaotic schedule and the rapidly shifting role I’m playing at work and the end of the school year fast approaching, but part of it is everything else too. It’s social media, it’s the news cycle, it the election, the corona virus, the stock markets crashing, the economy on the verge. It’s all the anxiety and anger on the internet and the airways.

I’m trying to slow down, to unplug and decompress. I’m trying to take care of myself, to keep a level head, to be rational, and to stay calm but perspective is hard to come by and I the world is wearing me down. I’m afraid of the new normal and for the next worse thing that seems to come around the corner every day. I think I need some time away. A vacation is becoming less and less something I want and more and more something I’m in desperate need of.

I don’t know how we can all keep up this pace. I don’t know how the world can continue like this before something gives and that big bad thing we can all feel coming finally arrives. OR maybe nothing is coming, and it’s only this state of being so aware and informed that is driving me, and everyone else too, a little crazy. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get away for a while, all at once?

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sky has long gone from dusk to dark and dinner time is giving way to dessert. It’s time for me to do the work of enjoying the last of my weekend and readying myself the start of the work week.

I hope you had a good week. I hope February was good to you. I hope you enjoyed your leap day. I hope wherever you are the world isn’t moving too fast for you and if it is I hope you know that you can step off the ride whenever you like for a little perspective and a little peace.

Until next time.

Unwind // healy

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

Photo by Izzy Rivi on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Bubbling Below the Surface

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

It’s another late start here this morning. It’s been late starts for over a week now despite the restful nights I’ve been having. It seems there is a new kind of exhaustion plaguing me. The weather isn’t helping either. Snow is falling in big, slow flakes this morning and is forecast to continue throughout the day. It’s going to be an indoor day which is just fine. I have plenty of chores and projects around the house and a few writing and reading things I want to do too.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’ve got the usual: blond roast grounds steeped to maximum strength in the French press with frothy vanilla oat milk (or soy if you prefer) to pour over top. Let’s talk about last week.

“Coffee doesn’t lie. It can’t.”

― Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was short, stressful, and, somehow, surprisingly fun.

We were all off on Monday for President’s Day. I am coming more and more to understand the four-day workweek movement. Three days off from work seems to be the perfect amount with one day to get out and have fun or see friends and family, one day to run errands or complete a house project, and a third day to either devote to personal pursuits and passions or to do nothing at all if you need.

I spent a day with my wife and her family, a day doing nothing but reading, and a day cleaning and getting ready for the week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the holiday meant the work week started on Tuesday, but not really. Our district always has the day after President’s day off too but some of us are given the option to come in and start projects or catch up with projects that have slipped through the cracks. I spent it completing my Heartsaver Instructor Essentials Online course and cleaning up equipment and paperwork that had started piling up. It wasn’t the quiet day I had hoped for but it was a nicer way to start the week.

Wednesday was the real start and rather than feeling disappointed or dragging my feet at having to return at all my coworkers and I found ourselves joyful and quick to laughter instead. It was the most fun workday I’ve had in a long time and just what I think all of us needed. Sadly, it didn’t last, and Thursday and Friday lacked the same vitality and vibrancy.

A lot of it came from our employee shortage and differences and unfairness across teams coming to a head. We’re all feeling burned out, defensive, and angry. The slightest inconveniences, misunderstandings, or criticisms feel like the last straw and no words or advice or comfort are helping. These problems have been bubbling below the surface for so long that there is no longer hope for change or willingness to resolve. Egos and stubbornness are running rampant and though I’ve managed to keep my head the negativity and hopelessness are draining me.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this weekend I was able to get out and forget about all of that gloom and cynicism. Friday night I hung out with my wife at home gorging ourselves on mediocre pizza and catching up on all the dumb shows we missed during the week. It was a calm and comforting end to the chaos.

Saturday we had plans to head south to Colorado Springs for a family event but there were issues with timing and coordination and we weren’t able to make it. Not wanting to waste the gorgeous weather (or the time spent getting ready) and knowing there was another snowstorm rolling over the mountains and heading right for us we decided to blow off all the things we should do and go impulse shopping together.

I ended up with a “houseplant toolset”, a beautiful young split-leaf philodendron, and a new book, Borne by Jeff VanderMeer. There was plenty of window shopping too, a trip to Starbucks, and a stop at our favorite burger place before heading home to get cozy and watch The Lighthouse, a back and white horror film from my favorite studio following two lighthouse keepers losing their minds on a remote island in the 1890s. It’s not for everyone but I still highly recommend it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that health-wise I’m feeling somewhat better.

The cold I had been fighting is nearly gone but I have lingering congestion that is driving me crazy. I’m not entirely sure that the cold is to blame though. I’m leaning more toward early allergies or a side effect of the new medication I started the Tuesday before last.

This coming week I’ll have my second infusion appointment and a few days later a scheduled phone visit with my doctor. I have very little to tell her which is the same as good news I suppose. I’ve had a watchful eye out for side effects or returning symptoms and so far all I’ve had this runny nose. It’s frustrating but I’m not complaining too much. I would take a little runny nose over the severe sinus and throat pain I felt just over a week ago or the ulcerative colitis flare I was fighting a month ago. Compared to all that I’m feeling right as rain again.

Searching my support groups I’ve found others who suffered cold-like symptoms after starting the same medication and they’ve given me hope that within a few doses (which is actually a time period of months) the side effects should clear up. 

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s getting late. The snow has stopped, and the sun has long gone down below the horizon. The house is clean, I’ve eaten dinner, and now it’s time for dessert and the latest episode of The Outsider. It’s time shut my mind down and let myself forget about the rest of the world for just a little while longer before the work-week begins.

I hope you had a good week. I hope that you are feeling well. I hope you remember to wash your hands frequently and that you know to take a little zinc at the first sign of a cold. I hope that you’ve noticed the sun rising earlier in the mornings and setting later and later every evening and that gives you hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that spring is on her way.

Until next time.

C’est tout // Clay and Friends

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

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Hopeless and Enduring Romantic

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

I hope you don’t mind another late-night coffee chat. Most Sundays I’m up before first light but a late night last night meant a late start this morning and as a result a late day all around. Not only that, but it’s family day again—at my in-laws this time—and leaves very little time to spend on chores, to-do lists, or slowly sipping coffee all day, but it’s okay.

The weather is gorgeous and to be honest I’d rather get out of the house, see the sun, and spend some time with people I love than worrying about the workweek, or cleaning, or even writing or reading. And anyway this weekend is a long one so there is no need to rush any of it. I may not have been able to give you the day but we have all night and plenty of caffeine.

So, please, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’ve got a light blond roast steeping in the French press and a bit of cold frothed sweet vanilla oat milk to pour over top. Let’s talk about last week.

“For more than three decades, coffee has captured my imagination because it is a beverage about individuals as well as community.”

― Howard Schultz, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was a hard one to get through but it wasn’t work that made it so hard for a change.

More than a week ago I felt myself coming down with a nasty cold. I had a sore, raw, and dry feeling in my throat and even worse fatigue than usual. I did my best to rest and drink plenty of fluid throughout last Saturday and Sunday but by Monday I could barely get out of bed.

I had an infusion appointment for my new medication Tuesday morning and I worried that if I wasn’t feeling better by then I would have to postpone. There’s a waiting list for this medication so I opted to take Monday off from work and spend the day sleeping on the couch, drinking plenty wof fluids, and taking all my medications and supplements. By the evening I really was feeling better and my appointment the next morning went ahead as scheduled without issues.

But Wednesday morning I woke up feeling like I’d been run over by a truck and I only got worse, and worse, and worse. The sore throat turned into a cough and the worse sinus pain I have ever had in my life. I ended up with headaches, congestion, swelling around the eyes, jaw pain, and muscle soreness. My whole body hurt!

I’m not sure if it was the cold getting worse or side effects from the infusion or, more likely, some combination of the two but I’m really hoping it won’t be like this every time. My next appointment is less than a week away so we’ll find out then.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though I was still miserable by Friday, I did my best to keep my spirits high to celebrate Valentine’s Day with my wife.

We’ve been together for too long now to make a very big deal out of the day. There are no flowers or chocolates, teddy bears or little boxes of jewelry. No, not since our early years have we felt the need to make material gestures out of our love. Nowadays we make reservations some place nice and enjoy a few drinks and a nice meal together.

This year my wife broke the rules a little and ordered a nice lunch to be delivered to my workplace but she swears it was because I was sick not because it was Valentine’s Day and therefore not a violation of our tradition or agreement. I’m skeptical but because it was so sweet I’ll allow it this year.

For dinner, we tried a new Peruvian place that opened up around the corner. My wife has been wanted to go there, but the menu intimidated me and I’ve been stalling for a while but Valentine’s Day felt like a good time to put on my big girl pants and try something new. I’m glad we did too because the place was amazing. The food and drinks were delicious. The atmosphere was intimate and cozy. The service was superb, and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.

I know most long-term couples don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I know most people consider it a commercial holiday meant for young or new love but I see it as something bigger than that. It’s a day to celebrate love—all kinds of love!—and though we do (or should) celebrate our partners and our relationships every day it still feels good to spend one day a year celebrating it all together.

I love the cheap gifts and the grand gestures. I love the corny cards, the packed restaurants, and the sappy way we all look and talk about each other. I being in love and being around love, but that’s just me, an admitted, unashamed, hopeless and enduring romantic.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that taking two days off of work didn’t make the week feel any shorter. With the snow day last Friday that made five days away from work and meant there was a lot to catch up on.

The new class of employees is just about through my portion of the training and I’m already looking ahead to the next one. I had been told they would start this coming week, but it looks like I’ll get a chance to catch up on other duties I’ve had to put to the side these last few months. Maybe I’ll get back to riding routes for a while too. I have been missing the kids. And maybe I’ll remember to make some time for myself and get back to long lunch breaks to read, write, and take walks in.

Oh, speaking of reading, I have made significant and surprising progress through my current read, It by Stephen King. The book is over 1,100 pages long and I do not want it to cause me to fall behind in my reading goals so I’m devoting an hour at least every night to the tome. I’ve just about made it to page 300 and so far I like it but damn is it bloated. Luckily King’s prose swings between delightful and suspenseful so though I think this story could have probably been told in half the time he holds my interest nonetheless.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s very late now and if I have any more coffee, I won’t sleep at all tonight. Staying up sounded nice at the start but this cold is still hanging on and I need all the rest I can get if I hope to return to the world by Tuesday.

I hope you had a good week. I hope wherever you are the sun has been out, and the snow has melted. I hope you are feeling well and if you aren’t I hope you get well soon. I hope that you had someone to love and be loved by on Valentine’s Day and if you felt alone, I would remind you that there are so many kinds of love in the world, love between friends, love between siblings, parent’s and children, and love of the self, and all deserve to be celebrated too.

Until next time.

Wood v2 // Felly

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

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Just Like the Last, the One Before, and the Next

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 starting my preparations for the day, and for the rest of the week. Today is “family day”. That means I won’t have much time during the afternoon to do my usual Sunday things so I’m shifting everything either earlier to this morning or putting it off until later this evening. So, half the laundry is done and half the house cleaning too. Half the errands are run and half the reading, writing, and resting I’d planned is past too.

Now, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. The temperature outside has plummeted since yesterday and snow is forecasted to fall through the morning. I’ve got blond roast ground steeping in the French press and creamy vanilla oat milk to temper and smooth it out. Let’s talk about last week.

“Life isn’t sugarcoated. Why should coffee be?”

― Tommy Wallach, Thanks for the Trouble

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was as physically draining as the last but not as bad as I worried it would be. The new class of employees started but there were less of them than we expected and we even lost a couple along the way. I’m down to just 7 now, a very manageable number and being given plenty of time to work with them for as long as I need to get them through. That takes a lot of pressure off of my mind and allows me not only to focus solely on doing the best job I can but to enjoy what I do too.

By far the worst part of the week wasn’t work, or people, or any other of life’s little everyday stresses. Instead, it was the weather that got me down. After weeks of mild and dry weather in January I got my hopes up that the weather in February would only get more and more spring like but reality has hit and hit hard. Last week alone we saw more days of snowfall than not. On Tuesday most school districts, including the one I work for went on a “delayed schedule” and on Friday we shut down entirely for a snow day.

It was nice to have the day off but I couldn’t help worrying too about how the schedule I’d put together was now in shambles. Every thing will have to be moved up a day at least and with a new class starting just after this one I’m worried about overlap. There is only so much I can juggle and still be expected to do my job well.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though I was not a fan of the snow, I welcomed the extra day off from work. I spent much of it on the couch resting since I felt the beginnings of another throat infection coming on.

I’ve had a sore throat off and on for a week or two now but Friday morning I woke up and I knew it was full-blown. I’m having trouble swallowing and everything feels very raw and dry. I’m worried about losing my voice which seems to be the natural course of this particular strain of nastiness according if I’m judging by the coworkers who caught it before me.

So, I spent all of Saturday on the couch drinking cups of hot lemon water and honey some with whiskey added, some without. The soreness gets so bad that even breathing can feel like sandpaper against the back of my throat. Cough drops help but my stomach doesn’t like them. It’d be easier to limit myself if the ones my wife brought home didn’t taste like candy.

By Sunday I was feeling better, or I was faking it if I wasn’t. We’ve been holding onto tickets to a Colorado Ballet performance of Peter Pan for months now and I wasn’t going to let a little throat infection get in the way. We woke up early to get ready and went downtown to our favorite brunch place for live jazz and whole bottle mimosas. After brunch we walked over for the show. It was the last day of the season but there were a surprising amount of people, and children, there.

The show was wonderful. One of the best I’ve seen before so far, topped only by their Dracula and perhaps The Wizard of Oz performances from last season.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that though I had a hard work week, I did manage to make a lot of time for reading. I finished both Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez and Traffic by John Ruskin.

Love in the Time of Cholera was just okay. I loved the writing but hated almost all of the characters, just as I did with One Hundred Years of Solitude. I’m also not fond of the way Márquez includes abuse of women and children throughout his stories that don’t seem to at least further the plot or add to the story. It’s painful to read even through his brilliant and beautiful prose and I will say that knowing what I know now of the story and the ending I probably never would have picked it up. I’m working on a proper review with all the details now.

Traffic was much better but I can see that if someone wasn’t in the right mood or sympathetic to certain liberal ideas, this little book might bore them to tears. I, a stanch bleeding heart liberal, just happened to be in the right mood for a couple of essays on the evils of the wealth and greed.

Of course it wasn’t much a writing week, but it was better than the week before. I’m catching up on my journal excerpts and posts here and working on staying ahead of my regular posting schedule. Obviously I need to work out a new way of writing around my work schedule. These long hours won’t be ending anytime soon and I can’t keep counting on “next week, next week…”. I’m going to have to do more than make time. I’m going to have to demand it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this coming week is going to be just like the last, and the week before, and the next one to come. I have this class through the rest of this week and another class starting just on the heels of it next week too. The work is hard but it’s rewarding and my pay check has never looked better so I’m okay for now.

I will have a short break. Tuesday is my first appointment at the infusion center for my new medication. I’m very nervous about it. I’m more than nervous. I’m a little scared too. My wife will be there with me though to make sure I’m safe and supported. I’m sure I will be fine but since I don’t know that for sure I took the whole day off of work to rest afterward.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun has gone down and my sore throat has turned into a persistent cough. If I want to have any hope of making it in to work tomorrow, I should get to bed soon. As it is, I’ll be on the couch—I want to give my wife a chance at a good night’s sleep too—which is always an uncomfortable place to sleep, but a dose of nighttime medicine should get me through.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you are well, that you’ve been able to dodge the flu, strep, and all kinds of upper respiratory and ear infections. I hope you are warm. I hope the snow isn’t piling up too high and that somewhere in your bones you can still feel the eventual approach of spring.

Until next time.

New House // Toror y Moi

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

Photo by Jannis Brandt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Preparing Myself Emotionally

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

I wasn’t able to start the day as early as I’d hoped but I was able to start it with energy and enthusiasm and for that I’m grateful. I had hoped to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring-like weather forecasted for us but I’ve been warring with a headache for days now and my attempt to move a load of tile on my own has resulted in a sore back so I’m staying in. I’ll have to settle for what warm breezes and sunshine I can get through the open windows.

But, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I’ve got the blond roast grounds already steeping in the French press and sweet vanilla oat milk already frothed and waiting. Let’s talk about last week.

“Most important conversations for humans, concerns those they are having with God, their loved ones, with themselves and with coffee.”

― Mladen Đorđević, Svetioničar – Pritajeno zlo

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was physically and emotionally exhausting though I can’t put my finger on exactly what exhausted me.

I struggled with irritability and my social skills seemed non-existent. I was either too short and snippy with people or I joked too much and took pranks too far. I just couldn’t read anyone or any room. Other people were certainly my hell this week, so much so I needed to take a day to be alone. On Tuesday I stayed home from work and spent the day resting and recalibrating and on my return to society Wednesday I found myself improved though still imperfect.

I’m chalking it up to simple burn out and to the bad news that the break I thought I would be getting from my hectic work schedule was not to come after all.

I’d hoped for at least a week of fewer work hours and responsibilities and time and mental space to return to writing for at least a few weeks but yet another big class of new employees is start this Tuesday which means I spent the remainder of last week getting paperwork ready and calming my anxiety.

No matter how many classes I teach it never gets easier. Every time I have to overcome myself in order to get up in front of them and not only impart unto them the laws, policies, and procedures they must keep in mind when transporting students but to share with them all of my personal stories of connection and heartbreak I have experienced in my time of working with children. It’s not a prestigious job, and it isn’t a difficult one to learn, but in all teaching one must make themselves vulnerable and that isn’t easy for me to do week after week.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I spent the weekend hold up in the house again.

Friday night my wife and I took each other out on a date. After such a hard week among other people I decided once and for all that she is the only person in the world that I even like, let alone love, and I needed desperately to spend time with her.

We went out for dinner and a movie, our favorite date night routine ever since we met more than 17 years ago. We saw Parasite which wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be but is as good a film as all the critics are saying it is. Like Jojo Rabbit last week, we should have seen it months ago.

I had hoped to spend Saturday downtown but my wife was on call for work and the idea of touring the art museum with her work radio going off all day sounded too cringy to attempt. I stayed home to clean and to take care of the plants and myself. It was a nice lazy day and exactly what I needed.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that health-wise I’ve been feeling really good. My ulcerative colitis flare up is nearly 100% under control and I’ve got just one short week and a half left of tapering off of these awful steroids and I start my new medications.

I’ll be moving to a less intense steroid that works only in the gut so that my body won’t go on being devastated by what I have heard other IBD suffered refer to as the “devil’s tic-tac”. This side-effects from this last round came on much more swiftly than in previous years and the withdrawal from tapering off was harder too. I won’t get into specifics but I will say that my body has changed so much that I’m having a hard time connecting to it, loving it, and considering it part of me right now. I just hope the effects reverse quickly so I can start feeling whole again soon.

The Tuesday after this I head to the infusion center for my first dose of Enyvio, a more gut specific medication I hope will help me achieve and maintain true remission. My doctor has warned me that this medication is slow acting and that I may be dealing with a roller coaster of increasing and decreasing symptoms for the next 3-6 months!

I’m doing my best to prepare emotionally for this too, for the infusion itself and the possibility of side effects, for the long term wait and see, and for the possibility that after all of this, Entyvio my just fail me like the last two or three medications have too and we will be right back at square one, only worse, working out what to try next.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you last week was at least a good week for reading.

As of this writing, I’m sitting less than 100 pages from the end of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I really like this book but I’m really struggling to finish it. I had thought I didn’t like it as much as I did his other famous tome One Hundred Years of Solitude but it’s slowly coming back to me that there were whole weeks when I put it down because despite Márquez’s beautiful and moving prose most of the book almost seems plotless. Plus, there are more characters than I can keep track of and we move between years and incidents in their lives without warning and so quickly it becomes hard to orient yourself in the story.

Still, it’s lovely, and I know that regardless of my difficulties (and countless misgivings about the treatment of women, children, and the concepts of trauma and abuse) I’m just as in love with it as I was by the end of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

I’m also halfway through Aphorisms on Love and Hate by Friedrich Nietzsche. I’m no expert on his philosophy but I have read one or two of his books and I of all the philosophers I’ve read he is my favorite not because of his philosophy but for the cutting and heartless way he handles the very humans he speaks of. If you want the hard truth and a dose of tough love, and we all can use that every once in a while, go read Nietzsche.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that while today was sunny and spring-like weather is forecasted to come to an end starting tomorrow. We’re expected to go from a high temperature over 70 degrees today to a high of just 25 tomorrow. Snow is expected to start falling in the evening and I hear rumors that there might be enough to cancel school Tuesday. I hate snow but I’ve got my fingers crossed we get dumped on.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I can already feel the air outside cooling as the sun makes its way below the mountains. It’s time to close the house up and move from coffee to hard cider and snacks while we watch the big game, or more accurately, while we wait for the commercials between plays because we aren’t “football people”, or “any kind of sports people” at all. More than anything we are celebrating the end of foot for the next 7 months or so.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you’re getting through the worst of winter well. I hope that you can sense the light at the end of the tunnel and the earth preparing to burst into life soon. I hope you made time for yourself and those you love. I hope you stay safe tonight and that whichever team you’re rooting for wins.

Until next time.

What a Life // MFnMelo feat. Saba

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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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