If We Were Having Coffee // The Art of Worrying About Worrying

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

The sun is shining this morning but it won’t be for long, according to forecasts. We’ll be going from a high over 50 degrees today to one of only 28 tomorrow. We’re looking at snow, again, and I’ve got my fingers crossed for another snow day but the chances are slim. So, I’m soaking up the sun while I can, before I’m forced out into the cold tomorrow. I’ve got the blinds open and a few windows cracked, letting the crisp air in.

So, pull up a chair and help yourself to a cup. I’ve got plenty of cold brew ready or I can put the Moka pot on if you’re craving something warmer. 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 it was a wintry week here in Colorado. This week, in fact, felt like the very first time winter had made an appearance at all. We had blizzard conditions, icy roads, freezing temperatures, and stand still traffic across the city. But as much as the traffic, the snow, and the cold inconvenienced us all I was glad it finally arrived and not just because of the resulting day off of work.

While most of the worry over climate change focuses on the coastal regions, and rightly so since their homes and businesses may be underwater as a result, we sometimes forget—here in the middle of the country where mountains fill streams from snowpack and cool air rushes over peaks to cool our cities—that we are just as vulnerable. Our mountains are not the strong and steady defender we imagine them to be.

We’re seeing less snow, warmer winter temperatures, and less water in our rivers. We’ve been seeing hotter and hotter summers and higher and higher chances for wildfires. A warm dry winter might feel nice, but it’s troubling too. I sincerely hope we see a lot more snow in the coming weeks and months—and a few more snow days spent cozied up on the couch wouldn’t hurt either, you know?


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the snow made the short week an even shorter week which threw everything and everyone off at work. Then, we had more snow, which made for even more confusing and anxious conditions. We made a lot of mistakes and we all, including me, had to take a moment to admit our shortcomings and resolve to do better, to slow down, to pay closer attention, and to make better choices, no matter what.

For my part, I have to ask more questions. I have to get more involved, double-check, and see for myself more. I know that my coworkers are smart and capable, but I have to remember that they aren’t perfect. I have to help them out, and all of us in the process, by being a second set of eyes and ears and picking up the slack where they will from time to time undoubtedly drop it—as they would do for me.

At the same time, we all, especially me, have to learn to separate the big and dangerous mistakes from the little baby mistakes. We have to separate the mistakes we might have changed from the ones wholly out of our control too. I saw a lot of people stressing about things that had no discernible impact and that could not have been avoided. All that stress is contagious, and we were spreading it around like a bad rash, making a bad situation worse for no reason.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I leveled up in my anxiety when I managed to make myself sick by worrying too much about not worrying too much.

I talked a bit about it already but last Friday I received some bad news. The medication I am on to control my ulcerative colitis is working, but it’s damaging my liver. So, I have to be moved to something new. Something new means a whole lot of “what if’s” and worrying. Worrying that actually triggers my symptoms.

After my initial freak out, I tried really hard to calm down, and I tried really hard not to worry about all those “what if’s” but I ended up triggering my symptoms anyway when I couldn’t get the consequences of all this anxiety out of my head. So, now I’m just trying to think of anything else. I’m trying to occupy my mind with books and writing, and getting out of the house later for shopping and sun.

Tuesday I have an appointment with my GI to discuss my future medication and hopefully, she will answer some of those “what if” questions and put my mind at ease. She’s usually pretty good at that.


If we were having coffee, I would have to bring up the current state of politics in this country. I don’t know where you fall on the political spectrum and I certainly don’t want to argue. I’m not here, today anyway, to change minds. I think many of us are past that. I think right now most of us are just tired. I am tired.

If you are one of the federal workers who has struggled through this government shutdown, with the loss of pay and, in many cases, with a lack of options to express your frustration and needs, my heart goes out to you and I hope with all my heart that this two or three-week reopening can be made permanent. I hope this will never, ever happen again, but I confess, I am almost certain it will.

Earlier this week I read an article about the way politics functions in this country and how it leads to situations just like this one and may lead to worse and deeper deadlocks in the future. I think the tide needs to shift. We need to find a new way to fight each other that allows people to give in for the good of the country!

But I fear this shutdown, rather than waking us up to the worst parts of our politics has only further desensitized us.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I can see the sunlight beginning to creep through the westerly windows. If I don’t get up from this seat, get moving and get out the door soon, I’ll miss it. I’d like to have a little bit of Sunday before Monday, you know?

I hope you had a good week. I hope you made some progress and that you made time for you. Try not to stress too much and I won’t either. Try to breathe, to take it slow, and I will too.

Until next time.


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

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

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If We Were Having Coffee // Strong Enough to Examine, and Change

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

Waking up was a little easier today than most Sundays. I think knowing that I have an extra day away from work tomorrow makes it easier for me to get this day going. A three-day weekend really makes it clear how much a four-day work week would do for the human psyche and soul.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining and the temperatures are rising fast. It’s going to be the warmest week of the day and I plan to get out and soak up the sun while I can. So, quickly now, let’s talk about last week.

“Presently the small of coffee began to fill the room. This was morning’s hallowed moment. In such a fragrance the perversity of the world is forgotten, and the soul is inspired with faith in the future…”

Halldór Laxness, Independent People

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was good, I think. It was certainly not bad, but it was long and tiring. I’m beginning to believe the problem is with me and not with work or the world. I’ve been feeling especially tired for weeks now and as someone who has a chronic illness, I have learned to pay attention to my body and to take action when something is wrong. Better to make a few appointments and run a few tests now before things get bad.

I’m at the halfway point between last months infusion day and next month’s. I’ve had a theory now that my infusion days are set too far apart and that I would do better at six-week intervals rather than eight. This month I’m tracking my symptoms and energy levels so I can present my case to the powers that be and get my treatment plan revised.

In the meantime, I’m taking one day every week to simply rest. I got the idea last week from Eclectic Alli’s Weekend Coffee Share post and gave it a try myself yesterday. I talked about it a bit last night already but I want to say again to anyone that needs to hear it, acknowledging that you need to rest, giving yourself permission to do so, and even seeking a little reassurance from loved ones as I did with my fiance, can really go a long way.

I was able to rest without anxiety and without guilt. I was able to really rest.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this week was an okay writing week. It was better than last week, but I’m still struggling to finish the drafts I start and I still haven’t begun work on my larger projects. This coming week I’m going to keep on doing what I am doing and trusting that I will keep getting better as long as I keep stringing words together either on the screen or on the page. I have to trust in the long run and broaden my focus from the day-to-day.

I’m not really disappointed though because even though it might have been a less than ideal writing week, it was a stellar reading week! I finished both Homer’s The Iliad and On the Genealogy of Moral by Friedrich Nietzsche, two books I had failed for months to get through in 2018. I started The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It’s very different from my last two reads but I think that is how I proceed best through books by jumping from one genre or time period to another radically different.

Next, I’ve got The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery, then a couple of volumes of Saga comics, and then The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that we’re over halfway through Dry January and I am finally seeing some benefits. I’ve lost weight, a surprising amount of weight and I do feel like I am sleeping better through the night than I have in a long, long time.

I’m starting to think now of if, and how, I will return to alcohol once the month is over. I’ve broken my dependence on the need for alcohol to trigger a relaxing response after a hard or frustrating day at work. I no longer need to come home and pour a glass of wine or make a margarita on those especially hard days. I no longer feel that social gatherings or events require alcohol to be fun. I feel like I have a little more choice about when I drink, and I don’t want to lose that.

Going forward, I will regulate alcohol to the realm of “special occasion”. It will be a once a week or less indulgence. When I purchase alcohol I will buy in smaller quantities so that I don’t have so much to “get through”.

Drinking alcohol isn’t inherently a bad thing, and while I did indulge regularly, I didn’t and still do not, consider my relationship to alcohol to be problematic. It’s like sugar or fast food, or coffee even, it just became a habit and I want for all my habits to be a little less automatic. I’m proud of myself for being strong enough to examine and change.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that as much as I enjoy chatting with you the morning is moving on toward midday and I’ve got shopping to do and maybe a lunch date with my lady if I can leave soon enough.

I hope you had a wonderful week. I hope you made some progress and if you experienced any setbacks; I hope you know you can start again as many times as you need. Get out and see the sun if you can, and rest without one iota of guilt if you can’t, okay?

Until next time.


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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // The Longest Short Week

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

I apologize for my lateness but I’m feeling a little under the weather today. I woke up with a pounding headache and unexplained nausea. So, I made some ginger tea, took a dose of ibuprofen, and put myself back to bed for the rest of the morning. I woke up the second time feeling much better, but not quite 100%. I have no appetite and there is still pressure in my head.

I’m a little reluctant on the coffee and worried it’ll make me feel worse but I know a headache of another kind will come on if I don’t have a cup or two. Caffiene withdrawl is nothing nice.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I’m using the Moka pot and experimenting with using half blond and half medium roast for something a with a little more caffeine that’s a little richer in flavor. Let’s talk about last week.

“The worst coffee I had ever tasted, but it was hot. I drank three cups and sat there an hour, until I was completely dry.”

Charles Bukowski, Post Office

If we were having coffee I would tell you that our first week back to work was very long and quite stressful, and we only had to be there for four days, not five.

All around me there were talks of budget overages, overtime cuts, and management shake-ups, all while we deal with a continued staff shortage. I did my best to avoid the circles of gossip and negativity. I did my best maintain perspective. I reminded myself that these problems were well above my pay grade and that as long as I showed up, ready to work and show these kids positivity and compassion, I was doing all that I could and all that was being asked of me.

I’m proud of myself for getting back to my morning routine so well…mostly. I wish I had stuck to my usual sleep schedule while I was on break so it wouldn’t have been so hard, but I managed to wake up on time every day and to make it to work on time despite the sudden change. I’m still struggling to go to bed on time, though, but it’s getting better.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that while it wasn’t a particularly good writing week, it was definitely a good reading week.

I am very close to finishing The Iliad and I love it more and more the more I read. It’s so sad, so full of death, and pain, and grief but being a good book doesn’t mean being a happy story. I feel all that pain and grief, and fear and bloodlust myself and that is what makes it so good. This week I was even brought to tears while reading and I don’t know exactly how any other book in the future will make me feel this much again.

At the same time, I’m ready to move on from Troy and the Greeks and read something new. I have about half of On the Genealogy of Morals by Nietzsche to get through and Emily Dickenson’s poems have been waiting patiently for months on my nightstand next to The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Today my girlfriend brought home The Alchemist to cheer me up and I’m two more Saga volumes behind!


If we were having coffee I would tell you that Dry January is getting easier and easier every day. I don’t feel so bummed out by not drinking and my first thought when I come home from work is no longer on a glass of wine or bottle of hard cider. It’s getting easier to handle bad days and to imagine having fun and being social without alcohol.

I’m a little hurt that my friends have postponed most of our get-togethers until February. What if I decide to continue not drinking through February and beyond too? It seems that I don’t just have to change my own thinking around alcohol, but drag my friends along too.

This weekend I was particularly worried about sobriety cutting into my fun after I got tickets to an “M. Night Shyamalan-athon” at our favorite movie theater. We were going to be sitting through three movies—Unbreakable, Split, and his latest to round out the trilogy, Glass. We usually drink at these kinds of film events and sitting through three movies without a celebratory cocktail sounded like a real drag.

We did good though! and we had a lot of fun. I was a little jealous watching the table next to me order round after round of mimosas and beers so I ordered a peach Italian soda and a Mexican milkshake to feel a little fancy. We had a great time and didn’t go home disappointed in ourselves.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that the movie marathon was absolutely amazing!

Unbreakable has always been one of our favorites and watching Split again but this time on the big screen made me realize that it was also quite the masterpiece. Glass brought me to tears and it ended the only way it could have.

What I mean is, if these characters belong to some other writer and director beside M. Night Shyamalan, then maybe it could have been different, but these characters are part of his universe and story and if you have seen many of his movies you will understand that this is the way the story has to be told.

The reviews were harsh, but I am encouraging everyone to ignore them, see the film, and let it sit with you before you make up your mind.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that the sun has sunk below the horizon and the smell of delicious eggplant parmesan coming from the kitchen let me know it’s time to get going.

I hope that you had a good week and that the new year continues to find you well. I hope that your resolutions are still going strong. If they aren’t, I hope you know they were not failures. You simply weren’t ready and the time simply wasn’t right. I hope you know you can start again.

Until next time.


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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Not Quite Like I Planned

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

We’re starting a little late today, I’ve been anxious to finish our living room project and this morning we find ourselves in the final stretch. I’ve been working in there all morning and simply lost track of time. There is still so much to do but my body is protesting and I feel my energy levels (and willpower) waning. I think some good coffee and conversation are just what I need to get me motivated again.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The weather has been gorgeous lately and we’ve got all the windows open and plenty of sunshine to warm the spirit. I forgot to start the cold brew last night but I’ve got the hang of my little Moka pot now and have plenty of strong hot coffee to go around. Let’s talk about last week!

“Sometimes life is merely a matter of coffee and whatever intimacy a cup of coffee affords.”

Richard Brautigan

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that New Year’s Eve wasn’t spent quite as we had planned.

We had planned to attend a party at a friend’s house but they were having plumbing issues and the more we thought about going out the more we realized we wanted to stay in, just the two of us. So, I made spaghetti carbonara for dinner and grilled some pears on the stovetop for dessert. We drank lots of wine and later champagne. We rang in the new year cuddled up on the couch and were in bed by 12:10 AM new year’s day.

It’s wasn’t wild or glamorous but it felt right to start a new year off in the place where I am always the happiest.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the first week of 2019 has been…no different from the last of 2018. What I mean is, I haven’t changed. Most of the resolutions I made had to be put on hold. I haven’t gotten downstairs to set up my little gym so I can start working out, and I haven’t had hardly any time for reading or writing either.

I’m trying not to be so hard on myself for not hitting the ground running on my other resolutions this year. It’s probably best not to overwhelm myself and as long as I start sometimes soon, late is better than not at all.

The only thing I have been able to change is how present I am. I’m doing my best to focus as much as possible on what it is I want to be doing, or what I should be doing. I’m practicing making my own choices (even if I sometimes make the wrong one) about how to spend my time rather than leaving it up to other people, apps, or my subconscious. I’m trying to use my time up rather than go on letting it slip away from me.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my last week of winter break has not been as relaxing as the first but it was much more productive, though not in all the ways I had hoped.

If you’ve been following along with my journal excerpt posts, you know my girlfriend and I have been working hard this week to revamp our living room space. We are both chronic procrastinators and after eight years in this house we considered a “fixer-upper” when we first bought it, very little fixing up has been going on.

This year we committed to one new year’s resolution together. We want our house to look good enough to host the 2019 holidays at our place. That means new paint everywhere, new trim, and major updates to our bathroom and kitchen before the end of November.

Our living room has a 19-foot wall on one side, ugly popcorn ceiling, and a lot of drywall damage. It is by far the hardest room to paint. Part of me wishes we’d chosen an easier project for the break but, as chronic procrastinators, maybe it was best to start with the harder project first to set the right tone for 2019.

One room down, four more and a whole basement to go. Whew!


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that now that our big home improvement project is done the realization that we have less than two short days before we have to return to work is slowly sinking in. I honestly haven’t given work a second thought in over two weeks and it’s possible I have forgotten how to do my job entirely.

I figure that’s a good thing, though. It means I took a proper mental break and can, hopefully, return with renewed clarity and enthusiasm. I miss my kids terribly and even some of my coworkers too. I miss having a schedule most of all.

These past two weeks have taught me that without concrete obligations to get me out of bed or force me to go into bed at a decent time every night, I am incapable regulating my own sleeping routine. I stay up past midnight and sleep in until nearly 10 every morning. I was sluggish, grouchy, and guilt-ridden throughout the days over all the missed productivity. I know that I am at my best when I’m early to bed and early to rise so, why do I keep doing to myself?

I guess there’s just something about the late night that I love too.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the first week of Dry January was a long one. I’m not sure if I’m seeing any benefits yet. I don’t feel that I am sleeping better or that I have more energy and I am certainly not losing any weight. Then again, I still have other bad dietary habits and those only seem to be getting worse.

My girlfriend and I have been trying to cut a back on our sugar intake too by at least avoiding all cakes, cookies, pies, and candies and refraining from adding any sweeteners to drinks like coffee and tea. It’s going well but we have to make sure not to skip any meals or eat too late or else the cravings start.

One unforeseen issue is that at the end of the day we want something that feels like a reward or an indulgence. We’d been having a glass of wine or a hard cider, but now we aren’t drinking. So, then we crave sweets, which are now a no-no too. So, then we start craving rich, salty, cheesy, fried foods. We crave burgers and fries, pizzas, tacos, and hot wings.

Alcohol has been easy to quit, and sugar hasn’t been too hard to let go of either. It turns out the addiction I have isn’t to either but to the comfort and the relaxing effect that the indulgences induce and I don’t have the first clue how to curb that.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the long shadows cast from the low west window light, and the good smells coming from the kitchen are reminding me that it’s getting late and there is still a lot to do before dinner is done. I’d better get going if I want to have any hope of an early night tonight.

I hope that you had a wonderful New Year’s celebration and that the first week of 2019 treated you well. I hope you aren’t feeling too much pressure to be a whole new you and that your new year’s resolutions are still going strong.

Until next time.


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

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // I Am, in Fact, Not Ready

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

I’m up late this morning, as has been the case for many days in a row now. Being on such a long break from work means that every day I fall further and further from my usual schedule. I’ve been staying up far too late, waking up too late, and doing far too much of nothing in between. I’m hoping to put an end to the laziness today. I may be up late but I’m writing and cleaning, and soon I’ll put on real clothes and leave the house for the first time in days.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. I have a fresh batch of cold brew in the fridge for a quick buzz, or I can put on the Moka pot if you’re in the mood for something strong but hot. Let’s talk about last week!

“I drank coffee and read old books and waited for the year to end.”

Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Christmas was actually wonderful this year.

We saw my family briefly on Christmas Eve for a rushed gift exchange and catching up. I had hoped to spend less and stress less about gifting this year but behind all the pressure there is a real pleasure in finding just the right gift. I honestly wish I could have done so much more.

We spent Christmas Day with my girlfriend’s family this year. We had too much food, and I had too much to drink and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The holidays are hard and it’s good to be with people who not only love you, but make you laugh, make you feel safe, and who appreciate you being there.

For dinner, we had a deliciously cheesy lasagna with acorn squash topped with orange marmalade and butter with spicy Italian sausage on the side. For dessert, there was cannoli and tiramisu too. We at it all in courses and by the end we were struggling even to get down the last cup of strong coffee and all our stomachs were hurting. None of us regretted a thing.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’m secretly looking forward to doing some shopping for myself after all this giving. I know that sounds bad, but the truth is there has always been a deep selfish streak in me too. It’s possible I love getting gifts just a tiny bit more than I love giving them.

Thankfully, I got plenty of gift cards with hard limits to keep me under control. I’ll be heading back to the mall and browsing the shelves of bookstores this week for a few things I promised myself I’d come back for when I was out shopping for others.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the days since Christmas have been uneventful and wildly unproductive. I’ve been feeling down, negative, restless yet exhausted, unhappy and rather moody. I’m not sure why except that I feel a vague longing to be doing something other than what I have been doing or even should be doing.

What I mean is, there isn’t enough time to do all the thing I want to do. There isn’t enough time to paint the living room, repair kitchen drawers, clean the whole house, visit friends and family, go out and do something, write, read, and rest all at once.

No matter what I do, I feel like I should be doing something else, but that something else isn’t what I want to be doing either. So I end up feeling guilty and then at the end the day I just feel disappointed. There is a slow panic rising too as I realize how much time I cannot get back and how close the end of my break is looming.

To be honest, though, doing nothing hasn’t felt entirely bad. In fact, I’m beginning to resent all those obligations and considering my time at home to be a glorious “stay-cation”. I’m working on a compromise that will get me through the coming week.


If we were having coffee, I’d sigh as I remembered that this is the last Sunday of the year. As much as I tried to be ready for this ending I admit that I am, in fact, not at all ready to let go of 2018. I’m excited but I’m also afraid. I’m sad, but oh so hopeful and happy too. I have high expectations for 2019 and whenever expectations are high I have a tendency to withdraw. I’m fighting that tendency now and hoping that I will wake up early on January 1st, 2019 and do what needs to be done.

I haven’t exactly pinned down my New Year’s resolutions yet. Instead, what I have are a few mindset shifts I’d like to make and year-long to-do lists for my blogs, my other writing opportunities, my dream projects, my home, and my finances. I’ve been experimenting with using Trello, breaking done projects into actionable steps and moving items from their respective project lists into lists for “this year”, “this month”, “this week”, “today”, and finally, to “done”.

I guess my New Year’s resolution is simply to write down the things I need to do and finding a way to get them done every single day of 2019.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the grumbling in my stomach reminds me it’s getting on toward lunchtime and time for me to get ready to head out into the world.

Today we are picking up paint supplies and samples (the first step in our “transform the living room” plan), going to IKEA—that wonderful hell of beautiful and cheap furniture we can never stay away from—and, if I still have the energy, we’ll pick the newest new Saga volumes on our way back home.

I hope your Christmas was lovely, and that you got as much as you gave. I hope the days since have been more productive for you than me and that you are ready for what the new year will bring.

Until next time.


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

Photo by Julien Labelle on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // It’s Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

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

I’m not up as early as I wanted to be, but I went to bed a lot later than I should have last night. I knew I had a lot to do today, but I just wanted some time to be home, to write and to watch some TV before I had to get up and go back out into the world and finish this Christmas shopping. I regret it though. There’s nothing worse than Christmas shopping two days before Christmas except doing it while tired and grumpy. Thank God for coffee, am I right?

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. We have wonderfully thick, strong coffee brewed thanks to the new Moka pot I found at Target last week marked down to just $5! I’m still getting the hang of it so every other cup is a little overcooked and bitter, but bad coffee is better than no coffee at all so we’ll drink either way.

Let’s talk about last week!


“Hot coffee and cold winter mornings are two of the best soul mates who ever did find each other.”

Terri Guillemets

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this last week turned out a whole lot better than I thought it would the last time we met.

I still had a lot of work to do but a slight change in perspective really helped. I did my best not to think so much about how tired I was or how stressed I was or how much Christmas shopping I had left to do and instead I focused on racking up as much overtime pay as I could and I have to say I’m so proud of myself for showing up and getting the work done even though all I could think about what was the stress of the looming holidays and my longing for a nice long break from it all.

On Monday I found out that both of the schools I transport to would not be running on Friday. So, I put in a request for the day off and stayed home to do nothing at all. That isn’t true. I cleaned the whole house because I was supposed to be writing. I am procrastinating on a few projects I wanted to get a jump on and I could not focus long enough to at least generate some ideas. I’m hoping that after the holiday I’ll be able to try again to get ready for the New Year.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that despite what my anxiety and constant complaining would have you believe, I am actually enjoying Christmas shopping. Part of it is that we are doing so well. I would prefer that it was done already but my girlfriend and I both happen to be chronic procrastinators and it has taken great amounts of willpower and patience for us to drag each other through this process kicking and screaming.

The packages we needed to ship were sent off in time to arrive at their recipients by Christmas Day and while we have a have a few people left to shop for we at least have ideas. We were scrambling—and at each other’s throats—this time last year. We had no ideas; we were late shipping gifts out, and we forced to settle for less than ideal gift selections in order to have something, anything, to give. We haven’t had an argument or shed a tear at all this time!

Today we have just a couple of people left to buy for and then we just have to get all the groceries we need to get through to Wednesday.

Christmas Eve, we are spending alone. I am cooking us some spicy chorizo, salsa, and egg hash for brunch and my girlfriend is making crab legs, shrimp, and potatoes for our dinner. Christmas day we’re going to be with my girlfriend’s family and food-wise we’re going non-traditional. We’re having lasagna with mussels because it turns out none of us is really in the mood to have the same feast we prepared just last month.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that until just yesterday it hadn’t really felt like Christmas season at all.

The weather had been so warm and with our school calendars being shifted so that Christmas break began the week of Christmas rather than the week before it didn’t feel like we were approaching anything but endless December.

But yesterday, the temperatures dropped. A cold wind was blowing through the city and there were even a few snowflakes falling, and walking from that cold wind into a very bright Macy’s store with the Christmas music playing, all the holiday decorations, and the place packed with shoppers, I felt it. It was Christmas time.

I’m a little excited about it too. I always am despite myself. I always am despite how I loathe the money spent and the expectations. I love it despite all the bad Christmases I had growing up. I love all the coming together and the thinking of others. I like getting people things I know they will love and I love being out with the scores of people doing the same for their loved ones.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my plans for the rest of the week have changed too. I had hoped to go back to work the day after Christmas but the school district has decided that no one at all is allowed to work this week. That means a smaller paycheck next month, but I’m trying not to worry about that right now. Instead, I will use the extra days to get ready for the new year and reflect on the last.

I’m going to clean up my “creativity room”, work on my editorial calendar, break out my index cars and get some boxes for a couple of projects that have been rolling around in my head, and gather some drawing prompts for my art journal. I have some pocket notebooks to make and a new DIY journal to plan. I’m going to start early doing all the things I want to do next year and I encourage you to do the same if you at all can.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the morning hours are getting on and if I want to have any hope of beating the crowds out there I have to get up and get ready to go.

I hope you have some fun getting ready for the holiday and that things aren’t too stressful or depressing. I hope your holiday will be warm. I hope you will get all that you asked for and all that you give will be appreciated. I hope we all can remember what the season is really about, come together, and express love with more than money and things.

Until next time.


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

Photo courtesy of Barn Images

If We Were Having Coffee // One Last Busy Week

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

I got up late this morning, but I made coffee the first priority this morning so I’m moving fast. I sure wish I had a good espresso machine, or even a little Moka pot, though. This cold brew is good and strong, but I need more “on demand” options for these higher caffeine concentrations. There’s a lot to do around the house today. Cleaning, laundry, and dishes mostly, and in between, some writing in too, obviously. I was too tired for any of it yesterday and feel the need to do double the work today, after chatting with you.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining, and the air is warm again today. We’ve been 10-15 degrees above average temperatures for weeks now. It was nice at first but it’s beginning to worry me a little. Still, best to make the best of it right? Best to throw the windows open, let the fresh air is blow through, and take full advantage of these perfect conditions for some good conversation I think. Let’s talk about last week!

“Whenever I drink coffee I love being alive.”

creamysmooth

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was exhausting!

Part of my job, when not riding the school bus with the students, is teaching other people how to ride the school bus with the students. We had a new class of employees start and it was a bigger class than I’ve taught in a long time. I was out of practice and off my game at the start. I injured myself twice and struggled to stay positive and motivated, but I got through it. I hear there will be more of the same in the coming week too. This time I’ll be ready.

I spent the weekend healing a pulled muscle, some sore joints, and a couple of deep cuts on my hands. I rested, ate well, drank plenty of water, and rested some more. I got out of the house. I saw some friends for a “pancake cook-off” and a couple of strong mimosas. I did a bit of window shopping and got some projects done around the house too. It was a good weekend and I feel physically and emotionally ready for the next 5 days of dark mornings, long days, and early nights.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last Tuesday was “infusion day”, the day every 8 weeks where I hang out at the clinic and get my ulcerative colitis medication through an IV drip. Because I had been tolerating the infusion process so well the nurses and I decided to start doing them a little faster so I can get the heck out of that place as soon as possible.

Not that it’s awful, especially if my girlfriend stays, and if I have a good book and plenty of snacks, but being there makes me feel like a sick person and when I leave, no matter how I actually feel, I’m well and normal again. 

The one-hour infusion went well but there was some bad news too; I think. Before every infusion, I have to get blood work done. Two months ago my liver panel came back with some concerning numbers and looking at the results from Tuesday things are looking even worse. I expect—hope!—to get a call from my doctor this week letting me know if it really is bad news, or if we will continue to “keep an eye on it”.

Either way, I am sure she will tell me not to worry, she always does, but I know that if my liver continues to be damaged by this medication, I may not be able to take it anymore. There is a chance of getting sick again while we try something else, and greater and greater financial burdens too. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have failed completely to do any of my Christmas shopping before the deadline I had set for myself, or before it would be too late to ship them. I just keep forgetting that it’s the holiday season at all. I don’t have my tree up or any Christmas lights either, plus, like I said, the weather has been beautiful and having no kids of my own the holidays simply slip my mind sometimes.

This is my last week to get it done though. I know Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but it’s kind of all about the gifts. I’ll have to do the shopping every day after work when the sun has already gone down and I’m already tired. Knowing me, I won’t make it and those gifts are going to end up arriving at their intended destinations and recipients very late. I hope everyone is feeling rather patient and grateful this year.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that one of the many perks of working for a school district is getting to end the year, and begin a new one, with a nice long rest. This coming week, though it will be busy, will be the last busy one for a good long while. Schools will close, and buses will stop running until the second week of 2019. I’m so looking forward to resting my body and mind and having time to prepare for the new year and to reflect on the last. 

Of course, this long break it isn’t great for the paychecks, so I’m not taking all the time off offered. I’ll go in for at least half of the break—along with the rest of my team—to check our buses and make sure each bus is stocked with supplies and set up in accordance with policy and law. It will be easy-peasy work. Half days and half or less of the stress and I get to put my headphone in, listen to podcasts, walk around in the sun, and take all the breaks I need.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that it’s getting dark outside. The sun is coming in low through the west windows and that means it time to switch from coffee to tea—and later, wine—else risk fueling my anxiety late into the night, and speaking of anxiety, I’d better get a move on and finish up these work week preparations, else risk a light night wide awake with worry.

I hope you had a good week. I hope that you are excited for the fast approaching holidays, not stressed or depressed. Do not forget to make time for you and to reflect and remind those around you occasionally what the true meaning of the season should be. Do not forget to show love and look always for ways to be kinder.

Until next time.


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

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // The New Year Begins Now

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

I’m moving slowly this morning. I’m ambling about unfocused, scattered, and distracted. My schedule was thrown off by the cancellation of a group brunch this morning and now I don’t know what to do with myself. I did all the cleaning yesterday (thinking I wouldn’t have time) and writing—the thing I know I should be doing—is proving too difficult to be enjoyable. I’ve just now been able to pull myself away from my phone, and I’m hoping a cup of coffee and some good conversation can motivate me to get back on track before the day is done.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup. The sun is shining today and the temps are warm enough to open a few windows and let some crisp air in. Let’s talk about last week.


“The best Maxim I know in this life is, to drink your Coffee when you can, and when You cannot, to be easy without it.”

Jonathan Swift

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that last week was another long one. It’s hard going into work when it’s dark and coming home, cold and exhausted when it’s gotten dark again. This is usually when I start feeling depressed. It’s like the world stopped existing and all there that’s left is work and home. I feel trapped, but knowing there is nothing I can do I simply resign myself to it. Winter is forever…

This year I’m trying not to let myself get too down. This year I’m trying to get out more, with friends if possible but even a walk around the parking lot at work during lunch will do. I have to remind myself that the world is still out there and that I can still do things, go places and be happy, even in these cold and dark times. 

I actually made all kinds of plans this weekend. We had the above-mentioned brunch and a birthday/Christmas party to attend too, both of which were canceled. Part of me is disappointed. I probably won’t have the time or the energy to get out again until next weekend, but part of me is relieved. The part that wanted to wallow on the couch, binge watch The Walking Dead and sleep way too much, that part of me won this weekend. I’m realizing now that, as usual, her promises renewed energy after so much “rest” have proven hollow.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you, honestly, that I didn’t accomplish much this week, but it’s ok, my priorities were a little different. I spent much of the week brainstorming ideas, reading, and practicing doing nothing at all. 

I’m about halfway through The Iliad now and on track to finish by the end of the month. That is my last reading goal of the year and I am determined not to fail this one too. I keep feeling tempted to pick up something else but I’ve set my expectations so low (just 10 pages a day) that there is no excuse, and at the end of the day when I read for 30 minutes before bed, if I still want to pick up something else, I have Emily Dickinson’s poems waiting on the nightstand.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that when I wasn’t reading I worked hard to avoid social media and instead worked on some ideas and strategies for next year’s goals. I’ve always believed that the time to start your new year’s resolutions is the December before. I want to hit the ground running on January 1st; you know? 

I’ve got my new body weight fitness routine just about figured out. I had to make a few modifications since I don’t have a lot of equipment and I have chronic joint pain. I still have to clear out the basement bedroom and convert it to my basic home gym but all that requires is a Saturday morning’s worth of cleaning, carting the old TV down there, and picking up a new area rug. 

I’ve also downloaded the Year Compass booklet to fill out this week. I was looking for a way to take stock of where I am and start planning for the year to come. I filled one out last year but I can’t for the life of me remember what I did with it. This year’s I’m going to keep in the back of my journal, and the next one too, and I’ll leave it in the last journal I use for the year before filling out another. 

I’ve also downloaded the new daily goal tracker from Elise Joy to use for a new year-long creative habit. I have been trying to work up the courage to start using my the art journal I made last summer, but for some reason, I just can’t bring myself to sully those beautiful, pure blank pages. Perfectionism and a fear of looking silly are keeping me from starting but I will not let another year go by while those pages stay blank. I’m going to start, and I’m giving myself permission to keep those silly drawing all to myself if it helps.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I have a very busy week coming up. I had planned to take it easy but much of what my week look likes is, unfortunately, out of my control. We’ve got a lot going on at work, and there have been hints we may have a lot going on for a while. 

I’m going to take it easy as much as I can though. It’s “infusion week” this week. For those new to my story, two years ago I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis and my current treatment plan includes drip infusions of my medication every 8 weeks. That means every other month I spend the afternoon in an infusion center eating snacks and reading while a nurse makes sure I don’t have any adverse reactions.

After these infusions, I’m always exhausted. I think part of it is being anxious the whole time, and the fluids they give me make me feel cold and tense too. A nurse once told me dropping all the medication into the body at once contributes to the tired feeling too. I always take it easy during my infusion weeks. I figure it’s my body’s best chance to calm the immune system and give the medication a chance to work.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun is getting low now and I’ve finally found that energy I needed all day. I’d love to stay and chat through the evening too but if I don’t start preparing for the week ahead I know I’ll regret it. 

I hope you had a good week and that wherever you are winter isn’t rearing its ugly head. I hope you got out and made time for you. If not, there is still time and I urge you to spend it doing something that will make you feel good or at least a little more ready this coming week.

Until next time.


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

Photo by Trent Erwin on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Long Week Back

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

I was up early this morning—despite a terrible night’s sleep—getting some Sunday housework out of the way and trying to work out some writing snags I encountered over the week and somehow lost track of time. I nearly forgot completely about our coffee date and would have missed it entirely if I hadn’t felt the caffeine withdrawal headache coming on. 

I know it’s late but, come, fill up a cup and pull up a chair. I’ve got just enough time to catch up with you before dinner is done. Let’s talk about last week.


“Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it’s something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within yourself. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup.”

Gertrude Stein, Selected Writings

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this last week back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday felt like it would never end! I really struggled to get back into my usual routine. I went to bed too late, woke up too late, ran late and arrived too late everywhere I went. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t catch up and ended up falling far behind where I meant to be come Friday.

The roller coaster weather didn’t help much. We had dreary conditions nearly every day. Then, my girlfriend came down with a nasty cold. Her coughing kept me up late at night and I did my best to take care of her during the day. And on top of it all, I had headaches nearly every day. It was a hard week back all around.

The kids on my bus really struggled to get back on routine too. By midweek they were either snapping at each other or they were sleeping through the ride. I did my best to keep their spirits up, which required a lot of caffeine and a return to naps during the day on my part. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I was sad to see another month go by and to realize that we are now entering the last days of 2018. I’m just not ready for another year yet. I spent so much of this one just trying to feel good again and then once I did all I wanted to do was more of what felt good: being with friends and family, going out to new restaurants, movie theaters, events, house parties, and into the beautiful rocky mountains.

I love writing, but it doesn’t always feel very good. I know there was time, in between the friends, the food, and the hikes, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what I spent that time doing. Bottom line, I don’t feel like I accomplished very much at all. 

I’m sure I have though. I wish I had done some kind of inventory at the end of 2017 and I could make some sort of comparison. Maybe that is something I should do this year? So that next year I won’t be wondering the same and feeling so down on myself. 


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I did not complete even half of my goals for the week. I set myself up for this failure by asking too much and not taking into account the fact that I was returning to work after a whole week away. I started to list each goal here and how or why I failed but it was pretty painful and embarrassing so I deleted it. Instead, I’ll just celebrate the few wins and try again with a shorter more manageable list in the coming week.

I’m thinking of implementing a system where I track and record exactly how I am spending my time every day so that I can visualize where I am wasting my time. Not that I have to be productive at all times, but I do want to at least be wasting time in ways that actually feel good, and Facebook and Twitter are increasingly not those places. So, this week, I turned notifications off for both and I have found that just checking in when I feel like it and not every time these apps try to trick me to has been very freeing.

I look forward to cutting back more and more not just to reclaim my time, but to limit the ways I am controlled by corporations making big bucks off of my time and attention and offering so little in return.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the delicious smells coming from the kitchen tell me that my girlfriend’s stir-fry is just about done cooking. I’m off to eat and mindlessly binge old episodes of The Walking Dead on Netflix before the work week starts all over again.

I hope you had a productive week or that you at least found a bit of peace between prepping for the Thanksgiving holiday and the stress of Christmas shopping. I November was good to you, that you hit the ground running in December, and that you learn from all your shortcomings and leave them behind.

Until next time.


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

Photo by Najib Kalil on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // A Perfect Week Off

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, and welcome to my new blog!

It’s not as put together as the other place, I know. I’m still moving things around and figuring out what to bring and what to leave behind. We probably should have spent one more Weekend Coffee Share there but I’m excited and ready to be here despite the mess. 

So, come, fill up a cup. The cold brew has been steeping since last night and is nice and strong. I’ve got the blinds open and a few windows cracked. After yesterday’s freezing rain and high wind warnings, it’s nice to see the sun and let the fresh air in. Pull up a chair and let’s talk about last week!

***

“Good morning and be at peace with your coffee. We’re under the same sun.”

Juansen Dizon

***

If we were having coffee I would probably start by showing off my new tattoo. It’s becoming a tradition now that whenever my sister comes up to visit from Texas us siblings celebrate by going to our favorite shop and getting some new ink. This time it was only three of us, just the girls. My brother, quite understandably, wasn’t comfortable with the expense right before the holidays. Us girls just couldn’t resist though *shrug*.

I got a storm cloud with an eye in the middle of it, a bolt of lightning and a few blue raindrops too. It’s a common traditional style tattoo but the design spoke to me.The rain and lightning made me think of all my uncontrollable sadness and anxiety, the eye is the calm in the storm. It represents wisdom, mindfulness, and self-awareness, but the eye is also part of the storm too, not above or beyond it. The cloud represents the temporary nature of emotions and hard times, and the whole piece taken together is a reminder that everything that is bad, uncomfortable, or scary will pass, and the sun will always shine again.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that my week off from work was just about perfect. I spent every day with my family. We chose not to try to pack in too many activities and instead just ran errands, tried a few new restaurants, and watched movies. I think I liked it better this way. It was like my sister lived here again and there was no need to rush or to stress. It was like we had all the time in the world.

As always after one of her visits, I’m feeling a bit sad. For one, it’s hard to get back into a routine. For two, I worry the visit wasn’t a good one. I worry I didn’t do enough or say enough while they were here. I’m worried I was too tired, too negative, too boring. I’m worried they don’t know how much I looked forward to seeing them and they don’t know how hard it is for me when they leave again. 

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that Thanksgiving this year was a good one. We had plenty of food and the whole family was able to attend. For us, that means just immediate family. My mom and siblings, spouses and the kids. I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thanksgiving with aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents. I’ve never been close enough with any of my extended family. It’s just been us, and the rest of the world.

We all made Thanksgiving turkey hats and write notes to one another with what we were thankful for in each person. It was nice to hear how you have impacted everyone around you. It’s a nice reminder that you do have a place among the people you love and their lives are in fact better with you here.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m not looking forward to returning to work tomorrow. After a whole week off its hard to go back to getting up early, spending my days doing things I don’t always want to, and then coming home just before dark, too exhausted to do anything I want to.

Then again, I miss the kids and my coworkers, and as much as I complain, I do miss waking up early and getting to bed at a decent time. I’ve always worked best when I was forced to a schedule. I guess I just wish I didn’t have to work so many days in a row. I should get to ease back into the schedule.

And of course, as soon as I do get used to it again it’ll be time for Christmas break. 

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m spending the day with my girlfriends family, watching football, playing games, and eating more holiday food. The game is about to start and the smells coming from the kitchen tell me it will be time to eat very soon.

I want to thank you again for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I hope you had a wonderful holiday. I hope you had plenty to be thankful for and that you know how thankful others are for you.

Until next time.

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

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash